Showing posts from October, 2011

The Passage of Time

You reach a point in your life when the saying "there are more days behind me than in front of me" really means that. Time and biology combine to work their inevitable alchemy on your body, leaving you with thinning hair, an expanding waistline, increasing wrinkles, and wattles of flesh about the neck. Even the mind begins to loose it's capabilities; facts are lost, and the limber mental gymnastics you used to perform in pursuit of the furtherance of your carrier grow ever more difficult. As a Christian my faith is supposed to be strong enough not to let the thought of death bother me. But my faith, like the rest of me, is imperfect at best, and like my flesh grows more feeble as time passes. The root of my faith isn't in me so much as in my lovely wife, the woman who's health disability has caused her far more physical suffering than I've ever experienced. The woman with three back operations, who had to have her left knee replaced twice because the first

The Decadence of Jewel Staite and Friends

Today is the second day of Vulcan Event's "Away Mission: Orlando." (You can go Google about it). Some of the guest stars include Patrick Stewart, David Warner, and Jewel Staite. I wasn't paying any attention to this until Staite tweeted about it, leaving a link to the event. I took a gander at it and that's when I began to wonder just what planet she and her friends really come from. First were the prices to participate. Yep, you gotta pay to play. The highest price is a Platinum Reserved Weekend with all sorts of goodies; A reserved seat in the first rows of the main theater all weekend. Admission to a private cocktail party with celebrity guests in attendance. Four autographs vouchers for use with any of our celebrity guests. (One of the four autograph vouchers can be used for Sir Patrick Stewart's autograph.) Etc, etc, etc, bling, bling, bling. Everything that your decadent geek heart could desire. The price of admission for this little fĂȘte? A mere


Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. Rita Mae Brown, Sudden Death (Bantam Books, New York, 1983), p. 68. Question: When you're running for President, what do you do when you're in last place with your own party? Answer: If you're Rick Perry, fifth place out of five with just a 6% approval rating, you go for negative campaigning against the President. In Rick's case that means dragging up the birther question that President Obama soundly answered with then-presidential hopeful Donald Trump first brought it up, right before the birth certificate was produced , right after which a U.S. special forces team went in and killed Osama bin Laden . We don't hear much about The Donald anymore, unless you're Rick Perry and you decide to " just have some fun " at The Donald's expense. With that kind of a comment, Rick Perry comes across as a real jerk. Not presidential material at all. Jeb Bush Weighs In

What Are We Really Fighting For?

While my belief in the local Occupy Wall Street action, Occupy Orlando, has been tamped down a fair bit, my belief in the causes of these actions has not. If anything, I've started to examine the current situation, and in the process peel off the layers of apathy and lazy thinking that have accumulated over the decades. I've been fascinated with history since the start of high school and the discovery of American history around the time of the American Civil War (a.k.a. the War of Northern Aggression). It has expanded over the decades, back through the Revolutionary period and forward through both world wars. And every time I read the letters or speeches of nearly all historical figures, they've had a least one memorable quote about their concerns with regards to concentrated wealth and power. We have been warned down through the centuries, from Plutarch to our present time, about the dangers to self rule from the concentration of great wealth in a few hands. For with g

At Work With Linux - Ubuntu 11.10, Day 2

As I first mentioned last Friday I've installed Ubuntu 11.10 in a VMware virtual machine. Today I spent a few more minutes checking out how it worked. One of the first things the installation did after I started it back up was to download about 60 updates. Considering it was just released, I find that a bit peculiar. But then I always find it peculiar when a newly released distribution version such as Ubuntu downloads a slew of patches right after it's release. Not to worry, though; Fedora does the same thing, as does OpenSUSE. What I wanted to note was the use of Unity 2D on the desktop. Even thought it's not using hardware acceleration, it can still support credible transparency as shown by the terminals. One aspect of the launcher I find somewhat annoying is the inability to launch more than one instance. I can understand this on an Android tablet. But this is a genuine Linux desktop. You should be able to launch additional copies just by clicking on the icon. I di

Occupy Orlando, Day 9 - A Possible Retraction and A Ramp Down

James The Instigator (on the right) I stopped off by the Senator Beth Johnson Park to check on the state of Occupy Orlando. After the weekend arrests and subsequent cleanup of the area, the park and surround empty lot are a lot quieter than it was during the first five days after the initial march downtown to city hall. While I was there I had a chance to talk to several folks, and their stories helped me piece together some of the events that led to the arrests. And in the process helped me to make a decision with regards to the group as a whole. I'd already gotten an earlier email from a third member that laid out some interesting points about the arrests. According to his story he'd asked an officer later in the day in a different part of Orlando about the arrests and the officer's thoughts on the protesters. His summation of the officer's response; A handful of Occupy Orlando wanted attention by getting arrested. The majority of Occupy Orlando are all good,

Our Worst Fears Realized

As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard. This is the real disposition of human nature; it is what neither the honorable member nor myself can correct. It is a common misfortunate that awaits our State constitution, as well as all others. Alexander Hamilton, Speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, 1788 Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world [FULL ARTICLE LINK] AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters' worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy. The study's assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts c

Occupy Orlando, Day 8 - An Aftermath

Website: Facebook Link: Sunday 23 October 2011 - Day 8 There's a lot you miss when you don't hang around, especially after dark. Sometime around 2am, on Saturday, 22 October, day 7 of the Occupy Orlando movement, Orlando police swept into the area in force and arrested 19 protesters . By the time all was said and done the 19 were taken to the 33rd street station and charged with misdemeanor trespass on property after they'd been with warned. Many of the protesters arrested are being held on a $500 bond, which is steep if you've got little to start with. Trespass Warning Authorization taped to the oak on the vacant lot Transcribed from the Trespass Warning Authorization Case Number: 2011-467351 Rebecca Camacho, General Manager World Trade Towers LLC Business Name: Vacant building/lot Located at: 68 S Ivanhoe BV Property description: Gray building w/boarded up windows and property Wit

At Work with Linux: Ubuntu 11.10

I finally downloaded and installed Ubuntu 11.10 on a VMware virtual machine. The virtual machine is installed on Windows 2008R2. Installing a virtual machine with VMware is dead simple. Simply follow VMware's GUI directions for creating a new virtual machine, pointing the CD-ROM virtual drive towards the downloaded ISO. When the virtual machine boots it will boot into Ubuntu, at which point you follow the on-screen installation instructions for Ubuntu just like you would if you were installing Ubuntu on bare metal. The installation of this latest version was very simple, perhaps too simple. I wanted to stop and tailor specific packages to install but didn't see where I could do that. As a consequence I wound up uninstalling unwanted applications after first boot (more about that later). What I did find, surprisingly, was the ability to easily set up networking directly on the installation desktop during installation. Simply clicking on the network icon dropped down a menu,

Occupy Orlando, Day 6

Website: Facebook Link: When I got the the park this afternoon the activity was of a higher pitch that it was yesterday. The tents Occupy Orlando had started to build on the vacant lot yesterday were pretty complete. But there appeared to be a problem with the tents in the park. From what I could gather a number of Teabaggers had held a long private meeting with the mayor at city hall in an attempt to bring pressure to bear on the administration to remove Occupy Orlando. While I was there a police sergeant (I'm assuming I'm looking at sergeant insignia) met with some of the Occupy Orlando members. During the discussion (of which I was not participating, only looking on) it appeared that the Occupy Orlando members could be charged with trespassing if they were still there and the structures (tents) were still up. Fortunately there appeared to be level heads on both sides. Between the low-key actions

Occupy Orlando, Day 5

Website: Facebook Link: I drove by again after work to check on everyone in the park. In spite of the bad weather last night, everything looked calm, cool and collected. The same small tight-knit group was still there. There were more tents in the park, but other than that the park was still clean. While I was there I noticed the crew were creating larger tents just across the street from the Chamber of Commerce in an open field, next to the former location of WDBO's studios. From what I could gather the city park rules stated that no structures could be setup in the park. Were the tents considered structures? Only if they were staked into the ground. While I was there the Occupy Orlando media group moved the media tent from the park to the vacant field. The use of capricious and trivial rules to make it difficult for the "non-conformists" in this little city reminded me of what Orlando did to

Occupy Orlando, Day 4

Website: Facebook Link: Today was supposed to be the start of another big rainmaker, so the Occupy Orlando crew spent the day setting up large tents and moving everything underneath. Everyone was, as usual, in good spirits. The grounds of Senator Beth Johnson Park are clean and well-kept. The largest tent appears to be a communal tent for about a dozen or so folks, with a table on one side holding food and water. There's a smaller media tent that's been up and running since the beginning. It's from that location where a small dedicated group keeps Occupy Orlando's web presence up-to-date. If the weather does get rough I hope they've got weather-proof containers to stow their gear in. I should note that everything is Apple. I came across two familiar faces again this afternoon. And so I sat down and we talked a bit, and got to know each other a little better. At least they don't think

Never Touch What You Can't Afford

Well, Canon finally went and did it. They unified their 1D series with the 1D X, an interesting evolution of both prior 1D bodies that is meant to satisfy all users. It remains to be seen if they've truly succeeded. Out of all the specifications that are now littering the internets, the one that immediately caught my eye was the price: $6,800, body only. They've now reached the lofty price range of the Leica M9 and Nikon D3x, to name but two. A price that triggers one of my simple rules of life: Never touch what you can't afford. Because the body is just the beginning. You'll wind up spending as much, if not more, on lenses to justify what you invested in the body. You're not just buying a $6,800 body, but a full system that can run from $15,000 to $20,000. For me, at those levels, you're talking Real Money, like a down payment on a home, or a completely new car. Oh. One other little specification that caught my eye. Maximum ISO on this beast is 204,500,

Occupy Orlando, Day 3

Website: Facebook Link: I had to drive my wife down to Florida Hospital at Princeton and I-4 so that a specialist could look at my wife's foot (it's been in a boot now for five days). On the way back we stopped off for a few minutes at the Occupy Orlando site to see how things were going. Just like the day before the park was lightly occupied with some two dozen occupiers. I found a tent set up for media production, and another was going up as well in preparation for the heavy rain that's supposed to pass over the peninsula the middle of the week. While I was there a group of Teabaggers came by smokin' their big stogies and in general trying to "understand" what the Occupy Orlando group "wanted", which meant they stood around pontificating about the evils of Socialist Government and how unbridled capitalism was so much better. I give a lot of credit to one of the group who t

Lord Mobile

The wife and I spotted this witness of faith after leaving the Methodist service, parked near the First Presbyterian Church on Rosalind. We were driving north towards where the Occupy Orlando group were going to set up for the day. It reminded us both of our daughter's art Volvo up in Tallahassee. Taken with the E-P2 and G.Zuiko 50mm @f/2 with adapters.

Occupy Orlando, Day 2

Website: Facebook Link: The wife and I attended the 11am service at First United Methodist in downtown Orlando. It's been some time since we felt spiritually moved to attend a service; we've been searching for quite some time. We were reminded of First Methodist on Saturday when we drove downtown for the Occupy Orlando march. We made the decision when we saw it Saturday to attend today. After the service we drove north on Magnolia to the Senator Beth Johnson Park . We decided to check on Occupy Orlando, and see if they were indeed setting up camp. When I got there around 12:30 I found several dozen young people quietly beginning to set up. There were some signs about, and some were preparing more, but overall a quiet and peaceful vignette. I found it interesting that it was all young people who were in the park. Once again it goes to show that if you want real change you have to turn to the young.

After Action Review: My Coverage of Occupy Orlando vs Big News

Website: Occupy Orlando Facebook link: I went looking on some of the Big News sites (see the list below) to check on the coverage of yesterday's march. With only one exception, they were flaccid at best. The one exception was, interestingly enough, the Orlando Sentinel. They put up a video (!) that was better than the regular TV stations. If I had to rank the TV stations (and they were all pretty rank), the second tier channels TV13 and Fox35 seem to be in a race to the bottom. If you want up-to-date news, that's what social media like Occupy Orlando's Facebook link are all about. I no longer have any fear that my work, as an amateur, isn't good enough compared with the commercial outlets. My work is as good, if not considerably better than what I can find. I'm not the only one producing higher quality work than the local channels. I see incredibly better work (certainly better than mine)

We Are The 99

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. First Amendment to the US Constitution And I went down to the demonstration to get my fair share of abuse, singin' "We're gonna vent our frustration..." The Rolling Stones, " You Can't Always Get What You Want " Website: My wife and I drove downtown in the little red Prius today to participate, in some small way, in the Occupy Orlando march down Orange Avenue to city hall. And while we were at it, to recapture a bit of our own youth and the protests and marches out of the 60's and 70's. The two of us made quite the pair, she in her wheelchair with a boot on her right foot and me pushing her along, gear hanging off of me consisting of an

The Underclass

I spotted these two women outside a local Burger King this morning. I spotted the first woman in the top photo as she was looking for something in the Burlington Coat Factory shopping cart. I didn't recognize what it was she had a first, but it quickly dawned on me that she had her possessions in that cart, probably all of them. Then the second woman stepped outside and started to look in a different part of the cart. She handed a small amount of cash to the first woman, who tucked it into a small purse. I spoke briefly to the woman on the left. She asked me a simple question that I had no answer for. She asked where the closest church was. Here I was, a Christian (Methodist), and I couldn't tell her where the closest Christian church was to where I work. She didn't ask for any money or attempt to panhandle in any way. I'm headed downtown to Orlando tomorrow. There's an 11:30am march for Occupy Orlando. I'm going down with my cameras to document the event.