Saturday, November 26, 2005

File under random

So, following the referrer log links and then doing a little sleuthing, I turned up the current blog of one of the first people to blogroll me whom I hadn't met in person (he derolled me shortly thereafter, but these things happen, especially when you're an infrequent and sometimes spazzy blogger). Interesting.

Also, for anyone following the saga of the lost flashdrive (um, just me, probably, and Eric because I whine about it semi-daily), I found it last week. Yippee! I really was beginning to wonder if it had dematerialized. Which would be a sad thing to have happen to your less-than-six-months-old overpriced 1 gig flashdrive. The sneaky flashdrive managed to get itself wedged down into the corner of a pocket of a much-loved but seldom-worn jacket that is absolutely too light for Minnesota winter wear. I dragged it out of the closet once this year, and I guess I put the flashdive in my pocket, then returned the coat to the closet, where I promptly forgot it ever existed. Now if I can only find my purse . . . (worry not, my wallet and keys aren't in the missing purse).

Finally, a word of advice to out-of-shape amateur knitters: after a knitting hiatus of several months, don't decide in November to knit everyone you know holiday gifts. Your flabby wrists will complain mightily.

Off to retrieve no longer napping child from crib. She's chatting with the mirror in her crib at the moment, but those conversations only last so long.

- posted by laurie @ 11/26/2005 08:43:00 AM (0) comments

Happy Turkey

Still here, folks. We had a great Thanksgiving, courtesy of our former housemate's mom, who hosted a fantastic, fantastic dinner at her brand-new house. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, turnips (which I discovered I like), herbed biscuits and honey butter, gravy with and without giblets, 2 kinds of pie, red wine, white wine, Apple Spice beer (actually not bad - tasted more like a cider, though), good friends, good conversation, some holiday-gift knitting, and a post-dinner viewing of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The kiddo crashed out during the Thanksgiving meal, and then we took turns snuggling with her as she napped

Yesterday morning we awoke to a pretty, snow-covered landscape. The kiddo went out in snowpants two sizes too big for her and had her first real experience with snow (last year she was too little and immobile to interact with the white stuff). It was a very mixed experience: she appeared to have a bit of fun, but didn't like getting the snow on her mittens - she cried until we dusted her mittens off and replaced them on her hands. She thought Mommy and Daddy kicking and throwing snow up into the air was quite funny, but trying the same herself got the white stuff on her mittens . . . I think she tolerated a whole 10 - 15 minutes of snow play before we decided to head her back inside.

The rest of the day was spent lounging, playing with kiddo, and watching TV - mostly Baby Einstein videos.

Today and tomorrow E is actually at work, so it's just mommy and baby, playing together. And that means I have to go, because right now she's trying to figure out which cords attached to the computer are the most fun to pull. Eek!

- posted by laurie @ 11/26/2005 06:29:00 AM (0) comments

Friday, November 18, 2005

Slashdot | Copyright and Webcomics - A New Trend?

Slashdot | Copyright and Webcomics - A New Trend?

The /. post references this Publisher's Weekly article that reports . . .

an English-language manga publisher has decided to stop specifying joint ownership for works they publish, and instead allows authors to retain full ownership of their work. This is an interesting turn of events, especially since, as the PW article points out, the comic industry is known for unfair contracts and nastiness about ownership of creative material.


- posted by laurie @ 11/18/2005 02:53:00 PM (0) comments

Oh, Sony, if any company should know better . . .

Just a note, because I'm busy girl today, but check this headline:PC Pro: News: Sony's DRM woes expand to include copyright infringement

That copy-protection hullabaloo? Well, the DRM software apparently infringed the copyright of some open-source code (specifically, LAME, licensed under the LGPL).

Read licenses, Sony. Make sure your contractors respect copyright. Surely your high-powered lawyers should be able to do that much? (more here and here)

Also interesting: The Washington Post notes that Sony and Amazon are annoucing how customers with the "tainted" CDs can exchange them - for a clean copy of the same CD or MP3 downloads of the song. Nice.

Well, errands and grading beckon. Have a happy Friday!

- posted by laurie @ 11/18/2005 09:10:00 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

*sniff* 'bye, mary.

I am much less of a music fan that I used to be, but there are still a few bands that just rock my world. They Might Be Giants is the big one, but a very close second is the naughty Maryland girl who goes by the name of Mary Prankster (and who I just happened to discover because she was opening for TMBG at the 9:30 club). She rocks, in a bad-girl-with-tattoos-and-surplus-attitude kind of way. But soon, very soon, all that praise will have to be shifted into the past tense . . .

Sad news for Mary Prankster fans: "MARY HAS LEFT THE BUILDING... Please join Mary Prankster for her FAREWELL SHOWS this PRANKSGIVING WEEKEND as she rocks the Mid Atlantic one last time!

After ten years, four albums and countless fond, fuzzy memories, Baltimore's hometown girl is retiring the wicked whiplash wink that made her an underground cult hero and wants YOU there to see her off in style!

I only got to see her a few times, which is unfortunate, and there's no way that the grad-student-mom-of-toddler-living-in-Midwest-on-a-budget person I am at the moment will be able to make it to any of the Pranksgiving or other Farewell Tour locations (all Mid Atlantic locations). That said, I'm pretty sure I can understand the retirement impulse. Being a precious indie bad girl (with a day job, I believe) can only get you but so far past mid-twentyhood without burning you out, driving you crazy, or destroying you.

Anyway, *cheers* to ten years of Mary - go buy stuff while it's still in stock - and if you're in the Mid Atlantic, go say farewell for me, 'k?

- posted by laurie @ 11/16/2005 09:25:00 AM (0) comments

How closely are you following this?

Today is day 1 of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS - this link wasn't working at time of posting, for some reason) Tunisia - phase 2 (phase 1 was in Geneva in 2003). Between this summit, Minnesotan and Californian delegation visits to China, and Bush's trip to Asia, questions of knowledge ownership, intellectual property, piracy, etc. are all over the news. I, of course, am thrilled that IP and copyright are getting top billing. We'll see what comes of all of this discussion.

Since the WSIS page seems to be down, a decent alternative is the page for the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force Also, there has been good news coverage - check the latest (via Google News).

- posted by laurie @ 11/16/2005 07:54:00 AM (0) comments

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Patry Copyright Blog: There is Collective Bargaining in Kansas, Dorothy

From The Patry Copyright Blog: There is Collective Bargaining in Kansas, Dorothy. Very interesting post about academia and the ownership of copyrighted works, as well as the dynamics of public-sector collective bargaining.

Patry says this is fast becoming a hot topic, but I just want to point out that it is by no means a new one. IP has been a negotiating point for faculty and graduate student unions since (and I am sure, before) I got involved in the academic unionization movement, which was roughly 2000-01. At one of the CGEU conferences I went to, in fact, students from an ivy-league (I think Yale) led a discussion on the inclusion of IP rights/interests in their platform - which apparently was a very attractive addition for those in the sciences, where ownership of trademark and patent are key issues. From the graduate labor perspective, being recognized and credited for work done in a lab or as a research assistant is also a huge issue. And the decade-plus existence of the CCC-IP Caucus shows that, in rhet/comp, at least, the issues of IP in the academy has been a hot topic (with some of us) for quite some time.

- posted by laurie @ 11/14/2005 08:17:00 AM (0) comments

Friday, November 11, 2005

First Woman President in Africa!

Check out the BBC NEWS | Africa | Q&A: Liberia's election: it appears that the first presidential elections in Liberia in 14 years were, according to observers, "free, fair, and transparent," and have also resulted in the election of the first woman president in Africa.

A good section from the BBC Q&A:

Is it a surprise that Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf seems to have won?

To some extent. Liberia remains a male-dominated society and some thought, despite her "Iron Lady" nickname, a woman would not be tough enough to deal with all the challenges ahead - including the ex-combatants.

And George Weah's life story of going from a Monrovia slum to footballer of the year attracted many people looking for some hope in the war-torn country.

But Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf's supporters highlighting Mr Weah's lack of education seems to have worked.

She is a Harvard-educated banker and so, her supporters argued, was the perfect person to get Liberia's economy up and running.

They also said the country needed a healing, woman's touch after being destroyed by men.

The final election results have not been certified, and there are still charges of irregularities from Weah and his supporters. Regardless, it seems like a noteworthy event.

- posted by laurie @ 11/11/2005 07:08:00 AM (0) comments

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Meet my son, Google.

So call me slow on the uptake - I didn't catch this right away, but can't let it go without passing commentary: would you ever really considernaming your kid for Google?

Naming's rough, I know - so hard to find something different without being too weird, while trying to not tap into the collective unconsciousness that results in all of our kids being called Mikayla and Skyler, Hannah and Aidan.

But seriously, now, Google? Heh. Google Johnson. Can you imagine? I don't think a kid with that name would survive gradeschool, but perhaps Sweden is a much kinder, gentler place to be a tot.

- posted by laurie @ 11/10/2005 12:46:00 PM (0) comments

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

ATA to drop Twin Cities-Chicago route

There go my holiday plans. In September, aware of the Northwest strikes and the potential problems with flying on NW over the holidays, I decided to avoid NW when booking our holiday trip to Ft Lauderdale, Florida. The cheapest non-NW tickets that fit our travel constraints were on ATA. Well, effective December 1, ATA will no longer fly between the Twin Cities and Chicago (or Newark, but that doesn't immediately impact me).

I found this out today, as I was walking in the door of the apartment, with a toddler, a backpack, the toddler's backpack, my purse, a sippy cup, and a travel coffee mug all precariously balanced and/or secured on my person. My cell phone rang, someone horribly mispronounced my name and then E's as he asked if one of us was available, and then informed me that my flight was canceled.

All the precariously balanced stuff, minus kiddo who had already been released to go chase kittties, hit the floor. After a few attempts, he told me he couldn't rebook me at all, and would have to refund the purchase price. In 5-7 days. And then there were no holiday travel plans. We are also the proud owners of a non-refundable travel insurance policy that is really non-refundable, and insures absolutely nothing now.

Ended up rebooking new tickets through Travelocity for a bit less than we'd originally paid, but at much less convenient times. You think that, since the article I found is dated October 14, they could have notified me directly or via Expedia, through which I booked the tickets? No, of course not. And did the Expedia customer service person help me at all when I tried to confirm cancellation through them - which, by the way, is what their website told me to do? Nope. She was kind of rude, actually, especially about the travel insurance. ATA and Expedia are both off my good list (fine service, good customer support) and onto the "it" list (you know, not the list of cool people and stuff, but the "**it" list, of people, places and things that no longer get my $$).

And now we have to convince someone to pick us up at the airport at 1 AM. Or rent a car and drive, stupidly tired, from the airport ourselves. Neither option sounds great, and either option will mean waking up the whole household.

Ah, well. Let it begin. Merry Christmas, everyone. We're off to a whopper of a holiday season!

- posted by laurie @ 11/08/2005 03:38:00 PM (0) comments