All posts by Randy

Inland Resource Center, San Bernardino, CA

For all of the people screaming about Muslim this and that, keep in mind that religious people have been killing other people over religious differences since there was a religion. Catholics were getting killed and killing others over religious differences years before before Islam even began. And during that time, keep in mind that not every Catholic was killing or condoned killing – you can’t judge an entire group of people by the actions of a few. Bad apples, spoiled barrel, blah blah blah: however sad it is, this is not a new phenomenon so please keep your outrage focused on the people responsible and not the overall religion.

For all of the people screaming against laws the restrict guns, keep in mind that there were a lot of guns on the scene in CA none of them came from the victims in the Resource Center. Even though everyone in the building had the Constitutional right to own a gun and use a gun, no one had them with them. And why on earth would they? Can you imagine someone bringing their gun with them to an annual seminar at work? Simple fact: you cannot carry a gun with you 24/7 and even if you could, it is impossible to maintain concentration enough to carrying it safely, which means you shouldn’t.

For all of the people screaming for stronger gun control laws, keep in mind that there is no way to keep all guns off of this planet, much less out of this country, and CA has already some of the strongest laws in the nation, yet here we are. Simple fact: the NRA is right in that guns aren’t killing people but the people holding them are. For all of your plans and shouts to BAN BAN BAN you are exclusively targeting one part of the problem and it’s not going to solve everything if it even helps anything. People screwed up enough to open fire on a room of people can just as easily show up with a gas can and a match. While I personally believe the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms for the explicit purpose of forming a militia in defense of the nation, rather than everyone having the right to own a closet of guns, up to now our courts have said otherwise. Until Numero Dos is either clarified or overwritten by a new amendment, the current interpretation is that people can own whatever they want provided they meet the requirements of their state knowing full well that they can drive arms to wherever they want.

For all of the people that think they are right and the “other side” is wrong, keep in mind that you need to shut up right now, since there is no single fix for this problem. It will take a combination of ideas and the only way to enable that combination is to consider multiple options. If you are screaming your point of view so loudly that you are unable or unwilling to consider that there is another point of view or possible solution, not only are you are very likely wrong but you are very likely more concerned with being right and not fixing a God damned thing.

Just some things to keep in mind while you unless your angst on Facebook and post your virtual bumpstickers to Twitter.

Starbucks Red

CNN: Starbucks responds to holiday cup controversy

I picked up my last Pumpkin Spice latte of the season yesterday and it was in a red cup. I thought to myself “Yep, it’s after Halloween.” In the back of my mind I also noticed it was just red which made me think of all of the travel mugs and real cups from ‘bux this year, which opted for a plain colored dot in place of the mermaid – made me think that the train was continuing.

Over the 24 hours, however, other people looked at the same cup and have proclaimed that Starbucks hates Jesus and/or Christmas.

My first reaction: what the fuck is wrong with you people that is a new story of any way shape or form?

Second reaction: please boycott – it will mean fewer people in my coffee lines.

Third reaction: are you telling me that you love Starbucks so much that you find a little bit of God in your cup?

Ultimate reaction: as a shareholder of SBUX, thank you all for the free press and the religious implications that the Messiah is found in coffee beans.

Baby Amnesia

MSN.com: Baby’s day care death blamed on popular napping practice

The all up cause here is unknown, except for the fact that the kid was asleep in a car seat, something that “The Journal of Pediatrics declared an official danger just a few months ago.”

Totally sucks – completely agree – and maybe this new advice is akin to the firm crib mattress and no blanket and no pillows advice every new parent gets, to avoid SIDS. What I find funny is this quote from the article: To minimize this life-threatening risk, it’s as simple as waking your baby up and moving him to his crib when you get home from day care or the grocery store. You can also share this information with grandparents and childcare providers to make sure everyone caring for your infant is on the same page.

The author simply hasn’t had a baby in two or more years. No parent – and I mean no parent – in the early days of their infant months ever has anything like “as simple as waking your baby up” cross their mind. Ever. Anything that involves their infant sleeping is planned to let the infant sleep for as long as possible. No, no, no – this author is far, far away from the sleep deprivation that comes with year one to suggest you ever awake an infant so the kid can sleep [allegedly] safer. Remember that it wasn’t that long ago that the “solid” advice was sleeping an infant on hir stomach.

I remember the infant years clearly and I believe that I probably have let infant Kyle hug a half empty bag-o-glass if he fell asleep next to one rather than wake him up for plausible safety.

Syntax For the Masses

MSN: During the registration process at Harvard University, students are now allowed to indicate which pronouns they use, with suggested gender-neutral options like “ze” or “they.” Harvard isn’t the first college to embrace gender-neutral pronouns, but it’s among a wave of major institutions that are widening their policies and pronouns

While reading the Star Trek New Frontier books, I found it interesting that when they encountered an asexual race that they changed the “common language” – aka English, thanks Gene! – to update their pronouns as s/he and hir, pronounced shi-he and heer respectively. I remember thinking that it must have been a painful habit for the authors to support that, knowing that there would never be a practical usage in common practice. Ya know, until we encountered an asexual race. Who would have thought they were simply forward thinking?

Of course, the larger question is how in the hell does Spanish adapt itself to be gender neutral, seeing as everything in the language reflects gender?

And So It Begins…

MSN: Devouring a McDonald’s Big Mac or a Chipotle burrito is on a fast-track to becoming a luxury for many U.S. consumers. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, given the surging costs for beef and, above all else, hourly workers.

In May, San Francisco joined the city of Oakland in having the highest minimum wage in the nation at $12.25 an hour. Minimum wages in San Francisco will reach $15 per hour by 2018. These hikes have led to recent price increases at Chipotle of 10% in San Francisco and 7% in Oakland.

“In San Francisco, our occupancy costs are about double the Chipotle average as a percentage of sales, and our menu prices there [were] right around the average for Chipotle restaurants around the country, so increases to wages can have a greater impact than they might elsewhere,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said in an email. Occupancy costs are the expenses related to doing business in a location, including charges for rent, electricity and water.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. This post is over a year old.

Rush’s 40th Anniversary Tour at KeyArena

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It’s not often that I put this much media in a blog post, so call this a special occasion. You see, it’s not every day you get to see Rush live. In fact, it’s been almost 20 years since I last saw them in concert. I always knew they couldn’t tour forever. I always said that I had to somehow get into the front row for one of their concerts. When I heard that this might be The Last Tour of this size for the Canadian Trio, I grabbed a fist full of cash and ran to Ticketmaster.

I stood in front of Geddy from the second row for the entire show. And it was worth every. Single. Fuckin’. Penny.

My only regret has been not going to see them in Portland two nights later but I have no way to get these kinds of tickets again.

Videos – and there are 33 of them! – are on YouTube and unlisted, so you’ll only find them from here.

You still here? Thanks! It gives me a chance to put a bow on this geekout I’m having, a full 24 hours after the show.

You see, the very first time I heard about Rush, it was from my mother. She was teaching at a middle school in 1980 and a group of “burn outs” walked by. My mother took me aside and said, “Don’t you be like those boys!” and pointed to a couple of the long haired boys that were wearing a jean jacket that had a red star in a circle and a naked man, painted on the back of it.

Moth, meet flame.

During high school a couple of friends and I started listening to the 70’s incarnation of Rush, with our interest stopping with Signals. In fact, I recall lamenting that “Spew Your Fire” was a waste of their talents. Of course, it was a poster from the Grace Under Pressure tour that educated me on the fact that there are just three guys in the band. And have only been three guys in the band. Oh and that guitar riff I love so much in YYZ? That’s from the bass player.

I don’t think I’ve ever recovered.

Sometime during high school, I moved up on from the heavier and artsy rock and moved into the 80’s version of the band, realizing that every four albums there’s a live one which somehow magically reboots the band. And now – as poor Geddy can likely attest to after standing in front of him for 3 hours – the entire catalog is forever percolating in my brain with pretty accurate recall of every fill, lyric, and standing out riff or bass slap. After college, I stuck with them through the re-mastering of the catalog and new discs as they came out.

I saw them for Presto, twice for Roll the Bones, twice for Counterparts, once for Test For Echo; two of those tours were kicked off in Connecticut so I saw them in the raw and again when they had tightened the show up. As I got older old I found that optical discs and streaming HD got me closer to the band compared to when I actually went to a show…

Until this show.

Boys, if you never tour again, enjoy the retirement and thanks for the memories.

Business as Usual

“We live in an age where mass communication has counterintuitively turned all attempts of verbal debate into a basketball game where the teams are on different courts and stand around the baskets racking up meaningless points and throwing shit over the dividing wall.”
– Ben “Yahtzee” Crowshaw, Zero Punctuation

Kinda scary when you can lift something so profound and accurate from a blog-based video game review. Especially when you consider the author lives in Australia and likely doesn’t follow American politics or want to. Yet it accurately captures what I’ve been feeling lately about politics, Facebook, and – sadly – my fellow citizens.

And it’s likely going to continue to be accurate, as I don’t see an end in sight.

You see, the conservative GOP supporters continue to get religion confused with government and the liberal Democrats supporters keep telling me “you have freedom to think what you like, so long as you agree with us; if you don’t you must change your mind” and the seemingly inability of either side being capable of fixing things that they themselves fucked up in the first place. Both sides suck and neither side wants to fix problems; the invisible third party has little to no traction either. The supporters of seemingly every party sides mindlessly preach what they are told to say and are just as fast to prove that the “other side” is wrong… the only hope left is that a party wakes up to it’s botched marketing message and reboots.

Meanwhile, the nation obsesses over whether a woman in a relatively small city in eastern Washington lied on her job application when she was asked to proclaim her race.

I think I’ll go play some Viva Piñata for a few hours – better use of time.

One Tap Too Many

IT these days is an interesting beast. With the general acceptance of Bring Your Own Box (BYOB) to work, I’m free to choose whatever devices I want to use and be able to use them to access my enterprise services. Net effect companies get more of my time while I’m not in the office doing work for them and they don’t have to buy me a device to use. While this sounds dreary, I’m happy to buy into this because it also means I can get to work from home more often which is nice.

That said, it feels like IT has gone out of its way to make the process so painful – under the guise of security – to make me opt out of this. You see, to get to these services, IT says I have to have a device PIN. iOS loves 4-digit PIN’s so this isn’t bad. Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap and it’s unlocked. On my iPad, I used to open my SmartCover tapped four times, and I was in. The IT changed the required length to something longer than four digits. Not a big deal right? Except now I have to tap in the code and then OK, since iOS doesn’t know how long the new code is. Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-OK.

Um.

One of the best feature of my iPad Mini is that I can open the cover and the device comes awake. If I don’t have a PIN at all, it’s on the screen I last had on. It’s seamless. Makes me choose between getting my work email on my device or having the device respond that much faster when I want it to…

Tough decision: I don’t think I’ve opened the Mail app on the iPad in weeks.

Fun with Numbers!

CNN: Harriet Tubman should be the first woman on the $20 bill, according to a new online poll.

In all honesty, I struggled to remember who was on the $20 because I have dealt with paper money so infrequently over the last five years. In fact, if I have to have cash, it has to be something really, really good – like coffee or festival food – or else I’m moving to the next store and using my plastic there. And of course, no one blinks an eye that the majority of the faces on our cash were presidents – the only standout I can think of being Ben Franklin who was simply an Ambassador – and Jackson had a strong hand in working to create more than one national banks.

What I find offensive in this article is how media and people are reacting to it, both the people that say we must do this and the people that are against doing this. Someone ran an Internet poll, ya? Harriet beat everyone else in the list of 15 people and after three rounds of voting, there were 609,090 people that voted with 118,328 people opting for Harriet. Lets be polite and make a case that this was a huge poll and we add up all of the people that participated and say that 1,218,180 weighed in on this and all of them want Harriet.

There are over 320 million people in America right now. How can the media or people promoting this cause take 1.2 million people and say that a majority of Americans want to see someone new on the $20 bill? That is 0.375% of the populous. If you stick to how many people want Harriet and it drops to 0.037%.

Shame on you, mass media, for yet another set of misrepresenting results to sell papers clicks. Shame on you, Americans, for blindly believing headlines without reading articles and using logic before making conclusions.

Unless, of course, we are believe the theory that the wealthiest 1% of the country is running things behind the scenes; in that case, the majority of citizens has spoken on changing the $20 bill.

Right On, Principal Kelley

MSN: Principal explains decision to disallow varsity jacket for special needs hooper

Oddly I missed the original story that called out the school last week of being “horrible” for prevent a special needs student from wearing a varsity jacket but I’m thrilled that I saw the rebuttal by the principal. The righteous bumper-sticker rabble rousers have risen again to torment the school and the principal yet they screwed the pooch on the facts:

“Suggesting that our school doesn’t support and embrace special needs students is simply not reflective or indicative of the culture we have in our building. Our administrators, our teachers and staff, as well as our entire student body value ALL of our students. This is continually demonstrated in our activities, our celebrations, our honors and the daily way our school conducts itself.

For those of you who don’t know East High, please take an opportunity to learn about us before you judge us based on one story that originated approximately a year ago.”

Props to the media and the CauseHeads for creating a tempest in a teacup and slapping the self righteous paint brush around yet again.

I love it when people put blind principles before facts, even if it abuses a principal and his school.

Chick-fil-a Comes to Bellevue

Chick-fil-a’s Bellevue location opens in only a couple of weeks, which I call I triumphant return. Most people didn’t know – or forgot – that there was a university based Chick-fil-a up near Bellingham up until a few years ago, but since they were closed on Sunday, I never got up there. The Bellevue store is more convenient by far.

I can’t wait to see how long it takes me to get in there as I expect an Issaquah style Krispy Kreme mob scene on Day 1. Of course, I also expect half of that crowd to be protesting the privately owned business that model their beliefs based off their religion. Make no never mind to me. People have the constitutional right to protest and I support that. A private company’s owner has the constitutional right to guide their business based off religious beliefs, provided they aren’t breaking the law in doing so, and I’m happy to support the local franchise owner and the jobs she/he has created. But of course, not everyone sees it that way. Most people that fancy themselves to be freedom-loving liberals, which is funny because the same people cannot tolerate people that disagree with them… I guess the freedom to disagree isn’t available to everyone.

Either way, there’s a chicken sammich in my not so distant future and that’s good times.

Why I Could Never be a Justice

NPR: Is A Confederate Flag License Plate Free Speech?

Citing free speech, this has made it’s way up to the Supreme Court. And it should have. But at the same time, celebrating the Confederacy in 2015 feels… dumb. I don’t care if it’s offensive. If you are a person and you have a problem with what you see, why do you expect someone else to change their behavior to please you? Get a thicker skin, for feck’s sake.

But why do I think this case is clear evidence that I shouldn’t be on the big bench? Unable to weigh evidence? Too hard to evaluate the law? Constitution is too vague? Can’t be unbiased?

No, that’s the easy part – it’s because I would send Texas an eight-figure bill for legal services, for sending this to the highest court in the land and clogging the docket.

Call it a consulting fee.