May 31 2010

Thought of the Day
Courtesy of XKCD

(Hover over pic for original title text)

My definition?: A nerd is a well-rounded geek. A geek is someone versed in a particular field or set of related fields.

Hence, I was always a band geek, a lit geek, a math geek, an internet geek, a grammar geek, a chemistry geek, a biology geek, and I always ended up at a table alone because of it, being that I never shut up about anything because there wasn't a topic I could stay on for long or that would stump me, making me Queen Nerd, as my mother called me, or "The Biggest Purple One In The Box" as my sister called me, or "The Annoying One" as everyone else called me.

I'm careful to distinguish between Geek and Nerd. Geeks don't know as much, but are invaluable in furthering my own knowledge.

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May 28 2010

Thought of the Day

The interwebs are buzzing about Facebook: May 31 is Quit Facebook Day, apparently.

A few thoughts:

Being On Facebook:
If you spend more time on Facebook than you do in front of the TV, kudos. You have more of a social life than the couch-potato generation. I like to see social web-works grow and TV shows get the boot. People talking to people is awesome.

Facebook Privacy:
If you think Facebook has privacy issues, maybe it's you. You choose what you post on Facebook. If it's private, keep it to an email. If it's okay to be public, list it. Just because Facebook asks you to fill out a field does not mean you have to type something into it.

If you are worried about Applications sharing your information, don't use the applications. How many people have the Snowball Fight app still? It's the middle of May, and Snowball Fight is using your information for whatever it wants, because you said it could. Weigh fun against privacy, please.

If you insist on listing things and using applications, learn to adjust your privacy settings. Who cares what the default is? I don't even know any more. Every time I log in I check the privacy settings to make sure it is doing what I want it to be doing. If you're a parent of a minor, do it for your kids.

Photographs and Privacy:
Speaking of parents of minors, why post pictures of your children on Facebook? (or MySpace, or anywhere?) Every picture of my children I have is locked up for limited visibility, or of the back of their heads. Don't jeopardize your children's future privacy for your own fun and entertainment. If a friend of mine posts a picture of my kids, I make sure I'm not tagged on the photo, so that no one can see that monster belongs to me anyway.

Most people don't look at pictures of your kids, anyway. Or of your drunk nights out. People look at what their interested in: If they haven't seen you in ages, they want to see how wealthy you are, what's your car? your house? the interior of your house? your job? Sometimes people respond to shock value, like "That's a BIG dog!" or "You let your kids do WHAT?" They also like to reminisce, "That picture was 20 years ago! I can't believe you still have that!" (which I'm not sure why that is so unbelievable. People are pack rats.)
The Internet and Privacy:
When was the last time you did a websearch for yourself? What information about you is available from other sources? Did you set up a Yahoo! profile page some time ago and have forgotten? Did you know that anybody can look at county records of your house? How about online newspapers: have you ever been quoted, have a marriage, birth, or death listing for you or your family? Had a picture printed? All that is available online, too. And in libraries. Ever have a landline? Most landline numbers and their owners from the past 10 years or so can be found online.

And all of that is for free. If I really wanted to, I could find out much, much more about you by dropping a bit of cash.

And that's only just the start of a search. If someone were after your children, they could use county records of where you live to determine where your child goes to school, and then the school website to find out when school is in session. They could even find out what the names of the teachers your children have, having found their birth announcements in the newspaper online and knowing their likely age and grade.

Are you afraid?
Are you afraid of what people can find out about you from your Facebook page? I've determined a girlfriend of a friend had still been talking to her ex fiance. I've determined where's she'd likely to be on a Thursday night between 6 and 10. I knew what income bracket her family was in, her graduation year, the school she was attending and a narrow field of likely classes she'd be in. And that was before I ever met her. How? Because she didn't take control of her own information. She let it all hang out.

Are you afraid of what people can find out about you from the Internet? I've found a friend I haven't seen in 12 years, know when he got married, that his wife won the raffle at a church, and that he works somewhere that gave him an employer-based email account. I know where he lives, what his phone number is, his wife's name, and his email address. He has no internet presence, no social networking. It wouldn't be his thing.

I don't hack, I just search savvy. The internet makes the world a small, small place, and all your friends a little creepier.

Some Links:
Get your Facebook Privacy Back:
The Mesa County Assessor's Office webpage: Online search for properties and their owners
Simple place to type your name and see what comes up: Search
Mesa County School District: Listings of all the schools, hours of operation, and links to teacher pages
Mesa State College Student Directory: Search
Simple phone book search: SuperPages

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May 26 2010

Show of the Day:
*Caution Spoilers*

It's over, and it was a bit odd, kinda hokey, but I loved the montages. They made me tear up. If anyone wants a synopsis of LOST, they could watch this one episode. It said everything.

Anyway. Another good show bites the dust and I'll have no more story to look forward to. Where did the pilot end up? What happened when the plane got off the island? What did Hurly and Ben have to face? Who was next? Why did Desmond know? Why did Juliet say that the bomb worked, that they got off the island? And what was ABC thinking when they let this be the last season? Eh, at least it wasn't another Firefly.

Also, I want to make thorough fun of everyone who watched this show one week at a time. What were you THINKING? Suck it up for a summer and get the DVD so you can watch every episode commercial free and in marathon until your brain turns to mush. In short, I am very happy never to have seen an episode of LOST at its original airdate. We watched this last season on Hulu to avoid being spoiled on accident.

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May 22 2010

Thought of the Day:
"The Pledge of Allegiance, a debate in small bites."

Pledge History: Written by the NEA's* chairman for the 400-ennial celebration of Columbus Day 1892.
I say: For the nation's schoolkids to feel patriotic for the European's hostile takeover of the continent. Great note for the pledge to start on.

*NEA: National Educational Association

Part 2 Pledge History: The original 1892 wording was "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Oct 1892 "to" was added between "to my Flag and ^ the Republic."
I say:
I'm a linguist, and I can't find purpose for that second "to," unless we're trying to separate the Flag from the Republic.

Part 3 Pledge History: "My" changed to "To" and "Of the United States of America" in 1924 because the American Legion and the DAR* thought it was better.
I say: I like to think of it as MY flag. Personally patriotic. But being specific of which flag is good. Specificity is good.

*Daughters of the American Revolution

Part 4 Pledge History:The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal benefit society, campaigned for the 'under God' addition to the pledge, with no comma separation from the 'one nation', making our patriotic symbol a prayer. This passed in 1952, during the Cold War, the same year we exploded our first H-bomb.
I say: Congress in 1952 must have thought God likes H-bombs.

Part 5 Pledge History: The current pledge is recited "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."
I say:
Do we really need to be redundant naming the country of the flag and then again our allegiance to the Republic? And do we really need to continue to suggest our nation can (could, tried to) disband by saying it is "indivisible?"

Part 6 Pledge History:
A Republic is generally defined as "not a monarchy," or more specifically, "governed by the impact of (at least some) of the people."
I say: How many people who recite this pledge can name the congressperson partly responsible for 1 of 3 parts of every national law's passage? How many people vote for anything other than President, such as those people who govern us? Why is the President treated as a king?

Part 7 Pledge History: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag..."
I say: Why are we allies with a FLAG, a symbol, an inanimate object, something that is not immutable, as we've seen over the past 234 years, where we've added 37 more stars to it? What if they've added a star to the flag since the last time I said the pledge? (ask people since Utah, 1896) Do I suddenly become UNallegiant? What is it really that deserves my allegiance?

Part 8 Pledge History:
Prior to 1892, a philosopher argued that American political tradition was built on 'equality, liberty and justice for all'. The word "equality" was left out of the pledge because some NEA members were against equality for women and African-Americans.
I say: Every day our pledge stands by that bigotry.

Part 9 Pledge History:
The pledge has changed. The pledge is likely to change again.
I say: "I pledge allegiance to the United States of America and to the servicemembers who fight beneath its Flag for Equality, Liberty, and Justice for all." I left out God re: equality for religious choice. I left out Republic and Nation re: no need to be redundant (USA). I left out indivisible re: again, redundant (United). I added equality. I added mention of those people that keep this a Republic. I shifted allegiance to the Nation, not a symbol. I expanded the realm of "for all." I am an ally of my nation and of the people fighting for which it stands. That is what I pledge.

What is your suggested modern pledge?

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May 14 2010

Garden of the Day:

More on rescuing your plants from pests: ReNest

We had four freezing days in two weeks after we put our garden in.
We used bed sheets (vegetable bed--ha ha!) and luminaries to keep them warm enough to survive.

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May 10 2010

When really bad things happen to my friends
people who are close to me
I feel really, really terrible.

Everyone is a piece of me
and their pain is my pain
and it's weird.

People are used to living isolated
with their pain and their fears
while the world spins around them.

I am not that way.
I am not much without my friends.
I am just a bit. A little bit.

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May 9 2010

I want to share all the things about today
But I don't have pictures so you will just have to imagine it all with me:

I hosted Mother's Day here at my house,
with 10 people I re-arranged the tables and chairs in my house to fit everyone
with the kids they sorted the rest of the toys I found hiding behind the bed
with Flyin' Roosters or Hooters as previous suggestions I had Husband barbecue up some wings
and concoct some buffalo sauces
with his delight in all things hot sauce, he barbecued up some crab legs
I sliced the rabbit food
I served on my purple place mats from our wedding
with red napkins from christmas, or maroon napkins from the matching set that was GiGi's (another mother we miss)
and on yellow plates handed down from Granny
The salad was fruit: strawberry, banana, orange, pear and mango. I chopped up what I had around.
I set out chips and salsa while we were waiting. We decided the salsa was not spicy.
We ate so much food
The buffalo sauce was decided to also be not hot
but it burned my lips and made my nose run and definitely made me happy
Everyone was stuffed
Only the kids and I ate the ice cream cake leftover from my birthday for dessert. Everyone else stayed stuffed.
My son got in trouble for throwing things.
My daughter got in trouble for not minding her own business.
My nephew decided a dark, long-sleeved shirt would suffice in the heat of the afternoon, in the sun.
My niece played guitar. And got antsy. And played guitar some more.
My husband cooked food and I prepped the other dishes and the table.
My mother-in-law brought me a hen-and-chicks.
My sister-in-law made that ice cream cake, which is the most awesome ice-cream cake ever imagined.
My brother-in-law wore a shirt that was not black.
My aunt-in-law gave out hugs from her daughter on the East Coast who called during dinner.

When things wound down the kids and I ended with a game of bingo and the adults discussed music and parts of music.
Then I sat down and uploaded pictures for my own mom.

As lemons for the crab dripped down my scraped knuckles and cracked calluses and scratched hands
and as oranges refused to be removed from their peels so I ate them
and as the knife sliced through banana in a mocking "this is overkill" kind of way
and the pit of the mango proved a formidable foe

the one person I was not prepping for was my own mom
I only get one, I only have one, and whether or not anyone actually remembers Mother's Day for anything other than florists' deliveries and stamped and wrapped card stock from Hallmark, she has made all the difference

and as I caption all the pictures as I upload them and after I load them and send her the email, after she has gone to bed, I'm sure
I see the faces of the creatures that gave me that title, the name "Mom"
as they evolve over the course of a year in one slideshow
and know that I am the only mom they get, too
their own mom
and whether anyone remembers Mother's Day as something more than giving mom a nap or a pedicure,
I get to make a difference

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©20092010 | by TNB