Monday, December 23, 2002

As usual, I owe the world at large emails and FB. I'm afraid it won't happen before I leave for my trip. I'm 3 betas behind and about 20 emails as well. So, this is me officially signing off the blog for the rest of the year. Have a good holiday and I'll see you in 2003.
I dyed my hair today. Or rather highlighted. With hair like mine, it's really the same difference. I'm a kinda red-head now. Or maybe a dark-brown red. Something like that. I've seen one patch where I 'painted' badly and I'm hoping no one will notice (or probably wouldn't notice if I hadn't blogged about it). At any rate, it came out better than I thought it would and this time, I didn't end up dying my face as well (long story - don't ask).

I still haven't started packing. Nothing like putting it off until the last minute, I suppose. I have no idea what to take - or rather, I'm thinking of taking *too* much. I went to Europe for six weeks with a suitcase that fits in an overhead bin (and I had 2 extra pairs of shoes in that bag in addition to the ones on my feet). I kid you not. Now, I'm just going away for 12 days and I'm thinking I'm going to have to take several suitcases. Part of it is because of the kiddos. Have I mentioned the kiddos? There are seven of them - ranging in age from 11 months to 12 or 13 years. I have gifts for all of them. Including two rather large teddy bears. The teddy bears themselves will need their own suitcase, I think.


Must think on this a bit longer and harder.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

The Least Essential Albums of 2002.
Another item for my Christmas wish list

I just found out about a fund based in New York City that is designed to replace the $34 million that the US has withdrawn from the UN's plans on population control - and not because of budgetry reasons either. This includes birth control, education, and AIDS-prevention. According to a December 20th Ellen Goodman column, the $34 million would have "helped prevent 2 million unwanted pregnancies, 800,000 abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths," not to mention 77,000 infant and child deaths. How is this not a good thing? For more information on what the fund actually provides for, check the UNFPA website. You can find about more about the 34 Million Friends campaign specifically here. Note, this fund does not support abortion or fund abortion in any way; its goal is to prevent the spread of AIDs and decrease unwanted pregnancies through the use of education and contraceptives.

If you're interested in contributing to the fund to make up for the United States' withdrawal, you can send your tax-deductible donation here:

U.S. Committee for UNFPA
220 East 42nd Street, 28th floor
New York, NY 10017

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Is it just me or did the amount of spam on the Internet just increase? It could be that, as Lori says, the Internet is dead, and so I'm noticing the amount of spam much, much, much more - but really, it's got to be a crime that I get more spam than email I want to read. I want to email Jerry (whoever he is) and tell him I barely can handle buying tires on my own, letting own buying the auto repair shop he thinks I'm interested in. Katie really wants me to come and watch her on her web cam (Sorry, Katie, dial-up and all that, and so I've got to pass. But thanks for asking me to stop by!). I understand that Mrs. Sesko Sesko needs my help urgently enough that she needs to send me five or six emails a day asking for it (on a related note, so you all don't think I'm completely heartless, I did email Mrs. Sesko Sesko back and agreed to transmit all of my financial information to her for a 30 percent cut of the money and for her to come here, rather than me going to Nigeria - she never responded. I can only imagine that her dire circumstances have prevented her from reading email).

The viagra people are insistent that they can help me; I hate to burst their bubble, but no. The dieters claim I can lose up to 25 pounds in five days. Now there's a deal I can't turn down. Someone with no vowels in his names wants to help me succeed on E-Bay. Daniel Williams wants me to "reply now" - sorry, Daniel, I ignore friends and bulkmailers equally, so please don't take it personally. Henry has a way of tripling my portfolio; he obviously hasn't heard about the stock market's effect on my portfolio - how do you triple zero? Great Deals is offering me pasta (Pasta Pro is the best!) for the bargain price of $14.95 (eh, the grocery store sells a bag of spaghetti for about 83 cents. Unemployed me will have to pass on the high class pasta). Carl has tricks to teach me on winning at casino games - great, Carl, but I got your email a few months too late; where were you when I was playing the slots in Monte Carlo this summer? We could have made a killing together! (Actually, I did make six euros in Monte Carlo, after recouping my admission price to the casino and the amount I put into the slot machine at the same time. I also attracted a group of curious Italians who kept speaking to me in, you guessed it, Italian. I think there was a rumble for my slot machine after I finished).

And is anyone else as amused as me if you type in "spam" in the IE address toolbar for a search, the number one result comes back for MSN's new Internet service?

I present to you a fic rerun in dishonor of spam: How to Succeed in Hard Times...

Friday, December 20, 2002

Whew, finally finished off my holiday cards. Usually I'm done with all this by now but because I didn't finish with exams until the 20th, I only got started yesterday and finished this morning. Now it's time to run to the post office and mail packages off, including a few cards overseas and to Canada for epals. I've already done the "fight the parking lot" dance several times and frankly, I feel rather predatory the way I stalk people coming out of stores in my car, but what's a girl to do?

I have lunch dates set up for next week. One with former coworkers, one down at the capitol to see lots and lots of tuba players and I'm still trying to track down my friend Sarah for coffee for Sunday. Wednesday, I jet. So, those of you in the New York/Boston/St. Louis area, how cold is it? Mind you, I've lived here for almost 5 years now and I've lost most of my New England resistance to cold. And oh yes, it's 70 degrees F at the moment. And sunny. And blue skies.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

I have an exam today. The very last one of the semester. This was the optional exam I'd hoped to avoid taking, but alas, it wasn't so. It only covers 3 chapters worth of material - 2 of those chapters covering statistics and one chapter on how to write a report. My favorite chapter is the last one, of course.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

No baking powder. I'm halfway through finishing up the dough for sugar cookies and I have no baking powder. Can I use baking soda instead?

Thing I learned today: if you start a phone call during your Anytime minutes time frame and then cross into your Night & Weekend time frame, your phone call is still billed at the Anytime minutes rate. I just learned that the hard way. A phone call I made - talked 73 minutes - at 8:35 pm in the evening cost me a whooping $30 this month, despite the fact only 25 of those minutes were done during my Anytime minutes time frame (Nights begin for me at 9 pm). Ouch. Anyway, I called the cell phone people and they actually knocked off the charges because I had no idea that that was indeed the case and this was my first time. But boy, talk about sticker shock...

Monday, December 16, 2002

Final grades are coming back and ::happy dance::, I have just learned that I've finished at the top of my class for one of them - I earned the number 2 grade, the number 1 person beating me out about by .6 of a point. Ah well. I'm still unbelievably thrilled.
My Christmas Wish List

The things I would like for Christmas. If you were thinking of getting me something, that is. I'd ask you not to, please. I've gotten to a point in my life where 'things' no longer make me happy (well, except for warm socks - I will never turn down a pair of socks). 'Things' do not compare to good health, family and friends. I already have more Parker, Cross and Waterman pens than I know what to do with. My bookshelves are overflowing, my closet is stuffed with clothes I rarely wear. I listen to the same CDs over and over again - don't need anymore. So, if I'm on your Christmas list, these are the things I ask for this year:

  • Become registered with the American Bone Donor Registry or your country's registry. Please. It takes literally 15 minutes of your time and it's less than two vials of blood. You could save a life. Especially if you're a member of a minority group - minorities are underrepresented in the Donor Bank. So please, if you're between the ages of 18 and 60, consider become a registered member.
  • Talk to your family about becoming an organ donor. Twenty thousand people die every year while waiting for a transplant. Consider that by becoming an organ donor, there is the possibility of improving the quality of life for up to 50 people.
  • Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. It's a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community and to help build something that is long-lasting and permanent contribution. And all for just 2 or 3 hours on a Saturday morning.
  • December isn't the only time to be generous of spirit, time and money. Another month works just as well, if not better.
  • Check all of the batteries in your smoke alarms. And while you're at it, invest in a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Do something nice and unexpected for someone you care about. Take them out to lunch, make them cookies, clean up, etc.
  • When driving, stop to let pedestrians cross the street. Yield the right of way.

These are the things I ask for.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

The Friend Meme

Gacked from Melina, among others. Can you pick yourself out? Includes LJ and blog people both.

1. One of my oldest and dearest friends online. The only person to have read The Fic That Shall Not Be Mentioned Or Posted. A super-duper beta too who taught me how to spell 'raktajino.'

2. You write novels that I love to print because the small screen simply doesn't do them justice. You're so good at what you do, it's easy to think that a Certain Pairing That Shall Not Be Named, though canon, is so completely wrong.

3. You introduced me to my very first mailing list when I was still going by various nicks. It's been wonderful finding you again.

4. I just met you but already I think you're very cool. And after reading your "Alias" and "X-Files" fics, I'm determined to be you when I grow up.

5. You're stylish and just very cool in that black cape of yours. Not to mention your smurf flares. It's not nice to covet your neighbor's possessions, but if I could just have a bit o'style...

6. You're possibly the best meta blogger out there, the one who continues to be endlessly fascinating no matter what fandom you're talking about.

7. Your Voyager fanfiction made me a fan, not to mention, late for meetings. It was the first time I ever sent FB to someone from work, I was so enthralled by your fanfic. You are missed in Voyager.

8. You filk like no one else. And you're yellow. And lego. You know CSS and you're a Mac user. What's not to love?

9. You gave a list with no purpose a purpose. And then you kept us on purpose even when we started to deviate. Have a good time in London.

10. If I ever do a research project with anyone ever again, it'll be you. Because, you do things in Excel that make me quake in fear. That was one impressive "if then" statement.

11. You have a beautiful and lyrical flow to your writing and you make such ordinary scenes so extraordinary.

12. I don't know you well, but you're on zendom and I stop by your LJ often. I always find something interesting there to read.

13. You've been very patient to wade through most of my fics for the last couple years and I'm still impressed that I haven't scared you away. Even with C/7. I applaud your courage and patience both.

14. I don't know you too well, but I think you write beautiful fic for ENT and should write more. Yes, more. And post to ASC.

15. You. Have. Talent. Don't. Make. Me. Come. Over. There. And. Make. You. Post.

16. You're a good person, kind FBer and fun chatter but somehow you still manage to come out with a very forceful 'no.' How do you do it?

17. You're enormously cool. And you're named after one of my all-time heroines. Hope to see you back around soon. You are missed.

18. I don't know you that well either, but your blog has interesting things in it. I found it when you linked to me. Thanks for sharing your interesting thoughts as it's always pleasant to stop by.

19. I hear wonderful things about you from the Stylish One. Word o' mouth has it that you're a totally fantastic beta.

20. I know you back in VOY fandom and you wrote some of my favorite fanfic in both VOY, Sports Night and X-Files. You're possibly one of the most fluid and stylistic writers I've come across.

21. You saved VOY for me. And you're constantly surprising me with all the sweet things you do. So glad to have found you again and so glad to have a friend like you.

22. Individually, you people absolutely and totally rock. Collectively, you guys are a force of nature, inclined to start blog wars on a moment's notice and go to bat for a friend when necessary. I knew that before, but the Monster Chat o' Doom proved it.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Twenty-three of my classmates have graduated. Yesterday, at the strategy final, was possibly one of the last times I'd see them. One of them has already left the area to return to her native country. It makes me unbelievably sad. I wasn't friends with all of these people, but I was on teams with a few of them, and we did share good times and hard times alike.

I remember seeing some of these people at 3 in the morning. We shared pizzas. We spotted each other money when someone was running short. We were there when something went disasterously, and we were there when things went beautifully. And unlike the outside world, we understood what it really meant to be a first year and what a struggle it was to get through each day; it's impossible to even put into words how much we needed each other even when we didn't necessarily like each other that much. But we always managed to get past the conflicts and the petty arguments to pull it together and get through. And now a fourth of the class - a fourth of the people who survived the first year - are gone.

I felt loss when I returned this fall and discovered that some of my classmates had not qualified to return for a second year. Those departures were so abrupt, as we had not been able to say good-bye and good luck to them, in whatever they tried for in the future. And now, another 23 people are gone. I suspect May will be more difficult when all but one of us from the class of 2003 will be leaving.

So long and good luck, friends. And keep in touch.

Friday, December 13, 2002

So the conversation went something like this.

X: "What happened in chapter 14?"
Me: "Chapter 14? There was a chapter 14?"
X: "It comes after chapter 13."
Me: "I don't remember that one either."
X: "Organizational structure, behavior and matching controls to structures."
Me: "Nope, nada."
X: "Functional? Multidomestic? Global-matrix area?"
Me: "Chapter 13?"
X: "No, chapter 10."
Me: "Chapter 10?"

Okay, so a slight exaggeration. But this was pretty much what all of the conversations were like today in school. Part of me was completely flustered as I scored a 20 on the practice quiz on chapter 13 and though I'd read it like 80 million times, for the life of me, I didn't know what I'd read. No big deal - no one else seemed to know what was in chapters 13 and 14 either. It's like we all got to chapter 12 and our brains gave out.

We were prowling the halls, curled up in little nooks throughout the building, frantically memorizing the book (some people had just opened it for the first time this morning) and trying to figure out the differences between international, multidomestic, global and transnational strategies. Because, they only look the same. The pretty pictures tell you otherwise. Everyone had a mental block. Mine happened to be the last two chapters of the text but other people blanked out on other chapters. This is one exam where groupthink would have been a very Good Thing.

But thankfully, hardly anything from chapters 13 and 14 were on the exam and I feel very, very good about it. For once, I think memorizing an entire textbook (don't try this at home, kids!) paid off for me. To the point where I was sitting in the lounge with a couple of friends and reciting entire diagrams from memory. Scary. I'm going to dream about this stuff in my sleep.
The 2002 ASC Awards FAQ is available for comment on a newsgroup near you. Check it out. Please note, you have until January 31st at 11:59 pm to post a story in order to be eligible for this year's Awards.

And now for a rather sanctimonious rant from the soapbox...

And sometime I've been pondering - why is it some people simply don't respond to FB? Why don't they acknowledge they received it? There are several people whom I've sent FB to and I have no idea if they ever got the FB. The first time, I don't think much of it. I figure the FB got lost , but multiple times? I stop FBing. I think there are 2 or 3 authors out there whom I no longer FB, regardless of how much I like their stories because I figure that they don't necessarily care that I read their story or for some reason the FB never gets to them, so I don't see the reason why I should take time to FB them, when I have plenty of other wonderful authors (Lori!) whom I should be reading and FBing instead.

It's a lot like thank you notes. It's fun getting gifts for birthday parties, weddings, graduations, etc, but it's no fun writing the thank you notes afterwards. But never underestimate how important that thank you note is in terms of public relations with the person who gave you the gift in the first place. No one needs to give anyone else a gift - it's not a 'required' thing (okay, maybe some situations require a gift) but someone went out of their way to pick something out, wrap it up and then bring it. That deserves acknowledgement, regardless of personal feelings towards the gift in question. So many people don't write thank you notes these days and that's really sad. But then I've always been a bit on the prim side when it comes to thank you notes; my guests are barely out the door before I've sat down to write them all acknowledgements. Trust me. If you don't do a thank you note, people will notice the omission more than they'll notice the acknowledgement.

And now, back to the books. I think another couple hours on strategy and I'm going to have to be done with the subject (My favorite part of the book is in the last chapter where it tells me that if I just follow the strategies written in the book, I can be an effective CEO. Who knew that after reading that book, I now have the potential to be another Jack Welch or Lee Iaccoca or Jaques Nasser or Lou Gerstner?).

Thursday, December 12, 2002

And I just discoverd the security settings on the LJ.... Friends only...
I tried Melina's music meme, found that it was hard and that my brain was exhausted from trying to absorb a semester's worth of strategy in one day. It goes back to my theory that everything learned in a class is learned in the 24 hours preceeding the exam - not during the semester (which, theoretically, would be the smart way of doing it).

I just went and banged on my neighbor's door - She of the Loud Music. I could hear the lyrics - not even the beat, but the actual words. It was all in Spanish and I appreciate Spanish music as much as the next person but not tonight. Tonight is Thursday. I was at school studying from 10 am until 6 pm tonight - 500 pages worth of material. Stuff I'm not even sure I remember (value chain, I do know what a value chain is though) and so I'm relatively cranky and all I want to do is curl up on the sofa with my blanket, have popcorn and watch television. I was planning to crank out an hour or so more of studying tonight, but I'll probably do it tomorrow. Exam isn't until 5:30 in the evening, so I've got the whole day to review the things I'm iffy on.

Still think it's nuts to have just one comprehensive exam. It's impossible to memorize it all and some of you know, even on good days, my memory is seriously lacking.

My application for the second masters' program is coming along nicely. I'm still debating why I'm doing this, considering how unbelievably tired I am of school at the moment and what the heck am I going to do with a second masters' degree anyway? Pulling a Bjorn? Over-education is a family joke so perhaps I'm just falling into tradition that way.

We're going to see Nemesis on Saturday evening. 7 pm show. So I'm sure I'll have much to tell afterwards. With approriate spoilers.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

I've discontinued my other blog. It wasn't like I was updating it anyway and now that I have the LJ, I don't really need two blogs and an LJ. That would just be excessive fan girl behavior. I also finally have my icon for my LJ up. Again, credit goes to the Inimitable Miss Barr for making the image.
My last name is a verb! Who knew?

G******* (v) - To be totally intimidated during the practice round and blown out during a match. Originally done to BHS by Essex it is now a regular activity of the BHS team in regional play. As in: We really got g*********ed by Riverdale at the National Scholastics Championship! Derived from 1995-96 Essex star Ketan G*******and his answers such as STAR TREK (see below).

and here, he makes his sister so very proud

Star Trek (n) - Correct answer given by Essex's Ketan G******** after only six words of the question had been read in the practice round of BHS' first match under coach David R*****. This question thoroughly G*********red (see above) the Seahorses and Essex went on to a 310-130 victory, still the most lopsided defeat in Burlington's state-tournament history.

Still ROTFL.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

LJ is working now. I made it pretty and I've posted to it. Now I need an icon. Tom Paris, perhaps? Smurfs? Seasoned with oregano? Right now, I'm just a white splotch on the screen. So sad in a world of pretty boys and Snape.
New article up at zendom: "How to avoid being accused of plagiarism" by RJ Anderson. Definitely a must-read for all ficcers, especially given current rumblings in fandom.

Monday, December 09, 2002

The last word on meta... maybe

Victoria on why she metas. My take on it is different. The question of why I don't meta. I did come dangerously close in chat the other night when I asked the question of whether LJs/blogs might speed fandom erosion. But Liz Barr warned me off and things were good again.

I don't know why I stopped with the meta. I enjoyed it for a while. I enjoyed it enough to read 80 million blogs a day, write snarky little metafics (ie, the blog wars), and respond to other people's blogs line by line here or in their comments. And one day, I just stopped. I can't say it was a matter of time - I have more time now than when I was actively metaing. I could blame it on Europe - six weeks without consistent web access has a way of making you fall behind on the meta and what's what in fandom. It could have been flamewars, that were inadvertantly started when simple questions were asked. It could be that I'm tired of groundless accusations and misinterpretations. It could also be that, unlike the craziness of last year, I'm spending a lot more time with Real People doing Real People things. And Real People don't do fandom (or if they do, they're really, really quiet about it).

A part of me also feels like everything has been discussed to death - or at least the topics I'm interested in. While I enjoy a good slash fic every now and then, it's not the overwhelming focus of my fannish experience so for the most part, most of the LJ/blog conversations don't appeal to me (Would it be wrong to say, in a strange reveral, that all of the slash discussion does in a way make a lowly het/gen writer feel marginalized?). I suppose I could generalize some of the meta to Trekkish and het experiences, but that would take more brain power that I really want to expend. Plus, when a generalization is made, invariably Ungood things happen. Possibly the only generalization I could make that would apply to all fandoms equally that wouldn't start a flamewar is that spelling and grammar are not optional.

Which all sounds very negative. Excessively negative. It's not that I think meta isn't good, but it's served its purpose - at least for me. Sometimes, I do read a discussion and I sit up and take notice, and occasionally link to it. But I'm pretty sure that I'm done in the meta realm. No more metablog for me, no more leaving intelligent (so I hope) comments in other people's diaries. Is it just me? That after a year of this kind of stuff, I'm longing for a laundry list of what people did or ate for lunch. It's more interesting to find out about the people behind the fic, what they do, what they are all about. I'm not necessarily interested in their views on pretty boys or whether realism is rated differently in different fandoms.

I used to think meta took away from fic writing and fennish interactivity. That was just an excuse not to meta. Even without meta, I'm not writing excessive amounts of fic (no matter what the Mod Squad may say about my prolickness - is that even a word?). I'm really just a BOFQ - well, not bitter, but definitely the OFQ. I'm not looking for "the why" - I'm going on six years in Trek fandom now and if I haven't figured out "the why" yet, then I'm not sure that I ever will.
For about five seconds, this is mildly amusing.
Microsoft Word and I just rumbled. I mean, really rumbled. Monstrous paper due tomorrow. Mostly all finished, I just needed to throw in some last minute charts (because, you know, you can never have too many appendices - we have appendices A through P. Paper itself is 57 pages long). So I'm thinking, just fix these highlighted things I got clarification on over the weekend, add the charts, and voila, I am done. But the computer crashed when I tried to add one chart (this is when I abandoned you, Liz) and then I couldn't get my cursor to move around the charts in order to add more. In the end, I cheated and started adding charts in reverse order by adding page breaks before a chart, rather than after the charts. This finally allowed me not only to insert the necessary charts but also to type the relevant text. So I just spent 90 minutes on formatting. Ninety minutes. Gotta love Microsoft Word. And now, last step - I'm going to take it get bound (which in itself is funny, as we had our Microsoft paper bound a few weeks ago and then the professor turns around last week and asks for an electronic copy instead. It would have been nice if he had told us he wanted it electronically in the first place). Anyway, that's where I am - in my favorite place, the computer lab, slowly going insane (doesn't help that G is sitting next to me laughing at me for talking to the paper after it was printed. I think I said, "Why won't you line up... damn it." It's okay - G is in his own private Microsoft Word hell as well. He's fighting the Table of Contents battle, which I did over the weekend). To quote my former cross-country coach, "You gotta love it."

Oh for the want of a joke

Jemima said I was too serious in And Baby Makes Five and that it wouldn't be considered a parody. I thought it was obvious that it was a parody. So as an experiment, I posted the thing to, categorized it as humor and sat back to wait. The reviews coming in are proving Jemima's point. ::sigh:: Don't make me come over there, people, and tell you it's a parody.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

I downloaded a couple of Madonna songs today - "American Pie" and "Die Another Day." I'm going to blame Liz, because she's stuck somewhere without a Madonna fix and she wanted to hear the new James Bond song so I downloaded it for her benefit as she's just as much of a Madonna fan girl as I am. So while I was getting "Die Another Day," I thought I'd get "American Pie" as well as I never heard it when it aired and I didn't know what the controversy was all about. Well, I've heard it and I do like it. Very much. There is something to be said for the originals, yes, but it could have been much, much worse. So I'm possibly in the minority here as someone who enjoyed the song. I also downloaded "The Ketchup Song." Talk about addictive and infectious. Very funny.

And oh yes, Liz Barr has gifted me with an LJ code so I'll be LJing one of these days. As soon as I figure what's going on over there in LJ world and what those codey things mean. Many thanks to Teague who was also kind enough to offer me a code.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

For those interested the legal standards applied to obscenity and what degree of literature would fall into that standard, here is the Miller test. There are three requirements here and the first two must be satisfied in order to determine that a work is obscene. Note that the first two requirements here are based on "contemporary standards" (this approach was determined in 1973 in the case Miller versus California, however "contemporary standards" here are defined as when faced with deciding whether a work appeals to the prurient interest or is patently offensive, jurors must use their own sense of what they feel is prurient and patently offensive) and the third requirement is more of a nationalistic standard; in other words, a work that is offensive in say, Memphis cannot be inoffensive (is that a word?) in Tallahassee. The standards are as below:

1. Whether the average person applying contemporary community standards would find the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

2. Whether the work depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law.

3. Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific values.
I've hit a roadblock on my paper. I have to sum up this semester's course in e-business by writing about 5 of the most valuable lessons one should pass on. It seems rather gratuitous fawning for the prof, methinks, as in "Spit back to me all the wonderful things I taught you this semester!" Anyway, I've got four down and I'm drawing a blank on the fifth. So taking a break and hoping against hope that something wildly innovative - something that makes sense as well - will hit me very, very soon. (Is it really crazy that in just over 3 pages I have 15 endnotes?).

Fannish question: why doesn't anyone interview het writers for fanfic articles, hmmm? Are we really that boring? Do we lack subversion? Does het not have innovation? But Vera, you're probably right. We het writers probably out-numbered slash writers years ago. So possibly my belly-aching is really come-uppence and it's really the time for slashers to take front and center.

Friday, December 06, 2002

I've discovered KaZaalite. I may never get offline. This does not bode well for the future.
Question, because when it comes to music, I'm such a tech newbie. But can I burn an MP3 to a CD? I've got a dial-up connection so I can't use KaaZa to download music because I'll be here all day. But I can use the school computer labs to download music and then burn them to a CD - I just can't download extraneous software to the school computers. seemed like a good way to go. So, anyone know?

Thursday, December 05, 2002

This and That

It's cold out. A windchill of 20 degrees. As far as I'm concerned, this state has just lost its competitive advantage.

And Liz made this button for me. Isn't she sweet? It really ought to be a movement. Something along the lines of "the few, the proud, the brave"?

Happy Birthday, Lori! May the poolboys make your day a special one.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Oh the weather outside is frightening

First things first, yet another collision between RL and VL - so hello to Alex and Robby ::waves::

Second, I second (whoa, redundant - once again, taking apps for blog beta readers) Vera's suggestion that the word fuffle deserves to be used more widely. Go forth and spread the fuffle.

Third, it's cold out. Really, really cold. Perfect day to curl up in front of the fireplace with hot chocolate. If I had chocolate or milk, for that matter. Actually, come to think of it, I don't have a fireplace either.

Fourth, two presentations and one paper down. Two papers and one presentation left. I may just make it.

Fifth, still working on defamation and the public figures on the Internet. And whether it's possible to sue someone for libel and be credible, given libel in web context. Still musing on that one.
Tired of the dregs? Help is on the way: Bright Shiny Objects has been updated. I've got to get to school early today - professor bumped our class up 15 minutes due to confusion on Monday and it's pouring rain, so the buses are bound to be absolutely packed so I'll need to leave earlier than usual - so, the write-up on yesterday's interview will have to wait until later on this evening.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Extra, extra, read all about it!

We made fandom_wank! I knew if we mocked enough, we'd get there eventually. This makes up for having to spend an entire 12 hours at school today. Yes, I can be happy and go back to my database project. My life as a fan is finally fulfilled. (Though, slightly tempered by the fact that I'm such an unknown commodity in fandom, that the FW didn't know who I was...)

Monday, December 02, 2002

It oughta be on a t-shirt already

Reason 80,543,542 why fandom_wank rocks. My favorite? "Because we don't automatically get 60 pieces of FB with our grocery lists." (Actually, I don't make a grocery list and I'm doing good if I have food in my cupboards as it is, but anyhow..). Read all about it here.

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?

this quiz was made by the groovtastic ghouls at Spookbot

Sunday, December 01, 2002


Finally got caught up with my email (100+ unread messages, not counting spam, is nothing to sneeze at). I finally found the "controversial" fanfic article (read it here - though I suspect I'm one of the last people in fandom to read it) and I only have one thing to say 'bout it: Where's the het, kids? When did it become All About the Slash?

I want a button. Something that says "Proud Het Writer" or something along those lines.

Oh two things. I lied. I have two things to say. I want to live in Thamiris' world. I want 50-60 pieces of FB, all incredibly detailed and laden with thoughtful analysis. Obviously, I'm in the wrong fandom.

Saturday, November 30, 2002

Congrats to Jemima for finishing NaNoWriMo! It's an hour away from midnight, so technically I could still have a go at it, but I'm tired - exhausted from overeating, so I think I'm just going to have to surrender to the word count as it stands: 43,883. I did think I could do it, but I kept getting interrupted at the computer - people wanting to check their email, order books on Amazon, Star Trek movie previews (my cousin and I actually got into a mini-argument over this one because as all of y'all know, I want to know nothing about Enterprise or the movie) and of course, the same cousin who wanted to read the novel. So hence, I didn't finish despite a Jemima-influenced push last weekend, but thanks to NaNoWriMo, I got further than I would have gotten without it (note, we're not differentiating quality versus quantity here, okay?).

I have a busy week ahead of me - no time for stalking people on AIM or other venues, I'm afraid. I have three presentations, a paper, and a job interview this week. The job interview dirt will be in the other blog after the fact. Likewise, my dissertation on libel versus slander will have to wait until later on in the week, as well as my "What is wrong with Enterprise" rant. So watch this space for the not-so exciting updates in the life of Seema.

Friday, November 29, 2002

I should be watching football, but it's getting depressing, so I'm not. The word count sits at 43,883. I thought I'd get to 45,000 last night but my cousin caught me at the computer, wanted to read the novel, and when I wouldn't let him, he wanted to play chess. I don't even want to read the novel, just in case all of y'all think I'm holding out on my cousin. In the end, I couldn't find the chess board, so we played Scrabble instead. Not quite the same thrill as Literati, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

In other news, I think my trip plans are mostly finalized - I got a great, great deal finally on my itinerary and not only did I get a price I could deal with, I got the departure city of my choice (yeah! No driving three hours to the City to the Southeast!) and the dates of my choice. I'm waiting for a phone call back before booking but it looks like my trip is now going to include St. Louis as well.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

This may be my last stand. Word count: 43,579.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

I got the Tracy Chapman CD today - "New Beginning." Ah, it's beautiful. I've listened to "The Promise" a few times already and I love it. Thanks, Sara and Lori for the rec.
Thank goodness for Word count: 41,134.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

And what do naked people shop for?

I was poking around today and the following came up:

Words cannot express my relief at confirmation that yes, the Gap is selling clean underwear. Original page is here. Still ROTFL.
I'm almost tempted to get an LJ because then I could keep up with cool people like Bonibaru. Anyone have a spare code for me? I'm slowly, slowly thinking of going the LJ way...

Note, new links to your left. Enjoy.
Who needs sleep? Word count: 37,742.

Monday, November 25, 2002

The New McCarthyism and just in case you need a definition, check this out. A clear case of history that says you are guilty until proven innocent. Check out the list of those blacklisted: Dorothy Parker, Orson Welles, Arthur Miller, and Aaron Copland. In fact, Arthur Miller (I think - I'm not the English major) wrote "The Crucible" in response to McCarthyism. Same thing, except set in in Salem in the 1600s. If you're curious why it matters, check out the impact of McCarthyism. Just because you can do something, just because you've got the power, doesn't mean you can or that you should or that you're right.
The Penguin Warehouse, because, yo, we could all use a little penguin in our non-chlorinated salt-water pool.
In which we give thanks. Update at zendom.

Because of the monster chat o' doom, I hereby direct my fellow chatters to I took a quiz. Because, I had to know.

I am 21% addicted to Instant Messenger. How about you?

And just to be sure, I also found that I was only 2% SEVERELY ADDICTED to Instant Messenger. How about you?

ps. Be kind to your fellow man. Do not talk on your cell phone for hours and hours in a computer lab or in any other area where people might want it to be quiet. Okay? Do not care about your land deal, the state of your relationship, what you're wearing to a party tonight, what you're having for dinner, what your doctor diagnosed you with... do not care. Do not what to hear it. So stop it. Be kind.
It's all Jemima's fault. Word count: 31,000.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

A word to the wise

I'm in a foul mood. Since I'm not allowed to say why I'm upset, I have to channel my anger in a different direction and so I figured, what better target for my frustration than 24 Hour Fitness? They don't honor contracts and they are certainly not very friendly or customer-orientated. Plus, they use cheap toliet paper and that in itself is a crime - a very uncomfortable crime. So don't go there. Don't give 'em your money. Give your money to the Salvation Army people instead, the people with the bells outside the malls. Okay? Okay?

Nothing to see here

Still recovering from the Chat O'Doom. Man, you ladies can talk! And I'm going to be forever indebted to RJ Anderson for introducing me to the Markov thingy. ::shakes head:: I'm reading over the transcript and I swear, my stomach still hurts from laughing so hard. Thanks for a good time, guys!

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Things that make you go hmmm...

Got this in my email today. ROTFL!

If you are a Time Traveler I am going to need the following:

1. A modified mind warping Dimensional Warp Generator # 52 4350a series
wrist watch with memory adapter.

2. Reliable carbon based, or silicon based time transducing capacitor.

I need a reliable source!! Please only reply if you are reliable. Send
a (SEPARATE) email to me at:

I think I accidentally started something here. I am curious to know how people outside of the US view both the country and its president and I unfortunately missed the Oprah show (honestly!) that tackled the subject. I know it took me by surprise when I went overseas and the anti-American sentiment was so high in France. In Germany and Austria, no, but definitely in France. Anyway, I'm not sure if I should even respond to this thread anymore (other than posting the link to a relevant article). Thoughts?

And now, on to that team meeting. A 9 am meeting on a Saturday morning is not your friend.
State meme

Gacked from just about everyone. I'd do countries, but I'm already way past my bedtime. Suffice it to say, I haven't been to Australia, South America or Antarctica.

Alabama: No
Alaska: No
Arizona: Yes. Tuscon. And then this past summer, a brief layover in Phoenix where I got meet Liz! ::does the dance of meeting Liz::
Arkansas: No
California: Many times. An amazing number of times for a state that has always been on the other side of the continent for me. First trip ever was in 1978. I think I was 2. I've visited in 1992, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2002. I was in California multiple times during 2000 and 2001, mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've also spent a lot of time in San Diego - a week once in 1993 and a week in 1995. Let's see, LA, Palm Springs, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obisipo, Carmel, Monterey, Hollywood, you know - the whole drive down the coast thing?
Colorado: No
Connecticut: Yes. Gak. Lived about 45 minutes from the Connecticut boarder for four years. Jemima and I are agreed on this one: not a place to live, and certainly not even nice to visit.
Delaware: Yup. Several times, usually on the way to Washington DC.
District of Columbia: Yup.
Florida: Yup.
Georgia: No
Hawaii: No
Idaho: No
Illinois: Yup. Chicago and Bloomington. My company's headquarters were in Bloomington and I was privileged enough to make several business trips there and I lived for a short while in Bloomington while on temporary assignment. That's where I rediscovered Shakespeare through the Summer Theater and became obsessed with Richard III.
Indiana: No
Iowa: No
Kansas: No
Kentucky: No
Louisiana: Yup, New Orleans, 1998. Ten of us went on a seven-day cruise after graduation. New Orleans was one of our port-of-calls. We spent the entire day there and I ended up using my visit to New Orleans as the basis for my fic of the same name.
Maine: Yes. I think we went to Ogunquit, a quiet little beach town every summer.
Maryland: Yes. Blink and you'll miss it, but yes.
Massachusetts: Yup, lived there for four years, but had visited plenty beforehand and absolutely adored Boston from the time I made a trip in sixth grade and the teachers walked us on the Freedom trail.
Michigan: No
Minnesota: No
Mississippi: No
Missouri: Yes. My cousin and his wife live in St. Louis. But I drove to St. Louis when I was living in Bloomington to visit my cousin's then fiance. We had a great time, though it was so darn hot, I didn't see much of the city while I was there.
Montana: No
Nebraska: No
Nevada: I don't think so. Maybe when I was 2?
New Hampshire: Yes, grrr. I don't care what anyone says, NH is the upside down state and their ski resorts are so not better. Plus, every summer, we used to end our hiking season with a climb up Mt. Washington - which, if any of you have done that, it's quite the mountain, and it could be sunny when you start, but boy, windy and cold and snowy by the time you get to the top. And oh yes, no sales tax. And oh yes, the state swimming championships were held in Hanover (at Dartmouth College) as Vermont didn't have a big enough pool to host the event.
New Jersey: Yup. Family, family, family.
New Mexico: No
New York: Yes. Upstate mostly, and NYC itself. And I think we made an annual summer trip to Lake George as well to go to the Great Escape. The summers when we didn't go to Le Ronde in Montreal instead.
North Carolina: No
North Dakota: No
Ohio: No
Oklahoma: No
Oregon: Yes. Memorial Day weekend 2000, I believe. Portland was the starting point for the great roadtrip up to Vancouver. Beautiful city, beautiful state. Loved the trees.
Pennsylvania: Yes. Hershey, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Amish country...
Rhode Island: Yup. Did you know that all the highway projects in RI are run by the mafia? My last trip through RI was not under good circumstances.
South Carolina: No
South Dakota: No
Tennessee: Yes. My aunt and uncle lived in Knoxville for while so I got a chance to visit there.
Texas: Yup, yup, yup. I've been all over the southern half of this state, but not to the western section. I hear tell that there is nothing out there though except sand.
Utah: No.
Vermont: My birthplace. If you don't count the 3 years in Germany, I lived in Vermont for 19 years. Lovely place to grow up, beautiful scenery, quiet - don't mind me, I'm just going a bit nostalgic here.
Virginia: Yes. Most recently, a roadtrip down from Massachusetts to Virginia Beach in 1999.
Washington: Yup. On the same roadtrip up to Vancouver.
West Virginia: Nope.
Wisconsin: No
Wyoming: No

Friday, November 22, 2002

My neighbor likes electronica music, or whatever music that's all beat and no melody is called. She's got the bass turned up so loud, my apartment is shaking; I'm shaking. Normally, I don't like to dictate what other people listen to, because according to some sources, my own taste in music is fairly sketchy. However, that being said, I'm dying to cross the little walkway and knock on her door.

"Hi, my name is Seema. I live across from you.I know I should have made a pie or something, this being the first time in three months we've talked to each other, let alone seen each other. The neighborly thing to have done would be bring over fresh baked cookies and lemonade." Deep breath. "However, could you please, please turn your music down? I hate your taste in music and while I'm all for supporting your First Amendment right to listen to any music you'd like, I'd also like you to have the courtesy to appreciate my Fourteenth Amendment right to some privacy. Privacy, that is not interupted by your music. Nice to have met you. What's your name again?"

But I probably won't. I'll probably sit here and seethe and be thankful I'm not studying tonight. And that I'm going out in fifteen minutes for the evening.

Confidential to Jemima: It was most definitely me.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Because I obviously need to get out more. The SAS code never did end up working. The data was corrupt, my model pathological, and I decided to read my way through polynomial regression because coding for it wasn't working. On a positive note, I did get a new data source, so the second part of the project will (hopefully) go more smoothly.

And oh yes, other things MBAs do for fun. Here's the storefront for a web initiative my ecommerce team and I are developing. I made this tonight during "ER." It's rough, and probably would fail most user-friendly guidelines, but it'll eventually get smoothed out. It's mostly a 'wow' prop for the prof because when we presented our idea to him in his office last week, he didn't seem to be too thrilled about it and was more interested in finding ways to shoot it down than to help us figure out what direction we ought to take in development and promotion. We're hoping, if he sees it in full-color (blue, in this case), that he will like it better. We're praying for points on creativity and effort, even if the idea does tank, seeing as the professor has pretty much made up his mind about our idea - we doubt any of the other teams will mock-up their initiatives.

My rant about professors will be saved for another blog.
Say what?

My data source is corrupt. My complete SAS log is here because when in doubt, convert to HTML and upload. Actually, it's more funny than not at the moment. There's a reason why computer labs have padded walls.
The Rejection Collection, for those who who submit and don't get chosen. Authors get to critique their rejection letters. Pretty interesting.

And I forgot to mention. Another job interview. In two weeks. It's taking place on my "wear a suit every single day" week, so at least I don't have to exert additional energy to stuff myself into nylons and I have to clomp around in high heels anyway. I'm really enjoying how all three of my presentations take place on consecutive days - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday, I think, can be business casual though.

And is Grace really getting married tonight? I don't trust NBC's promos at all.
Thanks to Jo, here's a link to The Spamwars. Go, play. It's satisfying. Even got to take a shot or twenty at Sid, the spammer. Reminds of the time when I was really into Quake and Doom (shhh...) - good way to get the aggression and frustration out, you know? Today's spam included an offer to turn me into an opera singer. Have these people heard me sing? I think I'm going to take another potshot and then go read.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Fresh Fic

New story in the Glory Days universe - "Stand By Me" by Rocky. Tuvok makes a trip to Earth. For those of you joining this program in progress, "Glory Days" is a post-"Endgame" series that follows our intrepid heroes' lives after Voyager. Ten stories completed to date, tentatively, there are four more to go. (I say tentatively because that number changes every week).

In other news, I bought a pie today. An apple pie. I didn't mean to. I just stopped at the grocery store to pick up fresh veggies for tonight's dinner (for those curious - I made an onion and mushroom pizza) and as I was checking out, there were fresh, hot apple pies right there on the counter. At the terrific price of $2.50. And did I mention that they had just, just come out of the oven? I resisted for about two minutes and then just capitulated and bought the pie. So I had fresh, hot apple pie this afternoon, when I was planning to have a salad for lunch. The salad, I guess, I'll just have for dinner tomorrow night instead. Those grocery types, very sneaky.

I'm watching "The Great Race" right now, waiting for "The West Wing" and for the pizza to finish baking. Anyway, I'm feeling all nostalgic for Europe now because today's episode is taking the contestants through all of the places I was this summer. They're at Fussen right now - which is where Neuschwenstein Castle is and where I was in May. And then they were in Salzburg and Munich - also places I spent time in this summer. The scene that got me was where the contestants were sitting in the train station waiting for a train to Salzburg. Reminds me of when we were sitting around - sometimes for hours - waiting for a train. But the Munich train station was much nicer than the ones in France. French train stations - they were literally warehouses with nowhere to sit and nothing to eat. But the Munich stations and the ones in Barcelona and Madrid were very nice. Which reminds me - I've got pictures from Spain to scan in. This weekend, possibly Sunday. I know you're all holding your breath, waiting for these pictures.

And now, I think the pizza is done and "The West Wing" is on.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Today was feedback night. Lots and lots of feedback. It's all Christine's fault. And while I'm at it, I'll blame Victoria too. They know why and I'm jealous, very, very jealous at how dilligent they are. I 'fess - I've been derelict in feedbacking. So today, I sent a lot. Some for stories I bookmarked months ago. I'm a terrible, terrible reader. Forgive me.
Our 'how to make it big in Trek' advice columnist is back. Enjoying greatly am I. Especially the non-sequitor about Jeri Ryan and Brannon Braga.

Market me, baby!

A Seema is forever.
Happiness is Seema-Shaped.
If You've Got the Time, We've Got the Seema.
Can You Tell Seema From Butter?
For a Hard-Earned Thirst, Seema.
It's Seema Time.
We're with the Seema.

I've ceased studying. The truth is, I've gotten to the point where I don't know what I don't know and what I do know -I hate it when that happens. I've read all seven chapters twice - once when initially assigned and then again over the weekend. I took the online practice quizzes twice. I've read the chapter summaries once. I've gone through the class notes once. I've read over the PowerPoint slides once (not counting the first time seeing them in class). I've reviewed the more complicated material at least 80 times. I'm not sure what else I can do, other than eat lunch and get to class.

Last night, just before bed, the measurement scales finally, finally clicked. I'll probably looking over sampling plans one more time, and possibly the Fishbein measures of attitude toward behavior and objects because I keep getting them confused in my head. The equations, no problem - got those down - it's which one that directly corresponds to behavior and which one corresponds to objects that confuses me. Of course, despite clickage, I'll probably review those measurement scales and scale properties once again. They confuse me still - not because they are hard, but because sometimes I don't understand the way this book is written. At least three chapters out of the seven are statistics-based - statistics theory, versus actual computation - and that is always a Good Thing.

Monday, November 18, 2002

Sunday, November 17, 2002

The Quotable Mod Squad. What happens when one consumes too much caffeine and the 'send' button is right there.
Is anyone else receiving spam from themselves? In other words, I'm getting spam with my email address on it, making it look like I'm the sender - which I'm not. It's happening with a couple of my Yahoo email accounts too so I'm guessing that it must be happening to other people with Yahoo/Hotmail accounts as well. Rather scary that, people can take your email address in vain just like that.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Physics 101

Newton's Laws and fannish behavior. Because it must be said.

The first law, in its basic form, is "An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by force." This also means that an object in motion will continue in motion unless acted upon by a force. In other words, this is inertia.

The second law is easy: F = MA. In other words, the force on an object is equal to the product of the mass and acceleration of an object. This formula manifests itself mostly in objects falling off the Tower of Pisa (and is also a pretty good way of calculating what falls with greater force - one kilogram of iron or one kilogram of feathers. Gravity/acceleration is approximately 9.8 meters/second - you can do the math if you still aren't sure which one falls with faster).

The third law is the one people go around quoting all of the time. "For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction." So theoretically, if someone in China sneezes, there ought to be some kind of reaction in the US. Okay, so maybe that's not in the spirit of the law, but you get the idea. This is the law I see most often in fandom - someone snarks in a blog, then someone else has to snark back. Fandom Wank is devoted to the idea of "you snark, I snark, we all snark for snark."

A very wise person said to me the other day, "If someone snarks in hir blog and no one reads it, is it still snark?" Yup, still snark, but in this case Newton's first law applies. It's snark at rest and so it shall remain, unless someone decides to put the Newton's third law into effect. But it's only worth acting on a snark at rest if the equal and opposite reaction is worth it. Whether it's worth or not is debatable - the snark continues, back and forth, and thus, fandom_wank. Once the third law takes effect, along comes the second law to top it all off. The more controversial the controversy, the greater the mass of fen involved, thus accelerating the discussion until fen take their toys home or realize that there's no reasoning with incoherence and/or illogic. When Isaac Newton got hit on the head with an apple, he was way ahead of his time in predicting fannish behavior.
The muse works in strange ways. ENT fic. An Inconvenient Attraction, in which Trip asks a question and Archer doesn't answer.

Friday, November 15, 2002

I can't believe it costs less to fly to the UK (sorry, Christine) than it does to the East Coast. I'm doing the ticket hunt again. American Airlines won't give me my credit from the ticket I cancelled last summer - which would have helped out a great deal. Right now, all tickets to Boston are over $300. I may just go the Priceline route if I do intend to make this trip, though all signs point to yes at the moment (my friend has bribed me with the promise of visiting our alma mater for a 'food' tour - yum!).

And oh yes, I didn't realize that when the power got turned off today, the outgoing mail server went down as well. It's only mildly irritating not to have access to the academic building - the building is only accessible by key card on the weekends, so obviously that isn't working either. But we don't have our regular university email either until 6:30 on Sunday, so I have to use my backup university account (yes, I go to a bizarre university where they give us multiple email accounts and then confuse us by sending important notices to the one you never check). I'm sure there's another outgoing server on campus somewhere, but I'm entirely too lazy to set it up at the moment as I know my regular server will come back to life on Sunday evening.
Survived the all-day meeting, which we actually ended at 4:30, instead of 5:30. It was pretty good - we got most of an outline hammered out, which is a Good Thing. It got a little punchy after lunch (we had pizza delivered, though surreptiously because we're not allowed food in the classrooms). Example:

R: So how are we going to get people to buy our product?
K: Convince them of the value-added proposition... if that doesn't work-
Me: Teddy bears. Give 'em all teddy bears.
K: I was going to say threaten, coerce-
R: Tony Soprano. That's the answer.
Me: No teddy bears?
K: The Sopranos might be more effective than teddy bears.

Okay, it was funny at the time. At any rate, when we were discussing our marketing plan, K suggested we buy time on the Superbowl to advertise our very regional product and then somehow the conversation veered to EDS' cat herding commercial and then I found the cat herding game. Play it. You'll like it. Just a word of caution: turn down your speakers or your computer will heehaw at you.
All day team meeting today. Pray for me. We start at nine and plan to work straight until 5:30 - which is when electricity and plumbing get turned off in our building (because of the addition being built on). I've done all-day team meetings before - once for the case competition last January (which was pure hell - imagine nearly 48 hours without sleep, being a small room with four other people, and then having to present your results to unsmiling executives at 8 in the morning). Then there was the final part of our Operations exam - another one of those "write a 15-page paper on oil shipping platforms and the most economical and efficient way of routing cargo" in two days. You get really punch-happy really fast, not to mention, you get to know your teammates extraordinarily well when it's 3 am and you're all starting at each other, bleary-eyed, wondering what's what.

The positive thing here is that I like my teammates, we work well together, and it'll be nice to get this whole project finished today and not have to worry about it later. I'll have another 30+ page paper on seafood to edit next week, so it'll be nice to focus completely on that project and not have to think about this one (on the automative industry) again - other than editing issues -until the day it's due - December 5th.

The Microsoft paper is done, with the exception of some iffyness on organizational structure - we suspect this information is old since my research turned up that Rick Belluzzo was let go during a company reorg earlier this year. This info looks old as well but we can't find info on what we think MS's new structure looks like - which is five-divisional with seven consumer groups stemming from that. Anyone know for sure?

Thursday, November 14, 2002

The Whole Nine Yards

My dream of being an International Woman of Mystery is not to be. I've decided to turn down the interview with the CIA. Too many complications - it was making my head spin, really. Mostly, it involved lots of time and effort on my part for a job that I would most likely turn down, if it was offered to me - not to mention, I had to rearrange my schedule, though the prof was really nice about allowing me to schedule a make-up exam for Thursday. But when push comes to shove, it's simply not worth driving the four hours there, spending money on a hotel, taking a few tests, and then having to cool my heels for a day before they tell me if I actually merit a second interview or not. I wonder if the FBI is hiring? I have a deep appreciation, ya know, for good hair and cool clothes.

Interview with Kelly at zendom. Go, read - I'm still trying to recover my dignity after my fangirlish squee.

And btw, I'm spotting Mod Squad phrases all over blogdom. We ought to start trademarking 'em and charging royalties per use - like "It's All X's Fault" and "Be More Like X." We might have other phrases, but remember, you saw them in Mod Squadville first.
More from my Market Research book

There are four principal ways of entering coded data into a computer. The most popular options are the keyboard terminal and the personal computer (PC) keyboard. Both are key-driven devices connected directly to a computer processor. The PC keyboard is connected directly to the computer, whereas the keyboard terminal is connected to the computer by a data communications link such as a phone line or satellite that may span thousands of miles.

Now you know.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Word count: 15,037.

Still behind, but at least I'm getting there. I'm thinking about changing the names of my main characters to Wilma Betty Sue and Billy Bob Wayne. That's gotta help with the count.

In honor of my being behind in the NaNoWriMo world, I present you my (very good) reasons of what I was doing instead of writing for NaNoWriMo.

  1. School. It happens.
  2. Papers. They happen and unfortunately, don't contribute to the word count.
  3. CNN. I'm obsessed - cannot be on the computer for more than 10 minutes without checking CNN. One thing leads to another and suddenly, I'm searching down fandom kerfuffles.
  4. Job hunting. Or lack thereof.
  5. I just gotta ask - who the heck decided that November, a month with holidays in it, ought to be National Novel Writing Month? Hmmm?
  6. Whatdya mean I gotta write a novel? You must have me confused with Lori.
  7. It's Jemima's fault.
  8. The NaNoWriMo forums.
  9. ASC Awards? Who me?
  10. Travel plans. Go north, young lady, go north.
  11. Dishes. I do a lot of dishes. Lots of 'em. And cooking. Yes, lots of cooking. So there.
  12. The bus. It was running off schedule today. Messed me up.
  13. Did I mention the paper?
  14. I have no one-liners. It can't be good without one-liners. This is where I want to Be More Like Liz Barr.
I think I visit the NaNoWriMo forums just to depress myself. That being said, I love this thread. I'm also discovering that NaNoNites keep livejournals and I'm fascinated, endlessly, but how crazy we all are. I've got 13 days left. If I write 3250 words a day, I will just make it. Barely.

Word count: 11,616.

Meaning, I'm probably not going to make it. And then to throw a kink in the plan, I have an interview - for the CIA - in a city five hours from here next week. I'm still debating on whether to go, whether it's worth it to miss three days worth of classes (including an exam - though if Prof doesn't give a make-up, then that solves my problem. No exam, no pass class, no graduate). I like the location of the job - which means, it's not in this state. But the pay is, well, not that great when you take the high cost of living in the DC area compared to where I am now. So I'm thinking on it still and given the short time frame, I've got to make a decision pretty soon. My thought is that it's good practice - but gak, all of that driving. But man, it's the CIA, the CIA... I could be an International Woman of Mystery.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

New software. No, unfortunately not to write my novel, but lots of new software from the Brother for my gift this year, not to mention, delivery of two tapes of Enterprise episodes. Anyway, I now have Photoshop 7 and Dreamweaver MX - the latest version which allows you to choose between Homesite or 'classic' Dreamweaver layouts. There are other goodies too on the CD, but these are the big ones - the best part about the new Photoshop is that it actually has pop-out menus so when I click on the tool, it gives a name; I keep getting confused between the dodge tool and the blur tools, so this is very helpful. Dreamweaver MX looks the same to me, but I haven't played with it that much - I went with the 'classic' layout, as I love the moveable menus. I got used to the 80 million little windows layout in Photoshop and I'm not big on the static layouts for design purposes any more.

And oh yes, new zip drive from the Brother as well. It's not new, but it's new to me ::grin:: and since I didn't get a CD-burner with my computer last fall, I needed something to be able to back my hard drive up. The Brother has all intentions of wiping my computer and perhaps installing a CD burner this winter, but before that happens, I want to make sure I have a copy of everything *somewhere*. And generous as Liz is, I'm pretty sure she doesn't want everything that's on my hard drive to clutter up her hard drive. (That is, presumably, if she's still speaking to me after I sent her the Evil!Novel, which rightfully ought to be classified as 'dreggy').

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Nothing on the word count. Can you feel the panic? I mean, really, feel the panic? I was looking through this big vegetarian cookbook my mom got for my brother. It's lovely, I mean, really, truly, marvelously lovely, with mouth-watering pictures of yummy type stuff. I was half-inclined to go to the kitchen THAT VERY MOMENT and make stuffed mushrooms, roasted red peppers and a whole bunch of other lovely, wonderful things. Of course, the urge passed within minutes and I'm fine now. Back to normal, but still mulling over adding my recipes - such as they are - to the site. An "In the Kitchen With Seema" kind of thing. Safe foods for the cooking inept, plus tips on how not to burn rice. But still a contemplating thing - something to do over the winter holidays when I'm off. Or maybe, I should just go get that cookbook back from the Kid and teach myself how to cook over the holidays.

But no, the word count is still stagnating and I'm pretty sure, given the crowd of relatives showing for Thanksgiving, I'm not going to make it up over the holiday either. I guess I'm going to have to write 5,000 words a day from here on out to get through it. Sleep, I hear, is vastly overrated.

And oh yes - weird response convo. I wrote: "The muse was very insistent that X tell her story." The response I got back? "Don't ever let Mr. X hear you use the word 'muse' - he hates it."

Friday, November 08, 2002

Real Life

The Kid got laid off again today.In other words, that's three jobs in 13 months. It's got to be some kind of record, really. I feel for him but I don't know what to do to help him out - it's not like I'm in a position to help out. A few months ago, yes, but now? The Kid graduated from one of the top universities in this country with a bachelors in comp sci. Two years ago, it looked like he had it made. When he told me the news this evening, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I honestly thought he was kidding, playing around. But he wasn't. He's unemployed. Again. This last job? Lasted exactly a month.

I wrote. Wow. Mucho gracias to Yahoo's LaunchCast for providing the wonderful music that got the juices flowing again. And I think I'm sort of happy with the results. Anyway, I just mailed the "novel" to Liz for safekeeping. The dear made the offer to keep my WiPs as I have a horrible habit of losing them. And now, must call it a night.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

I'm not the only one freaking out over word count. Just stopped by the NaNoWri forums and there are a whole gaggle of people over there who have raised procrastination to new art form. And these people? We hate them. No, no, hate is a strong word, too negative. Okay, so really envious. That's better. Less harsh.

It just occurred to me, if I wrote the novel instead of blogging, I'd actually get somewhere. But people, I have no plot, note posted in Jerie's blog notwithstanding. My narrator just underwent a radical personality change and I couldn't stop it from happening - who knew she wanted a backbone before the Major!Plot development occurred? Ack! Ack! I've been reading the productivity tips, but all that came from that was J/C babyfic, which seriously made my teeth hurt.
Bah, bad blogger, won't update. Humph.

Current word count: 4,621 (That's 9.29% of the way to a completed novel - one that makes no sense, but okay).

Evil!Microsoft Paper word count: 1, 630 (I had to stop there - that's 8 pages - but I could go on).
Joined another mailing list - just in time for the liberal bashing. Yup, love that. I get it in RL, I get it in my online life. One can only keep quiet for so long before one feels like screaming, y'know? I feel like I ought to wear a sign or something - "I'm not a bad person just because I'm a liberal" or for my particular neck of the woods, "I'm not an immoral person just because I vote liberal and I'm not a terrible person who's going to eat your child for breakfast just because I admire Hilary Clinton."

Anyway, if this political discussion continues much longer, I may have to unsub from the list - which is rather a shame because I jumped through hoops to get on it and I was really looking forward to what it had to offer in terms of writing and the wealth of experience on the list. There are some wonderful people whom I'd like to get to know better, but the recent discussions make me want to bail already.

Some people would jump right in there and want to offer a defense for the liberal perspective, but the truth is, I don't want to argue - I hate confrontation of any kind. I don't have any desire to change anyone else's mind or their feelings about other issues and I certainly don't want to listen/read to someone who is trying to change my mind. Is that really too much to ask?
Match up of the Centuries

Jolene Blalock versus Jeri Ryan - and the winner is: Jeri Ryan!

Kirk versus Picard - and the winner is: Kirk!

Kirk versus Janeway - and the winner is: Kirk!

Star Wars versus Star Trek - and the winner is: Star Wars! (boo!)

Enterprise versus the Death Star - and the winner is: Enterprise!

Okay. Bored now.
Confession Time

Victoria made it to fandom wank. Is it so very wrong that I want to be there too? Making metablog is very cool - don't get me wrong. Each and every time I end up there, well, things don't happen here in the blog. But make fandom wank - now that's a whole new ballgame - all the very best discussions are there. I can't help it... my name is Seema and ::sniff:: I love fandom wank.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Word count: 2,940 words.

It's a shame that work completed on the Evil!Microsoft paper can't be added to the word count. There are at least 1000 words there which are more coherent than the 2,940 above. I'm starting to get rapidly frightened about the prospect of writing a novel in a month - I'm seriously buying into the "No Plot, No Problem" credo. Scary, scary. Kudos to Sara and Jemima for being so incredibly diligent.
Can I just say how disappointed I am in the election results? No doubt my neighbors are tap-dancing in their underwear at the results, but me, I think I ought to just spend the next two years under my bed, cringing in fear.

Last week, I wrote something in my blog that a person, whom I respect greatly, thought was directed at her. The comment was actually a generalization about including spoiler space in stories and we cleared it up immediately.But it got me to thinking that I needed to be more careful in what I said here - the person in question said I shouldn't censor myself as this is my blog and I ought to be able to say anything I want here. Perhaps that's true, but I'm still uncomfortable with the idea because I don't know really who comes here and the last thing I want to do is say something that is taken the wrong way.

That's the problem with the printed pixel medium and with blogging. You can say what you want, without thinking, because it's so quick. But because it's easy doesn't mean you should say it. I know I've felt plenty insulted by things people have written in their blogs - often without cause and provocation - and the I know they don't mean to insult me - Seema - specifically, but it happens the same way I didn't mean to cause this person to feel guilt over something I'd written in my blog. It's all unintentional, but it makes me think, as a blogger, I ought to be more intentional and careful in what I say. I'm a New Englander and I have that very dry, very sarcastic, acrid sense of humor - when I first moved here, I had to learn how to tone it down a great deal because that kind of humor isn't as appreciated here as it was in Vermont and Massachusetts. But it still comes out in my blog on occasion because that's who I am, but I also understand that people who don't know me may find that humor off-putting. It's for that reason why I keep blog posts simmering for a day or so sometimes when I'm trying to find the right words for what I want to say. It's for that reason why I delete posts that I think may be hurtful.

The bottom line is, high school was a long time ago - I barely remember it, thank goodness - and I have no intention of living out the experience once again in fandom. It's not my job to make fandom, as a whole, a happy place - or even a fair place to be, but I certainly do try, given my case of Insufficient Reluctance and my desire to give lots and lots of FB and stalk talented new authors (Sara! Sara! ::grin::).

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

It's 2:33 pm my time. Come chat if you're free, for those of you who know my IM name. Liz, sorry, but I can't get Yahoo messenger to come up for me. This message self-destructs at 5:30 pm my time.
BNF Definition

Best one I've see so far. From Zortified:

I think BNFs are the kids who get their name in the school paper a lot. You get in once because you did something, twice because the school editor knows you, then after that it's because the journalists assume that everyone in school knows you and cares about you, because, hey! You've already been in the paper twice!

Monday, November 04, 2002

Wherein I accept responsibility for my actions

Jemima blames me for making her rubberneck at the most recent fandom kerfuffles and also here. Liz Barr has a thought or two as well. And because I can't leave a job half-done, here's more to cause fannish traffic battlenecks. At any rate, Jemima's analysis of Trek is right on and I agree with every word. I can't think of anyone in the Trek fandom running around proclaiming hirself a BNF - even those people who have every right to do so. It makes me nervous when people self-proclaim BNFdom and it makes me want to not be a part of the fandom. Some people think it's the slashiness of certain fandoms that scare people away, but I respectfully put forth that I'm a simple Trek minion and it's the BNFs who scare me from venturing too deep into other fandoms. So, don't mind me, I'll be under my bed, stirring up trouble for the rest of the Mod Squad, as best as I can. Because, as you know, it's always my fault.
For my fellow NaNoWriMoNites -

These are plot patches, kindly provided by our area's NaNoWriMo's liasion. Plug in where needed.

  • No plot, no problem
  • ... and then a miracle occurred
  • Scenes of rapturious beauty go by in quick succession
  • And then something really exciting happens sad to say, I've actually used this one as a placeholder in ficwriting
  • Suddenly, the plot makes sense
  • In the distance, a naked woman screamed

Happy writing!

Sunday, November 03, 2002

I paid 80 bucks for this?

From my Market Research text: "Hypotheses are smaller versions of theories."

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Site updates.

Which Spongebob Character are You?

I'm too tired to figure out why the picture won't show, but if any of you are curious I'm Patrick. No, I don't know who that is either. Thanks to Rocky for pointing me out to the quiz.


Trek people, I love you. Every single one of you. I've been there, been back, gone to take another look, and I have to say, all of y'all are the best. There's something to be said about a mostly rational fandom that manages to go years without imploding on itself. Smooches and huggles. I really do mean it. Poolboys, margaritas for everyone!
The Promise by Tracy Chapman closed this week's "ER." It's a lovely song, first time I'd heard it, though Chapman's voice was instantly recognizable. Bjorn, can you find this one for me please? I think it's so ficcable. Sample lyrics below:

If you dream of me
Like I dream of you
In a place that's warm and dark
In a place where I can feel
The beating of your heart
I just got back from my NaNoWriMo meeting. It was interesting, 7 people showed and apparently more were supposed to come. It was fun to meet other writers - a few already panicky about the task in front of us.

The organizer of the group was saying that she had just written a long, long fanfic and I nearly fell out of my seat. She was talking about fanfic in public? When I found my voice, I asked her what fandom and she said Angel/BtVS, and I was just amazed that she was so open about talking about this in a group of people. I mentioned I was a ficcer, but I didn't mention what fandom(s) - not that brave, even though this looked like a cool, interesting group of people.

The other members of the group all seemed to be involved in sci-fi and fantasy-type with a couple of romance writers. One person is working on her second novel; she's already been published. A bunch of them had done this last year and this is their second go-around.

One guy pointed out that we could finish the novel in 30 days if we wrote one word every 51 seconds. I'm particular to the 1667 words a day method myself. Anyway, it was interesting to get there and meet some new people and not have to talk about value-added propositions and EBITA.
There's a get together at B&N this afternoon at 1 pm for NaNoWriMo so I think I'm going to go to that. It'll be nice to meet people who aren't MBAs. Frankly, we MBAs aren't all that interesting. But our Halloween party was fun. The best Death who showed up at the door and didn't say a word, gave me a hug, and then got himself a beer - but couldn't drink the beer because of his mask. It was really creepy because he stood right behind me the whole time. I was so weirded out, trying to figure out which guy I knew well enough who wasn't already there. It got to a point when we wondered if we had let a stranger into our party. But then someone guessed correctly and the mask came off. It was a good laugh and Death definitely did the best costume job.

For those of you wondering, I went as a New Englander, or more precisely, a Vermonter. I was originally going to go as an employeed MBA, but decided that I didn't want to wear nice clothes. So instead I put on my jacket and gloves, and many of my classmates had the displeasure of listening to my Vermont accent for the first time. Okay, not the best costume, but I had had class all day and got home at 7 pm, with the party being at 8 pm. So there wasn't much time to think something up.

In other NaNoWriMo news, I've written a good 2,000 words so far (well, I use the word 'good' loosely - I've written 2,000 words). More, if you include my paper on Evil!Microsoft - I've gotten the first three pages roughly sketched out and have another three to finish by today. Any of you know anything about Microsoft's strategy, I would love to hear from you. Particularly, I'm looking for information on Microsoft's pricing efforts and market segmentations.

And in an effort to Be Like Jemima, here's my opening sentence for you: "It started, oddly enough, with the Christmas tree in the center of Towne Mall."

Friday, November 01, 2002

Access denied

I just couldn't leave well enough alone. I went and broke the site this evening. Which is why some of you may have seen the "You do not have permission to access this site" message or something equally rude. Color me panicked. It's fixed now - I sent two panicked emails to the brother, but he's out at a Halloween party, so I went and messed with it myself. At any rate, when he sees his inbox he's going to regret ever getting me webspace in the first place. Obviously, I've done enough damage for one day and I think I probably ought to go to bed now.
I give up. I've reinstalled Netscape totally but it's still goofy. But my mail client is back. So I'll be using Netscape for mail only and IE for everything else. Do you know how hard it is for me to surrender to IE? Oh the pain, oh the agony. And to confirm Jemima's diagnosis that my computer is sick (and it makes sense, as the one-year warranty just, just ran out), Adobe went nuts this morning and now both the crop and eraser tools refuse to work. So time to go uninstall that and reinstall. Methinks it might be time to wipe the hard drive and reload with XP.

Just an FYI: I don't have a mail program atm. Basically, Netscape and Mozilla have both gone bonkers and I don't know what to do. I've uninstalled and reinstalled several times. I deleted my profile as Jemima suggested and still, it's crazy. I got rid of my proxy server, but then Mozilla and Netscape both refused to work without the proxy. So now the proxy is gone, Netscape is gone, and Mozilla is gone. I have a feeling there's a 'ghost' in my computer that refuses to allow me to have a functioning version of Netscape or Mozilla, because Internet Explorer 6.0 works beautifully. At any rate, those of you who reach me at the Yahoo! account, no problems there. It's just the people who email me at the POP account - you're the ones whom I may have some trouble emailing back until I've figured out exactly what the problem here is.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Fangirl says

Happy Halloween, but more importantly, Happy Birthday to Zendom! Jemima steps up to the podium and delivers the zenniversary address. Long live the snark and the meta!

The quiz results are really rather... frightening.

What's your inner fangirl? Take the test!
Took a trip down memory lane. Everything I learned about webdesign came from Webpages that Suck and Dive into Accessibility. Both worth a read if you're a website owner or in my case, looking for a refresher. Unfortunately, I've also committed one of the sins listed here, so I will be taking care of that problem this weekend. New reading: Top Ten New Mistakes of Web Design.
To cry or not to cry, that is the question

My creative writing teacher once told me that writing about a character crying was dull and tedious. Of course, I was taken aback - especially since I had a weeping character in my story. But the truth is, she was most probably right. There are about 80 million different ideas on how to write and how to get published - and really, these days, with the power of the internet, you don't really need much experience to do either. So, I won't be offended if you take my thoughts with a sack of salt.

Emotionlism in writing is more about showing than telling. Some of the most emotional work I've read has given some wonderful descriptions of how a character looks, how they move, how they react to a situation. In addition, it's possible to 'show' sadness in ways other than tears filling eyes or expressions crossing faces. What about the way someone is holding an object? What about the way they respond to a comment? How is their posture? Are they leaning against a wall for support? Is their manner distracted or concentrated?

When writing about an emotional response to an action, consider how you would react, considering you can't see yourself crying or what the expression on your face is. Once Liz told me, re a story she was writing about Sisko, that she was thinking of him as being punched in the stomach. So how does it feel to be punched in the stomach? How do you react? Tears might be one thing, but perhaps you'd grip your stomach first and double-over. Maybe you'd slump to the floor. Maybe you'd feel weak, wobbly, maybe you couldn't breathe. All of these things are possibilities and by including detail like this, it's giving insight on how it feels to get punched in the stomach. Compare that with someone who just cries after getting punched in the stomach - we have no idea how it feels to this character that they just got socked in the gut, all we know is that this person is perhaps sad.

It's okay to give details on how people feel about certain events. It's not enough to move a character through a scene without descriptives, not only of how the scene looks but also how it feels to the character. What memories are stirred up? What triggers the memory? If it's a sad memory, how does the character react? A lot of times, I read a story and I'm thinking, "Okay, I know where this character is, I know what they're doing, I know what the room looks like, but what is this character thinking?" A lot of times, we get the wide-angled view of a character and it sterilizes the reader's opinion of what's happening. The emotionalism in a scene is sucked out and instead, you're watching a two-dimensional person go through the motions but not really understanding why.

Back to the crying thing. It's really easy to write: "A paperweight fell on Mary's foot. She cried." That really doesn't give much indication of Mary's state of mind. There's also, "A paperweight fell on Mary's feet. Tears streamed from her eyes at the pain." Trying it again: "A paperweight fell on Mary's foot. Pain shot through her and she hopped up and down, cursing herself for her stupidity." And again: "The paperweight landed heavily on Mary's foot. She yelped as pain shot through her and she fell backwards against the sofa, cursing herself for her stupidity." And one more time: "Mary yelped as the paperweight landed on her foot. She hobbled to a chair, clutching the edge of the desk for support. Thanks to her clumsy fingers, she knew she wouldn't be able to play in the soccer game on Tuesday."

People get around the crying "problem" in different ways. There's the "blinking back tears", "eyes filling with unshed tears" (though, one could argue that if tears are unshed, then they aren't tears), "bright eyes," "glistening eyes," "water pooling in eyes," "glittering eyes," "shiny eyes," etc. These are all ways of avoiding the phrase "Mary cries." No problems there, but if a someone is going to cry, the reasons and the motivations behind those tears should be clear and there ought to be more there than just waterworks. Some indication of what the character is feeling physically and mentally. The same thing goes with any other vague concept, such as love. If two characters in love, don't just tell the reader that they are - show how they interact together, how they speak, the tone of their voice and the word choice used.

That's not to say there's a problem with "telling." A lot of advice types say that writers should avoid telling at all cost and concentrate on showing. Which works to an extent, but there's a fine line. At some point, a writer's got to spell out what's going on. Perhaps, along with the glistening eyes, a character feels dismay. Telling us someone feels dismay is not "show", but the previous part of the sentence which gives us a bit of "show" makes the "telling" more palatable later on. There are different shades of info dump and vagaries - the trick is to find what works best for a writer given their particular writing style. It's a little too much to expect that there is a "one size fits all" guide to good writing.
More snark

Terri O responds to the latest article from the "How to Write For Trek" expert.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Bright Shiny Objects has been updated. Go get yer fresh fic recs there.

I was hanging out on today and saw that the title bar reads "Monster - My Monster." ::giggle:: (oh come on, don't you think it's funny?).

A lil bit 'o snark

Do You Have What It Takes to Write For Star Trek?. Here's part II. Absolutely verklemped. I'd take him a lot more seriously if he knew the difference between you're/your and who's/whose. And oh yes, if he had actually been published in the ST universe as well. Want Trek writing advice? ASC is probably the place to get it. Some of the best ASC authors have gone on to be professionally published and more importantly, they know the difference between they're/their/there.

And oh yes, the link below is to a CNN article about spammers' latest tactics. I was between classes and couldn't elaborate more on the subject but thought it was worth giving people a head's up about.