Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Well, we’re alive.

Odysseus, the imp, the pixie, and I are all safe. Yes, we live in the general area hit by the ginormous tornado, but luckily aren't anywhere close to ground zero. As you've probably heard on the news, there's a six mile swath through the middle of Joplin that's been destroyed, including one of our two spectacular hospitals.

We're incredibly lucky. Unlike some of our friends, we still have a house, a car, and electricity. We didn't take any damage, and we have enough extra to be able to help somewhat. The only thing we lack is internet, phone, and television. Other than that, we're good.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Amazing talent

An electric string quartet that rocks harder than many metal bands...and it's not Apocalyptica. If you want to see true awesomeness, check out their cover of "Kashmir" in the sidebar--it's embed feature has been disabled.

Skip to about 1:13 or so for the music. They're frankly amazing.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hallelujah!

Spring semester is finally over—I have three weeks or so until Summer 11 classes start (yes, I'm teaching a summer class again). Grading is done, and all I have to do is input the grades into our university database (yes, I've had to do that myself for the past three years—the registrar's office doesn't do that anymore. Maybe they could help us cut costs by firing a few of their freed-up individuals…).

I do have one gripe, though. My summer class has been full since the first week of April. And I've gotten about five e-mails in the last two weeks from students within the last two weeks, telling me that they really need that class, and would I please let them in?

Umm…no. At last check, I had a seat or two still open in my fall session. And I really can't let my summer session get overloaded: we have eight weeks, and still will be doing four papers as well as two blogs per week. I literally cannot keep up with the grading if I accept more than 25 students for that class, especially since I'll be squeezing that grading into naptimes and bedtimes.

The last e-mail, though, really irked me. Said individual marked it urgent. Sorry, sweetie—poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine. You may think you're a special snowflake that deserves special treatment, but I don't happen to agree.

Of course, I can't word it like that without getting into trouble.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

F#ck you, AT&T

Didja know that AT&T as putting a bandwidth usage cap on their users? Yup, if you download more than 500MB/day (150 GB/month), you pay $10 more per 50 GB used. It would have been nice to be notified, don't you think? First we heard of it was reading about it on a few different news services after the cap went into effect.

Um...I work online, so does my husband, and we don't have any television services, so we watch TV online. We bypass the 2 GB/day mark that some satellite services set on their country customers.

Needless to say, we are no longer customers of AT&T. We've dumped their internet, their phone, and we don't use our cell phones, so we're dumping those, too. We're switching to Cable One for everything.

Update: Odysseus checked my math--we'd actually have 5 GB/day allowance. We'd still wind up going over on most days.

Monday, May 9, 2011

You might be a gun nut if...

...you change your guns at Easter and Labor Day, but your shoes are always black.

Another symptom

I recently read about people organizing to be on the streets in NYC to try to help prevent a serial killer from targeting his victims of choice—prostitutes—rather than waiting on the police to solve the crime.

I am of two minds on this issue:

I think it demonstrates one of the finer traits of our culture in this nation that strangers are willing and eager to organize to protect those who are most in danger. It shows just how much the death of one affects us all, whether or not we are a preferred target of a madman. (I'm also glad to see that people are thinking of their own safety, as well as that of others, in a more proactive way than just waiting on someone else to save them.)

On the other hand, it demonstrates a dangerous lack of trust in our society's justice system.

I may not trust the judicial system, but I like to think I have reason not to—not only did my home county not prosecute my abuser, they refused to even investigate him because he was a pillar of the community that would never do that to any child, much less his own. Personally, I like cops as individuals—but hate the institution because there is no justice in it much of the time.

If na├»ve, idealistic, young people, most of whom haven't had a traumatic experience with the justice system ignoring the evil happening to them, don't trust the cops and judges to do what they're supposed to do to find bad guys and put them away…we're on the verge of something horrible.

We have got to put our foot down. And if our judges don't want to take responsibility and if they want to keep letting these people loose, then you know what, you're going to have more vigilante going on. You're going to have a lot of problems in this community and in this world if they keep letting these guys out. It's not getting better.—Judy Cornett
Think about the repercussions of how the average citizen would read "put[ting] our foot down." Do you think you could simply watch, be present and obvious about watching, call the cops and be a witness? Do you think it will matter? Or do you think that, since the madman is likely to get paroled and released in fifteen years (or less, depending on overcrowding), you'd be more likely to do something about it yourself?

Once the majority lose trust in the institution—whatever that institution may be—it collapses. If that happens to be our legal system…

Sunday, May 8, 2011

You can blame my husband for this...

I sometimes get weird songs stuck in my head. Sometimes all it takes to get them unstuck is to listen to them. So, here's the one stuck this morning:


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I’m not the POTUS.

I can afford to take the time to sleep on big decisions. Had I been in the hot seat, the instant I'd heard that bin Laden had been found, I'd have given the go order. I wouldn't have taken sixteen hours to sleep on the info.

Don't get me wrong: I'm glad the fucker's dead, and I'm glad it was a kill order. I'll give the nitwit in the White House that much. That said, I don't think it was justice, any more than ASM826 did. Justice would have been reprisal killings of 30,000 Muslim civilians in Afghanistan—3,000 every day for ten days.

I also don't think it's going to change anything. Radical camel fellators still hate us (some hate us worse, now), still want to harm us, and are still planning to harm us. Some of them think that we're lying about bin Laden's death. They're not going to believe officially released photos (those can be faked, you know)—it would be more likely to create belief if we had a body to show. Unfortunately, he's already been buried at sea (hopefully in a bacon shroud) to avoid the construction of shrines to the martyr on his gravesite. Don't get me wrong, I think the sea burial is probably the best idea, but it should have been postponed for at least a year.

We should all take a deep breath of relief that there's one less sick, psychopathic bastard planning to kill innocents in the world. What we shouldn't be doing is celebrating in the streets, or visiting Ground Zero in a sick sort of victory lap. That's what radical fundamentalist camel fellators do every time a major attack on American civilians is carried out successfully.