Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Knitting in Honor of

Larissa aka Stitch Marker is offering the Meathead pattern for sale (prior to the book release) with proceeds to go to Christopher Donn Memorial Fund. As she put it, the pattern is relatively easy so the real thing that you may be doing is donating to the fund for a family who tragically lost a husband and father when he was struck by a car trying to avoid another car (he was jogging on the sidewalk). The pattern is a bonus for helping out, should you be so moved.
This is the pattern that I used for the knit along, and created these beauties, if that assists in your decision making.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

No Need for Sizing

Now I am not in a position to personally wear a condom (male condom, as intended) but since I have witnesses a teenager pulling one completely over his head I feel that they contain enough give to really make this sizing thing unnecessary. Of course, people put pantyhose over their heads, and I always have to go up a size from what the chart on the back recommends so perhaps I simply don't understand. But apparently, if bored enough, one could wear over 600 condoms (as intended - NSFW*). However, if sizing makes you or your partner happier (pun not intended), then go for it.

*I haven't checked the link that this link leads you to, since it is NSFW and I haven't logged in a home to peruse it .

Buildings, Weather and Interdependencies

One of the many things I love about DC is that while there aer certainly plenty of buildings of the tall sort, there are no real skyscrapers. The reason is that there is a rule in place that nothing can be taller (height-wise, hills and such are not counted in this) than the Washington Monument.
When I was travelling in Europe someone told me that Europe - having done much of their building prior to the skyscraper era - is experiencing space problems, while places where development came later, such as Asia are building up to make better use of space.
I also recently ran across a discussion about DC's height limit and how that may play into the high real estate prices since there is a finite number of dwellings that can be put in.
Well, the spring issue of UU World has an article talking about weather and the seventh principle. The seventh principle for Unitarian Universalists speaks to recognizing the interdependent web of existence, our connection to the world and each other.
Author Laura Lee talks about our effects - intended and unintended - on weather and states:
In urban areas, where greenery is scarce and pavement is not, tall buildings block the path of winds and expand the surface areas that absorb solar heat. The result is an effect known as the “urban heat island.” It is particularly pronounced in Japanese cities like Tokyo, where high humidity multiplies the effect of rising heat. Tokyo today is 3°c hotter than it was a century ago. Palm trees native to subtropical southern China are springing up in the city as flocks of parakeets native to southern India and Sri Lanka fly overhead. NASA scientists observing satellite images of Atlanta, Georgia (nicknamed “Hotlanta” for its nightlife), found that the hottest parts of downtown were as much as 10°f hotter than the surrounding area and that this difference caused air to rise and created thunderstorms. If you live East of the city and a tornado comes your way, you may have Hotlanta to thank.
So, there is a reason, aside from the historical and the aesthetic, to maintain DC's height limit. Because, it is certainly hot enough already. (Or it is in the summer, at least.)

Monday, February 26, 2007

I Would Like to Thank

I would like to thank God and my parents, because without them I wouldn't be here today. Oh right, well, anyway, the Oscars were last night and they ran long (although not as long as the night my friends and I were betting with candy and we all bet on what time they would and ten minutes past the latest guess, we all had to pick new times). But overall I enjoyed them. Yes, there were too many tributes, but I was happy to see the return of the fashion show prior to best costume and enjoyed the script readings before best screenplays. And the music. I adore Melissa Etheridge and don't in any way mean to take away from the excitement of her song, but when the Oscar voters demonstrated a serious lack of attention to music this year leading to three songs from "Dreamgirls" being nominated, well, it almost assured a "Dreamgirls" loss. Ah well.
There were no choices that made me want to spit, no terribly long speeches (although quite a few really dull ones). And Ellen rocked. If they could alternate Ellen, John Stewart and maybe Whoopi and Chris Rock I think it would be great. Although I don't recall hating any hosts in recent years.
Congratulations to Jennifer Hudson! It is an amazing thing to be in your very first movie and get nominated for an Academy Award and then win! Here's hoping it's just the beginning.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Three Book Mini-Rants

I am easily irritated by little stuff these days. So, here are some things that have forced me to stop reading - at least long enough to mutter at the book.

*I'm paraphrasing, but I read a book where the character was having an internal monologue about how her family thought it was weird that she was in South America. She thought that her family felt that the no places was worth going unless it was New York, LA, DC, certainly nowhere below the Mason-Dixon line. Except that DC is below the Mason-Dixon line. And there were so many ways to tweak that sentence to eliminate that.

*Again, internal monologue. This book is the first of a series and boy can you tell with all the info dumping about everyone who is going to recur. The character is thinking about a friend and employee who, while living in a small Southern town, dress stylishly and highlights his hair. The character states that he is clearly gay and the only person who doesn't know it is him. Except, he's not gay unless he is attracted to people of his same gender. There is nothing else that makes you gay. Now, certainly this character, could be suppressing an attraction to other men, but the character who is narrating offers no evidence of this. Which means, as far as everyone else knows, he is not gay.

*And one book in the pile contains a character who discovered her husband was cheating on her, thereby prompting STI testing. I applaud the fact that such a necessity was mentioned, however the character - who is supposed to be my age, in a book published in this millennium - refers to it as VD testing. I don't know how old the author is (some quick nosing determined that she graduated college in the late eighties) but really. The only reason I even know what VD is (they used the abbreviation in the book rather than the full words: venereal disease), is because I saw a very special episode of "Good Times" once upon a time. (I may even have asked my mother for clarification on what they were talking about.) Really, welcome to the present, people.

Updated because I remembered one.

Happy Birthday, Kitty

Did you know that March 2 is the Cat's 50th birthday? You know, The Cat in the Hat. And you can send a birthday card. Why should you send a birthday card to a mischevious cat? Oh, right, because Random House will help support literacy in your community. (Yesterday when I sent mine, DC was #11. Which, when you factor in population means we totally rock.) So - go on now.

Thanks to the Cherry who passed on this link

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Quick Note on Buses and Pedestrians

I don't want to spend too much time on the recent spate of injuries and deaths related to metro buses and trains, in part because I think too many of them are still being investigated so it is difficult to determine if their truly is a pattern or just a rash of bad luck. (However, I feel certain, the use of proper jaywalking rules would have at least helped.)
However, as I travelled downtown Friday, two pedestrians ran across the middle of the street right in front of the bus I was riding. The bus driver successfully missed them but he also pulled over and asked them if they had been paying attention to recent news. They pleaded ignorance and the driver informed them that several buses had hit pedestrians, and this could be reduced if pedestrians didn't insist on running in front of buses especially when road conditions were iffy. The pedestrians did apologize and were were all on our way.

No Sleep Tonight

Have I mentioned that I'm tired? I am tired because I am going stuck in one of the DMV circles of hell. (And hey, I only believe in hell on earth. Really, we punish people better here than any place I can think of.) And I had a youth group retreat, so lack of sleep there, plus the sleep I had was on a mattress on the floor. And then the aforementioned DMV crisis means I am currently metro-ing to work. And people, in clear violation of city ordinances still have not cleared their sidewalks, causing me to take my life into my hands as I walk to and from the bus stop. Come on people, there is an abandoned building that has a clear sidewalk, so you people in your houses and grocery stores and car repair places have no excuse. None. It has been a week!
And then last night, the fire alarm in my apartment building malfunctioned. Again. The alarm has gone off approximately once a month since I have been there. (This doesn't count the number of times I have arrived in time to see a fire engine pulling away.) Usually it gets turned off pretty quickly. I know this is the joy of sharing your space with so many people (one of the many reasons I prefer cottage style apartments). Twice before it had gone off for long enough that people had started to gather stuff and head down the stairs before it was turned off.
This time it went off but it sounded strange. Instead of a steady pulse throughout the floor it would ding a little one one side, then on the other end, and then stop and then start the cycle. Someone went down to check. And then it strted up with a steady sound. So people gathered up their kids, I stuffed my cat in her carrier and we all tromped down the stairs. I live on the ninth floor. About the sixth, we started seeing people heading back up. They had been told it was a false alarm. Shortly the alarm stopped. And so we turned around and headed back up. Have I mentioned at this point it was midnight?*
I got back to my apartment and released my cat. And then I heard it again, but this time it stopped immediately. So, I read for a while, reasoning that I would rather have to gather my stuff (again) already awake, than just after having fallen asleep. So, here I am. Still tired.

*Yes, it could be worse. It could have happened during "Veronica Mars".

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Knitting Update

I am working on two blankets. The irony is that, I was working on a sleeveless sweater but it got too big to fit in my purse easily, so I started a blanket. But then car issues led to a DMV visit which means, it's getting really big too. (I "finished" the sweater but it looks goofy so I am engaged in the do I try to fix it or turn it into a a bag or just hide it debate.) The first blanket is a log cabin using Patons wool and soy-wool. The other is a free form modular thing that may not even end up rectangular using cottons: Sugar N Creme, Nature Cotton, Savannah Cotton and Blue Sky Cotton.


I feel very disconnected today. I am having car related issues, which I may blog in more detail about at some point where it doesn't totally frustrate and depress me. So today I took metro, which was fine, if expensive. (Seriously, four dollars each way adds up when you are fortunate enough to have free parking.) And I have been away from the office for a longer than planned weekend since I spent my Friday in bureaucratic hell (aka the DMV). And I'm tired since the rest of the weekend was spent on a youth group retreat. And I can't find my pedometer. I am sure it will show up, but with the metroing I should be logging even better numbers for 100 miles and it irritates me that I am not. So today I feel disconnected, discombobulated, and generally strange. I'm sure it will pass.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

FNL Good-ness

USA Today has an article about the recent storylines involving racism of "Friday Night Lights". I love the show and perhaps the writer has seen future episodes, but I don't agree with the statement about the easy resolution. I agree that it is nice to see a show about a small town (Dillon) that isn't hokey. I agree FNL has some of the best storylines about families, the families aren't happy or sad, they are both. The parents and children are neither always right, nor always wrong.
First, as the writer mentions, kudos to FNL, for doing a stpryline about racism that wasn't super clear cut. An assistant coach got tangled in his words while talking to a reporter. What makes it so real, so simple, yet so complex, is that the coach doesn't use racial slurs. In the game they used a trick play where the (white) quarterback made a lateral shovel pass to the (white) running back who made another lateral pass to the (black) running back who then made a forward pass to the quarterback. The reporter commented that the black running back (nicknamed Smash) was a quarterback on the JV team and should they maybe consider him for the spot. The coach responded that Smash was in the right place, that a guys like him and some other players are really good in the power running positions. The savvy reporter noticed that the players listed were all black and was the assistant coach ("Mac") suggesting that black players are better suited to certain roles?
So what was great (if you will) about it is that Mac doesn't think he is being racist, he thinks he's appreciating special talents and the fact that the talents seem to coincide with race, he doesn't see that that is, in fact, racism. And while there certainly are plenty of people who are balls out racist, I think a lot of what we deal with today is this type of more subtle racism.
Mac makes an apology but it is one of those spin type apologies we've all heard (I regret that my remarks may have cause offense...). And of course, as Smash himself says, Mac isn't a bad guy, he just says stupid stuff sometimes. The black players walk off of the team. The head coach is trying to figure out if one stupid remark (albeit made to a reporter) should really invalidate a whole career, that incidentally includes being a big part of the team's original racial integration. Mac offers his resignation, it is refused. The players realize they may be losing more than they stand to gain and return. And then they go visit a town that has even more work to do race-wise. Such that the game turns into a brawl in the fourth quarter. The game is called for Dillon (the main team) since they were ahead, and they are pulled over by some pissed off (white) cops on their way home who want to question Smash for his "role" in instigating the brawl. Mac points out that without a warrant they don't have a leg to stand on. When asked what the cops wanted, Mac tells Smash that the cops had made a mistake the way he did. So, a bit better of an apology.
While it remains to be seen if the racism storyline continues, I don't think this was in any way an easy resolution. Yes, it's wonderful that everyone on the team seems to be cool now. But I think that the reality is it is very hard, especially as a teen, to figure out how far to push things. If someone is treating you well, but maybe not thinking about you for other positions because of your race is that wrong? Sure. But how do you counter that? Especially if you like the position where you landed? Do you make a play for something you don't really want for the principle? And as Smash's mother points out, is maybe the best way to counter low expectations just to go and exceed them. Go, play, get a scholarship, and be successful in life. And while it was spread over two episodes, there is an interesting contrast between how Waverly, Smash's girlfriend, thinks he should fight and how his mother thinks he should fight. Both agree he is a leader, and he should set the tone. They just have different ways for him to do that. And neither of them is wrong. Which makes none of the choices Smash - and all the rest - face easy.

Teaching Moments

As someone who's parents frequently watched television with me and my siblings, and used those plot points to discuss things and work on our critical thinking, I perhaps have a special fondness for using pop culture to explore what these moments might lead to in real life.
But, I must say, that even better than using "Grey's Anatomy" to teach the ten commandments, I adore review of employment law through "The Office". God knows, there will always be fresh material there.
See, you can learn things from TV.

Brea Bag - Finished

Brea Bag - with Straps
Originally uploaded by mememe20016.
The Brea Bag is finished! I found some straps which I attached to some D rings from the local craft store. I bought larger D rinngs and may swap them in because while the smaller ones match better, i worry that they are stretching the bag a bit. I have been using the bag fairly successfully. I may need to line it (oh the irony, I'm ususallu such a tight knitter and this thing is freaking double knitted) and picked up matierials at the LCS. But I think it looks gorgeous.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Telecommuting - the Pros and Cons

As a follow-up to boundaries (from last week) I started a mental checklist about telecommuting I thought I would share. Some of the pros and cons have some overlap and of course there is no way to make a list that encompasses everyone's unique situations, but it's a start.
1. Pro - No commute (assuming you are telecommuting from home. You could, of course, be at Starbucks or Panera or a Camden Yards, in which case you hopefully commute less.)
2. Con - You are surrounded by those bills, laundry, and possibly fellow home-dwellers. No escape.
3. Pro - No dress code.
4. Con - No co-workers to chat with in person. (Of course, if you don't like your co-workers.)
5. Pro - You could shower in the middle of the day, or run a load of laundry between conference calls.
6. Con - Small things - pets, children, making noise on conference calls.
7. Pro - You can work to the lovely strains of "Oprah" or your music - as load as you want.
8. Con - It can be harder to bug people remotely.
9. Pro - It is easier to arrange your schedule around other commitments. And make up time.
10. Con - It can be harder to tell when it is time to "leave" work.
11. Pro - Couch.
12. Con - It can be harder to collaborate remotely.
13. Pro - A fridge full of goodies. You could even cook food.
14. Con - No office supplies.


Between company offered laptops, cells and blackberries along with the increased ease of telecommuting, discussion of the personal vs. work boundaries are heating up. One of my first jobs was for a company run out of my boss's basement and for a while she walked out of her front door around to the basement door in order to create some mental separation. I had a behavioral psychology professor who talked about studying next to a light and every time, you stop studying - to talk on the phone, daydream, web surf, turn the light off. The idea was to create a sort Pavlovian study response to the light being on.
I have had jobs, where expect for the occaisonal contract site job, I worked from home. I have had jobs where working from home wasn't an option. And I have a job now, where telecommuting once a week is on option.
For a while I did telecommute. Then there were technology challenges and since they (at the time) would neither provide me a computer to telecommute with nor support our personal computers through any problems as a result of the telecommuting software. So I stopped.
Now, most of us have laptops. So, what does that mean? The laptop is supposed to ease my ability to work anywhere. But does it mean my work hours change? Does it mean that it would be less of an imposition to work on a Saturday because (connection issues aside) I can do it from my couch? And most recently, does it mean my office never has to close down for weather (not that they did that often before, mind you) because I don't have to drive?
So, I haven't completed the steps to set myself up to telecommute. I have made all the appropriate requests, but haven't chased anyone down when they didn't get back to me. Part of me worries. I have a co-worker who is resisting getting a cell phone becuase she doesn't want to be more reachable than she is. (I told her to get one and just not tell anyone at work.) And really, if the roads are unsafe, the solution is not for me to work elsewhere, it is for me to not have to come in to work. (Don't get me wrong, I am not putting myself in danger to get to work. Not even to make a point.)
Today, in my group, there were two of us in the office. Two others, who also have challenges with telecommuting, called in today. But is that fair that others get to not lose vacation because they set up a scenario (that is - by the way - supposedly optional) where not enough people can speak to the danger of the roads since they just work from home those days? This is exacerbated by the fact that we report in to another state, so there are no senior management type people in our area. My manager is able to report area conditions to them, but it's all specualtion if she doesn't have to drive in.
And it is an interesting situation. Again, I don't feel that I drove in unsafe conditions (less safe, sure). And I didn't get up early, so however long it took (forty five minutes) to clear my car, well, I was just late in. But the precedent concerns me. Too bad my HR is in another state too.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stuff Falling From the Sky

The Washington area has an interesting relationship with snow and it's winter precipitation counterparts (often referred to as the "wintry mix"). Being home to a large number of people from somewhere else, people are often confused. Why - in an area where there are food places everywhere would folks buy out the bread, milk and toilet paper at the mere hint of snow? Why do we close for snow? Or why doesn't the world shut down for snow? Where are the snow plows? Is it best to just drive faster in the snow? (No, by the way.)
So, my thoughts on this.
First, while the DC area typically gets some sort of winter precipitation each year, it is usually not in huge or even consistent amounts. This means that people do not get an opportunity to really hone their snow skills, and due to the aforementioned high number of non-native people this leads to problems. It also means that often when there is a budget crunch, stuff for snow gets cut because people don't complain about that until after the storm. (Schools and social services tend to get noticed quickly.)
So, while people from areas where it snows regularly find it peculiar, stuff tends to close for snow around here. (Not the places I work, but whatever.)
The bread, milk and toilet paper is strange since even during the ice storm that shut down the area for four days (I was off in college, but it made the news) the grocery stores were still open. But in some ways, it is almost self-fulfilling. You notice that everyone buts these things and you end up buying it because there won't be any left should you experience a normal shortage. And so on.
As far as how to drive in snow, I'm not sure that can be properly conveyed via blog, but no, faster is not better. Caution is good. And really, if you're not sure about your snow skills, try not to drive. Please.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I Was a Crazy Fan

A fellow wench sent out a link to a Volunteer Match request for crazy fans. I emailed the contact at Studio Theatre stating I felt I had the skill set to be a crazy fan.
Studio Theatre was having their Gala, and the theme was 1940's Oscar Glam. Attendees were encouraged to dress up, and go forties if they were so inclined. A red carpet was laid down in front of the entrance. They had headsets so that attendees could be announced over the loudspeaker. So, they needed crazed fans to create the true Oscar experience.
It was cold, so we reasoned that screaming and jumping up and down would keep us warm. People arrived - they saw the crowd and didn't quite get it. There was one person in our crew who had brought paper and a pen and she started running up to people asking for autographs. People had cameras. Another member of the crew kept asking people who they were wearing (no one seemed to answer that one). The early birds primarily seemed to view us as potentially delusional. One person asked how much we were being paid. I told her we were there because we loved her.
As more people arrived and arrived along with others, they started to get into it. People waved back. Some people signed autographs. We were appropriately crazed in response. ("Oh my God - she waved at me! Did you see?") There were still a few who walked quickly along the carpet and tried not to make eye contact. But there were also a few who came back out and walked it again. (Seriously.)
After two hours my hands and feet were numb. But it was a lot a fun. And I went to a birthday celebration just up the way for a friend and ate (in the warm). And let my toes tingle. And then I went dancing. I was exhausted but in a good way.

Things People Should Know: The Grammy Edition

I'm hoping the camera just panned too fast, so I won't name names. I know people have very strong feelings about the Dixie Chicks. (Although I find it fascinating that certain people make anti-semitic remarks and we should support them, their movies go to number one, there is no talk of not showing their movies. Make one off-hand remark about a politician, and people will refuse to play your music on the radio.) Certainly, I don't personally agree with every winner last night. But I know that if you are there, you applaud the winner. The event is televised. Applauding doesn't mean you like them or support them or are best buddies with them, applause is simply basic politeness. You can go home and throw things - or if you feel unable to clap for a few seconds, you can choose to not attend the event. But really, crossing your arms and refusing to applaud does not make a statement. It just makes you childish. Even if the people who won are up there being a bit childish, clap. It won't kill you. And it will give you a leg to stand on should you later wish to discuss appropriate public behavior.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bad Writing That's Fun

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2006 Results are here. The challenge is to write a terrible opening line. There are many people who had wonderfully awful answers.

Thanks to the Cherry for passed the link on.

Ode to 16th Street

The title is really a misnomer, but it sounds pretty. 16th Street is a very utilitarian sounding name, but it is a very cool street. First, 16th Street (and this is in Northwest DC that we are talking here) runs from Silver Spring to the White House. (Seriously, it ends when it smacks into the White House grounds.) So 16th Street gets you to a lot of places, and gets you through the city fairly efficiently - at least in a north/south direction.
Also, you can see the Washington Monument. For whatever reason, it is more noticeable at night, but that may be because my travels have me going south more often at night, but it peeks over as you get south of the Carter Barron. 16th Street also gets you to the Carter Barron a very cool park complex with sports and theater and music events.
For whatever reason 16th Street has a huge number of churches*. Back when they still did the Goodwill Embassy tour, a guide told us that 16th Street has more churches than any other street in DC. An informal survey that my friends and I did one evening, found about thirty five. And that was without counting the several that I know of that are just a block east or west.

*Okay I checked Wikipedia and 16th Street has a number of embassies, and used to have more. The churches followed the embassies. Hmmm.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Knitting Update

I'm still working on the Brea bag. The gusset takes forever! (Mostly because I thought I had finished all the hard bits, and the gusset is just moss stitch but it's long.) Still haven't decided what I'll do for the strap. I may try to knit some leather.
I did do two squares for the square-along, and then totally dropped the ball as far as getting them mailed out or anything. So, I will turn them into a blanket on my own, and donate them locally.
And I have a sweater or two in progress.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

And For Some Happy News

If you have been following the Super Proposal, the commercial aired last night and she said yes. If you haven't, a gentleman had turned to the power of the internets to get assistance getting an ad aired during the SuperBowl to propose to his girlfriend. However, ad space for the Bowl was booked up so he was trying to work a deal with an existing advertiser which then fell through. CBS was possibly going to squeeze it in somewhere anyway, but that also fell through. So, the ad aired, in one market only, during "Veronica Mars" last night, favorite show of the propose-ee. And she said yes. Click on the link above for the story, the ad and her reaction. Congrats to both of them!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Does Anybody Remember What We Were Talking About?

So here's what happened. Someone called in (to my company) with a question, we'll call him John*. The person John talked to got his information and assured him that we would handle things. John called back a few hours later having realized he forgot something. He talked to a different person who could not find record of his prior call, but took his information and assured him we would take care of everything. Understandably concerned that there appeared to be no record of his call, he called his boss. Who called us. We researched. We discovered that the first person wrote his name down as John, the second as Jon, so the records didn't match up but in both cases they had all his info and things were being taken care of. Notes were put in the call tracking system to sync up the two records, changes were made to Jo(h)n's account, all was well.
The project manager relayed this back and asked me to check that the loop was closed. As I was composing my reply, the system person chimed in that he couldn't find anyone in the system named John or Jon. I replied that yes, things were taken care of and if the systems person wanted to triple check - here is the case number where he said he had updated the account.
He replied that he still couldn't find anyone by that name. And then the client replied that hey, they didn't have anyone named Jon who worked for them anyway. So, why do we care if this person's change has been made?

*In order not to violate any confidentiality I am using fake names for this story, but trust me it really is as loony as it sounds. Or I am having one really strange dream.

Monday, February 05, 2007

More Schooling

The school I went to had nine forty five minute periods per day - except Friday when we had eight. So, with assembly and break, I was in school from 8:15 to 3:30. Compared to some folks I knew in other schools, this was a pretty long day. God knows, there were days when it felt like forever. So I am all for spending a decent amount of time in school, but my initial reaction to the idea of twelve hours was it was the nuttiest yet. Even nuttier than 'year round' school. Crazier than mayoral control or just about every other suggestion I have heard for radically overhauling the school system.
Part of it is that I think it's a little like dieting - we know what works: dedicated, well-paid teachers with resources and reasonable class sizes. Right? - works every time. But we somehow focus on the whole well maybe this school over here is succeeding because they go to school for twelve hours. (And hey, if it's working for them, great. But I - lover of learning - can only imagine my brain would have shriveled up like an over full sponge at least once a week. All day training stresses me out. And that's only eight hours.)
And, as one analyst in the study pointed out, a lot of times a longer day doesn't equate to greater learning time since there is a lot of other junk stuffed into the school day.
But, in my humble opinion it isn't really a twelve hour school day. The school profiled has a study hall after dinner, so kids, for the most part, go home with homework finished. So, one imagines, the lack of distractions while studying in addition to the small class size, might have more to do with their success that the length of the school day, although separating them might not be as useful. And certainly this plan would benefit kids who go home to empty houses and therefore have greater freedom to, you know, not do your homework. I didn't go home to an empty house until high school and I was still really good at not doing my homework, but nonetheless. And certainly if I had been plunked in a study hall with nothing else to do, my chances of doing my homework would have been greater. I think parents would also love the idea of their children coming home with homework all or mostly done. Which could lead to all sorts of happiness. I don't think its the right solution for everyone, but it is growing on me.

Thanks to DCist for the link.

That Was a Game

Congrats to the Colts and the Colts fans! I was a Colts fan for this game (and this playoffs season.) I have been a Tony Dungy fan for quite some time, so it's not totally out of (or into) the blue. While I am old enough to remember the Colts sneaky departure, I do not. I got most of my sports news through my parents and apparently it was not memorable enough to them or their conversations about it were not memorable enough to me. So, I have no such baggage. (Especially since my home team is not quite native to the area.)
Anyhoo - sorry Bears fans - maybe next year. All in all it was a great game - weather can always be a fun factor! (One reason I think they should play baseball in the rain. Just saying - might make it fun.)
Obligatory note on the ads, a few made me laugh, but very, very few will stand up to any sort of repeat viewing. And I'm sad - they used to have such great NFL ads - you know, tomorrow we are all undefeated, or the year they had folks - including Mr. Dungy - singing "So Happy Together" - I miss those.

From WaPo:
"I have to dedicate this to the guys who came before me," Dungy said after the game. "Jimmy Ray, Sherman Lewis, Lionel Taylor were great coaches in this league who could have done this if they'd been given the opportunity. Lovie Smith and I weren't the best, but we were given the opportunity. I feel so good about representing guys who paved the way for us."

Dear Folks #6

Dear Person(s) Who Broke Into My Car,
I hope it was worth it. I would have at least understood if you had taken the sleeping bag since the last few days have been below freezing. However, the fact that you rifled through the various CDs, shoes, took the owner's guides out of their folder, and removed all the trash I had stored in a side pocket and leaving it strewn about the car, indicates to me that you had hoped for more. Perhaps unwilling to declare my junk a total loss, I see you took the Ikea bag and the air mattress, but left me the pillows. I do appreciate this. The Ikea bag, while extremely useful, cost a dollar, so this is the excuse I had been looking for since I understand they now have some in other sizes. (Although I will have to wait for my bank account to recover to fully explore this.) You also took my air mattress, and while it is/was a very cool air mattress it also had a slow leak. Sure, I could have patched it, but that would have required me to figure out where it was and yeah. So, I am viewing this a little as the universe trying to send me shopping. Although, if, in the future, you and the universe could understand that a repair to my window severely impedes my ability to go shopping, I would appreciate it. I am tempted to make a list of items that are in my car and post it on my window so that any future criminal entrepreneurs can make an informed decision. Although, I'm not sure they would believe me. My mother's co-worker used to leave her glove compartment open to demonstrate it's emptiness, and people still broke into her car. Ah well, it could be worse.
Still Really Cold Car Owner

Friday, February 02, 2007

Laundry Mail

In college, as part of a behavioral psychology project, we monitored how long laundry lingered in the machines after finishing. We then posted signs in the room listing the length of the cycle and watched to see if this changed the linger rate (it did).
Well, it seems there is an even better plan. Student at the University of Iowa will get an email when their cycle finishes. They can also go online and check for open machines, which totally rocks. I am all for multi-tasking, especially since no one has made strides to make laundry rooms fun places to while away the time.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Just the Other Day

Just the other day I was thinking about the "It Factor" which ran for two seasons on Bravo and followed struggling actors hoping for their big break. I thought it was a fascinating show, and I think it came to mind as I pondered the state of reality TV on Bravo (not even going to go there today). And then of course last night I saw the smoker's patch commercial that features Sara from season two and I also caught up on my Tuesday shows and watched "House". This week Katheryn Winnick guest starred and as I scrolled through her IMdB listings I found nothing I would have seen. Until, I got to self filmography and found she was in season one - and as soon as I read that she was the tae kwon do teacher and Canadian girl, it popped. So - yay - Katheryn! I liked the episode, although I have some minor quibbles, but you were great!