Unofficial St. Patrick's Day Coming to Town

Dedicated readers of this blog may remember that, last year at about this time, I posted a bit (go here and scroll down) about the local vernacular student "holiday" known as Unofficial St. Patrick's day.

Well, this annual drunken, anti-scholastic ritual is this Friday, and higher-ups at the University have been trying to get things under control. Thank you higher-ups.

Last year, chaos prevailed in many ways, so I wasn't surprised to see a message in my inbox with this section:
Roaming team members, wearing their University IDs as nametags and identified as university officials, may be summoned to assess problematic situations. Teams will be prepared to document any apparent Code violations and call University Police if necessary. However, instructors and students are encouraged to report emergencies directly to METCAD at 911 (or, from a campus phone, 9-911).

In the two largest lecture halls on the Quad (Foellinger Auditorium and Lincoln Hall Theater), both of which experienced significant vandalism during last year’s event, students will be asked to surrender liquids prior to entry. This represents enforcement of standing policies that prohibit food and beverages in these venues.

Yes, it was bad last year; I still think of Unofficial St. Patrick's Day as an anti-scholastic protest movement on my campus. Photos and comments to follow; I don't teach on Friday, so I'll have plenty of time to roam around with my camera.



Okay, this is weird: desktoptwo.com simulates a desktop via a browser window. The site's hype reads:

And it does just that. When you sign in, a big old window opens up with a slew of simple.apps and a simulated second desktop. It's all Flash, and it works pretty well on my Mac.

Newer Macs running OS X will still open older applications in the old OS 9, also in a new window, and I love doing this because it gives me the feeling of a machine within the machine. Desktoptwo.com adds another funny layer to this, piping the machine within the machine through a browser.

Okay, off to try out the simple.apps and see if they're any good.


Found Friday is On the List

It always saddens me to find lists with nothing crossed off. As I greedily snatch such lists up off the sidewalk, I think to myself "Poor list maker! So many unaccomplished items! A life in chaos!"

This week, two such to-do lists have made it onto the blog. The first, known around the office as Blue Doozy, refers to such things as "pet smarts" (item six) and "gas" (item eight). Does one acquire pet smarts for one's slightly dopey pet? And what does indigestion have to do with it?

These are the questions the research team here at Found Friday feels compelled to ask. (Click to enlarge.)

The second uncompleted list is a two-pager beginning with a real list-topper: "Wine Night." There are many other textual curiosities that may lead to listual intrigue, but I direct your attention specifically to the items on the middle of page two. (Scroll down; all are clickable for those in want of larger versions.) Though it's a bit difficult to make out the script, you will note that the term "sex" is mentioned four times.


Writing About Language and Sound

One of the tricky things about writing about sound has always been how to represent it. Those interested in writing about language sounds can avail themselves of the international phonetic alphabet, and those interested in writing about bird songs can use such things as the sonogram or musical scale. But none of this gear quite does justice to the sound: contours and subtle tones are invariably left out.

The brilliant and accomplished Pete Gayed recently turned me to a piece over at Slate that chats about interjections such as awwa, meh, feh, and heh. What's nifty about the article is the way the author/coder embedded sound and video in the text. With sound files and video worked immediately into the piece, it looks like this:

I love not only how the sounds are captured instead of textually represented, but also how they're worked into the document instead of being set aside as illustrative material.

Needless to say, paper as a platform does not support this.


Another On-Campus Electrocution

Another person has been tasered electrocuted on a college campus, this time at San Diego State University. (Article here. ) The offense? Failing to respond accordingly to this anti-skateboarding signage:

I've blogged at length before about the language of electrocution and how I think construing such violence as "tasering" mildly sanitizes it by associating it with high-tech portable weaponry/gadgetry. Oddly enough, readers of the blog currently masquerading as Metaspencer Got Blog may recall that I've also blogged at length about anti-skateboarding signage. (In fact, it's weird, but about fifty hits a day come in via the images on that post. Go fig.)

I would never have guessed that Metaspencer Got Blog (MGB) would someday be titled as such and become a convergence point for news about electrocuted students and anti-skateboarding signage, but that day has arrived.

The screams in the video are painfully reminiscent of what the voltage did back at UCLA.


Found Friday: Numbers!

Gramps came across a couple of sheets of numbers the other day; one is completely intelligible to him, the other utterly obscure. This makes Gramps wonder: how much of his writing is disposable? Actually disposed of? Lost? Found?

(click for larger versions of the images)


Snow Day

Spent the morning preparing for class only to learn that campus is closed due to snow. Only "employees who have been designated as essential personnel are expected to report to work," making me think I can stay home. (There is a joke in there about essentialist personnel, but I won't make it.)

The snow seems to have brought about some hasty composition, which I love, and it's understandable. This post titled "Employee Guidelines Related to Severe Weather" discusses who needs to go to work, and then jerkingly transitions to what seems to be another document? The rupture reads:
A decision regarding classes and operations for tomorrow, February 14th will be made later today and shared with the media and posted on the uiuc.edu website.

Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. This year 449 members were elevated to this rank because of their efforts to advance science or its applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.

"Illinois students are truly fortunate to learn from and work alongside professors such as these," said Richard Herman, the chancellor of the Urbana campus. "Through their research and teaching, these faculty members are pioneering the future of science, and passing on their knowledge and love of learning to a new generation of scientists."


Michael Wesch Iz Kool

Michael Wesch @ Kansas State put together this outstanding vid (sent to me by Rich C; thanks Rich!) about online textual interaction, about writing in and through web portals, about the beat of web 2.0. The highlight of my day is, without a doubt, this video.

Found Prayer Reminder

I know it's not Friday, but I also know that I haven't been very blogish lately. So I post this recently found Prayer Reminder (written on a sticky note) on a Monday in the spirit of getting back into the swing of things.


Found Friday (LOL)

Found near the high school I run by. You want to find handwritten notes and stuff? Hit the high schools. Of particular interest to me is the "(LOL)" element at the end.

In computer mediated communication, we tend to think of LOL meaning "the speaker/writer is laughing out loud"—but, as the usage in this note indicates, LOL now can indicate "I think this is funny" and is circulating in disposable print media.