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[04 Mar 2009|01:24am]
Are we still scared of the communists? Is socialism still synonymous with frightening?

I guess now that Obama is president, I get to put up with four years of how democrats and Obama are ruining the country. I just saw someone try to blame financial deregulation on Bill freaking Clinton. Bill. Clinton. A president who had what could rightfully be referred to as an "opposition congress".

We favor informational blips over real analysis. Boiled down absolutes instead of truth. I guess this is just natural, but jesus it's frustrating. In twenty years, am I going to be reading people saying how the war in Iraq was Obama's fault?

I read someone talking about "moral guidance" in politics. Let me set something straight: I'm a registered democrat, but I'm hardly party faithful. So I don't think democrats have all the answers, and certainly Pelosi has pissed me off at least once. But Cheney and Bush were hardly "moral" rulers. Would moral men torture people? Would moral, educated men torture people? Jesus fucking christ on the cross, how dare anyone throw the word "moral" into politics, as if morality was based purely on political affiliation.

Tell you what, America: grow the goddamn pair of balls you seem to think you have. People die in the world, often by unjust means. And that sucks. That really sucks. But let's stop pretending that we have the right to kill hundreds of thousands of people when some of ours die. Okay?

More white noise. The larger the reach of communication, the more white noise rushes in to fill it. And I'm becoming increasingly convinced that we are all being subjected to nothing more than white noise. Twitter, facebook, youtube, txt messages, etc: all white noise. I know that 50, 60 years ago, people thought rock and roll was going to destroy society, and that it of course never happened. Society merely adapted, and we're doing the same now. It's just frustrating because the tendency to misrepresent seems to be ingrained into the human mind. There will always be a certain amount of information sent around that is completely and utterly wrong. I imagine that if one had everything ever said or written before them, they would find this to be true. We should just teach this in schools: x percent of everything you will ever read, hear, or see, is a lie. We'd save a lot of time that way.

We're still worried about political talking points from 60 years ago? Really? I don't think we really are. But it would be nice if people would stop bandying about the word socialist, as if they knew what it actually meant, or if it was some sort of actual looming threat or some such thing.

I thought I would feel better after the election, and I did, and this has nothing to do with policies being enacted, but more to do with reactions about them. I guess it's been a long lesson in coming, but people are so goddamned daft.

How can people receive an education and still be stupid? HOW? How do people graduate from college and then say they didn't learn anything? Oh, wait. Because you're a moron. That's why.
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Expected Value to assess risk in an either/or situation is stupid, amirite? [17 Nov 2008|01:57pm]
Okay, Joe, or anyone else who knows statistics.

Let's say you're doing a problem that wants you to figure out the expected value of a situation. You're an oil company, and you're trying to decide if you want to dig on Site A or Site B.

Directly from my (easy) homework:

Site A
Profit if oil is found: 80 million
Loss if no oil is found: 10 million
Probability of finding oil: .2

Site B
Profit if oil is found: 120 million
Loss if no oil is found: 24 million
Probability of finding oil: .1

When you do your math, you find the expected value of site A is 8 million in profit, and Site B is 9.6 in loss. The homework then asks you to find the difference.

The problem is, this is not a guaranteed situation or anything. Unlike other expected value situations, you're not going to make 8 million dollars off site A. You're either going to make 80 or you're going to lose 10. One or the other. There is no third situation, in which you blend together both answers. Your books, at the end of the day, will either reflect a loss or a gain.

And this bugs me. Is this the kind of logic that is actually used? Do they just use this number not as an expected gain, but more of a risk assessment tool? Please say yes.
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[07 Nov 2008|11:28pm]
Failing banks spent millions on lobbying

So, at a time when these banks were starting to hurt, they could afford the millions to lobby the government for handouts?

Perhaps one of my favorite lines is how AIG, after receiving billions from the fed, paid for a $440,000 executive retreat. Wow, hard times at AIG. Hope you all liked paying for that!

Funny how this comes out AFTER people panicked, called their senators, and asked for them to pass the bailout bill.
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[28 Oct 2008|09:21am]
There is like, snow or something outside of my car.


Now I don't want to get out and go to class.
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[16 Oct 2008|10:49am]
The most ... true sounding thing I've read, I guess.
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Control the language, control the debate [03 Oct 2008|01:08pm]
As regarding the economic bailout, here's a prime example of getting what you want by simply controlling the context of the debate.

The current argument is about whether or not the $810 billion bailout bill is the best choice for economic health. When arguing this topic, it's very difficult to propose that economic growth will continue if we simply stand aside and let the economy collapse. Whether or not the bill is going to do anything for the economy (and whether or not the doomsday scenario for the economy is true, which there are doubts about) is kind of unimportant; what is important for the lawmakers, in an election year, is that they are seen as taking some sort of swift action on it. This is why John McCain "suspended" his election campaign. This bailout is the only option that has gotten any true media play; no one has really even considered anything else. The question of whether this is going to work or not is doubly unimportant in the face of Monday's rejection by the house. They reject the bill, supposedly playing to the interests of their constituents, who were right to regard the bill as a massive give away that defies the free market economics that their constituents are still at the mercy of. The Dow drops 700 points or so, the newspapers scream that we're all going to die, and suddenly a lot of people change their minds. The Dow has nearly regained all those points, by the way, and if it hasn't yet, it will. The Dow represents investor confidence in how the market is going to go. People are famously panicky with their money: the slightest hint of losing it and they'll yank it out of the market, which subsequently sends the Dow tumbling. How is it surprising that this is what happened? This is basic stock market economics. Investors got spooked and sent prices down. It does not change the question that has been proposed to as the truly important one: is the bailout bill right for the economy?

But it is this last point that is an error. The underlying logic is that what is good for the economy is good for the country. This is true, to a degree, but the importance is trumped up beyond what it actually is. When economic strength became a country's only benchmark for success and strength is beyond me. What the question should be is, is the bailout bill right for the country? If a little recession (or a large recession) would help our country and economy in the long-run, isn't it best to let it run its course, which free market policies dictate is the correct action? Politicians are reactionary: if the economy truly tanked, the politicians, being unable to undo the damage, would at least regulate it and ensure it wouldn't happen again. That is what happened after the depression, and the repeal of those reforms helped us get here today.

But this debate never takes place. By ensuring the question is on what is good for the economy, and not on what is good for the country, the bill is guaranteed to pass. Why? Because in this scenario, any action is perceived as better than inaction. The easy, pre-formulated solution, then, becomes the only solution. The only real argument in Congress is how many giveaways they need to attach to make it more palatable to the American people.

The politicians have absolutely no spines. In a way, our system of electing them is to blame: they have short terms in office between re-election. We can get rid of bad leaders quickly, but we may become angry and kick out good leaders before they ever truly shine. Government is a job, not a calling, and it never was. The point is to keep your job. They'll take the quick solution with the highest degree of risk, grease it with tax cuts, then say they had decisive action on the issue. The best outcome of this bailout is that we're just gonna muddle along, saddled with another trillion in debt, waiting for the next bubble to form and subsequently burst.

No empire in history has lasted. They all just crumble into former shadows of themselves, eventually dissolving to nothing or at least back to a more reasonable size. When American power ultimately falls (and it will ultimately fall), there'll still be America, and Americans. We'll just be smaller, poorer, and less powerful.
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Note to self [22 Jul 2008|02:27pm]
Called Greensburg, PA Starbucks; not too interested, they just hired people

Called Somerset, PA (1033 North Center Ave, Somerset, PA 15501)... they seemed much more interested. She mentioned a Johnstown (?) one that is right by Westmoreland... But she took my name and my number. Have to stop by there first.
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Oh god, I want to move away [23 May 2008|02:35pm]
Reason 1 to expatriate:

This is the country I live in.
15 comments|post comment

Just changed my spark plugs [03 Mar 2008|06:05pm]
And now I feel all manly and shit.

Changing the things on my car is actually sort of a big deal, so the fact that it seems that all 6 are running fine is good. No idea how old the other spark plugs were, and I wasn't able to replace them with NGK plats like is suggested (had to use autolite plats; I'm on a pretty small budget here).

Anyway, the car seems to run better, honestly. One of the things you have to do to get to the spark plugs is take off the intake plenum, which I did and used this chance to clean. I ended up cleaning some of the paint right off the damn thing, too, so I might find myself looking up to see what would be safe to paint it with (I'm guessing some sort of auto spray paint or something, but I'll look it up. Don't want my plenum to rust.)

Also, you have to take the accelerator cable off to take the plenum out, which means you have to re-adjust the tension in it when putting it back on. They say it should idle high if you have it too tight, and it doesn't seem to be idling past what it was idling before, but now I can't tell if the idle sound is correct. The car revs beautifully, but I dunno about the idling now. Oh well, might have to tinker with it when I repaint the plenum (better do it soon, too, Maryland is rust city).

Anyway, I do feel pretty damn manly. Flex, beotch!
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Advice? [20 Feb 2008|02:37pm]
Thinking about getting a new car, maybe. Not anytime soon, but possibly before the end of the year. Couple stipulations, though:

Should be, at most, 10K-ish. I have a trade-in worth roughly 2,000, and I'd prefer to not be saddled with too much to pay off. Anyway, this isn't a guarantee or anything, either. I'm just setting myself a pricepoint.

MUST have AWD. MUST MUST MUST. And I don't want a truck, dammit.

Thinking about a Subaru Impreza (AWD for the yay)... was looking at the WRXes, but not sure, considering their retail price point (for a used, 2002). How do they hold up, mechanically speaking? What about gas mileage? What octane do they need?

I'd love to get a car with some decent speed, as, y'know, I generally like to trade up, but it's not really a requirement. Just a want. Oh, and it's gonna be manual, as I am SO done with domestics.

So, a list of requirements:

Car, not truck
Around 10K, can be used
Mechanically sound reputation
Shouldn't EAT gas.

Would like:

Some amount of speed (civics need not apply). As much as I'd LOVE a car with turbo, it would probably eat into the gas mileage a bit too much (unless, of course, it's both fast AND efficient...)

Any ideas?
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Taxes and FAFSA done [14 Feb 2008|01:38pm]
Well, I finished my taxes and my FAFSA. Last day before the early deadline to maximize my aid, so hey... that's good. Anyway, hope something good comes of that.

Pretty sure Sarah and I are eligible for that whole economic stimulus package thing, so that'll make up for the fact that we're getting ripped on taxes. Ugh.
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Cinematography and the end of the universe [14 Feb 2008|12:42am]
Learning a craft is tough shit.

It's come to my attention that I actually have absolutely no natural talent when it comes to framing shots. This is bad as film is sort of my thing in college here. Still, it's good that I'm figuring it out now.

The brother in law has just asked me to be the cameraman on his senior project, which means between now and the end of the month, I'm going to be taking lots of little movies, probably with the tripod, to get some decent framing and camera motions down; it won't be the same (I'll be using a compact digital for practice, then using a hi def video camera from the school), but a camera is a camera, to some degree.

It'd be nice to not fuck it up for him.
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Super Tuesday Prayer [05 Feb 2008|03:53pm]
Dear Haysoos,

Let today ensure that we don't have a fucking asshole for the next 4 to 8 years.


A godless liberal.
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The A Standard [04 Feb 2008|02:31pm]
So, I guess I hate my english class, or something. It's nothing personal, it's just at the completely wrong time.

Okay, I don't hate it. But I do take issue with a couple of things, namely:
1. To expect me to be awake enough to provide insight at 8 in the morning (having woken at 6:30) when I work till midnight 4 nights a week (I work till 10 on the other) is a good way to set yourself up for disappointment. It's nothing personal. I'm just tired.

2. Setting the grade standard at C is antiquated, at best. Originally, a C was normal, and in no way does it actually seem a bad grade. As our system is set up now, however, an A paper is a piece of work that fulfills all the requirements to a decent degree. IE, it is the new C.

That's unfortunate, but on paper a C grade is barely passing. A teacher that subscribes to the original system is unfortunately unfairly penalizing students that do decent work with a grade that is viewed by all as rather poor (passing, yes, but by no means great). To take a special exception to the way the grades are treated and viewed (by future institutions of education) is not to make a wave, it's to give a bunch of decent students a C grade when they don't really deserve it. Now, if your entire department or school adhered to the C as standard policy, and made sure that future educational institutions knew it, then suddenly your C isn't really a bad mark, it's just not a huge deal. But an A would be worth something special. As it is, a C is pretty shitty.

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To current and future professors, [31 Jan 2008|12:16am]
I hate peer reviews. Please stop including them in the regularly scheduled coursework. Not only do I not want to read someone's shitty essay, but I hate telling them how shitty it is. Conversely, I don't want to obviously be less intelligent than someone. As for my own paper, I just LOVE watching someone either A, completely not read it, or B, attack a major portion of the paper and call it "pointless" because they obviously didn't understand your thesis statement. Also, C, what if they're right? I'm not gonna rewrite my entire paper based on suspect opinions.

For the love of god, I am not paying 16K a year so that I can try and learn from someone who is possibly a moron. I am paying 16K a year so that I can try and learn from YOU. Please to be allowing that to happen. If the opinions of my classmates were worth anything, they'd be teaching the class. Peer reviews are alienating wastes of time and social energy. I dread them, and YET I KEEP HAVING TO DO THEM, EVERY DAMN SEMESTER. ARGH.

Also, I can guarantee you, GUARANTEE YOU I SAY, that what I'm submitting for peer review isn't even a rough draft, but whatever I spat onto the paper the morning of (or the night before), and so any opinion given is likely invalid, as the final draft will in no way resemble what is being reviewed.

Edit: Am I the best at writing papers? Oh god no, I'm not, and I know I can use the practice of writing more papers, but Jesus H Christ on the cross, my classmates are often worse.
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Okay, so open car question to the friends list... [07 Dec 2007|12:51pm]
So, I drive a 1992 Mitsubishi 3000GT SL (automatic, no turbo... yes, I know it's neutered), and I'm having something of a small problem with it.

When I'm driving, or revving the engine, my voltage is hovering around the 14 to 15 volt mark, but when I'm idling, the damn thing drops to around 9 or 10 volts, and it's pretty noticeable. The air conditioning is weaker, the windshield wipers don't move as fast, the speakers lose volume... I'm trying to find out what could be causing this, but having no luck. You'd think "low idle voltage" would pull up SOMETHING in a search, but... I'm wondering if it's the alternator. The car still starts up fine, but then again, this only truly started being bad this week, so...
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[03 Dec 2007|05:54pm]
So I'm doing a paper on the Miller's tale, from the Canterbury Tales, and as I can't seem to be fucked to find Sarah's copy, I just downloaded some scans from google books of old versions from the turn of the century. One seems to be the original text, and the other seems to be a translation into 100 year old English (which isn't too complicated, really... few changes).

The funny thing is, I hadn't read the story in a couple years, so I read the translation to briefly familiarize myself with it again. Upon the readthrough, it seemed... confusing. I didn't think too much about it, however, and so I went on my way, writing up my paper... I recalled one part saying the carpenter went to Church (at Oseney, which was to do some work, but I needed to check)... ended up finding a resource for UK teachers to teach the Miller's tale, started reading it, and... well, they were talking about stuff that I had REMEMBERED being in the story, yet it didn't seem so obvious when I read through it. That's when I realized: they cut the damn thing out in the translation. Anything considered crude, they did not translate. It's in the original text, published around the same time, and I can even see where they made the cut. They don't mention having taken these liberties anywhere that I could obviously find, and publishing a 600+ page book and titling it "The Complete Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer"... seems like you might not edit for content, honestly, but there it is. The story makes a hell of a lot more sense, now. I mean, I had remembered it being a lot more... y'know, crude.

So, can't rely on THAT for anything besides quoting the parts that are in the original text... it's just kind of funny to see that they did that back in like 1912.

Edit: besides the obvious HUGE GLARING CUT, here's a decent example of some subtle but important changes in translation (yes, I'm using translation, even though "rendering" might be more accurate):

This Nicholas thought he would amend all the sport; he
should kiss him ere he escaped! Back he put the window in
haste, and out he put himself. Thereupon spoke this clerk Absalom, "Speak, sweet bird, I wot not where thou art;" and then he was ready with his hot iron and smote Nicholas therewith.

The Original:
This Nicholas was risen for to pisse, And thoghte he wolde amenden al the lape, He sholde kisse his ers er that he scape. And up the windowe dide he hastily 3801 And out his ers he putteth prively Over the buttok, to the haunche-bon; And ther-with spak this clerk, this Absolon, ' Spek, swete brid, I noot nat wher thou This Nicholas anon leet flee a fart, As greet as it had been a thonder-dent, That with the strook he was almost art.'And he was redy with his iren hoot, And Nicholas amidde the ers he smoot.

So in story A, Nicholas A puts "himself" out of the window to receive a kiss instead of Alison, and then for absolutely no reason (as the reason behind this gesture is what was cut) Absalom hits him with a hot iron.

In the original story, Nicholas is having sex with Alison, gets up to take a quick pee, and decides to shove his ass outside the window for Absalom to kiss. When Absalom says "Speak, so that I can find you", he farts in his face, and is then hit with the hot iron.
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[14 Nov 2007|01:15pm]
Monday and Tuesday are officially done, and by that I mean by my checklist, not by the calender. Which they already are done.

So, outline written for English, class is nearly today. Got my paper back from Smartthinking, the teacher had some very good things to say about it, actually, that I think will truly help. This is all assuming that I understood the assignment, as I think I did. Maybe want to work on that more tomorrow morning, as it certainly couldn't hurt, but other than that... read and finished the novella in an hour and twenty minutes yesterday (it was short and the pages are small)... thankfully. Finish my webclass on that, so I think I'm done with that for the week.

Need to read Dog Lady, gonna see Old Money tonight (perhaps a little drunk.. probably not, but I will go drinking before seeing the play! I am so starving), need to start writing a rough draft of my final English paper, need to read chapters 13, 14 and 15 in my video book... 14, 15, and 16 in my theatre book, too, while I'm at it. I'm registered! Oh thank god, I'm registered. I'm so freaking registered.

I'm taking Film 108, Intro to film (we watch movies, I believe), Video 220 (which is field production), Eng-152, writing about literature (kind of excited about this), Art-140, Photography (REALLY excited about this), and... Sociology 1... something. It's all about, I kid you not, the problems of society. Hurray! That'll be fun, and great, and while I'm sure it'll be interesting, it certainly SOUNDS depressing as all bajeesus.

My schedule is pretty tight, if a little earlier, in general (8:00 class on Tuesdays and Thursdays... UGH. Yuck. So much yuck for the 8 o clock hatred). Didn't get into fencing, as while it was open... conflicted with sociology, and that fills a needed core credit : ( We looked at more history courses, but none were open... also looked at science and math... none open there, either. I really wanna take Astronomy... the department head (for film, video and theatre) informed me I did not want to take chemistry XD "Oh no, you don't want that." XD

It was great. Good times. Now, I'm just continuing to write so that I don't give in to the RAGING BEAST OF HUNGER WITHIN ME and so that I can ignore it. Renewed my library books already... wrote the outline already... I do need to print it... hm. Laptop isn't quite charged all the way... sick of having my back against the wall in the hall, though... not a comfy seat, but it does have power... unrestricted, unpopular power... cause it's right outside the academic support services office... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, power... free power... wait, I pay like, 16 grand a year for this power... daaaaaaaaamn straight I'm taking as much as possible of it.

okay... I should find something else to do now. I certainly have stuff to do, should I so desire.
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[13 Nov 2007|10:56am]
Sleeping till 10:40... was not on the list of stuff to do last night...
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*pats self on back* [13 Nov 2007|02:10am]
That's some fairly amazing progress, if I do say so myself. I turned a shitty paper into something that I don't think is shit yesterday, and then I turned around and did the same thing to another paper tonight. I also got my hepatitis B and tetanus vaccines today. So far, I'm actually on time with my plans for this week. We'll see if that continues?

I need to wake up tomorrow, do some homework, go to class, take my "I got my shots!" paperwork into the wellness center so that they'll finally unblock my registration, register, then if necessary, go consult the various department heads to force my way into class, have my adviser sign off on my schedule, start and finish a novella, write up a very brief webclass post regarding it, then go to work.

Wednesday... actually, on my break during Wednesday, or after work Tuesday, put together an outline for my next English paper, as it's due Wednesday... go see the play Old Money, write up a paper on THAT... finish the novella if I haven't already... should definitely study for my theatre quiz if possible that night... sleep? Start working on rough draft for last English paper that day, as it's due Monday...,

Thursday, wake up and write reflection for communications, turn in McKinley paper in history, talk about Maggie, A Girl of the Streets... go home and go to work, I guess.

Friday, theatre... go home and go to work. I know I'm not homework free, as I know there was more stuff to do, but I'm actually a little ahead of schedule now...

Saturday, Sunday, work, work... wait. Is that really it? No no no, I know I have more homework. I know I do... I just know I do. Still, regardless of that, I've managed to shunt down the num... oh! I need to read two chapters for video, as there'll be a quiz Monday. I'm forgetting more, I think, unfortunately, actually I know I am, but. Anyway, I've managed to shunt down the number of papers I have left to write before the semester is over back down to four. Yes! That's two major papers out of the way in two days... and hopefully we'll see the rest go down quickly as well. Should be down to three by the end of the week.
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