Sunday, December 27, 2015
Afterwards I did a few chores - this week it was an oil change - and stop at Pegasus Book Exchange for more book fun. This week I picked up a copy of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle - one of those classics I've never gotten around to reading - in graphic novel format - because I love the format. Let's see how it works! It was fun talking it over with the staff too.
Other than that, it was housecleaning, cooking ahead for the week (chicken, rice and cornbread) and goofing off - after all, it's the Day Of Rest! I suppose I spent too much time on Facebook but so long as it doesn't get in the way of work and exercise, I'll be o.k. I'm getting used to my new hours and even the cats seem to be getting by- with the help of a plethora of new toys from the Clines and others!
Saturday, December 26, 2015
Next, I was invited by my friend John Rapp to an impromptu celebration at Tent City 5 with a little music and a little comedy; it gave me a fine venue at which to pass on some extra blankets in like-new condition. From there I made a quick run up to the Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood, as Sue had forgotten her purse in my car when I drove her home after the Christmas party at Kat's. Caellie was working at American Girl there, and looking all professional and efficient!
I suppose that's the sort of thing an uncle notices.
On the way back I stopped at Costco to see if they had shelving suitable for improving my home business. Who did I see there but Diana Tice? We gave each other season's greetings - ( I was so grateful that I had texted her the week before with a timely reply to her question about VAF ) and then we were each about our business. I found a really great set of shelves at a fine price. The rest of the day I spent at home, playing with the cats, assembling shelves, and having a good time listening to TED talks.
Friday, December 25, 2015
- Lexvid offer one free recording just for signing up. They have a big catalog covering a lot of subjectss, including ethics. Naturally they'll want you to like their content so much that you buy more, and their prices are pretty low. I have recommended them for years, and never got a complaint. Recently, they have started supporting 4freeCLE by offering affiliate links, so if you *do* buy a course from them, please consider going through a link on this blog, such as: http://lexvid.com.
- Washington State Creating an Inclusive Workplace for Attorneys with Disabilities. By WSBA. Get 1.5 General Credit free but you have to watch it this month (December 2015) and you have to be a Washington State Attorney.
- Lexis-Nexis Online Training is good for credit in most states, and right not I count at least six one-hour programs waiting for you. Go to the list and create a free log in, then hit the "Launch " button for the course that interests you.Check the list of states for which credit is granted; if it says "Credit not yet applied for" don't worry; they don't apply in some states where they don't have someone taking the course. When you take it, they'll apply for credit. Check it out!
- The National Judicial College has a large collection of free online educational programs, largely concerning trials. I do not see anything on the website that says you cannot take a program and apply for credit. The content is well organized and authoritative; if you have a trial practice you may find it especially useful. Just be warned - your credit-granting authority determines whether your application for credit will be allowed, so you may wish to check with them first. It would be crazy not to allow credit for these courses, but not impossible.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Class today was all about different ways of researching things. The various methods seemed scattered and disorganized; each one individually had its merits and obviously worked effectively enough for the organization to have success, but as a whole there seemed to be chaos.
It's the first day of substantive training, so I might not be surprised at this appearance, but another clue is in the repeated refrain that the thing to be taught was not any individual facts or even a large collection of them, but rather the ability to look things up. This sounded like a platitude, until the final hour which was a game of Jeopardy based upon typical questions. At first my team did poorly and I felt down; the other team was ahead more than two to one. However when one of my teammates expressed dismay, I felt obliged to make some encouraging noises, along the lines of this being our time to come back in the second half. Then the Jeremy on our team ( there were Jeremy's on both teams ) answer the question and when asked how he knew it, said he did not know it but he knew how to search on that website. Haha! I proceeded to answer a couple of questions based entirely upon selecting the correct search facility. It worked! Our team roared into the lead. When we got down to the last question there was some logic involved; we had had 5 instructors and since four of them had been answers to the other questions, I simply picked the remaining one and it had to be right!
Then there was Final Jeopardy! We were ahead, but not light enough to ensure victory without the right answer. The other team got the opportunity to read their answer first, and did so correctly. Then the judges turn to our team. How could we show we have the right answer, when nothing was written down? I simply turned my monitor around - I had not only found the right answer, my search had found found it on a little poster that they could see from up front. Yeah search!
I think this little game was both a confidence building and a team building exercise. We got to see the personalities of each other in a harmless a bit of adversity, & I got to see that lol did not think the overall structure was totally organized, the result was effective! There's a lesson here if I can figure it out.
It just makes sense that a blogger would have a smartphone app. This is my first attempt using it, and it appears to be about as easy as one would expect. This will make it easier to use this log as a journal; note that the speech recognition autocorrect changed "blog" to "log".
Wednesday, December 09, 2015
The orange-and-white cat that sometimes harasses my cat at the front window appeared, and I felt some compassion for him outside, but since he was banging on the window bugging the long-haired fluffy one, it was my job to open the door and chase him off. The all-orange one, the more usual malefactor, came by later. It didn't seem like a good time to be outside, but there's plenty of shelter in the neighborhood so I guess they're o.k. - they won't let me approach anyway.
Yesterday I got a note from the IRS about the upcoming job, which was encouraging, and directions what to do if Congress doesn't pass a continuing resolution, which was less. We'll see.
After seeing my doctor earlier this week, I am now trying rauwolfia. It's supposed to be fairly harmless so again we'll see.
I took the evening off dancing to give the limbs a rest, but will go again tomorrow. Sure, I could exercise more intensely, but life is too short - at level 60 - not to enjoy the exercise!
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
This may sound funny to people who are not responsible for cats - go ahead and snicker - it sounds funny to me too!
However, if you're responsible for an indoor cat (...I hesitate to say "owned" since it's not always clear who owns whom...) you may be looking for a better pooping solution. Keeping cats indoors prolongs their lives, plus that of the songbirds, but everything comes with a cost, and for cats that means kitty litter.
I've never liked the most common solution - clay. It's messy and so heavy that I've had to go up a size in my garbage bin just because clay for six cats exceeded the weight of the smallest bin! The greyish clay pellets smell off to me and feel ucky when you tread on them in bare feet. Intellectually I know that the clay pellets that scatter are clean because they aren't clumped, but my uck reflex does not care.
Chick Starter, in big bags from the feed store, is much better. Its basic odor is the clean hay smell of a clean barn. It's light and its particles are small, so it doesn't fling far and its barely noticable when trod upon. It also performs as well as clay: it clumps well and scoops normally. It seems reasonably environmentally responsible as well as non-toxic.
I have tried other alternatives to clay. Mostly these were pelletized from newspaper, pine and bamboo. The cats hated the pellets; they avoided pooping in pans of pellets until they'd been broken down by pee. There was a wheatgrass-based product that seemed to work ok, but it was somewhat more expensive than chick starter and did not perform any better.
Chick starter seems to do the trick at a good price; just make sure it's unmedicated, because you don't want to use unnecessary antibiotics or whatever. I've tried it for a month, and don't see why I'd go back. It's fun to go to the feed store, too. You can get all sorts of stuff, such as hay bales and bird seed in bulk - but that's another issue for another day.
Sunday, December 06, 2015
Saturday, December 05, 2015
The rest of the day was maintenance around the house, which is a great thing to do when it is so very soggy out. The branches in my yard seem to be settling into a Pacific Northwest look that is very different from that of a typical grass yard, and I look forward to seeing how it all shakes out.
Having finished Deep Space Nine, I don't especially feel the urge to watch more TV; it was fun but I have other interests. It's nice to have the option, I suppose.
We discussed giving a home to another cat. After all, we had no trouble supporting six cats, so now that Michelle has gone to live with Kris, there is room for one more - and one needing a home has been found. This is not a problem but it's nice to have adult family discussions on things - a bit of a new experience for me, but I could get used to it.
Wednesday, December 02, 2015
Most sections must have this problem, of course, but at least their practice orientation rewards event attendees more directly than ours does; there really isn't much immediate financial advantage to uderstanding how law and peace can work together.
As a result, Section membership is small and not growing. Why would it? we aren't able to do much. I am personally unwilling to invest time in events that cannot be attendd by 90% or more of our ptential audience. If someone else wants to do the work, I'll support them and help as I can, but no-one has volunteered - perhaps I have been uniquely foolish in pursuing this windmill.
The final straw was my new gig starting December 14: I simply can not take time off work to do section events.
Resolved to see the positive side of this, I proposed to our Executive Board that we run meetings virtually, using the new forum as infrastructure. This would require a small procedural change, and I had hoped to pass this at the next Board meeting; but of course, there is no single time at which the Board's members can all meet, even by teleconference.
This is not such a bad thing, as it impelled me to write up the rule for the irtual meeting, and propose it. I'll give the Board a week to comment on it, and then propose it at the first sitting of the December meeting. Since the bylaws don't specify any particular quorum, I shoul be abe to get it passed with no organzational hurdles.
Whether it works in practice remains to be seen, but it's a reform with great promise. Let's hope for the best!
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
After another most excellent zumba session at Fauntleroy, I met Kris at the "Super Deli Mart" which is presumably next to her apartment building (officially I don't know where she lives) and gave her the envelope. It appears to be part of an investigation of me in connection with employment, which makes sense; she promised to fill it out accurately. We then talked over sandwiches, with a beer for her and a cider for me, mostly about her current suite of problems. She hasn't changed, which I suppose is reassuring for me.
Monday, November 30, 2015
It's a challenge and a puzzle, and I guess that's a good thing.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
However, I had a nostaglia for Star Trek. I've re-viewed every episode of The Original Series as they became available on YouTube. I found Next Generation adequate but not worth chasing down; Voyager better than nothing but not much; and Enterprise unwatchable. Part of the problem may be the episodic nature of those series made building actual plots unlikely.
Deep Space Nine, however, had a seven-season story arc. I decided to rewatch the whole thing, and just finished up tonight.
The series holds up, for the most part, thanks to acting and writing. The special effects are sufficient for the story, and there are makeup problems now that we watch on very detailed screens (Nog and most of the Cardassians have visible blends between their prostheses and skin), but that doesn't detract from the thing overall.
The most important thing that the long story arc does for the series is that it lets the characters start our flawed and grow or heal. The episodic series don't do much of that; they may kill off a character, or let a child mature, but the actual adults in the episodic series can't change. Not only does that make every story more shallow, it makes the characters themselves more shallow: they have ideosyncracies rather than flaws.
In contrast, DS9 starts with a cast of broken characters: Sisko angrily mourns his dead wife and Kira is barely able to hold it together after a life of guerilla war. Over the arc of the series they heal, so that an episode from the seventh season is clearly distinguishable from one in the first season as much by the way they talk as by the number of pips on their collar (...they earn promotions, another thing not really allowed in episodic series.)
The Outsider character is often a problem in the various Star Treks. Spock set a very high standard by living in two words. Data, OTOH, despite the awesome acting of Brent Spiner, was merely annoying in his childishness, and occasionally embarrassing (e.g. the need to make him vulnerable has him disclose to Dr. Crusher that he has on "Off" switch in his back - a stupid concept in itself, but in any event something that should have obvious to Starfleet long ago.) Voyager tried having a whole bunch of outsiders; both The Doctor and Seven of Nine were particularly fun to play with, but their outsider status didn't actually do much more than give individual stories some plot points.
Odo, OTOH, can fairly be viewed as the central character of the series, because the entirety of the Federation-Dominion war rests upon the misunderstanding of Solid by the Founders. Odo's learning how to be, well not human, but humanoid, is the key to resolving that conflict.
The one major character than consistently disappointed was Jadzia Dax. Make no mistake, she was easy on the eyes, and in interviews the actress came off as a nice person, but the character suffered by starting off near-perfect and having nothing to do but need a rescue or chase romance. In the first few seasons in particular, if Dax was in a situation, she was the one needing rescue. Cops arrest her for a murder in a past life, she twists her ankle in the thoroughly aweful "Move Along Home", she has to be rescued in various other episodes; the nearest thing she does to rescuing anyone else is to join some Klingons in a revenge killing, and even then she dithers over whether or not to do it. The contrast with Kira is clear; one time the two of them are off in a spacecraft to do something dangerous; Kira kicks ass as a fighting pilot, Dax complains because working on the engine she bumped her head. It's especially embarassing in that we were told Jadzia was some kind of super genius with three PhD's even before being joined to Dax and gaining huge past experience, AND she's the station Science Officer to boot, but when there's a McGuffin to be made to save the day, it's O'Brien who says, "We need a magnetic diferential detectometer" and Jadzia Dax who says, "Gee what's that!" It's not the actress' fault that her line was so stupid.
I am given to understand that lots of fans don't like Ezri Dax (the character that replaced Jadzia.) She certainly is less perfect; her insecurity is annoying. But the initial over-insecurity makes sense given her background, and she grows up over the course of a season, especially through a couple of strong character-growth adventures involving Worth and a madman. There was once dreadful episode about going home to help her mom that is better left forgotten, but otherwise the character had interesting flaws and grew out of them - what else do you want?
Finishing DS9 confirmed my feeling that ...no offense, TOS and TNG ... it is simply the best Star Trek.
I believe that will do it for Netflix however; I now understand the pleasures of binge watching, and I'm not going to indulge again - I've got too much of my own stuff to write. However I am glad to have gone back to the Federation for one last visit.
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Then it's home for a little more tinkering in the yard - it's taking time to work through the branches from the tree trim - and then going through more books in the evening.
December shall be a busy month, so I'm determined to relax this weekend. My blood pressure seems to be responding!
Friday, November 27, 2015
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Today's conservatives never learn. Last year at this time they were shrieking about Ebola, then there was the Jade Helm 15 scare, and now it's Syrians. I understand their leadership needs something to whip their followers into a frenzy, but you'd think some of them would realize they're being played.
My memes on the situation have been moderately popular
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Before they put him on the street, the Army told him to fill out a VA disability application, but didn't tell him that the doctor's bogus diagnosis guaranteed summary rejection because there was no service connection. He didn't even get an independent examination.
Now maybe this veteran "should have" demanded an actual evaluation but keep in mind that he's a young guy, not the healthiest camper at this point, and all the Men In Suits are telling him nothing can be done. He, his family and his local community suffered the consequences for 15 years, and these were not insignificant.
Finally someone talks him into going to VA and asking specifically for a PTSD test. The doctors basically go, "Well d'uh!" and he starts getting appropriate treatment plus disability. From here on out the story is ok, but what about those 15 years?
It's a debt unpaid.
I'd bet cash money that this guy is just one of thousands. It's not as if these injuries don't have expensive consequences; no, the cost of these injuries is carried by the veteran, by their families and maybe by their local communities. The rest of us - so proud to "Support The Troops!" - are freeloading, skipping out on a debt.
To collect that debt, there is a long and wasteful litigation process that might get justice in this one particular case, but what about the others? Do they all have to sue?
Do we really want 1,000 or more Desert Storm veterans - and God knows how many Vietnam veterans, and the rest - having to lawyer up just to get what we owe them? Are we just hoping that they'll go away or die off to save us money?
There is a fair alternative.
We could treat these cases the way Agent Orange cases are now treated: there should be a registry, not litigation. In particular, if you have service-connected PTSD and were discharged due to mental-health-related behavior, the behavior should be rebuttably presumed to be due to the PTSD, and you get disability as of the date of discharge.
This would take an Act of Congress to make this small change to 38 USC 1110. That's not going to be easy, but if everyone with a Yellow Ribbon magnet asked their Congresscritter for action, we'd see action - there's an election coming up, after all.
It may not be cheap (although come to think of it, it saves court costs so maybe it would save money in the long run). but it's one way to show that all those the Yellow Ribbons and "Thank You For Your Service" are for real or for show.
Ask your Congresscritter and your VSO how they feel about this.
And America's veterans: thank you for your service. For real.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
I don't really have the education to be a scientist but I can do science!
Thursday, November 05, 2015
|Pocketless Polo to Pass|
This means my polos with no pocket have no purpose.
I feel like I am impoverishing myself to get rid of something that I bought (even if years ago), but part of feeling comfortable in my adequate prosperity is letting go of the habits of poverty. When I was poor, I had to save everything because I did not know when I might need something, but now that I am prosperous, I can let that go.
It helps that I can pass on the shirts to a thrift store where they will be reused. This gives me a small pleasure that offsets the concern about impoverishment.
The thing that tips the balance toward action is treating November as a month for simplifying my life, in anticipation of my new job starting in December. The job is a great opportunity, but it means that anything I want to keep doing, I'll have to do more efficiently - and that means getting rid of clothing that I don't need.
So goodbye pocketless polo - you were good when I needed you, but I don't anymore. Go to someone else who may need you, and we'll both be better off.
Wednesday, November 04, 2015
The counter lady reminded me that I'd bought a cat today a while back and somehow it hadn't made it into my bag. It's pretty honest of them to have held on to it, but I suppose that's part of community and all that.
When I set it down, Chesterfield was the first to investigate it. I was almost as fascinated as he was to observe him figuring out what happened when he batted the ball inside. He's not smart like humans are, but he appears to have something going on in terms of a process of figuring things out.
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
I had a brief moment of startlement when I got an email saying my IRS job status had changed, but when I followed up, the change was to "hired" so I'm quite happy.
I really enjoy the high quality pictures I can now take casually, and it also amuses me that "pansy" is used in a derogatory way when the plant is ... for its size ... remarkably tough.
Monday, November 02, 2015