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Ramblings of a northwest tiger Below are the 50 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Dennis Carr" journal:

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October 13th, 2013
04:13 pm

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tl;dr version of this is at the bottom.

Dear United States Government:

While I find your issues entertaining, doubly so the peanut gallery surrounding this, and vaguely so the frequent blog and opinion-editorial posts I see on my social media feed that are typically touted as fully factual, I'm rapidly running out of my supply of Junior Mints and cola, and I expect this supply will run out before I get my next paycheck on Friday. Moreover, due to my own personal budgetary needs, I do not expect that I will be able to purchase a two week supply of said confections with which to keep myself occupied while you flaccidly attempt to hold my fellow American citizens and I hostage with pieces of paper.

In addition, I would like to point out that, insofar as what you consider "negotiation" is concerned, I have reason to believe that you do not understand what this word - or, for that matter, the word "compromise" - truly means. I will not bore you to tears or insult your intelligence by defining it here, nor will I post a link. However, your average age indicates that, despite the fact that the lot of you are acting like you are in the first years of grade school, you are all fully grown adults, and your educational levels may indicate that you fully understand the basic concepts of using a dictionary. I implore you, then, to seek the words "negotiate" and "compromise" in said dictionary, come to terms with the meanings as printed and the deeper meanings behind them, meditate upon these things, and follow this as a guideline to aid you in coming to resolution on our current budget issues. If you still do not understand these things, seek a thesaurus, look at the synonyms for these words, and search for these words, as well, in said dictionary. I highly recommend the Oxford English Dictionary for the purpose.

As to the entertainment factor that I find in this, I must admit that it is rapidly getting to the point where I no longer enjoy it, and it is probably worth noting that I would likely forfeit my impending resupply of the aforementioned Junior Mints and cola, accordingly. It is truly suspenseful to a general extent, and has all of the right elements, but the plot to this drama has become predictable in the extreme. I do, admittedly, enjoy watching some movies more than once ("Alien" comes to mind immediately), but I am really not into political suspense. It may help if you add some lasers, space ships, vampires, fairies, elves, dragons, monsters of some sort, and/or explosions, or maybe even some airborne sharks, but I will leave that to you to decide if you wish to add these elements to the plot of this current episode. To wit, there are those who suggest that Queen Elizabeth would be an appropriate deus ex machina; on the other hand, I am not sure that I would be interested in British rule, as this would defeat the purpose of our Declaration of Independence from the British Crown.

All this said, I would be very grateful if you came to a resolution - preferably a budget, rather than a continuance - to the current budget issues in your halls before I run out of movie munchies. I hope to see results by Wednesday, as this is the time that said movie munchies supply will deplete and force me to resort to more nutritious things.

Sincerely,
-Me

tl;dr: "I need to eat a NON-SEQUITUR!" said Zippy, as he smiled vapidly amidst his tray of cheeseburgers.

Edit: minor grammar correction, improper use of a gerund.

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September 21st, 2013
01:28 am

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My cats are now ten
My cats - or, if you will, the cats that I am the hired conscript for - are now ten years old. Well, at least, as of last week, they are ten years old.

Lina is showing her age a bit, in that she's calmed down quite a bit in the past ten years. At least she's found her snuggle spot, in the crook of my left arm, rather than my lap where her sister can shove her off. Bonus points if I'm wearing a jacket of some sort that she can snuggle into, making the colder months here near the shores of Lake Washington a favorite time of year for her. She doesn't play "mousey under the blanket" so much anymore, though. On one hand, it's kind of a bummer - on the other hand, I don't wake up at ungodly hours with my feet under attack. But, given a chance, she's all for a good snuggle - which, if I'm on shift, is inopportune, as she has a tendency to talk to me while she's cuddled up in my arm. Bad news comes about because my employer does not want to hear "meow" on the headset.

Zelgadis still thinks she's a kitten, and still loves to play. Good news is that her favorite games involve "attack the flying object" and "mousey at the top of the stairs", not "mousey under the blanket".

Both of them, since I changed over to a Nutro kibble blend, have put on weight. Zelgadis, in fact, may be getting a bit stout, but, well, don't let that stop her. =D

Both of them, as cats go, are relatively small - and many are known to mistake them for kittens.

Soon will be the time for their checkups. Probably next month, when my money has really leveled out to the point where I can, once again, have nice things.

Speaking of which, it's time to summon them with the sound of said bag of kibble.

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September 13th, 2013
12:32 am

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On science, evidence, ignorance, and wishes for miracles
One of the greatest lessons I learned when I was a Christian is that any single human's knowledge is not dissimilar, scale wise, to a single grain of sand on a beach equivalent in length to every continent's beaches, if connected continuously. If you want a number on that, take the perimeter of all land masses and add them together. It's granted, then, that this was something that was suggested as a counter to an atheist: how does one know, given this, that there is, indeed, no God?

Granted, this is a form of proving the negative.

On the other hand, providing scientific proof of the spiritual is an impossibility, if only because we haven't figured out a good way to record this. Oh, sure, you have your ghost hunting shows.

As a side track, yes, I believe in faeries. Mostly because of the same reason John Lennon did. But, well, things ephemeral such as faeries lend themselves well to logical fallacies, don't they?

But, I digress.

A funny thing about science that I learned about a year ago, when taking a prerequisite to my degree, is that it is extremely difficult to provide concrete, 100% crystal-clear evidence in that regard. You can, for instance, say that gold is a great conductor of electricity, and you can say that it is the best conductor of electricity that we know of, but you can't logically say that gold is the best conductor of electricity, full stop - there is no evidence of a better conductor, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

So it is with any science, really.

Oh, sure, scientifically, it's established that water, for instance, can be created by combining two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, and then igniting this mixture to start the violent explosion - the chemical reaction that results in an amount of water that is seemingly disproportionate to the massive release of energy. That's another story. That's basic stuff. I'm talking the stuff that's still theory based.

You know, like the medical sciences.

Granted, there are a good number of things that are well known - such as, if you exsanguinate an organism, the organism will die. It doesn't take a doctor to tell you that. You can even falsify data in an exsanguinated-yet-alive study by simply lying about how you had somebody who stayed alive at the thirty minute point - and well beyond - after removal of all of their blood. Of course, any organism with a carrier fluid that acts in any way similar to blood (a nutrient carrier) must have said carrier fluid within itself, or it will die - so pretty much any theory to the contrary, aside from any ethical concerns behind studies to this effect, would fall into that category of not even wrong.

So it is with a lot of studies that are best lumped into the broader field of medical and behavioral sciences.

As a for instance, one study out there proclaims that a substance they call vitamin B17 is a cure for cancer. Problem - the substance in question, a modified form of amygdalin, is not only ineffective against cancer of any form in double-blind studies, but it also turns into, among other things, benzaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide when it hits the intestines. (Yes, THAT cyanide.) (For the short version, amygdalin is one of the constituent components of certain fruits' seeds, such as the nut inside of, say, a peach pit.) If you think that this is a good thing, take a look at the NFPA diamonds (particularly, the blue field) on those Wikipedia articles for the metabolites. 3 for the benzaldehyde, and, well, cyanide.

Studies from behavioral sciences, once upon a time, pointed at a fact that frontal lobotomies were effective treatments in certain psychiatric disorders. A lot has changed since the day where I would have declared that I would rather have a bottle in front of me.

I suppose, at the end of the day, the nature of this - a human desire for that miracle cure to all of our ailments - is nothing new. I suppose it's why a lot of modern pharmaceuticals do well, they seem to take a model after the medicine shows of old times - these pills cure all your ills! There are a lot of people wanting for a quick, semi-convenient cure-all to their problems, and when some random in a lab coat says that a substance is right for them, they're either forgetting about the hours of research that went into that, or throwing money at this random in the lab coat - whatever the reaction.

The fun thing I've noticed, though, is that there are so many articles I've seen that put forward the notion - either explicitly or implicitly - that the statement therein is the final word. There are people who buy it lock stock and barrel, and there are people who will find anything evil about it and use this to oppose it. (Look at vaccines.)

I would postulate, then - and here is the tl;dr part, for those who don't want to read my rambling above - that it is either a simple desire for a miracle or the potential cost of a miracle that causes people to not believe in science. Or, at the very least, it contributes greatly to such a disbelief.

Yes, I am not a model writer. I put my thesis at this point in this text.

How do you fix this? Well...I don't know! I'm guessing education on what science does might do the trick. And yeah, we have very prominent scientists like Bill Nye, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and others who make it interesting, but...well, OK, I'm going to change my tune in this text. I don't often do this, do I?

Perhaps the issue with people not believing in the sciences - or certain sciences - comes from innocent ignorance of what science is. That leads to a willful ignorance, and that desire for the miracle and/or the fear of the cost of the miracle contributes to the willful ignorance. In otherwords, six people died from a cure for a disease (without saying "out of a million, the rest of whom were cured"), therefore it's evil. Or somebody who looks important said that philodendrons grow all my hair back, so shut up and take my money.

...you know, I like that one better.

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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12:00 am

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Out of civility, I will mention no names in this.

Frankly, I can deal with disagreements. It happens. Not everybody agrees with everything in the world. In some cases, opinions differ, in others, the world view differs.

(Yes, this is about the Cyrus post from the other day. To follow up to that, my take is that she did nothing special. To simplify, there are a lot of people who make themselves look like complete idiots in public all the time, and make money doing so.)

(Caveat: OK, I will give it this - there are very few who can do a spectacular job at a well-executed, poorly-designed, train-wreck grade entertainment number. So maybe she did do something significant. At the very least, she trolled society pretty well.)

But you know, when you go and call my friends idiots in your own post, all passive-aggressive like, because you can't come to an agreement with them? Even an agreement to disagree? And you want to go and tell your friends how they're idiots?

Yeah, you can fuck off.

Current Mood: angryangry

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August 31st, 2013
12:41 am

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Promotion
In other news, I got news...well, yesterday morning, now, that I had been offered a promotion at the job that I have been working at since April. With this comes a significant increase in pay, and a new shift.

It's granted, then, that I am not entirely working in my field of choice, but you know what, it's still a job, it's still what I enjoy doing, and it's a new challenge. This particular position includes malware hunting as part of its scope. I suspect that such hunting is less complicated than the training course is making it out to be.

I don't know yet what my new shift is, but I will be doing my training from early afternoon to about 9:30 local. Next weekend will be my first full weekend off - that is, one that does not involve requesting time off - in a while.

(The side effect of my promotion is that, with my current schedule, I would otherwise not be taking a full week of work. As I am ill able to afford that, I am working one last day - today - at my current position, and will be pretty much all about the new position come Monday.

I have been reminded, with the interview process and with today's first day of training, that I do not learn everything I need to know about my field in a classroom, no matter how much the instructors may try to get everything in. You always start with the basics, and then keep the textbooks around for reference.

Then again, technology has changed yet more since I restarted school two years ago, and with the technology field, there is always, always, always something new to learn. Moreover, getting into the field, I knew this would be the case.

My position, then, is roughly equivalent to a doctor. The big differences are that 1) I don't work on people, and 2) I get paid a pittance in comparison. But, well, I enjoy my work.

I move... no, I am moving forward.

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July 15th, 2013
12:09 am

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I am not John Galt - a brain dump about my perception of the philosophy of Ayn Rand
A recent conversation on Facebook got me thinking of the philosophy of one Ayn Rand, and in particular, her followers. It is something that I truly wish that my brain were not working on, but here I am again, analyzing something that I wish my brain would stop with. I guess the best way to put a stop to it is to dump it out in ones and zeroes. Such is inspiration.

But all this said, what I see of Randian objectivism is that it is passionately selfish and condescending. It promotes self-dehumanization as the pinnacle of achievement, and to be all of these things, it requires one to act within a collective of other such followers who eschew collectivism. It is, in short, broken as designed.

This is purely from observation of its followers, and working with what little I know about the philosophy.

On one hand, it designates the promotion of self through independent thought. OK, that's a good quality. One should think for themselves, rather than letting others - be it the news media, beauty magazines, or even religion - determine what you should think. Any single person needs to work that out on their own.

But on the other hand, it promotes this to the point of simply leaving others in the dust. Moreover, it promotes teaching of the philosophy over teaching of even so much as learning, and that the philosophy can better $aPerson. As it seems to exist, the philosophy seems to embrace narcissism and greed, and openly rejects the giving to anybody of...well, anything really. Unless you're giving them teachings of the philosophy.

I will openly admit that it is far, far closer to that "independent thought" part that I lean, if I were to scale it, with all desire to encourage people to learn. However, if $aPerson does not truly wish to learn (and, instead, only wishes to complain that something is just too hard), I will leave them behind as I, myself, continue to learn. But as a human being, I cannot not teach others. I cannot not give of myself. I cannot not help people1.

(Side note: I admittedly didn't learn to choose my battles until just a couple of years ago.)

From without, I see Randian philosophy, ironically, as a philosophy with a basis in collective thought. As I understand it, this was something that Rand seemed to preach against. Contradictory to that observation, in Atlas Shrugged, when a collective inquires as to the identify of John Galt, they are told, in response, that they are Galt. This can be literary symbolism, I suppose, but it then becomes an elimination of the independent person that Rand so preached in favor of. There is really no way one can be independent in thought, word, or deed if they are identified as somebody who exists. (Or, "if I were you, who'd be me?")

This, I think, ties together with my perception of many who follow this line of thought: they take a condescending view toward those who don't follow it, and doubly so for those who want nothing to do with it. It is an ugly philosophy to my soul, almost as ugly as such behavior, and I suspect that those who live by this philosophy take pride in this repulsiveness.

To note, Atlas was one of those things where I really wish I could take back the time spent. It's been years. If there is a takeaway, it was that I am convinced that she was wrong, and that Helen Keller was right about ugliness2 - it helps one to appreciate those things that are beautiful.

And I, for one, am NOT John Galt. I am Dennis.

If Galt can catch up to me, he can kiss my ass as I move forward.




1 - There is a time and place for the use of double negatives. This is such a place.

2 - I do not remember the title, but Keller wrote of what she would want to see and hear if she were able - and noted that she also wished to experience those things that were ugly, to be able to truly appreciate those things that were beautiful.

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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July 14th, 2013
05:59 pm

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Zimmerman found not guilty - but at what cost?
For those who are still examining the Zimmerman trial, consider this: there is now a pall hanging over him.

I want to make something clear: I have little opinion on the outcome of the case. My one opinion is that it is a shame that Martin got shot and killed. His family have my condolences: while the justice system has done its work in exactly the way it is engineered to work, there is no court that can bring Trayvon back from the dead and into this realm.

Yes, indeed, the court found Zimmerman to be Not Guilty of manslaughter, let alone any degree of murder. Yes, there is fallout insofar as protests, and even one congressional representative has, naturally, blamed the President for this verdict.

...a quick side track to that. One, the congresscritter is white. I find that intriguing for some strange reason. The other is just instinct: had Zimmerman been found guilty of any charge, then it is highly likely that this representative of the people would pin the blame on Obama for the justice department denying him the right to defend himself. Such is partisan politics. But that's neither here nor there.

Anyway, I digress.

Now, there is potential doubt of Zimmerman's character.

Think of it. The details behind the decision were unable, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to prove or disprove statements, leading to the verdicts of Not Guilty. There remains the question of details of the 911 call, which could not be admitted as evidence due to the doubt of identity of somebody screaming.

His wife perjured herself in an attempt to protect him. Her trial is pending. She now comes as part of the package, subconscious though that association may be.

Zimmerman killed a young man out of self defense by his own statements, but there lingers, in the eyes of many, a doubt of that. For this, he will now face a civil suit. What comes of this is not something I can predict in any way whatsoever. But one fact remains: he still killed Trayvon Martin.

Regardless of the criminal court's decision, regardless of the best justice that money can buy, regardless of the yet dangling ends of this trial, there is potential doubt of character of this man who is about nine years my junior. Any civil action against Zimmerman is yet pending, but a verdict could potentially cast additional doubt.

Despite his arguments to the contrary, his morals are potentially in doubt, and this will likely call into question his character, insofar as his future goes.

Think about it.

I predict that, eventually, he will have to move from his community, or become reclusive. But, his name is now well known. His reputation is damned by this. There aren't many places he can move to escape this, and he will likely spend the rest of his life living this down.

And when you think of it, we never had all the details, here, outside of the courtroom. We only had the details that the media gave us, unless we had access to other places (read: connections). These decisions can, eventually, be made public, and are likely available for review, but, well, who is going to go and examine them?

On top of that, he now gets to live with the fact that he killed a fellow human being.

There is no court in any justice system on this planet that could ever mete out this grade of punishment.

I just know one true fact, after all is said and done: I do not want to know what it is like to be in this position.

The show is not over, though, for either family. The Martins live with their grief, and the Zimmermans live under this pall.

But, I will not watch this show. It's too depressing.

I will, instead, move forward.

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June 25th, 2013
11:36 pm

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Final words on government spending - or, what're ya gonna do about it, Dennis?
...well, there's not much I can do that is significant, other than some number crunching. But the thing is, though, I rant a lot about people screaming about how terrible the government is, but that's all they do - scream about it, how horrible it is, how horrible these people are, and they do nothing more than these things about it. It annoys me, given that the things that are done about it (mainly, said screaming) pretty much have no effect on the current condition.

So what's my big idea here?

The idea behind this is to find ways to save money - everyone wants to save money, and that's why people use their shopper club cards at their supermarkets or shop at discount stores. Hell, in the commentary on the Spaceballs DVD, Mel Brooks made a bit of a deal on how he saved "over a hundred bucks" on many things about the film, including Dark Helmet's costume. (Granted, Dark Helmet's costume, aside from the helmet, looked to consist primarily of a heavy duty plastic cape over a unitard and boxer shorts.)

Now this said, it's no secret that the government spends more money in a day than I can ever hope to see in a lifetime, and an awful lot of people who are demanding that the government spend less money.

(A side note - at the same time these people are clamoring for that, they are also clamoring for lower taxes. The flaw in this is that taxes are revenue to the government. Business 101, people - if you have less revenue in a business, you don't have a choice but to lower your expenses, and if taxes are trimmed too low, that means that shit doesn't get done.)

For the purposes of the taxpayer dollar, I would go one step further: invest in our future in such a way that $aThing - any government subsidized project or service - ultimately pays for itself in a given period of time, and the savings come around later - or, preferably, sooner than later. Do this in such a way that not only would it not harm or impede the general populace who may rely upon such a service, and may actually improve upon things. It is conceivable that any such $aThing where such money is trimmed, given the right methods to implement, it can work.

These time spans are left as an exercise to whomever may embark upon such a reorganization, refurbishment, retrofit, or whatever you may need to do to $aThing to make it cost less money to operate.

I'm not talking about roads. Those cost money. There are ways to mitigate those costs, but that's not for this immediate purpose - that is left as an exercise to the reader.

For the low end of things, consider the roadside rest area. (This is something that I did a project on for my English 235 project a few months ago.) in Washington state, If one replaces the existing flush urinals in all facilities that are not pit toilet facilities with flush-free urinals, the state can save upwards of $20,000 per year in water costs from municipal water supplies, and overall (owing to that the majority of RAs (that is, anything that is pretty much not on Interstate 5) are attached to wells and septic systems), a bit over 25 acre feet, per year, of water. Median ROI was around 2 years. Small numbers in the grand scheme, but it is a small number in a smaller program of the Washington State DOT. This is feasible, despite the concerns about damaging the plumbing: sewerage plumbing damage is only applicable if the sewerage is copper. (Not a single sewer pipe within these facilities is made of copper. (source: WSDOT)) Moreover, salt accumulation is trivial, and is mitigated during the maintenance cycle.

For the well-operated RAs, consider this very important fact: water not used is water that remains in the well. For the municipal sources, water not used is money not spent.

(Calculations for the above are based on 1 GPF urinal standards and approximate load averages per facility obtained from WSDOT; cost and water savings savings is based on an approximate cost per 100 cubic feet of water as per billing average from several regional utility companies, presuming 4/9 of all rest area users will be using urinals, and subtracting from that the cost of the "care and feeding" of flush-free urinals. Head counts were from 2010 and 2011 and omits one rest area that did not exist until 2012; also, 2012 data was not available. I did not have the data for cost of operation of wells or septic systems; it is presumed that the lower loads on these systems result in a lower cost overall.)

Let's go bigger. Apply this same idea to any government operated facility. Same ideas - determine usage, determine your GPF on the urinal, determine your utility cost for water and sewerage, figure around $1000 for installation per urinal including parts, know your specs, and know if installation is feasible (is it copper sewerage plumbing?), and bang, you can determine your savings and ROI.

The point of this is simple: by going this route, the WSDOT would still have urinals for their mens' rooms, is still able to operate state-funded rest areas, and will find themselves with a bit of savings after a certain time point. Care and feeding cuts into this (the gross savings is cut into by about half, by my numbers), but they conserve water (never a bad idea) and still come out a little bit ahead in the money department.

Let's go to smaller areas: at one point, the city of Seattle had otustanding fines that were roughly equivalent to the city's deficit. I think that's simple - it's time to pay the piper. Part of that money, to simplify it, goes back into Seattle's general fund. At least part of the problem is solved. (The other part is payroll and administrative costs for dealing with the backlog.)

Let's go to federal level. The most obvious may be the prosecution of marijuana possession. The fix is simple: don't do that, then. Prisoners cost money, enforcement costs money.

Student loans. OK, we gotta pay 'em back. No question. I'd like the money for free, but I'm going to have to pay that back, sooner or later - I owe Uncle $am around $20,000 for my education. Figure out a way to save money that does not negatively affect Sallie May (who employs people), and it suddenly becomes pretty easy to reduce interest on student loans. If done right, the agency still comes out ahead.

Now let's go to the top. Legislative payroll. If my memory is right, our legislators get paid, on average, around $150,000 per year. Cut it by 1/3 - go to an average of $100,000 per year. Favors are expensed, and (cha-ching!) they lose the franking privilege. Given that there are around 535 legislators in both halls of congress (435 reps plus 100 senators, not adjusting for recount since census), that's a savings of over $2.5 million dollars in the payroll - and they still get good sized paychecks. Still small potatoes in the grand scheme, but you now have a basis.

So in all consideration of this, take what surrounds you in terms of what the government provides, and think of a way to cut costs. It may cost money up front, but look at the long term. The conditions are as follows:

* It MUST result in a generally measurable cost or supply savings (remember, supply can equal cost; even paper clips cost money!)

* It CANNOT adversely affect, in any way, anybody who uses these things in their current state

* It MAY, optimally, improve something that is directly connected somehow.

So given this, throw some ideas around. What do you think should be done, that will meet these conditions? Take $aThing, find a money sink, and fix it within these constraints.

You - move forward.

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June 21st, 2013
02:40 am

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On action, interference, and chaos.
I intervened on a friend's suicide contemplation tonight.

For the privacy of the party involved - in fact, all parties involved - they shall remain anonymous.

The quandary I was faced with involved knowing my network and possibly pointing them in the right direction, or invoking what pretty much boils down to chaos. But there's a big problem with being in that state where you want to take your own life: in that state, regardless of instruction, regardless of who others know, if one is truly in that state, there is a good chance those parties are not going to follow through on those suggestions, and the likelihood of those suggestions even being good suggestions (even who to talk to) are maddeningly slim. It is not as if they are not good to begin with, but when you're being pointed down multiple paths, you just become more lost, despite that you have the directions to the destination.

My source? I was once there. Depression, I assure you, really is kind of like that.

(It is with all due modesty that I note that I seem to be one of the very, very, VERY few people who could get past those situations without any professional treatment. I have no idea whatsoever, short of an attribution to divine providence, why I was so lucky.)

The only alternative I could see was to call 911. Another friend noted that they are capable, within 911, of tracking down people in these cases - something about the E911 system here in the US that I did not know until this evening. But even once I learned this, it was still a difficult decision - do I risk losing a friend because I interfered and complicated their life for the short term, or do I risk losing another friend to the act of suicide?

I would dare say that there is no "good" answer, only an answer that is less bad.

It is to preserve and protect life.

I would rather risk losing a friend because I interfered, yet they live to see a brighter future in spite of current circumstance, than they die by their own hand because of current circumstance and in spite of that brighter future.

I have, over the past year, lost two other friends to suicide. Nobody saw it coming, I guess. They never reached out. But you know what, like I noted above, like I noted in a post back in February, if you are in that state of mind, it very well could be that you are not going to seek that help on your own, you are not going to reach out. It is a terrible, scary place to be.

And yet, now, here I am, on the other side of that. A friend reached out to me. I would never have seen this coming if this didn't happen, and they reached out.

I grabbed on.

I reached out in desperation to people who, one way or another, I realized who could help me. And with the right information, I acted in the only way I knew how - I asked for more help from somebody who could get there. The ONLY people I knew who would, for sure, do it. The authorities. The cops.

From their own perspective, their life has become even more difficult than before as a result of this. I only know what the driving points were to this point, but...well, I didn't ask them what the new difficulty is.

As for me, I don't know know how to reconcile the very fact that I saved somebody's life tonight.

No, really. I don't.

I always thought it would be easy, you get your atta boy, maybe a trophy, and you put this on a shelf or something, after you scoop the person out of a fast moving river, or get them to the hospital after a bite from a venomous snake, or call 911 for something that they had an accident with. You always think that saving someone's life involves some accident, having to do some kind of first aid, and Roy and Johnny get them their D5W and into the ambulance to send them to Rampart, and they're probably going to make it.

You never really think about something like this until it happens, until it's looking you right in the eyes.

It isn't so much that I don't quite know how they're looking at our friendship now, it is simply the very concept that I saved somebody's life. I really do not know how to deal with this. I suppose I should feel all heroic or something, or that I did the Right Thing or my daily good turn, or something like that. Maybe I should get the key to the city or something. Maybe I should put on a leotard, find the right lighting arrangement and a wind machine for my hair, and strike a heroic pose.

But I've never saved somebody's life before. The chance - nay, the need - for me to do this has really never come up until now.

Oh, sure, I know I've changed peoples' lives before. That always happens - even in chance encounters with randoms. But saving someone's life?

I look at fire fighters, paramedics, police, doctors, nurses, lifeguards...these are people who make it their very job to save lives. It's what they do. Hell, by and large, they get paid to put their own lives on the line for this!

But for the computer guy who just graduated from college, two decades after he graduated high school? Some dude who wears tights and has long hair and lives in Seattle and puts on pointed ears once in a while and is into ballet and works from home and and and and? Some random who, just like anyone else reading this blog, is just doing his best to make it in this world?

All I really did was make a couple of phone calls.

Somehow, in this universe, it was all on my shoulders. I won't even pretend to know why this happened in just this way, but it was my turn to make that choice today. And it was an amazingly difficult choice to make.

I should think, though, that I made the right choice. I saved somebody's life.

And I'm still overwhelmed by this, yet honored and humbled that it was on me.

Here I am, in the latter few months of my thirty-eighth year on this planet, reminded that, for as long as I'm alive, there's something that I need to do.

And today, it was to call 911 for a friend, on the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere of this planet, in an effort to stop a rash decision.

I suppose, in writing this, that it's not important that it was me, or even why. It's important that, today, that I stopped a human from being a suicide statistic.

Yet all I did was call the right people.

With that, I move forward.

And now, so can my friend.

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

(Leave a comment)

May 31st, 2013
01:46 am

[Link]

A query for those who do art and such
So here's the idea.

First off, no big secret that I'm a furry, and probably no big secret that my costumes of choice consist largely of spandex.

So what I'm looking for is this, for whoever may be left on LJ or DW that reads this - a bit of help in the not too distant future.

There's this company - Fabric on Demand - who can dye-sub print a pattern onto pretty much any fabric they have. Given the right pattern, then, they could literally print the pattern for stripes onto spandex, and all I need done is to stitch the whole mess together.

So with that, for the artists who may read this, just how simple is it to basically "explode" such a thing for a unitard - that is, draw the stripes for a unitard in such a way that it is on a flat sheet to be assembled?

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

May 24th, 2013
11:05 pm

[Link]

An old and silly story about my water breaking - or, I say the damndest things sometimes
So tonight, I posted a line that was sort of a long-running gag about something I said at Denny's in Yorba Linda, California back in...oh, I want to say 1998 or 1999 sometime.

At the time, [profile] ottermama and I were roommates. We took a trip to said Denny's in Savi Ranch in Yorba Linda, and decided to have dinner. It was pretty late at night. I had water to drink while there. I was sitting with my legs up on my own bench at this booth that had a view of the 91 Freeway and what was, at the time, the Super K-Mart across Yorba Linda Boulevard in the other part of this weird business district called Savi Ranch.

So our conversations were prone to taking to things one normally doesn't talk about at a dinner table. Such as, in this evening's case, human reproduction, particularly the female components, and diving into pregnancy and childbirth.

The waitress came by to check on us, and [profile] ottermama responds, "Yes, my Coke is broken!"

(This is a reference to a comment another friend made, noting his empty soda at a Mimi's Cafe in Yorba Linda as defective. It was full, but had become empty, and therefore was in need of a replacement.)

She promptly went to get a refill.

When suddenly, my arm knocked my glass of water onto my jeans.

The waitress for our section promptly snapped into action, grabbing several towels from the back, and bringing them over. I mopped up the table and seat, and failed to dry my pants off.

As I'm standing there, returning the now drenched towels to the waitress, she asks, "Is there anything else I can get you two?"

"Yes," I exclaim proudly and quite loudly, "my water is broken!"

At that moment, I felt my face fell. I looked down at my jeans, soaked throughout my lap with water that was now hitting a temperature somewhere between the room's ambient and my own body's, recalled our conversation about bearing children, and looked at [profile] ottermama. "I just said that, didn't I?"

Current Mood: sillysilly

(Leave a comment)

May 19th, 2013
02:17 pm

[Link]

Political non-scandal
Political musings today. Sorry. Deal with it.

Currently in the news are continued hearings on the Benghazi incident in Libya, in which a very public investigation still carries on. From my perspective, it seems as if those carrying out the investigation are doing so by the use of questioning, which itself, in this case, seems to be full of questions that have little, if anything, to do with the affair, and from what I can gather, there are questions as to why Barack Obama himself did not go flying in while wearing red and blue spandex, adorned with cape, and a contrasting shield with an ornate letter 'B' on his chest to stop this from happening.

Also in the news is is an investigation as to why the IRS was unable to remove the free will of a couple of their employees, who themselves seem to have engaged in some rather unethical behavior. Moreover, it would seem, if I am hearing the news on these investigations correctly, that the President is constitutionally required to know the number of hairs on every human being's head. In other news, John Boehner has been sighted with the blueprints for a crucifix to be placed near the Washington Monument.

Finally, in the news, there is a lot of ranting about how Barack Obama used an umbrella. Or more correctly, had a Marine hold an umbrella on his behalf while he gave a speech. Rumor has it that the impending investigation is to determine why this particular president is unable to stop rain from falling upon him - or why he was unable to direct said rain to the person from the middle east, who was at a podium next to him. Mind you, the subject of these investigations are all rumors that I have heard from my super secret sources that I found on the bus.




For me, the most ironic thing about this is the simple fact that those who are doing this are those of our leaders and broadcasters who are striving to quell government spending. There is, ostensibly, to be an investigation on this as well - why those who are trying to stop us from spending taxpayer money are spending taxpayer money. I suppose it is probable that the investigation will be into why the president cannot repel rain without the use of an umbrella.

But where's the irony, you ask?

The irony is in one simple detail: investigations cost money.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

May 8th, 2013
08:01 pm

[Link]

Some of you may remember a few years back, when I got a drunk driver pulled over and arrested. I gave some details at the time, but didn't give everything.

It's been 2.5 years, though, at this point.

I think it's time to enshrine the testimony I gave to Trooper Tennant of the Washington State Patrol.

Before I do, be mindful of one thing: it's often not the best practice to tail an erratic driver. If you're going to do anything like this, use your best judgement.

---

My passengers included my girlfriend, (redacted) (middle of van,
left side), and her roommates: (redacted) (middle of van, right
side), and (redacted) (front passenger seat), all three of
(redacted). This event happened on the evening of November 6, 2010.
All times listed are Pacific Daylight Time (PDT, GMT-7).

We started off with a departure from Federal Way at around 8:30 PM PDT
in my minivan after a couple of movies and some grocery shopping. At
around 8:48 PM PDT, after I had changed lanes in preparation to exit
Interstate 5 to Interstate 405, we found ourselves behind the vehicle
as directly relates to this incident: a silver or grey recent model
Toyota car. The four of us observed him driving erratically - the
driver was struggling to stay in his lane, frequently dodging out of
the lane and then correcting himself. As we approached the
interchange ramp for I-405, he had slowed down to about 40 miles per
hour, and was frequently turning on his left turn signal. At this
point, I engaged my hazards to warn vehicles behind me that there was
trouble.

After we made the transition to I-405, I called 911 and reported the
vehicle. By this time, I had obtained the license plate of the
vehicle, and this was given to the dispatcher. We ended the call
about 1/2 mile or so before the SR 167 interchange, and at that point,
I had moved left one lane, and out of concerns for the potential need
for any sort of medical assistance, we continued to follow, keeping a
watchful eye on the vehicle in question, and continued to follow to
match his speed and keep a safe distance.

(I should explain here the underlying reasons for continuing to
follow: I myself am trained in first aid, and (redacted) is a first
responder. I believe (redacted) and (redacted), as well, have some
medical training of some sort.)

For the next ten minutes, we observed him continuing this behavior, as
well as another behavior: if he approached an exit ramp, he would
start moving toward the exit, and would correct himself, often driving
on the gore points of the exits. We also observed him driving in both
of the main lanes of the freeway at one point somewhere around exit 4,
as we were making our way through a left turning bend that is found at
this point of the freeway.

Shortly before 9:00 PM, Messrs. (redacted) observed a state
patrol car stopped on the shoulder near a freeway entrance point. The
patrol vehicle merged safely into traffic. These two gentlemen, as
well as (redacted), observed this, as I kept an eye on the Toyota. I
gave berth for him to change in, and the trooper vehicle changed into
our lane somewhere around Coal Creek Parkway, and he merged to his
left into our lane. At this point, I got back on the phone to 911 to
report that a trooper was on him at that moment. While on this call,
at the point where the HOV lane diverges from the main highway at the
Interstate 90 interchange, we watched as the Toyota, once again,
dodged out of the lane - this time, onto the left shoulder - and
corrected after exiting the slight turn in the freeway at that point.
A moment later, at 9:03 PM PDT, the patrol car engaged his emergency
lights, effectively ordering the Toyota driver to pull over. We
slowed down to allow for extra room for both the patrolman and the
Toyota's driver at this point.

To note, we watched as the driver of the Toyota, in the course of
pulling over, continued his erratic driving, with several false stops
in the course of finding a safe spot to pull over. In the process of
this, however, at the gore point where the I-90 ramps merge onto
I-405, the Toyota slowed as if to stop in the gore point, and the
patrolman sounded off his siren while pulling him over. Both cars
finally came to a stop on I-405 norhtbound, right shoulder, at a
distance of less than 1/4 mile north of the I-90 interchange, as
observed when we returned to legal driving speeds to continue home.

---

And there it is, in all of it's glory. =D

(Leave a comment)

May 2nd, 2013
12:12 am

[Link]

On the police, May Day protests, and the fallout thereunto pertaining
I have a theory about the fallout from tonight's protests: the order to corral and treat as a riot came as an order that basically said to expect violence.

I'll explain in my...usual, roundabout, down-the-garden-path fashion. Get a cup of tea. =)

When the police are busy making sure that nobody is doing something stupid on the street, they are doing their job. When they're catching the bad guys, they are doing their job.

When the police are busying corralling protestors, they are doing their job.

The difference, I suppose, is that the cops are informed that there will be criminal intent - or to at least expect such - in the latter case. Perhaps it's indicative of that corruption tends to come from above.

Tonight, the May Day protest in Seattle culminated in riot control actions by the Seattle Police Department against the otherwise peaceful protestors. To hear one person so involved, it was a description that is best identified as "entrapment" - corralled into some particular spot in the city that just so happened to be on the march route, and then tear gassed, pepper sprayed, and beaten.

I've known a few LEOs myself - hell, my brother, Kevin, is a Sheriff's deputy in Arizona - and the funny thing is that they're all good people.

But this, as I describe it, is my impression of law enforcement in general. They are made aware of a situation, and they react to it in the way they understand is the correct way based on the data they have. Much like any human. Maybe, just maybe, somebody lied to them, and later they find themselves all getting thrown under a bus for following orders that were, ultimately, misleading to one degree or another.

This is starting to happen to Seattle's finest, unfortunately. Yet again. No, I haven't forgotten about the issues they've been happening that have resulted in internal investigations of the department. No, I haven't forgotten about the whittler who got shot in downtown. Yes, I've heard of other corruption.

Keep reading.

But now, consider this: you don't hear much about the good cops, do you?

Oh, sure, I sometimes tell the story about making one blush, one in Redmond who thought I was a woman when he pulled me over for a missing front license plate, back when I had the Oldfolksmobile. It was the long hair. He realized his mistake at about the time he realized that I was, at that time, overdue for a shave by about one week.

This post would be the first time I have mentioned a couple of officers in the University district who cordially gave me directions, or the Redmond officer who, after I asked what a good wait time was to allow alcohol to burn off, chatted with me a couple summers ago after I had a beer at Malt and Vine, or even the deputy in downtown Seattle who, when I asked, pointed me at a Starbucks when I wanted a cup of coffee prior to getting a few shots of the recently remodeled King Street Station, or even a whole squad of 'em doing a bicycle ride to raise money for a charity.

Sure, the little things you don't hear about. There are also the big things - the heroics - that you tend not to hear about, because they're not as exciting or inflaming as a bunch of cops turning Seattle into a war zone, are they? They don't enrage you, you can't feel bad about that, they aren't doing these things that make you want to give that primal cry of "fuck the police". The only thing somebody can do in these situations is be so enraged because they're cops, and don't you remember that time when a cop that wasn't even in the same state as these cops did something so horrible to some people?

Or maybe you don't like them because you never see them when you need them. Like behind that jackass that just ran the red light as he's yakking it up on the cellphone plastered with one hand to his face, just as yours turned green a few seconds ago - and the SOB nearly wrecked into you. (For those curious, I've sometimes seen cops at those times, pulling the perps over. Sometimes. Unfortunately, most of the time...well, they can't predict the trouble, now, can they?)

Maybe, just maybe, you despise them because you're always getting pulled over at that one speed trap, every damn time, because you're always doing 50 in a residential area. (And for those who do this, stop.)

it is our nature as humans, I suppose - we want any excuse to loathe those in authority, to flip the bird at The Man, to at least feel like we have more power than we have.

Sure, sometimes, you get bad cops. Sometimes, those cops make it all the way to a command position. Statistically, though, the bad cops are the minority - and I am grateful to be a man who has never met a bad cop. Snarky? Well, that comes with the territory sometimes - it tends to happen when you deal with the public. And sometimes a cop's gotta put on the bad guy face, because somebody's being a complete dumbass, thinking that they're going to be that radical citizen that sets the cops straight - and they step into a bear trap of their own making, sometimes.

To note, I have not forgotten the recent issues that Seattle PD have had with internal investigations. Yes, that's worth repeating.

And you know, I don't much like cops when they're stopping me, either. I don't think anybody does. If you want to be pulled over, you probably have bigger problems, the likes of which are typically depicted on a movie or television screen.

But on the other hand, the worst I've been ticketed for, I think, was a right-of-way misfire in Bellevue (in which I was in a small fender bender) and 38 in a 25 in Kirkland. Oops. Those were a few years back, done and over with now - and off my record, thankfully. Each time, cooperation ensued. Though that speeding ticket had me inadvertently handing the officer my Costco card in lieu of my license. (We got a laugh of that one as he traded me my Costco card for my license.)

That's just it. I hear all these stories about bad cops, and while I acknowledge and understand that they're out there, I've never actually met one.

Perhaps it's that I hear more about people giving cops undeserved grief, and when the officer returns in kind, they become the bad cop. I guess I understand that. But then, most of those I hear giving cops grief, rather than cooperating, seem to be those who are convinced that the security cameras inside the local 7-11 are clear-cut evidence that the Illuminati are turning the entire world into an Orwellian dystopia a la 1984.

Or they've just never had a good experience with cops.

In any case.

In light of tonight's protests and the resulting fallout, my predictions will be that Seattle Police Department gets thrown under the bus again, the officers therein being the face of everything that is wrong with law enforcement, and yet again, Barack Obama will be blamed for all of the bad things in the world, because somehow, these riots are his fault.

And meanwhile, I do what I've kept doing for a while now. I'm going to hope for the best.

I move forward.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

April 25th, 2013
08:39 pm

[Link]

...aaaaaaand it's a job!
I mentioned this last week on Facebook - so this is a little overdue.

So I started a job last week.

I'm currently in training in a new job doing tech support work.

OK, so this isn't what I went to school for. But you know what? I'm broke.

I haven't had any money coming in since the beginning of March, and I am eagerly awaiting my first paycheck in over two years to arrive in the mail.

...wait, mail?

Well, I work from home doing this. I'm telecommuting.

The pay isn't really all that much, all considered, but right now, I'm not going to complain. It's a job that's paying me something more than nothing. I get insurance, a flex account, a handful of other benefits, and most importantly, an income.

And as an added bonus, I can wear pretty much whatever I want.

Hell, I don't even have to shower if I don't want to, but after about the second day, I start to feel a little gross.

So with this newfound job that is distinctively Not In My Field Of Choice, in the course of training and having to discipline myself from actually stepping out of my bedroom between breaks to, say, make me a sandwich, this may be just a little harder than actually going to an office. But, I can work wiht my own computer (though I have to use Windows), I can drink my coffee, I can decorate how I want to decorate... I am not complaining too much.

Though a raise would be nice.

At this point, I'm pretty much thinking that this would be a good place to tide myself over until such time that I can find a better job, largely owing to the fact that I need to get back into the swing of actually working.

It's been a couple years.

And training ends after tomorrow, when I go onto the live queue.

Here I go.

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

March 23rd, 2013
07:27 pm

[Link]

Simple stuff, like sunset
The days are, again, getting longer, as is wont to happen this time of year.

This said, the side effect of daylight saving time is in sunsets that happen later in the day than I grew up with. It is, for instance, nearing sunset right now up here in the greater Seattle area. In about a month, evening twilight will be at around 21;00, with evening twilight happening into the late hours around 22:00 by the summer solstice.

On one hand, it's slightly confusing. On the other hand, I take great joy in it, and hope to never grow weary of this.

Current Mood: pleasedpleased

(Leave a comment)

March 11th, 2013
08:57 pm

[Link]

Another adventure awaits
Tonight is the new moon. Or, more correctly, earlier today. It's about a week off from the end of my final academic quarter at Bellevue College.

Close enough. =^_^=

My English 235 Big Paper Of Flush Free Urinal Doom has been completed and submitted, the last bits of coursework remain, and I will be proceeding in a direction that says "help wanted". Mostly because I don't have a choice, but I'd rather be working.

I'm tired, and I blame a 19 credit winter course load for closing out my quarter. =^_^=

With this, then, is the near end of my schooling, for now. I think I'll be back later, maybe part time - ultimately, I'd like that bachelors' degree.

Things are set in place for me to obtain my A+ certification, and in the future, other certifications yet to be obtained - because finding work without these can be a little difficult in my field of choice, from what I've seen.

As to me, I see some coursework on the immediate horizon. Maybe some house cleaning after that, and somewhere in there, a job. I hope.

I move forward.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

March 4th, 2013
04:09 pm

[Link]

Dear Republicans - an open letter to the US House of Representatives majority party
Dear Republican congressmen and congresswomen,

I wanted to thank you today, from the deepest cockles of my heart, for not coming to an agreement on a budget with the Democrats, and instead, electing to allow an arbitrary budget sequestration to be engaged for all federal funding.

As of this time, I have observed market changes that reveal uncertainty in the financial markets, with the most visible being a recent sudden increase in tbe price of fuel - which, itself, has reached nearly $4 per gallon here in the greater Seattle, WA area, after having bottomed out at closer to $3 per gallon earlier this year. To note, my research - and the research of friends - indicates that this increase owes partially to the recent closure of eight refineries on the east coast of the United States, but moreso to the recent market speculation that seems to be in line with the sequester.

With this, then, I am now looking forward to experiencing the joys of economic uncertainty for the second time within the space of five years. While this may look to be unfortunate for me given that my unemployment is out, this has allowed me to consider leaving school with only an associates' degree to show for my studies, instead of the bachelors' degree that I was hoping for, and I get to learn how good it is for me to wish to pursue school again, instead of actually attending it full time, as I have been for the past two years.

As another result of this, I also find that I face the prospect of having all of the benefits of no income whatsoever while I seek out employment, including such benefits as a lot of free time, a distinct lack of money, and an increasingly competitive job market due to recent layoffs from various companies in the greater Seattle area. As a result of these three things, I look forward to learning of all of the benefits of potential eviction, a lack of food, and a potential lack of utilities. I have been told by acquaintances that this will actually be good for me, and I wish to assure you that I relish the prospect of learning about these things through direct experience.

Before I close my open letter to you, I wish to make one correction. It has been stated by other Republicans that this is President Barack Obama's fault. I would postulate that it is not. It can honestly be said that Mr. Obama, indeed, did nothing in this regard; however, I would like to gently remind you, at this time, that the very reason that Mr. Obama has done nothing about this is because the House of Representatives never gave him a viable budget to sign.

In closing, I wish to all of you a turned ankle, so that I may identify each of you by your limp and thank you personally for giving me the opportunity to experience these things, as outlined above, among other benefits related to a lack of work that I cannot,at this time, predict.

Very truly yours,
[personal profile] dennisthetiger

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

February 9th, 2013
06:24 pm

[Link]

Today, around 3:45 PM, I picked up Heather at the park and ride, and she instructed me to park.

A friend of mine - Clare Layendecker - took her own life on Thursday, and was found sometime today.

I don't even know if anyone even had a clue that she was making this consideration. I don't know if anyone even saw this coming.

I do know this - if you're in that state of mind, where you really think there is no hope for you, even those who can help you are left out of your mind. Suicidal thoughts come with a very distinct perception of stigma to those who harbor them, so when you're in that mode, you really do think that there is truly nobody who can help you. Sure, intellectually, you know about places like Suicide Hotline, the police, medicine, all that stuff, but when you're in that pit, you just don't care - or you're afraid to tell somebody.

To this day, I'm not entirely sure how I survived past my early twenties. But, I've told that story previously.

I suppose that maybe - just maybe - part of it is that even some of the groups out there that seem so closely knit are still distant from each other. Maybe we should be making sure that those we are close to here on the internet should be close to us in person - that is, get out more.

There are those who say that $aReligion is the answer, but I've seen even the religious of any stripe take their own lives. But it is not The Answer, it is One Potential Answer. Sure, it can help some, but it doesn't help everybody.

I only know one thing, here, for certain: I do not have all of the answers.

I only have for Clare the question of "why?"

I may never know that answer.

Clare, if you somehow see this, I'll see you on the other side.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

December 24th, 2012
05:47 pm

[Link]

The name is...erm, Datsun?
Anyone remember Datsun? The line of cars?

I decided to look them up on Wikipedia a moment ago, as my brain, in an odd bit of pique, decided to play the old 70s-80s "we are driven" slogan they campaigned with on television - and I had also heard recollection about their tendency to list their models as a letter and/or a three digit number (e.g., the D210, a 4-door hatchback wagon that was frequently given away as a prize on game shows in the early 1980s). If you're about my age or older, you might remember when the Nissan Sentra was first marketed in the early 1980s with the Datsun branding - and then from there, the progressive disappearance of the Datsun brand. If you're younger than me, you may have recollection of seeing Datsun vehicles on the road, and then accordingly, the progressive disappearance of them as they pretty much died.

In any case, I looked up on Wikipedia. Come to find out, Nissan Heavy Industries - who has always pretty much owned the brand - is reviving it. But, unless you live in Indonesia, India, or Russia, you won't see them here anytime soon here in the United States.

Nice logo, too, for the revival. Kinda snazzy. A lot more "woo!" factor than the classic blue-bar-on-red-sun logo that had historically been used.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

December 21st, 2012
01:47 am

[Link]

There is nothing new under the sun
Every year, I'm thinking it's about the same thing.

There will be those people who are uncivil to their fellow man, because they feel it gets them something - either because coercion works, or because of the "squeaky wheel" factor.

The weather changes as per its cycles as normal, and people don't remember what the weather did the previous year - and the severe weather events are, of course, the worst ever recorded.

People are born. People die. The sun rises, sets, and the moon, in her own cycle, does the same.

The seasons change, and all astronomical phenomena come with it.

People will predict the end of the world, as I sit back and crack Linux-related jokes about it.

During times of crisis, people come together. During times of commercial pressure, people cease their civility and commit actions that can kill other humans.

And at the same time as there is, indeed, nothing new under the sun, things do, indeed, change gradually.

So it goes.

(Leave a comment)

December 18th, 2012
01:21 am

[Link]

Final thoughts on Newtown
First and foremost - if it happens that a family member of one of the children who died on December 14, 2012 ever happen upon this blog entry, be it known that you have my sincerest condolences.

All things being equal, then, my final words are simple.

For those who don't know where I stand on the affair insofar as the politics are concerned, the ensuing political screeds are foolish, as far as I am concerned. Firearms are not at the root of the problem - a lack of attention to mental healthcare is what's at the root of the problem. Taking guns away will not stop violent people from being violent.

Until our country stops brushing mental healthcare aside as a topic we don't want to talk about, things like this will very likely continue to happen.

Beyond this, with all due respect and given condolences to the affected families, I have nothing that I wish to discuss further on this topic. Much like our recently concluded presidential election season, I find it making me angry - and really, I have more pressing issues that I need to focus my attention on at this point in time. The families will grieve, and the perennial debates of how to fix this will, ineffectively, continue.

I've elected, then, to disable comments from the Dreamwidth side - and will do so manually, if necessary, at the Livejournal side.

For those reading this from Facebook, I ask that you respect this and comment no further.

As for me....

I move forward.

Will you?
December 14th, 2012
07:57 pm

[Link]

Thoughts on the shooting
I've come to a conclusion. And it's a really, really shitty conclusion.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you are no doubt aware of the shooting that claimed the lives of 20 kindergarten students, six school staff (one of which was his mother and the teacher), one other, and the shooter in Connecticut.

A lot of people are seeing this as a gun control issue. It isn't. You can get a gun on the black market - legal or not, you still have a firearm. There are arguments, yet again, on both sides of the gun control argument. Maybe if guns were illegal, he coudln't do it. Maybe if there were no gun control, blah blah blah.

Far be it from me to call this a hostage situation. This wasn't a hostage situation. He went in and killed people.

But if there's anything I can say about this, it's...well, it's quite a lot, really. But I will distill my thoughts instead of rambling.

The shooter apparently had a psychiatric disorder. OK, fine, but he still did it. Twenty eight people are still dead, regardless of treatment, regardless of awareness of disorder, regardless of anything. And once somebody has crossed that line and decided that this is the best idea, regardless of the rationale behind it, it is a suicidal move to try and "talk them down". The person who will do the shooting will have a gun - anybody in their way will die. It's like I wrote above, this wasn't a hostage situation. Sometimes, you can talk a hostage taker down, apparently. I don't know, I'm not the person to ask about that. I'm just being an armchair shrink right now.

When you get to thinking about it, there is no law that can be written that protects people from death when somebody makes such a decision to go on a rampage. Around here in the Pacific Northwest, we had the shootings at the coffee place in Seattle and the mall down in Clackamas OR. Short of something somewhat higher than airport-grade security, you can't legislate enough to fix that. Hell, I still remember watching in resignation as, for two hours, I stood in downtown Seattle, waiting in futility for a bus to take me home while traffic was completely FUBAR when the Jewish center shootings happened in July of 2006.

So what's the shitty conclusion, then?

I've become convinced that we need to arm our teachers.

...wait, WHAT?!

No, seriously.

Of course, firearms are not allowed on school campuses, but that didn't stop the shootings in CT, did they? Ditto with Columbine, the shooting back east at a university somewhere around DC, and several other shootings. Again, see above - once they cross that line, they're going to shoot a gun and take lives.

Laws that say guns are not allowed in certain circumstances are not doing the job. They've crossed the line, and they're breaking laws that say that it's illegal to murder somebody - what's one more law broken?

Laws that forbid ownership of guns clearly don't deter some people. Black market. Nuff said.

Zero Tolerance rules are CLEARLY not going to do any good. Again with that crossing the line thing, and the shooter had no disincentive - he was an adult, he wasn't a current student at this school. What would they do, expel him?

And like I said, talking them down does nothing. You try it - you'll die.

Cowering against the business end of a gun does nothing. One who cowers in this circumstance is still a target.

The only way I can think of to prevent this is to arm the teachers and/or otherwise take up arms.

Unfortunately.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

December 13th, 2012
05:10 pm

[Link]

The Catbus is dying....
So I get in my car today after doing some minor shopping, start it, shift into reverse, and as I'm backing up, a sensation as if it's trying to keep the transmission connected to the engine starts up. OK, next stop: my mechanic.

Based on these symptoms, though, he suggests that the clutch is starting to go. This actually coincides with some of the funny smell that started to come into the cabin of late.

The Catbus - a 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager with a V6 3.3 liter engine I purchased just shy of four years ago - is coming to the end of her life.

I've pretty much said it before - I would drive this thing into the ground. Suffice it to say, though, it is now coming to that point, and I'm now just not that into driving her, knowing that she will be failing soon. Still, I've had four years of service, and about 80K miles put on the engine since I purchased it.

I guess that isn't that bad, all considered.

All this said, though, I am now in the market for a replacement to the Catbus - and I'm going to need a little more than a spot of luck to get a vehicle at a price I can afford at this point. The good news, in any case, is that we have pretty good transit in the area still, so if I just can't afford a vehicle at this point (which, really, I should be focusing on making sure I'll be able to eat), then I'm going to be on transit for a few months.

No big issue. Long time readers are aware that I've done transit before - in fact, I did transit for twenty years before I got my first car back in July 2008. It's gonna suck, because it's just going to take longer to get from point A to point B, but the good news is that I know how to do it.

So now I need to know what happens in order to change things around in my life to reduce a couple of extra expenditures. Like car insurance, which now becomes fairly unnecessary, and other things like that. There are, of course, other services like WeCar and ZipCar that I can use when I *need* a vehicle, and for long hauls (e.g., Faerieworlds), I can make different arrangements.

Perhaps, in reflection, this is some unexpected help I've been wanting. While I like driving around to unwind, in thinking of it, it's costing me nearly $400 per month in gas and insurance - so this will, in the long run, be a nice cost cutting mechanism.

I just didn't expect it to happen so soon.

Ah, well.

Tomorrow, I think I'll clean out the Catbus, make sure nothing of value is left in her, and make arrangements to have her towed.

And in the meantime, I move forward.

At a slower pace, though.

(Leave a comment)

November 27th, 2012
06:54 pm

[Link]

"So Dennis, why did you move to Seattle?"
A lot of people ask me this, it seems. =) So here's the answer, in a style that only I am capable of giving. It kind of ties in with my work history for the last four years I was in Garden Grove with my ex wife, as well as other economic scenarios.

So in 2002, I went to work for Legal Tax Defenders - who some of you reading this may remember from my endless crabbing about them hereon toward the beginning of this blog. I left there in 2004, when the reason I was fired amounted to "stealing data". Even despite repeated calls saying that I could either have my job back or have charges pressed against me for "fraud" (yes, blackmail, even if without grounds), I didn't return - and proceeded with a labor commissioner judgement for a few different reasons, like failure to pay me on a few occasions.

(Don't worry about libel. If Delgado wants to come back and sue me, let him.)

During the latter half of 2004, I worked for a mortgage broker for about five months. During the final 2.5 months of mytenure there, the broker had me classified as a contract employee, rather than a wage employee. The problem is that he broke pretty much all of the basic rules insofar as that was concerned - he provided the entire work environment and required that I hold to a fixed schedule. The IRS really doesn't like that, especially that last one, so long and short is that the IRS found against him.

With FedEx Kinko's, who I worked with for about a year, I got fired because I, myself, did something stupid. We won't talk about it, but again with me going after them - they "shaved" my timecards. (That is to say, they shifted my time card in such a way to keep me out of overtime.) Again with the Labor Commissioner.

Sometime in 2004 or 2005, though, I also saw a house. It was a 2 bed 1 bath with no garage on a piece of land about the size of 2-3 Amtrak Superliner cars off of Lampson and Stanford in Garden Grove, and could have been mine for the incredibly low price of around $650,000.

So my ex wife and I moved.

We'd considered Phoenix, but it would be too damn hot in the summer.

We considered Chicago, but it would be too damn cold in the winter.

We considered Springfield Mass, but not only with the cold, but she really did not want to be near her family, as near as I could tell.

We considered Seattle, and noted that we have friends up this way.

All these things happened in no particular order - and more of this is captured in this blog.

The long and short is this - I realized that, given the wake of legal service I left behind in Calfornia, all of which was in my favor, and the skyrocketing house prices, wew were better off not staying and just starting over up here.

So why do I stay? Karmin's gone, why not go back to California?

Because this is where my spirit has always been. Because the city, she speaks to me - and the mountains as well.

Because Seattle's soul is alive and well, and I could never really connect to the soul of the colonized desert that is the greater Los Angeles basin.

And, in retrospect, because it is here, in the greater Seattle area, that I found me. I could probably have done so in southern California, but I'm not sure that the exact environment would have made manifest - it is likely I would still be in that same one-bedroom apartment with my ex wife on the east edge of Garden Grove, taking transit, and working shite job after shite job - and not really discovering who I really have the capability of being. The difference is that, here, I had to learn that I am still finding that.

That's my answer.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

November 17th, 2012
10:20 am

[Link]

The end of the Ding Dong
So yesterday, Hostess Brands filed bankruptcy.

They were, back in teh 1990s, conglomerated into some company called IBC. No relation to the root beer. Then there was a bankruptcy, and whatever investment firm was holding them passed them on to some other investment firm, I guess.

But what happened then is that the union had conceded to lower wages, and from what I gather, a loss of pension.

Then over the past week or so, there was a strike. Including at the Seattle plant. And yesterday afternoon, they closed up shop under bankruptcy protection, and are currently seeking permission to permanently shutter.

Management, in their press release, says the last straw was the strike.

The union is blaming management.

Personally, I think that Hostess really failed to innovate. The last time I remember them coming out with anything "new" was a carrot cake back in 1998. And admittedly, I liked it, but I have not, for a long time, actively sought out Hostess products. But in keeping up with this, the only conclusion I can think of is that Hostess Brands did two things: they failed to innovate, and did not properly manage what resources they had.

This company, for the past eight years, has been operated by an investment firm, and here's where I see the core of the problem.

You figure this. If you're running a company that manufactures gonkulators, you want a management team at your side that is going to be just as passionate about gonkulators as you are. But if you have an investment firm, the odds are in the favor of the firm being more passionate about return on investment. This is because investment firms are in the business of making money - not, as is the case with my example, gonkulators. Threin lies a bit of an issue - if gonkulator manufacture and sale is a bit unique insofar as general business goes, puttng somebody who knows how to just plain operate a company can be fatal to the corporation.

So it is, then, with Hostess.

I'm now hearing word that the management team got a 66% pay raise with the bankruptcy filing. I see no supporting evidence of this assertion at the time I write this. I wouldn't be a bit surprised, however, if this had happened.

Personally, I blame management. They didn't properly invest in the junk food market, I suppose, but either way you roll it, the math that I'm doing can't add up any other way. the assertion that the union is to blame for the corporate failure of a once great corporate baker is, in my opinion, not even wrong.

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

November 15th, 2012
05:24 pm

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An open letter to Mitt Romney
Dear Mr. Romney:

On election night, I watched as, not too long before 10:00 PM Pacific time, you stepped up on the dais and announced your electoral concession to Barack Obama. And frankly, I thought you were being a great sport about it.

Not long after, I noted something I heard about your wife's issues with Multiple Sclerosis, and noted I had some compassion for you and your family - MS is a hell of a disease.

But now, I hear that you had determined the reason you lost the election: particularly, that Obama had effectively "bribed" the electorate with government "handouts".

I'm very puzzled by this - since the beginning of 2011, I have collected $329 in food stamps. I am also on student loans and pell grants, and have used up all of my federal emergency unemployment, now relying on Washington state's Training Benefits program, which will extend my unemployment benefits until just past the end of February. At this point, during the term, the state of Washington had removed the emergency unemployment benefits, which would have filled in the last few weeks of March, just long enough for me to get my studies finished up - and then subsequently get a job, for a lack of any income whatsoever. So all considered, that money that the government had, in a time of dire financial need, was granted by Congress and signed in by Obama is not much of what I would consider a bribe.

In fact, I'm rather insulted that it could even be insinuated that I would take a bribe to re-elect Barack Obama.

Be it known that I marked my ballot for Barack Obama for one reason - there was no other candidate, including you, that I felt would stand up for this country. And with this statement, I find that the corollary to your statements would logically be considered that, if you were elected president, I would ultimately find myself in a position of being evicted and homeless, for lack of government benefits that were in place before you were born.

And I, as a 38 year old man who found his job moved to another country, have taken advantage of those services to make something better for myself. And I just watched you basically slap me in the face, if indirectly.

This also slaps my family and some of my friends in the face as well. One roommate - a close friend - is in the same situation, now on Trade Act in order to go back to school as a nurse. Another close friend - this one, a former coworker - is pretty much in the same situation I am in, and she is now out of unemployment. My mother, who is on disability, would likely find herself in the midst of foreclosure because of this - and as I understand it, she and her husband - both LDS themselves - voted for you.

These fallbacks, sir, are not "bribes". These are things that good, honest, hard-working people are relying upon so they can get through adversity with what little help the government could offer them. I, for one, do not like partaking of the so-called "government cheese", as it makes life incredibly difficult to have to do so. I say it again: these, sir, are not bribes.

At one point, I had made an off the cuff remark that, given your sportsmanship as demonstrated on November 6, I would be willing to buy you a pint of beer at one of my favorite restaurants if you were not LDS, and would perhaps, had I ever encountered you, buy you a pint of root beer instead. It would seem, then, that with your willingness to remove assistance from the poor and the infrastructure thereunto pertaining. that I am not willing to offer you that pint any longer.

You can, clearly, afford your own pint.

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

November 13th, 2012
12:01 am

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On electronic cigarettes and being a quitter
Anyone who has kept up with me over the past few years knows I've been smoking for a little while. In fact, I took this habit up in 2007. I enjoyed it for a while, but then it stoppped being enjoyable. That, and frankly, I have found that it has actually made me a bit unattractive to many women - who, as I gather, don't want the taste of sticking their tongue into an ashtray. Then again, we are well beyond that societal phase where people routinely kept ash trays in their homes for their friends who smoke.

And then I realized something. Quitting is, truly, a bitch.

Not long ago, I bought an electronic cigarette, with all intention of quitting. Of course, I jut kept buying packs of the clove cigarillos I had been buying, knowing the cheapest place I could purchase them at.

Last night, I ran out - and right now, I'm pretty well broke. Neither can I afford to get enough gas to go to said shop, nor go and purchase even one pack. And really, I don't like to be that guy bumming smokes off of my friends - especially because none of my friends actually live in this complex.

This morning, I started actively using this device, which I have filled with a clove flavored fluid. The other one - its companion - was filled with a brandy flavored fluid. I can't tell what the basis of fluid is - they have three (propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, and polyethylene glycol 400) - but based on the side effect of oral dryness, I suspect it's the PG based fluid.

I will say this, though, all considered - after using this all day at my desk while working on homework, aside from feeling the normal effects of smoker's withdrawal (so-called "nic fits"), I feel...well, I kind of feel like crap. But the last time I stopped smoking for the same reasons a few years ago, I felt pretty much like this, and this was a sensation that otherwise passed in the matter of about 72 hours. The difference, here, is that the e-cig has the effect of taking the edge off of what I'm going through, and does a very effective job at it.

I would expect, then, that when I get my next UI check, I will be going down to this shop south of me that specializes in these things - largely due to the fact that the clove fluid is apparently very difficult to come by, and I actually was able to buy it because I caught a vendor rep at the right time at another smoke shop. It is on that day where I will be bypassing the usual exit into Fife, passing Tacoma, and going into Lakewood to this shop called the Vaporium.

So here I go, on another adventure - putting to an end a habit that, in my youth, I swore I would never take up.

I will overcome this.

I will move forward.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

November 10th, 2012
02:00 pm

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A reflection on the aftermath of our election
Got to thinking about it, after giving a verbal bitch slap to a gloater.

Something that Heather had told me, prior to the election day, is that the reason that Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, was the reason for having all of these horses and doing the whole dressage thing.

She has Multiple Sclerosis. Ann Romney is an MS patient. The horses and everything around it are for therapy. This came about when Heather had mentioned to me Ann's statement to Mitt as a sort of "plan b" for the loss: no more campaigning. They were done with the politics.

The fact remains that there is a very good chance that, with the campaign tour that the Romneys have been taking this past year, the stress has taken its toll on her - and by extension, the rest of the family. And a little something about the LDS faith is that they are really big on family.

That Mitt went with this, though, is pretty remarkable.

So if Mitt won, what would have happened? Aside from all of the doom and gloom and stomping of flowers that may or may not happen, those four years would have taken their toll on Ann. I would figure, then, that by the time Mitt's first term was completed, Ann would have a fair chance of having died from the stress of being the First Lady - the wife of the one man who is simultaneously the most beloved and the most hated in the world.

The loss of the election for the Romneys, then, is a blessing, in my staunch opinion.

There are few people who are willing to take on that stress - and the fact remains that I would not wish that stress on somebody who has to deal with Multiple Sclerosis.

At the end of the day, there are other reasons that people will be glad that Romney conceded on Tuesday, or will predict Yet More Doom And Gloom for our country. But now, the Romneys can spend time focusing on themselves.

They can move forward.

Just not in the direction they were necessarily hoping for.

This is me, disconnecting the politics from the equation, and showing compassion for somebody who, despite my distaste for their principles, I have great compassion for.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

November 8th, 2012
05:59 pm

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Gasoline experiment: COMPLETED - part 4 results
I have finished with part four of my gas experiment (fueling with 87 grade, up to 10% ethanol, w/ various additives), and by extension, the experiment is pretty much over.

I'll be reporting on the overall results based on the data collection later on, but for now, here's part 4.

The additives used this time were Gum-Out High Mileage, STP Silver (one bottle or two bottles on a tank), and SeaFoam, much like I did with part 2. Based on nominal driving habits, I found I was able to get the best mileage on this type of fuel by adding either one bottle of the Gum-Out High Mileage, or two bottles of the STP Silver to a tank. Seafoam, frankly, was at the bottom of the list, only offering up a slightly better MPG when added to a tank compared to if the tank had straight gasoline in it.

(Leave a comment)

03:06 pm

[Link]

Final analysis of the election results
Yes, Romney conceded. But still, here's what it looks like, as per Huffington Post.

The following states are not finished counting ballots:

WA - 66% reported
MT - 94%
OR - 95%
ME, NY, AR - 98%
AK, MN, VA, IN, PA, MD, MA, RI, CT, NJ - 99%

Florida is now 100%. OH is 100%. Both went Obama, with a 51,000+ vote margin between Obama and Romney in Florida.

Predictions are that WA will go Obama. At this point, it does not matter - Obama still wins. 332 electoral votes versus 206 for Romney.

For popular vote, Obama wins 50.4% to 48.0%. The vote difference in count is 2,936,446.

Almost three million votes.

Barack Obama will serve four more years in the Oval Office.

Let the conspiracy theories about his birthplace, religion, the Illuminati, and the Unitarian Universalists fly. I'll happily ignore 'em.

(Leave a comment)

November 4th, 2012
11:27 pm

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Thoughts on the past four ea
I watch the polls again, and it appears that the current president - Barack Obama - has a lead, and sufficient electoral votes (source: Huffington Post) to be re-elected. Looking at 7-Election, he currently has enough states to win - a large swath of blue is there. On the other hand, it may just prove that Obama fans are more likely to drink 7-11 coffee repeatedly.

But that's not what this is about.

Over the past four years, I've pretty much watched as this country has slowly divided itself, from a viewable standpoint, insofar as partisan politics is concerned. It reminds me a bit of what I read up on our Civil War.

In my own life, I've severed ties with a few people I've previously called friends. One was for repeatedly invoking Godwin's Law, one was for mocking my political beliefs, and one was because I have no tolerance for a theocracy - which is what he desired, as near as I can tell. The first, I don't hear about anymore. The second, apparently she was utterly surprised at my move, and I suppose could not comprehend the fact that what she was saying could be seen as mockish. The third... I don't know, but I suspect he'd presume to think that I cut ties due to purely partisan reasons.

It would seem, then, that on the surface, I, too, have fallen victim to the division in our country that is seemingly caused by partisan politics.

But a second look reconsiders circumstances, perhaps.

The first guy? I have a major problem with being called a nazi or fascist. Among other things. This does not belong in my life.

The mocker? I don't think she could comprehend my situation. She seemingly chose to remain ignorant of my plight.

And the third? It just plain isn't politics. But therein lies something more insidious. Just as important as I consider my spiritual path as part of myself, I also consider my immediate lineage - American - important to my identity. And in the United States, we have one of our highest laws that says that no law shall be put into effect that directly pertains to any religion. Instead, he chose to bypass this document that I "deified", by his words, choosing instead to seemingly disregard it in a discussion, with implication that he wanted the Bible as the law of the land.

...um, no. Not because I'm pagan and it's the Bible (which, itself, is the wrong reason), but because such rule alienates every other faith in the United States of America - including those Christians who would not be of the same belief as what may come to run our country.

I will not be part of that.

And yet, on the grand scale, this can be best attributed to partisan politicking. It tends to go that one's spiritual beliefs and one's political beliefs coincide with each other.

It stinks.

I am ready for this cycle to be over, so I can hopefully not hear yet again how Obama is really a Kenyan in spite of evidence to the contrary, so maybe we can get our heads out of our asses and realize what we have done to ourselves.

I am done with that. I have cut my losses, and I am going to ignore it for the rest of the election season.

And I move forward.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

November 2nd, 2012
04:51 pm

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Today's court date - judgement stands
I more or less predicted the outcome of this. My prediction was that the accident would not corroborate with the court date, and the judgement would stand.

To recap, the reason why we went back to court today was because the defendant had indicated to the judge that she was in a traffic accident that inhibited her ability to show up for court on the 17th of September. Well, OK, I can understand this - crap happens, I'm annoyed, but there's little I can do about that.

So, cut to today, around 1:30. Mediation is offered, and she says she can, but she will not. A continuation related to the car lot where Heather bought her car was brought up, on the assertion that the legal party was the wrong party. That judgement stood. We're called up, she submits the paperwork, the judge reviews it, and...

...the accident happened in August. The real reason she did not show up for court was indirectly caused by the accident - she was at her chiropractor. The problem herein is that the letter implied that the accident happened in such a time that affected her ability to actually get to the courthouse at all. Like, say, the night before, or that morning on the way to the courthouse.

What I did predict I noted above - what I did not predict was that the accident weeks before and the doctor's appointment was what caused her to not be in.

I admittedly didn't buy it, in retrospect. She noted to the judge that she was in pain Friday, changed her chiro appt on Monday to the morning. So she spent the ENTIRE WEEKEND in pain.

And the judge read her the riot act in the court room, on the grounds that she mislead him.

The judgement stands.

The manager, needless to say, was pissed.

As to me, I was completely flummoxed that she even thought she could do this.

My overall impression was that she did not submit this paperwork to the court prior to today because she wanted to rub our noses in it and basically bully us in the courtroom. I don't think she counted on being taken down a few notches by a judge, however - he made it quite clear that there was no justification for this. It wasn't an emergency, it was an appointment that could have been rescheduled given the nature of everything. I certainly did not expect to not say anything more than a thank you to the judge, confirming the effective date of the judgement, confirming that the appeal period is now over (and accordingly, I can execute judgement immediately, in theory), and wish him a good weekend.

But, that's pretty much what happened.

I am going to give them a few extra days before I engage collections, but I don't expect that I will have too much of an issue. I just need to make sure I have the cash.

But in the meantime, I move forward.

(Leave a comment)

October 31st, 2012
08:44 pm

[Link]

Techie stuff: Why are my pictures sideways on that website?
So there's the ongoing problem. You get this great snapshot of someone or something, you get it to your computer. It's spectacular! You need to share it!

Wait! I know! Facebook!

Or, maybe you're selling something on Craigslist, and need to get a photo. Same thing.

Or, you put it up here on Dreamwidth or LJ, or even on Google+.

...aaaaaaand it's sideways.

...what?!

Here's what's going on, and here's how to fix it.

In newer cameras and phones (pretty much anything from the past few years, but going on for some time), there's basically a device that tells the onboard computer what direction you're holding the device when you take your picture. This bit of data is saved in the image itself (ExifOrientation tag). When you get it on the computer, your operating system of choice will get the image, note the flag, and correct the image for display purposes only.

But, OK, why is the image opening on Facebook sideways?

The answer is simple: because your operating system isn't actually rotating the image!!!

The only thing your operating system is doing when it sees this is changing the orientation for your viewing pleasure. It's basically making a temporary copy of the image for the preview. This doesn't change the actual orientation of the image, however, because it's only accounting for local display, and making no assumptions that you're uploading it to the internet someplace. (You'll see this if you open up the image in an editor such as GIMP.)

...but WHY?!

...I don't know. But the way to fix this is to tell an image editor to rotate the image, and then strip out the ExifOrientation tag. In that order. Or, to complicate it a little bit, read the orientation tag, and in no particular order, strip the tag and rotate the image to be "righted". Or just open each picture in an image editor and rotate it.

I don't know how to do this for batch operations (you have a bazillion pics and don't want to fire up Photoshop for each one) in Windows, but in *nix (MacOS, Linux, Unix, FreeBSD, etc.) you can basically write a shell script. In Debian, this requires the libimage-exiftool-perl and imagemagick packages. (Somebody lend a hand for Windows?) Recipe for rotation in bash is this: if Orientation is 6, rotate 90; if it's 8, rotate 270.

I definitely don't know how to do it on a mobile phone, short of copying them to your desktop and working accordingly.

Tags:

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October 28th, 2012
11:35 pm

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More on the court case
I did not execute a levy against my former property manager.

The reason being is that on Friday, we will be returning to court. The reason is that the defendant contacted the judge, and informed them that they were apparently involved in a traffic collision that inhibited them from getting to the courthouse in a timely fashion.

OK, I can deal with that. Crap happens. Annoying, but OK.

(Leave a comment)

October 11th, 2012
03:24 pm

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Comin' out and saying it - reflections on these years of exploration, and where I stand today
Today is known as International Coming Out Day - which, as I gather, is particularly geared toward people who need to make known their sexual identity and/or orientation.

I can dig this. For all who wish to do it, you have my support - whether you are wired in such a way or whether you have chosen this way to be, you have my support.

An aside, though, is that I've never been totally for sure on how these days come about, other than the speculation that somebody said we should do this, and a bunch of people agreed and came to a consensus on a date. There may be more behind it, but whatever happened, October 11 is now "coming out day".

So with that, I have some "coming out" of my own, but it isn't about my sexual orientation.

...well, OK, I'm straight. I'm probably hetero-flexible, but have yet to dabble in anything with regard to that, really, and is rather complicated to talk about - so it's not the topic of this post.

But what I am runs deeper than that.

Some of you reading this may recall something around 3.5 years ago, when I came out and said I was no longer identifying as a Christian, for various and sundry reasons, and decided to explore. In the intervening years between then and now, I seem to have found my spiritual self.

What I have found between then and now boils down to a few things. The "one piece puzzle" problem exists wherever you go; there will be those who are convinced that their way is the Only Right Way, and in some cases, they may believe wrongly. It is best not to worry about them, as they will find their own end, be it frustration or a change in attitude. Perhaps, if anything, the difference may be in that there are more outside of Christianity than within who are willing to consider other perspectives.

(The "one piece puzzle problem" states that everybody has a piece of The Puzzle, but there are too many who believe that they have completed the puzzle - what I call the one piece puzzle - and are convinced that they are right, that's it, and anybody who disagrees with them to any degree is completely wrong. They, in short, don't necessarily want to talk with someone else - their tendency is that they would rather talk at someone else.)

Insofar as hypocrisy is concerned, it still exists everywhere. If there's anything I can give about my observations of the overall picture in this case, it is that Christian hypocrites tend to come under the radar more due to the fact that they are perceived to be held to a higher standard. The side effect, due to the nature of people, is that all Christians tend to get lumped into the same pile when somebody blows it. This comes back to the rule of the vast vocal minority (in cases of any group of people that can be labelled in some way, there will inevitably be a vast minority of that group who ends up as the archetype to that group - and said archetype is incorrect to one degree or another).

Since I'm at it, there's that other rule - the rule that states that there will be multiple answers from a group of Christians when asked certain key questiosn, and every single one of those answers will be declared as the only correct answer. This, in particular, needs to be refined a little bit - this can happen in any group, as with the vast vocal minority, but the difference I've observed thus far is that, within Christians, there is a higher tendency toward being stubborn within those answers.

The Rule of And (A Christian must believe in what the Bible states is requisite to being a Christian, and some ideology that tends toward political beliefs that have little to do with the liturgy) remains as is: rampant. This, however, may tie back to the vast vocal minority - more observation is required.

I still stand that any church should be able to take tithe. The simple answer to that question: it costs money to run a church, nobody is going to cut a church any breaks for what it needs, (with the exception of taxes), and the church is the sum of all of its parts, from the poorest congregant to the most lavish decoration. Or, even simpler: stuff wears out, and they don't get free utilities or mortgages.

The one key, for me, remains: I have yet to find anything outside of the culture or the liturgy that points toward the deity of Jesus Christ, a belief that is key in Christianity.

So, where have I gone? Many places.

And here's the point. Sort of. Some of you reading this know where I'm going already; some of you may wonder what I'm thinking in even going this direction with myself. But know that I have my own reasons, and that I am safe. Most important, for those who would be so concerned: no, I am not part of a cult. I am too independent minded and scatter-brained to find my way into some cult someplace.

I have taken to following a wide-scale, non-Abrahamic spiritual path that tends toward some malignment, and yet is nothing of what said malignment says it is. This path has it that one is to take personal responsibility for what they do, revere the sanctity of life, to harm none, and worship how you will. Exactly what "harm" means has been debated for generations, but there remains the tendency to put too fine a point on things. I guess that's a human thing. But I digress.

What it is not, however, is one where the intent is to cause evil. This following does not "sacrifice" living things for any reason by taking their life. This following does not, contrary to the belief of many, worship Satan, and by and large, doesn't even acknowledge the existence of such a being. Perhaps, then, this path is the original manifestation of Google's unofficial slogan: "don't be evil".

And it's not a cult. This is important enough to be sort-of repeated.

What we believe tends toward the generally benevolent nature of The Spirit. There is no singular definition of what this constitutes, but it is widely understood that it manifests itself as ancient gods and goddesses, and there is a distinctive maternal and paternal figure. All these things manifest themselves in varying ways, and even those manifestations can be different per individual perspective - where one may see an animal spirit, another may see the fae.

We do not worship the trees or such like that - we revere these things that are seen as worshipped. We do not see them as idols or gods, and we do not see what we worship as false gods.

I do not deny that many of us have negative feelings toward Christianity, and I really think that such needs to be focused elsewise. A general change in perspective, in that regard, is long overdue. I, for one, have no ill will toward Christianity, because in my opinion, to do so would be equivalent to wasting the wisdom that I gained as a Christian.

I also believe that there is more to the spirit than can be contained within the walls of a church or a summary of belief, and that it is manifested in everything we see - and many things we don't see. I believe that every human has a piece of the puzzle that we call spiritualism - from the most conservative Christian to the most extreme Muslim, from the most strident atheist to the most devout Catholic, from the most chaotic Discordian to the Subgenius with the most slack, from the silliest Pastafarian to the staunchest Scientologist. I believe that all have inherent dignity and worth, and that I am one person who is working - in what way he can - to make this world a better place to live. Yet, I can assure you, as suggested, that there is far, far more to it than can be contained in a few paragraphs on some blog out here on the internet.

With this statement, I understand that there may be consequences to these actions that are potentially detrimental to myself as a person, and yet I nevertheless free myself from the shackles of the burden of keeping my spiritual beliefs shrouded. Or, well, somewhat shrouded, I suppose. But it is now time for me to step out of this closet I have been in.

My name is Dennis. I am a Unitarian Universalist, and I am Pagan.

Solitary eclectic, for those curious.

I move forward.

Blessed be.

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October 9th, 2012
06:51 pm

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Gaqs experiment - third phase complete!
So, third phase of my gas experiment (as originally noted here is completed, with one extra week - I mis-shot on the end of phase.

So far, the mileage compared to the E10 87 is slightly lower than the E0 87, to the tune of approximately 1.5 MPG - the initial finding, then, is that E0 87, for this purpose, is not really more economical for my vehicle in terms of cost, as the cost ultimately balances out; on the other hand, I have not figured into the equation a consistent price per gallon. This is especially in consideration of the simple fact that, when I started the experiment, the cost of E0 was averaging $4.37 per gallon at the time of this phase, which is probably about where it's at right now.

So the next steps are this:

* phase four. Run engine with varying gasoline additives to gauge performance over a normal drive period to provide "tourist" information

* Two more "long-haul" trips to gauge findings for E10 with fuel additive, and E0 with no fuel additive.

* Create formulae to compare cost per mile with consistent pricing. This part should be pretty easy. To recap, I did my southbound trip to Faeriworlds with a tank full of E0 87 and two bottles of STP Silver, and the return trip with E10 no additive; the opposite must now ring true, but I don't expect that there will be a drive to Eugene. On the other hand, part of the experiment is to reproduce the numbers in conjunction with such a trip. That, and it probably won't be possible to fully reproduce the numbers, as the trip also had me using the air conditioning in both directions, which will affect my numbers. So either way, whatever literal direction I go, as part of my assignment, I get to take two road trips! =^_^=

Yes, assignment. In addition to what I've been doing, this experiment will now be part of my grade for my Physics 109 course. Our individual class project is basically a science project. Well, here we are - this is my science project, and it came pre-packaged. =^_^= Ask a question, develop a hypothesis, *try* and control the experiment with the variables given, report the results, derive a conclusion. I have to admit, I've never had to drive as a direct part of an assignment, but I'm not going to complain.

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October 7th, 2012
04:17 pm

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I pretty consistently see foods that are otherwise declared a Bad Thing to eat for a number of reasons, and these are foods that have otherwise been previously declared to be edible. I'm not talking about non-vegan foods, either - reasoning behind veganism is somewhat variable.

I'm more along the lines of pretty much anything, to hear others say it. Can't eat red meat because of cholesterol, fat, and too much iron or protein, and the potential of Cretuzfeld-Jakob Disease. Can't eat chickenCan't eat nuts because others are allergic . Can't eat eggs because you might get salmonella. Can't eat fish due to mercury, one bite and you turn into a thermometer. Can't do dairy because you don't want to fart and offend others. Can't eat grains, they have starch and that's bad. Can't eat fruit, they have sugar and that makes you fat. Can't eat vegetables, they all have adverse side effects. Can't drink coffee, caffeine is a cardiostimulant; theobromine/theophylline is a cardiodepressant; the roasting process creates carcinogens. Can't drink water, the commies are using fluoridation to steal our precious bodily fluids. Can't drink beer, that glass bottle is a GMO. Can't drink wine, that synthetic cork was once a living organism and that's cruelty.

Yeah, it's gotten ridiculous. It's been pretty ridiculous, frankly - one study says beer can chicken will kill you in ways that ebola only dreams of killing you, another separate study says it will not only not kill you, it will cure AIDS, the common cold, and ebola. A third study may come out that says that both are BS, but it will cause you to fart rainbows like a unicorn.

So, yeah. I'm kind of annoyed by it. But you knew this.

So how do I eat?

I strive for organic, free range, and/or kosher for my meat and dairy. Yeah, it's more expensive, but dieticians are right, we shouldn't be eating two twelve-pound sirloins a day, and man does not live on milk alone. But I do organic because the animals need to be healthy without the help of unnecessary antibiotics (reserving antibiotics for when the animal actually has a bacterial infection), free-range because it tends to taste better, and kosher because it tends to be healthier. Of course, if I ever find kosher pork products, I'm going to find a local rabbi and ask some quesitons!

Speaking of dairy, I tend to avoid cow milk if at all possible. Not because it's cruel to the cattle, but because casein and I don't get along. I'd assume go for sheep, goat, or other animals. Hamster, maybe?

For produce and grain, I strive for organics, and try to do non-GMO. Organics because it's the way we did things long ago(and they tend to taste better anyway), and I support the smaller guys. Non-GMO because I don't like Monsanto's chutzpah-riffic legal tactics.

Microbrews tend to be my beers of choice, I don't drink much wine (preferring mead anyway), and I don't do a lot of hard liquor.

And as to fish, I like my fish, and can't get enough - but I don't eat a lot of swordfish due to the mercury problem.

And I drink the local tap water.

So what's the point of all this?

I tend to ignore sensationalism that comes with science via press release insofar as my food is concerned.

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September 18th, 2012
10:26 am

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On where I stand insofar as my political decisions
To prefix this - if I know you well, then you do not have to worry about what I am posting in here. At least, not much. Read it anyway. And no, I am not cut-linking this entry. It is intended to be read.

Now, then.

Yes, I am voting for Obama, because it is Congress' fault, in general, that "nothing" is getting done. No, I am NOT voting Libertarian, because I think their political intentions will, if implemented, be harmful or fatal to the well being of the country in general. Yes, I think Romney is not at all worthy of the position for more reasons than there are ways to leave your lover. There is, in fact, very little that will change where I stand.

It helps to know that, in the case of politics, I tend to look at the grand scale of things and work with the resources available to me - and start talking and asking when something isn't there.

All of this is the culmination of everything that has happened since the last presidential election in 2008. It is, quite frankly, the partisan garbage, incessant memes, and rampant blogs that are getting to me. I am, quite simply, tired of the fucking propaganda. The mudslinging, baseless predictions, conspiracy theories, desire to remain ignorant to the world around, and a seeming lack any empathy whatsoever for one's fellow human beings, even so much as a full press report when somebody so much as goes to the bathroom to fart.

I'm pissed off, and I'm tired. I'm just tired of ALL of it. I'm tired of the nausea, I'm tired of the anger flying around, I'm tired of being angry to begin with, I'm especially tired of the constant. fucking. willful. ignorance. that comes with this package, and I'm tired of trying to educate people about the simple fact that the world exists beyond the little box they live in. And this is why I am doing what i am doing - I am, quite frankly, tired of feeling like I am standing in a cage of monkeys engaged in a shit-flinging contest. In all of this, I am tired of people electively failing to make their own decisions about these things.

I am, effective immediately, making efforts to remove this crap from my life and avoid it on the internet. If I can filter it out, I will filter it out. If I cannot filter it out, I will either unsubscribe from the feed, remove serial posters, or outright block the user, and such activity is left to my discretion. If I know you well, then you don't have to worry about it.

And then, I will vote at the appropriate time. Early.

If you're asking yourself why I'm doing this, then you haven't figured it out from what I wrote. Start from the top, use the brain that you were created with, and FUCKING READ.

I want this damned election to be over, but know very well that it does not end until after the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, at around 03:00 EDT Wednesday morning. (We'll still be in daylight saving time at that point, and I'm accounting for approximations for points well west of PDT. Like western Alaska and Midway Island.) And even then, it isn't going to end to begin with, for the simple reason that, following the election, the conspiracy theories will fly again with revisions. I have, for twenty years, watched it happen every bloody cycle, and I am fucking done with it.

I will, as I have done for about the past decade, make my political decisions on the basis of reliable sources and instinct.

This is where I stand.

Now, if you're curious what I'm going to do about it, I made it pretty clear. Start over.

I move forward.

Current Mood: If you have to ask....

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September 17th, 2012
12:34 pm

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Today's court case - default judgement, and what it's all about
Yep. Got out of court, and the defendant never showed up.

So here's the skinny that some of you know already.

We moved to an apartment in Bothell at the end of this past February, and shortly afterwards, we got a $5000+ bill for damages, within the constraints of the law - it was sent within fourteen days of move-out, give or take an extra day to allow for US Mail to do its thing. Infuriated, I started into making demands to quash this.

Shortly after, my attorney got involved. (I'm in with Legal Shield.) They sent a demand letter at the beginning of...oh, was it April or May? Can't remember. Anyway, from what I gather, they called the attorney after receiving the letter, and were promptly given an instruction to call me - after the letter told them to call me to settle anyway. Never got a call.

Oh. Their demands!

$1500 for a granite countertop refinish that was never in the house.

$4500 to replace the carpet, which wsa past its prime, account for pet damages.

$350 for cleaning. I can acquiesce to that, but....

$750 for unspecified wall repair and painting.

About $250 for utility withhold on unpaid utilities.

All in all, we're looking at something over $7,000, and with a $1,995 deposit in place, that still comes to over $5,000.

Our suit was strictly to recover the deposit, and the court case was heard today. Since the defendant (MacPherson's Property Management) never showed up, we got a default judgement of the full amount plus expenses - and since I'm taking care of this, I'm going to be the one to disburse the funds among the other three of us.

Insofar as the hearing went, it was Heather, Derrek and I present, with Conor as an impartial witness. We presented the paperwork to the bench - lease agreement, a couple of photos, that sort of thing. (Had to reprint the proof of service; that was easy, thankfully.) However, once the judge saw that the countertop was not granite (and, since it was a fortunate side effect of a photo of dinner from last Thanksgiving, paying a compliment to the spread), I think he had made his decision right then. Celebrations ensued over a late breakfast.

Next step, then, is to mail a copy of the judgement with a demand letter to them. I'm giving them until October 18 to pay up. They do, of course, have the right to an appeal, but since they didn't bother to show up in court, I don't think they have a chance - the only way out for a no-show in court, if you're an appealing defendant, is pretty much an emergency. You know, like hospital, sudden-onset illness, that sort of thing.

In reflection of all of this, Heather speculated to me that the reason they didn't bother showing up is because they knew they didn't have a chance in hell of winning. I suspect it would be a case of "I didn't get the paperwork", "I forgot", or something like that, if referring to Cherie, the woman who did our walk-out. Or maybe, just maybe, they want us to work for this. Or perhaps they didn't realize that you just don't fuck around with a tiger if you don't want to get mauled.

In any case, it's time to write a letter.

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

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September 9th, 2012
07:52 pm

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Project concept: "interchange"
So, I have this project in mind called Interchange: basically, a data management system application. quite simply, it is something that would work as installed on a local computer, as opposed to the current trend of web apps. I'm running into two problems, however: I don't know anything more than some bash script (and need to actually sit down and learn a language that can run on any OS), and what I want it to do is increasing.

I'm ignoring any conceivable problem of "it's not a web app and therefore doomed to fail", and doing so intentionally. It's granted that market data somewhere shows that web apps are increasing in popularity due to their apparent ease of deployment and use (stick it on a site, run it from a browser), but the problem with web apps is that, at this point, the languages have not fully evolved to the point where they can safely outperform software installed on the local client; moreover, installation as a web app means that you're using a centralized set of computers to run it for n people. Considering what I want it to do, this may not be a good thing.

To explain, the original concept was simple: management of remotely-maintained contact data on a Google account, but effectively mirror that functionality that they offer on the website. The reasoning: I hate the web interface, it is slow and clunky and doesn't allow for use of keyboard for field selection. (Yes, to this day, I still like command key combinations.)

But then I thought, well, what if I could bring in other ideas, like managing things like Google Plus? And Facebook contacts, and Facebook feeds, and Twitter, and various and sundry blogs, and and and and...

...yeah. Like any idea I get into my head, it gets way bigger than I expect.

Still, here's kind of what I have in mind:

* EVERYTHING can be done from the keyboard. I mean EVERYTHING. Anything, of course, can be done with a mouse, as well - it's a GUI program.

** The concept is getting gooey, though.

* Google contacts:

** management of contact database; functionality (pictures, categories, anything conceivable) is maintained on localhost; instant or offline synchronization (i.e., load it up and if your connection dies, you can still add/delete/maintain stuff)

*** Theoretically, this could also simplify transitions to and from other platforms, such as iOS, Blackberry, Winmo/Winphone, Palm, WebOS, etc.

** Localized backup

** Routine data integrity checks using backup (a .vcf file) as a baseline

** Interchange with social networking sites such as G+, Facebook, Twitter, etc. for "friend" lookups/location

* Google Plus, Facebook

** Similar to contact management, additional management of circles in a more intuitive fashion (no within-browser drag-and-drop, probably something closer to a menu interface)

** Duplicate all but "app" functionality from localhost to avoid browser memory leaks and provide a generally faster experience

* Blogs

** Standard blogging client

** Facilities to feed links to blog entries into user's social network feeds

My brain is telling me that this is possible. What little I know about programming languages is that you can, indeed, save the state and transfer it over in this fashion, and what I know about my targets is that they can be remotely controlled; mobile apps for Facebook and G+ exist for Android and other stuff, Google has released APIs for the Contacts database, and Livejournal has explained very openly that it is easily possible to post to one's blog using a local client - and I believe there are other blogs that are so open. In this case, modularity is key, I think.

But, while I have the concept in mind, I'm about as skilled at this as building a car. I have the idea, I just don't have any idea how to make it come together.

So, I guess it's time to learn.

In a week, I go for Programming 110 at Bellevue (which is going to be C#.net), and I suspect I can take some of the concepts from here and bring them to another language. Maybe python. Dunno.

Thoughts?

(Leave a comment)

September 6th, 2012
06:13 pm

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Update on medical stuff - diagnosis (or, just what the hell is that tumor?)
So, went to the doctor today, as a follow-up after my surgery.

The long and short is that it was a tumor of the Leydig cells, and pathology indicates that nothing was spreading. The Leydig cells have a hand in creating testosterone.

The way the doctor described it to me was this: while this was conceivably a malignant tumor, it was not one that would spread through the body and cause issues.

I'm waiting on a translation of the patho report from the doctor, so I'll have more information once that happens.

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September 3rd, 2012
10:24 pm

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Gas experiment - part the third complete with long-haul details, and break from the experiment
So, the third part completed in the gas experiment. To recap: is no-ethanol fuel more efficient than fuel fortified with up to 10% ethanol? And how well do additives do in either one?

So with the additives, the average overall indicates the mileage is slightly lower than with no additive - the effect on MPG is negligible. But, I also used three different additives, and in one case, did not use an additive in tank. Additives used were Gumout high-mileage, STP Silver concentrate (double-dose), and Seafoam.

Largely due to my driving patterns, the tank was nearly dry when I filled.

Seafoam did not perform as well, and in fact seemed to cause a drop in miles per gallon, at 18.55 mpg. Gumout did a little better, bringing me up to 20.29 mpg, and the STP Silver did 20.81. The data calls for a further experiment on additives, if anything, as I only did one tank of everything but the STP Silver.

For long haul, I also did STP Silver double-dose, and got 22.23 MPG - this was a drive to Eugene for Faerieworlds, with about one or two trips into town. This, by the way, is with the A/C running much of the way, as it was quite hot outside.

For the return trip, I elected to use the Fred Meyer fuel station, and 20.91 MPG. It may be interesting to note that the cost of this was $.16/mile- but here, note that fuel is cheaper in Oregon due to the lack of sales tax. Ditto with the A/C.

For the start of the Eth 87 no add phase, it's not looking good, miles wise, for this. So far, this last tank clocked in at 18.26 mpg, which is about 1.5 mpg less than the no-eth 87 no-add.

(Leave a comment)

September 1st, 2012
01:56 am

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Rules about groups I've observed
I suppose it's prudent to note that this post, however brief it is, is a prelude to something I'm going to be posting in the next couple of days.

Anyway.

You might hear (or read) of me talking about a few "rules" about people in general.

I think I can come up with two off the top of my head.

The Rule of And

Within the culture of American Christianity, a Christian is expected to believe the basic theology of Christianity insofar as salvation is concerned, and other beliefs that are not part of the liturgy. As a general rule, these beliefs will invariably be political in their nature, tend toward so-called "right wing" politics, and in general, will potentially be seen as incompatible with the general belief system.

The Rule of Minority Rule

In any group of people, there will always be a vast minority who becomes the representative voice, however accidentally, to a group that they are otherwise part of. Owing to Hanlon's Razor, this is rarely done with malice toward the group - however, this representation inevitably promotes a picture of the group that is entirely wrong, and the group, in general, will seek to not necessarily stem this outward voice in the interest of maintaining peace within this group.

(Yes, "seek to not necessarily stem". They are actively not doing this. This is not to be confused with "not necessarily seek to stem", which indicates that they passively do nothing.)

Current Music: Toad The Wet Sprocket - High On A Riverbed

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August 28th, 2012
06:10 pm

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Whatpunk?
So there's basically Foopunk, where Foo is your classic metasyntactic variable. Of late, you have Steampunk, Electropunk, and in fact, 'punk' can be so conjugated to about anything along these lines. Focus of the moment is that styles of dress and technology never really left the time period where a given technology was considered the Next Big Thing. Take Steampunk as an example.

Not to bite at Steampunk. I think it's pretty damn cool, but it isn't my bag, can ya dig?

Then, I see "Dandypunk", where people dress lavishly, and I can't tell what the technological focus is.

In any case, I predict that, within the next fifty years, we will have a "punkpunk" movement, which will be such a revival of the punk rock movement. Maybe in seventy years, once the last of those of us who were there to witness punk rock in some way are gone.

Yanno, I liked the Dickies. And I ain't talkin' about no killer clowns, either.

Perhaps we will also have a Copperpunk, Stonepunk, Ironpunk, and such like that, from the copper, stone, and iron ages respectively.

Or maybe go Tutpunk, to hearken back to the time of one King Tut.

Renpunk, for rennies. Scapunk, for SCAdians.

Derive from the unseen. Faepunk - which is so insanely nebulous you could pretty well do whatever you want.

...hmm, I think I have something.

I guess the point is that the imagination is vital, and will bring in reinvention of things. Or a resuscitated idea of something.

Eh, my mind wanders.

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August 27th, 2012
08:46 am

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It has now been three days since my surgery. It now only hurts a little bit if I use my abdominal muscles for anything - which, I have discovered the hard way, I use for anything that requires any sort of bending motion. I can transfer leverage to, say, my arms if I need to stand, but that's pretty well a moot point now.

I am still taking arnica for pain. Ibuprofen is available. I'm saving the percoset for special occasions.

In any case, as I start this, it is 08:47. I woke up at 06:30ish Thus far, I have had one cup of coffee, poured a second, puttered around the house, looked at Facebook and Google+, played with the cats, started a load of dishes, and collected a stack of business cards to be keyed into my contacts. So I haven't been productive in the slightest.

The things I need to do include repacking my tents, take out the trash, resortation of my room, type in said business cards, rack mead to secondary, go to the beach and sun myself, do another load of dishes, work on a client web host configuration, collect photographs for old house, post photographs from summer vacations, and in general, take care of Dennis. This last one is pretty easy and is an ongoing process, so we'll focus on the others:

Taking out the trash and repacking my tents requires physical exertion that I don't yet have the constitution for. So we pass on this for now, maybe wait a week for the latter and get a housemate to do the former.

Resort my room involves physical exertion, but at the rate things are going I can probably do this by the end of the week.

Racking the mead rquires me to lift 60 pounds. I cannot lift more than 15 without risking doing damage to the surgery site. Gonna need some help getting that fermenter upstairs, and later on, the secondary downstairs.

Collecting photographs from the old house is something I am making an ongoing process, and three others are involved. Maybe a few more.

For the posting of photographs from summer vacation, that's almost done. I just need to get off my ass, sit down on my ass, make sure everything is in order, create the HTML, and upload that to my server.

Research is going on for the client site hosting. Just need to set up so they can use email on the site, rather than forward off to other spots.

So that's what's going on this week. I get to sort out what I'm doing and get my priorities straight.

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August 25th, 2012
09:34 am

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Going through the surgery - adventures in just trying to sit down
To open this one, I'll note that the only other time I've ever been through this was in 2001, when I had my wisdom teeth out. By "this", I mean "general anesthesia". In fact, the only common points between my orchiectomy and my wisdom teeth was being knocked out, having to fast, and receiving hydrocodone/APAP afterwards.

Thursday night was spent in a heavy meditative state. I foudn this helpful..

Yesterday morning, I get a phone call from the hospital - there are procedures that aren't taking so long, so they'd like me to show up early. OK, I collect Heather, we get down there, and I get checked in - and called at 11:00 AM. Weird. Then I find out that it's not my turn, so they stick me in an open bay so I can get changed and watch TV.

Only thing that appealed to me was Scrubs. Emergency! had not come on at this point in the day.

I get the briefings, find out that the blood screens turned up nothing, the urologist writes on the side we're removing from, and the anesthesiologist comes in, telling me about the drugs she's putting me on. They were so good, I don't even remember the names. I do remember that the first one would act as a memory inhibitor, so when she started putting that into me, I gave her my advance thanks, and found myself in recovery really wanting a cup of coffee and a shot of Chloraseptic.

That's it. No out of body experiences, no visitations from Buddha riding a unicorn, nothing spectacular. One minute I'm in a pre-op room decorated for kids (it was all there was), next minute I'm seeing a different nurse, and wondering why my nose hurts.

Come to find out, they had put a tube in my nose - and while I was on the memory inhibitor, I had pulled the tube out. They did this because I was snoring. I guess I wanted to snore, I dunno.

The sore throat, of course, was from the ventilator. That's done and over with thankfully.

So I get home, relax a bit, and Heather makes dinner in the way oof chicken and dumplings. Something light that isn't going to throw my digestive system into a loop.

Now, over the past 24 hours, I have experienced pain. It's not as much as I was expecting, thankfully, but it still kind of hurts. The good news is that it is decreasing.

The annoying news is that I won't be able to shower until tomorrow, and I am probably not going to make it to a birthday party down in T-town for a friend. Crap.

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August 23rd, 2012
01:48 pm

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On the topic of losing a testicle
Yes, I said that.

I have said, offline, that I am not really all that worried about the prospect of tomorrow's orchidectomy. But in reflection, I have been going through what boils down to a standard grief process nevertheless.

In the denial state, I found comfusion. This was rationalized fairly simply - I don't know what that lump is. We have no diagnostics in hand. We'd best cross that bridge when we come to it.

For depression, I've found that I've been more fearful of immediate aftereffects. You know, like end of life. Having previously said that I no longer fear death to a number of people, somehow I found myself in fear of dying while under the complete care of a doctor. Overall, perhaps this stems from the fact that such a surgery is a brand new experience to me - I've been put under general anesthesia before when I had my wisdom teeth out, but it was just enough to get me under for long enough for the surgeon to remove my impacted wisdom teeth. That, and there's the prospect of pain. I really am not into the prospect of feeling pain, and I really don't know what to expect.

This reminds me - a friend up in Everett has put me in contact with her brother, who has been through this before. I really should call him in a couple hours.

In the course of the anger phase, I found myself angry, of course. The funny thing is, it wasn't channeled toward the prospect of the surgery, I found it channeled toward the difficulty I've had trying to get to this point - something that reinforces my own stance on why our medical industry needs to be changed. The long and short is this: you cannot tell me that the prospect of spending four months just trying to find a way in (which, if you are uninsured, is status quo) is a Good Thing - and I have yet to see any actual evidence, beyond baseless predictions of failure or economic disaster, that the Obamacare package is going to be any degree of a problem. And this is where I leave it.

I think I've hit the acceptance part, and I find that Heather has managed to talk me down and get me through this - which I am very grateful for. Now, I just have to deal with tomorrow.

I suppose the worst of it is this - in ten hours I will probably be best off laying in bed and sleeping, just to make sure that I don't have to worry about being hungry, craving nicotine, or things of that nature.

Tonight, though. Tonight, I think I will have a beer for dessert. This bottle of Paulaner Salvatore is calling my name. It may be teh last alcohol I'll be able to drink for a couple of days.

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August 20th, 2012
07:19 pm

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The moral of the story: Mr. McBride, I told you, this is not how this works
Some of you reading may remember that, years ago, I was making posts about The SCO Group - this company near Slt Lake City who sued a few small, obscure companies for violations of copyright. And by violations of copyright, I mean releasing what they asserted was their source code to UNIX into Linux. And by small and obscure, I mean companies you may have heard of. Like IBM, Novell, and Red Hat. Just one problem - they never released evidence, and only offered to do so if a non-disclosure agreement were signed by the viewer.

...you see a problem with this?

Their cases, by and large, were pretty well dismissed. There are open issues with IBM, but that's it.

Well, a few years ago, they filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11.

I found out today that, last week, they filed for Chapter 7.

I recall predicting that this action would end them. I did not expect it to take nine years, but my prediction was correct. Granted, in this case, no form of clairvoyance was used. Or even necessary. You don't need to be an attorney to figure out that failing to provide evidence in the course of litigation will result in dismissal.

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03:59 pm

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Legitimate what?!
So, not long ago, I think I announced that I was going to shy away from the politics. This one, though, I think I'm going to do the unthinkable - I'm going to throw out a Devil's Advocate for a right-winger.

Today, I refer to one Todd Akin, who basically said, in not so many words, that if a woman was raped and it was a "legitimate rape", then the body would reject the fetus - this, per apparent medical testimony he heard.

Where the DA comes in is not on his stance on politics, it is not on his obviously immense knowledge of reproductive medicine (I mean, the lack of "MD" at the end of his name should tell you he's an absolute authority), and it is not to defend him in any way. But there's that term "legitimate rape". I do this for one reason - it's eating at my weird obsessiveness on syntax.

In rare cases, you will get a woman who is just plain crazy - and not in the good way, but really out to get you kind of crazy. Perhaps extreme socio- or psychopathy. And she lures a guy into bed, they do their thing, have a grand old time with the two-backed beast, and next thing he knows, he's in handcuffs because he raped her.

...wait, what? No, she elected to do this! She propositioned him!

Exactly. That, my friends, is not "legitimate" rape. I think this is what Akin was thinking. And thre are some cases where such a thing has happened, thus ruining a man's life.

Suffice it to say, I don't even pretend to know what the statistics are for such a false charge, but from what I can tell, they're smaller than actual cases of rape, where she was sexually violated against all will. Far, FAR smaller. Smaller as in "I've heard of the possibility, but I don't know of any such case even existing" smaller.

To be honest, I'm thinking that there is no amount of backpedalling that will rescue him from this feat of swallowing his own foot. He may be able to get out of this jam, but remember, Dan Quayle - as humorous as is blunders were - didn't survive a presidential bid, and is the butt of many a joke because of his own verbal feats.

As for me, I will not vote for this guy. I won't vote against him, either. He's in Missouri.

So this is my thought of the day on the topic of politics.

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