Saturday, June 29, 2013


One sleepy dog, slightly intoxicated with anaesthesia. Took the poor thing for sterilization today. At least she's not showing any inclination to lick of otherwise disturb her wound so we took the cone of shame off. It was hampering her distance estimation and made her bump into things a lot -- my heel, mostly. The timing, I believe, was exactly right. Yesterday she enthusiastically humped my forearm while I was watching TV. First time I've ever seen her do that, and probably the last time too.

And for once, a cat voluntarily climbed into the hammock of the huge cat tree that has until now been vacant of users. Hopefully, the others will follow his example else no one will ever miss the white elephant in the room.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Noisy dog

Took Tasha back to K9 Kafe with the intention of using the peace and quiet and relaxed atmosphere to enjoy lunch and get some assignment grading done. I ordered a spaghetti with chicken wings (odd combination). Tasha had a beef steak with diced baked potato. Evidently, she enjoyed her steak very much. She would not sit still. She had no concept of delayed gratification. She would not wait for me to put a cube of meat on a fork piece by piece. In between mouthfuls (hers and mine) she kept barking in that high pitched, irritating yap that sends shockwaves through the brain. That's her "I know my rights" bark. The one she reserves for unwelcome house guests is worse. Anyway, it wasn't the ambience or the food that put paid to my plans. It was the dog.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fibred up!

After getting the fibre line installed in my house I never activated it. That's because at the same time, Starhub upgraded my service to 50 mbps and gave me a free cable modem to supply the bandwidth. That was just shy of two years ago. Now Starhub's offering me a fibre upgrade and I've accepted. In a simple procedure, the 'hub rep hooked up the fibre gateway and wireless router for me. I'm downloading YouTube videos at 100 mbps in HD, with no buffering time. This is not to say that they're good videos or anything; it's just a speed benchmark I can appreciate. For all this combined with my existing cable TV subscription, the monthly bill comes down a couple of bucks. Nice.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Devil cat

Pebbles, the devil cat, has come to stay again while May is in LA. This reaction is in response to Tasha who has grown a bit, she is no longer afraid of him but is instead challenging and taunting him -- from the safety of behind my legs.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

There are no "critics"

There is a phrase that keeps cropping up in this current batch of GP essays I'm grading. "Detractors/Critics of my view..." It irks me because the logical premise does not hold. If the intention of the essayist is to provide a "balanced" proposition, which party could possibly be a detractor or critic of that proposition? Logically, an UN-balanced idiot, moron, psycho, extremist, terrorist or otherwise someone with whom you should avoid eye contact, let alone engage in a reasoned debate.

The confusion I find myself in when grading such essays is that there is little to no signposting as to where the so-called critic's spiel begins and ends, and where the essayist's rejoinder or refutation begins. I find myself correcting poor arguments, only to realize that they were meant to be poor because they were allegedly the "critic's" arguments. Why work for the other guy, creating his argument for him before taking it all down again? Why put yourself on the defensive and struggle to regain ground you've lost... to yourself?

Don't speak on behalf of others you don't agree with. Most of the time, you'll misrepresent them or worse, create a bad straw-man argument because it won't be in your interest to make their case too strong. But that's going to upset me because I don't want to read bad arguments. Bad argument, bad grade. I'm sorry.

A good essay advances an argument. It sets up clear checkpoints and meticulously covers ground to meet them in sequence, step-by-step. There are no critics, no "opposition". I don't care what other people are saying; I want to hear what YOU are saying. What YOUR assessment of the situation is. What YOUR intention is in making me read through all this information you are presenting to me. That's it.

You kids want 'A' grades, so write like 'A' graders. Don't hide behind a barrage of information, most of which is smokescreen, anyway. You'll survive, probably, but 'A's are medals for those who dare to stand out. So, actually be informed. Take a real stand. Find your voice. Say what you really want to say. That's where the insight is.