Monday, April 30, 2012

Teacher Bully

I've watched Stuart Chaifetz's video of the teacher and aide bullying his autistic son. It's heart breaking, but it's also something I already know is happening. Not only to special need students, but so called "normal" students too. Chaifetz points out that his son, and the other autistic students in the class can't tell anyone what happens in class. That's true, but it's also true that students that are bullied by teachers rarely speak up about it. The teacher is in authority, and who will believe you when you claim that the teacher is the bully?

One of the kids in my class was bullied by one of our teachers. The teacher was ex military and he had great authority. We all saw it happen, we all felt bad about it but no one had the strength to stand up to the teacher and stop the bullying. Personally I was close to be a bully victim too and I was fighting for my own school grades. The teacher had made it clear to me that he'd make sure that I got low grades if I caused problems. It didn't matter that I was a good student and did well in school, he still had the power to ruin my future.

Ruining the future is exactly what he did for the other kid. The bullying made him fail at his studies. He's had problems getting jobs and he ended up in alcoholism. The teacher moved on to becoming the headmaster of the school and he claims that there is no such thing as bullying at his school.

Stuart Chaifetz is doing the right thing. Not only for his son and his class mates, but for all bullied students in the system. This has happened before, people have stood up for what's right, but it's far from enough. The world needs more heroes that take on the battle against bullying as well as the basic human rights of students.

No More Teacher/Bullies
Teacher/Bully: How My Son Was Humiliated and Tormented by his Teacher and Aide

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wiggle 3D - Stereo 3D photographs without a need for glasses

I saw some stereo photographs, that's 3D but with no need for 3D glasses, and I'm fascinated. I want to do this. When ever I get the time of course. The idea is simple, take a photo, move the camera slightly, take a new photo. Then add the photos together in an animated GIF. Nothing's that simple though and I'm expecting a lot of tinkering and editing to get it to work.

I've found a page at Adorama with a How To that explains the process and gives advice about what to think of. Now all I need is time.

Photo by David FitzSimmons

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's my husband's 50th birthday

This is a day that we've both feared would never come, he's been so close to death so many times. Now I'm happy, emotional and sentimental. What a wonderful day it is. Such fantastic things we've accomplished during our years together. And, our sons have grown up to be really good adults.

Most of all I'm thankful for the time I've gotten to spend with my best friend. I know that the odds are that I will live on long after he's gone. We have had our ups and downs, but that's life. We get on each other's nerves, but we are also each other's best support.

Now, we're setting a new goal. 60. One more decade together. A decade that will hopefully bring more good days and fewer bad days.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I have a magic mirror =/

It's strange. When I look in the mirror at home I can see how fat I am, all the flubber is there. My skin is pale, but not too pale and the dark circles around my eyes are there but they don't stand out. I know I'm fat, I know I'm not beautiful, but I'm still OK with how I look.

This all changes when I go into a store. The mirrors there are brutal. I'm suddenly twice as fat, and I have flubber in places where I've never had it before. I'm pale like a corpse and the dark circles around my eyes are like dark pits. Even my hair changes, it goes from being moderately fluffy to being straight and flat, making my head look like a giant egg.

I've always thought that I have the image of myself under control, but now I wonder. How can it be so different from one mirror to another?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Done! =)

Yesterday I killed the last boss in Legend of Grimrock and now I'm half way through my second game. There was a speed puzzle that I failed to solve the first way around and I'm hell bent on fixing it this time around. Speed potions could be the solution, something I missed the last time I was there.

I wish I had more time to plat the game and that it took longer time to finish. The good things in life never last long enough. I also wish that I could make screenshots as I go, but I can't figure out how to do it. As it is now I have to use other people's screenshots.

The being on the picture is my favourite monster. The way they move was a surprise, not at all what I expected form a big ogre like that.

We're going to get our new car today, then we have to run some errands. I should be exited over the car, but I just want to stay at home and play.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I really need to stop reading the slideshow version of Yahoo news

It should be easy, I dislike gossip and people putting others down, but I still end up going there. I've stopped going to other news pages since they mainly publish that kind of tripe. It was no big deal, I simply stopped. Yahoo is different, perhaps because I have a mail account there and I like to play at Yahoo Games. I go there to log in and then I see that horrible slideshow and start clicking.

The solution is to close my account and find another site to play at. Hopefully that will help me get over this disgusting habit.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bending the Truth

My husband is wearing me down and I have few defences. In my mind I think of him as a needy child that can't be away from "mommy". Clingy, needy and demanding.
The other day he hurt his back and he could barely walk. He diagnosed himself with a "pulled muscle" and I muttered about all the times he have misdiagnosed himself. I wanted him to go to his rehabilitation so that they could help him, but he refused, he had to rest. (A normal day's activity consist of getting out of bed, walking to the bathroom, kitchen and office, then sleeping in the armchair. Hard work to rest from.) Yesterday he finally went to rehab and he came back home saying that he has a lumbago. I'm not surprised, he's been in so much pain that I had to help him get dressed one day. What surprised me was what he claims that his physiotherapist said that he have to rest a lot and stay away from physical activity. That's the opposite of what I was told when I had a lumbago and also the opposite of any advice I can find online.

I think he's bending the truth. I'm guessing that the  physiotherapist said that it was best to rest when the pain is as worst, during the first days. He's turned that to fit "always" since he wants to stay at home and rub my nerves instead. *sigh*

Part of the office
He also denies having a problem with compulsive hoarding, his collecting is normal behaviour and he's not buying too much on online auctions. I keep telling him that if it wasn't for me cleaning up now and then he'd have the house full of trash. He counters by telling me that it's not trash, it's collectables. He's right in a way, some of the things he "collect" could possibly have a value to someone else, but much of it have no value. Once again he's bending the truth to apply to it all instead of parts of it. I've decided that I've lost the battle about the office and I no longer go there. Every little space is cluttered, even the floor, and I can't even get to my computer that's in there any more. The rest of the house is still a battlefield and I'm loosing ground.

I love him, but there are days when I want to move out and have a home of my own. A home where I don't have to mommy him and struggle to keep his "collectables" from drowning me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Legend of Grimrock

I got the best present ever from my oldest son, Legend of Grimrock. I started playing Dungeon Master in the late 80's and I've been hooked on that type of games ever since. I've also played Eye of the Beholder, Lands of Lore and lately the Custom made Dungeon Master games.

I feel right at home in Legend of Grimrock, the basics are all there. The puzzles and the monsters are interesting and the graphics is all that I wished DM graphics to be. Over all I find that Grimrock is a dream come true for me and I hope that there will be more of this type of game in the future.

I'm on level 9 right now and I don't get anything done around the house because I just have to beatthisgame so that I can start all over again. =)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What's wrong with reality (2) - Studio retouched handicapped woman

Once again I have to wonder what's wrong with reality. This time it's a woman, Lisa Wainonen, that needed a new photo for an ID card. The photographer was not satisfied with the photo because her smile was crooked. She explained that it's a handicap that she have lived with for 15 years, facial nerve paralysis, and that it's how she look. Then when she got the photos for the ID she found that the studio had sent her both real photos and a retouched version.
- They have no right to determine what is normal. If I had 20 kilograms overweight, would they have taken it away just because it is not ideal? Lisa Wainonen says. (Source)
 The studio says they are sorry and that they thought she'd be happy about the retouched version of herself.

I can understand that studios do retouches when the customer specifically ask for it, but this was way out of line. Personally I wouldn't like that someone removed the traits that makes me who I am when I'm buying ID photos. Doesn't it go against the whole idea of ID cards?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

What's wrong with reality?

Bethenny Frankel
Reading about retouched images there is one thing that comes up time after time. The (sometimes extreme) retouches made is what the "publisher" wants. Instead of taking natural photos of celebrities and models and using them as they are they prefer "cartoon" people.
Britney Spears
Faith Hill

Cameron Diaz
What's wrong with their minds? How can people with such twisted ideas of reality have such great power?

Some stars have protested against how their looks have been manipulated and they have posted before and after photos of themselves. They question is, why should they have to do that? Why can't people simply be people? What's wrong with reality?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Not Good Enough

I suddenly found myself at the bottom again, stressing around while trying to do it all at once. Doing the laundry, cleaning and cooking food for a couple of days. I'm struggling with eating less carbohydrates since visiting my mom, and I planned to prepare food and bake to make the diet easier to follow. My mind spun with thoughts about what I had to do, things that needed to be done and panic over not being able to do it all. I have photos and videos of my nephew to edit and upload, I need to sort through the freezer and the larder, my plants are in need of attention and all four aquariums need a water change. The stress made me stress even more and I could feel myself sinking, it's too much, I can't do it all. I'm not good enough.

Our oldest son called and asked if there was something he could get me on the way home. And I answered without thinking. Chips!

I stopped running around, logged in to my favourite game site, stuffed myself with chips and chocolate and dropped it all. I'll never be good enough, I'll never be able to do all the things I need to do. I might as well give up here and now.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Controversial Art

How far can you go when you create art? Is there a limit as to what you can do?

Artist Makode Linde's own words about his art;
"Afromantics" is a tool for reshaping the Western concepts of paradise and education with exotistisc romanticized images of the violent historical facts behind slavery, apartheid and racism." (Source)"I am using an old caricature of blacks - the "Blackface" that whites used once to mock blacks. Then, I worked on strengthening the caricatures to illustrate the prejudices that exist." (Source)
The reason why this artist is all over the Swedish news is because of a caricature cake and artwork that he made for the World Art Day. The cake shows the torso of a black female and the artist used his own, painted, head as the head of the torso. When the cake was cut he screamed. The Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, cut the cake and was shocked when it screamed. She laughed, a common reaction to surprise, and fed Makode with the cake.

Now people are demanding that the Minister of Culture leaves her post because she's racist. The museum where it happened have had a bomb threat and the artist Makode Linde is accused of being racist by other Afro Swedes.

Are the people in the interactive art installation racist? I don't know, I don't know the people in it well enough. However, I do know that the images of the art installation is not enough to cast judgement. There is more than meets the eye. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Investigating Journalism (not)

I have a weakness, the Yahoo front page with the slideshow type news clips. It's mostly tripe and I rarely follow the links, I just read headlines. However, sometimes there is something that makes me follow the link. Today it was this clip that caught me attention.
Startling makeup photo sparks buzz
A Reddit user gets mixed reviews after posting pictures of herself with and without makeup. What do you think?

I just had to know what what so special about this "Reddit user" and her makeup. There are tons of before-and-after photos online today and it had to be something out of the ordinary for Yahoo News to bring it up. Right?
Well... no.

First of all it's not a photo of the "Reddit user" Munner83 who posted the photo. Second, "mother of god" is a meme and it's often ridiculing the photo or the person in it. Lastly, the picture is clearly water marked with 9GAG.COM. That's an image based comedy website. They make fun of internet phenomena such as "Eoljjang" (also known as Ulzzang or Uljjang), young women competing online about having the "best face" . The photo it self is watermarked with a link to a Chinese site, but the trend originated in South Korea.

The Yahoo article also says this:
As one commentator wrote, "She's so brave for opening up like that. This video made me cry because I totally know what she's feeling. People who don't have acne don't know what it's like to have your self esteem basically plummet every time you look in the mirror. I just want to give her a big hug."

That comment was made about this YouTube video, not the meme photo of the Asian girl. It's very obvious if you bother to read it through.

How can a "journalist" (Eric Pfeiffer) on a news site fail to see all those clues? Or did he see them but decided that the truth is not worth mentioning? Is it right of a journalist to spread a (ridiculing) meme without explaining what it is and what is does? Does a person like this even have a place on a news site? Does it matter that Eric Pfeiffer posts this in a news blog (The Sideshow) and not on the front page of a news magazine?

Those are the questions that should be asked here. Not questions about the "mixed reviews" that the "Reddit user" got when posting the photo.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Velcro Love

One of the reasons why I suffer from exhaustion syndrome is the way my husband cling on to me. I call it Velcro Love. He's not glued to me, but he has a very hard time letting go. It's not his fault (it started after the stroke) and I don't blame him for it, but it is tearing me down one bit at the time.

I thought going on a vacation would help since he's started going to rehabilitation now. I'd come home rested and then he'd be away three days a week, giving me some room to breathe.
It didn't turn out that way.

I did come home rested. However, I have a cold that broke out the first day at home and I keep coughing through the nights. I'm so tired. My husband was at rehabilitation the day I got home, then he's been at home. The first day and the second day he had a cold. I never saw any signs of a cold, but what do I know. Today he pulled a muscle and couldn't go because of that. I thought rehabilitation would be the perfect place to be when in pain, they have physical therapists that can help with the pain and teach him how to deal with it. However, he called in sick and stayed in bed.

In my eyes it's another case of Velcro Love. I've been away for too long and now he can't leave me, even if it would be for his (and my) best.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

When is it right to do something wrong?

I met my great grandfather as a child, but I was to little to remember anything about him. The things I've heard of him as I grew up has been coloured by the opinions of the person telling the story, but there is still a theme. Some things that keep coming back in the stories are his hot temper, stubbornness and his moral compass, that seems to have guided him in the right direction through life.

The later is why I was stunned to find out that he went to prison. At first I thought it had to be a mistake, that I heard it wrong, and I had to ask if I heard it right. My grandaunt assured me that it was so and then she told me the story. I should have known better than thinking that he was a common criminal, once again his moral compass was pointing in the right direction.

It happened during WW2, times was hard and there was little food. My great grandpa always found a way to feed his own, but there was a family in town that was starving to death. He and others shared what they had with the family to keep them alive, but it was a long cold winter and their supplies would not last. One of the other men in town reported that he had seen a moose, and together with some other men they made the decision to go poaching. They found it killed it and hung the meat. As I've said, times were hard, and they were not the only poachers in town. The other poachers was afraid of being exposed and they reported great grandpa and his friends to the police.

That's why he went to prison. He got the longest sentence since the meat was found in his possession. My relatives also claim that he took the time because he did not rat on the riches man in the group. (The relatives of that men tells a different story though.)

This brings the classic moral question up again. When is it right to do something wrong?

It's most often put this way; Is it wrong to steal a loaf to feed your starving children?
My opinion has always been that, yes, it's wrong though it's understandable. That you steal from someone is wrong, their possessions are theirs. If you steal from a store then you are not only stealing from the owner, you are stealing form the other costumers too. Store owners raise the prises on what they sell to cover what they have lost.

A moose don't belong to anyone. Killing the moose did not put other people in a difficult situation. It's still wrong to hunt out of the hunting season, but I understand why they did it. In the end I'm proud that me great grandfather went to prison by doing something wrong to make things right.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April Weather

April starts with April fools day, a suiting start to what's to come, the April weather. It's hot, it's cold, the sun shines, it's snowing, it's raining, the wind is blowing, there is no wind and all of that happens within 24 hours. It's as if mother nature is Bi-polar and is going through a manic period.

My daffodils have found a sheltered corner where they are now pushing up. I should go and shuffle some snow on them to keep them from freezing, but I'm not in the mood. I think I'll just gamble this year and hope that they survive without my attention.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I bet this won't get much attention in media

The psychiatrist behind a prominent 2001 study declaring people can go from gay to straight has retracted his original claims.
Although the research is still cited by anti-gay organizations as proof that so-called ex-gay therapy works to change someone's sexual orientation, the study has endured scientific criticism for years.
Now, Robert Spitzer, who led the research, told American Prospect that he wants to publish a retraction.
"In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct," Spitzer said....The paper Spitzer published concluded that the therapy worked "for a highly select group of motivated individuals" without providing any definitive success rate...."Spitzer just kicked out the final leg from the stool on which the proponents of 'ex-gay' therapy based their already shaky claims of success." (Source)
This is bad science acknowledged. The sad thing with such bad science is that people don't remember the confession about how it was wrong, they remember the claim that they liked. It's the same thing with the non existent link between autism and vaccines. Many remember the claim, fewer know that it was bad science that proved nothing.

This is how the study was done:
Spitzer’s study is still cited by ex-gay organizations as evidence that ex-gay therapy works. The study infuriated gay-rights supporters and many psychiatrists, who condemned its methodology and design. Participants had been referred to Spitzer by ex-gay groups like NARTH and Exodus, which had an interest in recommending clients who would validate their work. The claims of change were self-reports, and Spitzer had not compared them with a control group that would help him judge their credibility.
I told Spitzer that Nicolosi had asked me to participate in the 2001 study and recount my success in therapy, but that I never called him. “I actually had great difficulty finding participants,” Spitzer said. “In all the years of doing ex-gay therapy, you’d think Nicolosi would have been able to provide more success stories. He only sent me nine patients.

My So-Called Ex-Gay Life by  Gabriel Arana is sad to read. He's not just telling his own story, he's telling the story of many homosexuals in this world, not just in the past but also in the present and the future. Yes, life as a homosexual is better today, in most places, but society, culture and people's predetermined ideas still have a long way to go.

It's a shame that people feel the need to be "ex-who-you-truly-are" in any case. Why can't being yourself be good enough?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Science is not a matter of belief

The first time I heard about people in the US wanting creationism to be taught in schools, I thought it was a joke. No one can be that stupid. Right?

Sometimes it hurts more to be wrong than other times. This is not about a few stupid and fanatic individuals, this  is about a group of people, large enough to have influence over what is taught in schools. The children is th future and they want to build the future on lies.

Law allows creationism to be taught in Tennessee public schools 
A bill that allows Tennessee public school teachers to teach alternatives to mainstream scientific theories such as evolution will become law this month after the governor refused to sign or veto the measure, The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss reports.Supporters of the law say its goal is to encourage healthy skepticism among students. “Critical thinking, analysis fosters good science,” Robin Zimmer, a biotechnology consultant and affiliate of a creationist organization, wrote in the Nashville Tennessean in March.But critics say the true goal of what they call “the monkey bill” is made clear by the list of subjects that could be challenged by teachers during class, including global warming and evolution. The bill is a “permission slip” for schools “to bring creationism, climate-change denial and other non-science into science classrooms,” Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, told Nature magazine. (Source)
It's easy to educate students about the difference between science and belief without actually teaching beliefs such as creationism. The teachers can teach the students how to know the difference between fact and fiction just as they can teach the kids the difference between Napoleon and Forest Gump.

It's sad to see that insanity rules over sanity in some parts of the US. This way of thinking is what holds people down and keep them chained in the gutter. This way of thinking is what have caused much pain and suffering all around the world for millenniums. This way of thinking should not be a part of a modern and civilized society since we, as humans, know so much better by now.

If you want to teach your kids about critical thinking then don't teach your kids creationism, teach them about creationism and how it compares to scientific fact.

Snow, snow, snow

My vacation is over and the weather has been great. We've had snow, snow and more snow with a couple of hours of sun in some early mornings. I'm not the winter sports kind of person and thanks to the weather I've been able to do things I enjoy instead.

The down side is that I've stuffed myself with carbs and I've gained weight again. Bread of all sorts and potatoes have been staple food, then there have been ever so tempting cookies and candy.

Pollen season is here too,  I'm sneezing and my eyes are itching. Still, I'm happy and relaxed and that's what matters the most. My batteries are loaded and I'm ready to start limping along in my normal pace again.