sigma7: ranch (Ranch tooth)
( Oct. 27th, 2012 12:08 pm)
God, LJ has become a massive wad of suck. I get more spam comments about uggs than I do anything else, and I don't know what's happened to the American LJ staff but all of my support calls go to a deep-voiced man named "Peggy."

Am backing up everything, because if there were a ten-point list on "things that happen before your Internet-based company goes belly-up," LJ's chalked at least nine of them, several of them twice. You can find me more reliably over at Tumblr or Twitter for those who know me just a little bit. Not sure how picspam will materialize. Might just queue-dump it gradually. Might find its way back to LJ if it's still standing next year, but I don't think it will be. This is more of a "contingencies-in-place-and-prepared" than a "screw-you-guys-I'm-goin'-hoam" sorta post, but I get so much more noise than signal from LJ anymore that the returns may have just diminished irrevocably.
You're all my best friends. You all, and the girl with the cello, and the Esteemed Colleague from Elsewhere, you're all my guys, you know that, right? Cause know that. It's true. You're my team. If things get freaky again, I need you all on my side to dig me out. Don't let me die in an unholy place. And protect yourselves. You're the best. Take care of all of you all, even the ones you don't know; they're worth it, promise you.

I'm always there. Always gonna be there.

(Edit: I don't remember making this post. But it's still true.)
So 9/11 is three days away. Meh. People seem oblivious to the main advantage of living in a linear timeline -- that events happen, and then they stop happening, and you're free to move on with your goddamn life. Or you could pick at the scab and thoughtfully stroke your scars as if they were the only part of you that matter.

I'm getting increasingly cranky about the compulsion to note and somehow observe anniversaries of pivotal events as if we were honestly capable of forgetting them. Florida Rep. Allen West seems to think it's possible, but West is a tiny-minded anti-Muslim fetishist with a questionable relationship to sanity and an impressive disregard for constitutionality for someone sworn to uphold it. Every single member and institution of the media seems to think it's possible for 9/11 awareness to somehow slide off the public consciousness, and each seems legally obligated to weigh in as yet another anniversary closes. We don't need supposed sports columnist Rick Reilly weighing in with his educated assessment of the bravery of the passengers on United Flight 93 -- Rick, we know, there was a goddamn movie made which we've all had the opportunity to rent if we wanted to, now get back to recycling columns or sucking things out of my carpet. We know. If you can successfully recite two numbers and instinctively know that it refers to a specific event ten years ago (and it's acceptable AP style on any reference), it does not need constant reintroduction to the general public for fear of it evaporating into the ether.

I'm not saying it shouldn't be observed; obviously, if you want to mark the occasion for whatever reason (and I'm certainly not saying those who suffered personal loss on the date should soldier on obliviously), feel free. But we as a people have been doing this for ten straight years, and nobody should be slighted for wanting to finally turn the page.

If you really want to relive or revisit it, watch it as it happens from TV stations from across the world. I throw this out there because it's a fantastic resource and nicely presented and executed (though I wish the clips were longer than 30 seconds apiece), and because one of my personal interests has always been the media's reaction to earth-shattering events -- and I think it can be argued that 9:03 am is the most earth-shattering event ever caught on live TV, certainly by multiple networks (the only other two that come close in my mind are Jack Ruby and losing Challenger, and those were only shown by one network -- though the latter was being watch by thousands of impressionable and soon-to-be scarred schoolchildren). So yeah, I'm deeply intrigued by Diane Sawyer gasping for breath and the panicked shouting of the on-the-scene interviewees and the anchors getting things wrong, wrong, wrong as they unfold. But that's my personal peccadillo, and I've already revisited it at my leisure and to my satisfaction. (If the anchors are too restrained and collected for you, perhaps this reaction is more of what you're looking for; 102 Minutes That Changed America is the definitive found-footage documentary of the NYC end of 9/11 which unfolds in astonishingly swift real-time and is as riveting and horrifying as it could be.)
sigma7: Sims (Domo-kun dances!)
( Aug. 24th, 2011 08:19 am)
20 Stunning Photos Of The Damage Caused By The East Coast Earthquake and 20 Inspiring Photos From The East Coast Earthquake Cleanup.

Yes, I'm enjoying this. But I'm also a bit jealous; I've never lived through an noticeable earthquake.
Sympathies to everyone in Europe -- or zipping through -- affected by this Scrabble-accident monstrosity lurching from the hellmouth that is Iceland. Never been there, but I've long had...suspicions. I can say no more here. 42 pics below.... )
sigma7: Sims (ride the pig)
( Mar. 10th, 2010 10:03 pm)
Kansas City closing nearly half, 29 of its 51 61 schools. Buh. Interesting points FTA:

-- "Covington has stressed that the district's buildings are only half-full as its population has plummeted amid political squabbling and chronically abysmal test scores."

-- "Many students have left for publicly funded charter schools, private and parochial schools and the suburbs."

-- "Fewer students means less money from the state. For the past few years, the district has been plowing through the large reserves it built up when money from a $2 billion court-ordered desegregation plan was flooding its coffers."

This is going to get worse before it gets better.
Hey, is today not gloomy enough to fit into this morbid week of shuffling-off of various media icons? You know what you need? Early 1980s nuclear armageddon films, in their entirety. Have you not seen The Day After (directed by Nicholas Meyer of Star Treks II and VI) or Threads? The most significant omission from the list I can see is When the Wind Blows, but five outta six ain't bad.
It's days like this that I miss being in news.

Also, someone check on Walter Cronkite, will ya?
About 80 percent of the members The Boston Globe’s largest union turned out to vote on whether to accept $10 million in wage and benefit cuts that the newspaper’s owner, The New York Times Co., says it needs to keep operating the money-losing paper.

Results of the voting won’t be known until later this evening.

Nearly 550 of 690 editorial, advertising, and business office workers represented by the Boston Newspaper Guild cast ballots on a contract proposal that would cut their pay by about 10 percent, slice health and retirement benefits, and eliminate lifetime job guarantees, union officials said.

The Times Co. has said it would impose a 23 percent pay cut on Guild employees should they fail to ratify the contract proposal.

The vote was no, 277-265.

I don't see the Globe lasting past October -- hell, it'll be lucky to get through the summer. (Edit: Or, hey, maybe I'm wrong, cowed by management's slightly-skewed-for-scare-tactics numbers.)

In slightly-better-by-way-of-schadenfreude news, Sam Zell (not inaccurately called "an idiot in terms of journalism" -- but I see quite a few arguments for broadening the terms of the man's idiocy) might lose control of Tribune, which is about two years too late to do any real good. Still, the man's a malignancy on the industry and it'll improve merely by association by having him excised.
Kansas abortion doc and political lightning rod George Tiller shot dead in his church. The official response from Operation Rescue:

"We are shocked at this morning’s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down. Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller’s family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ."
sigma7: Sims (Luna)
( May. 26th, 2009 01:43 pm)
FYI re: the California Supreme Court's decision today that essentially upholds Prop 8 -- please keep in mind (and I've seen most people getting this correctly but it still bears repeating) that the Supremes didn't weigh in on the merits of Prop 8 in and of itself. This ruling is entirely about the level of involvement of the state legislature in state constitutional amendments -- the petitioners' argument was that Prop 8 was invalid because it didn't clear the legislature, and that it needed to, being so restrictive on the constitution's equal protection clause. It was a tenuous argument at best, and I have to say I'd have weighed in with the six instead of the one, if only for the ramifications for later constitutional-amendment initiatives. (Of course, keep in mind all of my legal knowledge I got from riding in squad cars and watching episodes of Quincy M.E. -- legal eagles, shoot me down if/where I err.)

The court isn't where this battle needs to be fought and won -- it's in the electorate. Good luck.
sigma7: Sims (dammit)
( May. 20th, 2009 10:39 am)
Power hasn't gone out for over two months. Guess we were due. Posting via iPod difficult if workable. Grrr. Edit: and we're back, just long enough to drain the tiny EPS on the server, so let's see what we lost this time.
sigma7: Sims (sad little sick jig)
( Apr. 25th, 2009 05:23 pm)
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has confirmed two cases of swine flu involving a husband and wife in Dickinson County. Which, for the uninitiated into Kansas geography, is about 25 miles away from here.

This is karmic retribution for me playing Pandemic 2 the other day, isn't it?
Oh dear holy God.

Microsoft has a new program called "Songsmith," which, when you feed it a vocal track, will generate the MIDI-esque backing music for you. Technically, it works, I guess, for very small values of "works." Aesthetically it...uhm. How do I work in the word "abomination?"

Don't take my word for it. Watch the videos, and if you hate yourself, turn the music up all the way:

Billy Idol, "White Wedding" (I approve of the banjos, if nothing else)
Rush, "Tom Sawyer" (oh sweet holy God stop)
Marvin Gaye, "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (Marvin, I'm so, so sorry)
The Police, "Roxanne" (salsa!)
The Beatles, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (insufficient medication to make this congeal)
Nirvana, "In Bloom" (set phasers to "bossa nova," Spock)
Radiohead, "Creep" (worst rodeo ever)
Britney Spears, "Toxic" (I may actually like this one more)
Michael Jackson, "Beat It" (WHARRGARBL)

Edit: in addition to the winners in the comments (Ozzy's Polka Train gave me a stroke), don't miss Rick Astley. It's nine kinds of awful, and I'm finding some consistency in the SongSmith drummer's apparent ADHD behaviors....
So yes, LJ has struck an iceberg and is taking on water. It's taken a while for (')SUP to take a shot at the Six Apart School of Epic Fail Management, but it looks like they're getting a running start, at least. (I also like the friendly tone of the CNET article -- "affected by the layoff" being the most passive term for "shitcanned" that I've seen lately from someone who wasn't actually cutting the strings.)

So it's time to ask what color your blog-parachute is -- me, I've got my never-updated Blogger site (I should've jumped on it sooner, if only to gank my preferred username from whichever Malaysian cockblocker claimed it and has since done jack with it), my created-last-night (in a prescient trance?) Twitter feed (which I don't plan on using much as I have no mobile devices and will cut off my own hands before I use LoudTwitter, but at least I got my username this time), and the truly crafty have probably stumbled onto my low-key presence in a few other sundry corners of the Internets.

As most of my f-list have already noted, if LJ does take a double-tap to the head in a back alley off Gorky Park (and I don't expect it to disappear tonight or tomorrow but I don't expect to see the end of another year of paid time), the real loss is going to be the communities established via LJ -- my f-list is an unmitigated web of awesome, and I don't see a social service out there that stands to replicate it. But if you haven't backed up your LJ yet -- PC users, grab LJArchive and everybody else try ljdump (points to [ profile] alasdair for tracking down the latter) -- now is really the best time. Go now.
-- I finally figured out where GDBM is going next. And it's closer to canon than you might expect. (Canon? In my Goddamn Batman? It's more likely than you think. Hint: Paul Dini.)

-- Got one of my Spectre covers hotlinked from a hilariously strange post to [ profile] scans_daily, so I get notices early in the morning when my 20 MB bandwidth cap gets exceeded. This is how the other half lives, I see. I take back my picspam hotlinking arguments. (No, I haven't forgotten picspam, either.) Just seems counter-productive to hotlink to a site that's only going to be up five hours a day because of the traffic. Hrm. (Then again, the tech support page says that a tool for measuring quota use says they "will build an interface to provide this information" and I'm pretty sure that statement is ten years old now. No hurry, kids. At least I've actually accomplished everything I set out to do ten years ago. Just...slowly.)

-- Via Romenesko: Reporters covering Sarah Palin in Clearwater were greeted with taunts by a crowd of about 3,000, reports Dana Milbank. When Palin blamed Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media," her supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks, shouting abuse and hurling obscenities. Milbank says one supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."

-- Speaking of, yes, there's a debate tonight, but it's a pseudo-"town-hall" format, questions submitted in advance, no cross-questioning, so it's a simultaneous stump-speech. Actually, they won't be talking simultaneously, though that would be more entertaining. Sure as hell not watching it -- might try to find a good liveblog so I don't have to. (I will say MightyGodKing's take on the last two debates has been consistently the most entertaining aspect of the election cycle thus far, with Tina Fey a distant second.)

-- Via [ profile] rosefox8: I wear my pentical (its just the way it make scene to spell it to me) all the time! and i was playing with it in class and this girl like "your a witch" I said "get your facts right I not!" she said"I not dumb i know what that star means" I said "yep it only has one meaning and i am a witch and you should behead me!" She said "so your a witch" me " No i am a Celt there is a different get it right before you judge" The sad thing is I've had to grade less coherent work than this.

-- The Leonidas icon is moving in time to Todd Rundgren's "Bang the Drum."

-- Via [ profile] anw: If you've spent the last few weeks in a funk brought on by a cataclysmic economy, political insipidy, pigskin agony (goddammit, Norv!) or just the general intense fail endemic to the human race, maybe you need a pick-me-up. Read this, then this. Sometimes you just have to delight in the way the world works.
So, let's count the things that have failed today¹.

-- The markets
-- The bailout
-- Wachovia (we could split hairs over what constitutes true fail, but face it, it's close enough -- spell-check wants to replace "Wachovia" with "Chekhovian" and I don't think even Anton was ever this dour)
-- The Legion of Super-Heroes (paging Christopher Bird, please pick up white courtesy phone)
-- Scott Linehan, former coach of the St. Louis Baabaas
-- The Hubble
-- Naked 52-year-old sex offenders found naked in a neighbor's daughter's bedroom with a knife, rope, condoms and a bad heart
-- Bat-flavored coffee
-- Gina Rue's suicide attempt (and I find this just after finishing Crysis Warhead with the riveting bridge cutscene)
-- Getting your butt stapled shut
-- Chili-eating-related fatality (from the Daily Fail, no less)
-- The New York Sun (final issue tomorrow -- print is dead, I tells ya)
-- My sanity and, of course, progress on GDBM (soon, I promise)

I'm sure there's more I'm missing, but those are your highlights. This should be a bank holiday -- like April Fool's, but inevitably self-inflicted.

¹Yeah, I'm cheating on some of these things having happened a few days ago. I'm adopting a quantum denial filter -- they didn't happen until I saw that they happened, and thus the waveform stabilized.
I've been trying to stay away from the whole death-of-capitalism thing, but one sentence, one word today amid the statistics and eschatological economics just floored me.

"I'm just watching the dollar self-implode," said Brian Dolan, chief currency strategist at

...Again, Large Hadron Collider and quantum singularities aside, is it possible to implode in such a way that is not self-implosion?
The risk when selecting a relative unknown to be your vice-presidential candidate in relative secrecy is that you don't have the opposition and the press doing your grunt work for you. An under-the-radar candidate doesn't receive full-bore weapons-grade scrutiny until the limelight is upon them. And I expected something to come out about Gov. Sarah Palin, something embarrassing yet merely a hurdle to overcome -- like calling Hillary a whiner, slumming it in sports journalism, or just accusations of inexperience.

And then...oh my God.

I'm trying to figure out if this timing is a blessing or a curse for the Republican ticket. Do you want your VP candidate fielding questions about allegedly covering up her daughter's pregnancy as her own before the convention? Does that give you ample time to chat with Barbara Walters, put this story into your own framework? Or, if there is truth to this (and your brain trust missed it), do you get a plan B -- hold an uncomfortable news conference announcing that the family scrutiny is too much and drag Pawlenty or Romney onto the ticket?


sigma7: Sims (Default)


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