September 2003 Archives

libruhls, my precioussss!

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From Andrew Shorter, a wonderful post entitled "Shorter Right-Wing Punditry's Reaction to the Valerie Plame Affair: An Internal Dialogue."

Why would master do this? Why he tricks us, and betrays us?

No, it couldn't have been master! Master is good and kind, and gives us wriggly fishes from his table, so juicy sweet! No, no, never master!

But why would the names of lady spiesies be in the newspapers? It's so confusing, it makes our brainses feel all swirly and bad!

Read the original, which has lots of embeded linky goodness.

the last gangstory

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I'm not big on crime stories, fictional or documentary. So when Weez recommended Gangstories, I shied away from it. The weblog was wonderfully written, powerful autobiographical stuff...but it was too far away from my world for me to own it, and too dark for me to want to.

When D (the author) ended Gangstories last week, however, my curiousity was piqued. "Email me if you want the last story," he wrote in his last entry. How could I not?

What I got back from him was something that bridged the gap between his world and mine. I've read his "last story" several times now. It's something I'll save, and read again. And again. Because it's a story of hope, a story of reclamation, a story that makes me remember that what I do as a teacher can make a difference in ways I may never know.

Thanks, D.

alex's "wowser" sentences

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After I finished grading papers tonight, I took a quick look through my kids' "portfolios" of school work from last week. (They bring a folder of work home every Friday.)

One of Alex's (second grade) assignments had been to write five "wowser" sentences--sentences that are detailed and descriptive--using that week's spelling words. Here's his, intact. (Spelling words highlighted in bold.)

  1. I love to splash and play in my pool near my swing-set.
  2. Scooba-divers are people who go under-water with air tanks, goggles and flippers.
  3. I often tell on my anoying bratty older brother.
  4. Why do you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?
  5. The damp green tree fungus said I know a funny joke.

He does make me laugh.

The teacher "corrected" the last one, placing a comma after 'said' and quotes around "I know a funny joke." I'm tempted to send it back and point out that her changes significantly alter the meaning, and that perhaps he was recounting what the tree fungus said about him. But I won't, since Alex seems quite fond of her, and being a pain-in-the-ass parent won't make his life any better.

jay allen's comment spam solution

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Three cheers for the LazyWeb!

In his comment on my comment spam post, Jay Allen points to his solution for dealing with comment spam--and it's a far more elegant approach than anything else I've seen.

Thanks, Jay!

(Thanks also for pointing to David Raynes' new SubCategories plug-in for MT, which I'll be making good use of soon!)

too many sheep to count

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I followed an intriguing link on Stewart's sidebar, which took me to Matt Webb Jones, which in turn took me to a fascinating site about John Titor. Claiming to be a time traveller from 2036, Titor posted to an online forum from November 2000 through March 2001.

The first two lines of the quote are what stuck with Stewart and Matt, but it's the third line that resonates with me. And not just because of the obvious national and international relevance...it also hits way too close to the (mostly) unbloggable frustrations I have about my job these days.

Perhaps I should let you all in on a little secret. No one likes you in the future. This time period is looked at as being full of lazy, self-centered, civically ignorant sheep. Perhaps you should be less concerned about me and more concerned about that.

still here

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It's been a busy week. Lots of stuff that I can't blog about--personal stuff, work stuff, yada yada. Some things that will be revealed in time, others that won't. Plus a nasty cold that had me going to bed at 8pm every night. Nothing to worry about, though. I can breathe again, which means I'll be blogging again. After I grade the 34 papers on my desk.

search engine surprises

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Every now and then, I poke around my referral logs to see what search terms are bringing users to my site. I was quite amazed to see some of the searches in Google that currently bring my site up on the first page

designing for "the other"

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As I work on my proposal for ETCon, I find myself thinking about the seemingly obvious--and yet often ignored--idea that it's very hard to design something to appeal to a foreign mindset (foreign as in "the other" as opposed to national boundaries).

That reminded me of Tim Burke's recent post "Software Industry Needs More Greedy Capitalists, Part XVIII," which is a great riff on the problems with games intended for kids, particularly girls:

One of the other places where this strange aversion to profit emerges is attempts to design games aimed at other target demographics besides 18-34 year old middle-class males. It shows with games for girls, which make a Barbie dressed in a pink ballet costume look like the epitome of a cross-over toy. You could take nine-tenths of the games designed explicitly for girls and put a splash-screen disclaimer at the initial load: "CAUTION: This game has been designed by men who are not entirely certain what a 'girl' is. They were furnished with blueprints that suggested that certain colors and themes are useful, and several pictures of actual 'girls'. Care should be taken in the playing of this game by actual girls: this game may or may not have anything to do with their ideas about what would be fun to do in a computer game".

the unbearable impermanence of blogging

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My biggest frustration with blogging is definitely the way that ideas and issues raised in blogs seem to disappear from everyone's radar within days. Blogs encourage a "topic du jour" approach to the world. Once the discussion scrolls off the main page, it might as well never have happened. The swarm of readers is off in search of the newest idea high.

I've noticed this in myself--blogs are great for people like me with short attention spans, people who like starting things more than they like finishing them. Read, write, move on. There's too much to see, too much to think about, to stay focused on one thread for too long.

What got me thinking about this was my attempt this weekend to sit down and brainstorm a social software presentation for ETCon '04. And while I know it's probably not the right direction to go in terms of (a) getting something accepted, or (b) capturing the hearts and minds of the hard-core geek audience, I keep wanting to write something about the "female problem."

Last year's ETCon was an amazing example of how little input from women there is in the development of emerging technologies--even in the area where you might think that input would be particularly helpful, namely "social software." And I wrote about that. Here, and here In fact, the second one was one of most-commented-on posts I've written. Everyone was interested, everyone was concerned. For about a week. Then, so far as I could tell, it pretty much went back to business as usual.

In fact, when I started to write this post, I was originally going to call it "women and social software - why should we care?" Then I realized I'd already written a post called "why should we care?," back when I was talking about the book Unlocking the Clubhouse. Which is what made me wonder if there was any point at all in writing about this again.

Eroded Rock PhotoIn the end, despite the impermanence and apparent difficulty of effecting change through this medium, I decided there was a point. Kevin Werbach, for example, invited me to speak at SuperNova, in part because of those posts. I need to remember that even little waves lapping at the rock can effect change over time. So consider this one more in a series of attempts to erode existing gender imbalances. Eventually, the message may get through to the architects of new social software environments that systems developed only by hard-core geeks aren't likely to appeal to an audience much wider than those same geeks.

thinking ahead

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I want to find a grant or a visiting fellowship for the 2005-2006 academic year. Ideally one that lets me go overseas, along with my family.

I'll be eligible for a sabbatical at that point, and the half-pay I'll get for the academic year won't be enough for us to live on. So the goal is to find a place--academic or commercial--that wants a visiting scholar or scientist who's interested in working on social software topics. Such a deal...you get a well-credentialed, good-natured expert for a few months, without any of the messy overhead of long-term contracts or benefits! And as an added bonus, you'll increase the female-male ratio in your organization for the duration.

So, if you hear of anything (or better yet, have the power to create anything), do let me know! (Yes, I realize it's a long time from now, in bubble-time. But it seemed worth starting the seed-planting process.

clean bill of health

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From the radiologist, anyhow. (I still have a cold.) I'll certainly sleep better tonight.

And Isabel passed too far to the west to have any real impact here. Almost no rain, and while it's windy, it's nothing significant.

Thanks for all the well-wishing. It helped.

amazingly useful site for academics

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My colleague Tona Henderson introduced me to an amazingly helpful site this quarter. It's called Papersinvited, and it collects calls for papers from conferences and journals worldwide.

When you register, you create a profile and tell the system what topic areas you're interested in following. In addition to the existing topical categories (I subscribe to "Library and Information Sciences," "Knowledge Management," "Communication," "Digital Arts," and "Internet and Online Services"), you can specify up to five keywords to look for in announcements (I have "weblogs," "blogs," "social software," "gender," and "women").

Each time you log in, it shows you current announcements in the areas you've selected. You can delete them if you're not interested, or add them to a planner, which is a calendar that shows you upcoming submission dates, notification dates, and conference dates.

papers.gif

I don't know why it's free, but it is. And it's incredibly useful to those of us who are under various pressures to publish and present in peer-reviewed contexts.

they like me! they really like me!

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Was talking to my mother last night. She teaches in the Language and Literature department at RIT, so it's not unusual for us to have some of the same students--sometimes at the same time, but more often during different quarters.

She used to teach at a local community college, where she once had a student who'd left RIT after his teachers had apparently failed to recognize his skills and talents. In the compare-and-contrast essay that her students wrote that semester, this person compared the worst teacher he'd ever had with the best. The best, of course, was my mother. The worst...well, while the person wasn't named, my mother realized after reading it, and discussing it with the student, that it was me. (My mother and I don't share a last name, nor are we similar in appearance, so he'd have had no way of knowing about the connection.)

In a remarkable display of professional ethics, my mother never told me who the student was, and never told the student who I was. But the incident stuck with us both, and we now regularly tell the story to our students at the beginning of a quarter, so that none of them unwittingly make the same mistake.

At any rate, I was talking to her last night, and she mentioned that she had a student this quarter who'd had me for a class last year. And that when the student found out about the relationship, she stopped my mother after class to talk about how much she'd loved my class. In fact, my mother said, the student said that it was the best class she'd taken here at RIT.

I know, I know, this is a shameless, self-promoting, boastful post. But I've posted a lot lately about things that that I'm not happy about...seemed like it made sense to share something that made me happy.

my computer, my self

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Jill Walker has a great entry about a quote from Shelly Jackson's book Patchwork Girl. (Which I'm going to have to read...)

If you think you're going to follow me, you'll have to learn to move the way I do, think the way I think; there's just no way around it. And then you'll have trouble telling me apart from yourself.

Jill says, and I agree, that "that's what computers do. Technology. Pens, too, for that matter."

single motherhood does not agree with me

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Every time my husband leaves town, things seem to go wrong. He left yesterday morning for a short trip to Alabama--visiting friends and family, and seeing a Little Feat concert in Mobile.

So, of course, I immediately got sick. Some nasty cold virus that I got either from him (thanks, honey), or from the crowds on campus (just as likely).

And I've got to have a mammogram done tomorrow. Not a routine one. Doctor says there's probably nothing to worry about. Most likely this. Sure hope he's right.

Not to mention the fact that Isabel is headed straight for us, with winds gusting up to 50mph forecast for tomorrow, so I'll be cooped up in the house with two rambunctious kids (who, thankfully, are outside now using up excess energy--and even, miracle of miracles, playing well with each other!).

Will update on health and weather tomorrow.

aoir conference plans

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I was trying to remember which presentations at the Association of Internet Researchers conference I was planning to attend, and had to poke through my outbox to find the email I sent to a colleague about the topic.

So to save myself that hassle next time, I'm posting it here, in an easily searchable context. External memory, indeed.

(Caveat...all the URLs changed between the first time I found the panels, and the second time. Apparently the URLs are tied to time slots, rather than unique presentations, so if they change the schedule, the URL changes, too. Blech. So if they're wrong when you click on them, it's not my fault!)

--
Thursday
8:30 - 9:45: The first of two panels on "Broadening the Blog" -- Alex Halvais, Thomas Burg, Cameron Marlow, and Matthew Rothenberg

10:00 - 11:15: The second of the blog panels, with Aaron Delwiche, Taso Lagos, me, Jason Nolan, and Jo Ann Oravec.

Unfortunately, at the very same time there are two panels that I really wanted to go to. <sigh>

From 8:30-9:45 is a panel on Online Social Research: Methods, Issues, Ethics. And from 10-11:15am are two things I wish I could attend, one panel on Online Research Methods, and another on Identity and Gender.

2-3:45pm: A panel on Gendered Subjectivities, including a presentation called "Hacking Women: How Popular Media Represent the Technologically Proficient Woman."

Friday
8:00-8:30am: Blogging BOF

Saturday
8:00-8:30am: Blogging BOF (yes, again. don't know why)

2-3:45pm: Expanding the Boundaries: Methodological Issues in Doing Internet Research

Sunday
8:30-9:45am: Broadening Options and Raising Standards for Qualitative Internet Research: A Dialogue among Scholars

better not look down

Tonight I'm listening to B.B. King's Better Not Look Down:

She said: "Oh B.B., sometimes it's so hard to pull things together. Could you tell me what you think I ought to do?"
And I said:
Better not look down,
if you want to keep on flying
Put the hammer down,
keep it full speed ahead
Better not look back,
or you might just wind up crying
You can keep it moving,
if you don't look down

Which I thought of when I read this quote from a female CS student in the book Unlocking the Clubhouse:

You have this bridge you have to walk over, and you just don't look down... There were cases when I started looking down and it was really scary. I'd think "WHY am I putting myself through this?"... But I have to do this, anyway, because I have to.

I know how that student feels. At least once a year, someone who knows me asks me how I manage to juggle everything that I do--being a wife, a mother, a friend, a colleague, a teacher, a student, a mentor, a researcher, a writer. I shrug, and say I don't know. And really, I don't. Because if I stopped to think about how I juggle all these roles and responsibilities, I'd freeze. I wouldn't be able to do it. I'd focus on the impossibility, rather than the reality.

many-to-many moves

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Many-to-Many, the group weblog on social software that I'm an author of, has switched to a new hosting service, and a brand-new MovableType backend.

If you read the site via a browser, the URL hasn't changed. But if you read it via an aggregator, the RSS feed has been relocated. There are now two flavors--an RSS 1.0 version, and an RSS 2.0 version. I'm planning to add a Pie/Echo/Atom feed, as well, but haven't quite gotten there yet.

summer into fall

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It's a lazy Friday evening here in the Lawley household. The first full week of school is over, and we're slowly adjusting to our new schedules--alarm clocks going off at 6:30am, bus pulling up at 7:30, me getting to the gym (ideally) at 8:00, and everyone winding up back at the house by dinnertime.

I know the calendar says it's still summer, but it sure feels like fall to me. And I'm glad, because I love fall. The weather here in Rochester has been nothing short of glorious. Crisp, cool nights, perfect for snuggling under blankets. Warm, sunny days, nice enough for shorts and sandals. The maple trees are just starting to turn orange at the edges. We've got sweet/tart, juicy grapes (Cayuga, I think) ripening on the vine in our backyard--Lane brought me some tonight, and we relished them together.

Tonight we had an amazing sunset, the kind that looks like molten gold flowing across the sky. I didn't take pictures, because Alex and I were too busy standing on the driveway watching it.

These are golden days. And I'm savoring them...because I know that nothing gold can stay.

writer's amnesia

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Does anybody else ever have the experience of looking at something they've written a few months earlier, and not recognizing it all as their own work?

I'm sitting here trying to work on my paper for the AoIR conference, and the obvious starting point is the abstract for the talk.

Now, I wrote that abstract. (I even went back and checked my outgoing mail file to be sure. Yep, it's a verbatim version of the abstract I sent to Alex back in February.) But I've read it over about ten times tonight, and I'll be damned if I can recognize it as my own. Where did I come up with that stuff? Why can't I dredge it back back out of my memory banks and pick up where I left off?

I'm probably insane for even acknowledging how foreign it looks to me now, considering that people who will be at the conference expecting me to speak knowledgably on this topic are probably reading this blog. Oh, well. Welcome to my world.

On the bright side, despite my sieve-like memory, I'm quite impressed with my February-self's ideas, and hope that over the next few days I'll remember enough of what I was thinking about back then to write the paper that I described so well.

accordion guy makes me laugh

Days like today, which are shot all to hell by meetings and administrivia, are when I most need a good laugh.

Today's good laugh was brought to me by Accordion Guy (aka Joey deVilla, who I sure hope will be in Accordion City when I'm there next month for AoIR).

He blogged about an accident at Lockheed-Martin involving a satellite. According to the news report,

The mishap was caused because 24 bolts were missing from a fixture in the �turn over cart�. Two errors occurred. First, technicians from another satellite program that uses the same type of �turn over cart� removed the 24 bolts from the NOAA cart on September 4 without proper documentation. Second, the NOAA team working today failed to follow the procedure to verify the configuration of the NOAA �turn over cart� since they had used it a few days earlier.

Here's how Joey ended his post:

I can see the instant message chatter going on at Lockheed right now: [RocketMan23] SRRY BOUT BORRWING BOLTS WITHOUT TELLING U BUT U SHULD HV CHEKD LOL

fall frenzy

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This is a crazy quarter in terms of traveling. Normally I don't travel much, if at all, during the academic year (except during breaks). But this quarter, I have three back-to-back trips in October and November. So today has been travel arrangement day. :P

October 16-19 I'll be at the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) annual conference in Toronto, where I'll be on a blog-related panel that Alex Halavais put together. Minor detail...I need to write the paper. Ack. (It's based on some earlier work I did related to Usenet, so I'm not at ground zero. But I'm still a little panicked.)

October 26-28 I'll be at a workshop in Albuquerque, NM, for PIs (principal investigators) in NSF's ITWF program. Everyone who's gotten research money over the past few years from that program will be there to talk about their research and share ideas, results, etc. I'm excited about this, because it's a great opportunity to get to know other researchers in the area of women and computing. However, because of the spam filtering problem I mentioned yesterday, I didn't know I had to prepare a 5 page summary paper--which is due Monday.

November 2-4 I'll be at the Internet Librarian conference in Monterey, CA, where I'll be on a keynote panel on blogging "Top Tech Trends for Libraries" (sort of a 'do-over' of the ALA panel I was on, but sharing the podium with new people), and then doing a separate presentation on "Beyond Blogging." I'm way behind on getting the paperwork done for that, too. (If y'all are reading this, I am coming. Really. I promise I'll have everything filled out and sent back by the end of this weekend!)

All that has to be balanced with MW afternoon teaching schedule. I really don't feel good about missing more than two classes a quarter (it's only a ten-week quarter, so there are only 20 class meetings). So that means rushing home on Tuesday the 28th and Tuesday the 4th (including a red-eye flight home for the latter), so that I can make it to my Wednesday 2pm class.

Which is a very roundabout way of saying don't be surprised if blogging falters a little during the next couple of weeks. That's a lot of stuff to prepare for.

spam filtering stupidity

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I found out yesterday that I hadn't received two very important emails from NSF regarding an upcoming PI workshop in Albuquerque. I never saw them, they never got a bounce message. That's not good. So my co-PI (who also didn't get them) investigated.

It turns out that the piece of crap email server that our department uses--a FirstClass server that's intended for conferencing, but has had an SMTP and POP server stapled onto it--has some fascinating default settings.

First of all, it considers anything that has more than four recipients "junk mail." Since the message from NSF went to a list of 20 or so PIs, that made it junk mail. Second of all, the user defaults for what to do with junk mail seem to be set to "Silently Delete."

(It's a good thing this isn't an audio blog, or the muttering I'm doing under my breath right now would get this blog on every filtering list known.)

This explains a lot of things, including why it is that when I use Evite to invite colleagues to parties, more than half of them never get the invitation. Silly me, I invite more than four people at a time.

So, if you're a colleague of mine reading this, and you're wondering why some of the mail you expect to receive isn't making it to you--that's probably why. And if you're sending me mail, please send it to my "mail.rit.edu" address, rather than my "it.rit.edu" address.

The fix, for those unfortunates who are stuck with FirstClass as a mail server, is to launch the FC client, open Preferences, go to the Messaging tab, and change "Junk Mail Handling" from "Silently Delete" to "Accept". You have to do this even if you don't use the FC client for reading mail (I pick mail up from the server using OS X Mail). And if you're wise enough to be using a better client, you can then also use better spam filtering than the boneheaded methods that the FC server seems to implement.

mucking with comments

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I'm currently using SimpleComments on all of my blogs, because I like being able to treat trackbacks as "remote comments." However, given that my courseware blog will be generating lots of comments (I'm posting discussion questions there, and I've got 34 students in the class), I'm thinking that ThreadedComments would be more valuable.

It appears, based on the documentation of MTThreadedComments, that the two plug-ins together. But I'm going to attempt the integration here first, rather than risking my now in-production class blog. If you run into problems here today with adding comments, be patient. I'm working on it.

Update
It seems my hosting provider (WebIntellects) doesn't have the "patch" command available, which means I can't install the ThreadedComments on that server. Guess I"ll have to do an MT install on my PowerBook and play there before I do anything else. <sigh>

mt courseware update

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I've recruited two other faculty members to test the MT courseware this quarter, and we're in the process of locating and squashing various bugs. Turns out I made a number of things more difficult than I needed to, so I'm streamlining as I go.

Nevertheless, initial results are encouraging. Students are using the comment feature--not just on entries where they're required to post (like "Introductions"), but also on other entries, like the assigned readings. I have a good feeling about all this.

I expect that by the end of this quarter, I'll have a better version of the courseware available, complete with documentation. As one of my colleagues said, right now it isn't plug-and-play, it's more like plug-and-shock.

However, now that the initial configuration headaches have eased, it is remarkably easy to maintain and add to the site. And MT's templating features make it easy to repurpose information--for example, putting the "instructor information" in the syllabus as well as the sidebar.

One thing I'm considering is finding a student next quarter to help me write an installer of some kind for implementing the courseware in a more automated way. It may only be doable in a mySQL backend environment...I'm not sure yet. But it would be nice for folks not to have to go in and do all the template creation and category addition by hand.

the book of my enemy

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Crooked Timber quotes one of my all-time favorite poems today, Clive James' "The Book of my Enemy has been Remaindered." Here's how it begins:

The book of my enemy has been remaindered And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered
Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
My enemy's much-prized effort sits in piles
In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.

I don't know whether to be delighted or dismayed that I find such enjoyment in this poem.

the pixel turns 50

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I discovered a new (to me) publication today--core77 design magazine. (How? I followed a link from Stewart Butterfield's blog to a post by Andrew Zolli on Z+ Blog, and from there to core77.)

In particular, I ended up on an article--also by Andrew Zolli--called "Pixelvision: A Meditation." The article, written in anticipation of the pixel's 50th anniversary next year, is a very nice piece on the history and use of pixels as design elements. I want to try to work it into the readings for my Intro to Multimedia class, probably when we talk about digital image concepts midway through the quarter.

go bills!

Yes, I'm a Buffalo Bills fan. Grew up in Buffalo, it's in my blood. It's hard sometimes...Buffalo's had some rough years.

But right now, Buffalo is cleaning New England's clock, 21-0 in the second quarter, and I'm enjoying it thoroughly.

This could be a good year for football.

does she or doesn't she?

She does.

Today it was Féria "Carmel Kiss" (yes, that's how they spelled it on the box, though they seem to have it right on the web site), which L'oréal describes as "Dark Iridiscent Blonde: A deeper blonde that's never brassy." It looked a little dark on the box, but it turned out just right. Took away the lines between my sun-bleached, too strong highlights and my natural dark blonde/light brown hair, and--true to the box's claim--did it without making the color too flat. Don't know if I'd call it "pure prismatic color," but it does have some depth, and I like it. (Might add a photo later; camera batteries are recharging right now.)

So, I guess I'm ready to face another school year tomorrow. (Cue James Brown..."I feel good...") In the rush to get the kids and myself ready for fall, I've let the blog go a bit lately. Will try to get back in the habit of posting regularly.

But for now I'll go back to populating the course blog for my Intro to Multimedia class, mentally sorting through my clothes to choose an outfit for tomorrow, and spending my last few hours of summer vacation with my family on this gorgeous afternoon.

and so it begins again

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The kids trudged reluctantly up the steps of their school bus this morning. I trudged just as reluctantly into the basement and onto the treadmill, which ended up being a lot more fun than the rest of my day. Presidential address to the university community (two hours long, made slightly less painful by my discovery that my new 17" powerbook was capable of picking up a wifi signal even out in the giant tent in U Lot), college faculty meeting (don't even get me started on the pointlessness of that gathering), student convocation (which I skipped in order to rush home and meet my kids as they got back off the bus), and finally a master's student project defense.

On the one hand, I'm happy to get back into some semblance of a routine. I eat better (fewer temptations) and exercise more (because it's part of my daily schedule) during the school year. But on the other hand, it only took a few hours for me to remember how much I hate the part of my job that's not teaching or research--the endless hours of faculty and committee meetings that balkanize my days and cause constant frustration in all the participants.

Skipping convocation was my little declaration of independence, in a way. It's not that I don't like convocation...there's a part of me that really loves the pomp and circumstance surrounding convocation in the fall, and commencement in the spring. The formal welcoming and leave-taking, focused on the students. But going to convocation today meant missing my kids' arrival at home on their first day of school, and I wanted to make statement--to myself and to my family--about where my priorities would be this year. Now that I'm tenured (as of September 1st), I don't have to worry that missing a "required event" will cost me my job. So I went home, and was sitting on the front porch when the bus pulled up in front of the house.

The freshman students won't remember that I wasn't at convocation today. But my kids would remember if I wasn't here when they got home. It was the right thing to do.

Tomorrow I'll try to clear my mind of the meeting-induced negativity I accumulated today, and will start to focus on the grant work (we give our first presentation to the new students tomorrow, asking them to support our work by agreeing to participate) and class preparation. I've got a full section of freshmen in my Intro to Multimedia class, and I'm really looking forward to that. It's a great chance to connect with students when they first arrive, and to shape their perceptions of the department and the university.

site vandalism

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I have no idea how or when it happened (apparently not just now, since there are several cached versions of it in Google), but vig-rx managed to replace the contents of one of my blog entries with its vile spam contents.

I discovered this only because it stupidly added a comment to that post today, and when I went to delete the comment spam, I realized the entry itself was gone.

This scares the crap out of me. I don't know what security hole enabled someone to do this, but whatever it is I want it fixed!!!

Crap. A quick site search indicates that it was two entries. I didn't have a backup of the original database (just did a dump, which I'll now start doing on a regular basis), so those two entries are gone for good.

(And I only send an excerpt of my posts in my RSS feed...guess that's going to change, as well, since otherwise I could have retrieved the originals from Feedster's cache.)

HELP!!!

---

Update: Joi says it's a Safari bug, which kicked in when I deleted the problem comment. I've retrieved the second problem entry from Google's cache. First one I couldn't find there.

That's a pretty big bug. Guess I'm back to using Mozilla.

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