Monday, May 23, 2011

Now wait...

I posted a few days about about being "on vacation." It's true. I've submitted my grades and I'm officially "out of here."

And yet here I sit... in the office... ostensibly working (you notice, however, that I'm actually blogging... which isn't exactly the same thing as working).

This is shaping up to be one busy, busy summer, so I'm trying to stay ahead of the game a bit by doing some fall work now. I also have two small projects for publishers to finish-- a book review and some freelance editing.

Two friends have asked me to read manuscripts, a third friend suggested that I might be a viable replacement for her in writing a weekly (or bi-monthy) column for a web magazine she's leaving. I'll be going on the pioneer trek with the youth of our stake. I leave for Louisville, KY for AP reading the day I get back from Wyoming. We have a whitewater trip, Scout camp, Draney camp, and a million lawns to mow.

THIS is vacation?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Moving furniture and making dust

There's nothing to post about this... It's just what I did today.

We're not moving or anything, but we are rearranging and trying to fit our family more comfortably into the space we have.

There's more to do, but we got off to a good start today.

My feet hurt.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Get your geek on...

(I posted the following on another blog a couple of years ago, but it seems to me that the concept is even more relevant now than it was then. Consider the following...)

I was a geek before. I didn’t exactly embrace my geekiness when I was in high school, but now that I’m all grown up (ha!), I don’t mind going by that moniker. My colleague, Ken Bingham, asked me once if I “had my geek on.” I knew exactly what he meant, and I laughed about that phrase for days.

I’m more of a geek than ever, I guess. I now have a goodreads account, a facebook account, a LinkedIn account, and of course this trusty blog. I even have more than one blog (as you regulars may recall), though the others are woefully neglected at the moment. (Not that this one is so up-to-date and spiffy.) I have a personal web page for a number of years.

I wrote an assignment for my 101 students once that went something like this:

“One of the ways we exist in the modern world is through the Internet. You’ll know what we mean by 'exist via the Internet' when you consider how many times you are asked to enter your personal information when you visit web sites. For example, you may have an eBay account which includes a feedback rating. You may also (or instead) have an Amazon account which includes records of the purchases you've made on that site. You may even have a personal profile on or another networking or dating site. (This assignment was written before facebook was the phenomenon that it is now.)

"Consider, too, that your personal information is stored in many other places. The driver’s license you have in your wallet represents a kind of authentication that you are you. To obtain a driver’s license, you have to provide some proof of your birth, your name, your residence, and so forth. Your credit card represents information about your account with a specific bank, but it also represents (albeit obliquely) your credit worthiness and your ability to repay. You might have a blood bank card in your wallet which represents the dates and times you’ve donated blood. You might have a library card which represents a record of all the books you’ve checked out at the library which issued the card. As you can see, there are many ways that you are represented throughout this menagerie we call modern life.

“Imagine, now, that 1,000 years have passed and it is the year 3011. Scientists and researchers discover a cache of old Internet servers from which information can be retrieved. They discover information about YOU, and once they have your name and date of birth, they discover that you are found in many places in the Internet. Future archeologists will be very interested to know what life was like in good, old 2011.

“What kind of pictures do these various online identities paint of you? What might those future archeologists conclude about your life and the way you lived?

“Another way to think about these concerns is to consider how many of these “markers” (or bits of electronic identity) are solely yours, and how many of them could just as easily belong to anyone from this century. Which parts of an eBay profile, for example, are uniquely and specifically yours, and which are universal characteristics of those living in what has recently been called the early nuclear age?”

So… what do you think? What is your web presence? What will your digital traces say about you?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The baby store

I think many parents live in just a little bit of dread about conversations like this one. It started out innocently enough (and it really didn't go too far into the dreaded territory), but I was sweating a bit before it was over.

We were sitting at dinner night before last when Colton (who will be 5 on Thursday next), out of the blue, said something like, "You haven't gotten any babies since you got me."

"Right," I said. "You're our last one."

"You got me at the baby store, didn't you?"


"Yeah. You got me at the baby store, and you haven't gotten any more babies since then."


"When are you going to get some more babies at the baby store?"

By this time a couple of older brothers were piping up to say things about "tummies" and "mommies" and so forth.

I had regained my composure just a little, so I asked Colton where the baby store was. He replied, sort of haltingly, "Right... across...(uh) ... town." Then he smiled as if that settled it.

Pretty soon, however, he caught on to the tummy thing and started asking who came out of which tummy. "Which one came out of your tummy, Dad?" "What about Cameron's tummy, Dad?" Who's tummy did you come out of Dad?"

This went on for a few minutes with brothers trying to explain (happily, nothing too far out there though, as I said) and Colton enjoying all the attention. I think he asked about every person he could think of. "What about Clara?" (his little girl friend (don't call her his "girlfriend" though, although they do say they will marry someday)), "What about Grandma?" "What about my teacher?"

I was just relieved that he didn't ask about how babies get in there.