Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2005 > XMas & End of Year 2005 Edition

XMas & End of Year 2005 Edition


four-day weekend

Let's get my XMas holiday out of the way first.

As an employee of Ball State University I got a nice, long four-day XMas weekend. This meant, among other things, that I got to listen to the Sound Experiment without having to lose any sleep.

On Xmas Day I got sweaters, pants, DVDs (a split between animé and Wallace & Gromit), gift cards (mostly to the Olive Garden) and the book Planet Simpson. I gave a woolen fleece shoulder cozy to Vickie (sister), bath oil crystals to Tina (sister), a novel to Madre, manga to Erin the younger niece, and a Rachel Ray cuisine knife to Padre. I also got a book for Megan the elder niece, who was not there to get it. I had a "finals survival kit" sent to Staci, my brother Bill's stepdaughter, a couple of weeks ago.

XMas dinner consisted of ham, cheesy potatoes, green beans and pork & beans. I don't care much for ham (it tastes like underdone bacon), but for XMas I don't complain.

The next day I risked getting stuck in the abominable traffic of Muncie's McGalliard Street during the post-XMas rush to get my oil changed on my car, to buy some jewel cases and case labels for my compact disks, and to spend one of my gift cards on a meal at the Olive Garden.

The final day was a beautiful day, so I spent it on a walk in the park. Then I printed out CD case labels for my main programs (SystemWorks, TextPad, Graphics Workshop) and downloaded and played the Classic DOOM! 3 mod.

why xmas?

There is a reason I use the word XMas rather than Christmas: I prefer not to sully the birth of Jesus Christ with the crass commercial festival that the twenty-fifth of December has become in the United States. I am not the only one to do this: C.S. Lewis in a couple of essays complained about the commercial racket that December 25th had become in 1950's England.

Really, though, the American holiday has nothing to do the Christian festival. The only people who claim otherwise (and make a big deal about it) are fringe whackos: professors, lawyers and screenwriters on one side and religious people deep down in the South on the other. These are the kind of people who end up in the papers, but then journalists will report anything sensational.

[To be fair to journalists, sometimes sensationalism serves a purpose, like exposing corrupt politicians, government officials and lobbyists, as in the budding Jack Abramoff affair.]

End of Year 2005


Working For The Brak!
The Bracken Library's mobile development project has come to an end, but my job is extended (under a new name and more pay) twice. The job ends with a permanent professional job for me!
Madre gets a new knee; Vickie gets a new vacation (to Mammoth Cave); Tina plugs away at her doctorate; and Erin nags at the other, um, people far away at Cottey.
The Friends of the Fairmount Public Library did very well for its first year, making a modest amount of money during the Museum Days book sale for the library's benefit.
I bought and installed a new car radio. I only wish there were decent radio stations now.

Fairmount/Grant County

Dean Gallery Closure
The James Dean Gallery moved to a Gas City building near the interstate. The building turned out to be way too big to maintain, forcing the Gallery to close.
Distribution Centers
Walmart and Dollar General joined Dunham's in a distribution center area along the interstate.
Ice Storm
A heavy supercold rain in January tore down trees, knocked out power for days, and sparked fires. I learned to live without my computer and my television set.
James Dean Fest
Warner Brothers (through a proxy) held a James Dean Fest in Marion: It was a bust, followed by the proxy trying to welch out of paying Marion.
License Branch Saved
A very heavy turnout of citizens, businesses and even the mayor of Marion to a public hearing saved our local license branch.
Museum Days
Lots of rain (only one dry day) and poor turnout dampened this year's town festival. And Candy Clark did not show this year. I noticed this because she tends to obscure my favorite actress with her similar family name.
Shrinking County
The county government continued to shrink due to the albatross that is the depressed, decaying city of Marion. The biggest casualty: The county old folks' home.


Actually, not much has happened in Indiana, at least as far as I am concerned.

Ivy Tech
The mask of "Indiana Community College" is thrown away as Vincennes University is given the push. Ivy Tech becomes what it has always been, despite its new name: A vocational college.
New Governor
The new governor and his lackeys acted like executives too isolated in their power to be in touch with the rest of the state. He has antagonized his own employees and even gave some of them the boot. He also angered the state legislature, even some from his own party, which made it a marvel that he got anything done.
Daylight Time
Indiana adopts daylight time in the new governor's only major victory.
There will be no Actifed (pseudoephedrine) because it is now too difficult to obtain thanks to its use in the manufacture of meth.


El Dubya Exposed
I already knew El Dubya and his cronies are evil liars dopey on power, so why did it take so long for the rest of the country (esp. the media) to figure this out? I guess the fog of 9/11 and Iraq has finally lifted. Or maybe the fall of El Dubya's chief stooge in Congress has loosened El Dubya's grip on the legislature.
Another year of guerilla war has come and gone, with more than two thousand American soldiers now dead and many times more Iraqis. El Dubya's claims of creating democracy in the Middle East — in the middle of Dar al-Islam, no less! — has all the echoes of futility that 'preserving freedom in Southeast Asia' did forty years ago.
By destroying New Orleans, just one storm — Katrina — obscured the most violent and prolific storm season to date by masking the equal destruction of the Gulf Coast from east Texas (Rita) to Florida (Wilma) as well as the Yucatan (Sam). We even ran out of names for hurricanes, having to use Greek letters up to Epsilon and Zeta (December storms in the mid-Atlantic).
New Orleans
It wasn't the hurricane so much as shattering of poorly-maintained levees that drowned the city, drove away its poor people and reduced what was left to anarchy. The city will never recover; it's even divided on whether to hold Mardi Gras at all next year.
Sony rootkit
Sony BMG was under the belief that if you play your Sony music CD on your computer, then all your box are belong to it. The world outside the empyreal Sony BMG office complex responded most differently.


I thought about this and decided that discussing the world in general is pointless. I'll just say that we have a new Pope; Israel is out of Philistia, um, Gaza Strip; and several groups of neighboring nations (Russia/Ukraine, China/Japan, Ethiopia/Eritrea, USA/rest of the world) are eyeing each other very wearily.

Copyright © 2005 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Written on 02 December 2005.