November 30, 2003

The curse of learning.

Curse, or blessing? Why is it that once you read something somewhere, you constantly have to make connections to everything else? Of course, this is often a good thing about education, except when it is finals week (or close to it) and you have plenty more to do than read a 4-page article about John Kerry.

After reading Tim O'Brien's In the Lake of the Woods for a class and learning about it's similarities to Bob Kerrey's fall from political grace, I inadvertently superimposed Bob Kerrey on John Kerry, and am still trying to get over it in order to be an educated voter who is pretty sure a presidential candidate didn't commit atrocities in Vietnam.

So, wouldn't you know it, Bob Kerrey shows up in the 4-pager on John Kerry just to make things confusing and to prove that both have Vietnam in common.

All this thinking will certainly do me in some day.

Posted by Julie Young at 11:56 PM | Comments (1)

November 29, 2003

Can anyone make a list?

Yup, another greatest movie of all time list. Hot dog. My question: what does it take to make a list? I could write a greatest list, except I don't feel qualified enough to....I'd have to make it a "favorite" list instead. Grrr. But who's to say that the random MSN guy is qualified? (Pretend he isn't a professional critic. ;) On that note, who cares if he gets paid to do this???)

Posted by Julie Young at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2003

Break posting proves difficult for blogger

So, this evening I had to pull myself away from enjoyable family time (sibling visiting from somewhat far away) in order to blog before she needed to sleep in the computer room/bedspace. Arg! I seriously doubt I'll be able to keep this up over the actual Christmas dates because the house will be even more packed, and I've heard rumor of an updated OS and new hardware. Last year our computer was out of commission for a few days while it got a new hardrive and experienced scary technical difficulites.

But, a break will be nice.

And, many thanks to Dr. Jerz and the ISP man for working to fix the deranged Movable Type! Also, check out Karissa's fantastic blog...she's competing in the Miss PA for U.S.A. pageant this weekend and is posting updates.

Posted by Julie Young at 10:43 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2003

I've lost the 27th.

Somehow I misplaced my entry about my happy Thanksgiving and the world's greatest brined turkey. MT has been iffy, so maybe one day it will return.

Thought to ponder: Wouldn't it be fun if you could misplace whole days and find them again later? A little nugget of surprise, mayhaps?

Notice: I rolled the date in honor of the post that went missing.

Posted by Julie Young at 10:34 PM | Comments (1)

November 26, 2003

Geeks for real...

I loved For Love or Money -- heck, it was my favorite TV show of the summer....well, it was my favorite TV show of the year, if we're being honest. I, like Dahlia Lithwick from Slate, also enjoy Average Joe...however, I can never remember when it's on....good thing NBC tends to replay it very late at night on the weekends! :)

This week they introduced popular people to the geek circle....a dork better win out in the end, or else I will be very disappointed.

Posted by Julie Young at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2003

Frightened of AOL

Many of you already know that I HATE instant messenger. In fact, I usually only sign on when I am sitting directly in my room, which is for a limited time only. I don't regularly use away messages, and if I do, it's an innoccuous quotation from a book or the Simpsons. With that preface, may I also announce that I dislike the AOL internet browser thing.

The special window, err, browser that comes up is scary! How does one make multiple pages open at one time? You can't even click back on a website normally, or if you can, I haven't figured out how in my ten minutes since signing on. Anyway, I'm utilizing keyboard keys instead of my mouse, which seems awfully behind-the-times.

And please, no one explain to me how to operate AOL. After I'm done tonight I won't see it again for months. Arg. If I felt free enough to open a new window, you might have gotten a few links to nifty things. But, alas, I am not brave enough to lose part of a post, so no links for you!

Happy pre-Thanksgiving Sales! ;)

Posted by Julie Young at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2003

Buy 3 & $ave

Today I had to bust out the winter coat, the winter coat with the mysterious lighter in the pocket (don't worry, after about five minutes of wondering how long I had been smoking, I remembered that I picked it up in a garage). Anywho, this is a cheap-o purple plastic lighter with "Buy 3 & Save" printed on the side. I always wondered what three things I was supposed to buy in order to get it.

Well, folks, tonight I found out. Three packs (?) of cigarettes at the Sunoco. Hot dog. Mystery solved.

Giving away lighters is apparently big business these days. The other week a fellow English major buddy and I went to see some bands. Afterwards, a man with an automated clipboard (much like UPS) approached and inquired if we were smokers. He was giving away Zippos for answering a survey. Hot dog! I love Zippos! They are the best part of Bradford, Pa.!

So, even though I don't smoke, I took the survey. He asked what I smoked, and I answered "Marlboro Lights." Divine inspiration. Then he asked the tough question. "Hard or soft?" Well, I had no idea cigarettes could hard or soft. I was pretty sure they were one consistency -- rolled up stuff. Apparently I looked rather confused, so my buddy chimed in for me. Then I told the man, "the green pack," which happens to be Menthols, not Lights. I'm a horrible story-maker-upper. He gave me the lighter anyway, even though I am a fake. The sad part of this is that I had to tell the whole story to my mom, because rumor has it my mailbox is going to be flooded with special Marlboro announcements.

But, I have a nifty new lighter. If only I had something to light...

Posted by Julie Young at 11:42 PM | Comments (2)

Going to the movies.

This weekend I went to the movies alone. I'm more of a social movie girl, but I needed to eat up an afternoon while I shuttled people to and from the mall in the activities van. Anyway, the only movie showing at a decent time when I got there was either Brother Bear or The Cat in the Hat. I hedged my bets and thought that Cat in the Hat might at least be interesting.

It wasn't. It was pure unmitigated hell. Even the little people there looked disinterested. After 35 minutes of cute, brightly colored characters jumping on sofas, I got up and left. I can see this film becoming one of those "only is good when watched while high" cult classics.

Clearly, I wasn't going to waste money by walking out. So, I walked down the hall to see what else was playing. Luckily, Elf was just beginning, so I went and saw that. It was fantastic! Funny like you wouldn't Christmas, it could stand up for another viewing, unlike forgetables like Jim Carrey's Grinch or The Santa Clause (sorry Donna).

Anyway, it was a good thing I was alone. If I'm at a dumb movie, I like to walk out and pick a new one. Some of my friends aren't law-breaking rebels like me. ;)

Posted by Julie Young at 12:38 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2003

I can't seem to shake Neil Postman.

This afternoon I was flipping through my most recent issue of Commonweal when I stumbled across an article on the death of Neil Postman. (I'd link to it, but the magazine isn't exactly hip to the times. The new issue isn't on the website yet.) Anyway, it's a glowing eulogy for Postman.

But that's not really the problem. Yes, it would be nice to hide from good old Neil, who will forever haunt me I fear, if not for his constant reappearance in my educational career, but for those astounding fun facts about child molestation in the Middle Ages. Anyway, the real problem is that Commonweal (a review of religion, politics, and culture) has been arriving in my mailbox since sophomore year (free student subscription thanks to a Sister of Charity, no doubt). I've been reading it since then, too, because frankly, at times it's rather interesting. Yeah, sometimes Catholic stuff gets old, but there has been plenty of fodder of late, with the molestation scandal, gay marriage, and whatnot. It's not a bad way to fall asleep at night.

Anyway, why is this Postman reference so strange for me? Well, my sophomore year, the only references I ever understood were to things like the Catholic Worker, which also used to magically appear in my mailbox. Now, though, I'm actually getting a few of their textual references. College must be teaching me something, I suppose.

Now, my last note on Commonweal -- there's an awesome quote by Dana Gioia, chairman of the NEA and a poet. I'll share it because I'm giving of other people's work. "Poetry is a mysterious and involuntary art. You can force it, but not with good results... I have no doubt I will always be able to write a bad poem."

Posted by Julie Young at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2003

Blog Censorship?

This is all I've got on the subject of a blogging ethics/standards (for now)...
"I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true." - Dorothy Parker

Posted by Julie Young at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2003

Pittsburgh 6th most literate city

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has determined the most literate cities in the U.S. (via Refdesk) It's a listing of the most literate cities based on educational attainment, newspaper circulation, periodicals published, libraries and booksellers. Pittsburgh was number six on the list.

This study is very interesting, until you think of people who read newspapers and magazines online, or people who use a site like Refdesk for their almanac instead of visiting their friendly local librarian. I read the study, and they don't seem to recongnize electronic media as a factor. Of course, I imagine tracking web use makes research more difficult...

Posted by Julie Young at 11:14 AM | Comments (2)

November 20, 2003

That's my eye twitching.

Yes, it's that time of year. Kate's already been there, Amanda is plodding through. Finals.

I always know it is finals when my left eye begins to twitch. It's imperceptible to outsiders, but I feel the little muscle spasm at the corner of my left eye. The only thing that helps is for me to pull my eye muscles taut like a bad face-lift.

Which makes my mascara flake a little bit, so that by 9:00 at night it looks like I haven't slept in weeks. Which is entirely possible, I suppose, because it's nearly 1:30 a.m. right now and I'm still doing homework. Fancy that.

This is what I won't miss next year. I won't have work to bring home with me every single night of the week. I think it will be nice. Surely it will. Imagine how much time I'd have to blog then. ;)

Posted by Julie Young at 01:17 AM | Comments (12)

November 19, 2003

Hypertext burnout.

Ha. It's finally up. Yup, you guessed it. My hypertext journey to France. Not sure how I did it. Look, comment, and maybe you'll even get to be my usability group.

Now, for the disclaimer. It's the end of the semester, and frankly, the story wasn't ending. So, it's kind of abrupt. More might get added before next week if it is too rough for you. Some parts also seem to overlap. I think I fixed the horrible loop that you'd get stuck in, but then again, maybe I haven't. Let me know what is too repetitive, or if you keep ending up on the Champs Elysees. Also, my characterization sucks, but you, fine reader, might just have to deal with it. Sadly, characterization lost out in the battle between art and technology.

Okay, time for bed. Tomorrow....the Communications web site. Ha ha.

Posted by Julie Young at 12:44 AM | Comments (1)

November 18, 2003

Why the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Needs to Hire Me

Diana Nelson Jones is no longer producing a column. I feel as if a respectful amount of time has passed....thus, I can beg for her job. On the columnist frontpage, I haven't seen anyone else take over her spot. This leaves a perfect spot for a certain Setonian someone. Indeed. I am graduating soon and need employment, you know. ;)

Posted by Julie Young at 11:44 PM | Comments (1)

November 17, 2003

Why I have a problem with Norton...

I do not like Norton Anthologies. Yes, they are convenient and they are relatively inexpensive for a textbook. Yet, I don't see the value in cramming all this stuff into one big book.

It kills me to have to read out of it. First of all, the print is terribly small. I realize that I am a squinter by nature, but there is nothing wrong with my eyes that hasn't already been corrected. Why is the type so hard to read? Could it be the tissue-thin pages, so thin that you can see the words on the next page through it?

Also, there are too many words on one page, so there aren't enough little pauses. Plus, you have less of a feeling of accomplishment when you finish a story. For example, Gulliver's Travels is around 160 pages. 160 pages out of 2975. Big deal.

I haven't even gotten to the real problem yet -- the sheer enormity of its size. It's big and heavy. You can't read it in a reclining position. You can't read it sitting down in a comfortable chair because your arms will hurt supporting it. You can't read it at a table in the library because you will have to bend your head down uncomfortably to read the small print. The only way I've found to read it is to sit on a uncushioned chair, my feet bent on another chair, with the spine perched on my lap desk.

Needless to say, all of these machinations cause me to pay less attention while I read. I'm too busy counting how many pages of this hell I've got left. I'm consumed with readjusting the book so that my eyes/hands/lap/wrists don't hurt. I can't seem to retain anything I read. Sure, Norton's have everything you'll ever need in it (except some excluded authors, of course) and are great for reference. But as for practicality? I may as well attempt to read from the unabridged dictionary.

Posted by Julie Young at 12:37 AM | Comments (2)

November 16, 2003

Bad English

The New York Times has thrilled me once again with an interesting article about language. John McWhorter, a linguist, argues that the degradation of the English language is partly the fault of 1960's culture.

As a linguist, he says, he knows that grammatical rules are arbitrary and that in casual conversation people have never abided by them. Rather, he argues, the fault lies with the collapse of the distinction between the written and the oral. Where formal, well-honed English was once de rigueur in public life, he argues, it has all but disappeared, supplanted by the indifferent cadences of speech and ultimately impairing our ability to think.

Posted by Julie Young at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2003

Job Fair Update

A few of you might be wondering how the job fair went...

I gave out about 12 resumes...I'm not sure if I actually want any of the jobs, but that isn't what is important to me. It's still early. The biggest benefit of the job fair for me was that I was finally able to do something about this dreaded job search. I feel like I took a step toward finding out what is really out there that I might enjoy.

A few jobs that I found interesting: the close-captioning people, of course. That job appears to be a lot of editing. I also talked to the Social Security Administration, which seems like a neat job that involves interviewing skills. One company is actually recruiting English majors under the guise of "critical writing skills" -- they compile background checks on employees. Fun fun! None of these jobs are actually what I picture myself doing in my fairy tale world - but then again, my fairy tale world is just that.

On top of that, I've been thinking about my teaching English in a foreign land comment. I like the idea of a foreign land, not teaching. Why would I want to teach another country's version of k-12? If that was really one of my interests, I would've taken an education class at some point. If I really want to go international, I'm probably better off trying to join a foreign news bureau or simply find a company with international opportunities. Or heck, I could take a vacation. Be a flight attendant. All these things would probably be more up my alley.

Random thought: Guess what the first definition of "alley" is, according to Webster? "A lane in a garden or park, bordered by trees or shrubs." I usually think alleys are dirty spaces between buildings, just large enough to squeeze a car through....hmm.

Posted by Julie Young at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2003

Amy Tan fans take note...

Her memoir is coming out soon, and apparently the truth is stranger than fiction.

Posted by Julie Young at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2003

Yikes, a job fair!

Might I say that I am freaking out about this whole WestPacs job fair thing. How incredibly scary! A whole expomart full of people who want to talk to you! Arg! On top of that, I've looked through the list of employers who are hiring, and it all seems so boring. Of course, there is no actual job descriptions listed, so maybe that is why things seem so dry. I'm sure it is. Anyway, I'll be sure to give my resume to the people who close-caption TV shows...if it isn't tons of fun, at least it will make a good story.

Anyway, I'm so freaked out about employment that I am searching the Internet for teaching English abroad jobs. Something is driving me to want to do this, but maybe its the whole "my-life-fits-in-a-Ford-Escort-so-why-not-now-before-I-own-a-sofa" disease and not the fact that I am afraid of employers who are apparently within a 500 mile radius.

I'm just a tad fearful. But heck, at least I'll look cute in my suit. ;)

Posted by Julie Young at 12:34 AM | Comments (3)

November 12, 2003

No Elinor Wylie on Wikipedia?

Well there is now. I've created a miserable stub entry for fair Elinor, and linked her name up with 1921 in literature.

Posted by Julie Young at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2003

Viva Las Vegas!

Because it's hard to go a day or two without a link to the NY's today's: Work Out or Play the Slots, All Between Flights.

I love airports. And McCarran is the most interesting one I've ever seen. The minute you get off of your airplane, you know you are in Vegas. Why? First, the cigarette smoke wafts your direction. Then you hear the bling of the slot machines. Even the carpeting looks like it belongs in a casino, with its large, gaudy patterns. How fantastic!

Another fantastic thing about airport diversions, is, of course, the Gap. This summer, I got delayed out of Pittsburgh and held over in Altlanta....good thing both had airmalls! Even though I didn't buy anything, I was able to have my fill of quality Gap fashion... Yup, I'm a capitalist's dream. ;)

Posted by Julie Young at 11:04 PM | Comments (2)

November 10, 2003

Blogging damages your critical thinking?

Today in class Dr. Jerz cited someone who said something about how the Internet doesn't promote critical thinking skills (clearly, I took inadequate lecture notes). I'm beginning to agree with this nameless critic.

I am addicted to the Internet. I like to blog and I like to read random news articles online. Heck, I even read spoilers for TV shows that I don't watch. To me, this is normal. I'm sure that I critically analyze what I read, partially because that is part of my personality. However, I feel like my writing is going nowhere, partially because of the Internet.

I'm going to be honest -- I post something to this blog every day, not because I'm a huge geek, but because I'm afraid of what will really happen if I don't write anything. It's a senseless fear, but what I think nonetheless. For 4 semesters and two summers, I've been churning out 5-6 articles a month, taken full course loads during the school year, written for the Setonian and kept up with blogging and emailing. I'm pretty much spent. I've got nothing left. I feel like I haven't written anything I've actually liked since sophomore year.

Yet, I feel know my writing has improved since then. I can look back through my portfolio and see that I've developed. I think more critically, and I'm getting better at translating what I think into words for the masses. However, I don't think that I am doing as well as I think I can. In fact, I'm willing to wager that writing for an online medium is letting me take the easy way out.

It's too easy to link to something and let that do the talking for me. It's nice to know that I don't have to write verbose paragraphs. Bulleted lists! What a novelty! Instead of me thinking more, I feel like I just slap something on the blog that fits with the personality that people expect. However, by doing that I am just shortchanging myself and everyone who strolls on in to read.

Anyway, my point... I'm relatively certain that I am experiencing a very large writer's block -- yet, instead of not being able to write, I'm writing everything in order to keep from not writing anything. If I stop, then that must mean that I've turned into that girl who blames not turning in an assignment on a silly thing like writer's block! Ha! Not me!

Anyway, I guess that is my contradictory argument that supports the idea that the World Wide Web is bad for thinking.

Is it too late to be a math major?

Posted by Julie Young at 11:49 PM | Comments (1)

November 09, 2003

Hey look, a giraffe!

A zoo in Milwaukee didn't realize Malindi the giraffe was pregnant....until they met her son. Sounds like the Jerry Springer show to me! Seriously, this story is personally disturbing to me. What would you do if you were a zookeeper, and one day there was one more animal in the pen? How strange!

Better yet, how humiliating! Imagine the jokes at work about that one. But, it's not like giraffes can talk to humans and tell them that they are on the nest. Anyway, back to homework...

Posted by Julie Young at 10:07 PM | Comments (3)

November 08, 2003

I was reading, and up popped Dr. Boyle...

I was reading a New York Times article on financial aid, and how rich schools like Stanford get more aid money than regular colleges that actually educate average or lower-income students. Then, out of no where, came Seton Hill.

"I wish I had been at the table when the decisions were being made," said JoAnne Boyle, president of Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. "It just drives me nuts."

Sadly, we know no more about our school and this issue than that quick blurb, but oh well! Saves room for a Setonian article, I guess. ;)

Posted by Julie Young at 11:57 PM | Comments (2)

November 07, 2003

Worms at the Eye Contact Judging?

Thanks to Donna sending me this comic, I stumbled upon a comic about worms and literary critique! What luck!

Posted by Julie Young at 11:58 PM | Comments (1)

November 06, 2003

Worms as local news?

A quotation ripped from Dave Barry's most recent column:

Yes, it's a troubling story, and I have yet to see one word about it in the so-called ''major'' news media. They're too ''big'' for this kind of story.
Is he speaking of the earthworm saga?

No. But, he could be. Except that the earthworms made The New York Times, which is arguably one of the biggest newspapers on earth. Then again, who reads that rag? Humph. I'm a trifle discouraged that Tom Brokaw is ignoring my worm crisis. I've been waiting for it to be on a news teaser.

However, I did see a news teaser that might help out Sarah, on her quest for all-things-airport-security. The Pittsburgh NBC station (WPXI?) is doing a story on why the Dave Nelsons of the world always get stopped by security screeners. I'd like to know why a certain Julie Young always gets stopped, too. But then again, I kind of like it...being told that you are a fabulous packer is an ego-boost. (What, did you expect anything less than me being great luggage packer?)

Posted by Julie Young at 10:18 PM | Comments (4)

November 05, 2003

Quality Seton Hill folk online

Happy to announce that litzymonkey is back online! She just reposted the site today so it's a little sparse, but fabulous content will be sure to follow.

Alrighty...back to my birthday fun. ;)

Posted by Julie Young at 11:59 PM | Comments (3)

November 04, 2003

Belsnickle fun!

Belsnickle is a French/German tradition that celebrates the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6. Essentially, Belsnickle is a crazy little helper elf who pulls wacky, kids put their shoes out the night of December 5, and Belsnickle fills them with candy.

What a surprise in the morning!

Ever since I was little my family celebrated this, and last year I used it for a floor program. Very successful! Shoes were lined outside of doors all down the hallway! :) (Donna, I think I made you put your shoes out, no?)

Anyway, can I give myself a topic for tomorrow???

Posted by Julie Young at 11:45 PM | Comments (2)

November 03, 2003

More book of the dead...

It looks like I need to clarify.

When I say "book of the dead" I don't mean necronomicon or any of the Evil Dead films. I mean the bound book that sits somewhere in the church during the month of November. Some people (perhaps just old ladies, and me...) go write names of dead people there in order to remember them or pray for their souls in purgatory.

I did a little research on the internet, and of course, became very afraid. Good information on Roman Catholic traditions is just so hard to find! You have to wade through all this stuff about Catholics as scary cult people, and lots of school projects on los Dias de Muertos.

Of course, this could be another of those crazy traditions that I do, but no one else cares about (like Belsnickle). Oh well.

Posted by Julie Young at 11:36 PM | Comments (4)

November 02, 2003

The Book of the Dead

I've got a strange little problem. It's November -- the month when Catholics break out the Book of the Dead. In this book, you write the names of loved ones so that people can pray for them. It's just a nice tradition.

And, being All Souls Day, a tradition I abide by.

So, I'm writing my names in, sticking with the deaths during my lifetime -- my great-grandma and a few classmates. As I'm writing my great grandma's name, I think, "that's odd, she has the same name as my grandma." But she doesn't. My great-grandma was Leona, my gram is Catherine.

I wrote my living grandmother's name in The Book of the Dead.


Now I'm frantically knocking on wood.

Posted by Julie Young at 11:20 PM | Comments (3)

November 01, 2003

Worm wrap-up

Well, it seems like the flood of worm news is slowing down...or maybe I'm just noticing it less.

Worms, like everything else on the planet, have their upside and their downside. People use them to get rid of trash, and fishers use them to catch food. They aerate soil. But, they also can compact soil and harm land, as seen in the Great Smokey Mountains and in Minnesota.

Clearly, the earthworm has a good image -- they are helpers, little farmers, as one article called them. So then why do we insult people by calling them worms? According to Webster, one of the definitions of worm is "an abject, wretched, or contemptible person." So why do we think earthworms are great? Or does that definition of worm come from things like tapeworms, which are parasites? The original Middle English/Germanic roots suggest serpents, dragons and turning or bending. That's a physical description....hmmm. Maybe this is a case for the OED.

Posted by Julie Young at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)