No Fancy Name
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
because I am a geek

because I am a super huge geek

In a comment to an earlier post, Caleb said he'd be interested in knowing how I like my flash drive. Well, I've only had it for a week and haven't used it a great deal, but I know I will like it just fine and here's makes me look like a super huge geek. Ok, so I'm pretty much a geek without the USB keychain flash drive, but it certainly helps.

Moving "get flash drive" to the top of my list happened because the Internet failed me. I was typing an exam on my laptop and, as I was finished and the class time was over, I attempted to connect to the Internet and e-mail my word doc to the prof. No internet. Tried the wireless, no go. Tried a different seat (in the biz building, all seats in most classrooms are wired), no go. Sheepishly took my laptop to the front of the room and tried the connection from the go. Prof handed me a floppy, which would have been lovely except, as I explained, "I have one of those new fangled computers without a floppy drive." Oh, my kingdom for a floppy drive (I have a 6-in-1 card reader, but again, that wasn't helping). So he produced his USB flash drive and I put my doc on it and handed it back to him. I felt thisbig.

So the very next day I put "get flash drive" at the top of my list. It's mostly for documents like in that situation, or presentations for classes, so it's not especially the geekiest flash drive in the world. But I've gotten some great ideas from an Engadget post: "Ask Engadget: What do you keep on your USB keychain drive? so when I get a moment I will put many more cool things on it.

Unrelated to the drive is the tacky yellow keychain I have, as seen in the picture. I'm not the kind of person who screams "I would like a tacky yellow keychain that says 'San Jose' with a heart icon and 'Silicon Valley' with an icon of computer peripherals" yet I have one. It was a gift, and every time I look at it, I laugh a little bit to myself and thus the tacky keychain serves a greater purpose.

See, a few years ago I was building an ass-kicking application with Voldemort (that saw the light of day for about two months until I pulled the plug, but that's another story) and, while looking through clip art elements, came across this little heart icon that wasn't too terrible. She said, "I've seen that somewhere," to which I said "well, we're definitely not using it then." unfortunately, it was the best of the crappy little clip art, so it got stuck in as a placeholder for a little bit until I got real art to take its place. A few months later, Voldemort threw this keychain at me and said "here," in that way that people do when they try to be all cool when giving trinkets, yet fail miserably at the "being cool" part (I am also one of these people). Turns out that when arriving back in San Jose after her many trips elsewhere, she'd walk past the souvenir shop in the airport where these San Jose/Silicon Valley keychains were on display, so that's where she'd seen the icon before. So, now every time I look at the keychain I think of tackiness, and one entire day spent with a non-geek at the computer, trying to find placeholder clip art for an application that would have changed the world had it not been for our own issues...and that makes me laugh.

Monday, November 29, 2004
shopping list
Does anyone else's "wish list" for the holidays look something like this: socks, books, knife block, a few pieces of cookware, iPod? Hmm...I guess that's not all that strange. My personal shopping list for my Target trip the other day, it made me laugh: underwear (I think I have underwear gnomes), toothpaste, a bra, toilet paper, keychain USB flash drive.

Now I have to figure out what to actually put on my flash drive. I hate having 128MB on my keychain, just...empty. I would have been thrilled with just 32MB, because I really only need it for papers/presentations to hand to profs/print/whatever, but the 128MB drive was only like $20 so I figured what the hell.

I declare 2005 to be the year of Pergo
...because that is how long it will take me, in dribs and drabs, to lay the flooring in my place. Thank god it's only 796 square feet (which means my crappy condo is worth $295/square foot, which is very very sad considering my parents' lovely home 2800 miles away is worth about $100/square foot).

It usually takes me a year or more to do projects in my place, mostly because they cost big chunks of money and I only tend to have small chunks at any given time, but also because I don't get motivated to do things that ultimately hurt my hands. Case in point, I've had painter's tape up in my kitchen for almost a year, but I can only paint in fifteen minute increments before my hands cramp up, so I have several semi-painted areas. It's kinda funny, kinda not.

But yes, 2005: The Year of Pergo. I'm going to start with grey slate Pergo in the kitchen. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 26, 2004
a perfectly normal thanksgiving
My own parents had thanksgiving dinner last Sunday (they like to be different), and they're 2800 miles away anyway, so obviously I wasn't going to their house. One of the lovely things about not having a close family is that all the crazy holiday stress is expectations, not even any gifts to worry about. I have one grandmother who is a nutjob, so no worries there (I stopped sending cards a few years after she did). The other grandmother stopped giving gifts to her grandkids when we hit eighteen. Not that receiving gifts is a requirement, but the best part of holidays is that you can give gifts to other people.

Anyway, back to thanksgiving...I tag along to my friend's family's holiday get-togethers, and I swear they're the most normal family I've ever been around. There's no drama, there's no stress, we just show up, play a few card games/Monopoly/Life/whatever, watch football or the Food Network, eat dinner, have dessert, get leftovers, go home. It's awesome.

Thursday, November 25, 2004
holiday cards (and others)
For the last...oh I don't know, five years? something like that...I've bought all of my holiday cards at Rock Scissor Paper. Highly recommended!

NFL Predictions, Week 12
It's the twelfth installment of the Julie v Curtis NFL picks extravaganza, in which Julie is hanging on to the slimmest of leads (65% to 63%).


WEEKS 1-11 RESULTS102/158100/160

Wednesday, November 24, 2004 a turkey
master errant turkey

mini errant turkey

Sometime around twenty years ago, and around this time of the year, this errant turkey wandered into my parents' yard and hung out on our front porch for a few days.

We lived in a little devlopment in the woods (and by "development" I mean there were a few other other houses that we could see, and we had a paved road, but we didn't have city water/sewer etc.) which was right over a ridge from a valley full of farms—including one full of turkeys. We think this particular turkey was just out looking for adventure one day and escaped over the ridge.

My dad was the only person I knew who didn't hunt, and boy was I ever glad, because I didn't want him to shoot this particular turkey, who showed so much spunk. I'm sure someone did end up getting the turkey, because one day it just stopped coming 'round. A better ending to this story would be "and the turkey lived happily ever after and we never ate turkey again, after spending quality time with this lovely bird" so let's just imagine that's the ending.

welcome to the world
Today, my cousin had a kid. They yanked him out by c-section a month early, because he was big enough and my cousin had a hellish pregnancy (she wasn't even supposed to be able to get pregnant, nor were they even trying, but hey, little bundles of joy are little bundles of joy). His name is Samuel Jesse Liggett and he has red hair, all his fingers and all his toes. I am very happy to have a new little second cousin! He's not the first second cousin I have, but he's the only one I know (we're not a close family, or a large one). I will send him many gifts.

we went to see National Treasure...
not because we thought it would be good, but because it's history(-esque) combined with chases and blowing stuff up. Good times! It did, in fact, suck. More impressive was the amount of food my friends' boy ate: a hot dog and nachos and an icee and double-fudge ice cream. Hey, it's vacation week. (note: the boy is lanky, athletic growing boy and in no way would I consider him piggish.) Personally, I just had a four-dollar water because I'm saving up for Thanksgiving food.

Monday, November 22, 2004
when all else fails, make polenta
So when your day is a wreck and your cat is puking every ten minutes because he ate a piece of tape (he's fine now), and you have some sort of mental block against writing all of three hundred words about Bas van Fraassen's objections to Maxwell's claims regarding the anti-realist's denial of the existense of theoretical entities, and your client drops a "we need this today" project in Korean on your lap, just take a break and make cheesy polenta. That's what I did.

Sunday, November 21, 2004
it's a good thing I don't have kids...
because I could never interact with other kids' parents, in a positive way. Today was a soccer tournament day for my friends' almost-twelve-year-old (Whose voice has changed and he's now fuzzy all over! Wasn't it just yesterday we were playing trucks and he was toddling about? Oy.) Anyway, today's game was against a divisional rival and we lost 2 to 0. It was a fair loss, unlike yesterday's unfair 2 to 2 tie where the other team's goals were due to quite questionable calls.

So we lose, and I run over to the potty because I had 20oz of coffee and couldn't hold it any longer, and I'm standing in line dutifully waiting my turn. Some other woman comes over and, while we're waiting for some little kid to do their thing in the potty, starts chatting.

Person: So, do you have a son or daughter playing today?

Me: [thinking "I look like I could have had a 12yo kid? A kid at all?"] No, my friends' son plays.

Person: Oh. My son plays. We just beat our nemesis. We're undefeated now.

Me: [thinking "You think our team is your nemesis? Interesting. We don't think that about you, we just don't like your team."] Yeah, your team beat ours.

Person: Oh. Oops. We've won our last several games and the last tournament we were in. Everything is just going our way now, like when that one boy nailed that kick into the top crossbar.

Me: That was my friends' kid.

Person: Oh. Oops. [more rambling about their team, etc.]

Ok, so call me crazy, but wouldn't you have just stopped talking at the point where I said "Yeah, your team beat ours," or at least stopped talking about your team or maybe—if you wanted to keep chatting for whatever reason—started talking about something else? I mean seriously, if the situations were reversed (and I was a line-chatter, which I'm not) I'd never start randomly talking about how my son's team just won and blah blah blah.

I don't really know what I would have done if the woman had actually said something negative about our team, or a specific player, or—god forbid—my friends' kid or one of his really good buddies/kids I actually know.

Saturday, November 20, 2004
I do heart huckabees!
After this afternoon's soccer game (friends' kid), I went to see I Heart Huckabees AGAIN, only this time I actually saw the film! There were only about 20 people in the theatre, and two left about the time the "others" were paired together, and two more left after the "ball thingy," as it turned from ball thingy to the sex thingy.

I liked the movie. I love Jude Law and Marky Mark. Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman were great. And that's all I have to say about that.

let me join the fray of grumpy people, pt 2
What's the deal with people who don't like to follow directions, or think specific directions are "optional"? Really, if you're taking a class in a subject you know nothing about (or even if you do know something about it), what on earth would possess you to deviate from the very meticulously presented (and tested) set of instructions written for you to perform a task...especially when the instructions are prefaced with "do not deviate from these"? Do students really think it's a test? Are they really arrogant enough to think that perhaps I, the teacher, will lead them astray because I am an idiot? I just don't get it.

Not only are instructions not optional, but requirements are not optional, either! They're requirements. If they weren't, they'd be called suggestions. So when I say "do not use Dreamweaver or other WYSIWYG editors to work with your PHP code, use a text editor", don't ask me "can I use Dreamweaver MX because I can just drag and drop some PHP code into the document". NO. NO, YOU CANNOT, and if you do, I will be able to tell, and I will fail you for it. The goal of the class is for you to be able to write the code yourself because any monkey with a keyboard can manage to drag a widget into a document. Oh, and if you continue to do this, I guarantee you'll be lost in the next lesson, as my lessons are cumulative. So if you get to Lesson 4 and you don't understand the structural concept I'm explaining because in Lesson 2 you dragged and dropped a widget, you'll get no extra help from me.

And another thing—stop copying the code in the "share your work" area. Just because a good student took the time to complete a lesson successfully, got a good grade and wanted to share it with the rest of the class, that doesn't mean you can copy from him. In the real world, you can do whatever you want, and freely sharing code is common (unless you're building proprietary applications and that's a whole other story) but let me tell you, copying code and still not being able to make it work still isn't going to get you a passing grade either. Looking at the work and getting an idea from it, and doing your own work based on it, that's not so bad. But you know what? What I show you in the lesson should be more than adequate to complete the exercise, and the instructions I give you in the exercise itself, which are literally step-by-step instructions about what you should do, those should be adequate as well. If they're not clear, then you ask me and I explain them to you in a manner that addresses your particular area of mis-understanding. Don't beat yourself up for two weeks, then copy something from someone else, not get it to work, and actually submit it for grading.

Another thing, what's so hard about coming up with a specific question? If you say "it doesn't work," you really need to say what doesn't work, or where something is breaking, or at what point you stopped understanding what I was saying. Because I guarantee you that saying "It doesn't work" is only going to get a response from me along the lines of "worked fine when I did it" because yes, I am just that snarky. Ok, that last part only happens in my job, when a client says "it doesn't work" and I say "it sure does" until they realize that in order for us to duplicate the "problem" they're having, we need to understand the environment and circumstances around the action they are attempting to perform. Only then will we be able to help them in their time of need, by saying something like "well yes, to navigate to your Web site and see the changes, you must first turn your computer on."

But back to my class—I've lost three students. Two were the problem children and thankfully were finally convinced to withdraw. One left on her own before even getting to the first lesson. But I've had others sign up and plenty are moving through the course, so I'm sure they didn't drop because I smell or something. In fact, I asked the head education guy if I should be concerned and he said absolutely not, that my class is very difficult yet in-demand, and losing people is natural and indeed I do not smell.

Despite this ranting, I am really very very nice to my students and take way more time to grade their exercises and answer their questions than I should. But I don't mind that when they're putting forth an effort. I seriously mind it when I'm repeating myself over and over and they refuse to hear.

NFL Predictions, Week 11
It's the eleventh installment of the Julie v Curtis NFL picks extravaganza, in which Julie is currently leading (62% to 60%). When I originally started picking, I thought we'd differ on only one game...but I've made it interesting by picking differently in three games!


WEEKS 1-10 RESULTS89/14286/144

Friday, November 19, 2004
a happy shirt

me 'n' beaker
[click to embiggen!]

Way back in July, I posted that I voted for my favorite tv/movie scientist(s) in the BBC poll. I voted for the crack team of Beaker & Honeydew, from The Muppets. They won (hey, at least I voted for the winner at least once this year), and my good pal, remembering my love for Beaker, found this shirt and sent it to me.

It is the only orange thing I own (despite the fact that I have been rooting for for Univ of Texas women's basketball the last two years and will do so again this year, until Jamie Carey graduates and I can go back to rooting for Duke) and it is now my new favorite "wear to become happy" t-shirt.

This is the best photo I could manage, holding my arm out and pointing at myself with my camera. I don't have terribly long arms, and I don't have a large mirror, so this is it. Meep meep meep.

let me join the fray of grumpy people, pt 1
I don't know if "grumpy" is the right word, more like "frustrated" and "want to beat some people with a stick". Not just in one part of my life, but like in all parts of my life, even the ones I don't directly participate in (e.g. family things thousands of miles away).

So school, I only have a few more weeks this semester, and that's a good thing, except when I realize what is DUE in those remaining weeks. It goes like this (and this isn't including finals, because those things don't cause great consternation for me)...

* org change & behavior class: a group paper, combined with a group presentation. I've been dragging my team members kicking and screaming through the semester, and a few of them have completed all their tasks but the remaining folks did a half-assed job, don't seem to understand that they need to fix their half-assed-jobness, and thus I must do that (note: I know that "must" isn't correct, but the alternative of "bad grade" necessitates the "must" for me). The presentation is on 12/2 and we have one idea, and thankfully one of the other good folks has stepped up to be the "leader" for it, but still, I fear it will suck. So, stress there.

* bus systems & policy class: there are two more group things here, one lab and one case. My group, bless their hearts, they try so hard to do good work and just miss the mark every so slightly...these people, I don't mind at all working with, even though I could a) be a total bitch and just do all the work for everyone or b) tell them how wrong they are and then not help them fix it, but I don't do either. I sort of push them in the right direction, and go with whatever they come up with, unless of course it's so terribly wrong that I couldn't abide by it. I'm getting an A in the class regardless of the group things, so I'm more concerned with getting the lightbulbs to go on in their heads than whether or not I look good.

* intl & comparative mgmnt: whatever. I think we have an exam remaining. no group stuff, that's cool. This class is such an incredible waste of time, but I do a lot of grading during his lectures, so it's kinda like two-hours of built-in multitasking.

* mgmnt issues in high tech companies. This is the "want to smack someone" class. We have a group project, to analyze quality issues in a high tech company. I offered one of our clients up, with the thought that sure, client contact could answer some questions for us. Didn't hear from the dude for a few weeks, and then he came back with basically "can't do it"...which is fine, if we had known anytime sooner than that. My fault for not staying on him, but really...fine line when there's a favor involved. So I offered some more ideas and people on my end were basically unable to help us out, so I threw it back to the group and said "look, I think you all need to jump in here and offer suggestions or paths to try because as it stands now I am the only one owning this and that's not fair to everyone". What I really meant, of course was "for the love of god, would you people step up and look like thinking individuals and either answer my questions or come up with your own, or at least say something that makes it look like you even have the foggiest idea of what this class is about, because I think you all are the ones who are getting less than 50% on the exams." To be fair, there are two people in the group who are trying, but aren't getting it. The other two, I have no idea what their deal is. Also, it's not like I'm getting any greater grade than B on the exams (I am a terrible bubble-test taker). Grr. I really need to take a step back from this one.

* phil of science: it's a happy little online class. I have to write a paper soon, but it's a generic research paper that's all of maybe 5 pages and I have zero concerns about it. I have a group project that I'm involved in this week, and while I have no concerns about it from a subject matter standpoint, there's this one group member that is just psycho when it comes to posting things, etc. As I said today, "this is an asynchronous class, and I'm starting to feel as if I need to apologize for not being in synch" which of course is not true, but that's what I said instead of saying "Jesus fucking christ, beeyatch, chill out and give us all a moment to deal with our own schedules and get to the same point as you with your obviously-don't-have-to-work-or-juggle-classes schedule."

* victorian lit: We have a paper to do: "pick something thematic, talk about at least two authors" ... those were his instructions. He then went on to explain that he's just really flexible and doesn't care what we write about or how we approach it, as long as it's well-argued and looks like we have a clue about what we're doing. I'm really fine with that, it's just a little too flexible than what I'm used to. I also think that if the class makeup were different, he would be more specific, but while it's an undergrad class, of the 15 people in it I think more than half are in the MA program as conditionally-classified folks getting up to speed, or post-bacs or something that's basically "not sophomore English major schmucks" although we have a couple of those. I must say, though, that last night's 2 hour lecture on all things Arnoldian was basically the highlight of my week...not to knock Matthew Arnold at all, but that should tell you the kind of week I've had.

As a side note, I take shitty notes in class. I'm a listener, and this prof is really funny and a very good lecturer (whatever that means). So I was joking with another woman in my class, who takes copius notes (pages and pages and pages to my few lines of crap), and I said something along the lines of "you should see my notes...they're along the lines of 'Tennyson - important'". Everyone laughed. I tend to be the ice-breaker in that class. Go figure.

Stay tuned for part II, where I describe the grumpiness and frustration caused by the class I teach! Part III, because you know you want to read it, is all about family frustrations. (Dad, don't be concerned. I mean extended family. You know I love you and mom. At least today.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
I have 'em. Well, I have one watchcat, one don't-give-a-crap cat and one I'll-be-under-the-covers cat. I had to get up for another "has to be done at 5am" thing today, and at about 5:15 a dog in the complex started barking. [Note: I live in a gated condo community in a crappy part of town, which is gated in name only because even I could jump the fence, and "condo community" should not be mistaken for anything more than "a bunch of 800sqft apartments built in the 80s".] Dogs don't tend to bark around here, and my cat really doesn't tend to growl unless there's something outside that he doesn't like. He growls maybe twice a month, when the UPS truck pulls up (don't ask me how he knows, or how he can differentiate between the UPS truck and the FedEx truck, he just can).

So it's 5:15am, my watchcat is growling, a dog is barking, the don't give a crap cat moved to the middle of the room, the under-the-covers cat ran under the covers, and I just sort of sat there. I turned the rest of the lights in the house on, and the TV, and made it look like there was hustle and bustle inside.

Of course I have no idea if anyone was out there wandering around the complex; no windows broke, no car alarms went off, it was just all very strange. I checked to see if we had a minor earthquake, but we didn't (and truth be told, my cats wouldn't know if an earthquake happened unless the ground opened up under them). It was just weird and freaky and I hate stuff like that.

i don't want your blood money
I have a wee bit o' (untouchable) cash in some Vanguard funds, courtesy of my employer. Overall, my investments are up 8.3% this year. Unfortunately, 5.3% of that increase has come since the election. If I give back that $344.50, can I have a different president? I'm all for an positive-moving economy, but still...when I look at the numbers and see when and why it happened, I get kinda queasy.

from the mouths of babes
It's not long, just read it to the end.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004
things not good to realize when you're having a "hate my job and hate living here" day
I could buy outright a house across the street from my grandmother for the amount of money I've paid in interest this year alone. Not that I really want to live across the street from my grandmother, but still—she's just the mentally introverted fundie christian one, not the actual insane one.

Sunday, November 14, 2004
it's been a week and yes, I still like my new coffeemaker
It's still very cool. I drink less coffee (not a bad thing) and waste zero coffee. I also now have coffee throughout the day, instead of just in the mornings. I can get a coffee craving at 3 in the afternoon and act on it, without feeling guilty about making more than I needed and throwing away the extra. I can have tea on a whim, too (not that boiling water takes all that long).

I am very pleased. I haven't made it through the box of javapods yet, so it looks like a box will last about 10-12 days. A box is less than five bucks, and I was definitely using more than $5 worth of coffee in that same timeframe, so it's a money saver, too!

Saturday, November 13, 2004
sometimes, some things
I like Juice's title better, Holy Flurking Schnit!.

I really enjoy reading this blog (bizgirl). "Natalie Biz" won the NetGuide Web Award for Best Personal Blog. Said the judge: "Blogs are all about allowing the mindset and personality of the writer come through. Bizgirl does this, and more. I enjoyed reading her entries because they are witty and fun and full of personality. It seems a little like a New Zealand version of the Bridgette Jones diaries. The layout and organisation are crisp and easy on the eyes. When you get to the blog, you immediately know why you're there and where to look. Clever, different, funny. She gets the gold here."

Now read this.

Damn, that's fierce! (note: "fierce" is a good thing) Good on ya, noizyboy.

an update on my own schoolwork
The semester is almost over, yay! It really seems that this semester has been extraordinarily long, or draining, or something. I don't know. Other folks in my classes have expressed this as well.

After this semester, I only have one more to get this Business BS degree. I am pleased that it will be over. I originally did this because I thought it would be helpful to the company if at least one of us (seven years after the company was founded) had some sort of "academic" background in business. It hasn't, really. Another reason for doing it was that I have a very, very difficult time interacting (in my job) with "business people" because I find them, for the most part, to be incredibly stupid, or just lacking business sense. Yes, that's a wild generalization, and no, it's not everyone, but it does categorize nearly every person we've had to interact with who has had an advanced degree in business from some schmancy b-school. It's those people (big degree, little brain) that make me really, really, really hate my job. So I thought I'd get the small version of the degree, to see if there was something taught to b-school students that I just wasn't understanding. There's not. Everything I've learned in classes is absolutely what I'd expect to see in the business world, but don't.

So, no more of that. I have three business classes to take next semester: Strategic Management (the capstone course for the degree), Business & Society (required) and my final elective—Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. Those of you reading this who know me in real life should get a huge kick out of that. My co-workers sure did!

Had a bit of an issue at registration; my time was Thursday at 6pm and you had better believe that I was registering at 6:01—with budget cuts, courses (especially the good times) are at a premium. No problems adding my courses....except for Strategic Management. As the capstone course, you have to have filed and been approved for graduation for the semester in which you want to take it...and the online system said I couldn't register and didn't seem to care that I was holding up my stamped-for-approval graduation papers to my monitor and pointing feverishly at it. So at 9:01am the next day I called the b-school office and said "I'm supposed to register for 189, it won't let me, who should I talk to and what papers do I need to show?" The student helper took my name, phone number and requested section (the online version of the class, of course!) and said that someone would call me back. For the next few hours, as I waited for someone to call me back, I watched the "available seats" number for that section dwindle...and then hit zero. Crap. On a whim, I checked my course listing and voila! I was one of the lucky 35. Someone in the b-school office had registered me for that section, within a few hours after I called just to talk to someone. I was thrilled, and impressed that there was no red tape. I took chocolates into the advisement office the next day. They're good folk; they have to deal with thousands of students in the b-school, many of whom are ESL speakers and many of whom do not understand a thing about the process and don't follow the color-coded "what courses to take for this concentration" handouts. But they took care of me, and I was thrilled.

There's one other course I'm taking in the spring: The American Novel. I figure, since I've decided to do the MA in English starting in the fall, I should take another literature course to keep my brain engaged. I picked this one not only because it was at a good time, but because I managed to get a BA in English without ever taking an American Literature course. Oops. I'm assuming we'll be reading something Steinbeck, what with the Steinbeck Center taking up a bit of space in our 2004 Library of the Year joint uni/public library. The only Steinbeck I've read was The Red Pony, and I was twelve. I don't think that counts.

Anyway, I decided to do the MA in English because I enjoy it more than Business, although an MBA would be much more beneficial in my later life (as far as human resources filters go). Frankly though, I hate the business world, the industry I'm in, etc etc and what I really want to do is teach comp. Call me crazy. Plus, it's that whole "finish what you started" thing; although the only grad-level courses in lifetime of academic transcripts are three W's from Univ of KY, it does count as "started".

I made my final decision after taking my Victorian Lit exam and realizing "huh, that wasn't too hard" and then getting an A on my wrote-it-in-the-four-hours-before-it-was-due essay the other week. Turns out that one of the people in that class, this is her first semester back after a long, long time (and she wasn't even an English major before, although she's now in the MA program as a "conditionally-classified" student, hence the undergrad-class-taking), she's taking the American Novel class next semester too, so I'll have a buddy. That's cool. I definitely like the 12 people in my English class more than any of the people in any of the business classes I've taken.

The bad news is that I have to take the stinking GRE (I suck at standardized tests), and I really need to spend some time with the English Dept's guilt list (as in "Any English major who hasn't read most of these has no right to joy." so says the chair). Want to know how many of those I've read? Maybe 20. How many do I remember? Maybe 5. That's not good! Oh well, reading is good for you.

i almost heart huckabees
I actually planned a time to go, and I did, and I got my popcorn and soda (the movies is virtually the only time I drink soda), sat down, watched all the previews ("the machinist" looks creepy and since I like jennifer jason leigh a lot (no one else I know does) I will probably see it) and then the fricking projector broke.

I got a raincheck for the ticket, but not the block of time! I will endeavor to go tomorrow, if I get things done.

update on my class
I currently have twenty-nine students in my class at No one has completed all the lessons yet (two people have completed lesson 4; there are six lessons in all). I have ten men and nineteen women—yay for the girls in a programming class! The geographic breakdown is really diverse: 3 unknown (they didn't fill out their "about me" profile), 4 in California, 3 in Michigan, 2 in Washington, 1 each in Georgia,Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Belize, Germany, Malaysia, Puerto Rico and Yemen.

I have two problem children, and I hear that 2/29 (or thereabouts) is the average for troublesome students. has a student services department that I've used quite a bit with these two. But my other folks, the ones who are progressing through the lessons at least, are doing well. Some of them hit a brick wall with Lesson 2, which is all about databases and where I explain normalization and relationships, and that's a common feeling. Normalization/relationships is something either you can visualize right away, or you can't. Many people can't do the abstract thinking—not only in the class but in the workplace, too. There are plenty of programmers and developers out there that just don't "get" it. So, I don't grade too harshly if they make a good effort.

My grading/answering e-mail load isn't too terribly. I usually do it all at night, letting things pile up during the day. Well, "pile" isn't really correct, because I may only have 4 or 5 exercises and a few e-mails. But I spent a good deal of time (maybe 15-20 mins?) grading an exercise and pointing things out. I'll be really happy when the early-bird tuition is over at the end of this month, because I'm basically working for half price. It's not really about the money, but the money is nice to have.

There's some scuttle that I may teach another course, which would be cool. There's a fellow developing a course but doesn't have the time to teach it. I said that I'd totally do it, but I'm not going to get all excited or place my iPod order until I have a contract. Just superstitious that way....

go spartans! I know you lost, but...
I am so very proud of my crappy, crappy SJSU Spartans football team, who just almost kicked the collective ass of #13 (and unbeaten) Boise State (they of the Smurf Turf field) on national TV. SJSU should play all their games at 9am! So this team, which couldn't beat SMU, lost 56-49 in 2OT, which is really respectable. I still think they should be I-AA, but they just played their little hearts out. The coach is (understandably) under fire because SJSU sucks so much, one of his primary goals is to stress education and significantly increase graduation rates. He has a PhD in education, and that's not something you usually see in a D-I head football coach! So, I root for him.

Sugarland [note: site auto-plays music upon load] is a country group. Ack! I know, I know. But, I can personally vouch for the fact that the three people in the group are absolutely not redneck hicks or other negative stereotypes usually attributed to country musicians.

Sugarland consists of Kristen Hall, Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles. I used to have all of KH's albums; I still have 15-year-old cassette tapes of hers! Anyone familiar with Indigo Girls and Michelle Malone should know Kristen Hall, especially if you knew of Michelle Malone when she was with the band Drag the River. KB is one half of the group Billy Pilgrim; Jennifer Nettles was with Soul Miner's Daughter and performed at Lilith Fair.

Everyone convinced they're not your normal country band? Ok, good. Except they just played the Grand Ole Opry, which makes them about as country as you can get. I can appreciate twangy music, especially when Kristen Hall writes the lyrics—that woman can write.

The CD is called "Twice the Speed of Life" and clips can be heard at their site. The video from their single can also be seen at the site (and on CMT), and it looks like all signs point way, way up for them. It could not have happened to nicer folks, who definitely have paid their musical (and life) dues.

I TOTALLY want some of these!
Notebooks made from cheesy hardcovers. These ROCK. Here's the link to the actual site. I would totally pay eleven bucks to be the cool kid with the "Macmillan Handbook of English" hardcover notebook.

Oh wait, that probably wouldn't make me the cool kid...but in some circles it would!

Of course, by the time BoingBoing readers flood the site, and I get my eleven bucks in gear, a bunch will be sold out. But they say more are coming soon, so....just in time for the holidays!

UPDATE Yeah, in the four hours since I posted this, all the ones I really wanted were gone, but I managed to get three others that I liked. I hope they make a lot of money...I like ingenious craftspeople!

if the world were run by pirates...
You have to see this photo [via BoingBoing]. Wal-Marrrt. That's funny stuff! But the rest of the entries are pretty damn funny, too!

linky alphabet meme
Via Abby...the deal is that you you enter a letter in your address bar and list the first address that's auto-completed. I cheated, because I specifically looked for blogs (but I listed the first blog it came to)...otherwise you'd see alot of work-related URLs and trust me, they're boring. Not all of these are blogs I read every day (or in some cases have read more than once) but the majority are.

- A is for Advice at Your Own Risk
- B is for Bitch, PhD
- C is for Cheeky Prof
- D is for Scrivenings (
- E is for Engadget
- F is for Flashes of Panic
- G is for George H. Williams
- H is for Hugo Schwyzer
- I is for In Favor of Thinking
- J is for Joi Ito
- K is for quo vado (
- L is for Tales From the "Liberry" (
- M is for Mode for Caleb
- N is for Noizyblog
- O is for Old and Irritable Before My Time
- P is for Pesky'Apostrophe
- Q is for Quizilla [not a blog]
- R is for Rum and Monkey
- S is for Singlefin
- T is for The Cul de Sac
- U is for Scribblingwoman (
- V is for Vadergrrrl
- W is for Apropos of Something (
- X is for Skippy the Bush Kangaroo (
- Y is for Yes, YelloCello
- Z is for Zhaba Zhournal

NFL Predictions, Week 10
It's the tenth installment of the Julie v Curtis NFL picks extravaganza, in which Julie is currently leading (63% to 58%)...although Curtis has been slowly but surely making a comeback as I've been picking like crap the last few weeks. This week should seal the deal—either we end up tied, with him ahead, or with me WAY ahead. Last week I said it was ok it if I went down in flames, because I still have my Warriors to root for...and now my Warriors are 0 and 6. Let's hope we at least beat the lowly Bobcats tonight, although they do have a win and we don't. Eeesh.


WEEKS 1-9 RESULTS80/12875/130

Friday, November 12, 2004
friday fish blogging
Instead of Friday Cat Blogging, I was going to Friday Fish Blog...because none of the cats did anything cute today (while I had my camera nearby). But then Toby felt the need to curl up on my bag and take a nap, despite the many, many boxes, couches and areas of floor that he could have chosen. But no, he likes my bag. Actually, all three cats like my bag, and often try to climb inside it and take a nap. None of them fit.
fishiesits not like he doesn't have room...

The radio channels in the iTunes Ambiant list are really good. I've been listening to Analog Voyager and Groove Salad, and they're good work music. I'm sure the Alt/Modern Rock channels are good too, and Electronica, but it's been all Ambiant all the time here for the last...many hours.

Thursday, November 11, 2004
i love woot!
Woot! is cool. According to company info, " is an online store and community run by the employees of a 10 year old consumer electronics distributor that focuses on close-outs and generally buying stuff cheap. Since the distributor doesn't sell to end users, Woot Inc provides us with an employee-store slash market-testing type of place." I found them by glancing at the top of Engadget pages, where Woot! is an advertiser. I have the Woot! feed in my RSS reader, but I need only read it once a day, because they only offer one thing at a time "until it is sold out or until 11:59pm central time when it is replaced", and that one thing is ready to go that day.

Why do I love them? Although their offerings are typically of the high-tech geeky variety (DVD+/RW drives, USB DVD/CDRW drives, the RL500 Robomower (think roomba for the yard)), the other day the featured item was a Cuisinart BFP-703 SmartPower Duet Blender/Food Processor (white). The link is to the Amazon page, where the price is like $80 (and "normal" retail price is like $120). Through Woot! I got mine for $29.99, plus $5 for FedEx shipping. It's heavy and sturdy and the blades are sharp, the blender is quiet, and it's just awesome.

Favorite smoothie recipes are welcomed here! I am boring, what with my soy + banana + strawberry. That's the limit of my creativity.

Oh, the moral of the story? Get a Woot! feed. You never know what you'll find.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
blog it forward
This was called to my attention via mac at pesky'apostrophe, who would totally be one of my chosen blogs below except I'm trying to circumvent the rules because choosing is hard. So anyway, Blog it Forward Day [via Buzz]...
There's a little something that we used to do around here that spread feelings of friendship rather than feelings of foe-ship (hey, I just made up a word). I say we run it up the proverbial flagpole and see if anyone salutes. It's called:

Blog It Forward Day!!

For those of you new to this, it's really simple. All you need to do is pick someone (or sometwo or somethree) off of your blogroll and post on your site just why you feel that they are linkworthy. Why the heck did you link them? Why are they given that place of prominence over there on your sidebar? Are they funny? Are they wise? Are they just too damn good looking to pass by? Let us know about them.

You know it will just make their day to see their name in the spotlight, right? Remember, we're spreading friendly feelings with this exercise. Plus, as far as I'm concerned, you can never have too much love out here in blogland.
Everyone then tracks back to the post so we can all feel the love.

Except shit, I have to pick? Come on, if you're on my blogroll, that means I read everything you write and I love you. Well, maybe not the last part, but I definitely like you lots. That's why my blogroll is relatively small...I can only read so much without going insane in a day.

I decided to disqualify those "biggies" on my list who are already well-loved and get lots of traffic. I also decided to disqualify close personal friends who would otherwise top the list of "love 'em! must read!" Unfortunately, that didn't narrow things down nearly enough, so to those I don't particularly shout out here, I'm a-shoutin' out in ma heart.


- A Wicked Muse—I only recently found Aurora's blog, through reading comments on Hugo Schwyzer's blog on numerous topics. America Fucks Itself Again is a post-election post that rings oh so true.

- Mode for Caleb—I don't mean to harp on this (as I usually do when he posts something and I immediately link to it), but Caleb is really frickin' smart. I have to save up all my attention-span points and then cash them in when he posts something new, but it's worth it. New readers should start with his "Open Letter to the World" and "Open Letter to America," both written in the wake of the election.

- Scrivenings—Really, really good political blogging, coupled with real-life stuff. You gotta love a guy that can post an entry called "Fuck Bipartisanship" followed soon after by a chronicle of one of his adorable kids eating a popsicle. Really.

the color of america
Because I really am a geek...

I know Nader isn't Green Party, but it's R G B...

UPDATE For those of you who said "huh?", it goes like this: Red (Bush) was 59,459,765/115,809,878 = .513, .513 * 255 = 131 (rounded); Green (Nader, because there's no "I" color) was 400,706/115,809,878 = .003, .003 * 255 = 1 (rounded for effect); Blue (Kerry) was 55,949,407/115,809,878 = .483, .483 * 255 = 123. So, the RGB value is 131,1,123 which is this lovely shade of purple (#83017B).

the pixar lamp
When we went to see The Incredibles the other day, I mentioned to my buddy how the Pixar logo makes me all weepy. You know, the one with the bouncing little lamp? That lamp is freaky real, makes me all emotional with the bouncing and the searching. Yes, I am well aware that I'm just a little "off," as is my buddy who skipped right over the "you're nuts" comments that she could have said and reminded me that the bouncing lamp comes from the first Pixar short, way back when. I didn't remember seeing it, and she said that if the logo makes me weepy, the short will make me full-on cry.

She was right, of course. The "Luxo Jr." short made me cry.

I am such a loser! I also got teary in the "Boundin'" short that they show before The Incredibles.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004
it's a bad start, boys
My boss calls me at 4:50am, because we forgot that we had a press release to post for a client at 5am. More of a problem for her, since she was the one jolted awake by her subconscious, client-oriented alarm bell, and I'm usually up anyway. I wasn't. I set my alarm for 3, so I could do a case write-up that was due at 7:30, squeeze some other work in, go to the gym, grab some diner food. At 3, I decided that 4 would be better. Either I slept through the alarm at 4, or it didn't go off, so either way the phone call was a good one. We got the thing done and I got my case done, but I didn't get other word done and didn't get to the gym. I also didn't stop for diner food. (When I stopped at the diner to get a cup of coffee on the way home after class, the owner said "did you oversleep? you weren't here today!" which is definitely a sign that I go there too often.)

Today was the day we were getting midterms back, in my 7:30 class. I felt good about it, because I answered all of the essays and didn't bullshit (50 m/c and 4 essays in an 80 minute class is pushing it, and some of my essays tend to be bullshitty when I run out of time). However, he didn't grade my essays. He started to, then couldn't do it. I have horrible handwriting, always have. I have the ability to write neatly, but only if I slow down my brain significantly and focus on the task at hand. So, that never happens. Also, my right arm is tendonitis-riddled and my hand is a wreck; holding a pencil long enough to bubble in a scantron is about my limit, so you can imagine how atrocious my bluebook essays can be. Anyway, he said to make an appointment so I could read my essays to him, so he could grade them. I thought that was very nice of him to do; it probably would have been the "right thing" to just give me credit for what he could actually read.

While we were going over the multiple choice answers, etc, I just transcribed my essays and e-mailed them to him. I'm a very fast typist. He thought that was a great idea, and hopefully now he can grade them and I'll have a decent grade. I was a good girl and didn't change a word, and in the three places where even I couldn't read the word, I wrote "xxxxx" and noted that I had no clue what I meant. Honesty is the best policy, at least with teachers and cops, as far as I'm concerned. I can only hope to cash in some karma points for grade points!

UPDATE Prof said to me, after receiving my emailed transcription, "why don't you plan on using your laptop for the third midterm?" (which is all essays). To which I said, "heck yeah!" Whoo.

today is Firefox 1.0 release day
Make the switch/upgrade now!

Monday, November 08, 2004
you know you've eaten too many Whole Foods sandwiches when...
you remark to the girl at the deli, "You know, all the girls cut their sandwiches in triangles, and the boys cut them in rectangles." It's true. Never has a boy at the WF deli cut my sandwich in triangles, and never has a girl cut it into rectangles.

For the record, I prefer my square sandwiches cut into triangles.

it figures...
The first game in which my Warriors aren't getting their asses kicked in the first quarter, and I'm at school in the World's Most Boring Class Ever and thus unable to watch it on TV. Figures.

Of course, the night is young and the Mavericks could quite easily get their offensive shit together and blow my poor W's out of the water for the remaining three quarters, in which I'm fine with Yahoo! Game Channel.

UPDATE Wow, the Ws held that lead til the end of the 3rd quarter! Unfortunately, games have 4 quarters, so we'll see what the next 12 minutes brings.

UPDATE 2 Last-minute 3-pointer to tie the game and go into overtime. Jeebus. Much more interesting than this shitty class.

FINAL UPDATE We lost, but it read like a really good game. We may be 0-4, but we don't give up! We may lose our collective basketball brain for a quarter, but that can't last all season...

Sunday, November 07, 2004
my beloved coco2

me & coco2
[click to embiggen!]

Since Mel posted her geeky retrospective, I asked my mom to scan this photo of me and my TRS-80 Color Computer 2, circa 1984. This should be enough proof to retain my geek card for the rest of my life.

Yes, I am comfortable enough with myself to post this photo, despite the horrendous rainbow sweater I am wearing...and the really horrible glasses that you can't really see (but I know they're there!)...and the flowered wallpaper, etc. I was twelve-ish. We all looked stupid at twelve, right? Right. Ok, moving on.

My favorite "graphical" game on this machine was called Wildcatting. It had something to do with drilling for oil. I have no idea why I liked it. I'm sure I played all the Infocom games on this machine, because I did so very much love those. I still play Zork (command-line version) now...and I STILL suck at it, even with the map burned into my brain! As a kid, I very carefully drew the maps and commands out on large pieces of paper. Apparently it never dawned on me that you could just buy a damn book with all the maps in them...

embracing my inner betty crocker
I made sugar cookies yesterday, from my grandmother's recipe (as relayed by my mother the day before). I was disappointed in the results, as they weren't very sugary, although I definitely used the amount of sugar called far (and then some). I neglected to ask my mother which grandmother was the owner of this recipe—the fundie christian mentally introverted grandmother, or the paranoid schizophrenic demented grandmother. The former is known more for waldorf salad and inedible food (but the best iced tea) while the latter is known for pasta and anything with large amounts of fat. Given the amount of buttermilk and crisco in the sugar cookie recipe, I think it belongs to the latter.

Later in the day, I was going to make a polenta stuffed roast pork loin. Yes, I realize I would be eating pork loin for two meals per day, for an entire week, but the recipe looked great and I like to cook. My mom had purchased a gift subscription of Cuisine at Home for me, and my first issue had arrived that day. It's a really good magazine, relatively new, but with very interesting recipes and articles. For instance, this issue had an article on the various types of sugars, and a multi-page spread on "The Basics of Bruleé." Good stuff.

I was making the sage/sausage/mascarpone polenta mixture that goes inside the pork loin, and the phone promptly rang. Yay! that I got to talk to the person who called, but we talked for so long that I didn't end up making the roast (not complaining, caller!). I made the polenta, though, and it is awesome. So awesome that this morning I went to the store and bought more polenta and more sausage, to make a different version for breakfast polenta. Boy is it good, and it's a good thing I like it because I'll be eating it for breakfast for the next five days!

My dinners are not nearly as pretty as profgrrrrl's, but they do involve multiple pots and pans so I'm proud of that.


in a surprising move for a coffee connoisseur...
I purchased a Melitta One:One Single Serve Coffee Machine. I was tired of crappy, leaky coffeemakers (and french presses that aren't insulated and thus run out of heat), and really tired of wasting coffee all the time. Sure, I could have bought a thermos, or an insulated french press, or even a really good coffeemaker that doesn't leak and isn't crappy, but....I didn't. It was the pattern of wasting coffee that bothered me more than anything, and it's my own damn fault for having inconsistent coffee-drinking habits—invariably I'd make too much, or I'd make too little and then in the second pot I'd make too much, and I really dislike microwaved old coffee.

So yesterday, when I went to Target to get a roasting pan, I saw the row of single-cup machines. I remembered on my last trip to Google that they had a (super, industrial-version, expensive) single-cup maker, and that the coffee didn't completely suck. I compared the various makers, and I went with the Melitta because (and this is a really stupid reason) the little coffee packs that you use are called "java pods" and I liked the packaging better than the generic Folgers type. It's all about marketing. I bought a box of java pods, and a box of tea pods (you can make tea, too), managed not to forget the roasting pan that was the reason for the trip, came home and made myself a cup of coffee.

It was so non-leaky and perfect that I thought I might cry (not really, but it was non-leaky and perfect). The coffee didn't suck, I didn't waste any, and I declare it a well-spent $50.

Friday, November 05, 2004
the incredibles is SPECTACULAR
jack jack!SPEC. TAC. U. LAR.

Go see it.

The funny thing about seeing movies like this with a bunch of geeks is you get commentary like this: "that is some expensive foliage" and "look at that water!" and "damn, that's animation" and "jesus, that's one hell of an Intel bill"...etc.

Also saw the Revenge of the Sith trailer...all I'm going to say is that you can never have enough Wookiees.

NFL Predictions, Week 9
It's the ninth installment of the Julie v Curtis NFL picks extravaganza, in which Julie is currently leading (64% to 57%)...although Curtis made up two whole percentage points last week! We only differ by two picks this week, which means I'll still be ahead next week even if I completely biff this week's selections. Gotta love it. In other news, Week 9 of football coincides with opening week of basketball, which is my most favorite sport. So even if I do go down in flames this week, I still have my Warriors! Which, if you think about it, is sad. But I have faith!

YAY! Bill Cowher can keep his job this year! I love Ben Roethlisberger (and I spelled that without looking it up)!
I guess Griese's gonna stay the starter...
Who knew the Raiders would get their shit together this week? But Blue beat Red, here.
Sucks, but I am happy for Willis McGahee.
I was going to pick CIN, too, gosh darn it.
WRs really need to get/stay healthy.
Contracts years are fun, aren't they, Brees?
The Niners sucked less this week.
Oh, whatever.
I had such high hopes for Houston.
That was a slow, stressful start.
Sorry, Jeffy.

WEEKS 1-8 RESULTS73/11466/116

Thursday, November 04, 2004
time to move on
Despite the shitty election results, I still have to go to work, I still have to go to school, and I still have to grade exercises from students. I would have had to do all those things had Kerry won, but I spent most of yesterday unable to concentrate on anything good, and hung out on the couch with my cats from about 6pm onward.

So, I have a ton of work mail to deal with (where 1 mail = 1 task), a few exercises to grade, and.....a freaking English essay due tonight that I haven't even thought about. It's not like it's a long essay (1500 words? Something like that.), but it's a close reading from either Bleak House, Middlemarch or Tess of the d'Urbervilles and I haven't even picked a passage. Crap. The good news, I suppose, is that I read all three books (yes I did!) and there are plenty of pages to choose from.

Ok, I'm out of good news.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004
ok, this made me chuckle today...
Canada 2.0

i would like to sign my name....
to Caleb's letter to the world.

my voting scorecard
Before the election, I posted my votes on various California issues. Here's how I stacked up with the rest of my state (agreements in green, disagreements in red).

President: John Kerry, Democrat // CA voted for Kerry, 54% to 44%
Senate: Barbara Boxer, Democrat // Boxer won 58% to 38%
Congress, CA 16th district: Zoe Lofgren, Democrat // Lofgren won 71% to 26%
CA State Senate, 13th district: Elaine Alquist, Democrat // Alquist won 69% to 27%
CA State Assembly, 23rd district: Joe Coto, Democrat // Coto won 68% to 28%

California Propositions:
1A (Protection of Local Gov't Resources) Yes // 84% Y, 16% N
59 (Public Records, Open Meetings) Yes // 83% Y, 17% N
60 (Election Rights of Political Parties) Yes // 67% Y, 33% N
60A (Sale of Surplus Property) Yes // 73% Y, 27% N
61 (Children's Hospital Projects) Yes // 58% Y, 42% N
62 (Elections/Primaries) No // 46% Y, 54% N
63 (Mental Health Services Expansion) Yes // 53% Y, 47% N
64 (Limits on Private Enforcement of Unfair Business Competition Laws) No // 59% Y, 41% N
65 (Local Government Funds, Revenues, State Mandates) No // 37% Y, 63% N
66 (Limitations on Three Strikes Law, Lengthen Sex Crimes Punishment) Yes // 47% Y, 53% N
67 (Emergency Medical Services Funding) Yes // 28% Y, 72% N
68 (Non-Tribal Gaming Expansion) No // 16% Y, 84% N
69 (DNA Sample Collection) Yes // 62% Y, 38% N
70 (Tribal Gaming Compacts) No // 24% Y, 76% N
71 (Stem Cell Research) Yes // 59% Y, 41% N
72 (Health Care Coverage Requirements) Yes // 49% Y, 51% N

oh, the places I've lived
- Mifflin Co., PA (born and raised)
70% Bush 29% Kerry // But neener, neener the state went BLUE! Good job: Allegheny Co., Beaver Co., Bucks Co., Delaware Co., Erie Co., Fayette Co., Lackawanna Co., Lehigh Co., Luzerne Co., Montgomery Co., Northampton Co., Philadelphia City and Washigton Co.

- Augusta Co., VA
74% Bush, 24% Kerry // Boo, hiss. Wonder why I worked hard to get out of college early? This is the county it was in.

- Fayette Co., KY
53 % Bush, 46% Kerry // Closer than I would have thought, but still the wrong color for me. Good thing I only lived there for six months.

- Durham Co., NC
32% Bush, 68% Kerry // Go Durham! Whoo!

- City of Richmond, VA
29% Bush, 70% Kerry // Go Richmond! Whoo!

- Fairfax Co., VA
46% Bush, 53% Kerry // Go Fairfax! Whoo!

- Santa Clara Co., CA
35% Bush, 65% Kerry // Good job, my county! Proud to pay taxes here.

all the other people say it better than i do
America Fucks Itself Again [via Aurora]

"America has picked up a hammer and hit itself in the head. Repeatedly. Causing even more brain damage than it already has. In an election that should have been an absolute no-brainer, it's the people with no-brains that seem to have decided it."

Followed by a really good list of what Red people have voted for, such as "You voted for someone who wants to TELL YOU HOW TO WORSHIP.

You voted for a man who SMIRKS AND HEAD-BOBS instead of answering the question, and you're stupid enough to laugh and think it's cute.



Yep, all of that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004
i just want to vomit
and move to Canada.

If this stays red, I think David said it best in a comment, nice and succinct: "goodbye to choice, separation of church and state, the Geneva Conventions..."

voting night contacts
I voted absentee three weeks ago, so I don't have any great stories about voting day like the many commenters at or the chutry experiment. My friends voted via touchscreen, and got their "I voted touchscreen" stickers.

When I went to campus tonight, there were non-partisan signs (in equal parts red and blue paint, that is) all over the place that said "Vote Now! It's Sexy!" If there's one way to catch the attention of college students, sex would be it.

I walked past a lot of kids (probably first-time voters, looking at the age range) carrying their blue California absentee voting envelopes off to a polling place to turn them in. At crosswalks, kids were talking about how they hoped everything would be ok because their ID addresses might not match their registration because of school and moving, etc and one of them would pipe up with "provisional ballot!" Made me kinda weepy, kids knowing their voting rules.

I stopped at one of the hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants that I love so much (predominantly Asian campus, so there are plenty of these) and as I was waiting for my soup the woman behind the counter (also the owner, and married to the Korean man who runs my greasy spoon breakfast diner next door) immediately said "Did you vote?" To which I replied "of course!" with a big thumbs up and then thought "shit, I hope I didn't just flip her off" as I ran through my mental list of rest-of-world gesture translations and figured it was ok as long as she wasn't Chinese-Nigerian (it's an obscene gesture in Nigeria). She's not a citizen so she can't vote, but she said she was making sure she told every student who came in that day, to go vote. She asked if there were troubles and I said that there were some issues, and mentioned the thousands of calls to the voting help lines, etc. She was aghast that we Americans hadn't figured out how to make it all work yet. I agreed.

Still fretting about this election, although I live in a very blue state. I kind of like my freedom, liberties and prefer my presidents not believe they're ordained by God and not require oaths of allegiance to them. I'm just quirky that way.

a different kind of election
I can't stand it, I'm a nervous wreck, and it's only 1:30PM Pacific time on actual Election Day. So, I took a moment to participate in another sort of election, albeit one with non-binding votes: the ESPN SportsNation poll regarding eight of the biggest issues facing sports.

At the time I submitted my votes, approximately 105,000 others had as well, so the percentages below represent all those votes. I deviated from the clear majority only twice.

1. Should Major League Baseball have a salary cap?
My Vote YES; current results are 76% YES, 24% NO

2. Should there be an eight-team college football playoff tournament to determine a national champion?
My Vote YES; current results are 90% YES, 10% NO

3. In the four major professional sports (baseball, football, basketball and hockey), should there be a rule that no one under the age of 20 is eligible to play professionally?
My Vote NO; current results are 51% YES, 49% NO
The four major sports are different than tennis and soccer (for example), where U20 athletes are prevalent. My feeling is that if a U20 player is truly physically and mentally able to succeed on a team in one of the Big 4 sports, more power to them (LeBron James). The onus should be on the general managers to draft/promote those who can contribute, regardless of age. Freddy Adu can contribue to DC United at 16. Ben Olsen did, too. Others (the vast majority) do not. While no age limit is mandated, soccer GMs tend to live more in reality, it seems, than say NBA general managers. The latter are very hype-driven; LeBron, Kevin Garnett, Moses Malone, those are good examples of highschoolers who made the jump. The list is considerably longer for those who failed miserably. In baseball, kids signed at 16 (ahem) in Latin American countries, if they have the skills to play Gulf Coast ball, then by all means let them. The majority of major leaguers, however, have college experience, and expect to see that trend continue (see also, Moneyball). Hockey players have a long tradition of utilizing the juniors to minors to NHL infrastructure, and if someone in the juniors is stellar enough to make it, they get the callup. The NFL is more like the NBA in that it (technically) doesn't have a minor league feeder system, but the physical attributes necessary to successfully play football would really require a freakish U20 player to successfully make a team and stick around. So, with the exception of the NBA, I think that Big 4 GMs do a good job of recognizing the reality of the situation when faced with U20 kids "on the cusp" or greatness.

4. Should the winner of the All-Star Game determine home field advantage?
My Vote NO; current results are 30% YES, 70% NO

5. Should all major playoff games in every sport be required to start no later than 8 p.m., EST?
My Vote YES; current results are 59% YES, 42% NO

6. Should Major League Baseball use instant replay?
My Vote NO; current results are 36% YES, 64% NO

7. Should advertising be banned from all uniforms? N
My Vote NO; current results are 76% YES, 24% NO
I have this naive opinion that if revenue were generated from an additional source such as unis, costs to the fans wishing to actually go to a game would decrease (or at least not increase so exponentially). Arena Football has ads, soccer has ads, nearly every pro sport outside of North America uses revenue from uni ads.

8. Should college athletes be paid to play?
My Vote YES; current results are 24% YES, 75% NO
I know they're getting an education, and room and board, and can use the "athlete exchange" for used books so that they don't have to pay for them. However, by being disallowed from earning extra income while on scholarship, athletes are in a position of having less than other students who are also on scholarship. I believe the NCAA should either a) allow athletes to legitimately earn up to X number of dollars while under scholarship, or b) pay them a resonable "extra" stipend. I don't believe payments for athletes should be limited to revenue-generating sports, nor should payment be commensurate with the amount of revenue generated by the sport (javenlin throwers and football players should get the same).

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