Archive for January, 2010

Oh, No! Sex Talks with Mom and Dad

OK, so it’s kind of a stupid topic. But it’s 12 degrees outside and my mind wandered.

What got me thinking about it was an opinion column today on a news site. The columnist wrote that “Some children would rather do hours of violin practice than discuss sex with their parents.” Amen to that. Of course, I am so bad at violin that hours of practice might not do me any good. So I guess we’re left with the dreaded parental sex talk.

My parents and I had our sex talks a long time ago. Mercifully, they seem to avoid the subject these days, though I actually can talk to my Mom about a lot. Not everything, but a lot.

The first time we had a serious talk about sex, Mom wanted to make sure that I knew all kinds of things I had already learned in school or, more accurately, from talking to my friends.

Dad tried to make sure I knew that all guys were lying scum who would do anything to get what they wanted, which was mainly just one thing. Check. Though unlike my Dad, who seemed very alarmed about the fact, to me it has always seemed kind of funny and a little exciting. And let’s be fair: it’s not true of all guys, not even all straight guys.

If you understand how the game works, it’s much less clear who is the hunter and who is the prey. I can be either. 🙂

Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.


Obama vs. the Republican Conference

President Obama at the Republican House Issues Conference in Baltimore (New York Times photo).

I know that there are smart, honest, and well-meaning Republicans. But I saw a little of President Obama’s visit to the Republican Congressional meeting, and it didn’t seem as if any of them were there.

Really, it seemed as if President Obama was the only one there who had any sense and was doing anything besides reciting slogans.

The President also reassured me on one point. He’s been talking about a government spending freeze. Not all government spending, but some of it. It’s seemed like he just wanted to shut up people who were complaining about the government budget deficit and the increased national debt, which my generation and probably the next generation will have to repay.

I’m not an economist, just a student, but I did take economics. And I learned that one thing you don’t do when the economy is in trouble is to cut government spending. The government spending provides demand to help get the economy growing again and reduce unemployment. That’s not complicated: it’s just Econ 104.

At the Republican meeting, President Obama made that same point: the economy is still in trouble, so he doesn’t want a spending freeze right now. Instead, he wants it for 2011, and we all hope that the economy will be better by then. So he’s reassuring people about the deficit but at the same time wants to postpone spending cuts until they won’t hurt the economy. OK, I buy that. It makes sense.

P.S. Here’s why you should be glad that President Obama met with the Republicans: The blog I was originally going to write was “Does Hair Color Matter That Much?” 🙂

Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.

Categories: Politics Tags: , ,

Obama Gave a Good Speech. Now What?

President Obama gave a good State of the Union speech last night.

But we all knew he could give a good speech. He’s smart, he knows the facts, and he’s personally attractive.

The question is, what happens now?

It’s nice to say all the right things. It’s even nicer to do them. And doing them is what we need.

Nice words aren’t enough. America needs results.

Republicans Defeat Health Care Reform

Well, it’s official: health care reform is dead.

The Republicans won. So did the insurance companies, the drug companies, and the medical industry. All of them profit from the current system and don’t want it changed just to help a lot of grubby unemployed and minimum-wage people who can’t afford medical insurance for themselves and their families.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says they’ll come back to it later. Much later. In the meantime, Sen. Reid, Sen. McConnell (R-KY) and all their friends will have guaranteed health care. It will be paid for by the taxes of people who can’t get health care or health insurance.

Sen. Reid wants Democratic voters to be sure and turn out in November so that he keeps his majority in the Senate. That’s because of all the important issues on which he hasn’t yet caved in to the Republicans. He wants a chance to cave in on those issues, too.

Vote Democratic in November?

I’ll come back to it later. Maybe in December.

I feel like such an idiot for believing in them.

Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.

A Little Bit of Flu This Weekend

I was fine Friday night, but I’ve had a little bit of flu the rest of this weekend. Nothing terrible like last time when I couldn’t keep any food down. Just feeling icky and a little feverish.

The good thing about being sick is that your friends take care of you, and you have an excuse to let them. 🙂

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

From Tuscan Salad to Queen Victoria

Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria, glad that she didn't have to wear the crown for the entire movie.

Back from a fun evening. Dinner at Johnny’s and then saw “The Young Victoria,”  which was wonderful.

I think it’s great that they made a movie about Queen Victoria as a young woman. She’s always been portrayed as very old, but she was young once. She presided over Great Britain’s transition into a constitutional monarchy. And I’m sure she did a lot more than that.

Of course, “Young Victoria” was probably more entertainment than history, but it was based in fact. Victoria’s mother in the movie did make me appreciate how nice my mother is by comparison. 🙂

I like Emily Blunt, who played Victoria and was also in “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Anyway, time to go to bed. Have a great weekend! Ttfn.

Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.

Web Sites Test Internet Speed

The Internet isn’t always fast.

Let’s take a break from talking about politics. It gets everyone upset and we don’t seem to have much control over it anyway.

Let’s talk about something else that we all have: Internet connections.

The New York Times has an article today about several Web sites that let you test your Internet connection speed.

A lot of people who pay for Internet access don’t really trust what their cable companies tell them about connection speed. Our access at school is usually good, and visitors are impressed by our speedy wireless connections. But we do have occasional problems.

I tried out the speed tests at all the Web sites to see how they worked. Here’s what I found.

This site groups its tests into basic speed tests, advanced broadband tests, and satellite diagnostics for people who get their Internet with a satellite dish.

You can run the basic speed test from eight different sites. Six sites are in the United States, one is in Canada, and one is in Germany. I guess that you’re supposed to pick the site closest to you. The test shows a speedometer as it runs. When it’s finished, it shows your download and upload speeds. I think that the speeds I got were pretty fast.

I looked at the advanced broadband tests, but I didn’t know what some of them were. I love my Mac but I’m not much of a computer genius. The tests are speed and capacity, QoS and speed, VoIP quality, IPTV quality, stream video, route quality, and reporting. The satellite diagnostics were pretty much the same. is mainly an Internet company, not a speed test site. But it does have one simple Internet speed test. For me, simple is good. 🙂 tests your site by downloading a photo. You can choose one of several different photos to download. I picked one that I thought would be beautiful but it didn’t stay on the screen long enough for me to look at it. As soon as it finished downloading, the site showed a bar graph of my connection speed. One interesting thing, especially if you have a commercial Internet connection, is that the graph compares your connection speed with the speeds of major Internet companies such as Verizon and Comcast.

This site offers three free tests: speed test, network route test, and VoIP quality test. If you’re a real techno-person, the company will also be happy to sell you software that does more tests and different kinds of tests.

When you run the speed test, the site shows a map of the world with little dots marking locations in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. You click the dot that is closest to where you are, then you click another button and it runs the test. The speed result is about the same as the other sites. is probably the simplest site. You just click a button and it sends a signal over the Internet. It then measures both the speed of the signal and the “packet loss,” which measures the quality of the connection. Yes, I did look it up. 🙂

Which is the best?

So I guess it’s like this. All the sites seem to have basic speed tests that give pretty much the same answer for your speed. ISPGeeks has the most tests. Pingtest is the simplest and also measures connection quality. The others are fine. They all seem to work.

Internet speed usually isn’t a problem for me because our connection is so good and I don’t do a lot of downloading anyway. But if it’s a problem for you, maybe those sites can help.

Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.