Cool stylus mouse computer gadget

Also?  The professor I’m now working for has one of those stylus pens that is actually a wireless mouse.  She clicks and clicks on her laptop screen and it looks like she can draw all over her PDF papers, too.  Does anyone know of a good brand to get?  One that works on a Mac?


Tables with built-in electrical outlets

The husband and I do a lot of work on our living room couch.  On our laptops.  There is only one electrical outlet for us to plug our computers into, and that is behind the couch smack in the middle.  So we have an extension cord that comes to the side of the couch and we plug our cords into that.

I have stated that when I get my first paycheck from my new job, I would like to (finally!) buy side tables for the couch.  And to solve the electrical outlet needs, I had the brilliant idea that I would find side tables that had an electrical outlet built in.  You know, like the ones they have at hotels and airports.  They would be fashionable, functional and tame clutter.

I have been searching the internets and these are apparently difficult to find.  Who knew?  Does anyone know where to find such pieces of furniture?  I don’t want to call HGTV and ask to be on a show so they can make me one (well, I do, but I have a feeling it would take a really long time, and I want one now).

New Blogging Endeavors

This one is for you, Alejna. Don’t knock me off your list!

So much has happened in the last 10 months.  Where to begin.  Let’s go with the LIFO method of accounting, shall we?

Three weeks ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease.  In doing research online, I have really been enjoying the wealth of information provided by the celiac blogging community, and feel like I should also share my celiac experience as it happens.  So I have started a new blog that will be dedicated to all things gluten free:

Hopefully I can keep this one going a little bit better than the one I’m posting on now.

I’m also trying to make this one a little more anonymous in the hopes that I’ll feel freer to post that way.  We’ll see how it goes.

Thanks for reading!

My love-hate relationship with the French #1: Humor

For those who may not know, I am in Paris for the month of July. It is a working vacation–Jay has math workshops, I have a linguistics conference, and we have about two weeks inbetween these things. We are hooked up in a nice apartment in the 2nd, after a pretty harrowing experience of being scammed. That story to come. Being back in France allows me to reflect on the 3 months Jay and I spent here in the summer of 2006, and in fact, all the times I’ve come to Paris since the first time in 1990. Man, I’ve been coming to France on and off for 18 years. Crazy.

France and I have a history. So perhaps it’s not surprising that I have a love-hate relationship with the French. Many people feel this way about the French. Rather than listing the things that both irk and endear me to these wonderful people, I’ve decided that the aspects of my love-hate relationship should get a series. In the first of the LHRF series, I will discuss my love-hate relationship with French Humor.

The French have an unusually wry sense of humor. I am a fan of wry humor. Except when it gets used on me. And the French like to do this. One instance that I was subjected to more than a few times last time I was here was something like the following, usually at a restaurant:

Me: Do you have a toilet?/Are there toilets?

Waiter: No, I’m sorry.

Me: Oh.

Waiter: No, I’m just joking. They’re over on the left.

So yesterday we walk by a fromagerie, and in the display case on the street are plates of cheese; The plates are advertised for 6 euros each, and there are about 4 different cheeses on each plate. They were brie-looking cheeses, but I couldn’t tell what kinds they were. 6 euros seemed like a decent price to pay for 4 different kinds of cheeses, so I thought I’d ask what they were. And I get this:

Me to the cheesemonger: What is on the plates?

Cheesemonger: Cheese.

Is this really necessary? To a stranger no less? Do they get their kicks out of the person’s reaction? Yes, catching someone off their guard is funny, I’ll admit. But in everyday transactions like finding the bathroom? Are French just unmercifully cruel on people who can’t identify cheese by sight or don’t make the assumption that a restaurant has a public toilet?

You know what happens when you make a supposition. You make a supp out of os and ition. Like myself, perhaps the French need a snark stripper.

But as I am also a linguist, I have to wonder: is this interaction only a result of humor at play, or is there something subtly linguistic I’m missing here. Is there something about the questions est-ce qu’il y a des toilettes or qu’est-ce qu’il y a sur le plateau that warrants that kind of response?

Comments, especially from native speakers, will be carefully considered, and earn you a coupon good for “one less frog joke” redeemable when I have been hitting the Bordeaux a little hard.

Graduate School: A form of bipolar disorder?

Apparently Delta reads my blog.

In April, I posted about Delta’s under the radar change of their baggage policy where they decided not only to charge $25 for a second checked bag, but also decided not to tell so many people about it. At that time, I questioned our friendship, said we’d get along much better if they just tried to contact me every once in awhile, and threatened to break up with them.

I have been trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, though. Hey, they got me to South Africa for $124.00 and some frequent flyer miles. I’m willing to give them a second chance for that. And to wit, I (and my one free bag) have flown with Delta 3 times since their policy came into effect in May. In fact, 2 of those flights were yesterday. Things are looking up. I’d say we’re back on good terms.

But then, my good friends at Travelocity sent me this the other day:

Delta has recently announced they are offering a rebate to customers who were charged the $25 second baggage fee if the tickets were purchased before April 9th 2008. We want to ensure that you have been notified of this information and are aware of the rebate being provided by Delta Airlines

In response to customer feedback and as a matter of goodwill, Delta has decided to make a one-time exception to the rules established in its contract of carriage by offering rebates of the second checked bag fee to those passengers who purchased tickets before this new fee was announced on

Nice gesture, Delta, I appreciate this. But again, and I’m sorry to have to say this, your coquetry is wearing thin. Travelocity is sending me this information? What, are you too ashamed to tell me personally? You have my email address. You have my frequent flyer number. You have my phone # for text messages. You have a freakin’ database with all flights taken during this time.

I know you’ve been going through a hard time and all, what with rising gas prices and the Northwest merger. You’re stressed out and you’ve got a lot on your plate. But I do think it’s time that you and I sat down and had a chat about your communication skills.

How about Sunday, after I get to Paris on yet another Delta ticket, discounted by frequent flyer miles? Oh, and if you have a little extra time, let’s chat about your SkyTeam partner Air France and their uncanny ability to lose every piece of luggage that goes through CDG.

See you in Paris, cheri, hopefully with my free, checked and less than 50 lbs bag in hand.

Name that bug

A friend of mine found this after it smacked against his patio door last night. Can you name this bug?