Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Cautionary Tale - Be Safe This New Years Eve

A colleague of mine sadly spent this holiday grieving the loss of her 19 year old son after he died November 12th of Alcohol Poisoning after drinking in his own home.  With more than 3 times the legal limit of blood alcohol, the young man was found unresponsive in his bed by a roommate and a promising athlete, son, scholar and friend was gone... you can read more about Tyler and his family's story here.                                                                                      
According to the Mayo Clinic Definition of Alcohol Poisoning, binge drinking - downing 5 or more drinks in a row - is the primary cause of Alcohol Poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning symptoms include:
  • Confusion, stupor
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
  • Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
  • Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Unconsciousness ("passing out"), and can't be roused
It's not necessary for all of these symptoms to be present before you seek help. A person who is unconscious or can't be roused is at risk of dying.
Please, if you are planning to drink for New Year's please do it responsibly and be aware of others around you who might be suffering from Alcohol Poisoning and get them medical attention.

I know that many people who post about drinking responsibly are focused on the very real threat of drinking and driving, but even if you've chosen to stay home to ring in 2012 it is still important to drink responsibly and live to see the whole new year through.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Fragments - v7

As we are preparing celebrate one more orbiting of the planet around the be spheroid made of gas we refer  to as the sun, many individuals use this time to be reflective.  I shall bow to social convention at this time and do so as well in this edition of Friday Fragments:
  1. The word that best describes my trip around the sun is - matriculate - in this case from young adult to mid-life (and yes, it is an unconventional use of the term).  
  2. It is amazing how one goes from newbie to competent professional in an organization. While it may be different in my colleagues eyes; this year featured in my brain this transformation and thus the switch to mid-career as well.
  3. Along the same wave of thinking, I used to say to my classes that I was not that much older than them.  Over the summer, I did the math and realized that I was entering the grey area where I could be old enough to be their parents. 
  4. Finally, in relation to career I finally made peace with the fact that I am happiest being Riker.    To translate that thought from geek to normal person click here.
  5. The Mrs. is starting to evolve as well with her website doing well.  She is also secret shopping and starting to become more separated from the kids and creating more of her own path.  This has also caused me to work a little less in support of said endeavor and that has been fun. Perhaps her evolution is leading to both of us becoming a little more balanced in our approach to life...
  6. Acting Balanced
  7. Three children in the house has caused my parenting to change.  As each child is progressing, new and interesting personality traits are arising in each of them.  It is amazing how each child progresses but also how you as a parent react seeing as you seen that movie once or twice before.
  8. Then again - new challenges like choosing high schools are arising.  Hard to believe the oldest is only a year and a bit from being allow a drivers permit (15 yrs in SC).  Was having a discussion with her about micro or neural biology as a possible college major yesterday. Fun times ahead...
See you all next week for a new edition of FF.  Now go visit Mrs. 4444's (our gracious host) and the other FF by clicking the button below:

Mommy's Idea

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Technology & Tourism Thursday - A Question of Twitter Ethics

There was a really interesting article on the Globe and Mail on Tuesday about how some are using Twitter to tell others where RIDE spot checks are.  You can read the article here.

On one side, those doing it are arguing that they are providing a service to others to help traffic flow and avoid delays.  On the other, there is a possibility that a drunk driver will see the message and avoid getting caught only to have something drastic occur.

In this day and age, the question of ethical social media usage is becoming increasingly prominent within our society.  So I pose the question, is it ethical to tell others about speed traps, RIDE locations and other police related activities?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Media Monday - Boxing Day Edition

Today is Boxing Day and no it doesn't have anything to do with this guy...

The tradition of boxing day goes back to when the master of the house would box up their used items the day after Christmas and give them either to their servants or to the poor.  This tradition was may or may not include the master and the servant switching places for the day (often in the military the officers and enlisted men would change places) or giving them the day off (i.e. Christmas for the serving class).

Today, boxing day is met with sales and a last desperate attempt to make profit.

I vote that we redefine boxing day.  Perhaps today is the day we go through all of our gently used items and donate them to charity.  We could even use today to box up as many food items as possible and donate them to food missions.  Perhaps we can turn today into an act of giving with the idea that would can smash poverty away.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sunday in My City - Christmas Edition

 Wishing everyone a happy Christmas.

Thanks to the Unkown Mami for hosting Sundays in My City.

Unknown Mami

Friday, December 23, 2011

Saturday Soliloquy - Xmas Edition

I will fully admit.  I am not a holiday person.  Typically, I have found Christmas to have been perverted into a season where many demonstrate traits I abhor in humanity - Commercialism, gluttony with an overtone of religion being perverted.

This Christmas however, I am focusing on the fun, family and fervor of the season and trying to celebrate it in a manner that I can feel good about.  I hope this will help to make the season come into great memories.  I will let you know how it works out.

While unwrapping your gifts this year, please remember the true message of the season.  Few are as lucky as we are in the USA to be able to live in relative peace.

May we all experience a new year of peace and love.

Friday Fragments - v6

What a week it has been...

FYI, tomorrow night, you can watch Santa's trip on NORAD's Santa Watch.  If by chance while you are watching, you get some of those pesky questions about Santa, the facts of his trip can be found here.  The most important thing to know, is that if Santa was travelling at 99.99% of the speed of light, he could complete his trip in about 500 seconds and that Rudolph's nose would no longer appear to be red due to the Doppler effect.

In honor of the people behind the man in the red suit that is take a around the world trip tomorrow night, the word of the week is 

Got my 25th career refereed journal article published this week.  What made this one special was that one of my then undergraduate research assistants name is on the paper.  I really enjoy working with undergraduates and getting them their first publication.  Well done Emily!  If your interested in why people do not travel, click here.

My car is in today getting its Christmas present.  A new timing belt.  I am sure it is excited.  BTW, I hate my dealership and its fake customer service.  You can put up all the signs you want telling me how great your service is but if you tell me you are going to call me in an hour with the diagnostic and you take two, that is poor service. P.S. Why bother making appointments if there is going to be a multiple hour wait just to have a diagnostic done (especially when I can see you were not busy)?

It has been fun having my parents visit.  I enjoy having them around but I can tell they are getting older.  The kids are tiring them out faster.  They are however, having a fun time together.  The love is definitely showing.

Congratulations to Robyn on getting into the high school of her choice - Academic Magnet  While the school system in South Carolina is generally regarded as 'thank god for Mississippi quality,' the Academic Magnet High School was ranked number 15 in the country by Newsweek. The average SAT score for students of the school was 1882.  I just hope she finds happiness in her new school and remembers to have some fun along with all that school work.

Now that you have read my Fragments go see the wonder Ms. 4444's and other fellow fragmenters by clicking on the button below.

Mommy's Idea

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and loving holiday.
Safe journeys all!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tourism & Technology Thursday

One of the biggest trips scheduled every year is by a certain gentleman wearing a red suit and lead by a team of reindeer.  This trip is the true definition of world-beater tour...

One of the best ways to follow this jolly gentleman on his Christmas Eve tour of the globe is to watch him on NORAD Track Santa.

This website tracks Santa Claus moving around the world in an entertaining and information manner using multiple technologies such as YouTube, Google earth and even OnStar.  This is a fabulous way to spend an special evening with your kids (you may even learn something too).

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night tracking Santa as he makes his fantastic journey around the globe.

P.S. Travel Channel, why isn't this a live broadcast???

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A lot of Words Wednesday - Newest Publication

Congratulations to Emily on her first publication!  

This is a fun article examining people who do not travel.  You can read the entire article here.



Tourism marketers focus on understanding the many different segments that comprise their visitors. Understanding these segments’ motivations for travel is important in order to motivate repeat visitation and to attract like-minded consumers to visit. But how about those who do not travel? This surprisingly large percentage of the population is a lost opportunity for the industry. The research that follows, based upon a very significant USA-based sample of non-travelers, suggests that non-travelers can be effectively segmented and targeted. Understanding these segments will better allow vacation marketers to craft their product and their message, hopefully bringing more travelers to the mix.


Non-travel; travel motivations; segmentation analysis; ethnicity.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

You Tubing Tuesday - Top Seasonal Songs

Okay, so everyone is doing Christmas carols and the like.  That is okay but I wanted to do something different.  This should be a season for love, giving and caring for all, no matter what one's race or religion is.

So to all, I wish you a joyful season surrounded by loved ones.  May we all enjoy an upcoming year of peace.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Media Monday - An Elephant Sized Problem

Recently, in my hometown of Toronto, Ontario there has been a rather large controversy over the moving of three aging elephants from the Toronto Zoo to a sanctuary run by PAWS near Galt, California called ARK 2000.  This controversy began last year when Bob Barker (he of Price is Right fame) stated that,

"They don't belong in zoos…they don't belong in Canada. Canada is a wonderful place, but it's too cold for elephants."

Read more:

after four elephants in four years passed away at the zoo.

Toronto City Council along with Zoo officials have fought for months over what is the best course of action in caring for these creatures.  It has gotten so nasty that even the Zoo's accrediting body, The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) are threatening to pull Toronto Zoo’s accreditation over the city's decision to transfer three of its elephants to a sanctuary in California.  

The PAWS facility is accredited with the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and has 2,300 acres of varied terrain for the animals to roam with lakes to bathes in as well as heated elephant barns with therapeutic Jacuzzi's. According to PAWS the sanctuary is "...the largest captive wildlife sanctuary in the United States and is the only sanctuary able to house bull elephants."  Several zoos including the Alaska Zoo have already successfully moved their elephants to the sanctuary.

Today, Bob Barker offered to pay for the relocation of the elephants to the Sanctuary.  This will hopefully end the controversy and allow these elephants to do as many Canadians before them have done and pack their trunks in order to retire to warmer climates.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sundays in My City - v5

Yesterday, the lovely TD Arena in Charleston hosted graduation in the AM followed by a C of C basketball game that night.  Here are the two different looks...

Outside the TD Arena

Graduation in the AM

Basketball in the PM

Once again, thanks to the Unknown Mami for hosting Sundays in My City.  Click the link below to see more incredible sights...

Unknown Mami

Saturday Soliloquy - Congrats to the December Graduates!

The graduation ceremony at the College of Charleston is quite special.

Congratulations to all of the December graduates!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Fragments

Once again thanks to Ms. 4444's for hosting the Friday Fragments hop!

Mommy's Idea

  • Just finished entering in grades.  What a crazy time that was.  Being the geek I am, I just calculated that I graded 1,020 pages in the past 72 hours. I need some sleep and some stress relief.
  • On a happy note, this term has the highest GPAs for all of my classes over the past six years.  I do not know if I was nicer this term or the kids are just getting smarter.  
    • I actually think it is a combination of two things, I am getting better at teaching the material and the students are getting smarter as the College becomes increasingly popular.
  • My parents arrived yesterday.  Happy to report grand parents and kids are already playing nicely together.
  • Erik, will you please finish teething so we can all get some sleep?
  • Geeky joke of the week is a one liner - "There are only 10 types of people in the world: those that understand binary and those that don't"
  • While I am at it, the word of the week is: abrade - as in what you have to do to me to get me off the floor at the moment.
  • This was a cute scene from earlier this week...

One of the weekly features on my blog is Technology & Tourism Thursdays.  Yesterday, was just way too busy to post it properly, so I thought I would tack it on here.

One of the most interesting technology markets at the moment is the one related to gaming systems.  With the expansion and explosion of the tablet market, gaming systems sales have been in trouble.  One of the ares that has really enhanced gaming systems however, is that usage of them as a online streaming system for a TV.    In a report by Forbes magazine, it was found that the Nintendo Wii in particular, was being used as a streaming device 33% of the time versus 55% of the time being used as a gaming device.   The 33% figure in 2011 is up from 20% in 2010. 
The full Forbes story can be found here

In our house,  we use the Wii to stream Netflix onto our TV.  What is really fascinating is that we use the streaming functionality more than we use the gaming.  The Wii in many ways has transformed how leisure time is spent in our household.  What is even more interesting is that we have taken our Wii on vacation with us and hooked it up to hotel TV in order to bring our entertainment system with us.  Now, the question is whether the gaming systems will survive the onslaught of the tablet.  For instance, next year, we will not bring the Wii as we have iPads which are easier to travel with and have much of the same functionality and have thus reduced the need to bring the Wii along.  Perhaps we will find however, that the bouncing around that comes with playing a Wii game is just the perfect way to reduce the energy after a long drive.  That is where the tablet can not compete.  It is amazing how the car trip has evolved with technology.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tourism & Technoogy Thursday

I am currently in grading hades....I will double post tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You Tubing Tuesday - Top Grading Songs

I am getting in final exams today.  This constitutes the perfect time for the top three grading songs

Monday, December 12, 2011

Media Monday - Lowe's Dropping Advertising

As reported on the BBC, Lowe's has decided to pull its advertising from a US reality show because a group in Florida argued that the show, "...hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."

According to the Lowe's spokes people, the company is just trying not to alienating customers.  The problem is that they have been placed into a no-win situation.

The most interesting part of this story is that as the demography of the United States continues to change, this is an issue retailers and other political figures are going to face more often.  According to the US Census Bureau by 2050, more than 50% of the population of the United States will be non-Caucasian.  With this shift in demography, will come a redefining of 'traditional values.'  Perhaps groups in the majority today should consider how they will want to be treated when they become a minority.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sundays in My City - v4

 Hi all,

Last week I did my drive into work.  This week, here is my view coming home...

Waiting for the bus

Walking up the steps

Home Sweet Home!

Once again, thanks to the Unknown Mami for Hosting Sundays in my City.  Click on the link below to see others contributions to the hop!

Unknown Mami

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Soliloquy

"The path to happiness travels through the door of knowledge."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Fragments

Thanks to Ms. 4444's for hosting FF.

Mommy's Idea

It is exam time at the college.  It is amazing of how the atmosphere completely changes.  It is a lot quieter and the anxiety level is definitely up.  On the positive side, it is really fun to talk to students after they finish exams.  It is like they are experiencing a state of euphoria.  It is fun to wish them a happy holidays and hear about their holiday plans.

Given it is exam week - here is the nerdy joke of the week.

What do you call a tea party with more than 30 people?  A Z party!!!

Waiting for my tenure meeting with my dean next week.  Here is hoping that I am going to have a merry Christmas. that meeting will determine my holiday plans.

Heather's new job of secret shopping is a fascinating one.  Combined with her blog, I think she is starting to find a happy niche.  

My week was so discombobulating that I thought Tuesday was Wednesday - so I missed YouTube Tuesday and posted two Wordless Wednesdays.

I am going to add a new feature to my Friday Fragments, the word of the week.  This week: Synecdoche

I am not quite sure whether my boys mistake me for a jungle gym or a bouncy castle.  It could be dependent on the moment.

Alright, that is the end of my fragments.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Technology & Tourism Thursday - Helioid Search Engine

Helioid is a new search engine that helps you narrow your search by dividing it by color codes.  This allows the users to narrow down a large search in a efficient manner.

Here is an example.  I first searched for the term 'Charleston.'  This search returned me items for both Charleston S.C. and Charleston W.V.  It provided the local newspapers up top.  If however, I was planning a trip, I could narrow my search easily using the color coded buttons along the side.

In this example, I clicked on the Charleston hotels button.  The CVB (Tourist information web site) then rose to the top along with several hotel options.  The buttons on the side then transformed to give me further options for narrowing my search.  In this instance, it gave me different locations types (i.e. downtown vs. airport).

I then narrowed further by clicking on the downtown button and was given a series of very specific hotel links.    the buttons along the side then transformed to give me options related to rates, reviews and online purchasing tools.

In total, the search engine needs some refinement but it is a good tool for those planning trips to areas where they may not be as familiar with the potential options.  In another search attempt, I examined Boise Tourism.  As I am not familiar with the location at all, this provided an excellent test of the search engine and its abilities to assist me with learning about and to book a trip to the destination.  This test worked well and I was able to comfortably navigate through the process.  The advantage of Heliod over Google is that you do not feel like you are constantly being marketed to.  Further, if you are not as familiar with the topic you are searching for, the hints are very helpful at narrowing down the topics to get to what you really want.

On the negative side, this search engine was poor in relation to searching for academic materials.  If they could add a subsystem like Google Scholar to it, then the real potential of this engine could be reached.  Often times students have a broad topic in mind when starting a research project.  This engine could be the perfect tool for helping them narrow these search parameters.  This could be a major area of potential for the company.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Media Monday - What...Sports News?

I don't usually write about sports on here but it has been a fascinating time in that world lately.  What has been most interesting in the amount of controversy that has been involved.  Take these three instances:

  1. The amount of time and energy to discuss the play of one Tim Tebow has been astounding.  I swear I know what time he had his bowel movement yesterday morning.  It is not that I go out of my way to find this information but it is hard to miss it.  The most interesting part of this story however, is not the amount of coverage, it is the visceral venom or abject love that the stories are receiving.   This story seems to parallel the political discourse in this country where both sides make valid points but neither side is willing to listen to the other - so it is akin to the current state of bickering that is achieving nothing.  
  2. The BCS pronounced that the annual championship football game will LSU vs. Alabama.  Never-mind that the teams have already played (LSU won) and that Oklahoma State (the Big 12 Champion) played a tougher schedule with more wins against top 25 teams - apparently we need to see the rematch and like it.  Speaking of absolutely BCS travesties - not having any non-BCS teams playing in those high tier of bowls.  Seriously, they could not have found a slot for an 11-1 Boise, a 12-1 Houston or a TCU team that was 10 - 2?  This is a clear case of the ol' boys network doing its thing.  Perhaps this is another example of how America is operating at the moment.  The American dream used to achievable for all.  Now, it is available if you have the right connections.  sad.
  3. Tiger Woods won this weekend.  Perhaps, this could be a redemption story...stay tuned.  We are not sure if it will be back or not or whether we should be positive about this or not?  I must say however, if I changed Tiger Woods and put the word economy in its place, would the feelings be that different??
  4. The NBA is getting back after its lockout.  This was a story of rich vs. richer with the little people caught in the middle.  Now, the little people are expected to be just forget and come back like little lemmings.  
Now, I know why I don't write about sports very often.  While they are supposed to be a distraction from everyday existence in reality, they just mirror and present a microcosm example of the larger issues plaguing this great nation.  Eeeewwww!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sundays in My City - v3

First, let me thank the Unknown Mami for hosting Sundays in My City.

Unknown Mami

This is my view in the morning going crossing into downtown Charleston each morning.  It is one of the reasons why I truly love this city...

Saturday Soliloquy

I got this captcha on Friday...