aidenfire: Angel has his thinking cap on (buffyverse Angel has his thinking cap on)
I saw this website, put out by the US President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, entitled Money As You Grow -- 20 Things Kids Need to Know to Live Financially Smart Lives. In theory this is a great idea; the website is simple and eye-pleasing, the information is presented in small easily understood chunks, but I have some concerns about what they're presenting as need-to-know information, especially for the older ages. For example, yes, technically you shouldn't use a credit card unless you are able to pay it off in full every month. But there are instances when you do actually need to buy something that you can't pay off in a month. My computer broke when I was in college. I needed a new one for my school work, and I didn't make enough money to buy even a not very nice one outright in a month. I feel like teaching kids to never use a credit card is like teaching abstinence only sex education -- they're going to do it eventually, but if you just say no no no, they're not going to know how to do it responsibly.

Also, the website advocates having 3 months living expenses saved by the age of 19. I didn't live an extravagant life when I was 19 by any means, and I worked at an above-minimum-wage job 20+ hours a week, while going to school full time. I wasn't even making enough money per month for living expenses, let alone saving anything; I was getting by on student loans, help from my family, and yes, credit cards. By presenting that as a basic necessary life lesson, it seems to frame people for whom that is not a possibility as failures. I recently came into some money unexpectedly, and I used it to buy a car, which I needed for work, and to pay off a good chunk of my credit card debt. It would have been fiscally irresponsible to just put that money in a savings account to gain at most 2% interest (and probably more like .5%), instead of pay off debt that's got a 18%, or even higher, interest rate. And I haven't even touched on my thousands of dollars of student debt.

I'm disappointed that the US administration seems to be tailoring its advice to people and families that already have money (starting your Roth IRA at 16, really?). I don't know these people that have 3 months living expenses on hand, and that don't need credit cards, and that can start investing as teenagers. I think more useful money lessons would be things like how to know if a credit card is offering you a good rate or not, that late payments mean you'll have to pay more later both on your bills and due to your credit score, how to deduct everything you qualify for from your taxes, or why it's good to pay down debts as fast as possible.

Thoughts?

Poetry

Apr. 18th, 2012 03:11 pm
aidenfire: (NonFandom: Books are fun!)
Very quick question! What are your favorite poems/poets with non-poetry-readers, particularly teenagers? I want to do a little poetry event with my kids as part of April being National Poetry Month, and any suggestions are most welcome!

♥!
aidenfire: (by <lj site="livejournal.com" user="anic)
Ugh I had like four paragraphs written and dreamwidth freaked out and ate it :////. I'll try to recreate!

So, Hunger Games! spoilers (for all 3 books as well as movie) and rambling this way! )

As for Game of Thrones... )

In my shame list update, I've knocked The Crucible and Catcher in the Rye off my list, and I really, really enjoyed both of them. In some ways for similar reasons -- I think they both did a great job of really exposing humanity, of taking a character and just breaking him down for the world to see inside him. The Crucible took me a bit to warm up to, it was a little slow going in the beginning, especially during the exposition bits, but when the action picked up, holy hell did it pick up! Catcher had my attention essentially from the first sentence; I think I read it in close to one sitting.

In the flist participation section of this post, what should I read next? Great Expectations, or something by either Steinbeck or Faulkner?
aidenfire: hermione is the brains of this operation (hp: the brains of every operation)
This essay, Common People was one of the best critiques of ~this american life~ that I've read in a long time. He makes the simple but often overlooked point that "We always make it about race in America, when it really has a lot more to do with class than anything else."

A lol-erific addendum to the culture wars; the Republican Party in a town in South Carolina wants their candidates to sign a pledge affirming that, among other things, they've never had pre-marital sex and will never watch porn. Women are getting the shit kicked out of their sexuality and reproductive rights, so I can't help but take a little vindictive pleasure in the fact that someone is trying to control men's sexuality, too, wrong as that may be. On the other hand -- this is ridiculous, and humorous. If this were being required of women, no one would take it as a joke. In our culture, it's ludicrous to even imagine people trying to tell men who and who not to have sex with and when. It's funny. But that happens to women in one way or another every single day. And this is why we fight.

A professor at my alma mater went on record saying he agreed with Rush Limbaugh, and applauded his analogy requiring people using subsidized contraceptives to post videos of their sex lives. People flipped shit, obviously, and the president of my school responded with a really strong denouncement. It just drives me crazy that people are missing the whole goddamn point of the entire birth control thing which is as follows: birth control is a medicine prescribed by doctors. Prescriptions are covered by insurance. Therefore, birth control should be covered by insurance. Why is that such a hard point to grasp? Whenever sex is thrown into the picture people just lose all sense of rationality.

I would really like to read some more books on social justice/feminism. Any recs? Some books that I've read and enjoyed include The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti, Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh, Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher, etc.
aidenfire: hermione is the brains of this operation (hp: the brains of every operation)
Life. Sometimes the drama forces you to assess things more clearly, you know?

In other news, I finally read Neil Gaiman's Stardust yesterday and it was fabulous! For those of you that haven't read it, it's a fantasy/faerie tale/quest novel featuring a cusp-of-adulthood young man searching for a fallen star. It was a pretty quick read; I finished it in one (pretty slow) shift at the boy's house. I loved the fairy tale tone of it. It's hard to hit on that tone and still maintain a complicated plot and multi-faceted characters. He did an excellent job though. I wasn't sucked in immediately, but all of a sudden I was like half way through the book and couldn't put it down. I definitely had some straight up hand-to-mouth gasps at certain points of the action, and it also had a whole lot of heart. I always love watching completely disparate plot threads converge, and I was so satisfied with the ending of this one. He didn't cop out; the ending followed the plotlines that he'd set in motion; but he did it so elegantly. It was a true pleasure and I highly recommend it. :)
aidenfire: Wat is disgusted! (akt: Wat is disgusted!)
Originally posted by [profile] electricdruid at The fiasco continues

ACTA in a Nutshell –

What is ACTA?  ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. A new intellectual property enforcement treaty being negotiated by the United States, the European Community, Switzerland, and Japan, with Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada recently announcing that they will join in as well.

Why should you care about ACTA? Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope and will involve new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology.”

What is the goal of ACTA? Reportedly the goal is to create new legal standards of intellectual property enforcement, as well as increased international cooperation, an example of which would be an increase in information sharing between signatory countries’ law enforcement agencies.

Essential ACTA Resources

  • Read more about ACTA here: ACTA Fact Sheet
  • Read the authentic version of the ACTA text as of 15 April 2011, as finalized by participating countries here: ACTA Finalized Text
  • Follow the history of the treaty’s formation here: ACTA history
  • Read letters from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden wherein he challenges the constitutionality of ACTA: Letter 1 | Letter 2 | Read the Administration’s Response to Wyden’s First Letter here: Response
  • Watch a short informative video on ACTA: ACTA Video
  • Watch a lulzy video on ACTA: Lulzy Video

Say NO to ACTA. It is essential to spread awareness and get the word out on ACTA.

Via Tumblr

For any US citizens who want to do something, there's a petition at the White House asking the US gov to rescind their support.

aidenfire: Angel has his thinking cap on (buffyverse Angel has his thinking cap on)
Nothing grinds my gears like inequality, and we've been seeing a lot of it these days: racism, sexism, homophobia, and poverty-phobia (yes, that's definitely the technical term). Here are some links for your perusal.

An infographic spelling out the war on women in 2011. Ugh.

Turns out easier access to contraceptives -- and abortions -- actually lowers abortion rates. Who'd thunk it? This goes along with what I've been saying since I was 16 -- no one, not even pro-choice heathens, WANT women to get abortions. However, women are going to get them anyway, so we need to make it safe and accessible for them to make the best possible decisions about their own health. Contraceptives lower the need for abortions! I don't understand how you can be against both!

Martin Luther King vs. Mitt Rommney. Guess which one sounds like a dick?

Ron Paul is a bigot, y'all. Quotes from him or his newsletters include, "I think we can assume that 95 percent of the black men in that city [Washington] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."; "Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities."; "Is it any coincidence that the AIDS epidemic developed after they came "out of the closet," & started hyper-promiscuous sodomy?". He was also the only member of Congress to vote against giving Rosa Parks a Congressional Medal of Honor, and he opposes the Civil Rights Act. He also claims that he can't be a racist, because he's a Libertarian, and they don't see people in groups. Clearly guys, not a racist at all.

An op-ed about kids and gender from the NY Times. Always an interesting read!
aidenfire: Jocelyn knows what's up (akt: jocelyn knows what's up)
But first, a meme! I had to post this one once I saw the result:

Pick up the nearest book to you.
Turn to page 45.
The first sentence describes your sex life in 2012.


"I should cut back on my work anyway, and--we should make an effort to eat together"

The Demon's Covenant, by Sarah Rees Brennan.

ahahahahaha ded from lolz.
*****

In other book news, I have a few more recs to make.



Legend, by Marie Lu. Dystopian/futuristic YA. ♥♥♥♥♥; highly recommended.

Read more... )

Matched, by Ally Condie. Dystopian/futuristic YA. ♥♥♥♥; recommended.

Read more... )

Crown of Stars series, by Kate Elliott. Adult fantasy. ♥♥♥; ambivalently recommended (ie I didn't like it but you might).

Read more... )

Please note, I give Amazon links purely for the amount of information/other reviews, not out of an endorsement of Amazon. Consider supporting your local bookstores!
aidenfire: (buffyverse: Angel is overwhelmed by love)
A big THANK YOU to the anonymous who bought me paid time. I appreciate it so much and can't wait to get some new icons! Very much appreciated, and thank you. :)
aidenfire: Harry Potter has Strong Feelings (hp: Harry Has Strong! Feelings!)
Hi guys! Some techy questions...

First of all, is there any way on DW to choose which tags display on your sidebar? Or choose only tags used more than x times?

In other news, my computer bit the big one a little before Christmas. My dad very kindly let me use his old laptop. However, it's a Mac, and as a staunch PC user, I've been having some issues. I'm willing to be converted, but does anyone have any suggestions on dealing with these minor annoyances that are cumulatively driving me nuts?

-Hitting the red x doesn't actually close the program? You have to go into the file menu and click quit?
-Highlighting a file and pressing the delete key doesn't, in fact, delete the file
-No differentiated delete and backspace key?
-No right click but many functions that are only visible upon right clicking????
-How do I view my network, to connect to a printer or whatever?
-Why does firefox only come up with my previous tabs 50% of the time, despite me having that setting chosen?
-How can I tell how strong/fast my internet connection is?
-Why can't I play .avi files in iTunes?
-Why does iTunes mirror all my music files, so my computer has them all on the drive twice?
-I wish I could see what windows I have open on the dock, not just the dot that says the program is running.
-Is there a one-click way to get to the desktop?

Anyway, I'm going to stop bitching and get over myself now, I just had to get that out there. Especially when macs are always touted as the best thing since sliced bread. There are some good features that I like, but it's not the perfect machine from the gods that some apple-diehards believe it is.

*cranky*

ETA: No offense meant to those of you who do love your macs! I know my mileage often varies from the general population. :)
aidenfire: Time Riggins is feeling fierce! (fnl: Tim Riggins is feeling fierce!)
That moment when you look in the mirror at the end of the day and you're like "oh my GOD that's what I've been going around looking like all day?!?!?!"... sigh. Hahah. Anyway, on to the main point! As promised, some Yuletide recs. Just Friday Night Lights and Tamora Pierce today; some more random fandoms in a few days. All these fics are pretty short (the joy of Yuletide! So many great short fics = so much immediate gratification!) unless otherwise noted. :)


Tamora Pierce recs! )

Friday Night Lights recs! )

I'm sure I've messed up some coding somewhere, so let me know if you catch anything!
aidenfire: hermione is the brains of this operation (hp: the brains of every operation)
I've been reading some really excellent things lately, both novels and some Yuletide stuff, and I wanted to share my squee! I'm stilling working through Yuletide, so I'll post those in a day or two, but for now, have some book talk! I also have a couple more books I want to talk about, but I figured I'd go ahead and post this now.

Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder. Fantasy, Adult/YA. ♥♥♥♥. Highly Recommended.

Read more... )

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Sci Fi/Future, Adult/YA. ♥♥♥♥♥. Highly Recommended.

Read more... )

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets, by Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh. Non-fiction. ♥♥♥♥. Highly Recommended.

Read more... )

In other news, I'm out visiting my boy in Pittsburgh and it's really nice. :)

And, final unrelated random question...I'm considering changing my default to this one of Hermione I used here. Thoughts?
aidenfire: (Default)
If ever you needed more incentive to at least backup your journal somewhere, LJ has been deleting comments made by people who've deleted their journals. If you've been around more than a couple years, check some of your old entries. I didn't make it five entries without finding entire threads where every other post was [Deleted Comment]. Never mind if I still wanted to read those comments, if they were from some of my oldest and dearest friends, if they recorded information I still wanted to have. FUCK you livejournal.

(FYI, you can import your entire journal including comments to Dreamwidth. Even if you decide not to use it, you can never have too many back ups.)

So upset. :(
aidenfire: (Default)
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Solstice, and happy whatever else you celebrate! I hope you and yours are safe, healthy, and happy this holiday season and this year. :)

We've had a peaceful Christmas, although church last night was slightly exciting -- we have tall candle holders essentially on a stick that fits into notches on the ends of the pews. However, the person in front of me sat down a little hard a couple times and very, very nearly set the church on fire. It did succeed in pouring out quite a lot of wax quite suddenly, again, very nearly on me and the woman in front of me. We both had to scurry to move out of the way, so we were definitely wide awake for the rest of the service! It was not a quiet, subtle thing; I may or may not have shrieked a little, and the woman in front of me sprang to her feet. It was just as the priest was about to begin his sermon, and his only comment was to ask us to wait to burn the church down until the sermon was over, which made me laugh. We were also visited by a bat flying around quite excitedly. So, a lot going on!

We were also blessed to have an excellent singer doing some solos, which was just a pleasure. We have a very small church and we aren't often able to hire musicians. This is a video of him doing a song, also in my church, at another time. Youtube doesn't quite showcase him as well as it might, but it was honestly wonderful, and the acoustics in the church were beautiful. There's a long intro; he starts around the :30 mark if you want to have a listen. :)

aidenfire: (soccer beckham advice)
Hi y'all -- I've been thinking about this for awhile and I am officially making the move to Dreamwidth. I will be posting over there (but cross posting to this journal) and primarily reading flist over there. I've imported rss feeds of my flist, so theoretically I should still see public posts. I'll still be skimming flist over here for a while yet, but if I'm missing something you think I should see, please don't hesitate to give me a nudge! I am aidenfire over there as well. I've friended a lot of familiar names but again, please let me know if I've missed you! Especially if you have a different user name. Suggestions for comms to follow would also be appreciated.

Now, the why. I hardly even know where to start, but it essentially boils down disrespect from Livejournal, and a lack of trust of Livejournal. tl;dr under the cut )
I'm tired of putting up with a new shit storm every eight weeks, especially when Dreamwidth is making itself a more viable alternative all the time. Just for a thought exercise, read Dreamwidth's latest news post. New changes that are opt-in, rather than either opt-out or just rolled out whether you like it or not! Responses to user concerns! Acknowledgement of current bugs! Admitting they made a mistake, and what they're doing to amend it! New features that are actually useful and that people want, rather than random shit they've come up with for the hell of it or something! Donating 10% of their profits for a month to a pro-women-in-science organization, I don't even. And then, maybe more importantly, read some of the comments. Look for someone asking a question, and you'll also find their question being answered, promptly, politely, and thoroughly, by a senior staffer. A senior staffer mentioning a feature as being implemented particularly to improve a kink meme! Acknowledgement of fandom? Customer service? What is this? Amazing! Yes, it's not perfect by any means. But I don't feel like they are actively disrespecting my friends and I, or trying to fuck their users over for their own gain.

I really encourage you to think strongly about moving. You can import your whole LJ with just a couple simple clicks -- including, as I said in the beginning, RSS feeds of many of your friends' journals. Hope to see you on the other side. :)

Sorry for the length... < / strong feelings!>
aidenfire: (Default)
I'm holding my breath and making the jump over here. You can also find me cross-posting on LJ at http://aidenfire.livejournal.com/. Hi! :)
aidenfire: (Default)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] digitalsidhe at Mississippi Personhood Amendment Close to Passage
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment:

Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I [original author of this post] made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

  1. Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.
  2. If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.
  3. You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.
  4. Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.





You know this entry was originally posted at http://digitalsidhe.dreamwidth.org/841573.html, right? You can comment there using OpenID, even if you have no Dreamwidth account (plus you'll get my niftier userpics!)... but commenting here is okay, too.
aidenfire: (Default)
Game of Thrones ahhhhh!!!!! So ridiculously excited!!!
aidenfire: (Default)
so my train back to school hit a semi and killed the driver, and a junior at my school got stabbed to death at a frat party on campus last night.

what the fuck, world.
aidenfire: (Default)
Ahhh grad school! Ahhh honors project! Ahh senior year! = summary of my life.

I have officially finalized the list of programs I'm applying to! For your consideration:
U of Minnesota, Yale, Northwestern, Stonybrook, the University of New Hampshire, Berkeley, U of Tennessee, Carnegie-Mellon, UC Santa Barbara, U of Buffalo, and U of Iowa. Phew! If anyone happens to have any thoughts on any of these schools, I'd be much obliged.

Also, I'm working as a research assistant in a marital research lab, and one of my duties is to try to recruit participants for a study we're doing. We're looking at how relationships change at different stages of the relationship, from starting to date, to moving in or getting married, to having kids, and so on.

If you're at least 18 years old and in a relationship, please consider completing the survey. I would REALLY appreciate it--it would be a big help to me as I finish my degree and apply to grad school! If you can't complete the survey yourself or are not in a relationship, it would still be a HUGE help if you could forward the link to a friend or two that you think might be interested.

The Transitions in Relationships Survey offers INDIVIDUAL FEEDBACK on your personality and your relationship and a chance to win $50 at the end of the study. This gives you the opportunity to see how your relationship compares to other relationships as you go through transitions. Here's the link to the survey: http://www.courses.rochester.edu/surveys/funk/transitions/index.htm?id=livejournal


Let me know if you have any questions! How are you all? ♥
ps more crazy shit is happening in my life, but no time/energy right now...massive update someday soon? yes? yes.
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