Archive for Day to Day Blather

Best gift ever?

With thanks to Paul Simon:

Yesterday it was my birthday,
I hung one more year on the line.
I should be depressed--
my life's a mess;
but I'm having a good time.

Okay, so Charlie has given some amazing gifts over the years. But the one I got tonight (for my 50th birthday yesterday, which I was quite happy to let go by uncommented upon, but everyone at work thought otherwise) was incredible.

I liked John Edwards as a presidential candidate. I liked him even before the newest info on Elizabeth’s health. I sent him money after Ann Coulter attacked him and he had the gumption to fight back, not just explain things away, on the heels of a great interview on Beliefnet. And, after sending “Coulter cash” and seeing how the Edwardses reacted to the news of Elizabeth’s cancer, I decided I really did like him.

When Charlie discovered that Edwards was going to be in town today for a fund raiser, just a day after my birthday, it seemed to be fate saying that he should give a bit more money and we could attend the fund raiser. But then, for just a bit more money, he found out we could be event hosts.

So, tonight we hosted the Edwards fund raiser in Macon (along with about 100 other hosts, from the size of the “host reception”). The reception was crowded and the real fund raiser was supposed to be outside, but the rain moved in early (Macon’s under a tornado watch right now), so moved into the hosts’ living room.

And Edwards spoke to the crowd. And along with my name in the invitation, a glass of (white!) wine, and a photo-opportunity in the rain, I got the real gift. I got to hope for America again.

Edwards spoke of his time since the last election and how he’s spend so much time out of the US. America used to be looked up to by folks overseas, but now they have real, valid questions about us. We know there’s genocide in Darfur and, well, there’s genocide in Darfur. He says we are different, special, the only county that can lead in so many of these areas. And today we can’t separate domestic policy from foreign policy.

He knows how important health care is and has plans to provide it for everyone. In front of a room of big donors (I went on a scavenger hunt to find people who weren’t lawyers there and it wasn’t easy!), he had the courage to say he’d roll back the Bush tax cuts for those making over $200,000.

And of course, he emphasized education and the importance of the American dream and how everyone should have the chance. Still, if you could work, you should. But something’s wrong if the top 350,000 earners in US make more than the bottom 150,000,000.

He had sense to know the room was crowded and leave out all the details. But he didn’t miss the dream.

Hope. What a cool gift.

Of course, Charlie said I now have to give him an Edwards presidency for his birthday. If only I could.

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The Agony of Victory

No,

This is not an entry on the BCC Championship or the Super Bowl.

I’d found a new game. Since I’d been receiving so much comment spam on this blog, I made it a game to see how quickly I could delete that spam. Just this evening, I deleted an entry 2 minutes after it was posted.

I thought I was doing everything I could from having it post, other than turning off all commenting. But I found another setting and it looks like I’ve got victory over blog spam.

Now, this means that I no longer have this game to play. And, like most, I do dislike spammers…I misplaced an important message this week due to spam filtering. I liked getting to wipe out comment spam numerous times a day. But no more. When you win the war, you don’t get any more battles!

Ike has also had problems with being too successful. Many of you know him as IkeGetDownFromThere, but as he approaches 15 pounds, he’s spent less time 10 feet high in the house. Don’t worry, he’s still very healthy; at his last vet check, the vet tech was dismayed by his weight, but the vet said it was all muscle. Wrestling dogs does make cats strong.

But Ike has a new trick. He knows how to close doors. He’s managed to lock the dog out of the bathroom in the morning, so thinks it’s a good thing. But when I came home Friday, Ike didn’t come out to greet me. Seems he’d locked himself in the bedroom. Now, this may have been intentional; it means Ike got the bed and didn’t have to share it with the dog. But he still seemed pleased to get out when I opened the door.

Of course, Ike still was closing doors this morning, so I don’t have to worry about him getting too smart.

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Staying up late

So, I finally got a test graded for my Concepts of Programming Languages class, very very late last night.

In a way this is good. Now, of course, the teacher in me says it’s good because I will be able to give feedback to my students in a timely manner and all that good teacher stuff. But most of them won’t read it. This test sorta gives me proof of that. Three questions came, almost completely verbatim, from the last test and the quiz the week before. And they still got those questions wrong. But I didn’t feel bad for them as I was grading it.

But no, this is good because it’s another sign of normalcy. I had a horrible habit of staying up late to get grading done before I got sick, and I’m back to it.

Of course, it’s bad also. It could be a sign that I haven’t learned a damn thing. (But really, I have; I saw my doctor this week for a physical and I’m doing everything right as far as preventative tests go.) And getting 4 or 5 hours sleep isn’t all that good either. (And I’m sitting in on an Honor Council hearing this evening and it doesn’t look good if the faculty advisor falls asleep, but the kids are so energetic, that won’t be a problem.)

But staying up late has other advantages. I walk Linus right before bedtime and by the time I got to bed last night, nature had reclaimed the neighborhood. Usually, this just means a neighbor cat is prowling our sidewalk (and Linus, watchdog that he is, almost never notices) or an armadillo is strolling around. But last night, it meant there were three deer grazing across the street. I kept Linus from running across the yard and we ended up at the corner, with me watching them and him sniffing things out, and both of us wondering why the other wasn’t fascinated by what we were observing. The deer watched us carefully, but weren’t scared by the small wolf I had on a leash, so didn’t run away.

It was a beautiful moment and almost worth the exhaustion that’s going to hit this afternoon.

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The Care and Feeding of Blogs

It might be very easy to forget you have a blog. Especially if you post to it as infrequently as I do.

But I have one of those sorta demanding blogs. It won’t let me forget it. At first, this was a very nice thing. I’d post and people would comment and I’d get copies of their comments via email. The comments were incredibly supportive; it was great to know someone was out there.

Well, now, I’m not posting. But I’m still getting comments. Of course, you might think people were still being supportive, and I’m sure they would be, but ya know, not many people feel the need to be supportive of a surgery 7 months after the fact, when I’m back and as good as ever.

No, instead, I’m hearing from the same people everyone on the Internet is hearing from–the spammers. They’ve figured out how to automatically search out blog entries and add comments to them. I could just abandon this blog and let the spammers have it, but I’m just too ornery for that. It’s become like a game. They post a comment to an old entry and I go in and delete it. I win if I delete it before anyone else sees it. I get extra points if I delete it less than an hour after its posted (I think my record is 9 minutes). They win if you order Canadian pills to make your hair grow larger and weigh less from them.

So far, I’m way ahead.

I hope.

They also are trying to post fake trackbacks, but the software is pretty good and has found most of them so far. There have been over 3000 fake trackbacks almost posted in the last 2 months.

So, this is what I’m doing instead of grading essay questions from my freshmen. I figure anything I post will probably be better than spam and it does help the morning walks go by faster to try to reflect on something other than asphalt.

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The daily grind

Okay, so I don’t have cancer.

I don’t even have any more cancer-related treatments. Sure, there’s followups with doctors for as long as I have great health insurance, but nothing more than I should have been doing all along really, just more specialists are involved.

So, I still have a blog. I must still have something to write about.

Okay, there are a last few cancer musings. Later. I’m still musing on them. But what about the rest of life? I live in interesting times. I deal with great people. I have a great life. Something worth commenting on must be going on.

Well, maybe.

Maybe not.

For example, today’s highlight. I have two pairs of shorts I wear to Cancer Wellfit (fascinating already, no?). One pair is gray, the other black (or maybe dark navy, depending on the light, more of the excitement of this tale, for sure). I like the black pair more, but haven’t worn it in weeks. I had no idea where it was. So, I undertook to find it this weekend. I went through all the clean laundry on top of the drier, waiting to be put away. No black shorts. I really like those shorts, so I decided to go through that big pile of dirty laundry in the closet, waiting to be washed. Surely, they were there. Still, no black shorts.

(Hmm, perhaps this is interesting…I refer to the shorts as both “it” and “they.” Hey, it’s not gonna get better than this, so you’d better find it enjoyable or go off to some other blog. If you’re a geek, may I suggest The Daily WTF. If you’re not a geek, how about Cute Overload? Heck, even geeks may like Cute Overload.)

Now, this befuddled me. I’d finally unpacked from all my travels this summer, so knew they weren’t in a suitcase. I went back through a laundry bag from one trip and found some other neat things I’d forgotten, but no black shorts.

So, in an act of desparation, I looked where I was sure they weren’t. Yes, I checked the drawer where I should have put away my shorts. There was no chance they’d be in that drawer. But durn it all, there they were, right where they belong.

I figure it’s some sort of cruel joke Charlie played on me.

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