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This Twitter thing: it's neat-o.

Posted by Stanley
on 11.05.11

This made me laugh:

Herman Cain is qualified to be President in the way that Olive Garden is qualified to be Italy.

And I want to come up with more iterations of its form.


 

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Spud Light

Posted by Stanley
on 11.05.11

What is the point, really, of reduced-fat potato chips? If you're signing up for a session with fried potatoes—and, to be absolutely clear, fried potatoes are goddamn delicious—you've already surrendered to a bit of gluttony. And a bit of gluttony is a perfectly reasonable thing to which to surrender. But let's not delude ourselves that this is a healthful choice we're making.


 

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Kelly Link on being a grad student

Posted by Ben
on 11.04.11

"When you're a grad student," Samantha says, "you don't have to brush your teeth."

"When you're a grad student," Claire says, "you live in a box, and it's always dark, but you're not ever afraid."

Claire and Samantha are identical twins. Their combined age is fifty years, four months, and six days. Claire is better at being a grad student than Samantha.

[...]

Claire's face is stubborn. "When you're a grad student," she says, "you stay up all night long."


 

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I Really Dislike Rich People Buying Elections, Regardless Of Party

Posted by LizardBreath
on 11.04.11

Because they do all seem to be crooks, (or at least prone to facilitating criminality of others.) Not that I have any clear idea what Corzine's role in the MF Global scandal was, precisely, but it's still embarrassing.


 

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Narnia Meetup, Bitchez

Posted by Alameida
on 11.04.11

Nakku and I are meeting up by the lamp post. No, but really: Tuesday, November 8, 12:30 p.m. Kind of lame for employed lurkers who can't take a decent lunch hour, but there you are. Benevolent technocratic overlords are welcome. You can force Neb Nosflow to hand-deliver my email. That's unfair, since he surely has better things to do, but such is life. Lurkers are welcome and I will feed you delicious lunch at my house (Newton Circus area).


 

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Meet-up D.C.!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.03.11

Emdash is thinking about a DC meet-up this Saturday evening. Plan away.


 

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Nothing's fine; I'm shorn.

Posted by Stanley
on 11.03.11

A confluence of recent events ended with me severing ties to my longstanding facial-hair arrangement, a beard. And the days since have provided an interesting, if at times off-putting, opportunity to reacquaint myself with my face and the other possible facial-hair arrangements that could dwell thereon.

Specifically, I kind of like the two-days-without-shaving look, but I have some concerns.

First, is it totally tool-ish? Totally slovenly? Totally dude-trying-to-look-like-George-Clooney-y?

Second, is there anyway to achieve said look without shaving with a regular razor and then waiting two days? I swear there must be.

Finally, how sick am I of shaving already? Oh, I can answer that one. Very sick.


 

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No excuses

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.03.11

I was listening to dumb radio this morning. They were discussing a video that's gone viral, which shows a father whipping the living fuck out of his daughter, who must be 10 or 11, and has turned the webcam on, on her computer, unbeknownst to her father. Then she sat on the video for five or six years, and just recently released it. The dad is a Texas judge.

They were taking calls from callers, and the vast majority said "Sometimes whipping is ok and sometimes it's too much." But then, the caller would say "I got whipped as a child, and occasionally they really went to town on my ass, but every time I definitely deserved it." Then the caller would stress that point about how they deserved it. They would not stop mouthing off, they wouldn't stop wiggling around and hold still, etc.

Sure, the caller was capable of acting like a little shit as a kid. But I'm fascinated by this belief that "I deserved the super whipping."

First, some of that is the caller protecting their parent, to be sure. But I also see a connection with this entirely different scenario: on occasion I collect class feedback after a test. I ask for factors that contributed to the student's performance, among a handful of other questions. I get these paragraph responses about their character flaws: they failed the test because they were lazy, and it's their own fault, and they have no one else to blame but themselves.

It is so weird to me. There's something about Texas culture that stomps out all excuses, absolutely, no excuses, no matter what. In doing so, you also stomp out all context and mitigating circumstances. Basically, sometimes excuses are ok.

We often talk about how cruel Republicans are in their determination to make people suffer through poverty and illness and to withhold any cooperative measure that might ease their suffering. I think it's interesting to see this mindset, in people who aren't political whatsoever, and how it shows up in other contexts.


 

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Strawmen definitely shouldn't smoke.

Posted by Stanley
on 11.03.11

Recently, I was on a visit to a tobacco-free workplace. That is, there was no tobacco use (or maybe just no smoking? but I think dip was out, too) permitted anywhere on the workplace's rather extensive campus. I gather this type of arrangement is increasingly common?

In any event, I was surprised to see a number of smokers who'd taken to those e-cigarette thingies—surprised only because they have a robot-looking LED and give off a little puff of water vapor, and it's not everyday I see four or five people in an office space, puffing away on magic water robots. But, hey, seems to work for them, and it seems no nuisance to anyone else, so win-win.

Having said that, I was left wondering: in a workplace that's already banned tobacco even in designated outside areas, how long before someone advocates restrictions on the e-cigarettes, too? I think it must be inevitable, no?

Or maybe I'm just making up strawman complaints, solely for the purpose of blogging. And that's called tradition.


 

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You Talked Me Into It

Posted by LizardBreath
on 11.03.11

I signed up on Twitter. Now who does everyone follow? At this point I've got Roger Ebert and that's about it.


 

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Guest Post - Minivet

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.02.11

The Oakland General Strike is today*. I like the idea of such a strike - the next step past Occupy - but for whatever reason I can't bring myself to go. Partly (mostly) I'm being a wimp; I don't know how I'd explain it at work, even though I do have floating days-off I could use; and I've got a lot scheduled for today. (It's vanishingly unlikely that anyone at work is conservative, given the mission of the place, but I haven't told them about my liking for Occupy and small participation in OSF.) Partly I have the almost-certainly-wrong feeling that my job should somehow be exempt; for the purposes of this forum, my days are spent saving kittens and orphans. But that ignores the collective as opposed to pluralist dimension of politics.

What about donating? So fucking middle-class!

How do you plan to handle it when it comes to your town?

* In a proud tradition. Pistol-Packin' Mama!


 

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This Job Is Much, Much Better Than My Law Firm Jobs Were

Posted by LizardBreath
on 11.02.11

It really is -- I have much more responsibility, I get to do more interesting things, I'm a much better lawyer than I was three years ago.

But man, when things get busy enough that I have to work late, I really miss the paid-for cab home. Buck's not comfortable with my walking home through the park from the subway late, which means a cab home if I'm working late, and from my office, that's really expensive. There's just something unutterably depressing about having to work past the kids' bedtime, and then spend a significant chunk of money for the privilege.

I can console myself by thinking that if I were more efficient, I wouldn't have to work late even when things are busy, so it's not about the job, just about my flaws as a lawyer and a person. That should cheer me up, right?


 

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Google reader

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.01.11

People around me* are upset about the changes to Google Reader. For example, yay old Google reader, and it's dying! and the new version.

I would probably be upset too except I only very recently realized that I should have been using Google Reader more over the past five years, except it kind of drives me crazy because it's ugly and I like looking at pretty websites.

*mostly Becks and Jammies


 

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I occasionally love a good conspiracy theory.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.01.11

Someone is killing the BP whistle-blowers! Whistle-blowers include Ted Stevens, and methodology includes shark attacks. Nevertheless. Look, I'm doing the thing where I remember the skeleton of an article that confirms my pre-existing bias, and forget all the ludicrous parts!


 

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Accounting

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.31.11

What is the best length thread to happen upon, here? I say 40 comments. Not too daunting, but plenty to respond to. How big is so big that it's not worth diving in from the beginning? I say around 150 comments. That's probably when I start reading from the last comment up, if it's a new thread to me. Note that you'd need an entirely different calculation if you were present for the beginning of a thread and then left. But why would you ever leave?


 

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Childproofing

Posted by Alameida
on 10.31.11

My children were both good, easy babies who weren't particularly inclined to crawl up onto the counter and start fucking around with the Sabatier paring knife. Girl y was more bouncy and excitable, while girl x was neurotically careful, practicing learning to sit down safely for some time before trying to move away from the wall and walk unassisted. Nonetheless we childproofed our apartment to a reasonable degree, stopping up outlets and making cupboards un-openable and so forth. The NYT has an article on the subject which highlights changes in the usual suggestions.

This isn't surprising; consumer safety types are always learning new things and recalling products and whatnot. They told my mom those wheeled-saucer things were safe but now regard them as rolling deathtraps. The comments run very strongly to the "I sat without a seat-belt and ate lead sandwiches when I was a kid, and I turned out just fine!" Do people just not understand statistics at all? Some other kid also rode without a seatbelt in the 1960s, but he's dead now because he died in a motherfucking car accident. Which is why he's not posting on this thread. Way fewer children die now in easily preventable accidents. Yay!

Having said that, girl y just would not sleep on her back. Ever. She could fall asleep nursing, lying on her side, but if I moved slightly away she was down on her stomach. Endless rocking to sleep was successful? Put her down on her back like the doctor says. Except the baby will wake up! That sentence than which there is no more dreaded. I gave up pretty early. Happily she survived, even though putting children to sleep on their backs in general has been really successful at reducing SIDS.

OT UPDATE: I've had a low-grade fever since at least last Wednesday and continuous migraines when I wake up that improve after I get up (multiple causation because I take migraine medicine and drink coffee). This happened before and it was a sinus infection rather than migraines. OTOH, because of my ill-defined immune system whatnot I sometimes just run a temperature for no reason. My mom has had a fever for a month at a time plenty. And my nose isn't running.* And the doctor just looked down my throat Friday and it was fine. I don't have to go right back to the doctor to get antibiotics, right The Mineshaft? Please say no. I promise I'll go if I still have a fever on Friday, OK?
*Not 100% accurate; some extremely mild runny noseness.


 

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Occupy flimsy, reasonable furniture

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.31.11

I took my second trip ever to IKEA on Saturday. That store layout is a social psych experiment, no? It's not terrible, exactly, but I also got momentary flashes that it is the most awful place on earth. Or maybe that is my reaction to my own happy compliance to walk through the maze of tasteful, bland design.


 

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Things that concern me:

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.30.11

1. that there is virtually no political discourse about the staggering amount of violence in Mexico.

2. that some of my friends seem massively undermined by the notion that life starts when you find your romantic partner, and that there's someone out there for everyone, etc.

3. that my back seems like it's about to go out. My range of motion has gone drastically down. It's gone out before, but not in years.

I suppose only the last concerns me, and the rest are concerning to me. Or something like that.


 

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