Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Fun with Babelfish:

The below paragraph is from my short story, A Divorce in the Family:

It seems that if one retires to the country in search of peace and quiet, one will be disturbed. This universal truth was revealed to me when I made my way back to my hometown along the shores of Lake Champlain.

I had settled on a small house, perfectly secluded from the road by a fence of trees, and in walking distance of a narrow strip of beach. Few cars passed my stretch of the Vermont landscape and the air was clean and fresh. I saw few people and talked only to the disinterested paperboy who dropped off the newspaper later and later each day.

I then ran it through Babelfish to translate it into French and then from French into German and finally from German, back into English. Here are the results.

It seems that, if one withdraws oneself at the country on the search for the peace and for the quiet one is disturbed. This universal truth was indicated at me, if I mean way in my birth city along the banks of the Champlain lake made again. I had locked the account on a small house decreased/gone back perfectly by the road by a barrier of the trees and in the distance of the flow of a close beach tape. Few motor vehicles changed over my even end of the horizontal of Vermontn, and air was clean and fresh. I saw few people and have only with disinterested paperboy spoke, except newspaper released later and later to each day.

Amusing, huh? I'm toying with running my own gibberish through Babelfish to find out how close I got (various tense issues aside) to what I meant to say.
To translate my stream of consciousness from the other day (don't look at me like that - things happen, even in other languages): Princess of Elisabeth of Belgium was born on October 25. She's what, a week old, and she already has her own website. I didn't have time the other day to translate the site - apparently the news of this birth didn't make it into any of the English newspapers (thank goodness they had a French alternative to the Dutch site). For Royal watchers like me, this is a fairly big deal - this is the first time that a princess is in line for the throne in Belgium - basically she could be queen one day. (I said other things too - but this was the gist of it). Her site has the most adorable pictures on it too now.

At any rate, it alternately freaked me out and excited me at the same time that I can still read and write in a language I used to know like the back of my hand. Actually, it was more scary that after reading the website completely, I didn't even notice after a while that it was in French or that I was writing in French after that.
Well, three out of four midterms back and I'm happy to report I'm still in the ballgame! I'm so relieved, especially since I thought the exam I got back today was going to by my downfall (along with a one-way ticket back to the real world). This, btw, was the exam with the nefarious linear programming problem on it, along with other equally nasty and horrible things. But, I shouldn't have been so concerned - I didn't even need the curve, amazingly enough, to make the grade, which I'm so very proud of. In fact, I came in above the average, which is wonderful, fabulous - wow, can you tell I'm elated? Now I don't mind that I only got 36 hours of sleep in 8 days (not to mention the 16 hours worth of midterms - eek!) as I'm so glad to know that yes, I do have a brain, and yes it does function on occasion!

On another note, one of my classmates told me today that I rate above the Knicks for him. Since I haven't followed baskeball since the glory days of Coach Cal and Marcus Camby at my alma mater, I'm not sure whether to take that as a compliment or an insult. He did say that I did rank above this year's World Series though - I guess that's better than ranking above last year's Subway series in which no one outside of the state of NY cared who won. Still, if anyone wants to clarify this for me, please do.



Monday, October 29, 2001

La princesse Elisabeth est arrivee. Le date du naissance est 25 Octobre, 2001, et ses parents sont Phillipe et Matihilde de Belgique. Vous pouvez lire plus a se page du web ici. Désolé, parce que je peux pas chercher les annonces en anglais et je suis trop fatigué pour traduire en anglais en ce moment. Pourquoi cette naissance est-elle si importante? Peut-etre, c'est possible que elle serais reine de Belgique. C'est la première fois qu'une fille est héritier au trône de la Belgique. Si vous voulez, c'est possible de donner votre félicitations a les parents ici.

Sunday, October 28, 2001

Fic recs: I was in a "West Wing" mood and definitely the best place to get "West Wing" fic these days is Our Boys, run by Sabine and August. Start off with Out in the Storm by Kacey for an intense look at Sam's thoughts in the aftermath of the Barlett revelation. Follow that up with Kaddish by Kim, where Josh takes a hard lesson in grieving - never melodramatic and always respectful. Pieces is a great Ainsley and Sam piece by Marzee Doats. Finally, Glass Lemons by Sabine looks closely at the CJ/Toby relationship and really gets into their heads. All of these authors have managed to get the tone and cadence right in the fics - none of these will disappoint.
Grocery story observations

Anyway, I ran out of coffee on Friday, so I had to go to the grocery store today - I was also out of tea, having only the decaf herbal types left (I ask you, what's the point of decaf?). I'm actually amazed I made it two days without coffee. As one of my teammates said today, "Forget food. Just give me caffeine and I can keep going forever." At this point, I think my blood is 95 percent caffeinated. It's probably one of the reasons why I'm so calm these days (or as the same teammate said the other day, "The prozac has finally kicked in.")

Anyway, as I was going through the soup aisle, I realized how hard it is to find vegetarian soup that is not made with beef stock. The only soup that is completely vegetarian is Campbell's Vegetarian Vegetable - which is good, but I was in the mood for the chunky vegetable soup and after checking the ingredients on several different 'vegetable soups,' I finally found one that wasn't made with beef stock. I also bought croutons to go with my salad and was amazed to find directions on how to make a field green salad on the back of the box. Adding the croutons seems to be the most difficult part of this recipe. Hmm...

The Enquirer is also milking the anthrax scare for all its worth. If you recall, the first cases of anthrax showed in the buildings where the National Enquirer is housed. This week's headline reads: The Anthrax Scare: As Told by the Enquirer Employees Who Lived Through the Scare (their caps, not mine). And then of course, there is the "exclusive" label on the story. The piece de resistance though was the tiny headline above the masthead - "Not Printed or Mailed in Florida." Gotta love the Enquirer - journalism at its best and it also gives us the "real" news, you know, the news that CNN won't tell us about?

I took the robot test. Never thought I'd be R2D2 - actually, never thought I'd actually be classified as a robot as I'm way too emotional to be a robot (trust me - I can cry on cue). But apparently, wonders never cease. See below:

Click here to find out what robot you really are
The Queen Mother isn't dead, yet the BBC is already talking about news coverage in the event of her death? Sheesh.

Saturday, October 27, 2001

Music Rec: Dreaming of You by Selena, the last CD by the Tejano artist who was murdered in Corpus Christi five or six years ago. The CD is half Tejano, half English - with the Tejano half constituting Selena's Greatest Hits collection. There is just something so infectious about Selena's music, especially on the Tejano half with songs like "Amor Prohibido," and "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom." There there is the sweetly sad ballad "Como la Flor" and the deeply rich "Tu Sole Tu," as well as the typically Tejano "El Toro Relajo." The English material is decent, with "I Could Fall in Love" and "Dreaming of You" as the strongest of the five songs; "Missing My Baby" is a little trite and cliche, but it's got a good beat to it. In general, a great intro to Tejano music - which in itself is very addictive once you get into it. Yeah, I think I'm getting assimilated .
Apartment dwelling is starting to get slightly on my nerves. Today, I realized that anytime I use the garbage disposal, it backs into the same sink I use to dry clean dishes. Add that to the leaky ceiling in the bathroom, the closet which is prone to flooding (only once so far though), and the water heater which makes mysterious squeaky noises, and I miss my house very, very much. Here, when something is broken, I call the apartment office and maybe, just maybe, they'll fix it - they still haven't fixed the leak in the ceiling, though they did come to take a look at it.

On a positive side, it's more quiet here than I thought it would be - in fact, it's almost as quiet as my house was, so that's a good thing. The other thing I can't understand is just how messy this place gets in such a short time - it feels like I just cleaned the place from top to bottom last weekend (and boy, did that feel good) and today, I take a look around and once again, a tornado has blown through the place. Amazing.

I'm finally getting caught up on my email. Mostly out of guilt. Met some classmates for coffee last night and I asked one of them - who happens to be our class rep what the results of the recent election to the Graduate Student Council was (not that I was running, just curious) and he said, "I emailed the results a couple days ago. Don't you read your email?" I had to admit that I didn't, since most of it is about people trying to sell football tickets or trying to buy football tickets. Anyway, Robby said he was going to add a 'read receipt' on all emails he sends to me, to see how long it actually takes me to open his email. Yup, definite guilt trip.

Thursday, October 25, 2001

Fic Rec: Modern Medicine by Ellen Millholland. This is a 'radio' fic - 281 words, ST:TNG, and P/C to boot. Suffice it to say, I adore this little fic - for the first time in a long time, P/C is written in a way that makes sense - with an acknowledgement that P/C aren't a young, giddy couple and yes, the ghost of Jack Crusher does exist. It's alternately beautiful and heartbreaking. A must read.
Lo, behold...

Welcome to the first day of the rest of our lives living with MS Windows XP. In honor of the event, looks like MSN got a face lift - wonder if they had to call Microsoft before doing that? XP is one of those things that the jury is still out on - at least for me. This particular OS getting curiously close to 'Big Brother' for my tastes - after all, any time you reinstall the operating system, you have to call Microsoft (I think the folks in Redmond have a shorter memory than I do - do the words 'antitrust lawsuit' ring any bells?). On a positive note, Sting is participating in the celebrations on the newly redesigned MSN, no less.

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

From now on, Macca at Onslow will be screening my email. No, not really, but it was a good thought (and offer) from Macca. Much appreciated.
Call this fun with style sheets. Or maybe just procrastination. Either works.
Say it ain't so! Michelle Kwan has split from her coach, Frank Carroll. I admire her for being strong enough to head into this Olympic year without her coach, but I'm also now more apprehensive than ever about her chances at Salt Lake City.
From the inbox...

Today I got an email asking me to reconsider my policy on posting pornography on my site. My policy is no, absolutely no. It has been no since I opened the site in April of 1998 and it will remain no. The author of the email pointed out that to some, pornography is an artistic form of literary expression. I'm sure that's true, but there are plenty of websites out there that accept pornography - just not mine. And I won't say that this site is the Disney of literary sites - there are indeed some pieces on here that push the envelope. In addition to not accepting pornography, I'll also point out that I do not accept any pieces with a religious slant, regardless of the religion. The point is, I've tried to make this site as broad as I possibly can to appeal to the widest variety of writers and all ages as well. And I admit that this website occasionally does show up on my resume, so there is a hint of self-preservation in my judgement. And let's put this way - the type of stories which don't appear on this site are simply not my cup of tea, and my co-editors probably wouldn't read them either. That's the beauty of running a literary magazine: you can focus on the type of talent you want to focus on. So maybe I am missing out on literary genius and fif that is indeed the case, please accept my apologies. But my answer is still no.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Will the real Holly and Rivka please stand up?

Site rec: The Institute for Naming Children Humanely. Most fun I've had in a long time. The site even has a list of whether certain names are 'humane' or not. For instance, Chloe is humane but "watch foreigners try to pronounce it" but Chelsea is not, as it means "port and Freudians can take it from there." Or how about Rosanna, which is not a humane name, as it will always be associated with '80s music?

On a positive note, Holly is a humane name - though not if a December baby - but Rivka (sniff!) is not listed anywhere. If anyone knows if Rivka is a humane name or not, please send me an email. Thanks.
Because I needed a change...

Monday, October 22, 2001

Look Ma!

No, hackers aren't just men. Some are women too.

And while we're on the subject, a friend just let me know that cracking could fall under the realm of terrorist activity under proposed new legislation. Good to know after the fact. I'm hoping this kind of legislation doesn't pass, but then again, I'm biased. But really - cracking and terrorist activity? Not at all the same thing as say, sending anthrax through the mail, but I understand that it falls under a greater scope - cyberterrorism and prevention thereof. I imagine the framers of such legislation are thinking of people with malicious/evil intent who intend to bring down crucial networks, not the casual hackers who take down CNN's page for fun. Yet, according to this legislation, there is no differentiation and I really think there needs to be.

Now, if I disappear, y'all know what happened...
To phile or not to phile, that is the question...

Okay, bad Hamlet rip-off aside, I finally went to Rohan's X-Files Realm to get the scoop on season 9. I'm really interested in how they deal with the lack of Mulder; last season was intriguing because you knew that Mulder would show every now and then and it made the fact that Scully had a new partner less of a betrayal. Now as I read the spoilers, it's becoming more obvious that even Gillian Anderson is taking a back seat on the show to Annabeth Gish and Jason Patrick. And did I mention that Xena and Wesley will be joining the show? Yup. Welcome Lucy Lawless ("X-Files") and Cary Elwes ("The Princess Bride"). I'm getting hives just thinking about it. What about Skinner? Cigarette Smoking Man? Alex Krycek? Margaret Scully? Kersh? Well Manicured Man? There is no angst factor with Xena and Wesley! Trust me on this one.

For the Mulder watch, alas! There was a vague mention of a "brown haired man" showering in Scully's apartment in the season premiere, but no other mention of Mulder at all for the next few episodes. Instead, there is a lot of "Reyes and Doggett pull Scully in on blah blah blah." I enjoyed Doggett's character a lot - he brought a new intensity to the show but Reyes left me cold. Plus there's that whole no Mulder! thing - which will be interesting since we know that Mulder and Scully are parents of little William and conspiracy theory aside, I really can't see Mulder up and leaving Scully and the uber-Scully now. So it'll be interesting - but heartbreaking - to watch. Yeah, I'm an addict, I'll probably watch.


Saturday, October 20, 2001

Site Rec: Wonderful Ann at "I Love P/T" has put together yet another super P/T video, this one set to Etta James' "At Last." You can download it here.

Friday, October 19, 2001

Four Eyes

Generally, I don't think you're supposed to have your contacts in for more than 12 hours. Anyway, these last few days, my days have been more of the 18-hour sort and by the time Tuesday night rolled around, my left eye was very aggravated. So Wednesday, I showed up in the lab wearing glasses. It might have been too early to drop this particular bombshell on my classmates though (note to self: do not sneak up on MBA students in throes of midterms) as so so many people came up to me and were like, "Seema? Is that you?" And then one of my friends, whom I just had dinner with last Friday and lunch on Saturday, he kept staring at me and finally said, "You know, if you hadn't said hello, I wouldn't have recognized you."

I guess the whole thing with Clark Kent and the glasses and Superman - well, makes more sense now.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Fic Rec: Falls under the category of study break and need something to take the taste of accounting out of my mouth, so I found this: Radios, a whole collection of fics in approximately 250 words - all fandoms, all ratings, all brilliant. Anything by Sabine, is of course, wonderful but I don't think anyone will be disappointed by the talent which practically leaps off the page here.

Sunday, October 14, 2001

Take two...

Because I couldn't leave well enough alone. Found Just Jolene, the website of Jolene Blalock who plays T'Pol on Enterprise. Anyway, from a webmaster's perspective - wow, wow, wow. Really nicely done site (make sure you have all of the latest plugins though, didn't notice any non-Flash etc alternatives) and very well-organized. Site design gets an A. It's also among the most complete of the sites for all of the "Enterprise" actors (Linda Park's is just getting off the ground) and boy, um, don't go poking through the image gallery unless you're in the privacy of your own home. I mean that.
Okay, I admit it: I run searches for my name all the time on google, not to mention check out who's linking to me (yes, I'm paranoid that way) and it's amazing just how many Seemas are running around online. Weird, I knew the name was very popular, but my goodness. So much for my "Madonna-esque first name only deal." I probably should go by sEEma or something like that to differentiate myself from all of the other Seemas running around, but the punctuation/grammar princess in me won't allow it.

On another note, I got a lovely picture in the mail from Liz (talented girl!) today - namely, P/T sitting in a pot of boiling water as little bunnies bounce around them. According to Liz, there's only one explanation for this: the angst bunny has hit again and Tom and B'Elanna are in for more torture. Here's the dialogue:

B'Elanna: This can only mean one thing! Angst Bunny has inspired Seema to write angsty fic again.
Tom: Wah! Haven't we been through enough already?
Green Angst bunny: Better make room... Chakotay and Seven will arrive soon.

Frankly, I don't know what she's talking about. ;-) Though, I do admit - Liz has the sequel to "Lines in the Sand" right now and I don't think I was very nice to anyone, in which case, guilt is starting to set in. Anyway, one of these days, I will scan this picture, as well as the lovely autographed photos from the Blackpool con, which Monica was so kind to send me.

Friday, October 12, 2001

I hate breaking things. Makes me feel incompetent. I don't know where my brain is today, but it's obviously not functioning or I wouldn't have done something as stupid as mess up a database that oh, approximately 300 people use? To say I'm stressing would be a mild understatement. I'm really, really hoping for a miracle or the ability to comprehend Visual Basic enough to fix my 'ambigiuous onclicksfbank_ytd' coding error. Between this and linear programming, oy vey... You know, writing seems to be a good career choice at this particular moment. Who needs an MBA or database programming? Especially since mid-terms are right around the corner, like next week?

AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I feel better already.

Friday, October 05, 2001

I was wondering when "Enterprise" was going to come up with its hallucinogenic episode.

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

Can you write a fic in just 25 words? A bunch of us at CSFic certainly tried. Here are the results.

Tuesday, October 02, 2001

Zeke's Fivers are usually pretty funny, but his take on the "Enterprise" premiere, "Broken Bow" is hysterical. Ah. It almost takes the taste of the below reading out of my mouth. Oh yes, the article below is about coal. Go figure.

Monday, October 01, 2001

From my reading tonight:

"I have allowed (QUANTITY) to enter these relationships nonlinearly by introducing a quandratic in quanity (QUANTITY-SQUARED) in (1) and using the natural logrithm of quantity (LOG-QUANTITY) in equations (2) and (3)."

and

"We can obtain estimates with desirable asymptotic properties by specifying the likelihood function of the sample, given the nature of the sampling truncation and then solve for the maximum likelihood estimates (MLE) of the coefficients of interest."

You just know that this author never gets invited to any of the good parties.