Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pope Francis

Pope Francis occasionally says some nice things. And look, if by doing so he inspires people to behave more humanely, then that is a good thing. But keep in mind that for all his seemly humanistic words, he has not altered Catholic doctrine. The church remains just as misogynistic, homophobicruthlessly authoritative, and capable of obfuscating child rape investigations as it ever was under his predecessors.

This Pope has a long way to go if the Church is to regain any legitimate moral authority.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Frozen

I recently saw Disney’s new animated film, Frozen, and I really liked it. It is one of the better animated movies I’ve seen and that’s saying something because there have been some good ones made in the last few years. I’m looking at you, Tangled and How to Train Your Dragon. But to me what makes Frozen noteworthy is its combination of good storytelling, voice talent, music, and animation with a great (and frankly unexpected) message.

The message I saw in Frozen is that girls don't need a man to solve their problems for them or to provide a happy ending. Males were important parts of the story -- sources of fun, excitement, danger, romance, heroism, complications, and humor. Some were villains. Some were helpful friends. But ultimately the heroines resolved the story, saved the town, and reforged their relationship via their own wit, courage, and love.

I like that positive message, especially in a genre known for males who swoop in and save the helpless girl. Instead, this story was empowering for girls and did so without casting males as a whole in a nasty light. The movie even poked fun at its own genre's themes and subverted absurd depictions of romance. Well done, Disney.

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 2nd

Earlier this month my mother died.

This was not completely unexpected. She had been deteriorating from the effects of frontotemporal lobe dementia for years. She had already beaten the odds by lasting so long, but the speed of her decline in the last few days was shocking. It is undeniably sad to have now lost her completely, forever.

Since 2010, the course of her disease was that she would suffer a sudden decline of ability that would stop and level out for a few months, perhaps even gaining back some of what was lost, then there would be another rapid decline. In this way over the last few years Mom lost her memory of my sister and niece and nephew. Then she lost her memory of me and then she forgot Dad. Though for a while after she forgot who Dad was, she would still look outside for his car, waiting for “him” to come visit. But in time that faded too along with what was left of her personality, vitality, and all those traits that made her who she was to us and to herself. In very real ways, Mom died inch by inch over the last few years.

That was a hard thing to watch happen to her… to Dad.

When she declined this Autumn we expected things to stabilize for a few months as it always had before, but that wasn’t to be the case. She developed some trouble walking. So I got her a wheelchair, but over the next weeks she kept declining. So I arranged for a hospice service to come to the assisted care facility where she lived to provide additional expertise and equipment as needed to maximize her quality of life. Hospice got Mom into a reclining wheelchair which was more comfortable. Next she began to have trouble eating, sometimes forgetting how as she became less and less engaged with the world around her. Mom’s last couple of days were spent in a hospital type bed.

Dementia had taken so much from her, but it also took away her ability to understand, to fear, to suffer. She died peacefully in the early afternoon of December 2nd.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I Hate Onswipe

I cannot express adequately how much I hate Onswipe.

I do almost all of my web browsing and internet stuff via my iPad. It is a fine device for such usage without any need for a tablet version of most websites, much less for a tablet version that makes the user experience extra choppy, slow to load, and out of phase with inputs, e.g. Onswipe.

In recent months more and more websites have begun using the Onswipe interface as the default if navigating there via an iDevice. There seems to be no way to kill Onswipe within the system software on my end so that all websites load up as their normal versions and never as Onswipe. So I'm left with three bad choices: deal with Onswipe; boycott the ever growing number of websites that use it; or wait for each instance of an Onswipe page to eventually load, hope that the option to use a desktop version is presented, and then wait for the desktop version (which is all I want anyway) to load before using the website.

If you create or distribute content on the web using Onswipe as the default for iDevices, I hate you, at least a little bit.