Saturday, November 30, 2002


Oh, how sad. Fighting Feminists: Aren't We All Women? - By Wendy McElroy -

I really don't even know how to react to this article. Victims are turned into charlatans, men are rendered powerless in a gender-biased coutroom, and apparently all femininsts everywhere are bitter-hearted, vindictive, and compassionless.

Overgeneralization, oversimiplification. All men are not supposed to be in control of or have power over all women in the definition of patriarchy - there are certainly many women - white or not, with power, influence, and affluence - who have more power over certain men. Socioeconomics are too complex to simplify matters this way. Additionally, I must have missed the parts of the feminist theory, history, and writing that says feminists (apparently of the PC variety, the only strand of feminism that gets specifically mentioned here) speak for all women. Most women I know who call themselves feminists wouldn't ever make this statement. This is the type of ignorance that got white middle- and upper-calss feminists in trouble a few decades ago, and I think that a lot of feminists took somethign from the accusations - namely, a greater degree of reflexivity and a reluctance to claim universality or the ability to represent all womanhood through one single voice.

And to charge that "For some feminists, any sense of decency or concern for women is suspended if the woman thinks for herself and disagrees" is, well, if it's really true, it's unfortunate. I believe that, while there may certainly be feminists out there who are not very nice individuals (there are some in any group), feminists on the whole are very concerned for women, and for children, and for men, as well - and sometimes with animal rights, environmental issues, and a host of other social and cultural concerns.

And this:

"How many other women have been battered into silence by PC feminists? Especially in academia, where political correctness holds many women have feminists intimidated into never speaking out at all?"

Take away PC-ness and the results of feminist activism: I'd be a seceretary getting my ass pinched by a prof, instead of a graduate student working on a PhD. And oh, yeah, the ass-pinching might be my fault, after all, especially if I wasn't dressed like a granny. But on the other hand, if I dressed like a granny, no man would want to marry me, thereby increasing my self-worth, so I have to dress kind of cute and just put up with the pinching. Sounds like a catch-22. Yeah, I can see where feminism has closed a lot of doors and kept me from expressing my views in academia.

Here's the kicker: the closing two paragraphs of the article:

"Real feminism aims at genuine equality and good will between daughters and sons. It eliminates the need for parents to choose which of their children are to be privileged by the courts and other institutions of society, which are to be oppressed.

Perhaps then women who are true victims will be able to claim what they justly deserve: the automatic compassion of decent human beings."

oh, wait! you mean that's NOT what FEMINISM has been trying to accomplish? Gee, my Women's Studies teachers must have been some of those nasty feminists that don't have any sense of decency or compassion for others, because they told me that those were some of the aims of feminism! "Real feminism", I guess, is something completely different from "feminism." Nonplussed. Completely nonplussed by this article.

But I do want to make it clear that, while I disagree with this author, I find it disheartening that anyone could make fun of a person's disabilities, or find any measure of anything other than horror and sympathy because of a person's experience as an abused person. Disagreement with a person's arguments or opinions is no reason at all for ad hominem attacks.

- posted by laurie @ 11/30/2002 11:42:00 PM (0) comments


It's eighteen degrees out right now. With a seven mph wind. Supposed to feel eight outside at the moment. We are approaching the coldest weather I have ever had to shiver through. I'm breaking out the down jacket and the long underwear, and I am so very happy that I washed sweaters very recently.

Oh brrr!

- posted by laurie @ 11/30/2002 10:45:00 PM (0) comments


I'm reading and working away on my literature review (expect reflections on the ways in which metaphors shape our interactions with the world and what this may mean for intercultural online communications scenarios later!) but I just wanted to say: Village Voice Radio rocks! They are currently playing Nu Shooz "I Can't Wait" - and they have played some Thelonious Monk, and a lot of other interesting, random things. Makes reading more interesting, if not necessarily as productive. :)

- posted by laurie @ 11/30/2002 01:23:00 PM (0) comments


Good gracious! Did anyone happen to notice that tomorrow is December 1? Holy crap. I have a huge, gigantic, overwhelming amount of work to do. Gggrrrrrrr!

From now until the end of the semester, I think it's fair warning to let people know, I will be griping about school or writing about one of three topics: inferential statistics, cultural metaphors and the Internet, and research in online anf df2f writing centers.

- posted by laurie @ 11/30/2002 08:35:00 AM (0) comments

Friday, November 29, 2002


Blogchalk. Chalk your blog, add it, search for other chalked blogs. Nifty. Blogchalk Search Engine

Someone out there hates my site. :( I got a rating of one from some bloghopper. *peep*

Ah, well. There are plenty o' things wrong with the page, I will admit, but I kinda like it. It's comfy and roomy, and I have been here a while. Maybe the person who gave me a rating of one was the same person who came to my site after googling for pee (see last entry), and was disappointed in the lack of pee-related content on the page.

Really going to bed now.

- posted by laurie @ 11/29/2002 11:37:00 PM (0) comments


Long time, no post. It's a holiday weekend and way too close to the end of the semester for my comfort, though, so please cut me a little slack!

I'm heading off to bed very shortly (after I freeze my lay through a last cigarette of the evening - btw, I am quitting over winter break, honest, I have the prescription for zyban and everything), but I wanted to share one thing before I go freeze my butt off.

Before logging in to blogger tonight, I checked my stats. I've got some interesting hits coming from some oddball places. A few google searches that kind of amuse me: someone got here by googling "pixie oil diffuser," another person by googling something about having to pee (I think the search was "pee" + "I have to"). Heh. I huess it's all about context, right? I was completely confused, especially by the last one, until I remembered that recent link to a woman's guide to peeing standing up . . . random.

Anyway, hope the radom visitors enjoyed the site. I know it wasn't quite what they were looking for, but . . .

I'm going to go cool my heels (and my nose, and my fingertips), reduce my circulation, and all of that now. Good night!

- posted by laurie @ 11/29/2002 11:03:00 PM (0) comments

Tuesday, November 26, 2002


"The more things change, the more they stay the same?" That's what I am wondering at the moment - there has been an interesting series of posts and responses (including one by me that was knee-jerk and not well-thought-out - sorry again, Shelley) going on at Blog Sisters and at Burningbird regarding "Girlism" and feminism. Check out this post - and the responses: Burningbird: Shutting down the conversation

The comment that really got me: "I try not to read Blog Sisters because it feels like "Maxim for girls", reinforcing the sorts of attitudes which lead to good docile consumers who fit into easily manipulated demographics."

I don't feel this way. At all. Wow.

I was looking for some of the posts that I think counter this (for eaxmple, the critical discussions of Barbie, of girlie and girl-power, of breast cancer research and funding), but, as usual, I'm late, late, so you'll have to hop on over to Blog Sisters and poke for yourself. Maxim, my butt!

And what's this "for girls" crap? Is Maxim for men or boys, d'ya think?

steam is going to start coming out of my ears soon. I'm going to log off and go get ready for school.

- posted by laurie @ 11/26/2002 10:20:00 AM (0) comments


And after reviewing my blog tonight, I decided I need a new pic. I don't really look like that any more, The pic on my site is almost a year old - believe it or not, I cut twelve whole inches off of my hair about three or four days before that pic was taken!!

- posted by laurie @ 11/26/2002 12:21:00 AM (0) comments


New in a series of harassing blog posts - what Rafi HASN'T done with his blog!!!

BTW, for anyone keeping track, Rafi still hasn't published anything on his blog.

Love ya, Rafi!

- posted by laurie @ 11/26/2002 12:18:00 AM (0) comments

Monday, November 25, 2002


And stealing Clancy's Googlism post, here's what googlism says about me:

Googlism for: laurie johnson

laurie johnson is often associated with music for british television
laurie johnson is perhaps best known internationally for his title theme for the diana rigg/linda thorson seasons of the avengers
laurie johnson is undoubtedly one of the greatest composers and arrangers in the world today
laurie johnson is a very fine writer
laurie johnson is a member of the "panel on the future" which is a special project of peri
laurie johnson is the recipient of the district's first beacon of light award
laurie johnson is generally an excellent composer
laurie johnson is an assistant director
laurie johnson is right back to his 1960s glory with this one
laurie johnson is giving us one of his best scores
laurie johnson is certainly one of the most prolific soundtrack composers around
laurie johnson is married to john mercer and have one daughter
laurie johnson is the provider
laurie johnson is heard in the background
laurie johnson is assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the milford school district and a board member on the nh council for the social
laurie johnson is letting them go
laurie johnson is tracking the dinner dance budget items separately from the board of trustees budget
laurie johnson is a genius
laurie johnson is oncology clinical coordinator at genentch biooncology in palmdale
laurie johnson is quite herrmann
laurie johnson is a freshmen member of carroll county's high school chess team with her cunning talent and remarkable moves on the board she can and will
laurie johnson is one of the main characters of the story

Hey - I'm a genius! Nice.
(by the way - I haven't left for class yet)

- posted by laurie @ 11/25/2002 10:50:00 AM (0) comments


Hi. I am now officially going to be late for class. I went to the doctor's this morning, came back home with every intention of studying for my stat exam on Wednesday (since I'm somehow going out tonight???) and, of course, sat down to read my email. That's it, I swear. But, me being me, and the Internet being the Internet, here I sit, over an hour later, browsing blogs and blog-related stuff. I'll have to link the blogathon site later - I really gotta head right now - but this sounds so cool. 24 hours of blogging, with entries posted every half-hour. If there's a blogathon 2003, perhaps I'll get some sponsors, a lotta coffee, and an idea for an interesting blog project. And some really comfy p.j.'s.

Out the door. Now! (after I grab a slice of cold pizza for lunch - sustenance of the gods - if gods were grad students who are chronically late.)

Man, it's going to be a stream-of-consciousness kind of day. Whoope!

- posted by laurie @ 11/25/2002 10:44:00 AM (0) comments

Sunday, November 24, 2002


BTW, for anyone keeping track, Rafi still hasn't published anything on his blog.

Love ya, Rafi!

- posted by laurie @ 11/24/2002 09:34:00 AM (0) comments


Gotta love it when posts disappear. Argh. Will write more later.

- posted by laurie @ 11/24/2002 09:32:00 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, November 20, 2002


Ok, ok, one more thing:

The tech guy behind the genius counter at the Apple sotre tonight made me feel like a moron. Like an idiot girl who knows nothhing about computers except that they come in two flavors: Mac and PC. And that the flavors don't mix well. For shame. The whole apple tradition is built around sleek interface design, user-friendliness, and ease-of-use (is that redundant? there's a difference, even if only a shades-of-grey one, in my mind). To get such a talking-down-to (especially while the guy next to me didn't) at an Apple store is bubble-bursting.

Ok, more page-turning. No more blogging 'til tomorrow, as in when I wake up, not when it turns midnight in 14 minutes.

*yawn* estoy cansada. tengo mucho sueno. (how does one get ~ in this interface?) voy - a leer, y despues, a dormir.

- posted by laurie @ 11/20/2002 09:43:00 PM (0) comments


Must . . . write . . . one . . . post . . .today . . . !

It's been a long day. I'm sleepy and have reading to do. But I went shopping today and spent dollars I don't necessarily have. Bought utterly useless items: yummy-smelling candles, a scented oil diffuser and oils to diffuse, a CD (really an impluse buy!). The only practical purchases were care products for my leater items: the briefcase I don't use and the leather coat I rarely wear. They get such infrequent use in part because I am afraid it'll rain or I'll dump something on one of them, and then I'll be upset at myself.

Ok. I'm reading now. I swear. Turning pages as I type.

Oh, one last thing: Rafi - you are being publicly called out. Blog, you silly! You promised!

and now, good night, my friends. see ya 'round like a record.

- posted by laurie @ 11/20/2002 09:26:00 PM (0) comments

Tuesday, November 19, 2002


In Bench Pressing and a Really Good Butt, the author asks, "Whan do sports and body image get complicated?" Um, I need to get going if I'm to be on time for calss, so I'll pick up this thread later. But I'll say right now, as someone who has lived a sedentary 26 years and decided very recently to get in better shape, it is really complicated. I'm doing this for my health, right? Right. Only sometimes, I'm not so sure, and then I get pissed off because I know better.

More to come . . . (see - this post reinforces yesterday's post about needing another blog or two . . .)

- posted by laurie @ 11/19/2002 11:54:00 AM (0) comments


No way! A Woman’s Guide on How to Pee Standing!!!

I tried this when I was a kid - really little, like three or four. Old enough to remember what a disaster it was. Anyway, I just recently told Eric how abso-frickin-lutely impossible it was for women to pee standing. I have been proven wrong.

Link from Blog Sisters

- posted by laurie @ 11/19/2002 11:29:00 AM (0) comments


WTF? Do you get this? Like the people who wrote in to the testimonials section, I have to say, "Ok . . . satire? Or not?" Hmmmm.

Link from Jana, who apparently is also a procrastinating grad student.

- posted by laurie @ 11/19/2002 10:23:00 AM (0) comments

Monday, November 18, 2002


All right, that last post got interestingly screwed up. And when I try to edit it, blogger tries to deliver me to a URL linked in the post, so I can't edit or delete. Weird. So, ignore that post for the time being.

**edit** I fixed it. Had a "eureka!!!" moment: "So THAT'S what safe mode is for!" Oh, thank you, Blogger dev people, for including that functionality for losers like me that can't close tags or close quotes in hrefs!

- posted by laurie @ 11/18/2002 02:17:00 PM (0) comments


yet another post about my wants: I want The Encyclopedia of Rhetoric. It's on sale. It's half off. And I'm a broke graduate student. *sniff* With family who don't quite get what I do, or even what rhetoric is. *sniff**sniff*

Ah, well. I'll live without it, I think! ;)

- posted by laurie @ 11/18/2002 02:12:00 PM (0) comments


I'm going to go throw on some clothes and head to class, but I just wanted to state my position on a very important blog-related issue: typos.
Typographical errors occur frequently in my posts. Sometimes I catch these evil demonstrations of my lack of typing skills, but other times I don't. I do not touch-type: I usually watch my hands while I type, though I am trying to break myself of the habit (I used to do the same thing when I took piano lessons - my piano teacher used to hold one of my music books just above my hands to keep me from looking at my fingers and the keys while I played, and ot encourage me to look at the sheet music instead). I make a lot of typos. That's life. Typos do not, do not, do not demonstrate someone's lack of intelligence or spelling prowess or anything like that. Sometimes I go back and edit my blog entries because I know other people think so, but it's just not true. Soooooo. . .

F**K it. I have typos in my posts. Deal with it.

- posted by laurie @ 11/18/2002 10:16:00 AM (0) comments


Goooood morning everyone! It's a beautiful day here - at least from inside my apartment - I'm sure it's completely freezing outside, but who cares? I woke up on the happy side of the bed this morning! Haven't been in this good of a mood on a Monday since . . . since . . . well, it's been a long time. We'll leave it at that!

So, as all I have done today is work on TCQ stuff and drink some coffee (yeah, I still have my p.j.'s on *sigh*), I haven't got a lot ot report in the way of news and views. I'll get to that later on today, perhaps. I just wanted to share my bit of sunshine with the world beyond my apartment!

The only thing I really have to report is this: I think I am going to have to start another blog (or two). I've been noticing that this blog hardly ever sticks to topic - rhet/tech, cyberculturem cyberfeminism, IP, p2p and emerging tech. But I have also noticed that I like this: I have a place to run off at the mouth, so to speak, and that's fun, necessary. But - I'd still like to have a place for organizing my more academic/scholarly (or what passes for such anyway!) thoughts, and recently I have been thinking it might be useful/interesting to keep a specifically feminist-oriented blog (not that I couldn't write about feminism here or in an academic blog, but that it would be nice to also hoave this collected in one location). So I might need to start other blogs sometime in the near future. The problem is: I think I want to use something other than Blogger to create the next generation of Laurie Blogs. Partly for the same reason that I own a Mac and a PC - I believe in being as conversant as possible with as many OSes and apps as possible. The other part of this desire to move away from Blogger would be because of some of the problems Blogger has (and has had in the past): instability, hacks, disappearing/reappearing templates and other files, those wonderful days when my blog won't appear when I type in the url, the times when my images, hosted on the same frickin' server as my blog, simply don't appear . . . you know, I have been using blogger for over a year now, and while there are others out there who have been using longer, certainly, I feel a sort of loyalty to blogger - I like blogger, like a lot of the blogs people create with blogger, like (as much as one can wothout actually knowing them) the people who created/run blogger. But perhaps it's time to move on.

That means I've got to figure out what blogging tool I want to use next. An if I want it to be web-based or not. Do I want to host my blog on server space that belongs to me? Does that mean I need to find a host and pay a fee and perhaps register a domain name (I've been thinking about this for years, but haven't gotten around to doing it yet).

Last, and certainly not least: do I have the time, the energy, the motivation, the creative power to maintain three blogs?
Maybe I should think on this a bit more ;)

- posted by laurie @ 11/18/2002 09:51:00 AM (0) comments

Sunday, November 17, 2002


In thisWWWave Article Janet Cortese explains that feminism has become broad, unfocused, and watered-down. I don't agree with her on everything, but her conclusion is interesting, something that perhaps feminists need to meditate on a bit. Should feminism be so all-incluseive? Is it supposed to be tough and scary? Is feminism really consulting Victorian mother's manuals and becoming the codependent spouse of patriarchy by focusing on childcare and childbirth as women's issues?

Concluding section:

"Changing Women's Roles For Good
There has always been a question rumbling through the ranks of feminism that people ask, but no one has the answer to. Why is it that changes made to women's roles never seem to stick? We're not the first culture to squat over handmirrors and "discover" the female orgasm. Naomi Wolf goes through that quite well in her book "Promiscuities." We're not the first generation to have women working and making our own money. Until the 1960s, the women of ancient Egypt had more rights than we did! Why do these changes never seem to stick without major effort?

It's always assumed that there are forces outside of feminism who work to snap the rubberband back, who work against the advances we've made and unravel them. I'm proposing that, very often, feminism undoes its own advances by:

Attempts to broaden itself out to the point of evaporation, and
Attempts to define itself as "not really that scary," and hence embrace the same old crap that came before, but label it feminism.
These are serious problems. I don't know what the solutions are. But I do know that pursuing only woman-oriented goals that have to do with children is not the path. Embracing images of women who suffer instead of women who break heads is not the path. Opening our minds to the point where our brains fall out is not the path.

We are skittering backwards and calling it progress. It's not due to young teenagers wearing glitter eyeshadow and -- thunderously stupid and sexist though they are -- it's not due to Britney Spears and MTV. It's not the fault of the generation coming up, the teenagers and eary-twenty-somethings that haven't yet taken the reins of power in any way. It's the fault of the generation that's presently in the driver's seat of feminism, the generation of women who are trying to softpedal the potential impact of feminism by claiming it's about nothing more threatening than babies and breast implants and the "freedom" to stay the hell home and give up your career, the freedom to be mediocre and make the same mistakes that brought feminism to the fore fifty years ago with the publication of "The Feminine Mystique." It sickens me to see these women praising the Victorian model of Ever-Nurturing Moral Mommy To The World as if it's feminist, then turning around and blaming the next generation of teenaged girls for the fact that the advances made by women never seem to stick.

That's a polite way of saying that I'm sick of listening to 40 year old women bitching about how unenlightened today's teenaged girls are, then in their next breath talking about how motherhood should be the center of feminism becuase mothers are special sainted people with knowledge beyond the ken of mere mortals (and certainly women such as myself who have no kids and are hence classifiable as nothing but dickless men).

Feminism shouldn't be same-old-same-old. Feminism is revolutionary. And feminism is scary. Real change is always scary. And that's the way it should be."

- posted by laurie @ 11/17/2002 05:12:00 PM (0) comments


I just finished watching Vanilla Sky, which is a remake of the Spanish film Abre los ojos, in case you didn't know. I saw the Spanish film when I was living in Spain and I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I bought the movie on video as soon as it was available in the USA for a reasonable price. I did not, however, rush right out to see Vanilla Sky. It got mixed reviews, some friends said it wasn't that great, and from what I heard, it might have been too close to the original to be anythign other than an elaborate "translation," if you will.

I am glad I finally did see Vanilla Sky, but I do think that Abre los ojos is better in many ways. The music is better, for example. I also think that the foreshadowing is a bit too heavy-handed in Vanilla Sky, and that the movie has a mor happy-cherry-optomistic feel to it. I can't explain the latter, it's kind of a gut-level feeling, but Vanliia Sky didn't seem as dark. Pretty movie, though, and I love Cameron Diaz. (I think one of the main critiques of a Salon reviewer was that she was the most likeable character in the movie - a problem when she's supposed to be the psycho-bitch stalker-ex-girlfriend.)

The long and short of it is: if you haven't seen Abre los ojos, do it! It's an awesome, mind-bending movie.

- posted by laurie @ 11/17/2002 04:33:00 PM (0) comments

Saturday, November 16, 2002


Please, please check out "the cyberhut of Devil Bunny in Bondage" Performance Art site. it's one of the best sites I have randomly found in a long, long time.

- posted by laurie @ 11/16/2002 12:10:00 PM (0) comments


"What's a blog?" Find the answer(s) in this comic from Inivisble Shoebox. Link credits go to: andKairosnews Jill/txt.

- posted by laurie @ 11/16/2002 09:11:00 AM (0) comments

Friday, November 15, 2002


:) Friday fun linkage. Nose-oriented. Not saying anything else.

- posted by laurie @ 11/15/2002 05:07:00 PM (0) comments


I just added a weather button to my blog. Yeah, yeah, I already have the Weather Pixie, but even though she's a cutie, she seems to offer less-recently-updated information than I'd like, hence the other button. We'll try a side-by-side comparison for a while, and see what happens. If the pixie performs well, she'll be the main source of weather information on my site. If the other button provides better info, well, honestly - I might keep the pixie. Che's cute, and a much better way to get the weather than an impersonal button with clouds, etc. Besides she's (kind of) a redhead. Who can resist redheads? ;)

- posted by laurie @ 11/15/2002 04:43:00 PM (0) comments


Accprding to The Temperament Sorter, I am an Idealist. This actually surprises me not one leetle bit!

"All Idealists (NFs) share the following core characteristics:

Idealists are enthusiastic, they trust their intuition, yearn for romance, seek their true self, prize meaningful relationships, and dream of attaining wisdom.
Idealists pride themselves on being loving, kindhearted, and authentic.
Idealists tend to be giving, trusting, spiritual, and they are focused on personal journeys and human potentials.
Idealists make intense mates, nurturing parents, and inspirational leaders.

Idealists, as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self--always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. And they want to help others make the journey. Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials.

Idealists are rare, making up no more than 8 to 10 percent of the population. But their ability to inspire people with their enthusiasm and their idealism has given them influence far beyond their numbers."

- posted by laurie @ 11/15/2002 02:57:00 PM (0) comments


I want to go to this: O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference 2003!!!!

I went to the p2p and web-based services conference in Nov. 2001 and had a grand ol' time, though I did feel a bit like a fishie out of my bowl. Try being the only one at a computer industry conference wearing a name badge that says, "Department of English." Of course, I got kick-ass funding to go to the 2001 conference, and I somehow don't see the same happening here. Mayhaps I could get a paper accepted, but somehow I doubt it, I doubt it. At least that would cover the registration costs, but there's always the airfare . . . blargh! How nice would it be to spend several April days in Santa Clara, though?

- posted by laurie @ 11/15/2002 02:00:00 PM (0) comments

Thursday, November 14, 2002


A review of the TMBG show I went to recently from Pitchfork: McSweeneys vs They Might Be Giants vs Boredom. Awesome show, again! Yanked this link from, which is a great source of information and entertainment!

I'm off to (not) be late for class, then to work on Technical Communication Quarterly layout/editing for a while.

And I might, or might not, who knows, write more about my adventures through the weird world of health care, family health history, and insurance snafus later on. But at the moment, I'm inclined to keep that stuff off my blog, mainly because it's not light-hearted, jovial information. *sigh* I need this semester to be over. I've got a winter break with two warm-eather vacation trips scheduled. I need it now, not in a month or so! Yeah, warm weather, vacation, and hugs would be good right about now.

- posted by laurie @ 11/14/2002 12:28:00 PM (0) comments


Yesterday was a depressing boring post day, wasn't it? So, I had a physical yesterday, and I'm going to see the doc about my back today. When it rains it pours! I have a feeling that I'm going to visit the doctor about twenty times this year, but I haven't really been in like three years.

Anyway, the nurse doing the physical yesterday was taking my family history, and after hearing about all of the cancer, mental problems, etc. she advised me to take advantage of genetic counseling. "Seek couseling, my child." Wasn't quite that bad, but that was kind of how I feel. Of course, in some perverse way I found the whole thing funny, because doctors and healt care practitioners are generally pretty blase about things in general, and I've managed to raise a few eyebrows with my family history. Colorful as a patchwork quilt, is my family. Of course, as I get toward the age where my body will start breaking down and just not stop, and as I get to the age where having kids is a serious thought, this gets less amusing.

Cats are making a mess. I'll write later!

- posted by laurie @ 11/14/2002 07:37:00 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, November 13, 2002


Here's a nasty disease: Hundington's chorea. Still trying to figure it out. Why? Because it appears I may have a family member with it. The genetics and medical histroy of my family keeps getting better and better . . . ugh. Great way to start the day.

- posted by laurie @ 11/13/2002 05:10:00 AM (0) comments

Tuesday, November 12, 2002


. . . and one more thing, then I head off to class. My comments are provided free by enetation - but half of the time they don't load, or enetation is down and there are funky "updating" messages on my blog. I couldn't get my comments to show up once and went to the enetation site, where a message declared that they were ?having problems, fixing something - forget what excatly? and that users would be unafeected. Unaffected my a$$!

Anyway, further impetus to fix the blog, upgrade the blog, overhaul the template of the blog, and otherwise find ways to spend more time on the blog than on any other single element of my life (except sleep, of which I am very, very fond). Really, I don't waste that much time on it, but blogging is such a good procrastination tool!

- posted by laurie @ 11/12/2002 11:43:00 AM (0) comments


*s* a list of questions from the other side of the traffic stop!
From Lilith Notes:
Fun (not stupid) police tricks

Definitely one of those jobs where you need to (somehow) retain your sense of humour.

* "So, you don't know how fast you were going. I guess that means I can write anything I want on the ticket, huh?"

* "Warning! You want a warning? O.K., I'm warning you not to do that again or I'll give you another ticket."

* "Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster oven."

* "Life's tough, it's tougher if you're stupid."

* "The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or dog?"
Reminds me of my dad and Eric's dad. I thinnk growing up as the child of law enforcement agents tweaks a person - in both good and bad ways. We're both respectful and polite when we encounter law enforcement officials (it's dumb and counterproductive, no matter what your instincts tell you, to do otherwise), but we're also both pretty resistant to authority, and have managed to talk ourselves out of tickets/into written warnings only. Yeah, yeah, the latter is a good thing from the p.o.v. of the ticketed, but still decidedly not fair. If you're speeding, you're speeding, right? And if you're speeding and get caught you should get a ticket, right? (here's where people start getting antsy).

Call me a freak. I think people should be treated equally by agencies and institutions in this country - it's kind of what we're supposed to be about. That means if I speed, I get a ticket, and if you speed, you get a ticket. But hey, I'm also one of those rare weirdos who wouldn't mind paying higher taxes for better social services and a more equitable society. Makes for interesting political conversations with Eric, who's a confirmed libertarian (of the liberal-left type, not the right-wing type). There'a a bit too much of the blinder-wearing-individualist in the libertarian philosophy for me to sign on with them.

- posted by laurie @ 11/12/2002 11:30:00 AM (0) comments


Anyone out there a Nietzsche fan? This listing at the Tudor Rose Book Shop - Rare, used, and out-of-print books; specializing in literary criticism should make your day (except for the pricetag, maybe). The complete works. All 18 volumes, clothbound with gilt titles. And it can be yours, Nietzsche fans, for only $1,000.00. Ouch!

By the way, even though I found out about Tudor Rose because they sent bulk email to everyone in the Deaprtment of English at Penn State, and I usually hate email ads and solicitations, they're actually a really great place to find literary criticism and theory (and related topics). It's worth the visit.

- posted by laurie @ 11/12/2002 10:52:00 AM (0) comments

Monday, November 11, 2002


Short post - I'll write more later on. I just wanted to say that Greg over at Tag-Board Message Board aka TagBoard 2 is awesome. If you're thinking about putting a message board on your blog/site, use Tag Board!

Now I have to go help Eric move furniture around in the living room - we're getting a couch tonight! Yay! Free comfy couch! Grad students benefit when faculty get new furniture.

Between the free couch, the free (with linkback) images, the blogfrocks, the Tag Board interactions I had today, and the (slightly less recent) interactions with Levenger Customer Service - they refunded my priority shipping charges because of a, well, miscommunication - I'm really liking people right now. :)

- posted by laurie @ 11/11/2002 04:27:00 PM (0) comments

Sunday, November 10, 2002


Technology and privacy

Many people these days are really concerned with privacy issues and networked technologies. Rightly so, in my opinion. I really would like to keep my personal information from being readily available to marketing folks without my knowledge. It also pisses me off that people sell my personal information without my knowledge/consent. Money's not a terribly big issue, because if I had the choice of allowing someone to sell (and thereby profit commercially from) my personal information or opting out, I'd opt out. Additionally, for personal reasons, I like to keep a really, really low online profile. Hence the habit of searching for myself online on a semi-frequent basis. How convenient is it that I married a guy with the last name of Johnson? Try it - search Google for Laurie Johnson. On the ninety-third and final page of the search (with duplicate/similar pages omitted) Google reports: "Results 921 - 928 of about 308,000. Search took 1.22 seconds." Let me know if you find me. It's possible - I have found myself out there, but it's not easy: not only are there a lot of other Laurie Johnsons out there in the world, but a lot of them have done cooler things than I have (like composed the score for Dr. Strangelove and the theme for The Avengers) and hence turn up higher in the Google rankings. But I'm getting off track, here, as I so often do. (There are some people out there groaning and leaining their foreheads on their hands and saying, "oh no! Here comes a Laurie Story . . .").

My point was that, for as much as a lot of people are concerned with privacy online, what about privacy IRL? I have been listening to my neighbors make noises all day long. Next door neighbor has been watching TV - he was laughing hysterically at something not too long ago. There's a little kid downstairs, and everyone in that downstairs apartment is home because it's Sunday - need I say more? If I sit at the table in my kitchen, I can hear my upstairs neighbors talking on the phone. My downstaris neighbor actually told me that she liked us better than the people who lived in our apartment before we did, because all the previous tenants did was talk on the phone loudly, and it bothered her. Where's the privacy in any of that???? I haven't lived in a place where I couldn't hear what was going on in an adjascent residence since, well, I guess since I moved out of my mom and stepdad's house when I was in ninth grade. My dad has a, well, it's not really a duplex, but something like that. He built it in the 80's. It's a pretty nice place, but even there, we could always hear what was going on in the rented part of the house and the tenants, I'm sure, could hear what went on on our side (mostly me being an obnoxious teenager).

I was 14 when I moved from mom and stepdad's abode to my father's house. I'm 26 now. That's twelve years of other people, many of whom I didn't know well, or at all, overhearing details of my life. I'm not paranoid, and I know that my existence is pretty tame (I'm a graduate student now, and I have always been a boookwormy geek, so I'm sure if anyone set out to eavesdrop on me they'd fall asleep from sheer boredom), but still - everyone gets all up in arms about what someone can find out online - and then people log off and have screaming matches with parents/children/spouses, engage in high-volume intimate activities, tell their darkest secrets to their friends on the phone while close to a heating vent, or whatever. Stangers online shouldn't know the mundane details of my life - my shopping habits and so on - but I don't really think that strangers or neighbors who don't fit into the "good and trusted friend" category should necessarily know the more personal details of my life (or anyone else's - I really don't want to hear other people's arguments or phone conversations, you know?).

Yeah, yeah, it's not exactly the same thing, and unless a person is doing something really sketchy or really cool, it's unlikely his/her neighbor is going to turn around and sell info to anyone, but still. Privacy and networked technologies is a hot topic - privacy and building technologies? Not so much, unless you're a contractor, maybe, or a consultant specializing in privacy and built structures.

I lied. It was totally a Laurie Story. Sorry, can't help it.

- posted by laurie @ 11/10/2002 03:29:00 PM (0) comments


Also in the category of "eew," but more in the category of "huh - what are people thinking?" is this eBay item 978298591 (Ends Nov-11-02 17:50:16 PST ) - CHICAGO BRAIN SELLS VALUABLE. Linkage snagged, of course, from Disturbing Auctions: Daily!

- posted by laurie @ 11/10/2002 08:55:00 AM (0) comments


Eeew. Check out this eye! Nifty, though, in a really gross way. Got the link from Sylvie-N-Mad's Blog.

- posted by laurie @ 11/10/2002 08:47:00 AM (0) comments

Saturday, November 09, 2002


Cool - there are still some things on the web that are free! --- IMAGE-CAFE.NET --- Linkware images for your designs! Also, check out - fun frocks for your web journal.

I love it when people out there on the net restore my faith in humanity - instead of convincing me that most people online are demeted, rude perverts, which also occastionally happens (women out there - you all know what I'm talking about).

- posted by laurie @ 11/09/2002 08:27:00 PM (0) comments


I know it's Saturday night, but I just found >> the friday five. Good election-based questions. Here they are, with my answers:

1. Did you vote in your last elections? Yep. I live in Minnesota and am not a big fan of Republicans - I had to vote. Not voting was just not an option.

2. Do you know who your elected representatives are? Um, some of them. I'm not as familiar with state and local elected officials. I just moved here in August!

3. Have you ever contacted an elected representative? If so, what was it about? Yep. Lots of times. Between involvement with Amnesty International, working for Greenpeace, serving as an organizer and Co-chair for the GFTEO (grad student union at Penn State), and being on civil/human rights and political activism listservs (plus the forwards I get from cool friends), I've lobbied, written, called, faxed, and emailed reps in various states (where I have lived - not randomly!) about several different issues.

4. Have you ever participated in a demonstration? Uh-huh. I think I did my first deminstration in high school, in DuPont Circle. It was an Amesty demonstration related to homosexualtiy and human rights. I did a few demonstrations/actions with Greenpeace in Los Angeles (including a mock-funeral at a hardwood-related convention where Greenpeacers, clad in black, processed solemnly with an empty casket - it was pretty cool and generated some media coverage). I went to many, but not all, of the GFTEO rallies, and also went to demonstrations for peace and toerance in the wake of September 11.

5. Have you ever volunteered in an election? What was the result? This is something I actually haven't done, but I might in the future. The results of this week's election really opened my eyes. Time to get politically active again.

My problem with this kind of involvement in general is that I think activism is very important, but I am not entirely comfortable with the visibility and responsibility that often comes with committed activism. I frequently find myself in leadership positions by default, and these are kind of at odds with my personality.

So, those are the long-winded answers to my first-ever Friday Five.

- posted by laurie @ 11/09/2002 08:05:00 PM (0) comments


Happy Saturday! I'm workin' away here - I do have a feeling it might be a light-post weekend.

- posted by laurie @ 11/09/2002 02:59:00 PM (0) comments


One more thought before bed - how long does it take, do you think, before you have told all of your stories to a person, before they have told you all of theirs? I find myself repeating stories so quickly, and I wonder, "am I boring?" -- but then I look back on my tumultuous life and, I have to say, no. Not boring - I think I am just a bad storyteller.

- posted by laurie @ 11/09/2002 12:25:00 AM (0) comments


Well, good morning, or good night, as you may see fit. Me, I'm for bed! Had fun tonight. Thanks to all of the cool people here in the Twin Cities that make life good. The adjustment was hard, but I have Eric, and a surprisingly great group of female friends that make life tolerabe (great even, on occasions!). *yawn* Bed!

- posted by laurie @ 11/09/2002 12:12:00 AM (0) comments

Friday, November 08, 2002


*sigh* it is almost 6:15 on a friday and I am here in the multimedia lab at school. why are my fridays always like this? can someone tell me? *sigh*

there's my pathetic post for the day. I doubt there'll be more until tomorrow : |

- posted by laurie @ 11/08/2002 04:14:00 PM (0) comments

Thursday, November 07, 2002


Wow. I just walked through the library, downstairs, and into the computer lab in the library here on the St Paul Campus of UMN - and it's dead. There are two people that I can see in as many floors of study carrels and tables, and I am currently the only, literally the only, person in the computer lab. It's a little bit spooky. Where are all the people? The last time I was in here on a Thursday evening, the place was jammed. Freaky.

- posted by laurie @ 11/07/2002 04:51:00 PM (0) comments


Hey, I just got my first tag (and second comment) from someone I don't know! Yay! It's wonderful to know that people are actually, really reading this! Whooppee! And Mamatha - thanks for the comment :)

- posted by laurie @ 11/07/2002 03:37:00 PM (0) comments


I have to say, for as convenient as they are, I really dislike webmail programs. Yes, you can get mail anywhere at any time, but the limitations that the webmail programs I have used impose - it's almost not worth it! Just a small gripe. More gripes (probably) later! :)

- posted by laurie @ 11/07/2002 03:31:00 PM (0) comments

Wednesday, November 06, 2002


Dude – annoying freaking popups with like four ads compounded into one and so four fake “x”s to close windows, and a real close window button buried in the middle somewhere, hidden amongst the flashing, blinking advertisement stuff. I hate ads!

On a lighter note:

Which Tim Burton's movie charcter are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

- posted by laurie @ 11/06/2002 06:46:00 PM (0) comments


Things sold in Vending Machines -- Notes and Explanations. Some weird stuff. Apparently, though, I'm near the Automated Gift SHop, which sells over 400 items from a machine. Huh.

- posted by laurie @ 11/06/2002 03:59:00 PM (0) comments


In this Globe and Mail Arts article, author Johanna Schneller argues that recent depictions of women on film and in tv shows is bad, bad, bad. I have to say I agree with her. The examples that she quotes are particularly illuminating. Women are, indeed, entering professions in higher numbers, entering management and corporate positions, and assuming leadership roles in society. Is the result, the backlash from this, the degradation and disempowerment of women on the screen? Why do these examples (and I can think of more) seem to semonstrate a regression in women's roles - because we're moving forward IRL do we have to move backward in fictional representations, in order to keep some kind of phony balance in the way culture and gender roles are perceived? As an example, Schneller discusses Spring fashions, which were either "Take care of me or take me now. Either way, it's a pretty fraught definition of womanhood." Submissive, sweet and defenseless or dominating, potent, and aggressive. Isn't there any middle ground here? Does one have to be a siumpering dishrag or a predatory bitch? Dualisms are so unproductive, and yet here we see another dichotomous relationship being set up. Women have to fit into one or the other, right? Infuriating. It's another instantiation of the virgin/whore thing, with a slightly different spin. And of course, like the virgin/whore, la puta madre, women are put into the wonderfully impossible position of having to be both, and unable to simpultaneously perform these dichotomous identities. Either way a woman's screwed, right? (pun intended - but don't blow it out of proportion).

- posted by laurie @ 11/06/2002 10:14:00 AM (0) comments


*sigh.* Mondale lost. And the Republicansnow control Congress, ick.

- posted by laurie @ 11/06/2002 08:36:00 AM (0) comments

Tuesday, November 05, 2002


Sexual Metaphors and Technocultural Studies?

So, in my Intercultural communications class, we have been reading this collection that deals with, well, technology and culture. One of the things we discussed tonight was the rate at which research in this area becomes obsolete: anything published before 1994, pre-web, is pretty much useless for looking at current issues in technology, culture, and communication. We also discussed the propensity to dismiss anything more than a few years old. A few years, in the lifespan of the Internet, is an eternity. On the other hand, researchers in technocultural areas occasionally challenge the theoretical tendencies of the area, and urge more quantitative, substantial studies of current technologies, arguing that we can’t make changes and improve upon what we have until we understand what’s working, what’s not, and why.

The first camp really seems to fit the “bigger, better, faster, now” model, while the second argues for “harder, deeper, more.”

Sex and the Internet. Two different research agendas, methodologies. Just a thought.

- posted by laurie @ 11/05/2002 11:04:00 PM (0) comments


I VOTED TODAY! But I didn't get one of those cool little stickers that said so :(

Now all I have to do is sit on my hands and wait for the returns to come in, and keep my fingers crossed. Hard to do while sitting on hands, I know!

- posted by laurie @ 11/05/2002 07:24:00 PM (0) comments


What an unproductive morning - at least in the work-accomplished way. Chatted with two friends that are near to my heart but far away from my current home. And convinced (ok, really no convincing on my part was required) one of them to start blogging.

Onward - to exercise, to vote, to class, and then to more class! Yippee!!

- posted by laurie @ 11/05/2002 10:24:00 AM (0) comments


Happy election day! VOTE!!! VOTE!!! VOTE!!!

All right, Rafi, I hope you're happy! Not only am I going to nag people in person, but on my blog, too. And, yes, I will vote. After finishing up my prep for classes this afternoon and working out, but before heading to campus. I promise!!!

But (in keeping with the theme of this blog, which I often either streeeetch a bit or neglect entirely in favor of more rambling, personal posts) don't expect fast returns and results in this election! pz at Kairosnews pointed out this NYTimes article: New Computer May Delay Reports on Voting Results.

This new computer system is supposed to help with the analysis of polls and election returns, but last-minute problems coupled with the uncertainty of a first-time run, make it unclear how helpful the new computer system will be.

It appears that after the "Election 2000" debacle, everyone is being a lot more cautious: news agencies won't call close races, and I heard on a too-fuzzy-to-see network broadcast this morning that, on some networks, there will be no exit-polling reportage.

Hey, isn't technology supposed to increase speed and accuracy? :) Guess we will just have to be patient on this one. Personally, I prefer to wait a bit longer for results of ballot counts than to be satisficed with projections.

- posted by laurie @ 11/05/2002 08:46:00 AM (0) comments

Friday, November 01, 2002


From Monday to Friday without posting - shame, shame! It's been a good/bad week: got my car broken into on Sunday night, then the car would not start on Tuesday, bout I found out on Wednesday that I got one of only two As in the class on my quantitative methods midterm - yay! And this week was waaay more chill than last week, so I got ahead in reading a bit, actually had time to work out, and so on.

I'm off to get ready for Cognitive Science. Damned if I won't be on time to this class today! :)

- posted by laurie @ 11/01/2002 06:36:00 AM (0) comments