Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Student’s Vent

 

reference books 2-28-13

Image courtesy of Surachai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, I read a line in one of my textbooks that gave me some hope:  “A pox on the rules of classic writing”, Celia C. Elwell & Robert Barr Smith, Practical Legal Writing for Legal Assistants 35 (1996).

It was hopeful to me for two reasons.  One, because I’m a big believer in a natural approach to writing, without feeling the need to show off a huge vocabulary or an intimate knowledge of how to properly craft and punctuate 50 word sentences.  I don’t necessarily buy into the idea that writing should be geared toward an 8th grade reading level, but I also don’t think reading should be a chore.

Secondly, I wanted to grab onto the idea that legal writing could be simple because I’ve spent the last couple of days grappling with an assignment on proper citation formats.  It’s bad enough that I spent most of my formative years trying to familiarize myself with the MLA format, with occasional forays into APA.  But now, entering into a brand new field of knowledge, I have discovered that the legal world isn’t satisfied with the way others do things; they have to have their own citation format.  OMG.

Really, things should be simple.  I mean, I get the idea that if you’re using a case or a law as the basis of an argument, you need to make sure readers can go and find the information and read it themselves.  But you can look at the style book—known as The Bluebook—and know that it is far from simple. 

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  As you can see, it’s a couple of inches thick, with topics divided into many different sections.  The book is designed to be the (almost) one-stop-shop for legal citations.  So what’s included?  In addition to the federal government, you’ve got states, municipalities and agencies creating laws right and left, and countless courts across the country publishing opinions, so you have to know how to cite each of those.  There are abbreviations that are not just suggested but required, including state abbreviations that are different from the postal abbreviations we’ve all grown up with.  That’s the basics, but there’s a lot of other stuff jammed in there, too.  Oh, and all those courts?  Many of them have their own preferences about how things should be cited, so, in addition to this monstrosity of a book, we have to learn how Oklahoma differs from what’s inside it.  (And hope that we don’t some day end up working in some other state.)  Nothing simple at all. 

  So, since apparently citations aren’t going to become simple any time soon, I hope my text was correct in saying that legal types are trying to move away from more complex writing styles.  Because, honestly, if I have to figure out how to properly cite everything from constitutions to supreme court cases to legal journals, and everything in between, I really don’t want to have to also learn to decipher a bunch of wherefores and hereins.  Please, let’s do keep it simple. 

 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wellness Wednesday, February 27

 

Last Wednesday, I talked a little bit about mental well being and a positive mindset.  It wasn’t my plan to say more about that, but sometimes plans change, so let me chat about that for just another few minutes today. 

Actually, the thing that’s on my mind right now is the connection between physical and mental health.  All the “experts” say it all the time, always going on about the endorphins, and how exercise can do as much for the state of your mind as your body.  And, I’ve found that to be true in the past.  When I was exercising regularly, I most always felt more positive about things, ready to take on the world.  And, the reverse is true, too—don’t get any physical activity and things look a little more bleak.

But, like a lot of things that are known intellectually—even known from experience—I forget that sometimes.  When I’m deep in slug mode, as I’ve been for what seems months now, it’s easy to just feel blah all the time, bordering on depressed.  That’s especially true when dealing with physical limitations that have their own downsides, in addition to preventing exercise.  But it can be turned around.

treadmill 2-27-13

  For the past two days, I’ve gone over to the gym at school and spent a bit of time on the treadmill.  Nothing too crazy, just two or three miles of walking at a reasonable pace.  And, even though it’s been kind of hard for my physically, mentally it has been great.  I’ve been tired, and hurting, but my brain has felt in gear, and I haven’t been nearly as frustrated with some of the things at school that normally make me crazy.  It’s like a little sweat in your day helps keep you balanced.


Image courtesy of John Kasawa at
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Of course, I know that such a small level of activity won’t get me where I need to be in order to lose weight; I’ll have to get back to more strenuous work when I figure out whatever’s going on with my weirdo pain.  But, I also know that even this mild activity will help me maintain my weight, and—just as important—it will just help me feel better all the way around.  I’m going to try to get in a couple of miles tomorrow, too.  Tuesday-Thursday are the easiest days for me to make it to the gym, so I’m hoping to start a habit of getting over there each week on those days.  The other days, I’ll try to figure something else out.  Maybe a slow walk around the neighborhood, or some low-key stepping with the Wii.  I know I can’t get into anything too highly intensive right now, but maybe I can do something.  I figure if maybe I can get in some sort of activity each of the weekdays, it’ll help with my school (sharper brain, remember), and then I can take it easy on the weekends to get rested up. 

And, I’m going to try to find time to do some other things that make me happy.  Lately, mostly what I do is go to school, do homework, sleep, and do it again.  I’m missing out on my blog reading, I don’t play any silly Facebook games, except for this daily blog, I don’t do any writing, and even my joyous TV watching is almost always done in the background of homework.  I’m going to try to change that.  Even if it’s only 30 minutes or an hour a day, I need to find the time to decompress mentally a bit.  The treadmill helps with that while I’m at the gym; I also need to find some time that’s just about fun.

I think making the small changes of adding just a tiny bit of physical activity, along with a tiny bit of mindless me time, will make a big, positive change, not only in the way I feel about daily life, but just the way I feel.  I’m going to give it a try.

What about you?  What do you do for your mental and physical well-being?

weight loss wednesday 1-23-13

 

 

 

 


Image courtesy of africa at
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bring on the Swiss Army Knife

 

Gosh, Tuesdays are long days.  I’m not sure why they seem that way even more than Thursdays, when my schedule is identical on the two days, but that is the way it seems.  Maybe it’s because when I get home on Thursday, the weekend has begun, so I don’t feel quite so weary.  Or maybe today it’s because I spent some time in the gym for the first time in forever.  Not much, just a few moderately paced miles on the treadmill, but at least it was something.  And, I did survive it, though I have to admit that I popped some Advil and Tylenol just to get through the rest of the evening of classes, and I reached for the Lortab pretty quickly after making it home.  Still, I felt like I accomplished something. 

But, having had the pain med onboard for a couple of hours now, my brain is slowing down pretty considerably, which has made a difference in what I’m going to chat about for tonight’s Tube Day Tuesday.  I had originally intended to talk a bit about Castle, a show I really enjoy, and tell you all about this week’s contribution to their annual tradition of a two-part cliffhanger episode during winter sweeps.  But, I don’t think I can think clearly enough to explain some of my disappointments in a show that I like so much, so I decided to stick to something a bit simpler.  But what could that be, when television offers so much to choose from?

Well, a quick Google search revealed that today (well, Feb. 26th, which is likely to be tomorrow by the time I post this thing) is the anniversary of the 100th episode of another program I liked quite a lot: MacGyver.  I’m not proud; that seems like as good a topic as any.

You know MacGyver, right?  The guy that runs around solving problems and saving the day like some sort of combination of James Bond and Bill Nye?  All in all, one cool dude.  Macgyver 2-27-13

MacGyver, which ended up airing a total of 139 episodes, starred Richard Dean Anderson as the title character.  In his job as a sort-of government agent-type, he traveled to all sorts of places, got into all sorts of trouble, and caught all sorts of bad guys.  And every week, he got out of some of that trouble by looking around wherever he happened to be, grabbing up whatever he could find, and turning those random items into . . . well, into whatever he happened to need at the moment.  He could do more with a roll of duct tape, a couple of paper clips, and a roll of duct tape than most people could with an entire hardware store.  Often, he created some sort of explosive, because we all know that things look cool when they blow up.   One of the things that’s always stuck with me, though, was the time he fixed a leaking radiator by frying an egg inside it.  Just in time to use the jeep to rush away from some crazy banana republic goons looking to kill him, of course.  Brian insists that wouldn’t really work, at least not long enough to escape through a jungle.  He says the egg would just keep heating until it shriveled up and no longer covered the holes, but I say you can’t argue with MacGyver.  Besides, maybe they took along an extra dozen for the escape.  Full disclosure, though: MythBusters put some of his tricks to the test, and they didn’t all pass, but if I was trapped in a room somewhere, he’s still the guy I’d want with me.

But, while some of MacGyver’s concoctions might’ve been questionable, the production lore insists that it was all pretty well founded in actual science.  And, that’s part of what made the show more than just your typical 80s action show.  Unlike most action heroes, MacGyver didn’t go in for all that macho, chest-beating stuff.  He didn’t believe in violence as a solution, and he didn’t carry a gun.  He preferred to think his way out of problems, negotiate solutions to problems, and only resort to physical force if absolutely necessary.  Even a lot of the explosives he concocted were only made to allow escape, or to slow down the aggressors, not to actually kill.  And, kind of like Star Trek got people interested in space and related scientific careers, MacGyver stirred up interest in physics and engineering type sciences.  There’s a lot to be said for being able to escape just about any situation with the stuff you’d find in a bathroom cabinet. 

And, like the very best of pop-culture television, MacGyver made its way into our every day conversations.  People no longer “jury rigged” something to get out of a mechanical fix, they “macgyvered” it.  And if you happened to find yourself with an odd assortment of items that seemed to have no relationship to each other whatsoever, it wouldn’t be uncommon (at least for the folks I know) to wonder what MacGyver could do with it all.   I’m pretty sure even my son can recognize those references, and he was still an infant when the show went off the air.  And, last year, I even told you my own story of the time my friend, Kim, and I had our own MacGyver moment—and a successful one, at that.  His name has become synonymous with being ingenious, quick thinking, and an all around clever person.   Like I said, pretty cool dude.

By the way, if you aren’t familiar with MacGyver, you can catch the episodes on NetFlix, and I think you’ll be glad you did.  And, here’s a couple of sequences to give you an idea of what the man could accomplish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

Tube Day Tuesday digitalart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Image courtesy digitalart
at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No School!

 

SNOW DAY 2-26-13

  We had a snow day today.  I might not have been quite as excited about a day out of school as I was when I was a kid, but it was pretty darn close.  It’s the kind of excitement you never really outgrow, a suddenly free day.

  The only disappointment was that we didn’t end up getting any snow.  Oh, we got a few flurries, but mostly just a bunch of rain.  The folks up in the north part of the state got an actual blizzard, with drifts
Image courtesy of dan at
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

many feet high.  It looks very pretty, but all in all, I’d prefer something in between the two extremes.  Say, maybe 3 or 4 inches—just enough to be pretty and get some good pictures, not so much that it collapses roofs and makes it impossible to get across town.  But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for at least enough to get another break from school tomorrow!

I suppose I should be thankful that we didn’t end up with a bunch of freezing rain and power outages all over the place; that’s what usually happens around here when they say we’re going to get snow.  And, speaking of “they say”, I do feel bad for weather folks sometimes.  In these parts, I’ll say that they are extremely good at keeping us informed about tornadoes, but snow seems to stymie them.  Oh, well. 

On the plus side, winter isn’t quite over yet; there is still hope for another exciting free day.  So, like students everywhere, I’ll just keep hoping for another snow day.  And maybe the next one will even include some snow.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, February 24

 

Wowser.  I’ve been staring at textbooks, homework assignments, and computer screens off and on all weekend, and today, it’s been mostly “on”.  So, I finally printed off the last of some petitions and summons that I needed to finish up for this week and looked at the clock and realize it’s almost 5am.  It’s no wonder I was having such a hard time with my spelling and sentence structure.  Besides being awful late, I took my pain pill sometime right around midnight.  I think I did doze off for a few minutes sitting here with the laptop, but not long enough to really interrupt anything.  Still, I do need to think about getting some sleep, though there’s at least a small possibility classes will be cancelled tonight because of a winter storm that’s rolling into the state.  Can’t entirely count on that, though, so I’ll post this week’s photos and then crash for a few hours.  Not a single one of these have been edited in any way (well, except for one that was cropped way down), so this is just what you get straight out of my phone.

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  Prompt:  In your hand.  Last Sunday’s dinner, carried in piping hot.  Yum.

 

 

 

 


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  Prompt:  Something you don’t like.  See that post right there?  And can you see just the tiniest smidgen of black just on the left hand side of it? That’s my teacher’s arm back there.  Of course, the rest of her is there, too, but I can rarely see her.  I hate that post.

 

 

 

 

 



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  Prompt:  I am . . . not a morning person!  Just leave me snuggled up a little while longer, please.

 

 

 

 

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  Prompt:  Where you stood.  Back out at a spot by the lake during some rain/sleet we got last week.  Yucky day, but it’s good to see the water levels coming up.

 

 



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  Prompt:  Full.  Hah.  This is my overflowing trash bag in my car. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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    Prompt:  Makes you smile.  Watching the feed of the pretty owl, Mrs. Tiger.  See that tiny little white fluff underneath her?  That’s her day-old baby, Tigris.  There’s another one now; its name is Teegra.  I love watching this little family, and it definitely makes me smile.

 

 

 

IMG_2519[1]  Prompt:  Word.  I mentioned all the homework this weekend, right?  Guess which subject?

 

And that’s it for this week.  The rain that is supposed to turn to snow this afternoon is just moving into our area; I hear the thunder rumbling across the skies.  That’ll make nice sleeping weather.

Oh, and if you’ve been thinking that you might like to start playing along with photo a day, we are coming up on a new month, and the March list was just posted.  Drop over to Fat Mum Slim and check it out.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Six Word Dawdle

 

homework 2-23-13

 

 

   So much homework,

           so little done.


Image courtesy of Carlos Porto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net




 

                                                     Read other 6 word stories over at Show My Face.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sleepy Day 5QF

 

Friday is apparently becoming my rest-up day.  I slept really late (like, into the afternoon hours late), then still dozed a bit later on, and am feeling that I’ll be in bed a bit earlier than usual tonight.  Brian is worried that this could be the early onset of his fluish crud, especially since I’ve had a scratchy throat for a couple of days, but I’m hoping it’s just the end-of-week run down.  I especially hope that because I’ve got an awful lot of homework to get done in the next couple of days.

In the time I’ve been awake, though, I’ve been fascinated by a streaming feed of a nesting great horned owl.  She’s living just up the highway in Oklahoma City, and it’s the second year I’ve watched her bring new owls to the world. She has two eggs, and one of them hatched today.  It’s very cool, and if you’d like to drop in on Mrs. Tiger and her babies yourself, you can find them here.

But, in keeping with the idea of that early bedtime, let’s get moving to this week’s questions, courtesy of Mama M.

five question friday

 


1. What is a hobby you would love to learn and why?

I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano.  A guitar would be okay, too, but mostly the piano.  I’m not sure why, other than I love music and I think it would be cool to be able to make some.  When I was a kid, I always thought my friends who had pianos in their homes were so lucky.  I bought myself an electronic keyboard one time years ago, but nothing ever came of that.  Maybe some day when I’m old and gray, I’ll take some lessons.

2. What do you wish you could have delivered to your house but does not deliver?

Pizza.  When I lived in town and could have pizza delivery from any number of places, I used to wish all sorts of food could be delivered, but these days, I’d do just about anything for a pepperoni with extra cheese.  Did I ever tell you that pizza was so important to me that when we were house shopping off the beaten path, I called to make sure someone would actually deliver to our proposed new address?  Well, I did, and one place told me we would be inside their delivery zone.  Once we were moved, it didn’t take long to find out I had been given incorrect information.  The manager was very apologetic, but not so much that he was willing to send someone out with a pie.  I can’t say for sure that knowing no pizza could be delivered would have been a total deal-breaker for choosing our current house, but I sure would’ve had to think about it a lot harder.

3. What's your favorite snow day activity? Inside and out?

Well, we don’t really get that many snow days around here, and when we do, I prefer to stay indoors since I’m not much of a cold person.  But the one thing that will encourage me to bundle up and walk around outdoors a bit is the opportunity to take pictures.  When we get enough snow to be picturesque, it’s a pretty rare occasion, so it needs to be documented.  And the more normal “snow” day in these parts is really caused by a lot of ice, and that’s often worth a few photos, too, because it can be really pretty.  Indoors, I like to do what I always like to do indoors: watch some cool TV. 

4. Would you meet a stranger from an Internet dating site?

That’s a tough one.  My instinct is to say no, but the truth is, if I was dating these days, I probably would check out the online options.  I’ve made some really good friends online, so I know it’s possible to connect in a real way in the virtual world.  And as for the romantic part, my older sister met her husband online, and my BFF, Kim, met her fiancĂ© on Facebook.  I’d probably give it a try, but you can bet there would be an awful lot of dates that would be held in public places, arriving by separate cars, just to make sure I wouldn’t end up some sort of ripped-from-headlines story for Law and Order or Criminal Minds.

5. If you had to spend 35 hours in a car with 4 other people, who would you choose?

Well, I sleep a lot on long car trips, so it would probably really be a question of who would put up with me!  But, if the choice was mine, I guess I’d say Brian, Tanya, and Kim, for sure.  I’d reserve naming the fourth person until I figured out where what was waiting at the end of the 35 hours!

 

And that’s it for tonight.  I think I’ll go check in on Mrs. Tiger one last time and then hit the sack. Happy weekends to you all.

Mission to Mars

 

Remember Dennis Tito?  He’s the richy-rich dude who paid many millions of dollars to become a space tourist way back in the day.  He reportedly spent $20 million to spend a week up at the ISS.  I’ve sort of got mixed feelings about that.  Part of me feels like people with that kind of money ought to just donate it to the scientists who could put it to decent use in our space exploration ventures (you know, back when we had some).  On the other hand, if I was a richy-rich gal—and if I could get some super-duper Dramamine—I’d be tempted to buy my way into space, too.  I mean, come on; it’s space we’re talking about.

Now, Mr. Tito apparently has a plan to send a couple of people slingshotting around Mars, and if rumors can be believed, he plans to do it in the next five years.  Now, in fairness, I’ll say that it’Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.nets probably too soon for feelings at this point, mixed or otherwise, since the guy hasn’t even had his official press conference yet, and little bits of information are just sort of trickling out about the ether.  Still, fair or not, I do have those mixed feelings already.  This time it’s not about thinking he ought to take whatever insane amounts of money he’s thinking about putting into this endeavor and funneling it all to NASA. I mean, I’m still a big believer in letting the professionals do the work, but NASA has been screwed over so much, and dwindled down to practically a shell of a useful organization, so I’m not sure they could get the job done any more efficiently than a highly motivated private company. 

But, I do worry about the zeal of a highly motivated private company, and whether they could be restrained enough to ensure a safe situation for their astronauts.  Because, really, when it comes to sending a couple of people 34 million miles or so into space—and hopefully back again—five years isn’t a very long time to make sure you’ve got things right.  And you really do want to get things right.

Still, I can’t deny how exciting it would be to send people to Mars, even just to orbit it, within my lifetime.  And, yeah, I’m hoping to be around at least another five years, so it would be very cool to see it happen.  But I think maybe it’s too early to be getting too excited.  Even so, you can bet I’ll be waiting to hear what comes out of that official press conference next week.  Like I said, this is space we’re talking about.

 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wellness Wednesday, February 20

 

UPDATE:  Apparently that Lortab works even better than I thought.  I hit publish on this piece about 24 hours ago, but never realized it got an error and didn’t go through; I just went to bed anyway.  Now, I pull up Live Writer to put together today’s post and find it sitting here, like a big, neon STUPID sign.  Oh, well.  I guess there’ll be two posts today . . .

Well, it’s become clear to me that until I can get whatever this pain is I’m dealing with taken care of, there is not going to be any huge movement in the weight loss arena.  I have, at least, managed to control my eating to the extent that I am not gaining weight, but not enough to drop pounds without some activity.  And, unfortunately, I am getting even less activity than normal just in an effort to not be miserable.  In fact, even last week’s experiment with the bike riding didn’t work.  Next week, I might try some very low speed walking on a treadmill.  We’ll see.

I did have my doctor’s appointment a few days ago, but had to wait to be scheduled for the test that will hopefully give us the answers about what’s going on.  That won’t take place until next Friday, so the waiting continues.  As an aside, that was actually a little annoying, because I’d been bragging about how great the office always is about getting patients in for lab/diagnostic work really quickly, usually even same day.  That’s what I get for making assumptions, I suppose.

But, since the weight loss program is on temporary hold, I thought I might use this space to talk about other aspects of wellness in the meantime; Wellness Wednesday works just fine for me.  I’m not sure exactly what that looks like yet, since I’m the furthest thing from a “health nut”, but that can be another one of those things we’ll wait and see about.

For today, let’s chat about mental health a bit.  I’m a big believer in the benefit of positive thinking and focusing on the good things in life.  The mystical people like to talk about the law of attraction and all.  I don’t really consider myself quite in their category, but I do believe in a pretty big helping of you reap what you sow, so maybe they’re not so far off.

Anyway, during the holidays, one of the craft projects that was making the rounds on Pinterest was decorative jar to be used to gather notes about the good things that happened in your day.  The idea is that you fill it up all year, and then on December 31st, you can read through your notes and think back on the blessings the past year held for you.  I really liked that idea, so I wanted to make one for myself. (And my sister, though I think she’s probably even less mystical than I.)  Anyway, while I’m not particularly crafty, I figured even I could slap some ribbon on a Mason jar to spruce it up a bit, and handy Brian could cut a hole in the lid for me.  The problem that I discovered was that you can only buy actual Mason jars by the dozen, which I really didn’t want.  I probably could’ve gone to a craft store and found some expensive version of a jar, but there were two problems with that.  1) I was shopping with Brian, and he hates going to multiple stores, especially for things he considers whimsical, and, 2) I mentioned they’d be expensive, right?  So, I settled for some little plastic canisters.  It really isn’t the container that’s important, right?IMG_2500[1]

So, mine looks like this, and several times a week I drop a note down in the bucket about something that made me smile.  And, as you might imagine from the quote, they usually are not particularly important things.  For instance, today I saw two new kinds of birds at my feeder; it’s in the bucket.  (For the record: black-eyed junco, and what I believe may have been a mourning dove.)  It isn’t about being a major event; it’s about recognizing that life holds joy even in the every day mundanity of it all.

Incidentally, I realized when I took this picture, that I should’ve put an attribution on that quotation, so here’s another little something for the record: it’s by a guy named Robert Brault, who is one of those most amazing of creatures, a writer.  If you’re so inclined, you can even drop by his blog.  I don’t think I put an attribution on the one I put on Tanya’s bucket, either, now that I think about it, but I’m hoping Ferris Bueller won’t mind.

But, to get mostly back on topic, whether you subscribe to the theory of attraction or not, I don’t think many people would argue that you’ll put yourself in a better mood if you think about good things than if you think about bad.  And if you’re in a better mood, you’ll have a better day.  And if you have enough better days, pretty soon you’re just having a better life.  And what better way to improve your mental health than to have a better life?  Pretty simple, right?  Sometimes the little things really are the big things.

It’s not too late for your own bucket.  What small moments of joy would you like to remember ten months from now?

weight loss wednesday 1-23-13

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of africa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

hmm.  I might need a new picture.  Add that to the “we’ll see” list, would you?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gold Star to the DVR

 

Rating 2-19-13

If I haven’t said so before, let me go on record right now as saying that I am imminently grateful for the invention of that wonderful little box known as the DVR.  I mean, I had a VCR back in the day, and then I even had a DVD recorder.  But for a television junkie like me, you just can’t beat the DVR.  Pausing live programming, rewinding to catch a line you missed—or one you just have to hear again.  It’s great.

But, of course, the best part is the relatively painless way you can record the shows you that air in your absence, or when you’re watching something else.  No difficult tapes or discs to deal with, always worrying about whether you’ve got enough storage space left to hold tonight’s programming.  No rewinding or fast-forwarding to just the right spot to find the beginning of the program you want to watch first.  Just a handy box, that knows what time your favorite shows come on and keeps them in a nicely organized list so that you can watch whichever one you choose.

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But one of the other benefits is that it helps avid viewers like myself sort of prioritize what’s important and what’s just something to pass the time.  I think of it as a Delayed Value Recognition machine.  You see, there are plenty of programs that I’ll watch if they happen to be on, though I might not enjoy them enough to actively seek them out or watch them on purpose.  The thing is, though, if you happen to be at home every time those shows are on, you might not be able to easily recognize them for the ho-hum program they are, because they’re enjoyable enough while you’re watching.

But, the key is, if you record something for later viewing, how long does it sit on the DVR before you actually get around to watching it?  Of course, there are a lot of variables.  Life does get in the way of television, no matter how much you might prefer to lose yourself in a particularly exciting episode of something or another.  But, when you do find time to start cleaning off the machine, which ones do you go for first?  Answering that question lets you recognize the value of what you’re recording.  When the episodes start piling up, unwatched, always playing second fiddle not only to life, but to every other program on the list, then the show clearly doesn’t hold much value to you. 

Last season, the DVR helped me realize that NCIS: LA wasn’t really all that valuable to me.  I was still recording it because I’d been watching it from the beginning, and, as an NCIS fan, I really wanted to like the spinoff.  And, honestly, the show is fine.  But “fine” doesn’t make me run for the DVR to get caught up on what’s going on with the characters, so now I don’t record it anymore.  I suppose I might still watch it now and again, if I happened to be sitting home on a Tuesday evening with nothing better to do, but I don’t feel deprived not watching it.  I recognized its value to me.

Now, I need to make that same decisions about another show, and maybe more than one.  Last fall, when the new television season began, I was excited about the new show, Vegas.  So, I added it to my DVR list and hoped I’d be impressed.  But you know what?  I haven’t seen it yet.  My trusty box records it faithfully, just as I asked it to do, but tonight it recorded the 15th episode, and I haven’t even seen number one yet.  That’s fifteen hours of television I need to get through, assuming it’s a good show, of course.  But, really, how important is it to me if I haven’t even bothered to tune in once?  I’d have to vote for “not very”. 

The converse is true, too.  Shows that I might’ve thought were just something interesting to pass the time, I find myself going to first when there’s a recording available.  Most recently, Elementary.  Sure, I knew I was enjoying it, but it hadn’t quite seeped into my conscious brain that the show had become must-see TV for me.  But episodes never sit around long; in fact, I usually watch them the same night, once I’m home and settled.  When I see it on the list of recordings, it calls to me.  The DVR strikes again.

So there you have it, the joys of the DVR for a television junkie— time-shifted viewing, skip the commercials, and Delayed Value Recognition all in one convenient box. 

 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

By George!

 

Happy President’s Day, everyone.  Were you one of the lucky ones who got to enjoy a three-day weekend?  Not me.  Our kids’ schools were closed today, but apparently TPTB think the grown-ups don’t need to set aside a day to celebrate our nation’s first president.  There are a lot of reasons that seems a little strange to me, but since I’m sort of opposed to the idea of “President’s Day” anyway—and, in many ways, arbitrary Monday holidays in general—I guess it’s okay that I still had to go to school. 

Washington 2-19-13

 

  Anyway, whether you were working, attending school, or maybe out taking advantage of huge savings at some sale or another, I hope you took a second or two to give a thought to George Washington and be grateful for what he helped to create.

  One of the interesting things I’ve realized as I’ve grown older, and especially these last few months I’ve been taking classes, is that I’m actually pretty impressed with our Founding Fathers.  Not that they were perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they seemed to get a lot of things right, and gave us a pretty good foundation from which to grow and succeed.


Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Of course, one of the other things I think is that because they got so much right, sometimes their ideas are given a little too much credit and taken a little too literally.   I mean, I think to expect that everything they thought and believed can—or should—be carried forward hundreds of years is a bit extreme.  There’s absolutely no way they could have envisioned the life we live today, so to expect their sensibilities to prepare us for all manner of things now is asking too much of them.  My guess would be if we could find some way to travel back in time and speak with President Washington and his contemporaries, they would tell us that they hoped we would learn from them, but not be afraid to grow beyond what they could ever imagine.  I think the greatest gift of thanks we could give them would be to learn from their lessons without being slaves to outdated ideas; to continue to forge a nation of principle and determination while creating a history our descendants will look upon proudly.  Instead, too many times, we cling to words written centuries ago, even though they damage the citizens of our world today, and threaten the very peace and prosperity they were intended to protect.  I can’t believe that’s what George would have wanted.

Those are my wandering thoughts for today; I will leave you with a few thoughts from the man himself:

America ... has ever had, and I trust she ever will have, my honest exertions to promote her interest. I cannot hope that my services have been the best; but my heart tells me they have been the best that I could render.

Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.

Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.

Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, February 17

 

Okay, I’m pretty sure it’s wrong of me to be annoyed that Brian has been sick so long, so I guess I should explain at least a little bit.  You see, as the week has progressed, I’ve become increasingly convinced that the crud he’s fighting is actually the flu.  And why is that annoying?  Because when we were at the ER Wednesday, they did a swab test and told him that whatever bug he was dealing with was absolutely not the flu.  What I’ve come to find since then, however, is that while those rapid tests are typically pretty accurate at confirming influenza, they are not so great at accurately ruling it out.  The downside to that, of course, is that if the doctors don’t think you have the flu, they don’t give you flu treatment, but send you home with headache pills and instructions to ride it out.  And the downside to that?  Well, in this particular case, a whiny patient who’s whiny an extra few days because he didn’t get the medicine that might’ve helped at speed up the recovery.  I’m hoping we might be on the downhill slide, but he really is feeling pretty cruddy, so even the downhill slide might last another 4 or 5 days.  And, even if I am a little annoyed by the whole thing, I really do feel bad for the guy.  I think I’ve mentioned that I had the flu once in my lifetime, and I have to admit it was a pretty miserable experience.  

But, now, let’s forget about illness for a while and take a look at this week’s photos.

10.  3 O'Clock

 

  Prompt:  3 O'clock.  Working on some Phi Theta Kappa stuff, watching a video and working my way through something called Five Star Competitive Edge.

 



11.  Entrance

 

  Prompt:  Entrance.  The driveway entrance—lions and all—to a big ol’ house I drive by every day on my way to school.

 

 

 

12.  Where You Ate Lunch

 

  Prompt:  Where you ate lunch.  IHOP.  On Tuesday and Thursday, I have a really long break between my classes, but not long enough to make it worth the drive home.  That means you can frequently find me lunching on eggs and/or pancakes and getting in some extra studying.

 



13.  Walking

 

  Prompt:  Walking.  Pretty much the only walking I’ve been doing of late is moving around the house in my comfy slippers.  Well, of course, I do also walk from the parking lot to my classroom, but taking a photo of that is not nearly as convenient, considering I’m always lugging around an extra fifteen pounds of books.

 

 

 


14.  Love Is

 

  Prompt:  Love is.  Love is many things, including finishing off an exhausting school day with a stop at Wal-Mart to scour the medicine aisle, hoping to find something that will make your significant other feel just a little bit better.

 

 

 

 


15.  Inside Your Fridge

 

  Prompt:  Inside your fridge.  I don’t really think my fridge is all that exciting, just a little bit of this and that, like most people. 

 

 

 


15.  Perfect

 

  Prompt:  Perfect.  Perfectly beautiful weather.  Well, in truth, it was a little bit chilly, but it was a perfectly sunshiny day, and not too bad for winter.



And that, dear friends, is a wrap.  If you’re itching to take a few pictures yourself, drop on by Fat Mum Slim for the prompt list and play along.

If you’ve got the day off tomorrow, enjoy your holiday.  But, either way, I vote we make it the best new week we possibly can.

 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Six Word Blah

 

Hubby is sick, and I’m bored.

                                               Sick smile                                                                               Sad smile

 

 

 

 

 

  Link up and share your Saturday in six words.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Friday Memory

 

So, it seems that Mama M’s house has also been stricken by the crud.  She’s dealing with a sick little one, so no 5QF today.  That got me to thinking how lucky we were when Billy was growing up; he was unusually healthy.  Though I still remember the scary night when he was two, or maybe three, and got croup.  We tried all the normal stuff—humidifier, calming back rubs, steamy bathroom—nothing worked.  I finally called the nurse line and they said it had been going on too long with no change, so to take him to the ER. 

At the hospital, they tried a breathing mask, but it wasn’t really helping.  Of course, Billy didn’t like it much, so he kept trying to pull it off and wriggling around messing it up and all, which I’m sure didn’t do much for its efficacy.  Anyway, the cough didn’t let up and they couldn’t get his oxygen level up to a reasonable level, so he had to be admitted.  Just the idea of my baby being sick enough to be in theBoy in hospital 2-15-13 hospital was terrifying.  He looked so tiny in that big bed, and that was before the bed got covered up with the oxygen tent. 

Man, Billy really did not like that.  He was so scared, even though I was right there, holding his hand under the tent.  It didn’t take long until I just crawled under the tent with him and snuggled him up so that he could finally go to sleep.  Even I managed to get a little bit of sleep that night, though not a lot.  One of the things I remember most clearly is how cold it was under that tent; I hadn’t been prepared for that.                                                                                                      **

Thankfully, by mid-morning, Billy got to come out of the tent, and by mid-afternoon, we got to go home.  Billy was a little tuckered out, but not really any worse for the wear.  For me, it was one of the longest not-quite twenty-four hours I’ve ever spent.

Still, like I said, we were pretty lucky.  I can recount every single time Billy ever had to visit an ER; the trip last December made an even handful.  Even discounting serious health conditions, I’ve known lots of folks who were practically on a first name basis with the hospital staff, thanks to their kids.  And, I know people who actually do deal with those aforementioned serious health conditions.  As a parent, it’s hard enough worrying about every scrape and bruise; I can’t really imagine what it would be like to have a chronic condition threatening your child’s well-being. 

So, I’m sending virtual good thoughts over to Mama M and her Baby Girl, and every other household that’s dealing with under the weather kids. (Or even grown-ups who act like kids when they’re sick; trust me, I know at least as much about that as I do with actual sick kids.)  With the cold and flu season slowly winding down, hopefully that won’t be a very long list. 

You guys all take care of yourselves while you’re taking care of your kids, so we can all move into a healthy and happy spring. 

 

**Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Day of Love

 

Valentine 2-14-13

Image courtesy of smarnad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


 

Welcome to February 14th, everybody.  Have you had a day filled with hearts and flowers?  Yeah, me, either.  Though, if you believe all the hype, you’re in the minority if you haven’t been showered with romance from your significant other all day.

Maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t quite the universal day of love, but it certainly spans international boundaries, including getting a huge amount of play here in the U.S.  But why do we celebrate the day?  And, more important, shouldn’t we shower our significant others with love every day?  Though I guess it’s nice to have a day set aside to do something a little extra special. 

But as for why, I think my favorite part about the holiday is that nobody really knows why.  I think it falls under the heading of Any Reason to Celebrate.  But, there are several theories about who Valentine was and what he did to become the God of Love.  For myself, I like the version that says the day is named after a Roman priest who secretly performed weddings for young men who had been forbidden to marry.  For his defiance, he ended up dead, so I guess no chocolate for him.  There are another couple of guys that could’ve been the Valentine, but they were martyrs for their causes, too.  I guess tragedy often goes hand in hand with love, doesn’t it?

Still, all in all, I’d rather focus on the beauty of red roses and a romantic evening out somewhere.  But, as I think I mentioned recently, around here, things are usually pretty low-key on Valentine’s day.  This year, we decided we wouldn’t even exchange gifts, just go for a nice dinner somewhere and see a movie.  But now my Valentine is under the weather, so it looks like even those plans will be delayed for a while.   And, too bad for him, today Brian hit the “worse before it’s better” stage of illness.  I’m hoping today was the worst of it for him, but I don’t know.  When I talked to him this evening from school, he sounded pretty darn miserable.  Of course, I’m not too proud to admit there’s also a selfish part of me that wants his recovery to be speedy—he’s a really bad patient.  Seriously, you’d think he was dying, or something.  I’m not sure, but I’d bet all those different historical Valentines didn’t complain as much when they were led off to their executions!

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a holiday song from one of my favorite female artists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you do anything special for the holiday, or was it just another day?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday, February 13

 

Ah, here we are at the end of hump day; the week is moving right along.  Before we get to the normal Wednesday stuff, I’ve got a couple of entries for the It’s Always Something file. 

Brian’s had an astounding headache for a couple of days now.  If it was me, I’d say it was just business as usual, but it’s definitely not usual for him.  So, thinking it was probably just a sinus infection, he headed off to the clinic this morning to see if they could help him out.  They helped him out by telling him his blood pressure was dangerously high and sent him right to the ER.  So, we spent a few hours there today, waiting on tests to rule out all the bad stuff—you know, aneurysm, stroke, even the flu.  Thankfully, it was all ruled out, along with the sinus infection, and he ended up with a generic diagnosis of “virus”.  He was sent home with headache medicine and instructions to rest, drink lots of fluid, and keep an eye on his blood pressure in case it didn’t get back to normal once he was well.

Then, an hour or so after we got home, shortly before I was heading out to class, I got a call from my uncle saying that my granny’s heat wasn’t working at her house.  Why he couldn’t have bothered to call a repairman in the same amount of time it took to call me is a whole other story.  Anyway, Brian was kind enough to call the repair folks and speak with them a couple of times over the course of the evening while I headed off to school.  Sadly, something in the furnace is apparently broken beyond repair, so they’ll have to come back out tomorrow to install a new unit.  It’s hard to be too annoyed, since the thing is over forty years old, but it’s still going to put a really big dent in her savings, so I’m not thrilled.  But, what are you gonna do?

And me, while my pain has relocated somewhat, and diminished enough that I can actually walk mostly normally, I still can’t be on my feet for more than a few minutes at a time without sending the pain meter right off the charts.  And, the only open appointment time my doctor had this week was at the exact time of one of my classes, and not until Thursday anyway, so I decided waiting a few more days until Monday wasn’t too much worse. 

So, all of that is to say that this is another Weight Loss Wednesday fail. There still has been no exercising going on this past week, so still no weight loss.  Thankfully, no gain this week, either, but still.  I’m thinking I might try a very light workout Friday; no classes and a couple of days to recover, just in case it turns out to be a huge mistake.  Maybe my recumbent bike won’t be too bad, even if I can’t do any normal standing workouts, but I will say that even driving is painful, so the bike might not be much better.  All I can do is wait and see.  Brian and I were discussing my options today if the doctor says I do need surgery, though I don’t know that there are all that many.  He doesn’t think I should wait until spring break if it’s necessary, but there’s no way I could miss a whole week of classes, much less any longer.  But, I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, since my self-diagnosis may be completely off-base.  But I will be glad when Monday rolls around.

And, honestly, I’ll be glad when I can start exercising again, even a little bit.  There’s really nothing to make you more excited about something—even something you’re not all that fond of—than not being able to do it.  So whatever the strange ailment is, maybe it will turn out to be a blessing.

And now, I believe I will set aside my final two case briefs of the week and actually head off to bed before the clock rolls over to a new day.  Pleasant dreams to you all.


weight loss wednesday 1-23-13

 

 

 

 

 


Image courtesy of africa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lawyers Back in the Day

 

 

I have a professor who shares my love of a good TV program, especially a good lawyer show.  And she always indulges me whenever I try to use a television example of whatever topic we’re discussing and try to figure out how close it is to real life (surprisingly, often closer than you might think).  And, I’m just a little bit proud of the fact that I got her hooked on Suits, one of USA Network’s fine programs. 

But, today, LA Lawwe were reminiscing about an old-school show, LA Law.  As always when I think about programs that just seeped into the landscape of popular culture, it surprises me to think back and realize how old they really are, and this one is no exception.  Unbelievably, LA Law has been off the air almost twenty year, and yet today, when we were talking about false imprisonment claims based on getting stuck on an airplane, Douglas Brackman’s (Alan Rachins) similar circumstance from all those years ago was the first thing I thought of. 

  I think that’s how you know television has made an impact—when you find yourself referencing a decades-old episode like you just saw it last night.

For those not familiar with the show, it was an ensemble program revolving around the lives and loves of the members of a California law firm.  Like most law shows, it was a drama, but like the best law shows, it also wasn’t afraid of the humor.  The legal backdrop of story telling allows lawyer programs to venture into some pretty serious topics, so it helps balance things out when they’re willing to step back and enjoy a lighter moment.

One of the main characters on the show was Arnie Becker, a womanizing divorce lawyer.  Becker was played by Corbin Bernsen, who I still get to enjoy regularly on Psych.  (Yet another fine USA program.  Seriously, if you aren’t watching their network, you ought to be.)  He was an interesting character, with moments of depth, but often he was the comic relief. 

My favorite character, though, was Michael Kuzak, played by Harry Hamlin.  First, I’ll admit that it didn’t hurt that the guy was pretty easy on the eyes.  Second, Kuzak was pretty much my ideal type of character: smart, principled, and capable of self-doubt.  He’s the kind of guy who could rattle off an impassioned speech as easily as ordering from a value menu, and I like that in a character.  Years later, I would find many of those same qualities in another legal character, Alan Shore of Boston Legal, though he lacked some of the morality of Michael. 

So, LA Law provided us with the uber-moral Kuzak and the stereotypically sleazy Becker, and just about everything in between.  That’s what made it really good.  Interesting cases and ripped from the headline stories, sure, but also characters that could make those stories real, and make people think about the legal profession in ways that they hadn’t before. It really was part of mainstream culture in a way that many television programs and characters never are, and I’m glad when the old gang pops into my memory from time to time, like a visit from an old friend.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monday Mash Up

 

swirl 2-12-13

 

Just a few odds and ends tonight, as I still have four case briefs to write before class tomorrow afternoon.


Image courtesy of nattavut at
FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  • I’m sad to report that I only got an 80% on my exam today; I was hoping for at least a 90.  More sadly for the rest of the class, based on what I heard from others, I think mine was one of the higher scores; there were some pretty unhappy people walking out of that classroom this evening.  I try to tell myself that at least now I know what kind of exams to expect from the guy, so I should be better prepared next time around.
  • On the other hand, we also got our first memo grades back, and I got a 100 on that, so at least that was a little bit of off-setting good news.  Professor even said I moved far beyond where we are in class so far, and did more than he expected, so yay me for that. 
  • On the other other hand, I have a quiz in a different class that was rescheduled from last week when the instructor had to cancel class.  It’s a small point value, so I’m not too worried about the impact of it all, but I am worried that I’m unprepared and don’t even know how to prepare, because it’s a weirdo class.  I am more stressed about it now after such a dismal showing on a test I thought I was mostly ready for. 
  • Looks like it’s time to put my emergency overnight bag back in my car, since we’re expecting a winter storm tomorrow.  I used to keep one in my trunk all winter long when I was working, because a 50 mile commute could get pretty treacherous when black ice rolled in.  My school is closer than my old job—only about 35 miles—but that could still be far enough that too much ice and/or snow could make a hotel seem like a much safer proposition for the night.
  • Heard about a study today that said Oklahoma City is in the top five adulterous cities in the nation.  Sometimes the Bible Belt keeps secrets.
  • There was a manhunt in town today for two escaped inmates.  They weren’t anywhere near my house—and they were both caught within a few hours—but it made me feel not too safe being home alone all day.  Oh, and I had to call my granny and tell her to lock her door, because she always sits with it open all day.  We’re not exactly a small town, but small enough that things like that don’t happen all that often.
  • I’m going to have the opportunity to travel to a couple of Phi Theta Kappa conventions in the next couple of months (assuming all the funding goes properly), but there’s apparently a formal banquet at each one, and I am pretty sure I have nothing appropriate to wear.  When I lost weight before, I got rid of a whole bunch of clothes, and since my job at the time was completely casual dress code, I didn’t need to replace anything except some jeans.  I’ll have to search through my closet and decide if I can pull something together or will have to go shopping.  Not sure which I’m hoping for.

And I think that’s all that’s on my mind for today.  Well, you know, except for those four waiting cases.  All about false imprisonment—should be interesting.

What’s on your mind today?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Snapshot Sunday #25

 

Well, the weekend is winding to a close, and it’s time to browse through this week’s daily photos before I head off to bed and get up tomorrow for more classes and case briefs.  Oh, and I have my first exam tomorrow night, too.  Contracts.  I think that’s probably my most difficult class, so I could wish I was starting with something else. 

3.  Something Beginning with E

 

  Prompt:  Something beginning with E.  A bunch of eggs at the store, just sitting there all enticing like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


4.  Hope

 

  Prompt:  Hope. This is part of our local lake.  We sure do hope for some rain.

 



5.  Something You Smelled

 

  Prompt:  Something you smelled.  Yummy lunch.  Toasted tuna sandwich, accompanied by some Ruffles and French onion dip. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.  Soft

 

  Prompt:  Soft.  One of my very favorite pillows.  It’s soft and inviting like a comfy, plush robe.  I don’t even like to put a pillow case on it because I like to feel it against my skin.

 

 



7.  Your Name

 

  Prompt:  Your name.  A childhood purse.  Somebody my mom or grandma knew made them, including the personalization.  As I may have mentioned before, with my unusual spelling, I didn’t have too many things with my name on them, so I thought this was cool.

 



8.  Something Orange

 

  Prompt:  Something orange.  The carrots left over after finishing off my bowl of beef stew.  I don’t like them cooked, so I always eat around them.

 

 

 

 

 


9.  Guilty Pleasure

 

  Prompt:  Guilty pleasure.  Sugar on my grapefruit.  Usually I use Truvia so there are very few calories in my meal, but sometimes I just have to splurge and use the real stuff.



Hmm.  Looking back over the week, it seems I may have been overly focused on food.  I think that says a lot, but nothing that I want to dwell on.  Anyway, as always, think about dropping by Fat Mum Slim to check out the prompt list and have some photo fun yourself.

But that’s a wrap for tonight.  It’s getting late, and I feel the nightly med kicking in.  Only another week until my doctor appointment, and I’m hoping they can figure out the problem.  Sadly, if it’s what I fear it may be, it required a surgical intervention last time around which will likely mean dealing with it for another month until spring break rolls around.  But I’d still be glad to have an answer and a plan.

Good night and a pleasant ‘morrow to you all.  Oh, and do me a favor and cross your fingers for my contracts test, would ya?