Fall Closing In

Underdeveloped pine cone… perhaps.  A bit sticky. (Aug 8 3:53 p.m.)

“School year is fast approaching.”

Time has run quickly this summer.  The whole year has moved so fast, especially the last four months.  Something of it being emotionally short for me… Fewer unique memories to link the timeline together, and less interaction overall.

On the second Wednesday this month, WordPress notified me with that little trophy, that this blog has been up for four years.  Which made it all the more ridiculous when I saw that the blog had gotten zero views in 48 hours. …It reminds me of the potential quantity over quality of adding posts just for the sake of the Congratulations, you hit another 100 milestone.  (This blog has also reached 400 in count, by the way.😉 )

So… zero.  And not the first time. …Write “like no one is reading,” indeed.  Okay, enough blog navel-gazing.

2016 is quite a different year— much different.  Sometimes it has been in my face this year how messy real life is.  And I’m not talking merely of people baring their souls without makeup or “graphic content.”  I’ve seen some the limits of the world at large and small, and what it is to be human, and how natural it is.  Some of it’s beautiful.  But it is all very, very messy.

A virtually hollow, roundish seed… perhaps. (Aug 6 4:48 p.m.)

Still, I don’t have nearly enough of the picture.  We’re all limited by our perceptions… But, for me— as the last time I’ve been off the property was maybe two months ago— the view is like impressions from afar..  I practically missed all of 2016.

That isn’t to say I’m alone in the practice of being absent.  There are times I’ve gone to twitter and found the most recent posting was several months ago… Life goes on.  But it hits me, being so out of the loop, and so out of life.

I used to write things down.  I used to get up, and live.  I used to dream.

Mushroom before the porch, further decayed. (Aug 17 1:39 p.m.)

This year, I feel broken.  I put too much weight on being useful, and people have gone silent.  I’m so dependent.  I tried to get back into the loop— or “re-loop,” but it feels futile.  There isn’t much ‘relating,’ and not much to say on my end because nothing much is happening on my end.  And now it’s the 20th of August.

Time could blur in 2012, but still there was life.  Notable things happened in 2012.  Success may have been a pipe dream, but there was life.  Now I can’t help but think everything is dying. …Technically, I’d be right in a way— none of us are immortal.  We are born; we grow, peak, surrender and die.  But the culture… not looking good.

I miss sleep… proper sleep.  I’m forgetting things like never before— missing count of the passes in my walks, distracted by the “talks” in my head… ruminating, probably suppressing serious thought and memory for a bit of emotional comfort. …Of course, I can’t help but feel things that bring a smile to my face or heart when I think about one person in particular— whose appearance entering the year made 2016 unique. …And now she’s even farther away, geographically… going silent again, where I begin to think about what might have happened… trying not to worry.  She’s her own person, but… it can be hard to let go of someone you love.

Another slow day in a slow year, and I find myself rereading… backlogged emails on missed social media and old messages from a deleted account… emojis, broken pictures and the truncated text of email notifications.  And despite supposed good times, my broken contributions remind me of how empty and damaged I am as a person.  That isn’t at all to say the other is ‘perfect.’  Everyone lies— even your friends, at least to be nice. …Feeling used doesn’t feel nice.  (Hypothetically speaking.)

Blackberries… or blackened wild raspberries? (Aug 20 6:13 p.m.)

…It’s been four years, and I still don’t quite have a voice.  So I kind of blew up, the first Saturday of AugustNo use pretending things are alright.

Some connections are all but gone, replaced with holes dug in not speaking up.  Trying not to harm or offend, or sound self-absorbed, the word count can go up significantly… cut down to virtual grunts… “Distractions” deleted, questions left unasked, and conversations are left in an awkward position.  Things just left there.  It’s awful.  It can even feel as if devaluing the other person, when the purpose was to protect or respect them.  Of course, part of editing is getting rid of inaccurate statements… which makes me sound like a liar that I even typed the words in the first place.

Add the perception of absence when someone is unable to speak (properly)… One or both people assume that they aren’t there or are uninterested… it can feel like a communication death spiral— where the connection is perpetually lost.

“Fools,” said I, “You do not know.”
Silence, like a cancer, grows.
The Sound of Silence

Silence really can be like a cancer.  I never had anyone to talk to— not really— in-depth and uncensored… which makes my ‘experience’ easily overwhelming.  That’s why I’m damaged, ultimately.  An example of someone who wasn’t lucky enough to have people in his life, friendly or not.  Forget loneliness— the absence of others can make you feel worthless.

…It works both ways, of course.  I’m not special.  I’ve come across people that have found themselves “unworthy” or “dying inside.”  I can empathize, first hand.  You know you can talk to me, I would think.  But I say nothing, unable to articulate “the right words.”  Would it benefit him if I spoke up?  She turned down talking to me before; why would she talk now? …I’m too toxic.  I’m too immature.  I keep to myself, partly out of “respect.”

Yellowing of the season. (Aug 20 6:11 p.m.)

…Anyway.  It’s been four years on WordPress.  I don’t even want to begin to think about another four… so much backlog of words.  I’m surprised I’ve survived this far.😉

…And to anyone reading this who feels horribly alone: you can talk to me.

A candidate with a good record this election year

Gary Johnson—June 20, 2012
He comes in peace. (Image source: Wikipedia/Flickr)

I’m sure there will be people questioning my sanity in considering Gary Johnson for President in this election cycle… but you can’t deny the unfavorable numbers for the other two in the polls— “the two most unpopular nominees in the history of polling.”

Crappy candidates have produced low turn for decades, and some people say it doesn’t matter much who gets into office.  The bureaucrats behind the scenes don’t switch parties.  True, but that doesn’t mean we stay at home, does it?  As responsible citizens we must do what is right— to believe in better, to educate ourselves and fight for better, even if we lose the battle.  ’Cause otherwise, we deserve less for our less.

I’ll show you my cards in saying I’m not terribly enthusiastic about Johnson; he’s said some things that sound stuck in 2006.  (Invading Iraq was a bad idea; we get it.)  He wasn’t the strongest candidate in the 2012 Presidential election— a distant third place, at 0.99%.

This election year, he has improved.  And out of the leading four in national polls (with Jill Stein polling fourth), I have to say Johnson/Weld is the best choice.  How?  First, the two governors have proven themselves. …Just the fact that they were governors, while Clinton and Trump have zero governing experience at the helm, in an election cycle where substance is severely lacking… it’s more than enough to have a good look.

Bill Weld. (Image source: Tina Fineberg/The Boston Globe)

William F. Weld, running for VP on the Johnson/Weld ticket, was so popular as governor of Massachusetts (1991-1997) that he got 71% of the vote in his second term reelection.  In an article by The Boston Globe (in which RNC people laughed him off), “Weld began his career working for the House impeachment committee investigating President Richard Nixon and later served as US attorney for Massachusetts in the 1980s.”  Someone that makes you think of John Kerry— but not beholden to party, and much better in overall character, some even speak more favorably of Weld than Johnson. …Okay, so Weld’s a bit pink in skin tone… but he has a nice record.

Gary Earl Johnson, running for President, also hit the two-term limit, and made a surplus in New Mexico by vetoing excess spending.  His admirable qualities won’t fit in one page, but I can briefly say that he’s gone the distance.  At 63 years of age, he has not only climbed Mt. Everest, but all of the Seven Summits in the world… His athletic climbs were not without frostbite, breaking a leg and losing an inch and a half in an unrelated accident, but you just know he’s determined.  You can get a glimpse of how athletic he is on the Wikipedia page: “an avid triathlete who bikes extensively. … During his [time] in office, he competed in several triathlons, marathons and bike races.”  (He’s known to swim too.)

The two former Republicans have proven themselves capable, and are on the ballot in all fifty states.  But it shows you how rigged the FEC-and-media two-party system is that Johnson/Weld might not even appear at the debates because they haven’t, so far, polled at least 15% on average as required by the Federal Elections Committee.  Before the Republican convention, they averaged 13%.

And while some settle with the rules, I’ll rightfully dissent.

Just as there’s nothing Constitutional about the FCC fining broadcasters for indecency, there is nothing Constitutional about the FEC penalizing media for including other candidates in debates.  Rigged is a strong word, but it is.  You couldn’t even print a buried endorsement in a book without potentially being fined by the FEC until the Supreme Court recognized the First Amendment issue in the Citizens United case, a case misunderstood by many.  The FEC is composed of Democrats and Republicans.  And 15% mathematically means less than seven options and usually only two voices heard across party lines.

The news media?  Their constituents aren’t so much members of the audience but shares in ratings, respect with the establishment, and respect in the media circle… otherwise known as the closed media circle.  It’s a business, after all.  Anchors are groomed on how well they can stick to a script, and the consequences of a given network’s favored candidate getting elected are regularly overlooked.

The public at large, indoctrinated for so long, is undoubtedly unsure about third party candidates.

On twitter (and why do I bother), someone called Johnson ‘insane’ (with some extra salty language) for agreeing with Trump on the grounds that the current administration promoted the existence of ISIS.  That’s just something I would have to call fact.  The Bush administration created a power vacuum in overthrowing Saddam Husein, and the Obama admin. destabilized the region even further by arming anti-Syrian militants and toppling Qaddafi in north Africa, creating another power vacuum.

When Trump doubled-down on his wording, saying Obama literally founded ISIS (because ‘founder of ISIS’ got so much applause), radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt offered better language.  And that’s where Donald soon revealed his secret.  The media won’t “talk about your language, and they do talk about my language, right?”  To an extent that’s true; the media put “what sells” on the cover, even if the controversy is baseless.  And so The Donald plays the media by provoking controversies, even out of nothing at all if his overplayed “Second Amendment people” comments says something.

(To be honest, when I first heard the “Second Amendment people” sound bite, I found the comment innocuous.  I had tuned in suddenly and wasn’t prepped by a narrative.  Thankfully, CNN’s all-day impression of conscience was interrupted by a man attempting to climb Trump Tower, with suction cups.)

And so little coverage goes to the candidates who aren’t controversial.  Even in a slow news week, the third party candidates are ignored or dismissed.  Or both.

‘But he won’t be elected’— the leading reason why Johnson/Weld may not win.  Not so much an actual reason, but unsubstantial political popularity— partly lines, misunderstandings and a whole lot of complacency.

Still, Johnson resonates when people hear what he’s about.

“Most Americans are libertarians.  They just don’t know it yet.”

The contrast between Johnson/Weld and the others is huge.

Gary Johnson is naturally pro-Constitution as it stands for individual liberty— what it really means to be libertarian.  He is fiscally conservative and socially liberal; he naturally supports the rights of everyone, is against meddling in foreign lands, and supports authentic capitalism (as opposed to crony capitalism).  And unlike many Libertarians (with a capital L), his positions are so reasonable that they outshine the positions of his competition.  His record shows: chances are he would reduce the national deficit, if not eliminate it, in a time we desperately need to get the national debt under control.  The same cannot be said about Clinton or Trump, who are partial about the American public, already weak and irresponsible on matters of national security and foreign policy, and carry major bills in their camp promises.

“They have people over there, like Maggie Haberman and others, they don't — they don't write good.” (Image source: twitter/Getty)
“They have people over there, like Maggie Haberman and others, they don’t— they don’t write good.”—Donald Trump on the New York Times. (Image source: twitter/CNNMoney/Getty)

Donald Trump has lowered the standards for a politician.  Ostentatious “like you wouldn’t believe” and what the Republicans warned about in Barack Obama, supporters have been put in a position of having to constantly forgive him, and, with fear of Clinton getting elected due to a “spoiler,” generated bigger double-standards.  One Trump supporter called Gary Johnson foul-mouthed for calling Trump a “pussy,” twice.  …Compared to Trump, who has made dick joke(s) and publicly cursed on the campaign trail a number of times, saying he would “bomb the shit out of ISIS.”  Instead of proving himself as a candidate, Trump has picked at the flaws of others like a bully and made fun of Chris Christie’s weight for reality TV humor.

Gary withdrew his word usage… unlike Donald, who never apologizes.  The list goes on for what the Rs have to answer for, but I know— Trump supporters don’t care all that much so long as he speaks his mind with apparent transparency.

…Notice that I said apparent transparency.  How offensive the guy is is not the bigger problem.  Trump isn’t transparent.  And the red flags in his behavior are glaring.  He meets the criteria of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and, in the attempt at a biography, shown himself incapable of talking about his childhood without lying— always self-aggrandizing because of a deep-seated insecurity, indicating that he does not believe he can succeed without manipulating people.  Establishment or not, he is a politician— of the worst kind.

In July, Tony Schwartz, ghostwriter of The Art of the Deal, rung the alarm bells, telling The New Yorker that he feels “deep remorse” in writing The Art.  Schwartz said he had financial difficulties, and probably wouldn’t have written it otherwise.  He had to sell Trump in a non-negative light— and what an exceptionally difficult task that was.  The reality is: Trump is not a successful business man; he has mismanaged business to the point of bankruptcy, having survived by parachuting millions out to himself, shifting much of the risk onto investors, coming out the other end because of the myth of Trump.  There is no chance that he will disclose his taxes because the unvarnished picture is… not so great.

Trump may be able to use his non-establishment charisma to rally the public enough to get the nomination in the Republican party among a list of exhausted choices, but one of his biggest flaws may likely cost him the election, if not drop out: He can’t be bothered.  Biases and inaccuracies aside, articles that seriously look into the character of Trump revealed that he has a surprisingly low attention span, and can’t be bothered to be improve his knowledge on the issues, apart from television and “internet” news.  One of his children even said that Donald hasn’t read a book in thirty years.  Even George W. Bush— who was ridiculed for ‘lack of intellect’— reads.  Currently, Trump is losing double digits to Clinton in swing states, and the number of swing states has grown, partly because… he can’t be bothered.

No, I want to debate.  I want to debate.

That isn’t to say Hillary Clinton is better.  Clinton is status quo at best, not to mention mismanagement on steroids when it comes to matters of foreign policy.  (As far as I can tell.)

“There is no one worse than Hillary Clinton… except Donald Trump.”— Penn Jillette, who has endorsed Johnson for President.

Unlike President Obama, Clinton is extremely reserved and hides from the press.  (Another form of can’t be bothered?😉 )  She has bent the truth pathologically, and gave inaccurate info to the FBI during the email scandal in which she took email storage into her own hands as Secretary of State.  She stated that director James Comey said she was “truthful.”  (Four Pinochios.)  Telling tall tales for entertainment is one thing (excusable), but lying to the families of those who died in the Benghazi attacks while telling her daughter the truth?  Sincerity is the last thing we can expect from her… so how much transparency would she ever actually offer as President?

The appearance of Time Kaine was refreshing.  Plus, he speaks Spanish. (Image source: ABC News/Andrew Harnik for the Associated Press)

A new email leak, and “pay for play” hit the headlines… The Clintons made money in speaking engagements, where it is alleged that they change positions based on who pays them.  Of course, getting paid to speak alone isn’t wrong or bad.  But $2 billion is a bit much for a family-name Foundation that began only 15 years ago.

Sure, Clinton represents the average worker, with no hypocrisy or conflict of interest… if you ignore campaign and Foundation donors that include Arab Sheiks, African mining magnates and Wall Street firms… and acting on “urgent suggestions” from George Soros, a hedge fund billionaire who’s made money off of the collapse of several economies and someone’s she’s connected to via the Secretary of State project… Nah, she points fingers and alienates voters like everybody else.

Bernie Sanders sure rubbed off on her leading up to the Democratic convention that she’s promising lots of new freebies the federal budget can’t afford… not without raising taxes, of course.  Lots of good ideas.

Out-of-control debt spending: the other norm of norms in this day of age.

That isn’t to say the Republican nominee would be better in spending, with large tax cut proposals without budget cuts.  Either way, the national debt will hit $20 trillion by next year.

Could the picture get even more nightmarish?  (Why, yes.  Yes it can.)

Politicians tend to betray not just the people, but the soldiers on the ground— something George Washington experienced firsthand.  So you’d better at least try to have a candidate who cares enough to be honest and loyal when it counts the most.

In short, I don’t trust Clinton or Trump.

Gary Johnson has a good record.  He isn’t a noise maker, and he isn’t controlled by special interests.  There isn’t much more to say about him because his negatives are so few.  He is known to be the same person on and off the stage… There is real, positive reason to vote his way.

Of course, I know voting antagonistically won’t affect change.  I mean, if every one is voting for the “other” of only two, don’t the numbers even out?

“I’m supporting Clinton because she’s not Trump.”
“I’m supporting Trump because he’s not Clinton.”

Vote for what and whom you can believe in. …And prepare for the possible outcomes.

Image source: twitter.

Feel free to voice your opinion here.

A Midsummer Night (and day)

Strange berries… anyone? (July 31 5:14 p.m.)

So it’s now the day that is dead center in the season, August 6.  The middle of summer.  Another definition places ‘midsummer’ at the peak of the year— the beginning of summer on the calendar. …And the Olympics are probably still kicking off the opening ceremony on NBC.  (Tanzania appeared as late as 3:59 a.m. EDT.)

De-saturated leaves (July 31 5:17 p.m.)

The yellowing and browning of some of the leaves out there has become more pronounced.

(Aug 3 4:15 p.m.)

Acorns have dropped, and wild raspberry plants have appeared.

(Aug 3 4:14 p.m.)

Maybe the wild raspberries have been here all along, and I haven’t noticed.  After all, I didn’t notice The Donald had appeared in Portland, Maine Thursday… ejecting protesters holding up pocket Constitutions. …I certainly noticed something clinging to my leg Friday Continue reading A Midsummer Night (and day)

Summer photos…of the not-so-ordinary kind

(July 25 7:28 p.m.)

So I’ve been stuck at home, and not getting any real sleep. …Yeah, the heat has gotten to me. …And the nightmare that is the election season, here in the U.S.  (And sorry for inserting politics into a photography post. …Even though it’s true.)

(July 22 11:46 a.m.)

It’s only been in the 80s Fahrenheit, here in Maine, compared to the 90s around the convention sites—hot enough to deter protesters.  It’s daily heat, though.  Sweating.  Every day.  A tiny fan on an L.L. Bean box doesn’t do much, if you can believe it.

Some yellow spotting.  Almost like paint. (July 22 11:52 a.m.)

Greens and bird song like a jungle, and flies that are always getting at my ears. …I did see what was presumably the young chipmunk my mother saw.

(July 20 2:59 p.m.)

One thing I noticed during the season are the birch bark shreds. Continue reading Summer photos…of the not-so-ordinary kind

Of Fear and Trust

Note: This is going to be a controversial post… not that my writing ever draws any attention.

‘We have a problem,’ I read one day, on social media.  ‘The dehumanizing.’ …But the detail of the text was misinformed, as too often generalized posts on twitter are.

It was the first Thursday of the month, the day the Reynolds video went viral.  A video that, as slow and horrific as it was, saddened me.  Philando Castile, 32, was fatally wounded in a traffic stop, and “Diamond” Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, live-streamed the aftermath the previous day.  It was emotional.  News outlets warned viewers before showing the video as it included Reynolds briefly conversing with a child in the back, and Castile’s shirt soaking in blood, the man fading away.  (He was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center, but to the viewer it may appear that he died in the car.)

The recording of the Facebook video was at first taken down, but restored early Thursday.  “GRAPHIC CONTENT” trended on twitter.  (Warning: there are unrelated tweets on the GRAPHIC CONTENT timeline that are seriously graphic.)

I was surprised that the officers allowed Reynolds to cover what she did, considering there have been other, less violent scenes where officers demanded bystanders stop recording, and laws enacted in some states that prohibit recording police at the scene at all.  That seemed unusual to me about the video.

It was obvious that the driver showed no indication of harming the officer.  In Minnesota, a state that allows open-carry (with a license), Reynolds informed the police officer that Castile was carrying a permitted firearm… So the early picture that developed was: a law-abiding man reaching for his wallet, shot multiple times.

“He worked an honest job five days a week,” his mother, Valerie, told CNN Thursday.  He worked as a cafeteria supervisor.

It’s sad news like this that promotes the more valid point of #BlackLivesMatter, that black Americans have the rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness like any other citizen, with more than enough proof that show many police are implicitly trained with a bias that black men are seen and treated as a threat first… Tim Scott, a GOP Senator, had to prove his identity despite wearing a pin that immediately identified himself as a Senator.

Still, there are other parts of the equation that reveal a certain ignorance in this country.  Between the sweat and the news that morning (it was relatively hot in Maine the day prior), I was reminded of California Gov. Brown signing gun bills with retroactive effects, and the comments in social media that show how disconnected we all are, in some way or another.

I was reminded the fact that many of the fears people have are exaggerated.  The officer who shot Castile, who is of Chinese descent (according to Reynolds), was likely terrified.  The probability of anything happening if he hadn’t fired was low; it was after Castile’s death that he was put on paid administrative leave, as standard procedure.

If it wasn’t for the fear, Castile would probably still be alive.  And, supposedly, if his gun rights were respected, he would still be alive.  The same with Alton Sterling, another victim that week.  There is a real problem here.

…But the picture is never as simple as we’re told to believe.

First, Thursday made me see, in terms of race, how skewered gun control is.  The demographics are split, according to a CNN poll.  (The poll also indicates that three out of ten don’t understand law.)  But public perceptions have contributed to saddening articles like “White & Black, A History of Gun Control for Black People.”  (The article also adds more reason to not to trust the NRA, an organization once known for training freed black men in post-Civil War America to defend themselves against pro-slavery remnants like the Klan.)  So, not only did the Clinton administration promote conservative policies that contributed to the twenty-five-fold increase of prison admissions for black Americans for drug offenses between 1983 and 2000, but there’s a whole history of policies promoted with, in mind, the very fear of black men baring arms.  (Apologies if the last link doesn’t work— I’ve been getting an “encoding compression” error trying to load the page I was able to read a while back.)

It was in my further reading that I caught one way of reducing gun violence, one that has actually shown to work.

In the 1990s, there was a program called “Ceasefire,” which targets to help young people, in breaking up feudal violence.  Shown to have an effect on reducing gun violence in inner-cities, in two years Ceasefire apparently reduced the average youth homicide rates by 63%.  That isn’t to say this program is a one-size-fits-all solution, but there’s something remarkable when there’s a community that works, the crime rates are effectively low and the police better know the actual problem areas.

The Rev. Jeff Brown, one of the ministers who worked on the project, remembers people were outside more, barbecuing in the park. At Halloween, kids were able to trick-or-treat on the streets again.

So why don’t we hear about this program today?  Because the conversation is drowned out by the noise and demands of lobbyists and national politics in the media circle, particularly massacres in suburban areas, which represent less than 1% of the gun homicide stats overall.  “The national groups that spend the most money and do the most advocacy related to gun violence have concentrated almost exclusively on passing stricter gun control laws.”  Liberals and conservatives alike tend to oversimplify what Ceasefire addresses as “urban,” effectively reducing what the program targets as “a minority problem.”  Inner-city violence is higher in the stats, so… deliberately do nothing?  The media are no better, with the breakdown of the black family narrative in the Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post sticking its own coverage into the category “Black Voices”… Black Voices written by white progressives.  And so these programs, which tend to actually help, have trouble in getting the necessary funding from Congress to get off the ground.

“Such initiatives … fit into no political camp and thus have few powerful champions.”  Focused deterrence— what academics call Ceasefire and similar approaches— “challenges the orthodoxy on both sides. It makes everybody uncomfortable.”  Boston’s own effort fell apart in 2000 (according to research), and feudal crime crept up again.

…Skip to recent years, where news coverage has become noticeably lacking.

It wasn’t until the following Saturday this July, hours after a cold army reservist retaliated to “the news” in Dallas, that I looked at alternative news sources in the Castile case.  I was missing a big part of the picture.

There were details in the Reynolds video that didn’t add up.  It wasn’t some ordinary traffic stop, as alleged.  (A ‘busted taillight’ added to the emotional outrage.)  A store was robbed approximately four blocks from the traffic stop, and Castile, to a degree, resembled the suspect.  Store camera footage and the police audio for the stop made that clear, and in such cases, an approaching officer may not state the actual reason for pulling a someone over to avoid escalating potential violence should the person be the suspect.  The officer clearly saw himself in danger.  But once a story snowballs, it’s hard to roll back.

The press appeared to take Reynolds at her every word.  And, surprise, the two adults in the car are very flawed people.  Reynolds lied about details on her Facebook page (which isn’t all that uncommon), and photos of a few years back revealed a different Castile giving the finger multiple times and flashing Crip gang signs, among other behaviors.  (Member or not, there’s no way you can flash gang signs without getting into trouble.) …I know you don’t want to tarnish the victim, but… there’s “a man turning his life around,” and then there’s scrubbing a person’s character clean.

Yes, we all have our flaws; believing otherwise is delusional. …And the illusions of the press are exposed every so often with hoaxes.

So we do have a problem: a narrative problem.  A dishonesty problem that has promoted fears on all sides, and has exhausted police departments with protests, not to mention Molotov cocktails.
Continue reading Of Fear and Trust

Summer update

(June 30 4:13 p.m.)

Well, the flowers are back at USM Portland.

(June 30 4:12 p.m.)

…Flowers that don’t seem native to Maine. …Not that I would know.

(June 30 4:13 p.m.)
(June 30 4:13 p.m.)

Back at home, the ‘wilted’ wild flower bloomed…

(June 29 1:25 p.m.)

…Before shedding all of its petals.

(July 3 3:20 p.m.)
(July 4 12:10 p.m.)
Now TIQA Café and Bakery. (June 30 4:31 p.m.)

In other things, the 1894 Castle in Deering Oaks Park has now become the operating sight of a new café and bakery.  For the official website, click here.

Continue reading Summer update

That Little Thing Called Representation

Now that the dust has settled with Brexit, people can stand back and look at it without panicking.  Some of the short-term ripple effects of the referendum outcome are past us; many markets have rebounded, but there are still long-term consequences.  The GB pound was set back over thirty years against the U.S. dollar, and has yet to fully recover.  Without certainty, volatility— those are things you want to avoid in the markets.

The word ‘tariff’ came up, in regards to Britain trading with its neighbors.  I don’t remember the last time I heard that word.  Debt is another issue of the times, particularly with Greece.  After all, Brexit was coined after Grexit (Greek exit). …Which reminds me: the Puerto Rico “rescue” bill was passed and signed.  PROMESA, it’s cool… if you don’t look at the reality surrounding it.  Non-English speaking people getting disability for not speaking English, executive orders and 99% underfunded public pension money

…But back to the U.K.

Why did it happen?  Why did the majority of turnout (and a large turnout) vote to leave the E.U.?  You’ve probably already heard answers from news media by now.  And those surprised by what happened, well… It’s easy for narrative-driven publications to be surprised by the events that unfolded— to be surprised by actual news due to distorted views.  Don’t get me wrong, I had no idea which way it was gonna go.  But it’s not hard to figure out why, when it happened.
Continue reading That Little Thing Called Representation

First week of summer… mostly indoors

Fresh raindrops on fat leaves.  Thunderstorms in the state, yay😐 (June 21 8:11 a.m.)

The first week of the season has been nuts. …Not where I live, of course; I’m talking ’about Brexit… which sounds like a cereal.  (I mean, I try to pronounce the word, and it takes some effort not to say ‘breakfast,’ haha.)  Half of the British population felt it wasn’t being represented (and it wasn’t), so their turnout pushed the vote over 50% for the U.K. to leave the European Union.  Immigration was a key issue, but all that happened so far was that the GB pound got trashed— losing over thirty years against the U.S. dollar, and a loss of 12% on the FTSE 250 in only 15 minutes Friday.  (Now that’s a crash.) …I’m not going to miss David Cameron.

(June 27 1:42 p.m.)

That isn’t to say nothing happened over here.  You can see the wild flower, pictured above (barely visible in the center of the image), has… wilted.  I’m not sure if it’s the same one as a previously posted one, earlier in the month:

(June 3 3:48 p.m.)
(June 27 1:41 p.m.)

The vegetation has filled the path to the back yard.

Unfortunately, that’s all I have for summer photos in the real world.

(June 8 7:28 p.m.)

It was rather green for all of June.  Not much has changed on the visual, outside, so it would just be more photos of leaves.  So on to the indoors part.

Part of my time away has been that I’ve been working a lot on my own graphics software.  (If you haven’t noticed: I’m a programmer.)  It’s gotten so advanced now that I might actually be able to program my own color-correcting software so I don’t have to use the Mac emulator.  Building on the native platform would seriously speed up the process, as well as accuracy— 10 bits per channel instead of 8, out-of-the-box.  I’m only a handful of steps away.  The ordinary person, of course, would just use Photoshop or something to correct photos, but I I can’t afford that. …Then again, time costs money too… Crap.

Whatever.  My accomplishments stand on their own.  From emulating the math for matching results in rendering, to reading GIF and modern JPEG files… It sounds like already-been-done-before stuff, but I’ve brought classic code to the present.  Ever wanted to port an old game to run on a modern OS?  I did that. …And I missed a lot of sleep in the process.  I’ve said I’m surprised I’m still alive a few times. …Completing adequate PICT and popup drawing, I hit a point of adequacy for my Marathon port, so I can sleep now.

The software isn’t everything, of course.  I may be a hermit, but I still catch up on my TV shows.  I’m caught up on all the previous seasons of Orphan Black, Silicon Valley, The Americans, and just began to get into Vinyl, which, beyond the obvious fiction, is worth trying… even though HBO canceled it.  Go to rehab, kids.

Fans were disappointed when Castle was canceled, back in May.  And so was I, considering I find so much of the content on TV “unwatchable.”  At least Castle was tolerable. …And HBO hasn’t canceled Silicon Valley… yet.  (Some awesome behind-the-scenes DVD commentary for season two.)  Found a few fake websites set up for the show’s website.:)

…Fictional… Yeah, all of these shows, no matter how good, are still very much fiction.  Silicon Valley may have elements based on reality, but it makes me think of Star Trek’s Heisenberg compensator that we still haven’t actually seen any of the magical guts that make Pied Piper’s compression algorithm revolutionary.

In summary, with Richard’s near-deletion of Pied Piper, Breakfast Brexit and my software, it shows that you really don’t want to “bugger all” and “go it alone” without adequate support… not that I had much choice growing up.  (Reaching out is so extraordinarily difficult for me.)  Still, if you want something done right, you may as well do it yourself.  Just don’t make a dramatic exit.

Impressions of Summer

(Shot through the screened kitchen window.) (May 31 11:10 a.m.)

One month is all it took for the plant life around the house to become thick with leaves, turning the light entering the house green… not to mention the warmer temperatures.

The flippin’ caterpillars are out.  (A few rainy days, too.) (June 3 3:47 p.m.)

…And the insects were all over the scene.

Tiny flies, attaching themselves to the leaves… (June 6 7:09 p.m.)

The flowers need pollinating, of course.  Which brings to mind the fact that the bees are out.  Didn’t get any non-blurry images of those.
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Lessons from the land of Codec

Codec: short for “compressor/decompressor.”

This post accounts for my efforts with sound compression as of late. …It gets a little technical… just a little.  But a Long Read, nonetheless.  (Also, keep in mind that my advice is not professional; follow it at your own risk.)

It’s always great when I get a new CD— songs I’ve never heard or heard at full quality with good equalization… or never got the chance to analyze… to just… have.  From The Beatles (of course) to Simon & Garfunkel, and even music samplers… to be honest, I don’t have very many albums.  But when it comes to what I have, I would rather have the best quality.
Continue reading Lessons from the land of Codec