Friday, April 20, 2007

Virginia Tech, Collumbine, etc.

Ted Nugent is one of the people in the popular culture who makes no apologies for who he is, what he believes and says. In his latest op-ed piece I found on CNN he puts forth the case for people to be armed in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. For every horrifying act like Virginia Tech there are many incidents where legally armed civilians are able to protect themselves or others because they are armed or aware or both. I believe the 2nd Amendment is there for this and to protect us from those who would oppress us. Countries where the guns are taken from law abiding citizens had no protection from these dangers. Yes, there are wack-jobs like the killer at Virginia Tech and other places, but they are the exception, not the rule and if it were not a gun obtained legally they would get one illegally.
Read the op-ed piece and decide for yourself.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Another reason not to wait until the last minute

We have become more and more dependent on filing taxes online. Well, Intuit was not prepared for the overwhelming response to its offerings. I filed taxes for three people electronically this year and will offer it to more of my small tax client base next year. It is convenient, fast and provides less chance of audit. I remember doing taxed by hand, yes, by hand, with a pencil and big eraser back in the early 80's after I got my accounting degree. I still have most of those returns in my storage boxes and cringe with I look at them.
I have been using Turbo Tax for a long time and really like the program and its abilities. It has not messed me up yet.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pretentious Literary Pretentions

Ok, I see myself as an author, or at least a writer. Anyone can write or at least string words together in some sort of order and pass them off as writing. Some so it better than others and some do it very well. Since starting my writing class I have developed a new appreciation for the art and craft of writing. I think I have learned a lot, but need to continue to write in order to maintain my progress.
This last week has not been a good week for stringing words on a cord the putting them on paper as I finally got moved into my den and got back into building models and have been watching House, MD. Work has been stressful in a strange sort of way and I am also looking around at new employment opportunities. The current one would involve moving, something I am not sure I am ready for. This unsettled feeling makes if hard for me to concentrate, let alone write.
Friday I ran into a friend, who put me onto Tin House, a literary journal (that sounds so pretentious) that is published in Oregon. It is good to read these short stories and poems and compare them to what I may or may not want to write. Some of the stories really struck a cord; especially the one about the teenage girl who had just given birth.
My problem is, do I really need another magazine to read? I already get several and usually do not have time to give them justice. Heavy Metal, Wired, BlackPowder Shooting, Military Modeling and The Economist are all good. OK... that is an eclectic reading list, but at least I gave up Playboy. Tin House would probably be a good addition to my list, don't you think?

Saturday, April 7, 2007

TV is Dead... I love TV

I have been watching TV online or via the web. I do not watch any of the normal network TV, or very little of it. I am currently watching House MD on video and have a couple of episodes of TV saved on ITunes. Wired has addressed this in an article.

This is an interesting phenomenon. TV has changed, is changing, will change. We may stop calling it TV in the long run. What will it be called? Vid? I don't know.

TV on demand changes the way we watch in many ways. An example is the ability to watch all of a TV series at one time, like immersion into the series itself. When you watch a series once a week you do not get this immersion. Series could be made differently as well; I am not sure how.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

What IS this guy talking about?

Sometimes I just log on to Blogger and start hitting the Next Blog button. Many times what I find are foreign blogs that I cannot read a word of. Other times I find gems, like this one by a Canadian English instructor doing some sort of stint in China. Carol seems like an intelligent and interesting young lady who does a good job of explaining what is going on and even takes some pretty good pictures.

Then I found this guy, Donald James Simpson/unbalanced

Ack... I have no idea what this guy is about, but some of the stuff is funny, some disturbing and others just plain silly. Why do people write blogs like that? Do they tell their friends about them? How about their bosses?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Could this guy be partially right?

The Luddite likes cities, and so do I, but why?

OK, I grew up in small (and I do mean small) towns. These were towns with the Welcome and Leaving signs on the same sign post of the highway that ran through the outskirts of the town. Pine Bluffs, Wyoming is an example. Not much there. We lived right on the border with Nebraska. To do anything you had to drive to Cheyenne or Laramie; it is probably worse now. I don't think there was an interstate then, just a two lane road.

I love cities. San Francisco, Munich, Seattle, Portland, Amsterdam and others that I have visited or lived in all provide something small towns do not. Small towns are one neighborhood with one identity. You may live on the "south side" of the tracks. In Park River it was the east side of the tracks where the trailer courts were, but you were all from Park River.

In Seattle you are from Magnolia, Capital Hill or West Seattle, you have neighborhood shops, bars, restaurants and architecture that sets you apart from the rest, or a view and character, like Ballard an its Nordic roots. As a result you can live in the city and experience and do many things without leaving the city and traveling a long way. Want to go to China? Go to Chinatown. Want to experience open air markets, go to Pike Street Market (OK, it is covered, but what do expect in Seattle?).

Actually, the guy wants the suburbanite wannabes to leave his city alone, taking our laptops and elitist, commercial attitudes with us. Well, San Fransisco is not like most American cities, having its own chic and reason to exist it would seem. Large cities also have another characteristic: they change. I first visited the Bay area back in the late 80's an early 90's and it was a different city than today, with the Embarcadero and redevelopment of the downtown area. He is much like the people in the small town I live in today, Ketchikan, Alaska. The small blue roofed building in the center of the satellite image is KJ's, the bar my friends and I gather at on Friday night to loosen up, solve the problems of the world and generally make asses of ourselves among friends. Laptops are allowed, but usually become the center of social interaction as we all (all somewhat geeks) look at the latest video or crazy story. The more it changes the better it was before the changes happened, but Ketchikan is a small, century old city on the edge of the Pacific, on an island with the unpronounceable name of Revillagigedo. Try saying that fast five times. It must adapt or die and it is continually adapting.

San Francisco or not, you can still make your own place there, live there and even go to Manila there. Is the Luddite right? I don't know about San Francisco, but in Ketchikan, he is wrong.