Sunday, July 31, 2005
Here they come!
Well, now I'm getting tons of hits for people Googling after the answers to AlcoholEdu questions. I wonder if I'm at all liable for providing answers that may not be 100% correct...
. . .
Those darn Red-Staters
Yes, we all totally understand red-staters. We know they're stupid, and don't know what they're voting for, and all those other things. And yet we wonder why they just don't like us coastals.
Maybe, just maybe, we should learn a bit about our Midwestern counterparts before bitching about how they don't agree with us. In an editorial, the Chron cries about wasteful Homeland Security funding.
And the great landlocked state of Oklahoma got its homeland-security funds, according to the show, based on its request for port security.
J. L. Palmer points out:
However, for the sake of accuracy I would like to point out that the "great landlocked state of Oklahoma" does have ports, and there may very well be some legitimate reasons for trying to protect them. Many here are only vaguely aware of the vast inland waterway system at the center of our country, consisting of some 25,000 miles of navigable waters stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes.
Oklahoma participates in this system and has at least two significant ports. The spin that you created with the "great landlocked state" crack was effective and got your point across. But you were wrong.
Let's remember that this isn't just some guy. This is a respected newspaper with a huge, nationwide information-gathering infrastructure.
There's a reason Midwesterners see coastals as arrogant and detached from reality.
. . .
Friday, July 29, 2005
Beetle's Blogging Rule #6
Anyone can bitch about President Bush or Jesus Christ or any number of influential figures in the world. And a lot of people do. Which makes adding your bitching to everyone else's not all that exciting when you can just read everyone else's better-informed bitching. Since blogging is about fun (BBR0), you have to go for the low-hanging fruit.
Beetle's Blogging Rule #6: Make fun of the people targetting of the usual targets.
A lot of people don't even bother, or only do so to (fail to) prove a point about "the masses that agree with that guy I don't like." Not here. No, we make fun of letter-writers and quote-givers on a personal level, abstracted from the broader framework of politics.
Besides, bitching about politicians or folks in power is unfair. They're limited in what they can and can't say. But when you're bitching about them, you just don't have that excuse.
. . .
Well, that would've been funny
So, I wanted to point out something funny in this Daily Planet story but it requires the picture, which isn't working for me. It's a story about some dudes who got fined for putting their own health in danger, and they were understandably pissed. (Although Stephen Freskos is a bit of a nut: "It's just against my morals to wear pads.")
Anyway, the picture that isn't working showed a kid demonstrating "proper boarding form and attire," which includes a helmet and pads. In the background, there's another kid skating without them, though.
. . .
Oh, this is how you argue
Recall Alex Stathopoulos's critique of video games. While she came up with a silly and unfounded connection between senseless violence and stereotyping in games with the same in real life, Steven Johnson actually tries to make the connection, rather than assuming it. And wouldn't you know it, the opposite conclusion is reached.
Many juvenile crimes -- such as the carjacking that is so central to "Grand Theft Auto" -- are conventionally described as "thrill-seeking" crimes. Isn't it possible that kids no longer need real-world environments to get those thrills, now that the games simulate them so vividly?
See, that's an argument. No mushy "confusion of reality and gaming" arguments. People commit thrill-seeking crimes because they seek thrills. Giving them those thrills in a way that doesn't fuck other people over might actually be beneficial. You don't have to buy the argument, but hey, at least it's there.
. . .
I don't drink coffee, so I'll have to ask the folks at home... is Starbucks coffee really that bad?
. . .
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Ah, with fondness I look back on my journey through the wonderful world of AlcoholEdu. You, too, can join in that journey. Here is a table of contents for my experiences.
The pre-course survey, and creating a persona.
Pre-test: 1-10, 11-20
Chapter 1: Shaping Our Decisions
Chapter 1 Survey
Chapter 2 Pre-test
Chapter 2: Knowing the Facts
Chapter 2 Exercise
Chapter 3: When it Matters
Chapter 3 Exercise: Helping a Friend
The Final Test
Survey and Results
Update: The Conclusion
. . .
AlcoholEdu, another survey
I am so fucking sick of these surveys. After taking the exam, they won't even grade it until I take the survey.
While I knew a great deal about alcohol at the beginning of the course, now I know very little. I didn't pay attention at all.
Now a trick question: "To what extent have you talked with your friends about various parts of AlcoholEdu?" It turns out that none of my readers are my friends, so I can go ahead and say "none." I now know less about BAC. I had been overestimating my BAC in the past, and will now drink more to compensate.
I tried to bitch about technical problems, and then they blindsided me with a survey about technical problems. Those asses. Anyway, nothing at all worked, even those things that failed to work in contradictory ways (AlcoholEdu didn't work at all, but I'm taking this survey).
I leave the 'additional comments' section blank, and after hitting next, I get two pop-ups begging me to fill it in. One of them you have to hit "OK" for, and the other is a trick, and you have to hit "cancel" to move on.
Onto the grade.
Your Exam grade is 0% correct.
You did not pass the Exam.
If you are required to pass this course, you will need to retake AlcoholEdu for College. To retake AlcoholEdu for College, you must proceed through the course to the AlcoholEdu for College Notebook. You will find a link to create a new Retake account.
What? My answers were all perfect! They then list the topics I missed on the exam. It's a really fucking long list. Well, I'm not going to do a retake any time soon. I might later so I can get the additional part of the course a month later. This concludes my experiment with AlcoholEdu.
. . .
Now then, after learning, let's try an exercise on helping a friend. You've got a friend who's all boozed out for the umpteenth time at a party. People are getting really fucking sick of her antics, which are no longer funny. Oh, I mean, people are concerned about her health. Yeah, that's what I meant.
When would you talk with her about your concerns?
At the party while she's drunk, of course. That way, when she blacks out, she won't remember any of it and won't get mad at you. She's not going to listen to you anyway, so why bother?
Wrong? Well, fine, then. You won't have any friends.
Where would you talk with her about your conerns?
A crowded, public area. Geez, you don't want her to start blubbering. It's better to have the social pressure to keep her shut up. Besides, it's better if everyone can see what a nice person you are. It helps if you need to pick up a date.
Wrong again? Keh.
Who should be there?
Obviously, "Everyone who is willing to come." Hell, make a party out of it. Better yet, make a party with booze out of it. The irony alone should be enough to satisfy your ego. Wait, we're trying to help her?
Bah, what do they know.
What would you say?
"Don't call until you get some help." I am so fucking sick of hearing her bitch about her drunken antics. If she calls me again without getting help, I'll smash a bottle over her head!
Incorrect? Psshh. I vote 'no confidence' in AlcoholEdu. Don't call me until you get some help.
. . .
When it counts
Recap: Continuing on with the AlcoholEdu course (survey, pre-test 1-10, pre-test 11-20, verdict, Chapter 1, judging, sheepism) Well, I finished Chapter 2: Knowing the facts. After a poor pre-test and some info about healthy vomiting, it seems I didn't learn much. Let's see if I do better in Chapter 3: When it matters.
Click for more!
First they ask if any of my attitudes have changed. So far, I'm not reconsidering anything but my choice to accept my Berkeley admission, if this is what they spend their money on. I also see no need to change my current behavior pattern.
Chapter 3 is about making the tough decisions. It's sort of a practical exam, without the actual practicality. I would prefer a "choose your own adventure" type interactive program, where I would almost certainly end up with "Sorry, you've died from alcohol poisoning," but that would be too much fun, and if there's anything university administrations know about, it's keeping things from being fun.
First, some pointers on protecting your GPA. Be smart and do better than everyone else. Give the professor a blow job, if you think that would work. This is easier when drunk.
Next, peer pressure. Good friends let you be yourself. Yeah. We can't even teach you about alcohol, but damn, we know what good friends are.
Moving on, overdosing! "Common sense tells you there is a point beyond which no one wants to go." That sounds like a challenge!
Keep track of your drink! If you don't, who knows what could be put in it? On the flip side, though, where's the fun if you know exactly what's in your drink? Leave your drink unattended in rooms full of untrustworthy guys, and you can go on a magical journey to who-knows-where!
Anyway, make sure you have strategies for avoiding an overdose, or you'll end up like these chicks, or even worse, like the camera-user who seems to be falling over as she takes the picture.
Cold showers don't help your friends sober up. "You just end up with a colder, and maybe cleaner, but still intoxicated friend." Cleaner is better, I say. Shower away!
If you are concerned about a friend, call 911.
Whoa, whoa... if you're concerned about your friend, maybe it's not that great of an idea to call the police with their laws and such. But hey, "Being in a little bit of trouble is much better than being dead." Not always true. And besides, if you're playing the odds, the chances of getting deaded are usually not that high. They say "don't worry about your friend being mad at you." Why not? Seriously, dudes. It's all fun and friendly to pronounce these judgments of "safe is better than sorry" from your AlcoholEdu course, but some folks actually have to deal with the friends the next day.
One of their suggestions for throwing your parties is "Don't invite or admit underage students when you're serving alcohol." Of course, not admitting them often results in brawls, riots, and the like. But hey, AlcoholEdu doesn't need to worry about that.
Hey, don't waste your Spring Break giving money to bars. "Thousands of students decide to spend their Spring Breaks volunteering for community organizations." Yes, we call those students "losers." "Don't be fooled by the promotions that fill your college paper..." Hmm... around here, those promotions tell us to go to those volunteer spring breaks. So if we're not to be fooled by them... To the beach!
"There's not a wet T-shirt contest on your campus every day." I agree, that's a serious problem that needs to be remedied.
We've just reviewed strategies to prevent an overdose of alcohol. Have you ever used any of these strategies? If so, did they prevent negative outcomes?
Well, without a control existence, it's sort of hard to determine whether they prevented negative oucomes or not, dumbass.
Yay, it's back to our cool case study. Everyone is organizing a party without Nisha. Sam's football pals are bringing dates. No, don't do it! More people is dangerous! Nisha walks in, and is fucking pissed, and won't talk to them. She's either pissed that they're planning a party without her, or she just got raped because of her boozing habits at her sisters apartment with... dun dun DUN!!!... upperclassmen.
Anyway, you can actually see the flash from the cameras going off as they 'party.'
Let's see how they feel about their party afterwards.
Jason is jealous of that dude Nisha ran off with. Still, he knows he'd look like a total lamer to ask about it.
Sam is worried about Mike's blackout and wants to talk to him but doesn't want to talk to him. It was his fucking birthday, cut him some slack.
Mike doesn't recall what happened, but people sure are acting differently around him. He must have done something really fucking stupid. Still, he wants them to leave him alone about his alcohol problem, despite the fact that no one else seems to want to talk to him about it.
Audrey wants to meddle in Jessica's stereotypes. What a bitch. She's ruining it for the rest of us.
Nisha had a blast last night with the tall dark stranger, and even though her sister warned her about STIs, which are essentially STDs but with added political correctness, she's not worried. I smell a tragedy coming up.
Jessica is starting to fit in with the other girls. Because of this, she thinks something needs to change. That doesn't make sense to me, either.
Have you ever wondered whether some prescription medication or over-the-counter medicine you were taking might affect your memory, judgment, coordination, or decision-making? If so, which ones? Do you have any questions regarding how these medications may interact with alcohol?
Sure, I've wondered. That's why I always drink and do medications at the same time: to find out. It's all the excitement of gambling, but with none of the ugly-ass Vegas lights.
Now, the fun starts. How do alcohol and sex relate? "You see a link between drinking and sex in almost every ad for beer, wine, or liquor." Cross-referencing that statement with the Budweiser frog commercials... oh, God, you guys are fucking sick!
Surveys show that some students think drinking makes them more attractive to other people. That's not true, of course. What makes them more attractive to other people is drinking by the other people. Well, actually, let me qualify that, it does make them more attractive to the rapist segment of the population.
Anyway, boozing increases the risk of sexual assault. Sexual assault is a traumatic experience, so this where blackouts come in handy. Once again, the negative feedback loop of alcohol triumphs! (I wonder how this part would be different if I was male)
You've also got to worry about STIs and pregnancy. Like this chick. Look at how... uh... pregnant... or... sick... or... uh... well, I guess the punchline has to do with laundry. Drinking leads to laundry. BE CAREFUL!!!
Now we've got the interesting part. The AlcoholEdu folks are going to take advantage of folks' low self-esteem when it comes to their body to push alcohol reduction. You see, if you're too drunk, you might eat like a pig, and then you'll look like a cow. OMG! Also, booze has calories, but no nutrition. Well-played, AlcoholEdu folks. Well-played.
Next up: Booze leads to violence! If you're not careful, you'll be too drunk to enjoy the exchange being shown here. See how it gets really blurry? No one wants to miss a good fight just because she's drunk.
Let's go to hazing next. Hazing is classified as a form of "aggression" by these losers, and is tied to alcohol. Except for when it's not. But that's not important. What's important is blaming as much as possible on alcohol. We just studied riots, after all.
Drinking and driving gets its own section. Let me preface this, though, by pointing out that 'driving' means controlling a car through using the devices found inside. If you're asleep at the wheel, blowing your partner, or whatnot, and paying absolutely no attention to the road or the control of the car, you aren't really driving, and thus not driving under the influence. I don't think this defense flies when it comes to court, but try it on your parents.
There's some stuff about alcoholism, but the only thing I'll mention is that they recommend talking to your dean about it.
. . .
Over a week later...
After the Patriot, CalStuff, and I reported on it last week, The Daily Cal decided to cover the new AlcoholEdu course. Obviously, they won't be engaging in the investigative journalism that I did (just keep following the links back in time, I guess), but it's refreshing to know that the Berkeley Blogopoly continues to tell The Daily Cal what to cover. Anyway, read the dumb comments by the dumb freshmen, including the one who needed AlcoholEdu to tell him that if he can't sleep because of his drunk friend, it'll be tough for him to pay attention the next morning.
. . .
Excellent name for a chocolate company
After all, if you want people to think of chocolate, you need a name like Scharffen Berger.
. . .
Okay, so, there's a boring story about budgeting crap or whatnot. That's not funny. What is funny is the following two sentences stuck back to back.
"Some of the things like solar panels on their roof—well, they're nifty, but it's not clear that it's an economic benefit," [Berkeley Director Steve Barton] said.
But with the apartment complex stationed in the heart of downtown Berkeley, Councilmember Kriss Worthington called the project "the epitome of all the environmental sustainability rhetoric."
How very true.
. . .
Is Karen Kenney lifting part of the alcohol moratorium? I can't really tell...
Members of the Greek community will likely be allowed to drink at off-campus events hosted by third-party venues such as bars or restaurants around the start of the semester, Kenney said.
I guess the question I have is... did the moratorium even affect off-campus events hosted by third-party venues? Well, as long as they've got their AlcoholEdu, they'll be fine.
. . .
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Token Post of the Day
Uh... um... so... nice weather, eh? Uh...... Look over there! Free access to over a billion dollars!
. . .
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Beetle's Blogging Rule #5
Hey! Pay attention to me! LOOK AT ME!!! I'M BLOGGING!!!!!!
Beetle's Blogging Rule #5: Trying to get more readers is lame.
Yes, this includes trackbacking. "I mentioned you! Come visit my site!!!"
(Minor exception: Playing games with search engines is fun. See BBR0)
. . .
Let's see how you did!
What did I learn?
Contrary to what scientists thought just a few years ago, your brain continues to develop throughout the teenage years and probably into your early 20s.
Psshh. Everyone knows that scientists are always right the first time. This statement is false!
One of the brain regions that changes during the late adolescent years plays an important role in things like planning and decision-making.
Well, it's either the cerebellum or the frontal lobe. They mentioned the frontal lobe a lot, but they never even touched on the cerebellum. I don't want that part of my brain feeling left out, so I'll guess it.
Incorrect again? Maybe in your brain. "While alcohol does impair the cerebellum, it's not the brain region we're looking for here." What is this? "What's in my pocket?"
Well, they ask the exact same question again, but I'm sure it's a trick, so I'll go with cerebellum again.
Wrong again? Darn. I guess I couldn't get the two-choice question on two tries. I wonder if that has anything to do with my cerebellum...
This part of the brain plays a very important role in learning and memory. Alcohol affects memory in part by impairing how this area of the brain works. Alcohol affects this part of the brain more in adolescents than adults.
Which part of the brain are we referring to?
I know this one. It's the cerebellum!
Incorrect again? You bitches! Well, I'll guess it again.
Still wrong? Geez. Tough crowd.
Anyway, that's it for chapter 2. Chapter 3 next time! "When it matters."
. . .
Finally, it's time to continue with my AlcoholEdu-cation. I failed the pre-test for chapter 2, so I should have a lot to learn.
Click here for more!
First we get one of the parts I chose not to opt-out of: How is alcohol made? This is probably the most interesting and informative part of the entire course, which is why it was optional.
Let's learn about the "standard drink." The standard drink is a unit of measure that is used to bitch at people about their drinking habits quantitatively.
"If you're watching calories, don't think of light beer as a healthy dieting strategy."
Noted. Apparently, you should always know how much alcohol is in a drink before you drink it. To me, that relies on trusting the evil corporations who make booze, and I prefer to test it the old-fashioned way: with a large sample size.
Anyway, on to some stuff about BAC levels, brain activity, and all that. To be honest, I pretty much spaced out while most of it was going on. They didn't even have pictures of really drunk people doing stupid shit, which would have made it worthwhile.
Apparently, 1 in 100 people die with a BAC as high as 0.35. That's not bad. I think I can play those odds comfortably. So what influences BAC?
Weight. Whether you're fat, relatively (but not really) thin, or tall and black, weight will influence your BAC.
Sex. Suck it, men! I can get drunk cheaper than you! Check out this chart. In particular, pay attention to the oddly scaled ordinate. Sure, the intervals are the same visual size, but the first one is only half the length of any of the others. I guess some people just like their odd numbers.
Elimination. If you get really drunk, the clock looks really really blurry. I'm not sure how that relates to elimination.
Some things don't work, though. Vomiting, for instance. But since I'll be vomiting to keep myself pretty anyway, there's no worry here. It's a little misleading, though. Vomiting won't affect your BAC, but it will prevent more alcohol from being absorbed. I mean, I guess if you love your statistics, this is accurate, but dudes. Seriously. If you drink and vomit immediately after drinking (preferably right back into the cup you drank from), you're all clear! Anyway, if that dude on the left is vomiting while lying on his back face up, he's in trouble. And the owner of that couch (perhaps the color-coordinated guy sitting on it) is going to be pissed.
Well, that section ended in mid-sentence, as they were about to explain the dangers of induced vomiting. I'll assume it's perfectly safe, then.
We were about to go to the case study again, but the system crapped out on me, so I guess nothing important happened.
Okay, now we've got it running again. It's Mike's birthday, and Nisha shows up with some beers and a really annoying voice, interrupting a group study session with Sam, Jason, Audrey and Jessica, who are worried about the chem exam. (disclaimer: I couldn't recognize the difference between the two generic white dudes Jason and Mike, but determined it was Jason from plot details.) Remember, Jessica is in Psych. Sam blows her off, but Nisha keeps whining and whining. Jessica and Jason cave in over the wishes of Audrey and Sam. Clearly whitey out-parties the competition. Oh, but Nisha doesn't have snacks. Uh oh! Absorption! Here comes Mike.
Now the voiceover narration. It's Thursday night. The bastard chem professor apparently has his test Friday morning. What will these people have to think about? What decisions influence their drinking? Does anyone even drink beer out of bottles anymore?
Now then, time to make a personalized BAC curve. Remember, I'm an 18-year-old female, and grossly underweight... uh, I mean, extremely attractive at 80 pounds. Remember, I drink 25 drinks in a typical night over 1 minute, though they only allow it in whole numbers of hours. To scale that, then, I guess I drink 1500 drinks over the period of 1 hour. Yet they only allow me to go up to 99. Who are these people? Well, then I guess I'll have to scale my weight down to 5 pounds.
Lessee... my peak BAC level is... 100.62. They say that's dangerous. Something's up with their server, though, because they won't display my curve.
Next we've got a map of U.S. drinking laws. Just like it's handy when you want to rape little kids to have the statutory rape map, we need a boozing map.
Do you think your academic performance has ever been affected by your drinking choices?
Well, I don't think I'd be performing all that well with all the other drugs in my body, so I figure drinking is just harmless fun.
Did you realize that alcohol was affecting your abilities at the time?
Hey, asshole, did you just hear what I said? It's not affecting me. It's not affecting me at all! I'll kill you!!!
"Let's face it, college can be hard. You have to do more than just show up, get the notes, and carry a laptop around."
In fact, in many courses, you don't need to do any of those three. Anyway, booze is like sandpaper, in that it "grinds the edges off motivation, attention, and focus." Bad analogies are also like sandpaper. Now it's time for them to try to convince me that boozing hurts my academics.
As a college student, you're constantly being bombarded with new information.
Hey, AlcoholEduDude! You're not helping! Drinking alcohol is "like interfering with the record button for new memories in the brain." Bad analogy count: 2.
Some stuff about blackouts, and how people who have blackouts are usually doing dumb things. To me, that seems like a negative feedback loop that takes care of itself. It doesn't matter what dumb things you did if you don't remember them, after all.
Blackouts don't just happen to alcoholics. They happen to these regular students. Those students look pretty happy, though, so I dunno what the concern is. (I also have to admit that some of these "myths" that they're breaking are ones that I'd never heard of before. You have to wonder...)
Blackouts occur more frequently if you drink quickly, like this dude. Seriously, though, if you were that dude, you wouldn't want to remember something like that.
There's some stuff about long-term effects, but all of the statements are qualified with "maybe," so I'm going to assume they're just full of crap and trying to scare people away from booze.
Now, another of those useless factoids that we can opt out of: Saving your fucking life by boozing. Yes, drinking small amounts can reduce risk of heart disease. But we'd better not mention that. And don't drink more than that, or you'll get breast cancer! (Seriously, they said that)
Okay, more judgment about my drinking habits from the lamers who write this course. Blah blah blah.
And back to the case study. They're partying it up, and the party seems to have grown in size, as other friends joined in. Well, actually, there's only one additional friend. He's the generic white pothead. While Mike, Jason, and Nisha are chilling and having fun, in the background you can see Sam, Jessica and Audrey still fucking studying. At one point, Jessica just sits up and stares smiling into the camera for a minute. Our visitor doesn't get a name or a mouse rollover, but let's see everyone else.
Jason, after drinking a bit, is suddenly very alert and notices Nisha leaving the party with some older guy he doesn't know. I want to stress that Nisha is still in the exact same frame with this comment.
Sam doesn't drink, remember, but he's getting pissed at the noisy "friends" who never seem to shut the fuck up. In particular, he thinks Mike is going to get them all into trouble, although no one explains how this is supposedly possible.
Mike the birthday boy is having lots of fun. His girlfriend stopped by, and he convinced her to stay with his pals. She's nowhere in sight, so is probably fucking the older guy Nisha is leaving with while not actually leaving.
Audrey is worried that Jessica "keeps disappearing into the bathroom." Apparently she'd prefer that Jessica puke all over their assignment. She's also concerned that if they get into trouble, she'll lose her financial aid, because that's what happens when the police find you studying in a room where other people are drinking but not doing anything illegal.
Nisha is smitten with the cute... dun dun DUN!!!... upperclassman her older sister knows. She doesn't know if he's interested, but she's curious as to "how the night will go." She's also stupid, and figures no one will notice her leaving with him. Sorry, bitch, Jason's already onto you! Oh, I can hear the rumor mill starting up now.
Jessica has more stereotypes to live up to. She hasn't eaten since breakfast, but one has to wonder why someone like her even eats breakfast. She's also going to get kicked out of her sorority for having shitty grades.
Exercise time! "What did you learn about learning?" Next post!
. . .
Marty Schiffenbauer swallows Becky O'Malley's claim to victimhood without the slightest doubt. Recall that we had a third-hand account from an anonymous source who was likely idly speculating, since we have no information to suggest that she was involved in the decision-making process. Hey, that's enough to claim a "politically-motivated boycott."
. . .
Oh, no, radiation!
Wanda Crow mentions some of the health dangers of RFID.
Health issues and RFID have to do with unknown heath risks associated with the low-frequency radio waves that the sensors/readers/scanners emit (the gates at the entrance of libraries are readers).
Oh, no, LOW FREQUENCY RADIO WAVES!!!! This is terrible. I don't want these things flying all over the place. Man, I need some soothing music to deal with this horror. What's on the radio?
. . .
Haha. Way to connect, chief.
Richard Hourula wants to take on Kansas. See, Kansas has a higher crime rate. Richard tries to connect that with looser gun-carrying laws. The thought apparently never occured to him that maybe they need looser gun-carrying laws because of the higher crime rate, rather than the other way around. Oh, but he does show causality with a reliable report from the impartial group... uh... "Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence," which amazingly says "guns bad!!!"
Nonetheless we hear from our gun loving brethren that it is not the gun that kills, but the person.
However, in the case that started this discussion, the shooter’s intended target was not the one struck down. Had he decided to employ a knife or blunt object it is a certainty that Meleia would have not died. Indeed one of the greatest tragedies communities suffer is when a stray bullet takes an innocent life. Collateral deaths tend only to result when assailants use guns.
Am I reading that right? Is he saying that it would've been better if a knife or blunt object had been used because Christopher Hollis would've murdered the right person? One may as well argue "it would've been better if it was a sniper rifle he was properly trained in the use of."
He concludes by suggesting that "if you want go after something, why not cars" as they are responsible for more deaths than guns. Excuse us if we wait until cars are aimed and fired at our citizenry.
It's been done. People do murder people with cars. Now, then, will you ban them? Oh, that's right, you actually use a car, so it's different. It's only important to ban such things when it doesn't hurt you.
. . .
Monday, July 25, 2005
Beetle's Blogging Rule #4
Another essential blogging concept that a successful blog cannot function without understanding:
Beetle's Blogging Rule #4: There's no such thing as a happy pancake.
. . .
Wait... don't ignore us!
I noticed a CNN commercial. "Before the internet. Before 300 channels. There was CNN." It must be bad times if you can't advertise based on the fact that you're good, but have to advertise based on the fact that you were first. "We used to be the best. Then other things came along. But remember! We still used to be the best!"
. . .
Yeah. Well, at least we can tell what is being said, even if we can't figure out why. (Yes, we know a judge ordered no strike. It was in the news.)
. . .
Oh, the horror. The Patriot blog has mentioned this dude before. Frankly, the objections from conservatives are kind of lame. Fight lame with lame, as the saying goes, apparently.
I don't really care about the opinion expressed. What I dislike about Stephen Pearcy is that he enjoys making people angry. That's a disgusting trait in a human being. It's also somewhat ironic, considering his opinions.
Further, look at this thing. He did it in 20 minutes. It looks like something out of a third-grade art project. Forget the opinion, this is a piece of crap.
An online petition being advertised by the online Web log Conservative Schooler calls the painting "anti-American" and says that it is within Lockyer's rights to remove it. The petition had more than 50 signatures last week.
Sure, crappy art is anti-American. Like I said, lame responses. I will note, however, that that the petition has 2336 "signatures" as I'm writing this. And it had 300 or so when I first looked at it last Wednesday. Yes, last Wednesday, which was apparently too late to be looked at by press time for the paper 5 days later.
"I'm glad there is discussion about it, because I know a lot of people feel the way I feel," Pearcy said. "This is what we should do when something is happening that other people don't seem to be paying attention to. It's like, why do you put a bumper sticker on your car?"
Because you're lame? If you want to push that displaying your 'art' is as important as putting a bumper sticker on your car, you're free to do so, but that doesn't make a great case for it.
. . .
But does it come in green?
Anti-blogger Alex Stathopoulus sure knows her stuff.
It's a crying shame when human beings substitute spirituality with values that go unquestioned and ignored for most of their lives. Without any base of spirituality, the human psyche is not a self-sustaining entity.
Um... I have a question about that. Do you?
. . .
We don't get it, and we don't want to
Some dead guy asks the question: Is it really that crazy to want to die?
Now, Bob Stern is lame, and full of shit when he says his decision was "rational." It wasn't. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it was wrong. Desires, pain, happiness, sadness, none of it is rational, but it's still important and shouldn't be dismissed when it comes to making life choices.
Was he depressed? Maybe. Susan Stern, his daughter, reacted as follows: "Hey, I can do a documentary project out of this. Thanks, dad!" so that should give you some idea of what kind of family he led.
Still, the response from people and their knee-jerk objection to suicide always amazes me.
In my 30 years of research, I've never seen a rational suicide," said Dr. Donna Cohen, newly elected president of the American Association of Suicidology and a professor at the University of South Florida.
Cohen declined to weigh in on the particulars of Stern's death, but she has screened Stern's movie in her classes.
Translation: Because I don't believe there can be a rational suicide, this was not a rational suicide. Thanks, doctor. Also, "suicidology" exists.
Stern may embody not the unique but the tragically common: the depressed and vulnerable older white man.
Why is it tragic? Sure, it's easy to act all detached-like and say "I understand everyone else's head, and thus can pass judgment," but what about those folks who really are old white men? Don't they get a say in their life? What are you if you're an old white man? What is it that defines a man? What are they supposed to do when that's gone? "Gee, I'm nobody and my life is meaningless, but it's still life, so I'll keep going, because living for the sake of living is totally worth it. Whee!"
This striking pattern could make solutions easier to reach.
We have already assumed that it's a problem that needs solving. Excellent. What if it's not? What if these people are right, that the best thing for them really is to go off themselves? Can we really sidestep that question with lame excuses like "Oh, no, she's not rational, don't listen to her, she's depressed"?
No, no, the appropriate response is the one from Wesley J. Smith, anti-assisted suicide dude:
"If you end up with a public policy around rational suicide, you might as well throw suicide prevention in the trash," Smith said in a phone interview. "If a mental health professional gets in the business of stamping suicide, it's abandonment."
Abandonment. Because we should totally be saving these people from themselves. No one should have to die just because someone wants her dead. Even if that someone is the person who is dying. "Oh, good, we've saved her from death, despite the fact that she doesn't want to live anymore. For a few years, anyway. This is much better."
"He was seeing doctors, and, as the movie shows, his PSA level (an indicator of prostate cancer) was going up, and he's not doing anything about it," Cohen said. "Physicians were not engaged in his care -- although clearly, he didn't let them get engaged. I'm convinced that no doctor could have prevented Bob Stern's death.
"But the fact remains, nobody tried."
And everyone ended up getting what they wanted. Yay! Cause for celebration! Wait, this is an objection?
And, as the documentary shows, the values of American masculinity are at increasing odds with the reality of aging. In this context, Bob Stern's death could be seen as irrational and perhaps preventable.
Oh, okay. "His wishes totally don't matter, they're being influenced by the culture he lives in." Hey, I've got a craaaaazy suggestion. Maybe we should consider the culture that we believe in and that greatly influences our lives when we decide things.
But, as in every suicide, questions remain. Most of all: What if he had talked about getting sick and old instead of rejecting the prospect out of hand?
Yes, if only we had more opportunities to guilt him into living a life he didn't want to live. That would've been preferable.
"The issue is why are they doing what they're doing and what our responsibilities are as a community toward these people," Cohen said. "Rational or not, do you really have to do this?"
Maybe it's not an issue of whether they have to do it or not. Maybe it's an issue of whether they want to do it or not.
But hey, who am I to ask these questions. Alive>Dead. Start there. And beginning with that unproven, unfounded, irrational hypothesis, determine if a person's actions are rational. They're not? What a shock!
. . .
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Oh, no! Death!
Although I'm still on vacation, I had to point out this quote from Chas Nol:
Every day since November 2001, when the United States went after the Taliban, and then invaded Iraq, lives have been lost. Every day, someone dies because of what this administration is doing. Soldiers are dying. Children are dying. People are dying.
Wow, that's scary. I wonder what was happening before that month.
. . .
Beetle's Blogging Rule #3
Beetle's Blogging Rule #3: You can take a vacation whenever you want to, and don't even need to tell anyone.
But you can if you want to. So hey, I'm on vacation for a bit. I'm sure AlcoholEdu will wait for me.
. . .
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Beetle's Blogging Rule #2
Since this is the internet, land of avoidability, we come to BBR2
Beetle's Blogging Rule #2: Readers can go fuck themselves.
That's not to say that I don't appreciate complaints or criticism or disagreement (on the contrary, I greatly prefer it), but if you're not bitching for the sake of betterment (by BBR0, this means "to make things for fun"), I just won't care.
(By the way, BBR2 is both literal and figurative. Porn is just a few mouse clicks away.)
. . .
From The Globe, a Cynthia Curry has this to say:
Like civil rights, abortion rights are too important to turn over to the individual states.
Ah, I see. States are like growing kids. You put decisions in their hands to teach them responsibility, but still, if an important decision comes along, we adults in the federal government will take care of it. Yes, this is mommy politics.
Should Roe be overturned, women would be forced to travel to states where abortion is legal, placing an undue financial burden on them.
Do you know how much a condom costs nowadays?
. . .
Friday, July 22, 2005
Knowing the facts!
Recap: Continuing on with the AlcoholEdu course (survey, pre-test 1-10, pre-test 11-20, verdict) After learning about advertising and stereotypical image-choosing in chapter 1, and being judged, and then being reminded that AlcoholEdu has the minority, and thus wrong, opinion, it's time to start with Chapter 2: Knowing the Facts.
Unlike Chapter 1, they give me the opportunity to test out by showing my vast body of knowledge on alcohol. Here we go with another test!
1. "Proof" is...
What you're going to have, of how much I don't need this course, after I'm done with this test. Anyway, we've got some trick answers: Either "The percentage of alcohol in a drink (twice the alcohol content)" or "The content of alcohol in a drink (twice the percent)." I won't fall for the trick, so I'll go with the obvious alternative answer, "ID showing that you’re 21." That is proof, after all.
2. Light beer...
Great taste. No, less filling. Great taste! Less filling! (I don't actually remember how that commercial goes.) Well, light means less, so I'll go with "Has less alcohol, carbs, and calories than regular beer," rather than one of the more conservative answers. (The real answer is "weighs less," but that's not an option, either. Who writes these things?)
3. A standard drink is:
I've already answered this one in the pre-test. But this time they have way more numbers. I'm going to get a headache. Uh... uh... I'll go with "12 oz. malt liquor (6% alcohol), 12 oz. wine (12% alcohol), 1.5 oz. liquor (30% alcohol)." It only makes sense, after all, for something with twice the alcohol content but the same size to be considered the same number of drinks.
1. Women reach higher BACs than men, all things being equal, because...
Hey, who reset the numbering? If my personal, 1 minute-2 gallon experience is any indication, the answer is "Women drink faster than men."
2. Which of the following factors will not influence your BAC:
Oooh, one of those "not" questions. Let's see. "Sex" reduces BAC, because you secrete it in bodily fluids. "Weight" doesn't because alcohol is liquid, and thus 'stretchy' and can affect an arbitrary amount of weight. "Family history" does, because if your pa' drinks enough, his sperm will carry a keg or two to the egg which gets incorporated into your DNA, so it's like you always have a keg in your genes. "How much food you’ve eaten before drinking" certainly does, at least if you eat alcoholic food. So I guess it's "Weight."
3. "BAC" stands for:
Now that I've answered a question about BAC, let's see if I even know what it means. The closest answer they have is "Blood Absolute Content," although truthfully it's "Blood Absolut Content," named after the vodka. If you don't drink Absolut, your BAC is 0 (but you're also lame, if I remember the ads correctly).
1. If alcohol has an effect on the frontal lobes, you might see a difference in which of the following list of functions?
Yeah, don't put alcohol on your ear-lobes. I mean, the frontal ear lobes. If you have ears on the back of your head, you can put alcohol there, it'll be fine. Still, I have no idea what any of these lists mean, so I'll just pick one at random... uh... "Impulse control, decision-making, speaking clearly, and memory formation."
2. Alcohol's major effects on judgment and decision-making occur in the:
Bar? Once again the correct answer is unavailable. Uh... man, these are all complicated brain parts... I'll have to go random again and guess... "posterior cerebral cortex." It's the longest, so it must be right in a sciency question.
1. Students who go to class with a hangover tend to learn less than students who do not have a hangover.
False! They learn more!
2. Dehydration during a hangover occurs when alcohol alters activity in the:
Oh, man, more brain parts. "Cerebral cortex" is alliterative, so that's my guess.
It then gives some options for opting out of certain parts, but I wouldn't want to miss any important facts, so I won't opt out. I will note, though, that one of the unimportant things we can opt out of is a description of "Positive Health Effects."
You have not tested out of any of the Test Out sections in Chapter 2
OMG! Learn to grade your tests, you bastards! The actual learning will begin next post.
. . .
Who wants to fill me in?
Everyone and their mother has been searching for Nayeli Adorador-Knudsen, who I made fun of once for having ADHD (or, more accurately, for being diagnosed with it). Is it the HBO thingie? Because that's the only guess I could come up with. If any of you searchers find your way to the main page, fill me in!
(I'm assuming there's only one person named Nayeli Adorador-Knudsen, but I guess it's possible that it's not true.)
. . .
Beetle's Blogging Rule #0
So, I guess I should've put the fundamental rule first, which describes the function of blogging.
Beetle's Blogging Rule #0: Blogging is for fun.
It's amazing how many people approach this blog thinking something else.
. . .
Oh, there we go
More shameless opportunism, this time from Eileen M. Mello:
I am horrified to hear that Meleia Willis-Starbuck was murdered in Berkeley, despite not knowing this obviously remarkable young woman. What I find absolutely astounding about her death is that no one is calling it what it is: a misogynist hate crime.... Being gunned down is the ultimate example of the strong hatred many in our country feel toward strong women, especially strong women of color.
Yeah. Folks hate women so much they kill them by accident.
Anyway, O'Malley gets schooled in "I never face danger, so no one else should be able to protect themselves from it"ism.
Mike Vandeman doesn't like how John Roberts (incoming Supreme Court dude) thinks that the endangered species act can be unconstitutional if applied to one state (or something, I don't know the details, or care).
Is there any limit to human arrogance? Life existed on this planet for 3.8 billion years before humans ever thought of appearing. What kind of hubris allows someone to say that a given species, however insignificant in our minds, does not deserve to exist, simply because it conflicts with some human’s petty wishes?
I've got some bad news for you, Mike. Species have been killing other species right out of existence for 3.8 billion years, simply because their existence conflicts with that species's petty wishes.
. . .
In today's news...
Peace and Justice commissioners are pissed, because people who don't agree with them are being appointed to the commission. I love this quote from Thom Seaton:
"My view was that the city and the commission were mired in ideological orthodoxy," said Seaton. "Everyone in Berkeley says to question authority. Now people are questioning authority and people don't like it."
. . .
Beetle's Blogging Rule #1
This is the first in a series of posts that will describe the best blogging philosophy ever to exist (i.e. mine). These are numbered in the order I think of them, not in the order of importance.
Beetle's Blogging Rule #1: Never do anything you would actively avoid doing if you didn't have a blog.
At least in the short-term, BBR1 ensures a strictly nonnegative enjoyment factor associated with blogging. The drawback, of course, is that there won't be any short-term investment of pain in order to make a superior blog in the long-run. However, it turns out that, due to rules that are to-be-declared, a "superior blog" isn't superior at all.
. . .
It's time to explore my expectations of drinking! Which is strange, since they've already passed judgment on me.
When you drink, which of the following do you expect that alcohol will do for you?
Well, I don't want to seem like an over-expectant cad, so I guess I'll check every answer:
Help break the ice (73%)
Make you more social (72%)
Allow you to have more fun (58%)
Help you bond with your friends (55% male, 42% female)
Increase the odds of having opportunities for sexual activity (51%)
Make women look sexier to you (25%)
Make men look sexier to you (14%)
Make you look sexier to other people (14%)
Sure, I'm an asian chick, but I still like hot women.
Oh, hey, I'm not alone! (the percentages are how many other folks agreed) I wonder if the percentages for "making men/women look sexier to you" include both sexes. Anyway, majority rule! But it's not all fun and games. Check out these negative consequences:
38% did something they later regretted
33% missed a class because of drinking
31% got into an argument or fight
24% performed poorly on a test or project because of drinking
14% were hurt or injured
14% got into trouble with the police or other authorities
12% were taken advantage of sexually
Look at that. All under 50%. If I'm playing the odds, it looks like I've got nothing to lose!
...and who really wants that?
All things in life come with risk.
Anyway, they provide some good sources for info if we want to help create a less-druggie society.
An email link to connect with other students interested in promoting the social acceptability of drug-free lifestyles. This new non-profit organization is dedicated to proving that "entertainment, fun, and having a good time don't need to focus on drugs and alcohol." Contact Hammered to start a chapter on your campus.
And what's that link? Well, it goes to a domain called "hammered.org." Excellent name!
Time for the exercise assessment. I said nothing at all was helpful, because I'm a bitch like that.
I'm finally done with Chapter 1! I feel like I learned a lot. I learned a lot about advertising, and how to properly choose stereotypical people for photo opportunities. I learned that... uh... Oh, yeah, I learned that it's possible to have fun without getting drunk. It's just harder.
Off to booze it up. Chapter 2: Knowing the Facts... later.
. . .
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Hey, don't judge me
Carrying on, the time has come for the evil program to judge me for my survey responses.
Among college students, the behaviors that you reported are associated with higher BAC levels, a greater risk of harm to self and others, and a more substantial risk of negative effects on learning, memory, and academic performance. You may want to keep this information in mind the next time you are making decisions about drinking alcohol.
And you may want to mind your own business! By the way, I'm still not done with Chapter 1, but damn, it's long, so I'm taking a break.
. . .
Time to start learning about alcohol
Recap: Yesterday, I decided to take the AlcoholEdu course to make sure I was fully informed about alcohol use. After filling out a survey, and taking a pre-test... a long pre-test, I didn't do so well. Clearly, I've got some learning to do.
This post is pretty long, so I'm going to try to use a fold. (Okay, that's as good as I can get it. It's too picky for me.)
Chapter 1: Shaping Our Decisions
(Note: All pictures are from Outside the Classroom, Inc., so there's prolly some copyright infringement going on here.)
The first thing they want to know is about my family. They have three open-ended questions, and then a blank space for typing in an answer. Yeah, I'll do that. The questions are... uh...
When you were growing up, how did your family feel about drinking?
You know, it never came up. We were too drunk to talk about it.
Was your family environment positive or negative?
Isn't that question kind of... overly structured? I mean, my environment had positive and negative aspects. At least, I assume so. I don't remember much of it.
Do you remember anything that happened in your family that made a strong impression on you and affected your decisions about drinking?
Yeah, my parents once said "drinking too much is bad for you." And I'm a rebel. So look at me now! Over 2 gallons of 40% liquor in one minute!
Next they want to see how competition fits in.
Have you ever had to make a decision – or been challenged about your decision –about drinking in a competitive environment, such as whether to participate in a drinking game?
A drinking game? That's no decision at all. I'm in!
How do you think competition – or the context you were in – influenced your final decision?
I remember this part of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." In retrospect, guessing randomly at $16,000 when I had no idea was probably a bad idea, but the rules were "chug if you lose $15,000 because of your stupidity," and I couldn't pass that up.
On to the flash video. I should mention that they work advertisements for AlcoholEdu in their courses. "There's a reason so many colleges and universities have chosen to use AlcoholEdu."
Apparently, "Nobody wants to get hurt, to hurt anyone else, or to screw up academically." They should visit my BDSM dungeon sometime.
Oh, excellent, a case study! Let's see some stereotypical college-aged conversation.
All right. We've got the white guy, two white chicks (one is clearly supposed to be a Jewish chick), a black guy, a black chick, and a hispanic guy. No asians, though. I feel underrepresented. On closer look, I think the black chick might be Indian or around there, but I'm not good at races. She has a book open, because since they don't have any asians, the "student" has to be portrayed by an Indian. The black guy is gobbling down chips from a huge bag, but apparently isn't sharing at all. What a douche.
The Jewish chick, standing next to the black dude, has a look of extreme discomfort on her face. I imagine those chips are filled with fake cheese or some other awful breath-inducing flavor. She's holding something in her hand like food, but she absolutely refuses to put it near her mouth.
Now that I see a closeup of the hispanic dude, he doesn't look hispanic at all. What gives? Two generic white guys?
All right, time to learn about these dudes.
Jason, the generic white dude, "likes to hang out with his friends and go places in a group, like to a football game to watch Sam play or eat a meal together in town." (Sam, of course, is the black dude. Because that's what black dudes do in college.) Anyway, Jason lives at home with his parents and commutes, but for some reason hangs out in the dorms.
Sam, (the generic black dude) the football player, stays up late studying most nights, thinks about being pre-med, and organizes weekly study groups for the floor, just like all football players.
Mike, the almost-hispanic dude, is a transfer engineering student.
Audrey, the maybe-Indian chick, has a work-study job on campus, and isn't around the dorm too often. She volunteers and tutors a bunch.
Nisha, the Jewish chick, has an older sister at the college who invites them to her off-campus apartment often. Uh oh! I think I see where the plot is going. She is on the intramural softball team.
Finally, Jessica, the hot(test) white chick, just pledged a sorority, like a hot white chick should. I think I see another plot twist! She doesn't spend much time at the dorm, favoring the sorority house. She's in psychology, yet still needs turoring to keep her grades up. Dumb hot white humanities sorority chick named Jessica. How many stereotypes can you fit into one person?
Anyway, this part of the plot is about teaching people how "When we first meet people, we only know a little about them." Come on, where's the booze?
I suppose I should summarize what the info in this chapter is about. They're trying to teach us that our decisions are influenced by stuff, and here are some of the things that influence your decisions. Once you know how your decisions get influenced, apparently, that'll help us make decisions. Like, "Gee, this decision was influenced by my parents. I must do the opposite, now that I recognize that!"
I won't put pictures here, because I don't like doing it, but they have stereotypical pictures of:
Black parents drinking. (They're fat and in the kitchen)
White parents drinking. (They're old, lounging on a couch with wine glasses, like in one of those erectile dysfunction ads)
A non-drinking religious family. (Stereotypical suburban white family, with the balding dad with the silly smile, the extremely short wife, the hittable-but-has-a-face-that-looks-13 daughter, and the taller-than-everyone-else son)
And a family of alcoholics who are getting along fine, though. (Just to show it's possible)
Again, no Asian parents, who are probably way more influential than any of these white picket fencers.
On to peer pressure!
70-80% of students dreak at least once monthly, and more students are drinking for the purpose of getting drunk in the past. Blah blah, whatever. But there's also a row of small pictures of stereotypical students. It's hard to make them out because the pictures are so small, but here goes.
On the left is a sassy but conservatively-dressed white chick with hands on her hips. She actually looks more like a mother.
Then there's a white dude with a backpack.
Then there's a token black dude with hands in his pocket.
Then a tan chick in a summer dress and flip-flops.
Then an even sassier white chick with the appropriate amount of knee-bending to show sass, wearing a black tank-top. (None of these people are dressed slutty. This is college, dudes.)
Then a depressed guy in a red sweater who's about to go on a killing spree.
Then a white (or maybe asian) dude who probably has a silly smile.
Then another sassy chick who's about to fall over backwards.
Then it's black tank-top chick again, but a mirror image.
And a mirrror image of the backpack dude.
Anyway, we've got a definition for binge drinking (it's officially called "High-risk drinking"). For the chicks, black tank-top chick makes an appearance. For the dudes, it's the token black dude.
To make the point of how some students drink a lot, they say that 23% of students dink 68% of the alcohol. The 23% is represented by depressed sweater guy, who does the most harm, while sassy mom, summer dress chick and black dude are the normal folks.
Next, we have a careful analysis of "Work hard, play hard." It turns out that, as a group, the hardest players are not the hardest workers. Who would've thunk it?
It also turns out that alcohol has second hand effects like secondhand smoke. Yeah, seriously, they said that. 75% of students report at least one problem caused by someone else's drinking. They don't get into specifics, though, or explain what proportion of that group reports the problem as "no booze left for me."
There's even a picture of assault, though it's blurred, to give the impression of either motion (as the dude's about to punch the other dude in the face) or drunkenness.
Next, we have pictures to describe substance-free housing, which is clearly and conveniently labelled, so we know where the losers live. We have a chick with glasses who is having way too much fun studying. It looks like the intro to porn. And we need the friends talking and having fun to show that it really is possible to have fun in substance-free housing.
Who is more likely to be a high-risk drinker? Males and whites. I must say, that the "Male" guy does a far better PR job of representing men thant the "white" guy does representing his race. Is that Norm MacDonald? But I'm an asian female, so I don't need to worry about high-risk drinking. Also, Northeasterners are more likely than Southwesterners, so again, I'm in the clear, and can drink as much as I want without any risk at all.
Uh, oh, Greeks, too. But apparently, only those of Sigma and Psi. If you're some other letter, no worries! Oh, maybe the picture doesn't match, and they're talking about folks from Greece. Those damn Greeks. Ruining it for the rest of us. What has Greece done for the world lately? Not to mention those fucking athletes. Especially fraternity athletes from Greece.
And... uh... sports fans. Especially those generic ones who can't root for a particular team.
Competition + Alcohol + Gambling = Drinking Games
No one said we'd have to know math for this.
Oh, goodie, back to our generic Asian-free case study.
Jason has ADHD and uses Rialin, but only to stay awake longer to party. That's some smart thinking, actually.
One of Sam's high school football pals got killed by a drunk driver. Now he's afraid of booze.
Mike's pals have to take care of him when he gets wasted all the time, since his parents started getting him booze at 8th grade. You'd think he'd build a tolerance.
Audrey's ma's an alcoholic, so she's afraid of booze, too.
Nisha got a fake ID from her older sister. What kind of sister does that? Leave her out on her own, she'll never grow up if you spoil her. Oh, and Nisha hangs out at her sister's off-campus apartment with some... dun dun DUN!!!... upper-classmen. No, Nisha, don't do it!
As if Jessica didn't have enough stereotypes, she also skips meals to lose weight. She goes to the gym to work out before drinking.
Now we got an animated scene at... uh... somewhere, where they're all hanging out. Red plastic cups and all. Audrey is holding one of them in one of the scenes, which they apparently forgot to edit out. There're also bowls of some red substance that I can't identify. Actually, now that I look closer, Sam's got a cup, too. Well, maybe there's non-booze in those cups.
Here's a shocking fact: Alcohol manufacturers try to get you to drink your brand! I mean, look at these dupes. They've been "DOLLAR SIGNED!" The important thing is to get them while they're young, so that as they age, and, apparently, as their life starts to go to the gutter, they continue to booze it up with the right brand.
Let's compare our attitudes on how it'll feel to get boozed up. The black-and-white loser on the left represents how "Some people expect that they'll feel tired or nauseous, lose control, or end up with a hangover." The happening dude on the right represents how "Others expect that they'll have fun, feel less stressed, and be more attractive to others." Hey, pessimistic, dude! I think your problem is that you're drinking alone.
In movies, they don't even show the negative consequences of excessive drinking. What gives? Everyone knows that you have to have one of those "The More You Know" moments if you want a good movie. Anyway, there's a bunch of dull stuff on how to engage in good marketing practices by targetting markets and all that, and I'll note it down for when I want to advertise booze later in life.
Now, then, let's draw a picture of stress. Everyone knows that white chicks stress out about class, black chicks stress out about guys trying to pick them up, and white guys stress out about... uh... that dude... with Richard Simmons's hair.
So, here's a question. Do you have to drink to have a good time? Of course not! Look at this nerdy guy. He picked up a (hot?) chick by going to the movies, not by getting her drunk. And at the movies, you don't even need to talk, which can help cover your complete lack of social skills. But look at the guy directly behind them (from the camera's point of view). Check out that facial hair. But you get the sense that he's not all that happy about being there, and was only dragged by his overenthusiastic chick. What's he thinking? "God, boozing is so much easier." But this is the best line:
And if you find that it takes a drink or two to feel comfortable around your date, maybe you're dating the wrong person.
Beggars can't be choosers. Just ask nerdy popcorn dude.
. . .
Must... take... advantage...
More shameless opportunism, this time from Griffin Dix. You see, we need serial numbers printed on all bullets so police could find the dude who shot Meleia Willis-Starbuck. Nevermind that they seem to know who did it without those serial numbers.
I'm not worried about the legislation in question (a gun owner needs to be responsible for the bullets she shoots), but it's probably impolite to jump on every dead guy as a reason for promoting your cause.
. . .
Do you know what day it is?
That's right. Today is July 21. The July 21. Festivities are in order. Don't be caught in the trap of ho-hummedness. Celebrate! It's July 21!
. . .
More comments on the strike-that-wasn't:
"We're appalled that the university would go to this length, to go to court and block the nurses' democratic right to strike," [union spokeslady Liz Jacobs] said.
The democratic right is the right to vote. Just sayin'.
. . .
Let's see if anyone admits to copyright infringement in today's article on online downloading.
"It's like (having) designated drivers," said Clara Potes-Fellow, a CSU spokesperson. "This is letting them do what they want to do at an affordable price under an all-legal framework."
*raised eyebrow* So, designated drivers is when one dude decides to be the guy who doesn't have fun so everyone else can. This is... a little different. By the way, part of what they want to do is get it for free, so it's kind of odd to put it that way.
Anyway, no admissions this time. Too bad.
Also in the raised eyebrow department is an attempt by the Regents to create more K-12 teachers in math and science.
"I care a lot about this one," said UC President Robert Dynes.
When you see "this one" tagged on at the end, you sort of get the idea he just doesn't care about most of the other things he does. Which is fine, but hardly good PR.
. . .
D number 1
Hmmm... On fire department non-closure:
However, the council has yet to decide where the money [for keeping the station open] will come from, though City Manager Phil Kamlarz proposed to take $300,000 out of the city's street repair fund.
"The street repairs aren’t scheduled until next spring, anyway," Kamlarz said.
However, the council has yet to decide where the money [for repairing the street] will come from, though City Manager Phil Kamlarz proposed to take $300,000 out of the city's fire department fund.
"Fires aren't scheduled until next summer, anywar." Kamlarz said.
. . .
OMG! I demand a recount!
Just as a reminder, I'm taking the AlcoholEdu online course. Previous posts here, here, and here.
You have received the following score on your Pre-Test: 0% correct.
What the fuck do they know? They spend their lives making up tests to teach people about drinking, which is obviously what losers with no drinking life do.
Anyway, they have a very creative opinion:
[O]ur philosophy is that you should make decisions that are right for you.
Well, I was planning on making decisions that are wrong for me, but I guess this changes things.
Well, whatever, I'll do section 1 some other time. Right now I need to booze it up.
. . .
AlcoholEdu, the pre-test, part II
All right, more questions to show my vast alcoholic knowledge on.
11. To decrease chances of overdosing on alcohol, one should:
Well, the real answer is to drink more, to dilute the alcohol already in your body, but that's not an option. But I love coffee (see question 3), so I'll say "Drink coffee before drinking alcohol."
12. An example of a standard drink would be which of the following?
Whatever's in my stomach. Haha! But seriously, I'll say...... "12 ounces of 40% liquor." Which, combined with my 25-drinks-last-Saturday comment means I drank the equivalent of 2.3 gallons of 40% liquor in a 1-minute period.
13. It is possible to cure a hangover with/by:
Well, hangovers are caused by drinking, and not at all by dehydration, so I'm sure the answer is "Avoiding liquids the next day." On the other hand, the best way to deal with a headache is "A small amount of alcohol the next day," and since I have a lot of drinking to fit into my days, I'd best go with that.
14. A "blackout" refers to:
A power outage. But that's not one of the choices. Still, it has to do with cutting back on output. Hence, the logical answer is "Withdrawal symptoms experienced by alcoholics." Spock would be proud.
15. The point of much of the advertising designed by alcohol manufacturers is to:
Tell us the truth. For social commentators out there, I'm going to list all the answers, though, and recall that this course is advertised as "non-opinionated." The choices are "Highlight the social costs of not drinking," "Show the real hazards of choosing to drink too early in life," "Get people to choose their brand early in life," and my answer, "Convince people that drinking is healthy." And it worked!
16. High risk ("binge") drinking refers to:
That's loser drinking. "Any kind of drinking alone." You should drink at parties in huge quantities, obviously. That's low-risk.
17. Date-rape drugs work by:
It's hard to tell, since they're supposed to be secretly slipped into my drink. But then, if you look at my list of extra-curricular drug habits, one hardly needs to bother. Still, clumsy oafs sometimes let me see them, and that always has the effect of "Temporarily increasing sex drive."
18. The proportion of American college students who choose to abstain from alcohol is approximately:
Psshh. What losers. Well, everyone I know drinks, so I'm sure the answer is the smallest available: "Less than 10%."
19. Alcohol-related traffic fatalities:
Well, I run over about three people on the way home everyday, even though I don't remember. It never caused me trouble, though, so I'm sure the answer is that they "Are less of a concern for college students than older drivers."
20. Attitudes about drinking can be influenced by the home environment if:
Well, all of these answers are plausible, too. Still, I'm rebellious, so that means "Both parents abstain from drinking."
Okay, now I'm finally done. Right? Oh, thank God. Oh, and they tell us that "It is no our purpose to make judgements - we just want to give you the opportunity to think about your behaviors in a new way." Nor, apparently, is it their purpose to proofread. More on where I fit in with everyone else next.
. . .
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
AlcoholEdu, the pre-test
Uh oh... it's pre-test time. How well will I do? Will I show myself an alcoholic stud who doesn't need to worry about this course? Or will I merely show myself to be an unenlightened caveman (or cavewoman, I guess) who doesn't know the first thing about drinking safely?
1. Which of the following can be a sign of serious trouble when a person has been drinking?
The obvious answer is "Breathing is normal and regular." Normal and regular breathing is always a sign of serious trouble.
2. Alcohol's effect on academic performance is due to:
Well, all the answers here seem plausible and negative, and there's also an all-of-the-above option. The answer is clear then. It's only one of the above. I said "Interference with the ability to process new information."
3. If someone is headed for a potential overdose of alcohol, the first thing you should do is:
Everyone knows the answer is to "Lecture that person about the dangers of hangovers." An overdose is no excuse to pass up an opportunity to prove you're right. I would wait until after they overdosed, though, and lecture their comatose body, so since it suggested someone "headed" for a potential overdose of alcohol, I think I'll guess "Find a source of caffeine, such as coffee." That has to be healthy.
4. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) refers to:
Duh. What idiot doesn't know that this refers to "A drinking game." Why, I was playing this game just yesterday with an Officer Johnson and a breathalizer.
5. Symptoms of an overdose on alcohol could include:
Again, they all seem plausible and negative. My knowledge from the GSI ethics course tells me that "All of the above" is a safe bet, so I'm going to say "Difficulty breathing" to be consistent with my answer to number 1.
6. About what percentage of sexual assaults on college campuses involve alcohol (by the perpetrator or victim or both)?
Hmm. Well, as an 18-year-old Asian girl who gets drunk all the time and does things she later regrets but can't remember, I'll go with "10%."
7. The purpose of this course is:
Since they explained in the intro that the purpose of the course specifically is not to advise students whether or not to drink, I'm sure the answer is "To encourage you to "just say no" to alcohol."
8. The long-term damage to the ability to learn and remember can happen at what level of drinking?
Well, judging from the question, it seems like I was right on number 2. Thus, I'm sure this is a trick, so I'm going to change my answer to number 2 to "Hangovers leading to missed classes." As far as this question goes, then, I'm going to say "There is no long-term damage due to alcohol." I'm sure it's one of those myths they're going to bust.
9. Which of the following may be a sign of alcohol addiction?
Again, all plausible. I'll go with "Drinking more without seeming impaired," because I still seem to do horrible things when I get drunk at those frat parties and wake up to find my clothes on one of the brothers, and I'm clearly not addicted.
Psshh, everyone knows vomiting is a healthy alternative to not drinking. (I'm also bulimic) The answer is clearly "Is not harmful when induced carefully."
Now then, to see how I did...
Oh, God, there's another fucking page. And I can't take this survey in parts. But I can break the blog posts into parts, so...
. . .
They realize that we may not be thrilled about taking the course.
They find that people are much more enthusiastic about it after it is completed. This may be because they're done, and don't have to take it anymore, but this hypothesis is not raised in the program.
Anyway, the course begins with a survey. Apparently, the course is customized according to your survey answers. I lead a rather boring alcohol-related life, so I had to... embellish a bit.
I was a heavy drinker who had almost 10 drinks a day on weekends. In all, it was about 30 drinks a week. Last week was exceptional, though, when I had 25 drinks last Saturday. I have had no formal education on alcohol, and though I frequently have to take care of friends that have been drinking too much, I never look out for my friends' safety while drinking.
I also claimed to have used the following in the past two weeks:
Cocaine (in some form)
MDMA (“Ecstasy,” “XTC” or “Adam”)
Methamphetamine ("Meth," “Crystal,” "Crank," "Ice," or "Crystal meth")
Rohypnol (“roofies”) or GHB
Ritalin®, Adderall®, or Cylert®, stimulants used to treat Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder that were not prescribed for you by a health care provider
LSD, “Acid” or psychedelic mushrooms
It wouldn't let me claim to spend 24 hours a day drinking, so I claimed the maximum of 20 hours and 60 minutes. On the other hand, I drank my 25 drinks last Saturday over a period of 1 minute.
I skip meals to "save" calories for alcohol, as well as to get drunk faster.
After drinking and driving all the time, I also wake up without remembering what happened to me, which raises the question of how the hell I remembered enough to answer the survey questions.
Of course, despite frequently engaging in sexual behavior I later regretted, I strongly disagree that drinking alcohol can lead to enaging in sexual behavior I later regret.
Oh, yeah, I'm also an 18-year-old asian female.
. . .
A judge has issued a restraining order to prevent the UC nurses' strike.
(Because Calstuff exploded, I have to relay this stuff)
This is the first time I've heard of the Public Employee Relations Board complaints actually doing something. Normally, both sides file fifty or so complaints and no one ever cares again.
"Clearly, we're upset at UC. They're attacking our fundamental right to strike," said Maureen Dugan, nurse negotiator at UCSF. "We work with some of the sickest patients in the state. They're clearly trying to silence us."
Challenge! Tie those last three statements together.
. . .
Oh, well, nevermind then
Now O'Malley might have a case. It's possible that Willis-Starbuck called for artillery support which just had poor discretion.
. . .
Wow. Did I say wow? I meant WTFF?
Thanks, UHS. Now our incoming freshmen will be able to learn about alcohol. Because we all know that, if official forces give information about alcohol, young folk who read that information will never put themselves at risk. I wonder if part of our health fee is going towards this...
Anyway, this is apparently required for incoming freshmen (though I'm not sure how they enforce its requirement). I'll be taking it as a public service. So far, I've discovered that it needs Flash Player and doesn't run on my Firefox. Excellent so far.
Update: If anyone reading this is or knows an incoming freshmen, let's see if we can find out how they are enforcing this.
. . .
Haha! I win!
Yesterday, I mentioned that we should sit back and see who gobbles up The Chron's misleading headline. Let's take a look:
Gail Henigman does.
Your front-page headline, "Bush alters standard for firing in leak case" (July 19), says it all about this corrupt administration. It shows President Bush's total complicity in this entire affair and his absolute willingness to do anything to cover his nether parts for starting an illegal war.
Confounding issues? Well, it wouldn't be a first.
Jim Gunn does.
Our fundamentalist president now says that, in spite of having said earlier that there was no room in his administration for those who outed a covert CIA agent, his top political adviser, Karl Rove, and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, will not be removed.
Maybe he should read the statements again.
Update: This isn't the first time he said something dumb enough for me to notice.
John Hopper might, though I'm willing to excuse him, because the term "flip-flop" got assigned to Kerry partly because of his lack of precision. Also, he makes a legitimate joke, and one shouldn't use factual inaccuracy to complain about a joke.
. . .
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Oh, Chron, will you never learn?
The Chron borrows a story from the Washington Post, about a supposed change in Bush's position on the Rove thingie.
A year and a half ago, he said "I'll fire anyone found to have broken the law in relation to this."
A year ago, a reporter prompted him with a similar, but slightly less precise statement that implied more than Bush's statement, and asked him to confirm that he still stood by it. Bush did.
Yesterday, he repeated his first statement. (which included the "breaking the law" part)
The Chron's headline?
"Bush alters standard for firing in leak case"
Anyway, scroll to the bottom for the timeline (in fairness, The Chron put it on the front page along with the ridiculous headline). If you get thirteen paragraphs into the story, you'll see the story actually start to explain what happened with the obvious qualifiers and such.
The interesting thing, though, will come later when the letters to the editor pour in gobbling up the headline without reading the story. Stay tuned.
. . .
Ah, yes, conservative
Last week, Jonathan Wornick, of the Peace and Justice Commission (*snicker*) wrote an op-ed criticizing the attempt to have the city government support a "Department of Peace" (*snicker*) at the federal level. He makes some decent arguments, but let's look at the bitching.
Linda Henderson, from not-Berkeley, says:
It simply astounds me that someone so interested in seeing that city resources be well spent does not seem to have the insight to recognize the basic tenet of this bill, which is fiscally conservative in nature. Meeting violence at the causal level saves dollars now spent on the symptoms, while not solving any problems.
Well, one thing to note might be that those things are not paid for by city resources. A Department of Peace will not be a city of Berkeley responsibility. The other thing to note is that writing a resolution in support of a Department of Peace does absolutely nothing, and thus is not more fiscally conservative than not doing so.
As an attorney, I cannot imagine anyone, who feels remotely responsible as a citizen in a democracy, advocating that one should not be concerned about national politics because it is not their job on the local level to so involve themselves, as politicians or otherwise. Quite the contrary...it is your job Mr. Wornick. Et tu, Councilman Wozniak? May I suggest that if you are uncomfortable with where you are sitting, that you consider changing your seat.
Bravo to the Berkeley City Council for understanding its role. Keep shining your light—we can see by it all the way over here in the state of Michigan!
Are all Lansing people this dumb? No one is advocating that people not be concerned with the federal government. They're advocating that one should not use the city government's time to do so. They say it is not their job to involve themselves, as local politicians. Where does this "or otherwise" come from?
In Elliot Cohen's complaints, he explains how important it is for city governments to pass such resolutions, with this interesting example:
And the Berkeley City Council unanimously voted, not once, but twice, to oppose the invasion of Iraq.
Well, if that's not effectiveness, I don't know what is!
Blaine Brende is... well... just fucking stupid.
Personally I think that the idea of a Department of Peace is a brilliant and revolutionary idea whose time will come. Think of it, a cabinet level officer to advise the president concerning, non-violent solutions to world problems. And if the U.S. does this, will not other nations follow? And if the Department of Peace idea catches on world wide, could war become obsolete? A brave dream but one worth dreaming. If you think about it, it's Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission expanded to the federal level.
Yes, war will definitely become obsolete.
. . .
Steve Tabor, on the other hand, points out the obvious facts that there is no Al Qaeda, and 9/11, 3/11, and 7/7 were all staged by the governments, as was the anthrax crap and the Washington sniper thingie.
Our media should not simply repeat government propaganda as if it were fact.
It's amazing how skeptical these people are of government propoganda, while they lap up the slightest speculation of conspiracy like it's proven fact.
. . .
Yes, that makes sense
Ron Lowe helpfully explains that the Bush administration invented secrecy in government, and single-handedly is the answer to "How did our political system get to this point?"
. . .
Igor Tregub apologized for his. Will Becky O'Malley apologize for hers? No, of course not. Raaaaar!!! Guns Bad!!!
Yes, guns make it too easy to kill some dude when you're having an argument. They let you do kill from a distance. Of course, since it's tough to have an argument from a distance, who knows how the two relate? Nevermind that we don't have the details yet, and it doesn't even look like the shooter shot because of an argument. He shot from a distance, which would require aiming. Which allows plenty of time for reflection.
Is the solution to ban all guns? Sure, that'll solve the problem. And then when folks still manage to get guns (and they will), we can be safe and comfortable in the knowledge that the only people with guns are criminals. We shouldn't have guns. We should rely on the cops. No, cops won't defend you, they won't have guns, either. But they will be able to file an accurate report, explaining exactly how you died. Thanks, cops!
. . .
Monday, July 18, 2005
These bits don't run
Today, a columnist cowardly and hypocritically attacked bloggers, with the support of The Daily Cal. These columnists hide behind editors and newspapers to give themselves a sense of legitimacy, as they make the most absurd statements at our expense, such as:
[The 'good' bloggers] approach challenges without bias and try to judge matters fairly. They also stand behind a cause and are willing to defend it unconditionally.
An unconditional cause-lover never judges matters fairly and without bias, just as Alex Stathopoulos doesn't judge bloggers fairly. Thus, unjustly attacked, we must fight back. We must bring the columnists responsible to justice.
The columnists hide behind the shield of The Daily Cal, hoping that we will falter and not pursue them for their crimes. They cowardly strike from behind editors, where we cannot directly strike back. But if they doubt the resolve of the Berkeley Blogival, they are sorely mistaken. We shall make no distinction between columnists and the newspapers that harbor them.
Other bloggers and newspaper staffers must take a stand. Either you stand with us, or you stand with the columnists. We have the following demands:
1. Alex Stathopoulos must be discontinued as a columnist.
2. The entire senior editorial board of The Daily Cal, implicitly responsible for this injustice, must resign. (We've already called for the Editor-in-Chief's resignation, but it doesn't hurt to do so again.)
3. The Daily Cal must place a new, just editorial board in its stead, to be approved by us and our superior sense of fairness.
4. Just for kicks, The Daily Cal must also redesign its website. There's no particular reason for this.
. . .
. . .