Posts Tagged ‘i am a geek’

22nd May
2009
written by Steph
Quick question for all my fellow readers out there (while I go about finishing up some reading so I can post some new content): what do you do when you're reading along happily and you're thrown for a lexical loop?  By which I mean, you come across a word that you don't know!  Horror of horrors, I know!  Do you: a) try to divine on your own what the word means? b) pause to look the word up right away? c) jot it down on a pad for later investigation, so as to leave the flow of your reading more or less uninterrupted? or d)  just barrel on through the confusion and continue with your reading, never to think on the word again...? I'm curious, because lately I've been reading things where I've been encountering unfamiliar words. I've used all of the tactics above, but none of them are all that satisfying for me.  I feel like it's a great opportunity for me to learn a new word, but more often than not, I look the word up right away, only to later forget what the word was and also what it meant.  I suppose this strategy is fine in terms of making sure I fully understand the slippery sentence I've just read, and it's not all that obtrusive (given online dictionaries, weird words can be looked up in seconds), but I feel like I'm missing out on the chance to expand my vocabulary AND it doesn't circumvent the need to look the word up again should I re-encounter it in the future.  If I jot the word down for later exploration, I'm stuck with not necessarily knowing the word in the context of what I've read (and my memory isn't so good that upon later looking the word up, I'll flash back to how it was used in the book, suddenly suffusing me with insight).  What's a girl to do? Tell me your tips and tricks for dealing with weird words and how you make them stick!
14th January
2009
written by Steph
This just in: The Morning News has revealed the contenders for the 2009 Tournament of Books.  For those of you not in the know, this is an annual tournament held by TMN in which some of the year's "best" books compete in a March Madness NCAA type fashion.  Two books face off each week, with the winner of that bout proceeding to the next round.  How do these battles go down?  Each week has a designated reader (generally an author or writer) who reads both books (in theory), and then declares a winner based on his or her own personal set of criteria.  Other than a penultimate Zombie round (in which previously voted fan favorites get a chance to rise again and do battle once more), in order to make it to the final round, a given book must beat each of its adversaries in each round in order to win the prize.  And what is the prize? Well, the author of the winning novel is sent a live rooster, so there's that.  But for you the reader, the whole tournament is a prize, because not only are the weekly commentaries both amusing and informative, but you get a fancy new reading list!  Past winners have been The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Accidental by Ali Smith (just barely...), and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. As I said though, it's not just the overall winner of the tournament that necessarily shines in a contest such as this.  Indeed, one of my favourite reads of last year, Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris, was an entry (but not winner) in the tournament.  I came to the tourney late last year, and read about most of the books after their rounds had come and gone.  By the end, I read two of the books on the list, and I still enjoyed the whole thing.  But this year, I want to play along!  And I encourage you to do so too!  Here's the list of books that will duke it out: (more…)
31st December
2008
written by Steph
Wheee!  I'm my own longitudinal study!

Wheee! I'm my own longitudinal study!

2008 was ostensibly my best reading year in a long while, and I’d say this was true not just in terms of quantity, but also quality!  I started to keep track in earnest of the books I was reading in 2007 (I began my listkeeping near the tail-end of 2006, but it was already too late by then to remember everything I had read that year).  I think this exercise has reinvigorated my interest in reading, and by tracking what I read, I’m finding out how to get the very most out of my reading experience.   This year, I read 44 books, which is just slightly more than double the books that I read in 2007 (20 books), and likely far more than I read in 2006 (13 books recorded).  I definitely feel as though this year a made a conscious decision to devote more of my personal time to reading, and that is certainly a decision I have not regretted.  Perhaps more significant is that I didn’t just read more books this year, but I appeared to read books that I enjoyed more overall (after all, what’s the point in reading more, if you’re enjoying the books less?).  My mean book rating this year was 3.69, which is an improvement over 2007’s mean rating (3.52), and an even greater increase when compared to 2006 (3.31).  See plot for geekish visual exploration of my reading trends.  Further in-depth evaluations of my reading habits of 2008, as well as the complete list of what I read, after the jump.  I promise there will be no more graphs.  Probably. (more…)
21st December
2008
written by Steph
I am a big Apple fan (some might even say pusher), but as with any genuine loving relationship based on trust and mutual respect, I do not view Apple products through rose-tinted lenses.  I have plenty of reasons for being a diehard Mac fan, but there are plenty of things that bear the Apple logo that I am more than happy to point out as being less than awesome (ahem, Macbook Air, I am looking at you).  For instance, one of the pieces of Apple software that I most routinely find underwhelming is iTunes. Now, some of the things that I find lackluster about iTunes, I fully chalk up to my own geekish proclivities and realize that while *I* might wish for the ability to display mean album ratings (because yes, I do obsessively rate my music collection) based on the individual ratings of the constituent songs, not everyone else even thinks about numbers nearly as much as I do or would care about applying them in this way even if they did.  Then again, that calculation is dead simple to do, and there’s no reason why Apple couldn’t do this given that they’re now really into their whole coverflow thing where you browse through your collection by individual album. But something so geeky is not really the focal complaint point of this post.  No, instead, I’m going to discuss something that could legitimately affect many people of various nerdish walks of life.  Recently I attempted to move my music library from an external hard drive back onto my laptop proper (the reasons for this are the subject of another post… ooh, suspense!), only to find myself thwarted.  Despite following all of the steps on various websites, I opened up my iTunes application today only to find myself staring at an empty library.  No amount of fiddling or tweaking or redirecting paths would help me and rectify the situation, and even redirecting the settings to my external hard drive and rebooting my computer failed to improve matters.  In the end, I just had to reimport all of my music all over again.  And look, that’s not hard at all.  The problem is that in so doing, I lost all of my original import dates along with my ratings playcounts and playlists.  And that my friends, truly sucks (see above re: obsessive music cataloguing ). Why all the automatically generated .xml files and .itl and various other database files iTunes?  And why when I follow your walkthrough and consolidate my library and do all that good stuff do you maybe work until I close iTunes tricking me into thinking that I am the winner only to then find myself with a big sucking void where my music should be?  I will point out that the last time I tried to export my music off of the laptop onto the external hard drive, the EXACT same thing happened, so I really shouldn’t be surprised, but come on!  It shouldn’t have to be this hard. Sigh.  I guess my only consolation is that I hadn’t really fully recovered from the last time iTunes failed to work in an intuitive and awesome way, so most of my music was frustratingly unrated and I had few new playlists to lose anyhow.  Still, as far as comfort goes, that’s all fairly empty.
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