Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kickstarting Castle Dash


Curious about how Kickstarter feels from the funder's POV - and frankly charmed by Castle Dash's ad on the Order of the Stick forum - I put in my backing for the project. Basically, I'm taking a gamble on the designer; it looks like he has a winning idea and a strong future, but, as they say, what the future will bring only time will tell. And I'm learning more about the Kickstarter process, which will be useful!

You can participate, if you are very quick: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1892930431/castle-dash-the-speedy-siege-game

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sing Along With Koch, Cain!

We all know that Herman Cain is just a speaker paid for by the Koch Brothers (...he doesn't have a campaign organization of any sort...) but he does give us a great idea for a campaign theme song ... thanks to the great Eric Clapton:

"If you wanna hang out
You've gotta take him out
Koch Caine
If you wanna get down
Get down on the ground
Koch Caine

He's alright,
He's alright,
He's alright,
Koch Caine ..."


"... If you gonna lose
You wanna kick them blues
Koch Caine
When your day is done
And you wanna ride on
Koch Caine

He's alright,
He's alright,
He's alright,
Koch Caine

If election's gone
And you wanna ride on
Koch Caine
Don't forget this fact
You can't get it back
Koch Caine

He's alright,
He's alright,
He's alright,
Koch Caine

He's alright,
He's alright,
He's alright,
Koch Caine!"

(with apologies to Clapton!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

King County Commemorates Pro Bono Week

Today I joined about a dozen members of the local access-to-justice community in the King County Council chambers for the "Presentation of a proclamation of the week of October 23-29 as Celebration of Pro Bono Week in King County, in recognition of volunteer legal service provided by attorneys to low-income clients."
This proclamation came about when the WSBA Pro Bono and Legal Aid committee decided we wanted to do something for the national Pro Bono week, but didn't want to devote a massive amount of resources to a large program this year; we had been busy on other projects more directly tied to recruiting and supporting pro bono volunteers. We hit upon the idea of asking local government bodies to consider proclamations, in the hope that this would provide favorable publicity to pro bono and encourage more participation. While it will probably be impossible to point to a particular volunteer as having been persuaded by any particular proclamation, we have to think of these things like any other advertizing or motivating campaign: the more messaging, the more the messaging is absorbed and acted on, until the desired behavior (in this case, providing legal services) is fully normalized.
This was the first time I was in the County Council chambers. I recognized most of the faces from the news and/or campaign literature, and the procedural bits seemed to go efficiently enough. The first act was to recognize a state senator who had passed away over the weekend; the Chair and another Council member talked about him with great fondness and I hope this was a comfort to the survivors. Next there was a joint proclamation by King County and Seattle, on the occasion of Food Day, October 24. This was the first I had ever heard of Food Day, but the concept seems sound enough.
Then came our turn. Those of us from the Committee, from Law Fund and other organizations, were called up to stand behind the podium as the reasons for Law Week were explained and the proclamation read. Then the Council joined us and there was an official photo, which I hope to post here when the County distributes it.
All-in-all, it was an interesting look into probably the least onerous part of democratic governance. I imagine it may have been a lot easier to do than haggling over budgets!
Lesson: if you're standing in back, watch your positioning!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Keep Your Tomatoes Regular with Oatmeal!

"Nothing Is Better For Thee Than Me!"
At this end of the tomato-growing season, we have to find a way to ripen those still green on the vine. If brought indoors attached to some stem to nourish them, they will usually finish up over time, but we've learned to wrap them in newspaper to keep them coddled but dry. The downside: those newspaper-wrapped bundles look messy and aren't an efficient use of shelf space!
This year I put them into the cardboard cylinders that oatmeal comes in, and the system works great! The toms are reddening up quite well, and the boxes provide a more convenient structure for stacking on a shelf than does plain newspaper.
I did not put the tops on the boxes, thinking that that would interfere with air circulation. I also packed them quite loosely; perhaps a quarter of the volume was the fruit, with another quarter being stem, and the rest air space. I don't know whether a denser pack would still work, or whether at some point it might lead to rot. Next year I'll accumulate a variety of small boxes and experiment to see what makes the best configuration. At any rate, there doesn't seem to be any reason to shell out money for an efficient tomato ripening system, when a shelf full of boxes works so well!
This week's Change The World Wednesday Challenge is
"This week, find one way to lower the environmental impact of your pet."
This prompted me to do some thinking and googling. One idea that appealed to me was to experiment with wood pellets for kitty litter. I'll be honest: the low price of wood pellets is attractive! But the benefit of using a renewable resource, rather than mining clay, is also a big plus. I also like any excuse to go visit Hayes' Feed Store; it's a local business that has a lot of interesting stuff to look at and to ponder. I cannot report on results so far but I'm looking forward to the experiment!

Maddow In The Man-Cave, Explaining The Inexplicable

A good example of why I try to catch Rachel Maddow's program via her network's website, every day, is her witty and intelligence explanation of a bit of news that you may well find incredible:

I've been commenting to incredulous friends that the "Pro-Life" movement is lead by people who want to shut down birth control itself, but it's a heavy lift because the plain facts are just too unbelievable. Who could be trying to deny us The Pill, IUDs, and so forth? Just google "is the pill an abortion" and, once you scroll past Planned Parenthood, you'll goggle at the stupid - there's just so much!
Hopefully, the brave woman who put the question to Romney, and Rachel's insanely great "Man Cave" concept, will wake people up.
However, I must question Maddow's use of "nonalcoholic beer" in the segment. Some things are sacred! and the drinking of fake beer is massively offensive to beer lovers everywhere!

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