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Archive for March, 2010

Road full of promise

First things first — Clash of the Titans is starting a run this week at this cool little theater really close to my house that I’ve been wanting to check out. Be prepared new friends: you will be solicited to attend with me. And if I can’t find a taker, I’ll go by myself. Because that is the kind of chick I am. Release the Kraken.

Second, there’s a Rita’s up the street. Didja hear me? Rita’s Mango Misto Shake. Gonna be a cool, cool summer.

Third, cannot wait to attend this. A work friend invited me and it’s close to the office and I can be the religion nerd I am while drinking. Lord, I love being Catholic.

Fourth, the above made me think of this. I’m not sure why this fascinates me…the anachronism of it, the mentality of someone who thinks of this kind of thing and actually carefully constructs it, the fact that it’s not done in a condescending way, something I have had quite enough of, thank you very much. Regardless, I like it.

Fifth, I love the Snickers diva commercial. Liza hasn’t been this awesome since Lucille 2. Women are kind to each other.

Sixth, will be spending some time tomorrow talking about Tax Freedom Day and later writing about net neutrality, both of which meet my weekly nerd requirement and, I don’t care what you think, pique my interest. Also, the secrets are being revealed.

Seventh, Saving Grace is a great show and I’m sad to see it end. The promos for this final season include a song from what I believe I can safely say is my favorite album from last year. I cannot listen to it without crying. This song is no exception. I send it out to a friend.

Eighth, I have been unfortunately inundated lately with blogs that try very hard to be interesting and creative (and yes I know where I fall on this scale so shut it.), usually written by young ladies who believe that their thoughts on sex and men and — God, I don’t know, whatever — are riveting reading. Ladies, this is how to be interesting. I used to link to Miss Bunny but she puts some crazy stuff up sometimes and some of the more conservative folks who might read this thing could be offended (hey Pop). But I have mad respect for her. Take a lesson.

Ninth, I think I might go home for Easter. My landlady has fallen in love with Alexander — he has frequent play dates with her cat Dr. Seuss — and she’ll feed and water Sascha, too. Sometimes I am struck by how lucky I am.

Tenth, just because I can’t let it get to me doesn’t mean I don’t care. Just sayin’.

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Hey kids — I’m on deadline today, just taking a little break for lunch, and so I thought I might give a little update. The guilt at not posting anything really meaty lately has become a bit of a preoccupation. Especially since recently much has been happening in the world of politics, film, music, etc. and I’ve been fortunate enough to be exposed to some of it. But then, this whole online diary was really started way back when as a way to vent rather than pulling out my hair and filling with hate every time something confused me or someone hurt me. So, I’m regressing a bit back to those days. Because I need to today. Also, because what I’m writing about is — um, how shall we say, a bit dry — so I want a little frivolity at lunchtime.

So, I’m thinking about one thing in particular lately — the wisdom of embracing your own special brand of crazy and celebrating it.

I had a good conversation the other day with a new friend about the keys to happiness in life and he said something that I’ve heard before (we all have) but something about the way he said it just really got me to hear it this time. Ultimately, he said that you can only ever be really happy — with yourself, or with anyone else — if you just act the way you are. Be who you are, in other words. I know — no new ground there. But I am a supreme second guesser and this is a piece of advice I rarely take. Always questioning myself, wondering if I’m good enough, allowing folks to insinuate that I’m not and — sometimes I’m amazed people like me at all because of this particular weakness — believing them. Blah, blah, blah. *yawn*

Look, I am a dork. A nerd. A certifiable doof. I appear interesting (I think. That may be assuming too much…) because I have varied interests (comes from the huge family thing). But ultimately, I’m fairly tame, pretty conventional, annoyingly reliable, steady, stable, blah, blah, blah. *yawn*

When I was younger, I was less of those things. More daring, more dismissive of convention, quicker to fight, quicker to break down. And I was also very selfish, insecure, needy, and any other number of charming qualities.

In short, and I have to give a shout out to my new friend for making me really think about this (although he has no idea he did), I like who I’ve become and, boring though she is, I think I want her to stick around. And if you don’t like it and find you need a little more drama in your life, well, I really can’t help you there. I wish I could.

Nope, instead, I’ll be visiting with the work folk in Virginia this afternoon and maybe going to watch some basketball in Arlington (haven’t decided that yet) and then going to celebrate human achievement (what an incredible idea for a happy hour!) and see these guys tomorrow night with some of the softball friends. Because I need to get out of my head. How can you resist an invitation to see The Dan Band that closes with “Every now and then I fall apart.”?

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This is truly awesome. Talk about a sham, a circus, a clown car. I’m truly tired…tired of the disrespect for the will of the people, tired of the easily bought and sold vote, tired of a marginally informed voter celebrating something many were content to be told about in glowing terms without ever bothering to critically analyze for themselves. And most especially, tired of the argument that this kind of damage is done to help those less fortunate. There’s a special circle of pain dedicated to those who sell what is essentially a moneymaking scheme to others by assuring them they will benefit from it. And collectively, culturally, we dislike the used car salesman who offloads the lemon to the naive young couple starting out, or the real estate developer who has a great piece of swampland in Florida that meets your new business needs, or the televangelist who rapes grandma of her savings. And yet, we’ve just bought the lemon people. Great. Peachy. So this administration is definitely on the path toward fundamentally changing the system, something they were pretty clear about wanting to do. And we let them. Yes, it goes against every sound economic principle but it feels good I guess, to some. But see, that’s the problem with what feels good. Sometimes there are disastrous consequences for feeling good and championing this kind of risky behavior. Anyone who’s ever had a massive hangover can tell you that. Well I hope you all have your aspirin ready. We have definitely had too much to drink. I’ll let Ed Feulner explain because he’s way more eloquent than I and, as I said, I’m tired. In closing I’ll say one more thing: under certain provisions of this bill, you either pay for health insurance or you pay a penalty. You MUST pay something. You’ve no choice. Why doesn’t that resonate with more people…?

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I have to get on the road to Southern Maryland to go have dinner with the folks — I can’t remember the name of the place but pretty sure it’s some kind of seafood…I mean of course it is…so, I can’t talk. But I do want to post on the New Media Exchange luncheon I attended today discussing net neutrality. This issue is fast becoming my new intrigue…Also, I picked up some more freelancing but more on that in the next post as well. For now, have a look at where I play softball. One of my teammates was like, yeah, you’re all involved in the game and you stop and turn around and, hey, there’s the Washington Monument. It’s pretty cool.

To say the least.

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Time for a quick update —

First, here’s a handy site for anyone trying to build a web site — or really even a fairly robust homemade content management system. Of course, leave it to me to ask the ridiculous question when the guy was presenting at the blogger’s briefing whether or not he was documenting and making available some of his custom-built tools. “That’s what I’m trying to do with the blog,” he said with a look of sympathy for the girl whose grasp of the obvious is clearly lacking. In my defense, they hadn’t brought the site up on the display screen yet and he was just kind of saying that he had built these things so I didn’t quite put two and two together. And I was totally focused on my chocolate Chick-Fil-A brownie and, as much as I hate to admit it, that played a role in my preoccupation…

Also, Congressman Paul Broun spoke at the blogger’s briefing and offered some interesting insight into what it’s like right now in the halls on Capitol Hill. The people congregating outside of offices and speaking in hushed and hurried tones (one would imagine) are the Democrats. They’re worried, he says. I guess they are. They are stubbornly continuing to try to pass bad legislation using tactics that are starting to become comical. I’ve pretty much stopped paying attention because I just can’t take the charade any longer. I guess once something actually happens, there will be a reason to start examining the issue again. Right now…sigh…

There was also a gentleman there talking about this site and, as I’m currently collecting opinions on fair tax vs. flat tax vs. tax cuts, it interested me. To the gentlemen who are engaged in this debate with me, check this site out. I think it leans pretty far toward the fair taxers but worth a look no matter where your opinion lies.

The organization I’m doing some freelance work for — which, by the way, I need to get back to here shortly — recently released a press release on the effort of some DC physicians to push back on Obamacare. You can get more info by calling or emailing Advocacy Ink.

Let’s see, what else…oh, um, softball practice this afternoon. On the mall. In 65 degree, sunshiny weather. Heaven.

Also, I got paid for actual work yesterday. Heaven again.

UPDATE: oh and the best news — I have a date with my parents Friday night. I pretend to be fairly unaffected by being so far away from my family — and I know at least one person who just snorted at that because they believe that I’ve been nothing if not a giant baby about moving up here — but seriously, if I acted how I feel most of the time…well, it would be pretty maudlin. But moms and pops will be here soon. And I miss them. I really do.

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Made a new friend last night at the OnTap party — and the work effort is potentially successful. Score!. He became my friend for life when he related the story of how he doesn’t have a generous amount of affection for the police state mentality. For example, he said, when he moved to DC just over a year ago, he discovered he couldn’t drive anywhere without hitting a speed bump. “Or speed hump,” he said with derision. His brother, as an aside, used the opportunity to point out the inordinate number of manholes in the streets here. “Next time you’re at an intersection, I swear, check it out. They’re everywhere!” But I digress…

The first gentleman continued with his story, saying how that “speed hump” policing of communities was exactly what the Taliban did when they invaded Kabul (and I haven’t verified this, but a google search produced this where the author notes that Afghanistan has a “love affair” with speed bumps). Apparently, according to my new friend, they put speed bumps everywhere to make it easier to control the motorist population (again, no independent verification so call me on it by all means…).

Here’s where I knew I had met a kindred spirit:

“My favorite [word for them] is ‘speed table’…Taliban tables is what they are…”

God I love people from Texas.

And I love this. Take a lesson boys. This is the picture of a happy man…

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Lasers are cool

Right, again with the slack. But I’ve been kinda busy. Notably, working out some freelancing for this organization. Good people. And I like the issues they’re throwing at me — meaty. For example — and I think it’s okay if I reveal this — the anti-ballistic laser. I mean this is the kind of stuff one can just wrap their head around and defend or decry, with passion and prejudice. Dig it.

Also, remarkably, I scored an invite to OnTap’s March issue release party. The intent — at least on my end — is to do a little writing for them. I hope I can convince them that this is the kind of stuff I cut my teeth on.

Let’s see, what else — oh, made a connection with an interesting gentleman who maintains the blog — among other duties — at the US Chamber of Commerce and he spoke briefly at the blogger’s briefing on this issue, which is so interesting to me in that it seems to be an attempt at placating the unions who are just stomping mad at the current administration for not getting them exactly what they wanted for their birthday. Anyway, keep an eye on this blog. You’ll see more. And I’m sure I’ll have some choice things to say as well.

Oh, and just as a random piece of red meat to chew, I actually heard the argument articulated the other night — I had only ever read that it was a talking point, but actually heard it come from someone’s mouth the other night. I was kinda shocked — that closing the borders was not a good idea because who would do that kind of work? The maid/gardener/line cook kind of work, you see, is beneath the educated.

Now look, I don’t want to pick on this person too much because she was a nice person, but I don’t know man — if you’re hungry, what’s beneath you becomes relative. Trust me.

And that’s what I’ve got today. Maybe soon I’ll be able to actually opine coherently. But right now, I’ve got to get motivated to go to a little shindig. Excited!

This song is playing overhead. Sigh.

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A few things in lieu of being so serious all the time. Enjoy!

Best moments at the Oscars —

While walking home from church Sunday —

  • I saw a man wearing this shirt. Unironically. I thought about asking him to pose for a picture (I was taking photos of window art that day. See below), but he looked at me as if he would follow me home, or at the very least start howling, if I spoke to him. So I opted not to. But trust me, it was glorious. (Albeit not the three wolf shirt. But close. Dangerously close.)
  • Also while walking home from church, I was chatting with my sister on the phone walking past this place and I hear, blaring from CLOSED upstairs windows, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. What, I asked my sister, is iconic disco music doing blaring from windows at 12:45 pm on a Sunday? Even in DC? And then I remembered something the clothing swap ladies told me about — The Perry’s Drag Queen Brunch. “I think you found it,” Juge said with a laugh. Yeah, it’s on the list of things to do. Because it’s almost a certainty that the opportunity to attend a drag queen brunch doesn’t come along too often in life…and old time she is a’flyin…
  • Also, while walking home, I passed this and again felt the pull to stop in and have some crusty bread, cheese and strong coffee. On the list…

After church —

Window art and Fuzzy G. —

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Quick post because I’ve been neglectful and I actually am working — on something that might pay me. I’ve missed the purity of the transaction of payment for services rendered. As soon as an actual firm relationship has been established — they have to like what I do — I’ll link to the organization so you can feel them out for yourselves. But I did get a tip on this from them, just as an FYI, that I thought was hilarious. Key information:

Further complicating the drive was a decision last week by Attorney General Jerry Brown, the leading Democratic candidate to be the next governor, to revise the ballot initiative to reflect his interpretation of its intent. Logue and company had filed their measure with the attorney general’s office as the “California Jobs Initiative,” but Brown, who has the authority to rename ballot measures, decided to go his own way.

Brown cooks up an unappetizing title

Brown’s revised title is this: “Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year.”

That means any attempt to gather signatures would have to present that mouthful to prospective signers. The drafters of the measure have the right to sue Brown to change the title, but that would create further delays while attorneys battle it out in court.

“Is somebody even going to sign a petition that says ‘major polluters’ in the title? Probably not,” said Steve Maviglio, a spokesman for a coalition of industry and environmental groups that supports A.B. 32. “I think they’re going to have an extremely difficult time.”

So, basically, despite recent findings by Pew that voters are sliding away from concerns over the environment — although energy is still up on the list, an important point as you’ll see — Brown has decided to try to block the initiative that suspends the bill in favor of research into ENERGY alternatives and EMPLOYMENT increases by giving the initiative a long, cumbersome name that will, basically, slow the process of getting votes. Cheap shot that pretty much shows he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Hey, if the facts are against you, why not confuse people and obfuscate the issue? You are the picture of ethics Brown.

Speaking of ethics, I met some folks last night who are PhDs in the subject and work for the NIH trying to determine if it’s ethical to conduct certain experiments on human subjects, etc. etc. I would not like this work but I find it fascinating. I met them because we had all attended our mutual friend’s performance in a local play. I won’t review it because CityPaper does it justice. I will say, however, the after-performance discussion was fascinating. And my friend was marvelous. The dancing skills were definitely on display.

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Hi there.  Did I tell you guys I got a kitten? I did. His name is Alexander. But his rap name is Fuzzy G. Because he’s gray. And fuzzy.

Anyway, I only mention it because as I type, he’s attacking my hands. So what comes out will be filtered through his rapier-sharp claws. And I have the scratches to prove it. It looks like I have leprosy.

Okay, on to business…On Thursday of last week I attended this event at The Heritage Foundation. I encourage you to watch the whole video because it concerns itself with the topic of net neutrality, an emerging issue and likely one we’ll be hearing more and more about in the coming years. Now, given this current administration’s inability to ram illogical legislation down our collective throats without people speaking up (and being called offensive names I might add. Cause yeah, they deserved that kind of disrespect. It’s truly offensive when people peaceably assemble to redress grievances…), I’m less worried that any legislation will pass. But I do think the topic of whether or not to regulate the internet is not going away anytime soon. It’s a new marketplace my friends. And it will be fascinating to see how this all evolves.

And Gilder is a genius. I was aware as I was listening to him that I was being treated to the thoughts of a great and complex mind and it was — and, yes, I know how nerdy this makes me — exciting. Genius turns me on. No kidding.

And I felt badly for waiting to post until I visited the International Spy Museum on Sunday (discount tickets are also exciting) and reflected on the last exhibit — cleverly devoid of any real, tangible fanfare because its focus is the emerging threat of cyber spying/terrorism. Who knows what that exhibit might look like in a few years?…scary…) and I thought of Gilder mentioning deep packet inspection. Look people, if we don’t foster a market for this kind of innovation, we do willingly put ourselves at risk. And that kind of thing just makes me mad.

Anyway, I potentially got some some freelancing work (in the process of negotiating terms so the “potential” is not yet realized. But it’s looking good. More on this later.) so I may be writing about net neutrality soon. Hence my attendance at the event. The jumbled recap I sent them is at the bottom of this post (I didn’t independently confirm anything. These are just my notes. Were I being paid for these, all points would be confirmed. As it is, consider this a disclaimer.) I offer it to you so you can find these points in the video. Go ahead, get comfortable with it. It’s coming. And, I met this gentleman there and am fortunate enough now to count him as a professional acquaintance and resource. And he’s quite the thinker himself; here he’s talking about the next incarnation of the attempt to regulate energy. Former WSJ reporter. I think I’ll add him to my list of must-reads.

Also, I met some of the softball team Friday at happy hour (I’m the grandma so I went home at 11. They were just gearing up to dance to a cover band’s decent version of a great Weezer song — and it was strangely bittersweet to realize this song was an oldie for some of these kids (the album came out the year I graduated from college. Sigh.) Anyway, they’re good kids and I had a long conversation with one young man — an economist — wherein I became aware of the fact that discussion of Reagan and supply-side economics is all the trendy rage these days. It was the second time that day I found myself discussing how supply-side works for the market but not for individuals. Nerdy McNerderson. I know…

Best parts of meeting the softball team? Discussing running on a platform of “I make no promises” with the requisite campaign photos of the candidate shrugging and vacantly smiling. Also hearing this during conversation: “Guys with long hair creep me out. Unless they’re Jesus.”

Here’s the Weezer song. Can’t wait to throw some softball pics at you.

Referring to work done by Publicknowledge.org, which tries to link the crash of the telecom industry in 2000 to deregulation and tie it to the issue of net neutrality (specifically that regulating the internet will help avoid a similar crash), Gilder takes issue with their assertion that a crash could occur because we have too much unused bandwidth. Rather, he says, the problem is a lack of connectivity to businesses and residential areas.

* He asserts that this is what happened in 2000 with the telecom industry and that it was a direct result of deregulation of that industry (breaking up of Ma Bell).
* He threw these predictive numbers out from Cisco (I believe they indicate a prediction of increase in usage but don’t quote me):

1. over the next 5 years, wireless will increase 542 times
2. over the next 5 years, wired will increase 91 times

* What allowed this kind of increase, according to Gilder, was a surge in investment to the tune of 4 trillion. Publicknowledge.org never acknowledges this.
* Gilder says the efforts toward “net neutrality” (a misnomer that speaks to usage of the net being neutral, i.e. all data is treated equally), is really just a way to “socialize” broadband.
* He called it a “kind of civil rights legislation for the internet,” which would lead to a kind of random lottery of bytes in order to treat them equally (some of more innovative data bytes related to graphics and video could be lost if such a thing occurred. Fact: not all bytes are created equal)
* Net neutrality would also lead to new unbundling laws that would stifle competition and that would break the market apart as a necessity in order to regulate it.
* The internet is not a mature enough industry (it is still “modular” and rapidly changing) to even discuss regulating it.
* Net neutrality legislation would also damage innovation such as cloud computing and some of the super computer processing done by clustering graphics processors together (because all bytes are treated equally, some of these graphics processor bytes would necessarily be lost in the lottery, reducing the speed of computing)
* He does say that the need for “deep packet inspection” is important (for national security, etc.) and calls it a “critical capability.” But the development of this kind of technology, crucial for national security, only happens if “you have a commercial market for it.”
* He calls net neutrality a “cap and trade for the internet” and said “we do not need more legislation on our most free and dynamic” American industry.
* The result of this legislation would lead to a public option for the internet “as night follows day” and would also lead to silicon valley professionals angling for subsidies as opposed to angling for innovation, always the result of government interference he noted.
* He called this kind of policy “serious in healthcare; deadly in energy and [now] extended to the internet.
* interestingly, in response to a question about whether or not this kind of legislation had some conspiratorial malevolence attached to it, Gilder said the potential or perceived malevolence was less frightening to him that the “ideals they voice” to justify the legislation

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