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Archive for the ‘Off-Topic’ Category

I don’t normally delve into politics, especially not on this light-hearted blog, but I refuse to remain silent about the current Occupation of Wall Street and other cities around the U.S. and the world.

Last week, literally days before I first heard about the OWS movement, I was discussing the economy with my husband and comparing it to a game of Jenga; supporting pieces of our nation’s financial system were being removed one by one by people trying to build the stack as high as they could. The farming industry, the dairy industry, schools and manufacturing – all vital and indispensable pieces of our day-to-day lives – are no longer profitable occupations. They haven’t been for years. But farmers keep farming, and teachers keep teaching, because they know that without them there would be no nation. I opined at that time that the Jenga stack was going to fall eventually.

Little did I know that it was already teetering on the brink. For nearly four weeks, the Occupy Wall Street movement has been growing in numbers and support. I don’t blame the media for my previous ignorance. I could, but that wouldn’t be fair, as I don’t watch television and I avoid news websites as if they were a deadly plague (some of them are, with their pornographic advertisements and gossip-riddled headlines). However, it has come to my attention that many of you out there are being left in ignorance or deliberately misguided by media corporations which stand to lose as protests grow.

If you want to know what the OWS is doing, watch us. If you want to find out what we are demanding, ask us. Don’t rely on your local news station, because many of them are ignoring the issues. Don’t believe the politicians who claim sudden empathy because they’ve realized we’re not going away – many of them accept of billions of dollars in campaign funds from people who like things they way they are. Prove to them that you’re not sheep by researching their stands on the issues, their sponsors, and most importantly their voting records yourselves.

Some – most – of our detractors are frightened because they realize that what we are demanding is some pretty serious change. Well I’m frightened too. I know that in between this American Autumn and the anticipated Spring there must and will be a Winter. But I am more frightened about what will happen to our nation if we ignore the growing corruption at our head. When your doctor says you have a tumor, you cut it out, even though you know it will hurt. You don’t watch in morbid fascination while it devours your entire body. Neither can we sit and watch anymore while politicians make policy based on the demands of the people who paid them into power instead of the ones who voted them there.

That’s not democracy. What democracy is, literally, is the people (demos) raising their voices and acting. While we stand silent, 9% of our workforce is officially unemployed. While we stand silent, another 9% are either underemployed – meaning they want full-time work but receive only part-time wages – or are no longer included in the official count because they have stopped looking for jobs that aren’t there. Let’s put a face to those numbers. A total of 18% of Americans without jobs means that one in five of your friends, one in five of your neighbors, and one in five of your family members can’t afford rent, clothing, or food for themselves and their children. One. In. Five.

I don’t care who you think is to blame for it; that is unacceptable.

If you think that you can’t do anything about it, you’re wrong. If you think that nobody can hear your voice, think again. When you stand there, shouting in unison with a thousand others, ten thousand, a million, it doesn’t matter whether they can pick your voice from the crowd; they have already heard you.

It’s time to stand up and shout.

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Brief Update

For those of you who have subscribed to this blog for the Sci-fi D&D content, I have now enabled a subscription widget for http://www.ironwolfgames.com. Sorry for the delay – there are a lot of things I take for granted on this blog which have to be added manually on the self-hosted one. I post content there as I get it finished, so if you haven’t checked it out in a while, be sure to head on over.

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After a long hiatus from translating, I’ve taken on a brief project. The Fullmetal Alchemist manga is completed, but here’s some extra material which looks like it was from the last serialized volume.

Note that this is not the best clean-up job I’ve ever done, but like I said, it was a brief project.

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10

There’s also an announcement for a new FMA movie, which I’ll take another look at later to see what I can get out of it.

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Ever wish you could buy or find something that didn’t exist? Something that would just make your life a whole lot easier, but nobody’s thought to make something like it yet? I get those all the time. As I get older, I discover that many of those wishes are also felt by other people, and those holes are slowly filled in, but there’s always something more to wish for.

Yesterday I found myself wishing I had some way to tell my phone to switch on silent mode at a certain time and then switch it back off again after a certain period of time. Wouldn’t that be convenient? You could program in your entire week’s activities (church 1-4, work 8-5, movie 7-9, whatever) during which your phone wouldn’t bother other people if somebody happened to call you at an inconvenient time, but then it would turn itself right back on once you were available. No more missing that dinner invite from grandma because you didn’t think to check whether your phone was on after work.

What about you? What do you need in your life that hasn’t been invented yet?

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Back in the Habit

Lironah Daviau scripting a carousel Who’d have thought a week ago that I’d be back in Second Life again, scripting in lsl? Certainly not me. Today’s project is a rotating, bobbing carousel horse.

All I can say is that the Java textbook I’ve been reading has gotten to me. About 36 hours ago I watched my first lsl tutorial and shortly thereafter coded a clock with moving hands, mostly as per the lesson. I had to tweak it a little because he used a square clock, and I hate square clocks. It took some juggling to get the hands moving correctly on a rotated cylinder prim instead of a boring old wooden block. I even found a most awesome wolf clock texture in my freebies.

After my success with the clock, I must have been suffering from sleep-deprivation induced insanity, because I decided to keep going. I found an old, forgotten project in my inventory – a carousel model that…well, didn’t work so well. At a tip from my dear friend Ingeborg, I stepped over to the scripting college and took notes until 2am.

When I woke up, the bug was still with me. I dug out my notes and by lunchtime I had the bobbing problem pretty much licked. Crazy, huh? Two days ago I couldn’t so much as script a “Hello Avatar”. After lunch it was on to building a prim carousel horse. Pink with blue hair seemed appropriate.

Then, as dinnertime rolled around, it occurred to me that if I was going to make these and sell them in Second Life, I was going to need some appropriately candy-flavored music to play while the horses turned. So what did I do? Did I go digging through my inventory for something cute enough? Did I spend hours on a fruitless search through SL or the internet to find some nearly-free sound bytes?

Heck no. This called for some exercise of my new free trial midi writing software. An hour later, I’d turned a snippet of tune into 48 seconds of loopable sugary goodness which you can feel free to listen to. I call it Pink Carousel. Witty, I know.

(For anyone curious, my Second Life name is Lironah Daviau.)

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Mmm, Doughnuts

Well, not doughnuts, actually.  Scones.  But the recipe I modified was originally for doughnuts.  They turned out so good, I think I’ll make them again the next time the guys come over, but for now, I’ll share my modified recipe.

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil (or fat) for frying
  1. Sift together sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Beat eggs thoroughly, then stir into dry ingredients.  (Note: I use powdered eggs in most recipes, and rather than mixing them up first, I add the powder with the dry ingredients and the water with the wet.)
  3. Add the milk and melted butter.
    • For doughnuts: Roll about 1/2 inch thick on a floured board and cut with a doughnut cutter.
    • For scones: Pinch off a ball and roll 1/4 inch thick, quarter if desired.
  4. Fill a large frying pan with oil until scones float and fry at 375 degrees F until nicely browned.  (Or use a deep fryer if you’re so inclined.)
  5. Drain on paper towels.
  6. Top as desired.   I recommend butter and cinnamon sugar.  Doughnuts can be dusted with powdered sugar.

The original recipe said that it makes about 24 doughnuts.  I used more flour than theirs, so probably closer to 30.  Feeds about 8-10 people.  They seem to freeze and toast well, but I don’t suggest using the microwave for reheating.

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For any of you Wheel of Time fans out there, I just wanted to announce that yours truly has been selected as a Storm Leader for the midnight release of the 12th book, The Gathering Storm. I’m so excited! 😀 We’ve got tons of fun stuff we’re planning for that night, including a live video feed if we can get permission from the bookstore and from Brandon.

The best part, for me, will be having dinner with Brandon Sanderson and his wife, assistant, and assistant’s wife. And of course getting to start reading the book as soon as the party’s over.

As a side note, I’ve finally signed up for Twitter. Send a tweet to @Lironah if you want to say hi. I also make announcements through @MidnightRelease for the Storm Leader group.

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