Showing posts from May, 2011

Dictated Doggerel

Tonight I had the idea of testing out Dragon dictation, which is an app I have on my iPhone, which as the name suggest takes down dictation. I'm currently speaking into my phone and generating this text which hopefully will be somewhat amusing on the blog as my last post of the month of May. So far my summer has been pretty good.

Now that I'm back to typing, I'll elaborate on my last sentence by saying that although there hasn't been much to complain about in my few weeks of summer so far, (at least while keeping a positive attitude), there are definitely things I know will change, and I know it is entirely incumbent upon me to make sure that these changes are for the better. For example, I am currently receiving an unacceptably low number of hours at my job, and within the next few days a decision will be made which may open up more time and wage money to me - or not, as the case may be. Regardless, change must happen: I'll either be working more hours in the same…

The Start of Summer Reading

I've finished reading two books now since I came home to Ketchikan: Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett, and The Golden Spruce, by John Vaillant. Ken Follett and I have a somewhat substantial history together, as I first read his Pillars of the Earth back in the summer before my sophomore year of high school. A few years later I read the sequel to this medieval saga, World Without End, and subsequently recommended both books to my then future girlfriend. She ended up loving them even more than I did, so last Christmas my family gave her Fall of Giants, the first book in Follett's planned 20th century trilogy. After reading it, she said it had become her favorite book she'd ever read, and now that I'm done with it I really love it too. I'm not sure if I could call it my favorite or if it's even possible for me to pick out a favorite book any more, but that's another story.

I started The Golden Spruce at the end of last summer, since it was in the bookstore where I…

20/20 Writing

Peter's Publisher is just over three years old, but today is the fourth birthday I have had since starting the blog - my one and only 20th birthday.

It seems I've gone into a pattern of only mentioning my birthday here every other year. In 2008, I didn't mention my 17th birthday at all, even though in that first month of blogging I ended up with almost one post every day. A year later, I commented on this here, and talking about the significance of birthdays and noting my turning 18. Last year, I didn't post at all in May, and my 19th went by without note. Now here I am bringing up my birthday again as I stop being a teenager and officially become a 20-something.

Besides that, I really don't have much to say: It's a milestone, and I'll state it straight out.

Cruise Ships and Tourism - the Unconsidered Industry

I recently read an article here about bright prospects for a growing cruise ship industry in Southeast Alaska, including the arrival for the first time of Disney cruise ships in the region. Today was my first day of work, back at the same bookstore where I worked for most of last summer, and there was also a Disney cruise ship in town, along with three others, including - I believe - at least one Celebrity and a Holland America.

Living in Ketchikan, everyone knows about cruise ships. You recognize the designs, the cruise lines, even specific ships. In fact, when I was walking toward home from my store this afternoon, I saw a ship from afar and was shocked that the coloring did not look like any line I'd seen before. Getting closer and thinking logically, of course, I saw that it was the Disney ship, but all the same, it's a sign of how much these moving giants can get buried in a person's mind when they spend all summer sitting in front of the city center, dwarfing anything…

What the Fall of DSK Means to Me

I was amazed when I found out on the night I came back to Ketchikan that French political figure Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York for attempted rape and other charges. For one thing, I had only really learned about the man a few months before, in my French class, when he had come up in the context of being one of the frontrunners for being the presidential candidate of the Parti socialiste. At the time, I brought him up in a class discussion as being one of many examples - from all political sides - of scandal and corruption-wracked politics in France. All the same, I thought the man might very likely end up being the next President of France - but not now.

To me, the fall of DSK means two things: 1. Just like in many countries, French politics is a bit of a cesspool, and 2. the primary election for the Parti socialiste (PS), which will take place next fall while I'm in France, is going to be really interesting. I don't feel like talking much about point one, but…

Thoughts on the Return: Ketchikan's Advantages

Well, coming back to Ketchikan always makes me ponder what's so unique about this place. For starters, there are the general differences with DC I always point out for myself - good tasting water, fresh air, a lot more quiet. The people are certainly different as well. (One thing I noticed in Seattle was the vast number of young people with tattoos and piercings - things rarely seen at Georgetown. Ketchikan must be somewhere in between.) Nevertheless, I firmly believe that people are people wherever they are; it's the environments in which we develop that greatly influence the differences among ourselves that we acquire.

Thus, I've been doing a little more thinking about the sort of environment Ketchikan represents, (something I've done quite a bit over the past several years), and I really think there are some clear advantages that this town possesses: For one thing, Ketchikan has great spatial relations when it comes to building a community, being at once the most de…

Semester Reflections

I wanted to explain my feelings about this semester before I get my grades back.Unfortunately, I wrote the sentence above ten days ago, and now I have already gotten my grades back - at least, 3 out of 5 of them. Nevertheless, I'm still going to write about my feelings for the semester.

I think that Spring 2011 at Georgetown pretty much turned out to be a wash. I mean that not in a negative way, but rather to say that all the things I've thought went badly this semester have largely been counteracted by positives, and in the end I feel that, even though this spring was quite unique as far as the experiences I had, it still wasn't uniquely bad or good, compared to my past semesters.

For one thing, I think this semester and year as a whole were pretty hard on my girlfriend. On the other hand, our relationship has made no turn for the worse, instead becoming even stronger, and for the past two weeks we had an amazing time together in DC and Seattle (hence there only being one…

The Redistricting Saga: Sense in Sitka

Keeping up with the redistricting story, I've found out I'm not the only one who thinks the Alaska Redistricting Board's plans are ridiculous. According from an article written for the KCAW radio station, attendees at a redistricting hearing in Sitka several days ago focused their concerns on the board's proposal to create a state senate district combining one house district in Southeast and one along the Yukon (something I've addressed in both my first and second posts on the redistricting proposals).

(Image credit to Ed Ronco - see first link. I for one am not surprised by the low turnout.)

Sitka's mayor stated, “We’re all Alaskans. We have that in common, but how we live is really different, from way up north to way down at the end of the panhandle.” Another attendee emphasized that campaigning would be made "nearly impossible."

Well I'll be... They're saying exactly what I did!

The issue here is not whether the Alaska Redistricting Board is …

"Senegalese" Searches

Well, it seems that my posting of my recently completed research paper Senegalese Analogies: Parallels in Chinese and French Interaction with a West African Nation has been quite popular with Google. In fact, the post remains on the very first page for simply searching "Senegalese" on, and a day or two back it was even higher on the list. Of course, searching "Senegalese analogies" returns me as the first result, but then naturally my post is nowhere to be found if you search "Senegal," which gives far more sensible results.

I say sensible because I still feel like far less than a scholar, or someone whose work should be read online by those seeking reliable information. I still may occasionally post academic assignments I've finished, but only because it's somewhat interesting to do so, perhaps also hoping that someone on the interweb might comment on it. "Senegalese Analogies" is not really as high-quality a piece as I think …