2006 Reading List

Discussion Based Online Teaching to Enhance Student Learning – Tisha Bender
The Sandman v6: Fables and Reflections – Neil Gaiman
Ice Haven – Daniel Clowes – 24 March 2006
Through Painted Deserts – Donald Miller – 27 March 2006
Nufonia Must Fall – Kid Koala – 28 March 2006
The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell – 6 April 2006
Roads to Santiago – Kathryn Harrison – 9 April 2006
Design for Community – Derek Powazek – 10 April 2006
Using Moodle – Jason Cole – 12 April 2006
A Classroom of One – Gene I Maeroff – 2 May 2006
The Pilgrimage – Paulo Coehlo – 8 May 2006
Monster of God – David Quammen – 10 May 2006
Fluffy v1 – Simone Lia – 18 May 2006
Fluffy v2 – Simone Lia – 18 May 2006
Fluffy v3 – Simone Lia – 18 May 2006
Fluffy v4 – Simone Lia – 18 May 2006
A Long Way Down – Nick Hornby – 18 May 2006
The Sandman v7: Brief Lives – Neil Gaiman – 18 May 2006
The Constant Gardener – John Le Carre – 21 May 2006
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab – Gideon Defoe – 24 May 2006
Brunelleschi’s Dome – Ross King
Invisible Monsters – Chuck Palahniuk – 17 June 2006
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach – 24 June 2006
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation – Lynne Truss – 25 June 2006
Lessons from the Cyberspace Classrom – Rena M Paloff and Keith Pratt – 4 August 2006
The Technology Facade – Lawrence A. Tomei – 6 August 2006
Noah’s Garden – Sara B. Stein
The Manuscript Library of Sir Robert Cotton – Colin G. C. Tite
Strangers in Paradise Book 1 – Terry Moore
Strangers in Paradise Book 2 – Terry Moore
Strangers in Paradise Book 3 – Terry Moore
Strangers in Paradise Book 4 – Terry Moore
Strangers in Paradise Book 5 – Terry Moore
Barefoot Contessa at Home – Ina Garten – 26 December 2006
Half Magic – Edward Eager – 28 December 2006
Jamie’s Italy – Jamie Oliver – 30 December 2006


What have I been up to?

  • Finished up the semester on the 10th, making me a Master of Science. I have one paper to finish for my doc sem, which I haven’t touched since the beginning of the month. Don’t tell Boyd.
  • Spent a week and a half testing, tweaking, and training on our new CMS, which, after two semesters of piloting, goes live for all classes in t-minus 17 days. I’m anxious about the training issues, but cautiously optimistic.
  • Drank a bunch of barium and saw my insides (looking for an ulcer), but haven’t heard anything back yet. The whole procedure was more miserable than any pelvic exam I’ve ever had in terms of the uncaring touches, the lack of explanation for what was going on, the discomfort, and being left uncomfortable, cold, and alone on a weird table for an extended period of time.
  • SB went to Ohio for almost a week to visit his family. Solo time was nice but unproductive, and I was very glad to have him home.
  • Sid continues to be sick. She’s been on antibiotics for 10 days, but they don’t seem to have done much. Baby kittens with their crazy bugs!
  • Went to Rockford for Christmas, spending most of the weekend chilling with my family. I came home with a pile of cookbooks and a new food processor = yay! Photoset here
  • Received a beautiful necklace and perfect stationery, among other fun gifts, from SB. I gave him a Slimmy, a couple of books, and a few other things.
  • Carrie was here for a few days/ It’s always nice to have her around, even though we mainly just veg out. We went to yoga on Wednesday, and I was pleased with my flexibility, though I’m wildly out of shape. She left yesterday afternoon, and now I owe her a visit. She lives in Brooklyn, which I’m sure is wildly more interesting than Champaign.
  • SB and I rode in our first Critical Mass last night. Only six people (including us) came out, but it was nice to start small and be able to ride at a normal pace rather than going v slow with lots of people.
  • SB and I have been taking advantage of a quiet break to do a lot of cooking – some from new cookbooks, others from books we had lying around. In the last two weeks, we’ve made:
      Bourbon Cranberry Sauce for a vegan Hanukkah. We ate this over soy ice cream, but I’m sure it would be equally good over turkey or regular ice cream.
      – Plantain and Corn Soup and Lamb Tagine with Sweet Potatoes from The African and Middle Eastern Cookbook. My first experience working with lamb, though SB did most (OK, almost all) the work. The tagine was incredibly tender and flavorful. The plantain soup took almost no time to make, and was even better the second day.
      Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches and Zucchini Pancakes from The Barefoot Contessa at Home. I added the Barefoot Contessa cookbook to my Amazon wish list primarily so I could remember to buy it for Mom. Instead, she bought it for me, and I’m really glad she did. Roasting the peppers was time consuming but easy, and the payoff (in sandwich form) was awesome. I made the zucchini pancakes for brunch yesterday, and they only reinforced my new love for zucchini – simple, relatively low in fat (a total of 1 T butter and 1 T oil used for the whole recipe, which made 12 pancakes), and very tasty. I’ve marked about half the recipes in the book for later cooking. šŸ™‚
  • I start a work-study at the yoga studio next week. One hour of cleaning per week in exchange for one free class per week. I’m hoping to take two classes this winter/spring, so that will help me save some money!
  • Still not sure our exact plans for New Years, but I’m hoping they’ll involve a few parties and lots of friends


When I talk about why I research social software or online communities, I like to say that I research these things to prove to my mom that the things I do online aren’t scary. In the almost ten years since I started hanging out online, meeting people via BBS or webring or the @forumz or LJ or NaNoWriMo, I’ve made a number of close friends – some, like Carrie, that I’ve met in person, and others, like Cait, that I’m still waiting to meet. There are all sorts of scary things that do go on when people meet online, but I’ve been fortunate to have overwhelmingly positive experiences. My ‘online friends’ – though I prefer to think of them as ‘friends’ – are funny, generous, creative, and kind. I’ve exchanged presents, letters, music, software, and pretty much anything you can send online or through the mail with these people that I first knew as just a screenname, but who have become a source of encouragement, comfort, laughter, frustration, and friendship despite the miles and lives between us.

My ‘online friend’ Leslie died this weekend. She hadn’t updated the advent calendar in a few days, and I was starting to worry, as were other friends. I sent her a note last night saying that I hoped she was off having adventures while we were stuck in the past. When I logged on this morning, I saw a post from another friend saying that Leslie had died over the weekend, probably of bronchitis. Her mom found her yesterday, and that’s all we really know.

I never met Leslie in person, but she always felt like the cool big sister I never had. She was encouraging during times of boy trouble, and she seemed to know everyone. She sent me software when I couldn’t afford to buy it, and I sent her cookies in return. When I posted about my house troubles, she offered the possibility of buying it from me as an investment property – an incredibly generous gesture from someone I’d never met. I had a funny Hello Kitty thing on my desk waiting to send to her for Christmas.

Paul said a while ago that when someone you know online dies, it’s hard to cope because information is so limited and more news may or may never come. I think it’s also hard to cope because there’s never a chance to say goodbye. I suppose that’s always the case with death – but with an online friend, you’re doubly deprived. I never had the chance to meet Leslie – the person she was away from the computer – and now I’ll never know what I missed. I think it’s also hard because when an online friend dies, you know there are other people who are sad, but they’re not there to give you a hug.

So goodbye, I guess. I wish I’d had the chance to know you offline – to eat one of your fantastic meals and learn more about your interesting, challenging life. My life was richer because you were a part of it, and I hope that wherever you are, you are at peace and without pain. You will be dearly missed.

update: more memories of Leslie here. I think half the Internet is mourning her today.

wednesday this ā€˜nā€™ that

At the recommendation of my coworker/defacto boss, I stayed home today to work on my CMC paper. The Cotton project is on hold until the end of the week, after I turn this paper in, which is really too bad, because as I said before, the more I read about it, the more interested in it I am. As a total side note, my presentation on Monday went well, and I came away with a stunning redirect that I think will help me finish the project in the next few weeks (encouraging!).

Sid had her first vet appointment on Monday. That was excitement and a half, and we came home $50 poorer but with no real indication as to what’s going on with any of her bizarre-o ailments. She’s happily sleeping in a little cat nugget on the couch behind me. We’re trying new feeding strategies to make sure she’s getting all the (better) food that she needs, while at the same time keeping Basil (who is a little piggy) out of her food and therefore at a reasonable weight.

Leslie posted this link in her advent calendar today, and I’m totally loving it. Things like online advent calendars and funny blogs etc directly impact my productivity, which is why I’m in love with my carrel, even though it’s approximately 1,000,000 degrees up there. I’m on 10 East in the Main Stacks, which means that there (1) no internet and (2) very few distractions. I spent a good part of the weekend locked away up there, and I intend to spend most of this afternoon and evening doing the same thing. It’s very satisfying to go work for 4-5 hours and then take guilt-free breaks at home because I’ve accomplished easily five times what I would have accomplished on the couch at home.


The more I read for this paper, the less clear my ideas are, and the more I feel like I need to keep reading to know what I’m supposed to say in class tomorrow. It’s an interesting quandary.

Also, I lost my phone. So don’t try calling me, as I won’t answer.

Also, I really can’t drink coffee right now. Even decaf makes me sick-ish. This is not good.

Also, if you celebrate Christmas, you might enjoy this online advent calendar made by my friend Leslie. The last few years’ calendars have been really charming, and I look forward to clicking on the new link each day. It’s festive AND won’t rot your teeth.