Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jonathan's ready for his closeup, Mr. DeMille!

Here are the pictures and video from 12/18/2009! Great, aren't they??

Posted via email from Philosorapture!

Jonathan at 10 months--The next O'Brien start to be!

Last Friday, 12/18, Grandma Chen took our Jonnie to Taipei to our agency for photos and video. Turned out great! Hope you will enjoy this!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dumpty-Dumpty-Dump: Dan Brown's Writing Flow

Here is another comment on Dan Brown's writing that I found in one of my very favorite mailing lists, Daily Writing Tips.

Two things contribute to the flow of sentences within a paragraph:
1. sentence length
2. logical progression of thought

In browsing my shelves for examples, I realized that some very popular writers don’t seem to share David’s concern regarding “jumpy” narration.

Here’s a typical paragraph from Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code:

Langdon and Sophie stepped into another world. The small room before them looked like a lavish sitting room at a fine hotel. Gone were the metal and rivets, replaced with oriental carpets, dark oak furniture, and cushioned chairs. On the broad desk in the middle of the room, two crystal glasses sat beside an opened bottle of Perrier, its bubbles still fizzing. A pewter pot of coffee steamed beside it.

Not a complex sentence in sight. It doesn’t seem to matter if Brown is being reflective or describing action. Most of his sentences are simple or compound. Here and there the reader comes across a noun clause introduced by that, or a an adverb clause introduced by as or as if. Mostly it’s dumpty-dumpty-dump.

Yes, Dan Brown is a wildly successful writer and I’m happy for him. His gift, however, is story-telling, not writing style.

Just to share for a bit. A good insight. A great mailing list, too!
By the way: will I read the new book?
For sure, dude! And I'll enjoy it--the story as well as the bluepencil stuff.

A Deeper Shade of Brown?

Books of The Times - ‘The Lost Symbol’ by Dan Brown - Baddies and Brainiacs and the Secrets of Freemasonry - Review -

"Also, the author uses so many italics that even brilliant experts wind up sounding like teenage girls. And Mr. Brown would face an interesting creative challenge if the phrases “What the hell...?,” “Who the hell ... ?” and “Why the hell ... ?” were made unavailable to him. The surprises here are so fast and furious that those phrases get quite the workout.

Then again, Mr. Brown’s excitable, hyperbolic tone is one the guilty pleasures of his books. (“ ‘Actually, Katherine, it’s not gibberish.’ His eyes brightened again with the thrill of discovery. ‘It’s ... Latin.’ ”)"
This cracked me up--particularly the second paragraph quoted above. Brown's condescension knows the same bounds as Kanye West's or Mr. Wilson's propriety [assuming that "Katherine" is unable to recognize the language that gave us all these lovely root words, but the intellectualissimo Langdon does--and the narrator is trying to wow us with his acuity on a point that the reader is not assumed to have recognized unaided].
This sounds exactly like something I already made up in my post on Brown's Angels & Demons--as a parody. Am I just getting old, assuming that anyone with any amount of high school education (required by law in the US in most cases, as far as I know now) would recognized Latin? Of course, I have not read the book or the whole passage that the Times quotes; it may be Latin in code or in disguise or something. . .but the decontextualized quote is just delicious. Thanks, Janet Maslin!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

New family pictures--Jonnie, Chris, and Coral

While babysitting, I took some photos to entertain Jonnie, and also a brief video:
Wanted to share with you, so here they are in Posterous. Also, here's a brief home vid from my MacBook (forgive the jerkiness--hard to film while moving).

Enjoy, friends and family members!

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from Philosorapture!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Coral's photo shoot; Chris's TV appearance

Wow, family fame based videos for you!
Two of Coral at her lovely catalog photo shoot last month, and one of my appearance on Taiwanese TV. Both groups of videos come from Tutze, "Rabbit", our friend, as they happened. I'm posting two of these here, but there's one more of Coral too. Visit one of these videos at YouTube (channel name is oshuhua) you can watch any of our videos there, including future ones.

Posted via email from Philosorapture!

Coral's Superb Catalog Photo Shoot Aug 2009

Coral had a great photo shoot two Saturdays ago for a Fido Dido catalog. Here are some of the behind-the-scenes photos by our agent's assistant, "Rabbit." Doesn't Coral look fabulous?? We feel she appears very mature for her age (9 years old).
You can see these as a photo gallery at my new Posterous blog!

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from Philosorapture!

Hilarious "Literal Video" --- what a super concept!!

I hope you will all enjoy this. It was suggested by my high school friend, Leo Memolo. Instead of the original lyrics of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (was that by Jim Steinman? Sounds like!), what we hear (and it has subtitles!) is a literal description of what happens in the video--sung to the original music. Brilliant.

Yes, it is by Jim Steinman. Thanks again for the video and the information, Leo.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chris on TV--

Now I'll attempt to add more photos from the same day in January of 2006.
With us in Washington, D. C. and Sterling, VA are some of my favorite people in the world: Alex and Lynne Franke and their darlings, and Allan and Elycia Lindsey and their delights. We had a magical day. . .one of the most recent ones that our own family has spent together in the USA.
Visit my new and elegantissimo Posterous blog to see the earlier ones before they routed through to Facebook and Twitter. I want to see if these will also be saved at Picasaweb. . .
Posterous, you are so swave and debonair.
Yahucka yahucka plah.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from Chris's posterous

Chris on TV--

Hi, I'm making the attempt. . .here's the flv file of the TV show I did in Taiwan on being a foreign husband of a Taiwanese wife and living here.
I am not at all sure this will work. . .but here goes!

Posted via email from Chris's posterous

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Eowyn in hospital. Hope to leave it soon.

Eowyn is now in the IV League, but hopefully she'll be graduating tomorrow. She started to get fevery last-last Saturday and went to a local doctor for it, but the fever returned, so we went to our old doctor; still it returned last Tuesday (a week ago) so we took her to the hospital in Changhua. She's still there. Most of the time I've been with her.
She is not massively sick—mostly a runny nose—but the fevers are worrying, so she’s still there, and most of the time I’ve been here with her. They tested her mucus the other day and discovered another type of virus so she’s been getting more medicine for that and hopefully it’ll get her over the illness and she can go home. She’s not miserable; only bored of being here all the time. Me, too. Incredible that the sickness (another doctor classified it vaguely as "not a typical enterovirus") has lasted this long. Glad we are insured!
Today the news was better than it has been recently. She's basically been fever free since yesterday morning; if she can avoid reheating today she should probably be able to leave the hospital tomorrow. So far so good.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coral's first appearance on Yoyo TV!

Hi everyone! Coral's latest TV appearance is now up online and translated for your consideration. Please enjoy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


As far as I can tell, NOBODY has even read my comments on "Angels & Demons" or had any reflections on what I wrote! Disappointed!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chris as Camp Teacher in News!

Here I am on national news! My time to shine! Wish I knew what it said. Well, actually, here is a rough translation.
This was just taken this morning. I am mentioned by name at the bottom: Ou Shu-Hua. My dear former students, Joyce and Mario, alerted me to this today. It was great to hear from them again!

Monday, July 6, 2009

YouTube - Eowyn In Yogurt Competition--Whoops!

YouTube - Eowyn In Yogurt Competition--Whoops!
Here is the latest news. (No need for a symbologist here; it's translated.) Eowyn was selected for national news report. Story at eleven. Mommy's on TV too! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Oscurati: Dim Bulbs in Dan Brown's Angels & Demons

Part One:
Langdon was certain you had never heard of the name.
"Effluvium," Langdon said. "Vapors from decaying bone." He breathed through his sleeve as he leaned out over the hole, peering down. Blackness. "I can't see a thing." (Angels & Demons 269)

Quick question: how many of you have ever heard of an obscure Italian from the Renaissance named "Galileo"?

Ring any bells? Yeah, the proponent of the concept of heliocentrism. Essentially, the inventor of the solar system concept. Kind of important. Kind of famous.

So why does the noted Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon seem to assume that only other eminent scholars would know the name?
Langdon was certain Kohler [the head of a conclave of scientists] would recognize the name. Even nonscientists were familiar with the ill-fated astronomer who had been arrested and almost executed by the church for proclaiming that the sun, and not the earth, was the center of the solar system. ... "His name was Galileo Galilei," Langdon said. Kohler looked up. "Galileo?" (32)
Thank you, Basil Exposition.
Dan Brown, pardon me, but I ask you: "Langdon was certain Kohler would recognize the name."--Are you kidding me? Why not mention, say, Thomas Jefferson and insinuate that a character would have heard the name because of his high level of education? Who, I ask, has never heard of Galileo? Certainly, in some areas of the world the name would be less familiar, but then these people are similarly less likely to be reading a novel about European Renaissance culture.
Anyroad--Kohler is a sharpie, for sure. He even has heard of the Masons--who, Langdon assumes, are total mysteries to you and to me.
[Langdon explained to Kohler that the Illuminati] "...were taken in by another secret society...a brotherhood of wealthy Bavarian stone craftsmen called the Freemasons."
Kohler looked startled. "The Masons?"
Langdon nodded, not at all surprised that Kohler had heard of the group. (38)

For a learned scientist, Langdon seems to be quite unaware of just how well known much of his arcana really is to the general public. I kept expecting him to explain:
"The Catholic church has existed literally for centuries," Langdon remarked. Vittoria stared at him blankly, even moronically. He went on, speaking patiently as he could. "It's a group of people that believe in God. And for most of that time," he continued, licking his lips with enthusiasm, for he loved to surprise people with his penetrating discussions of virtually unknown trivia of the Western world, "the Catholic church has been led by a single office. Oh, just as with the Maytag Repair Man, the office has been held by various people--sometimes Jesse White, sometimes Gordon Jump--but always by a man with an all consuming desire to control his people! And he has been known as. . .The Pope!!" Vittoria gave a startled jump into the air, bumping her shimmering hair against the nave of the church. She choked on a bit of ham sandwich and then exclaimed in a rush of incredulity, "The Pope? You mean, The The Pope?" I thought he was dead. . ."
However, perhaps Langdon is too much of a specialist. Like school kids in America, Landon
"...knew [that the Big Bang] was the scientifically accepted model for the creation of the universe. (68)
Ironically, unlike most adults who have finished high school,
He didn't really understand it. . . "(68)
These assumptions that these common-knowledge topics need to be exposited by the narrator make me wonder who in fact is the intended audience for these novels. Are these in fact children's books? Unlikely, as the books feature lots of insinuated sex and murder and mutilation (as opposed to the Road Runner cartoons, in which we see the injuries happen).
But who would assume that adults--grown people who are assumed to be intellectually capable of following the intricacies of the Langdon novels--would be that unfamiliar with Galileo or the Big Bang--or even supercolliders? Langdon finds it hard to believe that the scientific organization would have dug a huge donut out of the earth, deep underground, only to make subatomic particles crash into one another (57); as for myself, I learned about supercolliders in, I think, middle school, and have no trouble believing this.
Though I DID enjoy the stories of both Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code, Dan Brown's narrator and Langdon's egobabble kept breaking me out of my suspension of disbelief--something a quality novel should never do. For the former narrative, I set out at once with my highligher and red pen, ready to mark the ludicrosities at once--and I couldn't put them down for the whole book.
For me, the forehead-smackin'est bit in the whole novel was when Langdon views the remarkable, ambigrammatic brand which can imprint the Illuminati's fabulous diamond on any body, cow or human. I don't know about you, reader, but I played with stamps when I was a kid. I even had a Fisher-Price printing KIT that I could use to print whole words. It wasn't hard, even as a child, to understand that to make an imprint properly, the stamp itself needs to look like its mirror image. Even carving potatoes and carrots in kindergarten, I got that idea adequately, though it was hard to execute the letters at that early age. But check out Langdon's bafflement as he views this g(l)orified stamp:
The metal still radiated heat. Grasping the wooden handle, Langdon picked it up. He was not sure what he expected to see, but it most certainly was not this.
Langdon stared [for] a long, confused moment. Nothing was making sense. Why had the guards cried out in horror when they saw this? It was a square of meaningless squiggles. The most brilliant of all? It was symmetrical, Langdon could tell as he rotated it in his hand, but it was gibberish. (467)
I was on a train when I read this applesauce. I wanted to shout out loud, "Langdon, you utter DOPE! Craphead! Fuzzdutty!" [and so forth]; I very nearly did. A few pages later, the payoff came, and it was rich: the narrator still feels he must explain to the readers (through the filter of Langdon's self-muttering) that
...the symbol now made sense. Perfect sense. The marking's awesome power hit Langdon like a train. ... They were in reverse. Langdon had been looking at the brand's negative! (472)
Not just its negative; it has to be its negative, thank you very much.

And by the way, readers, please give me a show of hands: who knew Madonna (the pop singer)'s surname before reading this novel? I am not a big fan of her work (aside from I'm Breathless) but I have certainly known that for decades. That's why I don't put the Madonna albums I might one day purchase (quite an unlikely idea) in the M section of my CD collection, next to the Ns, where the albums of The Artist Formerly Known as Prince would be found. (If you don't know, just Google it--Geez! some people are so lazy!)
More about putting things in their rightful places next time. Thanks for reading. Please comment with tact and poise so typical of, for instance, a YouTube commentator.

Chris O'Brien
July 2, 2009

Next post on Dan Brown will feature other, perhaps less-grievous inconsistencies, errors, and infelicities of expression.
Please note that I admire Brown's story-crafting ability; I just feel he needs a bit more judgment when it comes to certain areas of the narration and style; also, the judgment of a discerning editor. I am not here to hate Brown; I just want to point out that some of the things he wrote are quite outrageous and condescending, and I wanted to be the first to point some of that out and get the credit. Perhaps I am too late. I have been too lazy to Google it.
Citations refer to:
Brown, Dan. Angels & Demons. New York, NY: Pocket Books, 2000.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Composer Competition - The Loudoun Symphony Orchestra

Composer Competition - The Loudoun Symphony Orchestra
Dad alerted me to this exciting competition. I may participate if I have time to come up with something and I feel my arranging and orchestration muscles are up to the challenge. I'd better hurry though!! My dad is on the board of the Loudoun Symphony and so it's extra enticing. Next year, Dad will be using his voice acting chops to make Peter and the Wolf an extra sensation for the LSO. Proud? Yes, much!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Tweets

  • 14:22 thinks , "I've got to concentrate!" [concentrate concentrate] "Hello?" [Hello hello] "Echo!" [echo echo] "Pinc... #
  • 14:26 @TheOnion Thanks, it's about time someone exposed the utter bootlessness of the nemesis "Phys Ed!" Sit down and shout about it! #
  • 16:17 Another Monday Morning via My student Lily pretended this was her story for the final! #
  • 16:32 storiesasu via My student Ian pretended he wrote this (The Lazy Farmer) for his final! #
  • 20:14 Figuring out the last of the grades. WRIT2 is done; DRAMA; LIT2; VOCAB. Now for LISP. Deadline tonight. #
  • 21:57 Stick a fork into my grades for this semester, as they are done!! Not _too_ well done, but then that's rare. Well, well, well. Happy Medium. #
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Friday, June 26, 2009

My Tweets

  • 09:13 @BrentSpiner Thanks, Brent. I miss your exciting TweetNovel. May I write a paper on it? #
  • 09:30 RT @BeatlesTweets Reports in Jan. 09 said M. Jackson would leave his share of Beatles catalog to Paul McC. in his will. #
  • 10:25 #michaeljackson Intuition was right. Michael J. is headlining at YouTube. Natch. Mostly MUSIC videos, not news. #
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Tweets

  • 21:11 wishes he didn't have to fail students, but sometimes they beg so hard! Sorry guys! #
  • 23:58 @alyankovic Whoa Al, watch out now. Your lady's about to be inundated with perhaps unwanted attention. Or is that the idea? Be well, Al! #
  • 00:02 @alyankovic "When we watch Pal-Yat-Chee, / We get itchy and scratchy..." (Spike J.) I think the Simpsons chars' get names fm this lyric, eh? #
  • 00:06 @alyankovic And anyway, my dear close friend, don't you really have a backup pair of shoes? (Not to criticize.) None of my beeswax tho'. Pax #
  • 00:09 @suzanneyankovic - Please help me say hi to my old HS friend Patton, if you don't mind; he was my supporting ac ... #
  • 11:42 feels frustrated with his non-instructions-reading students! So many points lost due to ignorance of the requi... #
  • 12:10 @BeatlesTweets Sad to say, he's surrounded by FOUR walls...but not of sound. #
  • 13:05 stayed up last night till 12:30 this AM grading faulty stories Jonnie woke 4:30, hungry. I fed. He sucks. (sorry) Since I have a mt.. #
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Tweets

  • 11:56 @anglobaptist "The sign on the door was purple / Which said, "Please don't disturb--Pull /door shut." --The Gerbil #
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Tweets

  • 14:20 hates belligerent and uncultured critics who, though mentally destitute, feel they MUST put their two cents in... #
  • 14:22 says Earp, sure, snapping takes no talent, but hear what the arranger did with it! Bricks are dull, too, but a... #
  • 09:38 likes the positive comments from supportive YouTube viewers and new friends, and the silence on Earp's part. G... #
  • 09:47 @MrTeller Welcome! & Wow! I am glad you guys are all aware of each other. If you see him again, urge him to do "The USA, the Recent Years"! #
  • 09:49 @MrTeller By the way, thanks for your performance in the most recent Futurama. Hope the eye is OK. Did you attend taping? Best wishes. #
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Monday, June 22, 2009

My Tweets

  • 14:41 feels glad that I'm basically finished grading two of my five college classes. I'll finish them both today and... #
  • 19:02 Have to fail some students on account of their attendance; my policy is that if a student misses 20% or mo ... #
  • 19:05 @anglobaptist Good night! Rest well and be restored! #
  • 09:34 shares I'm mad at a YouTube user who's dissing an ingenious a cap arrangement--they simulate a rainstorm. Ch... #
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Tweets

  • 10:26 @alyankovic - Al, we musicians know that a segue is just a transition. Ergo--he's just going through a phase. I ... #
  • 12:04 Alone with Jonnie as kids and Amy are in Taichung & going to TPE. Fed Jonnie 2:30. Fell back asleep. Up again 6:30. Right on time... #
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Friday, June 19, 2009

My Tweets

  • 11:01 has about finished grading exams, though lots of other grading needs to be done. In the end, of course, only t... #
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Tweets

  • 16:55 @alyankovic Al, that was a real good time, that hour spent with you. I'd tell everyone you're chatting with me personally, but in Taiwan--:( #
  • 17:18 is glad that 4 of the 5 finals are done. Now doing grading and keying in, with help from assistant. Spending m... #
  • 23:52 hopes Daily Writing Tips will respond to my query re: "a couple times" instead of "a couple of ...". Bugs me e... #
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Tweets

  • 14:56 has finished his taxes and sent them out on the last possible day. Toodly-oodles, you IRS Eyes. Are you smili... #
  • 16:04 has begun work on his students' LIT2 and DRAMA exams. Lots to bring together into a format that is challenging... #
  • 22:49 Just finished my grueling LIT2 test for tomorrow, 8:30. Be there or be someplace else. (thx patton) #
  • 23:00 RT @JKMuir: Whoo hoo! The House Between (my web series) nominated for Portal Awards; "Best Web Production": ... #
  • 23:01 @JKMuir Wow, John, congratuations!! Muy swell! I loved your writeup of the 1982 "The Thing" remake. So proud. Love to Kathryn. Miss youse. #
  • 04:13 is up and at 'em at 4 AM. Played with Jonnie, fed him, changed him; now for the drama exam! En garde, meatbags... #
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Monday, June 15, 2009

My Tweets

  • 21:02 Up with no alarm clock. Amber canceled last night! Taught Eva instead at home. Then took Co to dance, w/amy and Eowyn Took out $ to.. #
  • 21:59 @alyankovic Fantastic, Al! Thrilled and excited. I'm guessing, though, that it won't be a live action one. . .which are DEFINITELY my faves! #
  • 22:04 @alyankovic Sorry Al, I see it IS live action. . .I stand corrected: I have orthopedic shoes on. [Steve Allen] #
  • 22:06 is moderately excited that Weird Al has a new song and video out Tues; "Craigslist" is not a song title that i... #
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Tweets

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Tweets

  • 16:55 did not get to write that critique of Dan Brown's writing yet. Hopefully by the end of the weekend... #
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:23 feels disgusted with some of the sloppy writing and condescending tone of "Angels and Demons" despite the good... #
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Friday, June 5, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:02 feels excited about new comedy musicians' works coming out: a new album by Spinal Tap, and new songs by "Weird... #
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:01 has failed to prepare a drama quiz for class at 3:10. Will pass it off as a decision change. However, I adapte... #
  • 18:04 I just finished enjoying my drama students' presentations on movies (etc.) that share characteristics with Well Made Plays. Some new finds! #
  • 13:11 has an uncertain feeling about the next semester's classes. . .and a similar one to (unsure)the writing class... #
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:46 is trying to prep up for this week's classes, with the final exams/projects in mind. Exams in two weeks! (anno... #
  • 16:19 I just finished lesson 'Typing Test'! My Score: 54 WPM [] #
  • 12:44 @BrentSpiner Brent, you're too right! Colm would do Susan Boyle up brown. Though as an O'Brien myself the Chief will stay my fave. #
  • 12:49 @BrentSpiner Hope that didn't sound weird; he'd be boffo as Ms Boyle, I mean. If she meets Ellen you can have a scene w/ Colm in the biopic. #
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Monday, June 1, 2009

My Tweets

  • 09:41 thinks the TV appearance went tol'ably well, but I only got to tell one of my many stories. We're still moving... #
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Tweets

  • 17:13 is heading to Taipei tomorrow for Coral's audition to be in a TV commercial that'll be shown in Mainland China... #
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Tweets

  • 18:05 is excited! I will be appearing on TV...taping Friday...about married life in Taiwan for mixed couples. Hmmmm!... #
  • 09:53 Chris is a bit nervous about appearing on TV Friday talking about married life. . .not that we have anything to hide. . . a-HEM-- #
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Tweets

  • 16:09 @BenjaminFolds Welcome to Twitter, Mr. Folds! Al also made me do this...nah, I wanted to say hi. #
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Tweets

  • 19:53 is preparing for tomorrow's Conference Workshop on Computer Assisted Language Learning with Amy! (cozy) #
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Friday, May 15, 2009

My Tweets

  • 08:23 RT @anglobaptist Retweet this if you disagree with Twitter's decision to hide replies to people you don't follow #fixreplies #twitterfail #
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Tweets

  • 17:07 Trying to gather necess'ry bits of info to get to Kaohsiung and present tomorrow. No I-net at home! Hope we can find it on time. 10:30-11 AM #
  • 17:26 Babyfeed at 4 AM. Dead pooped from yesterday. Was well prepped for WRIT2 as did prep Sun. "Murder by Death". Try to prep for.. #
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Tweets

  • 14:46 feels like spinning around! Or sleeping ... but not around. #
  • 22:37 Up with the weevils. Took Eowyn on bike, train, etc. Long day of classes. Copied "Amontillado" qq for LIT2. Glad it was fine. .. #
  • 09:15 @alyankovic Congratulations, Al! Can't wait to hear them. I'm your number N fan! #
  • 13:09 shares (Traces of Disney Classics... This is a great catch!) #
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Monday, May 11, 2009

My Tweets

  • 14:50 feels lots of love for his mother, my kids' mother, and my wife's mother! Happy Mother's Day you dear women!... #
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Tweets

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Tweets

  • 11:51 - Here is Jonathan's first smile on camera! Charming prints, eh? #
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Monday, May 4, 2009

My Tweets

  • 08:54 feels glad the first of four conference presentations went fine. Did some good post-moving moving. And now to ... #
  • 09:25 To Taichung to do conference 03 on CALL/DRAMA. Went fine! Few people arrived then. Nevermind! Met local playwright with Ubuntu. Goo.. #
  • 09:25 Up at 7. What a great sleep--the best in a LONG time. Goat's years. Taught Eva. Moving stuff and rearrangement @ home. Lunch by nig.. #
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:08 hopes the moving process will be over in a quick and comparatively painless way. #
  • 16:57 feels only moderately elated. My textbooks in hand...still with editing mistakes. . .and no CDs! Author only g... #
  • 17:21 I'm inviting my students to join the Urban Prankster Network, started by Charlie Todd, for Improv in Taiwan. Students are interested. Boomo! #
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Monday, April 27, 2009

Very Moving

The big move happened on Saturday. Actually it was the third time we'd had help moving, with people in trucks assisting us, though we have done many car trips and STAIR trips ourselves too. BUSHED, yes, indeedy. Much zozzed out. Most big stuff moved. Must get rest out by Thursday. Owtch! Amazing how much crapola there was on the two floors of that house. . .and how much space it takes up in the new (old) house!! Crowdy, yes.
I got the four free copies of the textbook I revised today. Still has typos and other errors. They never gave me galleys to proof. Bluh! Pluh! Fuh!
And no CDs, either! Still, it was nice to hold them in my hands for the first time. If you want to teach speaking, listening, or tourism, get these and get me my 3% royalty! Wouldja?
I'm inviting my students to join the island's only seemingly active improv group, affiliated with Improv Everywhere. Already got people interested. Hope to stage something this year!
When I feed Johnnie he usually sticks his tongue out and won't drink from the bottle. Finally last night about 10:45 he had some warm milk I'd prepared after refusing many times. . .hurrah. At last!
Coral is at her "old" school today for the last time; tomorrow she'll start at her "new" one in Shetou instead of Yong Jing. Hope she's OK with that. . .
Busy busy busy. After this week it should be less hectic but not sure; have to finish my literature paper and prepare the slides for Saturday's conference, and also preregister for the other one. . .ONE of the others, I mean. Hoooo boy.
Gotta go get Eowyn back from K now. See you.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:04 is still annoyed that the time line goes backwards. What's the idea? #
  • 10:18 wants to know how to change the headless animal on my Plurk profile to something else. ANYTHING else. #
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Tweets

  • 09:19 is introducing his students to the wondrous world of English fiction. . .why are they sleeping? :-( #
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Fiction for the Dazed--_by_ the dazed!


Fiction just looks like regular paragraphs.

Fiction is simply stories--things happening to characters.

Terms and elements of fiction.
  • The story is usually told by a narrator.
  • Dialog is given in quotation marks like these: " " These, however, are NEVER USED: 「」

  • Usually there are one or more characters, who act out the story. Not necessarily people; could be animals, robots, etc.

  • Plot. The events or actions of the story.

  • There is often a "status quo" at first, and that is disrupted somehow.

  • There is usually a conflict that needs resolution.

  • The status quo needs some exposition usually (explanation of the back story that is needed to understand what happens in the story), and a setting: a location, a time period, a social status, etc.

  • The climax is the most exciting or most intense moment of the story, possibly the point of highest emotion.

  • After the climax, we have falling action--in which we recover from the excitement of the climax and get ready for the resolution. At the end of the story, we usually are at some stable situation, although not necessarily the same situation as before.
Sorry, this is the lecture I was giving Tuesday. Don't know if anyone noticed I was teaching or not.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Working Class Playwright

Working Class Playwright
What a great sketch!
A topic very much to my liking!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:44 hates missing deadlines! Trains, buses, papers...sleep..........!!! #
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:26 has got to do the VOCAB exam! Last week's quiz was dreadful. Give them a 2nd chance? Also lovin' Ripping Yarns... #
  • 14:04 has fixed the broken VOCAB exam I finished at 5:30 AM today. Ecto kept sending error msgs. Not satisfactory! X... #
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Tweets

  • 11:46 has intrigued a whole class with Queensryche's tone composition "9.28 AM" (ca. 1992). Glad! Now to try "Poeme ... #
  • 11:57 Amy has news: we are contracted to move by the end of April! Brought Lion King 1 1/2 home. A hit with the chilluns. Thes.. #
  • 11:57 Missed the 7:14. Had to take the 6:40. Missed bus in town. Had to wait. To school late. Working on Writing test today. Missed.. #
  • 11:57 Up at 3 AM to do the LISP and LIT2 exams. Did 'em! And done. 9:28 AM by Queensryche was variously interpreted. .. #
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Tweets

  • 20:29 正在 Hi Dadman! ILY! #
  • 08:46 is @Dadman Thanks for the great video, Dadman! :-D #
  • 09:11 At school for incoming student interviews. . .and preparing for next week's mid term exams. Woo? Perhaps. Hoo? Perhaps not. #
  • 09:32 To Yuntech by train for incoming student interviews. Great vid from Dad of 'spontaneous' dance in Amsterdam. .. #
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Friday, April 10, 2009

My Tweets

  • 12:37 has mixed feelings: books I was hired to revise are published, but re-revised by persons unknown. I wasn't ale... #
  • 12:42 is determined to follow a low-appetite lifestyle. . . *CHAGRIN* :-( #
  • 12:45 @anglobaptist You make me nervous. Please say "quiz" instead. #
  • 12:55 Amy, Gma, Jonnie to Tainan today to see great Gma! Gave Co E CJO rides too. Deadline for workshop writeup is today. Gotta concentra.. #
  • 13:39 is pleased to report that the books are NOT re-revised; they will use MY revisions and thus my voice acting re... #
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Tweets

  • 18:00 @debbie210 Hi Debbie, here I am! Chris #
  • 13:15 @DoctorRudy Thank you! I'll find out on Fri if the abstract was accepted. I think it's in Hsin Jhu. You were right about reusing diss cuts! #
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Tweets

  • 21:34 feels tired of deadlines. One passed today; trying for an extension. . .or failing that, submitting before mid... #
  • 21:56 Made the 7:14 to town with Eowyn. Made bus. Walked to K and then back to DH building. Made various quizzes at for .. #
  • 00:09 @JKMuir Congrats on the rough resolution. Sorry to say I won't be able to go to the USA this summer though. . .too many responsibilities :-( #
  • 00:11 @BrentSpiner Brent...I am loving this narrative. Thank you. Hope you make it big! If you see CADIE. . .say hi for me. [re: Google 4/1 gag] #
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Friday, April 3, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:01 is confused. Is Plurk shutting down, or is it a 4/1 hoax? :-o #
  • 15:03 is sure that it's a joke; else, it's just incredibly bitter and sarcastic. Must be kidding. Good! #
  • 09:29 is glad his hunch was right: It was a gag. I'm glad you're not Bitter, guys! #
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Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:25 [The snooze of the exhausted] . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzz #
  • 15:29 is disappointed: Students were unfazed by my hoax. Too hokey? At least the Study Abroad speech went OK. Met an... #
  • 16:58 Up at 5:30. Reset for 6:20. Couldn't work. Train; bus; walked Eowyn to school. Office 8:30. Couldn't work. To speech. It work.. #
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:15 In case you're concerned, I finished the paper after finding a substitute eteaching website, It seems good! #
  • 15:16 says "Mischief Managed." Paper is done anyway. Joy! (LOL) #
  • 20:12 Getting ready for my tomorrow's 10:30-noon gig: introducing "Studying Abroad" to lots of non-English majors, including TOEFL, CVs, studyplan #
  • 20:16 wonders if my page should be called "Spasm Nuggets" or "Spasm Flakes..." or maybe "Spam Nougat"?? :-& #
  • 21:06 @TheDutchlady Sorry to hear about these troubles. Hope you get computing again soon! #
  • 21:17 I am looking forward to Google's Hoax of the Year for April Fools' Day! WHO'S WITH ME?? #
  • 21:18 shouts: I am SO looking forward to Google's Hoax of the Year for April Fools' Day! WHO'S WITH ME?? Please repl... #
  • 21:26 Up at 5 AM to prepare for classes today. Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey. Whose Line games; setting up for the new Ecto pages Reading Sh.. #
  • 23:13 you should follow @NeilInnes, @anglobaptist, and @HowardASherman. 9 more picks at #
  • 23:18 @anglobaptist Tried Don't really see the point, though. Feel like I rode thru Disney's Land of Elbow & now I'm in the giftshop-- #
  • 23:31 is hoaxing his students on his homepage--Mid-term Exams are canceled! APRIL FOOLS are pwned! #
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tomorrow is the best annual Google day of the year!

What will Google do for its annual April Fools' Day hoax???? Any speculation? I bet it'll be a zinger!

On a personal note, I did finish the paper on using webservices in a Taiwanese college EFL drama performance class.

  • A shocker: one service's online features were changed about two weeks ago.
  • A crusher: One of my main sites,, went out of business and vanished into the aether. . .and I just found out about it about 2 PM yesterday. . .a couple of hours before the deadline!! That was off-putting. I was distinctly nonplussed--minused, even! Sink me!
Well, I found an alternative--in fact, I found many other related sites that have similar services to a greater or lesser degree, but I could not look into all of them fully, obviously, yet. I picked as a substitute as it seemed to have all the features that I was talking about in the paper, making it easier to switch the services out in a hurry.
But OH the chagrin, chagrin (sha na na na na na, na na na na na na)!!
Chagrin, I tells ya! With rue my heart was ruddy well laden!

But anyhoo. . .
I got it done and it is confirmed IN. Next, to prepare other versions for two other submissions, one of which is also already accepted.
I am now getting ready for a talk tomorrow morning on studying abroad, the TOEFL, study plans, etc. . . All's I have now is a skimpy outline done in 20 minutes. Not promising. . .but I DID promise!

I'd better throw another lager on the fire and get to work.
Fish and Goggles, Slurmikins!

My Tweets

  • 15:10 RIP, Studeous! I will miss you!! Trying Ecto instead; seems OK as a substitute. Today was the deadline for a conference paper on Studeous!! #
  • 15:13 wants to cry! Studeous is dead! And today is the deadline for a conference paper on that specific service! So... #
  • 15:15 says damn damn damn damn damn it all to Helios! Gimme shelter! Just make life stop stinking!! X-( #
  • 15:37 says sorry, sorry! My life does NOT stink; I am blessed. But this situation is distressing. ANyway. . .I'll ge... #
  • 15:42 As reparation, why not join Plurk. I just joined yesterday but I am enjoying it! #
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Monday, March 30, 2009

My Tweets

  • 17:38 thinks it's gonna be a long long time. . . #
  • 17:47 @pennjillette Thanks Penn! This is a joy and a half. #
  • 17:52 shares the unreleased "Revolution Take 20"! Thanks to Penn Jilette!! #
  • 08:38 hopes he can finish all the brave projects he has to do today!--2 calls for papers; presentation Weds; classes... #
  • 11:41 is annoyed that the timeline moves backwards! That's screwed up! #
  • 11:42 needs to write the doggammed paper! #
  • 11:49 Enjoyed @alyankovic's picture of the restaurant featuring specifically DEAD chicken. I further hope for de-feathered, deboned, beheaded.... #
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Tweets

  • 16:30 Preserving pages of public domain print for posterity at! Reading new Gutenberg text of Harry Harrison! Huzzah! #
  • 23:12 wonders why he can't stay focused! #
  • 23:16 wonders why my plurks on the timeline seem to be moving backwards. #
  • 23:25 remembers being at peace. . .with longing. . .and needs to sleep! :'-( #
  • 23:32 @cccliu Thanks for adding me to your plurk list, Ms. Liu! :-) #
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

The life of the party tonight is Deathworld, by Harry Harrison!

Free, legal Harry Harrison! Recently published to Project Gutenberg after rounds at Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders--it's Deathworld! You might possibly know his "Stainess Steel Rat" stories. . .this is with another hero but rather similar in general feeling. Fun stuff! Grooviolo!
I've been volunteering at Distributed Proofreaders off and on for years, trying to save the world's printed media from oblivion. It's great and it makes me feel like I'm doing something positive for the world's intellectual good. I didn't proof this book, but--hey, there it is!
I'm also working at LibriVox, a project which has as its goal to audiorecord as many public domain texts as it can into audiobook format--with all reading and other functions done by committed volunteers (and their therapists (just kidding)).

Here's a clip from Deathworld:

For the first time Jason was silent. Trying to imagine what life could be like on a planet constantly at war with itself.

"I've saved the best for last," Kerk said with grim humor.
"Now that you have an idea of what the environment is like—think of the kind of life forms that would populate it. I doubt if there is one off-world species that would live a minute. Plants and animals on Pyrrus are tough. They fight the world and they fight each other. Hundreds of thousands of years of genetic weeding-out have produced things that would give even an electronic brain nightmares. Armor-plated, poisonous, claw-tipped and fanged-mouthed. That describes everything that walks, flaps or just sits and grows. Ever see a plant with teeth—that bite? I don't think you want to. You'd have to be on Pyrrus and that means you would be dead within seconds of leaving the ship. Even I'll have to take a refresher course before I'll be able to go outside the landing buildings. The unending war for survival keeps the life forms competing and changing. Death is simple, but the ways of dealing it too numerous to list."
The Project Gutenberg eBook of Deathworld, by Harry Harrison
Blogged with the Flock Browser

My Tweets

  • 12:02 Updating my Voicecrafting blog; grateful for an extension on the call4papers; trying to live up to that trust. . .distracte--what? #
  • 12:59 Up early for trip to Taipei. Destinations: AIT and Feelin model agency Despite my nerves it was very smooth. Trust Amy! Got Consula.. #
  • 12:59 Co up early with Gma for Matzu fest. Brought back crap food. I fed Jonnie and then up to work. But distracted! Got lotsa voice acti.. #
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Recent activity on my Voicecrafting blog

I've just updated O'Brien on Voicecrafting with some great interviews with Corey Burton and Billy West, and a cluster of information and links on Paul Frees. Further, I introduce my new voice acting project: reading audiobooks for Librivox. Please take a look!
Also, as you may have gathered already, I missed the deadline for Conference #3's fulltext, but it's OK so far, as they extended me a later deadline: Monday! It will be an effort, but I'll get it, I bet!

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Tweets

  • 15:24 Positively giddy with stress. I've had to beg for an extension on the paper==which we were already accepted for by the conference confreres #
  • 18:34 Checking rules for this conference. Sounds like I'd better send something, satisfied or not. . .and hope they will let me polish it. #
  • 21:30 @debbie210 . . . and you didn't go to school on Wednesday, I guess! You can make up the improvisation games next week. Be cheerful! #
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Tweets

  • 21:49 Staying up late to finish a draft of the paper due tomorrow. Wish me success! Lots of time with Eowyn these days. Jonnie doing great. #
  • 21:56 Up early to the sound of junk TV. Amy gave Eowyn and I a ride to the train Picked up bike near gate. E to school. Me to work. Teach.. #
  • 04:57 Alarm off at 2:30. No go. Up again at 4. Now up. Ted Striker: "I've concentrate (concentrate--concentrate--)!" .. #
  • 10:02 added thisMoment: "Confusion and Irritation" #
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Monday, March 23, 2009

My Tweets

  • 21:00 Got up early to prep to leave Ctr with Amy and Co but not Jonnie While I taught Eva, Amy and Gma went back to Yongjing to tidy. The.. #
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Tweets

  • 14:34 @starwars Thanks for this article on one of my favorite voice actors! #
  • 14:39 A great interview with super voice actor and fellow Paul Frees admirer Corey Burton. #
  • 14:54 Up a bit early to cover things for the exterms. Teaching frustrating Gma made me go to Yuetze Ctr. With girls. Then Co to dance. I'.. #
  • 20:58 @RichMiller How slowly are you waking? Have a radiant, terrific, humble, thingumajig of a time. #
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Tweets

  • 12:40 At the confinement center with all the girls. Preparing to bring Co to dance and then get Gma. It's extermination day! @1:00 PM Groovy! #
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Friday, March 20, 2009

My Tweets

  • 13:49 Trying out Flock again in an effort to collage my online lifestyle. Possible? #
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Tweets

  • 13:43 Preparing 4 the exterminators 2 come Saturday PM. Also hoping to finish 2 papers in a hurry. Also, why do I need 2 pay 4 the conference? #
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Trying out improv in Taiwan

I'm trying out some of the Whose Line games with my students: "Number of Words," "Questions Only," and "90-second Alphabet" (augmented sometimes to Eight Minute Alphabet). Some success, but rather slow! Here is a board I'm working on for them.

If you have done any improv you should know the challenges and hopefully the fun of it too. You could see their homepage for more notes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Tweets

  • 18:22 Amy back at the Yuetze (Confinement) center today till Weds week due to allergies at home that could bring her recovering immune system down #
  • 18:55 Amy discovered fleas in the house! She is allergic!! This is no good for her in her post-birth condition. Decided to pack her.. #
  • 18:55 Metal and plastic recycling. Teaching 9-12. Was going to directly get Amy and bring to ctr but DELAYS Now I'm at the ctr and the ki.. #
  • 13:54 Doing scads of errands. Moved the fish back to the office. More recycling. Amy has no new bites. Sound out for Chesterfields. K'plah! #
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Tweets

  • 11:01 @twitter Thanks, Twitter! Right, I didn't know. I have been using LoudTwitter to post my tweets into the blog instead. Kudos!! #
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Monday, March 9, 2009

My Tweets

  • 20:26 Just made a little video with my MacBook, "Knife," of Jonathan, Mommy, and Daddy. #
  • 21:23 Here is Jonnie's first video! Hope it is not infuriating! #
  • 22:06 Taught in Shetou. Late for class due to jam. Did moving for Gma Chen. Got ink w/ Coral. Bought milk pump thingy and milk. Pai.. #
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jonnie's first video!

Here it is from the center of confinement in Yuan Lin, Taiwan! Sorry for the jerky video; my MacBook was running slowly!

My Tweets

  • 16:50 Got 4 new jobs--gigs--judging and papering and such. Gotta do a new Call for Papers for Monday and finish the one that shoulda been done. #
  • 17:00 Was expecting to go to bring girls to Amy early but Co has no class till PM Always expecting to go out but all changed minds. Tried.. #
  • 20:54 Getting ready to chat with my family in America, in 2 different locations. #
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Tweets

  • 09:10 Just took Eowyn to her K by bicycle. Looking at the fish, especially the yellow one. Reading the Haunted Mansion book to Coral and Eowyn. :) #
  • 14:02 Call for Papers #03 just accepted! Conference on May 2nd. . .the same day as another conference. . . #
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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Tweets

  • 00:46 - What does a deadline look like in Taiwan? Take a look. #
  • 01:26 Left the house rather early Got to school expecting to finish CFP draft Discovered that the flash disk was missing! So back 1 hr home and.. #
  • 01:26 To work on the draft. Now 12:52 AM. Better WRITE MOFO! These memories were recorded on Memiary, th.. #
  • 11:15 - I am bemusing to Mr. Smith! #
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Monday, March 2, 2009

My Tweets

  • 14:55 Makin' progress on the paper but slow goin' and fast runnin' out. Gee, those apostrophes don't save any characters out of 140. With Amy. :-) #
  • 09:23 - Just a reminder about the important things in life. . . #
  • 09:25 - Just a reminder about the important things in life. . . #
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Tweets

  • 16:23 Class; I did recycling--full car but only $75! Then to Amy. Made 3 copies of house key for $150. After class Co came to hosp. .. #
  • 17:36 Not succeeding so very well at concentrating on my paper here at Amy's Confinement Center. Coral here too. Jonnie husky and fine. Hyahh! #
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