March 18, 2009


I'm convinced. There are signs everywhere that Spring is fast approaching and after yesterday's wonderful 74 degree weather, I'm very optimistic. I decided to come up with a couple of examples of things that I noticed that are sure signs that Spring is just around the corner.

1 - It is light past 7pm. That's huge since for a while there it was dark at 4pm, one of the sucky things of being on the east side of a time zone.

2 - Old Navy has released their "wall o' flip-flops". Don't worry, I stocked up. My mom actually had to tell me to settle down. It's very hard to resist 2 for $5.

3 - The grass has taken on a slightly green hue. This is great for my drive through farm-ish land to and from work. The brown-ness is being replaced by spring lush greens.

4 - The weather reports say "it's going to get a bit colder the next few days", but they mean 30s and 40s not negative teens, which is a huge difference.

5 - And most importantly, the USF Safety & Security Cart is back in the quad. You know it's spring when the men and women who protect and serve USF are willing to leave the warmth and safety of their cars for the open cart.

March 11, 2009

Pop or Soda?

Growing up in Michigan it was "pop". It wasn't until I starting hanging out with people from Louisiana and Massachusetts and Iowa and other parts of the country that I started paying attention to other names. Some people say "soda" others say "soda pop" and others say just "coke" for all carbonated beverages. Without realizing it, I developed a bit of a complex about the correct terminology when I moved to IL. I found myself saying both when I would go out to restaurants. "What kind of pop, soda do you have?" When I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, I walked past a bus stop with a new Pepsi ad. I decided that if Chicago uses the same terminology as my home town then it must be just right. I should be proud of "pop" and the next time I get flustered when ordering beverages at a restaurant I should say "I'll just have a water." (It's better for me anyways.)

No Talking

By Andrew Clements
2007, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

One of my favorite things about Andrew Clements' books is that the characters are never stereotypes. He's written quite a few books that are set in elementary schools (like this one), but he never repeats the same story or the same people. I also truly appreciate that he avoids the "adults are stupid and kids know better" view that lots of books and especially movies take now-a-days. Nothing is more annoying and zaps me right out of the story than unbelievably stupid adults that are made fun of by incredibly clever children.
This book tells the story of a rowdy 5th grade class that challenges each other to a "no talking" contest. My mom reads this to her 5th graders at the beginning of the school year (because she's a genius). It's a well-written and rounded story that shows the importance of thinking before you speak, the effect your words can have on others, and much more. All great stuff for kids to think about, and if we're honest, some lessons that adults could use too.

March 5, 2009

Historical Tweets

I am not a member of the Twitter community. It's hard enough remembering to update this blog, let alone keep up a micro-blog of what I'm doing through-out the day, plus how boring would that be.
Never-the-less, I came across this website and it had me giggling.
The people behind it are very creative. They have imagined the "tweets" of various people in history. Good fun. My favorite so far is from the entry on Feb 25, "A Real, Old-School Flame War Begins on Twitter". It has the English Armada (EngArmada) tweeting on August 4, 1588 at the battle with the Spanish Armada "PWND!". In case you don't know (like I didn't) the Urban Dictionary says the definition of pwnd is "A word which gamers use to indicate that someone was brutally beaten in a video game, and thus humiliated." or "To school someone. To kick someone's ass."
It very much reminds me of the scene in The West Wing, when Leo is talking to the British Ambassador (of whom he is not a fan) and wins their argument by saying 'I remember when we opened a huge can of whoop ass on you at Yorktown.' PWND!

100th Post

Just 'cuz.

March 4, 2009

A Great and Terrible Beauty

By Libba Bray
2005, Random House

I enjoyed this book mainly for the fact that it manages to be set firmly in the British Victorian era, but still have a modern air and sensibility. The characters act in such a way that you could imagine them in your high school, twittering behind other girls’ backs, saying those comments that are the barbed non-compliments girls are so famous for. The story follows Gemma Doyle as she enters a girls academy after spending her first 15 years living in India. She’s quickly initiated into life in an all-girl environment and shows herself to be quite adept at holding her own.

The story is slow moving. You know that things have to happen, Gemma has newly discovered “powers” and there are good and evil influences all around her, but it gets tripped up on the setting and every day minutia of the life of a “proper wife in waiting”. This is the first book in a trilogy, but I’m going to have to wait until I have some serious time to devote to the second and third before I finish the story.