Other Stuff


TwitterI don't remember what compelled me to sign up for Twitter in July 2009 – maybe to follow the World Series of Poker action. But I tweeted twice that month, once more in the fall, then waited nearly a year before posting again. I followed a few people but didn't go out of my way to read the thoughts they cast out like fat worms into the twitstream.

This March I attended a social media seminar, and a tsi tsi fly of an idea wriggled its way into my consciousness and laid larvae which quickly grew into a fully-formed Twitter bug. I'm now tweeting on a regular basis – mostly to myself – and have edited the list of people I'm following to include only those whom I find entertaining or interesting, plus one guy who tweets way too much to possibly have a life away from his iPhone.


Crazy Cat Lady in the Making?

CatsI have four cats. Four is a good number, right? The answer is – mostly – yes. There are four tires on a luxury sedan, four legs on a giraffe... and four horsemen of the Apocalypse. These cats are destructive forces, laying claws to woven materials and tracking swaths of cat litter on the bed. Our house is inundated with fur, which piles up in drifts that are satisfying to suck up with our vacuum's – the "Sucking Alien's" – silver wand. We call the vacuum the Sucking Alien because it bears a strong resemblance to the head of a non-human creature with ovoid eyes and a long, tubular snout.

It doesn't help that the dog sheds like crazy, either. She's a 125-pound fat retired farm dog with a one-track mind. Food. Is there food? When's dinner? Fill my bowl, please. How about a treat?


Bathroom Remodeling: My Husband is Going to Kill Me

The Social NetworkI've been a bit manic today. The mice in my brain have been running their wheel harder than usual trying to straighten out the loose ends of my bathroom remodel that starts tomorrow. Tomorrow! I've been on edge, frustrated, and in "hurry up" mode, none of which pleases my darling husband, who has had to put up with me all day.

It got going a couple of weeks ago when a good friend, who is also a contractor, offered to help and took me on a long stroll through Home Depot to look at bath fixtures. I then took the resulting list, logged on to the Internet, and proceeded to tear my selections apart. An elaborate spreadsheet was born and quickly populated with items, prices, numbers and locations. I optimized what could be ordered online with free shipping and a discount, and what I should get B&M coupons to buy.


Education in Trouble?

LearnI try to avoid watching the news. Fires, beatings, bodies turning up in the woods... I'd rather not know. But sometimes news sneaks through. Lately I've heard a lot about cuts in education spending – both locally and nationally – and what it's doing to schools. Teachers are getting pink slips and classroom size is increasing. The average class size for ninth grade math and English in Los Angeles was recently raised nearly 75%, from 20 to 34. Detroit is considering upping their max class size to 60.

Exactly how much of a negative effect larger class sizes have on learning is a topic of debate.