eeka's blog

Selective respect for life?

At least 30 people were killed in England this morning.

At least 27 people were killed in Iraq this week.

The people killed in England were killed using deadly weapons.

The people killed in Iraq were killed using deadly weapons.

The people killed in England were killed by foreigners who had not been asked by the country's government to enter the country for the purpose of detonating weapons.

The people killed in Iraq were killed by foreigners who had not been asked by the country's government to enter the country for the purpose of detonating weapons.

The people killed in England were killed by people who are believed to have disagreed with England's government and who are not believed to have known anything specific about the people killed.

Free tagging: 

Boing for you, boing for me...

Dude. I'm loving the new Starbucks doubleshot promo where the guy rides around near North Station on a Starbucks bike and hands out doubleshots from his bike basket. I'm wondering how effective it really is as a promotion though, because I'm getting at least one per day from this guy, so I'm not going to need to buy the stuff ever. But hey, free boing. Gotta love that.

Free tagging: 

fun with free tagging

The post is queued for approval. You can check the votes in the submission queue.
Created new term mbta.
Created new term t.
Created new term annoying companies.
Created new term being annoyed.
Created new term annoyance.
Created new term redundancy.
Created new term green line.
Created new term dumbasses.
Created new term asshats.
Your Story was created.

hee

It's not stealing if you don't get caught

I was just asked to clarify whether the words "jack" and "gank" mean exactly the same thing or whether they have subtleties that set them apart.

I'm happy to oblige.

And for fun, I'm going to throw in another related word: bogart.

"Jack" generally implies that whatever is being taken is of some value, was taken without permission, and is not going to be returned. "Someone jacked my hat while I was at lunch." Jacking may also occur with permission though, but definitely connotes that it's not going to be returned. "Can I jack a couple sheets of paper?"

"Bogart" refers to something that has little value, or is meant to be shared, disposed of, whatnot. It's most often with permission. It may also refer to something that's going to be returned. "Can I bogart your pen for a second?" or "Mind if I bogart a stick of gum?" It might be done more stealthily though, as in, "Someone's been bogarting paperclips out of my cup; I hardly have any left." Bogarting can also mean to hog something or take more than one's share; this use is especially common among potheads: "Quit bogarting the stash."

Rube Goldberg, eat your heart out

I'm sitting here writing progress notes, and was getting bored, so I tied a bandana that was lying here around the cat's neck. So far so good. So I was typing and rubbing the cat's tummy, and he was rolling around like a freak. Then, as typically will happen eventually with this idiot, he liked the tummy rubbing so much that he fell off the couch. Whoever said cats always land on their feet apparently never tried rubbing a kitty tummy on a couch. Or a bed. So the cat fell to the floor with a thud as usual, except that this time the bandana flipped over his eyes. When cats get blindfolded, they back away from the blindfold, which is why it's especially fun to put socks over their heads.

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Robbing Peter and, uh, then sending him a bill for it

I got a bill from Beth Israel about 6 months ago for a copay I'd paid at the visit (almost a year before), so I called and asked them about this, and they said it had indeed been paid, and not to worry about it. Then a month later or so, I got a refund check from them for an overpayment on another visit -- something that they had billed me for as not being covered and then which my insurance had decided to cover.

Then today I got a collection notice regarding the first Beth Israel bill. I called and told the person that I had called when I got the first bill and had been told I didn't have a balance. I told him I had gotten a refund check in the meantime, and asked why I got a refund check if I owed them money. He said he didn't know. I asked if there was some other way to look, maybe by pulling up my social, and seeing if they had two accounts for me or something. He said that wouldn't have happened.

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My love-hate relationship with the internet

I love how the internet allows anyone to quickly publish anything they
want for anyone to read.

I hate how the internet allows anyone to quickly publish anything they
want for anyone to read.

When the internet first started being readily available, in the early
'90s, it took some effort to put content onto the internet. Even then,
when I was in high school, we were told that things were not
necessarily accurate just because they were on the internet, and we
were cautioned to make sure the sites listed the name of some sort of
reputable sponsor and cited the sources of their information. In other
words, we were not supposed to view information on the internet as
being as authoritative as, say, encyclopedias. Still, to me, the
internet in the early '90s felt about like periodicals as a type of
media -- anyone could publish information and was not subject to major
editorial scrutiny like authors of an encyclopedia were, but the
information was at least something that someone had bothered to pay to
have published.

A few years later, the internet began to have a feel that was more
like flyers being handed out at an event. People had either taken the
time to learn how to put up pages or they had paid someone to do so.
The information was about equally divided between information put out
by reputable professional organizations and information that someone
had just decided needed to be disseminated.

The internet today feels less like it has any analogous print form.

Some of the information available still feels much like print
information. Just about every professional organization has a large
website, with most of them being pretty impressive. For a lot of
people in certain demographic groups, the internet has become the way
to find information. I can't remember the last time I used a phone
book to find a business that did what I want. Or the last time I poked
around for brochures somewhere. In fact, I'm a professional writer,
and I don't currently own a dictionary. There are several online,
complete with usage notes and everything, so I see no point in having
a print one. I vaguely remember when I would go to a library or
bookstore if I needed a book about finance or home improvement or
something. Not anymore. Don't get me wrong; I still read a lot of
books and plan to continue to do so. But for general information, it
seems archaic.

The part of the internet that's unique is when it becomes a forum for,
well, conversations in print. Software has now gotten to the point
where it's incredibly easy to post information onto a webpage, and so
people can have discussions with each other as easily as they can in
person. This is done with instant messengers, on chat forums, in
guestbooks, and on weblogs. I enjoy this part of the internet very
much, as I like to talk with my friends and family all over the world.
I also wouldn't likely go out in the community and find someone who
knows about a particular topic that's just a passing interest, but I
frequently do so on the internet.

When the internet becomes really, well, weird is when people merge the
conversational aspect with the publishing aspect. The peculiar aspect
of the internet is that the conversations people have in blogs and on
many types of forums are preserved in print as if they were something
that had been written and published. Internet discussions are no
different from internet news articles in terms of their both being on
webpages and available for the quoting. The difference though is
intention.

The other day, I engaged in a casual discussion about a proposed local
tax. This discussion was no different than the ones I have around the
watercooler or down at the bar on the corner, except for the fact it
was in print. The next day, I found that my discussion had been quoted
by a notable Boston blogger
. While the article did include a link
back to the original discussion for anyone who bothered to follow it,
it had been quoted and included in an article and presented as if the
quotes were from a published article rather than from a casual
discussion. My off-the-top-of-my-head opinions -- completely devoid of
the statistics, logical organization, counterpoint, and, oh, complete
sentences that I include in my actual writing -- were included in this
article and naturally ripped apart. There was even a link to my
personal homepage, which links to some of my published writing and
some of my professional affiliations, making it seem even more as if
this had been something I had written and published, rather than just
something I'd spouted off on an internet forum.

This is the type of thing I really hate about the internet. Obviously,
anything we post on the internet is just like anything we say in
public -- it can be used and abused by anyone who feels like it. The
important part though is context. People in general who read things on
the internet or anywhere else don't do much critical thinking,
unfortunately. Yes, someone could easily poke around and see that the
aforementioned text was from a discussion board, not from an article,
and could take it for what it was -- opinionated drivel -- and realize
that it wasn't in any way meant to represent a professional analysis
of the situation. But who's going to do that? Not most people. In
fact, there are people who think that some of us, for whatever reason,
aren't entitled to the freedom to bullshit with our friends. On
another internet forum a few months ago, I had someone threaten to go
after my mental health credentials because this person insisted that
since I freely express opinions of people I interact with on my own
time and who have come to warrant this, this must mean that I abuse
people in my professional life.

I guess what it comes down to is that the internet is just, well, a
mirror of society. Some people think, most people don't, and if
someone wants to, they can use the fact that most people don't think
as a way to "prove" anything they choose.

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Pope haiku!

Here's some pope haiku from me and my brother. Feel free to add your own.*

Jokes about St. Pete
And the pope will be funny
Hurry up and die
~eeka

Isn't he dead yet?
It's messing with the TV
Pope needs to kick off
~eeka's brother

They fail to report
What I wonder; Did he give
HimSELF his last rites?
~eeka

Whoa! That was first thing
I wondered when the news broke
Pope is near dirt nap
~eeka's brother

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Not to pressure you or anything...

An e-mail I just got:

A change has been made to your ING DIRECT information and we want to make sure you are aware of it. Your eStatement Preference was updated on Friday, Mar 25, 2005.

If you did not make this change, please give us a call immediately at 1-888-464-0727. If it is correct, then all you have to do is have a great day!

Wait, I HAVE to have a great day? I mean, I can try and all, but that's a lot to live up to just because I don't have anything fraudulent going on with my bank statement...

The ants go swimming one by one, hurrah...

I've been finding ants swarming around my kitchen for the past few days. Not any sort of harmful kind, but just the annoying tiny black ones. You know, particularly annoying because they do stuff like weave across the floor in a perfect squiggly line, parade around waving a crumb like a head on a stick, and so forth.

So this morning I found about 5000 ants in the cat food dish. One of the cats seems to find them sort of amusing and fun to paw at and the other cat is terrified of them. I emptied out the cat food dish, cleaned it thoroughly, and vacuumed up about 4999 ants (one went squiggling under the stove). Hey, they were alive when they got sucked up the hose, so that means I wasn't responsible for killing them. Well except for the one who marched one by one across my toe who I therefore had to smash. Sorry, Buddha.

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International Women's Day/Women's History Month

KING FM in Seattle (also has a 24-7 streaming station at king.org) is broadcasting music by female composers and/or female recording artists all month in honor of Women's History Month.

Unfortunately, they seem to think "women" is an adjective and keep referring to "music by women composers." I've e-mailed them and I just got a reply saying they'd fix this. Excellent.

We do still have libel laws, don't we?

This morning's Herald has a (300-point) headline reading BEATEN TO DEATH along with a picture of Dontell Jeffers, the little boy who recently died while in foster care.

I didn't get the, uh, opportunity to read the actual story, but I see in 3 other accounts of the story that all that is known now is that the boy died shortly after going into cardiac arrest while in the hospital and that relatives had raised questions of physical abuse after visiting with the child recently. No one's been charged with anything, no cause of death has been determined, and there's no mention of any other findings during the child's hospitalization.

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Snow-covered myopia

The alarmist snow closures are getting even more ridiculous. Today all of the transportation for a network of programs that provide services for people with disabilities was cancelled. The transportation company hires almost entirely salaried workers who get a paid "snow day" today.

This isn't the case for most of the people who are forced to stay home because of the transportation company's decision to shut down despite the roads being completely passable.

The employees with disabilities mostly do piecework. You know when you buy a package of 6 of something? If you bought it from a small, local company, the 6 items were probably counted out, placed in a bag, sealed, and packed for shipping by people with disabilities.

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My First Word Document, by Kenner

I just got a flyer thing about a meeting that looked roughly as follows:

TITLE (novelty font #1)

BLURB (novelty font #2)

BLURB (novelty font #3)

DATE AND TIME (novelty font #4)

PEOPLE TO CONTACT (novelty font #5)

Oh, I should also mention that each one of these fonts was a different color. That's not quite accurate actually. The title had each letter in a different color.

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