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OK, I'm not going to rant about the Facebook interface redesign, I just don't care. It's not anywhere near the biggest bit of suck in Facebook.

The biggest bit of suck in Facebook is apps. Useless apps. Stupid apps. Spam apps. Deceptive apps. All without any real oversight from Facebook.

(Yes, I was stupid once, I clicked on a spam app. Never again.)

There's also all the app "status updates." Think about it. Do you really want to share your game status with everyone?

I don't give a damn about your hatchlings, your flair, any of that crap. It's just a virtual version of Let me tell you about my character, it's a half-elf ranger with a plus-twelve longsword and a magic bow and...

You've all been in that discussion at a convention, gnawing your leg off to escape. I suppose I could have updated that for WoW characters instead of D&D. It would have been more appropriately virtual.

That change your perspective on apps posting on your wall and profile?

So if you're a Facebook user, and you're my friend, please consider the following:

Clean up your apps.Your friends will thank you, and your Facebook will start working better.

Avoid new apps
  1. Visit your "notifications" page. Un-check other applications besides "feed comments" and "likes." After you un-check an app, a panel appears above your notifications, and you can mark the application notifications as spam.
  2. If you get an invite to an app, there's a little "block application" link below the invite. Use this link, and you will stop getting invites on that app.
  3. If you know the name of an app, use the "search" bar at the top to find the application's page. You can block applications you haven't been invited to on their pages.
  4. If you do find yourself on an "authorization page" for an app, find the name of the app in the description. Don't click on the big authorize button. Click on the application name link to go to the app's page, and block it.

Block apps. It's the right thing to do.

ETA: Wow... Authorization pages are really your friend. I just went through my newsfeed, clicking on apps that are posting to it, and used the auth page's link to the app pages to block a bunch. I also just found out that if I block apps they stop posting to my newsfeed (in spite of the warnings that suggest otherwise). I'm now rid of Hatchlings and a bunch of others.
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Sure, I'm not always thrilled with how the government uses my tax dollars, but I have yet to see any anti-tax activists not using government services (well, except for the folks who live off the grid, grow and hunt their own food and never ever use public roads, but Grover Norquist that ain't).

I hate the process.

I understand the "do your own math just in case you don't trust the government" but it still sucks. I hate the loophole-ridden laws that complicate filing. I hate that it's bad enough it can support a giant tax-preparation industry. I hate the added computation that the federal government's unwillingness to deal with domestic partnerships introduces. I hate how the process not only makes it easy to cheat on your taxes, it practically encourages it. I hate the huge amount of unpaid tax that's sitting out there.
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...on this list I joined mostly to get access to the files section. Yes, [ profile] gurdymonkey, that one.

It's a costume-related list, so it only took moments for Godwin's law to kick in and "authenticity nazis" and "costume nazis" to come up, and (not surprisingly) offend a bunch of folks because of the Nazi reference.

Mind you, I'm a big fan of Donna Barr's humorous and satirical Desert Peach stories. I'm totally with Mel Brooks in that ridicule is the best offense against real fascists and folks that think fascism is cool; they just can't take it. Even Hogan's Heroes with its hokey sit-com formula (pretty inappropriate in relation to the real horror of the Third Reich) has some merit in making laughing-stocks of the Nazis.

Back to the offensensitivity, though. You don't diminish the power of an image and a movement by restricting its name to hushed discussions that practically revere its horror. You also don't make any point well by engaging in hyperbole that equates emo personal drama with the worst horror of the 20th century.

The funny thing is, in the greater context, I do have a few historical costume pet peeves.

I hate bad footwear. Yeah, I wore bad footwear for quite a while, but I got over it. Tennish shoes? Trainers? Gack. Shoes are hard to make, but it's possible to get decent shoes without paying too much. They don't even have to be the right shoes, they just have to be something that doesn't stick out like a sore toe. Dreamshoes and faire boots may not be "right" but they blend better into the illusion. Modern zori (men's zori, at least) and geta may not be period, but they don't destroy the illusion (women's modern zori are a bit precious and over the top).

I hate missing headgear. Hats are an essential piece of clothing for many periods and cultures. Part of it comes from working faire. When I started, I could almost always identify other performers even if I didn't know them; they were the ones wearing hats. Nobody else bothered. Faire patrons who come in costume seem to have noticed this, and it's now common to see costumed patrons who have hats. The modern aversion to hats destroys the illusion for me.

Mind you, I'm not going to go running up to someone saying "these shoes suck."
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...and I still don't care how bad the badge Nazis might have been if you didn't have a badge.

Now I understand the extenuating circumstances: a registration process that's been reported to have a half-hour wait even for pre-registered attendees when there were only a few people in line. Makes it real difficult to register. Still, that's a hurdle, not an excuse.

Yes, I know, even if you had paid your membership, it wouldn't have made a difference in the convention's failure. When a convention features that high a concentration of weapons-grade bolonium it's going to fail with or without you. That's kind of the point, though. If low registration numbers are a problem for the convention, being there without registering makes you part of the problem. Don't go. Go wine-tasting instead. Throw a party. Do something fun. Spend your time contributing to some other event's success. Don't make yourself a part of the failure.

Yes, I know, badge Nazis suck. Guess what? You just helped them justify their own existence. Most con security folks aren't into making trouble for attendees, but some are. If you don't give them the opportunity, they don't get to have their fun. Enough of that, and if we're lucky they get bored and go find some other event to volunteer at where they can get their authority fix. Think of it as antisocial Darwinism.

Finally, think of the volunteers. A lot of people have spent a year working to ensure that a con is a success (OK, in the case of con-X-treme I'm guessing two people, a wedge of cheese and about three weeks based on the results), and they're going to feel crappy enough if nobody is there. After the ghosts whining about badge Nazis at Anime Los Angeles, I pretty much summed it up as "I didn't spend the last few months preparing things, answering questions, taking vacation time, getting my own hotel room and driving 300 miles down to Los Angeles for a bunch of fucking freeloaders to bitch about not getting the fun that they didn't even pay for." Are you a fucking freeloader, or are you a participant in a community event?

Seriously, if you think an event is going to suck and doesn't deserve your money, don't go. If you're not planning to register, don't go. There's got to be something better to put your time into.
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It's not as wild as it sounds, and it's not just because 'ficcers chose "canon" to define what the true source material is.

The Nicene Creed is Christianity's FanLib.

A lot of energy is expended nitpicking the source material, fanwriting (let's nominate Orson Scott Card for "Best Fanwriter" next year!) and fighting over who the most dedicated fan is.

The Pope, James Dobson and Jerry Fallwell (and for that matter all the Elders, Imams, Ayatollahs and the rest; it's not just Christian sects that map this way) are BNFs.

Interdenominational squabbles are usually about which BNF is bigger, or about what fanon is relevant and irrelevant.

Megachurches and traveling big-dollar arena revival shows give a new ironic twist to "Creation Entertainment."

And, of course, there are a lot of consumer-fans.
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I said it. Fuck global warming.

And while I'm at it...

Fuck Mallard Filmore. Fuck conservatives. Fuck the anti-science bastards who portray scientific debate as the end of the discussion and not as part of the ongoing process.

Fuck the automakers and the energy companies. Fuck the companies who subsidize gasoline for their guzzling monster SUVs and fuck the idiots who buy them and then complain about $3 gasoline bankrupting them. Fuck pillage-and-burn just for a few more dollars' profit.

Fuck end-of-timers. Fuck the people who waste and pollute because they're going to get raptured real soon now, and won't have to worry about the after-effects. Bush and Ahmadinejad are both getting out the good china and silverware and setting a place at the table for Jesus (well, Ahmadinejad is setting His place next to the Mahdi's). Neither has more of an RSVP than "We'll have our people call your people."

This whole global-warming thing, true or not, is just a smoke screen now. It doesn't matter. We may be experiencing human-influenced climate change, or we may just be experiencing a climate cycle. It doesn't matter.

Look out your fucking window. Take a breath of fresh air.

I can't.

I look out the window and the pollution is so thick I can't clearly see the hill 3 miles away. I get on a plane and can see the end of the smog layer as we climb up to cruising altitude; it's like the difference between an old sepia photo and color. It's like a layer of grime on a painting.

Saturday I could smell the ground-level ozone in the air. I am intimately familiar with the smell of ozone, and this was it. Ozone concentrations have to be pretty high for that to happen. I'm not sure how some people were breathing it.

Take a look at your pocketbook.

We're thrilled to see gasoline drop below $3/gallon. It cost me $15 to fill up my tank the last time. For a motorcycle. With a 4 gallon tank. And we're still paying a lot less than Europe.

So fuck global warming.

We could do things about basic air quality. We could do things to reduce fuel consumption. They would have real results.

But everybody is all fired up about global warming and discrediting global warming. It's a fucking smoke-screen, and it's doing a great job of hiding all that smoke and pollution.

<FOAMY style="sarcastic">"Why should we do that? Global warming is a myth, it won't have any effect..."</FOAMY>

Because it will reduce the pollution in the air. Because you'll be able to breathe more easily and your doctor bills may go down. Because you'll be able to see those nice mountains off in the distance (yes, they're really there). Because reducing fuel demand may result in lower fuel costs.

If global warming is a myth, it doesn't matter. If it's not a myth, reducing pollution and fuel use will have beneficial effects.
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...because my response in the comments is one.

If you're fannish, and particularly if you believe fandom isn't the internet, it would behoove you to check out [ profile] fanthropology and this post.

It starts out, relatively sanely, as a discussion of how Mercedes Lackey manages her fanbase and derivative works, but goes weird in the comments. [ profile] fanthropology is a pretty internet-centric group (and this needs to be balanced), but this is a bit beyond.
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There has been some argument on the ICG-D list about the L.A.con IV masquerade rules.

I pointed out that the issues in question are better addressed in the new guidelines revision, and that folks concerned about this should be talking to their BoD rep about the disposition of the draft, now that it's in the BoD's hands.

[ profile] aramintamd pointed out to the rest of us (not on the Board) that the BoD was not being allowed to act on the submission, and that the topic wasn't going to be introduced until the annual meeting of the membership at Costume-Con 24 in Des Moines.

At which the President got pissy.

the President's response, from a public mailing list, no, this isn't private mail, and it's him responding as President of a non-profit corporation, so it's supposed to be public record )

Now I've got some real problems with this.

C. D. Mami wrote:
> After all that work I felt that you the members should have the final say
> not just 16 people.
> You voice must and will be heard on this issue.
> This is your guild and this issue is important enough for you to have a say
> in it.

'k, Carl, I'm going to say something that's going to irritate you. This isn't specifically about the guidelines project.

The BoD shouldn't operate in a vacuum. I'm not so sure it doesn't, though. I don't like how this implies that our board representatives voting on this issue would happen without member input.

We are a membership organization, not a Fortune 500 corporation. While we are subject to the same corporate regulations that they are, our governance is very different. Our board isn't made up of outsiders, it's made up of members selected to represent the interest of the chapters and their members.

One could argue about large chapters being under-represented, but I'm from one of those large chapters and don't see any point. Our BoD is organized as one chapter, one representative.

Regardless of the issue, our chapter reps should be informing the membership of their chapters of all motions and getting a feel for the members' opinions before voting the overall position of their chapter. I don't know this is happening.

But back to the guidelines.

The guidelines project spent 18 months collecting member (and non-member costumer) input. Based on your rationale for deferring the vote to the annual meeting (which I don't necessarily agree with, I believe the membership has been given ample opportunity to be heard and provide input), you need to charge the chapter representatives with the task of polling their membership and collecting proxies on this issue.

If you would like the annual meeting to be meaningful, the agenda has to be posted far enough in advance that the members can consider the topics, and that agenda has to be provided out to all members at the time of publication. If not, while the vote may be more proportional, it's only in regard to the members present; anyone not present is likely to be just as disenfranchised, their proxy being cast without their input.


I think that covers it.
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...from my last post...

...I'm not hostile to Christmas.

OK, I'm a little hostile to Christmas music, but we'll get to that in a bit.

I'm definitely hostile to ChristmasCorp.

You know, the Christmas machine that starts putting up decorations before the Thanksgiving Turkey is leftovers? Oops, did I say leftovers? I meant slaughtered. The day after Halloween is a bit early (I'm not kidding, I saw it).

The Christmas machine that insists that the same 2-dozen Christmas songs need to be playing 24x7 as soon as the decorations go up. I've got over 6000 songs on my iPod set for random shuffle with no repeats (and I mean no repeats until it gets to the end of the list after a few weeks). Hearing a whole CD of different covers of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus while I try to eat lunch is a bit irritating (I'm not kidding, I heard it). Have a bit of creativity in programming your Christmas Carols.

The Christmas machine for whom Thanksgiving is just a bookend for a month of retail madness and prayers that your store will finally, after 11 months of losing money, move into the black. There's something wrong with that business model.

I'm also hostile to the "War on Christmas" warriors, whether they're Henry Ford, the John Birch Society (no, I couldn't find the actual text of "There Goes Christmas?!" or other pamphlets where the JBS blamed the "War on Christmas" on Godless Communists and the UN) or the current crop of Fox News demagogues.

I think I may have found the truth of where red-state conservatives are seeing the "War on Christmas" though. It's not pagans, secularists, Jews or the ACLU.

I think Michelle Goldberg of Salon has it right:
In fact, there is no war on Christmas. What there is, rather, is a burgeoning myth of a war on Christmas, assembled out of old reactionary tropes, urban legends, exaggerated anecdotes and increasingly organized hostility to the American Civil Liberties Union. It's a myth that can be self-fulfilling, as school board members and local politicians believe the false conservative claim that they can't celebrate Christmas without getting sued by the ACLU and thus jettison beloved traditions, enraging citizens and perpetuating a potent culture-war meme. This in turn furthers the myth of an anti-Christmas conspiracy.

It's a feedback loop, and nobody but the "War on Christmas" warriors and scared middle-America public officials who believe them need be involved.

I've got my Christmas tree up at home in the bluest area of a blue shoreline (and the land of the Willow Glen "stepford trees"). I've got my Christmas stocking up at work, in a very blue department of a very blue public institution in a blue-governed state (Arnie finally learned that he couldn't govern without the support of a heavily liberal democratic legislature). I'll play my Ru Paul Christmas carols album tomorrow while I finish packing up my office (I always do that the day before my Christmas break starts). The next time someone tries to tell you there's a "War on Christmas" ask them why there's so much Christmas in the sinful, liberal San Francisco Bay Area.
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On the way home from work tonight, I rode past Christmas in the Park, just like I have every night for the last two weeks.

I stopped at Safeway. I read price cards and fliers for Christmas Wrapping Paper and Gift Wrap for Christmas.

At the Starbucks next door (liberal Seattle hippie beatnik freak-o-corp), they were selling Christmas Blend Coffee.

At lunch, at the store, just about every where I've gone since before Thanksgiving, I've been hearing Christmas music. I was hearing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and The Christmas Song.

Could it be that I'm over-sensitive to Christmas stuff since I'm not Christian?

Could it be that I'm desensitized to Christmas since I'm not Christian?

Could it be that Bill O'Reilly is making this shit up?

Could it be that the religious folks who push Christmas, a major Christian holiday, as a universal secular holiday and Halloween, a major secular holiday and minor religious holiday as a Satanic threat are so deep in hypocrisy that they can't see what's really happening? If you really want to see a secular Christmas, take a look at how Christmas is celebrated in Japan. [ profile] darrelx, you might like it, but I can bet that most of the "War on Christmas" crowd would hate it. Santa Claus, trees, consumerism, and not a Baby Jesus in sight.

And what's so wrong with "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" in the first place?

I guess for some people it's more offensive to suppose they might not be Christian than to assume that other people are Christian. I guess for some people it's offensive to think that axial tilt, pagan winter festivals and a bunch of rebel Jews with a miraculous lamp might be as much a reason for the season as Christ. I guess it's just the most current example of Those who call themselves “conservative” today aren’t happy unless people abide by their choices.

If this "War on Christmas" isn't taking place in the liberal stronghold of the Bay Area, I have to wonder where all these red-state conservatives are seeing it happen. I'm sure not seeing it happen. All I'm seeing is some megacorps deciding that "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" are more profitable to say. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought profit is right up there with God and country in the triumvirate of conservative values.
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They're making me take down my Christmas stocking! I work for the state, and they're making me take down the Christmas stocking I have up in my cube!

It's an all-out war on Christmas!


Oh, wait.

They're making me box up everything in my office because we're remodeling and we've got to be out by the end of the week.

Move along, nothing to see here.
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This might have only been a blip on your radar, but earlier this week Ford's Premier Auto Group (holders of Land Rover and Jaguar) pulled its ads from gay media outlets.

The AFA takes responsibility for this, and say it's a result of their threatened boycott.

Now Premier Auto Group posted a significant loss last quarter, so this may just be a coincidence.

But I think the AFA can't quit here. They've still got to boycott Ford because their profitable Volvo subsidiary is still buying ads in gay media.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg. They need to boycott Ford until Ford divests from one of its Japanese holdings. Which one and why? Mazda. They sell 800,000 cars a year (worldwide) under the name of a pagan god. Sure, Zoroastrianism isn't big now, but back in the day it was one of the strongest competitors of Christianity, the state religion of the Persian Empire, with its god Ahura Mazda leading the charge. Christianity didn't beat it, either; it took the Moslem invasion of Persia to reduce their numbers and drive the remaining belivers into India.

Every car they sell, every ad they place anywhere keeps on repeating the name of a heathen god. Ford must be boycotted.
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So I doubt that any of you have been following the "Venom Cock" wars, and if you haven't, apparently denial is a river running through Colleen Lindsay's office at DelRey/Ballantine.

Ms. Lindsay has worked herself up into a happy fluffy bunny lather, imagining all sorts of "facts" to support her defense of the poor, defenseless author of "Touched By Venom."

"However, I have read the review copy of the book, quite recently, in fact, and the phrase “venom cock” does not appear anywhere in the book." John Joseph Adams, the reviewer who trashed the book published the excerpt from the RoC sampler where "venom cock" appears. It's all over the book.

Now that's just a stupid mistake. You could read a book and not remember that the phrase "venom cock" is scattered throughout. Right?

I really don't care, other than from the perspective of a Roman at the gladiatorial games, watching poor sods get butchered from the sidelines. I'm tired about "edgy" books about sexuality and literary themes dolled up as S/M porn. I'm not this book's target market.

What really gets me, though?

"World Con doesn't really count. It's a trade show, more or less, like BEA, and it exists so that editors, agents and authors can meet one another and do business." I don't know what WorldCon she's been going to, but it's not the ones I've been at.

Clueless fans spreading misinformation about WorldCon do enough harm. Now we've got clueless professionals doing the same. Maybe she needs to ask some of those authors she's name-dropping what they think of WorldCon.
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So I see this article about how the administration is trying to get an exemption for non-Defense agencies from a proposed prohibition on

the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held.

Then I see this article about obscenity prosecutions that

specifically target "bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior"

So it gets me thinking.

The administration wants torture and bdsm for itself. It's that simple. They want the CIA to have a monopoly on kink and perversion.

No, it's not that simple.

What they really want is to be able to get away with more of the kinds of activities that happened at Abu Ghraib. See, if all this kind of stuff is "obscene" and publishing it is illegal, newspapers and broadcast outlets will get in trouble with the AG's office the next time they try to publish pictures of torture.

On the other hand, text of this sort is no more protected than images. Maybe it's time to start prosecuting the CIA for the obscenity that's in all their interrogation transcripts.
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...but apparently not if one is a Windows Media Player developer responsible for Mozilla plugins...

...not that the QuickTime folks at Apple are doing any better.

Both players can play .avi files. The standard .avi mime-type is video/x-msvideo. My server (and my Gallery2 implementation) send the proper mime type when embedding an .avi file.


Neither the Windows Media Player plugin for Windows Mozilla nor the Quicktime plugin for Windows Mozilla list video/x-msvideo as a supported mime-type. Even though Mozilla's documentation says they should.

Piss me off.

There's a workaround (involving finding the file in the pageinfo and downloading it) and a hack (involving changing the plugin registration file, but it didn't work for me). Not happy.
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[ profile] kevin_standlee and [ profile] fr_john have both recently brought up the question of WorldCon and NASFiC dates, and as a side-note, the question of Westercon in the first place.

I don't think there's any serious debate about whether WorldCon should continue, but there have been serious discussions about the viability of NASFiC and Westercon. Some pretty respectable folks have been making arguments that one or both should fold.

For those of you who don't know, NASFiC is the North American Science Fiction Convention. It takes place in years that WorldCon is off the North American continent. There was one this year in Seattle because WorldCon was in Glasgow.

It got some pretty mediocre reviews. It got no glowing reviews.

So what's up with that? Well, for a lot of people, it's the "also ran" convention. "Oh, I can't go to WorldCon, because international travel is too expensive, so I'll go to NASFiC." It doesn't have the resonance that "WorldCon" does. It's smaller than the area's annual local convention. Why go?

There's going to be another one in St. Louis in 2007 (when WorldCon is in Yokohama). A few folks rattled some cages when, at the last minute, they came in with a bid to run NASFiC in San Jose as a small relaxacon on the way to Yokohama. I've got some issues with how this all played out, but when one of the biggest complaints about the Seattle NASFiC this year was "It was designed for 4 times the attendance it garnered" there is perhaps a grain of a good idea inside it.

I had an excellent time at the '99 NASFiC in Anaheim, but I think St. Louis has a lot of work ahead of itself to be more than just another "also ran." I'm not sure NASFiC can ever get out from under that, and I don't think that we're well-served by another big, complicated small convention. I'm looking forward to St. Louis, but if they can't pull the rabbit out of the hat, perhaps NASFiC should go.

Westercon is a different animal. It's the West Coast Science Fantasy Conference, and while the name still says "West Coast" it's much more a regional western phenomenon, with the last two years in Phoenix and Calgary (hardly coastal). It's an annual event, not just from time to time when the stars are in the right configurations.

Westercon has been suffering many of the same problems that NASFiC has. The last Seattle Westercon was also characterized as "Norwescon Lite" (Norwescon is Seattle's annual convention and draws over 2000 people) and ran in a hotel much bigger than necessary. I'd say it's a Seattle thing, but Phoenix was smaller than either of the local annual conventions, and Calgary was only bigger than their local because they've never had a convention over 400 people.

The thing is, Westercon shouldn't be thought of as an "also ran;" it's not. It's not the alternative to anything. It's got decades of solid continuing tradition and defines itself in regional character. Recent committees haven't done a great job executing that, though.

Westercon has to be worthwhile to local fans; it needs to promote itself as bringing something special to the area in the form of guests, presenters and out-of-town members who aren't available for local cons, but will come to a Westercon because it is Westercon. It needs to promote itself as bring local flavor to Westercon so guests, presenters and out-of-town members will see something more than just "It's a Westercon."

San Diego and San Jose get to battle this over the next two years.

Except for San Diego Comic-Con (the 800 pound gorilla of a convention), San Diego (like Calgary) doesn't have any big local conventions, so they don't have to worry about being anything "lite." They do have to worry about drawing out-of-town members who haven't been to San Diego in recent memory and locals who don't know about the fannish convention scene.

San Jose is going to have a real fight to not just be "BayCon Lite." BayCon is 2400 people, bigger than Westercon has been in years, and it's only a month before WesterCon. They've got a great base of people who already come to a convention in San Jose, but they've got to convince these people to go to WesterCon (so they don't end up like Seattle has twice). They're also going to have to work with the other conventions in the Bay Area (and there are quite a lot of them) to bring a more general "South Bay" feel that will bring folks who aren't BayCon attendees.

If there isn't a revitalization of NASFiC and Westercon by 2007, I'm probably jumping on the "None of the Above" bandwagon for both of them.
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That rant about "ultralounges" and "bottle-service," in particular? You know, possibly the dumbest example of conspicuous consumption since tooth-spinnaz?

Well, the bottle-service promoters have taken possibly the most relaxing, plebian cocktail, the Margarita, and have turned it into a bottle-service fave. It's The Margarita King.

Now they say that this stuff contains only the best ingredients, and for $19 retail it just might. After all, the best tequila for margaritas isn't going to be Patron or Tequila Corralejo; it's going to be something decent but not so good that it's going to wasted under the lime and triple-sec.

Still, it ultimately reminds me of Heublein Prepared Cocktails. In the late 1800's, when the cocktail was first born, Heublein Bros. of Hartford, Connecticut started selling prepared cocktails in bottles, only interrupted by a short stint cutting back to making A1 Steak Sauce during prohibition. There are companies still making prepared cocktails (like the Kahlua Mudslide) but back in the day (and that's as recent as 15 years ago in my memory), Heublein bottled everything: martinis, daiquiris, nothing was off-limits. I so wish I could find a link that showed some examples.

I'm down on the fact that it's not a margarita made with fresh lime juice squeezed while-u-wait. I can't imagine that lime juice that's been sitting in a bottle for a few weeks (at best) could be the same.

Look at The Margarita King site, though. It's kitschy, it's trashy, it's sleazy (in that stupid-innocent way), but Giovanni could sell ice to eskimos. He can definitely wrap low-brow in an upscale package and sell it to the rich and famous.

It was an article in The Wave Magazine that specifically mentioned The Margarita King in connection with bottle-service. In New York.

You've really got to wonder how much a $20 bottle goes in a New York Ultra Lounge...

...and how many rich stupid people are lining up to be seen drinking it seated behind the velvet ropes.
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I hate Microsoft.

So everytime I pull a server to do any installation work, it goes slightly wonky. Well, that's not really true, but the volume of cables supported tends to slop up things even with good cable-management arms.

Today I was supposed to pull a pair of major servers to plug in shiny new FiberChannel Host Bus Adapters. One got done. It's still rebuilding itself after about 4 hours.

One of the internal drives failed, and munched on the boot partition. After a bit of questionable advice from a support technician out on another call, we tried to force the drive back online. That just dragged the problem out, and resulted in having to reinstall Windows 2003 server.

Here come's the "I hate Microsoft part"

The Win'03 server install is the clunkiest, most unforgiving piece of software I've seen in ages. Where older versions gave you a fighting chance to install vendor-supplied HD drivers, on this install you've got 5 seconds to press <F6> before it just goes on. My servers require vendor-supplied drivers. If I miss that, I've got to reboot the whole setup process.

The crash-generated error message and repair instructions are bad. If you follow the instructions it takes you to the "Windows Recovery Console." I actually know how to use the recovery console, but it requires the local administrator password, and we always log in with personal IDs, so that was worthless.

There's an "automated server recovery" process but it's far clunkier than the previous versions of windows; rather than creating one ASR disk with vital configuration information, it generates dozens of floppies. I hate floppies.

It is possible to do an overlay install that will actually repair the hosed up OS, but only at a later point, not by selecting "Repair" at the beginning (like the error message says). Surprisingly, it works. Mostly. It works best if the boot partition isn't continuing to re-corrupt itself, so we pulled the suspect drive and limped along in "compromised" mode for one final reinstall that got us logged in.

About this time I got hold of a vendor telephone service rep who told me that the suggested "force online" was a bad idea. It probably wasn't a physical error, it was probably some data corruption that got out of hand. I popped the drive back in and set the array to rebuilding the final drive. It's still going.

At least I can be confident in my backup software. Once the disks are happy again, I can just restore the configuration and apps back to where they were this morning.

New Toy...

Jul. 12th, 2005 08:09 pm
bovil: (Default)
DHL is irritating. They're more irritating than FedEx, but less irritating than UPS.

We were supposed to have a package over-nighted to us, with delivery by 12:00, so I stayed home a bit longer in the morning to wait for it. Noon? No package. 1:00? No package. Called work and they said they'd call me if something came up that I needed to go in quickly for. 2:00? No package, but the tracking said that delivery was attempted at 11:50.

Only problem is:
  1. I was home
  2. I was awake
  3. I wasn't in the shower
  4. All the doors were open
  5. There wasn't a message on the voice mail
  6. There wasn't a delivery notice on the door

After a few phone calls, I got the explanation "The road was blocked, the driver wasn't sure he could get through."

He obviously didn't try. There were a boatload of signs about road construction, but they're for something happening 3/4 miles away, and something that only blocks 1 of 3 routes to our house.

FedEx can find our place, leaves messages on the phone when they can't deliver, and try to redeliver when it's convenient for us. UPS can find our place, but can never deliver when it's convenient and has awful pick-up hours.

DHL did actually get to our house, though. The package finally showed up at 3:00.

What was inside it? A slightly used Epson Stylus Photo 2200. Yep, a big monster of a 7-color pigment-based photo printer capable of printing on 13"x44" sheets, and up to 13"x120" (give or take) on roll-feed paper.

I've got to superglue one of the mounting-guides for the automatic print cutter (it snapped off in transit, but it's a clean break and will be easy to fix) and clean up some space to put the printer somewhere (that won't be easy).

The fun thing is that the pigment-based inks are relatively light-fast (60-100 year guarantee depending on the paper used) and water-fast.

We'll see how it does; I may still pick up the software PostScript ripper for greater compatibility.
bovil: (Default)
So this probably isn't going to make sense to anybody who isn't in the Bay Area and/or doesn't give a rat's ass about football, but...

The (normally) brilliant PR director for the SF 49ers (yeah, that's a football team) put together a video to educate team members about responsible behavior in front of the media. This was shown as part of a diversity training session at last year's summer training camp after one of the players made some anti-gay remarks (a big no-no for a San Francisco team with lots of gay fans) to the press.

The brilliance was eclipsed in the actual execution which featured the PR director playing the part of Gavin Newsom, mocking last year's gay weddings, the asian immigrant population (ooh... even bigger no-no than anti-gay comments) and featuring topless women and pseudo-lesbian softporn.

Yeah, sounds kind of dumb to me too.

Reports of all types are coming back. A retired trainer defends the team, and yet admits that he experienced antigay harassment when he worked for them. A current player says the 49ers are "a quality organization" but in a quality organization someone would have stood up after the screening and said "bullshit!" A current trainer for the team justifies why the thought playing up "yellowface" with a fake Chinese accent wasn't so bad (well, maybe compared to WWII anti-Japanese propaganda films). And then of course, there are the "hey, I'm special" arguments, such as "The locker-room is like a fraternity; the outside world just can't judge that."

They just don't get it.

Let's make 'em watch it again.

This time, though, let's intercut it with some really classic minstrel-show and blackface scenes from the early talkies. How about some white supremacist recruiter videos?

Give 'em a little context.

Oh, and if you've been reading about this in the Mercury News, you'll appreciate the irony that this broke while Bruce Tinsley's Mallard Fillmore is making fun of the liberal news editor's attempts to apologize to the Organization of Habitually Offended People for a slight that really wasn't.
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