The second semester of chemistry started three weeks ago. It’s a lot math-ier than the first semester was, which in turn was way more full of math (and physics) than my biology course was a couple of years ago. Two things that haven’t happened in 30+ years have happened in the last three weeks:
- The phrase “Damn this would be easier if I could remember calculus” actually came out of my mouth, and
I’m not sure I understand logarithms, mind you, but this is the first time in my life I have been able to reliably solve problems using them. Not coincidentally, last semester was the first time I remember having taken the time to read the instructions for a calculator. Must “read and follow instructions” turn out to be the solution to all my life’s mysteries?
In somewhat related news, the aforementioned chemistry class finally forced me to do what 18 months of trying to work and study in federal employ using a Chromebook could not; I got a Windows laptop for home use. Technically Dino Spouse got me the laptop as a Valentine’s Day offering, but that amounted to him handing me a debit card while I muttered about the uselessness of the Chromebook Excel app for graphing and searched for a laptop that would run actual software at a reasonable rate of speed without draining the family coffers. I know I could have just done the calculating and graphics exercise for class in Google Sheets, but nope, I finally surrendered.
(I also met Soldatik‘s girlfriend and painted a couple of walls in our home and cleaned the heck out of everything, and all of that was lovely. But math.)
Hi, Virginia-resident internet people! Having just completed the form to sign up for my election officer refresher training, I’m primed to share what I know about the Commonwealth’s 2020 primary elections. To wit:
- There are separate primaries in VA to choose Democratic and Republican candidates for national offices. You can vote in either primary regardless of your party affiliation (or lack thereof), but you can’t vote in both.
- The Democratic Presidential Primary is March 3 and the Republican Primary is June 9. Important: GOP nominees for President will not be on the ballot for the June 9 Republican Primary. The Republican Party of Virginia is hosting its 2020 Quadrennial Convention May 1-2 at Liberty University to decide on their preferred Presidential candidate. The June 9 GOP primary will select Republican candidates for House and Senate seats in the November 3 General Election.
- Check out the Virginia Department of Elections website for your Virginia voter status (or to register to vote, or figure out where you’re registered to vote, or request an absentee ballot).
The bad news: I wound up spending $24 of Pa Protosaur’s money and $15 of mine buying a domain and a dedicated IP address I didn’t need. The good news: I finally got Pa Protosaur’s web content uploaded to his new site management doodad. Plus I finished painting the trim in the basement stairwell. So the day feels like an overall success.
In unrelated news, have now listened to the Broadway cast recording of “Hadestown” about 20 times. Mouse turned me on to the off-Broadway cast recording of it about three months ago. I had a similar experience with Mouse turning me on to “Hamilton” when Hamil-mania was first sweeping the nation. But my brief “Hamilton” obsession was not unlike the time I read The Bridges of Madison County and sobbed over it only to reread it a year later and recoil in horror and embarrassment that I had been so taken in by such a crappy story.* I have more faith in “Hadestown,” largely because the music is better and there’s no annoying historical record of real people and events to judge it against.
*Not that I don’t still occasionally get in my car and jamilton my way to wherever I’m going, however.
Rizwan K is trying to help me upload the contents of Pa Protosaur’s website to his host company’s new site management platform. Pa Protosaur was a nuclear engineer back in the day and and early adopter of personal computers. He taught himself HTML in the early 2000s when he set up the website. But he is still kind of scared of the internets, so he has delegated all of the icky dealing-with-hosting-companies and figuring-out-stuff-that-you-can’t-do-over-AOL to me.
It seems that FTP was a lot easier in 2003 or whenever the last time was that I tried moving crap-tons of files from one host to another. It is also possible that more of my brain has calcified. In any event, I am chatting with Rizwan to figure out why my instruction-following skills are failing to result in successful site migration. I will probably be yelling 530 LOGIN INCORRECT in my sleep tonight. (Doubtless this will be less disturbing than my performance Friday morning, when I woke Dino Spouse by repeatedly shouting “I’m BAD! I’m BAD!” in what was left of my sleep.)
There are a few people I consistently think of and fail to contact. There are a few ideas rattling around in my head that I consistently fail to write down. Part of me is hopeful that I will get my graphomanic mojo working again after the school year ends. The rest of me knows that isn’t likely.
But the school year will be ending soon – June 13, to be precise, and then I go back to my day job. Mouse will soon finish 10th grade. TeenBot was accepted into Americorps and is off repairing buildings at a summer camp somewhere north of Minneapolis. Soldatik is Armying in Georgia. Dino Spouse and Babushka remain much as they have been. The Protosaurs live in West Virginia now, except for my younger brother, and my Papaw died (may he rest in peace).
I’m furloughed, which at least coincides with the semester break at NDU. I spent the first week of Lapse-mas eating and sleeping, making merry with my kin, and replacing all the contents of my wallet, which was stolen on Christmas Eve during my final grocery outing. Mouse and I went to visit my parents in West Virginia for a couple of days. I latch-hooked half of a Christmas wreath while watching “Serenity” and “Solo” with my dad. Then we came home. I read novels with vampires and witches in them and spent three days in the house in my jammies. I subsequently worked my way into Russian New Year’s cooking, Regency romances, and even getting dressed to go outside. Ideally, I will be totally recharged by the time Congress sees fit to reopen my agency; hopefully that will coincide with the beginning of my next semester of school.
My challenge for the rest of the academic year is learning how to plan and write academic papers in an organized manner. Fall semester went pretty well, only my writing was almost entirely done in desperate overnight bursts. That wasn’t a problem when I was 18, but I found it painful as a 48 year-old. There will be more writing this semester, and I would like to suffer less. I also suspect that I might be more professionally effective in general if I could unlock the secrets of time management. Suggestions welcome.
In December 2017, Mariame Kaba (brilliant poet/activist who tweets as @prisonculture) spontaneously organized #FreeThePeopleDay and called on people to donate the cost of a drink on New Year’s Eve to their local community bail or bond fund. The idea is to donate the cost of one NYE drink to fund that bails people without means out of jail while they wait for trial. I’ve got some links below that you can use to donate, but first some thoughts:
* Bail Bonds (quick loans people use to get loved ones released pending trial) are right up there with payday loans when it comes to preying on the desperate and broke.
* Community bail funds are a critical resource in ensuring that parents can stay with their families while they await trail and keep providing for them.
* I know a lot of my friends are facing economic uncertainty with the current federal shut down. If you can’t give now, maybe donate the cost of a latte later?
Where to Give:
DC: The District of Columbia changed its bail rules a while back, so there don’t seem to be local bail funds for city jails. Check out the National Bail Fund Network or The Bail Project, or consider giving to funds in Virginia, Maryland, or (if you’re not from the DMV) wherever else you consider home.
MARYLAND: Maryland also changed its bail rules, but so far it sounds like that’s just resulting in more people being held without bond. The organization I found is Baltimore Action Legal Team.