Monday, 26 March 2007

Turns out I'm smart after all

I just took the CBC's "Test the Nation" IQ test, and scored a very respectable 128. Which a) isn't worth much, since IQ tests are, well, unreliable, but nonetheless b) is 10 points higher than the last time I had my IQ officially measured.

Which was back in college. I had an educational counsellor/psychologist who, on a whim (or rather at my instigation) gave me, and interpreted for me, a dizzying battery of tests. And when she said "you a person of slightly above average intelligence", I was very relieved.

When people think of you as smart, they think you must be smart at everything. And if something isn't coming easily for you, say you have trouble adding seven and five and reliably getting fourteen*, it must be because you're lazy. Because it can't be that you're not smart.

But it turns out I wasn't quite as smart as people thought I was. I was/am a person of slightly above average intelligence. About 115, depending. Sometimes higher, sometimes lower. But on individual skills, I am wildly unpredictable. Turns out there was some particular measure--abstract memory or verbal reasoning, or something like that--that I was freakishly good at. And this made up for the fact that I was distinctly below average at a number of things. Like subtraction.

I could do word problems, because I could always figure out what the problem was about, and I understood the relationship between what the problem was about and how to calculate the answer. I wasn't doing the math (because I was hopeless at the math) but I could reason 'about' or 'around' the math, and (eventually) arrive at a plausible answer. So it looked I could subtract, when it turns out I all could do was fake it really well.

So like I say, I recently took CBC's "Test the Nation" test and did respectably. 12/12 language, 5/6 memory, 10/12 logic, 5/6 visual, 9/12 mathematical, 12/12 perception. Whatever that means. For my age, I came out at 128. Respectable. But lately, I have trouble even counting, let alone subtracting.

*Yes, I know five and seven is thirteen**. I was trying to be funny.

** <rimshot>

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Fiddling instead of accomplishing squat

So along with other migrations, I've migrated to the 'new' version of blogger, and the 'new' version of templates and layout control. And I finally figured out how to deal with links the way I like to deal with them, and managed to get most of my links fixed. Well, many of them. In the coming weeks, I'll be playing with my colo(u)r choices and things like that. Let me know what you think. Also, if you're a pal or family (you know who you are) and you have a website or a blog or something, I am (re-)compiling my list of non-professional links. If you wanna be linked, or if you especially do not wanna be linked, ya gotta let me know, or I'll just decide for you.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Well, that was exciting

I'm migrating.

I'm migrating this blog onto the new version of Blogger, which shouldn't (have) affect(ed) any readers, but put me into a whole big mess of javascript loops and unenabled cookies, and no way to log on to request help. (If I can't log on, folks, I can't log in to click the thing that will take me to the contact page, especially if the first thing the contact page does is ask me to log in.) But now I think things have settled.

I'm migrating to Thunderbird for e-mail. This is because there's a 'portable' version that can live on my new USD flash drive (or whatever you call them--I usually call it my 'stick', but then that can be odd out of context). I lost my old USD flash drive (it's probably in my apartment somewhere with my HBC credit card that I haven't seen in two years), and replaced it with a bigger, cheaper one, which came loaded with all this stuff to make my life more portable. So now I'm migrating all my internet stuff (e-mail, blog, and browser) Mozilla products on the stick, so I can carry my cookies and saved e-mails and so on with me, and always have them when I log on, regardless of which machine I'm working on. Yee haw.

So anyway, I migrated to the new version of blogger, and due to a problem with my cookies or something got sent into a never-ending javascript-cookie loop which it took me until just now to fix.

Next our new lab will be ready to migrate to, and probably before the end of summer I'll be migrating to a new office, further down the hall. My Deanlet for space is big on 'consolidating' my department which is scattered over two floors (it used to be two buildings) into one corner of one floor. So I'll be moving sometime soon. Anything that gets me closer to the mens room and the stairwell to the new lab space (or rather the stairwell which is convenient to the new lab space) is presumably a good thing.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Wherefore art thou Blister Packaging

I realize the point of blister packaging is to prevent people from opening the package and making off/tampering with the contents. But it seems to me that the emphasis on preventing opening is overblown. I mean, the potato chip industry has been producing packaging that obviously prevents tampering, or at least makes it very visible, without actually making the package impossible to open. As has (with varying degrees of success, I admit) the over-the-counter drug industry, the refrigerated milk and juice industry, and the small office supply industry. And if stuff sold in blister packaging were more successfully packaged, I would not now be bleeding onto my keyboard. </rant>

Monday, 12 March 2007

Daylight Shmavings Time

Much as I enjoy going home while it's still light, I figure it's staying lighter later anyway, and Daylight Savings Time just makes it more likely I have to go to work while it's still dark.

Why do we do this? And why does George Bush believe screwing around with the clock is a good thing? Seems to me any energy we save in the evening is energy we use in the morning. The cows don't care about DST, and consequently neither do the farmers.

I like DST, because it usually marks the midway point (more or less) between New Years and my birthday, so it (and the corresponding switch back), makes a good time to switch out toothbrushes, check batteries in smoke alarms and flashlights, and so on. So as bad an idea as DST is, it has its benefits. But screwing around with it seems to be without any value at all. And yet a large number of people (read the Canadian government) has jumped on the bandwagon. Except Saskatchewan, which never held with the whole DST thing anyway. Like Arizona. I never thought I'd think of Saskatchewan as a sensible place, it being basically like Manitoba but rectangular, but in this, Saskatchewan Rocks. As does Arizona.

So I'm going home, in the daylight, to crawl into bed and get some much needed sleep.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Well, it's official.

I get a course break next year. Well, technically, a 'half-course' break, since around here a full course is a full year. So for the most part, I teach five half-courses a year, fulfilling my obligation of 2.5-full course equivalents. And it's still that way, even though the new computer system can't actually handle full-year courses, and you have to link, by hand, to two virtual half-courses. But whatever.

So, under current agreements, I get a course break next year, in exchange for consenting to be Graduate Chair. Which, frankly, takes a lot more time than teaching a half-course, but whatever. The plan is to eliminate the course break for Grad Chairs, in exchange for a (small) global reduction to 4.5 full-course equivalents in 2 years across the board. And I'm told my department is small enough that we technically aren't supposed to get administrative course breaks for our grad chair. So as long as it looks like I have to be grad chair anyway, I'm d*mn well getting my course break while I still can.

So it looks like one of my courses next term is going to get pulled, which is too bad for anyone who wanted to take it. But oh well. I ain't doing it out of the goodness of my heart. Especially since it looks like I still be Undergraduate Chair, and quite possibly acting Head for the fall term. Next year is going to be Administrative Hell, what with all the new administrative responsibilities, trying to get the new lab up and running, and trying to get a couple of articles and a grant application out the door. It's going to be a rough summer, come to think of it.

But at least there's three-hours a week, one term, that I don't have to spend in the classroom, and with it the possibility that I might actually get enough sleep without having an 'early' morning class to teach. So on the balance, I'm happy. I guess.