Brock Boland Drupal, iOS, Religion, Chicago
Once upon a time, a n00b found an open source project. The project was an ambitious one, one that wanted to change the world for the better. A lot of people had been working very hard on the project for a very long time.
The n00b saw the value of the project, saw that it was poised to make the world a better place, and thought: I should keep an eye on this.
Some time later, the n00b was getting frustrated. The project seemed to be gaining more users, and the n00b kept seeing more and more tweets and blog posts about it, and particularly about the primarily controller used by the app. “This thing is stupid. Why is this so complicated? I bet I can help make this project much more accessible to people who haven’t used it before,” thought the n00b, n00bily.
The n00b hadn’t actually read many of those blog posts, had only skimmed some of the tweets, and hadn’t read any of the documentation on the project, but surely, the n00b brought a new perspective that would be appreciated by the project maintainers. So the n00b opened a pull request to submit a change that would gut the primary controller and make it much easier to understand, even though the n00b didn’t fully grasp how each method worked, and there were no unit tests.
And oh, how the n00b was ripped a new one. The project maintainers and users of the project piled on the n00b, and the n00b became angry. “I was just trying to help!” shouted the n00b, to the rolling eyes of everyone who had seen this play out before. Because, you see, there were already scores of pull requests just like the n00b’s, and none had been merged. The documentation for the project, and many of those blog posts that the n00b skipped, started out by explaining exactly why the controller worked the way it did, and why a gutted version like the one offered by the n00b wouldn’t work. There were years of hard work backing up the architecture of the controller, and everyone was sick and tired of having to explain everything every time a helpful n00b wanted to join in.
And that’s how the n00b ragequit the issue queue, and tweeted angrily, and grumbled about how that project would change the world if only the maintainers would be willing to coddle every n00b who hadn’t bothered to RTFM.
Like open source projects, I think the feminism movement appreciates newcomers who want to help and make a difference. And, in both cases, I think they especially appreciate those who do a little research beforehand and have enough self-awareness to realize that their first contribution is unlikely to be so simple and straightforward that it simply hadn’t been considered before.
I switched to using Jekyll a few months ago, and then to Jekyll Bootstrap just the other day. Plain Jekyll and Jekyll Bootstrap both work great on GitHub Pages: just push the Jekyll directory, with your
_layout and your
_posts and whatnot, and GitHub Pages handles the parsing and generates your site.
My big complaint in switching was that my Markdown footnotes stopped working. If you scroll to the bottom of this old post, you’ll see a footnote there. Yesterday, that displayed as
[^1] because the redcarpet Markdown parser that I had been using didn’t parse footnotes.
Thanks to someone named Brian Willis on StackOverflow, I now have working footnotes. I just had to switch my markdown processor to kramdown. In
_config.yml, change the
markdown: isn’t in your
_config.yml already, you can just add it on a new line.
I still use TextMate 1. It ain’t broke, so I ain’t fixed it.
Changing the default file type for TextMate is easy enough; I posted the howto for that years ago. In short, just run this command from the command line to switch the default language to Markdown:
defaults write com.macromates.textmate OakDefaultLanguage 0A1D9874-B448-11D9-BD50-000D93B6E43C
So that’s great: TextMate now uses Markdown by default.
But, I’m picky, and by default, new Markdown files are saved with the “mdown” file extension (ugh). I prefer “md” because it’s nice and tidy and nerds need these little things to fuss over.
Here’s how you can change this default file extension:
- Click on the Bundles menu, expand Bundle Editor, and click Show Bundle Editor.
- In the list at left, find Markdown and expand it. Find the “Markdown” line preceded by a gray L icon.
- The second line in the right panel lists the file extensions for which TextMate will use the Markdown bundle, and the first item in the list is used as the default extension when you create Markdown files in TextMate. Move “md” (or whatever you want) up to the front of the list.
- Restart TextMate or select Reload Bundles under the Bundles > Bundle Editor menu.
And that’s that. Create a new file and initiate a save, and you’ll see
untitled.md where it had been
Rattled by Pope Francis’s admonishment to Catholics not to be “obsessed” by doctrine, his stated reluctance to judge gay people and his apparent willingness to engage just about anyone — including atheists — many conservative Catholics are doing what only recently seemed unthinkable:
They are openly questioning the pope.
This delights me for two reasons.
- This pope is way more Jesusy than the last pope. I love that he’s brought some humility back to a post more recently known for elaborate thrones and fancy shoes.
- Catholics questioning the authority of the pope. I have long held that it would do everyone some good to take a long hard look at what the believe and why, and decide whether their beliefs really jive with what’s handed down from on high by the Church. Granted, the reason for their introspection now seems to be outrage that the pope had the audacity to wash lady feet and treat non-believers and gays with some measure of dignity, but still.
LifeTracker is my forever project.
The idea is simple: I just want an app where I can track everything about my life. This is why Quantified Self appeals to me, but only partly: I’m not really interested in the “quantified” part. Numbers and figures and stats don’t really appeal to me. I’m more interested in the obsessively documented self: I want to track what I was doing when, where I lived and worked at the time, who I was with and how I first met them, and see a photo of the thing right there alongside it all.
I’ve been making notes and plans about this project since least December 5, 2007 (that’s the earliest note that I’ve found about it), but I’ve been talking about it much longer. I can remember explaining to Heewa that I wanted something like this way back in 2004 or 2005.
I also realized halfway through writing this that I had already written about it, about two years ago. But that’s OK, I still like talking about it, and things have evolved a bit since then.
No one, probably, but I feel I need to start collecting my thoughts on this if I’m ever going to get to work on a project of this scale. I’m not worried about exposing my ideas and plans. Ideas aren’t worth shit: the value is in implementation. As I’ve said before about this, I would love for someone else to take the initiative and steal my idea. I want the tool more than I want to build it.
Plus, I’m pretty sure Erin is tired of hearing about it. If I start writing about it here instead of talking to her about it, it’ll be easier for her to ignore me.
The origins of this project are fuzzy, but firmly planted in the fact that I have a crappy memory. I’m just not good at remembering things, plain and simple, so I try to write things down as often as I remember to do so. These efforts have been successful in some cases, garbage in others. For example, I’ve noted every movie I’ve seen since 2004 (and have record of a few years worth of theater visits before that thanks to a mug full of ticket stubs). Since February 2008, I’ve kept a brief log of what I’ve done every day. Back in August 2003, I decided to start writing down how I knew people, where I’d met them, stories about them from back in the day, that sort of thing; unfortunately, I only wrote one. I have a text file listing every real job I’ve ever had, back to my first full-time summer job when I was 15. There’s an entry in Evernote listing every house, apartment, and dorm room I’ve ever lived in, with whom and when.
Because I forget. Because I’m not good at remembering. Because I like to reminisce, but it drives me up a wall when I can’t remember details or timelines. Because I know that no one else is going to remember these things for me, and once I forget them, they’re gone forever.
Most of these are from the two year-old post I already made about this project.
- Open data formats. I’m leaning toward JSON because it’s flexible and easy enough to use.
- Linked data. Previously, I thought that different types of data would need to handle this differently. For example, Event records would need to be linkable to People and Story records. At this point, I think that every piece of data in the system can have an open-ended Related field that can point to any number of other pieces of data, of any kind.
- Data Syncing. Still important. I want to enter new data while at my main machine or on a mobile device.
- Reasonably simple. This is hard to do on any app, let alone something like this, but at the very least, the barrier to entry has to be nearly non-existent. Because:
- Easy to quickly input information. I have been able to keep up a daily log for nearly six years because it’s quick and easy to write a few lines each day. The project to write about how I came to know people, or the stories from college, or anything like that: those have failed completely because they require longer periods of focused time and attention. It needs to be trivially easy to (e.g.) make a note on a Person record when I remember that time we went dumpster diving together in college.
- Extensibility. I need to be able to define different data types with different types of information: People have different details than Stories or Photos or Journal entries. As I noted in the previous post, maybe someone wants to track details about every Nethack game they play: that’s going to require a different set of data fields than other data types, and entries of that type will display differently. My thinking around this is largely influenced by the way that the fields and display options can be configured on Drupal node types, because that’s the system where I spend most of my time. I’m trying to distance my thinking from that so I don’t inadvertently limit myself to doing things the Drupal way.
- Security. Privacy is still a big concern on this.
These things seemed like requirements in the past, but at this point, I think I’m more interested in getting the core functionality than in getting everything I want. I can always add more later on.
- Versioning. This was listed as a requirement before, but this isn’t a big one for me anymore. It would still be cool to find a way to store all data in a git repo or something, so that one can see the history and revert changes and the like, but it’s not that important.
- Pull in external data. Again, this was a requirement before, but now I’m less concerned with pulling in tweets or Goodread data.
Planning the App
This is a difficult app to try to plan for. Frankly, I have no idea what the UI should look like or how it should work. So, I’m starting with something more basic.
My plan at this point is to build a simple journaling app to replace DayOne for my daily logging. Not because I have any complains about DayOne, mind you, but this seems like a good place to start. It’ll just be a simple app to note things that happen in a given day, and indicate their level of importance. For example, my wedding day was the most important one of 2009, so that would have year-level importance. Getting together with a friend I haven’t spoken to in a decade might be a month-level highlight. There will be some way to zoom out and see, at the week level, the things that were deemed the most important in that week. Similarly, the month and year views will show the items that were most important at that level.
Looking at one day, you’ll see everything that happened that day. At the week level, you’ll see that you went apple-picking on Saturday. At the month level, you’ll see the day you moved to a new apartment. At the year level, you’ll see the birth of a child, the wedding day, or the college graduation.
Collecting and storing this data will be easy, but I’m still figuring out how to handle the display, both during input and when viewing those zoom levels.
Names are Hard
Everybody knows that there are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors. In this case, the only one I’m struggling with is naming.
I’ve kicked around a lot of ideas over the years, and for a while, had settled on Supplemental. As in, “Captain’s log, SUPPLEMENTAL!” For the initial daily logging version, though, I came up with an even better name: Ensign’s Log. It’s a captain’s log, but for the rest of us.
Keep an eye on that repo. I’d love to make this a profitable project one day, but realistically, I don’t see that happening. It’s far more important to me that it gets built and out there than makes money. And, maybe I’ll have more incentive to keep working on it if I know people can see when I’m slacking.
People who travel a lot have their own system: things to prepare in the days before a trip, everything packed in it’s right place, printout of the flight itinerary in a front pocket in case the luggage goes missing, and so on.
I have a system for moving, because I’ve done that a lot. I spent seven years in DC and lived in just as many apartments there. Then, we moved to Denver, and now, seven months later, we’re moving to Chicago. And I know exactly what to do.
- Get rid of stuff. Lots of stuff. Start doing this a month before the move, because you have absolutely got a bunch of crap you don’t need. Donate it to Goodwill, and if it’s not stuff they’ll take, list it for free on Craigslist and it’ll be gone in no time. If it’s not even worth giving away, toss it. There’s a reason you never wear those torn up old jeans, and ain’t nobody else gonna want them either: get rid of ‘em.
- Get boxes. When we moved from DC to Denver, we rented boxes from BungoBox: they have these big, re-usable plastic crates that they drop off and pick up. You rent them by the week, and they are awesome: they’re tough as hell, you can get them with wheeled dollies to move them around, and packing the truck is a breeze when all the boxes are the same size. Unfortunately, they aren’t in too many cities, and we haven’t been able to find similar services that are in both Denver and Chicago. If you can use BungoBox, do: it’s worth it. If not, go to U-haul and buy a crapload of boxes, focusing on small and medium ones (large boxes are useless for anything more dense than blankets). You can also look on Craigslist for used moving boxes, but the quality and quantity are a real crap shoot. Just buy new ones and take good care of them (easy with the markers), and then you can be the one selling used boxes on Craigslist for fifteen bucks.
- Get some supplies. If you don’t already have some floating around from your last picnic, get a small pack of paper plates and plastic silverware, so you can still eat after packing up the kitchen. Get a shower curtain lines, rings to hang it, and a bar of soap (more on these later).
- Stock the new place. If you’re moving within the same area and will get the keys to the new place before you show up with the truck, stock the fridge with some soda, beer, and bottled water. Whether you’re hiring movers, getting help from friends, or doing it all yourself, everyone will appreciate a cold beverage once the truck is unloaded. Also get some toilet paper, hand soap, and a roll of paper towels. You’ll get a chance to do a full grocery store run once the truck is unloaded, but you’ll probably at least want the option of using the bathroom before that if the need should arise.
- Get a couple hundred in cash and find a safe place for it. This really only applies if you’ve hired movers: you may need to pay them in cash, and they’ll definitely appreciate a tip in cash. I like to put an envelope with the moving fee and tips in a kitchen drawer once the drawer’s contents have been packed (sssh), so I can find it easily once the truck is loaded and it’s time to pay up.
- Make a list of all the places you need to change your address. USPS. Driver’s license. Car registration. Bank, credit card, and loan accounts. Lojack. National Bike Registry. Magazines. Amazon. Netflix.
- Your free credit report is a great way to get accounts that you’ll need to change. It should list any loans (even if your student loans got sold all over the place like mine did) and credit cards (remember that card you got in college to get a “free” T-Shirt that you never use?).
- If you use Amazon, you can use them to handle most popular magazine subscriptions. Then changing your address and renewing are dead simple.
- Make sure you’ll have utilities at the new place. The practicalities of this one will depend on which utilities you will be responsible for. To be honest, I haven’t given much thought to water/gas/electricity at our new place in Chicago, because I’ve already got the DIY Comcast setup kit for the internet connection. So really, this step could be called Make sure you have Internet when you get there.
- Start with books. Packing is one of those there’s-so-much-to-do-I-don’t-know-where-to-start kind of jobs. Start with your bookcase. You can make some quick progress and get the process moving. Besides, you want the heavy books at the bottom of the pile of packed boxes, so you may as well start there.
- Mark your boxes. This should be a no-brainer, but I’ve definitely done moves where I didn’t bother labeling anything, and had the movers just dump it all in the living room. This was a mistake.
- Mark boxes HEAVY if they’re over 50 pounds (that’s the limit that OSHA says could cause injury). You don’t want some overzealous friend lifting a seemingly small box of your pet rock collection, only to throw out their back. At least they’ll test it first or get somebody to help.
- Mark boxes FRAGILE in bright marker and circle it 10^5 times. Unless you have professional movers, tell everybody to let you get those yourself. Your friends will thank you since they no longer have to worry about breaking your priceless collection of Star Wars figurines.
- Pack a carry-on full of clothes and toiletries. Even if you’re moving to another place in the same city, just fill the carry-on. It makes sense to pack clothes in luggage anyway, and who knows how long it will be before you get the rest of your clothes unpacked at the other end. This is especially important if your move will include any overnights (like driving between cities), since you’ll need this bag wherever you spend the night. The front pocket of the carryon gets the shower curtain, rings, and bar of soap (remember those from earlier?), along with a towel. After unloading the truck at the new place, especially if it’s summer, you’re going to want to take a shower without having to tear into every box marked “bathroom” to make it happen.
- Leave a crappy old bath towel and a trash bag in the bathroom of the old place, and leave the shower curtain liner up. Pack the decorative shower curtain, leave the plastic liner hanging. Whether you shower right when you get up on moving day, or after loading up the truck, the last thing out of the apartment can be a trash bag with a torn old bath towel, the old curtain, and the rings it hung from (those are cheap, just toss ‘em).
- Leave your cleaning supplies accessible
- You might need to clean your old place before moving out. A little elbow grease could save quite a bit of money in cleaning fees depending on your current lease.
- You will also want to clean your new place before unpacking everything. Vacuuming an empty room takes about 30 seconds. Wiping down walls and stuff is much easier without furniture in the way. Focus on rooms with the most furniture, like your bedroom, living room, or office. Skip the bathroom, hallways, and kitchen since you probably won’t be any worse off in a month when you finally get around to it.
- Make sure you know where your checkbook is. If you’re like me, the checkbook only comes out once a month for that one bill that you still can’t pay online. As such, my checkbook is just in a drawer somewhere, and would get packed in a box with all the other junk if I’m not careful. That’s a good thing to have close at hand during the moving process, just in case.
- Get the last of your stuff packed up. The first time I moved after college, one of the things I unpacked was a trash bag containing whiteboard markers, some dirty dishes, and a disgusting George Foreman grill, because I had somehow failed to pack (or clean) those items, and a friend that was helping me move just tossed them in a bag. Whether you’re hiring movers or paying friends in pizza and beer, make sure all your stuff is packed and ready to go out the door before your help arrives.
- Trust the movers. You did hire movers, right? As much as I love my friends and appreciate their help on previous moves, none of us do that kind of thing for a living. Pay someone who knows how to properly pack a truck, and who is insured in case anything gets dropped.
- Moving yourself?
- Think about how long you think it should take. Now add 6 hours… Don’t forget to plan for when you need to return the truck. You might need to quickly unload everything into your driveway/garage/sidewalk so you can get the truck back and not pay tons of money in late fees.
- Moving trucks are generally much more expensive on weekends and the start/end of a month.
- Forearm forklifts seem cheezy, but they work great. Even after you move, I’ve used them to move furniture around without dragging it.
- Put together your bed first. I like to unpack as much as I can in the first day at the new place, but I always start with the bed. When I get to the point where I can’t possibly unpack another box, the last thing I want to do is shuffle around a bunch of junk so I can lay down the mattress that’s leaning against a wall. Our bedsheets are kept in under-bed totes that are easy to pick out among moving boxes, but you may want to stick those in your carry-on too, so that you don’t have to go hunting for them come bedtime.
- Clean out the kitchen cupboards. Scrub ‘em before you unpack the kitchen, then maybe put down that contact paper, too.
- Get furniture in place. I find it’s easier to shuffle the boxes around as needed to get furniture where you want it, and go from there. It’ll be easier than having a kitchen table buried under boxes, sitting where you want to put the couch. Or, opening boxes of books and having nowhere to put them because the bookshelves are buried behind boxes, and so is the spot on the wall where the shelves were intended to go. This step is a pain in the neck because it often means moving full boxes to and fro around the room, but it makes unpacking the boxes a lot easier.
- Unpack the boxes. I don’t really have a system from this point. I tend to start with the boxes that are tripping me up most often and go from there.
Once you’re settled a bit
- Take a lap with a screwdriver. Every apartment comes with loose towel racks and doorknobs. It’s the kind of thing people just stop noticing and learn to live with. Tighten those up before you get accustomed to a bunch of wiggly crap.
- Take stock of the lightbulbs. Let’s be honest: CFLs are usually crummy, mismatched wattages look like crap, and one dead bulb in the bathroom or kitchen makes all the difference in the world. I like to just replace all of them to avoid the mismatches and take care of the dead ones.
Piece of cake, right? Enjoy your new home!
I made myself a simple web interface to create new Jekyll posts. This is actually the first post that I’ve written in it, so let’s hope this works right. It’s rare for me to be away from my primary machine, but I thought it would be nice to have a web interface to create a new post from my phone…and I kind of just wanted to see if it would work.
You can see the new post form on my site, though you won’t be able to submit the form—or at least, it won’t do anything if you try to. I’m taking advantage of Github’s new file interface, so one needs permissions on my Github pages repo to create a new post.
The actual form doesn’t look half bad, because like any true developer, I threw Bootstrap at the problem to make it look at least a little bit OK.
If you want to try it yourself, grab
new.html from that repo, and change the
action attribute on the
Update: The new file form in Github is a bit weird. If you don’t change either the filename or the file content, it will throw an error when you submit: “A file with the same name already exists. Please choose a different name and try again.” I’ve submitted a bug report to Github, but in the meantime, you just need to make a change, like add and then remove a newline at the end of the post.
Erin’s last day of gSchool was last Friday, the day after she accepted a developer position in Chicago. Just as quickly as we moved to Denver, we’re heading right back out. Thankfully, we’ve got a little more time to make arrangements for this move: since we’ve got plans for trips and visitors here in Denver in August, we won’t be making the move until the end of the month.
It’s weird to come home to an empty house after a trip out of town. On Sunday, I flew to Portland for a few days of meetings with a client. Erin made a game time decision to leave town the next day. The plan was mostly to find an apartment in Chicago, but she also took the dog to stay with Erin’s sister and brother-in-law for the next month and a half, until we get settled in up there.
Coming home to an empty house is one thing; knowing that it’ll be empty for a few days is a feeling that’s new to me. It’s almost equally strange knowing that I won’t take any walks with the dog for at least six weeks.
We’ve only got a few free weekends left in Colorado, this one included. Since I spent Sunday traveling, I’ll be off on Friday, and I’m still trying to decide what to do with the little time I’ve got here. I’m bummed to be saying goodbye to another city again so soon. Colorado is beautiful, the people are friendly, the weather is amazing, and I was kind of hoping that we could stick around for a little while. It’s too bad that the weather won’t be nicer over the next couple days, because I would love to rent a motorcycle and just spend some time tooling around in the mountains, to really soak it up before we go.
We can all agree, regardless of where we fall on the issue, that it would be ideal to reduce abortions. But, let’s be honest: if you think that abortion rates can be reduced by making abortions illegal—or at least, more difficult to obtain—then you’re simply deluding yourself. Abortions happened before Roe v. Wade, and they’re damn sure going to keep happening in places where they are made illegal (or effectively so).
Restricting abortion is the wrong way to go about it.
There are two versions of justification for the kinds of abortions bills we’re seeing lately, like those in Texas and Ohio. Legislators claim the new restrictions are to protect women’s health by ensuring that the doctors performing these procedures are of the highest caliber, while pro-life protesters seem to be more interested in saving innocent babies.
I think we can make significant improvements on both those fronts without denying women bodily autonomy. I’m a far cry from an expert on the subject: these are common-sense things that will absolutely reduce abortion rates.
Protecting pregnant women’s health
- Support universal healthcare and Medicaid. This one’s a no-brainer: if you want to protect women’s health, make sure they have access to health care! There’s a great article by a woman who moved to Canada and had children there. This self-described “die-hard conservative Republican” talks about limiting checkups during her earlier pregnancy in the US in order to keep costs down, and since she also talked about the possibility of coming back to the US to give birth here (and pay out of pocket), I think it’s safe to say that she’s in a better financial situation than most women who might be questioning whether they can afford to go through with a pregnancy. This is an obvious first step: make sure that no woman feels compelled to skip check-ups or tests during or after her pregnancy, or be burdened with medical debt that she might not be in a position to handle.
- Support the Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act. I’m surprised that this isn’t getting more attention. This bill would ensure that pregnant women receive the accommodations they need to continue working while pregnant, as well as protections to ensure they don’t lose their jobs due to their pregnancy. Seems reasonable that a women is more likely to go through with a pregnancy when she can be sure that she won’t lose her job over it.
- Support equal pay for women. Women still make about 77% of what their male counterparts do. 42% of women seeking abortions are below the poverty line; another 27% make less than double that (source). For a single mother, in 2012, the poverty line is $11,945 (from Census.gov); double that is $23,890. That means that 69% of women seeking abortions are making less than twelve bucks an hour. (I’m generalizing a bit here, and assuming single motherhood. The poverty level for women with a spouse or children is comparably low.) Make sure that women make enough money that they don’t have to worry about whether they can afford to care for a child (or another one, in the case of women who already have children).
Saving innocent babies
- Seriously: Support universal healthcare and Medicaid! Does it need to be said that every kid deserves health care once they’re born? It boggles my mind that there has been debate about who deserves health care. Everyone does. End of debate.
- Overhaul the adoption system. Maybe overhaul is the wrong word, but as I understand it, it’s very difficult to adopt a child. And, from a little bit of looking around, it’s not clear how much support the birth mother can really get from the adoptive parents (assuming they have the means to support her, that is): it seems that California, for example, specifically prohibits adoptive parents for paying for a lot of things for the birth mother (or paying her for the actual baby, which makes sense). If we want to increase adoption rates, we need to make it a truly viable option for the birth mother, and that may well include paying all medical fees (that aren’t otherwise covered), along with covering lost wages. Perhaps this would be adequately handled by the universal health care, Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act, and equal pay for women issues: it stands to reason that a pregnant woman would go through with a pregnancy and allow the child to be adopted if there’s some guarantee that the pregnancy won’t cost her in medical bills and a lost job or wages.
Dropping abortion numbers generally
- Provide comprehensive sex ed. Again: no brainer. Studies have shown time and again that comprehensive sex ed leads to lower rates of unintended pregnancies. Make sure that kids know how to use contraception.
- Make contraception and Plan B readily available. I know some people oppose Plan B because it can, in some cases, terminate an hours-old pregnancy. Well: tough. Ending a pregnancy at 20 hours is indisputably better than ending it at 20 weeks. Furthermore, contraception should be readily available. The idea that having condoms on hand is “pre-meditated sin” may make sense in a theological sense, but isn’t worth a damn in a practical sense. Same goes for birth control: I’ve seen that some people oppose the idea of subsidizing birth control (whether that be under national health care or otherwise), but if you’re really interested in preventing abortion, chipping in a little more to ensure that women can get birth control will help.
I don’t think I’m overstepping when I say that pro-life folks tend toward the conservative side, and if I may generalize, that tends to come with a host of other positions that stand in direct opposition to some of my suggestions above.
Get over it. You can be pro-life, or you can grandstand about welfare queens and paying for other people’s contraception, but you can’t have it both ways.
It’s strange, flipping through old books.
For me, “old” really only means five or six or seven or eight years. It’s been eight years and just as many apartments since I graduated college, so books, like everything else, tend to get shed along the way.
These days, I don’t bother writing my name in books. It seemed like a good idea, back when I planned to amass a library of my own; when one moves frequently, one is quickly disavowed of the idea of maintaining a library any larger than a couple boxes. I’ve long since stopped noting my ownership, because more often than not, the books are given away to a charity or a friend who might enjoy them, if not lent out indefinitely.
As such, it strikes a strange chord when I flip open a book and see the name and email address that I stopped using five years ago. I don’t remember why I picked up Angela’s Ashes, but I know I was reading it when Erin and I were first dating. Not long after I finished it, I bought ‘Tis and Teacher Man at the same time. ‘Tis would sit on my shelf for two more years, until I read it on our honeymoon; Teacher Man is still waiting for me, though at this point I feel I must re-read the first two and refresh my memory.
Like a particular song or album, good books become imprinted in my memory alongside the events of the time when I read them, and I can no longer remember one without the other. Soon enough, Teacher Man—like four or five others—will be inextricably tied, in my mind, to whatever exciting things happen in the coming months.