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Saturday, March 26, 2016


Since you happen to be in the neighborhood, could you take a minute to take the listener survey?  It is exceedingly short.  Not a large enough audience to get advertisers.  But the Libsyn folks were nice enough to provide a survey.  So it'd be nice, and thanks in advance.

Here's a link for you.

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Episode 154 - Insert Title Here

Autism blah blah blah Executive Dysfunction yadda yadda yadda podcast.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Heyyyy America...? We need to talk | Clisare

Published on Mar 21, 2016
When you have to be the one to tell your friend that everyone hates her boyfriend.

This kinda says it all. "I mean... Germany is worried... Germany is worried about you!"

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Something there is that doesn't love a wall

I was puzzled and bewildered by Donald Trump's contention he will build a wall across Mexico, and that Mexico would happily pay for it.  I noted that the leaders of Mexico said in no uncertain terms, no, we won't, either.

Then I stumbled across some information that caused me to realize that the whole kerfuffle was caused by a simple  misunderstanding.

"Mexico is a town in the northeast part of Oswego County, New York, United States. The population was 5,197 at the 2010 census." - Wikipedia

Mr Trump is, of course, from New York.  And caring fellow that he is, he found out that the people of Mexico NY wanted a wall.  I'd imagine they mean a wall around the whole town.  It isn't a very big town, I suppose it wouldn't be a very long wall.

Why do they want a wall?  Wild animals, maybe.  Could be bears.  

"Black bears can remain dormant for up to 5 months in winter. Bears eat nearly anything - They are omnivorous; eating grasses, berries, fruit, nuts, seeds, insects, grubs, and carrion, as well as human sources of food like corn, honey, bird seed, trash, and pet food when available."  - New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

You can see the problem.  This little town, with apparently too many black bears wandering in, like that moose in Northern Exposure.  Think of the children!

So naturally, the soft-hearted Mr Trump wants to protect the innocent children of Mexico NY by building a wall to keep out those mean old black bears who would eat the pet food for their cute little puppies.  Think of the puppies!

The proud people of Mexico NY would of course not think of accepting charity, though they would I'm sure appreciate Mr Trump's help with this whole Bear Thing.  So he nobly accepts the challenge, offering to build the wall for them, accepting their commitment to reimburse him for the cost of the wall.

Mr Trump, I salute you, sir!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Episode 152 - The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton - Preparatory Note and Introduction

So, here's the deal.  On the one hand, I'm still in the middle of producing Swinging Doors over on Stories from the Hiber-Nation.  On the other hand, people who have liked my GK Chesterton books, and said so on Podiobooks, have repeatedly requested I record "The Everlasting Man."  Didn't want to interrupt Mike's book, and didn't want to keep putting off Chesterton's book. 

So I'm compromising.  I'm going to interject the episodes of The Everlasting Man over here on the Growls feed, and continue Swinging Doors on Hiber-Nation till that's finished.  That should dissatisfy everyone with the added advantage of exhausting me.  What could go wrong?  ;-)


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Friday, March 18, 2016

Getting around

Decided to go on a mission for Friday.

We have a two-function vent fan in the bathroom.  Flip one switch, the vent fan blows the bathroom air out through the roof.  Flip another switch, heated air is blown into the bathroom.

Given some water problems we've had with the roof, we have been leaving the vent on longer after showering.  Wanted to put in one of those dial timers in there to keep the vent fan on for X minutes then shut it off whether we're still there or not.  Right now we leave it on, go get dressed, and hike back to the bathroom to shut it down.

Julie got a dial timer that I thought should work fine, and I started installing it. That's when I found out they'd set up the four-gang of wall switches in the bathroom with four three-way switches.  Thought the fan was just a simple switch.  No such luck.  They hooked up the vent fan with a three way switch so that when it's off, it gives power to the heat switch.  If I put in the regular timer there, the heat fan wouldn't work anymore.

So I made a special trip up to Home Depot to try to buy a three-way timer switch.  It was Friday, I try to do something I can't do on the weekend on Fridays so they don't feel wasted.

Used Google Maps to find the bus that goes straight up the hill past my house to the Mall area.  Went out at the right time, got on the bus... and it was the wrong bus.  I could possibly have read the sign on the front.  But I was so sure about the timing...

So I stayed on the same bus as it went up the hill to the wrong place, back down the hill, across downtown, back up the hill on the other side and finally to the general vicinity of where I needed to go.  Then walked two or three blocks in the dark to get to the store.

Couldn't find the timers.  Downloaded and installed the Home Depot app on my phone.  Did a search for the timers.  The app gave me a map showing exactly where it was supposed to be.  Went there, no timers.

Got a store guy to show me where the things were.  Turns out (a) they weren't on the end of the row, they were on an end-cap as they call them, and (b) the store had renumbered their aisles -- and hadn't updated the app.

So there were the timers.  The rotary type I wanted, they didn't have three-way.  The three-way one they had was a digital one more for on at 8, off at 10:30 sort of timing.  So all that way, and no timer.

Then I needed to find a bus back home.  Up there where Home Depot is, the bus doesn't go in front of the stores, just along the access road.  So I could either stand in the street or stand in the snowbank.  I chose the street.

All in all, with snow on the sidewalks and a wet chill in the air, the whole trip kinda sucked.  Very disappointing overall.

You know, last job I had doing basically the same work it at least felt like I had days off.  Current job it really doesn't feel like I have any time off.  I'm so exhausted after a week of This Stuff, I sleep about half of my first day off (my "Saturday"), and waste the rest.  Then my "Sunday" which happens on Saturday I spend doing stuff like laundry to get ready for work. 

Then my Monday (on Sunday) I work a 10-hour day.  Which is why I'm worn out after a week.  Heck, I'm worn out after a day.

Really want to do something else.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Episode 151 - But Wait, There's More!

Took off MeerKat, added #Periscope, another live-streaming option tied to Twitter.  So that's at least 3 ways I can stream video, 4 or 5 ways I can livestream audio, a dozen different ways I can record podcasts on maybe eight different devices...  TOO MANY OPTIONS!  Or... why it took me so long to do another podcast.

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Speaking freely

Saw a young feller stating that old truism, "You only have Freedom of Speech from the government."  The presumption is that since the Constitution and Bill of Rights only govern the limits to Federal government power, the rights listed there only apply in that context.  Which is true.  Sort of.   But...

The freedoms that are protected from Federal interference are protected in part because it would be very dangerous to allow the Gummint to interfere with those in particular.  And it is right and proper that they should be protected from such interference.

They are also listed there because they are valuable and desirable in themselves.  The founding fathers, if there ever were such animals, saw value in those freedoms, above and beyond the Federal context, and long before there was a Washington D.C.

We protect freedom of speech, and of the press, and of religion, because we Americans believe that it is important for people to be able to speak freely, to write freely, and to believe freely.   The Constitution only protects them from the Feds, true.  The remaining protections we have to provide ourselves, as a community and as a nation. I stand up for your freedom to speak your mind because it is important to the preservation of my liberties that yours be protected.  I stand up because it's right to stand up.

The founding fathers didn't spell that all out in the Constitution, because that's not what the Constitution is for.  If I recall, the Georgia delegation thought there shouldn't be a Bill of Rights because someday some fool would decide if a right wasn't on the list it didn't exist.  Demeaning the universality of freedoms, enumerated or not, is a similar sort of error.   The need to speak freely doesn't end at the Beltway.  The need to write freely doesn't end on the last page of the New York Times.

John Stuart Mill said it better in "On Liberty," I think.  Feel free to listen to the audio version I posted on  The Federal government isn't the only force from which liberties must be protected.

Does that mean that every possible venue is in some fashion constrained by the Constitution to protect those freedoms for you?  Not at all.  They are constrained to preserve those freedoms because they are good and healthy freedoms for any open society like ours.  If one wishes to preserve that open society, by extension one wishes to preserve the attendant freedoms, even when the practice of those freedoms are ones of which we don't approve.

Are those constraints absolute, and must your freedoms in those venues be totally without bounds?  No, not really.  If you comment on my blog, that's your speech.  But overall, this blog is my speech.  What I include and exclude, what I bind and loose, is part and parcel of the message of my venue, my own speech, my own press. 

I can include those who agree with me.  I can also include those who intelligently disagree with me, where their disagreement adds value to the whole message.  But finally, the content of my speech in my venue must be determined by me.  Your freedom of speech is vitally important.  So is mine.  If I feel a comment doesn't add value, or worse, detracts from the value of my overall message, I'm free to exclude that comment from my message.

So speak freely.  And so will I.

Friday, March 11, 2016

There is too much at stake to stay home

Still not an LBJ fan, but what he said about responsibility....
This is an actor, in an ad paid for by LBJ's campaign.  And I was a bit young at the time, but LBJ was no great prize.

But I'm not the first to notice just how spooky this ad is in present circumstances.  Ya know what I mean?

Need a computer?

The folks at my Dayjob are updating the computers.  And they're giving away the old ones to employees like me.

So, today, I got yet another desktop computer.  Business-class, I guess you'd say.  Core 2 Duo the fella said, 2 gig of ram, 320 Gig HD, no OS on it, but I might be able to install Win7 on it -- still has the tag from the old Vista install, though the drive is wiped.  Then of course there's Linux, which I've never fiddled with much.

I now have in my lil bedroom two laptops, one of which is hooked up to two external monitors (mentioned elsewhere).  I have three desktops orphaned from Dayjob, with yet another monitor hooked up to the "newest" of those.  One conventional keyboard, one Bluetooth keyboard & mouse, two conventional mice not currently being used.

I also have my Fire 7 (discussed elsewhere), my new-ish Android phone, my previous still functional Android phone, my rooted Sylvania Android netbook (used to be WinCE).  The space program that went to the moon ran on the computing power equivalent of my cheap wristwatch.  I have an utterly absurd amount of computing power, and no practical use for it.

Well, podcasting, so that's one laptop.

Tempted to do those distributed-computing thingies, just to get some use out of all these devices.  Could try Bitcoin, but that mostly depends on a good GPU, and I'm short on those.

Might tap my friend Phred on the shoulder, ask if he could use a couple computers.  Not like I need 'em.

Resell?  Wouldn't think they'd have much resale value.

And I've only got one door, don't need this many doorstops.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

It Can't Happen here

So, had one of those "uh oh" realizations this evening.

You may have heard, oil supplies are up a lot.

So, oil prices are down a lot.  So, people that process and sell oil & such are not making as much money.

As it happens, my dayjob is with a company that sells services to companies that sell energy.  I've been with them five years, as of a couple of days ago.  And the bosses are talking about efficiency and reorganization and whatnot.

Funny thing, before I started there I spent about six years working for another company, a multi-state phone center company like this one.  They got bought by a large southern company, like this one.

The tail end of that period was the start of that big economic slowdown we all remember.  Some said recession, some said depression.  Financial hard times.

The large southern company decided if they were going to trim, they'd protect their own job security by trimming as far from headquarters as possible.  And northern Minnesota and Wisconsin was as far from headquarters as possible.

So they closed the office where I worked, and I ended up a displaced worker for two years.  A Wisconsin state program offered to pay for me to go to vocational school to get into a different field.  And I'd always wanted to be on the radio...

Now during that period I did most of the episodes of most of my podcasts.  I also graduated from Media Studies & Production at Lake Superior College, and having a ridiculous amount of podcasting experience helped a lot with that.

When I got out of school, I couldn't get that broadcast job I'd hoped for and gone to school to qualify for, but I came across this temp assignment, indirectly working for MPR, with my current company.  I took it, temporarily.  I did well enough that they asked me to stay permanently. 

That almost always happens when I take temp jobs.  I'm lousy at applying for jobs, and lousy at interviewing -- Asperger syndrome, remember?  But give me to chance to do the work, I got Mad Skillz as the kids used to say.

Pretty early on, I noted the previously mentioned similarities to that earlier job, and mentioned them to the folks who'd convinced me to stay.  "But this is completely different!  That won't happen here..."

 All of those folks that hired me are gone now.


Better check back in with the temp agencies.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Woulda been nice, though, huh?

There's qualified, and there's qualified.

I got an email back from Minnesota Public Radio regarding that radio host job I applied for. Unfortunately, it was that sort of email one hopes not to receive.

We appreciate you applying, we've found the candidates we want to consider further, you ain't one of them. Maybe we'll find someplace for you later. Maybe.

I could get angry about it, and sad. I already have for a while. And I hate it, but I really kind of get their point, too, although they didn't say it in so many words.

I've been podcasting for nine years. I'm reasonably good at that, I guess. I know how to do the things I've done and the things I do in the way I do them. For a self-taught audio guy, I'm pretty talented.

When they posted the job they were asking for someone with at least a Bachelors college degree "or equivalent experience," as well as experience with various broadcast-specific tools and technologies.

Nine years of anything is a whole lot of experience, and maybe that means I'd be able to do that job. But it is not only possible they could find someone with exactly the qualifications in the original posting. It's nearly impossible for them to not find such a candidate, probably several. And can I honestly say they'd be wrong to hire someone with the qualifications for which they asked in the first place? Given they're confident those qualifications would indicate an ability to do the job, are they wrong to hire someone like that?

Is there some particular reason to hire someone who only maybe could manage the job reasonably well? Someone who might well be thrilled to have the opportunity, but might well be only adequate in skills, even if sounding good on a microphone?

Hate to say it, but... nope.

Sure, it leaves me sad, heartsick and hopeless. But how I feel isn't a legitimate driver for their hiring decisions. I wanna work on the radio, and not work doing what I've been doing since 2003. But if I was the fella doing the hiring, given someone who had the specific qualifications, detail by detail... yeah, I think I'd hire them, too.

Maybe someday. Maybe someday. But at this moment, I can't say it seems likely I'll ever see that someday.

Good luck to the young college kid they'll give the job to.

Maybe someday.

Episode Zero -- A Minor Local Celebrity

With "Meditation Impromptu" by Kevin MacLeod Originally posted to Libsyn under my original setup around 02/2007.  When I ran out ...