Thursday, July 31, 2008

Law School Ruined My Vision

I got glasses today, and they changed my world. My vision has always been perfect. Before last week, I hadn't had a vision exam in 10 years, but recently things on the board started seeming too blurry to read, so I made an appointment to get my eyes checked.

A little background: my grandmother has retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable hereditary eye disease that's basically a death sentence for your vision. My mother has been tested and she doesn't have it, which lowers my odds a lot, but there was still a chance that I could have it. Symptoms don't set in until anywhere from age 15-35, and I'm 23. I guess I avoided eye doctors because I didn't want to face the chance, and it was a little scary going to my check up last week. Thankfully, there are no signs of RP.

The funny part of the visit came when the doctor asked me what I've been doing in the past few years. I told him I just finished my first year in law school, and he said "Aha! Law school." Apparently he gets a lot of law student patients who have always had perfect vision, but the sheer amount of reading in law school strains their eyes and makes their overall vision worse.

I can blame my failing vision on law school!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No More Scrabulous?

The creators of Scrabulous, the most popular Scrabble application on Facebook, suspended the game yesterday because of a lawsuit from Hasbro Inc., which owns the rights to the game in North America. Anybody else disappointed?

Monday, July 28, 2008


Gas is under $4 a gallon!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rough Utilitarianism

This is a passage from Dave Eggers' book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave's friend has just taken a handful of pills, declaring that he wants to commit suicide, and Dave shows up at the hospital. They're arguing about whether Dave should use this material in his writing.

"This is mine. You've given it to me. We're trading. I gave you the attention you wanted, I bail you out, when you spend three days in the psych ward, and say how you're still thinking of doing it, I'm the one who comes in and sits on your bed and gives you the big pep talk -- anyway, the point is that because of all that, all the shit I put in for you -- now I get this, this is mine also, and you, because you've done it yourself, made yourself the thespian, you have to fulfill that contract, play the dates, go on the road. Now you're the metaphor."

He's quiet. He has a pair of scrubs in his hand that he found in a cabinet. He tosses them onto the counter.

"Fine. Put me in the f*cking book."
Everything that I write about, or want to write about, is informed by personal experience. Sometimes I have ethical misgivings about writing about certain subjects. Sure, some people justify writing their own, or others', intensely personal stories in the interest of "truth," or some other vague justification. But I don't think truth is an all-purpose justification for making personal details public. So where's the line?

Dave seems to be advocating a pretty liberal standard. He participated in the unpleasantness of helping heal his friend's depression, so he gets to profit from it by writing about it. But that leads to some absurd, and undesirable, consequences. Anyone who writes about their own lives is motivated to do good because, in their own heads, it justifies exploiting the scene for profit later.

My dad, the Southern Baptist minister, doesn't drink. He doesn't say that drinking is a sin, either; the Bible never says that drinking is a sin, only that getting drunk is. But my dad's justification for abstaining is that "Nothing good comes from alcohol." While I don't necessarily agree with that as applied to alcohol, it's a good standard to apply to other things, and it's the standard I've settled on for determining what to write about on the blog and what not to. Is something good going to come from this? Am I being helpful or hurtful?

As I get older and (hopefully) wiser, my standards might change. But for now, I can't justify writing, on this blog, about a subject that will do more harm than good.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stuff You Can Buy on the Internet (But Probably Shouldn't)

I started a new blog yesterday dedicated to the trashiest of the trash sold on the internet. It's called Stuff You Can Buy on the Internet, at . I want this one to be a group effort, so check out the first few posts and see if you think they're funny. If you decide you want to be an author on that blog, email me.

Requirements: Internet-surfing skills, an ability to mock the stupid masses in a clever way, a few minutes a day to post a picture of something trashy for sale on the internet and write a funny blurb about it.

Compensation: A sense of accomplishment that your jokes will, potentially, make somebody out there laugh.

Federal Minimum Wage Increase

The federal minimum wage changed to $6.55 today, up from $5.85 an hour. It's like the government is saying "Ok, you can be less poor now."

This raise is the second in a series of three planned. The third will come in July of 2009, when the minimum wage will be raised to $7.25 an hour.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Oh, it's the law!"

I was just at Target, and there were 3 guys in line in front of me. All three were obviously in their 30s, but the cashier wouldn't sell beer to them because only one, the one buying the beer, had his ID. Now, I see some logic behind this -- it prevents me from buying beer for my tagalong little sister. But it also keeps parents from buying a bottle of wine if they happen to have their kids with them.

I asked the cashier if the policy was Target's, or if there is a law about it, and she said "Oh, it's the law!", as if I had asked whether a 12-year old could buy my vodka. Now, I don't really care enough to search Westlaw, but does anyone know the law on this? If two or more people are together and one of them is buying alcohol, do all the people have to be 21 or older?

IN THE COMMENTS: There's an interesting discussion, with several people sharing their experiences with this rule(?). Keep commenting, people. I love the discussions.


Lately, I've been working on the grammar group book. It's going to be sort of like the Postsecret book, but with the best grammatical pictures from the Facebook group. The problem is that I have to get permission from every person whose picture we want to use, and people have been surprisingly reluctant to give that permission.

Some people have asked to be paid, which is not unreasonable, but my publisher has ruled that out (and I certainly can't afford it). I've sent more than 2,000 messages to people on Facebook soliciting permission to use their pictures, and fewer than 200 have responded. Some of the 200 pictures are too blurry or too small to use, or they're just not funny enough. Facebook has a limit of around 100 messages that you can send per day, and I've maxed it out almost every day for the last month.

My readers constantly surprise me with their ingenuity, so here's my question for you guys: what approach would you take for this? I can continue to send messages, which is time consuming and hasn't been very successful so far. I also posted a message on the Facebook group's main page, and have mentioned it several times on this blog. Any other ideas?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Not a Grammar Mistake, but...

...definitely an error in judgment. I found this picture while looking through the grammar group's pictures today:

Yes, that really says "Bone [her] clothes for women."

Things My Boyfriend Says

I stumbled upon an amazing, makes-so-little-sense-it's-hilarious, blog today. It's called Things My Boyfriend Says. A sample:

Me: It's my birthday soon. You'd better get me something pretty.
E: I'll get ME something pretty, and you can play with it.

All is Well

This anonymous comment came after my last post:
It's nice to see you posting regularly again after a long break. I was worried something had happened to you.
While I really like writing and posting on the blog, sometimes it feels like a lot of pressure to be creative. It's difficult to be creative on a schedule. I wouldn't exactly call it writer's block, because it's not that I run out of things to write about. I think I take breaks for other reasons. When I post 4 times a day for a long period, people start expecting 4 posts a day no matter what, and the pressure gets to me. I start writing draft posts and second-guessing myself, thinking "This is too boring to post."

So while I fully intend to keep this blog going, don't be too surprised if I take a break once in a while. Also, if you have a comment that you don't want to post on the blog, feel free to email me. My address is under my Blogger profile.

Targeted Advertisements

I like to analyze the demographic that watches certain shows based on the advertisements that play during the breaks. For example, I watch Headline News in the morning, and 90% of the commercials are for prescription medications and scooters for the elderly.

What commercials do they play during a show geared toward my generation? I haven't really paid attention, but I would guess that movie trailers and car commercials make up most of the ads.

And what about political commercials? As the election gets closer, I'll pay attention to the ads that play on different channels and at different times. Imagine this: McCain bobbing his head to "In Da Club" and talking about his plan for Iraq.


I have a friend named Mike who's in the Marines, and we converse every once in a while over IM. Apparently he's in Malaysia now, as I got this message from him this morning:

Mike, if you read this, I expect a postcard from Malaysia (I collect postcards).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Two to Tango

This article describes "purity balls," at which fathers take daughters and pledge to keep their daughters pure (abstinent) until marriage. These fathers probably have the best intentions, and I believe in the importance of fathers in daughters' lives. If daughters feel loved and respected by their fathers, they're more likely to date guys who love and respect them.

But, if the goal is to prevent sex before marriage, why are they only focusing on the girls? It takes two to tango, you know.