Monday, February 24, 2014

Day Six - Because Day Five Wasn't That Interesting

Yesterday all I really did was go to the mall and buy some more souvenirs. Not really enough for a post.

Today I kinda realized something.

I really don't have enough room to pack everything I've bought.

I may be carrying an extra bag when I go home.....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Day Four - A Legend's Grave, Pike Market, and Tetris

So today was my first day off and as such I went to Seattle to do some site seeing.

On the way to Pike Market I took a detour to visit Jimi Hendrix's grave. I've never been much of a fan of Hendrix but his stuff is pretty cool and it was nice to see that people had left offerings (ranging from dice to guitar picks, to coins) and that the site was kept in nice shape.

Next I made my way to Pike Market.

Damn. By yourself you can easily kill several hours if you had people with you it could easily take a day.

I took a few pics of the famous fish market. Lots of stuff to buy but I found it a bit disappointing that the tossing of fish that they are famous for was just for show. Seriously people would just ask them to toss some fish around and they would do it. Feels kinda fake to me. And the prices weren't as bad as I thought they were gonna be.

I found a shop that sold miniature cheesecakes. They are simply divine.

Tasted some hot sauce that the vendor was calling "The World's Hottest Hot Sauce". And I believe him.

Vendors selling all kinds of things from fresh fruit, teas and spices, and even flowers.

There were also crafters. Some were selling belt buckles, leatherwork, sandblasted stones, hand made tie dyed clothes, and a lot more I've forgotten by now.

All in all its nice place to visit and if I get the chance to bring my girlfriend I will come back.

And now I just have to figure out how to fit all the shit I bought into my luggage......

Day Three - Pizza, Comics, and Lack of Black People

So after getting off work today I decided I didn't want to go back to my room so I did what everyone (?) does. I found a Total Wine and bought craft beer. Now I'm stocked up for the next few days. After trying a few samples I decided to make my way to a pizza gourmet pizza joint with a rock theme.

But first I had to make a few detours.

First was a set of shops called H Plaza. Not sure about the name but it was basically one very large structure that had a supermarket in the middle and then several other businesses around it including a bank, hair salon, and suit shop. It was geared towards Korean customers. I really like the idea behind the design of the building.

Next I hit up a comic book store and made progress into getting back in to comics by picking up the first three volumes of Birds of Prey (New 52).

From there I saw a game shop. Not a major chain like Gamestop but a small mom and pop shop. I have to say that it had been a long time since I've been in such a shop and it felt good. Not so cold and impersonal like a big chain. They even had a few arcade machines to play and had games going back to the Atari.

After leaving there I finally heading to the pizza shop. Counters that look like speakers, music posters on the wall, dishes named after rock tracks. I had a "Wild Child" which is Alfredo sauce, mushrooms, spinach, and blue cheese. It was good shit.

Got back in and talked to the girlfriend for a while and finally made contact with Ginkgo (yes the one from Genderratic).

Things are looking up.

Now I just have to remember that I have limited space for souvenirs to take home.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day Two - Raw, Not Fried

So I'm at work today and I'm told there is a big mall nearby with a large food court. I check it out and there is a seafood shop. I've yet to come across seafood I didn't like so I go for an order of Fish and Chips.

That did not go well. Like, "In one end and quickly out the other." not go well.

But this evening I found something that more than makes up for it.

A sushi restaurant run by conveyor belt!

Yes. Its so simple and effective.

Different dishes are constantly moving on the belt and you just take the plate(s) you want. The plates are color coded and the color denotes price. There color scale is posted in the middle of restaurant so you have a quick reminder of how much a plate costs before picking it up.

It was glorious. So glorious that I had to consciously stop myself at $35 across 5 plates (each plate only has a few pieces on it).

Oh we'll be going there again.

Nintendo Fans - It's Time To Come Together

If you're a fan of Nintendo, or maybe even gaming in general, this is worth watching.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Day One - Not The Best of Starts

So yesterday I made my way from NC to Lynnwood, Washington and it wasn't pretty.

I apologize in advance if this sounds weird and don't be scared to ask questions. Translating time zones is not for me.

The first part of my flight (Raleigh to Dallas) was supposed to leave at 3:55p but due to coming in late and having a mechanical problem (a panel over a passenger's head was loose, they were gonna let it go at first but then someone decided it had to be fixed) it didn't leave until after 6p.

Landed in Dallas at about 8:45p. I should have gotten there at about 7:30p so in order to catch the connecting flight to Seattle at 8p. Thankfully there was a later flight to Seattle at 9:45p. But at least the in flight movie was Thor 2.

I finally make it to Seattle at midnight...just to find out that the car rental spot was closed. The reservation was for Enterprise but they were closed. Enterprise is in cahoots with Alamo so I was able to go to them. However the rental was only reserved and not paid for, meaning that my contact at my new job would have had to be there to finalize it.

Tried to call her which resulted in leaving numerous messages. I ended up waiting at the airport until after 5am to finally get into a car.

Still had to drive 35min. from Seattle to Lynnwood to get to the hotel.

Of course when I get there I was so late that the only room they had was a handicap access room. At this time it was nearly 7am so I basically took the room on condition that they let me know when another room came up.

I passed the hell out until noon....when the front desk calls to tell me that the room reservation hadn't been paid for properly. Someone from work ended up coming out and straightening it out.

For the next hour I shower and change so at about 1p they let me know that another room was ready. After switching rooms and grabbing my gear I make it in to work at about 2pm.

I spent my first day just going over HR stuff and the day was ended early at 3:30p or so.

Afterwards I found a Korean BBQ joint and learned that I may not be much of a fan of Korean food. But there are a lot more places to discover.

Next I wandered into a Whole Foods. Damn. Place is like a WalMart for health nuts. Smallest $55 I've ever spent on groceries (but I have a food budget for expenditures). And they have so many beers I've never tried before.

But anyway I have paperwork to fill out and sleep to catch up.

Take it easy folks.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where my D.O.G.S. at?

It's entirely too easy to get the idea that dads are not active in parenting. When you look at the media you'll see that about the only time dads are even mentioned is when they are neglecting their responsibilities or when someone wants to score points with moms by reminding them how terrible men are at parenting. Well I want to run counter to that mentality and show that there men out there doing what needs to be done for their kids. Take a look at what a group of fathers are doing at an elementary school in Texas.

Short for "Dads Of Great Students", D.O.G.S. is the name of organization of dads who are taking a very direct approach in showing their children that they are there for them.

From greeting students as they enter school in the morning, to sitting and eating lunch with them, to helping them with school work I think these dads are onto something here. You can't get more hands on and active and "stepping up" than being with your children throughout the school day.

I really hope this program takes off and I wouldn't be mad if other groups like this started springing up in other places.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Heading for the west coast

So I'm about to fly out to Lynnwood, WA (about 30min north of Seattle) for some job training tomorrow. It's my first time going to the west coast so I expect that I should be in for a treat.

Has anyone got any recommendations for a tourist who is going to be in that area?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Alcohol, College Life, and Sex

I'm a bit late getting to this but after reading it I think I'm missing something.

First there is this article by James Taranto, "Drunkeness and Double Standards"

Second is a response by Hannah Groch-Begley, "WSJ Editor: Intoxicated Sexual Assault Victims Are Just As Guilty As Their Attackers"

And finally another response by Tara Culp-Ressler, "Wall Street Journal Columnist: Rape Victims Are Just As Guilty As Rapists If They’re Both Drunk"

From Begley:
While it is true that reckless alcohol consumption can play a role in encouraging damaging behavior, and that male and female college students (particularly underage students) could probably benefit from learning to moderate their drinking for a variety of reasons, Taranto's accusation that women who drink -- and then are forced to have sex against their will -- are not only equally at fault for their assault but are guilty of an equivalent crime takes victim blaming to a new and dangerous low.
To me though I don't think Taranto was trying to say that women who drink and then forced to have sex against their will are equally at fault for their assault. Maybe I'm wrong but I thought he was asking the question of who is the rapist and who is the victim if both parties are drunk.

That's not to say that every single instance of both the man and woman being drunk and having sex is some unknown circumstance where it can't be figured out which is which. Taranto points out the following:
Winerip notes that between 2005 and 2010, "more than 60 percent of claims involving sexual violence handled by United Educators"--an insurance company owned by member schools--"involved young women who were so drunk they had no clear memory of the assault." We know from Sgt. Cournoyer that the accused young men typically are drinking to excess, too.
Again I am not trying to say that in that over 60% of cases it wasn't sexual violence. But I am wondering how bringing up things like this mean that Taranto is victim blaming rape victims.

Well female victims that is.

Near the end of her piece Begley throws this out:
If Taranto is concerned about the treatment of men in such cases, he could have written about male sexual assault victims, who are a smaller but nevertheless important portion of victims. But when men are sexually assaulted the perpetrator is usually also male; in fact, 98 percent of all perpetrators are male. The "double standard" Taranto is worried about, in which men are more often the accused, isn't a double standard at all -- it's just reality.
Notice how she tries to change the shift from thinking about males who are accused to males who are victims in an attempt to accuse him of ignoring those who "really need help". And frankly I think its a dishonest thing to do. The fact that Taranto asked the questions he did doesn't mean that he doesn't care about male victims.

Also his questioning about how alcohol affects the ability to consent. That's not going to change depending on the genders of the two people involved. So even if we were talking about those male victims there is still a question of if both have consumed alcohol to the point of not being able to consent then maybe its not always a clear case of one raping the other.

To me it seemed like Taranto was trying to ask if consumption of alcohol can render a woman unable to consent to sex then doesn't it do the same to men. Begeley seems to be responding by saying that mere asking this question constitutes victim blaming (of female victims).

I don't know maybe I've been out of touch for too long and I'm missing something here.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Struggle is no longer quite as real


So after 6 months of unemployment I have a new job.

Let me tell you something. Anyone that tows the line that people who are collecting unemployment are doing so as a way to avoid working is full of shit.

That's not to say that no one does that but after doing it for 6 months all I have to say about it is that it was a fucking nightmare.

First off after I left my last job I had to wait nearly a month after filing my claim before I saw any money (and I was told the wait can range from 4 to 10 weeks).

When I finally started collecting I was approved for little less than half of what I was making on my last job (job:$563/wk; unemployment:$272/wk). That was barely enough to keep my bills paid (rent:$395/mn and power:$120/mn). 

Also I had to periodically fill out progress reviews to let the unemployment office know that I was still job hunting. That in and of itself isn't that big of a deal however there was a problem with the timing. The reviews had to sent back within 7 days of when they were mailed....and I usually got them on day 5 if not 6.

Oh and if you need to call them for support good luck. I can't count how many times I called them for support and would get left on hold for over 20 minutes, get transfered to the wrong department several times, and in some cases I would just get hung upon. And then there was the time where I put my claim on hold (I got a temporary contract job) and when I restarted it there was a 3 week waiting period that someone simply chose not to tell me about.

And finally despite telling them to take taxes out of my unemployment payments (yes, taxes) they did not which is of course going to bite me on the ass when I file taxes in a few weeks.

I didn't have a problem paying into unemployment before and now that I've needed it I certainly don't mind. But at the same time it is such an ordeal that I don't get how anyone could just decide to live off of it like welfare.

Oh and in my state the maximum amount of time you can collect unemployment is 20 weeks.

Screw that I'll take work over that any day.

Thankfully a friend of mine was job hunting and came across an offer that didn't compare to what he was already making so he pointed them in my direction and thankfully everything worked out.

Like seriously my lease ends at the end of March and if I hadn't found something full time permanent by then I was gonna have to return home. And that would not have been good.

So now that I am working again that's a major roadblock out of the way.

Next up......moving......

Monday, February 10, 2014

Batman....with an all black cast?

A few days ago I came across a post posing an argument for why Batman could be black. Personally the inner purist in me rears its head over questions like this and I say I don't want to him to be turned black.

Why, you may ask? Because don't think black people, or any race, should handed an established hero for the sake of "diversity". The post I link to makes a good point that newcomer heroes have a hard time breaking ground in the comic book world. However with that in mind I don't think it's right to say that black characters should be allowed to bypass that hard time (because even white privileged Batman had to start somewhere) of development.

The post addresses that a bit near the end:
“Look, just create a completely separate black superhero, and put them in their own book, because that way I can easily ignore them. You make Bruce Wayne black, now I have to pay attention to his black ass and I really don’t like that idea.”
I think that's not the only problem with a black Batman's ass. Sure there will be fans that don't want to be bothered with the introduction of black racial awareness. However there will also be fans that will want to focus on nothing but the introduction of black racial awareness into the Gotham City mythos.

And to be frank I think if Batman were suddenly turned black that will be the day that it would stop being about the comics and about the race. How long would it be before there would be countless threads and posts arguing over if a black Batman is "black enough" (aka does he really embody the experience of black people) or if DC and the writers are "doing black right"?

Not only are there fans that want to keep the racial discourse out of their comics because they don't want to deal with them there is also danger from fans that want to use Batman as a soapbox to elevate their own talking points on race.

But anyway that's just some thinking on my part and this isn't what the title of the post is about so on with it.

Okay even though I would not be a fan of suddenly changing Batman to a black person I did take a few minutes months to site down and think about how I would change up the Batcast to an all black roster. For a few of them I have multiple possibilities which I will try to explain. Let me know what you think.

Batman - Now I know most people would just shout Idris Elba as he seems to be making his way onto everyone's tongues as the go to black guy for a just about any movie role but I think Micheal Jai White could do the role justice as well. White has played rough and tumble characters as well as cleaned up characters well which is something one needs in order to be both Bruce Wayne and Batman.

Alfred - With Elba and White pushing their early forties its going to take someone noticeably older to portray Mr. Pennyworth. I would go with either Ron Glass (Shepard Book from Firefly) or Giancarlo Esposito (Gustavo 'Gus' Fring from Breaking Bad). Glass seems a better fit since his past role as Shepard Book has already cast him as the "innocent looking old man that really knows some serious shit".

Nitewing -To play the role of Dick Grayson, former Robin who went solo to become Nitewing, I originally had Lee Thompson Young in mind but unfortunately he is no longer with us. I'm not sure who I'd recommend now.

Batgirl/Oracale - To play costumed heroine of the night turned hacker and information seeker extraordinaire Barbara Gordon (and back to costumed heroine in the New 52 reboot) Jurmee Smollett Bell could do either one. She's come a long way since her role in Eve's Bayou put her on the map.

Commissioner Gordon - Tyler Perry. Look I'm not a fan of his movies but from what I've seen of men who played Gordon in the past I think Perry could do it. Or maybe Don Cheadle? Point being you would want someone that is a bit older than Elba/White as Batman but not as old as Glass/Esposito as Alfred.

Joker - I have to admit I'm stumped on this one. On one hand I would want someone that is close to Elba/White in age but by doing so I think you would lose a lot of the sociopathic charm of the clown prince of crime. I am totally open to suggestions folks.

Harley - Bianca Lawson. Its interesting that she has played both a teenager (on Pretty Little Liars) and an adult (Teen Wolf) almost at the same time. I think the role of Harley would give Lawson a chance to really bust out and get wild.

Catwoman - Okay Halle Berry was a victim of a badly written and executed movie but I still wouldn't want her anywhere near this. I was gonna say Kerry Washington (of Scandal) but my girlfriend actually recommended Paula Patton. After seeing her in Ghost Protocol I think she might be a fit.

Poison Ivy - Sally Richardson-Whitfield. End of discussion.

Two Face - Omar Epps. After seeing his eight year run on House we have seen that he capable of shifting around on the moral spectrum. This flexibility would allow to make the drastically differing choices Two Face is known to make when he leaves everything from what to steal to who to kill in the hands of the coin the represents Fate itself.

Penguin - I was a little stumped on this one too. Maybe Anthony Anderson?

Riddler - Haven't heard from J. August Richards in a while and even with the in your face aggressive style he played as Gunn on Angel he also has several lawyer type roles under his belt so I can see him in a well made suit sitting back letting his brain do the talking....but making sure you know its his brain that outsmarted you.

Bane - WWE's Mark Henry. Now don't get me wrong. I liked that Tom Hardy's Bane from Dark Knight Rises. He had intelligence, fighting skills, and cleverness. What I didn't like is that he didn't have a physically imposing presence and that's the first thing that pops in my mind when I think of Bane.

Ra's al Ghul - Keith David. He has that authoritative voice that a man who is nearly immortal would have. Seriously listen to his Goliath voice on the old Gargoyles cartoon.

Talia al Ghul - Rosario Dawson. I really don't have a reason for this. It just popped into my head.

So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have a character idea I didn't mention?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Holograms and Health Care

With all this free time on my hands from being unemployed I've had the chance to catch up on shows I've missed over the years and lately I've been working on Star Trek Voyager. I'm on the seventh (and final) season and one of the episodes stuck up to me.

If you are familiar with the Star Trek tv shows you know that they often tackle relevant issues and topics in the form of posing a dilemma that the viewer can easily recognize and say, "Hey this sounds familiar." I think think this the result of the Gene Roddenberry wanting to show the future but at the same time relate to current day people. But nevermind that back to Voyager specifically.

Episode five of season seven starts off with The Doctor (not that Doctor) being kidnapped by a con man whose modus operandi is to steal from the people he trades with (for example he gave some ore to Janeway in exchange for some equipment and then created a diversion to sneak into sickbay and grab The Doctor's program and holo emitter) and using those stolen goods to make further deals.

The situation leaves The Doctor on a planet that is over crowded and burdened by what appears to be an overtaxed health care system. Patients packed into waiting rooms, severely understaffed, dim lighting and poor infrastructure, and a shortage of medications. The Doctor soon learns that this is but one level of medical care, and it is the lowest of all. 

On this world patients are sorted into different levels of care based on a TC or Treatment Coefficient that is determined by their value in society (for instance a farmer would have a higher TC than a waste disposal worker and a politician would have one even higher). A person's TC determines not just what level of the treatment facility they will go to but also what treatments they have access to. The Doctor soon discovers something off about the way TC numbers are used to prioritize treatment.

In one instance there are people in the lowest level dying of a disease with a very basic cure. However their TC is too low to receive it. It is soon discovered that not only did those with a higher TC have access to the cure but they weren't even using it for any disease. They were using it to help extend their lives as if it were a cosmetic.

So what The Doctor was facing was a situation where the people on the lowest end were dying due to lack of access to a drug that the people on the highest end had in massive supply and using it not for life saving purposes but for life extending purposes.

That's just messed.