Wednesday, March 31, 2004

That cat I've been talking about - well, here it comes, out of its bag.

I've cryptically mentioned a few times over the last few months that I've been posting less for a reason to be revealed later. Later has arrived, and very simply, that reason is a baby. As in, we're having one. I have been kind of reluctant to post anything here until after the beginning of the second trimester (which I entered this week). Our first little one should make her or his appearance sometime around September 27. Quite understandably, I think, pregnancy and impending parenthood have been taking up a very large portion of my thoughts and energy, and yet I didn't want to gab about it all on the internet during the statistically more dangerous first three months, so I've been posting less.

By the way, in case it's not coming through (it's early, and I'm not caffeinating the way I used to), I'm thrilled - we're thrilled - that we're about to start a family. So are our parents and siblings. Anyway, just thought I'd let you all know!

- posted by laurie @ 3/31/2004 04:22:00 AM (0) comments

Monday, March 29, 2004

Twin Cities Babelogue // A few thoughts on IP

Well, now. I'm apparently the blog of the day at Twin Cities Babelogue. Quite interesting, that. And all of a sudden I am even more aware that my postings have been sporadic of late.

Between blogging and checking the referrer files today, I have been re-reading Andrea Lunsford's "Rhetoric, Feminism, and Textual Ownership." I forgot how wonderfully written this piece is, how central this piece should be for anyone interested in alternative definitions and interpretations of intellectual property. When Lunsford concludes this piece, written in 1999, she says she's not pessimistic about change - I'm wondering if she still feels this way. '99 was pre-Napster but post-DMCA and -Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.

I'm thinking all of this through not only because it's the topic for my seminar this afternoon, but also because I have to present on intellectual property issues in a Computer Science class on Friday. I'll be the guest speaker on IP in a copmputer ethics course, and I am both excited and nervous about this opportunity. Most of all, though, I hope that I get some good reactions/responses from the students in the class.

- posted by laurie @ 3/29/2004 11:50:00 AM (0) comments

Why does it take so long to publish books????

I was hoping Siva Vaidhyanathan's new book, The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System would be out in time for my birthday this year (which is Saturday, for the unenlightened/forgetful). Apparently I'll have to wait another ten days, but considering I've been stalking this page on Amazon for oh, a year now, I guess another week or so won't kill me.

Anyway, I already received the best birthday present ever in the whole wide world. My sister was here for a visit last week (she spent her spring break more or less on my couch), and she brought with her the first season of The X-Files on DVD, just for me. Few people knew what a closet X-Files freak I am, but I guess that one's out of the bag now.

And I've been keeping quiet these days in part because of something else I'll be letting out of the bag soon . . . though a lot of you (oh, my two readers) already know. That and the fact that our computer's death-throes became increasingly more serious. So we ordered a new one. And got it. And it didn't work - we would have had to reinstall the OS, all drivers, and all other software. Given that we ordered a pretty highly customized machine, that's just not acceptable. Anyway, we should hopefully have a working machine at home soon, which will make blogging much easier, yes?

- posted by laurie @ 3/29/2004 11:01:00 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Jack Valenti gets ready to hang up his hat

Jack Valenti's Long Goodbye ( announces that Valenti has officially, publicly announced his plans to depart in a few months. To this I say: it's about time. I had no idea he was 82!

I am sure his successor will represent more of the same, especially with regards to peer-to-peer file sharing, but perhaps s/he will be more restrained, less inflammatory - you know, won't draw parallels between terrorism and movie piracy in the wake of 9/11.

- posted by laurie @ 3/24/2004 04:45:00 AM (0) comments

Thursday, March 11, 2004


I'm having a very bad week, folks, and if you don't want to hear complaining, keep movin' along.

Saturday I found out that my mom has pneumonia. Again. For the second time since late December. She spent the days leading up to Christmas in the hospital, and was released to go back to the nursing home where she lives on Christmas Eve. At least she was home and on the mend for Christmas, but when home's a nursing home facility, I'd guess the return probably isn't as joyful as it might be under other (more normal) circumstances. My mom has Multiple Sclerosis, and it's been something my family has had to deal with for many years. She retired disability when I was in sixth grade. She's been non-ambulatory and in a nursing home since 1996. Pneumonia for bedbound/nonambulatory people is generally not a good development. And now that development has happened twice, not even a full three months apart.

The pneumonia apparently came back, and they diagnosed it again last week, but for some reason, family members weren't notified, and I found out in a somewhat unusual way, from a family member I don't really speak to, that Mom was very, very sick. I got a call after said family member paid mom a visit, and needless to say, both the news and the way in which I received it were upsetting. Pneumonia had led to fever and dehydration, and oxygen and an IV became necessary. Early this week she was on the mend, and they took her off the IV - whereupon she got worse. Yesterday they moved her to a different unit in the nursing home - a unit akin to a critical care ward in a hospital, where a larger and more skilled nursing staff can meet the needs of patients in fairly serious condition. The fever's under control, she's back on an IV, and they're pumping her full of protein, trying to make sure she's having her nutritional needs met, but she's still not doing well, from what I understand. And I am frustrated because I am a few thousand miles away, and because I can't talk to her at all. All of my information comes from my aunt, who is making sure Mom's being well-taken-care-of, and from my sister, who went to visit yesterday and gave me a report.

My spring break is next week, and I am most likely going to put myself into the hole financially to be able to swing a trip out there. She'll probably recover most of the way eventually (she will probably not recover fully, that's just the way things go), but then again, there aren't any guarantees.

I've got a ton of things to take care of right now, but I am having a really hard time concentrating on school, on teaching, on a lot of other things, because I'm frightened I am going to lose one of the most important people in my life, someone who has loved me and supported me and inspired me as few others have, and I am also afraid that if that loss does occur soon, I won't be there.

You know, occasionally, life really sucks. This, my friends, would be one of those times.

- posted by laurie @ 3/11/2004 10:19:00 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Privacy, Surveillance, and Medical Information

Hey there everyone. I know it's been two weks, but I have been kind of hiding out offline for the moment - reasons to be divulged later. Anyway, this NY Times Op-Ed Column: Privacy in Retreat, by William Safire, did make me sit up and take notice: I knew about the partial-birth abortion bill and the related medical records subpoena, but it had kind of fallen off my news radar for a bit. I am really concerned about this - and about the program described in the quote below:

"This intrusion [subpoena of medical records in the partial-birht abortion challenge] cannot be justified by a claim to protect the nation from a terror attack. In Pittsburgh, however, the F.B.I. has set up a pilot Strategic Medical Intelligence unit under that very rubric. Doctors in Pennsylvania and West Virginia are expected to notify S.M.I. bioterror experts of any 'suspicious event,' from an unusual rash to a finger lost in an explosion, identifying but not informing the patient."


I'm glad I don't live in PA anymore.

Safire's final analysis: "A balance must be struck between protecting all of us and protecting each one of us. I don't trust Justice or the C.I.A. to strike that balance. I have more faith in the courts and Congress, and — if he would remember his stand on personal freedom — in George W. Bush."

Perhaps, but at this juncture, Bush hasn't been a great champion of privacy and personal freedom, now has he?

- posted by laurie @ 3/10/2004 05:09:00 AM (0) comments