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)