Saturday, September 30, 2006

i never really liked baltimore all that much and not much has changed and as you might have guessed i'm tired, recovering and brought to you by the following pharmaceutical companies...

it dawned on me that i really DON'T have to do three people's jobs for the same $/per hour that kinkos is hiring for. so fucking what if we just bail on the study? who the fuck cares if the damn bulletin board never changes? and why should it be my fucking job to answer to parents about why someone else promised the sun, moon, and stars (in the form of tutors) and then bailed and left me with the whole fucking mess? here's my answer: "yeah, wow, you are right. this is one fucked up situation. believe me, i'm right there with you since they owe me half a house in back pay by now. here's the direct number to call ____ ______ and complain."

it does not matter. all i can do is hold up my end of the deal, work my 20 hours (which sometimes are worked all in one day!), and the things that don't happen? well, they just won't. i will not, not, NOT be the martyr here. i will not, not, NOT fuck up graduation...again. i will not, not, NOT let big administration tell me that it's all up to me. no. i will not be the business manager, i will not run the paper, i will not be trapped in a position where i am doing EVERYTHING and losing my mind all without any power/respect/whatever to actually DO things. my job is as a grad assistant NOT as cleaner upper of all the problems that others left in their wake. i will see THAT job through but i will not, not, NOT do the jobs of all those who left me in this mess. again, the direct number to call is ____ - ______ and ask them what the fuck is up?

seriously...or more would be a disservice to my girls if i let housing trample me down until i'm sick. that's exactly NOT what i want them to see. instead...they should see me do what needs to get done to graduate and not get caught in a depressive tidal wave doing well more than my share of the workload.

i will not let them reverse this on me. i will not believe that i have to accomodate to avoid abandonment. i will not let them tell me that they honestly give a shit about my graduation. because they don't. or they would have come in and done the work that needs to be done instead of just assuming i'd do it and sacrifice my needs, my life, my goals for the good of the party. because i will not, not, NOT.

call 1-800-eat-shit, motherfuckers. yeah, i DO have problems with authority, especially authority that does not step up to the plate. and i SO do not have a problem with saying that your number is up. i'm calling you on it. your time is over.

i hope you cry when you get home.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Originally uploaded by vrgrrl.
ok so this is the sign below a poster of a woman touching a statue of jesus (no, it's not obscene) that i saw in helsinki and it reminded me of yesterday's pharmacy trip...

so two nuns walk up to the pharmacy pick up a refill of vicodin. apparently she has severe cramps...this is what i overheard as she was trying to help the pharmacist find her prescription (was it under "sister" "margret" or, wait, do nuns have last names? anyway it was crazy). she said she didn't really like taking it but then her nun friend said but at least you can be at peace that you've tried everything.

so two nuns...vicodin. severe cramps. and all along they are saying "oh my GOD, thank GOD the other two sisters left town with all the DRAMA going on" and i'm like, wtf? nuns can talk like that? what kind of drama could be going on that god had something to do with making sure two other nuns got out of dodge?

so two nuns...vicodin. severe cramps. THANK GOD that she could get a prescription filled WITH REFILLS. god. god. god. is there a god? who knows? there must be if they get pain meds for the exact same damn thing i have when i would probably have an easier time scoring heroin. no i haven't tried...i just assume it has to be easier. thanks must fucking hate me or "it's not in your plan" which was the other crap they were blathering on about.

so two nuns. vicodin. severe cramps. and, oh, the pharmacy was out of prozac. that's ok. you can just substitute pain meds before i rip my utereus out as payment and demand my change back from the register.


ah, fuck it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

i'm pretty sure i've never been this tired before. i just ache all over, can hardly stay awake...all i want to do is take a week off to sleep...and that isn't gonna happen unless i end up in hospital...and even then that is only gonna be a temp solution because when the week's'll be catch up time on all the stuff i missed and back to the insanity as well.

i feel like i'm doing a shitty job on everything, my classes suck so far (and i'm the instructor, so that's not good...), wimse's barely hanging on, there are no rooms for anything (classes, programs, etc), my dissertation? what the hell is that?

the doctor said that the stories of saints don't end well. we'll i can't be much of a saint if i'm running around trying to get bible studies shut down because of that little thing we call "separation of church and state" and this *is* a public university...of course then there's "freedom of assembly"...but then we *are* in a housing facility that is *supposed* to have restrictions on who can reserve the VERY limited space we have thanks to all the lounges being shut down and i'm sorry...i can't get space to teach my class but a church can book every lounge for 5 hour stretches in the evenings?

and my cat can barely walk because i brought her to the damn vet to get her annual check up and *somehow* they burst both her eardrums and now has a massive infection.

and all i feel like doing is pulling over on the side of the road and crying...

Friday, September 08, 2006

btw, i never did put up that article that got written about me in the local paper, the news gazette, on apr 16, 2006games that reach out

video games are a part of modern life for a lot of adults as well as kids, michelle hinn says. people talk about the latest games like they talk about the latest episode of the "sopranos" or the latest best-selling book. some online multiplayer games are, in fact, little societies in and of

hinn, a university of illinois doctoral student, is doing her dissertation on social interactions and learning among college students in such games, which she became interested in during a stint working for microsoft. here's no law saying that games have to be accessible," hinn said.

while a few game developers have begun to include accessibility features -- "half life 2" sported closed-captioning and the adventure game "terraformers" was designed to be played solely by sound as well as visuals -- hinn is working to make the practice widespread.

she founded the international game developers association game accessibility special interest group, has chaired it the last two years and is running for a seat on the association's board [note: well...that didn't end up working out but, hey, it was my first effort in game politics]. at the 2006 game developer's conference in san jose, calif., last month, she was one of three people who received an MVP award from the association. she works internationally with other people promoting and developing accessible games and is co-writing a book on accessible game development for charles river media, a computer books publisher.

she's also started a software company, donationcoder, with friend jesse reichler, a doctoral student in computer science at the UI, and is starting a consulting business centered on accessible game development.

"i'm just trying to create my own job basically," hinn said jokingly.

she does all this in between, among other things, teaching classes at the UI and serving as a counselor and instructor for the women in math, science and engineering section of the florida avenue residence halls, a classroom and residential program for women majoring in scientific and technical fields.

hinn is the rare person older than 30 that college students think of as "cool," said piper hodson, who directs the women in math, science and engineering program.

hodson thinks that's due in part to "street cred" from having worked for a big-name tech company like microsoft and also a result of hinn's research, which gives her a feel for youth culture.

"energy" is a word that seems to come up when people talk about hinn, including UI professor bertram "chip" bruce, her dissertation adviser. bruce said he's excited about the insights that could come from hinn's research using games as a window into understanding how young people collaborate, learn from each other, interact and share information. "i think michelle is doing terrific work," he said.

jason della rocca, executive director of the international game developers association, wouldn't disagree. "she's full of energy and excitement and really has a drive to advocate for building accessibility into video games,´ he wrote in an e-mail. "she is an exemplary leader and has done so much to organize and coordinate the efforts of the IGDA's game accessibility SIG -- one of our most active groups."

besides closed-captioning and audio games for the blind, hinn said games can be made more accessible in a variety of ways. for example, designing them so that the controls can be remapped by the user to allow game play to be conducted easier with a mouth stick or the feet. likewise, font sizes and colors could be adjustable for people with low vision.

members of the game accessibility group hinn chairs created a game modification program, or mod, for doom III that allows not only closed-captioning for dialogue, but also for ambient sounds that tell a gamer an enemy is close.

game consoles also could be made to more easily accommodate alternative controller hardware, hinn said, like a finger pad to allow someone in a wheelchair to play the popular footwork game "dance dance revolution" with friends.

"each group is going to have their own different need," hinn said. she noted that accessibility can have advantages for game companies beyond the new customers with disabilities it may yield for them. for instance, "switch," or one-button, games easily usable by the disabled also work well on cellphones, a growing and potentially lucrative game market.

hinn, who should finish her doctorate in august (note: well...there's been a bit of a delay with that...), earned bachelor's degrees in music performance and psychology and a master's in instructional systems design at virginia tech before coming to the UI's college of education for a national science foundation fellowship focused on educational technology.

she got interested in web-based classes and simulation games for educational purposes and has worked on projects related to those topics at the UI, the national center for supercomputing applications and elsewhere.

her own experience overcoming dyslexia and experiences with disabled friends and students working in programming and on computers got her interested in accessibility, first in educational software and online resources.

hinn, who described herself as being into computers and social justice, was interested in games already, and accessibility in games gradually became a big interest.

"we always had game consoles in the house (growing up)," she said.

writer: greg kline
so there it is.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Originally uploaded by vrgrrl.
there's not much more to be said besides it is what it is...

but that's never stopped me from saying more, of course. i just kind of have to accept that my life is what it is, that there will be no family but that there'll always be friends who are family...and that i can't fall and stumble's not the time for that...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

i haven't thought a lot about pink floyd in some time...until one of the rockstar: supernova *rockers* performed wish you were here earlier tonight. and being in a blue kinda mood today flashed me back to when we were all half their age...x and duke and slo and how crazy everything was and how important everything seemed...and even though the music wasn't quite ours, it was a refuge from the shiny pop crap of the, so you think you can tell
heaven from hell,
blue skys from pain.
can you tell a green field
from a cold steel rail?
a smile from a veil?
do you think you can tell?
and why did any of us wear so much tie dye back then and i guess the 80s was the new today is the new 80s...and we watched a SNL the other night from the 80s, from the reagan era and it's hard not to be completely, completely amazed that the country was so 100% fucked up then...the SNL *news* talking about the latest scandals from the reagan administration and i'm like holy fucking crap...haven't we lived through this enough?and did they get you to trade
your heros for ghosts?
hot ashes for trees?
hot air for a cool breeze?
cold comfort for change?
and did you exchange
a walk on part in the war
for a lead role in a cage?
and i think of how much i've gotta get out of here, get out of this i wish, how i wish you were here.
we're just two lost souls
swimming in a fish bowl,
year after year,
running overthe same old ground.
what have we found?
the same old fears.

wish you were here.
and it's almost october again, jimmy and amy. wish you were here.
pfft. i'm declaring this week the winner, which means i'm the loser. between room scheduling not going in my favor, to my brain feeling like it's totally melting down, from somehow not being able to communicate anything to anyone, to yet another semester starting where nothing is going any way that i would have thought...i'm about to quit. yeah, let's hear it...i'm about to quit.

you know when you are so in over your head that delegating work would mean more work and more hours for you and therefore more trying to catch up on other things that fall behind as you are trying to get things off your plate? do you know that place? it's 1000% annoying and it seems that all you accomplish is somehow pissing people off...

to the lady at the grocery: that was a cool trick you pulled when you let me go ahead of you in the lane that just closed only i couldn't see it yet. then the guy says "this lane's closed" so then i see that the damn light is off so i go into the next lane (2/2 remaining) and stand behind you, lady. then they suddenly reopen the closed lane, you shove past me (and i mean shove past me) so that you get to the lane first and i'm just looking at you, kind of amazed and yet not at all surprised that you didn't bother to say excuse me or whoa i forgot to pick up my kids or something, whether it was true or not. oh -- and nice "go chief" shirt you were wearing.

pfft. no, i'm not about to quit, really. i'm just more than a little tired of everything right now, including the latest family situation...which really isn't a just, well, isn't.
ugh. i need to go to the store...something to break me out of this funk.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

not sure either...

not sure either...
Originally uploaded by vrgrrl.
so this is some weird double/triple exposure shot from finland (again, what is WITH the finland photos...i haven't been there in two years!) but the picture kind of reminded me of my double/triple/etc life (or is that lives??) i'm leading right now thanks to the recent implosion of the world...or at least my world.

i don't really feel like working at the moment but i know i have to...well, NEED to...but i'm so exhausted from last week, it's crazy and the doctor said that he has his doubts with all the changes that there will be adequate resources and that i'm going to really face a major pull trying to make up for all the abandonment...

my age has come up quite a lot this week and it's funny to see the looks of utter confusion on people's faces. i know...i'm lucky...i don't have mom looks between 10-20 years younger than she is...and i don't know...i guess that my mix of interest in finding out what this generation is about and my knowledge about how quickly and easily (and scarily) things can change makes the whole age thing confusing.

but people are over a decade off!