Monthly Archives: August 2013

Creating and Adding Friends to Google+ Circles

Not as easy as it should be.

I got there but when I created “Playing Cards” it added 143 people. I thought, cool, how did it do that? Then I created Journalism’s Future Circle and I thought, uh-oh, it’s the same 143 and how did they get picked? Three minutes later I found out how to remove them from the group. I was just sticking within the Google + environment to figure it out; to see how helpful it was.

It’s not as easy as it should be (but already Facebook can suck it. :D )

It took a few clicks, pretty much anti-intuitive – to get to the page that helps: “Chose the people in “your circles.” This is where I first found out about how to create circles. Then I had to guess and click on “Learn more about circles” to see a link to “Removing people from your circles.” The first instruction baffled me for a little bit: 1. Place your cursor in the top left corner for the Google+ main menu. Click People.” I didn’t really have an idea where the main menu was, having tried to navigate around Google + exactly zero seconds.

At this point I saw a Discover tab which I hoped to go to soon and at this point I wondered why Google had thought adding 143 people – all of my contacts with Google+ accounts – was a good idea. Especially when I then realized that I would have to delete them out of the circle ONE BY ONE. Or delete the circle, which I didn’t want to do for fear it would say it was a duplicate or mess things up further.

I got lost for a little while adding classmates to Following or Acquaintances or friends – just a handful. I found someone who owes me money – about $900 for rent in college.

That discover tab is pretty pointless. It points you to celebrity and big names, thus perpetuating their celebrity and bigness but not actually being useful. You’d think with all their algorithm expertise they could search better to help find better people. You know, like they do with ads in your Gmail inbox.

So, adding people to Circles is NOT as easy as it could be. It could be because of the subjects I chose, Playing Cards and Journalism’s Future. I concentrated my efforts on the first one and I found companies, but harder to find people. I did not just friend anyone who mentioned paying cards, but those who I thought would enjoy and even benefit from any news and posts I did about paying cards. And vice versa; I didn’t want to hear from people in that group unless it was about playing cards. One reason – I didn’t know who the hell they were and I have enough information on board.

Meanwhile, though I like the idea of hangouts – and the page that says which ones are LIVE RIGHT NOW, they occupy way too much real estate on my Google Plus page. I want them to disappear and just be a tab at the top, because honestly, they do not need to be there.

[edited for typos 10/10/2013]

Bradley Manning’s Statement After Sentencing

This is a statement from Pfc. Bradley Manning following his sentencing to 35 years in prison on several charges related to releasing state secrets. I do not know if he wrote it all, but to me it seems well thought out. I do wonder if there were other ways to go about it effectively. I think he is a modern-day hero:

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based intentions, it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

Jasper Stark at 6 Months

197I could put a slew of photos here but I’m organizing those, still (of course).

Today Jasper Stark turned 6 months old .He celebrated by trying carrots for the first time and made his usually range of cute-tastic faces – ad kept going. He has no food dislikes, yet. He ate with brothers Eddie and Jack who have lovely, expressive faces as well.

Jasper is amazingly cute. It is a complete honor to watch him grow up and I am cherishing every second because I know in a blink of an eye he’ll be 1, 3, 5 , 10 ….

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Everywhere We Go – The Unit

Ah, I’ve been humming and starting to sing this for a few months now and then I stop because I don’t know all the words. Then I resolve to look up the lyrics and then I forget. But I remembered less than a minute ago:

(Leader sings a line and all repeat)

Everywhere we go-o
Pe-ople want to know-o
Who we a-are
And where we come from
So we tell them
We’re from [name of town]
Mighty, mighty [town]
And if they can’t hear us
We sing a little louder

(Repeat, get louder each time until you reach your limit)


And if they can’t hear us
They must be DEAF!!!!

WordPress InBound Writer, Due for Testing

The WordPress Inbound Writer plug-in, courtesy of a find by someone at work, looks like it would quickly work to improve site rankings. But, as is usually my first thought, how does creativity suffer? In other words, surely it continues to pull from the same sources. I mean it looks like it could actually help with college papers, as well.

I hope to try it out in the next few days at a different site. If you’ve played with it, how did it work for you?

Replacing the Battery on a Buick Century

My battery could not be resuscitated this morning. After a short illness it died at 6:55 this morning.

I was trying to hold out until payday because these super-sucker, super-charged boxes are expensive $135.36). But it was not to be. Ever since last Wednesday, (August 6), the future demise of the AAA battery has been “manifest destiny” personified. That’s when I stopped at the YMCA to drop off Bug for his swimming lesson (and to stay there with mom and Smacky). I went back out to the lot to drive away and get an Exersaucer (no really) (but damn not one that effing expensive) and the car just ticked at me when I turned the key. That’s when I remembered I’d turned on the internal lights a few days ago to check, uh, something. You’d think they’d just go off or something with doors closed but apparently some dim bulb put that design together.

But hooray, Carrie and I happened to be parked right next to each other. Yessss! This is when I also discovered or re-discovered that Carrie did not have jumper cables. Noooo!! Driving Carrie’s Equinox, I got them at Autozone- $29.99 for the 12-foot ones. This is “significant” because I then had to move Carrie’s car very close as, of course, the batteries were the furthest apart possible. I coulda got the 16′ ones for $39.99.

In the Arizona heat, I navigated exactly where to put the clamps on the very weird Chevy battery set up and got it going. I persevered and got the Exersaucer for Jasper to bounce around in. Side note, he was very excited and bouncy when he was put inside a couple of days later. Except I went to a Babies R Us that turned out not to be the right one where we had pre-ordered for pick-up. There’s a Toys R Us, less than a mile away from it that was the one I should’ve gone to. Both times, in both lots, it felt like the battery was not going to excite its electrons. But both times it grinded and grrrrinded away and lit the fire.

So the next day it did start, barely and that’s when I knew it would have to be replaced, soon. I didn’t turn off the car when dropping off Bug and it worked. The weekend, the car stayed in the driveway and I meant to start the car Sunday. But didn’t. So Monday, by some miracle I still can’t fathom it started. And after work, by some further miracle as it took at least two minutes to get it live and charged, and died twice as I thought I had it going, I was able to drive away. I hustled in and out of Fry’s after driving mostly home and it started up fine.

Not so much this morning.

I took Bug and Smacky to O’ Reilly’s with me. They decided they wanted every toy car in the place and a few other things. Nope. “Oh daddy, that battery is really expensive.” Yup. They got home and everyone drove away. It turns out I had all the right tools AND I knew where they were. The Buick Century manual DIDN’T actually show how to replace a battery. I was fine except I had forgotten the bottom screw actually held the battery in, so I went briefly to the Internet and with this Car Care Kiosk video, I realised my oversight.

I was in a hurry, so no photos available. I screwed everything back in place and it got me to work.

Welcome to the Super Start National Battery Ride to the End. Now I just have to go back to O’Reilly’s and bring my old battery in for $15. Sounds like a deal, because I don’t want it but I do want it disposed off so it won’t burn the hair off squirrels.