Call today to stop further cuts to human services funding

Legislators say that the public cry for zoo preservation is much louder that the public cry for people with disabilities, addiction disorders and the elderly.

Ask your legislators to override the Governor's budget cuts to human services and preserve the supports that children, adults, families and seniors rely on for their daily living in the commonwealth.

It would be an enormous travesty if citizens with disabilities, families, individuals seeking help for addiction, and seniors are not among the top priorities for funding support in the state legislature.

Call today and urge your legislators to override the Governor's vetoes that cut funding to human services.

This looks more promising than buying a slide scanner or dealing with most professional graphics shops

This looks pretty cool. The Slide Scanning Pros website says that for 26 cents per slide (why 26? who not 25? or 30?) they'll run it through their slide scanner, adjust the color and everything, and give it to you in whatever format you want. I fondly remember the day when we got a slide scanner at the place I was working at the time so we could scan stuff in directly without going through the whole developing and printing process. I keep toying with getting back into shooting film, and this would be a lot easier than buying a slide scanner. I like that the price is right upfront and you get to see the images before you pay.

Can anyone tell me what this plant is?

This plant appeared in one of my planter boxes. Looks to be a veggie of some sort, probably planted by a friendly neighborhood squirrel or bird. It's growing like crazy, has squareish stems with sticky/pokey covering, and leaves with a sticky/pokey underside.

Click through to flickr where there are more pictures of it.

Why is Thomas M. Menino, mayor, orange?

That is just not normal. I mean, he's almost the same color as this:

$40 round trip ferry tickets to Provincetown if you buy them this weekend


Why Haydn's Surprise Symphony sucks ass

Dude, it's not surprising anymore. If he really wanted the effect to work more than once, he should have notated it so the big BLAAAAAT was in a different place every time it was performed.

(Don't get me started on how modern performances of the Miracle Symphony completely omit the chandelier crashing to the floor.)

Lower than low

This is my friend Michael, immediately after informing me that he
applied for ordination in the Universal Life Church, and got a letter
back rejecting him. Seriously? That happens?

If this man approaches you and offers to baptize you, marry you, or
inter you, report him immediately!

I need something that really sucks

The interior of my car has gotten pretty gross, and I'm cheap and lazy, so I want to find a car wash that has really badass self-serve vacuums with amazing suction powers. Anyone have any recommendations? Yelp wasn't helpful.

Matthew Shepard Act just passed!

No major news sources yet; just getting blogs and clips so far on my google alert, but it looks like it passed.

No word on whether it passed with or without the ridiculous amendments added about death penalties and things.

Cambridge Chronicle has their profan-o-meter set just a tad too sensitive

Notice the asterisked-out block of text? I mean, yes, that combination of letters is a naughty word, but really.

Do the senators grilling Sotomayor have any understanding of the court system?

Gah, some of these things the senators keep saying...

1) There is such thing as a completely objective and correct judgment? Really? Then why do we need a court system?

2) A judgment needs to be made according to what the law states, and a person's background doesn't have anything to do with that? Seriously? Do these people have any knowledge of American history? Because back when every person interpreting our laws was a white straight Christian man, a lot of laws were interpreted to only refer to white straight Christian men. Most of those laws haven't been rewritten; it's just that the voices of people with differing backgrounds have changed how we interpret them.

3) Someone's worldviews and life experiences shouldn't influence how they make a ruling? What? Have any of these senators been in a courtroom or read a court decision? It isn't like the judge is presented with two sets of verified facts and asked to make a ruling. The judge is presented with two humans, one who might act and speak in a way that is more familiar to the judge's experiences. The judge has to reflect on the words and actions of two people and determine which person acted in accordance with law. A judge who has only had life experiences of being in positions of privilege might feel like one party's actions and words make a lot more sense. A judge who has had the experiences of being marginalized and of succeeding in the academic/professional world run by the dominant group might have the rare skill of being able to make sense of the words and actions of people from either group.

Hardly workin'

I've got about half an hour between appointments, so I'm sitting in my
car at the beach returning phonecalls and emails. There are several
dozen people who seem to be doing the same thing, but only three
people outside on the actual beach. Apparently this is what qualifies
as "getting some fresh air" for us urban working people!

Watching the esplanade fireworks from our roof with the WBZ soundtrack streaming on iTunes

The Pops was awesome. The stuff interspersed was a little lacking, particularly that bebop version of U2 (which we turned off until it was over). Neil Diamond was pretty awesome, I mean, for Neil Diamond.

The fireworks are awesome. The accompanying music is some of the most craptastic stuff I've ever heard, and I'm not seeing/hearing the "synchronized to the music" that they were talking about.

People, refusing to acknowledge Independence Day doesn't get you cool hippie liberal indie points least from me. Maybe it does from other people; I don't know.

I'm sure most of you can ascertain that I don't agree with a whole hell of a lot of what goes on in this country. But you know what? I also appreciate the freedoms we do have, and I have hope that we'll eventually have the rest of the freedoms we ought to.

While people certainly have the right to go on about how they don't acknowledge this holiday, and I definitely get where they're coming from, I feel like they'd get a lot further by reclaiming the holiday to stand for what they want it do be. (See "freedom to do such things," op cit.) People are going to ask people what their plans are, and if you're truly an activist, it makes much more sense to jump on the opportunity and tell them how you spend the day doing whatever you feel makes this country a better place. You're missing a great opportunity by just saying that you don't acknowledge the holiday. Why not tell your neighbors and coworkers exactly why you prefer to deemphasize celebrating wars and white Christian straight males, and what you like to associate with freedom instead?

(And besides, why pass up an opportunity for barbequeing and blowing things up and drinking beer and eating pie? This day really isn't all that bad! Hell, you could even celebrate the event by blowing up a pie if you wanted. THIS COUNTRY IS JUST THAT FREE DAMMIT.)

Playing around with a vocabulary builder website

I came across this Vocaboly site, which advertises "vocabulary software," when looking for vocabulary games to play (I'm a dork, OK?). The online "vocabulary tests" are somewhat useful, but could use a bit of tweaking. I took the GRE one, and it's a multiple-choice format similar to the GRE, but not of the same quality. Some of the words were extremely simple words that would never show up on the GRE. Others didn't have any options that truly defined the word (I even got so dorky as to check dictionaries to make sure none of them were accepted definitions). All in all, it was a decent review. What drove me crazy about the site though is that they have downloadable vocabulary software with a free trial, including a mode that describes itself as a Star Wars type shooting game. The screenshot looks cool, but I couldn't download the software, because it's only available for Windows. The site doesn't have any version of the games available as embedded flash or anything, which is kind of passé. Actually, the whole idea of stand-alone software for a simple application is kind of outdated; why not just put it online?

In addition to his poor taste in kitchen appliances, Michael Flaherty also likes to waste money and ignore details

There are two registered voters in our household. Today in our mailbox, there were four of these:

Were some of these misdelivered, you might wonder? Nope:

They're both addressed to me. The address was just entered two different ways into the database. The spousal unit also got two mailings with the same duplication.

When I've volunteered for campaigns, they've had me do such exciting tasks as, well, going through their database and taking out obvious duplicate voters, so as not to waste money/trees/energy on mailings, not annoy households with duplicate phonecalls, and most of all, not make prospective voters think that the candidate is wasteful and can't bother to have humans work for him or her. One of the campaigns even scaled back the database so that each household got one call or mailing.

Apparently Michael Flaherty didn't do any of this.

Or maybe he did, but then his Kitchenaid mixer went crazy and ate the lists.

I need to get a 1068-inch MacBook

...because Netflix now has IMAX films available for instant viewing on my home computer.