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Rock Ruminations

"The Rock" - Newfoundland's nickname, attributed to the granite and rocky landcapes which wrap around coastlines of the province. It is an affectionate term towards Newfoundland, and highlights the significance of environment. Ruminations - the act of pondering; meditation.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thursday Thirteens!

Seeing how it is the Thursday before New Year's and I stumbled upon this today at The Median Sib.

Thirteen Things for My New Year's Resolutions
  1. Spend more time with my cat.
  2. Write more frequently - particularly when I have nothing to write about.
  3. Lose weight.
  4. Transcribe as sessions becom available.
  5. Exercise more.
  6. Get my ass in gear and finish my filing.
  7. Go back and start naming all of those picture files that Lisa and I have taken over the years.
  8. Finish my dissertation.
  9. Devote some time to completing those iMovies that Lisa and I have taken, as well as the ones I promised my old man.
  10. Cook more often - and try making some different things.
  11. Watch the remaining seasons of West Wing that I've gotten over the past two Christmas seasons.
  12. Figure out how to get my computer accessories working more consistently.
  13. To maintain a regular pace of blogging - although probably not with this holiday frequency.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

  1. The Median Sib

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Which video game character am I?

I saw this quiz over at iterating toward openness in an entry entitled Which Pre-85 Video Game Character Am I?. I figured since I have an interest in gaming from an educational standpoint (see Back to Gaming Again, Back to gaming, Are computer games a boon or our ruin?, and Gaming in education on my Breaking into the Academy blog), I figured that I at least owed it to myself to figure out which pre-1985 character I was.

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.

I strive to improve my living conditions by hoarding gold, food, and sometimes keys and potions. I love adventure, fighting, and particularly winning - especially when there's a prize at stake. I occasionally get lost inside buildings and can't find the exit. I need food badly. What Video Game Character Are You?

Personally, I'm not sure who this is, but the sounds of his character seem okay.

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Service... And lack thereof...

Okay, over the past week I have been fortunate enough to experience some great service and unfortunate enough to experience some not so great service....

Starting with the great service, and this was truly great... Back in mid-October I submitted my dissertation IRB to the ethics review people over in the Human Subjects Office here at UGA. Their office has been understaffed for most of the past year or more, which has resulted in the 4-6 week turn around time taking much longer (six and a half months for two of my IRBs from the Spring in fact). As I was hoping to begin my dissertation data collection, I submitted it two months prior to my prospectus defence date, figuring that with previous approval I could simply submit an amendment with the changes made by my committee.

A little over two weeks ago, I met with one of the staffers in the office - to ask a couple of unrelated questions and to unofficially see how my review was coming. In the time that I had submitted it to this visit, another person left their office and my IRB had been left unattended for much of the past six weeks. Anyway, this staffer committed to me that she would have my IRB examined prior to the Christmas break and that she would even wait until after my prospectus meeting (which was occurring three days later) to account for any changes to the study before reviewing it.

Friday, the day before Christmas break, when many of the employees at UGA had started their holidays and many of the rest were looking forward to easy and slower than normal days, this staffer calls me up to let me know that she is in the process of reviewing my IRB. Three to four hours later, I receive the message with the requested changes, so I make those within the hour and send them back to her, waiting for approval when she returns in January. On a day which for most is a fairly relaxed day, this staffer worked extra hard to maintain her commitment to me that she would have my IRB reviewed before the Christmas holidays. That's what I call service. I was so impressed, I felt the need to bring her efforts tothe attention of the Vice-Prsident for Research and Associate Provost, who is the head over her departmental structure. He even wrote me back to say he was happy to hear of such dedication in the people working in his unit.

Now, on the other side of that coin, you may recall that in my entry Trump on Elton I alluded to trouble with my car. You may have read on Lisa's blog that she was involved in a collision of sorts (see Where do I begin?) and we left the car at a body shop when we went to Toronto (two Wednesday's ago). While they weren't supposed to be able to take it in until Monday and normally it would have been finished on Thursday, this guy at Patton Brothers convinced me that if they just had it with no pressure of a deadline, they would be able to get it in and do an hour here and an hour there prior to Monday - basically while they were waiting for parts for other vehicles or waiting for other vehicles to dry and such. By doing this, he expected that my car would be ready for Wednesday when I returned to Athens, Georgia.

So, Tuesday night I'm playing on their website and they have their pretty cool feature that lets you look at pictures of your vehicle as it is being repairs. As I didn't have our service number, I clicked on all 30+ of them and didn't see our vehicle there are all. So, I figured they must be finished - as the numbers were sequential but some were missing. Wednesday rolls around and we are in the airport in Toronto after Lisa renewed her visa and I call up Patton Brothers only to find out that the vehicle won't be ready. I call around to Enterprise, as my insurance deals directly with them and I have loss of use coverage, only to find that they close at six and I won't leave the airport until 5:30pm (and if I use the airport one there is a fee to return it somewhere other than the airport which my insurance doesn't cover).

Out of the goodness of his heart, my buddy who picked us up from the airport let's us use his second vehicle for the next twenty-four hours, as I had been lead to believe that Patton Brothers would still be able to make their original Thursday deadline (as it was supposed to be a four day job). Late Thursday, I get another call from Patton Brothers telling me that it won't be ready today and ay not be ready on Friday (and they close early on Friday for Christmas). The call came so late that I was again too close to the 6:00pm closing time of Enterprise. So, my Christmas angel (otherwise known as my buddy Mark) lets us keep his vehicle another day. Around 9:00am on Friday I get a call telling me that my car will be ready by about 10:30am and I can come by and pick it up anytime after that.

Now they open at 8:00am and I got the call on Thursday about 30-45 minutes before they close. So, in about two hours of working on my car it went from not sure if I'll even get it back before Christmas to it'll be ready in an hour. The funny thing was that Patton Brothers came highly recommended to us by both my insurance company (who had four companies that they recommended) and by Lisa's co-workers. Needless to say that after being jerked around for three days, if we are ever in need of autobody services again or are in a position to recommend a company to others, Patton Brothers will not be on our list.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone out there in the blogsphere... Over the past couple of days I have been reflecting on Christmas traditions - possibly sparked by my wife's post entitled Merry Christmas! on her blog (see Lisa's Blog). Lisa and I have been married for three Christmas' now (and together for many more than that) and I think that we have broght some traditions from each of our own familes and established some of our own.

Since I was a little child, I have always had a tree of my own. When we lived in Buchans (i.e., up to the age of ten) there were small three foot artificial trees in my sister's and my room. When we moved to Corner Brook, I had that small tree put up in the basement (where I eventually moved my room), even in university and in my own place while I was teaching in Bonavista, I always had these small Christmas trees. The reason I bring them up is because they were always decorated with home-made and sentimental (i.e., gift or souvenir) ornaments. The tree that Lisa and I have put up for the past three years is now decorated with home-made and sentimental ornaments. My mother would always play Elvis' Christmas record (yes, record) at Christmas and our first Christmas away from home, we had to go and buy the Elvis Christmas CD to make it seem more like the holidays.

Lisa has always opened up her stocking in bed on Christmas morning before we go o open the gifts under the tree, so now we open our stockings in bed each Christmas morning. Lisa's family always has fish on Christmas Eve and has their Christmas meal at dinner time (as opposed to supper), so this is what we have done for the past three years.

Having said that, we also have some traditions that we have created as well. With just the two of us, we both come up with creative and funny names to put in the "From" field on the tags for the Christmas gifts that we have bought each other, so that not everything under the tree is from each other. For example, this year I got Season 5 of The West Wing from the Governor and a book about football stadiums from across the United States from the university's athletic director. Lisa got a UGA SEC Championship T-shirt from the UGA mascot Hairy Dawg and a Sugar Bowl T-shirt from UGA VI. We also watch It's a Wonderful Life every year at Christmas time.

It is interesting, to see how we have taken te traditions from both of our families, combine those and even come up with some new ones of our own, as a way to make Christmas uniquely our's.

In any regard, a Merry Christmas to everyone...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Trump on Elton

Well, for those of you that know me already know that Elton John is my favourite performer of all time - so much so that our (Lisa and I) wedding song was Elton's "Your Song." Lisa and I have seen him twice in Atlanta since we have moved down to Georgia two and a half years ago.

Anyway, it appears that Elton has entered into a civil union with his long-time partner (who is a Canadian if I'm not mistaken). The event is such big news that even "the Donald" felt the need to share his well wishes (see Elton John's Wedding) through his blog at The Trump Blog.

Speaking of the Donald, we watched the final episode of his Apprentice while we were in Toronto (BTW, we're back in Athens again now). I was a little disappointed that the guy didn't have the courage, after he was selected the clear winner, to also share some of his glory with the lady who spent over half the show with a set of crutches. Winning apparently went to his head rather quickly (personally I was cheering for the woman anyway).

So, we are back in Athens - still waiting for our car to be fixed up (a topic I'm sure to say more about tomorrow). Until then...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Snow that Fell in Toronto During Our Visit

Okay, so Lisa and I are current vacationing in Toronto - I guess you could call it a vacation, as we came back to Canada to renew Lisa's visa and are staying with and visiting friends and family.

Having said that, I spent most of Thursday looking at and evaluating rationales for students who have applied for the Social Studies Education program. Then I spent most of Friday meeting with a group involved with a mathematics tutoring organization that a friend of mine is currently the Executive Director for, to see how I could help them with their current evaluation, their grant writing strategies, and their publication potential. I am back with them again on Tuesday afternoon to see this mathematics curriculum and tutoring in action. I may have more to say about that after Tuesday on my academic blog (i.e., Breaking into the Academy).

I have also taken a bunch of other writing with me and I'm not sure how much of what of it I will get to... I guess that will determine how much of a vacation this will be.

In terms of actual vacationing, yesterday, today and tomorrow look like the best opportunities. I spent yesterday (and the previous evening for that matter) visiting with two of my cousins in the area and their children (both about two years old - their children that is).

Today Lisa and I are going down to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the new Catherine the Great exhibit that is currently there, and probably some of the Group of Seven work as well. Then tomorrow we are going to spend a leisurely day in the downtown before meeting my best friend for supper. So, hopefully this will let me relax a bit.

I should note that the second day that we were here, we had about 20cms of snow fall in a 24 hour period (that's 8 inches for you American readers). Here are a couple of pictures that others took of this newly fallen snow (I hope to get some pictures of it today - and if I do I will post those as well). If you click on each of these two pictures, you'll see where I found them and you can link back to the original photographer's area in Flickr.

Tags: blog, blogging, blogs, photos, Flickr, snow, Toronto

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Statistics for November

Well, another month has come and gone... Got my prospectus submitted, getting ready for a week long trip to Toronto, finishing up my own course and the courses that I am teaching, and not having a lot of time to keep all of my blogs going.

This past month I had 24 unique visitors, breaking it down to 23 first time visitors and 1 return visitor (thanks Lisa). That works out to roughly one person a day (a little bit less than that actually - but I suppose you can't get an average of less than one when you are talking about people).

Popular pages this past month included:

Notice how they are all entries containing those dumb little quizzes, seems no one reads the actual posts about things that I make... :)