I can't believe I'm so late in reporting this, but it's Banned Book Week! Dig out your old copies of Judy Blume and The Chocolate War (Robert Cormier) and the old classics, Huck Finn and Of Mice and Men and join the thousands of us who refused to be censored.
If you want to be all current, here's the top list of 2005:
* “It's Perfectly Normal” for homosexuality, nudity, sex education, religious viewpoint, abortion and being unsuited to age group;
* “Forever” by Judy Blume for sexual content and offensive language;
* “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger for sexual content, offensive language and being unsuited to age group;
* “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier for sexual content and offensive language;
* “Whale Talk” by Chris Crutcher for racism and offensive language;
* “Detour for Emmy” by Marilyn Reynolds for sexual content;
* “What My Mother Doesn't Know” by Sonya Sones for sexual content and being unsuited to age group;
* Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey for anti-family content, being unsuited to age group and violence;
* “Crazy Lady!” by Jane Leslie Conly for offensive language; and
* “It's So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families” by Robie H. Harris for sex education and sexual content.
Because God forbid we should talk about sex! If we talk about sex, then teenagers might actually do it! And we all know that the teen pregnancy rate was 0 until these kinds of books came along! Yeah, right.
Watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4
I love the part where he starts a petition!
So we finished collecting all of the things that were within our control to collect (doctor's forms, birth and marriage certificates, etc.) and that was cool. Unfortunately there are a few very minor issues that need to be clarified on my medical form so I'll need to go back to the doctor and get that taken care of. The next step is notarizing everything, and then it gets sent to Sacramento for the Secretary of the State to verify that the notary is an actual notary, and then to the Chinese Consulate to verify that the state is an actual state. In the meantime our homestudy is in progress and we can't move much forward without it, so there's some waiting going on. Just a taste of the other long waits in our future.
Tomorrow we're taking Zach to Disneyland (which reminds me--I should put the ticket in my purse right now). He hasn't been in a few years and we have a free ticket that expires at the end of the month so we thought we'd take him along. Apparently the Matterhorn (rollercoaster), the Haunted Mansion, and the Monorail are closed. We're assuming they are refurbishing the Matterhorn though I'm not sure why since it was just refurbished recently (well, within the last couple of years). They are transforming the Haunted Mansion into a Nightmare Before Christmas theme, which is really cool (or it was last year so I assume it will be this year too). And they're building a Finding Nemo-themed submarine ride so the Monorail is closed since it goes right over the development site.
Because I know you care.
If you're an iTunes user, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT upgrade to their newest version, 184.108.40.206. Apparently Apple has never heard of "beta testing" because the program is so buggy I searched for and found instructions on how to roll back to 6.05. What a serious piece of crap. Save yourself the trouble and wait until Apple actually, oh, I don't know, TESTS their program before releasing it.
It be Talk Like a Pirate Day! Ahoy, me beauties and bilge rats, grab a tankard of grog and join t'fun. If any of ye landlubbers are needin' help, visit TalkLikeAPirate.com. There even be a tip or two in German! Join in or you be takin' a long walk off a short plank. Arrrrrr!!!
She's Lynn Daucher!
She's a Republican!
She's "Fighting for a Better Future"!
She's running for...
yeah, we're not sure.
A few days ago we got a very impressive flyer from Ms. Daucher in the mail. It's a glossy, full color, four-page booklet outlining her accomplishments. We learn:
*She's a former teacher
*She wrote legislation to keep the Class Size Reduction Program
*She supports Making Health Care More Affordable
*She was a part of the campaign for "Jessica's Law" (which, again, no idea what that is)
*She co-authored a measure to require the monitoring of "high-risk sex offender" parolees by using GPS devices
*She opposes higher taxes and is into protecting our tax dollars
*She has short, gray hair
What we don't learn:
*What she's running for
You think that might be kind of important, no? No problem, I thought, I'll just check out her website. A close, careful reading of this no-doubt very expensive flyer revealed no website address. Hello??? The power of common sense (confirmed by Google) lead me to Lynndaucher.com (bonus points for having the site available in both Spanish and Vietnamese--Tan Nguyen could take a page from her book). It's a very good campaign website (again, hint-hint-Tan Nguyen).
As it turns out, she's running for State Senate.
Lynn, you seem like a nice person and I'm intrigued by your brochure here. Although I am not a Republican, I will definitely read more about you before deciding on my vote. However. The next time you spend a lot of money on an impressive brochure, you might want to consider advertising what it is you're running for as well as your website address so folks like me can do more research about you. Thanks!
Well, after a rough start, I think I'm getting the hang of my Chinese class as far as what she wants from us and how I'm supposed to learn it. I was frustrated greatly because what she wanted from us (e.g. what was on the quiz) was not what she said she wanted from us (e.g. what she told us would be on the quiz that was not actually on the quiz). Needless to say, I did remarkably poor on the quiz, managing to get 9 out of 30 points. The good news is that I was perfect on all the listening comprehension and I successfully wrote out the year "1984." The rest--yeah, not so much. In addition, about half the class is either native Chinese speakers or people who have taken Chinese before. There are very few people like me in the class just starting out. In addition, a lot of the class sits next to a Chinese speaker and therefore gets a running translation and explanation. Whereas me--I sit next to a young lad who, bless his heart, only got 5 out of 30 on the quiz. At any rate, our teacher moves really quickly and believes that everyone is keeping up because the Chinese speakers keep hurrying her up. Which is not helpful. Also, her handwriting is sloppy, which when you're looking at Chinese characters, is also not helpful. However, I think I have figured out how to approach this, and I was even able to create a sentence yesterday, saying, "Wo bu shi lao shi" which means "I am not a teacher." Yeah, no kidding.
I do find myself trying to impose grammar and vocabulary from other languages onto Chinese. The "no article" thing is throwing me, just as it throws a native Chinese speaker trying to learn English. The sentence above is literally translated "I no am teacher." I, of course, want to throw an "a" in there, as in "I am not a teacher." But ho ho, I'm not silly enough to think it in English! No! I very nearly said, "Wo bu shi ein lao shi." Ein being, of course, the German word for "a." Luckily I stopped myself in time.
A very sad day in American history. My thoughts are with all of the families.
Tan Nguyen is the Republican candidate for our little district, California's 47th, for the upcoming Congressional election. Tan has been most notably known for his neon green "Go With Tan" signs found approximately on every street corner and vacant lot in the area. In addition to being very obnoxious and very green, they all sport his mantra, "Not afraid to tell it like it is." Kevin has written about Tan on this occasion (with a particularly amusing comment left by a reader), and again here.
But I come here today to talk about yet another campaign flyer delivered to our mailbox. This one proudly declares, "Tan Thinks Like You!" Well I'm sorry Tan, but you really don't.
This particular flyer focuses on 4 Tan positions:
*Protection of workers' pensions
*Protection of American jobs (by discouraging companies to outsource jobs to other, cheaper countries)
*Opposition to NAFTA and CAFTA
*Protection of retirees and the aged (in the form of permitting the re-importation of medicines from Canada)
Since this flyer covers 3 of 5 of Tan's election platform (found here) we'll go ahead and tackle these first.
*Protection of workers' pensions.
Do I think that workers who contributed for years to pension plans deserve that pension when they retire? Absolutely! Do I think it's so important it should be one of the cornerstones of an election campaign? Uh, no. Out of all of Tan's positions, I find this one the most baffling. Why campaign on an issue that affects so few people while ignoring the retirement program nearly all Americans are relying on or will be relying on in the future: Social Security? Sure, it's not particularly important to me but is important to some--but is it really so important it should be a cornerstone of Tan's election campaign? I'm going to go with "no."
*Protection of American jobs
Tan's flyer reads: "Outsourcing of jobs to third world countries should be discouraged by offering tax breaks to companies who don't leave the U.S." While I'm not a fan of his solution, at least this is a legitimate concern for a number of people.
*Opposition to NAFTA and CAFTA
Again, I disagree, but it's an actual issue that more than 1 person cares about.
*Protection of retirees and the aged
Tan's solution here is to permit the re-importation of medicines from Canada. Talk about a stop-gap solution. Allowing medicine to be imported from Canada doesn't address the issue of why medicines are so expensive here. This is hardly a viable long-term solution and a complete failure to address the real problem. In addition, how on earth can you advocate the protection of retirees and the aged without addressing their two most important issues: Social Security and health care (Medicare)?
Tan's other two positions are immigration and securing our borders. All 5 can be found here. I realize that there are 4 issues above with 5 total and 2 more to go. This is because on his website he doesn't mention NAFTA or CAFTA so we can presumably roll that into "Protecting American jobs."
Nice hot-button issue here. Tan's position on immigration is, "I support LEGAL immigration and I’m against anything that encourages more illegal immigration." That's nice, but how do you propose to do that? What are you for? What is your solution then? It's easy to say "I'm opposed to that" but you really need to follow that up with an alternative.
*Securing our borders
Another nice hot-button issue. Here's Tan's position. Once again, I have the same question as above. What do you propose to do about it?
Tan's issues page is linked with the cute little logo reading, "Things people care about." Oh really? Here's a list of polls asking what people care about. We'll give Tan 1 and a half points for hitting things people really care about. He gets a full point on immigration, but only gets 1/2 a point for jobs because some polls combined jobs and the economy while others separated it out. As we all know, the economy is much more complex than jobs and NAFTA/CAFTA, so that's why we're only getting partial credit.
Here's Tan on the issues of "Things people care about."
War on Iraq
Tan: " "
Tan: " "
Tan: " "
Tan: " "
Tan: " "
Tan: " "
Tan: " "
Tan: " "
Moral issues such as abortion or gay marriage
Tan: " "
Tan: " "
Civil Liberties (including the Patriot Act and things like NSA wire tapping)
Tan: " "
And so forth. I have to say it really blows my mind that Tan feels that pensions is a more important issue than the war in Iraq, but there you have it.
Tan, please don't claim that you think like me because you really, really don't.
Kevin left yesterday afternoon for another Boy Scout weekend with Zach, and this time with his dad too. I've been all alone--haha. Friday I went to our weekly wine tasting and had a great time. Saturday I bummed around and slept in, then went out for dinner with a friend for her birthday. Tomorrow I plan on, I don't know, sleeping in or something and waiting for Kevin to return. Oh, my life is so empty and lifeless without him.
We had another successful homestudy visit. It was a piece of cake! Our social worker was just fawning over how much preparation we'd put into the paperwork, particularly our comprehensive autobiographies. He really only had a few minor questions for us and said he was ready to start writing the report! He needs two more things to finish it though: our blasted medical forms and our state fingerprints (these are for a child abuse clearance). Well we got the printing done a couple of weeks ago and apparently he got one set of results back but not the other. Hmmm. Hopefully the other will show up in the next couple of days.
The medical forms continue to be a challenge. We had our appointments and had the forms filled out but they needed some blood tests--a regular panel and one additional specific test. Well the regular panel took about 4 days but the specific test we were told would take about 10 days. So it's about 10 days later--I call today to see if the final test result came in and if I can pick up the forms. They go off to do some research and lo and behold--Kevin's result came in but the lab failed to run that particular test for me! Arg! I know for sure that it was written at the bottom, but apparently they missed it. So tomorrow I'm running in and getting Kevin's completed form as well as a new lab slip for me and then having my blood drawn. Luckily this one isn't a fasting test so I'll just be able to do it tomorrow afternoon. But still--what a pain!
Anyway, everything else is running very smoothly. There are another couple of documents we need to produce for our agency as well, but we're very, very close to being done!
We do need some pictures, however. If any of you have a picture of the two of us where we are both in the shot and can be seen clearly, please send it my way!
We had a great holiday weekend. On Friday we headed up to Kevin's Grandparents' cabin--all 4 of us, much to the doggie's dismay. They hate the car, but they loved the destination. The cabin is in Green Valley Lake (no, I don't know why their website is so atrocious) between Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear, way up in the mountains. It's great up there, and from a dog's perspective, there are so many things to sniff! There's no phone and our cell phones don't work there, and there's no cable, although there is a tv and dvd player. We watched the final season of Arrested Development. I'm still mourning the demise of what was probably the greatest show on television.
The doggies did a lot of sniffing. Did I mention the sniffing? Digory also did an extreme amount of barking. At everything. And I mean everything. And there was definitely a lot to bark at. Also, it was special treat time for dogs--they both got to sleep in our bed for 2 nights. It was cute, but we're not making a habit of it.
At any rate, the adoption process is going well. We have our second homestudy visit on Thursday (mental note: get cabinet latches, outlet protectors, and a lock for the jacuzzi). This will be our second of four. We're pretty close to finishing up the paperwork that we have control over. Just a few things remain! Unfortunately, the worst part is the paperwork we don't have control over. Won't that be fun!
We've also started taking a Chinese (Mandarin) class. Kevin's meets at night and mine meets during the day. This is very challenging for me, considering how well I picked up French and German (which was not well at all). I've got a quiz tomorrow so wish me luck!