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Losing My Temper

Losing My Temper

Front page, Personal, pets
Yes, I know I’m not perfect, and there are things I hate about myself. One of those is the fact that at times I seem to have a hard time controlling my temper, and while on the one hand I know that is not the most uncommon of traits, the guilt I feel afterwards... well, let’s just say that it is no fun. And how does that connect to my dog? Well, because too often he is the target of that rage. Now, when I say rage I don’t mean I am beating him on a daily basis (or ever), but a couple of nights ago, for instance, after I had barely slept the night before, my boy took it upon himself to start barking like crazy in my ear about an hour after I had finally managed to fall asleep. Let’s just say that the animal in me was not amused, and barked back... loudly. (more…)
The Opposite of a Ghost

The Opposite of a Ghost

A Happy Pessimist, Front page, Personal, rants
Okay, so posting this under a header of A Happy Pessimist may be stretching it more than a bit, but seeing how there is no other category in which it fits better, here it will stay. Just be forewarned that this does get kind of dark. Sorry, that’s the mood I’m in today... and with good reason. Let’s just say that life’s been kicking me hard over the past couple of months, and leave it at that, but now let’s get to the meat of this story (with my apologies to any passing vegans, of course). (more…)
Where Words Come From

Where Words Come From

Front page, Learning, eLearning, and Unlearning
Words are funny things. We use them on a daily basis, and as far as we can remember they have always been there, meaning that they seem incredibly natural to us (which is, oddly enough, one of the reasons learning a foreign language feels so unnatural. I mean, what do you mean ‘dog’ is ‘perro’, that makes no sense! A dog is a dog, end of story, and breaking that association so that both words feel equally natural in our minds is all but impossible). Sure, from a rational perspective we know that is not the case. We know language makes no sense, which explains why we are stuck with so many of the blasted things, and we have all seen babies learning to talk, but words are so integral to the way we think that it is all but impossible for us to conceive a world without them... and yet language
The Leash

The Leash

Front page, Personal, pets
As you may have noticed, I love my dog to bits. In fact, if I were to be perfectly honest here, I would have to say that I can count the number of people I love as much on the fingers of one hand, and I would probably have quite a few fingers to spare. It is an uncomplicated relationship. I love him, he loves me back, end of story. (more…)
Holocene or Anthropocene?

Holocene or Anthropocene?

Front page, Learning, eLearning, and Unlearning
Could we please just give geologists their scale back? I’m asking nicely. I’m also adding my two cents to the debate as to whether the Holocene has given way to the Anthropocene. Now, don’t get me wrong, I get where it is that climatologists, anthropologists, and all those other ‘ologists’ promoting the use of the Anthropocene as a name for a clearly distinct epoch are coming from. I am also incredibly frustrated due to the number of people referring to the proposed Anthropocene as a period, or even an Era. In fact that is the part that bothers me the most because it reflects a basic ignorance of how the geologic scale is supposed to work... which is why I suspect there are so many people arguing on behalf of the Anthropocene in the first place. I also won’t deny that there are some valid
You Can’t Negotiate With Your Dog

You Can’t Negotiate With Your Dog

Front page, Personal, pets
As you may have noticed, my dog has been featured rather prominently in this blog lately. Part of the reason is that that ‘dog’ used to be ‘dogs’ until not too long ago, and I’m still mourning his companion. The other reason has to do with the fact that the inspiration for roughly half these posts comes from random thoughts that pop into my mind as I am walking the little rascal. Today’s post is one of those. (more…)
Honor the Sacrifice

Honor the Sacrifice

A Happy Pessimist, Front page, Personal
No, I’m not a vegan, I’m not even a vegetarian, I would never donate to either Greenpeace or PETA, and even though I consider myself an animal lover, I freely admit that my tolerance for animal rights activists is rather limited. I am also honest enough to acknowledge that that does make me into something of a hypocrite. (more…)
A Coat Rack For Knowledge

A Coat Rack For Knowledge

Front page, Learning, eLearning, and Unlearning
Yes, I know it has become fashionable to look down on history --along with the rest of the humanities-- as a form of glorified navel-gazing. We live in the present, and the past is in the past: there’s nothing we can do to change it, so why bother (besides, we can always google whatever date we happen to need); we should be looking forward, not backwards; and so on, but I am here to tell you that, if used properly, history --or something close to it-- can be one of the most powerful tools in your mental toolkit... you just have to learn to think about it in a different way. (more…)
A Moment In Time

A Moment In Time

Front page, pets, rants, Uncategorized
What you have here is one of my favorite photos of my three boys, one in which you can definitely see their distinct personalities shining through. It is also one of the few I have of my three babies together, as the kitten was only three and a half months old at the time, he had been with us for a little more than two months, and it had only been a few days prior that I had finally allowed my dogs and cat to hang out together (okay, so maybe it would be more accurate to say that it had only been a week since one day, much to my horror, the kitten snuck past me out of the room in which he was being kept, and didn’t get eaten), and we lost Terri less than two months later. In fact we lost him three months ago today, that’s what drove me to share this picture, and yet I hesitate to do it, kn
Is This The World We Created?

Is This The World We Created?

Front page, Personal, rants, Tales from Fandom, Tech times
The news that Yahoo groups is shutting down has hit me, and hit me hard, as you can probably tell by the fact that this is my second rambling post in a matter of hours on that particular subject, even if I usually try to update only twice a week. The thing is that knowing that I would soon lose access to this particular resource has sent me rummaging through my fic collection, and that has caused me to rediscover some stories I had all but forgotten. It has also made me realize just how much the world has changed because stories that were deemed to be way ahead of the curve when it came to gay rights less than twenty years ago would now cause their authors to be burned at the stake by the queer community’s speech police (a point that was driven home by the realization that some classics, s
Yahoo! groups is Shutting Down

Yahoo! groups is Shutting Down

Front page, Personal, rants, Tech times
Yahoo! groups is shutting down. That is not exactly unexpected, in fact I have feared that this day was inevitable for a number of years now, but that doesn’t mean that this development does not represent a sad day for me. Yes, with a couple of exceptions my groups have fallen completely silent, but there are those exceptions, not to mention that to me the groups are a lot more than that. (more…)
Of an Unexpected Encounter, and a Lesson Learned

Of an Unexpected Encounter, and a Lesson Learned

Front page, Personal, pets
This is not the post I set out to write today, in fact this is about something that is likely to be totally irrelevant for anyone but me, but for once I don’t care. This is my blog, and I’ll break my rules if I want to... and yes, this is another post about pets, about what losing Terri did to me, and about a seemingly small incident that left me absolutely devastated a couple of days later, one that, especially in the aftermath of what happened a few hours ago, made me confront some of my own prejudices. This is the story: (more…)
Walking To Heal Body, Mind, and Soul

Walking To Heal Body, Mind, and Soul

A Happy Pessimist, Front page, Personal
I like to walk. That, as pretty much anyone who knows me will tell you, is probably an understatement. In fact I suspect I am one of the very few people on this earth who has doctors telling her to please walk a little less whenever they get half a chance (I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this happens on a regular basis because I refuse to set foot in a doctor’s office often enough for that ever to become an option, but still, you get the general idea). To me walking is not just a means of going from one place to another. In fact most of my walks are back and forth a nearby stretch of beach --very deliberately going nowhere-- with the occasional excursion through a small thicket that is also by my place every now and then, just to mix things up a bit. What can I say, I’d rather spend a
The Forging of a Soul

The Forging of a Soul

Front page, Personal, pets
On March 29, as I was walking past a vacant lot, I heard a faint meow. In fact I heard three of them. The place was a jumble of weeds and tall grasses, with countless nooks and crannies. Not exactly welcoming, especially not considering that I live in an area that is crawling with venomous snakes... or at least that we have enough of those critters to make it seem like they are crawling all over the place. (more…)
When Words Get in the Way (or how NOT to fail at learning a foreign language)

When Words Get in the Way (or how NOT to fail at learning a foreign language)

Front page, Learning, eLearning, and Unlearning
A huge jumble of bricks does not a house make. That, I believe, is a statement we can all agree on. It is also a good explanation of why is it that most attempts at mastering a foreign language tend to fall short. In a nutshell, we tend to think of words as the building blocks of language, and when trying to master a foreign one our first instinct is to try to gather as many of those blocks as we can. In some instances that is not a bad idea. In others it is a recipe for disaster. The reason is simple enough: different languages are different, but they are not all different in the same way. If the language you are trying to master is close enough to your native one, then that words first approach may work, even if it leaves you with a few unusual linguistic quirks, but the farther afield...