A Small Netflix Irritation

Ok, Netflix, I realize you want to emphasize your streaming service. I want you to emphasize it to. In fact, I would happily use it exclusively if I could get anything I want to watch over it instead of having to rely on discs for some things. I can even accept that you changed your API so that application developers (including yourself) can only manage streaming content using the API, requiring management of discs to be relegated to the website. I don’t like that as much because your website is a bit of a hassle on my iPhone and most of the time I hear about new movies that I want to watch, I am remote.

However, this final irritation takes things one step to far. I have the Netflix-provided app for my iPad. I can accept using the website for managing discs on the iPad, because the screen is big enough and the experience doesn’t completely suck. But, do you really have to tell me every time I access the site that an app exists for the iPad? I know that already. The reason I am not using that app is because you, in your infinite wisdom, restricted what it could do. Now, you have raised the price of having streaming content plus content delivered on discs. I do not begrudge you the extra money; I known that the content providers are squeezing you to charge more for streaming media. But, do you really have to make it even more difficult for me to access this content that I am now paying more for? Do you really want me to drop the discs completely? For some reason, I think that the answer is yes.

A Matter of Classification

Lately, I have been using the public library here in town a great deal more since I discovered that I could request inter-library loans over the Internet. That has helped to alleviate the aggravation of our branch’s meager selection. But, there is something to be said for simply browsing the aisles and picking up books that interest me. This has led to a whole new set of frustrations with our library system.

First, let us imagine an author that you are interested in. For the sake of argument, let us say that author’s name is Dan Simmons. Now, I have read several of his books and would like to find some new ones. In most libraries, I would just head to the fiction section and look in the ‘S’ section for the last name ‘Simmons’ an, lo, there would be books by the author that I want to read. Sure enough, if I do that at my local library, I can find a few books. However, I could also check the Mystery section — apparently, mysteries are not fiction after all. Look, there are a couple of Dan Simmons books over in the Mystery section. Oops, watch out, he has also written some Science Fiction novels; we had better check the Science Fiction section as well. Wait a minute… there are two Science Fiction sections, one for hard-cover and one for paper-back. I guess I have to check them both to see if he has any books. Oh wait, seeing the paper-back Science Fiction section reminds me, there is also a paper-back Fiction section! So, let us count them up: Fiction, Packet-back Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, and Paper-back Science Fiction! There are five different places I have to check to browse and see if this author has books in this library.

“Wait,” you may be thinking, “this is the age of computers. Surely you can just use the same website that you used to reserve books to find what sections books by your favorite author are in!” If you have thought that, you and I are of like mind. That does narrow down the search to just one section when I find a book I want. However, this raises another issue. While searching the library’s website for King Solomon’s Mines, I saw that my branch of the library had the book, listed under F HAG. That tells me to look in the Fiction section under the ‘H’ section and I should be able to find books by H. Rider Haggard. So, I look and look and look, to no avail. Finally, I give up and just put the book on hold, expecting the library to pull the book for me and send me an email when they find it. Weeks go by and I do not get an email. Finally, by random chance on Saturday, I happen to walk by a self labeled “Classics.” I think to myself, “Well, King Solomon’s Mines is pretty old. Maybe it is in the Classics.” Sure enough, I find it. I look at the code, and it is F HAG. So, not only do I have to look in five different sections to find books by authors that I like, I also have to know whether a book is considered a classic or not to know whether a Fiction book is located in the Fiction section or the Classics section. Before you say “That should be obvious,” remember this: I found Crime and Punishment
in the Classics section, but War and Peace
was in the Fiction section.

Iowa Supreme Court overturns same-sex marriage ban

On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court found a law banning same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional. Good for Iowa! Hopefully, rational minds will prevail there and this court decision will be allowed to stand. Unlike Iowa, Alabama passed the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment in 2006. Although I voted against this, 81% of my fellow Alabamians voted for it so it was easily able to pass. At the time, I tried to reason through why so many of the residents of my state are against same-sex marriage, but was never really able to come to any conclusions. So, in light of the Iowa decision, I decided to do a little research and see if I could figure out why people are so against same-sex marriage.

The New York Times article made a reference to traditional marriage, so I hit up Wikipedia to see what it had to say about traditional marriage. Here is a summary of the arguments for traditional marriage and against same-sex marriage:

  1. Marriage has historically been defined as between a man and woman, thus it needs to be protected because that is how it has always been defined.
  2. Marriage between a man and a woman must be preserved for the children! Children need stable homes with two parents to become happy, productive members of society!
  3. Same-sex marriages would erode religious freedoms and encourage rampant homosexuality throughout the country.
  4. Same-sex marriage is unnecessary because the homosexuals can just decide not to be that way anymore.

OK, so my summary was slightly facetious, but it is only because I do not really consider any of these to be valid reasons. I think that the real reason is fear of people who are different.

Redefining institutions to correct social injustice is something that should be strived for, not shied away from. Just because slavery existed for hundreds of years in this country did not mean that is should be perpetuated (although that was one of the arguments for it at the time). Just because women and African-Americans had never had the right to vote in this country did not mean that they should not have the right to vote. So, why keep same-sex couples from marrying just because that is always the way it has been done?

The children issue is a sticky one. Now that Ashley and I have a child, I could not imagine raising one by myself; this is hard, people. However, people do it by themselves all the time and I greatly respect them for that. I believe that raising children is best done in a happy, loving home. Note, that happy, loving home could be with a single parent, two heterosexual parents, two homosexual parents, or a whole group of parents. If the parents love the child and the child loves the parents, I don’t see the harm that can come of any of these households. I personally think that the more parents you have, the better off you are when it comes to raising kids. That way, when your kid is being a snot and irritating you, you can trade off with a parent that might not be quite so frustrated at the time.

I do not understand the “eroding religious freedoms” argument. I do not know of a group supporting same-sex marriage that says that your religion must allow same-sex couple to marry inside of your religion. This is a civil issue, not a religious issue. The government should not allow a ban on same-sex marriage; I do not care what your church allows or disallows inside its walls. If your church chooses not to allow same-sex couple to marry inside the church, then so be it. Additionally, the government allowing same-sex marriage does not mean you have to marry someone of your gender; same-sex marriage going on in your state is not going to make you gay.

No, I am pretty sure that the real reason people are against same-sex marriage is fear of people who are different, mixed with a bit of zealotry. So, if you are against same-sex marriage, try doing the following. Imagine you have found the perfect person that you want to spend the rest of your life with. For many of you, that is your spouse; for others, maybe you have just not found them yet. You love them with all of your heart and they love you back just as strongly. In fact, the two of you love each other so much that you want to get married and be together for as long as you live. Now, imagine that you are not allowed to marry, basically, because some other people just do not want you to be together. They do not think you belong together and, in fact, tell you that it is wrong that the two of you love each other. How do you feel now? None of you reading this would want this situation to happen to you; why would you want to put someone else through it?

Water, water, anywhere — Redux

After our previous water problems were fixed, I expected that life would return to normal. To my surprise, I was greeted by half a dozen representatives of the water company, a representative of the cable company, a representative of the power company, and a backhoe when I got home from work on Friday. The line feeding our house had developed a leak, presumably from the increase in water pressure from fixing the prior leak. Thankfully, the backhoe was digging up part of the yard across the street and not my yard. All of the people present just made it a little difficult to get into our driveway. Since it was late on a Friday afternoon, they just jumped a small rubber line from our neighbors feed into ours and left. We were without water for 10 minutes or so, but I assumed that they would be back Monday to fix the problem.

Monday and Tuesday come and go with people out in our front yard digging around. However, there was no visible change to my eyes. The rubber jump line still went from our neighbors water line to ours. This morning proved to be a little different. I got up and my normal time and got in the shower. Halfway through the shower, the water was cut off. After letting fly a few choice expletives, I realized that there was not much I could do about it, dried off, and set about trying to gather up everything I would need for work, checking the water every few minutes to see if it was cut on again. After about 20 minutes, the water finally was cut back on. I peeked out the window and saw the water reps. filling back in the holes that they had made. I quickly jumped back in the shower so that I could finish getting ready for work. As I left for work, the workers were still filling in holes, but it looks like our water line has been repaired. Hopefully, we will not have to go through this again anytime soon.