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Thinking Out Loud

all of my ideas are works in progress

Setbacks and Progress

I didn't get in to Valdosta. I promised myself that I wasn't going to get bummed out about it. I did anyway. I told myself I would take a long weekend and then jump back on the horse and apply to Alabama. I still haven't. That was...a month ago?

I spent some time looking at jobs again. The goal, after all, is a job. But that just reinforced my suspicion that a job I can get that pays what S makes doesn't exist on this continent.

I took a look at ASU's online programs, and called in to ask some questions about their bachelors in electrical engineering because, hey, why not? Their sales representative admissions counsellor sounded distinctly skittish about my low undergraduate GPA. If a bachelors degree program is scared of my GPA, what hope do I have getting into any masters program?

So, if I want a job, I need more schooling, and if I can't get into a masters program, it's going to be back for a bachelors, don't know in what yet, depends on what I can get done fast, cheap, and mostly online, and actually leads to a viable career. It will almost certainly require math. That will cost significantly more than I've allocated for a masters, but I can get the lower-division math classes out of the way, online, from CVCC super cheap. So, one thing led to another and I'm starting precalculus in two weeks.

Meanwhile, at the job I have to pay for the job I want, I got a promotion. I'm now a customer service manager, king of the cashiers. It's mostly what I was already doing as a cashier cross-trained in customer service, financial services, and site-to-store, so, 'Would you like to get paid more to keep doing what you're already doing, plus some accounting stuff?' 'Okay.' 90 cents more per hour, on top of the 95-cent raise a month ago when Walmart decided to be less awful. More hours per week, and it will look better on my resume after I leave. With more money coming in, and likely a more expensive educational path, I'm tempted to stay on a few months longer, but I still want to be done with this before Thanksgiving comes around again.

We are now entirely debt-free. On S's income alone we were just breaking even and would have been stuck that way for years, but with my job we were able to pay down her student loan and my car loan aggressively while also saving for my education. We've opened up a few new avenues of saving - travel and the car that will replace the one I just paid off - but now my income isn't divided to any other purpose and my saving toward schooling will only increase.

One thing we'd decided to do as a 'reward' for reaching that goal was buying our first tablet. I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7". I...I don't get it. I'm sure the first generation of tablets firstbooted into a tutorial and made no assumptions that the user was already familiar with tablets. But now everyone else has had a tablet for ten years and I've touched a smartphone once. I can't figure out how to move or configure anything, I can't freaking figure out how to close a program that is running, I've got preloaded Google crapware and duplicate Samsung preloaded crapware that I can't uninstall, it takes me ten minutes to fine the 'Settings' menu. I am the old guy that comes into the library and asks for help and doesn't know what 'right-click' means.

Quick and Dirty "Teriyaki" Salmon
4 salmon filets or steaks
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 shakes ginger powder
1 shake garlic powder

Arrange salmon on broiler pan. Mix other ingredients. Spread sauce on top of the salmon. Broil 5-6 minutes. Flip, spread more sauce, broil 5-6 more minutes. Done.

Bitter Dredge

I guess I am still not as over the Glasgow Library incident as I thought I was, or would like to be.

I've just finished reading Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads by Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes. It was okay. She assumes you've already become familiar with the content of her first two books and cites them without giving any further information, so if you haven't read her other work it's significantly less useful. She bemoans the lack of parental involvement from dads and the paucity of parental advice targeted at and consumed by them, and then proceeds to give only cursory attention. She's a little to eager to put people in simplistic boxes. The amount of attention to the problems specific to upper-middle-class Jewish families is disproportionate to the actual number of upper-middle-class Jewish families.

What makes this book interesting and different, though, is that it's a book about adult-adult conflict resolution that takes into account broader social context and role, rather than merely individual psychology.

But reading the book dredged up a lot of awful memories from Glasgow, and raised some troubling questions. Exactly one person outside of the Board thought the Board was in the right. At least dozens thought the Board was in the wrong. Many offered us their private concern and support. But no one stood up for us in public. No one dared to oppose or hold accountable a group of five small town bullies ruining a powerless outsider on a whim. Why?

I Dreamed a Meme

I dreamed:

I was back in high school. (This is not uncommon, but less common than dreaming I was back at university learning I was still enrolled in a class that I thought I had dropped and hadn't attended all semester.) I was in an oil painting class, and I had heard somewhere, I think from some friend's post on LiveJournal, that that Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving painting, when you think about it with the placement of the figures, is actually a remake of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper in 1940's American attire, looking down the table from Jesus' point of view instead of capturing the whole table in landscape, with Jesus just out of frame to the lower left.

And I thought that was cool, but if that were true, then I didn't think anyone had done the left side of the table, so I decided to redo my oil painting project to attempt that, except with samurai because I was already working with samurai and had done several test portraits that just seemed to be missing something. So I started working on this, but I couldn't find a print of The Last Supper anywhere. Stupid BYU-approved textbooks... I did the best I could and had to move on to my next class: drama. (Dream me has basically the opposite class schedule of real me.) On my way out the door, I mentioned to my teacher that I couldn't find this painting anywhere.

"Oh, yeah, that story came around that Freedom from Want is actually a remake of The Last Supper. That story comes around from time to time and I have to lock up every book with a print of The Last Supper for a week to keep students from cutting it out or drawing over it. It just goes to show the arts are still important and I'm in the right field."

A large family gathered at a table for a holiday meal as the Turkey arrives at the table.
"Freedom from Want" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

The Irish

They were, and sometimes still are, systematically oppressed because their ethnicity, language, and religion didn't match the ruling elites. They've suffered the occasional genocide. It's still acceptable in most circles to reduce their culture to a costume and jokes about alcoholism, and it's not racist because they're 'white'*.

St. Patrick's Day is a celebration of Irish culture and heritage, because - let's be honest - it's awesome to be Irish, but lets take a moment to reflect on where we've come from and the people who've sacrificed for us to be where we are today. And let's take that as we move forward and try to be better and make the world better.

Me (pointing to our world map): Okay, this is where we live.
Emma: Our house!
Me: Yes! And over here is Norway, where vikings and dragons live.
Emma: Like Hiccup!
Me: Yes! And this is Ireland. This music we're listening to comes from there. And daddy's daddy, and grandpa's daddy**, and lots of our other ancestors lived there before they came over here.
Emma: Why they come to here?
Me: Jobs, mostly.

*This being the Internet, I am certain that someone will read this and flip out because how dare I suggest that the Irish deserve any sympathy when I'm obviously privileged and [favorite group] has it so much worse! Can we maybe just please realize that compassion isn't a zero-sum game, and that arbitrarily deciding that a certain group's problems and perspectives don't 'count' is objectively horrible, no matter which direction it's pointing?

**Not accurate, but the easiest way for me to contextualize 'ancestor' for a three-year-old. The Irish is mostly on my mother's side.

Proposed: UNICEF Law
Cf. Godwin's Law
In the argument portrayed, Michael is certainly more persuasive than Arthur, but...

When you trivialize someone else's concerns/viewpoint by telling them/implying that they should be more concerned with something hyperbolically bad and irrelevant to the topic at hand (e.g. starving children in Africa), you immediately lose the debate.

A similar form refers to discussions of funding for scientific research, technological development, or public art, education, etc.:

If you say or rhetorically question whether the money being spent on this could better be spent on something hyperbolically good and not really equivalent the topic at hand (e.g. feeding starving children in Africa, curing cancer, etc.), you reveal that you are too ignorant about the proposal to be qualified to discuss its merits.


The Dress

I might be getting too old for the Internet.

I used to live on the Internet, and I knew its ways. I was a member of its culture and cared about what it thought.

Now there's this thing about a dress that, due to a completely boring and obvious trick of the light, appears as different colors in different pictures. And it must be the equivalent of a slow news week for the Internet or something, because everyone is losing their minds over it.

Why does anyone think this is important or interesting or funny? What is the big deal?


This must be what it feels like to be an old person on the Internet!

My Cholesterol

I'm frustrated with my health and my healthcare situation.

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Magic Exercise

I keep circling back to the idea that yoga or tai chi would be a good exercise regimen for me, but then I check out a video from the library and it's always all, 'As you hold this pose, visualize yourself being filled with celestial radiance.' I don't care about 'celestial radiance', I just want to be able to touch my toes thanks.

Reader Survey

To better serve my readers, I'd like to collect some information about who is reading this, how they get updates, and what they want to see. The original purpose of this blog was to keep my family apprised of my doings at college and overseas, and I'm pretty sure it's not performing that function any more.

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