Thursday, May 1, 2014

First Of May

In an order to balance out December (the month where all our favorite music is replaced by the same 10 songs about a particular holiday), I have been singing the following song in public every chance I've had for the past two weeks:

I think I'll keep it up for a few more days. *ahem*

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Astronauts could go blind on trip to Mars

  NASA reports that there's a chance Astronauts on a potential Mars mission could suffer some degree of permanent vision impairment, citing a recent study that shows that 29% of astronauts suffer some degree of visual impairment after a 5 month stay on the International Space Station. Details courtesy of Yahoo.

   Finally, NASA admits the consequences of their ill-considered "No Sex In Space" policy. No one would go blind aboard the ISS (or the way to Mars) if we'd just send a few hookers up there with them. I say we start a letter-writing campaign asking the House and Senate to buy the Astronauts the best lovin' our tax-dollars can buy.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Return of the Chupacabra, Part 8: What's Your Problem, Texas?

Here’s an interesting video of a strange hairless critter captured alive by someone in Texas. Some folks are calling it a Chupacabra. Others say it’s a raccoon or coyote with mange. Now, I’m not saying it’s a blood-sucking monster from folklore. In fact, I think that’s somewhat irrelevant, and only going to get in the way of our ability to respond rationally to whatever they are.

Watch it use its’ paws to pick up the food - that’s kinda cute, and suggests raccoon rather than coyote, in my very unqualified opinion.
  • (As a side note, the news commentators in the video have an amusingly obvious bias. The man who could otherwise be paraphrased as "it's not like any raccoon or possum I've ever seen or heard" is immediately characterized as if he skeptically meant the opposite.  Not that I don't have just as bad of a bias in the other direction, myself, but then I'm not getting paid to pretend to be objective or professional here. Ahem. )
What’s interesting to me is that Texas has brought in at least 8 of these critters in the past 7 years (and only the lastest captured alive), and they’re no where else (in the US at least, and at least as far as I can tell).  Here’s a little timeline quoted from the last time I blogged about them:
Three were found as roadkill in Cuero, Texas in 2007. One was killed when a family in Blanco, TX, put down poison in their barn to kill whatever had been attacking their livestock in 2009. Now in 2010, there's two shot to death within a week of each other in different locations in Hood County, TX.
A quick google search tells me there was another one shot and killed in July 2011 as well.

Maybe it’s a new species of raccoon or fox. Maybe it’s a new species of mange parasite. What’s your problem, Texas?

Disturbing chupacabra photo gallery

To be honest, these animals don’t look at all to me like the disturbing photos of dogs with mange I’ve seen, but I’m no expert… and I have thankfully never experienced mange up close and petable. It looks bloody painful. If you’ve got the stomach for it, compare that gallery to this:  deeply disturbing image search for mange.  They just don't look like the same thing to me.
 EDIT: It does, however, look a lot like what you see if you just shave certain animals. NSFW googling 'shaved bear'

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

God-Damn Fucking (in)Justices!

EDIT: I suppose I could have been more rational and eloquent about this and simply said: "the McCutcheon v FEC ruling has unfortunate corrupting consequences. It will likely require a Constitutional Ammendment to properly fix our democracy. I am rather upset about this turn of events. But, this is 'Repeated Expletives' so instead I ranted and bitched.

What the hell is going on in the heads of the assholes currently presiding in the Supreme Court? They damn well knew McCutcheon vs FEC wasn't really a First Ammendment case, just a blatant power-grab by the nation's wealthiest. And they went for it anyway, because they just want their share of the dirty money (filtered via third-parties since they themselves don't have election campaigns). It's god-damn Citizen's United all over again. Fuck them and the damn upper-class mafia kickback-scheme that they put in the seats where our government used to be! They don't deserve anyone's respect, the corruption-loving bastards. 

Excuse me. I'm a little steamed about this unfortunate turn of events, and needed to vent.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gentleman Thief

So my wife loses her bus pass. She used it on the way to a party at a friend's house, but someone at the party gave us a ride home and we didn't notice it was missing for several days.  It's not the pass she uses for work (as her company pays for that one) and since her leg was until recently broken we haven't been riding the bus as much. Basically, it was an extra pass we hardly ever use.

Still, there's like 20 bucks on the pass, so it's worth a call or two. We phone the hosts of the party, and the person who gave us a ride home, just in case anyone found it. No luck. Probably we dropped it on the bus, then. Not a big deal, we mentally "write off" the 20 bucks.

A couple weeks later it comes up in conversation again, and that's when we realize that we might actually have had that pass set to auto-load from a credit card we don't really use any more. Oh, crap! If someone found it or stole it, they could potentially have used the bus every day for almost a month, and we'd have been paying for it. We could easily be hit with a $150 surprise bill, which could already be over-due since I ignored the only piece of mail that credit card company sent last month. What can I say? It looked like junk mail.

Checking the bus pass program's website, we quickly find out that the bus pass we lost: 
  1.  is indeed set for automatically charge our old credit card whenever the e-purse hits zero
  2. shows bus-riding history/activity as recently as a couple hours before we logged in to report it lost.
So we report the card as lost/stolen, which freezes whatever money remains in the e-purse. Whatever they've actually used is gone, and anything that auto-paid is gone too, but at least they can't get any more of our money.

With that out of the way, we poke through the activity log for the last month. The pass has been used a couple times a week for the month it was lost... but never hit zero dollars, and never triggered the auto-pay. It got very close to zero, but then whoever had the pass went to one of the Kiosks where you can deposit cash towards your e-purse, and made a big deposit. At the point where I cancelled it, over $30 of _their_ money remained on the pass. Oops.

Instead of some stranger "stealing" my money, effectively I helped the bus company "steal" $10 of that stranger's money. Or rather, they did steal $20 from us, but then we enabled the bus to steal $30 from them. What was the thing my mom used to say about two wrongs? I can tell myself they deserved it, for using our bus pass instead of turning it in... but chances are they didn't steal it per se. I mean I can't really picture a thief who pickpockets someone, and then deposit their own money into the card they stole. Most likely, the worst "crime" this person engaged in was "finders, keepers", for which they were fined $30 (plus the $5 to get a new pass, probably) and were possibly stranded at work with no bus fare home. Something about that just doesn't sit right with me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Voting in Seattle

Seattle, WA is a pretty awesome city and state to live in. I used to hate election season. Other places I've lived, it seemed like everyone always felt outnumbered and attacked no matter what their political position, and each election cycle was several months of hell. Moving to a progressive State (and turning off the TV in favor of the internet) has done wonders for my blood pressure and peace of mind. As it would happen, this election day I was terribly ill. I had contracted strep throat a few days before, followed quickly by an insane viral complication that felt like some Bond villain was keeping their prize school of man-eating piranha in my mouth. Three trips to the urgent care center down the street just prior to the election had me on a four different medicines and I was instructed to avoid all contact with other humans for two weeks. Luckily, we vote by mail here in Washington state. Instead of standing in some stupid line contracting and spreading god knows what, I was able to vote from my sofa. I could take my time, web-search every candidate and initiative via the iPad, and not worry that my illness (or impatience / forgetfulness / ignorance) was causing me to make some foolish decision. Plus, thanks to our lovely open primary and run-off system, I'd already done my research on these candidates two months ago, so for 80% of the races I could just check my notes from back then. It made for a really laid-back voting experience, no pressure or confusion, and with me being so damn sick I really appreciated that. As to how I voted: mostly Democrat, plus Greens where-ever possible. No big surprise there. We did have some pretty weighty issues on the local ballot initiatives this year, and I think that's definitely the most important part of voting this time around. If you'll indulge me whilst I ride this high horse up onto the soapbox... I'm a bleeding heart liberal and I look like a hippy, but those who truly know me will acknowledge I'm kind of a square. I have maybe 10 alcoholic drinks in an entire year. I have never ever done a recreational drug. Despite that notable degree of stick-in-the-mud-itude, I voted this year to legalize pot, and am really glad it passed. From my outsiders perspective, pot certainly seems no more harmful than booze. I've been threatened and even attacked by drunks before, but never by stoners. You just can't put enough weight on that, even if there are other reasons to be pro-legalization. Washington has no income tax, and I expect the extra money from regulated pot sales are probably going to really help keep our various liberal programs and infrastructure projects well-funded. Raking in the dough, instead of spending it to lock up generally harmless stoners. Legalized pot will hopefully take the wind out of the sails of the cartels, in much the same way that ending prohibition deflated the US mafia. Not that cartel influence is felt that much up here in the Pacific NorthWest, but it is a legitimate concern on the national level. Pot's status as a "gateway drug" is because most people think it's no big deal, and yet you have to break the law to do it, which pretty much trains people to think it's no big deal to break the law. Legalization seems to me like a huge win for sanity, all around. I also got to vote in favor of marriage equality, and am thrilled it passed as well. I'm about to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of my marriage to the most amazing woman I have ever met. Prior to meeting her, I experienced a miserable failed marriage and divorce. Gay people getting married is certainly no more threatening to the institution of marriage than stupid people who don't understand commitment getting married is. Don't take that out of context, there. I'm not saying gay people are stupid, I'm saying as long as idiots such as myself (particularly at the time of my first marriage) are allowed to get married, anyone ought to be allowed. Happiness, peace of mind, legal protection, soul-stripping emotionally vulnerability -- there's nothing about marriage that shouldn't be just as available for any two loving adults to partake in regardless of their genders or orientation. I'm dumbfounded by just how alarmed some of my fellow heterosexuals get over the notion that two guys somewhere might have a ceremony and sign a financial / legal document. If you think some stranger's marriage (or bedroom practices) is a threat to your way of life, you have a outrageously flawed sense of perspective.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

AWPC: Weight Loss

V: You want to know a good way to lose weight?

Me: Stop eating and start fucking.

V: That's pretty good.

Me: What have you got?

V: Nothing as good as that.