Thursday, 15 September 2011

funny things computers are.

It amuses me as I sit here watching my computer try to apply 16 updates in preparation of an image to be taken before some hardware is replaced tomorrow. Normally the updates might take a few minutes to apply but because of the hardware fault it is taking well over an hour. I can't stop the updates without making things worse, had no option to not install the updates,and the updates are not needed before the change of hardware. So as I sit here watching update 6 of 16 try to install I think my time could be better spent on something else but can't leave because I have to kick off the image after these updates are installed. Yay

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

No Minimum Wage? More tax cuts for the top 2%?

Honestly no minimum wage?  Even if you could get a full time job at the current minimum wage that is 17,748 a year. $340 a week.  For food, for housing, for utilities, for clothing and for medical care, for you, for those that depend on you!

Some republicans like Michele Bachmann support a removal of the minimum wage from the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Click the link to jump to the point I'm refering to but feel free to watch the whole thing and the ignorance in play.

According to her logic the solution to world hunger would be to take the minimal amount of support given now and just spread it even thinner.   The real scary bit is where she says "we need to tamp that down so that the American people can keep more of what they make"

Lets look at this statement.  Some might say she's advocating for a smaller government, which she is, and that we shouldn't take from the poor.  But look here.
 (feel free to view the whole video.  The question was about how to address the issues where some corporations don't pay taxes yet she spins it)  She also tried to make it seem like 1 persons entire job was to write just 14 words in the tax regulations.  I'm sure the person she talked to had more responsibility then to just answer her question about a 14 word passage, but I digress.

She thinks that $17,748, and even less, is enough for not only 1 person to live on but often an entire family and that the government should be able to take even more money from these people.

What she really means by "American people can keep more of what they make" is "Business owners should be able to keep as much as they can and the workers should be happy with what they get and the government shouldn't be able to do anything about it."

While I don't think the tax system is perfect I don't think the problem is at the low end of the wage earners.  Raising the tax rates for high income earners to what they paid during the Reagan administration would raise from 35-70 billion dollars a year.  Taxing the almost half of American's that already live below the poverty line by 50% would raise about the same amount of money.

So the Republican/Tea party's solution is that instead of taxing the top 2% of earners, to what they would have been paying during the "golden era" that the republicans and tea party are always saying they want to get back to, We should take half of the income from the people that can least afford it.

Right now in the USA the top 1% of the income earners control almost 25% of the wealth, the top 10% almost 50%.  In the last 30 years 80% of the raises in income have gone to that top 1%.  The trickle down method hasn't worked.  The rich get richer and the poor and middle class get poorer.  What is really bad is that the top 10% of the country has much of the "middle class" convinced that taxing the rich is bad.

The bottom 50% house holds only control 2.5% of the income of our nation.  15.1% of the USA live below the poverty line and among African Americans and Hispanic Americans the rate is over 26%. The "middle class" which in theory should be the largest group control less then 50% of the income and that figure is getting smaller.  Sure some of them are climbing into the bracket of those that control the 50%or more of the wealth.  But what is happening is that the top 10% are controlling a higher percentage of the wealth.  So you'll soon get 10% of the population controlling 60% of the wealth and 50% of the population controlling 1.25%!  How is that fair?

We aren't even talking about raising the income tax of the top 10%.  Just the top 2% and not to any rediculous rate but just restoring it to the rate that was in place during the Reagan administration.

So tell me, are you "middle class"?  Do you think that it is more fair to tax a family of 4 that makes less then $22,350 a year by 50% and that it is unfair to remove the tax cuts that the top 2% income earners get restoring them to what they paid in the early 80s?  Remember the higher taxes the poor people get hit with will effect you.  They'll effect where you want to be.  Yet the republican party has so many of middle class convinced that "class warefare" is being waged against the rich.  Is it unreasonable to have someone that earns $5,000,000 a year pay even the same rate of tax as a household that earns just $50,000 a year.

I can tell you from personal experience that in the late 80's when I was in high school with 3 part time jobs, one of which was working for an accountant, that I saw people that made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year that paid less taxes then I did as a 17 year old high school student working those 3 part time jobs.  Tell me...what class is the "Class warfare" actually being waged against?

I see what many Republicans and Tea Party leader think the problem is.  The poor make to much!  They should be paid less and taxed more!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Hypocrites just fuck me off.

I think I'm going to have to start high lighting all the hypocritical stuff I just stumble upon.  I predict Fox News will be a frequent subject.

Fox is attacking games like Sim City for encouraging environmentally friendly solutions. :/ They call it "indoctrination" when ever it is something they don't agree with.  They don't have a problem supporting products that align with "conservative values" and aren't in an uproar about games like "left behind" which has players play a "Christian" that has to go around and either convert or kill non Christians and if they kill a Christian they only have to have their avatar pray to regain the points they've lost for killing a Christian.  :/

So its ok to have your kid taught that the end of days is coming and killing non Christians is ok but in the Sim games have a "fine" issued for polluting is something we should shield our children from. :/

They accuse these "Green games" for using fear tactics, specifically paying a fine for polluting, to promote the green technologies but don't have a problem telling everyone around them that if they are homosexuals that they will rot eternally in hell.

I encourage people to watch fox as much as they can stomach.  This type of "fair and balanced" reporting is unbelievable.  The problem is many people don't consider that any one that aligns with their world views could ever be a hypocrite.  So most people that watch Fox News probably don't see the issue and many that do will down play this issue.

It is this hypocritical big tent mentality that just shits me off.

To see the spot in question and read a bit about it go here


Friday, 12 August 2011


Thank god it's Friday?

Sure the end of the week is here but sometime I feel a bit lost.  It's like I'm forgetting something important but my weekend is pretty uneventful.  No haircut on Saturday morning.  No plans besides taking my son and his friend to chess tonight.

I'll chalk it up to getting older.  Fridays I feel like going home and falling asleep.  During the week I'm lucky to feel sleepy before midnight.  Friday's I'm struggling at 6pm!  Perhaps I should start going out dancing on Friday nights again.  I think my brain just tries to turn off at the end of the week and with nothing planned I go into sleep mode.

Hope your Friday nights are better then mine have been lately.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

New Aussie

It is finally done.  After 16 years I've finally took the plunge and did the affirmation last night.  The process is much easier then becoming a citizen of the USA.  First was all the paperwork.  Mostly this consisted of gathering documentation that proved I am who I say I am.  After providing them with my passport, the visa information I entered the country on, my drivers licence, and various letters and bills to my current address they still wanted a "Proof of identity declaration" which isn't me say I'm me but someone else saying that I am me.  My friend Kylie happens to be a CPA so qualifies as someone responsible enough to verify that someone is who they say they are.  It helps that I've known her for a dozen years I suppose.

  The next step is a test.  They set me a letter telling me where and when my test was being held and I had to bring in all my supporting documents.  Thoughtfully I took a day of holiday to do this step.  Showed up at 10:30 to see 2 other people in the waiting lounge to be told "Your appointment was at 10:00".  Whoops! She quickly said "Take a seat, we'll get to you soon." and I replied "Well take care of these people first.  I don't want to hold them up because I was late.".  I barely sat down before the lady called me up by say "Wayne Francis?" while looking around.  Which was puzzling because she never lost line of sight from me and I was never more then 3 metres from her.  Showed her all my documents and she gave me a slip of paper to take into the testing room with me.

Now I've been in the office for a whopping 10 minutes now and I'm about to take my 45 minute test.  2 Other people are in the room taking their tests.  The lady sets up the machine and walks away and I start my test.  First question "What are the colours on the Aboriginal flag?"  Easy question. Second question "What are the colours on the Torres Strait Islands flag?" Another easy one, still had these 2 flags in my memory from browsing the pamphlet the night before.  All is smooth until I come to "How many states and in-land territories are there?" and I count on my fingers while thinking to myself "Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Whales, Queens Land, Australian capital territory and Northern Territory" then I that is wrong....I forgot Tasmania!  So a recount on my fingers and I thought I selected the answer of 6 and 2.  The only other question that I had to pause on what "Which of the following is not elected by the people?".  The answers where basically "A) Representatives B) Prime Minister C) Governor General".  This had me stumped for a minute because I thought to myself "Well the Governor General is put into power by the Queen of England but technically here in Australia you don't elect the Prime Minister, The PM is put in power by the representatives of the controlling party."  I opted for C even though technically B & C would both are correct.

  All in all the test took 4 minutes and 21 seconds.  Considering that it took me probably 60-90 seconds to answer the last 2 question mentioned above this means I did 18 questions in about 3 minutes or roughly 10 seconds per question.  The lady looked at me and asked if some thing was wrong.  In the end I did get 1 wrong.  I guess, in hind sight I could have reviewed what I answered but 19 out of 20 question correct is still good enough.

  So within 15 minutes of getting to my appointment 1/2 hour late I was wrapping everything up.  The lady said I should receive a letter in about 4 weeks after the police check goes through and I was on my way home.

  I got the letter about 5 weeks later then another week or 2 I got the letter telling me my ceremony was to be held on the 10th of August.

 It's official I'm now a citizen of the USA and AUS...must be something about the letters A S & U :P

Friday, 8 July 2011

Professional web sites done wrong.

We've all seen them.  Professional web sites that are just messed up in some way.  Broken links are a common one but what gets me more annoyed is sites telling you to do something on their site that does not work.

For example I recently did a "buy now" on an item on eBay and immediately paid for it via paypal.  The next day eBay email me saying they've had to remove the item and said I should go to their resolution centre to get my money back.  Going to the resolution centre I find that I can not put in a call because it requires you to pick a transaction...which they removed with the auction.  How the hell am I supposed to put in a complaint for an item they've wiped from ever exsisting. Thankfully I can resolve the issue with Paypal but still it is crap to get an email from ebay saying "do x,y & z" to find you can't get past x because there is no option for "y".

Now how long will Paypal take to get my money back.  Let us see how good their $20,000 buyer protection really is.

In a small retailer, that is just starting their online presence, this might be understandable but eBay probably takes down hundreds if not thousands of auctions a day.  You'd think they would have their "Resolve a problem" walk through right by now.

Visual Migraines

Yesterday I had a bad head ache and visual migraine and thought I'd post on it today.

About 10 years ago I got my first visual migraine and I was completely stumped on what it was.  At first I just thought that what I was seeing was from looking directly at a down light in the stair well of the office building I worked in.  Soon after I got back to my desk I noticed that not only did I have the spot where it looked like I was looking through a kaleidoscope but I also could not seem to read words on my computer.

After talking to an optometrist about it I was informed that it wasn't anything to do with the eyes but just an "ophthalmic migraine" or "ocular migraine" other terms "visual migraine".  These can be brought on by a number of things including food allergies.  I've discounted the food allergy as a source for me by noting what I've eaten and when before I had an onset.  So I'm still not sure what triggers them off though.  They can happen any time of day for me too.

For those that don't know anything about them here is a you video that is similar to what happens to me with a few differences.

For me there is no real distinct blurring.  The rainbow kaleidoscope effect is much more pronounced.  They always start on my left side of my field of view and as they grow larger they actually engulf a larger portion of my view in the centre while spreading out.

The last thing took me about 7-8 years to figure out.  I get a blind spot in the centre of my view.  Now this isn't like a black spot but much more like the actual blind spot everyone has due to the optic nerve.  We don't see this blind spot because the brain is so good at filling it in, Google "blind spot" or go here to show you what the blind spot is and how the brain fills in the info.  Anyway it seems my brain is doing this same thing for my centre of vision, disregarding any into actually sent to it by the receptors that are actually located there. This has a very interesting and definable effect.  It means it is almost impossible for me to read while still appearing to be able to see letters.  The letter(s) at the centre of my view disappear in a way that isn't very obvious.  I still see letters to each side but as my focus goes to them they to disappear or get altered.  The result is much like trying to read a random set of letters for me.

Needless to say my visual migraines are a pain, literally as they most often progress to a normal migraine soon after they start, but they are interesting from the point of view of what is happening to the brain and what the brain is capable of doing.  I can now remotely relate to some people with visual synesthesia but I don't get it from the cool things that other people get their visions.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Bad Drivers

Have you ever heard someone say that when they walk down the street at night lights always seem to flicker? Or someone saying that they can predict what the sex of an unborn baby will be and they are almost always right?

I know there is well understood psychology going on here.  People tend to see and, even more importantly, remember things that support their beliefs.  The person that thinks that unusually high numbers of street lights flicker when they pass by forget the hundreds of other lights that don't flicker and don't often think that the street light may have been flickering for days before they even came close to the light.

I'm different though and I plan to prove it.  Actually I know it doesn't happen to me more often I just notice it more but still it will be amusing to see what I see.  After having 2 cars pull out in front of me today I've decided its time to start recording, and commenting on, the bad drivers I encounter.  Be aware that when I start posting videos the language will not be suitable for small children.  Drivers that cut me off in round abouts, disobey simple road rules like, but not limited to, changing lanes without indicating, turning before, or without, indicating, stopping at green lights and more will be focused in this ongoing series.   

Hopefully you won't watch any of them and say "Hey that is me he's bitching about!"

Grey Weather

I know it is winter and all but the rain can still bring me down.  Living in Adelaide SA it is, for the most part, hot and sunny but even we have an off season in Adelaide.  Though I would not go as far as saying that it is anything like winter.  Being originally from just south of Boston it is hard to describe anything over 0°C as winter let alone 14°C.

I constantly remind myself that the rain is good for us which brings me to my point.  Things around you might naturally get you down but it is in our power to look for the silver lining in as much as we can.  So take this time to look outside or even better yet go outside.  If it is raining look up and let the rain drops fall on your face and think that the rain is a wonderful thing.  Hopefully some hoon doesn't take you out because they are driving to fast for the wet roads.