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Sous Chef

Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney, narrated by Fred Berman Sous Chef is part detailed explanation, part memoir, part battle narrative.  It recalls a day in the life of the assistant chef at a mid-level “star rated” restaurant in New York.  Gibney does a great job explaining both what the day […]

On Trigger Warnings and Empathy

Neil Gaiman’s recent short story collection is called Trigger Warnings.  Scott Kenemore (author of Zombie, Indiana among many others) wrote about how horror is supposed to cause feelings of discomfort: in recent years a threat has emerged—a sinister shadow falling over our community, you might say—leaving us even darker than usual.  And I believe that […]

On modern humor

A few observations without a conclusion. 1. “College Kids Can’t Take A Joke” by Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune (link) Clarence Page writes about how Chris Rock doesn’t perform for college audiences any more because they’re too sensitive. Page writes: I marvel at comedians as varied as Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Dick Gregory, Freddie […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: End of the semester grading

Note: I’ll be taking a break from the Dispatches from the Age of Electracy series until after the new year. An interesting conversation opened up on Facebook last week about grading.  The OP asked “Hypothetically, what should I say to a student who’s unhappy about getting 91/100?” (click ‘read more’ below to see the full […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: Profile Pictures and the Digital Age

In a professional development panel at Midwest PCA 2014, I spoke with two colleagues about the job search and job interview process.  In particular, the subject of our panel was “how to give a good interview.”  We discussed Skype interviews and the many pitfalls that emerge from them.  In particular, I mentioned that it was […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: Beguiled by Spam

As all blog owners do, I regularly clear the spam queue from my blog, rarely giving a second glance to comments so clearly machine generated.  I believe early machine comments with non-advertising contents are designed to build a spambot’s reputation on a site so later they can post SEO click content.  Anyway, yesterday I got […]

Cabins in the Woods

Last week, after watching Cabin Fever, I started to think about this particular subgenre, and wondered how it would be to watch some of these films side by side.  I discovered that four of them have very similar run-times, check it: The Evil Dead, 1981, 85 min Cabin Fever, 2002, 92 min Tucker and Dale […]

The Death Star Contractor problem and Agents of SHIELD

Watching episode 203 of Agents of SHIELD (the one with the ice guy), I couldn’t help but remember this scene from Clerks: Because this is one of the first episodes where we see very much inside Hydra, it’s the first where we realize just how much Hydra matches SHIELD.  Like SHIELD, Hydra has secret facilities […]

Nark – where words come from

Reading “The Hands of Mr. Ottermole” for my detective fiction class today, I came across this sentence, warning why most murderers will eventually give themselves away: …your everyday criminal is seldom clearheaded and dislikes being lonely.  He needs, if not the support of confederates, at least somebody to talk to; his vanity needs the satisfaction […]

Movin’ On Up: thoughts on officiating competitions

Today I take my YMCA Swim Official Level 2 certification class.  After today, and after I take the test associated with the course, I will be eligible to perform a variety of duties at swim meets as an official, at least at meets with YMCA designation (USA swimming, the governing body that organizes swim meets […]

In one end and out the other. Gulp by Mary Roach

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach; narrated by Emily Woo Zeller Mary Roach’s latest book explores the digestive process, from beginning to end, looking at what scientists think and have thought, what they study, and how they go about it.  It’s great, as usual, with lots of funny moments.  A few thoughts: […]

Happy Labor Day!

Fun facts about Labor Day (from Wikipedia): We proposed it in the US after Canada already had it, but in a stroke of efficiency, we dropped the superfluous ‘u’ from Labour. Because Labor Day has become a major sale day, “some of those who are employed in the retail sector not only work on Labor […]

5 Creepy Christmas songs

Feminist Frequency explores a few Christmas songs: I have to say, I agree about most of Sarkeesian’s analysis of the songs, particularly “All I want for Christmas is You” and “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”  I have to say that upon reflection, her points about the other songs are strong too, but […]

“I think Crabtown would look lovely in the autumn…” (Another furniture construction project)

For the first time in six years, we decided to put up the Christmas Village, one of my favorite decorations of the holiday season, but something I’ve had to keep squirreled away while the children were too young to be trusted around it.  But when we started contemplating putting up the village a couple weeks […]

Adventures in Bug Hunting: Or, PHP 5.3, why can’t you handle whitespace?

Caution: NERD TALK AHEAD A couple years ago, I created a request system for my department which would allow users to register their teaching preferences.  This wasn’t really anything new, many other people have done it (I did it for my department at University of Florida years ago).  In the years since, I’ve tweaked it […]