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 turnsof the process. One of the things she suggested (I'm about halfway through thebook) is, in order to make sure one's credit is good, to do a credit reporton oneself. So, I hopped over to equifaxand ordered 4 credit checks, one of which I used right away. My credit isactually not all that great, but at least I know why -- apparently, 4 yearsago, after I graduated from University, when I moved, I didn't pay the lastphone 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 shouldlearn from my example... firstly, automatic bill-payment services are aREALLY GOOD THING, and secondly, FORWARD YOUR MAIL WHEN YOU MOVE. Both theColumbia Gas and the phone company problems would've gone down much moresmoothly if I had simply known about them. One lesson I'm thinking that I'mstarting to learn is that credit is very important -- when I apply for amortgage, every little mark on my credit will count. Hmm.. you get a bonusthird lesson that I learned via some advice -- once your dispute gets passedto 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'tpay, 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 firstcompany to fix things. So yeah, hopefully my credit score will recover by thetime I have a down payment ready to buy. It is good, though, to have thesethings out of the way, and know that I'm now clean, even if it did wipe outmuch 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 inschools is a bad thing, and disagree with Raving Atheist's coverage of theissue. I'm not of the sort that believes that religion deserves specialprotection any more than any lifestyle choice, but rather that public schoolsshould 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 headscarvesand skullcaps does tend to damage non-Xian religions more, but thinking aboutit, I'm going to try to dismiss that worry -- little in life is equallyadvantageous for everyone, and to attempt to make it so is to accord specialprivilege for some religions, over people who would make parallel or similarlifestyle choices without the religious inspiration. To put it another way,goths deserve no more or less consideration than Muslims. I guess my pointhere on the religion thing makes the garb issue orthoganal to the religionissue, 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-detachmentand 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 somethingI'll keep doing with tables (CSS-enabled tables though) instead of divs. I keepgoing back and forth on if I think border size should be included in thewidth of an object... but it's not a pretty thing to try to emulate tableswith DIVs. Again, all this is said with the disclaimer that I'm relativelynew to CSS, and might not know about some things I should. Once I do a sanitycheck on things, I'll CSSize my actual visible BLOG.. it's much prettier thanthe static HTML you see now, and I'll have ways for you to change the appearanceso those of you who don't like green on black canhave something a bit more to your tastes.
As for me, well, I'm not happy that everything's closed for the holidays, andthings 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, orindeed ever again. I have a choice, and it feels good to make it. Did Xianityever own my mind? Not really -- from reading that book on world religion whenI was very young (2nd grade?), I discarded it in the same way I discardedSanta, and when I was being confirmed methodist, and made it clear to certainpeople that I didn't believe, by taking that step, I first was able toexpress, although at first in private, to others that I actively disbelieved.From there, meeting August and entering SFF, I made myvoice 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, myown culture to replace areas of culture that are religious in nature. I bidyou 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 thinkof philosophers of that sort as generally being either without much contentor buying into new-age mysticism that discards carefully-crafted protectionsagainst 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 creationscience, perhaps there really is a diamond in the massive pile of feces thatis 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 gocheck it out.