Tags: .sec_public


The Measure Of A Life

While it's been long obvious that almost no one from its glory days uses LiveJournal anymore, it remains for me an occasional outlet for things that just don't seem to belong anywhere else.

Such is very much the case for this, a very rare public post, in which i will openly struggle to capture some thoughts and feelings on a current event that falls near and dear to my heart.

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No Political Solution

I'm a generally apolitical (if not anti-political) person, and certainly keep that my policy online, but i'm making an exception here.

My latest attempt to capture my thoughts on the election is below for those who want to read it, but the most important point is this:

If you're reading this — whoever you are, however you voted, whatever your feelings about the election — i care about you, and you have my love, good will, and sincere consideration of your views.

Last week, i found myself commenting on a lot of folks’ posts about the election. I sought to comfort those who were distraught, but also to raise my concerns to everyone about the real problems with this election. From my perspective, these have nothing to do with its result, and inevitably affect all of us in the long term. Because i found myself hitting a few main themes over and over, i decided to write up a piece to capture and share my thoughts about the election and people's reactions to it. As i fleshed out the ideas, the piece started getting very in depth, and started taking more time to complete. As i spoke with people in the interim, i found so many who seemed to have already decided how they felt about things, and seemed reticent to let go of those feelings. I consequently decided to abandon my piece, as i figured it would just end up an overwrought ineffective obscurity that's unlikely to be of much aid to anyone. I suppose i will continue to try to share my thoughts with folks as appropriate via “regular" channels.

On Sunday, i had an opportunity to try to convey a portion of my thoughts at a group function. I again declined, thinking better of it. However, in the process of considering it, i found myself starting to boil down my thoughts to more basic points.

As i continue to survey the inescapable noise surrounding the build-up and aftermath of this election, i still find myself restless to speak my peace and hopefully add something constructive. In lieu of resurrecting my full-up piece to address this, i thought i'd try to share a more developed version of those boiled-down points. I welcome any who wish to delve deeper to invite follow-on discussion.

Rather than try to convince anyone of anything or attempt to directly address folks’ overwhelming feelings, i'm simply going to state Collapse )

I believe that i am willing to take the first steps to work to unite us as a people and to prevent the alternative.

... so i believe i’m just looking to see who’s with me.


The Return of Joe's Irreverent Kitchen: Deep-Fried Bananas

Continuing the Often-Relenting Pursuit of Largely Uneducated and Utterly Reckless Cuisine

I don't usually write public posts, but given the regrettably depopulated state of LJ these days, i figured doing so would allow me to link to this content from that silly new website that everyone seems to prefer these days. (What's it called again? ... something that apropos-ly starts with an "F"?)

Anyways, this story starts with a lot of bananas. ... well, maybe not a lot by most standards, but more than one person can expect to eat before they go bad without consequences.

A couple of weeks ago, i found myself alone in my house for a week with over a dozen bananas that were already ripe. I like bananas, but i wasn't quite sure if endeavoring to take them down alone and raw was wise. Over the week, as they slowly went from yellow to speckled to patched and streaked, i pondered my options. There was always bananabread, of course, which one can make in vast quantities and then freeze. There was also the option to just freeze the bananas themselves, of course, allowing them to be then turned in bananabread at some later point. Either of these was doable, but neither really grabbed me. The former seemed more like a chore, and the latter like a cop-out.

Then, as the week drew to a close and the lifeclock of these bananas was nearing its last red tick, i decided to do the only respectable thing: i deep-fried them.

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So there you have it, more adventures in having only a faint idea what i'm doing in the kitchen and being totally okay with it.

... and i got rid of pretty much all of the bananas.


Between Sun And Moon

First off, let me just get this out:

Happy Boreal Autumnal Equinox!
(2309 EDT tonight)

OK, so that said, check this out. This Equinox is occurring very close to (within 370 minutes of, in fact) a full moon. This "Super Harvest Moon" makes the usual harvest moon -- the full moon closest to the fall equinox each year -- extra awesome (and this year includes a nice view of Jupiter later on in the evening). NASA writes (in the article linked above):

The Harvest Moon gets its name from agriculture ... [when] farmers depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset. ... The full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox became "the Harvest Moon," and it was always a welcome sight.

This one would be extra welcome because it is extra "Harvesty."

Usually, the Harvest Moon arrives a few days to weeks before or after the beginning of fall. ... The Harvest Moon of 2010, however, reaches maximum illumination a mere six hours after the equinox. ... There hasn't been a comparable coincidence since Sept 23, 1991, when the difference was about 10 hours, and it won't happen again until the year 2029.

For some cool astronomical viewing, consider the following. Find a fairly open public area near you, like a big field in a park (GoogleMaps is helpful), preferably on higher ground (i used MyTopo's map server for that), and go out there somewhere between the moonrise and the sunset (the USNO's sun/moon data tool is handy for US residents).

True, you can see a full moon opposite the sun around the time of any full moon, but isn't having it be within 5 hours of an equinox that much cooler? :)

(Since the moon isn't technically full until later tonight, one can theoretically see the two together again tomorrow morning, just after sunrise. I may well give it a whirl.)

Happy skygazing, and hope the new season brings you peace and Good Things.


Cheap 4WD Wheels For Sale!

This is a public post -- feel free to spread the word.

1995 Jeep Cherokee Country

  • ~200K miles
  • working 4-wheel-drive
  • inline V6 engine, 4.0 liters
  • 20.5 Gallon Fuel Tank
  • working A/C, cruise control, AM/FM/cassette, power windows/locks
  • light tan in color
  • towing package and luggage rack (no winch or snow plow)
  • never been in an accident

Runs just great, _but_ will need some TLC:
  • serious body rust, incl. large hole in passenger footwell (under carpet) and some other holes in body
  • engine showing signs of age, including multiple small leaks

Asking ~$1500.

We believe there's some life left in her, but we're moving and can't bring her. Great for someone who needs affordable all-season wheels in Michigan.

Email mancuso@umich.edu if interested.

-=ETA=-: We did sell the Jeep in early August. Thanks, everyone!


North Interwebs

Since northmusic isn't watched by many, i wanted to cross-post this. Hope to see you on all those other websites i keep hearing about ... :)

I know it's been way too long, but i'm spendin' a little time trying to sync up our pages online.

I wanted to make sure you all knew that we're on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and (in case anyone still uses it) MySpace.

A full list of our online pages is available via the website. Thanks for spreading the word and see you out there...


Snippet Of Social Philosophy

I started to comment on a post by lisajulie, but realized it captured enough of my views on society that it might be worth posting. (It also gets me around a comment length limitation, but that's an unintentional side bonus. Honest!)

lisajulie writes:

How can I can live in my lifestyle, knowing that is built upon the labor (underpaid and so on) of others.

How moral is this? I don't have an answer.

My original reply:

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(Sidenote: I was a little reluctant to make this a public post, given how much it might reveal (or accidentally mis-represent by incompleteness or misunderstanding) my personal views of the world, but i decided i'd take a chance. Here's hopin'...)


Reminder: Awesome Creative Work

I'm finding out that not everyone caught my last post on this, so i'm re-posting it.


(...or go create your own version by adding other artists' works, changing cover art, or writing your own introduction.)

It's 11 of merriehaskell's short stories assembled in one handy-dandy volume. It supports the author, as well as a cool website where many authors can showcase and sell their work. It gives you a chance to say you had a copy before she got world famous.

I made it, i bought it, i read it, i loved it. It was something like $20 with shipping included.

So yeah, point made. Go do the thing.

-=ETA=-: ... and while i'm plugging awesome indy art, i should mention that i just bought this. (Two copies, of course.)


Response From MTA

I apologize for the long lapse in posting this; it should have been done some time ago.

Back in January, i shared with you a correspondence sent to Ralign Wells, Administrator of the Maryland Transit Authority. Mr. Wells not only got back to me within a week of my email, but he invited me to speak with him live over the phone. He explained that he felt i'd taken the time to really think through the issues, and that he also wanted to take some time to properly address my concerns.

It took a little time for our schedules to line up, but Mr. Wells and i finally spoke at length and had a great conversation. He agreed with my general views about the challenges that mass transit faces, and also addressed my concern about early departures in detail.

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Overall, i respect Mr. Wells' explanation very much, and even moreso, i appreciate the dedication to service that was exemplified in the time he took out of a busy schedule to speak with me. He encouraged me to keep in touch, explaining that having dedicated riders acting as additional eyes and ears is of value to him. He also provided additional direct contact information should i wish to follow up with him. I, in turn, offered to provide feedback -- both as a rider and as a systems engineer -- on emerging service updates and new technologies such as the one currently being explored. I do, in fact, intend to keep in touch with Mr. Wells as things progress, regarding both changes at MTA and pursuits i'm making within my company to advocate greater use of mass transit.

Again, i apologize for taking so long to follow up here, but i did want to make sure it was reported that i not only received a response from Mr. Wells, but that it was an overwhelmingly positive one at that.