February 2006
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February 2006 Archives

February 23, 2006

Ms Outlook

Why is it that Microsoft programs are more likely than ANY other software to leave me speaking "words they never said in the Bible?"

I think it is that the (#*&#$(*& small little buttons, unhelpful help, and #@*&^$&*$^ preference of format over content are just completely alien to the way I prefer to work.

I think Outlook might well be very powerful, but it is reducing me to profanity on a regular basis.

I wish Corel had an equivalent product (and that it could deal with a ms exchange server)

Posted by
Red Ted
at 03:17 PM | TrackBack
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February 22, 2006

False Choices

Younger son taught me something very important the other day.

"Eat it or wear it" is a false choice.

That is all.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 03:50 PM | TrackBack
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Pointy Hair?

I feel like I need to replace the buzz cut with some pointy hair.

You see, the new gig has me jumping from adjuncting straight to middle management. I do not have a lot of experience managing people older than 19. So, I am making my mistakes in public.

Still, it is fun and most definitely challenging.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 03:48 PM | TrackBack
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February 20, 2006

Bajada Joe ???

Does anyone who reads this remember Bajada Joe from the old Sunsword forums?

One of my co-workers needs a paleontologist, and I was wondering if anyone has Bajada Joe's contact information.

Email - I still have not yet made time to fix the (@(*&$$^ comments

Posted by
Red Ted
at 11:17 PM | TrackBack
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February 16, 2006

Project management software?

One of the way cool things about the new gig is that I will be doing some project management.

The largest project I have managed so far is my dissertation, and that has gone badly behind schedule.

I want to avoid my inherent scatterbrained nature by doing a Ben Franklin, and acting like the sort of organized person I wish I were. Because I know that I am forgetful, I have been being good about taking the yellow pad from every meeting and then typing up the notes. (Earlier today I discovered that a really cool fairly expensive piece of custom content is going to be coming out of my budget - glad to see it, hope to steal some of the bits to use elsewhere, but now I have another passle of people and tasks to keep track of and I still don't yet have company e-mail!)

So, how to keep track of all the bits, all the people, all the tasks and deadlines? The other folks at the gig tend to use a mixture of Word, Outlook, and Excel and just sort of bash something together. For the moment I have based something together in WordPerfect (chosen because I think well in WP). I think I will wait until I get my email address and my access to the vpn and then will see if I can use some combination of Outlook, Excel, and wordprocessing documents to keep track of everything. That might work, especially if I can get my home computer to talk to their central outlook server.

Otherwise, I think I want a simple task, time, assignment, deadline, status tracker that I can set up on my redted.us account out of a sql database or a set of php or perl scripts. Perhaps even some cold fusion?

I think my plan here is to
1, get company email and work on getting outlook set up properly at office (and then at home)
2, if that works, go with an outlook/excel solution
3, if that fails, then look into either creating a web-based system or somehow serving the master excel file out of my ftp directory.

And so to think. (was up late prepping for the presentation that confirmed my next 3 weeks of work and seems to have gotten me several months of project management work. am tired and stupid.)

Posted by
Red Ted
at 09:02 PM | TrackBack
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I need a new noun

I need a new noun.
One that won't make me stick.
One that will help me write.
Not stare at this brick.

Sorry Huey.

I was wrestling with a revision to chapter three back in early February, and tonight is the first chance I have had to think about it since starting the new gig. (Gig goes well: lots of work, lots of fun, lots of good challenges, and they seem to like me and my work.)

As usual for me, the problem is one of organization. I have a mess of interesting stories to tell about civil religion and the margins of the religious settlement between 1801 and about 1820. I am having trouble putting those little stories and moments together into a coherent narrative that both makes a valid internal point and also connects up to the chapters before and after it.

One of the recurring themes is folks who believe that for the good of the nation, national government or at least national leaders should accomodate policy to religious obligations (halt Sunday Mails, for example) or frame national concerns in a religious context (call for days of prayer and fasting during the War of 1812). Jefferson, Madison, and an odd coalition of folks disagree.

What do I want to call the folks who want to see more religion in the national and state governments? I was using Sabbatarians for them, but I am talking about more than just the Sabbath. Most of them are Calvinists, but not all of them are and there are some mighty strong Calvinists who think that religion is too important to let government interfere with it. I thought about calling them Providentials, but that sounded too much like an insurance company. I thought about Formalists, but that word has a very specific meaning and extensive connotations in both law and philosophy, and I don't want to confuse Ashbel Green with the postbellum legal thinkers who ticked off Louis Brandeis.

I hope that if I can come up with a new word and framework for these guys, then I will be able to hook them together in several of my anecdotes and short moments, and thus create a coherent internal framework for the chapter.

But I need a new noun
one that one's make me sick . . .

Posted by
Red Ted
at 08:54 PM | TrackBack
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Comments ???

I hear from my email that folks are having trouble getting typepad to recognize them for commenting purposes.

I had no trouble, but was also using this computer. Anyone have thoughts on this?

Posted by
Red Ted
at 08:53 PM | TrackBack
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February 10, 2006

Olympics opening ceremonies

J and I watched part of the Olympic opening ceremonies tonight while I put together the tricycle for younger son's 2nd birthday party Sunday.

I had a couple of banal thoughts, nothing like my comments on previous ceremonies.

The first is that as I get more geezerly I have less and less patience for TV sports. I just find myself wanting to get up and go do something else after about half an hour of watching.

The second is that I will be rooting for the Czech ice hockey team. You just have to root for someplace whose past includes the defenestration of Prague and Vaclev Havel.

The third is that I stayed in the room with the opening ceremonies until the Mongolian team came in. I liked the hats. Like the Czech Republic, Mongolia is a place that I am fascinated by, have warm feelings towards, and would love to visit. In fact, if the University of Ulan Bator ever hires an Americanist, I will apply for the position.

And so to, well, I should go to bed, but City of Heroes just reactivated my old account for two weeks.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:36 PM | TrackBack
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February 07, 2006

By what I can not say

Work is going well.

I did sign a confidentiality agreement, and I believe in not blogging anything recognizable and not blogging anything you would not be willing to say to the people you are talking about. So, don't expect a lot of workplace blogging about the day gig.

I will simply say that it is fun (at the moment), and that with any luck I am a little ahead of schedule on the contract. But, I will also be losing all my evening time this weekend, and losing some time to daycare problems next week (scheduled day where we have to cover younger son.)

Oh, and I am working on an older PC, although still far younger than my 486-powered laptop that won't talk to modern networks. It gets the job done, especially now that I have installed Wordperfect on it, but it does so without any of the amenities of the home machine. I still get more done there than I think I would manage to get done here.

I have a contract gig - I can work anywhere. I asked them to make me some office space so that I could work at the company's local office. I did so because there are fewer, or at least different distractions there, because I was getting SICK of staying at home and working in this office, and because I wanted to be able to grab people for a quick question while I figured out what exactly I was supposed to be doing.

I do like taking the train in, and I am very happy that the office is just a short walk from the PATCO station. In fact, once upon a time my dad worked for a different company on the upper floors of the same building, and I used to work in the building across the street. I like the energy that comes from being in the city, being surrounded by people, even the train ride gives me a chance to get my head into the day in a way that walking the hound just does not.

We will see how things go, but for now I believe that I am being enough more productive in the office environment that I am willing to eat the Philadelphia wage tax (and the tedious extra book-keeping that goes with it.)

And so to do the dishes and laundry, and then think some more.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 09:22 PM | TrackBack
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I am not quite sure what two-year-olds should be saying. I do know that our difficult younger son shows signs of being both bright and troubled. He gets anxious easily, and does not like to be away from family members. But that is a different post.

As I was picking him up from his new day care provider - a nice lady who does in-home and can give him more time (and older kids) than the regimented day care center that kicked him out - he said, roughly
"Daddy car
"Daddy car have wheel
"Wheel go around in circle!"

He is using five and six word sentances with a subject, a verb, and an object. If he used them more often then he would be more articulate than some high-school kids. But, most of the time he still communicates in one and two word chunks "hungy"

Ok, enough baby bragging.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 09:19 PM | TrackBack
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February 04, 2006


There are worse things to get an earbug of, but this is pretty darn bad. I can't even sing it to get rid of it because the kids are little magpies and would repeat it all over daycare.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 11:28 AM | TrackBack
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Methodists and Slavery

Sometimes the thing to do when figuring something out is to hash it publicly.

The following long paragraph came out of the draft chapter three. My advisor did not like it because its points were banal or repeated the arguments in the other parts of that sub-section. I need a better "so what" for the anecdote.

The Methodist Church similarly emphasized interactions with other religious groups, and regularly defended itself against the charge that it was undermining civil order. The Methodists had most of their early growth in the upper South, especially on the Delmarva peninsula. During the 1780s and 1790s Methodist itinerants regularly pressured their hearers to manumit their slaves, appealing to civics and Christ in equal measure. The 1784 Conference that formed the Methodist Episcopal Church as a distinct denomination separate from the Church of England passed an anti-slavery provision in its initial discipline, but opposition from the Deep South made them table it. Anti-slavery Methodists tried again in 1796, to similar opposition. The 1800 General Conference called for an anti-slavery address to be published to all the local circuits – an action that led to immediate and violent opposition in the lower South. The 1804 and 1808 Conferences backed away from the issue, officially making slavery a matter of local and not national discipline. As Francis Asbury famously commented, "I was called upon to suffer for Christ's sake, not slavery's." The Methodist Episcopal Church continued to grow, and grow rapidly, but after 1800 it no longer appealed to African-Americans in the Deep South, who overwhelmingly allied themselves with the Baptists. Methodists did, however, retain their access to white Southerners. The various conferences went on to pass their own disciplinary rules about slavery, with Northern and some upper South conferences banning or restricting it, the Deep South saying little on the question.
So, where do I want to go with this?

I have a following paragraph talking about local v. national institutions, and the importance of local prejudices and local styles even within the centralized and national Methodist Church. That is fine, but that point will get its power from the conclusion to the slavery paragraph. And where do I want to take that slavery paragraph?

I think that this anecdote wants to go to a discussion of the informal boundaries of the American Religious settlement and the difficult distinction between civic morality and personal morality. I will refer to those, but they are points that I make elsewhere as well. I have spent the morning hashing around looking for something more to say.

I think the point to make is that the norms of American civil religion were set primarily through cultural and social power, not political power or legal strictures. I will write it that way and move on - if I get too badly stuck on this point I will just cut the whole Methodist bit and go on.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:15 AM | TrackBack
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February 01, 2006

Superbowl Bets

I was asked who I was rooting for in the Superbowl.

My gut answer was that I was rooting for the chile, but that I expected the desserts to win.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:31 PM | TrackBack
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