Wednesday, July 25, 2012


As you read this blog, there is a high chance that right now, this very moment I am traveling.  Bwahahahahahaha!  I believe evil laughter is surely required, because guess what! I’m on the road again! Everybody break out into that one twangy song no one can remember more than a few words to. 

Good.  Now that that’s out of our system!

Has anyone else noticed how very odd traveling by airplane is?  In order to go south, first you have to go north, inevitable, to get to another plane which will then take you south.  East and West pull the same sort of hijinks.  It’s all very odd, don’t you think?  In Europe, it’s not so bad, but here in the States, I get sent every which way but the right way!

There is no such thing as a straight line in air travel here.  No wonder everyone gets all turned around.

Of course, this usually doesn’t apply to car rides, but despite how sensible car rides can be, they take longer.  Besides, unless you have a family with children attached, they rarely cost less than the airplane ticket does.

Summer in sweet Maryland was wonderful.  I held down a part time job, with decent enough hours for my much needed re-Americanization period, and got a chance to breathe and take a break. It helps when the work doesn’t really feel like work. Much too easy.

Next summer, I hope for something more of a challenge, and to get a job with Space camp.  Working with kids is always a challenge, so it should be fun!  This is, of course, a hope.  But can you imagine Space camp?  Man. Even being a counselor there would be fun.

This being my choice if I don’t somehow get a summer internship of course.  The camp is done at my college, so I am hopeful to get a job there.

Ah, but ya’ll don’t want to hear about something happening next year.  You want to hear about Maryland.

I will tell you now I very purposefully lived an adventure free life while visiting Maryland.  Very purposefully, as I could have had many adventures, if I so chose.    I got a lot done, despite my claims of it being a veritable vacation, but despite all that got done, and all the studying I did manage, it was still nice to be on vacation for a time.

I will miss Maryland.  I made good friends here.  My coworkers were generally amusing, especially the two younger than me, one who admitted to going to college because it seemed the thing to do to improve her lot in life.  She didn’t feel smart enough to go however, which is worrisome.

There are other career advancing options than college out there.  I told her that is college itself didn’t work out, perhaps she could see about a vocational school or something similar. She had never even heard the term.  That worries me.  However, I have promised myself I shall not rant about the state of education and college alternatives this time.

Instead, I shall redirect my attention to the great Sunday school group I met at my grandparents church, who made me feel very welcome, and were all very kind.  I joined the bible study they held as well, and had a great time making friends there.

Overall though, I’m glad I got to spend time with my grandpa and grandma in Maryland, and I’ve enjoyed my vacation from working as hard as I had been.

And now, now I’m on the road again!  This week I head way down south to visit my sister and her family.  I can’t wait to see them, as I admit they happen to be some of my favorite people out there.  (Especially my niece, I am a sucker for my niece.)

I did mention this was a traveling adventure didn’t I?  No?  I should have, because this is the first of four stops, culminating in a stop on campus for the school year.  All this in three weeks!

But don’t worry about missing out on my blog.  I’ve got it set to post automatically, though I don’t guarantee these posts will be up to date in my latest adventures.  You won’t be missing out however, that’s to be sure!  If I can get to it, then I’ll post a blog updated with what’s going on.  If not, there will be a blog waiting here for you every Wednesday 7 am PST.  Why PST?  Because I can’t figure out how to change it, that’s why.

It’s not that I’m technologically challenged.  It’s that I just don’t feel like finding that setting, because, well, it works just fine for me.  Unlike phones.

Phones and I. Well.

I’m generally pretty proud when I figure out how to call people on those things, especially smart phones.  Those I’m lucky to find the keypad to call at all on, or figure out how to call people.

Why are phones not just phones anymore?  I am not Sailor Mercury.  I do not need a mini-computer in my pocket.

Ah, but I know they are now important to have and such.  As such, I shall cease my rumblings, and move on to sad things.  Sad things being what happened in Aurora on Friday.

I have no words for this.

It was wrong, terribly wrong, and yet nothing will change anytime soon.  As for myself, I believe education is the answer, and a deeper sense of community.  I don’t believe a lock down on anything helps.  I think a culture shift promoted by education on gun use is the answer.  Seems to have decreased teen pregnancy, at least.  I don’t see why it can’t decrease gun related violence.

That’s all I can say, other that I’ll pray for the victim’s family and the victim’s that survived.  Whatever caused this man to do this, whether it was a surplus of stress, or a deep depression, I don’t know, but I hope he gets help in jail.  I sincerely do.

One Final Byte:  I’m rather at home when on the road.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Genetically Modified Foods

Okay.  First off, that term makes me snicker a little on the inside, all because of what I know about farming.  We were genetically modifying foods before we knew what genes were.  In fact, these unnatural foods are the only reason anyone is alive on the planet today, as they increased the needed nutrients in our diets.

Don’t believe me?  I have two examples: Strawberries and Corn. 

Have you ever seen a wild strawberry before? No?  Well it’s about the width of a dime, and less than half an inch long.  In other words, it is incredibly tiny, and smaller than a blueberry. I’m not certain about the first person who started growing wild strawberries on purpose.  Looking at them, I can’t imagine how he even tasted them.

Over the years however, strawberries have been cultivated on purpose to be larger, and larger.  In effect, they were selectively mutated.  I’m calling that genetic modification my friends, because these mutations were not necessarily for the best for the strawberry.  Strawberries even look different from wild strawberries entirely because of this selective breeding.  If they were human, we’d like even use that cringe inducing term of eugenics for what was done.

This isn’t that bad.  It isn’t the genetic modifications they are doing today, that are keeping the human population worldwide from starving to death.  It’s not like they’re splicing fruits and vegetable together.  But it is still a genetic modification and it was done, as far as I can discover, before genes were discovered.

Well, you say, that’s not that bad.  Allow me to bring up exhibit two: Corn.

Corn is not a natural plant, at all.


You are looking at Teosite, which looks, as you can see, nothing like modern corn.  In fact, it doesn’t look like anything you see today.  Yet, 7000 years ago, it was modified through selective breeding to become corn.  It is the reason for how vast and huge the nations of the Americas were before they were thoroughly wiped out due to famine.  

Look at that.  It went from six of even widely spaced kernels, to around one hundred closely packed kernels.  The male plant grew closer together and thicker as well.  Both became larger, tighter packed, and instead of one ear per stalk, there are now multiple ears per stalk of corn.

Corn, in other words, is a man-made plant.  I don’t want to hear anything at all about GMO corn.  All corn is GMO.  And you should all thank your lucky stars it is.

If it weren’t there would be a lot less people in this world, a long time ago, and some of those less people who have been colonist and your ancestors.

One Final Byte: Bite your tongue about things keeping you alive.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


What is freedom?  I’ve come across this a lot this week.  People have used freedom as an excuse for bullying.  “Freedom of speech means I can say what I want!”  I’ve seen them use it as an excuse for so many things.  But the worst I have seen is the game designer who made a flash game in which the goal was to punch the image of a person as much as possible.

He was ‘free’ to do so.  Did this make it right? No.  There was irony though in the game.  The person whos picture was being used was the face of ‘Tropes vs Women,’ Anita Sarkeesian.  Tropes vs Woman launched a kickstarter calls Tropes vs Women in video games.  The whole point of this kickstarter is to examine how the video game represents women in a web series online.

I will not lie.  Sarkeesian is a feminist that I cannot stand to listen to.  But that does not mean I will insult and degrade her for her work which is well-researched and rings true.  There is a preponderous lack of women in video games who are not there for the romantic angle or who are not there to be rescued.  This same lack occurs in many places in literature.  A female heroine is rare. The only two I can think of are Samus Aran and Mulan, both of whom have their own problems.

Freedom is about choices.  But when those choices harm others, should there be a limit? Should it depend on the type of harm done to the others.  It’s hard to say.  Should freedoms be limited at direct harm, or at potential harm.  I have so many questions!  I’m not the only one either.

I believe, however, that when you exercise your freedoms to harm others mentally, emotionally or physically that you are abusing their freedom to live unharmed.  This is an abuse of your freedoms as well.  However, merely because the potential for harm exists does not mean that it will be exercised.  Take gun control.
I own a gun.  It’s a .22 caliber long range rifle.  I like to target shoot with it, and it was a gift.  This gun gives me the ability to potentially harm someone.  Will I?

Only if they threaten me in a significant manner first.  That’s the catch.  The gun is for target shooting.  I’m not very good at it just yet, but enjoy it all the same.  However it produces a show of arms.  Not a great one, but enough to make a person threatening me think twice.

Admittedly, a .22 is a squirrel hunting gun, good for target shooting and very small game.  The sort you make stew out of because there’s just not enough meat for anything else. (None of which matters, because I don’t hunt.)  But does my having the potential to harm someone infringe on their freedom?


No, it does not.

A gun in the hands of a responsible owner is there for protection against those who believe that they are free to help themselves to your possessions, your money, or that they are free to harm you as they will. 

These are just examples though.  Freedom is choice.  But with freedom comes the responsibility to make good choices.  Everywhere I look, the ability to make choices, good or bad, is being eroded.  Whether it is the choice to purchase health insurance or not, or the choice to worship as you please, without being called a terrorist, our choices are being eroded.

I worry.  I worry about our nation, I worry about America, I worry about what we are becoming.  We are a nation that values the individual’s ability to choose historically speaking. Lately, it seems more and more like Huxley’s Brave New World though.  We are overwhelmed with the pressures of a culture that values pleasure above all else, and promises more of those pleasures if only we give in.

America used to be a nation of frontiersmen and women: people willing to go forward and bravely discover more.  Now all America seems to discover is  what’s going on in the life of celebrities and what so and so said and did over fifty years ago.

One Final Byte: Oh sweet America, where did your soul go?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Implementation Issues

This past week they ruled that the healthcare law is constitutional. I have no problem with that. In fact, the vast majority of this healthcare law I like and support. My main issue is in one teeny tiny bit, one small road bump, that I was really hoping the supreme court would toss. I don't want the whole law repealed...just one small portion.

It's that requirement that gets me.

For those of you who know me, you know I hate the idea of any thing forced on me, whatsoever. Force a union on me? Gain a rant. Force me to purchase healthcare that I cannot afford at an ever increasing rate? Get a much longer rant. I've been informed I start soap boxing if it's brought up. Oops.

Well, seeing as how this is my soapbox, and a lovely one with flowers even, I think I shall stand on it and, if you'll forgive me, soapbox a little.

Look. I like universal healthcare. I like inexpensive healthcare. In fact, once the overhead of insurance is removed, I find most costs for healthcare to be reasonable enough, baring you know, big emergencies and the like. Big emergencies are costly pennies, don't you think?

But what I don't like is the current implementation of the healthcare law. Change the implementation, I might be feeling more kindly to it. While I have to pay college bills however? Tell you what. You pay all my college, and I'll purchase health insurance. It'll just work out.

My biggest beef with the healthcare law is the requirement, entirely because of that big gaping hole in income earners where you make too much to be on medicare/medicaid, but still can't afford health insurance for the family. Where you aren't considered poor, but you aren't rich, and you are just barely maybe middle class, clinging tenaciously to that title. Where you are trying to make it work...but can't afford insurance.

Healthcare is a necessity. It's lengthened our life span significantly, and the more it improves, the longer, it seems, we live. While living forever seems an awfully boring thing, I'm in no hurry to die, I admit. I'm grateful for healthcare! It's given me more time with my family than I ever could have imagined before.

But here's the rub. The insurance. Okay, I admit that I have some health issues that some people may or may not consider significant. As for me? I've lived with them this long, and I seem fine. Everything is attached, and I can still live a normal life. So for now, until I can afford it, I'll live with it.

I wouldn't mind paying an insurance company to pay most of my healthcare bills...if I could afford it. I'm lucky the age went from 23 to 26 on healthcare as it is. Otherwise, I'd be one of those penalized (next year) for, you know, being poor, but not poor enough, or too confused by all the paperwork, or denied for no real good reason other than someone had their panties in a twist that day.

I'm not certain I even know how to go about purchasing insurance. I suppose when the time comes I'll spend several days feverishly researching online, and take about a month to decide who I want to bleed my paycheck dry.

If I can afford it.

If not, I guess I'll pay the $95 or 1% total income (whichever, by the way, is greater) in a fine and sigh dramatically. By the way, to pay the $95 dollars, you have to make $9,500 or less a year. If you are making that much, I would like to point you to the lucrative business of unemployment. You can have 2.5 straight years of making just barely enough to afford a home and food on, and still be in a better place! But that's a very different rant for another day, and it's not one that anyone want to hear me go on. I'm no economist, after all, and I will freely admit it.

If I wasn't required to have the insurance, if this was simply an actual tax, than I would have no problem. But this is not the tax that the supreme court has labeled it as. It's forced consumerism. For raised taxes, I won't mind if they tax me to pay for free healthcare, so long as I am paid a wage that I can still live off of. They'd have to raise the minimum wage for people to be able to afford it, but hey, I'm all for raising that anyway, and what a nifty way of confusing people who don't realize that they'd still be making the same amount of money.

Of course, then business would hire less, so aren't we in a conundrum.

I want universal healthcare, but this is not that. It's been labeled that, and called that, and I've been told off my people in Canada and Europe for not supporting universal healthcare because I don't support the entirety of this bill.

In short, we have implementation issues with this law, that seriously need to be fixed before I ever even begin to think about supporting it.

One Final Byte: One tiny road bump makes a big headache.