Thursday, January 31, 2008

Donor gets naming rights to a campus bathroom

I once said as a joke to a friend or two that it was a matter of time before universities, in their dash to get donors, would start naming closets and bathrooms. Well, what do you know? The University of Colorado already got on board. Brad Feld, a venture capitalist, has donated $25,000 to have a bathroom named in his honor. As part of the deal, he gets to put a plaque that also features a nice inspirational quote:

"The best ideas often come at inconvenient times. Don't ever close your mind to them."

Let's be honest. I am sure a lot of people out there have had great ideas while in the bathroom. I know I have. I have even had an epiphany or two. Ok, maybe not as transcendent as that, but you get the idea. So, what's next? The showers? I mean, a lot of people get inspired while in the shower or taking a bath.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ink Blot Test

Well, we have made it to another Friday once again. And the two people who read this blog know what that means here. Yep, it's quiz time. Let's go with some ink blots for a change. However, the result kind of makes me wonder. I can be quite the clown at times, but I am not exactly a fan of rap music. Anyways, the amusing result:

According to experts, my personality type is :
Circus Clown
Ink Blot Personality TestOther people like me display these traits.
  • They smell like cucumbers
  • They are scared of clowns
  • They like jelly filled doughnuts
  • They like rap music
  • Take the Ink Blot Personality Quiz at

    Business people want more than test results

    The irony of it all: schools and educrats have been focusing on exams and test scores. What do the employers want the most? Graduates who can actually perform in the workplace. In other words, it's not just about a test score. It's about whether you can do what you claim you can do. That is the news in an article in USA Today by Mary Beth Marklein, "Employers Want New Way to Judge Graduates Beyond Tests, Grades."

    Part of the reason that I think about this is because I have a daughter in middle school now, in Texas, which is notorious for its testing. It seems like she is taking some exam, or some practice exam, or doing some drilling to prepare for an exam, every month or so. Good thing she is also a good reader and interested in other things like art, which we nurture at home. In essence, parents nowadays need to supplement what the schools do. Get your kids to read more. Expose them to new experiences. Take them to the museum, etc. After all, there have been a few reports recently on the decline of reading. I am looking at it in a practical way: those with the minimal skills won't be in the job market, so there will be less competition for the ones who can read, for the ones who can actually communicate and have good verbal and written skills, for the ones with good critical thinking abilities and good skills in information literacy.

    Having said that, business people are no angels either. This little article does not mean that we should be rushing to hand over the school curriculum to the business world. Far from it. But it should make us aware that we still need to do a lot to fix the educational system.

    Friday, January 18, 2008

    The sounds of scifi

    Here is something interesting and different. We made it to Friday once again, and the two readers of this blog know what means. It's quiz time. This one basically entails listening to the sounds and identifying what scifi movie they come from. You do need to have your headphones or speakers on for it. So, how would you do? I got 77 on it.

    Take the Sci fi sounds quizI received 77 credits on
    The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

    How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
    Take the Sci-Fi Movie Quiz canon s5 is

    Friday, January 11, 2008

    Masters of the Universe Quiz

    What can I say? I am an 80s kid, so I had to take this one. It is Friday once again, so here is your amusement. It is actually a pretty simple quiz at ten short questions. I remember the action figures for Masters of the Universe, and some of my cousins had the big castle playset too. I used to watch it regularly back in the day. Anyways, here is the result:

    Your Score: Sorceress

    You scored

    The Sorceress is a monument to the maxim that knowledge is power, and you prefer to exercise it from behind the scenes. While benign by nature, your actions indicate a conviction that an end justifies the means. You always know how to push the right buttons, figuratively and literally. It is not often that an IQ is so evenly matched by the EQ.

    Other types with whom you'd get along:
    Rio Blast

    Your evil equivalent: Skeletor

    Your exact opposite: Grizzlor

    Link: The He Man character personality Test written by beerpussy on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
    View My Profile(beerpussy)

    Drinking Games Equals More Drinking. Ain't that right?

    Because simply taking a survey is not enough, researchers at San Diego State sent grad assistants to parties to actually verify that yes, when there are drinking games at a party, people will drink more. While the article from Reuters, "Some College Parties Have More Intoxicated Students," claims that the researchers only observed and took breathalyzer tests, I cannot help but wonder if they still did a little more up-close research. Anyhow, here is the finding:

    "College parties that boast drinking games or sexualized themes or costumes may encourage students to drink to a particularly excessive degree, a new study suggests."

    One wonders how much was paid for this study.

    Thursday, January 03, 2008

    Doing the privilege meme

    I found this via the Dirty Librarian. I reproduce it as stated there. My observations are in parentheses:

    "From What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright. Bold the true statements, then put on a Scottish accent and complain about the kids nowadays."

    1. Father went to college.
    2. Father finished college.
    3. Mother went to college.
    4. Mother finished college. (They both went. Neither managed to finish. I think my father, if I recall my mom once mentioning it, was only about 6 credits shy or so of a degree).
    5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor. (One of my uncles is a physician).
    6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers. (I would say about the same).
    7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home. (I don't think they quite got to 500, but I remember there was a good number of books in my homes. I say homes because we moved a lot when I was a kid. Anyhow, mom was big on having books in the house. When you used to be able to get reference book sets in the supermarket, we got some of those. Actually, we had a very nice history of art set of books we got that way. It covered everything from classical Greece to contemporary art).
    8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
    9. Were read children's books by a parent. (Mom would have done this)
    10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18. (swimming lessons. I also had art lessons briefly. These were offered free in one of the towns I lived in. I think it was probably some municipal grant or other. I learned to paint oil and watercolor. Anyhow, mom took lessons too at that time.)
    11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18.
    12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.
    13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18. (are you kidding? Heck, my parents barely had a credit card themselves as it was. Kids having one before 18 was simply unthinkable)
    14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs. (parents paid a lot of it, but I also had to take out college loans. Still paying them. That was undergrad. I paid for the advanced degrees.)
    15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs.
    16. Went to a private high school. (Catholic schools mostly, except for a brief two year stint in a military academy when I was in elementary. Considering my parents, especially my mom, were not exactly very pro-military, it was curious choice, in my estimation. I will add that I do have various family members who have served in the armed forces. In Puerto Rico, public schools overall are pretty dismal. My dad worked his butt off to get his kids an education. I went to a LaSalle school for a while, and I remember we had the tuition on payment plan. How do I remember? Because one of my brothers or me had to bring in the payment book with the check every month or so. One of the Brothers at the school came around the classrooms, took the check, and would stamp our book. In fact, dad always told us the one inheritance we would get from him would be an education. And I have to say, it's probably the best thing he could have gotten us. Well, that, and a sense of decency and set of good values).
    17. Went to summer camp.
    18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18.
    19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels. (When we traveled from Puerto Rico to the States we did, assuming we did not have relatives nearby. Relatives nearby meant we stayed with them).
    20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18. (I was the oldest, so I got lucky. Brothers usually got new, but also got some of the hand-me-downs. My parents made sure we always had decent clothes and shoes, even if it meant dad did without a pair of shoes for himself for a while. I know because once in a while he would come back with a pair of shoes he had resoled.).
    21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them. (Not until I was out of college, and then they gave the down payment for a new '93 Dodge Shadow. I had that car for ten years or so. So I got my money's worth for it. In high school, I did have a station wagon hand-me-down).
    22. There was original art in your house when you were a child. (If you count my mom's paintings as original art, yes. If you mean some Picasso, no).
    23. You and your family lived in a single-family house. (I think my parents rented when I was a baby. They later bought, but they moved around a lot, so I don't think they ever owned any of the houses since we were not in a place long enough to have paid off a mortgage. If I sound vague is because these things were not exactly spoken about in front of the kids).
    24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
    25. You had your own room as a child. (Privilege of being the oldest son).
    26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18. (Are you kidding? See my note about the credit cards above. Phone was in a public spot).
    27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.
    28. Had your own TV in your room in high school. (A 13 inch black and white. No cable. So, back then, it meant, about 3 channels, or four depending if the fourth station was in or out of bankruptcy).
    29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.
    30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16. (This is one of the fondest memories of my childhood, vacations where we took a flight. We flew in those big L-1011's with wide cabins. Those planes were huge. We mostly flew on Eastern Airlines; Puerto Rico was one of their big hubs. I think just about every other Puerto Rican flew on Eastern in those days. Heck, Eastern had quite a good amount of advertising on TV targeting us to fly their airline. We never flew Pan-Am, but it was still around at the time. Service was actually good in airlines back then, and the food was pretty good. They had real silverware too. My mom still speaks highly of how well they treated us kids when we traveled and how thoughtful overall the stewardesses were with a family with kids. And yes, in those days, they were called stewardesses. The Spanish word is "azafatas."Anyhow, those were the days. There is no way now I get on a plane.)
    31. Went on a cruise with your family.(I have to qualify this one. I went on a cruise for our senior class trip. So, it was not with the family. However, it should count since my parents paid for it, and it was a very big deal. While I was not too thrilled about going, since I did not feel particularly attached to my high school, mom sort of insisted on me doing the once in a lifetime thing).
    32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
    33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up. (Oh heck yea. Museums, historical sites, art galleries, trails, archaeological digs, festivals, fairs, so on. If there was some educational place or experience that you could drive to and did not cost too much, we went there. When in the States, we would go to all sorts of places. Going to the Smithsonian as a child is one of the highlights of that time. My parents were very big on exposing us to all sorts of educational experiences. It had to be affordable though. So we never did stuff like the opera. However, for example, mom made sure we had records of classical music, including opera, at home. So, we did get the exposure, even if it was not always live.).
    34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family. (I had no idea what the bills were overall. Heating is not applicable in Puerto Rico. Some air conditioning, though we had window units, not central, and we got those units gradually per room. By the time I got to high school, I had a unit in my room.).

      Grand total: 20
    Overall, I can say I had a pretty healthy and happy childhood. My parents made sure their three boys had whatever opportunities they could get them. We were close to our extended family as well, which added to the sense of family. Weekends were often spent at some relative's home. My father had a bit of a gypsy spirit, so Sunday drives were common. We were not rich by any extent of the imagination. My dad worked long hours and drove a lot in his job as an industrial salesman to provide for us. One of my memories from those days is when he came home, his hands were often cold from the A/C in the car. Apparently, he kept it cold. Money was tight at times, and yet, we were fortunate to be able to do a lot of things many of my other peers were not able to do. So, papi and mami, gracias.

    Clearly, the questionnaire is very dated by now. I mean, nowadays getting a cellphone is no big deal. We did not have them when growing up. For example, one time my dad had to borrow a different company car than the one he usually used (yes, back then, his company did provide a vehicle),. Anyhow, that one car had a mobile phone in it, and it was like a regular phone, except mounted in the car (I think the darn thing actually had a rotary dial on it). It was a very big deal. Later, as cellphone technology took off, dad did have a vehicle with a cellphone in it, but it was one mounted on the car; the whole tiny mobile thing, like the Motorola Razr I have now, did not come until much later. I think for us, my brothers and I, a lot of our good fortune is that our parents took us just about anywhere. They did not take a whole lot of time to themselves. Sure, we were dropped off at grandma's once in a while for them to go out, but overall, they took us everywhere. It meant we had a lot of time together as a family, and we got exposed to a lot of things. I wonder how the questionnaire would change or be updated to reflect young people today. Might make an interesting exercise.