Friday, August 03, 2007

...Except for Bunnies

So, I pretty much watch everything Alton Brown does.  I even watch Iron Chef America from time to time for his commentary -- which, I know, is probably not his and is probably fed to him, but whatever.

Last year, he did a four part travelogue called Feasting on Asphalt, where he and a small crew traveled for a month from his home near Atlanta to Los Angeles, using back roads whenever possible.  He stopped at "road food" places along the way and was generally insane (especially when he tried to make coffee at the top of a mountain).  It was fun, but too short.

Fun was, seemingly, had by all -- though of course turning a month-long trip into a 4 hour (minus commercials) show leaves a lot out.

However, in the fourth episode, near Las Vegas, Alton loses control of his motorcycle and smashes his shoulder.  He claims to have swerved to avoid a bunny rabbit.

But the best part is a classic example of the weird things people focus on while injured.  Alton is laying in the gravel with a bottle of what looks like Gatorade under one side and his motorcycle on top of him.

He mutters about being in pain, then exclaims, "That's my mirror!"  He tries to reach for it.

One of his crew says, "Alton, don't worry about your stinkin' mirror."

He hands it to someone.  "Aww, my mirror broke off.  Here, someone take care of it."


So, Anya was right -- it was the bunnies.  :-)

(Actually, given the nerd Alton clearly is (he's done takeoffs of everything from Gollum to calling...something "edible tribbles), I'm surprised he didn't make that reference himself.)

Anyhow, Feasting on Asphalt 2 starts tomorrow; this time, Alton is tracing his way up the Mississippi.  He claims to have suffered no injuries except an expanding waistline (heh heh); no bunnies this time.  And -- it's six parts long instead of four!  Yay.  :-)

Meanwhile, I am currently transferring all the contents of my mother's PC (the subject of my CAPSLOCK OF RAGE that got deleted last week) so that I can reformat the hard drive and reinstall Windows.  I have never done that before.  Wish me luck.

Oh -- and, in another entirely unrelated note, a few weeks ago, on a whim, I bought Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising -- a fairly famous piece of young adult science fiction.  I was halfway through it when I saw Order of the Phoenix, which had a preview for the movie they recently made of the cycle (I guess it's a 5-book thing which I -- predictably -- read volume 2 of).  

The book was...meh...all right.  I liked the hints of Arthurian legend in it, and it might have made more sense if I'd read volume 1, but it was...meh.

The preview for the movie?

Well, it bears about as much relationship with the book I read as your average Disney movie has with...well, whatever story it's trying to retell (can we say Zeus and Hera as tragically doting parents?).

Patrick packed up all his technology (laptop -- my faithful, 6-year-old ibook -- cell phone, shuffle, headphones, iPod, digital camera, etc.) for Disney World tonight -- he's finally beginning to get excited.  I think the flight still freaks him out, but that's why I'm buying a bottle of Unisom. :-)

And, in one last bit of news, I went to get my hair trimmed today.  They did a much better job this time making the back the way I wanted it, but they continue to refuse to cut the top the way I'd like.  Oh well.  We'll get there eventually.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

And Also

The casual use of the word "retarded" (and its variations)  as a put down (e.g., "just don't say anything retarded like ____") is one of the reasons people like my brother are not treated as full members of society.

It equates intellectual disability with inferiority.

The two are not the same. a matter of fact, just don't use that word at all, okay?

(Yes, this was prompted by something online -- something linked to by fandom_wank.  No, I'm not going to link to it directly, because it was all kinds of offensive, and I'm going to pretend I didn't read it in the first place.)

Shaking Head

I seriously want to email something like this to the whole Internet.

Who's = who is.

Always.  Forever.

Whose = possessive.


Who's coming to dinner? = Who is coming to dinner? = Correct

Whose shoes are those? = Who owns those shoes? = Correct

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong:

Who's shoes are those? = Who is shoes are those = NO NO NO

Whose going to cook dinner? = Who owns going to cook dinner? = NO NO NO

In short, if you can't substitute "who is" and having it make sense, use whose.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Boring Month

So halfway through the year last year, I changed the way my class does journals. Instead of using the various books of writing prompts I'd found -- but which were difficult to simplify while keeping a variety of topics -- I switched to a This Day In History type of thing, prompted by finding this website in one of our district's 4th grade social studies books.

The best thing is that even if I repeat a question, the event that prompted the question is different, so I don't feel quite so bad about asking what someone's favorite TV show is over and over. ;-)

Anyhow, I've been slowly working on adapting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and making the first groups of journals for the coming school year.

And aside from a few interesting things -- and one, of course, very interesting and notorious thing -- very little interesting happened in the month of September. One of the journal prompts is actually that there was an earthquake in Mexico City.


By the way -- the reason I chose Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the first book is so that I can do one of the pre-adapted books later in the year when I'm more stressed and burned out. ;-) It's going well...I'm about a third done -- I haven't done anything but type the chapters (I haven't done any of the questions or sequencing yet) because I don't quite know how the class's academic abilities will sort themselves out. So I'll probably only do a few days' worth, and then adjust up or down as necessary.

TMI -- You Have Been Warned

An open thank you to my reproductive system for, for once, being exactly on time and thus giving me one less thing to worry about for Disney World (less than a week!).



Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Whoops, and About Audiences

I failed to notice that my last post was my 200th.  Whoops.

You know, when you learn how to write in junior high and high school, they tell you write to your audience.  Write to your audience.  Always write to your audience.

The funny thing about blogging -- and about blogging about such eclectic topics as I do -- is that it's quite likely you have a variety of audiences.  Most people I know in real life, for instance, have very little interest in my fannish endeavors, while people who come here from my website are probably more interested in my fics and vids than in my day-to-day experiences teaching.

Then, there are the people whose blogs I have commented on, who click that link and come here.  Kristina, for instance, of autismvox, has commented occasionally. 

To my knowledge, none of my family members read this blog -- and given the Drama going on now, I rather hope they don't.  But if they did, they...well, they might be interested in my Harry Potter reviews.  Very few of them actually understand what I do, and even fewer of them are interested in fandom-type things.

This was prompted when I came to the somewhat staggering realization that out of everyone who has read my rant on my family's current drama, only Amie (I love that you're commenting now, by the way) can really, truly appreciate the depths of Drama to which my family can descend, having been subjected to it on more than one occasion.

The moral of this is -- I know that for any one of you, a given percentage of my posts mean absolutely nothing to you.  All I can say is...don't feel obligated to read the ones that don't.  :-)

Current drama update:  My mother neglected to ask M if he wanted his job back, and he may either (1) not take the offer my mom wrangled (the details of which I didn't ask about, but involves staying only through October) or (2) refuse to help train his replacement.

Also for those of you who don't know M, the latter is not maliciousness.  It's just that M has the emotional intelligence of a 7 year old, and is being whiny and petulant.

Now my mother is freaked that M will make her look bad.  (1)  Duh.  (2)  Should've thought of that first.  (3)  Double duh.

Ironically, when my dad's mom was alive, this would have all been nothing.   She took drama and wank to stratospheric levels.  Until someone involved in this whole mess is yelled at for not wanting to cross a busy street against traffic, this is really minor.  I guess it's just that we're all out of practice.  ;-)

Head, Meet Wall

Wank has indeed erupted.

I am taking my own advice and keeping my big mouth shut.

But here, in cyberspace, I just have to say this: While it was nice for my mother to talk "till [she] was blue in the face" to D. about M., it was not her job. She is not M's direct supervisor. She is not in charge of hiring people. She should not risking D's goodwill for her by sticking her neck out for M.

That's my grandpa's job. He's the closest thing M has to a supervisor. He's the one that hired him back when he was 13 (he's five years older than me). He's the one who trained him, who taught him, and who turned a blind eye all these years to the things M needs help with.

My aunt led a...high-risk lifestyle, shall we say, when she was married to my cousins' father. I strongly suspect both of them have traces of Fetal Alcohol Effect (not full-blown Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, but similar). M has no concept of consequence. A does not lead to B in his brain. It just doesn't. But M was always "the smart one" of all of us cousins (despite nearly failing high school math and the fact that I graduated with a 4.something GPA, but that's a favoritism rant for another day) and my grandpa just doesn't believe that this is not something M can change.

All that is really beside the point. What is the point is that this is not my mom's job, and D is not somebody that you should actively try to tick off. M did a dumb thing and while it's admirable to try and help him keep his job, my mom is almost 60 and never saved for retirement. She figures she will have to work until she's at least 75 to have enough saved to live comfortably. She is playing with fire.

Also -- and totally unrelated -- Writing With Symbols hates me. It's crashed 3 times on the same journal entry. So I suppose it either hates me, or Francis Scott Key....

Insane Giggle

So, I could explain how I found this -- or, rather, why I'm reading fandom_wank at 1:15 in the morning.  But I just gotta share, even though Cat will probably be my only loyal reader to get this.

People are chatting about some Buffy fan that is upset over...aww, it doesn't matter.  What made me laugh until I wheezed was this:  people listing various other things that Buffy fans have argued over, and mention that Ben is Glory.

Three or four comments down, some random user says:

Wait a minute...

Ben is Glory?!

And I cackled like the insane person I am.

Ben is Glory?!

Heh heh heh.

Monday, July 30, 2007

What is it About Summer?

A few weeks ago, I realized that it's the (gulp) ninth anniversary of the Summer o' Drama.

Which can only be truly appreciated by those who lived through it. The thought of the POKmobile still sends chills up and down my spine sometimes, and I often keep half an eye out for it as I drive around school. This, of course, means that the ninth anniversary of the You Didn't Know I Cried Myself to Sleep Locked in My Room Alone Drama is nigh as well.

Anyhow, it seems like the summer months invite drama -- or, in fandom terms, wank.

Wank is brewing in my family right now, and I find myself with a distinct feeling of "meh."

My grandfather started an electronics company in the 1960s with a friend and named it after both their wives. Wank ensued, and I never met the friend -- or the wife for whom the company was half named.

By the 1990s, the comany was struggling. They sold the consistently profitable part of the business (a calibration and repair lab -- all electronics test equipment requires yearly or better calibration). They hired an engineer to help them design a fabulous New Unit that would save the company.

While the new engineer did have a core of goodness (after the '94 earthquake, he drove all the way up from San Diego and brought us -- who had been living on bread, crackers, and the supplies from my dad's office's 'vending machine' (a box with a "please pay for your stuff" coffee can) McDonald's in Anaheim) and while he did tell good stories about his other job as a Disney Imagineer (there was a reason I never rode Rocket Rods, suffice it to say), he was a big blowhard who never accomplished anything.

By 2000, my grandpa was actively seeking people to buy the company. He eventually sold it to a company back east owned by a friend of his. The fabulous New Unit did not yet exist, but it was Only Weeks Away.

(Let the random capitalization assure you that these were oft-repeated mantras.)

Things started out well, but the company back east soon decided that the New Unit was not Only Weeks Away and hired an engineer to help.

That was an unqualified disaster. He was, also, a big blowhard who never met self-imposed deadlines and loved to make himself sound more important than he was.

When my grandpa decided to semi-retire, the company back east asked him his opinion about hiring the engineer as general manager.

And, in a move that still baffles me, my grandpa said he'd be fine.

Thus putting all that happened afterwards in the category of: "You made your bed, now for frell's sake just shut up and lie in it."

That was two (I think) years ago. The Fabulous New Unit remains Only Weeks Away! The manager is actively looking for new jobs on the one hand while having fun engaging in power plays with the office back east and also looking for a completely pointless new location for the business so his office will have a frelling window.

Meanwhile, he's convinced that just because he's a smarmy politician, so is everybody else. Because he's a Ferengi in disguise and only interested in money and glory, so must everybody else be.

Okay, so I'm slightly more irked than "meh" but go with me here.

We must now backtrack to fill in the other gap in the story: my oldest cousin.

My oldest cousin has...well, issues. He's just not able to work unsupervised. He gets easily frustrated and while he's good at starting projects, his follow-through is not great, and as soon as something goes wrong, he'd rather start another project. Don't get me wrong -- he's a nice guy, and he's been faithfully helping out my grandpa's business since he was doing it for chump change at the age of 13.

(I think it was a rite of passage for my cousins and myself to attempt to do an inventory of the place, which was like Sisyphus rolling his stone uphill, because nobody kept track of what they took out of the bins, and the inventory was incorrect within hours of you starting.)

Anyhow, he got other seasonal jobs here and there but was never able to keep them for a variety of reasons. When my grandpa was more involved and kept on him better, he actually did a good job. He does do a good job when someone keeps on top of him. But left to his own devices...not so much.

The problem is the manager has become convinced that my cousin, like him, is a smarmy politician who is deliberately trying to Sabotage the Fabulous New Unit which is Only Weeks Away.

My cousin may be a lot of things, but for one thing, he's not socially aware enough of anything to do that.

He's also been known to fudge his timesheet...which he did for this past weekend. He filled it out Friday or Saturday intending to come in on Sunday and never came, then talked around that fact and made it sound like he had been.

So my mom announces in this grave voice that M is probably fired.

And I'm left with three very conflicting feelings, which combine to a self-preservatory "meh."

1. Dude, how dumb can you be? You know he's out to get you and you do something that boneheaded?

2. And we're shocked by this because...?

3. You all hired the idiot manager in the first place. You had the opportunity to be rid of him and chose not to. You made your bed, and all that.

I can imagine that the whole family is poised to erupt in wank. None of it will be M's fault -- while some of it unquestionably is. People will wring their hands about how the new manager could do this -- forgetting that this has been coming for a while. People will wonder how he could actually fire M -- except that everybody -- my mom included -- knew that M can't work unsupervised and no one got off their butts to...I dunno...supervise him.

One thing the Summer o' Drama taught me, though -- is to rant about it on my blog and keep my big fat mouth shut. :-)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Nerd Squee

That rocks.  The person who drew it rocks.  'Nuff said.  :-)

Murphy's Law

The week o' Murphy's Law ended yesterday when I was stuck in a colossal traffic jam (11 miles in 2.75 hours) and then proceeded to try to break the middle finger of my left hand.

Because typing sucks, more on that later.

Instead, a grammar rant:

Cliche is a noun.  It refers to "a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought."

Cliched is an adjective.  It describes something that is overused.

In other words...

  1. The jokes in the last episode of The Simpsons were tired and predictable, to the point of becoming cliches.  D'oh!
  2. So many people imitated Lucille Ball's style that it became cliched.
Incorrect (oh, so incorrect that it makes me weep for the English language):
  1. Apple's style is becoming a bit cliche.  (Quoted from  You meant cliched, as you're describing the style.
Also?  "Nitsche" is not the term you were looking for when describing a small, particular market/audience/fandom.  You meant niche.