Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Get raped, go to jail?

Get raped, go to jail?

I am one of those people who think that Americans tend to be too litigious, especially in cases of medical malpractice. However, sometimes a case comes along where I'd be all over the bastards like white on rice. This is one of those cases:

TAMPA - First, police say, a 21-year-old woman was raped at Gasparilla. Then, she was handcuffed and jailed - for two nights and two days.

A jail worker with religious objections blocked her from ingesting a morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy, her attorney says, keeping her from taking the required second dose for more than 24 hours longer than recommended.

I'm not sure there's any way the police (well, sheriffs) can be excused. There seems to be no question that the woman was raped, and she was not a danger to others. Ansd the medical supervisor who denied her Plan B? Immediate termination without benefits or pension.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A letter to Houghton-Mifflin

A letter to Houghton-Mifflin

Dear Houghton-Mifflin,
If I weren't already using your textbooks for classes I will teach again, I would try to avoid you like the plague in future. It's bad enough the text for my upper-division class was under-supplied. But you have not been forthcoming with information on the backorder. Nor has my Houghton-Mifflin rep contacted me about this at all. In a less dysfunctional world, here's what should have happened:
  1. When Houghton-Mifflin's shipping people couldn't fill the order, they should have triggered a message to my rep, and to someone in supply whose job it is to keep customers updated.
  2. My rep should have contacted me and the bookstore to advise on whether we would get our backordered books on time
  3. My rep should have offered other options. For example, the book I'm using comes in a Pre-Modern/Modern split. The rep should have contacted me and the bookstore and offered to supply the two halves of the split for the same price as the combined edition (we're talking about 3 books here, as the class didn't quite hit the cap). Alternatively, she could have offered to send offprints of enough chapters to put on reserve till the books got in. Whichever, they should have been drop-shipped in time that I would have students without books in the third frakkin' week of the term!

These people are even less competent than the bookstore people who have clearly dropped the ball at several stages in this process.

PS -- your stupid disc with the graphics and powerpoints? I can't copy the graphics because Flash won't let me, and the PowerPoint presentation doesn't load. Also, some of the chapters have the wrong stuff loaded. You suck.

Monday RBOC

Monday RBOC

  • Miriam Burstein is very funny
  • iTunes update: I explained the horror to X. He came up with a very elegant solution that basically solves everything with the help of the Postal Service.
  • I don't feel comfortable watching Laura Bush in a PSA about how to prepare for major disasters
  • I am really not feeling good about proposed changes to the British Library -- especially as I'm trying to plan my first trip there this summer
  • I wish Keith Olbermann were not quite so melodramatic, but I still kinda like him
  • I am also feeling not so thrilled about my decision to cut my cable, but I don't need the TV, and $55 or so a month is, well, a plane ticket to see someone special in fabulous European city. Or part of a conference -- which wouldn't necessarily preclude part of the former

Evil Proquest and Dissertations

Evil Proquest and Dissertations

It's not that I thought my dissertation was the best thing in the world. But I kinda thought that, considering how many people are now working on related topics, that someone might have looked at it. So I went to UMI -- the place where I had to send a copy of my diss when I finished it, the people who LOST my diss for a year, so that, when I tried to order a copy for my advisor, it wasn't frakkin' there! Today, I saw a post at Early Modern Notes about people looking at Sharon's diss, so I went to UMI to check on mine. It is now behind a huge ProQuest firewall. You can't even search for the bugger without a subscription to Proquest, it seems. WTF?????

Since SLAC doesn't have ProQuest, I can't find it. I'm so annoyed.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Jane Dark

Attention Please!

I meant to mention this a while back, but one of you on my blogroll, a nice person I've had coffee with IRL and who lives in my old home town, has taken their blog into the realms of "invitation Only" and hasn't invited me, even though I have their cell phone number programmed into my cell phone!!!

*is sad*

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I hate iTunes more than I hate Microsoft

I hate iTunes more than I hate Microsoft

So ... when I started putting folders from my giant hard drive into iTunes, I asked around and everyone said, "you are copying the folders, not moving them." When I looked at my external hard drive, there were TWO music folders. I assumed that the one with the BSG downloads was the iTunes one, because it had many of the same folders, but not all -- which makes sense, because I hadn't copied over all of the folders. So today, I looked at my iTunes folder, and decided I wanted to tidy it all up by starting afresh. Assuming that the stuff was still resident on my hard drive, I deleted. TO THE RECYCLE BIN, MIND YOU. I then went to my hard drive. Nothing there. Not true. Folders, but no actual music. I went to the recycle bin, and restored EVERY music folder. AFAICT, about 60 gigs of music is just gone. I am gutted and looking for advice. I'm also seriously considering calling X and asking him if he'll re-load my hard drive, if I send it to him. I am so truly upset.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Me, a Grande Dame!

Me, a Grande Dame!

Wow! According to Ralph Luker at Cliopatria, I'm in the in the ranks of Grandes Dames of History Blogging! One of the things that really pleases me is that it seems I actually have met IRL at least a couple of the people who have been blogging even longer than I have. WOw.

You know, this does make me stop and think, though. This blog has changed a bit over the last 4+ years. Lately, I've been feeling the same sense of obligation that many other bloggers feel, and I wasn't sure why. Maybe because I've been doing this a while? I'm not saying I'm slowing down even more, or stopping, but maybe doing this pretty regularly for a fairly long time has something to do with it?

Mostly, though, the diminished posting has something to do with the stresses of a T-T (or equivalent) job, something I didn't have when I started this blog. Before, when I wrote a book review or a paper, it was because I wanted to, and I was re-learning my craft. There was no obligation, though. I was teaching at community colleges where presenting and publishing were appreciated, but not part of the evaluation process. Now, I have to publish and present, I'm on an accelerated track that gives me three years less than most newbies to do so, and I'm (again) teaching all new or drastically revised preps. It's also a permanent job, so I feel the need to be a bit more circumspect about the campus at SLAC, the politics, etc. -- although I think some of my departmental colleagues know about the blog. I think this means that I need to re-think the way I blog here in order to keep up with some kind of regularity of posting. Some of my posting energies are also going elsewhere, because I'm trying to post about actual research in a password-protected blog with some other medieval types.

And speaking of research, I need to go drive about 75 miles to Big U to get some research done. Ugh.

While I'm doing that, don't forget about Glorifying Terrorism!*

*No, I don't have any financial stake in this, but I know that the people who do are taking a big gamble. I'd like them to be able to recoup the costs. Free speech is kind of important.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Carnivalesque #23

Carnivalesque #23

Hi all -- Carnivalesque #23 is up at Memorabilia Antonina. There's some really good stuff there. New blogs I hadn't seen, Britney Spears on Antigone, even something from this blog, which I really didn't expect!

Plus, OMG -- the first link in the last paragraph is bloody brilliant! "the PLRE is always wrong" "Timothy Barnes has already written an article on it." *snerkle*

Go. Read. Be educated and amused! I certainly was!

(and don't forget about Glorifying Terrorism!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Glorifying Terrorism

Dangerous SF Authors Glorify Terrorism

In response to the UK Terrorism Act of 2006, Farah Mendlesohn, co-editor of the Hugo award-winning The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction brings you Glorifying Terrorism, a science fiction anthology, introduced by Andrew McKie of the Daily Telegraph and with
contributions by top UK SF writers Ian Watson, Gwyneth Jones, Ken MacLeod, and Charles Stross, among others.*

As I understand it, the book is good sf, written and published in order to raise awareness of limitations of free speech on both sides of the Atlantic. It's not horribly expensive, and it's in service of a good cause. Please think about buying a copy and placing a notice on your own blog.

*Shamelessly paraphrased from the official press release.

UPDATE: I think the website is still under construction, so please be patient if you aren't able to click through right away.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blogging for choice

Blogging for Choice

Somehow, I forgot to post this, but here it is now. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I'm pro-choice, and think that the best way for people to avoid having to make that choice is affordable and available birth control. If people choose abstinence, that's just fine, but see below. And I don't think most women make the choice to have abortions cavalierly. So I'm not really going to talk about why I'm pro-choice.

I'm going to talk about Roe v. Wade, because I think it's a bad decision. No, I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. But I think it's a bad decision, and I can see it being overturned. Maybe. Because the Constitution doesn't guarantee a right to privacy, except as an implicit part of other rights, like not having people quartered in one's house, or not to submit to illegal search and seizure. Abortion is a First Amendment right.

There is no scientific evidence for when human life starts. Yes, a fertilized ovum is alive, but then so are the rest of my cells. There's no guarantee in nature that every fertilized ovum will implant and grow to term. As someone who has likely had a miscarriage, and friend of several people who have done everything they could to foster healthy pregnancies and still lost the fœtus in the first three months, it just doesn't work that way. So yes, it's life, but is it human life in any workable, real sense of 'an individual person'? If there is a soul, is it there from fertilization on? That's not a scientific question. Souls aren't scientifically provable. They belong to the realm of religion.

In the realm of religion, different religions have different views on when someone becomes a person. Even within certain religions, there is disagreement. If one's religion teaches that a fœtus is not a person till it emerges from the mother's body -- and some do -- that is very different from a religion that teaches that personhood begins at conception, or quickening. Here's where people who oppose abortion on religious grounds (are there any other?? really??) should thank their lucky stars for science. That viability thing comes in well before the end of term. And I'll let science trump religion in this case, as long as it's applied with good medical care and knowledge. I will never be convinced that the state has the right to force a woman to complete a pregnancy that puts her own life at risk.

Be that as it may, all of the fundamental objections to abortion are religious ones. That being the case, well, the First Amendment prevents any person, and especially the state, from forcing their religious beliefs on another.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Carnivals Galore!

Carnivals Galore!

I've been remiss in posting about carnivals, or anything else. Really, I should probably work on a post about how much I missed the AHA blogger meetup (except that I was in a really cool place with a very close friend, which was very important for my personal well-being. I think.). I should also probably write something on the transition from constant job-seeker to T-T person. That transition really has changed my blogging and blog reading habits. What I am currently working on is a post on the really good questions my students are asking this term, and how they've made me think again about the purpose of teaching History and the idea of making it relevant. Meanwhile, thought, the aforementioned carnivals:

The 46th History Carnival is up at Investigations of a Dog. I'm sorry to say I haven't yet read it, but its rumoured to be very good, which is one of the reasons I decided to post this -- so I don't forget!

Nonpartisan at Progressive Historians will be hosting the next carnival on 1 February

Sharon says that Four Stone Hearth is up at Aardvarchaeology. Lots of good things from your genial Scandinavian host Martin (who will be hosting a History Carnival in the next month or two). (sorry for the outright theft, Sharon!)

The next Carnivalesque will be hosted by Tony Keen at Memorabilia Antonina on around the 25th of January, providing the phenomenal winds have not blown him off the island. It will be an Ancient/Medieval one, if you hadn't guessed. (hell, I should be scouting to add recommendations!). You can submit nominations of blog posts from the last couple of months on anything to do with ancient or medieval history using the submission form at Blog Carnival, or by sending an e-mail to keentony AT hotmail DOT com.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And Now?

And Now?

Because I really have a ton of work, so y'all may be stuck with this for a bit. If anyone knows how to alter the code to fix the TTLB link to match fonts ... I think I just need to add a class tag before it?

You know those "weird things about me" memes? Well, I guess you should know that my entire knowledge of html is based on understanding the tags in WordPerfect and NotaBene, back when one could reveal codes. So basically, this is taking a while because I have no real idea of what I'm doing. But hey ... html is just another language, and I can generally get by in most of the languages I've tried to figure out ...

Monday, January 15, 2007

I know, I know ...

I know, I know

This is what you get when you toy with your template and forget to save the old version first. It's a work in progress. After three and a half years, I figured I needed a change. And crap. I just realized, speaking of changes, that I forgot to add a hyphen to my latest book review galleys. Damn.

And yes, it's the first day of classes and I have much more important work to be getting on with.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

You're a holiday

You're a holiday

Hi all -- I'm not posting much because I am on a busman's holiday, working and lying low until the semester starts. More posting soon!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Today's Question

Today's Question

I've always wondered this, and now's a good time to ask, because I'm in full-on pre-vacation panic. What exactly is "The Low Spark of High-heeled Boys"? Obviously, I know it's a song title.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

not my normal result!

Not my normal result for these things

What Fantasy Archetype Are you?

The Unlikely Hero
You are the Unlikely Hero! Others like you are Frodo (Lord of The Rings), Young Aurthur (arthurian Legend), Luke Skywalker (Star Wars), Peter/Susan/Edmund/Lucy (Narnia), Richard Mayhew (Neverwhere), Harry Potter (Harry Potter) and Richard Cypher (Wizard's first Rule). You were happy to just live out your life as a peaceful schoolboy/farmer/wood's guide. But alas, greatness was thrust upon you. Don't let the hordes of The Totally Wicked Villain get you down, you have your Seasoned Veteran Friend to protect you and you almost always end up with the Pillar-of-Strength Love interest. Heed you Mentor well and keep your chin up, hero! You are simple, humble and kind but possess great potential for truly inspirational heroism, bravery and strength in dark times.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by

Brain Fart

Brain Fart auf Deutsch

Hi all -- having a major brain fart here. A Merovingian one. Is Chlodwig the German for Clovis? This is somewhat embarrassing, I know, but honestly, I can't remember when I last read anything about the Merovingians auf Deutsch. Contextually, it should be, but I'd like to make sure.

update: Thanks to Ancarett, who let me know post-haste that they are one and the same.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Not a Mac genius

Not a Mac genius

Er. Help! I am having an incredibly difficult time understanding how iTunes interfaces with my Windows system. I'm running XP Pro (and maybe XP media on my new laptop). My "my Music" folder defaults to my external hard drive (I've got 90GB on a 300GB drive). One would think that iTunes would just see all this music, but no. It seems to want a folder all its own. This is annoying to me, because it seems that I need to import all my stuff into iTunes, and then that will double the amount of disc space I'm using for music (not that that's a huge issue). I could move everything into iTunes and then delete the other folder, but lots of those files are in .wma or .ram formats, and iTunes converts them -- which I think means that they can't be played outside the realm of iTunes ever again. Also, is there some simple way of taking the songs on my iPod and transferring them to another computer? Because I can't figure it out, and I really would like to move some of my collection to my laptop.

Yes, I know this would all be simpler if I had bought a Mac, but I couldn't afford it, and now I'm stuck with proprietary crap. And an iPod which, if I'd bought it 6 months later, would be twice as big and have a totally cool metal casing. Can I tell you how much I hate Apple right now?

Any advice (and not the "lose the iPod and get something Windows compatible" kind) would be appreciated ...

Happy 2007

Happy 2007!

Happy New Year, all! I wish you all a better one than 2006.

My new year is starting much as the last one ended: Swamped with work, a bit of emotional turmoil, and did I mention lots of work? Despite that, I'm going to take a busman's holiday this coming week, and will be flying off to stay with a friend in a fabulous, if cold and damp, city where we shall both be working like crazed academics. Then, back to the grind.

I've got no particular resolutions this year, except to get a better handle on my life. 2007 will mark my first year in a T-T (or equivalent) job, and I want to make sure I've got something to show for it -- at least one article submitted (and I hope, accepted). Also, I'm hoping to get a better grasp on my finances. I'm applying for a cool NEH summer seminar, I think, which I hope to combine with some research time for the articles. I'm also planning a UK research trip for three weeks or so, if I don't get accepted for the NEH thing. Funding may be an issue, but I have to get at least one article in press by Summer of 2008, or I don't get to keep my job. Two would be better. SO yeah, getting a better grip on my life and balancing it at my advanced age is my resolution. That, and to blog here a bit more regularly.

In case you were wondering, I've been having a bit of difficulty coming to terms with blogging my SLAC career. I'm teaching at a place where I think none of my colleagues nor the administration would care, but I am feeling very protective of my new position in a way that I didn't about my temp positions. So balance here, too, so I can strike some sort of middle ground.