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.