Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thomas L. Friedman's Useful Reminder: 9/11 Is Over

He had an excellent, succinct editorial on the subject in today's New York Times.

I wrote a letter to the editors. If they don't use it, I'll post it here in about a week.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Randy Pausch, a Hero to Remember

I've never met Randy Pausch, but as I'm both a geek and a movie fan, our paths have almost crossed. Dr. Pausch helped to start Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center. I've done some volunteer work on Carl Kurlander's Pittsburgh documentary project at the ETC.

However, based on yesterday's Post-Gazette article, I'm a huge fan of Randy Pausch, for tackling a difficult, personal subject with intelligence and humor.

Dr. Pausch is taking very early retirement from CMU as he's had a cancer relapse and may only have about six months left to live. As he's only 46 and has three young children, he's chosen to spend the time he has left settling his children in a new environment. His family has just moved to be near his wife's family in Virginia.

He took the time to talk to his colleagues and his students about what was important in his life and about
what he wanted to do and what he accomplished. He's had a very interesting life, and he did accomplish much of what he wanted. I also love the fact that Carnegie Mellon has named the footbridge between the Gates Computer Sciences Building and the Purnell Center for the Arts in his honor. I can't imagine a more fitting honor for such a multi-faceted man.

So I hope Dr. Pausch surprises his doctors and lives longer than the three to six months he may have left. All I could think as I read his story was the old cliche, "Only the good die young." But it doesn't feel like such a cliche in his case.

[[Thanks to NetMouse for mentioning the availability of a video Randy's talk at the Entertainment Technology Center.]]

I've since watched the whole video of Randy's "Last Lecture." It was magnificent. Mostly extremely funny, uplifting and very practical. The last line of his speech was extremely moving. If you have any interest in mentoring students, academia, being mentored or the development of virtual reality, it's worth the 1 hour and 44 minutes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dear Potential Employer...

Are you looking for temporary, part-time or contract Web, writing, Microsoft Office or event help?

Consider this an "uncover letter."

If you're looking for a drone or a yes person, and your only requirement is that they are available 40 hours a week (or more), please don't bother looking at my resume. I'm not the person you're looking for.

But, if you need a contract, occasional or part-time employee who is

* enthusiastic
* friendly
* computer-literate
* flexible

please read my formal resume. Even better, if you give "extra points" for creativity, humor and honesty, you might want to talk to me directly. I have a great computer, loads of software and excellent connectivity from my home, so you don't even need an office for me. I live near Pittsburgh International Airport, and am looking for a job west of downtown. I'd even consider downtown Pittsburgh if I don't have to come in every day.

I'll be blunt--I'm a middle-aged woman with severe insomnia, which means I burn out quickly in a full time job, particularly one that demands 40 hours (or more) a week. But I'm terrific 20-30 hours a week. I can:

* code Web sites
* write anything
* help with customers
* do research
* manage your databases
* help give your Web sites a higher Google ranking
* help with your spreadsheets
* negotiate with hotels or convention centers
* manage your events

I'm even cheerful first thing in the morning. And I make a great chocolate chip cookie.

So if you're looking for reliable, contract or part-time help, or event management, drop me some E-mail and let's talk.


Laurie D. Mann

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Continuing Abuse of 9/11...From All Sides

The neo-cons keep using 9/11 as an excuse to be in Iraq.

Al-Queda (the version run by bin Laden) uses 9/11 as an excuse to try to convert the West to Islam.

Various factions in Iraq don't use 9/11 per se, but use the ensuing American-led power vacuum as an excuse to kill off "infidels" in the other factions.

There's currently a commercial by some neo-con support group in which a wounded American soldier blames 9/11 and terrorism on Iraq. It's such a lie that I want to throw something at the TV whenever I hear it. Yes, more Americans have now been killed in Iraq than by bin Laden's Al-Queda (though, a related group, Al-Queda in Iraq, have certainly killed many Iraqis, Americans and other folks in Iraq over the last four years). Yes, Hussein was a dictator, but we don't go out and topple all dictators. There are dictators in Saudi Arabia and other places who stay in power with American help.

It's disgusting what the neo-con-led American government continues to do.

9/11 is a sad day for America. But, frankly, our government's secondary response, to overthrow a generally uninvolved country, was a horrible thing to do. The American people, generally, have recovered from 9/11. But the Iraqi people may not.