I have seen the Internet and it is full of spam

For what amounts to a personal blog with a pretty small readership I seem to get a lot of spammers in the comments. I was emptying out the comments filter this morning and ran across these nuggets:

Symptoms of flu…

That was it. Very ominous. Or maybe it was referencing how the other comments feel.

I conceive the articles here is very excellent.

*System error. English teacher subroutine failing. Grammar? Very yes.*

Then the best one of all: three identical comments from different “people” declaring:

Does it look like some of these remarks look like written by brain dead individuals?

You don’t say!

Jharia on the brink

Earlier this week the LA Times had a story about Jharia, India and the coal fires that have threatened that community for decades. The case of Jharia is pretty bleak according to the Times. An intriguing aspect of this story though is the increase of strip mining that has occurred as a means to “save” the coal from the fires. There are a number of different draws here since coal burnt in the ground as opposed to say a steel mill is ultimately money lost for mining interests. At the same time, strip mining leads to increased profits for those same interests. At the root though there remain the local residents whose lives are irrevocably changed by a coal mining disaster set to a slow burn.

Some Quick Thoughts on the Move

The radio silence here lately has been due to the big move that took place this week. Last Friday we packed up our lives in Oregon and hit the road for Los Angeles. The move itself happened over three days: one day to pack, two to drive. We unpacked the truck on the last day of driving. I’m happy to say that a week after starting the process we’re finally settling in. Getting the bulk of our stuff unpacked helped. As did discovering that my desk did still exist under all the boxes.

Ok, fine: getting the internet back plays a big part. I know, I’m addicted. Whatever.

Now that I’ve confronted one of my shortcomings I wanted to jot down a few things.

– First, a big thanks to all the folks who helped us move!

– Surprising is the wrong word, but I can’t think of the right one to use: I’m surprised by how much OR was home. I mean, I knew I was going to be hit pretty hard by leaving the people there (and I was right), but the surprise lies in how much I liked the physical place. This isn’t meant to reflect on how I feel about LA though. The two places are too vastly different to really compare. Besides, I haven’t been here long enough to form an opinion. The real point is just that I hadn’t realized how far we’d gone in making OR home. The lingering end point to graduate school obscured that more than I realized. So, yeah. I miss it.

– All of that said, I don’t miss the allergens. It’s really good to breath.

– The southern portion of I5 is boring. Sooo boring. Unless you’re driving through construction in a big moving truck. Things get exciting real fast.

– I’m not sure how it happened, but we ended up having to return the truck to a spot with basically no parking and a broke down minivan half blocking the rental place’s “driveway.” I distinctly recall looking at this place on street view and thinking “nope!” Somehow (through whatever glitch of the truck rental online reservation service) I ended up having to go there anyway. My dad took it all in stride though. His thought process was basically “you got the insurance, right?” That was shortly followed by him pulling out into traffic. Type 2 fun if ever I’ve had it.

– The best line I heard during the move was as follows – HP: Would you like some lemonade? DP: No Thanks. The only liquids I take in are coffee, beer, and water.

– One of the biggest things that’s taking some getting used to is the fact that protected left hand turns are an endangered species down here. I think they’ve been hunted off like elephants. When I find one I keep expecting someone who looks like Teddy Roosevelt to be lurking with a blunderbuss behind the nearest tree.

– My mind works in mysterious ways.

– Some people smash fingers or toes moving. Some cut themselves. Some fall out of moving trucks. Some do all of these things at the same time. I may dally in these other activities, but my real skill lies in ramming my head into whatever object happens to be nearby… and then doing it a second time for good measure.

– I’m finding it very hard to come to terms with being done with my degree. That doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting around doing research. I’m done with the degree, not with being burnt-out. What this all translates into is a weird sense of guilt that permeates my free moments. Luckily (I guess) there those have been in short supply during the move.

– I’ve been battling the guilt by reading Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail. It’s doing wonders. It’s also a good fix for being incredibly tired of the current campaign season and all of its nuances.

More on that and more blogging in general later I hope.