Monday, April 11, 2005

$35 later...

...and I still don't have a full tank of gas.

Oh well.

I am having a horrible time writing this present level for J's IEP...the academic part, which I thought would be hardest, actually fell together nicely. Meh.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Not much to say.

It's Friday. We had our awards assembly today. They decided to schedule it a mere 20 minutes before our busses "ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO LEAVE" (in other words, get out here or you're driving the kids home), which meant we had to slink out in the middle wearing our "we're special" signs, which I hate, but other than that, it went well.

In random news, my nascent carpal tunnel syndrome is acting up again, so not much typing from me tonight.

I'm going to bed....

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I could, if I were determined to forget my true age, sound like my mom and gripe about when I could fill up my car (granted, the Mazda, not the van) for about $10.

Instead, I'm going to gripe about the fact that when I drove past the Arco on Devonshire at 3:45 today, gas was $2.41. When I drove back past it 3 hours later, to get gas, it was $2.51.

Eesh. This keeps up, and I might have to start looking for an apartment in Simi -- for what I pay here, I could only get a small 1-bedroom, but considering that $20 of gas doesn't even last 3 days anymore....

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Insert Creative Title Here

POK-mobile post below, kind of.

Still haven't figured out if I had a panic attack or not. I know that even yesterday when I thought about it, I immediately got nervous, as though scared it would happen again -- which thought was prompted by remembering someone else having that reaction after their first panic attack -- but I'm very leery of talking myself into some sort of anxiety disorder.

I remember being on a mailing list once where just that happened -- someone had a random panic attack once, and then feared getting another one so much that they made themselves even more nervous and upset.

Sleeping well last night seems to have helped, since I can talk about it today without getting too worked up (and without wanting to spend the night at my mom's Just In Case), though I accomplished that with some Tylenol PM (intentionally, for the first time...I bought the bottle by accident when I was having wisdom tooth problems and took it for lack of a pain killer). I'm still quite wiped, both from the actual event itself (you would have thought I'd run ten miles the way my heart was beating) and from the not sleeping, but getting there.

...meanwhile, I will need to make a Ralphs run tomorrow, and I'm going to make myself go back to the scene of the crime, so to speak, and not any other Ralphs.

Oh, and note to S., my student who has panic attacks: Next time you have one, you can have all the spicy chex mix in the world, as far as I'm concerned, if it makes you feel better. Props to you, buddy, just for being awake and happy at school every day. If there were a school award for courage, I'd give it to you at the next assembly without a second thought, kiddo.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Back to School

Gosh, that was a fast spring break. :-(

I'm not sure I'm ready for that last mad dash towards the end of the year, but it could just be that I had one of my (thankfully increasingly rare) bouts of insomnia last night, and maybe got 2 or 3 hours of sleep.

Or, it could be that I think I had a panic attack earlier today. I say "I think" because I've never had one before. A mild one, to be sure, because I could still function, but it sure felt like one. My hands kept shaking for about an hour after the rest of it stopped. It was the weirdest thing...and hopefully an occurrence that won't be repeated.

I've got a bunch of stuff to get accomplished this week, but I've done pretty well at keeping to my New Year's Resolution of doing school stuff at home only 3 nights a week, and only until 10 at the latest at that.

So, here's to the rest of the year....

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Confessions of a Former Catholic School Student

I don't often talk about it, but I went to a Lutheran Elementary school, a Catholic middle/high school, and a Lutheran college. I'm a baptised Lutheran whose religious views are actually Unitarian Universalist.

However, I just wanted to say "rest in peace" to Pope John Paul II.

I remember sitting in masses at school, and we always prayed for "John Paul, our Pope."

But what I remember most was sitting in a very unusual religion class (the teacher made a very convincing argument that life here on Earth was actually Purgatory...she was only there one year ;-)) listening to a story from a Chicken Soup for the Soul book.

It tells of a young Polish man who couldn't bear the horrors of the Holocaust and helped save several Jewish refugees. The story ends by saying that he would eventually become Pope John Paul II.

Even though I don't agree with many of his more conservative views, the respect and dignity he granted other religions by going into synagogues and mosques impressed me greatly, and the reverence for life in a time filled with nothing but religious hatred and disregard for life was remarkable.

I wonder if I still remember how to say a Hail Mary....

May he rest in peace.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

One Last Thought

I've been watching the bitter debate about Terri Shiavo with some interest, as I said in a previous post.

Now that she has died, I see no end to the debate, but I just wanted to post a few last thoughts.

Most, if not all, of the people in favor of the removal of her feeding tube (I've tube fed a kid's not as scary a thing as people think it is) have said how they wouldn't want to "live like that."

So, speaking as the sister of an adult (officially, now, since he's 18) with a cognitive disability, and the teacher of kids with moderate to severe/multiple/profound disabilities, I just want to say...

...not a single one of those kids would ever say that their life wasn't worth living. Not a single one of those kids lived life in a self-pity ridden, anguished stupor that people seem to think that severe disability entails.

It's not really a cliche to say that attitudes are the real disabilities.

It's really not.

I've seen a child trying to tell me he was hungry getting so frustrated that he bit his arm. But once I realized what he was trying to communicate, and taught him to sign "eat," he doesn't bite his arm out of hunger any more.

Once my reaction changed -- once I understood what he was trying to tell me -- his frustration went away.

Yes, C. has challenges. Yes, he gets frustrated sometimes. But I've also seen him run up to a favorite adult, hug them, and try to kiss them (he can't pucker his lips, so he just kind of puts his lips on your face). I've seen him laugh when he hears music, or when he runs, or when we spin around together in fast circles.

I knew another little boy who had pretty severe physical disabilities but little or no cognitive challenges. I watched him, one day, try to tell the adult that was supporting him in school that his stomach hurt. He used his Dynavox (a communication device that's a touch-screen computer with voice output), facial expressions, his own signs, and body language to say "ow!" The guy with him was oblivious, and after a few minutes of this, I couldn't take it anymore, and went over and intervened.

Once I ascertained that M's stomach hurt, I told him I'd get E. to take him to the bathroom. He said, "Uh-uh." He didn't speak verbally often (most people couldn't understand it, due to the CP) but he had no (uh-uh) down pat.

Again -- it's all about the reactions of people around the person with a disability.

I saw, and understood, his communication -- which made him trust me rather than the guy who didn't hear his Dynavox saying "my body hurts" over and over.

Yes, it's a challenge sometimes to ensure that people with disabilities can communicate (I knew one young lady who would indicate pleasure by holding her head up and kicking her feet on her wheelchair trays) but the main source of frustration I have seen in all these kids, young adults, and adults comes not from the disability.

It comes from our reaction.

A life with disability isn't inherently not worth living.

Whatever you think of Terri Shiavo's decision (assuming that was her wish, as stated by her husband) -- that's what I wish we would all learn.

You know -- Tiger Woods would probably think life without golf is not worth living. Michelle Kwan would probably think the same about ice skating.

Do you feel terribly deprived by not going golfing today?

Life without walking, or life without verbal communication, or life without any number of things that people think disability steals -- it's not's just different.

My life is not less than Tiger Woods because I couldn't hit a golf ball accurately if my life depended on it. It's just different from his.

We all have talents.

C., of whom I spoke before, is very good at running, and has big, beautiful, very communicative brown eyes.

M., of whom I spoke before, has a fantastic sense of humor, and the most adorable smile you've ever seen.

A., one of my students this year, has perfect pitch.

Patrick, who has milder challenges than the students above, knows he has a disability. He knows it's called "Down syndrome." He knows that his girlfriend has Down syndrome, and that it was at least partially responsible for her needing brain surgery.

He knows that because he has Down syndrome, he has to work harder to make other people understand him.

While he may get frustrated sometimes (but then again, I'd be frustrated if someone didn't understand "absolutely-plain-just-the-meat-and-bun" and tried to offer me a cheeseburger too)...he is, in general, a happy guy.

Don't get me wrong -- the image of the happy-go-lucky person with Down syndrome is an oversimplification (an extra chromosome, no matter what people say, doesn't make you huggy) -- but he enjoys life, and he enjoys the people in his life that treat him as Patrick...not as "that kid with Down syndrome."

And, you know -- he has the whole staff of his Carl's Jr. charmed, along with several waitresses at Carrows, a checker or five at Ralphs, and servers at my Dennys and Dominoes.

He has more acquaintances and friends in the community than most adults my age.

You just ask him if his life isn't worth living.

None of their lives is unending torture, and they would disagree vehemently with that.

So whatever you think about the Terri Shiavo thing, just take a moment to try to realign your perceptions.


I know several kids that just want you to be their friends...and not to judge their lives based on what you think they're missing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

There are No Words

If someone hadn't died, this would be just hysterical.



Transparent Dock

So, along with a limited attention span for desktop backgrounds, I am very big on clean, uncluttered desktops. So, imagine my disappointment when I installed Panther (OS 10.3) and Transparent Dock didn't work in Panther.

I admit, I haven't checked for updates in a few months, though I was doing so every month or two before that.

Well, it's updated for Panther, and -- yay -- my dock is now nice and transparent. :-)

Okay, yeah, I'm a nerd....

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

New Blog

I've decided to separate the story posts out from this blog, as that's a whole different audience than the people who are hear to read about the trials of a sci-fan or to see pictures of Patrick's birthday.

So, SpooWriter's Storybits.

This one will continue, by the way; it's just a way to separate the many sides of spoo.


So, about 2 months before the actual demise of Call for Help, between when G4 and Tech TV merged when Leo wasn't hosting it, and when he came back for those 2 lovely months, Wil Wheaton (yes, Wesley, from The Next Generation) guest hosted for a while.

Now, I had a tremendous crush on him as a kid, seeing a lot of myself in Wesley (a nerd who often got along better with adults than other kids), and I thought it was cool that he was a nerd in real life.

I've been reading his blog for a while now, and he posted this today. :-(

I remember that day coming with our dog Poochie when I was dad had to pick him up and carry him to the vet because he was so weak. I know it'll come with my kitties someday, but right now, I just feel bad for him, and for The Bear.

Shameless Self-Promotion

I'm one of those people that gets very bored with her desktop image. On my PC, I have Webshots installed and it changes my wallpaper every 15 minutes. On my Mac, you can choose a folder to use for your desktop picture, and I have that set to change every 5 seconds, because it does a nice dissolve thing.

However, I've been using my PC a lot this week, making sound bytes for Patrick, and I've been completely stuck on one image, which you can find here. A description of it is here (it's the last one on the page, called "Hear Me.")

It's actually the story cover for this story. The guy is being tortured and the girl is trying to calm him down, is what it amounts to in the wallpaper.

Just thought I'd share...the thought just struck me as I was turning off Webshots, again, that this is very unusual for me...though it happens. Did the same thing after I made my favorite Lord of the Rings wallpaper, "The Bravest Thing."

Busy Busy

There's a new wallpaper and a new story at my website.

Only 10 more season passes to go, then the wish lists.

Then all the thumbs-up ratings I've done in the last who-knows-how long.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Tech Woes

So, it hasn't been a good technology day.

Forgetting all the rest of the technology woes that happened, including networking working only one way, wireless working better than the wired networking, and so forth... TiVo got amnesia. I even re-did the guided setup, and it still doesn't think there are upcoming episodes for any of my season passes -- unless I make new, identical season passes.

Then, all is well, and it sees the upcoming episodes, and adds them to the to-do list.

So now I get to re-make all 30 of my season passes -- not to mention, my wishlists, which disappeared in one of my restarting/cache-clearing attempts.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Note to My TiVo

You do, in fact, have program information through April 11th.

So sayeth your own "System Information" page.

So sayeth your on-screen program guide.

So why, pray tell, are you convinced that no upcoming episodes exist for anything, either in the Season Pass Manager, or in the "Search by Name" sections?


Repeat with me: I do have program information. I do have program information.

So say we all. G'night.

Tech Tip

Except that the signal got too iffy, I almost posted a short note last night from my mom's house, using one of her neighbors' wi-fi.

The reason?

No password required, and a network name set to "default."

Good thing I'm not a hacker....

Friday, March 25, 2005

Website Update

I've been a busy beaver tonight. I've added two (1 and 2) stories to my website. Both are Lord of the Rings stories...sort of halfway between movie- and book-verse.

Semi-Late Pictures

I just posted 11 photos from our Disneyland trip last weekend on flickr. I still can't believe Patrick is 18....

Life, or Something Like It

As a teacher of students with moderate, severe, and/or profound disabilities, I've been watching the Terri Shiavo thing with deeply mixed feelings.

As the one person, who had apparently expressed a wish not to be kept alive by "extraordinary means," then I think she has the right for her wishes to be fulfilled, if indeed she had expressed that wish.

And, more to the point, if she is truly in a persistent vegetative state, which is probably what she was referring to if and when she expressed that wish.

I don't think that a feeding tube, in and of itself, is a truly extraordinary measure -- though I've heard commentators during this case who talk only of that...of the fact that she "can't even eat on her own." As if that, in and of itself, is indicative of the extent of the damage to her brain.

The thing is -- swallowing is a complex task. I've known three students that were fed via a G-tube. All had severe developmental disabilities -- but they were far from nonresponsive. One walked, explored his environment, and learned to recognize his name in print. One showed her recognition of people she liked with a wide smile and by lifting her head up so she could see them better. The other laughed, grinned, and rhythmically banged her feet against the feet rests on her wheelchair when people joked with her.

So as someone who has known kids with severe disabilities -- what worries me about the Terri Shiavo case is two things.

First -- I don't know that anyone could know for sure that the smiles and eye movements that she shows on videos are reflexes and nothing more. I think to know that for sure, people should be exposing her to cause and effect devices to see if she is doing these things intentionally. If she is, or can be taught to, that changes the dynamics of the case.

It's certain that she has severe to profound disabilities...but that is not the same as being "a vegetable" or having no quality of life. I don't know that she could be taught to speak again, as some have claimed, but if she truly does recognize people, even sometimes, then rehabilitiation should have been at least attempted, and the people that claim her husband was neglectful have something of a case.

Second -- the attitude behind this concerns me deeply. The attitude that the life with a severe disability is not worth living worries me not only because I have seen, first hand, children and young adults with severe disabilities enjoying life. They are not miserable because of the challenges they face. As long as they are surrounded by people dedicated to giving them as much appropriate support and autonomy as possible, to empower them and to allow them control over their own lives, their lives aren't the misery people perceive them as.

I've known students with severe physical disabilities, severe cognitive disabilities, and students with both physical and cognitive challenges.

All of them laughed, smiled, cared for people around them, and in general lived the same lives you and I do -- with differences, with challenges, sure, but fulfilling lives nonetheless.

It was not too long ago that people would have looked at my brother, whose cognitive challenges are far less than many students I have known, and claimed that he would be best institutionalized because he would have no quality of life anyway.

The world has changed -- but not enough yet, I don't think. It's like people that no longer pity people with paraplegia but still felt like it was best that Christopher Reeve died, because life with quadriplegia surely wouldn't be worth living.

This is the danger, I think, of the Terri Shiavo case, and why I'm so torn about it.

There is the part of me that absolutely believes that this is her decision, and so be it.

But there's the nascent activist in me, who still sees every day people who think my kids' education isn't inherently as important as other kids' education, who sees people who can't imagine what they'd do if they had a child like A., who sees my kids' lives as somehow less enjoyable than their own simply because they don't read, or don't understand math, or are learning to communicate -- that part of me hates the spectacle that is being made about a life that other people see as not worth living.

If you want to know what life is really like for people with disabilites -- just get to know some people who happen to have disabilities. Voluneer with the Special Olympics, or contact Best Buddies.

The funny thing is -- I bet you'll get even more out of it than the people you get to know.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Is This a Good Thing?

As someone who really enjoyed Ender's Game from a sociological/psychological standpoint (not to mention wondering if you could really, in a few generations, selectively breed kids that gifted), and also having not seen Troy...

...Is this a good thing?

So, spring break is almost here. All the kids' report cards are done, and I just need to survive the next two days (we have Friday off) then I can relax a bit.

It's weird. The second year of teaching is supposed to be less stressful, but really, it's not. Sure, you know more about The Game, and where to get this form or that form -- but you start looking more at other things and being more critical of yourself. You're not in Survival Mode anymore, and that's not necessarily a good thing.

But, on the other hand, most people seem to think I know what I'm doing. I'm getting kids from other people's classes when they have meltdowns -- not a good thing, really, except that it says that the general perception is that I'm good at my job.

Today's brainteaser: when the heck did I break my toe again? This time, I don't even remember hitting anything...though last time, all it took was a gentle tap in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Never thought I'd be hoping for warm weather, but at least then I could get away with wearing decent looking sandals instead of hobbling around in shoes....

Sunday, March 20, 2005

By the Way

For those of you who visit Disneyland a lot, you will know exactly what the following two facts say about the expected attendance levels for the day:
  • both Columbia and the Mark Twain were sailing
  • they were actually running the facing-forward trains.

Buzz Lightyear

Wow, was it crowded! Of course, it probably will be the rest of the year, as the 50th anniversary festivities continue.

Patrick had fun, even though the Disney Gallery was closed, so he couldn't get his poster. But, instead, one of the stores on Main Street had a lot of old souvenirs that they are re-issuing (and stuff that is made to look like old souvenirs). He got a monorail game originally released in 1960, and was completely ecstatic.

The first thing we did, after I paid $20 to get a new annual pass (mine got lost), was go on the new Buzz Lightyear ride. It is obviously modeled after the attraction at Disneyworld -- you can tell by the queue line, and the style of boarding, which is very fast (like the Haunted House). Many attractions at the Magic Kingdom, and most of the ones at EPCOT, when I was there last, board thusly, with most of the line inside, to protect people from the climate.

The ride itself is very cool. It moves slowly, like a one of the funhouses (think Snow White, Peter Pan, etc.), but you are in a car that spins (like Roger Rabbit) using a joystick (you have much more control than on Roger Rabbit), and you have laster video game guns and a score tally at each seat.

As you ride, you see all these Z (Emperor Zurg) targets all over the place. Some are on Zurgs, and some are on their own. The goal is to hit as many of these as you can, and to get as many points as you can.

(I got 8800, which, given that I used to play Duck Hunt on my original Nintendo about 2 inches from the screen and still miss things, isn't too darned bad. It did seem to me that you had to aim a bit lower than you would think to hit things, though.)

By the time we left (the lines were too long, Patrick was dehydrated, and I was getting a migraine) the line was much longer, but at 9:30 or so this morning, 1 1/2 hours after the park opened, it was only 25 minutes or so.

Very fun. :-)

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Hello From Buena Park

Howdy from my fold-out couch at the Hampton Inn & Suites on Orangethorpe.

Tomorrow, my mom, brother, and I are going to Disneyland to celebrate Patrick's birthday. What my mom didn't know until after she'd come up with this brilliant idea for a birthday surprise was that the Buzz Lightyear ride opened Friday.

Oh, and, the rain, which might have kept crowds down, is over.

It is going to be flippin' packed.

I wouldn't mind too much, really, except that I have to go to work Monday since our spring break doesn't start until Friday (Thursday afternoon, when we could have left early, our speech therapist invited the assistive tech. people to come and talk to us from 1 to 3...).

If we happen to luck out and happen to get to ride it, I'll post about it.

Otherwise, happy Sunday to everyone.

Meanwhile, I'm going to finish watching Matilda on TBS.

Oh -- and I got my ftp access working. There's a new story at my website.

Monday, March 14, 2005



We haven't had a day like that since the beginning of the year. Eesh.

Of course, the fact that I slept wrong and could barely move my head exacerbated it, along with the popped blister on my ring finger, which is making typing interesting (and therefore making this a short post).

And, in the oh-my-God category, it is now 3 days until Patrick's 18th birthday.

Good grief.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Brief Musings

So, the other day, Sci-Fi showed its...answer to the 50s campy sci-fi (at least, I hope it was intended to be that).

On one night, it showed Battlestar Galactica and both Stargates.

Then, Mansquito.

Yup. I assume it was about a guy who turned into a mosquito...y'know, like The Fly.

See, it's things like that that get rolled eyes when I mention liking science fiction.

But to me, any compelling movie/TV show/book, etc. can't just rest on its setting. You can't have the most exciting setting in the world (2000 years in the future, in a parallel universe where etc. etc.) without compelling characters and an interesting story.

People who've never read Clarke's 2001 (which, honest to goodness, makes the movie make lots more sense); people who've never seen contemplative, speculative fiction like Contact; people who dismissed Buffy and a campy teeny-bopper show never saw the masterful "The Body"; these people have missed out on lots of gosh-darned good storytelling because of the associations they've made with the term "sci-fi."

And that's a shame.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Pointless Observation

K-Mart has 4 hour Chlor-Trimeton! :-)

Monday, March 07, 2005

I Am Such a Nerd

So, I'm watching South Park -- the first fourth grade one -- and these two nerd guys are arguing about how many original Star Trek episodes there were. Nerd 1 argues for 72. Nerd 2 argues for 73. All the SP kids think they're pathetic.

And my first thought?

Uh, guys, there were seventy-nine.


And it got worse...they were then showing how nerdy Butters was 'cause he was saying how "The Menagerie" being two parts only counted as one because it was the original pilot, and later was split up?

Nuh-uh. The original pilot was "The Cage," which was spliced into the two-parter "The Menagerie" later....

Let's all sing the "I'm a nerd" song....

Sunday, March 06, 2005

You're Kidding Me, Right?

It's now an act of terrorism to write a short story about zombies -- zombies, for cryin' out loud -- taking over a high school.

Now, being extremely generous, I can see that the fact that the kid who wrote it is a student there might -- maybe -- make it a little more suspicious.


You tell people to write about what they know.

I know that if you look through my old writings...I set stories in high schools when I was in high school; in college when I was in college, and so forth.

So, if your writing bent happens towards the zombies, and you're in high school, you will probably write a story about zombies at a high school.


In nerd news, former Screen Savers guy Dan Huard has joined with Roger Chang (of Call For Help and The Screensavers) has started a technology website called Scopetech. Yay.

In other nerd news, thanks to ffmpegX, I am currently ripping some of my DVDs to my laptop's hard drive to take along when I go with my mom and Patrick to Disneyland for the weekend in 2 weeks for Patrick's 18th (gulp!) birthday.

It's something of an experiment; if it results in longer battery life (since it won't be spinning the actual DVD, it should take less battery power to play an avi file than the DVD) I will probably rip most of them so that my DVD case can stay safely home when travelling, since my whole DVD collection (mostly) fits in there.

In more nerd news, since this is from an English/Irish online store, I wonder if thinkgeek has one of these?

Finally, since my grandpa now has a lot of time on his hands, he wants to buy a computer. This is a scary prospect. He wants broadband, but doesn't know what spyware, viruses, or popups are, let alone that they're bad and that they happen a lot with broadband.

So I'm advocating a Mac.

My cousin keeps saying that the differences in user interface (?!) will confuse him, but as far as I'm concerned, the main differences are the one-button mouse (so we'll buy him a two-button mouse, so he can learn about right-clicking) and having option and command keys instead of Alt and Command, but he won't be using those anyway. When you come down to it, File | Save is the same in both OSs.

And, if he does have trouble translating the computer skills to the computers at work, he can buy Virtual PC to install whatever he needs to install, and run it when not connected to the Internet.

Meanwhile my Pepsi/iTunes winning streak seems to be over...but since I won about 6 in a row over last week, a few "please play agains" will not bug me too much.

Now to find my Annual Pass so I can get to Disneyland and buy Patrick's birthday present next weekend....

Thursday, March 03, 2005


It's a science night...I just finished creating 2 modified versions of the 5th graders' science test...the first, for A., involves reading short paragraphs about 3 popular molecules and answering questions, and the second, for R.L., involves matching words & pictures for popular molecules (officially -- water, salt, and oxygen).

See, they're mainstreamed into a science class that studied chemistry, but they have a horribly uninteresting substitute, so I figured the important thing for them to know about chemistry was a little bit about some things they'll run into life.

Meanwhile, as I'm typing up the last of A's paragraphs (about salt), Alton Brown is explaining emulsifiers on Good Eats...seriously, Stace, tape this show and use it for your chemistry least, the parts with the styrofoam balls and push pins. ;-)

Murphy's Law moment of the day: I pick Patrick up from school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because he has an afterschool work experience/class thing. I sat there today for about 25 minutes, and finally called my mom (rather than him, so he wouldn't get in trouble if he had his cell phone on) and asked if she knew why his class was running late.

"Oooooh!" she says. "It's Thursday! Oh, he stayed home from school today."


Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Okay, so the FTP server is down. The site's updated on my hard drive anyway. Others will just have to wait to read the newest masterpiece (not). :-)

Always Trust the Ears

First off -- by the time y'all read this, I should have uploaded a few updates to my temporary website, including updates to one story and a whole new story. ;-)

This is pointless, really, but it always amuses me how I can recognize voices, even behind alien makeup and all that -- because when it comes to music, I am pretty much tone deaf. Although I love to sing, I only do so alone 'cause I know I'm no good at it.

Anyhow, Sci-Fi is showing The Clan of the Cave Bear, the movie made of Jean M. Auel's book -- the only one of the series I really enjoyed, though I read the first three.

So, I've seen it a few times, and the voice of the narrator always nagged at me, because I knew it from somewhere.

Then, tonight, it hit me. It's the Female Changeling! Well, at least, to Deep Space Nine fans. :-) It's actually Salome Jens, who has appeared in quite a lot of TV (including much sci-fi) and several movies. Am I good, or what? :-)

Incidentally -- the movie is a good, but not great, adaptation of the book. By necessity, it must leave out much of the Neandertals' biology, customs, psychology, and the other anthropological stuff that made the book so fascination (and which was absent from the sequels).

After suffering through a day and a half of my hot-and-freezing-cold mood swings that I get when I have a fever, I am finally feeling somewhat alive...which is good. Turns out there's something of an epidemic of a weird strain of strep throat that involves some additional weird infection thingie going around the Moorpark/Simi area.

So, it's back to the daily grind I go, while I begin to count down the days until spring break. :-)

Sunday, February 27, 2005


So, it's been a while. I'm still working on the eloquent thing, and I decided I shouldn't wait until I could come up with something.

This is gonna be very random, so bear with me.

The last couple of weeks have been very hectic. My grandpa and aunt both ended up with pneumonia -- grandpa the day before grandma's internment, and my aunt the day after. She had blue nailbeds by the time she got off the plane. Both are okay now, although grandpa won't go to get rechecked.

I, of course, managed to catch the cold that both of them had before they had pneumonia, thus adding to the Year of Unending Illness that is traditionally your first year of teaching...but when have I ever been traditional, eh?

Meanwhile, I've had another IEP...this one was hurried, 'cause the mom needed ot pick up the girl's sister, but it went okay. It's always nice to say, "Your child met and exceeded all of her goals."

Patrick's IEP was the week of grandma's internment...that Tuesday, I think. Of course, I couldn't ask for a personal day, with what all went on with grandma. Somehow, the OT that did his assessment came to the conclusion that he has limited upper body strength, despite the fact that he can literally pick up his 6-foot-tall cousin. But whatever.

We have Drama going on at school, but that's a whole 'nother thing. People with martyr complexes are very hard to deal with...but fortunately, I have a couple of really good aides that take the pressure off a bit.

My cats are on a canned food kick, which they haven't been for a while. And, of course, being cats, they think that every time I go into the kitchen, it is necessarily for their benefit. :-)

I've been really enjoying Battlestar Galactica, in its reincarnated version. Kara (Starbuck) is a fascinating character; I'd like to see more of what makes Adama tick, but I think the fact that we haven't is deliberate. Meanwhile, my interest in both Stargate and Atlantis has been waning...but when Enterprise (which is finally watchable, of course) goes off the air, it's the only sci-fi on the air that's caught my eye, so I guess I'll have to do.

I've been wanting to go see a movie lately (very odd for me, since they give me headaches that verge on migraines) but there's nothing I really want to see. Later in the year, of course, there will be Star Wars, War of the Worlds, the next Harry Potter and a few others that I've watched trailers for with iTunes, but....

Speaking of -- I think I've won about 8 songs now. Definitely beats last year. :-)

I think there was more, but I have officially lost my train of thought.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Random Musings

I keep having these half-eloquent thoughts about last week...this week...Thursday, etc...but they keep coming and going. I seem to be having trouble hanging on to thoughts, which I assume has something to do with exhaustion and stress. Maybe it'll come to me. Good Monday to everyone.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

When It Rains...

Since Thursday morning (see previous post), the following things have also happened:
  • my DishNetwork receiver quit working
  • my car had a flat tire
  • my patched-tire blew out on the 405
  • my grandfather ignored everyone telling him he was sick, and he is now at Kaiser, probably with pneumonia
It never rains, but it pours...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

1:30 A.M.

From the now-defunct

Shot of Buffy and Tara sitting on the sofa next to each other. They look at each other, then away.

BUFFY: (softly, speaking to the floor) I'm have to go through all of this.

TARA: You don't have to worry about me.

BUFFY: Everybody wants to help. (Tara looks at her) I don't even know if I' (Tara looks away) I don't know what's going on. Never done this. (pauses) That's just an amazingly dumb thing to say. Obviously...I've never done this before.


TARA: (softly) I have.

Buffy looks over at her.

TARA: My mother died when I was seventeen.

(cut some stuff)

Buffy looks back up at Tara.

BUFFY: Was it sudden?

TARA: What?

BUFFY: Your mother.

TARA: No. (thinks) And…yes. (pauses) It's always sudden.
Rest in peace, grandma.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


So, I'm driving Patrick back to the house after visiting grandma last night. My mom stayed there because grandpa was really freaked out (it's looking like it'll be sometime this week), so I took Patrick to dinner. He was really upset, saying he didn't want grandma to "go" -- she had been talking about how she was ready before she went to sleep.

We drove through McDonald's, and as we were turning up towards the house, out of the blue, he says, "Grandma was right."

"About what?" I asked. There's a strange resignation in his tone.

"I don't like seeing her like this. She should go." Now, he's sad and choked up when he says it, but he's utterly serious. He doesn't want her to suffer, and he is ready to let her go so that she doesn't have to.

This is my brother, ladies and gentlemen. Disabilities or not, let no one say he doesn't understand what's really important in life.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I Could Put a Cheesy 80s Song Quote Here

But, then, Leo already did that last week. :-)

So, today went pretty well -- which, if we go by last week's mood-swinginess, means tomorrow will be crazy, crazy, crazy....

Tomorrow, by the way, I have A.'s triennial, which I just finished writing. I always like how I think I have no goals planned, and then I just start writing them and don't stop.

As of a few hours ago, my grandpa was awaiting the arrival of a hospital bed at home, then grandma will be transferred home for hospice care. Supposedly, some doctor says it might be a week or less, but then, I remember several times when it was a matter of a day or two for my great-grandma, so I figure we'll just wait and see.

But (like I haven't said this enough), never, ever smoke.

If you've started, chew five pieces of the gum an hour if you have to, but quit.

Emphysema is not fun.

It's especially not fun if all your other faculties are in order, and you know exactly how miserable you are.

Sunday, February 06, 2005


First, let me say...the Cowboy Combo at Applebees is very yummy. Had that for dinner last night.

New developments for the day:
  • my aunt is visiting from New Mexico. I hope she came up with a good excuse, or grandma might think things are really, really dire. But my family is not known for its emotional prowess, particularly that branch of it, so I bet they just let it slide.
  • my mother got one of her funny heartbeats, so we just hung out at our respective places today.
  • there is nothing on TV, and I am left watching The Santa Clause 2 on Starz-Whatever-It-Is.
  • I really don't want it to be Monday already, but have little choice in the matter.
You know, I had some other profound thought, but since I have no idea what it was, I'll leave it for some other post.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, February 05, 2005


So far, thanks to my mother sacrificing all reason and purchasing a Diet Pepsi because it was the only non-Mountain Dew Pepsi product 7-11 had that had iTunes caps, I have, in fact, won 1 song out of 3 purchases.

I don't expect the trend to continue, based on my winnings last year, but you never know. Oddly enough, I wish the hourly prize was an iPod Shuffle (which I want as much for the thumb-drive-ness as the music player part) rather than an iPod Mini, which I don't really need, seeing as how I've got my nice 40G iPod already....

I suppose I could always ebay it, but since I won't actually win one anyway, this is a moot point. ;-)

Thursday, February 03, 2005


I sat here for probably 15 minutes honest-to-goodness thinking it was Friday.

Boo. :-(


Ever wanted a textbook definition of what "impulsiveness" (a word common to those who have ADD/ADHD)?

Next time you are at work and just want to scream, and a little voice says, "you'll be fired if you do that." Imagine not having that voice.

Next time you walk past a fire alarm pull and have brief thoughts of testing it, and a little voice says, "are you nuts?" Imagine not having that voice.

Next time you want to run out to your car in your bare feet and a little voice reminds you, "hey, the asphalt will hurt!" Imagine not having that voice.

I'm really, really glad I have that voice...I don't like stupid questions.

Brought to you from randomness central...'cause I've already forgotten what I was going to write anyway.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Same Old, Same Old

Isn't it scary when drama becomes the norm?

We had aides out all over the place, people subbing in classes they didn't know, thus messing up their break/lunch schedules (maybe I was spoiled at CHIME, know...working there -- if there was no one to cover a class, no one would dream of taking a lunch, even if it was scheduled...sometimes kids' needs come first), kids going nutty 'cause of the rain, Patrick making dinner, and going to the hospital.

All of this feels normal.

Or, I think it might be just that I'm past the point of exhaustion and am running on cruise control.

I need a mental health weekend....

I'll be less POK-mobiley tomorrow, I promise....

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


No explorer ever set off into the unknown because it was safe, but it's still sad when people pay the price for expanding our knowledge...

Memorial (words: Misty Lackey, music: "Ballad of Springhill")
When you sing of Columbia or the Eagle
And reach for the stars as your ultimate goal.
Recall who fell along the way,
For the star-road takes a fearful toll,
The star-road takes a fearful toll.

And it might have been Armstrong, Aldrin, Cernan,
Shepard, Carpenter, Cooper, or Glenn.
They all knew well the questor's fee,
And the star-road's paved with the lives of men,
The star-road's paved with the lives of men.

For the price was paid on a winter evening
When "Fire in the spacecraft!" somebody said.
In smoke and flame the shadow passed
And in Capsule Twelve three men were dead,
In Capsule Twelve three men were dead.

Forget not yet who paid the forfeit
To conquer the stars in the Eagle's flight.
"It's worth the price." they said who paid:
Grissom, Chaffee, and Edward White.
Grissom, Chaffee, and Edward White.
To the men of Apollo 1....
January 1967

2 years since Columbia; 17 years since Challenger; 38 since Apollo 1.

But we've also set up a permanently habited space station, landed on asteroids and other planets, and set foot on a surface not tied on the Earth.

And, someday, I'm sure, we'll build other Columbias, and other Challengers. I think it would be fitting if our next-generation shuttle fleet had one of each. And a Grissom ("D'oh!" she says as she realizes where that name came from...), a Chaffee, a White, a McAuliffe, and so on and so forth.

Monday, January 31, 2005


I wonder if it's only in California that the Michael Jackson case, complete with commentary from OJ prosecutor Marcia Clarke, made up the 2 top stories on the news, before news about the Iraqi election?

I meant to post about this yesterday, when the weird priorities were even more apparent since it was actually election day, but I forgot.

BTW, though, I can actually say I've driven through Santa Maria, and even been in the mall there, and it's really funny to hear people talk about it as though it's in the middle of rural Arkansas. :-)

What is Adult?

So, while being home with what appears to be a 24-hour stomach flu, I was reading Ron Moore's blog at the Sci-Fi channel's website. Amidst some interesting Q&A, he addresses the question of sexuality on the show.

He makes a good point.

Let me preface this. One of the questions involved is a fan who is upset that they can't watch with their young children because of the sexuality.

Ron Moore's response is that BSG is an adult's show. It's not meant for young kids to watch. He doesn't let his young kids watch.

To be more accurate, it is, at least, TV PG. Like most sci-fi, especially apocalyptic sci-fi, there are battles. Like her male predecessor on the original BSG, Starbuck is...well, of the randy sort.

(Really, in a situation like that, I would expect many people to go a little carnally crazy, so to speak -- certainly, to be overcome with fatalism and chuck society's rules out the window...with the "what does it really matter" point of view intact as well. Really...what chances for survival do they really have? And what would you do if you suspected you wouldn't survive the next year? But that's beside the point -- and, besides, I'm not a sci-fi anthropologist.)

He also makes an even better point.

Why on Earth, except through the weirdness of America's puritanical culture that thinks nothing of showing exploding car bombs on the 4:00 news but fines people for brief wardrobe malfunctions during the SuperBowl halftime show (not known as a bastion of high-class entertainment, anyway), would we be more concerned about Baltar gets it on with the Hot Bad Girl (TM) than about the complete (save 150,000 or so survivors in the caravan) destruction of 12 freaking planets of people?

Full-on, billions-killed genocide.

On TV.

Mushroom clouds, shooting, and "much dying."

And we get bent out of shape 'cause of the sex.


Or, more to the point, what makes one more inherently bad -- or, inappropriate for younger viewers -- than another?

It's like the people that took their kids to see The Passion of the Christ...many of whom also stridently protested Janet Jackson'


Now, don't go getting all religious on me. Understanding Jesus' sacrifice and all that.

Possibly a bad example...though I certainly don't recall learning how horrible, exactly, a death crucifixion was during my first grade religion class. We were taught it was Bad. It hurt A Lot. It wasn't until 6th grade or so that we went into some details...suffocation, and the like. It wasn't until high school, at least, that we learned some of the gory I still don't necessarily buy it that very young children needed to -- or even should have been -- exposed to that.

Not to mention the fact that the whole thing is subtitled, and the poor little guys probably couldn't keep up with half of what was going on.

But I digress....

To get back on topic, and way from religion, here, the same could be said of The Lord of the Rings. Why is it okay to see Boromir riddled with bullets, Frodo's finger bitten off, thousands of people die during both the battles of Helms Deep and Minas Tirith, and so forth?

There were tons of little kids when I saw both The Two Towers and Return of the King in theaters (I didn't see FOTR in the theaters 'cause I didn't think I'd like it)...not so much at the special screenings of the Extended Editions at the Cineramadome, but anyway....

Would the same people have taken their kids if we'd seen Arwen and Aragorn do it? If we'd seen Rosie and Sam go at it? If we'd seen Faramir and Eowyn consummate their marriage?

All of this happened, though not explicitly, in the books. Arwen and Aragorn have children, after all, as do Sam and Rosie. I'm not certain about Faramir and Eowyn, but they do marry, and one would imagine they weren't celibate.

I think it just points out exactly the duality Ron Moore talks about. BSG gets flack for sexuality but not for genocide. In either case, it's not something for little kids. Most sci-fi isn't, really.

That said, I watched sci-fi from the time I was very young...but that was the original Star Trek, which isn't quite the same.

Imzadi, by Peter David, (who has a great blog, by the way) depicts sexual acts (the phrase "impressions that would puzzle future geologists" still makes me giggle), and I read that when it first came out.

I was, probably, about 12.

Did it scar me? Well, no.

Would it scar another kid? Who knows? But that's up to the parents.

It always comes down to that, doesn't it? If you think your kid can handle the sexual images (or, you know, the genocide), go for it. If you don't...record it...TiVo it...whatever...and save it until your sci-fi-ally inclined child is ready for it.

Parental responsibility...what a concept.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

I Love Google

Or, more specifically, -- without which, I couldn't have had "Mayflower" as a classroom vocabulary word for this week for my 6th graders, who are learning US History. :-)

Didn't get as much done as I wanted to today, and tomorrow starts another week...but maybe I'll at least get to watch "Act of Contrition" tonight before I go to bed...I know it's a cliffhanger, but I kinda know what happens anyway, thanks to, so I'll probably watch it...and then spend all week waiting for Friday, but oh well.

Grandma seemed a bit better today, but they have to keep her slightly sedated to keep her heart pumping at a reasonable level. See, you don't so much die from emphysema, as from complications of emphysema -- rather like diabetes. It's not that it keeps destroying your lung tissue until literally none is left (although, I suppose, that could happen if you never checked into a hospital where they could keep you from smoking) -- it's that your heart has to work so much harder to pump oxygenated blood to your body...or, that your organs start to suffer from lack of oxygen.

In some ways, it's a mixed blessing, but so far, grandma's heart has seemed's handled upwards of 160 beats a minute without...well, skipping a beat, if you'll pardon the pun. On the sedatives, it's about 110, so...we'll see.

You never know, really...I learned that with my dad and my grandpa. My cousin Jason is getting married in May, though, so hopefully that'll give her something to stick around for.

Ironically, people were wondering if she'd make it to my cousin's bar mitzvah in 2001...and then to my other cousin's bat mitzvah in, like I said, who knows, right?

Saturday, January 29, 2005


Well, it's been quite a week.

Or two.

Don't remember the last time I posted.

A hearty welcome to the exhausting world of teaching to iluvpchem! :-)

Things have been crazy as usual.

We had staff development days Thursday and Friday, but the beginning of the week was very long and very stressful. It was "pick on Jennifer" week for some unknown reason, which is Not Fun ordinarily, but even less fun when my grandma's back in the hospital. Emphysema is not fun.

I have a couple of IEPs coming up this month, but they shouldn't be too bad. I'm not at all sure what goals to write, but I'm usually not until I sit down to actually write it. That is, I'm not consciously aware of what goals I want to write -- but generally, they flow pretty well once I actually get down to the business of it.

I think this weekend's going to be pretty boring. I thought I might have to go into school to work, but I got finished after all, which is nice. We'll see how this week goes. :-)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Working Hard

Whew, what a week!

It feels like I say that a lot this year, but the makeup of my class is something else....

Most teachers are sympathetic, if a little bewildered, when they see us looking shell-shocked and a little bedraggled by the end of the day, but today, for the first time, I got a response I didn't expect.

It was lunch time...and I was talking with the 5th/6th and 4th/5th teachers. The 5/6 teacher has been there many years, and has been very welcoming of having kids in her class, though she's not quite sure of the benefits for kids with more severe disabilities. The other had, apparently, never attended an IEP as the general education representative for any kids other than resource kids before.

So, the latter made some comment about working hard and being tired, and I, jokingly, said that we could switch classes.

And I got a response I've never gotten before.

The response was something to the effect that it would probably be easier, because of the "standards" or something.

This perspective really irks me, and although I've suspected it in others, it was the first time I'd heard it voiced.

Some people think that because I teach basic, functional academics, that it must, by definition, be easier and less work to teach my kiddos.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love each and every one of them (though A. can crawl up my last nerve and R. will make me go gray), but they are a lot of work. We -- and they -- work long and hard to make them understand concepts that her students mastered years before. I have 2 sixth graders who are learning to match colors and to recognize their names by sight. And they struggle with that just as much as her kids struggle with subtracting fractions.

The other thing it could be is the fact that I always have 2 or more aides in the class.

Well, each and every pair of eyes is sorely needed. Even with all those adults in the room, E. has colored on virtually every vertical surface imaginable and pulled out nearly half of our venetian blinds. A. one day called the office 15 times -- and we stopped her 10 to 20 times for each time she got through. R. knocks stuff down and throws his shoes across the room at least 10 times a day, when he's not directly observed by an adult. S., though he very rarely does it anymore, hits himself until he bleeds if he's upset about something. R. and J., if left to their own devices, would rather sit and stare off into space than work. ...and so forth.

The truth of the matter is that even with all these adults -- we have no down time.


We can't sit while the kids have silent reading.

We can't correct papers while the kids take a test.

I love every moment of it, but it's a very, very difficult, very draining job.

And, I have to say, I resent a bit the implication that my job is any easier than hers is.

Just had to get that off my chest.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Very Cool

You can listen to sounds from the probe on Titan.

Also, Apple is doing their iTunes giveaway again this year, according to the MacRumors website. According the screenshot, the promotion will not only include Pepsi and Diet Pepsi, as last year, but also Mountain Dew (yay!).


Well, that's another post that got eaten. Huh.

Anyhow, good, but paradoxically short weekend. I sudenly have no motivation tonight, though, even though I'm typically awake on weeknights until at least 11:30.

I finished Time's Eye, by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter, incidentally. I tend to disagree with the reviewers who say that its plot was a digression -- after all, a good chunk of 2001 was a digression as HAL went nutty on the wasn't until the end (like in Time's Eye, which is supposed to be a companion series of odysseys through time instead of space) that they started working again on the mysteries of the Monolith.

I really liked it, to be honest. I'm anxious for the second one to be released, as a matter of fact. All of the Space Odyssey books were published by the time I read them, so having to wait for the second Time Odyssey book is not fun.

Oh -- and I finally read H.G. Wells's The Time Machine, since I enjoyed its sequel The Timeships so much (I talked about it in an earlier post). So, I'm rereading The Timeships now that I know more of what's going on. Granted, Weena and the Morlocks are only an ancillary part of the plot of The Timeships, but it helps to have the backstory.

So, maybe I'll just go to bed.... Happy (almost) Tuesday.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


There's no such thing as "another words."

You mean in other words.

As in, "I'm putting this comment into other, different words.

Don't know why that bugs me so much, but it does.

A random comment, though -- I think Gary Graham is finally figuring out how to play a Vulcan. Well, either that, or the Enterprise folks are finally figuring out how to write Vulcans.

Oh, and, see? I knew there was a reason I like Good Eats -- it's officially a nerd show if Wired covers it. :-)

It's Orange

So, Titan has a methane sea complete with mists and islands.


How about some methane-breathing fish?

Seriously, I always thought that it was, at best, shortsighted, if not outright arrogant, to assume that life must only exist on earthlike planets. Just because we evolved breathing oxygen doesn't mean another ecology might not have produced organisms that breathe in methane gas and breathe out ethane, or something.

Or, as Jeff Goldblum's character said in Jurassic Park, "Life finds a way."

Friday, January 14, 2005

Battlestar Galactica

I'm not certain the Battlestar Galactica miniseries on Sci Fi was necessarily better than the original, as some reviews said -- after all, it was a different time, and a different focus, with different production values and different aims in telling the story -- but it was quite good.

I don't think you can necessarily compare the two, actually, for just those reasons. They were telling sort of the same story, set in sort of the same universe, but they took those familiar beginnings and went another way with them.

I suppose I should clarify that -- I tend to prefer remakes where they do that. Patrick was really into the remake of The Parent Trap a few years ago, with Lindsay Lohan before she was all famous and, you know, singing, like the rest of the teenyboppers, and that was exactly what I liked about it. It's one thing to take the old script and refilm's entirely another to tell a similar story with the same base premise.

Anyway, I just finished watching the first episode of the actual series, "33," and I have to say -- it was very well done. I especially like the way they film it...I don't know the official term, but it seems raw...kind of gritty. The space battles especially (I noticed this in the miniseries too) are intentionally jerky, as though we're seeing through the lens of a newscamera as they struggle to keep up wtih unpredictable action. I think it adds a lot to the tone of the overall series. Whether they keep up with that, of course, remains to be seen.

However, I must say, I don't think humans can actually reasonably go that long without sleep without starting to hallucinate and do other bad things. 131 hours is something like 6 days or so, right? Yow....


Boy, first Spirit and Opportunity live 9 months longer than expected, then a probe lands on Titan. Is this a good year for space nerds or what? :-)


Thank goodness for long weekends....

I'm not sure whether it was a delayed reaction to coming back to school after a vacation or what, but it's been a crazy week. I think every kid had at least one meltdown, and one adult had two or three. Eesh.

So, I'm gonna curl up and try to make my stomach ache go away, and go to sleep.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Oh, my goodness....

I knew there was a reason I haven't bought a thumb drive yet....

(And, yes, I have a 40G iPod already, but...this is just cool...and it's not like I don't always have it on random unless I'm listening to an audiobook or a story.)

Sunday, January 09, 2005

I'm Back

So, I'm back from CES, which was fun. Driving actually wasn't too bad; there was some fog in the Cajon pass both ways, and a heck of a lot of rain in Pasadena on the way back, but nothing like everyone was saying was going to happen. Apparently, all the rain dumped itself on the valley while I wasn't here.

It took about an hour extra to drive back, but I'm really tired, and it felt like it took 20 hours. Unfortunately, I have an IEP to write tonight (and to hold tomorrow) but then I can zone, watch my TiVo, and go to bed.

I will post more about CES tomorrow, including some of the cool things I saw, but I think my favorite part was the free sample copies of more or less all of the tech magazines in the world.

Oh, and the LV monorail is very useful, especially when it costs $20 to park at the convention center. For $10, I got unlimited rides on it for 24 hours, which got me to the MGM Grand from the Aladdin for lunch, then back to CES, then back to the Aladdin, then back this morning to CES, and then back to the car -- all while the car was parked for free. :-)

Monday, January 03, 2005

First Day Back

Not too bad, all in all. R. had a great morning, in fact, and most of the kids got right down to fact, I think the adults had a harder time than the kids.

Anyhow, this is just the dumbest thing I've ever heard. The only thing I can think of is that maybe they think people are too dumb to know where Anaheim is, so they added the Los Angeles to the name.


This, on the other hand, is very, very cool. I remember when the rovers first landed, the talk was that they would only last 50 or so days, I think. It's been a year, and they're still trekkin' on (pun intended).

Which, I guess, means the lesson NASA and JPL have to learn is how to get the darned things onto the planet without crashing into the ground, blowing up along the way, or whatever happened to the 2 Mars probes we lost prior to Spirit and Opportunity landing.

Go rovers!

Oh, and TiVo finally released TiVo to Go today...except that they haven't finished updating Tivo Desktop for Macs yet, so it's essentially useless to me, as my desktop has extremely limited hard drive space, and, you know, being a desktop...not so much with the "to go" part. :-(

I figured they would be waiting until the Consumer Electronics Show this weekend in Vegas, since they didn't get it released prior to the New Year like they'd said, but, hey -- if ya got it, go for it, right?

But, speaking of CES...I get to go walk around the display floor! Yay for nerd heaven. :-) Since my grandpa has an electronics firm, my mom got free passes, so I'll be heading up to Vegas early Saturday and staying until early Sunday at the Aladdin. Happy nerd, here, in case you couldn't tell....

Saturday, January 01, 2005


While reading an online forum about novel writing, someone said that their pet peeve was archaic (quote: "big, olden day" words) language, such as (and this is a quote: "Where for out though or whatever"). I can only presume they meant "wherefore art thou," from Romeo and Juliet.

Which made me think of something. I wonder how many people know that "wherefore" actually means "why"? Juliet is not asking where Romeo is -- she's asking why Romeo is who he is...that is, why he's a Montague, and therefore supposed to be her mortal enemy.

The actual line is, "Romeo, Romeo -- wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I'll no longer be a Capulet." (That is my own punctuation -- but I am the person who out-Shakespeare-quoted the Evil Leprechaun. ;-) In other words, you can be fairly certain of the words, if not the commas. :-)

Basically, Juliet says, "Romeo, why are you you? Renounce your family -- but if you won't, just promise you'll love me and I'll renounce my family."

Just a mini-lesson from someone who was (a) horrified that a wannabe writer couldn't at least render the quote somewhat accurately and (b) thinking of all the kids in all the sitcoms that phrase that line as if they're looking for poor-missing-Romeo.

Oh -- and there's going to be a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy move -- which I don't much care about, except that that was the first computer game I ever played, on my dad's 8088, in which game play consisted of typing "walk to the window" and reading the computer's description of what you saw out there. And you always brought your razor, or something, from your shaving kit to the pub, 'cause you'd need it...or something....

Happy New Year

The optimistic, ever-hopeful, probably most realistic version:

Here's to a happy, healthy, peaceful, natural-disaster-free, prosperous New Year!

The fan-girl-nerd uptopian version:

Here's to a
  • happy,
  • healthy, peaceful,
  • natural-disaster-free,
  • honest-politician,
  • scientifically significant,
  • we-launch-a-shuttle-again,
  • announcement-of-the-X-Prize-2:-Fly-To-the-Moon,
  • we-cure-everything,
  • everyone-is-valued-for-who-they-are,
  • everyone-has-equal-rights,
  • we-truly-respect-and-not-just-tolerate-others
New Year.

The teacher/sister version:

Here's to a New Year where everyone is valued for all their abilities (even if it's the ability to sneak out of the classroom and run really fast! :-)), and where the rights, dignity, and worth of persons with disabilities becomes so commonplace that people don't even understand why it used to be an issue.