30 May 2006

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of the oncoming train

No! That's not true at all - in fact, I am winding down at last. After a fab weekend in DC/NOVA, I've been hanging out with my parents (who are visiting from Alabama) and visiting Fredericksburg. It's a sweet colonial town about an hour north of Richmond. Lots of houses to tour as well as battlefields, museums, etc. I have to say that I like it better than Williamsburg, which is pretty commercialized, if not necessarily Disney-fied. Fredericksburg is still a working city, much on the order of a smaller-scale, less posh Charleston.

And we all know I love Charleston.

Pictures to come as soon as the Internet connection at Chez Moi is working. However, I must relate that I saw the most awesome license tag today. It said:


This captures my sentiments exactly. Naturally I got a picture.

22 May 2006

How did I manage without Internet?

Hmmph.  Neighbor Sean not so neighborly after all, is now requiring a password for his wireless.  And Linksys is too weak to be of any use at all.  So I am once again at the Cool Beans, this time enjoying an iced coffee.  Usually caffeine at this time of day is a mistake, but I have miles to go before I sleep . . . lots to get done for class tomorrow plus the extra special two hour season finale of 24.  

Had a fin, but exhausting weekend going to a wedding reception in Virginia Beach.  Next weekend will also be fun-but-exhausting, involving more travel and socializing.  What I really want is a lovely lazy Saturday to hang around and do nothing in particular.  Maybe someday,

19 May 2006


Here I was thinking none of my new neighbors were stupid kind enough to leave their wireless connections unsecured. Thank you Sean, whoever you are.

Sadly I do not have any photos loaded and ready to go, but I can tell you that the apartment is looking ever more settled and feeling more homey. My room is still a bit cluttered, to be sure. There are three boxes of random things I still can't figure out what to do with. But all in all, things are working out swell.

Busy rest of the month ahead. I tell you, some people seem to like excitement, but I am not one of them. I just want to sit quietly in my house and read a book. Or watch a movie. Or have a glass of wine. (Or all three.) Instead I seem to be spending the month of May traipsing all over Virginia. All for a good cause, but still.

Anyway. This too shall pass.

And hi to the SP! I'll start a new knitting project soon, I promise!

15 May 2006

Back!  Well, not entirely, as stinkin' Verizon has not seen fit to turn on DSL at the new place and has in fact pushed back our date to June 4.  We put in the order on May 2.  They will be getting a snarky call in the near future, have no doubt.  (Weirdly, though, I tried the modem anyway tonight and the computer recognized the network.  I'm thinking it must be configured weirdly.  Maybe I need to spend some more time on the phone with the Indians.)

In the meantime, I'm in the Cool Beans coffee and ice cream shop near me, sipping a dangerously tasty spiced chai cooler.

The move?  Everything was mostly good, although the movers did break my table.  Hoping to be reasonably compensated for that.  The weather held, not beginning to rain until after we'd gotten everything in.  And I've gotten pretty close to everything unpacked, just a few boxes of books and the dread odds and ends to get done.  Since the connection here seems to be pretty good, maybe I'll even try posting some pictures soon - I've got lots!

The new apartment is very very nice, a great shady balcony and a beautiful - if somewhat small - kitchen.  Also I have a proper tiled bathroom (or linoleum, or whatever, the point is: not carpeted, which gave me the heebie-jeebies and just held on to the cat litter like a miser holds onto a penny), and the lighting is gorgeous.  Further, the walls are a lovely pale yellow color I like to call buttercream, and the place is altogether cozy.

11 May 2006

Moving Day I

Tired, tired, tired. Started at eight this morning and just got finished. (Okay, took a break here and there.) And more of the same tomorrow! But at least there will be movers then.

Got almost all of the kitchen transferred, sans refrigerated food and teacups. Also all of closet and all of books save a few stragglers that just would not be packed. Actually, it's an interesting exercise in desert-island reading, so here are the titles:

  1. Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer
  2. Valley of Vision
  3. Bible (New Geneva Study Edition) "Bringing the light of the Reformation to Scripture"
  4. Mason-Dixon Knitting
  5. The Essential Calvin and Hobbes
  6. 1776
Okay, if I was actually composing a desert island list there would be some Jane Austen there as well, but the above pretty much covers all genres, save fiction.

Below are some pics of today's festivities.

10 May 2006

Tonight marks the beginning of the end of what might be called the "Thistleblog" era . . . moving to a new place beginning tomorrow, when we will move everything we can carry. Movers to come on Friday to move furniture and heavy things. It's going to be a cranky, cranky weekend for me. Pray for good temper and good weather!

(Unpleasant as moving is, I must say that I'm looking forward to having four whole days in a row off from work!)

And today's geek moment: Intractable means stubborn. Meta, when used as a prefix, is all kinds of fun. Metadata is data about data. Meta-language is a language used to describe language. A meta biography would be a biography about biographies.

07 May 2006

Pics of New Apartment!

Greetings all . . . not much time to write today as I must run to Target, then do some packing, then update my syllabus for the semester (starting on Tuesday!). However, here are the four pictures of the new apartment I took before the battery ran out. Moral of last Saturday: bring extra batteries on excursions.

05 May 2006


So, the school where I teach has decided I need to have a philosophy of teaching. I'm not quite sure what this means, but after some reflective exercises and a few consultations of the excellent sites dedicated to buzzword bingo, I developed the following:

Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

Shakespeare, The Tempest

In my lifetime I have witnessed a paradigm shift that seems radical only in retrospect. When I was in elementary school we had a Timex computer that used a cassette tape to store data. Several years later we upgraded to a Macintosh and were one of the few families in our circle to have a computer at home. Within ten years the words email, internet, and Web site were part of everyone’s vocabulary. The late twentieth century encompassed a massive sea change that transformed everyone’s lives. My interests, experiences, education, and training uniquely equip me to guide others to port.

Navigation is key. On unfamiliar roads we need maps – or better still, a friendly voice in the passenger seat providing directions. Similarly, we need mentors to guide us through our experiences. I have been blessed throughout with instructors who have taken sincere interest in my learning, my work, and in me. They inspired me to learn, and they continue to inspire me as I strive to meet their standards of excellence.

I am also inspired by information. I thrill to two hundred year old documents, I spend hours pouring over maps, I marvel at the information contained within books, and I look over Web sites with great interest. When I can share my enthusiasm with students, they are engaged. They share their experiences. They ask challenging questions. They strive to meet goals. They enjoy learning as much as I do.

I interact with students at the beginning of their college experiences. My immediate goal is to provide students with the knowledge base they will need to succeed in subsequent courses. More crucially, I hope to provide them with the confidence that will allow them to enter unfamiliar situations and apply their skills to achieve mastery. It is a good thing to know how to use a particular program. It is a far better thing to be able to use a tutorial to learn how a new computer works.

So. That's it for the philosophy. I tried to give it a bit of a map/navigation theme. Note too the use of the uber-buzzword paradigm. The school has a format they like so I'll have to tweak this a bit to make it fit. This will ideally become part of a larger portfolio to be mounted on the Web. Any comments and suggestions are, as always, taken under advisement.

Also, am considering setting up a class Web site so the little urchins can print out new copies of the schedule, assignments, etc. when they lose them as they inevitably will. Would the students among my readership (i.e., Kenny) be good enough to tell me what they like in a course Web site?

04 May 2006

All better!

Well, it took ten minutes on the phone with Verizon, thirty minutes with a contractor in India who specialized in Macs, and another ten minutes on the phone with Verizon, but the Internet is restored to my computer! Not only that, but my network is now password protected. Everything went amazingly well. I had to reconfigure my modem or something. I typed in a bunch of nonsensical numbers and suddenly it all worked. Yay!

And since I didn't swear or even want to swear during the whole ordeal, I treated myself to a Veggie Burrito Bol from Chipotle. The photo at right is not the actual thing I ate, but a picture of a similar one from earlier this year. Note the wedges of lime, which just brighten the whole thing and transform it into something sublime. Dee-licious.

Let's see, what else . . .

This week is Employee Appreciation Week at the Library, and instead of giving us each a crisp $20 and the afternoon off, they've decided to have all sorts of contests: photography, cooking, etc. I didn't enter any of the contests, but did enjoy the Open House yesterday. It was a nice opportunity to go to departments I don't usually see and get a perspective on what they do. There was a most excellent film telling the story of how Wise County got its first public library. (Wise County, by the way, is in extreme southwestern Virginia, so it didn't get a library until, like, the fifties.) Also there were lots of treats. Apparently their strategy is to fatten us up so no one else will want to hire us.