electric eye

A New Job

So, I am starting a new job. That new job is at the Census doing the 2010 Enumeration of the census. Basically my job will be to go to places that did not return a census form for whatever reason, ask them questions, and turn in the paperwork associated with the answers. For anyone who doesn't know, these numbers are used in determining funding for schools, number of representatives, etc…

So far I am doing orientation / training today. I find it interesting that the training information they are giving us is being read directly out of a booklet word for word. I can understand it, but I can't imagine how tedious it is for the people running the training. It is a job though, and it is a surprisingly well paid job, $11.50 an hour. Now my part in this job won't last longer than June and may end before that. I personally find that this sucks but it is what I expected. It is funny, already the imaginary carrot is being dangled in front of us with the suggestion that we can keep positions if we do well enough, even though the position of enumerator is going to have ended there could be other positions for us to move into if we like our jobs and do well at them. Carrot, carrot, carrot. See the carrot? Go for the carrot!

It reminds me so very much of Charlie Brown and the never-ending football placed by Lucy. It always amuses and annoys me how very much like that analogy the real world is. There is always someone dangling something in front of you that you want, want it bad enough you have to chase it. Always it is with the promise (either by yourself for others) that this time it will be different, this time it won't be for nothing. It is hard to keep together a real sense or hope and improvement when everyone uses the carrot but so few people ever actually plan to let you have the carrot.

electric eye

Notes from the field...

Today is dreary and dark. I like the clouds but it is raining constantly and my heart feels sunken today. I am stuck doing light fixtures again, not that bad but it is not enhancing my mood in the least. I wish I could crawl back into bed and call off the next few days for lack of interest. My family needs me to be strong though so I'd better get over it and put the face back on.
electric eye

The Trick of the Tricky

It has been a long time since my last blog post, this will likely be a short one but, hey whatever works right?

Today we start off with this story...
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/nyregion/14york.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

The main point of the article is that there is a split in how 9/11 families in New York feel about the pending trial issues for the admitted mastermind of the attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. However, I think the defense has it right to try their best (if they are doing their job) to try to change a venue. Those people that state they feel it is a betrayal to bring Khalid to trial in a civilian court may not understand the implications of bringing justice in a military court. The country has in the past refused to designate any of those questioned for their part in terrorism as anything by enemy combatants, they are not prisoners of war. What does that matter? Quite simply it has put Obama in a bad position. We can't designate them as PoW's now and not be in gross violation of international law and treaties. Should that happen, our countries leaders could be charged with war crimes. We simply can't let that happen (even if maybe we should) as it would have long lasting implications of the international stage.

We can't just execute people either, human rights are human rights and that would have long lasting implications in not only this country but countries abroad that we would like to look at us as a moral compass. There is a spot light on those detained by the Bush administration right now as well, so even if we were so inclined to just 'loose' a prisoner that perhaps later would turn up dead, it would just make us look bad as it would surely be noticed.

That leaves Obama in a tight spot on how to bring justice…

Honestly, I think it is brilliant, bring Khalid to court almost within sight of the terror attacks highest losses, refuse requests for a change of venue and let the people of New York decide. I'm sure the choice will be a no brainer to them.

...

Finally, just a short comment on an article about the drug companies raising profits on the eve of legislation to reduce those same profits.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/business/16drugprices.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

We see the consumer price index falling, we have a closed system in which drug companies do not have to tell anyone about why they raise or lower prices in the long or short term.

So, what? Does anyone really think we should believe them when they say that it is under no circumstances due to the possibility of pending legislation? Is the nation supposed to be that stupid?

I say that there be some demand for an explanation, a public explanation of the highest price increase since 1992! Of course, this would never nor will ever happen. It would be nice though, I personally want to know, I want to know how they would explain. Of course, there are business reasons for doing this. If t he promise is to drop in $8 billion, raise by $10 billion before that is supposed to happen makes perfect sense. We see it all the time.

We see it in the way that retailers raise prices a few months before major shopping events force sales. People aren't supposed to notice that prices hike up by 20% before you get the sale by 15%. Everyone knows what happens during holiday weekends, gas prices hike up and then when they go back down, they never do go quite so far back down as they did before.

Corporate interests really do run a good portion of this nation, I refuse to believe they no one has noticed though. This is why articles that question the sincerity of the drug industry really make me wonder, does anyone really believe it?
electric eye

Warehouse 13 Thoughts

Saw Warehouse 13 Pilot Episode last night, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Though there are some nicely cliché things, its like seeing a formula in action. You have the hero, the adviser, the problem. I would say the villain, but that isn't the case in the pilot for Warehouse 13. There isn't a consistent villain but there is a problem at hand. Weird shit is out there and it needs to be contained. The adviser is split, this fits with the archetype of the socially inept but brilliant scientist, which is very popular right now. See shows such as Fringe, Lie to Me, and The Mentalist. I enjoy each of those - however, they all share the same factor. A scientist or other scholar who is brilliant but without social knowledge or constraint.

The main science guy in Warehouse 13 has demons, which is good. I like the science guy with demons because it gives an out for the idea that he is socially isolated, not because he doesn't know how perhaps? It could be because he has been hurt too many times before. It speaks in the episode about dead associates, dead agents, weird questions that saved his life. Who is the other advisor? A very attractive woman who apparently reads auras but not only that, she extrapolates into a deep knowledge and understanding of personality and behavior. This reminds me of Lie to Me where he knows everything about those around him. She seems to know everything about those around her but is wise enough not to force it, I personally want to see her have issues, it is too perfect.

The hero is split as well, two people fighting for the cause. He is reminiscent of Mulder on X-Files. He believes though not with the religious fervor of Fox nor is he alienated from his colleagues, though I get the impression that he was on his way down. She is very much like Scully though not a scientist, although if one has watched the entirety of X-Files one would be better to compare the girl to John Dogget, not a scientist but a straight shooter. There is nothing weird going on, everything can be explained, etc... I hope they both break out of these shells in the future, each of us has as Dogget, a Scully, a Mulder, etc...

What do I think?

I enjoyed it, quite a bit. It has a lot of potential.
electric eye

"The hardest thing in this world, is to live in it..." - Dawn (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Today should be a bad day... All the recent things going on and all their expectations for the coming months pile on like sack of grain after sack of grain, right onto my shoulders and the shoulders of those around me as well. I have an idea of the poor times coming in the future but, somehow, today they do not scare me. Today, I have paid a bill and likely will pay another. What is amazing there? Nothing. I will clean up my house, I will do my dishes, and I will simply live.

My wife says that I suffer from dissatisfaction, that I am never happy with what I have and never will be. Funny, I often wish to say the same thing about her, and I wonder... Who is right? Are we both right? Probably. The fact is that the things in my life that matter, I have. My wife, I have. I have a family, though untraditional as it may be, people rely on me. I know that I am needed and I have the unappreciative people sometimes able to say mean things - though more often they simply demonstrate this attitude of ungratefulness not by overtness (because they would never characterize themselves as ungrateful) but by lack of being a part of things and the lack of adjusting their social constructs to meet the needs of their own situation here. What is that like? Children, so I am told, have the unerring capacity to completely take for granted all the things that make their lives nicer. Who is the child? Those who live in the house may think this is all to them but it is to one in particular. Having said that, I am certain the person I am speaking of will think it is someone else where as the others will think it is themselves still. Such is life.

What is it I am supposed to do now? Well, as I said, I will clean my house, do a bit of wash, and occasionally pet the cat. This Week in Tech has visited by iTunes list once more and along with MacBreak Weekly I will very likely listen to some audio as well. In short, I will live and hope that those around me can at the same time both show me how to take comfort in what I have in my life that is wonderful (such as above, wife, family, being needed, etc) and balance that with desire for improvement.

That is all for now.

PS - Yes, the title really does quote such tripe.
electric eye

Middle of the Road of Life

Yesterday I was driving up the road in my rather beat up looking minivan, I was driving north on I5 on my way to the pharmacy. For those people who don't know, I5 north of where I am has maybe one, perhaps two cities that are of any size and certainly nothing as large as where I live now, Redding. The road continues with small settlements off the beaten path all the way into Oregon where it meets up with some Oregon cities. It is clear , however, while heading north of Redding that you are heading out of civilization. I reached Shasta Lake City, my stop, and got off I5 but as I approached the exit my mind paused its thought process. Even as my hands turned the wheel slightly to the right and guided my old windowless vehicle off of the freeway toward my eventual destination I was caught off guard a bit by the strength of my imagined travel onward. What if I did not get off there, what if I just kept going and going. What if, instead of stop, I just kept moving, I had what... Around a quarter tank of gas left, I had my debit card though, so I could gas up though that would mess with my already strained monetary calculations and plans. I really had the power to keep going, to just not stop and see where I ended up.

There is a freedom in that thought, a freedom that I can't really explain. Don't get my wrong, this isn't about me wanting to leave my wife and life behind me, this isn't about being unhappy where I am exactly, it is about the longing to have done more with myself. I've been to... 3 concert in my time, just 3... Well, 4 if you count a country concert when I was a kid but, I don't, I hardly remember it. Even at 4, that seems a pitifully low number. I don't go anywhere, never have. I have never even seen a real museum. This is so startling that when I went to the Turtle Bay Exploration Park and saw their small art exhibits I was so pleased to just be there that I didn't want to leave. I thought, how amazing is this... People put onto canvas or other materials a sense of how they saw the world. Some, I identified with right away, some I wondered about, but all of them I thought to myself, these expressions are amazing. The creativity, the power to just put a vision of an outlook into permanent record for all to see for all time. I have been looking for that for so very long now for myself. First, I wrote programs but, programmers are never hailed. People who even use iTunes, OS X, or Office really don't think of the immortality of viewpoint of the programmers because, well it just isn't that way. I try to write, but I am no good as a writer, so no good in fact that even friends of mine I ask to read what I have written do not, it sits there waiting - or they have and wish not to tell me. Either way, it is the same. My expressions are uninteresting but I can feel it, I can feel that inside me, ideas and viewpoints that desperately wish to be laid out.

Back to the road though, as I get off the freeway I wonder what it would be like to travel the open road. Do I want a motorcycle? Probably not, but to be able to do something and experience something. To leave a mark somewhere maybe, or maybe just to leave a mark on myself so that I don't feel so painfully dull. I want to go to China, I want to go to England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Russia... All of these places I would love to go but never will it seems. I have started to read more, to read more about the world around me and about worlds that either never happened or have long since died away. It makes me long more for the freedom to go and to experience.

Perhaps this is my mid life, is this what happens when people buy new cars and get new young wives, split families and head out on beefy motorcycles every weekend with friends? I feel old, too old and with not enough life to be this old. So, yes, I think it fits the definitions of a mid life crisis, except milder maybe... I'm not going to go divorcing my wife to get some young bimbo of a thing to make me feel 17 again. I am too smart for that, I would just feel my age even more when she never would get a reference of a viewpoint born of my generation. I don't want a motorcycle, though a Jeep would not go amiss. I don't want to leave my family for the open road to find myself. Nay, it could be said there is no self to find, but if there is, I will find it here, in my house, with my wife and family. Though it is most likely that I will find that I am largely undefined. Perhaps I just shouldn't look too hard. I have painted the exteriors of self, if I look not very hard at the outsides and visible parts the finish is nice and shiny. I should stick to that.
electric eye

What is in a Name? Too much to mess with!

I had previously read this story...
http://ping.fm/T6Up2

Now this story...
http://ping.fm/QOvWn

Now, with the first story I was really appalled that someone would send their child through life with the name Adolf Hitler Campbell. That is a seriously cruel thing to do, if the child (unlikely) somehow ended up not being a racist it would take convincing new people at every turn that they were not racist. I say unlikely because the kind of parents who name their child that in the first place. Add to that the report that the report of the name of one of the other children, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, I hope she has blond hair and blue eyes though it would be true to irony if she didn't.

I think that it is characteristic of an unhealthy detachment from ones own children to use their names to make political and social statements. Going up with the name Adolf Hitler linked with you forever. Likewise growing up linked with Aryan Nation linked with you forever, makes no sense and is cruel to the children. Kids in schools are cruel enough, when your beliefs aren't popular high school can be alien enough to anyone. But to add a layer of senseless and needless difficulty to the state of things. What happens if they have a black teacher, a jewish professor in college? Someone who can actually impact their lives to doesn't need to know them, doesn't need to ever really worry about knowing them. For some, all they'll need to know is the name and be offended and have the properties of a first impression forever shadowed by the simple fact of a name chosen to make a political statement by parents who obviously don't give a shit about the kids they are cursing.
electric eye

Drinks of Doom

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Original story link...
http://ping.fm/NEgT2

I find it, disturbing the lack of supervision, the lack of caring of the friends, and the idea that something was so wrong in the girls life that drinking that much seemed like a good way out. What is worse, is that the parents seem to be acting as if it isn't their fault like it is the evil force of Blood Alcohol Poisoning that is to blame. Really?
electric eye

(no subject)

Looking at the Palm Pre platform descriptions, and to me, sounds like another bust is on the way without a deeper layer of the SDK.