Sunday, December 28, 2008
The first was changing our health insurance. Apparently the arrival of the new year is the signal for our insurer to tack on another $100 a month to our insurance bill. This we just can't take. It's gotten to the point of absurdity. But I don't want to have no insurance at all, so we make our deal with the devil. We lower our premiums by accepting more upfront costs. A LOT more. On the up side, when you tell doctors or hospitals you are paying cash, the bill is often lower. The plan is to save the insurance for the really bad stuff.
Car insurance will be next.
Then there's the phone. The local phone lines are so decrepit that we loose 50 - 80% of our service when is rains heavily here. I can't get cell signal in our home (being underground and all) and I don't want to try a call-repeater or change our number (which is tied to our business). The answer? Ooma. Ooma is a VOIP system, like Vonage. But unlike vonage, you buy the hardware once and that's it. Voice quality is also supposedly better. It looks like a pretty sweet system. I bought the base unit and one satalite unit. But I need to get a router working in my office to hook it up to. I also need to test the system with my wonky internet provider. But if it all works, I will be able to change over my landline to Ooma (something Vonage can't do here yet) and start saving an ASSLOAD of money. I'll let you know how it's working in a few days.
Archeologists in China are baffled after finding a tiny Swiss watch in a 400-year-old tomb.
The watch ring was discovered as archeologists were making a documentary with two journalists from Shangsi town.
"When we tried to remove the soil wrapped around the coffin, a piece of rock suddenly dropped off and hit the ground with a metallic sound,? said Jiang Yanyu, former curator of the Guangxi Autonomous Region Museum.
"We picked up the object, and found it was a ring. After removing the covering soil and examining it further, we were shocked to see it was a watch."
The time was stopped at 10:06am, and on the back was engraved the word "Swiss", reports the People's Daily.
Local experts say they are confused as they believe the tomb had been undisturbed since it was created during the Ming dynasty 400 years ago.
They have suspended the dig and are waiting for experts to arrive from Beijing and help them unravel the mystery.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I would truly dig getting to fight here even if it's a demo or with non-lethal weapons. To stand where so many stood before you, being cheered by the crazed citizens of a bloodthirsty expansionist empire. Of wait, we have that already with Monday night football. And for real violence catch a Manchester United game in Spain.
As an aside, there are some Christian fundies that I'd love to toss in for authenticity purposes...
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
But watching this group of seasoned veterans and mostly young volunteers is a little painful. They SO remind me of the kids I met down in New Orleans in the 9th ward. These were people who were driven. They were 100% dedicated. They were willing to risk life and limb for what they believe in. But they are also terribly unprepared for the task. Most of the volunteers have almost no training and as a result their very lives are at serious risk as they ply the Antarctic. Several people are injured as a result of stupid mistakes. Simple safety procedures are not followed resulting in near disaster.
They are also media whores. Which is important because they want to bring attention to their cause. They actually have two people board a Japanese ship, and then tell the press that they have been 'kidnapped'. They throw stink bombs and deploy prop fouler lines. All in the name of their cause. Which they are very dedicated to. They aren't taking pictures or writing letters. They are taking the fight to the enemy. They are brave and they are foolish and I hope they make a difference.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
But cake? Well cake is a different matter. I love cake, make no mistake. But I am a bit finicky. I prefer yellow cake with a chocolate butter cream frosting. None of the "Double-death by chocolate with extra slabs of chocolate wedged in it" nonsense. Cakes with the density of peat moss. When such items are wheeled around on the desert tray I trun up my nose. My philosphy is simple: Keep it light and moist.
There are the so-called "Art" cakes. Cakes that aren't created to be eaten so much as to be admired for their artistic beauty. I confess to a fondness for these wonders. I admire the skill of these bakers in the same way I admire ice sculpture. The technical challenges of working in a suger or water based media are many.
But there are only so many great artists in the world. For every Keneth Branagh there is a Keanu Reeves. For every 'Gladiator' there is 'Dungeon Siege: In the name of the King'. So I present to you: Cake Wrecks. A wonderful compendium of awfullness. Enjoy.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
But it is.
The main part of our house isn't too bad at all. Rossana keeps it pretty neat and clean. But my office? My fortress of solitude whose condition I am solely responsible for? It is, in a word, awful. So I've spent the past week cleaning up. Really cleaning. Throwing out old magazines and paperwork. Cleaning off my desk. Dusting. Filing things.
It's not sexy or exciting work. It does not involve travel to exotic lands or dangerous characters, but it was long overdue. I must admit that a few times I got distracted by looking at art or stories or ideas I was playing with 20 years ago or so. But here was planty of crap too. And it had to go. It's a process I recommend. Cathartic and yet meditative.
Then I looked around the house and I realized that we just hadn't had time during the season to do much more that keep up with the mess generated by our work/lives. Try to keep on top or it. Put stuff away, send off packages, sweep up a little. But in truth the place hadn't been thoroughly cleaned since June.
Since Rossana was having a client over for a past life regression I helped really clean up today. But after a good vacuuming the carpet still looked...unvacuumed. Being a man I new that the only answer was a tool. But I'm tired of renting the rug cleaner from the hardware store. The whole miserable process sucks. Instead, we went on the internets and did some research. In the end we bought a run cleaner at Walmart. In this craptastic economy we've tried to keen a lid on unneeded expenses. But this purchase was am absolute necessity. We called it an x-mas gift for the house.
I ran it over what appeared to be the mostly clean and freshly vacuumed living room carpet. It was not clean. Not by a long shot. The machine extracted buckets of pure evil. I was so excited by the results that I gleefully cleaned most of the carpets in the house. (I am sure the novelty of this task will soon wear off) I swear I will never go a year between carpet cleanings again. Hell maybe I'll do it once a month. You could eat off our carpet now. It's exciting, in a mundane and domestic kind of way.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
It's pretty cool. It includes a marching band, mad scientists, an escape from a window and even two Dagorhir fighters with boffer weapons. Wow.
Go check it out.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I don't know if it will help keep the bills down, but it's something. When the house was built there were no energy efficient windows to speak of. I wonder how much replacing them would cost. Probably and arm and a leg. And another leg.
And a pinky.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
This was what I did the day after the election. The tiny Wellington Obama for Ohio office needed to be cleaned out and I found myself scraping this window for 2 hours on an unseasonably warm day.
It was in short, actual work. Something I try to avoid whenever I can.
It was, I suppose a kind of... allegory? A symbol of what's to come. For all the effort to get a new President, when the election is over, the REAL work begins.
Friday, November 07, 2008
This was a first year con at a small boutique hotel. The hotel was modern, which didn't help the atmosphere but it was comfy. Our room was right on the main floor and no more than a stones throw from the dealers room. You have no idea the schlepping we normally do at a show. It was a joy to get dressed, step out our room door and sit down for breakfast, then walk a few steps and open shop. Heaven.
The con itself was well run and fairly well attended. The thing i loved was how different it felt. Lots of very different and creative costumes. The dealers room was actually interesting to walk through. The people we fun to chat with.
The big event was to have been the inaugural flight on board Americas first passenger Zeppelin in 70 years. Alas, when we arrived the weather was drizzling and the flights were canceled. It was a real bummer.
While there we ate at an Afghan restaurant and it was a delight. The food was amazing and I would encourage you to try it if the opportunity presents itself.
I greatly enjoyed the event. We made enough in sales to pay for the trip and got a lot of cool ideas. They've move the date next year so I don't know if we'll be able to make it. But with luck the East coast will come up with a steampunk con by then.
Here are some pics for you to check out.
Thankfully I am an American and am thus allowed to be an ass on occasion.
Please understand that I have never been a gloater. Never. My parents raised me well, with a respect for other peoples feelings. Gloating does not come easy to me.
But when you consider the sea of bullshit that we've had to wade through this past year, it seems only fair that a little bit of gloating be allowed. I have no wish to gloat over friends of mine who may be conservative. Most of my conservative friends fall under the 'small government/ socially liberal' heading. And that's fine.
I'm talking about gloating over the smug pundits and talking heads. The Rush Limbaughs, Karl Rove's, Sean Hannity's and Michelle Malkins. The gibbering assholes and self satisfied pricks who declared Obama simply could not win. The ones who just made shit up and went on endlessly about his lack of qualifications even while puting Sarah Palin up as VP with a straight face. The dicks who found deep connections between Obama and Willian Ayers while just skipping over the part where America gave Saddam Hussein chemical weapons technology. The ones who screamed Obama was a Socialist and a secret muslim and was unfit to hold the office because he didn't wear a fucking flag pin.
They never stopped gushing about the great war hero who was in fact a shitty Naval Academy student, a drinker, a womanizer, a gambler and a piss poor pilot who after returning from Vietnam cheated on and then dumped his wife in exhange for a rodeo beauty queen heiress.
Then he went into politics and spent the past few years kissing the ass of George Bush and towing the party line. THIS was the Republican maverick (tm) who at 72 would with an idiot sidekick save our nation? The fact that he came anywhere near the number of votes he did is a testament to how stupid a lot of Americans are.
And yet the kid who grew up raised by a single working mother and his grandmother, overcame the stigma of mixed race, studied hard, advanced himself, went to Harvard on scholarships, led the Law Review and rather than going into private practice worked in the poor communities until running for the Senate. THIS guy was the goddamned anti-christ!
I've read some stories recently that indicate Palin might have been even dumber (or at least less prepared) than stated by the kool aid drinking advisers stated she was. If you read through the comments threads you will often see this:
"It's over now, why don't we just move on?"
No. We do not just fucking move on. That's the kind of stupid thinking that keeps us from learning from our mistakes. Sure we'd feel better just to not think about the past eight years of bullshit, but we wouldn't learn anything. Remember the saying "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Yeah. That's why I am all to happy to continue disecting the rotting corpse of the Bush administration.
And I suppose that's why I feel okay doing a little gloating. Not a lot. There's actually work to be done. But a little.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Rossana and I finished another day of canvasing for our little hometown Obama office. The first day the power steering cut out on the minivan making the experience a lot like wrestling a schooner in rough seas. Yesterday was much easier. Drove out to Lagrange twice to deliver voter information. Then we went home.
By seven thirty I had to do something other than stare at the online election tickers. I went out to the shop and started cleaning up. They I started organizing paint cans. I checked the clock. 10pm. Things should be happening. But when I came inside I forgot that the shop clock wasn't yet adjusted for daylight savings yet. It was only nine.
Watched some non-election tv and had some pie. When Ohio went for Obama I called my brother in Texas.
"We didn't fuck it up this year!" I yelled to hoots on the other end, then tuned in to the Daily Show special, occasionally flipping back to CNN.
Then, in a flash, it was over. John Stewart called for Obama. Rossana looked stunned, I suppose I was too. I flipped over to CNN just to make sure it wasn't a joke.
It was then that I began to take off my clothes. When I got to my socks my wife raised her eyebrows. "What are you doing?"
"I promised that if Obama won I'd run a victory lap around the pond naked" I grabed a flashlight and put my shoes on.
"It's pretty cold out there." she remarked.
"I am sure I will be quite aware of that very shortly."
"Don't bother the deer".
And off I went.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The results weren't bad, but I didn't like the overall effect. But before I started to grow it all back I took a few pics for posterity. What do you think?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
. "The reason we weren't terrorists is because we did not commit random acts of terror against people. Terrorism was what was being practiced in the countryside of Vietnam by the United States."
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote, mountainous pasture in Montana when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a cloud of dust towards him.
The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and a YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the cowboy, 'If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?'
Bud looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, 'Sure, why not?'
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Singular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location, which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.
The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.
Within seconds, he receives an e-mail on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with e-mail on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.
Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP Laser Jet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and says, 'You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.'
'That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,' says Bud.
He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amusedly as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.
Then Bud says to the young man, 'Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?'
The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, 'Okay, why not?'
'You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government,' says Bud.
'Wow! That's correct,' says the yuppie, 'but how did you guess that?'
'No guessing required,' answered the cowboy. 'You showed up here, even though nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. Then you tried to show me how much smarter you are than me. And you don't know a darn thing about cows...this is a herd of sheep.
'Now give me back my dog.'
His son Christopher, who also has a great deal of style, hell the man wears a fedora, has written a column for the National Review (a conservative magazine founded by his father) for some time but when he stated on his personal blog that he was going to vote for Obama his 'friends' turned on him like school of pihranna. Apparently his views were much sought after, until he made a choice that went against conservative dogma. He offered his resignation, which was quickly accepted. Quoting Ronal Reagan he said "I didn't leave the Republican party, it left me."
The last few weeks have seen lots of Republicans trying to distance themselves from McCain ( or rather George Bush). I don't blame them. Their party is being shot in the foot over and over by McCain. The biggest wound being the choice of Sarah Palin. Many undecided and a number of moderate Republicans are going over to Obama.
This is leaving an increasingly vocal and slightly unhinged group of die hards. The people who still insist the GWB is doing a heckava job. These people just cannot admin that their party and their president could be wrong. EVER.
Me? I've learned that it's wise to know when you are wrong. To be able to admint a mistake and to learn from it. These people? Not so much.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Therefore I have decided to throw my hat into the political arena. And by hat I mean a grenade.
President? BAH!! Steven Pack does not want your puny presidency! Steve Pack will be your
Things will be different under my all powerful administration. Very different.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I've already talked about how he is officially old and a cancer survivor.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Actually I just moved some hats and will likely end up with a lot of other 'B-roll' shots on the cutting room floor.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
That leaves McCain or any independent candidate you care to throw away your vote on in some kind of 'protest'.
You might like his policies, or maybe you just dislike him less than Obama. Fine.
But there's very good reason you may want to reconsider that vote for McCain. And it unfortunately has to do with him being a 71 year old cancer survivor. I suppose I am in fact being ageist. I don't want to be. I personally want to be VERY active and mentally sharp when I am Mr. McCains age and beyond. And it appears that John McCain is fairly sharp most of the time.
But most of the time is not what I want from a 72 year old President. I don't want his health to be 'passable'. If you are 71 and are running for president you better be sharp as a tack and able to go up stairs without getting winded. I would prefer it if you can wrestle a bear and recite the Treaty of Tripoli (google it) but I'll take moderately good shape.
A few days ago during the debate I noticed McCain exhibiting a minor facial tick during the debate. It didn't seem too serious but I wondered about it, especially after the many small mistakes he's made in interviews and seeming contradictions from things he's said only a few days earlier. A lot of the liberal blogs rail about him being a 71 year old cancer survivor, but that cancer was melanoma. A skin cancer. He's had several lesions removed, only the last was of any concern. I felt that perhaps they were being a bit alarmist about his health.
But the fact is that McCain only let a handful of reporters LOOK at his 1200 page medical report. They weren't allowed to make copies or take notes.
And then I learned that melonoma is one of the really fucking serious cancers. It can spread almost anywhere in the body and do it agressively. And unlike breast cancer, where the chance of recourance goes down ofter x years, the chances for recourance with melonoma increase.
Several doctors are commenting over at Americablog about this and other things they have seen recently and while a video diagnosis cannot yield any concrete evidence these doctors are VERY concerned and would advise ANY patient they saw exhibiting these symptoms to get to a hospital for a full work up including CT scan for a possible mini-stroke.
I wouldn't fly on an airplane with a pilot 10 years post melanoma who had not been followed/staged/ examined because he might seize and the FAA wouldn't let him fly as far as I know.
I am actually concerned now for this guys health. Let's set aside that fact that Sarah Palin is in NO WAY qualified to be President. That's another issue. If McCain gets into the White House he will have access to the best doctors anywhere. But the fact is there is still no CURE for cancer, and treatment is painful and debilitating.
I'm voting for the 47 year old.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I drove up to Michigan on Friday. Rain. Saturday? Tons of rain. The Michigan Ren site quickly flooded. Why? Because instead of using rock or pea gravel or ANYTHING sensible they use MULCH to somehow fix the flooding. It's a running joke there. It's like "More cowbell". They just keep dropping more mulch. And what does mulch do? It helps retain moisture for garden plants. It is NOT designed to effectively move water.
As a result the ground becomes a soggy mess. It always does when it rains but this was the worst time by far. The drains get clogged with mulch. Streets become almost impassable and everyone is miserable.
The rain was apparently part of the hurricane Ike weather system. And while Sunday dawned with no rain, the remanants of IKE itself were moving East from Chicago. I could see it moving in on my phone, a solid wall of smite.
And yet we stayed open. There were only about 1000 people through the gate, everybody else had some common sense. Then the rain started. And it just kept getting heavier. Our booth isn't one of the highest point of the show, but we do sit on a slight rise which keeps us from flooding, but an hour into the rain the water was running up to the edge of our booth on one side. Merchants were digging drainage trenches and creating impromptu levies. When I went out to grab some food, the kid behind the counter was standing in about 4 inches of water. That seems safe as all hell.
At 3pm or so they finally closed the show. I packed up and went to my car, which was parked on high ground. But it didn't matter where you parked, everything was super saturated. Every inch of ground. I helped push 5 cars out of the mud. I don't want to sound mean, but some of these people just don't know how to drive in mud. They would just gun the engine and dig thenselves into a hole, shoving mud under their car and into their wheel wells. By the time I got to my car I was soaked and encrusted with mud. The Honda performed very well and I got out of the lot without getting stuck. Many others weren't so lucky. There were three tow trucks on site and I wonder if the festival was covering the costs of helping people out. I doubt it. I went to the campground and changed into some dry clothes and basically passed out for a while. But the rains increased and so did the winds. I didn't want to risk being in a tent if some tree gave way so I headed for home.
And I was the LUCKY one.
On sunday 40-60 mph winds hit the Ohio show. It took out trees on the site, knocked over porta johns and actually tore the front of a booth off. Then the power went out. They waited almost an hour to decide to close the show. I got a call with this news and recommended they stay put, but its was pretty miserable there and they wanted to go home. Lindsey and Jesse went to Columbus for dinner and Rossana went straight toward home. But power was out all along I-71 and she discovered well into the trip she almost out of gas. Several phone calls back and forth. I reached Lindsey and made sure she had gas. I told her she might have to get a gas can and bring fuel to Rossana, but then I couldn't reach Rossana and I didn't know where she was on I-71. Then a message, she was forging ahead. Then I couldn't reach her phone at all. Cell phone communication was pretty useless and only added to my stress level. Rossana pressed on and made it to a gas station on fumes.
Friends on site say our booths are still standing but were put under a lot of stress. We need to go out and check them out and make some repairs. One Rennie camper and car was crushed by a tree, killing their dog.
I guess all the rain went North and all the wind were South. In any case it sucked donkey balls all around. Bag End is okay. Some damage to trees and a lot of debris but nothing serious. I hope everybody out there is okay and safe. I grabbed two pics and a little vid.
Here's a short vid. There's a red brick path next to our booth that makes it passable, everyplace else on site is mulch over a foot deep.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
As I cruised along at a sluggish (for Michigan) 80 mph into Detroit I noticed a few motorcycle cops.
Hmmmm. 'Must be an accident somewhere, I hope rubberneckers don't slow everything to a crawl.'
Then I saw two more, then a highway patrol car. Then another. What gives? Then I noticed that there were NO cars on the other side of the road. I looked up ahead and saw a LOT of flashing lights approaching.
And then it hit me. McCain was doing a campaign stop in Detroit. This MUST be his motorcade.
Well, it's unlikely that I'll ever meet the man. I'd love to debate policy, both foreign and domestic for hours on end, but I only had a few moments to think of how to communicate my position vis a vis his party and politics.
So I did what came naturally to any Ugly American. I pulled into the left lane, rolled down my window, leaned on the horn and gave the entire motorcade the finger.
I understand that this was childish. It was a base and low form of expression. But I don't care. It felt good. I was speaking truth to power, as the expression goes. And it's just possible that Mr. McCain and Mrs. Palin were looking out the window of the "Straight Talk Express(tm)" at that moment, marveling at the post-apocalyptic grandeur that is West Detroit, and there I was.
Giving them the Finger.
Of course, the finger is a bit like a sawed off shotgun. I'm sure it hit some of the cops, the Secret Service guys and of course some of the media. I'm sorry about that. They didn't deserve it. Well, maybe some of the press guys, who haven't been able to ask Palin one damn thing so far and seem content to just go with it. But I'm sure they knew that my outburst wasn't meant for them.
I went on my merry way with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
The project involved remixing a number of classic Beatles tunes and results were so cool I bought the CD on Amazon. (It's not available on iTunes yet) I must admit, I like what they've done. A lot of new and rich textures are brought out. Through subtle changes and segues I heard things I had never heard before. No new shitty vocals by Madonna or that type of nonsense. No new instrumentals or techno backbeatsd. It's all the Beatles. And it's good.
I did a wikipedia search and while she seems to be a decent person and a good governor so far, I don't think she is really the person for the job. Do you? About 3 months ago I opined to my wife that the perfect running mate for McCain was Condalezza Rice. She is smart, has a crapload of experience. She is Black AND a woman. While I hate the moron she works for, she doesn't seem to be innept at her job. And with Hillary out of the race, it would present a real chance to reach out to minorities and women. It would be a bold, gutsy move.
But the Republicans just couldn't do it. They couldn't push their party THAT far. A woman VP? Maybe. A Black VP? Hmmmm. But a Black woman VP? Oh Hell no.
So with all the other qualified women to choose from, why did they choose a woman who he met once for 15 min? Why did he choose someone with SO LITTLE experience? Sure, there have been other VP's who didn't have a massive amount of experience, but Palin's resume is almost empty.
Check out the last few VP's experience:
So what is the defence of this action? What is the comeback? Well, Obama has no real experience and he's running for the Big Chair.
Ok, lets compare the life experience of the two (via a comment at FARK.com):
This is the person who is a 72 year old heartbeat away from the presidency? Now, the President has a lot of people who help make the show run. There are layers and layers of agencies and experts that advise and prevent the POTUS from doing stupid and rash things. But that didn't stop Bush now, did it?
But if anyone tries to bring up the fact that Palin isn't the person for the job, fingers are pointed and cries of "Sexist!" arise. 'It's insulting to women!'.
It doesn't matter that she's a woman at all with regard to her lack of experience.
Then there's the personal stuff. Obama won't go after it. But I'm not Obama, or anyone official. I'm just some guy with a blog. (aka 'An asshole with an opinion').
Palin gave birth 4 months ago to a child with Down Syndrome. That's a huge responsibility above and beyond the standard baby thing. Even with Dad helping out, how much time does the VP job give you to address the needs of such a child? Running the country is the most stressfull job around. It takes a lot of life out of those who hold the job. Look at Both Bush and Clinton before and after this job. They eat right, exercise and have the best healthcare of any American and the job still sucks out a lot of life.
Her 17 year old daughter is 5 months pregnant. She now has to pretend to be thrilled with this situation. Very few parents are thrilled to learn their 17 year old is pregnant. If only her kid had been given some better information, maybe access to contraception. But condoms are bad, aren't they? And waiting till marriage to have sex works so well, except when it doesn't. Luckily her parents have enough money to help their daughter out. Others might not be so lucky since she slashed funding for a transition house for teen mothers. Their family unit seems strong. Cool. Of course, if her daughter had been raped or the victim of incest or just not ready to be a parent Mrs. Palin believes she shouldn't have the right to get an abortion.
Yes, these things happen. Even to conservative, Christian families. Actually it happens to them more often. The difference here is that they feel they need to tell me about how they are the ones with 'values'. They are more 'moral'. Gays? They shouldn't get the right to marry. But I better not point out the hypocrisy of their unwed pregnant daughter. Their daughter will apparently 'do the right thing and get married". But what if that isn't the right thing? I know I wasn't ready to be a parent at 18. I can only imagine the pressure they are putting on the kid who fathered this child. Does that seem like the 'right thing?'.
These people believe they should be allowed to set government policy based on their 'family values' and their creepy holy book.
I know, Obama is a faithhead too. I support him despite his religion, not because of it.
I'm having a hard time believing the McCain team is this stupid. It's an obvious attempt to grab some disaffected Clinton supporters. They'll be sure to ignore Palins pro-life stance just to get a woman into the White House. They'll ignore her lack of experience completely. They'll ignore the fact that McCain wants to overturn Roe v Wade, put their sons and daughters through a few more wars and another trillion of debt.
Or they won't. Broads are funny that way.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
If I had the political hack who came up with that question in front of me, I'd punch him in the throat. What the hell kind of question is that? It's a bullshit one is what it is. I heard this one the other day and I stopped to actually consider it, and for a monet, I was suprised at the answer.
For myself, I might have to say "Yes, my life is better in some ways than 8 years ago".
- I have a home.
- I own my own business and it is profitable.
- I own a vehicle that isn't at constant risk of falling apart.
And yet they get away with asking it. Look how the question is crafted. "Are YOU better off?".
It's almost clever. And it might work on some people. Dumb people, sure, but it might work. Joe Blow might just look at his life and say 'Hey, I have a wife and a kid now, I got a promotion and we live in a nice new house. Things ARE better for me now. I should vote to keep the status quo!".
The tactic might have worked if things weren't so monumentally fucked up now. Because even though I and others might be doing okay, most Americans aren't. I haven't had my job shipped overseas. I don't have a kid fighting in a pointless war. I can still afford gas and food. Does that mean my overall life is better?
But I can't really ask "Could my life be significantly better if someone else had been President for 8 years?" That's just wild speculation, isn't it? But if I may, hell yes I think my life would be much better, and so would the lives of many other people. Yes, it's hypothetical, but I don't think I'd lose much money of that bet.
The real question to ask (and the one the Republicans sure as hell aren't asking) is:
"Do you think the country is better off than 8 years ago?" I bet I know the answer to that question.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
This was a roller coaster ride. Pennsic was great, but it was camping for two weeks and for the first time, it was work. Sure, helping run Hell Nite and other events was like work, but my livelihood didn't depend on it. When we got back to Great lakes it rained the last weekend. And when we packed up? There just wasn't enough room for everything to go home. We have to go pick some of it up tomorrow.
We dropped off stock to Michigan Ren without incident, but we arrived at GenCon with a LOT of stuff supposedly "in the mail" to us. Most of it arrived. Then, my wallet went missing. We tore apart the room, which was the ONLY place it could be before I reluctantly called the credit card companies and bank to report the loss. It then proceeded to turn up 12 hours later in my wife's corset. When we got back home I learned that my bank did'nt cancel the most important check card. Swell job guys.
GenCon was a big hit sales-wise. We carried the new brass goggles, some steampunk airship academy t-shirts I designed, and some nifty gothic clothing from a company called Eternal Love. In fact, things went so well we were literally tripping over each other in our cramped space. I have bit the bullet and decided that next year we will get a double space. It's a big expense, but I think it will help us get seen.
Michigan did outstanding its opening day, and then went into the toilet the second. Weird.
And then there's the big news. Great Lakes is being shifted back one week next year. This means it will overlap the opening of Michigan AND GenCon. This is being done because the owner of Great Lakes isn't making much money on the 4th of July weekend. People are off doing family things. So he's decided to screw EVERYONE. There was no warning about this. Rossana only noticed it because she actually reads contracts and other documents. I am furious. I've been with this show for over 12 years but I am willing to just walk away if they do this. Screw them. My only major headache is that I JUST bought a fucking booth that I spend a good chunk of time cleaning up and painting. I think I can sell it but it would have been better if I had started that process during the season for exposure.
Pennsic could easily replace Great Lakes and I'd get 4 weeks of my life back. I don't want to give up Great Lakes, but I simply will NOT take their bullshit. It would be damn near impossible to have decent stock and staff for three events.
I'm glad to be home. I spent a few hours trying to put away all my tools and clean up my shop a little. Everything is a mess. My office, the garage, my shop even the yard still has traces of the party left over here and there.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
pick up and the weather today was awesome. So why am I worried? About
50 corsets are missing in transit from California. Also, some my
fabric sources have dried up this year.(thanks china)
Rossana and Lindsey are back in Ohio for the weekend leaving me
unsupervised. This means that I am free to stay in the booth for 11
hours or so, head back to camp, drink a glass of mead, and pass out.
I am a party animal.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
We did this last year and it somehow all worked out. Except that last year Pennsic was still my vacation.
I'm feeling bad because I won't be able to hang out in my home camp of Pentwyvern as much. It's changed a lot over the years, but I still consider it home. It is an old and comfortable pair of shoes. But working the show means I can't help as much with set up or other camp activities.
On the other hand I helped build our camps shower trailer, ran a chair making day at the house, helped design and build our awesome siege tower and helped create and run Hell Nite, our massive and very fun camp party.
I should feel fine about taking time off from camp stuff. But I don't. Then there's the fact that Pennsic last year was BRUTALLY hot. We are still in a war and the economy is in the shitter. I hear rumors about a 17% drop in attendance. Gas is $4 a gallon. People are stuggling just to get to the event. Will they buy?
On the up side, I will still be at Pennsic. This is where my friends are. It is still one of the coolest events around, and I have attended my fair share of events now. If you're at war and have a few minutes, feel free to stop by ther booth. I promise I won't try to sell you anything. (Although I can't promise you won't buy anything).
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Have a look.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
The big purchase was a new laptop. I have agonized over this for about a year ever since my Sotec's dvd drive died. Boot times were around 8 minutes. It was old, it was slow, but it was light. The new hotness? A Gateway. It's very fast. But it's got Vista. There are really very few things I see as an improvement with Vista. Really. It's kind of pretty, but it's also a bit awkward usability wise. I'll keep it around and try to figure it out.
It's got good battery life. I watched a movie that I rented from a very cool machine called Red Box at the Geneva grocery store. The cool things? Only $1 a night and it's basically a robot. I rented Batman: Gotham Knight and was a little underwhelmed with the movie.
The Great Lakes Faire enters its third weekend and we're looking at rain again. Joy. Then I have a week to prep for Pennsic. Will I be ready? Unlikely.
Friday, July 11, 2008
There is a strange juxtaposition of seeing a sith lord in a living room with collectible dolls. On the other hand, it shows that a lot of us are just normal people who live in normal places.
I am in no way ashamed of my nerdness. I never have been. Whether it was strolling through the mall in mediaval garb, attending a swanky fundraiser in my trek uniform or going to the moviesdressed as a pirate and/or vampire.
How drab, how dull to live out ones life wearing the uniform our society and culture has stated is 'proper' and 'right'.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
I want to thank everyone for coming over and bringing such great food. It was great to see some friends that I haven't seen in quite a while.
Just before the party my Dad came for his annual visit. This was canceled last year when he broke his neck in an accident. I am happy to report that he again rode him Honda PC800 down from Boston without too much trouble. Grimm was also in town building a trailer for Pennsic and even Ander came by to work on a camp chair.
No rest for the wicked though. It was off to Columbus for Origins Gaming convention (during which Wellington got a metric ASSLOAD of rain. Our house was fine but there are signs of the storm all around.
Back at home we only had a short rest before heading out to Geneva to prepare for the Great Lakes Medieval Faire. It was a frenzied 2 days of painting, cleaning, planting and more. Our new booth now has a proper changing room, a real storage area and a fresh coat of paint. All in all, it looks remarkably the same. This was a rather disappointing realization, but everything behind the scenes is in much better shape now.
The show opens this weekend and there a lot of activity on the site. Apparently Larry, the owner of the show bought out a lot of equipment from the now defunct Geuoga Lake amusement park. There was even a rumor he was building a roller coaster (Thanks god that wasn't true.) We didn't have time to look around, maybe tomorrow when we start setting up and primping the booth.
Monday, June 16, 2008
So what does he do? He mails them back to us in the US! Not content with bubble plastic he also bought a case for them just to make sure they arrived safe and sound along with a CD of images he took in Egypt a few years ago where we met him. Germany (and those that reside within its borders) rock.
Albert, you're the man!
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Well, this morning what do I see on boingboing.net but a pic of Thomas' sweetie at a very cool Steampunk event in London called White Mischief adorned with these selfsame brass goggles and a link to the almost non-existent site.
I hit the keyboard and did what I could to get all the assorted steampunk items we've been working on onto the site.
Feel free to go and take a look. The look of the site is minimalistic, this is not so much an artistic choice and a necessity due to a lack of time. I'll go back and start gussying it up this week.
Friday, June 06, 2008
So on a whim I went to both the Democrat and Republican websites. If you have a moment, you should visit them for yourself.
The Democrat site features a happy and smiling Barack Obama, with links to joining the campaign and get email newsletters. There's news, policy links etc.
Now go check the RNC website. Oddly, it doesn't currently have ONE picture of John McCain. Maybe this is because he isn't the 'official' nominee yet. I would understand that. The are however at least SEVEN pictures of Obama. Each one is as unflattering as they can use (without resorting to darkening his skin like O.J. Simpson or putting a kafiyya on his head in photoshop). Each picture is accompanied my snide jabs, accusations, innuendo and claims of democratic party disunity.
While the Dem site lists news articles about the democratic party, Obama and links to getting involved (with some links to McCain policies and history) the RNC site is ALL about what's wrong with Obama. Not the democrats, JUST Obama. He flip flops, he knows a guy who did something illegal, his promise to limit lobbyist money has loopholes, he has bad judgment. There's even a counter showing how long its been since Obama went to Iraq. Because if he went to Iraq, everything would be better. Right? There's also a link to find and contact local talk radio stations so that you can spread the word to other fearful whites about the scary black man who will rape your women and OHNOEZZ HEEZ A MUZLIM!!!
Wow. The whole site is just plain bitter.
It's not just the content of the site, as a web developer the RNC seems to be going out of their way to make the site super serious. Deep red indicating danger. Want information? You must register with the site. While the Dem site has a subtle 'Contribute' button the RNC demands "Help elect a Republican President and congress. Support the RNC! DONATE TODAY!". Do it now!! The liberal hordes are at the gate to take our guns and institute communism!
This is the first time I have visited either site this year. I'm curious to see how they both evolve during the election season. So far McCain isn't winning any awards for originality by copying Obama's slogan. And with his record of voting pretty consistently with Bush it will be hard to declare himself a maverick or a reformer.
For extra credit I also visited the Libertarian site. It's simpler, but I like their slogan "The Party of Principle" and the Green party. It's very - green.
Am I crazy here? Tell me what you think in the comments.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
We are planning on setting up the archery range as well as playing Frisbee hack. I might set up a croquet pitch as well. We will supply basic meats and drinks, please bring supplemental food, side dishes and maybe a dessert (cough*pie*cough) . I hope to have the custard machine again thanks to Lindsey.
It's possible that there will be a rack of corsets (some of them made with our amazing new exclusive materials) set up in the garage, but the would merely be a coincidence.
Want to fish? Sure thing. We may even have the remote control Pirate ships available. Want to slack off? Try the hammock.
Need crash space? Contact us ASAP. In house room is usually limited though tent space is plentiful.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I don't know how they got in and it doesn't appear that they have done any other damage. The page is safe to view, I've checked all the HTML. As a precaution I'll be changing some passwords etc.
Please don't think that I hate Sen. Clinton. I do not. She seems to be a competent Senator and genuinely seeks to do all she can to help America. My initial nervousness at the Democrats two main contenders being a woman and a black was more than overcome by my pride that we in fact did such a thing and that they were both worthy of the chance. I don't believe we'll be seeing a woman or a black presidential candidate coming out of the Republican party any century soon.
And so the fight was on. And as the end drew nigh something very weird happened. When Michigan and Florida were punished for breaking the rules and holding early primaries her people flipped out. And when Clinton didn't get all the delegates from a state where Obama's name wasn't on the ballot and she agree'd not to count, she and her supporters somehow came to believe that a vast DNC conspiracy was afoot. People were being disenfranchised, theri VOTE wasn't being counted. And EVERY VOTE was somehow crucial to the survival of America.
This wasn't Obama's fault.
It wasn't the DNC's fault.
The state Democratic committee's did this. It's their fault. There are rules. You were TOLD the consequences of breaking the rules. You did it anyways. And when the Rules committee decided to seat their delegates but punnish them for breaking the rules, you would have thought that we were sicking dogs and firehoses on Hillary's supporters. Some actually compared the act to slavery.
She started repeating, at every opportunity, that she was getting the most votes. Of course, you had to jump through a lot of hoops to get her numbers, but that doesn't matter because that isn't how the primaries work. It isn't a straight popularity contest. Then the Hillary supporters turned on the media. But the media has been responsible for keeping the appearence of a real race alive for months when it was clear to most that Hillary wasn't going to win. They fought to keep the race alive for the sake of ratings.
Then came the charges of sexism. Sexism? Then it became about her 'electability'.
And when the end came did she concede graciously and make the case for party unity? No. And her most ardent supporters started screaming about fighting all the way to Denver and even voting for McCain rather than Obama.
Why would you do that? What good would that serve? How would that support the agenda and ideals espoused by Ms Clinton?
And the hate coming off these people, you can almost see it. They HATE Obama, for a multitude of reasons that sound only slightly more crazy than the 'He's a Muslim who hates America because he doesn't wear a pin' stories. They are furious because they believe we will loose the general election, all because the DNC and Howard Dean have somehow calluded to shove Obama down the Democratic parties throat. But what about all the superdelegates? Were they merely puppets? And the elections where he won? He must have some support. But to hear these people talk those people are mindless sheep and Obama some kind of cult leader who will kill us all.
I understand being devoted to a candidate, but this is getting ugly. There was a time when people talked about the 'Dream Ticket' of Obama and Clinton. And on the surface it sounds like a great idea for unifying the party. But now? Not so much. I don't think it would work.
Am I biased? Maybe. But it seems to me that Barrak has consistently taken the high road during this process. Even tonight during his speach, where Cinton gave him two lines and then talked about herself and her agenda. Barrak praised her in the highest terms and did not seem to take any jabs at her at all, instead calling for unity. Clintons speech sounded like a campaign speech. In places she took swipes at Obama, although these were couched politely and in general terms. And despite loosing the primary, she said she'd hold off on deciding what to do. What to do? Do what any 1st grader would do. Shake hands with the winner and learn from your mistakes. Work towards winning for the good of everyone, not just YOUR personal cheering section. Hillary is working towards being the new Ralph Nader here. A good person who blows it for everyone just so they can prove a point.