Tuesday, November 30, 2010

North Korea: A Retarded, Violent child in China's household

Why, are things going so wrong in the East Asian region? One name:

Kim Jong Il. Could there be a more appropriate name, even if it is spelled incorrectly (typical). I mean, ill, is spelled with two l's, after all. And he (and his family) have been pretty ill on the international and their own, national, stage, for a very long time now. Okay, a cheap shot, picking on a name foreign to me, but its too obvious not to mention.

Let's recap:

"On 8 July 1994, [the patently crazy] Kim Il-sung died, at the age of 82 from a heart attack. However, it took three years for Kim Jong-il to consolidate his power. Officially, Kim is part of a triumvirate heading the executive branch of the North Korean government along with Premier Choe Yong-rim and parliament chairman Kim Yong-nam (no relations). Each nominally has powers equivalent to a third of a president's powers in most other presidential systems. Kim Jong-il is commander of the armed forces, Choe Yong-rim heads the government and Kim Yong-nam handles foreign relations. In practice, however, Kim Jong-il exercises absolute control over the government and the country." - Wikipedia

So they get a chance to wipe out his legacy and what do they do? Try to make him some kind of God, the ongoing "ghost" president of a country that couldn't need more, a rational and life affirming leader. Jong-il was appointed as its Supreme Commander; even though he's DEAD. This is a people, or at least a leadership, that couldn't seem to care less for their people, or Human life for that matter, at least in what we've been seeing. I know, if MY people were dying of starvation, I'd do SOME thing to save their lives, even if I didn't like it.

I remember when Jong-Il took over. He was reticent, running away from things, fearful of his position and slow to take control. I remember thinking that maybe this is the end of this broken and disgusting government in North Korea and perhaps, finally, the North Korean people could join the world and have a decent and pleasurable life style, with plenty of food, living situations and well, fun. My heart really goes out to the North Korean people and their relatives who have not seen them in so long and have had to bare knowledge and information of how their family members have, or may have died, of starvation or abuse.

Why is he doing the things he's doing? To prepare the way for his twenty-seven year old son, Kim Jong-un, to take control of the regime? Sure. To destabilize that region? Apparently. The actions taken of late have been focused only on the aim to prepare the way for a son he has to know, is ill prepared, just has he was when his father, the late leader and current president of the country, when he turned the despotic and fascistic, dictatorship over to Kim Jong Il; just as Il is about to do to his son, . Its like passing the ruling stick from one retarded and mentally unbalanced adolescent to another.

Historically, Kim Jong Il has lied, gone diametrically against things he himself has claimed, as well as turned against things he has agreed to. In fact, he has been predictable only in that he is unpredictable.

So, why hasn't China, who supplies fuel and resources to this screwed up, and semi (or possibly pseudo) insane regime, why, haven't they done something about Kim Jong Il and the path that North Korea is on to?

I have a theory as to why.

I think that China is like the parent, who is afraid to punish or reign in a poorly behaving child, because they are scared of them. They know, they can stomp on this "kid", put them down, take them out back and put a bullet in their head, ending their childish demands and misbehaviors. North Korean government, the Kim Jong family in particular, are like a child you feel responsible for, but are afraid that in the middle of the night, they may sneak in and slit your throat. Kill your other children, and stab your wife to death, before you can even wake to stop them.

For decades, the US has been afraid of China. Nothing like we were afraid of the Soviet Union, but still, any country that can muster a force of one million soldiers, however ill prepared or ill armed, is a force to be reckoned with. And now, with the Soviet Union dissolved, and both country's interested in capitalism, and in being a part of, and having a say in, world politics, the US is no long quite so concerned with these communist fashioned countries. I'm not even sure that Russia is communist any longer and certainly, China is now either becoming capitalist, or they have found a new meaning of communism. About time.

China, in reality, has been our financial compatriot for decades. I'm not sure I'd say now that they are our friend, but perhaps in many ways they are. So is South Korea, much more so, and perhaps that is in part why China is our friend. But like all friends, we have something between us; our economy of late, and Taiwan. But all friends do not agree on all things, so perhaps that is okay. I have always had a deep respect for China and their history. One of the few countries in the world who, when taken over by another country, had the attitude of, "we are not concerned, as we will out last you."

But now, they have a retarded child who is armed, living in their house, or at least, in their yard. And it would have to be chilling, to any parent to have to wonder, "when, will my child try to kill me, harm me, or my family?" How China could have allowed North Korea to kill so many of its own people, I will never understand. If ever there was a reason to invade another country on your borders, this was it. China has a lot of blood on their hands in North Korea, and no excuse is good enough to stop those ghosts from crossing their borders, to haunt the Chinese leaders in their sleep and weak moments.

But sometimes, you have to take that unbalanced, if not insane, child, and punish them, or take away their toys, or power. Sure, it can hurt, but who else is going to do it, after all.

I mean, in the end, it IS your child, isn't it?

Hale's Pub Kitsap Mall, Silverdale, Washington

I ran up to Hale's Pub at Kitsap Mall, in Silverdale, Washington the other day and found it to be an excellent place for food and drink. Their Drink, rocks.

I've had their salad with blackened salmon and another time, their rock fish and chips, both excellent.

Their beers and ales are all excellent. For one thing, their near Guinness on tap is from a recipe tweaked by an ex-Guinness Brewmaster, flown here to work with them on their formula. And it was worth their money and effort, its a smooth, delicious dark confection.

All I can tell you is that if you live anywhere near this local micro brewery, stop on in and enjoy yourself. You'll be a happily, impressed imbiber, indeed.

Kitsap Sun article on Hale's Pub opening
Hale's Brewery

Monday, November 29, 2010

Willie Nelson busted again for pot

According to ABC News web site:

"Living country music legend Willie Nelson was charged with possession of marijuana after six ounces were discovered aboard his tour bus in Texas, according to a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman."

First let me say as I have before, I barely take a drink anymore, my party days are long over. But I do feel a responsibility for speaking up for others and for MY America being a free and open society without the conservatives and fear-mongers pushing for hiding at home from the world and reality. That being said, do we REALLY want to bust people like Willie Nelson, a national treasure, for crap like this? You can give me all the reasons why he's not above the law...yada yada yada, but the point is, if it wasn't illegal, this wouldn't have happened.

This is ridiculous, really.

"Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West told the El Paso Times that Nelson, 77, claimed that the marijuana was his. According to police patrolman Bill Brooks, a sheriff from Hudspeth County was contacted and Nelson was among three people arrested at the scene. Nelson was held briefly and paid a $2,500 bond.

"It's kind of surprising, but I mean we treat him like anybody else," West told the El Paso Times. "He could get 180 days in county jail, which if he does, I'm going to make him cook and clean. He can wear the stripy uniforms just like the other ones do."

This really is ludicrous and typical police bravado. This officer should be cooking and cleaning for Willie if you ask me, showing how much he resents being forced to enforce a law as typically wasteful as this one. But instead, he is putting forward his legal obligation to charge an elderly legend with a victimless crime.

Obviously, Officer West mustn't be a fan of his music. But he is, apparently, just another mindless drone of the Marijuana Prohibition Laws, a leftover of the Alcohol Prohibition Laws. These anti-cannabis laws have put so many people in jail over the past many decades, ruined so many lives, that really, its a shame someone in the government, cannot go to prison over it. We need to get over our fears, our prejudices and misinformed attitudes about it.

Willie has been a strong advocate of cannabis decriminalization and has had his share of drug-related brushes with the law. So the police involved are probably looking at it like he is thumbing his nose at the God almighty law, rather than that he just like to smoke pot. I'm not an anarchist, I'm a reasonable-ist and a rationalist. Pot laws aren't either.

According to ABC News: 

"In Louisiana in 2006, 1.5 pounds of marijuana and three ounces of hallucinogenic mushrooms were found on [Willie's] bus, and in 1995 he was arrested after he was pulled over in Waco, Texas, and police officers said they saw a joint in his car's ashtray."

I have argued for decades, that anything that can be found growing and is used naturally, and is for personal use, is only the problem of the individual involved, or any consenting adults associated with them. If you want to charge people for sales, I would even allow for that to be illegal if not purchased through channels allowing for quality and purity controls (otherwise needing to find it in a natural environment yourself, or to grow it in small quantities for personal use, much as alcohol is now allowed to be produced); but for people, intelligent adults, to decide to do something only to themselves in such an event, it is, or should be, solely up to them and not the government or other people to bother about or to be involved in regulating.

I look forward to one day, this being a free and open America, where adults are treated as intelligent, responsible adults living in a free and progressive society. That won't happen until everyone is properly educated about the truth and no secrets are being kept about what is going on. Its unbelievable to me that alcohol, with all its associated detriments and whose effects are very close to cocaine use, is allowed to be legal and privately produced, but cannabis remains illegal even though it is far less harmful in so many ways.

I just hope I don't die of old age, still wishing for a free and intelligent America to finally come to be.

"The Exterminating Angels" - A contemplation

I just finished watching the French film, "The Exterminating Angels" Les anges exterminateurs (original title) by Writer / Director, Jean-Claude Brisseau. The story follows a filmmaker (Frédéric van den Driessche), who holds a series of boundary-pushing auditions for his project about female pleasure. 

Jean-Claude Brisseau (born 17 July 1944) is a French filmmaker best known for his 2002 film Secret Things ("Choses Secrètes") and his 2006 film The Exterminating Angels ("Les Anges exterminateurs").
The film is well written and directed, as well as beautifully shot and erotic. Someone said that this is pure filmmaking in the finest and most sublime manner, and I would have to agree. 
The Three Fates by Sampo Kaikkonen
All of the negative consequences that François experiences come from the "other side" (even to the extent that one of his actors is possessed by the devil). His wife leaves him, not for what he is doing as regards to the filming of naked women in sexual encounters, this sort of thing she is used to as the wife of a filmmaker, but her motive lies in a moral impulse stemming from the spiritual ramifications of what he was doing. He becomes something like modern day mythological figure. He is Pandora's patron encouraging her to open the box.

The director in this film is searching for actresses who can project a perfect, even spiritual orgasm. As he puts it, you cannot teach incredible sex in an acting class. He is a prefect example of decorum and correctness, in every way other than what he is asking of the actresses, which itself is a reasonable request, considering the subject matter of the film project.

So the issues and problems all come from women and those connected to women in his endeavors. The effect of his actions leads to negative repercussions from the women in his life, to the point that one of the actresses in his film, appears to be possessed by the Devil. In the end, he looses everything, including his wife. She doesn't leave him for his actions as she had known all about it from the beginning, but because of the damage he causes around him in spiritual, or even Karmic ways.

In the end, he has asked for these women to dig down deeper inside themselves than they ever had gone before, or even had known they could go to. The intense sex leads to emotion, which leads to pain, which leads to all the wrong things that happen in the end.

Two Angels, "The Exterminating Angels" from the title, follow him around throughout the film, as if they are two of the three Fates. One of them appears to be in love with him and in the end, actually saves him, possibly because she thinks that because he was so naive about his actions, perhaps losing everything, is in the end, enough punishment. Though in how she responds to his situation, one almost could suspect she takes pleasure in his pain, perhaps because of how justified things end for him.

In 2002 Brisseau was arrested on charges of harassment, fined and given a suspended one-year prison sentence. The plaintiffs were three women who had performed sex acts in front of him during their auditions. This was to form the basis of the The Exterminating Angels movie. - Wikipedia

One of the things I found most fascinating about this tale, was in the director's anguish in the end, for his actions in delving deep into another's sexuality, taking them further than they had ever gone, taking them further than they had ever even known they could go. This is fascinating for the initiator, extremely pleasurable typically, for the subject(s), but in the end, it can be extremely destructive. Not only to the individuals involved, but also to all those around them. 

Where you might expect that someone, especially considering they are doing it willingly, would like to explore the depths of passions that they could experience, or to "find themselves", to discover new areas where they find erotic pleasure, in a free and open way; many times in hindsight, what happens is that the person regrets, feels exposed, or abandoned. This can then lead to anger, or simply ego damage. And that, can lead to some very, very ugly lashing out behavior. And not always by the subject in question, but at times, by those close to them, or who love them. 

Overall, I found the movie entertaining, engrossing and affective. Someone once told me that a good movie is one that sticks with you for days after having viewed it. I can see that this is one of those films.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekend Wise Words

Russell's teapot


In an article titled "Is There a God?" commissioned, but never published, by Illustrated magazine in 1952, Russell wrote:
"If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cannabis illegality

After just watching the Vanguard produced documentary "Marijuana Wars" on the Mexican drug Cartels about Cannabis, I have been left with one jarring question....

Why hasn't it been legalized in the US yet?

Who is it, that is fighting against this in our government? What do they have to gain?

Because I'm beginning to think that legalizing it really is the only way to go. Mexico is in main part, under siege by the drug cartels selling illegal drugs to the US. We need to take away the only one we can, from them, and that is, cannabis.Its their main product. Cut them off at the knees.

It would make so much sense, to take this away from those criminals, those serial murderers, those, kidnappers, family hostage takes; and, for that reason alone, one really has to wonder, what is holding us back from making it legal so that no criminals can make money off of production and sales of an illegal weed that is not synthesized in any way in order for it to be effective for recreational or medicinal purposes. It is the only illegal drug that I know of, that Doctors prescribe to patients. Doesn't THAT tell you something?

Stop looking at the smaller picture. Stop looking at the TV version of life, and start looking at the Big Screen version. All these tiny fears, do not add up against the big picture. Stop having petty concerns and start having big concerns.

Think about it. Vote on it. Do something. Because inaction, is an action and a decision. Because by doing nothing, aren't you actually siding with the drug cartels, the murderers?


The Ministry of Zombies

ZOMBIE SURVIVAL  UK Style (Sean T Page)
Minister of Zombies
Sean hopes, in time, his site will become a center of zombie knowledge awareness.
Surviving a major zombie outbreak in the UK and battling them in the resulting zombie war, are the two main themes of this website.



His book, The Official Zombie Handbook (UK) is being published through reputable purveyors of fine horror work, Severed Press.

Do also check out the trailer for my book by Team Spleen Inna Bun Productions, directed and produced by the talented Ms Tabitha Mellor.

The Ministry of Zombies.com



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

I do hope you are all getting Thanksgiving Day and Friday off this week, whether or not you are American, or in a country that makes this a National Holiday.

Just for fun, NatGeo's, "Thanksgiving 2010 Myths and Facts"

And now....

The precise historical origin of the holiday is disputed. Although Americans commonly believe that the first Thanksgiving happened with the Pilgrims and local indigenous tribes (Indians) in 1621 at Plymouth [Rock], Massachusetts, there is strong evidence for earlier celebrations in Canada (1578) and by Spanish explorers in Florida (1565).

In the United States the word "Pilgrims" usually refers to the English settlers of New England, who celebrated the "First Thanksgiving" with the Native Americans in 1621.


Plymouth Rock was founded by a group of separatists and Anglicans, who together later came to be known as the Pilgrim Fathers, Plymouth Colony was, along with Jamestown, Virginia, one of the earliest successful colonies to be founded by the English in North America and the first sizable permanent English settlement in the New England region. Aided by Squanto, a Native American of the Patuxet people, the colony was able to establish a treaty with Chief Massasoit which helped to ensure the colony's success. The colony played a central role in King Philip's War, one of the earliest of the Indian Wars. Ultimately, the colony was annexed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

Despite the colony's relatively short history, Plymouth holds a special role in American history. Rather than being entrepreneurs like many of the settlers of Jamestown, a significant proportion of the citizens of Plymouth were fleeing religious persecution and searching for a place to worship as they saw fit. The social and legal systems of the colony became closely tied to their religious beliefs, as well as English custom. Many of the people and events surrounding Plymouth Colony have become part of American folklore, including the North American tradition known as Thanksgiving and the monument known as Plymouth Rock.

- From Wikipedia

THE FIRST THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION - JUNE 20, 1676

On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, held a meeting to determine how best to express thanks to God, for the good fortune that had seen their community securely established. By unamimous vote they instructed Edward Rawson, the clerk, to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving, our first. That proclamation is reproduced here in the same language and spelling as the original.

"The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard..."

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many
The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth by By Jennie A. Brownscombe

By Jennie A. Brownscombe [1914]
The Pilgrim Society
Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ."
From: ThanksgivingDay.com

History notwithstanding, and for whatever reason you have a feeling to give thanks for your life, have a great Holiday!

North Korea produces Taepo Dong? Still watch out for No Dong.

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all those who are celebrating and also to those who do not celebrate American Thanksgiving Day, Thanks, for all of you being there. Consider giving, to others in some way today, to show your Thanks for being alive.

And now for something completely different.


It would see that the newer North Korean, Taepo Dong 2, is a bigger dong than the dong North Korea fired over Japan in 1998. We must stop this donging behavior. For an in depth (humorous) report here is:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on the Typo Dong from North Korea.

Have a great Holiday!

Murdock

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Networking Tips

Times are hard. Many are out of work. Maybe YOU are out of work (then why are you reading this stupid blog, get out there and put out a million resumes!). But just in case you need some help and are merely taking a break from your job search, or in case you are trying to better your position, or make it as a specific talent, here are a few tips on networking.

Networking, is not a social myth. Networking, meeting people face to face, or in some way either online, or through friends, coworkers, family, whomever, meeting people connected to specific topics, talents, or what have you, is one of the most powerful tools there are in making it beyond where you find yourself now.

Here are a few tips from the book, "Getting Started as a Freelance Writer", by Robert W. Bly. In that book he says that "networking expert Donna Fisher estimates that 70 percent of jobs, for example, are found through networking." Then he quotes Steve Fishman in "Success" magazine, as defining Networking as, "the single-minded pursuit of useful contacts at every convention, seminar, or neighborhood barbecue. To the networked, every strange represents an opportunity, the chance to find prospects, reach targets, or meet friends."

Then Robert offers some additional networking tips:
  • Determine the mode of attendance with which you're most comfortable. Some of us are most comfortable going to our first meeting of a group accompanied by a friend who is already a member.I am most comfortable networking at events where I am an exhibitor or speaker.
  • Don't be a wallflower. Walk over to people and make conversation.
  • Get a drink from the bar and hold onto it, even if you don't drink. Having a glass in hand can help shy people overcome nervousness.
  • Do not sell while networking. Your purpose is to make contacts, not to get clients to sign a purchase order.
  • Listen more than you speak. Focus on what others are interested in, "When you have your attention on something other than yourself, your self-consciousness will disappear and others will be more likely to remember and appreciate you," says Fisher.
  • Dress in proper business attire. Your comfortable, well-worn writing clothes are not appropriate for a business gathering.
  • Don't rush out the door as soon as the event is over. "The best contacts I've made have happened after an event--in the bathroom, elevator, lobby, or even on the street." notes Benun. "That's when people's minds are open to it. That's when their defenses are down."
  • When you get home, follow up by sending people a short note that says, "It was a pleasure meeting you; let's keep in touch." You might also enclose another business card, a brochure about your services, or a reprint of a recent article you wrote.
This is specific to writers, but many of these elements are effective in many other careers. Hang in there, but get out there, and do something to further your interests.

And, best of luck!


"Ugly Betty" actor Michael Brea charged with Matricide Tuesday morning

The "Ugly Betty" actor accused of killing his mother with a sword has been charged with 2nd degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, law enforcement sources told TMZ.

Apparently it was not a Katana (Samurai) sword as rumor has it. Why in the world does THAT matter?

Personally, being a Martial Artist, I'd love to know what this is all about. My condolences on the passing of his Mother.

Michael Brea was taken into custody early Tuesday morning after allegedly stabbing his mother to death in her Brooklyn apartment.

According to the Washington Post he was arrested for allegedly decapitating his mother with a sword while screaming bible verses. Needless to say, he's been taken to Kings County Hospital for a psychiatric exam.

According to Haitian web site BelFim.com:

Haitian-American movie star and entrepreneur Michael L Brea told doctors he saw the devil inside his mother.

Michael Brea "told the doctors that he saw the Devil, and that the Devil was somehow in his mother," a police source told the Daily News after the gruesome slaying.

The young actor was heard by neighbors repeating bible verses during his rampage. While his mother, Yannick Brea, was screaming for help, he was yelling "Sinner! Sinner! Repent!"

Yannick was found in a kneeling position "as if offering a final prayer" the daily news says.
Michael L Brea was found by police holding a bible and the alleged murder weapon, a three foot sword, police say.

For the BelFim Biography

End of The King of Beers?

I have a long legacy of drinking beer. I've never been a big drinker. Well, maybe in high school, a little in college, just to maintain the stress levels and the parties.

I first drank beer in High School.My first "cool" beer, was Budweiser. It just sounded right, "Please grab me another 'Bud', Bud." We loved it, my friends and I. But then I began to learn there were other beers. And alcohol content was important (too much for a while, actually).

NPR reports that Bud, has had a "hostile' take-over by Brazilian-Belgian InBev company that the figureheads of the 150-year-old Budweiser company, were unable to stop from happening.

The end of a legacy? Maybe. But perhaps not. After all, the new owners will want Bud to continue making money, and changing their image could break the company.

Bud was one of my first beers. But I grew out of it before I even got out of High School. When I got to college, one of my Prof.s said he was going to teach us how to think. He said, pick a subject. People yelled things out. I said, Beer. Kind of as a joke, but he said, "Yes, good, Beer. I'm going to teach you about beer. You all probably drink beer to get drunk. But there are elements about beer that are not unlike wine. Let me explain...."

And he did. It was a real eye opener. You could drink beer for flavor. I knew that already. I mean I switched beers because some were better tasting. But there was so much more to it than that. But that's getting off track.

We had one party, where there was a guy from Germany there. Through several of us who spoke various European languages (and he spoke four), we were able to talk to him. His comment on our American beers back then (in the 80s)? He said it tasted like Rain Water. We had to laugh and agree. I told me, typically people said it tasted like "bunny piss", which he thought was quite funny. But rain water was about right. Little body to it. Not that much taste. Chilled to the point that there's hardly any flavor at all.

Every wonder why they drink beer warmer than we do in Europe? Because they want to TASTE it, because it TASTES good! Yeah, a cold beer can be good, but a good beer, is just going to waste. When I heard about Cold Guinness, I just about choked. Why did they come up with it? Because they wanted to open the market up and the way to do that was craft a beer that stupid Americans would drink, cold. Because they were too stupid to enjoy the taste of a good beer at a temperature that allowed you to actually taste it. Sad. I hate being the laughing stock of any culture.

So now, I drink mostly, locally crafted "micro" brews.

I have, for a long time, called "Bud", "celery beer" for a long time, for obvious reasons. Taste it, see if you can taste what I'm tasting. Its much like I call another German brand, that replaced Bud for me (after a brief stint with Lowenbrau), as "skunkweed beer". :)

Can you guess what beer that was? It comes in a green bottle.


NPR article

Here's a list in order, of the beers I've gone through loving, then exchanged for a new brand I learned to love even more:

  1. Olympia
  2. Ranier
  3. Budweiser
  4. Michelob
  5. Old English 800 ("Brown death" high alcohol content)
  6. Ranier Ale ("Green death" high alcohol content, tastier to our tastes that "Brown Death")
  7. Lowenbrau (thinking we were now, "classy")
  8. Heineken
  9. Elephant
  10. Negro Modelo
  11. Dos Equis
  12. Coronas
  13. Guinness
And then the roof was blown off
  • Celebrator
  • Chimay
Then the local Micro Brews hit the market and things really opened up.

Now, life is good. Small breweries are all over the place. I have several within a few miles of my home. One, Hood Canal Brewery, I usually ride my motorcycle down to; its right up the street, one right turn, one left turn, and I'm there. Its a ferry ride across Puget Sound from Seattle.

But there are plenty of others around here. Silver City Brew Pub in Silverdale at Kitsap Mall. Now we also have Hale's Ales Brewery of Seattle. Both have excellent food and excellent beers. The bartender at Hale's told me, that Hale's flew in a retired Brewmaster from Guinness for their stout, and it tastes like it, its excellent. I was at Tisley's Europub in Poulsbo the other day for lunch, and they told me there is even a newer brewery up and running, just out of that town.

Loving it.

So, am I going to miss Bud? Not really. Although, I do have good memories about it. Thought mostly it has to do with getting drunk and having wild adventures in High School.

But I've grown up, I've moved on, and the world of beer is wide open now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

IS Afghanistan a lost cause? Could the Taliban make a come back?

This is the most positive report I've heard in a long, long time. And the nice thing about it, is if you think about it, its just logical. With all the changes, with all the efforts, change happens. Whenever we have moved into a country, we have had change, people get to like the new changes, the new technologies they are given and that filter in, regardless. But this isn't always true. However, just consider what Jackie Northam has to say.

Jackie Northam, foreign affairs correspondent, NPR is interviewed by NPR's Neal Conan:

CONAN: We're talking with NPR foreign correspondent Jackie Northam, recently back from a visit to Kabul. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
And does it feel different in Kabul this time around?

NORTHAM: Yes, sure. I mean, it changes. I go there quite regularly and it changes every time that you go there. I think one of the things this time that sort of stuck with me is that you got the sense that everyone was positioning themselves, you know, with this, quote, unquote, "transition" that is coming up in July 2011. Now, combat troops, they're saying, out by 2014.

You know, normally when I go there, no matter who you talk with, Pakistan comes into the conversation, what Pakistan - is doing, how it's all Pakistan's fault, frankly. And now what you're hearing increasingly is Iran is coming into the conversation as well, whether it's interference from Tehran or whether it's how President Karzai is dealing with Iran, and that type of thing with the leadership in Iran as well. So that's pretty curious to see how that is.

But I got to tell you, every time you go back as well, there's just more and more progress in that city, and all the various other cities as well. Certainly, there's more cars, the traffic is astonishing, but more computers, more - everything has become more Westernized, more Western music, people are wearing Western clothes. It's just - the city, the country, for the most part, is progressing. It's moving along.

CONAN: You read the dispatches from the battlefields and you say, this is going to be extremely difficult, the Taliban seems to be so well positioned, the government is corrupt and inefficient, yet you report - and you see them in terms of the evidence of movies like "Afghan Star" and things like that.

NORTHAM: Mm-hmm.

CONAN: The culture in Afghanistan, at least in Kabul and the big cities, has changed.

NORTHAM: It certainly has. And that's one of the things that, you know, I really talked to a lot of people about this time, is whether the Taliban could come back in a big way to Afghanistan. And they say, a lot of people, you know, and talking to, like, 20-year-olds, 30, 40, analysts, major thinkers, that type of thing - and it's probably no, because this country has advanced so much more than when the - you know, when the Taliban first came in back in the '90s, there was nothing there. There was no running water. Even in the capital city there was no electricity. There was nothing. Now, there is.

CONAN: After the Russian invasion and then civil war which followed and the war of Iraq.

NORTHAM: Absolutely. And the country had gone through decades of war and it was devastated. There was nothing. Now there is. Now there is something that people have. They've all got cell phones. Again, they've got access to computers, to the open world, everything else like that. And people I spoke with said, no, we're not willing to give that up very easily, which in turn means, could the Taliban come back as it once was? And I think it would be a much greater struggle than the first time around.


Listen to the full interview here: NPR article

Tom Lehrer - musical genius and jello shot inventer

I used to see this guy on TV from time to time throughout my childhood and his performances off and on throughout my life, on PBS and in the odd places on TV, and now on YouTube. He was brilliant, refreshing, mocking, and I stopped everything I was doing when I noticed him on somewhere. I also was a fan of political satirist, Mark Russell.

Here is a summary article from the Onion's A/V Club site:

"Tom Lehrer's creative legacy is far greater than the size of his catalog: The singer, pianist, teacher, mathematician, and political satirist influenced countless humorists and remains a staple on Dr. Demento's radio show, but his body of work consists of only a few dozen different songs; perhaps most notably, his Periodic Table Elements Song.

"Those songs, most of them recorded and released between 1953 and 1965--though he wrote a few for the children's TV show The Electric Company in the early '70s--remain widely circulated, with more than two million albums sold. The material still sounds fresh today: "The Vatican Rag" joyously lampoons Catholicism, "The Old Dope Peddler" sings the praises of drug dealers, "Folk Song Army" chides self-righteous activists, "National Brotherhood Week" mocks racism and political correctness in one fell swoop, and so on.

"Whether he's dealing in the darkly absurd ("Poisoning Pigeons In The Park") or the politically pointed ("Who's Next?"), Lehrer's snide delivery remains a constant throughout his music, virtually all of which has been compiled (along with three new songs) on Rhino's new three-disc box set, The Remains Of Tom Lehrer.

"Since 1972, Lehrer has refrained from performing--he officially retired in 1967 but made a few appearances over the next five years--choosing instead to focus on his work teaching mathematics and a course in the American musical at the University of California at Santa Cruz." -- from Stephen Thompson at the Onion A/V Club (2000) where there is an interview with Tom Lehrer.

Want some more about Tom?

Monday, November 22, 2010

PUDs, what's with power companies? Special edition

So, I'm sitting here watching a really good movie, "Fires On The Plain" (1959), incredible movie. Suddenly, the power goes out. So I'm sitting here, on my laptop, my wireless modem upstairs is on a UPS so I have a while before losing internet. But I just have one question, and I've heard all the excuses.

Now I understand if something blows out. Happens. But, typically its something related to inclement weather; snow, ice, wind, whatever. So when the Power company, Puget Sound Energy in my case, has had all summer, to prepare, actually, has had decades, to prepare, then why, are we still losing power everytime the weather gets bad.

I'm sitting here earlier and I'm so enjoying watching this movie, stormy, horizontal snow, cold, temperature dropped to the teens, why, oh why, then, does the power have to go out. I was enjoying it so much, because I KNEW I was going to lose power. I always lose power in the winter.

The last place I lived, Covington, Washington, had these problems bad, every year. So one year, they cut back the trees. It was ugly. I hated it. I complained. That winter, we lost power, maybe, once, as I remember. I stopped complaining. So if it works for them, why not here? They gave a lame attempt at it, I noticed, but not what I would have cut back.

So, why can't we expect, considering that its freaking 2010, that we can have power on a regular basis, close to 100% of the time? I'm sure there is technology for it.

And so here I sit, in the dark, wondering why I didn't get that whole house generator so I wouldn't be going through this yet again. Well, maybe next year, but I keep thinking that the professionals would take care of it, because, well, hey, it IS their industry, isn't it?

And the same for the Cell phone companies. Why am I always losing cell service? Because they keep selling too many numbers so we over load the circuits? So, stop selling. No? Then GET MORE CIRCUITS! Or, whatever it is, but its your business, make it work. Not some of the time, not most of the time, but nearly ALL of the time.

If you're going to have a business, how about making your product working nearly all the time? And when you are talking about cell phones, but more importantly, power companies, how about 100% up time; with redundancies, protections, backups, on and on and well, how about it?

I've heard all the excuses, but what it comes down to, is you are performing a service. Make it quality.

Another benefit bites the dust

Friday, I had a blog on how Health Insurance companies are finding that they are doing well in one area in particular, that of people not going to the doctor's office anymore, as often as they used to. This is in part because of an active attempt on education on the part of the Health Insurers, but also because people simply can't afford a doctor visit and because in recent years, they have become "gunshy" at going, because of the expense out of pocket.

Well, on another front, on the side of the employees at these health insurance companies, as well as at many many other companies, I've been watching our benefits dwindle down to nothing. Life is hard lately. People out of work. Companies cutting costs, people, benefits, on and on and on and....

We have all agreed that we are willing to help in this time of reinventing companies and the workforce, in order to keep the company afloat, and keep out jobs. Too many people are already out of work. We've not gotten a raise in a couple of years, little or no bonus for a while, healthcare cuts, budget cuts, layoffs, its been rough and getting rougher. Next step is being out of work. For some of us, that just happened a week ago.

It is that time of year, that dreaded month we call "Open Enrollment" where you can pick and choose the minimal options you have about your healthcare and other things. In my selecting my options I discovered something about one of our benefits. We had heard about it as a change, but no one gave it much thought. Till now.

Some years ago, the company had combined our vacation days and our sick days in one bin, called it Paid Time Off. I've heard this at many companies. Pretty standard. I'm not sure if its better for employees or not, but companies love it. But then, companies seem to love a lot of things the past few years, and not all of them are good for the employees. But some of these things, people just don't understand and they slip by; or by time they notice its too late and old news.

We used to be able to sell back our PTO, up to two weeks worth a year. A couple of years ago they said you have to have a week remain available to sell back a week. Then they said you have to have two weeks to sell one week. Then they said, you can only sell back one week a year. Now, for 2011, they say you have to select the "option" of selling back up to a week and if you choose to do so, you will receive that money in your first check of August 2011. It used to be that you had to submit a request, then depending upon the timing, you would get it on your next paycheck, up to three weeks typically, as the longest period of time you would have to wait, but you could do it any time during the year.

So, as for this 2011 PTO cashout, first of all I realized it was kind of out of left field for most of us when we first heard of it. For myself, I do not foresee that I will need or want a cashout next year; but I really don’t know at this time, nor can I know…yet. Can I.

From what I understand, once you select the OPTION to cashout, it’s not really an option at all, because then you have to cashout a week next year.

What I mean by that is, as I understand it, is that if you select that option in order to even have the
capability to be able to do it next year, but should you later decide that you would rather use your days off than to cash them out, well, at that point, you would then be obligated to go through with the cashout.

If, you can't cancel the cashout and take the days off, then, just how is THAT an option? As in, they are calling this the PTO cashout option. Doesn't really sound like a lot of option to me.

If I need to select to have the cashout, for that option to be available to me, okay; but if that also meant that I HAVE to take the cash next year, well, as I said, I don’t so much like that option.

The thing that was nice about the capability to cash out a week (or two, as it once was),  was that if you needed it for some reason, it was there. That is almost no longer true, if you prefer your days off. If you see what I’m getting at.

It appears that now, that the company has eliminated that capability and decided we should no longer have that option, should we need or desire it. What I felt was a down side on this new format, was that in consideration of the current economy, to make it so it is no longer a viable option, is to remove yet another helpful protection and benefit, should there later be a need for it, by way of the employee’s consideration and evaluation.

So if that’s the case, then the company is saying, this cashout is only for planned recreational use, and not for any kind of help or protection to your family’s budget, regardless of the situation.

But, PTO is for good and bad times.

Seems kind of a funny thing to do, from that perspective, in consideration of the state of the economy and people trying to make it through these difficult times.

Its further interesting, as PTO covers both vacation time off, AND sick days, that PTO is quite obviously for both recreational and difficult personal times (sickness) usage. I won’t even touch on how money matters can make you sick, and a cashout could keep you from getting sick over a situation; but that’s another issue entirely.

So, I am sorry for me and the rest of us as its seems to be just one more little nibble on our benefits that no one is noticing. Don’t you think?

And if I am understanding this all correctly, then I suppose I would like to select to not use the option to cash out next year.

Because, I need all the paid time off I can get from this....

Enter, the new Murdock Book Store

I have been trying over the years, to find a way to put some of my works online, rather than go through a store like Amazon. I am already on Amazon, through a publisher, but I'm also looking to put some special pieces online that would be educational, informational, or simply entertaining and interesting.

To that effort I have created the Murdock Book Store.

What started this, was reading a book, "Secrets of a Freelance Writer" by Robert Bly. In it, he talks about informational pamphlets that I found rather interesting; basically, "How to" leaflets. That got me to thinking, and then I thought about other pieces I could put online.

The results of that, was that I spent all day yesterday and some today, looking to see if technology had advanced enough for me to fluidly set up a transaction site. I have tried this in the past and thrown up my hands in frustration, for one reason or another, either glitchy software, or pricing removing any chance of doing this. But now, on my web site host iPage, I found a seamless solution I have put into play. So, I have been working on this new site to make available, purchasable works with no middle agency involved.

And so, I now have pages devoted to Short stories, non-Fiction articles, (and soon to come) informational Guides and Pamphlets (and some of those should be quite interesting, if things go well, and in areas, you may never have seen a pamphlet talk about before); as well as a page devoted to those sites where I did go through a publisher. Currently there are only links to The Undead Nation Anthology (Zilyon Publishing), but hopefully others will follow quickly; I do now have my own book anthology at Knight Romance Publishing.

Currently online at the store, is "Marking Time". This is a story I wrote long ago, based upon a true story that I was told by a fellow search and rescue person, while we were up in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State on practice maneuvers with the elite "Wing Team" of the Civil Air Patrol organization, a group that has been around since civilian pilots during WWII were patrolling the coasts of the Western US for signs of enemy actions against us.

This short story was rewritten to be included with my anthology that is now at the publisher. Were you to read both stories, you would most certainly recognize their roots, but the new story is quite different and takes place in a far more relevant and modern setting in the Middle East. Should you ever buy the anthology when it comes out, this would make for an interesting addendum. This story is $1.

Also within the store under the non-Fiction area, are a couple of papers, one on Synesthesia (the cross-modal translation of sensory input; where you can "see" sounds, "hear" colors, etc.); and one on the Field Theory and the need for contextualism in Psychology. These are each $5.

At this time, it is not feasible to set up automatic downloads, but once I receive notice that a payment has been sent and verified, I will email the pdf file to the purchaser. If this works well, then I will be able to afford the costs of setting up an automatic download and begin to possibly offer more works than my own. And we'll see how it goes from there.

I will try hard to make this a useful, entertaining, informational, and where possible, educational, tool.
Even if you decide not to purchase, feel free to let me know your thoughts on how to make this a better service for you all.

And, Thanks!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekend Wise Words

Two quotes today, both so full of truth and power that we need no more for this weekend....

"Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact."
- William James

"Each man [and woman] must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may."
- Mark Twain

Friday, November 19, 2010

Health Insurance companies surprised they are doing better than they thought?

Are health insurance companies doing a little better than they thought they would? Yes, to some degree, they are. And something about it, sounds a little like the oil companies to me. Funny how things are so terrible, oil is in desperate situation, yet, Oil Companies are turning in record profits.

Awww, how nice for them.

Health Insurance companies are finding that they are doing well in one area in particular, that of people not going to the doctor's office anymore, as often as they used to. This is in part because of an active attempt on education on the part of the Health Insurers, but also because people simply can't afford a doctor visit and because in recent years, they have become "gunshy" at going, because of the expense out of pocket. Its brilliant how the insurers have come up with the plan to "educate" and how it has been able to cover over, how people are simply afraid now to go to the doctor because of how expensive it is.

I was in an insider meeting with a big health insurance company, just this week. They were saying they are losing money, but are cutting costs in different ways, like their programs, their computer and internet related costs and other things. But then they said, they are doing rather well, better than they thought, in certain areas. One, was in people not going to the doctor as often.

People are avoiding, going to the doctor. So the Health Insurance company, is saving money. Whoohooo!

Right?

Except for one thing. I can relate, myself. I don't want to go to the doctor lately. The past year or two, its been expensive. Its a bit scary. We can't handle any more high costs of health care. So, we don't go.

Is that a good idea? No!

Preventative care, saves us a huge amount of money. Its taken years, decade after decade, for industry to realize this. If we take care of ourselves, if we go to the doctor and get things taken care of BEFORE they become out of control, we save money.

So, eventually, the economy will get wrestled under control. It may even take a few more years. Or, longer. But, at some point, these people that are now avoiding the doctor, are going to HAVE to go to the doctor, or the hospital. And then, what they have missed by skipping the doctor now, by skipping preventative measures ahead of time, are going to cost us.

Its going to costs us in our pocketbooks, wallets, savings, and health.

So the next time, you think, "Hmmm, maybe I should go to the doctor."
No, don't just go. Use your head, think about it, ask family, call a Nurse.

But don't just, NOT go. Use your head. Some insurance companies offer free calls to a staff Nurse. Talk to them, they will tell you whether or not you should go, or not go. That alone, could save you money, or your life.

As always, if its an emergency, just call 911. If you are going to die, CALL SOMEONE, stop worry about the cost. I'd rather owe a lot and be alive, than die and be debt free.


But, if its reasonable that you need to see someone, then go.
It may, in the long run, save you a lot of money, or your life.

Randy Quaid's Star Wackers - special ed.

So, what has happened to Randy Quaid and his wife? There was an explosion of news, then suddenly, nothing. Did the Star Wackers, finally get them?

Wouldn't we all like to know what's going on? Is Dennis Quaid, Mel Gibson, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan all in dire danger? Was Mel Gibson drugged leading to all his different rants going on this past year or two?

If you remember, the Oscar nominated star ran off to Canada from Hollywood, after telling everyone that they were on a "hit list" of the now notorious assassin group known as 'star whackers'. He said that the late Heath Ledger and David Carrandine had both been killed by the group, warning that others, including Mel Gibson (who one might not be surprised about at this point), are all in danger. Randy denies being on drugs or mentally ill, but isn't that part of being mentally ill, that you don't THINK you are? I'm not saying anything, I'm just, sayin'.

From the Daily Mail in the UK:
"'They follow us, they tail us,' Quaid told the Good Morning America TV show.
'They tag our cell phone they hack our computer.'
Quaid, who has appeared in the National Lampoons films with Chevy Chase, offered no evidence about the so called Hollywood hit squad.
His wife said Gibson, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan were all in danger.
'I think he was drugged. I think he was slipped a Mickey,' Evi Quaid said of Gibson.
Quaid said the official causes of deaths of Ledger from an drugs overdose and Carradine from auto asphyxiation, were a 'flat out fraud'.
The oddball couple are due in court in California on Tuesday to face charges of smashing up their former home. They are also accused of staying at hotels and failing to pay their bills.
They insist that they did not flee to Canada to avoid facing a court but fear for their safety.
'We're just trying to find some safety and security in this,' Quaid said.
He also warned that his younger brother Dennis was in jeopardy but has ignored his warnings.
Dennis Quaid had said his brother should seek therapy."

More at:
Kansan.com
ABCnews

Opening Theme in TV shows

Not since and having set the pace for, The X-Files, TV shows made me want to always watch the title sequence. Even though I've seen it time and time again, I either always look forward to seeing it again, or it actually very much sets the tone for the episode I'm about to watch.

These shows for me are:

I was very fond of this show and sad to see it go off the air. I couldn't find the full title sequence for this next one, but when I would watch it, it would send chills down my spine, the good kind:
Saving Grace

This song is such a perfect contrast with the subject of the show that I can't believe it:
Dexter

Again, I couldn't find the actual title sequence here either, but its a perfect video for the show opening:
True Blood

It took me a while to "get" this song for the show, but after a while, it kind of grew on me. I would still prefer a different song, different genre of music, but perhaps, this really is a perfect match of song and show:
Justified

Have fun.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Terrorists in US Courts, get off?

"A federal jury in Manhattan acquitted the first Guantanamo Bay prison detainee to face a civilian court of all but one of the charges he faced.
NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports:
"It took a Manhattan jury seven days to find Ahmed Ghailani guilty of just one count of conspiracy and acquit him of murder and terrorism charges.
Prosecutors said Ghailani bought a truck and explosives for the bombing before he left Africa and hid in Pakistan.
The defense said Ghailani was a dupe and had no idea that he was helping with a terrorism plot for al-Qaeda."
"Federal prosecutors had charged Ghailani with 276 murder and attempted murder counts in connection with the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans." by Eyder Peralta

I think this is a good argument to not try this type of crime in a court that will only find them guilty of 1 out of hundred of crimes against Humanity. Perhaps the World Court is the place; a court where this is handled and has been handled well, in the past. But to do that, we need to follow certain guidelines and perhaps that is part of the problem in this current situation.

But I would argue, they need to either execute them on the spot, or treat them appropriately so they can be tried, and sentenced for the crimes they have committed; and not be able to wiggle away. Those arrested by the Military, need to be handled by the Military, don't they?

Horror and Sci Fi updates

AN EXCRUCIATING WAIT FOR ‘THE WALKING DEAD’ SEASON 2

As many of you die hard Walking Dead fans out there know, the first season only has six episodes and we are already half through. We are just getting started and it's almost coming to an end already.As you all know there is a second season planned, the bad news according to THR is that AMC isn't likely to launch the second season until next October, which will feature 13 episodes.The main reason being, AMC's Fearfest was the perfect promotional platform to get interest for The Walking Dead and the fact that AMC had four new shows to air next year, which is the most the network has ever had.So it looks like we will be in for a very long wait for more zombie action but on the plus side Frank Darabont is expected to return to write and direct another episode, and well good things come to those who wait, right?

From We Love Horror Movies

MORE ALIEN INVASION IN ‘YEAR 12’

Man, Hollywood is really catching the alien invasion bug lately. Here’s yet another one, called “Year 12″. The plot goes thusly:Set twelve years after an alien invasion, the film follows an underwater miner who is recruited by the human resistance in a plot to destroy the alien mothership.Commercial and music video director Fredrik Bond will make his feature film debut on the movie from a script by Edward Ricourt. Joe Roth is producing.

‘IRON MAN 3’ GETS RELEASE DATE

U.S. Opening Date: May 3rd, 2013

With Iron Man 2 topping box office and DVD sale charts like it did it should come as no surprise that the “superhero franchise which everybody likes” would return for a third installment. With only a 2013 release date and the news that Disney recently paid through its nose to distribute the movie, Internet rumours and fan expectations are running wild that the third flick will feature evil Iron Man mastermind villain the Mandarin as the baddie and will take a turn for the darker as Tony Stark / Iron Man fights his alcohol addiction as he famously did in the comics.For our part we’d want Iron Man 3 to be more than Iron Man fights another evil robot version of himself. Time

‘AVATAR’ 3 DISC COLLECTOR’S EDITION SPECIAL FEATURE DETAILS

Special Features (this extended collector's set includes more than eight hours of bonus features):

Disc 1:
* Three Movie Versions Original Theatrical Edition (includes family audio track with objectionable language removed)
* Special Edition Re-Release (includes family audio track with objectionable language removed)
Collector’s Extended Cut with 16 additional minutes, including alternate opening on earth
Disc 2:
* Filmmaker's Journey Over 45 minutes of never-before-seen deleted scenes
* Capturing Avatar documentary
* A Message from Pandora
* Screen tests, on-set footage, and visual-effects reels
Disc 3:
* Pandora's Box Interactive scene deconstruction: Explore 17 scenes at three levels of production
* Pandorapedia: Comprehensive guide to Pandora and Avatar
* Original script and screenplay
* BD-Live extras (requires BD-Live-enabled player and Internet connection--may be available a limited-time only)

‘INCEPTION’ LIMITED EDITION BRIEFCASE SET DETAILS

HDD Cool Stuff: 'Inception - Limited Edition Briefcase Gift Set' Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack


Christopher Nolan's mind-bending thriller gets an exclusive edition only available at the WBShop!

Warner Brothers has announced 'Inception - Limited Edition Briefcase Gift Set' will be released on December 6, available for pre-order now at the WBShop.

Disc contents will be identical to the regular Blu-ray release and will be packaged in a limited edition (less than 2000 units) metal briefcase with the following:

♦The metal briefcase measures 9 x 6.5 x 2.75 inches.
♦The full-color "The Cobol Job" comic measures 5.75 x 4 inches and is 33 pages long.
♦The 10-page black & white PASIV instruction manual measures 5.75 x 4.5 inches.
♦The full-color art cards measure 5.75 x 4 inches.
♦The heavyweight zinc alloy spinning top totem is 1.25 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches tall.


=http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=95&uid=100186690040995#!/group.php?gid=100186690040995>From Sci Fi Fantasy Nation

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How work affects your reality

Recently, I have been building a distributed web analytics system of multiple servers. This system has by its nature a repository of terabyte amounts of archived and compressed log files going back seven years. Overall, this company has 1.6 petabytes of data over all, the logs, are just a portion of that and I'm so glad I only deal with the web based logs. For those who do not know, a petabyte is a unit of information equal to one quadrillion (short scale) bytes, or 1000 terabytes; and a terabyte (TB) is 1,024 gigabytes (GB). Anyway, you get the idea. Its a lot of data.

I started working on this system about ten years ago and before that, I worked on a smaller version of it in another department. I have other responsibilities but this has been a major player in my work day. For years.

I have built this system up from a single server, to now having two separate systems/versions of about fifteen servers. Before that, I had this system running on my workstation. That seems like, decades ago now; well, it does go back to a previous millennium. I am building up a new system with new servers, and once it is ready to go, I will retire the old system. I have already started on working out the budget and details of the next system while will require all new servers with much more powerful hardware (and software, obviously). But that is for next year, or the year after depending upon budget.

But for now, I have been in the process of moving things from the old system to the new system. I have copied over the entire repository of logs and archives. Just this week, I have started to compare and delete all the archives on the old system. In fact, I'm doing that today, I may be doing this tomorrow, too. I'm telling you, its a lot of files to verify and delete. And if I lose a single log, there are indeed people who, sooner or later, will notice a gap in a historical report and want to know, where is that data and think that it is the most important thing in the world (for some reason, which is funny because this is "trending" software, not accounting software; its designed to show TRENDS people, not exactitudes! -- yes, can you tell I've had this discussion with people before?).

Which is what sparked this blog article.

Because, I noticed something as I was deleting all these files. That is, I noticed that I was deleting literally year's worth of work and effort. I have built this system from nothing, built executables that move logs around, archive them, and have had to fix it as things broke, or developers have had problems, or noticed inconsistencies which required hours, days, and in a few cases, months of working with the vendor support team.

There was one day that this old system went down, and it went down hard. The CEO, seemingly everyone at work was involved, watching, waiting for it to come back up. I don't remember what the reason was for that, but for some reason, at that time, it was being heavily used. I had worked on this system with a guy in another department, who does reporting for the ebiz side of the company, between the two of us, we have been the web analytics department for years and years. And for the first so many of those years, really not until recently, people weren't paying much attention, and no, we haven't gotten much acknowledgment for all out work. In fact, we were only told that to work on this project, was not a path to advancement. Nice huh?

Anyway, this one time, I couldn't get the system back up. I worked with the vendor support people, they couldn't get it back up. We tried to reinstall it, that didn't get it back up. I stayed late, I took off at 10PM to catch a ferry home and conclude my two hour commute home; then when I got home, I got online and started to work on it more; from time to time, my boss would call and ask for a progress report. Last time I heard form him was 2AM. I continued to work. I finally got the system up at 6AM and I told him, and went to bed. I had been up working on this almost entirely, for 24 hours straight. I was exhausted, but I had his undying thanks.

Then, not that long after that, he left the company. That is something else that happens a lot at a corporation. You work hard, prove yourself to your boss(es), and/or, you get them in your debt, then they leave and you have to start all over again; sometimes, with people who openly have no faith in you. You work hard, you try to prove you deserve your "attitude" and eventually they find out its true; but typically, not until you have beat yourself half to death in proving yourself all over again. Its really a waste of time, but it does keep you sharp. And, annoyed. Really, its not a great way to live.

Anyway, I have a lot invested in this system.

And now, I'm deleting it. That old system, like a trusty old dog, I am killing it, one delete at a time. And I noticed that, this has affected me. I was surprised to find that because in some ways, this old system has been a huge burden and problem. The database on it has gotten so messed up that even the vendor has asked that we build an entirely new system and simply dump the old one. Which, is what we're doing. The new system is running so much better. I should be glad to see the old one go.

But, I've noticed that, its almost like sawing off a piece of yourself, as I go through the process. Its, melancholy. Because, along with all this work, has gone other things in my life. I got divorced, back in 2002; my kids went through jr high, high school, started college, got jobs, its amazing really, what has taken place throughout this past decade or so.

Part of what brings all this to home, is that as I got back in time for each web server's logs, starting with the present month, and going backward, the logs get smaller. Back in 2000 we were getting many less hits. Now, we are a national power on the internet and have received awards in various ways and we are a leader in the field.

I have the history of all that in my hands. And I'm deleting it all, log by log. Yes, I have a full copy of everything on the new servers. But still, the feeling is there, I am deleting so much. I started yesterday, and I'm still going through it today. Its a lot to delete and I have to verify it so I do not delete a single file without knowing positively that there is a copy available elsewhere.

Its interesting though, how work can affect you personally, like this, outside of your work environment.

But what about my own history? I haven't deleted it, but it has passed. I have my memories, I have my family and friends. But so much is now gone. Is that bad? No, that's life, isn't it. But it pays once in a while, to stop, and reflect, on what has happened, what is happening, where you are going?

Don't you think so, too?

David Lynch and the artist as suffering agent of art

David Lynch’s “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity” talks about many things.


For on, he talks about an artist’s obligation to live life correctly, healthy, to stay rested and positive, and free from fear.

David Lynch movies can give you another idea, but the, if you met David Lynch, you'd probably see the error of your considerations about him. He advises artists to stay away from suffering.

“Let your characters do the suffering."

“If you’re an artist, you’ve got to *know* about anger without being restricted by it. In order to create, you’ve got to have energy; you’ve got to have clarity. You’ve got to be able to catch ideas. You’ve got to be strong enough to fight unbelievable pressure and stress in this world. So it just makes sense to nurture the place where that strength and clarity and energy come from–to dive in and enliven that.”

So, to all you suffering artists, no longer do you need to suffer in vain. What the suffering DOES do, is give you character, and one of the things all artists need, is character, the more the better. But you need to purge what that brings to the table, through not drugs, drama and aberrant behaviors, but through your art.

Get to work!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Too much personality? Not enough personality?

I was with someone for a while way back when, for like five years, who I was never really ever that physically attractive to. She was cute, to be sure, but she had, personality. She had a lot of personality, a lot of character. She was indeed, a real "character".

Maybe, too much for her own good. She made her own rules.

She, was an artist, and a Leo for those into that kind of thing (for more on the artist, character and behavior, see tomorrow's blog).

Her rules in life, didn't match mine. Her fules were designed to allow her the most leeway in life. She designed her personality to allow her a good sized buffer between herself, her behaviors and life itself. Now, I see that, as being "flaky". Effervescent, but not, in a good way.

I think that was what has caused her so much trouble all her life. And still to this day, does, almost twenty years later. Perhaps its also why she has had a drinking problem all her life. If you have too much personality, you need to dampen it with something. But not, reality; more likely, drugs, alcohol, drama. Something.

I have heard the arguments that you shouldn't pay too much attention to physical beauty, but really, isn't that mostly something people say who lack they physical beauty to get to share in the profits of those who do have it?

Up to the point that I had met his woman, I had always been pretty physically attractive women (no pun intended). That isn't to say that is all that those women had going for them; they were bright, funny, interesting, but they had the added element of being physically attractive.

However, up to that point, none of my relationships had lasted (forever, and who's does, right?). So I decided that I would try not to look at physical attractiveness. A friend had mentioned that. He said, "you know, all your women have been really good looking. Maybe you're looking at the wrong things?" It stuck with me. It was nonsense, but I didn't know that then, and I had to consider it.

So, when I met this women, she was very low key for a couple of weeks. Then, she pounced. She said later that saw me, decided she wanted me, and was going to get me (her words, no, really, I swear); her life situation, my life situation (I had just sworn off dating) and her live in boyfriend, notwithstanding (tacky, right?).

When we hit that point of no return, I considered the relationship. Everything said run. But I knew, if I thought she was really hot looking, I'd fully be there, into it (tacky, right? Hey, I was young).

It was in a kind of low point in my life and she was bringing light into my darkness (e.g., she liked to "party"). She brought me little gifts (let's not belabor what those were), we spent nights together (sometimes afternoons), she made me laugh.

Then to help her out, I moved in with her, to get the crazy room mate to leave. It worked. But then I had all these warning signs. "Run", I kept thinking; but I felt I owed her. And I did, I owed her, something. but my life? Yes, I felt so at the time. But in hindsight, did I owe her my life? No. That, was just my own foolishness and immaturity.

We live and we learn.

Hopefully.

So I made the second most ultimate sacrifice and when she pushed for it, I married her. I thought, I owed her, and I'm not going to take physical beauty into consideration. Now, she wasn't ugly, by any means, but I didn't find her attractive in my normal sense of the word. But I decided to not consider that.

From there on, it was a pretty off and on, rocky situation. Not because of me, though. Unless you think that having ethics, morals (and I don't care much for that word, I prefer ethics), is a problem. Like when I refused to lie for her on the phone to a friend of hers. She got mad and said she was never again going to lie for me; what's the problem, they're just little "white social lies". My reply was that I never asked her to lie for me, but she did it anyway and I had kept asking her not to lie to people on my behalf and that I never relied on her lying for me; which seemed to surprise her.

I hadn't realized then, but I do now, that when someone changes to meet your standards (no lies, basically, stand up for yourself, openly, etc.), that can be a warning sign and a road to relationship disaster.

Consider, if Angelina Jolie, of if you're a woman, Brad Pitt (or insert your favorite obsession), dropped into your life and wanted you, but you didn't match their sense of perfection, although, you got all the benefits of being with them (and for the sake of this argument and fantasy), and none of the detractions; wouldn't you, try to change a little to match up to what they need. Come on, be honest. Just about anyone would bend at least (what they consider) a little bit. We all do, its called compromise, which is part and parcel of all relationships. And necessary up to a point and that point is, to compromise situations but not, yourself.

For instance, you'd have to deal with them having bed scenes in movies; who wouldn't that bother?

My point her is this, after a while, you would most likely find that you cannot subjugate your "self", your beliefs, your understanding of the world, the universe, life and death and dealings in daily life, for them; no matter how much you wanted to. At some point, it might even turn into a pathology. And it would be over, because, hey, who wants to date a loon?

And so, you lose them, whether or not, you sacrifice your "self" for them, or not. The only difference probably would be, that you gave up your beliefs for them, when in reality, you may have kept them even longer, had you simply stuck to your guns. It happens. My main orientation in life now is to be as heartfelt and honest as possible. It helps and you don't have to be abrasive about it; I'm always amazed too, at how well that works.

I explained this to a friend once, about that relationship I had. I didn't change myself for her; but I made it clear what I needed from a partner, and I said that I didn't think we could make it, because we were just too different. In important ways. She got upset and said she could change. I tried to persuade her against it, but maybe I shouldn't have, maybe I should have just walked, for both our benefit. But when someone says they want to try to be better? What do you say? No? Well, in this case, Yes.

But I didn't, she wanted it so badly, that I caved and said, "Okay, I'll get it a shot".

But I will not put up with living with someone who lies all the time. She seemed to do very well for a year or two. But then, the buffer she'd used all her life, came crashing down and she began to revert to her old self. And that was the beginning of the end. And then, it was the end.

So, in the end kids, don't compromise your"self". Simply Be who you are. Try to be the best person you can be. Try to find someone who matches up to that most closely. Its OKAY to have someone you are very different from, as long as you match up in what is important.

Oh, and another friend I told all this too? She said, "So, let me get this straight. Rather than choose on all the elements you had based your life on, you dicided to not make a fully conscious and for you, rational decision about her, and you just threw caution to the wind? However unintentional that was, that was your theory for building a relationship? So you thought that by not making a fully considered decision, that things would work out better than in the past when you made fully rational and considered decisions? And from that, you expected it to turn out, all right? Isn't that, a form of insanity?"

Well, to be honest, I didn't expect it to turn out all right, I just thought I'd give it the good old college try and I did try. But relationships, although they should take work and not just play, in order to make them work; as you have seen, they require more elements than fun and play, and ignoring yourself.

In the end, indeed, it was a little insane. But it seemed to be the right thing to do at the time.
Hopefully however, we will live and learn from these kinds of things.
I know, I have.

But have you?

Film news - Wolverine and others

WOLVERINE WILL NOT APPEAR IN ‘X-MEN:FIRST CLASS’ Wolverine’s been a constant a source of rumour mill half truths all year, thanks to continued debates over who’ll be helming his second solo film outing.But one rumour we can officially quash is the one saying that Hugh Jackman will be cameoing in Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming mutant prequel X-Men: First Class.“He’s not in the movie. He’s in the Wolverine movies,” says producer Bryan Singer.Easy come, easy go. It’s sad news for those hoping for the mullet-faced Aussie to put in a continuity-aiding vignette, but not exactly the end of the world.X-Men: First Class opens in the UK on 2 June, 2011.

TO COMMENT ON THIS WEEK’S HORROR NEWS,PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK- Rich Goellnitz

RECENT HORROR NEWS NOVEMBER 11TH 2010

‘THE WALKING DEAD’ SEASON 2 CONFIRMED

The Walking Dead Season 2 has been greenlit according to a post on MoviesOnline which sources ABC News. This comes after early rumors from Fangoria that Season 2 would begin shooting in February of next year. This really comes as no surprise to me at all when you consider the fact that Episode 1 'Days Gone Bye' was the highest rated cable show for 2010. Add to that that Episode 2 is currently in the Top 40 most searched terms on google its clear that AMC needs to listen to the fans and their own potential profits and bring us a second season. Frank Darabont has said in interviews that Season 2 if it happened would focus on the second volume of the hit graphic novel and introduce the unique visual styles of that book and its environments into the show. I for one am very excited by this news.

TIM BURTON’S ‘DARK SHADOWS’ TO SHOOT IN 2011

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s eighth movie collaboration will finally head into production in April next year.Dark Shadows has been attempting to jostle its way into the pair’s ever-crammed schedule for years, and now finally they’ve found a gap to make it.Based on the ‘60s gothic daytime soap, Dark Shadows sees Depp donning fangs as vampire Barnabas Collins, a 175-year-old neckchewer who’s searching for lost love Josette. The character essentially did for Dark Shadows what Joan Collins did for Dynasty, boosting ratings to such an extent that Barnabas became the show’s main star. Depp's mentioned it is his "childhood dream" to play the role.Pride And Prejudice And Zombies novelist Seth Grahame-Smith is currently redrafting a version of the script originally scribbled by John Big Fish August.Despite Depp and Burton's last collab reaping the messy Alice In Wonderland, we're hopeful their return to gothic horror could result in one of their best films in years.

‘TOXIC AVENGER’ REMAKE HAS A DIRECTOR

Hot Tub Time Machine's Steve Pink has signed to direct the remake of the seminal Troma offering The Toxic Avenger.Yes, we live in strange times, my friend, when Troma's library is now being mined for properties to reboot.Pink will script the Avenger film with Daniel C. Mitchell for producers Akiva Goldsman, Richard Saperstein and Charlie Corwin.If you've never seen the original, the story focuses on a bullied nerd who has an accident involving toxic waste and turns into a hideously deformed brute.

DIRECTOR TALKS PLANS FOR ‘SILENT HILL 2’

Now that Michael Bassett is writing and directing the long-mooted Silent Hill sequel, called Silent Hill: Revelation, fans are eager to see what the Death Watch director is going to bring to the cinematic SH mythos Christophe Gans brought to the screen in 2006.

Bassett took to his blog to explain his intentions:

"I love the games and was a huge admirer of the first film. Especially how Christophe Gans and his team managed to capture the look and feel of the world. I say, if it ain't broke don't fix it, so I'm bringing back as many of that core creative team as I can – but I'm probably going to bring just a little more darkness and fear into the mix as well. I love the complex mythology and psychological twists that Konami created so will do my best honor that aspect too. I'm determined to deliver a film that builds on the qualities of the first film and draws on the best aspects of the games whilst giving the audience more nuanced characters, a compelling story and introducing some terrifying new monsters (as well as bringing back a few favorites) and, most important of all… just scaring the shit out of everyone."

‘ZON 261’ PLOT DETAILS

Got a synopsis on the upcoming Swedish Zombie movie ‘ZON 261’:

Landskrona, 2013th strong disagreements between Svenner and immigrants. A ship crashes into the harbor. Police enters the wreck - and attacked by the infected herd. The bitten policemen is in a coma.And wakes up as monsters.The infection is spreading like wildfire. Any attempt to flee the city.But the city is quarantined - National Task Force and the military set up a concrete wall around The few non-infected - Svenner and immigrants - taking shelter in the citadel.Meanwhile, the infected try to turn themselves in to their haunts, they must be uninfected decide which ones are the worst monsters: their former enemies on the inside - or those infected out there.While the conflicts inside escalates to boiling point, the non-infected, in order to survive, to determine if they see their former enemies as monsters - or as sisters and brothers, if they see each other as Svenner and blue - or as neighbors.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Infidelity, take them back? Typically? No.

 If your partner has an affair and you find out, what do you do? Take them back? Dump them? Shoot them?

If one partner is interested in going outside the relationship, well, you've kind of already lost something.

Its just how it is. If they have done something, you can try to repair the relationship, but its so much easier to move on. Indeed, it would depend on the relationship that the two of you have. Many times, its just not going to work. Why? Because people now a days are looking for the easy out, the least amount of effort and so, you will fail. Because as everyone knows, to get better, you have to want to. And once someone has had an affair and felt how pleasurable it can be, its hard to buckle down and maintain that old relationship, even if you think, you want to.

You see, you have to deal with the baggage and dynamics of the old relationship and those are are very hard to change (cause and effect, how you treat one another, etc.).

So, how have I handled this situation over my own lifetime?

I have a semi unique situation. The first woman that had an affair on me, was the first woman ever to do that to me, she was in fact the first women ever to break up with me. I later realized how bad that was. Experience a break up as young as possible, high school is best. I was thirty at the time and we'd been together for about six years. I simply had no mechanism for handling it, and a year and a half after the break up, I had partied myself into near death. I had trouble climbing stairs, a cup of coffee felt like I was going to have a heart attack, it was bad.

Once I realized I did want to live and continue on, I stopped my behavior, rebuilt myself, and exercised daily; but sadly, I had decided to be with a new woman, who was just as self destructive to me (and her) as I had been to myself. She in part, had helped me have a thirst for life again, to make me smile again. But she pushed me into getting married (she proposed, then I did what I thought was "right" (proposing to her), plus I felt she made me smile again and so I "owed" her (stupid stupid stupid)). In hindsight, perhaps, I should have merely thanked her, and walked off. But I did what I thought was the morally correct thing to do.

Interesting how you can do what is "right" and later realize that the best thing for all, would have been to be the cad. I had toled her about my previous relationship and had asked her, if she ever wanted to leave, just do it, don't put me through such a "common" thing as having an affair. As it turned out, she was quite "common" in her behavior.

When I was finally ready to walk, about to ask for a divorce, she said she was pregnant, which I thought, wasn't going to happen. She did this, by not telling me that she stopped taking the pill for two months. And this right after we had discussed and agreed, to not have kids until we got out of debt and even had at least $100 in the bank.

Again, I tried to do what was right, and stay because I didn't want my child to go through the life I had to live through in childhood. In the end, there was nothing I could do to avoid that. Eventually, she said she thought I was boring because I was trying then to grow up and build a family, to get our finances under control, etc., so she had an affair with a guy she thought was, "exciting". Eventually, she dumped him, because he wanted to get married. Pretty ironic, don't you think? It goes back to the "good guys finish last" thought. Had I been more of a not good guy, my life would have been a lot better at many crossroads.

Several of my long term relationships were with women who were bi. For obvious reasons perhaps, I didn't have a problem with them having a relationship with a woman, as long as it was all above board, ethical, friendly and positive. We had rules. That part of the relationship, seemed to work fine.

But in the end, two of them ran off to have an affair with a guy. At least the first one, ended up marrying the guy, which took some of the sting out of it, as I did want the best for her. They had two kids, then he died in bed. She remarried and had another child and is pretty well set for life financially.

My most desired relationship (not one of those already mentioned), involved a break up that in some ways, had nothing much to do with me, really. She ended it for reasons I won't get into but had nothing to do with her relationships with women or really, myself, in many ways. Of course, sometimes when there are reasons that have nothing to do with you, they have everything to do with you.

These women were all very confused emotionally, and needed a lot more growing up. My fault, I suppose for not choosing partners that were more mature, more intellectually stable. For following my heart (or something else) rather than my head, or at least listening to my head and giving it some credence.

This last woman, I thought, had a lot of class, and so we ended things without others being involved. Yes, I do know that's true, trust me, I checked. I still have a lot of affection for her, in many ways. And she is still confused emotionally and has a new child. I assume that child too will have problems but there is nothing I can do about that. She is her parent's problem now. And I feel badly about that.

From  Steven D. Solomon, Ph.D. and Lorie J. Teagno, Ph.D.:

"Reports have said that 60-75% of couples who have experienced a betrayal stay together. However, this does not mean that these couples can heal their relationships and regain trust and commitment to each other. In such cases, many couples stay together after one or more infidelities not because they're happy together but because they're afraid of the alternative. They're afraid of being single, the impact of divorce on their kids, the financial implications, etc.

"But after the 25 years that each of us has worked in helping couples, we can say that those who commit to the hard work of dealing with the devastation of infidelity, and to being a partner who owns his or her weaknesses and mistakes, have an excellent chance of not only staying together but of coming out of the process with a strong, happy, and more fulfilling Long Term Love Relationship. A strong majority of couples in which both partners make such a commitment end up staying together because they're happy together."

Okay. Well, consider, their group of people are those who have come to them for help. How many haven't come to them for help? Kind of skews their stats, don't you think?


"Here are some infidelity statistics based on a survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago:
  • 25 percent of men have had extramarital affairs
  • 17 percent of women committed adultery
"Many couples that go through extramarital affairs end up staying together for their children's sake. Marriage experts say that the real test begins after the affair is over.
  • Only 35 percent of unions survive an extramarital affair.
  • 65 percent of marriages break up because of adultery
"Nothing can destroy a marriage faster than extramarital affairs and marital infidelity.

"The study also revealed that the people whose sexual histories included more risky situations or had cheated on a partner before were more likely to lie to get what they wanted.

"Propelled by self-interest, people tend to lie outright when asked by potential partners about their sexual past."

So....

All I have asked of any partner is that if you want to end a relationship with me, do it. Don't act like a child and begin another relationship before ending your initial one. If you do that, you have my undying respect. And, if you are smart enough, you can understand that you have respect for yourself. If you don't do it, you need help, you are immature, your self esteem is incredibly low and you are living a way of life that is going to lead to bad things. For you, not for me.

In the end, if you find your spouse is having an affair, you have a lot to think about. Evaluate the relationship. If you have no children, its much easier to decide to walk. If you have kids, you have to take them more into consideration than yourself. In the end, you may find that the best thing is, to break up. Kids are experts at reading subtext, so don't think you can talk derisively to your partner and not have the kids pick up on it and yes, it will damage them.

Consider carefully when you split up. But don't stay, if its only going to make all involved suffer. And if you don't have kids, you have the luxury of taking a hike. Do not rationalize that you are going to stay or make it work for your partner, do something for yourself at this time; they did. And maybe, they aren't your partner any longer. You also have to ask yourself, will we be going through this again? And chances are, if you stay together, the answer is, yes.

There are no easy answers. But there is, trying hard to go through the situation with your eyes open. Therapy helps (for you, even consider, getting two therapists, one for the relationship and one for you). Typically by the time you seek therapy for your relationship, it's too late. So get it sooner than later. Everyone should see a therapist once in a while, just like a check up for your car. Tweak things ahead of time, not after things are broken.

If you find you are in this situation, remember one thing. Build your self esteem. Or if you have plenty, fine tune it. Do things for yourself. Prepare for being single. Don't grab onto the relationship like a drowning swimmer. Sometimes, that alone can save a relationship, if you still want to.