Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Sat Dec 20 11:46:32 2003
A tale of mysterious charges and credation

A friend loaned me a really good book on how to purchase a house, Ilyce Glink's 100 Questions Every First Time Home Buyer Should Ask" It really has been eye-opening, shedding light on all the twists and turns of the process. One of the things she suggested (I'm about halfway through the book) is, in order to make sure one's credit is good, to do a credit report on oneself. So, I hopped over to equifax and ordered 4 credit checks, one of which I used right away. My credit is actually not all that great, but at least I know why -- apparently, 4 years ago, after I graduated from University, when I moved, I didn't pay the last phone bill, and that amount has sat unpaid and slowly growing ever since, doing ugly things to my credit. I called and took care of the bill today.. If any of you are younger or more naive, there are two lessons you should learn from my example... firstly, automatic bill-payment services are a REALLY GOOD THING, and secondly, FORWARD YOUR MAIL WHEN YOU MOVE. Both the Columbia Gas and the phone company problems would've gone down much more smoothly if I had simply known about them. One lesson I'm thinking that I'm starting to learn is that credit is very important -- when I apply for a mortgage, every little mark on my credit will count. Hmm.. you get a bonus third lesson that I learned via some advice -- once your dispute gets passed to a collection company, make sure you tell them that YOU DISPUTE THE CHARGES. Their job is to collect from people who accept the charges but won't or can't pay, and once you say those magic words, it's out of their hands. Of course, follow up with certified letters and otherwise keep working with the first company to fix things. So yeah, hopefully my credit score will recover by the time I have a down payment ready to buy. It is good, though, to have these things out of the way, and know that I'm now clean, even if it did wipe out much of what I was hoping to deposit into savings at the end of the month.

After thinking about it, I think that Chirac's banning of religious garb in schools is a bad thing, and disagree with Raving Atheist's coverage of the issue. I'm not of the sort that believes that religion deserves special protection any more than any lifestyle choice, but rather that public schools should not limit expression to such a degree. I do have a worry for an 'even playing ground' for religions, and do think that the ban on headscarves and skullcaps does tend to damage non-Xian religions more, but thinking about it, I'm going to try to dismiss that worry -- little in life is equally advantageous for everyone, and to attempt to make it so is to accord special privilege for some religions, over people who would make parallel or similar lifestyle choices without the religious inspiration. To put it another way, goths deserve no more or less consideration than Muslims. I guess my point here on the religion thing makes the garb issue orthoganal to the religion issue, and attaches it to issues of expressivity, which I think is important. It is clear though that you could agree with me on the religion-detachment and not on the expressivity ;)

I came up with a workaround for some of the issues with the CSS layout, and also decided that laying out the entry boxes themselves will be something I'll keep doing with tables (CSS-enabled tables though) instead of divs. I keep going back and forth on if I think border size should be included in the width of an object... but it's not a pretty thing to try to emulate tables with DIVs. Again, all this is said with the disclaimer that I'm relatively new to CSS, and might not know about some things I should. Once I do a sanity check on things, I'll CSSize my actual visible BLOG.. it's much prettier than the static HTML you see now, and I'll have ways for you to change the appearance so those of you who don't like green on black can have something a bit more to your tastes.

As for me, well, I'm not happy that everything's closed for the holidays, and things are so quiet, but I'm likely to go rock climbing tomorrow with someone, and I'm quite relieved not to need to put up with Christianity this year, or indeed ever again. I have a choice, and it feels good to make it. Did Xianity ever own my mind? Not really -- from reading that book on world religion when I was very young (2nd grade?), I discarded it in the same way I discarded Santa, and when I was being confirmed methodist, and made it clear to certain people that I didn't believe, by taking that step, I first was able to express, although at first in private, to others that I actively disbelieved. From there, meeting August and entering SFF, I made my voice loud, and now, finally, I'm free from the very last hold it has on me -- the grumbling sufferage of societal expectations. I've made my own path, my own culture to replace areas of culture that are religious in nature. I bid you adieu, christmas, easter, and all that.

Earlier today, I was trying to find some philosophy by feminist Jenneth Parker, who's one of those 'science is masculinist' types. I have a tendency to think of philosophers of that sort as generally being either without much content or buying into new-age mysticism that discards carefully-crafted protections against errancy. So far, nothing I've read has disabused me of that notion, but perhaps I'll be surprised if I keep looking occasionally. Like creation science, perhaps there really is a diamond in the massive pile of feces that is the discipline as a whole, and provided I don't spend too much time on it, it seems enjoyable and possibly worthwhile to keep digging around.

Anyhow, there's a new indian restaurant that opens today, so I'm gonna go check it out.