Sunday, December 20, 2015


Pre New Year Resolution.  Scratch that, New Year's Resolutions can go in the same pile with Bucket Lists.  Just live.

But, hey that's what I'm doing.  So I'm about to head out on my next adventure.  An adventure who's skeleton will be rather dull.  But I promise to flesh it out quite nicely.  And with that, I will go back to attempting to entertain the rag tag oddballs who seem to enjoy my stories and photos.

So to use one my least favorite govie terms:  "Watch this space."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dear Mama

A few years ago, my mother and I had a great falling out.  It involved gourds and cupcakes decorated like women's genitalia.  She slung insults that I could not abide and I asked her to never contact me again.

She insists on sending me the odd text to remind me of my siblings birthdays and ask for my father's number for the 100th time.  She also sends emails of a religious nature.  One was just an Eric Clapton video with the question, Did you know Eric Clapton is Catholic?

I got a bee in my bonnet this morning though.  And sent this:

You believe that your god is all knowing. You believe your god has a plan for you. Then why are you praying? Are you questioning his decision making?

Your god is clearly sadistic. He knew he was creating murderers and rapists and pedophiles. He knew all this and on purpose, he made them. He made child molesters *on purpose*. And you want to pray for mercy to a god that knew men would rape children and yet made them anyway? He made the men that raped a little girl so violently, she ended up in a wheel chair and with multiple fistulas. How are you going to help her? Pray that he quits making rapists?

Don't even start with "God allows". Don't talk to me about free will. If you believe your god is omnipotent. If you believe he is all knowing. If you believe he has a plan for everyone, then you should quit insulting him with your constant questioning of his plans. Stop asking for guidance, because he will guide where you need to be. Which may be into the hands of a rapist, because he made that rapist with full knowledge of every woman and child he would hurt. Quit insulting your all knowing god.

Like a lot of people, at one time, I half believed out of fear. Thankfully I freed myself of that slavery. And found that I could do a lot more good in the world if, instead of spending time convincing an omnipotent god to change his mind, I started actually doing something.

You spend hours praying for things that you may get and you may not, and then chalk it up to "God's Will". How about you spend hours helping someone. Screaming into the ether is just that.

At the very least, quit hoping that one day I'll buy into your fairy tales. We had a conversation a while back, in which you insulted me heavily and I asked you never to contact me again. You didn't for a while, but somehow have decided that sending religious emails doesn't count. Stop it. It is seriously counter-productive.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Zombies. As classified by the U.S. Government (sort of)

(apologies for the formatting.  it was actually worse.  this is as much time as i am willing to put into fixing it.)


6. (U) Zombie threat summary:
a. (U) CONPLAN 8888 is designed to address the following types of zombie threats:

i. (U) Pathogenic Zombies (PZ):
1. (U) PZ's are zombie life forms created after an organism is infected by a virus or bacteria or
some other form of contagion

ii. (U) Radiation Zombies (RZ):

1. (U) RZ's are zombie life forms created after an organism is infected by a extreme dosage of
electromagnetic and/or particle radiation

iii. (U) Evil Magic Zombies (EMZ):

1. (U) EMZ's are zombie life forms created via some form of occult experimentation in what
might otherwise be referred to as "evil magic"

iv. (U) Space Zombies (SZ):

1. (U) SZ's are zombie life forms originating from space or created by toxic contamination of
the earth environment via some form of extra-terrestrial toxin or radiation

2. (U) "Zombie satellites" can be classified as SZ's, however they pose no danger to humans
(unless they conduct an unplanned de-orbit). Typically, zombie satellites only pose a threat
the SATCOM services like DirectTV (Refer to Galaxy 15 incident-May 2010)

v. (U) Weaponized Zombies (WZ):

1. (U) WZ's are zombie life forms deliberately created via bio/bio-mechanical engineering for
the purpose of being employed as weapons. Zombie weaponization programs and supporting
infrastructures are included in COAs to deal with these threats.

2. (U) The movie "The Crazies" exemplifies the most common type of WZ (humans turned
into zombies via exposure to toxic chemicals/gasses)

vi. (U) Symbiant-Induced Zombies (SIZ):

1. (U) SIZ's are zombie life forms originating from the introduction of a symbiant life form into
an otherwise healthy host. Although the symptoms of symbiant zombieism is similar in most
regards to pathogenic zombeism, the symbiant does not kill the host organism quickly, or at all.
However, there is no known way to save an organism after zombiesm has occurred-even if the
symbiant is removed.

vii. (U) Vegetarian Zombies (VZ):

1. (U) VZ's are zombie life forms originating from any cause but pose no direct threat to
humans because they only eat plant life (as indicated in the popular game "Plants Vs.
Zombies"). Although VZ's do not attack humans or other animal life, they will consume all
plant life in front of them. They can cause massive de-forestation or elimination of basic food
crops essential to humans (rice, corn, soybeans).

2. (U) Of note, where normal carniverouse zombie commonly groan the word "brains" semicomprehensibly,
VZ's can be identified by their aversion to humans, affinity for plants and their
tendency to semi-comprehensibly groan the word "grains".

viii. (U) Chicken Zombies (CZ)

1. (U) Although it sounds ridiculous, this is actually the only proven class of zombie that
actually exists.

2. (U) CZ's were first documented in Jonathan M. Forrester's 4 Dec 2006 online article
"Zombie Chickens Taking Over California".

3. (U) CZ's occur when old hens that can no longer lay eggs are incorrectly euthanized by
poultry farmers using carbon monoxide. The hens are then deposited in large piles to
decompose. The hens appear to be dead when buried, but inexplicably come back to life and dig
themselves out from the piles of dead chickens. After reaching the surface, CZ's stagger about
for a period of time before ultimately expiring due to internal organ failure.

4. (U) CZ's are simply terrifying to behold and are likely only to make people become
vegetarians in protest to animal cruelty. They appear to be no direct threat to humans. They are
different from WZ's because they are the result of actions taken to kill a living organism vice
actions taken to deliberately re-animate dead organisms or impair life functions to a minimal

Monday, February 2, 2015


I got pretty into the PigSkin last night.  And by that, I mean I ate some pigskins while watching the last 5 minutes of the SportsBowl.  Of course, that was sportsing minutes, so it was probably a good 20 minutes of real time.

As far as I can tell, one team must have pointed at the sky better and blessed their pre game protein shakes in a more appropriate manner than the other.  The other was probably relying on the "Wishing Boot".   Maybe Jesus just prefers Merkans (The Nationalists) to the Native Americans (the Birds).  At one point, I think one of the guys yelled, "JESUS TAKE THE BALL!" because then the other sportsing team'sb guy kind of just handed it to him.  He probably had really good sky pointing skills that got JC's attention.  He then spent the rest of the game continuing to point at the sky and cry.  I feel like that was a little bragadocio, I mean, Jesus took the ball, not you friend.  Then someone stepped on JC's hippie skids and he started throwing punches and all hell broke loose.

So I didn't see any of the commercials.  And I totally missed Missy Elliot's "surprise" (not) performance.  So feel free to find me a video of that.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A smattering of takeaways from a talk on disaster recovery

I went to a talk tonight on tangibly rebuilding after an International Disaster.  Some good takeaways for risk assessment anywhere, not just from a building/urban planning perspective.  After 20 minutes exalting the presenters and all their collective colleges and universities, making sure to carefully massacre each name, the presentations actually started.

Regarding preparation, for just about anything, "Be open to scales that you can't imagine."  In this case, while history and all your prediction technology shows earthquakes shouldn't be higher than 4.3 in a particular area, imagine if they were larger, and then plan for even larger.  This lesson can obviously be applied to any number of scenarios.  You have an event in a room with a capacity of 300.  You allow 500 people to RSVP, "knowing" that at least 40 percent won't turn up.  But what if they do?  What if your event is suddenly picked up by the local paper and 2000 show up?  Conversely, what if there is a freak storm, and you can't reschedule, and 30 people show up?  Do you have a contingency plan for a larger crowd?  Did you include the words "RSVP does not necessarily guarantee attendance" to mitigate angry persons turned away?  Do you have a way to broadcast over the internet to assist in either aforementioned scenario?

Another takeaway, "Compliance is better than enforcement."  In other words, it's better that the rules are followed without you needing to slap someone on the palm with a ruler, metaphorically or literally.  How do you get buy-in?  How do you, not only convince someone they have to do something, but that they want to do something?

Specific to this talk was convincing someone that your way was better.  How do you convince the people of Nepal, the people of Haiti, to change how they build their houses.  Households make decisions about their own risk based on their *perception* of their own risk.  Often they don't know there is a risk (there is only one way to build a house, so there are no options, therefore collapse is not a risk, it's an inevitability) or if they recognize the risk, they don't know what to do about it.  Or maybe they know what to do about it, but do not possess the socioeconomic means to mitigate said risk.

So you have to first convince a person there is a risk.  In this example, if they have no reason to know that there is another way to build, why should they believe you when you tell them there is?  Especially if you tell them the cost is going to be higher.  So now you have to convince them that, A:  there is another way, they don't have to just accept that their family are likely to die in an earthquake and B:  this is a priority.  That second part is likely going to be much harder than the first and involve a lot more psychology.  While you can use models and demonstrations to convince someone that there is a better way to build, how will you convince them that it should be a priority to do so, when they have only lived through one earthquake, when most people have the, "It couldn't happen again" mentality.

Another takeaway: organizational cooperation is like learning to dance together, even when you're dancing at different beats or to different songs entirely.  If you have to work with another person, if your office has to work with another office, if your entire multinational organization needs to work with another multinational organization, find out how they dance.  And share how you dance.  There is a lot said about cultural awareness, understanding, and appreciation.  But that doesn't just have to be about the cultures of another nation.  It can be the business culture of the other office.  A more relaxed management style versus a more rigid one.  Maybe there is someone leading the dance.  But maybe it's a matter of learning how to dance in the same space without taking someone's head off or knocking over a table of drinks.

Beer lovers

If that last video left you a little melancholy, I present Hipsters Love Beer.

I love beer.  I really do, and I'm really picky.  Which is kind of unfortunate.  So I mostly drink whiskey and cider unless there is something I have to try.  But I do try not to be a dick about it.  Maybe I should start trying...  "This really has a placenta quality" ...  "This would be great for sea world"  ...  "I can't even feel my appendix right now."

"Is he dark enough, enough to see your light"

Damien Rice is one of my favorite singer songwriters of all time.  I love his voice, I love his cadence, I love his lyrics.  Sometimes overtly dark and sexual, sometimes a little more veiled.  I was listening this morning to his older albums on shuffle and this song struck me.  Probably because it's relevant to more than one relationship in my life.  At parts I'm the singer and at parts I'm the person he sings to.  

This is a video of a recording at KCRW.  The sound is pretty great for a radio station recording, the video quality is pretty poor, but maybe that is appropriate.  The DJ jumps in at the last bit to jarringly remind you this was live radio, but it's still a great recording.  Lyrics below.

Well, I held you like a lover, happy hands
Your elbow in the appropriate place
And we ignored our others, happy plans
For that delicate look upon your face

Our bodies moved and hardened
Hurting parts of your garden
With no room for a pardon
In a place where no one knows what we have done

Do you come together ever with him?
And is he dark enough, enough to see your light?
And do you brush your teeth before you kiss?
Do you miss my smell?

And is he bold enough to take you on?
Do you feel like you belong?
And does he drive you wild or just mildly free?
What about me?

Well, you held me like a lover, sweaty hands
And my foot in the appropriate place
And we use cushions to cover, happy glands
In the mild issue of our disgrace

Our minds pressed and guarded
While our flesh disregarded
The lack of space for the light-hearted
In the boom that beats our drum

And I know I make you cry
I know sometimes you wanna die
But do you really feel alive without me?
If so, be free, if not, leave him for me
Before one of us has accidental babies
For we are in love

Do you come together ever with him?
And is he dark enough, enough to see your light?
And do you brush your teeth before you kiss?
Do you miss my smell?

And is he bold enough to take you on?
Do you feel like you belong?
And does he drive you wild or just mildly free?
What about me? What about me?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Life on a Shoestring

I had a terrible nightmare last night that I was trekking the Amazon with improper footwear...

We started off on a long metal raft.  Whooshing down the river.  No one fell off, which was an amazement.  You just laid on the 6inch thick metal panel and grabbed onto any bar you could.  For some reason I was wearing casual/dressy sandals.  Of course I lost one in the river.  We got to the put out, again, having lost no one.  And I realize I forgot my hiking boots.  So now I'm barefoot for this jungle trek.  So back on the raft.  Two hours later, I return to the put out only to see that I in fact had packed two pairs of Chacos that would have worked just fine.

Stress dreams.  That I don't have proper shoes for future potential life changes...and that I'm really bad at fully checking a situation before making decisions.  Send me your dreams, I'll read them.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dolly Parton - Just Because I'm A Woman

Prior to last weekend, I had been to NYC twice.  I came away with the opinion that it was a dirty, disease infested place with no redeeming qualities.  The first part mostly still stands.  But there are some redeeming qualities I found.

I had been thinking about giving NYC another shot, but by myself.  On my terms.  But it was just a thought kicking around the back of the ole skull.  One day, at the local hardware store, I ran into a Georgian man.  I grilled him about Georgian bread and his thoughts on the options in D.C.  He immediately rejected the possibility of finding a good one here and told me I had to go to NYC.  That thought kicking around got a little bigger.  Then Amtrak sent me a sale flyer to NYC.  So I jumped.  And I made a map of all (literally all) of the Georgian restaurants in NYC.  I picked an AirBnB somewhere in between the two main areas.  That was about all the planning I did.  I found a few gigs to catch if I had the time and I packed a change of clothes.

A shot from the train:

Somewhere in Brooklyn:

Veselka is a Ukrainian diner.  Excellent Borscht, though I can't vouch for the authenticity.

I had planed to go to a handful of Georgian spots.  I ended up going to two.  The first was the one the man at the hardware store suggested.  Oda House.  They had a list of about 8-10 Georgian breads.  I grabbed a friend and her boyfriend and we ordered 4 kinds.  

This is the Phenovani and another corn bread type one with walnut sauce.

Adjaruli with the egg

Megruli - Stuffed with cheese, topped with cheese.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??  No.  It's amazing.

Manhattan Graffiti

"Don't worry, everything is going to be amazing."

Over Gowanus

Doughnut from Dough.  Not a lot in this part of Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy, but damn if this isn't the best doughnut I've ever had.