Friday, October 09, 2015

Republicans, Techology, and My Daughter

You almost have to feel sorry for the Republicans.  But then you have to feel sorry for the rest of us, too.  Their lead guy said that he's quitting, and now their guaranteed shoo-in replacement says he has gotten so much pressure already from their radical don't care we we burn the building down wing, he doesn't want the job any more. He needs their votes to get the position, and felt that the position just was not worth the grief. Of course, the radicals don't care -- they are perfectly willing to shut down the goverment, just to get their way.  In fact, that would probably be desirable, to them.  The Wall Street Journal today said it's a battle between ideological purity and proving that you can govern.  They offered Newt Gingrich's Congress as proof that you can't have both - you need to be able to compromise. Otherwise, you fail. Of course, when the House (or Senate) fails, so does Congress.  The problem is that the radical conservatives absolutely despise the success that the liberals have had - eg, Obamacare, the Iran deal - and would give anything to undo it.  Well, except a plausible plan for governing.

I like the looks of the Microsoft Surface book.  Was fascinating to read a tech guru saying well of course you want an improved laptop, all that talk about Everyone will want a tablet was CLEARLY bushwah.  Um, yeah.  Clearly.  We're contemplating replacing our desktop -- which is still happily, if slowly, running Windows XP - and the idea of getting something with laptop ease of use and the ability to occasionally use it as a tablet is quite nice.  The initial comments have been uniformly positive.  Can't wait to see what people say about it after they have played with it for a while.  And you know that it will come loaded with Junkware.  I mean, tools to enhance your computing experience. 

This afternoon my daughter meets with the review board for the Corps of Cadets.  It turns out now that the Honor Court will also get involved, though it's vague exactly how -- on the one hand, a Corps staff officer will 'adjudicate all charges', which sounds like he will say Guilty or Not for each of them; on the other, if (their word) the Honor Court is involved, they will do a review and issue recommendations  So what I think will happen, and what actually will happen, are probably congruent but not identical.  We drove down to see my daughter yesterday, and had breakfast with her today.  She's cheerful but tense.  Four more hours....

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


Things with my daughter are guardedly better.

First off, she requested and got an immediate transfer to a new room.  Things were getting toxic with her roommate -- not hate-and-vitriol toxic, but 'getting snarky texts' toxic.  She actually wasn't sure she wanted to move, but when the roommate sent a text asking, snarkily, why didn't you tell me that you are moving to a different room - which hadn't been yet decided (though it was mentioned), she decided I have to get out of here.  Which happened that very night.  She is now in a room with the fourth roommate -- the one who informed on them.  They are both happy.  The change in my daughter's voice was amazing.

Second, I asked for opinions from the mother of one of the other cadets -- but not just any mother of any cadet;  this one had been the administrator of the Facebook page for parents of kids in the cadet group, and her son had been the highest-ranking cadet in the corps before he graduated.  I figured if anyone would understand, yet hold up the corps of cadets viewpoint, she would.  She told me that yes, it was serious, but she doubted any lasting damage would be done to my daughter -- which means, nothing that will keep her from graduating with the corps. (She told me that she knew of one cadet, last year, who decided to bring alcohol into the dorm, and was informed two days before graduation that he would not be graduating with the corps of cadets - with his class, yes, but with the corps, no - which meant he would not be getting a commission, which meant he would not be going into the military.  Enjoy your life, kid.  My daughter did not bring in or use alcohol, but the others involved in this fandango did.)

Third, another cadet was talking to a member of the corps staff who happens to know my daughter fairly well.  The staff member made an offhand remark that there would be repercussions for my daughter, but he doubted that they would be serious.  The cadet happens to be friends with my daughter's boyfriend, so the word was passed pretty quickly.

Of course, it ain't over till it's over.... but things aren't quite as gloomy as they were two days ago.

Thursday, October 01, 2015


Well, this has been a sucky day.

The thing with my daughter, which I thought would be treated as minor, is now being treated as major because she added some details to her statement after submission.  Apparently, that means that she lied on her original statement, so they boosted the level of severity of the inquisition.

I mentioned this to a person I know, a friend in Canada, and she said well, what do you expect, military people are like that.  The lack of empathy blew me away.  She's a good person, but goddam...

Daughter would like us to come down to the school for moral support, which of course we will.  Ten hour round trip drive.

We sent a note to the hosting service to say  we're not going to be here for two school days next week, and probably a few days afterward, which means we can't host the kid that you talked to us about. I can't imagine they'll be delighted to hear this.

What's next, cancer?  Car blows up? Cat puke in my shoes? 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Or Not

Just learned we're not getting the kid.  Probably because of her grades.

And that there is another kid in the area who needs to find a new host family, quickly.

15, like the other.  Female, like the other.

And from Thailand.



I still like him, really. And I know he's not out for a popularity contest.

But did he have to meet with that wacko Kentucky clerk?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


We're going through a period of difficulties.  Not world-ending ones, but still.

First, there is now a question about whether the French girl can actually come to our local school.  Apparently, her last French report card had three Cs on it, and the local school doesn't (usually) accept kids with Cs or below.  The organization which is trying to move her is trying to find out what her current grades (all of three weeks worth) are at the American school she's attending.  How they will find out without telling the kid that she might be moving is, fortunately, not my problem.  I have to admit, I don't really care.  I would like to have the kid here, because I think I'd like the experience, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.

Second, however, is more serious.

My daughter is a member of the Cadet Corps at a major college.  The Corps is mostly composed of kids who are going into the military after college, but there is a component of kids who are not, and she's in that.  Regardless, she has to adhere to the same rules as everyone else, and she's okay with that.

Last week, she and her boyfriend were in her room, along with her roommates, when some other members of the Corps showed up.  This was pretty crowded for a room that's normally crowded with just four people in it.  The roommates and the new people were talking about going 'downtown' (a small town next to the college), but when it became apparent that they were not going, my daughter's boyfriend suggested that they go back to his room and watch movies, which they did.

While they were gone, the people in the room started drinking.  Strictly forbidden.  Don't know if it was one person, several, roommates, not. Doesn't matter. In the Corps dorm, regardless of your age, drinking's forbidden.

When she returned, it was obvious that the visitors were impaired.  Rather than trying to get these guys back to their own rooms (one in that same building, two in a building a quarter mile away), she elected to give them blankets and pillows and let them sleep on the floor.  Which they did.

She didn't turn them in for drinking.  She should have.
She slept in the same room as males.  She should not have.

Nothing actually happened, but this was against the rules.  They got caught -- as it turns out, turned in by one of her roommates.

The two roommates who were drinking are in serious trouble.  Possibly as much as kick them out of the Corps trouble.  That would scotch their plans to go into the military. Horrible. I know one of them, and she's a good kid.

My daughter was told that she could be charged with failing to report them, and for 'visitation violation'.  She wouldn't (probably) get kicked out, but she could well get busted in cadet rank, have to stop doing Corps activities she enjoys, etc.

She's been talking to people who've been disciplined. (This fascinates me in a horrible way.  She can't ask the 'adult leadership' for advice, because its that adult leadership who will be ruling on the punishment for drinking, and might be advising on the punishment for my daughter.  So she has to rely on people she knows, getting their opinions.  Might be more honest, but more informed?  Maybe, maybe not.  Nice going, Corps leadership.)  They gave her advice about her rights (something else the Corps didn't spend a lot of time on), and what she could and could not, should and should not, do.  The one thing she was told repeatedly was Don't Lie. (Another ringing endorsement for an organization where not lying is supposed to be how they live their life.)  To which I added But don't volunteer answers, either.  Be honest, but be succinct. Don't suggest questions to them. These inquisitors are your friends and mentors, but today, they're none of that. Don't lie, but answer only what's asked.

I reminded her of that great political quote - It isn't the crime that gets you, it's the cover-up. If asked, don't lie.  If not asked, don't volunteer.

I have never been a big fan of the Corps, which strikes me as a silly organization (I told my daughter repeatedly, when she first started, and was having problems, that the Corps was totally NOT the real military; it was rather people playing at being military).  Today I reminded her of a slogan I'd heard years ago - Military Justice is to Justice as Military Music is to Music.  I want her to survive the music, and I want her to be prepared for organizational stupidity and rigidity.

So I showed her this video clip.

One other thing.  The two drinking roommates, aware that it was the third who turned them in, want to 'make her life hell', as my daughter put it.  She told me that she's going to do whatever she can to keep that from happening.  When I told her I was pleased by that, she shrugged and said it was no big deal.  I think it is. 

Friday, September 25, 2015


Four days ago I received a mass-mailing -- an appeal from a woman who runs the organization that brought in the two French girls who stayed with us.  It was a forwarded request from a different, but similar, organization, trying to find a place for another French teen.  The catch:  the teen is already here and living in Virginia -- but not getting along with the host family.  They would like to get her out of their house.

I asked the sender why they were not getting along, and the response was After she had her introductory photographs taken,  the girl dyed her hair blond, and the family doesn't like it. Seemed like a lame reason to want the kid gone.  Then I learned and she got one of those gauge piercings in her earlobe, which didn't square with the host family. They're fairly conservative.

Hmmm.  Tell me about her.

She's a 15 year old from Provence, she's friendly and energetic, she likes school, and she wants to speak American (not English).  She's fluent in French, pretty close in English, and knows a little Spanish and a little German.  Oh, and she doesn't know that we're looking to move her.


The best thing for her would be something where she gets to stay in her current school but moves to a different host family in that area -- but none have popped up, hence the friend of a friend mailing. Our local school isn't thrilled about bringing in a foreign student three weeks into the school session, but after mulling it over, said Well, get her records sent to us, we'll let you know next week. 

My daughter likes the idea but at the same time thinks Wait, you mean when I am at home for Break, she'll BE there?  Yeah, maybe..... And my wife says Sure, we can do that....we don't have to bring her to tourist places, like we did during the summer with the others, do we? Um, I don't think so. And I myself have thought what the heck am I getting into here? A new person, for almost a year?

So I'm half hoping it works, because I've wanted to do this  - a foreign student living long-term with us - for a while.   And I'm half hoping the local school says Nope, sorry, no can do.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Listening to the Pope, I wonder:  Could THIS be the adult that I've been thinking the world's leaders have needed, all these years? Someone who can be kind yet stern, mild yet forceful?

Jeez, that would be nice.....

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Daughter just called, in tears.  Apparently - for reasons that are not clear -- she had told her PC to upgrade to Windows 10 a while ago, and it was working.  Last night, it abruptly returned itself to Windows 7 -- and threw away all of her documents, including a paper she was working on. Which is due to day.