flightless hag

A chronicle of the adventures of birdwoman: a lonely, talentless freak who wanders the internet in search of entertainment.

My Photo
Location: Philly

I'm a 40-something married white female, survivor of weight watchers, avid reader of pulp. Dogs (not cats), extreme right (handed, not politics), ENTJ, alto, wanna-be knitter.

September 30, 2011

Queen of the Nerds

So, I'm living and breathing science these days. I have a promethean board... that's a smart chalkboard that talks to my computer. So all of my lessons are going into powerpoint, with embedded problems, hyperlinks, etc. And I'm trying like crazy to make them interesting. Who likes boring powerpoint?

My school is FanTastic for the technology. But for the older stuff? We have 7 balances for the whole school. We only have 8 meter sticks. No working stop watches, one tiny weight set. No molecular model kits. A few bar magnets... it's so sad.

So, I've been buffering up my supplies. Some of the stuff I had from when John's old company was closed. They threw stuff out, I had him bring it home, I've taken most of it to school. I've been an Amazon Rewards maven - haven't used my rewards in years, but now they're all gone. Bought school supplies with them. Things like magnifying glasses and stop watches.

But where do I get things like cenrifuges? Or super magnets? Huh?

Went to throw away my Sonicare toothbrush head this morning, and looked at the bottom. Hey, what do you know? Those magnets look pretty strong. Sure enough, they are.

If you have an old centrifuge you're dumping, any balances of any sort? let me know?

September 25, 2011

Environmental Grouch

I’m not environmentally friendly. I like beef, electricity, and plastic. While I understand the need to conserve resources, I get rather vexed when some young punk comes round my way, knocks on my door, interrupts my viewing of Jerry Springer, and attempts to lecture me on the “right” way to live.

Piss. Off.

But what nettles me more is when there is inherent hypocrisy in the proselyte. Take AlGore for example. He makes this big movie about carbon emissions, the entire time FLYING AROUND the STINKING EARTH in FIRST CLASS seats in AIRPLANES. Last time I checked, they burned fuel, and none too efficiently. Ever heard of WEBCASTS, Al? I mean, for real for real, didn’t you invent the internets?

Today, I was out for my morning jog (back up to 3 miles at a shot! Yipee!) when I noticed, in the rare sunlight, the new addition to our streets. At every street drain, someone has spray-painted a message: “No dumping! This is our drinking water! Be Green!”

Let me repeat. At the, well, let me pull out my recently dusted-off OOM skills – about 100 inlets in my bedroom community, some moron has used aerosol paint, which will eventually leach into the water, in order to command me not to pollute the water by dumping toxins on my residential street. DUH.

Just call me Oscar. I think I’ll go for a joy ride today, just to even things out.


September 17, 2011

Insurance and Writing Feuds

Two totally different rants for this beautiful autumn morning. Got to get this agita out, as I couldn't run this am (John left for work... no one to watch the kiddies!)


Yesterday, I arrived at school to see donuts on the counter. They were there, courtesy of the school workers - you know, the ones who scan the kids into the building, take care of attendance, lunchroom duty, etc, help maintain the atmosphere... your heroes if you're a teacher. They really make the place run so much better.

It seems that Thursday, they all got letters in the mail. Their insurance is gone.

The school district says the union was supposed to inform them. The union says the SDP was supposed to inform them. Meanwhile, the feline escaped from the satchel when some of the aides visited doctors and were presented with bills, since the insurance claims were denied.


As awful as this is, how do we fix it?

A very dear friend of mine, a bit older than I am, has had a very recent scare with a very scary disease. It was an awful time for everyone around her. She is getting better, but now, she and her husband are having a hard time keeping jobs, because employers don't want to deal with someone with a "pre-existing condition."

And the list goes on. Unfair to the individual. Completely, utterly unfair.

But at the same time, I can see the point of the companies. SDP is in the hole by hundreds of millions of dollars. Enrollment is DOWN. They've slashed every position known (for example, we have a nurse. We share her with 2 other schools. No school has its own nurse anymore) except for teachers. Wait. They slashed teachers, too. They still can't make budget.

Companies left and right are going under. We all know that a big part of the fall of GM was its crazy benefits and pension programs. Mostly pension, which is gone now, but bennies are another drain on the black.

Is the answer OBAMACARE? Gosh, I fell like I just cursed. I despise the idea of government sponsored anything, let alone health insurance. I guess, if the politicians weren't exempt from it, if they were required the same coverage as the man on the street, maybe I'd trust it. In its current form, however, all obamacare will do is cause companies, like SDP, to drop insurance, so that it can be picked up on the government tab. Which will make everything worse. At the same time, doctors and pharmaceutical companies DESERVE TO MAKE A PROFIT. They aren't in it for charity.

What is the answer? I don't know. I'm starting to understand that line from the Princess Bride: Life's not fair.


The next rant is for my JAFF friends out there. I don't know if any of you ever get here, but you won't find me in JAFF land anymore. It's been long in coming, with some groups requiring I sign a contract to put up my stuff, and others disappearing into infighting.

Last night, one of the other authors on the last site I belong to put a comment on FB that anyone who thinks other Austen heroes should be more Darcy-like are, basically, morons in heat, only concerned with Darcy's hotness, and should cease and desist writing.

There's a reason P&P is the most loved book by JAFF. Darcy is, for many, the most acceptable candidate for modern romantic hero. The rest are old men (George Knightley is a pedophile, but I still love him, and Brandon is also a crusty old bachelor lusting after a teenager. Ick.); impetuous, incestuous, wishy-washy, flim-flam (Really? Edmund and Fannie after all that?), and the unwashed sailor man, who is my only other contender for acceptable modern hero, Captain Wentworth. Sure, she wrote other stuff, but these are the biggies, right?

I was only trying to say that the original rant was pretty harsh, considering, and that her criteria would exclude me as a writer. I don't believe I came across as bashing her, as she was certainly bashing 90% of JAFF authors. I was, inelegantly, trying to remind her of that.

Her comment back, agreeing that it was a good thing that I've, for all intents and purposes, stopped writing, was a slap. I will be the first to admit that I'm not the most talented writer out there. That's why I write FANFICTION and not books on the shelves at B&N.  I do have enough of a spine to say, however, that there are people who still request the stuff I've written. It's mind candy, sure, but some people like it. I do not believe that people like me should stop writing just because we aren't highfalutin, metaphor embracing, literary geniuses.

She has since apologized for telling me I'm a talentless lackwit. I'm not so sure it's genuine, more she's sorry that I called her on it. (I sent her a nasty gram. Probably shouldn't have. But I never claimed to be the better person).

My point remains. FANFIC IS FANFIC. It is not literature. It is done for fun by people who like to write and like to read about other possibilities for characters that they love. I am SO SICK of GIRLS ruining my fun! Dammit! That was supposed to stop after high school!

Whoo. I feel better now.

September 14, 2011

Signs of Health!

Since I’m riding the train on a daily basis, I’ve taken subscriptions to New Scientist and National Geographic. I was reading New Scientist today… and I am so proud of Europeans. Really!

With a title of “Europe’s Health Gap”, the article  lamented the fact that psychiatric illnesses are now the biggest source of ill health in Europe.

They say this like it’s a bad thing.

But I say that when depression, anxiety, insomnia (!) and seasonal affective disorder are your worst problems (instead of things like malaria, starvation, TB, etc…), you’re pretty darn healthy. Do you think that someone who is affected by something like heart disease or yellow fever doesn’t have a bit of depression to deal with? But it doesn’t count, because the physical ailment trumps the mental one.

I don’t often like the political bent of New Scientist, but they sure have some interesting articles.


So, I’m thinking of my brother Johnny this morning. No, not because he’s psycho, though he may well be (ha ha), but because I had to break out my calculator to teach physics. I still have my calculator from senior year high school that he got me. It graphs, and I used it in my first calculus class. In 1987. It still is a fantastic calculator. It’s no Bomar Brain, but it rocks J.

Thanks, Johnny!

Off to grade labs!


September 07, 2011

The Joys of Public Transport

And you think I’m saying that sarcastically, don’t you? But I’m not. I love not having to drive.

My new job, for those not in the know, is right smack dab downtown. I hop on the train in my backyard, transfer to the sub, et le voila, as the French would say.

45 minutes later, usually, I’m at work, and it’s been stress-free for me. I can grade, or read, or what not. Usually, I what not. I’ll leave it up to you, gentle reader, to decide what exactly what not is.

Today, though, was crazytown. It was raining, but it wasn’t just rain. It was inundation from the heavens. I had said on FB that I skipped my run this morning, because I thought Thor was just waiting for me to step out for him to go medieval on my buttocks. These “bands” of storms are practically bi-polar. It’s dry; it’s a monsoon. So, I fooled Thor. Until I had to go from my car to the train.

Apparently, he was displeased. So he smote a tree across the train lines for the major train. All those folks overflowed onto my train… standing room only. Then, the drunk guy got on.

I ask you, how can you be drunk at 6:45am?

He was talking about money (how much he had, while counting it) and asking if he dropped anything. Repeatedly. While greeting everyone and performing some unpracticed piece of rap. By the time we got off the train, I had been subject to discourse on how that one pretty lady should be a nurse, because pretty nurses are the best… and how the one kid was really tall because drunk dude was six one, and looksee, he has to look up at the kid… and how there is no socioeconomic equality and how 2012 is really gonna happen, just look at the earthquake we had last week!

The only good part was that, due to the crowd on the train, I couldn’t get close enough to get the waft of Mad Dog. 

September 03, 2011

Enough Already

It started almost innocently - as every invasive specie does. First there were the GBR stickers and the rest of those euro-lot-stickers... they appeared mostly on pretentious BMW, Volvo, and Jaguar type cars.

But then, they became the scourge of yuppieville.

You can't see an SUV in the burbs without one of those stupid initial stickers pasted on the stern. Usually, it's for some favored vacation place (the 2000's answer to the old "this car climbed mount washington"?). Like I care that your second house that I insure because it keeps getting hit by hurricanes is on LBI or AVI or MB or whatever initials you come up with.

You know the concept has truly jumped the shark, though, because now middle schools are getting in on the game. It used to be that we were lambasted about all the honors students and their alma maters. Now, it's the elusive initial sticker. How the heck am I supposed to know what AMS is and when I get close enough to see I want to slap myself for caring about Apathy Middle School.

I propose a new set of initial stickers... just to demonstrate how stupid the things are...

TMI - no, not too much information, Three Mile Island! Hey, who wouldn't want to vacation there? An island implies a beach, the local environment would give you a GLOWING tan, and hey, don't the XMen have a secret base there or something?

LC - Love Canal. Sounds so... errr... lovely, no?

CNT - a HOT Pennsylvania site, everybody should go there!

CRL - Chernobyl. See TMI.

What stickers would you like to see?