Celebrities vs. Politics

Last Tuesday night I had been one of the 180,000+ viewers, via YouTube, of State Senator Wendy Davis’s epic filibuster against the Texas abortion regulation bill. Wednesday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court had issued its rulings overturning California Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, two days after they gutted major provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In other words, the past few days had seen some very significant political and judicial action.

Wednesday night after dance class I was chatting in the parking lot with several classmates and our teacher. They barely had any idea of any of the political news of the past few days — in fact one of them flatly stated that she never listened to the news any more because it was too depressing. What were they completely up to date on and animatedly discussing? Paula Dean’s woes and Kim & Kanye’s baby.

Paula Dean. Kim Kardashian. Seriously. In no way are the behaviors, and misbehaviors, of any celebrity likely to ever affect our lives.  True, abortion rights and gay rights may not ever directly affect my classmates, or those close to them. But there is a far greater likelihood that those legal actions will be personally significant  some day.

We need to devote our attention and energy to the important things that affect the world, not the train wrecks of people that just happen to be Famous (with a capital F).

 

 

Black Friday

It’s Tuesday night, and I am already sick sick SICK of the Black Friday commercials. WalMart, Target, BestBuy, Toys ‘R’ Us — I loathe all of you. Thank you for putting a huge damper on my enjoyment of the limited amount of TV I watch (DWTS finals!). </sarcasm>.

It’s too frickin’ early for Christmas stuff!

It’s bad enough that we’re already inundated with holiday commercials and that Christmas merchandise was already flooding the store shelves before Halloween even arrived. All of the holiday arts & crafts shopping events seem to happen in November, too.  WTF??? Seriously, the Christmas season should run from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. With the way it is today, I am sick of Christmas hype even before Thanksgiving. Of course, I don’t celebrate Christmas per se, but Yule instead. Even so…

It’s a problem not only from the perspective of personal peace of mind, but from the business point of view as well!

We have been trying to find a holiday-type fair or festival for Copper Dancer Designs to participate in so we can take advantage of the holiday shopping season. The trouble is, for us, November is still business-as-usual. We had the Chastain Park Arts Festival this past weekend to end up the outdoor-festival season, and the last Down the Street Bead Show is next weekend. For the former, people aren’t quite in a holiday shopping mode yet, and for the latter, people aren’t doing holiday shopping there unless it’s for beading friends or for themselves. Both of those manage to conflict with holiday-type events. It doesn’t help that the second weekend of November is always the CCSC conference, which takes me out of commission for the weekend.

We thought about putting on our own holiday open house type of event, but the big problem was coming up with an affordable spot in a decent location. None of the ideas worked out (though we have a couple to follow up on for next year, possibly). Plus an event like that is a major logistical headache which I wasn’t quite ready to take on this fall.

Then yesterday the possible perfect event fell in my lap, thanks to the connections I’ve made on Facebook over the last two years of doing art shows. Andrea Zoppo, the program director for the Oakhurst Community Garden, posted about the upcoming Handmade Gift Fair at Oakhurst Church. It’s not until December 10. It’s in an area of town where we do well sales-wise because apparently our artistic vision matches up with that demographic. It’s one day, indoors, and not spendy to do. When I asked her about it, she said that our work should do well there; she gave me the contact information for the coordinator and said to use her name.

So there is a packet on my desk containing an application, a CD of images, and a check ready to go in the mail in the morning. A one-day holiday show will make a nice break from grading final exams, after all. Fingers crossed!!!

 

Why I haven’t been blogging

There are multiple reasons, of course. It’s not like I’ve been totally incommunicado. I do post a lot on Facebook and I Tweet fairly often. That isn’t blogging of course; much of it is just curating & sharing other people’s links & photos & articles.

I have been busy doing things, just not blogging. Andrea & I have been trying to grow Copper Dancer Designs, with a reasonable amount of success. We are In Good with one of the Atlanta-area art festival promoters, which sets us up for a nice show schedule. That means that, given the lousy economy, we are doing well locally. The next step is to beef up that online presence…in my spare (YAH! RIGHT!) time. We are both realists and know that this will never actually support us, but it should be good for a nice little supplemental income in the long run.

I’m still dancing. Bellydancing. Who would have thought it? In fact, bellydancing spun off its own semi-collaborative blog last spring, Thursday Nights at Windy Hill. I say semi-collaborative because I asked all the Thursday Night Ladies if they wanted access to write. So far Mary has put up one post but that’s it. Since it needs some love, I may do some of this month’s actual NaBloPoMo posts over there, with just a pointer from here. I have several topics for there that I just haven’t gotten to. I should really write out some of my current dancing quandary,  because that just might give me (and maybe others) some clarity.

I could write about work, I suppose, but why? It would just be kvetching, and no one wants to read my kvetching. Hell, *I* don’t want to read my kvetching — it’s just so much of the same sh*t, different semester. BLEAH!!

So what else? I battled depression all winter & spring, and Dad finally lost his battle with pulmonary fibrosis last month. Neither of those makes for good blogging huh.

It’s not all bad, though. I fell in love with Tybee Island over Memorial Day. I’m cleaning up my diet little by little. I’m teaching myself to knit. Mary & I did very well dancing at the Red Light Cafe show, bringing honor to the Older, Heavier Dancers (neener, neener).  The home life is quietly wonderful.

Maybe there is stuff to write about. Maybe writing about it will be another tool in the battle against the bad stuff.

ITP Parking Blues

Dear City of Atlanta,

As a destination for someone in a car, you suck. You outsourced your on-street parking control to some outfit called ParkAtlanta, and took the individual parking meters in Midtown away. Evidently you replaced them with these oh-so-environmentally-correct "Pay Stations," one for every 10 or so parking spots:

Parking Station

Notice the color of the parking station. It's BLACK. Friggin' BLACK. No light on it. Easy to spot when you park nearby, right?  In the dark? In an unfamiliar area? NOT!!!!

NOW I remember hearing the horror stories of the overzealous enforcement and last spring's moratorium, but last week they were the furthest thing from my mind.

When I parked on the side street (Peachtree Place) at the Midtown Publix Friday evening to grab something for dinner, I looked on the sidewalk beside the parking spot for a meter. I saw nothing. Nada. Zilch. I ran in, took about fifteen minutes to finally decide on a lovely salad, rice pudding, & Caffeine Free Diet Coke, and hopped back into my car for the short trek over to the parking garage at Technology Square. As I turned the corner onto West Peachtree, I saw something flapping under my windshield wiper. At the next stop light, I hopped out, grabbed it off the car, hopped back in, looked at it, and began turning the air inside my car bluer than the frozen air outside. It wasn't until late the next afternoon that this OTP gal finally figured out how the parking schtick works there in Midtown. 

Yeah, you got me, you bastards. There was no way I was going to see a black, unlit parking pay station at 9:30 at night in a strange area of town, unless it was either right beside my space or (debatably) right beside the front door of Publix. You must have been waiting to swoop right down on me during the 15 minutes I was inside. I'll pay the ticket, though $25 would buy me a whole lot of coffee. However, this is just one more reason I only come ITP south of Buckhead to hit IKEA (with their own FREE parking deck), and straight back home.

Why I’m Not Feeling the Love at Work

Dear Female Colleague,

I heard through the grapevine today that you don't think I'm "pulling my fair share of the load." Interesting. I'd like to ask you a few questions, and make a few comments, about that if I may.

  1. Just what is a "fair share of the load"? Who established that metric, how is it measured, how are different contributions weighted? As a matter of fact, who gave you the right to judge whether or not my contributions are sufficient?
  2. Are you certain you know about everything that I do? Have you taken into account that I do more student advising than most other faculty? Do you know about my service to a professional organization outside of the college structure? Are you aware of my talks to the local CPA society chapters on technological issues, both on campus and off? Have you kept track of all the information on technology and CS education that I gather and make available to colleagues and students alike? Oh, and don't forget those student Capstone Projects for which I have been serving as a faculty mentor — I've been doing those without any extra compensation for a number of years. In fact, I'm continuing to mentor one of those projects from last spring, which has grown into a major software product development effort, without any kind of official status currently. Just because I'm not one of those braggadocios who spend their time telling the world how wonderful they are doesn't mean I'm slacking. 
  3. What makes you think my job is really any of your business anyway? I am not sure who you are since the grapevine wouldn't tell me, but unless you are my department head or my dean, you need to worry about yourself and yourself alone. Frankly, my responsiblities and tasks are none of your business. Mind your own business and BUTT OUT.
  4. Are you jealous because I actually manage to have A Life outside my job? Oh, please. That's truly sad. Would you like to know how I do it? It's very simple. I manage my time carefully, and I don't bother wasting a lot of time kvetching about how my job is so hard/how "it's not FAAAAAIIIRRRRR"/how no one Understands What I Do/etc. I also stay as well-organized as I can manage. I keep a balance in my life. I won't compromise my physical or mental health for my job. I refuse to waste my time with bullshit; I spend it more productively and usefully. THAT, my dear, lets me have the essential time for art and dance and volunteer work. You could do the same if you chose.
  5. Most important, if you have a problem with me, why aren't you addressing it with me up front, face to face? Passive-aggressive tactics like whinging about it to others behind my back are both classless and immature. You're not in junior high any more — you're an adult and you need to handle issues in an adult manner. Grow the fuck up.

Disgustedly,

Me

Food

I'm trying to keep my body from going from insulin resistance into full-blown Type 2 diabetes by watching my diet carefully and trying to exercise. My doctor recommended a low-carbohydrate diet, and the more I watch myself and try to maintain it, the more I see the connection between what I eat and how I feel. If I can stay on the low end of carb consumption, I'm much less prone to get headaches and I have more energy. If I overdo the carbs one day, I can pretty well guarantee I'll feel blah and bleah for the next day or two. I just have to be sure I am eating enough, frequently enough. Sometimes it's hard to find the proper balance.

It's VERY hard to be out and about and avoid sweets and refined starches, which seem to be my big bugabears. They are what I crave when I get cravings, even though they are a kind of poison to my body. Silly body — sometimes it gets confused and wants stuff even though it knows the stuff is VERY bad for it! So I try to tell it to decide what it really, really wants the most and how badly it wants it, and then I will maybe get a SMALL serving of it. I can tolerate small amounts of sugars and starches as long as I don't get carried away.

I'm still trying to work this whole eating thing out to see what is going to be do-able long-term. I wish there was a test that would tell you just what was right for you, without having to do all this empirical experimentation. When the experiments work things are fine; when they don't I pay, and payback sucks. 

I WILL Be Cheerful, Damnit!

Yes, today's weather was warmer. In fact, it was a GORGEOUS late fall day. But I'm far from perfect, and having spent the weekend feeling kind of like no one loved my work makes it hard to keep up that good attitude. This wasn't the worst show we've done, sales-wise, but it was close. I did get a couple of good ideas for new items from a couple of customers, so that helped my creativity. Our next-door booth neighbor loved one of my pairs of earrings, so I traded to her for a couple of prints of her paintings, which will go hang in my office to brighten it up. I saw an old friend from the Etowah Guild days, a fellow artist from the Avondale show, and my alternate-Friday-night-meds doppelganger there scoping out the show for a Good Mews booth next year. I had half of a fabulous cupcake, and a few REAL onion rings, the good kind. So there was good in it all.

Every show deserves a minimum of two chances unless it's a badly-run complete disaster. This was spectacularly run. So we'll give it another shot and see what happens. Sure, it may be that our work isn't right for THIS market, and if that's the case we'll move on. But the show itself is very well run, and just on that basis is worth another try.

Now to survive the week ahead, the CCSC conference & programming contest next weekend, and onward to the bead show in two weeks — THEN I can take a deep breath and go looking for my creativity once again.

Y'know, this business of being an artist is pretty damn tough, but then again, so am I!

Election Day Blues

Of course I went and voted in the general election today. I try to always vote, even in the special referendums but definitely in the primary and general elections and runoffs. It's rather painful to do so at times, though. I am so disgusted with the self-serving, double-talking scumbags that run for most political offices today that I always feel like I'm choosing the least of the evils. Bear in mind, the least of the evils is still an evil.

On the other hand, what sane and reasonable person wants to run for political office today? Between the intense media scrutiny that blows every insignificant peccadillo out of proportion to the campaign ads of your opponent(s) making you out to be Satan incarnate by distorting out-of-context statements, I can't blame anyone for avoiding that kind of torture.

The one thing I was able to do today in protest was vote for some of the Libertarian candidates. I see so little difference between the major political parties that I see no clear reason to vote for one or the other. Specific candidates, sure, but if there's no clear choice I'd rather remind the Republicans AND the Democrats that neither of them actually represents my personal beliefs because their party lines are too extreme, one to the far left and one to the far right. Not that the Libertarians necessarily do either, but I'd like to see the two-party stranglehold on our system broken. I'd like to see some sort of rational, centrist political organization, controlled by neither the religious nut-jobs/corporate machines nor the socialists/entitlement wanna-be crowd. 

Feh, and feh again. I'm thankful for the opportunity and privilege of voting, but I know I'm going to wake up tomorrow and it's going to still be the same old same old.

A Followup Letter

Following up with My Latest Special Snowflake:

Dear Student,

Rest assured, the grade you saw this week on your semester grade report was the grade you EARNED in my class. Let me repeat that. I did not GIVE you that grade, you EARNED it. As far as discussing that grade with you, I do not discuss grades via email, via phone, or in any other way than in person. I will not be back in my office until the beginning of next semester’s registration, therefore I won’t be having any discussion with you until then. Not that there is really anything to discuss, mind you — the calculations don’t lie.

Furthermore, let me remind you: I am on vacation,a vacation which I have earned, in no small part thanks to you. If you continue to insist that I interrupt my vacation to deal with your dissatisfaction, I have two simple words for you. HELL. NO.

Sincerely,

Professor _________