Tuesday, October 31, 2006

It's Halloween, Do You Have The Malocchio?

Happy Halloween, everyone. I've never been a big fan of Halloween, even when I was a kid. Living in Philly posed some...challenges for the legitimate Halloween trick-or-treater. Personally, I never had any major issues. To make sure that we didn't have any issues, my mom would take us only on 2 streets: ours and my grandparents' (who lived about 2 1/2 blocks away). Although, I must admit that my grandparents' street was pretty awesome; they had a candy store on the corner! Phil's. (For some unknown reason everyone in my family and up the street called him "Fibbie." Whatever!) Well, Fibbie would give out the full-sized Hershey bars! And I'm talking the late 1970s and early 1980s. Candy bars were like twice the size they are now! Or Marathon bars. Sweet Christ, those were the best candy bars ever. EVER! Do NOT even try to argue with me!

Also, I grew up in a family that kind of hung onto "The Great Depression" mentality. We were always going to die or get some horrible debilitating illness just by doing anything that meant leaving our house for more than 5 minutes. They swore we'd get Scarlet Fever if we played under an open fireplug in the summer. They had us by the age of 4 firmly believing that sitting on a cold, marble step outside would doom one to Polio. So my family was convinced that gallivanting around in nothing but a costume for an hour on November's eve would cause us all to get Spinal Meningitis or Diverticulitis or Hepatitis or something, resulting in certain death. Therefore, I recall MANY a Halloween where my sister and I wore our costumes over our winter coats---yes, OVER---complete with hats, scarves, and gloves. It's kind-of hard to be a convincing witch, or clown, or basically anything when you look like Cookie Monster in a pointy hat. I'll pause here for a moment while you compose yourselves....

All done?

Then there was...the Malocchio. The "evil eye." The Malocchio was not limited to only Halloween. Oh no, sir! You could be a victim of the Malocchio year-round! How nice! How does one know they have the Malocchio? Well there are some subtle signs. Got a headache? Feel unusually tired? Ears itching or ringing? Depressed? You don't know what, but you just feel "out of sorts?" Well, chances are you've got the Malocchio.

Getting rid of the Malocchio---in my Italian culture---involved a rather simple set-up: a dish of warm water (it had to have a rim) and a tablespoon of olive oil. My grandmother was the "Malocchio Terminator," if you will. She was the only person that presided over this ritual. She then drew olive-oil crosses in 4 positions around the rim, and drew olive-oil crosses on the head, lips, and wrists of the afflicted. All the while, my grandmother would be mumbling some sort of prayer, which to this day, I still don't know what it was. Then after all that got done, she'd say a different prayer of some sort and with her index finger and thumb, she'd pinch a drop of the olive oil into the dish of water. Depending on how the oil reacted with the water, it meant different things. If it split in two, it meant one thing. If it spread out wide all over the surface, that meant something else. (I think that meant that someone was spreading lies about you.) And there were other variations. Then she'd use the oil to make the crosses again on the head, lips and wrists. I think she did this procedure 12 times: say a prayer, pinch out the oil, make the crosses. After the 12 times, she'd dump the rest of the oil from the spoon into the dish, then make big crosses three times in the oil and water mix. Then she'd dip her fingers in the oil and water and she'd draw triple crosses on the head, lips and wrists, all the while repeating some prayer. Done. And you felt better. Seriously. No, I am not crazy! :-P

Anyway, this is my long-winded way of saying a very heart-felt, "thank you" to my secret pal, who sent me a very cool Halloween card! I hope you can see the text on the front. If you click on the picture, it will make it bigger, then I think you can see:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Might As Well Face It, I'm Addicted To Yarn....

Yeah, I totally am. I buy SO much more yarn than I will ever use. It's scary. Maybe I need to seek professional help?

In my spare bedroom, I have three large and deep Rubbermaid containers all bursting with yarn. I also have some tucked away in a few cardboard boxes and in knitting tote bags. I really need to take stock of what I have, make a plan for using stuff, and get rid of what I don't want! That said, I think I want to get one of these from IKEA. And I can store yarn by type, or by project, or by color or by something in each cubby hole. My husband has one of these, in the larger size, in the basement for his books and such. It's super looking and really does help with organization.

Because digging in those containers 'aint fun. And it makes the yarn look so sad....

Also? Right now in that spare room, in addition to the boxes and Rubbermaid containers, I have so much random crap: a futon, a desk (which I never, ever, ever, ever use), an end table, a rolling file cabinet (small one) a CD tower, a chest of drawers, and a Rubbermaid mini chest of drawers for some of my clothes (of which I also have just too many). I think I might get rid of the desk. It sticks too far out into the room, which is kind-of tiny to begin with, and doesn't really give me a workable surface because it has a small top and a pull-out, rolling surface. It's basically a computer desk.

Ok so since I am actively seeking solutions to my complicated yarn problem, I think I deserve to treat myself and...buy more yarn.

Here's what I want to get:

Patons has come up with a new all-natural fiber yarn that is 70% wool and 30% soy called SWS! I am dying to try this. It's not super-expensive, either and it comes in some nice color arrangements. Ramwools has this yarn for $6.75 a skein, and if you buy 6 skeins or more, you get it 10% off of that! Because it's a self-striping yarn, I want to use it to make the Crystal Palace "Merino Stripes" feather and fan throw. Here's the pattern for that. I think that the soy portion of the SWS yarn will make it less itchy and better for a throw blanket. And hey, let's face it, it's gonna be cheaper than making it using the Merino Stripes yarn.

Schaefer has a series of very high-end yarns for which they have developed color schemes named after famous women; from Frieda Kahlo to Katherine the Great to Indira Gandhi. The colors are GORGEOUS. What a great way to make a gift for a special female in your life, or for YOU, the most special female of all! One of my most favorite yarn/knitting-supply sellers on ebay, Roxy's Yarns, happens to have some of this yarn in a bulky (my favorite size) wool in the color "Eleanor Roosevelt." It's not cheap, but you do get a lot per skein, 300 yards. I think I'm going to get it! She also has a worsted weight wool in "Jane Addams," which is also to die for.

I also want to get more of the Plymouth Fantasy Naturale yarn. Again, Roxy's Yarns has some and she also has the best price. This time, I want to get a solid color. Probably in this taupe. Maybe use it for another market bag or maybe to make a lacy wrap/scarf. Not sure yet. But I like the yarn so much that I'm sure I'll find some application for it!

Tonight's to-do list:
1) Send out the first package to my Secret Pal. Hope she likes the stuff I got her.
2) Work on the second market bag.
3) Watch Lost!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Geek-Out Weekend

Aside from the major addiction to World of Warcraft, my husband, Todd, and I also like RPGs and pretty much any geeky fantasy gaming in general. One such geek-a-licious game is Heroscape. You can click on the link and learn all about it.

So this past weekend, our good friends Jan & Marsha and their super-incredibly cute daughter, Sylvia, all came over for some Heroscape fun. There are many recommendations and ideas either online or in the game boxes to help you set up "the board" and to play pre-planned scenarios. This is great for younger fans of the game. And we've done this as well. However, Todd just bought some new expansions to the game and he pulled out ALL the stops in creating his own uber-cool original board layout and game scenario!

We had to put the leaf in the dining-room table! AWESOME! [Throws up the horns]

Here's a bunch of photos.

This is a shot of the arrangement the night before. As you can see, there are 2 castles on either side, representing 2 different teams. In the middle are the perils between the two: water, ice, and lava:

Next is a shot of in-game play. The scenario was this: There existed three glyphs. Each castle had their own glyph and there was one glyph positioned somewhere in the center of the playing field (in the ice area) among other glyphs. The goal was to find out which glyph was the correct one and then capture it from the snow/ice area and get it back to your castle first. Then you would have to capture the enemy's glyph and bring that back to your castle. So whoever could successfully get all three glyphs back to their castle would win.

The winged warrior with the sword at the top-center of the photo is standing on that special glyph (this was a character from Todd's team). Some of the other glyphs we uncovered during the game included a glyph that gave a +1 to defense rolls. The female character dressed in all white with the gun is standing on that one:

We played in 2 teams, Marsha and I were on one team and Todd and Jan on the other. My team's castle was the one on the water side with the trees. Here is an aerial view of the setup during game play:

Now, the star-shaped cards you see on the table are cards that correspond to the various characters you can play in the game. The cards explain any special abilities and also tell you what a character's move, attack range, defense, and attack strength are. The variety of characters is un-frickin'-believable: from flying acid-spewing dragons, to yeti, to cyborgs, to outlaws, to ninjas. You name it!

Here's great close-up that Marsha took of some of her characters, which these happen to be Roman legionnaires. And also, here's Sylvia enjoying the little figures too!:

The game is played in rounds, with each person taking a turn to move and/or attack. At the start of every round, each player rolls for initiative. Whoever rolls the highest goes first, then play continues to the person on the right.

Some more cool photos. We took some shots as if we were looking out of the castle across the battlefield. And check out the rockin'-cool-ass dragon that Marsha and I chose for our team!

Yeah, see? I told you we were geeks! :-P

Friday, October 20, 2006

What Color Green Are YOU?

So, I saw this on a blog from the SP9 list. I try to go visit a couple of random blogs of fellow SP9 participants every day! Anyway, it's another odd quiz:

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.
Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.
While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.
Your warm personality nicely counteracts any strange habits you may have.
What Color Green Are You?

I find this really amusing, seeing that I HATE TEAL! Seriously! Recall, if you will, the SP9 questionnaire. One question was: "What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?" And I responded that I pretty much like all colors, except Teal.... In fact, I believe my exact words were: "Teal should be removed from all human existence."

And while I was on that quiz site, I took this other quiz called "What Sesame Street Character Are You?":

You Are Bert

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you loveable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you live your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others
The Sesame Street Personality Quiz

And I couldn't agree with this more. I am so, utterly, totally, completely like Bert.

Monday, October 16, 2006

More Work for Mother...

Sigh...look what Hercules learned to do:

And what's even worse? Look who was very intently watching him do it:

That's right, Sean "McSquinty Head" Connery (Titus). And you know they learn the BAD habits from each other. Never the good ones. Wait, actually, mine don't even have any good habits. I just know I am going to come home from work one day and find them both up there wrestling for the position of King of the Refrigerator. Kind of like Highlander.

"THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE! ...Cat on top of the refrigerator."

Oh yeah, and? Herc decided that it was his civic duty as a cat to try to destroy every magnet I have on there:

It's a big fridge. I have a lot of magnets. He's doing a real good job, though...already broke 2. Thanks, Herc!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Market Bag!

Ok folks! Finally, here are some photos of the Market bag, as modeled by my friend, Nicole. Why Nicole and not me? Because Nicole is cute, and I frighten children over the age of 2, small dogs, and most horses....

You can probably see where I messed up a little on the pattern. I dropped my stitch marker somewhere around the 7th round (it didn't fit right on my needle and kind-of fell off). So I must have started the next round one stitch too far over or something. It doesn't look too bad.

Here's a close up:

And this is a flat, empty shot:

So now, when I start on the other one, I know to go 2 rows shorter so I don't run out of yarn when binding off...grrr.... And also to use better stitch markers! Once I got that stitch marker-thing straight, I had no problem!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My SP9 Hostess' Contest!

My favorites:

Actor: Gary Oldman
Actress: Rachel Weisz
Animal: CAT!
Band: Queen
Beverage: Iced Tea
Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God
Bubble Bath: None!
Candy: Dark chocolate
Color: Red
Flower: Iris
Food: Japanese/Sushi
Lip Balm: Burt's Bees
Lotion: AVON Moisture Threapy Oatmeal Lotion
Movie: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Song: Tie Your Mother Down
TV Show: Lost
Vacation Spot: Bermuda

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Secret Pal 9 Questionnaire

I'm bumping up this questionnaire post so that my secret pal can find it!

To My Secret Pal:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn(s) to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Well, I like pretty much anything. I like bulky yarns in particular. I sort of lost my taste for the fringey, eyelash, novelty yarns. I'm not vehemently opposed to acrylic, but I do prefer it when it's mixed with some other natural fiber (i.e., wool or cotton) to give it more flexibility/durability.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a couple of hand-made fabric needle cases that I got from e-bay. Love them. Then I splurged one day and bought this huge suitcase-ish rolling bag from JoAnn (I had a coupon). It's pretty cool. I keep a lot of stuff in there as well.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting for a little over 2 years. My friend Marsha taught me in the summer of 2004. It was always something that I wanted to do. My grandmother was a great knitter and an expert at crochet. I have a crochet tablecloth that she made. Incredible. Marsha's husband, Jan, taught me how to crochet. I just really like being creative and making usable things. I would consider my skill level in knitting to be advanced beginner/intermediate. I'm still just a novice at crochet. I very slowly build up my knowledge of stitches and techniques. I'd like to be able to master a particular skill first before piling on something else.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
At one time, I did have an Amazon wish list, but then I figured nobody would ever be looking at it but me, so I tossed it! :-)

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
Generally, I like natural, gentle scents. I like green tea and pears a lot. I absolutely cannot stand cinnamon or patchouli or anything overly floral. I wish someone would come up with a candle that smelled like bread baking. That would seriously rock.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Does the pope wear a funny hat? Chocolate, of course. I like dark better than milk. But hey, I'll eat anything of the chocolate variety. And I am a real sucker for a good chocolate-covered marshmallow. Oh! And those little thimble-sized truffles that are dusted with cocoa powder (I see them at Trader Joe's sometimes). OH MY DOG. I love those. They are like chocolate butter. Candy I will not eat: Twizzlers or any of its rubbery, stringy look-alikes. Yuck.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I don't spin. But I'd be interested in trying it. I also crochet. I like to cross-stitch and needlepoint. I can sew a bit (like curtains, pillow covers, etc.). Decoupage, scrapbooking, silk-screening, photography, pottery/ceramics, origami, jewlery making, beaded fruit--- you name it and I've at least dabbled in it. Hell, I used to even make rosary beads. I'm a fairly artistic person and I like to draw and occasionally paint. I'm big on home improvement, so I do a lot of wallpapering, tile grouting, house painting, linoleum laying, etc.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I love 80s music, particularly "Retro." I also love classic rock (who doesn't?); with my favorite bands being Queen, Led Zepplin, and Yes. I'm into Radiohead and I often like House/Techno music, especially when cleaning the house. Some of it is really kind of cool! I also like relaxation music with animal sounds and such. STOP LAUGHING RIGHT NOW. Anyway, I like a lot of stuff and would be interested in listening to new music. Except Rap and Country, which basically suck ass. I can handle MP3s. I have 2 iPods that are itching for MORE!

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
Well, I don't think it's really a question of me not liking colors, because I pretty much like ALL of them, except for teal. Teal should be removed from all human existence. Really, it's more like what colors don't like me! For instance, I love yellow and orange, but they look hideous on me. However, I will admit that I'm not a huge fan of pastels. I guess I like heathered, natural colors the best. I'm fond of plums, sagey greens, denim blues, gray, terra-cotta, and mocha. I like red, too. As my father-in-law once said, "I never met a red that I didn't like." I think maybe that's his favorite color. Either that or he was referring to wine. Or maybe Communists. Or maybe Red Skelton. Not sure. It was a while ago. :-P But he was standing in my living room looking at the wall that I had just painted RED.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Four cats, all mostly evil. One husband, moderately evil.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes, yes, hmmm maybe, HELL NO.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I like to knit interesting, useful items that aren't fussy or overly complicated. To me, there is really something to be said for the soft, warm garter-stitch scarf.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Right now, I am knitting the Fantasy Naturale Market Bag. It's going pretty well!

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Oh my, YES!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Hmmm...well, I have all kinds of needles (wood, plastic, metal, resin, etc.) and I think I like resin the best. I like straight needles better than circular. My favorite needles are Bryspun. They are sometimes hard to come by. But use them once, and you'll love them, especially the circulars. No tangling/twisting, which is my biggest complaint about circular needles.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Nope! In fact, I don't even know what a swift is.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
That would have to be that gorram poncho, which will forever remain a UFO because
a) um... ponchos? and
b) Lion Brand discontinued the yarn I was using (Kool Wool) and I can't buy it anymore, and
c) refer to a.
It's 2 years old.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
I don't really have one. I can tell you that I like Halloween the LEAST.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Well, I often get obsessed with things. I like stuff. So it's more like "what don't you collect?" For now, I seem to be accumulating Pirate cards, animal figurines (particularly carved wood ones), anything Mystery Science Theater 3000 related, Cats By Nina items, anything cat-related, yarn, knitting books/patterns, seashells, rocks, fossils, raw gemstones, Sanrio items (like Hello Kitty, etc.), artwork by Kay McDonagh, stamps, magnets, yadda, yadda, yadda.... Oh, and cats. ^.^

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Well, I don't have any magazine subscriptions but I'd love to try one. I just don't know which mags are good. I have a bunch of books and I'd also really like to acquire these:

24-Hour Knitting Projects
Big Needle Knitting
One Skein
The Yarn Stash Workbook
Simply Fabulous Knitting
The Knitting Experience Book 3: Color

As for yarn & such: I'd love to try cashmere, but I know it's cost-prohibitive. I'd also like to try something hand-spun and hand-dyed, say a wool/alpaca in soft, variegated colors. Oh and I really want to get some recycled silk sari yarn! I think that yarn would make some really unique wraps/scarves.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Yes, I'd really like to learn cabling. In fact, once I finish the market bag, I'm going to try my hand at learning cabling. Also, eventually, I will attempt a grown-adult-sized sweater!

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I am in no way skilled enough to even attempt knitting a sock! I never have actually measured my feet in inches, but I can tell you that I wear a size 6 1/2 shoe.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
My birthday is May 9th.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Hello from North Carolina

So here I am in Wake Forest, North Carolina. I will be going back home to Philly this evening. Let's hope the plane isn't delayed for 14 hours.

Anyway, I just wanted to report that I finished knitting one of the Fantasy Naturale market bags! And I am about to start on the second. I think it looks pretty good! I will take a picture of it when I get home and post it asap.

My only complaint (aw, come on now, you KNEW I would have at least one) is that I ran out of yarn literally with 10 stitches left to bind off. TEN STITCHES. Frustrating. So, I had to take a piece of yarn from one of the other skeins of Fantasy Naturale I had, which also happens to be in a different color scheme altogether. Nice. Sigh. I guess it doesn't look too bad....Maybe.

OH! And I got assigned a secret pal! YAY! I e-mailed her to make sure that her address was correct. Don't want the goodies being sent back to me undeliverable, especially since she is not in the United States.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lost: Season Three, Oh Please Don't Suck, I'm Begging You

I don't watch much television, despite the 42" glowing box that occupies a large portion of my living room. When I do turn it on, it's usually to play Katamari Damacy or to watch one of my DVDs. If I actually scan the cable channels, I end up watching cooking shows, the BBC America channel, Spongebob Squarepants, or the G4 video-game channel. However, there is one prime-time show on a national network that I watch regularly. Lost.

I'm not going to go on and on about Lost. There are plenty of psychotically-addicted fans of the show that will expound in great minutia on the idiosyncrasies, inconsistencies, and 450,000 possible theories.

I will say that season one was nothing short of brilliant. The pilot episode alone was such sublime genius like I had never seen on television before, or since. Really, fantastic. Nearly every episode is a memorable one. Indeed, I can probably tell you what happened in every episode in some detail. I'll just give you a brief example of what I'm talking about. It's brief, I promise! In one of the episodes, a character (I won't say who just in case someone reads this who hasn't seen the show and wants to) is choked, pretty much to death, by hanging. The doctor, Jack, accompanied by another character, Kate, find this person hanging from a tree. They take the character down. Dead. Jack administers CPR. No luck. It's pouring rain, getting dark, and these people are in a very dangerous situation. Jack refuses to give up. He basically beats the living crap out of the corpse in an attempt to bring the person back. It's totally unreasonable for a doctor to behave this way, and Kate is looking on in absolute horror, wailing and trying to bring Jack away from the body. It was insane, intense, creepy, and wonderful. And I, myself, was practically sobbing while watching it. It reminded me (a little) of that scene in The Abyss when Ed Harris smacks the shit out of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.... There are many moments like this in Lost: season one.

Season two? Mmm, not so much. In fact, I can barely remember anything that happened. A couple of interesting characters were introduced, like Desmond and Mr. Echo. And it had a couple of good moments, but certainly not anything close to the sheer magnificence of season one.

Season three premiers tonight. Dear GOD, please don't let it be like season two, or--- GASP---worse. I can't deal with investing an hour a week on another season like the last one. No way. I don't care how hot Matthew Fox is. I just won't do it. Hmmm...well...he IS pretty freakin' hot, though....

Have a gander at this article that my husband forwarded to me today. I agree with every point on it, except for portions of point #9. I don't really need to see the characters getting it on. And we HAVE seen that anyway in the past on the show. But anyway, go read it now. The end.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Oy, my job. Have you ever had the feeling that you would enjoy working in a university environment? Well, then I recommend that you lie down until that feeling goes away. If symptoms persist, then consult the following rants for relief every four hours:

Rant the first:

September 25, 2006 was the first day of classes for the 2006-2007 academic year here at the university where I work. We operate on a quarter system, rather than a semester system. It's dumb. Anyway, I work as the program coordinator in a humanities department, which basically means that I do freakin' everything. I got this e-mail from my boss, the department head, in the afternoon of September 25th:

Oh and I have removed all names, except mine, in order to protect my ass, I mean the moronic, er, I mean the innocent....

Hi Gina,

Have you seen the Math Department’s newsletter?

http://www.university name.edu/aands/math/pdf/2006newsletter.pdf

Can we do something like this?


I just about went ape-shit in my office. There were so many things that sent me into a rage that I have to actually make a list about them:
  1. First of all, trying to open that pdf made my computer tell me to go fuck myself like 4 times. Seriously, I think an Apple IIe would have fewer difficulties with pdf files than my hunk-o-junk Dell work computer.
  2. When I managed to finally open it, I was greeted with the FUGLIEST newsletter ever created. My eyes have still not fully recovered. It was one of those tri-fold brochure kind. It had about 24 words on the entire thing. The rest of the newsletter was comprised of about 6894 pictures of random math-type people, being all old, eating bean dip while flanked by some highly embarrassed students awkwardly posing and weakly smiling.
  3. Isn't this what our departmental webpages are for? I try to update ours as much as possible (yes, yet another thing for which I am in charge) but really, that's where people should go to find out what's happening. Not wait around for some lame-ass newsletter.
  4. We don't have the correct equipment to make this happen. We have no digital camera to take pictures of our own illustrious (cough, cough) faculty eating artichoke dip and stuffed mushrooms at some random party. And I'll be damned if I'm going to bring in mine to use here. We don't have a scanner either, even though I've begged for one for the last 4 years.
  5. Of all the unmitigated gaul, does my boss not understand that I have like 50 other things to do? Apparently.
So I considered writing back one of the following responses:
  1. If by "we" you mean "me," then the answer is no.
  2. So in between working on the course schedule for us, the Evening college, and the African-American studies program; managing the budget; managing the work-study students; dealing with faculty issues; academic advising; purchasing and billing; updating the webpage; implementing the Web project for the graduate program's symposium; devising the travel money spreadsheet for you, updating our minor brochure; organizing final exam requests; compiling last year's teaching information for each faculty individually; and planning a "welcome back" wine & cheese party, I suppose I can CREATE A NEWSLETTER.
However, I thought the better of it, and chose to ignore my boss. But I mean, WTF?

Rant the second:

I was a good, personally motivated, responsible college student. Maybe I should stop right here and not even post the rest because I'm sure you all know where I am going. Well...what the hell....

As I mentioned in "Rant the First," the start of the quarter was on September 25. Some of our courses are much more popular than other courses, as one might expect. Well one course in particular is both very popular
and it's a requirement for several programs of study university-wide. This is problematic because we have only 3 faculty who teach that particular course. Therefore, we can only offer a limited number of sections, and some of them we have to restrict to certain majors. The insanity goes on and on.... It's a headache. So basically there was a day section (01) on MWF from 10:00-11:00 am, and a night section (81) on M from 6:00-9:00 pm of this one course, which I will call CRAP 101. Ok, so CRAP 101-01, the day section, was restricted for only one major, which I will call LAME.

Got that? CRAP 101-01, MWF 10:00-11:00 am, restricted to LAME students. Ok. Let's continue.

Well, someone from the Dean's office contacted me about 2 weeks before the start of the school year, begging me to add another section of CRAP 101 during the day. Like I can just snap my fingers and make it happen. There are so many regulations that I have to follow with the Registrar's office in order to add a course that it will make your head spin. One such rule is that at such a late juncture, I have to provide a list of actual students who will be enrolled in the course, or else they won't add it to the schedule of courses. So we have this handy-dandy database that will generate a list of all the students who attempted to enroll in a course but were locked out for one reason or another. Well, I generated that list for CRAP 101-01, and to my horror, discovered that 79 non-LAME students all tried to get into CRAP 101-01. Crap, indeed.

So I sent all those poor, rejected 79 students this e-mail:


You are receiving this e-mail because you attempted to register for CRAP 101-01 for the coming Fall term and could not.

The Registrar will allow the Department to open another section of CRAP 101, provided that we can fill the course. We will offer the course on the same days and times as the restricted section that you were locked out of (M W F 1000-1100).

Therefore, in order for this new section of CRAP 101 to be added to the schedule, I need your help! If you still would like to take CRAP 101 this Fall, and want to be added to the new section, please send me a reply to this message with your full name and student number no later than Thursday, 9/14/2006.

Many thanks!

So, I thought that was pretty clear. And, indeed, I received 22 responses from students wanting to be added to CRAP 101-02. The course was created, I added the students. Great. Super.

The Fall term begins. A few days later, I get a call from a student --- very angry --- wondering why he/she was moved out of CRAP 101-81 (evening section) and put into a day section. So I check my e-mails. That student responded to my e-mail, indicating that they wanted to be moved into the new section of CRAP 101. I call the student back, who, by the way, has now missed a week's worth of classes because he/she "didn't know which class to go to." HELLO? YOU GO TO THE CLASS YOU ARE REGISTERED FOR. PLEASE READ YOUR COURSE ROSTER. Anyway, I digress. I called the student.

Basically, the student actually tried to convince me that:
I did something wrong by moving them
b) he/she
never attempted to register for the 01 section (which is impossible because the computer database DOESN'T LIE; students, on the other hand, DO)
c) the wording of my e-mail was not clear
d) he/she thought that I meant that he/she
had to be moved into a new section for some unknown reason. (And, indeed, the student also tried to make-up a reason on the spot and claimed that it was in my e-mail)
e) that the new class would be at the same time as the class he/she was registered for: CRAP 101-81 on M evenings. (Even though I clearly say MWF 1000-1100).

Huh? WTF? There is no way in HELL that my e-mail could be interpreted that way, even if a retarded lemur on crack was making the interpretation. About halfway through our conversation, I think the student realized that the problem was with
them because they backed down a little when I dictated the e-mail over the phone. Still, because I am a nice person, I managed to get the student back into the evening section, citing a "miscommunication" as the cause. The Registrar's office didn't give me a hard time about it. Whew.


The saga of CRAP 101-02 continues and the misinterpretations get worse, as you will see. Today I got an e-mail from the professor of CRAP 101-81, the evening section. All it said was, "Is this correct?" And there was an attachment of an e-mail that the professor received from a student. I immediately began to sharpen the tips of my trident as I opened the attachment. Here it is. Oh and I only changed the name of the professor, the student and the title of the course. Everything else is EXACTLY as the professor received it:

Mr. Professor,

my name is major idiot douchebag i am scheculed to be in your monday night CRAP 101-81 i recieved a notice in my email from a Gina Xxxxxx the class was cancelled. i was wondering if i was misinformed and if so i have missed two classes as of yesterday. is there any chance for my to catch up at this point or should i drop the class? i would rather not drop it, so if there's any was i can make up please let me know.

thanks for you consideration

Major Idiot Douchebag

So...yeah...I know. Where do I begin? First of all, the word 'cancelled' never appeared in my e-mail at all. I also never mentioned CRAP 101-81, the evening section. This student did not respond to my e-mail, so I assumed they didn't want the new class, and therefore, I never changed their registration. Remember the retarded lemur on crack? Ok, well the above interpretation can only be derived by a retarded lemur on crack who has epilepsy, and has blinded itself with a spoon. I mean DUR-HAY. Seriously. I was so blinded by rage that I could barely speak, which was probably a good thing at the time. So I wrote the professor back:

No, it is not correct. I can show you the e-mail that I sent out to the students.

I wish students would learn how to read beyond a 4th-grade level
before entering college, I really do.


So now you understand what a day at work is like for me. Now just picture this kind of insanity happening, oh, about 4-5 times a day. See? Doesn't your job just look all peaches-and-cream now?