there are no notes from tuesday’s angel-food cake class because i was too busy doing homework. also, we did a group exercise that entailed purchasing a computer from this month’s issue of computer shopper which ate up a lot of time.

notes from thursday’s distraction class:

thanks to a horrible traffic backup on state street, i was three minutes late to class. i hate being late to class. i’d rather not show up at all, but what can you do?

distraction was already deep into the horrors of transcription, going over documents from the previous class for those who didn’t bother to show up tuesday. i’m only slightly paying attention, to be honest. i won’t have time to hang out in this lab to work on the transcription assignment until saturday morning, so it seems less critical for me to pore over the practice docs. i can look at them in the lab, anyway.

he illustrated the transcription of ‘thing’ by mentioning a personal ad he’d seen in the new york times literary supplement, in which someone was looking for a woman with whom he could have ‘a long-term thing.’ apparently — and this is distraction’s theory, not mine — the word ‘relationship’ was too vulgar for the ad-placer.

come to think of it, i’m slightly in the market for ‘a long-term thing’ myself. maybe i should find this ad and answer it?

whoa, ‘an’ has four different transcriptions? wtf?

after going through the practice docs, he took requests from the audience. unfortunately, the first word, ‘factual,’ didn’t come out quite the way he wanted in word, and he had to do it over. ‘we might have to burn the room!’

now, onto another word, ‘ambiguous,’ and all i can think is this is going to be one fucking tedious-ass saturday morning.

on the other hand, i have a printout of the IPA symbol list which i’m using to follow the transcription-on-the-fly … and i’m actually starting to get it. this might not be so bad after all.

you know, i could listen to distraction say ‘necessarily’ all damn day.

about our transcription assignment, he said that if we spend more than two hours on it, we’re doing it wrong, and we should avail ourselves to ‘the legal cheating materials’ available in the online course folders. well, uh, i was already planning on that, but it never hurts to be reminded.

notes from tuesday’s distraction class:

he went over our first assignment, pointing out what he was looking for in our essays. since i got 110 points on this essay, i tuned most of it out.

then we moved on to the horror that is transcription. he showed us drawings of some of the stranger characters in the international phonetic alphabet, and i was very afraid. the IPAmanuscriptregular font, unfortunately, is only installed in the B&W G3 lab, so if i want to do this assignment easily, i’ll have to camp out here. that’s not so bad, as long as i don’t run into anyone.

if i get really motivated, i can download an IPA font family from SIL international … maybe i’ll do that later.

now we’re looking at practice transcription documents, and boy, are they ever ugly.

distraction just said he was paid ‘well,’ then qualified that statement with ‘i’m paid better than anyone in the english department,’ then qualified that statement by saying engineering professors are paid better. you know, i’m inclined to believe that he’s right.

the girl sitting across the table from me is wearing a very tight white v-neck shirt. not only that, she keeps bending over. i wish she’d stop that. it’s distracting.

did he just say transcription was ‘morally damaging’? i think he did!

i’ll have to remember to sign heavilon keys out if i want to attack this during my dinner breaks.

notes from this week’s angel-food cake class:

he left the lecture notes back in his office, so he had to go back and get them. isn’t this what web-accessible directories are for — to save data so it can be retrieved from any location?

meanwhile, the guys behind me are reading about the tyson/lewis brawl. overhearing them got me reading about it … and all i can say is ‘wtf?’

okay, the instructor’s back. time to learn about memory and keyboards! zzzzzzz …

i glanced over at the next person’s screen … and discovered she’s the woman who wrote today’s above-the-fold story on judge george heid’s suicide in the journal and courier. freaky. i must attract reporters or something.

qwerty keyboard? dvorak keyboard? oh, i don’t care, just give me a damn keyboard.

it takes about 25 hours to learn the dvorak keyboard … but it significantly increases your typing speed. the downside? going back to a qwerty keyboard is pretty damn difficult.

now he’s explaining the intricacies of using the control key. he uses a ‘command hands thing’ to handle the control key. uh, i wasn’t aware there was a protocol for using the control key.

we’ve moved on to the alt key. ‘again, don’t sit there and think’ when using this key, he said.

the position control keys are: home, end, pgup & pgdn. i use these keys basically never and don’t see myself starting now. however, office uses them quite a bit. this could get ugly.

insert is a ‘dangerous’ key. ooooooh, i’m scared.

the delete key and the backspace thing do the same thing, but behave differently depending on the position of your cursor. ‘i’ve warned you. now you’ll learn it the hard way, like i did, and a few four-letter incantations inbetween.’

if you turn the numlock key off, the number keys turn into control keys. nifty!

computers can have many different ports. the major ones: serial, parallel, video, USB, firewire. we even get pictures of the various ports! how thoughtful.

my instructor has 4 power strips in his office, so all his various computer peripherals could get power. that’s a bit much.

ha ha, someone in the next row is checking out hampsterdance2.com … i don’t blame him. this material is so dry it needs moisturizer.

oh great, now he’s apple-bashing again. cut that out! so what if apple holds the firewire patent!

he recommends buying a computer with USB & firewire capabilities. well, duh.

we’re discussing power supplies. good lord, i can’t believe i paid money to be in this class.

‘i would buy nothing less than a 20G hard drive.’ he just mentioned ‘tetrabye’ drives again … and i still didn’t correct him.

he likes 19″ monitors, but would use a 21″ monitor if they weren’t so darned expensive. he quickly mentioned the pricedrops on LCD monitors, too. there’s that annoying gateway ad again!

he suggested buying a pair of glasses to use specifically when working with computers … crap, i knew i was forgetting to do something!

there was some more discussion of video and sound cards, but i was totally not paying attention.

printers! ‘jet ink is … very acceptable.’ 1000dpi is defined as ‘print quality.’ he also suggested that we buy printers where the paper lays flat in the tray, because ‘the other way’ is, uh, not good or something.

if buying a laser printer, watch out for the printer memory!

supplies — paper, cartridges, disks — ‘just eat you up like you wouldn’t believe.’ they don’t cut you up and take you high? what a letdown!

wisdom on mice: ‘if you get a wireless mouse, get a radio one. don’t get an infra-red … a track ball is, what i like to joke, ‘a dead mouse’ …’ why not infra-red mice? ‘it requires line of sight,’ plus there could be interference issues, blah blah blah.

neat-o, digital tablets! i’d love to play around with one of those.

he goes through mousepads and has to clean his mouse out every two months? geez, how dirty is his office?

i got distracted by ev’s yahoo groups thing, so i missed out on him recommending buying a cable modem instead of renting it.

more recommendations: a 24x CD-ROM, or a CD-RW drive. if it does DVD, all the better … huh? we’ve moved on to zip drives already? i need to stop surfing mefi in class. great, now i’m missing the scanner discussion. oh well.

very nice — he found a picture of a sony mavica digital camera with the floppy disk inserted backwards!

i don’t understand what this ‘video capture and converter’ slide means at all. gah, someone distracted him with a question about the distinction between digital camera and webcams! that’s not the answer i wanted.

blah blah PDAs blah blah palm has the most market share blah blah pocketPCs are also around blah. hey, he mentioned handspring’s origin as an ex-palm employee’s company! not bad.

i don’t believe people are actually taking notes about this stuff.

he just mentioned war driving without actually mentioning the words ‘war’ or ‘driving.’ tee-hee.

in the course of mentioning firewalls, he mentioned that his particular choice of firewall software, black ice, is massively conflicting with the novell server stuff he uses at work. wups.

finally, breaktime. time to check my web stats!

we’re back … and my instructor is [EVIL!] empire bashing? in explaining the word lab, he said that the office book assumes certain things about the way your computer is set up, and then breaks off with ‘you have to understand you’re working with PUCC’ when pointing out the location of the office suite on the lab computers. buh?

at least he pointed out the CD-RW drives in these gateways. i should get a CD-RW disk to use for file transfer purposes, not that i’ll remember or anything.

he’s explaining word. i shouldn’t be blatantly ignoring this, but i am.

right, now we’re moving on to the handout explaining the papers we’ll be writing. the topics are: a review of graphic software packages, a review of digital camera, a review of a ‘group of computers,’ and the infamous Paper 4, which ‘will be discusses in a separate handout.’ the PC magazine issue we’ll be using for the first two papers will be on reserve at, of all places, the math science library! i don’t even have to leave the death star to do the legwork! unbelieveable.

i wish i could show you the instruction sheet we received for these papers. he even specifies the fonts we’re to use. i’m flabbergasted at the level of detail.

he suggests setting up a default template for our papers, even giving us a name: ‘master paper.’ huh huh, he said ‘master paper.’ i’m so juvenile.

wow, we even got a sample paper, so we can copy its look-and-feel for our papers! i don’t think our hands are being held enough, personally.

the february 2002 computer shopper is on the newsstand now. bring it to next week’s class!

also, assignments 1-3 are due next week, so, uh, buy the MS office book for assignment 2?

quiz time!

weird posting without having anywhere to send this …

notes from tuesday’s distraction class:

he pointed out a website of linguistic problems that he was showing to his graduate linguistics class … if we’re ‘particularly motivated to play with this kind of stuff,’ uh, we can? i guess i could.

the first assignment is due at 17.45 thursday. uh, i should get working on it? like, tonight? it’ll keep me off the computer, at least … unless i decide to hole up in a lab all night, which i probably fucking shouldn’t, considering i work in those labs!

the rest of the assignments should be posted by this weekend, maybe, if distraction’s motivated.

we’re moving into chapter five, phonetics and phonology. ‘no more fun and games,’ he says. ‘this is hard work now.’

we’ll be ‘squeezing the spelling from our minds’ or something. uh, okay.

english is the only language which ‘froze’ its spelling system, mostly because of the invention of the printing press. technology’s been messing with the language for a long, long time, as it turns out. people who think coming up with new IM-speak terms is new and different are sadly mistaken!

looks like a lot of people are writing email or surfing instead of paying attention. one of the problems of computer-aided education, i guess.

the result of ‘freezing’ english? ‘the result of it is an ongoing disaster. many people make spelling mistakes.’

he used variants on the word ‘meet’ to illustrate the wackiness that is sound and spelling … then, five different pronounciations of the letter ‘a’ … look in the text to see the examples.

there’s a ‘terrible spelling situation’ in english?

george bernard shaw was a dyslexic, which surely must have sucked ass considering he was a playwright. he put up a substantial wad of cash as a challenge to someone to reform english spelling … that money remains unclaimed today.

nice, he snuck in a boris yeltsin slam! russian presidents in ‘their drunken stupor’ banning communism! and then they ‘unnamed’ streets and cities and all sorts of things named after communists! and it cost twenty billion dollars! like russia has that kind of money. tee-hee, those wacky old-worlders.

‘people like me can bitch all they want about how terrible the alphabet is, but i don’t think that it will change.’

‘the point is, spelling is an arbitrary convention.’

you know, i really like this class, but why teach in a mac lab if you don’t use the damn macs? all he’s doing is projecting the current chapter on a pull-down screen. this slightly bugs me. yes, i realize that macs are a limited breed on this campus, but straight-up lecturing in a computer lab is not all that engaging. sometimes, it’s a struggle to pay attention.

yes, he called out the two harpies chattering just across the way! w00t!

oh, no way. he just grabbed a portion of his text and took all the vowels out. shades of the survivorblog 2 IC i blew …

one of the harpies is reading a book instead of paying attention. that’s fucking classy. didn’t i say i wasn’t going to sit near these people?

what is transcription? well, now … check out table 3 in the text! my, doesn’t that look fugly. from the text: ‘the process and result of rendering the sounds into IPA is called transcription.’

he said, ‘the inventory of those symbols should not be something you look forward to learning.’ uh, okay. this is supposed to be challenging, i take it?

more on this next time … but we won’t be ready for the transcription assignment? we should mark that week in black on our calendars? uh oh.

i need to find this IPA list online somewhere. remember to google this later!

‘and finally, the most treacherous word in the english language …’ you mean, words like violence do break the silence? dude.

trance still sucks? really, that depends on the quality of the trance. only the finest beats and cheeses are allowed onto the iPod, of course.

yet another note to self: rip all the R.E.M. CDs, and the orb, and the lisa germano, and the mark kozelek, and, uh …

okay, i don’t think exponent writers should be inflating my head any more than it already is. you don’t know how much i want to take this guy up on his offer … but i’d have to be a full-time student, and that’s something i don’t think i can pull off.

or can i?

two weeks? that’s all? to be honest, i didn’t even think i’d make it to twenty … and here i am, hurtling towards the other side.

i pluck grey hairs and wonder where all the time went.