Saturday, February 28, 2009


Please be praying for my cousins. Jason and his brother-in-law will be going through a kidney donation surgery on March 11th in Michigan. This is Jason's second kidney transplant -- his first was from his Mom when he was very young. His sister's husband ended up being a match for Jason this time. (Good choice on husband picking Sara!) Thanks also to another cousin (by marriage) that had signed up to be a "paired kidney donor" and all the rest that were tested.

Our thoughts and prayers will be with Jason and Candace and Adam and Sara, and all the rest of the family.



Ric and I will get to check out this slogan ourselves in late May.

Last week I passed my destination specialist test on Hawaii. The next step is a certified destination specialist. I have to visit within 5 yrs of taking the first test, write a detailed paper on the destination, fill out some forms, and pay $25. I"m hoping with just visiting one island, they will let me complete the designation. If not, I guess we will have to plan on visiting all the other islands within 5yrs!

Any suggestions from anyone out there on where to eat or visit? We are planning on most of the tourist stops --- Haleakala National Park, Iao Valley (and Needle), the road to Hana, and more. We will be staying in Lahania.

Another month

Well, today is the last day of February and I did not too to well with my monthly resolution. This month was to not eat after 830p ---- it didn't happen most of the month -- I guess I wasn't too serious about it. I also gained a pound this month :-(

March's resolution is to drink at least 6 8oz glasses of water a day. One of my problems with this is I love my water to be cold -- not room temp. So, the bottle I fill up and have at my desk, does not stay cold long enough. Or --- another way to look at it --- I don't drink it fast enough! I'll have to work on some other ways to get my drinking in.

"There will be blood."

Some cheery thoughts on the world economy:
There will be blood, in the sense that a crisis of this magnitude is bound to increase political as well as economic [conflict]. It is bound to destabilize some countries. It will cause civil wars to break out, that have been dormant. It will topple governments that were moderate and bring in governments that are extreme.

...I think the IMF has been consistently wrong in its projections year after year. Most projections are wrong, because they're based on models that don't really correspond to the real world. If anything good comes of crisis, I hope it will be to discredit these ridiculous models that people rely on, and a return to something more like a historical understanding about the way the world works.

If you are looking for a happy place, you won't find it here.

Hillary Clinton? Pull My Finger

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rock Bottom (or sand if you prefer)

If you need any more evidence that granola crunchers really are completely nuts, then just read this. Yea. Lets go back to technology used in the first century and resulted in mass epidemics. I know the greenies think there are too many people on the planet and disease is the quickest way to eliminate them (if you doubt that, look up the history of the DDT ban), but this is just absurd. Muhammad recommended three smooth stones and I've read wilderness guides that recommend handfuls of sand for that just-scrubbed-with-a-wire-brush feeling. That would be even greener as their wouldn't be anything to launder!

Just do the rest of us a favor: If you decide to use these, mark your homes and businesses so the rest of us normal people will know to go elsewhere. A big streak of brown on the front door should do the trick....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Short Break, Long Break, Whatever...

A funny thing happened while I was taking a short break from writing school papers; it turned into a long break. Four hours and counting to be precise. Now I have to really crank the next two days, but at least looking away for a few hours has given me some new ideas for the paper I'm working on. You know the primary goal of college isn't to learn things and be able to demonstrate that learning in a succinct manner; it's all about hitting the page count and following the APA guidelines. (Which, speaking of bored people, one would think a group of psychologists could find something better to worry about than whether it's better to separate the city and name of the publisher with a comma or a semi-colon. I'm sure the world was holding its breath awaiting the outcome.) So once I'm done boring my readers, I will get back to fluffing up my last big project this week and possibly getting a start on the big paper due next week.

Anyway, I see Obama took Political Math 101 in college, just like the rest of the moral defectives in Washington DC. For the last time: Even 100% confiscation of all income on the top 1% or 2% or 5% will not close the budget deficits. And the wealthy, thanks to progressive taxes, already pay a disproportionate share of income taxes. The only meaningful tax reform involves restructuring FICA taxes, but if we do that, any remaining illusion that Social Security is anything but welfare will disappear.

Change we can believe in, eh? Looks like more of the same from where I'm sitting.

GM is losing $58K a minute. A share of common stock is $2.33, and they just posted a per-share loss of $9.65 excluding special items for just the fourth quarter, so that makes the value of the company, um, lets seee... subtract a 5.... carry the 2.... Well, I don't have Obama's math skills, so I can't give an exact figure, but just going by the seat of my pants, I'd say GM is toast.

Maybe Toyota will take over all the abandonded plants in Michigan. We'll be flying back there in June, so it will be interesting to see how things look on the ground.


No, not me, but obviously the Colorado State Police are:
A good Samaritan who helped push three people out of the path of a pickup truck before being struck and injured has gotten a strange reward for his good deed: A jaywalking ticket.

...the pickup driver was cited with careless driving that led to injury. Sullivan said the two elderly women haven't been cited but the investigation is ongoing.

Investigation? Into jaywalking? Really? Ya know, if the boys in Colorado have nothing better to do than ticket good Samaritans and "investigate" jaywalking, you can come out here and pick up trash along Granite Creek.

And according to the FBI over half of all murders are never solved. Nice to see our priorities are in order.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Posted without Comment

Via A Stitch in Haste.


The markets were crushed today, and there is a story out today that the government is trying to put a bankruptcy package together for GM and Chrysler. Ya know; just in case. Sounds like a long hot summer for Detroit.

So the question for tomorrow: will bottom feeders kick the DOW up away from 7,000 or will it crash through yet-another psychological barrier?

Are we having fun yet?

In the News

While taking a break before I dive into bed for my allotted 3-4 hours sleep so I can jump back into school work, I ran across a few interesting news items:

Britain is bracing for a "summer of rage." Uh, ya think?

Clinton is over in China begging them to keep loaning money to our government. The "logic" of Clinton's arguments are just precious: loan money to the US government so it can give it to zombie banks in the hope that they will lend it to consumers who are already defaulting on every class of debt, who will then buy more useless crap from China who will loan the money to the US government.... Isn't that exactly how we got into this mess?

So what do you do with a $70,000, 103-inch flatscreen? Lay it face up and turn it into a fake air hockey game. As soon as I read the first paragraph, I saw several problems. The writers saw them too. First, air hockey is about smashing the puck as hard and fast as you can. Rubbing your fingers around on a screen just ain't the same. Secondly, part of... OK, most of the fun of air hockey is the high probability of a player or spectator taking a puck to the face. For me, eliminating that possibility is a deal-breaker. I'll just find a pinball machine to feed my quarters to. Finally, how long before there's a video on YouTube of some guy getting a little too physical and taking a header through the middle of the screen?

Well, enough fun. Off to bed.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gettin' There

Final paper for the first class is going through final edits and will be posted tonight along with the last team assignment and the standard class assessment crap that never means anything. Everyone hates the things other than the students which have no business being in college. If you have a serious problem with an instructor, schools have several means to deal with that, with the obvious one being avoid that instructor.

Anyway, once I'm done wasting my time evaluating my class and my instructor and my learning team, blah, blah, blah, that will be one down, five to go.

Next week will likely be busy again, although not as bad as this week. I have another paper to write, but it's only five pages instead of ten. The flip side is I haven't written a single word of it and don't even know what it's supposed to be about. Probably should get on that. Or not. At this point, I'm just going for the C. Don't care about anything else.

Well, back at it. Only two more weeks until I get to take a break. Woohoo!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Carpal Tunnel World

Type, type, type, and when I'm not typing school work, I'm blogging. Anyway, today was productive. I didn't get as much done as I hoped for, but more than I expected. I should be in pretty good shape after tomorrow. I need to jump on tonight and do some quick stuff and spend some quality time in the discussion boards trying to pretend I know what I'm talking about. There is now a thread in one of the discussion boards on exegesis and hermeneutics in which I have no pants. Don't ask. I think this may be a first at Cornerstone University. And the coolest thing about college is that you get to learn a lot of big words like "exegesis" and "hermeneutics" that you don't know what they mean. And can only spell because the Blogger spell checker knows how.


One of the problems with trying to fix a recession by printing money is that eventually inflation will wreck everything. It's starting already. Everyone had hoped that it would take a while for prices to catch up to the printing presses, but no such luck. Gas prices where we normally buy it jumped up to $2.13, although nothing else we buy seems to be following suite. The only way to stop inflation is to raise interest rates which sort of goes contrary to what Barack and Friends have been trying to do. It also may be worth noting that gold is toying with the $1,000 mark again.

No sarcasm: this is good. Go read it. It will make your day.

(See? I can do the happy bloggy thingy once in a while.)

GAAAH! I've Been Tagged!

OK, I've never done this before, so hope I do this right. Anyway, I got tagged by Tombo. This is how this is supposed to work:

Go to the sixth folder of pictures on your computer, and pick the sixth pic. And that's supposed to be it. Then tag six others.

My six others:

Matt and/or Jen
Tom T.
Mutant Cat
Melissa and/or Michael

(I need more friends; took way too much research to find six people and most are family. I need a nap now.)

My photo is one of my cousins and her daughter. This was taken in April 2003 at my grandpa's 90th birthday party:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

That's a Wrap

No, I'm not done with my classes or even with the 10-page paper that is due Monday at midnight. No,no; this is something much more important:

I made it all the way through our iTunes library today at 1630 Arizona time. I started on 12/20/2008. That's 4,449 songs and I listened to every single one of them.


Let's do it again!

Not working and being chained to the couch doing school work will guarantee a faster trip this time.

On the economic front: this is not a blip or a V-bottomed recession. I grew up in the 1970's and I survived as did everyone I know. This is no where near the end of the world or even the end of the world as we know it. Or at least that's true if you are over 40. It not, welcome to a new reality, chump!

Well, now that I've cheered everyone up, back to work!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hittin' My Stride

Didn't bother going to bed last night and got a ton of school work done. I have most of the work due next Monday already in the can. I'm trying to free up at least three days between now and Sunday that I can use to focus on the 10-page end-of-class paper that is due on February 24. I have some notes put together, but I haven't looked at it in couple weeks, so I need to really focus. As soon as that paper is done, I have two other 10-pagers due March 9. Then I get a couple weeks off then start right in with two classes with a third piling on about three weeks in. Then it's all over. Sweet.

Some good news that will set the tone for 2009: Everyone knows that California is a basket case, but now Kansas is suspending tax refunds and doesn't think it can meet payroll. I doubt places like Michigan will be far behind with the auto industry imploding.

At the federal level, we have the usual figure for the total debt at something like $10 trillion (which is only through 2008; 2009 will add another $2-5 trillion to that). But it's only that small (!) because the government uses an accounting method that itsn't allowed for all but the smallest businesses. If you follow GAAP, the number is something like $65.5 trillion. For perspective, that's more than the world's entire GDP.

And Hallmark Day wouldn't be complete without a rant about sex in advertising. Anyone that knows me would hardly call me a prude, and as far as a saint's holiday being turned into blatant sex for sale, just remember the saints threw the first punch. I do, however, wonder just who is being marketed to when tampons are being advertised during Saturday morning cartoons. I would think just from a marketing budget standpoint that would problematic, aside from any moral issues.

Back to work. If I can pull another all-night session, I can have everything done by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. Then sleep and the Big Paper.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vacation options

It can be hard to be a travel agent ----- each time you find a great deal for somebody, or an awesome trip to someplace you've never been --- you want to book it for yourself. I've seen a lot of specials for Alaska cruises and cruisetours for this year. Of course, we are planning on an Alaskan cruisetour for 2010. I keep figuring out my PTO time and if we can fit it in this year -- maybe the end of the Alaska cruisetour season --- I think I will be a bit short to take off for one of the cruisetours we want. Plus, I wouldn't be able to take off a sick day between now and then! Oh well.....

We will be flying to Michigan twice this summer for "long weekends" --- once for my goddaughter's high school open house and once for our niece's wedding. We originally planned on just "long weekends" so we save up PTO time and maybe go home for Thanksgiving/Christmas. But those plans fell through for all the family together like I was hoping for. Again .. oh well...... At least we will have two full days of visiting along with the day of the special event. I hate to try to cram so much into a weekend, but when that is all you got, you just do it.

I can't wait for all the hugs I will get and give. Some days I just feel so sad. I am not good about making new many of you know. I truly miss one special friend from Michigan. I know anytime I can make it back to Michigan, she will be smiling and holding out her arms for a hug.

On another subject --- I finally remembered to ask my Mom to try to find a certain cake mix for me. We have looked at all the stores here in Prescott and area --- no luck. She bought a couple for me and is mailing them out next week. I will finally be able to have my favorite cake! Thanks so much, MOM!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Hallmark Day

oops--- I meant Happy Valentine's Day!

Sorry, I lost track of the month and did not get out any cards. I might do a Happy Shortest Month of the Year card .....

Anyways ---- Happy Valentine's Day to you all

Friday, February 13, 2009


Can't let today go by without saying it:

Friday the Thirteenth is on a Friday this month.

And next month.

As I said in a comment I left on another bog: If anyone needs me, I'll be under the bed with some canned goods and a big bag of chips.


Neither of us consider ourselves anything close to professional photographers, but we do have some interesting things on Flickr. Beautiful places like Sleeping Bear sand dunes and the Grand Canyon. Hawaii. The pyramids. Numerous cruise ships and their ports of call. The Vatican. Bronze pours at Arcosanti. So which of our photos do ya'll consider most worthy of your attention?

Behold the most viewed photo on our Flickr account:

Really, people? A toaster? Yeah? Huh. Wow.

Um... just really speechless.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Back At It

Yesterday, I got about 2,000 - 2,500 words written and in final form. I had hoped for more, but I just ran out of gas. Today I was just getting into the groove when I got a phone call from the restaurant I worked at back in early 2008. One of the guys I worked with was killed in a car crash last weekend. They had a memorial service for him at the restaurant this afternoon. I just got back to the apartment and am trying to get back at it, but I can't seem to get my head in gear. What I think about what some Hybels-wannabe thinks about something just doesn't seem to be important right now. The thing is, I'm trying to get a jump on the next couple weeks because the owner of the restaurant wanted to know if I was available to fill in if she needed me. Somehow I think saying "yes" to her is more important that school.

Well enough. I'm going to stare at the screen some more and try to force the words to come. I need to get out at least another 2,000 words today. It doesn't help that Cornerstones servers crashed this morning and things are still flaky on ANGEL.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


We didn't sell everything and move to Arizona for this:

This was taken on Monday. Yesterday was even worse! The landlord even had to shovel off the walks and stairs and tried (rather unsuccessfully) to shovel the eight inches of heavy wet snow off the drive we use to get into the garage. It's so funny watching people who rarely have to deal with snow try to figure the stuff out. For one thing, nothing is set up to be plowed or shoveled, no one has the right equipment, and even if they do, they have no idea how to use it. At the mall where Debbie works, there was a guy trying to clear five acres of parking lot. With a backhoe. Yep. Better yet was the genius in the city plow truck that plowed all the snow to the center of the road. Ye flippin' gods.

Personally, that photo is as close as I've come to leaving the apartment in two days, other than to run down and open the garage for Debbie and do a couple loads of laundry. Not that I have time to leave the apartment in any case. In fact, I need to get a whole bunch of writing done today so I don't end up crashing. Which explains why I'm here blogging instead of getting at it. In two weeks, one class drops off, so I'll get some breathing space to finish up the other two classes.

Come on, May 11.

Oh, and speaking of school, ya know that paper I had to write without the benefit of the text books? Grade: 100.00%. BS degree indeed. And I have no idea why the grading system runs out to four decimals, especially when the final grade is just a letter grade. Whatever. I just want to do enough to pass and get it over with.

One of my heroes is calling it quits. I can certainly understand, but I miss reading his columns already. Drink one for me, Fred. We plan on being in his neighborhood at some point, so maybe we'll run into him at his favorite watering hole.

Well, I really do need to get to work as much as I'm tired of endlessly typing. If I don't go insane before this is over, I'm going to need serious carpal tunnel surgery.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Still Kickin'

Just a very short update. I'm in three accelerated classes from now until February 23, then I drop down to two until March 9. I'm either reading or writing papers or in the discussion groups about eight hours a day, seven days a week, and it isn't enough. It seems to be getting easier, or I'm just getting worn down enough to not care as much about the work I turn in. My books for the third class showed up today, the same day I had a paper and two quizzes due at midnight on the material I was supposed to have read. I wrote the paper yesterday by just making stuff up (I am working towards a BS degree after all). Today I did the reading and got the quizzes in under the wire and it looks like I pretty well covered the material in the book with my made-up paper. Which either says something about me or about the class....

I got into a discussion at the blogger meeting yesterday with someone who has something to do with on-line education, and it got me thinking. I've done traditional classrooms, I've done accelerated classes in real life, and now accelerated classes on-line. Not to put too fine a point on it, on-line sucks. This is somewhere between correspondence school and a degree mill. No actual learning need ever take place, just crank through the steps, many of them pointless exercises, write some papers and I get my magic piece of paper that says I'm now a valuable part of society. And all the while dealing with an endless stream of incompetence from the university office. BS degree, indeed.

Anyway, just wanted to drop a note.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Monthly resolutions and more

With Ric in college "online" -- you won't see too many posts from me. I don't like to interrupt him when he is plugging away. When he is tired of it at night, we try to watch a movie or old Pretenders (on Hulu). Right now he is heading to a monthly meeting of the "Prescott area bloggers" -- this is their second monthly meeting. So I have the computer all to myself for an hour or two.

Anyways --- monthly resolutions. That was my New Year's resolution -- to make monthly ones. Much easier to think about keeping a resolution for a month instead of a year. I did good in January. My resolution was to lose 2 lbs --- I lost 3 lbs. This month I'm not doing to well with my resolution. This month is to not eat after 830pm. I think I've blown in about 2-3 nights and this is only the 8th! I know I can do it --- I just have to do it.

Work has been so so. It has been slow -- not as bad as it was the last quarter of the 2008. I was trying to get a new position at the branch I'm working at, but my manager marked "No" on my internal application for a recommendation. Oh well....I will keep plugging away. I'm getting to the "tired of this place and most of these people" at AAA AZ.

I'm trying a new medication for my doesn't seem to be working well. Plus, I've noticed I just want to sleep and do nothing lately. I think I will give it the rest of the week and then call the Dr and tell her this one didn't work either. I would rather take the aspirin when needed at night and have my energy back. I really don't need to get depressed out here. It is hard enough with no family or friends out here. Sometimes I wish I had my own jet or was otherwise independently wealthy. I would fly every weekend someplace to visit. Phone calls/cards/emails are great, but just not the same as in person. Okay --enough of that -- I'm tearing up again!

Ric already blogged out the free hockey "spa seat" tickets I got. It was great! Usually when AAA is offered some free tickets -- they are decent seats up in row M or something. Nothing near the glass. It was an experience to "walk" on the ice to our special section between the players' benches. I still chuckle when I think about when they were doing the advertisement about the "spa seats". We were watching the game and when I realized they were talking about me, I looked up and our mugs were on the big screen. Ric happen to be right behind a post and didn't move. I did a little hand wave and my face probably got as red as the turtleneck I was wearing. We had a great night out --- the only exception was the guys' body odor! I would definitely take advantage of the seats again. I might bring along some air freshener! LOL

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Debbie Frost... and Guest"

Someone that works for the Arizona Sundogs called Debbie's office with free passes for what they called "Spa seating" at tonight's hockey game. No one else in the office wanted to go, and even if we're not big on hockey, free is free.

Turns out that our seats were in what looked like a press booth sitting at ice level between the home and away benches. We had to walk across the ice and through the home team bench to get to our seats, then we were basically locked into this Plexiglas phone booth. Between periods, someone would come and check if we needed to get out for food, beer, restrooms, etc. Sometime during the second period we heard the announcer welcome "Debbie Frost from AAA Arizona, and Guest" and flash us up on the freaking jumbo screens. I managed to stay hidden behind one of the supports for the glass. Debbie didn't. The only downside was that we were assaulted with hockey player BO the entire time, and it was hard to see the near-side corners because all the guys on the bench were leaning over the boards trying to see as well. And it doesn't matter how many times you tell yourself not to, you still flinch when the puck (or someone's face) smacks the glass a few inches in front of your face. But even if we aren't that into hockey, it was fun and the Sundogs won.

So, from now on, you may simply refer to me as "Guest."

And that's what I did tonight instead of homework. I'm getting caught up again, even if I don't have books for one of my classes yet, and I had hit a wall about when Debbie came home from work, so I knew staring at the screen would be pointless. Did I mention the game was free?

If you want to see a geek completely shred a major federal agency, watch this. This guy rips the SEC several new ones. Priceless. We need to find one of these guys for every Federal agency. Get it on the record that no Federal agency actually accomplishes what it is supposed to do on paper. They only do what all bureaucracies do: hire and pay bureaucrats.

The treasury department now has the unenviable task of selling the $1.5 to $2.5 trillion in bonds to fund all the bailouts and stimulus packages. Interest rates are already starting to creep up, which is good for us because we have no debt of any kind, and our money is in CD's and money market accounts. It's bad for anyone who owes money. Which is nearly everyone.

The British version of the RIAA is trying to charge fees for such public performances as your wife over-hearing a CD you are playing in your home, or leaving on a radio to keep the dogs in the pound quiet. As long as the rest of the world acts as stupidly as we do, our stupidity doesn't impose much of a burden. But those pesky Chinese....

I have to go to bed. Another long day of writing; I have about 2,000 words that absolutely have to get written and in final draft form tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Books and More

Well, UPS finally dropped off a box of books. They were someone else's books, but I guess you can't have everything. I immediately called Cornerstone and of course hit voice mail which of course was not answered. So I sent an e-mail which I am fairly sure will also be ignored. Or maybe I'll be told how sorry some office drone is that I feel that I received the wrong books. So tomorrow is day three of the class (which, remember, doesn't start until February 9), I have a set of books for a class I'm not taking, and my books are sitting on a very confused lady's dining room table in Holland, Michigan. And this is a University. Scott Adams has a glimpse of our future. Imagine every person you deal with every day, all day, being incompetent and arrogant.

The Grey Goose is getting low. I have an urge to stimulate the economy tommorrow at the local Liquor Barn.

Meanwhile, the last smart people in North American got Spirit to move. It only went about a foot before the dead wheel it's been dragging snagged up on a rock, but everything seems back to normal and no one knows what all the weirdness last week was about.

China is on track to sell more cars than the US in 2009. The good news for Detroit residents just keeps rolling in. Hey GM! How's that viability plan coming that you promised Congress? Does it take into account that you are on track to sell half the number of cars you did last year?

I don't make a habit of hitting Lew Rockwell's site, but this was recommended to me. It was certainly worth a few minutes.

Except now I really need that Grey Goose.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Long Ramblin' Post

Haven't done one of these in a while. I wouldn't want anyone to think college had made me focused or organized or something.

We didn't watch the Superbowl. I tried to find it online somewhere, but didn't have any luck with that. Not that I cared enough to try all that hard, but given that Arizona was playing, we would have watched it if it was easily available. But we did watch all the commercials on Hulu. One word: Lame. There were a couple funny ones and a couple OK ones, but mostly they sucked dead bunnies. So, for the ad agency people that I just know read this blog, here are some thoughts in no particular order.

Beer commercials used to be the creme de la creme, but somewhere around the Bud Bowl, they jumped the shark big time. Dorky guy has hot chicks swarming him because he has a beer. Wow. Just how many times do you think you can go back to that particular well? The only mildly amusing one was the guy getting tossed out the office window. The rest: wasteland.

Power grid ads? Really? Holy crap. The power grid. Just. Wow.

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head were funny. That's a Superbowl ad. Something as boring as car tires, and they managed to make an ad that was clever and actually mentioned what is being advertised.

Speaking of which, the Clydesdale horse chasing after his unrequited love got an "Awwww!" Unfortunately, it never mentioned or showed the product, but at this point, Clydesdale = Bud, so I guess....

The moose and Pepsi's "It's all good" ads were good enough for regular season football, but not really Superbowl material. The rest of the Pepsi ads were a waste of the 30 seconds of my life it took to watch them. And Coke, do the world a favor and fire your ad agency before they inflict any more pain on society.

The car ads universally sucked. The only redeeming feature was the wakicha wakicha music in the first 10 seconds of the Audi ad. The ad was original, if somewhat disturbing. However, it did involve punching a koala, so that was cool.

I still don't have books for my class that starts next Monday, meaning that it really started today. When I called to give them another $1,000, I found out the books had been shipped on the 28th. Then he said, "Your in Wyoming, right?" Oh crap. Here we go again. Yea, buddy; Arizona, Wyoming; they're real close.

Speaking of problems in higher education, an accounting professor has a long rant about the decline in the preparedness of college students over the last 35 years. Most of this will sound familiar to anyone that has had the misfortune of using a customer "service" desk in the last 20 years.
Today’s students cannot read at what used to be a tenth-grade level....

I shouldn’t be surprised by the weakness in reading; after all, many students do not buy their text books....

Worst of all is attitude. Yesterday’s student was willing to work; today’s student is not. Past students thought of education as a privilege; current students view it as an entitlement. Earlier students took responsibility for their mistakes; contemporary students call mom and dad, who in turn call their attorneys. Previously, it was honorable to obtain a B and at least acceptable to receive a C, especially with the harder classes. Nowadays, students want at least a B for signing up for class and an A with any effort expended on the course, regardless of knowledge displayed in the classroom....

There is one item in which twenty-first century students excel—their self-esteem....

Universities share part of the responsibility. We accept some students who should not be admitted to a university. We employ teaching evaluations, so students can punish demanding faculty. We have administrators who are scared of lawyers, who kowtow to donors and potential donors, and who tell faculty that the grades they administer are too low....

Remember, this brain trust will be replacing the one that nearly destroyed the world financial system. This group, being even more confident in their incompetence, will likely succeed.

On the dead-flat-tree media front, a journalist did some back-of-the-envelope calculations and concluded that the New York Times could actually save money by giving a Kindle to every subscriber and shutting down the printing presses. Printed newspapers will soon go the way of the buggy whip. I can't imagine why anyone would want the nasty things in their house given that you can get them on a Kindle. If I still cared enough about anything to subscribe to the Times or Newsweek or whatever, they certainly would be electronic.

Well, I should get online and get moving on the new week at school. I actually managed to crank out a serious pile of words for one of the final 10-pagers today. I'm up to 8 pages already and am only 1/3 done. When I'm writing, I usually shoot for about double the word- or page-count, then chop it down. Makes for a tighter essay than trying to fluff up something weak.

Tomorrow, I'll do all the short right-ups and outline the weekly 500-word essay. I've finished all the reading for one class and hope to finish the reading for the second class tomorrow night. That leaves just the reading for the class I don't have books for yet. If you don't see me here for a day or two, my nose is probably buried in a book of some sort.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

And It's Back!

NASA seems to have gotten Spirit back online. They are still running tests and expect to attempt some driving this weekend. Sweet!

Another day of heavy school stuff. I just got word from one of my instructors that pretty much all my documents are unreadable to him. Great. I have a couple ideas of what to do, but if that doesn't work, I have no idea where to go next. I don't have a copy of MS Office, and I really don't want to spend $150 to get it just for this. Although given that I'm spending $1,000 a class, it isn't that big of a deal, but I just really don't want MS Office on my system. Everyone I know that has Open Office has no problem passing stuff back and forth with Office. It has never worked for me. Not once. Not in all three major releases of Open Office. It sucks. I have no idea what I can do different. File, Save As... change to Word 97/2000/XP. That's it. And it doesn't work. (shrug)

Other than that, we didn't do much. I got a bunch of reading done today while our internet connection was acting weird. We were getting out on the network outside the cable moden, but DNS was down. Then up. Then down. And now it seems like it's up. Now I see all kinds of news reports that Google was having some problem with everything other than Google being flagged as dangerous in search results. That shouldn't have had anything to do with DNS, but I'm not a big believer in coincidences. I've seen my share of them in the 22 years spent in the cubes, but not many. But the problem with the internet is that everything is a black box that either works or doesn't, and when it doesn't everyone just points fingers at each other. I'll probably never know.

And 20 years ago, none of this existed in its current form, and a fast connection to a BBS or CompuServe was 1200 baud. And you paid by the hour for CompuServe, plus there were no local numbers where I lived, so I got killed with long distance charges as well. With BBS's, they were usually free, but as most were running in some guys basement, there would only be a handful of connections, so you had hours of busy signals before getting on. Then the BBS would kick you of after 15 to 30 minutes so the next guy could get on. There were some big BBS's that didn't have that problem, but they were long distance. So yea.

I have to say that I've been pretty happy with Cable One as an ISP. This is only the second time service has gone out. The first time someone hit a utility pole with their car, so it's hard to fault them for that, and it was back the next day. The only thing I don't like is that they throttle back the connection if you have large downloads, like movies from Amazon Unbox. The first half the movie downloads at 3Mb, then it suddenly drops to less than 1Mb. It eventually makes it, usually over-night. I suspect it has more to do with wanting people like us to sign up with their cable TV service than with any real bandwidth concerns. Digital movies are a direct threat to their movie channels, so it's hardly surprising, but annoying none the less. They also actively block LimeWire (and, I assume, BitTorrent and the like), but LimeWire had gotten so polluted with junk that it was more work than it was worth to get anything from them anyway. I never got into BitTorrent. I know a lot of people swear by it, but I have enough to do that I don't need to find new things to mess with.

Speaking of finding things to do, once the school thing is over, I need to figure out what I'm going to do with myself. I'm not really sure what you do with a BS in Management and Ministry Leadership other than be a pastor (no thanks; still haven't recovered from the last time) or keep going until I get a PhD, then teach other people getting a BS in Management and Ministry Leadership. Probably should have thought of that earlier (like about $25,000 earlier...). Ah well. Maybe it will help me land another dish washing gig. Not that any sort of gig is likely as long as the economy stays the way it is. And odds are that it will stay the way it is for quite some time. Maybe I can dig ditches, then fill them back in for the federal government when Congress passes Obama's "stimulous" package.

Well, it's late and I need to get some school stuff done tomorrow morning.