Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Week Forty-Three: Is it the cows?

Week Forty-Three: Is it the cows?

This past week, a nine year old died, possibly due to injuries from a fist fight with another nine year old girl, maybe a medical condition, no one knew of. No one knows for sure. What was this fight over? That potentially killed a little girl? A boy.

There were fighting over who he would date.

There are a couple of things wrong with the scenario. One, they were fighting over a boy. Two, shouldn't the boy choose? And three: Why on Earth are two nine year old girls even concerned about dating? What's a date, sitting next to each other at lunch and holding hands at recess?

Seriously, I don't get it. I'm pretty certain I didn't think of boys like that at nine. Not enough to get in a fight over one. The real question is, why do these girls think it's alright?

Personally, I think it might be the over saturation of ridiculously pitiful role models on TV, who while older, attract a preteen audience due to the interest of the show. These 'role models' fight over boys, and are all about being 'sexy.'

They are, in general, about as sexy as a old work shoe. There's probably fry guts in the soles. Or that in the souls? Some of these role models, I would not be surprised.

Then again, people are hitting puberty younger than they have for a long time lately. Is it the growth hormones we ingest? Maybe?

That's the theory of some people I've talked to. I think it may be a combination of both, to tell the truth. The chemicals you feed you food have this tendency of entering you, and considering what the growth hormones do to the cows, I don't think they'd too good for the people who eat the cow.

Not a very long post this week, and I apologize. I just don't understand how small children suddenly became all about the opposite gender and being sexy. Nine year olds aren't sexy. They're nine. Go scrape up your knees or something kid. Enjoy being a kid, and don't be in a big hurry to grow up. It'll come soon enough, and in the mean time, just go have fun.

Run around, play hopscotch, jump rope, roll down a hill. Anything but don't go chasing boys or girls. When you're older, you'll understand that chasing them does nothing good, and you only get the bad. Just be patient. They'll start to gravitate to you, when the time is right for both of you.

One Final Byte: A Marie without glasses is a Marie confused.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Week Forty-Two: The Circus!

Week Forty-Two

Oh the things I have seen! Oh wait. You want me to tell you astounding things now? You're so silly! I've been doing semi-midterms.

I say semi-midterms, because my classes all calls them the 'First Summative Exam' and the middle of the term is six weeks, not four, or five. Two classes had multiple choice questions, and the final had a paper, that could be on any one learning objective, but had to display information from previous chapters. I think I did okay, over all.

All three had them around the same time however. Is it, or is it not a midterm?

I have no clue.

Maybe its a third term? Four weeks is a third, so it's possible? Who knows!

All I know is that my books are FINALLY all in, so studying got so much easier. It's so much easier understanding what's going on when you have the correct source material.

Then this week, I had some mid-terms and in one course I have a mid-term and a first summative exam? So. Confused. And in one course I had neither, and the other just the first summative nonsense. My spell checker doesn't even count summative as a word! Good Lord.

Oh Lordy, Valentine's Day was this past week wasn't it? Yes, it was, on Tuesday. I could go on and on about Valentine's Day...but I won't. It's a silly thing to do. I received chocolates and candies from my family. The next day (because I really don't celebrate the holiday) I bought them chocolates.

Plus, it was already on sale, so they could get more than a chocolate bar, and yes, otherwise they would have all gotten chocolate bars.

It's just not a big holiday to me. Sorry.

Anyway, this Monday was President's Day! Or some form of national holiday where in everyone gets the day off but minimum wage workers who work regardless. To celebrate, we were going to go skiing, but the night before, the decision was made to nix the skiing and go to the parade. Then is was determined that the parade was too early in the day and too far away to be worth it.

We really should have stuck to the skiing. Instead, we went to a carnival. Why the parade and carnival? The words Rose and Fasching get passed around a lot, but the sum of it was that Monday and Tuesday were both German holidays of some sort, though not state holidays, so far as I could tell.

Oh, oh, but the really super exciting thing that happened was seeing Cirque Du Soliel's Jungle Dreams!

Okay, I know it's just a circus, but this was Cirque Du Soliel, and it's so amazing watching them perform. I'm so glad we got the chance! There were clowns of course, and they were hilarious. They had a lot of audience participation in their acts, but we were all too far back to be chosen.

There were acrobats, and so much spinning going on. My favorite act was when this man was in mid air, holding onto fabric attached to the chain that pulled him up. He was going up and down the fabric, and he started and ended the act with the fabric flowing behind him. The pattern on it was reminiscent of a dragonfly's wings and it was gorgeous and awe inspiring. He had the fabric wrapped around his arms at one point, and then tumbled down it rapidly. My heart was in my chest, convinced that he was going to fall. He caught himself though.

Then there was the act where this man tumbled about in, no joke, a giant hoop, moving around the stage through the power of momentum alone it seemed. It was amazing, because he used the hoop to do tricks in, and somehow stayed in it. I have no clue how he managed it.

There was a contortionist too, and this lady with a slinky worth of hula hoops. Oh, and there was this lady singing who was the ring master and she had the prettiest voice. It was a beautiful act, I don't think I can quite convey it in words. The colors, the sights, the sounds!

The only problem I had was that people in the audience down front kept standing up. I ended up standing up on the side the entire time so I could see. I mean, I understand your toddler standing, but you? So rude!

Most of the kids I saw there weren't very interested in the show besides. Some of them were, but most seemed bored. Not bright enough, colorful enough or silly enough for them I suppose. It was more of a stage show with circus acts than what most consider a traditional circus anyway.

Amusingly enough, I must have good timing on ordering glasses. While my new glasses are still processing, I managed to chip the lens on one and break the arm of my glasses. Then on Tuesday, I chipped the bottom of the other lens, and the arm broke off...again.

Phooey. Absolutely phooey. I really hope the new glasses come in soon. Having broken lenses is very distracting, even if the chip is at the very bottom. I might just order another pair of glasses, specifically for work, since they are so inexpensive.

Either way, considering how quickly I scratched up my last pair, I'm surprised this pair lasted so long!

Also, apparently the technology of our menu screens at work isn't perfect. It went down last night! We did figure it out though, and it got back up. The problem was, I believe, finding out the controls to restart the 'movie' of our menu.

One Final Byte: Plans seem to change an awful lot here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Week Forty-One: Saving the Middle Class

So I was asked what my solution was, to the shrinking middle class,and despite thinking on it whenever I could, and trying to find viable unbiased information about the problem, I have to say this: I don't have one.

That is not to say there is no solution. In fact, there are many solutions, many things, many strategies. Many thing are possible to grow the middle class once more.

Of course, there is a catch.

It can't be just one group, one person who words towards it. It requires more than the government saying let's do this. It means corporations, businesses, people, need to work together, or at least share a common goal.

Yeah, you see the problem there.

It's the working together thing, to make the world a better place? We haven't quite mastered that in, you know, all our years.

I hear Noah and his family was pretty good at it? Saved all those animals, and mankind. Beyond that, I think we may not get along very well at all. The whole war thing, and genocide thing. All those killings, and the bombings, and the general arguing like toddlers.

The working together thing is a bit difficult.

Which means we need a unifying force. And in the past very long time that major unifying choices have, well, been either martial or revolutionary. In other words, we need a world war, or a great innovation. Something that requires new factories to be made, new jobs to use, to deal with.

In short, we need something that creates a whole nother job field in order to unify the middle class. Me? Well, if you get me started, I will inform you starkly that man kind ought to explore the stars. Can you imagine building in space? Talk about a construction contract!

I think our next unifying force ought to be the stars. I think if the major world powers could stop being toddlers long enough to see a real solution, they might see something food there too. But they are toddlers, and think not of their children, and grandchildren, but of their voters and the media.

Failing this, we return to the heart of the problem. We need an economic motivator (even if Space isn't is, just yet.). What sort of economic motivator?

Two weeks isn't enough for me to know. The greatest minds in our country either do not know, or are not being consulted. Either way would not surprise me. The biggest thinkers in our country say they don't know. Maybe the internet?

But here's the thing. The internet already has a work force, and that work force isn't near retiring, isn't growing significantly, and most companies based off of the internet, well, they don't need tens of thousands of employees, though the employees they have, once they are successful, tend to be middle class at least.

Here's the thing though. There will always be poor. There will always be rich. It's mankind's nature, and the very definition of poor is always changing, the amount of money differs from town to town, not just country to country. There will always be rich, and super rich, and why-are-you-even-here,-how-did-you-make-that-much,-and-Luck's-hand-is-on-you rich. But the most fragile class is the middle class, the spending class, the well educated, willing to work hard and spend money class that worked to get to that spot, and worked hard, and some how made the right moves.

I don't have the answers. I don't have the reasons, and I'm not even sure I have the question. But I do know that something needs to be done to help. I just don't know what.

One Final Byte: Happy Valentine's Day! (AKA Halloween minus the costumes.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Week Forty: Oh no! I grew a year!

That's right, the unthinkable has happened. I have aged! I deny it, I deny it! Yet I still find it to be true. For some odd, odd reason, I'm 22 now. I think it's because my birthday has past! What an extraordinary event! And to mark my birthday I...went to work. Shoot, it's official, I'm growing up. When did that happen? Geez Louis! Anyway, my birthday gift to myself is coming, I promise. It's a little delayed, but I can't wait!

So I haven't actually told you all what's been going on since Amsterdam! An awful lot, to tell the truth, though if I recall it all or not is debatable. The biggest issue has been the lack of textbooks. ALL my textbooks were delayed and came in late. Every. Single. One. I ordered them in December and the last came in just yesterday, a good four weeks into the class. Oh the make up work I will be doing today.

I'm not going to joke, it's going to be pretty intense trying to catch up, but I'm so super awesome I can handle this and more! I'm me, and I can handle anything I believe I can, and I know I can handle this. You can blame my grandparents for that mindset! I'm pretty certain Grandpa and Grandma think nothing is impossible for our family. (I'm pretty certain they're right!)

Oh, by the way, it's snowed here twice! Snow is somewhat evil, just so you know, and I spent the entire first draw it snowed with a blanket over my head pretending I did not see that white fluffy stuff falling down, and promising I would have to shovel it come the next morning. I didn't end up having to shovel, but I might be called up for it one day.

Okay, so one of my textbooks is about the people in the air plane industry dealing with the grief on 9/11 and has diddly squat to do with the course. In other words, what the dickens Embry Riddle! What. The. Dickens. I receive a list of links for this online course every week. No textbook, nothing? That book on dealing with grief is not an Aeronautical Science textbook. Bad Ju Ju, little monkeys. Bad Ju ju. I could spin that into how horrible the college system now is, and how clearly corrupt, but I'll be polite. This week.

My step-grandmother has arrived for an extended stay of indeterminate time. She shall be referred to as Baba, not that I have any hope of ever spelling her actual name remotely correctly. She doesn't speak English, and I don't speak Bulgarian, but she can roughly get the point across, a little bit, if we both speak slowly enough the other can catch a few words. Most, I make the fourteen year old translate, if it's important.

Baba is a mischievous old woman, who wandered the house her first day here and cause the fourteen year old to absolutely panic. She's been viciously cleaning and reorganizing everything without warning. My room is on her list one of these days. So long as she doesn't move the gnomes, and I have prior warning, I think I might manage it for a short bit. Maybe. Who am I kidding, I'll probably have a very quiet panic attack over the fact that she rearranged my stuff.

I have determined the reason I get hiccups once a week: God likes my reaction, and desperate attempts to end them all. That or I laugh a lot.

I was also given a handful of books from my niece! These will go in the same box as the Christmas gifts, once I find a box I trust to be shipped safely. Hm. Christmas may come in June this year.

Oh yes! I also got stuck under my bed. One fo my mancala marbles rolled under, and I had to shimmy under to retrieve it. It appears my derriere does not shimmy under beds correctly.

But the biggest and the best news is I solve Lewis Carrol's riddle!

How is a raven like a writing desk?

SPOILER: They both have poetry written on them!

Carrol came after Poe. It's a reference! I feel brilliant. Then again, the answer can vary from person to person too.

I watched the Super Bowl! Well, the first half. It was very nice, but entirely too late here to watch it all. This saddens me.

Anyway, that's all that I've been up to! I know it was all kinds of disjointed, and for that I apologize, but it's late here, and I have a lot of studying to do still. Maybe I should start ordering my books two months in advance! This was ridiculous!

One Final Byte: The dresser gnomes stare at the armoire gnome.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Week Thirty Nine: The Middle Class

It took me several times to write this. In fact, I've re-written it three or four times, trying to find the right subject matter on the topic. There are, after all, tons and tons and tons of factors in this. But the biggest problem is the sheer gap.

In America, the gap between the social classes is growing, while the middle class is dwindling. this is, by the way Bad News. The worst sort of news in fact. You know how several weeks ago I spoke of the collapse of the American Empire being a pretty high probability? Well, this is one of the reason why.

But there have been really high gaps before, you say!

Well yes. In lesser technological times with more resources in the world, there were Really Big Gaps, where you were either rich or poor, and there was little you could do to become rich, but an awful lot you could do to become poor. These were never happy times though. They were times of great dissent, great upset. People Were Not Happy.

Not such a big deal? I'm sorry, I'm not talking about not happy in the sad sort of way. I'm talking about not happy in the I own two shirts, two pairs of pants, and get new clothes every four years, because trying to put food in my belly is more important than trying to look nice, or wear the latest fashions.

Big Gap = Big Problem.

It means a lot of social unrest, especially from those who were one middle class, and now struggle to find a job. It means a lost of civil unrest, if you haven't noticed in the news lately. The recession hit the world, and the Arab Spring hit it too, followed by Occupy Wall St, which is still going strong, and is worldwide and growing. Occupy Wall Street won't be the last of the protests either, not until the gap shrinks.

A middle class is, when it comes down to it, the most important of the classes. Yes, the Upper class has more money to throw about, but they also tend to be less likely to spend it. If they do spend it, it's only high quality goods. The importance of the Upper Class is their investments.

But the middle class? The middle class is the class that makes jobs. They're the ones who are big spenders, because they can afford to live within their means and still buy new things frequently. In other words, because the middle class spends more often than the upper class, the middle class is of a higher immediate economic value. Long term depends on the investments of the upper class, but the job outlook depends on the middle class.

The poor and the lower class however, create every few jobs because they don't have the money to spend. They are important however, because they often do jobs that no one else really wants to do. In other words, each class has it's point, and the larger the gap, the smaller the job-creating class is. The smaller the hope creating, art creating, technological innovation creating class is.

The middle class, it's kind of a big deal. But with a great big gap, there is no middle class. Which means you aren't very stable. Think of it like the human body. Say the limbs are the lower class, the core is the middle class, and the head is the upper class. Good analogy I think. Without the core, the body isn't a body at all. With a weak core, the body is pretty flimsy, can't do much, and lolls about like a beanie baby. But with a strong core, everything else is stronger as well, and all of a sudden, a million more paths are open in life, and in the world.

They say the bigger you are, the harder you fall.

Well, the bigger than gap is, the harder it hits us all.

One Final Byte: My catapult broke. I need more clear tape!