howeird: (American Flag)
I am not patriotic. I will cheer when my country does the right thing, and jeer when my country does wrong.

On Memorial Day I am not posting any memes or graphics or sayings praising all veterans for "keeping me safe" or for their "sacrifice". 

In my heart I have three memorial days:

1. I praise anyone who fought and died actually protecting America's freedom:
The American Revolution
The War of 1812
The Civil War union side. Confederates can suck it.
Philippine-American War

2. There is a spot in my heart for those who were conscripted, then forced to fight and die for bad foreign policy decisions:
Mexican-American War
Indian Wars
Spanish-American War
Korean Police Action
Vietnam War

3.After 1973, we have had an all-volunteer military. And  none of the actions the government has committed troops to have safeguarded my freedom. In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, just the opposite. I don't mourn the soldiers who volunteered to blindly follow orders and were killed in the process.

Emotionally, though, I am an American. Let me tell you a short story.

In 1977, I had been working in southern Thailand for about a year, at a Thai agricultural research center in the middle of a forest of rubber trees. For the first couple of months there was a group of scientists and administrators from the UN, but no Americans other than myself. I lived on campus, ate and partied with my co-workers, and had almost no contact with anything Officially American. I had some business at the US consulate in Songkhla, a few miles from the research center, and the bus only went as far as the center of town. There was a hill between me and the consulate. As I walked up the road and started to crest the hill, I saw the huge American flag flying above the consulate. In that moment, it felt like I was home.
howeird: (Don't Vote)
Or not.
My whole day was all about seeing an all-female production of 1776, which was originally written for all men except for two women (Abigail Adams and Martha Jefferson). Took light rail, met Janice at the theater, The Theatre on San Pedro Square is cleverly hidden behind Peggy Sue's, it's a very comfortable 300-seat venue with great sight lines.

I got what I expected - a very talented group of women acting and singing their hearts out but utterly failing to convince me that they were the Founding Fathers. A large part of it was they were not in costume. Another chunk was there was no set. The furniture was decidedly not period.  

The cast was miked, but the sound system was not surround or even true stereo so there was no audio clue where the person was on stage. Music was electronic, and the sound booth did a horrible job of balancing it, so I often couldn't hear the words. They had this obnoxious church bell effect which was rung at what appeared to be random times, and also tolled as each delegate came up to sign the Declaration. It drowned out the roll call.

Well worth going to for the level of talent and the novelty.
Janice gave me a ride home. It's been raining and blustery on and off all weekend.

I took down the flag pole with the US and Thai flags, because it is rude to fly national flags in this weather. Makes it harder to find my house, though. Maybe I'll get another pole and put up my old obsolete Coast and Geodetic Survey flag. That was designed to fly on ships in all weather. CG&S was absorbed by NOAA in the late 60s. I got the flag because I worked in a NOAA warehouse as a summer job when they decided to toss the old flags. I can't find an image of this one online, it has a yellow sinusoidal projection of the globe in the center, the ones I'm seeing online have simply a triangle, or the NOAA bird inside a blue circle inside the triangle.

But imagine this, in yellow in the center:

Domino has been a nudge all evening. Well, during dinner, which was two courses. Corn chowder then I finally dug the last two sourdough English muffins out of the freezer and nuked them with margarine and swiss cheese. Dessert was sliced banana under chocolate ice cream with sprinkles. And a heart-shaped shortbread cookie half dipped in chocolate.

Tivo supplied the entertainment, I watched two episodes of TMZ and the latest Shark Tank. The latter lived up to its name, the final presenter had The Next Great Smartphone Thing™, and all the sharks were jumping each other to make a better offer. Better for them, not for the presenter. He finally took the highest $$ bid which also meant giving up the most equity.

Also spent some Quality Time programming the Tivo to record the gold medal rounds of the sports I really want to watch. Luge, skeleton, speed skating short distances. Unfortunately that will mean a lot of FF-ing through biathlon (yawn) and figure skating (WTF, judges?).

Put out the garbage/recycling. One of the many things one gives up owning a home is the luxury of taking stuff out to the dumpster whenever one wishes, and not paying attention to what day it is. Except now that I think about it, the dumpsters were full most of the time.

Did look at prices for Nissan Leaf. $30k. I probably can't afford that, unless I can get $15k for the Corolla.

Plans for tomorrow:

Moving Day

Jan. 16th, 2014 11:28 pm
howeird: (Default)

My 1-on-1 was moved from yesterday to today. Then my nails appointment was moved from today to tomorrow. And finally my trip to Ardenwood was moved to next Thanksgiving.

That latter bit goes like this: I recommended the butterflies walk to my boss, who lives maybe 10 minutes from there but has never heard of the place. I went online to find the hours, and instead found this:
Read more... )

The irony here is that when there were a thousand, around Thanksgiving, I had time off and could have gone, but my notes said the last time I was there and saw a lot of monarchs was in January. :-(

Did some more work at work, and was assigned a bug which I had lobbied hard against. And the one guy who had the hardware was gone by the time it was assigned.

Another move: The demo which I was planning for Monday at 10 had to be moved to Tuesday at 11 because Monday is MLK day, another religious holiday for someone else's faith. IMHO, he is the most overrated figure in American history and deserves a holiday named after him about as much as Walt Disney. One thing which separates the two, of course, is Walt wasn't assassinated until this year, and only on cellulose.

The demo couldn't be scheduled for 10 because the guy I couldn't find today has the room reserved from 10-11.

Lunch was supposed to be at the bad Chinese fast food place next to Jamba and Starbucks which is eye candy central, but there was no parking, so I went to Boston Market instead. I liked the brisket, the mashed was okay but the creamed spinach had coagulated. Their soft drink glasses are hard plastic and huge.

Straight home, after doing some email I took the telescope and a tripod out onto the end of the driveway, but the moon had set. Venus and maybe one of the big planets was visible so I thought I would try those, but the outside light is on a motion sensor and kept going out, and I was having trouble fitting the quick-connect mount on the scope to the tripod, so I brought it inside. Seems to be the wrong size, so I put the one from the tripod onto the scope, and that seemed to work. But then I couldn't find an eyepiece which fit. Digging in some of the carrying case pouches I found one, but that's when the scope fell off the tripod. It didn't appear to be damaged, but the quick connect was way loose. Decided I need to do this in daylight, and maybe even read some instructions and/or go to the San Jose astronomy group and ask for help.

Watched some American Idol. The new judges are not as solid as the old ones. And they mostly agree with each other. And once again the show wastes way too much time on the truly horrible, and does not spend enough time on winners. They also would do well, I think, to run it like musicals auditions with an accompanist and contestants required to bring music in their key.

What else? Yesterday there was a note in my "tube" (under the mailbox, for the park's magazine and park business) saying my bigger garbage can will be delivered Monday and not Feb. 3 as originally told to me. I need to print out a note and tape it to the current can so the helpful person next door doesn't wheel it back onto the carport after the garbage is collected. I may need to do it in Tagalog.

Blood sugar has been closer to normal lately, for no apparent reason.

Been reading the Potlatch Book of Honor: The City and The City by China Miéville. Imagine a city where people have learned to not see inhabitants of a different culture, and to believe that those people actually inhabit an entirely different city, in the same space as yours. The concept is very intriguing to me, but we learn about this strange construct by way of a murder investigation. I'm not a fan of murder mysteries, and Miéville is not very good at writing them from what I have seen so far. The plot moves like mole-asses and I'm not getting any feeling for the characters. For the first chapter I thought the detective narrating the story was a woman, but then he starts referring to himself as male. I usually get this when the writer is a woman trying to write a man's character, but China is definitely not a woman:

It's going to take me a while to finish the book.

Plans for tomorrow:

howeird: (Default)
My formative years were spent as a Conservative Jew with Orthodox leanings. Jesus and Christmas had no place in our home or our culture. We had neighbors who did celebrate, but there were enough practicing Jews on our block that nobody expected us to murder a tree and put it in our living room.

I have since given up Judaism, because it makes as little sense as any religion. Less than most. But I still am offended that after 2,000 years of war, people expect me to accept that they believe Jesus was the Messiah and came to bring Peace on Earth™.

The best three winters of my life were spent in Thailand in the mid-70's, where there were zero signs of Jesus. With the advent of the western tourist boom and pandering to them, one cannot escape Christmas there anymore. :-(
howeird: (Trumpet)
Most of this morning was spent watching a football game I wasn't really interested in, because the ones I wanted to watch are not on free TV or ESPN here. Boo, hiss. I thought about going to the movies but my tummy was being cavalier, and it seemed better to stay where there was a pause button and a handy loo.

Was feeling settled enough to go out for the 2 pm monthly gathering of the Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra (TACO) which bills itself as a fun, no-fault place to play (or just listen to) music. With 60 people it was not a chamber orchestra, but a symphony.

It was, however, terrible.

Not the players, most of them sounded adequate or better. But the two people conducting were awful. Everything was painfully slow. When there was a choice between conducting in different counting schemes, they always chose the most difficult one to follow. Nobody conducts in 6/8, people, it's done in 1 or 3. Slavonic Dances sounded like English country dances on Quaaludes.

The choice of arrangements was mostly poor. Worst Fiddler on the Roof medley ever.  Ditto Phantom.

An hour and a half of playing, 45 minute break to nosh, drink wine and socialize, and the balance of the 3 hours for announcements and playing. I had to leave at 5 so I missed playing  Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head so slowly I could dodge between the rain drops.

My trumpet playing was horrible. I had not played trumpet at all since leaving Seattle in 1999, and it would take a lot more practice to play in a real band. I almost kept up with the other trumpets.

Got to Starbucks just in time to meet Janice, we had a good chat. If all goes well I'll invite her to see the new place Friday, before there is a cat living there. She is gravely allergic.

During TACO time, I missed a call from my last living aunt. I'll call back tomorrow.

Got email from my rep, she says the seller will be out of "your home" by 5 pm tomorrow. I am not pleased. We moved Escrow closing a week earlier, to tomorrow at the seller's request, she was supposed to be out today. Yesterday, technically. I don't care, I'm not moving till a week from Thursday, I don't even need to be in the place to measure things till Turkey Day. It's just the principle of it all which bugs me.

Having mild anxiety moments this evening. Too many things up in the air, I guess. Still haven't heard from Humane Society about returning Kaan.

Plans for tomorrow:
Team meeting
Maybe I can haz new home. Maybe.
Day of the Doctor in 3D 10 pm maybe. I've seen it on TV, I usually don't like to see things twice in a short span of time.
howeird: (Howard Street)
I posted this graphic on FB,
Read more... )
and got tomes written against it by some of my friends.

One rant was from a friend who is extremely close to his family both emotionally and physically. He says it is un-American to work on this holiday, which one should spend with family. Others claim that it is slavery to force workers to work on this holiday.

But here I am with no family nearby, an atheist who objects to the religious roots of this holiday, who has in the past been forced to take the day off without pay (contractors don't generally get paid if they don't work) when there is work to be done. Silicon Valley is also packed with people from other countries who are fine with working on a day which means nothing to them, and who want to shop.

The irony of stores being closed on this day is this is the day when the most people need to do some last-minute shopping for food and related things because the tradition demands big dinners with lots of guests.

No one is a slave in this country. No one is forced to work for a company which requires them to work on Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or Divali or Yom Kippur. When I moved to Seattle in 1965 it was illegal for stores to be open Sunday. There were plenty of people who wanted to work on Sunday, some so they could earn extra $$ and some so they could take a weekday off, but most who did not fear the Christian god's wrath. Somehow, the economy didn't collapse when that law was overturned, nobody was struck by lightning inside an open business.

And yes, rich people get richer when their business is open on a holiday. But so do their employees.

howeird: (Default)

I was bullied all through grade school, junior high, and until my junior year in high school. I was always the youngest and smallest in my grade school classes until I was about 12, then I became the chubby kid, still the shortest. There were lots of bloody noses, bruises and scrapes, and lots of times getting home way late after school.

I didn't kill myself.

Never even considered it.

howeird: (Hawaiin Shirt)
At the mfg office for my 10 am appointment, I said maybe give me 15 minutes slack. I was there on time, she was 20 minutes late. I guess that's fair enough.

Dozens of pieces of paper to initial and sign,

some to do with state regulations about what needs to be inspected, which were already covered in the initial purchase document, most about the requirements of the mobile home park. The second one is they wanted me top bring my actual Social Security Card. A copy of my driver's license was fine, but they also needed my SS card, not a copy. Absurd, because the SS card says on it clearly it is not to be used for ID. No worries, I knew exactly where it was. I have a file folder toward the back of the top file drawer with all kinds of cards, and I had put it there the last time I traveled, along with my SCUBA card, since there was not reason for me to be carrying those around.

Instead of going straight home, I drove through the mobile home park, checked out the outside of the clubhouse and then went home.

Took all the cards out of the folder - there are about 200 of them, most of them bundled in a sort of category order with rubber bands. For example, all ID cards (old drivers licenses, AAA cards, high school ID, CNN and Direct TV contractor badges, etc.) which is where I expected to find it. Nope. Next most likely was one of the loose ones, because those are mostly still active, like library cards, a BART ticket, Starbucks card, CHM membership card. Nope. Checked all the bundles. Checked everything again. Did I shred it? I know I thought about doing that.

So, in a semi-panic because I need this in hand before I can make an appointment for an interview at the park, I look up SS online, fill out the form for a replacement card, find the address off the nearest office, and make plans to go there Tuesday (Monday is a Federal Mistake Holiday), and wait a week for the card to be mailed to me. I need my passport or birth certificate for that.

Those are in the top of the 4 small fireproof boxes in the bedroom closet. I open it up, pull out the current passport (it's on top of all the others dating back to 1975) find the envelope with two certified copies of my birth certificate, and as I am putting the envelope back, there is my SS card. Whew.

Next on the list is a letter from my apartment manager saying I pay the rent and don't throw heavy metal band parties in the room, or set fire to things. Walk to the apt. office, the nice lady says I can print that online. But no, what I can print out online is a for to fax to Corporate requesting they send the info. And the link is broken. I call the office, get voicemail, leave a message.

Also need an employment verification letter. I'll have to ask how to get one Monday, because I don't think I actually got one, what we got was email confirming we were now employees of the new company at the same job title, manager and salary as we had before the acquisition. I fired up VPN to the corpnet, but didn't see a way to ask for that letter on the HR pages. Kind of ridiculous, since they also want my last paystub. To me that's all the proof of employment they need.

So, things will be delayed a bit. I wanted to have the interview this Thursday, because I'm planning to work from home and avoid the bogus earthquake drill. Been through two of the largest ones in US history, don't need to fake it. And with the A's out of the World Series race, we're not due for another one.

Watched the UW-Oregon game until it was clear my home team was going to lose. Heated up some honey glazed wings and baked beans (the former to help reduce the clutter in the freezer).

So, out on the patio for some gardening. All the plants I had planted in the planters are dead and dried up. They were dead first, I just didn't pretend they would resurrect with the overnight temps dropping as they have been. So, three planters' worth of dirt & dead plants into a big black trash bag. I was hoping to save 1/4 of the 4th, the catmints plant, but it was also dried up. I did pull it out, dried branch by dried branch, took it into the kitchen and stripped off the leaves & seeds, and put that all in a ziplock bag. Spilled a little on the floor. Kaan did some excavating - the stuff turns him on. Later Domino also sniffed around.

Put the big bag by the door, washed my hands, and went back out on the patio to read the two very heavy texts from the park. The lease itself was pretty straightforward, much didn't apply to me because it talked to people moving a home in or out of the park. You would think they would have split out those pieces. The rules of the park, an "attachment" almost as thick as the lease, was also pretty clear. And there's a showstopper. It says there is a limit of one cat per household. WTF? It requires the cat to be indoors at all times, no cat doors. Every apartment which allows cats allows two. Part of the reason to buy my own home was so I could have more than two if I want. But just one? Insane. I'll see if they can come around to my POV at the interview. Unfortunately, part of my argument is Domino is about 18 years old, and probably won't be around much longer. I am disappointed that when I showed the rep videos of the cats this morning she didn't mention this possibility.

Reading took till it was time to scoot. Met Janice and a long time friend of hers from CO Springs at the newest Starbucks. Nice chat, mostly about techie stuff. Friend asked me if she could import from a USB drive to a smartphone. I was not sure, it sounded feasible with the right cable.

Home, dinner was some assorted dim sum, also a freezer item but it didn't free up any space because I only used half the items in the tray.

Watched some of the Cal-UCLA and WSU-OSU games.

Tried to rig up a USB drive to my phone using a USB hub and a standard phone cable, but the phone only saw the charging part, not the data connection. Online research says I need a USB On The Go (OTG) cable, which is basically the connections I did with the hub but in a single small cable. Other comments sounds like most phones have to be "rooted", that is, hacked to give root access, which is something I won't suggest anyone to do. As techie as I am, it's not something I'm very interested in doing myself. I'll look into that more just for curiosity's sake.

Mail had only 2 items, a letter from the company with the PIN number to use to enroll in the employee stock purchase plan, which they were supposed to have gotten to me 2 weeks ago. The window closes on the 27th. And a coupon from Toyota reminding me my next scheduled checkup is coming up. 5k miles or 6 months. They are 1800 miles and 1.5 months early.

Plans for tomorrow:
11:45 am showing of Gravity 3D. Theoretically IMAX is a higher resolution experience, but the local IMAX theaters give me vertigo, without a movie showing.
Catch up on Tivo.
howeird: (Satan Claus)
Going out to the car this morning there was a garbage truck by the dumpster, but it was only the recycle one. No time today to do the dump thing anyway.

Work was another day of letting the machines crank away and monitoring the video. Nothing strange with the quality, but the content sure was bizarre. First there was the shooting at the Navy base. I have a relative who works there sometimes, but she is on this side of the country today. All the alleged reporters did their best all day long to not find out anything along the lines of who what when where or why. Even the police were sending off a false report of a suspect whom they said later wasn't even a person of interest. There were many helicopters buzzing around the area.

Then there was Colorado, where there were many helicopters buzzing around the area, looking for survivors of the massive floods. It was just one dam break after another. Probably exacerbated by the erosion caused by the massive forest fires earlier this year.

America's cup did not go well for the home team. They seem to not have the faster of the two boats.

But the most important item is They™ crowned Miss New York as Miss America, totally ignoring her flailing attempt at talent (Bollywood dancing? Gag me with a soggy roti) and her rambling, squeaky voiced answer to the finalist question. Miss California IMHO was the better choice, and Miss Florida should have been runner up. Both showed more poise and grace, with a more upbeat attitude, I think. But I don't think it will be a disaster, and if she uses the scholarship money to become a doctor as she said she plans to do, that's a good thing.

Lunchtime started with a trip to the PO to mail another birthday card to my soon-to-be-60 sister (she gets one a month until she hits the big 6-0) and to drop off the eBay sale item. 15 minutes wasted in line because some bozo in DC thinks someone brazen enough to mail a <?!?!?> won't be brazen enough to hand it to a postal clerk. Sheesh.

Halfway to work there's an iHop, I made the mistake of letting them put me in a booth. The way I am shaped, my tummy wedges against their tables, and it is very uncomfortable. I justified not moving by thinking I was there for a quick lunch, would not be there long, and there were screaming children in the back room where the chairs are. But service was glacial, and the screaming was still very loud from where I was sitting.

After work I went to the car and phoned my sister. The car's bluetooth is a lot clearer than the earbuds, since the audio comes from the 4-speaker system, and there's a directional mike. By the time we were done chatting it was too late to stop at UPS or the beauty supply place, so I went home, swapped my button down for a Westrcon T-shirt and went to the [ profile] basfa meeting.

We were still down a few people who were not yet back from Worldcon, or who were suffering from con crud in its various nefarious forms. There was much humor, but also much cross-talk by the people flanking me. The auction item I brought sold for $5, which was reasonable, but I expected it to go for more than that. My review flopped. No one got the joke that Megapython vs. Gatoroid could be misread as Gatorade. And once again the rumor of the week which should have won got derailed by too many add-ons. Sigh. Brevity is the soul of wit, people. And while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it is rarely as funny as the original. </rant>

Plans for tomorrow:
Beauty supply
Peninsulaires voice lesson #2 (of 6)
howeird: (Weird Load)
Interesting day at work. Some of us spent a lot of time talking about how to better coordinate the three databases we have to work with. We have one to track automation stuff, another for test cases, and a third for bugs. We own the first two, engineering owns the third. Apparently we will be migrating to a single one which will do the work of all three. Or that's how I think they said it will work.

Lunch was a place in the Rivermark megastripmall (the one where 6,000 customers vie for 120 parking spaces) called New Jersey Mike's Subs. That was a mistake. I went in there expecting a NJ style hero sandwich, and was especially looking for Italian Sausage, but they didn't have that. I ordered a grilled Reuben sub to eat there, and got something on very soft, slightly warm bread with 900-island mayonnaise. It wasn't horrible, but I left some over. The antidote was across the street at Prolific Oven, a very chocolate covered cream puff. Expensive, though. I'm guessing that in 5 years the price has doubled.

I also peeked in at Game Stop, looking for a stand for the Nexus, but they had nada. And the guy working there had no idea what they had in the way of first person shooters for PC or Wii. They had Doom 3, but wanted $30 - it's online for half that.

Straight Home after work, sat on the patio with the cats, doing stuff on the laptop.

Looked for ways to see tomorrow's sailboat races, but the cruise companies all wanted $250 and up, and the seating areas are all out where it's hard to get to by public transport. And the only seats worth taking pictures from were $100.

Dinner was swedish meatballs & klondike bars. I watched the latest Who Do You Think You Are? and was flabbergasted that Chris O'Donnell had no idea why it was anything special that his 4x great grandfather would have been the Lt. in charge of the cannons at Fort Sumter in September 1814. And he had no idea why the Star Spangled Banner was written.  The park ranger who explained it was way over the top over-acting, but he did a great job of building the story up.

Dinner done, next on Tivo was the Seahawks - Packers game. Kaan jumped up on my lap and wedged himself between my arm and my body, and stayed there for the whole hour it took to FF thorough the game. Tivo cut it off with 5 minutes left on the game clock, but I already knew the final score. It was not as impressive a win as last week, but the 2nd string QB was amazing. The game was called by the Green Bay announcers, but they gave Seattle players the credit they were due. Unlike the Denver announcers last week.

Plans for tomorrow:
Take the litterbox clumps out to the dumpster
Fry's, buy a copy of Doom 3 and Grand Theft Auto 4
Starving musician to buy a less cumbersome music stand and ask if they might be interested in buying my baritone horn when the summer is over
If I don't find the stand I want, there's also Guitar Center and West Valley Music.


Jul. 31st, 2013 09:34 pm
howeird: (Slarty Animated)
Abortion is a very difficult subject for me, and not because I was a "mistake".  I firmly believe abortion is murder. But we make allowances for self-defense, and my definition of self-defense extends to a rape victim protecting herself from that living reminder of a horrible event, and it extends to women who would be killed by having a baby.

But all the rest of the usual reasons I'm not so sure about. Adoption used to be a viable alternative, but now we're inundated by tearful pleas to donate clothing for foster children whose foster parents, I thought, were supposed to be paid by the state for providing those things. Yeah, they are click click

We now have the technology to know if a child will be born with a drug addiction, AIDS, birth defects, etc. The news is full of human interest stories about children overcoming various birth defects to win awards in the Special Olympics, and it is also full of stories of children born with problems which bring a wagonload of pain and suffering to them and their parents. There's no right answer. I lean toward making it the informed decision of the mother and her physician.

Does the father have a say? Absolutely yes, if we're talking about unmarried parents and the mother's decision is to have the child, because this will burden him with child support, which he may not be able to pay.

And then there is the abortion of convenience. Morning-after pills and a pill for men are becoming more available.

I was lucky. My parents were married ( and continued to be so until Mom died at 86) and were okay with having another baby. I didn't find out for sure I was a mistake until I was in my late 20s, staying with my maternal grandmother when she was in the early stages of whatever affliction causes people to blurt out secrets to the people who were not supposed to hear them. My mother said many times she was pro-choice, and her choice was to have me. She also said a few times she seriously regretted that choice. ;-)

howeird: (CamoOcto)
Woke up to KOMO news at 7 am, which is 10 am DC time, which is when Supreme Court decisions are usually handed down. DOMA came first. As usual, they mis-reported it as being struck down when they really left it mostly intact, except for the handful of states where gay marriage is legal.

Switched to DC's WNEW news station for more educated commentary, and waited for the Prop 8 decisions. Again, mis-reporting that it was struck down when what they really did was refuse to hear the case on a technicality. Switched to the local news, got educated California commentary which explained that (a) Supreme Court decisions don't take effect until 25 days after and (b) there is still a stay in effect against overturning Prop 8 which won't be lifted until those 25 days are over, and maybe not then. In the good news side, Gov. Brown has told all the county clerks to start printing up new marriage license forms.

And last night's brave stand by Texas  Sens. Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte, backed by a packed peanut gallery, has to do it all again because the Putzoner has called a special session.

So that's how my day started.

Tried again and failed again to connect to the company VPN, but started early enough to not be late for work.

 Took on a particularly challenging bug fix verification because I own the feature it is about. I needed to borrow a pair of machines with a particular setup, and the engineer who loaned them to me last time let me use them during my lunchtime. But they were not the same pair, and didn't work. He fixed that, and then fixed some files which delayed testing again, so what should have been a 20-minute test took 2.5 hours. But no worries, late "lunch" at Starbucks, complete with much eye candy. Not much left to do back at work, but the day was almost over.

Called the car audio place and made an appointment for Saturday morning to have the backup cam re-attached directly to the in-dash unit now that the firmware has been upgraded.

Called the nails place and made an appointment for tomorrow lunchtime.

Straight home, thinking of going out later, but the patio and Kindle beckoned, and the new flower pots needed watering.

Online, ordered 10 packets of Domino's favorite dental treats from Petco. Half the price of Amazon.

Frozen spaghetti & meatball low-cal dinner, bananas & whipped cream w/cinnamon and nutmeg for dessert.

Watched an episode of Restaurant Stake Out.  Scheduled Tivo to record the next Crossing Lines because three diverse friends have posted good things.

Fired up the VPN again, and when it failed I phoned Motorola support, since we are still on their network even after a year of being owned by Google and then sold to Arris. Turns out they have switched to a very new and vastly improved product from Juniper called Pulse which the support guy installed for me via remote desktop. Impressed at how efficient he was.

Email from Petco, confirming my order, but ship-to was my last year's address. Went to their page, fired up chat, the supportless person said there was nothing she could do because the order had been processed. I pointed out it won't actually ship until tomorrow. She suggested I have UPS hold it for me. I suggested I can stop payment on the order. She didn't reply to that after 3 minutes, so I ended to chat and gave her all 0's in the survey.

Plans for tomorrow:
Band practice or NASA event? Hmmm.
howeird: (Satan Claus)
Paula Deen was under oath in a courtroom and lawyer asks if she has ever said "nigger". She said 'yes, but not recently'. The media hears the first part but not the second and brands her a racist. The reason she is in a courtroom is she is being sued by an employee whom she had fired, the employee making IMHO hard to believe claims of systematic racial discrimination against said employee.

The knee-jerk reaction from her various employers will bite them eventually.
Snowden. Espionage? Srsly? Espionage is when you give classified information to enemies, not when you give it to We, The People™.
The Voting Rights Act was not thrown out by the Supreme Court. What was thrown out was what I have always thought of as an unconstitutional section which singled out particular counties to be required to submit any proposed changes to their voting laws to a Federal court to be evaluated for discriminatory activity. IMHO all counties ought to be subjected to this level of scrutiny, or none of them. I hate to agree with Roberts, but in this case he's right that the 40-year-old list is no longer based on current data. His decision didn't throw out the special section, it only told Congress to update it based on current data. And again the media is screaming as if all voting rights are now in the toilet. Sheesh.
Sad to see former Texas Gov. Ann Richards' daughter's filibuster against the proposed medieval abortion law was halted on a technicality.
howeird: (Slarty Animated)

[ profile] lisa_marli re-posted on FB a graphic purporting to show a teacher doing school work on hs own time, and a diatribe caption about how teachers do that. And she commented that she used to help grade his class' work because he taught accounting, and she is good at accounting. I will tease her here instead of there and mention that my father once taught Werner von Braun's undergrad classes as a TA, and graded those class papers, but I never learned any astrophysics or orbital/celestial mechanics. But that's just a tease because by the time I was old enough to learn that stuff, he was an engineer and all his work was top secret, so even if he wanted to he couldn't teach it to me. And he didn't want to.

But it got to thinking about my grade school teachers. I am going to try to remember them and say a smidge about each one.

Kindergarten: Name??? Blonde, young, was insulted that I could recite the alphabet before she taught it to us.
1st Grade: Miss Moshey. She had taught German to US soldiers during WWII. Her favorite phrase was "mach schnell, bitte". She was horribly strict for a 1st grade teacher, but eminently fair. Here is an example:Read more... )

2nd Grade: No idea.
3rd Grade: Another blonde. She tried to reason with me that the baby Mom was pregnant with might not be a girl. I was certain it would be. My sister was born two weeks after school ended for the Summer, and I had to wait for months to nyah nyah nyah the teacher.
4th Grade: no idea
5th Grade: Mr. Costa. Science teacher at heart, he had the best field trips, and supported my science fair entry. His tests were easy for me, I kept getting 110% (there was always a bonus q). He also change my life for the worse by assigning me to a different 6th grade class from all the others just because I hit a bully with a rock while we were filing back to class from recess.
6th Grade: Mr. Egger. Total jerk. Did not deserve to be teaching. When I corrected him in class for his WRONG definition of vapor, by reading it out of the big dictionary, he took my report card, slapped an overlay strip and made all my grades D or worse. My parents complained to the principal, and he did not get re-hired the next year. Irony, he went to a high school elsewhere in the district, where he taught science. The next time I saw him was in 8th grade, he was judging the science fair. :-(

It was also Nurse Appreciation day/week/eon. My appreciation for nurses started in college when I shared a house with a bunch of fellow folkdancers, and one of them was dating a nursing student who was living in a houseful of nursing students, and I dated one of them and hung out with all of them. They all had stories about how a nurse had saved their lives, and inspired them to become nurses.

I have never been sick or wounded enough for nurses to have done that for me, but I saw them in action when my folks were in hospice care at a nursing home. There were two kinds of nurses - the basic RN, who saw his/her job as helping and old person live; and the hospice nurse, who saw his/her job as helping the old person die. Mom's hospice nurse was a total drag. Mom and Dad both had two or three basic RNs who were wonderful.


Apr. 19th, 2013 07:37 pm
howeird: (Default)
Work was boring today. 'nuff said.
Lunchtime, UPS store,. picked up a package which was not expected till Tuesday but needed this weekend - a 55-300mm Nikon lens. Will take it to the Thai festival Sunday.

I keep a list of things on Evernote which I want to write about here. Sometimes I remember to read the list.

Thing 1. Programmed Learning
This popped into my head while I was listening Wed nite to those two SRI super-geniuses talk about how important education is.

When my dad moved us to Seattle, it was to become a manager at Boeing. He expected to be an engineering manager, since he had been an engineer for eons, but for some bizarre reason they put him in charge of the computer center facility, and then their office building downtown (Most of Boeing admin was in Renton, Tukwila and Everett). He hated it. But one thing he shared with me was Boeing's series of books on management skills. They were very plain, somewhat large type (12 point or so), and were like no other books I had seen. He said they were Programmed Learning.

The way they worked is there was a page with a Situation written on it. Either on the next page or at the bottom of the page it would say "If you would do X, go to page 77. If you would do Y, go to page 68. If you would do Z, go to 44".  Whichever page you chose would tell you why you were wrong, and have you re-read the original page and guess again. If you were right it would simply continue to another Situation.

My father and I agreed that mostly those answers would not work if we were the employee in the given Situation. We also agreed it was a great format for learning, especially for things like math and physics.

Thing 2. Justin Bieber recently caught a lot of flack from people who seriously need to (a) get a life and (b) take remedial reading classes. The story is the teen idol went to the Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam, spent an hour there (longer than most tourists spend), and wrote this in their guestbook:

"Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber."

The way I read this, he was saying he hoped his fans included inspiring, great girls. The key word is "Hopefully".  I see that as a compliment.

Thing 3. I have been enjoying [ profile] zyzyly's chair photos. And I wonder if he is familiar with one of my favorite soap operas, Love of Chair from The Electric Company. I tried to find a clip online, but it looks like CTW has things locked down tighter than Disney.
And finally, Thing 4, Boston.

How ludicrous is it to shut down an entire city just to find a teenager? How horrible is it for around 100 officers to unload their handguns on a suspect? How does the prospect of that many stray bullets protect the public?  I listened to the barrage on WBZ radio at about midnight my time (3 am in Boston) and it sounded worse than Afghanistan. The reason to outnumber a dangerous criminal 1,000 to 1 is to bring him in alive. Any single trained officer ought to be able to bring down a suspect with a couple of shots to the legs. You know they had snipers in that crowd. But some idiot gave a "fire at will" order, and now we will never really know if the guy they killed really planted those bombs, and if he did, why.

Welcome to The Police State.

howeird: (Sgt. Redbeard)
I'm going to post where I stand and why, and leave it open to comment, but I'm not going to reply to any comments.

Three of my grandparents were kicked out of Russia (for being Jews) around the beginning of the 20th century, the fourth was born soon after the boat docked in NYC. Their parents had gone through a lot of crap to get them here legally. There was a quota on how many Jews the US allowed in. All my grandparents learned to speak English with only a hint of an accent, three of them through night school. My parents sounded like the native New Yorkers they were. I had to fix my accent when we moved to Seattle, but that's another story. My father was saved from having a foreign accent by the fact that his Russian father married a Hungarian, and the only language they had in common was English. My mother's first language was Yiddish, but you couldn't tell from her unaccented English.

I was born on Manhattan Island, which was purchased legally from the local Native tribes. One man's trinket is another man's treasure. None of my family was even remotely involved with stealing land from the natives. So don't be playing that card on me.

Ever since living in Thailand, I have wanted to return there to work, but the process for getting a work visa is pretty similar to the one for the USA - you need a company to sponsor you. Unlike the USA, only a child of a Thai citizen can obtain citizenship, just being born there doesn't hack it. Only a citizen can get a free education. Christian mission schools tend to fill that gap. Most of the illegals I know from the US/Europe/Australia either have no family, or have left them home.

Giving a pathway to citizenship to people who come here illegally rewards them for breaking the law. I think those who came here illegally should be told to go back to their homelands, and be given the opportunity to apply for visas. If they have children under 18 who are citizens, those children should go with them.

For those who say there is no way to enforce this - it's pretty much the same way you would offer a path to citizenship. If you believe the government can process 12 million applications for amnesty/citizenship, then you also must believe the government can process 12 million exit visas.

Which, of course, they can't.
howeird: (Weird Load)
I was raised in Suburban NYC (Lawn Guyland) where the accepted musical forms were rock, pop, folk, easy listening, classical, showtunes, and your religion's liturgical music. Country Music was an oxymoron. Or just a moron.

We moved to Seattle, and despite the fact that the nearest cowboy was on the other side of the mountains, there were two or three country music stations on the radio. Pop stations occasionally played "cross-over" tunes. I ignored them, shunning them as music for people who dropped out of 4th grade to pursue a life in the rodeo.

Even when I worked in rural Oregon and Washington where I covered rodeos and took the mug shots of the rodeo queens, and most of the "music" on the radio was country, I detested it.

And then I heard, as I was channel surfing, an announcer introduce a song which he claimed was called "Work Your Fingers To The Bone, And What Do You Get? Bony Fingers" which was then played live for the studio audience. I can't remember when or where that was, but ever since, my attitude changed. There were people in country music with the same warped sense of humor as me.

One thing led to another, and I sought out country novelty songs. And then that leaked into finding singers I enjoyed. Reba MacEntire sings in my key (an octave higher). So does Anne Murray. And Dolly Parton. Which brings me to a little twist - the first time I heard "I Will Always Love You", it was Dolly on the soundtrack of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Her version still makes me all misty-eyes, and when Whitney hijacked and completely eviscerated it, I was livid. That was after I discovered Dolly did not only sing it, she wrote it. She wrote the whole musical. I'm impressed.

Then there was the country which I didn't know was country. In 1973 I was in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown at the Astoria, OR community theater, and to pass the time during gaps in the rehearsals, the guy who played Schroeder taught us a bunch of John Prine songs.  "Grandpa Was A Carpenter", "4-Way Stop Dilemma", "Dear Abby" and my favorite "Please Don't Bury Me". Somehow a song taught you you by Schroeder doesn't click as country. I learned "Illegal Smile" as a protest song in college.

And then there's Jimmy Buffet, who has come up a lot of clever lyrics and catchy tunes. One could argue that his music isn't really country, so I will. :-)

What got me going on this topic is I was in the car yesterday in a Dayquil haze, and the clever lyrics of a particular country song got me to thinking about a Facebook meme:
howeird: (questioncat)
Lunchtime today there were two cars parked side by side. One had a couple of pro-choice bumper stickers and the other had a couple of pro-life ones.

I see both their points. And I see flaws in their black/white argument.

I don't believe a woman has a right to unilaterally decide to have a child. Such a decision imposes heavy monetary obligations on the father, and often on both of the prospective parents' parents. Deciding to have a child who will not be entirely wanted is not such a good thing. For those who give their unwanted children up for adoption, the foster care system in this country is bankrupt, and foster children are more likely to go to prison than not.

OTOH, I believe a child's life starts at conception. From that point on, there is potential for life. From that point on we are talking about killing.

But if killing an embryo saves the mother's life, sure. My definition of saving a mother's life includes saving a too-young woman, or a rape victim, from having to raise an unwanted child. In many, maybe most, cases a seriously deformed baby will be unwanted.

But my bottom line on this is it is not something for the government to decide.
howeird: (American Flag)
That's what it feels like, all the recent announcements by conservatives that they have had a change of heart, and now see the rightness of legalizing gay marriage.

It took Obama way too long to see the light. He was not raised a Bible bigot, he chose to become one, and those born-for-the-first-timers can really plant their feet. But he has come around most of the way.
Many of the minds were changed by their children coming out to them. A few managed to on their own finally separate their church from their state. Whatever the catalyst, it feels to me like a big rock being rolled away from the cave entrance, and the hostages coming out. The dawn of a new era. Maybe the dawn of a new ERA as well?
TMI behind the cut
Read more... )
Anyway, all of that to say I have always taken people at face value. The only time I care at all what a person's sexual orientation is is when it's a woman I'm interested in dating. But then, there have been far more women who were not interested in me who were not interested in women, either.

But I digress. This week has given me some hope. I hope the Supes continue that feeling.
howeird: (Sgt. Redbeard)
Three teenagers get drunk at a party. Two of them beat up the other one. Will the police drop the under-age drinking charges against the one who was beat up?

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