Nestle Milkybar (Full of pure milk goodness): Simple white chocolate, but it was good. Simple, but a solid 4.
Cadbury Curly Wurly (Dairy Milk chocolate with a caramel centre): This was odd... if you can imagine a flattened double helix of chocolate coated caramel, you'd get this. Not all that much there, and I think its probably better when the caramel is a bit warmer, but I'd give it a 3.
Cadbury Chomp (Wafer Biscuit and caramel coated with compounded chocolate): I'm not sure what that discription means, exactly, but it was sorta like a twix with less caramel, I guess. Again, had it been a bit warmer so the caramel was softer, I think it would've been a bit better. A 4.
Nestle Chockito (Choc coated caramel fudge with crunchy rice crisps): This was pretty good, really. Its been over a week since I had it so details are scarce, but I enjoyed it a fair bit. I'd give it a 5.
Cadbury Black Forest (milk chocolate with cherry flavoured jellies and biscuit pieces: This is the first 'block' I've tried rather than a bar or soemthing.... and it was fairly good. The jellies are a little too chewy though. A 3.
Bounty: Don't have the wrapper still on this one.. but its basically coconut covered with chocolate. Not a chocolate fan, so I'd give it a 2.
Maltesers (Crisp malt centres covered with smooth milk chocolate): These are basically whoppers. As I like whoppers as well, I give it a 4.
Cadbury Twirl (Swirls and curls of milk chocolate): Sort of like the Flake that I reviewed earlier... basically just chocolate with air in it. I give it a 3.
Cadbury Rocky Road (milk chocolate with marshmallows, cherry flavoured jellies, peanuts & coconut): I've never seen coconut as part of 'rocky road' before but it is here, though i've not noticed the taste, which is good. With the marshmallow, it puts it as better than the black forest, so i give it a 4.
Cadbury TimeOut (wafer fingers with a cadbury flake centre covered in milk chocolate): This thing is actually really good. Something about the wafers with the flake, but I can't figure out what it is about it that makes that combo as good as it tastes. I give it a 5.
Mars (soft nougat and creamy caramel covered in thick milk chocolate): I have no idea why it is I've really never seen a Mars bar in the states even though so many other Mars products are present.... but here mars bars are easy to come by. Don't know why they're not more common... they're pretty much 3 muskateers plus caramel. I give it a 4.
Nestle Aero (smooth milk chocolate with a peppermint flavoured confetionery centre): The centre is very odd as it looks rather like a sponge and is full of air, hense the name. Not being a fan of peppermint in chocolate for anything other than an afterdinner mint, I give it a 2.
Just going over the highlights since I've been here.
Went on an official brushwalk out into the brush to see some aboriginal rock carvings
Went on a walking ghost tour of the rocks in Sydney. About half the group was Americans.
Went to the Comedy Roadshow, mix of Aussie and non-Aussie comedians.
Drove. There will be more on that later.
Heading to Tasmania tomorrow and will be back in a week. And then I'll go for a more thorough bit of events.
Schweppes Traditionals Red Cream Soda: Cream soda, but red. This is apparently cream soda's natural colour here, which is a bit odd, but the soda itself was just as good as cream soda I'm used to. 5.
Cadbury Picnic (A unique combination of peanuts, wafer, caramel, & rice crisps covered in delicious milk chocolate): This is pretty much... all that tossed together and covered in chocolate as their description sounds. Its also really, really good. 5.
Nestle Kit Kat Honeycomb (Shattered honeycomb in smooth milk chocolate over a wafer finger): This one was a bit odd, basically take a big kit kat and add in honeycomb. Not terribly strong, I felt. 3.
Cadbury Flake Luxery (Crumbly milk chocolate Flake covered in milk chocolate): Flake is this common ingredient here.... it didn't strike me as particularly good, just sort of interesting. 3.
Nestle Smarties (Delicious milk chocolate in a crisp shell): Sort of like M&Ms and not at all like the smarties I know, they're somewhat mediocre. Good, but basic since its really just chocolate. 3.
Cadbury Cherry Ripe (Ripe Juicy Cherries and coconut in old gold rich dark chocolate): Better than most with coconut just since I don't like that, but like cherries, its still not something I'm fond of. 2.
Arnott's Tim Tam Caramel: Tim tams are on the highest order of perfection as far as cookies go, but the caramel, I felt, hurt it. In part because cold caramel is too hard when eating.... so I actually will give it a 3.
Nestle Milo: Not sure what its going for, as its odd texturewise, and is fairly basic. 2.
Whittaker's Original Peanut Slab Milk Chocolate Bar: Exactly what it sounds like. Good though. 4.
I also have had a Cadbury Twirl and a Cadbury TimeOut but I can't recall which was which... so i'll have to try those two again later. One of them I really liked though.
Nestle Polly Waffle (Choc-coated marshmallow filled wafer): Little odd as its a cylinder rather than a flatted shape..... and rather than marshmallow proper, its more of a marshmallow cream. Which I like anyway... so.... I'd give it a 4.
Fry's Turkish Delight: Some sort of fruitlike thing, I think... coated in chocolate. Not really all that good. 1.
Cadbury Boost (Smooth textured chocolate flavoured centre with crunchy biscuit pieces surrounded in caramel, all covered in milk chocolate): It was sort of like a twix, although not as good. I'd give it a 3.
Nestle Violet Crumble (Delicious shattering choc coated honeycomb): Weird because honeycomb is this odd texture I'm not used too... which makes it a bit strange to get used to, but tastes good though. 4.
Well somewhere new over the Pacific again. Just finished up a provided for snack, was waiting a bit till I knew that I could have electronics. Current movie is Bridge to Terabithia, though the earlier bit made like no sense, thanks to the hearing cutting out. So I've now watched like half of the movie, give or take, and heard like a fifth of it.
Was on the ground in Hawaii for a good... 45 minutes as the plane refueled. I'll say one thing, it was actually impressive to see the islands. At nigth like this...you can really see the outlines of all the islands as you fly in and it just leaves me wondering what it would be like to come in during daylight hours, or otherwise be able to see it all better. I also liked that on the way out, I could actually see the big dipper low on the horizons... I coulnt' make out where Polaris was though to see if it was noticibly lower.
The movie itself...Oddly intriguing. Kinda wish I hadn't missed all that dialogue earlier to know just what happened early on. I've already listened to Land Down Under once, though, cuz you have to listen to that at least once on a flight to Australia. Now though, with a good... 8 hours left of the flight, I think its time for me to get my MP3 player set up with a song playlist cuz otherwise the random songs thing is pulling up stuff that I otherwise am not one to listen to. So I may as well.
And then it is onward into unconciousness.
Well, it is most interesting how the day has progressed from smooth sailing to the realm of what next?
Of course, perhaps the most fun moment of the day was parking in my driveway and watching as the Chupathingie lost much of the coolant of the radiator. nothing big, just an improperly tightened radiator cap, but still not the best of things to watch.
From getting to the airport on, things have just gotten more and more interesting. Firstly I do like that LAX is always so seure. No real baggage checks.
Then was the moment where I realised that I, being the savvy traeler I am, that the converter I need was left in the... in something in my room. Its in there somewhere... which is the problem.
Then there was getting through security, which took just a few minutes. Though as I was gathering up my things security yelled out for no one to move, and about 4 of them went running off elsewhere. Of course, they didn't do a good job of explaining the situation, and trying to get out a Kleenex is, apparently, not an appropriate action. Still, pretty odd moment. Apparently something with "coins" that I overheard.
Then discovered that the last couple of flights, they've had to not let people board because they couldn't have that much weight on the plane. This time, though, they instead have added a stop over in Hawaii for us to refuel, which will add somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour.
Then a passanger was unfound... no idea what happened there, but I assume thats whose seat I am in now. I was goign to be between the aisle and the window, but on a full plane, I ended up being next to an empty window seat so I moved over and can now have my backpack downhere. Score for that one. Though I could've gone with the aisle seat being mine instead. of all the flights and whatnot I've had, the guy there is the most unfriendly. I haven't even heard him talk, I don't think. So not rude, just most people are a bit more open. He's just been reading. To each his own.
Anyway, due to these delays we're now upt to about an hour and a half late. And compared to Qantas United is a real letdown. Only one screen to watch for the whole section to watch the movie and no comedy audio.
So I'm much of the way now through "The Painted Veil", with Ed Norton and someone else. And a whole mess of Chinese. Basic point, Norton and this woman marry and then go to China and theres cholera. So, the cholera is interesting. Two best moments of the movie, thus far, was me not paying attention to the video bit cuz I was gonna get my meal, and all I hear is "Is it as big as you were expecting it?" right around the whole getting married thing. And then the line "It would be madness" because, well, how can I NOT like any line that makes me think, "It would be SPARTA!" I can't believe that I've gotten all caught up in that one.
Anyway, this movie started off all annoying... Norton being an overly timid character, and the woman being a two-timing whore, and so then Norton's character develops a whole second maniacal character. I think like half his movies do that. And now she's taking off clothes... but thats not the point I'm making right now. So anyway, at that point, I wasn't particularly intrigued, but its subsequently gotten a lot more interesting. Characters have gotten deeper, and I'm also just really interested about what they're gonna do about the cholera. Its supposed to be an emotional movie with all that caring and stuff, and here I am wondering about the cholera. I'm not very good at these movies, am I? Anyway, its back when England still controlled China and the like, so the other interesting element is the Chinese wanting to kill the British. What is also weird is all these Chinese that are, like, student-aged just standing around doing nothing but whining about the government. So that has been going on for a couple hundred years now. And not the cool "hey look at me, i'm in front of a tank", just the same old "imperialist pig" lines. I want to protest a government for not being imperalist ENOUGH.
Ok, this is also now the second movie with Ed Norton that has a whole freaking section of movie about irrigation. How many movies cn one realistically do that have irrigation at all? Its impressive, but like, weird.
Does this count as liveblogging the movie given that I'm not going to be posting it directly like at all?
Oh, and Juicyfruit is now colouring itself all yellow rather than its oldcolour. Totally unneeded and a bit off.
Chinese with cholera totally look like zombies and act like zombies. Ergo, cholera turns the chinese into zombies. We must test this further. Bryan, I'm looking at you. Or at least toward the end of the plane. I'm sure its close enough. Choloric chines mob, run for your lives! I'm pretty sure Ed'll be dead soon. mother Superior is supposed to be head of French nuns... she's totally American. The rest don't even speak english really, but she has not accent. And its now time for the inevitable in this movie, so I'm off with the palm pilot and on with the watching of the movie.
Movie over and a couple of unrelated thoughts... First of all, the map showing how far we've gone only shows one mainland city, Fresno. What the heck. Second it only shows one city thing for Hawaii. And its some weird one. I'm also getting annoyed that the ETA for Hawaii is given in that time zone but they dont' say what time it is now or what time zone Hawaii is. Way to be useful. Also of note... when we left LA we had headwinds of around 90km/hr. Now they're down to about 10. So that should bode well for speeding things up. Lots of time to make up. And now, to give this other movie a go... "Wild Hogs". It doesn't look 'good', but then again, I was surprised by Without a Paddle and surprised by Phone Booth. And now the audio doesn't work either. Goodie.
So I brought it up... They had this problem on the way out as well. Thank you for that one United.
Apparently, it gets better. But we'll see how this goes.
Best lines: "You go out there, you're the sheriff"
"Yeah, of a town of like 500 people. I got my certification off the interent. For arms training they just told us to play Doom."
This week is being particularly difficult, starting off with that things that were supposed to happen over the weekend didn't, since I was sick. So now, I've got two homework assignments for solid state to get done and one for thermo, as well as my drama class' assignments which are late since I was sick for the duration of them being due. The benefits of when a teacher gives online assignments for less than a week, I feel.
I also have taking planetarium tickets on Friday night, which will keep me busy then, but at least the lecture then will be about Pluto's demotion, which is something I'm looking forward to learning more on.
Then Saturday will be my physics GRE which I know I'm not going to be ready for because of all the study time I've lost so far. I'll have to give it my best shot, but I don't feel optomistic. From there, I'm heading straight to the UCLA vs USC football game, which ought to be one heck of a game, hopefully. And at least I'll then be home moderately early that evening as its a 1:30 game.
Sunday, I've got to work early so that I can then be off work for the handful of physics people I could get to go to Griffith get there at like 4:30 on Sunday. That should, at least, be fun.
Next week, the 9th will be busy with A New Hope showing at the Aero, and I intend to go... plus work, as always, keeps me busy on the weekends. LAFF has their holiday party then as well, but I'm not sure if I can go to that.
More long term...on the Friday of the week after next... which I think makes it the 15th, Sam will arrive, and stuff will change gears. Work will be less frequent then, though I'll still have finals to get through. The first few weeks of her being here will be more low key relaxing, in general, but then we're traveling to the east coast starting early January. It'll mean being gone for a little over 2 weeks, but will also mean spending time in San Francisco, Chicago, Virginia/D.C., and New York. It'll be pretty interesting, especially as I've not been anywhere outside California, really, and we'll be travelling through a lot of states. January looks like it'll be full of adventure. More snow than I ever see normally, I think. Plus, I think with the stress of school and work now... some traveling could do me good.
So there covers the next month and a half or so of things that are going to keep me busy, but at least it'll be an enjoyable sort of busy for much of it.
A large summary of the elections, and who I believe should win, as well as what propositions I feel should win. It is a long read at over 3,000 words, so you are warned in that regard. In addition, it is valuable to remember my own perspective, which is someone that is socially liberal, fiscally conservative, but also feels that government should be fiscally conservative as a priority, because its easier to elect fiscally conservative candidates and ensure that social liberties are preserved than it is to elect socially liberal candidates and ensure that fiscal matters are maintained. I do, however, view the Libertarian Party as a solution to that paradox, however, but I do not choose candidates based on party alone and as such will not pick a candidate that I can’t find a platform for. This is especially relevant in regards to third-party candidates in small races.
Phil Angelides has shown, with his weak campaigns attacking such things as Schwarzeneggar for being in the same party as Bush as having very little in the way of platform, and ideas such as suing the federal government for the national guard being in Iraq are wastes of money that won’t accomplish anything. He certainly doesn’t deserve to be governor by any measure. Schwarzeneggar, on the other hand, has abandoned the fiscal conservatism that led to his being elected with hopes of the state budget being fixed, and has proven at times dangerously weak on issues of illegal immigration.
Of the third party candidates, Art Olivier has shown desire to control illegal immigration and also get the budget under control. Personally, I do also align myself often with the Libertarian party.
For Governor, I endorse Art Olivier of the Libertarian party.
The race for Lieutenant Governor I view as mainly between the Republican and Democratic candidates, however I do side with McClintock (Republican) because he has prioritized the fiscal security of the state at the top of his list, and would be a force for smaller government. While I have disagreements on a social level with him, it is much easier to change the social restrictions of government regulation when those in government disagree than it is to change fiscal policy.
For Lieutenant Governor, I endorse Tom McClintock of the Republican Party.
Secretary of State
The statement by Debra Bowen (Democrat) in the voter guide is to me, distasteful, because rather than call for solutions it relies on fear mongering based on Florida and Ohio while either ignoring or unaware of why something like Florida ALREADY can’t happen here. Bruce McPherson (Republican), while a suitable candidate, is not the best one out there, and has further called into question his judgment as it relates to the Tan Nguyen letter has made me further question if he should be secretary of state. I do, however, agree with much both Forrest Hill (Green) and Gail Lightfoot (Libertarian) have stated as priorities. I do slightly lean in favor of Gail Lightfoot between the two; however, my main factor that pushes me the rest of the way to picking Lightfoot is her desire to add a ‘None of the Above’ option as well as wanting to generally increase diversity of political parties.
For Secretary of State, I endorse Gail Lightfoot of the Libertarian Party
I find controller to be a very simple vote for Donna Tello (Libertarian) as she has priorities of auditing the state government wherever necessary to cut costs and waste while looking for help from state employees to know where to start. She additionally has strong views of setting up budgetary guidelines of 2, 4, and 10 years which would help the state have budgets prepared by the deadline with greater frequency and aid in long term planning.
For Controller, I endorse Donna Tello of the Libertarian Party.
I’ll be honest… I know I picked this for a reason, but I can’t remember why, and am not going to go back and figure out why… but this one narrowly beats out Marian Smithson (Libertarian). I think it was the idea to sell state bonds to Californians more easily, and opposing most bonds that led to me siding with Claude Parrish (Republican).
For Treasurer, I endorse Claude Parrish of the Republican Party.
First of all, this is a race where I am first and foremost of the view that Jerry Brown should not, under any circumstances, be attorney general. My main reasoning here is that he, as governor, appointed a judge that reduced the sentence of death on the man that killed my mom’s cousin to life with the possibility of parole. It is unconfirmed, to my knowledge, if he’s since been released or not. I do, however, agree that personal responsibility and an individual’s privacy are both key, and that does lead to my support of Kenneth Weissman.
For Attorney General, I endorse Kenneth Weissman of the Libertarian Party.
For insurance commissioner, the Republican candidate Steve Poizner has listed priorities of cracking down on insurance companies taking away insurance or raising the costs for those that have to file claims, prosecution of those that make fraudulent claims and raise the cost for all, and removing uninsured drivers from the road. In contrast, the Democrat Cruz Bustamonte is a career politician that has taken significant donations from the insurance companies and has been reduced to commercials that he’d be a good candidate because he lost weight.
For Insurance Commissioner, I endorse Steve Poizner of the Republican Party.
State Board of Equalization (District 2)
Lacking any information on the Libertarian candidate, and not picking a candidate based on party affiliation only, has limited who I will pick.
For State Board of Equalization, I pick Bill Leonard of the Republican Party.
I have significant disagreements with how Feinstein and Boxer have represented California, and as such, I do hope that Feinstein loses her election, although I do not expect this to happen.
For U.S. Senate, I endorse Richard Mountjoy of the Republican Party.
U.S. House of Representatives
In CA 25, my district, I endorse Buck McKeon of the Republican Party as he has voted well on illegal immigration, a key issue, in my opinion, and there is a need for those that will stay strong on that issue.
Additional candidates I support in other districts:
CA 26 – Cynthia Matthews (Democrat)
CA 35 – Paul Ireland (Libertarian)
CA 43 – Scott Folkens (Republican)
CA 47 – Tan Nguyen (Republican)
CA 50 – Brian Bilbray (Republican)
State Assembly (38th)
For the 38th district of the State Assembly, I’ve picked Cameron Smyth of the Republican Party.
Proposition 1A aims to prevent, or at least, further restrict, the ability of the California government to divert money from taxes on gas away from the transportation funds that it is intended to go to. California's transportation infrastructure is in need of repair, and many freeways are outdated and unable to serve the large numbers that travel them each day, as I'm sure we are ALL aware of. While critics say that passing Prop 1A will move the priorities of California away from education by making the roads the top priority, all this does is make sure that money that should be going to roads goes where it is supposed to go, and is a small portion of the annual budget of California (only a few billion out of over 100 billion a year budget).
Better roads will save people time, allow for a better flow of traffic, and cut down on pollution by reducing the time commuters spend stuck in traffic.
On Proposition 1A, I say vote "Yes"
Proposition 1B is titled as being for highway safety, traffic reduction, air quality, and port security. However, the price tag for such a bond is nearly $40 billion between the initial 20 billion and the amount that will have to be paid in interest. While some elements that this bond would go to are key infrastructure, specifically the six and a half billion that would go to reducing congestion and increasing capacity on the roads, that does not in itself justify the entire investment. While a much smaller bond measure might be feasible and a good idea if it limited itself to a few key priorities, it isn't a good idea to incur this much debt now, as it will greatly diminish our ability to continue to invest in our infrastructure in the future as much of the money will continue to go to paying off this bond measure as it will be nearly 20 billion in interest alone.
On Proposition 1B, I say vote "No"
Proposition 1C claims that by borrowing almost 3 billion dollars in bonds, and uses the claim of building shelters to try to convince voters. However, of the 2.85 billion dollars to be borrowed, only 100 million of it will go to homeless shelters and housing projects for homeless youths. By comparison, that’s half of what the proposition puts aside for parks, something that not only takes up space, but also raises housing prices, which is exactly what this proposition says it intends to fix. A large portion of this money, however, goes to developers rather than to helping people find homes or building shelters. For example, 850 million in grants that will go toward urban development. Additionally, that there will be an additional 3 billion dollars in interest costs, this proposition would be, in effect, removing additional money that could be used in the future to help people without incurring debt, and this would be very different if this was the state choosing to spend a surplus to help people. While helping people with home ownership is acceptable for consideration when money is left over in the budget, its reckless for the state to incur debt to help a select few buy homes.
On Proposition 1C, I say vote "No"
Proposition 1D is 10 billion dollars in additional spending on the school system of California. While the educational system is a key priority, this is not only too sweeping, but also fiscally irresponsible. Firstly, 3 billion of it is going to cope with overcrowded schools, a patch for not dealing with the current problems being caused by illegal immigration. Second, this will hurt education and the state in the long run as this will require an additional 10 billion dollars in interest payments. We can't afford that large of an increase in our debt, and the money would be much better spent as a portion of the annual budget for the next several years than if it were to be a bond where interest would have to be paid.
On Proposition 1D, I say vote "No"
Unlike Proposition 84, which used flood control as part of its sell to push for greater conservation efforts, 1E is entirely money that will go to flood control. Of the 4 billion dollars that it would use, 3 billion go to Central Valley flood control system repairs and improvements and Delta levee repairs and maintenance, half a billion to flood control outside the central valley, and 300 million to stormwater flood management. While bond spending is never a preferential way of paying a cost, this addition to flood control is very direct, does exactly what is advertised, and flood control is a key part of state infrastructure that should have been prioritized more prior to this proposition, but will at least be taken care of with 1E.
On Proposition 1E, I say vote "Yes"
Proposition 83 will expand the definition of a sexually violent predator, prohibit sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of a park or school, and require global GPS monitoring of felony registered sex offenders. While some portions of proposition 83 are good, such as making sure that sex offenders have to serve their full term and can’t get out early, that doesn’t mean one can ignore the bad portions of this proposition. The main issues are that the definition of sex offender is very broad, and isn’t simply limited to active sexual predators. Additionally, while there are some people that restrictions like 2000 feet from a park or school or GPS monitoring would be good, it isn’t a solution to all sex offenders. More important to realize is that a large portion of sex offenders that do victimize children, victimize children that they have access to already, they don’t go looking for them. This doesn’t include those that aren’t even sex offenders against children. In the end, this is taking a solution that would work for a subset of sex offenders and trying to apply it to the majority of sex offenders, and that isn’t practical or efficient.
On Proposition 83, I say vote "No"
Proposition 84 gives top billing to water quality, safety, and supply, however large amounts of money that would come from bonds would be going toward what would seem to be maintenance costs of general conservation rather than creating sufficient water supplies and ensuring their quality. Of the 5 billion in bonds, most of it would go to conservation projects. While conservation is important, it is not a cause necessary of a bond measure, and again, it would be fiscally irresponsible to pay 5 billion more in interest to spend this money now. While water supply would be critical infrastructure that might necessitate bonds, conservation isn't, and it would be of better value to put money toward conservation from a surplus than to further deficit spending for the sake of conservation of the environment.
On Proposition 84, I say vote "No"
Proposition 85 requires, with exceptions, a 48 hour waiting period to allow for the notification of a minor's parents before an abortion. In a situation where someone under 18 can't choose to get a tattoo or piercing themselves, and even a 17 year old requires parental permission to miss school, it is ridiculous that they can get an abortion without so much as parents knowing. The counterargument is that it endangers the health of the girl, and that some have home lives where they can't talk to their parents. While I personally question if those opposed to proposition 85 have exaggerated how frequent that may be, that is still a moot point. Proposition 85 also makes exceptions to parental notification, such as if the girl's health is in danger, or would be put in danger, and allows for a system through the courts that requires a ruling within 3 days on if parental notification can be waived. Also, a minor that is emancipated does not need parental notification. While records are kept by the court, they do not contain identifying information. There is also nothing that means that the parents can STOP the abortion, merely that they are to be notified. A woman's right to choose is not infringed upon, and parents do have a right to know when their children are going to undergo a major medical procedure while they are still under their care.
On Proposition 85, I say vote "Yes"
Proposition 86, the tax on cigarettes raising the cost of one pack by $2.60 equates to using government legislation to control behavior. While it has been marketed as anti-smoking, the only element that is at all anti-smoking is the more than 300% increase in taxes on cigarettes. Of the money taken in, only about 10% is going to be spent on things related to tobacco use. The largest amounts of money are going to hospitals and child health care costs. First and foremost, the trouble of those that don't pay for medical care should not be placed as a burden to smokers by way of a very large increase in taxes. Second, this fails to address that one factor that has led to the burden on many hospitals is low-income illegal immigrants who have families that aren't able to pay for health care costs. To simply tax another group to pay for these costs doesn't fix anything, and just allows the problem to worsen. In short, to use public sentiment against smoking to try to justify an outrageous tax against smokers to try to patch an entirely unrelated problem in our healthcare system is unethical and a dangerous use of government trying to legislate behavior, while also giving large amounts of money to hospitals, HMOs, and doctors.
On Proposition 86, I say vote "No"
Proposition 87, in an attempt to reduce dependency on foreign oil and provide cheaper fuel alternatives, or at least, in claiming to do so, will in fact do the exact opposite. The idea that making oil drilled in California more expensive via taxes will lead to a diminished dependence on foreign oil ignores that by basic economics, making oil more expensive in California will also make it more cost-effective to simply obtain oil from foreign sources. Additionally, increasing these taxes will raise gas prices in California, again due to simple economics. There is no valid way to make sure that oil companies don't 'pass the cost to consumers' and it is naive, at best, to believe that there is some way for government to make sure that that doesn't happen. While alternative energy sources are important, hurting the economy by increasing our dependence on foreign oil and forcing an increase in gasoline prices does not help alternative energy possibilities.
On Proposition 87, I say vote "No"
Proposition 88 imposes a $50 parcel tax on all landowners in California to put toward education (with some exceptions on landowners). While proponents claim that it allows for local control of money for classrooms, the money is distributed as a bureaucracy sees fit, not simply all money flowing to the local respective districts. It also uses the example of teachers having to pay for classroom costs out of their own pocket as evidence of the necessity of proposition 88, however there is little indication of how the 100 million it provides in instructional costs is expected to go toward helping teachers, as proponents also make the case that that money is needed first to go toward textbook costs. Additionally, the largest share of the expected 470 million dollars is the 175 million that would go toward reduced class sizes. However, reduced class size does not go toward helping students. One of the greatest dangers to students is the lack of qualified skilled teachers, and rather than trying to improve the quality of teachers, simply adding teachers will just mean more people teaching that have no place in a classroom, and that is money that could be much better applied to costs like textbooks, which proposition 88 relegates to second priority with only about half the money of what would go to reducing classroom numbers. While the California educational system needs help, this won't help it.
On Proposition 88, I say vote "No"
Proposition 89 would create an optional system in which a candidate's campaign would be funded by the people of California rather than their backers. The claim is that by creating a more restrictive system, one can remove the influence of big lobbyists. However, the proposition fails to actually fix anything, other than removing the difficulty politicians may face when it comes to fundraising. Firstly, the money would come from corporate tax increases, which hurt the economy, and even if taxes on corporations were to be increased, this is not the best use of that money. Second, the design of the proposition gives the largest benefit to Republican and Democrat candidates, partially shutting out third parties and enforcing the political status quo as a two-party system. It won't fix the problems caused by lobbyists and special interest groups, but will hurt the California economy.
On Proposition 89, I say vote "No"
Proposition 90 is a direct move against eminent domain as it has been put in use in other parts of the U.S. With proposition 90, eminent domain would be restricted to taking land for the public good, to lease to a private entity for the sake of a public good (such as toll roads), to correct a specific public nuisance, or in response to a declared state of emergency. Specifically prohibited would be for the transfer to private use, to address a general public nuisance, such as a generally run-down area, and to promote development. These would fix the most egregious uses of eminent domain, as has been seen in cases like in Kelo v. City of New London, and ensure that the rights of property owners remain intact and politicians and local governments can't take those rights in order to court new developments or favor corporations.
On Proposition 90, I say vote "Yes"
First of all... in theory I'll blog about the November elections. In theory.
Wednesday proved to be a very long day for me. First of all, I've started working at Griffith Observatory. Since I don't know what all I can say on that, I'll go minimal route. The observatory is awesome and I can't wait for it to be open. I'm looking forward to it being completed so that I can check out more of the place, and I recommend everyone to check it out once it opens later this year.
As for my feelings on the job itself.... Dr. Krupp and a member of FOTO really got me looking forward to working there as a guide. There's just an energy about the place that is really motivating. The subject matter is great, and its such cool stuff. Even the stuff that isn't new, like the Tesla coil, which is just classic. No idea when I start, but I'm looking forward to it none the less.
Later Wednesday was also my chance at Jeopardy!. They've been doing trials online, and so I gave a shot at the college try-outs. No idea how I did, but I felt fairly good with it. Of course, they won't tell me how I did... but with luck I'll hear from them in the next month. I'm not holding out hope though, since I figure they must've gotten so many people trying out. But one can dream.
Today was my first real act as President of SPS, so that was interesting. First meeting of the year, and we did manage to get some new people to show up at least for one meeting, now its just seeing if they return. Also got what was to be expected, which was a lot of ideas that have come up before without a commitment to action behind them. Still though, I aim to try my best to make this a good year for SPS.
There was an awesome fire on the way home today though. Not awesome in how it took an hour 20 to get home, but it was cool to look at. Its right on the northern edge of Newhall Pass... more on the 5 side definitly, but I could see flame on a ridge from the 14. There's been a fair bit of burning in Santa Clarita the last month or so. Such is summer. Or fall. Or whatever.
And finally... I've embarked on my most recent grand plan that will never get finished. In order to compete better on Yahoo! sports' pick 'em for college football, I'm trying to determine some mathamatical model to do that better, since I have to worry about spreads and not just who wins outright. I doubt I'll come up with anything, but its something to do.
This surprised me, as i found this on the first page of Yahoo. In short, its about a marine in Iraq, and in it, he discusses how he rationalises that he is killing people. To quote the article,
Insurgents "have killed good Marines I've served with. That's how I sleep at night," he says. "Though I've killed over 20 people, how many lives would those 20 people have taken?"
Its a rationale that doesn't get enough attention, and I'm impressed an article that didn't try to pigeonhole him for shoting insurgents ended up on Yahoo!'s front page.
WOMEN'S breasts are getting bigger. Figures released today reveal the average Australian bra cup size has risen from a 12B in 2000 to a 14C this year, with 41 per cent of women now wearing at least a D cup.
South Australian women share third spot with West Australian women on the breast size rankings, with an average cup size of 14C.
New South Wales, the ACT and the Northern Territory lead the nation, with the most common bra size a 14D.
Tasmania's average cup size is 16C while, at the smaller end, Victoria and Queensland share an average bust size of 12C.
The breast-size snapshot comes from sales figures compiled and analysed by major bra manufacturer Fayreform, which supplies giant retailers such as Myer and David Jones plus boutique stores across the country.
Bra fitting expert Carol Rashleigh said evidence indicated the nation's bust size was on a gradual, yet constant, increase.
In short, Australia rocks. If only more places were seeing this sort of current development. I, of course, intend to verify the article next time I'm there.
And now for something a tad bit more substantial....I intend to argue that the most important year for nerds was 1977.
Anyone that knows me knows that the first thing I will, of course, list is that 1977 was the release of Star Wars, which has had major effects on pop culture, and nerd culture both, however, 1977 had far more going for it than just that.
For space, 1977 was both the year of the testing of the first shuttle, and also when both voyager I and II were launched. The shuttle testing was a big step toward the shuttle missions that have continued to today, and the Voyager missions have allowed us to probe into the distant reaches of our solar system as they continue to keep in contact with earth, even as they approach the edge of what we would even call the solar system, far beyond the orbit of Pluto.
It was also the year that SETI recieved the "WOW" signal, a unique signal that came in while searching for indications of extraterrestrial life and got its name from the note that one of the volunteers made next to the signal.
For medicine, 1977 was when scientists declared the war on small pox over, as the last reported case in the wild occured in Somalia. The first disease that medical science was able to eradicate.
For technology, Ninetendo ventured into its first console, with Color TV Game 6, which was basicly 6 versions of Pong. 1977 was also the release of the popular Apple II, a microcomputer, helped push computers forward.
Finally, space gained a prominant new role at Disneyland with the opening of Space Mountain, increasing the attention that children would give to space.
Be it entertainment, science, or technology, 1977 was the high point for across the board key advancements.
World's Largest Photo
About 30 people showed up Wednesday to see the fuzzy, 28-by-108 foot black-and-white image taken by six photographers from the nonprofit Legacy Project. The photo, taken Saturday, shows the control towers, palm trees and a portable toilet.
First off, I can't believe that they'd run this story without a picture of the photo in question. To me that just seems obvious to have. Beyond that, this just seems utterly awesome. I like that they've gone back to an old-fashioned way of taking pictures. Especially since, in today's world, people are always focused on digital everything, and sometimes older methods are just fine. Photography is the key example, since film allows for so much in photography, and digital has completely overran it. Sure, digital has its uses, but so does film, and film has so much more quality to it, too.
Early election polling
The AP-Ipsos survey asked 789 registered voters if the election for the House were held today, would they vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in their district. Democrats were favored 51 percent to 40 percent.
Not surprisingly, 81 percent of self-described liberals said they would vote for the Democrat. Among moderates, though, 56 percent backed a Democrat in their district and almost a quarter of conservatives — 24 percent — said they will vote Democratic.
Well, first of all, when we're looking at hundreds of districts... less than 800 people doesn't sound like that thorough a survey. I mean, thats basicly less than 2 people per district, so I don't think theres much to go on. Plus, I don't think its as much of a landslide as the article makes it out to be.
Granted, Bush is really doing badly, and this'll definitly be a tough election, but that alone doesn't mean the Democrats will benefit. Bad Republican image doesn't mean the image of Democrats isn't plenty tarnished itself. Also, it comes down to who will view Congress and Bush as seperate and who won't. Plenty of people unhappy with Bush may still back Republican candidates for congress. Also, it'll be interesting to see what happens as far as the influence of the illegal immigration issue. If that continues to effect things as much as it did in San Diego's special elections, it will be a big boost for conservatives nationwide. Granted, there's plenty of Republicans that won't benefit from illegal immigration being an issue because they're open border, but you'd be hard pressed to find districts where the democrat is more in favour of cracking down on illegal immigration than the republican is.
Corporations Embracing YouTube
Moonves marveled when Hurley informed him that YouTube's steadily expanding audience is now watching about 100 million videos per day. He asked how YouTube might be able to direct more traffic to Web sites owned by CBS. The meeting ended with Moonves concluding that CBS should start posting daily snippets of its programming on YouTube.
This is really interesting stuff to read about, especially given how major entertainment companies have treated other things online, like P2P filesharing. There are more limits with YouTube to prevent it becoming that, of course, but YouTube does have a lot of potential. Heck, its getting there already with movie trailers being put on it. If companies choose to work with YouTube, and are able to do so without destroying it, then I think it will definitly be a good sign for future innovations on the net.
Dinosaur National Monument Closed
Mary Risser, superintendent of the Dinosaur National Monument, said the building "will remain closed indefinitely until significant life, health and safety issues are addressed."
Not much to say on that, other than its sad and a shame, and i'm disappointed now that I never got a chance to visit it the rare trips to Utah that I've had.
Israel vs Lebanon
The whole Israel vs Lebanon thing is very concerning... much as I can see exactly why Israel would take action against Hezbollah, I'm not sure how much responsibility Lebanon really has. Attacks against Hezbollah in Lebanon is one thing, but attacks against Lebanon in general? I'd hold Syria far more responsible, given Syria's recent history of treating Lebanon as an arm of itself, nearly, to help antagonise Israel. Its getting messy, but it feels more like the people of Lebanon, for the most part, are stuck in the middle between Syria antagonising Israel and Israel defending itself. Just hope Iran doesn't feel neccessary to get involved.
Police give fashion advice
Women going on boozy nights out have been warned by police to "wear nice pants" in case they fall down drunk in the street.
"If you fall over or pass out, remember your skirt or dress may ride up," the magazine says. "You could show off more than you intended -- for all our sakes, please make sure you're wearing nice pants and that you've recently had a wax."
And once again, there go cops ruining everyone's fun.
well, nothing going on other than my house getting AC, meaning I'm up early to sit around as stuff gets installed.
Though, things are about to get moving, starting with Pirates tonight, and again tomorrow night
so now, to fill space... a post on patriotism:
In my view patriotism is, in essense, taking pride in who you are. Just as there are people that take pride in race, religion or gender, nationality is a defining characteristic of who we are as well. If I was born in a different country, I wouldn't be who I am now. My environment does play a key role in shaping who I am, and who doesn't want to have pride in themselves?
For many countries, ethnicity and nationality overlap greatly... and so ethnic pride and patriotism can be the same. For some countries, the US and Australia come to mind offhand, one of the defining traits is that there is so much immigration from around the world that there isn't just one ethnic group. This is also since these are younger countries.
Because there is that element of immigration, most Americans do remember their heritage, and for example, I will say that I've an Irish and Swedish heritage, but I'm an American first and foremost.
I don't think there is anything wrong with being patriotic. I am proud to be an American. I'm proud of many of the ideals that I associate with America. Freedom, opportunity, hope. Now, I'd never say that America is outright the best country on the planet, per se, but I do believe that America is a better country than the lions share of nations. Of course my ideals play a part in this, but when you look at many other countries out there... I don't see how it is an issue.
I also don't think that that is a uniquely American attitude. Beyond people I know that have come here from other countries, my only international travel has been 2 months living in Australia. Every Australian I talked to was proud of Australia. I heard a lot about how great this was or that was. I saw world-famous locations that weren't world famous. But its being proud of who you are. I would expect an Australian to be proud to be Australian just like I'm proud to be an American. It's like playing on a team. You're always gonna like your team most.
However, even with that, it doesn't mean I have an issue with every other country. I could very well live in Australia. I love the country. Heck, I'm having trouble waiting till Sunday when I get some Australian food. But even if I was living in Australia, I would still be an American, just an American living in Australia, because its America that I feel closest to, ideologically.
Then again, I also know my ancestory, when they came to America, gave up their prior nationalities because they wanted to be Americans. There was something about being an American that they believed in. They learned English and assimilated. The cultural heritage wasn't forgotten, they just became Americans as well.
So I guess my in short sum-up of that is...Patriotism, when not blinding, is just a natural pride in a group one belongs to.
i'm losing it again, and i'm very displeased. at this point i'm not sure what its being caused by.... being taunted by that which i want and can never have again on a nearly constant basis now, and that is being something that is getting more and more painful to deal with, or that my mental well-being is so tied to the functionality of my computers that when one of them dies, for good dies, i can't hold on.
i'm not sure what it is, but its very inconvienient. i'm really not sure what to do, in so much as that, on what hand I have a lot that I need to get done, what with finals approaching and things liek that. ON the other hand, I feel like I'm going crazy. I mean, I do know there's something wrong with me, I just... I don't know what to do to cope with it.
I hate this feeling where what faces me is things that I don't want to deal with and what I want is things that I can't have. This feeling that I'm never good enough to be happy or satisfied with life. This overwhelming feeling of utter failure. Its bad enough to go through the mindset, but whats most frustrating is the perminant effects it has. I can't focus on work I need to do because I'm in the middle of a nervous breakdown. And I don't know if I should fight my way through a nervous break down for two weeks till I'm done with everything or just let myself snap, and then hope I can piece myself back together quickly enough to not be totally destroyed by it.
Hate not feeling like I really have anywhere to turn when this happens. That if i talk to anyone about it, I'd feel guilty. Even If i were to actually talk to anyone about it, which I'm not sure I could do in the first place.
a week before the end of March, someone broke into my car, stole my mp3 player, a gas mileage book, and my speeding ticket that i got in January (which will no doubt be a future issue to rant about)
so, i've had probably around $350 worth of costs related getting back on track from that now. which has been plesant and fun.
karl and i camped out at caltech on tuesday of last week to get tickets to see stephen hawking, who again was very very interesting. this time he was talking about how time can have a beginning, and he had some very good points on it. which of course he would, cuz he's freaking stephen hawking.
the past week has been spring break.... but it has been far busier than i'm used to. last weekend, was first a housewarming party for bryan and nate on saturday, then sunday was a physics thing..mostly drinking, but i still showed up. social hanger-on that i am. monday....i can't remember...i think i did something. tuesday, i went to go get a copy of my ticket that had been stolen....so that was fun to have to drive out to pasadena and back. tuesday was a city election to vote in. wednesday, tom and i went to disneyland for about 6 hours...spent most of the time in DCA to avoid the more crowded areas, like Disneyland proper. the pins are becoming too much of a thing with me. Today, didn't really do much of anything till this evening, when I went out to dinner with Sita, who's up here for spring break. and then now, i'm putting off working on an application to Griffith Observatory that my mom has done an excellent job in convincing me to stop trying for it. Granted, that wasn't the intent.
Of late, i've been falling downward into what I'd consider another bout of depression, i think. most prominant is that i don't really know why i'm bothering with what i'm doing because i lack that feeling of direction with my life. i don't know where i'm going, or what i'll do careerwise. i still don't feel like i should be trying to get internships because i don't feel qualified enough, based on both classes taken and grades. which isn't to say the grades are outright bad... just that i don't feel like i deserve to be doing anything yet. on top of that, i've got issues from my past coming back to me again. things that i've tried to get over and can't. some of them are emotional issues that i can't shake. more concerning is that my stresses are coming back. i don't think i've felt tensions this strong since high school, and it has me concerned a bit. i really don't want to fall back into the rhythm of nervous breakdowns and the like i had back then.
i'm not entirly sure why that all is coming back, either. i think a big part is my mom trying to reassert control on my life again with the griffith application and stuff, but that doesn't explain it all away. i speculate that the key issue is that its from basicly, not having the same interpersonal interactions i'd had going. socially speaking, i've not had all that much going on up here the last while, plus the line stuff has been dwindling more and more, plus online stuff has been either quiet or painful, mostly, plus i'm still an outsider at school. generally speaking, i know that its my own fault that i'm not the sort of person people prefer to have around. or in some cases outright revile. i just can't force myself to be someone i'm not and be ok with it, the side effect being that i'm just really not around people much. which, i guess is a part of who i am as well. still, its not without its drawbacks in that social situations are helpful from time to time. granted, that also assumes taht i can do so sans paranoia, which is also on the rise. the whole matter has just added to make teh whole thing fun. Man I hate spring. Stuff always goes wrong in it.
main things....VH1 has really caused me to lose faith in them with what they did last week...they did a show called I love Toys and named the #1 toy as the hula hoop. In no way is this a "number one" toy. It had its run, but to have that beat out such things as Legos is horrendously innaccurate. Really shakes one's faith in their listings.
some bits of movie talk....
saw V for Vendetta last night, and it was awesome. It really is a movie about freedom, and remembering what it is, and how its important to stand up for it. Now, I know everyone is going to be talking about Bush in this context, but I also don't buy that, if for no other reason than that I was in Hollywood a few hours before seeing the movie where much of the area was massivly disrupted by an anti-war protest. In V for Vendetta, you couldn't speak out...definitly not so in the U.S. today. We just have to make sure it stays that way.
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter is my most recent purchase. I'd say anyone should give it a watch...i'm not gonna try to sum it up, so i'm just gonna use the following keywords: Jesus Christ, Vampires, Lesbians, Dance numbers, Mexican wrestling. You can't go wrong with that mix.
And now, i'm going back to dealing with having no coke