Saturday, February 28, 2009


People who write spyware/malware/trojans/hijack programs need to be kicked hard in the harbles/yarbles/nuts/stones/balls/cojones/onions/family jewels.

I've run all my anti-spyware programs and am progressively removing "registry items" using something called HiJack This, but I still can't get rid of the damn program that's hijacking every Google search I try.

I'm considering taking the computer BACK to the computer guys, and paying them another $80 or whatever to see if THEY can get the thing off. I really don't want to "sterilize" the computer and reinstall all my programs; I'm not even sure where the disks for some of them are these days.

But, gaaaaah. If these script-kiddies used their time on something non-malicious, I bet they could make a lot of money at it. Why do people spend their precious time doing something that causes agony? I do not understand many of my fellow humans.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Put me out of my misery, please

So I'm in here, frantically grading, when a student stops by.

A student from the class that took the exam today (though she was not there; in fact, she was someone I reported last week for "excessive absences.")

She wanted to know what she missed.

(I will now pause as you pick your jaw up off the floor).

She then asked me, "Oh, did we have a test this week?"

I told her that yes, in fact, we had had one today. Her face gets a little puckery. "So I missed it?"

"Yes, you did."

Then I began with the "leading" questions. I am not an ogre, honestly I am not. I asked if she'd been sick, or if there'd been a family emergency, or things like that.

"No," she replied. "I just had a lot of stuff to do. Can I take a make up test?"

I asked again - was there some demonstrable emergency?

"No, I Just. Had. A. Lot. Of. Stuff. To. Do."

I asked her if she was ready to take the test that minute - my rule is, if someone needs a makeup BEFORE they're graded and handed back, OK.

"No, I don't even have the review sheet." (Which I handed out - let me see - OVER A WEEK AGO).

So I told her no, no makeups. She said, "So that will kind of hurt my grade, then."

"Yes, I'm afraid it will."

"How much is lab worth?" (I assume she's trying to figure out how she can still pull a passing grade at this point.) I told her and she left.

But, crikey. That takes the effin' cake. "I just had stuff to do." If she had an emergency, I would expect she'd say: I had an emergency, I could not be in class. But to me, "stuff to do" means that class is at the BOTTOM of her priorities. Which means I have ZERO motivation to bend the rules and bust my hump for her.

If you "just have things to do," honey, you might withdraw from college for a few semesters, do them, then come back when you're more focused, OK?

I swear

If I see one more student test paper where they say DNA fingerprinting is

- getting fingerprints from the crime scene and lifting DNA from them

- something related to everyone's DNA being unique and that makes their fingerprints unique


- totally ignores the "DNA" part and talks about crime-scene fingerprinting

I will have to CUT somebody. Dammit, I talk about this every freaking semester. It is in the book. I show demonstration slides in class. I talk about IDing bodies after 9/11, I talk about paternity testing.

It is not that (bleeping) hard! Except, apparently, it is.

Look, guys, I'm a freaking ecologist - I could probably not successfully DO DNA fingerprinting in a lab if Abby Scuito was standing next to me, holding a $1000 bill and saying, "You get this when the gel comes out successfully." And I know what a bleeding DNA fingerprint is!

In other news, I was greatly alarmed by the last position paper - topic: should we establish a national DNA bank where every citizen has to provide a sample, so crimes could be "solved almost as soon as they're committed." Practically EVERYONE said, "I don't plan on committing a crime so I wouldn't mind giving a sample" Privacy issues? Corruption in government leading to planted evidence? Cost? (I did have one student - God bless her - who looked up what such a thing would cost and based her argument on "The U.S. cannot afford this kind of a thing")

But I worry intensely about the upcoming generation, who have been subjected to walking in through metal detectors to get into high schools, who have had to carry clear backpacks. They now no longer have any expectation of privacy and are happy to surrender WHATEVER because the government tells them it's a good idea.

My response to a DNA bank for "crime prevention" would be: "I don't plan on committing a crime. Therefore, you don't need my DNA." Except, then I probably just DID commit a crime, by saying that.

Why is it that

Some of the Special-est Snowflakes have the MOST grating voices?

My colleague is "conferencing" with one right now. She has that loud, whiny, harsh voice - kind of like Helen Thomas mixed with Ellen Degeneres with a dash of vintage Roseanne Barr. Among her complaints:

1. she cannot park in the faculty lot. (seriously, what the heck? Like he'd have control over that? I get so weary of student parking-complaints. Back in my day, I didn't even HAVE a car, I had to walk every-damn-where.)

2. her grade does not reflect her "effort."

3. the amount of time she has to spend working on homework outside of class "seems excessive."

4. She's "just not that good at science" and so apparently wishes to be exempted from the science class requirements.

And I'm sitting here with my door closed (trying to grade exams). I can STILL hear her. Argh.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fables for our times

Maybe I'm unusual, I don't know, but I grew up hearing the old traditional fables from my parents - the boy who cried wolf, the little red hen, the ant and the grasshopper.

From those, I learned stuff: Don't call for help as a joke or when you don't really need it. Don't lie. Don't expect the world to hand you what you need on a silver platter. Hard work has rewards. Mooching is bad.

But I wonder if maybe we will be rewriting those fables in the future.

Like the little red hen - a favorite of mine, now, and as I've said before, I've more than once muttered, "'I will do it myself,' said the little red hen" when someone was being dithery or obstructionist with the aim of getting out of having to do whatever task it was.

But now, I think the little red hen story - which you might remember, consists of the industrious bird planting and growing grain, taking it to the mill, and baking bread, while her layabout friends were "too tired" or "not interested" in helping. (or they would help, "Later.") And then, at the end, when the hen pulls the final fruit of her labor - a new loaf of bread - out of the oven, there are all the animals that were previously unable to help, wanting to "help" her eat it.

In the version I learned (at least) the hen gets her final justice: she says, one last time, "I will do it myself" and winds up eating the bread on her own. The presumption being, perhaps next time those lazy animals will actually do some work before they expect rewards.

But I wonder if today it would actually be The Little Red Hen, the Tall Slender Fox, and the Pack of Thieving Reptiles:

The little red hen does her work, while her animal friends (the cat, the dog, the horse) lay around and do nothing. But then, as she's pulling the bread from the oven and telling them she will eat it herself, the Tall Slender Fox shows up and tells her that's not the Responsible thing to do, and she and her animal friends must Pull Together for the good of the barnyard, and that he's mandating she share her bread. And as this is happening, the Thieving Reptiles show up and then decide that, even though they don't live in this particular barnyard, they are entitled to a piece of the bread. And in fact, they're entitled to a piece of the bread in every barnyard across the nation.

And so, the little red hen, for her hard work, is left with a slice and a half of bread, a great sense of disappointment, and a bunch of moochy animal friends who have just learned that if they wait long enough, someone will come and bail them out of their hunger.

I suspect that after a few rounds of this, the hen would get disgusted, pack her bags, and go off in search of Galt's Gulch to make a new life.

The other fable was the Ant and the Grasshopper. There are actually two versions of this - the original Aesop where the grasshopper, as reward for his idleness, starves in the cold because the ants don't share. In the Disney version, the ants take pity on the grasshopper and invite him in (but he's expected to play the fiddle to entertain them, so he at least earns his keep a bit. The Disney version is also the source of the song, "The world owes me a livin'" which seems oddly apropos of the comments I hear from a few of the more entitlement-minded students)

Anyway. In the new-new version of this, the Queen Bee of the Parliament of Insects would show up, buzz angrily at the ants, tell them they are being selfish, and they need to learn to share and to shore up the insect world with the fruit of their labors. She then proposes a 90% top marginal tax rate on the ant's work, and tells them they should be glad they don't produce that much, because SEE how they'd be penalized?

At the same time, the grasshopper has food and other worldly needs lavished on him. He winds up outfitting a fancy "crib" and spends time with several lady grasshoppers. Meanwhile, the ants sit in their mound and seethe with resentment, and vow to vote out the Queen Bee at the next Insect Parliamentary Elections - if only they can find enough disgruntled insects who haven't been pandered to.

In the end, the ants make it, though not happily. They scrimp and save and manage to be able to repair the mound when it gets damaged in winter storms. They then plan wisely and harvest just what is needed to keep them alive the next summer.

Unfortunately, the grasshopper, not sure what to do with his copious free time (since the world has given him the living it apparently owed him), winds up with a serious honey habit and has to go into rehab.

(I originally wrote that as the grasshopper died of a honey overdose, but that seemed a tad mean)

Monday, February 23, 2009

More cowbell?

One of the things I love about living in a small, rural area is that you tend to see funny oddball things - and because traffic's not so bad, you have the chance to notice them.

Now, around here, there is a sort of low-level fad for what are generally known as "truck nuts." If you are not familiar with this thing (be glad), it is a set of prosthetic rubber testicles that you attach to the trailer hitch of your truck. With sac and veins and everything. It's rather striking the first time you see them.

No, I don't know "why." I presume it's a guy thing. Or maybe a rancher thing. Or maybe it's a "compensation" thing, but most of the guys I've seen who are "compensating" drive bright yellow pickups with what the FFOT has dubbed the "a**hole option."

I see maybe a set of truck nuts every week or so. (I don't pay enough attention to know if they're the same trucks or different ones).

But today, I saw something different that made me laugh.

I will admit, I find the truck nuts kind of awful. In a 12-year-old boy way, they're funny, but they are also kind of awful.

But this was a truck with something different hanging from the hitch. I had to look twice to be sure of what it was.

It was a cowbell. A cowbell, swinging back and forth as the truck drove.

It made me wonder if the owner was a fan of that famous SNL sketch with Christopher Walken, and he just wanted "more cowbell."

Or maybe he felt the need to hang something from that hitch and felt the nuts were unseemly (he also had one of those "praying Calvin" stickers in the back of his window - you know the stickers that look kind of like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, but he is peeing on something (usually either a Chevy or Ford symbol, or the number of a disliked NASCAR driver, or, once, I saw the name "bin Ladin" being peed on). But there's also a variant showing the Calvin-like child kneeling and praying in front of a cross (a few of them feature a girl, who looks a little bit like Susie Derkins from the same strip).

But anyway. He had a "praying Calvin" on his truck so maybe he felt the nuts either sent the wrong message, or else he personally disliked them. So he put a cowbell on there instead.

I love all the silly random stuff that's out there.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I baked bread today.

Oh, I did it the "quick" way - I have a bread machine. (Once in a while, when I have the free time and the inclination, I like to make bread the "real" way, with kneading and having to check on it as it rises. Plus, there are a couple recipes I have that just don't turn out in the bread machine). I made a buttermilk white bread, using a recipe in one of the bread machine books I have.

Earlier this week we had "departmental lunch" and even though I was slowly being driven crazy by busy-ness, I decided to offer to make Texas sheet cake. Because I like to bake, and I hardly ever bake except when I can take it and share it, because most cake recipes make way too much for me. (The cake was well-received; I have to copy out the recipe for at least one person).

I didn't want the leftover buttermilk to go to waste, so I found a bread recipe for it.

It came out a few minutes ago.

I love making bread; it is a kind of magic. Oh, I know how it works biochemically - the yeast both ferment and metabolize (I've been told by homebrewers that even bread yeast in bread are actually doing fermentation as much as they're doing aerobic metabolism*) and produce gas bubbles that raise the bread. And the wheat gluten protein forms big chains that make the dough elastic so it stretches and gets the texture of bread. And when it bakes the sugars and stuff on the outside caramelize a bit to give the crust. (Did you know that bread crusts have antioxidants in them? No kidding. So everyone who told their kids "eat the crusts, they're good for you" was right).

(*including the pesky Krebs cycle, which made a little appearance on this week's FFOT).

So now I have a nice loaf of homemade bread sitting cooling in my dining room. I'm going to have that and a big salad for dinner, and maybe if the salami I have in the fridge is still good, a couple pieces of salami.

I could pretty happily live on a combination of salad, bread, and soup, with maybe a few other tidbits like cheese and salami thrown in once in a while.

Making bread feels like a way I can take care of myself.

Flyin' the flag

...though in my case, "freak" doesn't mean what the originators of "freak flag" meant:

Your result for The Brutally Honest Personality Test...

Freak- INFJ

13% Extraversion, 60% Intuition, 40% Thinking, 73% Judging

Well, well, well. How did someone like you end up with the least common personality type of them all? In a group of 100 Americans, only 0.5 others would be just like you. You really are one of a kind... In fact, I do believe that that's one of the definitions for the word "FREAK."

Freak's not such a bad word to describe you actually.

You are deep, complex, secretive and extremely difficult to understand. If that doesn't scream "Freak!" I don't know what does. No-one actually knows the REAL you, do they?

You probably have deep interests in creative expression as well as issues of spirituality and human development.

You've probably even been called a "psychic" before, because of your uncanny knack to understand and "read" people without quite knowing how you do it. Don't fret. You're not actually psychic. That would make you special and you'll never accomplish that.

You're also quite possible the most emotional of them all, so don't take this all too hard. Nevertheless you most definitely have the strangest personality type and that's not necessarily a good thing.


If you enjoyed that test, make sure you check out my latest venture: The Presidential Capacity Quiz - It's much shorter, just as fun and just as accurate. Find out how far you would get in the race for President. Are you fit to rule the free world?


If you want to learn more about your personality type in a slightly less negative way, check out this.


The other personality types are as follows...

Pushover - Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Criminal - Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

Borefest - Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Almost Perfect - Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

Freak - Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging

Loser - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

Crackpot - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

Clown - Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

Sap - Extraverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Commander - Extraverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

Do Gooder - Extraverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Scumbag - Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

Busybody - Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging

Prick - Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

Dictator - Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

Take The Brutally Honest Personality Test
at HelloQuizzy

Every single stinkin' time I've taken a personality test even marginally related to Meyers-Briggs I come up INFJ. So I suppose that means not only is my personality uncommon, but in me, strong it is.

(I wonder if Yoda was INFJ...)

Friday, February 20, 2009

quick post

Thanks Sheila,

I'm hanging in there - it's just been a difficult week, made a bit more challenging by the fact that I've had lots of stuff to get done outside of class stuff.

The student is bringing me a new copy of her paper; she doesn't seem as concerned about the fact that I lost it as I am. (I have a hard time forgiving myself for mistakes.)

One good thing is that it looks now like a research thing I thought was going to require me to spend the whole weekend in the lab, won't.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I have lost a student paper.

One I didn't grade yet.

I let the student hand it in late - there were mitigating circumstances. I could not grade it right away because I have been SOCKED with work this semester.

I saw it yesterday and thought, "I need to grade that tomorrow."

Now I cannot find it. I do NOT have the three or four hours it would take to totally dismantle my office to find it. I hate going to the student and going, "Yeah, I lost your paper. Can you print me another copy?"

This has been a horrible week. I've screwed lots of stuff up, I've had to deal with some very unreasonable people, I've come this close to putting my head down on the desk and crying a couple times.

I guess my break between classes will be spent hunting for the paper, rather than trying to get the research done I need to do sometime today.

I'm exhausted and I just want to cry. I have no time to myself this semester; I am teaching 15 credit hours (3 overload; one more credit hour and they'd have to pay me more) and trying to do some research.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"You're Welcome"

So the giant wanking stimulus bill becomes law today.

I haven't read the whole thing (why should I? The congress-critters didn't) but apparently there's a lot of relief for people who spent irresponsibly.

So to all the people who bought stuff they couldn't afford, who ran up their credit cards, who did all the stuff that I didn't do, and now I'm going to be paying for with increased taxes: You're welcome. To the executives who ran their businesses badly, that I am now bailing out with the (metaphorical) sweat of my brow: you're welcome. To all of the legislators who slipped a little pork (heh. She said 'pork') into the bill, so they can get re-elected by their bamboozled constituents: you're welcome.

I'd like to hear a "thank you" but one thing I've learned in this life is that people NEVER thank you. For anything. It's a lost art.

Feh. It PISSES ME OFF that I am getting screwed for living responsibly. If the government tries to get its slimy hands on the money I've put aside in my Roth and in my various SRA accounts, that's when I go ballistic.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Head, meet desk

So I assign these short papers in one of my classes. (NOT my choice; this is the "forced syllabus" class where, because the administration wants cookie-cutter teaching but also wants to be able to brag on small individualized classes, we have to follow a common series of assignments, etc.)

The first one, I grudgingly permitted e-mail submissions because bad weather closed campus for the due date and some of the students are only on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So when I assigned the second one, I made a big announcement: I DO NOT WANT E-MAILED PAPERS THIS TIME.

Why? Several reasons:

1. Many students use "weird" word-processing programs, ones that won't talk to Word. So I have to go through hoops to convert the paper into something Word can read, or open it up in ugly old Wordpad and hope the formatting comes through.

2. Our e-mail system has become unreliable for some reason. I have not gotten e-mails that I KNOW were sent to me.

3. Because of (2) I feel I MUST e-mail each student back with a note letting them know (a) I received the paper and (b) I was able to print it out

4. I have to print the papers. Some of which, the students never bother to put their names on, so if I do a bunch, I have to hunt back through the e-mails to see whose paper belongs to whom. Then I have to staple them so I don't lose pages.

And it's just more work for me. I tend to think I have the right, as the professor, to expect a finished, printed, stapled, ready-for-me-to-grade copy - there are 30 students in the class and one of me, so it's easier for each of them to do one thing once than it is for me to do it 30 times. (Though they might disagree).

So, I make the announcement: NO E-MAILED PAPERS FROM NOW ON.

And what do I get? About 1/3 of the papers sent to me via e-mail. Most of them came by the due date, which was last Tuesday.

But what do I get today, late in the afternoon? A missing paper! In my e-mail! From a student! Who says, "I'm sorry this is late but I really do enjoy writing these."

Okay, Princess. Let me tell you something. When you do something that is doubly contravening the rules I have set up for the class by e-mailing me the paper AND e-mailing it nearly a WEEK late, saying you "enjoy" doing them is only going to make me madder. And I had another person pull a similar stunt on me - at least she handed in a paper copy. But she said, "Writing is, like, you know, my THING."

The paper sucked. I almost wept as I read it.

This is why I NEVER claim to possess ANY ability at ANYthing. I would rather downplay whatever ability I have and have people SEE that I am good at whatever I may be good at, then go around telling people how GREAT I am, and then having them look at it and go, "This is not what I expected for someone who claimed this was their THING.

And, oh crap, I realize I have to assign the NEXT paper tomorrow. It never ends. It really never ends.

I think I'm going to go ahead and grade Princess' paper but now lay down the law and tell them that (a) e-mail submissions will NOT be considered unless they are demonstrably being held hostage, in the hospital giving birth or donating a kidney, or trapped at home by wild rhinos on the day that the paper is due and (b) LATE PAPERS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

(And yet, I know there will be someone who will INSIST they heard that as "LATE PAPERS WILL **NOW** BE ACCEPTED")

Really, when did following directions become a lost art?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Am I just weird?

Well, yes, I know I am. But I mean about this one particular thing:

Have any of you seen the H & R Block ads with the cyclops-people on them? It's something about "taking a second look" at your tax return?

Is anyone else REALLY creeped out by those? I find those ads distinctly uncomfortable to look at.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday moment of happy....

This has been a bad, strange, and strange-bad week.

But this little video makes things a little better:

Firefighters in the Australian bush fires come across a young koala and give it water.

My favorite parts of the video - as the guy is walking up to the koala: " all right, buddy?" and then "Can I get some WAH-TUH here? Some WAH-TUH?" (At first I was concerned his yelling for WAH-TUH would scare the koala away but it didn't).

And then the koala puts its paws on the guy's hand.

I think this video demonstrates why the stereotype of firefighters is a good one - they are the toughest people out there, and yet, when a chance like this comes up, they're all heart.

Oh, and more happy - the koala (its paws were scorched) was taken to a wildlife rehab center to recover.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


And it feels so good (yeah, cheesy song, I know)

My computer was in the shop for over a week. It got some blasted virus infection (I have spy ware and adware removers, but my virus protection had lapsed).

So I took it in, bleated about my own stupidity at not updating, and told them to do what they needed to.

203 "suspicious" items and a new version of McAfee later, I have the computer back.

So now I can surf from home. Buy stuff from etsy (for some reason, my campus will not let you use that site). Cuss with abandon if I want to.

I always feel like there's a hole in my life when something I use a lot is broken - I felt the same way when my car was in the shop. It's more than just, "gee, that's inconvenient," it's more...I don't something is NOT RIGHT on a more gut level. It goes beyond inconvenient.

But now I have my computer back with McAfee clicking away in the background to make sure no viruses get in, and it's all good.

I don't have time

To write as long a post as I'd like on this, but I will say to the mayor of Las Vegas:

Wah, wah, wah. Man up. Do you realize how you sound to the rest of the nation - to all of us working fools who NEVER get to go on "junkets" at someone else's expense, who NEVER get to drop what we are doing to go have fun? When I have gone somewhere - even to meetings which is for WORK, I have got at the most $150 towards defraying my expenses. And the rest came out of my own pocket. And those aren't even fun trips; they are mostly sitting in a room listening to people's research talks. So to me, the Las Vegas mayor's complaint sounds frighteningly close to "let them eat cake."

Seriously. I saw that story on the news and my head damn near exploded. He "deserves" an "apology"? What about the apology our future generations deserve for having to pay for this monster bailout?

There ARE "two Americas" but it's not the two that Edwards proposed: it's the politicians and those of us who have to pay for their crap.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

If this is true...

I don't think I'll hate so much on ShamWow Vince again.

you do what you can

Gah. So much bad news out there. SO much.

I remind myself that a person does what they can in this world. the COTS has a link up there so that people can send donations to help those made homeless by the Australian wildfires. I suspect people around the world are sending money to help those folks out, just after having seen the horrible news photos.

My friend from church - the one I wrote about sleep-praying for - is out of the hospital and doing better.

I remember back shortly after 9/11, when people were discussing and arguing over the events, and someone said (to those of us who believed), "Where was God when the towers came down? Why did God allow that to happen?" And I have to admit, I have no good answer for that. But another friend spoke up, and sort of quietly said, "I don't like to think of God in the towers falling; I prefer to think of God acting through the people who tried to save people, who gave blood, who gave money, who prayed."

It seems that there's so much of "the worst" out there right now; you have to kind of actively search to find "the best." But even though it may not get the press "the worst" does (and that's unfortunate), it IS there.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Good thing...

...that I'm not God.

Because if I were, there'd be a WHOLE lot of smiting going on, if this is true:

Australia's massively deadly brushfires may have been started by arson.

Australia has been in a 10 year drought. I don't live there and *I* know that.

(And holy crap - that link I have above has photographs of where metal from cars that MELTED in the fire - that's how intense it was - pooled and ran over the ground).

Seriously, I so do not get people sometimes. Someone actually started a fire during a 10 year long drought. I can only hope it was someone so stupid that they didn't realize it would be a major problem. Or maybe I don't. I don't know. It must have been horrible, having heard some of the accounts on the radio - people could not outrun it, the flames were dozens of feet high. Unbelievable.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I know that reporting one's dreams is the stereotypical bore-blogging. But something really odd happened last night.

I dreamed that I had volunteered to drive a group of older ladies who didn't drive to their church so they could pray. And arriving there, I decided, "well, it's not my denomination but God isn't gonna care; I can still go in and pray, too"

And I did. And the weird part? In my dream I was praying for the people currently on my church's prayer concerns list. In particular, one man and his wife - their situation is pretty critical right now, he just lost a brother he was very close to, he is now in the hospital with pneumonia himself, and his wife had a stroke or something a couple years ago that limits her mobility and ability to do things like drive, so it's hard for her to take care of herself with him in the hospital.

When I woke up at the end of the dream, I mentally ran down the list - yeah, I prayed in my dream for the people on the list. I suppose it's because it's so deep in my mind, and because I was concerned in particular about that couple (he just went into the hospital yesterday so I don't know anything new).

But it raises the theological question - if you dream about praying for someone, does it "count"?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Why do people do this? I have one student in one of my classes who just acts helpless all the time. It drives me up the wall. This is an intelligent person. But she keeps coming to me with these $%(*&$# questions and this Barbie-girl "Math is SOOOOOO hard" attitude.

And I'm like all, look, I'm a GIRL myself. In case you didn't notice - long hair, makeup, no beard, breasts, wears skirts. G-I-R-L. So coming to me and fluttering your lashes and simpering about how math is so "hard" will only piss me off.

I'm a girl and I have a Ph.D. That means I did math to get it. Lots and lots of math. Math is not that hard, it just requires (a) shutting up for long enough to hear the teacher's explanation and (b) telling yourself you WILL understand it, even if you have two apparently-stupid-making X chromosomes.

The helpless act may work with some of your male professors, but it actually will do the reverse of helping with me.

I hate it when chicks do that. Suck it up, be a big tough cowgirl. If you don't understand, come to me and say, "I am confused, please explain this again" but don't give me the big show. Thanks.

sucky week

I can't REALLY complain, seeing as I have a job and good health and enough money to take care of the crap I'm going to complain about, but still...

1. Somehow my home computer got infected with a particularly nasty piece of adware that slows everything down and generates pop-up ads. In BOTH IE and Firefox, even though I only use Firefox for browsing. The weird thing is that the ads are (perhaps coincidentally) similar to the sites I am on - I went to my church's website and then got a pop-up from some "faith community" (and a hint to them: being part of a pop-up ad adware scheme? Makes Baby Jesus cry and makes Adult Jesus about as angry as He was at the moneychangers. Or so I assume.)

I tried running and getting updates to all the spyware detection and removal packages I have (three) and apparently this thing is able to defeat all of them. Once I get the bigger problems I'm dealing with now sorted, I'm taking the computer to the local techs and hoping they can find and obliterate the program.

2. The campus internet connectivity is all messed up. Some of us cannot print. I had to withstand a colleague's tirade this morning because he could not access some of his files in the classroom. (He doesn't really have an anger "problem," but at times he expresses an almost Christian-Bale-like hostility towards computers. I don't like listening to multiple f-bombs before 10 in the morning.)

3. My car is in the shop. They don't know for sure what's wrong with it because "It don't throw codes" as the mechanic told me. (It has been stalling sometimes when I bring it to a complete stop). I don't know. I just want my car back. I just want to be able to drive to the grocery store without fearing my car is going to poop out.

4. I have a rental car. Everything is in a different place from my real car and it feels all wrong. I have turned the windshield wipers on trying to get it into park. It is also a tiny little car - because I am cheap and didn't want to pay the extra sawbuck for a larger car - and I cannot get in or out of it gracefully at all. And I am not an unusually large (in height or girth) woman.

5. My right wrist is messed up. I don't know if I slept on it wrong or if it's arthritis from overuse (typing, knitting, sewing, crocheting, and now, learning to play the piano). It doesn't hurt badly but it hurts a little and it bothers me because I fear a doctor in my future telling me, "Stop knitting and crocheting and sewing and playing the piano. You can still type but only for work."

6. I feel like the government is getting progressively closer to Hoovering (heh) up all the money I have as part of some stupid "stimulus package" or "bailout deal" or something. How 'bout this, guys: let those of us who were blessed enough to stay out of debt alone, let us keep to the course we're on, don't make it so we have to GO into debt to cover our tax bills. And for the love of all that's holy, don't throw a $400 check at us and figure we'll dance like happy monkeys because we have money to spend on stuff. Being "given" a check at this point will only make me suspicious that it will be taken- double - out of my hide at some point.

6a. I also fear we are getting closer and closer to a Health Police in this nation, who will tell me that I can only eat things like Pickled Broccoli Stems (seriously, that is like the wtf recipe of the year). Or that they're going to hound me for being "metabo" like they do in Japan because my waist is bigger around than 28". (I wonder how well my insurance covers treatment for eating disorders. Because seriously, if someone hounds me too much about my weight, I'm afraid that's what would happen.)

7. Former Gov. Blago, Senator Daschle, Eliot Spitzer, et al: you disgust me. Especially "but I NEEEEEEED my car service" Daschle, at this point. Anyone who tells their constituents to tighten their belts while at the same time living high on the hog. I'm SICK and EFFING TIRED of being told to tighten my belt, turn down the thermostat, buy the cheap food, not drive anywhere...and then see some pol doing the OPPOSITE of all things. (If it's Opposite Day, tell us, so we can be in on the fun). I know, business as usual, but it still ticks me off, that the OLD PEOPLE in my town who CAN NO LONGER DRIVE have essentially NO bus service to help them, and some crook like Daschle gets driven around on the taxpayer's dime.

Like I said, I shouldn't be complaining, but I am.

quick observation

How long before VH1 (or some other network) starts up a reality show featuring disgraced politicians (only they wouldn't refer to it as that in the title or else they'd never get any to come on it). And how long before Rod Blagojevich signs up for it.

I figure it's either that, or he'll start making pornos.

(And yes, I know. That's a visual you don't want in your head.)