Archive for the ‘Everything Else’ Category
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Here is my email I sent to IESI Waste Management:
I reside at address. Each spring I sign up for yard waste service. Each spring I am told my start date, and then the debris is not collected. I then phone to remind of the pickup. Each time I am told to phone by 7 pm that day to remind of the missed pickup. I work full time, attend grad school, and run a non-profit. I was not aware that I was on the payroll at IESI. I don’t have time to phone every service I use to remind them of their part in the contract.
When I phoned today to see if the start date of my service could be adjusted to the actual date my debris was collected, I was told that if I do not phone within 48 hours of the missed pickup an adjustment will not be made.
While I am used to the level of service provided by waste companies in the area, this by far was the most offensive policy I have heard yet. I as a customer should not be told how I need to be more diligent about reminding your company to uphold its piece of the contract.
Texting and driving didn’t used to be a thing. While inattention while driving is not something new, cell phones have added to the list of distractions one could have while driving. Driving is a great responsibility and inattention should be limited where possible. Sometimes fussy children and sunlight in your eyes can’t be helped, but chosen inattention can be.
This morning, being a sleepy morning, Kari missed the bus, which usually picks her up on our side of the street. I told her we would just go out and catch it on the way back.
Kari was crossing the street to get on the bus and someone failed to stop for her. The bus driver laid on the horn to get the driver to stop. I yanked Kari out of the street. The driver slammed on her brakes. She stopped 2 feet from where Kari had just been.
What was the cause of her inattention? She was texting.
Too often lately have I seen people driving and texting. Always can I tell when someone is texting and driving, because, frankly, they are driving terribly. This includes not signaling for turns or lane changes, swerving in lane, braking at nothing, etc.
If communicating on the phone is more important than operating a large object speeding through space and time, pull over. It’s that simple. Pull over. By the simple act of making a choice to not text while driving and pull over if it is something dire, you are saving lives. I applaud you.
To those of you who think it will never happen to you, it will. Or perhaps it has. Maybe you have caused an accident but were too absorbed in texting to notice. The driver this morning was too absorbed to notice a stopped school bus with flashing lights and a child in the street. Please don’t let a text cost you your life, because this morning it nearly cost me the reason for mine.
Tomorrow starts another semester. In preparation for the oncoming hours of study and various activities related to my dissertation, I decided to clean out the email and finally read the backlogged copies of scholarly news I ignored over holiday.
I opened the most recent one: Inside Higher Ed: Parents, Tuition and Grades / Academe Reacts to Aaron Swartz’s Suicide – January 14, 2013
I just stared. That is the extent of it. Just staring at my laptop. One thing I have learned along the road to becoming educated is that the more aware I am, the angrier I am. Hence the adage: ignorance is bliss. This man died because he was smarter than people could see. They misunderstood the message in his work and threatened his freedom because they simply did not understand. Information is not to be coveted, but to be shared. That was the whole point – the whole point of his activism!
We just lost an intelligent ally. He made the leaps in thought his prosecutors apparently could not make. They were blinded by the laws designed to prosecute malicious Internet criminals, not thinkers. Aaron did not want the gain for himself. He was promoting awareness and open distribution of knowledge.
His activism has been always something I have loved to see in action. And now I don’t get to see the next chapter. It is now a book with missing pages. Someone can write another ending, but it will still be missing something.
I am saddened by this. Aaron’s death. The way institutions for education treat creative thinkers. The way our democracy responds to freedom differently when on the Internet. And finally how education is still very limited to the elite few.
For these reasons, and perhaps for many more I will discover later, I am making a decision today to provide PDFs (or whatever the future evolution) of my publications, current and future, openly to anyone who would like copies. My research is not for myself. It is done for the masses. I just ask for credit where credit is due.
By coveting our knowledge, we will stunt our growth as a people. The movement of several higher education institutions and other groups to offer free courses excites me. It excites me beyond belief. I love learning and always have and to have everyone be able to learn as I – no, even better than I have – is absolutely encouraging.
For more information about Aaron, see the wikipedia page about him. Also, while there, consider writing an article or editing one. Contribute to the collective. (See also Cognitive Surplus, or at the moment, the skim NYT review for a brief overview).
For those of you who know me personally, you’ll find it no surprise about how affect I have been by this most recent massacre. My favorite things in life include children and teaching and my strongest opinions are about gun control.
For those of you who do not know my daughter, Kari, she is 6, nearly 7. She is beautiful, funny, intelligent, and one of my favorite people in the whole world. She loves animals and wants to study their behavior. Her favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs. Dancing and soccer make her top ten.
All of those children killed on Friday were 6 or 7. All of them were exactly like Kari: full of energy, fun and happiness. I could not imagine. I still hope to wake from this horrid reality of what is. I cannot understand what constitutional right can overrule this wrong.
I will never in my life touch a gun. I have no desire to touch an object that is specifically designed for ending another life. To the argument is that shooting is a sport: that may be. Yet one cannot argue with the inherent design of a gun. It is designed to kill.
Last night, Kari clung to me, scared to go to school today. I explained to her that this likely wouldn’t happen at her school and Connecticut is very far away. To that she replied, “Mom, guns are all over.” Amazing how easily children figure out our biggest problems.
Pro-gun individuals are all about guns it seems regardless of the lives lost, statistics and the overall reality. See this report from the Onion. Pro-gun individuals’ biggest worry is not trusting the government or the police. Yes, because we live in a third world war torn country where the issues in a democracy are best solved with brute force. I honestly ask pro-gun people: How many times in your life have you actually had an instance where you were oppressed or otherwise and a gun would have made that situation better? Let me fill this in for you. It’s a very minute portion and likely you’re not in it.
I am sick over this. I cannot express enough how much I hate guns and the lack of gun control in our country and our overall total disregard for life. We are an embarrassment. Our children our being killed yet we still hold dear our “government-protected right to own a portable device that propels small masses of metal through the air at lethal rates of speed.”
Americans generally have always had a few things backwards forcing not participants to participate in their choices: smoking, drunk driving, guns, etc. I live in one of the most dangerous cities in America. Our news should just be called the obits. I know about violence and how absolutely senseless crimes occur out of emotion. When people have access to lethal weapons when in such emotional states, crimes occur. Maybe you don’t run around shooting your gun, but, honestly, what practical reason do you have for carrying a gun? Don’t tell me it is for fantasized heroics. That doesn’t do it for me.
Please allow this tragic string of massacres and overall gun violence be a call to everyone to take an issue with gun control in America.
See more objective and rational information at kottke.org.
While having a lie-in due to a cold, I decided to watch the food related Ted Talks again. Sort of an encore and the best kind as food is kind of my thing. During Jamie Oliver’s talk, I recalled 7th grade home economics.
Understand, I had been raised in a home where we loved food. We loved growing it, cooking it, and finally, eating it. So, when Mrs. W lectured us about today’s “recipe” – how to grease the pan with margarine, snip the Pilsbury biscuits into pieces and coat in Ragu spaghetti sauce, I kind of lost it.
“This is what is wrong with America!” I said.
“Excuse me?!” she responded, turning from the chalkboard to glare at me.
“We eat this crap! That’s why we are unhealthy.”
This debate waged on. We debated about how good weight does not mean good health and how working people can cook healthy means. I was shy and this was quiet out of character for me back then. I was sent into the hall then Mrs. W came to confront me after she finished the lecture. I ended up getting an F that day and a grade of C overall.
So, at 5 we head to school to eat processed school lunches, sometimes breakfast too. Then at thirteen, we learn to ‘assemble’ food. When is this going to change?
Unless you work for an organization with a religious affiliation, which now have a 1 year pass while an agreement is in the works.
But, wait! Now if you work for any organization who claims to run according to Catholic beliefs, you might be out of luck, per one Colorado court.
My wonder is how many of those beliefs only include contraception. Are the courts going to make the owners only claim this violates their beliefs? Hopefully, they will make them prove they follow more of the faith than just the debate over birth control.
While many have debated both campaigns, both have their good points and their bad. For one, the VS campaign only shows fit/thin women. These women, while not the majority of women out there, do work hard at their body for their job. They are women, yes, but they do not define the majority I have to argue.
With that being said, neither does the Dove campaign. I don’t see a true variety in either picture. I’d like to see a real size spectrum – short, tall, thin, thick and athletic.
Chris touching the Rescue iPad.
Jackie: Don’t touch the iPad.
Chris: I am IT. I can do whatever I want.
Jackie: No, you can’t.
Chris: I’m calling HR.
Jackie: I am HR.
Chris: Let me get my HR representative. Picks up Kit Kit.
Jackie goes downstairs to iron clothes.
Kit Kit jumps down from Chris’ arms and follows Jackie.
Jackie: I buy your HR with kibbles.
I love how Jennifer Lawrence portrayed Katniss Everdeen.
A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission.
In an industry where other people make it their industry to focus on the shape, weight, etc. of women, no wonder everyone looks bone-thin and unhealthy! No wonder all of these young women in America think they’re too fat. And now this ‘Oh no, we have a strong, healthy female actress on the screen portraying the heroine from your favorite books! She’s too fat!’ What?!
I love how Jennifer Lawrence looks. I admit, I noticed her weight. I loved that she wasn’t the normal Hollywood prescription. She has the curves in the right places. Her bones are not jutting out strangely.
I love even more how honest she is about body image in UK’s Marie Claire and how it needs to change. Now young women are not just being bombarded by images in magazines, movies and on television as ‘ideal’ but being told their Katniss Everdeen come to life is not thin enough, well, what damage does that cause?
Note: Although these stories were on NPR on Friday, this post was a process over a few days due to 1 evil sinus infection.
The first news item that struck me was about a Spanish Lake documentary. A former resident was making a documentary about Spanish Lake. The main focus was about race and why St. Louis remains so divided. Here is a KETC piece on Spanish Lake from a few years ago.
Last month even I saw a BBC Story about St. Louis Divided. BBC. The BBC is writing about our small city and our racial division. We’ve made the news, folks, but not in a good way.
Spending much of my life in St. Louis, the division is evident. The inequality is there. I have had close family friends of non-white heritage harassed for driving through upper-class neighborhoods. It’s heartbreaking and embarrassing.
How in St. Louis are we going to get beyond this stigma? It’s not this or that race moving into the neighborhood. There are people who do crime in all races.
Let’s focus on crime. What motivates crime? Is this person angry, greedy, or maybe just hungry? Needs to pay the rent? We need to look further into what motivates individuals to do crime; was this crime just because or maybe because of family needs. Crime might be more prevalent in one particular race because the majority works hard to put them there. We work hard at our prejudice in St. Louis to be sure fewer African Americans and other minority races have fewer good paying jobs. Fewer housing opportunities. Less educational opportunities because there are fewer tax dollars to pay to schools, parents are always working and not able to focus on homework help, students might have to eventually work too shifting focus away from school. Etc. Etc.
This is a cycle. If we keep doing what we’re doing or do nothing, this will continue. It might get worse, but certainly it will not get better.
Second item to catch my attention was about bullying and even a new documentary about bullying. The one way other students can combat bullying is to not give the bully an audience and even advocate for the student being bullied. It is difficult to be the one to speak out, but sometimes it can make a huge difference.
I am glad schools are taking bullying more seriously now than they did when I was in school. Many times administrators and teachers would turn the other cheek to me being bullied, physically and verbally, and then I’d get in trouble for standing up to the bullies, physically and verbally, while they got away with it.
I even took up a habit of standing up for other students who were being bullied. The bullies backed off. The students acted like I’d done something amazing. Why shouldn’t we stand up for others?
To me, bullying was dumb. Why not just be friends? Was that so strange of a concept?
My daughter is now in kindergarten and experiencing the first tastes of bullying. Is she the bully? No. The victim? No. She’s the advocate. I am so proud of my outspoken, stubborn little 6 year-old for standing up for those other girls and asking the bully why she says mean things. I was so happy the day she came home from school frustrated because a girl who said “not nice things” to other girls wanted to be Kari’s friend, and Kari just wasn’t comfortable with that on account of her actions. No, not happy because she didn’t know how to navigate the social waters even we struggle with in adulthood, but because she at 6 years-old knew what was right, recognized the wrong, and wanted to stand up for the other person. This is what will change bullying. Teaching advocacy and that it’s ok to say you’re not ok with the behaviors of others.