TV Face

(no subject)


So this is it: the final entry. 10 years ago today - October 7th, 2001 - I started with a public entry in which I stated that I'd eventually get around to writing something here.

Well, turns out I have. After a decade of writing this will be my 1370th and final entry. I started as a loner 19-year-old college sophomore and I end now a 29-year-old man, married for over 3 years. In 2001 my world revolved around (sometimes horrible) hard rock music, anime and webcomics. Now I find myself using phrases like "best course of action for my career" and "resale value at the present market outlook." Damn if growing up doesn't sneak up on you. Like many young adults I wondered just when it would be I'd have that transformative moment when I started to feel like a grown-up. I think I finally became one when I realized there is no transformative moment.

It's appropriate, then, for me to have this history left, in its entirety, of the course of my life and the evolution of my character from that of a that of a silly, broken-hearted teenager to someone cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

As for the content, you either read it, you didn't, or anywhere in between. I met so many people along the way with whom I connected via LiveJournal at one point or another. Not so many of you are left now, least of which from the first several years. I'll briefly explain what I've done to preserve my journaling here in regard to what remains now: I've gone through everything - all 1370 entries - by hand, and have thrown each of them into one of four bins: public, friends, private, and deleted. The public ones stay public for all to see, the friends ones get (or, more likely, stay) friends-locked to allow for somewhat restricted access, the private ones disappear to everyone but are kept for my own personal record, and the deleted ones, well, weren't worth salvaging at all. I've kept backup copies off of LiveJournal of everything aside from the deleted entries and, eventually, I might repost the public (and probably friends) ones elsewhere when I find a new home for my daily journal entries. For right now, though, this is it.

It would be terribly out-of-character for me to leave you on that note, though, wouldn't it? It would be much more like me to have a litany of charts and figures prepared detailing just what I've discovered about the 1370 entries I wrote here. Oh, LiveJournal, you know I can't say no to you:

The Final GraphdownCollapse )
TV Face

(no subject)


I don't know how many of you out there lurk moar and are silently waiting for public posts, but, as I've said in my user info, I don't really post much outside of friends-locked posts these days. The main thrust of my posts are journal entries. Though I've done these daily for nearly a year, I'm especially fond of writing about trips we've taken over the past couple of years. After months of work, I've finally edited these entries down to language I feel is acceptable for the general public and have entered them into a blog. Just this afternoon I finished making it look just the way I like it and, dear friends and non-friends alike, I'd like to share it with you:

Becky and Jon Are Out

So, if you've never gotten the guts to comment, have all but abandoned LJ, or maybe you just have something against reading behind LJ cuts, there you go. Enjoy.
The Cheat

(no subject)


So before going out tonight Becky and I are watching Coming to America on Comedy Central. Now they've obviously wrecked half of the good lines by basic-cablifying it (eg, "yes, the same to you, too!" instead of "yes, fuck you, too!") but it's still worthwhile to enjoy one of Eddie Murphy's better works and what was more or less the movie career apex of Arsenio Hall.

At one point they mention the address of "McDowell's" in Queens as 85-07 Queens Boulevard. So, thanks to Google Maps Street View, I decided to see what's there these days:

View Larger Map

That's right, it's a Wendy's. How cool is that? Becky hypothesizes that 22 years ago when they filmed it it might have been a McDonald's, even. I just think it's neat that it's not some made-up non-existent address like 123 Fake St or something.

Anyway, just thought I'd share. The part with Samuel L Jackson is coming up soon.
TV Face

(no subject)


Netflix Suggestion Fail

For those who don't see the logic, Season 1 of The Wire is about police trying to bust up a drug cartel. The movie Blow is also about a drug cartel and features supporting actor Paul Reubens, who is better known as Pee-Wee Herman. It all makes sense to me.

He was awesome in Pushing Daisies, though. Oh Pushing Daisies. The combination of Chi McBride and Brian Fuller was too beautiful for this world. At this rate there may never be a Desmond Pfeiffer revival.

Anybody watch Kings? Is it any good?

End requisite quarterly public post.
Steve Perry is Robocop

(no subject)


Let me show you them. So you'll recall how two days back I pointed you to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and indicated that I was in the act of mining the data and would produce some pretty graphs to share with you all? Well, that time has come. Hooray! Let us all examine now the impact the present recession is having upon employment in these 50 United States of America and the District of Columbia. All graphs will be clickable to view larger versions if you wish. All data will be comparing the latest final figures - for December 2008 - to one year previous, December 2007. This both gets rid of any seasonal employment drifts you might see in some farming states and also offers a good starting point, as December 2007 is supposedly when the US economy officially entered a recession. If enough people dig this I might try doing it again for January 2008 - January 2009 when those figures are made public later this month.

First, the unemployment figures. Compared to 12/07, unemployment went up in all 50 states and DC in 12/08. Some by more than others. Here are the states with the 10 highest unemployment rates in 12/08, with the change over the past 12 months in red:

Change in Unemployment Rate

As you can see, Michigan and Rhode Island are the worst off, but I'm keeping an eye on California and Nevada, too, as they're rising in an awful hurry.

But this doesn't really tell the entire picture. After all, people moved in and out of states throughout that 12-month period. Some people retired or died. Others became old enough to work. These are all factors that do not leave any given state's labor force as a constant, but rather a number generally always going steadily upward. An increasing trend of over 2% annually indicates a good deal of growth generally resulting from more people moving in for work than out. Any decrease whatsoever is generally a bad sign for that state's job prospects as those who have jobs elsewhere tend to move out, and those who do not have jobs tend to stay. So strong growth in labor force could soften the blow of increased unemployment (or perhaps indicate a larger problem to come) and, conversely, a decline in labor force could be hiding the severity of an increase in unemployment. Here are the top 10 and bottom 10 states by labor force growth from 12/07 - 12/08:

Change in Labor Force

Here we see trends emerging that parallel the Great Depression already: people are moving out of the Midwest and the Appalachians and into the frontier of the Southwest and the West Coast. Rhode Island - the oddball there - is likely the result of New England being a microcosm of the country as a whole, with residents jumping the border to Connecticut or Massachusetts for jobs. The most troubling thing for me here, though, is Nevada: it is still the fastest-growing labor force in the country, despite the state's unemployment rate skyrocketing. I feel like a horrible reckoning is going to come in 2009-2010 that will severely damage Nevada's economy, perhaps on the scale where it can never recover its former glory, much like Michigan the past 30 or so years. Yet still people keep moving there; the lights of Las Vegas a new generation's fruit fields of Orange County for modern-day ghosts of Tom Joad.

Sorry. Prose is getting a bit thick. I'll leave that to Springsteen.

But what if you combine the two? Change in unemployment rate and change in labor force? That might get a better picture of what's going on. Again, the top 10 and bottom 10:

Sum Labor Force + Unemployment Rate

Sort of a measurement of change of possible jobs. Many big square states here appear to be faring through the recession well, as their economies are more reliant upon stable farms, not factories liable to be shut down when the labor is outsourced* or eliminated. And there's also crazy Nevada. The big losers are, again, the Midwest, Appalachia and poor little Dirty Rhodie.

Now, of course these do not tell the entire picture as they don't factor in underemployment, something that I'd imagine is far more common these days than in 1982, the last time national unemployment peaked over 10%. So I don't think that these numbers really convey the full extent of what's going on. But I hope they at least let you get an idea. Point is, these are very real, very, very scary downward trends that we need to do something about, fast, or else we're in big trouble.

Have a good weekend.

* I'll save this for another time, but I'm a bit concerned with how heavily Obama is laying on the protectionism. Sure, it's labor populism at its best - something that's always a hit in a recession - but I feel like avoiding globalization is the sort of isolationism that will make things much more difficult for us in the long-run. I'm pretty sure he sees it as a short-term solution but I'm not positive and that worries me a bit. I guess we'll see what he does.
TV Face

(no subject)


I have a salvo of science journals piped into my Google Reader, both out of genuine personal and professional interest, and because it offers a good cover for the amount of time I spend reading Huffington Post. Consequently, science and politics - and the occasional webcomic - mingle in my RSS aggregate.

So when I initially saw this Science news bit, I registered it as "Unconscious Brain Still Registers Palin."

Freud's in rare form these days.
TV Face

(no subject)


If you're like me, Sarah Palin's canned 9th-grade-Civics-class answer about the importance of the Vice President in terms of breaking tie votes in the Senate made you wonder, "gee, how often does the Vice President really have to do that, anyway?" I mean, we all learned about it in school. But how often does it really happen? Somehow this wasn't part of my education and I'm betting it wasn't in yours, either.

Turns out the US Senate website provides a handy-dandy list in PDF format of every instance this has happened, ever. And it turns out it's happened 244 times in the 219-year history of the Vice Presidency. Roughly once per year. There are numerous vice presidents - most recently Dan Quayle - who served their entire term in office without doing it even once. There have also been numerous periods of time following the death of the President where the Vice President then ascended to the Presidency when there was no sitting Vice President and, well, the Senate seemed to have gotten along just fine then.

Of course, the insidious nature of Palin's answer was that it underscored Dick Cheney's assertion of the Legislative power of the Vice President, which flies in the face of both good reason and the Constitutional system of checks and balances. One of Biden's best moments was his response putting the VP in his correct, Executive role.

Still, if you were wondering, there you go. About once per year. And probably far less likely in the case of the Senate being largely controlled by one party as will probably be the case as of the 111th Congress. One wonders what Palin presumes the VP does the other 364 days a year.