An Inconvenient Truth

February 27, 2007 at 10:09 pm (Education, Environment, General)

So, Heather and I finally saw An Inconvenient Truth. I know, I know, we’re about two years too late to the party, but I swear I had a good reason. I mean, I’m already something of an environmentalist. I walk a mile to and from the bus stop five days a week and take a bus to and from UCLA. The only time I get a ride is if someone is already going that way. Frankly, I like the walk. It’s valuable “me time.” I also try to keep unnecessary lights off. I’m thinking pretty hard right now, and I can’t think of any other major environmental “charges” that I run up. And Heather never seemed too worried about the environment, but for the sake of our marriage, I didn’t want to push her, so I figured we didn’t need to see it. Anyway, it was a documentary. I mean, how good could it really be? Read the rest of this entry »

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A Different Kind of Ghost Story

February 27, 2007 at 6:54 pm (Horror, Humor)

While glancing at another story on the Onion website, I saw a link to this and couldn’t pass it up. Not your standard ghost story, I’ll grant…

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Day-tripping

February 25, 2007 at 1:35 pm (Family, Sports, Travel)

Alas, the snowboarding season is almost over. Not that this would have particularly upset me last week, mind you, since (since the day Heather guilt-tripped me into starting snowboarding two years ago) I haven’t really enjoyed snowboarding. In fact, if you want a full confession (and what are blogs for, if not total and abject honesty where anyone, including one’s wife and life partner, from whom one has been withholding this information for the last two years, can see it), I’ve loathed snowboarding. It combines everything I dislike about scuba diving (namely, the large quantities of expensive equipment and the inordinate amount of time to get equipped and, at the end, unequipped) which the ability to absolutely terrify me in a way that even being underwater doesn’t and can’t. I mean, okay, I have nightmares about giant squids, but I don’t really expect them to come attack me while I dive. But when I’m standing up there, at the top of that snowboarding run, looking down, I absolutely expect that that particular run will be my last, that that is the one where I’ll fall and break my neck, or impale myself on a skier, or whatever other horrifying way to die pops into my head. And I have to force myself out onto the slope, and when I finally reach the bottom and safety, I then have to hop back onto the lift and do it again, all to keep my wife happy. So, when the rain “storm” we got last Thursday afternoon deposited 8 inches of fresh powder at Big Bear and Heather asked me to take Friday off of work/school to go snowboarding with her, I was… less than enthusiastic. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Useful Assyriology Tool

February 25, 2007 at 1:01 pm (Computers, Dissertation, Education, Languages)

Since I started this blog, I’ve been throwing around alternative career ideas for myself, besides straight Assyriology. One of the ones that I’ve found appealing of late is travel-writing, because (a) I’d like to think that I’m a decent writer when I set my mind to it, and (b) I do like to travel. Of course, it’s hard to make a living at that, so it would just be a “side” gig, that I’d do in addition to some other job that lets me work from home and/or otherwise control my schedule. However, in order to do this, I’d need a computer so that I could write and blog easily on the road (I know, I could use a pencil and paper, but I edit a lot, and a computer just makes that more efficient). Now, the UCLA Bookstore has a deal on Apple Macbooks where you get a $1300 computer for $1000, which is a pretty good deal. However, to really justify that expense, I figure I’d have to start using it for school and other work, as well as my writing, which got me thinking about what the ideal computer setup for translating cuneiform texts would be… Read the rest of this entry »

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More Sunken Cities…

February 24, 2007 at 6:26 pm (Diving, Travel, Writing)

I think that I mentioned awhile back that I had a pipe dream of one day writing a travel book focusing on sunken cities and other human relics that are NOT boats and planes, because (a) they’re cool and (b) they should be a small enough group that I can do most of them for a book. Well, I found a new one today, Dwaraka! On the Indian coast, this is a holy city that was partially sunk and was rediscovered in 1981. According to this news site, the Indian government has even set up a diving operation there for tourists. So add that to the list! Read the rest of this entry »

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Traveling in Style, on a budget

February 8, 2007 at 3:04 pm (Travel)

Last weekend, when I told my mother that Heather and I were heading out to the LA Times Travel and Adventure show, she really wanted to come along with us. At this point in her life, she wants to get out and see the world, without my stepdad, if necessary! Unfortunately, she couldn’t come with us due to other commitments, but over the course of the conversation, I got a pretty good idea of what she was looking for and suggested that I would put together a couple of sample itineraries for her for trips abroad, and that Heather and I would even come along with her if we could afford it. As soon as I hung up the phone, I realized that wasn’t necessarily the smartest things to do, since my mom and I probably have very different ideas about what it means to travel in style; I’m happy with cheap hostels and backpacks and walking places, while I think she wants air-conditioning and buses, if not cars. So, I thought I’d outline some of my favorite tips for traveling in style, but on a budget, to help jumpstart my thinking. Read the rest of this entry »

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Some Educational Audio

February 5, 2007 at 9:39 pm (Education, Languages, Music)

While chatting with Angela at work today, somehow, this NPR article that I heard a while ago came up. It was about a team that creating rock-sounding songs using a lot of SAT vocabulary to help kids learn the words. The neat thing about it was that the songs that they demoed in the article were pretty catchy! Plus, it’s just fun listening to the words they stick in there. I like their idea of not explaining the words, per se, but of putting the new words in apposition to simple phrases of the same or similar meaning.

While thinking about that, I was reminded of this project that I came across years ago, Earworms. Their idea is that music gets stuck in the brain more easily than regular reading or speech (which is reasonably true), and so they created a musical background to go with basic vocab and grammar lessons in foreign languages. Although I wasn’t blow away by the free sample that you can listen to online, or the total quantity of lessons on each CD, it’s still a pretty interesting idea.

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Some Thoughts on My Future

February 3, 2007 at 5:03 pm (Dissertation, Education, Languages)

While doing laundry and cleaning today, I spent some time thinking about where I might like to end up, career-wise, and I started thinking about my dream professorship, at LMU, of course. I’d be teaching both Mesopotamian languages and archaeology. There would be a couple of intro courses, and I would give a talk on the Archaeology major and minor at the end of each semester, for anyone who was interested. The major would require them to learn two languages, one dead and one living (French or German), plus write a certain number of papers that could be added to the CDLI wiki on various archaeological sites or topics. If I had funding, then I would have a team of undergrads, each of whom would be responsible for becoming an expert in a particular area of the ancient Mediterranean, and they would write overviews with bibliographies for the wiki, gradually populating it with information and making it easier for future students to get informed. Ultimately, they’d also have to write a senior thesis which would/could be a publishable article. Read the rest of this entry »

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