Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Reality television has hit PBS and I'm afraid I'm hooked. I saw a glimpse of "The Manor House" on Sunday night, but I was working on my paper so I only watched a bit while I was eating dinner. It came on again last night and I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch. Basically, the premise of the show is that there is a family with 12 servants who are living as if it were Edwardian times. I find it fascinating. Here they are, in the middle of 2003, with modern-day ideals, forced to regress 100 years. What's even more interesting is just how immersed these people are in Edwardian culture and how they follow "the rules" (which frankly, sound stifling to me). I dig history and this is by PBS, so I find it very accurate and interesting.

The family and servants are in the house for three months. They dress (BTW, the ladies' underwear? Ugh) and eat and act exactly the way they would have back in Edwardian times. There is a true sense of "upstairs" and "downstairs." There was one part that amazed where "Lady Oliff-Cooper" went to the kitchen for the first time -- she didn't even know where it was! How... odd. And then the chef made a pig's head for dinner and really, that was rather grotesque and the family was unable to eat it. And of course, the endless work - the scullery maid makes her own soap (which is a rather interesting recipe that works, but I'm all about the grocery store).

What's interesting is how Sir Oliff-Cooper is enforcing strict Edwardian rules in the house but then wants to make changes to go along with modern day life, such as asking for a modern diet rather than nearly-rotten meat smothered in cream and butter or pulverized fruit and vegetables. So, then the chef served up the aforementioned pig's head, which made Sir Oliff-Cooper all upset with his butler. I felt bad for the butler - he was really trying his best to serve and he looked close to tears when he got reprimended by Sir Oliff-Cooper. In addition, the lady's maid to Lady Oliff-Cooper reported back to Lady Oliff-Cooper about the 'lower' servants' bad behavior and of course, then everyone was all upset at Morrison for saying something in the first place. And then of course, the longer the family stays in the house, the more autocratic and snotty they get. Sir Oliff-Cooper is especially bad.

The dynamics of this show are really interesting to me. A bit of it was touched upon in "Gosford Park," but this is so much more interesting and clear than "Gosford Park." So if you get "The Manor House," do check it out. It's a bit slow and not at all sleazy like the regular reality shows. The accents can be hard to understand, so I put on the closed captioning and it worked out just beautifully.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Today, before I could think too hard about it, I did the job search thing. The job search thing is tiring and depressing. It's hard to get movitated to do it. I try to apply to at least one job a day. That's my goal. Some days I surpass/reach it, other days, I don't. Of course, a lot has to do with the jobs I turn up in the first place. I've got all of the online job sites bookmarked, but I don't put a whole lot of stock into them. Jerie called last night. What a sweetheart - she's actually looking for a job for me. Also, got a few tips from my mom and my friend in the Big City to the North got me the email address of an HR person at a recycling company in that same city. So today, I've been emailing former coworkers, and applying to jobs en masse. I'm glad I keep my job email address separate from my regular email addy; that way I'm mentally prepared to check the email account when I login and don't get depressed over rejection letters.

Other plans for today include running to school to deliver the print-outs of yesterday's stats analysis to K and to pick up a copy of the take-home final. My motivation for the take home is at an all time low. I have until Friday at 5 pm to turn it in. That's a lovely chunk of time. I'll probably read the case today and try to figure out my attack plan. Cheerleader prof says not to work on it for more than 2-3 hours. Knowing me, I'll probably beat the case into the ground. I'm so glad she gave a page max guideline as well as a time guideline, because really, take home tests are the bane of my existence. I'm always wondering about it and I always find that I spend more time on them than absolutely necessary.

Monday, April 28, 2003

So I went to see Cheerleader Prof this afternoon with the intent of simply returning her book, "The Quality of Loyalty," and letting her know that I was going to run ANOVA and t-tests. I was there for thirty minutes. The woman can talk. I'm completely in awe. And when I said that I would have to go to the library computer lab to finish the stats since the regular masters lab doesn't have SPSS and SAS (and I'm not masochistic enough to do by hand on Excel - I've already put way more time into this project than necessary), she gave me a pile - a pile! - of textbooks on SPSS and SAS. Never mind that the paper is due tomorrow. The woman was like, "Take your time, read this."

I was trying to find a polite way to say, "But I know how to use SPSS..."

And she's going on, "But these are the best books ever. But I don't like SAS so if you end up at company that uses SAS, you really need to get them to use SPSS. That's what I do. I never use SAS." And then she says, pointing at the SAS books, "So, you can keep those."

I couldn't help myself. I answered, "Do I have to?"

She wasn't in her office when I went back after finishing the stats so I left the books in my car. I'll give them back to her tomorrow. Or something. I'm trying to get rid of the textbooks I already have, not accumulate more.
My inbox is crazy full. All of them. I think I'm going to ignore it all and maybe, just maybe, the email will answer itself.

Cheerleader Prof continues to spam me. Considering the class is over, it's really impressive how she continues to have things to email at me. Though, in all seriousness, I did email her yesterday to ask her about the stats I did. I need to compare two means rather than means individually. So I should probably get my act together and figure out what test is best for testing Uo=u1=0. But first, I have to do the service blueprint. R was going to do the blueprint originally, but now I get to do it, as R sorted surveys so I wouldn't have to do it since I had a committment at the time Cheerleader Prof wanted to do it.

So my plan is then to do the service blueprint, find a truck for the move, and then go to campus and finish off my stats and return "Quest for Loyalty" to Cheerleader Prof. My hope is that I don't get sucked into a conversation with her. She told me to stop by her office for office hours, but the thing is, my questions are like 5 minutes and she'll talk for like 2 hours. It's unbelievably crazy how much that woman has to say. I have lots to say too, but frankly, this is the first time I've been so overwhelmed by an individual that I don't even want to say "good morning" because I'm afraid that will lead into a 20-minute dicussion on how she hasn't finished her dissertation yet.

There's a snarky comment in there, but I'm not going there.

Friday, April 25, 2003

I got 180 of my surveys entered and tabulated this afternoon. It took me just under two hours, which was not what I expected. After I finished entering, I ran some basic statistics - percentages, standard deviation, variances, averages and then a confidence level. It was only after I did all of that that I realized that I had neglected to write down my hypothesis. I hope it's not cheating to do it after the fact. I still have another 30 surveys to tabulate, but since that was a separate survey with different questions and criteria, it wasn't a big deal that I didn't do it this afternoon.

I've been running around like crazy today. I have a friend coming from out of town to visit. She called me last night at 9:30 to find out if she could come down to hang out. I'm really looking foward to her being here. We always have a blast when we hang out. So I should now try to clean up again. She should be here any minute now.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

In which I pretend people enjoy reading this blog

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Wednesday, April 23, 2003

In which I become utterly shallow and random due to intense brain fatigue

Memorization hurts my brain. I think I memorized nine or ten lists this morning and gave up towards the end. There's some stuff on arbitration and mediation that's kind of a vague fog in my brain - something about mediation being better than arbitration and not wanting to use a third-party negotiation unless there's a major impasse and heated confrontation. That's all I know so it better not be on the test. I've been assured by a couple of friends in the Monday class that the test isn't hard and that rereading lecture readings will be sufficient. I've read the lecture readings three times now, my class notes once, and memorized the majority of the lists. My brain is so broken at this point. I'm playing on the computer in an effort to relax a little but as time passes, I think the memorization is evaporating from my head. But, this is the second to last final of my academic career. The other is take-home for Cheerleader Prof.

Speaking of Cheerleader Prof, I got out of wearing a suit for Thursday's presentation by claiming weight gain and inability to fit into my suit. Which, as my friend V pointed out, that's a blatant lie. Well, it depends which suit is in question - one is a bit tighter than the rest but still looks cute. I'm just not in the mood to wear high heels on campus; my feet have barely recovered from that last miserable trudge around campus and I wanted to wear sandals instead and my sandals don't go with my suits (yes, I know, whine, whine, whine). So anyway, I asked Cheerleader Prof since my suit was tight (Ha! said V), could I wear a dress instead? She said that that was fine. Mind you, the dress is very nice and business (black sheath, for those of you interested), the main difference being I won't have to wear hose with it and I can wear the nice sandals instead which don't hurt my feet. And if it rains, I can wear nice slacks and blouse and a black cardigan and the nice, comfortable high heels instead of the Evil!Blue heels. Ya know, these things do matter when you have to walk at least a mile in those shoes on very attractive - but slippery - pebbled walkways.

The only other news in my life is that I plan to make a post office run sometime this week. I was going to do it last week, but I have two packages to mail - one to Liz Barr and the other to a friend of mine in Massachusetts. I'd lost the latter's address and so she didn't email it to me until this week (and I couldn't say, "Hurry! It's your birthday present that's coming!").

Also, almost finished "The Cider House Rules" by John Irving. I should have a review of that book eventually. It's taking me forever to read and now that I'm almost through, I'm starting to understand why The Other Liz liked it. At first I was incredulous, trying to figure out why this book was so popular and why it had been made into an Academy Award nominated picture. Now that I'm starting to understand the style, I like it a lot better.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

We had a retrospective on the Blue Lagoon in chat. To freshen memories: Worst. Movie. Ever. Yet, somehow, with the Mod Squad, it has attained mythological cultish status. Like a train wreck. Can't help but look. And so, I'm contemplating on dragging myself back out to the Blue Lagoon and seeing where we left our dear characters in the Blog Wars. Am thinking that they are all passed out on margaritas now.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Clearing the air

I'm waiting for lunch to finish cooking but I thought I'd be productive and answer a question Bjorn asked the other night: what on earth does 'paleo' mean? Credit for the term goes to jemima who inagurated it among the mod squad and it's shown up on various venues since them. Used, mostly, incorrectly as when we're talking about 'paleos' we're not referring to the paleolithic or even fans who have been around forever. In our jargon, 'paleo' is actually a short-hand for a phrase that the ever creative jemima coined last year: "'Shippin' since 1995.'" And since the phrase originated with us, it's rather disgruntling to see its meaning taken out of context and skewered all over the place. So, for those of you interested in 'original intent', this is it.

And now, I must lunch.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Goaded on by jemima last night, I completed the personality profile at eharmony. Apparently, this is a highly accurate dating service and jemima says she knows someone who met the other half of their One True Pairing on eharmony. With a rec like that, who can resist? So using time I didn't have, I filled out the personality profile as Beverly Crusher. I could see why this is probably a safer dating service than most - if you're an axe-murder or a psychopath, you're not likely to sit there for an hour filling out brain-numbing questions just so you can find your pretty. Anyway, I got to the end about an hour later and it was discovered that I had a match! Karl! Unfortunately though, Karl and I will not be riding off into the sunset together unless he can cough up the $250 required. Yes, you read that correctly. In order to talk to your true love, you have to pay. I wasn't planning to pay myself because I was in it to find out what I'm really all about but I was curious about Karl. The one-shot cheap deal is just $50. You get to talk to Karl for a month. If you're looking for something more long-lasting, it can cost you up to $250. I guess money can buy you love.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Let there be light

So, like, at 11:55 am, the power went off. And I'm sitting at my computer - mid-memo, mind you - and I'm thinking, oh this will be a brief thing, 10-15 minutes. But no. It was 3 hours. A full three hours. Do you know how boring three hours without electricity is?
After taking a brief nap, I decided that I should go back to school and hang out there. I figured, Big Major University must have its own power supply, yes? So off I went blithely. And voila - nearly met my death a block away from my apartment. All of the traffic lights were out.

There are seven four-way intersections between me and school. I had to take a left turn at the first one. There are 40,000 18-year olds at this school in SUVs. Driving here is a hazard on a good day, forget when all of the traffic lights go out. So I inched along (bopping, btw, to music in my car) and finally, there was a police officer at the second to last interesection - the one with the train tracks. So that was much better.

As I was heading into the academic building, I saw a classmate and he said, "Nope, no power, go home." But I had class at 2:30 and I figured I could either sit and stare at my fingernails at home or at school. I opted for school. Our academic building is state-of-the-art. It's actually rather crazy when you consider some of the buildings on campus are in a state of disrepair. Anyhow, the emergency lighting was on and as I walked in, I saw some undergrads taking a test in the pagoda that's just outside of our building. Considering it was a windy (but hot) day, I thought, "Gah, that's gotta suck." Inside, the main lobby was light enough but the rest of the building was fairly dark - though there were emergency lights on. I heard rumors that there were people stuck in the elevator. Now that would be really sucky.

It was around 1:30 and I just meandered. Talked to a few people but most of my fellow partners-in-crimes had already headed off (including to the pool, which sounded darn good to me), and I finally went to the masters lounge where I settled down to go through my surveys (n=120) and realized what a badly written survey we had. ::Sigh:: And then J came in and we talked about how the power was out throughout the county and actually even all the way to the Infamous City to the Northwest. Time, btw, creeps by very slowly when there is no light.

Anyway, I went down to my classroom at 2 and saw my classmates assembled outside. Verdict was in: we were going to have class. One classmate fretted about the $90 worth of groceries she had bought at 11:30 pm the night before, I wondered if I had a flashlight because, you know, bedtime at eight o'clock was just not appealing. And then I was trying to figure out how I would finish the ballots - whether the power would even come on long enough for me to get them done before 8 tonight. And if not, how would I let someone know that I was going to be late?

Then the professor showed up and voila, we had class. Right. There. In. The. Hall. I kid you not. There is an alcove with a study table and chairs and since we're a small class - 14 (only 8 showed today) - we crowded around this table - kicking out a poor undergrad in the process. The power came back at 3 pm, just when we were all becoming reconciled that there would be no "American Idol" for us tonight.

And now, I must eat, as my plans for lunch were thwarted by the blackout.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

It's a gorgeous day out and I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go. On a positive note, I had quiche. Quiche is yummy. I should make it more often. But before I can really celebrate the wonder of quiche or of this wonderful day, I must finish studying for my HR exam. I've gotten through "training and development" and ::groan:: "compensation management" is next. It's much less material in terms of chapters than the last exam, but at this point, I'm so ready to not study that it's aggravating me that I have to do work - lots of it - on this lovely Sunday afternoon. I haven't even started going through the survey results yet (n=220) and that's going to be tons of fun. Not. Hmmm, maybe we should just go out for ice-cream now and not wait until tonight...

Saturday, April 12, 2003

You say it best, when you say nothing at all

I've discovered Alison Krauss. I'm in heaven. Absolute heaven. I downloaded a few of her songs and lovely voice, lovely songs, and really, just really happy to have new music.

I finally finished with the site reorganization. Note that I didn't say site redesign. There's nothing new to see - it's all background stuff that's purely for my benefit, not yours. Well, I did geek and create a custom 404 page that's so much more user-friendly than the server's default 404 page. It took me forever to figure out how to get the 404 page to work. I thought about calling The Brother for help, but in the end, I took the time-honored tradition of RTFM and figured it out on my own. So very pleased I am about that. At least, if a link is broken, the new page should give an idea of where to go from there next. Thanks to the Eighth Wonder of the World, I also fixed a massive amount of broken links that had absolutely nothing to do with my reorganization. I also updated all of my library items so navigation and disclaimers are now up to date on every single page. In addition, bad HTML and javascript either re-coded or removed completely. Go me.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I made the mistake of deciding to move a few files around in my website. And now, I have a full blown project in front of me. Broken links galore and everything. This means I can't update my site or anything until I've fixed everything. A good thing is that I'm discovering all of my bad coding from 1997 and 1998 when I was still learning HTML and not closing all of my tags etc. So I have been slowed down by re-coding as well. I've been doing a little bit every night and hope to be finished by the end of April.

It's been pretty busy at school and even though all of my classes have been cancelled for tomorrow, I still have the same long Thursday schedule as usual, between the research project (which should take up a chunk of the day) and a quick meeting with the debate team. I'm hoping we get a lot of the research done tomorrow because we already have Friday scheduled as well. Our focus group is scheduled for the 18th. So we really need to get this done so we can figure out just what the heck we're doing...

Friday, April 04, 2003

This weird, weird life

So I have this interview and it's coming to an end. Interviewer casually mentions that he came from St. Louis. He is a recent MBA grad. I say oh, I have a cousin in St. Louis. He has his MBA too. Interviewer and my cousin are friends. How crazy? Good enough friends that interviewer knows my niece's name, has seen my niece, has played with her. Utterly bizarre. I'm going to call St. Louis this weekend.

Not that, mind you, I think the connection will help me. But it's still interesting.
Our MBA program rankings have fallen once again. It's been a steady decline since I entered in the fall of 2001. Before, I didn't really care too much. What were rankings all about? But that was easy to think when you were enrolled in what was considered one of the top 50 programs in the country and in the top 70 internationally. The Dean of the business school has emailed us all about this latest decline. This is not good news for us. Rankings drive recruiting. And the lower our rankings go, the less attractive we seem to recruiters and the less they will visit us and prefer our students to others.

On a positive note, I was called by the MARCOM manager for a large corporation in the Big City to the East. I can't believe I was contacted. I have a telephone interview scheduled for 4:30 today. Cross your fingers for me.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

My kingdom for a horse

I promised jemima I'd compose a list of good historical reading from the 1400s and 1500s. I've already raved about The Sunne in Splendour which is perhaps the best novel on Richard III out there. For general overview of Tudor times, I recommend Lara Eakins' site, Tudor History. Lara's site is a must-visit for anyone interested in Tudors because she has compiled all of the information in one place and I was pleased to find some portraits there that I hadn't seen before (BTW, a highlight of my trip to Spain was finding the portrait of Mary I in the Prado).

For those of you wondering, I appreciate both good writing and accuracy. If a book isn't accurate, then no matter how good the writing is, I won't like it. I'm rather anal on this point. Which surprises me in that I liked "Anne of the Thousand Days," a movie starring Richard Burton and Genevive Bujold (yes, that Genevive Bujold), which had several major inaccuracies.

Without further ado, here is the list:

  • The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers: A Novel by Margaret George. I also recommend Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles by the same author. I own the latter and could not put it down. The writing can be clumsy, but unlike many historical writers, Margaret George doesn't leave the reader high and dry when it comes ot explaining the intricate and complex dynastic rivalries and the ties that bind. She does a terrific job of moving the action along, of incorporating smoothly history with her own - often sympathetic - interpretation of those events.

  • The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir. I have my issues with Alison Weir, but not in this book. I picked this one up when I was in England and it's possibly the best biography of the three children of Henry VIII. What I like is that this book isn't so much of this happened and than that happened, but focuses on the interactions between the siblings. The initial focus is on Edward and Mary, then focuses on the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. I also recommend The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Weir. I took this book out of the library so many times, I finally ended up purchasing my own copy. This book is a good example of Weir spinning her rather outlandish theories and her bias isn't that far below the surface, but in terms of historical accuracies and readability, this is one of the better biographies.

  • The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser is not the most readable book out there. Fraser has a way of just giving facts in a dry manner - a massive info dump of dates and names, so to speak. Fraser's Mary Queen of Scots is pretty much the most exhaustive biography of Mary Stewart and The Warrior Queens is compelling, covering from Boadecia (who fought against the Romans) to more modern figures like Margaret Thatcher. Fraser is not a good 'entry level' author but if you're someone who already has a good grounding in the time period and the personalities, then I'd recommend Fraser over Weir as Fraser doesn't go out of her way to create new theories, but instead provides validation for the mostly commonly accepted ones.

  • Mistress Anne by Carolly Erickson is the best biography of Anne Boleyn out there, hands down. Anne is probably my favorite of the Six Wives and so I hungrily devour anything out there about her. I wish Erickson was still writing biographies, as her knowledge about this time is unparalleled. I also enjoyed Bloody Mary by Erickson and I also own a copy of this book since I felt it was the fairest and most sympathetic look at a very unhappy woman who was singleminded on her desire to bring England back into the fold of the Catholic Church. Erickson is similar to Fraser in that she relates facts and doesn't necessarily tell a story. "Mistress Anne," however, is more accessible than "Bloody Mary," but both are noteworthy and should be considered accurate and fair.

  • I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Jean Plaidy. I selected The Lady in the Tower as an example of Plaidy's work, but this author has written literally hundreds of novels about royals - from all time periods and all dynastics. From the fires of the Spanish Inquisition to the 'morality' of Victoria's court, Plaidy covers it all and very accurately too, but without sacrificing good storytelling. I think it's a mark of a good historical writer that you can take what's in Plaidy's books as pretty much fact. Plaidy's books are not easy to find - most of them are out of print and royal buffs usually hoard their copies, but you can usually find them in libraries or order them from other libraries.

I do not recommend using Shakespeare as a basis for learning about Tudor times. Shakespeare was a product of his times and his writing reflects that. "Henry VIII" and "Richard III" form a cornerstone of popular propaganda and while "Richard III" makes for good drama, it should be remembered that Elizabeth I was the reigning monarch while Shakespeare was writing, and incidentally, the last of the Tudor monarchs. I also do not consider the Anne Boleyn novels by Robin Maxwell to be either accurate or quality writing (that's $11 I will never get back!) and the buzz about "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillipa Gregory makes me decidedly unhappy as the historical inaccuracies (ie Mary Boleyn being married at 14, being the older sister etc) are blatant and unexcusable.
Help your fellow man

I don't have 3 million metric tons of steel just lying around but maybe you do.

Dear Sir or Madam,
Presently, I am looking for a large quantity of Number 1 & Number 2
Heavy Melting Steel (HMS1) steel scrap including and not limited to
plates, beams, rods, structural steel and used rails. I could use 3
million metric tons if the price is $100.00 USD Per Metric Ton .We would like
this price FOB .Please send any and all quotes and questions to immediately. Do not fax quotes at this time.This
deal is as real as they come so please do not hesitate.We have letters of
credit in hand for these amounts.

If we have reached you by mistake ,please send an email to with the word remove in the subject line and I will
remove you from any future emails.

Thank you,
Paul J. Milea jr
Wing N' A Prayer Telecommunications
3504 James Street
Syracuse,New York ,USA 13206

cell (315) 374-1560

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

We go shopping

This drill saw would make a perfect dining room table. For a mere $1150, it can be mine. Contact the Inimitable Miss Barr to contribute to the "Buy Seema a Drill Saw" fund.
You don't mess with coffee

Or a girl's morning routine, no matter the date is. I mean, c'mon, Tejano music? At 6:45 in the morning? What happened to my ABC news headlines? My weather report? My 30-second headline round-up of the local area? So yes, funny for the first 5 to 10 minutes but then... accordions. Lots of accordions. I'm a girl of routine. I wake up at the same time, do the same thing every morning, and even though the alarm goes off at 6:45, I like to snuggle in bed until 7:30. Today, all out whack. Had to roll out at 10 after 7. Couldn't take the Tejano music. Well, the Selena medley of "Amor Prohibido" and "Como la Flor" was very nice and appreciated, but the rest of it...

Other amusement here.