Monday, November 21, 2011

Dealing with brown rice.

We didn't like brown rice due to how badly it was cooked in the old rice cooker. But now we have a great rice cooker with fuzzy logic. It is pretty great.

The Zojirushi 10-Cup Model.

Ink deal.

For those of you with a Brother printer, this is a great deal on ink. 3 PACK: Compatible Brother TN360 High Yield Black Toner Cartridge (2,600 Page Yield) for use in Brother HL-2140,HL-2170W,MFC-7340,MFC-7840W,MFC-7440N,MFC-7345N,DCP-7040,DCP-7030

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Sometimes you want the finer things in life.

November has barely started and I'm already thinking about Christmas. Time to put together a wishlist!

Like a kindle fire!

Or even a kindle touch!

Or how about a camera lens?

Friday, October 21, 2011

STOPTHUGS #3: Stop Oil Subsidies.

I’m running out of inspiration quickly on this project, beginning to wonder if I’ve committed to seven days of posting without adequate thinking was a mistake. Will soldier on and complete this task though, for my own edification at least. This one might not be in the same vein as the others, since it actually really should go through with the right support. But, I’ll take the pessimists route and go for it.

Proposal: Ending the $122 billion dollars in financial support given to the oil industry by the federal government.

Background: The oil industry, from its inception, has received quite a bit of cash from the feds, and for good reason. Good things have occurred from the use of oil, don’t get me wrong. It stopped the harvesting of whales for their fat, it created a huge transportation system that allows people to see each other quickly, and is less polluting than coal. In order to survive past that initial investing and development stage to become viable however, it needed a lot of money and support to reach self sustainability. I don’t think it can be argued that the oil industry needs this much support right now.

Expected Positive Impacts:

  • Less government expenditure
  • Increases need for more efficient vehicles and alternative fuels
  • Pisses off oil executives
  • Sends a market signal that alternatives are more attractive to invest in.

Potential Negative Consequences:

  • Decreased funding interpreted as a cost to the industry, passed on to consumers.
  • More money spent on lobbyists (a given, and basically the status quo)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

STOPTHUGS #2, A Bench On Every Corporate Block’s Corner

Proposal: All large cap corporations must install benches around their buildings at semi regular intervals. In fact, if they installed

Background: With not enough sitting room in public spaces, we might as well ask our corporate person neighbors to be more friendly and provide on their private land. It’s the right thing to do. I mean if they’re not going to pay taxes the least they could do is let the rest of us have a seat on their porches.

Expected Positive Impacts:

  • More work for park bench installers.
  • More places for the poor, tired and huddled masses to sit while after a hard day of protesting.

Potential Negative Consequences:

  • Enforcing good neighborliness is pretty much communism.
  • More costs imposed on businesses leads to less business, costs passed on to consumers.
  • People who spent months training their legs to withstand all the standing they have to do in public around corporate buildings will be quite upset at their wasted efforts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

STOPTHUGS Introduction and STOPTHUGS #1: Limitations on Television Commercials

I have been up since about 4:00 AM due to an early flight my father needed to take, and it is 5:49 AM as I begin to write this. This does not really have a bearing on the subject other than the fact that it may contribute slightly to the rather dreary mood that informs the writing.

Things are heavily stilted right now in the U.S. and the world. The deck is stacked heavily in favor of the “have a ton of wealth” vs. everyone else. That is ok for some people, but more and more it appears that the status quo is under assault, if the month long Occupy Wall Street movement is any indication.

In light of the times, I think it’s a good time to begin my series of pieces on policies that can improve the economy. I do not purport to have some grand scheme that can lift the world out of the doldrums, in fact I do not even think any of the policies I am discussing will even be practical. I do think that they are fun though and can hopefully promote discussion, aided by a catchy title:

STOPTHUGS: Stemming The Oppressive Practices That Hold Up Growth & Sustainability. Well, it was almost a perfect match (It was that or Steps To Oust, Punish, Terminate, & Humble Unemployment Perpetuating Scumbags). Oppressive is probably too strong a word, since for the time being my ideas fall well under the “whimsical” category rather than the “revolutionary.” For the time being, I will aspire to posting a week’s worth of posts on some things that we can do, and hopefully take it further if more inspiration strikes me. Now for the first proposal, since this has all been a lot of lollygagging and fol de rol.

STOPTHUGS Proposal #1: Sharply limiting how long corporations can use the same commercials.

Background: For too long, the primetime television consuming public has had to deal with watching the same commercials over and over again. It does not help that most of these commercials are absolutely terrible and irksome (I’m looking at you AT&T u-verse, with your promotion the wonderfully American notion that families will get along better once there is a better television watching experience for everyone by avoiding conflict in television recordings.) Week upon week and month upon month, these commercials are aired over and over again.

Proposal: A commercial on behalf of a large cap corporation may not run on the air longer than a month and a half (or perhaps even less.) Old commercials cut down and edited from old commercials to save advertising time do not count as new advertising and still count against the allotted time limit.

This proposal will only target corporations above a certain market cap, perhaps at least a billion, so as not to place an unnecessary burden upon the small and medium enterprises and businesses which spend very limited amounts on advertising and create an undue burden. The large cap corporations are the  most primed to be offenders in this regard at any rate.

Expected Positive Impacts:

  • Television consumers will have to endure the same commercials far less than they are currently subjected to.
  • Corporations will need to spend more money on advertising to maintain the same television presence as they are accustomed to.
  • Advertising companies will receive more regular work as a result, and their increased economic standing will help their supply chain and their respective communities.
  • To put it concisely, this is a method of enforced trickle down economics.

Potential Negative Consequences:

  • Advertising expenditure may remain the same on an annual level, and with less money contributed towards advertising per commercial, there is a chance commercials will become even crappier.
  • Large cap corporations may with enough market share may force advertising agencies to do more for less.
  • Expensive lobbying against this policy enactment holding up the courts and valuable government time. And as a result, more money for lobbyists. 
  • More tedious viral campaigns to pollute the tubes of the internet as corporations turn away from television and more towards social media, astroturfing and the internet in general.
  • Commercials which consumers may actually like will have their runtimes cut down far too soon.

Thanks for getting this far in this sleep deprivation fuelled post, and look forward to future posts. Please comment with criticism and suggestions!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pop culture punch #2 - Good Charlotte, Girls and Boys

According to the modern philosophers "Good Charlotte," girls don't like boys, but instead in fact like automobiles and currency. However, given the potential of successful men to obtain these aforementioned assets, it establishes an interesting phenomena explaining why boys may believe girls like them.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pop culture punch #1 - Bruno Mars a man descending further into delusions

This sudden return to Brian in the Write signals not only a sudden return to something I've abandoned but also a new purpose. While political commentary will still be offered on occasion when something relevant and easy for me to rant about comes to the fore, I may indeed stick to the original mission.

However, the pop culture punch now takes aim at the themes that pervade pop culture, and how it I can apply my neglected English major to help the less enlightened see the deeper themes in our developing culture (or lack thereof, some may argue).

This first pop culture punch takes a look at the tortured artist Bruno Mars whose works indicate a certain downward spiral into deeper and deeper levels of disillusionment, of if I am to be more charitable, simply the speaker that he wishes to convey to the audience.

What many consider to be his breakout single, "Billionaire" sets the tone for this discourse. A song that echoes the times of economic hardship, it captures the feeling of many who can simply wish for success that isn't coming in a time of high unemployment, tough competition and overall depression. In this piece Bruno sets up the tone of wishing for something that is either unachievable or overly hopeful, setting himself up for failure and disappointment, for in the great majority of instances, wishing does not make it so.

His next radio single "Just the Way You Are" continues this view of hopefulness, but is tinged by delusion. Here Mars is profuse in his compliments, heaping praise upon praise of his object saying that nothing she (I am assuming a female muse in this instance) can do will change his perception of her, and that everything she does is good enough. This relentless onslaught of putting "Pussy on a Pedestal" definitely sets up Mars for future disappointment, as no real woman can compete with an idealized version of herself for long. Ultimately, one would suspect this imbalance of affection would lead to alienation, disappointment and separation.

For many artists who rise and fall, such a single if left unanswered should leave the listener wanting more, curious as to whether Mars matured past his idealization or did he crash and burn horribly in a way that, while tragic, would entertain the audience.

Thankfully, Mars follows perfectly with his next single "Grenade," with the title alone evoking the kind of disastrous scenario that many feared (or were secretly hoping for).  The lyrics of this piece evoke several conflicting elements indicating an unstable mind and inconsistency in message that helps describe a broken down mind.

The first part indicates a woman who clearly does not return his affections (perhaps tired of his worship hm?), indeed rejecting him wholly. He however, not able to move on, goes on to describe how he would embark upon all manner of self destructive actions, several of which speak of a certain sort of death wish that only the most unrealistic and romantic of us can hope to achieve.  This in itself would speak volumes except for a statement he makes in surprise, that she would not reciprocate these actions for him. It would be far too much to expect someone who already loved you to subject themselves to such risk. To expect that this woman, who has clearly moved on by now to do the same speaks to the complete unreasonableness of the speaker, who expects a person, apathetic at best, to die on his behalf.