Posted in Personal on October 15th, 2010 by byronkho

Captain Fred.

Hooray! Going to sea!

Cleaning sea spray off my glasses.

Rainbow spout!

Whale going back down.

A celebratory meal of ridiculously good (and cheap) fish and chips. Then mad dash in the car to South station.


Posted in Personal on October 15th, 2010 by byronkho

Amtrak for the first time in years. It’s quick and direct, but pricy… but the best way of getting to Hartford from Philly without undue stress. Hartford downtown is all right. Some shitty restaurants, some okay bars, a nice park, a gold-leaf covered state capitol (which does look really nice), a nice (though small) art museum with some GREAT examples of the Hudson River Valley school. Lisa has some nice coworkers at her job, a nice office, a nice apartment in West Hartford (if I’m remembering correctly). She’s just moved into a new place, having come from an area all the way across the city and far away from all her friends. Much happier to be where she is now, close to a burger bar with good burgers and good beer (Plan B!) and a Mexican joint with cheap margarita Monday specials (meaning she can get trashed and get home safely without driving) and so close to her friends that they can all party together and not worry about transportation either. Her roommate has hardly moved in yet… but mainly because she’s staying with her boyfriend at a large house a block away where those two stay downstairs and a whole other bunch of their friends live upstairs. Party house indeed.

Went to a bar not too far away with a few random people – an engineer at some aeronautics firm, a few actuaries, etc. Even though most of these peeps were making bank, they all lived in relatively cheap housing with tons of people mainly to save themselves from loneliness. Cool with me. They look like they’re having fun, not living like pigs like in college, and doing well in their careers. I had one disastrous game of pool and then made up for it with a few amazing games. Guess I needed a few more Jameson shots in me to unrust these old bones. Lisa’s crazy cat waiting for us when we got back. My cat is much easier to love, mainly because it doesn’t hiss like a banshee when I try to pet it. Stupid Fliou. A cat only his owner could love, I guess :) It’s a Moroccan cat, a fact any vet can apparently tell on quick glance. I couldn’t tell, looks the same like most other cats I’ve seen.

Early morning brunch! A very responsible and obviously comfortable couple that looked great together. Also made good food. The girl I called by the wrong name upon leaving; she was very gracious though and didn’t point it out. I figured that out after I left and was like oh…. crap. At least it was a variation on her actual name. Two new graduates living downstairs were amusing to watch. Very sheltered though. They were all excited about meeting all kinds of new people with such wide life experience – the dude especially was blown away, having only lived in Hartford his whole life and never been anywhere. Both working waiter jobs with great tips but unwilling to take a chance on exploring the country or world. We were all like, this is the only time you have. Do it now when you don’t have responsibilities and have to settle yourself into a career ladder. Working in family restaurants isn’t a career ladder. Watched the West Hartford Parade! Apparently started 18 years ago or something when they did a whole bunch of construction and then held a parade to lure business back to the town center. They loved it so much they kept doing it every year. Clowns, country bands, majorettes, cheerleaders, boy scouts, car insurance shills. It was fun. Hiking! Drove with a Korean friend of Lisa’s to a mountain… well, more of a hill, but high enough to be some work. Great views, a few falcons, and then we climbed the tower at the top. The tower apparently first belonged to an immigrant family who created and distributed A-1 sauces and ready-made cocktails, and then opened a hotel and did major liquor distribution for other brands like Smirnoff and such. Eisenhower was offered a presidential bid while at a party in the tower. Took the long and steep way down, after a relaxing lie-in on a rock in the hot sun overlooking miles and miles of beautiful CT countryside with some colors showing.

My frozen raspberry, gin and Sprite/ginger ale drink was a success. A few beers with a guy who works for a company that makes lights for military ships, his girlfriend who has went to grad school and has 3 degrees, and now teaches Latin at some CT high school. Had some lively debates with her over education, Davis Guggenheim, philosophy. We ditched the boyfriend and went to dinner at some Japanese joint with a crazy couple. Actually, only the girl was crazy. One drink and was highly amusing, though her boyfriend (who is a strict teetotaler) was not amused. Back to the house for more booze, Grey’s Anatomy (blecch), Community, dudes talking about video games, hookah, and then finally more cat time. Crazy girl meets crazy cat. That was funny, and destined for disaster until boyfriend packed crazy girl out the door.

Breakfast at a nearby diner with great black raspberry ice cream. Last minute goodbyes, and then on the train to make it to rehearsal on time. Great weekend. No pictures yet – maybe Lisa has some.

Things change.

Posted in Opinion on October 14th, 2010 by byronkho

Anna Chapman is working for the Russian FSB again. The FundServiceBank, that is.

It’s legal for law enforcement to secretly place a tracking device on a suspect’s car without getting a warrant, even if the car is parked in a private driveway. I don’t like that. Stupid courts and their stupid decisions. Much like the Supreme Court removing limitations on corporate donations to candidates. Stupid! The (yes, extreme) end result of decisions like these are to have police states or corporate-run states. I think I’ve seen a bunch of movies with that kind of dystopian future. The hero always blows shit up and starts a revolution on those soulless societies. Sometimes it’s easier to be a libertarian.

Katy Perry on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show? As amazing as that is, it can’t beat salacious Katy Perry on Sesame Street. (Though WTF on her getup. Hot clevage but is that like a wedding dress? ELMO PLAYING TAG!!! Yeah, good decision to drop the episode. Getting a little turned on while watching Sesame Street just feels WAY wrong. But easy solution, guys. Put some clothes on and refilm. Yeah.)

Head of GCHQ announces that Internet cybercrime is a growing threat to the stability of the UK. Duh. However, the import is that a) it’s the first time a GCHQ head has spoken in public, b) the GCHQ knows what they’re doing and c) it comes right before a large-scale joint EU exercise in November meant to test cybersecurity. Interpol head has been crowing about the same topic for the past year (and then got his identity stolen) but that’s a organization dedicated to combating crime. GCHQ is sigint and a very, very private intelligence agency. – much like the NSA coming out and giving public speeches on its current threats, the very idea of which would be ludicrous. The text is redundant but the medium isn’t: there’s something really important in there for the politicos and technocrats and military strategists to take care of.

Army covering up the work of sadists and stoners in Afghanistan. Wow, what a surprise. I’m surprised they just did an immunity for silence deal for the whistleblower rather than a silence-him deal. In fact, it might have been easier for them if the sadists had just killed the whistleblower instead of giving him a bigass beatdown. Too late, Army – the cat’s out of the bag. I guess this resolution is the best thing they could do. However… they still have to followup and court-martial the platoon with public announcements of the punishments, even if they keep the proceedings and evidence private. Pretty sure they can do that; military trials usually don’t get any extensive press. And by the way, random murders of civilians which are then posed to look like combat kills, and then taking proud photos and keeping body parts… for a stateside psycho, 5 life sentences is about par. Or perhaps letting them loose, unarmed and friendless, among the relatives of those random civilians.

UFO over NYC. Ooh. And then Air Force officers alleging UFOs deactivated nuclear weapons at a base in the 1960s. Ooh. US government saying that UFOs are not a threat to national security. Um, they are an unknown. We don’t know if they exist, and if they do, we know little about them. And we don’t know anything about space politics, if that exists either. So who’s the fool saying they’re not a threat to national security? We can only say that about any group after we’ve infiltrated them and learned all about their motivations, members and future plans. Hmm. So the possibility exists that this has happened already. Aliens are among us!

More data caps by network providers. Ugh, some more nonsense from those guys. First, it only affects people in cities because cell coverage in the rest of the US sucks ass. On a side note, I’m still waiting for the US to upgrade infrastructure, telecommunications AND transportation. Like really. Fiberoptic coverage of major cities is not great, and that’s an embarrassment (Hello? Can you hear me now? I still can’t get FIOS in downtown Philly. Asshats.). Our highways and bridges and other public areas need extensive reshoring or rebuilding, transportation delays waste billions of dollars from businesses every year (something those high speed trains could solve… ahem, California) and there’s no money. I was gonna say Afghanistan was helping waste money… but then it’s an eye on Iran, Pakistan and the -stans of the former USSR. Which are all vitally important gateways to oil and access to oil. And then who knows, the US may even secretly be getting a cut on the heroin and opium coming out of Afghanistan “right under our noses.” But I digress. Second, US markets are all excited about all these new products and companies that expand data usage but then don’t make it actually supportable. I guess this is what government is for – to help foster innovation but force it to be useful and affordable for the masses. Not that it will actually do it. Ugh, I was meaning to be coherent but my attention is wandering.

Martin “Mengele” Seligman and Positive Psychology Center at Penn awarded a $31 million no-bid contract to explore “resilience training.” From the guy that provided the okay on torture from the science perspective (which consequently ended up with legalized waterboarding and all that fun stuff), the Army will learn how to better hold out against torture from the enemy. It actually does make sense. It might be money well spent. Yeah, Penn. This is how you show the world what you stand for.

Agreed? Agreed.

Meg Whitman is a whore. Yes, I said it. I agree with it. I agree with it in the sense that she takes money and does what’s asked of her in exchange for the money. In that sense, we’re all whores. I don’t believe that she is the kind of whore that takes money for sex (though I really can’t prove that… because she might). The context the insult was used clearly points out the first usage (paid to shill), so feminists should sit down. People who are incensed by the use of rough language should note that whore has a popular usage (media whore, for example) that other swear words don’t. For example, if somebody said, “Meg Whitman is a cunt,” then feminists and prudish citizens (and Meg Whitman) SHOULD be angry. The least persuasive argument here (though not any less valid to me) is that the word was used as part of a private conversation, and not intended to be part of the discussion with the police union reps. So whatever, what you say in private is your own business and who cares. All I care about (in regard to any politician, especially) is what you actually do. Actions speak louder than words.

Farewell, Dollhouse. You were a shitty show but you had Eliza Dushku.