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Emergency Prep List

Given the general State Of Things, I've decided to get started on my emergency preparedness plan. So far I will assume that we won't have to evacuate the house, so #5 can wait a bit. But I've made a good start on #1-4 below. Read more...Collapse )

Here comes the fire

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Surely, the 2016 US Presidential Election will go down in the history books as our modern-day equivalent of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. While there have been numerous threats leading up to this moment (the situation in Syria, the actions of Russia and North Korea in general, and Brexit, among other things), this will likely be looked upon by future historians as the major turning point - the final spark that lights a fire the likes of which we've never seen.

Out of 12.86M registered Florida voters
9.3M Voted in the 2016 Race (72%)
4.6M voted for Trump (49%)
4.4M voted for Clinton (48%)
204K voted for Johnson (2.2%)
63K voted for Stein (0.7%)
16K voted for Castle (0.2%)
9K voted for De La Fuente (0.1%)
(99.9% precincts reporting)

3.5M registered Florida voters didn't vote.
Trump won Florida by around 133K votes, giving him Florida's 29 electoral college votes. Several states that went to Trump were within a few percentage points of going to Hillary, states that if she'd won, we'd be looking at a very different result right now.

To everyone in Florida and throughout to rest of the country who was registered to vote, but too apathetic to do so, or who didn't take their duty seriously:
This was not a joke. This was not a drill. You knew what the potential consequences were.
Statements like "I'm not gonna vote, but if I did, I'd write in [insert random actor's name]." isn't funny, it's irresponsible.
Deciding not to vote because you just didn't think it's important enough to do so shows how little you value democracy.
Now we will have a dangerous, narcissistic, racist, misogynist, anti-queer, fear-mongering, fiscally irresponsible, politically inexperienced, habitual liar as president of our country, with a largely republican senate which is unlikely to stop him (or even try).

To all the people who would have voted for Hillary, but were too apathetic to do so: I will never forgive you.

Beef's Final Hurrah

Today I ate the last three tacos with the taco meat we cooked last Tuesday. Those red blobs are Dave's Insanity Sauce, btw. SO HOT but so good. Plus chipotle seasoning. Mmmmmm.

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Last night I watched Before the Flood, a documentary by National Geographic and Leonardo DiCaprio regarding global climate change. It's free to view in-full online for the next couple of days, so if you get a chance, I highly recommend it. I thought it was going to be boring, but instead, it was very well done. And eye-opening.



I was left with the feeling that we had to do something. Neither Buu nor I drive much, and even an electric car would still be powered by fossil fuel (at least, for now). We don't use a lot of power - we keep our air conditioning set around 77, we rarely turn on lights (even if we're in the room), our computers go into sleep mode after 20-60 minutes of inactivity.

But still, the reality of climate change is pretty horrifying. So I want to do something, no matter how small. Our decisions in purchasing are what helps fuel (no pun intended) the catastrophic pillaging of the natural environment.

So with the end of our Tacos, Buu and I will attempt to go the next year without eating beef. It's a small thing, but it can make a difference. 70% of the land used in the US for food production goes to beef. Chicken has 1/10th of the environmental impact of beef. (Dairy isn't included in "beef" btw.) Some have said that swapping from beef to chicken would be more environmentally significant than abandoning fossil-fuel burning cars. We're also going to avoid products that use "palm oil" - since so much of Indonesia's jungle is being burned down to make room for palm oil plantations.

I know that the impact our one household can have on the greater whole isn't much. And maybe there will be more benefit to our health than to the environment. Or maybe these decisions won't have any impact on anything at all.

But we have to try.

Meet Taco #5

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Portion control is really difficult when the food is this damn good.

Ground beef (5lbs), onions (2), garlic (lots), green bell peppers (2), green chilies (5 cans), diced pickled jalapenos (lots), black beans (2 cans), cayenne pepper, salt.

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Plus shredded cheddar, shredded white six-cheese mix, chopped green tomatoes, green onions, romaine, green salsa, sour cream, and hot sauce, all in a crispy corn shell.

The only problem is, they're so good, it's hard to stop eating them. Did I really need five tacos for dinner tonight? No, but my taste-buds are sooooo happy.

Trolls on the Internet

Long YouTube conversation full of vitriol after the cut. Read more...Collapse )

Easier Windows Update

As I've mentioned before, I have to install windows updates individually, reboot, and ensure Corel VideoStudio still works. This has traditionally been an exceptionally painful process - even more so than it sounds. Typically each update will take 5-10 HOURS to download and install (or more!), making updating windows a daunting, frustrating, and emotionally draining process. However, I've recently discovered a different method of updating windows that, while still labor intensive and somewhat time-consuming, is vastly faster and an improved experience.

The steps below are for Windows7, but I imagine they're similar for other versions of Windows. I'm only including very general steps, rather than detailed instructions. If you can't figure out how to follow these instructions without further detail, you should probably be allowing Windows to download and install updates automatically anyway.

Step 1: Have the Windows Update Service check for updates, if necessary.

Step 2: Click on one of the available updates, and click the "more information" link in the pane on the right. This opens a page in your default browser.

Step 3: Scroll down to the section that says "How to obtain and install the update".
- If it's a security update, there will be a method titled Microsoft Download Center, and there will be links to the Microsoft Security Bulletin, which will then contain links for download.
- If it's not a security update, there will be a method titled Microsoft Update Catalog, which will allow you to add the update to a "cart" (along with others) and download multiple updates at once. Note that the Update Catalog requires that you use MSIE 6.1 or later. If you're using another browser, it *tells* you that you can use the Download Center to get the update, but I'll be damned if I can figure out *how*. So just open MSIE and get the update.

Step 4: After all updates have been downloaded, stop the Windows Update Service in services.msc

Step 5: Double-click on the update file that you want to install, and click YES when prompted.

Wait for the install, reboot, and done!

Using this method, the downloads take less than a second to a couple of seconds, and each installation takes anywhere from one to five minutes. This is just SO MUCH BETTER than going through the Windows Update Service itself!
This post is a reply to a series of questions I was asked on why I feel Trump would be a worse president than Hillary. Read more...Collapse )

A Better Jurassic World

Dear Max Landis,

I actually really liked your pitch for a better Jurassic World movie in the mid-September Movie Fights.

Full disclosure: I actually REALLY enjoyed Jurassic World. It vies for my Top Favorite Movie with Jurassic Park 3. You see, I don't have any of the lofty goals of "plot" and "story line" and "character development" that esteemed movie critics seek in movies. My goal is "RAPTORS! Were the raptors cool? Were they at least somewhat accurate in some way? YAY RAPTORS!"

So Jurassic Park 3 (or III) had socially sophisticated raptors that communicated vocally with each other, and cared for their offspring. That's what I loved about JP3. Jurassic World showed equally complex raptors, with a social structure and intelligence. They're not just killing machines. They're social, intelligent creatures.

I would have been more happy if they'd had feathers. I'd have been more happy if a lot of things. But let's face it, raptor fans have little enough to celebrate in movies these days. We're lucky to get what we do. In decades past, dinosaurs were portrayed as cold-blooded, slow-moving, stupid, offspring-leaving careless parents, more lizard-like than bird-like, mindless killers, and more. So much so, that an even-slightly-realistic portrayal of dinosaurs has me, and my fellow dinosaur fans, throwing popcorn in the aisles in praise of the entire JP franchise. The Jurassic Park series is literally our ONLY SOURCE of dinosaur movie, accurate or otherwise. So don't hate us for loving the franchise.

But I get it. The Jurassic Park movies are more powerful when they're used as a commentary on humanity as a whole. And your pitch was excellent, and I think I would have enjoyed your movie.

However, we need to talk about your dinosaur pronunciation. Let me start by saying that I am not trying to be insulting. I have definitely mispronounced a fair number of dinosaur names in my growth as a dino-fan. These words just aren't uttered in our culture today, so it's totally understandable why someone might get them wrong.

Except, velociraptor is now a household name. And I have to let you know: it's a short i sound, not a long e sound. vel-OSS-ih-raptor, not vel-OSS-ee-raptor.

Also, it's die-NON-ick-us, not DIE-know-NIKE-us. (Fair enough, that one's not as much of a household name.)

Again, this isn't meant as a personal attack. I used to say PARE-uh-SAUR-uh-LOFF-uss, because let's face it, that's how Parasaurolophus is spelled as far as Americans are concerned. But I later learned it's para-saur-ALL-ofus. So, my mistake. I also used to say "ank-KEY-lo-saurus, but it's ank-KYE-losaurus. Live and learn.

I just wanted to write this to say, I liked your movie pitch, but from a dinosaur lover, please make minor adjustments to your pronunciations.

Thank you,
A blue raptor-ish gamer/geek/nerd

My House Looks Familiar

Apparently, my house has a look to it that people just find... "familiar". Once or twice per year, someone comes up to my house and asks for someone who has never lived here. I've owned this house since 2004, and I know the name of the couple who owned it for decades prior to that. They were an elderly couple, whose children had families of their own.

A man knocked on my door this morning, and asked for someone by name, someone who has never lived here. When I said that person didn't live here, he said "Oh, he must have moved out." And I said "Over a decade ago?" (It didn't occur to me until he left that the name he mentioned also didn't belong to the couple who had this house before me.) And he said "Maybe?" And I said "Maybe you have the wrong house? I've lived here since 2004." and he said "Oh, maybe. No wait, I know it's this house, because I mowed this lawn!" (as he pointed to my front yard. Which is gravel, and has presumably not had grass in it for decades.) "No, you have the wrong house." I said.

Earlier this year it was a couple looking for the family that had sold them their cat through craigs list. Apparently the litter of cats had some condition, that the family had just found out, and under the guise of wanting to "warn" this family, but by their line of questioning, also wanted some form of compensation. They were looking for a middle-aged couple with two children, which as I said, haven't resided in this house for decades.

This kind of thing happens a lot. While the houses in my neighbordhood are fairly cookie-cutter, my yard is pretty unique. The former owners must have ordered a whole truck of concrete for a project, and then didn't know what to do with the remainder, so started putting concrete EVERYWHERE. So there are concrete barriers around all the trees and bushes out front, which look like jagged white teeth surrounding all the plants. I have "Green Dragon Clan" in sticker-letters on the mail drop that's next to the garage, something which I am sure NO OTHER HOUSE in the NEIGHBORHOOD has. And I've lived here for 12 years. Unless there's a fold in space-time that allows other people to occupy my house at the same time as I do, I'm fairly certain I know who has and has not resided at this address since I've owned it.

And yet people argue with me. Like either I'm lying, or I'm the one who is mistaken. WTAF?