Friday, March 29, 2013

All Hail The Night Lord!

I've just become sole ruler of the night.

As you may remember from previous posts detailing the seemingly-never-ending war for hegemony at work over the past couple of years, I've had to share the throne of Night Ruler with my arch-nemesis June.

Well not anymore.

Ironically, on the cusp of her plans to give notice since she was moving back to New York in a few weeks time, she just got fired. The old Task Master got to her. Susan? No, the real Task Master...the time clock.

She'd pushed the proverbial buttons of the punctuality-above-everything mindset management team one too many times.

Too bad really. In fact, she and I had come to a solid (more or less) truce of sorts over the last few months and it was at least an imitation of civility and compatibility we'd maintained. It was faux comfortable even.

Looks like the moron David will take her place. He's more putty in my hands than even hapless Eric.

I will be a good master. Fair and just.

But I will no doubt need to convey, if not in the exact words of the following quote, the same sentiment to each:

"Any of you fucking pricks move, and I'll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!"

Ten points if you know what movie that's from.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Love Plus Love Equals...

Speaking of math, here's a very simple equation.

Love + Love = Love

It's as simple as that. Old Math or New Math.

Thanks For Nothing, New Math

I am continually frustrated to this day by a pivotal event which took place in my life way back in third grade. Mrs. Powell, the blue haired monster, ruled our third grade class back in the early seventies with an iron fist. She was hard-line on old school teaching methods, especially in arithmetic class. She droned in fundamental concepts like rote memorization of the times tables with drill sergeant authority and cold, heartless reality. Then she died, I guess, 'cause after Christmas break she was replaced with a young flower child lady who made us call her by her first name.

And arithmetic was abandoned in favor of the New Math concept.

We were taught to think about the reasons for doing math and we played games to make math fun. From then on I was fucked. I didn't enjoy math more...I just learned to play the system and feigned enthusiasm and effort. She and several teachers in subsequent years thereafter let me slide as long as I was trying. This was the crux of New Math teaching.

At least as interpreted by the idiot (or, more likely, lazy) instructors of the Woonsocket public school system.

Today, I made a crock pot full of chili and for fun I wanted to figure out how economical the six portions it panned out to were. (Huh? That sentence was structured awkwardly...I guess I was a victim of the New Grammar as well.)

I calculated that the entire pot of chili cost $10 so I just simply wanted to know how much each of the 6 bowls cost. To my shock and awe, I realized I couldn't figure it out in my head. I tried to do the division on paper and I couldn't do that either. I was functionally retarded. I couldn't divide 10 by 6!

I went to websites designed to teach basic math concepts like long division and I was flummoxed.  What is this stuff? I vaguely recognized a little of it. Then I read about this new math crap, concepts like set theory and base-n computation and this too rang a bell. That's it! I was a child victim of a Math Schism!

My school system was still teaching New Math throughout the seventies alongside the traditional methods. With some teachers doing it one way and others the other way, it makes sense now why I sometimes walked into a math class at the start of a new year and needed to "catch up" to the concept of that teacher's methodology. Some years it was "New," some were "Old." And I was the one left out in the cold.

In an article I read about this topic, I stumbled across this rough timeline of math teaching concepts throughout the years. LOL!

1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of this price. What is his profit?

1970 (Traditional math): A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. What is his profit?

1975 (New Math): A logger exchanges a set L of lumber for a set M of money. The cardinality of set M is 100 and each element is worth $1.

(a) make 100 dots representing the elements of the set M

(b) The set C representing costs of production contains 20 fewer points than set M. Represent the set C as a subset of the set M.

(c) What is the cardinality of the set P of profits?

1990 (Dumbed-down math): A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Underline the number 20.

1997 (Whole Math): By cutting down a forest full of beautiful trees, a logger makes $20.

(a) What do you think of this way of making money?

(b) How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?

(c) Draw a picture of the forest as you'd like it to look.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

O Sweet Absolom!

Like the biblical account of David's beautiful son who repeatedly betrayed him, I have my own wayward child. My alcohol problem.

He is, after all my child, you know. I birthed him at a young age, when I, in fact, was but a child myself. And nurtured him through the years.

He, like David's Absolom, killed his half-brother called Hope. Then raped my concubines Inspiration, Virtue and finally Love. But I forgave him time and time again.

Now, I feel, we are at an impasse. His troops are poised against mine and the final battle is nigh.

But it pains me so, as I am so entranced by my fondness for him. He is my sweet baby. My precious one. My fair-haired wonder. He pretends to be my loving son but his actions are not more than what I'd expect of my worst foe.

How will I ever find joy again once I slay him in Ephraim Wood?

Or, perhaps, he shall slay me.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Take Me Home, Country Roads

Well, actually, I'll be flying there and it's really mainly urban so I guess the whole "country roads" part doesn't apply but, yeah, I'm heading on up to Lil' Rhody.

Southwest had this great sale and I just couldn't resist: $139 roundtrip Orlando to Providence and back. Good, no? I thought so. Booked 4 nights at a Comfort Inn right near the airport in Warwick since hotel rates are cheapest there and TripAdvisor had nothing but high praise for this hotel. I'm planning on using public transportation for most of my stay so it's a good hub for that being right at the airport.

My Fairwinds credit card rewards got me a discount on a rental car but since I want this, like all my vacations, to be as budget-minded as possible, I'm only reserving a car for one day.

So here's my loose itinerary right now:

Day One: Arrival late morning, hotel check-in, then bus into Providence. Tool around there for the afternoon and evening. Maybe meet up with old friends.

Day Two: Get rental car at nearby airport, drive up to Woonsocket, eat lunch at Chan's, maybe visit Nastralia, basically sight see in my hometown a bit. Then drive in the mid-afternoon to Newport. Check out a couple of my fav mansions. Dinner by the bay featuring REAL New England seafood. Maybe visit friends. Drive back to Warwick in evening.

Day Three: Return car, bus into Providence and hop on a train to Boston. Check out my old haunts like Fanueil Hall and some museums, the Common, whatever...just be a tourist. Evening train back to Providence, bus back to Warwick.

Day Four: Guzzle some energy drinks since now we step it up another notch...Bus into Providence and train (maybe bus) into New York City, Baby! Yeah we're making this a whole Northeast Tour trip. Visit as much as I can physically tolerate in Manhattan, then head back in the evening.

Day Five: Fly back to Orlando in the mid-afternoon.

As you can see, this is a very ambitious itinerary. Even accounting for lots of bus/train/subway use there'll undoubtedly be a lot of walking. And most everything will be on a tight timetable. Why is it I have vacations that are much more stressful than my usual routine? Well, I guess I'd be bored on one of those supposedly idyllic "lounge around all day" vacations.

Well this all won't happen until May 30th anyway so I have plenty of time to get in better shape in order to handle this intense long weekend. It's bad enough as it is I'll be returning to my home state after an absence of 14 years some 120 lbs. heavier!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Do not throw someone under the bus. They may by chance avoid contact with the bus and its wheels altogether and once the bus passes, they'll be ready for vengeance. Better to throw them into the grill of the fast-moving bus. That way you can be sure they'll definitely become the lifeless bloody lump of shit they should.

Bon Voyage Voyager

Thirty-five years after its launch, Voyager 1 appears to have traveled beyond the influence of the Sun and exited the heliosphere, according to a new study appearing online today.

The heliosphere is a region of space dominated by the Sun and its wind of energetic particles, and which is thought to be enclosed, bubble-like, in the surrounding interstellar medium of gas and dust that pervades the Milky Way galaxy.

On August 25, 2012, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft measured drastic changes in radiation levels, more than 11 billion miles from the Sun. Anomalous cosmic rays, which are cosmic rays trapped in the outer heliosphere, all but vanished, dropping to less than 1 percent of previous amounts. At the same time, galactic cosmic rays – cosmic radiation from outside of the solar system – spiked to levels not seen since Voyager’s launch, with intensities as much as twice previous levels.

The findings have been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

“Within just a few days, the heliospheric intensity of trapped radiation decreased, and the cosmic ray intensity went up as you would expect if it exited the heliosphere,” said Bill Webber, professor emeritus of astronomy at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He calls this transition boundary the “heliocliff.”

In the GRL article, the authors state: “It appears that [Voyager 1] has exited the main solar modulation region, revealing [hydrogen] and [helium] spectra characteristic of those to be expected in the local interstellar medium.”

However, Webber notes, scientists are continuing to debate whether Voyager 1 has reached interstellar space or entered a separate, undefined region beyond the solar system.

“It’s outside the normal heliosphere, I would say that,” Webber said. “We’re in a new region. And everything we’re measuring is different and exciting.”

EDIT: BTW, I had a geek math thought just now...How many light years away is Voyager? Doing the quick computation, she appears to be only .002 light years away, so it'll be another 17,465 years before she reaches just one light year! (Maybe a bit less since this math averages the speed since her lift-off to now and I think she's going much faster simply due to momentum and virtual lack of gravitational forces. But on scales of time like this, whats a few hundred miles more per second going to really do?)

Monday, March 18, 2013

SimCity Snapshots

Here are some pics of the first cities I've begun in SimCity.

My first city, Winginit (Get it? Wingin' it!). It's a coal mining town. It has the most built-up City Hall of the three main cities of the region so far. Currently it's having trouble keeping its people healthy...industry is very dirty here. Population just over 100,000.

Here's a nighttime street level view of a boulevard in Perilousopolis, my college/high tech industry town. These guys are well-educated so many houses have solar panels installed on the roofs and there are plenty of Starbucks-like coffee shops. But the commercial sector is failing since I don't have enough shoppers. And there's a graffiti-marred neighborhood in the north which probably means gangs, and troves of homeless wandering my low-end areas. So this shot is deceiving as it looks so shiny and wonderful.

Here's the university and nearby community college. I'm spending a hell-of-a-lot on education when you factor that I also have a high school, 2 grade schools and a library in this town. With a population of under 50,000 I've had to recently take out 2 bonds, the second to help pay payments on the first. There may soon be peril in Perilousopolis. At least all this brain power helped clean up my industry. And these high-tech factories look cool.

All three of the major cites of the "Rivers Three" region. Aurumn, here in the foreground is an oil drilling city, but only sells its product to itself since the other cities all have coal power plants. But Aurumn was laid out efficiently with maximum attention to population growth so that, within a few hours of founding it, it quickly rose to a population of about 190,000! It was over 200K for a while but with advanced population comes all the troubles behind that: crime, pollution, sewage, trash, under-education and traffic. Oh the traffic! I placed lots of wide multi-laned avenues all over but that seems to only have increased the traffic jams.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Party Like It's 1989

Back in 1989, an unknown little video game studio came out with what Will Wright, its creator stated was "the first computer software toy:" SimCity.

I bought this as soon as it came available for my Commodore 64 and fell in love immediately. Untold hours of my time were spent building up my virtual cities and watching their blocky 2-D "buildings" develop, or wither, depending on my city management skills. A couple years later, having access to my workplace's Mac Classic, I bought the Mac version and played while at work as well as home...gee, some things never change.

As the years went by, SimCity, having become extremely popular, went through many newer versions, some better than others, but all were a little lacking, IMHO, when compared to the original. Oh sure, the graphics had improved and there were more options, but there seemed to be something, just a little something that the first game had and the others didn't.

Well now we have the newest version and I think it's everything that first one was and then some! I'm literally spending almost all my free time (and a good chunk of work time too, don't you know) playing it. I bought it on debut day a couple weeks ago now, I guess? I'm not sure...sometime the beginning of this month though so yeah, almost a couple weeks. This is kinda why I haven't posted much.

There were some issues with jammed up servers and the game can't be played offline so there were some pretty pissed folks griping about the fact that they'd shelled out the exorbitant sum of $60 for a game they couldn't even play. But I was patient, I knew they'd iron it out - and they soon afterwards did. Runs fine now.

I'll be posting some screenshots soon, and maybe I'll write a few posts about other things too before the month is out. Only 2 posts in a month is quite pitiful. But for now, I have fires to put out, criminals to apprehend and pretty parks to plop, so tata for now.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

New Pope Elected!

Yes my fellow Catholics, Behold! I have decided to elect myself as your new Pope. Kneel before me and kiss my ring, bitches!

Really though, could I do much worse? I mean, look at some of my predecessors:

In 955 A.D., John XII became Pope at the tender age of 18.  He was a known fornicator, having an affair with his father’s concubine, as well as many others.  It is said that he had “made the sacred palace into a whorehouse.”  In addition to his sexual appetites, he was something of a sadist, blinding his confessor, castrating the subdeacon, and setting random fires.  Many people swore that he had toasted the devil on many occasions, and that when gambling (a Pope no-no, BTW) he invoked the “demons” Jupiter and Venus.  Reportedly, he died in bed with a married woman, suffering a stroke in his late twenties.

Then there's Benedict IX in the early 11th century. He was known to hold orgies in the Lateran palace, and he was accused of rape, murder, and torture.  So, because of that, he was forced out of Rome in 1036 but came back, but he was pushed out again and un-Poped in favor of Pope Sylvester III.  Benedict IX retaliated in April of 1045 and took back the title.  In May of the same year, however, he decided he wanted to get married, so he sold his office to his godfather, who became Pope Gregory VI.

Born Rodrigo Lanzol Borgia in 1431, Pope Alexander VI was so scandalous that his last name became a word that embodied the state of the Papacy at his time.  The state, by the way, was not one the church looked favorably upon.  At first it seemed like Alexander was going to do OK.  Then, he started floating money to his family members that he took from his neighbors.  He fathered as many as five children with his mistress, a courtesan named Vannozza dei Cattani who, in point of fact, was married to someone else.  Rome went to hell in a handbasket, teeming with criminals, prostitutes, and the like.  Alexander didn’t even try to condemn this behavior.  He arranged lavish dances and plays and made Italy vulnerable to invasion with his lack of attention to his duties.  Oh yeah, and he reportedly fathered a son with one of his daughters.  What?

In the mid-20th century, Pope Pius XII, though he was aware of the Nazi’s systematic transportation of and murder of Jews from all over Europe, refused to publicly denounce the Nazis.  It was his responsibility to say the church was against the systematic murdering of over half the Jews in the world, dontcha think?

As far as Benedict XVI, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican section that tries and defrocks (or proves the innocence of) priests accused of crimes, ignored a massive number of allegations against priests regarding sexual abuse.  Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) was the head of that office from 1981 to 2005, when he became Pope. This was the very period of time in all the Church's history when child sexual abuse cases were so prominent. Coininkeedink? Well, doesn't he look like a child molester himself? Why else would he resign but utter shame. I bet this fucker'll kill himself soon. Watch, you'll see...