Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nothing to Say...

I am coming to the conclusion that if I wait until I have something to say, it will be weeks before I write anything. But since I wrote yesterday,  I thought I might write again today.

At work, I am still working on finishing up assessment. The results are compiled, but now I'm trying to find "representative papers" as well as papers that are problematic. That is, they have significant strengths but also significant weaknesses, which makes them hard to grade.

Assessment sucks my brain. My energy. My ability to think.

Mea and I have been watching the first season of Mad Men. Todd, of course, hates it. He idealizes the 1950s and early 1960s, when the economy was good. And, of course, women stayed home and cooked and cleaned. Of course, women in my family, worked on the farm or what-ever kind of factory they could get. My grandparents also cut staves and sheared wool. Personally, I don't see much to idealize from that time at all, except the dresses.

And, oh, the dresses are sweet on Mad Men. So lovely. I would love to be able to shop in their costume department. I adore the fitted tops and full skirts.

The show itself? Too much soap opera for my taste. And too depressing to even be a good soap. I prefer my soaps a lot less dark.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Graves are imporant

Graves are important to us hill-folk. Tending to those who have gone on before reinforces our connection to the past. I remember being little and my mamaw taking me to the cemetery to "work the graves" of her parents, grandparents, and siblings. We also usually made it over to see to her father-in-law's grave as well. All had to look good for "Decoration Day" when people might be coming to visit the cemeteries.

This week, my high-school friend Amy went to check on her mother-in-law's grave. (Her mother-in-law is Arvilla, whom I've written about before.) Anyway, Amy and Sonya (Arvilla's daughter) had put a ceramic angel on the grave, and someone threw it out. I am sure that it was some teenage boy or other that they paid minimum wage to clean up the cemetery.

Because a lot of us don't do it any more. I never go up and tend to the graves. My mom and my aunt do, I guess. Although I'll ask about it, I won't go check and make sure they did.

When they are gone, though, I guess I'll have to. I can't imagine anyone else would.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

What I Learned From Roadrunner

For better or worse, my comps are done. Unless, of course, I failed, in which case the whole thing starts all over again.

Anyway, Monda suggested that I write something frivolous. While I didn't actually write anything new, I found this in my notebook that I wrote with my freshmen class. We were responding to one of Monda's Easy Street Prompts.

We only got two channels on television: 3 and 10. These were the Springfield Missouri affiliates for NBC and CBS. My dad did not really "believe" in television, but kept one for the nightly news. Our television watching was pretty limited, when I was young. But we were allowed to watch all the television we wanted on Saturday mornings. So we watched whatever came on.

Evidently, Looney Tunes were cheap. They were certainly widely available. Looney Tunes came on every Saturday morning-- sometimes twice. There was the Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour on channel 10 and then the Children's Hour on channel 3 also showed Looney Toons cartoons, as well as Davey and Goliath. Roadruner was my least favorite of all these. It bothered me, what happened to Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius. I felt sorry for him. After all, I grew up in a world where people hunted for their meat, so I didn't find it all that bad that Coyote wanted to eat the bird. But I did learn some important lessons from the show, nonetheless.

This is what I learned.

  1. I learned that being smart is one thing, but being clever is quite another.
  2. Life rarely works out like it does on paper.
  3. We rarely make good decisions when we are hungry.
  4. Machines are only as good as the operator.
  5. I learned not to believe advertising. People who are selling things do not have my best interests at heart.
  6. Some name brands can't be trusted.
  7. If the first anvil that I buy from ACME explodes, so will the second.
  8. Never buy anything from my enemies.
  9. And, most importantly, I learned that the deck is stacked. Not everyone gets an even playing field.
  10. And some people just go hungry at the end of the day, no matter how hard they work.
While there were certainly shows that I enjoyed more growing up, I am not sure that any other show taught me so much about life.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


My qualifying exams are scheduled for the end of February.

That is a month away.

One month.

Before I take my test.

The test that determines whether or not I become a PhD candidate.

I get one more chance, if I fail this one. But just one.

And every day I wait is one day further away from the classes that I took.

Aakkk. Aarrg. Eeek!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tables turned...

Today, I was sitting in a meeting, and there was a student standing outside the door, waiting. After the meeting was done, I nudged my friend and co-worker, since the student was obviously waiting for her. Turns out, it was her daughter, who looked so different that I hardly recognized her. She's in danger of being dropped from her classes because she missed last week because her two-year-old was in the hospital and she could not bring herself to leave his side.

It is rather startling to see a student in my university, if not my class, so starkly from her mother's point of view. Of course, I walked away and gave them their privacy, but not before I saw the concern on my friend's face. Concern for her daughter who, in being a good mom, seems to be in trouble as a student.

I have to wonder what is going on with my colleagues in other departments? This young woman is bright, a brilliant writer (although I won't link to her blog here, out of respect for her privacy). I had two children before I graduated with my BA. I don't know that I could have done that if I had not had wonderful, understanding professors. Professors who held my work to high standards, but were flexible about some deadlines. Professors who encouraged me to finish college, despite my choices. Professors who believed in me. I wish my friend's daughter such professors, although I am afraid she's not as fortunate.

I wish her luck. And I wish both her and her baby good health for the entirety of the semester.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pleasant Weekend...

It has been relatively slow this weekend (so far). Both girls spent the night with friends last night, and W wasn't feeling well, so he was kind of quiet. My husband and I watched Frank Sinatra and Shirley McClain in Can-Can. Then we watched Holmes on Homes.

Saturday was kind of laid back, too. W had quiz bowl, so T took him out early to catch the bus. They won, by the way. This has been W's week-- he placed second in his district in FBLA in network security. T and I hung out and watched A&E for a while. Then, of course, we had to start collecting the girls. Mea and I ran to Children's Place to pick up a gift certificate for my friend's twin girls' birthday. Then we stopped by Sally to pursue her quest for purple hair (a pretty purple-- not a blue).

We were planning to go grocery shopping this evening at Sam's Club, but the torrential rain kept us in. Instead, I am watching Caprica. Not sure how I feel about that, yet. I skipped the Battlestar Galactica revival, mostly out of respect for the original. I love the original Battlestar Galactica, which I almost completely missed in its original run, because we didn't the channel that it aired on. But love it I did. I watched it in reruns and on SciFi channel marathons. I feared the revival. Years later, The Prisoner was certainly a disappointment. I watched part of it, but found myself just not caring what happened.

Caprica, however, has no such baggage. It is set in the Battlestar Galactica universe, but is all backstory. As I said, I haven't yet decided an opinion. It lacks spaceships, but does appear to be on a different planet. A lot of the plot seems to revolve around a virtual reality Second Life kind of environment. But I am also seeing robots. Robots are good.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Steampunk Laptop

This beauty is from Datamancer. I am always amazed by what creative people can do when they decide to. Really, who ever would have thought of modding a computer to look be Steampunk?

Datamancer sells these gems either by special order or on ebay. The late, great Victoria magazine (I have not even looked at the recent revival) used to have a theme that women should follow their bliss-- do what makes them happy. They would profile women who were making a living (or at least an income) owning businesses where they sold things or services that they believed in. Small runs and special orders were, of course, most common. But what makes these business special are that they are created by someone who loves them. The owners love the products and (generally) love their customers.

I can see Datamancer fitting right in.

(And for my friend the typewriter fanatic, Datamancer also makes keyboards.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Meme Oddness

The Internets are a strange place, indeed. Here a a couple of sites that prove that beyond doubt:

I'm not referring to memes in the sense of "List 25 Random Facts About Yourself" but rather in the Dawkins sense of "Bits of Culture," kind of like genes are bits of life.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The month that I am a gardener...

Some days, I channel my late grandmother. When this becomes painfully apparent is when seed catalogs come in. Burgess is the first one to hit my mailbox this season. I have about $70 worth of plants picked out, but see that it has a lousy reputation. Who knew seed companies had ratings?

I think, though, somewhere I'll order some Apache Blackberries. They are thornless, and goodness knows, I like to be able to pick blackberries in the summer. I prefer, though, to skip the ticks, chiggers, snakes, and thorns, if I can. So maybe I'll plant me one of these in my back yard. Unfortunately, companies that actually send plants, charge more for them. So I am not sure how many I can afford. Now, I am seeing that all the catalogs we used to get: Henry Field, Gurney, Spring Hill and others were all bought by one company and don't send out high quality plants any more. The one that I wanted to order from, Burgess, seems to be less that 50% in sending out viable plants.

I guess I'll have to wait patiently, and shop local. But really, what does local mean? Wal-Mart? Home Depot? Lowe's? Those are hardly local. Plant Outlet is pricey but everything I've bought there lives... Decisions decisions...

I did fine one immediately useful thing today: Conway is in zone 7. I've never been able to read those stupid maps, because they don't list the counties. But this site told me. Now I am informed.