Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Piece of Childhood is Gone

I never specifically went to see Davy Jones, but I did get to see him twice.

Once, Donna and I were in Manhattan for a taping of the Daily Show when I suggested going to a favorite restaurant for dinner. Alas, O'Neil's Balloon was gone-replaced by Cafe Merlot, but we went into the hotel next door to use the facilities and happened upon some Monkees fan event. We caught a glimpse of Davy and Mickey, then called a friend from a payphone to tell him the Monkees were in the very next room.

Then, before we moved down here, Epcot had Davy playing the Flower Power music festival during the Flower and Garden show and we got to hear him playing Monkees favorites as we strolled around the World Showcase.

It's hard not to hear a Monkees song and not get caught up in the fun within it, and I think a lot of that was linked to the peppy persona that Davy was.

As a kid, my earliest memories usually involve music, and I remember the Monkees appearing on TV-I must have been around 2 or 3. The passing of Davy just drives home that I'm not a kid anymore, and well, it's sad that that upbeat, smiling guy with the adorable accent and smile is gone.

RIP, Davy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What Are The Odds?

That Sarah Palin paid a visit to my blog yesterday?

Wasilla isn't that big, Sarah is big on being properly coiffed and well, OPI Gelcolor probably would be perfect for a two week long hunting trip in the Alaskan wilderness.

Hey, if it is her, she does have good taste in computers and browsers!

Monday, February 27, 2012

You Know What I Love?

Checkng my school email when I was leaving work a little after five, and finding no new messages in my inbox.

Then, I pick up GameTeen from school, visit the post office, then the supermarket for some items we really need. I get home almost two hours later-and find that I was supposed to be in an Elluminate session for my class. One the teacher said last week we wouldn't have.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

OPI Gelcolor, Here Today, Aragon Tomorrow

My original plans were to have this color on my fingers for St. Patty's day, so this manicure was going to be something else. However, the quantity of my USF Bulls green gear I'll be wearing over the next two weeks in support of my beleaguered alma mater, it made sense to go with the green now.

I will add more pictures once I charge the Nikon.

This is a tricky color. It is such a dark green that it looks like black in most low light situations. It was tough to photograph it in such a way that you can see that it is green. If I want an understated green, this is it. Otherwise, I will probably opt to do the Shellac Iced Coral over Black Pool layering effect again.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Inspiration Netting Results

Last week, I shot an interview for my Digital Video class of my friend, Jennifer. From that, she had the idea of doing more interviews. I ran with that concept and said we should have a student roundtable, and share the video results with the legislators in Tallahassee.

This morning, we spent four hours with eight people around a table talking about their experience and how if USF Polytechnic disappears July 1st and becomes FPU, they may not be able to continue their education, if they have to commute to Tampa, that it will place a huge financial burden on them (hello $4 a gallon gas times 75 mile round trip) and some of the programs offered at Poly aren't currently available on the USF Tampa campus.

While I ran around, coordinating three cameras to collect all the statements made, three television film crews recorded it all. In the past hour, I've watched two of those, one from BayNews9 and another from News Channel 8. In each, Jenn spoke up about the issues on the minds of many of the students at USF Poly.

Amazing to think that a week ago, this was just an assignment for my class and now, we're getting a chance for student's voices to be heard.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Flashback-and a Look Forward

The Digital Video class this semester is my 'fun' class, the one I purposely saved until the end because I knew it would be a lot of fun.

Even after spending about 25 hours editing that video for this week's assignment, I enjoyed the process. Tomorrow, I will should a student roundtable and possibly more of the Student Voices interviews to post here and on YouTube.

The next assignment is due in two weeks. Some people might come off the amount of work we had to do for the first one and freaked. Meanwhile, I have been debating Pulled Pork, pizza, or something else from the grill, because it is a cooking demonstration video.

I have a little history with that:

Last night, I explained to a classmate that I'd auditioned for NFNS a couple of times and promised to show her the video segment for ideas. She doesn't cook and wasn't sure what to do. At the end of class, I had located the blog post and shared-and she and another classmate thought I'd already finished the assignment.

It's a good effort for the skills I had back then, but now, I look at it and see all the flaws in lighting, sound and background. Next week, I'll fix it.

And after this weekend, I'll have my video work for the final project in the can. While it's not easy, this class has definitely been somewhat low pressure!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


The Florida senate voted 33-6 to break off USF Polytechnic into the state's 12th university, effective July 1st.

This, when they cut $400 million from the existing 11 state universities.

I weep for those locally who now have no affordable State University campus (it will take a while for the new school to get SACS accreditation) and due to work and family obligations, will have to give up the ability to attend college classes.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

USF Poly Student Voices

Well, for now, I get "Video removed by user" messages, which after two hours of uploading, I most definitely did NOT do. Here is a rough cut from one of the two cameras, no effects, of the interview that inspired a bigger project.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The class I TA brings snacks when we meet on campus. Tonight was one of those nights, and it is Fat Tuesday, too.

Since we don't meet every week, several students bring something at once. Tonight was awesome, because we had pulled pork, insalata caprese, manchego cheese and the best part-King Cake.

When we lived in Maryland, Fastnachts or Paczki to indicate Mardi Gras and the start of Lent, but down here, it's all about finding a bakery with King Cake. I was fully prepared to visit Publix after class to track some down. It was nice to find some at class, so I didn't have a huge one sitting at home.

And it was GOOD.

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Go With What You Know

This semester I have one class I adore, one class that I'll feel much better about once I get caught up and another that just frustrates me. I chose poorly, and this is my semester of electives. Ooops!

At least I'm learning how to use industry standard software. I started with this PowerPoint (this is one of 15 pages)

Made all the buttons operational, added audio and then imported it into Captivate.

Alas, I had to redo the buttons (to the tune of 150 button overlays) and they don't work right.

However, the content is on Glaciers, it's for a client who wants to use it with sixth through eight grade students and I pulled my kid to be a 'virtual host'. I'm hoping to bribe him into doing voice over work for me. The go with what I know parts?

Using Piaget's stages of development to explain that the targeted age group is still somewhat concrete in thinking, so we should avoid abstraction. To that end, the other thing I know-showing visual representations of the effects of Glacial retreat would work better than describing it. Here's an example:
image from

Those huge rocks were deposited as the glacier receded, creating the Harbor Hill moraine, a terminal moraine that forms the hills of the North Shore of Long Island. By contrast, the south shore is considered prairie, flat as can be, with beaches like this:
The glaciers didn't come 25 miles south!

And hey, I remembered a lot from that Field Lab Geology class!

So, I'll probably modify my prototype to include terminal moraines and dig up what pictures I have of Long Island's north shore beaches to include in this thing..

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Suzanne's Sountrack Sunday

I gave you some musical monstrosities last time, but this time, actors who really CAN sing!

Brent Spiner released an album in 1991, Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back, and I worked in a record store when it was released. Alas, I couldn't bring myself to make the purchase after hearing the recently shared William Shatner songs via the internet.

Brent, however, covered some standards of the 1940's and does a respectable job. Heck, he even had some backing vocals from Michael Dorn (Worf), Jonathan Frakes (Cmdr. Riker) and LaVar Burton (Giordi LaForge) and the marvelous dulcet tones of Patrick Stewart doing the spoken word portion.

It's a Sin to Tell a Lie

In which case, I'll be honest and say that this is enjoyable...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Get Two of Us Together, and Inspiration Strikes

Today, I shot a video interview of a friend for my Digital Video class. In it, I was supposed to ask why she chose USF, what her major is, favorite professor and what makes USF different than other schools she's attended.

The interview was with a friend who has been equally passionate about the USF Poly experience, opposed to separating the school from the USF system and well, that was conveyed in this interview. I'm honestly looking forward to editing the piece together Monday night (after I get my sale copy of Premiere Elements, that is).

Then she commented "we should do more of these interviews with ALL the students we can rally, post them on your blog and on You Tube! The media's not talking to us, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take matters into our own hands!"

I have to admit, it makes a lot of sense.

So, it looks like my lighting equipment will get a workout, my video skills at a A/B camera setup will be put to good use and I may have some interviews to share soon...

Friday, February 17, 2012


GameTeen has not attended many birthday parties.

One in Maryland, one about five years ago-then two for classmates in the past month. Until this month, I don't think he realized that birthday parties are things that occur with any sort of regularity.

So, tonight, we were at odds. He had agreed to go to a party, I RSVPed, he and I shopped for a gift the other night, but he decided he wanted to stay home and play video games, because he didn't want to take a shower or change clothes.

I insisted he made a promise, he finally realized I wasn't backing down, and he showered and dressed nice. He went to the party and the birthday girl gave him a hug, ecstatic that he'd shown up (it was a surprise party). Once there, he was quite happy to stick around.

When I picked him up at the end of the party, the birthday girl's parents informed me that he was so well mannered. They really do save it up for other people, don't they? I was also told that he said he was having a birthday party this year and they were invited.

As I suspected, seeing two parties where people other than family bring you gifts? I think he's considering the potential of more presents!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Knowing Your Spouse

So, Valentine's day.

We don't go overboard around here, compared to others. I think a few years of really hard times and family losses put many things into perspective for us. I don't need an expensive gift to know that I'm loved and cherished (even if Ed wanted to use 'Obey' instead of 'Cherish' in our vows).

Last week, I ordered See's for the menfolk. A custom box for Ed, so he wouldn't be saddled with a nut chew or something else he doesn't like. Truffles for the boys and a small box for me, because if I'm ordering chocolate from California, I must have some, too.

Apparently, this was Ed's plan, too. He knows me-chocolate is always a hit. Instead, he took a drive to a mall 30 miles east, and got me Godiva c.hocolate dipped strawberries.

Damn, they're good.

Damn, the husband knows me well. He's a keeper. :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Say What?

When I got home tonight, after a nice dinner with GameTeen and a friend, I had an agenda: a writing assignment for one class, completing taxes and doing some grading.

My internet provider had other plans. It crapped out on me.

At first, I thought Mi Manzana was to blame and started running Kaspersky. Then I picked up my iPad and it wasn't accessing the web. Ed wasn't home, so I grabbed his iPad and same deal. My phone told me no internet. So, I shut off the wifi on the phone and hey, surprise, I was getting access.

So, intrepid computer skills were put to use. I rebooted my computer-no luck.

I went over to the cable modem, unplugged it, then turned it back on-no luck. (It was showing send and receive, though, even though none of the devices were successfully doing either).

Next, the router was unplugged and turned back on. No dice.

I had to use the phone to call Brighthouse and got a representative who used remote access to tell me the modem was working fine. then he suggested I shut off the router and unplug it. He did a push, reset our IP address and three minutes later, service was restored.

In his parting statement, he informed me that the next time I have internet connectivity issues, I should check their website's FAQs to go through these steps. (The same ones I did on my own, save for their push and reset, I might add).


I commented that if I was actually unable to access the internet, that meant I would not be able to visit their website OR view the FAQs. He replied "yeah, that doesn't quite make sense, does it?"

Seems the company didn't do a logic test on their customer service scripts.

And, 25 minutes later, internet went down again. I went through all my steps (that I hadn't found on their website) and it was working again. It makes me think their modem just might be crapping out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Speed Bumps

After yesterday's post, it should come as no surprise that the funding cuts proposed by J.D. Alexander extend to all of the University of South Florida system. He wants to cut the entire USF Polytechnic budget, and a total of $136 million from USF, over 58% of the annual operating revenue.

Meanwhile, there are other schools in the state that are seeing less than a 5% cut in their allocations. Vendetta, anyone?

Yesterday, I submitted the main part of my doctoral application before this news broke. My original plans were to apply to three schools, then I ultimately decided to apply to just USF. My rationale was that because USF doesn't historically hire their own Ph.D's into tenure track professor roles, I should stick around, then move away once I'm done.

The advantage to this strategy is that I know this program, the professors know me and are supportive of my ideas-and I have a research population when I get to that point of my studies. It definitely is more appealing than moving away, then trying to garner support and find an acceptable research population, a school for Game Teen and all the fun of moving.

Now, I'm holding my breath, wondering if there will be a doctoral program to enter this fall.

Thankfully, the original plan when I returned to school was to get this M.Ed, then enter the workforce. What this means is that if the funding gets cut and I cannot be a funded doctoral student, I'll just enter the workforce now and wait until such time that it is possible to have financial backing to study and research my area of interest.

It won't be my first choice, but I'm looking at the positives. The job market for my degree is actually pretty good. There are several colleges locally that can use my skills, and each week, my boss points out jobs she's seen in my field (usually accompanied by 'damn, that job pays well!'), so I do have others who are looking out for me, too.

I said to a friend today that I don't want to bite my nails, especially now that I have pretty ones.

Hopefully, it won't come to that, and this is just a speed bump on the way to further studies...

Monday, February 13, 2012

An Open Letter to the Florida State Senate Budget Committee

Senator Haridopolos and members of the Florida State Senate

I write to you as a USF Tampa graduate student and a USF Polytechnic alumna. Please consider the following in your thoughts as you prepare to vote Wednesday on Senator Alexander's proposal to eliminate USF Polytechnic from the state university system.

1. When I decided to return to school three years ago, the reason I selected USF Polytechnic was because the campus was part of the University of South Florida system. It was important to me to attend a school where classes are taught by Ph.D.s. Poly delivered on this front and more. I attended small classes, where these professors insisted that students participate in topical discussion. The five semesters as a Poly student prepared me well for my next academic journey, seeking a master's degree in Instructional Technology at USF's Tampa campus.

If the program I currently attend were available at the Polytechnic campus, I would have remained at the campus. Even so, the experience at USF Poly prepared me well, as the smaller classes and active discussions in my undergraduate classes mirror what I experience now as a graduate student. I cannot speak to this characteristic at the St. Pete and Sarasota campuses, but those of us who have had the pleasure of attending USF Poly fully appreciate the 'small campus, with big resources' experience we now have as part of the USF system.

2. Had Senator Alexander polled the students, faculty, and staff of USF Poly prior to his push towards Florida Polytechnic and this latest move to immediately separate the school against the Board of Governor's wishes, he would have found that an overwhelming majority of each contingent on the Lakeland campus vehemently opposed separating from USF. As it is now, we will adhere to the BoG's mandate, but we've lost some great faculty and administrators due to this situation. We have students who are transferring out en masse and others who won't even submit applications, even though this school was their first choice prior to August, 2011.

3. This is a penny wise and pound foolish decision placed before you. Will students honestly apply to a Florida Polytechnic, when there's a USF campus in town? Will the school attract quality faculty, knowing that Senator Alexander discarded the current populace like yesterday's garbage?

What will become of the non-tenured faculty and staff who do not have job security with USF? What will happen to the students who fall between the cracks between the USF Tampa GPA standards and the USF Poly criteria? Do you honestly think quality people will want to work for this new Florida Polytechnic, after seeing what has happened to those of us who are now on this campus? Do you think students will seek out this school, seeing that they can be treated like refuse by the state senators?

4. Has Senator Alexander provided proof of how this will save the state money? A new University will require a full complement of staff before the first student even walks through the door to attend a class. Students you can't be guaranteed will apply to an untested school. A school that will have to gain SACS accreditation before it can admit students. Senator Alexander can flex muscle and bully the BoG and those on his committees in Tallahassee, but he cannot force SACS to do what he wants.

Before you consider a separate school, please take the time to research what it really means to make a separate school a reality. Talk to the administrators at any of the other schools in the State University system and ask them about the process of hiring ONE faculty member, let alone an entire school's worth. Ask them how they attract quality students, even with the reputations they took years to cultivate.

What you will find is that opening a brand new school from the ground up will require lower hiring standards and lower admissions standards. Is that what Florida needs?

I beg of you, please do not consider this legislation before you as a signed and done document. There are many ramifications of this decision, and it would be best for you and the members of the committee to explore these before agreeing to what Senator Alexander has put before you.


A USF Poly Alum

Sunday, February 12, 2012


It's a rare day when I will turn down Mexican food. Fortunately, if I want something more than Taco Bell or Moe's, we have a nice family-run alternative in Lakeland, Tapatios.

The decor has some fast food seating that makes me think that it was a Burger King in its previous life, but what comes out of the kitchen now is much more palatable. Ed and I have visited four times now and have been pleased with almost all the traditional favorites we've ordered.

For instance, their beef and cheese nacho starter is piled high with taco seasoned beef and topped with shredded queso blanco. It's placed under a salamander and the fresh tortilla chips become slightly brown, the cheese almost completely melts and the family gobbles it up. The queso blanco gives it a nice flavor that sets it apart from nachos served at chain restaurants. Tonight, Chef told us he's getting his own plate next time.

We've sampled different basics each time. Game Teen got quesadillas, which you can order with shredded chicken or beef. His were just cheese and he declared them stunning, which is high praise indeed from the picky eater in the family. Ed went for the pork mole (I'd had the chicken mole on a previous visit). The mole sauce had a nice, complex flavor of chocolate, a hint of cinnamon and cumin-but no heat. The pork and the chicken each had a nice flavor, slightly salty from a light marinade and each shredded easily. This entree is served with fresh soft tortillas, beans and rice, but you may run out of tortillas before you run out of mole.

Chef got the beef taquitos this time, shredded beef topped with guacamole, tomatoes and sour cream and served with beans and rice. There are two very large taquitos and it's obvious they're made in house, as they're larger than any I've seen before. Chef is our big eater and he barely finished one, so large are the ones on his plate.

I went for the enchiladas supremas, a plate with four enchiladas: one each of beef, chicken, cheese and bean. They're topped with plenty of guacamole, sour cream, lettuce and tomato. This is good if you have a big appetite. For me, I ended up eating two (chicken and the cheese, yum!) and I left more for tomorrow's lunch. The beef is filled with seasoned ground beef, the cheese with more of that queso blanco. My plate also had a small side of refried beans.

Take note: if you like heat, what comes out of the kitchen has great flavor, but little fire. I think that reserving some of the hot salsa that comes to the table with fresh tortilla chips might be a good option if you can't live without a little burn in your Mexican food. (As for me, I may just pack my own Cholula or Valentina's!)

On the desert front, the fried ice cream has come out with stale corn chips twice, but the tres leches cake is worth taking some to go if you're full from dinner. Ultimately, if you're looking for an alternative to the fast food options in town, Tapatios delivers on flavor.
Tapatios on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 11, 2012

OPI Gelcolor, CND's Shellac, and Gelish - the pictures

An interesting thing has occurred in the last six or so months in that my blog readership has nearly tripled. Once I switched to the pay portions of Feedjit, it was easier to see the trends.

You're all here to read about the various soak off gel color nail polishes, aren't you? I end up reviewing a new color every two weeks, and posting pictures. Today, I'm putting all the pictures in one place and will continue to add the colors. This way, those of you who are curious about the nail products have one resource for the palette with links to the related blog post below it.

First, the Shellac colors:

CND's Shellac, Baroness

This was the first color I tried and I blogged at the end of two weeks about the experience.

CND's Shellac, Rock Royalty

CND's Shellac, Iced Coral and Black Pool to make USF Bulls Green

CND's Shellac, Purple Purple

CND's Shellac, Masquerade

CND's Shellac, Hotski to Tchotchke

CND's Shellac, Decadance and Rock Royalty

CND's Shellac, Black Pool with Negligee and Black Pool with Moonlight and Roses

OPI Gelcolor, Bogota Blackberry

OPI Gelcolor, Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not

OPI Gelcolor, Ink

OPI Gelcolor, Suzi Says Feng Shui

OPI Gelcolor, Here Today, Aragon Tomorrow

*note-this one is extremely difficult to photograph to properly show the green tint. I'll play with this again in the future, but if you want green that beats you over the head, Shellac's Black Pool with Iced Coral shown above is a better option.

Shellac, Dark Lava layered with Silver VIP Status

OPI GelColor, I'm Not Really a Waitress

CND's Shellac Tutti Frutti, Layered

CND's Shellac Rock Royalty with Hot Chili Layered

Shellac for one month!

CND's Shellac, Black Pool layered with Hotski to Tchotchke

Gelish, Inseparable Forces-Magneto

Gelish Good Gossip

CND Shellac Limeade

CND Shellac Pretty Poison with Gold VIP Status layered

CND Shellac Azure Wish with Glitter Effects

This page will keep adding colors and links as I get more manicures, so I suggest bookmarking this if you're looking at the CND and OPI UV gel manicures, but you can stick around. I don't bite!