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Well, it seems that my schedule has finally worked out. I found out today from Cairns that Physics C will run with myself, five other students, and a teacher piped in by videoconferencing. This arrangement results from a contractual cap on part-time teachers' pay so that she can't be paid for her travel time (from about an hour away). Therefore, the school will pay more money to buy all of us webcams and software than they it would've spent just to pay the lady to drive herself here. Such is The Law.

In other news, the posted schedule failed to mention that I've been drafted to student direct the fall drama (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Edited & Abridged & then Edited & Abridged Some More)), to teach the new props master the ropes, and to stage manage during most rehearsals.

In completely seperate news, I dislike extremely these bothersome college apps, especially the ones that can't be bothered to take just the Common, which is all of them.

In a fourth category of news, I have acquired a rainbow-colored fake mustache. I've been informed that it is, in fact, coolness mustachified.
bursar42: (human)
My School Schedule )

So that this post will not be entirely me-based: Just looking at LJ, aren't all those weird interconnections you find fun?

A Meme

Aug. 24th, 2004 07:26 pm
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Since I feel that I should update, but have nothing worthwhile to say, I'm actually going to participate in the further distribution of a meme, admittedly one from a few months ago. Googlisms, I have discovered, are amusing.

The more amusing ones... )
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This is a short note to let y'all know I was away last week and will be away next week. I should return to the online world sometime between the 11th and the 12th of this month. Just so you know, I've been quite well, lately. I hope you and yours have too.
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I had a response to [livejournal.com profile] juniperjune's post of March 23. Sadly, though, the clipboard ate it horribly. There was blood and gore everywhere. I shall attempt to put it back together again.

Poetry is not often read because it is seen as "difficult." This perception has everything to do with the highschool canon mentioned in the above post. While nearly everyone can get behind Beowulf to some extent (in a good translation), since it's basically an action movie, a lot of poetry is specifically designed to be... less accessible. I remember, for example, being forced to read some short poem by T.S. Eliot, I think it was. Out of the entire class, only two students could so much as sound the thing out, since that was the number that knew the Greek alphabet. Oddly enough, this snobbery is not welcomed by the general public. Since people are trained from early ages to think of poetry as snobbish, foreign, and rarefied, it will not become popular for the foreseeable future. Nor will it receive much more attention in academic circles (at least in English). For some reason, English is almost solely spoken and written in prose. Perhaps we like things more factual, more definite than other cultures, abstraction is often seen as weak mindedness, or more intelligent than God, neither of which is something which is likely to become popular. Academia, in this case, follows the world. Since prose makes bigger splashes and attracts more material than poetry, it follows that more people would study prose. But fear not. Poetry is not dead. I have a young friend who, I believe, when angry, recites poems form the T'eng Dynasty to calm herself.

Of course, those of you who know me well will remember that I like prose much more than poetry. And so does the majority of the Anglophone world. I wonder when that change came about. I mean, in the early 1600s, poetry was still at the top of the heap in England. Now, though, it's certainly not. Any thoughts?

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Junior year is a bit odd. Between rehearsals, driver's ed, clubs, and Latin-y doom, I've managed to average over twelve hours a day in school for the past week or two. This is not time spent on school work, which surely approaches 16hrs/day. Oh well.

Other than this, I've been having a fine time. American History is actually interesting and full of stuff I haven't heard of before (unlike a lot of European History). The Soc Curriculum Associate fellow, btw, is looking into offering Comparative Government next year, too, which will hopefully be fun and finally give me at least some formal education to go along with things like this. It's kind of scary that history and government are becoming my favorite subjects in school, but I suppose that's better than Chemistry. After all, who wants to be a hard scientist? (Yes, I know. I say this, and I'm doomed to be a physical chemist in my next life. Stay tuned for Chipmunk in the Caves of Nuclear Fire.) Somehow I've ended up taking three years of Latin simultaneously in one period a day. There's definitely going to be some issues with that by the end of the year. English has gone from one of my perpetual favorite subjects to being one of my least favorite. The teacher seems to advocate a school of "descriptive" writing which is best written with a small checklist in one's hand. If you haven't gotten every rhetorical device on the list into every paragraph, go back and try again. It's really pretty sick, but at least he's not one of those passive voice mavens. Maybe I should have skipped this course and gone on to the next one. I have the prereqs since this is technically just the AP version of the course I took last year. (There was a dumb move! I could have gotten this course out of the way, taken Lit this year, and have lotsa' time left over for the interesting-sounding English electives.) If I end up a senior without a lunch despite moving my math to a Saturday at the community college, I'm gonna' have a fit.

Other than school, life's alright, I suppose. People's lives seem to be falling apart all around me, though. It's really unsettling to hear about some of the things that are going on.

On a happier note, SWIM'N will start getting more of my time as the semester draws to a close. After all, where would we be without an interesting prosecutorial system. Anyone with any details on the French system or the theory of the Soviet system (we all know it was corrupt) would be really nice if they spoke to me. Sadly, SWIM'N is the only organized quasi-CTY organization I still actively participate in. I talk to people still, but I think the group as a whole has finally collapsed under its own weight. The people who I really associated with have pretty much all bailed. Most are in college. Others, I either talk to them regularly or they have disappeared from the ether entirely. The remainder are my age, younger, or people I never really talked to anyway. There seem to be few chats going on, and the Alcoveboard seems to be filled with even more inane chatter than ever. Maybe it's just because the archives are so readily accessible... Who knows? It seems that there's very little of interest going on. The older contingent has finally gone, and I can't say I'm happy about it.

On a completely unrelated note, I am pissed at E.B. White. The fellow goes so far as to revise a guide to style and forgets an interesting, though oft-forgotten rule of English. Proper nouns refer to specific things. So, we have the current Prince Charles, Prince of Wales referred to as Bonnie Prince Charlie. Unless he was interested in making a political statement (such as "All true supporters of the British monarchy should try to have him exiled" or something similar), White really shouldn't be using one person's nickname (to which he is known to history) to refer to another person (who doesn't even have the same name). I grr imperfections in those who make a living telling other people how to behave in their supposed area of expertise.

Edit: Since enough people have asked me, let me clarify. The Alcove collapsed under its own weight, not the Swiss Imperial Navy.

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Recently, I've been giving some thought to the Alcove. We're far better organized than we once were. We've got a domain for pictures, messages, and email. We've got our three (or is it four, I forget) mailing lists. We've got our permanent chat (Ask for the room name.) We've always had a definite social structure. Now, we've got more people in quasi-official positions in that structure, though. Not emperor or Jesus or whatever, but webmaster, listmod, and code junky. I guess it's inevitable. We're large enough nowadays to require a sort of secretariat. Someone has to make sure the website doesn't fall apart at the seams. Someone has to do housekeeping. Someone has to figure out reunion transport. (We've always had someone do that.)

The fundamental thing, though, is that we've become too large. Any group which sprouts a civil service is too large to call itself a bunch of friends anymore. Of course, this may just be jitters for me. For the first time, there are non-Eishan Alcovists that I haven't already met at CTY. Maybe I'm getting too old for this sort of thing. Who knows? I definitely felt that this summer. I was so disconnected from the vast majority of the Alcove. I lived in the past. The youngest students seemed somehow "other", and the most of the older ones became boring. It seemed like we were busier being no-mores than we were having fun. That's one of the reasons I flung myself so wholeheartedly on the traditions: instigating the election cabal, dealing with the t-shirt, collecting the money for everything, editing the contact list.

With a group this large, people grate each others' nerves very easily as well. This may be why I think the chats have become more and more... well, dumb. While they were never examples of Great Discourse, the past month has seen a nearly endless string of "I'm Wittier than You Are" contests. Everything's turned into a joke, a nitpick about grammar, or a comment on screenname color. Pointless banter has a role in conversation, but when there's three hours straight, something's wrong.

As usual, I'm not sure what to do about this. Next year's group might want to consider being its own thing, without us old folks, though the Alcove is so diffuse that there's not likely to be a mass no-more-age any time soon, so it's unlikely to actually happen. I certainly don't want this thing to break up, but it already has to some extent. There's an older group and a younger group. There's the quasi-LLRT group, the moderates, and the quasi-Eish group. But the offenders in chats run the gamut from squirrel to null-more, quasi-Eish to quasi-LLRT. Formal splitting would do no good, and, from what I've heard, LLRT's method of dealing with it is really unacceptable.

I probably just won't be around as much as I used to be.

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I had a really long entry ready to go on inclusiveness and group dynamics at CTY, but LJ ate it horribly. Or my harddrive did. I forget which. It doesn't really matter. It made horrible crunching sounds as it was devoured, though.

Well, the past month or so has been pretty eventful. There was MitH's reunion in which we played laser tag and engaged in minor drama. Then [livejournal.com profile] inuki42 came over for a week. On the way home from MitH's, we spotted a CTY-TA on the highway, which was kind of bizarre. It was pleasant having a friend around for a change.

A week or two later, I went off to Emma's which was fun, and relatively low-key. That said, there was some drama, but it was resolved the following night, I hope. I'm really being rather cryptic aren't I? Ah, well.

On the schooling front, I still don't know what year the computer thinks I'm in. I also don't know if I'm going to add an 11th period course. I don't think so. The amount of summer work I have to do still is staggering. Why on Earth did I ever agree to try to teach myself Latin II over the summer and then leave it for the last week (along with the rest of my summer work)?

On a rather scary note, for the past month, nearly everyone I've spoken to voluntarily has been a rising freshman or sophomore (undergrad, not secondary). This is bizarre and rather scary. More scary is my mother trying to guilt me into learning how to drive. I know I signed up for driver's ed and all that, but I could do without stopping in random deserted parking lots on the way home from a haircut and being told to drive around it for half an hour.

This concludes today's pointless entry.

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I'm back from CTY. This session and the eternal alcove chat have changed my views on exclusivity and elitism a bit. When I'm done reformulating my views on the matter, you may expect a poorly written, nowhere near long enough exposition that makes rather little sense.
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Summer is here! Wheee!

My startling lack of end-of-year examinations was a really great bonus to the normal presummer euphoria. Only Latin, Spanish, and English gave finals. This is a very good thing because I didn't know how to decline nouns in Latin until about seven hours before the final, and, really, I'm not in favor of two-day essay-based exams in mid-May. (Hurrah for dropping AP Comp while there was still time.)

A Rant Advisory has been applied to the below by the NRAAAS.

Click Here to Proceed. )
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Well, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Yes, there is a thunderstorm outside, but it's the last day of classes (or was a few hours ago), so it's a beautiful day. Trust me on this one.

Never fear, though. I won't let much time go by without posting a comment on the high school ranking systems used by Newsweek. For those who don't know, they're even more arbitrary and pointless than the parallel system used for US colleges. It works out to, essentially, the average number of AP tests taken per senior. This is, of course, a ridiculous measurement of school performance. Notice, for example, the pointed lack of any mention of average grades on the APs. Note, also, the disqualification of any school which tests for admission. Finally, notice the scores.

My school, which, in fact, is quite good, ranked #5 with an average of 4.something-or-other APs/senior. What they don't tell you about is a key policy found in these top-ranking public schools. Open enrollment. (This is the part where you gasp and recoil in horror, please.) There may be an argument for an egalitarian distribution of resources. (Yes. Socialism lives on in suburbia.) That said, it's obvious that certain persons in the advanced courses have a tendency to slow those classes down. This is not because they are in search of deeper knowledge, but rather because they should not be in that class yet they cling to their C+/B- (Which is a poor grade in this particular school. Inflation is something to behold.) averages instead of dropping the class.

Now, this particular school, since APs are open enrollment, has also abolished honors courses. So we have Regular/Mainstreamed Special Ed and AP (Two types of class. Not two tracks.) All of this has led to a movement for closed AP classes among some of the student body.

The administration (meaning the local board of ed, not the federal cabinet) consistantly refuses to reconsider open enrollment. With the publication of Newsweek, we understand why. The caliber of the students taking the tests does not matter. They could leave in the middle after resigning themselves to scoring a 1 (as many calculus students did this year). All that matters is that they took the test. The more APs taken, the higher the district's ranking. The higher the district's ranking, the higher the property values (and rates of incumbency on the school board).

Thoughts, folks?

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Well, folks, it's been a while, and there is much to report. Fortunately, most of it won't get reported. The utter lack of drama-related activities (other than the induction a few weeks ago) has actually turned into a blessing, simply because it allowed me to, if not get more work done, at least do it before two in the morning. Of course, I'm still massively sleep deprived as evidenced by the fact that I was reeling about the apartment yesterday morning like a drunk (well, more accurately, like a certain person who sometimes screws up her meds). This and the fact that I was suffering from rather noxious allergies led me to take the day off from school for the first time this year. Yesterday's grand total was 15 hours of sleep, although constantly interrupted by trying to breathe through my nose and failing miserably. Of course, this means I now have to make up two tests with only a week and a bit left of school. Ah, well. My minor shirking was certainly worth it.

On the computing front, I should probably note that the desktop's graphics card fan has busted itself leading to some very interesting visual effects on the monitor as I type this. The thing acts like a TV with scanning lines and horizontal bleeding of color (not to mention a mysterious darkness that made me jack up the brightness by 40 notches). Sadly, the only other graphics cards around here are PCI, and all of those slots are taken up, so a new one must be bought I fear.

Socially, I succeeded in actually leaving home for two Friday nights in a row (even if I did return early both times). This, amazingly, is actually an accomplishment. One night, I saw Bruce Almighty which, even if predictable, was quite an improvement from some of Carrey's other works. Maybe he'll stick to thoughtless comedy from now on. He's good at it.

As for CTY, I suppose I should say something like: "CTY.LAN.MIND.03.1!!! Yeah, Baby!" With that out of the way, I can say that the coming year worries me. I've heard rumors from various persons, who will go unnamed but not unappreciated, concerning staff overhauls and evil scheming on the part of Baltimore-in-a-body. It's unfortunate that my Monopoly set will be outdated so soon. It's only six months old, but it has the jail listed as "Kelli's Office." Kelli will not be back, and neither will most of her cohorts. This is piled on top of the expected vote on the Canon, the lack of a Jesus, and the utter uncertainty of the return of the Jester. More complication will undoubtedly ensue if, as rumor holds, Gabe goes first, not second, session. Of course, there is no point whatsoever in me worrying about these things, as they will surely sort themselves out. Those that aren't self-sorting will probably be too large for me to do anything about. As 'Nix managed to remind me, the point is to have fun with it, not to stress over it, and I would do well to remember that.

In the general current events category, I have the following anecdote to report from my mother. She was waiting in a doctor's office, and the 12:00 news was playing on the communal TV. The chief story was the homeland security alert going to orange. The usual critique was offered by everyone, "But what are we supposed to do about it? It's just to cover their own asses." More interestingly, several of the people there (All suburban Republican types, I am assured.) wondered aloud just what the bad economic news that prompted such an elevated terror alert was. Common guesses were a rise in unemployment, a slump in stocks, or a downbeat muttering from Alan Greenspan. A story buried in the news, and certainly not given much play, revealed that all three of these were correct. The populace is beginning to dislike Mr. Bush's use of national security as a ploy to distract people. Further evidence of dissatisfaction in the ranks came from everyone's favorite sources of government reform, the Central Intelligence Agency and the US Marine Corps. The intelligence types are apparently complaining that they were under pressure to produce reports indicating that Iraq had WMDs. As a result, they were forced to use sources which were dissaffected with Mr. Hussein rather than objective (i.e. satellite and wiretap) means. The general in charge of Marines in Iraq also came out recently to say that the intelligence he has been given was "faulty," essentially declaring that there was no point in searching for WMDs in Iraq because they did not exist. Mr. Wolfowitz, IIRC, later stated that the WMDs had probably been removed from Iraq before the war, and that, really, there were plenty of other equally good reasons to invade Iraq anyway. The current line is that WMDs were really only used as the pretext for war because everyone in the administration could agree on WMDs as a good reason. However, there were plenty of other really good reasons that, for some reason, it was decided not to try to sell the public on. It's a weird world out there. (Source: Washington Week, WETA, PBS.)

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I had a particularly useful entry all planned out recently. However, it disappeared much to my chagrin.

There is little to report from my life as well. While on vacation, I have managed to do absolutely nothing worthwhile. There's little to say. The faculty has managed to, again, pile the work on during the supposed vacation. This is a bit of a travesty but only to be expected. After all, the solution to children who can't read, write, or do basic math is obviously to make them do more. Ah, well. What can you do?

Actually, to tell the truth, the past few days have been quite nice despite the disappointment of Lisa's quasi-reu.

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I think I have to stop putting off posting in here and actually say something. I've been advised, however, that I'm making absolutely no sense today, so please kindly don't rip my head off.

First off, as a good little student, I must comment on the war. However, unlike others who actually have something worthwhile to say about the war itself, I shall continue to discuss little side-topics. Most popular of these side-topics is the news coverage of the war. I'm not going to complain that the news media is biased. Of course it is, and it has good reason to be. If they weren't pro-administration, they would go on the official shit-list Ari Fleisher (Sorry about the poor choice of link. It was the best I could do.) keeps so he can tell which journalists to selectively deprive of lifeblood. Or advance notice of briefings. Whichever he feels like. Further, the majority of the viewers are in favor of war. They don't want to be bombarded with anti-war messages any more than left-wing types want to have to wade through the Fox News Channel or The New York Post. Really, not many people are interested in being exposed to other viewpoints (today or any day) except for the people who really matter, who don't enjoy it but know that they have to if they want to be able to give the other side what for.

This brings us to the macabre spectacle so many Americans partake of practically hourly nowadays. I refer, of course, to "All War, All the Time" and so on. Unlike most, I don't fault the media for doing such things. It's a question of what is more important. Is it more important that we threw a war or that "U.S. And Russian Officials Reach Accord on Poultry Technical Trade Issues" (Today's top story on the USDA website)? I suggest that, in the over-all scheme of things, the former is far more important and should be treated as such by the media. Further, there is the simple fact that not everyone can watch their TVs at the same time. It makes sense, therefore, for at least one channel to be talking about the war at any given moment. Instead, I fault the public. Let's face it, nothing horrible is going to happen to you if you take a break from your daily Work-Eat-Catch up on War-Sleep cycle. You might be a few hours behind the most sleep-deprived insomniac out there, but it doesn't really matter. You're still performing your duty to remain an informed citizen, and you're still a few thousand miles away from the stray bullets. The only possible justification for continuous monitoring of news is if you are living in Baghdad. That way, you can know when to stay extra far away from the windows.

The next thing to deal with, I suppose, is ideologues. Particularly Mr. 99. Mr. 99 has the amazing ability to complain vociferously that certain persons (Well, really only me) are Un-American (his term, not mine) because they fail to agree with the President. He later amended this to say un-patriotic, which he defined as "Un-American" while still maintaining they were, in fact, not the same thing. Further hilarity was provided when he suggested I might enjoy living in a Soviet-style dictatorship because I seem to hate my freedoms so much. I had been discussing my views on the purposes of this war. I may or may not have mentioned the inherent evils of the USA PATRIOT Act (For those of you clicking the link, I advise you to pay especially close attention to the vagueness of Title VIII.) (PATRIOT 2 (Warning: 12MB file) promises to be even more interesting. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to read through it yet.) I have yet to exactly figure out how exercising one's right, very timidly even, to express concern about government policy, indicates a desire to live under a Stalinist regime. I can't imagine how he might react if he actually met someone actively anti-war.

This brings me to the sort of debate found on TV news shows/magazines. Even the late, great Newshour has succumbed somewhat to the style of "debate" seen on Crossfire, etc. (Confession time: I was one of Hannity and Colmes's first viewers when it went on TV. Mr. Hannity is the cousin of my former best friend.) The rest of this paragraph would just be annoying, so instead, I'll leave it as an AOL! to [livejournal.com profile] quantumland's entry of April 3, 2003.

On somewhat sillier notes:

  • I was verbally abused for referring to "Mr. Hussein." This after I consulted with the ever-authoritative NY Times Style-Guide and the J.H.S. newspaper adviser. He's not a convicted felon; he gets a title of respect.
  • No one else seems to find it incongruous that every single ambassador accredited to the United States is an "ambassador extraordinary". Somehow, that strikes me as a bit odd.
I seem to be getting in the habit of ending these things with a list, don't I?

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War-blabbing )

Hmm, what sort of news is there today? Well, I have succeeded in demonstrating that my math skills continue to not be up to snuff, not qualifying for the AIME for the sixth year in a row in which it's possible I might have. This disappoints me to an incredible degree, which is sad because:

  • It's just a contest.
  • I'm usually not that jealous of people.
  • My disappointment is entirely based on ego.

The Campaign for Social Involvement is now solidly Late September, so that's a Good Thing. Which brings me to, well, not much. I carry on.

In other news, one of [livejournal.com profile] inuki42's dogs died recently. Go hug her.

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Just a short note to tell everyone I'm still alive. The play didn't go as badly as I thought. Although we did manage to have the rotating room set in three pieces (it was supposed to be in one piece) by the end of the second performance. Ah, well.
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I probably shan't be here for a little while. There's a very bad musical going on (not only the cast and crew, the show's bad too), so I'll be at rehearsals for exorbitant amounts of time.
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Well, I was actually quasi-productive the last few days. LighthouseBoy came over and we finally finished that damned project we've been working on since last April. One down; Two to Go.

Since I forgot to do this before, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] inuki42 for those nifty little icon things that pop up next to these entries. The picture of the chipmunk comes from a modified Google image search result, by the way.

On a completely different note, what's worse than having "Blasphemous Rumours" by Depeche Mode stuck in your head? Having "Blasphemous Rumours" by Depeche Mode stuck in your head for two days straight only to have it replaced by "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" I'm about to go insane. I wonder if there's a cabin fever mood icon... I guess grumpy will do.

bursar42: (squirrel)

Well, February break's here again. That one time of year other than the summer I actually get some time off. Of course, the usual break assignments are here to ruin my fun, but what can you do, eh?

On the note of accomplishments for today, I succeeded in diverting English class from actually discussing anything worthwhile and thereby preventing the revelation of my views on yesterday's (::looks at watch:: two days ago's) AIDS educator who came to the school.

The blasphemy may be found here. Rant Warning. )

This lack of disclosure probably prevented the loss of my tacitly recognized ability to sleep through English class, thus re-proving the maxim about wise people keeping their mouths shut. On the subject of sleep, I have to say I've gotten some lately. I'm a person again! Yay!!! Of course, judging by the extremely erratic moods in this post, I probably need a bit more.

In further news, the Campaign for Social Involvement, the highest-rated sitcom of the season (Well, it would be if it were on the air,) has steadily progressed and, I'm proud to say, has been upgraded to Mid-to-late-September status. Maybe I'll get to June by the time I'm fifty. This accomplishment, accompanied by almost complete forgetfulness of St. Valentine's Day and getting to learn how to focus leakos, has made my day surprisingly good. Of course, this was made even better by getting back several math quizzes I thought I had done rather poorly on (but which I hadn't); the illness of the Scantron lady, thereby preventing the return of the biology test; and the amazing ability of the history faculty to

  • Overburden themselves with essays to grade in both Euro and American and
  • Fall behind on the sacrifices at the small altar to McKay I'm convinced they have in the teachers' workroom.
All in all, a nice day. By the way, does anyone know why this thing doesn't recognize the OL tag? Did W3C destandardize it while I wasn't looking or something?

bursar42: (Default)

I hope that's the right declension...

::takes a deep breath::

After some pressure and quite a bit of boredom, I have broken down and gotten myself an LJ. This is, I hope, the first entry in what will be a long, steady stream of them. Unfortunately, we all know me better than that, so it'll probably be an abandoned, sporadically flowing wadi. Nevertheless, I do propose to follow some guidelines so as to keep your eyes from exploding, your visual cortex from being shorted out, and to prevent your never speaking to me again. Keep in mind, though, that I'll probably break my own rules from time to time.

  • The number of "a funny thing happened to me" stories will be kept to a minimum.
  • I will not blather endlessly.
  • I will back up my political pronouncements or keep them to myself.
  • I will only bitch and whine a moderate amount. We all know complete elimination is a pipe dream.
  • I will not be a notegigalo.
  • I will laugh from time to time.
  • I will follow Bode's Rule #1.

That should be about it. Let's see how this thing works, shall we?

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