No Fancy Name
Monday, February 28, 2005
today stinks
Actually, every Monday this semester will stink just because of school/scheduling stuff, but today is just extra stinky. I have a mid-term exam tonight, in Business & Society class, but that's one of the least stinky things about today. In no particular order:

* Possible paycheck snafu.

* Having to sit through an extremely boring class from 3-545pm instead of getting actual work done.

* Receiving such a shitty set of individual reponses to this week's seminar questions in the capstone biz course that I couldn't even edit them. Usually, I edit the individual responses line-by-line because they're just that bad, but these were just that bad as well as just flat-out factually inaccurate that I kicked them all back with comments. Thank god it's an online course because I fear I'd have punched them all in the face, they're so...less than stellar (not really, on the punching).

* My students are less than stellar. I have had some graduate from the course, and I currently have some really good students, but I have more not so good ones, who are in way over their heads. Since it's up to the student if they take the course or not, after reading the pre-reqs, I/student services can only say "I think you're in over your head and should consider another course" so many times—if they don't take the advice, the only one it ends up hurting is me, because it's more time that I spend, hand-holding. I'm having a conversation with the head guy tomorrow about some things. It's really sucking up way more of my time and energy than it should.

* I have to come up with a large chunk of money in the next two weeks, then again the next month, all the while still being much in debt, operating well into the red each month. Wait, that's not specific to today, so never mind.

Now, for all the shitty ways that my former pal Voldemort acted and the crappy stuff she pulled on me, she did manage to get me to at least start balancing bad with good on a daily basis (ironically enough), and to that end we have the good stuff:

* Paycheck snafu will be dealt with and is only annoying, not tragic.

* The class today is only three hours, once, then I don't have to think about it for another week.

* I still have two cats, and they've being very good right now (and throughout every day).

* My fish are still alive.

* My plant is still alive.

* I already did my reading for Wed night's class

* I have enough preliminary reading done to have a decent conversation with AmNovel prof tomorrow before class, about my paper

* On Friday, I get to see a pal whom I haven't seen for a bazillion years, which is cool even if it is just for lunch.

I think I'll just focus on the goodness of Friday's lunch, to get me through the week.

Sunday, February 27, 2005
oscar-nominations meme
Started by: Dr. H...and despite my embarrassment, I am participating. This list includes all Oscar nominees with the exception of the three shorts-related categories.

Oscar nominated movies from 2004 that I HAVE seen:
- Maria Full of Grace
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- I, Robot
- The Incredibles
- Shrek 2
- Spiderman 2

Oscar nominated movies that I have not seen, and I would like to see/are in my Netflix queue:
- A Very Long Engagement
- The Aviator
- Born into Brothels
- Closer
- Downfall
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- Finding Neverland
- Hotel Rwanda
- Kinsey
- Lemony Snicket
- Million Dollar Baby
- The Motorcycle Diaries
- The Passion of the Christ
- Ray
- Sideways
- Super Size Me
- Vera Drake

Oscar nominated movies that I don't want to see:
- As It Is in Heaven
- Before Sunset
- Being Julia
- The Chorus
- Collateral
- House of Flying Daggers
- Phantom of the Opera
- The Polar Express
- The Sea Inside
- Shark Tale
- The Story of the Weeping Camel
- Troy
- Tupac: Resurrection
- Twist of Faith
- The Village
- Yesterday

Saturday, February 26, 2005
funny flickr folks
[via Jason]

You know how I wrote a post about people buying Flickr and the rumors going around about who it might be? Well, the Flickr people rock hard for putting this logo on their site yesterday.

High tech companies with a good product, good folks and a good sense of's almost as if they completely missed out on becoming jaded misanthropes like the rest of us!

Friday, February 25, 2005
Hedgical Trevor has his own blog!
The world's most adorable hedgie, Hedgical Trevor, has his own blog, at

Hopefully, his personal photographer will help him keep his site up to date with the latest HT happenings.

for my safari-using friends: google maps will now work for you
Via massless: Google Maps can now be successfully used by Safari and Opera users, not only IE and FireFox users.

My initial raving about Google Maps can be found here. It's just raving about it, nothing technical or anything along those lines. Just a "hooray" and a few "awesome"s, I think.

technorati tag:

friday cat blogging - deuce conquers the aquarium

Deuce is a big fan of the aquarium.

She likes to curl up on top of it on cold days, because the motor for the little pump thing, plus the lightbulb, makes the lid all warm and toasty. Here, she's just in her "Hail, conquering hero!" pose.

She's only tried to get at the fish a few times, and that was just by batting at the glass (lame) because the lid is really tight. The fish never seemed to mind. They were too busy trying to extricate themselves from under a plastic plant.

I have really stupid fish, but they've survived for 3.5 years so I must be doing something right! Or, maybe it's just that cats don't have opposable thumbs, thus the fish are safe.

it's friday random 10 time
You know the rules: do a Party Shuffle or Randomizer or whatever you want to do, in your digital music player of choice.
- "Not for Nothing", by Dave Navarro, from Trust No One
- "It's Only Entertainment", by Josh Joplin Group, from The Future That Was
- "Guitar Flute and String", by Moby, from Play
- "The Edge", by Michelle Malone, from For You Not Them
- "Lovers in the Backseat", by Scissor Sisters, from Scissor Sisters
- "Everything's Alright (Reprise)", from Jesus Christ Superstar: A Resurrection (ATL VERSION)
- "Wish I", by Mary Fortune Express, from The Immortality Box
- "East 17th", by The Twilight Singers, from Twilight as Played By the Twilight Singers
- "Good Intentions", by Toad the Wet Sprocket, from In Light Syrup
- "Does Anyone" by The Oblivious, from America

Thursday, February 24, 2005
what beautiful places have you seen?

I was reading about the beautiful places Denise has visted, such as Guam, the mountains of Baguio, Florence and so on, and I got to thinking about the places I've seen. I've driven across the country so many times—the high road (80), the middle road (40), the low roads (30/20/10)—and seen a lot of lovely landscapes, but my favorite places of all are in Virginia.

This photo is taken from 20 Minute Cliff, aka milepost 19 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here's a 360-degree virtual tour and if you happen to click on this link you can almost see the exact spot from where I took this photo. If you step over the left-hand corner of the wall and look down the valley, that's the view.

Over the wall, which you can't see in this photo or the virtual tour, is a large white rock—the top of the cliff. The cliff face itself is a straight drop down. It's not terribly high—I've walked to the bottom and looked up (not being a climber, I've never climbed up the cliff, but people do). The cliff is so named because in the summertime, the setting sun hits the cliff 20 minutes before it goes down behind the mountains. So, back in the olden days the farmers in the valley below would know when to start packing it up and heading back to the homestead.

I went to college not too terribly far from this place, maybe a 30 minute drive. We'd spend a lot of time up on the cliff, reading and what not. Seriously. I don't ever recall drinking up there or anything of that sort. We read. In fact, the day before the majors' exam, a few of us took our Shakespeare/Chaucer/Milton and hung out all day on the cliff. I don't think we actually read all that much, but it was less stressful than sitting in the library.

I have another favorite place, and it's also in Virginia. Thing is, I couldn't tell you where—but I could drive to it. I don't have any photos of it, unfortunately. It's somewhere in the middle of this map, which you'll see is a map of nothing, but somewhere in there is a nature/science kind of summer camp (that I never went to, but the person who showed me this place did). If you walk through the camp, then past the houses (which often have mean dogs not on leashes) and across a creek and up a path maybe a mile or so deeper into the woods, you come to a large rock. If you climb down the rock, you'll find yourself at the top of a natural waterslide. Just a little one, maybe 20 feet long, but it empties into an absolutely crystal clear pond that's about 10 feet deep. It's a very small place, but it's beautiful.

I've been to many very pretty places and seen much larger instances of natural beauty, but these two tiny, out-of-the-way smidgens of nature are my special places.

What are yours?

a new issue of Cooking Light means a photo of yummy food from me

This recipe is from the March 2005 issue of Cooking Light, and boy is it ever good. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how all these things that look and sound (and taste) so rich are actually in a "light" magazine. Amazing.

Sage Risotto w/ Mozzarella and Prosciutto

28oz chicken broth
1T butter
1C chopped leek
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4C arborio rice
1/4t salt
1/2C dry white wine
2T chopped sage
4oz mozzarella
2oz prosciutto
1/4t black pepper

Bring broth to a simmer and keep warm. In a medium saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek and garlic, cook for 3 minutes. Add rice and salt, cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly. Stir in wine, cook for 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add broth, 1/2C at a time, stirring frequently, until all broth is absorbed before adding more (will take about 20 minutes). Stir in sage, cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the mozzarella. Split into 4 portions, top each portion with some prosciutto and black pepper.

CALORIES 443 (25% from fat); FAT 12.3g (sat 7g, mono 3g poly 1g); PROTEIN 18.8g; CARB 59.6g; FIBER 1.4g; CHOL 43mg; IRON 1.3mg; SODIUM 863mg; CALC 193mg

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snark on!
Very funny blog: Query Letters I Love, "Actual, honest to god query letters I've received in Hollywood. Updated frequently. And hey, if one of these is your query, have a sense of humor, will ya? You're gonna need it in this town."

The queries are a hoot, but the comments are even better. Like this query:
"A private detective takes on an unusual job with unusual circumstances."
which produced comments like:
I've been so afraid to try to break into screenwriting. I had no idea it was this easy.

"In the future, robots exist."

"Somewhere in backwoods Alabama, a tourist may or may not be lost."

"Against the backdrop of trendy Seattle, glib socialites date each other."
Even better, something like:
"A comedy about a kid who's so good at hide-and-seek that nobody finds him for 20 years."
followed up with:
"At the age of 8, in a stunning betrayal, young Richard MacTaggart was tagged by his best friend. He has been It for the past 35 years. Now, after decades of planning, he's finally ready to take his revenge."
"DAMMIT!! This effectively kills my "Statue" script...boy playing with friends gets "frozen" during a game of "Statue" and no one notices for twenty years. Had a real cute holiday scene, too. Oh well."
But then there's this one:
"A serial murderer is preying upon members of the Tucson archaeological community, claiming to be wreaking vengeance for crimes committed against Native American cultures. He uses ancient artifacts stolen from the Arizona State Museum as his murder weapons."
Dude...Pangs, and you forgot about the part where his penis got diseases from a Chumash tribe.

Anyway, it's a very funny blog and provides ample opportunity for snarky comments.

go encourage my pal Kate
My pal (and co-worker) Kate posted a bunch of stuff yesterday, after I informed her that she was getting pretty darn close to triggering my "de-blogrolling after 90 days of inactivity" rule. It was meant as a nice swift kick in the butt, and it worked—she posted a bunch of her assignments for her creative writing class...something I'd never do! Creative writing? In public? Where people can read it? HELL NO.

Anyway...Kate has a lot to say, and I believe she needs to blog more. So, swing by her blog and tell her so, and also say "good on you!" for going back to school. She's also the president of an animal rescue, so those of you with pets can dig on that. She sure does have some stories...including this one, which won an essay contest last summer, at her college.

[pimp mode off]

i can do this's not embarrassing
[via profgrrrrl, cheeky prof, musey_me]

Unlike those folks, I italicized my currently-lived-in state. Damn you, secret bloggers! :)

Rules: bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now.

My Results:
Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

who's buying flickr?
Flickr is my online photo management application of choice. I gladly gave them my $41.77 for a pro account, because there's not much about their application, their interface, their community tools, etc that I don't like, or that I would fault. I say "much" because while I can't think of anything right now, I'm sure there has to be something that I find problematic, on a UI or technological level...because I find fault in everything (in my defense, it is part of my job description).

Anyway, there's some kerfuffle about which company is going to by Ludicorp and thus own Flickr—Yahoo or Google? The B2Day blog says that Yahoo did the deal, which would make sense because Google already owns Picasa and made a big upgrade/release a few weeks ago.

I love Google, but I also love Yahoo. For me, this isn't a M$ v Open Source or iPod v [the world] type of dealybob. I don't have internal crises about using one or the other; My Yahoo is my home page, GMail is my non-work mail. I've used Yahoo since it was and Google since it was...well, it's always been the multi-colored logo on a white background, so it's not like I can date it by that... [ha!]

I have an equal number of favorite bloggers who work at Yahoo (ernie, jason) and Google (biz, chris). Yahoo and Google are two of the three companies I'd ever work for (if my current company ever decided to stop existing) in this industry (eBay is the other). So, whichever company decides to buy Flickr, just DON'T SCREW IT UP. That's all I ask.

Meanwhile, perhaps I'll go write any of the useful-ish technology-related posts on my "posts to write" list, in an attempt to regain the tech cred which I think I may have once had. Maybe. Once.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
scrivener can get off my back now...
[I kid, I kid!]

I chatted with the AmNovel prof, asked if it would be ok to come talk to her during office hours next Tues in preparation for doing my paper six weeks early. She was extremely helpful (and said "yes"), despite the fact that all I said was "and I'm going to be writing about Brown, that's all I know for sure at this point, but I'll have something concrete when we talk".

I hadn't planned on saying anything, but we got our first journal/essay things back today, and I got an A on mine while my class buddies all got B-minuses and C-minuses. The prof started off the class reminding everyone of things to keep in mind [and they should already know!] when writing these little essays (present tense, no plot summaries, introduce quotes, MLA format) and I didn't have any marks on my paper at all besides the "A" and maybe one comma inserted somewhere, so I felt confident in my skills for just that moment. I seized that moment of A-ness and talked to her at the break. Crap, now I actually have to think of something between now and next week!

i was thisclose to ashleeeeeee!

I was on my way to class tonight, left at 6pm because I wanted to get coffee, chill for a bit, etc. It's only a 10 minute drive, 2 exits if I take the freeway...and I did. The exit was all backed up, for no apparent reason (at the time), since there wasn't some huge conference at the convention center and the hockey season went kaput. I parked in my usual spot (3rd street), hooked up the iPod (Pleasure Club) and started my walk across campus to 11th street. Between 3rd and 11th is the SJSU Event Center, and there were all these small people running around, swearing and being all stupid, some were wearing pink tutus, it was all very confusing.

I didn't think they were there for a basketball game...and they weren't.

I pushed my way through the crowd, got to class, still didn't know who was playing. The prof came to class, made a comment about how there was no parking, and said "I guess it's because of Ashlee." "Ashlee?" I thought to myself, "surely not Ashlee Simpson, there would have been more talk about it."

But there wasn't. Dear girl didn't even sell out the SJSU Event Center...the place where I saw a great show many years ago: Hootie & the Blowfish opening for Toad the Wet Sprocket.

So, how close was I to Ashlee Simpson? Probably a thousand feet, and there were the walls of the Event Center between us. WAY TOO CLOSE for me.

how DO you do it?
Names. I SUCK at remembering names. Or, is it that I don't take the time to know names in the first place? I think it's the latter. For instance, in my British/Irish Fiction class, we have:
- The Girl Who Sits in the Front and Asks Lots of Tangential Questions, but Never Reads the Novels
- The Girl Who Once Bred Turtles in Her Backyard
- The British Boy
- The Girl from Alaska-Anchorage
- me
- The Girl Who Added the Class on the Third Week and Who Was in My Vict Lit Class
- The Nice Girl Who Sat in the Back of Vict Lit Class, Who is Also in AmNovel
- The Jr. High English/Spanish Teacher Who Sits at the Front, Who was Also in Vict Lit and is Also in AmNovel, and Doesn't Finish Reading the Novels Until the End of the Course

You'd think, with knowing all of those things about them, I'd get their NAMES in there at some point (ok, I actually know the names of the last two). But no...

This is actually a bit of a problem in my Business & Society class, because after each session we have to give the prof a note that says something like "Denise made a good point about [whatever] during discussion." This is how our participation grades are calculated—by others. It's a better method than the "rate yourself at the end of the semester and tell me [prof] what grade you'd give yourself" method, which a lot of Biz profs here tend to use (and I think we know how that usually works out). The Business & Society class method also helps the prof learn our names, because at the beginning of the next class she walks around with little slips of paper that say either "1" or "0," depending on if anyone mentioned you. There are a maximum of ten possible points, so if I say insightful things on ten days, I can shut up on the other six. But let me tell you, it's hardcore sad when she walks over and hands you two "0" slips!

Oh, so why is it a problem? Because the prof is secretly forcing us to walk around and be sociable! Gah. After class, people are running around saying "What's your name?" implying "I'm writing it down and giving you a point" and "you're going to ask my name now, aren't you?" which I always have to play off like "oh, I've got your name right here..." when I really don't, because I'm a big meanie. No, no, not true. It's just that I only vote for people who make really good points, not just who showed up and said "I agree," and the former group is so small that even I can remember their names.

What the hell was my point? Oh yeah, how do you remember names?

Monday, February 21, 2005
poofy pancakes are not my thing

I believe I have already established by past blog posts the fact that I can cook. However, this was supposed to be Ella's Poofy Pancake (Ella is not yet 4 years old yet apparently can make pancakes on her own), but alas it did not poof. Or, it did poof, but in a crazy and uneven manner. Instead of a Poofy Pancake, I got a mutant bread bowl-looking thing. When manually pancaked (read: ripped apart and flattened) and then eaten, it was quite tasty. But still, a sad attempt. I will now take the mocking by children that will inevitably follow.

last night's Simpsons episode
I was a bit underwhelmed by last night's Gay Marriage episode of The Simpsons, but I do give them serious props for actually putting up a website to match the URL flashed on the screen in the "come to our town with your gay dollars" faux TV commercial. That is, More info at SFist including torrent links if you missed it/have no Tivo.

(it was Patty)

Sunday, February 20, 2005
ok, ok, I'll do the book meme
Since   s o   m a n y   h a v e   d o n e   i t   and I never got around to it...
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence, along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

I have two books equidistant from me. Really, I do!
stacks of schoolbooks
[see? i did not cheat]
[from the book on the left]
"This process innovation enabled it to obtain efficiency gains associated with flexible manufacturing systems years ahead of its competitors." from Strategic Management Theory: An Integrated Approach

[from the book on the right]
"That got me down again." from Lucky Jim


Saturday, February 19, 2005
grad app...submitted
This is just the app, mind you, but at least I managed to bust out a silly little statement thingy. GRE scores are in, transcripts are on their way, and the final piece of the app is the writing sample. Oh yes, the writing sample. I have until April 1st to get it to the department, but that's part of Spring Break and I don't think people will be around...and since I intend to physically hand it to a real person (distrustful of mail, much?) that means I should have it done the week before.

Some very nice people have offered their advice on what to do for the sample (my problem being that I have very little in the way of writing samples, unless they want ten books on programming or some papers on business-related matters such as strategic management, which I dare say they do not). I haven't completely decided yet, but I have narrowed it down to either revamping the Vict Lit paper from last semester (which was always intended to be the sample, but I biffed it) or writing my AmNovel paper six weeks early. I nixed the idea of writing my British/Irish Fiction paper six weeks early, because I know that whatever I'm going to write about will come from the second half of the course, and I'd like to hear the lectures on those topics first!

Scrivener took me to task in an helpful email, thought I was rationalizing something or another because I said I didn't want to ask for help from faculty because I wasn't in the department, etc. He's probably right to some extent, but I have a big problem asking for things in a meeting when I don't come to the table fully prepared with "my side". I think this comes from the way we do things in my job, how we interact with clients and what not. I forget that the interaction between a client and a vendor is different than the interaction between a student and a teacher, because the student isn't expected to already have the answers else why would they have to meet with the teacher? But I'm not used to doing things that way, being the student who comes to a prof for help with no clue where to start. I must have a clue where to start, otherwise I'd feel as if I were wasting their time. Scrivener says he'd think of that as a teaching opportunity, I say I'd think of that as wasting the prof's time. Obviously, I have a long way to go before I work out these sorts of differences in my brain.

Anyway, I think this weekend will help me to figure out which of the two papers I'm going to use for my sample. I have an inkling of an idea for the AmNovel class, even have some books and articles from a jaunt to the library last week. If I can spend some time with those this weekend, and come out of it with a concrete idea and a preliminary bibliography, then I'll make an appointment with the AmNovel prof and run it by her (and my reasons for doing it). But if I come out of it with more questions and tangential thoughts than I did going into it, I'll just revamp the Vict Lit paper since it's already more than halfway done.

Friday, February 18, 2005
out of curiosity...
Does your Friday Night Excitement go like this:

7pm: CSI re-run
8pm: CSI re-run
9pm: Antiques Roadshow
10pm: Battlestar Galactica*

* if I can stay awake from the previous three hours' worth of Fun! And! Excitement!

Because that's what mine looks like. All. the. Time.

This excitement is occassionally interrupted by a DVD, if I remember that I have them. I finally watched The Station Agent yesterday, and enjoyed it immensely.

I can write a blog post but I can't...
write a frickin' personal statement for my grad app. Scratch that...I can, but I've been staring at a blank doc for awhile and nothing is happening with it. It makes no nevermind, as I'll get it done, but it's just really annoying that I can spout off about things here yet I can't write a few paragraphs about myself. Blech.

In other news, my parents sent me a box of crap yesterday (my crap, from my childhood), including my baby book and my report cards from grades 1-9 (those were the only grades I completed). You'll all be pleased to know, I'm sure, that according to my baby book my umbilical cord stumpy thing fell off on January 6th, 1974, and that I "would have been a good sleeper but was spoiled." So, I CAN blame my crappy sleeping habits on my parents. Whoo hoo!

Also, my report cards SUCKED. I mean they truly and spectacularly sucked. I hated being in public school so much, and boy does it show. I got Cs in English and Reading classes, so that should tell you something. I used to pride myself on remembering all the classes I've ever taken, at least snippets of them or flashes of a scene, but there were classes/teachers listed that I don't recall at all. Sure, they were seventeen years ago, but still. I looked back at my college transcript the other day and lo and behold there were two courses on it that I completely do not recall: 20th Century British Novel and Realism to Present. Yes, that means that at some point in my academic career I took the same two courses that I'm taking now, which goes to show how much of an impact they made on me years ago.

that was good procrastinating, was it not? rambling on about crap instead of writing a personal statement.

friday random 10 [still cool after all these weeks]
You know the rules: do a Party Shuffle or Randomizer or whatever you want to do, in your digital music player of choice. Look at me, with all my diversity.

- "Filthy/Gorgeous", by Scissor Sisters, from Scissor Sisters
- "Television", by Sunny Day Real Estate, from The Rising Tide
- "I Want to Go to Heaven", by Texas, from Ricks Road
- "Verti-Marte", by The Twilight Singers, from Twilight as Played By the Twilight Singers
- "Walking to You", by Everything But the Girl, from Amplified Heart
- "Spent", by Filter, from Short Bus
- "Sunny Day", by Dave Navarro, from Trust No One
- "Let Me Go", by Melissa Ferrick, from +1
- "Click...Off...Gone", by Sleeper, from The It Girl
- "Love Island", by Fatboy Slim, from You've Come a Long Way, Baby

friday cat blogging - max, not helping my productivity

max, not helping my productivity
[click to embiggen]

The answer to "why do cats insist
on being where you least want
them to be?" is: "because they're
cats, of course."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
"Rules for Papers" by Dr. Pretorius
[Via Pharyngula]

Read "Rules for Papers" which are:
Rule Number 1: NO BINDERS
The post is a funny one, especially the part about the binders, and the staplers, and the titles, and the ... oh crap, it's all funny.

Last night in AmNovel class, we had to turn in our 1-page journal entries. They're not really "journal entries" in the "write about what you think" vein, they're more like 300-word answers to a specific question. Anyway, one of the fine fellows in the class turns his in and he looks all worried, and his wife (it's so cute, they're taking classes together toward an MA, in their retirement-ish years) asks him why he's fretting. He says, "Because I have no cover page...should I have a cover page? Or a cover of another kind?" His wife looked at him like "You're kidding, right?" but obviously didn't want to say it, so I did: "You're kidding, right?" To which he replied, "no..." and we proceeded to laugh at his expense.

As for staplers, this is why I always carry a stapler in my bag—people never staple their papers before handing them in, and classrooms aren't equipped with staplers, nor are professors for that matter (nor should they be). So, tired of the scrambling of students "folding pages together in some intricate origami construction" and feeling for the plight of the instructor who will then have to deal with the mess, I just pass my stapler around. It's my contribution to the world, always having a stapler.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
and to top it off (this is sort of a transitional post)...
In an hour I have to go discuss Part I of Little Women for three hours. I was finishing up the reading this afternoon, waiting to take Toby back to the vet (we went at 9:30, they drew blood and took xrays, then we went back at 2:30 to do an ultrasound and make a decision based on those findings; since the doc and I pretty much figured his lymphoma had come back with a vengeance and unexpectedly, it was basically "sit around and wait until 2:30 to take your cat to meet his maker"), and let me tell you...

Little Women is frickin' SAD. The pages of my book are all soppy, in that chapter with all the letters from the March kids and Hannah and the Laurences to the sick dad. Jeebus.

But I thank you all for the nice words about the Tobester. He was a good cat.

This was a sucky transitional post, but I tried. I'll try again later.

he loved the sun

toby, in his favorite spot
[click to embiggen]

I took this in November, when it
was unseasonably sunny and bright.
Toby loved the sun.
RIP little (big) guy.
Apr '93-Feb '05

concern for my cat
I am very worried about my cat, Toby (the orange one who appears in Friday Cat blogging). He's very much not himself. Now, you may wonder how one can tell if a cat is not himself, when all he does is eat, sleep and use the litter box, but really, you can. Toby is not himself. He has suddenly dropped weight, and looks like a bag of bones. He has no muscle tone—when he tries to jump onto one of his favorite spots, he's been coming up a little short. He's walking around like he's hating life—and he hasn't eaten anything in a few days, except a few spoonfuls of baby food. He loves baby food (gerber chicken with chicken gravy), and yesterday he even turned that down. The only thing he's doing "right" is that is drinking a normal amount of water and is peeing just fine.

Toby is a cancer survivor kitty, one of the 2% that make it to the "cured" stage of gastrointestinal lymphoma. That was a few years ago. Now, the only doctor I take him to is his oncologist, even just for checkups. The oncologist loves my cat, says Toby is his favorite—and really means it. They call me up out of the blue just to see how he is. So when I went in yesterday just to chat and say "hey, he's not looking so good, can I bring him in tomorrow" of course they rearranged their schedule so he could be seen—and of course I just started crying right there, at "hey".

It would be nice if it's just an all of a sudden "I hate this food so I'm not eating it" sort of thing, but I don't really think it is. If he comes out of this checkup ok, though, I'm sure there will be food-changing suggestions and maybe even a recipe to start making at home. That's fine—I can cook rice and chicken and put vitamins and what not into it.

But I really think my boy is on his last legs. He's not even hanging out with me anymore—he just goes from his hammock under the couch to the paper bags on the kitchen floor, to the sink in the bathroom (he loves sinks), then back to his hammock. I guess it's good that he still follows his little routine, but I'd like it to contain "eating" at some point.

I spent the last couple of days just looking at him and crying. When Max, his for-all-intents-and-purposes brother, goes over to him and sorts of poke at him and grooms his face and neck like they do, I start crying. When the baby goes over and sniffs at him like "hey, why aren't you playing with me? huh? huh?" I start crying all over again. It's been a big cryfest here. The thing is, I was prepared to put him down several years ago, when they said he had lymphoma and the success rate was very low, but then the chemo worked and thus we went down that path and he turned out fine. Of course I'll be ready to put him down now if the vet says he's just done with life, but I am very, very sad.

Monday, February 14, 2005
a post about my course
When I originally planned to post an update on my course, it was after a student graduated from the course and said nice things like "Thank you for your patience and encouragement. This has definitely been the toughest programming course I’ve taken to date." I am proud of both of those statements. After that, it's been a real downer. Although five students have completed the course, it seems that the current batch of students are having difficulties. Not all of them, but I think we all know how it is—we only hear the negative things. The "I don't understand this, tell me specifically what to do," emails (which really means "write my exercise code for me"), followed by me repeating elements of the lecture, pointing to FAQs I wrote for the course, pointing to the grading criteria (because it has specific points about what is expected within a particular excercise), answering specific questions with specific answers and then having students say that I am "unclear", etc. I dutifully answer these mails. I give Student Services a heads-up that they may get an email from a frustrated student. I beg the Student Services people to please, please, please tell me what I'm doing wrong because I'm doing everything I know how to do (note that I am leaving open the fact that I don't know everything) and I am writing thousands of words in emails and grading responses and spending hours with students just on one lesson...and they tell me that I'm doing everything that I can, and that I being very patient.

I don't expect people to understand everything in the course. It's designed so that they need not know anything about programming when beginning it (but they have to have basic HTML knowledge and a general concept of how the web works), they just have to pay attention and do things consistently. It's a course that builds on each lesson, and the fundamentals are beat into you (nicely, of course). There are just people who don't get fundamentals, and don't do things consistently, and don't see, for example, that "A" and "B" are two different letters. I respect them for trying, and for putting in all the time that they do spend while trying, and for asking questions (because asking questions is sometimes difficult) when they are stuck, but I just wish that there was some magic switch I could turn on so that people could see that "A" and "B" are different.

So basically, right now I feel like shit because all the people that have problems are all "you suck and you're the worst teacher ever and you're so unclear" and all the people who don't have problems are all "you're the best, you're so thorough and I appreciate all your help and your comments were so great and now I have learned so much I never thought I could do"...and the former group outnumbers the latter.

Saturday, February 12, 2005
if you like photos of cute babies....
(That's BABIES, not "babes" or "boobies" so don't get all excited, people.)

My cousin Betsy took a really good photo of her baby boy, Sam.

saturday is crepe day

Every Saturday from 8am to 1pm, at Willow Glen Coffee Roasting Co. on Lincoln Ave in San Jose, this lovely lady makes crepes.

I usually have the "Heavenly Crepe" which is mozzarella, prosciutto, olives, sundried tomatoes and egg. You can get fruit crepes, crepes stuffed with egg/bacon/breakfasty things, just about anything you want. I think if I brought a jar of Nutella, she'd make me a Nutella crepe. That would seriously rock.

She only has one crepe-making contraption, so there's usually a wait, for which she is overly-apologetic. Seriously, so what if I have to wait ten minutes for a really good, pretty darn big crepe? That's the general consensus, it seems, as people line up and wait in a very orderly manner, and then, when it's time to pay, say things like "no please, keep the change, in fact, have more".

howard's the new DNC chair

Read his acceptance speech.

It's good to hear this reaffirmed:
"We all know that we're the party of the big tent and new ideas.

We know that we're the party for young Americans looking for a government that speaks to them… we know that we're the party for working Americans desperate for a government that looks out for them… and we know that we're the party for older Americans and veterans and members of the Armed Services expecting and deserving a government that honors them.

And we know that no matter where you live or who you are, what you look like or how you worship, ours is the diverse party that welcomes you."
Because sometimes it didn't feel that way, what with the giving in and giving up on issues. Oh, and:
"This week, the Republicans introduced a $2.5 trillion budget that deliberately conceals the cost of their fiscal recklessness.

Their budget doesn't account for the cost of the war in Iraq, or privatizing Social Security. It cuts education, children's health, veterans benefits, and community policing.

As far as I'm concerned, this budget does only two things:

It brings Enron-style accounting to our nation's capital.

And it demonstrates what Americans are beginning to see: Republicans cannot be trusted with your money."
No kidding. Oh, and:
"Americans want a strong and smart national security.

It was Democrats who pushed to create a Department of Homeland Security. It was Democrats who pushed to make our airlines safer. It is Democrats who are now working to make sure we close the remaining gaps in our security. It was Democrats who demanded reform of the intelligence community.

And it is Democrats who are pushing for a foreign policy that honestly deals with the threats of today, and the threats of tomorrow—like securing the nuclear materials around the world.

Republicans had to be dragged kicking and screaming to our side on all of these issues. There is no reason for Democrats to be defensive on national defense."
Securing nuclear materials...IMPORTANT. Oh, and:
"We believe that a good job is the foundation of a strong family, a strong community, and a strong country. We're going to work to create good high-paying jobs here in America, and we're going to keep good high paying jobs here in America.

And there is no reason for us to apologize for being willing to stand up for our belief that Americans who get up and go to work everyday have the right to join a union.

We believe every American should have access to affordable health care. It is wrong that we remain the only industrialized nation in the world that does not assure health care for all of its citizens, particularly our children

We believe the path to a better future goes directly through our public schools."
Jobs here, yes please. Affordable health care, very good. Public schools, IMPORTANT. We should not be proud of C-minus grades.

Friday, February 11, 2005
blogroll analysis
Hugo did an analysis of his blogroll which got me to thinking about what mine looks like. Very basically, it breaks down like this:
- 24 blogs written by men
- 23 blogs written by women
- 1 fictional blog supposed to be written by a woman but really written by a man (bizgirl)
- 2 group blogs

When it come to categorizing further, initially all I came up with was "they're mostly regular people who write about regular things," which for the most part is true. Since that's lame, the following is the closest I could come to categorizing the blogs I read, and some blogs appear in more than one of these categories below.
- 24 blogs written by academics
- 10 blogs written by people remotely in a technology-related field (academic or otherwise)
- 15 blogs written by people not fitting either of the categories above
- 6 blogs that are often political in nature

I have no idea what this says about me, if anything.

the milk lady passed away
I read my hometown newspaper every single day. I don't know why—I haven't lived there in fifteen years and I rarely visit. All my relatives live there, though (except for the cousin with the kid and the cats, but they live close enough to there to count), and I just like to keep up with things like the high school sports, the heroin and methamphetamine problem, corruption in local government/law enforcement, and so on.

In today's obituaries, it said that Mary L. Parker died at the age of 91. I didn't know she was still alive—I thought she died years ago. She was only five years younger than my great-grandmother, who died in 1998, and I think I associated them with each other because they were the same height—about four-eleven. I don't think they were buddies, though—Mrs. Parker was a lovely lady from Sicily and my great-grandmother was a psychotic old biddy from Coraopolis (Pittsburgh) whose parents came from Calabria married her off to her first cousin at age 13. But I digress.

Mrs. Parker was the milk lady at my elementary school. I went to the Catholic school in town, that my father also went to, being the good Italian Catholics that we were (were). Only a hundred or so kids went to the school, grades K through 6, and we didn't have a full-fledged cafeteria...maybe once a month we'd have "hot lunch" which meant they fired up the kitchen and we got crappy spaghetti. But besides that, we were all on our own for lunch food. Lunch MILK was covered by Mrs. Parker. Her one job was to reach down into the refrigerated area and grab half-pint cartons of milk: white was a dime, chocolate was fifteen cents.

I don't remember much about being a kid, but I remember seeing Mrs. Parker every damn day, handing my milk to me. I'm sure she was downsized (no pun intended) when Capri Sun and juice boxes came into being, but that was after my time.

lest you think I'm all about food, music and cats...
I do have a list of posts to do:
- something about my course
- something about customizing CSS buttons/A tags
- something about google indexing/removing things/etc
- something about wikis
- something about technorati tags

Anything else?

h to the izz-e

IZZE rocks. Have you had it? You can find it in Starbucks, Whole Foods, a few other places and even Target, I'm told. You have to love any flavorful fizzy drink that's not loaded with sugar and counts as a serving of fruit. I would rather drink four IZZEs than eat four fruits.

I'll be going to one of the restaurant supply stores today, so see if I can get IZZE by the case (hooray for open-to-the-public restaurant supply stores!) and if not, I'll be ordering it by the case, from the company, because I love it that much. I've had every flavor except blueberry (haven't seen it here), and I rank them like so: clementine, grapefruit, pear, blackberry, lemon. Mostly I stick to the top three. My mother made an "eww" sound when I said I was drinking fizzy grapefruit water, but it's really, really good...and good for you!

A portion of IZZE revenue goes to the Global Education Fund, a a non-profit literacy organization. In conjunction with this organization, IZZE "founded Project Reach, a program designed to bring educational opportunities to farm workers and their families in the communities where we buy our fruit." So, good drink, good for you, and good for others! It's the drink that keeps on giving.

friday random 10 (it IS still cool!)
You know the rules: do a Party Shuffle or Randomizer or whatever you want to do, in your digital music player of choice. Got some good random going on here. (This time, it really is 10 and not 11, as it was last week. Oops!)

- "Missing", by Everything But the Girl, from Amplified Heart
- "Come Unto Me", by Veil of Ashes, from Pain
- "Wanderlust", by R.E.M., from Around The Sun
- "Are We a Rock Band or What...?", by Apollo 440, from Gettin' High on Your Own Supply
- "Black Cloud Song", by Michelle Malone & Drag the River, from Relentless
- "Wait For Me", by Tremolo, from their EP
- "Tuenga", by The Dead Milkmen, from Big Lizard in My Backyard
- "Witness", by The Oblivious, from America
- "Diamond Meadows", by T. Rex, from Velvet Goldmine Soundtrack
- "Waiting", by Texas, from Mothers Heaven

friday cat's toby

toby takes a break from napping, but only to eat
[click to embiggen]

These days, Toby spends a lot of his time
under the lounge-like couch that has legs.
(And so it sits off the floor.)
He's managed to rip a hole in the covering
underneath, and wedges himself up
under it like it's some sort of hammock.
Here, he takes a break from his
hammock-sleeping, to eat.

Thursday, February 10, 2005
breakfast—it's what's for dinner

I love breakfast. I love it so much that sometimes I have it for dinner, like tonight. I wanted to make something from the new issue of Cuisine at Home, but I was rapidly tiring and wasn't up for anything too complicated for dinner.

Breakfast food isn't complicated. At least this breakfast food wasn't.

So, what you see in the glare-y photo (sorry) is Cornmeal "Hamcakes" w/ Pineapple Maple Syrup. Read extended entry for recipe.

2T unsalted butter, divided
1C ham, cubed
1C fresh pineapple, chopped
1/4t cinnamon
1C maple syrup
1/2C yellow cornmeal
1/2C flour
2T sugar
1/2t baking powder
1/4t baking soda
pinch of salt
1C buttermilk
2 eggs
3T unsalted butter, melted
1t vanilla extract

Melt 1T butter in skillet, add ham and sautee until brown; remove

Add 1T butter, pineapple, cinnamon to the pan. Sautee until fruit is slightly browned. Off heat, stir in syrup and set aside.

Preheat pancake griddle/skillet to 400 degrees F.

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl.

Blend buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, vanilla in another bowl.

Add wet ingredients to dry, stir until just evenly moistened. Fold ham into batter.

Pour 1/4C batter onto griddle for each pancake. Cook til brown on bottom, flip and cook other side.

Serve with the pineapple syrup (and the extra pineapple if you want!)

go to main page


Wednesday, February 09, 2005
oh, misdirected email....
Not from me, THANK GOD.

My lovely British/Irish Fiction prof just sent "the schedule for student presentations on Middlemarch" and I just about had a heart attack. I AM THROUGH WITH MIDDLEMARCH. NO MORE MIDDLEMARCH.

Of course, all he did was send his grad-level Victorian seminar documents to his undergrad British/Irish Fiction email distribution list, bless his heart.

note to self: grad seminar in vict lit w/ prof wilson requires presentation on middlemarch. do not take.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005
google MAPS
Oh my, Google's done good again. DHTML-driven (IE/Firefox only right now, I believe, but YMMV) maps service. Driving directions, yellow pages, etc. Drag-the-map with your mouse, DHTML controls, no more of that click-wait, click-wait, click-wait, click-wait never-quite-right map manipulation. I like it A LOT. [] sample - commute
[click to embiggen]

If I didn't work at home,
this would be my commute.
I biffed the ending address,
but it's not that far off...shows
how often I go to the office. sample - coffee
[click to embiggen]

A map of the coffeeshops
near my house. I only frequent
three of these, but it's actually
missing one so I don't know where
they've gotten their data.
That's why it's beta.

technorati tag:

Monday, February 07, 2005
making expandable blog posts in Blogger
MOST IMPORTANT NOTE OF ALL: This was written for the original Blogger. I have not updated this for Blogger Beta. I have no plans to update this for Blogger Beta.

NOTE: A more step-by-step version of this post, with screenshots and what not, is Topic 21 in Chapter 3, "All About Posting," in my book on Blogger, Sams Teach Yourself Blogging in a Snap.

If you're a Blogger user and have always wanted to use expandable posts, you've come up short. Or, if you're Scrivener, you asked me how to do it and then I didn't get around to writing a post about it for months. The Blogger Help entry, "How can I create expandable post summaries?" leaves something to be desired, especially for users unfamiliar with DOM, CSS and JavaScript—you know, most of the Blogger user base.

What I've compiled is a post that shows one method for achieving expandable posts in Blogger, so that the link to "read more" (or whatever text you use) is only shown in a post when you decide to show it. I did not come up with the JavaScript snippet—I got it from this fellow and just added a very wee bit of info and explained what the code was doing.

The information in this post may not work for everyone. I have not tested it backwards and forwards and inside out (shame on me), but I have tested it in Firefox and IE; caveat emptor. Before you get started, be sure that "post pages" are selected in your Blogger settings.

The first modification is to your Blogger template. Within the style sheet, which lies between the <style> and </style> tags, add the following lines:
span.fullpost {display:none;}

span.fullpost {display:inline;}

This is a mixture of Blogger code and standard style sheet entries. Since this is being placed in the Blogger template, two conditional Blogger template tag pairs are used: <MainOrArchivePage></MainOrArchivePage> and <ItemPage></ItemPage>. Based on these conditions, Blogger will print a different span.fullpost style sheet entry on a main/archive page (e.g. the page with a long list of posts on it, either the main page of the blog itself or a per-week/month/whatever archive page) than it will on an item page (e.g. an individual blog post. Thus, we are conditionally going to define the span.fullpost entry as either displayed or not displayed. We will discuss this in a moment, but first we need to make a few more modifications to the Blogger template.

The next modification should be placed after the closing style tag (</style>) and before the closing head tag (</head>). Add the following lines of code:
<script type="text/javascript">
var memory = 0;
var number = 0;

These lines of code initialize two JavaScript variables, memory and number, and set their initial values to 0. These variables will be used in the JavaScript code snippet that determines when to show the "read more" link.

Next, scroll through the template code and find the area where the individual elements of the blog posts are defined. Look for this Blogger template tag:

Directly after it, place this Blogger template tag/JavaScript snippet:
<script type="text/javascript">
spans = document.getElementsByTagName('span');
number = 0;
for(i=0; i < spans.length; i++){
var c = " " + spans[i].className + " ";
   if (c.indexOf("fullpost") != -1) {
if(number != memory){
   document.write('<a class="[your class]" href="<$BlogItemPermalinkUrl$>">[your text]</a><br>');
memory = number;

This bit of JavaScript will only be printed to main/archive pages. All it does is scan through the HTML used in that post, and collects all the span tags. It examines the span tags to see if any of them are defined with the class of "fullpost"—this was defined previously in the style sheet and will be used within the blog post itself. If it encounters a <span class="fullpost"> element, it increments one of those placeholder variables you saw earlier (number, to be exact). When it has finished looking for span tags, it compares this potentially-incremented number with the other placeholder value (memory). If they are different, meaning that number has been incremented because a <span class="fullpost"> element has been found, then it produces a link. That link is your "read more" link.

Let's look at the line that writes the link to the page:
document.write('<a class="[your class]" href="<$BlogItemPermalinkUrl$>">[your text]</a><br>');

The following items should be replaced:
- class="[your class]" should either be removed or replaced with whatever class you use for your links.
- [your text] should be replaced with whatever you want to use as the "read more!" text.

NOTE: Because all this is placed two single-quotes in the JavaScript document.write() method, you must escape any single-quotes you use in [your text]. In other words, if [your text] is: Wait! There's more then what you need to type for [your text] is Wait! There\'s more.

I created a simple little button style for use with this particular link. It has four parts: sitting there as a link (unvisited), sitting there as a link (visited), when you mouseover it, when it's being clicked. The (admittedly verbose, but at least you're sure just what's what) style sheet entries are:
a.readmorebutton:link, a.readmorebutton:visited {
     float: left;
     margin: 2px 2px 2px 2px;
     padding: 2px;
     width: 115px;
     border-top: 1px solid #CCCCCC;
     border-bottom: 1px solid #000000;
     border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC;
     border-right: 1px solid #000000;
     background: #CCCCCC;
     text-align: center;
     text-decoration: none;
     font: normal 10px trebuchet ms, verdana, sans-serif;
     color: #194B77;

a.readmorebutton:hover, a.readmorebutton:active {
     float: left;
     margin: 2px 2px 2px 2px;
     padding: 2px;
     width: 115px;
     border-top: 1px solid #CCCCCC;
     border-bottom: 1px solid #000000;
     border-left: 1px solid #CCCCCC;
     border-right: 1px solid #000000;
     background: #EEEEEE;
     text-align: center;
     text-decoration: none;
     font: normal 10px trebuchet ms, verdana, sans-serif;
     color: #194B77;

You can use this as a base for your own style; mine's pretty simple and of a fairly boring color. I then use the text "continue reading..." on the face of the button, which is really just where the [your text] goes. So, if you were to use this style and the same link text as I do, the link would look like this:
<a class="readmorebutton" href="<$BlogItemPermalinkUrl$>" >continue reading...</a><br>

But really, be creative on your own. Much more fun.

Now, the moment you've all been waiting for: what to do in your post. Well, type it up. Then, whichever part you want to be in the extended entry, surround it with: <span class="fullpost"></span>. For example:
This is test. Blah blah blah. Here I am, wittering about.
<span class="fullpost">Here is the extended entry, where I prattle on about things.</span>
That's it. The "read more!" link will have been generated at the template level, because the JavaScript will have come across a <span class="fullpost"> tag. The generated link will be to the individual post page, where the user goes to read the extended entry. That brings up another thought—providing a link back to the main page of your blog. Sure, users can just hit the back button, but when I enclose my extended entry in the <span class="fullpost"></span> tag pair, I also add a link back home:
This is test. Blah blah blah. Here I am, wittering about.
<span class="fullpost">Here is the extended entry, where I prattle on about things.
<a class=readmorebutton href="[my URL]">go to main page</a></span>
Voila. Don't forget to republish your entire blog after making template changes.

technorati tag:

go to main page

a musical challenge
[via g zombie]

1. Total amount of music files on your computer.
2065 songs, or 7.70 gigabytes

2. The CD you last bought is...
Mouthfeel, by Magnapop

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message
"Evil Twin," from You Were Born for This EP by Tremolo

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
[This is in no particular order and would be different tomorrow, because...FIVE? Come on, now.]
- "80/90" by Ellen James Society from The Survivors Parade
- "House of Dreams" by Gerard McHugh from More Than I
- "Jonas and Ezekial" by Indigo Girls from Rits of Passage
- "Summertime Rolls" by Jane's Addiction from Nothing's Shocking
- "Twilite Kid" by The Twilight Singers from Twilight As Played By The Twilight Singers

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to?
- anyone...anyone...bueller?

Sunday, February 06, 2005
please help me decide...
I have to come up with a 10-15pp writing sample for my grad app, due April 1st (no, really). Assuming it's to be some sort of sample in a humanities-related field, and that the English Dept. doesn't really want to read any of the 3000+ pages I've written on web-based application development and database design, I have to come up with something.

I could do any of the following...please weigh in if you feel so inclined:

A) revamp my senior essay from thirteen years ago (expand it by ~5 pages)
B) revamp the crappy (B) paper from last semster's Vict Lit class (expand it by ~5 pages)
C) pick a topic for British/Irish Fiction class and write the paper for that class very early, and use it
D) pick a topic for American Novel class and write the paper for that class very early, and use it
E) write some sort of one-off paper, on some fairly interesting topic
F) other [if other, what???]

Thank you.

i may deeply regret doing this, but...
[via cheeky prof]

Given that my parents read this blog, if I got any of these wrong I'm sure they'll leave some sort of embarrassing comment. Not like confirming any of these things isn't embarrassing enough.

You Were a Little Girl in the 70s If...
- You wore a rainbow shirt that was half-sleeves, and the rainbow went up one sleeve, across your chest, and down the other. // Not that I can recall...

- You made baby chocolate cakes in your Easy Bake Oven and washed them down with snow cones from your Snoopy Snow Cone Machine. // Definitely yes on the easy bake (those are SO COOL) and I do remember something very snoopy snow cone-like. If it was blue and white and there was colored sweet liquid involved and the ice came out the front, then yes.

- You had that Fisher Price Doctor's Kit with a stethoscope that actually worked. // Oh yes, I did.

- You owned a bicycle with a banana seat and a plastic basket with flowers on it. // I think I did. Definitely owned something with a banana seat, and streamers. I think.

- You learned to skate with actual skates (not roller blades) that had metal wheels. // Well, duh! I rollerskated a lot as a kid. The Roller's Roost was the name of our skate rink. I never did master backwards-skating all that well, and spent a lot of time at the rink on skates but playing the Star Wars arcade game.

- You thought Gopher from Love Boat was cute (admit it!) // I did not.

- You had nightmares after watching Fantasy Island. // Nope.

- You had rubber boots for rainy days and Moon boots for snowy days. // I do believe so.

- You had either a "bowl cut" or "pixie," not to mention the "Dorothy Hamil" because your Mom was sick of braiding your hair. People sometimes thought you were a boy. // Yes to all cuts and reasons.

- Your Holly Hobbie sleeping bag was your most prized possession. // Nope. I believe my millennium Falcon was my most prized possession.

- You wore a poncho, gauchos, and knickers. // I believe so, for all three.

- You begged Santa for the electronic game, Simon. // Hell yeah!

- You had the Donnie and Marie dolls with those pink and purple satiny shredded outfits. // No.

You spent hours in your backyard on your metal swing set with the trapeze. The swing set tipped over at least once. // No. We had large rocks and the woods, and a pool.

- You had homemade ribbon barrettes in every imaginable color. // No.

- You had a pair of Doctor Scholl's sandals (the ones with hard sole & the buckle). You also had a pair of salt-water sandals. // No, but my mom did.

- You wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder really bad; you wore that Little House on the Prairie-inspired plaid, ruffle shirt with the high neck in at least one school picture; and you despised Nellie Olsen! // I did not want to BE Laura Ingalls, but I did watch all the shows and I still watch them on the Hallmark channel to this day. Really. I also hated Nellie Olsen, appropriately.

- You wanted your first kiss to be at a roller rink. // Nope.

- Your hairstyle was described as having "wings" or "feathers" and you kept it "pretty" with the comb you kept in your back pocket. // I believe I was both winged and feathered, but I did not care if it was pretty and I didn't keep a comb in my pocket.

- You know who Strawberry Shortcake is, as well as her friends, BlueberryMuffin and Huckleberry Pie. // Yes I do.

- You carried a Muppets lunch box to school and it was metal, not plastic. // I'm going to say yes on this one because while I think I had a Muppets lunchbox (I loved the Muppets so, still do), if I didn't then I had some other very cool metal lunchbox. I always had rad lunchboxes.

- You and your girlfriends would fight over which of the Dukes of Hazzard was your boyfriend. // No. I didn't particularly care for either Bo or Luke. I was more into Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto from Emergency 51, thank you very much.

- Every now and then "It's a Hard Knock Life" from the movie, "Annie" will pop into your brain and you can't stop singing it the whole day. // Yes, this does indeed happen.

- YOU had Star Wars action figures, too! // I had EVERY SINGLE ONE. Every one. Sigh.

- It was a big event in your household each year when the "Wizard of Oz" would come on TV. Your mom would break out the popcorn and sleeping bags! // No.

- You often asked your Magic-8 ball the question: "Who will I marry. Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, or Rick Springfield?" // I had a magic 8-ball, but I didn't ask it that.

- You completely wore out your Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Fame soundtrack record album. // Maybe "Fame," maybe. I mostly listened to The Beatles.

- You tried to do lots of arts and crafts, like yarn and Popsicle-stick God's eyes, decoupage, or those weird potholders made on a plastic loom. // All of the above. I was also decent at cross-stitch and rug hooking.

- You made Shrinky-Dinks and put iron-on kittens on your t-shirts! // Yes on shrinky-dinks and iron-ons, but no kittens.

- You used to tape record songs off the radio by holding your portable tape player up to the speaker. // yep.

- You couldn't wait to get the free animal poster that came when you ordered books from the Weekly Reader book club. Double score if it was a teddy bear dressed in clothing. // I was a big fan of the Weekly Reader, but didn't care about the poster.

- You learned everything you needed to know about girl issues from Judy Blume books (Are you there God, It's me, Margaret.) // DIDN'T EVERYONE???

- You thought Olivia Newton John's song "Physical" was about aerobics. // yes...

- You wore friendship pins on your tennis shoes, or shoelaces with heart or rainbow designs. // Yes on all counts.

- You wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer. // No.

- You had a Big Wheel with a brake on the side, and a Sit-n-Spin. // Sure did!

- You had subscriptions to Dynamite and Tiger Beat. // I did.

- You spent all your allowance on smurfs and stickers for your sticker album! // Yes, but also Star Wars figures, so DON'T JUDGE ME.

That was therapeutic.

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Saturday, February 05, 2005
gmail invites out the wazoo
Ok, I have FIFTY now, so if anyone wants one or ten, let me know.

Seriously. The number doesn't's like birthday candles you can't blow out.

I gave away two, then had 50 again. Gave away two more, now I have 49. Gave one away, now I have 50.

UPDATE: regardless of the number of comments you may see below, just assume that I still have plenty. Basically, Gmail users will always have 50, it seems.

random things on a saturday
Where did the week go? Seriously.

This was the first full week of classes, and my schedule is Monday 3-545pm and 6-845pm, Tues 7-945pm, Wed 7-945pm, and an online class. This minimizes the time away from my job. I figured the front-loaded schedule would be a good thing—and I still think it will be—but I sure do have to get used to staying up later. The problem this week was that I couldn't manage to catch up from the chunk of the day that I missed on Monday, and a lot of my own students (after a week of little for me to do) came out of the woodwork and submitted things for me to grade. Yay! But also time consuming.

But I did get back on track at work, I did my grading and I participated meaningfully in the discussion The Good Soldier on Wed night. I also spent an inordinate about of time trying to drag groupmates in my online strategic management class into the world of responsible, decent students. I think I've given up already. Sad, so sad.

This weekend will include (not in this order):
- reading thirty or so pages for Negotiation & Conflict Resolution class
- reading a chapter for Business & Society class
- revamping a write-up about the company my group selected for study in Strategic Management class. I guess the one good thing about having lame people in my group is that I basically said "this is the company we're doing because I want to do it and no one else is talking let alone suggesting anything." We're doing Pixar. Hooray!
- reading Wieland for American Novel class (~280pp)
- reading the first 17 chapters of Women in Love for British/Irish Fiction class (~230pp)
- writing two more FAQ postings for my class
- writing an in-depth per-lesson exercise completion/passing criteria for my class.
- writing that damn "how to do expandable blog posts in Blogger" post for scrivener, which I've been promising for months. MONTHS. It had better be good, after all this time!

One very good thing about blogging under one's own name is that long-lost people know where to find you. Ok, so this is also potentially a very bad thing, but let's just go with the original statement about it being a good thing. Positive thinking, and all that.

The other week, when I wrote that post about myself and being a jerk [to which many of you commented that I wasn't a jerk and I am quite appreciative of that, thanks], I gave a shout-out via initials and locations to some people that I wronged in some way, saying that I was sorry for being a jerk, blah blah. These were people I hadn't spoken to in years, and couldn't easily find/didn't know if I should.

Anyway, one of those people read the post and e-mailed me—and that was a spectacular thing (it's actually my turn to write again, and that is definitely high on my list). This person was (is) one my absolute favorite people I've ever known. Totally overeducated [prestigious undergrad, prestigious law school, now at prestigious MBA institution], totally smart, funny, the whole nine yards. Great person, great family, blah blah blah. So now, after six years of not speaking, I have the pleasure of counting her among my buddies-who-don't-live-anywhere-near-me. I promise not to screw it up again.


In that meme that was going around a few days ago, stag asked "Of the places you've lived, which is your favorite?" I answered "DC" (although I lived in NoVA and commuted in, so technically I didn't live there) and said it was a tough decision, though. In order, these are the places I've lived for any length of time (meaning, more than a month): Lewistown PA (born), Staunton VA, Sherrills Ford NC, Lexington KY, La Quinta CA, Durham NC, San Jose CA, Richmond VA, Alexandria VA, San Jose CA (now)

The top three are definitely NoVa, Richmond and Durham. I loved living in NoVa, although I was only there for about eight months and I hated my job there. HATED. But I loved DC, loved the metro. It's my favorite public transportation system (that I've personally used), with the systems in Toronto and Boston next on the list. Yes, I like to rank things.

I think that when I move again, however many years from now that will be, I'll probably end up back in NoVa, if not DC proper. It was a good fit.


I have to go start on my list o' things to do now...including taking Reading Lolita in Tehran (read) and JS & MN (unread) back to the library.

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Friday, February 04, 2005
who's coming over for lunch?

I have plenty, who's coming over?

This recipe is Shrimp with Mango & Basil, from Eating Well, via profgrrrl, who made it last week.

I like chiffonade of basil rather than big ol' leaves, and I couldn't cut small cubes of anything if my life depended on it.


RIP Ossie Davis
Actor Ossie Davis Dies at Age 87

So sad. I really liked him.

friday random 10
You know the rules: do a Party Shuffle or Randomizer or whatever you want to do, in your digital music player of choice. Today's list is very random. Despite my recent ravings about Magnapop, its appearance here really was randomly generated.

- "All", by K's Choice, from Almost Happy
- "Mer Girl", by Madonna, from Ray of Light
- "Tits On the Radio", by Scissor Sisters, from Scissor Sisters
- "Counting Stars", by Michelle Malone, from New Experience
- "M62 Song", by Doves, from The Last Broadcast
- "Everybody Here Wants You", by Jeff Buckley, from Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk
- "California", by Magnapop, from Mouthfeel
- "Dick Serious", by Butter 08, from Butter 08
- "One Day", by The Verve, from Urban Hymns
- "Little Star", from Romeo + Juliet Soundtrack
- "String Quartet No.4 'Buczak': I", by Kronos Quartet, from Kronos Quartet performs Philip Glass

friday cat blogging - deuce, interrupted

quizzical deuce
[click to embiggen]

All she wanted was some quiet time
in the sun, and I had to lean over
the end of the couch and stick a
cameraphone in her face,
poor thing. Life's hard.

Thursday, February 03, 2005
PC Week's Top Firefox Extensions
[via susan mernit and then also modulator]

Their list is interesting:
- About site 0.1.1
- Adblock 0.5.2
- Bandwidth Tester 0.4.1
- Cards 0.16.1
- Clusty Toolbar 1.0.2
- ColorZilla 0.8.2
- DictionarySearch 0.7
- ForecastFox 0.5.8
- FoxyTunes 1.1
- GoogleBar
- Google Preview 0.8
- MapIt! 0.4
- ScrapBook 0.12.0
- Tabbrowser Preferences 1.1.1
- xMirror 0.1.1

The article says "We evaluated dozens of extensions and present the best 15 for your perusal" but it doesn't say what "best" is based on. That they work? That they're useful? Are they productivity tools, or are they just cool?

As Modulator pointed out, AboutSite wasn't listed in the extensions page, and I'd never seen it before (or I did and forgot, or something) but I found it here and will install it later.

In September, I posted "firefox extensions that make my life easier" and since then I've tweaked the list a bit so that I currenly use:

- BandwidthTester
- BugMeNot
- DictionarySearch
- Gmail Notifier
- GooglePreview
- Sage
- Tab X

That's only an overlap of three, with the "Top 15" as determined by PC Week. I can understand why they didn't talk about the BugMeNot extension, but why not Sage? It's a darn fine RSS reader. I am going to try some of the ones on the list that I hadn't used before, especially AboutSite.

the multiple meanings of "fly"
I was sitting in the hall before class last night, waiting for the room to empty. As the kids from English 1B filed out (read: "second semester freshmen") and I was getting up from my position on the floor, I noticed one baggy-jeans'd boy had his fly down. I quickly accessed all that I could recall about current fashion trends and was comfortable in my assumption that regardless of prevailing trends, if your fly is down that's just not good.

So I said "Dude, psst" and he looked over, surely wondering why the old person on the floor was trying to get his attention. "Fly," I said. He looked all embarrassed—as he should—said "thanks," and kept walking.

Confused, it wasn't until he had made the turn down the hall that I realized in his little self-absorbed world he had to have thought I meant "[you are] fly" (which he decidedly was not) when what I was trying to convey to him was that he was one step away from inadvertent willie-waving.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
so, the American Novel class...
First, it's a big Victorian Lit reunion. There are 24 or so people in the course, including 7 of us from Vict Lit, including Odd Old Guy and Very Nice Middle-Aged Couple, among others. Again, the participants in this course are definitely skewed toward non-traditional ages. There are probably only 6 people under the age of 23 in the class.

I previously posted that I wasn't so sure about the American Novel course, because the prof's reviews were terrible. Now, before you get your panties in a wad, of course I take these things with a very large grain of salt. An entire salt block, if you will. But they were terrible even with all that taken into consideration (e.g. when a student's complaint is "she's a stickler for grammar and a hard grader" I typically consider that to be a positive review!). The woman is very nice, knowledgeable and seems to be a fine prof. We (those of use from Vict Lit who were all worried she'd suck) walked out of there saying "she's not bad at all! People are stupid." So, no worries there. Except...

There are journal assignments. I hate journal assignments, all that "just write about what you thought" stuff. What I thought? In general? I give it an 80 and sometimes you can dance to it. Who cares what I thought? Ask me an actual question, though, and I'll spew forth plenty. That's what these journal assignments are—actual questions. So, I prefer to look at them as 8 1-page essay responses rather than journals. So there.

We're reading Wieland first. She had us read the first chapter in class—aloud, one paragraph per person. What's up with that, profs? Why do you do that? Really. I'd like to know. Because it only ends up embarrassing people, and that's not cool. People don't like to be called out on their lack of ability to pronounce "big words". I'm not talking about myself, because I personally like reading aloud, but the Vietnamese girls sitting to my left were terrified, and while they didn't struggle with the "big words," did drop every single article and preposition out of their reading.

I can see where some of the students who gave bad ratings to the prof did so because of her manner of correction in in "she will correct you when you're wrong." I see this as a good thing. Sometimes it's fine to continue discussions with "Ok, that's an interesting point, but what about [something actually relevant and correct]" so as not to have the student feel incredibly stupid. BUT, if you're wrong, you're wrong. For instance, when asked "How many of you have read an 18th century novel" and Annoying Suckup Middle-Aged Woman says "I've read Jane Eyre," I would EXPECT the prof to look at the woman and say "That's a 19th century novel." Actually, I'd expect the phrase "you idiot" to be appended to the response. But it wasn't, so the prof gets points for restraint.

What was I saying? Oh yeah—it'll be a fine course.

Reading Lolita in Tehran
Since it's due back to the library on Friday, I figured I'd get started. I'm about a third of the way through it, and I've just been spontaneously bursting into tears while reading it. I checked the calendar; there's no hormonal reason why I should have that response.

It will be really sad if no one leaves any comments, so if no one does, I reserve the right to remove it so as not to appear friend-less.

A. First, recommend to me:
1. A movie
2. A book
3. A musical artist, song, or album

B. Ask me three questions, no more, no less. Ask whatever, and I will probably answer. If I answer, it will be the truth.

C. Copy and paste this in your blog (if you have one, and want to continue the game).

[via profgrrrl but seen other places]

getting hyped up to grade
When faced with a stack of things to grade, I find that firing up the iPod and listening to the Sky Captain soundtrack really gets me going. Seriously. That first 1:07 track ("The World of Tomorrow") is really inspiring. I'd share it, but I bought it via iTunes so, you know, DRM'd and all that and I don't have the tools handy to get around it.

But, the first track IS only a minute long, so if you listen to an iTunes clip or a clip at Amazon, you can get the gist. Or not. I could be completely unique in this feeling.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005
so. much. to. write. about.
It's official: Mondays are going to suck for the next 16 weeks. More on that later.

I have a lot to write about. People on my blogroll are writing about interesting topics and I want to join in the fun. I also have semi-interesting things of my own to write about.

But after a few weeks of twiddling my thumbs at work, or waiting for some students to actually submit an exercise or ask a question, NOW I have plenty of work and exercises to grade—and stupid, stupid business courses to tend to, with groups to babysit/drag them along by their bootstraps. Oh what fun.

get your archive on...
04/04 · 05/04 · 06/04 · 07/04 · 08/04 · 09/04 · 10/04 · 11/04 · 12/04 · 01/05 · 02/05 · 03/05 · 04/05 · 05/05 · 06/05 · 07/05 · 08/05 · 09/05 · 10/05 · 11/05 · 12/05 · 01/06 · 02/06 · 03/06 · 04/06 · 05/06 · 06/06 · 07/06 · 08/06 · 09/06 · 10/06 · 11/06 · 12/06 · ???


job / books / new blog

04/04 · 05/04 · 06/04 · 07/04 · 08/04 · 09/04 · 10/04 · 11/04 · 12/04 · 01/05 · 02/05 · 03/05 · 04/05 · 05/05 · 06/05 · 07/05 · 08/05 · 09/05 · 10/05 · 11/05 · 12/05 · 01/06 · 02/06 · 03/06 · 04/06 · 05/06 · 06/06 · 07/06 · 08/06 · 09/06 · 10/06 · 11/06 · 12/06 · ???


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