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Showing posts from March, 2012

The Latest Time Suck

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This is it:

Two Views at the Same Scenario, College Edition

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Ed has invited me to go out for a drink tonight, to blow off steam. Mainly because there are a lot of things to figure out with regard to yesterday's post.

Ed: I firmly believe that one needs to let off steam after a week of studying.
Me: I agree.
Ed: That's how I got through my college career, you know.
Me: I think you spent more time blowing off steam then actual studying.
Ed: Shhhhh. I'm not going to listen to you.

Me: I rest my case.

And with that, I suspect I will need a stocked bar or to find a good local watering hole when we move!

Change in Plans

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Today was all about life happening while making other plans. Contingency plans at work and a conversation about my future studies that brings me back to several other conversations I had last year.

The main thing is that I should be making my primary focus special education, and Instructional Technology should be the cognate. This is not a surprise, several professors who have been very kind in their opinions have stated it before-but now one in my program repeated it. Reading into the conversation later, I realized that I was paid a huge compliment in a roundabout way.

So, I'm reassessing what lies ahead. There are several ways this could go:

1. I get accepted into the IT program, then transfer the following fall into the Special Education program.
2. I work for a year in the field gaining experience to build my portfolio, then apply to the Special Ed program here.
3. Or I follow the suggestion given, to seek out the appropriate top tier programs, apply, then leverage the offers…

One of These Things is NOT Like the Others

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As a graduate student, there is a dance that goes on between instructor and student before the semester begins, or in the first week or two of the semester, especially in programs like mine. A back and forth tango of 'Have you taken any programming languages?', 'What software packages have you used?', 'Did you take Dr. S's class already?' and similar things. Then, at the beginning of the semester, many professors ask how many hours you'll be spending on your classwork.

Realistically, for a grad program, 8-12 hours is about the norm. When major assignments are due, it will be more, but in general, this is a good baseline. Which is why I stated that I'd be contributing that much each week to a course that several of us dubbed 'the class from hell.' Apparently, I was smack dab in the middle of the responses, with two others saying about 5 hours, me and a friend saying around 10 and someone answering that they'd put in 15 hours.

The ent…

Booking It

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Now that I've seen the movie, Chef has inspired me to buy the rest of the Hunger Games books (I bought him Mockingjay after the movie, the one he'd been trying to get from the school library for the past month without success.) I felt that the story was well constructed and his reaction to the books has me curious.

The post-apocalyptic storyline really appealed to him, so I once again suggested that he pick up the series I devoured when I was the same age, John Christopher's The White Mountain, The City of Gold and Lead and The Pool of Fire. Now he seems more interested when I compared elements of the two series for him.

Tonight, I got to class and found the other TA reading the Hunger Games, which evolved into him telling me that he wanted to read it before seeing the movie, and me explaining that I saw the movie first and now want to read the books. Then several of us started talking about books and favorite authors, with one person saying the Hunger Games reminded him …

We've Reached the Age

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I took a very funny picture that Chef staged for me last week, one in which he wore an Angry Birds pig hat and chose a red Angry Bird and made it appear as if he was being attacked, scared face and all.

The other day, I got an adorable picture of him with Scamp, both had priceless expressions.

I'm not sharing them, here or on Facebook. He asked me not to.


This on top of the sudden 'no displays of affection in public' make it clear: he isn't 13 for another few months, but he has clearly reached teenager. It is kind of strange, considering we haven't dealt with it yet.

For him, it's probably strange to have an older brother and parents who are treading new ground, too.

Hunger Games at the Drive In

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Better than I thought.

A Tale of Two Yoga Classes

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My health woes have been well documented on the blog, so when the secret shopping company that employs me asked me to become one of the regular shoppers to do 'member' visits to a health club chain, I was understandably reserved about accepting the assignments. The vascular surgeon has placed me on restrictions (only walking, swimming, biking or NO impact activities), while the neurologist tells me that I can't lift more than 10 pounds.

Do you see the potential issues with these restrictions and participating in a health club?

It's not that I don't want to be fit, because honestly, I hate how much I hurt most of the time and think that being in better shape might improve at least some of the aches and pains. So, with that in mind, I accepted the request after my boss and I discussed this concern.

Over the past few months, I've been able to do several shops, but the classes best geared for me meet while I'm at work. However, they offer yoga classes at ni…

CND's Shellac-Rock Royalty with Hot Chili

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Today, a shout out to my go-to website for news and info on nail products. Hillary is a nail tech who runs the amazing site, Solessence. When I first Googled information about Shellac last May, her site provided information about the colors, and provided pictures and details about layering Shellac products.

This is one positive and negative about the product line. CND has many colors in the product line that you wouldn't want to wear solo, but when used to top another color, it creates a lot of pizzazz in your manicure. For people who want COLOR!, the option that happens is that you can take two shades and create a newer color. (This can't be done with the OPI Gel Color product.)

Enter Hillary. She posts many pictures of Shellac layering on her website, pretty amazing because she IS a busy nail tech, after all. Ed and I were talking last week about the colors, because he'd considered the Dark Lava far too conservative for me, and I'd say that is an accurate …

Making the Kid Happy

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Chef is quite enamored with the Hunger Games books. It's like pulling teeth to get him to read for pleasure, so the fact that he's soaking this in makes me happy. A few weeks ago, he asked to see the movie when it came out. I'm not interested in seeing it, the storyline is not appealing to me at all. Still, I told Chef he could go.

Then I found out the local drive in will be showing it. Instead of the usual $4 head for two movies, this weekend it's just Hunger Games on one side. Still, $8 bucks to make him happy is not a bad deal.

And me?

I'll be using that mobile wifi to do schoolwork at a picnic table or in the back of the van while he watches his movie...

Identity Theft

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Is all around us. It's becoming so prevalent that I'm doing a group project on creating distance learning about it, and my employer had a sheriff come talk to us today on the subject.

The magazine subscription bullshit is identity theft, albeit one that hasn't done much but annoy me. (And at that, it's at the point that I rip the address labels off them and leave them on the counter at the post office when I pick up my mail-someone will enjoy them.) Still, it's theft, presenting oneself as me, Ed or the boys to the magazine companies.

But, there are other, scarier forms of theft. Credit card skimming, which can happen when your card is taken by the server at the restaurant, as well as when you pay by credit/debit card at the gas station or use an ATM.

This year, the IRS reports that many social security numbers are being hijacked and W2's fraudulently accessed to get returns. The real owner of the number goes to file their return and boom, they get a mess…

Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager

Last year, we were perusing the aisles of Total Wine and More and as we had a little bit of play money that day, scoped out the beers.

If you don't have one of these near you, Total Wine is a larger retailer of various alcoholic beverages, but you can find some boutique labels and microbrews along with the Chateau St. Michelles, Beringers, Michelob and other larger producers.

For instance, they've carried Pindar'sSweet Scarlett and Pythagoras in the past, Long Island wines we enjoy. We actually went there because Chateau St. Michelle'sEroica is about 2 bucks cheaper than everyone else, but that trip, we looked around for microbrews and found an Abita brew that we were unfamiliar with: Strawberry Harvest Lager.

Call us wimpy, but sometimes, a little fruit in a beer-if it's brewed that way-can be mighty tasty. A hunch told us we'd like it, so we bought two six packs. And promptly got hooked on the light, refreshing flavor.

Of course, it's seasonal. This me…

Early Graduation Present

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Like four months early.

My plans were to get an iMac once I finished the Master's program as my present. Mainly because all the software I use for professional purposes is Mac based and well, I have been totally assimilated by the Borg Apple-y goodness.

Seems my klutzy ways kind of stepped up those plans, and here I am, typing at a computer with a 21.5" screen. It seems freaking HUGE after using laptops for the past 7 years. I've gotten used to the mouse far quicker than I expected to, the keyboard is especially nice (can I get one for my PC at work?), and the thing has SIX USB ports. Hell, I can charge every portable Apple device in the house from the thing.

Down sides? I forgot to get the free after rebate printer, when I know someone who can really use it (going to call the store tomorrow and ask about that one), and I can't sit and veg in the comfy chair while I do school work.

Still, I think people like me are the reason why Apple shareholders are going to be…

Can I Have a Vacation From My Vacation?

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1800+ miles in 6 days. Two colleges, three states. Lots of mobile wi-fi hotspot bandwidth consumed.

We only had one national chain meal (Hardee's on the way out of Florida). Several traffic jams were encountered, but the aformentioned wi-fi got us out of sitting in traffic for hours.

The net result is that I liked the North Carolina school more than I thought I would and that my research plans are a good fit if we have to go to plan B. The Atlanta area's traffic is pretty much a deal breaker as far as Ed is concerned. We'd been warned that the road situation is worse than NY and DC and that is the absolute truth. People just move into your lane without looking or signaling. And I thought I had to use combat driving mode in NY-at least people telegraph what they're doing up there!

There is more research to be done, but I think if I had to pick one, Raleigh would be the winner for all four of us.



St Patrick's Day Dinner

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I made Guinness Beef Stew. After dining out all week, a home cooked meal hit the spot.Ed proclaimed it the best meal I have made in a long time. I would argue that one, but I think he's right.

Marietta Diner, Marietta Georgia

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Once again, we dined at a place featured on "Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives" and this time, it took us back to our roots. Long time views will remember Uncle Gus, who was driving the bus to Flavor Town. Well, Gus opened his own place, but we visited the Marietta Diner, which was featured on Triple D.

This is classic NY diner: gleaming chrome, neon and a huge menu of breakfast and dinner specials. Ed and the boys went for classics (Pizza Burger, Chicken Melt and an egg platter), while I was torn-so I asked our server. He pointed out a few favorites, one of which is always a winner for me, Chicken Pot pie:
This one had a unique savory flavor, probably because it was loaded with artichoke leaves (yum!). It ranks up there as one of my favorites.

Of course, we had to have dessert, but in to-go boxes. Ed got the seven sins cake and I ended up with a cannoli cake that I still haven't finished yet.


This is the third Triple D place we've tried (possibly 4th) and each h…

Boudreaux's Cafe Acadiana, Duluth Georgia

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Sometimes, a little web surfing will net you a good meal in a strip mall. Tonight, the search for something different for dinner brought us to a website that allowed you to choose Atlanta restaurants by various parameters. After inputting non-smoking, casual and Duluth, I had 26 restaurants to choose from.

One of them was not a chain (a goal) and offered Cajun cuisine. After looking at their website, we were tweaked by the idea of crawfish etouffee, so off we went to find Boudreaux's Cafe Acadiana.

There was a little hiccup, in that we didn't realize that it was in the Publix shopping center, at the far end, closest to the Burger King. (we'd come from the other side.

While we were trying to find it, I looked for an Urban Spoon listing and found no one had voted for it. Okay, this is a new place, then. Once we found it, we walked into the spacious area and it was clear this place was new-barely open one month. It's ready for business, with only a few tables oc…

The Beacon Drive In, Spartanburg, South Carolina

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If you hadn't already gathered, we're big fans of Food Network. ("No, Suzanne, seriously?") Yeah, I know it is a surprise. I tasked Ed with finding places to eat while we traveled this week and out came our Diners, Drive Ins and Dives cookbooks.

You have to understand, we end up watching this show late at night, long past bedtime and the refrain is usually 'Yes, PLEASE' to whatever delight Guy's chef du segment is introducing. So, when Ed came up with the Beacon Drive In and their 'A-Plenty' as featured on Triple D.




While we didn't get to see caller JC Strobel, who is featured in the segment, we did get a fantastic experience and some great food. Ed insisted we only get one item 'a plenty' and you know what? He was right. There were enough fries and rings for all of us.

These are the rules and you'd best follow them. Then again, we were there after dinner rush, so they went easy on us newbies!


Underneath all of this is an …

Do We Really Have to Tell Someone Who is "Ony 27" That Stealing is Wrong?

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You all know my point of view on Plagiarism. I've had several rants on it, whether it has involved me directly or as an observer.

Amalah, one of the bloggers who I followed since I started blogging, is the most recent to be a victim. Read her post today, and you'll probably have the same reaction I did, disgust that someone would take post after post and claim them as their own.

I think it hits me hard, because in seven or so years of reading Amy's posts, she's probably the nicest person you can find in the blogosphere. She posts things that are embarrassing, and it just endears you to her, because you're thinking "yeah, I do dorky things like that, too."

Still, I was curious about the situation and found the name of the blogger who did this. The name sounded *really* familiar. It wasn't until I read another blogger's retelling of the events that I realized why. The blogger in question (and her husband), bullied a few people I know and re…

B & C Steak and Barbeque-Dillon, South Carolina

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If there's one thing that we embrace when traveling, it's 'eat where the locals eat'. Several of the travel based cooking shows say this over and over, and it's something that we've done since our Californiatripin2006.

Now, the prevalence of smart phones and apps make this proposition way easier. Instead of picking an exit and hoping there's food beyond a mini-mart, we can use the Urban Spoon and I-95 Exit guide app (I've been using their website for years, now it's an iPhone app, too) to determine what is available at each exit. On our travels through South Carolina, we found many exits with barbeque. The south is the land of good 'que, and the exit we decided to take had two listed, B&C Steak and Barbeque and Sweetey's BBQ. Both sound like they are mom and pop places-sign us up.

As soon as you get off exit 193, the first place you see on the right is B&Cs. It's lunchtime, there are a ton of construction pickup trucks and t…

'70's Flashback

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A friend posted a picture to Facebook today of Jif's new 'To Go' packages of peanut butter and chocolate flavor.


Damn you Thank you, HootSuite, for pointing out this new addiction product.

Meanwhile, I reminds me of something from the '70's that my mom would buy and I loved, Koogle:

Yay for Google Images and Wikipedia for actually having this product listed.

Koogle was released in 1970, but I can remember in first and second grade, getting to have chocolate peanut butter sandwiches in my school lunch and I loved that. I know Mom bought Koogle because she was a sucker for peanut butter cups, but everybody in the house loved the stuff.

I'm ready to go and get some now...

The Brain Says Work

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The body says "Screw that, it's spring break, woman!"

Meanwhile, I have assignments that I need to turn in and the motivation to do them is not there, because the body wants sleep and analgesics.

Maybe tomorrow will be better...

Shellac, Dark Lava

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You know I've really gone nail geek when I arrive at my nail appointment and Katie has all the new Shellac shades out for me to check out. I knew the newest crop of colors was due in March, but promptly put it out of my head, so the new choices were a pleasant surprise.

Though, honestly, there was only one color in the latest crop that interested me-Dark Lava. In the pictures on CND's website, it looked like a raisin. The color in person has more brown to it. Yet another one that will be hard to photograph.

Katie layered it with another new shade, Silver VIP Status. I like the effect, enough to consider putting Zillionaire on the next color.

Pictures from my video camera for now, with more daylight pictures tomorrow:


Here's a shot in direct sunlight. If you want an idea of the Dark Lava without the sparklies, the pinkie gives you a good view of it without the sun's diffraction of the silver from the top layer.


More direct sunlight pictures:




Spring Break

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Oh, how I have been looking forward to it. I have assignments due tomorrow and Saturday, but the week ahead has no assignments for my current classes.

So, of course, I'm going to use the time to do some web programming. I'm also going to figure out how to go about building out a website, because I'm getting to the point that I need to have an online portfolio for prospective employers.


But it'll be nice to just be looking at one thing, instead of the three classes and TA work...


Empty Pot

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It waits for me to cook



Later, it was rewarded



And that camera angle turned out awesome!