It’s so pretty!

Wordpress Leopard Style

Brian mentions this plug-in for the WordPress admin pages. It completely changes the appearance. See and compare with the standard WordPress admin page (this is from another one I’m working on):

Standard WordPress

It goes beyond just being so purdy. I also have ease of posting:

It's so pretty!

I can still see where to click for all my other site maintenance needs (the main ones, anyway). I don’t have to click here or there to find it.

As for another plug-in, Akismet, I found it useful afterall. I got me some spam!

Blog Spam

However, it doesn’t look like it tastes good stirfried with noodles, vegetables, and soysauce. No yakisoba with this spam.

Stay Tuned: Shindo Goes To Washington

Well, I’m off on a three day trip to Washington DC. I visited a few years ago and I’ve always wanted to return ever since. What lies in store? Mainly touristy things. I plan to visit a few places I didn’t get to last time, such as The National Museum of the American Indian. I’ll also have to stop by the National Cathedral again (I heard that the parking structure is complete. The lawn was completely ripped up the last time I visited). Also, I’m obligated to get some good eats.

Brian, Fredo, and I are still working out a plan to meet up. Wednesday sounds like it will be the day for sure, but the details definitely have to be worked out.

I’ll take plenty of pictures everyday. I’ll post some here, but you can definitely see them on Flickr. I’ll also have a video camera handy, but I’m not guaranteeing anything here.

The only bummer is I won’t be able to catch a Blowoff event. Perhaps I’ll plan my next trip around it.

I fly out tonight. Stay tuned…

Today, Chris went on this crusade against e-mail priority flags (a God-awful invention if I ever saw one) and I went on some mini-tangent about Office 2007, which I saw as another useless Microsoft invention (Zune is one of those things, but that’s another post altogether).

A lot of my frustration with Microsoft’s finest creation stems from my experience with the software during my first week of school. At the college in the desert/mountains, the composition classes have one hour of computer lab time and they’re in these brand new classrooms with state of the art PC’s. Last semester (before the new building was completed), my class met for their lab in the library, and those computers were polished white iMacs (circa 1999-2002, the cathode ray tube variety). All of my students (and yours truly) hated those antiquated devices (which were updated with Panther, but incredibly slow. The spinning rainbow wheel was a common occurrence). Even though I’m not a PC person, I feel the new computers are a vast improvement. Of course, they come equipped with Office 2007.

Since I teach English, I naturally have them use Microsoft Word for their in-lab writing assignments. I suspect all of them were familiar with some previous version of the word processsing program. Before my encounter with the new Word, my most recent experience was with Office 2004. Two weeks ago, I plunked Office 2008 into my new MacBook, but that did not prepare me for its PC-based sibling.

Unfamiliarity with the program didn’t make the lab an easy one, especially since I had students create writing samples during that first day.

The interface was the thing that confused all of us. Office’s website calls it “Fluent User Interface,” but it was a foreign language for all of us. Certain formatting features (new ones) are laid out in a way for the user to easily click on them to use, but this does very little good if you don’t need them right away. For some simpler functions, they weren’t so readily available like on the older versions. Mac’s Office 2008 retains this older interface and integrates it with the new interface. However, Office 2007 goes for something newer and flashier. It took one of my students to figure this out, and she told me to click the “medallion”* on the upper left hand corner and comes the functions to save, print, and some of the other basic ones we all love.

Once we all understood these things about Office 2007, things are easier. I’m sure there’s some more learning we will all do as the semester comes along. There are a few other computer issues I can think of, but that’s for another time. Sometime down the road, I should call the school’s IT department and arrange for someone to come to the lab as a guest speaker.

As I played around with Word 2007 today, I have to say it grew on me. One of the coolest features I discovered was that files can be published as blog entries. Strangely enough, this feature isn’t available in Mac’s Word 2008. Yes, I am eating some earlier words. Perhaps I’ll say more as I become more and more familiar with the program.

*my little term for the Microsoft crest that adorns the upper left hand corner of the Office 2007 program window.

Call Me When You Have A Real Problem

It’s been quite a week. It wasn’t my intention to go dark on the blog last week, but I didn’t have the time nor the inclination to post anything beyond the one that announced the death of my relative. I picked up some hours at the language school in the morning mainly because I said yes to it the week before, but given the sudden change, it gave some normalcy in my life (as if there is any) while the rest of it was visiting my uncle, making sure he’s ok before and after the funeral.

I started reading an interesting book about Starbucks, that went by the wayside. I picked it up again this week, an interesting read so far. I finished Deer Hunting With Jesus some time ago, and I’ll do a post on it soon.

At the language school, I had a very cool group. While not the rowdy crowd of last summer’s Ju-Ju story, this group was intelligent and eager to learn. There was a retired psychologist from Germany whose husband was conducting the Wagner opera now playing in San Diego. While I’m not a regular opera goer, I must go to this one as this is too good of a story to let it end without me going.

Right now, it’s faculty development week at several of the schools I teach. I briefly saw Rob and chatted a bit, but we were at the English department meeting for the school where we both teach. We’ll most likely stay sane through making postcards and pursuing other creative avenues, and then reading each other’s blog entries about it.

Earlier this afternoon, a friend of mine called me to tell me Heath Ledger died. Right after I finished talking to him, I called Gary, my friend the former Baptist minister/Brokeback Mountain afficionado, and left a message on his voice mail. It only seemed right as he was the novella’s biggest proponent (among the people I know) and he got all his friends to see the movie the night of its release. Heath Ledger in his portrayal of Ennis had touched Gary’s life on some level. After he called me back, I learned a few other of his friends, including our mutual friend Jaylen, called him with the news as well.

Then there are the friends who annoy me. Well, one friend, Mr Pushy, who invited me as his guest to a party he was invited to. On Saturday, the day of the party, I got cold feet after hanging out with my uncle all day. I wanted to have some time alone, so I called him to bail out of it. I made the mistake of asking him if he would be offended if I didn’t come instead of simply telling him why I did not want to go. He then told me he would be, making me feel cornered. I didn’t have a bad time at the party, but it didn’t leave me feeling good about him as a friend. There was something else, but I can’t talk about it. However, it bothered me for the past couple of days. I tried calling him yesterday, but couldn’t get a hold of him. I finally got a hold of him and aired my gripes. From his end, my trying to back out of the party pissed him off as he RSVP’d.

I explained my position, where I told him the reasons why, and he in turn tried explained his reasons. I don’t think we’ll ever quite agree here. Somehow, I left the conversation feeling like being his friend was more of a chore than before. He seems to be of the mindset that when you say you’re going to do something, you should do it. He’s not crazy about people changing their minds. He told me it was something he was working on himself. How come attempts at personal growth have the ironic effect where they are hard on you when you reflect their faults?

I feel if someone tries to communicate their trying to back out, it’s better than some other ways they could go about it. There’s one time honored, passive aggressive means of bailing out: standing someone up. I didn’t do that.

He said I had a pattern of “doing this” (which I don’t quite understand). I always love it when people make abstract cases like this, especially since he didn’t seem to have the time nor desire to explain it. While I can’t think other attempts to flake out right off the top of my head, he might hold my refusal to go out with him to the bars when he has the itch to go out against me.

I guess I really should think about why I resist being social with this friend, especially at times when he seems to need me.

The Year in Meme

I got this idea from Danny (who in turn got it from someone else who got it from someone else, and so on, and so on). From what I understand, I take the first sentence of the first entry of each month, and it gives a year in review.

Note: No posts written in January, but I wrote one on New Year’s Eve, 2006.

When the Star Trek shows were on, I could enjoy drama and non-reality.

I’m not sure what to make of this episode.

I just read Urban Bohemian’s blog entry about not being able to take photographs on the Metro.

As part of the countdown to Bjork‘s new release, here’s a vid she did ten plus years back, part of the Spike Jonze portfolio:

It’s an annual tradition. I, along with my friends Sharon and her boyfriend Brian (not to be confused with Brian), do time at the Rock and Roll Marathon Health Expo.

I dropped a few links this week, but I think I made the right decision concerning this one.

For any readers in the NYC area:

When I took a creative writing class a long time ago at a local community college (I don’t teach there), the professor would occasionally say things like “I’m not that kind of whore” or “I’m not a professor, I’m a prostitute.”

Welcome to the Pet Peeve Edition on ShindoTV. Here are some of mine.

Fred Phelps and the church he sired (literally) are slapped with an $11 million verdict for picketing a soldier’s funeral.

I can’t believe that 2007 is almost over.

In all, that is the first sentence edition of the ShindoTV year in review. While it doesn’t say a whole lot about my blog, the lines do make for an interesting juxtaposition. I’ll do more of a year in review later, but this has been quite an experiment.

Soma Holiday? I Wish

Chris is a lot like my friend Scott in that he’s pretty adept at creating lurid scenarios with me as the main character, like he did at the beginning of his Project Runway recap. He has me recovering from my end of the semester in a Tijuana skin bar, whatever that is.

If my life was only so interesting. In reality, I’ve been drowning in papers, trying to wrap things up for that one class I so want to put behind me, and then I have finals for the classes at the urban college. On Thursday, I had to turn in grades for the college out in the mountainous desert area, and I had to turn in other documentation, such as the grade ledger and attendance. I learned my lesson for the future – be more organized with that stuff.

I still have stuff to grade for the other classes – term papers for the critical thinking class and a final for the grammar class. I am having an informal wrap for the critical thinking class, which should be fun. They were difficult as a group in the beginning, but I’ve developed a good relationship with them, especially after Felicia was out of the class.

On Thursday night, I had to give the basic composition class their in-class essay final. The department at the urban college gives a writing prompt related to two assigned readings. I must go over the readings in at least three class sessions to prepare them. Several of my students took part in discussing the readings. Others ditched or left early when we were going over the readings and the topic, and I have a feeling that it will show. Yesterday, I took part in a department wide gradathon in which people who teach this course, plus some, went into grading triage. We could grade everyone’s but our own. It took a few hours, but it got done. I don’t think I can look at them right now.

A few hours later, there was a department party at one of the professor’s house. Lots of good food and some wine, which I really needed. I drank enough to unwind. I also had a few conversations with instructors and professors about the semester overall. Tomorrow night is the party for the English department at the east county college.

Changing the subject, I’m at the point where I need a haircut. It’s simply a matter of calling the salon and setting up an appointment with the guy who cuts my hair. He does great work and I always feel great after he’s done. I’ve let the craziness of my life manifest itself in my hair. If I let my grow long, it gets very wavy and out of control. Strangely enough, this comes from my mother side of the family (which is Okinawan), and I get this trait from my grandmother (which skips generations).

I could get some clippers and buzz all of my hair off, but I’m not a buzz kind of guy. I always like to have some hair, even if I’ve never cared for wavy/curly hair. When I was four years old, my father tried to give me a haircut and wound up shearing me bald. I wore a cap for a month, even wearing it to bed, and I never forgot it. I’ve done buzzes from time to time, but I’ve never stuck with it. It’s only been good for if I got bored with my hair or if I needed a cure from a bleachjob (which happened only once).

With this guy who does my hair, I don’t need to fear a bad haircut. I’ve had my share of bad haircuts since childhood (starting with my dad) and barbers and others who just could not cut my hair. The worst were people who think you can’t mess up on curly hair. I’d know the difference, so I hear someone talk like this, it’s time to move on.

Gotta get a haircut soon.

The past few days…

I haven’t posted in a few days. It wasn’t due to having a boring week. There was one thing of note which I want to get into, and classes have been stressful, especially one. I’ve been backlogged on the term papers and another essay for this freshman composition class. A little more on that later. Plus, most of my holiday shopping is over.

I got to meet Chris this past Saturday. I actually had a very good time hanging out with him and showing him about town. As he mentioned in his post, it was finally nice to meet someone I’ve been corresponding with for the past few months. Actually, it’s been a good part of the year. He does have the same kind of biting wit that’s displayed in his blog, but he’s definitely a good guy. We had some good conversations as we got acquainted in real time.

Brian’s was diner where we ate and hung out for a while before heading to Sole Luna in Downtown for a couple of beers. Chris said it best about Brian’s being the gayest diner in San Diego and mentioning the P-Flag mom and her son walking in for dinner. Of course, Brian’s is also one of those gastronomically incorrect places, as many 1950’s styled diners are, and even the modern menu items aren’t good for your waistline. Not the place to be if you’re a skinny bitch on a diet.

Sole Luna
is near where I used to live in Downtown, so I still know many of the people in Cortez Hill. Chris got to meet a few including Karen, who stuck around for a bit and was actually good company.

The next time Chris is in town, I’ll have to take him to one of our several outlet malls if he has an afternoon free. I’m definitely game to seeing Austin in the future, especially to see if it lives up to its reputation as one of the weirdest cities in the US. Plus, I’ll definitely take up Chris’s offer to show me around town.

I’m in the midst of grading hell with the freshman compostion class. Somehow, I can’t seem to move fast enough when it comes to their papers. Most of them are done. They’re not great, but what can I expect from term papers. I take the first comment back. Some of them are very good, but others are not. The thing that gets me are that many of the papers don’t conform to MLA (Modern Language Association) style (despite having gone over it with the class and even giving them a handout of where to look in their reference books for what they need to do). For the future, I have to figure out how much of this problem is me and how I go over it, and how much they’re paying attention. Regarding this class, I never saw a pen move when I went over MLA style or anything else for that matter

I had the final class session with another class this morning. This one was at the school out in the mountains. I brought some coffee (Starbuck’s traveler) and some of my students brought some goodies. It was an informal wrap, and I felt really good about seeing this class off into the next semester. I’ll miss them for sure (can’t say the same for the other class, though I’ll be happy to see some of them on an individual basis).

I picked up some DVD’s this week. BSG’s Razor was released on DVD this Tuesday, and there are some additional scenes, but no healthy sex as I hoped. Maybe I’ll recap it later. Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet was released as a DVD some time ago, and all I can say is, “About time.”

I saw Project Runway last night and I’ll do my recap tomorrow. Culture clash and meltdown (easy to guess between who) in this episode.