I love the concept of the Kindle - to be able to have so many books at your fingertips at one time is especially great for traveling.  Between traveling for work and traveling with my kids, I can use all the space savers I can get!  But there is one big reason holding me back from jumping on it: the library

It's not that I'm afraid of the downfall of the library, it's that if I read via Kindle, I'd have to actually purchase all the books that I read rather than borrow them from the library.  I'm a bit too cheap right now for a Kindle.  It totally works for me to borrow from the library, so why would I change that?  It's not like buying the book supports the medium of e-books - you have to buy the Kindle to begin with, so Amazon's getting their money.

I think one of my biggest arguments against getting a Kindle is that most of the books I'd want on the Kindle, because I read and re-read them, I already own a hardcopy of.  I'd have to re-purchase them to get the e-reader version and that's another knock against my frugal side.  Too bad Amazon doesn't provide a discount on books for Kindle that were originally purchased through them.  It's not like they don't have all of our purchases in a database somewhere anyway.

I did have to laugh at an article I read recently about how the Kindles are quite popular with the Romance Novel reading crowd - you can be reading it without displaying to the world the covers that aren't always what you want people to see you holding.  Since I'm not in that category of readers, I don't have a lot of added incentive to get one.

I'm quite interested in the technology though, and how they can create the reading screen that doesn't have the usual glare issues.  Technology is so much fun!

I guess for now I have to settle for my iPhone and just keep waiting for the right time to get a Kindle (or iPad!).
 
 
Yesterday marked the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and today is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death.  Both VERY different events, remembered for very different reasons, but remembered all the same.  There are other tragedies that have been occurring that have an impact on a smaller set of people: Elizabeth Edwards’ passing yesterday, one of my good friend’s parents’ passing a year ago, the conditions of the economy and how that’s effecting many households around the world.  We all experience highs and lows as we plod along and the successful ones are those that continue on after experiencing tragedy and those lows.  It’s different for everyone, but there’s a reason the saying “life goes on” is so well-known.

Since I’ve been working on Federal/Military projects lately, I’ve found myself thinking of the people I know and love that are or have been involved in the U.S. Armed Forces and how I can support them without joining the military myself.  These men and women are AMAZING folks who are dedicating themselves to my safety and freedom and I’m very appreciative.  I’m certainly not old enough to have any direct memories of Pearl Harbor, but after having been affected by 9/11, I can somewhat understand the enormity of the event as it relates to U.S. history.

The passing of John Lennon had a big impact on pop culture since he was a prolific singer-songwriter that changed the music industry forever and whose life was prematurely taken by an unstable man.  I think people have such an emotional attachment to music (and musicians) that Lennon’s death made a bigger impact on their immediate/daily lives.  They could pass off other things going on around the world as someone else’s tragedy, but – much like the death of Elvis – Lennon’s death hit a little closer to home.  At this point it’s not that his murder was a bigger deal than Pearl Harbor, but that it was more recent.  I also think that many people are more able or willing to forget events related to wars for whatever reason.  (I’m not even going to try to figure that one out).

The passing of Elizabeth Edwards yesterday was a sad event, but also only truly touches a select few that knew her.  Yes, she was a public figure, but I’m not going to say that her death touched outsiders more than her own children.  I’ve experienced the death of a parent due to cancer and even that pain fades over time.  As I was told by one family friend who had also lost her father and has been absolutely true: a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of my dad.  I also think over time the humor and perspective on what they meant to your life gets clearer.  My mom was careful not to elevate my dad to a status that he was not in real life.  Yes, he did a lot for the community and his students, but he was a real, flawed person and we can’t just remember the good times.  We have good and not-so-good memories and both are important to remember.

I can only hope that my friends who have lost their parents can find the same peace in who they are beyond their parents as I have.  There are many days that I’m sad that I can’t ask my dad about something that I know he could have helped with, but I have to keep moving along with the resources I do have.  Everything happens for a reason and we can’t even begin to imagine what reasons those may be.  We just have to live one day at a time and enjoy the life around us.

 
 
There was an article earlier this week in the Seattle Times regarding the drivers in Washington State that either through ignorance or misguided vigilantism causes them to not “keep right except to pass.”  If you haven't read it yet, go ahead and click the link and read.  It's okay, I'll wait.  Seriously.

Over the years I have lived in Western Washington I have definitely noticed this obnoxious phenomenon, but have also developed a theory that takes it one step further.  I think it’s a self-perpetuating issue that starts with stop-and-go traffic from too many people driving solo on the roads.  When the roads are full, people feel they really need to “fight” to get into the lane they want, or even to merge onto the freeway in the first place.  Once they’ve “won” and gotten the space, they are loathe to give it up to someone else and therefore follow too closely to the car in front of them and don’t change lanes to get back to the right after passing someone.  It took them thirty whole seconds to get into the left lane to pass that other car,  so now they’re not willing to change back into the right lane since they might pass another car in the next 5 miles and have to be ready for that eventuality even though there are 3 empty lanes to the right of them.

I’ve actually found that the far right lane is sometimes the “fast” lane because of all the folks that are parked in the left ones.  I’m not much of a help to solving this issue though, since I still have no idea how to get people to change into the right lane except when passing.  The other fun example was the guy riding on my rear bumper this morning before I tapped my breaks to get him to back off.  There were TWO left lanes that he could have used to pass me that were completely open – there was no need to tailgate me when I’m already going 65 mph.

This also gets phenomenally worse when there is rain even though Seattle is known to be a “rainy city” – no, we’re an overcast city with heavy mist much of the time.  In the rain people get worse at driving because they’re STILL not willing to get to the right, they STILL don’t want to use a safe following distance, and in addition have worse sight lines because of the rain factor.

And don’t even get me started about driving in the snow here.
 
 
So the new study is out on DADT and yet there is still opposition to overturning the out-dated policy.  Senator McCain is quoted as saying "We send these young people into combat.  We think they're mature enough to fight and die. I think they're mature enough to make a judgment on who they want to serve with and the impact on their battle effectiveness."  Sorry Mr. McCain, but by your own argument I think they’re mature enough to deal with it if the guy fighting next to them has a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend.  It’s not like they’re suddenly going to have pink camo.  For the great majority of the military population, it’s not going to make a difference. 

And more power to Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen when he said that "You do not have to agree with me on this issue, but don't think for one moment that I haven't carefully considered the impact of the advice I give on those who will have to live with the decisions that advice informs."  The military leaders who have been looking into it aren’t closeted guys looking for a way to come out themselves.  They’re looking for the best policies to serve their troops with as much inclusion as realistically allows.  (I phrased it that way since there are many willing to serve that can’t because of physical reasons, not because of sexual orientation ones).

I understand the basis behind the argument that it will hurt unit morale and cohesion, but what about the fact that none of current military personnel were asked how they felt about going for a 3rd deployment and being over there for 15 months and away from their families?  I think there are some decisions that you’re never going to get 100% agreement on, but if you can get a supermajority, then why not try to implement it.  They’re even willing to phase it in regarding combat units – much like they did with ethnic and gender minorities.

92 percent of troops in the survey who believed they had served with a gay person said they never saw an impact on their units' morale or effectiveness.  That’s a nine followed by a two.  How is 92 percent not a proper representation of the military population as a whole?

If the Joint Chiefs of Staff thinks it will work for his troops, why can't we trust his opinion