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Tab's Journal
Tab's Journal
April 1, 2016

April's Fools day shifted one day out this year, per BNTS and as reported in Calendar Watch Weekly.

1 April 2016 (Calendar Watch Weekly)

The Bureau of National Time Standards and the Governmental Department of Scheduling (responsible for setting government holidays) has officially announced that this year - and perhaps this year only - April Fool's Day will be shifted to Sunday, April 2nd in a one time only event.

"Between the storms down south and that we just got finished with Easter, and that more people will be home on Sunday rather than Saturday, it made sense to shift it, as a trial experiment) to move to Sunday this year. That said, there's no reason why people can't celebrate both on Saturday AND Sunday and enjoy the whole weekend, but it won't be official on Saturday," said Julian Calendae, director of the Governmental Department of Scheduling.

"We want everyone to enjoy it," he continued, "and it makes more sense that we do it when convenient."

Some other holidays have already been shifted for years. For instance, although Halloween is officially on 31 October, many towns and cities stretch it out for two weeks in advance, so children can trick-or-treat at local businesses, or wear their costumes at school this year.

So far, other holidays remain the same. Thanksgiving will occur on a Thursday this year, as scheduled, and Christmas lands on the 25th of December this time, as is often the case.
March 28, 2016

Welcome to the End of Life Issues forum

It'd be nice if such a group wasn't necessary, but hey, such is life.

If you are going through EOL issues yourself, or have someone in your life who is, or if you're a professional working in this area, please join us.

March 1, 2016

There's an interesting (IMO) related story

First, mechanically, you can't easily run a cable car up Everest (or to call it Chomolungma/Sagarmartha, the more proper name on the Tibetan/Nepali sides). Second you can't just dump people off at 30,000+ feet. You did mention it'd be pressurized but there's lots of problems in avoiding that or if things go wrong (or if the weather sucks and you can't bring the cable car down for days, and god forgive rescues or mechanical issues).

Anyway, that wasn't the point. When I was in Nepal, about 5 miles from Everest (and a good 3000 foot climb up yet ANOTHER mountain), there was a place called the Everest View Hotel. It's the highest hotel in the world at 13,000 feet (keep in mind Everest is more than twice that height).

It was built in the late 60's, opened in the early 70's. The idea was cool - you could sleep on a mountaintop and look out your window and see Everest. Even as a visitor years later (90's) I could go up there and get a cold coke served by a waiter. Quite surreal.

What they intended was that jet setters would flock in to this unusual luxurious location. What they found out were a few things - first of all, Royal Nepal Airlines had to give permission for flights in, and since they owned the monopoly on flights, they couldn't work out an arrangement whereby non-RNA flights could get in.

Second, I don't think anyone gave a lot of thought to altitude sickness from people flying into Kathmandu and then getting dropped off at 13,000 feet without acclimitizing properly (exposing you to altitude sickness which is a real dangerous thing).

Finally, no one seemed to have thought through the issue of having a wood structure exposed to the elements 13,000 feet up in the Himalayas.

To my knowledge, though it's been a few decades, the only to get there is to hike up, which I'm pretty sure was not in the business plan. I believe the Japanese owned it for a while (or maybe started it) but don't know what its status is now. It is surreal to climb up in the middle of frickin' nowhere, and be served a cold coke by a white-gloved waiter, but I doubt it's a sustaining business model. But there is something cool like that in the area, and a blast to experience (and no pun intended with either "cool" or "blast&quot

February 27, 2016

Yeah, I know a few

To my knowledge, they all worked their way up. I don't think I know any that just inherited money and didn't know the other side of life.

My only problem as certain friends get into the high 1% is that sometimes it's a lot harder to contact them and get a response. I mainly attribute that to that there's probably a zillion people trying to reach them too. But when I do get in touch, they're invariably nice, and fully appreciative of their luck in life and not forgetful at all of how they got there.

Yeah, Hillary is rich now. She had a President for a husband. As Senators (as well as presidents) they get lifetime pensions that will blow away the average mortal makes. There's also speaking fees, and books. Also, depending on how the campaign ran, they get access to the leftover campaign funds.

Hell, I'd max it out too. But I'd hate to think it would disqualify me, particularly all the experience I picked up in the process of getting there.

Even when I made a lot more money (pushing me to the 1% too, though that's not the case any more) I still went to the store every day, knew how to use the self-checkout, knew the prices of most of the stuff I bought. I couldn't have answered the gotcha question of how much is a gallon of milk or a dozen eggs because I'm lactose interolant and don't drink milk and simply don't like eggs. But I buy them now for my family and I know what the costs are ($2.50 to $4 for milk, depending on what brand you get, and anywhere from $2 to $6 for eggs, depending if they're generic or fancy "organic" eggs from chickens raised in what sounds like spas on a tropical island).

There is an advantage to being rich, having come up from basically nothing. You get to see both sides of the coin. You know what it's like to have to struggle, and you also know what can be done when you have power and money, and you'd be surprised how that viewpoint works. I'm still lucky enough to have a house, fireplace, dogs, and multiple cars, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten what it was like to earn $4.50 minimum wage (or less! I think $2.50 or $3.25 when I started), ride my bike to work and live in a hostel for $45/month. Just because you worked past that doesn't mean you no longer remember or care about that. If anything, it's given me an expanded view of life. I'm not currently valued in the millions, but even if I was, I wouldn't be out of touch.

I have some people I know that have more money than I can imagine ever getting at this point. But they all started from scratch, and are perfectly friendly. Suspicious of new friendships, perhaps, but I assume that comes with the territory. But for people they know and trust, they're great.

If you're looking at a trust-fund baby, like that asshole "affluenza" Ethan Couch, then yeah, you'll find jerks.

I'm voting for Bernie myself (already have, since I live in NH), but if I was going to vote against Hillary, it wouldn't be because she had money or access to it. I'm going to vote for the Dem nominee whichever one it is, but I'm not going to write her off because she succeeded and think she doesn't remember anything.

Trump, however, has succeded most expectations but I won't vote for him because of that, simply because I think he's a dangerous asshole with no mental filter. I do give him credit, though, I think he's a great negotiator and a compelling self-marketer (he's gone the farthest while spending the least), but his values don't match mine, or even America's I think. I might hire him to run a company, but not the country.

I lived in Burlington when Bernie was mayor. I had a front-row seat at a recent "town hall" meeting that he ran. In all this time, he is just consistent, and I'll vote for him in a second. Hillary is not my first choice, but I'm not going to dismiss her just because she and Bill (both lawyers, and politicians, and compelling speakers (specifically, Bill)). If she's in the GE, then I'll vote for her. Not my first choice, but I'm not going to throw her out just because she was smart enough to earn money.

Do you remember Ross Perot? He had a shitload of money and a lot of, seemingly, radical but on-topic ideas. I suspect he would have done better now than 20 years ago. He didn't have it all quite together, and made a dent but didn't win. If Bernie had made $20 million on some investment, would you discount him too? I'd hope not.

February 22, 2016

Incredible Teen Tricked School Into Believing He Was a Senator

Eighteen-year-old Izaha Akins, who is now facing felony charges after Ohio school officials realized the state senator who had given a lecture to a high school class was actually just a teen. A normal, non-senator, prank-lovin’ badass teen.

Akins’s ruse, while elaborate, wasn’t sophisticated. After learning about Ohio Senator Dave Burke’s upcoming visit to the school’s American government class, Akins called the class’s teacher to explain that Burke had been forced to resign due to an illness. Akins, naturally, had been chosen as Burke’s replacement, “making him the youngest state senator ever.”

Should Akins have done this? No, probably not. But should an American government teacher have known that this teen probably wasn’t an actual state senator? Why, yes—yes he should have.

From the Huffington Post:

When the teacher, Henry Stobbs, asked why he hadn’t heard about Akins’ appointment, the teen replied that he was the second choice and that the first choice had declined the offer. He also said that Burke had yet to publicly announce his resignation but would do so in the coming weeks.

Akins’ request to move his visit from January to December was approved and the teen and people posing as his aides secured a car and driver from a local car dealership, according to reports. When he arrived at the school for his visit, he used his own ID card to sign in. He received a tour and went on to give a lecture to the students, authorities said.

Everything seemingly in perfect order, the young Senator’s visit went off without a hitch. As the school’s superintendent, Ken Ratliff, told The Toledo Blade, “The presentation was about being active in politics, political processes. Everyone thought it was legit, bought into it, including the teacher.” Until several weeks later, that is.

When Burke showed up on January 14—a month after Akins’s staged event—school officials realized that perhaps the 18-year-old child roaming their halls had not been a state senator after all...
Akins has since been arrested and is facing one count of impersonating a peace officer and one count of telecommunications fraud. Both are felonies.

Now, there are two major injustices at play here.

The first: Any teacher who would believe this kid without faltering probably isn’t the best person to be teaching our nation’s youth about government. If anything, teen senator did a public service by exposing yet another crack in the foundation of our education system.

The second: Anyone who manages to pull off a cool prank of this magnitude deserves a reward, not jail time.

Gotta say, I love a ballsy prank (particularly if it hurts no one).

February 22, 2016

With you 1000%+ except

I just want to hear the words "Democratic President".

I hate that we're dividing the way we are, with factions setting it "Bernie or forget it" or "Hillary or forget it". What the hell do you people want? A Cruz/Rubio/(god forbid)Trump administration?

Let's agree to advocate for the candidate we want - as we should - but let's also make a point to back whichever candidate gets the nomination. Either Hillary or Bernie will be a damned sight better than anything the GOP has to offer. This is not the time to get weak-kneed.

February 16, 2016

You're not dumping in my thread.

For goodness sakes. These are conversations, not just lectures or statements.

I'm also in my 4th or 5th year of stage IV. I did try oral chemo at the end, but stopped my particular kind (Stivarga, which was new to the market and FDA-fast tracked. I got almost every single side effect listed, and was sleeping up to 20 hours a day. It was ridiculous so I stopped. I don't know if your condition is fast moving or slow moving, but this is one of those things you need to keep in mind, as I'm sure you know. Personally I was told I was basically over the "good drugs" (meaning ones with minimal or tolerable side effects) and it was mainly just nastier stuff ahead of me. I eventually just stopped treatment.

Yah, I think my doctor asking if my affairs are in order (whether they were or not) would kind of catch my attention. "Umm, Doc, can I ask why you thought you needed to bring that issue up?". Asking if you've set up a living will or DNR is valid to what they do, but asking if your affairs are in order? Either you're in bad shape or you need a new doctor.

I'm only a few days into this hospice thing (just got oxygen tanks today ) but the hospice team seems to be far more helpful than I expected. I was reluctant at first but now am starting to find it's a really nice resource and lifts the burden for most people involved (not just the patients). Still in the getting used to it phase.

I guess the direction we are going in can't easily be changed (just talking medically) but how conduct ourselves on what is a terminal hike is what defines us as a person.

February 8, 2016

Only big companies (and hobbyists) will have desktop computers

Kinda like 40 years ago.

For everyone else, the sum totality of their Internet experience will be on their phone. This is already emerging as the de facto trend in countries like China and India. Even now, I find my wife and mother-in-law are more happy on a tablet than screwing around on a laptop.

Personally I'm okay with laptops and desktops because that's all I've built and worked with during my career (along with things like a Vax-780 or Dec-20). For most people, though, they want to get in touch with their friends (email, facebook), do online banking and stuff, look up restaurants, shop for cars, etc., and the bigger equipment is just a hassle (I know it's a hassle for me, because I end up fixing their stuff when it doesn't work for them).

For many people, over the next few decades, phones, or maybe something better (suggest we call them "Pocket Computers" keeping with the "PC" moniker) is going to be the extent of their experience.

The rest of us won't be out of jobs, but it's shifting faster than we're aware of. Just like building furniture, you used to have to hire someone high-end for the tricky stuff (back then it was animations and video, at least for me, and tricky internal stuff). Now it's like going into Wal-mart and buying something off the shelf. It's all commotidized. You used to have to hire someone like me to do this fancy shit, now it can be done for you at a fraction of the cost (a REAL fraction of the cost). May not be perfect, but for most, it's adequate.

Likewise I'm starting to come to terms that my cable TV won't be the standard any more. I'm still clinging to my land line (a rotary phone, actually, although I do have a more advanced system that plugs in), but that just may be my desire to perpetuate my childhood history. On the bright side, a wired land-line works in a power outage - not the case with my digital phone station unless I want to put UPS's everywhere.

And I was going to leave it at that, but that last paragraph made me think of Elon Musk's efforts to get batteries into every home. In such a case, things aren't going to grind to a halt when the power goes out. That's a temporary thing - may last another 20 years - but it will go away eventually.

Anyway.... silly early Monday morning thoughts.

February 2, 2016

In Defense of New Hampshire

First, I may have posted this before, but I can't find it. Anyway...

NH gets criticized for not being a representative population for America. I can understand it. There's no real metropolitian cities and it's pretty monochromatic.

That said, it's not a bad testing ground for a candidate getting started.

- Unlike, say, Connecticut, it's more isolated media-wise - from New York and even from Boston. There's only one or two major NH news channels, specifically WMUR, and a handle of major papers (the Union Leader, despite its conservative record, is the main one, followed by the Concord Monitor (much more progressive and even handed) and the Nashua Telegraph and maybe one more. Candidates can advertise on these specific channels and monitor the results without being drowned out by the more major city outlets (imagine if it was, say, Pittsburgh). Even Boston, which is nearest, can still be isolated for measuring results.

- A candidate can test the waters by traveling to every county - every town if they wish - in a car, and certainly from bottom (Nashua) to the top (Dixville Notch, where the first votes are cast), in a single day. Bernie (or whoever), can bounce from Nashua to Derry to Manchester, to Portsmouth, up to Lebanon and Berlin, covering the whole state in an (admittingly, tiring, day). You don't need a private plane to get from one end of the state to the other, so from that point of view, it's cost-effective for a candidate testing the waters. You can have lunch in a small diner and be sure it'll be in the paper.

- People in towns can have access to multiple candidates - from Trump to Hillary to Bernie to whoever you want - with usually not more than a 30 minute drive (longer if you're further north) to see a candidate. Some venues are packed, but others might have less than 200 people and you can usually sit front row. If I lived in L.A. or NYC, that'd never happen. So you get real people feedback. It may not be as diverse feedback, but for an initial dipstick it helps to measure that dipstick of a candidate.

- You can actually canvass the whole state, which you'd never be able to do in, say Los Angeles, much less the whole of California. If I lived in L.A, - or, hell, even Dallas or something, you'd bet I'd never see a candidate live in my life.

So, now, New Hampshire's not perfect, but it's valuable for a test candidate in many ways. And if they do well in NH, they can start to draw attention and funding to start flying around those bigger states with a bigger campaign staff.

Oh, if I haven't said so, for comparison, NH's population is about 1.3 million (voting population obviously smaller). Just to put in perspective - if you're trying to set up a ground campaign, it's much easier to do that here than, say, California (no offense - I love California, but as a newbie candidate, it would scare me).

January 31, 2016

It's age-old

(and I'm not defending it, just trying to understand it). Men were the traditional strong ones, the ones who could make the most impact in their community. Not that there weren't strong women, but I think it was relatively few and far between, certainly socially, but more importantly just physically. So, mankind (if I can call it that) became a male-centric universe. This stuff doesn't change easily, and it's had hundreds and hundreds (or thousands) of years to get entrenched.

As people evolve, we're finding (I think) that other skills - diplomacy, negotiation, social order - are valued now more than they used to be, mainly because armament and such have evened out the playing field, and strength itself is no longer the deciding factor. I would argue that females are actually better in this department than males. And the religions are changing - there are more female priests, activists in repressive societies and so forth; the shift might not be running as fast as some would like, but at least it's going in the right direction. It took a long time to get here, and it might seem like it's taking a long time to get out, but we also had slavery / female oppression (right to vote) / xenophobia / homophobia for a long time, but the turnaround is, I think relatively quick. I've seen remarkable changes since I grew up in the 60s. There's a long way to go, granted, but I wouldn't lose hope. It's a good question, and we're going to get there.

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