January 20, 2006

We didn’t make it to bed until quite late last night and ended up sleeping in until Dominica had to rush to ready for work. She rushed enough that she ended up being able to watch some of a DVD before actually leaving for work.

It is yet another dark and gloomy day. Not a rainy day. Just

Dad came over and picked me up at 11:30 and we went over to the Omega for some lunch. The diet that I have been doing hasn’t been working very well for me. I haven’t felt too good and I really haven’t been losing much or any weight as far as I can tell. So I am adjusting the diet myself to attempt to modify it to make sense for my metabolism. For lunch I just had a salad. Hopefully that isn’t so much food that I end up still gaining wait. Ugh.

After lunch dad and I went over to Walmart to do some quick shopping. While we were there I ran into Jeannie Piraino (actually she is married now but I don’t know her married name – she got married just several weeks ago on October 29th, 2005.) I have been running into Jeannie here and there ever since high school. She and I have crossed paths more than any other person that I went to high school with that I don’t pre-arrange to meet someplace. We went to high school together. And then, years later, we ended up at Monroe Community College (MCC) together and then, funny enough, we are both technically going to SUNY Empire right now as well. She is the only person that I know of to have been to that many schools with me.

When you have some time check out the Jello Museum. I hope to take a trip up to LeRoy one of these days and go through the museum. It is unbelievable that there is an important museum like that so close to where I grew up and I have never been there. The Jello Factory is one of those buildings that I have driven past my entire life and never really thought about it very much. It is such an important part of Genesee County heritage. I grew up in Wyoming County but right on the border. Wyoming used to be a part of Genesee County way back in the day and where I loved in Wyoming had a postal code in Genesee County. I think that it is interesting that Jello ended up being acquired by Kraft who has a current large plant just two towns to the east in Avon (here in Livingston County) where they make Cool Whip! I know a number of people these days who work at that plant. It is the big employer in Avon. Definitely on of the county’s largest employers overall (after the college and the hospital.)

A Geneseo School bus came into our circle today and, I think, dropped off some kids. If that really happened then the population of our little complex here must really be changing. We have not had anyone living here with kids that I am aware of up until now nor have we had anyone except for us who is of the right age to have kids still at home. Maybe things are changing in the area.

This week has been one of those “not very productive” weeks. Sometimes it just happens. Monday was a holiday and Tuesday was a scheduled project day that got rescheduled and Wednesday was a big project day that went totally out of whack so I suppose that there is good reason for me to be feeling that this week didn’t work out perfectly but still it would be nice to have more to show for a week. I had been hoping to get down to Castile at least by today to get more computers set up and ready for classes but it takes so much time to get one set up that my window of opportunity today just wasn’t long enough to do that. At least I can say that I managed to learn a lot of the basics of Perl programming and got tons of slides transferred over to digital. That is something.

After looking at old pictures of me this week at least two people commented that it is a good thing that my hair fell out because I had really awful hair and I look much better bald. From looking at old pictures of myself I have to agree.

The weather was pretty warm today and Oreo decided that it was time for him to roll in the poop again. He found a nice pile straight out from the deck out in the weeds and he went to town. I was lucky that I looked at there at just the right time to see him doing it so I was prepared for him when he got back to the house. It was straight to the bath for him. He wasn’t too happy. He knew that he was in trouble. I did learn today that he actually does like to take a shower rather than a bath. I normally run the shower but have it go beyond him while he stands in the bath so that it keeps the air warm and moist so that he doesn’t catch a chill. I had the water going a little lower than usual today and he was able to stand in it and did so by choice. It is must warmer standing in the water so I guess that is what made him do it. But he seemed perfectly happy to just stand there in the shower. What a weird dog.

A study looking into basic life skill literacy in college students that came out today supports my long standing mantra that we have lowered the bar so low for colleges and universities that we have made them totally irrelevant in modern society. In this study they discovered that MOST students about to graduate from college were finding it difficult or impossible to for them to do simple life tasks such as calculating tips, balancing checkbooks (which doesn’t even require multiplication or division) or comparing interest rates on credit card offers. Fortunately at least the average college student was able to identify their own location on a map. The sad thing here is that we are talking about college students and not about third graders. The skills that we are talking about are skills that were required of every kid that I knew somewhere in the second to fourth grade range and even then we couldn’t believe that they were “teaching” stuff that was just obvious. In seventh grade I remember Mrs. Clor teaching us how to fill out the IRS’ 1044EZ tax forms. No one in my class had problems with that. The real problem comes in when high school are sending students so academically inadequate to colleges that colleges have to start doing the job of the high schools at a time when students are no longer mentally pliable and have become accustomed to simple memorization and have no quantitative reasoning skills at all. How are colleges supposed to be turning smart kids into really useful citizens if the high schools aren’t providing any fundamental education at all? Perhaps more importantly, why aren’t colleges turning these kids away and refusing to take kids without the background that should be necessary to advance from elementary school into middle/high school? By allowing students with no futures beyond “would you like fries with that?” into our advanced education system we are both removing the opportunities for truly great students to succeed as well as providing tools to make those who will fail do so more dramatically than ever before. Little is as devestating to a person than to have spent five years in a private college racking up insane levels of debt just to graduate to find that they have accumulated no knowledge or skills that will allow them to get a job but now must face the heighten humiliation of attempting to get a “high schooler” level job at the age of twenty four or older while facing the insurmountable debt that can arise from attending college through loans. We have designed a system to take advantage of the weekest element in society and totally crush them. This is were classism rears its ugly head. Hidden beneath cries of “no student left behind” and “never tell a student that their answer is wrong” is a much more real attempt to divide the world into those who succeed because their education came from outside of the system and those who were destroyed believing that the system would actually provide them with a useful education and a realistic view of their post-educational economic potential.

I have recently received a “bill” both through email and through snail mail from Verizon (or so the letter claims) that I have a back due balance on my account for $149. I looked at the bill when it first was emailed to me a few weeks ago. I didn’t recognize the account number on the bill but assumed that I did not know what the account number was and ignored it as my father writes the check from the company to pay for my cell phone so I assumed that if there was a past due amount on the account that it was simply because notices had passed in the mail. Nothing to worry about. Then yesterday an actual paper notice arrived by snail mail. I looked at that notice and checked the account number. It definitely was not my account number. It was not even close. We checked further and the bill had a different sending and return address from normal Verizon bills but everything else looked totally legitimate. I called Verizon National where I deal with everything and had them look into it. They were unable to find anything past due on any account tied to my social security number nor were they able to find any account to match the account number that was sent to me. So I figured that at this point it wasn’t my problem so I didn’t worry about it. Dad called Verizon and talked to someone though who took an interest (although at this point we don’t know 100% whether or not he was actually talking to someone inside of Verizon or not) and said that it was very possible that a renegade employee was using real Verizon letterhead and mailing information to attempt to get people to send them checks to a different location so that they could cash them. That is all that we know at this point but I will keep you updated in case anything further comes of this. I am convinced that they whole thing is a scam and someone is trying to get money but it is hard to tell. So many companies these days aren’t able to keep track of their own customers and accounts that it is easy to see someone slipping through the cracks even when it is so easy to build computer systems that won’t allow that to happen. Not that we know that anything like that has occurred with Verizon. It is just so many other companies doing stupid things that it is easy to believe that one more isnt’ doing things right too. So far our actual contact with Verizon has been very good regarding this issue. They are definitely the only cell company I would seriously consider doing business with in the US.

I made myself cauliflower with cheese for dinner. I have decide to move to an all vegetable diet in an attempt to force down my caloric intake. I am going to get a diet that works for me one way or another. There has to be something that will actually allow me to lose weight.

I managed to record Episode 43 of the SGL Podcast tonight. I can’t believe how much material I have managed to record over the past six months or so. That is almost an entire day of audio that you can download and listen to. Awesome.

I did a bunch of cleaning around the house today including a lot of dishes that have piled up over the last few days. It is tough getting anything done around the house because Oreo constantly wants to play. I think that he actually wants to play more and gets himself into more trouble when he is on his medication that is supposed to make him drowsy. He seems to sleep more but then plays and plays and plays. He toenails are really sharp too after having gotten them cut the other day. Now my wrist is all cut up from him playing. Dad is all cut up too from playing with him a few days ago.

I found this link again: What Old People Do For Fun. It is just a really short Google Video but it is really funny so check it out. And for those who have not seen the Volkwagon advertisement for their new Polo check that out too: German Engineering vs. Arab Technology. While we are linking to good videos try Don’t Work So Hard.

Dominica came home and we did our usual of watching some Angel and then heading off to bed.

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