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Journal: A mild rant 7

Journal by mcgrew

I've been listening to KSHE since the day they changed format in 1967. They play some great rock and roll.

They're a hundred miles away; Im in the fringe reception area so I listen online. So a few days ago I'm editing random Scribblings and the music stops. I curse Firefox and Flash and ComCast and pull the browser up to refresh the page that plays the music, and I see "Still listening?"

Well, no, YOU SHUT OFF THE MUSIC! WTF, if I wasn't listening I wouldn't have it running!

I do see why they started that, though: $$$. They have to pay the RIAA and ASCAP fees, which vary according to how many people are listening, and they don't want to pay for someone who isn't.

Still, it's annoyance.

User Journal

Journal: Three Irons Burning: Progress Report 2

Journal by mcgrew

When I was in college, I often took workshops in the summer. Two weeks of eight hour days equaled a normal class for a quarter. It would allow me a couple months vacation.

One was a blacksmithing workshop, where I learned to fashion stuff out of steel, learned a little metallurgy, and learned where a lot of the "old sayings" came from: blacksmithing. One is "too many irons in the fire", which is where this journal's title comes from. I'm working on three books right now.

Mars,Ho! is in its final editing stages, and I hope I'll be able to publish it next week; fingers crossed.

Next up is Random Scribblings, a collection of stuff I've posted on the internet since 1997; what I consider the best of what I can remember and find. It's also in the editing stage, but there's a lot more work to be done. it's huge, well over 100,000 words.

Then there's Mars Bars, a collection of short science fiction stories. It's in the beginning stages, with seven stories written so far and Voyage to Earth about half a novelette, at a little over 3000 words so far. I still don't know how long that story will be, or what other stories I'll come up with when it's written.

I'll probably post Fourteen: The Final Chapter a week from Thursday. I'll have a rant about my favorite radio station tomorrow or Monday.

User Journal

Journal: Interface

Journal by mcgrew

I plan on trying the suggested browsers, but thought I'd revisit Opera first. It dawned on me that changing browsers is going to be a big PIA, since Firefox holds a bunch of passwords.

It's been at least a decade since I've tried Opera; it was brand new when I last tried it. So I installed the latest one. The result was...

Who designed this gawdoffal mess? Look, folks, I'm all for hiring the handicapped, but you shouldn't have the learning-disabled designing interfaces. Look, folks, it shouldn't take five damned clicks to get to a bookmark. And what idiot had the idea to have each bookmark take up a square inch or two, with stupid illustrations?

I haven't uninstalled it yet, maybe there's a way to make the interface less idiotic (Firefox does), but I'm not hopeful.

Saturday morning I started working and just wasn't in the mood; I needed a weekend off. I probably wrote a paragraph in "Voyage to Earth". So I did a little random googling and ran across the fact that Windows lets you easily catch and save an audio stream, but it's disabled by default.

I'd been using EAC to sample my LPs and tapes for years, but it will only run on the XP tower. Someone clued me to Audacity a few years ago; it's been installed but unused.

I fired it up to see if I could indeed catch streams, and it does indeed.

And unlike EAC or Opera, it has an excellent interface and its manual is actually useful! I love that program! There are a ton of advanced features I'll probably never use, but it's good that they're there.

Sunday night I copped ACDC's new album, a Deep Purple "best of", and the Grateful Dead's "Skullfuck" album from KSHE's "Seventh Day" show. I guess I need some blank CDs for the car...

User Journal

Journal: Where were we? 11

Journal by Captain Splendid

Ah yes, we've just completed the boring off-year political cycle, which means it's time for the billion dollar roller coaster ride that is the quadrennial US presidential contest.

Except that, thanks to the right-wing retards, all the excitement has been well and truly drained out of what used to be one of my favourite pastimes. Their race to the bottom, still unchecked, means that Hillary Rodham Clinton is your next Oval Office Occupant. How the fuck am I supposed to enjoy the ups and downs of what used to be way more of an "Any Given Sunday" situation when the results are so predictable?

"Bu...but...but", I hear you say.

Oh fine, I'll humour your delusional asses.

HILLARY CAN BE PRIMARIED FROM THE LEFT. "It happened before! Liberals aren't fond of hawks!" And who the fuck is gonna primary her? Biden? Warren? Cuomo? Don't make me laugh.

A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN 2 YEARS! Sure it can. But apart form the fact that that argument cuts all kinds of ways and is thus useless, the "something" that's going to need to happen for HRC not to be elected Prez is going to have to be Extinction-Level Event sized. You go ahead and count your black swans before they hatch, see what that gets you.

PEOPLE JUST DON'T LIKE HER. Well yeah, if you're Railgunner. Meanwhile, to ordinary people, she's just a high-visibility politician.

YEAH BUT $REPUBLICAN CONTENDER CAN TAKE HER! Really? Let's see who's currently in the lineup:

Rick Perry: Either he's burnishing his stock to improve his post-political career earnings, or one of his advisers thinks they've ironed out all those glitches that made him a laughingstock even to members of his own party. The only way he makes it past Super Tuesday is because he has a nice smile.

Scott Walker: The stunning thing about the Wisconsin Governor is that he's somehow managed to convince donors that winning over white people in a medium-size state as well as surviving a recall election makes him both unstoppable on the way to the White House, and secretly the most amazing potential president EVAR. I really hope he does run, watching the 'electability' bloom come off that rose will be fun to read about.

Jeb Bush: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. The base won't even touch him with a ten foot pole, and the general electorate, faced with two different versions of recycled crap, will always vote for the one they remember more fondly.

Chris Christie: Oooooh, a Republican even Democrats could vote for! Yeah, maybe 10 or 20 years ago. Anyway, forgetting the millions of problems that would hound a Christie run, I suspect his biggest will be he doesn't' have the stomach or the endurance to really go the distance. In fact, I think he's also smart enough to know not to run, which is sad, because he'd be the only one with any moderate cred, and non-crazy Republicans are already feeling pretty unloved these days.

Rand Paul: Never thought I'd see the day when a presidential candidate came along that would make Ron Paul look sane. I guess crazy is contagious.

Ted Cruz: Let's pretend for a minute that Ted isn't the poster child for everything that's wrong about the GOP these days, the US electorate will never overwhelmingly vote for a Canadian with a whiny voice.

Paul Ryan: Remember Sarah Palin? You don't? There you go.

Marco Rubio: Theoretically, he's almost perfect. And in a non-insane world, he would be the man to beat this cycle. And even then, a disciplined Clinton machine could still keep him 5 points away.

Someone wake me for 2024. maybe things will get interesting again.

User Journal

Journal: WTF, Firefox??? 7

Journal by mcgrew

As usual when I boot on Patch Tuesday, I open a bunch of tabs, the notebook slows to a crawl, and this time it was locked up so tight that Windows gave a message saying it couldn't display the message and to use the power button. I had to pull the battery to reboot the damned thing.

So I start Firefox back up and it says it's updating. It finally opens, with an extra tab, one telling me that it changed my default search to Yahoo.

WHAT THE GOD DAMNED HELL, FIREFOX??? This is bullshit! If I wanted that God damned Yahoo, an even worse search engine than Bing, I would have chosen it.

Yahoo, when your product is so shitty you have to trick people into using it... fucking morons!

There used to be a drop down by the search box; it's gone now. I tried tools->options; that's where it is now. Non nerds would give up.

Pissing off your users is NOT the way to get more of them. Anybody have any suggestions for a less annoying browser?

Also, I need to dig out that kubuntu CD and load it on a thumb drive; I'm damned sick and tired of Microsoft's patch Tuesday.

Excuse me while I reboot. Again.

User Journal

Journal: DB Cooper lives? 1

Journal by tqft

Sorry for the clickbait. Just a write up from a book coming out soon.

I think I just like how the story won't die.

http://dailyreview.crikey.com.au/rundle-the-43-year-old-legend-of-d-b-cooper/16590?utm_source=The+Rundown&utm_campaign=503d1bd720-The_Rundown_Tuesday_2_December2_12_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_33b9e8bf4f-503d1bd720-81103281

User Journal

Journal: This is a first 5

Journal by mcgrew

Mod points both here and s/n at the same time. And here I'm working on three books!

There's Mars, Ho! which I'm hopeful I'll publish soon.

Then there's Random Scribblings, a collection of articles and stuff I've posted on the internet since 1997. Its subtitle will be "junk I've littered the internet with". Even though there's probably less than 10% of what I've written it's huge, well over 100,000 words. It will probably grow a little, because I just found six articles I thought had been lost forever.

This is kind of related; much stuff from my old Quake site is there. Someone once asked if I could re-post the shoutcasts, but there's too much RIAA music in them and they would surely be quickly taken down, so if you want them, email me and I'll send them as attachments.

Finally there's MarsBars, a collection of short science fiction stories. I worked on Voyage to Earth some yesterday. That book is less than 20% done.

I've been working harder than I worked when I still worked. So I'm glad I got all those mod points, I needed a break.

User Journal

Journal: Crappy Holidays 5

Journal by mcgrew

Thanksgiving morning I was ready to pick up my daughter and visit our family a hundred miles south in St. Louis.

My keys weren't in my pocket. An hour later I gave up looking and called all concerned with the sad news; no Thanksgiving for me this year; I was stuck in my house.

I found them Saturday.

I'd ordered a copy of Mars,Ho!, hopefully the final pre-print, on Monday before Thanksgiving. I expected it to ship Saturday, but it still hasn't shipped. So I doubt I'll have it published by Christmas, let alone soon enough for it to be gifts.

Sorry, guys.

User Journal

Journal: I'm dreaming of a secular Christmas 1

Journal by mcgrew

I'm dreaming of a secular Christmas
In these modern secular days
With a secular tree with secular lights
And a Santa in a secular sleigh

I'm dreaming of a secular Christmas
With lots of secular snow
With a secular wreath and some secular lights
And some secular mistletoe

No baby in a manger
No wise men at his bed
No thought of Jesus Christ at all
Just get him out of your head

I'm dreaming of a secular Christmas
With lots of secular snow
With a secular Santa in a secular sleigh
And a secular HO HO HO!

No baby in a manger
No wise men at his bed
No thought of Jesus Christ at all
Just get him out of your head

I'm dreaming of a secular Christmas
Have a Happy Holiday!
Don't forget the secular eggnog
Just forget just whose birthday...

---

The above is of course sarcasm, but I think that ironically, antitheists might embrace it.

I am offended by the Honda commercials, where toys given to adults when they were children as "holiday gifts" are attempting to sell cars.

There are no "holiday gifts". Only Hebrews and Christians; it's Hanukkah gifts and Christmas presents. and only 1.8% of Americans are Jewish. Damned Japanese! Then I had a second thought -- is there a Japanese holiday where gifts are exchanged?

It turns out that there is a Japanese holiday, this year on the last day of Hanukkah. It's the Emperor's birthday, but gifts are not exchanged; the emperor's palace is open to the public on that day.

Honda ad agency people, you are idiots. 1.8% of Americans are Jewish, 77% identify themselves as Christian. Guess what, morons? You just offended half the Christians in the US while trying to not disenfranchise the less than two percent who are Jewish.

If you're trying to use Christians' second most holy day to further your worship of mammon, you better damned well mention Christ, or risk pissing off half the population.

User Journal

Journal: I guess that's where we are 12

Journal by Bill Dog

So I'm waiting in the Wendy's drive-thru after work tonight, and there's an ad on the radio I guess from the BSA. It said software piracy is not only wrong, it's illegal.

Doesn't "not only x, but also y" mean "as if x wasn't bad enough, there's also y"? When you use that rhetorical structure, aren't you going in increasing badness about something? Saving the worst for last, for the most dramatic effect and hopefully to seal the persuasion deal?

So now something being against the law carries more convincing force than something being wrong. I guess the needles of the moral compasses of most these days spin wildly instead of track steady. And without the force of government we'd be ethically lost.

Reminds of seeing on Cops a few weeks ago, teen gets arrested for taking a gun to an argument, luckily the cops stop things before anyone gets hurt, and dad is at the station talking to the young lad, very disappointed, and says son, don't you know you could get tried as an adult for killing someone? WTF? Because that's worse than ending another human being's life?!? That's why you shouldn't murder people?!?

p.s. Also heard on the radio tonight some announcer pronounce the TLD of that web site as oh arr gee. Made me think, I want a .OMG site!

User Journal

Journal: x is bad for x? (Continuation) 3

Journal by Bill Dog

Rights are distributive (with our Freedom of Association).

A x C + B x C = (A + B) x C

A = me
B = you
C = the right of Free Speech, in this example

Us speaking together is the same as you and I speaking separately, as far as the government should be concerned. To remove the C factor from the rhs, is to also remove it from the left.

An AC posted to my last JE, a kind of user I don't normally read posts from, but I was convinced he is someone who is on my Friends list. Because my response got long, and by posting AC he might not see it and notice the opportunity to say how I'm wrong about something, I've just made a new JE out of it.

If an entity doesn't get to vote in the ballot, that entity has no business influencing votes.

But the entities we're talking about here are not some kind of disembodied mysteries. They're us. It's a violation of my rights to have to shut up because I formed a business with someone or joined a union or a church or whatever. I as a legal citizen of the U.S. have the God-given right to free speech, of which political speech is especially "sacred" (in a democracy), no matter my associations.

Okay, that is, except in the capacity of an agent of the government. Our rights (are designed to) protect us from government, so if you take a job with the government, that's voluntary, and you don't have free speech on the job. So cops can't proselytize while they're writing you a ticket, and teachers, well, shouldn't be allowed to brainwash kids with their Leftist garbage. But if I want to run a grocery store where the check-out people try to convert you, or tell you who to vote for, that's my right. (And then you can decide whether to shop there or not.)

I'm okay with politicians being beholden to corporations. Or unions. Or environmental groups. Or the NRA. Or the Mormon Church (I'm not Mormon). As long as that makes them also aligned with their constituents. And if it's not, then bad on the voters. How can we expect accountability for politicians when we won't hold ourselves accountable?

A politician comes into office with (hopefully) some dead-set beliefs, and some that they haven't gotten all the information on yet and are potentially swayable (or are issues they just don't care about either way). The most concerned about an issue raise it with their representative, and attempt to persuade him/her. Those that aren't really concerned about an issue, don't. So the politician decides based on which side of the issue seems the most important to his/her constituents.

Lobbying is pure, wholesome Americana. You can pay someone to do it, or do it yourself(s). On an FNC special one weekend during one of the more recent times the EPA or whatever was trying to make life hard for a rancher, members of the family flew to D.C. to speak to someone to state their case. I personally think it's ridiculous that they couldn't get time while their rep was in town, and that legislators should be part-timers somehow, but I haven't thought that completely through and it's a separate issue.

But special interests, despite thinking certain ones are okay and others are not, is what we all are, and is not a reason to shut people up in violation of their rights. I for example am a walking set of special interests like, as a male I would like to see equality in reproductive rights among others, as a programmer I want the importation of competing slave labor stopped, etc. If I form a software business with some people, I would want those who would apply progressively more and more costly regulations on that venture with my life's savings at risk to not be elected. Denying me free speech, in whichever of my private capacities I'm engaging in, is immoral.

Without knowing the person, if someone says free speech is okay only except for corporations, to me that's not so much a position on speech as it is on corporations. If someone thinks corporations are evil and therefore should be excluded from x (among others), well, to me that's not a reason. I don't like the vast millions that the unions donate or that George Soros' various front groups donate, but I believe they have the right.

p.s. On a much less serious note, in case anyone reading this missed it, a couple of funnies (well of course I think the first one was funny): http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=6180957&cid=48459463

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