Life: November 2004 Archives

When I Almost Died

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I was looking through the My Documents folder on my resurrected desktop computer, which was out of commission for well over a year until about a month ago. One of the things I discovered was a text file from 1992 when I was applying to college. It turns out to be a college application essay. It's not the one I used for Brown, and I don't know where that one is. I did this later for the schools I didn't apply early to (Brown at the time allowed you to apply early but not make a commitment to go there, which almost no one allowed at the time and probably no one allows now). Anyway, it's about the time I was a hair's breadth from death in third grade, and it seemed fitting to use it for my 800th post. The style seems really wooden, in restrospect, and it seems really short to me now, but I was 17 when I wrote this, and I don't think I even had a Windows machine at the time. If I had to write about this now, I'd say a number of things much differently and reflect on some things I barely hint at here, but the thoughts I express here give a glimpse into my reflections on my life so far as I ended my time in high school, and it's nice to have captured something of that for posterity. I have changed none of the text that follows except to correct one capitalization mistake that was so glaringly obvious that I couldn't leave it. On to the essay:

Weird Computer Problem

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I've got two (I assume unrelated) computer problems right now, so blogging willl be unpredictable until they're resolved. I have a computer with good internet access, but I'm stuck on the old desktop for a bit, which means I have to isolate myself to use the computer. The notebook hard drive won't boot up. I'm hoping to get my files off it by connecting it as a slave to the desktop. I picked up the proper cable for that today and will try it tomorrow, I hope.

The other problem is really strange, and I'm curious if anyone has any idea what's going on. I upload files with the Blackboard software for my classes, and my student download them for use on their own time. One of my students told me when she opened a certain file, it loaded up Word and then rebooted. No other student had this problem. I didn't have this problem. When my notebook's hard drive refused to boot, I went on the desktop and downloaded that file, and it did to my computer what it did with hers. It rebooted upon the file's opening. It did this 4-5 times, and then I tried to open Word on its own. It rebooted. Then I uninstalled Office entirely and reinstalled it. I opened Word. It rebooted. This file has been scanned with the most up-to-date Norton AntiVirus definitions, with no virus detected. It opens fine on the computers on campus. I did it myself, and it worked perfectly. No other student has told me of this problem, and I left a message in the Blackboard class area for both classes I teach. So if it's a virus, it doesn't affect every computer, and it's new or unknown enough that Norton doesn't know about it. Does anyone have any idea what might be going on?

Note: the only email address I'm planning to be using until I reconfigure my new hard drive that I haven't asked Dell for is my gmail one, so don't think you can reach me reliably any other way for a few days. I'm not planning to check gmail very often either, maybe once a day.

Update: Some complete idiot at Dell tech support reponded to my email by telling me I should try doing a direct connect between my two computers, which of course requires having both computers on and running Windows. He proceeded to give me detailed instructions on how to do something I've done many times that has nothing at all to do with my problem. I can't boot up to Windows! I wonder if he even read my email.

Family Pictures II

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We finally got the second set of pictures back from the first week of what the United States government counts as Sophia's life. It's amazing how different she already looks at three weeks. Newborns really do look like prunes for a while.

I can't quite figure out what Ethan's trying to do in the picture to the right. It doesn't look like the Vulcan salute, though we know Sophia is quite capable of that. She did it almost every time I saw her in the hospital. I haven't noticed it since then. Maybe her emotions are coming in. This picture is from after Sam and Sophia were home.

This picture is from a hospital visit after I went home. Ethan's excited, but I'm not quite sure he knew what she was. I'm not sure he does now, even. This picture of Isaiah is far better than any in the previous batch, and he's in his usual position on my lap. He doesn't like doing anything else if I'm around unless he's hungry.

Slowing down the pace

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I've been a little quiet here. Sorry. I wrote my Legislating Morality post because my school was holding a conference to discuss Gay Marriage. I figured that I would post my views before the conference so that 1) I could clarify my thoughts by writing them down and 2) practice defending my view and see where its major weaknesses are.

I had no idea how much discussion it would generate. I truly meant to keep following up on it, but there was so much of it that, when the conference was over, I just burned out on the topic.

Then the election got really close and I started writing about Bush. Now the election is over and I'm burned out on that too. And I'm rather bummed too.

Schoolwork is starting to catch up to me in a major way too.

I do, of course, still have lots to say, so I'll be posting eventually. But maybe not for a week or two.

Adventures in Jury Duty

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I had jury duty today. I wasn't supposed to. I'd called in when I first got the notice, which was shortly after Sophia was born. They don't give you a lot of time. I think it was ten days' notice. I called and asked if I could postpone it until January when I wasn't teaching, and they said that would be fine, but I decided to hold off until I talked to Sam. I then left my summons right where it wouldn't get lost, which means I didn't see it very often and didn't think about calling back any time when I was near a phone. Well, at 1:30 this morning while I was trying to get Isaiah back to sleep, I remembered, but it was too late to call for the postponement. I had to call three people today while I was there to get someone to leave a note on the board in my classroom that I wouldn't be there with instructions to bring their papers to the Philsophy Department. In the process, I stumbled upon the information that I'm being offered a 300-level course at the university next semester, which is rare for a graduate student, though they did give me a 400-level last year. These two classes come up for adjuncts to teach each once every three years, so I'm excited to be able to do both of them. I've been doing 300-level courses at the small college I teach at, but that doesn't seem as much of an honor to get.

Well, anyway, jury duty itself was quite an experience. I spent the large bulk of the time sitting around grading. For such an important civic duty that requires many people to miss days of work, they sure do use their jurors' time ineffectively. I got a fair amount of grading done, though, more than I'd originally hoped to do today if I'd been home and on campus. They spent lots of time telling us what it would be like and warning us that it's not like on TV. Basically three or four different people had to tell us all the same things, each time adding a little new. I wouldn't exactly call it an efficient system, but it amazed me how many times I had to fill my fellow jurors in on things that had been stated quite clearly, so maybe that's why they repeat things so much. They know people don't listen.

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