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Month: August 2001

Generics Day

Generics Day

Well…today I build a silly generic room, and finished off the last little bits of the Generic Talking Stick room. And I spoke to my lovely friend Evita today, who’s sounding sort of blue. I discovered that she works on a moo more local to her, which is sadly lacking in tools. This isn’t their fault, it’s not really anyone’s fault, it’s just that the basic moocore doesn’t come equipped with a whole lot of stuff. Well, comparatively speaking. Especially these moos that don’t have a) any programmers, and b) a whole lot of people to know what else is out there and what can be ported over.

Well, I love Evita. Though I know I shouldn’t talk about it right now, it’s one of my greatest hopes that I’ll see her living in my neck of the woods shortly. And for the most selfish of reasons. I just think my life would be so greatly improved by her presence…she’s one of those people, you know, the ones who will understand (and take seriously) some of the sillier things in your mind that you really want to take seriously. I’ve never met anyone like her. It would just be nice to be able to hop on the subway and end up at her doorstep, bottle of wine in hand, and spend an evening talking shop/fun/social/chicks and so on. But we can do that in any case, even if she’s NOT in my neck of the woods. Ah, the dissertation drama….

Anyway, so I found out that Evita has her own MOO to deal with. Well, perhaps you already know that I have commited myself to building generics of late. Initially I was commited to building Bingen, but lately I’ve been thinking about generics. This started when I built the keyword bot (which shockingly worked completely reliably!) because I accidentally deleted the parent of the fake-out kw bot I’d been using up until then. The new was was a kid of $thing only, so no traceback and no conflicts. And solid as a rock. It was pointed out to be pretty quickly (the next morning) that this bot had many more uses than just fixing my own characters in Bingen. It immediately went into use in Marlene’s Russian-English tutorial, and was a hit at the teacher workshops last week. Evita was saying today that it would be ideal for tutoring, because you can program it to repeat information that teachers don’t need to type in over and over again. This pleases me greatly. After the kw bot, I managed to get the whole world to help me get my Talking Stick Room working (it’s perfect now, thanks to leigh). I built a very simple room that you can add and remove noises from as well, for truna, another fabulous MOOprof from Australia whom I simply adore. So I was sitting on a series of generics that were, for all intents and purposes, mine.

And Evita’s moo needed some tools. So I ported them over. Because I love Evita and I want all her pursuits to be as simple and successful as possible. And a lack of tools shouldn’t stand in her way.

Besides, it feels GREAT to be the author of tools people can use. I hope someone does. 🙂

Tuscans and their Families

Tuscans and their Families

This is just unbelievable…I’m sitting in the library reading this and exclaiming aloud as I do. People must think I’m insane. But read this:

Prevailing attitudes toward children, of both sexes, also led to oversight and confusion. Adults tended to ignore, neglect, and forget their offspring; infants in early life possessed a kind of transparency. It may be that their slim chances for survival prompted adults to keep a certain distance from their infants, to avoid cementing emotional attachments with them until their chances of survival susbtantially improved. Moreover, it is probable that the scant value accorded female babies multiplied the instances of simple oversight. The underreporting of female infants may thus be futher evidence of the negligence or indifference with which a father of this epoch regarded his daughter. Herihy and Klapish-Zuber, Tuscans and their familes

You see what I have to work with? Sheeesh.

Our lady of the Lost and Found

Our lady of the Lost and Found

Time passes, we say: like a football, a parade, a ship in the night. Time flies: like a bird, a plane, like Superman. Time flows: like a river, like sand, like blood. Time, we have been told, is a reef, a hand, a wheel, a gift. Time is avenger, devourer, destroyer, a subtle thief of youth. Time, we hope, heal all wounds.

We talk about spending time (like money), serving time (like dinner), doing time (like lunch). We talk about buying time (like a car, a refrigerator, a new pair of shoes), borrowing time (like a library book, a cup of sugar, an egg), stealing time (like hubcaps, third base, a kiss). At one time or another, we have all had time on our hands, time to squander, time to kill. Most often we say we are pressed for time: like a shirt, like grapes for wine, like a flower in a book, like a hand against a heart. Time, we say, has run out on us, like milk, luck, or an unfaithful spouse. So much time, we complain, is lost: like mittens, sheep, or souls.

“Some wounds never heal,” Mary said. “People should know that by now.”

–Diane Schoemperlen, Our Lady of the Lost and Found



Must…blog…this backwash conversation….

It was all about marriage. That’s how it started. And while people were talking about the advantages of getting married, I posted this:

Its a step you take, a life step for lack of a better description.

It’s a step straight people take, since they have the option. And it’s lovely to call it a ‘life step’, but all of this seriously degrades relationships that can’t be taken to that official step.

Straight girl: Like it or not, marriage IS how society validates relationships. The fact that you “can’t get married” is moot. You CAN get married, you just choose (yes, choose) not to date men, and same-sex relationships are still, for whatever reason, very taboo.

Cool straight girl Gem: just because that’s how society validates relationships doesn’t mean that it’s right. you’d think the divorce rate would be enought to show just how very silly that is.

The fact that you “can’t get married” is moot. You CAN get married, you just choose (yes, choose) not to date men,

what? i’ve never in my entire life thought of homosexuality as a choice. i am not sure why some people are homosexual and others are not. i have not done a lot fo research. i don’t know if it’s a nature or nuture thing. regardless, i don’t think it’s a choice.

Annoying straight girl: I merely thought it was semi amusing that someone would point out how they felt cheated by not being able to take said “life step”. I’m sure if you really wanted to, you could date elephants; just don’t expect to get married.

Me:Ah…..I see now. Thanks for the clarification. To further your argument….let’s say we have generic woman working at generic factory, making 30 cents less per hour than her male conterparts, just because she’s a woman. She shouldn’t argue that women deserve the right to make as much as men, and therefore the wage gap is unfair. She shouldn’t point out that it’s wrong, that it’s problematic, and that they make that wage on the backs of women like her. That would be silly! Clearly she is choosing to be a woman, and choosing to bear the social penalties that come with that choice. What she should do is go out and get a sex change.

Heeee……(waits for the next segment)

Female Circumcision

Female Circumcision

Women being genitally mutilated…and paying for it
I just can’t believe this. These women are going in and getting themselves sliced up because of someone’s stupid idea of what we’re supposed to look like. This really really sickens me. Dr. Alter, put the scapel down. Put it DOWN. Go read bust, bitch, Our Bodies, Ourselves, and all that literature on male circumsion. Sheeeesh. Oh, this is the saddest thing I’ve seen in a really long time.

Blue’s visit

Blue’s visit

My friend blue is planning a visit to Toronto! Yay! I’ve decided to make a little list of things we could see while she’s here.

First, of course, the ROM has to be on the list, as far as I’m concerned…I love the ROM. Best museum ever. 🙂 Well, as far as I’m concerned. It’s got so much diverse stuff. And I love those dinosaurs, of course. And then how about St. Lawrence Market, which is just down the street from me? Mmmm….good food, good cooking, fabulous bread and cheese. Mmmmmmm…..and then…some serious cheap shopping at Honest Ed’s! Let’s see, what else…

Oh, well, Casa Loma, which was built by a very rich man who always wanted a castle. We could head over to the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the famous Bata shoe museum! But, you know it’s all happening at the zoo…I do believe it. I do believe it’s true. Or…for the historical touch, we could hit Blackcreek pioneer village. Or, for that foreign flavour, head out to African Lion’s safari, which is just the most obvious thing to have in southern Ontario. Mmmm….we could even take in a very expensive meal at CN tower! And I haven’t even mentioned the island yet….



Reader response to the Hero contemplation

Now lemmee get this straight

You say
You’re tortured because you can’t write
You can’t write because you’re tortured

You say
These times have made me cynical
These times confirm your cynicism

Now lemmee say one thing
I’d rather rope steers
Than talk politics with you

I’d rather get skunk drunk
Under a goose-neck trailer

Your despair is more boring
Than The Merv Griffin Show

Your sniveling whine
Your dime-a-dozen solutions to crime

Get off your tail and cook
Do time
But don’t burn mine

Santa Rosa, Ca.

Sam Shepard

Oh yeah……….



I have recently acquired a column at Backwash. It’s really a very amazing place…because it focuses on personality, people are actually encouraging me to talk about myself. I mean, do they know what they’re in for?

So far the only complaint i really have is that I can’t update the journal section without wiping out all the links I posted. Bah. Some of us write a lot more than that…i have to stop thinking about that journal thing as a blog and thing of it more as a column that requires more THOUGHT than a blog does. Once I get a better grip on the whole thing, yes, then you’ll see additions to this page to reflect that….*rubs her hands with glee.*

Well, I’m happily in the a/c’ed office this afternoon, though only an hour to go. The one time this shift seems to go by quickly is when I’m afraid to go outside. I’ve decided that I should definitely eat out today. It takes too much effort to make myself something to eat, so I just won’t do it.

Oh, and I should point out that it was Pound that brought me to backwash in the first place….another almost-blog that I saw listed in Bust, a mag which I should read more often, but in reality I only ever see when my sister buys me a copy.

In an hour I will have eaten something, and I might be slightly more coherent.



A whiff of lavender…Could it be that EvaB is looking for you in Tabula?
She pages, “uknow photoshop?”
She pages, “and the idea of layers”
She pages, “visible and invisible”
She pages, “well i think of people like that”
She pages, “if you save the file as mere jpg cause its for public consumption then you flatten the layers”
She pages, “if you save it as .png or .psd its a drain on the memory BUT”
She pages, “all the layers visible and invisible get saved”
She pages, “whether you have made them visible or not”
She pages, “i find that comforting knowing there are layers on layers beyond layers of psd in people”
She pages, “you forget the layer you made and then you make it visible and you realize yeah it was always there”
She pages, “moral: you have enough memory to remember just because you are not seeing some layers now they dont exist but maybe she is not ready to see them”



Deleting stuff isn’t usually good
I got frustrated and deleted my a-dock last night. That wasn’t wise. It was just doing it’s job, and I like having it. A-dock is a small bar that floats on my screen and tells me what programs I have open. I really, really like it. I think it also acts as a launcher, but I don’t like that. I want something very clear for that. If I just have one program open, that’s all I want to see. I usually let it float on the right side of my screen, under my apple list of what’s open. This is a fake out version of something that’s in OS X. I really, really like it.

I also deleted what I was using as a launcher. I want a separate launcher that comes up as a small screen that I can open with a hot key and close when I’m finished with it. I had been using something that was a non-floating strip of icons, very small, that I could snuggle on one side of my screen and call up with a hot key. But I was never really thrilled with it. I’m not really sure why. So I downloaded a new one called x-launcher. So far I really really really like it. It’s small and you have folders that when open show you icons of the items you can launch. And it has a ‘main’ folder for stuff you use a lot. Fab. I have it hotkeyed. That’s better. I have both of them in aqua themes, and they look very clean and clear. I like I like I like.

So maybe deleting stuff stuff isn’t always bad.



Neanderthal child recreated in Switzerland….from that picture, it looks to me that it wasn’t imaginary fairies running around pre-modern Europe. They were neanderthals. Cooooool. In my head, the word ‘neanderthal’ still means dirty, hunched over, scary-looking dude. This is great….look at how useful computers can be in traditional disciplines…



Happy Birthday to me
Well, I went out for dinner with salmon tonight and had a lovely time. Yack yack yack, I talked my head off about stuff I don’t usually get to talk about much…school stuff. And then it hit me…I’m EXCITED to talk about school stuff again. Amazing! And I’m not even taking any pills of any kind anymore. It’s my own joyous goodness. All me. I’m saddened that it didn’t strike Heidi has a nice idea to wish me happy birthday today, seeing that I flew my ass out to do the same to her. I knew today would be bittersweet because of that anyway….

But here’s a strange omen (what do you think of THIS, Eva?); this evening the city was filled with aphids. FILLED. Swarms and swarms of aphids. By the time we ambled back home again they were gone…but during the day, it was insanely strange. I mean, they weren’t doing anything, they weren’t biting or anything, but it was just strange that we were wandering around in clouds of tiny little bugs. And first no one was sure what they were…even the entomologists. But it was finally determined that they were aphids, but no one’s sure why they dropped in all at once. Something to do with the weather, and possibly migration. Surreal. Eva, I really do need a reading on that….

Did I mention the dream about being a butcher and slicing off my hands for money? How odd. 🙂

Well, I’m 27 years old now. I’m anticipating a very good year.

MOO teaching: Rochelle style

MOO teaching: Rochelle style

Alright, I was talking to salmon about this and didn’t manage to really remember what I was originally thinking. How would I do it? I can totally justify the blog thing, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I would use blogs for a history class. To me, it’s a given at this point. Now, at that point I would hope that we would have edublog fully underway (by then it would probably be at 3.0 or so)…now, if we could have edublog work along with achieve, we’d really be rocking. Because then I could tell students to get a char first, which would generate them a blog. Yeah. But anyway….MOO teaching…

Okay. Assignment one, which would be the weeding out assignment and intro to MOO #1; login in (through Bingen’s own login screen) and wander through Bingen. I would want a short written report on three historical elements that they saw; I’d have to think more about how to word that question so that they get the most out of it. I might hand out a scavenger hunt, and have kids go complete it and hand it in. It would be a fairly specific sort of hunt, and it would be a hunt for historical fact. No no no, I wouldn’t hand anything out. I would tell them that our first assignment would be a field trip. I may or may not insist that they meet in a specific lab…I expect most students would have internet access at home. I think that will depend on how comfortable I feel about directing moo experiences online at that point. My goal with the MOO right now (as in, this summer) is to make the MOO user friendly to the point that if students come on without a better introduction; well, I would like the MOO to require less introduction. I would like it to be easier to figure out. And I think we’re getting there….it will get better and better as we tweak and fix and so on. More about that later….okay, so that would be assignment one…

The next thing I would do is set up office hours at a fairly un-fun time. Like, first thing monday morning or Friday afternoon, or something like that. And I would set up much more fun office hours online, and let students know that I’m available at Achieve during those times. There would probably be a lot more of those hours.

Then…I would set up a series of tutorial times. Tutorial #1 would be to send them through the tutorials I’m writing right now and build a home for themselves. I’d like to do something to get them working together on something….maybe I would just have them build homes in groups of 5 or something. Undecided.

Then….real assignment one. Mid-term assignment: Pick two historical moments covered in the course to date. Recreate them. I’ll have to create an generic justification object (!!) so they can drop one of those somewhere and tell me why they think each moment is so significant. I would give them two weeks to do it.

Then: mid-term exam. This would probably happen about a week or two after the assignment is handed in. This is in class, and it would be held in a lab. I would pick from the scenarios the students created, drop an object in each of them with the exam question on it that relates to the incident in particular. I might also link three or four projects together, and ask for an answer that incorporates all of them. Ah, so they would be in segments: There would be an exam room; with an exit to a short answer questions room (pick 5) and essay question room (choose 2 of 5). There we go.

Term 2: Well, we need a research essay. Essays are important, I realize that. So they would write a research paper. But I still want them to build something relating to it. I want them to build a key point of their essay, with no justification object, I want the building itself to do the justifying for it. The written part is the research paper. Final exam: propbably similar to the mid-term.