Wednesday, September 26, 2012

50 shades of Twilight

So if you know someone that is considering reading 50 Shades of whatever, you should totally point them in the direction of this blog.  It's monolithic, and a chapter by chapter take down of the book that can hopefully make the people in your life aware of the absolutely appalling nature of how Mr. Grey behaves towards the very unsympathetic protagonist Ana.

Is some of her critique grounded in feminist ideals? Absolutely, and really regardless of the outcome in the novel Jennifer does point out some very dangerous and controlling behaviors that the protagonist fails to identify as creepy.  In the second novel apparently they get married, but the short list of things that Christian employs on Ana in the first several chapters include withholding affection to manipulate her decisions, tracking her via her cell phone and coming to get her after she specifically told him not to, and finally coming over to her house tying her to the bed and having sex with her in response to her emailing him saying she never wanted to see him again.

As an aside Christian's tracking her via cell phone did ultimately save Ana from some very rapey behavior by someone she had friendzoned that was trending towards, well rape.  The important but here is at the time she told him not to come she was not in any danger, because we are adults here we judge on intentions not outcomes.  Ana, who is constantly infatilizing herself whenever sexuality come up (once Jennifer start's pointing this out, it does appear to happen every time she get's sexually excited or engaged the author gives her strong child references dressing Ana pig tails, or describing her like a little girl ect.)

Ultimately the real takeaway from Jennifer's critique has been that the character Ana is not fully capable of making decisions related to her own best interests, and but for the author playing events out to be in her favor the more likely result of this scenario would be a young woman in an abusive relationship that she had no idea of how to end with a man that she doesn't have the wherewithal to say no to in a meaningful fashion.  The violence would likely escalate because Christian can manipulate her to wanting more and she would likely end up killed or beaten unrecognizable and tied up as a fuck toy, isolated with no support network to help her leave Christian.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Curiosity and being self taught

For the people that where around following forever ago when I did the a-z posting I have a bit of a follow up to that long as hell O post, with another article from lifehacker.  The subject is on self-taught, but really the author was getting at the same things I prattled on about towards the end of my post.  When you want to start learning there is no wrong or right, you are just trying to connect the dots and you start connecting them by collecting the dots.  You can start in the middle or the end or even the beginning, but the important part is that you're open to finding out that what you tried to do doesn't work.

You where just trying something any way, so no harm in finding out that it doesn't work right?  The correct answer is yes, but the practical answer that our society teaches is no.  It's no okay to fail ever, you have to succeed every time at everything you do, and if you cannot you shouldn't try.  At least you would think that is what we teach, it's what most people are trying to do.

Be open to weird, try something dumb who knows it might be fun!

Saveur corn recipies

It's a little late in the corn season, but what the heck.  This has been sitting in drafts for long enough it should get the hell out of here.

So first up, chilies stuffed with corn and cheese then battered and fried.  I actually made these and it was delicious.  I used pepper jack and Emerald City Brewing's Dotty lager for the beer batter.   For whatever reason I didn't take a picture of it, but I thought it was pretty damn delicious.

The next recipe is sure to gross out a few people, but if you've ever had fresh corn (like picked that day) I can see how this would be good.  Sweet Corn and Milk Drink is essentially a corn smoothie with cinnamon for some kick.  I would do it if I was growing corn myself.

I like this recipe because I'm a sucker for the word Succotash.  There's nice place called Palomino restaurant that served succotash as a side, since then whenever I see it somewhere I try it.  This is really just a salad, and corn adds a nice sweetness to this type of a dish.

Next recipe is a corn custard.  This looked appealing because custard is typically a desert, and this takes it as a more savory dish.

The final recipe I took a liking to on Saveur was Corn cakes with a pesto sauce.  Though this isn't the exact thing I want, back home there was a little taco stand that had these corn cakes that where the perfect mix of spicy and sweet.  The stand closed down likely because it was in the worst location, but I'm still looking for something to fill beautiful corn cake itch that have.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

indie music

This video makes not one lick of sense to me.  I think the point is that the band doesn't really need that dorky guitar player to do live shows, so they made a video to let him know how superfluous he was and to shame him for playing army men all the time.

That's my take anyhow.

Via Electric Mustace

Slowing down

Here's a link to an interesting human interest piece I suppose.  The article that Lifehacker sources is about an experience someone had while they where participating in a focus exercise.  The point of the exercise was to take a path that you normally take, but travel it at about half your normal speed.  He had some epiphany that was unrelated to, but happened because of the speed exercise, that he makes many habits and believes that they are important for him in his everyday life, but he said he didn't make it a habit to be happy.

The speed exercise is pretty interesting to me because I'm a fast walker generally.  I typically have a place to be, and the only thing impeding me is my pace so I walk fast.  I've been lifting for the past few weeks and my return from the gym to work is about half as fast as my trip there.  It's because my routine has been hitting my legs pretty hard, so I'm tired for the return trip.  I'm also using it as part of my cool down, but still I've been sort of participating in this speed exercise by accident on my own.  I don't find it to be so much a time of gratitude, or happiness, mostly just find myself avoiding getting walked on as people bustle about me.  So I think the main takeaway here is that the next time you find yourself stuck behind some jerk walking slow is to realize their not just some jerk walking slow.  They're likely some self-entitled jerk who thinks that their happiness is more important than the errands your trying to fit in on your damn break.  You should totally shove that hippy and give him a dirty look.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bottling and such

Not a ton to report today, I'm sort of on an off day for me traveling this weekend.  I have the hardest time getting back into the flow of things after a travel weekend, and I've had a lot of them the last 2 months.

Before I got on the road I managed to get my Tiny Oatmeal Stout into the bottles.  The airlock had come to basically a full stop, and I was (pleasantly) surprised that the beer had fully attenuated.  I was nervous that I had gotten a suck fermentation when I racked to secondary, but it turns out I may have just been ready to bottle at 9 days.  I racked onto some vanilla beans that I had laying around since the vanilla bourbon porter, and it was then that it appeared to come full stop.  The experience and some other beer news I've been watching has more or less set my path that I'm going to need to get a march pump.  I've hemmed and hawed over it long enough, the piece of equipment I want next is that.  Strangely enough I just entered into a phase where I won't be drinking at all for the next little bit as I work on keeping my total calories a day under what I normally do.  It should be a rather interesting next couple of weeks.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Meritocracy Round 4

Continuing fromRound 1, Round 2, and Round 3 we pick up on Part 2 of the book: Decline of the Lower Class.  This section sets up a review the consequences of  progress for the lower class; declaring that before the Meritocracy took over, while socialism was working to chip away the value of being born wealthy there was a golden age of equality.  Some people advanced on their own merit, and others on the tails of their family but this whirligig ensured the powerful where always unseated.  The chaos of the system gave the lower class the illusion they had been given opportunity to do something different with their life.  It gave life to the dreams they never lived.

In that age, there was benefit to mixing of class as the intelligent upperclass had much in common with the intelligent lowerclass, when merit put only the unintelligent into the lower class the riff was greater.  The people that achieved success had not reason to doubt themselves as they had claimed this prize as a result of  their merit.  Without the impostor syndrome effect and humble beginnings to temper the meritorious people's perspective they saw less and less reason to approach dealings with the lower class in an altruistic fashion.  The author notes it as more of a public relations matter, thinking that it was a matter that training could clear up.  The meritocracy created a system where we where the unmeritorious only had themselves to blame for their status, causing them to loose faith in degrade further (reinforcing negative sentiments).  The situation was not as bad as it could have been because of 5 reasons.  First, the lower class had a mythos of honoring  strength (athleticism) the way the upper class honors honored smarts, that gave the lower class some (limited) ways to achieve some form of recognition.  Second, the adult education center and mental heath treatment gave people a way to bloom later in life (either because of intelligence coming to them later, or being a better thinker as they work through their mental health issues). Third, parents could take solace in the fact that their children (or grandchildren) could through their own merit achieve great things (Transference?), and Fourth they were blessed to be to ignorant to realize how bad their lot in life really was.  The fifth and most important reason was the implementation of meritocracy in industry.  It draws on lessons from WWII that found grouping people with other of similar intelligence improved their morale because they felt they where competing on equal footing for promotions and perceived themselves to have a more fair chance.  The army found that people could be taught more readily and would get along better with people of their own intelligence (or lack there of).

There was some question of what to do with people rated as just smarter than rocks, as the socialists fought against giving them the worst and least desirable jobs.  They argued about the dignity of the worker, but the author dismisses this as "pre-merit" thinking.  He argues that after inheritance was displaced that the notion of equality of man was show a farce.  Men are most notable for their inequality of endowment!  What is the purpose of abolishing inequalities in nature but to expose and pronounce the inequalities of nature?  Young continues on that each according to their ability, no more no more made the whole of society more satisfied (failing to note that it also is causing the uprisings).  He says that without science studying human relationships resentment for declining status would have boiled over long before.  In essence if it had been too uncomfortable it wouldn't have been tolerated, so the lower classes complacency was always a part of their lowering.  Automation in the 60's was an excellent way to view the systematic trouble of the meritocracy.  As machines grew ever more complex, more was demanded of those that built, serviced or designed them and less of those that operated them until the operators  where displaced permanently.  The advances in testing helped to identify what employers where just carrying some employees.  The high churn was because some of the employees where unable to produce labor of any kind due to their lack intelligence, testing helped identify how poor of employee's they actually where.

This lead to a new kind of unemployment, people where deemed essentially useless and no one knew what to do with them.  This gave rise to a proposal to begin training the poorly equipped to take over the menial tasks of their betters (grocery shopping, cleaning, ect.).  It gave the truly unintelligent something to do, and the Home Help corps laid down guidelines for how domestic servants would work and be paid to prevent a return to slavery.  The value to the meritocracy here was doubly realized by the women.  meritorious women whom upon marriage still took on much of the household labor, and unmeritorious women that make up the bulk of the Home Help corps.   Th author notes that the merit based selection system made for a stable, though intricately balanced society.  Believing it to be permanent would be a folly.

I realize I'm already getting pretty long on this summary, but there are only 3 more chapters and Michael Young had a lot of things to say in his short little book.  I took 19 pages of notes and only have 5 more pages left to go, so I'm hoping that I can wrap this up here relatively quickly in 2-3 more posts.  Bear with me here, there are a fair number of articles and related thoughts to draw in once I get done with the summary.

Continue to Part 5 >>>

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Well that lands distinctly in the cool category

J.R.R Tolkien reads a poem in Elvish.

It is crazy the amount of work that he put into creating languages for these books, even if the books themselves where rather dull reads.  The story itself was amazing, the telling was somewhat lackluster in my opinion.  Call it troll bait if you want, I read the books so it's my opinion to have.

Source Geeks are Sexy

Monday, September 10, 2012

Turning into a huge hippy

So I found this video the other day, and really enjoyed it. If I could embed this I would, but instead you have to go to the link. It's about woodworking and pretty cool.

The next video is about raising sheep.

Beer stuff

Oh the many and varied crazy tidbits of beer things that I've got going on.  For some reason I've got micro-batch fever, and am cooking two 1 gallon batches and two 1/2 gallon batches of various bits of beer.

First up is the rehashing of my failure of a vanilla bourbon robust porter, for those that have been following for a long time and forgotten or if you're new here you can read the whole sordid affair over here in 1, 2, 3 easy steps.  Short version for the TL;DR crowd I fucked up a big beer that cost quite a bit of money.  I've let it sit in bottles for the last year (I'm surprised it was a year ago as well!) and while cleaning up my basement I decided it was time to do something with this huge (10%ABV) but largely undrinkable beer.  I poured out enough to get a gallon (with some head space) and racked some of the pale sour ale that is sitting on a lambic blend for a few days.  The FG on this beer was 1.026 so there was still a ton of sugar for those little yeasties to work on, but thus far I find the labmic blend to be giving me a very vinegary flavor profile.  I found a New Belgium LOF Bretta Beer that I had intended to pour the dregs of into this gallon of beer, turns out they are choosing to pasteurize the beer to make it more consistent (which likely killed the yeast making it not a good idea to re-pitch).  Plan b, that has thus far turned out to be an amazing choice was Wyeast's Brettanomyces.  I'm going to call this super Brett given the already high attenuation and how hard this thing is still fermenting 5 days later.  I love watching the tiny bubbles trickle up the sides of this fermentation vessel, and slightly excited about this beer.  I think the soured version is going to hide a lot of the flaws I found in this beer.  Below is a picture of me degassing the beer after I'd poured it into the gallon jug.

Up next I brewed a microbatch of an Oatmeal stout (I'm thinking ahead for the fall) the Recipe was pretty simple and just Brew in a bag style so easy to replicate and scale up if you're interested.  I bumped the OG with 1lb of dark dried malt extract, coming in at a respectable 8%abv.  Since I racked to secondary on some vanilla beans it's been needing to be agitated every few hours, but the fermentation thus far isn't "stuck" so I'm hoping it will fully attenuate without me having to build up another yeast colony for repitching.

And last but certainly not least I did a soured lite version of the Oatmeal Stout.  I don't have a recipe for the sour versions of beers typically because it's the same as whatever I did for the full strength version just reusing the grains.  By the math I did I was only about 55% efficent on my grains for the heavy batch so there was plenty of sugar left over to do a small batch with the grains and fresh oatmeal.  I cannot seem to find my notes on what the OG for the small batch was, may not matter it got blended with the rest of my Labmic blend that was sitting on a pale ale, but I thought it was north of 1.014.  I bumped it a little bit with 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 tablespoon of molasses, I don't know what it would have ended up as that way so whatever!  After 8 days I also poured a little bit of the wyeast super brett in here to really get the sour party working.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Damn it I forgot to post about international beer day again

Alright I know you've been waiting for it all year, but Happy International Beer Day!

I did manage to get an Oatmeal stout brewed the 28th, so you know only 3 weeks and a days late.  I need to check on it probably today or tomorrow for racking into secondary.  I have some liquid Bret yeast waiting for me at my LHB store so I'll get down there and get another vessel for racking into.  The trouble with all of these darn vessels is you find yourself thinking well I hate to leave it empty so you end up without one empty to pivot into.

Anyhow, my Tiny Quaker Stout should come in around 8%ABV, and I'm almost certain I'm going to be sad I only made a gallon of it.  The tiny batches are crazy easy to work with, and I was able to do the whole thing on my stove top.  I realize this will surprise no one, but I also did a "leftovers" batch with my spent grain and ended up with a tiny batch of weak stout that I blended with the Lambic yeast culture I keep running in a growler so that the Lambic would have something new to start working on.  It's been on the pale since about February so I figured it needed something new to work on. 

As a final note I visited Fall Fest at Schwitzer this year and had Alaskan Raspberry Wheat Ale, at 6.5%ABV it wasn't too light and was like sunshine in your mouth.  Sadly it's only available in a few states, but probably the best beer I've had all summer.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Meritocracy Round 3

Continuing from Round 1 and Round 2, right into chapter 4 which deals with private industry and the transition from seniority to merit based advancement.  Because age is as inefficient a measurement of worth as what class you are born of the "class" of old men had to be by passed or the meritocracy would have been another gerontocracy.  The result was a blend of the best of the American model and British education meritocracy model , competition for life.  Prior to WWII the lure of a steady paycheck would pluck students away from education into industry but an unnamed act in 1944 (I assume mandatory primary education or something similar) started to slow the flow of able minded from school to industry.  This forced industry to recruit from grammar school and university.  The author bats away the notion that people trained in a specific industry would be better capable of running the businesses than generally educated students with no industry experience (I can think of several instances of this being proved decidedly wrong already).  Because the competition for the best talent was leading to some abuses the government stepped in and began allocating talent to industry as it suited the national agenda.  Essentially pouring brains from the school "factory" into the industries that the government wanted to grow.  This put the government in total control of industry and the economy (the potential for and probable actual occurrence of abuse should this type of a system ever be implemented are so obvious I hope it would deter the building of such a system).

While the advancement of merit in the schools was releatively smooth, in industry seniority was more deeply ingrained and harder to route.  The deference to older people was (somewhat literally) beaten into school children by larger and older children and stayed with them for life.  The socialist movement that supplanted the legitimacy of inheritance was also working against rule by the old, but it proceeded rather piecemeal with individual old men being dethroned rather than all at once.  This was likely due to the age war being less cut and dry than the wealthy vs poor as some on both sides of the age divide where not true to their own interests.  Particularly so where those that had to change jobs; they didn't want to have to start over as an apprentice so they argued for merit based placement.  A major stumbling block for the seniority system was the set retirement date, if someone wanted to advance someone else had to retire for the rung on the ladder to open up, and people that stayed on past retirement delayed the advancement of many people below them.  It was those people that didn't want to retire that argued for merit as a way to judge that their abilities had not declined so far as to necessitate they leave.  One of the reasons it was so difficult was the ease with which it could be measured, and Unions favored it because injustice was simple to spot.  This argument fell by the wayside as more effective methods of measuring merit where developed as well as increased transparency of the merit scores to remedy the mistrust.  It was because you could go down to the central testing facilities and look up the scores of your peers you where assured that they had the position they deserved.

As this is the final Chapter in part one the author summarizes his points really exceptionally well,  and sets up the second half of the book that will examine why it may be that the less educated are rising up against the meritocracy by looking at the social structure that the Meritocracy has created.  He warns that though the few of the lower class are exceptional, as a mass they are formidable.  In particular Young identifies two types of people that form the lower class.  The majority being the unintelligent children of unintelligent people, and the minority being the stupid children of brilliant people.  For the latter group Young points out that they where born into luxury, and unable to attain it for themselves.  In ages gone by their parents could have heaped resources on them to make sure that they maintained some of the comforts of their childhood, but the discontent of having to live poorly after knowing such highs must be particularly acute.  Given that they are almost universally inarticulate it's no wonder that they support the (fictional) revolt that has given them a voice where before they had none.

Continue to Part 4 >>>

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

It's Tuesday, and this is all I've got

Forgive my brain I just drove an RV all day yesterday, this just made me giggle.  I need a Tacobot 3000.