Friday, December 30, 2005

There comes a dog warmly welcomed

A Big Long Rambling Post That Starts With a Funny Picture.

I saw this nativity photo and thought that the addition of the golden lab was a humorous touch. (Look out! He's going to snorfle and drool on the baby Jesus!)

So most of our Yule stuff is still out; primarily the tree, lights, and boxes therefrom. Some things I have begun to put away, such as the candles and the music (Rosy English Children Singing in Large Echoey Spaces and A Very Wretched Christmas With Authentic Irish Miners).

I had this week to stay at home and try to catch up on everything I haven't done for the past 4 months, as well as prepare for my two new classes and half dozen interviews which begin next week. So naturally I started getting sick on the last leg of the train journey home Monday.

I haven't been horribly ill, as I would if I hadn't gotten my flu shot, for example. But I am definitely glad I don't have to venture out or be around people. This year, I think I just wore my defenses thin.

Actually, I don't know what the heck illness this is. It's flu-like and I've been running a fever, but it has been a normal degree of uncomfortable illness instead of something that sends me to the E.R., as flu generally does. (Maybe it's flu after all, but reduced in severity because of the vaccination?)

Whatever virus (of this sort) I get, it always begins with a sore throat. Then the next day it progresses to being a sore larynx and pharynx, with stuffy nose. Then those begin fading away somewhat and I think I'm getting better. Then it moves to my lungs and starts a whole new life.

I still have a bit of laryngitis, and a heck of a lot of coughing. Usually dextromethorphan and guaifenisin (sp?) take care of that enough that I can sleep. (If not, I can add Nyquil, if I catch it in time.)

However, the other night we made the brilliant decision to try some instant chai we had gotten as a gift--in the evening right before bed. Duh. When we were still giggling in the dark about being awake at 12:30, I should have guessed what the problem was.

But it wasn't until around 4:30 am, when I was still awake (and coughing) in the living room by myself, that I made the association with the caffeinated beverage right before bed.

So my recommendation would be: don't try new forms of caffeine right before bed!

As Argot has introduced me to a new form of to-do list (which you can view over there in my second blogroll), I get to display online exactly how very slowly I am accomplishing the things I've been waiting to do this week, for-positively-ever. Like going through all my post from August and since.

One great thing is that TheLimey has gleefully taken my multifarious credit card statements off my hands as he wants to organize them and put them into a spreadsheet. I've been "managing" them online while the paper versions piled up. Now I feel both guilty and -- suddenly weightlessly freed!

I think possibly the fact that a week or so ago I finally broke down in helpless tears about the amount of crap I have to do that never goes away and perpetually looms over my head, may have influenced this convenient turn of events.

Now I am free to focus on sending in all those various other items that were due to be renewed in, say, October.

I might even get around to working on my lesson plans today, if I get through that mail-pile! Now that's a Happy New Year. (Please, don't remind me that we haven't yet sent out our wedding thank-yous and it's been four months.)

Next week: four(4!) internship interviews. Yikes! Two phone interviews and two on-site interviews in Ohio. Four more interviews in the subsequent two weeks as work begins again.

If that seems to add up to eight interviews instead of the seven I mentioned, it's because it does. But only because one of the sites conducts phone interviews and then also hosts an "open house" so you can see the location in person.

It's generally considered much better to show up in person, no matter how much they protest that phone interviewees will receive "full consideration", so I plan on attending the "open house".

Some places conduct only phone interviews for everyone, in order to avoid unfairly privileging those who can afford to travel across the country for in-person interviews. I kind of like that, but I also regret that I can't turn on the warmth and charm as well over the phone as in person.

Anyway, wish me luck!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Little Help?

In the interests of promoting the production of literature.

Okay, how do these spelling variations strike you at first glance as far as how you would pronounce this name? (No overthinking allowed!)




Mainly for Liddy

Blatant rat sketch thievery from this site. Not even because I can't draw rats, but because I'm too lazy (busy?) to be bothered with all that. (So I just added chakras.)

A pleasant drawing: Anodea, the rat with the midnight blue heart chakra. (As you can see, it had to be switched with his throat chakra, which is now green.)

(Ah, Silver, ye knew not what ye wrought.)

There was just no way I was making a koala with a salmon spleen.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Sucked In...

...again again AGAIN! Thanks to the carbon-unit mega-meta-internet filter interface known as my sister (Argotnaut).

You are OS X. You tend to be fashionable and clever despite being a bit transparent.  Now that you've reached some stability you're expecting greater popularity.
Which OS are You?

Didn't realize just how transparent I was, nor that I had reached stability!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Very Squirrel Christmas

Originally uploaded by Squirrel Hugger.
Hope your holy-days are happy!

Chicago Christmas

Millers Pub Inside
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
We had our own Christmas on Friday at home, as we were going to Illinois to visit my grandmother who is 90 years old and couldn't make it to the wedding. (And possibly not to the next year.)

We saw Chicago's Union Station, me for the billionth time, TheLimey for the first time. We rode the glass elevator at Marshall Field's, which I now hear is closing! What a shame.

We rented a car and ventured out into the Illinois prairie to stay with my cousin. The prairie--or, as TheLimey put it when he awoke and, stunned, saw the landscape in daylight for the first time, "The middle of f*in nowhere!" (I found this hilarious.)

To underscore the outback-ness of the land of my ancestors, I found a chilly little possum just sitting on a tree branch in my grandma's yard at eye level.

You can see the photographic evidence here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Winter Roundup

1. Internet has been out at home. I got up yesterday at 5:30 to begin my internet-related tasks, and it wasn't happening. It continued not happening all day long and through this morning. For all I know, it'll still be out when I go back there. Very frustrating,as this is a period of intense emailing and posting stuff. I think I have actually been experiencing the irritation and anxiety of withdrawal about this. (Note: not "withdrawl". Gosh!)

2. My students became insane at the end of the semester. Not all of them, really just a few. But those ones made up for the other 77. Wanting extensions for the work, Incompletes for the class, extended Incompletes, wildly accusing me of losing assignments (when in fact I had already told them that those assignments weren't graded yet), etc. The blizzard on the day / evening of the final did not help, and a number of people had to take a make-up final.

3. I gave weekly assignments/quizzes in my classes because one of our profs did that to make sure people did the readings. (I hear it worked.) It was okay to do it when I had one class. However, it just about killed me this semester when I had two classes totalling 80 people. Today I saw that prof and asked her about it. She told me that the whole reason she did it was that the textbook company she used had an internet quiz service available--she didn't grade them herself at all! "Oh, no, that would have killed me!" she joked pleasantly in her jaunty South African accent.

And here I just thought I was having trouble with it because I was simply not organized enough. Good grief.

4. I often pick up self-help / self-development books that I think might be useful for clients (or heck, for me!). Recent favorite, even if only for the title: (Regardless What You've Been Taught to Believe) There is Nothing Wrong With You. Good if you can accept material through a zen Buddhism-type lens. Might be difficult for some of my more perfectionistic clients, though they probably need it the most.

Friday, December 16, 2005


I find these odd little paintings of cartoon animals compelling.


As a very nice change from last year, I have already amassed six (6!) internship interviews this year. Also two rejections (or was it three?) but hey. A lot better than last year, which was maybe two interviews out of 17 applications. I guess now that we have had our official site visit from the APA and are likely to be accredited soon, we look a heckuva lot better.

I guess this means that I will still be hearing from a few more sites, as I sent out--what, 15? 16?--applications. Frankly, I now actually hope there are more rejections coming, as I don't know how I could schedule any more out-of-town interviews in the first few weeks of January as it is. It will be crayzeeee!

I better get my lesson plans for January in order right now, (meaning next week or so--still not done grading the current classes' stuff and grades are due Wednesday!) ) as there will clearly be no time to do it as I go along, as usual.

Update: Now it's 7. Boy, do I feel wanted!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

New Dental Research

Now, what do you s'pose this means for unicorns?

Hot Topic

Two events prompted this post. First, a conversation I recently heard at a get-together (not my colleagues for once, so they were normal, non-psychologist people, I might add) and then an email from my sister.

The conversation I heard consisted of an individual discussing the oh-so-humorous subject of people he knows using the "punishment" technique of burning a child's tongue/mouth with hot sauce. I was pretty shocked (especially at the cavalier attitude), but there were some other important things going on at the time so I was distracted. (Not that a party-contextual lecture at this guy would have helped anything anyway, I'm guessing.)

The email consisted of a description of a dinner guest of my sister's who could not tolerate (delicious!) spicy Ethiopian fare they were serving because--you guessed it--her parents had used "hot saucing" when she was a child.

My first reaction to all this is...are people nuts??

I see enough individuals with eating disorders and anxiety disorders and depression every work day to know this is creepy and bizarre. I mean, permanently making an association in your child's mind between eating--eating in general, hot food in particular--and punishment / pain / humiliation and so bad. Really, really bad. Do not attempt this at home, folks.

For another thing, if there's any activity you ever want your child to be able to voluntarily participate in as an adult, then for the love of God don't use that activity as a "punishment"! (Duh!)

Common things used in violation of this premise are: household chores, homework, exercise, and eating nutritious foods. As I personally love spicy foods (more the older I get)--and eating in general--I would never risk something so important on something so retributive, unseemly, and out-and-out dumb as this. (Those are clinical terms.)

My second reaction was...oh yeah, people doing this are nuts!

After all, the current poster child for this fad is Lisa Whelchel, former Mouseketeer and child actress, current home-schooling mom. Not, you'll notice, child psychologist, early education specialist, registered pediatric nurse, or developmental researcher. (Or even dog trainer, which--I have great respect for dog trainers, as they know that when it comes to carrot versus stick, carrot totally wins out in terms of behavior change of organisms.)

So, this Whelchel came out with a book that promotes "creative" "correction". Read those words very slowly, out loud, with enunciation, for proper effect. Don't you feel like you just said a line from a movie about Nazis? Can you guess how I feel about being "creative" (rather than consistent) in the ways a person punishes [read: wreaks revenge upon] a child? (Adults might pay hard-earned money to dungeonmasters for that kind of "creativity", but...children?)

There is a good aggregation of discussion about this at uggabugga. Especially the collected customer reviews, followed by this quote from the author:

I have three children, ages 8,9 & 10, including a son diagnosed with ADHD. It was out of sheer desperation that I came up with many of the discipline ideas in this book.

Yep, they're pretty desperate ideas, alright--and she even has a diagnosis for one child. But she's just not desperate enough to try a few months of simple family therapy / parent training. Now, that would be evil.

Meanwhile, the state of Virginia (for example) considers this practice one that can trigger an investigation of abuse.

This whole concept is from the same school of thought that brought us the texts of Dobson.

A reviewer: "My father used Dobson's methodology ... If you wish to die alone in a nursing home, I suggest you listen to [Dobson]. There is not a day that I don't dream of lashing my old man..."

As an alternative, here's my recommendation for a non-freakish method of training children parents. When actually used as recommended (instead of haphazardly tossed into a chaotic mix of random behaviors and "techniques") parents do seem to find it's magical-seeming.


Don't forget that tomorrow (11:15 EST or 1615Z) is the full moon (Long Nights Moon). Just in case you want to tip up a glass of winter ale, or toss grain on the ground, burn a Yulish candle, or whatever.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Friday, December 09, 2005

Restoration of Birdliness

I am happy to say that the bird feeders I have been assiduously (and in some cases surreptitiously) placing in the back-patio area since August are finally bearing little feathery fruit (to horrifically mix my analogies in midstream).

The bluejays (AKA noisy pterodactyls) were naturally the first to begin making regular visits, as their beady little eyes can spot peanuts on a plastic lawn chair from orbit. For a long time I thought that would be all we would get, even though this seems to be a very birdful area. Then winter hit.

The first songbird-y kind of creatures were juncos, happily doing their hopping little scratch-dance on the ground under the feeder. (Okay, feeders.) Then within only a day or two arrived a brace of tufted titmouses, with their cute little pointy heads.

Soon a brace of house finches (whose song I linked to above), male and female, began visiting. "Proper robins!" exclaimed TheLimey when I pointed these out, as American robins are big and bulky elephantine things compared to English robins, which do look a lot like house finches.

I've only seen a few sparrows, which means maybe they won't hog the entire feeder contents (blocking the songbirds) in ten minutes flat like at my last residence. I have seen a lot of chickadees in the area, so it seems likely that we should get some soon. Especially since they tend to travel in the company of those tufted titmouses. I can also hear nuthatches, which like suet cakes, in the trees around the house, and some other unidentifiable woodpecker-y sounding bird. I hope it likes suet, too.

The only problem is that in these little condos, of course there are a lot of pet cats who spend a lot of time slinking around our patio. Some are already actively hiding in the greenery under the feeders and stalking my birdies, dammit. Maybe I will get a taller board...though now the ground is frozen.

The only squirrels around here are still quite wild, but then I haven't actively pursued training them yet.

The Great 3D Debate

As I had recorded the recent 3D Episode of Medium, I have been waiting to view it until I could get some actual 3D glasses. Evidently some were included in the TV Guide for that week, but we did not get one in time. So I ordered some online. (Now, that's a cool site.)

Now that I have them, I plan to look at every single 3D image available online, as well as making my own. "Making your own?" scoffs TheLimey, "you mean, along with writing a book, painting, and doing music?" I am scandalized at his doubt, but then he has only known me whilst I have been attending grad school.

So anyway. We watched the episode, and TheLimey was most unimpressed by the stickoutiness of the 3D scenes. (Nevertheless, he dutifully put the glasses on at each prompt.) I tried to defend it, but a lot of the online pix I have seen do look a lot better.

I am wondering if we might simply have the wrong glasses for this particular process. Now that I am looking, there seem to be a lot of different types. Red/cyan (which I think is what we have), red/green, and it looks like some glasses have the red on different sides (L/R). So, who knows. (*Update: turns out ours are anaglyph ones [most widely used] so they were the right kind after all.)

Anyway, that's a really cool photo of the moon that I linked to up there, even if I'm using red and blue glasses instead of the recommended red and green.

Slithery Conditions

Today there is a blizzardish type phenomenon over Michigan, which makes me doubly happy that I have a work-at-home day today anyway. Last night as the snow was beginning it took me over an hour to drive the 20 or so miles home. At least I was able to take my usual winding dark country backroad route.

I know that sounds terrible, but the alternative is taking the highway. At least people are more careful and slow on the back roads, and there are places to pull over if I want to allow all those 40mph drivers go past so I can continue driving 30. Which I did, several times.

The scary part of slippery weather driving is not the slippery part: even if I slide off the road and run into a tree, at 30mph what's going to happen? The scary part is Other Cars. Therefore, the back road option is far superior. I can go as slow as I want, and escape Other Cars when necessary. However, on the highway, people are still trying to go 80, and I can't get away from them. It's on the highway that people die outright in the kind of accident we walked away from recently, as we see on the news all the time.

I might go to the grocery store two blocks away today, if anything. I could even walk if I felt like it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Finals Time busy for profs, too.

As I had to cancel my Psych of Women class last week, I posted my lecture for that chapter online for the students. (Just because they don't have enough reading as it is!)

The school is just getting projector/computer stands in the classrooms, so next semester I can do all PowerPoint, all semester if I so choose!

Which is cool, when you consider that
a) movie clips can be inserted into PowerPoint, and
b) I have a device that allows me to capture analog video to clips

(I wonder what snippets of Dr. Who would be applicable to any Psych class?)

Next semester I teach Personality again, which means that the suffering of the poor guinea pigs of this year will allow the next class to have a cool section. I also have been asked at rather short notice to teach Prejudice & Discrimination again, which is fine because I already have the prep done for it. (Whew!)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Magical Disappearing Blog

For some reason my blog disappeared. I can get to the posting/editing area of Blogger just fine, but when I try to view my blog directly, Blogger tells me that it can't be found. I've tried republishing and so forth, but no dice. So I have no idea if anyone can even see this post!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Soliciting Recipes

As I spent all Thanksgiving day in a happy cooking haze, there are some things I will likely make again, such as my new "mashed cracktatoes" (featuring sherry-sauteed onions) so named for their unbelievably addictive quality. Luckily I wrote down how I created them. When I get home I'll look it up so I can post it. Oh, also the apple-ginger sorbet and the Guinness ginger cake turned out well. I'll post those too if you want.

Meanwhile, I really want to know about Library Liddy's Notorious Cranberry Sauce, as well as any other special recipes anyone has to offer that they tried and liked this year.

(Come Christmas I'll be bringing out those Library Squirrel Cookies recipes, never fear. I think I'll try the ginger ones this year--it's my theme!)

So, what did you all try making this year that turned out well?

Film Debut

I had to make a film of my own after seeing Liddy's.

Now I want to create a character and submit it! I don't know what yet, though.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Our Primate Past

Explains the answer to a question about chalkboard screeching that I never thought to ask.

(Or were we perhaps intelligently designed to hate chalkboard screeching?!)

Will Try Anything, Doesn't Know Art of War apparently how I would fare were I a general.

Come on! I could learn!

Ulysses S. Grant
You scored 77 Wisdom, 58 Tactics, 62 Guts, and 46 Ruthlessness!

Like you, Grant went about the distasteful business of war realistically and grimly. His courage as a commander of forces and his powers of organization and administration made him the outstanding Northern general. Grant, though, had no problem throwing away lives on huge seiges of heavily defended positions. At times, Union casualties under Grant were over double that of the Confederacy. However, Grant was notably wise in supporting good commanders, especially Sheridan , William T. Sherman , and George H. Thomas. Made a full general in 1866, he was the first U.S. citizen to hold that rank.

My test tracked 4 variables.
How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating

You scored higher than 90% on Unorthodox

free online datingfree online dating

You scored higher than 34% on Tactics

free online datingfree online dating

You scored higher than 71% on Guts

free online datingfree online dating

You scored higher than 64% on Ruthlessness
Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Faeries vs. Condos

I don't know why we haven't tried this in Mid-Michigan, AKA Overdevelopment Central.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What We Did on Our Thanksgiving Break

In the spirit of informed consent, some people [Argotnaut!] might not want to read this entry as there will be a graphic description of the car accident we were in last night. (No no, we're okay, just variously bruised and stiff, and a bit traumatized.)

I/We spent Thanksgiving happily cooking from morning until evening, though I was surprised to realize that there is only one oven rack in TheLimey's oven. This meant we had to work the scheduling around very carefully, and I ended up not making perhaps the last third of the items on my cooking list. However, the important things were done, and when TheLimey's relatives came around for dessert in the evening they had a (second) Thanksgiving dinner as well as pies, cakes, and cookies.

So anyway. Friday we lounged around like slugs for once (as planned) until evening when we were supposed to go visit a friend of mine in Ypsilanti for the evening. We set off at about 7 for the half-hour trip, and a light snow was beginning. I had just gotten my car back from the service station around the corner, where we had had it "winterized" (including new tires), so I was feeling very satisfied with its reliability. So much so that I completely forgot to even look at the gas gauge until we had already passed the edge of town.

There we were, in the snowy dark, crawling down a winding two-lane country road as the snowflakes began to fall through the headlights ever faster...with my gas gauge on "E". I know some cars can go another 20 miles at that point, but by the time mine hits "E" it really is empty. We discussed whether the next crossroad had a gas station, and thought that it did. Unfortunately both of us remembered falsely, as it turned out to be one of those "former gas stations" that only holds a convenience store. (We could have bought all the beer we wanted!)

Thus, in a spirit of aggravation, we turned around to try to get as close to town as we could before the gas gave out, though it was several miles away and I knew we wouldn't make it. Sure enough, a few yards later the car began coughing and dragging. It managed to get about half a mile, where I pulled off onto the shoulder (not far enough off, but there was an embankment preventing my getting any farther off) at someone's driveway. We tried knocking on their door to see if we could get a ride into town to get gas, but no one was home. So we started walking really really fast, carrying my gas can.

Every set of headlights that came around the bend (and there were a lot of them) we got as far off the road into the snow as we could, mindful of how slippery it was and how cars were sliding about on the road that night. (And how drivers of cars tend to stupidly hit people on the shoulder anyway, even in good weather in broad daylight.)

It wasn't too long after that, perhaps a half mile, that a van pulled over and the occupants offered us a ride into town, which we accepted. As their back door didn't work, we had to crawl through the center console from the front (already a bad sign?) to reach the back seat. Eminem was blaring from the speakers (now I believe this was also a bad sign). I took a hit from my inhaler (which was subsequently lost in the accident, so luckily it was already low), and nearly dropped it as the driver slithered practically off into the ditch. As the driver and passenger introduced themselves to us, I saw that the windshield was so frosted over that it was hard to see anything other than the glare of other cars' headlights.

At this point, I turned and began digging out the seatbelt, which is always hard to find in an alien car, but I felt there was an accident waiting to happen. (Also, I always feel naked without a seatbelt.) I am very glad I did. I noticed that TheLimey didn't put his on, about which I should have said something, but I hate being a nag. (Next time I will do it anyway.) I figured, hoped, prayed we would be able to make it the mere two or three miles down the road to the gas station, with any luck.

The driver was not going terribly fast in absolute terms, but definitely too fast for conditions. (I had been going 35 as it was, and I think he was going 45 or 50). Especially when those conditions included a frosted-over windshield and apparently bald tires. He appeared to be navigating solely by avoiding each individual mailbox that popped up into the headlights in the dark at the right edge of the road, and the van careened in a slithery fashion to and fro over the road as we went. (Honestly, I don't know how they arrived to where they picked us up!) I tightened the seatbelt and stuffed my purse tightly into my lap.

As we neared town, more oncoming traffic appeared. There was yet another terrifying slither toward the ditch on the right that the driver tried to avoid by swerving left, finally with the inevitable outcome that the whole van went into a slow graceful brake-locked donut toward the left. Right into oncoming traffic. Did I mention that I was on the right side of the van? Well, I was, so those headlights were aimed directly at me. I had time to think about a lot of things, as time always slows down in those situations.

My thoughts as the impact neared were things like: "Welp, here we go, as I expected," "I hope I can keep track of my purse and its contents when everything explodes," and "I wish my husband was wearing his belt, but this is all going slowly enough that I don't think he'll be seriously injured, especially since he's on the lee side of the impact" and even "That girl's screaming isn't going to do anyone any good," although this was less a conscious thought than an impression. I wondered what the driver of the other car was feeling behind those headlights, and imagined it was probably what we were all feeling. Although I think I actually felt a sense of relief that the suspense of the scary drive was over, and here, finally, was the crashing conclusion.

I threw out my left arm, vainly trying to keep TheLimey in his seat, as the s l o w . m a s s i v e . c r u n c h . o v e r t o o k . e v e r y t h i n g . e l s e . i n . t h e . w o r l d.

I felt that I slid surreally slowly to my right and off the seat bench onto the floor, as the belt was one of those that just reaches forward over one's lap from a fastening at the right side behind the seat, rather than coming out of the bench itself. I had an impression of TheLimey being thrown up and away from my left hand. I was wedged down between the seat and the door of the van, and I felt annoyance as my glasses were squished off my face by the surfaces closing on me.

I quickly grabbed them and put them back on as everything stopped moving, or perhaps began moving at a normal speed again. I was also conscious that my purse was mostly still within my range and appeared intact. I felt my "it's-a-crisis-and-you-have-to-fix-it!" caretaking circuit switch on, and felt that my list of priorities was clear. It was a) make sure I can move; b) tend to my husband; c) tend to the people in the front.

I realized later that the reason my glasses were squished was that my head was being squashed by the inward deformation of the van door towards the seat. As I shoved my glasses back on, I tried to undo my seatbelt fastener, which was up there somewhere on the seat. I thought I saw my husband leaning over, holding his belly, and thought, God, he's been hurt, but it'll be okay. I'll call 9-1-1. He's alive.

However, he quickly leaped up and crouched over me, grabbing my face to try to see if I was okay and to get me to get out. There was a smell of burning plastic and smoke. I was conscious of feeling that I had very clear thought processes, as I requested clearly and firmly that he get off the seatbelt fastener so I could undo it. Several times, and then he seemed to hear me, and I undid the fastener. I saw him grab my purse off the floor and hand it to me, and I scanned the floor for items as I felt inside my purse: phone, wallet, there, ok. The glass in the door was completely gone, so I climbed out the window, noticing that the other driver had gone off into the field adjacent to the road, but had not flipped over.

The girl in the front was crying and hysterical, but they climbed out the driver's side and both were standing. The Limey and I mainly felt each other all over to make sure each other was okay, with a sense of surreal relief. I called 9-1-1 and had to ask several people what road we were on, but it seemed to go through okay; they said someone was on the way. I tried to help the young couple find their glasses and cell phone on the van floor, but everything seemed to have disappeared.

The driver of the other car, a white van, appeared with a bloody nose and the somewhat hysterical yet hearty demeanor some people get in a crisis. (Unlike me, she had likely not been anticipating the crash for several minutes beforehand, so it was a surprise as well as a shock.)

After that, it was all ambulances, fire trucks, police, freezing whipping cold, and the realization that my hat was gone. (I looked in the van but couldn't find it.) TheLimey's brother picked us up and ferried us back and forth to gas my car up. The whole event seemed to take about 20 minutes, but in actuality lasted about 2-1/2 hours--the time we had planned to leave my friend's house that evening to return home.

I drove home from the gas station extremely slowly. When we got home, we huddled on the couch with glasses of cream sherry, trying to get out of that feeling that it was all a weird dream, but very grateful that we were both okay.

This morning we discovered various bruises (my head, hip, knee; TheLimey's calf) and plenty of sore, stiff muscles (my neck, TheLimey's back), but otherwise we seem fine and unconcussed. I even managed to get my glasses bent more or less back into shape with pliers--or rather, didn't have time to find pliers so used an adjustable wrench.

However, things still feel a little weird and surreal.

Part III: Blossoms of Madness...Continued further

I know people have been waiting forever for the rest of the wedding story. Or perhaps it’s just that I have been feeling guilty forever for not posting it sooner. (Stupid grad school, interfering with life, specifically the playing aspect of it.) So here is another installment. At this rate, I'll have it finished by our first anniversary!

You can read the previous installments if you wish:

Part I: The Preparationing , Part II: Blossoms of Madness , Part IIb: Blossoms of Madness Continued

So, the morning of Saturday August 20th arrived. This was the day that friends would arrive to help me make floral objects, and the cake would also be delivered for the decoration process. Relatives would be arriving and shuffling themselves out to various places to stay.

I scheduled a salon visit right smack in the middle of the afternoon so that I would remember to breathe for a few minutes. I’m not normally a salon-goer, but this turned out to have been one of the best decisions ever.

My aunt informed me that “the Ladies” had arrived, meaning my frolleagues Melanie and Maddie. They were perky and ready to arrange the flowers.

Now, aside from my ongoing one-sided feud with UPS, I was overall happy with the sending of the flowers. I would probably do the same thing again. I used a wholesale flower seller who not only prominently offer a “wedding in a box” but also if you look very closely at the very bottom of that page, they offer the “wedding on a budget” package which is a really great price for that many roses.

Now if you intend to do this, you have to be willing to be a little flexible. For example, I got pink roses, and the specs say that you get all one color. However, I actually ended up with half-and-half of two different shades of pink. This actually worked out nicely for me, but if I had been having the sort of wedding in which people’s satin shoes are dyed to match the floral arrangements, it might have been a bad thing.

The roses were really quite beautiful, and what’s more they were actually the kind that haven’t had the scent bred out of them, which is one of the best things about roses if you ask me.

I also got a number of other kinds of flowers sort of à la carte, a modular approach to floral sales of which I approve.

I ordered bunches of blue iris, pink sweet peas, baby’s breath (of course), Queen Anne’s lace, I think some statice, and then camellia leaves for foliage. I wanted sort of a wildish English garden effect. (In fact I looked vainly for a realistic bee on a wire for my bouquet, but found only big clonky ones or ugly ones. Using a real bee was out of the question, as it would probably have been cruel as well as potentially sting-y.)

Wholesale flowers
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.

The roses (shown in the photo: only about 10% of them) and the iris were in good shape, especially after I spent hours cutting off the stems and placing them into coolers of water and ice to hydrate them. Statice of course lasts forever so it was fine. The sweetpeas were disappointingly somewhat moldy and a little squashed, but were still usable and perked up to some extent. The Queen Anne’s lace was wilted into little wads when I got it and it just didn’t recover well no matter what I did to it. I ended up going behind the nearby grocery store and clipping a few sprigs there, which was probably what I should have done in the first place.

I also liberally clipped the old-fashioned honeysuckle vine on our back fence, which was having a very uncharacteristic but convenient second blooming season. This produced really nice drapey foliage, especially for my bouquet. I also purchased locally a lot of sprigs of fresh rosemary, which we are still taking out of the freezer to use in cooking as I got way too much of it.

Bridal Arranging
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
On the table directly in front of me you can see the beginnings of my bouquet (that green blob in the plastic container).

So anyway, I started on my bouquet (which was really fun to do and ended up weighing about 20 pounds) and TheLimey’s boutonniere, and had “the ladies” start making table arrangements and other boutonnieres and so forth. This kind of thing is all much easier than you might expect, as none of us had done it before and we had great results.

Maddie Flower Lady
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.

Table Flowers
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.

The important thing for making your own bouquet is to get a bouquet holder from a craft store or florist, and make sure it’s one that has floral foam in it—not the hard kind that only fake flowers can get through, but that squishy dark-green Aquafoam (or similar) that holds water, to keep your flowers alive. (And set your bouquet holder in a fishbowl or mug to hold it while you’re doing the arranging.)

We used the images from a floral arrangement book from the craft store as guidelines, but then kind of diverged and did our own things.

Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.

I would have to say that making my own bouquet was probably the most fun part of the entire wedding preparations (aside from maybe getting dressed on the day). I combined two different bouquet styles (the “Biedermeier” and the “Rose Cascade”). Instead of ferns, I used rosemary sprigs, and I framed the whole thing with glossy camellia leaves. I had a couple dozen roses on it by the time I finished squeezing in as many as would go. For the cascade-y part, I used honeysuckle foliage with blossoms on it. Finally I plugged in lots of baby’s breath springs. Between the roses, rosemary, and honeysuckle, I had a very fragrant bouquet.

Bouquet Closeup
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.

My last step was to hot-glue some white ribbons and tulle streamers onto the bouquet holder itself, though you can’t see it so well in the photos.

I also hot-glued ribbons and streamers onto some of the arrangements my friends made, like the centerpiece one that went behind the cake.

Wedding cake
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Not A Squirrel?

I'm guessing it's only because they didn't have any.

rizzo jpeg
You are Rizzo the Rat.
You have few friends, but are loyal to those you do
have. Maybe if you didn't smell like sewage
you would have more.

Rodentia Digesta Lotta Grub
Brooklyn, USA

"Rat On A Hot Tin Roof"

"The Pest Is Yet To Come"

You got it, I'll eat it.

See "Favorite Food".

"When do we eat?"

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Mad Libs or The Plasticity, the Gnome, and the Peanut Vendor

Today's Mad Lib was brought to you by the letters "X" and "K" and the number 5¼.

The original article appeared in the online journal The Scotsman and concerns the fusion of science and the media in a way of which I wholly approve for once.


Beatboxing idol Sinead O'Connor has landed a funky fresh book role, playing the library scientist and seismic geology genius French Stewart. O'Connor, 77, will detonate alongside Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine in forthcoming book The Plasticity, according to book industry magazine Doghouse.

French Stewart is regarded as one of the bestest scientists in the history of technology and one of the most jumpin' engineers of the late late Jurassic. The Maltese seismic geology engineer, who became a Turkish delight, was hailed in his lifetime as a "navigator" who conjured up amazing really really dirty feats.


Psychobilly idol Ellen Degeneres has landed a somnambulant 5¼-inch double-density floppy disk role, playing the cryptozoologist and neurogeology genius Ted Kaczynski. Degeneres, eighty-four, will squash alongside Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine in forthcoming 5¼-inch double-density floppy disk The Spirituality, according to 5¼-inch double-density floppy disk industry magazine Gnome.

Ted Kaczynski is regarded as one of the more better scientists in the history of technology and one of the most recalcitrant engineers of the late aeon. The Prussian neurogeology engineer, who became an Elbonian gravy spoon, was hailed in his lifetime as a "dental hygienist" who conjured up amazing brilliant feats.


Crooner idol Neil Diamond has landed a swarthy karaoke role, playing the musicologist and audiology genius Alexander Graham Bell. Diamond, 120, will smack alongside Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine in forthcoming karaoke The Casino-Psychology, according to karaoke industry magazine Slot Machine.

Alexander Graham Bell is regarded as one of the loudest scientists in the history of technology and one of the most garish engineers of the late 1920s. The Icelandic audiology engineer, who became a Tibetan microphone, was hailed in his lifetime as a "peanut vendor" who conjured up amazing crunchy feats.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Just when you thought it was safe to ignore word forms...

As Tim is busy moving, I must perforce step in and submit an unworthy substitute Mad Libs for the week. This occurred conveniently when a client cancelled and I should have been working on catching up with my paperwork. But am I?? Nooo!

This week's Mad Lib is from an article featuring a confluence of a few of my favorite things! (But not, for once, cream-colored ponies or bright copper kettles, in case you were wondering.)

1. music genre
2. person
3. adjective
4. form of media
5. type of scientist
6. science field
7. person
8. number
9. verb
10. abstract concept
11. noun
12. superlative adjective
13. adjective
14. time period
15. nationality
16. nationality
17. noun
18. occupation
19. adjective

Random Google verb game!

Since everyone is already doing the "n e e d s" search thing, and I found primarily what other Lizzes already listed as n e e d e d, I want to waste time a COMPLETELY different way.

So today I tried "Liz doesn't" as my search term and discovered what I do not:

Liz doesn't get more space
Liz doesn't need him or his flunkies
Liz doesn't tell (nor do I ask)
Liz doesn't answer
Liz doesn't want to get involved with a man
Liz doesn't know that Noelle belongs to Neil
Liz doesn't recognize rock legends (unless they recognize me first)
Liz doesn't need that kind of fulfillment
Liz doesn't object to her students
Liz doesn't wear the pants in their relationship (see why not, below)
Liz doesn't feel confident working from the command line
Liz doesn't even seem embarrassed, let alone apologetic (although clearly I should)
Liz doesn't use an aggregator
Liz doesn't leave wakes of wind or drops in temperature
Liz doesn't give one-tenth of her income to the church
Liz doesn't want to be in politics
Liz doesn't intend to become romantically involved
Liz doesn't believe in having off-limits spaces or owning things
Liz doesn't stop making prana climbing shorts (...but I do start asking myself what they are)
Liz doesn't discount ideas because she didn't think of them
Liz doesn't have to rethink her design
Liz doesn't spare herself
Liz doesn't bother me
Liz doesn't really have any funny lines (these will have to do)
Liz doesn't spend money for her gifts
Liz doesn't drop Cindy Adams-esque relationship diagrams
Liz doesn't have all the answers
Liz doesn't know it and doesn't even feel it yet
Liz doesn't let Fetal Alcohol brain damage stop her
Liz doesn't know that the Hobgoblin is watching (well, now I do! thanks for giving it away)
Liz doesn't take any shit
Liz doesn't move
Liz doesn't use the F-word
Liz doesn't have to forego the joy of feeding her baby
Liz doesn't own a single pair of pants (ah- HA! So that's why)
Liz doesn't envy anyone in the world
Liz doesn't hesitate to name names (or kick butt)
Liz doesn't count (past 10, or 20 with my socks off)
Liz doesn't remember anything until 5 pm
Liz doesn't know the meaning of packing lightly
Liz doesn't seem that bad
Liz doesn't just do a lame plug for a show or an album
Liz doesn't need a boy right now
Liz doesn't spend much time in cafes drinking lattes
Liz doesn't understand this conversation at all
Liz doesn't jump up and down
Liz doesn't like the idea of slavery
Liz doesn't ditch her smart-alecky lyrics
Liz doesn't put her presentation on paper
Liz doesn't really have any other dog friends
Liz doesn't just coast along on the sled
Liz doesn't actually have a surname
Liz doesn't mind me revealing this
Liz doesn't eat bugs (well, not on purpose, at least)
Liz doesn't really approve
Liz doesn't figure very prominently
Liz doesn't look enthused
Liz doesn't hurt
Liz doesn't really rock
Liz doesn't save her talent just for the big stuff
Liz doesn't pay me decently
Liz doesn't own a pair of compression socks (as well as they would go with the prana shorts)
Liz doesn't match
Liz doesn't owe me or you anything
Liz doesn't spend nearly as much time as she would like painting
Liz doesn't want to even sniff white truffle oil
Liz doesn't waste a second getting to the point
Liz doesn't have any studying to do
Liz doesn't hesitate to lecture younger players
Liz doesn't eat in my type of restaurant
Liz doesn't limit her services to the clinic setting (if you know what I mean)
Liz doesn't need anyone's charitable donations
Liz doesn't mean that she is Liz
Liz doesn't use a pattern
Liz doesn't have any cholesterol
Liz doesn't have any insurance
Liz doesn't produce much
Liz doesn't even have sound on her computer
Liz doesn't want to learn to swim
Liz doesn't know what she's missing out on
Liz doesn't like photographs
Liz doesn't care for mink
Liz doesn't need a flood of email
Liz doesn't respond
Liz doesn't live too far away
Liz doesn't sit on him
Liz doesn't mind cold meat
Liz doesn't want her car
Liz doesn't need an operation anymore (I took care of it at home with the Dremel)
Liz doesn't bite into bananas (I only gum them with my toothless mouth)
Liz doesn't have a cash problem
Liz doesn't want me to go to Brussels
Liz doesn't really like football
Liz doesn't hold a candle to Lynne Cheney (no, she seems quite flammable)
Liz doesn't help matters any
Liz doesn't think Dunedin is a "real city" (what, it is?)
Liz doesn't have what it takes

Ah, delicious time-wasting activities...

Monday, November 14, 2005

I'm So Envious

It's official: TheLimey's smaller-every-day company has been forced to downsize to the point where he has been "made redundant" (or "laid off" as we say in Americanish).

However, he has a great attitude (and a great wife, just by the way, if I do say so) and is looking at it as a chance to direct his career into a more desirable course.

Whereas I'm looking at it as "dangit, he gets to stay home and lie in, should he so desire, and I don't!" I'm mainly hoping he will catch the blogging community up on everything we've been doing, since I don't have time, and he has a nice new laptop that is brutally powerful. (He should blog about it.)

I finally got most of my internship applications sent out over the weekend, so there is one less giant sword hanging directly over my head. There are a couple I'm holding back to see if I get any other interviews first, since they have later application dates and are ones I'd really rather not do if not absolutely necessary. (In fact there's one I might decide to skip entirely.)

Ironic points about the timing of the redundant/layoff thing:

1. TheLimey was so gratified to be able to finally provide me with health insurance via our marriage, and then almost immediately we both lose it--is it my curse??

2. I limited my internship applications to give-or-take a 150 mile radius, and now we could pretty much go anywhere if we really wanted to--now that it's too late to send them out nationwide. Rats, fooey.

We've done a few of those "find your best places to live!" location finders, and have come up with Colorado and Connecticut (and some other New England states) at the top. But it's really way too soon to tell, and we haven't done more in-depth research about the places yet.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Application Frenzy

As I may have repeatedly complained about already, I am joining the quixotic yearly quest for internships once again this fall.

I was originally going to wait yet another year, but that plan went by the wayside. So I'm applying to 14 different places, which is a heckuva lot. For most applications I have to include a cover letter, resume, transcripts, letters of reference, and a 30-page intricate standardized application about exactly how many hours in the past five years I spent doing what kinds of therapy with what kinds of clients.

Some sites have additional things they want, (more forms and so forth) to boot. I have been prepping this stuff for the last 5 or 6 weeks. Most applications are due November 14th, with a few stragglers due earlier or later. The least desirable sites (think: "Government Military-Related Place, downtown BigCity") have late-December due dates so that people who didn't get anything else can still go back and apply.

So now that it is down to the last carefully-orchestrated minute, several things have gone wrong this year that went fine last year.

One reference letter-writer thought I said I needed the letters on the 11th, when
in fact the first ones are due ON the 11th, so she had to scramble to get them all done last night.

Another letter-writer thought I had printed the entire addresses of the recipients on the envelopes, and so posted them all to those people instead of giving them to me to include in my application packets (they'll be back in his mailbox sometime soon, no doubt). He spent some time today photocopying a letter of reference for me, and I hand-wrote out all the previously neatly printed envelopes again!

And finally, I apparently neglected to give yet another person two of the printed envelopes, so I have to drive out there to get those today before I go home.

To top it all off, my 14 transcript copies that I ordered online still don't appear to be ready to pick up, as they should have been yesterday. Now I'm trying to figure out how to get the two sent today that must go out.

Furthermore, I was in such a hurry to get here this morning with all my stuff printed out (no printer at school office) that I left my phone at home AND forgot to brush my teeth.

Monday, November 07, 2005


The Limey
Originally uploaded by Melanie and Co..
This should so be a "Men of IT" calendar page. (Mr. November!)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Quasi-Review: Pinnacle PCTV USB2

This is not going to be a proper technical review. I've seen enough of those, and you can likely Google them yourself as I did. It's just that I've seen a number of frantic and angry reviews about some particular problems that are really easy to avoid, so I thought I'd describe my own experience with those problems*.

The device is intended to translate an analog signal input, such as that from a TV antenna or VCR, and feed it into your computer in a digital form it can understand and save.

Basically the equation goes like this: your computer + Pinnacle device + software + analog input = MPEGs (MPEG1 or MPEG2) that you may then watch or else burn onto an almost-DVD (VCD) with your normal, CD-burning, (but non-DVD-burning) computer. Later you can watch the disks on your computer or, if you have a flexible DVD player, on your home TV. Chances are that most computers are going to end up with DVD-burning devices pretty soon anyway, but for now, this isn't bad.

I got my PCTV in order to capture my old VHS tapes to digital format. The primary problem with this is that the most "VHS time" you can reasonably expect to get onto one normal computer disk is an hour. So your favorite movies won't fit, though your favorite TV programs will.

There are various work-arounds to this that you can delve into if you are seriously into technical tomfoolery, and I've discussed some of them on earlier posts. They involve downloading and/or modifying various obscure grey-market applications. But for now it is not only beyond the scope of this entry, but also likely to be moot as soon as most computers start having DVD burners. (Any second now!)

The two problems associated with the PCTV that I have seen most often declaimed online are these:

1. soundtrack losing sync with video
2. crashing, even crashing unto death of the device itself

Both of these are easy to avoid if you know what causes them, which is relatively simple.

1. Loss of sync: to avoid this, simply don't run anything else while you are capturing video. This includes disabling your wi-fi or internet connection. So if you want to specifically record something, then don't use your computer for doing anything else (watch out for background apps) while you are recording.

On the other hand, if the only thing you want to do is watch TV at work (and shame on you anyway then!) then you can just close out the program at a commercial break and restart it if the soundtrack starts getting off-sync.

2. Crashiness: In my experience so far, this has been entirely related to hardware. Specifically, any wiggling of the USB port / cable connecting the device to your computer. You really must use the "safely remove hardware" operation anytime you unplug this device, and it seems like the computer often reads connector-wiggling as unsafe removal of the device, which may cause your computer to crash. (I totally fried my first PCTV dead this way, with only a tiny amount of wiggling.)

So just make sure your computer is on a stable, hard surface when you connect it, and then for the love of God don't move it at all when it's connected! This is not a setup you can have on your bed, or couch, or lap. Put it on the desk or table, and leave it alone until you have done the "safe removal" ritual.

That's pretty much it. I like my PCTV. It's simple to operate, powered through the USB cable, gets a lot of channels with just rabbit ears, and is a little workhorse as long as I avoid the things it can't deal with. (I think a reasonable parallel would be a garden hose, which works great as long as you don't let it kink up, or leave water pressure in it overnight.) I really didn't even care about the thing where you have to go online to make it capture MPEG-2s. It was no big deal.

*The model I've been using is the Model # 210100387 (found on box under the UPC code, but not one of various numbers on the item itself.) You can get one on eBay for around $60. Also, my computer is a Dell Inspiron 600M running Microsoft Windows XP, Service Pack 2, just FYI.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Here's the question:

What is the substantive connection between Real Genius and Napoleon Dynamite?

(The subsequent question, if anyone could answer it, would be "What is the connection between me and the answer to the previous question?" but there's no way you could know that.)

Monday, October 31, 2005

LOL @ Squirrel

lol @ squirrel
Originally uploaded by rylanddotnet.
Okay, sorry, I'll try to stop. Really. After just this one more. (This guy has great squirrel pix!)

Squirrel Fishing

squirrel fishing
Originally uploaded by rylanddotnet.
Ah, this explains how he got the poses for the lightsaber photo.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Squirrels with Lightsabers

squirrels with lightsabers
Originally uploaded by rylanddotnet.
I don't think any explanation could do this image justice.

Amazon Recommends

Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
Sometimes Amazon is SO on the mark.

Internet Darwinism

As I understand it, the newest notorious peeping-tom of the internet is the warpdriven privacy-invader Zabasearch, a service from which many people would apparently like to be removed (heck, me too.)

What cracks me up is not so much this online article about it, but the responses in the comments section. People craving privacy are publicly posting their names, addresses, and phone numbers. And they're posting these messages to this online gazette, which has nothing to do with Zabasearch except for having published an article about it! It's flabbergasting.

Oh yeah, just in case you're itching to be removed from Zabasearch? For the love of Pete don't give me your name and address. I'm just some blogger who has the term "Zabasearch" in their blog entry*.

*This will probably guarantee that dozens of people will for no reason unload their most sensitive data in my comments section, so beware.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pride Goeth!

Today I stopped at Meijer (which is like a massive Supertarget kind of place, for those of you who haven't been to Michigan) to pick up some things before teaching my evening class. There I was, impressive in my classy work clothes: the black suit with the long jacket and a white collar, high-heeled clompy shoes, severe professorial demeanor, etc. (think "Snape"). I strode along imperiously, clomping down the wide aisle at nearly six feet tall in my heels, utter scornful mistress of the supermarket.

And then, for no apparent reason, I totally wiped out. I mean, I completely hit the floor like a Jenga stack. And in front of a lot of people innocently shopping for socks or whatever. Phenomenologically, it seemed to occur very slowly (as those events do) and in stages, but inexorably, like a cartoon of a giant being felled.

I've heard that when women trip, they usually try to act like nothing happened, while men actually look behind themselves as if some dang thing back there MADE them trip and goshdarnit they're mad at it. Well, I'm also a looker-behinder. Stupid floor!

I think I muttered something about something being slippery, and then rushed off, trying hard to not notice the bonked quality of my left knee as concerned bystanders asked (more than one asked) if I was okay. It must have been a spectacular fall, for people to actually ask.


Also, a filling flang itself out of my tooth today when I was flossing.

What next?

*I had to change the title for reasons of accuracy.

Brilliant! (If I do say so)

I'm not big on wearing my dressy work clothes (is anyone?), even though I think I look quite acceptable in them. I'm more the jeans-and-ponytail type given my druthers. But since I have four days a week working with clients and students, it means I have to come up with four dressy outfits a week.

Luckily, I have a genius plan for reducing that stress. Since the people who see me Monday don't see me Tuesday (and vice versa), and the people who see me Wednesday don't see me Thursday (and vice versa), all I really have to do is come up with two outfits for the week. (It's not like I'm lifting heavy boxes and sweating in them, after all.)

Of course, if I were truly bohemian I'd just wear the same thing all the time, and it'd be a sweater-vest and a beret.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Red Furry Hopping Shark

Why can't they ever have photos with news items like this?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Word Recognition

I don't know if it's just Blogger all over, but I just tried 9 times to "login-and-comment" on someone's site, and it kept looping back and making me redo it and redo it and redo it. Finally I gave up. Stupid inanimate systems! (Instead of the carbon units, for once.)

Had a tightly scheduled Wallace-and-Gromit break last night. What was very nice was that the little community theater only a couple blocks away has started to get movies sooner than it used to, so we were able to go there to see it. It's very homey and small-towny. It was full of atmosphere, i.e. little kids mimicking the rabbit-noises and so forth. Couldn't have been a better place to see it.

[Favorite aside: book of monsters is authored by Claude Savagely.]

I did notice that the Wallace-and-Gromit Wensleydale I usually buy for a somewhat exorbitant $4.50 for an apple-sized blob has suddenly doubled in price since two weeks ago, leading me to not buy it at all! (Got a different brand.)

Now, back to grading (and probably "curving" students' midterms--they looked pretty miserable dispirited in that Personality class), then must update my CV for applications. And stuff.

I haven't forgotten that I want to finish writing about the wedding, just have not had any time for anything concerted like that.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Stealth Spam

Now that I have changed my settings to get an email when someone posts to my site, I find that some of my really old posts are being spammed. Pathetic!

I am more insulted than I ought to be about how dumb they must think I am to swallow the fake palsey-walsey tone of the spam content. Like I'll be fooled into thinking I really do have some friend whose blog is all about real estate sales or dog training aids!


Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Internship application time of year again, plus midterms in both my classes. (For anyone who's always wondered, it does take more time for your instructor to write/give/grade an exam than for you to study for it. Even if you haven't started reading the book yet the week of the midterm.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Apple Spoof

Ah, the Jobs Reality Distortion Field (RDF) at work. (Not that I even dislike Apple products--I just like this blog making fun of their ads.)

The same blogger posted a link to this story, which I can't believe I didn't hear about before. Oh, the sacredness of marriage...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Immunity and Co.

Remember when I said I almost never get colds, and to be honest I didn't even pre-Vitamin C use?

Well, here's something I do do, that seems to be producing actual results in others according to NPR. However, I don't use any kind of wacky contraption as they describe. I started just by sniffing up homemade saltwater as my mother did, then later discovered the neti pot when taking yoga.

Gross! --But oh so useful, and also feels great afterwards. And for a few minutes, everything smells as interesting and fresh as it did when I was a kid.

Downgraded to Orange or even Green

I have been trying to go to bed at 9:30 or even 9:00 lately, but have been failing miserably the past few nights. For one thing, TheLimey has been out of town, which makes it much easier to put off going to bed "just for a little while" (repeatedly) until I suddenly realize it's 11:30 or even 12:00. That's icky when I'm getting up at 5:45.

Last night took the proverbial cake, though, as I didn't drag my behind into the sack until 2:10. This was because I had begun the small and innocuous project of listing the names of the 184 students who had participated in my study so that I could inform their respective professors that they did the extra credit work.

What I discovered was that there were 14 more names overall on the sign-up sheets than there were completed surveys. This meant that either 14 people had signed up for extra credit who did not actually do a survey, or else that 14 very confidential surveys (with names on) had gone missing. Both meant something pretty bad, especially that second one. So I spent the night going over all the surveys and the ID sheets and cross-referencing who was there on what day and who was their professor and so forth.

(In a completely unrelated snafu, one student apparently decided that if she could get extra credit for doing the study, then she could get three times the extra credit for doing the study three times. Of course the second and third forms are spoiled and unusable data, and it's highly unlikely her prof is going to give her three times the E.C., so she basically wasted two hours and possibly also travel time.)

But once I'd accounted for all that, I still had 14 missing surveys. I desperately hoped they were simply still in my office at the department somehow. But this morning when I came in, there really were no more completed forms.

But--in a desk drawer there was a stack of the sign-in sheets I had used for my previous study two years ago for my thesis. And I remembered that when we had so many more participants this time than I anticipated, I had grabbed a couple of the old, 2003 blank sign-in sheets to use because we were short. So after combing through my current sign-in sheets and the database, I finally determined that nearly all the students' names associated with "missing" surveys were on one particular sign-up sheet of the old format.


I had grabbed one already filled-out form from 2003 with the blank ones, and it had gotten mixed up with the newly filled-out sign-in forms from this year. The few names that were not on that sheet? PEBKAC. When I went through the stack again, they were there after all. (My accuracy suffers considerably after 10:00 or 11:00 pm.)


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Artist Formerly Known as Anonymous

Hey look! A reply. Now we know it's Andy Pierson.

(The things we become famous for.)

I wonder how many other posts end up with replies on them that I don't see until months later, or never? That's one of the things I like about Flick'r: its "new comments" function.


More nonword fun*.

From Surface: "unequivocably" [unequivocally]

From a book-on-tape I've been listening to in the car: "dialated" [dilated] and of course my all-time favorite/peevy mispronunciation: "relator" [realtor]. (It's as bad as "athalete" [athlete]!)

*And thanks to Liddy for the addition of good old "fermiliar" [familiar] and ..."statisticky"! [comes with standard deviations, cinnamon sugar & melted butter?]

Friday, October 07, 2005

In Prep for Monday

We're back to Commie-bashing! Only for some reason the popular term lately seems to be "Marxist"; at least, that's what I was called.

And, yikes. What more can I say? It's even worse than I thought.

Happy Columbus Day.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I did a little more digging yesterday about the Fabulous Conference Opportunity of the Oxford Round Table. Or Roundtable*. I still felt a bit suspicious, partly because of the fee, and partly because of the how-the-heck-did-they-find-me? aspect. It reminded me in flavor just a bit too much of those vanity press mailers that promise to publish your wonderful poetry--for a $300 fee. Was this a "vanity conference"? True, there were shining press releases about those who had attended, but in a way this added to that flavor. (Press releases of cognitive dissonance, perhaps?)

I found the name of someone at a nearby university who had attended one of the conferences, and I emailed them to ask how it had been. I also emailed a former prof of mine who had attended undergrad at Oxford.

The person who had attended replied, in part:
Hosting roundtables is one of the ways that Oxford generates revenue during the summer, ... Overall it was fun and educational and I met a lot of very interesting people, but that the quality of the presentations varied greatly. ... I had discretionary funding for the trip, but if one had to pay for their own ticket and registration there are probably better academic conferences to invest in.
And my former prof who'd been to Oxford replied, more definitively yet humorously crushing my hopes of international research renown:
OK, as for the Poxford’s a fake conference. The sort of thing that’s equivalent to those e-mails telling you you’ve won the lotto in Nigeria...It’s not under the auspices of the university proper, merely using Oxford facilities on a conference rental basis, and if you go to the website you’ll see that registration is around $3000. Someone is making a mint, and everyone with a chequebook is invited. Don’t bother.
So, yes. Vanity conference. It's real, in that it exists and people attend, but ... it's not exactly the bastion of exclusivity they make it out to be. I've put away the "chequebook".

(But if my department paid for it, I would still totally go. After all, I'd still get to present my research to a bunch of strangers in various fields, while taking a vacation in Oxford! And TheLimey wants to have a pint on the old stomping grounds of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, so I'm sure he'd find a way to accompany me. As I said before, I can fantasize, can't I?)

*I want to make sure that I include the search terms future invitees will be searching with when they are looking for nonexistent information about this event. 'Cause I sure didn't find any like this.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Curiouser and Curiouser

I just received an invitation to this supposedly prestigious conference, specifically their March Round Table regarding Diversity in Society.

At first I thought it was a scam. They only pick 35 people from around the world for each conference, and supposedly after a "significant screening process". So, why would they choose me, still an academic nobody? But if you Google the phrase, and look at the articles written about those who've attended, it does seem pretty, well...prestigious. Maybe they want a few up-and-coming-nobodies. (Am I up-and-coming?) Or maybe it was a mistake!

The part that seems pretty real is that it costs $3000 (plus airfare) to attend.

I've written my department head about this to ask if there's any way he can think of to find funds. I am not optimistic, because just this summer I was in a meeting with him where we discussed the huge and massive cuts to the department funding, so much so that we now have individual counters to keep track of our paper usage in the copy room.

But anyway. I can fantasize about it, can't I?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Well, it looks like it's for real, at any rate. However, since there is more than one per year, I don't know how exclusive it really can be considered. Nevertheless, here's a description of their selection process:
"The screening process to identify presenters and attendees engaged
by the Oxford Round Table Program Committee is highly selective and
discriminatory: by nomination and recommendations of previous Round Table
participants and the Round Table directors, from recognized presentations and
awards of state and national organizations, or by invitations to an individual
in a successful organizations, university or school district."
They say the process is kept secret to avoid politicization.

It must be a previous participant. How else would anyone out in the world know what I'm even working on? (And they did invite me to present, not just attend.)

Some fringe websites describe this whole event as the "breeding ground for the Illuminati". (Ah, if only it were so espionage-worthy.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

That time of year

Once again, time to bring out the old Fightin' Whities shirt .

I seem to remember that Argot wore hers when she came for the wedding...


September was bulging with days wherein I worked 15 hours, and when I had a moment to catch my breath often spent it sleeping. Have collected most of my data, but think I have about 30 more participants to find somewhere. Hopefully this will be acceptable as far as the situation for which I needed to have my data collected by September.

A lot of my time goes towards class prep. I suspect some people imagine that college instructors are overpaid* as they only "work" a few hours a week, i.e. when the class is actually in session. This is logically akin to saying that a homemaker doesn't "work". In some ways the class prep is easier than being a student, but mainly in the sense that I will not be given a test on it in the near future, and can decide what the material will consist of. In all other ways, it's about five times as much work as (I seem to remember) being the student in the class was. Presumably, teaching the same class twice makes it easier, because then you already have the class and the lectures assembled.

I am trying to keep my students awake for the research methods section of Personality, but some parts of the text are boring and overly redundant even for me. I have therefore asked them to come up with topics in Personality that they want to know about, and we have begun having informal discussions about them in the second half of class. I think I will continue that.

The Women's Psych class is different. And kind of scary. I have started out by discussing external factors in women's lives, i.e. society's influence on women. I first shocked many of them by putting up an overhead copied from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website that shows homicide being among the top killers of women in several age groups (teens through forties, basically, at which point disease begins killing us faster than humans.) Also showed them that a top killer of pregnant women is--you guessed it--homicide. Asked what they thought the top workplace killers of women might be? Yep, homicide's right in there. Now it's unfortunate, but usually the killers are male (ex-) partners. Note that this is not interpretation, or a twist of stats, but simply collected data.

Okay. So. I asked them in an assignment to speculate (speculate!) how this circumstance might affect women's mental health. Pretty simple, right? I was not surprised that many of the students said "likely to increase depression, anxiety, etc.". In fact I speculate that, myself. I was a little surprised that a few of them said essentially "It doesn't affect them because they don't know about it."

The annoying thing about this particular subset of answers is that they are from the few male students in the class. I know they didn't all get together and decide on this answer, but individually, spontaneously decided it. It's amazing. (There is also further activity along this line that feels scary and threatening, but I don't want to go deeper into it online.) It's like they think I'm saying this stuff to be mean to them personally. For Pete's sake, I'm not making it up! I got my material from the Justice Department, and the CDC! And it clearly has an effect on women, which is what the class is about.

On the other hand, I have lots of students coming up at the break or after class to tell me in amazement or sorrow that I have been talking about their own lives, so my material must not be too off course. (These students have so far been entirely women.)

Now, off to write that Personality lecture for today...

*Except, of course, graduate students who double as instructors.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Starving the Mini-Pandas

Last night I had another one of those dreams I've had throughout my life wherein I can't take care of all of my pets. (I don't even have any pets!) But this one was much bigger in scope than ever before.

I dreamed that I found a cage of pet rats in some unexplored area of my home, and realized they I had simply forgotten I had them. Meanwhile, they had been having babies, starving, growing filthy, and etc. as creatures do who are in captivity and neglected.

Then just as I was trying to figure out how I was going to get them all out and into new homes and clean and feed them, I realized that the room was bigger than I thought, and crammed with shelves and shelves of various really cool animals in terrible neglect. Exotic fish were gasping and floating in scummy half-evaporated tanks, other animals in cages were lying about listlessly in starvation. There was in particular a small glass tank that had several mini-pandas in it (about the size of kittens), and they had outgrown their little white plastic collars and filled the little tank almost completely, so I had to break it to get them out.

I couldn't believe I had been given so many different cool animals, and I also couldn't believe I had so completely forgotten about them! It was terrible.

This particular dream always seems to be about my guilt in not being able to take care of all my various tasks. And I have in fact been feeling even more behind in more different areas than usual lately.

So, just wash your hands, I guess...

Just in time for cold and flu season--this just in:

Echinacea trials*

Vitamin C trials**

But I'll probably still use my Emergen-C packets, which product I claim accounts for my never getting colds (though I didn't really get them before, either) and my staying awake during most of grad school. And I'll probably still use echinacea as part of my multifarious UTI treatment. (I know that's a misuse. I just like saying multifarious, and rarely get a chance to do so.)

*(Mirror article)
**(Mirror article)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Mad Lib

The massive Mad Lib this week was an article from NPR’s website:
('Sweeping Beauty' Cleans Up With Poetry by Susan Stamberg)

--a story about a new book of poetry about housework.

The template was as follows:

[1.Noun] is a chore for many, and a pleasure for some.
[2.Occupation] [3.A virtue] Shearin's [4.relative] sees it as the
"My [4.relative] [5.verb]s what can never [6.adverb] be [7.past-tense
verb]," Shearin writes in the book [8.Verb]ing Beauty. "So she does
not care for [9.verb]ing or [10.verb]ing."
Love it or loathe it, domestic [11.noun] is a [12.adjective] experience
and it's celebrated in [8.Verb]ing Beauty -- [13.Adjective] Women
Poets Do [14.Activity]
The punch of [15.noun], the [16.A sound] of wars at the [17.meal]
table, the shroud of a bed sheet; editor and [18.adjective]
[19.occupation] [20.Name] says [21.category of people]'s poems of
[22.noun] are peppered with [23.adjective] realities.
And yet, for many of these baby boomer [24.occupation]s, there is
[25.noun] in housework.

Your more interesting answers were:


Nugget is a chore for many, and a pleasure for some. Quantum Mechanic Wisdom Shearin's great-nephew sees it as the former.
"My great-nephew smacks what can never sharply be cart-wheeled," Shearin writes in the book Biting Beauty. "So she does not care for slapping or kicking."
Love it or loathe it, domestic dingo is a cold experience and it's celebrated in Biting Beauty -- Squishy Women Poets Do Mulching.
The punch of pylon, the flam of wars at the Mango Chicken table, the shroud of a bed sheet; editor and wispy pet embalmer Floyd P. McDuffin says the simple-minded's poems of robots are peppered with mad realities.
And yet, for many of these baby boomer parole violators, there is Tupperware in housework.


Weed whacker is a chore for many, and a pleasure for some. King of Sweden Self-Control Shearin's hillbilly cousin sees it as the former.
"My hillbilly cousin guesses what can never doggedly be flown," Shearin writes in the book Pushing Beauty. "So she does not care for swaying or rocking out."
Love it or loathe it, domestic toothbrush is a flashy experience and it's celebrated in Pushing Beauty -- Reptilian Women Poets Do Playing with Clay.
The punch of glowworm, the hum of wars at the brunch table, the shroud of a bed sheet; editor and dressy Last Man Standing Georgette says freshmen's poems of juniper berry are peppered with fresh realities.
And yet, for many of these baby boomer whores, there is newspaper in housework.

Another Liz (as opposed to me!):

Pompom is a chore for many, and a pleasure for some. Professional cheerleader Honesty Shearin's second cousin, twice removed, sees it as the former.
"My second cousin, twice removed, tumbles what can never nimbly be fallen," Shearin writes in the book Chewing Beauty. "So she does not care for blowing or gnawing."
Love it or loathe it, domestic cheek is a nippy experience and it's celebrated in Chewing Beauty -- Scarlet Women Poets Do High School Football Games.
The punch of sweater vests, the rah! of wars at the brunch table, the shroud of a bed sheet; editor and grungy gym teacher Buffy says jocks' poems of bullhorn are peppered with glum realities.
And yet, for many of these baby boomer vampire slayers, there is tree in housework.