Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Creative Commons

You may have noticed a new icon in the right column. After double checking the blogger terms of service to make sure that I actually own the content of my blog, I added the Creative Commons Copyright logo to allow anyone to use anything posted on my blog for non-comercial puposes. Clicking the logo will give a quick and easy page of what this means.

Power from the Corps!

Representative Errata

Having spent the weekend grading assignments and rough drafts of papers due this week, I took to creating a text file of common comments and corrections I made to ease the carpel tunnel. Essentially, once I came across the same issue twice I made an entry in a notepad file. This way I could be nice and detailed - hence looking exceptionally thorough and helpful - yet immensely reduce my grading time. I thought I would share a list (in no particular order) of the more common comments I made. I'll leave it to you to determine the rationale for the comments.

Also, if you find any of these comments useful for your own common comments and corrections file, feel free to copy and paste. I grant this list to the world in the spirit of open source and free non-commercial creative commons copyright.

  1. New topic requires a new paragraph.
  2. One good technique to help with this is to set your essay aside for a few hours after you think you’re finished and read it later. Often you’ll catch things that seemed clear but are not. Alternately, give it to a friend or family member to read. Someone who does not know what you’re trying to say is often good at pointing out parts of your essay that are not clear.
  3. This is a plural pronoun but the noun used earlier is singular. Make sure your noun/pronoun use is consistent.
  4. “Data” is plural for “datum”.
  5. To make your sentences easier to read or signal a pause use a comma to set off words or phrases.
  6. If you are using a singular noun to indicate possession place the apostrophe before the “s”.
  7. Try not to end sentences with a preposition.
  8. Each paragraph needs a purpose that moves your essay forward. Each paragraph should focus on a single topic and make sure you only include relevant information. Ask yourself – does this have anything to do with the topic/focus of this paragraph. If not, delete it. If it does, explain why.
  9. What is the primary point of this essay? This should be your opening topic sentence and everything else should flow to support that point of view or argument.
  10. Make sure you add references to support these statements.
  11. Try not to use quotes unless they are so profound that they send chills down your spine because they created such inspiration and could not possibly be improved on to express the point. Say it in your own words then credit the authors who published the original work you paraphrased.
  12. Although it may appear that there are few comments, I am noting only the first instance or two of an issue you should address and I’m leaving it up to you to go through the rest of the essay to find similar instances to correct or address.
  13. If you’re repeating yourself you’ve probably not organized your essay properly.
  14. For clarity, consider keeping all parts of a verb phrase together. Place any modifying words before or after the verb phrase.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Defining the problem with american mainstream culture

Imagine if you will the following scenario: A society where a select few highly educated elites is scientifically literate and understand that evolution and not creationism/Intelligent design is the only viable current theoretical approach to understanding speciation and the huge diversity of life on this little blue marble we call home. Further, this highly educated elite is well aware that global warming is real and are well aware of a host of other looming disasters that are the direct result of neo-liberal economic policies around the world (in the name of "free-trade" - which is pragmatically defined as a trade agreement that benefits the US and cripples the other partner).

Now, imagine how you would get the general public to support government policies that essentially exacerbate these problems and issues to the detriment of all but those few elites. The answer of course is to deny the facts and broad objective scientific consensus on these and other broad topics.

"How is that possible?", you might reasonably ask. "Surely the truth cannot be suppressed for ever. Facts are facts, right?". Sadly, this is not the case. Most everyone is afraid of something. They have some sort of phobia, whether is is spiders, blood, germs, heights, open spaces, enclosed spaces, we all have a persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous. Well, I think I've discovered the common American Phobia that explains this strange land in which I currently reside. The american public suffer from Epistemophobia- The Fear of knowledge.

That was a lot of work for one tiny joke. But it was worth it :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The view from our soon to be very own back patio. A view of the woods/not other houses was very important to us. Posted by Hello

The view that basically sold us on this place. The living room, fireplace and a FREAKIN' loft to boot! We love the airiness and openess of the place. I've tried to explain to other people why we liked this place so much and the best I could come up with was this was a "living space". You don't really leave the room so much as move from location to location, not like in a conventional house where you leave a room and it's like your in a completely separate space. My wife thinks I'm crazy for describing it like this (and she is probably right). What do you think?  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Monday, June 13, 2005

As a Texan would say...

I'll tell yew what.
God Damn I feel good! I just spent 2 weeks gradually grading then 14+ hours (excluding an hour nap and coffee breaks) grading ~34 1 page papers [see earlier post on the evils of electronic media :)]. But, it's done and I've put off the deadline for papers for a week and I think I'm learning methods to speed this whole grading process along. One day I hope to become 'grand poobah' of electronic grading techniques. Yes. I'll have the electronic grading for dummies book, Cliff notes for electronic graders, Coles notes for electronic graders. The whole shebang. I will live off the royalties of experience hard won..... Whoa! I gotta get a grip! Like that will ever happen. HAH!

However, on the 'yeah like that will ever happen' front' the wife and I made the jump. We paid the $500 "earnest" payment on a new town home. GAH! (as dilbert would say), what have we done!? Still, I have to admit it's kinda cool. Our own place. Finally we can decorate as we please. I never realized how important that was to me until I actually had the option. I envision funky glass vases on stair shelves, mysterious east asian characters strewn about the abode, perhaps even a stuffed penguin or two. We can do ANYTHING! AAAHHHH HAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA.

Me thinks sleep is in order :) Yeah for us. Good night.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Freakin' "Hello"

I've been trying to post some photos of the different houses we've been looking at via the google program "Hello" which is supposed to make the posting of photos as easy as pie..... IT'S NOT! It keeps freezing, timing out or some other freakin' !@#%!#$% error! I'm seriously going to have to put up a home website so I can post photos and just add links. Grrrrrr.

Yeah, like I don't already have enough to do. I'll just slip in designing a website between teaching, grading, house hunting, mortgage negotiating, retirement planning, possible packing, regular cleaning, cooking (pfft, haven't even done that recently), helping the wife shop for eyeglasses, recycling trips (also something that I seriously need to do - the balcony is starting to look like the bloody dump in Kingston Ontario ., ....


Please stay tuned as I work out this problem. I promise it will be worth it.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Buying a home?! - How did that happen?

Been a few days since the last post. As mentioned previously, we went house browsing recently and as luck would have it we found a very cool place (I'll post some info a little later and maybe get some feedback - for reasons explained shortly). We talked to the seller and have been trying to contact people who do the mortgage thing, visiting the construction site and taking tons of photos, talking about appliances, pro's, con's of location, liklihood of real estate appreciation and on and on and on! By all that is unholy and poltroonish this is scary stuff!

We finally came to a decision that it is a good idea to make the jump, when we start second guessing and start looking at other possible homes; just to be sure. Now there is a heightened sense of urgency because the place we want is the only unit left and we can only hold it for so long before the building company starts allowing others to consider purchasing it as well. Tomorrow we are heading to 5 other places that are closer to work, are a little pricer but have better construction/options. We are feeling an artifical pressure to make a choice because we are so enamoured with this one home that we are rushing from place to place to try and decide if we're making the right decision. Maybe tomorrow I'll post some links and photo's of the various places we visit and get some feedback from whoever reads this humble little blog.

If I know anything about human nature this shouldn't be difficult. People tend to be very willing to express their opinions and hopefully the importance (from a North American/USA perspective) of home ownership will stimulate lots of opinions and suggestions about things we need to consider that we have not thought of.

OOOhhhh this could be exciting!