Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Fat Controller in disguise!

theBoy is having an early spaghetti dinner. That means he has an early bath. I've run it for him and it awaits his presence.

As the bath was filling I ducked into the end room and ferreted through the odds-and-sods stationary drawer—filled with the detritus of two public servants who moved several different times. I grabbed a post-it note and a black pen and got to work crafting his appearance concealer.

The Fat Controller is now on the shelf to the upper right of the sink, a fashionable false beard protecting his identity!

I give theBoy ten seconds before he finds it. 

UPDATE: It was three seconds—'There he is! He's got a false beard!'

He made me drop the false beard down the drain. He found it disquieting. 

You mock my pain

With thanks to The Princess Bride

So I went to the doc for my results. I wasn't panicked like I was last time. I presumed—rightly—it was just the follow-up appointment for my test results. Those test results being a test taken two months after a first test.

Well, how did I go? Not great; but then not awful, either. I bizarrely apparently weigh three kilos heavier than I was last time I was at the doctor—two weeks ago. My cholesterol dropped a notch but not enough to be too exciting. Basically no more eating animal derived fats. As for my daily output of a 20 minute exercise bike ride, alas for someone like me it needs to be more. Twice as much in fact. Yes, due to my sedentary career of basically sitting on my arse all day I don't even have the normal to-and-fro exercise of my non-white collar brethren. I am sitting right now. So, like astronauts fighting off muscle wastage in zero g, I must do a fair chunk of purpose exercise just to take the edge off my frame lest it continue on its previous path of inexorable growth.

I'm also pre-diabetic. As in just on the cusp of being considered diabetic with my tested sugar level being around 5.5.

According to the doc ideally I should drop twenty kilos. Ideally I would ... if I could. Ha, ha, ha. I seriously doubt I'd ever be able to do that.

It is pretty disheartening to realise that all the exercise I do now is but the absolute minimum someone like me should do. Especially given my genetic disposition to retain fat. I thought at least I was helping. Turns out I wasn't but then neither was I not.

After the doctor visit, and having been told by him I could no longer indulge suckling at the animal fats bosom, I walked past the nearby cafe. Their special of the day was a thickshake for five dollars. A thickshake that contained no less than six scoops of ice-cream. 

The icing on the universe-delivered ass grabbing was the call I got when I returned from the doctor. My report is now going to be another three days late. This time the lateness is due to equipment failure. 

Universe, you did grab my ass! Oh, I know your tricks.

However I've already started on the boost in exercise. When I rode the TPC when I got home I went for seven kays instead of six. It meant an extra four minutes. I plan to try and boost my distance by 500 metres every couple of rides until, in a month or so, I am up to around the 40 minute mark in total riding time. Eventually I'll get a number, I'd say off-hand 13 kays, to aim for that will reflect that time.

See, look at me! I'm already taking steps! Take that, Bitterman!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Shaggy's tummy

theBoy's been on a Scooby-Doo binge of late. Cartoon adventures of Scooby-Doo, semi-recent by the looks of things, where you get two movies with each disc box. The other day we got the pack with The Loch Ness Monster and The Goblin King

They're not bad. A little pervy in spots—the girls (save Velma) are usually fairly svelte (1). The humour's pretty decent. Although I can't but help find the montage sequences of Shaggy and Scooby-Doo escaping certain teeth by scant inches—surfing down molten lava or having an ancient stairway knocked apart from beneath their feet—a tad annoying. Often the villain turns out to be someone having a lark or is doing it for a noble, if misguided purpose. Yet they very recently very actually attempted to kill Shaggy and Scooby-Do. You think a free sandwich puts that right, do you? Rhits a rery rig randrich, Raggy. We like totally forgive you! Num num num num num

That and the occasional defiance of physics stretches the bounds. For example, a three hundred foot drop of the Mystery Machine onto the deck of a ship is not going to end with the van safely boinging up and down on its tyres for a few moments.There will be carnage. Van meets deck meets splat meets rupture carnage. 

Anyway, as a result the gang are featuring guest stars in Storyverse, with Shaggy and Scooby-Do, who live in a panic room, the most frequent guests. 

Storyverse sessions usually start with a basic premise—Humpty and Stumpy find a pie in the forest—and we go from there. He basically steers it but I help nudge the rudder. A recent premise was this; dollar signs in the dust leading into the forest. 

It was theBoy's premise so I followed it along. Eventually the source of the dollar signs was found. It was Shaggy, from the Scooby-Do gang, bouncing around on his tummy. And on his tummy was branded a dollar sign.

So theBoy's adventure consisted of him trapping Shaggy in a purpose constructed trap and then safely securing the hipster so as to prevent Shaggy's constant tummy slamming the ground so as to imprint dollar signs.

It turned out the culprits were Bad Synybatbat and Captain Hypno. Bad Synybatbat is the Prussian Spike Helmeted brother to Storyverse stalwart, Synybatbat the penguin, who lives in an ice-cube igloo next door to Humpty and Stumpy, Captain Hypno is a pirate who has the powers of mass hyposis. I've settled on it being thanks to a crystal ball eyeball that he secures beneath an eye patch. It has the traditional swirling spiral hypnosis pattern as seen in dah mohvies. 

Why they were doing it we don't know. But at one point theBoy recruited recent Storyverse addition, Sparkalus the Wizard, to attempt to dispel the magic (2). So in essence it was a Dispel Magic attempt requiring a Caster Level check. Sparkalus is only fifth level in equivalent so he only had one shot. I told theBoy to choose a number between one and twenty for the D20 roll.

'One!' he yelled happily.

Oh no! A fumble. Shaggy's black and blue dollar sign emblazoned tummy was even more a quiver with  greater would-be-tummy-slamming intensity!

Eventually we hit a 'save point', it's where we try and remember three linked words so we can restart the story the next day, and it just paused. He trotted off for regular stories with mum, leaving me still a'chuckle on the big bed.

Bugger me if the idea of Shaggy slamming the ground with his tummy and imprinting the dust with dollar signs wasn't just the funniest mental image I'd had in some time.

Kudos, theBoy. Kudos. 

(1) Apart from that the shows are utterly devoid of any sexual anything. Why is Fred not hitting that? Why indeed?
(2) Spakalus is an ocker-voiced magician who wears nothing but a pointy hat, pointy shoes, and a set of Twilight-vampire-a-glitter sheened underpants.

Road bumps and a health moan

I've hit a few work road bumps of late. In the end you're dependent on the ability of others to provide you what you need, whether it be a contribution or assistance with administriva that we're all strangled by.  And that's mostly outside your control bar your timely attempting to get their input.

I needed some admin stuff sorted and I'd arranged it through my Boss. Alas she went on leave and it didn't get sorted by the area assigned to sort it. Turns out the area assigned to sort it didn't want to sort it and they counter-claimed the boss should have sorted it. I explained calmly that they'd asked us for their input on sorting it back when the plan to sort it was sorted. Oh and that today was the day it had to be sorted by because everything had ground to a halt for want of this single remaining sorting. Not so much a road bump but a road block three days in the making because ... because well just because. Because sometimes it happens, just like that. In retrospect I should have insisted or ladled on the importance of it being sorted instead of wrongly presuming, and thus assuming, that import was obvious given the point in the schedule.

I know, I've bored myself. I've given myself a self-Marvining

It sucks to be so dependent on other people. I try and avoid it wherever or whenever I can. Yes, it means I am a micro-manager but it's the only way I know to succeed. If I don't have to rely on others then I can just keep trucking and all the failure is mine.

Hang on...

So, the health moan. Don't you hate it when you get a missed call and you Google the number and it's the number for your Doctor? Yeah, it happened. It was the call following the results of the two-months-later (1) test. To see if my taking supplements arrests the conditions I self-afflicted—such as the Vitamin D deficiency. Acquired on account of no longer going outside once I gave up a daily walk for a daily ride of the TPC (2).

I see the Doctor tomorrow. That should be fun. I no longer suffer deep-set stabbing pains, which are akin in imagined pain-likening to when the Terminator-as-Sarah Connor used its metal-shift power to pin pinned Actual-Sarah Connor through her body to the wall.  So that's good. But my bone clicking, which I've always had, is far more clicky (3). And I'm in full body ache—pretty much anywhere there's a joint—most of the time, as if I'd done way too much exercise the day before.

Oh, and I'll probably cop a serve on my cholesterol level and be then put on meds for that.

But, as ever, it could be worse. If I had to sum it up—Mostly Shit

(1) I should have had them three weeks ago. I just forgot about it.
(2) A sulphurous vent sprouted from the top of Mount Casso—Ayeie! Flee the village!
(3) Clearly a medical term

Friday, July 27, 2012

I haz styli

theWife and I each have a slate. She an iPad and me an Android tablet. theWife loves add-on tat and so got a pair of styli, or styluses, to split between us. They were a splurge at twenty dollars each.

I lost both of them within a month. Mine, then hers.

So theWife put on her e-dancing shoes and sourced some more. She was pleasantly irked to find a site that sold ten styli styli for four and a bit dollars. She ordered them, they arrived, and we split them between us. As per custom I got the girly coloured ones—assigned as per the refreshed toothbrush rule where I always get the pink brush. Me being so comfortable in the skin of an ugly hetro that I care not for any signals the use of such coloured instruments may send.

I have them scattered amid the various levels of the bookshelf behind me, poking out like the vacant doorways in a cliff face full of cliff-side dwellings, all within easy over-the-head grabbing range.

So I never want for one, there's always one there.

For now...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I left on a high note

Today at work the upper floor kitchenette sink got blocked. The boss+++, who changes jobs in a week, personally went out and bought Drano in an effort to shift it. Alas it did not work, and nor did poking the obstruction with an unfurled coat hanger. It was decided it was likely a blockage caused by fat which had built up from years of rinsed-clean lunch plates.

A bunch of us were joking about it when I fake-confessed it was me because I'd been pouring liquid fat down there. B---, who looks a bit like a cross between Christina Hendricks and Gillian Jacobs, thought for a second I was serious and was therefore rightly tittered at by the assembly.

'It sounds like a German thrash metal band,' I said chirpily. I then raised my arms in a classic hair metal move and in a faux-German accent cried out 'Ve are liquid fat!'

This earned a big laugh. I managed to make this awesome German thrash (slash) sink blockage joke just outside a short corridor that leads to the other side of the building. 

As the laugh continued I waved goodbye and headed off down the passage and out of view.

Yep, I left on a high note. Stick that up your jumper, Ichabod Crane.

Snerdy derdy glow sticks; blort, blort blort!

You may be aware of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's a mood disorder where those afflicted experience depression symptoms during one season a year, commonly Winter. It also has the most awesomely apt acronym of SAD. People in Nordic countries are particularly afflicted, their propensity to experience it partially due to polar twilight.

One of the methods to use it is light therapy, where the affected person exposes themselves to daylight-levels of light. A common method is a light box, a box that blasts out bright light with the person seeking the comfort of glow bathing themselves before its mighty radiance.

I saw on a news report about Nordic countries and their SAD issue thanks to long days of darkness and how one light therapy delivery system included the Portable Light Therapy Visorpropeller beanies eat your heart out. 

In our house we have a windowless corridor. It's the spine of the house with the corridor connecting to every room. If you close all the doors then it's pretty dark in there, even in the day. At night it's pitch black save for the crack of glow beneath a door to a lit room beyond.  

As a special treat theWife broke six glow sticks and used little connector pieces to join them up. She made two hoops and theBoy and I each got one. We played kewl games with the hoops in the closed-up spine, theBoy sleeting the hoops like discs along the polished wooden floor and under the sliding door, only for the hoops to slide back under when theWife flicked them from beyond from the other side. 

Then it was free-styling story time before regular stories began—regular stories being standard paper-based kids' story books or something interactive on theWife's iPad. These being usually delivered by theWife as a means to wind theBoy down after being revved by me.

theBoy and I moved into the bedroom, each with a glow stick hoop. We fired up storyverse in the dark, just the light of the clock face and the chemical glow of the sticks providing light to see by. On a whim I slotted my hoop over my head, the hoop resting upon my brow like a circlet or halo that slipped. 

And fuck me if the gleam above my eyes did not make me feel better. Even if it was just for a little while.

Light therapy; I might have to look into it. After-all have I not always loved the heady red glow of a bar heater (1) at max blaze casting forth upon my face? 

Indeed it has been so.

(Heads off to lie on the end room bed couch, the bar heater cranked to 11)

(1) Once, in a group house, I had this old two bar heater I'd taken from home when I moved out. We'd had it as a family as long as I could remember. It was about a foot in length and copper sheened in hue. When it sat on its four stubby brown plastic legs the curve of its body made it look like a crescent moon, the element blazing its heat from inside the curve. It had the dust of two states and a dozen homes caked around the root of the struts of the protective grill; like dandruff at the root of a hair. In high school, in year twelve, I'd turn the lights off in my room and just sit in front of it for seeming hours at a time, staring into the twin bars of hot. And it was in the group house the heater died. A screw had eventually loosened over the decades of its life and dropped into the innards where all the wires were found. The screw within would roll with a tinny echo along the metal when the heater was moved and short the workings. The first time it happened it blew the fuse of the group house. It was a basic cinder block flat whose electricity box still used fuse wire. We had to trot half a kay up the road to the Arthur Daley-like corner shop whose owner sold a bizarre range of tat on the off chance he'd grub up some extra cash (1a). I digress, the heater. So it blew the fuse but astonishingly the heater still worked, the screw working loose and rolling free to caper about its coppered fields. It was the only heater we had in the house so we kept it. Then it blew another fuse. And another. And eventually it had to go, into the bin by the side of the laundry shed we three flats shared out next to the car park. My last memory of it in play was one mid-Winter night. I was lying on my stomach or back and resting the heater on my body's ceiling-faced side. I was attempting to thaw following a 40 minute conversation with a person I was trying to execrate myself from, my having taken the call outside by the front door so as not to disturb my sleeping flatmates down the hall. Despite its demise It was, and shall always be, my heater friend. A friend I consigned to the garbage despite a likely thirty years of family service. Anyway, bar heaters, good stuff. Love your work (1b).
(1a) Including gazebos; he being a licenced dealer for the Gazebo World franchise. He even had a display gazebo out the back of his shop. It did not go well and one day the Gazebo was gone, a bark chip ring hexagonal slab the only evidence it had ever been. 
(1b) Check out this site's quotes of an Orwell essay on the community of the fireplace. Illuminating stuff... (1c) Except, of course, from an OH&S viewpoint the ole Orwell was wrong as cooking fires kill millions of people a year. However don't be dishearthened (1c, again). As that link points out some community minded egg heads have taken on the challenge of building a near smokeless system that can still be fuelled by materials to hand. Go eggheads. Especially the community minded ones.
(1c) Like what I did there? Go on ... you know you did. Admit it!

The Fat Controller's behind the dinosaur

I run bathtimes. As theBoy is not yet five, and due to his skin he must use oil and not soap, we supervise during each and every bath. Not for us the lifestyle choice of parking at tot in water whilst we nip out to the bedroom for frenetic rutting lasting but ten minutes. 

In addition to free-styling in storyverse—mine and theBoy's shared universe of characters and setting—there's a ritual we play before bath-based stories commence; finding then drowning the Fat Controller.

This Fat Controller in particular is from a large-sized Lego-like block playset from the Thomas the Tank Engine toy range. The figure is about the size of a thumb, is made of plastic, and yes, indeed, resembles muchly the portly autocrat of transport infrastructure as present in the Island of Sodor. 

He's a taunter, the Fat Controller. He bellows out insults that theBoy is in love with particularly shit kids' shows (1) we're occasionally forced to endure as our default channel on the TV is now forever ABC3 and/or ABC2/4; you know, TV channels for kids!

In this case the choice of insult is the Fat Controller to declare theBoy loves Mr Moon and/or Dance Academy.  

So when I run the bath I "hide" the Fat Controller somewhere where theBoy will see him. Then, when he's in the bath, I break into the Fat Controller's voice and theBoy starts scanning his surrounds. Then when theBoy's eyes lie upon the Fat Controller theBoy shrieks 'I SEE HIM. HE'S OVER THERE!'

theBoy then gets the Fat Controller toy and, as the Fat Controller screams his TV-themed abuse theBoy drowns him in an old honey bottle.

Tonight I put the Fat Controller on the shelf next to but above the sink and secreted the train-obsessed hefty one behind a toy dinosaur.

theBoy ran into the bathroom, ready for his bath, but even before he was picked up and lowered in he'd spotted the Fat Controller behind the dinosaur and went for him. He stood on his tippy-toes to each the shelf and managed to grab the dinosaur. He then hooked the Fat Controller with the dinosaur tail until Fat Controller was in reach and with triumph captured his prey.

Into the bath theBoy and the Fat Controller went and the Fat Controller was then drowned in the honey bottle. 

We started up Storyverse and I told theBoy he had a voice mail. A voice mail? theBoy was intrigued. 

'Voice mail? Who is it?' he asked.

'YOU LOVE MR MOON!' I shouted, as the Fat Controller. 'YOU WANT TO HAVE DANCE ACADEMY BABIES'. 

Yes, the Fat Controller had left a bunch of insulting voice mails for theBoy to hear even as his body lay bloated and dead within the confines of his watery honey-tinged tomb. 

'I smash the voice mail again and again and again!' shouted theBoy. I had this image of him looking annoyed as he smashed repeatedly an answering machine against the side of the kitchen counter. 

Later, Terry and Brian, the two announcers at the radio station, read live ads paid for by the Fat Controller, the content of the ads naturally being 'You love Mr Moon (slash) Dance Academy' in nature. Yes, the Fat Controller had back-up abuse ready to go in the event of his passing.

To prevent more of these live ad reads theBoy waited until Terry and Brian were asleep, snuck into their house, and stole all their phones and other electronic gear. He smashed it all up and put it in the bin. Then, when Terry and Brian got up, theBoy claimed they looked out the window and saw the garbage truck pick up their bins and they saw their shattered gear being tipped into the back of the truck. Just to drive it home that theBoy had fucked them over but good.

I've been a bit morose of late. Today I even wretchedly took myself off to the disabled toilet, locked the door, and sat in the old office chair that's next to the loo. I rested my head against the cool tile and felt the restful vibration of the building's climate control system that pulsed through the wall. It was like a gentle orgasmitron. I think I slumped in there for fully ten minutes before I felt recharged enough to emerge.

Tonight, as I danced around with theBoy, gleefully sharing our world and our world alone, it reminded me that we try not to dwell in the shit of the now, but live in the moments of awesome that flit into your life. Moments like cavorting around with your kid, and rolling around on the big bed in hysterics at his hilarious antics. 

Sometimes work blows chunks. And when that happens it helps to remember that we don't live to work.

Besides it could be worse. I could be grubbing all day in a field. And with my bones? Oy vey!

(1) Don't get me wrong. You have to admire any TV show that survives the sperm-like journey up the birth canal from initial concept through to sale of a first series. Credit where due. And, of course, these are shows aimed at a demographic I am not. And I bet there are a stack of kids and tweens that love the absolute snot out of both these shows. My child, however, does not. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I got my grind on

White collar world—the world in which I grind—is beset with crap the average non-white collar person has to deal with. I imagine there'd be a sort of mind-numbing bliss in doing something semi-manual and then waking up when your shift's done and heading home for tea. Meanwhile us schlubs in the white of yoke have to deal with pleasing 98 different people lest someone chuck a snit about the missing cover on our TPS report.

That being said I confess on average we do trend to make more money, tradies aside and all that. Though sometimes it's not clear if it's worth it.

Anyway my recent crap of late. I collate reports. Which means I have to deal with contributors to those reports. Which means talking to them about edits where edits are needed. 

One submission was a tad contentious. We left it alone bar a 20 word deletion from a 600 word contribution. When I was talking with the liaison person for that submission I off-handely said we'd made the edit, but that it was a mere tweak. It concerned him. 

You see I should have actually raised the issue at the time I'd made the change and advised of the fact, in writing, and the reasons why. But I didn't do that. I delivered the message in an off-hand manner. Just the right manner to cause someone to arc up or panic. So they wanted a copy. I gave it to them and I mentioned the edits. 

They called with questions. It took a while to explain the decision. 

Eventually I decided it was worth spelling out exactly why we made the change. The final response was 800 words long. Eight hundred (1) words, and about an hour of drafting, to defend the change.

The next day liaison man calls. I talked to him for fully 30 minutes (2) about the issue. Thirty minutes! Thirty minutes over a 20 word edit. 

As I got off the phone my concerned immediate pod people (slash) over-the-pod-wall people asked if I was okay given the duration of the call and the increasingly strident and exasperated tone to my voice as I once again trod the same ground in defending why we wanted to change what we changed. Which was nice. Being a person who hates confrontation and dislikes to show anger in the workplace I quizzed my fellow pod peeps about how I sounded and they said I remained (mostly) collected and calm (3).

At one point in the call liaison man had played the seniors card on me, solemnly saying that much-more-senior-than-me person in their area was now aware of this issue and had darkly threatened to pull their contribution. I countered by offering to take it to another area for arbitration but that if we did so it meant time and it meant that arbiter might raise points we'd let slip by. Indeed, I noted were were actually risk managing the would-be arbiter's post-release annoyance (4)(5).

Now I am going to stop myself here because it's all sounding very Uncle Ted at the side of the house.

Suffice to say what I am trying to get across is that sometimes in the world of the sedentary and bland-in-hue neck-protector and this is the sort of crap we have to go through. 

When I got home I struggled to let it go. Even though I'd gotten initial catharsis by kvetching about it to theWife on the drive home I still couldn't let it be. After my cycle I sat down and wrote another 800 word defence of why we made the change and explaining the impact from a report reader's viewpoint. 

With that done I tried once more to let it go. Look at the larger perspective that at the end of the day this probably doesn't matter. And it will only bother me if I let it bother me.

And as theWife says, in the end it's just a fucktard's opinion about some fucktard thing.

UPDATE: It's the next day. Well, I caved; sort of. I got a call from liaison man's boss. His boss the equivalent to my boss+++. We had a conversation. He offered to put in some qualifying text about their contribution and I agreed to restore their excised components. It's not ideal but at least it was a fair compromise. My boss, who's been sick and unavailable to assist,  got her dander up about it. She wanted to yank it all together by I convinced her to stay her hand 'cos I knew the shit storm that would erupt if we did that.

The whole experience was not great but at least there's a resolution. Hooray for compromise!

See, Republicans, compromise can happen. Now reach across the fucking aisle!

(1) See what I did there? I made the switch to numbers even though the figure was over 10 (1a). It's because you don't start a sentence with numerals. True dat. 
(1a) Actually I'm not sure now if it's ten or 10? I think it's ten. Casso?
(2) I know, it looks fully stupid to go words, numerals, then words again. But you see the number appeared within the sentence and not at the start. And since it was over 10 (1a) then back to numbers it went. 
(3) ... mostly.
(4) Vague threats of senior smack-down aside, in liaison guy's defence he was being fair to my concerns as well as expressing the concerns of his own folk. They were from an area that rarely contributes to reports like mine and they weren't across the specific mechanisms and sensitivities we apply. Ain't it all a steaming stew of bubbling interest?!  
(5) "would-be arbiter's post-release annoyance" seems quite rhythmic.

I feel like a shambling mound

Ah, the shambling mound; a plant-based humanoid that lurches around moaning and banging on. Presumably about plant related matters.

Yeah ... I feel a bit like that. Aching, sore, IBS-flared, work-stressed—a shambling mess of discomfort. Hopefully I'll feel better soon. 

I had to get a new chair for work—a proper OH&S model. It doesn't have arm rests—they're so OUT—and it has a substantially more generous seat pan. It makes me sad when I see it.


Monday, July 23, 2012

The Aurora shooting

Unless you've been under a rock for a couple of days you'll now know about the massacre that took place in a movie theatre in Aurora, Illinois. Twelve people dead, sixty odd injured when a gunman opened fire on the crowd. He was armed not just with a shotgun and two Glock handguns but an AR-15 with a 100 round drum. Fortunately it seems this latter weapon jammed. 

Unfortunately as is the way with these events the gunman will get the lion's share of the attention. Why he did it? What went wrong? How could they? As opposed to the stories of the victims themselves. The six-year-old slain on the floor of a movie theatre as the six-year-old's mother, in critical care, knows not of their child's fate. Then there's the stories of the heroes of this moment. Those that died shielding others with their bodies or the brave-as-all fuck person who held the emergency exit door shut to prevent the gunman's pursuit of those that escaped.  Like the Giffords shooting of 2011, where Patricia Maisc threw herself on the gunman's dropped loaded magazine to prevent him from re-loading, the heroism of these ordinary people in the face of such horror I find just simply amazing. I do not think I'd have the courage or fortitude to try and intervene or prevent. I think I'd leg it as far and as fast as I could, theBoy likely lodged under my arm like a surfboard as I fled.

Alas those that wish for greater gun control in the US don't see this incident as a wake-up call to others or that it will in turn encourage further regulation. They simply see it as yet another example of a spree shooting that could have been prevented, or retarded in scope and impact, if sensible gun laws were in place (and enforced). Except they won't ever be because the political power of the National Rifle Association (NRA) is such that even long-held or long-established state gun control legislation has been overturned as a result of the NRA's march for the greater spread of guns and access to guns in America.

It is possible to mass remove rapid-firing guns from a society, such as semi-automatics. We largely did it in Australia (and it's one of the few things I admired John Howard for doing). But in the US it seems, as evidenced in the public healthcare fight, it's just too big a political struggle with too many dark forces arrayed against it to make it politically worthwhile for someone to attempt. Hell, as far as Obama's record on guns goes, one organisation that promotes gun control (according to a The Daily Show episode I saw) rated Obama an F across the board. Since, if anything, it's gotten easier to tool around in public with a loaded firearm under this administration, for example being able to now take weapons into national parks.

I hope all the families affected by this killing, and that includes the family of the shooter, get through this as best as they can. As to the insanity of the ability to obtain a gun so readily in the US then check out Jason Alexander's response with his uber long Twitter post---spread over several tweets---re-printed in its entirety in Salon

Right on, Jason, right on.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

theBoy explores multimedia

iPads are a glorious tool for parenting. In addition to being packed with all sorts of mentally stimulating goodies they're the ultimate safe opiate for a child—it sucks them in and holds their attention such as in a car or a cafe—and you can withhold access in order to ensure correct behaviour.

theBoy's been exploring multimedia functionality of some of the apps. One of the apps lets you  choose a photo as a background and then record yourself moving cartoon characters around in front of the photo along with recording your improvised dialogue.

theBoy made one of these movies and came and showed it to me. The characters he'd chosen I think were a toy horse and a toy dog. They danced up and down and then argued over a cake icon theBoy had inserted between them.

And so what was this photo to background the action of his dancing cake-obsessed characters?

It was the photo from when I had the staples taken out of my leg about three weeks post-operation. He'd worked out how to access the iPad's image gallery and selected it from there.

Then, using a Sesame Street-themed multi-media app he then used that same photo to serve as the subject of a WANTED poster.

Pwned by theBoy in both film and in still. 

theBoy! (shakes fist)


I gave theBoy a wedgie so deep he staggered off coughing and nearly threw up.

Oops indeed.

I did THAT for three years?!

We live twenty minutes walk from a Coles complex. As in a shopping centre whose heart is the Coles with a dozen other lifestyle need businesses there for my pleasure. I know it seems weird to use a measurement of time to record a distance but then time is relative and these relate. 

I needed to get a SMH, my weekend news fix (1), but I'd had SUPERMEDS!™ and could not drive. theWife was busily tottering in her cute little lady garden and not wanting to disturb I decided to walk it.

Until December last year the previous three and a half years I'd been a religious daily walker. I walked for at least 15 minutes a day, every day, for that time. Some days I struggled to reach that minimum, other days I walked ten times that just because I could. Even though my body ached as I walked I knew I had to be doing something more broadly good; help my bowels, better oxygen intake, less heavy from my heavyset frame. But then I discovered I'd just been grinding off the top of my hip ball joint on account of having congenitally fucked-up hips. No more walking. Instead I moved on to riding an exercise bike and, apart from the fact I didn't go outside for any real length of time from that point and got a screaming case of Vitamin D deficiency, it proved to be better exercise for me. It was less painful to ride the bike even as I exercised with greater intensity, I could out-of-body on the pain by absorbing myself in watching teev on the old laptop or my Beloved, and, best of all, I no longer had to endure the random chance of having a car full of cockspanks scream abuse at me as they drove on past. 

Walking to the local Coles was one of my every day walking routes. On the weekend I'd walk up there and get a handful of nice things to eat (slash) my paper, then I'd walk home. Forty minutes in total of decent walking, hilly on the way up, nice and slanty on the way down. 

I headed off, treading a formerly well-worn route that I'd not walked along for about nine months. 

So ... how did I go? Well, every part of me aches—including, oddly, my hair. Pain is firing across every joint, even up fingers, like a TRON character rippled by fluoro blue leccy. The walk back, the downhill easy part, was ruined because I'd bought eight or so kilos of groceries and the weight of it on my arms as I shuffled home was excruciating. 

I can't believe I often did that agonising level walking, let alone that I walked every single day. Fuck, even ran a couple of times. 

Sisyphus eat your heart out.

(1) Of late, though, I've struggled to read all the bits that I keep. I only keep the main paper, News Review, Spectrum and the Good Weekend. If we go out for a shopping trip on the weekend I usually remain at what ever cafe we stopped off the lunch to read them as the other two go off to shop. Sometimes theBoy stays with me, using theWife's iPhone to entertain himself with.

Friday, July 20, 2012


'Daddy, you suck! Daddy ... why do you suck?'

I do love the Explainer

Yes, the Explainer, Slate's go-to team who sees an element of a topical subject unexplained and seeks to bring that into the light of explanation.

This is one of the more esoteric ones, but brought to life thanks to the recent successful bombing of a party of oppressive Syrian mofos.

Why indeed?

I do love Slate Explainer team. They rock!

Panning for gold

Since I've gotten my Beloved—my Toshiba AT-100 Tablet—my internet surfing rate at home has sky rocketed. Chances are if I am at home then the Beloved is in reaching distance and there's a half-dozen websites in play. 

My surf poison is varied but for the most part the constant re-visits are Salon, Slate, SMH, Washington Post, Mother Jones, The Daily Beast, Media Matters, my own blog (1), Wikipedia (2) and, of course, my precious Longform

Now and then I will come across some gold that cause me to burst out laughing or grin inanely like a fourteen-year-old boy watching an attractive girl walk past. 

To the gold!

The following gold is from a Longform-sourced New Yorker article—Brian Shaw, The Strongest Man in the World—about Brian's journey into the world of extreme lifting and feats of strength. He seems like a good sort—and I loved how he's been forced to adopt a genial personality lest people fear him due to his sheer size and brawn.

Anyway Arnie, yes the Arnie, makes a couple of appearances in the piece. He turns up, with a couple of his kids, to one of this uber strongman contests—actually named for him and called the Arnold—and he takes time to speak to the contestants.

“So I am, of course, a big admirer of yours,” he said. “You are the real strongest men in the world. I thank you for your training and I thank you for being so powerful.”

I thank Arnie for saying that last sentence and giving the world a precious reminder of just awesome Arnold is.

But that's not all. Later, from the same article...

Victory, in the end, went to Mike Jenkins. He hurtled up the ramp in just under seven and a half seconds—fourteen-hundredths faster than Poundstone—and won the championship by a single point. Later that night, at the trophy presentation, Schwarzenegger asked him how he’d done it: “For schlepping up this weight up the ramp—I mean, how do you train for something like that?” Jenkins levelled his eyes at him, deadpan. “On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I do yoga at 6 A.M.,” he said. “Then Tuesdays, Thursdays, I have Zumba at 7 P.M.” Schwarzenegger grinned and nodded. “That’s very impressive,” he said. “I can really visualize you in yoga positions. This is exciting. I think we can sell tickets to that one.”

Indeed we can. 

The other day I was cruising wiki and decided to read up about famed circus impresario P.T. Barnum, the 19th century US entertainer whose became synonymous with the concept of self-promotion. 

As I read his wiki I came across Barnum's involvement with the hoax of the Cardiff Giant. It was a 10-foot (3.0 m) tall purported "petrified man" uncovered in 1869 by workers digging a well. Only the body was a plant, created by an atheist George Hull, to take this piss out of purported giants as mentioned in the Bible. Hull had tried to create a decent fake, even to the extent of whacking his model with a board studded with nails so it would have pore marks on its skin. 

Barnum tried to buy it but the owners wouldn't sell it to him. So what did he do? He snuck someone in to covertly tax a wax impression, had his own one made, then had the gall to not only show it but declare the original fake to be a fake. 

It all went to court but in the end the suit against Barnum was dismissed as the judge ruled that Barnum could not be sued for calling a fake giant a fake.
When I read about these shenanigans the wry smile appeared and stayed for long minutes afterward. Even now it makes me grin to re-read it. 
Finally, there's this.  I saw it in a Buzzfeed post. It's still making me laugh.

Ah, the internet, thank you for such gold.

(1) Even though this blog gets barely any views, and even though the bulk of those are via a Google search where they just happen to come across it in their hunt for need-to-know info, I still check the stats and whether anyone has commented. Hey all bloggers are e-narcissists. If they say otherwise they're lying. 
(2) The other night I went on a wiki-jaunt about the history of dams, dam types, and specific dams of note such as the Hoover dam and the St. Francis dam which, in California in 1928, broke and killed 600 or so people downstream. The man who designed it, a self-taught engineer named William Mulholland, took full responsibility for the disaster, though it was later found that the surrounding rock massively contributed to the disaster but that geological sciences of the time had not advanced to the point where this would have been known before it was built. Of the disaster Mulholland said "Don't blame anyone else, you just fasten it on me. If there was an error in human judgment, I was the human, and I won't try to fasten it on anyone else". He ended his career and died in self-imposed obscurity. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just ... just why?

Good times with sneezing and where Mikey confesses to an accidental intake

Don't you hate it when you sneeze on your own nipple?

I had a sneeze come on but, worried that it would project into communal space, I turned my head downward only to then discharge it right across my left pec. I could feel the sneeze blast wave ripple right across the ole vestigial decorative-only chestal protuberance. 

Sure, I had a shirt on, but I still felt it. Lucky it didn't cause spontaneous high beaming.

And continuing on with the subject of aerated spittle... 

The other day a colleague—someone who I have an uneasy relationship with—ran in to tell me something in confidence about farewell planning in progress. I was sitting and he was standing, looming in fact, over me as he whispered the news.

As he talked a droplet of spittle left his mouth, trailed through the air and then landed on my lower lip. Without thinking I tongued it away.

So I got that going for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Raged at by YHV 25S

I was driving to collect theWife and needed to move into the right-hand lane. I indicated, waited two seconds, checked my mirror that there was a gap, then moved across.

Unfortunately the car I moved in front of—a silver SUV with the plate YHV 25S—must not have registered my presence because they not only did not slow down when I appeared, they honked at me with the passenger and driver both giving me angry faces and flipping me off.

I responded with the half-raised hand to indicate 'what the fuck?' but they kept flipping me off and being mad. So I flipped them back.

They then tail gated me with their high beams on.

Eventually I went around the roundabout and they got the opportunity to pass me before lanes re-merged. As they went past they honked at me once more.

Then they proceeded to not only tail gate the person in front of them but then lane swerve without indicating—or indeed even looking before they moved it seemed given the speed at which they manuevered—only to tail gate someone else before they turned off.

Jesus wept I hate fucking selfish cockspanks who drive incredibly aggressively, don't obey the fucking road rules, then lash out at other people for driving at the legal speed and for performing legal manuevers that cause them to have to brake because they weren't watching the fucking road properly.

I've had one ticket in my entire life of driving, and that was for doing 90 in an 80 zone when I was once late for a medical appointment. That was 10 years ago.

I'll match my fucking driving record against that pair any day.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Gamers: Dorkness Rising

Well I finally saw The Gamers; Dorkness Rising.

The first movie made by Dead Gentlemen Productions was a decent effort for an mostly-amateur group. The production was clearly a labour of love and not originally intended as a commercial vehicle. But they got a lot of buzz out of their first project and thus attempted another: The Gamers; Dorkness Rising.

Just wow. It had a decent up-tick in production values, moderately good acting (again, mostly amateurs), and it even had CGI! And, what's more, it basically adhered to the D&D 3.5 rule set, with some minor plot-specific game mechanic tweaks, when the game mechanics were referred to during the movie. I've never ever actually seen that properly done before.

But all that aside the best thing of all about it was that it was laugh out loud hilarious. The running gags were gold, the depiction of the bizarre dynamic of a class power being applied to reality---Bardic Music, for example---was nicely handled, and there was even a pseudo-romance sub plot going on. Plus the girl gamer---or gurl gamer---totally rose to the occasion and proved she could trick out the stats of a PC her first time out the gate. The movie even successfully depicted the different gamer types and their interplay in a realistic manner; from the frustrated world building GM through to the player who always plays Chaotic Neutral to maximise their ability to use violence to solve any dilemma, including boredom.

So guys involved in Gamers 2. If you ever self-google and you come here then thanks for an awesome fucking movie. 

And if you're looking for a kickstarter on Gamers 3 count me in!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Easy like Sunday morning

He's in the cuddle spot, against the couch wall. I'm on my side on the couch. He's playing a kids' app on my loaner iPhone and I'm using my tablet. Our twin screens are glowing in the semi-dark of the end room. He's chatting away as he plays—building e-cars with the app.

There are worse ways to start a Sunday.

UPDATE: We're now watching Were-Rabbit. theBoy's eating fruit loaf toast and is drinking milk through a curly straw. I am on the armchair by the DVD shelf. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Character stories

If you're a gamer—the proper pencil and paper kind where you use your imagination instead of being pixel-spoon fed a distorted body image that rapes physics—you'll know the danger of being trapped by a mouth breather who wants to gab on about a fave PC. And by PC I mean Player Character not Personal Computer.

So I am conscious of the danger of e-boring your tatas off with saucy Storyverse talk, the shared universe of mine and theBoy's from our free range story sessions we delve into for about half an hour each day. Since, after-all, Storyverse has two principle characters and another dozen in a supporting ensemble cast  But then no one is putting a gun to your head to read this so in the words of Gaston from Meaning of Life, if you don't like it fuck off, don't come following me.

Of late there have been some real Storyverse corkers. Since this is effectively my journal, save for what remains in my silver head box, I'm going to write them up now.

Hang on, have to go to the PC. That's Personal Computer, not Player Character, fuckbag.

Okay, I'm back. The Beloved was getting too icky to work with in blogging mode. And I'm the fuckbag, not you.

Anyway, some stand out moments. 

The other day there was an altercation in the Ich Bin Ein Ladybird Cafe. It's a small pleasant eatery owned and operated by Rat, the character that says the last word or clause in a sentence twice. Only Rat infests all his food and drinks with ladybirds even though it's tremendously icky—Humpty and Stumpty, the diminutive titular characters of Storyverse, finding it all especially unpleasant. Except much of Storyverse's population consists of omnivorous anthropomorphisd animalia, many of whom eat insects as part of their varied diet. So Rat does not lack for custom despite the ladybirding of all his product.

Anyway, there was an altercation. It involved Bad Synybatbat, a Prussian Spike-Helmet wearing penguin who lairs in a motorised iceberg that can also turn into a helicopter.

This is what went down from theBoy.

theBoy—'I shoot Bad Synybatbat in the bum and put a hole in it and there's fire!'

Me—'Bad Synybatbat runs around and then climbs on the milkshake machine and sticks his flaming butt into it. He sighs with satisfaction as the flame is doused and a thin trail of smoke roils into the air.'

theBoy—'Then Bad Synybatbat's insides get sucked out through the bullet hole!'

Me—'Chooky, are you saying that all of Bad Synybatbat's organs and insides get sucked through the bullet hole and his empty husk of skin drapes over the lip of the milkshake machine?'


Bad Synybatbat remained alive, however, even though his innards and what not were sucked into the vat of vanilla milkshake and ladybirds, turning it all into a reddened slurry. His eyeballs and beak survived and the villainous former corporeal penguin started cursing theBoy. So theBoy served him up in milkshake glasses and passed him around to other customers to drink him all away.  

Adios Bad Synybatbat.

A recent addition to Storyverse has been the Not Very Helpful Cowboy. He turns up to scenes of distress and provides little, if no, help. He then gallops off to the theme tune of Bonanza and we sing about how little help he just provided.

For example, Synybatbat—the more pleasant brother of Bad Synybatbat—was stuck by the beak in the wall of his ice cube igloo. In a muffled voice he cried for help. Enter the Not Very Helpful Cowboy, as played by theBoy.

Me—'So, Chooky, what sort of assistance do you provide?'

theBoy—'I give him a hook but he can't reach it.'

Me—'Are you saying you put a hook—that if he could grab it would easily help him extricate himself from his icy predicament—but you leave it just out of reach and thus the assistance provided has been not very helpful?'


(gallop gallop gallop gallop; cue Bonanza Theme) '♪♫ Not Very Helpful, Not Very Helpful Cowboy! He doesn't render much assistance, if he turns up at all! ♪♫'

theWife heard what was going on and brought in theBoy's hobby horse. It has a little speaker that when you press a button in the hobby horse's ear it emmits a whinney and follows that with galloping noises. So as we went through several more Not Very Helpful Cowboy scenarios, usually involving Storyverse characters trapped in an unfortunate situation—such as Scared Rabbit pinned by the ears in a tree—theBoy triggered the sound effect of the galloping and then jiggled up and down in a riding-like manner when it came time for the Not Very Helpful Cowboy to exit, stage left

This following simple afterthought as delivered by theBoy after some Not Very Helpful Cowboy action then cracked me the fuck up. theBoy, as he said it, astride his hobby horse by the foot of the bed.

theBoy—'The Not Very Helpful Cowboy then dances in the moonlight ... in Africa!'

Not only did the moonlight thing proffered crack me up, the addition of the specific location was the cherry on top. I rolled around on the big bed, laughing and laughing as theBoy danced up and down with his hobby horse, grinning at his humour infliction. 

Though this isn't a Storyverse thing—and I've settled on applying title case to Storyverse in all cases now instead of flitting between title and lower case—the rule of threes applies and I want to coda with this.

theBoy's final acts before hopping into bed is having a wee and then giving me a kiss cuddle.

theWife, from the lounge room—'Okay, remember it's toilet then cuddle for daddy!'

theBoy, in the corridor, as if repeating her instructions—'Wee, biting, cuddles.'

Me, in the end room, distracted as I use my tablet—'You'll never bite me, Chooky. I'm too clever for you.'

He went to the toilet and came marching over to me in the end room. As I was both medicated and internet surfing on my Beloved I had completely forgotten to defend myself, even though he'd all but warned me he was going to comedy bite me (1).

So he comedy bit me on my stomach fat roll. 

You know what? I'll pay that. Well played, sir.

(1) His comedy biting involves him being mouth agape and hissing like a cat. He then closes on you and gently presses down with his teeth. Well, gently for the most part. If he's super excited sometimes he will bite and bite hard. I was once left paralysed with fear and laughter as I lay on my back and he was on top of me, mouth wide and hissing, trying to close to bite on me with only my pinned forearm keeping him at bay.   

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My little Kimba ... I mean Simba

With thanks to The Simpsons for the post title.

theBoy is nearly five—which is both awesome and blows my mind—but he’s still a young child. And being a child means he has to grapple with reigning in his Id when emotion seizes him.

I annoy theBoy; a lot. It’s my way of being affectionate—if I try and annoy you then I probably like you—plus it forces him to interact with me. He can’t ignore my annoying, unless, of course, theWife steps in and puts a stop to it and sends me away or advises theBoy to walk off.

If he’s super annoyed, and he’s pushed past the bounds of a normal ‘Daddy please stop annoying me’ response, then he may go his lion roar. It consists of him opening his mouth as wide as he can and roaring as loud as he can—a pure emotive ‘fuck off’ roar of fury.

In ole whitey, our second car (and former first car), I have a jury-rigged set up of a cigarette lighter adapter and portable speaker. It’s so I can jack in my Mp3 player and listen to podcasts to and from work. Only the speaker, or more correctly the connecting cord between the speaker and the Mp3, is a piece of shit. Indeed it’s the second such piece of shit I have purchased—both from Woolworths no less—that has failed on me. This connecting cord, a very thin one, has frayed internally and unless the cord is in a particular position the speaker cuts out. And as I drive then car vibrations will vibrate the ensemble out of position. I tried finding a new USB power / headphone jack / speaker connection cord but could not. So I am stuck with this one for now.

As I cruised along this morning the fucking speaker cut out about a dozen times. Eventually I lost my rag at it.

I roared; a great leonine theBoy-style roar at the stupid piece of cheap crap cord that once again had fucked up. In extreme frustration I yanked the cord out and gave up on trying to listen to the podcast, turning on ABC News Radio instead. Fortunately for me all this occurred just after the giant unnecessary slab of sports news that infests ABC News Radio from about 8:32 through to 8:50 am.

I guess we all have our roar inducers. Mine is inanimate objects not doing what they’re supposed to.

His is me.

UPDATE: I managed to get a new speaker. I am ashamed to say that despite my kvetching ... I got the same model from the same place; Woolies. I took the old speaker and frayed cord into the shed. I had the idea I could leave it in there and use it with my Beloved when riding the TPC (1). I couldn't find my old power plug USB charger so I turned on the near dead laptop—using a USB port to power the speaker—and it all seemed to work. Then I untangled the cord and set it all up, ready for it's new long life in retirement. Except of course the untangling of the cord finally broke what little connectivity remained within. It is now finally totally fucked. 

And yes ... I roared at it when it happened. Sometimes a man's just gotta roar.

(1) The TPC (1a) an exercise bike still technically owned by the enigmatic Casso, a sorceress of the far east known both for her opulent palace and her fine Fu Manchu moustache. I am in the process of getting around paying her for said TPC. It will happen!
(1a) Don't know what the Beloved is or what the TPC stands for? Seriously? Oh for God's sake just look it up.

Hammers of lords

There's this saying—I forget who said it first—cripples don't mock cripples. So perhaps that's why I "trend" left in the common understanding of political views. Indeed, the older I get, the more left I become; an outlier on the 'if you're young and you don't vote left you have no heart; if you're old and you don't vote right you have no brains' theory. It's probably because my physicality has taken a massive pounding of late and thus the more crippled I am the more prone I am to look out for the like afflicted.

Anyway, I proudly admit I am left of centre (again, as the common understanding is). I am most likely to vote Green. Indeed, though I am (at last check) a paid up member of the ALP I have voted green as a first preference because I want the ALP to go their way and not die in the barren midlands where no one dwells. 

So I arc up when I see my ideological opposites acting particularly monstrously. I can't but help see them as feudally inclined lords and toffs, made up of the financial elites that wish only for more wealth and to fuck any social compact. Skeevy bigots who drape their 'us and them' mentality over themselves like a Cloak of Resistance +2.

Two examples spring to mind. 

The first is, of course, Tony Abbott and his inhumane views on handling refugee arrivals from sea. Turning the boats back. These are people illegally attempting to enter our territory to seek asylum. Sure, within the midst are those seeking a better place in life, but really, who the fuck can blame them for doing so? But despite it being clearly a conflict with international law and, indeed, the primeval law of the sea that mariners have followed since time immemorial, this heartless pandering cock spank is drilling down on his belief he can command others to do something in violation of not only international law but the very spirit of the sea. 

Abbott's fucking lucky Poseidon or insert-aquatic-sphere-holder-deity-here doesn't exist or they'd be mighty peeved at ole budgie smugglers and his strong stance on Brownies get towed back out. Indeed should such watery divinity be around I'm presuming Abbott can no longer go swimming lest he end up having a memorial swimming pool named after him for expressing such a sentiment.

The next example is the Republican Party in the US. These intransigent mofos have torqued their economy solely to screw over Democratic attempts to right the fiscal ship that the Republicans in office nearly capsized. Indeed, the ship steering analogy extended they then drunkenly stumbled and attempted to wrest the wheel once more with their refusal to raise the debt ceiling, let alone all the other horrid shit they smeared over the body politic.

But in addition to political and economic fouling of their own nest—though it helps so much of their personal wealth resides protected overseas such as those owned by Mitt Romney, proud parent of a Swiss bank account and stacks of wealth stored in Caribbean Island Banking Systems—they've been steadily disenfranchising tens of thousands of poor people on the utterly spurious notion there's electoral fraud due to lack of acceptable photo ID. Because, you see, the poor and less able less likely to have such in their possession and therefore they can be turned away from the polls. A classic example of this plan being some egregious error of a human being in the State house of Philadelphia claiming their Voter ID law changes had delivered the state for Mitt

Both of these have at their heart a world view that is poisonous and mean spirited. A clear example of fucking Haves trying to shit all over the Have Nots. Why? So they can gather to their miserly embrace even more of their mostly-unearned money. 

Part of me is hopeful still for the future. That even though the generations behind us will be beset with Biblical-esque horrors in the form of environmental damage that sanity and compassion will prevail. That the ability to share a thought with the rest of a world at an instant will eventually put paid to tyranny and the power of evil old mostly-white men. 

But things like this. An overt appeal to base xenophobia and at the risk of whatever reputation Australia had left as a place synonymous with a positive immigration and integration experience or the deliberate targeting of the only right the poor really have to redress their lot—at the ballot box—just makes the blood boil.

These lords are old evil but someday their hammers will break and then they will be done.