Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Ron Glass Story

With the passing of Ron Glass, many people have different reasons for remembering him. Like many people my age, I was primarily familiar with him through his portrayal of Shepard Book on Firefly.

However, the world is always smaller than we realize. As a result, I have a story to share about the man. A story from his younger days, before I was born. I should probably explain:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Internet Arguments: The Pence/Hamilton Thing

I have a bad habit of getting into arguments with people online. I would say I spend too much time on it... but I'm not sure that's true. The alternative is to avoid engaging with people, which seems like the sort of action that perpetuates this culture in which our views and the views of others are never challenged. We will likely never understand each other so long as we never make the effort to do so.

So, I get into Internet arguments. They're not always productive, and I don't think they result in changed minds per se. However, I don't mind making the effort to humanize my ideas and to at least attempt to understand where people are coming from.

However, if I'm going to spend a bunch of time writing like that, I should probably get some use out of it. Otherwise, all that work will simply fade away, banished to wherever it is that old Facebook posts go.

So, here's a discussion I had with some folks in response to a post my aunt made on Facebook. Unedited except for names, though I don't think the discussion is private, so theoretically anybody can find this discussion if they look for it.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Still Improving My Videos

My most recent video is up, the first real episode of my Constitution Series. It's incorporating a lot of the stuff I've learned in the past few months, and I think it's on the verge of being respectable.

That said, I still have a lot to improve upon, some of which I figure will come with practice, some of which I'm already planning to fix. This post is about some of those ways I'm planning to improve.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Odd Bard Instruments

Many a conversation starts with Laura lying on the couch and telling me about things she's reading on Tumblr. (I don't do Tumblr personally--Facebook and Twitter already eat up enough of my time.)

Today, she was telling me about a Tumblr post that included a strange list of possible instruments found in the Complete Bard's Handbook from 2nd Edition D&D. The list of instruments is pretty comprehensive, from drums and flutes to citterns and sistrums. Laura seemed doubtful that some of these instruments would be terribly inspiring or practical during battle. After all, while a pipe organ might sound incredible, it's not exactly easy to carry onto the battlefield. And then there are one-note instruments like gongs and castanets--not exactly ballad material.

These possibilities had me intrigued, though. While I can't really comment on the instruments I've never heard of (a hurdy gurdy sounds fascinating in theory...), I immediately had some ideas about some of the more familiar instruments.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Brock Turner Problem

Recently I've seen stories about how there are armed protesters in Brock Turner's neighborhood. They seem to be there with the intent of intimidating him, of making sure he knows that the public has not forgotten what he's done. Which seems fine on the surface, since neither he nor the public should forget. However, the presence of prominently displayed weaponry in the protests is chilling. And the way people seem to be sharing the story with such glee is even more chilling. Here's why:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dealing in Fear, Dealing in Hope

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can drive people to do many things, and the ability to instill fear into people's hearts is one of the more effective paths to power over those people. It's the calling card of many a movie or comic book villain, from Emperor Palpatine to Sinestro.

Sadly, fear isn't exclusive to the realms of fiction. Fear is a powerful force right now, in this year's presidential election. It's a tool being used by both sides of the conflict, to varying degrees of success.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Trans-Pacific Partnership Part 1: Preamble


The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a proposed agreement between 12 countries along the Pacific rim: The United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Vietnam, Australia, Peru, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore.

The preamble of the TPP lays outs the goals of the deal between those countries, which is mostly reflected by the pro-TPP statements on the front page of the United States Trade Representative's TPP website. The preamble doesn't really get into the details of the deal, so there isn't a lot to unpack.