Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Anyways, Rudy Rucker has exposed his list of writing tips and notes for his books. They're really insightful and inspiration. Freeware is approx. 200 pages; he has 120 pages of notes. On top of that there are scribbling and drafts. He didn't just sit down and blurt it out. If you're a writer or a wannabe, I urge you to check it out.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Deborah Davis is a 50 year-old mother of four who lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Her kids are all grown-up: her middle son is a soldier fighting in Iraq. She leads an ordinary, middle class life. You probably never would have heard of Deb Davis if it weren't for her belief in the U.S. Constitution.
One morning in late September 2005, Deb was riding the public bus to work. She was minding her own business, reading a book and planning for work, when a security guard got on this public bus and demanded that every passenger show their ID. Deb, having done nothing wrong, declined. The guard called in federal cops, and she was arrested and charged with federal criminal misdemeanors after refusing to show ID on demand.
On the 9th of December 2005, Deborah Davis will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in a case that will determine whether Deb and the rest of us live in a free society, or in a country where we must show "papers" whenever a cop demands them.
You see, it's not illegal to be anonymous. It's not illegal to lack zee proper papers. But, if you lack the papers or refuse to produce them, that's the crime. This echoes of the only inkling of true crime in the homelessness issues: it's not illegal to be poor, or be asleep; but it is illegal to sleep outdoors-- therefore making the homeless into law breakers.
Our privacy is blown. I said this before. The problem today is that information is currency and we're being robbed. Saying that we want to retain our privacy is like saying we don't want to ingest car exhaust. Sure it can and should happen, but it's not going to happen.
My problem/solution is synonymous transparency. The government wants open-ended access to our lives. Well, fine. You're going to take it, take it. The government can get it via brute force. They can also get it through privacy invasions available through the private sector (like cellphone lookups and call records). The government is a government by and for the people; so theoretically, the thieving of our privacy is for our own good. Yeah, I don't really believe that either, but let's sip the kool-aid for a moment. The government is a government by the people, so everything in those buildings is ours. Every stick of furniture; every piece of paper; every bit on every one of their/our hard drives. That information should be openly available to us. The government does have freedom of information rules to emplore them to release information, but they usually use the legislation to block the freedom of information. That's where we're being robbed. Civil servants and our elected official are doing what they want and they are keeping us out of our own buildings.
They're not? Not keeping us out? Not our buildings? In the last provincial election, I had the option of voted for a candidate I hated, a candidate who annoyed me or one of several candidates who wouldn't get elected. I took option #2: NDP leader, Carole James. When the BCTF strike started to proliferate into other parts of the public sector, we called for our MLA who is also the NDP leader to voice our concerns over what she was doing to help the teachers and the general public. We got a form letter. When we asked another local MLA for him to take action or last placate us, we got a form letter. In a quiet and passive-agressive way, they're keeping us out of government. I know of people who have pursued freedom of information requests and they were blocked all the way. When I have put in Freedom of Information requests, I've been ignored half of the time. Shame. Shame on the government that wants me to surrender my privacy for the public good but they refuse to do the same. I have some every government and every business lacks: I have human rights. The government isn't allowed to behave this way. Or, more to the point, they aren't allowed, but we're letting them get away with it.
If you think this isn't our government: think again. According the to Canadian Taxpayers Federation, tax free day comes some time in June-- half of our income goes to prop up the government. If the $150,000+ that I've put into the government coffers so far in my lifetime hasn't bought me a glance at some of the paperwork, then something is really wrong.
If something is wrong, can I do something about it? It's going to be hard to make a change. My legislative representative isn't likely to help. Carole James made the mistake that I wanted to vote for her. I wanted to vote for most viable non-Liberal candidate. It was her and so far, she has done a LOUSY job. Her office has pumped out form letters. She voted for her own pay raise, then retracted it when she got caught with her hand in the cookie jar. And she schilled for Ben Isitt; Victoria's least unviable non-Alan Lowe mayoralty candidate. Great track record.
The problem with the NDP: they're going to smack the Liberals with kid gloves for as long as they're in opposition. They committed huge abuses while they were in power. They hope to return to power. When they reassume their throne of power they want to have the castle just the way they left it: free of impediments like civil liberties, bereft of potent MLA recall and protection from citizen access to government dealings.
So, while the Deborah Davis case is an isolated incident, it's the beginning of a new era in servitude. We're all free. But, if we break the law, our freedom is curtailed. We're either imprisoned; or fined so that we have less financial freedom (the poor get much less financial freedom after a fine; the rich feel very little from a speeding ticket or a fine). If it is illegal to be anonymous, being quiet is soon to be a criminal offense. Once we're part of the criminal system, we have far fewer freedoms. That means we have to sit there and take it. In the last 100 years, the penal codes in the Western world have ballooned to epic proportions. That means that at some point, you're likely breaking the law. At some point, you'll get called on this and then you have to plead for mercy from the courts. What was legal for your grandfather to do, is now something that you will be punished for and now you have to beg to harmed less.
I have asked myself if I am currently breaking the law. It took a lot of work to be legal. I work from home as an employee and not a business. By not driving, I am not speeding or failing to signal. No porn in my house. No improperly licensed software. No drugs (well alcohol, yes, but that is only illegal some of the time-- like when I am transporting it to and from my home). I have not modified my home so I am not in violation of any building codes. I never raise my voice or my fists. I think I don't even spit outdoors. Am I law abiding enough that I won't end up in front of a judge? No, I am probably breaking some obscure law that lingers on some nearly forgotten page of something in the criminal code. Even if I am not-- given the imbalance of privacy and the mistaken self-assumption that the government and the Crown is correct-- I could end up in front of a judge because of a harmless misunderstanding.
Have your papers ready.
Friday, November 25, 2005
What CNN says about the X-Husks.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
SAFE: Design Takes On Risk, the first major design exhibition at MoMA since its reopening in November 2004, presents more than 300 contemporary products and prototypes designed to protect body and mind from dangerous or stressful circumstances, respond to emergencies, ensure clarity of information, and provide a sense of comfort and security. These objects address the spectrum of human fears and worries, from the most mundane to the most exceptional, from the dread of darkness and loneliness to the threat of earthquakes and terrorist attacks.
The exhibition covers all forms of design, from manufactured products to information architecture. Featured products include refugee shelters, demining equipment, baby strollers, and protective sports gear. Designers are trained to balance risk with protection and to mediate between disruptive change and normalcy; good design goes hand in hand with personal needs, providing protection and security without sacrificing innovation and invention. SAFE redirects the pursuit of beauty toward the appreciation of economy of function and technology.I like practical art. My favourite part of the exhibit is the refuge housing. They are made of cardboard, assemble in a half hour and last for a year.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
I have been working on prosthetics and mask masking for the last 10+ years. I was tapped last monh to make... ahem... a penis and two breasts for local Cinevic production called "Not Dead, Not Alive." I rose to the challenge. I had lots of fun saying things like "check out my penis." A friend who the video on the weekend called, I proudly said to him, "You saw my penis!" Ah... the language is such an inprecise tool.
I plan on posting a longer and much more exhaustive piece of how I did it. This was the first time I used water putty to cast the mould. Wow. The best substance I've used yet. Second, I cast with a theatrical grade latex. It was like working with human skin. Despite the high cost, I am never going back.
As time and space allows, I will be showing off many more of my mask making and sculpting creations. Apart from these three items, the rest of my stuff is G and PG rated. Don't believe me? Check my Deviant Art site.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Client's Target Fee: negotiable
From: LadySarah Date: 11/22/2005 1:22:43 PM
So, I have replied and for just $20 I will take her banking information and attempt to render aid. :) Sometimes the phisherman can be yanked overboard.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Here's my quickie survey of the select candidates:
Alan Lowe - The autopilot vote. He went to the trouble of reading from his phrasebook. You should go the trouble of voting for him.
Ben Isitt - The Anti-Alan Lowe vote.
Gregroy Hartnell - The Anti-Ben Isitt vote. Comes with munchies and a lava lamp.
Pam Smarden - She's been a fringe candidate who decided to lose a more noteworthy election.
Georgia Jones - Just Visiting Earth
Dean Fortin - Media whores need a case of the clap
Rose Henry - Poor and needy can be a career option. Wow.
Helen Hughes - The candidate of choice for the 19th, 20th and 21st century.
Philippe Lucas - Dude, where's my ballot?
Pam Madoff - She's a walking chandelier-- or a jewel encrusted hill.
Denis F. Oliver - Vote for him or he'll surf for porn on your computer.
Charlayne Thorton-Joe - I'm hoping her kids marry hyphenated people so that one day there could be a little Jo-Jo Thorton-Joe-Throarwarbler-Mango on council in 2042.
Geoff Young - Endorsed by Paul Harvey. For now you know the rest of the story...
Monday, November 14, 2005
Wow. How can you be so stupid that you would get naked on demand? How could you believe that part of strip search could include a sex act? But then, these are people who are willing to work at McDonald's.
Luke McAndress' solution: boycott McDonalds on December 3rd. "No Mc-D on Dec. 3" Why? Move over Apple Pie: McDonald's is the international symbol of the America. Fat people quickly stuffing their faces with greasy and nutritionally devoid food products. It's an American success story.
How can you boycott McDonald's? Well, I do it about 360 days of the year. I've learned my lesson. Since dropping McDonald's from my diet, I've lost 40lbs! For those of you who have the time to spare here's how you do it:
A) Go to a drive through. The bigger the vehicle, the better. Go up to the window and order nothing. Or, order "I'm boycotting McDonald's" then drive out. If you have time. Repeat at the same McDonald's or a different one-- they're everything three blocks to alternate with all of the Starbucks.
B) Stand in line at lunch. Go up to the till, take a good long time to survey all of the menu options. Then, order "I'm boycotting McDonald's" and walk out.
C) Contact McDonald's. Toronto: (416) 446-3932; Vancouver: (604) 293-4834; Montreal: (514) 421-4881. Explain to them that you are boycotting McDonald's because of the softwood ruling that the Americans have ignored.
A Canadian spokesman has decried that this will hurt local worker and businesses who supply McDonald's. That's crap. McDonald's is not going to keep their workers home. The aging discs of beef in their freezer have sell by dates. When they lapse, they will have to buy more. McDonald's is not going away. But, you can make sure that the franchise holders have not net profits to kick up to the Smiling Clown of the South.
Lastly, if you are going to join the boycott, don't make a secret of it. Emplore others to join the boycott. Send them a link to this blog post. Contact the Province reporter, Matt Ramsey, who wrote a piece on this and tell him what you plan to do.
So what am I to do without Arrested Development? Likely, watch 30min. less TV per week. For the most part that's good news. For television advertisers that means someone like me is 30min./week closer to turning off the TV and leaving it off. Shows like "Firefly", "Dead Like Me" and "Enterprise" are ratings corpses. They need to find a life off of the airwaves in DVD collections. Rather than release 22 episodes once per year for $60+; why not release 4 episode installments every 4 or 6 weeks for $20. See what I did? Six weeks is enough production time-- it's also enough time to steer the show if the sales diminish or ax the production if the sales suck. Most important: 6 x $20 is $120 for a 24 episode season-- not $60. Most of the DVDs for sale hover in this price range so there won't be a case of sticker shock. And, despite having purchased many seasons of shows for others I would be very unlikely to do it for myself. Why? The price jump: I spend $200/yr. on DVDs, but never in more than $40 lumps. Because almost every series collection sells for more than $40, I don't bite. I am probably not alone.
Who will take the plunge? Who will learn from the leasons of Firefly and Family Guy and release a series on DVD? At $300,000-$1 million per 1 hour of television, a studio has to make a multi-million dollar commitment in the hopes that people will ante up $20 per installment. Put another way, they have to shell out $2 million dollars for put up 4 episodes. If they can gleen $5 per DVD collection as gross profit (e.g. before the studio weasels turn even the thickest black margin into red); they have to move 400,000 copies. That's a lot.
This has been the model of choice for CD sales until storage and bandwidth became so cheap that your copy a CD. Nevertheless, they still sell CDs (or try to). If I were a decision maker in Hollywood, I would find a series that was cheapish to produce (like an X-Files or similar), let out so many episodes on the super cheap so that a network would run them as filler; then let ratings kill the series and resurrect in direct-to-DVD installments.
Joss Whedon, Ron Howard are you both listening?
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
To paraphrase Emperor Palpatine:
I can feel the freakdom in you.
Release your weirdness!
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Monday, November 07, 2005
BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (Reuters) - A hand grenade being used instead of a ball in a game of catch exploded early on Saturday killing three youths in this Bosnian town, police and news agencies said.
Two youths aged 19 and 20, one of them from neighboring Croatia, were killed instantly while a 20-year-old woman died on her way to hospital, police said. Her sister was slightly injured but two other youths suffered serious injuries.
The blast occurred at 2:00 a.m. in the western town of Novi Grad at a place in the town center frequented by youngsters. Police said an inquiry was under way and declined further comment. It was not clear why the grenade exploded.
ONASA news agency quoted witnesses as saying the youths tossed the hand grenade to each other before it exploded in the hands of one of them.Bosnia is awash with illegal weapons left over from the 1992-95 war and tragic incidents are frequent despite several successful campaigns by international peacekeepers and police to get people to hand over illegal weapons.
...Birdsall said she particularly remembered a dinner she had with Libby when he recited all 79 episodes of "Star Trek" from memory. "He was very detail-oriented," Birdsall said...
I always thought Trekkies were weiners.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
Thursday, November 03, 2005
The chucklehead doofus golf course manager, Chris McNulty has said that he's made offers to the farmers. The farmers have said he hasn't spoken to them yet. I guess the chucklehead didn't think that the reporter would walk next door and ask: "Did he talk to you?"
How can the farm get some contrition out of the golf course? Because of the golf course, farming on the farm is no longer viable. Why not use all of this unfarmable land to make the golf course unplayable?
What helps golf? MUSIC! Nothing improves your game like a mix of music. Here's the iPod shuffle I would blast music out over the farmland to soothe jangled nerves of hard working golfers:
- Journey's Hold On played at 90% of regular speed
- The intro dialogue from Star Trek: The Original Series
- Led Zeppelin's Kashmir played with a Scottish bagpipe.
- George W. Bush saying the phrase "Political Capital" twenty times at alternating speeds
- Oktoberfest music
- Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On second 20% of the song only
- Mitsou's Mon Cowboy (don't mess with it's speed or content-- it's quite annoying as is).
- The MacGvyer theme
If you have too many carboard boxes covered with tin foil, drop them off at the farm for fast and friendly storage. Unlike glass mirrors, reflective cardboard boxes will remain safe regardless of how many golf balls are flung at them. As an added service, they will be aimed at the driving range so that at some point in the day someone will be able to see their reflective surface brilliantly reflecting the sunlight.