1,393 page, 7.4 pound Biology textbook: $140

Self-referencing textbook diagram using said heavy tome to weigh down a Southern blot:   PRICELESS!

illustration with heavy biology textbook used to weigh down materials

illustration showing textbook used to weigh down materials

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Lost in Translation

My daughter brought this quote home from college, as she though I would enjoy it — and I very much do, as I can readily identify with it.  The words had been printed out and tacked on a bulletin board, and it originates from Brian Andreas’ Story People:

There are some days
when no matter what I say
it feels like
I’m far away in another country
& whoever is doing the translating
has had far too much to drink

The absurd list

So, it’s the Last Big Push before the end of the semester — this “holiday” weekend I have to write 4 exams, make up three teaching presentations, and grade the latest set of exams and various assignments. (Oh, and send out a couple of job apps, soon as I can squeeze them in.  They’re really long shots, but “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.)

In another 10 days or so I’ll be done with teaching classes this semester, and can focus on other things in life, like finishing my family cookbook, finish a quilt, a dozen home repairs, sorting out the basement storage area, tidying up the gardening stuff around the patio, organising my seed-starting and cleaning up my gardening tools, removing rampant garden volunteers, yadda-yadda-yadda.  Basically, everything in life that has been put on “hold” since I started working 60-50 hours per week in September.

But I thought it would fun to post the Absurd List.  You know, those things you would love to have, but would never be able to get short of a weird twist of fate.

A retired London Underground subway car recycled as an office.

Or maybe the ultimate treehouse, the “free spirit sphere”.  Of course, we don’t have the trees for such, but details, details…

What with the severe ice storms and extremes of hot and cold, few structures are quite so problematic in my climate as a fancy glasshouse. But as we know, plant-lust is an incurable condition that leaves us fondling seed-packets during the dark, short days of the year.  Our kitchen window by the table is the sunniest place in the house, so it’s hosting a small jungle of plants for the next half a year.

Of course, I wouldn’t want to be selfish, so I’d get a hot tub to put in a sunroom or somewhere.  All of us love a good soak in hot water, especially in the winter.

Ah well … back to my preps.

What’s on your Absurd List?

Sole Replacement

boot sole used as push-plate on shop door

boot sole used as push-plate on shop door

Nevermind Easy Street — I’d settle for just Okay

Colorblind

A BLUE fabric shopping bag with emblazoned the trendy caption, I'm Green. reduce reuse recycle

A BLUE fabric shopping bag with emblazoned the trendy caption, I

Prescription for Biological Control

(oops! I thought I had Published this post earlier; wrong button.)

a ladybeetle crawls down the middle of a weekly pill-sorter box

a ladybeetle crawls down the middle of a weekly pill-sorter box

When smart people are stupid

So I’m getting the first day of class materials organised, and looking at the online class Web application.  The instructor and students can both use it for sharing documents, so tomorrow I will have to demonstrate to the students how to access the program, and where I will put files for them. The instructor can also use it to record grades and attendance.

I look at the roster, noting that there are two guys with the same common first name,

Robert

Robert

But otherwise nothing potentially problematic until I come across an unfamiliar name.  Bulgarian, maybe?  Slovak?

Demo

I then look at the family name,

Student

Oh, duh!

_____________

* Maybe Demo is related to the statistician who came up with the Student’s t-distribution test   /joke

The War On … Idiotic Metaphors

I think that ’bout sums it up.

Grab mental stick and–

A white picket fence with some daylilies growing near the end

A white picket fence with some daylilies growing near the end

Now you have one, so do it!

TUIT

A wooden disk printed: TUIT

Cartoon: “Efficiency”

This cartoon is composed of four pages,

each of which bears a caption at the bottom of the page.

What, weighting scores?

Andrea’s Buzzing About: “Efficiency” A female Geek and older female User are seated at a desk, where the Geek is giving the User some instruction in how to use a program. A male Techie stops by the door. Geek to User: "... so you need to set up a user file with the ID 'foo@farble'; save that before moving onto the next step. --Yes?" Techie to Geek: "Here is the report doc." Geek to Techie: "Did the update load?" Techie replies: "Good-for-go with 3.0; included in the backup." Geek replies: "Excellent, thank you." The Techie leaves without further ado. Geek continues to User: "Now, the next step is to set up the database; you can do this with weighted or unweighted scores, the former being used for --" User: "How rude!" Geek: "What, weighting scores?"


Read the rest of this entry »

Stories of Yesteryear (II)

I found these several-years-old tales while looking for something else — you know how that goes!  Meanwhile, I have a report, a PowerPoint, an assignment, a summary and remarks to complete in the next 48 hours, so once again there’s not much time for new stuff.  However, I have found the background material to answer someone’s ADHD question and will post that in a couple of days.

(Previous Stories of Yesteryear.)

It is Saturday evening and we are having a family movie night.  I have made buttered popcorn, and remembered to put the lid on the air popper this time!  My son has made a pitcher of lemonade, and daughter is busy digging through the piles of VHS and DVDs.  Our video cabinet has an almost surreal quality – like the wardrobe that leads to Narnia, it seems bigger on the inside than the outside, and more than once most of my  daughter has disappeared within its depths as she digs through the movies.

After much vociferous discussion we decide to watch a Star Trek show, the Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribblations”.  We have all see this episode several times, and are delivering the especially funny lines of dialog along with the actors, as well as making accessory comments along the way.

In the show, Odo and Worf are at the bar, trying to not to stand out, but being aliens, failing to do so.  “You know,” I remark during an action lull, “I always sympathized with Odo – he tries so hard to fit in, but never quite makes it.”

My son laughs, “Just like you, Mom.”

And I grin at him. Read the rest of this entry »

Darth Roasted

Mental Menus

(WARNING: This is one of those posts that starts off tangentially. Sometimes that’s the way communication works.)

If you peruse the books in the travel sections of stores and libraries, you can find pocket-size volumes of useful phrases in different languages. While pantomiming works well for some situations*, there are times when having the actual word is best for all concerned. (For example, being able to ask a shopkeeper, “Tampons?”)

* I believe it was travel writer Rick Steves who noted that one does not always need a phrase book — merely pointing at your injured foot and screaming does get the point across just fine.

Sure, there are plenty of little words of politeness that are great to memorise, please, thank-you, excuse me, and the rest. But these little bits do not a conversation make. And anyway, phrase books are always of limited use; anyone who has tried such can explain the inherent problems that result by being about to make statements or ask questions, but not being able to understand the answers, or know what you are to do with the other person’s reply.

And that’s where we sometimes end up when wandering through the awkward territory of small talk. As I have blogged on before (“Small and Medium-size Talk”), the big sorts of talk, those that are the exchange of real information on subjects of mutual interest are generally rather easy — it’s the medium-size talk that is the social dance of chit-chat which is fraught with difficulties.

But there are days when the very-small talk of passing through and exchanging greetings seems to be a strain. Read the rest of this entry »

*Whew*

Got my computer fixed. It was only gone for a few days, and I backed up my docs and music and pix and extra programs before taking it in, but as I anticipated, it came back with a fresh OS installed. So I had to sort through the shiny new programs and adjust all of my setting preferences, and decide which files I really need to dump back on. After three days of paranoia and considerable annoyance, I found where I had backed up my 200+ bookmarks some three months ago *whew!* Imported calendar data into different program and got to two appointments okay *double-whew!* Finished job app. Got class reports turned in on time.

I feel like I’m making progress, but considering that my Things To Do list never gets any shorter, I might just be walking the wrong direction on a “slidewalk” (moving walkway). But omigosh, I will actually be able to get some blogging done again!

But not soon; I’m tired, and then there’s tutoring and a bunch of errands and an exam to sit and grocery shopping and probably several other things that aren’t coming to mind at the moment, that need to get done first.

On the other hand, I did find a Minuscule that I had not seen before, and I’m going to assume that everyone else is likewise “up to their ass in alligators” and also needing some fun. So kick back and enjoy the surprise ending!

“L’attaque de la sucette rose”

I need better sleep:

I microwaved a bowl of salad.

Not so fearsome now, eh?

Being “Up front”

(You can make your own posters at despair.com)

Bits and Pieces

I’ll never earn a Good Blogkeeping Seal of Approval* if I don’t get around to mentioning these diverse pieces of news!

I am remiss in mentioning Greg Williams’ wonderful cartooning work; he does a weekly piece called “Blogjam” for the Tampa Tribune (Florida newspaper), where he illustrates people’s stories as described in their blogs. Recently he did one based up my prosopagnosia page, “I’m Strange, You’re A Stranger”.

There are updates on my Hypermobility page for the curious, including handy-dandy medical information links for those who “Need more input!” (An “Ooh, shiny!” for whomever can name that movie reference?)

The latest Circus of the Spineless is up at the Seeds Aside — my antennae are all a-quiver with excitement. Such great reading for wasting time relaxing after a long day’s work, especially if you are also “feeling sluggish” like some of us.

My mum used to tell the tale that as a mere tot I tried to check out (shoplift) a book of dirty limericks. Of course, everyone assumed that I couldn’t read them … those limericks came back to haunt me when Akusai produced the 87th Skeptic’s Circle: Dirty Limericks Edition.

And just for fun, the connection with Asperger’s has been made before, but A. A. Gill does it best of all.

* No, I don’t think there really is a GBSoA — and I certainly wouldn’t apply for a housekeeping seal with the amount of clutter everywhere from these three dozen ongoing projects!

“Do Children In Scotland Have A Right To”

I’m off to the tub to soak off the gardening grime and cogitate upon my next posting. But meanwhile, here’s the next installment of Weird Search Terms (WST), absurd poems created from those curious search-engine queries that have landed people to my blog.

WST May cause drowsiness. Alcohol may intensify this effect. Use care when operating a car or dangerous machinery. Avoid direct sunlight.

  • mr escher
  • i am doing a research paper on arthritis
  • butterfly mudbath
  • what type of math problem would a person
  • number asperger agent
  • prove that you’re not the same
  • “red queen” recent research 2008 2007
  • safe ways to inflict pain for fun
  • it was good sitting with you
  • please dont say a word
  • why do i suffer. i do not get stimulas?

Who’s Got the Button?

I did it again — I gave away one of my buttons (badges) to a student.  I’ve extras of some, but that was the last of this one, so I thought I’d place an order with NancyButtons.com and get a few more copies of it:

“I was born weird – this terrible compulsion to behave normally is the result of childhood trauma”

And then of course, I had to look through some of the new slogans to see what she had … (a Most Excellent Time Waster).  These caught my eye:

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts”

“Come on, brain! You & me together …”

“The problem with hammering a square peg into a round hole isn’t that hammering is hard work–it’s that you’re destroying the peg.”

“There’s no such thing as being overeducated.”

“I’m not performing any experiments on myself without a larger control group”

“There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased that line.”

“What do you get if you cross a tse-tse fly with a mountain climber? Undefined. A tse-tse fly is a vector and a mountain climber is a scalar.”

“But this IS the simplified version for the general public!”

“You put your hand on the Bible and swear to protect the Constitution, not the other way around”

“Knowledge corrupts. I spent ten years in school. Run!”

That explains everything; after acquiring 230+ credit hours, all of my code is corrupted…

 

 

“CATS ARE NICE.”

“I meant,” said Iplsore bitterly, “what is there in this world that makes living worthwhile?”

Death thought about it. ‘CATS’, he said eventually, “CATS ARE NICE.”
~ Terry Pratchett

Two great videos about two great things we love, Geeks and Cats.

This first one is captioned; Data is trying to train his cat, Spot. Well, that was the plan …

One of our cats is named Spot, after Data’s cat. Our Spot is also a very smart kitty.

Alas, the second one is not captioned, but is a hilarious video by a couple of engineers on cat care.

It’s Final Exams week over here; everyone’s up to their touchis in studies. Back to more serious blogging soon on the usual education-, disability- and insect-related issues.

Erudition / Inteligibility Check

I have a question for you all! Shall we take a vote?

So. The other day I came across the following widget on someone’s blog and found it intriguing; you can get your blog rated for its reading level! I plugged my general blog URL in, and got this, which I then posted on my blogroll:

blog readability test

That was well and fine, until Sunday, when I thought to myself, “Gee Self, I sure use a lot of polysyllabic words, and more obscure and technical words, too. That’s pretty erudite for the average high-school reading level.”

So then I typed URLs for specific posts, and got several different stories! My post for Blogging Against Disablism Day (“BADD But Not Rude”) earned a higher level: Read the rest of this entry »

“i’m going to ghana, why take garlic pill”

Now if you guessed that cryptic headline means this is another issue of Weird Search Terms, then you’re right! (I’ve plenty of serious posts to write, but am not feeling spiffy, so I’m posting this instead.)

For those of you who aren’t familiar with such, about once a month I make “Dada-ist” poems out of the most peculiar weird search terms that landed people to my blog. (Each line is a different term; the Web seems to be used by a lot of very odd people.) These are guaranteed to stretch your brain all out of shape, so set your Grammar Editor aside, and engage the Willing Suspension of Disbelief.

  • it was a dark and stormy night
  • casual conversation for aspergers
  • star trek galaxy class wallpaper
  • change of barometric pressure causes
  • stimming in normal children
  • how to make a phone call in 70 easy steps
  • cats drawing
  • port stain birthmark metaphysical meaning
  • insects are our friends
  • words disabled people don’t mind hearing
  • superstitions ain’t the way
  • inclusion in the 4th grade classroom
  • need more chocolate brownie
  • why i would be a good counselor for
  • arachnids and tics
  • speaks well, high scores in tests poorly
  • stimming spinning strategies
  • signed I+love+you
  • bedroom bugs

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