Archive for January 2007

Randomness

January 21, 2007

Computer Query

I have a few AVI files that play adequately on any of the media players I have on my computer. However, when I try to burn them as a DVD Video, the audio is not in synch with the video. It isn’t great, maybe 25 milliseconds or so? If you’re not paying attention, and have bad eye sight, and the speaker has his back to the camera,it probably wouldn’t make that much of a difference, but if you actually watch the characters as they speak, it can be quite annoying. The bilabial sounds–M, B, P–are the most obvious when not in synch.

I play video media using ffdshow codec, and Nero to burn video DVDs.

Does anyone know why audio/video would be in synch as an AVI file but get screwed up when converted into a DVD video file? Is it the codec that Nero is using? Wouldn’t Nero–or any other DVD burning program–use the codec I have on my computer? Is the codec I’m using unreliable?

Any words of wisdom or advice would be much appreciated.

Publish or Perish

As most of you know, my field is premodern Japanese literature, but my actual specialty is late Heian court poetry. I usually focus on its reliance on context, especially the reader’s context, and as such make much ado about its intertextual qualities. This focus carries over to other poetic forms as well, including linked verse. Some of my students may be interested in perusing a new book called Matsuo Basho’s Poetic Spaces edited by Eleanor Kerkham. The book centers on a poet from the Edo period, hundreds of years after the period I study, but there’s a chapter on renga that reflects many of my views, so perfectly, in fact, that it’s scary.

Playing Demon

January 17, 2007

In Japan, there is a game little kids play called Oni gokko–literally, playing demon. When I first went to Japan, my then little cousins said lets play. I didn’t really know what the game entailed, but it sounded interesting so I said, yeah, why not–in Japanese, of course.

Well, I soon learned that the demon designate had to chase the others around in an attempt to catch them. Once someone was caught, that person became the demon and had to catch someone to pass on the “demon” label. Hmmm… After running about for a few minutes, I realized that I was playing a game of Tag. But instead of being “it” the person was a “demon”, which kinda seemed a bit more colorful and tangible, unlike the amorphous and abstract “it” that one became after being tagged.

Well, thanks to Starberri, I am “it”–or as the Japanese would say, the “demon”. Yes, she has tagged me again. Grrrrr…..

So here are the rules:

6 Weird Things About ME:

THE RULES: Write ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to choose 6 people to be tagged in turn.

Well, some of the weird things about me are usually gross things, so if you are one of my students then you can stop reading NOW. If you know me personally and are embarrassed to hear gross things about me, then you can stop reading NOW. If you know me in any fashion and enjoy reading about gross things, then be my guest and READ ON, although I think that if you do know me, you might already know most of these things. You have received fair warning.

  1. I was Dagwood Bumstead in a previous life. You’d have to know the comic strip, Blondie, to understand the reference, Dagwood Bumstead was Blondie’s husband who was always rushing in the morning, running to catch the bus and ultimately late for work. That, as M and many of my students will attest to, is me. I’m always–everyday–rushing to the station to catch the Metro. I reach my office out of breath, gather up my books, and run to class. I worked with a girl back in the 70s who once said that she could imagine me as a college professor rushing across campus to class. She must have been clairvoyant.
  2. If I don’t have my daily constitutional, I cannot leave the house. I don’t know about you, but I would rather not sit on a toilet seat on which total strangers (plural) have placed their bare ass. Maybe the guy before me had a boil on his ass. Maybe the guy before me wiped his ass messily on got some of his shit on the toilet seat. Maybe the guy before me stood and pissed into the toilet without lifting the toilet seat and splattered his urine all over it. Even if he wiped it clean, I doubt he is walking around with disinfectant. I use the paper toilet seat covers when possible, but it just doesn’t seem like enough protection to me. So I would rather make sure I finish my business at home and not have to deal with the unsanitary conditions of a public toilet. How do you women do it? Someone told me once that women “hover” to avoid contact. Isn’t that like doing squats? That’s pretty impressive.
  3. At a urinal, I will flush before I use it, usually while I hold my breath. I want to avoid the plume of moisture droplets containing the piss of the persons (plural) who used it before me.
  4. I cut finger nails only during the day. This is a recent habit of mine. M tells me that cutting your nails at night will offend the gods or place a curse on your family… or something like that. I am not the superstitious sort, but I figure its no big deal to cut my finger nails during the day, so I do what she says…
  5. I do my best thinking when I’m sitting on the can. Sometimes I sit so long, I can create a butt ring.
  6. I cannot resist playing tag. *sigh*

Recovery

January 10, 2007

Okay, I’m into my last week of winter break and I finally feel like I’m on break… except for the fact that I now have to prepare for classes that start this coming Tuesday. Man, oh, man. My sister visited us for Christmas–which was nice–but she arrived on the 20th and I still had an exam on the 21st, so I didn’t get to finish grading finals until after she left, around the 28th. Sorry to my students who may have received their grades a bit late.

So after finishing up the grading and then puttering around the house–tighten some faucets, do maintenance on the fan in two bathrooms–I finally caught my breath sometime this past weekend. I even went to see a movie–A Night at the Museum–at Tyson’s Corner. The theater is beautiful and huge, but expensive for a poor professor-type like me. We went mid-afternoon to watch a matinee, but I learned too late that on weekends, matinee prices apply only to shows before 12 PM. Now, who goes to see a movie before 12 noon?!? That is pretty bogus. If I had known that, I would have gone elsewhere… maybe… I think… but those seats were so nice and the stadium seating allows M–who is very short–to see the entire screen no matter who sits in front of her, even Shaq. Well, maybe if Yao Ming sat in front of her she might have a problem–as an Asian he has the short leg-long torso syndrome we all suffer from.

Anyway, so now I’m working on next semester’s classes with very little time invested in recharging my batteries. But thanks to fyzle, I did learn that I could recharge my brain if I stop drinking. Apparently, ceasing alcohol intake can lead to a degree of brain cell recovery, according to this article sourced from Oxford University. Now, I have stopped smoking for six years, and the longer I am off the cancer sticks, the more I am convinced I made the right choice. To give up drinking seems like another tough choice. I just love beer and wine but do find myself more forgetful and just basically slower than i once was. If I can gain some of my brain function back–short term memory, quicker analysis–then this is something I would need to consider quite seriously. I am, afterall, in the business of “thinking”.

Well, we’ll see. I’d make it a New Years resolution, but I’ve come to the realization that resolutions are made to be broken, so why make something in the first place?

Now what was I talking about?

Happy New Year

January 1, 2007

Wishing you a successful and prosperous 2007