Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Sigh of Relief

The last few tension-filled weeks of uncertainty seem to be easing at last. As you know, I've got a full-time job beginning in August, so that issue is resolved. And just yesterday evening we learned we won't have to move this summer -- we can stay in our apartment for at least one more year. Whew! When I heard that news, all I could do was walk around for about three hours saying, "Thank GOD!" I felt like all my muscles unclenched and I could relax for the first time in ages.

This means that Dave and I ought to be able to travel this summer after all. It might not be Turkey, as we had planned, given all the unrest there. We'll have to sort that out in the next week or two.

And of course, eventually we'll have to move, and Dave and I need to think more about our next step, so we can be better prepared when that day comes.

I'm trying to decide how I feel about the recent disclosures that the feds are monitoring our telephone and Internet traffic. (Well, I'm not sure they're monitoring mine, since I'm in England, but I imagine someone is!) I consider myself a civil libertarian, but this doesn't seem very treacherous -- at least not within the parameters of the program as I understand them, looking for data patterns as opposed to the content of individual communications. Are any of us naive enough to believe that no one is watching our electronic activities? I just assume that others can see what I do online.

What's most surprising to me is the background of the guy who leaked the information about the program. How can it be that someone who dropped out of high school -- and who apparently made an unlikely leap from security guard to computer techie -- is in such a position of power over classified secrets?

Oh, last night Dave did some Googling and we learned something about our sunburned avocado plant. Apparently when they're young, avocado plants do need protection from intense sunlight. Because the pits usually fall beneath mature trees, they get this protection in nature. When they're older they're better able to handle direct sun. So we've moved our poor scalded avocado back indoors.

And yes, we bought some sugar. My molasses experiment has come to an end.

(Photo: Trash in Chinatown, last week.)


37paddington said...

God for you that you don't have to move. And that surveillance story just keeps changing all the time doesn't it? I cant quite figure out what I think either. But given what we know right now, no real surprises.

e said...

Great that things are getting sorted for you...As for the other situation, more shall be revealed I suspect.

Ms. Moon said...

I'm with Angella on the surveillance story. I don't know why but it just doesn't have my hackles up.
I'm really glad you don't have to move and this way, perhaps a new place will suddenly arise and you'll have time to consider all sides of the situation.
And travel is always a good thing. Well, for most people. Not necessarily for me.

Nancy said...

Ahh, a reprieve for another year. I'm happy for you guys. Also, I think you should name your avocado plant, Molasses.

The Bug said...

Molasses the avocado - perfect! Ha!

If it ever comes down to someone actually reading my email & listening to my calls - boy I feel sorry for that person!

Elizabeth said...

I really appreciate your thoughts on the whole Snowden business -- they really clarify my own, and I agree with you.

I'm glad, too, that things are sorting out for you and Dave!

ellen abbott said...

it's the same with cactus. believe it or not the young ones get burned by the sun. in nature they too are protected by their parent.

anyone who is outraged by the phone and internet surveillance hasn't been paying attention. do they not remember the Patriot that most Americans were all for? Did they really think the government would limit those new powers of access to just muslims or commie pinko liberals? as to whether it's a tempest in a teapot, I read an article about the supposed blackmail of a justice who was against something and then flipped one day and ruled for and then later did his best to backpedal to his original position but by then of course, the judgement had been given. that's the danger. someone has damaging info from listening in and uses it to manipulate outcomes.

Sharon said...

Interesting reading your comments and all the comments above. I've been wondering why I wasn't upset by the Snowden leak thing and I even wondered if it would bother me more if their was a Republican administration in office. I don't think so. As soon as all communication went digital, I've pretty much figured that it could be seen by any number of people. After all, if I Google camera equipment, the next time I get on the internet all kinds of ads pop up for different camera equipment. Somebody or something knows what I'm doing on line all the time it seems.

Steve Reed said...

Angella: That seems to be everyone's reaction. Kind of a collective shrug.

E: Perhaps so. It will be interesting to keep watching the situation.

Ms Moon: My hackles aren't up either. (What ARE hackles, anyway?!)

Nancy: We named it Alvin a long time ago, but I think Molasses might be a better fit!

Bug: Exactly, that's how I feel. If they want to be bored to death, let 'em.

Elizabeth: It will be interesting to see how things unfold. I want to know more about Snowden, who he is and how he got to that position. If there's a security risk here, it seems to me that having highly paid underqualified people managing our secrets might be a good place to start.

Ellen: That is SO strange. I would never have expected that about cactus.

Sharon: I wondered about the partisan question as well. This monitoring seems very non-specific, though, and so is unlike the Bush-era wiretapping that was focused on the content of specific individuals' communications. (That's how I understand it, anyway.)