Ford fattens computer models

Accord­ing to http://ergoweb.com/Ergoweb, the mod­els, which are used in the design of the pas­sen­ger area of Ford’s vehi­cles, are “chunki­er” than pre­vi­ous mod­els, to allow for “a big­ger bel­ly and wider hips.”

The com­pa­ny rec­og­nized it is hard­er to sit in a car if the steer­ing wheel feels too tight, the seat seems a lit­tle too nar­row and there is not enough room for the legs.

Thank you, Ford! Dare we hope that oth­er car man­u­fac­tur­ers, maybe even (gasp!), air­lines might fol­low suit?

Full arti­cle

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I’se a student! But still a crip, too

Well, I’m offi­cial­ly in school and off to a run­ning limp­ing start.

I made it to my sta­tis­tics class on Tues­day, but only after a nasty fall. I was only about 20 min­utes late, and the pro­fes­sor was more than under­stand­ing. I was utter­ly lost for the first part of the class, but by the end of it I felt very com­fort­able. I can do this.

My body took over on Wednes­day, though. I slept all day, despite alarms and phone calls. Seriously–I did not wake at all until after 2:30 or so, and I believe that was because my blad­der and need for pain meds final­ly won out over the need for more rest. So much for the week­ly blood test appoint­ment at 11. I didn’t get much home­work done through the rest of the day, either, though I did try. Hope­ful­ly eat­ing the whole day is enough to appease the fibromyal­gia demon.

So today has been giv­en over to doing all of the week’s assign­ments for tomorrow’s course, Comp100. That’s the “learn to use Win­dows, Word and Excel” class that’s required for every­one at this school. I’m real­ly annoyed at hav­ing to take it at all. There are lots of lit­tle assign­ments, and while I know this stuff inside–out even make­work takes time.

Right now, I’m tak­ing a din­ner break. I deserve that much.

The biggest chal­lenge of that course (oth­er than fol­low­ing the *exact* direc­tions rather than doing things in more effi­cient ways) is that the text­book is too bloody big and heavy. I had prob­lems with that at my last school, too. I need a seri­ous book­stand, because hold­ing these big texts real­ly is a phys­i­cal chal­lenge for me. They’re increas­ing my pain, which makes it hard for me to focus on read­ing the assign­ments.

In hap­pi­er news, my admis­sions “advo­cate” called me today to tell me that the tran­script eval­u­a­tors had revised their opin­ion of my cred­its and giv­en me anoth­er 13 cred­its! So I’m anoth­er semes­ter clos­er to grad­u­at­ing. I think that puts me fair­ly close to senior lev­el, which means more finan­cial aid eli­gi­bil­i­ty.

Katie and I have fall­en into a pat­tern of doing our home­work togeth­er every day. That’s nice, and it helps a lot with my miss­ing the time we spent togeth­er home­school­ing.

I’m hop­ing that I can get caught up and stay there by the end of this week­end, and then have time to breathe and do fun things again. This is just a half-time sched­ule, so I real­ly need to build a lot more sta­mi­na before I try to add two more class­es next semes­ter!

You know what I want? A trike. Real­ly. A great big trike with a nice big bas­ket. I think I could ride to school near as fast as I could get there on MARTA. I might have to spend the night there before I could ride back home, but give me some time and sure­ly I’d build up some kind of con­sti­tu­tion again. Even­tu­al­ly.

I know how to ride a bicy­cle, cer­tain­ly, but my bal­ance has gone to heck thanks to the FMS and I don’t recov­er from falls well, so I’ll give in and ask the uni­verse for a three-wheel­er. Sure­ly they’re less expen­sive than the scoot­er I need, right?

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Spain bans unhealthily thin models

In a very unpop­u­lar move, Spain has banned appear­ances by fash­ion mod­els who’s body mass index is too low.

Italy is con­sid­er­ing fol­low­ing suit. The lan­guage in the leg­is­la­tion makes it clear that the pur­pose of the ban is to encour­age health­i­er media images, due to the grow­ing inci­dence of eat­ing dis­or­ders diag­nosed every year.

Frankly, I can’t begin to imag­ine the U.S. gov­ern­ment even con­sid­er­ing that kind of leg­is­la­tion. We do have a freer press here (on the sur­face, at least), but that doesn’t explain all the dif­fer­ences.

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School days, school days, good old golden rule days”

Is that how the lyric goes? I know, I can Google it. I should be in bed. If I get any­where near a lyric archive, I’ll get sucked in and there’s no promise that I’ll get any sleep at all!

That’s impor­tant, as I have my first class tomor­row! It should real­ly be some­thing that I could sleep through, hon­est­ly, as the school insists that I take “Com­put­er Appli­ca­tions” in prepa­ra­tion for my oth­er cours­es. Despite the fact that I have used the MS Office suite for years (well before it was a suite), and have trained count­less oth­ers to use Word and Excel, I haven’t had any for­mal train­ing in using the appli­ca­tions. Because I can’t show any col­lege work that proves that I can use the appli­ca­tions, I have to take the course, like every­one else.

I’m try­ing to think of it as an easy A, but that nev­er works out on these things that I feel I should be able to comp. Did you know that if you know a pro­gram so well that using key­board short­cuts is sec­ond nature to you, the com­put­er­ized tests used by temp agen­cies and the like will decide that you don’t actu­al­ly know the soft­ware very well? They’re look­ing for an exact series of mouse clicks, not the key­board short­cuts. I have this dread­ful fear that the course will use com­put­er­ized test­ing in this course, and there will be prob­lems like that.

Any­way, on a brighter note, after I’ve tak­en that class, I’ll be able to log in and start work on my oth­er class’s assign­ments. It actu­al­ly start­ed Tues­day, but I wasn’t enrolled ’til Wednes­day. The school’s com­put­er sys­tems don’t offi­cial­ly “know” a stu­dent ’til she has swiped her stu­dent ID through the atten­dance what­sis in a class­room at least once. Very frus­trat­ing — I’ve been try­ing to get in to that sys­tem since I was reg­is­tered, and nobody actu­al­ly fig­ured out why I couldn’t do so ’til late today. I’ve yet to get any­one to tell me how to con­tact the pro­fes­sor, either, as the idea of just talk­ing to the human (and I assume there is one) to ask about assign­ments seemed an out­ra­geous notion in that world of ultra-com­put­er­i­za­tion.

The oth­er class is def­i­nite­ly going to stretch me. I’ve nev­er tak­en a sta­tis­tics course before. It’s been, um, near­ly 20 years since I took ANY math class. Please don’t tell me any hell­ish sto­ries about that sub­ject, as I’m ner­vous enough already. If, how­ev­er, you under­stand this stuff are will­ing and able to help me, for good­ness’ sake, speak up! Any help is much appre­ci­at­ed!

I’ve still got to go through the joy of work­ing with the dis­abil­i­ties office. I did meet the coor­di­na­tor, though, and she seemed down­right friend­ly. That was such a shock that I could hard­ly remem­ber the ques­tions I need­ed to ask her! (Good argu­ment for always writ­ing them down ahead of time.)

I am going to have to upgrade my com­put­er, as every course at this school is part­ly online. The min­i­mum tech­ni­cal require­ments start with a proces­sor and video that put my much-loved lit­tle lap­top to shame. I’m unclear as to what they’re expect­ing to do with all that pow­er — it isn’t as if my major is one that involves CAD or any­thing of that sort — and I’m rather annoyed. The geek in me, of course, is thrilled — but the rest of me says, “We can’t afford that!” It’ll mean going back to a desk­top, most like­ly.

It isn’t as though my par­ents were pay­ing the first time around, so they aren’t going to help now, either. Any­body wan­na adopt me to send me to school? You’ll get the world’s most mar­velous grand­daugh­ter, and she’s old enough that you wouldn’t be asked to babysit, even.

Yes, I’m only tak­ing two class­es. I’m try­ing to be more rea­son­able about pac­ing and tak­ing care of myself this time. Maybe I won’t end up with pneu­mo­nia again 🙂 And to that end, I’m off to bed now.

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Kyoshi — with flowers!

As you can see, he enjoys the fin­er things in life, like flow­ers. Espe­cial­ly if he’s per­mit­ted to maul them.
Kyoshi sniffing yellow and pink orchids

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The Animals Won

Katie is a bit too old to be a Steve Irwin fan, so we were spared most of that craze. Not all of it, of course, since we don’t live in a media black­out and we are exposed to the cur­rent kid cul­ture via oth­er friends’ kids.

Still, I always found the guy more than a few fries short on his Hap­py Meal. And what the hell did those crit­ters do to him? I mean, they’re nasty, yes, but does he need to bran­dish them on tele­vi­sion repeat­ed­ly? What was he teach­ing his view­ers? Bul­ly­ing? Have there been any cas­es of chil­dren being hurt by try­ing to repli­cate his stunts? (I don’t care how many times any­one says “don’t try this!” We all know that some­body, some­where, will.)

And that crocodile/baby thing. Why wasn’t there as much media cov­er­age about that as about Michael Jack­son dan­gling his kid over a bal­cony? Was the man absolute­ly crack­ers? (I’m not talk­ing about Michael Jack­son, as I don’t have any doubts regard­ing his lack of san­i­ty.)

Ger­maine Greer said all of this bet­ter than I have, but she’s the first per­son I’ve ever heard crit­i­cize Irwin in any sig­nif­i­cant way in a major pub­li­ca­tion. Grant­ed, I wasn’t fol­low­ing him close­ly — but did the man have to die for crit­ics to be heard?

Would he still be alive if he’d been dart­ed with Risperdal on a reg­u­lar basis? Maybe a lit­tle less of a celebri­ty, but san­i­ty is worth some sac­ri­fices. I think he would have been a bet­ter role mod­el had he been less of an extreme risk tak­er.

I do feel sor­ry for his fam­i­ly, cer­tain­ly. I know from expe­ri­ence that you can nev­er tru­ly be pre­pared for the loss of some­one you love. Still, if I were his wife I would have been on edge all the time fear­ing that I’d get the call telling me that his luck had run out.

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Quote of the day, happy half hour

We wor­ry about what a child will be tomor­row, yet we for­get that he is some­one today.” — Sta­cia Tausch­er, quot­ed in The Change Your Life Chal­lenge by Brooke Noel.

One of Noel’s sug­ges­tions is to have a reg­u­lar “hap­py half hour” with your fam­i­ly. Set up fresh fruit or oth­er health snacks, pour cups of juice or some sort of drinks they like, and set apart that time for every­one, kids and adults, to con­nect in a pos­i­tive way. No “must do” talk, no down­ers, no com­plain­ing — just good stuff. Encour­age each oth­er, express your grat­i­tude for each oth­er and the good things in your lives, share your joys, and catch up with each oth­er.

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In Dallas? Wear your seat belt!

Being hauled out of school in hand­cuffs because of a $50 seat-belt tick­et was bad enough for Lan­cast­er High School music teacher There­sa Dobbs.

She had no idea what was yet to come.

That seat belt tick­et – the only blem­ish on her dri­ving record – would result in a har­row­ing three-day stay in a crowd­ed hold­ing tank at the Dal­las Coun­ty Jail last week with­out a chance to see a lawyer, bail bonds­man or judge.

This comes a year after Dal­las Coun­ty insist­ed that they’d fixed the prob­lems that led them to lose one man for 15 months due to sim­i­lar paper­work prob­lems. Yes, 15 months.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I don’t think Ms. Dobbs will get a lot of sup­port from the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in any case against the coun­ty in Bush’s Amer­i­ca. After all, she lives in what was recent­ly Bush’s Texas, and it hasn’t changed much since he was in charge there, has it?

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Empowered by a microphone

I gave myself a gift today: a head­set with my very own micro­phone for the pod­cast.

It isn’t as fan­cy as the one that I was using, which is my partner’s Very Nice (read: intim­i­dat­ing) micro­phone. That one, though, sits on the desk­top on its own stand. I know this sounds piti­ful, but I have trou­ble stay­ing with­in prop­er range of it, because my voice is soft. I have to lean over and up from the chair I’m in, and even then I end up feel­ing as if I’ve had to near­ly shout to record a pod­cast, which takes far more ener­gy than sim­ply speak­ing nor­mal­ly and is very stress­ful, to boot!

That removes one of the main bar­ri­ers to get­ting pod­casts out on a reg­u­lar basis. The next is that Sam pro­duces the show for me, but he has a full-time job and is much busier than I am out­side the home. Do I dare release the show unedit­ed, brain fog effects and all? What do y’all think?

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