Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Luke’s Dramatic GIF

Friday, June 17th, 2011

I like to mentally picture this moment when my parents say something like, “You’ll grow up to be like us, just you wait.”

SW Luke NO

Love you, Mom & Dad! 😀

A Guac Success!

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

It was, actually.  A success with all the enthusiasm of Borat’s catchphrase.

Borat Great Success

Living on my own has taught me an important lesson: I have to feed myself, myself.  And I’m a picky person without a lot of free cash–no frequent eating out, even if I wanted to, which I don’t, because ew.  What I really want is my mom’s cooking, and I want it like I used to have it: Magically appearing on my plate every evening.

Sadly, see aforementioned lesson.

Conclusion: I need to learn to cook.

I don’t like to cook.  Largely because I’ve been spoiled, and I do it when I’m already hungry.  Bad combination! Not to mention the dishes, the mess you have to clean up, all on your own!  Cleaning up really sucks when the food you just made wasn’t even appetizing.

Tragically, life forced my hand.  Also, my boyfriend mentioned that it would be nice if I knew the basics; he’s a good cook already, and I don’t want him to be forced into the permanent role of house chef. So I’m being a good person and an adult (and making sure I don’t starve) by pulling out the pots and pans more, microwaving less.

I noticed that planning meals in advance is useful and takes the stress out of coming home hungry.  So that’s being worked on.  The other

problem I frequently run into is creating side dishes.  I’m a vegetarian who grew up eating meat; the food that made up the side course have, over these last few years, become my main dish.  What the heck do I supplement my angel hair pasta with, now?  It used to be chicken… and pasta.  Now it’s pasta… and ???.

Yesterday’s dinner plans involved microwaving an Amys burrito, but I had nothing to go with it.  A co-worker helpfully suggested that I get some guacamole and chips to go with it.  Turns out, he meant getting the guac pre-packaged, but I thought he meant making it myself.  By  the time it was clear, I’d already psyched myself up and located a recipe.

Luckily, making guacamole isn’t that difficult!  With help from my friend and roommate, we successfully created a delicious addition to the main meal.  Maybe the burrito was microwaved, but I’m on my way, people!

You might think 400 words is a bit much to rave about how I made guacamole.  You obviously do not know me.

Making the Guacamole

Making the Guacamole

The Guac Is Done!

The Finished Product!

What’s In My Bag

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Now and then I like to visit sites like Survival Cache that talk about how to live after a hypothetical non-religious apocalypse (to put it kindly).  To put it unkindly, I’m talking about those sites that are made of people who are honest-to-god terrified that the world is ripe for disaster and anarchy, and think we ought to have plans in place for when nuclear bombs go off or governments implode.

They make good resources for creative fiction stories, and I never went camping as a kid, learned to fish, shoot a gun, etc.  They frequently explain in layman’s terms things like that, which is great if you want a contemporary action-packed story.

Well, while I floated around these websites, I noticed a very popular idea:  Bug Out Bags.  These are typically backpacks full of hiking and navigation equipment–things you’d usually take with you on a camping trip with just a little bit of crazy added for flavor (never know when you’ll need that 9 millimeter).  As an espionage enthusiast,  I’ve also read that Bug Out Bags are sometimes used by spies in case they need to get out of a suddenly hostile environment.

Anyway, I’m neither a spy nor a survivalist, but I do like to be prepared, and besides, it made me think about what I carry around in my own bag, and how it is a reflection of myself.  So today I took out all the junk I keep in my backpack and started documenting.

Here’s what I found:

Pack Contents

The Contents of My Backpack

Click on the image to go to my Flickr site, where I labeled everything directly on the photo and added notes.

As a list:

  • Stainless steel water bottle
  • 2 pairs of just-purchased goggles (not typically in my pack)
  • 3 greeting cards for various occasions
  • Napkins that also double as tissues for my bad allergies, though I’ve found them useful for other purposes (see: Knowing Where One’s Towel Is)
  • Umbrella
  • Keys & bonus cards
  • Canvas shopping bag
  • Lanyard with two flashdrives
  • Bike pump
  • USB adapter for my phone
  • My laptop
  • Emergency scantron for pop quizzes (or lapses in memory about real quizzes)
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Lip gloss
  • Power cord for laptop
  • Wireless mouse & USB adapter
  • Headphones with case
  • Folder, notebook, textbook, organizer, and pencil case

You can obviously tell what my occupations are: Techie and student.  You can gather that I have a bike (the pump), that I’m female (the lip gloss), that I like being prepared for all occasions (scantron, Swiss Army knife, greeting cards, napkins, flash drives, umbrella), and that I’m a geek (wireless mouse, really, Leigh?).  I try to be earth-friendly (canvas bag, reusable water bottle), and I’m either anal-retentive or organized (pencil case, folder, organizer).

I evidently care only a little for fashion or appearance based on the utilitarian wallet and the single cosmetic item.  I am physically active, however, if I bought goggles.

Well.  I knew all these things about myself before doing this exercise, but it was still fun to see how much you can gather about a person by the things they carry around daily–not just what they do with their time, but how they might act, even what they might look like.

So, what’s in your bag?

The Pack

We've been through a lot together: High school, Mexico, Europe, and college...

The Little Devil Considers Faculty Academy 2011

Monday, May 16th, 2011

This summer I attended Faculty Academy(‘s sweet 16).  I went in not knowing what to expect, exactly.  I knew the basics–people would arrive, we would all wear name tags and smile at each other, I would help out as directed.  I even knew a fair amount about the presentations; earlier in the year, I helped fill out an Excel sheet, grabbing key words from presentation summaries.  Yet as the days grew closer, as my fellow DTLT student aides and I assisted an increasing frantic Martha Burtis, I felt further away from understanding the major concepts that lay at the heart of the conference.  I stayed up late the night before, anxious, excited.

Most certainly, the part of the event I was looking least forward to was waking up early.  Sure, laugh if you will, but it is a god-awful thing to get up at 6:30 to arrive even close to on time at 8:00 AM.  I know most people have it worse (my mom starts her routine at 4:45 during the work week), but a college student is allowed to complain a little; I am well aware, as I approach graduation, these glory days won’t last for much longer.

I arrived with a latte in my hand (thanks to my friend, Joe Calpin) to a lovely breakfast spread and a handful of very excited people.  Faculty Academy! Faculty Academy! Joe is a huge FA enthusiast, and it was contagious.

Michael Wesch at FA

Michael Wesch at Faculty Academy

People began arriving, most recognizable to me as UMW faculty.  As we all settled in for the welcome and opening speeches, I prepared my Android for some serious Tweeting.  It was the job of the student aides to manage the Twitter feed (umwfa11), though Joe manned the camera for the major talks.

Michael Wesch, an Anthropology professor from Kansas State University, was our Keynote Speaker and opened the conference with a real bang.  The presentation, called “From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able: New Learning Environments for New Media Environments”, inspired me personally, and I felt a real boost of energy from all the attendees.  It was an awesome start, made me excited for the whole business of learning technologies.  Since Andy Rush recorded the event, you can view it here: http://justin.tv/umwnewmedia/b/285641586 I’m going to be reviewing it again, myself (and probably take notes… :P).

FA

Photo Taken During the Concurrent Sessions

I viewed many of the presentations: The student aides decided to split ourselves up among all the rooms during the concurrent sessions so there would be Twitter coverage for everyone.  I’ll have to go back over the whole list and individually cover the ones I thought particularly interesting (I’m already thinking “Dirtying Young Minds”, that was great).  For now, I want to cover the main events.

Tom Woodward was one of our two plenary presenters, and his appearance was decidedly notable because he hails from the K-12 system.  This is the presentation that got me thinking the most, I believe (see it here: http://justin.tv/umwnewmedia/b/285655759).  I’ve never been pleased with our public education system, and I did not have the most enjoyable experience there, either.  Even as I went through all of it, I felt there was far too much emphasis on test-taking.  To my teachers, scores defined me more than personal actions.  I was aware that it was not what I was capable of as a person, but what numbers I was capable of achieving that would matter to colleges.

Although I did not know this, a common complaint among higher-learning educators is the kind of student they receive.  Freshman seem to find it difficult to think critically, act independently to problem solve, and write well.  I’ve noticed the first two among my peers (only after I escaped them myself), and originally blamed them on laziness.  Now, I’m not so sure.  I think partial responsibility lies with the system we use to educate our young people.

If that system is not producing the type of scholars we want, how do we change it?  This is a problem that the rest of Faculty Academy addresses.  Educator are all there to improve techniques, to share how the methods they’ve used to expand student minds beyond narrow thinking.  Seeing these efforts is a privilege for me.  I get an insider’s view at how higher-ed functions, not to mention feel the excitement over ways technology is being implemented in this setting.

DTLT Student Aide Team Wins Faculty Academy 2011 Deck Wars!

As someone also considering a future in academia, I found the experience enlightening, even as it raised more questions for me.  I want to find a job in academia, but faced with tough competition for employment as a professor, I keep my eyes open to other opportunities.  The most fundamental question plagues me, however–why teach?  My generation desires a job that not only pays the bills, but is in some way fulfilling. And if not in higher-ed, then where? K-12 seems overly restrictive for how I would prefer to teach.  I think I’ll leave the exploration of those questions to another post.

Faculty Academy was a great experience.  I actually feel sad that many of my peers don’t get to attend (though, to be honest, they probably wouldn’t be interested–a shame in itself).

I’m already looking forward to next year’s FA, and even have my sights set on seeing if I can attend more tech ed conferences in the meantime.

Inky Crash

Thursday, March 10th, 2011
Ink Truck Crash

The Real Ink Truck Crash

An ink truck driver misjudged the height of his truck, and voila! A mess on I-95 near Boston.  (Clicking on the picture will take you to the article.)

Probably bad for the environment.  Mostly, though, I’m thinking how cool would be if we commissioned people to legally splatter paint on bridges like this.  I’d appreciate the much prettier drive.

Actually, I would love it if UMW covered some of its bland hallways with murals or some such.  Get students busy on campus, even involve the Art department.

How exactly would I get this to happen?

Podcast In the Works?

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

A friend of mine is completely obsessed with My Brother, My Brother, and Me, “an advicecast for the modern era featuring three real-life brothers: Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy.”  I’ve listened to a few episodes, mostly because she plays them while we LAN-party World of Warcraft, and I find them mostly funny.  Actually, Troutfang got her name from their 33rd episode, “Bramblepelt” (which you should listen to right now).

Photo by vancouverfilmschool

I’m not unfamiliar with podcasts in general.  A few years ago, I used to listen with some regularity to Mur Lafferty’s “I Should Be Writing” and a popular WoW one, but since my iPod(s) died miserably, I’ve stopped.  I used to listen to them while I walked around or in between classes.  Maybe I will check out what it costs to get a new, small one.  Or find my iTouch.  Probably better to do the latter.

Anyway, the point is that I’ve some exposure to podcasting, and always thought about doing one, myself.  On what?  I’m not sure.  I suppose I would talk about writing, video games, books–subjects I know–but the key is discovering how to make them interesting to other people.

Frankly, I think an hour’s worth of chat is too long; I find that I tire of listening to the chatter, particularly when it strays from the subject (which MBMBaM often does).  Tangents are unavoidable when working with other people, but I would definitely want to curb them.

I’m working with my friend, Mittens, and Shannon (of Ludo Ergo Sum), so perhaps this idea will finally come to fruition!

Trollin’ the Community

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Interesting blogs around the UMWBlogs.org community:  (Go check them out yourself.  And don’t forget to leave comments!)

  • Ludo Ergo Sum http://ludoergosum.umwblogs.org/ — “Shannon is an English major with a minor in Computer Science at the University of Mary Washington.  This blog was created as a part of her ENGL 202 course requirements.”  Thus far, she’s got a handful of posts up, including a vid!cast review of World of Warcraft’s latest expansion, Cataclysm.
  • Dickinson and H.D. — Check out this post:  “Defacing Books! and Illustrated Letters“.  Who would  have thought Ms. Emily Dickinson would be the kinda girl to chop up books?
  • Shaheen’s Superfluous Blog — Shaheen writes about a favorite (but hidden) site on UMW’s campus:  “EM Wash“.

ENGL 302: Exercise 1 “In the Garden” & Thoughts

Friday, January 21st, 2011

As I’m taking Introduction to Creative Writing (ENGL302) this semester, and trying to use this blog for more things, I thought I would share some of the work I’ve been doing.  After all, I am planning on being a writer and I want to get exposure as well as thoughtful critique by anyone interested in doing so.

This week, Professor Rochelle asked for us to create a 1-2 page response to our choice of prompts.

I went through pre-writing and draft work, but it was no more than two minutes after I churned what would be my official reply that I felt the desire to completely rework it.  This was surprising to me, because I typically feel good about what I produce and turn in, but I think it’s a sign that I’m growing as a writer.

The prompt:  Describe a garden as seen by a man or woman whose significant other has just dumped him or her.  Do not mention the man or the woman, the significant other, or the dumping.

There was a distinct beauty in the arboretum’s flower garden that did not fade.  There were huddling, top-heavy cones of lavender that did not wilt.  Matured, fist-sized roses in pinks and yellows and virgin whites brushed petals with lady’s breath in the gentle breeze, but would not shrivel.  Even the sun, though in its final fits of burnished gold and muted reds, refused to turn to ash; Apollo drove his steed toward night, but the sky did not blacken early.

The world should be cracked, crumbling—different.

It was not.

The brick path, sanguine in color, wound north and disappeared for a moment behind a mighty sculpture of a marble nude examining a single chiseled rose resting in his lifeless palm before returning, completing a u-shape.  Boxwoods (declared so by the miniature signs placed by them) prevented visitors tramping from one side of the footpath to the other.  The shrubbery was an arm’s length thick and half a man’s height, ending now and again to make way for a flower pot or piece of art.  Amidst the greater labyrinth the gardeners had coaxed and nourished from the ground, this was but a small loop, a diversion from the more fantastic exhibitions hidden further within, and thus it was mostly desolate.

The psychic keen should have brought every woman to the path, should have pierced the heart of every chest that swelled beneath a fair face, but only a harried mother existed here, one hand keeping a cell phone to her ear and the other swatting at her dallying boy, and she spared not even a glance for the plants.  Her orange skin and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses covered nothing but a corpse; she snatched her son’s hand from the caress of a daffodil, as oblivious to the single desire of Narcissus the aches of her sex; when the world should have been reeling with the howling of agony, it heard nothing.  The garden remained, and the woman and son disappeared around the bend.

It was not a moment later before a low murmur of voices from the south announced new arrivals:  An Asian man and woman, old and worn, appearing wrinkled like raisins spent a lifetime baking beneath a prairie sun.  They tottered, bodies close and fingers interlaced and it was as clear as the matching rings on their fingers or the folds in their skin that they had seen many years, and they had seen them together.  Fog clouded the woman’s dark irises. Her gaze was void.  The man, his head tilted down to her ear, talking low but constant was surely her world.

But it was she who paused and lifted her head, nose pointed to the low-hanging dogwood blossom just inches from her ear while her husband blinked.  She raised weathered palms, cupping it with such gentleness that it could have been crystal, and bent the star-shaped flower to her face.  The woman inhaled deeply, chest rising—once, twice, great lungfuls of scent without sight!—then took her lover’s hand and continued their walk.

[Photos] UMW in Winter

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

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“That Little Devil”: A Preface

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

“Leelzebub” was born on an innocuous day from the mouth of a bookstore coworker who cleverly ran together my name and that of a well-known devil.   The nickname didn’t stick, but I never forgot it, and soon began using it as an online handle in many places:  Not only did it appeal to my sense of creativity and wordplay, but no one else in the world seemed to be using it.  I could register as Leelzebub without needing to add on a string of inane numbers to indicate a distinction between myself and a user of the same name.  I relished its uniqueness, its individualism.

A member of the Net Generation, the Internet has played a significant part in my life.  My first memory of computers is signing on to Prodigy (wiki article) with my father’s ID and being fascinated by the ability to check my horoscope (Virgo!).  In writing this article, I emailed my dad, curious about the specs of our first PC, which he told my mom would be “the last computer we’ll ever need to buy”, on account of it being considered a powerful piece of machinery.  He replied thus: “The first real desktop we bought was a ‘286’ w/40 mb of hard drive and 1 mb of RAM….hard to believe!”  As of November 2010, my Dell Studio 1555 laptop sports a 451 GB hard drive, and 4 GB of RAM, and I know this astounding piece of plastics and metals will be a dinosaur five years from now.

What lives on is the data we generate, floating on the ether between one user and the next.  This data–blog entries, Google docs, tweets, Facebook updates–reflects our passions, our dislikes, the simple minutiae of our life.  This site is my personal addition to the collective and growing consciousness of the world, though it does not strive to be a confessional, but rather a hub for my intellectual pursuits and more intelligent moments of thought.

Let’s begin.


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