Saturday, April 30, 2005

In Memory

My mother passed away a week ago today. I have been back in Maryland for the past several days helping with arrangements and laying her to rest.

My mom had Multiple Sclerosis, and was diagnosed with it early in my childhood. She also battled breast cancer in the late 1980s. In 1996, she moved into a nursing home. She would have been there for nine years in May. She would have turned 61 in July. We lost her too soon, but she suffered for a long time, and she is in a better place now - one where she can move freely, where she controls her body and not the reverse. Where she can dance. She was a brave and loving and giving person, and she will be sorely missed.

I could say more, and I want to post some lovely pictures of my mother that we found on this trip, but right now I am exhausted, physically and emotionally.

- posted by laurie @ 4/30/2005 09:54:00 PM (3) comments

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Awful Ethos

Doing a research-related search on ethos, I came across this page devoted to Awful Ethos: really bad mistakes students have made in papers. My favorite:

(8) The Middle Ages came next, and King Alfred conquered the Dames. King Arthur lived in the age of shivery. King Harold mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings. Victims of the blue-bonnet plague grew boobs on their necks.


(16) Handel was a famous composer. He was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was very large.

The page's author sums these choice examples up neatly:

"The Moral of the Story: Dew Knot Trussed Yore Spell-chequer! At least not if you want strong ethos as a knowledgeable writer."

- posted by laurie @ 4/20/2005 04:20:00 PM (0) comments

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Great Randomness Dredged from My Brain

I'm trying to decide whether to go to this or stay home and work. Am out of coffee in the house, so I am going to have to leave at least to caffeinate and figure I might as well head to campus while drinking my coffee . . . ?

So, I've got a question: I was raised by people with kind of an old-fashioned sensibility about certain things. No elbows on the table, respect elders, no white shoes before Memorial Day. I have, as a result, internalized some things that some people think are quite strange.

Now, I'm not criticizing, just questioning. We went to a wedding over the weekend. It's my understanding there are just some things you shouldn't wear to weddings. White would be the number one, because that's supposed to be reserved for the bride. Red. 'Nuff said, yes? Black (like ALL black,not patterns)- except perhaps for a formal evening wedding. Things that could be defined as "trashy," "risque," or "revealing." Are these things not true any more, at all?

I still don't think it's appropriate to wear jeans and polo shirts to weddings, unless it's a backyard-barbecue type event. In a church = at least a button-down shirt, slacks, and non-sneakers shoes for guys, IMO.

ON to the next thing: did you hear that Macromedia and Adobe are merging, and may end up giving MS a run for their money, since they dominate the market with free and unbiquitous plug-ins? I'm reserving final judgement, but my prelimiary opinion is pretty positive.

Well, if I am even to pretend I am going to that conferece, must leave now.

- posted by laurie @ 4/19/2005 06:25:00 AM (0) comments

Monday, April 18, 2005

I'm Disappointed

Take a look at this headline story from MPR (this link might be time-sensitive . . .)

By a margin of 483 votes (out of 3,075 total votes cast), the third recent unionization drive at the University of Minnesota has failed.

I will go be sad now. That is all.

- posted by laurie @ 4/18/2005 10:53:00 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

From the referrer files

I haven't done one of these in a long time - mostly because searces that bring eople here haven't been interesting lately (everyone is looking for information on the memex, on persuasive speech/paper topics (?), or on drylighers). This one, though, had me laughing hysterically and trying to figure out the context: a paper? maybe? a theoretical approach to candy?

M&M Mars Determinism

I'm the number-one hit, at least as of this moment. Yep, those words all appear on the same archive page, but aren't at all in the same post. FYI, that archive page is also one of the ones where I discuss drylighters. I bet you 90% of my traffic ends up on that ONE page.

Must take kid (who is currently talking to the baby in the mirror) to daycare, where she can socialize with real kids, not just reflections.

- posted by laurie @ 4/13/2005 07:56:00 AM (1) comments

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Hey Grad Students, GO VOTE!!!

Everyone on the St Paul campus, make sure to get out and vote at Borlaug Hall TODAY.Tomorrow you can vote on the West Bank (Carlson), and Thursday and Friday on East Bank. More information can be found at the GradTRAC/UE site.

I've got to run (office hours too soon, and me still at home and not ready to walk out the door . . . there were certainly advantages to teaching online!), but check out this Minnesota Daily Opinion article: this is apparently the second time the Daily has endorsed the union. Good for them! Hope this all goes well.

Keep your fingers crossed!

- posted by laurie @ 4/12/2005 07:50:00 AM (0) comments

Tech Help, Please!

I have a flash drive. It's a bit over a year old (bought it in late August or early September of '03). It has ceased working on my iBook - the laptop does not even recognize that anything has been attached. No disk icon appears on the desktop, no change in the finder window, nothing. The little activity light on the drive does light up briefly, but then nothing happens.

I just moved all files off the drive and reformatted it on my Windows machine and then tried, again, to plug the flash drive into the iBook. Again, nothing. By the way, have checked and both USB ports on the laptop are working just fine with other peripherals. Is this a hardware issue? A software issue?

Last week I purchased a 1G replacement. Bigger, newer, and better with regard to security features. But it was still a bit spendy, and if I can get the good ol' 256 to work, then really, let's be honest, what do I need the full gig for?

Can anyone out there help me before I break down and rip open the 1G drive?

- posted by laurie @ 4/12/2005 07:10:00 AM (0) comments

Thursday, April 07, 2005

iPod, how I love thee

I've had the iPod mini since Sunday. That's not long, but long enough for me to have become entirely smitten! I went out day before yesterday and purchased a silver case for my new toy, and also got the very cool iTrip. For the first time in forever, I have a variety of good music in my car! My Hyundai Accent has only cassette, and the tape deck adapter I got stopped working - it's not the adapter, it's the tape deck.

I'd like to add pictures at some point, but blogger isn't being friendly with image uploads at the moment. Perhaps will add them later - perhaps will buy hosting and move from blogger. Yep, still threatening.

- posted by laurie @ 4/07/2005 06:46:00 AM (1) comments

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My Baby

As I said before, we had the kiddo's six-month pictures taken over the weekend. Here are a few small samples of the cuteness that lives in my house:

- posted by laurie @ 4/06/2005 06:29:00 PM (1) comments

Blogger and TypePad Reviewed on CNET

This morning on the CNET main page, blogging makes the day's top stories:Your own personal soapbox: two blogger services reviewed - Internet. The article isn't much, and the reviews are pretty limited, but just goes to show that yet another media source is making the "blogging is here to stay" pronouncement.

- posted by laurie @ 4/06/2005 06:04:00 AM (0) comments

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

new ipod-related discovery:

my kitty, you know, the bad one? found him chewing on my iPod headphones this morning. Right up where the cord connects to the ear bud. Peachy. Another thing I have to monitor with extra vigilence.

You know those nanny shows? Think they have something like that for pets? "Pet behavioralist emergency" or something? If so, sign me up, because even the good kitty is only "good" relative to the evil kitty.

- posted by laurie @ 4/05/2005 07:38:00 AM (0) comments

Union Makes Sense for Grad Students

For the folks not in Minnesota, I apologize for continuing to bring up geographically-linked news, but I think this one is important. Graduate students at the University of Minnesota are running a tight, quick, seemingly well-organized unionization drive. I think this is great, and while everyone is entitled to their own opinion and own vote, I think that grad students who have their own best personal, financial, and professional interests at heart (as well as the interests of others, including future generations of scholars) should vote for the union during elections next week. It makes sense.

A union will give graduates students a voice with the administration - a voice that is not funded by the U, a voice that is stronger collectively than each of our individual graduate student voices could ever be. A voice that, through contract negotiations, is more difficult for the University to overlook. There is a serious problem with only having graduate and professional groups that meet as University student organizations. The University may or may not listen to what we have to say, may or may not take seriously the problems and ideas we bring to them, and may or may not take action. A union would lessen that uncertainty.

A union will give us more channels we can use to address workplace issues, including working conditions and work load. These are channels that can be used in addition to the discussions with department administrators and with the professors for whom we TA and RA, not instead of.

Studies show that unionization does not affect advisor/advisee collegiality or otherwise strain the working relationship.

Finally, a note on this particular campaign: ther are questions about the rapidity of the campaign and challenges to GradTRAC/UE to disclose how much money they have spent on U graduate students. Well, I'm sure UE has spent some, but a lot of the people I have met and spoken to are volunteer organizers rather than national reps and paid organizers. I've seen the inner workings of a unionization campaign before, at Penn State, and I am very impressed with the way this campaign has been run (and also, I know that it's highly unlikely that anyone is glibly throwing around the green). At Penn State, the unionization drive had been going on before I arived to begin my MA, and it was still going on when I left after receiving that MA two years later. Organizers burnt out, leadership burnt out, and while I am not sure what happened, I can't even find the web site for the GFTEO, the organizing group there. Running a fast campaign is smart, smart, smart. Good for the UE for committing resources up front and getting the election taken care of, rather than running a lengthy organizing campaign which would probably consume more resources and simply fatigue everyone.

So, if you're a grad student at the U, think seriously about the decision before voting next week. And make sure you do vote next week! Vote your convictions. Me? I'll be voting for the union!

- posted by laurie @ 4/05/2005 06:08:00 AM (0) comments

Monday, April 04, 2005

Praise for the U

I fiirmly believe in giving praise where praise is due. I am the kind of person who fills out comment cards and sends emails to corporate offices when I have had a great experience, rather than only using those channels of communication for griping. I mean hey, I gripe here on my blog, right?

Well, I am going to give praise here, too. The University of Minnesota's technology help line and whomever they transferred me to thereafter - just wonderful, great, efficient, polite, and did I say wonderful? As of this morning, I hadn't received a single email since 7:41 pm on Friday evening, and given the google news alerts, listservs and listserv digests I subscribe to, I should have gotten something! Never mind the fact that I had sent a message on which I cc'ed myself and never received. Well, the tech folks at the U had my problem fixed in approximately 15 minutes, and then called me to let me know, and to kind of explain what happened. Apparently, for some quirky unknown computer reason, my account was experiencing a "hung process": never really disconnected properly, apparently, and thereafter I couldn't receive messages though I could send them. And the tech folks cleared the hung process, and a weekend's worth of mail flooded into my inbox and various filtered folders.

Thank you, thank you.

And I have email again. Which is a relief.

- posted by laurie @ 4/04/2005 09:56:00 AM (0) comments

Sunday, April 03, 2005

A year older and, um wiser?

Today is my birthday - I have another 34 minutes to enjoy it! Birthdays, it seems, become less fun with the passing years. This one, on the other hand, was just wonderful. I got phone calls from the people in my life who love me most. I got to talk to my mother for the first time in weeks and weeks, which was a very special treat. I spent much of the day in my jammies playing with ym new toys. And I have had back-to-back fabulous dining experiences with people I really enjoy spending time with.

Yesterday was pretty laid back. We kicked around the house in the morning, and then headed to the MOA for the little one's six-month photos. They turned out so very, very well that we had a tough time deciding which ones we should use for the three poses we got with our selected package. So good that the photographer wanted to use one of the shots for promotional purposes.

Last night our housemate and her boyfriend, who returned home to Southern California today, went to Fuji-Ya. Yummy, yummy! We made reservations for 5:00 (first available), and ended up getting one of the private rooms. Everyone, baby included, sat on the floor, which actually worked very well for all involved parties. The sushi was fabulous, the service was ok to begin with, then crappy (when we ordered, I guess, less than our server thought we should have), then excellent, when we ordered a second round of drinks and a second round of sushi (guess our tab exceeded the "I give a . . ." threshold). We also ordered desserts at that time. If you head to Fuji-Ya any time soon, I would recommend trying either the tempura ice cream or the fried cheesecake - I had the latter, but the green tea ice cream tempura looked wonderful, as well. I received three early gifts, all books I am looking forward to reading (including a knitting book, so I actually have my very own pattern for the sweater I am supposedly making right now).

This morning I awoke after actually getting to sleep in a little bit (thanks, baby!!!). Eric went and retreived donuts and fixings for spinach and feta omelettes. After breakfast, three beautifully-wrapped presents came upstairs. Eric handed me a squishy square one which he proclaimed was from him. It contained a cute retro Atari tee and a "Vote for Pedro" Napoleon Dyanmite tee. Both cute, both I like and will wear. The second package, squarish and obviously a box of some kind, was "from the baby - she picked it out." I opened it and found . . . a silver iPod Mini! YAY!!!! Present number three was dubbed, "the mistake." The roundish package contained earphones, which Eric had purchased because he wasn't sure if the iPod came with them or not. Well it did, and the extra ones may or may not go back to the store.

This afternoon I finally stopped playing with my iPod, peeled off my jammies, and dressed up in my one really fancy nursing shirt, black slacks, and black boots. Eric dressed nicely, as well. We packed up a bag with a bottle, some toys, and other baby necessaries, and headed out. First stop was at the home of baby's surrogate grandma, who watched her for the first time this evening. Next stop was the Burnsville Ciatti's/Chianti Grill, where a fabulous dinner and dessert awaited us. Mmmmm, any evening that ends with creme brulee and coffee has to be good!

So folks, I'm loading songs onto the iPod as I write this, and I think I am going to go grab a few discs from my car (don't have a CD player in the car, but both of my CD cases and all of my favorite CDs seem to be there). Then, after the little iPod is appropriately loaded, I am going to crawl into bed, having had a very, very satisfying birthday.

and you know what? truly, truly, I do not mind getting older. but talk to me next year, when I hit the big 3-0. May feel differently.

- posted by laurie @ 4/03/2005 09:26:00 PM (0) comments

Friday, April 01, 2005

Ed Foster's Gripelog || Copyright Decision Deals Blow to New Technology

Late here, so this is brief, but take a look at this entry : Ed Foster's Gripelog || Copyright Decision Deals Blow to New Technology

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- posted by laurie @ 4/01/2005 10:06:00 PM (0) comments