Category Archives: rant

This is why we can’t have nice things

Bishop, CA Petroglyphs at Bishop by Cave Art Gal

Apparently, a group of people (I’m assuming because how could 1 person pull this heist?) decided that the petroglyphs of the Paiute people in Bishop, CA, that had survived the elements for thousands of years, needed to move to a new location. And aside from taking 5 of the drawings with them, they managed to destroy several of the other remaining images.

Seriously, who wakes up one day and decides that what they should really do with their time before the sun sets is haul a concrete saw, ladder, and generator up on a hike so that they can add weight to haul back with drawings older than the European presence on the continent? And damage the ones they decided to leave behind just to ensure that future generations of people from around the world won’t get to experience the magnificence of an original people who still go to worship at the site.

I don’t even think that these people took lessons from the lady who restored the ecco homo picture of Jesus earlier this year. At least, though she failed spectacularly, her intentions were grounded in the desire to preserve an image that inspires many on the planet. These people must have been motivated by something else. Greed? Hoarder tendencies? Psychopathic levels of desire to inflict further insult to the Paiute people?

I don’t know. But I know that these thieves have images that belong to the Paiute people and everyone on the planet concerned with keeping our record on this planet in a form we can all access. And, because of their carelessness, since they obviously didn’t consider how stealing the carvings would affect everyone who cares about the preservation of our history, the people who go to visit the site in Bishop, CA, will have fewer instances where they can stand in awe.

Their actions demonstrate the level of thoughtlessness that I fear is becoming more prevalent. It could just be that my age is beginning to show, but it could also be that I just notice these stories more because my life experience connects them to me. Because these irreplaceable icons mark the path we as people have taken to get where we currently are in the journey. They are the photographs and ephemera in the scrapbook of humanity; the fragments that hold us together as we continue along the way.

Life passes so quickly and is quite fragile, and we need the tangible markers to show those who come after us where we’ve been so that we don’t forget. Each of these markers freeze the chaos and turmoil of life and trap it in a form that we can share. So when those markers are destroyed, we all lose, and it’s this irrevocable loss that makes me sad, when it can’t be helped (as with the Twelve Apostles), and makes me angry when it can, such as this instance.

Because how can a person be so selfish that they can’t share? This inability to share is why we can’t have nice things.

Melt with You: Christmas edition

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpP51j74Iyg]

Perhaps you’ve seen this Christmas ad as you’re watching TV this holiday season.

I laughed out loud the first time I heard it. Not in the “That was the funniest thing I’ve heard a comic say today” sort of way, but in a “Did I really live long enough to see this monstrosity?” sort of way.

Because seriously? Hershey’s chocolate is rather melty, and it is Christmas time, but that’s no reason to subject us all to a ridiculous carol version of an 1980s song. Even a good one.

I wish companies would hire actual jingle people again and leave the music I rather like alone. I love indie music, but it’s disconcerting to clue people in to the song I like by referencing a commercial. It’s even worse to use the latest commercial as reference points for some of my favorite songs that are older than the kids I work with.

The saddest thing is that I usually can’t remember what company is using which song. Decades later, I can still sing all the words to Oscar Mayer’s “B-O-L-O-G-N-A” jingle, but I can’t tell you who used “Such Great Heights.” And if you’re going to make a song I like annoying, I’m looking at you company who used The Beatles‘ “Revolution,” at least make it memorable to your product.

So on the one hand, thanks for introducing a whole collection of kids to Modern English, but please leave the rest of the songs I love, which are legion, alone. Hire talented jingle writers to provide your missing element and leave my happy memories out of your annoying market necessities.

Not a UK customer

Not a UK customerI frequent BoingBoing when I have some spare time, because they post articles that interest me. One of the last times I was there, they had Cory Doctorow‘s review of Heather Brooke‘s The Revolution will be Digitised.

His review intrigued me, so I followed the link to her site for the book. Where I realized that this is a book I should probably read because of its connection to my scholarly interests. So I take the next logical step to buy the book; I follow the link.

This sends me to Amazon’s UK store where they have print copies for a reasonable price, along with a Kindle version. (The UK store completely makes sense as both the author and reviewer reside in the UK.) I don’t particularly want to pay for UK shipping, so I check the US store. They only have copies from authorized sellers, and they are more expensive than the UK edition.

So I head back to the UK store, because I have the Kindle App on my phone, and decide to try a sample of the e-book, just to be sure I want to go through the exchange rate to ultimately purchase said edition.

And that’s where I hit the Catch-22 circular logic of frustration. Continue reading Not a UK customer

GRE – the last standarized test

freeway sunsetSo this morning before work, I stopped into my local GRE testing center to take what I will now always refer to as “The Last Standardized Test”. It isn’t for everyone (suckers who want to get into medical school or go on to become lawyers), but it is for me!

I’m very excited about this. Realistically, there is a small chance I will have to retake the exam, because ETS (the company that makes it) just revised the exam. As in they switched over last month. But my scores using the old system fell into the necessary range for the grad schools I’m applying to, so as long as my scores transfer well, I’m done!

Which is great because I hate standardized tests. I always have. In first grade, my mom had to come in and talk me down from the fit I threw so that I could take the test. Part of my difficulty stems from viewing the exams as essentially a waste of time I could be reading. But I have also always had a problem knowing what to answer because the questions are frequently worded vaguely.

I know making us reason through the question is the point, but this becomes quite problematic with the regional differences of the exam creators and Southern California. Autumn is not the time that leaves change color and fall from trees; it’s the time of year the open spaces (and more often houses) burn. And no one ever includes how very itchy, static electricity accompanies the fall winds. And of course you can wade across a river and creeks are dry more often than not.

I’ve been quite resistant, but I sat through the dumb exam. I had everything against me too. I didn’t get enough sleep; I hadn’t studied enough; I was stressed because I couldn’t print out an admission ticket; I got stuck in traffic; I didn’t eat breakfast; I didn’t have any caffeine. But apparently, that’s what I needed in order to just complete the task.

But now all of that is behind me. Now I just have to finish my applications. Minor hurdles…

Why I dislike the Lord of the Rings movies

Remember (years) back when everyone was talking about the Lord of the Rings movies and how amazing they were? I wasn’t one of those people. I absolutely love and adore the series by J.R.R. Tolkien. And  though I do not like the movies, I was content to merely let my dislike stand amongst the shadows unless pressed.

While visiting friends in Arizona recently, I ended up meeting new people (it does happen from time to time). We were discussing various topics in the midst of which I stated my dislike for the movies clearly. One of the guys seemed shocked and ready to question, but I was using the statement as an example for a different discussion. The conversation never got back around to my outlandish claim, so this is my explanation.

I have the über-nerd complaints about the missing and mis-represented characters and secondary storylines, but those would not be enough for me to dislike a movie. I completely understand that not everyone will see the story the same way I do and that there is only so much time one can sit in a theater.

The movies fail in one major way – they miss the point of the story by not ending the movies with the scouring of the Shire. Continue reading Why I dislike the Lord of the Rings movies

Westboro Free Speech

If you’ve managed to go this long missing out on who the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas is, you probably want to stop reading now. Because finding out about them will probably set you on a path toward the nearest hard surface to bash your head against.

They are the church that seems to have entirely missed God’s message of love for all people, regardless of action, national descent, personal belief, skin color, number of tattoos, gender, or sex. In their focus on what God hates, they have lost sight of what God loves, which only matters because they choose to share their understanding of a brutal and vengeful God on signs created to offend whoever sees them. And their favorite place to show off their handy work is at the entry to the funerals of U.S. military men and women. Because, apparently, if you believe that God hates everything except you, then you don’t have to extend compassion to hurting and suffering people.

But why am I writing about a group that so irks me, I degenerate into a twitching heap of rage within 20 minutes of thinking about them? Continue reading Westboro Free Speech

A time for everything

Tonight has been about as far from best as it could get without moving into tragic. Actually, it started last night while talking to a friend.

This weekend is shaping up to be pretty craptastic, which sparked a conversation where I apparently shared more than I meant to and in hindsight probably should have. It happens to me frequently (seriously, the archive here will give you an idea of what i mean in about 2 posts). While I was slightly concerned at the time, I thought it would work itself out.

But I ended up seeing this friend and could tell that something had changed – a new distance existed between us. (which, to be completely fair, I was probably helping to create)

Well it became overwhelming as my attempts to leave were thwarted by insane Fri. traffic. So I turned to the only place where I figured I could safely scream into the void – Twitter.

Unexpectedly, a friend responded with kindness. Equally unexpected was the obnoxious response from someone I’m not entirely sure follows me. My handle there, as here, is EnglishNerd, and this random person opted to call me out on my sentence construction. (and called my name ironic because of the tweet’s awkwardness, as though being a nerd about English automatically demands perfection)

What an unhelpful douche. I could see commenting on a thoughtfully written blog piece about the awkward phrasing but not on a tweet. Especially one that is written for the emotion instead of the content.

Yes, clear language conveys intended meaning most effectively, but the decision to respond to someone’s writing with a criticism should be balanced by the context of the writing. Tweets do not equal formal writing or necessitate clear communication. They function more as overheard bits of information. Plus the condescension served only to annoy me further. And then post a rant here, so perhaps it wasn’t all bad.

There is a time for everything, but occassionally it takes some thoughtfulness and compassion to see when the time comes.

Reason #465 Why I Dislike Facebook

Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, March 4, 1861 (LOC)
Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, March 4, 1861 (LOC)

This is a rant. Not about the lack of privacy or the company deciding what I want to opt into. This is a rant on the way people use Facebook.

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among my friends to rely on Facebook for the dissemination of important life news. It is a trend that I see beyond my friends, with Australia serving legal notices through the social site. But I am really just concerned with the posting of news from my friends. Continue reading Reason #465 Why I Dislike Facebook