Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pink (while watching the debate)

I have recently developed a serious fascination with nail polish, for the following reasons:
1. It's pretty. And colorful. And did I mention pretty?
2. Keeping my nails polished goes a long way toward stopping me from indulging in my bad habit, namely picking at my cuticles.
3. I can color-coordinate to match my outfit. And it's pretty.

So here is how I occupied my hands while I was watching the California Democratic Debate:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Overheard ...

... while walking to a meeting:

"I hope the Weather Channel was wrong, and it doesn't snow; or else I hope it snows really hard and my history professor gets instantly snowed in somewhere."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Alright, Dammit!

My Band

Make Your Own Album Cover
1. Click on this link. The title of the page is the name of your band.
2. Click on this link. The last four words of the final quotation on the page are the title of your album.
3. Click on this link. The third picture is your album cover.
4. Add your band name and title to the picture.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Typing Story

Well, Belle got a bit freaked about the typing test meme going around, and I don't blame her. I, too, remember hearing that about all I could be expected to do was to type, nurse, or teach. If it weren't for my mom and her constant "You can do anything you decide you want to do," I might have believed that crap, too. But I don't.

However, Belle's post made me remember how I learned to type, so I thought I would post that story here. And then I'm going to go retake that typing test, BECAUSE I KNOW I CAN TYPE FASTER THAN THAT, DAMMIT.

I was married to my first (and very bad) husband -- it just occurs to me that he might be reading this, and that actually makes me smile! -- and was working as a department secretary in a graduate school in southern California. No I won't tell you which one, but it was in a religious phase of my ex-spouse's and also of my life. If that helps.

Anyhoo, there I was working as a secretary, and every faculty member in my department did his or her own work on his or her own computer. I had a computer, too -- in fact, it was this computer:

So there I was, working all day long, with very little to do except answering the telephone, and this computer to keep me company. So I decided to learn to type. I got a textbook, and did some practice exercises out of it, just to get the hang of where my fingers should go on the keys, etc. Once I had that down, and it was mostly about speed, I got my hands on an interesting book that I wanted to read and copied it. The whole thing. I still wasn't very fast, but I wasn't bored any more and I got to read a good book.

When I found another position in this school that I wanted to apply for, and I tried to use my department office manager as a reference, she told my prospective new hirer that I was "not a self-starter." Ha. Shows what she knew.

Anyway, I was only there for a year, and then I went and got myself a teaching job and never looked back.

Which brings us full circle back to those voices, you know, the ones that said I could type, teach, or be a nurse? Yes, I became a teacher. But I was a damn good one, people. And now I'm a professor (almost with tenure). So HA to those voices.

And I got a little faster:

81 words

free Touch typing

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Best Day of Skiing Ever!

We took our weekly ski trip today, driving the 40 minutes to our local ski area. Light snow was falling in the mountains, the wind was down, and there was fantastic powder EVERYWHERE. What a blast! We even skied a black slope, because the powder made it doable. Footslogger was a maniac -- hurling himself down the slope, hooting and hollering like a teenager. Loads of fun, but now we're home and watching the second half of the Giants/Packers game. I don't really care about it, but Slogger seems to have developed a liking for Green Bay. It looks seriously cold there; but then it's supposed to get down to -7 (F) here tonight.

I'm promising myself not to go into the office tomorrow, as it is an official holiday. Since I have tons of writing to do, I'm pretty sure I can keep myself busy at home.

I've been asked to write a chapter on using a particular classic piece of young adult literature in an English methods class; this means that I'm spending a bit of time in the next couple of days re-reading said classic young adult literature novel, which I haven't read since junior high! Should be easy -- I have an outline written in my head, and the chapter is supposed to be short.

Now I must re-paint my fingernails. I find that if I keep my fingernails painted, it helps keep my bad habit of picking at my cuticles at bay. So now I'm all the girly girl, with pink fingernail polish. Whatever. I do kind of like it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Risk Management and Global Climate Change

I found this video on Practical Theory . The geology course I took last semester was an earth-systems course, with an eye-opening look at data related to climate change and potential disasters. This science teacher's video is an interesting take on the "debate."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Week from Hell and Why I Have Trouble With the Election

Oh.My.Lord. What an insane week. Meetings and more meetings. Exponential increase in my list of things to do. And this is why I apparently can't find anyone I would like to vote for . . .

96% Mike Gravel
96% Dennis Kucinich
84% Chris Dodd
84% Barack Obama
83% John Edwards
81% Joe Biden
80% Hillary Clinton
74% Bill Richardson
35% Rudy Giuliani
27% Ron Paul
21% John McCain
15% Mike Huckabee
14% Mitt Romney
14% Tom Tancredo
6% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Skiing Today

So we're finally both feeling better, over our colds, and we're off for an afternoon of skiing. One of the best things about having a season pass is that we don't feel that we're wasting money when we go skiing for just the afternoon. It'll take us just a few minutes to pack up our skis, then we'll ski a few runs, drink some hot chocolate, and head for home. Good exercise, relaxation, and not thinking about work for a bit.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I spent a huge chunk of the day trying to figure out how to take a video I made for my online course (I made it using Windows Movie Maker, and saved it as a .wmv file) and save it as a Flash file. I tried a converter website; no luck! Apparently -- even though I have installed it -- Flash is not installed on my computer. I uninstalled, reinstalled; no good. It gave me a right good headache. And then I got my student evaluations from last semester, which were really good. Except for one seriously ugly comment.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Another Cool Thing I Discovered Over Break

Here's the other thing I was trying to think of last night but couldn't -- mostly cause I was watching LSU whoop up on OSU. Go SEC!!!

Freecycle. High Plains City has quite the active Freecycle group -- I've already gotten the FULL SET of Hardy Boys Mysteries. They're in the trunk of my car. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do with them, but . . . I still have them.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Some Cool Things I Discovered Over the Break

1. Mozilla Firefox. I know. I should have discovered this a long time ago, but I didn't. I like it better than IE, though it doesn't work well for my E-Companion course author page.

2. IPod and Itunes. Footslogger bought me a Nano for Chrismas, and I luuurrrvve it. With a sloppy kind of love that makes me salivate over choosing new music and games, etc.

3. Watching tv online. I've already posted about that one, but let me repeat how cool it is to be able to watch tv shows online with a minimum of commercials.

4. Sleeping late. I can't stop doing it.

5. Starting my car remotely. Footslogger also bought me one of these for Christmas, and it's heavenly. I just point my little keychain remote toward my car, parked in the icy driveway or in the icy parking lot (wherever it is parked, there is PLENTY of ice these days). The car starts, warms up, and runs for 12 minutes. It's locked, so when I go out, I just unlock it, turn my key to On, hit the brake, and I'm good to go. Perfect.

5. Paperback swap. I post books I want to get rid of (paperbacks, of course). If someone chooses my book and I mail it to them, I get a point that I can use to choose someone else's book, which they will mail to me. This has ramped up my huge pile of To-Be-Read books exponentially.

6. Clipmarks. Makes it easy to blog about stuff I find online.

I'm sure there are more, but I just can't remember anything right now. I obviously spent too much time online during the break, and it's showing in terms of my lack of readiness for classes this semester.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I Heart Taylor Mali

Oh. My. God. Now I want to post every Taylor Mali video from Youtube.
clipped from
 blog it


Footslogger is feeling a bit under the weather. We still ventured out for our walk to the coffee shop and our toasted bagels, but now we're kicking back and resting. Well, he's resting. I'm blogging and reading a book for this spring's class, and thinking about making split pea soup for dinner (with the ham bone from the Christmas ham!). "What a happy pig he must have been."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Never Mind

Well, the weather did not cooperate. It started to rain (yes, you heard me, rain! In High Plains City! The weather was above freezing! In January!) and shortly turned to snow, then the cold set in, turning everything to an icy mess.

We went shopping instead. We're looking for a nice printer stand for our new wireless printer, which I'm showing here using Clipmarks.

This printer is the coolest, because I can sit in my easy chair and print. I used to have to email something to myself, go into the office, and print it there. Now my printing is super easy, and I feel spoiled.
The possibility for skiing still exists for Sunday . . .


Maybe the three gin and tonics I drank last night were some kind of weird medicine, because I'm suddenly feeling so much better that I am totally up for a work-out. So we're going cross-country skiing. Well, I'll be doing nordic (cause I'm kind of a classical girl, myself), but Footslogger will be trying out skate-skiing. He was a speed skater in high school, and is not really happy with the straight-forward motion of cross country.

Two years ago, I bought Footslogger a gift certificate for a skate-ski rental, which he never used. (No comment on my serious gift-giving disability.) Anyway, we're going to stop by the local ski shop and see if they will honor that gift certificate, even though it has been expired for over a year. If not, I'll go ahead and pay for his rental. If he enjoys it, he'll probably buy himself a set.

In the meantime, we're hanging out, having nice pancake breakfast, and sitting in our matching recliners playing around the internet on our laptops. Maybe I'll take a picture and post it this afternoon.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Office Changes, T&P, and etc.

In spite of the sniffles and headache and general exhaustion that's been hovering around me like a storm cloud for the past week (a week! I can't believe it's been a week. I was really planning to cross-country ski every day this week. And all I've done is sit my butt in this chair. And my butt just keeps getting bigger, people!), I went to the office today to finish up my packet for T&P.

The good news is, I finished it. I'm still waiting on a letter about my teaching from Esteemed Colleague, but that should be in my box on Monday. I went ahead and dropped off all three notebooks this afternoon before I left. Fingers crossed, everyone.

The bad news? My office building is a MESS. Everyone and their dog is moving, which apparently requires walls to be knocked down, floor tiles to be replaced, and general havoc and smelliness to take over the place. A friend told me that the office smelled; I can't breathe through my nose at present, so I didn't smell a thing.

Oh, and this is kind of funny. There are lots of office spaces opening up, as the faculty from three different departments have moved to a different building. So the administration put together a list of faculty (in order of seniority, no less) and has been calling them up one by one, saying "Do you want to move?" I got my call just before the break, and recently confirmed with the administrator in question, that hell no, I don't want to move, have you seen all of the books in my office? So I'll be getting seven new hallmates this semester -- two of whom are the LOUDEST INDIVIDUALS ON THE PLANET. I guess I'll be closing my door a lot.

Seriously, keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Completely Up to Date on Heroes

As you may be able to guess from the widget related to NaBloPoMo on the left side of this blog, I'm a fan of the NBC television show Heroes. I got started watching it on the Netflix site -- did you know that you can watch lots of movies and television shows on Netflix, if you have an account? -- and then I found

It took a couple of days for me to get registered and to receive my invitation to login, but now that I have become a member, I have found the site to be almost flawless. They have the entire second season of Heroes, so I was able to watch the whole thing, with almost no commercials. I say "almost" because each episode has a 15-30 second commercial -- always from the same company -- where the normal commercial interruptions would be. The commercials were only minimally annoying --- except for the Verizon commercial for their phone "Juke," the jingle to which was extremely repetitive by itself, and then once I saw the same commercial 6 times or so I was ready to yank out those dancers' hair. Strand. By. Strand.

So what do I like about Heroes? I'm always driven by characters, and these characters have interesting abilities. The foundation for the series is that certain people -- apparently at random, but perhaps this is genetic? -- have developed interesting and supernatural abilities, such as the ability to walk through walls, move through time and space at will, fly, move objects, find people, and to heal from any injury. Perhaps I have ability envy? Because I would love to have what one of the new characters from Season 2 has: anything she sees someone do (on television, thus far), she can do herself. The scientists call this "muscle memory." So far, this character has mastered making roses out of tomatoes, all kinds of kung fu types of moves, and some Jackie Chan tricks.

I think one of the cool things about hulu is that when I stop a video, even if I log out of the site, the video starts at the same place when I come back. So nice and easy.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

In-Person to On-Line

So my spring course (I only teach one, because I spend OODLES of time supervising student teachers) looked like it wasn't going to make, with only 7 students enrolled. I queried options for teaching the course, because I knew that most of the students who had registered desperately needed to take it to complete an endorsement. I discovered that I could still teach the course online with a small number of students.

So I've been spending some time over the break translating my in-person class into an on-line class. It's actually kind of fun, since I've taught the class before, figuring out ways to take my discussion-heavy style of teaching into an online setting.

I really like routines in my classes. When I teach undergraduates, I always start class with a poem that we spend a few minutes talking about (not analyzing, just responding and talking). I begin and end class in predictable ways; I find that this helps me and helps my students know what to expect. SO now that I'm trying to recreate this in an online venue, I've developed a few things that will be taking place in each week of the semester.

I'm definitely going to be making a "welcome" video of myself and uploading it for students to watch prior to the beginning of the course. I'll be using Camtasia to record mini-lectures for them to watch before the threaded discussions. Each student from the class will take responsibility for moderating one week of discussion.

Anyway, I think it should be fun!


So, I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted. Chalking it up to being sick, NaBloPoMo (which totally fried me for blogging), spending fantastic time with Footslogger and Precious First Born, skiing lots, cooking, and generally super-enjoying the holiday.


Back to the Go Dawgs thing! We're watching the Sugar Bowl, after a fantastic steak, fried potatoes and onions, and several glasses of wine. I'm counting on you, Georgia!

Though I have to say that I love the Hawaii team too. They seem to have this inclusive community and supportive team culture.