Group Projects

I’ve never been much of a fan of group projects in school. Whether the groups were assigned or whether we were allowed to choose our own, it always seemed that there were those in every group who were determined to shirk their share of the work, absolutely certain to fail to be part of the work-in-process throughout the entire project.

I may have to change my tune. Last semester, my assigned debate partner turned out to be a winner. Not only is she a gunnie (still somewhat new to the sport), she worked hard throughout the semester on our debate presentation, and despite being terrified of public speaking, she did an amazing job during the debate itself.

This semester, the group I’ve been assigned to had a group email sent around that everyone had answered within one hour of when the groups were first assigned. We’ve agreed on who is doing what within the group without any arguments, and our first assignment was turned in 2 days early. (We were also the only group that managed to have all of its members complete another unrelated assignment fully and on time according to the syllabus!)

While I still think that there are many kids in my classes that need to grow up and start functioning as adults (given that the program I’m in is supposed to be a master’s degree mainly for working adults), there may be a few more who are a bit further along than it originally appeared.

Categories: School | Tags: | 1 Comment

Happy Christmas to All!

Matthew 1: 18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

May you all have a happy and blessed Christmas and a joyous and rewarding new year!

Categories: Family, Health, Home | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

’tis the Season

My dad sent me the link to this. I wish I could hear it there, at the Air and Space Museum; the acoustics must be amazing.

Categories: Around Town, Bucket List | Tags: | 1 Comment

PSA: USAA Phishing

Just a warning to my friends out there who have USAA…

I woke up to a very good phishing email this morning. If I’d been just slightly less (or more?) caffeinated when I read it, I might’ve done something stupid.

It read something about needing to update my profile, so please click on the link.

I’ve gotten those from USAA before.

It had the Security Zone, but it didn’t look quite right. And the graphics were just a wee bit (and I do mean wee bit) fuzzy. The address at the bottom of the email also wasn’t the traditional San Antonio, TX address.

That’s it. Those are the only things that clued me in that it wasn’t right and proper.

I’ve sent it along to USAA. I trust that they’ll get it shut down. But in the meantime, do be careful, and spread the word.

Categories: Around Town, Home, Work | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Changing the Rules

Debate is a sport. It has rules. The rules are spelled out very clearly in many places, and in my one class, we were given very clear references to exactly what rules our debates would be held according to. We were even recommended to watch examples of such debates.

I still think that having been on speech and debate team for several years in high school gives me an advantage.

The big debate still isn’t for a month, but we had mini-debates this past Saturday in class. They were somewhat informal and just pitted campus against campus on some fairly simple topics. Almost no one had done a lot of research, but the 45 minutes we were given in class was plenty of time to pull things together.

My campus was given the affirmative of the question, “Resolved: The United States healthcare system is the best in the world.” Most of us could barely read that aloud with a straight face, but we had to defend it. After everyone else started groaning and saying there was no way we could do it, I said, “Exactly, so we change the rules. Redefine ‘healthcare system’ so that it becomes ‘diagnosis and treatment of disease’. Then show how the US does that better than anyone else.” And we were off to the races.

The team debating the negative never saw the switch we pulled and failed to redefine “healthcare system” back to anything else. They showed up ready to play soccer. We substitued a football and proceeded to pick the ball up and run with it while they were still trying to kick it in a straight line towards goals that had suddenly become uprights.

In addition, no one else knew what to do with their alloted time for cross-examination. I did. And given the debate set-up, ours was the second debate, and I was the last to cross in our debate, so no one else could take what I did and turn it back on us (at least not this week). Everyone else would ask a question, then let the person responding meander on and on, often not even answering the question and using up all of the time given for cross.

My cross went something like this:
You mentioned obesity. The US healthcare system does a fantastic job of treating the end results of obesity. Do you disagree?” “Well, no, but we need to educate…“*interrupted*
Thank you. You want to prevent obesity with education, but we do that already. Are you going to force people to eat the proper foods and exercise?” “Well, maybe we should…“*interrupted*
I see you want to remove the ability of people to make choices in their lives. You also mentioned the infant mortality rate in the U.S. Do you realize that this is at least partially due to women choosing to give birth at home with inadequate medical attention and untrained midwives?” “We need to educate them and make them go to hospitals…“*interrupted*
So you want to tie up all the pregnant women and throw them into ambulances to make them give birth at hospitals?!?” “Well, yes, we should.
*silence*
I see how you really feel about people’s medical choices in the US.

My time ran out shortly after that, but I was later told that the line about tying up all the pregnant women and throwing them in ambulances will probably go down as the best line said during class this semester.

Categories: Health, Humor, School | Tags: | 4 Comments

Health Care

It’s that time of year again… No, not when the days get shorter (ok, they are). No, not when the weather gets colder (ok, it is). No, not when the stores start putting out the Christmas decorations even earlier this year (and yes, they are).

It’s time to sign up for health insurance. In past years, it’s been easy. I just looked at the options my hospital gave me, made sure I didn’t pick the stupid choices, and *boom*, I was done.

When I got terminated at work due to the disability in February, I had to venture into the marketplace to find my own health insurance. It was a bit stressful, but it was a lot cheaper than paying COBRA costs, and it was accomplished without tearing out my hair.

It’s actually been more stressful having the insurance, because no one seems to understand that it’s individual insurance (not group insurance), so they send the bills to the wrong address (despite the correct address being right there on my card), the insco says, “We’ve never heard of her. DENIED!” and then whoever tries to bill me for the entire amount. Pretty much every single medical bill since February.

I figured it might not be too bad to renew my health insurance today. Just check the marketplace to be sure that nothing much had changed and proceed.

But wait… My state no longer offers any Platinum plans. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

The next best option is the Gold plan, with my same insco (because none of the others cover my main docs), which is almost exactly the same plan as I have now for exactly (to the PENNY) premium every month.

With one small exception.

My deductible goes from $750 to $1000. And my out-of-pocket maximum goes from $1500 to $6850.

Yes. For no savings in the monthly premium, my deductible increases by 1/3 and my out-of-pocket increases by over 350%. I hit that $1500 pretty fast this year, too. Not looking forward to next year.

Thanks, Obama.

Categories: Health, Politics | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Please Don’t Fling Me in that Brier-patch!

The culmination of one of the classes I’m currently taking is a formal debate on a current topic in public health. We were given a long list of topics to choose from, to rank our top four or five choices, as to what our interests would be for debate topics. From there, the professor was going to pick the top four and assign each of us to a topic and to a side of the topic (affirmative or negative). And she had warned us ahead of time…NO SWITCHING.

Needless to say, I ranked all of the topics to do with firearms as my top choices.

The list of topics and teams was handed out yesterday.

The topics are:
— Community programming and education should be increased to address overweight/obesity;
— School-based violence prevention programs should be used to prevent bullying;
— Texting and mobile phone use while driving should be banned; and
— Firearm registration and licensing of firearm owners should be restricted to reduce firearm deaths.

I’m on the team which is to debate on the negative of the firearms topic.

Please, please, don’t fling me in that brier-patch!

Categories: Firearms, Politics, School | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Remembering

It was a day when everything stopped.

I’ll never forget that morning, 14 years ago. Few things can bring the daily business in an ER to a screeching halt, but the pictures on the TV that morning did. Even the patients and their parents were glued to the TV screens in the rooms, minor (and some fairly major) complaints forgotten. Everyone horrified, near tears. It took several hours before things got back to normal, and even then, every TV was tuned to the news for the rest of that day and for several days after.

I don’t think the world is a better place today, despite all that the government keeps trying to do for (and to) us. I don’t think it’s safer. I don’t think tomorrow is brighter. I don’t spend every day obsessing over the future, but I do try to make plans for it, because I don’t think what’s coming is going to be pretty.

But I’ll never forget that morning and how everyone came together for a time.

Categories: Politics, Wonderings | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Be Careful Out There

I spent a good bit of this holiday weekend on the road. Between the BF’s car trouble and heading downstate for lunch with my parents today, I ran up several hundred miles on the interstate.

I have never seen so many police on the roads in such a short period of time. NEVER. Both in number and in type. I even saw state highway patrol sharing pass-throughs on the interstate with sheriff deputies and with local police, as if there weren’t enough places for them all to sit.

I know it’s a holiday weekend. I know they’re cracking down on drunk drivers. But 2pm on Friday? 10am on Labor Day? C’mon.

Even better was all of the drivers’ reactions to all of the police cars (and motorcycles!) on the roads. Every single cop sighted meant massive brake lights across the freeway, even if he had someone pulled over on the other side! I think the best was an obvious speed trap…4 Motor Carrier Enforcement SUVs (they’re a different color than the regular highway patrol cars), each one with an 18-wheeler pulled over, all in a line on the side of the road. Just about every single blessed car heading south slammed on his brakes.

The speed trap? On the northbound interstate.

Categories: Around Town, Humor | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Mandatory Gear

I have decided that there is something that I need to get to make my graduate school experience complete.

FLUFFY BUNNY SLIPPERS!!!

Given that the majority of my classes are online or via videoconference, I feel that attending classes in fluffy bunny slippers will make me smile and make my day complete when I have to be up at an ungodly early hour (for me) to participate in these classes.

And my feet will stay nice and toasty warm.

Categories: Humor, School | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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