Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Self-Destruction of the Conservative Party

They certainly make a hash of things
As a general rule I try to write about Canadian politics when I can.  Since I spend a rather inordinate amount of poli-blogging time talking about American (and, increasingly, British) politics, forcing myself to think about the less-scandalous politics closer to home usually involves abstract musings on electoral math.

Lately, though, it hasn't been much of a challenge - a series of municipal, provincial, and federal miscalculations have injected plenty of "salt" into the usually bland repast of Canadian politics.

As a primer, since a goodly portion of my reader-base is actually American (a function of my net-presence on other media, more than anything else, I am sure), I should explain a truism of Canadian politics. As a general rule, any government we have will be at least one shade further to the social and economic right than actually reflects the view of the people. To a certain extent, this can be traced with problems in "getting out the vote", but the primary problem is that we have one right wing party, and many centre-left and fully-left parties. I know from experience that finding the right centre-left party to reflect my ideals is hard, especially since even the right-wing party plays hard toward the centre in an election year. The practical effect of this is that liberal and centrist votes get split among two major parties and a few minor parties, while the right-wing vote is consolidated in a single party.

The last few rounds of elections at federal, provincial, and municipal levels has done a pretty good job of pinning that idea down from hypothesis to Theory.

At the Federal level, we took a minority government headed by the CPC and Prime Minister Stephen Harper and turned it into a CPC majority with the same head. We've lived under CPC rule my entire adult life and for most of my time in high school, now. The senate (which is not elected, but stuffed with political appointees) has been filled with its own more-or-less-permanent conservative majority, meaning that anything the opposition manages to do by banding together (or future Liberal or New Democrat majorities) in the next handful of decades can be blocked by a senate Canadians by and large can't do a whole lot about. Unlike Governors General, who are unelected but at least have the good sense not to intervene in politics despite their role, the senate pocket-vetos things all the time.

Lots of people, particularly people raised in my generation, who went through public school with a fairly heavy steeping in our nation's political structure, have been lobbying for an elected or abolished senate - a generalized movement called Senate Reform. Personally, I couldn't tell you enough about the merits of bicameral democracy to tell you why we should keep the senate, so I'm not totally comfortable yet with the idea of saying we should abolish it wholesale. This lobbying has taken on a new fervour lately with the explosive rise of two senators in particular into page-top headlines for the last few weeks.

Firstly, we have Senator Patrick Brazeau, who is an independent after having been forced out of the Conservative Caucus. Why did he fall out of favour? In addition to being up on charges regarding sexual assault - a pretty serious crime in its own right and certainly the greater concern when dealing with his specific case - he's been embroiled in a senate living expenses controversy.

Since Senators have to spend a rather large amount of time in the capitol to conduct the business for which they are paid, they often live far away from their hometowns and nominal districts - having a district is pretty meaningless when you aren't answerable to the people who live in it - and they're able to claim their residences there as their primary residence. So long as they meet some fairly lax criteria, if these Primary Residences qualify, the senator may then claim his living expenses in Ottawa for reimbursement-in-full.

Brazeau joins Senator Mike Duffy, both in being exiled from the CPC for having his hands in the controversy, and for having been ordered by an independent audit of senate finances to repay $90,000 in living expenses.

Which he did with a cheque written to him by the Chief of Staff for the Prime Minister's Office, who had to resign in the exploding scandal. And this is just the political reality at the federal level. Have you heard about the video going around that purports Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is on film smoking crack cocaine? How about how sophmoric Ford and his brother's responses to the issue have been?

Just because they pitched precisely the same hissyfit I would have doesn't mean they're pure - it means they're just as unfit for political office as I am.

Monday, May 27, 2013

How Atheism Poisoned Science

There's peas in my fudge!
 This rant is, in some respects, a response to a video series produced by Thunderf00t, entitled "Why Feminism is Poisoning Atheism", in the sense of one movement claiming other movements are poisoning them.

When I was growing up, there was no such thing as a controversy between religion and science. You went to science class to learn how the world works and you went to Sunday School, if you did at all (I did not) to learn, well, whatever it is you learn in Sunday School. If you learned about the Abrahamic* traditions' collective creation myths from a parent or grandparent, you didn't come back with some nonsense about abiogenesis needing more time than that to actually work. You were a kid, and you filed that in the back of your mind where the memories are stored, between the Book of Collected Haida Myths and the Norse Book of Legends, somewhere in the same general area you stuffed Harry Potter (which was back then what I suppose Artemis Fowl is now... though that was also a good read...).

About the same time I got to high school, though, the idea of a war between the sciences and religion-collectively started gaining some traction in the world. For the most part, I blame any minor local-scale problems in that area on a heady mixture of teenage rebellion and bad evangelization on the part of the parents. On the larger scene, it really all became a problem when Bill O'Reilly, who we have all got to stop taking seriously as anything other than an example of Poe's Law of Satire in action, decided that someone, somewhere, had declared a War on Christmas.

And that whole fiasco really got started when an atheist group put out a sign at a state display of holiday-season, well, displays. Somewhere between the Christmas Tree, Festivus Pole, and the Eight-Armed Candelabra, someone put up a sign that actually said there was no god. Which, I suppose, is what the Festivus Pole was, but our modern society doesn't receive information natively via symbols anymore.

I'm not saying it's not okay to be an Atheist. You can be whatever you want. If your own logically-derived conclusions on the nature of the universe do not support the idea of believing in things you cannot experience empirically, go to town. If it arrives at the idea that Mountain Dew is the font of all wisdom and we should all bow down before Grommash Hellscream in reverence of its Melony Goodness, well then, power to you, you crazy Azerothian.

What wasn't okay, though, was how Atheism, really through no fault of its own, claimed the moral high ground of science. As it happens, the two are not related in any way. I'm willing to bet a properly conducted poll would show that there are at least as many admitted theists in the field as there are admitted atheists, though certainly the population of Atheists in the scientific community is going to be higher than among laymen as a matter of course.

What happened, though, is that Atheism decided science was its own. As a result, reactionary Christian groups suddenly remembered that they don't trust scientists, and the Young Earth Creationists and "intellegent design" advocates ginned up their false-controversy machines to somehow show that science just wasn't Christian.

Science in the west may have had its earliest beginnings in the Greeks, and their ideas may have been carried into the future of the ancient world by the Muslims, but science as we have come to understand it first got its real start when the Renaisance hit. The Church came to accept science. It was Christianity that brought about the first western universities, the first real centres of discovery and education, and it is those old, vaunted universities that are still considered the centres of excellence for the scientific community today.

So, atheism loses a point for scaring the fundamentalists... but really, that could just as easily have been any group, claiming science as their own, when really, it just belongs to all of us, collectively.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gays in the Scouts

I'm going to preface this by pointing out that, being from the Soviet Republic of Canuckistan, I can't recall a time where our local scouting divisions had such a ban. As a further disclaimer, I was never actually a scout - I was in Beavers for a while, but by the time I was old enough to actually Scout, I wound up in the Royal Canadian Army Cadets instead. So, I've never had to deal with being a member of an organization that promotes homophobia. Also, apparently I'm full of poorly-thought-out pith and vinegar tonight, so if you're the type of person who is offended by dissent, do me a favour and light up my inbox.

A tiny voice somewhere shouted "But you're Catholic!" That's true. I wouldn't call the catholic position on the morality of homosexuality homophobia and more than I would call catholic sexual morality sociophobia (from the root sociosexual, which is a real word!). The question of whether or not your sexual conduct and preferences override your religious beliefs is a personal one, and if you're serious about your faith it's a conversation you're going to have to have with yourself, regardless of your orientation or paraphilias. It's a conversation for another time and another place, and once again, we've confused two variables that I think people have a hard time with.

I wouldn't call myself a moral relativist. I'm pretty clear-cut on what I consider to be right-and-wrong, and while I have various caveats, corollaries, and loopholes, they're all fairly well-founded and static. I make room for change to the overall code as I grow older and wiser - as even the staunchest moral absolutist would.

Actually, the last one isn't true, as this
man can tell you. (FAIR USE!)
However, I exist in a strange overlap between liberalism and faith where I have come to recognize two constructs: social morality and eumorality. Social morality falls under the category, to put it into Christian constructs, of the golden rule, the admonition against judgement, and similar ideas. Social morality covers the things that belong in a civilized body of law. Bans against those things which tend to annoy people, like killing or raping them, and protections for those things we feel should be our right, like being grippingly sarcastic while trying to make a point, wearing bright plaid shirts, and using cream in your coffee. The rest, the eumorality or true morality, are the things you personally find moral, like only eating responsibly-ranched meat products, refusing to be embalmed upon death, or not trimming your beard - cotton/polyester blends are, obviously, right out.

The question for lawmakers, politicians, and wonks like myself is where eumorality begins and social morality ends. Once upon a time in the United States everyone who wasn't european was only 3/4ths of a person, the Kitten and I could not get married, and in most states, it was more legal for my landlord and his horses to get shady in the back yard than it would have been for my friend and her girlfriend to get married. In the case of the last point: it was yesterday.

So, when we're using the excuse of trying to maintain the moral high-ground as the only real justification for taking exclusionary action, we have to consider the reality that even though morality can look absolute, from a strictly societal position, it's relative. Take a hundred people and you're going to get about 120 moral codes. The best you can do as the architects of society is to try and make the law reflect morality as much as humanly possible.

Shown: Gay bunnies. But it's
more like prison-gay, so does
it "count"? I don't think it
I'm not gay. Not even a tiny bit, and I'm pretty damn sure of that. Homosexual rights actually have no bearing on my life whatsoever. But Adam and Steve being able to marry whoever they want is how I know I'm going to be able to marry whomever I want. Once upon a time, the love of my life and I would not have been able to. If you ask some churches - some mainstream, very well-accepted churches, we still can't. The point is though, states aren't churches. Sure, some are. Canada isn't. America isn't. Churches are more like... NGOs.

Okay, so, the BSA is an NGO. In many cases, it's even funded and run by local churches and parishes of the same. So, it's understandable that there would be some resistance to allowing gay scouts. And that is all we're talking about. Gay scout masters are actually still banned. It's just the kids, they're letting be gay.

Being a gay kid is not the walk in the park even in liberal areas. Besides any conflict at home, there's students (because teenagers are so enlightened), authority figures, media in general... if anyone's wondering why suicide rates are high among teens and doesn't stop to think that sexual identity might be involved, they're either preteen, or a moron.

All these are people are asking is that their sons, whether gay, straight, or whatever, can go ahead and be scouts. Since the scouts have nothing to do with sex (and rightly shouldn't, youth group that they are!), I feel like whether or not the scouts are gay is about as relevant as how good they would look in drag.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Defensor Fide

Shown: Genuine Enthusiasm
This past week has been a particularly crazy one for any of a number of reasons, but the one I wish to discuss revolves around politics. Canadian politics, as a matter of fact - not that world politics hasn't been just as crazy, and I'll try to get a few words in edgewise about that. The difficult part is deciding where I should begin.

Do I want to start with the current resignation of the Prime Minister's chief of staff over allegations that the same inappropriately funded a senator's repayment of expense claims - claims that senator was ordered to repay after an external audit revealed the claims were made wrongly, or, should I start with the rather unfortunate lack of a resignation of a key national mayor, who was already ousted once in this term for ethics violations, only to be re-installed at the order of a higher court, who is now being accused of having been caught on film  smoking crack cocaine?

It grows increasingly easy to understand why my generation undeniably, consistently, and and growing-implacably shows up as the least-registered, least-participating demographic in our national body politic. There are no young MPs or MLAs, and few enough young voters. This is treated as an endemic problem of the system, and frankly, the frustration is getting a little understandable.

We have a multi-party system. There's really only one major party with a right-of-centre policy, and that's the Conservative Party of Canada, whereas there's two major left-of-centre parties, no centre parties, and a wide-array of what are, frankly, spoiler parties.

So the social-right, the target audience for the CPC, feels no conflicts over whom to vote for, whereas anyone leaning toward the centre or the left has to choose between the lesser of "who cares?". And for my generation, it really is a matter of "Who Cares?"

Young voters in this country are impossibly outnumbered by the old - that's not necessarily a problem, for me, except that the old is also disproportionately right-wing, while my generation is, by and large, disproportionately left. So the few of us who do bother to get up and vote on election day get drowned out by social-conservative, frankly reactionary, voices, wind up with the CPC's hand-picked yes-men for our representatives, and genuinely feel disenfranchised.

When those yes-men become the senators embroiled in fiscal misappropriation scandals, the senators suspended on charges of sexual assault - senators we can't vote for or replace, except on the hope that they retire and a more favourable parliament is created.....

You start to understand why it becomes hard to bother picking between the lesser of who cares.

I don't expect my demographic to start showing a commanding presence on the political battlefield any time soon. Even if the election were called tomorrow, it would still be hard to get people motivated to vote, because, frankly, we've all stopped caring. After all, there's going to be corrupt politicians for as long as politics and money remain linked.

Without comprehensive changes to who we elect and how they are elected, this country is doomed to see less and less participation in our democratic processes.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Exciting Developments in the World of Auditing and Gentlemanship

Mantra: I did it for the girl.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make. Soon I'm going to be taking this turkey shoot flea circus shambling horror show on the road.

The end of the academic year brings change more accurately than the end of the calendar year ever could. While I'm not graduating from anything this year, I'm very pleased to announce that the supremely talented and horrifyingly under-appreciated K.Q. Simply is graduating, again, from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, and this time she seems to be playing for keeps.

Accordingly, the auditor is packing up his highly portable skill-set, pulling roots from the ground, and making his way to the love of his horrid little life to finally close a gap that circumstance opened five long years ago.

More details, I'm sure, will follow, but I just thought it was about time to let you all know what was going on, why I may drop off the radar, and why I might be a little high-strung for the next several months.

Charity, Morality, and Welfare

Shown: Not Goofing Off on the Clock
Working for a Living
 I live in one of the richer American republics (actually, it's a constitutional monarchy, but it functions as a republic would in everything but name). As it happens I'm actually not pro-republic, I'm pro-democracy, but my rantings and ravings about electoral math are both, by now, well-known, and overdone.

However, living in one of the richer American states, I live in a country with a disproportionate amount of pseudo-socialistic thought, and at some point way before I was born, Welfare became a thing.

Now, I should begin by saying that up here Canada we have a variety of different welfare programs, not all of which are welfare, and all of which need to be considered on their own merits and not the merits of their esteemed confreres. For the purposes of this discussion, it's enough to know that there's basically Welfare, Disability, and Employment Insurance. I'm going to try to talk briefly about all of them, but I also have to get some obligatory disclosure out of the way first, so that you can spot my confirmation bias and point it out to me. Remember, dissenting opinions feed developing intelligence.

I'm a Christian. What particular denomination you attached to that statement is ultimately meaningless because I don't recognize denominational boundaries as legitimate for any purpose other than sociology. My developing understanding of Christian morality comes from direct reading of the bible and also pursuit of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.I consider mine a faith of charity in all senses of the word. Looking out for the less fortunate is probably the most noble thing a person can do, whatever the context.
Shown: How I cook when I'm working-poor.

Let's talk, though, about our welfare programs. We'll start with the one actually called Welfare. This is a program that anyone who is not presently employed may collect from, if they meet certain, rather low criteria, and can produce paperwork reliably to prove they are actively looking for work. Welfare is funded from the general taxation revenue in my country, which means that anyone who pays any tax of any kind pays for welfare, though obviously not proportionally.

Welfare is not available to anyone who's working over a certain wage, either, and the line for the welfare cutoff is well below the poverty line. What's more, provisions are made in the welfare system for certain conditions, like being a single parent, or having children. Additional children mean additional money is paid out by the system to help keep you afloat. It's a way for the state to enforce charitable ideals upon even the most bitter-hearted of us.

I used to like welfare. Now I know I live in an area with a lot of claimants. I know enough about how the business world works to recognize that many claimants, who come to my area looking to get their "I applied here" paperwork signed, have no interest in getting an interview. They're failing first impressions deliberately, and doing it in a way that is painfully honest. The system is gamed, with parents who live together but are unmarried listing separate addresses and one or the other collecting single parent benefits while the other collects an ordinary welfare cheque.

The people who abuse this program spoil it for everyone else. It gets to the point where refusing to be on welfare becomes a matter of pride for people who have a genuine need of it, and where people who are otherwise charitable want the program abolished on principle.

Shown: How I eat when unemployed.
Employment Insurance is even better on principle. This is a system everyone who works pays into. It's deducted from your pay on top of your taxes, and then it's matched-and-then-some by your employer. It's intended as an insurance policy against loss of work due to layoffs. If you quit, or were fired for cause, you're not entitled. If you don't have a certain number of hours logged, you're not entitled. And the payouts only last for so long, no matter how hard you're looking for work. But hey, it's something, and I have no problem paying for it.

I often complain about it, of course. I've been unable to draw upon it when I really needed it in the past, wuch as two months, recently, where I was unable to find work. This was before I decided to go back to college for my second bite at the post-secondary-education apple, so there was no savings to draw on, and precious little work to find. I hadn't been fired for cause. The business I worked for was doing poorly, and the owner basically decided to drop all staff that wasn't family. I was laid off.

I still couldn't claim it, because too long of a period had elapsed between that job and the previous, which had been a summer practicum I was released from at the end of the summer work term. Such things don't count for EI claims so I was no better than the person who gets fired for throwing a knife down the line during a heated argument with a holier-than-thou server during a breakfast service where everything that can go wrong did.

Well, let's be honest, I really am no better than that, but you would think a program you pay for - directly - would actually pay out. Particularly where other seasonal workers can, or at least, could (there's reform in the tubes) draw on EI benefits during their off season.

So I'm against Welfare and on the Fence about Ei. This is the part where I look like a crypto-fascist and argue against disability, right? Wrong. Disability payments serve a legitimate purpose. People have a right to the necessities of life in this country. Those who are unable to work to earn those necessities should have an expectation for the government to provide for them within reason, because there is simply no other alternative.

These positions aren't going to be very popular. If I ever ran for office with any of the parties that I actually liked, or indeed ever ran for any office of any kind in the area I live in now, all it would take to sink my career would be for someone to dig up this post or another like it. But it needs to be said, becauser enforced charity is no charity at all.  Instead of encouraging people to work less, we should be helping them find ways to work more. I've known plenty of people on any of these programs who made more money than I did while working, being paid, in essense, to sit around all day and be online, railing against the unfairness of a political system that forces people to work, fails to raise the assistance payments to the level they think is necessary, or else-wise simply play their favourite facebook, pogo, or miniclip games.

The legitimate users of these programs deserve every penny they get, and the illegitimate ones deserve to work off every penny they stole.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

From the Fish Tank: The Week Ending 5/12

The 55 US Gallon: shown are Dennison Barbs, Various Tiger Barbs, an Odessa Barb, and a variety of nice plants.
So, today has seen the hopeful end of a crazy week for me for fish. Odessa barbs are presently on sale at work for a quarter of their usual price, which made it very worthwhile to obtain some. I then had trouble keeping the poor things alive, which spurred a rather extensive set of tests, experiments, and adjustments to determine the problem overall.

Somehow, over the last month or so, my pH has crept up to 7.8, which is a change of about 1.3. Over a month, that much of a shift isn't that bad, but it did cause problems: I've lost all four of the original odessas, which were replaced on warranty; two of my tiger barbs, who seem to be fine now; and one of the S lineolata loaches that I love so much and can't replace.

I'm not particularly pleased. The culprit, as I have identified, is actually the "sand" I used. It's not a quartz sand, but a crushed stone which I have determined to include a large amount of carbonate minerals, thus making the water steadily more alkaline. It wasn't a problem before because my filtration over granulated peat did quite a bit to keep it in check.

Last month, however, I discontinued the use of the peat over sustainability concerns (I'm trying to reduce my hobby's overall environmental impact). Obviously, I'm going to have to re-continue it as soon as I can. In the meantime, it's nothing that can be done besides careful adjustment with vinegar and some careful attention to keep an eye on other problems.

There's been some other changes - the addition of a supplemental CO2 dosing system that helped keep the pH problem in check as well as promoting some rather aggressive plant development. However, a leak in the  tubing I failed to detect means that the system is depleted, so I can't lean on that either.

Regrettably, the barbs weren't the only fish lost. I also lost mongkut to a nasty case of swimbladder dysfunction caused by impaction that was difficult to treat. After about a week of treatment, I found him dead today in his quarantine cube. I'm actually pretty sad about it - he was the fish that kickstarted my return to the hobby after a few years of inactivity, and he was by far the favourite fish of most people who came to visit. I'm going to miss him - he was exceptional even for a crown tail and I doubt I'll find another like him any time soon.

Friday, May 10, 2013

In which I bungee jump into the Inferno.

Not Shown: the safety line I'm wearing.
--- 1 ---
Long week, high energy - exactly my sort of thing. I've been putting in extra time at work while I can, in order to build up some sort of protection for while I can't. It's one of those lessons you can have academic understanding of long before you've actually absorbed it. My go-to solution for cash flow problems has always been to leverage my somehow -exemplary credit. Rather than have to dig myself out of that hole over and over again, it would be better if I could absorb my own nest-egg first.

That's the theory, anyway. In practice, I usually just work hard to play hard. More on that, perhaps, at another time.

--- 2 ---
My work with Sl33k Studios has slowed down considerably  and that's because that's work that can only charitably be described as such. It took my tank log videos and my own independent let's plays with it.

As it happens, that's largely to do with today's first Quick Take, but is also comes from one of my larger weaknesses: Drafting.

See, I went ahead for the Sl33k series with recording about four episode's worth of material - around an hour of play, as it happens. Because I was recording live, I wasn't saving especially frequently, because I didn't want to cut each save, and I also didn't want to have to play around too much with dubbing in post.

I ran a benchmark on the video beforehand, liked the results I got on the raw footage, and then I went ahead with the recording. Sadly, once you've run the footage through my editing software, it's got some funky lighting and sound issues that the new settings were supposed to fix.

The next episode is going to be more of that bad footage, since I don't have 4+ hours to spend getting back to where I was, then editing the footage. And you're just going to have to deal with that.

Jesus was a Big Damn Hero, if you ask Pilate.
--- 3 ---
So, I'm Catholic, or so they tell me. In actual fact I'm probably either a heretic or a protestant given my interpretation of the New Covenant and the rather haphazard and cavalier way I separate social justice from moral justice. However, the fact that I'm a lapsed Catholic certainly gets a lot of play at work (I made the mistake of mentioning it once while working with the most honest atheist I've ever known), and I get a lot of questions.

One of those co-workers caught wind of my habit of hopping onto a Battlefield 2 server over the lunch break while particularly frustrated, and blowing things up. The same habit applies to other games of war - most of them strategy games, rather than shooters. What's more, my RPG gaming habits are also fairly open, which lead to a good question:

"How does a Christian of any kind justify playing violent games?"

This is really just a continuation of the Video Games Breed Violence argument more than anything else, and as usual, I'm moving the goalposts and claiming the match - it is not necessary to justify violent video games.

How do I make this determination? Well, it's actually rather simple. I'm a marskman, a trained one, and I have a fair amount of bushcraft experience too. Any game, no matter how realistic, doesn't even begin to approach the realities of the situation being presented. I can no more pilot an A-10 the way I do on my favourite series of flying sims than I can throw an 80-pound gear bag over my shoulder and fight a pitched battle after several miles forced march. Nobody, on the Christian Right or the Satirizing Left, has ever argued that games of war breed violence and therefore chess must be banned.

I enjoy first-person shooters. I don't play them particularly extensively, because until recently I've not had a good system to play them on, and since then I haven't had much of a budget to obtain new ones. FPS games are good exercises for reflex and perception. Particularly as the games inject more and more realism into their framework, they're a useful mental exercise. I like MMORPGs and RTS games because they help me get over my problems with multi-tasking, and a like flight sims, both wartime and peacetime, because it lets me experience things I've never experienced and probably never will. That, and physics.

The actual flavour of the games doesn't matter. For the styles of games I enjoy, war is a useful flavour, but they aren't the mechanism. Chess is as good a mental exercise as turn-based strategy games, which could easily be about running a restaurant or something.

The next time someone asks you how video games could be moral, ask them if they like football.

--- 4 ---
There is a bird, at work, who has taken a shine to me, and I've taken a shine to him. This actually isn't a photo of him, simply of a close cousin - this Pineapple Conure is the best photo I have that relates to a Sun Conure.

I want him. I don't want the expense of him, though, so I'll probably never get him. But it's worth noting that apparently I'm not as full of hate for birds as I thought. The intelligent ones are very fun.

--- 5 ---
The internet still seems firmly convinced I'm a woman, in spite of occasional protests to the contrary. Normally, this is amusing, and I leverage it more-or-less to my benefit when making arguments surrounding the basic idea of equal and full rights for everyone.

At the moment, it's actually annoying, as I have begun to accumulate a rather large amount of spam and ad traffic surrounding everything from breast cancer to bras.

Is that really what the internet thinks I would give a damn about just because I happened to wear the latter? I'm a guy - why isn't my inbox stuffed with ads for Pakistani knockoff Viagra and boxers?

Oh, wait....

I hate the internet.

--- 6 ---

--- 7 ---
Oh, and I got a bike. It was a (very) early birthday present, nearly two months early in fact, but it's well appreciated. As is the subject of much quiet ridicule, I've never learned to drive, and during the summers I rarely seem to think about the issue or have any real desire to operate a motor vehicle.

It does very well, doesn't it?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saturday's a Work Day: The Projects of the Coming Week

Gold Sum/Green Terror. Because I can.
So, as most of you know I now work on Saturdays. Well, I've almost always worked on Saturday and since I graduated college in 2010 I can probably count the number of Saturdays I've had off, while employed, on my fingers and toes.

Because of that, I wanted to give a little sneak preview of all the project I've held on standby, quite often by accident, that are getting a kick in the pants this week.

To begin with, there are about 150 species that I am loosely cataloguing in a series of care sheets. Since this unpaid hobby-work that just happens to be tangentially related to my employment-work, I'm going to make the full library available, probably either through a download page on this blog, or possibly through the establishment of my own personal website, as the Bernardin and Doris Salunier Memorial Electronic Library. Provisionally, that library will be expanded with new care sheets as I obtain time, as well as perhaps articles, open-source e-books, and so on.

Lately, I've been working on my own tanks. Between the re-scape, establishing a split-tail Betta tank, and re-configuring my stock lists, it's about that time for a youtube upload. In that, I might also reveal some of the more technical projects I've been working on. Here's a hint: Industrial Plumbing.

I enjoy tinkering, as you may or may not have known.

There's a reasonable chance I may do a minecraft video for the Communeguy channel in the near future as well, if I can get about 12 hours of contiguous "Zac Time" at some point. In it, I'm going to explain what this contraption here is, build one, and show off my idle tinkering of the last three or four months. For that, we'll have a lot of ground to cover.

And that's not all in terms of gaming projects.

As we go, though, I should also get another episode or two of the Deus Ex playthrough ready to go. It's older footage so the quality won't be quite fantastic, but my brain won't let me work on projects I've already worked on without some serious grousing.