So apparently Bush had his little speech today. We heard it on NPR on our way home.

Bush Says U.S. Spy Program Is Legal and Essential. “Do I have the legal authority to do this?” he asked rhetorically. “And the answer is, absolutely.” Hmm. Last time I recalled, you didn’t have the right to yank away my civil liberties, goddammit. Oh, but your buddy the Attorney General has figured out a way to do that—when he wasn’t finding a legal way to let you off the hook for torturing prisoners of war.

How about those poor fucks in Cuba—the ones who’ve been there for three years without a hearing, counsel, or trial? How safe do you feel now, America? How’s that War On Terror going? Remind yourselves how safe you feel when they start asking for our papers every time we cross the state border, and hauling your friends away in the middle of the night.

Date posted: December 19, 2005 | Filed under life | Comments Off on And When I Came Back, I Was In A Facist Country.

The last three weeks, among other things, I’ve been working on new illustrations, to develop a portfolio in time for spring. I’ve finished my seventh piece this evening, and I’m really getting excited.

Getting momentum going is difficult. I had plans to choose certain editorial articles and stretch my brain muscles to develop ideas, but after several starts and stops, I put that on hold. Instead, I decided the best thing to do was to get my skills sharpened again and focus on the art first, and re-learn my own visual language. I think it’s the best thing I could have done, because I’m not using the ideas as a roadblock—I have a theme, and the material is plentiful. There’s a certain rhythm to working steadily and a love for the physical act of making art that I’ve been missing for a long time.

I’m going to do about three more pieces, and then weigh out how to display the portfolio online. I’m leaning towards another, separate portfolio site with a highly modified install of Movable Type and an illustration-related weblog. I’m also finally going to buy a black and white copier—the tool I’ve needed for years—so that I don’t have to make nightly Kinko’s runs anymore.

It’s a start. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Date posted: December 15, 2005 | Filed under life | 1 Comment »

Skype Driver For OSX.
Nice. If I didn’t already have a free VoIP phone on my desk, I’d peep this out for sure.

Date posted: December 15, 2005 | Filed under apple, shortlinks | Comments Off on Skype Driver For OSX.

Virgina Cat Lady Sentenced.
I know we have a lot of cats, but DAMN. That’s just nasty.

Date posted: December 14, 2005 | Filed under humor, shortlinks | Comments Off on Virgina Cat Lady Sentenced.

Oh, MAN do I wish I could name names and warn you people away from the vendors I’ve been attempting to use for my Christmas shopping. But that would give away the surprise(s), unfortunately. As of right now, I have one gift with a working tracking number that only tells me it “left” the point of origin. I have another tracking number that I had to call the vendor to get, which tells me pretty much the same thing; I’m under the assumption it’s a dummy package and a standard tracking number everybody gets when the vendor has no idea where the packages are (or haven’t actually shipped them yet.) I have a third which may or may not show up on my doorstep before we leave. And finally, I have, who originally told me my item was in stock on the 8th, took my credit card, and then dropped the ball until I called, chased down the item and found out that it was discontinued. So that order is cancelled.

I’m toying with the idea of taking some coal from our cellar and mailing it out to each of these vendors as a token of appreciation.

Date posted: December 14, 2005 | Filed under humor | 3 Comments »

single light

This is the pair of lights we bought at Rejuvenation Lighting installed in the hallway. They really turned out fantastic. I put a pair of 60-watt full spectrum bulbs in each fixture (there are three sockets each) and the light they throw is diffuse, warm, and even. I’d recommend these fixtures to anybody.

Date posted: December 13, 2005 | Filed under house | 1 Comment »

Inexpensive Pseudo-SLR Digital Camera.
Hmm. Leica lens, 5MP in an SLR body for $350? Sounds too good to be true. (via)

Date posted: December 13, 2005 | Filed under other, shortlinks | Comments Off on Inexpensive Pseudo-SLR Digital Camera.

I’m spending the morning chasing down the orders I’ve placed online. Stuff that I bought a week and a half ago is taking way too long to ship. Apparently my mother’s present, which was listed as “in stock” on the 6th, is now listed as “expected” by the 27th, which means it would show up on the 3rd. After 15 minutes listening to the cheery hold-message people sing the praises of a company-badged credit card, I find out it’s actually discontinued (Mom, you’re getting a call in 5 minutes.) My father’s gift didn’t ship until this morning, even though I bought it last monday. My sister’s gift is “processing”, which is shorthand for “we don’t know where the fuck we put it, but we sure did charge the full amount on your VISA card.”

On the sunnier side of Christmas, we put our ornaments on the tree on Thursday, after chasing down lights and hooks in two separate trips, one of which equated to a fifteen-minute wait on line at the dollar store. Want to get real good and depressed during the holiday season? Go hang out at the dollar store, baby. It’s what I imagine a toilet-paper line in Soviet Russia to have been like, with bonus added Christmas Musak. Nobody looks happy to be there, least of all the cashiers, who move painfully slow like those robots at Disneyland.

Saturday night we stopped over to the Home of Dismay to have some drinks with the proprietors; thanks for the hospitality, C. and S. We sat in front of a warm fire, had fun chatting, and made some new degree-of-separation connections; this world is indeed smaller than it looks.

Sunday I started working in the basement to shore up the foundation walls. Step one is to scrape all the crud off with a steel brush, and inhale century-old dust. (I was wearing a mask, Mom. No worries.) Step two is to mix an acid solution and wash off the salt and other mineral deposits. Step three is to wash off the acid with water. Step four is to mix some hydraulic cement and fill in all the cracks, gaps, and edges of the walls. Step five is to sit back and drink a beer while everything dries. The final step is to use a big fat roller and start applying Drylok to what’s left. I’d like to say I got far, but this is going to take some time; our walls are 80 years old and in need of some serious attention. I’m hopeful that this will cut back on some of the drafty air down there, as well as keep the moisture and crickets out. Plus, a coat of white Drylok with another coat of bright white paint will make the place a lot less depressing.

I’d have to say, mixing and applying the cement has to have been the most bizarre experience I’ve had in a while. When kneaded between the fingers, as the directions describe, it has the consistency of soft feces. (They call it “putty”, but that’s a lie.) Plus, it gets warm as it sets up, so I found myself smearing dark warm baby poo on the walls of my basement. After a while, I started really getting into it, trying to get the poo to look as aesthetically pleasing as possible, working it like sculptural clay, using the heel of my palm to flatten out the ridges. I stepped back and admired my basement poo sculpture with a sense of satisfaction.

Finally, our lights from Rejuvenation arrived last week, and I hung the two hall fixtures on Saturday. We were concerned when we held them up to the cieling, as the shades had a greenish cast to them, but when I put them in and flipped the switch, the hall was filled with wonderful, diffuse amber light. The quality of the construction is high (although I think the fixtures could be a little heavier-weight steel) and the shades are about ten pounds apiece. Overall, they blend into the cieling but also look like they’ve been there since the house was put up—I think we nailed the period pretty well.

Date posted: December 12, 2005 | Filed under general | 1 Comment »

Fix Your Own LCD Backlight.
they’re grammar isn’t good, but the info is.

Date posted: December 12, 2005 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Comments Off on Fix Your Own LCD Backlight.

Side-scrolling zombie-killing.

Date posted: December 10, 2005 | Filed under humor, shortlinks | Comments Off on Zombiegrinder.