Mini Me Mod
Location Denver, CO
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Sprocket's Training Milestones
Came home (Aug 2, 2014)
Asked to go outside (Aug 5, 2014)
Slept 4 hours straight (night) (Aug 5-6, 2014)
7/3/13 - 8
7/4/13 - 30
7/5/13 - 36
7/10/13 - 54
7/11/13 - 57
7/18/13 - 67
2/17/14 - 83
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- Dream of the Red Chamber
- Time to Kill
- Scent of the Missing
Those Shootings and stuff
Tuesday. 1.11.11 7:21 pm
So, I was reading this really bad article about the shootings in Arizona. You know the kind: "We totally saw this coming because this guy was a nut job," except that the only things they have to support these claims are that "he was a little weird sometimes"?
I think people write these articles because they want to make themselves feel better. They want to think "Oh, that could never be me, because I'm not crazy," not realizing that all of them are a little crazy. Is there an answer for why every hobby conspiracy theorist or backyard political activist is not hunting down congressmen? Well, no, of course not. I personally like to chalk it up to society telling us what it expects and, while it isn't foolproof, those expectations help the majority of us dismiss weird thoughts and weird thoughts and understand on some level that they will never be acted upon.
Even still, it did make me reconsider my stance on guns. It goes like this. It is very silly for someone to buy something that they have no intention of using. For instance, I think most of us would regret buying a banana holder, especially if we do not even eat bananas. If I bought a gun, I would expect to use it to defend myself. Right now, do I have anything to defend myself against? Not really, at least not one that I am anticipating. However, if I did have a gun and if it were 'me or the other guy', would I shoot the other guy? Even though I love being alive and I love everything that life gives me, I would have to say, I hope I wouldn't shoot him. If it were him or me, I wouldn't want to be the one living with the guilt of having killed another human being, no matter how insignificant that life might seem.
So, while I am not exactly for taking away other people's guns, I think I have decided, once and for all, that I will never own one.
At What Cost?
Friday. 1.7.11 7:09 pm
In America, higher education is skyrocketing. However, until recently, the phenomena seemed to me, to be rather self-contained. It was only when I was considering the situation of the poor, the fact that, while they may be paid enough to stay in a home and get food, that they are not really be paid enough to account for unexpected medical costs, that I saw any kind of connection. There are a lot of theories about why medical services are so expensive: pharmaceutical research costs, legal costs, even the cost of motivating people to join the profession.
One common thread, however, between most medical problems is that all of them start with high levels of education. The pharmaceutical industries is made possible by researchers. These researchers all have to have high degrees in medicine and chemistry. That costs money. Getting into law school, getting your masters in law, that all costs money. Medical school is by far the most notorious for its costs, four years requiring all of your attention and that too, costs a lot of money.
Every student who goes into medical school or into law school has to exit school and then charge a suitable amount to get a return on their investment. This is not out of any kind of selfish motive, but rather because they exit school in debt. That debt turns, not only into higher prices, but pursuit of more expensive services. Services that do not need to be performed to find a diagnosis are being performed every day. One the one hand, it helps avoid legal bills, on the other hand it helps pay off medical school. In the legal field, law schools are already putting too many lawyers out into the work force than there is demand. So naturally, some opportunistic of lawyers would turn into ambulance chasers just to find a job. As far as pharmaceuticals, researchers who want to stay employed must continually invent new projects to be involved in, new medicines that need to be invented. This is good in the sense that more knowledge is being pursued, but bad in the sense that useful medications are bearing the brunt of the support for largely useless medications or redundant medications.
So, will reducing the cost of schooling reduce the cost of medical services? Certainly not immediately. Every year, we are graduating students drenched in debt. Many of those who graduated in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 are going to be paying back those debts for quite some time. Even if we enacted an effective bill right now, the effects of that bill might only be seen in part of the population ten or twenty years down the road, but, it is a point. If higher education cost less, then I believe the costs of legal, research and medical services would go down. Also, there is an even harder question we have to ask ourselves: how the heck do we decrease the cost of higher education?
Other People's Old People
Wednesday. 1.5.11 10:46 pm
I have been looking into Foster Care and Social Work programs lately, and I have been finding a lot of stuff about the elderly. Apparently, we have an epidemic in this country of an aging population that needs care and are not getting it. They are abused and neglected. Some of them are 'dropped off' by family members at hospitals who don't know what else to do and some are kicked out of nursing homes because they are too difficult.
Some are calling out for programs like the foster system to help take in old people with no where else to go. Maybe even state funded old people orphanages.
All in all, this is a little scary. From my own perspective, it makes me very eager to have a young family that can take care of me in my old age, to be nice to them, and to make sure some of them, at least, like me. For my parents, who don't even want to think about getting old, I hope that I can be there for them if they ever do need help. Then, there are my old people now: my grandmothers. That is a more important concern. For a long time, my hale and hardy grandmothers didn't really worry me. They were so fit, I just kind of figured they'd live forever. But what happens when my grandmothers can't get up and play golf or devour good books and go shopping at Tuesday Mornings? Who is going to take care of them? My parents? Me? If they live with me, how can they stay in touch with all of their friends? How can they still feel useful and safe, instead of like a foreign invader in my otherwise humdrum life? These are all important questions to answer.
However, I think more important is, would anyone really want to look after other people's old people? I know I wouldn't. I remember visiting my grandfather in the hospital when I was three years old, terrified of all of the ancient people shuffling about with their gnarled hands... Come to think of it, I think a little old man actually started to chase us with his walker. Even though I've grown older and I have become a little more sensitive to the issues of old age, I am not going to adopt other people's old people.
What about your old people? Do you have any old people to look after? What will happen to you when you are an old person? Would you ever consider adopting someone else's old person?
Thursday. 12.30.10 11:46 pm
If you are at all into writing fiction growing up, then you are bound to run into the whole "Fan Fiction" debacle. Fan fiction is stories, novellas, novels, whatever, that is written by fans about their favorite stories. Usually they come with little notes attached to them like the ones on fansubs or youtube videos of songs that say, "I'm just a really big fan! I'm not making any money. Please, please, don't sue me!"
Crazily enough, there are actually a lot of legal options (unlike there are for youtube music pirates) to get your material out legally.
The first option is making the work apply with fair use. While this principally applies to scholars and students (who need to write good bibliographies) and to news journalists (who also cite their sources) it also applies to parodies. What is a parody, you might ask?
This may be pushing the substantiality clause, but it does serve as an accurate example of what a parody looks like. The Very Potter Musical takes a well known work and creates a comedy out of known plot flaws and stylistic anomalies. This, as much as anything, appears to be a genuine critique of the novels being used.
Parody is not the same as satire, however, which is when a work of literature is used, against the author's permission, to slander or criticize something that it is completely unrelated to. Like the title of this infamous work.
It also doesn't include work that is additive or complimentary to the existing works, such as the harry potter compendium created by fan Vander Ark.
This is where fan fiction writers cry foul. Why is it that you are allowed to write fiction that tears writers down, but you are not allowed to write and published works that compliment and build up a writer?
Two reasons: first, if parody was not allowed, writers would be given the power to ban their own criticism, which is not really healthy for literary discussion or free speech. Second, fan writers are allowed to write AND publish fan material if they take the proper steps.
Have you ever watched Labyrinth? In the 1984 Jim Henson movie the Labyrinth, the main character finds herself on a bridge that she and her friends must cross. However, she is blocked by the fearsome (albeit tiny) foe Sir Didymus. Sir Didymus says that he has vowed that he will not let anyone pass without his permission. They try to fight him, but Sir Didymus proves to be too fearsome a foe and they are not allowed to pass. That is when they hit on it "without my permission".
You are allowed to use works if you get the permission of the author! In fact, whole businesses are made based on permissive use of copyrighted material. Why were the Harry Potter movies even made? They were made because the author gave them permission to use it in return for a certain sum. Likewise, a fan fiction writer can approach a series they know and love and work as a ghostwriter, co-writer or even a staff writer.
So, if you are out there writing fan fiction and you are fearfully printing these works online, wondering when the axe will fall and you will finally get sued, you probably won't. The truth is that if you are really creating fan fiction that comment and criticizes work in a constructive and creative way, it may not even be illegal.
*special note: for all of those reading this article, you should be aware that this is a yeoman's analysis of a complex legal issue, and should not be cited as in any way authoritative information. However, if all you want is to sleep easier at night. I hope this has helped you out.
Tuesday. 12.21.10 7:14 am
So, my kid raises his hand and says, "I saw you! I saw you... and your family. Your mom and dad" burst into laughter "and your house! And you mom" bursts into laughter "and your house and your car!" laughing, laughing, laughing, "car- Oooo!" continues laughing.
I shook my head. Sometimes, I just don't have any idea what they're trying to tell me.
Did you see what just happened?
Saturday. 12.18.10 2:27 am
The foreigner fitted the balloon onto the end of the pump as though it were nothing. The train ride was long and dull and so she meant to practice her skills as a balloonist until she arrived at her destination.
The Koreans on the train looked on at her in curiosity as she frowned at the pump and fumbled with it to get it to work. Finally, the hot pink balloon inflated into a long tube. The little Korean girl closest to the foreigner shrunk back in alarm, but the foreigner, coolly and aiming the balloon away from the girl, proceeded about the business of making it into a shape. She tied it off, wrapped it, and rewrapped it. With every squeak, the little Korean girl flinched, with every pop, she recoiled, until the balloon held for her as much fear as little Alfred and his little white rabbit.
Finally, the torture was over and, to her surprise, the foreigner turned and presented it to the girl. She declined it and the small pink dog went back into the bag with the rest of the balloons.
After a while, the little Korean girl realized that the balloon had stopped squeaking and in fact did not seem to burst at any moment. She reached out for it, and then put her hand back politely. The foreigner turned around again and proffered the little dog to her again. She smiled, embarrassed, and picked it up. She was delicate with it, still afraid it might burst, but now some of that fear had transformed and she turned the creature around preciously in her hands.
The little Korean girl got off a few stops later. The foreigner took her now vacant seat and smiled.
A few seats away, two Korean women sat next to one another. The one turned to the other and gesturing with her hands and began to tell the story that I have just told you. I imagine she began, "Did you see what just happened?"
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