MsGeek.Org v2.0

The ongoing saga of a woman in the process of reinvention.
Visit me at my new blog, MsGeek.Org v3.0

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Monday, February 28, 2005

From the Geeku no Kami department...

I am nerdier than 97% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Yup, finally a geek quiz that got it right. ph34r.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Another orphan joins the fold: say hello to Beavis.

Beavis is a 600MHz Pentium III machine, which came to me with a 20GB hard drive and 128MB of RAM. I named it Beavis because it is basically a trailer trash box: Azza VIA motherboard, which should tell you a lot. I put an AWE64 sound card in it, but unfortunately it's not visible to the system yet. Stupid ISA...

Anyway, Ubuntu is installing on it like a champ. It's now connected to the Internet where it is picking up security upgrades. I was thinking of putting a new hard drive in here but I think I will just run this thing until it stops running.

I would have gone to a LinuxChix meeting today but it would have been really hard getting there from here on trains/buses. USC seems like the other side of the world when you're in the Valley. :P

Hopefully I will be able to get the sound card to kick over. If not, I suppose I'll just get a PCI sound card cheap next computer show.

Update, 5:30pm: found another EnsoniqPCI audio card hanging out in a machine I don't use. Good. That's one of those basic sound cards that Linux loves. I also snagged some RAM out of the same box the Ensoniq was in...if all goes well everything will work together. With 384MB RAM this should be a formidable machine. I might even throw in another 128 and bring it up to 512. Bitchen.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Ms. Geek to the rescue...

My good friend Kara Wild has been without a landline phone...and DSL...for a couple of days now. She'd love to be able to test her phone line with a corded phone (her landline phone is cordless) but alas and alack she has none. I, on the other hand, have several known-good corded phones as well as a 900MHz (802.11b friendly) cordless. So here I come to save the day. ;-)

I'm waiting for her to pick me up now.

Anyway, I'm going to be attending SFVLUG meeting tonight, and I have two things on my agenda:

1.) What weekday night will work for the majority of SFVLUGgers?
2.) How can we get behind the effort to convert Los Angeles City Government from Windows to Free/Open Source Software?

Hopefully there will be enough people there to do some good and make some decisions.

Take care,

Friday, February 25, 2005

Wow, my coverage of the death of Hunter S. Thompson seems to have struck a nerve...I've never gotten email before on anything I've posted here until now.

I just heard that apparently HST's penultimate act was to call his wife so that he could shoot himself with her on the phone hearing it. Now that sort of muddies the waters a bit. That's a damn cruel thing to do to your wife. Dirty cricket, as they say in Ol' Blighty. I still admire the dude, but I don't like this. Looking back on Thompson's writings, he had a definite misogynist streak. Bleah.

Speaking of misogyny, I received some of the last stuff I'm going to get off of eBay for a while, which included a sewing how-to manual that dates back to 1970. Aside from the smaller dress sizes (American dress sizes have been supersized over the past 25 years) and the Austin Powers-era fashions on display, it's pretty much up to date. Yeah, now modern sewing machines computer controlled and all that crap, but when you look at their mechanisms they are pretty much as Old Man Singer conceived them back 150+ years ago. My machine is pretty much identical to the ones they show in the book in function. Only the chibi size and the cute plastic hull are different.

As is befitting an antique, there are old attitudes on display in the book as well. "Women may not be wearing the pants in the family these days, but they certainly do wear pants." Eew. Ugly, ugly sexism. I suppose it's necessary to look back to see how far we've come, especially when one despairs about how far along we should be by now.

Long story short, however, the book is a good introduction to sewing skills. Which is just what I need. A geek behind a sewing machine? Hell, I've built and hot-rodded computers. This is easy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Oh yeah, one last thing I forgot to mention. Tom got his computer today. It runs, he's happy, I'm thrilled. I got richly rewarded for my efforts: 1.) He let me keep the spare media dock, and it's now on my headless mobile server; 2.) I have one 30GB hard drive in my headless mobile server, and one on reserve for the experimental server that will be permanently connected to my DSL line; and a spare Notebook CD-ROM drive. (Too bad it's a sucky LG) He's also feedered me reimbursals on various and sundry costs throughout the "Pimp My Notebook Computer" process.

Gotta love ThinkPads. The Goddess' own Laptop. And judging from what this one guy from IBM was saying at SCALE, there is nothing to fear from the Lenovo takeover of IBM Personal Systems Division. Apparently there are enough IBM-ers that got hired over to Lenovo to keep quality up. And even though Lenovo is a Chinese company, they apparently know the Western fable about the goose that lays the golden eggs. The ThinkPad reputation is currently quite golden. If they ruin it by making crappy computers with the ThinkPad marque, (which they almost did with the i-Series) they will also ruin whatever value they hoped to get out of buying IBM PSD.

It's confirmed: HST was "in pain" and that was motive for suicide. One last blast reportedly in store.

There will, apparently, not be a final message from Hunter S. Thompson. According to this article, which went out on Associated Press and is probably many other places as well as ABC News, the author left no suicide note. He also kept his intentions from his family, although he had spent the entire weekend at home with his son, daughter-in-law and young grandson, apparently as preparation for the act. This was not an act taken "in a moment of haste or anger or despondency," according to historian Douglas Brinkley who has stepped forward as a Thompson family spokesman.

He did have one last wish: that his ashes would be shot out of a cannon after cremation. A Colorado-area fireworks company wants to go that one better, and give him a sendoff as part of a fireworks display. Somehow that makes sense...he set off figurative fireworks everywhere he went. I'm not sure if the fireworks guy could replicate the huge hairy bats and electric dragons that HST shared his hallucinogenic life with, though.

In other news: have I mentioned here before that I hate math? I partially have myself to blame...I was going to keep acclimated to math by doing work every day during Winter Vacation and the Winter Intersession. I didn't and I am paying the price now. My next math test is March 7th. I don't have a hell of a lot of confidence about it. [sigh]

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

So much for the "liberty" in Libertarian...

One thing that upsets me greatly is how formerly Libertarian organizations like the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine/The Reason Foundation have gotten into bed with the Religious Right. One need only look at MediaTransparency.Org to find ample evidence that these groups are being funded by some serious foes of liberty. Folks like the Scaife Foundation, the Olin Foundation and many other scary folks. These are people who want nothing more than a Christian Taliban Nation to replace the free society envisioned by the Founders.

They have no common cause with the principles the Libertarian Party was officially founded on and which these organizations originally held dear. The Neocon/Reagan/Bush school of "conservatism" does not want government out of boardrooms and bedrooms. They want government in cahoots with business, and they want to control the private lives of individuals. This is not what the Founders wanted. It's what the Puritans wanted, and the Puritan philosophy was wholly at odds with the philosophy of Jefferson and the other Founders.

The Puritans wanted religious authorities to be in control of the Nation and religious law as the law of the land. The Founders wanted a secular government that protected the rights of both religious majorities and religious minorities and even those (like Ethan Allen and Thomas Paine) who rejected religion entirely. The economy of the Puritans was that of Mercantilism, which is completely at odds with the Laissez-faire economics espoused by the Founders and by Libertarians. (I have my own problems with Laissez-faire, but I would rather not digress here to explain them now.)

How could this have happened? Who knows. The fact that only a few voices have been raised against this sellout, and their voices were heard too late to make any difference. I suppose they saw the "wave of the future" cresting and wanted a ride. [sigh]

(Good to see that Wikipedia is back up after yesterday's power failure-caused crash.)

Time to cool it on the eBay front...

I am tempted to kill my eBay account because it's become a problem. However, I think I might keep it, if only because 1.) I have 40 points and 100% positive feedback, which puts me in a good position should I decide to start selling; 2.) It's tough rebuilding an account from scratch; and 3.) There are certain things (older computer parts, for one) for which eBay is the only game in town.

However. I have a problem. I suppose it's a species of gambling addiction, since there is a certain amount of rush you get from "winning" a bid. However, I don't buy the "Powerless" thing. I do have power over this problem. And I certainly don't think a "higher power," if any such thing exists, is going to care about my problem and help me to resist temptation. So the 12-step approach is right out.

1.) I'm not going to regularly check eBay anymore;
2.) I'm going to confer with Richie about any and all online purchases as of 2/22/2005;
3.) Anything I do buy on eBay will be with the Visa Check Card I have with my checking account or a direct bank draft through PayPal, not credit;
4.) It's time to get serious about paying down the remaining credit card debt.

I've done without eBay before, I can do it again. The rush of "winning" is not worth the pain of having to face the day of reckoning where the bills come in.

Monday, February 21, 2005

More HST links...[sigh]

HST's Super Bowl Memories: Sports Illustrated/CNN
HST obit: Associated Press
HST ESPN.Com column: A Sad Week In America
HST ESPN.Com column: Welcome To The Big Darkness (Some clues about WHY...)
DailyKOS thread on HST
Plastic.Com thread on HST

No, I don't think the George W. Bush administration had HST killed. I think basically he was in pain (healing up after spinal surgery for osteoporosis) and the pain got to him and none of the drugs or other self-medicants worked anymore. Please, no "Dubya Murder Lists"...we have enough of them as the body count in Iraq mounts. Please stop it with the conspiracy theories. Thank you and goodnight.

Dr. Gonzo takes his last trip: Hunter S. Thompson, dead at age 67

This is the guy who inspired me to get into journalism in the first place. His prose was like condensed napalm blazing from the pages. It was strong stuff. I think I've read almost all his stuff, and I want to get into that which I have missed.

Hunter S. Thompson was recovering from spinal surgery, and the recovery must not have been going well. One could argue that HST had access to any pain meds, legal or illegal, that he wanted, but sometimes pain is absolutely intractable, and worse, it's not taken seriously by a lot of doctors.

If depression had been part of it, I suspect the reelection of George W. Bush might have played a significant role. HST was one of the best chroniclers of Nixon's decline and fall, and it must have galled him that Bush had done things far worse than Nixon and still been reelected. I wish he would have hung on to see how it all played out. Who knows: maybe in 2006 people will be sick and tired enough of the Bush-shit to elect a metric ton of Democrats to the House and Senate, and then it would be time for the mother of all impeachment trials. It would have been great, in that case, if we could hear Dr. Gonzo's take on it all.

In one of my Daria fanfics, I have Daria meeting a certain Dr. Raoul Duke in a Vegas bar and discussing her indecision about her major. I think this sums up why I still write, whether it be in my blog, in Toon Magazine, or in other places.


"Now kid...listen. I know what you are going through. You're not sure whether you want to take the ride and become a journalist. Thing is, being a journalist is like being a shaman. It's thrust upon you by fate. You don't ask to be one. You are and that's it. Most people out there...they don't see the things we do. They can't look at their lives and see just how absurd and fucked up it all is. We can see it. We were born with special eyes and special ears...we see and hear so much and have to write it down on paper.

"You get the call and if you don't answer you are still a journalist whether you study to be one or not. You work a shit job, and you are observing everything around you regardless of what else you are paid to do. Fate's a savage thing. You either take the ride or the ride takes you."

The waitress brought Daria her Coke and limes. Daria took a few chunks and squeezed them into the Coke, stirring the resulting mixture up with her straw.

"I'm not a fatalist, Mr. Duke. I think that we all make choices and we have to live with them. Any other view is superstitious bullshit."

"Trust me. I'm a Doctor of Journalism and I've been doing this crazy shit for almost 40 years. You came out of your mother's womb a journalist and being anything else would betray everything you are. Most native tribes have their shamans. They have to have at least one or the tribe dies. In Western Civilization we have to have journalists or we'd all drown in bullshit. You have to declare a major, otherwise you lose your full scholarship and what you're left with is a king-hell monster student loan you have to repay. That's what you're up against."

"True. But what worth is a degree in journalism, Mr. Duke?...."

"And you think there is a surplus of journalists? Hell, there's a surplus of pretty talking heads. There's a surplus of hacks who grind out copy for tabloids. There's a surplus of people writing fluff pieces for their corporate masters. Journalists, Daria? We're an endangered species. Do you want the assholes to win? Do you want big corporations and power-mad politicians to succeed in fleecing the body politic? If you do, then major in Business or Psychology or whatever the fuck you were thinking about."

"I can't save the world as a journalist, though! That's unrealistic."

"But you can make people aware enough to where they can maybe save themselves."


It's not a real conversation, I never got to meet the man, but it's a measure of how much he has inspired me that I was able to write that prose. Yeah, I changed my major when I went back to College. I wound up following my head rather than my heart. But I still write and I suppose that's partially because of his influence.

I'm sure the reasons for his killing himself will make themselves clear. I don't think a guy like him wouldn't leave this world without one last poison pen letter, targeted at everything he had contempt for. Then again maybe it was just the act of a guy in horrific pain who was failed by his pain meds. Whatever the case...I hope you're free, Dr. Gonzo. I hope you are somewhere that's a measure of home. Peace, dude.

HST links:
The Great Thompson Hunt
HST obit, MTV.Com
HST obit, San Francisco Chronicle
John C. Dvorak blog: HST, RIP
Paul Krassner looks back at gonzo days with HST
The last ESPN column: Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray
Fear and Loathing On The Campaign Trail 2004: the last Rolling Stone article.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Running on empty...

I have been very low energy today...this cold is hanging on with a bit too much tenacity for my liking. Hopefully an early bedtime and the stormy weather expected tomorrow will mean that I will have no excuse to not hit the books tomorrow. In fact, things are kicking up so fiercely that maybe it would be a good idea to shut down the computer early tonight. And keep it off until the thunderstorns they expect come to an end.

Until then...bleah...zombie time.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Winter Los Angeles, CA and Portland, OR changed places continues. We had a bit of a break this afternoon but the deluge has started back up again. I mean, it's a good thing...we've been in a serious drought for years, and we've needed the rain. But getting it all at once has been a slow-motion catastrophe. It seems like every day there is another report of another hillside enclave with houses in peril. The entire little village of La Conchita may be condemned, and houses are slipping in Orange County, Culver City and in the Hollywood Hills so far. We're going to see rain from now until Wednesday, so nobody gets a break.

Umm...except for me, that is. Because of Presidents' Day, I'll not have to go in for school until Wednesday, and hopefully by then the rains will have calmed down some.

Presidents' Day weekend meant a sale at Jo-Ann's, so I dragged Richie there and got some sewing goodies. However, most of the good deals were already gone by the afternoon. And I got a rude awakening about something: most of the women (and one guy) who were cutting yard goods today had wrist splints on one or both wrists. I've only seen that in one other line of work, and that was working tech. I'm sure none of the people there get paid anywhere near the code geeks I worked with were, and they are fucking their wrists up for the pittance they are paid. Sobering. I got more fabric to give the Kimono thing a second go-round. This time I'll be working from a pattern, (McCall's 4247, out of print but snarfed on eBay) and I'll be using 100% cotton fabric more suited for Summer Con-going. I also have a bit more inspiration, in the person of the character Fuu from Samurai Champloo.

Fuu is way younger and skinnier than me, but there's something about her character that is appealing. Yeah, she's ditzy and impulsive, but unlike her Cowboy Bebop counterpart she has a big, open heart. That is most apparent in the second episode on the new Region 1 DVD that just came out, where she is the only one to give a hulking, obviously mentally disturbed guy that everyone calls demon (Oni) or monster (Bakemono) consideration as a human being. There's something touching about that. And her simple consideration of the poor slob as a fellow human winds up saving not just her life, but the lives of her fellow travelers too. I like Mugen and Jin too...they're the Spike and Jet of this series by Cowboy Bebop director Watanabe Shinichiro...but so far it's Fuu that's grabbed me. You gotta check out Samurai rocks hard.

Fuu's kimono is kind of a salmon pink with raspberry accents. And a pale pink four-petalled flower motif in strategic places on the kimono. And she wears the bow of her Obi in front rather than in back. Oh look, someone who really looks like her is already cosplaying her. Yeah, I'm way too big and way too old, but screw it...I like the character. At least I'm not a guy cross-playing her. Unlike the sweet young thing who really did a great job on her Fuu costume, I'm going to paint the flowers on with fabric paint rather than try to applique them on. That means, of course, that I have one shot to get the painted flowers right. Hell, maybe what I'll do is have someone do fusible vinyl cuts of the motif and iron the damn things on. Or something.

Oh yeah, I'll finish that experimental one...maybe turn it into some sort of fantasy Chinese robe or something like that. Who knows.

One other thing, I hardly know how to sew at this point. Sewing on the little chibi machine I just got is easier than sewing on those hulking monstrosities they had at Van Nuys Junior High in 1976, that's for sure. But I still don't know what the hell I'm doing. All I know is that I am *not* going to take classes at Jo-Anns. I have to agree with Richie, the place is starting to give me the creeps. Worse than Wally*World, if you can believe that.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Feeling a bit better today after being in cold/flu hell for days. Oh yeah: Wednesday and Thursday I had to go to school. I should have stayed home to recuperate, but no...the way things are at LA Valley College, if I didn't come back, I could have gotten kicked off the roster and someone on the waitlist could take my place on two of the three classes I'm taking because they are so in demand.

There are going to be a lot of bummed-out children in Los Angeles this weekend. It looks like the entire Presidents' Day Weekend is going to be a rainy mess. I'm cool with it though. This will mean I can deal with my schoolwork and healing up in peace.

I went to the UPS Store yesterday and finally sent Tom Reed's computer off. I'm glad that I could get the setup done and the computer shipped with a prayer of getting it to him before this convention he's running games at begins next weekend. I wasn't able to install *everything* but at least I could get Windows 2K tuned and patched. I wish I could have set him up the Linux but he insisted on 2K. :P

Anyway, I'm still kind of weak, so I think I'll wrap this up and take it easy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Michelle is a Sicky today...

The reason why I didn't file a second report from the floor of SCALE 3x is that I have finally been hammered by that cold that was stalking me for two whole months. It finally socked it to me on the night of the 13th. I had a perfectly crummy Valentine's Day thanks to this.

However, someone else didn't have that bad of a V-Day...

Barbara Boxer gets deluged with roses!

If you click the picture, you can get a 1024 x 768 pixel version, suitable for wallpaper. It's .JPG so it works in Linux and MacOS. If you are on the Evil OS and need a .BMP, use the "save as wallpaper" option once you pop open the new window.

I think I know what Barbara Boxer needs to do next. She needs to kick Ah-nold out of the State House. I know people are saying "Boxer in 2008" but I think "Boxer in 2006" is more feasible. I know that would mean she'd have to leave the Senate, where she is the only person with cojones there, ironic as it is. But more people get into the White House from the State House. This would be a necessary intermediate step.

So? Who's with me? Barbara Boxer for Governor 2006? Tell Ah-nold "Hasta la vista, baby!" Really, I think it's doable.

Actually the second day of SCALE was kind of uneventful...not as many attendees, no thanks to the Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences. The Grammy Awards meant that the whole Convention Center complex was sealed up tight as a drum, making it wicked hard to get in or out. I sat in on a good talk about Samba basics...too bad it was at 10 in the morning and I was insufficiently awake/caffeinated to get much out of it. I think the cold overtaking me also had something to do with my inability to retain much of the info. Well, I do have a copy of Linux Server Hacks thanks to the grrls at LinuxChixLA, so maybe I can reconstruct the information.

I have stuff to do tonight, so I'd better get going and wrap this post up.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Southern California Linux Expo madness is in full effect!!!

I spent most of the day helping out my new buddies in LinuxChixLA and hanging out with some of my Santa Barbara friends. Chad Page was able to help me with getting Tom Reed's ThinkPad ready for its cross country journey to MickeyVille, FL, otherwise known as Orlando. The software stuff is going to have to wait until I get back...the Internet access is unfirewalled, and a new install of Windows 2000 doesn't last too long until it gets 0wnz0r3d under those conditions. Snickering from Linuxheads who'd wonder "why don't you put Linux on that thing?" wouldn't help either.

Tomorrow I will actually sit in on some panels...there's an introductory Samba panel with my name on it first thing in the morning. Hoopy.

Oh yeah: The LA City Government is pondering whether to switch to Free/Open Source software. Most of my fellow geeks believe that this is merely a bargaining tactic to jawbone Microsoft into giving them a better deal on a site license, but I'm hoping some of us constituents can convince them that they should seriously consider open alternatives to closed/proprietary software. It sounds like the LinuxChixLA grrls are game for a little lobbying. Hopefully I can get other LUGs within the City of Los Angeles to join in the advocacy.

However, I'd rather not see the saved money go to the LAPD, especially considering that they haven't learned from their mistakes of the past. I'd rather see it go to education and afterschool programs for at-risk kids. Also the LA Public Library system could use an infusion of more money for books and full-time Children's Librarians. I could go on, but you get the idea. Whatever the savings is used on, I know I'd sleep better at night knowing my sales tax dollars were not being imported up to Washington State to line a few executives in Redmond's pockets. >_<

Friday, February 11, 2005

A really, really bad idea: mandatory health insurance in California.

Here they go again. California has had a mandatory liability auto insurance law on the books for years. You cannot register a car without proof of insurance. Also, not wearing a seat belt is a "primary ticketable offense" and you can be stopped by a cop or a CHP officer if s/he has reasonable suspicion that you are not wearing your seat belt. I call laws like this "weeny laws" because, well, the people who write these godawful laws are, to my mind, weenies. Some others call them "nanny laws." Admittedly, wearing a seat belt, especially if your car has an airbag, is a good idea (tm). But I don't know about any decrease in accidents caused by uninsured drivers, and I am pretty sure that hit-and-run accidents have actually increased in California thanks to the mandatory auto insurance law.

Health Insurance is a national problem, and should have a national solution. We are the only industrialized country that still does not have some sort of national health plan. Even South Africa, on the ascendancy of the African National Congress, has a national health that is struggling now under the weight of the AIDS crisis.

Failing that, California needs to deal with this problem on its own or in concert with other states. Oregon did that with its OHP system, although it is now struggling thanks to the sorry state of the Oregonian economy. However, the solution that Assemblyman Keith Richman (What an apropos name for a Repug politician whose constituency is one of the wealthiest in the San Fernando Valley!) is proposing is no solution to the problem.

However, if this system was buttressed by an Oregon-style system which would provide an insurer of last resort for all those whose incomes are at or below a certain level -- the income eligibility regulations for California's Healthy Families program are pretty fair, although Arnold wants to tighten those requirements with the new budget -- it might work. The Healthy Families program could serve as a good model for this insurance of last resort.

However, there is a mortal flaw for piecemeal, state-by-state projects: it does nothing about nationwide problems with the high cost of medical care and prescription drugs. It does nothing about the issues that surround and complicate health care, issues like liability insurance and Worker's Comp abuses and so forth, issues that would actually be directly addressed by the adoption of a national solution to this national problem. It might go a long way to helping to unburden California businesses from the crushing burden of rising health insurance costs, but if costs continue to rise on a national level we're just as screwed as we were without any solution.

Imagine if there was a national health plan that covered EVERYONE in the country. EVERYONE. We'd be less sue-happy...if health care was there for everyone at a reasonable cost, there'd be no need to sue to get treatment of injuries. Worker's Comp would cease to be an get injured, you go to your doctor, you get treated, no problem. The cost of health care would be artificially controlled, but right now health care costs are artificially pumped up because the US is the only market in which Big Pharma can charge as much as the market will bear.

History has shown that private armies of mercenaries who hold no stake in the country they protect aren't so hot at defending great civilizations: the fall of Rome comes to mind. More recent history has shown that private fire departments and rent-a-cops do a crummy job as "first responders." The experiments with toll roads in Orange County are money losing failures. There are simply some things that should not be left to the private, for-profit sector. Perhaps health care is part of the social contract that every US citizen is part of...the one that starts like this:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

My, "Jeff Gannon" has a purdy mouth...

I think that the Bush Administration now has its patsy to pin Valerie Plamegate on. It's Jim Guckert, more commonly known as "Jeff Gannon."

Now, self-hating gays in the service of the Radical Right is nothing new. J. Edgar Hoover, Roy Cohn, and Terry Dolan were all gay and in the closet. Even "Tailgunner Joe" McCarthy has been thought to be a"tailgunner" in his day. Many of the people who have been the most vocal in condemning homosexuality have wound up either coming out of the closet or being outed in their lifetime or being found out as gay after their deaths. Cohn and Dolan, if you remember, both died in the first wave of AIDS deaths.

I have always thought that the Valerie Plame revelations came from someone very high up in the George W. Bush Administration. However, now that "Jeff Gannon" has been uncovered, complete with his very amusing double life, Team Dubya will now have a plausible "loose cannon" to palm the revelation of Plame on.

Anyway, for your Schadenfreude pleasure, here's some "Jeff Gannon" links.

New York Post: Bush Press Pal Quits Under Gay Prostie Link
AP, via Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Reporter Quits Amid Credential Questions
Yahoo: Congresswoman Asks For Probe After 'Gannon' Quits

A few thoughts about "Daria."

As you might know, I'm part of the "Daria" fandom, and have been since the show started its run on MTV in the mid-'90s. I've written a few fanfics, some not bad, and some which I have taken off the Internet for good because I cannot support what they represent anymore.

Right now, "Daria" is airing on Noggin's "The N" night "tween" programming bloc. It's been on there for actually a couple of years now. However, they have hopelessly bowdlerized some episodes and won't show others because they think they are "inappropriate" for their demographic.

Rumors have been flying that the days of "Daria" on The N are over. I have not been able to confirm this even with the people I know who might know "official" things about it. So yeah, for the foreseeable future the bowdlerized episodes will still air there as far as my sources say. So chill, folks. As far as can be determined the status quo remains.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The good, the bad and the ugly, February 2005 edition...

The good:
1.) Financial Aid money came in.
2.) A friend is going to get a permanent job with the Military Industrial Complex in Santa Maria. I suppose that's good and bad but considering that he's a disabled guy and his Significant Other is also disabled, so much so that she can't work, it's good that this big Aerospace company is taking the chance on him. The fact he's a very leet coder probably was the most compelling reason for them to give him the gig.
3.) I was able to solve my book problem for 50% less than it would have cost if I had paid full price. I think I'm going to keep the book that was first assigned, then un-assigned...there's some neat essays in it that I want to make sure I have access to.
4.) We mailed our taxes out and I did my FAFSA renewal.

The bad:
1.) I went to school to meet with the folks at the Woodbury Connections office, and found that the appointment was scheduled for next week. I went there for almost no reason...being able to get some other things accomplished made up for the snafu.

The ugly:
1.) The details have come out on Meat Axe Fest 2005, otherwise known as the Fiscal '06 budget. Then again, the most salient detail is that the cost of the Iraq War has not been factored into the budget, and there are also no details on Dubya's plans to pay for the changes in Social Security. However, the details that have come out are scary: deep cuts in Medicaid, (another reason to be glad my friend got the job) the virtual elimination of Amtrak, elimination of block grants for such good things as literacy programs and domestic abuse victims programs, and so on and so on. This is going to be a long hard fight, and the Dems might wind up tarred with the "obstructionist" brush. But better "obstructionist" than "lap dog," I say.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Cue The Pretenders' "Back On The Chain Gang"...I'm back to school for Spring Semester 2005.

I got some disappointments...for example, a book which was indicated as being absolutely necessary on the LAVC Bookstore website turned out to be a $35.00 waste of money because my primadonna English 103 prof "cancelled" it for us. In its place is a $50.00 "book packet" which consists of works written by a personal friend of the professor. Can you say "conflict of interest?" Can you say "bend over, here it comes again?" I knew you could. I also have to buy a copy of "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams and "Death Of A Salesman" by Arthur Miller. All taken care of, but still... :-(

I got a pleasant surprise, though: my Math 114 prof will *not* use the crappy software package from Educo, so I don't have to spend $15 on re-upping for the software license. So with one hand I get money taken away, and with the other hand, I get a modest rebate. I will also try to sell the book that my English 103 prof cancelled.

(Note: just got a call from this guy who's selling the "book packet" for half the price. Good. I'll see him tomorrow.)

Yesterday I managed to largely evade the Stupid Bowl. It meant getting rained on a little, but that's a small price to pay for a little serenity. I spent some fun time tramping around Chinatown and Little Tokyo, where I found some goodies and had my first taste of Singaporean noodles. One thing that's a bit disappointing: the Mitsuwa shopping mall is dying fast. The bookstore is gone, but that was not a surprise. A lot of the little stores that were there were also gone, which actually was a surprise.

I also got a chance to really eyeball some real kimonos to see where the convention one had gone wrong, and got a real schooling on what one is really supposed to do with the front. It's supposed to kind of taper a little downward rather than be straight up and down, which explains the weirdness about the collar. There were some neat Yukatas, including one from a Tokyo hotel, but unfortunately they cost more than I wanted to pay.

I've gone a little short of nuts on eBay buying patterns. That's not a bad thing, because they are usually quite cheap. I will have plenty of grist for the costuming mill coming, and most of it looks pretty damn easy to do. Maybe this will also come in handy for holiday gifting too.

One last thing...looks like the meat axe has been sharpened to cut Pell Grants. This might make it hard for me to proceed further with my college education. Dammit!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Kimono update: The underarm seams are perfect. Those felt good to finish. But try as I might, the freakin' collar is not quite laying the way it should. Also there are some other oddities about the whole thing which suggests that this is some sort of a test run and should be perhaps retweaked into some sort of kimono-like-but-not-exactly-a-kimono garment. I'm also thinking that a few strategically placed velcro dots might save it.

I have my eyes on some patterns on eBay. Hopefully they won't get too expensive.

Anyway, all I need to do to finish this is a bit of hemming and/or bias tape funstuff that should be done with the brand spankin' new chibi-Sew-matic. This means that maybe I should put this down for a little while while I get friendly with the new toy. Drawstring bag time! W00t!

Chad's coming down tomorrow to get geeky with Kara's AirPort Express. Kara hasn't been able to get it going herself. If she had only gotten the Linksys I could have done the setup and had her up and running, but she wanted the AirPort because of Apple's reputation for simplicity. Ha! Simplicity! It is to laugh! I'm bringing the ThinkPad with me because I will probably have to go to SFVLUG meeting right after I get done with Chad and Kara. I will bring a couple of new (for me) 802.11's a Prism-based Linksys 802.11b (v.3), the other's a Prism54-based Netgear 802.11g card. Eventually the Linksys is going into one of the headless lappies, and the Netgear is an alternate 802.11 card for situations where I'd have access to g-speed bandwidth and/or need for WPA crypto support.

Oh yeah, speaking of laptops, Wally*World now has an AMD-based Linux preloaded laptop for $500. It's probably crappy sub-Dell stuff, comparable to Fried's "Great Quality" (not) brand. As tempting as it is, I think I'd rather not give Wally*World my money. The one and only New Year's Resolution I made was to "be more aware of where products come from and what political contributions a given company/store makes this year" and I think I've been pretty good about it. I have not darkened the Panorama City Wally*World's doorstep all year. It's meant going out of my way for some things. It's meant bus rides when that damn place is within easy walking distance. I feel better, in a Karmic sense, for doing this, though.

Maybe I should have looked up Sears Roebuck & Co. and Kmart at before I bought that sewing machine...eep!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Re-distilling an essence rare: Gang Of Four are back.

I'm extremely happy to hear that the original Gang Of Four lineup are back least for now, anyway. They're going to be playing Coachella, which I suppose is way cool but since that area gets oven-hot by the time the festival happens I don't think I'm going to want to go.

Much is made of their current ages: all somewhere in their late 40s. Give me a break. They are young bucks compared to the original core of Saccharine Trust, to Chuck Dukowski, to Mike Watt, hell, to my husband Richie who is in multiple projects and is 11 years my senior. (do the math!) Yeah, they all have day jobs now...if you are David Bowie and made your fortune already or if you are already rich or if you are the Flavor Of The Month, you can bear not having a job. But if you were in an avant-punk band that had a few KROQ hits, damn right you're going to have to get a day job. Hugo Burnham's a College Professor at New England Institute of Art in Massachusetts. Jon King is the CEO of a news video company in London. Dave Allen is a graphic artist and web developer and has a digital music distribution firm. Andy Gill stuck to his music and is now a producer and composer of soundtracks...perhaps you can say he's the anti-Danny Elfman now. And Morrissey is still working for the LA Chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals...yes, Morrissey has a day job, imagine that!

The Pixies are back, complete with the ravenous Frank Black (or is he back to calling himself Black Francis?) out in front. Mission of Burma is back. Anthony Kiedis recently wrote his autobiography, dredging up old shit (literally and figuratively) from the first album sessions that Gill produced. Franz Ferdinand put out an album that sounded to me an awful lot like "Solid Gold"-era GO4.

It's feeling an awful lot like 1982 again...what a time to be wrapping up the AA degree I should have finished in the '80s. Maybe I should form a fucking punk rock band again. I'm certainly going back to some of the other stuff I was doing back in the day. Oh yeah, and there's another insane guy in the White House, and another in the Kremlin. Plus ca change.

I have realized something about myself as I process the events of last weekend's Anime-LA. I'm fucking 41 years old and I am getting more, not less, geeky as I age.

1.) I just ordered a sewing machine from (Kenmore Mini Ultra...very kawaii) because after my "gateway experience" with costuming at Anime-LA I realized that this is something I want to learn how to do. I can explain it away with practical explanations, "Oh, it will be so nice to not pay someone $25 to hem a pair of pants that are too long for me to wear." but the reality of the situation is that I want to sew myself kewl Anime-inspired threads to wear. First thing, I want to take that yard of Kitty-chan fabric I found at Jo-Ann's and make a drawstring pouch. Next, I want to get that kimono that got started at Anime-LA into finished, wearable shape. Then after that...who knows?

This is also weird because it's the second of the "big three traditional things women were expected to do at the turn of the last century of the Common Era." Yeah, I cook, and I'm damn good at it. Now I'm going to learn to sew. However, Richie has superior cleaning-fu and I will defer gladly to him as far as the cleaning part of the Big Three are concerned. And NO, I'm not any less liberated for wanting to learn to sew! If I sew clothes for myself, it's one less garment made in a grimy maquiladora in some Central American hellhole that I bought. That is, unless you go further and insist that the fabric is made under humane conditions...dammit!

Update at 4:42pm PDT: It's here. Taiwanese-made to Kenmore specs, kind of a super-deformed chibi version of a regular sewing machine. The aesthetics of the thing is very Japanese. Small enough to fit in a tote bag. All it needs is Kitty-chan faces on it and something in Engrish...Yes! Sewing! Fun to make super fashion with Mishima Mr. Sew! Power works, mechanical system works, all I need to do next is run some thread through it and do some practice sewing on some of this fabric left over from the kimono project. Then maybe I'll have the guts to actually finish up the kimono.

2.) There will be gaming at the next Anime-LA. Which reminds me of the fact that I miss pencil, paper and dice gaming. Video games are ok and all, but when the computer is fuxored, no more fun. Also, when you are game-mastering, you are developing storytelling skills. Period. I could use that. The big prob is the expense of rule books and so on. Those stupid dice don't come cheap either. Then again, that uber-leet video card one needs to run That Bitchen Game That Just Came Out (tm) costs a hell of a lot more than books, grid paper and dice.

3.) Tonight I'm going to be at the meeting for the organizing committee that runs Anime-LA. I want in. Let me at 'em. Rather than just half-assedly volunteer the weekend of the con and run the risk of not getting assigned enough work to make it worth my while, I want to get in on the ground floor. Tom is 100% behind me on this. He's involved with more than one con in the Southeast (damn, I wish he'd move from of the reddest of the red states...) and he thinks this is a great idea.

So yeah, this is why they call me Geek. That's Ms. Geek to you.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

OK, I got my grade for Psych 1, and I came away with an A. I wasn't expecting anything less actually...the class was pretty damn easy.

Next week is my last semester, if all works out well. Note to self: I need another Official Transcript from West LA College to submit to Valley, so I can turn in my graduation petition.

I've got other things to talk about here but I'm feeling beat...I really want to turn in soon. I'll blog more tomorrow.

Oh yeah: all my Anime-LA coverage are belong to Toon Magazine.