Thursday, December 30, 2004


Chuckle to myself every time I hear the story about Paige Arena--the new multi-million dollar basketball arena for the Mizzou-rah Tigers.  Casters on ESPN2--calling Gonzaga and Missouri hoops contest--just recapped: 25 million dollars and naming rights from the parents of a 22-year old co-ed at Southern Cal who--allegedly--doled out several thousand dollars over three years for various academic "$upport."  Notwithstanding that 25 million buys an abundance of fog-iveness in middle Missouri--a low-lying region in the topography of roundball dignity--objections to the naming of the facility prompted officials to switch to something more mundane, like Missouri Gym or Missouri Fieldhouse or whatever it's called now.

Ph. and I picked up groceries at Price Chopper yesterday afternoon (D. and I usually alternate weeks, but she covered throughout the busy stretch of the semester; consequently, I'm on a pay-back streak).  Now that we've returned from a few days in Michigan--Detroit up to Isabella Co. and back--the cupboards are bare.  After dropping off Super Size Me at the movie rental place, we made our way through PC.  PC patrons tend to be pushy, determined, oblivious to others.  It's a busy place.  The trip is a mad, mad, dash and swerve--weave around the slow-movers and dodge those carting more vigorously than we.  And the checkout staff, usually they're ambivalent, slow, and uncareful with the sack-work.  Bag of sugar on the eggs, not that I complain.  But yesterday's checkout was the most inspiring interaction I've ever experienced in my days as a grocery shopper.  Checker scanned the items, bagged them carefully (crushables, light stuff and so on, appropriately together), and loaded the cart with the bags with more grace and efficiency than anyone I've ever seen.  Ninety bucks worth of stuff (c'mon, we had nothing at all to eat at home), and this guy managed it all without pause. A checkout lane performance like none before.       

Then today, at the Salvation Army store, I lucked into an old Tower tripod for just under five bucks.  Came with a free bottle of Mountain Dew Pitch Black.  Feel guilty having such fortune. Only, what is Mountain Dew Pitch Black, exactly? And what do I need a Tower tripod for, exactly?

Lately I'm busying myself with a course re-dev--a fancy-making and conversion into eCollege.  Was supposed to have a crack at it last summer, but old U.'s schedule unraveled, and so I told them I'd get to it only after the early-December furor.  Means now. And I am getting to it--between today and Monday.  Also committing to plans for a section of WRT205 this spring, pouring through possible combos of readings and assignments.  Loosen-tighten-loosen while down-time affords me that luxury.  Snapped up a Linksys router w/ wireless for our apartment the other day, too.  The wired access and wifi came together easily, but the file sharing required more finesse.  Firewalls were taking turns heading off CMD line pings, but finally I got it going.  It'll be nice having added in-apt mobility.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Santa Baby

If you haven't already checked out's Scared of Santa gallery, you ought to.   I ran across the link at metafilter and again at datacloud. Moved me to search the PC for this pic of my first Christmas.  Clearly I had other matters to tend to, but I was keeping a hand check on the red-suited blow-up.  And wasn't scared one bit. 

Don't be afraid.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Cubby Hole Eviction

How many sides to the Eisenhower Bridge? About ten days ago, a story surfaced in Chicago about Richard Dorsay who hunkered down in a small space inside the drawbridge near downtown Chicago--inhabiting a hollow in the bridge's architecture.  Dorsay's resourcefulness--from tapping into an electrical outlet to power his TV, microwave, PS2 and heater to watching diligently each time he ducked into the narrow access point--all have been elaborately criminalized, dehumanized by the media.  According to this CBS2 report, he was formally charged with criminal trespassing.   The in-studio anchor frames the story by IDing the city's efforts to "flush out homeless people." Listen carefully to hear on foot reporter Jon Duncanson say, "The question is: how many more of these (portals to the other Chicago underworld) are there around?" The question? For balance, though, they do visit with a "advocate for the homeless" who notes that Chi-town's estimated 166,000 homeless people are "hiding out everywhere."  So as not to keep dumping on the coverage by the local news station, this is all just to note what's most interesting to me about the story: dwelling in the city spaces never conceived as habitable and not meant for occupancy--climbing inside the metroplex and residing there for as long as going unnoticed allows.  

vine: William Gibson's blog and Futurismic

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Everything Everlasting Holiday

Time for a quick entry while dinner's re-heating.  It's Cream of Cleaned-Out-The-Veggie-Drawer soup--a household favorite.  A second night of steamy goodness.  Before D. from the grad program left on a jet-plane to California a few days ago, she dropped a bag of produce by on the way out of town.  What will we do with this?  So I boiled it up, blended-blended, added salt and a splash of milk...soup.  Broccoli, chard, cabbage, potatoes, onions, Brussels sprouts (straight from the stalk).  A sprinkle of grated sharp cheddar.

I was wrong.  Not enough time.  Insert soup-eating break here.Everlasting

Tagged along with D. today on various shopping errands, which meant, of course, that once my chronic mall lethargy started acting up, I just stood back, gawked at all the obligatory spending--people buying up all kinds of stuff.  Now where did I put my other Mastercard?.  Meanwhile, while D. looked hard for relevant stuff, I zeroed in on four stand-out gifts--out-standing because I would've have like this stuff way back when I was a kid.  Four things: Wiggles guitar, Hot Wheels Slimecano, Origami desk calendar, (Everlasting?) Gobstopper Candy Canes, fresh from Wonka's factory. And so I splurged on the canes.  Not like we had any on the tree yet, anyway.

The best part of the holiday break: I can feel the blood rushing back.  Not blog mojo, exactly, but the peace of writing just for the heckuvit. Need to get better at finding rhythms, though, and managing the writing load whilst in the throes of Semester. 

Last bit: as Collin bakes goodies, as Krista searches for a jus-right tree, as the blogosphere's newest Jen iPod-ificates, and as...and as...and as...the online channels seem wonderfully alive.  Because I respect C.'s withholding of recipes (hey, it wouldn't be magic if just anyone could work it), I thought I'd post one of my own.  Okay, one of my mom's.  Not cookies technically, depending on how you define cookies (holiday treat?  heated, cooled, and tasty? sugar? process? warming effect?).  Whatever it is, whiskey slush makes it merrier.

Whiskey Slosh or Whiskeee! Your Worries Away, Frigidaire Style
Together, mix
1 3/4 c. whiskey or 1 pint, + or - a splash
1 large (12 fl.oz.) can frozen orange juice
1 large (12 fl.oz.) can frozen lemonade
3 tea bags or 2 c. of hot tea (pref. generic Lipton to anything flavored)
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar (joker on TV just said something about subbing applesauce for sugar in holiday goodies...not recommended here)
7 c. water
Dump in a plastic bowl. Into the freezer until shavably firm (a few hours).  Scoop into glasses, bowls, etc. 

It has been at least a year since I made a batch, but D. asked today if I'd stir some up.  For more exotic combos, sub out the OJ or lemonade with other citrous frozen concentrates (pineapple juice or orange-straw-banana if you're adventurous...avoid grape). Half batch: divide all ingredients by two. And now that I think of it, by the rule of seasonal logic, this is probably a summertime drink. All the same.  Summery somewhere (sure n'heck not CNY).  Cheers. 

Monday, December 20, 2004


Used up the past short while playing around with category-associated icons.  Why? Quit with all the hard questions already!

Truthfully, it's a mixture of deeply compelling forces:  1.  avoiding the last bit of shine on my project final.  2.  avoiding the small stack of gradable student work left to be read, thought through, etc. 3. avoiding making lunch for a PS2-marathoning Ph. who has the day off because it's too cold outside. 3b. it's too cold inside to move around much. 4. beats the heck out of putting the rest of the dressings and ornamentation on the x-mas tree, especially since fortune has it that we're motoring over to Detroit City later this week.  5. I'm just in the mood for icons. 6. I've been thinking for some time about the potentials of using category tags to designate author IDs, with a sense that collaboratively authored entries could be represented through the category function, which allows for cross-listing (whereas the single login, solitary author access route does not--as easily).  So as I prepare to use blogs in WRT205 in the spring, I'd like to think about giving students the option of co-authoring entries (maybe even plotting the course so that co-entries are compulsory a few times).  Yah, there's more to it, but it needs more thought, and frankly I'm just not up to it right now.  And yah, I still have to choose readings and so on.  And I didn't even say anything about what that has to do with icons.

So although I'm not overwhelmed by the mind-blowing effects of the categoricons (do say, you like 'em?)--or even sure they impact the design of the blog in any useful way, I'll likely continue to mess around with them some more.  In between getting the rest of my serious, important work done, of course.  Hear the lunch whistle blowin'....

Fear and Trembling

I awoke this morning to an encouraging message about the latest new blog on the block.  Fellow CCRer Jen Wingard launched Fear and Trembling (in Academe) over the weekend.  Already, entry no. 2 is a riff on Texas, which is sure to rustle up some Lone Star snarl.  For me, it's a must-add to the blogroll--smart, thoughtful writing and a great way to give interested attention to stuff going on with others in the grad program. 

Added: Recent entries are brief not because my brain is mush but rather because I'm typing with mittens on. Yeah, mittens. It's -7 F this AM. We have heat, I think, and the furnace is working its blower off, but seven below feels pretty cold right now. Enjoy Texas, Jen.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Z is for

Go easy on that.
You will drink too much gin and Newcastle Brown Ale. Not the worst way to die, but you won't remember too much of your life. Hey, at least you made some people laugh! To say nothing of the masterful seminar projects wrapping up.

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla, inspired by Arete

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

When One Column Is Short and the Other Column Is Long

Because recent entries have been shrinking, sapped by nothing other than personal deficits in time, energy and attention span, and because I've managed to steal five minutes here and there for the minutiae of blog-tweaking this semester--a visitor hitmap, Geobytes IP locater, a Flickr thing, and now a feedlist (java-generated from RSS Digest) from my account--the right column exceeded the left column, forcing me to change the threshold of recent entries from nine to twelve so the centered bits from the right column wouldn't be floating freely at the bottom of the screen.  Probably it's time to convert to a three-column design, eh?  Or I could reverse that shrinking trend.

On another break from project writing, I recently dropped a robots exclusion file in the main blog directory to curb bot-traffic hunting through extraneous stuff I keep on the server. It corrected the visits by 200 on the first day, so the stats are slightly more indicative of actual site traffic, for whatever that might be worth.  Also, I'm trying out a rotate.php file to ease into some understanding of what PHP scripts make possible.  For now, it's just a simple image randomization cue, which pulls from jpegs in a designated sub-directory (on refresh, the pic of the Quad will flip between two dif't images...important stuff, really).  Over break I hope to have more time to play around with PHP controls for other aims and purposes.  But I only know enough to get frustrated, and I've got plenty of other stuff to do, like reintroducing myself to family.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Farewell, Vaio

I know, I know, I should start a category about my mal-functioning Sony VGNS150 notebook computer if I'm going to keep blogging about it.  This ought to be the last time; away again, it is, via shipping carton, to San Diego where with any luck it'll get fixed properly this time.  It's been back from the first trip to sunny southern Calif. since the end of November, zippy as ever until about a week ago.  Granted, when I look at the CNY weather forecast, sometimes my lids don't brightly snap to open, either.  And that's its problem--the monitor initializes irregularly.  Sometimes it kicks in, other times blank.  Back on November 5, I wrote that the "Timing couldn't be worse."  But it could be equally heinous.  Come to think of it, this final final project I'm buttoning down mentioned nothing about word-processing.  Ironically, it's an essay about the early years of computers and writing.  How was I supposed to know it wasn't to be hand-written? We've only started using computers as word-processors in recent years, after all.

Resemblance between VAIO and ciao: omen?

Saturday, December 11, 2004


It's gotten that bad around here.  I'm comparing blogging to laun-dry.  If only...Unfortunate

I'm sweating out end-o-semester projects all weekend.  Due dates: Wednesday, Friday and next Monday.  And that's mostly all there is to say.  I can't believe how the writing demands have made me over, reconstituted a once energetic, vroom-ish rhythm into flub-dub-flub-dub.  I'm fairly stoic about it all (shrug-eh-dee-do-dah), but I *feel* distinctly different about writing.  Period.  I don't know whether it's the exhaustion of X-treme reading for four months. Who knows.  I'm ready to try anything to crawl these creatures onto the monitor.  My latest ploy is munching on leftover fortune cookies when I get stuck.  I've posted the unfortunate read-outs here, but they're not quite the boost I need. "Good journey"? "Showered with good luck"? C'mon! More than luck, I need a sentence on Barthes and Lakoff and myth on the right. 

BTW, anybody know how to cite a fortune cookie?

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Above Your Noise

With seven out of 202 search queries invoking EWM this week, I'm avoiding project polishing in favor of fun with server log redirections--I'm calling them s.lo/glibs (but I'll revise for a better-suited neologism if you've got one):
1. grandpa cheese barn [Passed it by, but I remember the billboard sign urging me to exit near Cleveland last summer.]
2. what is the meaning of authoritarian teacher? [Who're you calling authoritarian?]
3. grading blogs [I'm advocating pass-pass alternative assessment--VG=very good, SWA=slight work ahead]
4. dreams that you forgot to feed pets [Reminds me of the something-something-crunchy-tootsie-roll-munching-on-a-beach dream/ awoke-to-a-cat-litter-box joke.]
5. do businesses disclose enought information in their annual reports [Nah.  Pure nod-makers.]
6. free exemplification essay over driving distractions [Keep your eyes on the road.]
7. does anyone know where the love of god goes [Well, there's this tune while you contemplate it.]

Monday, December 6, 2004

Droppings (as Rhetoric)

I don't want to make light of this method for achieving peace; I'm more curious than anything about the idea that a fly-by air-drop of millions of folded paper birds would calm embattled factions in southern Thailand. 

Encouraged by the government, Thais across the country Cabinet ministers, office workers, schoolchildren and even convicts folded more than 130 million birds to promote peace in the south. Approximately 30 million will be delivered by land.

While meant as a morale-booster for victims of violence, Sunday's origami airdrop resembled a treasure hunt. with prizes offered for specially marked birds. People could trade lots of them in for items ranging from cartons of milk to bicycles.

Especially coveted was one bird folded and signed by Thaksin, which offered a scholarship if found by a child, or a job for an adult.

And if it's not found, it's lost?

Added: More on the peace messengers. On bird: "All bandits must die."

Saturday, December 4, 2004

You're Welcome, Coach S.

Got my rear kicked at least six or seven times by this guy. First college game I ever broke into the starting lineup (at center..WTH?  You want me to play where?) was against the Bearcats--1993.  We got busted up, to be sure; was always that way when we traveled to Lebanon, Ill. They were running a sideline break in those days.  Only beat Statham & co. once as a player.  Took 'em down at home during my junior season when they were rated #17 nationally.  Vivid for lots of good reasons; nostalgia added now that he won praise on Sportscenter this week for being winningest coach. Just glad to contribute.

Always more to say, but I'm writing my bleary head off this week.