August 16th, 2002

you think you know...

Too many topics all in one entry.

I came home from work tonight and my brother was watching this Fox show called The Pulse. Bill O’Reilly was interviewing this guy about illegal Mexican immigrants. The guy was a professor i think, and he thought anyone in the Americas should be allowed to immigrate to any other country in the Americas, and get to stay for 6 months to try to find a good job. Bill obviously thought the guy was a totally nutjob, and i’ll grant that some of what he said was more than a little idealistic, but i would definitely be interested to read a book or something by him, rather than a few minute interview (I almost feel like i should put “interview” in quotes).

The next segment was on technology allowing parents to track their children. You can keep track of where your kids are and what they’re doing every second of the day. Having just recently read A Reader’s Guide to the Underground Press #17, with all its zinester articles in the wake of 9-11, i was all “Yeah, you think it’s so great when you can keep track of and thereby protect your kids, and who cares about their privacy because they’re just kids and don’t really have rights, but this means the government has that technology and can track you wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, and that doesn’t sound so good now does it?” The technology included cameras “originally intended for law enforcement and the military.” Parents put them in the yard, in kids’ rooms, and can watch from anywhere in the world thanks to the wonder of online. There is technology so parents can track when the kid is online, who the kid talks to on IM, etc. That was actually what seemed most scary invasion of privacy to me. Especially because this one family got it and used it on their 15-year-old daughter and didn’t tell her at first. Then there’s a black box like thing that can be put in a car. It even beeps when you drive unsafely (speed, brake too sharply, take turns too tightly, etc.). There are also Global Positioning System (GPS) chips which can be put in wristwatches. One of the FOX women asked an independent consultant who is not all about this new technology, “What if a lot of kids starting wearing wristwatches with GPS chips in them? Don’t you think that’s a good thing?” The independent consultant woman pointed out that what’s to stop a kidnapper from taking off the kid’s wristwatches. That’s a good point, but my first thought was actually that kidnappers are gonna learn what those wristwatches look like, and just target kids who aren’t wearing them. There were also rumors of GPS chips which could be implanted in children’s bodies. No one on the show made the leap to chips in everyone, so the government can monitor everyone, all the time. I definitely understand the child protection aspect of all this, which is what makes it such a difficult topic, but it’s just so creepy, and there are so many bad things about it, plenty more than what i mentioned. The host (Shepard Smith) said, afer that segment, “Civil libertarians, eat your hearts out. Kids’ safety comes first.” Good to know they’re not pretending to be balanced or objective in their coverage of this issue.

After the show was over i saw an ad for a Fox show John Doe which actually looks interesting. Premieres September 20, right after Firefly. I have this sick feeling that TV is going to eat my brain next semester. I am not getting a TV in my room, i am not getting a TV in my room.

I have a Forbes library card. This makes me part of the C/W MARS (Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing) network. I am also a part of the Minuteman Library Network. For a while now i have been thinking that if one combined the two networks, one would have most of the state of Massachusetts covered. So tonight i found and printed out a PDF map of all the cities and towns in Massachusetts. I colored all the MLN towns blue, CMARS yellow, and WMARS red. I also included the Old Colony Network, in green, because a number of the towns right next to mine are on that network. I learned that MLN is a fairly small network, despite its 35 or so member libraries (including various academic libraries), when compared to the entire state, though because it has some really large libraries like CPL, one really doesn’t notice much of a lack in the catalog. What really surprised me was how few libraries are in the C/W MARS network. I had expected a swath across the whole state, but it’s really not like that at all. I wonder if part of it is that some of the towns are too small to have a public library.

Because of this post i am tempted to do the same with my LJ friends. Because i don’t have enough useless projects, right? It would have to be just all my friends, though, because a lot of my friends aren’t on LJ.

It was only in reading this post that it occurred to me that the fictional Lake Wobegon is like Woe Be Gone. I think this is the first time i noticed that. Yes, color me slow.

Quote found on LJ:
"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same."
-Carlos Castaneda

The picture at the top of thebratqueen’s journal.... That’s quality.
  • Current Music
    "I Had No Right" - Dar Williams
you think you know...

I am trying to get caught up on everything.

I called Ruthie this afternoon, and we are going to the Golden Abacus (a really good local Chinese restaurant) for lunch tomorrow. Tomorrow night i am going with my family to dinner at my mother’s best friend’s house. Tonight we are going to Perks (the local coffeeshop, which makes yummy vegetarian sandwiches) for dinner.

I sent an e-mail to Ms. Cristen Sankey Abrams of Neilson Library asking to work circulation. And before i went to work i sent sexonastick her package of mix CDs.

When i went to sign in at work last night, there was a note on my page, folded and stapled no less, from Michele saying “I need to see you on Friday.” Phrases like that always worry me, even though i know with Michele it’s usually nothing bad at all. So today i came in to work and when there was a lull i went over to see her. She said, “I have bad news. It’s not as bad as it could be, but....” She’s much more of a number person than a word person anyway, and obviously she didn’t want to tell me whatever it was. This was not making me feel any better, though, and running through my mind were thoughts like “We can’t continue to employ you.” So finally i got it out of her. We don’t get paid for lunch/supper hours, though we do get paid for half hour breaks. Now, i’ve always thought it odd that i get paid for only working 6 and a half hours when i work an 8 hour day, but obviously it’s not something i ever asked about, and it’s not something Michele thought to tell me, especially since she’s a salaried employee. So all these times i’ve been signing in (and thus getting paid for) 8 hours, i really should have only been signing in for (and getting paid for) 7 hours. The good news is that this is only going to go back to June, 11 hours. So i guess my next paycheck will have 11 hours cut out. A fair chunk of change, to be sure, but considering that i’ve been working here for 2 years, not a bad deal for me. I told Michele that she’s always saying she wishes she could pay me more, and here i am getting paid for a year and half of lunch/supper hours. She was so grateful that i was so “easy to talk to.” She really didn’t want to be the one to tell me (‘cause she loves me so much) but i told her i would much rather have her be the one to tell me than say Mary Phinney (the director of the library).

Incidentally, i love the kids who get out nonfiction for pleasure, or who get out these huge stacks of fiction. Kids who have a real genuine love of reading. Makes me so happy.

I am plodding through A Beautiful Mind, waiting for Nickel and Dimed and The War Against Boys to come in for me at the library.
angry - books

in which Elizabeth talks about money

Okay, so having really dealt with the numbers, i really can’t afford to decline the loan. I could perhaps decline part of it, but certainly much less than half. I’m sad about graduating with loans, but it was really too good to be true for me to graduate with no loans. And paying them off shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

I e-mailed the Financial Aid Office tonight. First, i found out that i got this scholarship i had forgotten reapplying for (and thus hadn’t told Smith about), so i needed to tell Smith about that so maybe they’ll be less pissed when they get it in September. The second, and in my mind larger, issue regards work-study. There is about 14 weeks worth of working time in a Smith semester. Smith maxes you out at 10 hours a week for any job through Smith. Smith Student Wage Rates range from $7.00 to $7.50 an hour. In order to make what i am supposedly getting in Federal Work Study, in 14 10-hour weeks, i would have to make $8/hour. I am confused by this.
angry - books

I like quoting/citing/linking.

Boston Globe Online - Catholics reject evangelization of Jews - NYC recognizes gay partnerships

My favorite part of thebratqueen’s well-written rant:
Yeah, I know the adoption process is a Hell and a half but why don't you sit down and explain in small words to me how it's in any way cheaper or easier than going through the thousands of dollars of medical experimentation, stress and aggrevation that would be necessary to get pregnant past the age of 40 and explain to me why it's a good thing to even try that in the first place considering the health risks to the subsequent kid that you supposedly love.

I also absolutely adore this line from the first comment:

The kittens and puppies you're dreaming of sometimes turn out to be tigers and wolves. The upside is, aren't those some damn beautiful and strong animals to love?

Sharon said, “I think you're making the right decision. about the loan. From what my father told me (and I may have bollocksed this up completely) they help you to establish a credit history, which will help you later in life.”

That’s a good point. I vaguely recall one of my student friends mentioning that early in the school year last year.

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