31 Oct 2002

DONE. Well, sort of. All

DONE. Well, sort of. All the clothing pieces are finished. Now I get to start on the accessories. :)

Incidentally, now all three of my housemates have wandered past my room to ask if I was still working on my costume (as if me hunched over the sewing machine wasn't clue enough) and to tell me I'd better hurry up (as if I didn't know that). Me, I think they were just trying to sneak a peek at the costume, which I still haven't told anyone what it was. Except, inexplicably, my sister.

"The following story contains graphic violence not suitable for anyone. Parental guidance is suggested. Or you can just staple the kid's eyelids shut. That's not suggested, the parental guidance thingy is suggested, but we can't deny that staples are a timesaver." --Pete Abrams, Sluggy Freelance

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On the way to dance

On the way to dance practice this morning, I passed the Brown-RISD Hillel building. It's under renovation right now; boy howdy. Gives new meaning to the term "gutting": there are some of those supports like they use to move houses, to hold up the second floor---and nothing else! All of the original supports holding up the second floor are gone, along with the top few feet of the first floor wall. As in, you can see right through the building and the only thing connecting the ground to the second floor is the house-lifting supports. Quite a sight.

"Those who ignore the dictates of domestic etiquette will have ample opportunity to try the full range of legal and psychiatric solutions, as home life is bound to get worse." --Miss Manners

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Did I say two to

Did I say two to go? I meant three to go. Now I have two to go---just finished the pants.

"And, while I'm not sure how Dildo-Lovin' Dyke In San Francisco will feel about this, I want to emphasize that giving your daughters dildos, as I urged Traumatized Over Youngster to do, will not necessarily turn them into strippers, pro-dommes, and dykes. (Maybe one or two of those things, but the trifecta is rare.) --Dan Savage

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Costuming

Got almost nothing done on the costume yesterday, due to getting bogged down with Brown Comp stuff that probably wasn't my job but needed to get done. Anyway, I just finished the shirt. One piece down, two to go.

"There are a lot of dead people in history." --Claudia Arno

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26 Oct 2002

Memo to self #2: The

Memo to self #2: The knife-like pointy end of the seam-ripper is, in fact, knife-like. Avoid using seam ripper in such a way that when the seams do break, this knife-life object is driven into the finger. Nyargghh.

"George W. Bush yields falsehood when preceded by his quotations." --Zach Miller

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Memo to self

Memo to self: When sewing, never ever forget to lower the foot of the sewing machine. Even if the fabric being sewn is very thick so that it pretty much meets the foot when it's raised. And, y'know, makes it easy to forget to lower the foot....

What happens is that the bobbin part of the sewing machine action gets very confused, and while the top of the sewing looks fine, the underside is a mess of big loops of thread, and the thread gets wrapped around the bobbin spindle, and the bobbin actually pops out of its holder, and your fabric manages to get connected to the sewing machine by about ten or twenty tangled threads, which you have to cut and extract. And then you have to pull out all the seams you just sewed, so you can do them right. Ugh.

"Still, the most detailed reports of the battle [of the Alamo] come from Mexican soldiers. It turns out that the stirring stories of heroic deeds so cherished by Texans were arrived at mostly by that creative process we call "making it up," the basis of much American history." --Cecil Adams

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25 Oct 2002

Blogger hacked?

Hmm. Slashdot is saying that blogger has been hacked, but it still seems to work for me....

A man wakes up in Hell and gets the grand tour by the Devil. He says Hell isn't so bad, just not as cushy as Heaven. Heaven has a five-star hotel, Hell has a decent motel; Heaven has an 18-hole golf course, Hell has a 9-hole course. Just then they drive past a fiery pit where several naked people are torturing themselves. 'What about that?' asks the man. 'Oh, that's for the Catholics,' replies the Devil. 'They insisted.'

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22 Oct 2002

Not much to say today,

Not much to say today, but I'd just like to report that after weeks of spinning my wheels, I've actually been getting honest-to-God work done in the last week or so. On my thesis. I'm so pleased.

Oh, also, I hosted a dinner party last night that seems to have been a success. Well, except that I got off to a late start. But do these things ever actually start on time? I thought not.

"Nah, the ungrateful wretches all join the Republican Party as soon as their household income spikes over $40k anyway. If you look closely, you can actually see Condoleezza Rice pulling up the ladder behind her." --Michael Kimmitt

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21 Oct 2002

Friday night I DJed the

Friday night I DJed the ballroom semiformal dance. That is, I set up my computer to DJ the dance. :) My main design goal in putting together the playlist was to pick songs that we didn't always dance to: there's not a whole lot of music in the team's collection, so we tend to hear the same stuff over and over. A secondary goal was to pick stuff that people might have heard elsewhere, not necessarily thinking of it as dance music. Tertiarily, I looked for actual danceable music. Since that goal was in third place, some of the music was... questionable... but it was fun. :)

By far the crowd favourite was the DuckTales theme, which is a lovely jive. The Muppets' Movin' right along makes a pretty good quickstep, too. At one point, someone asked, "what's this?" I responded, "a hustle!" To which she said, "excuse me, I think this would be Like a prayer." She was right. It's a great hustle. Other fun ones included Paul Simon's Still crazy after all these years (a waltz), A friend like me (a quickstep) from Aladdin, and Enya's Flora's Secret (a slow but passable viennese waltz). I also, almost by accident, managed to stick Shania Twain's I feel like a woman (swing) and That don't impress me much (cha-cha) back-to-back right when they announced that the next ones would be ladies' choice. Perfect!

"The victories came at a high price, since his best officers and fighters were lost. Well, not "lost," since he knew where they were---dead, mostly." --SDSTAFF Ken

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14 Oct 2002

Fiddler on the Roof, El Cid

Saw the second half of Fiddler on the Roof last night. Good movie, but a bit depressing. All the famous songs are in Act I anyway. :)

Also saw El Cid in its entirety. Boy howdy, that's a long movie. Good, though---Charlton Heston plays opposite Sophia Loren in a retelling of the 11th century Spanish epic, and they just don't do movies like that anymore. "Epic" is really the only way to describe it. There were a few anachronistic moments (like the rose windows and the sweeping circular stone staircase in the castle, or the 50s-esque pointy-boob bras that Sophia Loren was wearing at all times), but the sets and costumes were great nonetheless. There were a few times when it clubs you over the head with symbolism, but hey, that's half the fun.

"I mean, virgins are everywhere. There's one up in Ohio, several in the Boston area." --Christopher Gill, HI163, on various interpretations of the Virgin Mary

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13 Oct 2002

Outside Manning Chapel this morning,

Outside Manning Chapel this morning, there was a sign announcing that the Ecumenical Protestant and Imani Jubilee church services were cancelled today due to the long weekend. I understand that there are many religions in the world, and I'm accepting of that, but I have to confess it's a little weird to me, this idea of totally cancelling religious services due to a secular holiday. People may or may not actually go in any given week, but to not have the option? The Catholic community cancelled their 5pm Saturday service due to the weekend, but the 10:30 Sunday Mass was held as usual. Attendance was lower than usual, but there were still a fair number of people there....

"Of course, it is illegal to buy fireworks on the reservation and carry them off. But everyone does it anyway. This provides a useful and educational example to children which helps guide their choices when first exposed to marijuana." --Jeff Vogel

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I went to two parties

I went to two parties this weekend. The first, on Friday, was good, and attracted "the usual crowd"---mostly CS grad students, with a smattering of others. It was a little more upscale than most such, but cast in the same mould: there was a lot of shop talk and talk (ok, gossip) about various people in the department, in addition to the usual random sorts of conversations you get at stand-around-and-talk parties. (Also, the guacamole was amazing. Thanks, Frank!)

Tonight, my housemate Matt invited me along to a totally different party. His running partner (the host of the party) is in the English department, and Matt and I were the only CS people there. In addition, there was one neuroscience ugrad and a med student, and everyone else was in English. It was great! The conversation never once touched computers (except for mentioning that we were in computer science). Of course, I realised partway through that it was exactly the same sort of party---it's just that the shop talk was about things like postmodernism and gender, and Derrida and James Joyce; and the gossip was about people I didn't know. One guy did an amazing impression of someone in the English department; I have no idea how accurate it was, but boy howdy was it funny. :) All in all, I'm pleased to have met a bunch of grad students outside my department, and in fact, outside the sciences as a whole. Now at the grad socials I can walk up to a group with a couple of these people and join the conversation without being completely awkward, as walking up to a group of total unknowns always is.

"In sum, babies have the same, adorable, limitless enthusiasm for exploring the world as puppies. And everyone loves puppies! But while puppies grow up to be big, dumb, slobbering dogs, babies grow up to be people. So babies are better." --Jeff Vogel

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8 Oct 2002

I've said for a long

I've said for a long time that one of my criteria in looking for colleges to teach at is proximity to Chicago, as I have my entire family and so many friends in the area. Broadly construed, of course, so I was including much of the Great Lakes region, but it was still a strong concern.

The more I think about it, though, the more I realise I need my overarching concern to be for the type of school. I am thinking increasingly that I could only really be satisfied with a really good liberal arts college. Liberal arts because I want to teach a lot, and really good because I need to have pretty sharp students and at least some opportunities to do research.

This is necessarily causing me to cast my net a little wider, geographically. I'm really not sure how I feel about that. Well, we'll see---there still are quite a few good schools within my old search radius ("a few hours from Chicago"), maybe I'll luck out and get in to one of them.

I suppose that at least some of the people at the various colleges and universities I'll apply to will be reading this blogs, by way of checking up on me. If so, let me take this opportunity to say hi! I hope you like what you see. :)

"Babies on the other hand, spend the vast majority of their time either i) sleeping, ii) eating, or iii) bitching. Behaviorally, they're a lot like sheep, but without the keen, piercing intelligence. Or the ability to move." --Jeff Vogel

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6 Oct 2002

I'm sore today from basketball

I'm sore today from basketball yesterday, and my elbow still hurts (I do have full feeling in my fingers now, at least!). We got quite a workout at ballroom today, which of course enhanced the basketball soreness and will probably be generating soreness of it's own. Tomorrow's going to be a real picnic, I can tell.

"I'm not saying that vaccines should be mandatory, but everyone who doesn't have their infants take advantage of the miracles of modern medicine should be required to either provide a solid health reason why the vaccine will be harmful ("The last one made her burst into flames.") or write a 500 word essay entitled 'Why Polio Isn't So Bad.'" --Jeff Vogel

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5 Oct 2002

I just had the most

I just had the most painful experience in my recent memory. I'd been playing basketball with Rob and Sam for about an hour and half (super-low-key; I haven't played basketball at all in more than a year, and I was never very good in the first place), when I jumped for the ball and my elbow came down on Sam's head. At least, I guess that's what happened. What I remember is suddenly being in massive flaming pain. It seems to have been "just" a pinch of the funny bone, but the side of my arm and palm, half my ring finger, and all of my pinky felt like they were being dipped in boiling lava. And I couldn't pull them out. I was laying on the floor of the OMAC, rolling around and gasping for breath. It was awful. It went on for ever, by which I probably mean about three or four minutes; then it subsided into the light pain I usually associate with funnybone problems, at which point I could at least walk around, though I couldn't use the arm still. Almost three hours later, I still feel a slight numbness in my pinky finger, but it seems to be fading.

Sam, apparently, was seeing double for a few minutes, for which I apologised.

"You ever wonder if there's a Japanese version of UPN that plays a lot of really bad Korean shows?" --Aaron McGruder, "The Boondocks"

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4 Oct 2002

They seem to be having

They seem to be having some grave technical difficulties on the web applications to teach intersessions at IMSA this year. I sent mine in last Friday, when it was due. Then I got a strangely-worded email on Monday that seemed to imply that they had lost all but the first line of each text box, so I sent the app via email (thank goodness I kept a text copy!) to that person. Today I got another email saying that my web app had failed due to technical difficulties (seemingly unaware of the first email), and could I please resubmit. I tried resubmitting by the web, and got all the way through until I hit a Java exception. So I submitted it via email again. What a pain. I hope it all works out.

"You seem to imply that there's a better way. This is me, being all ears." --Michael Kimmitt

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Seriously, how can you do

Seriously, how can you do anything but love a band with lyrics like this?

Have you landed yet and, if so, would you let me know?
I'm tired of looking up into those starry eyes.
Does it rain where you are? Does it snow?
And, if so, remind me not to go there, the weather affects my knee.
Brilliant.

"I expect a good deal of the problem is that you are busy disbelieving a different God than the one I am busy believing in." --Larry Wall

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Incidentally, that band I was

Incidentally, that band I was talking about a while back, okgo, I got their CD last week. It's really top notch. Quality music for all purposes, e.g. accompanying a late-night coding binge. They're not going to supplant TMBG as my favourite band---I think---but they have a great blend of good music, good voices, funny and interesting lyrics, and random whimsy. They're definitely at least on my short list of "try to keep track of when they're in town" bands.

"You'll find that most of the feature requests are bogus on some level or other because they tend to suggest bandaid solutions. Nevertheless, I think it's best to treat them all as a "cry for help". With computer languages, about 75% of the bandaids have a bullet hole underneath." --Larry Wall

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I've been saying for months

I've been saying for months now that I would be starting to apply for faculty positions this year. For the last few weeks I've been idly bouncing around places like the Chronicle of Higher Education and such to check for job postings, as well as the department web pages of places I'm particularly interested in. Tonight was no different, or at least, not much different, until I noticed something about some of the application deadline dates. Namely, the ones that are in November. The thing I noticed about the dates is that NOVEMBER IS NEXT MONTH. How did that happen? When did they sneak that in there? Aaaaghhh.

No really, I'm fine now. I'm not in a terrible position, really---the main thing I need to is update my CV, write teaching and research statements, and get recommendations. The CV (that's "curriculum vitae", or "curriculum of life", and it's what academics call their résumés) I just did, the statements will be easy, and one month seems like a reasonable amount of lead time on the recommendations. Plus, all the early deadlines are soft, meaning that they will consider apps after that time if they haven't already filled the position. But still, this has been a way-far-off moment for so long now that it's a little scary to suddenly be seriously doing the job search at last. Wow.

"It's like Return of the Jedi, when a whole planet gets blown up and there's like two seconds of silence, but an Ewok gets conked with a rock and the whole theater bawls for ten minutes. Perspective, people. One life cannot be summarily valued higher than another, and this is a case where omission is a great sin." --Eva Schillace

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1 Oct 2002

Ok, I'm really really getting

Ok, I'm really really getting sick of web systems that require passwords, but are buggy in the way they handle them. Certain types of punctuation in the password will cause them to fail in various mysterious ways, such as claiming that two identical strings are not identical. The better ones at least recognise that they can't handle punctuation, and state that as their reason for rejecting the password, but it's still annoying. It's mind-boggling how easy this is to fix, and how many websites still haven't fixed it.

Almost as annoying are the sites that have some "clever" rule for what the password has to be: it has to include numbers, or punctuation, or mixed case, or whatever; often accompanied by restrictions, i.e. what it can't include. And they usually don't tell you about this rule until after you've typed in a bad password, certainly they don't tell you the rule when you're trying to, y'know, remember your password. I've got lots of passwords on a lot of different sites, and I can't tell you how annoying it is to try and remember, "Hmm, is this the site that has to have eight characters and at least two digits but no punctuation, or at least seven characters including at least one punctuation mark, or..." It would certainly make it easier to remember which password went with which site if they mentioned that on the login screen. And then I end up getting locked out after trying three of my passwords (which probably weren't even valid passwords for that site). Gaaahhh. Surely I'm not the only person who has this sort of problem? I pretty routinely end up having to click the stupid button that sends me my password by email---gee, that's secure.

"The difficulty of your life inspires me to become a Russian author." --Matt Zanon

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