Southern Man

Monday, January 31, 2011

Women and Wikipedia

The New York Times has an article out today (which requires registration to read so Southern Man refuses to provide a link) noting that only about 15% of Wikipedia editors are women.

Southern Man was going to write a lengthy analysis of this but
The Spearhead beat him to it so he will simply note the satisfaction derived from contributing to something larger than oneself and the pleasure of writing phrases or paragraphs or darn near entire articles and having your edits stand the test of time without observing that these are, by and large, activities enjoyed by men but not so much by women.

Snow Day 0

With a much-anticipated winter storm on the way Southern Man's workplace decided early in the day to announce that they would be closed tomorrow so a trip to the store on the way home ensured that Casa Southern Man is fully stocked with food and drink and movies, with bean soup simmering on the stove and a good beef stew in the slow cooker. And Southern Daughter decided to camp out at her grandparents with one of her girlfriends so Southern Man will have the place to himself tonight and tomorrow. There will be cleaning and laundering and tidying up and reading and watching of movies and playing of games and web surfing, none with too much intensity. And there will be much staying up late and absolutely no setting of alarm clocks. The only question is - what will happen on Wednesday?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mandatory Meeting

Normally Southern Man can duck out of work on Fridays but the boss called a mandatory leadership team meeting today. A bit unusual to have a Friday meeting, and the location was a little odd - one of the computer labs - but Southern Man just figured that we'd have to do a bit of online training or something as part of the agenda.

The purpose of said meeting was to give us all iPads - gifts from the new Dean of the School of Business, a self-made millionaire - with the 3G service paid for by the school.

This is Southern Man's first sip of the Apple Kool-Aid so he will go home and spend the rest of the day learning how to use his new toy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dinner with Daughter

A while back teen daughter suggested that we have dinner together once a week or so (sadly this has not been the case in the past) and tonight was the night. We went shopping together and then came home and fixed spaghetti and meat sauce and Caesar salads with Key Lime pie for desert and watched the premier of Becoming Human while we ate. And then Southern Man made Fantasy Fudge, but only after daughter went to bed so he got to lick the bowl by himself. Quite a pleasant evening; hope for many more like it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Political Parties: Another Brief Primer

Not quite sure which party your're in? Allow a Founding Father and a science-fiction author help you sort them out:

Thomas Jefferson (letter to Henry Lee, 1824):
Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves.
Robert Heinlein (Time Enough For Love, 1973):
Political tags–such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth–are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
Hat tip to The PJ Tatler.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Last night Southern Man successfully burned not one, but two dual-layer DVDs.

Next up: will attempt to set the clock in the car to the correct time. Maybe. Or he could just leave it alone for a couple more months and it'll be fine.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crosshairs and Bullseyes

Southern Man has nothing against the use of military terminology in poltiical campaings. The very word "campaign" is rooted in military jargon. That said, given the blathering from the Left on this issue, let's review some recent use of such from these hypocrites.

Washington Examiner has a good run-down of CNN's recent history of such in this post.

But they forgot this one:

Crossfire aired from 1982 to 2005, which sadly eliminated the possibility of a debate on the current use of crosshairs on Crossfire.

The infamous Palin crosshairs map has recieved much attention. More, at any rate, than this one, from the Democratic Leadership Council website:

Look at all those bulls-eyes around Arizona. The place is practically in the middle of a war zone.

Oh, but that's so 2004, you say. Here's one from less than a year ago, courtesy of the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee:

Every bulls-eye targets an individual Republican, by name. Isn't that sweet? But the Dems also target their own from time to time:

Courtesy of that veritable fount of reasonable discourse, the Daily Kos, home of the infamous "Gifford is dead to me" diary.

Or was, 'till they scrubbed it. Fortunately, the 'net has a long memory.

Back in the '60s, William F. Buckley famously stated that right-wing extremist groups had "no place at the table" of the modern conservative movement. Sure, the John Birch Society (directly referenced by Buckley at the time) and the extremist-patriot and the conspiracy-is-everywhere crowd are still around, but they're condemned to the fringe and have no real influence on conservatism or libertarianism today. On the other hand, the Democrats are pretty much owned by their extremists. Sometimes it really shows.

Sources: these images can be found on any number of sites, and Southern Man pretty much lost track of where these particular images were taken. But all of the maps, with commentary, are on this post at Verum Serum.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Five Minute Hate

The recent horrific murders in Arizona - and before we say another word let Southern Man issue his condolences for those that have lost loved ones and his wish for full recovery of the many who were injured, and that the assassin suffer the full penalty of law - have brought forth a remarkable spew of vitriol from the mainstream media (and the rest of the left) blaming these events on the alleged divisive rhetoric of the right (as opposed to, say, a deranged loner with a gun), naming in particular Sarah Palin. Ever since Southern Man has wanted to cobble together a post illustrating how no one spews intolerance and hatred like a hypocritic leftie. Fortunately, Michelle Malkin did it for us. Read it all, if you have the stomach for it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bitter Truths

A comment by "julian" on this post at Citizen Renegade:
Man, how sometimes the truths on this blog sting like a thousand rattlesnake bites. I lost the love of my life due to doing every beta thing espoused on this blog and the truth is my beta behaviors rarely if ever came from weakness; they came from a sense of honor and from compassion.

It’s worse actually when beta behaviors come from compassion because if they come from weakness, you can at least say “hey im a weak insecure person”; I deserved to get dumped. But when they come from a purer place, the sting haunts you in ways that are unimaginable.
An eloquent statement of how Southern Man grieves the end of his recent marriage, tormented by pain and regret that is as fresh today as it was when he moved out, or six months later when the relationship and marriage ended in flaming ruin. Lord, grant me peace; let me forgive and forget. Amen.

Four Day Weekend!

'Cause Southern Man took Friday off (his schedule will permit this more often than not this semester) and work is closed Monday for Martin Luther King day. Will pick up eleven-year-old daughter mid-afternoon and won't have to give her back until Monday unless the weather forces an earlier return. Looking forward to a relaxing few days...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy Full House Day

The time and date is 1:11 on 1/11/11.

Just so you know.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Cell Phone Etiquette

In today's world people pretty much just talk on their cell phones wherever they are. Southern Man himself is occasionally guilty of this. And in a crowded airport terminal there aren't that many options. But Southern Man found himself in the close proximity of a conversation about poop.

Yes, this conversation dealt in nauseating detail about the amount, color, shape, consistency, odor, texture, and frequency of poop. Not to mention the variety of foreign objects contained in poop.

Well, Southern Man has kids and felt some empathy for a guy who was obviously dealing with a sick child and distraut woman. But does one really have to discuss poop, in public (we were seated at the gate), for ten long minutes?

The kicker was the end of the conversation when it turned out the subject was a dog.

Robotics Workshop Day 3

Our final session was pretty relaxed; demos of various group projects (ours worked twice in a row, which is a record) and chats from the conference hosts. Southern Man picked up one more geocache on his way to the MARTA station, ate a nice (but expensive) meal in the ATL terminal, breezed through security (with a robot in his carry-on), and had an unevenful flight back home. The only surprise was that his parking-shuttle driver was a former student, so we had a fun chat.

Kudos to ATL; no other airport in Southern Man's experience is as easy or as inexpensive to get in and out of. Again, "they" say block out the better part of an hour for security; it took less than ten minutes (and there were signs posted with estimated wait times that were dead on). The metro light rail terminal that sweeps you in and out is all of a hundred yards from baggage claim, and an internal train whisks you to your designated terminal in moments. Southern Man did less walking at ATL than at his much smaller home-city airport.

Tomorrow it is back to work. New-student enrollment figures are low (which is a concern since Southern Man teaches the first-semester courses) but he will try not to worry too much about it until then.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Robotics Workshop Day 2

Today we spent most of our time playing with the robot's sensors (both light and IR) and camera. My team wrote a program that had the robot seek out the best-lit location in the room and then take pictures of it. We also did a lot of cute image processsing programs, which were a lot of fun.

But the real fun was afterwards, when we found that our registration fees had been used to finance a reception in the hotel bar. With drinks pre-paid, and the aforementioned pool and hot tub afterwards. That's the way to wind down a workshop!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Robotics Workshop Day 1

Thanks to a tip from a friend Southern Man got a little grant to attend a robotics workshop in Atlanta, GA. So far it has been a lot of fun. We all have little Scribbler robots which are programmed in Python, a language Southern Man has not yet used but is sufficiently C-like to be an easy study. Today we got our robots connected (they talk to the PC via Bluetooth) and named and performing and tonight's homework was "teach your robot to dance." Southern Man's does the Hokey Pokey, and plays the music too.

Getting here was a strange combination of ease and inconvenience. They say block out seventy-five minutes for security - Southern Man breezed through in as many seconds. No invasive groping, no imaging scanners, just the usual walk-through metal detector and x-ray for the carry-on and shoes and such. But then we sat on the runway for three hours while the crew repaired minor mechanical problems with the jet. After finally arriving at ATL (supposedly the busiest airport on the planet) it was a short walk and $2.50 train ticket to reach the conference hotel, which is downtown right by Georgia Tech. As it turned out Southern Man arrived just in time to check in and then walk across the street to lunch and registration, so no harm done.

After the session Southern Man did a little geocaching (his first finds in GA; a couple on Tech's campus, others near the hotel) and ate chicken and ribs and drank a local pale ale at 5th Street Ribs-n-Blues and worked out in the fitness room and swam some laps and soaked in the hot tub before completing his homework. A good day. It doesn't even bother him anymore that there's no one with which to share it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Getting There

The rest of the siding is finally up on the new Workshop. All that remains on the exterior is trim, a bit of work on one of the doors, one window, the upstairs air conditioner (for eleven-year-old daughter's playroom), steps - and paint. Lots and lots and lots of paint. Southern Man will get started on the trim next time he's out there, which may be a while - his calendar is full for the next two weeks. Paint will probably have to wait until spring. But now that it's weathertight and secure he can start working on the interior.

Our crackling fire and burgers and beer were interrupted by a phone call - minor medical emergency - so we hastily quenched the coals and chugged our beers and sped back into town - only to find that the issue was resolved just as we arrived.

Back to work tomorrow. Ugh!

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Land

A satellite view of a portion of The Land from May 2010. Points of interest, clockwise from upper left, are The Cove (a small portion of the much larger lake), the location of the firepit where many burgers and brats and steaks and s'mores have been grilled and roasted and washed down with copious quantities of beer, a small grove of redbud trees and proposed site of a not-yet-built gazebo, The Workshop (at this time the structure was nearly finished but it was not yet roofed or sided), a large depression that Southern Man has always had marked for a fish pond, The Titan (so Southern Man is probably somewhere in this picture), The Barn, The Explorer (where it has sat for two years with a bad transmission), a washout that will one day make a lovely Koi Pond, and the Grassy Knoll, which is Southern Man's favorite fishing spot (The Cove is shallow, but just off the Knoll there's a ten-foot dropoff).

That's most of the interesting terrain. To the northwest the spit of land with the firepit juts well out into the lake. North of that is the "Common Lot" with a boat ramp and picnic area shared by all landowners in the division; no one uses it and Southern Man's two five-acre lots border it on two sides so it's really part of his back yard. To the north is another depression that will be the northern part of the future fish pond; just east of that is a pretty solid hackberry treeline that grew up around an old fence. And to the east of that is five or so acres of flat land on which some day, God willing, Southern Man will build a proper Victorian farmhouse.

Winter Break... almost over. Southern Man and a friend spent some time down at The Land - got the rest of the siding up on the west side of the Workshop, grilled burgers at the firepit, and enjoyed the rarity of a weekday off together. It was cold but not terribly windy, and the same is forecast for tomorrow so Southern Man will load up on more building materials in the morning and head out there again. Wednesday he must report back to work.