I just saw a somewhat cynical view of what Obama (or any half-decent President) could accomplish in four years. What do I hope for? How pleased would I be at the Obama administration after four or eight years?
Off the top of my head:
- Afghanistan is stable, Pakistan is democratic, and Iraq is sufficiently stable and democratic such that our soldiers are no longer stationed there.
- Israel and Palestine on track to a peaceful, two-state solution.
- We have helped reduce the damage done to the world’s poorest due to famine, natural disaster, disease, and war.
- Economic opportunity at home, quality education more readily available.
- All Americans have access to health care.
- We have devised a way to reduce our carbon emissions over time to reduce our contribution to Global Warming.
- Obama does not favor gay marriage, but he should not stand in the way of civil rights. We should repeal the Defense of Marriage Act!
- The federal budget should be (closer to) balanced.
What have you got?
ChinesePod.com has a lesson on New Year greetings.
牛 == niu(2) == ox
年 == nian(2) == year
新 == xin(1) == new
So . . .
牛年 == Year of the Ox (“ox year”)
新年好 == Happy New Year (“new year good”)
恭喜发财 == Wish for a Prosperous New Year
And of course, red is a good luck color, which is why you give kids money in red envelopes. At least, if you are Chinese. I just give them candy corn.
I recently made wheat bread and stored it in zip-lock bags. Then when I finished the bread I thought I could re-use the bags, but I should label what was stored in them so that I could store comparable foods. Then I figured I might as well get bilingual, so now I have three zip-lock bags labeled “BREAD 面包”
On Thursday evening I met with the Cartoonist Conspiracy San Francisco group. I’m not a hard-core cartoonist but I felt welcomed and I got some practice inking in some panels in different styles. I had wanted to get some thicker lines going, so here I did the characters with a sharpie, other lines, like the bread crust, are inked over about 5 times with my 0.7mm pen. And then we have some actual shading. Whooo! I added the colors after scanning.
I effed up in that the slices do not match the shape of the loaf.
I guess it is official. Cisco Systems hates Public Radio pledge drives!
[CiscoSystems] would love to have technology that gives me NPR feed during KQED fund-drive when I’ve already given…feels like they fundraise every month.
I work for Cisco. I do not speak for Cisco. But, there is technology to capture the NPR feed and play it back. I even hacked up my own “Radio TiVo” a few years back. Alas, I shut the thing down since the personal convenience didn’t justify the carbon impact of running a PC 24/7.
Also, Cisco will announce Quarterly results today after the markets close. I am hoping they are favorable. Again, I do not speak for Cisco.
Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) — Cisco Systems Inc., the largest maker of networking equipment, posted second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates after embarking on a plan to cut $1 billion in costs by July.
After a campaign centered on the idea of “change” President Barack Obama mentioned in his inauguration speech that:
“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.”
Alas, Congress decided that giving our all to the difficult task of obtaining a digital converter box, even without a government coupon, so we can finally change over to digital television on February 17, was too great a character-building exercise for the American people. And I suppose the risk of impoverished and mentally challenged consumers losing access to a constant barrage of commercial advertising would be too great a blow to our weakened economy. Congress has therefor postponed the transition to digital television until June 12, “sending the fast-tracked legislation to President Obama, who has promised to sign it.”
Really, this legislation deserves a
pocket veto. “Oh, you wanted me to exercise personal responsibility? Dang, it must have slipped my mind.”
To me, this is thoroughly symbolic. And when it comes to such a fairly trivial issue as to whether we will accept a bit of minor pain and inconvenience to get the job done versus hem and haw and make excuses and opt for business as usual, we have opted for the excuses. Frustrating! After all, we how can we face up to the challenge of Global Warming when we can’t even get the TVs switched over on time?
Google Latitude was announced yesterday. I was annoyed as heck that when I tried it on my G1 it said “coming soon” even though Google claimed it was supported on the G1 . . . well, pending an update that would roll “soon” . . . and of course there’s no way to contact the Google Latitude team to say WTF?!
I found a link to a T-Mobile message forum that said the update was rolling out gradually: some people have been updated, and others will receive their updates over the next two weeks. Two weeks? I want it now!! And I am not the only one. Waiting is for suckers, so I borrowed a mini-USB cable from a co-worker and upgraded my phone manually, thanks to these awesome instructions:
Note: The “End” key means the red “call end / power” button.
In the time it took to write those two paragraphs, my G1 updated itself and now I can go play with Google Latitude!
This is an illustration of the dialog in ChinesePod Lesson “Gong Xi Fa Cai”
You can listen to the audio to grok what all that means.
新年好 = xin1 nian4 hao3 = “new year good” = “Happy New Year”
恭喜发财 = gong1 xi3 fa1 cai1 = “Wishing you a prosperous New Year”
恭喜 = “respectful happiness” = “congratulations”
发财 = “to get rich”
恭喜发财 does not translate well if you take it literally.
红包 = hong2 bao1 = “red envelope”
You give gifts of money to children in red envelopes. 红包!
红 and 包 I have drawn before. 红鱼 is the “red fish” and 面包 is bread.
The other day we ate hot pot at 老北京 . . . at least, I was able to read “Beijing” and as I drew this I recognized “old Beijing” . . . the restaurant is called “Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant”. Beijing I like because it simply means “North Capital City”
Last night we were at Temple Night Club and I saw a big old 爱 and I recognized it as 发 with more up top. 爱, pronounced ai3 is “love” and saying “I love you” in Chinese is as simple as 我爱你 = wo3 ai4 ni3 .
In addition to the Chinese characters, drawing the (Chinese) human characters was somewhat challenging as well. I am most happy with the girl. After trying to figure out how best to draw a “cute little Chinese girl” I ended up basing my character just a teeny bit on Lin Miaoke, the infamous “Beijing Olympics ‘lip-synch’ Girl”.
You remember Ken Starr? That guy who focused the nation’s attention and energy on Bill Clinton’s penis? Yeah, whatever.
“On December 19, 2008, Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund filed legal briefs defending the constitutionality of Prop 8 and seeking to nullify the marriages of 18,000 devoted same-sex couples solemnized before Prop 8 passed.”
I have nothing nice to say. but if you hit this page and sign your name before Valentine’s Day maybe you’ll feel slightly better for a moment. Not really.
Okay, why do I care about the gays? Because I grew up as a nerdy Atheist kid. So, I grew up learning that human beings have a bad habit of shitting on the weird people. Nowadays I live in the happy wealthy bubble of the Silicon Valley, where nerds are admired and showered with wealth. And every time Barack Obama mentions “and the non-believers” I feel a twinge of optimism that we are making progress toward inclusiveness.
And I have long observed that The Gay get shat upon far far worse than Atheists or nerds have ever had it in my lifetime. All sorta of awful name-calling and we still have the occasional grotesquely cruel murder of some queer folks. You wanna get married? Hell, you just want people to stop spitting in your face? I’m 100% behind you.
So, every time I hear things are going well for the homosexuals, my heart cheers that the meek are a step closer to inheriting the Earth. And every time the Kenneth Starrs of the world make progress in the opposite direction, I take it somewhat personally. I am tired of this shit.
It has been a pretty busy day at work. In between bouts of business I entertain myself with various baubles like mailing lists. Someone made a statement I found utterly hilarious, that in the context of current events:
“I think it would be politically possible to return to a gold standard.”
I responded that:
“I think a carbon tax would be more relevant to the concerns of the 21st Century.”
To which some else responded:
“Our currency and economy are broken, and the solution is to tax use of fossil fuels, biggest source of productivity the world has ever seen!”
And I though yeah . . . it is hard to advocate an idea like a new “tax” during a recession. Personally, I think calling it a “carbon ration” might be smarter: you get your allotment and if you make good lifestyle choices you can sell your excess at a profit. Anyway, I responded from the basis of an idea I heard at TED last week:
Over a century ago we swore up and down that without the cheap energy afforded by black slaves the national economy would collapse. So, instead of abolishing slavery we made compromise after compromise. Ultimately our nation was plunged into the catastrophe of civil war, and we abolished slavery for International PR reasons and in order to literally free up fresh soldiers for the war effort from among the newly-emancipated populations.
These days we swear up and down that without access to unlimited cheap energy, our economy would collapse and we would be unable to enjoy the “quality” of life we do now. And as each decade passes we find greater and greater evidence that we are living on borrowed time, and that we are multiplying the problem of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, and that we are approaching various global tipping points which bring us closer to catastrophe.
In both cases, abolitionists and environmentalists are ridiculed and despised an know-it-all killjoys out to ruin everyone’s fun. Where the abolitionists had printing presses that would literally be burned down by their detractors, modern radicals warm themselves with flame wars on the Internet.
To go back to your glib response to a carbon tax, it is easier to make radical changes when it is clear that the status quo is broken. A big reason for the present crisis is that we were fueling growth on unsustainable credit models. Debt Debt Debt. Injecting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is a form of debt against the future, and if we go bankrupt with climate that’s really really not pretty. So, we have a good opportunity to look at how we structure the free market to take natural resources like the atmosphere into account, and price them appropriately so that we can realize economic benefit with the greatest efficiency.
Maybe one way to think of the idea of carbon rationing is that it is like Social Security for the environment: we each make a sacrifice now so as to secure against a future characterized by poverty. In this case the poverty would be a world wrecked by sudden catastrophic climate changes.
Based on ChinesePod Lesson: Sign Here, Please.
(Who is Wang Ming?)
(Ah, I am.)
Courier: 你的东西, 清签名！
(Your parcel. Please sign！)
I like that 你的东西 literally means “your thing”
There is a vastly different courier in the top and bottom panels. The first one is more comical and bizarre, the bottom one more . . . human？ I prefer the bottom figure, but decided against trying to correct the situation. Aesthetically, it is also weird that in the second panel Ming is more in the background. I think that’s okay but in terms of visual narrative, yaknow . . . ?
No, not Chinese. But at least I’m playing with an ethnic stereotype. So, sorta International?
I only know Russians who have emigrated to America. There seem to be two types: the incurably depressed and those with a healthy sense of humor. Russians with a sense of humor know that it is all too easy to be a funny Russian, so they try to keep it dry, but they often can not help but smile. That said, nobody I have met has gone full Yakov Smirnov. To be sure, I once asked my colleague if they had Polar Bears in Russia. He said yes, they walk on the street, and they shoot them. He was trying to make me cry! So, this comic strip is dedicated to Vlad.
In other news, I swear I smell pot. I don’t know if there’s actually a smell that has infiltrated my house or because I’m listening to Reggea music, and my mind just fills in the gaps. Go go brain!
Apologies to anyone whose browser window is fewer than 967 pixels across.
Here’s what the kids are doing on Facebook:
1 – Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The title of the first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2 – Click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
3 – Click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4 – Use Gimp or similar to put it all together.
Obviously I’m just killing some time. It is a quiet rainy Sunday. I’m making bread and have plenty of domestic obligations.
The above image could well be construed as lèse majesté in Thailand.
Based on ChinesePod: Hold the Elevator.
bu4ke4qi, dao4 ji3 lou2?
No problem, which floor?
Suit: 十楼。 谢谢你！
shi2 lou2. xie4xie ni3!
Tenth floor. Thank you!
不客气 I like, as I learned it from speaking with Chinese people and because it literally means “not polite” or “don’t be so polite” which reminds me of de nada or de rien.
This time I dropped (forgot) the pinyin and just left it out. Though I think it is better to include the pinyin: one thing I do is print out the cartoons and tack them to my cubicle wall at work. I was also happy to recycle the delivery man from “你的东西”.
I haven’t drawn much in a while. Working through a periodic video game addiction. (Railroad Tycoon 3, w00tw00t!!)
Today I went to doodling in pencil, then ink. Scan . . . well, this is all just learning here anyway, so instead of “lineart” I went for “greyscale” then flood-filled the white areas in Gimp. No erasing the pencil marks either. A more laid-back feel.
Yes, the theme today is girls and their hair, using Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life” as a guide / inspiration. Also, the girlfriend. My favorite subject above is near the top, just right of center.
I just learned that Haagen Dazs are downsizing their ice cream cartons from 16oz to 14oz. I don’t like this!
Feedback to Haagen Dazs:
If this were any other food, reducing the size a bit to keep costs in line and maybe keep us from getting fat is a reasonable thing. But Haagen Dazs isn’t food, it is Joy in the form of a delicious treat and I would much rather pay a little bit more for Joy than receive less.
Ben and Jerry’s is keeping their size and their comparable price, but their ice cream is overly-sweet glop. Haagen Dazs is a superior product for which I’d gladly pay a bit more!
UPDATE: Haagen-Dazs responded by sending me free ice cream!
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