Bleargh Archives

April 11, 2005

Neither the quantity nor the quality but the mixture

I don't really mind fighting off a cold, so long as it is mild enough that cold pills and the prescription nose spray can handle most of the daytime symptoms.

I don't mind rattling a little and not getting to sleep until after 10:00 last night.

I don't mind waking at 2:30am to listen to the littler man stir, and then to listen to him as he put himself back to sleep.

I did not even mind giving the littler man a bottle and a jar of carrots between 3:30 and 4:00am, after all, I had never gotten back to sleep after the 2:30 waking.

I rather enjoyed spending the morning reading microfilm. I have take this perverse pleasure in reading microfilm, even though it leaves me a little dizzy and a little goofier than usual.

I don't mind being so wired from coffee and cold pills that I could not nap this afternoon.

The combination, ah, now that is pretty darn impressive.

Right now I have just enough energy to transfer student grades from their homework to my spreadsheet, and even that goes slowly.

Oh, bonus points for anyone who can name the book that I stole the post title from.

Posted by Red Ted at 03:35 PM | TrackBack

April 08, 2005

Tired or Wired?

I spent most of this week being tired. I have a minor head cold, and sinus pressure knocks me right out.

Last night I took cold meds, finally. I took them again this morning, despite getting only a few hours sleep because I had been wired on sudafed.

I am no longer tired, sleepy and stupid.

Now I am wired, forgetful, and stupid.

Still, changes can be a good thing.

And so to grade some papers. (Poor students.)

Posted by Red Ted at 01:11 PM | TrackBack

January 30, 2005

Going back to sleep

Cranky Ted again.

Why? Well the littler man wakes up - last night he was hungry at 10:00 and then had a burp at 11:30. This was not a big problem -gave him a bottle from 10:00 to 11:00, burped him at 11:30, and he went right back to bed. He is getting much better at learning to go to sleep without being held.

The problem is the Ted. I could not get back to sleep until 2:00 in the bloody morning. This is not the first time that a simple late night baby (I was in bed by 9:00!) has left me rattling for hours and hours.

I wonder if it is the Niaspan? I raised the dose recently and my sleep has gotten even worse since then. I am contemplating going off it entirely until I finish writing, for if I don't I will never be awake enough to write anything.

I think Ted gets to talk with the doctor next week.

End rant.

Posted by Red Ted at 11:45 AM | TrackBack

December 28, 2004



I have a cold, the sort of nasty cold that makes me want to be a lump.

It is hitting me during my short stint of free time for writing - it always seems to happen that way.

Anyhow, light blogging because I am a cold-slug and because my energy is going into writing a new final section for chapter 1. I rewrite a lot.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 26, 2004

43 Boxes of books.

We spent the day moving boxes.

J's parents had come down for Thanksgiving at our place. My folks who live about an hour away went to New Mexico to visit my syster, so my brother and J's brother came to our house. It was a nice Thanksgiving - 7 adults, 2 kids, low stress, good food. I cooked. I like to cook for Thanksgiving, if only because it means I get out of doing dishes.

Anyhow, the point of this particular post is that this morning J's parents watched the kids while J and I went to our storage area and moved stuff from the 10' by 20' unit to a 10' by 10' unit. When we lived in Virginia we rented a 4 bedroom house for about 2/3 of what it cost us for first an apartment and then this mortgage. The excess stuff went into storage.

As part of moving and sorting (and flagging things to get thrown away or sold on ebay) I counted. We have 43 boxes of books in storage - almost all fiction, about half science fiction. My history books and journals are all in the house now. 43 boxes is a LOT of books - figure that one box is about one book shelf.

They say that if you don't use something for a year, you can get rid of it. We have had these books in boxes for three years now. But, several times a month, I wish I had them. So we get to keep them.

And so to count pieces and figure out how many of my old Avalon Hill games can be sold on Ebay. Anyone want a well-played copy of War at Sea? How about a very good copy of Magic Realm?

I am keeping my miniatures and some of the games, but we just have too much stuff.

Oh, the book boxes filled just under one quarter of the storage unit. The rest is filled head high with fabric and sewing, passover dishes, boxes of memories, memorabilia, and sheet music, and all manner of other good things. We hope to get rid of about half the contents of that storage area this coming year.

I am not sure if I would make a good turtle, for I carry my life around with me, or a poor turtle, because it is so heavy I can barely move.

p.s. we are keeping the 5-volume Ogden Nash.

p.p.s. The toddler likes Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, although he wants more pictures and less poetry.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:04 PM | TrackBack

August 23, 2004

Grrr - wasted day

I hate days like this.

I just did not focus, did not work (edited a couple of items for the semester), did not get housework done, or yardwork, or errands, or projects. I just sat.

I am dreadfully self indulgent; I have trouble focusing; I procrastinate like nobody's business. I fear I am in the wrong profession.

I am not happy right now. Will try to get SOMETHING done tonight. I only have a week before classes start.


Posted by Red Ted at 06:47 PM | TrackBack

July 14, 2004

Civil Religion and Oaths

I have not gotten much work done this week. I blame poor sleep and rainy weather, but it is getting frustrating. Part of the slow pace is because I am wrestling with something that I am not quite sure what it is doing in the current draft. I am very unlike, say, Heather Corinna who has been cranking out 20 to 50 pages a day for months (you GO girl!).

Basically, the section discusses civil religion in the context of social control - people are less likely to do wrong in situations where they have sworn not to do that wrong. In other words, oaths of office or oaths to tell the truth in a court of law are enforced by two means, one secular and the other eternal. In this world, we can require officials to post bonds for the performance of their office, or prosecute them for misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance, or impeach them from office. In this world we can prosecute someone for felony perjury for telling a lie under oath. But, say the folks who like civil religion, those penalties are not sufficient. People will only do the right thing and tell the truth if they believe that there will be eternal consequences for their actions here on earth, and if they swear a specific oath reminding themselves of what those consequences are.

I want to use oaths of office and oaths in court as a tie between the religious settlement - religion in the form of laws and constitutions - and civil religion as practiced every day. I am just having trouble phrasing the connection.

My common fault when I am not quite sure what to say is to say something that is almost right, then say something else almost right, and again, and again - like firing a birdshot at a hard target in the hope of getting at least one pellet where it needs to go.

And, of course, I have been sleeping poorly so I am having trouble parsing my stuff to figure out what I need to say, what is bloated verbiage, and what is a nice idea but not needed for the argument.

And back to work. With any luck this little think piece will get me over this stupid block. Otherwise, I cut the entire four page section and keep going without it.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:38 AM | TrackBack

June 30, 2004

Hot Dust

One of the little things that has been bugging my about my computer has been that the thing overheats and hangs when playing some games or when doing some multi-media tasks.

This frustration came to a boil earlier today - I finally got fed up with Windows Media Player and started converting my music library to iTunes, only to have the computer shut down every five minutes. So, I dug into drivers, and I moved the hot computer next to the air conditioning vent, and I opened the case and checked that the fans were working, and I otherwise messed about.

While using a flashlight to check the motherboard's onboard flash ram to make sure I was about to flash the correct bios, I noticed that the top of the CPU heat sink looked wrong. Sure enough, I pulled the fan off and discovered that there was a thick layer of tightly packed fine dust blocking the top of the ventilating fins. One clean heat sink, one re-attached fan, and instead of a cpu that runs at 67c until I start playing with music, at which point it shoots up to 71 and shuts down, I now have a cpu that runs at 40 c, until I start playing with music in which case it hops up to 42 and remains stable.

Dust, just dust.

As always with me and computers, it took me an hour to diagnose the problem correctly, five minutes to fix it -- made worse because I slept poorly last night and was all kinds of cranky today.

And so to cook dinner (at least I revised a few pages a few hours ago.)

Posted by Red Ted at 06:43 PM | TrackBack

March 10, 2004

EBay - What am I missing?

J has been bidding on EBay looking for a basic electronic keyboard she can use to practice for her choral society. She does not want much - 4 voices, touch sensitive keys, and a sound that is not too horrible.

What she has found is that she will figure out her walk-away price for the item, bid it, and the auction will go into the last few minutes. Then someone will come along and place a last minute bid and win.

They are using software to watch the auctions and bid at the last minute.

I find it annoying, and I can not figure out what is the advantage of using a macro to bid at the very last moment. It does not help you get any given item any cheaper, unless people are bidding their hoped-for price and not their walk-away price. About the only advantage I can imagine for the practice is that it lets you watch a mess of auctions without making any contracts, and then bid only at the last minute so as to keep your options open.

But that also seems a little silly.

So why do people do it? I have started using the Buy it Now feature for EBay auctions as soon as someone has a Buy it Now for less than my walk-away price, because I get tired of waiting for an auction to end before discovering that a last minute feeder has topped my price. I would rather have the item than spend weeks on end bidding and losing at the last minute in an attempt to save a buck or three.

What am I missing?

Posted by Red Ted at 08:30 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 03, 2004

Hark, what pen through yonder day doth break?

Well, I returned all the student papers and exams and homework tonight.

For the next four days all I have to do is write (and prep class, and take my share of baby time.)

I have not written in almost 3 weeks - it will be nice to do it again.

I wonder what I was working on?

ps, pardon the fractured Shakespeare

Posted by Red Ted at 08:23 AM | TrackBack

February 21, 2004

Computer Woes

I am still tired - little people do this to me. FiL also makes me tired.

I am in the process of troubleshooting my computer - it has developed the bad habit of shutting down on me without warning. The only pattern I have found is that some things will make it shut down quickly - running DOS mode graphics, running Direct X, copying one CD in Windows Media Player while playing a playlist from disk, trying to set up VPN, and working in the BIOS display screen at boot up.

Such fun.

Oh, and Brother in Law was kind enough to offer the use of his old 21 inch ViewSonic monitor as an upgrade to my 17 inch MAG. After a whopping 10 minutes with the new monitor, I am really impressed with my old MAG. This new thing is grainy and has colors that make my eyes hurt, although it might just be that I have adjusted to the old monitor after using it for 7 or 9 years.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:08 AM | TrackBack

February 17, 2004

Molasses Spill Again

I feel like that town in Massachusetts where they had the great molasses spill, for my brain is again being slow and sticky.

Let me just say that little people are very much fun, and now that his face is recovering from the bruising during delivery and the post-delivery slime-sucking mosh pit(1) the littlest man looks rather cute and somewhat like his big brother.

Let me add that it is nice to have J's dad around to help run errands and chase toddlers and help J while I am out teaching, but the man has gotten high maintenance in his old age and he absolutely exhausts me.

Finally, while I got good sleep last night I am still a mite fragile - Monday's class turned into a free association recital on the French Revolution, with me asking one section to compare Robespierre to the War on Terror (2) I wanted to cover the entire French Rev within France, got as far as 1793 and Robespierre.

Tomorrow we get to talk about Napoleon Bonaparte and the wars of the French Revolution, which should be different fun.

Footnotes below the fold.

(1) Littlest man came after a remarkably quick labor - 2 hours after the epidural J was ready to go, 3 or 4 pushes and we had a baby. He came so quick and easy that the slime was not properly squeezed out of his chest and face, and then the nurse spent 15 minutes squeezing, squeegie-ing, and suctioning him so that he could breath easily. He is fine, but he spent some time being watched because he made little kitten mews with every breath from the slime in his chest.

(2) Similarities - notion that revolutionary or special time is not subject to the same legal conditions as normal civil government, notion that the state must act with rigor against enemies in order to protect the rights of sincere members.

Differences - regular procedure even if unlike previous legal procedures, detainment not summary execution, precise laws leading to limited results not a general law of suspects leading to sweeping results, war on terror attempting to preserve an existing society not make the world anew.

I should not have asked the question - too political for too little gain even though I framed it as how best to deny someone who claims they are similar. The kids either do not follow the news or do not wish to talk politics with someone who grades them. I suspect a mixture.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:16 AM | TrackBack

February 04, 2004

Ah well

I just finished writing up Monday's class.

It was not a very good class - a mile wide, an inch deep, and hard to follow.

Today we get to do the Scientific Revolution, it should be a much better class.

It is being an odd day - woke up, got baby out and thought about chapter 2. Did some brainstorming and had a short nap. Wrote up class. Only now do I remember that I forgot breakfast and coffee.

I laugh at myself.

Posted by Red Ted at 09:39 AM | TrackBack

January 18, 2004


The Iggles ran out of baling wire and chewing gum. It was hard to watch the game.

And thats all I have to say about that.

Posted by Red Ted at 11:33 AM | TrackBack

January 16, 2004

Molasses spill

Someone spilled molasses in my brain today, for it is slow and sticky and not going anywhere.

It has been a day for erranding, and puttering, and trying to write but only getting a couple of sentences, and it has been a day for being readily distracted.

Off to do some reading for the changes I want to make to one of my stories. In an earlier draft of four I told the tale of the schisms in the Baptist and Methodist churches over slavery. The first time I told that story, I told it as part of what I called a crisis of categorization as mid-century American Protestants lost track of how to sort one another. That conceptual framework did not work and has been scrapped, taking with it several months of work.


Now I am trying to plug the story of the Baptist and Methodist schisms into my narrative towards the end, and arguing that despite their internal quarrel, both Northerners and Southerners were able to cooperate on other matters. So, I have to prove that post 1846 these folks were talking about one another and working with one another. That is research I have not yet done, but I should have enough materials lying around for me to go quote hunting.

I really do have trouble framing my arguments, and this is the sort of situation it leaves me in.

And so to read Peter Cartwright and the boys.

Posted by Red Ted at 03:32 AM | TrackBack

November 22, 2003


I had a terrible day yesterday. I graded a few student rough drafts; I read a book of short stories for fun; I dithered about. I did not do errands because I was trying to work. I did not get work done because I could not focus. It was a wasted day, and I can not afford wasted days.

I seem to have lost the knack of working when I am not stressed out. This is a bad thing. It means that I will have to stress myself out to get things done for the rest of the semester. I don't enjoy stress; it is bad for me, but I am too lazy to work without it.

Then, last night, I rattled around. I was tired, did not feel sleepy, and just moped about.

Today is a day for errands. I caught up on the rough drafts, I will grade some back homework, and we will clear the decks so that tomorrow we can day-trip to a wedding about three hours away.

And, in the midst of my motivational crisis and right before papers come in, I find that EQ is offering two free weeks. I want to play games, I don't want to work, but I have to get things done.

Pardon the whine, I slept 5 hours and it makes me even more self-indulgent.

Posted by Red Ted at 09:47 AM | TrackBack