Monthly Archives: August 2004

Red Marks Frighten Students – Purple Suggested

Maybe I’m just a snotty National Merit Finalist but I think this is stupid:

If you see a whole paper of red, it looks pretty frightening. Purple stands out, but it doesn’t look as scary as red.

WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Making a mistake is frightening children? A red mark on a paper is not supposed to make you feel comfortable it’s supposed to call out that you messed up, or mis-spelled. Now putting comments in one color and error in another I can get behind. But this is just nuts. In the United States, we are more concerned with kids feeling good about themselves, regardless of their achievements. Esteem is built through achievement and accomplishment – and through learning how to fail gracefully and try again.

I used to seethe at criticism. I hated that I could be wrong or make mistakes or mis-spell. I’m much better now – I swear!

That’s like when they call welfare programs entitlements… I’m totally behind social programs but to sanitize it with the word entitlement – which connotes that they deserve something simply because they’re down and out – instead of to assist them in getting up and out – is just a semantic nuttiness.

Non-American friends have commented on this before – the idea that you can always get another chance in the United States. That mediocrity is rewarded. In other countries kids kill eachother to get an education.

Related story:

Two Benedict College science professors have been fired after they refused to assign grades that rewarded students

Largest Middle-Class Paycut in History

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on the new overtime rules that are in effect in the United States:

These new regulations represent the largest middle-class pay cut in history – starting Monday, more than 6 million workers will lose their right to overtime pay. President Bush and the Republicans simply do not understand that middle-class families need their overtime pay more than ever in this sluggish economy. Millions of workers who are directly affected by the new rule will have to work longer hours for less money. And the impact will be felt by millions more who will no longer have the opportunity to work overtime because their overtime hours will now go to those who are newly exempt from overtime protection.


As I wrote last week there seems to be a confluence of stressors lately. It’s strange. It goes beyond ‘when it rains, it pours’. This is like a crucible. It’s like there’s a lot of small and large pressures coming from all sides that the only way to survive is to purify. I know that sounds strange.

I was reflecting last night on ‘being too nice’ and how I have such emotional reactions to things (usually carefully hidden from others). And how I sometimes feel like my emotional reaction is a bad thing – but then I started seeing how an event like the one Sunday night would have shut me down mentally for a couple days before.

I think as I’ve grown I move through that emotional reaction faster – more quickly to decisive action. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of that tendency to take things so personally – and I think it’s one of my natural gifts – but to feel fully and move to action is a much more powerful stance to be in.

Once I decided I was moving out, I felt a lot better. Yes, it’s going to be aggravating to move again – but at least I hadn’t notified everybody of my new address. I still haven’t unpacked some stuff. And I already know how many boxes I need to get. It’s like I’ve already rehearsal-moved so now I know exactly what I need this time around. I may get rid of even more stuff this time – who knows.

Maybe God is telling me to travel light!

I think when I went through a similar level of crap a few years ago I remember thinking.

Sometimes God leaves a Post-It note. If you ignore those, he sends you the memo.

I got the memo. If you ignore the memo – you get a pink-slip – and then you know you’re in deep shit.

George Takei Visits Internment Site

George Takei, Star Trek‘s Mr. Sulu, recently visited the site of the internment camp he and his family were in during the second World War.

I joined a pilgrimage to a former U.S. internment camp where my family and I, together with 18,000 other Japanese Americans, were imprisoned during World War II. The camp is in northern California, almost at the Oregon border. It has an almost mockingly poetic name, Camp Tule Lake. It was there in a barbed wire camp built on a wind-swept dry lake bed that I spent two and a half years of my boyhood after a year and a half in another internment camp in Arkansas. (via MeFei)

It’s funny that we forget how Takei was probably one of the first positive Asian-American actors (and characters) on American television. Sure, some of the characters from M*A*S*H had some weight on that show – but Star Trek‘s vision of an integrated future was pretty much a trailblazer for network TV.

Visit from the Police

You’re not going to believe this bullshit.

The music from the neighbors downstairs has been loud every night. Sometimes until 2 in the morning.

I’ve tried knocking on the door and nothing has happened – it’s too loud and they can’t hear me knocking.

So tonight I stomped on the floor. Probably five times. Just once.

20 minutes later there is a knock on my door and two police officers are standing in my doorway. The guys had called 911.

The officer said that she was able to hear the music and had asked them to turn down the bass. We went into the bedroom and I couldn’t hear anything – she said the music was still on but they’d turned the bass down and why hadn’t I called about it before? I said I had called about it – to the building manager. I explained I’m sure they had other more important things to worry about than noise complaints. She explained that yes this was a tenant/landlord dispute but to call 911 if it ever happened again.

I can’t sleep. I don’t know what to do. I’m going to call the landlord tomorrow so she knows what happened. Am I the one being unreasonable and that boys will be boys? Should I just up and move? Is it just asking for trouble to live above this kind of bullshit? My brain hurts.

At least they didn’t have video cameras filming Cops.

United Airlines Cancels Pensions

To celebrate Ron’s birthday today, United Airlines cancelled pensions for flight attendants, pilots, machinists and the ground crew. The news isn’t on the internet yet – though warnings abound. Pensions for corporate employees and many employees in Europe (maybe protected by the EU?) will keep their retirement packages.

It is painful to see Ron’s anger and know that I can’t really do anything about it. One of the attendants he flew with this week had worked with PanAm and had the same thing happen to her and then United bought PanAm and now it’s happening to her again.

I believe there’s legislation in place that is supposed to protect against this sort of bullshit – but I think the fact that the corporation is in bankruptcy still means anything is fair game.

This reminds me of seeing 60-year old men and women lose their jobs when I worked for an insurance company. The last vestiges of ‘one company for life’ are dissolving finally. Now we glamourize it by calling it the ‘Free Agent Nation’ – it’s cool to be a contract worker – though usually Free Agency refers only to white-collar workers – not technicians.

Were you flying out of San Diego on Friday? Wonder why it took so long? All the ramp operators but two called in sick. Yep – two guys working the ramp and cargo for all the United flights out of San Diego. Expect delays like this.

How demoralizing. To be serving a businessman in first class and he’s reading the New York Times and the front page is how you’ve just lost your future. More coffee?

This is one reason why I have an anti-corporate bias I guess. And I think it’s going to come back to bite United in the ass. The pensions they just cancelled are the people that are on the frontline delivering world-class customer service and hospitality. They communicate the brand and the corporate values to your customers. Mess with them at you rown peril.

Notice: no cuts in corporate management. Again, middle managers preserve their paper-pushing and the upper managers keep their perks.

Right now Ron is in angry phase. I was trying to illustrate all the options before him but he’s still pretty stunned. I’d be.

Long story short: United was plummeting before 9/11. That just aggravated it. They squeezed the unions for concessions. They blew it all on Ted. Now they’re screwed.

My prediction: They’ll bust the unions and reduce the benefits further to reduce their staff to have the same status as a burger-flipper.

SBC Idiocy

So I get this nasty letter from SBC saying that I’m abusing my local toll calling plan.


The reason I’m using a local toll call for hours at a time is because my SBC DSL has been screwed up. How’s that for a corporate silo?

I took the short cut and went to Best Buy and bought the Yahoo SBC DSL starter package which I knew would have a modem that they’d support. Worked just fine. Currently directly connected – I’ll try and get the router working tonight.