Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Old Year

Well, poop. It's raining hard and the gym is closed. No running for Overread today. I guess I'll have to end my streak at 3 days.

Anyway, I hope that everyone out there in blogland is having a wonderful New Year's Eve and will have a spectacular New Year.

May your plagiarizers be caught (it's too much to ask to not have them at all).
May your articles be accepted.
May your students be thoughtful, responsible and respectful.

May you find your family does care
May you care for your family

May you be respected and earn it.
May you always find an extra couple of dollars to buy yourself a treat

May you find a new Significant Other, or, if you already have the one you want, may you find him or her anew.

May you find the lottery numbers beforehand and email them to me

The best of the season to you and yours

Friday, December 30, 2005

Thursday, December 29, 2005

It's a Quiz, But It's a Dry Quiz.

Whew. Last application is done. Nothing left but the mailing, which I'll take care of tomorrow. So let's do some quizzing! Well, how about I do the quizzing and you folks do the answering? Ok, I think that'll work out for the best, too.

You guys rock! Last quiz, only #8 gave you problems.

Ozzy Osbourne, Crazy Train. Ok, ok, ok... maybe a bit obscure, but, hey, that's what I do.

Russian Violets kindly requested a little 80s lovin', so I've been tuned to a couple of 80s stations, but no promises :)

#1 -
She has a built in ability
To take everything she sees
And now it seems I’m falling, falling for her.
#2 -
Cause baby we’ll be
At the drive-in
In the old man’s ford
Behind the bushes
#3 -
Message keeps getting clearer, radio’s on and I’m moving round the place
I check myself out in the mirror I wanna change my clothes my hair my face
#4 -
will the wind ever remember
The names it has blow in the past?
And with this crutch, it’s old age, and it’s wisdom
It whispers no, this will be the last
#5 -
He went to fight wars
For his country and his king
Of his honor and his glory
The people would sing
#6 -
Sittin’ in the classroom thinkin’ it’s a drag
Listening to the teacher rap--just ain’t my bag
When two bells ring you know it’s my cue
Gonna meet the boys on floor number 2
#7 -
By now the fighting will be close at hand
Don’t believe the church and state
And everything they tell you
Believe in me, I’m with the high command
#8 - I can't believe we haven't done this one yet. Maybe we have...

When the mirror crashed I called you

And turned to hear you say

If only for today

I am unafraid
#9 -
So when you sense a change
Nothing feels the same
All your dreams are strange
#10 -
I bought a toothbrush, some toothpaste
A flannel for my face
Pajamas, a hairbrush
New shoes and a case
I said to my reflection
Let’s get out of this place

Sigh.

Is it really important that they know what I got in an 'Introduction to Computers' class in 1992? It was a C, ok? I'm embarrassed, but what can I say. Again, they're going to get the transcripts anyway, why do they need me to do the arcane algebraic gymnastics? Combining the GPA from my majors at the time, but only upper division classes, but including related fields, and drop all the pluses, but make the minuses count for half, and then take the numbers and add them together to find the true name of Baal. I guess, that part makes sense, anyway.

'Introduction to Computers?' hehe. Can you imagine trying to offer a class with a name like that? Maybe in elementary school...

One Ringie Dingie, Two Ringie Dingies

Ugh. 2 More applications done. 1 more to go. Of course, Snooty Snoot Snoot School (that I would desperately love to attend so that I might become snooty snoot snoot) wants a 'holy poop!' inducing $90 for the pleasure of being turned down.

Here's the other thing I don't understand. For many of these schools, why must we apply to both the department and the University? The Universities are usually on the ball. They've got the online applications down pretty well - some of them are really wonderful. So, why can't the University just CC the application material to the departments? Wouldn't that be more sane?

Unfortunately, the departments are usually, well... Off the ball. They want tree-killing reams of paper. No you can't email it, because it has to be on our circa 1973 form that we just can't seem to part with.

And ETS?! The geniuses behind that GRE/GMAT/SAT/FUBAR monopoly need one of Bush's Medals of Freedom the way that they've screwed things up. No online support whatever. You want to know your scores? Call in and talk to the computer. And give us ten bucks. If you want us to mail official copies of the scores to universities, we can do that, just call and talk to the computer for another half an hour. Make sure to have your university code numbers handy. For crying out loud, it's like using punch cards. Remind me to buy stock in those guys once I get out from under my crippling student loans, because, man, have they got a sweet scam going.

Ok. Whew. Breathe. In with the good, out with the bad. Ohm.... I think I shall eat an M />

I Can't Drive 55, Or Otherwise, Apparently.

So ok. About a year ago, I was driving a friend's car and got in an accident. My friend let her insurance lapse, and, because I don't have a car, I didn't have insurance. So, driving without insurance for me. The police didn't like that situation, and suspended my license for a year. Bummer, but no big. Well, the suspension term is up, so I thought I'd get my license back in case I wanted to rent a car and tool around a bit before class start up again. So, I go down to my friendly neighborhood DMV (luckily, it's within biking distance). The nice young gentleman at the counter told me that I'd need extra insurance before they'd issue me a license, and I'd have to carry the insurance until December of 2008.

Even if I don't have a car?

Yes, even if you don't have a car.

Is this special insurance expensive? (maybe if it's cheap, I could still do it)

[Laughter] Yeah, well, it's really expensive.

Well, crap.

I did a quick check and it seems that many places don't even offer the special flavor of insurance - makes sense really, since only high-risk drivers and sad-luck cases like myself would need it (and maybe I'm deluding myself into thinking that I'm not a high-risk driver as well). I even called one to get a quote just to see how expensive it would be and the guy was a bit flummoxed when I said I didn't have a car. "Oh, if you don't have a car, we can't do that."

Now, I know this is a car-nation, but yeesh.

So, no driving for Overread until 2009. I wonder if I'll even remember how by then. I hope I go to a school where I can bike.

Should I go get the ID card so I don't have to get frisked at the airport because of my expired driver's license?

Nother Short Run

5.96km - 32'28"

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Don't Fear The Linker

For those of you who have a music try-out service like Yahoo Unlimited, or those sad little 30 second teases from iTunes, check out John Allison (of the laugh-out-loud comic Scary-Go-Round) as one of the characters reviews his favorite 20 albums of 2005. He's only up to #9 (number nine... number nine...), but he updates M-F regularly. You can start here at #20. As those of you who do the quizzes know, I fear any music recorded after, say, 1987, but I have to admit enjoying quite a few of his choices. And, of course, Shelly's (the character) reviews are giggle-worthy as well.

Completely unrelated, but worth a click is the Twelve Days eBay.

Trying To Get Back On The Wagon

6.01 km - 32'23"

A bit of a run this morning. I think I should do this run more often instead of long runs less often. Let's see if that ever happens :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Quizzing 110%

I should first say that I think Camera Obscura should get bonus points again for knowing my favorite-est Christmas song, Baby It’s Cold Outside. Kudos!

I’ll leave off the reports from the last quiz, ‘cause let’s face it, you guys need to listen to more 60’s rock :)

#1 Finally, a realistic song

Well he turned and screamed at Linda Lu
And that’s the break I was looking for.
And you could hear me screaming a mile away
As I was headed out towards the door.

#2

I’ve seen your face before my friend
But I don’t know if you know who I am

#3

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky

#4

I’ll wait in this place where the sun never shines;
Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves.

#5

But my dreams
They aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be

#6

No stop signs, speed limit,
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it,
Nobody's gonna mess me 'round

#7

I long to see the morning light
Coloring your face so dreamily.
So don’t you go and say goodbye,

#8

I’ve listened to preachers
I’ve listened to fools
I’ve watched all the dropouts
Who make their own rules

#9

Where are you going now my love?
Where will you be tomorrow?
Will you bring me happiness?
Will you bring me sorrow?

#10

I woke up in a Soho doorway
A policeman knew my name
He said "You can go sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away"

#11

I’ve got to be free, free to face the life that’s ahead of me
On board, I’m the captain, so climb aboard
We’ll search for tomorrow on every shore

#12 can’t believe I haven’t used this one yet

I used her, she used me
But neither one cared
We were gettin’ our share

#13

Pretty mama come and take me by the hand
By the hand, take me by the hand pretty mama
Come and dance with your daddy all night long

#14

Is anybody out there? Anybody there?
Does anybody wonder? Anybody care?

#15

He say "One and one and one is three"
Got to be good looking 'cause he's so hard to see

Did I Mention...

..that before I left on my holiday jaunt that someone yoinked my headlight, blinkie red backlight and my speedometer off my bike?

Middle of the day too. Harumph... I had a lot of miles built up on that speedometer too...

Well, I guess since the application doesn't seem to be going tonight, maybe I shall build a UBERQUIZ...

Blorp*

Grr... in the middle of another PhD application (Why am I not done with these things already? Why not just go flip burgers somewhere?), the university in question's application web-site seems to have imploded. Is this the fates' way of warning me away?

*that's the sound of a Server imploding.

A Traditional Christmas


IMG_0391
Originally uploaded by Overread.
My brother and I like to take photos. Sometimes we see something on the side of the road and stop to take pictures even when we should be going somewhere.

Occasionally, we're late.

But we have fun :)

Can't We All Just Get Along?

You know how there are some students who really expect a certain grade?

Let's be careful out there.

Via The Little Professor (via Cliopatria)

Hunky-Dory Holiday Act I

Well, after a very long sleep last night, I think I'm pretty much recovered from the holiday weekend. I promised a recounting, so here goes:

I left Uni-town at night, and as you can tell by the earlier posts, things went downhill quickly. We were about 30 minutes late before even leaving the ground. The captain called it a 'balance problem.' I thought that there were only balance problems after the holidays. What with the eggnog and all. Anyway, I got into Big Enough To Be A Hub, But Not A Hub Airport (BEHBNAH) at about 11:42. My connecting flight was a 11:45 departure. From another terminal. I thought I might have a chance. Silly me. I jogged to the gate only to be told that I was too late. Did I see the plane still attached to the ramp? Maybe, Maybe not.

So a sauntered over to the 'So You've Missed Your Flight' counter and waited in line. There were already several people in front of me from another flight, and as I waited, I saw a long line of everyone from my flight line up behind me. It was so sad to look at the counter folks as they gradually found out another flight's worth of people with less than the proper holiday cheer had come to yell at them.

I eventually got to the front of the line and was given a seat on a flight at 6am that would set things right (although it would be through another city). They offered me three meal vouchers (although I'm not sure how you could eat breakfast for $5 at the airport. Maybe a coffee?), and a hotel for the night. I figured since the place would be leaving in a little under 6 hours at that point, I might as well stay in the airport, and they could give the hotel slot to someone else. It looked like they were going to need all the hotel slots they could find.

The problem was that the next flight was on another airline, so I had to go out of security and re-check in. No problem, I've go the time, right? Checking in was a bit problematic. My seat wasn't really reserved, so I got bumped. Next flight was at 8am. Ok, not so bad, but I did kind of wish I had taken that hotel room. On the plus side, I was going to get in at 4pm-ish rather than 6pm-ish. I've tried to figure out how that worked out, but I think it must be quantum physics. I never could get a hang of that.

So, I finally get my correct tickets. I go back to the terminal. Oops, wrong terminal. Back out and through security again. Oh, did I mention that if you fly with an expired driver's license, you get the nice line of 'sssss' on your ticket and get the extra bonus friendly security search? Did I also mention that my driver's license is expired? Not to worry, I don't drive, and in any case, the security people are usually really nice to me.

Well then. Back to the terminal in time to burn a $10 meal voucher on Burger King. Good grief. If it were my money I'd be humiliated to spend that much money there. When I got to my gate, it seemed clear that this had been an ugly day for a lot of folks. The chairs in airports are designed so that you can't lay down on them, but good old-fashioned American ingenuity seemed to smile on several of my sure-to-wake-up-with-cramps gatemates. One guy had piled bags up in two adjacent seats so he could lie down on top of them and the armrest in the middle. Well done, my friend, well done.

I close the more convenient option: walk walk walk, floor, floor, walk walk walk, floor. I guess I got about two hours of sleep all told, so I was top of form when the plane finally got there.

Oh, but of course when I got to my destination, my checked bag didn't make it with me. So we rushed off to get some supplies at the not-so-local Target. While looking over my possibilities, the baggage guy from the airport called to say that he had my bag! Woohoo! A not-so-local drive and my precious bag was in my hands.

So, despite the grief, it all ended up as well as could be expected. I didn't get to spend enough time with the family, but that's pretty standard. I never get enough time with them, maybe that's why I love them so much :)

I can't imagine why you've read this far, but since you have, I'll let you know that I'm going to put another holiday update up later. If you actually got this far this time, maybe I'll reach your boredom threshold with that one.

Sunday, December 25, 2005



Originally uploaded by Overread.

Christmas Lights

Mildly pixelated, but there ya go.



Christmas Update!

Just another quick note to say that I did eventually get where I needed to go. I had to take a couple extra flights and lost my baggage (got it back pretty quickly though). I felt so bad for he poor counter-folk at the airlines though. When my plane came in late, everyone on it missed their connections. And when we got to the 'so you missed your connections' line, there was already another flight full of people there who, well, let's say that they weren't imbued with the holiday spirit. I'm amazed how nasty and vulgar parents can be with children in tow. Sad.

Anyway, I'm with the family (with very notable exception - we miss you!) for the weekend, and life is good.

Have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you do or don't celebrate!

And a happy New Year!

Photos - Now With Explanations!

Ok, well, it seems as though I need to learn how to use this new fangled technology thing. I tried to blog from the cell phone, but none of my comments came through. So, here are the comments for the two photos














Can you read this? It says "we support our troops in the middle east." first off, do we really need to be told this via the side of an airplane? Secondly, does this mean they don't support our troops in other places? Also of note, this patriotic plane was late. So, I missed my connection. So, I'm in an airport at 2:31am waiting for an 8-ish flight. On the fun side, I'm writing this on my cell.

This is the airport carpet on which I napped at about 2-3 in the morning on Christmas Eve day.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

God Quiz Us, Every One

Welcome to your special edition quiz!

I'm afraid these might be a bit too easy, so forgive me for choosing some odd cuts. For the artist, write in the best, in your humble or not so humble opinion. :)

#1 One of my very favorite-est
I ought to say no, no, no, sir
At least I'm gonna say that I tried
#2
Well I don't know if there'll be snow
But have a cup of cheer
#3
Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
#4
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
#5
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime
#6
Think of all the fun I've missed,
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed
#7
And every mother's child is going to spy,
To see if reindeer really know how to fly.
#8
The fire is slowly dying,
And, my dear, we're still good-bying,
But as long as you love me so...
#9
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
#10
Some people think that Ebeneezer Scrooge is,
Well, he’s not, but guess who is: all three Stooges.

Mad Quizzes and Englishmen

Crazy middle of the day Quizzing!

#2 Well, Mendi got Crystal Gayle. It was Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue
#7 Aw, nobody got the 'Michael when he wasn't scary' song? ABC by the Jackson Five
#10 Mendi's right again with If You Want to Be Happy For the Rest Of Your Life, by umm... Some people.

Now, I'm still resisting the Solstice season, so we're going to dance with them what brung us:

#1
Beauty I'd always missed
With these eyes before,
Just what the truth is
I can't say anymore.
#2
Remember what the doormouse said:
"Feed your Head
Feed your Head!"
#3
We’ll have time for coffee flavored kisses
And a bit of conversation.
#4
Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossanova
You'll be dancing with 'em, too, before the night is over
#5
Room gets suddenly still
And when you'd almost bet
You could hear yourself sweat, he walks in
Eyes black as coal
And when he lifts his face
Every ear in the place is on him
#6
My mama used to dance for the money they'd throw
Papa would do whatever he could
Preach a little gospel, sell a couple bottles of Doctor Good
#7
All we need is a drummer,
for people who only need a beat
I'm gonna add a little guitar
and make it easy to move your feet
#8
But when the taxman come to the door,
Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale
#9
We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
#10
I'd cut him if he stands, and I'd shoot him if he'd run
Yes I'd kill him with my Bible and my razor and my gun

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Go Ahead and Jump

Newsflash:

Don't keep your one and only copy of your thesis on a jump drive in your purse.

Umm... I'll be right back. I've got some backing up to do...




'X' Stands For The Cross

There is a great danger lurking in these United States today. It's a danger that some have noted, but few have acted upon, and it's high time we begin to move against it. I'm talking, of course about the current state of Christmas. Christmas is under attack, not only by those of other faiths, but of the faithless as well. Because of this, I thought I should write an entry explaining the Christian-ness of Christmas.
The very nature of Christmas itself is in danger of being altered from the perfect and correct. Looking at the word itself, 'Christmas,' we see what the holiday is about: The Mass of Christ. Now, don't worry, it's not a mass like a Catholic thing, you don't have to go to church or anything. It's a mass in that we celebrate the birth of Christ. Now, Christmas isn't exactly on the birthday of Christ, as near as we can tell, but the day fits well into the calendar, so it's staying.
We celebrate this great man of modesty and propriety by buying gifts for friends and family. We celebrate the nobility of giving by giving to people meaningful things, like gift baskets from Bed Bath and Beyond, and sweaters. It wouldn't be the same if we were to give, say, food, shelter, or, heaven forbid, education to those truly in need, because they are probably in Africa somewhere, and they probably aren't Christian anyway, and if they were, it would probably just be pretend Christian so they could get food. Don't be fooled!
The big trouble is that when you go to buy your gifts, some of the people who work at malls are saying 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas.' Now, I understand that there are other 'holidays' out there, but we are shopping for Christmas presents, so it's insulting for them to not tell me to have a 'Merry Christmas.' And the Christmas season begins right after Halloween and goes right up until about January 15th, so there's no excuse there. And why would you call it a 'Holiday Sale,' if you put the red and green iPod cover on sale? Red and Green? Those are Christmas colors! Also, for those who aren't American, it's 'Merry Christmas,' not 'Happy Christmas.' That's just another import from those vile Harry Potter books. Learn to speak English, for cripe's sake.
We put these gifts under a tree that we've decorated with lights. It's not like the Jewish do, with their candelabra-thingie, there's a silly idea with nothing meaningful behind it - That whole hanaka thing is probably just so they can get more presents. Those people who say that the tree is an old pagan symbol are just wrong, wrong, wrong! The Christmas tree is Christian to be sure, because it's called a Christmas tree, and there's an angel on top of it. Or sometimes there's a star. As long as you call it a Christmas tree and have a star or an angel, you can put whatever else you want on it. All the cute snowmen, sleds, cartoon characters and candy canes - that's all good for a Christian Christmas tree, because the angel or star makes them Christian. Be careful about the Disney ornaments though, because Disney supports the left-wing homosexual agenda, and no angel or star can change that.
Finally, the most important part of Christmas, especially for the kids, is Santa Claus. Now some people might say that Santa Claus was a Catholic saint, but he's Christian, too! Other people might tell you that the North Pole, elves, cookies and milk, chimneys, and all that aren't supported in the bible, but just remember, it's the idea of giving that's Christian, so a big fat guy in a red suit flying around in a giant sled pulled by magical reindeer, sneaking into your house and eating your food is all ok, as long as he gives you presents. See? If you think about it that way, it's all Christian!
Oh, I should mention that elves are complicated. Santa's elves are good, but the elves in Harry Potter and the Lord of the Ring are all perversions of nature. If you aren't sure if an elf is good or bad, you will have to ask your pastor. Don't worry, you don't actually have to go to church - you can probably just email him.

So now you know. Defend Christmas! Go out and drink your eggnog (you can put a little punch in it, if you know what I mean), and sing all your songs about maid's a-milking, Rudolph and Chipmunks - They're all Christian, because they're Christmas songs!

No offense intended to Christians (of Catholic or other persuasions), Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, Disney, people who listen to iPods in Red and Green cases, Santa, the British, Elves (in general and of the Tolkien and Rowling versions), maids, reindeer, or chipmunks. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Casey At Bat

Oooh, a swing and a miss for the grad-school guy who was hitting on the cute gal at the table next to mine. I wasn’t able to eavesdrop as much as I wanted to, but she was actually pretty kind to him for awhile. I’m not sure that his paisley shirt did him any favors though.

Nothing To See Here

Well, who knew? I actually got chipping away at my thesis today. I really should start a non-anonymous blog so I could talk about it in more detail, but then, that would probably require work. Seriously, some of the stuff I’m working with is hilarious, but you can’t see it. Nyah, nyah.

The thing is that I’ve got enough of the basic data taken care of. I’m doing some of the analysis now, and it seems to be coming out ok. I’m finding decent support for some of the assumptions that I made early on, so that’s good, and some new ideas are becoming really evident after looking at the data more closely. That’s really fun.
Since it’s only an MA thesis, it doesn’t have to be too long, and I’m getting the impression that I’ll be on or beyond my page-target.
This whole mess is starting to seem possible. Now all I have to do is get into a PhD program so I don’t have to flip burgers next fall.

This is a filler post, I know, and I probably should apologize for not saying anything really worthwhile, but hey, all you have to do is click on to the next blog, so I don’t really feel that bad.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Link Dumpery

Are you feeling competent? Secure in your knowledge? Well, this set of geography quizzes will take you down a couple notches :) For full humiliation I recommend the African nations, or perhaps the Chinese province one...

Now, stop crying, it wasn't that bad. Check out this nice list of online timewasters.

If you don't have enough time to do all the games, then you should probably go here to learn why you should support the 28 hour day movement.

Who knew that Suessian phrasings could be put to the use of explaining everyone's favorite pet owner, Schroedinger, and his is or not is cat. Only Unka Cecil could do it up right.

And finally, Life came up with a list of 100 photographs that changed the world. They only let you see 28 though.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Is That a Quiz in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

I guess I should be happy that you guys didn’t get the ones about being too young for that kind of fun - hehe

#6 was Does Your Mother Know? by ABBA

#7 was Young Girl, and I had it by Gary Puckett, but I’d be happy to be corrected on that one. I actually didn’t hear about the whine-fest from Donovan, not that I’d be particularly surprised. Was it a good one?

I wonder how many folks are still out there in holiday-land. Well, for those of you that are still here, I warn you, I’m stuck in a scary time, and there are no Christmas songs yet. Yet. :)

#1

The things that pass for knowledge I can't understand.

#2

Tell me no secrets, tell me some lies
Give me no reasons, give me alibis
Tell me you love me and don't make me cry
Say anything but don't say goodbye

#3

What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' is really wrong
Feelin' like I don't belong
Walkin' around, some kind of lonely clown

#4

Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band
Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you'll marry a music man

#5

They would not listen
they're not listening still
perhaps they never will.

#6

Loving you
Isn’t the right thing to do
How can I ever change things
That I feel

#7

Reading, writing and arithmetic
Are the branches of the learning tree
But without the roots of love every day, girl
Your education ain't complete
T-T-T-Teacher's gonna show you

#8

Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light.
Did it take long to find me? and are you gonna stay the night?

#9

Everybody wants her, everybody loves her
Everybody wants to take your baby home

#10 and, just for balance,

So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

What? Who Runs?

8.6km - 50 minutes

Ok, I finally ran again. My footsies were not pleased. It felt pretty good though. I had to run on the treadmill again though. I'm getting used to it though. I did go through with the Audible.com thing a month ago or so and I'm running and biking now listening to The World is Flat. It's a very interesting very globalization... tape...er... MP3? I'm very torn on the topic, but I like some of the things that author brings up - most importantly is the need to start actually funding education. He also thinks that engineering a Fossil Fuel Alternative could be the modern version of the Moon Shot. Getting kids into science and challenging the current possibles, but with a goal of general good. I don't think that would be as sexy as the Moon Shot, but the true sadness is that we're not trying anything. We just de-fund everything in the hopes that the private sector will pick up the slack. Sigh... In two generations, or very possibly one, there will simply be no way we are going to be able to have more or better technical workers than India or China. We simply don't have the money, the drive or the numbers. The best we can hope for is to minimize the damage to our industry and give away green cards to any PhD who wants one.

Wow. That all just blurted out. I wonder if any of it made sense?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Oh, Hell

People Who Use Cell Phones/Laser Pointers in a Movie, Parents who bring squalling brats to R-rated movies
Circle I Limbo

Scientologists
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

Owners of Telemarketing Businesses
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

Editors of Fashion Magazines/Promoters of Stick-figure Women
Circle IV Rolling Weights

Plagiarizers
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

George Bush
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

Bigots
Circle VII Burning Sands

Osama bin Laden
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

NAMBLA Members
Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell



hehe - seen at casa de Luckybuzz

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Handholder - Feh!

Handholder




You go out of your way to build bridges with people of different views and beliefs and have quite a few religious friends. You believe in the essential goodness of people , which means you’re always looking for common ground even if that entails compromises. You would defend Salman Rushdie’s right to criticise Islam but you’re sorry he attacked it so viciously, just as you feel uncomfortable with some of the more outspoken and unkind views of religion in the pages of this magazine.


You prefer the inclusive approach of writers like Zadie Smith or the radical Christian values of Edward Said. Don’t fall into the same trap as super–naïve Lib Dem MP Jenny Tonge who declared it was okay for clerics like Yusuf al–Qaradawi to justify their monstrous prejudices as a legitimate interpretation of the Koran: a perfect example of how the will to understand can mean the sacrifice of fundamental principles. Sometimes, you just have to hold out for what you know is right even if it hurts someone’s feelings.

What kind of humanist are you? Click here to find out.

Seen at Scrivener's House of Pancakes

Friday, December 16, 2005

Trimming the Wikipedia

(fair warning - some of the linked comics contain nasty language and naughty thoughts)

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but some of my written stylings come from a man I know only as 'Tycho.' He's half of a webcomic duo that creates some pretty hilarious comics about gaming and such. The thing is that many of their comics require a pretty deep explanation if you aren't in the gaming 'cool kids' circle - and I left that circle a long long time ago. So, anyway, I like the way the guy writes even if there are (gasp!) spelling errors (I'm done grading. I'm done grading. I'm done grading).

explanations done, the Penny Arcade folks have taken a look at Wikipedia. And it's not that pretty.

A selected chunk from the newspost that accompanies the comic: (persistent link may be here)
Reponses to criticism of Wikipedia go something like this: the first is usually a paean to that pure democracy which is the project's noble fundament. If I don't like it, why don't I go edit it myself? To which I reply: because I don't have time to babysit the Internet. Hardly anyone does. If they do, it isn't exactly a compliment.

Any persistent idiot can obliterate your contributions. The fact of the matter is that all sources of information are not of equal value, and I don't know how or when it became impolitic to suggest it. In opposition to the spirit of Wikipedia, I believe there is such a thing as expertise.

The second response is: the collaborative nature of the apparatus means that the right data tends to emerge, ultimately, even if there is turmoil temporarily as dichotomous viewpoints violently intersect. To which I reply: that does not inspire confidence. In fact, it makes the whole effort even more ridiculous. What you've proposed is a kind of quantum encyclopedia, where genuine data both exists and doesn't exist depending on the precise moment I rely upon your discordant fucking mob for my information.
I note this because I've been fighting a losing battle to keep Wikipedia sources out of students' papers. I really like Wikipedia, but I know that it's not particularly reliable. That's not to say that you can't find good informaiton there, because obviously, you can, especially on techy stuff. There was a recent study comparing Wikipedia with Britannica, and Wiki held its own, with 4 errors per entry vs. Britannica's 3. I think the problem is that many people see Wiki as the answer instead of a tool that you can use to help find the answer.

Now that I write that up, I guess it's not that different from any other source. Hmm... Is Wikipedia legitimate as a source? Do you folks let students cite Wikipedia?

A Quiz Is Not A Dinner Party

Ah, not just the hat trick, my friends, it was the Baker’s Hat trick… er… plus one. That is, two Laupers, two Madonnas, two Billy Joels, Two Stings, and two from Sir Elton John.

The missed ones:

#4 – De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da – Sting (Police)
#8 – Change Of Heart – Madame Lauper

And now, the main event. This one's all over the place. Are you ready to rumble?

#1

Maybe he's no Romeo
But he's my loving one man show

#2

He's a lover boy at play
He don't play by the rules
Oh oh oh
Girl don't play the fool—no

#3

It's a losing proposition,
But one you can't refuse.
It's the politics of contraband,

#4

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay,
against your skin, it's so brown

#5

They're out to get you, better leave while you can
don't wanna be a boy, you wanna be a man

#6

I can see what you want
But you seem pretty young to be searching for that kind of fun

#7

My love for you is way out of line
Better run, girl

#8

'Cause we're living in a world of fools
Breaking us down

#9

If there’s a cure for this
I don’t want it
Don’t want it
If there’s a remedy
I’ll run from it
From it

#10

Got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.

Wha? Post

Dear Washington Post,

Have you decided that 'bootylicious' is a word you are comfortable using? Because I would rather you didn't. Thanks.

Yours in curmudgeonitude,
Overread


The quote:

That has given birth to a marketing strategy that combines the cutthroat with the chic. Wal-Mart preempted competitors when it unleashed its holiday marketing campaign in November a week earlier than last year. Advertisements for the first time featured celebrities like the bootylicious girl group Destiny's Child and tweener heartthrob Jesse McCartney.

From here (Registration required)

The King is Dead, Long Live the King

King Kong (link has autoloading movie and sound)

Honesty, I expected better.

On the plus side, it’s an entertaining film. There are lots of creatures and death and thrills and such. It’s also very clear that the filmmakers were truly paying homage to the original film. I happened to catch the original on AMC a week or so ago, and many of the scenes are very lovingly recreated in this remake.

Unfortunately, that may have been the source of some of the things I didn’t like. The biggest problem I had with Kong can be paralleled in the CG for Kong himself. Throughout the film, I was trying to figure out what I didn’t like about him. It finally hit me when he was climbing up the Empire State Building. He’s got no physics. When he had Ann in one hand, he would let go of the building with the other and casually reach for the next window. If they had shown his feet gripping the wall tighter, or maybe made him grasp the next window in a quick movement, it would have seemed more believable. Later when he was at the top, he would reach out and find purchase on a diagonal sheet of metal without any trouble. I’m sure this seems very nitpicky, but bear with me. What was bothering me was that there was no gravity. It seemed as if Kong was not held to the rules of the world in which I wanted to believe he lived.

So here’s my leap – It was the same for all the characters. They didn’t seem fully rendered. I think I can say that I liked the actors, but not one single character. I realize this is an action film (horror film, monster film, whatever), but the actions of the characters didn’t seem to be based on the world that I know. The vaudeville show for Kong on his Pride Rock? The Coke commercial-esque Kong sliding on the frozen lake in Central Park? Those are perhaps the most obvious scenes that I couldn’t get my head around, but if we’re going to make plot-points of this movie revolve around the emotions of the main characters, why aren’t we treated to a better understanding of them?

Jack Black’s character was perhaps the most frustrating. He very possibly could be the most complex and intriguing character in the film, but we never get to know him. Maybe this was an artistic choice, or maybe it’s all on the cutting room floor. Anne and the writer’s relationship was also very underplayed.

But, this is not a love story, so let’s take a look at the action sequences. Most were done pretty well. There was a ‘bug moment’ or two that had the audience squealing (aside - why do people take kids who can barely walk to movies like this?). The problem is that things would start out ok, but then go quickly to the ridiculous.

A great example is the stampede. Everyone is running through the canyon floor and there is a herd of brontosaurus (brontosauri?) chasing after. Ok, well, it seems silly that the people can run faster, but I thought I would let that slide. But then they catch up. And the people are running under the feet of the dinosaurs (being chased by raptor-like things, natch. You can’t have a dinosaur flick without those guys – Thanks Steven). Running underneath a herd of brontosaurs. Ok. Suspension of disbelief. Ok. Move on.

It gets worse though. From the Cirque de Soleil show where Kong, Anne and a handful of Tyrannosaurus Rexes dangle and swing from vines (including the swinging Rex trying to take a chomp out of Anne every time it swings closer), to the very implausible capture to the final scene where our two human protagonists stand without difficulty in a very light breeze on the top of the Empire State Building. Oh, yeah, how did she keep those high-heels on during all this? I understand that they were really trying to capture the feel and glamour of the early movie world, but it just didn’t work for me.

The thing is, I’ll happily follow a movie into the most ridiculous worlds, but they’ve got to be believable. Aliens, Harry Potter, even Narina created worlds were you may not understand how everything works, but the things that work make sense in the context of the film. Kong in New York is placed in a world that perhaps we know too well, and he seemed very much detached – not so much in a fish out of water way, but in an ‘I can see the wires’ kind of way.

One last thing. On Skull Island, there are several scenes with blurred and jerky camera work. It was a bit jarring at first, but as I got into it, I liked the idea that we were seeing the images with the state of mind of the protagonists – unclear, confused, and in bits and pieces. Then it stopped. Did they give up on this idea after a couple of tries and just leave it in the film? If not, why didn’t we get more of that? Sloppy.

Again, I did enjoy the movie. There are lots of fun bits. It’s just not what I was hoping it would be. I won’t say that you’re better off seeing the original, though. Let’s just say that you should see both. I will say that if you do want to see this one, see it in the theater. A lot of what is good about this movie is its bigness. It’ll lose a lot in the transition to the small screen.

King Kong 6/10

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

In the Immortal Words of One Particularly Bright Star,

Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful...

hate me because I'm done grading!

There was oh, so much trauma though. The prof wrote a particularly good final, and several students didn't read the questions well at all... boo hiss...

Even though I was the personification of benevolence in the grading, I'm expecting at least a handful of very nasty emails once these grades go live :(

but until then, I'm free!!

Woohoo!

Anyone want to go skinny-dipping?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

More Fun Than A Quiz Full Of Monkeys

Hehe got a couple on you last time. Let’s take a look. 7 was Your Wildest Dreams by the Moody Blues and 8 was Hot in the City by Billy ‘the Snarl’ Idol.

I’m not-so-secretly happy that you guys got It’s Raining Men and Convoy hehehe!

New stuffings! One or two are kinda hard, but most are easy, and there’s an easy pattern to find. Enjoy!

1 –

A man can tell a thousand lies
I've learned my lesson well

2 –

Been high in the Rockies under the evergreens

3 –

Oh Lawdy mama those Friday nights
when Suzie wore her dresses tight

4 – the spelling might be a hint - hehe

The only cheques I’ve left unsigned
From the banks of chaos in my mind

5 –

Stray cat is crying so stray cat sings back

6 –

You're the one I'm dreaming of
Your heart fits me like a glove

7 –

At least he can polish the fenders

8 –

Here I am
Just like I said I would be
I'm your friend
Just like you think it should be

9 –

Time on my hands could be time spent with you

10 –

How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer's deadly toy

From the Pigeon Trenches

'Military coos'

sounds kind of cute, really.

coo coo

Qafe Quote

"They were stripping over there, but other than that, there wasn't anything to do."

In Which A Final Exam Writer Teaches Me A New Word

"ignoration"

Should I ask for a definition?

My guess would be a state of ignoring someone or something, but from the context, it seems to be a state of ignorance.

Write your own snarky comment here.

Mommy, Why Is the Book Blue?

Cafe ran out of bagels, so I was forced, forced I tell you, to go across the street and get chocolate chocolate cake donuts. I had my choice, you see?

A pile of bluebooks
holding hopes, dreams, gibberish
A flashing red pen

Monday, December 12, 2005

Link Dump

Ok, no quiz, but fun links! Alright, I know it's no substitution, but I hope you'll be ok. :)

Santaland Diaries online! Woohoo!

Strange Sand art video - This guy makes fun images out of sand and a projector

Development of the Latin alphabet in one animated gif

Famous folks answer the question "What do you believe but cannot prove?" (scroll to near the bottom and the next pages)

And finally,

The most popular toys of the last 100 years

Blind Update Downrange

Finally met with the prof about the finals.

Finally realize the doom that awaits me in grading these things.

I swear If I just gave everyone a C+, more people would be happy than if I actually graded these monsters.

The deadline is coincidently the same as the next batch of PhD applications (for which I have to select and edit a new writing sample). Can anyone tell me why I'm applying to all these places?

What are the odds that I get right on this and get it all done in the quickest amount of time?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

It Walks Down Stairs, Alone or in Pairs. Everyone Knows it's Quiz-ie

Ah, I fondly remember the Dr. Zaius song from the Simpson’s version of the Planet of the Apes. Although, it’s right up there with the musical version of Streetcar. They may have gone a bit downhill, but that was hilarious stuff.

Ok, back to the quizzing (which may become a every other day kind of thing)

This group may be a touch too easy for you folks, but don’t worry. The theme runs out after #5 :)

#1

They say that the road
Ain’t no place to start a family

#2

Like a band of gypsies,
we go down the highway

#3

Yeah, them smokies is thick as bugs on a bumper.
They even had a bear in the air!

#4

I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
Counting the cars on the new jersey turnpike

#5

Miner’s lady, stranger to blue water
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky

#6

God bless Mother Nature, she's a single woman too
She took off to heaven and she did what she had to do

#7

And when the music plays
And when the words are
Touched with sorrow

#8

'Cause when a long-legged lovely walks by
Yeah you can see the look in her eye

#9

Cool cat looking for a kitty
Gonna look in every corner of the city

#10

That’s when sport was a sport
And groovin´ was groovin´

Hello Doggies


IMG_2555
Originally uploaded by Overread.
Oh, doggie troubles!

Chronicles of Narnia

Another movie review, hopefuly a bit shorter

Chronicles of Narnia

I have to admit I don’t think I read this book until I heard the movie was coming out. I grabbed a copy, read it in the bookstore and enjoyed it a lot.

It was hard for me to watch the movie without looking for the heavily mailed fist of the Christian Right dangling over the heads of the audience (hmm, that should be a dangling sword, shouldn’t it?). From all I’ve heard, this movie is an insidious tool that evil fundamentalists are going to use to get kids hooked and lead them into the temptation of banning science and them blasted free-thinkin’ liberals. I should be an anthropologist for a moment and explain that I’m a moralizing atheist, but, having grown up in the deep pit of a nasty form of oppressive religion, I have a knee-jerk reaction against blatant religiosity.

Well, I was going to post something facetious, like how I found all these connections (Remember in the bible, when after the resurrection, Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ mom went out the battlefield and Mary shot a bow and arrow and killed that ogre? That was cool, right?), but frankly, I don’t think it’s needed.

I don’t think it’s warranted because I didn’t think the movie was particularly biblical at all, really. I mean, sure the Lion is a pretty blatant Christ-figure, but for crying out loud, if we’re going to see an underhanded attempt at brainwashing in every Christ-figure in film and literature, we’re going to have to condemn most of the western canon. Or maybe Joyce was proselytizing Greek Polytheism.

In any case, while I worry a little bit about the marketing in the fundamentalist churches, I can’t blame the marketers for trying to game an excellent market. They’d be fools not to use Lewis’ ideology to turn a couple of box-office tricks. It’s a bit seedy, but that’s marketing.

I honestly hope, damned heathen that I am, that if kids get a little mixed up by what they’re hearing about all this, that maybe they actually pick up the bible and try to dig through it, or at least the fun parts. It’s a good book, even if I don’t think it’s The Good Book.

See, I told you the review would be short. The ranting was a bit long, but if you look back there, there’s almost no review at all. :)

Well, ok. CG was passable. Acting seemed alright – I especially liked Lucy and Susan. Writing was decent. It helps a lot when you’re making a movie from a book that’s not Potter-length, ain’t it? It’s a pretty entertaining flick, really. The downsides are in pacing and some huh? issues. (the vast land covered there and back in the space of a couple minutes. If he can really run that fast, let us see that speed, otherwise it just looks like the timing of the entire climax is shot.) I didn’t like the voice of Liam Neeson for Alsan, although I have to admit, I thought it was Sean Connery at first. Despite my confusion, he’s just too recognizable right now, and it was distracting.

One final note - I think the blooding scene is just awful. Alsan making Peter kill the wolf (hehe that's funnier than I thought it would be) before he can be knighted borders on the cruel. It smells of gangland morality to me. I know that's how it was written, and it's a true reflection of the way testoterone sometimes works, but I don't think that needed to be in this film.

All in all thoguh, a pretty good movie, I thought.

Chronicles of Narnia 7/10

Best Line on the Application

Sex: optional [HELP] M o F o

I think the application seems a bit, ah... conflicted...

Third and Long

I mentioned that I wasn't going to look at the finals until I got together with the prof and the other TA, but I kinda lied. I peeked at a couple today. Oh, dear... It's going to be ug-ug-ugly. I'm thinking that we're going to have to come up with some seriously creative grading to save some of these people from the sad-file.

On that note, I finished my dining book (remember that I try not to do any 'real' reading while I eat, otherwise, I'd never read anything but work-related stuff, and that's just not healthy).

The title is "I'm the Teacher, You're the Student" by a Patrick Allitt, a prof at Emory. I'm so embarrassed that I can't remember who recommended it, but it was a blog-buddy... Ah, well, if you recommended it and you read this, let me know. I'll give you 5 bonus points on the next quiz :)

I really liked the book a lot. I'm going to hand it around at Christmas to see if any of the family wants to read it and get a better idea of the insane world for which I'm spending a gawd-awful fortune and the better part of what's left of my youth.

I don't want to do a full review, but there was one thing I wanted to write about. He writes about what once was the 'gentleman's C,' and has become the 'professional's B.' he ties it with the unbelievably favorable letters of recommendations that profs are supposed to write ("student is the best I've ever had. I'm quite sure that even though he studies English Lit, he could quite easily cure cancer. I've also noticed that he can see through walls. I think he should date my daughter.") As a PhD hopeful who (crossed fingers) is getting those kinds of LOR, and as a TA who is battling the 'professional's Bs' (and frankly, I'd be happy to toss the 'gentleman's Cs' while we're at it.), I completely understand the reasons behind all this, but I'm torn between being envious of how he seems to have come to terms with the situation, and anger at his complacency about the situation.

My experience is very very limited, but I've seen students who should not get a degree from my university. But, they will. Heck, I'll probably even pass some of them myself.

I'm not really sure what my point is [no thesis - FAIL]. Maybe jut looking at the final where a student couldn't answer what the capital of a very well-known world power and long-time US ally was made me a bit sad because I think that student will probably pass the class. I think this is something I'm going to be wrestling with for a long while.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

Well, I’m not going to grade papers until I get together with the prof, and that’s not til Monday, so… I’ve only got PhD applications and my own final project and a whole bunch of procrastinatables, so…

It’s movie time!

First and foremost, last night I traveled long and far to get to a cinema that is actually showing…

Pride & Prejudice

Ok, I’m comfortable enough in my masculinity to admit that I really like this kind of movie. This can also be a problem, because, as previously mentioned, I’m in love with the actress who played Elizabeth in the BBC version. With my bias (prejudice?) noted, I should say that’s not to say that Ms. Knightley isn’t extraordinarily easy on the eyes. She is. She’s that and more. I’m just not sure that she was the right choice to play Elizabeth. She’s got a wonderful laugh, and looks the part well enough, but she doesn’t seem to carry off much of the self-confidence or intelligence that I think the character demands. This might be a problem with the script as well – much of the wit naturally had to be cut for time reasons.

Mr. Darcy is also a wee bit problematic, but his troubles again stem from the cutting, I believe. Perhaps it played better to the women in the audience, but seeing him looking like he walked off of a Harlequin romance novel cover really took away a lot of the reserve and well, ‘pride’ that I like about the character.

There were also some odd technical choices. I don’t know why I’m becoming hyper-sensitive to the lighting in movies, but there were parts of this movie that were simply badly lit. I’m sure it was an artistic choice to make Elizabeth look bluer than the Boo-Berry ghost when she travels at night. There were other scenes that were obviously shot in a studio and for some reason it looked like the actors were lit with bare 120 watt bulbs.

Also, in one of the final scenes, Elizabeth walks out in a field. In the beginning of the scene, the set is draped in the nice, chilly-looking morning fog. As she walks, the fog naturally dissipates. Except for the fog coming from the fog machine. The fog machine that must have been sitting there right next to where she was walking, because that was the only place that had fog shooting out of it. By no stretch of the imagination am I a film expert, but that’s just inexcusable. Any mediocre haunted house kids would know better than that.

I did say I liked the movie, right? I did. I liked it a lot. I loved Mr. Bennett. I wouldn’t have thought so, but Donald Sutherland was a great choice. I’m sad that we didn’t get to see more of his relationship with Elizabeth, but for the time allowed him, he was excellent.

I thought the loving attention paid to the costumes came through very well. The dances were very well done, using some particularly nice camera work, hiding and revealing characters in the crowded rooms.

The other sisters came off well, particularly Mary (although I don’t remember this scene in the movie or the book), who in only a few short scenes, showed a great character. Charlotte also provided a nice character study in very limited time. And how can anyone not love a movie with Judi Dench?

While I’m thinking of it, though, it’s a pity they had to cut out so much about the Wickham affair, but again, I can’t fault them for cutting so much.

In fact, that’s probably the biggest issue I have. Because they had to cut so much, it’s not the story that I wanted. I was prepared to feel that. Maybe that’s why I’m forgiving. There’s no way this movie can compete with the BBC version. If you want it to, you’ll be disappointed. All the much more so if you want to compare it to the book.

So, for what it is, I think it’s a great flick.

Pride and Prejudice: 8/10

A Polite Request


A Polite Request
Originally uploaded by Overread.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Rockettes Ain't Got Nothin' On These Guys

I've been trying to find a way to casually slip this photo into the blog, cause it's the best photo ever. I can't think of a way to bring it up in stride, so, like the drunk guy at the cocktail party, I'm just going to blurt it out embarrassingly and deal with the humiliation later.

I give you:

You Couldn't Hit the Broad Side of a Quiz

Avast* there, ye takers of quizzes!

I don’t know the parody that Camera Obscura is talking about, but if it has anything to do with counting road-kill, I’m all for it. Hey, it’s not for nothing that I grew up in the sticks…

Problem children from yesterday:

#4 – Effigy, the Ministry

#7 – Amadeus, Falco – Actually, I do remember a parody about a danish…

Extra jumbo sized points for the trans-lingual luckybuzz and her grasp of Nena’s 99 Red Balloons. I thought the Captain Kirk thing might throw you guys off. I certainly didn’t remember it… Hmmm… maybe I should do more foreign language ones :)

To the new quiz! Excelsior!

#1

You've lied your last lie
And I've cried my last cry
I'm out the door, babe
There's other fish in the sea

#2

Summer turns me upside down
Summer summer summer
It’s like a merry-go-round

#2 – Um… Ew…

I guess I must be dumb
’cause u had a pocket full of horses
Trojan and some of them used

#3

I bought you drinks, I brought you flowers
I read you books and talked for hours

#4

Wearin' next to nothing
Cause it's hot as an oven

#5

So you say I got a dirty mind,
I'm a mean go getter

#6

I remember the way that we touched
I wish I didn’t like it so much

#7

My story's infinite
Like the Longines Symphonette it doesn't rest

#8

I feel safest of all
I can lock all my doors
It's the only way to live

#9

We slip through the streets
While everyone sleeps
Getting bigger and sleeker
And wider and brighter

#10

As Rose collects the money in the canister
Who comes sliding down the banister?

Whee!

*Microsoft Word doesn’t know this word. I guess it’s true that Bill Gates hates pirates…

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Guess Who CameTo Dinner?

Also, I’m stuffed. Tonight, the prof I’m TAing for invited me and the other TAs he has (a good handful of people) over to his house to dine. Yummy yummy food. I particularly liked the ribs – and I’m very picky about meat that’s still on the bone. These were oh-so-tender. He said the trick is in boiling the meat and then quickly removing the water. He does this several times, later adding spices into the mix. I didn’t get the full recipe – it sounds much more complicated than my skills allow. But, yum. Seriously, yum.

There was much good discussion too, as there often is around this prof. His wife teaches a distantly related field as well, so the conversation was all over the place. I guess I should feel a bit sad that it’s tough for any of us to talk about anything except work and our studies, but hey, I actually like talking about that stuff. Oh, and LoudGradGuy is going on the most absolutely envy-inducing research trip. I would be more jealous, but it’s also sure to be intestinal distress-inducing, so I’ll be content to daydream and let him go and do his thing. TimidGradGal was very impressive too. It’s a pity I won’t ever deal with these people again, because I kind of like their pseudonyms.

Two folks were talking about the various must-be-jumped-through hoops of the grad world. The scariest was the exam bit. Am I really sure I want to be in this world? I love the teaching and I love the research, but do I really want to deal with all the griefers and bureaucracy and pettiness? No, I don’t, but I guess I will…

The Third Student

Well, I’ll be…

I’m not even sure what to do with this one. This student hasn’t been in class for the last, say… 80% of the class. Our class has a very stringent attendance policy: miss more than x classes and you fail (where X=much less than other teachers give), so he’s already gone on that count. He didn’t take either of the two quizzes. He failed spectacularly on the midterm, and he didn’t turn in either of the papers. Here’s the kicker:

He took the final.

I took a quick glance at some of the fill-in-the-blank answers – Woohoo! Comedy Gold.

Ok, I lied. I do know what to do with this student, but the amazing thing is the gall that it took to show up for the final. I mean, does he think he may actually pass? I can completely understand taking a class so you can fill up the credits enough to get student loans, or convince the parentals to keep sending money, but why actually spend the effort to get out of bed at 8 in the morning to take the final?

I’m baffled. Amused, but baffled.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Parlez-Vous Quiz?

Welcome back!

The final happened, and I am now the proud owner of ~60 bluebooks. Oh, no that’s wrong, most folks used two bluebooks, so that’d be about 100+ actual bluebooks for ~60 exams. Poop.

Didn’t I just finish grading?

Many moons ago, there was a quiz, and I think #9 was the only trouble – Pointer Sisters’ The Neutron Dance. Much more dangerous than the Safety Dance.

Right then! Upward and onward! (ok, maybe it’s not particularly industrial strength, but hey! It’s got a fur-in language!)

#1

What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue?

#2

Hey where did we go,
Days when the rains came

#3

Oh daddy dear you know you're still number one

#4

Well I look to my left and then I look to my right
And then I realize they've been striking at me
Since the middle of last night, hey!

#5

Jeder war ein grosser Krieger
Hielten sich fuer Captain Kirk
Das gab ein grosses Feuerwerk
Die Nachbarn haben nichts gerafft

#6

Talk to me, don’t lie to me
Save your breath
Don’t look at me, don’t smile at me
Just close your eyes

#7

With a bottle of wine in one hand and a woman in the other
'Cause he was a ladies man
He never stopped to worry what the next day would bring

#8

Hugging like a monkey see
Monkey do

#9

Falling in love is all bitter sweet
This love is strong why do I feel weak

#10

When I, you, and everyone we knew
Could believe, do, and share in what was true

The Glass Needs to be Full of Grain Alcohol.

I'm done.

2:58am

8am final

~15 bike commute home.

Very cold.

Will be very awake when I get home.

Will not have warm blankies.

(reason #9234785 I need a gal - blankie warmer)

hardly worth going home, but here I go.

No whining allowed about the quiz, now. I'll get you an industrial strength one tomorrow after the post-final crash :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Class is Half Empty

E-papers done, now I've got a clump of hardcopies to grade. I'm slowly trudging through. Fun thing with hardcopies is that I have to remember how to mark up a paper with a pencil. Oh, and I do a lot more plagiarism checking. Some students think just because it takes a bit more time to check off a hard copy that I won't do it. Assume at your own peril, oh students of mine!

Remember how I've been cutting down on the caffeine. Um... Not today.

I also have a bag of candy. Jelly Bellys, Gummies (coke bottles and peach penguins), Runts, and Ghiridelli mint chocolate bits.

So, yeah. I'm wired.

hehe - and you just clicked over here to see if there was a quiz! hehe - addicts :)

If I finish before it gets toooo late, I'll post one. I've been listening all night, and I've got a good list :)

By the way, I really like the title of these posts. Man, I'm clever...

Emo!? I Was Sooo Pre-Emo... Drama Freak, Well...

I swear, the only reason I did this was because I had just gone on a bathroom break. Mr. Scrooge, in his benevolent wisdom, took the manacles off my ankle, and I won't test his patience by slacking in my grading again. It would be nice to put another coal in the stove, but I know better than to ask...





Arty Kid



Whether you were a drama freak or an emo poet, you definitely were expressive and unique.



You're probably a little less weird these days - but even more talented!

The Class is Half Full

Little over half done grading!

See, I promised that I'd have all the papers done on final day. Tomorrow's final day. Because of all the PhD app grief, I didn't really get a chance to look at any of them in detail until today. Bad bad Overread. I figured I'd be spending the night here in the office tonight (we've got a nice couch-ish thing in the conference room if I needed to nap for an hour or two). It's not so bad, because tomorrow all I have to do is proctor the exam at 8am (who scheduled that?), and then at noon I could collect the papers and go home to sleep.

Funny thing is that I think if I can keep this pace, I might be able to finish in enough time to go home and shower, brush teeth (I really should keep a toothbrush in the office), and get a few hours of sleep before the test.

It's a dream, and it prolly won't happen, but everybody's got to have a dream, right?

There Goes The Neighborhood

I seriously should be grading papers, but (how many blog posts start out like that) I just discovered that our very own Mendi-la has a blog!

I've only read a couple entries so far, but I can already tell it's quality. Most importantly, there are updates about Angel Baby and Darling Daughter, but of course there are also shenanigans. Here's a clip from a movie review post:

Z man [Mendi-la's hubby] claimed War of the Worlds was like sex without the orgasm. All this energy went into it and then no climax.
comedy gold, I tells ya.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Trod the Mill

5.28km - 31'02"


Yeah, I haven't run in a week - What's it to you?

I actually only ran about half my plan then my tummy started rumbling unhappily, so I stopped. Treadmill: good or evil, I still haven't decided

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Four Score and Twenty Quizes Ago

I agree. I think the bunny’s dead. Does that mean I’m pregnant? Because if so, I’ve got some explaining to do...

Anyway, now that the first two nasty apps are out, and there’s no way I’m going to dive into the papers I need to grade…

It’s Quiztime!

I have to say, I’m very happy when the quizzes are hard, but almost everything gets answered, so I’m very happy with the last quiz – hehe

Mendi-la very nearly has #3. It is Looking for Love (In All The Wrong Places), but the artist is Johnny Lee. Who is Johnny Lee? I have no idea. No idea at all…

The other troublesome was #9. Kenny Rogers… wait for it… The Coward of the County… Ah, yes, you knew that one, didn’t you? It’s okay, you don’t have to tell anyone. Just nod your head a little bit – no one will see. Good. Now aren’t you glad you go that out of the way?

I’m also very glad that Mon got I’m Coming Out and New Kid got Voulez-Vous. I was afraid I was going to need to assign some remedial disco study sessions :)

Newness! (bonus points if you can guess what station I’ve been listening to!)

#1 – A couple of folks did this one…

You, you've got a pretty car.
I think I wanna drive it.

#2 –

Got to concentrate
don't be distractive
Turn me on tonight

#3 –

We are strangers by day, lovers by night
Knowing it’s so wrong, but feeling so right

#4 – toughie… I had another great misheard lyric on this one too…

Hey, If we can solve any problem
Then why do we lose so many tears
Oh, and so you go again
When the leading man appears

#5 –

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize that a change can only come
When we stand together as one

#6 –

Radio playing softly some singer’s sad sad song
He’s singing about standing in the shadows of love

#7 –

Strangers making the most of the dark

#8 –

Tell you straight - no intervention.
To your face - no deception.
You're the biggest fake.
That much is true.

#9 – tough cut, but you all know the song :)

Industry don't pay a price that's fair
All the common people breathing filthy air
Roof caved in on all the simple dreams
And to get ahead your heart starts pumping schemes

10 –

What started out as friendship, has grown stronger
I only wish I had the strength to let it show