Balancing Act

2018 07 11 - 18:28

It occurs to me to wonder why a 'balanced budget' is an end goal at all. It's a phrase that only sounds good in a sound bite. Budgets only balance in an accountant's wet dream; and, balance doesn't necessarily mean anyone's going to benefit in any way at all.

Cutting services to pad the pockets of the rich, balances a budget - but it isn't any favour to those who need those services.

Balancing a budget only serves the budget - not the people who have to live under it. Quality of life should win out; and any business knows, sometimes you need to run a deficit.

Balancing a budget is a buzzword that's easy to use to 'scare' or 'hype' people with, because the average person really doesn't dig behind the face value of most of what's presented to them.

Balancing a budget doesn't mean there wasn't enough money there to begin with, or that there'll be enough money after the hatchetman gets through with his 'balancing' act.

I don't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut if a budget is balanced - I want to know that people are taken care of, that what money is there is being used wisely or at least for decent reasons, and that the government isn't merely a population of twats.

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No taikai

2018 06 08 - 19:03

People have wondered why I won't do taikai; and, outside of disliking that kind of public scrutiny, here's the reason: I don't compete.

I don't fear competition, at least not any more than anyone else does, it just doesn't hold any sway for me. Doing something better than the next person, doesn't tell me I've done my best, it only tells me I've done better than someone else. I don't need that; at least not in that way. I can find some other way to measure success. When I have been put in the position of competing before, I never strive. I don't feel pushed to push myself. It's like so many other things I find distasteful - I just want it over as fast as possible. I guess I just don't have an adversarial spirit in that way. Don't get me wrong, I don't find it entirely unpleasant to sometimes come out on top; I just don't need to beat someone else in that way to do it.

I need to beat myself; to get past my plateaus; to conquer my own self. Iaido is uniquely suited to doing just that. No taikai is going to do that for me.

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Since when does a corporation's right to make money, trump a human's right to eat?

2018 06 08 - 18:48

This was posted as a comment elsewhere, but I thought I'd share it:

There are so many issues that need to be addressed with precarity and wages; not the least of them being eradicating the entire idea that (as an example, for the sake of argument) service industry jobs should continue to be relegated to the 'lower class' as we have put them.

You aren't supposed to want to do that your entire working life; you're supposed to go to university and get a better job. Well, I hate to burst the dream bubble of the folks for whom that sort of thinking is a viable lifeplan, people with the means of having the luxury to think that way, but the world of employment doesn't work that way. Not everyone can go to university - and not just for reasons related to money. It's just not meant for everyone, nor does every single person want it. Some folks want a simple job they can leave at the end of the day. Some folks are not able to do work that's more complex. And, frankly, these lovely university-educated jobs that we're all supposed to be striving for, don't exist in the numbers that we need them to in order to satisfy this 'dream'. I did it. I went to university. I ended up twenty-four thousand dollars in debt with an education I was happy to have, but it's done me no favours employment-wise. I come from a generation that, when young, still had the advantage to think that a university education was an automatic stepping-stone to employment. What they should have told us, is that it will make you employable, it just won't (necessarily) get you employed.

Service jobs are no longer the temporary stepping stone to bigger and better things that we used to see them as. This is what there is. This is all that some folks can get. We must take the labour that's available to us, and hold on to it, because there's nothing else out there. Temp jobs become permanent jobs, because the ladder has no more rungs on it.

I know people who have children with varying levels of Autism which is going to greatly impact the work they do. Do these kids deserve to live in poverty because they might not be able to do something more? Do I deserve to work only shit jobs, and get paid a slave wage, because life dealt me a disability that prevents me from aiming for certain kinds of other work?

Some people also don't think that youth should get paid the same wage as an adult, for doing the same work. There's another classist concept that needs to be eradicated. Work of equal pay for work of equal value, assuming they're doing the work equally well, doesn't just apply to gender. It applies to everyone; or should.

Speaking of education, we need to stop making it such a horror-show for young people. We have turned graduating from university into a ritualised debt. No kid should leave school at the age of 22, tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Who's paying that off on an entry level wage, especially with rents the way they are? My student loan payments were initially $450 a month, and that was when minimum wage was $10.75 an hour. That's a generous version of $10.75, if it can pay bills and debts and leave you enough for food. Way back in the misty dawn of time, people used to have to pay for high school if they wanted their kids to do that past grade 8. At some point, the government realised that in order for anyone to survive, to get work, a high school education was becoming necessary, so they took the step to include it in their funding, as they had with primary education. It is LONG past the time when post-secondary training - whether that be university, college, specialised training, or apprenticeship - has become necessary in order for anyone to gain footing in the work world. It should be covered.

And before anyone has a cow about people abusing the system, let me point out that every system gets abused. Also, it's pretty easy to build in safeties to ensure that the system is used, not abused. Such as: Require that a person keep a certain average, or they have to pay for that term/year/whatever. The sort of people who would wish the heavy continued burden of education debt on a kid as some sort of grotesque rite of passage, especially since "if I had to do it, they have to do it", is a small-minded ass who, hopefully, isn't homeless like many university students in Canada are. Yes, that's right, there are homeless students in Canadian universities, sleeping in lounges on campus because they can't afford a place to live. How is that providing a means of success to that person? Let me help you out: It Isn't.

We also have to get rid of the idea that anyone who's living a low-income life, deserves to be poor, and deserves to be grateful to be poor. It's a disgusting attitude, but that's going to be a hard battle to fight.

Businesses thrive because of demand, not because their workers get paid low wages so a company's profit margin can survive. Businesses thrive because people spend money at them, so you need to give them money to do that spending. The rich do not drive the economy. Trickle-down economics is a farce. As Nick Hanauer puts it (paraphrased), "I make a thousand times the median wage, but I don't spend a thousand times more on clothing, or eating out at restaurants." (Nick Hanauer is a billionaire venture capitalist in the US, who is a vocal supporter of a living wage. Watch his TED talks.) It never fails to stun me, how much people are willing to do to sanctify a company's profit margin, rather than support quality of life. Since when does a corporation's right to make money, trump a human's right to eat? Why do we do this to each other?

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Fill Watercolour Pans With Derwent Inktense Blocks, ArtBars, Watercolour Tube Paint, Watercolour/Pigment Stick, Etcetera

2018 05 31 - 19:42

If you decide that you're only going to use your various types of paint sticks as paint with a brush, rather than freehand to draw with, then here's some notes on how you can cut them down and put them into watercolour pans. This allows you to create multiple sets from one package of Inktense Blocks, for example, so that you can have a set for home and one for travel. How you cut and fill, though, is up to you. Please note that all of the instructions are based on using full pans, not half pans. Whichever you choose, is up to you.

You will need:

Now, to work:

If there's anything I've left out, please don't hesitate to email me so I can add it to the sheet.

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Fahrenheit 451 (2018) (film) - contains spoilers

2018 05 21 - 18:54

HBO recently released a new film adaptation of Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" - one of my favourite pieces of dystopian fiction - and I can honestly say that this film version


I'm about to plot-drop and completely expose the ending, so if you don't want it spoiled for you, don't keep reading


isn't worth the paper it wasn't printed on. I don't even care that it strayed drastically from the book; but, what was not pleasing, was how weak it was, and how much of a damp cliche it was to end the film with a bird flying into the distance as a symbol of freedom. What see-spot-run bag of tropes did you people dip your fingers into to come up with that one?

The one thing that was interesting, is that they included an indictment of automation, of how we are doing the damage to ourselves by creating 'bots to do our work for us, to do our thinking for us, to choose things for us, to know things for us, so that in the end we are responsible for our own downfall by creating our own idiot race out of ourselves. Also, nice job sneaking a shot from the original film in during the opening credits. I should also point out that their use of symbols to convey a story, rather than cartoons as the original film had, was interesting and very of-the-now.

There was no 'brain' in it, no smarts; only limp-dick social commentary that fell utterly flat. They turned the whole thing into a bad action film reality show the audience votes you off the island thing.

All in all, I could have spent a better use of that time cleaning hair out of a drain trap.

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Social Résumé

2018 05 19 - 22:52

A friend posted what she referred to as her "social résumé", which I thought was a fairly nifty idea; not the least of the reasons being that I like making lists. So, let's see:

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Get me off this stage

2018 05 17 - 15:01

Every once in a while my sensei makes us teach - to explain a waza, to refine a point, etcetera. I loathe this. I don't mind teaching or explaining, but only to one person at a time. I don't like talking in front of groups, even if it's groups of people I have no trouble communicating with otherwise.

I do not like being the centre of that kind of scrutiny or attention.

I've tried to figure out how or when this started. I can't source it, though I do know some of the reasons I continue to have the problem. I'm not going to share them; they're too embarassing. I might have no fear of discussing some personal matters openly, but even I have my limits. Increased frequency has never made it easier. I barrel through it without looking anyone in the face, getting to the end of it all as fast I can so it can be over with. It's always been that way, with anything I've had to do in front of others.

Someone once suggested - in respect of singing in public - that I put on another guise, be someone else so I could get through the performance. I can't. I am who I am. I am, as I just said to someone else, no good at pretence. Faking it doesn't change the fact that I'm still the focus of attention. I'd be a lousy actor, because I'm no good at pretence. It's also been suggested that I deal with it the same way I deal with explaining my art to people. Here's the thing, though - I don't. I will tell people how I made things, what process I used, but I leave it up to the audience to find a meaning.

art, iaido, personal
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Darling, I give you very best duck.

2018 05 11 - 23:21

I ran my favourite James Bond line through a few runs of Google translate ... because it's known for its accuracy:

English - Darling, I give you very best duck.

to French - Chéri, je te donne le meilleur canard.

to German - Liebling, ich gebe dir die beste Ente.

to Bosnian - Dragi, dacu ti najbolju patku.

to Greek - Agapité, tha sou dóso tin kalýteri pápia.

to Yiddish - Hilf, es vet haltn di kapkeyx.

to Hawaiian - Ae, e ho'oia aku i keia manawa.

to Irish - Sea, lig sé a bheith ag an am seo.

to English - Yes, let it be at this time.

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Holbein Coloured Pencils

2018 05 04 - 03:04

Only 131 of the 150 full set of Holbein coloured pencils are acceptably lightfast - either a two or three star rating, and this is the complete list of those colours. The marked (*) ones are the ones I have. The email I received from the manufacturer, indicated that the reason they aren't available in Canada (yet!) is that they haven't yet received a license to do so - something to do, I think, with some of the pigments used in their making. They are working on it, though. That'll be a monumental relief to anyone looking to acquire them who doesn't either want to spend a month's rent to get them, or doesn't have a buddy travelling to Japan who can pick up a set (or open stock) and bring them back. I have found a seller on eBay from whom you can buy open stock (which I have, so I know it's legit as far as that goes; and they apparently offer some sort of discount on bulk orders, but I haven't inquired about that yet) (reds, blues, greens, blacks/whites, violets, yellows) (or by set), but they're about $5 to $6 each. The charts on each of the linked pages for the open stock, give the lightfastness of each pencil.

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Dear Incels

2018 04 26 - 12:52

Don’t make the mistake of thinking incels are men’s rights activists – they are so much more dangerous - They place the blame on to women for their misery, and in doing so provide the motivation and justification for acts of extreme violence like Alek Minassian’s.

What a terrifyingly grotesque group of sad individuals you incels are. I pity you.

I've been rejected, abused, hurt, ignored, insulted, derided, shamed, called names, dismissed, used, devalued, harassed, and told I not only had no right to talk about how I felt about it, but that I should also be grateful for it, and yet I manage to get through my day without blaming the entire world for my sometimes excruciating loneliness. I don't think the world owes me anything because of it. I plug on. It's not easy sometimes, but I don't drown in it. Loneliness is like starving and suffocating at the same time, and I know it very intimately, but I channel what I can into something else - like my sword, or my art.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. If you find that women reject your come-ons, then change your come-ons, and change the type of women you're coming on to. If the common denominator is you, look to how you might be able to change that; or, accept the consequences of not changing, and move on.

Not one single man I've ever given the time of day to was a "normie", in the sense they see it. I don't like GQ men or pretty boys. I've always found it incredibly hard to read a pretty boy's personality. I don't like assholes. Women don't, you know. What women want is strength, and vast numbers of men have no idea how to be strong - they equate strong with domination. It isn't. Strength is knowing yourself, being solid, honourable, confident. I have always preferred men who are off the beaten path - in attitude, in tastes, in hobbies. What I don't care for, are men who have no desire for life, men who don't look like they give a crap about anything, men who want to coast as the lowest common denominator. You don't have to have a big life, but for the love of all that's sainted and holy, whatever life it is you do have, act like you care about it and not like you're just coasting through it. If you have no interest in your own life, how could any woman ever be sure you'd have interest in her or her life? If you have no interest in your own life, why should any other person? Women don't exist to fill that void. You must fill that void for yourself, and invite others along for the ride.

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