It snowed down here in Richmond, Virginia, so I was out of school 3 days longer than I should have been, and I skipped the day we were supposed to go back. I've just been sitting around the house deppressed bacause my mother has been driving me nuts, and she's been at work while my brother, sister and I have been home.

First, I told her that I was going job hunting and that I wanted to work at this store called Spencer's in the mall. She says, "No, I don't want you working there. They sell inappropriate things there.' So, of course I get pissed about that, beacuase I know that I've heard and seen way more inappropriate things than the stuff that they sell at Spencer's.

Then, I ask her if I could go to my boyfriend's house for Valentine's Day, and she give me this whole crappy story about how his uncle just died (my boyfriend's family hated him and my mother knows that), and how we'll have to "see." Now, Valentine's day is 2 weeks away, the funeral is tomorrow, I believe that that's enough time for a family who hated the person who died to grieve. Besides, my boyfriend said that I could come over already.

All of that happened last night, today her "friend," (who is a guy) that she cheated with on my father, is here and they're doing their taxes together. As soon as she mentioned his name I have an atitude. She's now wondering why I don't want to eat any of the chinese she just bought, and he gave this whole story about how he wouldn't eat if I didn't. So, I said, "Well, I guess you won't be eating." Of course he's in there lapping up some shrimp fried rice and I'm in my room writing a node without any food. I hate his guts!. I hate his guts even more today because I started my period and I'm in excruciating pain. I feel like crawling into a small closet and crying, if only I had one.

I awoke this morning to the cat whining. Only, this time she wasn't using her usual whiny kitty meow. She sounded like a lot like Michael Clarke Duncan (large man in the Green MIle) under water.

I don't remember what she said, but I'm sure she said something about getting out of bed and serving her food. And her tone of voice sounded like her kitty waterer. I was so confused, that I figured I should go back to sleep and hope that when I awoke, I would slide into a world with friendly kitties who let their humans sleep until noon.

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Yesterday was Higuchi-sensei's last day as the drill instructor for my section. She was definitely one of my favorite teachers ever, though I can't really point out exactly why.. she was just awesome in that kind of awesome way. I still have no idea what Informatics is, even though I have an A+ in the intro class. I completely missed a lab assignment and a homework assignment, but I still should have an A. I tend to always turn in my Japanese late or unfinished, so in it I have a low A that I believe should be a B. Last I checked it was around 95%, though, which was surprising.

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Physics is incredibly time-consuming but also incredibly rewarding. At the moment, C.W., Fergus, Mike Snow, and I are working on a rather interesting problem. We have a hollow aluminium cylinder with a radius of 5 cm and a thickness of about half a centimeter which masses about 600 grams, and to the inside we can attach one of three rods with screws. The rods are the same length, but have differing diameters and masses. The one we're currently working with has a radius of about 1.3 cm and a mass of about 170 g. With this rod attached, the center of mass of the cylinder moves by a bit over 7 mm from the center point of the cylinder. With this position for the center of mass, and a total mass of 784 g (counting the screws whcih shouldn't affect the center of mass at all) - or, in fact, with ANY non-centered center of mass and a given mass, how would we determine the position as a function of time? Any position - that of the cylinder, the center-of-mass, or the angle the center has rotated through - should be able to be found. We know the torque on the object (as a function of the angle between the center position and the center of mass), which gives us angular accelertation, and given the angle rotated through, we can model the position, &c.. but we absolutely cannot solve any of these models for elapsed time. I have no idea how to get time into any of these things or how to account for it, etc. It's really, really annoying.

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The wordcount of my novel has died. It is currently 6774. Today and yesterday, I wrote nothing. The day before I wrote 219 words. I still plan to finish this story, which will definitely take longer than 50,000 words, and probably longer than January. So I lose NaNo, but I gain SoulForged. Lately, instead of writing, I have been doing homework (gasp!!), which might explain my lapse in wordcount. At the moment, I ahve one full survey to transcribe, plus one that I'm a third of the way through taht I don't understand, and one taht I'm almost done with taht has some errors in recording. Fun. At elast I did two and a half more today (!!!). I am planning a TriStat (Big Eyes Small Mouth, Silver-Age Sentinels, etc.. very easy to learn and light on rules) campaign set in the Rockman X universe (no knowledge required). So far I only have 3 players interested, and I'd like somewhere between 3 and 10 total, especially experienced people who can lead the story in interesting ways, as I'm definitely not a good storyteller but I'm probably the most knowledgable about the setting. Anyone in B-Town who's interested in playing, even if it's only a one-shot deal (you can always be killed off or play one of the Irregulars), comment away. Because the way I structure the unit (I'll either do character creation absed on player input or provide guidelines to everyone based on waht I want) will depend on how large it is, I need to know demand before I get into the nitty-gritty details.

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I gotted a puppy two weeks ago. He’s a Shetland Sheepdog and his name is Java because he looks like a mug of dark coffee with cream swirled in. He does not look like a programming language.

I’m probably a bad person for having done so.

You see, I got Java at a pet store instead of from a rescue group or a breeder. I did everything I could to ensure he was healthy and I was not feeling puppy mills. I did not take him home the day I met him, when he fell asleep in my arms. I called three vets the next day—my regular vet, the store’s “recommended” vet, and the vet of a friend.

I got the same answer from all- that PassPets does a horrible job on their small mammals, but their puppies are some of the better ones in the city. They say they see very few genetic defects, and from all the pedigrees they get in, it was their professional opinion that the store uses species breeders, not mills. I examined several dogs’ pedigrees myself and saw breeder names from across the country, rarely if ever the same one on multiple breeds. His breeder seems to be a smalltime woman, she does not have a website, but she has a lot of shelties registered with the AKC. She has had, in the past 20 years, a few dogs of other breeds, a couple cocker spaniels, one dachshund, but it seems that she never bred those seriously and focused on the Shetlands. I did what I could.

That confession out of the way, the next time I hear someone talk about dogs as “man’s best friend” I will be sent into a murderous rage. So very many people buy friends—I mean dogs—with NO idea of how to handle them. If you want a companion to share your space, get a cat. Or a hamster. Or maybe a turtle or small parrot. (Not the big ones, they often outlive you.) They can go about their business pretty much with or without you, as long as they’re fed. They’re happy to see you, but most can live without you if needs be.

Dogs are totally dependant creatures. They will be absolutely loyal to you, but they will NEVER be your equals. Most people forget dogs are pack animals, not solitary ones. Dogs are happiest and healthiest as beta or even gamma members of the “pack”. They need to know their lives are in your hands, very literally.

Dogs that are allowed to be Alpha dogs almost always develop serious behavior problems. They become overly aggressive. They will often misbehave just to “put you in your place”. They may develop overly destructive behaviors. And they are much tenser dogs—they worry about defending their home and pack and spend all their time concerned and on guard. Some alphas literally worry themselves sick.

The other end of the spectrum is over coddling. Treating a dog as a baby may make you happy and you think it’s so cute, but it’s bad for the dog. Dogs that are kept as eternal “puppies mentally and never developed and worked with and given a real role in the pack have their own problems. They do feel ‘the baby’, and many become overly timid (because EVERYONE outranks them), develop serious submissive urination problems, and become nippy out of fear.

A dog that knows you are the boss, but that he has an important and valued place in your pack below you is most likely to develop into a carefree, loving, incredibly loyal, and overall much better companion. He will obey you, not from fear, but because he respects you as his leader and he will want to please you. If you give him tasks and things to do, he will be much happier learning and developing a niche than languishing in mental boredom.

Yet so many people get dogs just to have a pet and never take the time to properly train, socialize, and educate them. These animals get food, water, walks, and yes many of them do get love, but nothing more than that. Not what they need as pack creatures.

This rant was inspired by some of my neighbors. There are 4 other dogs in my complex. One, a fairly old toy poodle, is beautifully trained. The other three are horrible.

A Jack Russell terrier is overly aggressive with other dogs and won’t handle well at ALL on a leash when her owner is trying to talk on her cell phone. There are also two dachshund pups with two different owners that are 6 and 6.5 months old respectively. NEITHER is yet housebroken properly. The one in my building barks at EVERYTHING at all hours of the night because he has to “defend” his house. The other is so timid he will submit to my 12-week old puppy and pee out of fear because he was never properly socialized with other dogs at a young enough age.

It just infuriates me to see people ruining perfectly good dogs through their own ignorance. I am NO master trainer, I’ve never raised a puppy before. But I’ve been working with Java doing clicker training. He already understands sit, bed, and can go up and down the stairs on command. We’re working on down and drop it!. He’s pretty much housebroken. He KNOWS he’s supposed to go outside—if he misses, it’s usually my fault for not taking him out sooner. He hasn’t messed his crate overnight in a week. This is not a time consuming chore, does not take away from my daily business. It interweaves with it.

Please, people.. if you are going to get a dog (or any pet!)… do your homework. DO it right. The results will be astounding and so beneficial, for you and your animal.

In the not-too-distant future...

Somewhere in time and space...

Mike Nelson and his robot pals are caught in an endless chase...

I've been watching a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 lately, mostly because I've had a nasty sinus infection and have been spending afternoons in bed in front of the television, but also because the series is ending its fifteen year run on television today. Yes, the show has been out of production since 1999, but the reruns have endured every Saturday morning on the Sci-Fi Channel and, despite having the last three years of the series plus a smattering of older episodes on VHS tape, I continue to watch the weekly broadcast. At 11:00am PT today, something special will vanish from television, perhaps forever. I cannot let this moment pass without making a few comments about the series and what it means to me.

The first episode of the show I ever saw was a rerun of a Season Three experiment, The Human Duplicators, but it was episode 701 (Night of the Blood Beast) that was my first new episode way back in 1996. It took me a while to figure out just what I was seeing. Yes, I caught on to the wisecracks at the movie right away, but who were the gumball machine and the golden reindeer? Why were they watching these horrible movies and why do some episodes have this "Major Nelson" guy and others that sleepy-eyed stoned guy? Thanks to the Internet I caught up on the show's backstory and soon realized just who these people were and what they were doing on the Satellite of Love. Just as I'd begun to watch the series, I learned that it had been cancelled and would end after episode 706, Laserblast. It was around this time that I knew I had to tape as many episodes as I could. Not since the age of five and the childrens' show Gigglesnort Hotel had I sought to tape as many episodes of a television show as possible (yes, I am aware that my two television taping quests revolve around puppets. I am not sure what this means). Over the summer of 1996 my parents and I made the pilgrimige to see Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie as it traveled around the country, one theater at a time. We stood in line for hours for tickets and fortune smiled down on us, as we picked up the last of the tickets and show writers Jim Mallon and Kevin Murphy were on hand to speak about their experiences with the series following the film. Years later I look back on that night with my VHS and hard-to-find DVD editions of the film as well as an actual chunk of the Deep 13 set. When Season Eight of the series popped up on the Sci-Fi Channel in 1997, I was there, VCR at the ready. Seasons Nine and Ten came and went, and the series finale, episode 1013 - Diabolik, aired during my first weekend at college in August 1999.

And now, after five years of reruns, Mike Nelson and his robot friends leave television after episode 912, The Screaming Skull, ends. I know that I'm sorry to see them go; the Sci-Fi Channel is following in former MST3K home Comedy Central's footsteps - they are cancelling the series in order to show actual bad movies. It's a shame to see this happen because I say that now more than ever we need the simple premise of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the purity that the riffing and satire bring. Have you seen what's on prime time television lately? Reality shows, overly scripted bland sitcoms, boring dramas, celebrity interviews, and other such claptrap. One thing that MST3K never did during its television run was to stoop to focus groups or pander to the audience. The series made you think as the references shot the gamut from classical music to poetry to obscure forms of entertainment. When's the last time you saw Must See TV do that?

It seems to be inevitable that television's smartest, funniest shows all too often shoot over the heads of the lowest common denominator in favor of shows like Eat Bugs For Money or Fart Date. Somehow, thank god, Mystery Science Theater 3000 flew under the "popular person" radar for fifteen years, giving the rest of us over 170 episodes that can never be taken away, no matter how often the unwashed masses furrow their brows and say "Why won't they shut up? I can't hear the movie!"

Godspeed, crew of the Satellite of Love. You will be missed.

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