Pinkopalypse

When it comes to computers, there are pink components, and there are good components, but there are scant few good pink components. While for most geeks this is not a problem, for me it is as the better half loves the color pink. So, in addition to doing every odd job I could think of to fill my time, I decided to right a serious geek wrong and make the pink computer I know she wants.

I am not a case modder; not by a long shot. I put computers together in preassembled cases. I’m pretty handy when it comes to putting things IN computers, but I am not known for my vast case modding skills. So while this was intended to be a welcome home gift for the better half of 2PhatGeeks, It was also a learning experience. So, I began.

First, we had to modify the cover. The case was originally black and silver and designed around a nicely geeky RPG/Medieval theme, complete with a shield on the front. Unfortunately The XBlade Design wasn’t going to work for the pink happy box idea I had in mind, so I had to do something. I pondered long and hard, several weeks before she left, in fact, deciding what to put on the case…

1-coverstart

This brilliant design, of course, required I cut aluminum approx ¼” thick. I needed firepower. I needed… my first Dremel! It is an amazing machine that I am not at all good at using. But I managed to accomplish what I needed and lined it with a little bit of rubber tubing and hot glue to cover some of my many imperfections… wow, it’s a metaphor for me!.

2-covercut

Next there was a BOATLOAD of painting. Every peripheral that I could properly paint (as well as some I couldn’t) got a coat of candy pink, white or pink fading to white.

3-start1

One thing you won’t see in this next picture is a fancy pink keyboard. While I knew it would be a challenge, Mel had literally worn her keyboard almost out, half the letters were gone, so I figured I had nothing to lose. If things didn’t work out, well, she was due for a keyboard anyway. Good thing I had planned for the possibility of failure! While the keyboard looked awesome, it just didn’t work. The Microsoft ergo that she prefers is made to pretty dang exacting standards that my painting is not up to! I bid it a fond adieu and replaced it with a new one. Anyway, here we can see some of the peripherals. The mouse looks and feels awesome!

4-midway1

Next I turned my attentions to the case. Every surface was repainted. The chassis frame is completely white, inside and out, while the outside of the case is pink in the front fading to white at the rear. It was far from flawless, as a first attempt, and some minor touch ups were needed, but when I first saw the case front repainted and reassembled, I started to get excited. I think it looks awesome and girly!

5-midway2

6-casefront

Lastly, as I assembled the case, I couldn’t just let the blue lights and fans stay, so I replaced them with white lights and filled the heart in with a pink bit of plastic from, of all things, a girl’s notebook from Wal-Mart.

7-cpuandstand

Behold… The Pinkopalypse! It looks so light and airy and girly I think I just grew an ovary.

8-pinkopalypse

So ended my first real attempt at (admittedly very minimal) case modding and I hope the returning princess likes it! I really believe she will. I learned several good lessons for the future… including that 1. The Dremel is the coolest power tool ever, but that they require patience and that 2. I really suck at painting. By the time you are all reading this, she will be on a flight home and will be seeing it by sometime around 8PM this evening.

WELCOME HOME BABY!

That’s the Burger King Flavor!

On April 15th, 2009 and I stepped on a bus to travel from Florida, U.S.A, to Alberta, Canada. It would take me until April 18th to reach my destination. While on the bus, I did my best to keep sporadic notes about my experiences and trip.  Come with me on this long journey of smelly people crammed into tiny seats, share my pain.

April 15th, 6:30 pm. 3 hours on bus.

Sitting in thin, cramped uncomfortable greyhound bus seats, the Melbourne Florida international airport already seemed like a distant memory with it’s garish green palm tree and blooming red flow carpet, white walls and skylights.

It was my first bus, and although it wasn’t yet crowded I had already picked up a few interesting characters which boarded with me three hours ago at Melbourne.

The first noticeable fellow bus traveller was a young man who I immediately deemed “Fifteen cent.” Fifteen cent was a pasty pale, golden blonde haired southern white boy who I firmly believe thought he was terribly gangsta. He showed up at the airport wearing a black t-shirt that fell to the tops of his knees, covering his pants which were belted somewhere around his thighs. On this shirt, cheerily in neon colors of sunshine yellow, screaming pink and baby blue were patterns in the shape of brass knuckles. Stylin‘.

He wore his hat sideways and had a lovely pencil thin neck-beard. His moustache was also pencil thin and looked like it was sketched on his upper lip with a supremely fine calligraphy pen.

Fifteen cent started talking outside the Melbourne airport and had not stopped the entire time while on the bus. He chatted with a young woman who had blonde hair fried from the bleach used to turn it platinum while her roots of her greasy black hair crouched tell-tale at the top of her head. Fifteen cent often started his conversations, loudly –so the entire bus could hear–with such world-shattering phrases as, “I was working with the crew that built that,” pointing at what seemed to be everything as we drove by it,  and, “One time, when I was so mother fuckin’ high.” According to Fifteen cent, he built half of Florida and did so while being higher than a kite. (I don’t know about you, but I think from now on I’ll be eyeballing up several of the structures around where I live suspiciously for years to come. )

The girl he spoke to and hung around ( for I suspect, the free cigarettes she kept giving him) had her own quirks. She kept getting cell-phones calls from what I assumed to be her ex, as for the first four calls she would open her cell phone to only yell into it: FUCK OFF, then hang up.  This was jarring to me at the time, because the impression I had of her was one of mousey-ness. She was small, a touch chubby wearing a white shirt decorated with little pink flowers as well as pink scroll work. I thought she looked more like the type to collect My Little Ponies instead of barking things like, “I don’t give a shit! I don’t fucking care anymore, you’ll be charged for aggravated assault and that’s fucking that, fucker! Don’t call me anymore!”

While I half paid attention to their conversation which was inane and strewn with profanities that made me sound like a good christian church going girl in comparison, I realized that I had no clue what-so-ever in how to adjust the paper thin, hard-as-a-frozen-nipple-bus seat in which I was sitting in. Whom ever had sat in it before me had left the seat in half recline and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out where the dohickeymabob thingie to fix it, near the window seat, was. Instead of doing something logical, like ask or move over the aisle seat where I could easily find the handle to adjust the seat–I decided to sit and suffer.

During these moments of feeling intensely idiotic and making a further note to investigate how this weird scorcery that is my greyhound bus seat, I hear Fifteen Cent exclaim, “That’s the mother fuckin’ Burger King Flavor!”

I remember sliding further down in my seat and putting my head into right hand.

This was only the first day of a four-day long bus trip. I knew at that moment of Fifteen Cent’s brilliant exclamation that this was going to be the longest ride of my life. 

I had three more days to go!

This entry is part one of several entries documenting my trip to Alberta via greyhound bus. Like what you’ve read so far? Feel free to hit the subscribe button here at 2phatgeeks to get entries updated via your favorite feed reader, or if you’re from live journal, feel free to add me as a friend!

Star Trek Rising

These days, with instant feedback about films, it’s easy to get blinded by the sheer amount of data. The sheer amount of press reviewing or discussing Star Trek has made it virtually impossible to actually get a realistic appraisal of the film. Hard-core traditionalist Trekkers have been badmouthing the film ever since it was announced it wouldn’t include any of the standard casts. Early reviews varied from what seemed like screaming fanboy-ism favorably comparing this film with Dark Knight to firmly stating that this film will not only destroy the Star trek franchise forever, but that all films forever will be tarnished by its image.

This film got 95% on Rottentomatoes.com and gets the sort of praise normally reserved for foreign language, anti-American films at Cannes. Was it really that good? Was this film worth the insane amount of hype?

The answer is… well, yes and no.

The film is excellent. In addition to the now ubiquitous good effects, it has a great story, some really enjoyable humor, solid performances (with one big exception) and some outstanding action sequences. Across the board it delivered the goods when it comes to geeky goodness. It’s not difficult to outperform the rest of the Trek films, since almost all of them sucked horrifyingly. Wrath of Khan is the one universal exception to this rule, with the occasional exception of First Contact which was very good. This film is considerably better than all of its predecessors.

The story is surprisingly good for a Star Trek film. It’s even more surprising considering the fact that Abrams himself was never a fan of the series. He presents the beginning of the now famous story line with a certain reverence for the Kirk-Spock relationship. Oh sure, there are deviations all over the place from what traditionalists would refer to as the “canon.” These are neatly excused by the “altered timeline” explanation. Unfortunately the directors/producer felt it necessary to spell it out, rather than go for a more subtle approach. The cast literally explains why it’s perfectly ok if things are different. It felt a little awkward, but since this film was geared more to general audiences than prior installments, I understand its inclusion.

The acting was, for the most part, very good and the interplay between them all was excellent for a fresh start cast. For the three primary characters it was pretty much all gravy. Chris Pine was solid as Kirk. In this alternate history this version of the character makes sense and this guy is loaded with charisma and bravado… and with even a little more recklessness than Shatner’s Kirk. Karl Urban was just awesome as Bones, and did homage more than any of the other actors to the shows origins. They will need to tone him down a bit for sequels to keep it out of caricature category, but he was hysterical and sounded like he was channeling DeForrest Kelley. Spock was… perfect. Quinto captured the character exactly as I imagined a young Spock to be. Every nuance was exactly as it should have been. The interplay between Kirk and Spock was believable and what it should have been. I was pretty nervous about this casting decision, but it was spot on.

The youngish looking fellow playing Chekov, Anton Yelchin, was great and the almost unintelligible accent was toyed with for a chuckle or two. The Character of Sulu was missing one major piece… the trademark Takei voice. The actor, John Cho, was very capable but the casting director should have at least tried to get someone with a deeper voice. Simon Pegg was pretty much as I’d expected him to be: a funny guy with a Scottish accent. They even tossed him some slapstick gags… actually amusing ones. They also emphasized the intelligence and/or ability of all three of these more minor characters, as well as Uhura (more on her below). Each of them was given a scene showing how they are more than a cut above the average cadet; that they were on the enterprise for a reason.

Of course,  there were a couple week spots.

Uhura’s character was depressingly shallow and limited. Sure, Nichelle Nichols was a sexpot in her prime, too, but she was a developed character, even if only peripherally so. It doesn’t seem to me like they picked Zoe Saldana because she brought something of the original Uhura to the role. It honestly felt like they just needed someone who was black, young and attractive. It’s sadly ironic since the original casting of a Nichols was such a ground-breaker. Now, unfortunately, we find ourselves going the other way. They need to develop her a lot more for future installments.

Worst of all, sadly, was Nimoy. We all know why he was there, and his comments about people “obsessing with the minutiae” are right on the mark, but his acting was just horrible. He just wasn’t believable as Spock, which is weird to say since he created the character. He seemed just too… human the entire time. The scenes with the young Kirk were painful. The small scene at the end with the younger Spock was at least tolerable, if terribly cheesy. Even then, however, he seemed out of character, as if he were playing a character based on Spock. He also might as well have been named “Spock Exposition” instead of “Spock Prime” in the credits. The audience is not so stupid that it needs everything out, Abrams.

Fortunately, we were only forced to endure a little of Nimoy and I believe we may very well be spared him in future installments.

Without diving into spoilers, the scenes and story arc for this film was excellent and it is impossible for this new series to tell the same story that the old Trek did. The small change in Kirk’s past and the battle including the Kelvin at the beginning are insignificant when compared to the mother of all time-line changes. Eric Bana’s Romulan Nero, while maybe just a tad over the top, is nicely menacing, neurotic and unbalanced. His character has a believable motivation and there you almost feel a twinge of pity for the character. His is not a quest to rule the universe, but to avenge a very personal loss. Trek’s best villain, Khan Noonian Singh from Wrath of Khan, was driven to his particular madness because of the loss of his wife… and it appears Abrams was paying attention.

With all of the good that this film has, it is simply not the masterpiece that was Dark Knight. Any comparisons between this film and DK are ignoring some major flaws and the fact that while the writing here was good for Trek, the writing for DK was exceptional by any standard. I really enjoyed this film, but it was simply not as good as Nolan’s magnum opus.

What this film is, though, is an extremely solid “reboot” for a series that badly needed one. It’s also absolutely the best Star Trek film to date. It is definitely worth your hard-earned dollar this summer. The Star Trek series has always thrived on TV but severely disappointed on the big screen. Perhaps now that Trek exists only in syndication we’ll see this turn into something more than just a one-shot prequel. This was a great first outing for this crew and if they are given more time, and just a little more development, I think Trek will rise from the grave.

Um… What?

Every day on my trip to work I pass by a carwash right next to the gas station I usually hit . Out in front, it has one of those “insert the letters” marquee type of signs, allowing the message to be changed. Usually it has some sort of pithy little saying related to whatever holiday is closest. For the past week this sign has said the following:

Congratulations to
Tom Falcone
Employee of the
Month!

Not unusual in itself, and way to go Mr Carwash Manager for putting your employee out there.

One problem: This is a 100% automated car wash. No employees… ever. Huh?

Wolverine: Operation Not that Bad

Ok, so like every good geek, I set out this last week to see the new X-Men origins: Wolverine. Reviews in the geek community tend to vary from “utter garbage” to despicable. I’m pretty bored with the wife out of town and decided that even if it’s bad, it’s a good way to waste 2 hours. I went in with no expectations other than Hugh Jackman looking cool.

Unfortunately for the geek community, it seems that it’s film reviewers are now just as unaware of what films are for as the more “serious” critics. The film was fine. It isn’t the moody masterpiece like Dark Knight, but then, what is? It wasn’t the Cinema as Art of Watchmen, but that’s not something easily done, either. It was, however, a decent way to spend two hours watching cool effects and things blowing up.

I went back and revisited a lot of the reviews and read them in more detail and realized that 90% of the sites panning the film were doing so because it deviated from the established canon of the X-Men universe. This is asinine. Either the film itself is good or not. Was this a bit formulaic? Sure, what actioner isn’t? Most comics are incredibly formulaic. But panning a film because Wolverine’s claws come out when he’s young or because Emma Frost and Silverfox were never sisters is just plain stupid.

When it comes to discussing how Canon something is, perhaps the comic community would turn it’s attentions on itself first. There are about 5 million story arcs for every character and it’s not at all unusual for character details to be edited after the fact, or for powers to be changed, added, increased or decreased. So if a movie takes bits and pieces and maybe invents a bit of it’s own, does it really upset the balance of the universe? No. Would it have been cooler if the hysterically awesome Ryan Reynolds had more lines as a massively modified Deadpool? Hells, yeah! But my life is not worse because he didn’t.

What these people are missing is the same thing that more formal film critics are missing. People go to movies (and specifically these types of movies) to be entertained. They do not go to learn. They do not go to be “changed.” They go to escape, maybe have a chuckle or two, and to watch things that look cool. Sometimes they want to see those cool things blow up. No one goes into these types of films looking for anything life-changing.

No one is more pleased that films like Lord of the Rings, Dark Knight and Watchmen exist. I love it when the film is not only full of the appropriate action and effects but also good acting and smart writing. What we cannot forget, however, is that these films are not made only for us! Geeks are many, but we are waaaay outnumbered by regular folks who don’t know Sabretooth’s real name or care about how Wolverine lost his memory! Those folks have asses that fit nicely into theater seats. Those filled seats make money for movie companies that in turn pay for more geeky goodness.

The road to Lord of the Rings was paved by the low quality, campy movies like Beastmaster or Swords and Sorcery. Those movies brought the rest of the movie-going world into the fantasy and sci-fi realm. Dozens of B-grade (or worse) science fiction films kept people entertained enough to keep those seats filled, allowing more serious sci-fi and superhero style films and television shows. You can’t have Robert Downey rock your socks off in Iron Man without suffering through Lou Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk. It’s paying the bills by entertaining; It’s how entertainment works.

By the time you guys read this I will have seen the film I was really looking forward to to start off this Summer: Star Trek. Based on the fact it is getting great reviews, I’m not sure whether I should be elated or not. I’ll let you know!

My Skies

Florida holds the skies of my heart.  In winter time, those sparse few weeks where the oppressive heat does not come down upon your head like a bucket of luke-warm scuzzy bathwater once used on your cat—the cool night heavens are alight with painters frenzy. Bright slash-ribbons of 1920’s red lipstick curl lazily in whisps through the pansy-purple clouds that dot the horizon.
 
sunsetathomeIn summer, the Florida sunsets turn into a pure riot of gold before a fireplace; red from winter is still there, but the skies are tainted golden with dying sun. The clouds are much more responsive and seem to blush baby-belly pink as if knowing what sweet whispers the moon has been saying to the sun to bend her ear down into the night. I could stand in my back yard and wish for it to be sunset forever.

And yet, Alberta skies hold their own charm.

Here, you can be cramped in the city where buildings and their lights crowd out the stars, or shoved into little communities with their carbon cut out homes that leave six feet of space between one or the other and drive—and all it takes is twenty minutes give or take before you’re in the middle of no where.

Yellow wheat fields that go on forever and ever to the right and left of black, cracks-fixed-up-with-tar-viens highway  pavement. Stalks of alphalpha from last year awaiting tilling and replanting; elk, jersey cows, Arabians, clydesdale, horses and donkeys idly chewing behind picket fences that go as far as the never ending highway itself. Green patches of spring-renewal that sit oddly out in the stark gold of old wheat.
 
And then there is the sky. It meets every gentle slope and endless flat. It starts off the clearest blue when you stare directly up and fades to the pastel bright when it tricks the eye into thinking it is licking the tops of wheat far out on horizon. The clouds are not the thin painter’s fan brush stokes as they are some times in Florida. They are always thick, happy little Bob Ross clouds with dark gray, flat bottoms and cotton ball fluffy white tops and dot the blue like pearls in a sea of evening-gown silk.  It stretches and curves above you, making you think as if you were truly trapped in a snowglobe of endless brightness.

Further out, passing all of this are the tips of the Rockies thrusting proudly over the dulled down hills of grain. Dark at the base with charcoal gray, the stark tips of blue-white make me think of stately crowns in crystal.
 
Don’t get me wrong…I love Florida, it holds my heart. I will be coming home to it and embracing it’s stuffy overwhelmingly wet-hotness soon, chasing lizards in my backyard with gusto.

But Alberta holds my childhood. It is painted in hard lessons learned, sadness, and the lofty white crown of hope for tomorrow.

Pic Dump #1!

I decided to clean out the images on my phone memory card last night, in a desperate attempt to give me something to do. I’ve always loved stumbling across pic dumps and a couple of these gave me a chuckle, so I figured I should follow kindergarten rules and share! You’ll have to forgive the quality of some of these, my camera phone is just one step above a daguerreotype.

Breakfast Time?

Breakfast Time?

Well, you didn’t think we weren’t going to have at least one picture of an animal, did you? Flora’s morning kitchen shenanigans now include table top supervision.

The Mileage of the Devil!

The Mileage of the Devil!

It’s time for the Oil Change from HELL!!

Shindler's Lift

Schindler's Lift

Alright, I find this hysterical, but I’m not sure who else will. This is my elevator at work, made by the Schindler company. Schindler’s Lift! HA HA HA HA HA!

Hi, Grandma!

Hi, Grandma!

This is my Grandmother. As you might be able to guess, she would probably kill me if she saw this picture. I snapped this one while helping her out one day. She’s waving at Melissa in Canada.

Living in Florida is so hard!

Living in Florida is so hard!

I took this pretty much just to brag. I took this about a two-and-a-half weeks ago. This is a shot from the table where I usually eat lunch when I get a chance to go outside. Obviously it’s looking back into the parking lot, but it;s under a great open concert shell like covering and those aren’t just random woods back there, that’s a nature preserve here. We have Owl, Dear, Hawk, Sandhill Cranes and pretty much every small bird in the area. When I took this it was about 78 degrees (25.5 C for you metric folks), dry (for Florida) and with a nice breeze. Yeah, it might suck in the summer, but it is freakin’ awesome the rest of the year!

A Delicate Princess!

A Delicate Princess!

This awesome pic is also my current Cell phone wallpaper. This is what happens when you leave your phone unattended at your desk while you’re working on your wife’s computer. Love you, baby!

THIS is Customer Service

THIS is Customer Service

And last but not least: yours fatly. The next time you feel the need to unload your frustration on some poor, unsuspecting Customer Service Rep, remember this.

Darkest Before the Dawn

There has been a lot of great pro-atheist/secular press lately. Among the good news is a recent study showing a vast increase in the number of people calling themselves non-religious, and the decreasing numbers calling themselves religious. While I am heartened by this news and proud that the admitted non-religious now make up the third largest religious demographic, something in this report raised my eyebrow.

While virtually every single religion has lost ground, one group, the evangelicals, are gaining ground. Evangelicals encompass the so called “charismatic” churches. In your face, door-to-door evangelism to spread the viral meme that religion has become. This is the Rockin’ for Jesus crowd. These are the people waving their hands in the air while listening to bad 80s rock about fairy tales. The people that hold up signs about god killing soldiers because we don’t stone homosexuals; these are evangelicals.

So while the religion is very slowly getting smaller, (and thank god for that, ha!), it’s becoming bolder and more dangerous; concentrated idiocy.

As a people, we should be proud. It’s about time we’re able to say, out loud, that we don’t believe in this nonsense and that it just doesn’t make any sense. I believe it’s likely that the numbers of atheists have been up around 10% for some time and that people were simply afraid or too embarrassed to say anything openly. It speaks highly of us and our country’s development that this barrier is slowly lifting and that atheism is finally expanding.

Of course, the United States is still way behind much of Europe when it comes to accepting non-believers as equals. There are plenty of people in this country that have admitted they’d rather live next to a Muslim than an atheist, as completely idiotic as that is and despite the fact no atheists have ever bombed a government building or flown planes into sky-scrapers. There are likely even more people that are proud as some idiot redneck at a prize pumpkin competition that we lag behind Europe in this area.

The problem is, that the more evangelical we become as a country, the father behind we fall in the maths and sciences. Europe is making major headway into the physical sciences and is quickly beginning to upstage us. Japan is famously technologically advanced and is essentially always on the bleeding edge. All this technology has it’s roots in the educational system, science and academia.

Not surprisingly, evangelicals aren’t really fond of academia and learning. Evangelicals aren’t interested in anything other than, as they would likely put it, “The Word.” Unfortunately for us, however, the Word doesn’t keep the power on or put satellites in orbit or anything that’s actually useful. We are essentially losing our place as the leader of the free world because these backwards bumpkins, and those that enable them (I’m looking at you, Catholics and Lutherans), breed like rabbits. While they’re breeding, they make sure to breed in a healthy lack of respect for anyone that disagrees with their fanciful little worldview.

As I watch and read news and reports on the internet, I fear that the worst is yet to come. The fact that the most progressive president in history will still not endorse gay marriage because of idiotic religious objections to a private matter indicates just how far we have to go. The more we push out the envelope to making sure we are properly represented, which we simply are not, the more these backwards people push back, and they outnumber us. As we become more of a political force, you can bet that the full political power of the churches, who have never failed to butt into politics despite that tax-exempt status, will be brought to bear on us. The attacks will become more personal. <edited by user request> People like EvilTomte will feel the need to defend these idiots out of some misguided attempt at fairness. In doing so they will only risk endangering their own rights in their countries. The religious are not interest in fair, they are interested in following their religion first and foremost.

From my perspective, it has become the most important issue in my life, save my family’s safety. With the recent assaults on non-Christians becoming a much more prominent I have found it necessary to cut ties with my Christian friends, after realizing they will put their inane mythology ahead of my rights. It doesn’t matter that I’m not gay, had I been so, every single one of my close friends would have voted to take away my right to marry and I find that unconscionable. I consider it a matter of self-protection for myself and my family that I no longer associate with these people, in addition to being the only real action I can directly take against the planned erosion of my rights.

So the next few years, maybe the next couple decades, could be very interesting and will get darker before the next enlightenment hits us. The Dark Ages followed the fall of Rome, when neediness and a lack of education caused people to fall on old mythologies to make themselves feel better about their horrible lives and low standard of living. Religion has always preyed on those that need their lives to mean something, especially if that life is a hard one. The irony is that religion represses scientific advancement thus ensuring people’s lives remain hard: it’s a self-propagating system.

Atheism and secular society is entering the feisty teenager stage as it begins to understand it’s just as important and even more valid than these ancient mythologies. The old-school, all-controlling, oppressive religions are heading into their death throes… well, hopefully, anyway. The two are bound to butt heads directly and it wouldn’t surprise me if it did so physically. Perhaps when these archaic religions stop seeing their belief as a reason to wage war on other beliefs, I’ll be more like to associate with them. Until then I’ll remain wary of religion and its motives and will be sure to keep them at a safe distance.

Gardenlicious

Ok, I couldn’t resist sharing. The garden continues it’s amazing development. While we finally said goodbye to the peas, that we still have a bag full, I might add, everything else is coming up like crazy! I hope you all enjoy the pics of a walkaround of the most awesome 2PhatGeeks garden ever. A special “Hello!” to all of you that are following this at Mel’s LiveJournal.

First we have a couple shots of the northwest corner of the garden. While initially this was dominated by bluebells, they’ve gone to pod (yay, more bluebells next year!) and these Blue carnations have taken over

crazyness

bluecarnations

bluesummer

Here we have a couple shots of some of the edibles. We can see some Sage, Onions, Basil, the side of the Jalapenos (which are just starting to bloom) and a little Oregano.

herbsandpeppers

herbsandpeppers2

basil

And check these out! Cayennes are coming up really nicely. Yum!

pepper

Remember that White Tri-color Daisy Chrysanthemum? Well, we have just a few more.

tdc

tdc2

tdc3

tdc4

In addition to the mostly white variety, we also have these cool little light purple ones scattered in.

violettdc

flowers

Hey, who’s that’s poking their head in the picture? Oh yeah, this little guy! He was quite the surprise and there seem to be a good number of these coming in, too.

redtdc

The Tomato plants may start demaning “Feed Me!” at any moment. We have about 30 tomatoes by our count. If they taste haslf as good as they look, they may be fatally delicious. I can’t wait to have fresh basil and tomatoes. or maybe even ad in a little fresh mozzarella from the deli and make a little home grown pizza margherita!

maters2

maters1

This guy is so big he needs his own caption. I don’t have tiny delicate little fingers, either.

bigmater

Not pitured are parsley and dill that are growing literally like weeds… so much so I couldn’t get a realy good picture aside from the little snippet in the title image. The dill is about 3 feet tall and still growing. We’ll be sure to let all of you know just how delicious everything is. Hope every one is having a great spring… summer is just around the corner!

You Do Have a Right to Remain Silent

You hear a lot about free speech lately. Usually it’s someone complaining about some business or some person infringing on their right to exercise that free speech. Something I’ve noted about most of these complaints has always bugged me. Allow me to quote the actual First Amendment so we all start at the same place:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The important part of this that people seem to miss is the word congress. The First amendment protecting the right to free speech applies to protecting people from their government which is, in fact, the point of the entire constitution. For some reason, however, people take this to mean that they can say whatever they want, whenever they want.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Private business can restrict what is said by its employees. If I don’t like what you’re saying, I can tell you to shut up without infringing on your right. Newspapers and print can refuse to print something because they don’t like what you have to say without infringing on your rights at all. Where it gets tricky is television and radio, since they use airwaves that are legally owned by the public and the government. But as long as the speech is not being suppressed by the government or using the power of the government, it is completely legal to tell you to shut your pie hole.

In the same vein, I hear the same thing about religion. The same rules apply, as long as the government isn’t making rules establishing religion (or, as I read it, restricting or promoting it), it isn’t a violation of your rights. So when I tell you to take your mythological BS out of my public arena, I’m not violating your rights, you’re violating mine when you gang up and force government sponsored religion on me.

The First amendment… all of it… places a restriction on the Federal Government, period. So stop complaining about losing your rights when someone on the internet refuses to publish your rant or comment. The right to be a troll is not protected. You do have a right to remain silent… and it would just be awesome if you used it.