Posted by: nikiyustis | September 14, 2007

Zuni

She’s gone and I miss her, my friend from the west.  Her death leaves me lonely here, but I will take the lessons she taught me and bear them in mind for the rest of my days.

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Posted by: nikiyustis | September 7, 2007

Time flies like an arrow

Have you ever wondered what a time fly would look like?  And do they really like an arrow?  I keep telling myself I’ll write every day, but they’re slipping by so fast that Friday has taken me by surprise, almost upsetting me considering what I haven’t gotten done, what I’ve forgotten, not to mention what all I’ll have to do over the weekend to catch up.  Who will clean the house?  What’s clear is that there’s just no rest.  Invitations are out though.

Posted by: nikiyustis | September 5, 2007

Take over the conservative party

So many people have written on the phenomenon of words loosing their meaning, or being altered unnaturally for political greed or power. What does ‘conserve’ mean and what has it meant? Words tend to morph over time as socio-historical context influences our interpretation of the the meaning. ‘Meat’ to me meant hot dogs; for my grandmother it most assuredly meant gutting something recently killed, cooking it, and eating it. Never cooked it as a kid, never saw it freshly killed or even in a remotely animal-like state. Now I don’t like eating it unless the animal was allowed a a humane and sustainable farm life.

My previous post is part of a recent inspiration I’ve had to hold up a sign downtown at rush hour with pictures and arrows pointing from disposable drink cups to reusable containers and saying, “How hard is it, really? We’ve got to be conservative, and I don’t mean like Bush.” Would it matter? I have to think it would. I recently bought another water bottle and am determined to use it only. If I don’t have it, it’s the water fountain or sink for me. Coffee cups–same thing. Takes two seconds to rinse, and most cafes will even rinse it for you if you’re the type to buy it out a lot.

I have to stuff envelopes now.

Posted by: nikiyustis | September 5, 2007

Perma-container

If everyone could just buy a travel cup and water bottle, think of all the paper, plastic, and metal we could avoid using. Recycling is great, but so many plastic water bottles in production is just obscene considering how easy it is to go buy a 5 gallon jug for water, use the grocery store’s reverse-osmosis system (which is SO much cheaper, draws from you local water supply instead of taking it from somewhere else, and is just as safe as the bottled water you’re drinking), and fill up your small water bottle to take with you for the day.

Same story with your travel mug and coffee/soda addiction!

Posted by: nikiyustis | September 1, 2007

Liberals always say conservatives are stupid, and they are right

Friday at work I was cruising the smart conservative blogs. Like many, many things, smarts are relative. I’m always impressed by the prolific conservatives and notice that quite a few are also christian. Early biblical analysis and interpretation does, indeed, improve literacy (if not independent thinking).

To the point: a blog I unfortunately do not recall had a post comparing, or anyway claiming to compare, conservatives and liberals. Of course, nothing respectful was said about liberals, and one of the things that has washed ashore, stinking, in my brain was the comment about how conservatives believe the planet is meant to provide resources for people to use, while liberals believe we should protect the planet (with some derogatory comment on those who worship earth god(s/dess/es)) and that ultimately humans are a detriment.

Here is the stupidity: Liberals who aren’t committing suicide (many, to the collective conservative dismay) hardly propose to stop using natural resources, but just what kind of moron wouldn’t want to CONSERVE the resources we have with some amount of prudence for the health and well being of the children who inherit what we leave behind? Why cast crap at liberals for wanting to try to make things less toxic, less wasteful, less burdensome, less oppressive, more efficient, more compassionate?

Snail

I remember a song that went something like “I hope the Russians love their children too” from when I was 8 years old and learned about nuclear power and all the bombs pointing out of the ground of our country into the sky, and down on someone else’s bed. And I was quite sure that there were Russian families much like my own who disagreed with the government and powers that were. But I’m afraid I can’t say that about conservatives, who seem not to care if their grandkids are born with mercury pumping through their veins (if they even make it out alive). They mock the very word they choose to describe themselves.

Less government involvement is a principle conservatives shove up front, but when government and big business go hand in hand, just what is that called? Little-big government? When the health and well being of a community is the responsibility of the community, we love our neighbors, and we are generous. Is this not a christian principle? There needs to be some organization to help those in need.

And why do I have to wear my seatbelt if the dude on the Harley next to me doesn’t even have to wear a helmet? Not to mention the ground beef (stop eating so much of it!) he’ll turn into should he take a hit. Why can’t I accept my risk as I’d like? It’s a matter of personal freedom, and if I don’t wear my seatbelt, I’m not hurting anyone but perhaps myself, and that should be my choice. That’s government getting in my way–but insurance companies love it, because it lessens the chance they’ll have to pay out. Where there is big business, there is big government.

You might read the previous paragraph thinking–where could someone get off bitching about seat belts while telling me to eat less ground beef (not of the asphault-meets-biker variety)? Eating too much meat, especially red meat, especially corn-fed, wheezing-sickly-in-it’s-own-shit red meat, is bad for you. And, yes, eating something bad for you is your prerogative, but you are not just harming yourself. Unless you’re eating some lovingly-raised, grass-fed, well pastured cow, it is also bad for the environment. Don’t be stupid, it’s not just the gaseous odor from a thousand cows’ digestive tracks stoved up on corn, but think of the huge monoculture of sprayed GMO corn used to feed these pathetic creatures. Doesn’t it seem like a different tactic that wasn’t so nasty would be a good plan for your diet? How about the diets of your grandchildren? What will be left? Planning ahead is not for the weak-minded but needs done nonetheless.

Seriously, I feel bothered by tedium at this point; isn’t this stuff obvious? And this is just one tiny snapshot of why liberals always say conservatives are idiots.

Posted by: nikiyustis | August 31, 2007

Grammar

I haven’t decided if this blog will be the one I use in grammar class or not. In the past, I’ve used my blog to post assignments and give examples. Now I’m teaching our highest level course in grammar and the students don’t need as much guidance as they have it the past. And I just haven’t decided exactly what I want them to do with their blogs. So many ideas, so much to read, so precious little time. Speaking of time, I’m listening to a Radio Lab (NY public radio) podcast on the subject of time even as I type. Time, time, time…

Posted by: nikiyustis | August 29, 2007

Back on the Mac

This post is dedicated to my mother, who, 33 years ago this moment, was in labor with me in sunny southern California.

I will tell three stories: Why my chain link fence is okay; How comfortable i feel working for a big institution; and Getting a landline sucks these days

Why my chain link fence is okay

Three large dogs live in our house. Helix is a two-year-old Chocolate Lab and Kiefer is a four-year-old German Shepherd. They have both been my dogs since they were about four months old. The were leftovers whose littermates had long since landed in new homes. Zuni is a shepherd mix, and has lived in many different situations. She was a rescue dog in my life back in 2002 when I was in college at U. Arizona (never to be confused with Arizona State, of course). She had been found unclaimed on a reservation and was treated for various health problems, including something called valley fever. She was independent, friendly with people (especially those with food), and indifferent with other dogs. The relationship I was in didn’t last, and my ex took Zuni and I took Kiefer, who was at the time barely a year old. Zuni didn’t have it bad with the ex, and anyway she’s mostly interested in food, a good run, and following her nose, so if you happily participate in these pursuits with her, she regards you highly. Well, things were rocky with him, so he went to live with father in Wyoming, where Zuni ended up staying. I called the father to say my piece: if you can’t keep the dog well, bring her to me.

Last month, he brought her to me. She is now somewhere in the 8-10 year range, and seems diabetic: blind, very thin, processing more water than the local plant. She likes running around with the other dogs, and seems generally okay; it takes a closer eye and a bit of time for the problem to become clear.

Getting a fence became imperative since I was either being run ragged taking them out separately or turned into a pretzel trying to keep a hold of all three–not to mention the few times one or two got away and ran down some neighbors and their dogs, times which live in neighborhood infamy.

We called everybody in the book and they ploddingly got about getting us estimates, which averaged around $1000 bucks for two sides of fence (south and west already fenced). Ughkhgh. Then they couldn’t be out to put it up for 3-5 weeks. So we called the guys my friend told me were the cheapest. The gave us the low estimate, it’s true, and before I could even fax them the contract, there were guys in my yard digging holes. They said they were gonna let the posts set up, and would be back later in the week to finish the fence. Fine, but I reminded myself to call and verify they would put the second gate on the west side. ‘Later in the week’ turned out to mean tomorrow for those guys, so there’s no gate on the west side. Oughta be cheaper that way.

Zuni, in her old age, decided to go for her favorite move and climbed the chain link fence this morning, worrying my husband and the other two dogs, but not going farther than the front yard. I knew of her escape tricks, but didn’t expect it out of her advanced age and ailing health.

My chain link fence is galvanized metal, and some may think it looks bad; in fact, a lot of people objected to my fence plans, claiming it would be ugly, it would detract from the house, and urging me to keep it far from the sidewalk. However, after playing frisbee and ball tonight for a while with all three running around gleefully, I love my fence. Chain link allows you to see around the neighborhood, enjoying the other flora and fauna, and I prefer to give my dogs a nice area to run (under supervision, apparently). And why would I coat it with vinyl so it ‘looks better’ only to be supporting the use of one of mankind’s vilest creations? Privacy fencing all the way around the back yard, you ask? Totally freakish in Iowa. Once I plant a ton of morning glories or some such clinging greens, my fence will be dashing.

How comfortable I feel working for a big institution

Last spring I applied for no less than a half dozen teaching positions on the west coast. I also applied for a job at the U of Iowa and one at MIT. MIT wanted an interview, but I decided against it. The polite let downs came trickling out of the west as I was picked for the position at Iowa, where I’ve been part time for the last year and a half. Now I have benefits, now I have my own office, now I receive packets of information from retirement companies detailing ‘how to live on a middle class income’: I don’t make 40k, and I’m not to sure when I will.

But, I have academia at my finger tips: use of databases and libraries, state of the art audio equipment, connections to well known professors in various fields. Today my wedding invitations came, and right before my name on the invoice came The University of Iowa. It was autofilled by my computer when I placed the order (though it had been after my name in the form).

I have authority in my purchases. I might tell any number of students and fellow faculty/staff members about my experience. We university employees may or may not make much, but the students, ah the students.

On a side note, I will be acknowledging http://www.treecycle.com on all of my invitations.

Getting a landline sucks these days

My neighborhood is a black hole for my cell phone. On this event horizon, calls slow down, and actually stop. The only remedy was to call the phone company to plug us in. I have DSL, which, we were told, will not interfere with calls. Funnily, there was nary a mention of the requisite line filter–12.99 wall line/14.99 wall mount–until after the service had been provided.

Upon requesting the landline, I realized that my cell phone has been my primary communication device for the past five years or more, so the land phone I had was older still. Of course, it didn’t work. Mother-in-law cheerfully provided a pair of used cordless (sigh) phones that worked, but seemed staticky (as yet unidentified as interference from DSL). I figured Radio Shack has to have a nice wall mount, corded phone–old school, like the one in my kitchen when I was in junior high–for $10 or so. Certainly they did, but then I needed the 25ft industrial cord (for my kitchen roaming and cord twisting habits): another $10. Great.

I get home, plug it in, and… more static. Furious, I call the phone company, who, mind you, I had already called twice over the last couple days asking them to verify that my line had been, er, serviced since my request (the promised servicing was to have been last Thursday). The company drones said yes, my service request had been fulfilled and that my line seemed fine, as far as they could tell, which was apparently not very far. Well, during this last call to Qwest, after the $20 at radio shack (and after the $13 new battery pack for my old cordless phone–and the return of said battery pack) I tell them I’m sickened by the amount of money I’m paying them for this “service.” They tell me I simply need some filters for the lines, and everything will be fine. I immediately assume they provide the filters free of charge since it is certainly not MY problem that the DSL is interfering with my phone line (interference that I was told didn’t exist). Oh, no, no, no! I need to BUY the filters myself, of course. So, I buy the wall mount filter, hoping to still get my dream kitchen phone (old school, but sadly, they don’t make them that heavy anymore). Troy points out the line filter and we grab that, too, so we can use the cordless upstairs.

Unpack the wall mount filter… and it doesn’t fit with the wiring coming out of the wall, and I’m thorough with attempts to adapt it. In the end, I will be returning to Radio Shack, and I will be using a cordless phone (sigh) which breaks my internet connections when I use them simultaneously (and I thought *that* wasn’t supposed to happen either). I just can’t even wait to go through the dumbass speech-rec menu *again* to be put on hold because my situation requires special attention, and by special, they mean human.

Posted by: nikiyustis | August 29, 2007

Presentation Zen

Presentation Zen

Here’s another great one! I’ll get this blog organized one day. Actually, today is my birthday, and since I have ZERO plans tonight, maybe I should celebrate by getting this blog in order for class, which is starting Thursday afternoon… Hmm, that seems to be tomorrow.

Posted by: nikiyustis | August 24, 2007

Disgusted

Sure, there are oodles of goodies here on WordPress. But I’m disgusted to find that upon loading a new theme, my header picture, which was uploaded from my home computer is GONE. Gone, gone, gone, never to return (until I get back home). What are these people trying to do to me? I don’t get stressed out by important stuff, only by trifling matters that shouldn’t happen. And, it didn’t happen right away. No! It was insidious and tricksy. After I had been viewing my new theme, happy with the way things were going (but dismayed to find that organizing sidebars was not as easy as I would like), I navigated elsewhere and came back to find the stupid ugly header.  I had to go pick an innocuous theme to rid myself of the horrible picture that had taken over my once-beautiful blog. And how come I can’t change the ugly blue color of the tool bar?! Word Press, I hate you!

Posted by: nikiyustis | August 24, 2007

Type-K

Type-K

For me to read and hopefully become inspired to knit more, better, faster.  I want a one-click option for adding blogs to my blogroll…   I wonder where that is.  I wonder where so many things are these days, it’s amazing I get anything else done what with all the looking for things I’ve been doing.  I found my phone last night, and I mean the landline phone, not my cell phone.  I actually had some recollection of which cube of junk it helped comprise out in the rubbermaids in the garage.  No batteries though.

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