Thursday, July 31, 2003

Acting Locally
I'm usually not the most political person, but when the president wants Congress to pass laws based on what he "believes," and a certain Supreme Court decision brings nut-jobs out from under their rocks to run for spots in my local government, well, I just might go vote or something.
Before I moved here I e-mailed the Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bi, & Transgendered Life on campus and asked if they had a bulletin board for people who had rooms to rent (I was really thinking in the e-age). They wrote back no, but that they could sign me up for a listserv (this was the first time I ever heard of such a thing) and I could send out a message asking about a room. This is how I got my first digs here, a room in a veternarian's house.
I'm still signed up for the listserv but it rarely provides me with anything useful. But the other day I got two messages that I have saved. The first let everyone know that two virulently anti-gay people are running for the city council. One candidate is against same-sex partner benefits because gays spread disease. The other candidate talks about rightousness.
The second message was from someone else and gave the dates of the primary and the election, and added that since this is an off-year most people probably won't vote. I plan to.
Something I read on-line today gave statistics about polls on general people's attitudes towards gays. Their attitudes have gotten worse since the Supreme Court ruling on sodomy laws. Something I read years ago stated that educated liberal straight people really weren't all that open-minded, and they didn't mind knowing that there were gays out there in theory, but move in next door, and boy, you better look out. And the conservative fundamentalists, well, they were always first to grab the torches and pitchforks anyway.
I think these two local crusaders were inspired by the Supreme Court ruling. So "they" got support at the federal level, do they? Well, we'll just hit 'em where they live. Literally. The first e-mail went on to say that the candidate who talks about rightousness had never even bothered to register to vote until he filed the papers to be a candidate. That was on Friday, July 25. When was that court ruling passed down? Oh. June 26. Well, it probably took him that long to read the paper.

The Moving Experience Part 42
I asked off for tomorrow on the pretense that I would be moving and I wanted to be sure I could get everything done. I really knew I probably wouldn't be moving this weekend, but I hate to ask off without having a solid reason. I really just wanted a three-day weekend. The old tenant only moved out today, and the landlord needs to paint the place and refinish the floors. He's never that on the ball. I'll be lucky if I can move next weekend.
I did call my landlord the other day. I wanted to ask:
A.) When can I move? and
B.) What do I do about rent for August? Do I just pay rent on the new apartment? Or did he want to do some prorated thing, like say, paying a week's worth of rent at the old apartment rate, and three weeks' at the new apartment rate?
The message on my landlord's ubiquitous answering machine stated that he is out of town until August 4th.
In the message I left, I asked my questions. And I stated I wasn't paying anything until I heard from him.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Oh my (no pun intended) God.
I'm not sure how I feel about being a citizen of a country that's perceived like this overseas.

Grecia Capta Ferum Victorem Cepit
Death Throes of a Classical Scholar
Well, maybe not just yet. And maybe I can try again in a few years. I thought the idea of starting a classical education at the age of forty sounded absurd, but a friend assured me it's not.
The same friend has a relative with severe health problems, and he recently had a talk with the relative's neurologist. The doctor said the newest problem was hydrocephaly, which was "just Latin for water on the brain." My friend said the "hydro" part was actually Greek. The smart-ass doctor, faced with his own ignorance of the terminology of his own field, asked my friend if he could decline it.
Actually the entire word is Greek. It means "water-head." Back in previous eras when it was more common for people to learn this stuff, it was considered a cardinal sin to coin a single new word using roots from more than one ancient language. Scholars were shocked beyond belief by the appearance of the word "homosexual" around 1895; not because of its meaning, but because "homo" is from Greek and "sexual" is from Latin.
The vast majority of our medical terminology is Greek. This is because of a certain cultural phenomenon in the ancient western world. The Latin language had no words for any scientific, technological, medical, philosophical, or artistic terms. The Romans borrowed them wholesale from Greek. For example, Roman bath houses had floors raised on a network of short columns, and hot air was fanned through this crawl-space to warm the floor. It was called a "hypocaust," which is actually Greek for "under burn." (I was in a cool pub in York named the Roman Bath, which had been built on the site of the ancient city Eboracum's bath house. There were glass panels in the floor of the pub, and you could look through and see the rows of little short hypocaust columns - the upper floor had fallen away. Unfortunately, this site says it's no longer like that.)
Here lies the relevance of the Latin quote above. It's from Horace. It's roughly "Captured Greece captured its wild conquerors," meaning that while Rome made Greece an impoverished duchy of their own realm, they adopted Greek culture lock, stock, and barrel as their own. And passed it on to us.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Loose Ends
When I started working here my boss told me that if I took classes related to my job they would be paid for. I assumed this meant if I entered an MLS program they would pay for it.
At the beginning of the summer I forewarned my boss I might be leaving in the fall to go back to school. Friday I told her this wasn't working out, and I also took the opportunity to ask her to clarify the business of classes being paid for. It turned out this policy applies to little workshops and seminars. Not an MLS program.
But the prospect is still not so bleak, gentle reader. The school I would attend for the MLS is traditionally black, and they offer a minority scholarship to the white folk who want to attend.

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Long Live the Weekend II
I had a pretty darn good weekend.
The young woman who lives across the hall from me is moving out as well, and she had a yard sale Saturday. I bought a big tall bookcase from her for $5.
I also went to Raleigh. I went to the flea market at the state fair grounds. I didn't find anything to buy because I didn't stay very long because it was too hot. I also went to the White Rabbit. I used to work part-time in their store in Charlotte and there is no love lost between that organisation and myself, but it is the only place around here to get some things. Like the ultra-cool Australian photography magazine Blue. I wanted to get the latest issue because it has an article about the artist Paul Cadmus.
I also finally saw the inside of the larger apartment I'm moving into. It's hot. The front door opens into a small entry-way, and between that and the living room is an arched open doorway. The living room is in the corner of the building and so it has windows on two sides. The kitchen has a huge window with a bronze frame. The bedroom has two large closets.
Since I will finally have more space I was planning to get a larger bed. I've been sleeping on a single for ages. In a perfect world, my new bed would be a sleigh bed. In a truly amazing occurance of synchronicity, my friend Rob just wrote to me, saying one of his nieces is storing furniture at his house. Including a sleigh bed. If I like it, she might sell it to me.
This would be too cool. My first reaction to this news was "That is too good to be true. My life doesn't fall into place that seamlessly. I'm not worthy." Then I thought, "Hey, wait a minute! Life, the Universe, and Everything owe me big-time consolation prizes for not letting me go to classical studies school."

Sunday, July 27, 2003

MLS Resistence
There was a time several years ago, when I was still working in a public library, that I thought about getting a master's in library science. I began talking to people I worked with who had the degree. They all unintentionally discouraged me by saying things like "Oh, you have to write soooo many papers" and roll their eyes. And then there was one guy, John O. (everybody who knows who he is will know who I mean - plus, the "O" looks like his big baw head). John O. intentionally discouraged me. He said he didn't think I would enjoy it.
I came to think he was right.
I was still considering getting a MLS when I got my current job, three years ago. At that time, there was a fellow working with me who was in the MLS program at Carolina. I asked him about it. He said, "Man, if you go to library school, go someplace where it's a one-year program. I'm in that two-year program at Carolina, and it's like pulling teeth."
I decided I would try to go to grad school in some academic subject I would really enjoy studying.
And I did try. It isn't working out. So now I'm back to considering getting an MLS again.