Thursday, January 19, 2012
For incompetence. How did they get this wrong. We have things that are rights, and we have things that are privileges. The Bill of Rights are, shockingly, rights.
Copyrights, Patents? Well those are actually very tenuous privileges. Let's look at the source for this:
From our Constitution: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to
Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Not quite clear on how congress thinks they have any business trying to pass SOPA. Oh, and while we are at it please return copyright to what it was in 1800.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Buy a second sump pump now. Get one with a standard power plug, and fittings to hook it to your garden hose. Then put it in the basement next to your current sump. When the current one dies, unplug it, drop the new pump into the pool of rising water, brace it a bit so it's stable and put the other end of the garden hose outside. Turn it on and watch that pool of water that would have been a major disaster for your home turn into something that can be dealt with by any plumber during normal business hours tomorrow. It's a cheap and easy fix. You will be buying a second sump so buy it now when it's on sale and have it on hand then when the plumber shows up have him install your already on hand sump pump. Then go buy a new backup pump when prices fall again.
It's quick, it's easy, and it something no one from LA even knows to worry about. Zombies Apocalypse? Sure. But sump pumps? Who thinks about those?
Thursday, September 8, 2011
It looks like we have some.
I moved to this area because it was so green, and vibrant and alive that I could not stand to live in a concrete jungle any more. Well, that and this is where the paycheck is. But truthfully, I can get paid in many places, in many states, and even in many countries. This was the place that struck the right balance between just enough snow and cold in the winter, plus an amazing amount of green and vibrant live in the spring, summer and fall, with just a bit to more humidity in the summer than is idea, but not to much, plus the right financial balance to be where I want to live.
But I have found a new reason to love this place, beyond the trees that caught my heart, and the snowmegedon that ate my jeep's transmission. It's the storms that are taking my breath away. With frequent lightening that brightens the entire sky, rain so dense that you can't see 50 feet in front of your car and fog that rises from the ground like some horror movie.
It's amazing, it's breath taking, and it turns out that it's kind of even life altering. Not in any major way, but just something new to a rush/hurry/busy Los Angeles type A's who live by a schedule. It's the kind of thing where, you actually stand in the foyer of the continence store after getting a hot dog and wait for 5 minutes for the rain to let up not cursing the delay in your schedule, but just enjoying the interlude. This while looking at your car, just 10 feet away from the door. Knowing without a doubt that "running for it" is not even remotely an option since the rain would leave you soaked to the skin in the first 5 of those feet.
That's a difference: here we have interludes, in Los Angeles we have interruptions.
So here you stand stand there, balancing your hotdog and your soda with an ever growing group of people who are leaving the store, all watching to see, can I go now? It’s a very different pace of life, one where you end up in conversations with a stranger just talking about the weather and snacking on hot dog. Waiting for the weather to clear up enough to make it 10 feet.
It’s humbling, it’s random, it’s so very not Los Angeles. And for that I love it.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
- First, if you claim to have the top 100 science fiction and fantasy and totally shut out the Chronicles of Narnia series we know the fix is in. How is this not even mentioned? It's pretty much the only competitor to The Ring series in terms of scope, size cultural impact and readership.
- Second, someone please explain how to you purport to have the list of top science fiction and fantasy and not not get a single Edger Rice Burroughs book on there. I mean it's not like Tarzan or John Carter of Mars is part of our national psych or anything...
- Third, how did we completely miss both Tom Swift, and Tom Swift Jr? There are over 100 books in this series. They inspired two separate generations of scientists and inventors? How has it impacted you? Well you have heard of the TASER? That would be the Thomas A Swift Electronic Rifle. Don't Taze me bro!
- Lastly, although the book itself was pretty bad, the tittle (which is all most people read of a book, sorry Breda) inspired a nation's imagination. This is why I thinkPride and Prejudice and Zombies should have been on the list. I mean really, we got The Time Traveler’s Wife, but not Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? How is that fair?
Sunday, August 28, 2011
The one's I have read in bold.
- The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
- Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
- The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
- A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
- 1984, by George Orwell
- Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
- The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
- Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
- American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
- The Princess Bride, by William Goldman (I saw the movie, and I read the abridged book.)
- The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
- Animal Farm, by George Orwell
- Neuromancer, by William Gibson
- Watchmen, by Alan Moore
- I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
- Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
- The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
- Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
- Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
- Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
- The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
- The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
- 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
- The Stand, by Stephen King
- Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
- The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
- Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
- The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
- A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
- Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
- Watership Down, by Richard Adams
- Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
- The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
- A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
- The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
- Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
- The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells (I read the follow on book and heard a recording of the original radio play)
- The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
- The Belgariad, by David Eddings
- The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
- Ringworld, by Larry Niven
- The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
- The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
- Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
- Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
- Contact, by Carl Sagan
- The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
- Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
- Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
- World War Z, by Max Brooks
- The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
- The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
- Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
- The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
- The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
- Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
- The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
- The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
- The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
- I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson (saw the movie, & read the book. They have nothing in common)
- The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
- The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
- The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
- The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
- The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
- The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
- A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
- The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
- Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
- The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
- Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
- The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
- The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
- Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
- Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
- The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
- The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
- The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
- The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
- Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
- The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
- The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
- The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
- The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
- The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
- The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
- Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
- A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
- The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
- The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
- Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
- Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
- Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
- The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
- The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis (I read half of this does that count?)
48 is of the list, and that's only one's I know for a fact I read. I did not count one's I think I may have read but don't know for sure.
Friday, August 26, 2011
First I can see it is important to start with definitions for you east coast types:
Obvious Damage is one of the following:
- I can see the sky from the basement, and I did not have any windows or skylights as of last night.
- All the windows exploded in a shower of glass, and the frames are now off square.
- The whole building fell10 feet and we had an entire floor "go away". note the now very compact cars under the building.
You have No Obvious Damage if you can say any of the following:
- Dust rained down from the ceiling tiles, but no tiles, lights or objects fell from that ceiling.
- No wall I can see has any cracks, breaks, rips or unplanned windows
- No windows broke.
- The books did not fall off the shelf.
- My wall mounted big screen is still on my wall.
- The picture of my dog on my desk fell over, but I picked it back up.
Having defined what we mean by obvious damage let me offer a few pro tips as someone who has spent over two decades in earthquake prone SoCal.
- If you are in a high rise building (i.e. greater than 5 floors) and the earth quake is over, please don't feel any need to exit the building. The number of buildings with no obvious damage that just randomly fall down 20 minutes after the earthquake is currently 0%.
- Additionally the very last place you want to be is trapped in the canyons bellow and between the sky scrapers with all your co workers when the aftershock hit's and does drop one of those 500 pound windows on your head from 10 stories up. If the glass does not kill you the trampling crowd/riot will.
- You are on going to be able to use your cell phone for several hours afterwords. Please stop trying and leave the cellphone network for people in cars, trapped under derbies and for the use of the emergency crews to coordinate deployments. If you are in an office consider trying out that cool retro land line your company is paying for, it may be busy, but your odds are better than with the cell phone.
- The news will not help you. Let me be clear about this. I was shocked by the DC / Baltimore news fail. In California 30 to 60 seconds after a quake we have a newscaster on the air with a cal tech seismologist (via phone) telling us about where the quake happend, how big it was and how much trouble the city is about to be in. The news channels have a permanent camera on the graph's from the college to facilitate show and tell, etc. In short the Los Angeles media is locked, loaded and ready for bear. The DC news team not so much. I flipped through CNN, Fox, HLN, and even HSN for a good 5 minutes. Nothing at all until I finally found some junior news girl who had been thrown in front of a camera looking panicky with no idea what was going on. She was holding a cell phone in her lap reading twitter off the wifi feed in the studio. Yeah. That's right, twitter. So don't count on anything useful from the news back here.
- Last tip, If you are at work stay their. Your coworkers and everyone else will be going home/shopping/to a friends/to the therapist/to pick up their kids ASAP. What that really means is that no one is going anywhere for a long time. And if you drove do you want to go get in your car and be 10 stories underground for the aftershock stuck, trying to get out of the parking garage for 2 hours? If you take the train, how do you feel about sitting in a powered down car under ground in a tube with 200 other panicky people during the aftershock? A far better plan is to hang out in your office do some more work and head home after everything dies down. As a bonus because you are a prepared kind of person you have a half dozen bottles of water, and a couple of Tasty Bites or Trader Joe's equivalent on hand for lunch and for emergency's so you are sitting pretty.