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Friday, May 29, 2009

Where BIG learning comes in both paperback and hardback

On the way to one of my favorite lunch spots near my office, Oasis Cafe, I walk by one of those alternative private schools. The school's motto, proudly displayed on a large canvas banner slung across the top of the building, reads, "Small classes, BIG learning."

Coming back from my lunch, there were several students and teacher-types setting up tables and unloading boxes of books, presumably for an end-of-year book sale. Lovely. But my heart broke a little when I heard one of the teenagers ask, "What's the difference between paperback and hardback?"

"Oh my god," I uttered to myself, "Tell me you didn't get to that age without knowing the difference!" I weep for our future.

Ok, so I respect people who are willing to ask questions when they don't know something, but come on, you should really do a little thinking on your own before even considering asking such stupid questions. Preferably, before asking any sort of question to someone else, you have first asked yourself what you think the answer might be. It's amazing what you can figure out for yourself if you only give it a little effort. Surely this girl has held a few books in her hands before (right? can't we only hope?), and has noticed that some books have a hard binding, while others have a soft binding. Gee, I wonder.


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Bee Right Back

It's finally gotten to that time of year where I can't safely open my window at work without a bee coming into my office. There's a bee floating around my head right now, as a matter of fact. I just have to get his dumb ass back down to the window so I can shew him out. They get so distracted by bright lights and shiny brass fixtures that they can't figure out where the real sun is. And they have this instinct to always look upward for an exit. Well, mister dumb-ass bee, the opened part of the window is at the bottom, you know, where you came in.

I'm not really afraid of bees, per se, but I do get anxious around these bees near my office, because they are very aggressive. I suspect they might be africanized. I used to enjoy taking my lunch out on the back patio, but I literally got chased away from my food by these mean bees too many times. It's a shame because the patio is so nice and shady, and I enjoy sitting out there with my sandwich and a good book. But if you don't eat your food very quickly, pretty soon an evil buzzing minion shows up to claim your sandwich for the hive. And they don't take no for an answer. It's quite frustrating, actually. So I took to eating inside once we get too close to summer and the bees start trolling about. Before then it's usually too chilly to sit outside anyway.

But now I can't even open my windows without being bothered. If it were, say, a sweet little bumble bee, or a regular gentle honey bee, I'd just let it wander about the office until it came close enough to the window, then I'd guide it out, and it would be grateful and not angry. But these africanized types fly around like mental maniacs, buzzing erratically around the room, bumping into shiny light fixtures and ricocheting down into my territory, which it very well could decide is its territory and chase me away. That's ok today, I guess. I do have a lot of filing to do downstairs. But I don't like being bullied by something a thousand times smaller than me.

I suppose I'll just go do my filing and hope that it either finds the window or someone else's office while I'm gone.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Should I be scared?

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thank you, privatized healthcare!

I'm taking Thursday and Friday off this week. Part of the reason is
that I have the time and could really use a vacation, and another part
is that I wanted to make some appointments to get some things done
that I've been meaning to do, namely an eye exam and a massage. Sure,
the massage is frivolous, but i've been saying for 3 years that I
really wanted to treat myself to one, but I still haven't managed to
do it. So Friday was to be the day.

And it's about time I update my eye prescription again. For the past
several years my prescription has changed dramatically within 8 months
of being updated, so I make a point of getting an exam every spring so
that I can continue to look ahead while I walk on the sidewalk instead
of admiring the cracks in it, and so i will be able to see no matter
where I sit in a lecture hall (though I prefer the front anyway, but
you don't always get the option). So I was all set for my eye exam on

But then today I got a call from my eye doctor's office. I used to be
doubly insured for vision, both through my work insurance, and for
some reason my dad's insurance was still covering me, even last year,
which I thought was strange. 25 must be the cutoff age for parental
bennies, though, because at 26 I'm no longer covered under my dad's

And a month or so ago I received a new insurance card in the mail
saying my plan had been updated. I examined the card and noted that my
copay rates have risen by 5 dollars, and then I promptly tossed the
information booklet detailing my new and improved healthcare coverage
in the trash. I figured I'd learn of all the ways they were planning
to rape me firsthand rather than bore myself with insurancese. And,
yep, they've officially dropped vision coverage from my plan. No no,
don't bother to grease up, i'll just bend over and you can rape me
dry. So I am uninsured, and the eye doctor quoted 50-60 for the exam,
another 50 or so for the contact fitting (which is bullocks if you ask
me; just tell me my prescription and I'll put my own damn contacts in,
thank you very much), and then the cost of however many boxes of
contacts I wanted to purchase. So I'm guessing at least 150, and I
had been planning to get new lenses in my glasses as well, but I'm
sure that would tack on at least another 50. So altogether that would
be 200 bucks I wasn't planning to spend. So much for a relaxing
weekend. And that just makes me feel guilty about splurging another 50
bucks for a massage.

So now I'm sitting here when I should be sleeping worrying about the
fact that I am not even halfway to meeting the savings goal I set out
for myself at the beginning of the year, and hidden expenses keep
popping up. I've also got some repairs to do to my car which may or
may not have to be done before I can pass my inspections next month.
If my brake work needs to be done, that could be a 600 dollar repair.
Makes me consider just scrapping the damn thing.

Anyway, I think I'm going to call off my eye exam, since it feels
irresponsible to pay that kind of money right now, and anyway, I think
my old prescription has held up better this year than it usually does.
I can still see pretty well. Maybe i'll go to one of those cheapy eye
centers and just have them do my prescription, then I'll order my
preferred brand of contacts online.

And I'm not sure about the massage. I was looking forward to it. Maybe
I'll still go.

Everyone keeps bitching about the evils of socialized healthcare
systems. Well you know what? I don't feel secure in our system of
private insurance companies who take my monthly fee and then look for
any possible way to deny or cut my coverage. Health shouldn't be a for-
profit business.

And if you hate socialism so much, then why don't you go ahead and
stay out of the public libraries and parks, pay to put your kids
through private school, fill your own potholes (which admittedly seems
to be a good idea sometimes), and answer your own emergency calls.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On Yogurt

I bought some of that Yoplait Fiber One yogurt the other day, thinking that I could use more fiber in my diet, and that yogurt would be a pleasant way to get it. But I was a little taken aback by how smooth and creamy the yogurt was. What good is that supposed to do, fiber-wise? Fiber is good for your system because your body can't break it down, and so it scrapes out your digestive tract, leaving you feeling shiny, clean, and colon-cancer free. But if the fiber is already ground down so fine that I can't even detect it in my yogurt, do I really think it's going to have the desired affect that fiber is supposed to have? No, I really don't.

I'm just a little tired of being sold on stupid things. Like that special yogurt that's supposed to be good for your digestive system. Activa, I think they call it. Well guess what? All yogurt is good for your digestive system, because all yogurt is cultured, i.e., it contains probiotics, or "good bacteria", which your digestive system uses to help break down food. So you don't need a special brand of yogurt to replenish your probiotics.

I actually kind of like Brown Cow yogurt, which I have to make a special trip to (sow your) Wild Oats Market, aka Whole Foods, in order to purchase, as Smith's (Mark It Fresh Yesterday) doesn't carry anything that's too fancy or delicious. Brown Cow has some flavors that include whole chunks of grain and nuts, which I imagine would have a more fibrous affect on your digestive tract than the creamy smooth boredom of Yoplait Fiber One. I also think it uses regular sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, and that's always a plus.

I miss the yogurt I used to eat in Germany. It is much thinner than American yogurt, but creamier, and more real tasting. That's the best way I can describe it. We process food so much in America that sometimes I don't even feel like I'm eating food, but some flavored synthetic substance. I used to sit in the kitchen in my dormitory in Kiel with a giant jar of German blueberry yogurt and a big spoon. I could eat a whole jar in two days. Maybe one if I really made an effort. There are several things in Germany that I wish I could have here in America, and yogurt is one of them. Others are: doener kababs (Turkish gyros), Flensburger Weisen (beer), Chocolate (yes, we have it here, but it's not the same), Sauer Kraut (ditto), Mezzo Mix (orange coke).

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Bright Side

I think acknowledging the fact that I've been a grouch lately has helped things start to turn around. So because I'm feeling rather more cheery today than I have been lately, I've prepared a little Bright Side list.

  1. My potted lime tree is budding! I bought this tree from Acorn Springs Farms a couple years ago (and apparently for considerably more money than they're going for now, bitches! But this is a bright side post, so, moving on--). A local coffee shop I used to frequent has a potted lemon tree with cute little lemons growing on it, and I was charmed by it and thought I ought to have a potted fruit tree of my very own. Of course, a lime tree would go nicely with my gin and tonic habit, so that's what I went with. But much to my dismay, I have not seen a single lime from my tree so far. I guess the problem is that Utah is not a very good citrus climate. But if I can just get these new buds to open up and become pollinated, maybe I will see a lime this year. And if I do, I am more likely to try to take the lime tree with me to Portland, which is a good thing if you ask me, but probably an annoyance if you ask Ian.

  2. Ian uses this Axe body spray that I find quite delightful and that he can find at the grocery store for about $5. I'm not much of a perfume user, but I thought it might be nice to have a body spray myself. But to my dismay, the scant few choices of female body spray at the grocery store smell like eau de cheap whore. So after cursing the fact that women have to pay more money to get the same quality products men can get, I decided I'd splurge on a more expensive but better smelling spray from Bath & Body Works, or Victoria's Secret, or some such. But then I had to deal with the fact that most female body sprays from these stores either smell like a flower shop or a candy store. As much as I love both flowers and candy, I don't particularly want to smell like either. Instead, I want to smell feminine. But not like a cheap whore. So after sniffing everything in BBW and VS, I finally found a body spray that does not smell like roasted cinnamon almonds in a field of poppies: Noir, by You Sexy Thing. Smells like a pretty lady. For $22. Sigh. But still, I found one!

  3. The weather is finally starting to look like it's supposed to at this time of year in Utah, which means I can ride my bicycle to work again. (Sure, I could have ridden when it was colder, like the real trooper commuters do, but I'm a sissy when it comes to cold. And I'm cold at like 70 degrees.) You would think after taking that cycling class from January through April I would be in tip top shape to get back up the hill to my apartment after work, but in truth it still kicks my ass. But it is ever so slightly easier than it was last year, so I consider that a victory. On a related note, I'm going to sign up for a two-day bicycle maintenance workshop next month. I figure if I'm going to become a more regular bicycle commuter when I move to Portland, I might as well know how to change my tubes and grease my chain.

  4. I love my iPod Touch. I got it in March right before embarking on my trips to Portland and Sacramento, mainly because I don't have a laptop and I wanted to be able to check my email while I was out of town. But I've found it to be a very practical portable entertainment device. In addition to my music, I can port along TV shows (like Gossip Girl, Californication, and What Not To Wear), movies (like RIP: A Remix Manifesto -- a documentary I've been meaning to see), podcasts (like B.R.'s cool Gendering the Media and De Amore series), and games (like Diner Dash, Bejeweled, and Wolfenstein 3D). I was worried about the hefty price tag on the Touch, and whether I might regret blowing that much money on this toy that arguably is not worth that much money. But for all the entertainment and convenience I've gotten out of it, I don't regret it one bit.
Yay for the Bright Side!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Twitch

I've been having a really bad attitude lately. That's why I haven't been posting very much, because I don't have a lot of good things to say. As much as I love the reading and writing of a good rant, ranting too much can become a real drag for both reader and writer. So I've been keeping quiet for the sake of us all.

Why am I so grumpy lately? I'm not really sure, but I'm getting tired of it. I've got the eye twitch, which may be symptomatic of my bad attitude. Like, maybe my stress and grumpiness leads to grumpy facial strain, which in turn leads to a creepy little involuntary twitch on my eyelid. How annoying. Obviously, this does nothing to alleviate my bad attitude.

I think I need to start doing yoga again. Meanwhile, my eyelid could use a little botox. Some botulism for my eye twitch, please!

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