No Fancy Name
Friday, March 31, 2006
friday cat blogging, or why I have to clean my laptop fans all the time
this is why I clean cat hair out of my laptop fans all.the.timeI have a super-huge laptop, and it blows tons of warm air out the back.

My cats love to sit behind my laptop and just hang out. In this photo, Deuce is the culprit.

Also, unrelated to my laptop or my cats, we have crappy cameraphone snapshot bonus goose blogging.

Thursday, March 30, 2006
WordPress Academic Citations Plugin v0.3.3
WP Academic Citations Plugin example For any WordPress users would would be interested in such a thing, we've tweaked the initial release (if you can call something that only four people really knew about a "release") a few different times, hence the 0.3.3-ness of it.

More information on its page in the sandbox, or you can see it in action on the sandbox blog.

technorati tag:

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
take a wi-fi survey (for a grad student's research)

Click here to take the Wi-Fi survey

Hat tip: Wee Hours.

i spent some quality time with my blog today
In my job, I wear a lot of hats. We all do, in my company, because we're small. Yesterday and today were supposed to be documentation days, and so when I woke up this morning I decided to clear a lot of crap out of my head and write some posts. Nothing gets you geared up for writing like...writing! [You'll note, though, that I didn't work on my book chapters. Yeah. That's not happy writing, and I was going for happy this morning.]

So in addition to the miscellaneous posts, I also spent some time with Performancing for Firefox, Performancing Metrics, and the new release of Hyperwords. I have positive things to say about all three, and maybe tonight I'll have a chance to sit down and do so.

I've been waiting to review Hyperwords because some things about the interface really weren't working for me, and the new release fixes some of my issues. With Performancing for Firefox, my cursory glance centers around potential crap code spit out by the editor, and so far I'm not seeing much of that, which is A Very Good Thing indeed.

i changed the links in my post footer
It used to be that the links in my post footer were: Blogger send-to-friend, add to, Technorati search for links to this post, Google's BlogSearch links to this post. In fact, I even wrote a (now moot) how-to about it.

It's always bugged me that two of the things were for me (e.g. see who links to this post), especially when the results were always pretty shabby/didn't match reality, so I've changed the footer links so that they're all of the send somewhere/bookmark somewhere variety.

From left to right:
- Blogger's send-to-friend mechanism
- add to ma.gnolia
- add to
- add to digg
- add to furl
- add to reddit
- add to simpy
- add to spurl

If you look closely, there's a pattern. It goes like this: standard Blogger thing, thing I like best, common things other people like/use (in alphabetical order). So there you go. Colorful!

Come on, that's a good name for a portable version of PuTTY—it's funny AND it describes what it is. Well, if you know what PuTTY is, it's funny. PuTTY is a free telnet/ssh client for Windows, and it's been my SSH utility of choice for years. It does what it should, and it does it simply and correctly. What more can you ask for?

The other day, Lifehacker named PortaPuTTY its download of the day and I was stoked because now I can just carry PuTTY around on my USB keychain drive so if I'm in a place without wireless (or without my computer!) but with a USB-enabled device, and a client has an emergency, I can just fire up the ol' PortaPuTTY along with my Portable Firefox and Portable Thunderbird. Good times!

Also, who doesn't love an app from a site called Socialist Sushi? I will definitely donate to his sushi fund.
I don't know about you, but I often fire up the Windows Task Manager and look for strange things or things that use up my resources for no good reason. But the Windows Task Manager simply lists filenames, which is not very useful when you're trying to figure out why some file called SPBBCSvc.exe is running on your machine when you have no software that you know about with "SP" or "BBC" in its name, running as a service.

If you're like me (and millions of others) you run to Google and hope that some hit will tell you something useful, such as in this case how SPBBCSvc.exe is a service that is part of my Symantec Internet Security bundle. Ok, I get the "S" but the P, 2 Bs and the C don't scream "Symantec Internet Security" to me...but I digress.

The point is that you want to know what files are, and you want to know quickly. This is where comes in. Using the simple form-field interface, start typing the name of the questionable file. If someone has submitted a description, it will tell you what the file is and if it is safe (or not!). If the file doesn't exist, you can add a file and description (once you figure it out the long way, via Google search or other means) so that others will know.

Good stuff, cuts to the chase, and very useful.

awesome shirts and stuff for kids
I don't have kids. If I did, you'd know it, because I adore kids and would talk about my own all the time. But no. I have cats.

But for those of you who do have kids, or extra-small Small Friends in your midst, I highly recommend Debbie Lee's 60 Bugs: Handstitched Coolness shirts/bibs/pillowcases for wee ones and toddlers. Props to totally super Supa MB for getting Debbie's stuff out there to the masses.

So if you're in the market for a skull-and-crossbones tee for your toddler, or—my favorite—the 80s alphabet tees (A is for awesome, B is for bitchin', C is for Cool, D is for Dude, etc), then head on over. All items created lovingly and packaged up with just the right amount of cool, attentive, professionalism. I recently purchased one of the alphabet tees for my cousin's little boy, and I hope his mom likes it as much as I do! I kinda want an adult version!

Monday, March 27, 2006
the academic sandbox
A zillion years ago (December, actually), I asked for suggestions for a domain name for a server used to do all my scholarly-themed projects. I described it as a sandbox, for academic stuff. The always-brilliant Pilgrim/Heretic came up with the suggestion "" because, you know, duh!

I ended up getting it, and I've been happily using it for several months—but not open to the public or even with anything more than a placeholder page. In other words, no reason for anyone besides myself and the project collaborators/owners to access the thing.

Then along came the WRT folks and their post about Citation Footers for Academic Blogging, and so we whipped up a preliminary release of a WordPress plugin. It lives in the sandbox, and is available to the public (but I stress the "preliminary" part of it...we'll probably be tweaking the 0.3.x release of the plugin the next few days) so I really had to put some content up there.

So now I have...
- the sandbox contents
- the sandbox blog (including posts!)
- the sandbox blog "about" page

I'm serious about what it says on the "about" page re: projects percolating in your brains. Just holler. We'll chat.

Sunday, March 26, 2006
this is acceptable

12.5 %

My weblog owns 12.5 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

As seen at Dr. Free-Ride's, where her blog owns a whopping 31.25% of her soul! Or life! Or something!

However, I will say that a ingrained distaste for both <center> and <font> tags owns more of me than my blog does, as I spent more time removing those crap tags from the generated code than I did writing this post...

Friday, March 24, 2006
spring break! (finally)
I am now officially on Spring Break.

Of course, this means nothing to me besides "don't have to spend 10 hours on campus next week." I suppose that's something, but it's not like Spring Break causes books to be magically read on their own, or essays to magically write themselves. That would be nice, though....

So no classes for me until April 5th. Break is the week of the 27th, but I only have classes on Wed and Thurs so it's kind of like a Break and a Half. Or not.

I'm taking the GRE subject test on April 1st. That should be tons of fun. I'm kidding. All it will show is my complete lack of knowledge of anything before the middle of the 18th century. I plan to memorize everything in the Blackwell Companion to All Things Not British or American from 1789-1935. I took this test 15 yrs ago and did really mediocre, but at the time I had almost no American lit and zero theory. I firmly believe I will do much better this time around, which is good because the stakes are much higher. Then again, half the schools I'm applying to don't require the subject test.

Anyway, that's in a week.

I hope to get all 13 remaining book chapters kicked out this week. I managed to reduce my load by one, by telling my publishers that a chapter I planned to go in the book makes no sense, the stuff doesn't work, I don't know what I was thinking, and I won't be writing it. So, my completion percentage jumped from 57.5% to 59.4%. I'll take any positive sign toward completion, at this point...

Also, work stuff. But trust me, you really don't want to hear about that. I swear a lot about it. Ask my boss.

Thirdly, am getting really close to having a test of the big ol' searchable Steinbeck bibliography dealybob I'm working on with my grad chair/director of the Steinbeck Center. It will be really useful for Steinbeck scholars or people interested in Steinbeck-era culture, because the Center has a ton of crapinteresting things in their collection. I'll write more about it when we're in the testing phase and I ask some people to help me test it out.

Fourthly, for academic bloggers who use WordPress, I'm working with the lovely folks at WRT: Writer Response Theory to create a WP plugin for academic citations. You can see the original blog post that caused me to say "oh hey, we can do this!" here. We're several steps into it and will have an initial release in a couple days, followed by a few more releases that add more administrative functionality. Jeremy Douglass, instigator of this thing, is a grad student at UCSB who also works on Voice of the Shuttle for those of you for whom that means something. He's also my grad coordinator's son, which is how I "know" him (in the virtual sense). Trust me, I'd be helping out on this wee project even if he weren't a Douglass. It's just cool that he is. Anyway, it'll be a really neat thing. [Edited to add: and I will be creating some sort of similar functionality for Blogger users, but it will be entirely different, code-wise, Maybe MT too. Dunno.]

As an aside that probably means nothing to anyone but me—working with academic folks on various projects, including folks who don't really know technology but know what they want to do, these people have been better "project managers" than any actual clients I've dealt with for lo these many years in high tech. I truly believe it has to do with the ability for abstract thought. So many clients/project managers/marketing folk/people who pay my company to do things for them are just stuck in their own little heads, with absolutely no ability to step outside the box/off their linear list of things, or to think ahead, think about issues, contingencies, etc. It's a nice change.

Fifthly, I've de-committed/de-volunteered myself from another project for faculty. I discussed it with several folks beforehand who helped me determine that it was an ok thing to do, and I'm glad of it.

Sixthly, my men's tourney bracket is blown to hell. Oh well!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
read it for the punchline...
...not the part where my Philosophy prof calls me a stalker!

Adventures in Ethics and Science: A conversation on the way to class.

Also, the part where she says "When backed into corners, academics can be mean mofos," she REALLY said "motherfuckers." So THERE!

Yeah, I totally knew as soon as I walked up to the philosophy department's really small portion of the English Department's building and said "hey! I'm stalking you!" that it would end up in the blogosphere.


But the conversation has a good punchline, if you're an academic blogger.

absurd conversations
[Before we go any further, I'll have you know this is a comment-starter post because I am still too busy to post anything of substance at this talk amongst yourselves.]

Last night I was on the phone with a friend—someone I have known forEVer and usually link to but I don't want to embarrass her too much....ahem—and she said the following to me (you really don't need the context, it's crazy all on it's own): "But I don't have any interests, that's the problem."

I'm not usually at a loss for words, but I had no response to this. Not only is it completely, utterly, 100%, totally untrue but I couldn't for the life of me figure out how a reasonable (intelligent, interesting) human being could say something like that. "How can you think you don't have interests?" I said, at which point I then rattled off a string of interests she has.

She remained unconvinced. I said it was the most absurd conversation I ever had.

In the grand scheme of absurd conversations, I realize it's probably very normal. So go on, tell me the most absurd conversation you've ever had with someone (caveat: can't be a random wacko off the street, you have to actually know the person).

Saturday, March 18, 2006
This is the thousandth post on my blog.

I have nothing to say!

Seriously. I could go on about school or books or my cat—like I always do—or I could write one of the many reviewish things I have lined up, but no. I have nothing. It's March Madness! I must watch my men's tourney bracket blow up in my face, and my women's bracket remain pristine (for now). Other than that, piles and piles of stuff.

So to end this boring thousandth post, I will just say how much I appreciate all your blogs. Yes, I'm talking to you.

Friday, March 17, 2006
everyone! Caleb's finished AND employed!
Go congratulate Caleb!

Not only did he successfully defend his diss, in the fall he'll be a history prof at University of Denver.

Congratulations to Caleb and University of Denver. Go on and shape some minds!

friday cat blogging, and a trip (or 2) to the vet
rapt attentionI actually took this photo a few weeks ago and I'm using it now because they're in the same position right now. It's springtime, and this is where they sit and watch all the birds and ducks and squirrels and the occasional wayward goose. Yes, I do live in the middle of the 10th largest city in the United States, go figure.

Max is my 13yo black boy cat on the left (Deuce, 3.5yo tuxedo girl cat, is on the right) and he just had a stressful few days.

On Wednesday, he was very sensitive around his mouth area. I just thought he was being ornery, until he walked over to his food bowl, tried to take a bite of crunchy food, looked up at me and said, "MROWR!" as in "this hurts, dammit!" So tried to get him to open his mouth, and he wouldn't, but basically he was acting as if he had a broken tooth or an abscess or something along those lines. You know, something you don't want to mess with. I called the vet and got an appointment for 3:40...did I mention I have class at 4? Yeah. So I took him to the vet, the doctor didn't really find anything besides a mouth full of tartar and some gum inflammation. Max got a shot of antibiotics and I scheduled dental cleaning for the next morning. I took him home and made it for the second half of class. When I got home from class, we basically just hung out on the couch and I watched him all night to make sure he didn't spring some raging infection all of a sudden. He didn't. He certainly was less than thrilled with his mouth, though, and just hating it. I thought his chin looked a little puffy, but figured that was because of whatever else was going on.

So 7am rolls around and I take him in to the vet so he can get knocked out for a thorough teeth cleaning and mouth exam. I call around noon and the doctor said they cleaned everything up and only found a little bit of inflammation underneath all the crap. Yay, but why was he in so much pain? Well, basically the poor guy had one of those hidden painful inflamed gland things in his chin. The doc gave him a big ol' shot of kitty cortisone, and sent me home with bottle of goopy pink antibiotics to give him twice a day.

Let me tell you, he's just thrilled with getting 2ml of goopy pink antibiotics shoved down his throat twice a day. But he gets crunchy chicken and liver treats afterward, which he loves (and can now chew again), so it's all good.

He seems to be tons better today, his puffy chin is not so puffy, and he is generally acting like his predominantly lovable/sometimes ornery self.

Dear NCAA tourney announcers...
It's LewisBURG. Bucknell is in LewisBURG.

Not "Lewiston"...there's no "Lewiston" in Pennsylvania. You can find "Lewiston" in Maine, Idaho, and probably others.

There is, however, a LewisTOWN, and that is where I am from. It is approximately 50 miles from know, where BUCKNELL is located.

So, to recap:
Bucknell is in Lewisburg.
I am from Lewistown.
Pennsylvania has no "Lewiston".

Have a nice day.

Thursday, March 16, 2006
i like the purty colors
I really liked the personal DNA test becuase of the slider-based interface for most of the questions. I really liked the buckets. Nice job. I've seen several people do it, most notably (where "notably" means "what I can remember right now") Mel, New Kid, and Scrivener.

Anyway, here's my colorsplotch:

Cautious Inventor

You can see a complete breakdown of "me" (according to this particular test), here.

Highlights/lowlights: only 6% of people scored less than I did on "Trust" while 94% scored less than I did for "Agency." Guess that pretty much sums up what you need to know about me. Also, my 58% for "Masculinity" matches Scrivener's score, but is twelve points less than Mel's. WTF? I mean seriously, WTF?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006'ohlia
As of now, the "" domain appears expired, as in someone forgot to pay the bill (or something nefarious has happened w/ DNS and records). That's not cool, and it means ma.gnolia is nowhere to be found.

That's not entirely true—I'm sure they're staring at the servers (virtually or otherwise) saying something like "but I can see you! you're right there! with everyone's data!" But that makes no nevermind if the rest of the world can't see you...

Heck, even the big guys screw up—remember a couple years ago when the domain expired because someone in accounting at M$ forgot to pay the bill? Yeah. It happens.

I'm sure they'll get it worked out, but it's really a bad thing to see. I'd venture to guess most of us who have worked in this industry have had similar things happen to us...which is why I have a good deal of patience for this and other blips. Especially when shit is free.

update hey look! everything is fine now.

technorati tag:

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
my luddite self
i am a ludditeDespite my laptop being on and connected to the Internet nearly 24/7, I really own no other gadgetry (save for a fairly normal cellphone and an iPod Nano).

My sticky notes are really and truly sticky notes, stuck on my laptop and scribbled on by hand.

Numbers across the top are chapters left to write. Note the Sharpie-rage that blacks out the number of a submitted chapter...

Monday, March 13, 2006
I am the opposite of a Tar Heels fan BUT...
The bracket for the UNC women? FUCKED UP.

Yes, I am a college basketball fan. That is, I am a diehard Duke basketball fan, of both the men and women, and have been for about thirteen years. I drew paychecks from Duke for a couple years—that's as close as I came to going there—and I have no natural right to support them as I do...but I do it nonetheless.

So NATURALLY, I hate the Tar Heels.

However, this year the women deserve the #1 overall seed, which they got, but for the love of all things holy who the hell creates a regional bracket that looks like THIS, from 1 to 4: UNC, Tennessee, Rutgers, Purdue. That ain't right. Mechelle Voepel discusses this (and by "discuss" I mean "is pissed off about it and says so"). I'm good with the Duke bracket, and that's all I'm saying because I am a big believer in karma.

raise your hand if you haven't seen Brokeback Mountain
/raise hand

Yep, that's right. I haven't gotten around to it. I'll catch it on DVD, like the other 125+ DVDs in my Netflix queue. I couldn't even tell you the last movie I saw in the theatre.

/IM my buddy

Apparently the last movie I saw in the theatre was Breakfast on Pluto. In December. Wow. Time flies.

ANYWAY, although I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain I think I've seen every single parody. Combine those viewings with
Brokeback Mountain in 30-seconds reenacted by bunnies

and I think I've seen it all...

Saturday, March 11, 2006
Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
I love food, and I have the body to show it. I am a huge fan of the Slashfood group blog, and it was at Slashfood that I first saw a link to: Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty. From their "About" section:
We are an online magazine covering all things tasty. We are not foodies. At least not in the elitist sense. We know the house salad at Olive Garden is just prepackaged circles of red onion, bits of frozen iceberg lettuce spit out from a commercial food shredder, tasteless black olives from a petri dish that have never even seen an olive branch, big fat garlicky salty croutons from the box, pepperoncinis cross bred to remove any sense of real spiciness so as not to offend "families", all tossed with a sweet italian vinaigrette, and if you are lucky, the hapless waiter or waitress will offer a fresh crack of pepper from the spicemill.

That being said, here is our dirty secret: We love the house salad at Olive Garden!
I love foodies who aren't Foodies, they're my kind of people. Seriously, I can enjoy a very expensive/hip/chic restaurant one day, and a greasy spoon the next. My favorite dessert? What I call "tall cake," because it's TALL. The perspective is a little off in these photos, but you can see how they're tall. They are not gourmet, but I love them just the same...and I love gourmet desserts as well. So yeah, I "get" the folks at Hungry Magazine.

Feature categories include things like "Do I Really Need a Pastry Torch?" (gear reviews), "Heirloom Foam" (techniques), "I Can't Believe it's Fast Food" (inspired moments at fast food or chain restaurants) and more, including standard interviews, reviews, recipes, etc. There's a Green Tea Cheesecake recipe I really want to try.

Check 'em out if you like all things foodie, like I do.


still here
To all you people who have already had Spring Break, or who are on it right now, pluh on you. Mine is the week of the 27th (so for me it starts on the 24th), and it really needs to get here, if only for the illusion of a break that it will bring (it's not like I won't still have work and schoolwork and other things to do).

But as I furiously try to clear some non-school things out of the way this weekend, I might even write some of the blog posts about actual things I have bookmarked or otherwise need to write. You know, things besides "I suck, I have a presentation, I'm tired, blah blah blah".

But first, I'm going to balance my checkbook and then go for diner food. Those are not necessarily related, but it's been something like three days since I balanced the checkbook and that's three days longer than I like to go. You'd think I was an accountant in a previous life, but I was not. I just like balance.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006
still busy
Very little has changed since my "busy" post from a week ago. I am still busy.

Except the Middlemarch presentation is over. It went just fine from what I can tell. One of my school chums, who sits next to me, said, "You were effusive. I totally wasn't expecting that." I think that's good. Surprising, at least. I tend not to be effusive about Middlemarch. I think it helped that my Romanticism prof gave a little guest chat before my presentation—I was presenting on chapter 27, aka the Keepsake chapter, and literary annuals are my R prof's life's work so she brought in several (including the actual Keepsake that Plymdale would have given to Rosamond) and said some things. Then I talked about the chapter and focused on said annual, and it was fine. The same school chum referenced above said to me later, "now you're recruiting profs in your bid to take over the world. impressive." I'm not trying to take over the world, really. Just want to do a good job. I had no control over being randomly assigned the chapter with the Keepsake, I swear!

American Romanticism class will be stress-free this week, as I am not presenting. I presented last week, on the stylistic and thematic similarities/differences between Emerson's essay "The Poet" and Whitman's "Preface" to the 1855 Leaves of Grass. It went well. But Thursday is my Blake presentation, in British Romanticism. Wish I could switch brains with JD for a day! I'm stressed about it.

Still trying to settle on paper topics. Only 1013/33 on submitted chapters. But the big soul-sucking project from work, the "60-day" project we've been working on since August (not our fault, theirs, believe you me), we launched it this weekend. Been dealing with crap about it since then, and have straggly things like documentation to finish up, but in theory it's "done" although we are not yet out from under its grasp, totally.

So yeah, still busy. My "to review" list has a bunch of things on it. But the other day I changed some things in my sidebar and threw in some dynamic generation of links from my ma.gnolia account...they're the ones with the wee colored dots next to them. Kinda neat, I think.

Saturday, March 04, 2006
march is women's history month
I barely realized it was March, let alone Women's History Month. But one of the great things about reading 125+ blogs each day is that inevitably someone else will write something educational, enjoyable, and thought-provoking about such topics.

In this case, Mac at pesky'apostrophe has written posts on various women each day this month, in her usual intelligent and informative way. So far we have:

- "Paul Revere Was a Pussy," about Sybil Ludington. An excerpt: "So yeah, not only was her ride twice as long as Revere's and she was completely alone, Sybil was about 40 years younger than Revere and a woman alone in the dark without a weapon trying to avoid British soldiers and various other slimy pervs."
- "Brother Against Sister," about Rosetta (Lyons) Wakeman, "a woman compelled to fight in the Union army, no matter what."
- "Take a Walk," about Mary French-Sheldon who, in the 1890s, "led an entourage of 130 Zanzibarian men through Africa, places where no white person had ever been before and entirely unaided by another white person"

Mac always comes up with great stuff. Can't wait to read her entries for the rest of March.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006
I made very little headway on the "things I will soon discuss" post from a few weeks back.

I have added to the list, though, and that sucks! (Because it means there's more to do).

You can keep up with the list here if you want; it's my ma.gnolia list of items tagged "to_review" and you can add ma.gnolia itself to that list. I like it a hell of a lot better than Tons better, as in "I will actually use this." It's just out of private beta so it's a wee bit quirky, and I don't think the API is released yet (which is why you don't see tools and what not) but even in this state I personally find it to be far more user-friendly, appealing, inviting, usable, etc than

But I digress from my topic, which is to say I am chock full of teh busy. I have a presentation/wee essay for class tonight, the Middlemarch presentation tomorrow night, the weekly writing assignment/bane of my existence in Romanticism tomorrow night, my big Blake presentation/paper in Romanticism next week, two language classes, thinking about seminar paper topics (I have 2 out of 3 figured out in the general/compiling sources sense, if not the actual thesis), I have only submitted 10/33 chapters for the 3rd edition of one of my books (and supposed to hit 100% on Monday, not gonna happen), and then there's my job, which has its own set of stuff I've been working on all day for the last couple days and will be for the rest of the week, which is why none of the stuff previously listed has been completed. Stands to reason since my job provides my salary, you know?

So really, I have nothing to say right now.

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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