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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Self-publishing perils! Come on, #CreateSpace! Make it good! UPDATED!


Here are the spines of two proofs of my first finished novel. Spines on self-pubbed paperbacks (for some reason) always look crappy to me, but the one on top looks exceptionally so. What's odd is that of all the things I changed in the cover graphic between proofs, the spine was not one of them. Yet, for some reason, the later proof (the one on top) came out looking much worse than the previous proof (the one on the bottom).


I don't remember having this trouble with Lulu. Here's hoping makes it right for me or is willing to refund the $40 I spent on getting this book listen on Amazon. (Not a fortune, but hey, $40 is $40.)

UPDATE 20110901: Just got an email from CreateSpace and not only was it a problem on their end, but they're sending me a new proof! Awesome! Thanks, CreateSpace!! You made it right!! THANK YOU!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.

In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.

Immanuel Kant (via ageofreason)

Which is great, when true.  Alas, ethics tends to drift into law and suddenly, we have things like “hate crimes” which essentially put the deaths of some above the death of others. I understand, it’s to compensate, but it still feels wrong.  I mean, it’s what every racist and homophobe is afraid of: their rights being treated as less important than the minorities.  By codifying hate crime, you’re fulfilling the XYZiphobe’s biggest fears.  

It’s one thing to be protected, but another to have the loss of your life valued more than the loss of anyone else’s life.

Hate crime legislation may mean well, but really, it’s big brother telling us “wrongthinking is punishable.”  

Think of it this way, should a killer of a gay man get a lesser sentence because he can prove he’s not homophobic?  It’s like you get a “discount” for being a less-bad person.


“We Never was Happy Living Like a Whiteman” : Mental Health Disparities and the Postcolonial Predicament in American Indian Communities

“You take a group of people that have been living here for thousands and thousands and thousands of years in one way, in one custom, in one traditional way that worked…. Nobody [wanted] to get rid of it. But when the Whiteman came, they…forced the people, the Indian people, to get rid of their way. Their religious spiritual beliefs. They forced them to trade their economy, which was based on the barter system, and on living off of the land—the wildlife, ?sh…and herbal medicines. They forced them to change that. And then they not only did that, they annihilated them. Then they turned around and forced their culture on them—their religion, their beliefs, their foreign ways onto them—by taking all the young people out of the homes and putting them away in boarding schools…and forcing the Whiteman’s teachings on them. Such as history. They changed history, rewrote history to suit themselves, to justify the bad things they did to the Indian people…. It’s genocide…. That’s what it was: Genocide.”

Read more on Native post-colonial psychology in Duran and Duran’s: Postcolonial Psychology

Yes, but is safe to say that all “old ways” are good and healthy? I’m not saying Native American ways weren’t or that forcing our ways on them was fair or good, but I don’t think we should deify tradition any more than I think we should assume everything new is good.  I’m pretty sure modern medicine and scientific advances are helpful to most humans.  On the other hand, how can you appreciate what you can’t afford?  

I definitely agree that what we did to the Native Americans was wrong and definitely genocide (and continues to be wrong and genocide), I do think there are *some* good things about modern, European culture. I know, it sounds crazy to say!

The Native American plight is definitely something we need to address once we stop being distracted by the circus that our world has become.



Matternet creates unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be used to ferry medicine and other goods to remote places such as rural villages in Africa. In such places, people often have to walk 20 miles to a clinic to receive treatments as simple as blood tests or pills. With Matternet, UAVs can carry the payloads instead from point to point or to automated ground stations. At some point the ground stations will be so plentiful that the UAVs could transfer items over long distances.

via VentureBeat: Singularity University graduates a class of tech world changers

Eyder’s response to this: “Why don’t we already have this?” —Wright

Why don’t we already have this? Simple. No one uses their imagination anymore. This is a solution that is very much a no-brainer, but we’re too busy focusing on old technology, old ideas and old limitations.  We’ve gotten pretty boring despite the last hundred years of fairly exceptional cleverness.

It’d be cool if we could get back to this sort of problem solving with this kind of solution.

underpaidgenius:climateadaptation:I can’t help but reblog this HUGE win for Americans: it’s not a crime to film police. Please reblog!!Photography Is Not A Crime of the Day: Simon Glik, a Boston lawyer who sued the city and several police officers for arresting him and seizing his phone while he was recording a violent drug arrest on the Boston Common, succeeded in convincing the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that his first and fourth amendment rights had been violated.The Police Department attempted to claim “qualified immunity” — a doctrine that “protects government officials from lawsuits alleging that they violated plaintiffs’ rights” except in cases where a “clearly established” statutory or constitutional right has been violated — on grounds that Glik was arrested for “illegal wiretapping” (conducting an audio recording “without the consent of both parties”).The court ruled that Glik’s lawsuit is allowed to stand because “firmly established” rights were violated when his phone was seized. From the ruling [PDF]: “Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting ‘the free discussion of governmental affairs’.”The court went on to say that “changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw,” and therefore First Amendment protections for news-gatherers can no longer “turn on professional credentials or status.”[universalhub / slashdot / video: aclu.]Finally the courts are moving against the police tactic of claiming citizens filming their actions in public are somehow guilty of the crime of wire-tapping. Yes, that’s how they have charged people like Glik.Meh… I’m still pretty sure if a cop wants to arrest me for something, he/she will, whether I’ve done it or not. I’m not going to be one of the “brave” ones that risks arrest by blatantly recording cops doing things. I’m going to be one of the smart ones by being subtle (or even invisible) with my Sousveillance.…in fact, I’m recording this right now!OK, not on video…

motherjones:Note to National Guard motor-pool trainers: Tell future recruits that, when in doubt, you don’t plow your government-issue cargo truck through 10-foot floodwater. Especially if you can’t swim.Who, *seriously* can’t swim, though? I mean, it’s practically instinctual if you don’t overthink it. In other news, we have idiots in our military.But they’re all heroes and stuff.


A map of the proposed Keystone XL, also called Tar Sands, pipeline.

It could carry crude oil some 1,700 miles from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast in Texas.

A friendly and safe new source of oil for the U.S. or an environmental disaster waiting to happen?

Nice! It’ll deliver oil all the way from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico where it can be spilled and pollute some more! >_<

Come on, kids! Let’s come up with some better, more imaginative solutions to our energy problems.  Gah!  You’d think the last 100 years of great ideas didn’t happen! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

STORMAGEDDON 2011 part three: #Irene Aftermath (well, in my corner of NYC)

In the final installment of TheVlog: STORMAGEDDON 2011, I chronicle the the damage Irene did to my neighborhood in northern Manhattan.  Shot on August 28, 2011, the footage captured here was shot before the clean-up crews were done and captures a bit of the drama of having a tropical storm pass through your city.  Of course, this is just my corner of the city. Some areas got it worse than me.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Post-#Irene Stormageddon 2011 photos from #WashingtonHeights #WaHi #NYC #Manhattan

In this batch we have a still closed subway station, a tiny but almost tropical waterfall (squint and you can see it in the pic with the yellow and black sign in the foreground), fallen leaves, branches and trees and some seriously blocked paths through the park near my apartment. Not in these pics: the fact that people were out and about, enjoying the nicer weather and generally seeming happy and comfortable. Maybe we need more of these storms to remind us of what is important?

OK Canada, #Irene is all yours. She wasn't our kind of woman.


Finally crashed around 3:30am--slept with my window open and this is what I woke up to:


I've checked the news and from my own perspective, NYC didn't get hit very hard at all.  I mean, compared to the madness that the news was predicting.  I got some text messages from my wife this morning in Connecticut and they lost power around 4:30am and don't have it back yet. So, we NYCers seemed to have done all right.  Our infrastructure might have been tougher, too, though.

Now I've got to get some breakfast, shower and shoot some footage of how things look today.

STORMAGEDDON 2011 part two: #Irene Arrives in #NYC! (from yesterday)

Sorry, it took me a while to cut it together and it’s in HD so it took another few hours to upload the 1GB final cut to YouTube.  By then it was 3am and I was so tired I could hardly keep awake.  I expected Irene to wake me up with her fury, but she didn’t.  Anyway, so here it is—the calm JUST before the storm:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pre-#Irene northern #Manhattan pics taken earlier today (pt 2 of 2)

Of course, will it be as pleasant out tomorrow at the same time?

Pre-#Irene northern #Manhattan pics taken earlier today (pt 1 of 2)

It was an amazingly tranquil day today and I think these pics prove it.


Yes, I'm being overdramatic. Your point? ;P  Anyway, "enjoy" this "exciting" view out of my apartment window on the other buildings and the sky around my home as Irene arrives.  You probably won't see much and may want to check out cam 3 at this site (look for cam3 beneath the live image).  Click the "Continue reading..." below if you don't see the player.

The view south from directly beneath the #GeorgeWashingtonBridge (#gwb) as we wait for #Irene


Still waiting.  Oh and I took this photo at one of the most low-lying areas I could find. About 10 feet from the water of the Hudson.

At the #GeorgeWashingtonBridge and traffic is still flowing smoothly as we wait for #Irene


Some rain is starting to fall again. It's been very light rain so far today.

Oh, now that doesn't look so bad! #Irene


It's just a very small galaxy devouring the entire east coast of North America!

STORMAGEDDON 2011 part one: The Calm Before the Storm

STORMAGEDDON 2011 part one: The Calm Before the Storm

TheVlog for yesterday, August 26, 2011.  Footage I shot of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge before #Irene.






Friday, August 26, 2011

Here comes #Irene, extending a tentacle toward us!


Watch out DC! You're up first! That tentacle is gonna swing down on you before it starts licking at our feet.

Here's the webcam I'll be watching when #Irene shows up!


Link: Make sure to switch to "cam 3" (look for the thumbnails underneath the screencaps, below the live image).


Irene is coming (Taken with Instagram at The Jersey Shore - Surf City)

You sure it’s not just the economy? ;P


Bob Ross is here to fuck you guys up with some truth.

Me too, Bob!  Me too!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Democracy Now: Conservative Website, Brooklyn Rabbi Blame Earthquake on Declining Morals, Same-Sex Marriage

Democracy Now: Conservative Website, Brooklyn Rabbi Blame Earthquake on Declining Morals, Same-Sex Marriage

The publisher of the conservative website WorldNetDaily has published an editorial blaming Tuesday’s earthquake on the East Coast to what he sees as the nation’s declining morals. Joseph Farah writes, “Washington, D.C., deserves more than the wallop it got today. It needs a much bigger shaking up than it got.” Meanwhile, a Brooklyn rabbi named Yehuda Levin, who has ties with the National Organization for Marriage, recorded a YouTube video blaming the earthquake on the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage.

Yehuda Levin: “The Jerusalem Talmud tells us that one of the reasons that God brings earthquakes to the world is because of the transgression of homosexuality. And the Talmud states, ‘You have shaken your male member in a place where it does not belong. I, too, will shake the Earth.’ So, to those who sent out the email, yes, there’s a direct connection between earthquakes and homosexuality. There was in Haiti, and there is here in New York and Washington, D.C., where they passed homosexual legislation and ordinances.”

Ah, so that explains all the earthquakes in the Castro District of San Francisco and West Hollywood, CA.  OH WAIT, THERE WERE NO EARTHQUAKES IN THOSE AREAS OF HIGH DENSITY GAY COMMUNITIES. >_<



Sorry, I know gay people and they’re really nice, so I don’t understand why you have to make stuff up about how they’re bad.  So, please, just stop.  

Subway wall pics from May-August 2011

I have a strange (but mild) obsession with subway wall shots like these. Don't ask me why.

Support Japan! You know, if you haven't already a thousand different ways.

I've been meaning to post about this forever. Here are two ways to support Japan through buying books:


Then, you can also check out:

Either one is a great cause (duh) despite not having text written by me in either (sad!). But just buy 'em, dammit! It helps quake/tsunami survivors and there is still suffering going on!

Democracy Now: Secret U.S. Diplomatic Cable Reveals McCain Promised to Provide Gaddafi with Weapons

Democracy Now: Secret U.S. Diplomatic Cable Reveals McCain Promised to Provide Gaddafi with Weapons

A U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday reveals Republican Sen. John McCain, former 2008 presidential candidate, promised to provide arms and military gear to Col. Muammar Gaddafi during a meeting in August 2009. Also attending the meeting was Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman and Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins. The leaked cable reads, “Lieberman called Libya an important ally in the war on terrorism, noting that common enemies sometimes make better friends.”

Nice. So glad we didn’t elect that guy.  Fricken worse than Two-Face, that guy.

For fellow NYCers, a hurricane evacuation zone map in English and Spanish #irene


So, hurricane Irene is apparently going to hit NYC late afternoon/early evening on Sunday, August 28.  Not sure if you're near a flood area? Check the map. I found I was close to a Zone C which is only a threat to neighbors a few blocks away from me (and not to me) and that's ONLY if a category 3 or 4 hurricane were to hit and that's very rare.  Grab the map in English and in Spanish.  Read more about this at Gothamist or at

hurricane_map_english.pdf Download this file

hurricane_map_spanish_06.pdf Download this file

Pics: this butterfly landed right next to me while sitting on a park bench in Ft. Tryon Park back in May 2011

That last pic is for scale. Tiny but pretty.