Frogs and Ravens 1.0

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Wednesday, January 07, 2004


Even though I haven't decided to commit fully to Typepad (there are some things that bug me, like it's clunky navigation menus) I'm going to give up on double-posting. It's just too slow and tedious over a dial-up connection.

So come on over to the new location, and watch the kinks get ironed out!

Frogs and Ravens

posted by Rana | 1/07/2004 03:13:00 PM Permalink

Tuesday, January 06, 2004


New Year's Resolutions are such tricky things. The beginning of another year does seem like an ideal moment to kickstart better behavior, but it's not like with the dropping of a ball you are transformed into someone able to make the changes any more easily. It is much easier to fall back into the rut than to climb out of it, let alone make a new one!

For myself, I'm hoping to eat better and exercise more (like everyone else making resolutions, no doubt -- the sale of gym memberships and exercise equipment supposedly spikes in January and drops off just as quickly). So far I've had one evening of eating well and several long walks; I'll try to build on that.

It would be nice if I could manage to be less negative and apathetic, too, but I suspect it'll take more work that I'm willing to invest at the moment (as this very sentence proves!). I'll settle for feeling like I'm making some sort of progress or learning to be content with how things are.

There have been several articles in the papers about how one of the maladies of the modern consumer society is an excess of choice -- 50 kinds of cookies, 10 brands of toothpaste, infinite varieties of clothing options, etc. -- and about the depression and paralysis that results from said. I'm sceptical. As a person who commonly finds herself outside the mainstream in many ways, I'd argue that the problem is not too many choices but too many varieties of undesirable choices. Having a hundred diet books that offer myriad ways of losing weight is not helpful to me; one well-written one on how to eat better and gain some weight would be. So if having "too many choices" means that there are 101 diet books including the one useful to me, instead of 10 books that are not, I cannot see how having "too many choices" is a bad thing. In this example, "too many" means A choice, rather than none at all. It is easy for me to think of many other such examples; my favorite brands of toothpaste, shampoo, even tea and milk and bread, are all out of the mainstream. If consumers were restricted somehow to only 2, or 5 (or 10) varieties of these things, I doubt products filling my needs would find their way to the shelves.

So too with resolutions and life paths. True, it is easy to feel paralyzed by the myriad options supposedly available to me. More though, I feel frustrated by the ways many of those options are closed to me and how others seem ill-suited to my desires and needs. The question, then, is whether to adapt to the mainstream and limit my fretting to how to choose between a variety of similarly unrewarding things (like clerical jobs, or, heaven forfend, sales -- both of which seem to always be advertising for more people) or keep hunting for that one odd option that seems more like me. The latter seems truer to me, so my last resolution is to keep up the hunt and to continue my transistion out of academe with as much style and grace as I can muster.

posted by Rana | 1/06/2004 09:39:00 AM Permalink

Monday, January 05, 2004

Back from the Snows  

Yep, snow. The ol' Pacific Northwest got a faceful over the last few days. And now I'm back in sunny California, and, ironically, I'm colder in my own apartment than I was the whole time there. (Gotta get around to calling the gas company about turning on the furnace one of these days...)

Posts are probably going to be brief over the next few days; I'm testing out Typepad this month and seeing if I want to switch over to it permanently, and I expect that playing with the configuration (and/or transferring data) is going to eat up most of my online time. If you want to visit the work in progress, the URL is . I may try double-posting for a while, until I pick one or I get sick of doing so.

It's nice to be back.

posted by Rana | 1/05/2004 04:29:00 PM Permalink

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Away for a While  

I'm leaving to visit my parents for Christmas and New Years. See you when I get back!

posted by Rana | 12/20/2003 01:23:00 PM Permalink

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Everybody's Doing It  

So here's my result from the color quiz:

you are lightskyblue

Your dominant hues are cyan and blue. You like people and enjoy making friends. You're conservative and like to make sure things make sense before you step into them, especially in relationships. You are curious but respected for your opinions by people who you sometimes wouldn't even suspect.

Your saturation level is lower than average - You don't stress out over things and don't understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

What's interesting about this is that the last paragraph (brightness) seems to vary with my mood, while the color blend and the saturation remain consistent. Not a surprise, certainly, but interesting nonetheless.

posted by Rana | 12/18/2003 01:36:00 PM Permalink

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Academia vs. Survivor  

I'm not a long-term die-hard fan of Survivor but this season D. and I found ourselves caught up in the drama taking place in the Pearl Islands. At the end I was sufficiently curious to track down a description of the application process for would-be Survivors.

Ya know what? It doesn't look much worse than the academic job market! Doing a 3-minute video seems easy-peasy compared to a one-hour teaching video. Explaining which Survivor one is most like is not that far from answering the question, "Which theorists have influenced your work?" Going in for a mental and physical evaluation if invited to the interview couldn't be much worse than interviewing at the AHA. Willingness to be flown in to an unknown location where you will find yourself interacting with total strangers under tense, intimate conditions? Gee, sounds like being prepared to move to a college in a small rural town in a part of the country you'd normally avoid.

Here's the kicker, though: the odds of success are probably about the same, and while both can in theory lead to national fame and a million dollars, Survivor is over in less than two months and while physically challenging, probably has less long-term impact on one's self-esteem (at least to judge by the people on the show this season).


posted by Rana | 12/17/2003 06:25:00 PM Permalink

The Trouble with On-line Polls  

Is that it is virtually impossible to screen who answers them. It's also hard to tell who those responders are -- who knows if they're using their real names!

If you're feeling mischievous, you might want to pop on over to this poll (link courtesy of yami at green gabbro), especially since the American Family Association is only "pro-family" in the most limited sense.

posted by Rana | 12/17/2003 02:01:00 PM Permalink

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Little Bits of Paper  

I just received my brand-spanking-new membership card for the American Association of Museums.


posted by Rana | 12/16/2003 05:57:00 PM Permalink

fellow travelers
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