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Showing posts from July, 2012

Typing on a tablet sucks.

Problems with my computer require enough work to set me back from using it (and my scanner) for awhile. The upshot is most of my computing now must be done via my Kindle Fire--though I'm taking a much needed respite as I type this from a library PC.  As a gadget, this kind of tablet is cool.  As a tool, it ain't so great.  And, honestly, that extends to the iPad, as far as my experience goes.

I can hardly wait for Microsoft Surface tablets.  I'll just need to find some way to scrounge up the money for one by 2013. As the comic says, "For every problem, a solution. For every solution, a problem."

A different approach to the gun control argument

On a thread at the Stranger's Slog, I noticed a semi-reasonable gun-rights advocate arguing that all the talk about the various shootings and rampages throughout the US (and any discussion of banning or regulating assault rifles or extended clips) was merely tangential to the issue at hand. What was necessary to have an adult conversation, he said, was a list of desired ends. Granted that his position makes no sense, and flies in the face of how reasoning has typically been done the world over for more than two thousand years, but I thought I'd try things his way for a change of pace.

1) A responsible gun culture (in terms of ownership, politics, and policy), and the fostering of such by federal, state, and local governments and relevant NGOs.
2) Reasonable restrictions and restraints on the sale, ownership, and use of weapons such as guns.
3) Accountability of gun sellers, owners, and regulators in the case of gross misuse, misconduct, or general bloody rampage.
4) That it sh…

A Celebration

ROBIN, Chapter 7
Previous Chapter


The next morning, in the false dawn, while the majority of the thieves slept and their sentries continued to drink, Robin snuck into their camp.  First, she found her pet pony.  Then, dropping a glazed ham in front of Bucskin's tent, she opened up a jar of honey, and let it drizzle on the ground as she and the pony made their way back into the forest. 

Soon, a bear traced her path into the bandit's midst.  Just as the beast settled down to enjoy its breakfast, a flaming shaft flew past its ear and embedded itself in a tent.  This deserved little of the bear's attention, but when more such arrows were loosed and the fire began to spread, that was a concern.  The camp's sentries thought so too.

Of course, no one likes to be roused from drunken slumber into hungover-reality, still less to be so awoken by roars, cries, and the clanking of pots and pans, but that was the thieves' alarm system--whatever else might be said of it, few slep…

Services Rendered

Robin, chapter 6
Previous Chapter


That afternoon, Robin fulfilled her childhood dream of buying a pony.  In short order, she also purchased a cart and several barrels filled with liquor for her pet to pull.  Before the sun set, Robin and her acquisitions were well along a road Bucskin's men liked to patrol.

As Robin travelled, suspicious figures dressed in green began to filter out of the forest, falling in a ways behind the cart.  In all, there might have been a baker's dozen.  They tried their best to appear harmless, though none would mistake them for anything but bandits as they hungrily sized up the girl and her cargo.  When the robbers felt certain of their quarry, they unsheathed their daggers with a shout, and drew around the cart.  Robin let herself be surrounded before making a brief show of trying to run.

ROBIN-- Scurrilous thieves!  Scoundrels!  Scum!

LANCE-- [slipping away his dagger and stepping forth from among his cohorts; with an official air] Tut, tut, miss.  …

Every thief must go.

Robin, chapter 5 
Previous Chapter

Robin kept herself busy through her unemployment doing chores and practising martial arts, but mostly she spent time playing in the woods.  The bears avoided her, and she kept out of the thieves' way, as much as she could.  This was no easy task, for Sherman's Forest had its share of scoundrels.

Chief of these was Lance Bucskin, infamous for scamming old ladies and still more renowned for his hatred of puppies, which he would kick whenever the chance arose.  Even his own men found his proclivities distasteful, but he had a way with weapons and highway robbery which held his fellows in awe.

LANCE-- [clad in all green with a pointed cap; has a devil may care attitude; close cropped blond hair with a well waxed van dyke beard; 28 and in peak condition, he loves exhibiting his physical prowess as much as he enjoys booting little dogs; he is holding up a family as his rapt minions stand by] They're really not all that hard to impress. [taking t…

Reading requires effort, but so does lying about it.

Right wingers, Republicans, and libertarians who flog the Constitution of the United Sates of America to push their ideology of 'limited government' (except in matters of defence) have forgotten their sacred document's preamble.  "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."  According to the Constitution, a founding purpose of the government it forms (and continues to inform) was to "promote the general Welfare".  Now, one may argue as to what policies do just that, but one cannot claim the Constitution makes no provision for it without either lying or being grossly ignorant of the writings in question. 

Though it is against my nature, I try to be charitable when it …

Stealing Home

Previous Chapter


Robin, chapter 4

The constable recalled what he could of his pride, did his best to tidy the clothes he had left, brought himself upright, and knocked on the quaint cabin door.

ROBIN-- [answering the door; innocence personified]  Ah, Sheriff.  What a pleasant surprise. [the sheriff himself is too distraught to respond] Come in.  Come in!  Grandma's out fetching water for tea, but she'll be back in a moment.  We've some excellent scones and jam you have to try, and nothing goes with them like hot tea.

SHERIFF-- [recovering his wits; coldly]  No. [holding up the foreclosure and eviction notices] No, I just came to deliver these.

ROBIN-- Those?  Why, Sheriff, after all I've done for you today, you'd have me homeless?

SHERIFF-- After all you've done for me today, I'd lock you in jail, if I weren't already serving these.

GRANDMA-- [appears behind the sheriff, whom she is slightly taller than; snatches the papers from his hands, and begins fol…

To Grandma's House

Previous Chapter

Robin, chapter 3

Robin had sold her entire load of vegetables before lunch. After winning an impromptu cudgel bout (and a number of bets upon it), she was returning by her usual route [carrying her sword, staff, bow, and quiver of arrows, and a small purse with the day's earnings] when she spotted Sheriff Wulf ambling through the woods.

ROBIN-- [after tucking away her purse] Ho, Sheriff! Whither goest thou so merrily a this fine day?

SHERIFF-- [uncomprehending] What?

ROBIN-- Where are you headed?

SHERIFF-- [stiffening] And what business is that of yours, little girl?

ROBIN-- Oh, the forest wends and winds. We wouldn't want you to get lost.

SHERIFF-- [checking his compass] And who are you to care if I lose my way?

ROBIN-- Just as you say, only a little girl.

SHERIFF-- [pointing] And why would someone like you carry weapons like those?

ROBIN-- Do you always start sentences with conjunctions?

SHERIFF-- And--no. What are you doing with that staff?

Harold was fam…

Do not read this...

...before you read the previous chapter linked right here.

Robin, chapter 2

Young Robin lived with her grandmother in a cabin in the wilderness of Sherman's forest.  There, they tended a lush garden, and kept several hens.  Whatsoever they had in excess, Robin sold at the nearby market in Notsburry.

Robin-- [14 years old, not overly short (and still growing, she would add), happy, and slightly reckless; clad in simple trousers and a loose shirt; fair skinned, red headed, lightly freckled; lithe and spring heeled; she is a born athlete] When there was nothing to sell, I would perform at the market.

GRANDMA-- [a friendly, sturdy presence; tall and muscular with impeccable posture; dressed similarly to Robin; she has greying hair and a well worn smile] She's famous, you know.

ROBIN-- [never flustered] Not really.  I do tricks with a bow, staff, or sword, and when I get tired, I play music.

GRANDMA-- She can pry pennies from the most miserly of merchants.  [both grin]

Still more f…

The opening salvo should include a right hook:

Many years ago, in the proud nation of Murka, good King Richard found it wise to retire after embarrassing photos came to light.

[We see pictures of wise King Richard (could be a middle aged cousin of Harrison Ford) in enlightenment era royal garb, messily eating a chocolate cake, his face covered in frosting.]

KING RICHARD-- [looking at the photos]  I don't see why I should put up with this!  Screw 'em all, anyway.

[Newspaper headline: DICK TO RETIRE, SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY]

KING RICHARD-- [boarding a plane, carrying a suitcase, wearing sunglasses, cargo shorts, and a Hawaiian shirt] Have fun, Johnny!

And so the king's frivolous brother, John, ascended the throne.

KING JOHN-- [dressed in designer jeans and an overpriced polo; a young dandy with affectations of being an everyday guy; looks like a young Harrison Ford; slouching on throne, tipping crown to a jaunt] This hat is ostentatious.  Bring me a baseball cap, some coke, and a cheap beer.  Does this place have pay-per-…

'((BORDERS))' & 'The Blue Trees' at Westlake Park

For the last few weeks, two public art projects have coexisted at Westlake Park, in the thick of Seattle's downtown.

'((Borders))' is by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, a metal sculptor who seems primarily interested in featureless people in various states and positions.  Originally installed outside of the U.N. headquarters, it is supposed to reflect something (or other) about multiculturalism.  Passersby seem most interested in the composition of the statues. Thoraninsdottir's site is pretty cool, by the way.

Konstantin Dimopoulos's 'The Blue Trees' is meant to bring trees into contrast with their surroundings, and so remind people of them.  By extension, this is supposed to bring attention to deforestation, over-logging, and the like.  The actual effect is mere surreal wonderment, but anyone so confused can read the small sign standing in the middle of the park for clarification.

I'm not sure how successful these are in achieving their stated intentions, …