Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Quiz Game (Not) In New York

Edited to add:
For added joy, Now instituted is the Pilgrim/Heretic Rule: To be considered truly a quiz-master or quiz-mistress, you must also now supply the line that follows the given line. Bwahahaa!
Thanks Pilgrim/Heretic!

I think it's high time for a new lyrics quiz, what do you guys think?

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street

As he rises to her apology
Anybody else would surely know

I never know, I never know, I never know why
You make me wanna cry

Do the pony puts us in a trance
do the watusi just give us a chance
That's when we fall in line

The mist is lifting slowly
I can see the way ahead
And I've left behind the empty streets
That once inspired my life

Don't you look at my girlfriend
She's the only one I got
Not much of a girlfriend

well, Cleopatra died for Egypt,
what a waste of time
white ones and red ones
and some you can't disguise

I’m counting on you, Lord, please don’t let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,

Long nights, impossible odds
Keeping my back to the wall

Gunter glieben glauchen globen

Bonus for figuring out where the title came from :)

Friday, February 24, 2006


Google Video got ahold of some very cool newsreel stuff from the National Archive!

Who needs the History Channel?

Edit - Better to go here for better options :)

Answer Me These Questions Three

One of the biggest problems that I have in class is getting students to read the assigned reading. So, usually I have a weekly quiz that covers pieces of the reading. It gives a decent idea of how well folks are digging through. The problem is that while I think it's really helpful to have the quiz and go over the correct answers - sometimes it can even lead to a nice discussion or argument - it eats up a lot of time. I feel like I'm taking up a lot of the class with what I want them to get out of the readings rather than finding out what they're getting out of them.

So. This week I asked them to send me five specific questions that came from the readings, email them to me before class and we'd dig through some of them during class. A lot of the questions were kind of what I expected - simple identification or basic definition stuff, but some were just wonderful. I got some truly thoughtful ideas. I got some questions the untangled problems that I hadn't even seen. I got questions that dealt with overarching concepts from other classes. I hate to admit that I didn't expect such good stuff, but I was really happily blown away.

Then I realized I had no way of distilling all of the good questions into a class period. I ended up copying some of the best ones into a file and giving everyone a copy. We dealt with some big issues in class, but there were so many good questions that we didn't get to. I told them that they could come to office hours to talk about any of the questions, but I'm not sure if anyone will come. I don't want to leave them hanging after some of them went to so much work to put the questions together.

Now I don't know whether I should ask them to build questions for next week or not. One class preferred quizzes and the other preferred making questions themselves. I think that writing the questions really led them to approach the readings more carefully, but I'm not sure how much I can ask of them before they mutiny.

I do really love it when students surprise me like that though - so cool.


8.31km - 40'23"

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Like a good boy, I followed my sister's advice and got a huge honkin' burrito that destroys any trace of my diet for today. Oh, it was good though. They add the grilled onions in there and well, just yum, ok?

With this in mind, it's important to know that in China, Pizza Hut is a very upscale place. They have a salad bar, but it's a one trip affair, so one has to get as much into one bowl as possible. You don't think the folks who built the great wall would be up to this task?

Via Boingboing

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Plus the soda machine is out of Diet Coke, and it wouldn't return my money.

I don't want a Sprite. Obey your thirst, my ass...

On Finding A Way To Feel Guilty About Success

Everyone here is very happy about me getting acceptance #1, but I'm trying to find out how happy I should be. First off, funding is not settled yet, so there's no guarantee that I can even accept yet, but that's something I don't worry about worrying about because it only involves me. What worries me is that two other folks put in applications this season too. The other two folks applied to some of the same places I did.

Friend #1 only applied to very very elite ivy and then some schools. She is now coming around to the idea that she may not get in any of these places. She just got a rejection from what was arguably one of her best chance schools. I applied to that school too and haven't heard back from them. She thinks this means that I'll get in. She's being very sweet to me and trying to be cheerful, but it's a smile with puffy red rimmed eyes.

Friend #2 is really not entirely sold on the whole getting a PhD thing, but I'm not sure if that's a front she's putting up because she's really worried or not. She applied to the place where I got in, but hasn't heard back from them yet. In fact, she hasn't gotten any mail for the past two weeks. Not even junk mail. Not even the care package her mom sent about two weeks ago. She went to the post office, but they said there shouldn't be any trouble.

I'm very excited, but I don't want to be a giddy amplifier of their anxiety. Ah, and five places yet to be heard from.

It's Gotta Be The Socks

8.31km - 39'50"

New specialty running socks feel oh-so-good. Boing boing boing all the way down the trail.


Note to self:

Feeling good about your run does not make your body able to do the old army 'abs and pushup' workout you hazily remember. Doing only one quarter of said workout will make your arms feel like overcooked spaghetti and make your abs feel like more of a crushed shot glass than a six-pack.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hey Mr. Postman!

I came home to see two envelopes - one small, one big.

The small one was rejection #2. A Very Important Midwestern University. I thought I might have had an slim outside shot to get in, but this one doesn't hurt as much as rejection #1 because I don't really have any academic or personal connection to the VIMU.

The large envelope was acceptance #1!!! Woohoo!! It's a... Let's say a highly ranked non-ivy in a gorgeous area. Yes. Let's say that. Let us say that many times. (it's even ranked higher then VIMU on a little university ranking list - and we know those are infallible, right?) Funding is still unsettled, so I can't get too excited, but I have to admit squealing like a little girl when I opened the envelope. Well, squealing like a little girl on the inside maybe.

Frankly it's more like relief. I now really believe I can do this. There are still a billion hurdles to clear, but this is one of the big ones, to be sure.

How shall I celebrate?


Main stack of grading is done! There's still a little matter of the bonus questions to figure out. Frankly, I've never been a fan of bonus questions, but there it is. I'm happy though because I can actually go home now and maybe get some more reading done! Woot!

Also, I don't usually deal in petitions, especially web-petitions, but I think this one that I found at Shrinkykitten's is worthwhile, so please take a look and reply in the comments if you support it. Also, you are encouraged to reply in the comments regarding any horrible costume that you were made to wear in any theatrical production - especially if it involved bra-stuffing. Thank you for your support.

Please to sign this petition if you would like:

1. Sheepy to find his "Flowers in the attic" diorama that he made as a kid (allegedly FOR SCHOOL!);

2. Post really good pictures of said diorama;

3. Failing that (that is, if he cannot find it) he ought reread the book and make a new diorama.

If you agree with the above, do please sign this petition!

edited to add: if you missed or don't remember the original discussion and SheepClaims, go here

All I Get Is Slobbery Fingers

How to whistle loudly

I was once told that the key to journalism is the headline :)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Truly Miserable

Is there actually ice dancing to Les Miz in the Olympics, or was my sandwich laced with hallucinogens? Including the portion with gunfire? And are the skaters wearing blood-stained costumes?

Both commentators liked the music. Quote from the guy "It's what ice-dancing means to me." What is this? a high school paper?

Open Mic Night

The second installment of the Open Mic Night will have a new rule!

We're still using Haiku of 5-7-5 syllables, but now, since this is a poetry gathering of the finest and most sensitive natures, there is an added requirement. The opening line of your haiku must contain one idea that was used in the previous haiku (best if from the last line).

I'll start with...

A black satin vest,
Sleeves - fishnet, his eyes - bloodshot
Goth out in daylight

My President's Day:
Gym-less run, endless reading
What is this 'Day Off?'

Remember, good poetry is not allowed! :)

Further But Slower

9.9km - 48'49"

So the gym was closed for President's Day. Grrrr... I came in to campus on my day off to take advantage of the coolie-o gym we've got here and now I can't. Poop. So, I decided just to change in my office and run from our building to my trail. It's actually a little closer to the trail so I did three loops instead of two. Almost a 10k today. That feels pretty good. If my pedometer is accurate, I could probably do a 10k in under 50 minutes. Cool.

Anyway, Here I sit all sweaty in my office on my day off. Which means I'm going to get to work. 'Day off' - it's a funny term.

Wifely Expectations

I had heard about this a while ago, but didn't get a chance to read it until today. Here's a part of the blurb from The Smoking Gun:
FEBRUARY 17--This country, as you know, is filled with the deranged. And then there's Travis Frey, a 33-year-old Iowa man who is facing charges that he tried to kidnap his own wife (not to mention a separate child pornography rap). Frey, prosecutors contend, apparently is a rather demanding guy. In fact, he actually drew up a bizarre four-page marriage document--a "Contract of Wifely Expectations"--that sought to establish guidelines for his spouse in terms of hygiene, clothing, and sexual activities.
It's pretty pathetic, but here's a scan of the contract. Nice font, too. Fair warning - it's not explicit really, but will probably make you feel unclean.

Dean Dad Gets an A

Silly Monkey.

If you are working in higher ed and aren't a regular reader of Dean Dad, you should be.

Here, he is inspired into writing a first-year compare and contrast paper on Curious George and Brokeback Mountian. It's genius. It's also an example of man's inhumanity toward man.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Scene From A Cafe

There's a couple at a table near the window. It looks like they're together, but they haven't talked. The guy has a couple of magazines - cars? motorcycles? something flashy. He's flipping through them faster than reading speed. Faster than would allow him to even really look at the pictures. Head down at an angle almost sharp enough to cut off his line of sight to the woman across from him.

She's mainly looking out the window at the gorgeous cloudless day. It rained this morning, so everything is freshly washed and the air is crisp and clean. She's looking out the window with slightly knitted brows. She's stylishly dressed, trendy with coordinated layers - very much in contrast to the man, t-shirt, jeans and a windbreaker. A group of girls walk through the cafe giggling a little more loudly than seems comfortable, and she glances away from the window. Her head turns back toward the window but stops at the man sitting across from her.

He looks up briefly. Then back to the magazines. Almost finished.

She curls her leg up and sits on it, looking back out the window.

He turns the back cover of the last magazine and hops up. He zigs off to the sales counter, dodging the tables.

She turns to watch him expectantly, but doesn't stand up until he turns back to look at her.

They both head out the far door.

They never said a single word to each other.

Okay, Seriously

I'm getting back to grading papers, but first,

I want this.

It's an automagical book scanner. It even turns the pages for you. Droooool.

Another Comic to Check Out

Natasha's Normal Life is quite chuckle-worthy. I wish my campus paper had comics this funny:

Can you tell I'm grading papers right now?

Again, be glad you're reading these in a feed-reader, because they look horrible in the Blogger template :)


Sheldon is a funny little comic about a boy billionaire and his talking duck. He's had a couple of shots recently at tenure:

I Give Up

Ok, well, I held out as long as I could, but since everyone is doing it, and I'm a lemming, here ya go:

My Johari Window