Blargh! I am dead!|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
[ << Previous 20 ]
[ << Previous 20 ]
|Wednesday, May 14th, 2014|
|Sunday, February 16th, 2014|
We've got a laptop and a (spotty) Internet connection in the apartment now! Hopefully I'll now be able to post a little more often than...what has it been, once every two months?
|Sunday, November 24th, 2013|
Another friend dropped out of Facebook. That's kind of a shame, since she was a sweetheart. Oh, well.
|Friday, September 27th, 2013|
|Been a while, yeah?
So I'm still in Daytona Beach with my mom. We're getting along OK. I had a job for about a month, but they discovered they didn't have enough people to train new people, so they had to let me go.
|Tuesday, April 9th, 2013|
|Tuesday, February 26th, 2013|
Still here. Derp-derp-derp.
|Sunday, May 6th, 2012|
|Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012|
Moving to Florida. Possibly a bad idea? Can't seem to cope with things here. Or...write coherently. Sorry.
|Thursday, June 30th, 2011|
Somebody stole my compost bin. WTF?
|Monday, June 27th, 2011|
Haven't posted in a while. Um...does anybody have tricks for peeling small, lumpy potatoes? Because that's what I've allowed to bother me lately.
|Tuesday, May 24th, 2011|
|Wednesday, May 11th, 2011|
|Wednesday, March 30th, 2011|
Just embarrassed myself on Usenet again. Simple, incredibly stupid mistake. Somebody was going on about how his super-secret-stealth-spaceship was supposed to work, and I forgot that while insulation doesn't ultimately stop
heat from escaping...it slows the process down considerably. So yes, in fact it could
be blazing hot inside the ship -- relative to the infinite, eternal depths of space, at least -- but the insulation would only let the heat out little by little. You might sneak past somebody's IR sensors, or telescopes, or whatever.
Of course, then I had to go and point out that his additional heat-shedding mechanism -- "just shunt the heat into water and spray the water vapor all over space" -- wasn't really a good idea, if the goal is Not to Be Seen. That's essentially what a comet does, and we can see those suckers with the naked eye. And the "super insulation" method only works for internal sources of heat; if you're any closer to the Sun than Neptune, the Sun itself will heat up your spaceship. But by the time I hit the "Reply" button, four people had raised those objection already. So now I just feel like a loser. Waaaaah!
|Monday, March 7th, 2011|
So apparently both Jason de Rulo and Elton John are holding concerts in La Crosse. I wish I had $80 to spare for Sir Elton, but with my luck I'd just be working that night anyway. Um...though apparently not at my friend's workplace, who just sent a rejection e-mail. Oh, boo.
|Friday, March 4th, 2011|
The right-wing media has at last brought its guns to bear on Wisconsin, labeling peaceful protesters from all walks of life as "thugs" and "slobs" engaged in a "riot". The left-wing media, as usual, has entrusted its hard-hitting coverage to comedians. So here I am again.
Walker finally unveiled his budget-for-real this Tuesday. Sadly, nobody will cover it because the media are all focused on the unscheduled vacation our Democratic senators took. Republican senators -- and Assembly members, of course -- are taking belated action, passing new resolutions about every other day. So far, the only practical measures have been to withhold the Democrats' paychecks, issue them daily fines, and harass their staff. Walker himself threatens mass layoffs each week, though he never follows through; the "deadline" is always pushed back over the weekend. Since the budget doesn't actually have to be passed until May, the governor could easily continue this farce for another seven weeks.
As for the budget itself... It should come as no surprise to anyone that Walker plans to solve our budget probems by cutting funding to education, from kindergarten straight through to college. Ironically -- given the Republican party's supposed concern for the working class -- technical colleges are taking the biggest cuts. The total cuts amount to $1.2 billion...though curiously, private schools are actually recieving increased
aid. Medicaid spending has been cut by $500 million, but funding for highways has been increased by the same amount. Cost-cutting "early parole" measures for prisons have been eliminated, as have all recycling subsidies, and the requirement for insurance companies to cover birth control. There is also talk about cutting "state spending to local government" by $1.3 billion -- police and fire departments are included, but that figure might also include the cuts to schools. The rest of the budget is based on either cutting or freezing local taxes.
The education cuts are a particular concern for my city, La Crosse, since the city's whole economy rests on our three college campuses (and the 50-some bars which serve them). Several senators -- including my district's Dan Kapanke -- now have a nasty dilemma, since they got into office by promising to protect schools.
Recall petitions are now being circulated against 5 of the 14 Democrat senators, and 8 of their 19 Republican colleagues. Curiously, that's a larger fraction for the Republicans than the Democrats, though the Democrats aren't exactly rejoicing over it. Attorneys-general around th state are chiming in, suggesting that Walker's budget bill is probably unconstitutional.
|Thursday, February 24th, 2011|
I apologize for the profanity, but the library's just gotten it back and I am excited. I had almost forgotten it existed!
For future reference, it looks like Shakespeare's remaining plays are:
- Twelfth Night
- Much Ado About Nothing
- Love's Labor's Lost
- King John
- Richard II
- Henry IV
- The Merry Wives of Windsor
- Henry V
- Henry VI
- Richard III
- All's Well that Ends Well
- As You Like It
- Measure for Measure
- The Merchant of Venice
- The Taming of the Shrew
- Two Gentlemen of Verona
- Henry VIII
- Two Noble Kinsmen*
* Not too sure about this one. It sounds like it's either another Classical play, or just completely divorced from place and time. Also, my library doesn't have it.
|Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011|
|Wisconsin in the news
For the first time since the Jurassic, Wisconsin is in the national news. Unfortunately, since the traditional media are either shallow or shills, a lot of Americans are confused about what's going on up here. Here's the local perspective; I'll try to be as objective as I can, but saying that certain people are better human beings than they are is neither fair nor balanced. I do, however, apologize for the length: I just can't describe this mess adequately in fewer words.
The story begins in the 1950s, when Wisconsin granted state employees the right to unionize and "collectively bargain" for wages, hours, and benefits. (You may have heard that phrase being bandied about in the news, instead of the U-word.) This policy has been unchallenged for half a century, despite conservative movements to weaken unions.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin's deficit ballooned over the administrations of our last two governors, Tommy Thompson and Jim Doyle. Our Medicare program is unsustainable, our tax system is impossible, we somehow owe Minnesota $60 million, and Doyle's attempt to balance the budget via illegal measures has actually put us further in debt, to the tune of $200 million in compensation.
As of 2012, Wisconsin's budget will be something like -$3 billion, plus or minus a few million depending on whose estimates you trust. Until recently, the shortfall was made up in federal aid, and ignored by the public because of Wisconsin's relatively prosperous economy and high employment rate. The Bush-era recession put paid to all that. (Please excuse the pun.)
Enter Scott Walker. Last year, he campaigned for governor -- and won -- on the Tea Party ticket. To be fair, he's living up to his campaign promises, to the letter. But this being the apolitical Midwest, nobody was paying attention, and now the voters are having a rude awakening. His term began in January, and he immediately proceeded to reward his supporters with appointments, permits, no-bid contracts, and project cancellations. He then claimed all legislative power for himself: the state congress, now with a Tea Party majority, has agreed to rubber-stamp any bills he proposes.
Back to the -$3 billion. Governor Walker has never given a detailed budget plan, despite repeated promises to do so. Instead, he has given Congress an "emergency budget repair bill", which (among other things) eliminates state workers' right to unionize. Teacher's unions tend to be the focus of discussion -- since Republicans have targeted education for at least as long as I've been alive -- but the bill applies across the board. Prison guards. EMT workers. Curiously, not police and fire departments...who just happened to be among Walker's strongest supporters in the election campaign.
When it became obvious that the Republicans in Congress would pass this bill without bothering about discussion -- indeed, without bothering to inform their Democrat colleagues of when sessions were actually being held -- the Democrats fled to Illinois in order to deny them a quorum. (It is not clear how long the Democrats can keep this up.) At the same time, Walker announced that he would mobilize the National Guard against any state workers who tried to strike, stage walk-outs, or otherwise interfere with the business of the state.
Which events, in their turn, led to tens of thousands of people besieging Wisconsin's major cities...all four of them. The protests have been going on, 24-7, since the 17th; many government workers are taking personal days in order to join in. (Again, teachers are put into the middle of the controversy, and demonized as "skipping work" and "whining for more money again". This despite the facts that: most of the protesters aren't teachers, the dispute is centered on rights rather than money, and state workers are just as entitled to their personal days as anyone else.) Petitions to impeach or recall Walker are already being floated about, even though according to Wisconsin law, an elected official is immune from such measures for one full year.
There are two ironies in the current situation, which I think are worth noting. The first is that the unions have preemptively agreed to any cost-cutting measures Walker will levy against them, as long as he doesn't revoke their union rights. Walker said no. Then a Republican congressman asked him to just deny the unions their rights temporarily, say for two or three years. And Walker said no. He has stated -- publicly, repeatedly, and categorically -- that he refuses to compromise on anything, to whatever degree. Even if his own cronies beg him to do so.
But the most delicious irony is that, when the "emergency bill" passes -- when, not if, thanks to our gutless Republicans -- it will only save $300 million, even at the most generous estimate. I remind you, Gentle Reader, that the deficit is $3 billion: after His Majesty puts forth his best effort...one that may well get him booted out early, and will almost certainly cost him the next election...we'll still have $2,700,000,000 to go.
|Monday, February 21st, 2011|
|Back to Shakespeare
Having read the "Song of the Sword" collection by Moorcock at Connie's urgent behest, I'm returning to Shakespeare's plays. The idea is to read them in the chronological order of their settings, rather than when they were written, but it's becoming a hard ideal to follow. Both The Winter's Tale
and The Comedy of Errors
are set in Ancient Greece, and refer to Greek place-names, oracles and deities...but historical accuracy was never Shakespeare's goal, and these two plays seemed especially rife with anachronisms and errors. (Bohemia, for example, does not have a coastline.) To add injury to insult, Tale
is just bizarre, full of random bears and pointless witchcraft: even the characters are confused by the plot. Comedy
is much more coherent, but it's still a story of mistaken identities, and as such I find it hard to suspend disbelief. We've got two separate sets of twins, living in different countries and with very different degrees of wealth...couldn't they just be identified by the fasion of their clothing?
Since I dearly hope that this ends the "Classical" plays, I'm moving on to those set in the Dark and Middle Ages. (Save Hamlet
, which of course I've already read.) King Lear
comes first in the sequence -- as far as I can tell -- and it's easily the bleakest of the Bard's works so far. The ending of Romeo and Juliet
has nothing on Lear
comes next, although King Cymbeline himself is a non-entity until the last scene of the play, when he stupidly decides to pay tribute to the very Romans he's defeated. I suppose I'll tackle the Richards-and-Henrys next, with a slight break for The Merry Wives of Windsor
. And then...maybe the plays set in Renaissance Italy? Though by then, I'll probably be too exhausted with Shakespeare to take him up again until autumn.
|Wednesday, January 12th, 2011|
|Tuesday, January 4th, 2011|
My dreams have been unusually imitative this week. Talk to Terasa on the phone? Bam, she's in my dream! Play a game of Starcraft
? Bam, dreams swarming with aliens! Knock some icicles off the roof? Bam, I'm knocking huge dream
icicles off the roof! It puts me off-balance.