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John Culberson is a Republican piece of shit, but unfortunately, he's the congressman from my district. I wrote him a letter about HR 676, the National Healthcare Act, currently to be debated in September, and FAR superior to the plan Obama is backing with a "public option." Anyway, here's my letter:

You're my representative, and I'm expressing my will as a voter.
Vote FOR HR 676, The National Healthcare Act. Become a co-sponsor if possible.

I work full time, I have private health insurance through my employer, and it sucks. I have back problems from work that I have to fight with my doctor about when the pain returns because United Healthcare doesn't want to fully cover my pain meds, and the dental coverage is a joke. My teeth are rotting out of my head because I can't afford out of pocket expenses even with coverage, and I'm sick of it.

Health coverage is a right, not a privilege. It's time the USA joined the rest of the civilized world and recognized that allowing private companies to profit off the misfortune of citizens is immoral and evil.

Vote FOR HR 676.

EDIT: I already knew Culberson was an asshole, but after reading his policy positions on his website, I'm now fuming with just exactly how big of an asshole he is. I agree with him on gun control, but that's about it.

I'm so totally not candidate material, but I am wondering how hard it is to get on a ballot while still remaining just as foul-mouthed and belligerent as I am, and while also not accepting any corporate donations. The very idea is anathema to me as an anarchist, but it might be good for a laugh to run for office while still saying anything I feel like saying.
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I just watched the pilot episode of Defying Gravity, a show I think I'm going to like very much as it progresses.

No real spoilers to reveal, but for those in the know, or who have seen the pilot, OM GANAPATI NAMAH!!!

Gates

Jul. 26th, 2009 04:42 am
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Brad nails my take more eloquently than I can, as usual.

http://bradhicks.livejournal.com/432862.html
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My own personal lolcat, Xander, eating my munnies.
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Productive. Very productive. Especially for the purpose that I invoked him for. But Goddamn exhausting. Motherfucker is a roughrider.
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I got tired of waiting for T-Mobile to auto update my G1, so I went and updated the OS manually, here.

Worked like a charm. The auto-reorient feature works great, and the phone is vastly improved in it's quickness. It can even take video now, although I need a bigger SD card to take full advantage of that.

The onscreen keyboard works pretty well, too, although one of my main reasons for going with the G1 is that it has a real keyboard instead of a touchscreen one. Screw it, I've got both now, plus the blackberry style scroll button/toggle.

The new feature that I'm really happy about is stereo bluetooth support. Granted, I'm going to have to wait a bit to get a stereo headset, money being tight at the moment, but when I get a chance, I'll be all over that. I'll probably upgrade the SD card at the same time, so I can load up an assload of music on it. Now, if only I could also get some vidshades to go with it...

HPOL

May. 2nd, 2009 03:39 am
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Most of the time I don't regret giving up being the moderator of the HPOL list. It was a thankless job, more hassle than it was worth.

But every now and then, someone says something so stupid, so ignorant, that it does make me miss the ability to unilaterally permaban them.
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Sunday is Zombie Jesus Day. Aim for the head.
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Every now and then I like to go back and re-read books I've already read that have had a significant effect on me. I started to do so today, and I was struck by just how great of an opening sentence it had. I know that it's kind of an art nowadays to have a really good attention grabbing opening line, but this book surprised me with it because the rest of it has had such an impact on me that I'd never really focused on literarily.

At any rate, I'm going to post the first line of it for others to guess at and post in the comments. I may do more of these in the future, but only if I come across other great openers. The line:

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

I'm amazed

Mar. 22nd, 2009 01:33 pm
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Wow. Someone finally made a D20 System game that not only could I stomach, but I'm actually WANTING to play. It's called Passages, and you can find a review here.

They changed the base D20 system by removing the classes, levels, and races; eliminating the idiotic "fire and forget" magic system (it doesn't have one at all); kept hit points relatively low; and added combat skills and a point buy system along with advantages and disadvantages. This resolves pretty much all my major problems with the D&D/D20 system, turning it into a sort of D20 based GURPS or West End D6 system. Now if only other D20 companies would adopt the same changes.

The setting is what caught my attention, though. It's an historical Victorian setting with a twist: All the popular fiction of the day, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, War of the Worlds, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, etc, are travelogues rather than fictions. There are portals to other worlds, and those worlds are the ones in the stories, as we know them. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing, and would have been likely to consider picking up the book for the setting alone, but I was surprised and pleased to find that it also contained a reworked D20 system that answered many of my complaints.
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"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." -Kung Fu Monkey
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Until it drops another $150-200 in price, anyway.

In the meantime, I'll stick with Book:
http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/3/9/
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I'm a Wobbly now. About fucking time. I was a member of the AFL-CIO when I worked at Kroger back in the day, but fuck the AFL-CIO. The IWW were the ones that always fascinated me in high school history. So I joined up.
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Read:
http://bradhicks.livejournal.com/422902.html

To me, this is a no-brainer. It's not mentioned in the link, but what I would want to see done with a new WPA is this:

The US could switch to alternative energy like wind and solar with current technology, all that's lacking is the infrastructure. Private interests are stepping up, like T. Boone Pickens in West Texas, but that kind of thing takes too long with private funding. A massive, infrastructure building public works program could do it quickly, on a much more massive scale, which reduces our need for fossil fuels, provides jobs to those hurt by the current economic climate, cuts back on carbon emissions, etc. It's win-win everywhere, all it takes is cash.

Fuck giving money to the private banks and corporations who got us into the current situation, put the money into programs like this that would have long term positive effects.
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Civic minded citizens in Austin, TX took it upon themselves to warn of the coming zombie menace, mainstream media reports it as a prank:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,484326,00.html
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My Political Views
I am a left social libertarian
Left: 6.77, Libertarian: 7.64

Political Spectrum Quiz
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I am not a number! I am a dead man!

He will be missed.

EDIT:
KHAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Aside from Windows Media Player, I've been using nothing but open source software on my computer for about a year or so. I've tried various Linux versions before, SuSE and earlier versions of Ubuntu being the main ones, and I've had one problem or another with figuring out how to get the stuff I need installed. I'm not a big hacker or anything, I'm just a basic user, word processing, spreadsheets, internet, email, and music and movies. I don't really do any PC gaming to speak of. I don't need anything with the power of Linux, but I don't do anything that absolutely requires Windows, either.

But this weekend I was shopping around for new notebook computers, and I couldn't find any I liked that were either with XP or had an option to NOT come with Vista, which I hate. Hell, I stayed with Windows 2000 for years, but I finally upgraded to XP. Frankly I was pissed, and tired of having to pay for new Windows shite, (included in the price of the notebook computers).

So yesterday, I downloaded the newest version of Ubuntu, just to see if it had improved enough where I could switch to it relatively easy. It has, in spades. It shrunk my Windows partition easily, and right now the laptop is dual-booted. I checked the Windows partition afterwards, no problems with it. I got my wireless connection working on it after connecting it to the internet with a wire in under 2 minutes, and it was extremely easy to get the codecs I needed to watch some of my movies and tv shows. No problem with the mp3's or pdfs, the other stuff I use regularly, at all.

I already have Samba working, so no problem maintaining the home network with the other Windows boxes. The only thing that I still need to work on is the speed of the internet, but I've already found a fix for it that might work, I just need to try it when I get home from work. Once I work that out, that should probably be the last major hurdle. I'll keep the Windows partition for a few months, just in case, but I don't anticipate using it much. After that, I'll probably shitcan it, and never have to bother with paying for Microsoft crap again.
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...is where I went for my Santa Day feast. All the kebabs (chicken, beef, lamb, fish), falafel, pita bread, baklava, and other Middle Eastern and Greek food one can eat, real good, and real cheap (for the quantities). I'd been there once before, years ago, but I forgot just how damn good that food was. Since they're open on Santa Day, I feasted.
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HAPPY SANTA DAY!

snapus.org

Dec. 23rd, 2008 08:30 am
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I don't know if it was just a bad day for them, or some crisis came up, but I attempted to take my kittens in this morning to get spayed and neutered (yes, I had an appointment) and I had several problems. For one, they didn't specify that they were on NORTH Shepard, so I spent a lot of time trying to find the joint on South Shepard.

Once I did get there, I spent about 30 minutes waiting outside in the rain, waiting for someone to let me, along with the rest of the huge line in front of me, inside. The email they send you confirming the appointment tells you to get there by 7:30. I waited roughly 30 minutes past that to get in, or even for a sign that there was anyone in there TO let us in, nothing. The rain got worse. Finally I said fuck it and left.

I've heard good things about them in the past, but I'm taking the babies to their regular vet. I don't trust SNAP.
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The remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still wasn't the absolute piece of dogshit I suspected it was going to be.

Unfortunately, that's about the highest praise I can give it. Sure, the effects were cool, but effects do not a good movie make.

It was utterly, utterly mediocre.

Tomorrow when I get off work I think I'll pop in my DVD of the original, and watch Michael Rennie do it right.

Klaatu Barata Nikto!

The phrase was supposed to be in the remake at the end, but I never heard it.
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The Large shirts are now sold out. Plenty of XL and XXL left!


XL

XXL
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The Hail Santa t-shirts are back, by popular demand (and a lot of nagging)!

Prices down to $12.50, $5 off the old retail price! Also equipped with the "Make an Offer" option, so you can try for an even further discount! These won't last, so act NOW!





Large: SOLD OUT!

XL

XXL
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This is the first time in my life that a presidential candidate that I voted for has actually won. This is the first time that someone that I actually was for, rather than just held my nose and accepted has won. I've already heard some cynicism about it from a friend or two, people who also voted for Obama, but fuck them. Nothing could kill my mood right now.

I voted for the first black president in American history, bitches, and he FUCKING WON!!!
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If you haven't done so yet, GO OUT AND VOTE, BITCHES!
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This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club.
Bold the ones you've read,
strike-out the ones you hated,
italicize those you started but never finished and
put an asterisk beside the ones you loved.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien*
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov*
3. Dune, Frank Herbert*
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein*

5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Leguin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson*
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke*
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick*
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley*
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury*

11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov*

14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett*
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison*
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester*

20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card*
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman*

25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams*
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson*
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice

30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien*
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut*
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson*

44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester*
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein*
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock*

48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer
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...is my new metaphor for fucking.

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"To choose order over disorder, or disorder over order, is to accept a trip composed of both the creative and destructive. But to choose the creative over the destructive is an all-creative trip composed of both order and disorder."
-"The Curse of Greyface and the Introduction of Negativism," Principia Discordia, by Malaclypse the Younger, KSC.
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I went out and waded around, talking to neighbors. Two of the metal parking awnings are down, the bad one had a giant tree fall on it, trapping, but apparently not seriously damaging a truck underneath it. Another one fell down on one side, again, trapping but not seriously damaging a BMW under it. There doesn't appear to be any actual flooding in anyone's apartment, but there is a lot of standing rainwater in the parking lot. A lot more trees and tree branches down, the big tree right across from my apartment had the top knocked off of it and is sitting on top of the building in front of me. We parked our cars on the second floor of the parking garage next to our apartment complex last night, so our shit is fine.

update

Sep. 13th, 2008 08:03 am
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I just woke up, apparently having slept through most of it. There's two trees down that I can see from the window, and it's raining and blowing hard, but aside from that, no big deal. The power blinks occasionally, but so far it's always come right back on.

Ike

Sep. 12th, 2008 03:59 pm
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Lots of jokes about Ike going around. Cat saw a sign on a law office on her way home from work, and I saw a car with the same sign on it on the weather channel, both with identical messages:

"Ike, go away! Tina ain't here!"

I'm sitting in my apartment, just waiting.
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[livejournal.com profile] xi_o_teaz asked this question, and since I got a positive reply to my response, I'm expanding it here.

First, cook yourself a shitload of bacon. Not the fancy, high dollar stuff, but the cheap shit, the stuff that looks like strips of pure white pigfat, with just an accent of meat on it. Dump that in the skillet, and cook it until there is no fat visible at all anymore. It should look about 50% or 33% the size of the uncooked strip, and resemble a reddish-brown, pork flavored cinder. Even with the cheap shit, you can usually find stuff like maple flavor, hickory smoked, etc. My preference is for maple flavor. I don't really taste it, as much as I cook the bacon, but having the house smell like syrup is better than having it smell like regular bacon, to me. Some will argue that you need a cast iron skillet, rather than a teflon one, but when I'm done, there's so much grease in the pan that I really don't think it matters that much. I use a teflon pan, simply because that's what I have. If someone gives me a cast iron skillet, I'll try that out and see if there's a difference.

For the eggs themselves, dump some of the bacon grease out of the pan, but leave a nice, THICK coating of it in there. Scramble your eggs up in a bowl, and dump them in the pan, making sure that you quickly scramble them up with your spatula. The beauty of this is that you actually have combo eggs, fried AND scrambled, which to me, taste much better than just scrambled. The non-culinary side benefit is that as long as you've retained enough bacon grease in the pan, and were quick enough with your scrambling, the pan will be completely clean when the eggs are done, no egg residue OR grease. Toast, heavily buttered, can be added as well, if that's how you roll (as I do).

If you don't like bacon, you can accomplish the same goal by cooking sausage first, browning it to perfection. With sausage, I don't even remove the sausage from the pan, I just dump in the eggs and scramble 'em with the sausage in it. Since the sausage doesn't generate as much grease as the bacon, there's no need to dump the excess. When you have cooked the eggs to your satisfaction (I personally don't like them to be at all runny), dump them into some preheated tortillas (get burrito size, not the tiny taco size, and nuke them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so), and you have some delicious breakfast burritos. With sausage, my favorite is Owen's Maple sausage (you can taste the syrup this way), but to each their own.

As for keeping the eggs from sticking to the pan without involving meat of some kind, I have no idea, nor do I particularly care, since I don't ever make 'em that way.
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I'm certainly not a vegetarian by any means, but I'm bored at work. The schtick is that you bold the stuff you've had, and cross out the ones you won't eat.

1. Real macaroni and cheese, made from scratch and baked
2. Tabouleh
3. Freshly baked bread, straight from the oven (preferably with homemade strawberry jam)
4. Fresh figs
5. Fresh pomegranate

6. Indian dal of any sort
7. Imam bayildi
8. Pressed spiced Chinese tofu
9. Freshly made hummus
10. Tahini
11. Kimchi
12. Miso
13. Falafel

14. Potato and pea filled samosas
15. Homemade yogurt
16. Muhammara
17. Brie en croute
18. Spanikopita
19. Fresh, vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes

20. Insalata caprese
21. Stir-fried greens (gai lan, bok choi, pea shoots, kale, chard or collards)
22. Freshly made salsa
23. Freshly made guacamole
24. Creme brulee
25. Fava beans
with a nice chianti.
26. Chinese cold sesame peanut noodles
27. Fattoush
28. New potatoes
29. Coleslaw

30. Ratatouille
31. Baba ganoush
32. Winter squash
33. Roasted beets I won't have them again, didn't like 'em
34. Baked sweet potatoes
35. Plantains
36. Chocolate truffles
37. Garlic mashed potatoes
38. Fresh water chestnuts

39. Steel cut oats
40. Quinoa
41. Grilled portabello mushrooms I prefer them raw.
42. Chipotle en adobo
43. Stone ground whole grain cornmeal
44. Freshly made corn or wheat tortillas
45. Frittata
46. Basil pesto
47. Roasted garlic

48. Raita of any type
49. Mango lassi I don't know what this is, but it sounds good.
50. Jasmine rice (white or brown)
51. Thai vegetarian coconut milk curry
52. Pumpkin in any form other than pie
53. Fresh apple pear or plum gallette
54. Quince in any form
55. Escarole, endive or arugula
56. Sprouts other than mung bean
57. Naturally brewed soy sauce
58. Dried shiitake mushrooms
59. Unusually colored vegetables (purple cauliflower, blue potatoes, chocolate bell peppers…)

60. Fresh peach ice cream
61. Chevre
62. Medjool dates
63. Kheer
64. Flourless chocolate cake
65. Grilled corn on the cob
66. Black bean (or any other bean) vegetarian chili
Tried it many times, but never like it. I'm not a fan of beans, though.
67. Tempeh
68. Seitan or wheat gluten
69. Gorgonzola or any other blue veined cheese
70. Sweet potato fries
71. Homemade au gratin potatoes
72. Cream of asparagus soup
73. Artichoke-Parmesan dip

74. Mushroom risotto
75. Fermented black beans
76. Garlic scapes
77. Fresh new baby peas
78. Kalamata olives
79. Preserved lemons
80. Fried green tomatoes Hated them.
81. Chinese scallion pancakes
82. Cheese souffle
83. Fried apples
84. Homemade frijoles refritos
85. Pasta fagiole
86. Macadamia nuts in any form
87. Paw paw in any form
88. Grilled cheese sandwich of any kind

89. Paneer cheese
90. Ma Po Tofu
91. Fresh pasta in any form
92. Grilled leeks, scallions or ramps

93. Green papaya salad
94. Baked grain and vegetable stuffed tomatoes
95. Pickled ginger I had to look up the fact that this is the stuff that comes with sushi, but I've eaten it a bunch of times.
96. Methi greens
97. Aloo paratha
98. Kedgeree
99. Okra
100. Roasted brussels sprouts
I've had this and okra, but hated them both.

My total is either 59 or 62. I lost count and am too lazy to recount. Now if someone will show me the omnivore one, I'll do it, too.
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I totally wish I could download Google Crom.

Eureka

Aug. 21st, 2008 01:19 am
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I love the Sci-Fi show Eureka. My wife was pissed at something that happened in the most recent episode, that I won't reveal for those who haven't seen it yet, but I'm regarding that event as temporary. What I'm pissed about is the fucking product placement. You want to have a product in the background on the show, I'm OK with that, I can even deal with logos being slightly more prominently displayed than one would expect normally, but this season of Eureka is too much.

The season is being sponsored by Degree deodorant, and it seems every episode is turning into a logo bukkake fest. For fuck's sake, they even worked in an element where Degree is sponsoring a lab inside GD. They really need to tone that shit down, it was funny a couple of times, but it's getting damned tedious.
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I've been watching this HBO miniseries, about Marines during the opening of the War in Iraq. It just fucking rules. I loved Band of Brothers, I like a lot of military movies and shows, but this is the first one that portrays the soldiers exactly like soldiers and ex-soldiers I've known in real life. Politically speaking, it's definitely sympathetic to the grunts on the ground, while not shying away from some of the more horrible aspects of war. If you haven't seen this fucking show, download it, watch it on HBO, buy the inevitable DVD when it's released, but goddamn this is a fucking great show. 4 episodes have aired, there's 3 left to go. I anticipate new episodes of this right now more than Burn Notice, SGA, Psych or Monk, and if you know me and my viewing habits, that's hella significant. Fucking watch it.
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I have a vague idea in the back of my head about starting a new political party, called The Angry Party. It's not even in the larval stages yet, but the idea will be to focus on issues like corporate malfeasance and subsidies, health and dental care, progressive taxation (and how it isn't enough right now), and other things of an angry, left-leaning nature. Basically how the rich keep getting richer, the middle class is shrinking, and the poor get fucked. I'm not really envisioning a socialist agenda, but a leveling of the playing field to an extent, covering areas where, in my opinion, I don't think the Democrats have any sense of what the fuck is going on, or they just don't care.

Anyone have any idea what it takes to form a new political party, and have advice on the process?

(If you don't agree with me, that's ok. Join or create your own party.)
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This is probably not the kind of thing Tolkien himself would have intended, and it's not a 100% accurate representation of Middle Earth, but it's still an interesting extrapolation.
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My sister gave me the History of the Hobbit boxed set for my birthday. (It was on my Amazon wishlist, and it seems that of all the people in my family, only my sister and I have figured out how to use such lists, giving each other fat l00tz for Hail Santa! Day and birthdays.) I already have all 12 volumes of the History of Middle Earth, so I needed the history of The Hobbit for completion. (It's only 2 volumes, as well as a nice volume of the published version of The Hobbit itself, complete with Tolkien's own illustrations.) At any rate, I read a little bit of the beginning of volume 1 of the History books, and then decided to reread The Hobbit itself before delving deeper into the History. I've only just finished Chapter II, Roast Mutton, and without getting into the more esoteric development of the story in the History volumes, I've determined a few key differences between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

1.) (and rather significantly) In The Hobbit, Gandalf is a really big asshole.
2.) Dwarves are pushy motherfuckers (but I love them anyway).
3.) Hobbits really like to bitch, just for the sake of bitching, even while exceeding all expectations others have of them.

I may add to this in the future, but I'm pretty goddamn drunk, so I'm going to end this now, while I can still type coherently.
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It took Willow a few days to get used to Xander, but they're getting along great, now.

willow and xander
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Ridiculous levels of cuteness behind cut. )
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