Thursday, November 07, 2013
There is a small closet in the living room that is plumbed to hold a small washing machine. It's barely big enough to hold the washer, and close the door. I had to get new hoses, with 90 degree connectors, to get it to fit, though.
There's a spot for a gas dryer, as well. Outside on the porch. I've hung clothes outside to dry, but never taken them to an outside dryer. Its' pretty well protected from the elements by the upstairs balcony and a dividing wall, but I think I'm going to get a tarp to cover it, with winter coming along. There's also small storage room, just off the back porch, opposite the dryer. Trust me when I say it's packed to the ceiling.
The kitchen has taken the most adjusting. It's tiny. The refrigerator (standard size), sink (two basin) and oven/stove are butted up against each other, wrapping around the corner the sink sits in. On the other side of the stove is a counter top about the size of a movable chopping block. That's it. No more built in counter space.
To cope, we've gotten creative. There are, thankfully, plenty of cupboards that go nearly to the ceiling. There was also room for us to stack a few large storage buckets in one corner, and put in a freestanding shelf against the wall, opposite the stove. We've also turned an aquarium stand into a microwave stand. Putting the cut-out from a sink installation on top has given us a bit more counter space. The bread-machine lives under the microwave, on the floor.
Parking is weird, too. It's been many years since I lived in an apartment, and at least those had assigned parking. Not so, here. There is resident parking, but I'm not guaranteed to have a space of my own. There are a few parking lots adjacent to our complex, but the one that's closest to our apartment is shared by the football stadium. Every time there's a home game, I have to move our van so the university can sell the parking space to some rabid football fan for $10.00. I also can't get to my apartment easily because the close down the street that runs in front of it. All the better to control access to the game and sell the almighty football tickets.*
In spite of how different it all is, we're getting used to it. The university shuttles are reasonable, at least during the day, and the city has free public buses. The routes and stops are a little screwy, but we're coping. The kids have made friends very quickly, the neighbors are nice, and I love my classes. My wife and I have both found work. It doesn't pay as much as we really need it to, but at least we're employed. All in all, I'd have to say my life is pretty good. Busy. Weird, when compared to our old life, but good. Now if I could just find more time to update my blogs, regularly.
*In case you're wondering, I really don't like American football. Yeah, it's nice when the college team wins, but to be honest, that doesn't happen very often.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
The security-craving part of my brain is going ape-shit. It’s like I’m talking to myself, “Self! What in heaven’s name are you thinking? You’re acting like an idiot.” The adventurous side of my brain is saying, “Wow! Think about it, Self! You’ve freed yourself to work on music full-time!” I can’t decide which one is screaming louder.
I can dream pretty well: releasing and marketing a solo piano CD, playing clubs and coffee shops, setting up a piano trio/quartet with some other students, getting involved in the local arts scene, teaching and doing something concrete with music therapy. Maybe I’ll write a book or create an online course.
I can frighten myself pretty well, too: how are we going to pay the rent if we can’t make a decent wage, how can I get a job given how scattered my schedule is, how will this effect my two youngest daughters, let alone my other children, how will I deal maintain the connections I want to maintain in Salt Lake and Tooele if I’m living in Logan, and so on. What if this makes us homeless and I have quit school?
I admit it, I would love to play the house husband, work on my music, and let my wife work as the full-time bread-winner. She’s planning on it, but she has a few classes to go to finish her degree, and I don’t want that to go by the wayside because of fear. It’s not fair to her or to our daughters. Either way, the adventure begins this weekend.
P.S. If you’d like to help us move, show up Saturday morning and help us load the truck. If you’re in Logan, you can show up at Aggie Village and help us unpack. Any help is appreciated.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Last semester went well. Surprisingly, I got straight “A’s” for the second semester in a row and have a current GPA at USU of 4.0. Anyone who knows me from childhood has either fainted or reported me to the FBI to find out exactly when I was replaced by an alien doppelganger. I can sympathize with them. While I’ve never been overly stupid, good grades and I never got along when I was younger. I think it was all the boredom and skipping classes in high school, but I’m not ruling anything out.To put things in perspective, though, I’ve only been going part time. I’ve also been at an extension campus with rather small class sizes. This is all about to change. In about a month my wife and I will be moving to the main campus so both of us can finish our degrees. We’ve put our house up for sale, started getting rid of our excess stuff, and generally been making a mess. We’re moving with into an apartment about half the size of our current house. I’ve been telling everyone it’s like we’re losing our basement.
Miraculously, I’ve saved enough money to fix most of my teeth. I’ve been visiting the dentist every other week for a while, and it’s not quite over, but should be in a couple of weeks.To make things more chaotic, and here’s the scary part, as you know, I had surgery on my hands: bilateral carpal tunnel release. Not fun. Needless to say, that has slowed things down on the move, at least for my part. My hands are starting to feel better, though. That’s the good part.
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013
My current text has driven home a fundamental issue for me, my love-hate relationship with sociologists, and sociology. Don’t get me wrong. I’m doing pretty darned well in the class. I’ve aced most of the assignments and exams I’ve had so far. I just have a problem with calling some of what sociologists do “science.”
Sociology is the only branch of science I’ve encountered that claims it’s okay to let your own feelings influence the research. That’s not science. It’s activism masquerading as science. To be fair, many do social research and pay attention to the data. Most of this is done through surveys or observation. Some is done by extrapolating data from other people’s research, like census data.
Allowing themselves to become political activists, sociologists weaken their credibility. Some of them, especially conflict theorists and feminists, come off as angry, arrogant psychopaths. I suspect some of them are. Some of the conflict theorists and feminists are also socialists or communists. Conflict theorists, in particular, idolize Karl Marx and his writings, even if they aren’t communists. These facts alone destroy their credibility with almost any conservative, most moderates and a few liberals as well. They openly want to change the way societies work.
On the other hand, conservatives love functionalist sociologists. To a conservative, the functionalist perspective seems the most scientific and, I admit, it does seem that they keep the most emotional distance from the topic. At times, this seems like a façade, though. Functionalists are interested in the roles that different groups play in the larger society, how they contribute to the culture at large. That includes how the poor support the rich and vice versa. The subtext is that they are interested in keeping the status quo, even if it means some people get screwed by the system.
There’s a fourth approach, interactionists, that’s interested in the way each group relates to and influence each other. That may seem a little touchy feely, but they don’t have nearly as dramatic political agendas as the others do.
I hate all of these approaches. They each have an agenda that colors their research and destroys the notion of what I think science means, the detached search for knowledge. The data should take precedence over personal interest. To me, that makes sociology inherently flawed as a science.
In spite of my own disgust with this approach, they aren’t always wrong. Functionalists have been very good at explaining how different social elements work, and how each social class contributes to the society as a whole. Interactionists have done very well in showing how members of one group can be assimilated and/or otherwise influenced by another, and how they recruit new members. Conflict theorists have shown the inherent battle between social classes over resources, and liberties and feminists have shed light on the difficulties and unequal treatment of women and the poor. In spite of their particular, often conflicting, agendas, taken together, they paint a more comprehensive picture of how society works. When we step away from the rhetoric of extremism, the data paints an interesting picture and, depending on your politics, not a very pretty one. But that’s a matter for later posts.
Of course, you’d expect to read something like this from a moderate, wouldn’t you?
Thursday, February 28, 2013
The bus has actually been quite a boon for me. The drive times are about double what it would take in a car, but it’s saving me quite a bit in gas money. My work gave me the bus pass, so I’m not even paying for that.
The long drive time has been good for school, too. During the drive, I can study, so it’s really not wasted time. Only one of my textbooks is of the super-heavy think hardback variety. The rest are light paperbacks or ebooks so, I don’t often have to weigh my backpack down very often.
Riding the bus in winter has some unforeseen downsides, though. The cold is the most obvious. I’ve adapted by wearing heavy clothing, a heavy coat with hood, and gloves. Not so obvious is a side affect of wearing heavy clothing. Like everything else, they are subject to the laws of gravity and try to find the lowest point possible. Having greater mass than lighter clothing, they have an easier time of it. My coat, shirt and gloves have no problem, though. They rest on my shoulders and hands quite nicely, thank you. My boots are secure around my feet and ankles. My pants and underwear? Not so much.
Having a good belt helps with my pants, but the waistband in some of my undies has seen better days. They’re feeling their age as much as I am. After the long bus ride, they decided they were tired of hanging around my sorry butt and started to migrate towards my feet. My Id, sensing this betrayal on the part of my underclothes, started raising all kinds of alarms. “Ahhhgghh! Your pants are falling down! You’re going commando! Someone will see your butt!”
My Ego, trying to calm the Id, said, “No, no, the pants are still on. It’s just your underpants that are going south. Your butt is not visible.”
I tried recovering my underpants by grabbing them through my jeans, but they were having none of it. They just kept up the steady southward migration.
My Id went into full panic mode. “Ahhhh! Naked butt! Naked butt!” After thinking about it for a moment, my Id, being what it is, started thinking, “Maybe it would be fun to flash these people. They might want to have sex with me. I’ll pull my pants down, too!”
Thankfully, my Superego intervened. “No, no. That would cause great embarrassment and result in jail time. You must not pull your pants down.”
“You’re such a killjoy.” Id complained. My Ego was not quite relieved.
Eventually, my underwear cleared the bottom of my butt cheeks. My pants, ever defending my honor, caught them at crotch level and stopped them from having a conversation with my knees and ankles. I’d hate to think what would have happened if I was wearing a dress. Not that I’ve done that. My Id has a mind of its own, though, so I still think of things like that.
As I entered the building, my underwear at half-mast and my backside getting acquainted with backside of my jeans, I struggled to control my brain and act like nothing was wrong. I just needed to get to the bathroom near my desk without raising suspicions that I had become and accidental commando. The fact that my desk is on the opposite side of the building wasn’t helping.
In the end, I got my end covered back up without further mishap. Praise goes to my denim jeans for not joining my undies in their southern migratory pattern. As I sat back at my desk I could only think of one thing: I really need to buy new underwear.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Be warned. This is a research paper, so it is kind of long. References are included at the bottom.