Requiem: flash drive

January of 2004 brought us a “weather event” that closed schools for four days. I was student teaching at the time, and so I had ample time at home. I put all my CDs on my computer and then, having nothing much more to do in my tiny studio apartment, I began to obsess that I “needed” a laptop. I made the mistake of asking Matt if he thought I should get one–he was trapped at his house, too, playing video games until his eyes turned red–and he thought I should. In retrospect, I knew I was asking the person who would tell me to go ahead and buy. Matt agrees with a good argument and doesn’t really weight the financial factor, which was significant, in my case. At that point, I was pretty poor due to a SNAFU with financial aid.

So the laptop was bought, used for five months and it did come in handy while student teaching. Then, as I grew increasingly worried about it getting stolen and also the fact I shouldn’t have bought it in the first place, I sold it at a loss on eBay. The result was that I essentially paid a little over $100.00 per month to use a laptop. Not the best deal, but not horrible, either.

I tell you all this, because at the same time I bought this jump drive. (Flash drive, thumb drive, cigar, it needs a standardized name.) 128 MB of storage and it cost $49.95. This was totally worth it, because I have used it for four years. Though now you can get multiple gigabytes of memory for less than the price I paid, this little guy was state of the art at the time and it worked for me.

Now, however, he is broken and I must bid him goodbye.

Read away the day day

My favorite thing about K/1 Read Away the Day Day at school is that I get to call it Read Away the Day Day. Yes, that last day is superfluous, but like those people who enjoy misusing quotation marks, I enjoy superfluous words.

My second favorite thing about Read Away the Day Day, is that people come in costume to read. For this day, no one had volunteered for Kristen’s class, and so I was pulled into duty. The costume is all Kristen. I said I would wear whatever, as long as I didn’t have to think of the whatever. Kristen happily whipped me up this Sam costume. Do you like green eggs and ham?

Stop the misuse of quotation marks!

Some people who read this sign, will interpret the message as “this company really finds it important that I stop driving at this point and instead enter on NW Davis Street. I can tell that they find it important because they have put quotation marks around the word to draw my attention to it.”

However, people who understand the correct use of quotation marks (and, I will agree, we are in the minority) will giggle because by putting quotation marks around the word stop, they are actually encouraging us to not stop our vehicles. Had the company, or the sign makers asked us, we would have told them that when trying to draw people’s attention to something, perhaps the use of the exclamation point would have been a better choice.

Yes, that’s right folks. When you look up how to use quotation marks correctly there is a whole lot of information about using them for dialogue and where the commas go and on which side of the quotations the punctuation lives. There is nothing that instructs you to put them around “words” willy-nilly when you are trying to draw people’s attention to them.

Do you know why? Because when you put quotes around things that aren’t dialogue, it can often be read that the word you are quoting is not true. My favorite example from my workplace was at Bread and Circus and the sign in our Prepared Foods department advertised “fresh” sandwiches. “Are we trying to tell people we only serve old, moldy sandwiches?” I asked aloud before erasing their quote-ish presence. That sign above? It is saying to keep driving right through there. Don’t stop, no matter what other context clues tell you.

And really, what is wrong with the exclamation point? They are scattered all over the blogs (including this one) as well as enthusiastic people’s letters and notes. Why are they not used more on signs? Are they not dignified enough? And shouldn’t sign makers know better? Why not have an English major on staff to proofread those signs before you print them? God knows there are tons of unemployed English majors out there. Do us all a favor and hire one. The English major gets a job. Businesses don’t suffer the expense of incorrect signs and the general public isn’t assaulted by incorrect grammar.

Happily for those of us who get pleasure in the misuse of quotation marks, there is a blog. Yes, you too can enjoy The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks.

Guidelines, Friday and Saturday

Well, my Guidelines did their job, but they went out with a whimper.

Up and dressed: yes, Friday and Saturday
1 hour study: yes, Friday, no Saturday
1 hour blogs: yes, Friday, and then 20 fruitless minutes spent searching for a count up timer for the blog on Saturday
1 hour exercise: yes Friday, yes Saturday. Both days there was jogging.
4 hours work: I think I did some work on Friday, but probably not four hours. No on Saturday
Keep up with dishes and picking up: Yes on both days.
Nap maximum time 30 minutes: I think I didn’t nap on either of those days.
Eat only when hungry, stop when full. Nope.
Plan food. Nope.
Fruit and veggies while watching movie. Nope.

So overall, I would say the guidelines kept me from going into a slide early on. I count them a success and will use them on my next break.

Three sentence movie reviews–Truly, Madly Deeply

The pacing of this movie was slow, and I had time to contemplate a variety of things, one of which was not very nice and I won’t say it here. I would categorize this movie as “a nice movie.” It also contains a good message for people who are entirely sure they will never get over a former spouse or boyfriend.

ps. Alan Rickman is one of my “phone book” people. That is, he could read me the phone book and I’d be happy to listen.

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Sports Night.

Having just watched 960 minutes of a television show in five days, I figure I should give a shout out to Sports Night. I didn’t watch this when in was originally on TV, though I knew who Aaron Sorkin was and really enjoyed the movie The American President. I’ve spent other vactions watching seasons of The West Wing. Having some time on my hands, I figured I would get the series and see how it was.

It was good enough for me to spend over three hours per day watching it, causing me to avoid much of the “work” I had planned over my vacation. From the pilot episode, where Peter Krauss‘ hair was entirely too poofy, this show had zing and pop that kept me saying, “just one more.” The characters were well developed and likable and the plots nicely balanced the story development, the fluff and the nice big statements. And the writing is so intelligent. I expected it on the West Wing. After all, people working in the White House must have incredibly complex and thoughtful discussions on a daily basis, even under the worst presidents. But intellectual leanings on a show about a sports show?

I also appreciate the shout out Aaron Sorkin gives to those of us interested in the minutiae of life, aka “trivia“. Throughout the series, someone was always talking about some little nugget of information, for example the correct definition of the word montarily, or the curse of Thales. I admire television that is not afraid to be smart, even when you wouldn’t expect it from its characters.

Guidelines, vacation is nearing its end.

I took yesterday off from my guidelines and had a day of sloth. There was much consumptive entertainment. So here is the report from Wednesday:

  • Up and dressed to the shoes. I did do that. Oh wait. Wednesday was the day that I hauled myself out of bed, fed the cat, read on the couch for about a half-hour and then fell asleep for 2.5 hours. So I didn’t do that.
  • 1 hour study math test. I only made it 37 minutes.
  • 1 hour blogs. I did do this.
  • 1 hour exercise. I had a 90 minute yoga class to welcome in the new year. I also took a 30 minute walk to get the milk.
  • 4 hours work. Nope. After my nap/going back to bed I did the blog/math routine and then watched Sports Night until my evening plans started.
  • Keep up with dishes and general picking up. I did do that.
  • Nap maximum time 30 minutes. Nope
  • Eat only when hungry, stop when full. I did a good job of that.
  • Plan food the day before. I did do that.
  • Fruit and veggies while watching movie. I did this. I don’t actually think I ate.

So, on one hand, I missed a lot of my goals. But I am taking cheer in the fact that I’ve had portions of vacations that passed with multiple days like this day.

Three sentence movie reviews–George Washington

Given how much I loved this director’s movie All the Real Girls earlier this year and given the favorable reviews when it came out, I expected to really like this movie. I didn’t. The cinematography is great–never has a decaying Southern town looked so good–but I was bored.

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There ought to be a law!

In case you hadn’t heard, albums are back, as evidenced by their appearance in my local not-hip-at-all Fred Meyer store. Now you youth who grew up with the tiny pictures on the CD covers, or the mp3 files with no picture at all can put the needle to the record and gaze at the cover art and record sleeves as you listen, just as your parents and grandparents did before you.
But, what’s this? $16.99 for a record that is older than me? Don’t do it. Find it used in the record stores, but don’t let the record companies rip you off. Albums used to be $9.99, tops. The promise of “new technology” let CDs be sold for double the price (when they cost less to make than an album or cassette). Don’t pay CD prices for a record album, even if it is brand new.

Three sentence movie reviews–Legally Blonde

“Content of your character” movies sometimes come in surprising packages. Legally Blonde’s statement about sticking to what you know is right and being who you are rings strong and true. I can’t help wondering if the writer grew up to listening to Free to Be You and Me.

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