nerd life

She: “They updated the software on censored! They added censored and censored!”
He: “Let me see. Oooooh, sweet.”
She: “I want to take a picture of this screen.”
He: “No pictures. Violates the NDA.”
She: “Don’t they want people talking about the improvements?”
He: “Not with other people.”
She: “Don’t they want social media noise?”
He: “Nope. NDA.”
She: “I’m going to search online and see if anyone is talking about it.”
He: “You do that.”
She: “You go tell them that your wife wants to talk about it.”
He: “No.”
She: “Well, I’m going to blog about the much improved interface with new features.”
He: “As long as you don’t violate the NDA.”
She: “No problem.”

Hacky Cat

Several months ago, Westley found a hacky sack and played it to death. He tossed it in the air, dribbled it across the floors, rubbed his face on it and purred loudly while he carried it around like a lovey. He also played fetch with it. He demanded hours and hours of fetch the hacky sack. It was a very sad day when he punctured the bag so much that all of the filling spilled and a sad little pouch of fabric was all that remained of the beloved hacky sack.

The filling turned out to be tiny bits of plastic that looked like an intestinal blockage waiting to happen. So, I bought two nice new hacky sacks and deliberately killed those balls. First, I stabbed a hole in them.

Next, I removed all the plastic beads.

This was followed by a brief game of chase with the cat who had been silently stalking my work and decided to rescue one of the balls that I was abusing.

The next step was to fill the empty pouch with a plastic grocery bag.

Finally, I stitched up the opening. I used undivided cross stitch thread and it looks like a mess, but the cat doesn’t mind it.

This is the only picture I have of Westley with one of his hacky sacks that isn’t a complete blur. He is a very happy cat.

Night games

Blanket-no-Blanket
Every time the outside temperature drops a degree, ask for another blanket. Fall asleep under every blanket you own. In the middle of the night, start kicking at the excessive pile of blankets. Continue until all blankets are on the floor. Spend the next day washing every blanket you own. Repeat nightly.

Imaginary Sleep
When the pets start whining for food, water, outside or play at still dark o’clock, do not move a muscle or utter a sound. The first person to speak to the furry children has to get up and figure out what the pet thinks they need.

Snack Stamina
The last person awake gets to eat the one Klondike Bar remaining in the freezer.

Night Parenting
Neither partner gets to stay in bed. One person cleans the child. The other person cleans the child’s bedding, floor and the trail to the bathroom.

moving my cheese

I had to drive StacheMan to the Grands so that he could housesit for them. Driving to the Grands is something that I do on auto pilot. The same goes for the children’s schools, the grocery and the bullseye store. Routine routes are stressless.

I sang to the songs on the radio while StacheMan monologued about the condition of his computer cable. Spoiler: It’s frayed.

We pulled up to the four way stop where I usually start giving the children their marching orders. Instead of quizzing StacheMan on the feeding rules for the Grands’ cat, I sat at the stop sign and stared ahead. StacheMan’s mouth hung open and he gazed silently at our route.

“Where did the road go?”
“It’s gone. Why didn’t anyone tell me the road would be gone?”
“Why? Why did the road go away?”
“Why didn’t anyone warn me that there’s no road?”

We were a scene in a ‘Life skills for Aspies’ filmstrip.

After looping the alternate route, I called the Grands.

“You didn’t tell me that the road is gone.”
“I thought the sign said it was only gone for a day. I thought it would be back the next day.”

about that Kent State shirt

The people I follow on various social media channels are righteously upset today. They are appalled at a tacky shirt that a large chain store is selling. The shirt has Kent State written on it, but it is printed to look blood splattered. The shirt mocks the tragic death of college students. Nothing about it is funny. It is a vile marketing decision by Urban Outfitters.

The social media reaction is predictable. I follow the people speaking out against this shirt, BECAUSE of their passion and constant effort to make the world a little better. That said, I need to tell a snippet of a story from my past. It took place during my early college career. With my foot in a cast, the only summer job I could get was at Spencer’s in the mall.

My manager went to Kent State. He was on campus the day of the shootings. I know these things because they were part of this manager’s pick-up routine. The closer he moved to breathing on your neck, the more details he shared. It was beyond creepy and I spent most of my summer going to great lengths to avoid my manager. The fact that his main “move” was to tell a horror story means that some percentage of the time, people reacted positively to his gross out romance technique.

While my social media and IRL circle of people work non-violently to get an unfunny and cruel shirt removed from a store’s shelves, there are far too many people out there who only care about issues if there’s something in it for themselves. There’s always going to be some guy trying to use something offensive to get someone in his bed. Always.

Don’t buy the shirt. Don’t hang out with the people who do buy the shirt. This shirt has gotten the publicity that the store wanted and it will quietly disappear. Now, they’ll print something equally terrible. Don’t buy it.

timing is everything

Me: “I’m going out to run errands. Need anything?”
Family: “Nope.”

I text home two hours later. “Heading home unless anyone needs something.”
Text from child: “Nobody needs anything.”

I come home, unload groceries and sit down to remove my shoes and read email.

An hour later, I remove my bra and spend half an hour washing dishes. Those things aren’t related, but are part of the timeline.

Another hour later, I put on pajamas and curl up in a chair with a book.
“Mom! We’re completely out of cat food.”

resisting retargeting

There’s a clothing website that I like to visit occasionally. Everything on the site is unaffordable, but it’s fun to window shop in a wealthy hippie store. The instant I close that site’s tab, an email arrives in my box with an image of whatever I spent too long ogling. “Are you suuure you don’t want to buy this?” Yes, I’m sure. They never include a free shipping or discount offer. They are much too sure of themselves.

For days after my imaginary clothing shopping, the images of whatever I looked at will be in the sidebar of many of my daily reads. “Look at this cute shirt. You know you want it.” I totally understand the concept of targeted ads. I fail to see how it is effective. This website has been playing coy with me for years and I still own nothing of theirs.

What I need are targeted coupon codes.

Questions about ‘The Giver’ in the classroom

I read my children’s assigned books. It is the only way that I can check their reports on the books. It is also the only way that I can be certain they think about and discuss the themes in their books. I suspect that school has neither the time nor the ability to do this. They check reports for accuracy about book content and proper grammar. I want my children to have less clinical analysis of books and more appreciation of ideas that are intended to make them think. So, we read the books and we talk about them.

I seriously need someone in my children’s school system to explain the logic in banning ‘The Graveyard Book’ while ‘The Giver’ is assigned reading. Let me be clearer. Neither book should be banned. I deliberately did not prepare SuperTween for the scene that I suspect caused The Graveyard Book to be banned. It is a scene that pulls you deep into the book. I won’t prepare her for the scene in The Giver that I found far more unsettling. Because of that scene, someone else is going to have to take her to see the movie. I won’t prepare her, but I will be extremely disappointed if she didn’t see it coming. It is clear from the first chapter what is happening in that community. That doesn’t change the fact that I cannot watch that scene on a movie screen.

What is the criteria for a book becoming unacceptable by a school? It clearly isn’t dystopian themes. Maybe they act as ominous warnings against change. Maybe they serve to promote the author’s philosophical and political ideology. Maybe we are a dark and broody species who only tell campfire horror stories. Does the clinical representation of death and violence pass muster while poetic representation of it does not? Do the characters have to be chemically castrated to avoid human sexuality? That seems more unhealthy than honest and real representations of a normal part of our lives.

Is the decision for which books are banned based solely on whatever a select few parents complain about?