Stoopid School!

I just found out that DeVry didn’t “pack­age” my finan­cial aid for this semes­ter. Huh? I reg­is­tered the day reg­is­tra­tion opened, or near­ly so, as I recall. I wasn’t sched­uled to grad­u­ate. I did every­thing I’m sup­posed to do, in fact. Some­body there just dropped the ball.

Why isn’t that sort of thing auto­mat­ed so that doesn’t hap­pen? It isn’t as if the place spe­cial­ized in, oh, tech­ni­cal degrees or any­thing like that, right?

Then they inform me that because of their mis­take, my stu­dent loans are also screwed up, and I’m going to end up owing them over $4k for the semes­ter! What?!

Yes, I’m fight­ing this. That school has screwed up some­thing every sin­gle semes­ter I’ve attend­ed it! Unfor­tu­nate­ly, so did SPSU. Is this just a giv­en with col­leges? They only hire the incom­pe­tent, or they don’t hon­or com­pe­tence, or what? I know that schools usu­al­ly pay less than oth­er employ­ers, so maybe they can’t com­pete and don’t care to try?

For your sakes, I will not upload a record­ing of the bel­low of inar­tic­u­late rage this crap pro­voked. I think it would have bro­ken my micro­phone, any­way.

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Book Joy! And Stuff

I’m so tick­led! In the last two weeks, I’ve found not one, but two books that Sam and I have want­ed for ages at good prices on eBay!

Seeing Red
First, I’ve been look­ing for
See­ing Red: The Rap­ture of Red­heads by Howard Schatz for years and years. Seri­ous­ly, it has to be at least five years since Sam first men­tioned that he’d love to have it. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it’s out of print, and the only thing I found for the longest time were used copies for $150 or more. It’s a gor­geous book, but that’s far more than I could pay for it.

I had the book on my wish list at Half.com, which is part of eBay, but for some rea­son I also set up an eBay search a few months back, and final­ly got found a copy going for $35.1 I didn’t hap­pen to see the email until a day lat­er, and by then the sell­er had dropped the price fur­ther for some rea­son. It was more than I pay for most books, but after five years, it was more than worth it. We received it in the mail ear­li­er this week, and it is just a beau­ti­ful as any new copy.

Your Guide to Metabolic Health
That gave me an idea, so I set up a search for anoth­er book I’ve want­ed for a while, but couldn’t afford. John C. Lowe’s tome Your Guide to Meta­bol­ic Health came out in 2003, and I haven’t ever found it in stock any­where. It must have gone out of stock quick­ly, because Ama­zon has only ever had used copies that I’ve seen. And again, they were always pricey—$180 was the price I’d seen most recent­ly.2

Today, eBay came through again! The “buy it now” price was very rea­son­able, so Sam encour­aged me to go ahead and get it instead of chanc­ing the auc­tion route.

Dr. Lowe has also writ­ten anoth­er book that’s specif­i­cal­ly about the meta­bol­ic treat­ment of fibromyal­gia, but it runs over $500. Appar­ent­ly, that one is intend­ed for physi­cians, rather than laypeo­ple. I have an eBay search going, but I’m fair­ly cer­tain the book I bought today has the infor­ma­tion I need in it. From what I’ve heard, it’s main­ly about fibromyal­gia and chron­ic fatigue syn­drome.3

Keep Working Girlfriend
I’m busi­ly read­ing my ARC of Women, Work and Autoim­mune Dis­ease: Keep Work­ing, Girl­friend! It’s good stuff.


1 For what it’s worth, Half.com still shows only the high­er prices. Weird.

2 It’s avail­able more cheap­ly now, but I still got a deal.

3 Aha—the pub­lish­er actu­al­ly sells the lat­est ver­sion of that one for $99.95. Why would any­body pay the used price? Why do the used sell­ers think they can demand so much?

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Boo, Motorola!

Maybe I’m just spoiled from years of Nokia phones, and being able to just down­load the Nokia Phone Suite free from their web site to sync my phone and PC, or put ring­tones and pho­tos on the phone. But hon­est­ly, I find it absolute­ly ridicu­lous that Motoro­la wants me to pay them $30 to $40 for the equiv­a­lent soft­ware to work with their phones!

It doesn’t, as far as I can see, do any­thing more than what the Nokia soft­ware does. They sell plen­ty of phones, and it can­not be that unusu­al for peo­ple to want to back up the data on them. So why are they goug­ing cus­tomers this way?

I can see charg­ing some amount if the cus­tomer wants a CD with the soft­ware on it mailed out, but charg­ing for the down­load is ridicu­lous.

And when I try to reg­is­ter for an account on their sup­port site, I keep get­ting error mes­sages say­ing that my email address is invalid. I tried a bunch of dif­fer­ent address­es, even the ISP address that I nev­er, ever use—no joy.

I can’t reg­is­ter the phone, either, because you have to pick your mobile provider, and mine isn’t list­ed, and there isn’t an “oth­er” option.

Boo!

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Further Prof of Insanity: Blog365

I got through NaBloPo­Mo, as ridicu­lous as it was to com­mit to post­ing at least once a day for a month. So of course that small suc­cess has led me, in a moment of more-than-usu­al-luna­cy, to sign up for Blog365 (oth­er­wise known as “Out of the Fry­ing Pan, Into the Fire”).
Blog365
The pur­pose is fair­ly clear: to post at least once every day of 2008. Feb­ru­ary 29 is a “rest day.” Posts may be writ­ten on any site, rather than stick­ing to just one blog, so I’ll try to spread them around on mine/ours. If I can’t get some­thing on the actu­al site on a par­tic­u­lar day due to net con­nec­tion issues or what­ev­er, I have to write (yes, write! like, cuneiform or some­thing!) a jour­nal entry and trans­fer it to a blog as that day’s entry.

It would be far sim­pler to have a sys­tem of some sort. Maybe I’ll cre­ate a rota­tion:

  • Fibrant Liv­ing — health, liv­ing with a dis­abil­i­ty, pod­casts
  • Acad­e­my Car­i­tas — home­school­ing, edu­ca­tion, col­lege
  • House Fire­heart — polyamory, par­tic­u­lar­ly my and Sam’s approach to it
  • Heart­song Hand­i­crafts — home of my orig­i­nal needle­work pat­terns, and soon to be home for the rest of my stitch­ing infor­ma­tion
  • Cyber­stalked! — inter­net safe­ty and pri­va­cy issues
  • Cyn­thia Armis­tead — my pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio, where I put the geeky stuff
  • Ene­my of Entropy — here, of course, where I put gen­er­al stuff, book reviews, and the like.

Hope­ful­ly there will be new pod­casts up soon. There will def­i­nite­ly be more music, as we have that love­ly con­cert piano we received via freecy­cle all repaired and put togeth­er. It’s beau­ti­ful and sounds great! Not at all bad for one dri­ve to pick it up and less than $200 in repair fees! (Sam want­ed to just take it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter rather than doing it our­selves.)

2007 wasn’t a stel­lar year, but nei­ther was it ter­ri­ble. Sam has a steady, secure job that he enjoys, in an orga­ni­za­tion that’s allow­ing him to advance. , Katie had a lot of health prob­lems, but I’m hop­ing that we’re on the right path to resolv­ing them. Shel­ley passed away a lit­tle shy of her 18th birth­day, but since we’d been told in 1999 that she only had a year (at most) left, we felt that we’d got­ten an “extra” 8 years with her any­way. Kioshi has grown into a nice com­pan­ion, too.

We real­ly kept to our­selves a lot through the past two years. When you’ve been betrayed and hurt as deeply as we were by our for­mer housemate’s sud­den crazi­ness in 2006, there’s a lot of heal­ing to be done. I don’t know if I’ll ever approach Thanks­giv­ing with­out trep­i­da­tion again, but we had a good one any­way. The stress did con­tribute to the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of my health, and that does make it hard­er to get out. We’re work­ing on it, though. We cer­tain­ly learned who our true friends were, and we’ll nev­er for­get that.

So on to 2008, which we hope to be full of more time with friends, bet­ter health, much more music, Katie spent last night and almost all day today with friends from the school she was attend­ing as well as her new beau. Sam and I spent the day gam­ing, upgrad­ing some web sites, eat­ing good food and watch­ing movies. If it’s true that what­ev­er you do on Jan­u­ary 1 indi­cates how your year will go, we should be just fine.

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Tweets for 12-12-2007

  • 23:06 @sam­bear­po­et sur­prised me and the girl with Blue­tooth head­sets! Then he made mine work with my phone, even! #
  • 23:10 @mar­cben­ton From what I hear, you aren’t alone 🙂 #
  • 23:29 @texasdave777 So why wasn’t your wife laugh­ing just sa hard? #
  • 23:31 Dear tangomag.com: I’ve nev­er vis­it­ed your site before, but I’m unlike­ly to be back despite read­ing a good arti­cle, ’cause you split it … #
  • 23:31 into 13 pages for no good rea­son. #
  • 23:39 @texasdave777 I’m afraid they would have need­ed the bounc­ers for me and @sambearpoet #
  • 23:50 @tru­la LOL! Now I just need one of those microSD cards and I can annoy the world with my own music on my phone, too! #
  • 23:54 @mari­na­martin That’s handy! Can I get your num­ber? 😉 #
  • 23:57 @mari­na­martin You nev­er PLAN these things, you know? Got­ta be pre­pared! #
  • 12:49 Hap­py Day Tweet­ers #
  • 12:54 @robertmerrill Not @andrewbadera, but I haven’t looked since 2000 and still get those calls/emails #
  • 12:54 @robertmerrill And they always want relo­ca­tion #
  • 13:00 @robertmerrill Nope, nev­er have. Not once. I’ve got­ten mul­ti­ple con­tacts about jobs in Bel­gium! #
  • 13:01 @robertmerrill When I start look­ing, I’ll put myself out there seriously–not just have my old resume on my web site. #
  • 13:01 @robertmerrill Will let my net­work know, change my LinkedIn pro­file, etc. #
  • 13:07 @foulbastard As well as plas­tic sur­geons and CGI artists every­where #
  • 13:09 @robertmerrill Not 1st degree, unfor­tu­nate­ly. Not these days. Did back when I was working/looking. #
  • 13:09 @robertmerrill Been on Mom­my time for a while now 🙂 #
  • 13:10 @robertmerrill I’m also a col­lege stu­dent, so I’d use the school’s place­ment office & fairs. #
  • 13:11 @hob­bina­tor *hugs* to you and scritch­es to baby Roo #
  • 13:22 @Mari­na­Martin I guess its even worse if you get them via Freecy­cle 🙂 #
  • 13:23 @mari­na­martin There’s a used book­store across town that’s con­stant­ly giv­ing away mul­ti­ple box­es of books. #
  • 13:23 @mari­na­martin Too far away for me, thank­ful­ly, or I might be tempt­ed. #
  • 13:25 @mari­na­martin I’ve nev­er been able to resist books, peri­od. Love libraries. #
  • 13:29 @mari­na­martin I can’t afford to be that picky 🙂 #
  • 13:33 @tru­la Me too! Can get lost for hours. #
  • 13:34 @mari­na­martin Good for you 🙂 #
  • 13:41 @hob­bina­tor YAY! #
  • 14:12 @chum­worth Right where any­body play­ing Greensleeves is. #
  • 14:14 @hob­bina­tor Braised chick­en liv­ers. Fresh from pan (ok, slight­ly cooled). Stinky + high pro­tein #
  • 14:43 @mini­to­toro I leave such things to @sambearpoet, ’cause I always end up injured oth­er­wise #
  • 14:55 @ariedana $15 to see her on-screen? And it isn’t a movie? Dang. #
  • 14:55 @ariedana Obvi­ous­ly, I should have been a stage moth­er to rake in the bucks from my kid. #
  • 15:13 @andrew­badera Dis­hon­esty sucks. How do you define flak­i­ness? #
  • 15:14 @ariedana They’re one rea­son I believe in parental mal­prac­tice suits. #
  • 15:29 @chum­worth It’s ille­gal to use rep­re­sen­ta­tions of real peo­ple, dead or alive, for tar­get prac­tice in GA. I’m just sayin’ #
  • 15:32 @ariedana Sure thing, just email it to cyn at tech­nomom dot com #
  • 15:36 @andrew­badera That’s fair. #
  • 15:48 @jchutchins You just found out? I’m sor­ry, hon 🙂 #
  • 15:48 Thanks @ariedana #
  • 15:49 @michebel It’s bet­ter than not mak­ing it to 50! See it as a vic­to­ry 🙂 #
  • 15:49 @hob­bina­tor YAY! I’m so glad! #
  • 16:58 @garlg Ow! #

Fol­low Cyn at Twit­ter
 
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Is There A NaNoReMo?

I think I want a Nation­al Nov­el Read­ing Month. I could do a nov­el a day (as long as I chose the right nov­els, of course). I’m behind on writ­ing reviews, but I’m wal­low­ing unabashed­ly in the num­ber of good reads avail­able to me right now. I’ve tweaked the Now Read­ing wid­get to show up to ten cur­rent books instead of just five.

I total­ly flubbed NaNoW­riMo. No, I don’t wan­na talk word count. Ugh. I have, how­ev­er, man­aged to keep up with NaBloPo­Mo. so far, and there’s only one day to go! Data­base prob­lems have giv­en me some trou­ble with get­ting the posts to the pub­lic at some points, but I’ve writ­ten an entry every sin­gle day, and I think all of them are even show­ing up now. (The auto­post­ed Tweets for the day don’t count, of course.)

TodayOn Thurs­day, Katie and I drove all over the place, as she had an orth­don­tic appoint­ment and I fool­ish­ly chose to com­bine that with oth­er errands. Dri­ving = can’t take usu­al pain meds. I came home and col­lapsed with a fever. Now it’s the nor­mal time to sleep, and I’m in too much pain to go lay down. (Actu­al­ly, I was so fog­gy that I for­got to hit the “Pub­lish” but­ton last night!)

But, thanks to a freecy­cler, we now own a Korg 88-key elec­tric piano. The catch: It’s tak­en apart. Com­plete­ly. I’ve nev­er seen the innards of such a thing before!

Why did the pre­vi­ous own­ers take it apart, then give it away? Their tod­dler spilled paint on the keys. The donor couldn’t remem­ber if it was fab­ric paint or acrylic paint, but it isn’t water-sol­u­ble, in any case. For­tu­nate­ly, the paint did not get into the elec­tron­ics! Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it did stick a few keys togeth­er. So the man of the house took it apart, intend­ing to clean it up—then stuck it in the garage, where it has lan­guished for two years. In a clean­ing fit this week, he decid­ed to toss it out and just get a new one. Hap­pi­ly for me, his wife per­suad­ed him to give her a week to offer it on freecy­cle instead, and now it’s ours!

I’m encour­aged by the fact that every­thing worked before it was tak­en apart (oth­er than the stuck keys). I’m excit­ed about hav­ing a piano. Now I have to fig­ure out what to use to gen­tly clean said keys, then fig­ure out how to reassem­ble the whole thing. I con­sid­ered just tak­ing it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter, but I want to see if we can do it first, as their quot­ed labor rate of $70/hour would add up very quick­ly. This is a $1,000 instru­ment, so it’s worth putting some mon­ey into mak­ing it work. Hav­ing the mon­ey, as usu­al, is the prob­lem.

It came with its nice stand, which is inte­gral to the piano, as it has the ped­als on it. I’ll still need a bench, but I’ll deal with that after I have it work­ing.

A repair man­u­al would be very use­ful. The instru­ment man­u­al can be down­loaded from the Korg web site, but since these things aren’t con­sid­ered user ser­vice­able, it doesn’t show how to take the piano apart and put it back togeth­er. If I can get it cleaned up, though, I can prob­a­bly ask Dad­dy for assem­bly help. My Dad­dy can fix any­thing.1 He’s much bet­ter with things than with peo­ple.

I’m total­ly open to sug­ges­tions for gen­tle sol­vents.2 I’m fig­ur­ing non-ace­tone nail pol­ish remover might do it, but will it dam­age the keys?

Of course, if any of you fine folks hap­pen to have expe­ri­ence with tak­ing elec­tric pianos apart and reassem­bling them, by all means, please speak up! (Hey, a girl can hope, can’t she?)


1 Yes, I am 41 years old, and he’ll always be Dad­dy, and I’ll always believe in his mirac­u­lous fix-it-abil­i­ty

2 Yes, that’s some­thing of an oxy­moron.

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Teen Assaults Teacher, Activist Worries About Teen?

A 17-year-old run­ning back assaults a high school teacher for doing her job.1 He toss­es her around and breaks her fin­ger.

Who would you wor­ry about? The attack­er, or the vic­tim?
Read the rest of this entry »

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