Tuesday, October 28, 2008


So, I was in one of those unsavory positions of needing to use a public restroom yesterday. Walking into the stall I found a piece of paper sitting on top of the toilet paper roll with a url scribbled on it and a message saying "Hey, check out my blog." The url is as follows:


Now, I've heard of viral marketing. During my time protesting Scientology I've even engaged in viral marketing through distribution of youfoundthecards. I've NEVER heard of pushing your own personal blog through viral marketing though, and I must say I find the idea pretty interesting. Maybe I'll start leaving little pieces of paper linking to this blog laying around. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Public School System Squandering Political Discussion?

My mother, who works at a local elementary school, recently got this email for the principal, that was was sent to her by the school's super intendant:


We recently received a parent complaint of a teacher expressing support for a Presidential candidate to students during class.  With Election Day just around the corner, I want to remind you that such activity is not permitted. 


School Board Policy 8.07(3)(b) prohibits employees from engaging in political activities on District property during duty hours.  In the case of teachers and other instructional personnel, this policy prohibits statements to students expressing support or preference for a political candidate or political party.  The policy does not prohibit faculty from discussing politics in the teacher lounge during break or off duty hours.  Nor does the policy prohibit instruction of students on the political process as part of the school curriculum. 


Please bring this reminder to the attention of your instructional staff.  Thank you for your assistance in helping to maintain an educational environment free of potential coercion and influence of students.


Thank you,


Julie M. Janssen, Ed. D.


This email was followed up with this: 

Based upon our policies, established legal principles, and past practices within the district, we offer the following general advice to these fact scenarios, with the caveat that each specific incident should be viewed on a case-by-case basis for a final definitive answer:

Q1 -- May an employee park on school property with a standard sized political bumper sticker on her/his car?
A1 -- Yes.  Bumper stickers are small in size and ubiquitous in our society, and thus usually ignored.  Once applied, they are difficult to remove, which would make it difficult to enforce a ban on their display.  In the end, they are de minimus and leave no impression of official endorsement by the district.

Q2 -- May an employee park on school property with a clearly visible car magnet or sign on or in the employee's car? w

Q3 -- May a school-based employee wear, during duty hours, clothing (assuming it is not in violation of dress guidelines) saying "Vote for XYZ"  or some other message reasonably calculated to advocate for a candidate?
A3 -- No.  This is not allowable because, as in Q2, the employee is now engaging in political advertisement and campaigning during duty hours in violation of Board policy. 

Q4 -- May a school-based employee wear, during duty hours, a political button saying "Vote for XYZ"  or some other message reasonably calculated to advocate for a candidate?
A4 -- No, same as A3.

Q5 -- May an employee at a site not housing students wear, during duty hours, political clothing or political buttons?
A5 -- No.  Even though the employee is not in the presence of students, the employee is still engaging in political activities during duty hours in violation of Board policy.  The presence of students aggravates the situation because the authority of the employee engaging in such activities may tend to exert undue influence over the students.


Now I ask you. What the HELL? Why would we be discouraging the idea of children learning about the political happenings in our country? I understand that Freedom Of Speech can't exist in its pure form in schools, but in no way should they be taking away the right of someone to make a political stance? Among adults, especially. I guess I can understand, to an extent, the School Board not wanting teachers and other school employees "campaigning" for a candidate in the class room, but banning the discussion of the election among full grown adults? That's insane. 

Also, showing support for a candidate isn't "campaigning." Telling employees their cars can't have bumper stickers or flags showing support for a candidate is ridiculous. 

I want to know what the school board is thinking with all these policies. Honestly, it seems like a very light form of fascism to me. Controlling what can and cannot be said about a subject that's is shouldn't make people mad, but is inherently offensive because people are stupid. 

Blah, things like this just make me sick.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Scientology, World of Warcraft.

This past Friday I was in downtown Clearwater posting fliers and handing out pamphlets for the Anonymous Anti-Scientology campaign that's been going on since January. After being out there for a good five hours I was walking back to my car in the library's parking lot when I was cut off by a familiar face. Anonymous protestors, including myself, know him as Peter or Mr. P. He's approached members of the group before, offering to speak to us about anything we would like to know concerning Scientology. Most of us usually turn him down, simply stating we know everything we care to know. This time I decided to take him up on the offer and see what he had to say.

He was surprisingly friendly about the whole deal. I've dealt with several Scientologists since I got involved with Anonymous, and most of them have been extremely belligerent, claiming that since I was a bad person for having a problem with L Ron Hubbard's teachings, and subsequently trying to push their beliefs on me. Most will also deny things like Operation: Freakout, Operation: Snow White, or Lisa McPhearson ever happened. They will also start acting dumb when you bring up the OT3 story of Xenu. During this conversation, Peter did none of this. He acknowledged that all of those things happened and flat out said there was no reason to pretend the Xenu story isn't real any longer. He basically wanted to tell me that he's at the point where we can agree to disagree. He knows the protests and the campaign won't stop. It was actually relatively refreshing to talk to a Scientologist that wasn't on an 'always attack, never defend' kick.

That said, the next protest is scheduled for this Saturday, June 14th. It's a worldwide event, so check your area for one. Clearwater will be meeting in Coachman Park around 10:00AM. The theme this month is Sea Arrrgh. We will be dressing up like pirates, with the main theme of the protest being Scientology's own private navy, the Sea Organization(SeaOrg for short). If you are against things like 100 hour work weeks, child labor, coerced abortions(If you're pregnant while in the SeaOrg you either get an abortion or get kicked out of the SeaOrg), and overall bad living conditions then come out and join us. Your voice helps!

This past Saturday I reactivated my WoW account for (at least) a month. I'll mostly be playing my characters on Firetree. If you play, hit me up on Zapdos(70 resto shaman), Gailtort(70 demo warlock), or Ronal(70 Rogue). I may play past the month's expiration if I'm still having fun with it. 

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Might actually start updating this thing again.

If you're into webcomics at all, you've probably heard about the crap about this CAD comic. Now, let me start out by saying I've never been a fan of Ctrl-Alt-Delete. When compared to some of my favorite webcomics it's always been lacking in both art and in dialogue, but if there was ever a reason to hate Tim Buckley and his comic this is most definitely one. CAD is a comic about video games. CAD is also a comic about its characters, which I can understand and respect. Fanboys is a good example of how a comic about video games can have recurring characters and recurring character stories and do it right. 

Now, I don't mind having some Drama mixed in with my Comedy when it suits the medium. Scrubs, for example, is a great situational comedy with drama thrown in to keep the show interesting and it works. With the kind of comic Buckley is trying to make, it doesn't work. Since I don't regularly read CAD, I decided to try to find the beginning of the pregnancy arc. It was talked about for a good 5 or 6 comics, then barely mentioned again until the miscarriage comic. Honestly, I've never thought very highly of Buckley's work, but now I see the guy himself as little more than a pretentious prick. 

The other thing I want to touch on today is this week's Rock Band Downloadable Content update. A visit to the official Rock Band Forums a couple days after the new DLC is announced on Friday afternoon is always a trip. There will be some people praising Harmonix for the week's Rock Band fix, there will be people who are calmly indifferent to the week's choices, and the largest group will be people raging about how this week's songs are 'total shit.' The last group will also state how they can't wait to sell Rock Band in favor of the upcoming Guitar Hero: World Tour that will hit this fall. 

Now, I personally think Harmonix has been doing a stellar job with their DLC. We've been getting at least three new songs a week since the game launched, and on many weeks anywhere between 6 songs and full albums. Up to now there's been an awesome mix of bands I love(Such as Boston, the Grateful Dead, Stone Temple Pilots, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Police, etc) which is awesome, and some bands I don't like, and that's okay too. People have different tastes, and not everyone who bought Rock Band likes the same music I do, so too each his own.

To the point, this week Harmonix released six DLC tracks. Three of them were by Disturbed, and three of them were by Jimmy Buffett. Now, while I'm not a Disturbed fan I am a fan of Buffett I was eagerly looking forward to these tracks, and I was equally interested in how the rest of the community would feel about Jimmy Buffet in Rock Band. To my pleasant surprise a lot of people were happy about the Buffett additions, but there were a ton of people that were raging to the point that they wouldn't buy any more DLC until 'Harmonix got their heads out of their asses.' Such people claimed that Buffett has no place in a game called 'Rock' Band, and if they didn't get their AC/DC or Led Zeppelin fix they were moving to the next Guitar Hero installment. 

Who are people like this to decide what kind of music belongs in the video game? It's incredibly frustrating watching people who bitch constantly about not getting what they want when they want it. They act like Harmonix aren't trying to get bands like Zeppelin and AC/DC into Rock Band, when I'm quite certain they are. It's just hard to get a band like Zeppelin to hand over the rights to their music for a game. If anyone has seen School of Rock, Jack Black had to get on his hands and knees(literally, he did it on video) and beg Zeppelin to let them use a short snippet of "The Immigrant Song" in the film. So seriously, if you don't like the DLC for a week then just shut up and wait until the next week.