Requisite Halloween Post

In between working at work and working at home, J– and I took a couple hours to lead a few more kids down the path to juvenile diabetes Sugar High City by passing out candy to the trick-or-treating kids.

Chelsea has, like many towns, a designated trick-or-treating time for the kids to minimize the amount of traffic in town at night. As with last year’s event, this year was from 4-6pm.

This has a couple downstream effects. The first is all your neighbors are home for the festivities. Everyone comes home early from work, camps out in front of their houses and chucks obscene amounts of sugared treats at teenagers and toddlers alike. We met around-the-corner neighbors tonight… we’ve been here for 16 months.

The second effect is that all the country kids pile into trucks, conversion vans, mini-vans, and all manner of soccer-mom modes of transport and descend on the city like locusts on Egypt. The actual amount of kids that live in the city and who wind up at your door is pretty small. But when your clientele is a steady stream of little guys and girls like this…

… you cough up the snacks to all comers.

We went through 11 giant-sized bags of candy in 90 minutes. We were inside calling for pizza by 5:30. And the best part? All those kids went home with someone else.

Things That Are Bad To Do To Your Computer

In no particular order

  • Allow cats to rub against the main air vents, causing a sickly build-up of hair, dander, and catiness.
  • After allowing cats to deposit general catiness, fail to clean inside of computer for 8 weeks…
  • …then crank up the resolution on your favorite graphics-intensive application (video editing is best; games work in a pinch); Play “Count the Crashes” while attempting to figure out why computer crashes.
  • Through dog toy under desk, when the only path from dog’s current position to said dog toy is through a 6-inch opening made by your office chair and computer tower.
    • Bonus points if dog is wider than 6-inches; guess what happens to a computer tower?
  • Disconnect your computer from a VPN with multiple application-created connections to that VPN.
  • Eat Cottage Inn, thin crust pizza over beloved keyboard.
  • Remove portable hard drive from protective case with a) bare hands, b) ungrounded, c) on a cold, fall day, d) over carpet.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Polling is a pretty well-developed industry. The Usual Suspects may provide an incomplete data set, but they’re by and large an earnest bunch, who give recovery matters a lot of thought, and their responses as individuals count as much as anyone else’s. So what was made of their sacrifice of three hours of a beautiful Saturday morning? Not much, as far as I could tell. I’m not sure how the questions were crafted – I’m sure UNOP told the AmericaSpeaks people what they wanted to ask, but my impression of how AmericaSpeaks conducted the polling suggested that they were more involved than mere readers and tabulators, and anyway, I’d expect an organization that purports to specialize in citizen-led contribution to decision-making to have some expertise how best to craft that opportunity to contribute.

Read the rest to see the spectacular use of $3 million dollars.

More to come on America Speaks, I’m sure; nothing like being cloak-and-dagger with your funding ($2.3 of their $3 million came from as-yet unnamed private sources.)

Becky Houtman » The Ballroom Speaks

New Site Content – Google Reader Shared Items

For those on RSS readers, you may have missed the new element on the front page. I’ve added the shared items feed from Google Reader to the sidebar on the site. It will show the last 5 items that I’ve shared from my news feeds.

You can view the page here, as well; there’s also an RSS feed at that page (or just grab it here) if you want to subscribe to that.

The page will be whatever I share; could be tech, could be weirdness, might be a cartoon or three.

By the way, if you haven’t already, go get Firefox 2. I have one hyphenated and one whole word for you: built-in spellcheck. Awesome.

Rush Limbaugh is an Ass

Not that that’s news, but usually I chalk Rush up with most of the idiots on Democratic Underground; you can’t seriously believe 1/1,000,000th of the seething hatred that pours off their lips or keyboards.

But Rush has crossed a line that few will cross in pursuit of their politics. He has labeled a disabled person a liar, accusing that disabled person of pretending that their condition was worse than it is. It didn’t help that that person was Michael J. Fox.

For those that don’t know, Fox has Parkinson’s disease and it has progressed a long way in the past couple of years. Fox takes medication, as do millions of people who suffer from Parkinson’s, to control the more visible symptoms of the disease, including the tremors we all see.

Fox has made some political ads in support of stem cell research (and no, we won’t be exploring that topic here). Limbaugh is opposed to this research. In his criticism of Fox’s ads, Limbaugh said:

“He is exaggerating the effects of the disease,” […] “He’s moving all around and shaking and it’s purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting.”

Shameless; what an interesting word Limbaugh used. What’s the logic here? Parkinson’s isn’t bad enough on its own that Limbaugh thinks someone with the disease has to exaggerate the symptoms? And the implication that Fox would stop taking medication for a commercial is ludicrous. Medications for diseases such as Parkinson’s aren’t optional; if you stop taking them, there are real and potentially long-lasting consequences.

Of course, the most damning criticism of Limbaugh comes from a, you know, actual medical professional.

“Anyone who knows the disease well would regard his movement as classic severe Parkinson’s disease,” said Elaine Richman, a neuroscientist in Baltimore who co-wrote “Parkinson’s Disease and the Family.” “Any other interpretation is misinformed.”

Limbaugh has, of course, retracted his statements and apologized, but the trick worked; hell, I’m writing about it. Still, there’s only one person who’s shameless in this exchange. Unsurprisingly, it’s Rush Limbaugh.

WoW Burning Crusade Delayed until January 2007

The latest bump in my online drug will be delayed until January 2007 as Blizzard announced that the World of Warcraft expansion won’t be coming out this year after all.

Maybe I’ll have two level 60 toons to work with when the expansion comes out (as opposed to my single level 60 character, now).

Actually, my playing has tailed off lately; level 60 hasn’t been as fun as I’d hoped and, frankly, I can’t stand grinding yet another toon through the depressing landscapes of the higher-level zones. Why is everything above level 50 burned, broken, cursed, diseased, or undead? I don’t want rainbows and kittens but a little green and blue now and then wouldn’t kill the experience.

By the way, anyone on Medivh who has a guild that’s recruiting, I’m looking for a guild that can take a casual player (one to three nights a week) and can run high-ish end instances. Having more than 3 guildies above level 20 on per evening would be a huge bonus.

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Monty Python star has cancer

Terry Jones has bowel cancer. His doctors believe they’ve caught it early, though, so things may not be as bad as they could.

This is the second Python so far with cancer; Graham Chapman died in 1989 from throat cancer.

Jones has always, to me, been the Python who quietly drove the troupe with his ideas, despite never catapulting to stardom as John Cleese and Michael Palin have. His commentaries on the Python experience (and outside of the Pythons) are always insightful.

Best wishes and a speedy recovery to Terry.

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