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In my sphere, or dimensionless point (I don’t know that my life is broad enough right now to be a sphere of any diameter) of existence it’s usually about starting too many projects at once.  Or not starting the unpleasant ones at all — that seems more reasonable to me.  Listening to or reading the comments of artisans, fellow crafters … is it self-indulgent to start lots of things?  I have all kinds of experiments going on.  But a lot about my life would look self-indulgent and childish to most people.

I’m enjoying the sensation of not coughing my lungs out any more.  Whatever I’ve had, it’s awful but gets over quickly.

I hope I didn’t infect anyone else, especially since I worked at the shop yesterday.  I tried to keep my distance.  If the only way forward is for just one of my recent contacts to start sneezing and wheezing, I must regretfully choose a lady from more southerly latitudes who came in and complained that none of our yarns were suitable for her climate.  I apologized that Vermont produces so little cotton but showed her some locally-dyed stuff, which she rolled her eyes at.  She also barked with laughter at a shop-sample coat — “that old thing.”  Evidently a pattern she’d seen before.  Some of the nicest local wool yarn we carry, she dismissed as “rough.”  (Well yes, stupid; it’s for making cold-weather outer garments, not tampons.  Honestly.)  She didn’t buy any of our crummy old junk, of course; as she pointed out, “when you’re going on a plane you have to be very selective.”  Have a virus, honey, they’re nice and small.

I do think of myself as grown up; I’m just a jerk.

But when people aren’t jackasses I’m as happy to see them if they spend nothing or $100.  Even if someone just comes in for directions or to ask what the name means.


Sue whoever’s responsible for the app I just shouted at a Facebook ad for, the one that encourages you to pick a Team USA athlete to follow.  I’m pretty sure the notion of paying attention to and cheering only for your own country’s athletes is antithetical to the spirit of the whole damn thing.  Also, the only possible “official restaurant” is the local taverna, pub, cafe, Biergarten, tea shop, or similar venue where real amateur athletes from anywhere might raise a glass.  Boom — billions and billions more moneyburgers served directly to Greece.  And if USOC has the resources to go after gays or fiber artists for violating “its trademark,” somehow failing to respect with appropriate solemnity the hard, hard work it’s put into “creating its brand,” it’s surely the ripest plum on the tree.

It’s Bob Marshall’s  fault.

Resign, idiot.

Reminds me of another (much less — what was Bristol Palin’s word? “heartless”) Salt Lake-circa- ’70s vignette.  Not good like Mrs. T’s BBQ, just good for a laugh.  Some LDS leader postulated that the lack of snow that winter was payback for an increase in Sunday skiing the previous season.  So the year after that, it flooded all over the place.  I don’t know what everyone was being punished for then.  Preemptively, for gay marriage, maybe.  For skiing on a day other than Sunday when they should have been out picketing women’s clinics.  Who the hell knows….

…nor are they found primarily in the classroom. I think they spend most of their time tweeting and emailing about their dim hindbrain reactions to news items. Like this one.  But I’m referring to some people who blatted out their foolishness for the TV version of the story, not to any online commenters who may or may not be fabulous people.  See, news readers always want to know what “you” (i.e., couple of arbitrarily chosen nitwits) think about a breaking story they’ve just spent a whole 30 seconds briefing “you” on.  In this case, “you” took “classified information” to mean “private details about me (me! me! me!)” and boasted that “you” had nothing to hide and were proud to submit to whatever body-cavity rummaging the agency might demand, because they have A Job To Do, which is called Keepin-me-n-my-famly-safe-from-terrists.  One of the proudest and most patriotic (is that even the right word?  we need a new one to indicate that the borders of our nation now lie at the tip of each individual’s nose) of these livestock, Bob somebody (McDouche?  McTool?) had a special request.   He’d like TSA to collect family histories of the mental health and substance-abuse status of every airline passenger because “people like that don’t need to be sitting” next to him.  Should “people like that” just not be allowed to fly, then?  Didn’t register with Bob at all; they just didn’t need to be sitting next to him.

I think they did eventually find one person who cared about actual, you know, classified information.  Of, like, the country and stuff.

You want me to send you my notes from class?  In addition to the PowerPoints I’ve been putting on Blackboard?  No no no.  I don’t take notes.  I’m the instructor.  Watch me sometime and you’ll see:  I’m not taking notes up there.  The people around you, the ones sitting in chairs, the awake ones, some of them are writing things down.  Talk to them.  It’s not cheating. 


…to see how stupid these people think I am, at least the ones who bother to email me about it:  ” I can’t really tell when I look at the sheet if its due on Monday or Wednesday.”  At the top of the sheet:  “(due Mon. Feb. 1 in class)”  I assume I’m the stupid one; my correspondent’s sig calls him an assistant CS lab manager and all manner of other resume-enhancing things.  Another scholar wants to know if the graph in the first problem is supposed to be a bar graph or a line graph.  It says “budget constraint,” like the ones in the book that are lines, and the ones I drew on the whiteboard in class, also lines.  And the one that’s actually shown in the second problem, line again.  Only four of about 140 people had questions about the homework, and only three of those had dumb questions.  Still.  It shakes me up that I suck so badly.  It’s like trying to talk in outer space.  I and the alien popping out of my chest are both screaming and how many of these people who’ve paid thousands to be here can hear us?

You can lead a horse to Blackboard (by, for instance, telling her in the syllabus that you handed out as well as by saying with words from your mouth that she needs to check Blackboard regularly) but if you somehow can’t make her LOOK, you’ll probably hear at evaluation time how UNFAIR you were.

Watching How the Earth Was Made instead, and trying to play this strange Tetris game.  HtEWM is good, but I’d rather watch The Universe.  They could keep showing the same episodes over and over; that would be fine.  I guess the thing I really have against HtEWM is …it tries to sound doomy and urgent like Mega Disasters.  No sense of humor.  And they called the San Andreas Fault an “ugly scar.”  The hell?  That’s almost as bad as “shark-infested waters.”  They freaking LIVE THERE.  Come and whine about it when sharks start crawling up on the land.

The slideshow will be about opportunity cost, PPFs, diminishing marginal utility, and international trade.  And Chapter 2 of Cod.  In other words it’ll take about a hundred years.  But I’ll break it up in July 2060 with this fun video I’ve used before of a HoHos eating contest.  I’m too cheap to buy actual HoHos for four separate contests, and have no interest in HoHo vomit after a weekend of cat vomit.  Poor little puma has to cut back.  That’s what I do, I give people (and pumas) too much food, except for HoHos.

The people that I’ve cut the most slack about handing assignments in late are the same people fussing at me for not having their grades done and entered on Blackboard two days ahead of my deadline.  There’s a lesson here for me.  Hell, there’s a lesson here for Harry Reid.  I’m going to learn it, Senator, how about you?  Well, I’m still pretty young.  Relatively.  I’m a work in progress, right?  If this is true of POTUS and I’m seven days younger than he is, it’s surely true of me.

I was very happy to have caught Moyers interviewing Matt Taibbi and Robert Kuttner earlier.  It was pwnsome and I wished they would go on all day and talk and argue about everything in the world.

Are you facing grading hell?

“For the future, I strongly recommend avoiding a pile of grading before it happens.”

Oh!  Okay.



The Ratel Motel