Friday, January 31, 2003


Make your browsing experience a bit more holy. Use the proxy filter below.

"When you browse the Internet, you are downloading text files. Your browser (Internet Explorer, for example) interprets these files and displays for you, holy or unholy, the web page you requested."
JeezIt! -

- posted by laurie @ 1/31/2003 05:06:00 PM (0) comments


Reports from the referrer log: yesterday saw the logging of two more interesting searches: "train wreck pictures" and "train wreck art." Was it the same person, you think?

Well, I can't help with the latter request, but I do unfortunately know where one can find train wreck pictures (not the wrecks, actually, but people after them) and other such gross stuff. DO NOT click that link unless you really want to be disgusted, and possibly nauseated, depending on how strong a stomach you have. I mean it. And don't go here, either - there are no train wreck victims on that one, but the StinkyMeat project is pretty nasty, too.

Don't ask why I know these things. I have some weird friends, and some of them have friends that are weirder.

- posted by laurie @ 1/31/2003 02:04:00 PM (0) comments


There are moments when alumni should feel proud of the dear alma mater, and then there are moments when we must shake our heads and sigh. This wired article describes how UMD students cheated using text messaging. *sigh*

A post about this article at Kairosnews , however, makes a good point: the students were caught in a "sting" operation, a tactic which might be seen as slightly less than ethical by some - including me. If I were a paying member of the amumni association, I'd call and complain.

It's also interesting to note that the article points out that students might have an advantage over their older, and less tech-savvy, profs. Really? Gee, there's something new! Come on, Wired, this conversation's been and gone so many times already!

- posted by laurie @ 1/31/2003 01:37:00 PM (0) comments


I have been trying to access books that the U theoretically has access to via netLibrary, and have been having issues! Anyway, I ended up on the netLibrary - Help page. Since I have an interest in Intellectual Propoerty (and am taking a class on it right now), I paid close attention to the FAQ regarding copyright. I have a question: how, exactly, does netLibrary determine when a user has exceeded fair use provisions and is engaged in infringing actions? Is the tracking of suspicious lage view times and printing requests the only way? Is there a page or percentage limit imposed by their system? Interesting.

- posted by laurie @ 1/31/2003 11:10:00 AM (0) comments

Tuesday, January 28, 2003


Off to Psych of Language again. It's snowing again, and I betcha I'll be late. This has got to got to stop.

Running late because I was reading MeFi, Slashdot, and some more traditional sources of news. Found some good, funny stuff that I'd blog if I had an extra 10 minutes!

A report from the referrer logs: frank abignale

I'll probably be hit #1 on most search engines instead of 3 or 4. Really, there have been a bunch of visitors looking for info on this guy, and they've landed here since I commented on a NYTimes article about the DiCaprio movie based on this guy. It's strange that there aren't more (and more relevant) links out there!

Finally, a weather update: besides snowing, it's 27. Downright balmy. Yay!

- posted by laurie @ 1/28/2003 06:33:00 AM (0) comments

Sunday, January 26, 2003


Said I'd do something mindless. This ended up being bloghopping, of course. So, I have got to share a few things I found/refound while poking. I was looking at my ratings on Eatonweb and bloghop. Finally had enough people rate me to get a listing in the "best of" and I was off to look-see what page I was on (I think it's like 8 or 9) when I encountered the listing for Scaryduck. Considering my long-lasting infatuation with all things litlle, yellow and ducky, I had to check the site out. Not too bad, and there are some cute duck pictures on the site. The author has some cool links on the left sidebar. Memepool is cool link number one. The other link is to this flash animation that just cracked me up last year. My sister sent me the link, I sent it to someone else, and before long, everyone in the department was giggling about this. If "spicy brains" doesn't mean anything to you, you have to check this out! And after that, watch "If Mittens ruled the world."

- posted by laurie @ 1/26/2003 05:21:00 PM (0) comments


New blog not done yet, though I do have something to write about . . . I just plowed through a painful target article and several peer responses from a 1994 issue of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. The article's called "Neuropsychological inference with an interactive brain: A critique of the 'locality' assumption." It's one of those instances where I read the article, and all of the words individually make sense, but together, well, I'm not sure. I have digested the information on a really superficial level. This stuff is hard!

Basically, the article is a critique of the assumption that the brain's architecture can be inferred by considering local effects: basically, that function is kind of contained in a little area of the brain that performs a certain function. When that part is damaged, the function may be affected, but other related/connected functions aren't affected because the local areas of the brain aren't interdependent. The author argues, instead, for a model more along the lines of parallel distributed processing (pdp) networks. More interdependency, and in the examples discussed in the article, a more streamlined kind of functioning, too. It's interesting to read the reactions, which range, of course, from "the author is totally wrong" to "yes, the author is entirely right, and let me give a few more examples and models to support."

pdp networks are fascinating: I am really interested in how tests for object and word recognition are simulated, and how these networks are trained or taught over time. There's a lot of discussion of emergence in the article and responses, another intriguing phenomenon. I'm also flashing back to reading Deleuze and Guattari, though, and the summer 2001 seminar on A Thousand Plateaus I took with Rich Doyle. There's all of this overlap between cognitive theories, literary theory, distributed networks, peer-to-peer systems (digital and otherwise).

Argh. I just ventured into abstract theoretical territory, and the loftiness and logic required to pursue such a train of thought is just absolutely lacking right now, 6:58 on a Sunday night. My brain is spent. Reading about cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience is ouchy. I am going to go do something sompletely mindless for a bit before shifting gears a bit and tackling another task.

- posted by laurie @ 1/26/2003 04:53:00 PM (0) comments

Saturday, January 25, 2003


I am officially starting another blog. It will be up and running as soon as I can think of a cool, nifty, or at least acceptable name for it. Goal of this new blog will be to actually stay on topic and work out some stuff about my research, the courses I am taking, and the direction in which I'd like my research to go. Or something like that. Of course, that was, at one point, the original purpose of this blog, but this one has kind of turned into a hybrid blog: some personal stuff, some really fluffy frivolity, some links to serious stories, and every once in a while, a post about rhetoric and technology and other research-related topics. I like the mix, but I'd also like to have a nice little place to put responses to readings, reflections on academic topics, and so on. A research blog, to use an increasingly popular phrase.

What do I name such a thing? Hmmm . . .

- posted by laurie @ 1/25/2003 03:22:00 PM (0) comments


Cool weblog. Games * Design * Art * Culture. Not a novel find - it's listed in the "Blogs of Note" section on Blogger's homepage. Still, an interesting read.

- posted by laurie @ 1/25/2003 03:17:00 PM (0) comments

Friday, January 24, 2003


We have positive temperatures today! Yippee! The wiper fluid in my car thawed, and my cats have left the small furry huddle they had made out of their two little bodies. Funny, you know, I hate hate hate cold weather, but today really wasn't all that bad. I was walking across campus thinking how much warmer today was than the last few days have been, and overheard two women complaining quite strenuously about how absolutely freezing it is. Yeah, 14 is cold, but -14 is so much worse!

I'm going to go do some work in my office, and then head home. Must get back home with enough energy to do my physical thera[y exercises - I slacked a bit over vacation, and I have got to get back into a routine.

- posted by laurie @ 1/24/2003 02:40:00 PM (0) comments

Thursday, January 23, 2003


Buenos dias a todos. It's early and I am cold. I leave shortly for day two of Psychology of Language. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't get slammed in this class. See, we have response papers due the evening before each class. I am almost the only person to have expressed a ceratin opinion last night. Ah, well.

I'm off to find the warmest outfit I have in my closet! More later . . .

- posted by laurie @ 1/23/2003 06:40:00 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, January 22, 2003


Nifty: visual searching at Gives thumbnails of your search results.

- posted by laurie @ 1/22/2003 08:22:00 AM (0) comments


I have been trying to aviod blogging about the weather, but the New Brighton, Minnesota Forecast for the next several days is unbelievable. Lows of 15 below, with winds of 10 mph?

I'm so glad I quit smoking before all of this. It's too unbelievably cold to even think about going outside for a smoke.

- posted by laurie @ 1/22/2003 08:07:00 AM (0) comments


Hee-hee! Another interesting discovery from the referrer logs: I am currently #1 for the following Google Search: duckie themed bathroom. Whoever out there was looking for this info has good taste!

(well . . . maybe has tastes similar to mine in the area of bathroom decor--some people would probably argue that this is not, in fact, a measure of good taste. My husband, for example.)

- posted by laurie @ 1/22/2003 07:44:00 AM (0) comments


Tag-Board's down. Want to know why? Go here: Free Board Explanation. I'd like to whine and complain, but the explanation is completely reasonable. Too many freeloaders like me are overtaxing the servers. Hmmm, I should see if there are pennies in the budget to upgrade to a pay account. As I am pretty sure I wrote earlier, I had a pretty positive experience with the tag-board folk: Greg was fast to respond and very helpful when I had a problem. I was impressed, especially since I am, as stated above, a freeloader!

- posted by laurie @ 1/22/2003 07:38:00 AM (0) comments


New blog added to the blogroll. I haven't added one in quite a while, but got a hit from this one in my referrer log, and checked it out. Imaginary magnitude is a great weblog! Good stull of history of science/technology, nanotech, distributed computing, and other topics that I absolutley love to dabble in, in a non-technical way. Geez, am I a geek.

- posted by laurie @ 1/22/2003 07:31:00 AM (0) comments

Monday, January 20, 2003


Ok, vacation picture albums are up on Shutterfly. There are a lot of pictures in them, even though I weeded out a lot!

**edit: as far as I know, the links below work - each should take you to the start page for the album, *not* the Shutterfly homepage (link above does that). Let me know if these aren't working, please!**

Bahamas album (by the way, Eric did the file naming, so I take no responsibility for some of the odd names!)

Death Valley album


- posted by laurie @ 1/20/2003 01:19:00 PM (0) comments


"It may seem unreasonable, unfair and downright mean-spirited to compare the Bush administration to the minions of Sauron, the granddaddy of evil in The Lord of the Rings trilogy." Maybe, but go ahead and do it anyway: Wired News: Bush's Year of U.S. Surveillance

This link courtesy of Jessica at Who Needs Oxygen Dot Net.

- posted by laurie @ 1/20/2003 10:25:00 AM (0) comments


Borrowing from Kara again.
A silly quiz to discover which drink you are. Here's what it said about me:

I'm a Sex on the Beach, discover your ALcoHoLiC personality!

Weird, because I don't really like the drink too much, and the associated personality traits are not quite me, I don't think.

- posted by laurie @ 1/20/2003 10:05:00 AM (0) comments


For those pissed about copyright issues and the Eldred v. Ashcroft results, check this out: Mickey Mouse Release Day. April 15 of this year. I'm up for it! Free the mouse! :)

Thanks to Kara for this info!

- posted by laurie @ 1/20/2003 09:50:00 AM (0) comments

Sunday, January 19, 2003


Vacation pictures! I threatened to post some Death Valley pictures earlier, and since I recntly returned from vacation #2, I figured it's time to post up a few vacation photos. Eventually I think I'll make a little gallery and put a link on here somewhere, but not today!

Ok, picture #1 is from the trip to Death Valley: my dad and I reached the lowest point in the U.S., Badwater, at sunset. It was absolutely beautiful: the sunset reflected in the brackish pools, the reflection off the salt flats.

At the end of my trip to California, on the very last day, I got to have breakfast with Lindsay, one of my best friends. Our travel plans conflicted this trip, but at least we did get to see one another!

Eric and I took so many pictures and had so much fun in the Bahamas that picking one picture to put up here is really difficult, but here's a pic of the two of us with Mom and Dad:

I might throw some more pictures up later, but I have to get going now!

- posted by laurie @ 1/19/2003 11:56:00 AM (0) comments

Saturday, January 18, 2003


Cool stuff: workplace: a journal for academic labor. If you're at all interested in labor issues in the academy, unionization, and so on, I'd reccomend this site. There are, of course, a lot of other places to go for information, most of which are listed in the Labor Links section of Workplace. Particularly of interest to those in rhet/comp is Workplace 4.1. This issue's featured topic is "Composition as Management Science." 4.1 also has some good stuff about graduate unions.

- posted by laurie @ 1/18/2003 08:46:00 AM (0) comments


I am back from vacation - and winter break is almost over! Nooooooo! Classes start Tuesday, and I begin the semester with a wonderful early morning (for me) class. I spent last semester whining about a 10:10 class once a week, but this semester I've got a 9:45 class Tuesday and Thursday. Blech. Overall, though, this semester should be smooth sailing compared to the last one. I have two days off (Wednesday and Friday), as opposed to the five-days-a-week schedule I had last semester. Monday I have only one afternoon class, and Tuesday only one morning class, leaving me with ample "free time" on those days, as well.

- posted by laurie @ 1/18/2003 08:39:00 AM (0) comments

Monday, January 06, 2003


Oh, boy, has today been a long day! Eric and I have to be out the door in a little over four hours. Ick. I am so tired.

I'm not sure how much I'll be posting from the Bahamas: I'm trying to stay away from computers and get outdoors for a while. :)

- posted by laurie @ 1/06/2003 09:54:00 PM (0) comments


Anchorage Daily News | Supervisor's PC reveals X-rated problem asks the question: can a person get fired for having porn on a home computer?

The lesson to be learned from this: turn the computer off before the next holiday function you host at home!

- posted by laurie @ 1/06/2003 07:00:00 AM (0) comments


Interesting article: Hacking Away, Long Before There Were Hackers (NY Times, registration, blah, blah) says that Frank Abignale, the person on whom the new DiCaprio movie "Catch Me if You Can" is based, "seems an eery prefiguration of a very modern character: the hacker."

A cultural commentary on working the system, turning consultant, and the ability to get women to sleep with you.

- posted by laurie @ 1/06/2003 06:55:00 AM (0) comments


Today is the last day before heading to the Bahamas. That means today is the day I get to get up early and run around frantically until everything that needs to be accomplished, is accomplished. First stop: the Mall. A cover-up for me, and a bathing suit for Eric, if we can find one in the middle of winter in Minnesota. If there is one to be found, though, it is probably at the Mall of Americas. :)

- posted by laurie @ 1/06/2003 06:42:00 AM (0) comments

Sunday, January 05, 2003



Grades are now available (so everyone at the U - to Onestop! Make haste!). Just as everyone said I would, I did fine. Wish I had less performance/test anxiety, and as much faith in myself as everyone else has.

My sincere thanks to everyone who supported, or even just tolerated, my anxiety attacks, freak-outs, and so on. You all should know who you are. I send great big hugs to all of you. You put up with me when I was the world's largest pain in the butt. And I know he doesn't read this, but I still have to say the biggest and most heartfelt thanks to Eric. Boy, does he get the brunt of the end-of-the-semester craziness I bring upon myself twice a year (thrice, if summer classes are involved). I don't think it would have been possible for me to have found a better life partner. And without him, I probably wouldn't be where I am now.

Susan and Kristin also need to be mentioned by name. You guys are my family, and I rely upon you as much now as I did when I was significantly closer (maybe even more).

Next semester I am only taking three classes, as opposed to the insane four of last semester. I'm actually excited about all of them, but nervous about Psychology of Language - required for the Cognitive Science minor. I still get the feeling I might be in over my head with this minor, but I am going to tough it out! I love making intersting interdisciplinary connections, but doing so means venturing out of the safe space that is my home department, my own field, where I know the major figures, the first- and second-tier journals, the history of the discipline, But to be cliche, to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk. And believe me, I'm trying. But I think I am still taking baby-steps with the social sciences classes, and boy, am I scared of the Comp.Sci. AI course. I'll have to program. Haven't done that since BASIC on an Apple II E in high school. I'm sure that'll come in really handy, hmm?

I'm off to try and figure out finances, see which bills to pay before, and which after, the Bahamas trip. Ick. That's part of why this is such a long post. I really don't want to do it, but it has to be done, you know?

- posted by laurie @ 1/05/2003 11:03:00 PM (0) comments


Arrgh! I think I just barely missed having at least one post up for the day. This would be because I was in my office from a bit before seven until a bit after eleven tonight, trying to tie up loose ends before taking off for vacation #2. You know, I think vacationing is too stressful. Maybe I'll just stay home from now on.

- posted by laurie @ 1/05/2003 10:04:00 PM (0) comments

Saturday, January 04, 2003


Hee hee hee! Oh, what a cool site! If you think people get to your site via some weird searches, you should check out the terms people have posted from their referrer logs at Disturbing Search Requests.

A random find from

- posted by laurie @ 1/04/2003 07:48:00 PM (0) comments


*yawn* Have I told you yet that the zyban is, I believe, starting to work? My cigarette consumption has already been reduced, and I really am not that thrilled with the few cigarettes I do have each day.

It is also having some undesireable effects, however. I am so sleepy all the time. And I think part of the reduced pleasure of smoking comes from the worst-ever case of drymouth. Yum.

Official quit date is Jan. 10. I'll be in the Bahamas. I am hoping the setting, the fresh air, and the non-smoking in-laws will all be positive influences.

In the meantime, I have fifty bazillion (yes I sound five, but that's how many there are, I swear!) things to do before I catch a flight at 6:10 am on Tuesday. 6:10, with a suggested check-in time of ninety minutes to two hours before that. There won't even be any coffee places open in the airport when we arrive. How miserable.

But I am leaving the Twin Cities area for ten days in the Bahamas, so I guess my room to complain in marginal, at best.

I must get back to work. Must work until the zyban renders me comatose.

- posted by laurie @ 1/04/2003 07:41:00 PM (0) comments


And one last thought before I head off to work: my local phone service has been stalking me. They're trying to get me to upgrade my service so I have ten features instead of three. Hell, I really don't even need three. Just call waiting, that's all I want! Anyway, the competing local phone services are also stalking me. It's getting old, and quickly.

More than just the repeated phone calls, however, I am getting very irritated that the telemarketers pretty universally assume (since the phone is listed under the names of two people) that I am not authorized to deal with phone decisions. They ask to speak to my husband, or some other only slightly less blatant thing. This guy today asked to speak to either one of us. I said, "I'm Laurie." So he asks if I am authorized to make decisions. I told him, a bit tersely, that I was the one who had set up the phone service. So he says, "Oh, so you're both authorized to make changes?" Argh! Well, yeah, at least I think so (see case below), but the phone service has always been my thing: I'm in charge of it, I make the decisions about it, and I usually pay the phone bill.

Compare with: woman who wouldn't even tell Eric how much our phone bill was when he called to make a payment by phone. Why? Because he wasn't authorized. Because he didn't set up service. Generalizing is always bad, but I'm really annoyed at male telemarketers who assume the "woman of the house" isn't in charge of decisions about water, phone, power, cable, or ISP bills. Did it just turn 2003, or have we moved backwards somehow, into the era where it was commonly assumed women were incapable of balancing checkbooks, and therefore couldn't have them? *whew* Sorry, every once in a while I need to vent!

Oh, and hey: for those who think feminism sucks or the need for such action is over, this is one small indiciation that there's still a lot left to be done.

- posted by laurie @ 1/04/2003 08:30:00 AM (0) comments


More stats-related stuff: I keep on getting hits from epersonae and I couldn't figure out why. The link above, however, explains it. I'm "pretty darn readable." Yay! Thanks! Also nice to find someone else out there who thinks Memex is a good name for a weblog (instead of the more common, 'what does that mean?'). Anyway, check out epersonae. It's a pretty good read!

- posted by laurie @ 1/04/2003 08:14:00 AM (0) comments


Um, person who recently visited from Russian Federation Zone 3: if you are (or anyone else is) looking for sexual content on my site, go away. Therere's nothing, nothing for you here on this site! Come back when you get some better/more inventive/more interesting search terms. And next time, try to spell offensive, illegal, and violent acts perpetrated against women correctly. It might lead you where you want to go. It'll probably keep you off my site, anyway.

- posted by laurie @ 1/04/2003 07:59:00 AM (0) comments


I'm up pretty early for me on a Sunday morning. In the process of caffeinating. I have been poking a bit on IMDB while doing so. I was checking out the top 50 lists of films by genre, and made an interesting discovery: according to user votes on IMDB, The Blues Brothers is the 27th best musical. Weird. I had never thought of it quite fitting into that genre before. There are very few points where the actors burst into song in order to further the plot.

By the way, South Park was number 29.Spice World is number 10 on the Bottom 10 Musicals list. Cannibal! the Musical didn't make either list, and neither did the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Those are two of my personal favorite musicals. Also interesting to note, Cannibal! actually has a higher rating than Rocky Horror. Slightly weird.

- posted by laurie @ 1/04/2003 07:49:00 AM (0) comments

Friday, January 03, 2003


Pretty cool! oldboysnetwork - the mode is the message - the code is the collective!

I got here by doing some serious bloghopping. I got lost along the way, and so the usual associational link credits are absent in this case. But thank you anyway!

I need to check this out later when I don't have a million things to do before leaving the country.

Hmmm, not doing so well on getting the pictures up today, either. Maybe a bit later.

- posted by laurie @ 1/03/2003 05:41:00 PM (0) comments


Good morning! I am on my way to a doctor's appointment (does this sound familiar to anyone?). I hate AM appointments, but I really did try for an afternoon slot this time and they were booked for perpetuity.

Anyway, my blogging has been less than inspired, or inspiring, since I got back from CA. Not sure why. I'm still very *blah* after the whole LA experience.

I think my mission for today will be to go through my Death Valley pictures, pick a few, shrink them down to manageable sizes, and post them up here. I got a few really cool ones, though I also discovered that the auto setting on my camera deals poorly with sunsets, and I don't know enough about photography to set everything manually. Also, pictures from moving vehicles turned out pretty funky. :)

Yeah. But first I have to get to my appointment on time. I'm pushing it right now . . .

- posted by laurie @ 1/03/2003 06:47:00 AM (0) comments

Thursday, January 02, 2003


my comments are down. again. crap. switching to haloscan? yesnomaybe? when you use free tools, I guess you get what you pay for!

- posted by laurie @ 1/02/2003 09:13:00 AM (0) comments


Update on weird search terms used to access this page . . .

At least one other person has gotten here by searching for the women's guide to peeing standing up. That seems to be a popular link, I guess.

Very recently, someone found me this way:

Search Engine:
Search Words: duckies soy wax

Yep. All of those things are on my page somewhere. But how, um, original to put them together in such a fashion.

- posted by laurie @ 1/02/2003 08:45:00 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, January 01, 2003


Well, it's 2003, I am home from California (thank goodness!), and am back to the normal routine for a bit, I guess. The New Year means resolutions, of course, and while I have not finished making up my list (I usually do it sporadically over the first week or so of January), I can share a few: 1) continue to exercise regularly, get in shape; 2) quit smoking - I took my first zyban today. quit date is in ten days. I really hope this works!

- posted by laurie @ 1/01/2003 10:36:00 AM (0) comments