cislyn: (llama!)
Hello, the Internet! I have an important and pressing question for you: What's your favorite weird folktale or fairytale or legend or myth? Bonus points if you can tell me why you like it so much!

I don't know if I have a favorite, personally - there are so many strange stories, and I love them all. I really like stories that involve transformations, and unexpected weirdness (boxes full of demons, random turns in the story, sudden magic objects, that sort of thing). So, that's rather a cop-out answer to my own question, but it's true! Also, choosing favorite things is hard for me. There are so many awesome things to like (which is why I hope you'll share the ones you like, so I can be ever more indecisive).

I've been listening to a lot of Heather Dale lately (and you should too!), and I'm thinking of writing a story based on the myth of Sedna (especially because Sedna is also a trans-Neptunian object, and that's just really neat, and presents many opportunities for mischief).

Anywho, here is Heather Dale's Sedna. Enjoy!


Dec. 21st, 2012 03:47 pm
cislyn: (nyarlethotep)
I'm just going to leave this here: cryptocurium. They totally make CTHULHU CHOCOLATES and DEEP ONE LOLLIPOPS. This is a thing. In the world. Just sayin'.
cislyn: (mockingjay)
So, tomorrow is the election day here in the U.S., and by all accounts the presidential election and a lot of others will be tight. Whether they will be tight because of those accounts is a matter which deserves some consideration, but in any event, you should vote. Yes, you. We have this really neat system - it's flawed, yes, and it could be better in many ways, but it sure beats not having a voice at all.

Get out there. Educate yourself about the issues. Vote.

I'll make it really ridiculously easy for you:

Here is a lovely collection of voter resources: IPL2's collection of election resources. Tada!

That page is a treasure trove. Go there and you'll find ways to find out if you're registered to vote, where to vote, news sources and non-partisan resources on candidates and their positions, information about election laws, official party websites, fact checking resources, and more. You name it, it's there. It's simple, reasonably well organized, and pretty comprehensive. It's awesome. And if you're looking for something and don't find it there? Ask me. I am happy to help point you toward resources.

If you think you can't vote because of registration issues, check out the resources on that page. If that still doesn't clear it up for you, try going to a public library and asking for help from a librarian, or calling your city or county clerk's office. This is part of why they're there. They will help answer your questions and help you to vote. Their goal is to help you cast a valid ballot.

If you think you can't vote because you can't get to your polling place, there are potentially a lot of options for you. In most places, the political parties offer free rides to the polls all day on election day - give them a call, and let them know. Many churches offer free rides to the polls, too, and here in Madison Union Cab is giving folks free rides to the polling places all day long. Check your local news sources to see if this is a thing in your area.

If you are tired of politics, tired of election news, and just plain don't want to vote because it isn't your thing, I urge you to reconsider. It'll just be a few minutes out of your day, and you'll be participating in our democracy. I'm not going to say you have no complaining rights if you don't vote (because I don't believe it. Complain all you like about things you don't like) but I will say that this is your opportunity to let your voice really be heard, to make a statement that matters, to make a difference. All those drops of water make the ocean and all those grains of sand make a mountain. All those votes make for a message. This is your choice, and your chance to say what you do care about.

There's a song by the Bonzo Dog Band called "No Matter Who You Vote For..." and part of the lyrics say "no matter who you vote for, the government always gets in." That's true. And it's easy to get frustrated with systems, overwhelmed by bureaucracy, and just feel impotent in the face of it all. But the truth is, no matter who you vote for, some person gets in. Government is made up of people, after all, and this is our chance to choose who those people will be. It doesn't have to be depressing. It doesn't have to be doomed. We choose. Don't be a victim of ennui. Vote.

Plus, if you vote, you get a sticker. There may even be cookies. Make a poll worker happy - give them lots and lots and lots of work to do tomorrow. Vote vote vote!
cislyn: (mundragon)
I went to a really good and interesting training session for election officials on Friday. It was titled "Election Official Ethics", but the presenter admitted that it might better be titled "Election Integrity". The class was essentially a look at two different issues troubling the voters - voter fraud, and election fraud. Concerns about voter fraud tend to be centered around the idea that "the wrong people" are voting or registering to vote, or people are casting multiple ballots. Election fraud is the idea that the properly cast ballots aren't being counted, or the results of the election are otherwise being tampered with.

Issues of voter fraud are handled mostly in a top-down way - there's a massive statewide database. If someone tries to vote in two different cities, they'll be caught. If someone tries to register in two different places, they'll be caught. Our voter lists are also compared against other state voter lists to make sure that ballots haven't been cast in another state. The database is checked frequently to clean up registration information, remove any duplicate registrations, and remove people from the voter rolls who have died. All the records in the state voter database are compared against DMV records and records at the Social Security Administration - whenever a discrepancy is found, a letter is sent to the address(es) on file asking the voter to contact the clerk's office, and a little note is put in the poll-book next to their name to ask for extra identification. Anything suspicious that isn't cleared up is sent to the DA for investigation and potential prosecution.

Now, there are some bottom-up things that are done to prevent voter fraud, too. A couple of days before the election, a list of felons who can't vote is printed off and sent to each polling place. The new election laws in place prevent voting after you've sent in an absentee ballot (even though that would be spotted when we run the absentee ballots), so now there are little marks in the pollbook next to the names of folks who requested an absentee ballot. If there's time, and not a line, we ask every person who comes in if they requested and submitted an absentee ballot or participated in early voting - if the answer is yes, then you can't vote, and we turn you away. If there's more of a crunch of voters, we only ask the people with the mark next to their names - usually, they've requested an absentee ballot but not sent it off in the mail, or they lost it before voting, so it's fine. We also check the registration forms carefully, and point out when people fill them out that it is a legal document and they're signing a statement saying they filled things out accurately. So yes, someone might lie, or provide false information while filling out a registration form, but there are all kinds of checks in place to catch that. Every poll worker is trained just before an election - nobody is coasting on what they've done for years - and we're kept up to date with changes and challenges to the laws. We know when you need to fill out a new registration form, when you're not allowed, and what forms of ID are valid.

The portion of the talk on election fraud was the most interesting to me, personally. Working at the polls, you're immersed in all this redundancy and paperwork. At each polling place there are two pollbooks. In the pollbooks are the names and addresses of every registered voter, and a little box for them to sign by their name when they come in to vote. When a person comes in to vote, they state their name and address, we look them up simultaneously in each pollbook, have them sign one of them, and we write their voter number in both books. The ballots are initialed by two different people - and the second set of initials goes on only just before we hand the ballot to a voter. At the end of the night, we record the last voter number (which has to match up with the number of ballots counted by the tabulator), and people sign the front of the pollbooks saying that they certify the contents. The pollbooks should match up - the voter number by "John Xyzzy" that's signed in one should be the same number by "John Xyzzy" in the unsigned book (and this is the part of process that's most prone to error, as people get chatty and lines build up and flipping back and forth between the books you transpose a number here or there. When there's a lull we'll go through page-by-page and make sure everything is right). There are seals and numbers on the seals and all kinds of things to keep track of, but all of this is to absolutely ensure that our elections are fair and honest, and all of the record-keeping is to make it as transparent as possible.

In Madison (and I can only speak for Madison, because elections are run a little differently in the different municipalities of Wisconsin, overseen by the city and county clerks), marked ballots are never left alone. Even in the clerk's office, there will be two employees present at all times, and at the end of the day, they're sealed and locked in a vault. There are chain-of-custody documents for every single step of the process.

The really neat part is how the tabulators are certified. Obviously, if you want to fix an election, the easiest way is to mess with how the votes are counted by the counting machine. Now, the tabulators are big boxy devices, with a small hard drive inside. The drive is called the "PROM pack", and after it's programmed, each one is given a seal with a unique number on it, and delivered to the city clerk's office. The clerks put the PROM packs into the tabulators, each of which is numbered and labeled with what polling place it will be going to. And then, for three full days before the election, each city holds public testing of the tabulators! You can go and watch, or participate, if you're interested (I totally didn't know this, until training). They take a bunch of ballots, and mark them - I believe that for the upcoming election on Tuesday there are 34 different permutations of ballots being tested in each machine, in Madison. Some are meant to be rejected (overvotes, marked with pencil, whatever). And then they run them through each and every machine. Madison has never once had a machine miscount a ballot during testing - though the testing does reveal mechanical errors in the tabulators pretty frequently. These things get quite a workout, and so the most common error is that the intake simply jams and it won't take in the ballot correctly. The machines that don't work well won't get sent out. After testing, the PROM packs are sealed into the tabulators, again with tracking numbers, and sent out to their polling places.

On election night, after the polls close, we break the seal on the outside of the tabulator and open up the machine and gather up all those ballots that were fed into it. The machine is supposed to separate out any ballots with write-in votes on them into a compartment in the front, but we flip through all the ballots anyway to make sure none slipped through and that the machine didn't malfunction. The write-ins are taken care of by hand (which is why joke-y write-in votes always kind of irritate me. It's your right to vote however you please, but each vote for Donald Duck is extra work for an election official) and the PROM pack is carefully removed from the machine. We double check to make sure the seal is intact and the numbers all match, then put the PROM pack and one set of the readouts from the machine into a special bag. That bag is sealed, signed by three people, and the numbers on the seal are written down on the chief inspector's statement. Two of the people who signed off on it take the bag and drive it downtown and deliver it to the county clerk. The PROM pack is never alone, never unsealed.

Back at the polling place, the actual marked ballots are put into a really big bag and sealed, along with other official documents from the day - everyone who's left working signs off on the bag. I'm pretty sure that the bag is sealed back up in the tabulator compartment and locked, and then collected by the city clerk, but I'm usually the one who drives the PROM pack downtown, so I'm not actually certain (I should probably stay and not go downtown Tuesday, so I get more experience with this part of it, come to think of it). I do know that there's a chain of custody, and the bag is really obvious if it gets tampered with. You don't seal that sucker up until you're absolutely certain you don't need to put anything else in there.

And if someone wants to see those ballots, hand count them? Well, that's something that can be requested under the Freedom of Information act, and the clerk will make that happen. At least, Madison's clerk will.

The whole thing is a fascinating process, really - a dance of bureaucracy that actually has purpose. Every step is documented, and all things are aimed toward increasing voter confidence in the process. I love how transparent it all is. I also think it's really interesting to see how things fall out between people worried about voter fraud, and those worried about election fraud. For the most part, it's Republicans who are concerned about voter fraud, and Democrats who worry about election fraud. It's curious to me that it splits so neatly along ideological and party lines. I'm sure there's something to say about that (probably quite a lot of insightful analysis to be done there, actually) but I don't think I'm going to go there today. I'm having too much fun geeking out over the process, and looking forward to Tuesday, when I'll get to go be a big democracy nerd actively again. All you Wisconsin folks, be sure to vote!
cislyn: (booky)
It occurred to me that it might be a smart idea to post something publicly, right up at the top of my journal, so that folks who wander over from [ profile] therealljidol or [ profile] theferrett's journal will know who I am. I probably should have done this earlier, but I can be a bit of a doofus at times, and I forgot.

So, hi! I'm Cislyn, aka [ profile] lrig_rorrim. Most of the public posts over this-a-way are political in nature, though sometimes I do something a little sillier. If you're interested to read my fiction (which I hope you will be), you can find goshtons of it over here.


Jul. 9th, 2012 01:39 pm
cislyn: (smiting)
So, I got a very typical political email this morning that kind of (ok, really) made me grumpy. This is the essence of the email: "Hey, the Other Guys have raised GOSH TONS of money just last month! We raised some, but they raised more! They're WINNING the money war. I mean, it's not all about money, but it TOTALLY IS! GIVE US CASH NOW OR THEY'LL WIN!"

And you know what? I can't argue. Yeah, they probably will win. And it's not that I don't care - oh trust me, I care. I care deeply and passionately. I'm so angry that this is what it is, though, that all of politics now is just "who's got the cash". This is a losing proposition all around, fighting on these terms, engaging on these terms. Because real people always lose that game. If it's a money war, hey guess what, corporations are made to make money. They always win. A super PAC can contribute a helluva lot more to a campaign than any given person. Game over.

And I don't know what to do about any of it. Do I stop contributing to causes and candidates I support, because my money is useless against the onslaught of corporate money and because I don't want to participate in this crazy escalation of a system I think sucks? That doesn't seem helpful. I can't exactly blame My Guys for trying to do what's effective - I've certainly learned that elections can (and are) bought, and they've learned too. Yay? I'm frustrated. I'm a member of United Republic. I'm on all kinds of mailing lists. I know that the process of getting money out of politics is a long, slow, hard slog. But right this instant I am stomping my little feet and I want change now dammit.
cislyn: (Default)
And the AC is fixed! Ok, Madison-type people: if you ever need an air conditioner repair thing done? Seasonal Solutions. They made time to come out today, were here for less than half an hour, and the whole thing was astonishingly not bank-breaking. I am relieved, and it is now getting colder. Whew.
cislyn: (blue)
So, there was this election thing here yesterday. The republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, won and kept his seat against the recall. And I'm trying to figure out what to think about it all.

You see, I think Scott Walker is a lousy governor, in a whole lot of ways. I could go on at great length about this (and I have, in the past). And I'm trying to reconcile what I think, and the things I know and think I know about this particular politician, with the fact that 1,334,430 people in Wisconsin voted for him.

Elections are meant to be messages. They are the way for The People, as in We The People, to speak. To say "hey, I want change" or "this guy sucks" or "I want more jobs" or whatever. They're meant to be messages. And so people are trying to dissect what the message of the Wisconsin recall is, and so am I. I've seen a lot of stuff about it so far - that it's a referendum against unions, that it's a statement against progressive politics, that it means the only thing that counts in an election is money, that Barrett was a weak candidate and shouldn't have run, that the conservative agenda is winning, that Scott Walker's politics and policies are what the people of Wisconsin want... it goes on and on.

And I'm trying to figure out what it means for me, personally, as a progressive and a woman and a great big democracy nerd. Mostly, I just feel sad. I don't think there is any singular message, and I think attempts to distill the recall movement down into a singular message are pretty laughable. I don't think it means that more than a million people in Wisconsin want people on BadgerCare to die or think unions suck or anything dramatic and crazy like that. But I do have to wonder what I, personally, could have done differently. Should I have volunteered more? Instead of complaining about the canvassers in my area, should I have gone down to their headquarters and been all "ok, let's find more efficient ways to distribute these resources, because this is a waste of effort?" Was it a waste of effort? Is there actually anything I could have done, to change that margin? And if Scott Walker really is what the people of Wisconsin want - or at the least, what 1,334,430 voting people of Wisconsin want... well, what then?

And I don't know. I want change so badly, I want this politician out of office so badly, and I think I have good and rational reasons for wanting it. And all those voters who voted for him... voting takes effort. I mean, we try to make it as easy as we can, as painless as we can, but you have to get out there and go down to your polling place and do the thing, you know? So that many people cared enough, and probably thought they had rational and good reasons for wanting him to stay in office, and they went and voted. And I just wonder what would have made a difference to those voters - anything? More information? I mean, I guess if you just think unions are greedy and corrupt and filled with loot-grubbing fiends, you're going to vote for the guy with the anti-union stance. But where does this crap come from? And there are SO many things to dislike about this guy that have nothing to do with unions.

But I'm not here to rant today (honest). I'm just reflecting: on elections, on voting, on politics, on messages. I think I'll be trying to figure out what The Message of the recall election was for a while. And in the meantime, I'm sad and I'm tired, but I did good work yesterday at the polls. We did more than 200 registrations in my ward and had over 1000 voters at the end of the day. That is an incredible turnout for my ward, and it was the same all over. A lot of the registrations were changes of address, but there were still a lot of new voters. I want The People to have a voice and for their voice to be heard, even when I am baffled and a little hurt by the message they want to send. So it goes.
cislyn: (smiting)
I just finished reading another kindle short. This one was Beyond Outrage: What has gone wrong with our economy and our democracy, and how to fix them by Robert B. Reich. And recently I finished another, very similar book - One Way Forward: The Outsider's Guide to Fixing the Republic by Lawrence Lessig.

I'm feeling a little saturated with outrage now (and not so much with the 'how to fix it all' part) and I'm just kind of thinking and reflecting on the state of things.

It kind of baffles me how much power and influence corporations have. I mean, it's in our fiction, in our media, in our popular consciousness that The Company is a bad thing, yes? Look at Aliens! Look at, oh, I dunno, just about any sci-fi produced in the last thirty years. I don't get how we can all know this, how we can all basically agree that yeah, obviously companies looking out only for their profits is a bad thing, and still end up with what we've got today. There's some sort of fundamental disconnect going on here, where obviously The Big Bad Corporation is a lousy idea, and yet owning such a thing, being part of a super mega rich profitable wowzinga endeavor, is still part of the American Dream (tm).

I highlighted a lot of passages in the Beyond Outrage book, because there were just gosh tons of facts and figures. Here are a few:

- "CEOs are hauling in more than three hundred times the pay of average workers (up from forty times the pay only three decades ago)"
- "The tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003—and extended for two years in 2010—in 2011 saved the richest 1.4 million taxpayers (the top 1 percent) more money than the rest of America’s 140.89 million taxpayers received in total income"
- "The chairman of Merck took home $17.9 million last year, as Merck laid off sixteen thousand workers and announced layoffs of twenty-eight thousand more. The CEO of Bank of America raked in $10 million, while the bank announced it was firing thirty thousand employees."
- "Fewer and fewer large and medium-sized companies offer their workers full health-care coverage—74 percent did in 1980, under 10 percent do today."
- "Three decades ago more than 80 percent of large and medium-sized firms gave their workers “defined benefit” pensions that guaranteed a fixed amount of money every month after they retired. Now it’s down to under 10 percent. Instead, the employers offer “defined contribution” plans where the risk is on the workers."
- "Last year, according to the Internal Revenue Service, the four hundred richest Americans paid an average of 17 percent of their income in taxes. That’s lower than the tax rates of many middle-class Americans, as I’ve already said. Mitt Romney paid less than 14 percent on income in excess of $20 million, in both 2010 and 2011."
- "In 2010, eighteen thousand American households earning more than half a million dollars paid no income taxes at all. The estate tax (which affects only the top 2 percent) has also been slashed. As recently as 2000 it was 55 percent and kicked in after $1 million. Today it’s 35 percent and kicks in at $5 million."

That's just a small sampling, folks. Your eyes aren't glazing over yet, are they? It goes on and on. I read this stuff, and my mind boggles. The amount of money that's being concentrated at the very top is astounding, and politics is just a big money game - a place to pour out a little cash and get some return on investment. That's not 'by and for the people' right there. It's by and for the people with the big money, and that number is increasingly small. I'm appalled. Thing is, I've been appalled for a while. And so have other people.

The Occupy movement did a fabulous job bringing these concepts forward - the meme of the 99% has staying power and it has the ring of truth to it. We are the 99%.

I just don't get how people can know these things, can have this knowledge, and still think that capitalism is working and is working for them. You know, if you think other systems don't work, too, that's fine! The problem with human systems of government is that they've got humans in 'em. I understand that just fine. But capitalism, at least the way we're practicing it, is completely and totally broken. We don't have a democracy - we have a corporatocracy. We don't have a republic, because the people elected to represent us are bought and paid for by corporate interests. I feel like the people arguing for capitalism are all Dr. Pangloss, saying over and over that this is the best of all possible worlds, even when it's so clearly not.

I want to fix things. Of course, I don't know what it looks like when it's fixed. I can imagine things less broken, though, and that's a start. Beyond Outrage really didn't offer a plan (a couple of very strongly worded letters and an exhortation to get out and talk to people about stuff is not a plan, dammit), but One Way Forward did.

I don't know how effective these things will be, but I'm certainly willing and able to talk about them. One Way Forward basically proposed a three-pronged approach to getting the money out of politics (which is, as Lawrence Lessig sees it, the root of the problem).

1. Engaging Congress. He suggests we do this by asking that our politicians sign The Anti-Corruption Pledge, and only supporting candidates who do. We can try to hold Congress critters accountable and ask that they institute the changes which would clean things up. It's a step, and I think it's worth doing at the state level, too.
2. Engaging the President. This is a little bit harder. Have you ever heard of Americans Elect? I know I hadn't. But now you have. This is a nonpartisan presidential nomination process that's being conducted online. It's an amazingly powerful idea, and only possible because we are totally living in the future. I think it's an awesome idea. I don't know that it will gain a lot of traction or be a real force to be reckoned with in this presidential election, but I do think it deserves greater exposure. Check it out.
3. Engaging the Constitution. In order to get the money out of politics, and keep it out of politics, we may needd a constitutional amendment. Actually, we may need the very real threat of major constitutional change. And the threat might be enough. I don't know. But I know that it's an interesting idea, and it's something else to actually do. Check out Read about it. Spread the word.

So, here I am, distilling ideas I've found in books and spreading around the links. I like ideas which engage with the new technological realities of the world we're living in - going door to door and knocking and saying "hi would you like to sign a petition" just doesn't feel very effective or sensible to me (yes, I know that kind of activism still has its place, believe me). I like ideas that aim to mobilize all kinds of people, even if they disagree on many issues. I like ideas, period.

Really, what I want to see is more people talking about these problems, and envisioning what a more perfect union really does look like. We have the means to create something new and different, if it becomes clear that what we've got just isn't working. It seems to me that it isn't. So what could we have instead? What would be better? What holds us back? Let's talk.
cislyn: (booky)
And in less reflective news, I just finished my 750th day of writing at least 750 words a day. This makes me squeeful! I'm not going to document every milestone as I pass it, as this is now just A Thing I Do All The Time, but it's kind of nice to be able to point to something and say "look! I have staying power!". It's something silly, and personal, it's entirely for me, and I like it.
cislyn: (booky)
There's a lot of outrage going around about the Susan G. Komen Foundation withdrawing their funding from Planned Parenthood. And rightfully so. I've always felt a little uncomfortable with the ubiquitous pink ribbon and all the "awareness" stuff about breast cancer. I know that the SGK Foundation has done a lot of good work, but they've made some questionable decisions in the past, too, and this one just sort of takes the cake. The response to it, however, has been pretty awesome. For instance, you can go buy John Scalzi e-books, and the funds will go to support Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screening and health initiatives. This makes me happy. Raising awareness about right-wing agendas and their vendetta against health care for women also makes me happy, and SGK just got the internet in a tizzy about what Planned Parenthood really does (hint: mostly not abortions. I used PP for years and years when we were uninsured, and I was extremely grateful they existed). So, if you've wanted to read some Scalzi? Now's the day. If you've got a little spare cash laying around and have been thinking about what good cause it could go to? Send it to Planned Parenthood - a lot of folks are doing so in the name of the Susan G Komen Foundation, which sort of tickles me. Ride the wave of outrage and make it better. Go internet, go.


Jan. 3rd, 2012 08:20 pm
cislyn: (Default)
Because there should be more pictures of cuddly kittens.

Cuddly Bubbles


Jan. 3rd, 2012 06:11 pm
cislyn: (Default)
This is me, testing things out... I seem to have set up a dreamwidth account. So far, so nifty, though I'm still playing around with things. This will be my first attempt at crossposting.

Today I've spent watching cartoons and crocheting a tentacle scarf and doing laundry. I'm covered in kitties and yarn and blankets. Also, loose socks. I have tea and a computer and a small bitey kitten only occasionally tries to eat my hair. It's not a bad way to be sick, even if I am irritated at being sick. I'm grateful for the luxuries I've got, basically, even (perhaps especially) when some of them have teeth.

I'm tempted, since it's the beginning of the year and I'm writing in a new space, to do the thing where I look back at the year that was and think ahead to what I want in the year coming up. I like beginnings, especially these liminal moments between arbitrarily segmented moments of time. I'm not sure I will indulge in the usual reflection-regret-resolution cycle. I will say that this last year? It was an interesting one, and a good one, overall. And I hope this next one is filled with awesome.

I have no resolutions, just indistinct things that I want. I want to make lots of great and geeky things, and finish things I've started (this is more challenging than it sounds), play lots of games, write nifty stories, pet lots of kitties, read gosh tons of books, learn neat things, cuddle awesome people, have fun with my friends, and maybe (just maybe) do some traveling. All those things seem rather likely considering the current trajectory of my life, so I must be doing something right.

I think tonight I'll work on the Snow White story I've had squishing around in my brain for a little while now. I haven't made much progress on it - I've been pretty social lately, but today I've got some alone time, if I can ignore the germs.
cislyn: (Default)
Just testing things out a bit here... these are not the Cislyns you are looking for. Move along, move along.


Dec. 20th, 2011 06:44 pm
cislyn: (Kitty)

Because there are not enough pictures of my cats on the Internet...

Read more... )

cislyn: (llama!)
Todd and I went to see The Muppets today. It was goofy, campy, sappy, self-referential, over-the-top, and ridiculous. And of course I loved it.

Still, the entire show I was thinking about the dark muppet movie that will never be.


All across the world, people begin having nightmares, evil dreams of archetypal forces that can never die. Groups start forming to discuss the dreams, but soon they're taken over by zealots, those who are 'more in tune' with the forces calling from the deep. These new cults are organizing everywhere, but to what end? What are they trying to accomplish? People start disappearing, and the notes left behind make no sense. "It's not easy being green. But it's what I want to be."

Figurines with oddly familiar faces and distinctly non-human forms are being found in dusty attics, archaeological sites, old museum collections. The curators of these collections end up either missing, or insensible - one man sits in a corner rocking back and forth and whispering nonsense syllables over and over again. "Mah nah mah nah. Mah nah mah nah. Mah nah mah nah."

Everything depends on three wildly different people: Marcus is a graduate student in archaeology suffering from amnesia who just wants to know what happened to the rest of his dig team at the old run-down theater. There was an explosion, chicken feathers, and a terrible noise that haunts him still. He swears he'll go back there someday. Bork bork bork echoes in his mind, but he can't reach his memories, not yet. Samantha is a small town cop dabbling in the occult who's seen the pieces falling into place for years but has been helpless to stop the tide of events. She knows the power of "wokka wokka", but can she be trusted? And Jacob, the psychologist who is only just now beginning to understand his patients' dark and restless dreams. Something is coming - something bigger than all of them. It's nearly time to play the music, to light the lights. Things are moving right along. Each of them has traced the clues, the broken pieces of the puzzle to a single place: the Happiness Hotel. Here, they converge in ignorance, but if anyone is to escape the coming doom they will have to become friends till the end...

But the desk clerk seems to be made of cloth, the doors won't open in the morning, the rats in the walls are singing, and they're all left wondering how much time they have before some crazy cultist out there makes the rainbow connection and brings about the end of the world.

It's time to get things started. Can you picture that?


Nov. 20th, 2011 04:48 pm
cislyn: (+20 icon of smiting)
So, have you seen this video? It shows a group of students sitting down in a line, while a police officer sprays them in the face with pepper spray. Military grade pepper spray, which is meant to be used at a distance of 15 feet. Yeah.

Here are some facts about the attack on Friday.

Here's something interesting about the use of pepper spray:
"...if a doctor sees pepper spray used in a prison, he or she is required to file a written report.

And regulations prohibit the use of pepper spray on inmates in all circumstances other than the immediate threat of violence. If a prisoner is seated, by definition the use of pepper spray is prohibited. Any prison guard who used pepper spray on a seated prisoner would face immediate disciplinary review for the use of excessive force. Even in the case of a prison riot in which inmates use extreme violence, once a prisoner sits down he or she is not considered to be an imminent threat. And if prison guards go into a situation where the use of pepper spray is considered likely, they are required to have medical personnel nearby to treat the victims of the chemical agent.

Apparently, in the state of California felons incarcerated for violent crimes have rights that students at public universities do not." (source)

Read that last line again. Does that seem right to you?

It doesn't seem right to me.

But wait! There's more! And more. And more. What the hell? When I was walking around the capitol yesterday with a friend at a rally to recall our governor, I asked if he wanted to go into the Rotunda. It was bound to be noisy in there, but I'd go in if he was interested. "Nah, better not. If anything happens, that's where it'll happen, and I don't want to get pepper sprayed in the face." This is a reasonable person, making a reasonable conclusion, based on the fact that unreasonable force is being used against peaceful protesters. This? This is wrong.

And though the Obama administration will speak up against violence used on peaceful protestors in Egypt, will affirm their right to assemble and their right to speech... what about these people? Agree or disagree with what Occupy Wall Street is doing or trying to do or their methods or whatever - but this is wrong, and it needs to stop.

Sign this petition. Go on, it'll only take a moment. Urge the Whitehouse to at least make a statement, to take a stand. Go on and draw the lines in the sand. Is this right? Is this what we support? Is this how it's done? How much right do the police have to clear off people sitting on the ground in a public space? How much right do they have to remove tents? How much force can they bring to bear against the people they're supposed to be protecting?
cislyn: (Kitty)

Ah, it feels good to do my part in making the Internet more saturated with cat pictures...

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cislyn: (Kitty)

Because there really haven't been enough kitten pictures lately...

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