No Fancy Name
Monday, January 30, 2006
via Feministe: The Top 100 Opening Lines in Literature
Via zuzu at Feministe comes a link to (supposedly) The Top 100 Opening Lines in Literature.

I'm not sure if I agree with the order of the list, but some of these sure are good.

I'm especially partial to: #17, #18, #45, #50, #58, #83 although there are plenty others I like quite a bit, and some opening lines I enjoy more than the book itself (#58)...

seminars #2 and #3
I guess I lost all my energy after posting about Seminar #1. That, or there's nothing terribly interesting to say about these two when compared to the seven freaking presentations in seminar #1! Romanticism is at 4pm on Thursdays, Victorian at 7pm—Thurdays are now known as 19thC British Thursdays.

Romanticism is taught by the wonderful newly-minted PhD, and when I think about her qualifications and personality, and the type of graduate students (let alone undergrads) that we have at my school (yes, I just dissed myself and my school), I can't help but wonder why on earth she came here. But I'm not going to dwell too much on that one. The class consists of maybe six people I know and eight that I don't, so I can't speculate on whether it will be a good class or not—I do know that everyone is shy for some reason, and I hope that was just first-night jitters or something. For instance, mentioning the "canonical big six" and receiving blank stares from a lot of people, the poor woman then asked if we all knew who they were and again with the blank stares...come on people, I can't be the icebreaking conversation-starting person and answer intro to lit questions. Then later when asked for the definition of "heteronormative" I tried to send the telepathic message "look, I know these answers. I'm not going to sit here and give them all, because I sure don't want to be that person." But if everyone keeps up the silent treatment I might have to adjust my attitude about speaking up. Screw everyone else. If they're not going to talk, someone has to. I'll be that person, but only in extreme circumstances. Anyway. Standard fare for assignments: weekly responses, a presentation, a seminar paper. I immediately sent the syllabus to Jane Dark for her approval. That, and because I think she's a syllabus geek, like me.

Seminar #3 is Victorian, and this is my "half class" because with this particular prof (whose classes I have taken several times now, including his undergrad Victorian class) you simply don't have to exert a terrible amount of effort to learn something and do well. Great Expectations, Middlemarch, The Mayor of Casterbridge, standard fare poets and essayists from the Norton, and Dorian Gray; a very short explication essay, a presentation, a short seminar paper. No worries. I would just like to note that this is the class I said I would not take, almost a year ago. Ha! So funny, the passing of time causing one to realize that the decision between having to work really, really hard in another seminar (or take something I didn't want to study at all) and having to do a presentation on's a no-brainer.

Saturday, January 28, 2006
posts in the queue
I have a bunch of 'em, but I'm only really itching to post one of them—about the Firefox extension called Reveal. Actually, I prefer to call it Reveal! with exclamation point and Willow Rosenberg hand wave, because that makes me chuckle.

I've been using it for about a week now, and all the cool kids are already posting about it (Lifehacker, Boing Boing, etc) but they're all about the Wow! and I've got the screenshots and story of actual practical application in research. Yeah! Ok, that sounds more hardcore than it is. It's just that I'm finishing up some reasearchy things that I absolutely must finish up this morning, and when Reveal was released it made this research task much more efficient.

So more on that soon. The other posts? Eh. Not so exciting.

Thursday, January 26, 2006
seminar #1: major american romantic writers
When the seminars for this semester were announced, this is the one I was most excited about because I think this is going to end up being my major area as I go on and attempt to be scholarly. The prof is Dr. TA-coordinator and husband of Dr. Woman-I'm-Helping-with-Research, aka my primary mentors at this time. Anyway, let me cut to the chase: we each have seven (7) presentations to do in this class.

A younger me (the me of six months or a year ago) would have freaked out about seven presentations. A quick search of my archives will show much freaking out about one presentation, let alone seven. But this is the new me, the one who has seen the abilities of my classmates and knows I'm no worse than they are and in fact am better than some. That's an enormous weight just *poof* gone.

These aren't long presentations, just eight minutes (and he said he will be keeping time and cutting us off). Each major author is split into two weeks of study, and eight students present each week on topics he selects. For instance, he passed around the topic list (eight for each week) for Emerson (weeks 1 and 2) and we all signed up for something. You would think that I would have selected something for week 3—and although the signup sheet came to my side of the room last, there were still things left for week 3—but no, I signed up for something next week. Next week. I have a presentation to do next week.

I really like the requirements for the weeks we are presenting: single-sheet summary handout for the class, our 8 minutes of blathering on, and a 2-page formal(ish) essay about something specific related to our presentation (where presentation is broad, essay is focused) that goes only to him. Thus, every other week or so we have significant requirements of engagement with the work. I like that so much better than "let's all read and discuss everything informally for 16 weeks and write a paper at the end." There is also a paper at the end, but it's a short one (10-12pp) and will likely grow out of something we present.

I'm looking at the presentations in this class—both the ones I make and the ones my classmates make—as idea generators for my MA thesis. At least that's what the Drs. Mentor said would be a good idea, since they'll be the primary people helping me through that process, and this is their area. We'll see how it goes.

Half the class consists of people I already know and (with the exception of the one) like. There are a few other people I knew by name and who have really good reputations—I have things to learn from them, I know already—and a few others I've never seen before/know nothing about. Overall, I think it's a good mix.

for anyone interested, I am presenting on Emerson's definition of/idea of a good, inspired speaker or preacher in "The Divinity School Address"

oh, and my kitchen is flooded
I live in a condo, on the ground floor. There's a fellow who lives above me. Nice fellow. Finally learned his name this summer (I've lived here for four years) when I had to knock on the door to tell him that his water heater closet was dripping into mine, and wouldn't he like to check that out? Sure, the water heater closet is outside the house and its leakiness makes no never mind to me—unless it would cause his closet floor (my closet ceiling) to collapse. He fixed it up and all was fine. He's the other person here who feeds to ducks, and he also has fish and cats, so I have a cordial enough relationship with the guy.

Anyway, I was taking a little nap just now—until I was awakened by the sound of water running from my kitchen ceiling onto the counter and linoleum. Freaked me out. The kitchen ceiling is predominantly a cutout with flourescent lightbulbs running the length of it, and water was pouring through the edges of the cutout. I grabbed my lone bucket and a bunch of blankets, then put on some pants and trundled upstairs, praying the guy was home.

He was, and it turns out the hose to his washing machine had busted. He shut off the water and began mopping up. The dripping stopped entirely in my kitchen. I have blankets positioned to sop up the water (screw towels, I only have a few anyway) and later I'll sop up all the rest and wash the blankets. But cripes, I have a lot of other stuff to do before the morning, and this is just water. It'll dry. Or something.

I did find out that the fellow upstairs has lived in his condo since they were built in 1987. I'll bet he didn't pay more than $80K for his place. I bought mine in 2002 for $205K. The average price for the 1BRs like ours in this complex, as of last month, is $305K. I thought I had made a good investment, but this guy's sitting on a goldmine. A soggy one, momentarily, but still...

You don't have to tell me the outrageousness of these prices, I'm well aware of it. I'm not originally from here; I'm from the land of sane housing costs.

what doesn't kill you makes you stronger
right? RIGHT??

Readers who have followed my silly little ramblings about my classes, you'll remember the Extremely Annoying Student whose mere presence in a room increases my blood pressure—the one whose presentation in Methods class forced me to speak up and who wrote a poem about RenĂ© Wellek & Austin Warren instead of a formal presentation in Theory class. Yeah? She's in ALL THREE OF MY CLASSES.

I've only had one class so far (the other two are today), and as she walked in I cordially (really!) inquired, "so, what other classes are you taking?" I already knew she was in Victorian because one of my school chums had warned me. Sigh. Oh well. See title of post.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006
too much to do
Dear Keeper of Time:

May I have some more in the day?


Monday, January 23, 2006
25 Questions (yes, that's right, a meme)
I figured if Prof. Bastard could do it, I could. This was much easier (although still not terribly interesting) than those 4-of or 7-of memes, which I never do because I don't have 4 or 7 favorite anythings.

1) When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
I haven't looked in the mirror today. I don't look in the mirror unless I'm leaving the house and even then, only if I have to make a not-crappy impression on the people who will be wherever I'm going.

2) How much cash do you have on you?

3) What's a word that rhymes with TEST?

4) Planet?
I don't know any planets that rhyme with TEST.

5) Who is the fourth person on your missed calls?
Unknown Caller (which is why I didn't pick up)

6) What is your favourite ring on your phone?
I used to have music from The Incredibles but that phone died and my new phone just has standard ringtones on it. I didn't like the options for non-standard ones, so I've just gone with "standard Sony Ericsson ring". I do have flashing blue lights, though, which are neat.

7) What shirt are you wearing?
The same blue "Canada" shirt (with maple leaf) that I've been wearing for two days. I haven't had to leave the house. That's good, because I'm also wearing Utah Starzzzzzz away-colored (e.g. teal and purple) game shorts, and they don't match. Not even remotely.

8) What do you label youself as?

9) Name the brand of shoes you've recently worn.

10) Bright room or dark room?

11) What were you doing at midnight last night?
half-asleep, changing the channel from Cartoon Network to TVLand.

12) What did the last text message on your phone say?
I have no text messages on my phone.

13) Where is your nearest 7-11?
About 0.7mi north of here.

14) What's a saying you say a lot?
Some combination of "fuck" (and its friends) and "stupid" or "idiot" or "dumbass".

15) Who told you they loved you last?
Probably my mom or dad. They're the only ones who do.

16) Last furry thing you touched?
My cat, Deuce.

17) How many drugs have you done in the past three days?
I've been drinking mostly tea in the last few days, so the caffeine in that. Maybe some advil.

18) How many rolls of film do you need to get developed?
none. I don't own a non-phone camera and if I did, it would digital.

19) Favourite age you've been so far?
I'm ok with this age.

20) Your worst enemy?
Myself, duh.

21) What is your current desktop picture?
Nothing. I've been taking screenshots for a book and disabled the wallpaper. Don't know what I'll put back.

22) What was the last thing you said to someone?
I don't know. (That's not what I said, I just can't remember what it was...and it was only thirty minutes ago. Something related to getting off the phone with my boss so probably something like "bye".)

23) If you had to choose between a millions bucks and being able to fly, which would you choose?
the money, absolutely

24) Do you like someone?
Like? Plenty. Like like? no.

25) The last song you listened to?
On purpose? Probably something from Okkervil River, as that's the last thing I played the last time I had iTunes open yesterday morning.

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FINALLY back to school this week
...but not until Wednesday. Argh! I need the structure, and I need the feeling of moving toward that ultimate goal, because I don't like stagnant. [you'll read the rest of this and think to yourself "stagnant, my ass!" and that's true, but I think of things on multiple tracks]

This is not to say that my schedule is not full of things to do—I'm behind on the 3rd edition of one of my books, I'm behind on one of my projects for a prof, I haven't even started working with another prof (that's not fault,'s on her schedule), but I am almost done with another project I was working on with a prof and we did really good work on that one. I'll say more when her manuscript is off to the publisher at the end of the week.

I started language classes via distance ed [Mel snarkily said, "we used to call those correspondence courses" but I prefer the term "distance ed" otherwise it sounds like I'm studying at home for my nail technician certificate or something. Not the case (no offense to nail technicians)]. My French is rusty, you see—hell, it was rusty when I took the classes originally as an undergrad fifteen years ago. However, I dutifully worked through some refresher workbooks and felt confident of my translation-with-a-dictionary skills. Except that's not the test here—it's one of those WebCAPE progressively-difficult fill-in-the-blank tests. I suck at those tests. SUCK at them. Actually, I suck at any kind of bubble-in-the-answers test, which is why my GRE scores suck. Anyway, I decided that it would be better for me in the long run just to retake the required number of French credits—because at the next school I'll have to go through the whole "prove it" process again and it'll just be easier with the credits on a transcript.

Except...language classes are predominantly during the daytime hours, or if they're in the evening they conflict with my grad seminars. Everywhere. I checked into every community college and open-enrollment university in a hundred-mile radius (that's not a small number of schools in these parts), and nada. There was nothing at all I could work into a schedule.

So I turned to the internet. Oh internet, how I love thee. Well, that and the World Wide Learn listing of open enrollment distance ed classes. After developing my own decision matrix (weighing cost, availability of instructors, ability to accelerate, number of classes available in the sequence, and a general sense of shit-together-ness) I picked UT-Austin. Hook 'em horns. So I'm flying through French classes and will have that on my transcript rather than the extreme anxiety of either taking a placement test or driving all over creation. Hooray for distance ed! [Also, I'm taking Latin from another school, because I LOVE LATIN. I had two semesters of that as an undergrad as well. I dig languages.]

So I guess school has started for me already, but the actual act of going to campus and hanging out with students and participating in discussions—not until Wednesday.

Sunday, January 22, 2006
the president invades iraq, infocomm style
From defective yeti via Badgerbag, a very smart play on the old Infocomm style games (Zork, et al), only this time Bush invades Iraq.

The snippet below is from Iraqi Invasion: A Text Misadventure

You enter the Iraqi capital of Bagdad, having toppled the government and captured the nation's key cities in only 21 days. You can't seem to find the promised throngs of citizens greeting you as liberators, but the footage of the Saddam statue being pulled down looks great on Fox!

Who do you want to give the contracts to?

What kind of contracts do you wish to give to Halliburton?

You give the no-bid contracts to Halliburton.

The situation in Iraq remains unchanged.

The situation in Iraq remains unchanged.

You put on the flightsuit.

'Mission accomplished.'

The mission is not accomplished.
Check out the whole thing.

Thursday, January 19, 2006
i am not ashamed to admit that I like Rachael Ray
Yes, the woman has too many shows on Food Network and yes, it is very annoying to say "yum!" to food before you take a bite and most of all (to me) it is extremely annoying to use the acronym "EVOO" and then proceed to define it ("extra virgin olive oil") every stinking time (because what the hell is the point of using the acronym if you do that??) BUT...I like her recipes and her approach to cooking. So there.

I have two of her cookbooks and I can make her 30-minute meals in 30 minutes (although I can see how that would be difficult if there were any other people in the house, such as kids, interrupting the 30-minute cooking rhythm). I also have a subscription to her new magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and I like it quite a bit. One of its best features is the "Cooking with Kids" section, which I highlight here because I know a number of my readers not only have kids but have kids who like to help them in the kitchen. Scrivener, I'm looking at you.

Last night I made a recipe from the "Cooking with Kids" section of the most recent issue: "Rach's Crowd-Pleasing Carrots, Peas, and Cheesy Pasta" and it was good, and quick, and the whole time I was thinking, "gee, this would be fun for [insert names of kids I only know through blogland] to make this with [insert name of parent]." It's a very simple recipe, it's tasty, it's a bunch of stuff out of the fridge/freezer, and it requires no sharp objects.

Because I am lazy and don't want to type, I scanned the page from the magazine. You can download the PDF if you want (245K). There's a part in the recipe about grating an onion, but if you have little kids and don't want them to grate their fingertips into your dinner, I recommend those prepackaged cut-up onions that you can sometimes find in the salad-fixings aisle of your grocery store.

So there you go—quick food, fun food, get the kids involved, minimal prep and minimal cleanup. W00t!


Wednesday, January 18, 2006
fun for all
My pals/co-workers and I went out with a client last night.

This was stop #2. Kamikazes plus some creamy, chocolatey, sweet, vodka-laden shot we don't know what it was called. Oh, and Galaga (my fave arcade game). I love dive bars.

Digital Inspiration - Google adds GMail Delete button
Google adds GMail Delete button: "Finally, Google has added a one-click Delete Button to GMail interface." It's about damn time. I'm all for new paradigms for e-mail applications and what not ("conversations" and "labels" instead of "threads" and "folders", "star"-ing something, etc) but having to check a box in a list and then go to a pull-down to delete it, when you could "star" something in one step, that has always annoyed the crap out of me.

So hooray, a button!

Yes, I know there is a Firefox extension to add a delete button, but on principle I never installed it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - NFL - Fan had heart attack seconds after Bettis fumble
Really, he did! I think we all did, just a little. Thankfully, everything worked out for all involved. And by "all involved" I mean the fellow in the story as well as my "half of your ancestors emigrated from Italy to Coraopolis a hundred years ago" family.

* I wouldn't have posted this if the guy hadn't ended up ok!

** Distance-wise, Coraopolis is to Pittsburgh proper approximately what Waltham is to Boston proper.

Friday, January 13, 2006
If you're visiting from the BlogHer post...
Hi! Welcome. Hang out if you want. Are you going to the BlogHer conference this summer? I am. I live here (San Jose)'s convenient!

This blog is my own place to ramble about various things, ranging from work to school to my books to cooking to my cats to old movies (or new ones) to...lots of stuff.

Information on my book is at the blog for the book. Info about my other books (Apache/PHP/MySQL books, mainly) is here.

For links to cool people you might not have run into in the blogosphere, check out my blogroll over there. No, over there. On your right, down the page. Yeah, that's it.

Have a nice day!

Thursday, January 12, 2006
I am the worst hostess ever!
So it's International De-Lurking Week and I posted about it and you lovely people responded and...

I promptly dropped off the face of the blearth. I suck!

So here are public thanks and welcomes to each and everyone, complete with linky love:
- Kiki, thanks for stopping by and I'm sorry to hear that your iPod needs a coat but I agree with your commenters who mentioned those little iPod socks.
- Jesse, I'm glad you took care of your itch.
- Phantom, you're not a lurker but you're one of my favorite visitors...and the only one to send me a hard copy of a photo of her kids, which is proudly displayed on my fridge and makes me smile everytime I see it.
- Hiya Bruce -- you win the prize for having the most unknown-to-me words on the index page of a blog (I learned all I know about space and technology from Star Trek, et al)!
- PnP, glad to see you over here and now that your blog has easier steps for commenting, I hope you get many! I'll be leaving some, I know.
- Hi Supa! Everyone, she has one of the cutest kids on all the Internets.
- Jo(e), there's a rumor going around the blogosphere that you keep saying you're shy. What's up with that? Aren't you always the first at the bar to pipe up with skinny-dipping ideas?
- Hi Sara! Yeah, my friends think I'm a big geek.
- Hey Neighbor Liz! I need to read your blog more.
- Tom, I'm also a fan of the Grape Nuts (not many people are, which is strange because they're so very yummy), but I don't know that jingle.
- Hi B*! You're not a lurker, but always nice to hear from you!
- KathyR, UI != "urinary infection" and my mom thinks you're funny. I don't know if I can be friends with you anymore. :)
- Hi Friday Mom! I read your blog all the time (so post more often!).
- To the Anonymous commenter from the library in New Jersey, hello anyway.
- Hey Susan! How is the Assam Harmony tea? I'm still working through my last shipment, and I think in the next batch I'm going to get all Rooibos—have you had any of them? I like the consistency of the tea as well as the flavors.
- Scrivener, no, you're certainly not a lurker, are you?
- Michelle, get thee a blog again!
- Hi Pink Cupcake—keep up your return to blogging!
- Tank, of course—go back to lurking. Incidently, you live in one of my favorite cities in the world.
- comebacknikki, I read The Boondocks too, and I also enjoy oatmeal.
- Seeker, you're such a goof.

Whew. I feel better now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
it's de-lurking week! come on, de-lurk and comment!
It's International De-Lurking Week (really!) so all you folks who hang around here: SAY HELLO, especially if you haven't before. I love my commenters, but I know there are some shy folks out there, and my boss, and folks who are completely uninspired/bored by things I say...come on, say hi!

I'll steal a line from Geeky Mom and say "Tell me what you had for breakfast, what your favorite cartoon or comic strip is, goofiest thing you've ever done or why the heck you read this blog and what other blogs you read. Come on. It'll be fun." Yeah! It'll be fun! In return, I promise to de-lurk appropriately on other blogs....I know that's not really a "reward" for you, or anyone for that matter, but...oh well. It's fun.

If you're a blogger, get thee some images from Paper Napkin and play along!

Monday, January 09, 2006
everyone say happy birthday to my mom
It's today, and she's...not 32. When someone asks her age she always says "32" but since I just turned 32 ten days ago, she has to own up to her real age. Which, dear Internets, is fifty-three.

Today's birthday is kinda crappy for her though—her friend (and one-time commenter to my blog, way back in the beginning of it) Evie died today. She was eighty-something, and had been in a bad way for the last six or eight months (cancers). They were golfing buddies from the olden days, and Evie was just a generally nice lady...much nicer/smarter/saner than either of my my mom liked hanging out with her, was a trusted friend with regards to things-related-to-dying, etc. Her death today wasn't a shock, but it's still a sucky way to spend a birthday.

I did my part by re-gifting to my mom some wacky thing she sent to me for christmas. When I got this Snowbabies collectible in the mail I honestly and truly thought it was either a joke or a mistake, and when I called to say "what the fuck?" it became obvious that it was neither a joke nor a mistake. So I asked my mom just which of my personality traits prompted her to think that Snowbabies collectibles were right for me, so I could change it! She has subsequently told this story to friends of hers who also found it funny, and was quite pleased when I told her "no worries, I'll just re-gift it to you for your birthday"...and that I did.

Sunday, January 08, 2006
two updates on my blogger book (and one other)
I've finally posted errata for Sams Teach Yourself Blogging in a Snap. My errata page has a lot of text on it, despite the fact there are only one or two actual errors (and those are on the "nearly irrelevant" scale of errors)—the other text is clarification on things in layout, or a note about how something has changed in Blogger since the book went to print. I still have to write a few posts describing Blogger Backlinks, the additional comment moderation, and the AdSense subnav item under the Template tab in the Blogger user interface, and I should get to that soon because...

I'm currently working on the third edition of my Sams Teach Yourself PHP, MySQL and Apache All-in-One book, which is (my editors tell me) one of their best-selling books. It'll be out in May, and finally it can be all about MySQL 5 and PHP 5, major versions which have been in various stages of "almost but not quite ready for prime time" throughout two previous editions of this book. So, this third edition should have a lot of changes.

The other bit of news about the Blogger book is that it's already in its second printing! First runs are about 5K copies, so that's pretty good for two months of selling. The second printing is the same edition, and nothing on the errata page gets changed before the second printing occurs. I only get to do real changes when it's a second edition of a book. But if this book keeps selling well, I'll probably get to do a second edition at the end of this year. Let's hope so!

Thanks for everyone who has bought it so far, or got a copy from me and said nice things about it. Feel free to say nice things about it at Amazon/other places where comments are attached to books being sold. :)

Saturday, January 07, 2006
vote now! potluck dish showdown
I recently asked for ideas concerning what to bring to an upcoming (tomorrow) potluck. The hosts will be providing chicken (and beverages), and no one at the shindig is vegetarian. I had two ideas of my own, and then got lots of great ideas and recipes in the comments. So I narrowed it down to two dishes—my dad voted for corn risotto, and Scrivener provided a pasta recipe—and made both today. The idea is that whichever gets the most votes (or I just decide on my own in case no one votes!), I'll make it again tomorrow.

Without further ado:

recipe: creamy corn and garlic risottoCREAMY CORN AND GARLIC RISOTTO
I have no idea if this is the recipe my dad was talking about, but corn risotto is pretty basic: corn, risotto, cheese. In this case I got all crazy and found a recipe including garlic.

recipe: scrivener's 'comment pasta'SCRIVENER'S "COMMENT PASTA"
I've named this recipe "comment pasta" because Scrivener put the recipe in a comment and I didn't know what else to call it besides "pasta with stuff."

You'll note that I've refrained from commenting on taste. They are both awesome, and in completely different ways. Thus the need for outside help...

UPDATE I've decided to make the comment pasta because I realized that although the potluck is at 2pm I'm not sure when everyone will get there/when eating will happen and risotto tends to get gloopy-looking when it's in need of heat and I just can't have that (in public; I don't give a crap what food for myself looks like).


Friday, January 06, 2006
FeedBurner Publisher Buzz: Julie Meloni (that's me)
Hey look at that, the nice folks at Feedburner said nice things/gave me some pub for saying nice things about them (and FeedFlare).

We're all so freaking polite! Heck, all I want is a Feedburner sticker for my laptop, to go with my FSM, Darwin has a posse, Firefox, Timmy the Thinkgeek monkey, and Flickr stickrs.

bring it (the spring semester) on!
I'm ready! Let's start now! I know, I know, breaks are good and necessary especially for profs. But I want to start now. I like going to classes, it gives me something to do. Classes don't start until the 25th.

I've started reading, of course, and that's a good thing since as you can see I have plenty to read. From left to right, the stack is: British Romanticism, Victorian, AmLit (AmRomanticism), the dictionary/workbooks I'm using to get my French up to speed so I can take the language exam, and a biography of Jesse Stuart. The biography is "fun" reading, nothing to do with this semester; it's tangentially related to my AmLit project last semester.

funny engineers ROCK
I didn't call attention to this when I posted about the Blogger Web Comments extension, but this tooltip cracks me up every time I see it.
technorati tags: , ,

Thursday, January 05, 2006
potluck ideas
Dear Collective Wisdom of the Internet(s),
I am going to a potluck on Sunday and I can't decide what to make. There will be 6-8 people present, no one is vegan (or even vegetarian), and the main dish (provided by the hosts) is chicken.

What should I bring?? If you have links to recipes you like, that would be great. No lentil dishes, though—I have difficulties with lentils (and yes, I know they're really easy to work with, I just always manage to screw them up somehow).

I've looked through my recipes and only two things really stand out to me. One is a baked rice dish (arroz al horno) and goes well with chicken and I really like it. The other, a navy bean and artichoke casserole with goat cheese, is something that sounds really good and I know I'd like it, but I haven't made it and it has things in it that perhaps not everyone will like.

But the arroz al horno seems too...plain, I guess. Anyone have suggestions of their own?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Back with a vengeance, Dr. Free-Ride posts about "The problem with cheaters". I hate cheaters.

She opens her post thusly:
It must be a law of nature that when past and current graduate students dine together at the end of December the conversation turns, sooner or later, to cheaters. First, of course, you discuss the head-slappingly stupid techniques cheating students employ. ("If they thought we wouldn't notice them doing that, they must think we're really stupid!") Then, you recount a sting operation or two (like planting someone next to a habitual cheater during an exam and having the plant spend the exam period writing utter nonsense -- all dutifully copied by the cheater onto her own exam). Finally, there is the wringing of hands over how the graduate students' efforts against cheaters are for nought given the policies at certain universities that, basically, don't let you do jack to the cheaters.
...and continues on at length about "systems that let cheating persist unchecked."

I don't know which sucks more: cheaters or a structure that allows them to cheat without repercussion. I think the latter.

Go read (and engage).

Tuesday, January 03, 2006
jarring transitions
From vacation time to work time, yes! But that's not what this post is about. Instead, this is about the jarring transitions one finds when listening to one's music library in alphabetical order by artist.

Yes, I know all about playlists and what not, but that's not typically how I listen to things. I fire up iTunes, pick an artist I want to listen to, then just let it play. If it's something like Everything But the Girl or Toad the Wet Sprocket, no problems—I'm good for several hours in a row. But those are exceptions.

Some of the most jarring transitions in my catalog are:
- Amy Ray's "Prom" to Amy Ray's "Stag": jarring transitions can be within artists, too, as this example shows. "Prom," the second solo album, is significantly better than "Stag," the first solo album.
- The Chemical Brothers to Citizen King
- Concrete Blonde to The Crystal Method
- Daft Punk to Dave Matthews Band
- David Gray to The Dead Milkmen
- The Dead Milkmen to Death Cab for Cutie
- The Decemberists to old Depeche Mode
- Dido to The Distillers
- Eminem to Enigma
- Franz Ferdinand to Gerard McHugh
- Girlyman to The Gits
- The Killers to Kronos Quartet
- Pleasure Club to Portishead
- the Sky Captain soundtrack to Sleater-Kinney
- Spoon to Sugarland
- Texas to They Might Be Giants
- Tricky to The Twilight Singers
- Violent Femmes to The Wallflowers
- William Orbit to Yaz

Ok, what are the jarring transitions you have in your music catalog (pretend for a moment that you'd play them in order)?

Sunday, January 01, 2006
happy 2006!
It's windy and rainy here, which is fine for me (I like weather) except Californians Because California has a wimpy infrastructure, traffic lights go out even when it rains just a wee bit. When I was out driving yesterday morning, there were approximately eight lights out in various parts of town. At each one, I dutifully stopped and treated it like a 4-way stop. Or some kind of stop. The point is, I stopped. No other cars on the road stopped for a light that was out. Afraid I had missed a memo, I got home and IM'd my buddy and confirmed that indeed when lights are out, treat it as a stop. As in, stop. People are idiots.

But that has nothing to do with the new year, other than it made me very happy to stay inside last night and watch a basketball game and then some of the Law & Order:CI marathon and fall asleep at a normal time. I also cooked a casserole so there'd be no reason at all for me to leave the house for several days—coinciding with bad-weather (and therefore bad-driver) days.

Resolutions for 2006:
- go to the gym regularly (Does everyone resolve to do this? I started back to the gym on the 24th and have stayed on schedule since then. Sure, it's only a week but I've been there four times in that week and already feel better about things.)
- continue to try to maintain a halfway decent work/friendship with my boss (we have our moments, believe me)
- finish working on my house!! (I really have to do this if I'll be selling it and moving in summer '07!)

Ok sure, I resolved to do those things before the new year, and I'd be trying to do them regardless of the date, but I needed something to write...

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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