max_boma: (Dwarf)
2013-02-17 09:31 pm

The Sports Consumer's Manifesto

I've been pondering lately why I burn out so easily on news. It happens with both general news and sports news, but it's easier to explain with sports news.

The perpetual news cycle means that sports media are constantly churning for content. There are so many sports networks, there aren't enough games for them to cover. So, there are a few things that networks and websites do to use the capacity they have.
  • Invent sports
  • Extend the definition of what's news
  • Invent news
  • "fantasy" leagues
Mixed martial arts, or ultimate fighting? I suppose it's a sport in that there are competitors and something that vaguely resembles a set of rules, but why would anyone go out of their way to market a more vicious sport? The "X Games"? ESPN admits they created them or chose them from the extreme variants of existing sports. Aerial maneuvers with snowmobiles? It's all fun and games and ratings until someone gets killed because he missed a stunt. Poker? That's even less of a "sport" than auto racing. There's no physical exertion involved in it.

Now that there's so much capacity for content about sports, the "off seasons" for sports are now all news all the time. Free agents? Let's get hourly updates on the best left-handed relief pitchers! Someone threw off a mound for the second time since a major injury? That's almost as much news as the first time! College football bowl games seemed to be as much about "which of these players are pro prospects?" as they were about the scores and the teams involved. College players hoping to go is second in absurdity, though, to the hype about high school players signing letters of intent to play college football. These are team sports; it's news when the team adds or drops a player. After that, wait until they show up at training camp or spring training, and don't get really serious until the actual season begins. Until then, it's all meaningless speculation.

By the way, Sports Illustrated devoted most of their issue the week after the Super Bowl issue to analysis of what each NFL teams needs to do for next season. Before free agency, before the draft, before off-season training activities.
It's Michael Jordan's 50th birthday today. Is that a reason for him to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated? Talk about inventing news! Celebrity games on the NBA All-Star game weekend! Comparisons of which year's dunk contest results were most disappointing! 

I care about the results of games and matches. I care about the standings in the league or conference. I care about who the best team is. I'm curious if some team will come out of some minor conference or low place in last year's rankings to surge to a great season. I don't care about betting spreads (who cares how money is being bet on games, unless you yourself are a bettor?), and I don't care about "fantasy" leagues. How productive an offensive player is part of what system he's in and who he plays with. You can't just pluck glamorous players into one team and put them on the field. Just ask the New York Yankees, New York Knicks, Boston Red Sox, or Washington Redskins. They've had some good seasons, but they've also had horrible implosions where talents didn't mesh and millions were misspent. 

If I have any interest about Manti Teo, it's about whether he's draft by a team for which he's a good fit. I don't care if his draft "stock" plunged because he had an imaginary girlfriend or if because he had a poor scouting combine. I don't want to know about the scouting combine; I'll just wait for the draft (Now! Over! Three! Days! of! Drama!) and see where he'll be going to training camp.

Most of this applies to "real" news as well. I don't want speculation about who might be a presidential candidate in three years; I'm barely interested in who might be a Senatorial candidate in a year and a half, or who might run for a vacant Representative seat in an interim election. I'm not as interested in what might be cut due to sequestration as I am in what's being done to prevent it. I'm more interested in how our spending levels compare to 30 years ago than I am in how our politicians compare themselves to Reagan.

Cut the fluff. If you don't have anything substantive to say, put up an LOLcat picture and stay off the air for an hour.

max_boma: (ripples)
2012-10-27 10:12 pm

Half-full, half-empty

Back in July, I resumed moderately serious bike riding again, taking advantage of living two blocks from a great bike-riding boulevard. (No, the boulevard doesn't ride a bike; it's a great venue for bike riding.) My goal was to be able to ride a century (100 miles) within weeks of turning 50, or, a year from now. I set two intermediate goals to ensure that I make steady progress towards that goal: a 40-50 mile ride this October, and a longer ride six months from now, perhaps 60-75 miles in late April or early May.

My training rides, mostly on FM 734 (FM: "farm to market road"), also known as Parmer Lane and Ronald W. Reagan Boulevard (it changes names as it crosses FM 1431), have been steadily longer and perhaps steadily faster, although it might just be that I'm getting better about known when not to ride. I'm probably one of the slower riders out there Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings, but I'm out there. 20 mile rides are now routine, and I've had rides of 26 miles and 35 miles, although both ended up being cut short -- one due to darkness, and one due to two flat tires.

Today was the first milestone, the Mamma Jamma Ride for breast cancer victim support. Plan A was the 45 mile course. Plan B was the 45 mile course, and then riding home 17 miles along FM 734, ending up at 62 miles. That plan would work because DW would drive me up there today and meet me at the end of the 45-mile ride, so I had the option of getting a ride home or pedaling home. Alas, Plan B fell through when she had to adjust her schedule for today, so I came up with Plan C: try the 72-mile course. Yes, try a ride twice as long as my longest in recent memory.

If the wind had been calm, I might have finished it. If the weather had been more like the weather even two weeks ago, I might have finished. After three months of riding in 80-90F weather, the temperature at the start was about 43F, with a steady 10-15 MPH north wind. The course started heading north and west, so there was either a headwind or a cross-wind most of the morning. I assured myself that having a tail wind on the return would be great, but the wind and the rolling hills wore me out. Sometime after choosing to follow the 72-mile course instead of the 45-mile course, between the rest stops at mile 34 and 51, I decided that I would get a ride back to the start from the mile 51 pit stop. By the time I hit the first straight south, mostly downhill stretch, I was so worn out, I could barely muster any speed at all.

For me today, the best part of being on a supported ride was that I could try a longer distance knowing full well that if I simply couldn't do it, I could use the sag wagon to get back to the start. The Type A part of me considers it a failure because I started something and didn't finish, but another part of me is getting louder than I exceeded expectations by doing 51 miles on a day when the plan was to do 45. Plus, you know, the cold weather and the steady wind.

I will admit, looking at the other bikes that were used for the 100-mile ride (I saw them leave before the 72-mile pack left) and the 72-mile ride made me a bit envious. At one point, I told myself that if I finished 72 miles, I'd get myself a new bike now and not wait for some other justification. So, in some sense, I just postponed a $2000(?) purchase by not spectacularly exceeding my goal for today.

In other news, the SF Giants seem to be about to take a 3-0 lead in the World Series, and Notre Dame football has found an offense while playing a very good Oklahoma team. I wouldn't have minded if it was the Washington Nationals beating the snot out of the Tigers in the World Series, but I'm happy for all my friends in the Bay Area. As for Notre Dame, I keep waiting for them to break my heart, but I'm beginning to wonder if they really are this good.
max_boma: (AllDone)
2012-10-03 06:35 am

See user photo

I wrote something last night that I knew was on a risky topic. I thought I would be able to do so without being misunderstood. I was wrong. I angered one friend and confused another.

This isn't the first time this week that the point of something I had written, or one of the points I was trying to make, has been lost. I don't know why I seem to be losing the ability to write clearly in English, but it seems to be deserting me.

I don't have to write, and if writing suddenly becomes a source of pain and frustration instead of satisfaction, then it's not worth it.

This will not be on the quiz. There won't be a quiz.

Yes, the last paragraph was an attempt at humor. Given my recent track record, let's just assume it failed.

:epityparty.
max_boma: I usually wear glasses, but not this time. (HCRA)
2012-10-02 06:45 am

Notes to Self

When starting a bike ride after an aggravating day at work, don't try a 35-mile bike ride unless you're reasonably sure you have enough daylight left. Otherwise, you may end up sitting on the patio at a Sonic drive-in seven miles from home after calling for your wife to come get you and take you home safely.

On the other hand, I rode 25+ miles (I, um, hit the wrong button and paused my GPS for a mile or two) and felt pretty good the whole way. Either I had a lot of frustration to work out, or I'm starting to get into good shape again. With 25 days until my next supported ride, suddenly 45 miles doesn't seem like an excessive goal.
max_boma: (Rainbow)
2012-09-18 05:46 pm

Dear Mitt

Dear Mitt:

I'm going to vote for Barack Obama. I can't imagine what you or anyone else would say that would change my mind. You've said a lot this past year that convinces me that you want to appeal to people who don't appeal to me.

That doesn't mean I regard myself as a victim.

That doesn't mean I think the government owes me a meal, a bed, or health care.

I pay income taxes, Medicare taxes, and Social Security taxes.

I hope I never hear of you again after November 7.
max_boma: (ripples)
2012-09-12 06:31 am

9/11

I realized last night how much 9/11 depresses me.

The attacks were bad enough. I don't anyone I knew died in the attacks; certainly, not anyone I was in touch with, and in the years since, I haven't found out about former classmates having died in it or anything. However, living at the time about ten miles from the Pentagon, belonging to a Catholic parish in Georgetown, DC, I knew people who knew victims. I've been to the site in New York City and have biked past the Pentagon since that day. I never made a detour to the Pennsylvania crash site, but I've been within miles of it, too, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike many times.

What depresses me is how America changed after the attack.Read more... )
As I said, 9/11 is a depressing day of reflection for me. The world is not as I would have it. I'm much worse off than I was on 9/10/01.

max_boma: (ripples)
2012-08-25 10:40 pm

Lance Armstrong.

Now that Lance Armstrong has stopped fighting accusations that he cheated in his cycling career, details are starting to come out that seem to add up to something close to proof.

Do I care? Not much.

Slate.com has an article pointing out that all of the runners-up in Lance's now vacated-victories have also been penalized in their careers for doping. Maybe there are clean competitors in competitions like the Tour de France. If there are, they're the ones who have a valid complaint against Lance and the others who cheat in that competition.

Me? I'm simply amazed that anyone can ride that many miles at that pace for so long. I still haven't finished one century ride ever in my life; these guys do that over and over again, sometimes in mountainous courses. More power to those who do it without chemical enhancements, but they're all doing things I can't imagine doing.

It also doesn't take away from Armstrong's work in support of cancer research and cancer victims. He's a symbol of hope for them. That is somewhat mitigated if his cancer was triggered by steroids or other drugs taken for illicit purposes, but to millions of cancer patients and their loved ones, he's a symbol of hope. I respect that.

I wish I still believed he was innocent of the charges, but in some ways, the news that he was cheating makes him more human, a little closer to me on the bell curves of life. Not much closer than me; all of those cyclists are way out there on endurance and speed. But now he's in a thicker part of the curve, a little.
max_boma: (Default)
2012-08-11 09:38 am

US Politics

So, a man who has been so rich and successful, some fear he has no way to relate to the working classes and the poor, has picked as his running mate for the Presidential election a man whose apparent goal is to dismantle the welfare state as motivation for people to become more self-sufficient. Wow, just wow.

If you believe your life's arc is inevitably upward, you might support this ticket no matter how dire your current circumstances. If you're sure you're more likely to become a millionaire than out of work and broke, this ticket might be for you. But for anyone who has known anyone who worked hard in life and still needed the safety net, this ticket might be anathema.

After trying to hard to frame this election as a referendum on Barack Obama as President, the Republicans have suddenly made this a referendum on the Tea Party movement in the USA. The Tea Party may be vocal, but I doubt they're enough to carry an election.

I'll be horrified if Romney/Ryan wins in November, but for now, I'm amused.
max_boma: (WTF?)
2012-07-29 05:19 pm

How to Confuse a Restaurant Manager

I awoke from a longer-than-intended nap rather hungry. I hadn't eaten before an 18-mile bike ride, and I barely ate when I got home, because I thought the plan was for DW and I to go brunch together. That didn't happen, and the ride had worn me out (good news: I'm back in training for an organized, fund-raising bike ride. Bad news: I need the training, badly!). I don't often feel like anything I have on hand when I'm hungry like that, but I remembered that the Kerbey Lane restaurant closest to me had Tweeted and posted on Facebook that they're having "Mexican Chocolate" pancakes all week. Kerbey serves breakfast 24x7, so I knew that I could have, say, a burger and fries, and the Mexican Chocolate pancakes, too. So, I drove past several good burger places, some local, some national, to get to Kerbey Lane and have a burger, home fries, and the pancakes.

After finishing the burger and moving into the pancakes, I asked the waitress to invite the manager over, stressing that it wasn't about her service, it was about why I had come in today. When the manager arrived, I told her that I can come in precisely because of the Tweets and Facebook posts about the Mexican Chocolate pancakes. "So, this isn't a complaint?" she asked. "No, it's not. Sometimes customers say nice things to managers," I replied. Then we chatted briefly both about their efforts to add some new items to their pancake rotations and other rotations, and some about their social media campaigns.

After a few minutes and a few more bites, I caught her eye again. "These might be even better with whipped cream." So, she got me some, and waited for my reaction. Getting my endorsement, I think the Mexican Chocolate pancakes will come with whipped cream, or at least an offering of whipped cream, at least for the rest of the manager's shift.
max_boma: (Dwarf)
2012-07-21 07:32 pm

USA: The Second Amendment is Obsolete, and Has Been for 150 Years

The Second Amendment seems to be one of the amendments to the US Constitution that is held most sacred. Any time there are outbreaks of gun-related violence, any discussion of "Can We (Should We) Limit Guns in the USA?" is immediately shouted down on Second Amendment grounds. The Second isn't used for its intended purpose as often as the First (free speech, free religion), Fourth (illegal searches, and, implicitly, privacy), or Fifth (self-incrimination), but we sure don't dare challenge it.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

When has the right to keep and bear Arms ever preserved the security of a free State?

I'm not talking about hunting, for recreation or for nourishment. I'm not talking about contests to shoot targets or take the largest trophy. I'm not talking about the ability to arm oneself and shoot up a movie theater, or a high school, or a college campus, or a McDonald's restaurant, or a post office, or anywhere else. When has the right to keep and bear Arms ever preserved the security of a free State?

I can only think of one situation in American history that I think the founders of the country, the authors of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, would argue meets the framework of the Second Amendment: the American Civil War, 1861-1865. Eleven states thought their security was so threatened by the federal government that they rose in armed opposition to the government, just like the colonists rose against Great Britain in 1775. The colonists won and got to keep their country; the confederated states lost and had to request re-admission as states.

How many times since then has a state used its militia to preserve its security? They've used militias in times of natural disasters. They've joined their militias to the federal military in times of war. They've used their militias as police forces, to quell riots and insurrections within their borders, but not against the federal government since 1865.

Despite that history, we routinely get gun nuts and other whack jobs spouting propaganda like, "The tree of liberty has to be watered with the blood of patriots," now and then. (I'm sure there are some people who espouse such rhetoric who don't rise to the level of "whack job." So sue me.) They shout down any debate about how reduce the odds of being killed by an armed assailant with their rhetoric, as if the Second Amendment is the only thing that's preventing the federal government from imposing Obamacare upon us.

Wait, no, that can't be right; the Federal Government is imposing laws upon the states, in accordance with the laws passed by the elected representatives of the people. When a whack job like Ted Nugent starts talking about "Second Amendment remedies" to Obamacare, he's not taken as a thoughtful Constitutional scholar and States Right advocate; he's regarded as a loose cannon, pardon the pun, having a temper tantrum because he doesn't like when the system doesn't give him his way.

Remember: states like Texas are proposing opting out of various Federal programs mandated by Obamacare (I hate the term, by the way, but the level of emotion it denotes is appropriate here), as the law allows, but they aren't discussing calling up their militias in opposition to this law.

So, I ask you: what's the Constitutional benefit of this system and framework that lets criminals amass enough firepower to kill thirteen people at a high school, or fourteen people in a movie cinema, or thirty-two people on a college campus, or twenty-one people in a McDonald's?

The Second Amendment was used once, by the Confederate States, and it didn't work. It'll never by used again for its nominal purpose. It's obsolete.

The Micro-Argument

What about the premise that the Second Amendment is meant to let individual citizens arm themselves in self-defense?

Well, first off, that's not what the Amendment says. The Amendment is about the security of the state. I know the gun nuts will reply that this is what the Supreme Court has repeatedly said the Amendment means, but I consider that interpretation a bastardization of some rather plain, self-evident words, just like so many of my philosophical or rhetorical opponents would say of so many other court interpretations and rulings.

Secondly, even if that is the goal, is it working? Are we safer as a society because we're rife with more firearms than other industrialized nations? 

That question is so obvious that the only way to debate it is to set up straw-man arguments based on partial implementations of gun control. "If this District has strict laws and its neighbor doesn't, crime rates don't go down." Well, duh!  If it's easy to circumvent a law by crossing an unguarded, unregulated border, of course that law won't prove how effective it would be in a complete implementation. "If handguns are criminalized, only criminals will have guns!" OK, that works for me, except that there are always exceptions for law enforcement, and we might even allow long-arms (rifles, shotguns, etc) for sport such as hunting. If possession of a handgun suddenly becomes a justification for treating a person like a suspected illegal immigrant in Arizona, what's wrong with that? "Officer, he has a gun!" "Sir, can you prove to me that you are licensed to bear that arm? No? OK, come with me." Drug dealers, bank robbers, and carjackers all suddenly have to find other ways to exert their criminal power.

Seriously, what's the worst that happens if we ban handguns except for sworn military personnel on active duty and law enforcement officers on duty? I really don't see how the Second Amendment is making us safer.

max_boma: (Diversity)
2012-07-12 06:22 am

Them? They're Your Sympathetic Victims?

I keep hearing on the news how Republicans are allegedly worried about small business owners who will hire fewer workers or take other unintended actions if affordable healthcare coverage becomes law in the USA as President Obama has been working so hard to accomplish.

If you're too cheap to provide your employees with decent benefits, including health care, why should I be protecting you? It's like rooting for taxpayers who try to get out of paying their taxes and then whine because the IRS is trying to collect thousands of dollars in back taxes. Hey, I pay my taxes; why shouldn't you?

Let's stop defending people who greedily throw out babies with bathwater and instead focus on the people whose lives will improve as we collectively work to improve everyone's health.

max_boma: (ripples)
2012-07-11 06:55 pm

Putting Myself on a Deadline

Some of you may remember that upon arriving in Austin, I allowed a high school classmate to convince me that she and I could ride in the Hill Country Ride for AIDS the following April. We'd been on a bike-and-train tour of Great Britain one summer in high school, and her company both supported HCRA and had a team of riders in it, so she was under some pressure to ride it. The HCRA has several distances, but she assured me we could be ready to ride a century in 11 months. She'd made similar long rides before, she assured me, and she'd be with me all the way.
A stretch goal for Max, again! )
So, yeah, I'm opening my mouth for both this October and next October, to ride for others as a fund-raiser and to ride for myself.

If anyone wants to sponsor me, PM me and I'll e-mail you a link where you can donate.

max_boma: (WTF?)
2012-06-29 06:29 am

Patience

Different events have combined to have me think about patience.

My usual psuedo-philosophical ramblings about current events.  )

Says me, anyway.

Also, I'm exhausted. I'm spending most of my non-working waking hours unpacking stuff and putting stuff away. I should have taken the week off and just gotten it over with. (You know my wife and I moved from an apartment to a house last weekend, right? I mentioned that, didn't I?)

max_boma: (Pop)
2012-06-25 06:42 am

Same City, Different Zip Code, Different County

The four-man crew of movers showed up at the apartment at 8 AM on Saturday, as planned; the furniture was in the house and the credit card charge slip signed three hours later. They took all the stuff that won't fit in a VW Jetta wagon or Honda Fit and a fair amount of the stuff that would fit; if it was packed and sealed, they took it. AT&T showed up a bit after 3 to set up the TV signal, the Internet connection, and, yes, a land line, because I'm a sentimental guy who bought a nice, four wireless handset rig shortly after my divorce. Never mind that the window for AT&T was 1 PM - 3 PM, or that I'd talked with an AT&T guy finishing a different job down the street at about 11 AM that morning.

So, for the next two weeks or so, the standard answer to almost any question in the home is, "Did we unpack that yet?" followed closely by, "Dear, do you remember where we put that away?"

It was a busy weekend. It was a tiring weekend. For June in Austin, it wasn't quite "hot," but it was in the high '90s F; I'm tanned in places and burned in a few places. Also, we've resumed doing laundry.

I may take Wednesday off to make a huge push to "get stuff done," such as setting up the video stuff (TiVo, DVD player, Wii, maybe PS2), stereo in my office (tuner, integrated amp, 300-disc CD jukebox, maybe vinyl record player) and any number of pieces of mail or credit card charge slips that have been in limbo for a couple of weeks.

It wasn't nearly as bad as I knew was possible.
max_boma: (Owl)
2012-06-06 07:18 am

Teaching Problem Solving?

How do you teach people to solve problems? How do you teach people to look past the first symptom and look at all the symptom to find one that causes the others?

My context is with Information Technology (computers and computer centers), but the problem should be much wider than that.

I need some ideas. This is something that is so instinctive for me, I don't know how to teach it or explain it.
max_boma: (Pop)
2012-05-30 05:31 pm

The Things We Do....

My second apartment here in Austin didn't work out as well as my first. It has a second bedroom and is larger in square footage, but the individual rooms feel smaller and cramped. It was good to move to a new apartment when Maureen moved in with me, but we never got past the feeling of, "Oh, it's smaller than I expected."

Our first year in the apartment ended about a week before our wedding date, so we rolled over the lease for another six months. We did some casual looking before the wedding, mostly to narrow the search to a few zip codes instead of whole bloody city, but also to validate our hopes that with current mortgage rates, we could in fact afford a house without too much hardship. We resumed the search a month after the honeymoon, after our realtor finished a trip of her own, and found something we decided we wouldn't do better than fairly quickly. Good size for us, good price, good highway access, backs up to green space, not someone else's back yard.

We close on the house in two weeks, so today it was time to... liquidate my stock market holdings. My employee-purchase-plan holdings. My stock-option-incentives that had vested and become stocks I can sell. And, of course, the general stock holdings I've held at Charles Schwab over the years. I sold some in February to pay for some wedding expenses; now I was selling a lot more to cover the down payment (20%) and a bit more for all the related expenses.

Part of me cringes at selling so much at once, and part of me realizes: what are financial holdings for if not to use when you need them? I suppose we could have put down 5% instead of 20%, but that would have introduced a few extra fees and costs, not to mention the proportionally higher mortgage payments every month.

My company's stock has dipped a bit in the past two weeks, but I'm still way ahead on my purchases of it. The rest of my stocks? Generally profitable, and here when I needed them. All's well that ends well, right?

And if the market starts a long, vigorous rally now that I'm almost completely out of it, well, you're welcome! 
max_boma: (Diversity)
2012-05-28 02:41 pm

Murphy Brown and Bristol Palin

Isabel Sawhill wrote a piece for the Washington Post arguing that Dan Quayle was right twenty years ago, that it is far better for a child to be brought up by married parents than by cohabitating parents, let alone a single mother. She quotes studies of how well children do in school, pregnancy rates among children of married parents compared to the other categories, graduation rates, and even earning rates as adults.

All of this addresses the wrong question. We're not SimCity players, deciding if we want to get a character pregnant, and which character (or pair of characters) would raise the healthiest, wealthiest child. The questions might be, what do we advise a pregnant woman, and how do we discourage women from getting pregnant if they're not in a strong, healthy marriage, if that is so important to society? 

I doubt Dan Quayle or Isabel Sawhill would encourage the fictional Murphy Brown or the non-fictional Bristol Pailn to get an abortion, but if you desire all children to be raised by loving, married parents, Levi Johnston seems unlikely to ever be a loving, caring husband for Bristol Palin, and before Murphy Brown chose to raise the child herself, she carefully considered as husbands the men in her life. Many people today would abort such pregnancies without batting an eyelash, knowing all too well the economic facts that Sawhill's column reminds us of. Somehow, though, I can't imagine such a staunch conservative as Dan Quayle advocating that.

How, then, do you convince women (and, to a lesser extent, men) to avoid getting into a situation in which a child is conceived out of wedlock? (I agree that it takes one of each to conceive and that the man should suffer the consequences as much as the woman. That's not realistic, though.) Do you think you can convince many more women to abstain from sex until they're in a strong healthy marriage? Studies in abstinence-only states suggest that such efforts aren't working. Even if women and men did buy into that convention, how many couples would marry at first lust so they could become sexually active and presumably become parents without giving sufficient regard to the question of their suitability for each other? 

Can we convince unmarried women, especially young unmarried women, that motherhood isn't the beatified role society makes it seem to be? Can we convince them that the economic burdens that come with teen motherhood are so horrible that, at the very least, they should learn about and use birth control until they're better equipped to support themselves and their children? That assumes, of course, that these young women have a reason to believe their economic prospects will improve as they go through high school to graduation and then trade school or some other form of post-secondary education. This might be true in suburbia, but is it true in rural America or in the economically ravaged inner cities of our country? 

The third deterrent to single-mother pregnancies might be education about birth control, and the increased availability of affordable birth control for all of America. Advocating birth control, though, seems almost as unlikely as advocating abortions for unmarried women. Some people would do it without batting an eyelash, and some would rather Bristol Palin have a daughter out of wedlock than educate her or Levi about how to reduce the chance of pregnancy while remaining sexually active.

Dan Quayle might have been right about how to raise the best children in SimCity or SimUSA, but this isn't a simulation, and that wasn't the question facing Bristol Palin. It would have better if she had parented her child with her ideal match, but she didn't. Maybe she'll eventually find true love, and her child will know a father who loves him and his mother, but in the mean time, those who are hellbent that children should be raised only by loving married parents need to figure out how to reduce the number of pregnancies among people of all ages who don't regard a lifetime commitment to a person to be a prerequisite for sexual activity.

max_boma: (Dwarf)
2012-05-26 01:03 pm

This should be a celebratory day, but....

Three years ago, I started my current job. That alone should make today a day to celebrate.

Instead, I'm more than a little stressed.
  • I'm not keeping up with routine housekeeping paperwork; my desk is constantly piled up with statements and receipts.
  • The fact that we're closing on a house in two-and-a-half weeks means there's more to do than usual, both paperwork and physical labor around the apartment, starting to pack.
  • I haven't done much about my health since my last doctor's visit, so the visit this week won't go well. I change my mind about taking a new medication she recommended, and I'm not increasing my exercise like I keep vowing to do.
  • Consequently, I'm not as energetic as I expect to be, contributing to the first two points.
  • One of the three other TSM administrators I work with left our team about a week ago. At this point, our workload isn't unmanageable, but it shortens the cycle between weeks on-call; I'm on-call this weekend, for example.
  • One of the reasons he left was that we told ourselves there wasn't a justification for giving him a green card, that we could find US citizens to do the job. We made an offer; it was refused. So far, we haven't found other candidates to fill the job that get past my manager's screening. I don't like the feeling that our assessment of the availability of US citizens to do this job was wrong.
  • Our off-shore contractors, who we didn't want, seem to be bungling some of the nearly basic tasks we give them. Two of the four are supposed to be TSM-certified, but my experience today with one of them makes me think he's missing basic problem determination skills or doesn't have the TSM skills he's certification is supposed to indicate. It's not that it was a question anyone could have answered off the top of our head, but there were three or four straight-forward, standard steps to take to translate the customer's request to the real root cause and suggest a solution. Also, this call came up because they moved a client from one server to another without realizing this wasn't wasn't exactly like the other 1500 they've moved. OK, for such a low rate of exceptions, I sort of can understand why they missed it, but it doesn't speak well of them that they don't excel at what little we ask of them.
  • Our cats at home have gone from aloof towards me to so used to me, they frequently demand attention I'm not in a position to give, like while I'm trying to write this entry. This probably means my priorities are screwed up.
  • This probably wasn't the week to try to participate in a LiveJournal friending-frenzy. I've stuck my foot in my mouth at least once in just a few days. My response to that being pointed out to me was one of the indicators of how stressed I am.
  • It also wasn't a good time for the Cable DVR to die, taking with several episodes of TV shows I try to keep up with. Some (Mentalist, Blue Bloods, Person of Interest) aren't available on-line, so I saw some finales without seeing penultimate episodes. I'm slowing working through the last episodes of Awake with my wife as our not-quite-meshing schedules allow.
Time to submit this, have as nice a lunch as I can with what's in our apartment (oh, yes, they're working on the building's water today, so, no water pressure. Fortunately, I'm stocked up on diet sodas.) and then do lots of bookkeeping.
max_boma: (Rainbow)
2012-05-24 07:17 am

Oh, yes....

There's a friending frenzy going on over in a personal journal on LJ, and I jumped in, so I expect I've picked up some new friends. I'm not sure I want to say more now than I said in that thread, but here i am.

Oh, the obvious: I compose my entries on Dreamwidth and have them robo-copied to LJ. If LJ ever goes casters-up, I've got backups on DW. But the few communities I'm active on are on LJ.

One of my personal mottos: "'Normal' is just a statistical measurement. It's not a goal." I came up with that one during the breakdown of my first marriage, when "You're not normal," was said more like an accusation than an observation.

max_boma: (Uncertainty)
2012-04-26 07:03 am

Who, me?

I'm not ignoring you; I just haven't had much to say lately.

Work boring and frustrating.

House hunting frustrating.

Exercise not happening.

Presidential politics likely to be boring between now and early November.