Posts Tagged ‘silly authority figures’


I swear it has nothing to do with the Olympics

February 21, 2010

I’m not really that into nationalism. It feels outmoded and silly, and I can’t totally explain how or why. So this was… well, Canada’s adorable, let’s just leave it at that. Read the rest of this entry ?


The Situation Has Failed to Resolve Itself.

February 11, 2010

I have done some thinking, and had some conversations with my father. He laughed at me, um, a LOT when I told him about my qualms about public/administrative figures following me on my public social networking device. He says it’s like standing on the street corner with my megaphone (I have a megaphone, by the way) and then getting mad when people I don’t like stop and listen to my inane rantings.

So, okay, I can accept that. I shall either stop whining, or lock my account so that I have a right to whine.

However! I still can’t accept @benladen’s banning. We’ve had confirmation (I’ll get back to this with links and screencaps) that it was really @mark_yudof’s office that reported Ben. We’ve had confirmation that Ben is not the only one to whom this has happened. I’ve read through Twitter’s Rules again, and the thing is, Twitter hasn’t officially said what Ben did wrong. The mechanism for contesting a suspension is essentially “Tell us what you think we think you did wrong and then tell us that we’re wrong about it.” This policy smells so much like a trap, and I can’t help but feel that @mark_yudof’s office knew this when they reported @benladen.

Ah, that is another thing. I have come to the conclusion that @mark_yudof and Mark Yudof are not entirely the same entity. The behavior on the account is too bizarre and erratic, and it only makes sense if both Mark Yudof the Person and Mark Yudof’s P.R. Staff are both using it. I hope I’m not wrong about this, because if I am the implications about Mark Yudof the Person are weird and unsettling.

Now, I’ve gone through what data we have and I’ve decided that while I remain hugely ambivalent towards Mark Yudof the Person (who can come to my party if he promises to warn me ahead of time and bring some good wine and not kick anyone out this time), I’ve got huge objections to @mark_yudof the Twitter Entity. That @mark_yudof, I intend to keep bugging, because that @mark_yudof is making the other one look bad. Worse. Whatever.
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Mark Yudof, go to someone else’s party.

February 1, 2010

So, I’m having a bit of a hard time with something, and I’ve been a little nervous about mentioning it in public because frankly it could well be slander depending on how I phrase it, and I just don’t know how diplomatic I want to be.

Thing is, Mark Yudof follows me on twitter.

That’s… well, that’s weird enough as it is. Yudof is the president of the University of California. I’ve never met or spoken to the man. I have occasionally sent him angry emails, because being a conscientious UC student requires one to send angry emails at one’s president once in a while. However, I certainly have no personal connection with him. And while I did use my Twitter for a short time while involved with the UC Occupations, I rarely tweet about anything that University administrators should be especially interested in.

My twitter is a personal thing, a toy, a microblog where I talk about what I ate for breakfast and how cool my Translation Theory class is and how I think that kid in my lit section is super cute. Mark Yudof does not need to know these things. I don’t want my dad’s boss showing up at my birthday party, and I don’t want my university president following me on twitter. Mark Yudof is, in fact, disinvited from the party that is my twitter.

But Kirby! You say. Why not just block him and continue blithely tweeting about porn and ice cream as you are wont? Well, the same reason I wouldn’t kick my dad’s boss out of my birthday party if he showed up: I don’t want him there, but I don’t want to get in trouble for kicking him out.

See, a friend of mine, @Benladen, just got suspended from twitter because Yudof decided that he didn’t like his tweets. (My dad’s boss just kicked my loud, drunk friend out of my party.) I do not think he had the right to do this. I do not think Yudof has the right to BE on twitter. But we can’t tell him to leave, because then he might kick US out. It’s not fair, and I feel invaded in what was a safe, fun place for my peers and me. If I want to get to know him, I will approach him myself. It’s inappropriate for him to try and get to know me in this way, because I feel so pressured and trapped.

I don’t follow him back. I don’t expect him to actually read most of my tweets. (Thank god.) But I’m very, very angry about the suspension of @Benladen, and I wish someone would convince Yudof that @mark_yudof has other, cooler parties to go to.


Displaced Rantypants.

November 18, 2009

I’ve started a second blog to talk about the issues with the funding and fee hikes at the University of California. You can find it here: Whose University?. I’d love to get some discussion, dissent, and dialog going over there, so drop on by and comment, and spread the link to those you think might want to do likewise!


So three linguists walk into a bar…

August 26, 2009

(I’m not going anywhere with that, it just sounds funny to me. Like how many linguists does it take to change a lightbulb? Depends on the arguments of changing.)

So today I was in the Pacific Cookie Company enjoying a cookie and scoop of ice cream with my friend and fellow literature major, Heather. We were discussing our majors and class selections and what languages we were planning on learning throughout the course of our degrees, when who should walk by but the head of the linguistics department, Jim! (That’s Professor McCloskey to you.) It’s always distinctly odd to see one’s professors off campus, and even more so when you’re pretty sure they have no idea who you are. However, before I could help myself, I waved at him. To my utter shock, he saw me and came in to greet me.

This is notable primarily because our department’s not small, and our school’s just gargantuan, so usually undergraduates only bond with their T.A.s and peers that way, not with the upper ranks of the tenured and the published. It speaks to the amazing coziness of the Santa Cruz linguistics department that the chair not only recognizes his random undergrads by face, but remembers what other majors they’re doing, has random advice on the languages issue (Latin and Greek are okay! I don’t actually have to subject myself to any more live ones if I don’t want to!), and will take time out of his day off to dispense said advice with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.

I am not at all ashamed to admit, I half expected him to offer me a lemon drop. (And I’m not terribly disappointed that he didn’t.)


Schrodinger’s Seal

June 26, 2009

Today, Becca and Raquel went surfing and I tagged along so I’d get to do errands in town afterwards. While they were in the water at Cowell’s in Santa Cruz, I wandered up to the nearby lighthouse (the one with a surf museum in it) to pass the time. On the cliffs there, past the fence and behind the numerous signs about not going on the cliffs or touching the wildlife, there was a baby seal.

Being completely sentimental and a little touristy, I stopped to take a picture. However, I quickly realized that this was not the sort of baby seal that wanted its picture taken. It was clearly sick, listless and visibly emaciated. Its front fins, proportionally huge for its body (like a puppy with huge paws) were all dry and cracked and looked infected. The longer I looked, the more my heart broke. It was very obviously stranded and starving, and I knew perfectly well that it was illegal for me to even get close to it- not that I had any idea what I would do to help it, even if I had gotten closer. It was too young for fish, really too small to be away from its mother at all; I could see, in fact, two distressed seals lingering around and swimming back and forth in the water immediately below the cliff.

The nearby “Don’t you dare mess with the wildlife” signs had a number for the Marine Mammal center. I called that number three times over the course of the next hour, increasingly upset. Passers by stopped, commented, made sad or cynical murmurs at it, and moved on. Two different ladies stopped to hug me, near the end, because I was crying so hard. The thing would adjust, and sigh, showing off all its ribs, then a few minutes later it would look at me, without lifting its head, as if it was too tired. One of the ladies who stopped to comfort me then went to pester the park rangers to pester the Marine center. The third time I called the center, they said that, yes, they’d heard about it and were sending someone out. However, regulars to the paths around the area reported that they’d called in a week ago about the same seal, and that the center had promised they’d send someone out then, too.

Finally, we had to leave to get Raquel to class. While we were on campus, we made a quick loop through the Earth & Marine Sciences building, pestering all the professors in their offices for phone numbers. We were on the phone for about forty minutes solid, bothering people at the Long and Seymour Marine Labs. Finally, we went back down to the beach to check on the seal.

It was gone when we got there, about an hour after we’d left it. I have no idea now if the seal is alive and in the care of a wildlife rescue team, or dead and simply cleared away to where it won’t upset the public.

None of this is really relevant to anything. Except, you know, overfishing is bad and starving baby seals are really depressing.


The world is watching.

June 16, 2009

I was going to write about all the trials and tribulations of moving into this new (old) house in the mountains, but then I saw this quoted tweet on Facebook:

“140 chars is a novel when you’re being shot at.”

And my heart kinda broke. There’s only so much I can do from where I am, but I hope everyone who reads this will join me in doing what small part we can.

From the Amnesty International-US website:

Since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner in the June 12 elections in Iran, there have been widespread protests against the contested election results. The Iranian authorities have responded with violence and repression. Reports indicate that large numbers of people were severely beaten by riot police and that several people have been fatally shot Furthermore, over 100 people are reported to have been arrested, including the brother of former President Mohammad Khatami. Amnesty International is concerned that those detained may be subjected to torture and ill-treatment. The Iranian authorities have attempted to stop the flow of information both among Iranians and from Iranians to those outside by blocking cell phone communication, text messaging and email. Amnesty International is also concerned that the protests, which have already drawn massive crowds in Tehran and other cities in Iran, may be met with increased levels of violence by Iranian authorities. AI calls for the authorities to exercise restraint in response to further demonstrations and to release all those who have been detained for peacefully expressing their opinions about the results of the election. It also calls for an end to restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and association, including the freedom to receive and impart information and ideas.

To send a letter to Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei [click here]. Let him know the world is watching.