Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Read the link first

I love my job, but sometimes I have to put the vitriol in check when writing on certain subjects.  In this case, the published article is a good one, but leaves out a lot of the issues behind the problem.  Read the article in the link first, then scroll down to read what I wanted to say.

What I said:  National Broadband Plan aims to help U.S. compete in the global market


However did we get here? Lobbyists are holding America's internet access hostage
In February of this year, the Federal Communications Commission announced a plan that aims to increase competition among U.S. telecommunications companies with the intention of driving innovation and increasing access to higher internet speeds.  But the lobbyists won't allow it. 

According to the telecommunications giants, including Comcast and Time-Warner, they shouldn't have to allow competitors to pay to use fiber optic lines that the giants have run.  Of course, they also argue that they shouldn't have to run fiber optics to rural areas where there simply aren't enough customers to make it worth the immense cost of the projects.  However, these same telecomm giants are more than happy to move into areas where DSL, provided by companies such as Qwest and AT&T, has customers frustrated with slow internet speeds.

So, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced its intention and presented plans that will help America's internet access and speeds catch up with those enjoyed in Europe and Japan.  The  FCC also wants to increase competition among telecomm providers in order to drive down the cost of internet access- even in rural areas.  Because if you move to France, you can enjoy higher speed internet than is available in the States, bundled with air-card wireless for mobile devices, and cable television, and telephone service that allows unlimited free calls to over 70 other nations; all for about $35 USD per month.  I have to admit, Insight is ripping me off at $45 per month for a comparatively mediocre speed connection.  Unfortunately, France has more strict immigration laws than the U.S.  We probably can't get in just because our government gave itself over to lobbyists decades ago.

So many political debates in this country center around morality.  Even the healthcare reform argument ended up mired in moral debate.  Americans agree to disagree on so many things, but we keep missing the big picture.  America is a young nation, and we tend to take ourselves too seriously as such.  Europe fights against special interest groups because the people feel that they have actual power to affect the government, and don't waste a bunch of time yelling about other things.  But this new revelation that America is lagging far behind other countries in technology and internet access isn't a moral issue.  It is an issue for the people to take up and unite against giant corporate lobbyists.

There is no good to allowing companies to hold America back in technology.  When we allow lobbyists to get in the way of projects and legislation that push our technology forward, what the American people get is left behind.  We already have a problem wherein school age children do not have equitable internet access, and those who do not have larger barriers to overcome as they struggle to make a better life.  The fact is, we need widespread access to the fastest possible internet connection if our children are going to be able to compete in a global economy.  Heck, we need it now if we are going to compete in the global economy. 

I encourage my fellow geeks to read up on and educate yourselves about this particular fight for the betterment of the lives of the American people.  Educate yourselves, then start educating your representatives.  Tell them that big business does not have our best interests in mind, and are willing to sacrifice the future of America for dollars in the bank right now.  And geeks, the next time you go to the polls, I urge you to vote for the candidates in your area that are most likely to join the FCC in this fight.  If we win, our MMORPGs will run faster.  

Resources
Ending the Internet's Trench Warfare by Yochai Benkler

Effort to Widen US Internet Access Sets Up Battle by Brian Stelter and Jenna Wortham

Next Generation Connectivity, a study commissioned by the FCC
The National Broadband Plan site has a test to run on your connection, and an easy way to report Broadband Dead Zones

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mint Makes the Derby

Mint Juleps are the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, and for those (like myself) who do not like Bourbon (I know, that is nearly enough to revoke my privilege to live here), I recommend using mint to make Mojitos.  The problem is that with all the drinking and running around to various Derby Fest-a-Ville events, a person starts to get worn out (Wednesday), before the real fun even starts (Thursday).  As every proper Southern woman knows, even the best Derby hat does not make up for looking haggard.  So, before turning in for some much needed beauty rest, treat your skin to this quick, easy facial.  The herbs soothe and refresh while the honey brightens and detoxifies.

Derby Mint Mask

Using a mortar and pestle, mix 1Tbsp local honey with a few mint leaves and several leaves from a Vick's plant.  Once they are ground to a fairly homogeneous mixture, apply all over face.  Allow to sit 2-5 minutes.  When the honey warms up from your body heat, it will begin to drip.  Wash off using a clean washcloth and warm water.

*Any honey will do, but local honey helps fight allergies.  For the locals, Thienemans garden nursery is where I found my Vick's plant.* 

I like to mix honey with mint and put it in a cup of chamomile tea while I wait for the mask to work.  This Derby week combo helps keep the Belles radiant inside and out. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Creativity should be rewarded

A friend of mine teamed up with her sister a few years ago to create a line of characterized alphabets.  I particularly like the wall slicks for kids' rooms, which are now available through Amazon.com! 


More information is available on their site, Soft Serv Creations
and I have to admit that the Facebook updates regularly make me laugh-http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Soft-Serv-Creations/92550378585?v=wall&ref=search

If you are looking for a baby gift, this is sure to please!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Apologies

I'm sorry the last post has terrible layout issues, I'm messing around with the blog layout and trying some new things that do not appear to be working. 

A stiff one

I just wrapped up a four day straight gardening blitz.  I fully landscaped the shade bed along one side of the house, fixed up the front beds, worked on the back bed which needs a lot more planted once the wild violets stop blooming and I can pull them out.  I desperately want a TON of ranunculus to grow in the back, they are so very lovely: 






Over my four day gardening marathon, I planted two hydrangeas:




 And two tomatos:

















A cantaloupe:
A watermelon:
About 14 herbs:
As well as two pink azaleas, two scarlet rhododendrons, strawberries, garlic and 12 hostas.

We have very rocky ground here, and I woke up this morning almost incapable of moving or speaking, my body is so stiff and sore.  My eyes are a bit swollen from the allergies that mulching caused to flare up.  All in all, I'm not nearly as on top of things as I should be today.  I need to get a ton of work done this week, as next week is dedicated to getting ready for the fillies to run.

Ah, Kentucky spring!  Instead of pouring a stiff one, its my back that's stiff! 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Problems with scale

So, about that loose tooth. It's been a week, and that thing hasn't gotten any more loose. Everything still looks good, the damage to the gum from the swing incident has healed, so it actually looks even better than last week's photo. The tooth is still loose, it just isn't making much progress. I had a Mom tell me at a cookout a few nights ago that that's normal, that her son has had the same tooth loose for a month. Can anybody back that up? Our dentist tells me not to worry as long as it all looks healthy and E's not in pain. Frankly, I think it's gross.

Anyway, being the crafty Mommy that I am, I ran out the next day and made E a bag to put his tooth in once it comes out. A tooth bag. I looked them up online just to double check that I'm not entirely nuts, and lots of people make them. They are cute. Most are made of felt, but I wanted a bag that is washable (bloody teeth do NOT belong in unwashable bags), and also reversible so it can be used for other stuff in the future.

I often think that things are smaller than they actually are. I also often go off half cocked and craft something up without much planning. I have problems with scale:

On the appliqued tooth is a rock that I estimate to be a smidgen larger than one of E's actual teeth. Given my problems with scale, who the heck knows? That pebble might actually be the size of E's kneecap if we are trusting me to judge. Moving on; the stripey fabric is the reversible bag, that white tooth applique is just for kicks. Oh yeah, it also has a drawstring!

And that is the tooth bag in relation to my hand.

The tooth fairy is going to be hard pressed to find a teeny baby tooth in there.

In other crafty news, I made my own version of the Gardener's Hand Scrub recipe that I found on the House on Hill Road blog. I used peppermint Dr Bronner's, whereas she uses Mrs Meyers dish soap-- I just couldn't get myself on board with the dish soap thing. Other than that, I pretty much just followed her directions, then I made a little cardstock tag and tied that onto the jar with ribbon, and viola! I gave it to a neighbor who has been hard at work in her garden these two weeks.

Today, I picked up some lavender Dr Bronner's to make some for me because I have major plans for some serious landscaping and gardening activity to happen around here this weekend.

On a slightly more personal note, for those who know just exactly how much fun I've had sitting on the PTA board this year (seriously, some people take the PTA wayyyyy too seriously)-- I get to run the election tonight! I hope to be celebrating with wine spritzers by 8.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Its Days Are Numbered

E had a regular dental checkup on Monday, during which our hygienist noticed that the gum line over one tooth was a bit bruised looking. She asked me if he had hit his mouth or poked the gum or anything at all to cause it. Not to my knowledge. We asked E all the same questions. No, he said. As the exam progressed, the dentist informed me that we should expect E to start losing his baby teeth any time now. Our hygienist, who happens to be a family friend, chided me accordingly for the rest of the visit.

Tuesday, I noticed that the gum in question looked a bit swollen.

Tuesday evening, we were at a cookout. E walked over and put his head on my shoulder, after a couple minutes of which I noticed that he was bleeding from his mouth, and that the blood was mixing with his saliva and that it was now running down my arm as well as his face.

What happened?! I exclaimed

I hit myself with the empty, plastic baby swing. He replied

Upon investigation, we found this:



Turns out that tooth that had just a little bit of something strange going on while at the dentist on Monday is now quite loose. I checked with our dentist this morning and he informed me that it is not surprising.

That tooth's days were already numbered. Said he.

What's the current going Tooth Fairy rate per tooth these days, anyway?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What is faster and wilder than a 5 year old boy?

What is faster and wilder than a 5 year old boy?

I have a hunch the answer is a 6 year old boy.

*sigh*smile*collapse*



Thursday, April 1, 2010

The View From Here


A month or so ago I had the opportunity to meet Morgan, who is, among other duties, the volunteer coordinator for our local Planned Parenthood office. Morgan has an orchid in her office window.

As I sat talking with Morgan and filling out paperwork to become a volunteer, I thought to myself: "I want an office window, and when I get it, I will put my own orchid it in. I do so love orchids."

Not long after, a job prospect came my way. Which I graciously turned down in favor of growing Divine Writes.

Then I realized:


The view from here is lovely.