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After The End Oct. 13th, 2008 @ 11:51 pm
A UPS carrier delivered my copy of The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot.

Twenty pages into the book, I am already disgusted by the actions of the Bush Administration (and the Congress of the United States of America) which I see laid out in the book.

I am ready for action, so here it is: I will buy a copy of this book (or audio book, should you wish) for the first 10 individuals who ask (who, at my discretion, I believe will likely read it, and can be reached by Amazon.com). Offer expires on Inauguration Day. It may be too late by then.

Current Mood: worriedworried

If it's in the Times, it's so. Oct. 8th, 2008 @ 11:21 pm
The Army Times reports that U.S. Army troops are being deployed on United States soil. Part of their stated mission is
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

This doesn't sound like the activities of an army in the traditional sense. It sounds to me like the activities of a personal strike force for supporting a coup d'etat. Read on...
Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.

The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

I don't know about you, but I've been unruly a few times in my life. I guess I'm on their list.

What can we do? Watch this short video.

Current Music: REM: It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)

Airlines in the sand Oct. 8th, 2008 @ 11:32 am
Businesses that routinely punish and mistreat customers are generally driven out of business. Why are airlines exempt from this?
Current Location: Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated

Zeitgeist — The Addendum Oct. 5th, 2008 @ 10:02 pm
Zeitgeist: The Movie has been updated.

Please, I beg you all to watch. It is becoming more and more difficult to disregard the message this movie has for every human.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

No, hasn't happened. Oct. 3rd, 2008 @ 05:22 pm
Contrary to popular opinion, the sky has not, in fact, fallen. At least not as of last night.

It seems that the stars at night are still big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas. For instance, this shot of the Andromeda Galaxy, taken without the aid of a telescope. Just my telephoto lens pointed at about where I thought it should be in the sky.

The short smudges moving from left to right in the picture are stars. The apparent motion of the celestial sphere during the 20 second exposure accounts for the smudging.

The Andromeda Galaxy is the larger smudge near the center of the picture, spread out roughly orthogonally to the star smudges.

As soon as I sell my house in Michigan, I want to buy a telescope. My neighborhood has a sports field which will make an ideal place to set up shop.

Details: Canon EOS 40D with Canon Zoom Lens EF 70-300mm IS USM, roughly 21° FOV long axis, 10° after crop. 20 sec exposure (tripod with remote release cable) f 4.0. Post processing: Light Room 2.0, Grayscale, Red, Orange & Yellow only, 25% sharpening 1.0 px, Noise reduction: 80 Luminance 56 Color, Contrast curve: Lights +90 Darks +39 Shadows -45.
Current Mood: impressedimpressed

Office ill business Sep. 28th, 2008 @ 01:03 am
Becky warned me: Get organized right from the start, otherwise you never will.

She's right, of course. We've been in this house for a month. My office is still a mess. Partially, that's because there's no basement in this house. That means that the bookcases need to look nice. And that means yet another trip to Ikea. Here's a peek in the office tonight:

And here is the plan of what I want:

I'll need to buy the desks in the center and two more "Billy" units and the "Effectiv" unit... and height extensions... and doors. Total cost: a 50 minute drive to Round Rock, Texas, $2116 + Tax and an hour trip home with stuff tied to the roof. This might even take two trips.

Still, I can see light at the end of the exercise. If done carefully, I might not have to commandeer one of the spare bedrooms as my science room. The glass & stainless table tops, plus one table that tilts, should give me a versatile workspace.

The house has 9-½ to 10-foot ceilings throughout. That's wasted space. What the plan doesn't show are the four wall-mounted "Billy" units above the doors & windows. I've always wanted a library with so many books that I needed a ladder. I'm getting my wish, and I couldn't be happier.
Current Mood: creative

Desserting my post Sep. 28th, 2008 @ 12:38 am
I broke-in my oven a couple of days ago. While wandering around the only substantive local grocery store, I spied a bag of key limes. A little voice inside me spoke the words "Key Lime Pie". This, I felt, was a message from heaven, so I must comply. Hence, I made this pie:

A note to the key lime purists out there: KLPs don't generally have meringue toppings, but hey, I've got 5 egg whites left over. Otherwise, it's perfect.

I made the whole shebang without an electric mixer. All of the blending was done with whisks. To make the meringue, I have a special whisk, essentially it's a regular whisk with a hard rubber ball inside of a wire ball inside (much like a cat toy) of the whisk. It's far more beautiful than any I've ever made with a mixer. I think I'll use this from now on.

Joe had never eaten a real KLP before. I found this out when he said that the pale yellow color didn't look like any he'd ever seen. "Aren't they supposed to be green," he asked? This sent shivers down my spine. These were soon to be replaced by the shivers sent down Joe's spine by delicious limey goodness.

Then, we found out why Joe shouldn't eat KLP. I'll spare you the details. :O

Next pie on the agenda: PECAN. Have I mentioned? I make the world's best pecan pie. Y'all come over and have a piece, mkay?
Current Mood: contentcontent
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Meme bad. Bad meme. Sep. 20th, 2008 @ 05:21 pm
This is so going to ruin my reputation as a fashionista!
Take a picture of yourself right now.
Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing.
Post these instructions with your picture.

I can't even get geek points for wearing a periodic table tee, as the table isn't visible. :(
Current Music: Muse - Bliss

Out of order Sep. 14th, 2008 @ 01:40 am
The weather is happening in a strange sequence: Tonight we're getting thunderstorms. We had the wind earlier today.

Ike is heading to Ann Arbor. The current storms here are part of a weather system stretching from Mexico to Canada. Ike has been absorbed into that system, somewhat like a rat swallowed by a snake. The rat will be over Michigan in the next day or two.

Good news: Joe found my iPhone. It was cleverly hidden in plain sight in the garage. How many times did I overlook it?
Current Mood: amusedamused

Whither Ike? Sep. 13th, 2008 @ 10:56 am
Hurricane Ike is a big freaking storm, yet he managed to miss us entirely. Fifty miles east of here, it's raining & blowing to beat the band. Here? Not a drop of rain & 5 to 15 mile per hour winds. We could have used the rain.

I do hope that my extended family in Galveston & Houston are OK. I'll call later today.

retaliashun sent updates via Facebook; he lost electric power (as did most of the Houston metropolitan area). I hope he's still OK!

In other news: I can't find my iPhone. I haven't been anywhere to lose it permanently, so I'm sure it'll turn up.

EDIT: retaliashun is OK, but still without power.
We got some rain here, and by rain, I mean a few drops of water from the sky, not enough to completely wet the sidewalk.

Ike is sliding between my location and my sisters'; they're getting some light rain and winds. In the 300 miles between us, however, it's a rather bumpy ride.
Current Location: near Bastrop, TX
Current Mood: calmcalm

A picture before the storm Sep. 12th, 2008 @ 03:34 am
Hurricane Ike is heading our way, more-or-less. No worries here; we're too far inland (140 miles from the Gulf of Mexico) to get widespread detestation. Rain, wind, yadda yadda yadda.

Just in case this house collapses on me (it is untested, after all), here is a picture Joe snapped of me this evening. Remember me this way.

Latest information indicates we'll be pretty stormy here for all of Saturday, hence the concerned look on my face. :D
Current Mood: pensivepensive

Múm Word Sep. 5th, 2008 @ 10:50 pm
Have I mentioned that Attie loves Múm? Generally, she likes all Icelandic music she's heard, but Múm's accordion tunes are her fave.

When the accordion starts, she moves her head right next to the speaker. She'll lay there for hours. This was one of our primary tactics for calming her during the move.

BTW, that's Joe's new iPhone 3G. His old iPhone was mysteriously broken a couple of days ago; it was cheaper, and much quicker, to replace rather than repair.
Current Mood: contentcontent
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Unconvention Sep. 2nd, 2008 @ 11:18 pm
Ron Paul kicked off his PAC (Political Action Committee) to elect small-government Republicans in November.

As Jessee Ventura (former pro-wrestler and Governor of Minnesota) said, I wrote the book, 'Don't Start the Revolution Without Me.' Well, I'm here! Believe me, with people like myself, Dr. Paul and all the rest of us, let's get the revolution going!

I tire of living in a plutocratic cleptocracy. Let's throw the bums out — and most of the government with them. When the bums are gone, first on my wish list of ex-government agencies is the NSA, followed by the FBI. Heck, let's do away with half of the cabinet departments, too. Let's fund most of the government with import tariffs. Let's withdraw our troops from overseas and dispose of most of our nuclear arsenal by bombing France.

Then it will be safe to leave the house.
Current Mood: enthralled

So this is why we moved to the Austin area Sep. 2nd, 2008 @ 02:15 am
I was bored out of my mind this afternoon, what with being sick all week. Joe & I went into Austin to see what was up. First things first: we needed good coffee (Yes, I have ordered 2 pounds from Zingerman's, but it's entirely too expensive that way.)

So an internet friend of Joe's says try a place called Ruta Maya. We fell instantly in love. Good coffee they roast (sold in bulk in little burlap bags), live music, weird people. We went in to buy 2 pounds of coffee, then went to meet Joe's friend. So enamored with the place were we that we turned around & went back to have a cuppa & listen to bands (including a deaf violinist) at the open mic.

Joe wants to move there. The barrista suggested that we pitch a tent on the back porch; stranger things have happened there! Keep Austin Weird, indeed!

Only 6 weeks to Maker Faire Austin 2008! Make your reservation at Casa Treadwell-Stacey soon; spots are filling up fast!
Current Location: near Bastrop, TX
Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic
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Mono Reduc Aug. 27th, 2008 @ 10:15 pm
I exhausted myself during the move. I've got what seems to be a relapse of mono. Maybe by tomorrow the fatigue, sore throat and muscle ache will be gone?

We've got hundreds of boxes and 19,000 lbs of stuff to unpack & put somewhere. Rather daunting!

Joe & kitties are doing well.
Current Location: Bastrop Co., TX
Current Mood: sicksick

Gone to Sea in a Sieve Aug. 24th, 2008 @ 12:34 pm
We left Ann Arbor @ 22:50 last night.

We are cruuently 15 miles east of Little Rock, Arkansas.

All 5 of us are still alive.

ETA 20:30 tonight.
Current Mood: sleepysleepy

Aug. 21st, 2008 @ 09:08 pm
The moving company grossly underestimatedthe amount of stuff in our house. 40 boxes of stuff were left unpacked. I thought more packers were coming back this morning, but NSL. The driver & 2 helpers and Joe & I worked 12 hours to get everything packed & loaded. It is done.

The stuff will be in Texas on Tuesday, so we'll leave here on Sunday.

We're staying @ a hotel for the next two nights. Nap tiem now?
Current Location: Ann Arbor, MI Hampton Inn
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
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Moving experience Aug. 21st, 2008 @ 01:01 am
Packers came today.
Joe & I are still packing.
Movers come tomorrow.
Joe & I will be cleaning on Friday.
We leave for Texas on Saturday.

¡Adios, Ann Arbor!
Current Mood: crazycrazy

ReMote Hope Aug. 21st, 2008 @ 12:56 am
Somebody in the ivory tower's corner office opened his eyes.

On Campus, Legal Drinking Age Is Flunking the Reality Test
By Marc Fisher
Thursday, August 21, 2008

Next week, when President C.D. "Dan" Mote welcomes freshmen to the University of Maryland, he will inform them that the college police will enforce underage drinking laws "with terrific ferocity." And then he will turn around and, recognizing that most students do drink, tell the teenagers "to take care of each other when they see someone who's passed out, to take advantage of all of our services for students who abuse alcohol."

"We have a real conflict here," Mote says, and he's talking not only about the College Park campus but about every university and about our entire society. We live in a time when efforts to enforce the prohibition on drinking before age 21 are more aggressive than ever, yet there is a common assumption that most young people routinely violate that law.

Mote is tired of living that contradiction, which is why he joined more than 100 other college presidents in signing a call for action, the Amethyst Initiative, a collective statement that the 21-year-old drinking age is not working and has created a culture of binge drinking on campuses nationwide. (Amethyst is from the ancient Greek for "not intoxicated.")
Current Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Current Mood: curiouscurious
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Perseids' Progress Aug. 12th, 2008 @ 03:05 am
August 11th is more-or-less the peak of the Perseids meteor shower this year. Joe & I set up shop in a nearby park to look for a few.

I saw about 10; Joe, almost 20. It seems I was always looking the wrong way or futzing with my camera when they did their thing.

One of the best, however, was caught by my camera's eye:

Click image to enlarge.

Canon 40D, 10 MP, 14 bit color sensor, Canon Zoom Lens EF 24-70mm f2.8L at 24mm, 15 second exposure, ISO 1600. Developed in PhotoShope CS3, 16 bit grayscale, high-pass aqua filter, vignette correction, 25% sharpening. Converted to half-size, no-loss JPEG for web display.
Current Location: Buhr Park, Ann Arbor, MI
Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied
Current Music: 9th Symphony, L.V. Beethoven

So-Long Solzhenitsyn Aug. 8th, 2008 @ 06:59 pm
Alexander Solzhenitsyn passed away a few days ago.

I vaguely knew of his works, e.g. The Gulag Archipelago.

What I have learned since his death is that his warnings for the West were as dire as his criticisms for the East. Even when forced to listen, as in his 1978 Harvard commencement address, the Western intelligentsia refused to understand.

Nothing is more exasperating than a prophet whose prophesies pan out. Agree with him or not, the least we can do is understand what the man had to say.
But the blindness of superiority continues in spite of all and upholds the belief that the vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present day Western systems, which in theory are the best and in practice the most attractive. There is this belief that all those other worlds are only being temporarily prevented (by wicked governments or by heavy crises or by their own barbarity and incomprehension) from taking the way of Western pluralistic democracy and from adopting the Western way of life. Countries are judged on the merit of their progress in this direction.

However, it is a conception which develops out of Western incomprehension of the essence of other worlds, out of the mistake of measuring them all with a Western yardstick. The real picture of our planet's development is quite different and which about our divided world gave birth to the theory of convergence between leading Western countries and the Soviet Union. It is a soothing theory which overlooks the fact that these worlds are not at all developing into similarity. Neither one can be transformed into the other without the use of violence.

Please do have a read. It takes but a few minutes.
Current Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Current Mood: impressedimpressed

Almost forgot, Robbie? Aug. 7th, 2008 @ 09:45 pm
The following is a reply to a friend's post. It's too good (IMHO) not to crosspost here.

Almost forgot? Hrumph. Far too many things are in my "in the process of forgetting" file.

Except for the stuff I can't.

High on the list of things I wish I could forget is this poser which popped into my brain a few weeks ago:

If there is a God (and, as I've had otherwise unexplainable mystical experiences, I assume that God is), is God subject to what we mortals call time? If so it God trapped linearly in it, as we are?

If so, half of the religions of the world contain a good dose of bunk.

If God is not trapped linearly in time, is God free to move about in time, or is God not subject to time at all?

If so, God knows all, as the outcomes of any action, no matter how minute, may be studied and experimented upon ad nauseam.

If so, the other half of the world's religions contain a good dose of bunk.

To cap off this futile mental masturbation, I ask myself what the implications of these questions are upon my sense of free will.

When the issue of free will comes up, I realize that all religions of which I'm aware contain a good dose of bunk.

I do hope that the electrons and protons which make up my body will have a better time than they're having now. Given the current understanding of the universe, they've got about 10100 years to try.

Just my luck, most of me will be sucked into a black hole in a few hundred billion years, and that will be that. :~P
Current Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Current Mood: curiouscurious

Charlotte the harlot Aug. 6th, 2008 @ 06:10 pm
Joe & I are stuck in the Charolotte, NC airport once again.
On our way down to Austin last week, our plane was stuck on the taxiway for 2 hours. Everyone onboard was as cranky as the crying baby in 15F.

We had a great visit to our new house, but more on that later (posting from my iPhone).

Today, we flew from Austin to Charolotte just fine, but the flight back to Detroit is delayed 3 hours. So far.

Is this common in Charolotte? With USAirways? Is it us?

EDIT: The original departure time was 16:37 EDT. It is now 21:15 EDT. Our plane is at the gate, but a tire must be changed before we can board. We'll be another half-hour, maybe.

EDIT 2: It's 22:01 EDT, and the plane's door is closing.
Current Location: Charlotte, NC, airport
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
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