packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Why did I sign up for NaNoWriMo again?

*rolls Will save vs. panic*

(p.s. not dead, just very, very distractable.)

Edit: Ping me if you want in on (or out of) my NaNo11 filter.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
One Chance.

Short game. No replay. No undo. Controls are the arrow keys and a spacebar.
packbat: Headshot looking serious and superimposed on the Gettysburg Address. (gettysburg)
Okay - so you know how the new health care bill is supposed to charge people who voluntarily refuse health insurance (so as to encourage people to sign up)? And you know how emergency rooms have to provide care, even to the uninsured?

How about this: have insurers bid for their price to cover the costs of treating the uninsured in each state. The lowest bid gets their cost divided among the uninsured in that state. That way:
  • The cost to hospitals of emergency room care is paid, and
  • The cost to individuals of refusing health care is controlled by market forces.

    Any obvious flaws?
  • packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
    What is wrong with book-burning is not that a book has been set on fire - it is that the book is no longer available to be read.

    Consider a few cases:

    1. A government deems a particular book to be subversive literature and orders every copy burnt. Agents of the government seize all copies found in libraries, bookstores, or private residences and commits them to the fire. This is wrong.

    2. An ideologue arranges to purchase every copy of a rare book and burns them. This is wrong.

    3. An ideologue arranges to purchase several copies of a commonly-available book and burns them. This is not wrong.

    Apologies to everyone who got sick of the whole debacle over two weeks ago.
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
    When you read this, you're tagged! Take a picture of yourself in your current state - no changing your clothes or quickly putting on makeup, and absolutely no photo-manipulation. Show your F-List the Real You!


    (caught this today from a post by [livejournal.com profile] ladibug21 a few days back)

    packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
    As you know, Bob, I have been switching from Livejournal to Dreamwidth as my primary social network blogging hub, due to repeated unkind behavior by the LJ overlords.

    Well, part of that is canceling my paid subscription. I will no longer give Livejournal my money, and as of July 1st that will mean that my LJ account will be reverting to some kind of basic presumably-ad-supported form. Please do not buy me a new subscription.

    Thank you for your time and trouble.

    99.2 °F

    Apr. 24th, 2010 10:13 pm
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
    I feel simultaneously terrible and 0.7 F° short.
    packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
    For those of you who are not engineers: professional licensure in engineering is a four-step process - first, you obtain an engineering education (currently a Bachelor's degree, although I have heard a rumor that this will grow to a Master's in a decade or so); second, you take the eight-hour Fundamentals of Engineering exam to become an Engineer-In-Training; third, you obtain five years working experience in a position of responsibility; and fourth, you take the eight-hour Principles and Practice in Engineering exam to become a P.E.

    The first I completed some time ago, and the second ... well, it will be approximately 120 days before I know, but I think I did well!

    ...and then I went home and slept like a log. (After checking the Interwebs, of course.) (:
    packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
    I visited the Tomb of Horrors for the first time today!

    I think I may go back sometime, if only to see if I can make it out of the iron box with three levers - so don't tell me anything that happens next! (Or even lie about it, actually - that always makes me uncomfortable when I think I've been "spoiled".)
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
    A warm, uplifting tale about elementary school educators.

    Go ahead and back out to the original article the above comment is on, if you like.
    packbat: Headshot looking serious and superimposed on the Gettysburg Address. (gettysburg)
    Hat-tip to [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four here: HuffPost: GOP Senators Refusing To Work Past 2PM, Invoking Obscure Rule.

    ...two things.

    One: Key Republican Senators apparently (a) don't care about doing their job, and (b) believe the Democratic Senators do, and therefore (c) are willing to enforce a work stoppage to make the Democrats do what they want. This does not reflect well on the Republicans. The first metaphor that comes to mind is if a police department decided to blockade the fire station in order to get their 'support' for changes to the city budget.

    Two: How stupid are the Senate rules, anyway? You can't make Senators actually filibuster, you can't make Senators actually work more than two hours a day ... this is not how governance happens.

    Politics is an important, valuable activity - but this ain't.
    packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)
    Academian on LessWrong talks about the apparent disconnect between our experiences and philosophical materialism. 2227 words. The author edited it down to 771 words.

    Please comment there or here if you read it - I have my own opinion, but it's not written for me.

    Repairs!

    Mar. 14th, 2010 01:13 pm
    packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
    My phone WiFi has been broken for some time, so I decided to break out my bike and ride to the Bethesda Apple Store.

    After a day and a half of rain.

    Brilliant, I am not.
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
    I have wondered online a number of times about how to describe pithily that state of physical and mental deterioration that results from staying up too late without sleep - the analog in many ways is being drunk (key difference: lacking sleep doesn't imbue a false confidence in your current abilities), but "sleepdrunk" is weak, and the other terms are all obscure and obsolete.

    Except they aren't - there's already a widely-used term for that state. It's called "wiped", as in "I'm sorry, I tried to push through an all-nighter, but I was so wiped by one a.m. that I just passed out."

    This has been your wiped-post of the wee hours of the morning. Carry on.
    packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)
    Does anyone know why, when a MacBook Core 2 Duo running 10.5.8 crashes hard - so hard that even a Vulcan nerve-pinch is ineffective - that the iTunes will keep playing until it finishes the song?
    packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
    Okay, so strictly speaking, it returned five hours ago ... but it's back!

    No heat, though. And we're still so socked in with the weekend blizzard (over 20 inches) that school's closed tomorrow. And another five inches of snow is on its way Tuesday/Wednesday.

    ...yay, electricity!
    packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
    I swear, there is no conceivable explanation for how I can be as stupidly lucky as I have been my entire life.

    I am seriously tempted to start invoking absurd excuses for this.

    In other news, hello! Don't follow those links if you value your time!
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
    I apologize for the perfunctory and belated nature of this notice, but ...

    ... I have a problem. My life habits are ill-suited to being a regular Internet denizen - like an alcoholic, I invariably binge, rather than partake, and I find myself interrupting or putting off things I need to do, like working, sleeping, eating, to refresh, archive-trawl, and read and comment.

    Given this, I'm dropping all of it - webcomics, weblogs, Wikis, and fora - for the foreseeable future, and I will probably never be active in the way I was. There is a chance that I may revive a few of the less busy feeds, the more idiosyncratic and compelling feeds, to read in small bits at irregular intervals - I was thinking Plan B, possibly Thirteen Ribbons - but this blog and the other will probably fall fallow, and my Twitter, definitely.

    Be well.

    (P.S. My final bookmarks file.)
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
    On AlterNet.

    Caveat: If the title suggests that you don't want to read this, then please don't read it. I'm mostly posting for my own reference.
    packbat: (nanowrimo09)
    I'm falling further behind, but I've discovered the writing war trick at my brother's insistence - more updatage in the future, probably after I've finished this chapter.
    packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
    More Nano tomorrow - studying for test today.

    1741 words

    Nov. 1st, 2009 06:00 pm
    packbat: (nanowrimo09)
    Back from the write-in with my quota - barely.

    A question I forgot to ask: does anyone want to read f-locked posts of the Novel So Far? I'm thinking I'll go with the classic make-a-filter option if anyone is interested. (For what it's worth, my brother - who wrote 5074 words - seemed to enjoy it.)

    1040 words

    Nov. 1st, 2009 03:37 pm
    packbat: (nanowrimo09)
    60% of one day's wordcount, and I've kicked things off with a literal bang. Unfortunately, I've a headache, $2.50 of iced coffee I don't want, 1/3 of a brownie I don't want, and a bit of a block.

    I guess I just need to remind myself, as the Bard once said, to "lay on - and curst be he who first cries, 'Halt, enough!'"
    packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)

    Have you ever participated in a seance? If not, would you consider it? What spirit would you summon and what question would you ask them? Do you believe we can get messages from the dead?

    View Answers



    I haven't - I might attend one as a favor for a close friend if they wanted me there. If I did, though, I wouldn't be planning on trying to summon any spirit at all, or expect to get any message from the dead. I'm fairly sure that death is the end.

    That said, I wouldn't object having a chance to have a real conversation with my maternal grandfather. I just think it's impossible.
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
    broken laptop

    And I just got a stack of CDs to import, too.
    packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
    (Or rather, because I was incapable of not reposting this.)

    Bag Check
    packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
    From across the blagocube:

    Comment here and tell me something you did recently that you're proud of and I'll comment and tell you that you're awesome and I'm proud of you. And if you see anyone comment and you know them (or understand why they'd be proud of that thing), then you comment to them and tell them why they should be pleased with themselves.
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

    When you take a class or attend a big meeting, where do you prefer to sit? Up close or way back where you can make a speedy get-away? Can you force yourself to focus even when you're not interested?

    View other answers



    I usually want to sit near the front and far from the exits - near the exit if I have to leave early, but I rarely do. As for paying attention, I have trouble when I'm sleep-deprived, but boring material is rarely an obstacle: you can always treat it as an anthropological expedition when all else fails.

    New jacket!

    Oct. 4th, 2009 04:39 pm
    packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
    Went to Value Village today to get some cheap new-to-me slacks for work. And while I was there, I found a pair of leather shoes in my size and ... this.

    A black leather biking (?) jacket on a hanger hooked over the top of a white door.

    Only twenty bucks, too! There's a seam with a few stiches loose in the lining, but the zipper is intact and the snap-closures don't stick.

    awesome++.

    (In other news, eating spaghetti with a spoon is ... less than elegant. Also, Interviewing Leather is still a great read.)
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

    If a magic genie told you your calories wouldn't count for 24 hours, would it change what and how much you ate that day?

    View other answers




    If a bonafide, JREF-certified magical genie I could trust to be truthful said my calories wouldn't count for 24 hours ... I'd try something which [info]filthspigot mentioned in the commentary to A Girl And Her Fed: a milkshake with a stick of butter in it.
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)

    If an online psychic warned you not to leave home, would you cancel plans to attend a party? Would you refuse to date someone with a clashing astrological sign?

    View other answers



    If, today, someone online proclaimed to have discovered through psychic powers that I should not leave home, I would consider three possibilities:

    1. They were trolling in an attempt to disrupt my life.
    2. They knew something, and were hiding that knowledge behind the excuse of "psychic powers".
    3. They had a strong feeling that I was in danger, and interpreted it as a warning.

    The first implies nothing. The second is extremely unlikely, but implies danger. The third implies almost nothing.* Whatever the true facts, I would not let it interfere with my plans (although I might be marginally more alert to unusual circumstances).

    As for astrological signs ... frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

    * I am aware that there are individuals on my friends list that would dispute this. Such persons should trust their own judgements on the matter as far as they feel justified in doing so - I shall trust my own judgement likewise.
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
    (This is [personal profile] electrickeet's fault, by the way.)

    So, what was I doing at 09-09-09 09:09 (GMT-09)?

    Let's see ... order of magnitude distance estimate, convert to time, divide by reciprocal six ... correct for error in watch time ... I believe I was on the fourth floor of physics, panting heavily, having just run up from the basement two buildings over carrying a 2/3rds complement of Standard College Student Backpack Items trying to make class lecture before it started.
    packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)

    What's the most-played song in your music library?

    View other answers



    Weirdly, not Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega, R.E.M., Shawn Colvin, Dire Straits, Tom Petty, Patty Griffin, 10,000 Maniacs, Counting Crows, Spoon, Peter Gabriel, Regina Spektor, Alanis Morrissette, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, The Police, or even The Be Good Tanyas. Remarkably, the track in question is "Nowheres Nigh" by Parts and Labor, a track off the Jagjaguwar 2008/2009 Sampler Amazon.com had as a free download a while back.

    It's pretty kickin' when you crank the volume, though, so that's cool.
    packbat: Headshot looking serious and superimposed on the Gettysburg Address. (gettysburg)
    On Fred Clark's blog, slacktivist:

    A: Sarah Palin is lying about health care reform.

    B: Whoa, hold on there. That's quite the accusation. You want to use the L-word, you're going to have to prove it.

    A: That's not difficult. Here is the outrageous and demonstrably untrue lie in question, from her Facebook page:
    The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

    She's accusing President Obama of trying to create a "death panel" in which bureaucrats will decide whether or not to euthanize the elderly and handicapped children. That simply isn't true. It isn't close to anything that's close to being true. She's lying.

    B: So you say.

    A: No, what I say is irrelevant. What matters is what she said versus what the reality is. She is lying.

    B: OK, let's just say for the sake of argument that what she is saying there isn't true ...












    Enjoy the followup as well.
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
    Mardy: Throwing a tantrum and/or feeling self-pity because you didn't get your way.

    Via Mitz's "Plan B", where Veronica heads home "in a mard". Urban Dictionary also mentions telling people, "Stop being such a mard arse!"

    (This post attempts to imitate [livejournal.com profile] prettygoodword, a much more reliable source of nifty words. Checkit.)
    packbat: Wearing a open-frame backpack, a pair of sunglasses, and a wide, triangular grin. (hiking)
    Memesheeped from [livejournal.com profile] stagemanager.

    1. I finished writing the summary of events in Issue #1 of my Truth & Justice campaign. (Linked post was not xposted as it was posted with iPhone app.) (Technically, this was last Evening, but clock-time was today.)

    2. All my transfers this morning (boarding the train near my house, switching trains downtown, and catching the shuttle to school) went quite well.

    3. Tasty, tasty co-op burrito! Also juice.

    4. Had a great rambling convo with some dudes in the Lounge of the ASME. Among other things, we concluded that Maryland is, in fact, a Southern State, despite the facts that (1) Wikipedia disagrees and (2) the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area is generally more cosmopolitan.

    5. Air conditioning! Yeah, it's probably ecologically unsustainable, but it sure is nice!
    packbat: Headshot looking serious and superimposed on the Gettysburg Address. (gettysburg)
    I've generally tended to take the position that while the people running Iran are a bunch of reactionary thugs, they're at least a fairly intelligent bunch of reactionary thugs.

    After this revelation on Iranian Press TV, however, I'm not so certain.


    FiveThirtyEight: Worst. Damage Control. Ever.

    (As I mentioned in the Google Reader repost, NY Times noted that Iranians are allowed to vote in districts they aren't registered in. This in no way suffices to explain what we're seeing here.)
    packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)
    I mentioned picking up the complete first season of The Wire - finished that today.

    I'll say this much: I wasn't disappointed. Glad I paid for that one.
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
    If I were not the most unprepossessing square I'd ever heard of and didn't already have a better bag, fellas, I would be all over the FreakAngels KK Field Bag like black on soot.

    Ah, well.
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

    Do you believe in fate? Why or why not?

    Submitted By [livejournal.com profile] and2c_hersmile

    View other answers



    Assuming the author meant, "Do you believe fate exists?" - no, I don't.

    Quick definition: fate is that which must happen regardless of any person's choices, regardless of any person's actions, regardless of any conceivable action by any conceivable person, ever. You know how Oedipus killed his dad and married his mom? Yeah - fated, had to happen.

    Well, the universe doesn't work like that. If Oedipus had confronted his foster parents about the prophecy, none of it would have happened. Heck, if the weather had been a little different and he'd died of exposure on the road, none of it would have happened, and the weather is chaotic - anything you do can change it a month down the road.

    Repost!

    May. 3rd, 2009 11:45 am
    packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
    Thanks to [personal profile] bliumchik, I now have a Dreamwidth invite and corresponding account - unsurprisingly, called "packbat". With any luck, this ought to repost across to LJ just fine...
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (pale blue dot)
    Via my dad*: Louis CK on the Conan O'Brien Show, Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy.

    * Technically, he posted a YouTube clip of the segment, but I figure NBC won't make copyright claims against itself.
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

    Robert Frost speculated about the world ending in fire or in ice. Which do you think is likely to end us all: meteorite, global warming, nuclear weapons, zombies, or the superflu?

    View other answers



    "All" is the key word in that question. Nuclear weapons or meteorite. None of the others have the pure biosphere-warping powers of those two.
    packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

    Are you worried about catching the swine flu? Do you have a plan for avoiding contagion or dealing with quarantine?

    View other answers



    The problem with the swine flu isn't that it's deadly, but that it might spread easily through the population. It probably kills something like one in two hundred who catch it, if previous outbreaks are any measure - but if very few people have resistance to the disease, that could become a two-hundredth of hundreds of millions of people, so it's worth taking precautions.

    But nah, I'm not scared. I'm not even convinced it'll go pandemic.

    Profile

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    packbat

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