stef_tm: Stef looking to her right suspiciously (Default)
Read the NYT while absorbing UVA and UVB at a nearby cafe. Three interesting things happened:

(1) A (female) police officer hit on me! My ego approves. My wife was very vocal about being my wife thereafter :-D
(2) Someone needed his car jumped; I was thrilled to use the cables I schlep everywhere with me.
(3) We had brought Max with us and a family visited with him. The family was very quiet and spent at least thirty minutes petting Max. Max, who doesn't like strangers in general and children in particular, spread out his body on the concrete and let himself be pet. He even licked the boy, who is 11 years old. That's a first - I've had Max nearly 9 years -he's about 11 years old himself -and have never seen him lick a child. He usually bristles. Those kids must taste awful ;-)

Dad and son leave and we find out the parents are separated about a month; this is the first time Mom and son have seen Dad. We speak to Mom at length and congratulate her on starting therapy with her husband this coming Monday. Mom receives call; Dad has bought son a video game and is returning to the family home to spend a few hours there.

A part of me believes Max may have sensed the tension and did some "companion animal" work. Another part suspects I'm anthropomorphizing him. Regardless, he's the best dog ever.

In other news:
Mongolian BBQ with [livejournal.com profile] peters67 and [livejournal.com profile] hot_turkey Peter informs me my hair looks much better in person than in yesterday's photo. I credit napping and bed head. I think I bored [livejournal.com profile] hot_turkey by discussing semiconductor processing equipment at length. Well, I discussed and [livejournal.com profile] peters67 made the best surprised face ever. It looked just like this:

:-O

The usual trouble makers were missing due to a Rock Band party that lasted until 4AM this morning.

Too late to go the gym (they close at 10; bastards.) Taking Max for a long walk instead.

After that I need to pick up the house, finish my lecture, and set aside some paperwork I was supposed to drop off at the accountant's office on Friday. D'oh.

How was your Sunday? Tell me something good!
stef_tm: Stef looking to her right suspiciously (Default)
When the LA Times has an article like this...

Obama takes step over the line that separates government from private industry.

You think? So underwhelmed with this administration and congress.

I officially became a patron of the Cato Institute last week. Time to put my (tax deductible) money where my mouth is.

I was also thinking about climate change the other day; I believe climate change is real and that we have an impact on the climate and its cycle - we like anything else on the planet; it's a closed system. I don't know to what extent the climate will change but any disruption more than a few degrees higher or lower will have a tremendous impact on agriculture and human settlement (as most of the world's population lives on its coasts.)

Here's the thought that popped into my mind: If I were a climate scientist and I thought we were at the tipping point, I'd be doing everything I could - 24/7 - to prevent that from happening. Giant acts of civil disobedience that would force my opinion onto every news program in the US. I'd make the tribe over at Earth First look like Sunday school kids.

Where are the outraged scientists? During the early days of the AIDS epidemic, well established scientists put their careers on the line to call Reagan out on funding. World renowned researchers worked with groups like ACT-UP.

I don't see that here - except for one person who learned about climate disruption and became passionate about it - Al Gore. Now he's quiet, too.

What gives?

(ETA: Here's a post from Climate Progress on the narrow window of climate that produced civilization. Here is a post that introduces the grim scenario: Hell and High Water.)
stef_tm: Stef looking to her right suspiciously (Default)
Case in point:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/03/25/business/dollar.php

I was reading my flist; it had been reported the Geithner was open to minimizing the dollar as the reserve currency of the IMF.

Glad he's retracted. The dollar is the last piece of leverage the US has in the global economy.

I can't help but think of Paul Simon's American Tune:


And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
But it's all right, it's all right
We've lived so well so long

Still, when I think of the road
we're traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what went wrong



With a global economy comes a normalization of standards of living. I guess this is the only way Americans will stop buying cheap plastic crap.

end rant
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I left a comment in [livejournal.com profile] curiouseve's journal about Joan Jett's Bad Reputation which mentioned Peaches.

I love Peaches. It's electroclash, ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek, profane. When I walk to the lab, frequently this song is in my head, like a war cry. It's my bring-on-the-data music.

I miss the lab...one more week!

Warning...use of the "F" word.


stef_tm: Stef looking to her right suspiciously (Default)
I was on campus until well after 10; when I returned home found out we were almost out of milk and jumped in the car to drive to a nearby 7-11, a 24 hour convenience store.

There's a homeless man who frequents the 7-11 in the late evenings, sitting crossed-legged on the sidewalk, writing poetery. Around midnight he hangs out near an unsheltered bus stop near my house, leaning on his bicycle. The last bus leaves that stop at 11:52.

My headlights showered him in white when I pulled in front of the store. I said hi as I approached the entrance and he asked "Where have you been? I haven't seen you in awhile." I smiled, a bit confused; I really don't frequent the 7-11 that much, I hope. I asked him, "How are you?" He shrugged, "I can't get my laptop to work" and pointed at his bike; there was a ThinkPad peeping out of the computer case strapped on the rack.

I occasionally give him money when I leave the store; now I leaned backward out of the doorway, craned my head and asked "Do you want me to grab you anything? You hungry?" He said, "How about a cup of coffee?"

We walked in together and I while I pondered two percent versus one percent milk fat, he surveyed the java offerings; he's very tall (at least 6'6") with piercing blue eyes and blonde curly hair which is becoming a fro. His face was surburnt; it was warm today. With 2 percent firmly in hand I walked to the coffee station to say goodbye. He gave me a big grin and said, "See you soon."

There was a new clerk at the register; she's fairly young, blonde, and delicate. This 7-11 is usually staffed with parolees or ex-addicts. Men who wear their shirts buttoned to the chin, long sleeves in summer; women with sunken cheeks and missing teeth, aged by meth. Ravaged skin and sinewed arms regardless of gender.

The clerk's skin was creamy. She was present, intelligent, and when she waved at Ivan to find out what size of coffee he was pouring, I saw clean, manicured nails. I wished her a good night, dropped the change into fund drive dujour and noticed a minivan in the parking lot.

Some mom is working the night shift at one of the roughest 7-11s short of the East SJ barrio.
stef_tm: Stef looking to her right suspiciously (Default)
Must learn more about this fascinating woman whose life intersected with Ben Franklin's
Ekaterina Dashkova.

Next season's haircut. I'm guessing shag mullet. You heard it here first. Think Katie White from Ting Tings or Taylor Momsen's new 'do (Momsen is apparently is on Gossip Girl, but I have never seen the show; I thought she was another Paris Hilton - famous for being famous. At least Momsen can hold a job.)

Use sawdust in your carbon fuel cell!

I'm a NOVA and Frontline fangirl but right now my heart belongs to American Experience and POV.

A good day today; much personal and relationship progress.
stef_tm: Stef looking to her right suspiciously (Default)
During the 08 presidential campaign, I read Meghan McCain's blog (http://mccainblogette.com/) not only to see how this child of a candidate would fare, but also for the play lists she posted. She has good taste in music and what her writing may lack in depth is compensated with genuine enthusiasm. It is obvious she enjoys communication.

She's now a blogger for Tina Brown's alternative to HuffPo, The Daily Beast. Recently McCain wrote a short commentary about Ann Coulter only to have Laura Ingraham call her out on her weight. Not Meghan McCain's support of gay marriage or stem cell research or the surge in Iraq. Nope, her weight.

McCain wrote a response to the pundits called the politics of size.

Some perspective.
(1) Laura Ingraham, while entertaining, is an asshat. That's a given.
(2) Ms. McCain (who carries her weight in her upper body and is 5'5") oscillated between a (US) size 8 and 10 during the campaign.

WTF?!?

In case you'd like to buy some off the rack clothing for your favorite politico, Hillary Clinton is 5'6" and assumed to be a size 10 (I'd have guessed an 8.) Sarah Palin, 5'4", is rumored to be size 6 and Cindy McCain, 5'7", is a 4. Michelle Obama, the tallest of the gang at 5'10", has been pegged as a 10 or 12.

I digress. Now, you might think I'm about to bitch about it being the 21st century and all we're reading about is Meghan McCain's dress size. No, I'm not. You might think I'm going to dive for the gutter and begin comparing cup sizes. Meghan wins that one easily, but nope, wasn't going there either.

I'm thrilled that we're seeing women in journalism - Huffington, Brown, McCain, Coulter, Ingraham. Okay, not journalism proper - enterjournaltainerism - or whatever the hell the internet, radio, and television offer today.

It's progress. Less than a hundred years ago women in the US couldn't vote.

Don't believe that there is progress? How about this example:
During her show the other day, Ellen said my wife, Portia and no stations banned that day's episode, the stars didn't fall from the sky, and the flannel clad state of Vermont did not all go gay. New Hampshire didn't either.

When a lesbian can bring her trophy* wife on her talk show you know we've made progress.
Enjoy:



(Portia's the trophy wife; Ellen dumped Alex Hedison for her.)

In the interest of full disclosure and future gifts, I'm 5'2" and wear anywhere from an 8 to a 12 depending on the manufacturer (DKNY=8; Jones New York=10 Ralph Lauren=12.) Unlike Ms. McCain, my center of mass is below my waist.
stef_tm: Stef looking to her right suspiciously (Default)
Links
The Broken Plate Pendant Shop - pendants made from...you guessed it, broken plates. Immediately thought of [livejournal.com profile] yaaresse shopping for place settings. :-)

Are we thinking ourselves into illnesses (read: syndromes) New Scientist article.

I went to private junior-high & high school on scholarships and my grandmother's SSI:
A conservative view on choice-based education and a recent congressional vote here.

Observation
I met two local high school English teachers this week. They desperately want for students to have to test out of each grade for promotion beginning with first grade. Social promotion is killing them; the California high school graduation exam is written at an eighth grade level. Every teacher I've met during my 14 years in California (~30 people) has said the same. The other instructors at the University where I teach have said so also. Who is keeping this from happening? More importantly, why. What is the gain for preventing this from happening?

I'm not being rhetorical or argumentative; I'm asking. Discuss, babies.

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