laurion: (legoindy)

Amanda has posted about the third in a series of N things we are struggling with right now.  Hopefully N stays == 3.


Again life is sieging us about our mental walls and trying to reduce us to useless blobs of jelly.


Short version: our older cat (who we can’t be certain of the age, but isn’t -that- old) has an aggressive and intractable cancer.  Prognosis is months if we are lucky, weeks if we aren’t.  Cats, and this cat in particular, are a big deal to us and our history. And we have no idea how Jägermonster will take it, either.


Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)

Did you know that childcare is really expensive? Some of you don’t have kids, and some of you plan to never have kids, in which case, you’ll never know this personally. And this post may not be for you.


Still here? Yeah, so child care is really expensive. As of a 2008 study [1] it was the largest expense on average for middle class families, eclipsing both food and housing. As of a 2013 study [2], it often exceeds the cost of tuition at a state school. As you’ll read later, I had reason to gather facts and figures on this.


In Massachusetts, the average cost of childcare is $16,000 a year. That makes us if not the most expensive state, the second most expensive. Depends on the source and timing of the data. That’s the average cost. Quality care at an accredited center, will, of course, cost more. And centers in the more affluent and higher cost of living eastern part of the state will skew above average as well.


But we are lucky. I work at a college that has a very high quality, fully accredited program that has been established for 30 years and gives about a 33% staff discount. Meaning we have been able to enroll our toddler in a top tier program for a little less than it would have cost at the not-nationally-accredited KinderCare facility that he was in when he was too young to be enrolled at Regis. (Both are still above that average figure cited above but not by much. Those geographical factors.) And obviously it is convenient, because what could be more convenient than driving where you are going anyhow? And there is a safe and spacious campus around it, so the children can go on long(er) walks to the athletic fields or the gym, or to the science department to do exploratory and educational play, etc. His previous KinderCare we referred to as day care, and the Regis center we refer to as school. That kind of difference.


That whole paragraph will soon need to be rewritten to be past tense. At the end of April we received a letter informing us that because the center has had declining enrollments and has been running at increasing deficits, the program is being terminated at the end of June and will not reopen. This was a complete shock to us and the other parents. Many of us had already signed contracts for next year. And many of the almost comparable nearby facilities have already filled up for the next year. And it was a bombshell to the teachers at the center, who will also have a hard time getting new jobs because the nearby centers have already planned out their staffing for the next year.


We’re ‘lucky’. His previous facility has openings, so we have someplace for the Jägermonster. And as good as the people there are, and as clean and pleasant as the facility is, it is very hard to return to average when you’ve had excellent and were expecting excellent as an option. But the other excellent options either don’t have full day options, are way out of our price range, don’t have openings, or some combination of the three.


The parents of the children did rally and have a meeting with the President and CFO, but I don’t know as anything will come of it.


So this is one more thing that has been adding to our mental and financial stress.


[1] http://www.pewstates.org/uploadedFiles/PCS_Assets/2008/PEW_PkN_pre-kpinch_Nov2008_report.pdf


[2] http://usa.childcareaware.org/sites/default/files/Cost%20of%20Care%202013%20110613.pdf


Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

Out Loud

May. 13th, 2014 04:16 pm
laurion: (legoindy)

Some of you will have already seen this. Amanda posted on Monday night a very important piece about the state of the Amanda. In short, it hasn’t been good, but it is getting better. But to get better, we have to walk through fire. It’s an f-locked post, so if you can’t see it, ask one of us and we’ll share the details and/or add you to the f-list.


And as the bottom of her post says, “Thank you all for reading and caring. We really need it right now. Another post will be coming soon, for as they say, it does not rain but it pours and there is more, but it needs it’s own write up.”


Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)
So, forgive me if this is a dumb question, but where did everyone go?

A forced change to livejournal (friend's page no longer accepts custom styles) has pushed me to go to each of the friends that I follow and resubscribe to their individual pages.

And I keep seeing a wasteland.  So many last updates that say things like '2010', '2009', '2007'.  Where did everyone go? I see posts from the same dozen people on a regular basis, but there used to be a lot more people out there.

So where did everyone go?

I know about Twitter.  I'm there, but the posts are short and stream by. Don't get me started about Facebook.  The drek drowns out the good stuff all too often. And too much is stuffed onto one page.  Tumblr? Pinterest? Pretty, but mostly empty from what I've seen.

Where do people go to actually.... write? Journal to their social network? Connect?

And I know, for the longest time I've written on my own wordpress blog and crossposted to LJ (and now... FB too.  Not that I go there myself).  So I'm one of those people who is 'not there' in some sense. [EDIT: Hah!  Something since my last posting on 2/21 has broken crossposting!  What the F! Yay!]

I accept that my social life isn't what it was. But looking at the data while redoing the LJ connections... man, it really isn't what it used to be. And a lot of it used to be keeping connected to people on LJ in a way that I just don't feel connected on other network sites.  And these days I'm not feeling connected to many people at all.  So here I send out a post into what seems to be an ever fading arena, knowing that the dozens of people who haven't updated in five years aren't going to see it, just as I don't see anything from them.

Part of me wonders when a social network connection is so underutilized that it should be pruned entirely.  I've readded these dead connections.  IT doesn't cost me much at all.  No posts means nothing shows up in my feeds. No words require me to triage their value and exert neurons to process them. And if someone does come back, the connection is still there.  But perhaps there is an unseen, unknown weight and drag from these old connections.

I feel like I've missed some secret.  That all these connections have been moved somewhere else, and I'm the one who wasn't told about it, or doesn't know how to get to them.  Is there some way to make Facebook functional? Or have people given up on the concept of social networks entirely? Did people move to some site that died or never thrived (xanga, myspace, Google+) and then never have the heart to try again? I know, again, I'm asking this of the wrong audience, because the only audience that will see it is almost definitionally the wrong one.  Am I echolocating across a featureless plain? Only getting back what I already know to be there?
laurion: (legoindy)

So, forgive me if this is a dumb question, but where did everyone go?

A forced change to livejournal (friend’s page no longer accepts custom styles) has pushed me to go to each of the friends that I follow and resubscribe to their individual pages.

And I keep seeing a wasteland. So many last updates that say things like ’2010′, ’2009′, ’2007′. Where did everyone go? I see posts from the same dozen people on a regular basis, but there used to be a lot more people out there.

So where did everyone go?

I know about Twitter. I’m there, but the posts are short and stream by. Don’t get me started about Facebook. The drek drowns out the good stuff all too often. And too much is stuffed onto one page. Tumblr? Pinterest? Pretty, but mostly empty from what I’ve seen.

Where do people go to actually…. write? Journal to their social network? Connect?

And I know, for the longest time I’ve written on my own wordpress blog and crossposted to LJ (and now… FB too. Not that I go there myself). So I’m one of those people who is ‘not there’ in some sense.

I accept that my social life isn’t what it was. But looking at the data while redoing the LJ connections… man, it really isn’t what it used to be. And a lot of it used to be keeping connected to people on LJ in a way that I just don’t feel connected on other network sites. And these days I’m not feeling connected to many people at all. So here I send out a post into what seems to be an ever fading arena, knowing that the dozens of people who haven’t updated in five years aren’t going to see it, just as I don’t see anything from them.

Part of me wonders when a social network connection is so underutilized that it should be pruned entirely. I’ve readded these dead connections. IT doesn’t cost me much at all. No posts means nothing shows up in my feeds. No words require me to triage their value and exert neurons to process them. And if someone does come back, the connection is still there. But perhaps there is an unseen, unknown weight and drag from these old connections.

I feel like I’ve missed some secret. That all these connections have been moved somewhere else, and I’m the one who wasn’t told about it, or doesn’t know how to get to them. Is there some way to make Facebook functional? Or have people given up on the concept of social networks entirely? Did people move to some site that died or never thrived (xanga, myspace, Google+) and then never have the heart to try again? I know, again, I’m asking this of the wrong audience, because the only audience that will see it is almost definitionally the wrong one. Am I echolocating across a featureless plain? Only getting back what I already know to be there?

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] in_water_writ at ¡Fiestaval! Brandeis Festival of the LARPs 2014


Larpers! You are cordially invited to a Fiestaval!
¡Fiestaval! is the ninth Festival of the LARPs, an annual LARP convention held at Brandeis University.

Bids are open! Bid your game now HERE.

Registration for the convention is open! Register now at 2014.festivalofthelarps.com!

Registration is free and open to the general public. Limited crash space is available upon request.

This year, Festival sign-ups will be tiered.

On Tuesday, March 18th you can sign up for one game at 7pm.
On Wednesday, March 19th you can sign up for up to two games at 7pm.
On Thursday, March 20th you can sign up for all the games you like, though still only one per time slot!

Bids received before March 7th will (if accepted) be posted to the schedule at the time the schedule is initially posted.

Bids submitted after March 7th but before the 14th will be added to the posted schedule before signups.

Any bids received after March 14th (if accepted) may be posted to the schedule after signups are already open.

Please also join and share our Facebook group HERE to help spread the word!

- Your loving Con-Chair,
  Jenn



Brr.

Jan. 22nd, 2014 08:46 pm
laurion: (legoindy)

No heat. Service person has been called, but won’t be here for another hour. Not sure when it cut out but when I checked the temp when I got home from work it was in the mid 50s. Yes, the timing sucks, but these things usually happen when they’re stressed, so of course this will happen in the winter time.

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (Default)

Does anyone have a use for 18/2 stranded lamp wire? Home Depot apparently only sells it in spools of 250 ft. now, and as I am only wiring up a few lamps, this is more than I need. Let me know if you have a use for some of it.

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

GRE Prep?

Aug. 16th, 2013 05:08 pm
laurion: (legoindy)

Does anyone have GRE materials or suggestions they’d be willing to send my way? Thanks.

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)

Apparently some graduate schools, principally law schools, have found a way to combine two laws so their students get to shift the entire cost of tuition onto the taxpaying public…

http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/141103/

Another case of the law of unintended consequences.

 

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

Sigh

Aug. 10th, 2013 11:19 pm
laurion: (Default)

Baby is sick, wife is sick, air conditioning is broken.

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

First!

Jul. 31st, 2013 08:52 am
laurion: (legoindy)

My son turned one this morning at 6:58 am.

 

 

There is so much in that statement.  I hope to take the time later to unpack that a little bit.

 

1078861_10200756032240779_161074849_o

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)

You know, my hobbies are fairly apoltical ones.  I am not registered with a party, I don’t go to rallies, my volunteerism has different outlets, and I don’t work for the government or in the military. So, unless you count my consumption of news and interest in events to be a hobby, there really aren’t many intersections between politics and my hobbies.

But so long as any aspect of a hobby can be addressed by any aspect of a law, intersections will occur.

So I was surprised, but not for long, to see the follow article:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/07/12/59304.htm

As a fallout from some of the government responses to the Occupy movements, San Diego is now the defendent in a first amendment case from an a cappella singer who accuses them of willfully silencing her voice.

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)

I think this article from The Atlantic starts in a way that describes very well how I feel right now. “ We know what happened in Boston; we do not yet know what the hell happened in Boston.”  All we know at this time is the tragedy of it all, with none of the explanation.  Almost all we have is questions, and sadness.  But we also have a lot of ‘We will not let this drag us down’ attitude, which I find to be a healthy and positive reaction.  As a society, we may not be inured to events of terror, but we are learning to handle them.  You could argue that it is either a good thing or a bad thing that we have learned to react this way, or that we have had to learn to react this way.

The rest of the article goes on to describe two small examples of the communal reaction expressed in the form of google doc spreadsheets, of all things.  Another highlight of how technology in the past decade has changed the game in these sorts of events.  With the advent of smartphones and the social web, we now have much faster communication of what has happened as word spreads rapidly on sites like reddit and twitter as well as the traditional journalism streams.  We have orders of magnitude more live video and photos (especially as the marathon lends itself to spectators shooting video) for both the public and the police to examine and investigate.  We have more ways of organizing ourselves out of the chaos that erupts – in addition to the above mentioned google docs, there were near instantly ways for people to check in and report their safety, to track and find missing people, to gather up friends and family separated by the catastrophe, and to organize support for individuals and the community as a whole (such as the spontaneous concert at Wellesley being organized for tonight).

But still, while we are moving rapidly to make what we can of the situation, we are only more acute of how slow it can be to get facts out of chaos. Casualty counts change, investigations of additional devices come and go, reports of persons of interest being detained surface and submerge, and speculations float all around tempting conclusions.  There is the all too human need to understand, to point fingers, to not just act in support, but to react in anger.  And these emotions are often faster than those of love and compassion, so it leaves us all the more unsettled when we must wait for an accurate and investigated set of facts to be shared.

Until then, the facts we have are those of consequences, and of lives affected or unaffected, and the emotions of caring, of hurting, and of defiance.  Runners will run again next year, and the year after, and the year after, until the people who commit these atrocities learn that we will not give in to their fear-mongering.

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)

Happy Easter/Passover/Spring/Sunday to you!  Every year we each paint an egg.  This is what I made this year.  Because of the way it was hanging I couldn’t get the best side, but it is approximately the same thing on four sides.

 

Tardis Egg

Bending the laws of time and space means this egg came first. The chicken that laid it came after.

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)

A few recent pictures of the Jaegermonster, no additional text.  Submit your caption suggestions below!

 

(Ok, a little commentary on that last one.  He can’t read yet but he loves the mechanics of books. Good to start him early…)

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)

Just a question as I start packing for the weekend.

 

Did I promise to bring you something or lend you something?

 

Please remind me.

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)

I hope this is the last time I can ever measure snowfall in Jaegermonsters. *  But he seems to like it!  Don’t be fooled by the camera angle, the snowline is about as tall as he is, and drifts and shovel piles are higher.

From Jaegermonster

*Unlike smoots, Jaegers are not a constant unit of measurement, and should not be used for scientific purposes.

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)

Jaegermonster is six months old.  Crazy, I know.  So far, so good.

He’s now up to thirteen and a half pounds, and a few inches over two feet in length.  He’s more than doubled in weight and gained a third in length.  Good thing this slows down at some point or we’d need a forklift to carry him by the time he’s old enough for kindergarten.

It’s still a lot of work to be a parent, and there are still bad days, but there are plenty of good days, and even a few great ones.  There have been a lot of changes: new stuff around the house, altered work schedules, more visits from family, needing to put someone else first more often, and needing to schedule things so someone is always with him.  But I’m surprised at how little has changed in some ways as well.  We still participate in our hobbies, engage in social pursuits, and even find time to go out to a meal or a show for a date now and again.  Part of it is support from family. Part of it is our friends are willing to tolerate, or even look forward to, spending time with him around. Part of it is Jaegermonster is usually, and especially in company, a really good little guy.  Part of it is our stubborn refusal to give up everything just because we are parents now.  We haven’t seen as many people as often as we’d like, but that is as much the usual vagaries of peoples and schedules as it is anything else.  So if we haven’t seen you lately, we should remedy that!

Overall, we’re happy, and lucky, to have a kid like him.  He loves to play, loves to snuggle, and has a smile that could power a small New England town for a year.  He’s starting to eat real (where real is defined as non-liquid, but still gushy) foods now, and is expressing some recognizably inherited stubborn independent traits (he -really- wants to be the one wielding the spoon).  His first teeth are clearly an any-day-now thing, and he’s remarkably good at standing with assistance.  The cats have come to accept him, so long as he isn’t too grabby, and getting to bury his face in one never fails to bring a smile.

 

It’s only been six months, but the things that have changed (and those that haven’t so much) are remarkable.

I’ve recently updated the picture album, but recognized that a) I don’t have all the pictures we’ve taken and b) we’re not really picture taking people, so it isn’t a very large album.  As more pictures come across, I’ll add them to the album, so keep an eye out!

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

laurion: (legoindy)

So, I know our local sports team won’t be in the big game, but the commercials will still be there! And we’re getting a new comfy sectional delivered tomorrow. So who wants to come over and only sort of watch the game on the 3rd?

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.

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