Friday, September 15, 2017

The second amendment protects the first

Or, at least, it's supposed to. 

I'm beginning to wonder. 

Recently, a favorite author who's a hell of a character with the type of sick sense of humor that tends to set me giggling, got banned from a social media platform for a month.

For posting song lyrics.

Someone reported it as offensive.

Granted, as the author admits, it was a particularly vile band.  Yeah, their stuff is offensive, nasty, and inappropriate.  But not ban-worthy, especially since the platform prohibits children under a certain age from setting up accounts.  Nor is quoting their stuff ban worthy.

Hell, I see LOTS of stuff on social media and regular media that offends me: my state pushing to open more abortion clinics in urban areas where minorities congregate; memes and posts denigrating men in general, and white men in specific; memes and posts advocating slavery (forcing individuals to provide service in private industry); ignorance, and a general lack of understanding (or even a wish to understand) the workings of the gods of the copybook headings.

I have not reported any of these things offensive. 

(I have posted as offensive spam ads masquerading as social media posts, specifically when they're political, and as far from factually correct as it's possible to be.)

I do not report things posted by individuals as offensive, no matter how offensive I find them.  To be honest, I'd rather know who the idiots are so I can avoid them in real life.  Or at least avoid the topics, if the idiots have made their way into my circle of friends.  It is each individual's right to hold whatever political opinions they hold, just as it is my right to disregard the utter dreck they claim as "facts" to support their opinions. 

If I'm truly offended by someone, I simply quietly unfollow them.  As I did to a couple of bands I really enjoyed who got too evangelically political.*  I scroll past the offensive posts.  I ignore stuff. 

I'm a grown up, and I know that offensive material does not cause actual harm to me--I've got thicker skin than most.  And I'm not the morality police.  It's above my pay grade to say something is good, and right--or bad and wrong.   Nor do I have the right to silence dissenting opinions, no matter how stupid they are.

*True believers who try to save people who don't believe from the sin of unbelief, and count those who disagree because circular arguments aren't evidence, and because the plural of "anecdote" is not "data," as evil.

Friday, September 8, 2017


Classes have been going for three weeks or so, now.  Kids' school for a couple days longer.

And I've been trying to fight off a flare up of the CFS.  And failing.

From research, I've found that there's a close connection between getting enough of certain nutrients found in greatest concentration in beef and remission.  I've been eating more beef.

Problem lies on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Not only do I wear myself out with two 75-minute classes, back to back, but have another two hours of office hours following.  This puts me home at 1:00, with dinner in four hours.  And no energy to fix something to eat.

I've still got some roast in the freezer, but it's dwindling.  So I tried substituting for something else for lunches.  It's not been working well.

Fridays are shopping days.  I wound up getting a lot of meat, today: a flank steak, a 5-lb roast, and a 10 lb roll of hamburger meat.  I need to make up some soups and stuff to go in the freezer with the burger, and do the roast for freezer leftovers.

And wouldn't you know it, I totally forgot the stupid bell peppers for stuffed pepper soup (it's in my recipes tab up top).

I do, however, have the ingredients for taco soup (see bottom of post, if interested).  And that's going to be thrown together first (like on Sunday), while the roast is cooking.

There are a few other things that make up quick, but they don't freeze well.  Broth-based soups, beans, rice...those do.

Next week, I'll have my classes' first papers due.  They peer-edit on Tuesday, then turn them in to me on Thursday.  I have a couple casseroles for that week, as well as some simple throw a few ingredients in a skillet and let it go meals (which includes one both of my children will eat, and will complain if I DON'T make--recipe on request in a different post).

In the mean time...I'm falling behind on a lot of household things, and can't really get caught up.

Writing, however, is actually going.  Not quickly, but fairly steadily.

Taco Soup
1 lb ground beef
1 sm onion, chopped
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 pkg ranch dressing mix
1 can black beans
2 cans pinto beans
1 can corn
1 c water

Brown meat with onion.  Add all other ingredients, heat to hot (about 20 minutes or so).

I've found that the water can make this a little bland, so I'm likely to use either a can of Ro-Tel or a can of enchilada sauce. 

I added 2 cans ro-tel, and substituted 1 can of enchilada sauce for the 1 c water, this time.  Turned out delicious with cheese.  So, final recipe:

1 lb ground beef
1 onion
1 pkg (1/4 c) taco seasoning
1 pkg (1.5 tbsp) ranch dressing mix
1 can black beans
1 can corn
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans ro-tel
1 can enchilada sauce

Instructions remain the same.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


I went to a meeting, today.  We were discussing the "learning goals" around research papers.  My department head had a grading rubric with 11 things on it, regarding such.  I'd already gotten this through email, and had skimmed through it thinking "Do that already.  Yep.  Yep.  Yep.  Oh, and that one, too."  I figured today would be a waste of time.

Come to find out today, about half the people in the meeting do half the things on the rubric when teaching the research assignment, and not the same half between them.  Some things were left totally untouched. 




These people ALL teach the same class I teach.  All of them teach research papers.  Nobody mentions other citation styles than MLA in conjunction with major.  Nobody works on integrating source credibility in their lectures.  Few discuss currency and relevance regarding the sources.  Few discuss actually pulling the information together into a coherent argument, or looking at how different sources use and offer different types of evidence.  They all simply focus (over-focus?) on the technical: you cite the source only and exactly like this, but only in this situation, and your bib is called Works Cited, and you must do this, this, and this, in this order, or it's wrong.

I...have just had further illustrated to me exactly why English departments are fading in relevance to EVERY OTHER FREAKIN' DEPARTMENT on campus.

We have ONE job that the campus as a whole deems even remotely valuable.  And we're falling down on it.

We (they) are not doing our damn jobs.  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

First week down

I survived the first week of class.  I skipped office hours on Tuesday and went over to the English department to sign my contract, only to find that NOBODY had their contract, yet.  HR hadn't gotten them together for ANYONE, faculty or staff.  In point of fact, I didn't get the email notifying me that contracts were ready for signatures until Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, I crashed.  I overdid it a little Monday and Tuesday, and just crashed.  I fixed food, but didn't get much else done.  I did notice that the dishwasher had water standing in the bottom.  Again.  And I put it on my ever-lengthening to-do list. 

Thursday, I wound up spending from 8:00 to almost 11:00 up on my feet (for the most part--kinda gotta sit to take roll).  We started their first papers, and discussion was raucous and free-wheeling, in both classes, taking up the whole time.  I was flattened afterwards, but it was so worth it.  Tons of fun. 

Friday, I had a to-do list a mile long: shopping, running stuff up to Mom's, cleaning, grabbing kids, and cleaning some more.  I managed to get it all done, and got home and collapsed to find that email alerting me that my contract had gotten into my mailbox around 4:00 or so. 

The dishwasher is running fine, now.  The appliance repair guy said to run a cycle with no dishes, and add about a quart of cleaning vinegar.  Run so it goes through the pump, pop the dishwasher open so that it soaks in good, run for a few minutes, pop open to soak, repeat one more time.  Doesn't smell bad, and fixes the problem.  He also recommended to make sure dish soap does not go down the sink where the garbage disposal is.  Because then it gets into the dishwasher, and makes problems.

I did manage to get most of my to do list done.  There are just a few bits left--paper filing, yarn organization, and general decluttering from moving in.  Odysseus has most of his accomplished, too.  Including getting the riding mower fixed (which he did himself, and feels accomplished for having done--as well he should, since I don't think he's done anything like it before). 

Kids' homework is done, backpacks are re-packed, and laundry done for them for the week.  The imp's plastic dressers (why get him something nice when he's so rambunctious that he'll tear it apart?) have been put in a more logical place that may see his toys not migrate in amongst his clothes. 

Next on the list is making a couple of lasagnas: one for supper, one for the freezer.

Oh, and dosing the pets with the topical flea stuff. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Musings on a theme

I've been thinking, recently.  (Dangerous, I know.  Bear with me.)

There are certain markers that there will be strife in a relationship.  Lack of communication.  Differences in money-handling styles.  Filing taxes as "married, filing separately."  Not maintaining a joint checking account. 

Most of this has in common a "you and me" (or just "me me me") attitude, instead of a "we" attitude.  Thinking of the family unit as individuals, rather than as a team. 

Notice that most of this is about money?  That's because it's one of the top marriage breakers (just after infidelity). 

If you think "my money" and "his/her money," instead of "household money," you're setting yourself up for resentment, anger, disappointment, guilt (which leads to the rest), and a whole host of other negative emotions that will wind up focused on your spouse. 

Odysseus had a finances professor in college that said that married people filing separately are both being stupid, and heading for divorce.  Stupid, because that's when, where, and how you get hammered with nowhere near as many deductions.  Often, couples filing taxes separately wind up paying in when couples making the same income but filing jointly get back as much as they paid in, if not more.

I can think of one case where it didn't work like that, but that case was a massive clusterfuck, start to finish, and was completely caused by the non-military spouse spending a massive chunk of money that landed in the family accounts by mistake, instead of setting it aside to hand back when the military demanded it back.  In that case, filing separately got them a small tax rebate (which would have paid back about half the debt that was incurred before penalties were inflicted).  Filing jointly would have gotten the entire rebate garnished, with a lot of debt left to pay.

That is, also, the only time I can think of in recent experience where a joint account was a mistake.  Most of the time, the joint account is the best way to handle a family budget with two incomes. Imagine, if you will, a household where you have a blended family.  Dad takes care of most of the bills.  Mom takes care of one or two, but it's not a lot.  There's no joint account, and the bills are all in Dad's name. 

Dad wants to free up some money for a project he wants to do.  All of his income is being taken up, and not much of Mom's is going toward bills.  So Dad asks Mom to pull a bit more of her and her kids' (not all his, by any means) weight by paying some.  But there's no joint account, and the bills are in his name.  Makes sense to him to ask for the money to pay the bills. 

Mom doesn't see it that way.  She screams and cries every time she hands over cash to pay the bills she's been asked to carry.  Call it about a quarter of the monthly budget.  But it's her money, and he's taking it. 

This situation is untenable.  It is going to break. 

Now, if there'd been a joint account set up, things would have been simplified.  Odysseus and I have a joint account.  He has a separate debit account, too, but there's that joint account.  His name is on most of the bills (I have one, just so I can show a utility bill for voting registration purposes).  I am in charge of day to day month to month budgeting and bill paying.  That joint account makes it easy, since my name and his are on the checks. 

If the previous hypothetical situation had included a joint account, with Mom having the responsibility to pay the bills out of it from "her" money and the money Dad deposited from his checks, Mom might not have freaked out.  

Marriage counselors would privately think that the lack of a joint account indicated a lack of trust.  They may or may not say such.  Mom may not trust Dad to deposit the money needed for bills, or Dad might not trust Mom not to clean him out. 

Point of fact, the whole issue revolves around a lack of trust that the other has the family's best interests in mind.  On both parts. 

Like I said.  Odysseus and I have a joint account that both our checks go into without discussion.  Then again, we also discuss money decisions.  I don't discuss the grocery budget with him, because I'm the food purchaser, I'm a miser, and we shop together often enough he's got a good idea of what spending in general is.  No, what we discuss are things that cost more than about fifty bucks.  And we decide together whether the budget can absorb it, if it's something new, or timing on when we can do something that we've been discussing.  Yes, I have the checkbook.  I have the online banking passwords.  I watch the budget, and I do the day to day stuff.  I'm better at details, and making sure stuff gets done on time.  Odysseus is better at long-term planning, and knowing how much we have to save in small increments for how long to do what we want to do. 

It seems, sometimes, like we are unique in this.  I don't think we have any friends locally who do this. 

I don't think we have any local friends whose marriages lasted longer than about ten years, either.

Go figure.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

First days and countdowns

I just dropped the kids off for their first day of school for the 2017/18 school year.  Their private Christian school, known throughout the area for academic excellence on par with the secular private school at a quarter of the annual tuition, starts the first week of the school year on Thursdays to give kids and teachers a slow start to get back into the routine.  Thinking back to my public school that always had a full week to start, I think this is, perhaps, the wisest move for the teachers.  They were always so fried by the end of the week...

I start back next week.  My class site goes open for my students as of Saturday.  I need to go add content to it.  And finish editing my textbook. 

Currently, I'm sitting at the table in the library at our new home.  Laptop is on the table, ergo keyboard on my lap.  This evening, one of the kids will be doing homework at the table in the library, and the other will be doing homework either at the coffee table in the family room, or at the dining table. 

I have a lot to do today (class site stuff, since I'm recovering from a CFS flare).  I have a lot to do tomorrow (groceries, cleaning, and working on the old house). 

I'm pretty sure, chronic illness permitting, I can actually accomplish what I need to get done.  I'm lacking the distraction of having to stop what I'm doing to prevent the kids from further breaking the house,* or fighting with each other. 

Now, I just need to get to it.

I think I need more coffee.

*The imp and pixie managed to snap off one of the arms of her ceiling fan.  Not the fin.  The metal part of the arm.  Which will necessitate full replacement...which they are required to pay for.  I won't, however, require that they pay for the electrician needed to put it up in a house built in 1970, and which lacks boxes for the ceiling fixtures. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mr. President:

I live in a small town in the very middle of the country.  I have a nasty allergy to wheat.  Most of the stores in my region do not carry food that I can eat, and I totally lack the time and energy to make everything from scratch.  I also lack the knowledge, ingredients, and equipment to make other things. 

Amazon is how I get my hands on some of the things I can eat.  They are things either not carried throughout the region, or are things priced so high I simply can't afford them so that whether I can eat them or not is a moot point. 

I also have problems with the joints in my hands that make writing with a ballpoint pen--or even a gel pen--painfully impossible.  I've found that fountain pens are my best bet.  There is one store--ONE--in the region that carries fountain pens that are not also calligraphy pens.  And they're priced high and use tiny, useless cartridges.  The store doesn't carry bottled ink, nor yet converters for these pens. 

Again, I turn to Amazon to fill these needs. 

My local bookstore does not carry most of the authors who I like to read without having to order in their work--political correctness precludes some, and the rest are independent authors who publish through Amazon. 

Not every store can carry every item, Mr. President.  And not every individual can afford to fill their needs with the few options that are carried...or afford to travel to find the things that they need.

Claiming that Amazon hurts business isn't accurate.  Or, it may be, but it's a limited view. 

Hurting Amazon harms customers like me who MUST shop online instead of locally because of lack of products carried locally. 

Thank you for proving my opinion of you as a shallow, stupid, reckless, narcissistic, greedy asshole accurate. 

Although I'd have been happier to be proved wrong.


Someone Disappointed to Not Be Disappointed