Saturday, February 26, 2005

Take Note: Important New Blog Rule


I will use Google before asking dumb questions.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Black on Fox

Genius Lewis Black on the Daily Show, discussing the conservative outrage over the recent Simpsons episode in which gay marriages are legalized in Springfield, and Aunt Patty comes out:
All I can say is that Fox has a pretty good system they've cooked up. 10 million people watch the show on the network, Fox, then 5 million different people tune in to Fox News to get outraged by it. I just hope that those good, God-fearing people at Fox continue to battle those morally bankrupt people at Fox.
Thanks, EJ, for pointing out that Simpsons episode. Aaron and I bit-torrented the sucker and watched it over the weekend. We got Desperate Housewives, too, but we're saving that for the next time he visits.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Pretty Please

I'll send you cookies! iPods are so fun, and I'm so close to getting one! :D

{bats eyelashes}

What I'm Learning About Free iPods

If you wanna skip the long post that follows, just click here.

OK, this is turning out to be such a pain, but I've come so far, and I'm so close, that I feel I must give you all the WHOLE story and hope like crazy that I can get two more of you to do offers for me. PLEASE!

OK, here's the deal. You have to have 5 people complete these ad offers for you, then you get a free iPod. What I've learned from my good friends on Tribe is that many people actually do get these, but it isn't particularly easy. See, what happens is that people sign up, complete offers, then aren't credited for the offers. Apparently, there's some IE tech issue that gets in the way of people getting credit for their offers, which completely sucks.

I thought that if I had 5 people who I know did the ad offers and completed them, I'd be set, but here's the problem: Everyone who has actually gotten credit for their offer had to go through a bunch of stupid stuff on their website to prove they actually completed offers. So there's a second step that isn't what anyone's planning on. Seems that the people who have gotten multiple free iPods are getting tons of people to sign up for offers, way more than 5. It's lame, but the thing is 3 of my 5 people have gotten credit. I only need 2 more, but I need those 2 people to be willing to do a little song and dance to prove they did their offer.

Here's the e-mail I recently sent out to the people who I know completed offers but who didn't get their credit for doing so:
OK, this is REALLY annoying, but I have to ask, because I'm so very close. Of the 7 people who did an offer for me so I would get a free iPod, one person actually didn't complete the offer. The rest of you did. I know you did because you said you did! The only two people [now probably three] who have registered as having completed an offer went through this annoying process I'm about to share with you. I wish I could take care of it for you, but sadly, I can't. If you can please do this for me, I will be very grateful. :D

OK, go to www.freeipod.com and log in. Click on:
  • Help
  • My issue is about receiving credit for an offer.
  • I completed an offer but did not get credit.
  • I believe I successfully completed an offer more than 15 days ago and still have not received credit in my account.
  • I completed all of the steps required, clicked the offer via your webpage, did not leave the offer part-way through, and strongly believe that I did everything correctly.
  • I was interested in legitimately trying this offer, and have not canceled.
Finally, you will have a little form to fill out. Use Internet Explorer, as other browsers don't seem to work. Please copy/paste in the original e-mail that you got saying that you'd signed up for whatever it was or did whatever offer you were supposed to do. That should make it work. I don't understand why this is so much trouble. The other people in the iPod tribe haven't had this problem like I have. Grrrr.

Thank you so much for your help. Let me know if you have anything like this you need done! I owe you!
See how lame? But it doesn't really take that much of your time, and I'll remind you and stuff, and I'll do stuff for you, too.

Yes, I know it's stupid, but I'm so close, that I really can't just give up now. That said, I don't recommend you try this unless you are a very persistent person like me... perhaps a bit of a proactive busybody!

To help me, CLICK RIGHT HERE. If it asks you my e-mail address, it is ladycutietroublemaker at gmail dot com. (I do that so I don't get spam, but you get how it should really look, right?!)

A big THANK YOU to Mom and Aaron and Simon for actually going through this stupid series of forms for me. You guys RAWK!!

More Snow/Jay

A couple of thoughts for the morning:
  1. I am so freakin' happy that Jay won Project Runway. GO JAY! I just loved him, and I really didn't think he'd win. Kara Saun has been the favorite for so long. Jay has worked hard, spoken his mind, made me laugh, and has generally been a completely likeable yet strong contender since the beginning. And like the judge said, he hasn't taken himself too seriously on the way, and that's the kind of style I like to see.
  2. I can't help but notice that I am still not in Paris, which is a problem for me.

Still not there. :(

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Preferred Kitty Cat of the Day

Case of You

I never said why "Case of You" was important to me. Joni Michell's Blue came out when I was about 2 years old, and my dad had a copy of it. I lived in England until I was just under 5 years old, and I remember this always being my dad's favorite (along with Cream's Wheels of Fire, Beatles, Rubber Soul, and Don McLeans's American Pie). Over time, I have worn through my dad's tape copies of Blue, a few vinyl copies, a few more cassettes, and a couple of CDs (the one I have now is on its way out). Coincidentally, I was born a pretty high soprano, and if I sing without the training in my voice, it's quite similar to Joni Mitchell (you know, before the decades of chain-smoking). I used Blue to warm up in the car on the way to voice auditions, and I've had relationships with each of the songs on it. "Case of You" stands out to me because of the beauty and the naiveté of the main lyric:
Oh, you are in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling
And I would still be on my feet
Oh, I would still be on my feet
The first time these words meant more to me than just that album I liked to sing along to was the first time I fell in love. I fell hard, and I thought that noone had ever loved more than me... not ever. And after a few years, that relationship became less than healthy, but I guess I didn't notice the slide down the slippery slope. Why? I was drunk on a case of him, I guess.

Now, I still love the song, because it fits right into my voice, and because it reminds me of me - at every age. It's always been with me, and it probably always will be.


Joni Mitchell's Blue

OK... How About Now!


NOW can we go to Paris? I mean, times a'wastin!

Calgon, Take Me Away... to Paris!

With the dissertation turned in, there's still lots to do, and yet, somehow I just can't find the energy to do much of anything. I have the whole afternoon free today. It's the place in my schedule that says "Dissertation Time." I have lots of letters to send out regarding jobs, calls to make, a report to write, and lots of household chores that need doing, and I'm all kinds of stuck.

Whether you call it post-event blues, low-grade dysthymia, Seasonal Affective Disorder, the February Blah's... whatever it is, I have it. It's not even emotional sadness. I just feel all BLAH and don't really wanna do much of anything, and yet... I'm kind of bored.

I just spent way too much time attempting to work out why my PDA isn't syncing correctly. Hell, it's busted. And why isn't Winamp working? At least I got the virus off my machine. That's a start. The plan now is to e-mail some letters then to take out the trash. After that, maybe dishes. There's a yoga class at 5pm. I wonder if I can drag my sorry ass there. It'd probably do me the world of good. Anyone have a sun-lamp I can borrow? I need me some full-spectrum shit to get my ass a'MOVING!

When it comes down to it, I'd much rather be in Paris.



Snowing in Paris!

Two Reasons Why Maggie is My Favorite Cat Today

  1. She is sitting in my lap, purring.
  2. She did not shit in my bed last night.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Some Pictures


This is the man who spent the entire weekend, and many weekends prior, making sure I was actually sitting down and working on my dissertation. I am so grateful to him for all of his help and tolerance.


This is me and some wine!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Watch Out!

This site is certified 57% EVIL by the Gematriculator

Sunday, February 20, 2005

OMG

Oh my god, I think I'm done!

---

Update, Midnight: I just e-mailed the whole thing to my dissertation chair and my dissertation director. It isn't perfect, but there is something written for every required section. It's all editing from now on out. I'm going to be writing a thank you page, and on that page will be Dad, Mom, Aaron, Rachel, Sam, Jack, Rebecca, my dissertation group, my Bloomington Buddies, and my Tribe friends. That's one page of my dissertation I'm really looking forward to writing!

Loveless Writing



I'm in Nashville. Yesterday I did some work, but I also had a little fun. We went to The Loveless Cafe and did some work in the afternoon.

Today I'm going to finish my dissertation. Aaron is going to help me by talking things out with me about the discussion section. My dad is spending the morning proofreading.

I am going to finish it today. I AM GOING TO FINISH MY DISSERTATION TODAY.

I AM GOING TO FINISH MY FRIKKIN' DISSERTATION TODAY. TODAY!

All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. All work and no play makes Abby a dull girl. 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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Parodies of "The Gates"



There are some very clever people in this world.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Pig Roasting

Someone else beside my Dad and Adam's dad roasts pigs! They seem to appreciate the complexity of the thing.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Apples and Trees and What-not

Adam is totally cracking me up today with this story about his kids. Man, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it?!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Foodies! Take Notice!

Jamie Oliver is right: Nigel Slater is a genius. His recipes are infinitely doable, tasty, and his writing borders on the erotic. He demands that all of his food photography is in no way prettified. He's all about the taste and the sensuality of food. He likes the crunchy, chewy bits that stick to the pan. I highly recommend you rush out to the bookstore right this very second and buy both Toast and Appetite (at least do that search-inside-the-book thing... read a few pages... you won't be sorry).



Want some amazing recipes? Some kind soul has done something I have attempted to do on my own computer, but they have done a much better than I would have done. An excerpt, just in case you still aren't paying attention:
Real cocoa is a bit like great sex. Once you get used to it, nothing else quite rings your bell. Once you have sipped a cup of real velvet-textured hot chocolate, there's no going back. Made with squares of dark, slightly bitter chocolate, melted slowly over hot water then whisked with full-cream milk (none of your cocoa powder and sterilised semi-skimmed here, thank you), no cup of average cocoa will ever taste quite the same... I have never really thought that much of drinking chocolate. Sweet, bland, thin. A Cadbury's flake of a drink. Rather than conjuring up Juliette Binoche or Johnny Depp smouldering over a cup of chocolat at a tiny café table, it has always smacked of chequered slippers and the phrase, 'I'm going up to bed now, dear.'

24 Hours is a Long Time!


The Toilet


The Note on The Toilet

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I Keep On Keepin' On

Today was a pretty exhausting day. Spent about 4 hours over at a school dealing with a case... the case an administrator keeps referring to as "trial by fire" for a little intern like me! It was a trying morning, then on the way home in the car, I got a call saying I have an interview for a post-doc applied for recently. So that's really good news! Happy me! Then later on, two cancellations that I was secretly kind of happy about. A couple of hours ago I reread the description of the job, and it's a little different than I had first thought. Just like when I use a recipe, I always miss a detail or two. I'm still qualified, but I'm not as over-the-top excited as I was earlier. Still... a potential job. A way to move. It's what I want, so I am happy.

Tonight, I thought I'd kick back and relax. Saw "21 Grams" sitting on the coffee table from my free Blockbuster trial membership. I put it in my queue because I heard it was filmed at my apartment complex. I tried skimming it, but it kept hooking me in. I probably watched about 40% of the whole movie, but man, it was wonderful. It was desperate. It was heartbreaking. I probably don't need anything that heavy given my day job, but I think I may have to go back and watch the whole thing properly. I didn't see my apartment building, but I saw lots of other things I recognized.

---

Oh, and I won't keep you hanging on why I love "Happiness is a Warm Gun" so much. It ain't no thing. I have had many Beatles phases in my life, starting with my dad's copy of Rubber Soul back when I was little bitty. This had another strong resurgence around the 5th grade when I asked for "The Beatles Box" for my birthday. By the time I reached college, I had gotten pretty far in their discography, but I never really GOT the white album... not until I met Annie. Annie turned me on to The Beatles I had always thought was "weird." Now, I can't even imagine thinking the white album is weird in the least. Another thing about it is that it is singable in my rock 'n' roll voice, and it was one of the first things I could sing very well that way. Somehow all the classical training always ends up coming through. I think it probably still does, but "Happiness is a Warm Gun" was my first success in that arena.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Music in My Life

I've been sitting on this one for a few days. I got the invite from Laura, over at Cucina Testa Rossa. I have to be nice to her, in case I ever go to Paris and need a place to stay! :P

The part about this that's slowing me down is the picking of the 5 songs and the writing about their meaning (so many songs, so little time), so I'm just going to go for the obvious ones and write the meaning part later! Oh, and I'm excluding the choral, classical, etc, because that's not what this is about... but know if I didn't exclude, Brahms' Requiem would be in here!

What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
26.5 GB, 7,612 files. Eek!
The CD you last bought?
Jazz 'Round Midnight by Ella Fitzgerald. This is one of my very favorite Ella collections, and I only ever had it on tape! I've been looking for a copy of it for a while, and I finally found it on iTunes of all places!
What was the last song you listened to before reading this message?
I haven't had any music on today. It was some Bessie Smith in the car, or it was when I was listening to the album Bring it On by Gomez, or it was "Sweet Thing" by Rufus and Chaka Khan on my iTunes!
Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you. [I'm going with the mean a lot to me thing.]
  1. "Case of You" by Joni Mitchell
  2. "With a Song in my Heart" as sung by Ella Fitzgerald
  3. "Wolves, Lower" by R.E.M.
  4. "Pearl" by Throwing Muses
  5. "Happiness is a Warm Gun" by The Beatles
Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
  1. Aaron, because he needs to blog more.
  2. E.J., who I don't know that well, but who seems to have really good musical taste.
  3. Adam, because I know he'll write something really funny.
Meanings coming soon. I promise!

---

Update: It's kind of amazing to me that in my list of 5, there is no Gomez, no Saw Doctors, and no Billy Bragg. With them, it's more likely whole albums. I have probably seen those three more live in recent years than any others on the list (besides Kristin Hersh/Throwing Muses).

HAPPY VDAY!!!


Happy Birthday, Veronica!!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Body Identified

Thanks to Mat for sharing this. I somehow missed it.
Overton Park Body identified as woman, 47
Memphis police said Tuesday that a woman found dead in Overton Park last week is Teresa Durene Oursler. Oursler, 47, was found beside a seldom-used path near the golf course in the park Thursday evening. Police found clothes and blankets by her body, indicating Oursler had been camping out. Police said they found no signs of a struggle in the heavily wooded area. They are still awaiting a ruling on the cause of death from the Shelby County Medical Examiner's Office.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

How Popular is Your Name?

This site is really fun. I keep looking up the names of all the significant people in my life. When and if I do have children, I will definitely take a look at it again and make sure I'm not picking the same name as everyone else. Give it a try. Just try looking up the name "Heather" for shits and giggles!


"Abby" is more popular now than it used to be, but it's still only 600+ per million.


The name "Mickey" peaked in the 1940s and 1950s (claiming only about 200 per million). My guess is that it was more likely to be used as a nickname for boys than an official first name.


The name "Sharon" also peaked at the beginning of the 1940s with about 7,000 per million.
---
Update: WOW! Aaron and I can't stop playing with this. Statistically speaking, it's just fascinating. Try looking up "Adolph" and see what you get. Another interesting one is "Malcolm," which seems to be more affected by Spike Lee's movie than by the ACTUAL Malcolm X!

Update #2: OMG! Total Buffy effect. Look up "Xander" and check out the years!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Memphis is Weird!

So today, there was an earthquake in Arkansas. Aaron and I are sitting here trying to work out what was going on at the time it happened this morning. We can't remember if there was anything particularly memorable. I remembered a feeling that there was sort of a rumbling feeling/sound recently, but then I remembered that was just Jeepers the cat playing in the foyer with her baseball. EJ blogged today about being able to feel the quake, and I think he's in Midtown, too, so maybe I just took it as another airplane or rumbling truck. My apartment is loud in so many ways that I easily could have incorporated the feeling and sound into one of my version of "normal" here.

The newspaper had the below picture on the front page, and apparently this is the picture of that medical examiner after his antics a while back. The quesion is whether he actually faked this whole thing for attention. If he did, that is so messed up!!

If you want to read the whole story, log into the Commercial Appeal using BugMeNot.


Do what?!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

February Sucks

I've always thought February was the worst month. The weather generally sucks. The only celebration that's going on is Valentine's Day, which seems to do much more to depress people than to make them happy.

People in relationships feel pressured to have this unforgettable time together, and it's hard to arrange that, especially since you're competing with everyone else for the good restuarants! And you're supposed to have strawberries dipped in chocolate. What?! Strawberries are completely out of season in February. What are people thinking with that?

People NOT in relationships of course feel that their lives are miserable and without meaning because they aren't in a relationship. It leads to feeling unloved and useless and over the hill, which usually isn't at all true.

So the weather blows, the main holiday blows. There's no sunshine. It's usually rainy or snowy and grey. Then in terms of the school calendar, you're about as far from a break as is possible. It's when things tend to go south behavior-wise. I don't know why exactly, but I see it every year in the kids I work with.

I wondered if other hated this month as much as me. It seems that they absolutely and positively do!!!

BUSTED!

I am so busted, especially since I just read Frisbee Girl's blog entry about me in the coffee shop, where I am supposed to be working. And so once this is posted, no more blogsurfing on Bloglines or Tribing or even checking Gmail. NO MORE! Once I hit send, it's all virtuous studying.
Abby in a continued streak of quiz brilliance and inspired display of avoidance behavior, got both Liz and Mynx on the bandwagon. As I spent the better part of the weekend at 12 Galaxies - in one capacity or another - and didn't make it to bed until 6:30 in the morning, the better part of the day was spent in horizontal recovery.

With the laptop.

You guessed it: doing quizzes.

Abby, sunshine, I swear this is it. I'm putting my foot down. You and I are parting quiz paths now. I just can't take much more.

That said, the quizzes were cute, not especially insightful, but could not have been more consistent. Especially after being outed as an Anarchistic People's Advocate last week.

Gizoogle

Gizoogle is very silly.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Climate of Fear in Midtown

I just woke up to Mike's blog post about the recent events in Midtown. It reminded me that my response to these events have not been reasoned or critical. They have been purely emotional. I don't expect anything less given where I live, but it's important to remember. I posted a comment on his blog, and here's what I said:
Because I'm so close to the park, my response to these events has been all emotion. I haven't had the calm disposition to be my usual critical self, so I'm glad you posted this. It's important for me to keep perspective.

The reports have basically played into my fears. There is a very tall man "on the loose" in my neighborhood whom a police officer couldn't even catch. A white woman (of which I am one) was found dead across the street. Everyone else is freaking, too. These reports together are enough to keep me scared. No, I haven't thought of getting a gun, but I have thought there must be some cheap way to put an alarm on the back door or at least one of those fake security stickers.

I'm still not going for a late-night walk in the park! Not that I would have anyway.

---

Addendum
To review, here are all of my posts on this topic:

Monday, February 07, 2005

When an A- is better than an A

Hmm. This seems good. I think when I don't have such high stress levels, I will do well. That will be good:

You Have A Type A- Personality

A-
You are one of the most balanced people around. Motivated and focused, you are good at getting what you want. You rule at success, but success doesn't rule you.

When it's playtime, you really know how to kick back. Whether it's hanging out with friends or doing something you love! You live life to the fullest - encorporating the best of both worlds

Do You Have a Type A Personality?

Oddly, This Makes Me Feel A Little Better...

To know that other people are freaked, too:
... For folks who live right across the street it is the second scary incident in just a few days.

"Siren after siren, cops, you know, coming, here comes one... and so we thought what in the world and so we finally got up cause we can't sleep through that. And looked out and thought well, the cops are back over there where they found the body the other night." Jeff Zuber says.

Elise Pugh live near Overton Park.

"I kind of thought it might freak me out a little bit but really it's been more like watching it unfold right outside the windows."

One building over, Jeff Zuber is reacting very differently to this week's "excitement".

Jeff Zuber is also a concerned neighbor.

"It's just kind of a feeling of unsafe, unsafeness, and it's this feeling we've had cause we just moved here from Texas and I've never considered having a handgun before until we moved here."

Two separate incidents have shaken up this part of midtown this week. First a body found in woods Thursday night. Then early Sunday morning, a Memphis policeman shot, the gunman still on the loose...
Just watch that video (Firefox users: You're gonna have to open Evil IE for this one). I feel more like the guy in the video than like the woman. And I'm telling you, I couldn't be closer to where this happened. There is honestly no building closer than mine, which is why I saw it all happen outside my window. I am freaked... definitely, but I'm hanging in there. Just feeling awfully "on alert."

Shit, I hope the "shooter on the loose" isn't the killer returning to the scene of the crime. Jeezy creezy. Just jeezy creezy.

Food Advertising Cookbooks From History

What an amazing site! My favorite part is all the old advertising cookbooks. They have the full cookbooks scanned in. They are fascinating.


Of course, my favorite is the Quaker Oats cookbook


Here is a little plug for a cheese factory!


Here are some very interesting-looking desserts in an advertising cookbook for food coloring!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Crap!

I missed the "metaphorical train wreck" opposite the Super Bowl. How do I know this? I just read an old post from my own blog. I suck!

The Main Thing

My to do list is not pleasing me. Currently, here is what is left for the evening:
  • Clean cat litter
  • Put away Christmas ornaments
  • Handwash bras
  • Clean bathroom
  • E-mail January log to internship director
  • Complete Human Subjects extension form
  • Vacuum
  • Consult times clients are free this week and write into schedule
See, the problem is that the main thing I want to be doing is brainstorming about my dissertation, because I have some real motivation right now, some really good ideas. Iron Chef America is on in the next room, and I'd really like to be watching that. On Sunday nights, what I really want to do are things that will make my week smoother. My back hurts, and I should be off the computer, but see, the main thing for the last several hours was finishing up all these job letters. I just printed out 9 cover letters and 9 CVs, and I need to put those in enveloped and mail them. See, the main thing is everything. The main thing is stretching so my back doesn't hurt. The main thing is to get off the computer and relax. The main thing is to answer the phone that is ringing... Yeah... and the main thing was finally printing out some business cards to give to clients, since I never can remember my numbers. The main thing was feeling safer after all the hubbub across the street. The main thing is to be smart with money, to lose some of the weight I've gained. The main thing is everything.

I dream of a day when I just have a job. Just one job, without a dissertation, without three very different log formats of how I spend all my time. Without my boyfriend living out of town. Without living across the street from Murder Park. The main thing is getting through the next 6 months alive with my dissertation defended. That's really the main thing. Oh, and having a job. And, and, and...

9:02pm Update: Put the ornaments away. It's February 6th, and I just freakin' put the ornaments away. OK. I'm going to go do the litter now. I really am. I am. I am.

9:20pm Update: Ornaments are put away! Bathroom is clean enough. Not spic and spam, but clean ENOUGH. Enough is enough for me. No handwashing tonight since the water pressure is practically non-existent. The radioators aren't working today either. I wonder what's up.

11:35pm Update: Time for bed. I have a stack of all these applications ready to go out in the morning. Sorry to have totally bored you with this. I'm motivating myself. It's working a little. Thanks for putting up with it. I salute you; Namaste; etc.

Let's Go Stalk JRM at Graceland! Who's With Me?!

Hubba Hubba!
Irish actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and New York actress Camryn Manheim strolled across the lawn of Graceland Saturday with her tossing out feed for the chickens and him trying to soothe her ruffled feathers.

Something Just Ain't Right Here

So let me get this straight. They found a body in the park the other night. It went to the medical examiner's office. The last Memphis medical examiner was found by a security guard in 2002, chained to a stairwell at his office, bound in barbed wire with a bomb tied to his chest. People think he did it to himself, that it is a case of factitious victimization (when someone claims to be a victim to get sympathy). He was indicted. Here are a few articles about it. I hope the new medical examiner is better. I'd like to know what happened to this woman.

In other news, a cop was shot in the park last night.

You know, I'm feeling a lot less foolish about getting that iron grate installed on the window of my back door now.

Bash Debriefing

I'm so glad Mike did that thing where he mentions everyone who went to the Blogger Bash, and he links to their blog, because I was way too tired last night! We had a really fun time meeting everyone. I was so glad Rachel showed up this time, and that E.J. made an appearance. It was tons of fun talking with them both down at our end of the table. (Sorry we didn't make it out to the gig at the Hightone. Alas, getting up at 6am every weekday totally screw up my ability to stay out very late on weekends. Maybe once the dissertation is defended, I'll have the energy. It isn't too far off!)

So now we're up and are headed out to try the new Blue Plate Cafe downtown. Then it's more dissertating as always. Ugh!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Blogger Bash Pictures

Went to the Blogger Bash Tonight at Garibaldi's. I'm too tired for commentary, but here are some pictures...


Mike, Phil, and Baby Madeline


Len, Brock, Steve, and Mark


E.J.


Me, Rachel, and E.J.


Steve (LeftWingCracker, fittingly on the left) & Mark (The Conservative Zone, fittingly on the right)


Aaron and a little bit of E.J.

Here We Go

We're off to the Blogger Bash. See you there?

Dissertation Rant

I wrote this out of frustration. If you have helpful thoughts, please share them, but I can't answer a lot of detailed questions. That will distract me from more writing. Read at your own peril! It may really bore you! I warned you!

Let me tell you my dilemma. I began my dissertation study using a single-subject (N=1) design called "multiple baseline across participants" with three treatment components: 1) parent support at home, 2) teacher support in class/school, and 3) student self-monitoring. I came up with this type of intervention because I so deeply believed in an ecological model of intervention. I felt (and feel) that it is impossible to take a child out of the system in which they live (primarily at home and at school), fix them, then return them to that flawed system and have their behavior improved. I feel like dysfunctional systems beget dysfunctional behavior. I think I’m right on this point!

So as you may or may not recall, I began my study with enthusiasm way WAY back at the very beginning of the last school year. Although the teachers said they were on board, I had a lot of trouble getting them to reliably nominate kids (one of the kids they nominated had a 100% homework turn-in rate when low homework completion was the primary dependent variable I was measuring!). They also didn’t collect homework data in a reliable way. Hell, some of them decided after agreeing to do my study, not to assign homework at all.

Add to that several parents who didn’t return phone calls, who didn’t seem to understand what I was asking them to do at all, even though I really felt like it was very easy. The more disorganized the child, the more disorganized the parent. I know. This sounds like DUH, but I’m just telling you what happened.

So after about 8 weeks of data collection, the final straw occurred. The primary teacher whose classroom I was working in had promised over and over to provide the grades I needed for my baseline measure. I asked him about every day, and he kept saying he’d get to it. It took so long that I had to begin the intervention without full baseline information. I figured I would just keep asking and hopefully the data would appear as he’d described it. Well, finally, he tells me he doesn’t (and won’t) have it! He’d agreed to that at the beginning of the school year, but he’s a bit of a disorganized sort himself, and he just didn’t get what I needed. I had simplified what I was asking for more and more and more, and when I found that there was no way I could get the baseline information I needed, I sent letters to my dissertation chair and director. We had to have a new plan.

What happened? I wanted to write a dissertation about why research in the schools is so complex. An analysis of what went wrong… Instead, we started over with a brand new, uber-simplified design, one in which I was to collect all of the information. Every bit of data was up to me to get. Relying on parents and teachers was out of the question, but then so was the ecological model which inspired this project in the first place.

So… here I am at the end of it all. More problems have abounded, but I’ve found ways to deal with all of them. The measure of organization I used turned out to be crap. My results weren’t significant. One kid actually got worse! Two got better, and two others stayed the same. This isn’t great. But I can still write a dissertation on it.

But now I’m here writing chapters one and five. Chapter one includes the statement of the problem, the significance of the problem, and the rationale for my study. Well, the reason I did what I did was because it was all I was left with after a series of unfortunate and frustrating simplifications I never wanted.

So right now, I’m trying to find a way to convincingly say that the reason I picked an intervention totally within my control without the participation of parents and teachers was that: Children who are disorganized come from disorganized systems, so it’s important that we test this intervention without the messy variables of home and school. We need an intervention that we know works before we try and teach it to the parents and teachers that have been supporting the disorganized system thus far. It’s a lie, but I’m not really allowed to tell the truth.

I also have to give a rationale for why I used the design I did. Why didn’t I use a second baseline phase? ABAB is a powerful design. ABA is kinda crappy. I didn’t have time to get to the second B, because the truth is, the school year ended. Yes, I started at the beginning of the year, so I should have had time, but between the teachers, the parents, and human subjects, then the resubmission to human subjects, and the whole starting over thing, I was just plain out of time.

How do I come up with a fib saying that I picked my intervention for reasons X, Y, and Z? When the only reason I did such a lame study was all the limitations I had because of the teachers and parents. And how do I discuss those adults without calling them lame and unhelpful?!

Chapter 5 is why it didn’t work, what could have been done better. That’s easy. I describe the study I wanted to do.

My usual MO is full honesty. I’m not really allowed to do that here. I have to say I did what I did because I meant to and why. I need help! Please share your thoughts! I need creativity! I need a miracle! I’m so close... so very close!!! I want this sucker behind me!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Oh Man

It was a white female. That's really, really freaky. I don't like that what I see as I sit here is the place where they found her. It's what I look out on when I work. It's how I spotted all the action last night.


The Little Guy Who Lives Under My Floor

Ossie Davis

This makes me really sad.

Another Picture


OK. These are getting redundant. This is the last of this scene I'll post.

Update, 10:32am: A couple of police vans have now pulled up and are now getting stuff out of the back. I took pictures, but I'm sure you can imagine it. I'm getting the hell out of here, or I'll just be rubbernecking all day. Going to Otherlands... or maybe Republic... see if I can get some damn work done.

Body Found in Park

I know what happened...
Memphis police are investigating a body found... late Thursday afternoon. Police say the body was in the early stages of decomposition, but they could not say if it was a man or woman, or the race. The body will be taken to the medical examiner for an autopsy.
That explains why the ambulance pulled away without its lights on, and why there were people fiddling around the back of the ambulance for so long.

Ugh.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Gotta Question For the Memphis Bloggers

Anyone know why there are many vehicles and many floodlights/spotlights in the Park tonight, on the? I can't tell if it's a movie set or a crime scene. Seriously. I keep looking. There is a trailer looking vehicle, and a white van that I don't think is an ambulance. OK, it just moved. It is an ambulance that left without sirens or lights. One car is definitely a police car. There were lights moving all around in the forest, too. Then there are several cars moving slowly with lights on. There's tape up, too. The lights just shined on it. I think it might be a crime scene. I'm taking pictures!


Here you can see the large trailer with the bright lights and the car shining its lights across the golf course


Some of the cars are leaving
---
Update: OK, it's now 6:44am the next morning, and the news truck just pulled away being there for a little while. There is still a police car there, and the crime scene tape is more visible. I never watch the news, but I guess I'll turn it on today.


The scene this morning. The crime scene tape is clearly visible.

Does Anyone Else See the Link Here?

Oh OK. I get it. So we want schools to be safe, so we are going to stop paddling students in school? Wait... these stories aren't related? Weird! I wonder why not?! The connection seems so very logical to me. Silly me... all that logic. I don't know what I was thinking!

Both of these reports are from WREG, a local news station:
Memphis Police Launch Youth Crime Watch

(Memphis, TN, February 3, 2005) - The Memphis Police Department Juvenile Violence Abatement Project (JVAP), along with the Afro-American Police Association, announces the launch of the “Youth Crime Watch” pilot initiative, at 12:30 PM today at Mitchell High School, 658 West Mitchell Road.

The Youth Crime Watch initiative will focus on establishing and maintaining safe, secure environments for our youth in their schools, with the students taking an active role...

and

Memphis City School Leaders Look at Alternative Discipline

(Memphis, TN, February 3, 2005) - Memphis City School leaders work to move away from paddling students, but they are asking community leaders and parents for help in coming up with new forms of discipline...

And speaking of food...

DROOL!

Food Recollections


Here's Dad and other doctors from the base in England at the first pig roast

I read this post this morning on Homer's World. Homer is "A queer archaeologist living in Tucson, Arizona," and I thank him for the inspiration this morning! Here's what I wrote (with a little more thrown in):

---

I'm reading Toast, too! I have a search set up for any blog related to "Nigel-Slater and Toast," which is how I found your blog.

I'm a big foodie, and growing up, I had an interesting experience of food. My father was raised by a Southern mom and an Italian dad in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He grew up eating Krystal hamburgers, white bread, and meat and three's, as best I can tell. But there was definitely Italian influence... or else he educated himself. My mom was raised in Alabama and Tennessee, where the food influences were the Great Depression and Southern cooking.

My dad was the parent who really loved to cook, but he worked a lot, so my mother probably did *more* of the cooking. She used recipes and really stuck to them. If it said 1/2 cup of onion, by god, that's how much she put in... and then there were times she went off recipe. Not in the normal way, but as a way to use up leftovers.

Leftover soup was big at my house. It wasn't that *we* were dirt poor. It was that she was raised by parents who had experienced the Depression, so any leftovers went into a large Tupperware in the freezer, and every now and again, the whole block of frozen "stuff" would get heated up, and that was dinner. Nothing was ever wasted. Leftover soup... Blech!

The other frightening use of leftovers was sneaking them into meatloaf. "Mom, are there old bananas in here?" She would smile and try not to look guilty.

She didn't repeat dishes very often, so it was hard to develop favorites, but I do recall a couple that I loved the most: Cauliflower with cheese sauce, Stuffed cabbage (or grape leaves or bell peppers) filled with rice and meat. Yum! She was really big into casseroles. My dad would always roll his eyes, but I always liked them.

Dad made amazing tomato-paste and meat-heavy Italian dishes. I think he might have learned them from his Aunt Ad. He was very big on meat, and he and his friends would actually cook a whole hog every year at the neighborhood picnic.

The other theme was what I called "interesting" food as a child. I specifically remember my parents taking cooking classes together. The dishes I remember best were mainly Indian, which is maybe why I love Indian food so much now.

I always had full run of the kitchen, which is probably why I've always had a fearlessness about cooking. I recall one time when my friend Renee and I mixed a little bit of every spice on the spice rack (there were probably 70 in all!) with water, freezing it into popsicle sticks, and telling my dad it was chocolate. I think it was the same day that we made Angel Food cake with green food coloring! Fun times!

I had a birthday party when I turned about 7 or 8 where we made pasta from scratch. We made the dough then rolled it in the pasta machine with one person cranking and the other person catching. Coat hangers hung all over the kitchen. That was a great party.

After-school snacks were of my own choosing for the most part, and I recall a strong preference for cheese toast (made with white bread or Roman Meal and those processed slices that would inflate on top of the bread in the toaster oven) and Breyer's Chocolate ice cream.

Halloween was always a little embarrassing. The worst was the year my mother gave out sugar cane. What?!

I remember space food, but not space sticks. And I remember the dinners in a box. But the only time I ever made that was in a cooking class at this Saturday School for the Gifted I used to attend. I did think it was yummy. We never had a lot of the processed stuff around at my house, so to me, that was a huge treat! I was always very jealous of my friend Renee's house. Her mother always kept the pantry filled with chips and cookies and lots of fun, colorful stuff you could just eat without much preparation. I thought that's how it should be. Now, I've come to appreciate what I had a little more.

Now that my Dad is retired, I think my parents are actually cooking together more, which I love. Cooking with someone is a hard thing to do, but one of the most worthwhile ways to spend time with someone you love. Aaron and I are newbies, but we'll get the hang of it!

Food is big with me, as you can see. I remember almost everything I've ever eaten. It brings me great joy.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Wow! Just WOW!


Coolest site EVER!

OK, you can tell I'm really hyped up these days because the random links are coming fast and furious. I just can't help myself! This site is SERIOUSLY COOL! You must go and play there! It kinda reminds me of the diagram Jack Black writes up on the board for the kids in School of Rock. It's so fun. I can tell I'll be wasting lots of time on it... like I have time!

I actually just realized that I haven't read an article for a seminar in the morning. I'm not really acclimated to my new schedule. Blah. It's triage these days. Just triage!

Dysfunctional Television

OK, I went and watched my TV so I can be all hip to the pop culture and what-not. First, I watched American Idol and paid very close attention. Then, as is typical, I wandered in here to the computer to make sure I wasn't missing anything good. (Wait. Wasn't I going to do some form of exercise tonight? Oh well.) I now have the Amazing Race on in the next room, and I haven't been paying any attention at all, but one commercial caught my attention. Because I have TiVo, I usually never see commercials. Me wandering in here was FATE, I tell you. KISMET! SERENDIPITY! It seems the very dysfunctional Victoria and Jonathan, who were eliminated a couple of weeks ago, are going to be on Dr. Phil's show! WTF?! I love TV. It's so ridiculous. Here's what I found:
It was announced tonight on an ad aired during The Amazing Race that couple Victoria Baker and Jonathan Fuller, recently eliminated from the current edition, will be appearing on the upcoming Dr. Phil special that CBS is airing opposite the Super Bowl.
I'm so watching. Metaphorical train wrecks can be fun.

Must Get Up...

But I'm surfing like crazy this evening. It was a long day on the road getting Aaron's tire situation under control, and now I'm just beat. Here are a few surf-shares:
  • My aunt and uncle alerted me to this USA Today article from yesterday about Memphis movies.
  • This feels way too close to the truth.
  • And this just made me laugh. I best get going on that TV viewing for the night, or my ability to ridicule pop culture will certainly wain. Hey, it's Tuesday when all my favorite crap TV is on. Yay!

So You Got Caught With A Flat...

Well... how 'bout that! So Aaron made the very foolish decision to try and leave Memphis today. I don't know WHAT he was thinking. Around mile 35, his tire blew out. I took a quick shower and drove out to get him. We waited for the tow truck, then followed him to the Mini Cooper dealer in Cordova. Smart me, I grabbed the laptop on the way out and looked up free WiFi locations near the dealership. After the dealership, we went for Thai food. Now we're in the San Francisco Bread Company (It amuses me how "Francisco" is now code for WiFi, at least in Memphis). We have the place almost to ourselves, free WiFi, Ella on the stereo, a large coffee table and two sofas to ourselves. And I had dissertation time scheduled for today until 3pm. Then my 3 o'clock cancelled. For a pain in the ass situation, this isn't half bad!