Jan 182012
 

Sadly, this post is not about tasty Latin American treats. It’s about legislation that endangers the free exchange of knowledge that the Internet offers us. The basics of SOPA and PIPA entail the ability for the US Department of Justice to require immediate take down of sites and domains, including rerouting DNS and preventing payments to them, when it appears a site infringes on US Copyright laws in any form. The details, however, are far less fuzzy. Under the guise of this bill, the government could kill off sites that link to news articles (aka Fark), or use images or text from other articles (aka ArsTechnica), or for any other reason impede on the “rights”, real of imagined, of the lobbyist agenda.

Will it happen? Nobody can say for sure. But why even give the government the power to make such decisions for us? Take action – call your congresscritters today! There’s not much time left. Next year, your favorite site might be closed for business.

May 052011
 

Something struck me as odd today about the bathroom habits of the other inhabitants of my office building. I understand that this may seem like an odd thing to consider, but seeing as I use the restroom here at the office at least as often as the one at home, perhaps it’s not so strange.

The first thing to mention is that each of the three floors has an identical restroom in identical locations on the floor. This, in and of itself, is not unusual in the least. This is about where the normalcy ends, however. All of them are “public” to the daytime residents of the building. We’re in the largest suite and do not have private facilities, so I doubt anyone else does either. However, each floor’s men’s room has a distinctive quality.

On the first floor, there is always reading material in the stalls. Most of it stays there for about a month before being refreshed by someone who has decided to use that stall as his domicile for an hour or so. There is also the strange habit from our eastern friends of leaving soap-and-water filled dishes on the bathroom sink. I understand first-hand the difference between their culture and ours, but this still seems slightly unsettling in the U.S.

The second floor, by the appearance of the men’s room, must be abandoned entirely. I’ve never walked into it at a point in time where the lights were not off (they are on a motion sensor). This differs form the first and third floor, where I’ve never walked in on the lights being off unless I was working late in the office. There’s never reading material, it’s always clean, and it’s never out of toilet paper. Perhaps, in this sense, the second floor is the place to go for all of your nature calls.

The third floor men’s room, aka Restroom Prime for my office, has no reading material or dishes, but constantly has paper towel and toilet paper on the floor. Apparently Pigpen from Peanuts works in one of the adjacent offices. Also, people on the third floor apparently are not familiar with the flushing mechanism of the toilet.

Despite these differences, there is one thing that ties the three together–the sinks. There are three sinks in a row on the same wall on each floor. Everyone appears to favor the leftmost sink. Because of this, the leftmost sink on each floor has developed quirks, most of which are related to the dispensing of soap. The soap and water are both released by a motion sensor. However, on those leftmost sinks, the motion sensor is either completely uncalibrated, or has developed sentience and is combating our overuse of it. When drawing one’s hand under the dispenser, it does not deposit soap in your palm as it should. But moving your hand under the faucet turns on both water and soap. This creates a small dance by where you must place your hand under the soap dispenser and move your other hand in a broad stroke under the faucet. It’s sort of the CTRL-ALT-DEL of the appliance world.

When someone is already at the leftmost sink, people seem to gravitate to the center sink, thus enforcing my theory that there is some sort of subconscious stigma attached to the rightmost sink. The center sinks have yet to develop their sentient (and anti-human) autonomy; they function as expected. I would think this would cause people to utilize the center sink more often, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

The rightmost sink usually has no soap (or the dispenser simply doesn’t function at all). Perhaps after years of not being refilled due to lack of use, the soap dispensers on those sinks have simply gone on strike. Or, in some cost cutting measure, it was determined that the stale soap in those dispensers just doesn’t need to be replaced, since nobody ever uses them. To shore up my hypothesis, I just tried the soap dispenser on the right after a failed CTRL-ALT-DEL dance with the left sink.

No soap came out.

Apr 082011
 

I suppose it’s time for my annual post. I always say that I want to post here more often, but life is just far too crazy. I know, I know… that shouldn’t be an excuse. So… what’s new in Jesse’s life?

Well, finals are upon me once again. They’re pretty much going to have me swamped for a few weeks. Ugh! Otherwise, things are good. I’ve registered for what should be my last two semesters before I graduate with my B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric. Still not sure what I’m doing after that. I’d like to go to grad school, but… yeah, I need a break from school. And next year will include sixteen credit hours each semester, so I may just die before I get my degree anyway.

That’s about that, I suppose. Hopefully I’ll have something more interesting to say soon.

Feb 012010
 

Ah 2010… a new decade in which to prevail or flounder. While 2000 may have offered the ultimate new beginning for people of my generation, I’m hoping 2010 keeps it’s new-decade smell for a little while. The holidays were nice, the new semester has brought interesting courses (so far), this brand new month may even contain a new job (fingers crossed). Life is moving forward at its typical breakneck speeds and I’ve climbed from the bumper into the backseat. Here’s to hoping that I’ll be driving my life again sometime this year.

Yeah, it’s not much, but that’s my update for now. Go go gadget new year!

Dec 102009
 

I’m sort of re-reading “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid” by Bill Bryson. I had to rush through it more than I cared to the first time. It’s a great book and I highly recommend it.

Also, currently (like right this very second) I’m playing 1 vs 100 on Xbox Live. It’s also awesome, and I only need one more achievement. I’m excited to get a little more gaming time in during the school break. BUT, more importantly, I need to get more Samantha time and more Ethan time. It’ll be a nice change of pace for sure!

I’m now fretting slightly over my grades. I’m fairly certain (per Moodle) that I have a 3.7 in Business Writing, my least favorite course of all time. I’m hoping that I did well in Creative Nonfiction and am fairly sure I did alright in my Photography class. “Working Detroit” is a wildcard. Also, I will never take a history course again. I like them, but I am not good with them. It makes me sad.

Tonight, Ethan, Sam and I set up her tree at her apartment. It was fun, and Sam picked a fantastic tree. A live one even… crazy! It’s pretty and sparkly and quite nice.

Oh, what else…?

I’m tired, and finally destressing from the Fall semester. So thankful for that! Hopefully December will continue along its current trajectory and I will be a happy camper again by January 5th.

Nov 222009
 

Last night was Ethan’s 4th Birthday Bash. There was one helluva turn out – Ethan is loved. ๐Ÿ™‚ The boy got some amazing presents, including a Wii from Papa Chuck, UP from Samantha and, my favorite (because I got it for him) an Erector set which I expect to be building from with him every week for a while.

The night prior, Sam, my mom, Ethan and I all went to the Red Wings game. It was Ethan and Sam’s first, so that was extra cool. We lost in OT, for no good reason, but it was still an awesome game.

Otherwise, my life is still filled with homework. I’m wondering if there’s going to be a “caught up” time before the end of the semester. Next semester I need to pre-load as much of my work as I can as early as possible so that I’m not feeling like I have to scramble come the end of the semester. But, my work ethic has gone up the last couple of weeks (thanks to a patient and understanding girlfriend) and hopefully I can skate through the flames of this semester unsinged.

Nov 182009
 

I’m trying desperately to organize the things in my life that must be accomplished. My delightful girlfriend feels that I compartmentalize my life too greatly, but I’m not sure if that’s the case. Either way, something needs to be fixed.

None of my classes this year have a typical final exam. All of them are project-based, and I need to start working on them now (or last week, better yet). This on top of the assignments that are still due the rest of the semester: final essay for creative nonfiction (along with my oral presentation due next week which I have not started), oral history transcript for HST (plus the first 2 of 3 parts of our final I can begin writing, which I also have not done), a boatload of smaller assignments for business writing, a couple of photographic projects (plus two extra credit assignments I would be remiss to pass on). All of this plus Ethan time, Samantha time, life time. And some fun time… I’ve found that sneaking in 10-15 minutes of Xbox now and then actually improves my ability to study. So that’s a true winner in my book.

Besides these items, I feel like something is amiss. Nothing major, mind you, but something that I would like to hunt down and squash. Maybe it’ll turn out to be a snipe hunt after all is said and done, but I hope not.

Studying + Facebook + chatting with Sam + Xbox + music = hectic but productive. *sigh*

Nov 172009
 

Of course, most parents hold this same sentiment, but mine are truly the best.

Ethan, a soon-to-be four year old, is a constant source of amazement and wonder. Smart as a whip (and going into Kindergarten a year early), spunky as all get out, hilarious, sweet and adorable. If he asks me for a sister again, I may have to sew his mouth shut, but otherwise, he’s just a gem!

Brett is now 43, or so it feels like. My god I’m old! He’s also sweet and smart and wonderful. Any teenage boy that still offers an unsolicited “I love you” now and then is certainly worth keeping around. Plus he’s an excellent partner for Xbox gaming. I couldn’t be happier!

*sigh* I love my boys!

Nov 172009
 

…it just keeps going. Sometimes I feel like the attendant of this particular roller coaster forgot to verify that my safety bar was firmly in my lap. As I sway about on each turn, swerve or loop-de-loop, I curse him for his incompetence. School, work (well, not so much right now), friends, family, life, liberty, pursuit of… hmmm.

It is safe to say that this semester in school has been revitalizing. I’ve had a few downs (my history class may very well be my undoing, GPA-wise), but overall my classes are amazing, my profs are great, and my newly found school spirit has led me to become the Vice President of two student organizations: The Student Veterans of Oakland University and The Writing and Rhetoric Club. Oh, and I also was admitted to the Honors College. It think this will all be dandy, but if I don’t post again by 2011, these items may be the cause of my demise. Please email me to make sure I’m okay?! (And yes, I’m aware that I should have written “I was also admitted”, keeping my subject and verb together. But I’m a writing and rhetoric rebel!)

My currently state of joblessness is uplifting, more than perhaps it should be. Living on unemployment checks and GI Bill money has a certain socialistic flair I’m not particularly fond of. But hey, as far as I’m concered it’s all money that I’ve earned, especially the latter part. It can’t last forever, but it’s a wave I’m fully willing to commit to riding for the next few months.

2009 has been, on all accounts, quite a year — and it ain’t over yet! I’m counting on a victory for the home team (that’s me), but an upset isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.

Nov 242008
 

First of all, read the article below or at this link

A User’s Guide to Speed brochure available to teens at anti-drug program in Toronto

By Bruce McDougall

The Daily Telegraph

November 24, 2008 01:46am

Controversy … a brochure displayed to up to 100 Year 8 students at a community information day contains “tips to avoid getting bad speed”.

* Drug brochure available to teens
* It advises users to get a good dealer
* Anti-drug advocates outraged

TEENAGE school students have been given access to a controversial brochure called A User’s Guide to Speed while attending a NSW Government-promoted anti-drug and alcohol program.

The 35-page booklet, included among drugs literature displayed to up to 100 Year 8 students and parents during a community information day, contains a section on “tips to avoid getting bad speed”.

In it, teenage readers are told: “If you don’t already have a reliable dealer, try to find one and stick with them.

“When you’re using a new batch, only try a little at first … you can always use the rest later if you need to.”

The booklet’s availability during workshops at the Toronto Courthouse near Newcastle – along with another on “Choosing to use” that was ordered to be pulped in June by former Health Minister Reba Meagher – has outraged anti-drugs campaigners.

Produced by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, the user’s guide tells teens amphetamine-related speed can suppress appetite and help in weight loss.

Users are urged to take breaks from using speed, allow time to “come down” so it doesn’t interfere with work or study and to carry the phone number of a legal aid solicitor with them.

One of the authors, drugs educator Paul Dillon, said yesterday the brochure’s presence at the community day was an “unfortunate mistake”.

Mr Dillon said the resource, produced to help amphetamine users cut down or quit the habit, was inappropriate for 14 and 15-year-old high school students.

“You have got to be very careful about the message you are delivering to young people,” he said.

Mr Dillon, who had no involvement in the community day, said the booklet probably was among a selection of material provided by an agency asked to exhibit.

In promoting the community day Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said high school students would learn about the damaging effects of alcohol and other drugs.

Last night a spokesman for Mr Hatzistergos said the Government did not condone the use of illegal drugs.

“The Attorney-General’s Department is looking into if, how and why this brochure turned up at a court open day,” he said.

No Way campaigner Darren Marton, one of the guest speakers at the education event, said the material should never have been seen by teenagers.

“Those who ran the community day are at no fault in this – it is material produced from harm minimisation (advocates) and put there by others,” he said.

“One lady who was helping out on the day was physically shaken and had to go outside in tears after reading the brochure.”

Opposition education spokesman Andrew Stoner said a drugs guide was the last thing parents and their children needed.

“Students would be better served being in the classroom rather than at a workshop on drugs,” Mr Stoner said yesterday.

Okay, so first… that is hilarious. I’m sure plenty of people think it is horrible, but I’m just tickled at the whole idea behind this. I mean, I doubt any of the students had never heard of speed before. Now they can use it safely. LOL… so awesome.

Also, added points for having a drug opposition spokesman named Mr. Stoner. w00t!