Sunday, September 29, 2013

TV Done Right (No Spoilers)

With the near destruction of 8 great years with one really wrong minute and an overall weak ending to the series Dexter, tonight's series finale to the amazing Breaking Bad had an even greater anticipation level than it already had just a week ago.

So many theories and ideas making their way across social media all week and from what I saw, nobody was even close. In the end, I call it the best series finale I've ever seen to the best dramatic series I've ever seen.

Great job by Vince Gilligan, the whole writing team, all of the actors and to Bryan Cranston, one of the best actors I've ever seen. I appreciate all the entetainment you've provided!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bad Business

I just don't get this type of business. Both A.C. Moore and Michael's (two different craft/hobby supply stores) have coupons weekly that usually offer either 40% or 50% off any one regular priced item. They have a policy though that you can only use one of these coupons per purchase. However, if I buy a single item, use the coupon, then leave the store and come back in and buy another item, I can use another coupon - even with the same cashier. This is stupid...either make it 50% off on all regular priced items or just stop with the coupons.

Now as bas as that is, here's another irritating thing happened to me today at A.C. Moore. I brought an item to the register that had the price on the shelf listed at $5.99; there was no indication that it was on sale at all but I figured with the 50% of it would be $3.00 and that's actually about what it should cost. The dude rings it up and it comes up as "on sale" for $5.00 and he said, "it's already on sale, I can't accept your coupon." I told the dude, "Then charge me the regular price and take the coupon." His reply, "I can't do that."

In my head (I hope) I said, "Well fuck you then!" But I actually said, "then I am not going to purchase it." and I walked out leaving the item there.

If they don't want to honor the coupon, why do they even have them? If your goal is to get me into the store, in order to get me to want to ever come back, you need to treat me like my business means something to you and not get me there under false pretenses.

Don't you just hate that?

Friday, September 27, 2013

More Bullets over Television


  • I watched the first episode of "The Michael J. Fox Show", I was underwhelmed.
  • I did not see the new Robin Williams sitcom but despite poor reviews, I've heard it was funny - maybe I shall give it a glance.
  • Top Chef Masters ended, I was not happy with the result because the chef who won came of as a bit jerky at times but all in all, a good season and they do raise money and awareness for some good charities.
  • Looking forward to the regular Top Chef series, originating from New Orleans this year - starts 10/2 - then of course, there's Padma :)
  • The new season of "The Amazing Race" starts this Sunday. I came on board to this show a few seasons in but for the most part have really enjoyed it.

Worst Bumper Sticker Ever

In the past week, I've seen two assholes driving around with a bumper sticker that reads "Worst President Ever" and the "o" in worst is the symbol that President Barack Obama used in his campaign.

Look, you can choose not to like Obama, you can be a republican (though why, I could see no reason other than clouded judgement), you can disagree with anything and everything Obama has ever said and done - those are all choices you are free to make. However, to make the statement that President Barack Obama is "the worst President ever" only tells me one thing - that you are unintelligent.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bullets over Television

  • New sitcom called "Brooklyn Nine Nine" - two episodes in and I like it, very funny so far and well casted.
  • Another new sitcom, "The Goldbergs" debuted last night. I had high hopes but it fell flat for me. I may watch another episode, or maybe two but my hopes for it have already been shattered.
  • I wasn't completely sold on the new concept for this season of Survivor but after tonight, I think I may be into it.
  • I might be fading on "The Voice", so far, I'm not feeling it.
  • Not happy about the current decision by Mad Men to split the last season over two years, each with 7 episodes. Last year was very mediocre at best and the year before was a step down from previous years. I say go out strong and all together.
  • Breaking Bad ends this Sunday, I hope they don't fuck up as badly as the Dexter team did.
  • I am going to check out the Michael J. Fox show...

Is there anything on TV exciting you?

Recipe: 7 Layer Pumpkin Magic Bars

I know, two recipes in one day! I can't help it, look at this one! The look like the best things in the world :)

Ingredients:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 16 whole crackers)
8 tablespoons butte
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
11 oz. golden delicious apples, shredded (about 2 regular size apples)
1 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup salted almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup chocolate chips


Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Create a foil sling with a 1 inch over hang.

Combine graham crackers and butter and stir until well blended. Press mixture onto bottom of pan

Combine sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and stir until well combined. Pour mixture over graham cracker crust.

Peel and core apples. Use the large side of the grating box to shred the apples. Layer shredded apples on the sweetened sweetened condensed milk. Sprinkle on chocolate chips, followed by the almonds and then finish by sprinkling coconut on top.

Place assembled pan in the oven and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Let cool in pan completely and then transfer finished pan to the refrigerator to chill before cutting.

A few notes (not my notes, the recipe maker or post-er):

  • You can easily switch out the pumpkin for apple butter to keep the fall flavor.
  • I used Blue Diamonds roasted salted almonds for the nut portion, but feel to switch that out to any nut that suits your preference.
  • The apples are not necessary, but again, I added them to scale back the sweetness and to add a slight fruity bite.
  • I like my bars thick, so I generally opt for a 8x8 instead of a 9x13 pan. If you decide to use 9x13 pan, drop the bake time to 20-30 minutes

Recipe: Cannoli Dip

My mind wandered all over delicious ideas when I saw this. While I haven't made this one yet, it's one I saw on Facebook yesterday and I think moving forward, when I see recipes there I like, I will post them here so;
(A) I have a place to store them
(B) I can share them with all of you

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chip
No special instructions other than mix them together.

You can find your own creative ways to make different varieties and to plate/serve.

Have fun and don't be shy to post comments!

Monday, September 23, 2013

SPOILERS - Series Finale of Dexter

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As I mentioned in my post last might, as a series, I loved this show. In a loose way, it reminded me of the show House in that it was reasonable to predict certain things. In House, you always were pretty sure that a tough case would come in, they would try a few things that didn't work, and almost every time, solve the case. The interesting part was how the characterizations and the interplay between those characters drove the stories. Dexter was different as well, while it also has very well developed characters that drive the stories, the story arcs have also been very strong and in fact, I think were as essential to any episode or season working effectively.

Going into last night, I had no idea how it would all be tied up. I like where they went with a few things though I though the first 30-40 minutes of the episode were a bit slower paced that I'd have liked, though I accept that pace may have been deliberate as a way to put finality on some of the other characters before leading into what would become of Dexter, Hanna, and Harrison.

I loved how Elway ended up on the bus and the uncertainty with how that would play out. I loved how I was convinced that when Hanna pulled out the thermos my mind immediately triggered into her herbal poisoning technique and when she offered him the tea, how proud I was to have figured out the obvious and how "holy shit" I was when she stabbed him with the hypodermic needle and gave him the horse tranquilizer - brilliant!

When Dexter took Deb off life support, I found that to be almost poetic. Then when he stole her body, again, one level up and I am on board. I was convinced that when he got off the phone and threw it into the ocean that was symbolic of what came next. The way I saw it was he would lift Deb with her in his arms, and drop into the drink with her. I though this would be a smart way to link his personal conflict with how he dumped so many bodies off the boat. When I saw what did happen, as he sped into the hurricane, I thought, yes! This is outstanding. I loved seeing the wreckage of the Slice of Life and even Hanna reading the news story on her iPad. If they had faded to back after Hanna and Harrison went for ice cream while Hanna wiped the tear from her eye - I was sold, I would have given the episode a solid A- despite the slow beginning.

My problem was the very end, basically the last 60-90 seconds of the show. I can't for the life of me see a reason for Dexter to be alive but even if there is a good one, a logger? trucker? I feel like it was a commercial cop out intended to leave an opening for a movie, or something else - the idea of a finale if to put an end to the story, even if it's an open end, but one that makes sense. There was much debate over how the Soprano's ended, I thought that was fine because it left enough to the imagination and it just worked. The ending of Dexter, that last minute or so, it just didn't work for me, took the episode down to the C level and left me wondering why Hollywood gets series finale's so wrong so often.



Sunday, September 22, 2013

SPOILER ALERT: The End of Dexter?

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Dexter will go down as one of the best drama series ever, I loved it! But as I write this, pretty fresh off the series finale, I have to call the last episode a disappointment, at least from the perspective of my first reaction; a C+.

I was fine with almost the entire episode, quite frankly, it went from an A- to a C+ in the last minute. I won't completely blow it, you'll know what I mean when you see it (or if you saw it).

I won't go much further. I don't even think this was a real spoiler as is but I'll leave it be for the time being. I will need to really think about why they did what they did, perhaps chat with some fellow fans, maybe see it again and possible, my mind will change a bit....for now, C+ is as good as that finale gets from me.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pride in Restroom

This was in the restroom of an Ocean State Job Lot, one of those liquidator stores that has all sorts of crap at far higher prices than you expect yet they come off as super cheap. There are no fancy merchandising efforts and minimal organization, just loads of stuff from all categories of shopping.

I was super tempted after seeing this in the restroom to seek out the store manager and tell him how appalled I was at the use packing tape, and sloppily at that, to hang this sign when there are hundreds of "fancy" picture frames in aisle 13 that would really have spiced it up and proven that indeed you do take pride in your restroom.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What Peaks the Interest of People

Apparently people like looking at other people's insides, quite a few pops on that post! :) Thanks!

Today marked the 17th anniversary of my mother's passing... Miss you Mom!

I think since the self-sticking stamp is here to stay, it's time to make envelopes that need no licking the de facto standard.

Have you ever licked an envelope and got a paper cut on your tongue?

When I was at the hospital yesterday, there was a product in the rest room called "Fecal Odor Eliminator"; I couldn't help but inquire.

crApple does it again, proving they are nothing but a pretentious company that doesn't respect its customers.

Sorry for the crappy boring post.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wanna See Pictures of My Insides?


Some serious TMI here! These are actual shots from my upper G.I. endoscopy. The image at the bottom right is a half centimeter nodule in my esophagus (it was removed). The top center is the most hideous to me, perhaps because I know it most represents the discomfort I feel (the top left is likely to be as well in that the doctor referred to it as "irregular").

A few biopsies and tests for bacteria in progress, results in about a week.

Most interesting part of the experience was propofol, or as I refer to it, the Michael Jackson drug.

I'll keep ya posted!

IOS 7 First Impression

In true crApple fashion, it's form over function again. IOS 7 is very pretty, and they do seem to have improved the keyboard a bit. There is a male voice option for Siri, he's a bit creepy, but I have him as the default for a bit just to have something different.

ITunes Radio is nice but nothing innovative. The camera app is a bit sleeker as is the photos app but again, there is nothing earth shattering here...nothing that hasn't been done before.

For all the hype and hoopla, it's just another operating system.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Recipe: "Bloody Glass Cupcakes (The Dexter Cupcake)"

Ingredients
  • 1 Can white frosting
  • 1 Box Red Velvet Cake Mix

 Sugar Glass:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Edible Blood:
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water, or more as needed
  • 15 drops red food coloring
  • 3 drops blue food coloring

Directions
Prepare Red Velvet Cake Mix According to box, line cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners.
Divide cake batter between lined cupcake tins.

Bake according to box instructions. Let cool and frost cupcakes with white frosting.

Make the sugar glass
Mix 2 cups water, 1 cup corn syrup, white sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan; bring to a boil.

Use a candy thermometer and boil sugar syrup until temperature reaches 300 degrees (hard ball), stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken as water evaporates. When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour onto a metal baking pan.

Cool until completely hardened. Break into "shards" using a meat mallet.

Make the edible blood
Mix together 1/2 cup corn syrup and cornstarch in a large bowl.

Slowly stir in the 1/4 cup of water, adding more if necessary, until the corn syrup mixture has thickened to the consistency of blood. 

Stir in the red and blue food coloring.

Stab each frosted cupcake with a few shards of broken sugar glass. 

Drizzle on drops of "blood" to complete the effect.

The Week Ahead

Today would have been my dad's 87th birthday. I guess it still is right? Birthdays still happen after death don't they? The day you were born never changes. Are birthdays exclusively for celebrating markers of time while alive? We still celebrate Washington's, Lincoln's and MLK's birthday - in fact, we get a day off for those!

Later this week is the anniversary of my mother's passing and the anniversary on my move to MA from NY.

Today is my l o n g work day this semester because I teach on campus tonight. I hope that class goes on as well as it did on night one.

The weather is slowly transitioning to Fall - and it has been awesome!

Lots of good thoughts going out to Colorado - what a mess they have there. I sent a message to my friend Lisa who lives their with her husband and children. Fortunately, they are safe but the town where they live is among the ones getting pummeled by rain and problems. So many are displaced! Keep them all in your thoughts.

Have a nice day...I may come by later again.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Trigger Words

You ever see something or hear a word that triggers a song that you know and then, you can't get that song out of your head? I saw a picture of a bushel of apples today and just about instantly, the song "A Bushel and A Peck" from the musical Guys and Dolls popped in to my skull.

I love you, a bushel and a peck!
A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck!
A hug around the neck, and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap, and I'm talkin' in my sleep.
About you.
About you!
About you!

It goes on...I remember as a kid even, hearing the Doris Day version on  record my parents had.
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Today was a pretty good day - it lacked organization but who cares, it was a Saturday after all! I chilled out for a bit after waking up, had a nice bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch with a banana and unsweetened almond milk (I just read that and it potentially sounds pretentious and/or obnoxious - sorry, not meant to).

I planned to crank out a five mile power walk, the weather was perfect - so I got myself ready and went for it. I started with a four mile jaunt that would land me at the local farmer's market. I stopped at the market to chill, enjoy some music, support the community - then, the final mile back home.

I banged out some chores that involved being in retail stores, particularly at the customer service counters, but I chose to not let the usual displeasure of such tasks put a damper on my day!

I cranked out some work for my class...redeveloping the whole course takes time! fortunately, I'm 5-6 weeks ahead of the students.

I guess that is it for today. See ya tomorrow!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Meme: 5 Things...


1.       The Seven Dwarfs are Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Grumpy, Dopey, Happy, and Doc. Which would be the easiest role for you to play today?

Sleepy for sure – no thought necessary. I had a bit of a sleep deprived week.

2.      Santa’s eight tiny reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. Which would be the most apt nickname for you today?

I’ll go with Dasher. I’ve been dashing about all week to put out fires (figurative), getting around campus to take care of things and of course, take care of personal business.

3.      The kids on Eight is Enough were David, Mary, Joanie, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy, and Nicholas. Which of these names have you known the highest number of? Which of these the least?

The most – I would say Tommy (growing up in an Italian and Irish neighborhood – there were many Tommy’s in the Irish families).

The least – Joanie (even accounting for Joan’s as part of the mix).

4.      The creatures in the Chinese zodiac are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, goat, horse, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Forget which one you are according to the calendar; which one do you imagine yourself most like?

This one is hard! I pick dog – as in the ‘man’s best friend” context (I’m also highly trainable and enjoy peeing on fire hydrants).

5.       Each of the Five Chinese Brothers had a special talent: One could swallow the entire sea; one had an iron neck; one could hold his breath forever, one could stretch his legs as far as he needed; one could withstand fire. Which of these peculiarities would have been most useful to you this past week?

Withstand fire seems to be logical, I put our many figurative fires this week! If withstanding fire includes figurative fires – then that.

No Signs of Jason

This week I reconnected with an old college buddy that I had lost touch with since the 80's. Bob and I (and some of our other college friends) had a great time back in those days - so glad to be back in touch!

One of my friends, and former colleagues, is in town visiting family - it was nice to get to catch up with her. her and her husband, along with their then very young son got on a sailboat up here in New England and worked their way all the way down south. they currently live on that boat in Florida and are expecting their second child in December - CONGRATS!

While I am sleep deprived this week and I worked really hard, and I am not at 100% thanks to a few nagging ailments - I feel pretty good! I feel really lucky!

Early this morning, my friend had this on Facebook:
I laughed at this but it also made me think of the great Daft Punk song. As a response, I created (and posted) this:


Peace!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reflections from 9/11 Past

I began this blog in June of 2004. It was only a few months later, on the third anniversary of the tragedy when I wrote the post below. I thought I would review where I stand on each 9 years after I wrote it. New commentary is in red.

The 5 Things I am Currently Wishing For
This is in no particular order and is being written on the fly:

1. If we must hurt, let it only serve to remind us that when we find that which brings us joy, it is worth both the sacrifice and the risk it may take to get it.
Still makes sense to me (despite the poor grammar).

 2. Before I take my last breath in this life, I get to meet the beautiful people I've grown so fond of in the blogging community.
I've had the pleasure of meeting several of the bloggers that were active in the blogging community including one who is one who means more to me than just about anyone in this world.

 3. The people of the United States of America to open their eyes, ears, hearts, and minds and realize that our current president is an evil man whose only good intentions are meant for him and those who serve him. Please let this country band together to make him go away.
When I wrote this, George W. Bush was president and I stand behind the idea that he was one of the worst things that ever happened to the USA. Looking back, I'm not sure he was pure evil - he was a puppet that was controlled my pure evil, Dick Cheney at the top of that list.

 4. For the families of those who've endured tragedies such as 9/11, any of the many wars, and any of the lesser known but no less tragic events that fill our newscasts nightly to find whatever it is they need to move on and have some happiness and joy in their lives despite the scars these tragedies will leave them with.
When I stop to think of the other tragedies that have happened since that day - all the people affected. It's hard - but life must go on and while we must remember, we should not dwell - we need to live on.

 5. That I can have the strength and courage to continue to grow as a person, and share what I've learned in this life with others.
This is as important today as ever.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Records and Tapes: "Hard to Believe"

My friend Jen just released her second single wit her project called Records and Tapes. This is there brand new video for the song called "Hard to Believe"




Please look for "Records and Tapes" in iTunes and pick up their two wonderful singles for just 99 cents each and enjoy them while supporting indie music.

Teacher Rewards

In my email today:

Hi there, Just wanted to tell you, your hard work has paid off!! I just started pharmacology for the 2nd time. I dropped out last year because of the pressure, divorce etc. Therefore I have some work from last year that I can share with the class. Pharm is a tough class & it is good to study in groups, but like me with kids not everyone can make it to school etc. to study outside class. So I opened a dropbox folder & explained to the class how it works & had all the class email me so I could share it. Therefore we can all share our work & study from home etc. They all think it's a great idea!!!
 
Hope all is well,
Tara.
 
This came from a past student who is telling me how she leveraged material she learned in my class into a way for her to be able to participate in a study group despite the limitations of her personal life.
 
Getting emails like this are very rewarding and offset the lazy ass students who do nothing then go out of their way to blame their teachers because they are to cowardly to admit their own faults.

Monday, September 09, 2013

I Couldn't Sleep At All Last Night

Because of the stupid thumb! I wasn't certain then, only knew something was wrong. Sure enough the darn thing was infected and had filled up with gun causing pressure, therefore pain. Doctor, actually NP sliced it open today and drained it. As painful as the squeezing to drain was, it was almost one of those pain/pleasure continuum things. Once drained and cleaned, it instantly felt significantly better. From here it's antibiotics for 5 days and keeping the wound clean and dressed.

TRANSITION

Tonight was my first Monday night class for the semester marking my return to the traditional classroom after a few years of exclusively online teaching. This semester I have one online class and the one Monday night on campus.

Funny, as the years pass and I learn something from each class I've taught, I try to incorporate that into the mix. Tonight, there was a lot of that, but there was also some inspiration from the observation of the student experience - some from what I've seen over the last 16 years in higher-ed and some from a thousand miles away.

ANOTHER TRANSITION

I am so tired that my exhaustion is exhausted. the title of this post is very real, I can't say that I slept zero last night but for all intents and purposes, I didn't. I didn't have to wait for the alarm to sound, I was already up and grateful it was today, so I could hit the doctor. Tonight, I shall get a few hours sleep for sure!

Thanks to those of you who really did think good thoughts for me, I like to think they all helped.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Very Quickly

I am creating this post with a combination of left-handed typing and dictation on the crApple iPad. It may be hard to believe by the end of this post, but I actually had a pretty good day.

The thing is, I recently had a relapse of whatever the thing that was wrong with my stomach, I have a doctor appointment this coming Thursday. I have been back on the same medication as before, which is helping, but not healing.

To complicate matters, I have this thing with my right thumb that according to the many people who've looked at a picture of it on Facebook, including a number of medical professionals, Seems like it might be an infection. All I know is that it hurts really bad, So I will be visiting my doctors office tomorrow morning. I just don't see any point in waiting to see what happens especially if it is an infection, I don't want to give it a chance to spread.

That's all for tonight, think good thoughts for me as I will for you.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Not Just Another Walk

Winter Street is a long quiet country road that start (or ends if you are coming the other way) just across the street from me. I started my walk by crossing over and beginning up Winter street when just a few feet into that road I see a very young boy, probably just mastered walking - had a binky in his mouth and was just wandering in the middle of the two way street. I was scared to death for him and it was so hard to react. I shouted for any adults in the area hoping that his parent(s) were nearby and nothing and I heard cars just after I was able to get him to come closer to the grass on the edge of the road - there are no sidewalks.

My instinct as a parent is to just pick this kid up and hold him so he can't get out of harm's way but I have to say, I was afraid to do that! I worried that if his parents saw me holding him they'd instantly panic and think I was kidnapping the poor kid - I hate that I felt that way!

I grabbed my phone and dialed 911. While I was doing this two cars has stopped and I explained to them what was happening and they agreed to block the road from traffic. Just as I got talking to the 911 operator, the kids father, with two dogs in hand comes walking down the street - at this point, the father has no idea his kid was even missing until he spotted him standing there a few inches from me and I asked if this was his kid and got him up to speed.

I mentioned to the police that the father had come along and hung up then chatted with the dad who was grateful for my intervention (then one of their dogs slimes my right had with a really disgusting, but cute kiss). My heart was beating good for the first mile of the journey. It scares me to think of what could have happened to that little boy on that road.

Friday, September 06, 2013

One Week In

And so the first week of classes, abbreviated by Labor Day, ends. the crowds weren't as big as I expected, especially with the reported increase in enrollment. the challenges of this time of semester, still as challenging for sure.

I made a commitment to come into this semester with a new outlook and approach and I think for the most part, I was successful. For the most part, I had a good time this week bouncing from situation to situation and solving problems.

On Monday night, I return live in front of a class of student for the first time in about a year and a half or so. I'm conflicted because I love doing it but hate working at night.

The weather was nice today, I took a walk at lunch time that really felt great. I'm nursing a few medical issues right now but feeling pretty good and optimistic.

I feel like I am straying a bit...LOL!

Here are a couple of items I FB'ed today...

A student just came up to me asking if I can help her. She said, "I was able to log in early in the summer but it no longer works." I looked up her account using her student ID and when I printer her username and password she said, "Oh, that's right, my name changed. I got married over the summer and forgot about it."

and

Nursing Professor: "Hi Chris, my menopause has me very forgetful these days, do you have a spare laptop charger?"
Me: ***GASP***


As you can see, my job has a variety of ____________________ (not sure of the right word.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Un-Inspirational

I wanted to expand the conversation a bit on something I posted to Facebook earlier today. Here's the post I am referring to:

You know how some people have an "inspirational" quote at the end of their emails (which is a pet peeve of mine btw)? This is the quote on one of my colleagues, "“You don't stick a knife in a [person's] back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you're making progress...." Malcolm X"

How bizarre is that?


I sat on this for a while but I found it far too disturbing. Unfortunately, I was not comfortable calling the faculty member in question as she is not someone easy to confront and it could have gotten ugly fast despite only good intentions. Instead, I went to the Provost (chief academic officer) and handed her a piece of paper with only the quote and made no reference to the specific person who used it. I asked the Provost if she were a student and received an email from a professor that signed their email with this quote at the bottom, how would you react? What would you think?

Without missing a beat, the Provost knew who the faculty member was and we then had a discussion about how to approach the situation.

In a particular context, that quote can be very powerful and relevant. I don't believe as the sign off of every email from the chair of a department as a representative of an academic institution of higher learning is the appropriate place.

This is an instructor with more than 30 years of experience in academia and a highly educated individual. I am perplexed.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Long Time No Internet Quizzes

This just made me laugh so hard when I saw it, I had to take the quiz: How many Justin Biebers could you take in a fight?

And this one, which really highlights the difference between Bieber and Bears as it relates to my testosterone levels:
  How long could you survive after punching a bear in the balls?

First Day of Classes - Take Two

Because courses are sequenced in a Tue/Thur and a Mon/Wed/Fri system, there are always kind of two first days of classes. Yesterday of course was the official kick off to the Fall semester and today, was the first day for the M/W/F group.

As I write this, just around noon and before I skip off for lunch, the day went as expected for the most part. I did find myself get a bit agitated when an instructor decided to send her entire class to the front desk to get their passwords - this is inappropriate. Aside from the fact that the students should be more on top of this, though these are automotive students who tend to not give a shit about anything but cars - the right move would have been for the instructor to arrange someone come to her class and assist so that the front area, which serves the larger population as well and is housed in the library so the extra noise factor of an entire class is just not good.

Right when I sensed I was getting upset over this, I took a deep breath and instead of reacting, I excused myself for a brief minute and just repeated to myself that regardless of how I feel about this, they are there and need help...so I just went to work and got them taken care of. It isn't my responsibility to make sure instructors are doing their job properly, all I can do is communicate what I see as issues and hope they are handled by those whose job it is.

It is nice to have people walking the halls again, the summer gets real quiet, which is nice sometimes, but every minute of every day, it gets a bit old.

Now, what's for lunch?

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

First Day of Fall Semester Update

I thought it was necessary after this morning's post. As you know, I went in with reasonably high hopes. I was optimistic and starting this semester and academic year with a new attitude:
I was sitting here, in the dark, about 10-15 minutes before "the opening bell" just hanging when something happened that forced me to post this to Facebook, "Already? The doors are closed, the lights are out and there's a sign on the door in a giant font that says CLOSED. Why, tell me why would you attempt to open the door with such vigor that you nearly dislocate your shoulder?"

Were all my hopes shattered in that instant?
NO! I moved past it fast and got on with the day. Yes, it was super busy and yes, there were some genuinely, in an effort to be nice, not smart people. However, with few hurdles, the day was great, lots of fun and a success.

I must say that it does worry me though that a very incompetent teacher was rehired as an adjunct. This guy is teaching Computer Science courses and knows NOTHING! I am not exaggerating, he's a fucking idiot! I hate to be so harsh but it's the truth.

And so, I remain hopeful.

Meteorological and now, Academically...

It's fall! The fall semester at work kicks off today, this means I revert back to a fancier dress code, donning shirt and tie instead of jeans and a polo; that's the easy part.

The crowds of students will be as thick as they will get over the next week or two before the herd begins to thin out. There's a lot of hope and a lot of confusion. A lot of dreams about to be realized and several, reconsidered. It's a time of frantic moments, interesting moments, interesting observation, and in some ways, sadness.

As I type this at 6:10 am, I am personally committed to try my best to take this semester on with a renewed spirit. I am completely redeveloping the courses I teach to implement new technologies, methodologies and philosophies and will work hard to foster the spirit of learning and progress despite the usual challenges. Fear to though, I will report on the unbelievable as I always have.

Until later.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Goodbye TBTL!

I've mentioned before, not all that long ago, that I felt TBTL had just lost it's mojo. The original show, with Luke, Jen and Sean was just really cool. Not to short change Luke or Sean, who were both a fun part of the package, in the few years since Jen left, it has become so painfully obvious, even more so on her random one off returns, just how much she had to do with what was really great during the best of times on that show.

Right after I last wrote here how I was considering abandoning the show for good, Luke had announced he was leaving his morning radio show and implied he'd be putting a greater effort into TBTL (rather than the lackluster effort in more recent times). I gave it a chance but it's just not that fun to listen to anymore.

Over the last few weeks, I've actually only listened to a few shows and tonight, I finally deleted the podcast from my subscriptions list.

I am grateful for the entertainment I was provided with. Luke is still somewhat likable but the magic of the original three was something special. I also don't feel that Luke has his heart in it anymore - maybe I am wrong and just projecting my lack of enjoyment. I accepted it was something different that it was with Jen and Sean but what it became, in my opinion never held up.

Bloomin' Onion


It's very deceptive and I recall, when I first saw the ad for it back when Outback Steakhouse was new in these parts, I was intrigued and wanted to try one. I even think I convinced myself that I liked it at first despite being certain that hours later I regretted how much of it I ate and having eaten it at all.

It's been a few years now since I've eaten any of a bloomin' onion, but can still taste it. the thing is, it's nothing special - if made properly, and consistently, both of which are rare, it can be a tasty treat if you carefully control your portion (which is a way smaller amount that you are thinking right now, trust me). However, overall, hey tend to be to greasy and long term,, just sit in your gut causing all kinds of unnecessary yuckiness.

I know, odd that I write this right after my post about my current stomach thing but I saw a thing on FB that referred to the bloomin' onion and couldn't resist.

Reflux, Refux

In the middle of August I mentioned I was having an issue with reflux, bas stomach acid, for the first time. I went on a 14 day course of Prilosec that took its sweet time to begin working but by day 9 or so, I was vastly improved and felt more like myself (others noted there was visual evidence of improvement as well, which makes me wonder what the hell I looked like during the worst of it).

Once the 14 days of medication were through, I simply went on with my life. Then, a day or two later, I began having symptoms again. I called the doctor a few days later and they now have me back on Prilosec and have an appointment schedule for the 12th of this month.

I don't know what's wrong but I am certain something is not right. I hope it's something simple and need to hope that between how ridiculously busy it should be at work, teaching my classes and otherwise, that my anxiety won't have time to start thinking the worst and amplifying the whole thing.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Rains Fell

I'm watching the news as I type this and the lead story is the crazy rain storms today. I feel very fortunate that there appears to be no water damage or even seepage and I lost electricity for a grand total of eleven seconds today; many others were not as fortunate.
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The quest for steam buns ended successfully today. My daughter has had a craving for them as it had been a couple of months since we last had them after purchasing them from a local Asian grocery store. A few weeks ago, we had returned to the Asian market only to find they were going to be closed for vacation for a few weeks. We returned after vacation, and the store had to yet been fully stocked, the proprietor indicated that they would have the buns by month's end.

After several visits over the last coke of weeks that ended in disappointment, finally, today we were ale to leave with the steam buns - we both enjoyed them for lunch and while I had a salad for dinner, my kid had yet another steam bun.
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Hoping to have a decent day off tomorrow. The weather looks like its going to be crappy but I could use the time to continue building my online course.