May 31, 2009

The dieting blues

First off my wife and our TOPS club is amazingly supportive.  Even my blogger friends are great support as well.

On 3/9/2009 I started loosing weight after a great conversation with an old friend.  By 5/1/2009 I had created a 69,472 calorie debt in my food consumption.  That is just under 20 pounds of loss in eight weeks.

Now I am five weeks into my next set.  The original was very restrictive calorie wise.  24,006 deficit so far. Which is 6.8 pounds of loss. 

When your tracking your calories, odd things happen.  Food takes on it own personality and agenda.  You find yourself stopping to grab something and wondering how many calories is this and how will you compensate for it later.  Also, diet drinks occupy a more important spot in your gastronomic day, giving that full flavor with no calories to jot down.

At one point you really want to say "screw this" and go get something that will break the bank.  If you give in, you will feel bad and if you dont give in you can end up with the blues.

There are lots of positives about loosing unhealthy weight, blood sugars normalize, you reduce the strain on your internal systems  (heart, joints, etc.).  You can just google benifits of weight loss to get a listing.

And yet, a large frito pie would be just wonderful about now.  *sigh*

May 30, 2009

ache's and pains

For some reason my right knee has started hurting.  Its actually below the knee in the medial colletral ligaments.  Logic states it is due to my biking to and from work.

More in depth I am not fond of travelling to and fro.  I would rather be there, I am the  person patiently waiting for teleportation.  

So here is the breakdown.  I want to include about 450 calories burned a day doing exercise.  This is about and hours worth of walking at a brisk pace.  My house is just under a mile away and it takes me approx. 13 minutes to traverse one direction.  If I jog parts I can cut three minutes off that time and get to my destination faster.

I  know in the back of my mind that I could run the whole thing and make it there in under six minutes.  Of course this desire to get there pushes me to go that much faster and probably why my knee hurts now and why my foot got injured.  

Leave it to me to be impatient about getting someplace.

May 29, 2009

Connor's School

We found out Connor was student of the month at his elementry school.  Tina and I both got the time available to be at the school assembly.   When his name was called, he looked suprised and headed up with the other kids.  A very 'normal' moment for him.  When he got to the area with the other recognized kids, they congradulated him by name gently touching him on his arm or shoulder.  There was genuine affection, it was touching.

We stuggled keeping him in a classroom setting.  Trying to convince academic minded people that socalizing for Connor is more important.   I want his peers to know who Connor is, what he is like, and how he works.  These kids are going to be the ones around him as he grows older.  Assuming our plans to stay here in Roseburg hold.

May 28, 2009

AC story I recalled.

The first massive online game I got involved in was Asherons Call.  It was truely an immersive environment. While I enjoy the World of Warcraft, AC holds  a special place in my heart.

I was reminded of a funny story involving my blog link mate, Shoo, though it needs a little background info first...

The fantastic world of Dereth was populated with three races, Aluvians, Gharu'ndim, and Sho.  As a player you choose one of the three human races to being your epic.

There were many different skills and pretty much everyone used magic.  The items or gear aquired would greatly enhance you gameplay.  One of the sources for the better gear was chests deep inside dangerous dungeions

It was not unusual for an adventurer to fight his way down to the deepest recesses of some dark tomb and wait for the chest to re-appear over and over again, waiting for that one item that would make a difference.

Anyways, Shoo was a member of the same guild I was, The Silver Citadel.  We had a website and forums to ask and bestow interesting bits of knowledge upon.  One day Shoo posted a query: "Who has the better chest, Aluvians, Gharu'ndim, or Sho?"

As we had a number of actual female players the answer came back much different then intended.  One posted that Sho women have fine supple chests, not like the disproportionate Aluvians. and so on.

I could only imagine Shoo's confused face for that microsecond prior to the understanding grin.

Obama Helping loose 16,000 jobs a day!

Since the Obama Stimulus bill we have lost 16,000 jobs a day!  Does anyone have any confidence left  in this administration?


Exercising diminishing returns.

So person A walks distance C five days a week.  They walk at a brisk pace and burn approx. 500 calories.

Person B starts riding a bike distance D five days a week.  He rides at a decent pace and burns approx. 500 calories.

Person A has developed a certain amount of muscle mass to allow this activity.  

Person B is going to experience muscle change, glycogen stores will increase,  the muscle will respond to the additional work load being called upon.

At some point you get an equilibrium, the muscles are going to maintain instead of build.  So my question is this, do you burn less calories as your muscles become more efficent?  

If you are exercising, in part, to eliminate excess fat from your system, by creating a calorie deficit, are you becomming counter productive?

When I walk to and from work, I keep a steady pace.  There are two hills that I climb on the way home. One that I climb over to work.  I figure these about 70 foot.  Getting to the top became easier at a brisk pace over time.  I was at a point were the only way to increase my speed was to jog.  On a bike, I have considerable more options to increase the speed.  The gears alone increase the load on my legs or decrease.  My mindset is to such that I want to get to work and home in the shortest time possible.  So on a bike I continually try to push myself to be a litte faster, keep in a higher gear etc.

May 27, 2009

Weighty Questions

Someone recently inquired in regards to how much better I feel having lost some weight (I tipped the scales at 285, currently I am 220ish).  My recent loss of 40 pounds should have some positive effects right?

Do I feel any different?  Not really...

Do I have more energy?  Not that I have noticed, seems about the same.

Am I sleeping better?  Maybe, my wife says my snoring has stopped.  Then again, I have never needed oodles of sleep.  As it is, I still wake up around 5:00 AM and lay around until I either sleep or 6:15 rolls around.  

What have I noticed?  At the upper ends of weight sitting in a chair and tie my shoes would require me holding my breath as I tied.  My belt appears to be getting longer.  My pants are more likely to creep downwards.  I was able to get up and over Douglas hill on my bike after two days .vs. the week it took last time. 

When I look in the mirror I do not notice any change either.  In fairness this is a smaller rectangle mirror that is to my left side in the bathroom.  I generally do not look at any other reflections.  My blood work was good, per my doctor.  

I was expecting Doc Rose, to comment on my weight loss (245 down to 228).  He was reading and asking me some questions about my current state.  I decided to point out the loss.  He corrected that my weight was written as 240.  A trip back to the scale told the tale.  All my blood work is great and even my insulin intolerance (read Type II diabetes) is trending downwards.  Good BP and pulse as well.

My next goal is to get in the 2 hundred 'teens'.   After that it is to drop down to the 190's

I have been doing the royal court of exercised (three body weight).  I wish I could be more diligent but I cannot seem to do it that way.  So it has been hit and miss.  Due to an injury on the arch of my right foot I have gone from walking to biking to work.  So I had to modify my route to try to keep the same calorie burn.

Currently I am averaging around 1450 calories a day. According to my RMR that puts me at a 6000 calorie per week deficit.   This is week four of a ten weeks (Ends July 18th).

I guess I should be feeling "better"  maybe there are more positives I would be noticing however things like our country going down the toilet under the current administration, no jobs, massive government growth and spending is kinda stressful.

May 24, 2009

Memorial Day, formerly Decoration Day.

"Freedom is Never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."  -- President Ronald Reagan.

May 23, 2009

One political tid bit here.

"And I can make a firm pledge: under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase - not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." -- B. Obama


May 22, 2009

Being told what to do.

Universal Truth #4557:  People do not like being told what to do.  

There are negative terms for this, badgering, harping, demanding etc. Which further confirms the above truth.  There is a relationship between Age, Relationship, Knowledge and Tone that varies the response to being told what to do.

The "teller" is young and the relationship to the "tasked" is a child.  
The "tasked" person is older and relationship to the "teller" is parent.
The level of knowledge of the "teller" is "average child"
Level of knowledge of the "tasked" is "adult insightful"
The tone of the "being told" is harsh.
The actual demand is: "I want ice cream now!"

The resulting action has a wide range.  None of which is a gracious dallop of icecream for the "teller".  In fact this may trigger some form of retribution.

At the other side:
The teller is a skilled rescue worker, the tasked is an injured person who is aware of the given situation and recognises the teller for what he\she is.

In this situation there is NO chance of resistance from the tasked. Who may be grateful to have someone telling them what to do.  They would still not be happy that they are now in this position.

May 21, 2009


I married one of the best audience members that a comic could ever hope for.  Tina appreciates a funny joke or story.  Add to that her laugh is health and fun to hear, one of those kinds of laughs you cannot help but smile or laugh along yourself.

I myself enjoy humor, irony, sarcasm, schadenfreude and anecdote's with the best of them. I am more likely to smile at these then laugh.  On rare occasions when I find myself laughing really hard, people who know me are shocked at the sight.  My mother and father-in-law once came downstairs to see who was making that sound.

When it comes to humor I find myself at odds with obscene use of language.  The use of the colorful metaphor can shut down the humor centers of my brain, this is not always the case though.

For instance Robin Williams, when he is on stage and spews the stuff out I see it taking from the performance.  Kevin Smith it enhances his stories.  The clean comics, Seinfeld, Foxworthy and Jim Gaffigan can bring tears of laughter and still be family viewing.    Bringing a 10 year old to a Dane Cook show, would probably get a parent squirming.

It is a gift to have a wide range of appeal.

May 20, 2009

It takes 40 pounds.

With the strong butt kick from Jack K. I embarked on loosing weight.

I am around 40 pounds down from were I started a good 10 weeks ago.  Today, for the first time someone at my place of work actually commented I had lost weight.  

My thinking is either I just carried the 40 pounds well, or the day to day loss was not enough to notice, or most people do not give a rats ass about their fellow worker. 

At any rate, it was very nice to have someone who I spend 40 hours a week around actually could tell I was smaller.

Now to get rid of the credit cards, or stop being a good customer.

May 19, 2009

Music Video WoW (explained!)

This Machinima  was created by Cranius and Legs.  They are notable for creativity in the genre. Taking the limited motions, doing creative 'camera' work along with visuals that impress and actually coincide with the lyrics takes time, talent and patient.  The song kicks as well...

The story, such as it is: Boy and a Girl drawn together by circumstance find their seperate worlds comming between them.   Yup, think Romeo and Juliette.  Our Romeo (the Blood Elf guy, Crainius) is into Player .vs. Player.  While our Juliette (the Troll Girl, sung by Summergale), likes Player .vs. Environment.

As with any genre specific song there are a few WoW gamer terms tossed in: 

I ain't got no epics    Epics are pieces of armor that enhance your abilities
I ain't got no achievements 'cause I ain't first rate   Achievements are in game awards
I can't even clear Naxxramas  Naxxaramas is one of the lower level quest areas of the new Lich King expansion
But you know Ima be your favorite group mate
Invite me girl

Baby it's alright, now
You don't have to PUG around me  PUG is slang for Pick Up Group, where a random group forms
Everything's farmed, Maly, Naxx and Sarth 3D Farm is to get all the good stuff by going someplace over and over.
The raids are boring, I don't wanna PvP Player .vs. Player
Wipe the raid 'til we get it right  Large groups 25 to 40 are called Raids.  The funnest parts of the game require raids.

Nothin' left to do, let's do something new
So come meet me at Ulduar  Ulduar is the highest level Raid dungeon in game.
Nothin' left to do, waitin' in the queue  The queue is a virtual line for the PVP battle grounds.  Special in game games.
But I don't want any Ulduar
I don't need achievements or buffs please  Buffs are enhancements to skills that other players can bestow
I'm so ready now for Ulduar
Nothin' left to do, we need something new
'Cause I want ...

I ain't got no titles
I ain't got no fancy-schmancy epic mount  Epic mounts are in game transportation like Motorbikes, elephants. 
We can't go nowhere heroic  Heroic is a setting you can use to make quest dungeons much harder
It don't matter 'cause there is really nothin' left
Where we goin' girl?

Baby it's alright, now
You don't have to pug 'round me
Everything's farmed, Maly, Naxx and Sarth 3D
The raids are boring, I don't wanna PvP
Wipe the raid 'til we get it right

Nothin' left to do, let's do something new
So come meet me at Ulduar
Nothin' left to do, waitin' in the queue
But I don't want any Ulduar
I don't need achievements or buffs please
I'm so ready now for Ulduar
Nothin' left to do, we need something new
Cause I want (to go to/no part of) Ulduar

I don't got heroic raids
I do alliance raids  Alliance raids is were a group of PVP go into the other sides city and take out the leaders.
Listen Summergale,
Hop on my mechano-hog, and we'll never log
So listen Summergale
Once you PvP with me
We're gonna pwn, you see
So listen Summergale
When you're gankin' you won't go back,  Ganking is the time honor tradition of taking out an opponent by ambush.
You won't go back, yeah 

more then you wanted to know right?  

May 18, 2009

Magical Glowing Box

I was saddened at the eminent cancellation of Chuck and Dollhouse.  These are two shows of a dwinding list I find consistently entertaining.  

Dollhouse is the weaker of the two, but this is Joss Wheadon.  I am glad he is getting the chance that they never gave FireFly.  The series did start out slow, but built up considerably over the season.  There were creative differences with Joss and the suits, which made for rewrites and a confusing direction.  The last two episodes really made a solid storyline that I am hoping to see go forward.

Chuck had a wonderful season finale.  The last few shows really change a lot of dynamics. Timming would be perfect to Jettison the elements that were becomming drab and avoid the "Not this again"

Both budgets were cut to ensure a next season.  This could be a good thing, if you have read The Trouble with Tribbles, by David Gerrold.  You get a really good feel for what writers go through.  With the belt tightening on sets  and extra's ands stunts, you have to focus on the writing and dialog.  Both of these shows excel in this.

(Burn Notice starts up in June!)

May 16, 2009

A backwards poet writes inverse.

So there is this guy at work.  He likes to talk about other peoples bad choices and how they ignore his sage advice, which if followed, would result in a much better world.

It is amusing because of his own inability to follow advice he agrees he should follow.  Having been on both sides of the advice business, I realize that situations often do not conform to advice.  Someone touting what you should and why you should, does not have the entire complexity of an issue in view.

There is this strong desire in us to resolve issues, this is particularly true with men.  

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. [1855 H. G. Bohn Hand-Book of Proverbs 514]

May 15, 2009

On going fixing of the abuse

My Planet now hugs me with a mere 225 pounds of force.  This is due to my eating less and exercising more.

Exercize is problematic.  It is something I require of myself, yet finding the motivation to crank out 50 Hindu pushups and Squats daunts me.

So far doing them throught the day in smaller sets, has worked somewhat.  I am not happy with the progression.

In the past I have found my preferred method was doing something that obliquely exercised.  Such as playing roller hockey.

The rink is now used for basketball by the Boys and Girls club with the boards half removed.  Most of the players have moved on to other places.

Aside from building an ice rink, I am pretty sure getting another hockey venue together would complicate things much more then I want, need or require.  

So I am considering bicycling and rollerblading.  I have a nice mountain bike that is in need of some basic maintenance.  We have some pretty nice stretches of road that I could tour as well.

Roller Blading is something I would need to look into more.  I would need to invest in a pair of skates, as my hockey skates are NOT designed for any kind of long distance skating, add to that the asphalt needs bigger wheels then my frames will allow. 

Running is something I can do with minimum of equipment. However, I am looking out for my knees.  

So what is your exercise methodology?

May 14, 2009

Stupid people

I fall on the optimistic side that a majority of people are intelligent, reasonable,  well meaning and helpful.  Further these people believe in freedom, low or no taxes, self defence, national pride, personal responsibility, morality and dignity.

Every so often you will run into someone who has become so narrow in their viewpoint that any ambiguity brings out their animus.  Such hateful venom gets spewed out that your average person feels they may have some responsibility for said reaction.

The fact is your dealing with someone lacking in intellectual faculties, you would be best served by backing away and hoping they do not break whatever tether keeps them from you.  A true Pandora's box.  Adding to the frustration is the information super highway, that allows pervasiveness that makes avoidance all but impossible.

As I believe that life is about choices, and living with your decisions.  You have to also consider that the mental minority will blame you(or someone) for their druthers.   I am left with the sad conclusion that you can only ignore stupid people and hope they "go away"

Punitive Benifits

So due to a cut in the budget, we were all informed that our hours are going to be cut for the next fiscal year.  Not sure how we are going to weather that.  Belts are pretty tight now.  I will be looking for other employment opportunities.  The fact where we live is at 20% unemployment and the current administration seems to be doing everything in its power to raise that number is not helping.

Now I find out I am going to be dinged even more.  When you work full time for the County you must have health insurance.  I actually fought this, as I have full coverage under my wives job.  There is no way to opt out of coverage, so I picked up the plan that took zero out of my pay.

It is a low tier coverage with a high deductible.  With my hours reduced I will now be charged for this coverage.  Until the next enrollment period in November.  It seems like I am being forced to take health insurance that I do not want, need nor require.  

Our HR department is working on something and the ask for time.  But, the clock is ticking.

My mind is trying to figure out what other alternatives I have.  One is to put in my two weeks notice then get rehired as part time, so I can opt out of the insurance.  Of course then I loose my accrued vacation and sick leave.  While I would be able to cash out of vacation time, I prefer to actually have the days.  I can live with that though.

Or I could ask payroll to stop deducting the payment to the insurance company from my paycheck and thereby be cancelled.  Which could carry some kind of negative forward.  

Add to that the fact the School District is in a bind and they may be cutting positions, including my wife's.  More and more it is looking like a great time to win the lottery.  Wheee.

May 13, 2009

Mothers day meal time

In Eugene Oregon there is a restaurant called The Oregon Electric Station.  Inside you have train cars converted into dinning rooms.  It has a great atmosphere and Connor enjoyed looking out the window at the other customers... *ahem* and saying train related things to them...

Tina had been here a couple of times, she had attempted to go the previous weekend but it was closed.  Being mothers day and being in Eugene I made reservations to dine.  

I had always wanted to go there and it seemed like a good fit. The interior was fine the waitress was prompt, but not in a great mood apparently.  Still she was professional.  The starters arrived in good time and tasted good.  The bread was fresh and hot and delicious as well (even if they were hot due to the microwave).  The salad was bagged greens with some rather dried out cucumber.  However the blue-cheese dressing was excellent, almost a stark contrast.

Then came the main meal, I had vegetable ravioli.  I am not sure if it was good or not, it had been smothered in a red sauce that was not lacking in garlic.  The people from Gilroy CA would complain about the amount.  It totally overpowered the ravioli, which is a shame, as they looked like they could have been delicious with a more lighter treatment.   Diana had the Alfredo which was a very bland sauce with overcooked noodles.  I suspect the sauce was not made fresh.

My dessert was exceptional though, I got an apple pie, it was just the right amount of sweet and the apples a smack of tart.  Diana got a cheese cake, which tasted like it had been dried out in the fridge a day too long.  Tina had a frozen mocha cake that was equal to my apple pie.

Lots of lazy cooking for a "fine dining" restaurant with that high of prices.  I probably will not be back.

May 12, 2009

Enough for now

I was looking at my postings from the start of this blog.  I like them more then the last years.  With being unemployed and getting into a presidential race, I feel I have strayed too much into the political spectrum.

Obama has an extreme liberal agenda.  Without any opposition he is going to get it all passed.  The USA is going to go through a lot of hard times, for the next two years.  The Media is now an Obama Propaganda machine.

If your a liberal (progressive) you are, no doubt, thrilled by all the deficit spending and huge government programs.  The high unemployment is just dandy and the projections that it is going to get worse makes you giddy beyond belief!  This is what you wanted! This is Change you can believe in!

I for one am going to set my soap box in the corner and focus my blog thoughts on other things. Important things.

California .vs. Obama Depression.

California has the economy of a country.  They are facing some major hurdles, namely a 21.3 billion dollar shortfall.  Long ago their Spectorish Republican Governor gave up fighting the spending.

Now it is in the hands (and wallets) of the people.  If the people do not bend over and take the budget related ballot measures then something draconian will have to be done.

Two budgets are supposed to hit on the 14th, one if the people say yes, another if they say no.

The Obama Depression machine has already done more to redistribute money and loose wealth with no sign of stopping this year.  I am personally wondering if this is not his goal?  

So in its dire straights with a huge pork stimulus bill, what would Obama do to help out California?  Why threaten to pull stimulus if his beloved unions are cut. Ouch!  What was it Clinton said?  Oh yeah, Illinois thug tactics.

During this Obama economic depression all the companies are downsizing to survive, they are also afraid of what the government might decide to do to them.  Central control is a scary thing.  Oh one sector is hiring, the government, they are adding more and more positions as they print more and more money to pay for these "needed" services.  Think about this, every government job has to be paid for with public taxed funds.  That means anyone who DOESNT work for the government pays for those who DO.

Again, let your congressmen know that spending more money then you have is a bad idea.  

May 11, 2009

OMG Obama, Stop the Maddness!

A quick googling shows that family insurance coverage costs, on average, $10,728.  

Someone explain how this makes any sense to anyone other then or government?

"$59 billion in changes to the tax code that would help pay for the cost of efforts to cover the more than 40 million Americans without health insurance, including a substantial tightening of estate and gift tax rules.

Other new revenue raisers would affect life insurance products, limit certain accounting methods, and bar the paper industry from reaping a tax credit for a recycled fuel known as "black liquor."

Budget documents released Monday reiterate President Barack Obama's plans to create a $630 billion "health reform reserve fund" to help pay for the health-care efforts, which are expected to cost at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Tax provisions in the plan should cover $325.6 billion of the reserve fund, with the rest coming from savings to the federal government's health-related costs."

$59 billion to cover 40 million Americans... 

May 09, 2009

Obama buying crap with our money.

The Air Force estimated the photo shoot cost taxpayers $328,835. Yes, I know that all the presidents have spent good money on bad stuff. How many scared the holy crap out of NYC while spending it though?

And for what? I mean seriously look at this picture. I'm no Ansel adams but its a poor composition.

Freedom Eden discribed it as: "it looks like the plane is about to drop a bomb on it (The Statue of Liberty). If the plane is viewed as a symbol of the presidency and the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of our freedoms, it makes the president seem like an oppressor, a powerful force intimidating and assaulting liberty. "

So here I am sitting in a county with 20% unemployment. The US lost another 500,000 jobs this month.

However we did get a fairly bad picture of Air Force One. Even though we have plenty. All for the wages of four familes for a year.

um... yeah...

May 08, 2009

Back to "cuts" not being cuts?

President Obama today released a list of 121 proposed program terminations and reductions at a savings of $17 billion.  This is a good thing, a nice first step towards some fiscal responsibility at the fed level.  

A couple of problems: Every Dollar we "save" is going into new spending. Congress already said yes to $1,086 billion on regular discretionary spending in FY 2010.  even if the entire $12.5 billion in discretionary spending cuts are enacted, the savings would automatically be plowed into other programs to maintain discretionary spending at that level. So its just moving money around and touting that as "savings".

Add to that the fact that $17 billion is 1/2 of 1% of the total FY 2010 budget. It is pretty much equal to the interest paid on the $787 Pork laden stimulus bill.

If Obama was serious about streamlining he would mandate that savings go towards Deficit reduction.  Next keep going through and cutting.  Unless of course  1/2 of 1% is the sum total of wasted government spending... (I don't think it is)

The next time someone spouts off that Obama "Inherited" the economy, kindly remind them that is Bullshit.  He RAN for president, so he had a choice.

May 06, 2009

Specter ripping Jefferods about moving to Democratic party

Irony abounds!

Gotta love pop-culture Easter Eggs

WoW is pervasive.  We have seen references on various Television shows and some fun commercials etc.

Mr. T talking smack to the director.
Southpark featured an entire episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft" (It won an Emmy)
The TV show Leverage had a Warcraft "For the Horde!" sequence.
It was the "question" on Jeopardy.
Willy Toledo is a Paladin (spanish)
Jean Claude Van Damme plays a mage (It's either French or Dutch)
And one of the best Truck Commercials ever! 

The latest is a reference in the Wolverine game.  You see the Lich Kings sword, Frostmorne and an NPC quest giver (with !) laying on the ground!

Finally, my all time favorite William Shatners Shaman!

So Whats YOUR game?

May 05, 2009

weighting loss

I actually have an irrational fear.  I have a fear of starving.  Not just starving but having hunger pangs, eating something, it being enough calorie wise but still being hungry.  I never really knew this until I got serious about my weight and health. 

When your counting calories you get to a point where your done for the day.  If you hit that and still feel hungry it really sux.  The way around this is eating high bulk low calorie foods.  You can eat a lot of carrots for the same calories as a brownie (still the brownie will be more decadent fun to eat).

Baby Seals

Seals aren't endangered; they're a menace to fish stocks--Daniel Hannan

This blindsided me, made me realize that I bought into a media hart tugging fantasy that really makes no sense.  Then again, should that matter?

Paraphrased text Follows: What is it about baby seals? Why do they excite our sympathy in a way that seagulls or scorpions or slugs do not? After all, they're hardly an endangered species: on the contrary, there are many millions of them, and they are extremely efficient hooverers up of fish. Canadian seals chomp their way through 1.5 million tons of cod every year. They have played a cameo role in the collapse of the Labrador and Newfoundland trawling industry. So what makes us go all gooey about them?

The answer is obvious. They are mammals. They are anthropomorphic. Their faces have deceptively human characteristics: they seem soulful, innocent, child-like. Evolutionary biologists would explain that the desire to protect babies is so deep in our DNA that it predisposes us to empathy with other species which happen to have baby-like features, such as big eyes, small noses, or a cute way of toddling trustingly towards waiting clubs.

In other words, our objection to Canadian seal-clubbing is aesthetic rather than ethical. I am not talking here to those vegans who object evenly to the slaughter of all animals: their position is consistent. I am addressing those who call for bans on seal products while happily tucking into eggs or veal produced in conditions of unimaginable horror (yes, unimaginable: try holding in your mind the image of a battery farm the next time the yolk spills across your spoon).

Then again, since when did emotion invalidate the democratic process? People have just as much right to object to something on irrational as on rational grounds. To take a recent example, the campaign to admit former Gurkha soldiers to Britain, in plain defiance of what they had clearly understood when they joined up, was not strictly logical. But it represented a sincere and generous national instinct and that, in a democracy, should be the trump argument.

So with the cute baby seals. Who am I to say that the voters are wrong? In a democracy, the voters are never wrong. They may be inconsistent, sentimental, mercurial; but not wrong. If I were to say: "People are being sappy about seals", I would be in the same category as those (politicians) who say "People are being emotional when they vote against the (topic here), and we who understand their true interests should therefore disregard their stated views".  As John Milton argued, when superior authorities make such decisions on an individual's behalf, they rob him of the capacity for virtue. 

Government Budgets

Working at a County Library and seeing first hands the wheels of Government at work is a fascinating study of cogs with no concept of the machine.

To start with, no one knows the required operational cash for a year.  That is to say the Library has no budget for being run.  Instead whatever the budget handed down is your bottom line.  Also, monies are very specific.  You can buy books, books and books and yet you cannot pay someone to catalog the books, or source purchasing the books.  So a library can have millions of dollars waiting for someone to buy books and be unable to pay its utility bill.

And this is a microcosm's for the Federal way of doing things as well. 

May 01, 2009

Welcome Back [GM] Dave!

[GM] Dave was linked on my blog for quite some time.  Then he stopped creating new posts.  Time passed and I forgot about him.  Well, the other day I remembered and googled him and guess what!  He has been back for some time.

In the world of massivly online gaming, if you need help you call for a Game Master (GM).  Dave works as a GM for Final Fantasy online MMORPG.  He dosen't like people. This, of course, means that he had to take a job in customer service. 

Witness his awesomeness:
[GM]Dave>> He couldn't just be better than you?
Player>> He went to every point I went to.
[GM]Dave>> Okay, funny question...
[GM]Dave>> Wouldn't that mean you're a bot?
Player>> Of course not.
Player>> Would a bot make a GM call?
[GM]Dave>> Well, those botting programs can be really sophisticated.
Player>> I'm not a bot!
[GM]Dave>> I assume that's what they'd program a bot to say.
[GM]Dave>> Who'd make a bot that says "I'm totally a bot"? That would be stupid.
[GM]Dave>> Calm down, calm down. You'll blow a chip or something.
Player>> I'M NOT A BOT!
[GM]Dave>> Do not worry.
[GM]Dave>> We have a simple test to determine if you are a bot.
Player>> Thank God! For a second there, I thought you were going...


Player>> Oh no...

Jormungand hits Player for 16,709 points of damage.
Player was defeated by Jormungand.

[GM]Dave>> Good news.
[GM]Dave>> He says you're too squishy to be a bot.


Note Jormungand is a big nasty evil Dragon. GM teleported the hapless player (bot?)