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And no one sings me lullabyes
And no one makes me close my eyes
So I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Linkee-poo, Lord, if you won't take care of us won't you please, please let us be

With the day job, I am sorely behind in my reading again and not likely to catch up for a bit. Sorry. So I may post things I haven't read very closely, I apologize for any future misleading links I make (although today I think we're good).

If you run a blog or comment board of any type, this certificate from Teresa Nielsen Hayden is something you'll need.

Lev Rosen on how to handle a critique group.

I've been trying to come up with a coherent post on Nora Ephron, but John Scalzi beat me to it. And then Random Michelle goes and gives us Nora's advice for living. The last half of that first line is a hard won lesson of the past few years. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

An interview with Catherine Schaff-Stump. (full discloser, Catherine is a fellow VP XIIIer). Also related, what Catherine took away from Toas Toolbox, which echos Jay Lake's answer to my writing question.

Gary Kloster reveals how he finds agents to query (there's at least one thing I haven't done on that list).

The Obamacare mandate decision in plain english. (Grokked from Avram Grumer @ Making Light)

Jay Lake is wise and bitingly to the point (which is his wont) about the fallout over SCOTUS's ACA ruling.

Fred Clark with a wrap-up of how Obamacare helps actual individuals.

"Know what that is called? Fatal stupidity." (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

Some charts of the "political positions" of SCOTUS justices tracked over time. I've said it before about how this country has gone to the hard right, but maybe this quote will convince you. "When he was appointed in 1975 by President Ford, Justice John Paul Stevens was considered one of the court’s more conservative members. By the time he retired in 2010, he was heralded as its liberal lion."

Approaching a neo-dada-ism, Neil Gaiman's New Year's wish as typographic poster. Which, thinking about, maybe it is time for a Dada revival. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

So, basically, after disclosing over 7,600 pages of documents (3 times the size of the ACA which everybody complained about it's size and how "unreadable" it was), and talking smack about conspiracy theories of it all being "Obama's plan to get gun control", Issa admits to it being a fishing expedition which he doesn't feel would have exposed anything. But I'm sure if he kept asking for documents, eventually he would have gotten the confrontation he's now enjoying (it plays to his base and his pledge to investigate and slow down the Obama Administration). Proud of the GOP yet?

Alligator Quotient: I didn't teach them to tango, did you?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Some Thoughts on the Future

So, now that the Supreme Court has denied the biggest GOP/whackaloon talking point (ie. the "individual mandate" is unconstitutional), I don't expect them to change anything except to say, "We all know it is unconstitutional, no matter what the Supreme Court says" (this has already been done in the comments of some blogs I follow). And I expect that repealing Obamacare/ACA will now replace the economy as the #1 issue for conservative voters. Also, set your spittle shields to maximum, the next few months are going to be like Sea Worlds Splash Zone when it comes to political debate.

Dewey Defeats Truman. And an example of how even the President relies on the news media (which is why is really should be doing a better job). And, of course, ACA passing Constitutional Muster does nothing to slake the thirst of it's opponents. I have a feeling people will also be repealing their past statements. And a picture is worth a thousand words (picture link grokked from John Scalzi - although apparently it's from yesterday).

Linkee-poo, don't give me the answer, 'cause I don't wanna know

Well, that was weird.

The last in the ten things you should know about your story. This one is about endings.

Some almost forgotten advertising illustrations by Ezio Anichini.

Reality shows to the rescue the plans of colonizing Mars. Why is the Eddie Izzard gag about finding monsters on the Moon going through my head? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Some semi-Apocalypse news, the glaciers are giving up their dead. Note no mention of the global warming which helped expose the wreckage of the C-124 Globemaster. (Pointed to by Dan)

Some new information on the life cycle of colon cancer (and other things). So basically, what they're saying is, evolution works. In this case, against us. Colon cancer cells contain the potentiality to adjust their surface proteins to make them harder to target (altering the protein a common form of anti-cancer drug tags so your immune system can remove it from your body). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Could it be… Satan?! Or, maybe it's Nazis. Or how about Satanazis? Seriously, people, I would laugh at all this, but this is how our political debate is being waged. These are the people who are the products of the warped minds and skewed political idolatry (and yes, I meant that word) that really is no longer at the fringes. These are people in the mainstream.

Good news! The Fimbul Ice Shelf isn't melting as fast as models predicted. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Twenty reasons to thank labor unions. And if you think those benefits (which are now considered fairly standard) have a chance of surviving once unions are stripped of their power and gone, you're not paying attention. Right now, as we sit here, numbers 1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 18 are all under assault. And the rest won't be far behind it. In fact, many people don't get 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 right this minute. And when people talk about how hard unions fought for these basic humanities (like the person whom this is grokked from), what they mean is, "There are people who were beaten, shot, frozen, run over, burned, and economically destroyed to win you these things we take for granted." And those actions aren't more than 6 generations behind us (some of them only 2). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Well, it appears that some conservatives actually feel we should repeal the laws that require emergency rooms to stabilize any patient who shows up, regardless of ability to pay. And not just one of them. Fred Clark shows us mostly those who are self proclaimed Christians. I really hate to have to say this, but if you believe poor people should die just because they're poor, you have no right to claim to be a Christian. That thought is not only antithetical to what the Christ taught, it also violates 2 of the questions he will ask at the end times according to John the Divine in his Revelations. Seriously, how fucked in the head do you have to be to actually think these things and somehow reconcile that with following the Christ?

"In January 2001, the [Congressional Budget Office] projected that the federal government would run a total budget surplus of $3.5 trillion through 2008 if policy was unchanged and the economy continued according to forecast. In fact, there was a deficit of $5.5 trillion." And just before someone tries it, the economic slowdown that started in 1999 and then the economy tanking after 9-11 was the part of the "current environment" when that forecast was made. You should see the future rhyming pretty heavy right here with the candidacy of Romney. His economic policies are a Bush Retred. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

One (long) comic that asks, WTF is wrong with America. Going into my next degree program, I'm also looking at that debt as well. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

I think it was on Monday that Jon Stewart interviewed Sen. Marco Rubio. The Senator lamented how the minority weren't ever offered options to amend bills up for consideration and that this is why they've been using the filibuster in historically unprecedented numbers. Well, here's why most bill only have a few slots to amend during debate. That's Sen. Paul Rand attaching an amendment on personhood (that is a "fetus" is given rights and privileges like they were already born) to the National Flood Insurance Bill. That's what's called a "poison pill." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @joe_hill: C'mon. You have to be amused by tea party folk screeching they're going to move to Canada to escape America's gvmnt supported health care. (and, in case you don't believe him, try this - Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Double take: @Stonekettle: I think we can all agree, the most significant takeaway from today's SCOTUS decision is this: Bawahaha, fuck you, Mitch McConnell!

Alligator Quotient: They're already trying to tie themselves in knots to work out how to criticize Justice Roberts and still reconcile his conservative views.

Todays' the day

Yes, we're supposed to find out today just what the Supreme Court of the US thinks about the ACA. So what do I expect? I expect four months a few days of the talking heads arguing that it was the right decision, or the Court is completely bogus and bent to political pressure, how whomever's decision or descent is a bunch of hogwash that doesn't stand up to the light of day, how we need to repeal the whole thing, how we need to replace the whole thing, how we need to tinker at the edges. I expect all that.

How they'll rule, well I'm just in the dark as you. If I had to make a guess, Scalia's recent ravings sounds like he was losing the argument and he was looking to make a pre-emptive "my vision is the correct one". But that's only a feeling.

When the news organizations polled Constitutional Scholars and lawyers, the majority said it'll be upheld in full. There's no Constitutional basis to strike it down. But the Supremes have never really been held to the Constitution, they are, after all, not Constitutional Scholars (although some fancy themselves to be). And that the majority of them are actual lawyers and have been judges in other courts is a historical anomaly. So, they could go either way or any of the thousand permutations in between.

Also, I expect the internet to slow way down at around 10 am Eastern.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Music to Write to


Here's one of my current favorites, Sting's Saint Agnes and the Burning Train. (And yes, I've seen Sungha Jung's video, he's close, but there are parts he had to change-up to get to work).

Linkee-poo reached for the secret too soon

No matter what happens tomorrow morning, lot of people are going to be upset. Time to put on the fire-proof pants so you don't get your bottoms singed.

"In other words, the equation 'In order to enjoy it, I must buy it' has shifted to, 'I must be able to own it, or I won't buy it.'" A thoughtful squib on the rise of "Content Is King" and e-books told from the Manga side of the equation. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Ever have a secret desire to talk with aliens? And here I'm talking about little green guys from Mars aliens, not the people who make sure we have cheap food on the table and that rich people's lawns are manicured. If so, you'll have a chance to tweet at the "Wow" signal.

Some books are more equal than others. Sigh. Okay, in general I agree that for young readers they should choose books that will challenge them to think outside themselves, but the prudish undertone of "books that are good for the slackers versus books for 'real' students" are just the old moralism showing up in new clothes. Not to mention genre snobbery rearing it's head again. I read "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Catcher in the Rye" as an adult (somehow I was able to avoid these growing up). TKaM was fantastic, and there's so much in that book that nobody talks about (like how Atticus is the acknowledged top shot in town, but nobody explains about how they know this) instead they get bogged down in race relations (and miss a whole lot more of the social structure of Maycomb). Whereas CitR was complete whiner fiction, IMHO. It might have been radically ground-breaking when written, but it came off as an also-ran when I read it. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"(Louisiana state officials) set to steer tens of millions of dollars into the new (education) privatization program, which pays for vouchers that parents can use to send their children to religious schools. Gov. Bobby Jindal said the state was 'changing the way we deliver education,' which is a lot like Domino’s saying it's changing the way it delivers pizza by locking up the store and telling everyone to buy a Hot Pocket from the Vatican. In any case, Louisiana Republicans loved the plan. Until a group of folks showed up to ruin the whole thing: Muslims." So, after everyone had a cow over their monies going to this Islamic peoples, and a crack at Scientology, fortunately the Islamic school withdrew their request to participate. You know, facing all that Christian kindness that was thrown their way probably gave them the warm fuzzes (which I understand are related to cooties). Quote Carter, R-Baton Rouge, "They’re not interested. The system works." Yes, the system works to intimidate anybody but those Godly Christians from sucking from the public tax teat. America, fuck yeah. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Maybe if we don't talk about rape and sexual assault it'll go away. I think we tried that once before, it was called "before the eighties". Whether we discuss rape and sexual assault out in the open or not, people are still going to be victimized. It's just if we have an open discussion about it, maybe some of them will feel empowered to do something about it. Shoving the conversation back in the closet because it makes us feel icky is the sure way to make sure these crimes continue unabated and the guilty remain unaccountable. (Grokked from Ferret Steinmetz)

Hmmm, Justice Antonin Scalia is showing signs of something here, but not what he is discussing. It's a difficult thing to approach someone and say, "You know, maybe it's time to reconfigure the dosages."

"Expanding Medicare to all Americans would be an enormously heavy legislative lift. But supporters of the approach believe President Obama and Democrats will have an immediate political incentive to turn to the idea if the Court wipes their signature achievement off the books." Unfortunately, conservatives in Congress would never even refer it to committee.

I think there's a new page in the conservative playbook; when reality won't serve, just make shit up. "… I also note that the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill I helped draft in 2007 was killed — in part — by then-Senator Obama,” Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ), a Republican leadership member, said in a statement… The problem: Obama voted in favor of Bush’s 2007 immigration legislation, while Kyl joined the filibuster that quashed it." Haven't conservatives learned yet there are these things called the internet and Google? Who am I kidding. That quote will go out on Fox without anyone doing any real checking and Lord knows nobody in media has a memory anymore. The other news orgs will pick it up and run with it as well.

And, conservatives tend to get in trouble when they speak the truth about their agenda. So I guess it's no surprise they have to make shit up.

"'As fresh water from the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet enters the ocean, it disrupts this circulation, causing the currents to slow down," USGS research oceanographer and study co-author Kara Doran explained… "When the Gulf Stream current weakens, sea levels rise along the coast and the greatest amount of rise happens north of where the Gulf Stream leaves the coast (near Cape Hatteras).'" That's an article discussing why sea level rise on our Atlantic coast is more than predicted by global warming modeling. Or, in other words, to quote Bender, "We're boned." Say, who is it that insures against flooding? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And a ACA link, turns out conservatives actually like the vast majority of the ACA, they just don't like Obama. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: Do we always have to reinvent the wheel?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Linkee-poo was caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom

The Steampunks Wear Prada. Somewhere in the world baby bunnies are crying because of this.

The visual art of some famous authors you may have heard of.

And, unfortunately, I've known clients like that. Or not. (Grokked from Carrie Ryan)

Carleen Brice with some advice on how to work with critique notes.

When big data goes wrong. Because Mac users tend to choose pricer hotels to stay at, Orbitz is now going to skew the offers shown to Mac users to include just the pricer options. Most of that article is behind a pay wall, but the abstract is good enough. Good thing I don't use Orbitz. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

To the ongoing "Surely, it can't be all that bad" kick I seem to be on, Kameron Hurley shares her hate mail. Sometimes the best disinfectant is sunshine. Dear Ken Gant at kgant84@gmail.com, shhh, the adults are talking.

On a related note, Jim Hines with a post on rape and terrorism, the prevalence and government spending on each. Yesterday in the doctors office, I was in an elevator with some people going to the fourth floor. On the second floor, everybody got out except for myself and a woman. I was very aware of how she double checked me to see what kind of threat I may pose before the doors closed.

Sandia National Laboratories develops a spinning heat sink for computer chips. Although it looks pretty damn thick, so I'm thinking it's not ready for laptops. And I have a feeling it's application to other industries will be the major sales. Your tax dollars at work. (Pointed to by John)

Hey look, some of the rich are renouncing their citizenships to avoid tax bills, but then are hit on a 15% tax on all of their assets, when they could just go live on US Virgin Islands and reduce their tax bill instead. So I'm guess these aren't the best and brightest. Anyway, you know how some people like to beat their breast and claim how they love this country, etc. We'll these people don't. Fuck 'em. Hey, can we make sure they can't get VISAs to come back in? But what I think is funny, is most of them are running to countries that have socialized medicine, huge welfare states, and all the things I'm sure they claim they're against. Welcome to VAT and GST taxes, suckers. Hey Conservatives, you know those noble and hard working "job creators" you keep talking about, they don't give a shit about America (yeah, I know, not all of them). Time to stop coddling them and maybe giving them an incentive to actually, you know, create jobs. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Well, so much for me dropping any coins in the red kettle this year. Dear Salvation Army, you might want to look up the definition of the first word in your organizations name. 'Cause you're missing something there. (Pointed to by John)

"So, Antonin Scalia waited until he was 76 years old, and had been a justice on the high court for more than a quarter of a century, and then he decided his perspective, rulings, and understanding of the Commerce Clause were all wrong – just in time to rule against a Democratic health care law that features a Republican idea that was assumed by everyone to be entirely constitutional." It's that intellectual consistency so vaunted on the conservative spectrum that is admirable. Not. Besides, the question is really about how Kennedy will rule. We all knew Scalia, obviously the former headmaster of Slytherin, would find a way to vote against it. It's just so sad he has to throw out a lifetime's worth of conviction and philosophy to do so. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: I'm trying to teach some of them to take dictation.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Linkee-poo has that look in it's eyes, like black holes in the sky

You know how some people like to talk about how the top earners are just like you and me? And how, sure, they're paid more, but taking into consideration just percentages, they're not seeing that much of an increase, but starting with more they see more coming back? The average wage increase last year for the nation's bankers was 12%. You know, those people who tried their best to drag the economy down the sewer. 12%. SO, how big was your raise last year?

We are the true Americans.

"Why won’t the Fed act? My guess is that it’s intimidated by those Congressional Republicans, that it’s afraid to do anything that might be seen as providing political aid to President Obama, that is, anything that might help the economy." Paul Krugman on history rhyming strongly with the mistakes of the Great Depression.

"Most Americans oppose health law but like provisions." That headline pretty much nails the whole debate. While we can debate the individual mandate, most people love the provisions in Obamacare at the same time they say they hate the legislation. It's the classic definition of double think. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Fox New would lie to us about the use of drones to "spy" on cattlemen in the midwest? Shocked, shocked I am… (Grokked from the Slactivist)

While we're all waiting for the Supremes to hand out their decision and then skip town as fast as they can (any surprise the decision will come on the last day of the session?, not really), let us take a moment to reflect on the current system. So, you know, maybe the Supremes will only strike down the individual mandate and leave the rest intact. And maybe that will get us to the single-payer system so many of us really wanted (and would actually solve the problems) as Robert Reich thinks. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Catholic Relief Service… the bishop’s international relief and development agency, receives 80 percent of its funding from the federal government… It wins about half the government grants it competes for, said Carolyn Woo, the executive director… Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz asked about reports that the government was requiring CRS to distribute contraceptives. Dr. Woo confirmed that there had been such a proposal last summer, but after strong protests and high level negotiations, the government backed down." Hey, I'm seeing a budget line we can x-out. And in the same stroke we can help those poor Catholic Bishops keep the government out of their business. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Vacation Photos - Freeport and Portland

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bladesman, synopsis v3.0

Okay, with a few word swaps, I think we're good to try the next on in the field.
Gary Mullens, would be bladesman to the Hernadez family, finds himself in a professional no-mans land. Having been coerced to leave the position of gunboy and train for bladesman, he isn't either when a Chinese Tong makes a play to take over the Hernandez business and territory. Without a sensei to finish his bladesman training or a steady position, Gary works piecemeal as an enforcer while he attempts to prove his worth to Old Man Hernandez. In his first major engagement with a blade, Gary doesn't start off well by not being able to stop the Chinese from electrocuting Mr. Hernandez's son-in-law.

Things quickly get worse. In a criminal environment populated with thumpers and gunboys with only a handful of bladesmen, the Chinese have upped the ante by deploying a magician. Never mind the gun fights, Gary brings a sword to a magic fight and must learn how to win. Fortunately Gary has a few blades up his sleeve.

With the help of the Hernandez's new chief of security and a computer hacker, Gary builds a picture of the opposition and begins to roll back the Chinese Tong's offensive. Starting by clearing them out of the street he lives on, the fights Gary gets into continue to escalate in both the skill he needs to bring and for the stakes involved. Gary must work through continued misdirection by the Chinese Tong, navigate the criminal infrastructure of the city to bring competing factions together, survive assassination attempts on him and Mr. Hernandez, internalize the lessons his sensei taught him, and find the magician before all of the city falls into Chinese hands.

Along the way Gary finds the people he needs to help complete his training with the sword and forges stronger ties to his city. He learns that being a bladesman isn't the glamorous job he once thought it was. To defeat the magician, Gary must use all of his talents and knowledge to find the magician's layer and kill him. When he leads the assault on the magician's hideout, Gary struggles to maintain the Hernandez's honor and be victorious. In the process of winning Gary learns what price his new job will ask of him and that honor isn't all it's cracked up to be.

And now we look at who gets plagued submitted to next.

Edited It's now off to the next batch of four agents. We'll see how well this one goes.

Because all the cool kids are pointing to it

And strangely, I find it motivating for my own writing. So I've listened to it like 8 times today.



And in case you're wondering what a lot of this song is referencing, you may need to read this famous post from Neil Gaiman, with which I do agree. People are not machines, and GRR Martin is not your bitch.

But it's still a funny song none the less.

Vacation Photos - Acadia and Bar Harbor 3 of 3

Vacation Photos - Acadia and Bar Harbor 2 of 3

Vacation Photos - Acadia and Bar Harbor 1 of 3

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Synopsis or teaser

Why does this rewrite of the synopsis of Bladesman keep feeling more like a teaser trailer than it does a plot synopsis? I either go into the "this happens, then this happens…" or the "In a world…" direction. I'm not sure either is the correct function. Sigh.

But I do think this one is a little better than the last one. Maybe if I sleep on it it'll seem better in the morning. For something less than 400 words, it shouldn't be this much trouble, should it?

In the end, I need to get it done to continue flogging the book and get back to writing the next one.

Linkee-poo works its knees off

Severe cat waxing going on. But on the plus side the flower beds are weeded and the bathrooms are scrubbed.

A transcript of Neil Gaiman's speech as MythCon 35 on writer influences and the Inklings.

Eric makes with the funny story about old Charon. I wonder if he was in the 35% tax bracket?

Sarah with her take on the Science, it's a girl thing video. This is what happens when you have unexamined privilege. Yep, there's an ad/campaign exec who should have their head handed to them on the way out the door. Well, I guess it is a step in the right direction from the talking Barbie, "Math class is tough." Not a big step, mind you, but a baby step. Given the 2 decades in between, it's not a big progression. Edited It looks like the video on Sarah's page has been disabled. Here it is on youtube.

A majority of Republicans believe Iraq had WMDs when we invaded, not to mention other silliness. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Project Unbreakable Tumblr. Victims of sexual assault holding signs with quotes from those who assaulted them. (Grokked from AbsoluteWrite)

Vacation Photos 2 - Strawberry Banke

Vacation Photos - Stockbridge and Portmouth

Friday, June 22, 2012

Reboot!

So, there's been updates on the Reboot Project. Two weeks ago I went and had a physical and blood tests to see if the immunizations took. Because, you know, it would be good to know if the Hep B series stuck as that's an 8 month process. Good news is that I'm good to go.

Which is also good because I was offered the chance to start the Evening and Weekend Nursing program early. Which I took a pass on, but made sure they had my test results anyway. The E/W Nursing program is Plan B, and I applied just in case things went south with the day job.

Which it's a good thing I passed on the Nursing because yesterday I was offered an opportunity to start the Radiology Tech Program a year early. And I'm taking that. So this Fall I'll be a full time student and working full time. Yeah, it's going to be crazy.

Just told the day thing today. There are small freakouts going on in the background. I'm pretty sure I've convinced my bosses that it'll be okay. They just won't be able to grab me at anytime and add to my workload. Which, I have a feeling, the people who use that the most are the ones panicking. Unfortunately since I'm late to the program, I can't get the best choice of lab times, so things this Fall are going to be even more hectic than I had wanted.

But when I left college the first time with my BFA, I had to quit 2 jobs (Admissions Office and Bookstore), stop painting houses on the weekend, and drop a few clients (they weren't paying hardly at all anyway). While I'm not as young as I was then, I think I can pull this off.

When I'm going to get writing done or any sleep for that matter, is anybody's guess.

So here I am crossing my fingers.

Linkee-poo, if we shadows have offended think of this and all is mended

Lots to catch up on, hopefully tonight.

Twenty-nine ways to stay creative. #14 Don’t Give Up. (Grokked from JackthePoet)

If you happen to be in Ann Arbor this weekend and haven't met the wonderful Mer Haskell, here's your opportunity.

Mary Robinette Kowal brings us writing advice from David Brin. Boiled down? Write a murder mystery first. "But whatever, no matter what, don't ever… what? Okay, coming."

"Edward Hyde is not a separate personality living in the same body as Henry Jekyll. 'Hyde' is just Jekyll… acting on unspecified urges that would be unseemly for someone of his age and social standing in Victorian London" Um, no offense, but didn't everybody get that?

"Florida’s unemployment rate continues to drop! May’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.6% - the lowest since December 2008…" which they then go on to say it's all because of Republican Governor, Rick Scott. Not like anything else happened right after December 2008 that might have something to do with that positive direction. And then there's everyone saying, "Oh no, the Romney Campaign never asked us to downplay those numbers." Because even here in Ohio the same thing might be happening. But hey, I'm sure everytungn bad was the President's fault and everything good is the Governor's responsibility (have I ever mentioned that before Gov. Kasich took over, Ohio was number 3 in the US for job growth?).

Welcome to the future. And, after all the arguments about Apple keeping their app store as a closed environment, here's the counter argument. That's a link to a story about an Android App that can read your contactless credit card data, without an external reader. (Pointed to by Dan)

Ta-Nehisi Coates with another example of the conservative mind. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @pvponline: Siri just tried to direct me to an applebees. I don't think that Apple made this fucker three laws safe.

Alligator Quotient: Who knew they could run so fast?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Linkee-poo wonders what that bright object up in the sky is

Hannah Tinti gives us Ray Bradbury's writing tips. Also, there's a long video of an speech by Ray at Point Loma Nazarene University. #18, "Surprise yourself. Don’t know what you’re going to do next." (Grokked from Tor.com)

Elizabeth share her own process. To reiterate, there is no "right way", it's the final product that gets judged, not the writer's process. If you find yourself starting out or stuck read how other writers have approached the problem. Try their solutions (if you can), keep what works, toss what doesn't. And even for established writers, many of them change how the write with every novel.

Nobody suspected the zombie apocalypse to look so cute. (Pointed to by Dan)

A video of asteroid tracking capturing a near miss. (Pointed to by John)

"'Legal cage rattling was always part of (art appraisal and determining fakes and genuine works)'” said Nancy Mowll Mathews, president of the Catalogue RaisonnĂ© Scholars Association. But the staggering rise in art prices has transformed the cost-benefit analysis of suing at the same time that fraud has become more profitable, she said." Oh noes, all those frivolous lawsuit filing scalliwags are now involved in high art. The must be able to pay those hundreds of thousands from their previous lawsuit wins. (Grokked from ChiaLynn)

Vince shares robots lip-synching to Bohemian Rhapsody. Aw, I was waiting for the head-banging section and watch them roll off their pedestals.

The demand for designers begins to rise, but "51% of executives said it’s challenging to find skilled professionals today, up 10 points from the previous quarter." Here's a thought, maybe because those of us with the skills are tired of the bull, tired of being overlooked because we're "too old", tired of constantly updating our skills only to be pigeon-holed into dead-end positions because we're also good at the tasks other people don't think are "flashy" enough, also see earlier links about how software is too restrictive and note that software is based on expressed preferences of the hiring execs (note, your "needs" are out of whack with the reality of the marketplace, ie. no, I really don't know your studio paperwork processes until you have someone explain what you track, who it needs to go to, and which forms must be filled out because nobody does it exactly the same). So maybe the bright and talented people are getting the fuck out of the profession that treats them like dirt, pays them poorly, and doesn't appreciate what they bring to the table. Note, this is also what's about to happen to the public sector with all the assaults against competent people doing their jobs (ie, the war on unions). It's called "bright sizing." Welcome to hell. (Do I sound bitter? :)

The ACA explained like you would to 5 year olds. Note how all those evil, scary things Fox News and conservatives like to say about it actually aren't in there. Okay, the mandate is, I'll give you that, but no Death Panels, no government limitations or rationing, none of that. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

How to beat the Tea Party. Mostly by explaining what their policies really lead to. While this could be scaled up, on a larger than local level the ability to keep the secret long enough would be difficult. However, this is essentially what the Occupy Movement did on a national level. They changed the conversation from "Taxes, Taxes, Taxes" to, "Do we live in a fair society." Unfortunately, as they regroup to figure out how or if they can transform into an actual movement, the TP has kept up the drum beat of "Taxes, Taxes, Taxes." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Another Republican gets is. I welcome the lot of these converts who have realized that devils bargain Reagan made with the social conservatives is now about to drive the party over the whackaloon cliffs. I welcome them even if they don't take that next step of realizing some of the cherished beliefs of conservatism create a stacked deck society of unexamined privilege and worship of capital (which is how I became a liberal). Although, I have to say, some of the later-day "Come to Jesus" stories are starting to take on the flavor of the old teen romance stories (rebellion, regret, redemption), "Chicken Soup for the (whatever) Soul", or "Dear Penthouse" letters, all of which are fictional and designed to play into our preconceived morality. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tobias shares some thoughts on that raging, leftist hippy Rutherford B. Hayes.

And sigh. For the twisted minds of people who can't accept that President Obama is the person whom he says he is, they'll cling to any thread that allows them to make believe they have some credibility. Now it's, "President Obama lied about being born in Kenya to get into college." Because, you know, obviously the person who helped run the Harvard Law Review, was a professor of Constitutional Law, and has pretty much demonstrated he's usually the smartest guy in the room, yeah, he had to lie to get into an institution of higher learning.

Over on BoinBoing there's an excellent article on abortion from a woman facing the choice. Unfortunately it won't be read or processed by those it really needs to reach. It's not an easy position she's in, and, as she says, she's lucky. She has the insurance, has the medical care, doesn't need to cross picket lines, and has the choice.

Jon Stewart does an excellent Columbo and exposes how Hannity just can't help by twisting and selectively editing reality to make their point. Well, they do that because their points in the reality the rest of us must share clearly run against Fox News opinions.

The anatomy of a Republican/conservative lie. In this case about how the "liberal media" also "interrupted President Reagan." Except it never happened the way they're claiming it did. Strange how that happens. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Let the sun shine in

Now the truth can be told (okay, I finally got around to taking photos), but here is the surprise I had for Bette. While she was gone I installed two 14" solar tubes in our living room ceiling. See, our living room/dining room (actually our whole house) doesn't have a southern facing window. As a result, it's normally dark in our house. So dark that even on bright days outside we need to turn on a light to read.


When I put in the solar tube for our one bathroom (no windows) the result was fantastic. We had talked about having skylights installed, but all the quotes we got were pretty hefty, and we weren't sure that the results would be what we wanted (skylights offer a better view, some more light, but also introduce a greater chance of leaking and loss of heat). So we thought, we'll, we could put in 2 solar tubes and see how that worked out (actually, we planned for 4). When I went into the attic in March (when it was warm, but not 90 degrees), I quickly became stumped on just how to get onto the cathedral ceiling to do the installation. I finally was able to come up with a plan a few weeks ago. And fortunately, enough of that plan survived the actual implementation that I could get over and leverage myself up to the cathedral ceiling area.

I should have taken photos up there to show you what I had to go through to get these installed. Let's just say for a 6' 3" 300 pound person, it was a tight fit. My knees still hurt and I have scratches on my back from the roofing nails. The tubes (two of them, one locks to the ceiling, and is dropped from the roof flashing) allow up to a 48" of length without having to add an extender kit. Subtract from that 9+" for the ceiling joists (2) and wood I need to crawl over, plus the 6 or so inches above the roof line (on the downhill slope side) for the flashing on the roof, and there was plenty of room for overlap of the two tubes (about 8" or so). That's the space I had to fit into and work on these, in an attic with poor ventilation (read that as stifling hot), having gone through blown in insulation and now over fiberglass insulation (yep, I wore a mask, which just added to the problem). And besides getting to the actual site I had to deal with electrical wiring (which forced me to place these higher up on the ceiling than I had planned). Now you may know why I was complaining about being sore the past two weeks.

So we now have some decent light in the living room. Heck, we may actually be able to have plants in the living room other than deep shade varieties.

My only real complaint (other than the second one was a real bitch to get put together, and I thought it would be the easier of the two as it wasn't the one I had to crawl the farthest to get to) is that even though they're the same model form the same manufacturer purchased from the same store (half a week apart, the had 3 the first time and 2 the second, so I don't think there was a restocking), they don't have the same diffuser. I can deal with the difference of the tubes (one had a definite order to which tube was on the bottom, the other one had interchangeable tubes), but the diffuser difference bothers me. The rings have different shapes (one is thicker and more rounded), both have the honeycomb glass showing, but the thicker ringed on also has a lens on top of that. ODL, I'm not sure why you did that, but it's annoying to have to buy an extra diffuser to get them to match. Before I do make that purchase, I'll try their customer support and see if I can trade one (personally, I'd prefer the diffuser with the lens as I think that does a better job).