Sep 23

Thoughts of a Shoe Slut

I hate spending a lot of money on clothes. I have never been a clothes horse. Possibly the most expensive garment I ever bought was my dress for my second wedding — a gorgeous romantically lacy thing from April Cornell, for a whopping $225 plus tax. HOWEVER. Shoes are the one thing I will spend money on. Not just any shoes, though. My shoes must be, first of all, COMFORTABLE. I cannot stand to have my feet hurting, so you will never see a pair of half-a-block Manolos or Jimmy Choos anywhere my feet. Then, they need to be cute. Sometimes that means so-clunky-ugly-they're-cute shoes. Sure, I could find and wear little-old-lady comfortable shoes, but why should I when I CAN find feel-good-look-good shoes? My favorites, the old reliables: Dansko stapled clogs — I can wear 'em all day. Birkenstock sandals and clogs My latest find: Simple "Eez-Off" perforated clogs, in BLUE (which they call "Cadet Gray" for some silly reason) — oooh, cushy goodness! and GREEN ("Laurel Green") — soooo comfy! I am currently lusting after some of the new Dansko shoes from the Beacon Hill and Hamption collections…. I many not have as many pairs of shoes as some self-professed shoe sluts (I probably have around 15 pairs, covering the whole year, that I wear on a regular basis), but let's just say that I'm establishing a whole new way to approach the subject. Then there are jeans, but that's another topic…

Sep 19

Minor Rant

Dear Student,

I know that you have a lot going on, and that sometimes other parts of your life keep you from attending class on a given day. However, it is imperative that, when this situation happens, you understand that you are still responsible for learning the material that we cover in class that day and for being prepared to move on to the next subject or area at the next class meeting. You should not expect me to take time out of class to explain old material just for you, just because you weren’t there the first time we covered it.

If you can’t understand the material you missed from the textbook chapter or from other students’ notes, you need to take the action item to come by to discuss this with me outside of class, during office hours, preferably BEFORE the next class.

Yes, as a student, you are important to me. You are special, just like the other twenty-odd students in your class section, just like the other hundred-plus students I have this semester, just like the thousands of students who have previously taken my classes. So I give you the same special treatment I give everyone else — high expectations for your effort and performance, and individual attention outside of class if you are willing to ask for it.

Sep 18

What in the HELL are they thinking?

I just finished reading through a group of discussions on Lampwork Etc. that have gone way beyond the pale. Tensions have been building, in a very ugly way, there and on several other lampworking fora recently; I guess the nuclear explosion was inevitable. The anger, spite, jealousy, self-righteousness, pain, smugness, and general all-around nastiness so publicly stated has been a sad thing to see…yet it’s hard not to watch, just like a “train wreck” as several people have called it.

It may be time for me to spend way more time in the studio and on my work, and way less time online. I don’t need those kinds of attitude around me.

As someone who has been on antidepressants for almost three years, and probably should have been on them long before that, I do think the remarks about medications and mental illness were just as cruel as anything I’ve ever heard. Some people just don’t realize that medication allows one to function at something approaching a normal ability, nothing more.

Sep 17

Good Mews and the Hurricane

When I went to do Clean & Feed at Good Mews yesterday morning, I met three new residents in Intake. Nola (a gorgeous Russian Blue mix), Lucy, and Lizzie (a pair of real cuddlebugs) were rescued, along with three kittens in Isolation that I didn’t meet, from Slidell by one of our volunteers. Shannon says we have another ten or so cats coming in just a couple of days from Best Friends/No Homeless Pets — they have evidently transported HUNDREDS of cats and dogs from the devastated area to Atlanta for fostering and eventual new Forever Homes.

Even though thousands of companion animals no doubt died in this tragedy, at least some of them have been rescued and helped. We “do what we can, where we are, with what we have.”

Sep 09

Waffle House Gets It Right

I heard this on the radio as I was driving over to meet my Mom at Beads By Design.

According to Neal Boortz, Hurricane Katrina forced the temporary closure of 120 Waffle House restaurants along the Gulf Coast. Eight of those restaurants were completely destroyed (including the one on Beach Blvd. in Biloxi where DH and his dad eat breakfast on their casino trips). As of yesterday (Thursday 9/8) 110 of the remaining 112 restaurants had reopened, in some cases using generators. The remaining two restaurants will reopen by tomorrow.

Also, from Waffle House’s own web site:

Waffle House has distributed more than 110,000 pounds of ice and 18,000 gallons of water to the Mississippi coast area. Waffle House was the first restaurant open in Gulfport and Biloxi to serve up hot meals to the survivors and rescue workers. (emphasis mine)

Waffle House, YOU ROCK!!! And your hash browns (scattered, covered, and smothered), Lib’s Patty Melt, and pecan waffle aren’t half bad either. Yum.

Sep 09

“Find a Way!”

Yesterday at dinner DH asked me if I would do like some of the Gulf Coast residents and refuse to evacuate my home if it meant leaving my cats behind. No, I would not refuse to evacuate, but I would not leave Sarah, Donovan, and Shadow either. It wouldn’t be necessary because I would have already prepared to take them with me, and I would ensure I had the needed resources to do so.

As the mantra that is DH’s screensaver says, “Find a way!”

Sep 08

Education???

I continue to wonder about today’s sorry state of education in this country. Yesterday and today I talked about text representation in Intro to CS. One of the topics is the Unicode character set, which contains binary definitions for every known written language alphabet in the world. That includes the Cherokee language, which was invented by Sequoyah, a Cherokee himself, just about 60 miles up the road at New Echota.

I know I learned about this in Georgia history when I was in school. But when I asked, out of five classes, over 100 students, only FIVE knew that the Cherokees had a written language. Only two knew who created it. This, despite several schools in metro Atlanta named for Sequoyah!

It’s episodes like this that convince me that one of the biggest mistakes made in training teachers is in training them in how to teach (i.e. “education”) instead of what to teach (i.e. the actual subject matter). I can see majoring in education to teach in the primary and elementary grades, where you have to be a generalist, but when you start educating middle and high school teachers, damn it, they need to know the subject matter first and foremost.

When Annie came by for a visit a couple of weeks ago, she commented that in her view as an elementary ed major doing her student teaching, things are okay in the K-5 setting, but they go to hell in a handbasket after that. She also has the perspective of being born and living in South Africa for the first part of her life.

There was also the paraphrased comment by Alan Greenspan in last week’s paper that our fourth graders compare just fine in math and science with students of other countries, but by middle and high school they have fallen WAY behind.

Disgusting. No wonder I sent Woodward Academy so much money for twelve years, to try to get my own child SOME kind of education.

Sep 05

From the Front Lines of Katrina

Herbie sent out this link last night to the AB lists. READ IT.

The Interdictor — a blog from the front lines of the aftermath of Katrina. Directnic.com is a web service provider in the CBD of New Orleans on Poydras Street (not far from the Superdome). Michael and a small group of his coworkers have been in the datacenter since Saturday 8/27, keeping their business running as well as providing a near-constant stream of commentary about the situation. As he stated:

This journal has become the Survival of New Orleans blog. In less perilous times it was simply a blog for me to talk smack and chat with friends. Now this journal exists to share firsthand experience of the disaster and its aftermath with anyone interested.

Michael, we thank you for taking the time from a daunting task to give the world an uncensored citizen’s-eye view of a seminal event. God/dess bless you, and dude, don’t let Crystal get away!

Incidentally, some publisher needs to be on top of this and give Michael a big fat contract to publish this account, with minimal if any editing. Anyone out there listening???

Sep 03

eBay and Katrina — a Rant

Lampworker Kim Neely, who lives a mere 70 miles north of New Orleans, posted an eBay auction on Thursday, with 100% of the proceeds to benefit the Red Cross’s Hurricane Katrina effort. Some other eBay seller ratted her out and eBay pulled her auction (they only pull listings for violations if someone brings it to their attention). She reworded it and relisted it and it’s been pulled AGAIN.

That official charity auction method (missionfish.org) isn’t exactly well-publicized. I had to dig to find out about it. Apparently it isn’t exactly easy to use, either. Plus, if it were me, I’d be pissed about having to use a “clearinghouse” that

  1. determines what non-profits are “acceptable” recipients for my donations (that’s why I refuse to participate in the Official State Employee United Way Campaign each year)
  2. skims a cut right off the top (which is not well-publicized either), even if eBay itself does donate my listing fees also if it’s a 100% charity auction.

If I want a certain percentage of proceeds to go to MY choice of non-profit, I want the WHOLE percentage to go there! I am very discriminating about where my personal contributions go.

To Kim for trying — YOU GO GIRL!!! I’ll be buying your work when I have a chance. You’re the kind of folks I support however and whenever I can.

To the loser who ratted Kim out: may you never need the charity of your fellow human beings — with your kind of karma you aren’t likely to receive it. If your identity is ever made public, you will never see a penny of my hard-earned money as a seller, and you will never be allowed to bid on any auction of mine. What a small-minded, petty, bureaucratic scumbag you are.

Sep 02

Musing on Katrina’s Aftermath

I don’t care for playing “Monday Morning Quarterback,” nor do I care for people who do so. However, after four days of monitoring the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I, like many people, am going to be asking some very tough questions of the world around me.

  1. Why is the relief effort so disorganized? The computer models have apparently been there and predicting this accurately for several years — where was the esssential preplanning?.
  2. Why does the descent into anarchy, crime, violence, looting in what is left of New Orleans surprise ANYONE? In many areas of the world disaster brings out the best in people because they are accustomed to living in a culture of true community. Not in this country, not anymore. Not with the “me first, screw everyone else” entitlement mentality so apparent in U.S. society.
  3. Why did it take so long to allow the expert relief effort teams offered by Canada, for heaven’s sake, across the border into this country? FOUR DAYS????? Give me a break!
  4. Is what is happening in New Orleans a result of that city’s unique society and culture, or is it a taste of what would happen with a similar disaster in any city in this country? Goddess forbid.

I could go on, but the whole thing is making me sick.