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Staying In and Getting Real: Current Events Roundup, Part Three, aka WHAT

I can’t believe that exactly one month and one day ago, I had the same idea for a post.

And sadly enough, it’s just as relevant.

Maybe even more so.

After the events this weekend in Sutherland Springs, this is unacceptable. I do not care who you are or where you stand, love me or hate me, but we need gun control in the United States.

Now.

There’s nothing that should need to be said, but at the same time, everything should be said. To those who lost people in Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Manhattan, anywhere that there’s ever been gun violence, if you are reading this, speak up. And if you are speaking up already, speak up more because clearly the world is not listening to what you have to say. It was a pretty productive day for me, all things considered, but I can’t help but think about all the people who will never have the chance to have another productive day, or even a lazy day, those have no more days because they are dead for no reason other than being in a specific church in Texas at a specific time and not being lucky.

People on the news are saying that this is “not the time to talk about gun control.” To that, I say…WRONG WRONG WRONG. This is the IDEAL time to talk about gun control. This is the OPTIMAL time to talk about gun control. It has been less than 48 hours since the shooting, and before everyone forgets about it for whatever reason, this is the time to talk about it. I am not an outwardly political person, I mostly mind my own business because if I didn’t, I would never stop crying, but even if I’m just screaming into the void of the Internet, maybe someone will notice me and pass the word along on their blog or to a friend in real life. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where we can speak freely about our government, and even though I am not marching to Washington or frantically dialing my Congressmen, or even bringing it up in conversations, this is my little way of adding to that conversation. Which, I repeat, should happen now, because there is not better time.

We cannot wait for things to change. We need to take charge, make good choices, and be cognizant of what is really going on in America. And for those of you who are not Americans, consider yourself lucky that your country is not going through this nonsense right now.

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A Slightly More Than Expected Day

One of the questions asked at tonight’s APO meeting was about the most interesting thing that happened today.

Normally, I don’t find my days that interesting, especially today, which I spent the better half of in bed. Once I got up, however, the following things happened.

  • I put an earring into a drunk man’s ear.
  • I bought a salad for lunch and left it sitting in a bag on the sidewalk.
  • I admitted publicly to doing both of those things.
  • I was sitting outside and writing a check to send in the mail with my Kohl’s bill, and just as I was finishing, a bird pooped on it.
  • I went to Target, and though I bought plenty of other things, the fruit snacks I bought did not make it home.
  • For a block, I drove down the wrong side of the road. Fortunately, there were no cars coming.
  • My right ear hurts like crazy (not the ear canal, but slightly under the ear) and I hope I don’t have an infection or anything.

It’s been quite a rough 24 hours for the world, but hopefully this post will cheer some of you up.

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What Fresh Hell Can This Be: International Mailing

I sent a book to Texas this week that cost me $4.

I sent a book half that size to Finland, which cost me $22.50.

What is wrong with this picture?

**another update to this post**

One of my favorite hobbies is sending and receiving books via BookCrossing or PaperBackSwap. Now that I’m moving to a new place in August, one of my goals is to get rid of unnecessary stuff, including some of my extensive book collection. In the past few weeks, I have managed to read and send out 15-20 books to people, mostly via PaperBackSwap, which is domestic only, versus BookCrossing, which can be international.

Media Mail is one of the most wonderful things ever invented for sending books around the country. It starts at about $2.63 per package, going up a few dollars if it’s a particularly heavy book, and given that I’ve gotten a lot of books for free either as gifts or from friends, it’s a very small price to pay for the cost of a good read. However, Media Mail only exists in the USA, and I learned the hard way this week that the base price for international mailing is a criminal $22.50, which I paid twice, once to Finland and once to the UK. For that kind of money, you could probably buy at least 2 copies of the same book over there and still have enough left over for a cup of tea, or whatever the Finns drink (cocoa?) to sip while you enjoyed reading. To make things worse, while Media Mail has free tracking (which used to cost extra), you have to fill out an extra customs form to send things overseas, and there’s no tracking system, so if you’re sending something to, say, Istanbul, and it doesn’t get there, it could be anywhere from under the desk of the postmaster in Madison or in the back of a truck halfway to Syria, for what it’s worth.

One other option for international mailing is FedEx, which is also criminally expensive but at least comes with tracking. I used it just once to send something to Israel, and it cost me twice what the item was worth, but at least I got to see it bounce from Madison through Memphis, London, and Paris before it eventually arrived in Israel, safely. Never doing that again unless it’s a real emergency.

So how do we solve this? I have no clue. Write to my congressman? My postmaster? I don’t remember it ever being this costly to send stuff overseas, and at this rate if I keep offering books to people in other countries, it’s eventually going to bankrupt me.

For now, at least, I’m sticking to PBS, and the occasional domestic bookcrosser. I guess the days of fun international shipping are over. Sigh.

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Sticker Suck

So, yesterday, I was out running errands, and I parked my car in the parking lot of a nearby building. I come back, and there’s a GIANT yellow sticker on the windshield, saying something like “WARNING, you have parked in a private area, your license plate has been recorded, and next time you will be ticketed and/or booted at your expense.”

W. T. F.???

First of all, I was parked next to the visitor parking sign. NEXT to it.

Second, I was only there for an hour.

Third, who does that? Put a card under my windshield or something. What purpose does it serve you to put a giant sticker on my driver’s side window, out of which I have to see in order to operate my car, which I can’t do because of this opaque yellow rectangle obstructing my vision? Why? Why do you have to be that heartless?

I ended up driving around for the next few hours with it on, trying to peer around it while driving because this thing was not coming off with my fingernails. Eventually, I had to stop at a mechanic, who offered me a razorblade. Thank goodness that worked without ruining the glass. I still have an unsightly square of residue on my window, but…enough. People, why you gotta be so awful?

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I Didn’t Choose The Teacher Life…

Ten minutes to midnight on a Monday, and as I am composing this lovely blog post, I am also simultaneously…

  • Wearing jeans, a sweater, and a scarf
  • Sitting among several piles of paper and books
  • Furiously chewing about five pieces of Extra bubble gum
  • Photocopying several activity sheets for class with the kids tomorrow
  • Cutting up said sheets
  • Pressing down the paper on one sheet that got bent in my backpack
  • Preparing to do laundry
  • Listening to Justin Timberlake on my iPhone
  • While watching The Golden Girls with the sound muted.

I didn’t choose the teacher life, the teacher life chose me.

Hashtag, teacherlife.