Friday, September 30, 2011

Like banging my head on a brick wall.

I'm a big fan of the show "Fringe". I've seen every episode but one (and that by choice; it was too scary, and that's saying a lot) at least once. After every episode, I get online to find out what the glyph code said and where the Observer was, and what the hints for the next episodes might mean. I also enjoy the complicated nature of the plot -- there are two universes, which means two versions of nearly every character and all kinds of back-and-forth. They also added a time-travel element at the end of last season, and literally erased a main character from the story. (He's pretty obviously coming back, though.) In other words, to really enjoy the show, you have to be quick on the uptake and you have to really pay attention while you watch.

And yet I've seen multiple cases of people complaining that they didn't know what was going on. In itself, that's not so bad -- if you came in halfway through last season, for instance, it would be incredibly confusing. But this isn't the same thing. One woman didn't realize the difference between "Lincoln Lee wears glasses now?" and "Oh, that's Lincoln Lee from this universe". Another seemed to have turned off the last season's finale after about 30 minutes, and wanted to know why Peter wasn't there -- he/she seemed to think Joshua Jackson had left the show, and he/she demanded the showrunners get him back pronto.

I bring this up because these people claim to be faithful watchers with viewing habits that match mine, and yet it's painfully obvious that they're completely at sea. I don't get it. Either they're lying (in which case, why not just say you came in late?) or they're actually, you know, dumb as a bag of hammers when it comes to following the show (in which case, why are they watching "Fringe"?). (And I don't mean they're necessarily objectively stupid, I mean they're just out of their element for whatever reason. It happens.) It's a puzzler, all right.

(Don't even get me started on the "I know I only half-watched the show while I did something else, but [plot hole] really bugged the heck out of me!" There was no plot hole. You just suck at watching TV. Argh argh argh argh argh.

Note to self:

If lunch will be at least an hour late due to a doctor's appointment, and all you have to tide you over are some (admittedly very tasty) crackers and a cup of tea, then FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, don't make said tea in the breakroom when everyone else is on break and heating up their lunches! It smells like lasagna and ham-n-bean soup in there, and it will make you hungry and sad.

On the upside, the doctor's appointment is to pick up a brace that I can wear inside my shoe, so I won't have to clunk around in the boot cast after this afternoon. And I get an excuse to visit Chick-fil-A, which I haven't done in a while. I'm going to get their chicken soup and a side salad. Good and good for you, and it leaves room in my day for dessert tonight. Yum!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some miscellany to hold you 'til Friday.

-- It was cold all week but today was warm and then it rained and now it's cold again. Sometimes Indiana is an aggravating place to live.

-- I seem to have accidentally broken my addiction to coffee. I rushed off one morning without it, and I haven't really needed it since. Yay, I guess? It is one less thing to pick up at the grocery store ...

-- I got the notification: I am officially a NaNoWriMo Municipal Liason. Go me!

-- I used to get angry when people said stupid or ill-informed things, and then refused to listen to correction. Now I just get tired. So very, very tired.

-- Savage Chickens is awesome. I highly recommend you follow my example and read it every day.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled Thursday.

Rosh Hashanah

The arrival of the new year is a time for reflection, for repentence, for renewal and for refreshment of the spirit. May you have all of these things and more in the coming days.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hallelujah, finally.

After countless rounds of phone tag, many nervous nights, daily trips to the empty mailbox, bank runs to deposit my spare change, unexpected help from people I've never met, and one epically productive conference call with me, a very nice lady at the insurance company and the receptionist at my doctor's office ...

... my insurance paperwork has FINALLY been completed, and I will receive my missing paycheck at the end of the next pay cycle.

Good grief, I hope I never have to go through that again. Thank you, Jesus. Really. Thank you.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Who's with me?!

Real political change is not achieved with slogans.

You have to get the actual decision makers in a room

and then drop on them from above,

naked and screaming.

(Text from this comic. I laugh every time I see it, so I thought I'd share.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

That's it. That's the last straw.

As soon as I can swing it, I

am moving

to Mars.

When did it become fashionable to be a full-on, not-even-paid-for-your-efforts whore?

This is why I make it a point to eat at Chik-fil-A

A disturbing trend in modern society has been the equation of "tolerance" with "support". As in, it's not enough to live and let live, or to agree to disagree. The "intolerant" party has to actively come around to the "tolerated" party's position, even if doing so would betray his or her own personal beliefs. Sanctity of thought, it seems, is only for the protected class. To do otherwise is to be accused of "hate" (another highly misused word) and to risk attack from those being "hated". The gay rights movement is particularly bald-faced about this. For example, see the case of Stacy Trasancos.
Stacy wrote a blog post complaining about homosexual PDA in public areas, especially areas with lots of small children -- parks and public pools. (She has seven kids.) Now, had she complained about public displays of affection in general, or about girls wearing low-cut tops, or something like that, she would have been written off as a prude and likely forgotten. Instead, as noted in Stacy McCain's post (linked above), she was swamped with a tsunami of vitriol, threats and promises to rape her children.
And she's the one with the hate problem?
Note that she's not some frothing "ARGH teh GAYZ" crusader; she's not on a street corner with a sign that says "God hates British cigarettes." The second half of the offending post is an admitted rant where she laments the degredation of society in general. I don't agree with her on exactly every point (for example, I'm okay with the idea of IVF), but I will stand with her because of what she's experienced for expressing them.
When Christians were a new thing, still a novelty, those offended by them tried to wipe them out. They did so with prison, torture and execution. Unfortunately (for them) this had the opposite effect intended. Now -- now they've switched tactics. The modern-day Pharisees don't drag Christians off to jail; they condemn them for being intolerant and narrow-minded, and chastise them for wrongthink. It's a far, far more insidious and effective tactic. "Recant your beliefs, or be killed" is in today's world far less effecitve than "Recant your beliefs, or be branded and shunned." It's much easier to muster physical courage than mental.
So I stand with Stacy Trasanco. Not just because we're both Christians; not just because we share the same core beliefs. But because it's the right thing to do. I would bet money (if I had any) that although Stacy is opposed to the gay lifestyle, she is not opposed to gay people. The commenters seen on her blog, however, are quite obviously opposed not to her ideas, but to her. It's the difference between "I don't like tomatoes, so I won't buy them" and "I don't like tomatoes, so I'll firebomb the farmer's market." Jesus called on us to love our neighbors as ourselves, but love doesn't equal approval. The opposite is also true -- disapproval doesn't equal hate. Stacy, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
If you've read this far and you don't have a vein popping, here's a final word of encouragement:
So these men were brought before the king, nd Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And I want to know the truth about myself even above that.

From my comment at one of North's posts: I'd rather be alone and live in truth, than be in relationships based on lies.

Not that I prefer being alone, per se. Just that I'm willing to endure it if it means living in the truth instead of clamping my eyes shut against it.

Things I've learned since my 27th birthday.

I turn 28 on Saturday. I'm not terribly shy about my age; given my family history (and barring incident) I've got a good five or six decades to go. But it's been a big year for me, so I thought I'd share.

-- Mutual desperation is not the same thing as love.

-- If you have to pee, and you have to sneeze, for God's sake do it in that order.

-- If you decide it's not working out, and you tell him so, and his response is to ask how you can change ... it's not ever going to work out.

-- Avoid saying things like "ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD" at work if you don't want a lot of weird looks. (Of course, if that's your thing, go for it.) (And if you don't get weird looks, I want to work where you work.)

-- Once is an accident. Two times is coincidence. Three times, ask to speak to a supervisor as soon as the call connects.

-- If you stop doing something you love because someone else makes you feel bad about it, do I really need to finish this sentence?

(You may have noticed a bit of theme here.

-- "Practical" and "awesome" don't have to exclude each other. However, if forced to choose, "practical" is usually the better choice.

-- Don't ever forget that you have friends. If nothing else, at least Mr. Rogers likes you just the way you are. That's a starting point.

-- There's a great deal to be said for leading a quiet life. For one thing, it makes background checks a lot easier.

-- "Twenty years nothing, and then it all piles up in one day!" isn't just a line from Looney Tunes. It's prophecy. Beware.

-- Percoset is a mean sumbitch.

-- Trader Joe's makes a mean fruit pop.

Feel free to drop your own observations in the comments. L'Chaim!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blog Meme, ho! Sharp cutty stab edition.

Og demands, "Show us your everyday carry knife!"

I currently carry one of these. It's cheap, it's durable and it cuts through things. I used to carry a spring-assisted dealy (that cost me at least twice as much) but it had a tendency to pop open in my pocket, and I eventually lost it. I also have a back-up knife in my purse that PA State Cop gave me when I showed up to a blogmeet knifeless (the spring-assisted dealy was MIA at the moment -- I found it later).

I also have a tiny Swiss Army knife (the kind with the 1.5" blade and a nail file, and maybe a toothpick) and one of these on my keyring.

I did not realize I carried that many blades. Cool.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Head + Desk

Now my car's stalling at intersections, and the "check engine" light is on. AutoZone's code reader doohickey said "system too lean". It goes back to the shop first thing Friday morning.
It's been one of those weeks.

UPDATE: Somebody didn't mail something to do with my insurance while I was out for recovery, and therefore today's paycheck didn't come in*. My godmother is giving me a ride to the bank on my lunch break so I can deposit $19 in small bills and loose change, so I won't be overdrawn on Monday when two necessary expenses come due. I am, shall we say, stressed. I'm not asking for sympathy, just venting. A good part of this is me being a idiot with money instead of saving up like a good little saver, but -- and this is the big BUT -- some of it is in fact beyond my control. Namely, the timing. I was not expecting my car to break twice in one week, to the tune of more than a grand. Again, just venting.

UPDATE II: Bank run postponed 'til Monday. Thanks, North.

* This is where I would embed a video of Milton from Office Space if I could get my hands on one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not sure if trolling, or ... No, pretty sure just stupid.

I honestly didn't think this sort of thing happened outside of history books, or fiction. (I mean, technically I knew -- my brain knew -- but my gut didn't.)

Here's the most mind-boggling thing about this site: Someone, somewhere, thought this was a good idea, and other people agreed with them. And these same people are major players in the re-election efforts of our current chief executive. And dollars to doughnuts, they don't see a darn thing wrong in what they're doing. Here's a screenshot for posterity:

And here's some appropriate music for the occasion!

How many debunked studies does it take to change a movement?

Since Michelle Bachman has turned out to be a loon, and therefore this stuff is in the news, I thought I would cross-post this from my comment at Say Uncle: What bugs me the most is the anti-Gardasil crowd who get all worked up because their little girl will never be anything but chaste until marriage, and then be perfectly monogamous after that. Suppose she succeeds at that — what if she marries a guy who had a wild youth before he settled down? What if, God forbid, she gets raped? A girl’s likelihood of having sex is dependent on many factors, and whether she’s had a shot is one of the least of them. Get the damn vaccine!

(Side note: In the 1800s, England had several deadly smallpox outbreaks. Ireland and Scotland had practically none. This is because the former had anti-vax agitators, and the latter two didn't. Some things never change.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'd be jumping for joy if I could jump.

Only 48 days until NaNoWriMo! Woohoo! You know you wanna do it this year. Come on, you know you do.

(Bobbi, Tam, I'm looking at you ... )

Whaddya mean, 'It's only Tuesday'?

Yesterday (Monday) was my first day back at work. I mounted the curb pulling into my parking space, and flattened my front passenger tire. I went down on my lunch break to put on the spare, and some nice businessmen helped me, except the dang thing (the wheel with the flat) was rusted on and wouldn't budge. Fix-a-flat was a no go, too -- this was a full blowout. So I called the roadside assistance* hotline provided by my insurance company, scheduled a tow, found out that the place I wanted to send my car would be closed, called my godmother, got the lowdown from her on where I should have sent my car, redialed RA, took two tries to get through, got things rejiggered on that end, got my car towed, got a ride home (again, from my godmother), and got the news that I wasn't getting one new tire, I was getting four, whether I liked it or not. (It was either that, or slide off the road and die the first time the roads ice up.) (And it wasn't an upsell based on gender, either -- my godmother is a regular at the tire place and knows the owner.) They also fixed the alignment and changed the oil. So today I have my car back, in better condition than it's been in a long time, and the payment arrangements, while expensive, are not impossible. The main lesson I took from the episode is that I'm not anything close to self-sufficient (in the no-man-is-an-island sense**), and also that I need to seriously start building a slush fund. The bright spot in all of Monday's madness (besides the obvious, my godmother's beyond-the-call-of-duty aid and comfort): There were two double-stuff Oreos in my Lunchable***. I was only expecting one.

The other fun thing that happened this week (it's only Tuesday and it feels like a full week already): We had a town hall meeting with our CEO, live and in-person, and for two hours he told us that the company is in deep, deep, deep financial doo-doo, but that our current business strategy is good, and we're going to stick with it! I was not impressed, mostly because "Do it again, harder!" and "Don't force it, let me get a hammer" have already been done to death by our current national leadership. At least there was fresh coffee and some really tasty pastries. Again, the bright spot of my day revolved around the surprise of an early dessert. I'm not scared for my job or anything like that; there's absolutely no talk of layoffs (yet, anyway), and the only folks getting fired are the boss' boss' boss-level people who screwed up. But it's still not fun to hear that one's place of employment has Stage III cancer, and that this new treatment should stop the spread, but there's probably another massive tumor in there and we'll know more when we get the MRI results back in Q3. At this point, I make the conscious choice not to worry, and to focus on my day-to-day living, which is quite enough stress for one person, thankyouverymuch.

Another, more subtle bright spot: My doc has cleared me to start bearing weight on my ankle, so over the next two weeks I will wean myself off the crutches. At the end of the month, I get to wear a brace inside my shoe, just like my right foot, so both sides will finally match and I'll be able to get around like a normal person again. I won't be running any marathons any time soon, but hopefully by this time next year I'll be bike-ready. I hope I don't get too fat and flabby before then. I am crazy out of shape right now.

Three more days, and then it's Saturday. Im'a go take a bubble bath and go to bed.

* They used the theme from "Requiem For A Dream" for their hold music. Can you imagine some little old lady, stuck at the side of the road at night with a smoking engine, carefully dialing her Jitterbug with one arthritic index finger, trying to stay calm ... and having this play in her ear while she's waiting for the next available representative? Get the nitroglycerin!

** At least I can tie my own shoes.

*** Yes, I eat Lunchables. Lunchables are cool.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's been 10 years. What have we been doing?

What Tam said.

One thing I will say: The class of 2002 was the first wave of the Millennials, the first generation where the idea that something like this could happen was a part of our adult life from day one. We had to rethink what we thought we knew, but it was a rethinking of rote lessons, not actual life experience. The rethinking was the experience. So far, I haven't been impressed with how we've handled it. [Like the powers that be have done a better job? -- ed.] People have made comparisons to Pearl Harbor from the beginning, but I realized in the last couple days that it doesn't hold up. Pearl was an attack on a military, by another military, in the middle of an ongoing war. The problem was clear-cut, and so was the solution. We took our military and beat up their military until they cried uncle. But this? This was an attack on civilians, by civilians, in the middle of a war of ideas. They're not the same thing at all.

So mostly I'm going to say a prayer that those in authority understand why the actions of those men 10 years ago were evil, and what needs to be done to counter that evil. You can't just say "You're wrong"; you have to show, through your words and actions, why your position is the right one. Unfortunately, believing that puts me at odds with most of my peer group. Keep that in mind over the next 10 (or 20) years. It'll explain a lot.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Conservationists love nature. Environmentalists hate people.

The title isn't mine, but I forget where I read it. Anyhoo, here's a handy graphic that lays out, in 10 simple items, why PETA is a horrible, horrible organization. As in, "Why aren't these people beaten with fruit socks* on a regular basis, just on general principle?" horrible. Seriously. The only people I'd rather pummel in an alley are the DDT people I read about a couple days ago.

*fruit sock: an improvised weapon consisting of a man's gym sock and a firm, fist-sized piece of fruit, such as an apple or orange. Horned melons are recommended for particularly personal incidents. Pineapple is similarly satisfying, but not recommended (unless you have access to an NBA player's laundry basket). See also: butter sock, sock full of nickels. 

So is there a sign-up sheet, or do you need my e-mail?

Smitty at The Other McCain wants out of Social Security, and so do I. I would rather keep that part of my paycheck, money that I earned, that I will NEVER SEE AGAIN, and invest or spend it as I see fit.

Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I've got another, what, four decades until I'm "retirement age". I like to think I'm a pretty smart cookie. I like to think I can learn from history, and I like to think I can guess at least some of what's going down in those four decades. Therefore, I don't think of being "ready for retirement" in terms of "I need to save up this much money". Oh, no. No no no. I'm beginning to think in terms of "Let's get my life squared away now, so I don't have to worry about big adjustments at arbitrary societal milestones." First thing, I have to focus on paying off my outstanding debt. And that would happen faster if I didn't have $80 a month taken from my wages for someone else to live on, with the promise that "No, don't worry, you'll get it back, we're totally good for it." I have better things I could do with that money. Grrrrrrrr.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The moral high ground and a minigun

The next time somebody calls you a racist for having right-of-center views, point them to this Jim Lacey column at National Review.

Why should I sit quietly and let myself be branded a racist? In fact, will someone please explain how the Left is always assumed to have the moral high ground in these kinds of debates? I am particularly curious about this, as leftist policies continue to destroy the lives of tens of millions in this country and billions worldwide.

Let’s go through just a small part of the evidence.
Read the whole thing. You won't be sorry you did.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Probably not what they had in mind.

I watched the Freddie Mercury Google doodle, but all I could think about was three Brits in a pub, pummeling a zombie with pool cues. Kinda ruined whatever effect they were going for, that.

"David! Kill the Queen!"

Monday, September 05, 2011

Monday Afternoon Awesome

I love these guys. Great music to write to.

One more week

until I'm back in my routine, such as it is -- this time seven days from now, I'll be sorting out my e-mail inbox and rearranging my desk because the cleaning people moved things when they wiped it down after hours. It'll be good to be back at work. Also, I should be allowed to put some weight on my foot by then, which means getting around will be much, much easier. I'll still be on the crutches, but setting down my foot is a lot easier than carrying it at the end of my leg. Fingers crossed. I have my next follow-up appointment on Friday.

My circadian rhythms are completely shot, to the point where I would toss and turn until four or five ayem, then sleep 'til noon or one o'clock. I don't like doing that; it gives me headaches and makes the aforementioned return to work more hassle than it needs to be. Last night (this morning?) was the breaking point; it was six thirty in the morning and I was nowhere near asleep, so I listened to music for another hour or so, then got up and got dressed. When it gets this bad, the only thing is to power through until my body resets to the factory defaults. It's kind of like yanking the battery on my brain to force a reboot. I was planning a short trip to the store today, but obviously that's off for now. I'm not driving anywhere until I'm fully alert -- bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as they say at the ol' homestead.

Heh. The "time to get up!" alarm just went off on my phone. Duly noted.

I haven't had breakfast yet, nor have I had coffee. I may be up to the store after I ingest some liquid stimulants. (Prolly not.) Ah well. One more week!