Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Three posts in one day! Must be they were pent up or something. Something I have been meaning to remark on: all my life I have had to spell my name for people and tell them how to pronounce it, and still, it is often screwed up. As far as my first name goes, in some ways it is better in recent times, in some ways worse. My first name has become more popular (so people are more familiar with it), but on the other hand, similar names (such as Jenna) have become even more popular, so people often insist on putting an "e" in there as the second letter, rather than an "i," or they think maybe it starts with "j" rather than "g." The pronounciation thing of my last name is a lot better now - ever since the mayor became so famous. (Although one thing that means is that nearly everyone uses his "i" as the last letter of my name rather than my "o.")

But in the written word...I see the same atrociously wrong spellings of Rudy's last name that I have suffered for years on junk mail letters that I receive. As a kid, I once wrote a short story about the mangling of my name, as I recall. The Internet has perpetuated the problem even more, I think. I get a lot of hits on my various websites for people searching for information on "the" Rudy. Sometimes it directs them to something to do with me, more often it is all of my writing about "my" Rudy. (I don't mind that, but I'll probably regret this post, since it is sure to bring in the spelling challenged.)

Gui is the most common, but leaving out the "i" entirely is a close second (Gul). Sometimes there is a double "l" in there (Gull or Giull or Guill). Occasionally the second "i" is ommitted (Giula or Guila or Guli or Giulla or Guilla or Gulla). My fingers itch to correct these mistakes...don't you know that Julie in Italian is spelled Giuli? That Gui is pronounced Gwee? I am tempted...but I resist. My maternal grandmother Mimmie solved the spelling issue by writing the name in cursive - and throwing the dot of the "i" up in the air, so it could be interpreted to be over the "i" or the "u." But then at least she knew there was an "i" or two in there somewhere, and that there was only one "l." (This was before anyone thought our name ended in "i.")

Happy Thanksgiving, BTW. Now it is time for me to go and bake an apple pie.
Since I have grading done for the moment, today I am working on converting my classes to Blackboard. I decided to work on what will be the easiest of the four, and that's Toleration. It has the simpliest web component now, and I won't be making a lot of changes for Spring. There are some things I already like about Blackboard, but the biggest thing I don't like is the same as what I don't like in WebCT: it is slow, unreliable and cumbersome to work on the Internet. So far, that aspect is a draw with WebCT, but in terms of my fully online class: I am going to really miss Lotus Notes for its ability to work offline.

Something I forgot to mention: Maybe because it seems mean spirited? Whatever. The gym teacher from hell died a couple of weeks ago. He was so cruel to me that upon hearing the news, it was hard for me to summon up any emotion other than bad memories of elementary school. His lasting impact on me has been a lifelong aversion to competition, sports, games of all types, and even exercise. I guess it is appropriate that just two months before his passing from this Earth, sparked by the get-healthier lifestyle changes I started in January, I summoned the courage to blow the dust off the treadmill one more time and get on it. And guess what? For the first time, I have been successfully doing it every day!! To the point where the front roller now needs to be replaced (the replacement was delivered today). So take that, Mr. ------, you ---.
You might say I have been overwhelmed with work this semester. Pending changes in the courseware I use for my online and on campus classes is the culprit; that has been taking up a lot of my on campus time and as a result I am behind in assessment. So I really buckled down the last few days and I am officially caught up! Yay! Tomorrow I will focus on the courseware conversion - the clock is ticking, must be completely done by mid-January - and baking an apple pie (which must be done by Thanksgiving).

One bad piece of news though: I found another student plagiarizing. It has been a couple of semesters since the last incident, so I guess it was about time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ha. Good news. The cemetery sign post snapped - and the sign was laying in the weeds. I am not sure why the plot owner thought the post had been cut. And I guess the sheriff deputies never went to the driveway to look. The board had to do its own detective work! My mother and I risked tick infestation, but all's well that ends well.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I am on the trustee board of a cemetery. Two days ago a plot owner noticed that someone cut the post with our sign down and stole the sign. It was one of those beautiful hand carved signs that you see around. We paid for it with donations less than 5 years ago. We got it for $500 because the sign maker gave us a deal. It is a small cemetery with zero money, we sell maybe 1-3 plots per year and have a couple of burials, have no real way to generate income since our volume is so low. Who would do such a thing against a cemetery? Why would someone want our sign?