30 July 2009

Scenery Shot and Rambling

It's strange, but I actually enjoy projects more when I have to be more careful about how I spend the money. Why that is, I don't know. I'm still planning to redo the bathroom, as the walls behind the plastic on the walls are at least partially rotten, if not all the way rotten, and I'll soon get the $1500 for proof-reading Alan's work developing the online stats course. I'm not sure what my status will be once I'm no longer affiliated with ISU, as part of the stuff is run through ISU. It would be nice if that sideline could keep going. Enough students, and I could potentially make as much through that as I've been getting through ISU... but that many students is unlikely, and I really have no idea whether my working for UI hinges at all on my working for ISU.

But I was at Home Depot, looking at bathroom cabinets, and found two good candidates. Both are the same price. One is made of much nicer wood, but is only 12 inches deep, so I'd lose out on storage. The other is cheaper material, but is 18 inches deep, and has a top designed with all the usable space on the right side, making it much more useful than the other one. It also comes with a mirror that I don't need, and my mom commented that the bathroom they're renovating at her office will need a mirror, so I offered to sell that one to her if I got that cabinet. I've also offered to sell her an "air purifier" that's just like one she wore out. I seem to become more Ferengi when I'm worried about money. "Air purifier" is in quotes because it's one of those ionizing things that mostly just produces ozone, and does nothing else. Yes, it helps, but it's nearly worthless, imo, especially since ozone sometimes makes my breathing worse. So I'd be perfectly happy to get rid of it and trade it for some cash. If Mom had bought it for me in the first place, I wouldn't charge for it, but she insisted that I pay my share at the time she ordered the things, so if she wants it, she'll have to pay me some of that back. Not all of it, of course, since it's not new.

Okay, I think I'm just rambling randomly now, so I'll stop, except to comment on the picture. I really like the way it turned out, composition-wise, but the lighting... it's not quite up to par. Bright sunlight seems to make shots seem duller, counter-intuitively. *shrugs*

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28 July 2009

More from Mink Creek

I took a lot of pictures up there, partially because I was experimenting and trying to figure out what made a photograph "wow" vs. "eh". I got a few "wows", and have decided that there is an element of luck. For instance, in the picture at left, I was only trying to get the Indian Paintbrush. I had no idea the spider was even there until I got the pictures off my camera and looked at them on my computer. You'll probably have to click on the picture and embiggenate it to see the spider. It's on the stem just below the flower. Four more nice shots below the fold.

Then this dragonfly just hung out on a blade of grass while I took shot after shot of him (?). I got surprisingly close without scaring him off, and was able to get many good shots. The picture here was at the best angle, imo. It's hard to tell in the picture, but he was at least 2.5 inches long, maybe 3.

This is only the second time I've seen monkshood, which is in the larkspur family. There were two large clusters of it, both in relatively swampy areas. I suspect I usually don't make it out until the swamps have dried up, but the extra rain this year made swamp-loving plants last longer.

And this one I've never seen before, though there was quite a bit of it in the highest meadow I hiked to. It looks vaguely like a larkspur, but I've never seen a larkspur with that coloration. I'll probably look it up eventually, but it was nice to see a new flower for the first time in a while.

Lastly, we again have a strong element of luck. I just happened across this seed, most likely from a goatsbeard aka salsify plant, stuck to a head of grass. It was awesome, and I got a surprisingly good picture of it.

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Lucky Shot

Have you ever seen a hummingbird swim? I sure hadn't. This is at the wood-plank bridge over West Mink Creek. I stopped there to rehydrate and had my camera out when hummingbirds just started flying all over the place. At first I thought it was just one, showing up repeatedly, but then I saw several in a group and realized I'd lucked into a hummingbird free-for-all. If my camera were quicker on the uptake, I'd have a massive amount of pictures from it. As is, I wound up with several awesome ones. This is from my favorite shot. I trimmed it down to emphasize the hummer. It didn't stay in the water long. As far as I can tell, it dipped down into the stream as a bird-bath, splashed around a bit, then flew off and started shaking the water out of its feathers. Awesome to see; even better to get a decent shot of it.

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25 July 2009

Gluten Free Haven

Okay, if I have to relocate for job reasons, I want to aim for the Fort Collins/Denver area. Why? Well, let's see... Whole Foods Market, in both cities, has a large gluten free sections and even stocks items from local gluten-free bakeries in its bakery section (which I wouldn't have noticed except an employee mentioned it when I asked about finding a certain GF flour), there are at least three gluten-free bakeries (one in Fort Collins, two in Denver), plenty of GF-friendly restaurants, and a store devoted to selling only GF items (Granny's gluten-free, on the outskirts of Loveland as you head into Estes Park).

It was incredibly bizarre to walk into Deby's GF bakery in Denver and realize that I could actually eat anything in there that I wanted. She does use some soy, but that's all clearly labeled. Incidentally, this is the source for Beau-Jo's GF crusts, and apparently the reason they improved wasn't because the formula changed, but because Beau-Jo's employees got better at working with the GF mixes. As it turned out, Deby herself was running the cash register while I was there, and, not surprisingly, tried to get me to buy some of her own GF flour mixture. I asked if it made good white cake, as that was one item I had not been able to get to turn out well. She said that it would, and suggested adding a can of pureed canned pears to it, as well as beating the whites separately before adding them. I haven't tried it yet, and I already knew about beating the eggs separately to improve texture, but I'll be curious to see if it works. I can only assume that the pears will add moisture to the mix, as GF flours do tend to be a bit drier than whe*t ones.

Incidentally, King Sooper's, one of the more prominent grocery stores in the area, also stocks gluten-free items, though I did not go in to see how much variety they had.

So for celiacs, the Denver area is looking pretty good. If you ever take a trip down there, there's very little worry about finding stuff you can actually eat. Now, off in the Northeast Corner, there's more to worry about, but even there the Wal-Mart has a gluten-free section. I checked the Chubbuck Wal-Mart, and did not find one, but the two I went to in Colorado both had pretty decent selections.

I still don't want to relocate, but that area is looking awfully darn good right now. Maybe one of the GF bakeries needs another cook...

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24 July 2009

Lightning, or Something...

I may have more to say about the rest of the trip later, but we just got back. We drove something like 640 miles today. I expected my mom would want to stop in Rock Springs; she didn't. Then I figured she'd give out at Kemmerer: nope. We made it back at about 9:30 pm, just as it was starting to get dark. I think we were both sick of hotels and wanted to be in our own beds.

Anyway, that has little to do with this post, other than the events occurred on the trip. I suspect that if it weren't for the ruddy "terminal" notification, the only result would have been a wave of regretful nostalgia, which would have been over almost instantly. But being under stress already, something just snapped inside me when we were in Grand Lake. The moment itself was more one of shock (mixed in with other stuff), but afterwards it felt as if something had broken loose, snapped, inside me.

There was a little bit of buildup to it: nothing major, nothing that one might expect to lead to someone snapping: my mom hates miniature golf, and I've always loved it. There's a miniature golf course in Grand Lake, and we walked by it, and I jokingly suggested we could play. It would have been better, I think, if she'd just said "no." Instead, she came up with all sorts of convoluted garbage suggestions, including that I "adopt" one of the little kids already playing to play with. At that moment, I was annoyed, but otherwise fine.

Then we finished walking down the one major street of Grand Lake, and drove down to the lake itself. There were kids out learning to sail, people in rented pedal-boats, kids building sand castles: pretty typical of the place. What wasn't typical was that I was suddenly angry. Not with the people there, not even with my mom in particular, but just angry. It took me a while to figure out why. I have always, always, wanted to rent one of those pedal-boats, or take a sail-boat out, or...or any number of things, and I've never had an actual opportunity. My mom won't consider any activity even remotely physical, and, when my dad was saner, he just thought it was a waste of time.

It was like the day just died before my eyes, right then and there. I turned around and walked back to the car without saying a word, and, more unusually, without even taking any pictures of or around the lake. It took me the better part of two days to get over that feeling of emptiness and isolation. For whatever reason, the drive back home helped quite a bit, as did a hike later in the same day. On the hike, it occurred to me that there might be a career option open to me that would let me do things that I love while maintaining most of my freedom. I don't know if a year is enough to establish myself sufficiently to make a living at it, but I'd like to try: photography. Most of the later events that helped clear the angry fog revolved around light and color and imagery, too, so I think there may actually be something there. I might also just be going insane, but it's better than feeling like a rather large chunk of scar tissue has been ripped out of my heart and a piece of leather nailed in its place.

So that was my last two days. Time will tell if that was a useful thought I had after having my heart ripped open or just a desperate grab for something to hold onto.

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19 July 2009

Sri Thai Update

I had a pleasant surprise when my mom and I ate at Sri Thai on Friday night (and not only because we barely made it into town in time to eat there). They've redone their menu, and dishes that can be made gluten-free are clearly labeled with the no whe*t symbol. One minor caveat: this does not mean that the dish is gluten free as usually prepared, some are and some aren't. It does mean that they will make it for you gluten free if you ask them to. We found this out the hard way by ordering the peanut-sauce chicken appetizer...and it arrived with toast on the plate. As soon as I mentioned "gluten", the waitress immediately apologized and explained about the need to specify if you want to be sure to get it gluten free, and then she got us another one sans toast, no questions asked.

A few of the dishes that I had ordered in the past were not marked as available GF, and one of them I had wondered about, but I'd never had a strong enough reaction to it to be certain. It was a tasty dish, so I hope they can make it available as gluten-free in the future, but oh well. I ordered their version of "Sweet and Sour Chicken" on Friday. Thai Sweet and Sour is nothing like most sweet and sour. The chicken is not breaded. The sauce is usually not thickened. The sauce usually has a subtler blend of sweet and sour flavors than typical "sweet and sour sauce."

At any rate, this is my favorite restaurant on the planet, bar none. They make the best Thai iced teas, and Thai tea floats (yes, those are marked as GF). Chang's does a decent approximation of Thai iced tea, but most other places make it so ridiculously sweet that I can barely stand to drink it.

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18 July 2009

Floored and Iced

My mom wanted to stop at the Wal-Mart in Sterling, Colorado, today on our way down from Cabela's. They actually had a small section of gluten free foods. At a Wal-Mart. Admittedly, that's the only sizable store in Sterling, but I'm still surprised. It didn't have as much as the Fred Meyer in Pocatello, and now I'm curious to see if our Wal-Mart as anything. I'm betting not, since Fred Meyer and a few smaller "health food" stores fill that niche in Pocatello.

Oh, the new owners of the Akron hotel (which used to be the Crestwood and is now something with "Lighthouse" in the name) haven't been unplugging the room refrigerators when customers leave. This is a problem for any customers who might actually want to get anything into the freezer.

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17 July 2009

Random Phrases from the Trip

It's a bug eat bug world... *pause* It's a car smash bug world.

It's windshield wiper eat smashed bug world.

Pick one speed! [To a car ahead of me on 287... Speed limit was 65; the car was randomly alternating between 55 and 65; at the next passing lane, I zhoumed around it]

You have to go faster to zhoum. [To a car trying to pass me in a similar passing lane. The last two pickups had zhoumed around me (I'm spelling it the way I was pronouncing it), and this one just sort of limped.]

The room just sort of rotated... the walls are kind of like echoing.

That last one was me after we finally got to Fort Collins and I'd had both food and a Thai tea float. Between the caffeine, the sugar, and the long day, I was rather out of it. I suggested that my mom should drive us to the hotel. It didn't help that Princess decided to wander off last night and not come back until midnight. On the plus side, in between calling for her and going out with the flashlight, I got almost everything done last night, so I didn't have much left in the morning. On the minus side, I was driving on not enough sleep. I took a few naps while Mom was driving, but I think my 20 minutes of meditation outside Rawlins did more good than the naps. Mom thought I was sleeping. ^/^

Okay, too tired to think of more to say now. Also probably too incoherent.

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GF Adventures

It's a bit weird to realize how much less I worry about taking enough food to get me through the whole trip to Colorado compared to a few years ago. Then, I would pack enough food for nearly every meal, and worry about that "nearly." Now, I know that there's Whole Foods Market in Fort Collins, Granny's Gluten Free on the way to Estes Park, and, since Mom wants to go to Denver, I found that there's a bona fide gluten free bakery (and it's not far from her oversized shoe store target), as well as two fish restaurants that are GF friendly. The last several trips, in fact, I've been ridiculously over-prepared, so this time I've pared down. I'm only taking 2 mini-loaves of bread, and some fixings therefor, and yogurt for breakfast. Breakfast foods are notoriously difficult to get without crumbs in them, as most places combine stuff on the same grill, so until I find a GF breakfast place, I'm just going to take my yogurt.

Anyway, here is the site for the bakery, and here is the one for the fish restaurant that we picked. The other one is only open for dinner, and we're hoping to be out of Denver by dinner. Oh yes, and here is the link for Granny's Gluten Free Zone. Seriously, if I did want to leave Pocatello, I think I'd go to Colorado. Of course, where I'd really want to be is Estes Park, and I'm pretty sure the cost of living there is through the roof, and there are no universities, etc, in the town, so who knows how I'd support myself.

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16 July 2009


One of the hollyhock plants that I put next to the back door is doing ridiculously well. It's over six feet tall now, and will get taller as the flowers continue to open up along the stalks. It's not the extra rain we got, as the two that are along the back of the house are only about three feet high, and have much smaller flowers. These ones do get a bit more sun, and the soil they're in has a lot of sand in it. I looked it up, and apparently hollyhocks like sandy soil. So it could be the sand or the sun or a mixture of both. The one next to it isn't quite as tall, but it's still a good five feet or more, so there's something about that location that they like.

And I leave for Colorado tomorrow. There's no taiji camp this year, and while I was disappointed at first, at the moment I'm relieved that I didn't shell out several hundred dollars for it. At the time to reserve it, I would have thought that I had plenty of money for it. Now, er, not so much. The really weird thing is that I feel a heckuvalot freer than I have for quite a while. I'm suddenly looking at things around the house and tucked into the garage and trying to figure out things I could do with them, as I won't be able to spend as much on new items for a while. I'm enjoying the prospect of working on some of those projects again. I might start now, but I have some tidying up to do before leaving tomorrow. I thought I ought to get a picture of the hollyhocks now, in case they get done blooming/blow over/mutate into monsters and crawl away/or whatever while I'm gone.

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15 July 2009

Carol Fenster's 1000 GF Recipes

I got this cookbook a while back (and it will probably be the last cookbook I buy for a while), and finally tried out a recipe from it on Monday. She uses a sorghum-based flour blend, probably as a compromise between the crumbliness of rice-based mixes and the sometimes overpowering flavor of bean-based mixes. I don't know for sure if it was the recipe or not, but the cupcakes I made were a bit crumblier than any I've made using Bette Hagman's flour mixes. It could also be because I used a mix of dutched and undutched cocoa, and she comments in the intro that it matters which you use. I may have to experiment to find out if she's right. ^/^ It's possible that it matter more with her flour mix than with others, for whatever reason.

As for the book itself, it is very thorough, with a good introduction, and some surprising extras. It actually contains a "southwestern spice mix" that is very similar to the taco spice mix that I came up with on my own. I may compare and see which I like better. This is the first GF book I've come across that does contain such spice-mixes, so that's a plus, though it doesn't contain very many of them.

I have one big complaint about the layout of the book. At the beginning, there's a table of contents with page numbers to take you to the different sections of the book (pies, cakes, pastas, etc.), which is fine. Then you turn to one of those pages, and there's a list of the recipes contained in that section, which is also fine, except that list does not give you the page numbers. You either have to thumb through the section or go to the index. I have a feeling that I'm going to be writing the page numbers in on sections that I wind up using a lot.

I'd also prefer that each and every cookbook was spiral-bound, or some equivalent thereof, but it seems that very few publishers understand this very basic principle. Still, in a cookbook this thick, the spiral binding would be especially appreciated.

The one recipe I tried was "Mini Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes" (page 535-536). I have to admit that I tweaked it a little. I mean, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon? In a recipe that makes 24 cupcakes? I upped it to 2 teaspoons. I also just used the cocoa I had on hand, while she specifically calls for undutched cocoa. I played around with her frosting recipe, but didn't make it as written as I do not have a double boiler. Regardless, the cupcakes turned out to be quite tasty, if a bit crumbly.

So far, I'd recommend this cookbook, 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster, but I may add more as I try more of the recipes. I am very interested to try out her flour blend in converting non-GF recipes myself. Up to this point, my favorite blend to use for that has been Bette Hagman's Featherlight Rice Mix, and sometimes her 4-flour bean mix (made with WHITE bean flour, NEVER EVER EVER Garfava), but it's always interesting to play around with a new mix.

GF Tips Index

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14 July 2009

Insert Suitable Disaster Cliché

Well, I was having a pretty decent birthday yesterday. Then my mom found a little notice in my mailbox that I had some certified mail waiting for me at the post office. Foolishly, I went to pick it up. It was from ISU. My 2009-2010 contract will be terminal, meaning that, "barring a change in administration"*, I do not have a job after spring semester 2010 ends.

So... now I have to find something else that will keep the bills paid. I was freaking out yesterday until it occurred to me that there was an interestingly ironic option available: apply for a D.A. fellowship and actually get my doctorate. I'm still not entirely sure I want it, but it's a fallback plan if nothing else materializes. Another fallback plan would be to get certified to teach high school, but for that I need to talk to a guy in the department who knew exactly which classes someone with an extant master's degree needed for that.

My reactions have varied from disgust to terror to anger to, oddly, relief. The fact is that I'm a bit sick of what I've been doing. A break, even a forced break, might be a good thing. So long as I'm still able to keep the bills paid, anyway. Looking at the D.A. requirements, it will take at least 2 years, if I max out to 12 credits each semester, 3 years if I stick with the saner 9 credits. I won't be making as much, but I survived on the master's level stipend for several years, so I should be able to manage.

I'm still going to be checking job sites and such, and if I can grab something with full benefits that pays at least what I'm making now, I'll probably take it. INL is one potential option, and they are currently hiring people, but at this moment none of the positions are ones I can take. Unless someone wants to teach me to weld, stat. At this point, if something comes along that pays well and starts before my ISU contract expires, I might just be tempted to get out of the damn contract.

*I went to ask someone exactly what "terminal" meant, and he kept using the phrase "barring a change in administration." I sort of want to think this means that a change is likely, and if the rest of what I was told is accurate, there may be a mass riot soon. Apparently every contract lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences got one of two letters: terminal or temporary. Terminal means your contract will not be renewed, period. Temporary means it might be renewed, if they feel like it. Now, at least half of the lower level classes at ISU are taught by contract lecturers, more than half in the math department. They're essentially saying that they don't give a damn if we come back or not. I realize that they're trying to get out of paying benefits, but I guarantee you that if they don't change their tune soon, they won't have any contract-lecturers left. They're probably hoping that some of us "terminals" will accept a part-time job, with no benefits. I'd like the chance to tell them exactly what they can do with their part-time jobs...

As for me, I'm sort of crossing my fingers that it's all a bad dream (and I suddenly have a rather literal appreciation for that phrase), but I'm feeling better now that I do have a fallback plan. I would be surprised if I did not get accepted into the D.A. program if I applied, and that would give me a few years breathing room. I'm not ready to leave Pocatello just yet. The other fallback plan is to try again to publish a book... thing is that most authors don't actually make enough to live on from their books. There are the top-tenners, and then there's everyone else. *shrugs*

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12 July 2009

Things Not to Wash in the Washing Machine...

...aka They Really Do Eat Socks!

I had a bunch of old rugs gets soaked by the water heater debacle, and I finally got around to washing them. Then I went to check on them, and the washing machine hadn't drained. It was still full of dirty water. Not really clear on what had happened, I tried to run it through another cycle. Nope, no drainage. The water was stuck inside. So I got the rugs out, found that nearly all the backing had flaked off of two of them, and started trying to figure out what to do next. I bailed the water out a bucket at a time, and in between runs checked on the internet. The most likely culprit was a clogged water pump.

So I kept bailing, and trying various things to get the "cabinet" open. This site was very helpful, but it's a bit too generic. Luckily when I (unnecessarily) got the control panel off, there was a schematic inside that gave instructions specific to my washing machine. It gave essentially the same instructions as the web-site, only it specifically said where the clamps were that held the front on. Incidentally, unless your putty knives are a lot more robust than mine, use a flat-head screwdriver to push the clamps in instead. The putty knife just bent, so that I wasn't even sure I was in the right place.

The water pump turned out to be an itty bitty thing, maybe 6" by 3" by 4", with two hoses coming off of it. I needed to disconnect the hose that drained the tub through the pump. I did not have a hex-tool that would fit in there to get the top clamp off, but I lucked into a good set for $10 at Fred Meyer. Then I discovered that the other wire clamp was much easier to manipulate with plumber's pliers, which I luckily had on hand. So I got the little hose off (it's 1.5-2 inches in diameter, but only about 8 inches long), and found that it was completely stuffed full of bits of rug backing. Yup. That was the problem all right. It came out fairly easily once it didn't have to go through the pump, and I ran a rinse cycle that drained just fine, so I think it's fixed now.

As for the socks, apparently it's not uncommon for socks to get into that drain pipe and clog it up. I didn't understand how until I had the washer apart enough to see that there's a gap between the drum (the part that the clothes sit in) and the cabinet. If a sock were on top, it could potentially slide over the edge, into the drain area, and eventually wedge itself in the pipe. My washing machine has not yet eaten a sock, however. I had a few other rugs in similar condition to the ones I tried to wash; they are now in the garbage bin. I'd just as soon not have to take the thing apart again.

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09 July 2009


I remember being so disappointed as a kid that the word "abracadabra" (or abbacadabra as Bugs pronounces it) didn't actually do anything. But I still love this cartoon. I was reminded of it tonight, and discovered that it is up on the web. So here is Bugs Bunny Transylvania 6-5000 (in two versions, since I have no idea which is the better player); fwiw, the top one loaded faster for me. Enjoy!

From DailyMotion:

And from YouTube:

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08 July 2009

Tempting Fate

I put a bird feeder up in June, more for the cats than for me. They really like watching birds, and they have a clear view of the feeder from the west window. I think the birds are interesting, but the cats' reactions to them are far more interesting to me.

And, yes, the cats do try to catch them when they're outside. So far as I know, they've only caught two. One was a starling, who wasn't actually dead when Pouncer brought it into the house, so I had to catch the poor thing and put it back outside. Have you ever heard a starling scream? It's very loud and disturbing. Pouncer brought a smaller sparrow who was dead into the house another time, and got scolded for it. But those are the only two.

Two days ago, though, one seemed to be daring Jilly to catch it. It would sit on the clothesline, looking down at Jilly, and then swoop down just out of reach before flying back up. It did this repeatedly. I have no idea if the bird was really trying to tease Jilly or if there's some non-anthropomorphic explanation, but it was a bit bizarre to watch.

Anyway, I mostly have house finches and house sparrows (aka Parking-Lot Birds; you see them in parking lots around here rather often). There's one that I'm not sure of. It might be a female house sparrow. It might also be a different species of sparrow. It's got a distinct stripe running along its head through its eye. The female house sparrow here has a fainter stripe, and several other species of sparrow also have a stripe. I'll have to see if it/they have any of the other distinctive markings.

For a while, I had some starlings coming as well, but they were more interested in the suet cakes that I put out before putting up the bird feeder. Since they were the only birds I ever saw at the suet cakes, and I'm not a big fan of starlings, I haven't gotten any more of the suet. Admittedly, it was entertaining to see them trying to feed at the feeder; it's sized for finches, and starlings are almost twice as big. Picture a 7 foot basketball player trying to write at an elementary school desk; that's what it looked like when the starlings tried to use the feeder.

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04 July 2009

Intuiting the Fourth

No deep commentary this time around. One thing that I found strange when this video first came out was the sheer number of people who didn't get it. People were treating it like it was a serious video, and accusing Jewel of selling out. The whole point of the video was to make fun of the idea of selling out, and ridiculous product placement, and arbitrarily switching between a folksy persona and a hollywood glitz persona. It cracked me up the first time I saw it, and it still cracks me up.

Not sure what brought this one to mind while I was trying to think of something to post for the Fourth. Maybe because politics has much the same flavor? The idea of branding oneself to the point that there isn't an actual person left any more? * shrugs *

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03 July 2009

Scattered Jottings

(1) I received my birthday present from my parents this week, two weeks early. It's a chipper-shredder. Two very important words: EAR PROTECTION!!!


Take the Magic: The Gathering 'What Color Are You?' Quiz.

(3) The project I've been working on is now done, so we're heading for the "opening the course up to students" phase. I'll be listed as "course developer" even though technically I was the "course editor." There was a conflict of interest thing. Because Alan is part of the administration, he cannot accept money from outside sources. He had been trying to work it out where the money would just be donated to the math department, but they ruled that he couldn't do that. So he approached me to help him finish things up. This involved (a) reading through the guidebook and asking questions where things didn't make sense (as well as catching typos and such); (b) Working through the software component of the course; (c) Looking over the suggested book homework problems (I suggested three changes, I think); (d) Making a Minitab Manual for students to use in connection with the course. (d) wasn't technically necessary, as there's already a good online guide (called the WILDEST manual), but I made a shorter guide tailored specifically to the class. Once the class gets going, I'll have an occasional set of papers and projects to grade, and be paid something like $100 a student. There are 7 things to grade for each student, so that boils down to a bit over $14 per item to grade. So long as they don't stack up too ridiculously, the extra money will be nice.

(4) Finally, I feel like it's actually summer. I've been going into the office four mornings a week, because I know I won't work on anything at home. A lot of the time there was just wasted, but that was where I got the manual done. There was a bit of an issue there, as I made it in Printmaster Gold, but my contact didn't have that program, so she couldn't make changes directly. I had to convert everything to pdfs to send her, then she had to tell me what needed to be fixed. It would have been simpler if we'd had access to a common editing program.

(5) I like radishes.

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