Monthly Archives: November 2007

Innertube Sucks

While we’re at it, CBS sucks. Oh, I’ve been a loyal viewer for many years. CBS has been my second-favorite network losing out only to NBC, and they’re still losing. NBC beat CBS to the punch on online availability of episodes, and has the advantage that their system actually works. I can go watch Heroes online right now. Null Perspiration. Oh sure, it has ads, but they’re largely unintrusive, and I like the idea that I’m “paying” for what I watch.


 Innertube (CBS’s streaming online video repository) sucks so bad that it’s actually impossible for me to watch  last night’s episode of Moonlight. It will play only the first file of four before getting irrevocably stuck. Okay, so maybe this is a Vista issue. Or a Flash issue. Or something else. Clearly, someone, somewhere can watch full episodes on Innertube. I, however, can’t. And there’s no contact information for any kind of technical support or customer service which means that I can basically go bugger off.




So I’m going to pirate it, of course. I tried it the sanctioned way and the sanctioned way doesn’t work. Downloading a torrent is much faster than trying to get customer service out of a massive corporate entity that seems only vaguely aware that they might have customers. Unfortunately, this means that my viewership doesn’t count for advertising (and therefore revenue) purposes. Though maybe it counted sixteen times for the first quarter of the show…



Speaking of Zombies

It’s time for a little necromancy.

From time to time, I frequent the website and blog of The Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait, an intelligent and witty guy (and former NERD) who spends a fair bit of time debunking myths about the universe.

Over a year ago, the Bad Astronomer was advocating the skepchicks calendar and its companion, the skepdudes calendar, in which he was featured. I posted a comment (which you can see here) regarding my decision not to purchase either calendar. I apparently spawned a relative storm of controversy including the (AFAIK) unique appearance of Phil’s wife, who took apparently considerable umbrage at my opinion.

Naturally, as Phil’s is a fast-paced blog and I often have better things to do than look at comment responses to my comments on other people’s blogs, I had moved on without noticing any of that response. While looking for another one of my comments this morning, I stumbled across Mrs. BA’s response to my comments and, though this happened some time ago and she likely doesn’t read this, I’d like to take some time to respond.

“I realize the BA may delete my entry and ban me for my attack on poor JediBear. This is why I don’t post on these things – I’m an obnoxious loudmouth. Farewell, for I fear we shall never meet again.”

While this was the last part of her response, I’d like to address it first, and copy-paste gives me the power to do so. Obviously, Phil didn’t either delete the comment or ban her, and her remarks were pretty tame. My blood didn’t get even slightly hot. As an obnoxious loudmouth myself, I have to say that her reluctance to post on her husband’s blog likely stems from another reason and that this is just a copout. I’m honored that she decided to come out of hiding just to “attack” poor little old me.

“Second, I feel I must respond to JediBear’s post of October 3 at 11:21 am. JB – if both your mother and girlfriend would seriously be bothered by a calendar that contains very tasteful and modest nude pictures, you need to dump the girlfriend and stop inviting your mother over”

“These women are either prudish or insecure, and no one should willingly acquiesce to the sensitivities of either of these traits, as it will only reinforce them. “

In this life, a man is issued only one mother. Mine is, to be sure, a bit of a prude, a sometime killjoy, and a young-earth creationist. I still love her, and I’d be a poor kind of son if I were to choose nude pictures of women I don’t even know over my own dear mother.

And I should dump a girlfriend because she might object to nude pictures of other women on my walls? Of all the vices that might negatively impact a relationship, prudishness and insecurity factor pretty far down the scale, behind such things as addictive or abusive behavior and cheating, for example.

As I alluded to in my original comment, I don’t consider the nude photograph to be a particularly appealing art form, regardless of the subject. I’d be a poor sort of person if I were to choose nude pictures of women I don’t even know over an intelligent and wonderful woman who may (quite reasonably) not appreciate any apparent preference on my part for looking at OTHER women’s nude bodies.

” (unless of course you still live with her, which I strongly suspect based on your comment that you “might have to get a job or something”). “

Ouch. She missed the mark on that one, but not by much. I live with my father, not with my mother. I’m an otherwise unemployed student, and the place is both conveniently located and inexpensive. My pride is not worth more than the difference in cost between a room in my dad’s basement and an apartment.

” Also, in reference to your comment that you don’t support outreach programs based on gender, I would invite you to join the rest of us in the real world.”

I live in the real world, thank you very much. In this real world, I am surrounded by feminist discrimination against men and rarely see its reverse. I see ALL targetted outreach programs as being harmful, as all discriminate against those not included.

” It’s the twenty-first century, and women STILL don’t get paid as much as men or promoted as quickly for the same work,”

This is actually unrelated to the education of the women in question (in general, women earn better marks and are more likely to go on to higher education.) Institutional discrimination cannout be addressed by targetted outreach programs. These things take time, and 2007 is not so far removed from 1977 that we should be surprised if women still make a little less than their male counterparts. (also, this is only in the mean, nationwide. There are numerous examples of women who make more than men for the same work.)

“girls are STILL not as strongly encouraged as boys to pursue interests in science and math,”

Probably true, but possibly irrelevant. Is there any compelling reason why girls should be encouraged as strongly or more strongly than boys to persue the geekly lifestyle? Is there a difference between men and women which makes the inclusion of women in the field an important imperative? Would science really be that badly staggered if, by some bizarre coincidence, all of the best scientists, mathematicians, and engineers were men? or women? or [insert group of interest]?

Boys aren’t especially encouraged toward geekishness either. We’re supposed to play football and use small words. Women, we are told, won’t like us if they feel intimidated by our intelligence (as opposed to our muscles?) It’s a harsh world for geeks all around.

“and we STILL have not had a woman President.”

Women rarely seek the nation’s highest office. Hillary Clinton has a good shot in 2008. We’ll see if you can make that same statement in 2009.

We have female Representatives, Senators, and Supreme Court Justices. Washington State has two (that’s 100%, folks) female Senators. To expect representative demographics in a job pool numbering 500, 100, 10 or 1 is simply absurd. There haven’t been enough presidents in the country’s history for every minority to be proportionally represented. There have only been four presidents since 1980 (that is, in my lifetime.) To be sure, all were “old white men,” but it simply makes sense that this singular office would be the last to catch up.

Even then, I have to repeat my objection to the previous. Is society especially ill-served in not having had a woman president? Is there some great difference of which I should be aware that makes women superior executives? Were women excluded by law or tradition from the nation’s highest office, this would certainly be unfair, but as it stands it’s simply a matter that none have yet sought and gained the office.

To promote women for any office or position simply because they are women is as sexist as excluding them on the same basis, and that’s why I have to oppose all gender-based outreach programs. Sexism disgusts me.

The ordering of parts

Or My Shuck’s Adventure.

I’ve been trying for a while now to order a new cylinder head for The Beast. I finally got it ordered yesterday, but that took a bit of doing.

The gal at the auto parts store who was helping me place my order called down to their supplier, American Cylinder, and asked if the part was available. The American Cylinder guy said that no, they didn’t have it. In fact, he claimed, they didn’t even stock it as the part wasn’t in demand. This sounds like nonsense (especially when you consider the number of Suzuki Sidekicks and Samurai and their Chevrolet rebrands running about,) and it turned out to be, but we were briefly stymied until her manager intervened.

Thankfully, my dad (the car guy) had been by earlier that day to check on the part’s availability. The manager had called AC and had recieved a more positive response. So the manager had  her call them again. Apparently, she got a different guy and, yes, they had the part. Apparently, the other guy was smoking crack.

Of course, even this is too easy, so it turned out we had the wrong part (though thankfully we caught it now, and not when the part arrived.) So we finally got the correct part number, did the whole tango (at least the non-crack-smoking part of it) again and got it ordered. The correct part cost about $60 more, but they cut the price to match their quote, as the part mix-up had been their error.

So my part is coming the 15th. With any luck, Burgie will be back from the dead yet again shortly thereafter.


2007 Election Picks

Despite the lack of federal offices up for election in 2007, a number of important issues stand before the people of Washington State at least. As I fill out my last-minute ballot, let me take you through the choices I made and the reasons for them.

Initiative Measure Number 960 (I-960):

I think Washington State’s constitution should be amended to prevent Tim Eyman from ever proposing, sponsoring, or being in any way associated with a ballot initiative measure. The stream of ill-concieved, badly-written initiative measures originating with this man truly boggles the mind. I-960 is more of the same, a tax-rebellion initiative that would seem appealing to voters by the surface description but which would have truly ugly consequences (in the form of massive and useless increases in government overhead) in practice.

I voted to reject I-960.

Referendum Measure 67 (R-67):

A Referendum Measure in Washington State is a kind of People’s Veto. The law in question was already voted on and approved by the legislature, but some extraordinarily resourceful wags took exception to it and decided to try to overturn it with a popular vote.

R-67 particularly is an attempt to reject Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5726 (ESSB 5726,) which authorizes (but does not require) the award of significant (up to a total award, along with actual damages, of three times the actual damages) punitive damages in first-party bad-faith lawsuits, and required the award of attorney fees and court costs in the same. (the award of such costs and fees had previously been allowed under Washington State case law, but not required.) 

The R-67 campaign has been an especially contentious and repugnant one, with falsehoods and fallacies flying hard and fast from both sides.

The insurance companies who have backed the campaign to reject ESSB5726 claim that insurance premiums would be drastically increased, to the tune of $205 per family per year. There is no basis in fact for this figure, not even the independant (read: sponsored by insurance companies) study they frequently cite to support it. Frequent use of ad hominem and strawman fallacies, as well as contradictory and nonsensical claims (such as that ESSB5726 provides no benefit to consumers while simultaneously increasing insurance costs, when the only cost to insurers would be those benefits [punitive damages, court costs, and attorney fees] provided to consumers) make this campaign particularly odious.

The trial lawyer-backed campaign to approve R-67 (and thus ESSB5726) is really no less irritating. It, too, is full of ad hominem irrelevancy, false, distorted, and wildly fanciful claims (such as that R-67 will not cause an increase in insurance premiums, which would be basically impossible, given the effects of ESSB5726.)

Ultimately, then, these provide no guidance, except that I find the “Reject” advertisements to be greatly more irritating than their opposites. However, an irrational decision based on emotion serves noone and so I was forced to do my own digging and draw my own conclusions.

Based on the facts that:

  • The state legislature approved ESSB5726 by a considerable margin
  • “No” Campaign claims of vastly increased premiums have no substansive factual basis, and real increases seem likely to be offset by real benefits.
  • Insurance companies should be liable for forcing their customers to sue them in order to recover the just value of their policies

I voted to approve R-67.

Engrossed Substitute Senate Joint Resolution 8206 (ESSJR 8206):

This measure proposes to make a constituional amendment out of a slight variation on existing budgetary law, enshrining the current “rainy day fund” in the constitution (at least until such a time as we amend it again.)

I consider this measure to be unnecessary and useless. In my opinion, the state constitution is not the place to set budgetary policy. As such,

I voted to reject ESSJR 8206

Senate Joint Resolution 8212 (SJR 8212):

This measure amends the state constitution to allow privately contracted inmate labor programs which may not unfairly compete with other legitimate businesses. Amusingly, it also uses the word “inmate” to replace the word “convict” where it appears in the relevant passages of the existing constitution.

To tell you the truth, I can’t see what harm this could possibly cause, and the opposition statement seems to be founded on nothing more than Chicken Little logic.

I voted to approve SJR 8212

Engrossed House Joint Resolution 4204 (EHJR 4204)

This straightforward measure would make it easier to get school levies approved by:

  • Reducing the required vote to a simple majority from a 60% supermajority.
  • Eliminating the minimum-vote requirement for school levy elections.

I consider it my duty as a citizen of Washington State to cancel out the knee-jerk vote of the guy who worries about this increasing his property taxes instead of thinking of the benefits for children and schools.

I voted to approve EHJR 4204

Substitute House Joint Resolution 4215 (EHJR 4215)

This measure removes the constitutional restrictions on investment of the state’s higher education fund, expressly allowing their investment in the stock market if authorized by law.

Previously, these funds were limited to “safe” investments, such as US Government Savings Bonds, so SHJR 4215 might provide for greater growth of these funds, but would not necessarily do so. There is a certain risk in placing funds on the stock market, and if professional stock brokers can’t reliably beat out monkeys with rolodexes, I’m not sure I want to trust professional politicians to try and do the same.

Therefore, I took the cautious option and chose to reject SHJR 4215.

Benton County Proposition Number 1

This measure increases the sales tax by a meaningless number in order to provide additional funding for law enforcement. I like law enforcement, and realise that our police need all the money they can get.

Also, I generally support tax increases, if only because of the number of idiots who routinely reject them regardless of their purpose.

I voted to approve Benton County Proposition Number 1.

A number of local offices were up for election.

  • Port of Bention Commissioner (Position 2 District 1) goes to Roy D Keck in an uncontested election. I resisted the urge to Write-in for Bob the Hopping Moose, Bugs Bunny, or Mickey Mouse.*.
  • City of Richland Council Position 2 goes to Ed Revell in an uncontested election. I resisted the urge to Write-In for Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, or Harvy the Wonder Hamster.*
  • City of Richland Council Position 3 goes to Rob Welch in an uncontested election. I resisted the urge to Write-In for Road Runner, Wiley Coyote, or the Underdog.*
  • City of Richland Council Position 4 was actually contested. Both incumbent David W Rose and Kent Madsen seem quite qualified, and I have no reason to suspect either candidate would make a poor councilman. It’s only a pity they were running against each other. I helped elect the incumbent and I have not been particularly dissatisfied with his service, so I chose to retain Rose, though I would invite Madsen to keep trying.
  • City of Richland Council Position 6 was contested between Shelia Sullivan and Phillip R Lemley. Again, both candidates are remarkably well-qualified, and it’s only a shame they were contesting for the same spot. Again, I helped elect Shelia Sullivan, and I have had no complaint with her service on the city council. If she wants to keep the job, I say she can have it, so I chose to retain Sullivan.
  • Richland School District #400 Director Position 3 was contested between Peter M Knollmeyer and Kevin Smith. I couldn’t decide between the two, so I took the cheap way out and went with the Tri-City Herald’s recomendation to elect Knollmeyer. May his promises pan out.
  • Richland School District #400 Director Position 4 was contested between Mary Guay and Jim Dukelow. Again, both candidates seemed well-qualified, and I went with the Herald’s recommendation to elect Guay, whose superior school board experience would probably have decided me in her favor in any case.
  • Richland School District #400 Director Position 5 went to Phyllis Strickler in an uncontested election. I resisted the urge to Write-In for Superman, James Bond, or The Incredible Hulk.*

*I have nothing against these candidates, I just hate not having an option. If noone cares enough to run, I don’t see why I should care enough to vote.

And that concludes this year’s election picks. When the votes are tallied, I’ll get back to you with how my picks did.

Worst Day Ever

Yesterday is now officially my new Worst Day Ever In EVE. I got podkilled twice and lost an Apocalypse (Battleship), a Mammoth (Cargo Ship,) and other sundry assets (cargo and fittings) totalling in the neighborhood of 200 million ISK. At that point I decided to call it a day.

Outside EVE, yesterday didn’t suck that much, aside of not getting much done.

Our washing machine has been “hacked” by my elder brother. It now spins and agitates whether the lid is down or not, rather than whenever (not usually) it feels like it. This should make laundry much easier. The minor safety hazard is considered a nonissue.