Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Week Thirty-Four: France!

Oh my goodness I have done so much in the past two weeks I don't know where to start. Well, let's start with France! That's right, I went to France! We went skiing in France, which totally rocked. France was beautiful to drive through, though rather scandalous. They like graffiti where were were driving through, but not that sissy weak stuff where all they do is write their names over things. They like their graffiti to be art, and artistic it is.

This, by the way, includes at leads on 'artistic nude,' though I debate on how artistic it was considering her facial expression. I also loved the traffic lights. They had two at each stop, one at eye level for the first driver, and the other above the car so the other cars could see! It was very interesting for me, along with the odd grass shaped street lights. France was, in a nut shell, gorgeous. The houses looked a little different there. Steeper roofs than most in Germany.

Anyway, I liked it! France rocked.

Then we got to the ski hall. For those of you who know me, you know I'm simply not athletic, no matter how hard I try. You know that the idea of heights terrifies me. Well, the bunny slop was high. And skiing is a sport. Put two and two together and for the first part of the thing I was terrified, I kept falling, and finally, I ended up hitting my head hard enough it bounced. I very nearly gave in!

Actually at one point after I hit my head I sulked, rubbed by head, and refused to put my skis back on. Skiing, was, in a word, terrifying. I went entirely too fast for my own good and couldn't figure out how to stop.

So my Dad came over. He told me how to do it, and after sulking a bit longer - hey, my head hurt! - I got back on my skis and went halfway up the slope, where I wouldn't chance, you know, going so fast again. After figuring out how to ski it was suddenly much, much more fun. Though I never made it more than halfway up the bunny slope.

So, I love skiing now, and can't wait to go again, so long as, you know, they have a bunny slope. I like bunny slopes. They aren't half as long as actual slopes and not nearly as scary. Not being scary really rocks.

The day after I hit my head it snowed here, by the way, the first snow of the year in a place where it usually snows in October. Clearly, it snowed because I hit my head. I had a headache for a good two days, and those where the only days we had snow. After that, it hasn't snowed again, but it has rained, oh how it has rained. It's a nightly thing here.

So then Christmas came and it was nice. I got a bamboo tablet, and we all watched movies together, but their was kind of a damper on the mood. My littlest sister finally had to go back to her mother in the states, and it wasn't something any of us wanted to celebrate at all. On boxing day, she headed back to Virginia, and Daddy went with her staying stateside with his parents a few days. He should never have had to take her back in my opinion and she didn't want to leave at all.

So we've all been rather sad here. I admittedly cried quietly in my room, when the news came that the lawyer wasn't able to talk them into lengthening her stay somehow, at least to the end of the school year.

One Final Byte: Always wear a helmet or risk head injury.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Week Thirty-Three: And the Next President Is!

Okay, I'm late. Sorry about that. I was just so relieved that my final was over that I forgot to write my blog! Right, but you can learn more about France, skiing and all that next week. This week, I'm going to go on about how the public doesn't actually elect the President, or really have much to do with the whole business.

What, you think I think American politics aren't super corrupt? You're kidding me right? We aren't exactly in the top ten of the least corrupt nation. Actually, according to Transparency International, we're number 22 out of 178 measures countries. Well. At least we're in the top 25. Somehow. Personally, I'd put us somewhere down about between Turkey (56) and Latvia (59). Why? Well, it's simple.

While our local politics aren't corrupt, our state politics and national politics reek like a roadkill skunk!

What the monkeys am I talking about?

People need money to run. On a local level, they need much less. Yard signs putting your name out, maybe buttons and fliers. Maybe. That's for a small town. In a city they need more, so might need sponsorship of small business, for example, or donations even more. On a state wide thing, even if they only have a single bill board in each county and a single TV ad on the state TV stations than they need a lot more. Advertising is very expensive. This means on a state level, your governor/senator/representative is owned by, we'll call them shareholders.

Let's face it. Most people aren't going to give more then ten-twenty bucks now-a-days. Business however will give more, especially if they buy a bit of loyalty from that lawmaker. Later on, maybe the lawmaker will think of them when they're working on say, taxes, imports, exports and the like. So corporations give out money, and let's face it, almost without fail, the richer campaign wins.

Combine this with the very low poll rating of the incumbent president, right now, and the forerunners for the Presidential race are, well, obvious. Romney, Perry, and Paul are the only ones in the tens of millions, and Romney outstrips the other two. Obama of course, ass around 99 million. However his approval rating is around about where Nixon's was was Nixon left office. I suspect it'd be lower, but for the whole Bin Laden bit. Historically speaking, his approval rate is low enough that his chances for re-election are slim, especially considering the economic hardships right now. He will be blamed, whether he had anything to do with it or didn't have anything to do with it.

As I'm not God, and not an economist, I simply do not know. That means, in essence, that right now, the next President is likely Mitt Romney. Now, admittedly, I'm only 21. I have paid attention to that many elections, but I can look at history and grimace.

So whats wrong with all this?

Well, let's face it, the corporation own our candidates. Due to the electoral college, we don't actually elect directly, and we have no direct control over who the next bumbling idiot in control of our nation is. Except for the fact that we have two choices: Romney and Obama.

I could be wrong. Obama could somehow miraculously end up with a second term somehow. But it doesn't look it. So what the devil is the problem? Well, it starts at our education system, which you don't want to get me started on. Then it goes to the rich people, which you also don't want to get me started on. But it boils down to use only having two major choices for President. Every election, we only have two choices. Two!

Oh, occasionally, there will be an independent that can swing votes, but never enough. And the candidates don't court the people who form the bulk of the nation. They court the rich. You don't get campaign donation dinners with plates costing 25 bucks. They cost thousands of dollars.

I don't ever trust the president of the United States. Unless they are humble enough to realize they need help on the many things required of them, then they are a poor choice, and I cannot call anyone cocky enough to run for President the least bit humble. They are owned, and care little about the people, so long as we don't rebel, and when we think of it, they promptly work to suppress it all.

One Final Byte: Politics has never been transparent enough to trust.


Transparency International Corruptions Perception Index:

New York Times: The 2012 Money Race

Approval Rating for President Richard Nixon, with the Data from Gallup Poll:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Week Thirty-two: Yeah, Not much.

Week Thirty-two

So two weeks since the last post of this type, makes this a post about what's been happening! Honestly? Not much! I know, I know, "You're in another country, and you aren't doing anything? What's wrong with you!"

Well, let's just say there are plans in the works, but I'm in college, dudes and dudettes. And it's that cold time of year again, which means going out into that fierce and unfriendly cold isn't my forte. It's cold out there!

However, there have been some amusing highlights. Last week, for instance, I was at work and left the drive thru for a few minutes to get something from the back. I come back and someone put a religious tract in the drive thru. It was nice! Little surprises, you know. They had done it to both windows, and I ended up giving mine to a German.

I have discovered I have a pet peeve. People who have to be the best in absolutely everything they touch. I can't imagine they have happy lives though, as there will always be someone better. That's kind of life, after all!

Also, I think by this time next week, I may have reached 500 page views! Super woah! Considering this started just for my family in Alabama, I'm impressed! Also, a shout out to my favorite people in the world: Hi Miss G! Hi Big Sis! Hi Brother In Law! I have got to come up with some nick for you or something. That is just sad.

Anyway, finals are next week, but I think I got that down pat, and found a few additional study resources. Tow of my classes I had finals for last week! An A in one and a B in the other, due to a minor dispute over when I turned in my paper. My computer time stamp insists it was on time, but hey. Can't win them all!

I'm not too worried about my finals mind.  I tend not to worry over my studies at all.  I've found the harder I try in the majority of cases, the worse I do because I've stressed myself out.  Since it's a math final, all I really have to do it practice the work.  I found a free online textbook, and I'm using that to get the problems from  I have...a lot of problems.  Around 140, give or take 20.  Because they come from another book, a lot of them are nothing like what we do in math class!

I think I shocked my professor when I asked how to solve a problem than and a logarithm in it, because we haven't don logs as a part of our course.  He answered me though. 

A hint for anyone out there: Creative Commons is an excellent thing.  The book I'm using, Elementary calculus by Keisler, is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.  All that means to me is that it's free, so there.  I wish it was our text book too, because it explains how to do the problems.

Just don't ask me where I picked up my copy, I don't know.  Also, it's pretty much the only math book I've encountered that comes with, you  know, an epilogue.  An epilogue on a math book.  I haven't read it yet, but I am curious!

I've actually been planning a lot more than studying lately, and managed to get my Christmas gifts online quickly enough that I hope they'll arrive soon.  Tow have!  Unfortunately, the ones I'm shipping out will probably be late, due to lack of trip to pick up a box to put them all in.  And I need to wrap and label them. One of the gifts, I'm especially not certain about, but I had to change the intended gifts at the last second due to odd circumstances.  However, I hope most of them will be well received!

My dad's already made it clear my gift won't actually make it until January, because everywhere is sold out, even the factories.  In other words, they didn't make near enough!  IT makes me sad, but I'm good.  After all, I'm still getting one, just late!

I kind of hope they wrap it anyway, because I like unwrapping the best.  It's the anticipation, I think.

One Final Byte: Sharing is one of those things quick forgotten.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Week Thirty-One: An Empire

It's hard to acknowledge when the truth smacks you upside the head. But occasionally, you have to realize something that disturbs you, especially given your knowledge of history.

Sometimes, you really don't want to know thing. No, this isn't going to be a ridiculously deep blog about something or another deep and challenging. Rather, this is going to be about empires.

To be perfectly clear, an empire is a large nation that has control over other former nations, often as colonies or territories. The British Empire would be the most familiar one to most Americans, but weren't the only empire in their time.

Now, there are fewer empires, and one in particular that hasn't learned the truth of empires yet. It is large, and unwieldy, and uncertain. A teenager in the realm of nations, it no longer manages to provide for itself, instead, trying to provide for everyone else.

Fairly nice for the teenager, except there are, of course, motives behind this seemingly kind act. The United States may be in more trouble that they think, if they keep it up.

Don't get me wrong. I am an American citizen, and proud of it, but I look at the empire I live in, and it is an empire, and I worry.


Take a look. What happened to the British empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Roman Empire? They lost their empire status and shrank. Quickly. I don't think the spirit of the United States will ever completely fall, but considering the precarious situation we face economically? Well.

What's a solution? Well, while isolationism is impossible in today's world, a policy of interventionism needs to be halted. Temporarily, or permanently, we need to learn to say, I'm sorry, we can't help you. We need to focus on helping ourselves, for a little while.

Sounds selfish? It is. But I would rather my nation selfishly survive than participate in conflicts that have existed for centuries. But what about the poor, the suffering! Aren't they our responisibility?

They are our responsibility. And the responsibility of every other nation out there that can help, but we are a member of an organization devoted to these causes. Perhaps we, as the younguns on staff, should pause and consult them too. Besides, we need to examine why we are helping them. It isn't our responsibility as a government to alleviate the suffering of every person on earth, whether or not they are a citizen.

What else? Well, while I know it sounds a bit silly, and tired, but if we want to survive we need to raise, not lower, educational standards. Yes it will be hard, yes it will be difficult, but it's needed. Most eighth graders today could not pass an eighth grade final from a century ago. Perhaps a fourth grade. Maybe. Do you see the problem there? We need to raise standards, not let no child be left behind. It sounds harsh, but if it matters to them, they will work to improve. And if we expect more, they will, I promise, deliver.

I wont discuss specific economic policies here, but I will tell you we need some austerity measures of our own, at least until our deficit is less than ten percent of our GDP, bare minimum. There is a difference between a healthy deficit, and a deficit that ruins the value of our money, thus our purchasing power. This makes it harder for the average Joe to live.

It's only a few things, but, well. It's my empire too. And I worry. People say Occupy Wall St is about this, that and the other. When it comes down to it though, it is about fear, about anger. About changing policies that will destroy America the Empire.

Don't believe we're an Empire: Puerto Rico, the Native Americas, Hawaii, Guam, the Northern Marianna Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, various uninhabited islands in the pacific, in the carribean, need I go on?

There is, by the way, more, both historically, and current.

A nation is a single nation. An Empire is many ruled as one, or with one head over many governments.

One Final Bye: Fox News complained about 'brainwashing'. Laugh with me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week Thirty: Decorating and Turkey Making!

What have I been up to lately? Loads! Turkey day has come and gone, and I cooked my very own turkey! Or rather, I was put in charge of cooking the Thanksgiving meal and I did super wonderful! Very moist, flavorful turkey. I even made my very own turkey stock! This was used, not for gravy, but for the stuffing and it made it absolutely amazing and delicious. Oh wow, was it ever delicious.  I made mashed potatoes too, though sadly not from scratch, and corn, and carrots, onions, and celery to bake in the turkey drippings.  There was sliced beets and gravy as well!  But I forgot about rolls, and forgot to buy the green bean part of green bean casserole, though oddly we had everything else.  

So what did I do other than cook an absolutely amazing turkey? Well, I called my family in the states, and while it was mostly voice mail, I managed to catch my sister. We talked for a good thirty minutes about life in general. Everything seems going well for both of us, and I felt a great burden lift, just by talking to my family.

That just goes to show you how amazing family is. I called again the next day, to talk to my sister and wish her a very happy birthday, because, well, it was her birthday! I love my family greatly, even if I do hate telephones, so don't talk to them often. Telephones being, you know, these devices used to call me when I'd rather not be called and tell me that I'm work. People, I love you all, but being needed in life, and needed at work are kind of two very different scenarios.

Speaking of work! I decorated the Christmas tree! I put it up and decorated it one my own on a particularly slow day. My manager was unimpressed with my artisian patience in selecting a good spot for each ornament and insisted I just put them one, about half way through the process. I'm pretty certain there are a lot more ornaments on that tree than she thinks. Some of these ornaments had glitter on them!


Listen closely.

This Christmas, save yourself a lot of sparkling skin and avoid the glitter. It will coat you. It will coat your head. Your clothes. Your hair and your skin will all be dusted with glitter. At the end of it all, you will sparkle in any level of lighting at all for at least three days, and no amount of bathing will remove them all.

It is a nuisance! Also, while there were those silver sparkles strings that people attach to trees in the decoration bag, they remained in the bag, out of the way, because some of us happen to know that those things are bad for you.

They cause excess sweeping syndrome you see.

As in every hour you have to sweep up fifty tiny string that have made their way to the floor half way across the store somehow.

Still, I love the holidays, and I've had a very happy two weeks. I did miss a French ski trip thanks to work, but that's alright. There's another one tentatively planned that I will be attending. Life is good!

Also, I bought a nice warm winter coat. The very next day I tripped while holding coffee and spilt it on one sleeve. The coat, while vaguely and only barely stained, remains a very pretty blue and very warm, which is rather the more important part, I should think.

One Final Byte: Where did all my right hand gloves go?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Week Twenty-Nine: The News, What News?

When I was growing up, I would often try and convince my mom that we had to purchase the black and white tabloids that sat in front of the cash register. I wanted to read the stories and giggle because none of them made any sense at all. "Aliens, monster babies, big foot!"

As I grew older, I would read some teen magazines, the ones about fashion, health, and hair, but tended to only have one or two articles on celebrities. I knew girls who shunned that sort of magazine in favor of "Scandal! Engaged! Dating!" magazines so reminiscent of the tabloids I tried to get purchased as a child. I, who never had much interest in the scandals of movies stars, who were just people doing a job to me, was always out of the loop on their gossip, and gladly so.

I'm in college now. My friends get their news from Fox, from ABC, from the Huffington Post and the New York times. They read online, and read off. We have so many news sources. But I've run into a problem.

They read the celebrities, the daring dos, the millionaires. They keep up to date with what that funny boy with the paternity test is doing and dating, and how so and so is back in rehab again, and why isn't she just put in jail, did she pay the judge or something?

More involved in politics, some scorn all politicians and mock them all, others only scorn the big names, the loud ones, and couldn't care otherwise. I look and look for a news source that isn't as disappointing as that black and white rag with the news of the alien dissections, pictures promised. "Scandal! Outrage! Mocking!" The front page covered in opinion pieces.

When I first started college, I wanted to go into journalism. Science was all well and good, but I wanted to write the news. Now, I have no interest in the field at all. Why? I took a look at journalism, a good hard look. Then I attempted to find a news outlet I could trust.

Scandal! Child died, mother blamed! Intrigue! News?


Where did you go, and why can't I find you? Why do I have to search the news in a foreign language, just to learn about you?


Why can't I trust you? Where are you?

I began my search in 2009. It's been two years. Where did all the news go? And why has it been replace? I hear stories of being able to trust the news...all written before I was even alive. Now, it seems that tabloids are called news outlets, and that all you need to be a reporter is an opinion and a computer.

One Final Byte: I miss that I've never seen: Trustworthy News.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Week Twenty-Eight: The devil has taken my English Paper!

Week Twenty-Eight: The devil has taken my English Paper!

So, this is a blog about what I've been up to the past two weeks! I've actually been hard at work on an English paper, and figuring out derivatives. Derivatives aren't so bad, but apparently I need a lot more practice for true understanding. Or maybe a mind transplant. I've been working hard actually, at both. The paper is on 'surprise, surprise' Xenophobia! That' probably why last weeks blog was on it. Let's be honest here. That is exactly why it was.

Now I have a (not) secret to tell. A confession to make, if you will.

I like to talk.

I especially like to talk on paper.

I especially like to talk on paper about my opinion on things.

This means that my English paper, which is supposed to be our opinion our our findings, and how our sources made use feel, had, well, a lot of words, and late last night i discovered something horrifying.

I had a word limit...and was nearly three times over the limit.

Oops. Then again, I don't see how we're supposed to only have one hundred words on each of ten sources. That's not much at all, especially considering the topic was supposed to be about something that perplexed us! That is the very word she used even, she said perplexed!

So my essay is a little...long. And I've been cutting a lot out. An awful lot. I've cut all the ones out that are distinctly me, I've cut out transitions, similes, metaphors, and the beautiful language of prose. I've cut a lot of my feelings out. I've cut, and cut, and cut....I'm still a thousand words over.

This is due midnight EST today, so this blog is going to be very short and sweet.

In other words, as all I've done is study, there's nothing to say, and I've got to go massacre my poor paper some more! Bye!

One Final Byte: Maximum word limits are straight from the devil!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Week Twenty-Seven: Xenophobia and Us.

Week Twenty-Seven: Xenophobia and Us.

So, I've been told I actually have to get up in the morning and leave the house tomorrow before work. This is a frightening ordeal, I swear! But as a result, you have the blog up the night before. This week is once again a political blog. I believe it's that week again!

It also relates to what I'm doing though, so no worries! In my English course, I am writing a research paper. It's an exploratory research paper, full on APA style and everything, and we were allowed to choose a question that made up perplexed. It took me a good three days. What perplexes me. What can't I come up with some sort of an answer for in a minute or two or less of thought.

It came down to one thing. Why is there so much xenophobia in science fiction. As it's an exploratory essay, the question changes as we explore it, and what I've come up with is somewhat frightening. The ultimate answer, to all I can tell, is because fiction is a mirror of real life.

In Word War Two, a lot of sci fi depicted the aliens almost as German Nazis. During the time of Yellow Fever (anti-Asian time period), the Asians were the bad guys. In foreign fiction, ti's the Americans who are the bad guys.

And now? Now there are tow bad guys in American Science Fiction. Two forms of xenophobia stereotypes available. They are ones based on Hispanics, and ones based on Muslims. This scares me.

Make no mistake, I am xenophobic myself, though only mildly, I honestly hope. And it takes a good deal of bravery to admit that in today's overly PC world. But what scares me is that we have gone from having good and bad Muslims, to all Muslims are bad. And while not all Muslims are terrorists, there is often the feeling that all terrorists are Muslim.

That would be like saying that not all Christians are homophobes, but all homophobes are Christian. You see the problem here? It's all in the generalities. Statements like that, not the fiction we read, increase xenophobia.

I interviewed two different sci fi writers for my essay. One of them put it very nicely, when I asked why he included xenophobia as part of his writing:

“...after 9/11 there's been a massive wave of anti-anti-American sentiment, or against stuff that isn't even anti-American, but just different. To be honest, it scares me. It's no different than either of the Red Scares or the Anti-German sentiment in both world wars. In a way I'm projecting that fear into my writing, to help draw attention to it. Hopefully it's helping people realize that what they're doing, while not as extreme as what I write, is the same thing.

His writing is very xenophobic. It makes Hitler seem downright friendly. It's scared me sometimes. But what's scared me more is the sources and the studies I have found that state that the government has encouraged the xenophobia, the anti-religion, the anti-anything that might demand we act reasonably sentiment. It's scary.

Our nation is scary now, on the inside. I would love to talk to someone who went through the Red Scare about it. I may just do that.

One Final Byte: Washington knew the power always corrupts in government.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Week Twenty-Six: Half Year Mark!

Week Twenty-Six: Holy Peacocks, Batman!

Oh wowzers! Week twenty-six is here, and with it comes the marking my by first half year in this foreign, foreign locale. The movie feeling has long since faded, and the sheer number of castle I've seen has-

Okay, so I still want more castles. I like castles. I like wandering slowly through them, imagining how they used to be, tracing the eroded stone relief carvings. I like imagining what this or that may have once been. Six months alter, and no, I haven't received my fill of castles. So there. I could use more castle. And relics. And old stuff. I like the old stuff.

There are parts of it I don't like, and may parts I've yet to experience. I still have time. Overall, my time in Germany has been...okay. I can safely say I'm not an ounce German, nor am I enamored by the culture. While it's been a definite adventure, it's not have as adventurous as I'm sure I'll be able to make it sound later on.

I'm glad I have the chance though! I plan on traveling more of Europe sometime soon! This isn't exactly the sort of thing that I'll get to do often at all, and if I'm going to be cosmopolitan, I might was well be well traveled!

Mostly, I wanted to not that it's been six months since I moved here, and I'm still a little home sick. My home is on Pleasure Island, Alabama, and I know it. I'll live there again some day, but until then, I'm okay. God holds me in his hands after all.

As for what's been going on recently? Well, I went on a handful of dates. They were interesting. Dating as a college student who doesn't party is a bit meh. You're too poor to spend money, too busy to go far, and I don't know about this clicking thing. I've discovered that about the only difference between college and high school dates is that there's more homework in the way on college dates.

Besides, right now, we're short around five people on my shift at work, so I have zip in the free time department! One fired, one deceased, one coming down with something, and two quit. It's been a busy holiday weekend, I can tell you that. Between making cookies that made their way into our stomach, after being left at home instead of taken to the school party, to serving people in a pirate costume at work, I can tell you my Halloween was busier than it's ever been.

Halloween is pretty different over here. Most of Germany doesn't celebrate Halloween like America does. What they do instead, I don't know, because the base has been around so long, that here they have a very American Halloween!

A lot of the German kids end up on base, trick or treating with family friends, during the base trick or treat date, and on Halloween itself, both American and German kids wander the streets for candy, dressed up! I couldn't tell you my favorite costume of the night. It was all rather fun though, and I enjoyed the holiday spirit. Work's been heavy due to the holiday and all it's celebrations, but that's okay.

It certainly pays!

Hey, since I was late, I'm going to write today's happenings too! I woke up too late to do anything but skedaddle. (And, you know, fix my dinner and eat quickly.) So I didn't post today, but I will tell you despite heading into work it was an adventure. I've been on drive thru all day. Unfortunately, around five o'clock, the drive thru headsets began to randomly shut off, or declare of out of range. So our drive thru because super old fashioned. That is, to say, they drove up to the window and we took their order at one, and money at the other. Our timer, that tells us how fast we're doing, messed up also. It was slightly confusing, because we thought our time was getting worse, at first, until we figured out that the timer stopped working at the same time as the headsets! It stops counting around one hour and eight minutes by the way.

We did manage to get the headsets working, but this happened in the middle of rush. At least everyone knew their order when they got to the window? Either way, sorry for the tardy post, but we made it!

One Final Byte: American Holidays in foreign locales are very fun.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week Twenty-Five: Sex Ed

Ack! I missed Wednesday! Where'd it go! No joke guys, today felt like a Friday, so sorry for the lateness. The sibs had a day off of school and that throws me So. Far. Off. So, this week is supposed to be my political rantings. Or something to do with Americaness. The epiphany thingy.

But to tell you the truth, other than being proud that Occupy Wall Street is growing and spreading, I have little to talk about. Right now, I'm still trying to sort everything out, and school has been all kinds of WHAM this past week.

I suppose I could relate to you a conversation I had about sex education with a European. They've raised their child in a very European way, but lived in the states for some time. Not uncommon, after all. I am on a military base.

The conversation came up because she was confused why, at nine, the littlest wasn't big on adult topics, and why we tried to prevent them around her. Her daughter, apparently, had been. All my attempts at explaining didn't go over well. I was, to be honest, a bit blind sided by the topic. I'm not a parent. I'm a sister, I'm an aunt, but I'm not a major part of my sister or my nieces lives when it comes to the Talk. In fact, I fully intend on being far, far away when it is given. Maybe China. Or Japan. Or the moon. The moon sounds good.

I can tell you what I know of course. I know that at nine, I knew about the body parts, and knew that birth control existed. I had sex education, in the form of body education. We learned how babies were made, by watching a really old school video, about our bodies. The classes were segregated by gender.

But people didn't actively discuss it. At most we giggled awkwardly, embarrassed to have out teacher talk to us about this. Most of our parents had given us a short version of the Talk at least, around this age, to prepare us for the lesson that of course they knew about. You couldn't attend without a signature.

I know that at that age, I couldn't watch shows like the Simpson's, or anything with even vaguely adult humor. I was a very sheltered kid though, and part of it had to do with where I was living. I had seen animals go at it, with only a vague understanding and a serious level of disgust.

Her child, at this age, knew about sex. Watched shows where sex was discussed frequently. Didn't watch cartoons, but preferred more adult oriented programming. For me, I've never even seen some of the shows she named, so can't comment, other than having heard nothing remotely interesting about them.

But I can tell you now, that when I do have kids, they aren't going to watch shows with a bunch of gossiping idiot women who like to discuss men's equipment and favorite positions. That can wait until they are out of my house, thank you!

Maybe it's a European thing, maybe is a non-Christian thing, but I don't think teen pregnancy is caused by teen's not knowing. They do know. They've been told for years, and they have older siblings, or friend's with older siblings, or neighbor, or some one close enough that they'll have some clue what sex is. They'll know the possible results of their actions. For some of them, it's so much a part of their family's culture and the culture of where they live they can't imagine anything else. Others are horrified, and know they've made a mistake. But they cannot say they don't know, whether they attended sex ed classes or not.

I don't know. I do know that kids mature at different ages, and that certainly plays a factor, but I would struggle with any child of mine maturing quite so rapidly.

One Final Byte: Oh yeah, I may have a cute boyfriend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Week Twenty-four: In the stillness

I saw a falling star this week. It was late at night, and I was late getting off work. I was freezing, because it was cold. Who am I kidding, it was about three degrees above freezing here, and I was wet from doing the floors. This put me in a horrible mood. Mind you, biking home is never the most fun thing out there, but normally I at least get to think on things. It's very peaceful.

I have this hill I have to bike up on the way home. It's the final hill before I hit the village I live in. It's huge. Or at least, it feels it. The truth is, it starts out not so bad, but the last little bit is very steep. So I struggle to get up it, late at night, when I'm cold and tired. Most of the time, I make it half way up the hill then dismount and walk up the rest. This time, I gave up a quarter of the way up abd began to walk.

It's beautiful, the night sky here Normally I pause at least once in my bike ride to just look up and see the stars. I love this part because it's just this moment of serene peace. As I was walking up that hill, I look up and lo and behold, there was a falling star.

Have you ever seen a falling star? It's this line that flashes across the sky then is gone in a blink. It's an awe-inspiring site.

I didn't make a wish. Instead, I'm savign my falling star wish for a rainy day.

These past two weeks have been busy for me. I had my final in math this past Wednesday, and we've been preparing for my dad to go TDY. It was canceled however, which is something of a relieve. I've been very busy with school, and work, so I don't get nearly as much time to just relax now. But I try and take out a few minutes of each day just to breath.

Some days, it's harder than others. Other days, you just want to scream! When I was on my way home, I was furious, I was angry, and I wanted out! My job is fun and all, but it doesn't work as well with my classes as it could, and it's cold biking home late at night! Very cold! So sometimes I'm more frustrated than I should be.

When that happens, it's easiest just to sit back, relax, and know that all really is well. I have a home, and food in my belly. I'm going to school in such a manner that I won't have to begger myself to afford my degree. I've worked out a degree seeking plan to transfer over, and I'm busting my butt at work to pay for all of this. I may not have the latest in gadgets and gizmos, but I have my health and my friends and my God.

Sometimes, you just have to take a step back and realize this.

One Final Byte: Knowing how to relax is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Week Twenty-Three: Occupy Wall Street

Well. This is what I'm talking about! Finally, my generation is doing something worth it! I spoke in Week Seventeen about a paradigm shift, about my realizing how lucky we, as Americans, are. I asked a question then, as I worried about the general public not doing anything, and the government regulations expanding continuously.

When will the rest of the choir speak up, unified, to make their song be heard?”

Well! I certainly got my answer didn't I! And it was as if the general public rose up, and what started as a few become thousands. Thousands protesting in the streets and millions agreeing with them. I Am Proud. And yes, there is some violence, but there is some violence no matter what.

Now consider the size of the protests compared to the incidents of violence, and think on that for a bit. These aren't a bunch of young liberals either. There are teachers, soldiers, sailors, and yes, even humble librarian are rising up.

The biggest accusation that the media presents are that these are a bunch of liberals who have no clear leadership and no clear demands. I hate to tell the media this, but they have leadership that acts with the consent of it's people and many protestors in the civil rights era couldn't tell you what they protested for, only that they were fighting something horrible.

And I think the demands are pretty clear. The banks who didn't use the bail out money how they were supposed to need to be punished. Investigations need to be launched into big wig CEOs, especially the ones that the Americans public suspects of inside trading. No more lobbiers writing the bills that go through congress. No more FED.

A revolution. The American people want an economic revolution, a political revolution. They don't want corporations to be treated as citizens, because frankly, corporations make horrible citizens.

One of the accusations is that this protests is against capitalism. Please don't be fooled. Open your eyes, look around. Using the internet, these protestors are organizing themselves to protests in more than just the North East. There are 'Occupy Meetups' in 1,360 cities at the time of this writing.

This isn't a protest again capitalism. This is a protest against statism, against misuse of government tn order to gain money.

[...] If we are to keep the term "capitalism" at all, then, we must distinguish between "free-market capitalism" on the one hand, and "state capitalism" on the other. The two are as different as day and night in their nature and consequences. Free-market capitalism is a network of free and voluntary exchanges in which producers work, produce, and exchange their products for the products of others through prices voluntarily arrived at. State capitalism consists of one or more groups making use of the coercive apparatus of the government — the State — to accumulate capital for themselves by expropriating the production of others by force and violence [...]” -- Murray N. Rothbard, 1972 [1]

Imagine. Corporations, no longer allowed to write laws to send to the government. People able to trust the government once more. Imagine a government that protected, not used, the people, and imagine how different the world would be. It's not just in America now, it's growing steadily, world wide. Take a look at the map on Occupy Together. Not every protest is big. But they are happening.

Even now, the Occupy Wall St is using the democratic process in order to make a formal list of demands. Go to their website, look it up yourself. Vote.

Think you're alone? At the bottom of this post is a Google+ feed of pictures of the protestors. There's an Occupy Wall St Tumbler. On it are pictures and statements from the 99%. Let your voice be heard, even if it's only the single vote, or a single picture. Be proud. Be heard. And let the White House know that we won't stand for this any more.

One Final Byte: Freedom is worth only what you put in it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week Twenty-Two: The Fragility of Life

Last Thursday evening, about fifteen minutes before work began, I was informed of why my manager seemed in tears. A co-worker of mine had died last night, in a car accident. It looked like he had taken a corner too fast. He was seventeen. While normally I wouldn't tell you the events I have planned, today I will.

Today I will spend most of my day in the company of evening shift workers. We worked with the young man who died. We'll have a potluck lunch together, then go to the memorial service. The seventeen year old's funeral will be in the states, so that his family can attend.

I don't have much to say about what's happened the past tow weeks, not for me personally. Between school and work, I didn't attend Octoberfest, and with the distressing news, I didn't do much of anything. For simplicity's sake, I'm going to call the young man B.

B was a christian, a quarterback, involved in clubs, good at school. He was the type of kid you can see growing into a family man. His family had no problems, and he never talked about ever fighting with his parents. When the family came to eat at our workplace, he'd go out, say hello, and give his mom a hug. B was a good kid.

The base commander sent a chaplain to our work the day after he heard. One by one, which each broke down with the chaplain to comfort us. Even our manager, an atheist, was comforted somewhat.

I was not close to B, but he was a good worker, and willing to help out. His girlfriend also worked at Burger King. They had not been dating for more than a month. On Friday was homecoming.

Life is sad. It's short and sweet, and for some it's shorter than others. People rarely expect it to be so short, and never expect to lose a kid who didn't deserve to die.

The chaplain did say something to me though. He reminded me that God has a plan, and even this said event, this horrible event served a purpose. B had dedicated his life to God, and I believe even his death had a reason beyond he took a corner too fast. He had only been driving a month. There is a small candle where he died. The daughter of the evening manager, who was friend with B and went to school with him, came in the other day with a pair of broken glasses. She and her sister had been out to the crash site. They had found his glasses.

Tomorrow, we're going to give them to his parents. I know that if someone had found my mom's glasses, I would have wanted them and this seems the right thing to do. As for me, this merely cements my feelings on the month of September. It is the saddest month I know.

I don't have much more to say. I know this blog is short, and I know most of you who read this aren't interested in a nameless boy in an accident, other than to say, how sad. But I can tell you that this boy, nameless to you, touched more lives in seventeen years than many people much older.

One Final Byte: I hope one day, cars no longer kill.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Week Twenty-One: Where is Snoopy?

Why I won't Vote in Any Incumbents that didn't get a B in College Economics:

Well, for one, there is this budget fiasco. Again. For two, there is this, oh, I dunno, recession thing that's going on about our ears. For three, they can't seem to play nice, so if they are going to be rude little berks, they can be rude little berks who actually have some idea of economics.

Okay, okay, I know. College was a long time ago for these guys, I know. And really, they're politicians, we can't expect them to behave in a civilized manner when all they are about is looking good. Quite frankly, I expect Paris Hilton and all of her little air headed rich foolish friends to be better behaved and have more manners than the average DC politician. This, by the way, says something. I expect someone who has been in Drug Rehab to behave better than some one who is in LAW.

That's kind of sad, but here's the fact. With stars, WYSIWYG applies. What you see is what you get. They throw temper tantrums if they've been in the public eye since they were small kids, because, essentially, they never grew out of being a kid. They just had hormones (horror-moans) added to the mix. With politicians, they actively claw to be in front of the camera, in the public eye, to remind their constituents of how fabulous they are, and why they should be voted for. Seriously, dudes, I'm sick and tired of politicians.

Do you know what I want? I want a statesman. I want to vote for a dignified man, who won't behave like a toddler if he doesn't get his way. I want a man that will tackle issues that had long term effects and provide long term solutions to big problems. I want a man in government that knows the meaning of the word compromise and understands that campaign promises are more like campaign goals, because he doesn't hold all the power. No one does, not even the President.

I want some one who is intelligent, well educated, has run a business, and knows how to work with people, and when people just can't be worked with. I want some one with a sense of humor and religion, to keep him happy and grounded.

Let's face it, about the only politician out there that I've described is a white dog, with black ears and an enormous snout. He belongs to a boy in a yellow shirt with a black zig zag stripe around it, and the dog answers to the name 'Snoopy.'

So, heap big politicians, do me a favor, and be more like Snoopy. He's a good Dog, a great statesmen, and can fly his dog house in dog fights in the sky! Also, he's an all around good guy, and frankly, wouldn't be getting into this mess.

Unfortunately, there are no Snoopy's in any of the three branches of Government. Just an awful lot of Lucys, a handful of pig pens, and a one too many Peppermint Patties. I think we have some of the Charlie Brown minor characters too, in the form of bullies. However, I will say this!

The one thing each politician in Congress right now has in common with Good Ole Charlie Brown is that he is a complete and total BLOCKHEAD!

One Final Byte: There are many hills between base and home.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week Twenty: Spiders and Drivers

Spiders, and Drivers

Wow, what a week. I say this because I've been sick since last Thursday, and, while I still am a little sick, I'm doing much better. Unfortunately, I did miss class on Monday and a quiz, not that they would have thanks me for coming! I'm not entirely sure they'll thank me for coming tonight, but I've another quiz on Monday, so rather need to go. There's a study session on Saturday I'd like to attend as well, to be honest. Gotta get all caught up!

The most amusing thing that happened this weekend happened last Thursday, right as I was coming down with a bad cold. I was working front cash, thanks to the mercy of my manager, and it was fairly slow. So at the time this happens, I notice everyone congregating around the view screens of the drive thru. Weird, I think, and finish taking the order and go to check this out.

Most drive thrus have a clearance sign. Why? Because most drive thrus have a roof hanging over to prevent the cashier and the driver's arms from getting completely soaked on rainy days. This is a boon. Apparently, all truck driver don't notice these clearance signs, or know the clearance of their truck. We had a delivery van coming through our driver through, and he struck the clearance sign.

Please understand. The sign was in English, and he was German. The signed are even made so that when struck, rather than breaking, they turn. So we are staring at the truck with our clearance sign scrapping along the side of it and the driver doesn't even notice. Wow.

Anyway, the person is drive thru wasn't concerned at first, nor was the manager. Apparently, they forgot that clearance signs have a purpose and that purpose is to keep truck from running into the roof of the building. I pointed this out, and that there was indeed an overhang there. The manager looks out the window, looks up, sighs, and has the drive thru cashier ask the man to back out because he can't come through. This man, by the way, is a frequent customer. He also smells very strongly and usually comes inside.

He had to come inside anyway, as it fast became clear that there would be no turning the sign back to it's original position. No one could do it. So yes, the insurance companies had to be informed. This poor man is going to have to pay out of pocket for an expense because he wasn't paying any attention at all. The insurance companies may cover some, but I doubt they'll cover all.

The sign, by the way, was bent, cracked, and fairly well mangled. I got to take pictures for insurance purposes. It was much fun. This, by the way, was the highlight of my week.

So, my two online classes started Friday. Geez! I have to post on a discussion board nightly in one, and on the other, I must leave two to three insightful comments on the other students assignments. You have no clue how hard it is to provide insightful comments when you are disturbingly obviously the youngest in the class, and they're posts make it clear they all have decades of experience on you. It's the same way in my computer class.

Still, I can work ahead in either if I want, which is nice. I plan on it too. I've got a paper due tonight of course, on my computer class, by midnight EST. That, by the way, is way after I've gone to sleep, so I'll likely write it up later tonight. It's not a hard class. For that matter, the question is disturbingly like the ones in my high school computer class. Oh well!

Neither class is hard, it's just very different for me. I've had blended courses of course, most people can't get through college now without having at least one, but a completely online class is a new thing. Still, needs must! I can only afford one class in person right now with my work schedule. If I change jobs and change to a 7-3 schedule of 8-4 then maybe I could get away with more than one, but that's a big maybe. There is a Child Development Center on base those, and I've been debating applying there. I'm pretty good with small kids, after all, and it's not like there won't be things for them to do there, so I won't be the sole entertainment.

Honestly, I'd probably be an assistant anyway. No way I could job straight into it otherwise. Also, I have to find this place first! I have no clue where it might be. I just know the workers frequently come to Burger King. Still, I do make good money here. It's a hard choice. More classes face to face versus a possible pay cut. I don't know. I'd say it's even possible to be working two jobs, but it isn't on base. If you work for the Air Force in any way as a civilian you are allowed to work no more than forty hours a week. There is no paid overtime unless it is pre-approved, and yes there is paperwork we have to sign to that affect. Not that it stops people at BK from working as much as possible, on the schedule or not. About once a week, someone shows up not on the schedule and puts a few hours in!

On to the next subject! Spiders.

Germany has lots of spiders.

A Lot Of Spiders.

Most of which seem to find my room a lovely habitat. I keep getting rid of them, and they keep coming in. A clean room is a room where you can see the little buggers have made there nests. There is one under my desk. There is one in the corner of my office. Okay, there's more like, three or four in several corners, spread out. One lives in the window. The basement has so many that you have to watch your steps for fear of spider bite. There is even one really big spiders I saw on the steps the other day that could cover the palm of my hand and was brown and slightly furry. I didn't get close enough to look, but now I fear laundry on the floor. What if it's hiding! Geez, laundry has never been so nerve wracking.

The most common Spiders though have long thin legs, and a pinky nail long body that is fairly thing, but thicker than it's legs. I'm grateful that they've scared any bugs out of my room, I admit, but the whole spider in the wardrobe thing is a bit much. Can't they stay, I don't know, out of sight? Hrm.

Ah well. Spiders aren't all that scary for the most part, and from experience, these aren't poisonous to kill you. Yes I have been bitten by the one under my desk. You will note, my feet no longer disturb that beast. It's cranky.

That's all I have for you. Sorry for the lack of German Adventures, but, you know, school and work take up a lot of my time now. When I'm not working I'm doing school work. In the words of a dear friend. “Yeah, College does that.” Still, I'm glad to say that I'm paying my own way. I've busted my butt working for my education, which means I am going to work hard to do my best, because it's my dime going into it. That makes it that much more valuable to me. I refuse to waste a penny of it!

One Final Byte: German Ice Cream is this burst of flavor.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Week Nineteen: The News, Political Prominence and Freedom

Within twenty minutes of the blast at a French Nuclear plant on Monday there were...five reports on it, according to google news and the search term 'French nuclear blast.' My google is set to receive German news and Chinese as well, along with Canadian, Australian, and British. Surely, with the wide open space of the internet, twenty minutes is enough for something to be tweeted 'a thousandy times' as I would have said as a child.

Thirty-five minutes after the first reports, twitter came up with around forty-five tweets under the terms 'French nuclear', one of which was dated before the earliest news articles (which, by the way, read: No more data yet.) So...Not even fifty times, in English.

Now, recall Japan. Within thirty minutes of that nuclear disaster, there were more than 200 tweets. Even factoring out the world's eye being on Japan at this time, one day have to wonder at the difference. Oh, and for those worried about my safety, as of the time of this writing, I am just fine, as is everyone else where I am. While I do exist currently in a country bordering France, the explosion was, by all accounts, in Southern France. Germany is on the upper border, I believe.

Why were there so few reports at first? It's a combination of facts. First, France, while relatively friendly to the US, doesn't hold nearly as much political prominence, so much news from that country is disregarded. There are over 200 countries in the world, and not all are as important in a global sense as others. While France is up there, it is not as important, as say, Japan, who holds an electronic economic powerhouse, thanks to the number of electronics companies based on that island nation. Ergo, our news stations will always pay more attention to Japan than to France. Besides, Japan news has a wider audience, thanks to children who have grown up watching shows from Japan, and who still enjoy that culture now that they are adults.

Secondly, France rushed to suppress the news of the blast. While they couldn't cut it off out right, they are certainly attempting to downplay what has happened immensely. The blast was, as all nuclear accidents are, serious business.

This ties in, disturbingly, to American politics. While America is the nation with the largest freedom of speech in the world, there are certain things the newspapers are heavily encouraged to skim on when it comes to the news. And by encouraged, I mean they were instructed not to report on them, or to give bare minimal reporting. Opinions were preferred to facts.

Keep in mind my belief in the vast majority of news organizations is frankly non-existant, especially American newspapers and news channels whom seem to have adopted a stance of 'Sensationalism is the Best!' However, I do know for a fact that they were asked to not report on the current war. Not report on a ten year long war on the basis that it would 'upset American morale' and in these times of 'economic distress' the government really doesn't want that.

Or rather, the government keenly remembers the age of war protests, and would really rather not have that again. Please do not get me wrong. I support our troops, and believe them to be brave men and women fighting to keep us free, but this war is going to be never ending if we wait for the Middle East to obtain peace. Can you think of a time when the Middle East was last at peace with itself for more than ten years?

Yeah, nor can I. When they aren't warring, they are genociding, and when they aren't doing either one, they are on the verge of a rebellion.

I find it disturbing that we as Americans are more interested in whether Britney Spears is engaged or not, than what our troops are doing on the ground.

Maybe it's just because I'm an idealistic college student who has never seen the 'real world' but I could have sworn that the government had no true say in what the news reported. America is supposed to be one of the best of the best when it comes to freedom of speech, but the government is still sticking their grown too long nose in. While we can certainly post what we choose too, they have the power to simply off the internet. They have for sometime now. And they certainly have to power to censor what websites are viewable in the United States. The real question is, do they use it, or do they not? I suspect I know the answer. And it saddens me greatly.

 One Final Byte: Oh college math, you do confound me so.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Week Eighteen: College Costs

A bit of a change back from my very politically minded post of last week. I might try alternating the two, as you must understand, I have a lot to work out. Sadly, I don't know all the answers right away. So, a visit back to college in Germany is in order. Right, so I attend Embry Riddle University – Worldwide. They have basically what amount to satellite campuses all around the world, and the one I'm at has four rooms it shares with two other colleges and an office. Weird, huh? But hey, I'm saving a lot of money over all coming here. Why? Because I can pay as I go, and take on a payment plan. This is basically my rent payment, because I live with my dad. I feel the squeeze of 'rent' too, I promise. Right now, because I managed to safe up money during the summer, I have completely paid off one course. This leaves me Only two more course to pay for this lovely quarter, and each course is $780. I basically bust my butt and save up my dollars for college. Still, 780 a course is really good, from a State-side point of view. Not so much from the view of certain other countries, however. I've done a bit of poking around, you see, and it has occurred to me that many governments heavily subsidize their universities. And by heavily, I mean, it's free, by Jove! Free! This is shocking. I'm sure you heard about the student riots in England awhile back, due to have to pay tuition fees. When my friend told me the cost and protested it to be much too high, I told her that was cheaper than many community colleges in the United States. This is very true, to my chagrin. It's also why I love that my college accepts payment. Now mind you, payments are a horrible, no good, very bad thing and you should always try and just pay outright, or hold off, but I am a full time student and shall remain thus. The payments help with this, immensely. I pay for about a class month, as quarters are about three months long. It's very nice, to tell the truth. College can be fairly expensive of course, so I honestly advocate getting the general education classes complete at a community college, along with as many other classes as possible. Your first two years, or your associate's should be done for as cheap as possible. I know of one community college, where it costs under $15,000 to receive your associate's in general education. That's less than the cost of one semester of university, especially once you add in room and board and other costs. It's a wonderful thing, don't you think? Nowadays, with the economy tanked, I'm not the only one who believes it either. Many of my friends are in community colleges across the Us, not because they are stupid, but because they, like me, don't want heaps and heaps of student loans once they get out. They all hold jobs, and work hard. All of us apply for scholarships pretty must constantly. Meanwhile, I've friends who have taken out loans for college. They're going to University and doing grand, but they're working in a field that is shrinking, not growing, and they are in denial of this. It's scary for me to watch, but it is their life and their decision. As for me? I am not going to waste my hard earned cash on a college degree that I cannot use, and I will not delude myself into thinking I'll be making the big bucks right out of college. The average for my field is 48K. But that is an average, not the whole thing. I will be very satisfied with whatever I am paid, so long as it is at least a few dollars over minimum wage. After all, I'm paying for this career opportunity, so I would like to profit! One Final Byte: Debt is no tool, but an evil force.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Week Seventeen: Paradigm Shift

Sometimes, you experience a paradigm shift. For many people my age, they experience this on volunteer trip to poor people of world, whether they go to the Appalachian Mountains or to Africa or Asia. For me, I've experienced it here in Germany.

I've written before about how different Germany and America are. Sometimes it really hits you though, and it causes you to lash out as you fight against what you see. Sometimes it doesn't hit you at all, and you continue through life, not realizing how lucky you are to be an American. And not seeing what is slowly happening through a society that encourages laziness and encourages a lack of rebellion.

I've lived in a couple of different parts of America, and each time experienced a sense of culture shock. America is a vastly different country that has fifty very different parts and each of those fifty parts vary wildly in their regions.

But one thing that all fifty parts of the US have, that all fifty states hold in common is a basic, undeniable, right to be free. The right to not have every aspect of your life be regulated, to be able to change your career at the drop of a hat, to go to school for one major and come out with a totally different one.

In Germany, you choose your career when you enter into high school. When you are fourteen, you already make the choice as to what you want to be when you leave your parents home and go out into the world.

Are you what you thought you would be at fourteen? At fourteen, I wanted to be an English Major and be a writer. I still want to be a writer, but I'm majoring in engineering now. Well...both start with an 'e' but that's about the only similarity.

It frightens me that one day America may be so tightly regulated. Businesses claim that new college graduates do know what they need to know for work. Will laws be passed to 'change' this, to 'improve' educations by people who know nothing about the subject? I hope not, but isn't that how it always is? Between the many facets of their jobs, Congressmen and women don't have time to study the many issues they must legislate efficiently. They leave this to their workers, who may not go into it with a full understanding, and may only look at what the general public has to say.

Sadly, the general public has little to say, and only a few lone voice, the outliers, the extremists are heard. Like in a choir where one voice is louder than the rest, these voices demand to be heard, at the sacrifice of so many other voices.

When will the rest of the choir speak up, unified, to make their song be heard?

How can they be heard over these loud voices? And for many, would it be worth it in the end?

I can answer the last one, at least. Yes.

A resounding, earth shattering, mind blowing Yes!

Because even if nothing changes immediately, You Have Been Heard. And you may be surprised who else wants to be heard too.

One Final Byte: Germany is a beautiful country when you visit.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Week Sixteen: Math Out My Ears!

Classes and Quarters

Geez, what a week. Class started, but I had two classes dropped, then had one of my other options dropped, leading to three classes dropped total! Between that and math, I'm going nuts, I swear. Still, it's been a lot of fun!

I've ended up having math start this past Monday, and my other classes are all going to start in September, and be online. It's been an adventure! Still, I had a lot of fun.

I have a desk now, just a basic little metal thing. The backing is super glued on, to my glee. The screws they sent were too fat for the metal holes. I also have a dismantled wardrobe in my room, taking up space, and it's probably a good thing I have a bunk bed, as other wise, I wouldn't have a bed to sleep on. All my clothes are on the bed right now. In other words, I can't find anything! It's driving me nutso.

Next up on my list of things needed: nails, an office chair, and two textbooks.

I know, who gets a desk without a chair? Well, the person who only had room for a desk, not a desk and a chair in the car! That's who. And the desk barely fit, despite being one of the furniture in a box sets that you have to put together.

So. First math class was an absolute blast. All of two people had their text books, and one person had the wrong edition. The teacher said that either edition was alright to have. No, I didn't have mine, oops. I felt horribly ill-prepared, not being armed with a book, and not, you know, having had formal math class in years and years. It was a breeze! I remembered everything, but I do have some tables to memorize that I didn't have to memorize in high school. Squares to twelve, and cubes to five. That won't be hard though, as I have them half memorized already.

I'm catching myself up to speed using Khan Academy of course. It's helping a lot, as we're going over all of three chapters, and the third is going to be trig, which I never took. Gulp.

A bit of advice: Take Trig and Calc in high school, even if you hate math, and don't think you'll need them. You never know, and the Boy Scouts have it right: Always Be Prepared.

I have math year round of course, but I'm hoping I won't crash and fail too hard.

And hey! No more midnight madness class for me! Huzzah!

One Final Byte: When you memorize something, memorize it for good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Week Fifteen: Midnight Classes!

Week Fifteen: Midnight classes!

What a week! Okay, so not really. It's been dullsville here, because,you know, college and all. Those people who swear college will be parties constantly? Yeah right. Only ones with dorms, trust me. All the other colleges are big on, oh, I don't know, learning.

There's been some issues with one of my classes. It didn't get enough students so was dropped. SoI had to sign up for a different one, which isn't working. It's also broadcast all the way from Albuquerque, where it exists as an afternoon class.

This means it starts at midnight and ends at four am for me. In my family, and in human biology, keeping a schedule is very important. In other words, I have to stay up until four am...every night.

This is...not fun. Do you know what happens after 10 pm where I am? Nothing. There aren't even 24 hour gas stations to walk to.

Ah well, it's only until October 7, then I can resume a better schedule. This one is killer. But I will survive! I always do. It's my specialty.

Besides, it's not exactly a hardship, sleeping in until noon. Though I'm still not sure if a midnight class counts as a morning class or evening class.

They've severely slashed my hours at work to account for my college schedule. Sadly, they seem to think I only have weekends free. I have made repeated attempts to disillusion them, to no effect.

One of these days....

One Final Byte: I look like my dog: small and blonde.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Week Fourteen: Medieval Fairs and Wild life Parks

Week Fourteen: Medieval Fair

I know, we went to another one? But each one if different and in different places. This one was totally a tent city and held next to a wild life park. I wouldn't call it a wildlife park so much as a semi-zoo though.

It was fun, I will admit. Both the fair and the wildlife park! The music was entertaining, and they sang everything from distinctly modern drinking songs in English, to medieval music, and all of it was played on really funny looking instruments that I assume were popular way back when.

We had fun looking around, and I decided that since half the people who go are dressed up, I may make a costume for it myself. I say make it because the el cheapo ones cost 80 Euro, and the really nice ones cost close to 300 Euro, or more.

Dudes. No. Not gonna pay that! As awesome as those outfits are, I really don't want to pay that, because I added at least 30% more to get the amount in US dollars. That means physical pain. So no thanks, I'll make my own, or score something awesome at a thrift shop or something.

So, painful prices aside, I can tell you the weather was wet that day, and only one of the four that went, myself included, had a jacket, because we had judged it warm, and it had been sunny...thirty minutes away.

Er, guys. Never travel without a rain jacket in Germany. The fair was fun. They're more like medieval shopping marts than anything else. Occasional music and entertainment, but mostly shopping.

The wildlife preserve was fun also. There were peacocks! They did not display their tail feathers, sadly, though they did walk close to the littlest and I. It was a lot of fun. We fed the goats and the pigs, some ostriches, and miniature ponies, along with some donkeys. Watching the littlest and the fourteen year old hand feed them was great fun. There was some fear they would bit!

Of course, after this, we say the 'don't hand feed the animals' signs.

We says a whole host of birds, mostly owls, and other predator type birds. It was cute, as they had some baby owls and falcons. There were llamas and deer, and reindeer of all things. The reindeer chased some sheep by the way. It was really funny.

Then, as we entered another gated area, with pigs in it, it started to rain. By this time, we had picked up a German teenager, and his younger two siblings, all in period dress. He was, he told us, a Celtic warrior. He talked. A lot.

No seriously.



I think he was excited to meet us? Apparently, it's a yearly trip for his family, and they live in one of the tents. I'm not certain. I was overwhelmed by his sheer exuberance, so my Dad did much of the talking back. I don't think he even noticed.

So, it's sprinkling right, not a big deal, and we're feeding piglets. Then it begins to really storm.

You read about us not having jackets, right? Yeah, we were lucky there was a shelter. We were gong to wait out the storm, but it lasted quite awhile, and besides, I don't think I could have withstood much longer under the shelter with the German teenager.

So we were soaked as we made our way to shelter and then to the car. We missed out on the foxes, apparently. That's just fine. They were foxes. They look like foxes, and would have been asleep anyway, much like the ferrets, but unlike the gerbils.

All in all, this week has been pretty fun! One of my classes was canceled due to lack of people, but that's okay, I'll sign up for a new one. No big deal. It's college, after all. This stuff happens.

No clue yet. I'll try and go in this week to get ti fixed, but am not certain what day. I did get my eyes looked at. I am no farsighted in both. One day, I will get eye doctors to agree. Until then, I will just accept the prescription they give.

One Final Byte: Base is only really big if you think so.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Week Twelve and Thirteen: Ramblings.

Okay, so whoops. I kind of sort of forgot to post last week! Uh oh! Not much happened anyway, so you'll have to forgive me. I think I had planned a post about, uh, bugs? Yeah seriously, see, not much. So this, this will be a two week post, and you get two final bytes at the bottom to make up for the one I missed.

I'll try and make this one longer too, though no promises! Okay, so. Germany. Land of Wine. Or where I am, it's the Land of Wine, don't ask me about the rest, cause the first answer to Bier, which pretty much makes Germany the land of alcohol, period, full stop. Mind you, I have yet to taste a German beer. There's been no occasion and I am just not tempted to at all.

Having thoroughly lost my train of thought, I shall now attempt to find it. I'm pretty certain it's a hover train dudes, cause this thing wanders off on it's own.

So. As I was saying, I'm in Germany, and even the weeks in which nothing happens are full of fascinating things, like bees the size of my big toe that look like they might be bees, and scare the crude out of me because what if it is African and thinking Homicidal thoughts.

The most fascinating thing I learned this week was about things you are not allowed to say in Germany, and most of them involve World War Two. This includes that man with the funny's mustache and the angry face's name, and his political affiliations or his action upon millions of Jews.

That smacks of stupidity to me. In order to learn from ones mistakes, one has to remember them. Without remembering, it can only happen again and again. In American history we are taught even the most vile things we did in the past, so we know never ever to do that again. We learn about those who died, in sometimes gory detail and are then asked to write about it in an essay or take a test in it so we are sure to remember.

While I am sure there are somethings that aren't mentioned, there are atrocities enough we will admit to having engineered.

That's one of my problems here I believe. That and the lack of a beach. Oh beach, how I miss smelling your salty air and giving up as you steadily ate at my bike. And your sand. And your water. Oh let's face it, Orange Beach freaking rocks!

The other possible topic for last week was the weather, which has been mostly wet and rainy, alogn with cold. That sounds like how London is described to me. Wet. Apparently it's a good ten degree Fahrenheit cooler recently than usual. This is more, I am told, like September last year. Well, September is next month which means- Oh God Winter is Coming.

Those of you from Colorado may or may not remember by reaction to the cold. It made me sluggish at best, grumpy at worst, and please don't let it touch me. Snow is very pretty, and fun to play with, but when it lasts longer than a week then there is some mischief at work. So that's what I'm dreading. And yes, I am already dreading it and summer isn't over yet.

Mostly because I'm not certain most of the time if it is summer. Late spring maybe. The past two days have been warm enough to make me happy, but still. Germany isn't known for it's sun.

Right, so, this blog is technically about my experience in college while in Germany, I just started it over summer break. Classes, by the way, start the seventh of August. I am excited, confused, and slightly miffed. You see, this is a college whose classes are set around working hours, in order to get the most people in it. (A class size of ten is apparently really very big.) I have been working post-working hours...that is, to say, when classes are!

My classes are mostly blended, except for my math class, which is very much not blended at all. This means they are online and at the location. The location won't be too hard to figure out, but the dates! the dates are written military style, so date than month, and sometimes the days of the week change. I have one classes where we meet up six times in person, but everything else is online!

I'm excited but nervous as all get out. There's talk of work on moving me to day shift, and one of day shift to night shift so I can keep working. This would actually work out really well, as they could work me the same hours as my dad, and all of a sudden work and travel gets easier. But the man who normally does that sort of thing is on his honeymoon, so what's going to happen is rather up in the air.

Still, it's fun. I'm taking ASCI 300, HUMN 400, and MATH 111. My math courses, or at least the basic ones, will be done in a year, as it just rolls from one semester to the next. After that, I have to start the three calculus courses. And yes, I did say three. I'll take up to five.

Well, I do want to be an Aerospace Engineer. That means I need a lot of math!

So what does all that mean? It means I'm taking Satellite and Spacecraft Systems, Science and Aviation/Aerospace Technology in Society (Which trumps Values and Ethics!) and College Mathematics for Aviation 1.

Oh Marie, what are all those classes about! You ask, not knowing the can of worms you just opened.

This is what my very silly little course catalog had to say about it.

“Math 111
College Mathematics
for Aviation I (3,0)
3 Credits
This is a pre-calculus course designed
for the student of aviation. Topics
reviewed will include fundamentals of
algebra; linear equations and
inequalities; quadratic equations;
variation; polynomial, rational,
exponential, logarithmic, and
trigonometric functions; radian
measure; right triangle solutions;
vectors; and the laws of sines and
cosines. Prerequisite: ERAU
assessment test, or MATH 106”

Math. I haven't had math in five years. And did I mention I don't remember a thing about, oh, logs, sine and cosines, and what on earth is a radian measure and how do I find a vector again. Oh Lord, be with me as I go through this course, and thank you very much for providing me with the link to Khan Academy, because I am going to need the help. And yet I want to be an engineer. How nuts am I?

Well, the path to happiness is not one of sunshine and daisies, but of a pebble strewn road, wild with new delights.

So that's my Math course. Let's go for the humanities one. Everyone needs a humanities, and this has got to trump values and ethics, which I have my bible for, thank you very much.

“HUMN 400
Science and Aviation/Aerospace
technology in Society (3,0)
3 Credits
Throughout history, science and
technology have consistently
transformed society. From medicine
to communications to the arts and all
points between, our culture is very
much a society of science and
technology. A systemic awareness of
how science and technology both
impact and are influenced by society
is critical to function as a responsible
professional in an increasingly
complex world. This course will
examine the interrelated roles that
science and technology play in
society, with a particular emphasis on
aviation and aerospace.”

So they don't know what it's about either, but found an English major from somewhere else to put it up. Nice. I can't tell is this is the history of the industry, or what. I think it's about how it changed the world. I shall let you all know.

Up for my final course this quarter? Yeah, me too.

“ASci 300
Satellite and Spacecraft
Systems (3,0)
3 Credits
Orbital satellites and spacecraft
are discussed according to
their application, design, and
environment. The power systems,
shielding and communication systems
are reviewed along with their
missions, space environment, and
limitations. The course will be taught
at the introductory physics level.”

Woo Introductory Physics! Also, yay! This sounds like a lot of fun. I was totally talked out fo a class in which I would have gotten to work on airplane engines by the way. It was a great temptation. A great, great temptation, especially when I found out, and was rather compelled strongly, to do payment plans. Payment plans! This is an awesome college. I love it already, and totally gave my adviser a huge when she told me that. She deserved it for bringing it up, cause let me tell you, Burger King is fun, but man, fast food will kill you.

Speaking of, work. Work is hilarious and you should all know this. I swore never to work in fast food again, after my last job in fast food, but this is sheer awesome. The coworkers make the job, they really do. And my coworkers make me laugh and make it easy to be happy, even when someone is complaining they are paying way too much for food.

Dudes, it's cheaper than Red Robin, and faster too, and that's what you wanted? We have the only drive thru on base. Do not complain.

Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention that it looks like the littlest is going to be hanging out here long than we thought! So far she has no departure date, but I can't help but be excited that she's here for longer. She's a pretty awesome littlest, and has mean aim with a stuffed animal. Never did a war of fluffy items end with so many headshots.

Oh, and I did forget, but that's okay, cause I'm adding it now. New laptop! It was totally supposed to be a new desktop, but the laptop had everything exactly the same and was a hundred dollar cheaper. Compared to my itty bitty netbook, this screen is so big, I feel like I'm five. I like it!

Week I Missed Final Byte: I see cobblestone sidewalks in every town here.
This Week's Final Byte: The bees here are kind of scary indoors.