Posted on October 12th, 2012 No comments
So I’m sitting in a waiting room when a family down the aisle is talking very loudly to the teenage daughter about why it is "never a good idea to date an atheist." I could not help but overhear how atheists have no morals, have no respect of women, are hard-pressed to support their families, and are the cause of the LGBT movement which is "destroying our country." The mother then tells a tale about a friend of hers who was impregnated by an atheist who tempted her into sex before marriage, and then abandoned the friend and their child, never paying child support and not being a part of their lives ever again.
At this point, I could contain myself no more. I spoke up and said "Yeah! My biological father was just like that–a complete deadbeat, had sex with my mother without being married, who left before I was even born. He has never volunteered child support, never paid a dime, and deflects all my attempts to contact him." The parents, who were surprised at first that I had joined in the conversation, were nodding emphatically at my statement, as if to say "See?"
I continued: "It was really hard when I found out about him, and to this day it eats at me that there is a father out there who cares nothing for his own flesh and blood." The parents continued nodding, and the rest of the waiting room quieted down, listening.
At this point, I got up, put my bag on my shoulder and walked over to the family. I put my hand on the teenage girl’s shoulder. "And the worst part is…" I put on my straightest sad face, and sighed woefully. "He’s Catholic."
The parents’ faces, the dead silence in the room, and the shocked faces of listeners nearby as I walked out was most satisfying.
Posted on February 24th, 2011 No comments
I just thought this was funny and wanted to share. My professor wants a list of the sources we’ve been looking at so far. My notes are all over the damn place, so this is the first time I got all my bibliographical entries all in one place. MY WORKS CITED PAGE IS OVER TWO PAGES LONG.
For those of you who are actually interested in how my research paper is going, I’m including my works cited here.
Posted on February 1st, 2011 No comments
Today’s post is just a series of letters back and forth regarding a $39.00 charge that I did not sign up for. When I logged into my account, it said I had only a free account, and not this gold membership I was charged for. I had to go back and forth via email several times before getting a (mostly complete) refund for “my” gold membership. If I really cared, I’d fight for the last 30 some cents they owe me on the technicality that I never asked for them to charge me in the first place, but screw it. I figure I took up enough of their time to account for that. Take a look, see what you think about it. I’m just glad I got my money back. Of course, these guys are in India (due to the time zone from the emails.
Dan Hughes wrote on 1/28/2011 at 10:18 AM
I was billed a $39.00 to my credit card. I never authorized a charge. Reverse it. You can email me or contact me at [phone number]
Classmates “Reba” wrote on 1/28/2011 at 11:49 PM
Hello Classmates Member,
Thank you for contacting Classmates Member Care. We’re more than happy to assist you.
**YOUR ACTION REQUIRED–PLEASE FOLLOW THE STEPS BELOW TO AVOID FURTHER BILLING**
We’re sorry to hear that you don’t wish to continue as a Classmates Gold member. While purchasing your Gold membership, you were provided with information just above the "Submit Payment" button explaining that all memberships are enrolled in our automatic renewal program. This automated billing process prevents any interruption in your Gold membership benefits. Through your acceptance of the Gold membership offer, you authorized us to continue to charge your credit card to extend your membership until you took the necessary steps to remove yourself from this program.
If you wish to discontinue your paid Gold membership after the current term, you may remove yourself from the automatic renewal program any time prior to your renewal date.
To change or confirm your renewal option, simply follow these steps:
Posted on January 22nd, 2011 1 comment
When I was a youngin’, we did not have cell phones, Facebook, or Twitter. Hell, MySpace wasn’t even on the map until high school. There was no reason to shorten one’s words or letters to make them fit. No, back in my day, if you left out letters from words, it was because you were an idiot. There was no excuse, no other rhetoric to be confused by; you either could spell, or you were illiterate.
Hence, when instant messaging became the hot thing (read: America Online), my friends and I communicated with complete sentences. Why? Because of the stigma that came with misspelling: you looked like a damned idiot if you couldn’t spell correctly or misused punctuation.
For the many of you to whom this is a novel concept:
Complete Sentences: Sentences that begin with a capital letter, have a complete subject and predicate that agree properly, uses and ends with proper punctuation, and has each word spelled correctly.
Fast forward to today. The introduction of cell phones and text messaging, followed by tweeting, has furthered the trend of “shortening” words. It isn’t a bad thing, per se; you’re trying to get a message across in the fewest characters possible, especially when you get charged extra by your service provider if you have to take multiple messages to do it.
PS: Don’t get me started on the whole “cell phone carriers rape us on transmitting data called ‘text messages’ by charging us ridiculous amounts to send BYTES of information” thing. It’s just too painful.
However, as I found when I had to take a mandatory composition class in college last semester, this is having a horrible effect on students of today. I claim that at least half, if not more, of word usage by high school students is via text message or instant messaging. This means that students spend time practicing how to do it wrong. Then they get to college, and they can’t spell or use apostrophes correctly.
Seriously, I had at least two classmates who were so confused as to when to use apostrophes that they somehow figured that every single word that ends in an s got an apostrophe: There are many egg’s, He had several girl’s, I worship Jesu’s. Stuff like that. It got bad when they had to write long sentences: The Jona’s brother’s have million’s of fan’s in many countrie’s acros’s the world.
Here lies the problem that the students do not understand: this is normal to them. They grew up (and we let them—parents, I’m looking at you!) using this type of communication, and that’s what they know. Everybody does it. They do not understand that everyone who might ever read their writing (bosses, hiring personnel, colleges) are going to look at their skills and wonder how they made it to age 20 and still not be able to spell.
Twenty years of your life gone, and you cannot write your native language. You should be ashamed!
I find apostrophes are the worst of all time. Before dropping letters to fit a sentence into 160 characters, apostrophes can be dropped, and it still sounds like the way we would say it. This allows for people who cannot spell to still get the appropriate message from the text—most of the time—by saying it aloud. The same thing goes for end-of-sentence punctuation. So, if you think spelling is bad because they practice it wrong, punctuation is horrible because they NEVER PRACTICE IT AT ALL.
So yes, in closing, yes, if you are in college, and you still cannot spell, and can still turn in horrible papers with all the tools available to you (online grammar sites, dictionaries, even f*cking spell check), then yes, I consider you less intelligent than the people who came before you at that age who could. Because every one of us who wants to hire you thinks that spelling is what *normal people* can do. *Experts* do wonderful things with grammar and sentence structure, but *normal people* can at least spell. To us, you look absolutely terrible.
Oh, and one last PS: Sometime in the past couple months I saw one friend post to another that someone she was instant messaging with told her to stop using end of sentence punctuation because it made her sound pretentious. You, sir, are an example of what is wrong with this world.
Posted on December 23rd, 2010 No comments
WARNING. This post contains spoilers for Tron: Legacy, and probably for the original Tron as well. If you haven’t seen the original Tron, well, then I’m afraid it just isn’t going to work out between us. I’m sure you’ll find someone who loves the same things you do.
The graphics in Tron: Legacy are nothing to shake a stick at. They’re really quite good. The first scene with the updated Space Paranoids truly captured my heart as a Tron fan. The lightcycle battles were everything I wanted them to be and more. The lightgliders and lightbuggy were totally cool (probably not their real names, but I don’t care). However, while utilizing the latest and greatest in graphic technology, the plot was lacking.
The movie begins with some backstory to fill us in on Sam Flynn, Kevin Flynn’s son. Jeff Bridges is an old fart now, so the choice to computer animate a 1989 Kevin Flynn talking to his seven-year-old Sam was an interesting choice. There was a bit of a disconnect there, as even the best visual effects cannot make a computer-generated character look like real life, but I understood why they did it; it would have been even worse to have current Jeff Bridges acting like his 1989 self. Unfortunately, the director is depending upon your knowledge of the original Tron—set in 1982, before I was born—to understand this. The young woman who sat next to me at the theatre actually leaned over and asked “Why does he look fake?” Since a computer animated Bridges-as-Clu stars as the main villain, I can see how this alienates audiences who may not have seen the original Tron—one character computer animated while all the others are live action.
Other than the graphics and decent opening, which included a visit to the now-defunct Flynn’s arcade, the rest of the movie failed to live up to my expectations. Even Flynn’s arcade is nothing more than an Easter egg; new viewers were probably bored mindless. There was some possible intrigue with the titular character, Tron, having been somehow corrupted, but other than a single moment of revelation followed by Tron’s “rebooting” from orange to white, we never get to see what became of him. This causes problems on two levels. First, those having watched Tron before are left sorely disappointed as they watch the entire movie as this cloaked character with the familiar Tron logo on his chest goes around doing horrible things only to not get to see the situation resolved. Second, those who have not seen Tron before do not realize this is a character until the old Kevin Flynn names him as someone important. Unfortunately, the audience is left confused as the movie never moves beyond that.
The page thing is bogus, and obviously a forced plot point. Alan receives a page from a defunct phone number from his long lost friend, Kevin Flynn, on a pager he decided to apparently keep for twenty years. When he finally receives a clue about his friend, he goes to Sam Flynn and hands him the keys to Flynn’s arcade—which he also apparently kept for twenty years. Then he leaves, completely uncaring as to what happens. It makes the opening feel flat and forced.
We’re also very lucky that Sam Flynn is an obviously trained daredevil, parachuting from buildings and possessing inhuman skills with a motorcycle. These are precisely the skills he will need in the Grid, and he just happens to be blessed with them. He’s also a skilled computer hacker, but that part we can probably assume based on his lineage. However, pulling up the list of previously issued commands and reentering the last one to try to understand what his dad was doing was the one logical thing that made sense. Much better than “Oh, look, a laser, I’ll bet you that I somehow know this laser thing will take me to meet my dad!” Given the way the rest of the opening was set, I was totally prepared for it, and was pleasantly surprised.
The whole “do nothing” idea was absolutely dreadful. It was the biggest cop-out for why Kevin Flynn—the Administrator of the Grid who has Jedi-like powers over the environment—decided to not do a damn thing for twenty years. Speaking of twenty years, according to the original Tron movie, long stretches of time in the digital world was no more than seconds in the real world. Kevin Flynn spent twenty real-world years in the digital world, which should have been equivalent to thousands upon thousands of years. If I may say so, Kevin seems to have aged REALLY well.
What really made me give up on the movie is when the audience is introduced to the lightcycle that Kevin Flynn himself has programmed. It was said to be the “fastest thing on the Grid.” When Sam stole it to head back to the Grid, I was looking forward to see what it could do. Then Sam parked it. And gave it to a random Program to distract the guards. Then it was captured. The end. Wow. How awesome was that. It should not have even been mentioned at all: let people assume it was the original bike from the first movie. Then we would not have felt so disappointed when Sam just gave it up. We know what the old bike can do; it is just an Easter egg. A lightcycle custom made by Kevin Flynn? That should have been something to see.
After all of this, I just have to say the story of Tron: Legacy is just not worth it. If you watched the original Tron, this one is a treat to see how the Grid has changed. But even you will be disappointed with how the story plays out, especially with Tron’s story. If you did not watch the original Tron, then the special effects are all that is in this one, and maybe worth a Red Box rental later.
Posted on November 14th, 2010 2 comments
An interesting point came up over the past couple of days. I am friends on Facebook with a number of people across the world. Some of them occasionally post in their native language. I get posts in Spanish, Japanese, Norwegian, Mandarin, and even Dutch (even though seeing the Dutch language still gives me a bit of a twinge in my heart). Since I only maintain social networking relationships with people I actually care to hear about and want to participate socially with—as well as having them feeling that way in return—I try my best to translate them.
When I’m at my computer, it’s not a big deal. I can copy and paste each individual post into Google Translate and manually translate them one by one. I try when I can, but when they’re all different languages, one-by-one is the only way to do it… frankly I don’t feel like it a lot. More often than not, I end up just hiding all the ones in my feed that aren’t English to make room for other posts.
It’s even worse on my phone. I have an Android phone, which has awesome Facebook integration, however, you cannot copy and paste from the Facebook app. Even if you could, then I’d need to boot up the browser, navigate to the page, paste into the browser…. complete pain in the ass. So those posts get hidden even faster on my phone.
It got pretty bad; one guy posts in Mandarin ONLY. He’s a great guy, but he posted often enough that I ended up hiding his entire feed.
So recently, while reading one of these posts, I had an epiphany: there needs to be a way to automatically translate these things, from Facebook’s side.
I’m not talking a web plug-in, like Google Translate; Google Translate can only detect one language on the screen and translate it, not a good situation when you have five or six different languages showing. Also, it does not affect the feed itself… even if there was a web plug-in to translate it before it displayed on your computer screen, that doesn’t change the information being handed out to mobile devices; it is still in a foreign language.
What we need is a feature from Facebook itself. A setting that can either be activated by the poster or the friend. For example, if I choose English as my primary language, and someone else chose Dutch as theirs, then Facebook should give me the option to automatically translate the text of those feeds into English. And since automatic translation isn’t perfect, you just need the little label on it saying “Translated from …” just like the little icons that tell you how they posted to Facebook, and then you can ask the person directly to translate if the automatic translation butchers it beyond meaning. The technology exists, it just needs to be implemented.
Just a thought.
Posted on July 1st, 2010 No comments
While demonstrating things for a customer today, here’s the final creation, in Microsoft Office Excel 2007, that resulted. It amused me and I decided to keep it as a wallpaper.
Posted on October 5th, 2009 2 comments
I knew that my company was upgrading some of the recording equipment we had. I teach webconferences online, I record classes for our clients, and our company records helpful clips for our customers. I wasn’t sure what to think when I walked into the “recording room” this morning. I sure laughed, though.
As ghetto as it looks… it works, and it was a marked improvement over our previous equipment. I record because I have a strong voice, and I’ve always wanted to podcast and stuff, but I never really got the chance to. Besides, I’d much rather write.
(I still giggle when I see this stuff though.)
Posted on September 25th, 2009 No comments
Taken from When I Say No, I Feel Guilty by Manuel J. Smith, Ph.D.
- I have the right to judge my own behavior, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon myself.
- I have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying my behavior.
- I have the right to judge if I am responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
- I have the right to change my mind.
- I have the right to make mistakes—and be responsible for them.
- I have the right to say, “I don’t know.”
- I have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.
- I have the right to be illogical in making decisions.
- I have the right to say, “I don’t understand.”
- I have the right to say, “I don’t care.”
I have the right to say no, without feeling guilty.
Posted on August 12th, 2009 1 comment
I’m deciding whether or not I want to continue using Windows Live Writer (which allows me to view posts in the style I create them in) or Word 2007, which is integrated into the program and provides a much richer blogging “experience.” We’ll see about that.
Posted on January 15th, 2009 No comments
…have learned my secret identity, and left me a discreet message that my secret is safe…
Posted on December 8th, 2008 1 comment
As Twas in dark ages, the world was silent, each ear turned in time from whence the music of speech last echoed. As the sun sets, shedding its light into the thousands of bright points in the night sky, so did the world of LOLs decrescendo into darkness.
It was thence that Lone descended onto the muted earth, and sang, his voice a beacon drawing the confused tweeters into a state of soothe. "Dost not," he intoned, "to be afraid of the silence, also mean to be afraid of the sound between notes?"
"Fear not, my virtual brethren, for I shall give voice to the endpoints of silence, so that thou may resound in kind, making the darkness, once again, only necessary to perceive the beauty of our world." And then, as if by Decree, Google got their shit in gear, and the peasants rejoiced.
Posted on September 16th, 2008 1 comment
I saw this comic, and thought of you.
Posted on July 18th, 2008 No comments
That I do tech support for a living allows me to laugh at supposed people who provide tech support. I PRIDE myself working for a company where we WANT to help with Microsoft products. We’re not troubleshooters, really. Well, we do that too, but mostly we teach you how to use Office and many off the shelf software programs in a way that makes your job more productive. I’m certified in most of the Office programs myself, and a lot of other things too.
We’re different from other tech support, because we aren’t “fix it, its broken” people. We’re “here’s a better wrench for that, let me show you how to use it, and while you’re doing that, here’s some caulk and some other tools you may need, and here’s something else you can do while you’re waiting for that to set” people. And I enjoy it. I WANT to support you. I want to dazzle you with my brilliance with my kickASS VLookup formula.
I never in my life have experience nor expected to experience in my life that level of support.
Posted on July 16th, 2008 3 comments
Okay, time for another update.
Live Writer is a bugged out piece of software. One I love a lot. As Macness may tell you, I am (was) a client freak. I love all kinds of software and gadgets installed on my computer, and love finding ways to make everything synchronize across multiple computers.
But, as you might tell from the (was), that’s been changing. We use gmail here at Starraisers.com, and damn, after going with colored labels, I can never go back. Google Reader is the best RSS feed reader I’ve ever dealt with (no god damn duplicates), and even Google Calendar is decent, minus some minor drawbacks (*coughCOLORCATEGORIEScough*). Google Docs sucks, as I have to share things on a document by document basis, so I’m sticking with Microsoft Office Live for that.
So really, the only thing left client-wise on my computer, is Live Writer. It has a lot of nice tools that I’m in love with, except for the fact that I can’t get my computer at home to recognize the theme. The one at work does fine, but home doesn’t. *sigh*
Writing update: I have been deathly sick now for three weeks. It started the day I went to Macness‘ house to setup the site. Unfortunately, he and I believe his son got sick too, and I think its all my fault. (Sorry!) I plan to continue writing shortly. I promised to take a look at a couple other stories first, and I fully intend to do that, they’re at the top of my list now. I realized today that this is actually, technically my profession. I’ve not just read and write, but studied the art of writing, taken classes on literature and style, etc. I may not be an "expert" yet, but I’m as close to a professional as some folks have access to… It would be an honor to put my unbiased opinion down for those folks asking me. You could say I have a responsibility to do so.
Or I’m thinking way too much of myself at the moment. Ha~~
Either way, that’s the game plan. I’m going to critique a couple other entries that were sent to me, and then, Chapter 6, here I come.