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Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
8:31 am - I will be...
...the man with your wife.
...kicking your a**.
...getting my knob polished by yer mom.
...your best nightmare.
...watching your kids while you work.
...crashing your wedding party.
...say "all your base are belong to I".
...in your kitchen fixing a sandwich.
...YOUR pharmacist!
...proud to be from Illinois.
...creating largest Communist party.
...legal and ready to party!!
...working at the local Wal-Mart.
...a proud and intelligent goth.
...part of the strategy team.
...the only time machine inventor.
...a full time vegan!
...too cool for you.
...a trust fund baby.
...a beast of burden.
...a hedge fund manager.
...a customs agent.

Just a few of my favorite entries from SAT Achieve More: http://www.satachievemore.com/

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Monday, March 10th, 2008
9:42 am - SPAM o' the Day
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2008 21:21:05 +0800
From: Millie Peacock <millie@psi.org.kh>
To: Tamera Eubanks
Subject: I wanted to give someone a sexually transmitted disease (e.g., herpes, AIDS).

Want a weapon the size of a rocket in your pants? Here is the answer.

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Thursday, January 10th, 2008
9:12 am - "Brent Needs..."
Here's an amusing viral idea I just stumbled upon - do a Google search with “[your name] needs” and see what you find. Hilarity ensues. Some choice results from query:
  • Brent needs to examine his self-proclaimed Godly status.
  • Brent needs to examine his fixation with male homosexuality and ask himself why he finds it so threatening.
  • Brent's needs are different than mine.
  • Brent Needs a New Roommate.
  • Brent needs a Guardian Angel.
  • Brent needs an F150...so he can blare Free Bird and drive around with his gun rack.
  • Brent needs a vacation.
  • Brent needs excitement.
  • Brent needs to get the basics right.
  • Brent needs to go!!
  • Brent needs it filthy!
  • Brent needs to jam to some neil diamond. [sic]
  • Brent needs direction.
  • Brent needs to find out how the financial firm will be compensated.
  • Brent needs your help to win Mr Student 2007/8!
  • Brent needs a ferret.
  • Brent needs to tighten something!
  • Brent needs his little pocket friend and brent needs to know at all times where his little buddy is.

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Friday, April 20th, 2007
1:39 pm - VT Tragedy Photo Gallery
Some may be interested to see this small gallery of photos that I took Wednesday and Thursday on the Virginia Tech campus. Captions for these images are at the botom of each page. My hope is that this will provide a more personal glimpse of campus over the last few days.


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Monday, April 16th, 2007
9:03 pm - VT Tragedy - My Account
The day started normal enough - slogged to campus and got to my office around 8:15 AM, and spent the next hour and a half prepping for the class I was scheduled to teach at 10:10 AM. I wasn't entirely enthusiastic about teaching, as the cold I had been fighting off over the weekend was still hanging on. Around 9:30 AM I got an e-mail indicating that there had been a shooting on campus earlier in the morning. The first message urged caution, and a second message sent around 9:50 AM indicated: "A gunman is loose on campus. Stay in buildings until further notice. Stay away from all windows."

However, I didn't get the second message before leaving my building (Major Williams Hall) to head over to class. I collected my stuff, dawdled around a bit, tried to compose myself to teach, and finally left the building just before 10 AM. As I exited my building I encountered a student who was coming in - I let him pass through the door first, and didn't pay much attention to the anxious look on his face. Students often look anxious. But now I have a better sense for why. As I walked the very short distance to Torgersen Hall, I immediately noticed large numbers of students standing around outside and a fair number of police officers on Stanger Street. At first I thought that perhaps Torgersen had been evacuated, especially after bomb threats had closed the building twice in just over a week.

But then I looked across the clearing toward Holden Hall (located directly next to Norris Hall) and saw a line of students running out of a building. It was clear that some sort of evacuation was underway, and as I walked I found myself unsure of whether to head back to my office or try to meet up with some of my students in our appointed classroom. I decided on the latter, and found roughly twenty students hanging out in the room. We chatted on and off for the next little while, especially as new tidbits of information came through over cell phones and the Internet. After 10 AM the building was entirely locked down, and one of the building managers came through to make sure that the one outside door in our room was secure. Students from other classes slowly trickled in, and at some time after 11 AM one student offered to use his account to display a live CNN feed on the room's large A/V system (this was a large lecture hall with something like 300 seats). Somehow the time passed along, with some students occasionally stepping out for food or bathroom breaks, others watching movies on their laptops, and still others relentlessly looking for information online.

When the word came around noon that the campus was being evacuated in stages - and that those in our building were free to leave so long as they moved away from central campus - the details we had were quite sketchy. Most reports had confirmed one fatality and as many as seven or eight injuries. Another CNN report was indicating that as many as 17 had been injured.

I wished well to a few students and headed back to my office to retrieve my laptop and my lunch. By this time I felt reasonably safe, as it seemed the worst had passed and the mayhem around the building had abated. I followed a small trail of faculty, staffers, and students as they made their way toward the Schulz parking lot, where I found my truck and started home. Just on the other side of Main Street I heard a report on the local college station, WUVT, that as many as 20 had been confirmed dead, at least according to a press conference. I was skeptical, shocked, and dazed, and after getting home found that this grim report was indeed true. Little did we know that the total number of fatalities would climb to 33 by the end of the day.

At this point, I am not aware of any close friends or colleagues who were in Norris Hall at the time of the shooting. But I have since learned that one faculty member, whose office I regularly walk by, was likely among the victims. I didn't know him, but it really is profoundly sad to think that I had seen him working away in his office just a few days prior. Tomorrow we will likely find out whether any of the students in our ~120 student class were among the victims. And then, of course, there may be victims among the many former students who I have had the privilege of working with. We are already starting to brace for when we must next set foot in the classroom and dealing with this tragedy. The remainder of the semester will not be easy here.

I know not what lies ahead, but hope that this community can come together and find some way forward, out of this mess. For those outside of the community, please be thinking of us. We need all of the positive energy you can spare.

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Tuesday, April 10th, 2007
9:51 am - Funny LJ Images
Funny LJ images of the moment:


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9:45 am - SPAM o' the Day
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 15:56:25 +0400
From: COLON COLLECTIONS <nadia@nilestyle.com>
To: cddc@vt.edu
Subject: Empresa Lider en venta de antigued ades busca fortalecer su equipo...


From "COLON COLLECTIONS"? Seriously? Look, they even have a web site!


Hot damn, I gots to get me some new colons for my collection!

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Monday, April 2nd, 2007
9:07 pm - SPAM Title o' the Moment
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2007 02:19:39 -0500
From: Cruise Travel <cruisetravel@thoughtcommercemail.com>
To: [omitted]
Reply To: return270428137@thoughtcommercemail.com
Subject: Pack your thong, you're going on a trip!


*blush* How did they know about my panty fetish?!

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Thursday, March 29th, 2007
8:56 am - More Apple Idiocy: "Complete My Album"
Another stroke of brilliance from Apple:
"Complete My Album offers customers up to 180 days after first purchasing individual songs from any qualifying album to purchase the rest of that album at a reduced price. When users buy any song on iTunes the corresponding album will immediately appear on their personalized Complete My Album page with the reduced price listed. For example, a user who’s already purchased three 99 cent singles and decides to buy the corresponding $9.99 album would be able to download the remaining songs to complete the album for just $7.02, without having to buy the singles again."

Let me get this straight. Apple, in its infinite wisdom, is essentially telling its customers that it is doing them a big favor by automatically NOT charging them for songs THAT THEY HAVE ALREADY PURCHASED? So long, of course, that they confine our purchases of said songs and albums to a rather arbitrary 180-day window. WTF? What will Apple's marketing drones dream up next?

This is why I remain an emusic customer, despite its warts. With emusic, once I have "purchased" a song I can download it as many times as I want, FOR FREE (as long as I am a paying member). And the content is not DRMed, so I can make as many copies/backups as I want, and I can play my songs on most any device that plays MP3 files. Gads, now *that* just makes good business sense.

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2006
12:15 pm - Air Travel Tip
In light of recent increases in security at our nation's airports, I see a growing number of people frustrated by the arcane new rules regarding liquids, gels, aerosels, etc. So, a handy tip for wary air travelers: if you want to bring small quantities of liquids, gels, and/or other contraband on your person, just slip it into one of your pockets and walk through the metal detector. As long is it's not bulging out, it likely won't be noticed. And of course, the metal detector only detects metal. I did this today with a small container of hand lotion, and the woman in front of me followed my advice and transferred a bunch of stuff from her purse to her pockets. We went through security without a hitch. Yet further evidence that the much of the more obvious security bullshit is just that - bullshit.

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Monday, October 16th, 2006
9:15 pm - Leaving Las Vegas
After spending a few days in Las Vegas for a conference (and a history of technology conference, no less), it's good to be home. I'd never been to this sprawling momnument of greed, excess, and crass consumerism, and now I can say I've seen it (or parts of it) before civilization finally manages to collapse in on itself (I predict Vegas will be first to fall). In fact, on my last day on the strip I found myself killing time in Caeser's Palace, alternately drinking plastic cups of Fosters, munching fast-food burrito fare, and pissing away more than a few nickels playing video poker (no, I didn't win). At one point, I looked across the floor of the casino and saw one of those electronic marquee signs, scrolling messages. As I glanced over, it read "Welcome to the Empire." The statement was apt on so many levels. Odds are that the larger empire of which Caeser's is a part - namely the United Corporate States of America - are destined for a fall, and the only question is when.

But I digress. Earlier in the same day I also made a visit to the featured Ansel Adams exhibit at the Bellagio, which was easily worth the price of admission. I also made a pilgrimage to the Circus Circus, which provided the original inspiration for some of my favorite scenes in Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In addition to finding the (in)famous merry-go-round bar that sets the stage for one particularly hilarious passage in the book, I caught a very nice trapeze act (of all things). All of this made the red-eye flight home somewhat more bearable, especially given my first-hand glimpses of the good, bad, and ugly of the sin city. I'm off to Vancouver for another conference in a few weeks. With memories of Vegas still somewhat fresh, I'm sure Vancouver will prove quite refreshing by comparison.

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Sunday, October 8th, 2006
2:01 pm - An Open Letter to Dan and Eddie

Dear Dan Alstott and Eddie Jakes,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for making the paper bags that I used to carry my groceries home from the store today. I am pleased to report that the bags held up well, surely a testament to the pride that you have in your work. I suspect that the Paper Bag Council Seal of Approval that appeared on the bottom of each bag also strongly reflects the quality of these bags.

However, I must bring to your attention the fact that one of the bags had a small pair of holes along the edge crease on one of the bottom sides. It is unclear to me how these holes came about, but my inspection suggests that the cause may have been some sort of bundling strap. If possible, I would encourage you to investigate this matter, and determine if the bundling process may be endangering the high level of bag quality that you and I have come to expect. While my story is a good one, it would have been a much different matter if these holes had enlarged to the point of catastrophic failure, causing my groceries to tumble out all over the pavement.

Thank you for your time and consideration, as well as your continued hard work and dedication.

B. Gnu

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Thursday, September 7th, 2006
10:04 am - SPAM o' the Moment
Seriously, isn't "fagina's are cool" not the best SPAM subject line *ever*? (See evidence below.)

----- Forwarded message from Dirk Horn <abernathy@edizioniinterculturali.it> -----
Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2006 16:49:47 -0300
From: Dirk Horn <abernathy@edizioniinterculturali.it>
Reply-To: Dirk Horn <abernathy@edizioniinterculturali.it>
Subject: fagina's are cool
To: cristianmanzur@hotmail.com

I can redo your M0RETGAGE at a 5% or better r8te.
Last 3 I've given below:

J. Irvin / Pine Hills, Florida / 1.4 million at 4.1%
S. Rhodes / Omakerk, Nebraska / 220 thousand at 4.4%
S. Bass / Houston, Texas / 515 thousand at 3.9%


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Monday, July 31st, 2006
9:22 pm - SPAM Title of the Moment
What a great SPAM subject line: "Is YOUR Girlfriend THIS PSYCHO?"

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Saturday, May 27th, 2006
2:44 pm - Talking about the weather... Part Deux!
Many moons ago, I posted an entry about the rarity with which weather forecasters ever mention record "high low" or record "low high" temperatures, in spite of their obsession with record absolute high and low temperatures. Well, imagine my surprise when I saw this little public information statement when I checked my local weather on Weather Underground today:
Statement as of 10:42 am EDT on May 27, 2006

... Record high minimum temperature tie is possible at Roanoke...

The low temperature so far today at Roanoke is 69 degrees. The temperature is not expected to fall below 69 degrees the remainder of the day. If the low does not fall below 69 degrees... the previous record high minimum temperature... that was set in 1991... will be tied. If the old record is tied... a record report will be issued.
A record high low temperature! Fancy that! You can be sure I'll be checking back to see if the record was set, but in the meantime I am pleased to know that the National Weather Service has got my back. All the weatha foo's in the house say HHHEEEYYY!

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Saturday, May 6th, 2006
8:58 pm - Too Insipid to Resist
Courtesy of Drysil:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your own journal...along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

Ha! Bugger, the first book I picked didn't have full sequential page numbering - only numbering in each chapter. That's what I get for doing this. So instead of counting pages, I'll pick up the next nearest book:

"Typically, instructional design is much more concerned with problems of initial learning that it is with recall." From "A Behavioral Approach to Instructional Prescription" by George L. Gropper in Charles M. Reigeluth Instructional-Design Theories and Models: An Overview of their Current Status (1983).

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Friday, May 5th, 2006
10:18 pm - WWIII?
According to a recent ABC news report, President George W. Bush referred to the "war on terror" as "World War III" in a recent television interview. I can scarcely fathom a piece of evidence that better supports Marchall McLuhan's adage that "World War III will be a global information war with no division between civilian and military participation."

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Wednesday, April 26th, 2006
8:33 am - Concentrate From China
As I ate breakfast this morning, I was alarmed to find that my apple juice container bore a stamp that read "Concentrate From China." I'm not sure how I feel about this, but it sure as hell seems odd to be drinking apple juice that came from the other side of the planet. Viva la globalization! *sigh* But just as I started to get worked up about this, I got distracted by something else. After all, when your concentrate comes from China, it tends to lose some of its potency in transit.

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Thursday, April 13th, 2006
8:47 pm - Me vs. Simonyi
“You write a few lines of code and suddenly life is better for a hundred million people; that’s software."
-- Charles Simonyi, Principal Developer, Microsoft Word

"You write a few hundred million lines of code and suddenly life is better for a few people; that's software."
-- Me

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Tuesday, April 4th, 2006
8:08 pm - Quote of the Day
"Give me an underground laboratory, half a dozen atom-smashers, and a girl in a diaphanous veil waiting to be turned into a chimpanzee, and I care not who writes the nation's laws." S. J. Perelman (1904-1979) [Via]

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