Thursday, December 29, 2005

poetry fragment

we rode on the winds of the rising storm
we ran to the sounds of the thunder
we danced among the lighting bolts
and tore the world asunder.

anonymous fragment of a poem believed written near the end of the previous age, known by some as the third age.
sometimes attributed to the dragon reborn.

--------
crossroads of twilight
wheel of time #10
robert jordan

Sunday, December 25, 2005

christmas traditions

every family has its christmas traditions. in my jewish family, ours was typical: chinese food and a movie.

now that i have kids, my tradition has (for now) been destroyed. because i can't get babysitting, i can't do a matinee because the kids are up. while doglady will stay home while we go out, the kids have to be in bed so she doesn't have to actually do anything. my only choices are 10pm movies, but because the kids go to bed at 9, that doesn't also leave enough time for dinner.

and people wonder why i hate christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

musical servers

my new employer has been looking for new hosting, so i referred them to my old employer. joyful. and so of course it fell to me to put the deal together.

i got a sweet deal. less than 50% of what we're paying currently, for better service.

i even got to go up there and do the installation myself. most cool. was nice to see some of the guys again.

but we also moved my own server, from its location at LTCT-0252, to its new location at i'm not sure where. in so doing, i had to change ip addresses (of course) and had to update everything. thus, downtime.

but nothing lost.

except ... except ... the opportunity to honor cecily's fine writing. (see the story about the tattoo.)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

indigestion

i'm trying to get sue to go see a doctor. it's not working.

recurrent indigestion when she hasn't eaten anything all day. that goes on for days. that turns her into the wicked witch of crowley.

love her to death. wish she'd do something other than suffer and order pizza.

Monday, December 12, 2005

fun night (updated)

a totally white-trash thing to do.

sue told me yesterday she wanted to go out and get drunk. really blasted. since i don't drink, in some ways i'm her perfect bar buddy: she'll always have a safe ride home.

we went to a bar called the wreck room. no live music on sunday nights, but they had a dj playing rasta (who looked like something out of bob marley's acid-induced hallucinations). so we sat there, talked, danced, and played video poker, while she drank she forgot how many margaritas and shots of tequila.

a year or so ago, we went to san antonio and on the spur of the moment, bought her a tattoo. a real one. she chose a fairy to go on her left chest (you know, above the breast that she tucks into her waistband -- the one i love). the fairy's name is celeste.

so after we left the bar, primarily because my eyes burned from the smoke, with me in the driver's seat, we went to randy adams, where i'd had some work done on my prince albert (alas, removed).

on the way to randy's, however, we almost had a wreck on the freeway. it seems that sue needed the alcohol taste washed out of her mouth, and so needed to suck on something for a while. boy, that was fun. thanks in part to cecily for that one.

at randy's we were greeted by wil. after some discussion, wil proceeded to add a blue crecent moon with three stars, positioned so that celeste seems to be sitting inside it.

leaving the tattoo parlor, we stopped at the bar next door and got her another shot, because this one apparently hurt more than the last one.

on the way to ihop, we had to make one unexpected detour: the side of the freeway in front of my old school. that's right: i got sue so drunk she had to barf.

so yes. we got her drunk and she got a tattoo.

totally white trash.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

sue's mom

it's finally over.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

song of the day

romantic death
the sun

to fully appreciate this, you need to watch the video. a little navigation is required: their website is here. choose "dvd menu" on the right, and then choose #4 romantic death. thanks to elvaar for letting it happen.

parental advisory. courtesy of beautiful agony. don't watch if you're easily offended. actually, if you're easily offended, you really should watch and be offended.
-----

close your eyes
kiss my lips
i'll put my hands on your his
and pull into
your own
romantic death

i'm looking down the barrel of a gun
just for fun
fighting in a war i only know exists
but for prophets

i don't ever wanna come back from this war
from this war
i've seen things i've never seen before
seen before

oh look at this mess we've made
everything's coming up back in spades
dancing in the streets
fucking to a beat
so much blood collected in this short time connected
making little kiddy zombies

i don't ever wanna come back from this war
from this war
i've seen things i've never seen before
seen before

i can see what you mean
when i'm holding you tight
i can see what you mean
when i'm alone at night

i don't ever wanna come back from this war
from this war
i've seen things i've never seen before
seen before

i can see what you mean
when i'm holding you tight
i can see what you mean
when i'm alone at night

i can see what you mean
(will you say that you love me forever)
when i'm holding you tight
(when we're together i just love everything that you do)
i can see what you mean
(will you say that you will love me forever)
when i'm alone at night
(when we're away i've got to get right back to you)

Saturday, December 3, 2005

things family

i haven't written a lot recently for a lot of reasons. mostly, i've been preoccupied with work. but also, sue's mom.

sue's mom was rushed to the hospital a few weeks ago, and since then has been a declining spiral of emergency room and icu visits, followed by release to a nursing home, followed by more emergency room and icu visits.

sue, for her part, has been totally bonkers, and i don't know that i've necessarily been as helpful as i could be.

yesterday, sue's mom deteriorated again to the point where she would have ordinarily been put back into the hospital. sue's dad, however, decided to not do that. they will be seeing to hospice care on monday.

so i'll be busy.

Friday, December 2, 2005

jury duty

shrub has been summoned.

he'd be a perfect juror: a simpleton and an ignoramous. they'd love him.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

glenn mitchell show

the glenn mitchell show was a two-hour call-in and interview show about the real world that ran on kera. it ran from noon to 2pm, in two one-hour segments. guests included motorheads, computer gurus (including such names in my life as wynne wagner, author of the opus bbs system), ex-presidents of the united states, sports people, linguists, local politicans, book authors like patricia cornwell, and everybody in between.

he died in his sleep on sunday november 20.

his, and many people's (including mine), favorite portion of the show was the first hour on friday's: everything you ever wanted to know -- all questions answered, all knowledge revealed. it was an open air hour where you could call and ask any question you didn't know the answer to, and hopefully someone in the audience would know the answer, and call. i managed to answer a couple questions over the years.

he made talk radio an intelligent thing to listen to, rather than a cult of personality.

it was obvious listening to him that he was seriously interested in everything. he actually read the books written by the authors on the

i, at least, will miss his show. and i can hope he's now in a place where all his questions are being answered, and all knowledge revealed to him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

where is xa-speaker

some people have googled and hit here looking for www.xa-speaker.org.

xa-speaker is (was?) a site that kept downloadable audio of speaker tapes for various 12-step groups.

it seems to have disappeared.

i no longer mirror for it; that arrangement disintegrated some time ago, mostly through lack of communication and follow-up.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

texas prop 2

our marriage amendment passed 3-1. in my little precinct it failed by about 30 votes (out of 545 cast).

so now the question is:

am i still married?

other useful notes: i spent yesterday using the school's network. cnn is not censored, nor is news for nerds. stuff that matters. but i am, as is julie.

cecily isn't blocked, though.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

the amendment

texas constitutional amendment 2 (up for vote this coming tuesday november 8th) is intended to prevent gay marriage from coming to texas.

but it proves that not only are the christian fundamentalist wackos who pushed this through the legislature (including governor goodhair) homophobic bigots, they are stupid homophobic bigots.

check this out. here's what the constitutional amendment says:

ARTICLE I Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may
not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to
marriage.

read that again.

carefully.

it defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

and then outlaws it.

this almost makes it worth voting for.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

u2

went to see u2 last night. i dunno if i told yall i had tickets.

it was a tremendously fun concert. perhaps not the best concert i've ever seen -- the audio was a little muddy where i sat -- but still fun an an excellent show. preachy, which isn't surprising considering that this is u2 -- peace love eradication of poverty all that -- but also great music.

so you think a little kid called up on stage to be the example during one tune will remember that forever. what about the guy invited up to play guitar with the band? or the cute blonde who got to hug bono all the way through another tune?

u2 is the most crowd-participatory band i've ever seen. awesome shit.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

going nowhere

i've started working at this job and i love doing the work. it's hard for me to focus, though, and that's something i'm having to work on. whether it's doglady wailing at me about whatever her current issue is, or the kids screaming, or whatever the other computer project that's waiting on me is, it's proving to be frustrating.

i no longer even really have my deep nights to work, because dale is often awake because she's sick or has to be up early.

sue asked me to restart her blog, so i put it back up here. we'll see what she does with it.

my feet continue to be sore off and on, but i haven't had to go back to the narcotics recently.

sue's severance pay has officially ended, and now she's into unemployment.

joy. i hope she gets motivated to get something soonish.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

feet

oh i forgot to tell you about them.

was back at the doctor earlier this week. he said that where i'm at is about where i'm supposed to be at. i'll be returning the wheelchair next week, now that i don't work at a place where i have to be on my feet all day. but i still can't go on a full-bore grocery shopping trip, tho i can run in and get a couple things without the chair.

i look forward to returning to the hunt. i actually like going shopping for my family.

another day

i'm writing during my last few hours here. i'm glad i'm leaving; i so badly want to be out of support, and i'm excited about what i'll be doing here instead.

what will i be doing? a little of everything. business development -- thinking about how to make the business grow. running the affiliate program and being the copyright and licensing guy. helping to make the financial end run smoothly.

just have to stay away until 0700.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

song of the day

road man
smash mouth
from astro lounge

a tribute to roadies everywhere, and i guess to bob marley.
---
road man driving in the road van
he's got to beat the clock to the next town
road man driving in the road van
i set up the sound system for the band

road man slow it down
and you will get there safe and sound
he says no no no the show must go on

road man driving like a mad man
breaking land speed records in the van
road man he don't mind police man
leaving trail of ripped up citations

road man slow it down
and you will get there safe and sound
he says no no no the show must go on

ra ta ta ta!

road man heavy load
he's got to stop and smell the rose
road man he says no go
i've got to be the king of the road

of the road

road man didn't see the train man
until it was too late to slow the van
meanwhile the band is waiting for the road man
crushed by his beloved sound system

road man slow it down
and you will get there safe and sound
he says no no no
no no no
no no
the show must go on
the show must go on
the show must go on
the show must go on
the show must go on

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

song of the day

granny
dave matthews band
as performed at central park
-----
hello, how are you doing today
i hope i find you feeling healthy
i'm so glad our paths crossed this time today
on our way into the night.

we'll find love is hiding here in the shadows in the darkness
baby it's up to you and i to bring it to the light
love as I approach the tears they fall like rain you tell me
baby your heart's into a thousand pieces

now stop
only old and wise with clouded eyes
you can't see what i can't hide
blindly throw my faith to the face
of the next good thing to come my
way

so here we are all of us stand around
we're leaning heavy on each other
always wondering what is it lies behind
the worried eyes of one another

i believe it's love that's hiding here in the shadows in the darkness
maybe its up to you and me to share it with the night
love when i approach my tears that fall like rain you tell me
baby your heart's into a thousand pieces

now stop
only old and wise with clouded eyes
you can't see what i can't hide
blindly throw my faith to the face
of the next good thing to come my
way

i say its love so i can hear although i know enough to spare them
maybe its up to you and i to share it with the night
love me approach the tears they fall like rain you tell me
baby your heart's into a thousand pieces

love
baby
love
baby
love
baby

[incomprehensible singing that prove that white men really can't dance]

god watches over students

and that's a good thing.

i went to school today to get some questions answered about my degree plan.

a new required course has popped up in the new catalog for my degree plan. i asked whether or not this is required for me, and it turns out that because i had my degree plan approved prior to the fall 05 semester, this new course isn't required. i'll continue under the old requirements.

the other new thing is that you now must submit a letter of justification explaining why you should be permitted to take cross-cultural courses (like the human sexuality stuff i'm taking) rather than having to take a language. but because i'm on the old catalog, that's not required for me either. for me, it's automatic.

okay so

i lied. i didn't get to update over the weekend. but i'm here now. so we'll try again.

foot surgery
definately worth it. the pain i went to treat is gone. in a procedure called platnar fascia release. essentially, the doc went in with a camera in one side and a knife in the other and cut the layer of tissue between the skin and the muscle called the fascia. ("plantar" means foot, so a plantar fascia release is a fascia release of the foot.) i had both feet done.

i'm still experiencing some discomfort from the incision of the surgery, and i seem to have a little nerve damage. i've got some numbness where the spur is on the right foot, but it doesn't affect my ability to walk, so i'm not worried about it. it just feels a little strange when i press on it.

i expect it'll be another 3-4 weeks before i'm fully healed from the surgery, but that'll be the end of this for a decade, i hope.

school
registration begins november 1. it looks like i'm going to take interdisciplinary perspectives, which is a required course for my degree type, and english history ii, taught by the same stanley palmer i had for english history i over the summer. i enjoyed his lectures a lot, and while his exams are rather challenging, i think they were fair and i did okay. (i don't mind doing poorly on fair exams; if i do poorly and the exam is fair, it means i didn't master the material. i got a b in his course.)

so i need to chase down what i need to do to get readmitted.

family
sue's mother has deterioriated considerably during the past couple of months. last week her husband, my father-in-law, put her in the hospital. she stayed for most of a week, and she was released today to a nursing home. she has severe liver damage, either from cancer, chirrosis, or both. sue is understandably upset, in part because it's her mom and in part because her mom made them all promise to never put her in a nursing home. but we can't provide the care she needs ourselves, and her husband has decided this is what's best for now. we'll see.

work
i go back to work tonight for two more weeks at the old place. my last night will be the night of october 23, and i'm heartily looking forward to it. i'm so wanting to get out of the support industry. there's no future in it; i will always just be a support monkey.

instead i'm doing business development for a porn site. i'm not directly involved in the creative aspect or in production, but i am looking at things like improving creativity, marketing, pricing structure, etc.

Friday, October 7, 2005

i'm alive

i promise. i even promise to update this weekend. i'm sorry. it's been nutty. good and bad, but nutty.

Friday, September 30, 2005

the deal is done

i now work here. for more than twice what i made here.

my feet are still ugly. i still have stitches in all four wounds, and those won't come out for another week. they're really annoying because they scrape against things and then i can feel them, sort of like a hair stick in a zipper. i'm still pretty sore, but that's from the actual surgery; the pain that caused me to seek the surgery is gone. and yes, i can certainly tell the difference.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

wheeling around

i can now move (sort of) between my kitchen, bedroom, and office, in a wheelchair thoughtfully provided for me by my doctor's office. i spend most of my time in front of the computer (obviously).

thoughts since thursday:

you know you're on a nasty antibiotic when your farts and you burps smell just like the pills in the bottle. (keflex is disgusting.)

giving your wife the power of sponge bath is bad when you're ticklish. you're naked, on your back in the tub, and you can't fight back without risking getting your dressings wet.

life would be good if we didn't need to walk on our heels. toes are good though.

the bandages get rolled up and ugly-looking. see, see, see. also note the remnants of "L" and "R" on my legs, where they marked me prior to surgery. i guess they'd have used "L" and "X" if i was only having the left one done, for example.

i have two tall computers sitting on the floor -- server things. they hold pillows nicely. three pillows are the perfect height for my feet.

hurricane rita has come and gone and we didn't get a single fucking drop of rain up here. it's 110 degrees outside.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

surgery done

my mother came in last night and we went to a nice japanese restaurant. i limped around, hopefully for the last time.

got up at 0530 this morning, was at the surgery center at 0615, in the or by 0715. only mishap was that i noticed too late that the nurse wasn't using gloves to insert my iv.

anyway, so they put me out and i woke up in recovery. now my feet are sore but not painfully.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

health insurance in america

in the united states, if you're employed, chances are your health insurance (if you have any) comes to you through your employer. in most states (like texas) there is no comprehensive public health system; if you are uninsured in texas and are struck with a catastrophic illness (cancer, say), you just die.

but situations like mine make me wonder what the wisdom in this system is.

i have a job, and my employer will be providing medical insurance. but there's a downside: i'm trapped there, at least until i can find another job that offers insurance.

something like three quarters of all new jobs created in america are created by small businesses. many small businesses are two small to be able to provide affordable health care coverage for their employees, usually because groups are too small, resulting in premiums that are too high. larger companies have an economy of scale and a large enough number of employees that they can simply fund their employees' medical costs directly, in what are known as "self-funded" plans. this isn't possible in a company with just four employees.

the trap is this: if you want to start a small business to sell the better mousetrap you've built, yet you need medical insurance, you can't, because when you quit your job you'll lose your coverage.

this is the position i'm in.

i can make more money -- lots more -- working for the website i moonlight for, and doing my table tent business, except that i wouldn't make enough money to fund insurance for myself and three kids. i can not move up in the world because i'm tied down by american's "capitalist" healthcare system, with profit-driven costs rising more rapidly than anybody can keep pace.

if small businesses are the engine of economic growth in america, why is it that providing universal health coverage, so that people can start those businesses without worrying about the founder or his employees and their families getting sick, is a bad thing?

answer: it's a bad thing because in america, we believe that every person should be left to fend for themselves, and that well-tested answers to societal problems aren't worth implementing here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

disaster management

cecily pointed to an excellent comment on this is not over. go read it. now. i'll wait.

now that you understand a little bit about bush as a human, let's take a look at him as an administrator.

but first, the most important question: is bush responsible for this mess?

yes.

and not just "of course, he's the fucking president." not just "of course, he's supposed to be the fucking leader here." not even "we put him in charge for this kind of shit."

he is responsible because he either chose, or delegated the choosing, of the individuals responsible for planning. he is responsible because he either set, or delegated who set, the priorities that led to this disaster. he is responsible because, as harry truman observed, the buck stops with him.

contrast bill clinton after waco, for example: clinton took direct responsibility for what happened, in public, on national television. he said, "i am responsible." he said he was given the opportunity to direct the waco fiasco, and he delegated that authority to the attorney general, who acted on that authority. whether or not you think she did the right thing or not, and whether you think clinton was a good president or not, there is no doubt that he personally took the responsibility for what happened in waco.

shit that should have been done but wasn't:

1) food. the united states military buys ready-to-eat meals that can be stored for years at a time. they are balanced nutrition that can be taken into combat to feed troops.

there is no reason why we can not create a series of warehouses staged around the country that hold five million meals ready to load and move. (five million meals, twice a day, will feed 50,000 people for almost two months. it will feed 100,000 people for almost a month.) as the meals come within a year of expiration, they can be rotated out of the warehouses and into active use in the military. when a disaster happens, we can load them up and move them out because they are already stockpiled and ready to ship.

2) food delivery. moving food to disaster areas isn't all that difficult if you think it through properly. we have been doing airborne food drops since world war i. this isn't rocket science anymore.

3) evacuation. tens of thousands of people were trapped in new orleans because they didn't have the money to leave. what many people don't realize is that our military has a tremendous capacity to move people and material around. there are something on the order of 20 c-5a galaxy cargo planes stationed (sitting on the ground, ready to fly on command) at air force bases in san antonio. each one of these planes, when fully loaded, can hold 1,500 people. each of them is also capable of in-flight refuling.

let's think about what this means in terms of new orleans: a single flight of all 20 of these planes could have moved 30,000 people out of new orleans. because they can refuel in-flight, all that is needed in terms of infrastructure to use them in disaster areas is enough flat land to land, turn around, and take off again. they come with built-in ramps that lower to the ground so you can drive tanks onto them; people can also walk or be wheeled up these ramps.

two flights of these planes could have well more than emptied the superdome. instead of sending people to the superdome as a haven, they should have been sent to the airport, where they could have been loaded onto planes and sent to san antonio, only a couple hour flight. once in san antonio they could be sorted and put on flights called from the commercial reserve. (remember that the government helps pay for commercial airliners in the pool; in exchange the government gets to commandeer them for national emergencies and military deployments.)

there is no reason those people should have been left in new orleans.

even if you couldn't get them all out before the storm, flights could have resumed immediately afterwards, reducing the time people stayed in the city.

instead, they traveled by bus -- a much more expensive means of travel on a per-person basis in terms of both time and money. and of course you can't refuel a bus in the air over the city.

4) pets. while it's true that saving pets is less important than saving people, it's also true that being unable to take a pet will drive some people to stay behind rather than evacuate. this means that to get the maximum number of people out of a dangerous situation, we must also consider the reasons they stay behind, such as their four-legged family members, and we must find a way to accomodate pets, even if it means turning them over temporarily to the aspca for emergency housing and care while the humans are moved elsewhere.

5) record-keeping. it is not hard to keep a hand-written record of who went where, even if it's on legal pads. "flight 238 destination san antonio" and a list of names. then in san antonio "flight 238 origin new orleans" and a list of names, along with where they were headed next. "american red cross. kellis afb. dallas texas." then in dallas, simple shit like "origin san antonio. destination fort worth. destination reunion arena. destination adam's mark hotel rescue" all of this would need to be catalogued later, but it isn't necessary to have electricity and computers to keep accurate records; we did it for centuries, and we can do it again.

if you wanted to be even crazier about keeping records you could ... oh my god ... assign people numbers. with hospital bracelets, say. that are kept with the food for the purpose. wow. so if they bring a pet with them, you crate the dog, put a hospital tag on the crate, put a hospital tag on the human, and record on your legal pad "pet 233223 owner 499923" so that later, human 499923 can be reuinted with pet 233223 when the immediate evacuation emergency has lessened.

and do not stamp these bracelets with numbers at the evacuation site. that takes time and resources that can be better spent elsewhere. instead, manufacture the bracelets with the numbers already on them. choose a sufficient number of digits -- say, nine -- so that you could have several simultaneous disasters and not repeat numbers. there are, remember, 260 million people in the united states. with nine digits you can assign numbers to every one of them three times and still have numbers left over.

these are just the solution to really obvious problems. that i thought of. sitting on my ass at work.

i guess i'm more qualified to do disaster management than "brownie," cuz "brownie" didn't think of this shit.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

the activation

here's what you don't know about the national guard call-up for the hurricane:

it's a voluntary call-up.

that means that our guardsmen don't have to go. yes, tens of thousands are responding, and more are coming, but this is important:

because it is a voluntary call-up, our guardsmen who respond may go back to jobs that no longer exist because their employers fired them for leaving.

but, you say, employers aren't allowed to fire them for responding to guard duty.

wrong.

that rule only applies to ordered calls, not voluntary calls. so if you get your ass shipped to iraq to be shot at by fundamentalist whackos, you're protected.

if, instead, you respond to a national disaster because this is why you joined the guard in the first place, you have no protection.

today's rag

kate asked me how i think the sitting justices feel about roberts being nominated to the chief spot.

no clue. i don't think it matters to them much one way or another. there's precident both for elevating a sitting justice, and for choosing someone else to go straight to the top.

on further reflection, i decided that thomas and scalia were unlikely picks. a thomas nomination would be ugly, considering how ugly his confirmation was originally. and charges of racism would fly at anyone who dared speak against his nomination, of course. and scalia is just an arrogant prick; witness how he handles the press at public events. or rather, how he has the u.s. marshall service manhandle them.

so the 17th chief justice of the united states will be john roberts. time well tell if he'll be a good one.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

i tried

and i failed. but that's what happens when i work. i work, i come home, i sleep.

job: excellent. i even won a server and i no longer have to pay for hosting where i work.

concerts: dave was last night. without a doubt the best dave concert i've ever been to, and i've been to every dallas date for a number of years now. this year was unusual tho: i at least recognized every single number. they played an astounding seven tunes from their latest album, stand up. they didn't play my fav tune, tho, which will soon be appearing here, as soon as i can transcribe everything.

i believe firmly in the "best available" idea. for this show, that meant i landed fan club seats in the front section, boyd's side, 8th row. it costs a lot sometimes -- $250 a seat for stones tickets through scalpers. and every time sue complains about the expense.

and then when we get to the show she's glad we went.

kids: ian is in school, the special ed class for 3 year olds. he's getting better about being willing to go there every morning. mom walks him to school, and it's a nice routine. there are three other four kids in his class, and except for the kids with a phyiscal issue with his hands i don't know what the other kids have going on with them.

hurricane: a complete and utter disaster, both in terms of the human cost, and in terms of the pre-disaster planning. but this is what happens when you vote for republicans. things i've observed:

- the federal government had ample warning that this store would come ashore a second time. almost a week passed between first and second landfalls, and the hurricane came ashore a second time. yet it still took three days to put together something even approaching a disaster response.

- new orleans is 60% black, and 60% poor. the people who are least likely to get out of the path of an oncoming storm are poor. take a look at pictures of the superdome. you don't see many white people there. why is this? because, in our society, poor people aren't valued as humans too.

there are (were) thousands of busses in southern louisiana, and something on the order of 40,000 slammed the superdome. why could not a caravan of those busses -- even commandeered school busses -- be used to ferry those people away from the storm, rather than leave them stranded in a place built below sea level?

it was well known that the leeves in new orleans were built to withstand a category 3 hurricane. in 2004 the bush administration cut funding for the us army corps of engineers, including repair and improvement of the leeves in new orleans, to fund the mess in iraq.

we have supposedly activated something on the order of 50,000 national guards from around the country to help with the relief effort? why could they not have been called prior to the storm coming ashore, so that they would be in position and ready to move in as soon as the storm passed? i honestly can not imagine any guardsman who would complain about such a call-up, even if they had returned from iraq the previous day. this is the kind of thing many of our citizen soldiers signed up to do. instead, they waited until several days after the disaster to do the call-up, which meant another several-day delay as our guardsmen were notified, reported, and were moved in.

this disaster was entirely predictible and preventable. i'm saddened at the piss-poor impementation by our government, but not surprised.

the chief justice has died. while this isn't exactly a surprise (he was 80 and had aggressive cancer), it is both sad and frightening.

chances are pretty good that our chief justice will be antonin scalia, a strict-constructionist who believes that the constitution is a static document, and that the rights the framers' envisioned are the only ones we should have. which is to say, our panapoly of rights as citizens can't move with the times; it must, instead, stay stuck in the late 18th century.

we now have an 8-member court; a 4-4 decision means that the lower court holding is affirmed. remember that o'conner is still a member of the court, because her retirement is only effective when her successor is confirmed.

still, shrub getting a second justice is a frightening prospect. he chooses judges that continue to live in the 18th and 19th centuries, who look at women as property, who favor the rights of moneyed interests and corporations over the rights of living people, and who are inclined to permit the injection of christianity into public life.

until a new chief justice is selected, the court will be presided over by the most senior associate justice, john paul stevens.

that's all for today.

Friday, September 2, 2005

fatigue

it's like 1am and i'm sleepy. but i'm still alive and will write a scathing screed tonight.

at least i'll try.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

family news for the day

archives and comments are working again. this time it was in apache.conf. allowoverride all for the vhost. yippee.

sue went out selling the table tents again today. (have i talked about those? i should create a category, because they're consuming a large part of my day now.) she had a hard day; she got lost (no surprise) and the one place she had an appointment, the guy was pretty nasty to her and had her out within about five minutes. oh well. my dad has tried to impart the four-s-w rule of sales: some will; some won't; so what; someone's waiting.

Monday, August 22, 2005

of course

something had to go wrong. i claimed i'd fixed the comment and archive problem, and i had.

or at least i fixed what i did wrong last time.

but it didn't stay fixed. so off to the drawing board again tonight.

Friday, August 19, 2005

transitions

the move (again) to (another) new server is complete and this time i've managed to remember to fix the comments and archives so you can access all that stuff now.

the new server is fast. the spam volume is way down. and it's mine! i love it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

surgery (mark ii)

my boss has given me permission to do my foot surgery at the end of september. so it's scheduled for september 22.

hooray!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

workworkwork

work. does. not. suck.

the place is so fucking cold you could hang meat in the place, but on the whole i've worked in worse places. here, for example. the nicest part about it, besides the pretty cool and laid back people, is that while i do technical support, it's all done through the ticketing system. nobody calls us. ever. no incoming phone calls. i'm so fucking thrilled.

i made my first sale with the table tent thing. and i bought the domain here although the link won't resolve for a few days yet, and when it does it won't work for a few days more. the sale is for 22 tables for 13 weeks. about average, and not enough money to make a go of it, but 10 more like that, or 20 or 50 more, and life will be good.

i spent last week running around doing business-related shit. like getting a sales tax number. and a bank account. and a dba. but that's all done now, thankfully. the only thing left to do is get out and make more sales.

ian starts school on tuesday. i got him enrolled last week, and had to chase around for shot records, birth certificates and social security cards, and of course they wanted a water bill to prove residence. so i got them a water bill.

sue is happy(er) with me again. she's getting frustrated because of the logistics of having the kids and getting ian to school, while trying to deal with getting a job or working for the business. what we really need is some hourly childcare, but we haven't found anybody around here who does drop-in service. we don't want to go out and do sales calls every day, and so can't justify setting up (and can't pay for) full-time care yet. so we don't know how it's going to work yet. or if it will work.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

from foxesdaughter

from maire, who got it from from here.

I am the girl kicked out of her home because I confided in my mother that I am a lesbian.

I am the prostitute working the streets because nobody will hire a transsexual woman.

I am the sister who holds her gay brother tight through the painful, tear-filled nights.

We are the parents who buried our daughter long before her time.

I am the man who died alone in the hospital because they would not let my partner of twenty-seven years into the room.

I am the foster child who wakes up with nightmares of being taken away from the two fathers who are the only loving family I have ever had. I wish they could adopt me.

I am one of the lucky ones, I guess. I survived the attack that left me in a coma for three weeks, and in another year I will probably be able to walk again.

I am not one of the lucky ones. I killed myself just weeks before graduating high school. It was simply too much to bear.

We are the couple who had the realtor hang up on us when she found out we wanted to rent a one-bedroom for two men.

I am the person who never knows which bathroom I should use if I want to avoid getting the management called on me.

I am the mother who is not allowed to even visit the children I bore, nursed, and raised. The court says I am an unfit mother because I now live with another woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who found the support system grow suddenly cold and distant when they found out my abusive partner is also a woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who has no support system to turn to because I am male.

I am the father who has never hugged his son because I grew up afraid to show affection to other men.

I am the home-economics teacher who always wanted to teach gym until someone told me that only lesbians do that.

I am the man who died when the paramedics stopped treating me as soon as they realized I was transsexual.

I am the person who feels guilty because I think I could be a much better person if I didn’t have to always deal with society hating me.

I am the man who stopped attending church, not because I don't believe, but because they closed their doors to my kind.

I am the person who has to hide what this world needs most, love.

Repost this if you believe homophobia is wrong.

Monday, August 8, 2005

news this week

tons and none.

am starting a business with the help of my dad. based on his table tent business, sue and i are calling the business "r&r restaurant services," rain and roses (me being rain, she being roses). sorta appropriate, esp since it rained on our wedding in a the rose garden.

anyway, i've made the first sale in the business, and will be delivering their first stuff likely wednesday.

bad things: my work for abby has been sub-par. she's been extraordinarily kind to me in offering me work and i've been too crazy over the last week or so to deal with it. she's complained about it, which is fair.

other bad things: grades look poor for the second summer term. i thought i was doing well, but i blew the second business law exam, and the only criminal justice exam (72 and 76, respectively). with my ... crap ... with sue over the past couple weeks, i've missed a lot of the business law class, and even when i wasn't mind-blown because of sue i was too sleepy because of working third shift. apparently, as good as i thought my paper for the criminal justice class was, i fucked it up because i was supposed to do two articles at once, not just one, and i don't have time to fix it. it took me two weeks to write what i had.

other bad things: sue and i discussed it at some length last night and settled on what our priorities are, and at least for the fall semester, school has to go. even if i cut way back on doing table tents, there isn't enough of me to go around, so ... school is history, at least for the fall semester.

i'm really unhappy about that, but it's what we need to do for now. the financial security of our family depends on it.

i started the job. it's not bad. but i had to cancel my foot surgery. i'm unbelievably unhappy about that.

Friday, August 5, 2005

comments (again)

i forget to fix the comments and archives every time i move the site from one host to another. but cecily has kindly reminded me, and so now it's fixed.

note to self: don't forget to fix .htaccess.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

employment

for some reason i remember writing this post once, but what the hell.

i got a job here in their network operations center, doing technical support for their customers.

it's not bad.

and it's not phone support. :)

Friday, July 29, 2005

arrangements

sue and i came to a truce over our home situation.

she asked me to not all her job stupid, because it's supported her for six years, and she found it insulting.

and then today she got laid off.

sprint is fucking stupid.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

more on the paper

nobody commented of course, and the paper has undergone revision.

the interesting development, though, is that i found the author working at a law firm in new york, and he agreed to take a look at my criticism of his paper and give me his thoughts.

what i'm sending him is substantially revised from what i posted here. i'll re-post the paper when it's finalized.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

current revision of the paper

in my tuesday evening criminal justice class i'm required to find a "scholarly article" and comment upon it in a paper due at the end of the term in lieu of a final exam.

the paper i've written cites the article and gives a summary of its major points, and since it's copyrighted i can't reprint the article here. but if you have access to somewhere like westlaw or lexis you can find the article cited as 51 am. u.l. rev. 509 (2001). that is, volume 51 of the american university law review, page 509, published in 2001.

so here's the paper so far.


---
ANALYSIS OF “GUILTY AND GAY: A RECIPE FOR EXECUTION IN AMERICAN COURTROOMS: SEXUAL ORIENTATION AS A TOOL FOR PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT IN DEATH PENALTY CASES”

“Guilty and Gay: A Recipe for Execution in American Courtrooms: Sexual Orientation as a Tool for Prosecutorial Misconduct in Death Penalty Cases” (51 Am. U.L. Rev. 309, Michael B. Shortnancy) is a look at the possibility that criminal defendants are subject to courtroom bias on the basis of sexual orientation, and that this bias sometimes results in constitutionally suspect sentences of death for defendants convicted of capital crimes.

The article, written in 2001 and so not taking into account some relatively recent legal developments in laws surrounding homosexuality, argues that there is an under-studied bias against homosexuals in American courtrooms. It cites two studies, in California and Arizona, suggest that more than 50% of homosexual court users experienced “negative comments or action,” and that 20% of California court employees and more than 75% of Arizona court employees have heard “negative remarks” about gays and lesbians.

The article then goes on to cite specific cases where anti-gay bias seem to have motivated juries, at least in part, to choose execution, and suggests that these instances should amount to reversible prosecutorial misconduct. In the case of Wesley Neill, the prosecutor’s closing argument directly and deliberately highlighted the defendant’s homosexuality (Shortnancy at 339, “… I’d like to go through some things that to me depict the true person, what kind of person he is. He is a homosexual. … You’re deciding life or death on a person that’s a vowed [sic] homosexual … . But these are areas you consider whenever you determine the type of person you’re setting [sic] in judgement on … . The individual’s a homosexual.”).

To date, at least as far as my research has led me, the Supreme Court has not ruled directly on whether these kinds of hostile environments in courthouses might amount to a violation of the Constitution’s Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses. Even so, several Circuit Courts of Appeal have ruled on the admissibility and appropriateness of comments about a defendant’s homosexuality, and it seems that the Circuit Courts are applying a fundamental misreading of the case law.

In Neill v. Gibson (278 F.3d 1044), a case cited by Shortnancy, the 10th Circuit held on rehearing that, among other things, “(6) prosecution did not engage in misconduct, in penalty-phase arguments, by commenting on petitioner's homosexuality in challenging proffered mitigating factor that petitioner acted under extreme emotional disturbance in committing offenses; and (7) although prosecution's comments about petitioner's homosexuality were improper, they did not rise to level of due process violation.”

The Court in Neill considered whether the prosecutor’s statements rendered the entire trial unfair, and found that because the state had overwhelming evidence of Neill’s guilt and that much of that evidence was uncontested at trial, the prosecutor’s comments didn’t render the entire trial unfair, even though the prosecutor’s remarks were, indeed, improper.

This kind of reasoning is bogus on its face. A closing rebuttal is the last thing a jury hears before retiring to deliberate, and is something the jury is most likely to remember as it deliberates. There is no way to know with certainty whether or not the prosecutor’s remarks would have swayed the jury toward imposing a death sentence when, presented with an identical heterosexual defendant and crime, they might have imposed a life sentence. If prosecutorial misconduct is present, especially in the penalty phase, common standards of decency and justice demand reversal of the sentence and at the very least remanding the case for a new sentencing hearing before a new jury, if not outright reduction of the sentence without a remand.

Since Shortnancy wrote his article in 2001, several cases have been decided in Texas and elsewhere that lend credence to the proposition that homosexuality is, or should be, a protected status in America’s courtrooms.

In Lawrence et al. v. Texas (539 U.S. 558, 2002) the United States Supreme Court held that Texas’s anti-homosexuality statute (V.T.C.A. Penal Code § 21.06) is unconstitutional, overruling the previous case on point, Bowers v. Hardwick (478 U.S. 186, 1986). Relying on a line of cases including Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479, 1965, invalidating a state law prohibiting the use of drugs or devices of contraception), Eisenstadt v. Baird (405 U.S. 438, 1972, invalidating a law prohibiting the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried persons), Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113, 1973, the famous abortion decision), and Carey v. Population Services Int’l (431 U.S. 678, 97 S.Ct. 2101 1977, invalidating a law prohibiting the distribution of contraceptive devices to persons under 16 years of age), the Court found that the Texas statute unconstitutionally restricted consensual private behavior between adults, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. And affirming a statement in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey ( 505 U.S. 833, 1992), the Court repeated that “[the Court’s] obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.” The Lawrence Court also cited Romer v. Evans (517 U.S. 620, 1996), in which the Court struck down a Colorado constitution provision that excluded homosexuals, lesbians, and bisexuals from the state’s anti-discrimination laws, also under the Equal Protection Clause.

These precedents suggest an evolving legal framework that prohibits discrimination against homosexuals in American courthouses under both Due Process and Equal Protection standards.

In
Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (798 N.E.2d 941, 2003, the “Massachusetts gay marriage” case), the Court wrote “that the core concept of common human dignity protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution precludes government intrusion into the deeply personal realms of consensual adult expressions of intimacy and one’s choice of an intimate partner” (Goodridge, supra at 948). If that is correct, then by extension, the government, represented by the prosecutor, may not inject homosexuality into a criminal proceeding in such a way as to promote bias against the defendant, any more than a prosecutor may suggest that execution is the only appropriate punishment because the defendant is black.

There are some situations where investigation of a defendant’s homosexuality is necessary to the conduct of a criminal case. It can shed light on a defendant’s motive to commit murder if, for example a defendant was blackmailed under threat that his homosexuality would be revealed, and he committed the murder to end the threat. Even so, an appropriately careful judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney can insure that these kinds of issues don’t improperly taint a jury. For example, careful questioning during voir dire can expose and eliminate jurors predisposed to vote for death on the basis of homosexuality, and appropriate jury instructions that homosexuality is neither an aggravating nor mitigating factor can also help juries understand the factors they should and should not consider. This is especially important because death-eligible juries are already stacked in favor of the prosecution, because it is routine to exclude any juror who would not, as a matter of conscience, impose a death sentence at all. Studies cited by Shortnancy and others indicate that these juries are predisposed to issue death sentences regardless of other issues, and the Supreme Court has upheld the jury selection methods that produce these juries.

Shortnancy’s conclusion, that there exists a courthouse bias against homosexuality that results in inappropriate convictions and sentences, is in need of further study, but if he’s correct (and it wouldn’t surprise me if it did, especially in the “Bible Belt”), recent case law suggests that despite the recent anti-homosexual backlash in wake of the Goodridge decision, such bias must be impermissible, and evidences of this bias in judicial, prosecutorial, and defense counsel decisions will amount to reversible error.
---

i haven't finished, but there it is.

dropped link

i removed sparkybear's place from my links. for a number of reasons, primarily that the blog is down and isn't coming back any time in the forseeable future. she didn't use the thing anyway, and when i migrated from hosting at home to hosting at laughing squid, i didn't move her stuff (because she told me to not bother).

Saturday, July 23, 2005

employment ads

from the dallas morning news 7/24/05:

plant lovers
care for plants with top co. ft or pt. top wages. fax resume.

note lack of fax number.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

employment crap

sue has decided i need a job, el mucho pronto. fair enough i guess. she's also gone and gotten herself a second job.

she's also taken all my computer equipment to an undisclosed secure location, leaving me only my laptop (which i happened to have with me when she did this). she managed this while i was out doing the sell-your-blood thing.

i spent last night sleeping on the couch at the uta library. i got home today in time to do babysitting, something i wasn't sure i really wanted to do, and something i'm not sure i want to continue doing.

but she refuses to negotiate or further outline what she wants beyond a job that pays $1k/mo and works with her bullshit work schedule.

i asked if she wanted me to cancel my foot surgery, 8/11 which will knock me off my feet for a couple of weeks. "you decide." great motherfucking help.

every time i've gotten a job she's found a reason to hate it, so i asked her for a written list of the sorts of jobs she'd find acceptable. "you know what kind of jobs are okay." great help, that.

she has no suggestions on whether i should stay in school or quit, either.

she said she'd do counseling, but wouldn't even attempt to quit smoking, which has been a major beef of mine ever since she lied to me about it when ian was a newborn, and all through the twins' pregnancy.

at this point i'm so sick of her passive-aggressive-then-blow-up crap that i can't decide whether i should grope in the dark with no guidence about what will make her happy, whether i should pack what's left of my shit and leave, or whether i should just hang myself in the bedroom closet.

at the moment i'm leaning toward the closet and i can't really think of a good reason not to. ("your kids need you!" is bullshit. they won't notice and won't remember. they don't give a rats ass about me one way or the other, as long as i hand them their fucking cookies.) i've got the rig in the closet ready. i seriously doubt sue would miss me long; she'd be more pissed at the lost income and the funeral expense. and yall wouldn't miss me either. i'd be surprised if even cecily and tertia read regularly anyway, and i'm not even sure about them. in a few weeks the blog would disappear (cuz the hosting company would zap it for nonpayment), and that would be that.

so there you have it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

a hard day's night

i suspect i may need the indulgence of my replacement wife a lot sooner than one might have expected. marko, no affront intended, but pack your shit because my wife stole mine.

Monday, July 18, 2005

harry potter 6

i managed to acquire a copy of the audiobook last night (such popular things propogate over the internet rather quickly; yes i'll eventually buy a copy).

i'm in the middle of chapter two. it is, as always, engrossing. if you're at all interested, it's worth the effort.

for those of you who've never read a harry potter book, please start from book 1. they are not independent books; it is a single, continuous story, and to properly comprehend it, you can't easily skip around.

yippeeee.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

to be a republican

again, from maire's journal, but she credits it to liveperson.

Things You Have To Believe To Be A Republican Today

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's Daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's cocaine conviction is none of our business.

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness, and you need our prayers for your recovery.

You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have the right to adopt.

What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

* If you don't send it to at least 10 other people, we're likely to be stuck with Bush for 4 more years.

FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS VOTE REPUBLICAN.

all of this reminds me of the bumper sticker hanging on my fridge.

come the rapture, can i have your car?

my tarot card

a url gleaned from my best friend maire (moy-rah). i asked if i could link to her livejournal, and she gave me an ambiguous answer, so i've not done so. but i figured out how to subscribe to it via bloglines, so now i hope to keep better track of her cuz i love her very muchly. :)

The Moon Card
You are the Moon card. Entering the Moon we enter
the intuitive and psychic realms. This is the
stuff dreams are made on. And like dreams the
imagery we find here may inspire us or torment
us. Understanding the moon requires looking
within. Our own bodily rhythms are echoed in
this luminary that circles the earth every
month and reflects the sun in its progress.
Listening to those rhythms may produce visions
and lead you towards insight. The Moon is a
force that has legends attached to it. It
carries with it both romance and insanity.
Moonlight reveals itself as an illusion and it
is only those willing to work with the force of
dreams that are able to withstand this
reflective light. Image from: Stevee Postman.
http://www.stevee.com/


Which Tarot Card Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, July 15, 2005

hosting

so i've changed hosting providers. from me. to laughing squid. we'll see how they do. no contract, no promises from me. i'm just trying to transition my hosting away from my dsl line so i can cut costs.

hopefully the comment spambots won't kill my bandwidth here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

remembering warren

tuesday night i went to a memorial service for my friend warren norwood.

a lot of people talked about what he meant to them, and how they met him. family and friends and co-workers told silly stories about his writing, his love for the mountain dulcimer, his wit, his bhuddism, and generally, his attitude.

i didn't share my story about him at the microphone. instead, here it is.

in the late 80's my step-mother went to a writing course at tarrant county called "writing fiction for fun and profit," and the companion course "advanced fiction writing." warren was the instructor. during the first class, students turned in their writing to warren, and he critiqued it. during the second class, other students critiqued your work.

warren called the second class "hack 'n slash."

after the classes ended, she joined a group of other writers in her class to continue the constructive criticism. she'd bring home her pile of other members' manuscripts each week, and i'd make copies of some of them and read and critique them as well, as the local "ghost hacker." but i didn't go to the meetings and i wasn't a member of the group.

in time i decided i wanted to join the group. joining the group wasn't easy: you were invited to attend and participate in a series of group meetings, and then you were asked to not attend one. at the one you didn't attend, the members discussed whether or not to admit you as a full member of the group. admitted by the other members of the group only by unanimous consent.

but there was another qualification: you had to survive "warren's course," and you can bet they asked warren whether or not they should admit you.

about the time i decided i wanted to join, that group started to fall apart. but viqui agreed to let me take warren's course, and off i went to be hacked and slashed.

four or five weeks into the class i skipped a week of writing. warren noticed, of course. but he didn't say anything about it.

he just looked at me with a look that said, "you can do better than that."

in time, with warren's help, the group reformed, and i was one of the new members. it became the first place where i felt like i was a part of the group, where i was a member of what was going on. it hadn't happened before, and it didn't happen again until i'd spent several years in aa.

one of those members has now moved to arizona, and another to mexico, and i haven't attended in almost a decade. but the rest of the group still meets every other tuesday night at a restaurant in arlington for food, socializiation, and hack 'n slash.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

thanks, warren, for making me realize that, yes, i can do better.

downtime

i don't know really why the system has been down for two days. i know it has, and i know it's caused me no end of heartache.

if you can see this, though, it seems to be back up. i think i should just hit myself in the face with a brick a few times and be done with it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

themes

i switched back to my older hand-done theme. i decided i like the white background better, and it has kyle's really cool photo on it. maybe someday i'll rig a deal like michelle and let the user choose which theme to use.

Monday, July 11, 2005

postness envy

i can't possibly imagine how my replacement wife can (usually) manage not one but two posts per day, when i'm lucky to get out two or maybe three posts per week. is it lack of attachment to the silly accomplishments of my kids (benjamin last night spent a good part of the evening coloring on the wall above the couch with a red crayon; samantha spend a good part of the evening last night crying; ian spent a good part of the evening last night starting at the television from the potty chair)? or is it just that my life is so fucking boring that i can't find anything useful to write about?

i was all excited to get to school this morning and get my laptop open so i could hit the school registration system and check my grade from the english history course, only once i got to the page i saw the little calendar. grades won't post until wednesday, so another two days of waiting. i still think i got a b, but no feedback from this instructor when we had an 8-person class discussion about how we'd all like feedback and he said yes sorta pisses me off. so much for the earl of palmer (as he calls himself).

the twins go in for their two-year checkup today. sue is meeting me at the doctors' office because the appointment is at 1030, but my class doesn't officially get out until 1000, so supposedly i'm rushing right out of there. in truth i expect i'll get out sometime around 900 like we did last thursday, and i'll beat her there. it happens. i don't expect him to tell us much except that they're speech-delayed (no surprise there; we have a family of can't-talk-kids).

why is it that all the college chicks in this class are either really cute and really snooty, or look like they've been hit by a mack truck and won't leave me alone? last thursday i thought the one sitting next to me was going to start fondling my thigh under the desk. you know the old joke: married, not dead.

somehow i feel like, after 11+ years sober, my life should be somewhat less fucked up than it is. does that feeling ever go away?

Thursday, July 7, 2005

business law 1 - day 2

i managed to set up my laptop in the classroom, so the instructor is now up at the lecturn stuttering away about the uniform commercial code.

i'm revising my suicide estimate: i'm thinking monday.

there is an upside, though: it's only a five week class. i'll just put the dude on my "ick" list and avoid him.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

business law 1 - day 1

so i survived the first day of business law 1.

impressions: the classroom is actually ... modern. each student seat shares a little in-desk pop-up ... thing ... that, when lifted, reveals two 110 volt ac plugs (can you say electricity?) and two rj-45 plugs (can you say network?). this means that every student in the class can have a laptop on-desk and plugged in, accessing the net if necessary.

impressive.

the instructor, on the other hand, is not impressive. i think i'll be wanting to hang myself by about the middle of next week. but apparently he's also pretty easy on exams, so this will be another gut it and get through it things.

oh well.

onward.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

current degree plan

so for my own records, i'm inputting the courses i still need to take for my degree plan. note one change: i've dropped one instance of "american judicial system" included by mistake, and replaced it with pols 4332 - us constitutional law: fundamental rights.

all the courses listed are required, except woms 2317, which is listed on my degree plan as an elective. the english history course i just finished could replace it, but i'm gonig to take the human sexuality course anyway, because i'm a perv who's interested in that kinda stuff. my wife isn't thrilled. :-)

--- --- ---

ints 2301 - interdisciplinary perspectives
ints 4391 - interdisciplinary capstone

blaw 3311 - business law 1

ccjo 4422 - legal aspects of evidence
crcj 3338 - juvenile justice system
crcj 4301 - american judicial system
crcj 4310 - advanced legal and technical writing

hist 2314 - history of england ii
hist 3317 - american legal and constitutional history 1
hist 3318 - american legal and constitutional history 2
hist 3320 - us civil liberties

geog 3355 - environmental history of the united states

geol 2401 - weather and science
geol 2402 - geoscience and genesis
geol 2406 - natural resources
geol 2408 - geology of national parks and monuments

pols 3331 - contemporary issues in civil liberties
pols 3334 - women and us law
pols 4332 - us constitutional law: fundamental rights
pols 4351 - energy policy and administration

woms 2317 - basic concepts of human sexuality
woms 3327 - marital and sexual lifestyles
woms 3366 - sex, gender, and culture
woms 3380 - ethnic and gender in criminal justice
woms 4301 - art and gender

more texas schools crap

i'll spare you the links but if you go to the local paper and look under legislature (and don't forget to log in using bugmenot's logins), you'll see the latest on the texas school funding nonsense.

as usual, the texas legislature is making a mockery of public good. while some legislators are predicting that the 30-day special session will fail (which wouldn't surprise me -- they haven't been able to unfuck this any time in the last 20 years, what's different this month?), and the ones who aren't doom and gloom are tinkering with the tax code.

so it works like this: property taxes, which affect only those of us who own property, go down. but sales taxes, which affect everyone in the state, go up, by a point. after local taxes are added on, most of the state would pay 9.25% sales tax on most items. new items would become taxable, including such things as car repairs.

the problem is that a hike in sales tax disproprotionately affects lower income residents. that's because someone living at or below subsistence (like me) is likely to spend every penny he makes on taxable items or bare necessities. a sales tax -- essentially a tax on consumption -- targets consumption, but the largest consumption as a percentage of income is done at the bottom of the income ladder.

they want to close loopholes in the texas corporate tax code that allow large companies whose names you'd recognize to avoid paying state corporate income tax, but that won't actually generate enough revenue.

so we'll see.

at the rate they're going, texas schools will close on october 1.

Monday, July 4, 2005

patriot act stupidity

crap like this makes one wonder what the real agenda is here.

from cnn:

Suburb cites Patriot Act to oust homeless
Anti-terrorism law part of lawsuit defense

Thursday, June 30, 2005; Posted: 2:45 p.m. EDT (18:45 GMT)

NEWARK, New Jersey (AP) -- The USA Patriot Act, in the name of fighting terrorism, allows the government to find out which books and Internet sites a person has seen. It lets investigators secretly search homes and monitor phone calls and e-mail.

Now, officials in the wealthy New York City suburb of Summit are using the law to justify forcing homeless people to leave a train station -- an action that sparked a $5 million federal lawsuit by a homeless man.

Richard Kreimer, who filed the lawsuit in March after being kicked out of the train station, said the Patriot Act defense makes no sense.

"Unless they've been smoking those funny cigarettes, I can't see how my civil lawsuit has anything to do with the Patriot Act," said Kreimer, 55, who is acting as his own attorney.

But Summit officials argue they are protected by a provision regarding "attacks and other violence against mass transportation systems." Town attorney Harry Yospin, who did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday and Wednesday, has used the law as one of more than a dozen defenses in the case.

Edward Barocas, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, said the Patriot Act defense is weak: "Nothing in the Patriot Act lets them kick homeless people out of train stations."

The U.S. Justice Department also criticized Summit's use of the law.

"That represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Patriot Act is," spokesman Kevin Madden said Wednesday. "The Patriot Act is a law enforcement tool to identify and track terrorists and stop them from further attacks on America. To apply it to this case is, shall we say, an overreaching application of the law."
Questions in the case

Kreimer garnered national attention in 1991 after suing Morristown, the Morris Township public library and the police department over his treatment there. The library threw him out at least five times, claiming his body odor and the way he looked at library patrons offended them.

A federal judge ruled the library's rules on hygiene were unconstitutional -- a decision that was overturned, but not before Kreimer had been paid. Kreimer has said he spent the settlement on lawyers, living expenses and medical bills.

In the latest case, Kreimer is seeking at least $5 million in damages from the city of Summit, NJ Transit, nine police officers and several others, claiming he and other homeless people have been unlawfully thrown out of train stations since August.

He also wants a judge to decide whether transit stations are public or private property, and whether people who do not have train tickets have the right to be in them.

The state Attorney General's office, on behalf of NJ Transit, has called the lawsuit frivolous and a sham but did not cite the Patriot Act. City Administrator Christopher Cotter said the municipality does not comment on active litigation.

Since the lawsuit was filed, NJ Transit has announced plans to create "ticket-only" zones limiting areas of train and bus stations to passengers holding tickets.

Sunday, July 3, 2005

a behavioral guide

it is incumbent upon me to advise you of some subtle signs in my behavior that you should take note of.

when you find me standing on the kitchen counter, and i scream at you at the top of my voice to "get the fuck out of my house, cunt," that is not a invitation to rational discourse. i will not spend a half hour discussing the philosophy of kitchen maintenance, and you are not invited to offer your commentary on the state of my kitchen, my home in general, my school and grades, my employment, or my children.

you are, however, invited to head toward the door as fast as your short little legs will carry you.

should your short little legs fail to start moving, you should not be surprised if i proceed to offer a little additional motivation. i might, for example, be inclined to shove you out the door myself (since you've proven unwilling to do so yourself).

if you should do something so foolish as fall down, it is incumbent upon you to get back up. if you fail to do so, you might find yourself given additional motivation. the only problem is that it's difficult to get people who've fallen down to stand up again when they don't want to, so rather than do that, it's usually faster to simply grab you by one or both arms and/or legs and drag you toward the door.

as you are being dragged, you should be aware that comments like "ow ow that hurts!" are likely to get me to pull harder, since what i'm interested in is your removal from my home, not the protection of your person from harm.

there is a 2 inch drop out the front door of my home, and once i have your ass out there, it won't bother me in the slightest if you also hit your head on the way down. don't look to me for sympathy.

should you find yourself dragged out the door, don't ask to get back in. i've no doubt already locked the door, and had i intended you to come back in, i wouldn't have lugged your ass outside in the first place. however, continually ringing my doorbell is a fantastic way to induce me into calling the police and having you forcibly removed from the premisis.

just so you know.

[and no, it was not my wife.]

Friday, July 1, 2005

anti-spam crap

okay so i've got spam karma installed to help with all the bullshit blog spam i get. then i get an email that it sent a comment by tertia to spam karma hell.

she wrote in a comment:
---
It is I, your replace wife!! I am even more attracted to you now, not only are you G&D, you clean up poo as well, what an all round winner you are.

Big smooch

xxoo

PS Looking SO forward to the projectile poo stage
---
the comment was zapped and her ip was banned.

so i've disabled spam karma, much to my chagrin. will try something else.

okay so as i was composing this post i found that there's a spamkarma upgrade available. am going to try it.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

final final

i managed to stuff a seven-page essay (typed, single-spaced) onto a single sheet of paper in a space 8 inches by 10 inches (the size of a double-sided 5x8 note card) by reducing it to 6 point type, using a variable-width font rather than a monospace font, reducing the space between lines, using abbreviations (h8 for Henry VIII, for example), reducing the standard indent for paragraphs from 1/3" to 1/5", and using two columns rather than making it all one column (reducing the amount of space wasted at the end of paragraphs).

in 40 minutes i get to copy the essay into the bluebook. the only question in my mind now is whether or not i can write that fast.

i still have the text in the pagemaker file, so when i get home i'll post the essay (complete with abbreviations) and see if anybody care (ha!).

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

history final

the prof has again been kind enough to give us the question prior to the final exam. this is a two-hour essay exam. for those of you who've been reading for a while, you'll know that i got an 81 on the first essay exam, and an 88 on the multiple guess one.

---
building the english nation & the rise of parliment

the title above captures the two major themes we have developed in our course.

using supporting historical detail, write an essay that both traces and explains, from the romans to the later stuarts, the rise of the english nation-state and monarchy; and the rise, growth, and triumph (in 1688) of parliment.

while your essay should develop major themes and ideas, be sure to also support your statements with appropriate specific facts/dates/names/ and events.
---

how's that for a fucking broad question? he's giving us a 5x8 card with notes on it, however. i'm reusing my first essay as the basis for my second, and then we'll cut and stuff onto a card. should be fun. i'll post the results and see if anybody can make heads or tails of it. (nobody will respond i know.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

exam 2

i'm a week late in telling you about it, but my history course's exam 2 was last monday, and the instructor was kind enough to return the results the next day. my grade, after the curve, was 88. so i have a firm b in this course. all that's left is the final exam, another essay. and again, the instructor has been kind enough to give us the question in advance, and this time he will permit a front and back 5x8 card (and magnifying glass). apparently it isn't unknown for students to write their essay ahead of time on the card in tiny print and simply copy it into the bluebook.

i may try that.

song of the day

big eyed fish
dave matthews band
live at folsom field
---
look at this big eyed fish swimmin' in the sea
oh, how it dreams to be a bird
swoop and dive through the breeze
so one day it caught this big old wave up onto the beach
now the fish is dead you see
cuz fish should know stay down in the sea

but oh god, under the weight of life
things seem brighter on the other side

story of this man who decided not to breathe
he turned red then blue then purple, so colorful indeed
no matter how his friends begged and pleaded
he would not concede
now the man is dead you see
cuz every man should know you got to breathe

but oh god, under the weight of life
things seem brighter on the other side
oh god, but under the weight of life
things seems much brighter on the other side

you see this monkey sittin up in his tree
until one day decided to climb down and run off to the city
but look at him now, tired and drunk
the monkey's livin' in the street
as good as dead, you see
cuz every monkey should know, stay up in your fuckin tree

but oh god, under the weight of life
things seem so much brighter on the other side
oh god, but under the weight of life
things seem much brighter on the other side
---
there's both a text and a performance copyright on this somewhere. i don't have the energy to track them down this time. sorry.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

on poo

with a shout to new parents julie, julia, my georgeous and divine south african replacement wife tertia, and chris, and with all the love ever for the best parent-to-be i know (and i know it will happen!), cecily, today i offer some musings on things ... well ... scatological.

when ian was born, obviously we had a new problem to deal with: dirty diapers.

being busy, modern parents in a home with no laundry facilities, we opted for the usual paper disposable diaper model commonly available in any grocery store. after a few days of using them, however, we discovered some things.

first, contrary to what the box indicates, the size 1 diapers do not hold between 6 and 10 pounds. they are actually for babies that weigh 6 to 10 pounds, an omission that caused us much grief during our first weeks. similarly, size six diapers, which are labeled for 30+ pounds, have the same limitation. new parents beware.

second, while everybody jokes about the joys of children and projectile vomiting, nobody saw fit to warn us about projectile defication. we'd had ian home from the hospital less than a week when, much to his mother's surprise, he let loose a ... well ... spray. while the volume of that spray was small, by today's standards, it nonetheless covered everything nearby with poo.

third, it seems to me that there's no direct relationship between input and output. for example, while my children seem to go through periods when they eat very little, their poo output doesn't noticably decrease. it seems to change in consistency, compactness, and color (ranging from a green pea soup to brown rocks) with no predictable pattern, but there always seems to be a more-or-less fixed amount of it: a (achem) shitload.

i learned in my psychology class last year that sigmund freud, who assigned sexual causes and meanings to everything, divided child developmnt into five stages, the first of which everyone is familiar with: oral. this is the one where everything goes into the mouth. thus it's important, once child can grasp objects, to make sure objects in said child's grasp are safe to put in said child's mouth, causing neither choking nor splintering. the second phase is anal.

and benjamin is in the anal phase.

while it's true that some of his interest remains oral, it's also true that he's completely fixated on poo. he loves to touch it; smell it; taste it; smear it on the bed, himself, the wall next to his crib.

so with love and warning to all new parents out there as my hands still smell like bleach from last night's wall art cleaning session ... beware the backside.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

problems with apache

i found the problem with apache, and it turns out to be doglady.

doglady had installed a file sharing program on one of my computers, and incoming requests to that program were being sent through the same place web requests go through. this overloaded my web server.

in the meantime i dropped back from debian sid to sarge. i may start tracking etch on the server, but not just yet.

so anyway, the blog is back up. i apologize for the downtime.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

exam 1

the first exam in the history course has been returned. as i said, i did better than i'd feared but worse than i'd hoped: i got an 81. the next exam is monday. remember, this is a five week course, so exams come fast and furious. but at least this one is multiple guess. i'm much, much better at multiple guess. i'm so much better at multiple guess that i smoke most of them. :-)

in other news: confirming my faith in american justice, michael jackson got oj'd. i wish i had enough money to change my race. 'nuff said.

other thoughts: i've been considering trying my hand at a little adult photography. not the tasteless crap traditionally associated with porn. rather, something slightly more tasteful and appropriate for appreciation, not just masterbation. note that neither of those links are appropriate for the office or small children; you've been warned. consideration and pointers toward examples welcome. be aware, i'm not strictly interested in shooting stuff that's straight porn; rather, i'm more interested in the artistic qualities of photography, and my appreciation of the female form. (as my friend abby said, men have too much hair, they're smelly, and they're dumb.)

we haven't gone through referrals in a while, so here's a sampling.

lots (tons!) of people come from cecily's "and i wasted all that birth control." welcome aboard. we also get some from the infertile gourmet, julie's a little pregnant, and julia's uncommon misconception.

i get lots of search engine crawlers (msn, yahoo, and google), and lots of spambots. i also get searches like these:

- iq of 127
- articule about the court system (edjumakashun at werk!)
- introverted ovary? (complete with question mark)
- ivf in dallas, texas (let me point you to our doctor)
- iq of 122
- xa-speakers, a website i privately mirror
- dumbfuckistan (i live there)
- aclu commencement in minnesota
- montessori schooling negatives
- ovidril dose (consult your doctor, sweets)
- lap dance (any titty bar, an experience i highly recommend)
- iq of 111 (we get dumber every time!)
- "what do the colors of the rainbow mean? (homosexuality)" (how the fuck should i know?)
- preeclampsya (again, consult your doctor, this shit can kill)
- work the steps online (can you say "half-measures availed us nothing"?)
- community colleges in 76118 (a crappy one)
- rainbow search freedom
- costco diapers (their diaper selection is name-brand only; their formula fucking rocks)
- "magic time machine" san antonio (good for one shot only; the ugly is cool; the food sucks)
- "fuck my wife" (thanks, i have one)

also, it seems my links are being passed around in email some, because some of the referrals link back to gmail's login page. so if you're coming from gmail, or forwarding this to somebody, say something! i'll try to be better about checking for comments that make it past spam-karma but not far enough to actually show up, like cecily's and alexis's last pair, sorry.

i seem to be having trouble with apache, so if you don't get an answer, don't fret; i'm working on finding the solution. this is what you get when you use debian's sid, the "unstable" release. debian's code-names come from the movie toy story, so releases have been named such things as slink (slinkey dog), potato (mr. potato head), buzz (buzz lightyear), woody, etc., and of course sid is the child who destroyed his toys. so since debian's unstable periodically breaks important things and occasionally renders the machine totally unbootable, sid is an appropriate codename for it.

finally, much love to my wife, who doesn't use her blog but who chose to quit smoking june 10, for our anniversary (she'd previously committed to july 7, the twins' second birthday, and then june 18, her birthday). today is her first day back at work and i'm really grateful she's giving this a try. i've never smoked, but i'm told it's harder than giving up booze. if stopping smoking is harder than quitting drinking, i'm ever so grateful i never started smoking, because giving up drinking goddamned near killed my sorry white ass.

Friday, June 10, 2005

another week

gone by. this week, i took an exam in my english (not british!) history 1 class that was one of the most challenging essay exams i've ever taken. the question, asking the student to trace the evolution of the legal system of england and the centralization of the nation state from 55 b.c. to 1189 a.d., was a 55 minute exam with no notes. i did better than i'd feared, but not as well as i'd hoped. we'll get grades on monday.

the tuesday evening class, about the american criminal justice system, is being taught by a rabid republican. yeesh.

my meds continue. the doc has also offered me a sleeping pill, which i'm taking very conservatively. weight remains stable at 240.

sue has decided to quit smoking. i'm thrilled, and as i told her, i'll jump through my asshole to help her. she's being a grouch, though. can't imagine why.

the other day i bought $300 worth of meat from a door to door salesman. not something i'd ordinarily recommend, the reason i did it was because we'd bought from him before and i'd been very happy with his product. it's not cut quite as thick as i like, but that's part of the game, i guess. it filled up a freezer.

i subscribed to myself on bloglines to see how many people were subscribed. as i feared: the only people reading are the spambots; number of subscribers: 1 (me). boo hoo. oh well, when i'm a famous legal personality, you can use this to dig up the dirt.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Stupid jesus tricks

I write this waiting for my 8am history of england course to start, and having just listened to today's news report, i'm depressed.

the texas legislature meets for just 140 days every two years, and this year was under state supreme court order to come up with a constitutional way to fund texas public education.

if you haven't been following the story, right now texas school districts are funded by a combination of funds from property taxes, state supplements, and federal funding. but districts with disproportionately high tax bases were found to be spending disproportionately more money on their students (and had correspondingly better schools) in, if i recall correctly, the early 1990s. at the time, the state courts ordered the legislature to come up with something that would equalize the situation, and they came up with a funding system known as "robin hood." the literary reference is most obviously intentional.

under robin hood, rich districts send money to the state based on some student attendance formula. poor districts get that money to fund their schools. as a consequence, to provide the level of services their constituents and students have come to expect, some districts have raised their property tax rates, near or all the way to the tax cap. in texas, a state-wide property tax is unconstitutional, and in this round of litigation, the rich districts have argued that robin hood amounts to a state-wide property tax because everybody's at the same rate and local control has effectively been lost.

the rich districts won, and while an appeal is pending before the state supreme court, the current order is for the legislature to come up with something that's legal or stop funding the schools entirely beginning october 1, the start of the state's fiscal year.

last year, governor goodhair called a 30-day special session to try and straighten this mess out. (this is the same governor goodhair who gave us not one but two special sessions devoted to gerrymandering texas congressional district boundaries that did things like oust democrat martin frost in a bitter display of texas partisan politics. remember the people running to oklahoma and new mexico to keep a quorum from forming? yes, that governor goodhair.) the 30-day school session ended without any progress.

so now you know the background.

so everybody went to austin, fresh off the november elections, promising to reform the way texas public schools are funded.

they failed.

instead, we got right-wing fundamentalist bullshit for our tax money.

Yesterday governor goodhair made an appearance at one of those protestant evangelical schools (on a sunday, no less) in fort worth for a bill signing. After a speech liberally peppered with religious references, he signed two bills near and dear to every texas jesus-freak bent on imposing their brand of morality on the rest of us.

The first was a texas constitutional amendment that would outlaw same-sex marriage. While largely symbolic because it must be approved by voters (where it will sail through with, I predict, something approaching 80% approval), this blatant sop to the right simply proves again that texas remains, at least politically, a staunch part of the backward sheep-fucking old south. Remember that this is a place where it's illegal to sell even one, or posess more than six dildos (go to a sex toy shop, most of which have been pushed out of city limits, and you'll see stickers on them that say things like "for massage of upper extremities only"), and church-based blue laws are still in effect. For example, it is illegal to sell cars on one day of the week (so for all practical purposes, that means sunday), and many counties are dry, where it is illegal to sell alcohol. The theory is that prohibiting alcohol sales reduces crime and alcoholism. The reality is that people just cross county lines to get what they want.

Remember also that the texas constitution is the last reconstruction-era constitution left in the united states, and it has more amendments tacked onto it than any other state except (i think) alabama. You check it out of the library as a two-volume set, mostly because you don't want to have to buy a new one every two years after the legislature again tries to fix what's wrong with the constitution's micromanagement of state government.

This bullshit amendment, like all the others of its kind (with the exception of the just-narrowly-defeated one in california that would have defined marriage as between two people, rather than a man and a woman) is nothing more than a homophobic slap at honest people who live differently than us. It is absolutely no different than anti-misogyny laws, which forbid interracial marriage. While interracial marriage still sometimes raises eyebrows, it is legal everywhere. Who I fuck and how in the what's-left-of-privacy in my home has zero effect on the "moral fiber of the nation." what is that anyway?

in texas in 2002, the state recorded 84,394 divorces, affecting 67,548 children. spending tons of money on a prohibit-gay-marriage propaganda election won't change that.

the other bill that governor goodhair signed during his appearance at the evangelical jesus-freak church was the late-term abortion restriction and parental consent (not notification) bill that julia so bravely testified against.

In a state that already has so few late-term abortion providers you can count them on one hand with fingers left over anyway, it is now more difficult for women like julia and cecily to get the medical care they need, without doing anything that would actually prevent the use of abortion as a means of birth control.

mine is an unscientific study, but in my years as a friend of bill i've met, talked to, and shared with, many women who've had abortions.

i've never once come across one who'd had an abortion purely for convenience. it was always a heart-wrenching decision for each and every one of them, and many of these women still live with the emotional scars of their choices 20 and 30 and 40 years later. in discussions on moral inventories where it's come up in open meetings (and it does occasionally), this is a recurring theme for women who've had "elective" abortions, often leading to marking entries on their 9th step lists in recognition. you don't have to tell me that there's an effect.

there are some things i really hate about living in texas. living in a state filled with people who elect bigots and homophobes to our legislature is one of them.