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Wednesday, December 31, 2008 
new t-shirt design: belt printed circuit board
my latest obsession is the t-shirt site i'd seen the site before, but only recently learned how it works: users submit shirt designs, other users vote on them, and highly-voted designs are eligible to be printed and sold. if your design is printed, you get a nice chunk of change and maybe some prizes, too.

i have a design up for voting now called belt printed circuit board. the name says it all: it looks like a printed circuit board, and it's a belt print, meaning the pattern completely covers the shirt. check it out, and if you like it, please sign up and vote.

My Submission

the scale goes from 0–5, with 5 being the highest. and if you'd buy one of these shirts if it got printed, be sure to click the "i'd buy it" button, since those count toward the total vote.

dear blogger
dear blogger:

thank you for finally letting me post to my blog after four or five days. however, i still hate you.


Sunday, December 28, 2008 
black "recycle your record collection" shirts growing scarce
while they aren't selling as quickly as i'd like, orders continue to trickle in for "recycle your record collection" shirts:

i'm now running out of inventory of black shirts. i only have one large black shirt left! beyond that, i only have two black XL shirts left, and no more than five of any other size available in black. (purple shirts remain relatively unpopular, though i don't have a lot of mediums.)

so if you've always wanted a black "recycle your record collection" shirt but never bought one, or your old one is worn out and needs to be replaced, order now before it's too late! once they sell out, they will never be reprinted, and you'll have to convince someone to sell you theirs.

p.s. more t-shirt–related news coming soon.

Saturday, December 27, 2008 
dear indy star ed board
dear indy star ed board:

as nice as it might be if the city put a new park in the old market square arena location... i have to wonder, where have you people been living the past year?

apparently the ed board has forgotten that our current mayor thinks parks are a "drain" on the city budget, and put into action a plan to sell off the city's parks. yes, the mayor was eventually embarrassed into postponing that plan, but the fact remains: the mayor thinks parks are a drain, not a benefit.

in other words, there is absolutely no chance that this administration will put a park in the MSA lot. the mayor might decide to build a chinatown there, but there surely won't be a park there while ballard is in office.

thanks anyway, indy star ed board, but you should try reading your own newspaper. if you did, you would've known all this months ago. of course, perhaps you're all distracted by how gannett is dismantling the paper.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 
indy star zen: christmas edition
man, really outdid itself for christmas eve, posting three christmas-related empty stories in a row. here's the best of the three:

merry christmas, happy holidays, and all that stuff.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 
it pays to have friends in high places
shorter mitch daniels: because the economy is so bad, all public employees should voluntarily go without pay increases this year. that goes for everyone except my buddy mitch roob, who deserves a $20,000 promotion.

Thursday, December 18, 2008 
indy star zen: holiday edition
indy star zen for the holidays!

was this a rhetorical question?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 
indy star zen: marvin meter edition
indy star zen:

recently i've seen a number of seemingly empty stories on where the headline is a link to something else. i haven't been posting those because, hey, at least there's a link to some content. but if you're looking at their feed and want to check out their marvin meter, you're out of luck.

Monday, December 15, 2008 
now the truth comes out
i found an interesting revelation buried in this indy star article:

Indiana stands to reap hundreds of millions of dollars under the economic stimulus package Congress is expected to consider for states and could see its share go even higher if Gov. Mitch Daniels gets his way.

The money, state officials say, would help Indiana offset investment losses in its Major Moves road-building fund and could accelerate the timetable of big projects such as the extension of I-69 from Indianapolis to Evansville.

okay, so mitch is trying to get more money for indiana. nothing special there. the major moves fund doesn't have as much money as it should—that was entirely predictable, and anyway, we already knew that. let's read on (emphasis mine).

Although just how much any state might get is up in the air, Daniels and Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., hope to persuade Congress to rethink its traditional approach to parceling out federal transportation dollars.

Those dollars typically have been distributed under a formula that has returned just 92 cents to Indiana for every $1 in federal gas taxes that Hoosiers send to Washington. Some states get more than they send.

Daniels and Bayh are urging Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to distribute the stimulus money based on a state's economic health.

wha-what? but i thought indiana was an island of growth! that's what the governor kept telling us all year. if we distribute transportation money based on the state's economic health, then surely indiana's share of the money would go way down, right? if not be reduced to zero, because things are so f'in' awesome here, right?

alas, no. as it turns out, we aren't doing so hot here in indiana. governor daniels has surely known this all along, but hey, he had an election to win. now that he's won, he can stop pretending.

Friday, December 12, 2008 
shorter mitch daniels
shorter mitch daniels: remember that stuff i said during the campaign about how indiana was an "island of growth" and "on an economic hot streak"? well, forget it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 
the public-safety mayor strikes again!
if you were concerned that last week's post defending the mayor's decision to buy camry hybrids was a harbinger of change, you needn't have worried. ballard and the gang are right back to making the same old bad decisions.

Police shifted four anti-crime cameras from rough neighborhoods to the Monon Trail in response to muggings there, despite promising the devices wouldn't be taken from higher-crime areas.

Just last week, a man was killed and two others were wounded in a barrage of gunfire near one of the intersections -- at 46th Street and Arlington Avenue -- where one of the cameras had been removed.

there were a few muggings on the monon this year, so i understand installing cameras there. but the administration promised back in october that it wouldn't remove cameras from higher-crime neighborhoods in order to move them to the trail.

how does the administration respond to complaints that it broke yet another promise? with linguistics:

"We have to make choices," [Public Safety Director Scott Newman] said. "This is not a high-crime neighborhood. It's a neighborhood with challenges."

oh, well in that case, carry on! the neighborhood will just have to work a bit harder to overcome its challenges—challenges like barrages of gunfire. no biggie.

another day, another broken promise from the ballard administration. the main difference this time is that this wasn't a campaign promise foolishly made by a candidate who didn't know any better—this promise was made just two months ago.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008 
RIP girl, 1996–2008
a few days ago, we learned that girl, virago's cat for 12 years (as well as mine for the past 2–3), had terminal cancer.

her health had been deteriorating gradually for a while—we'd taken her to the vet three or four times in the past several months for various things that we'd thought were unrelated, but in hindsight were probably all symptoms of the greater illness. she'd always been an intensely willful cat, one who despised going to the vet and was thus quite difficult to treat, so it was probably inevitable that we'd be unable to diagnose her cancer until it was advanced.

we brought her home for a couple days after her diagnosis, but by that point she couldn't walk more than a few paces and we had to give her pain medication every 8 hours, which she hated. the drugs kept her relatively comfortable, but it was clear she would never get better, only progressively worse, so last night we took her to the vet's office one last time to be put to sleep.

now there's a hole in our lives—i can hardly look around the apartment without seeing a spot where she used to she used to hang out. but the hardest part of the grieving process was probably this past weekend, when we knew what was coming but couldn't do anything to help her. now that she's gone it's kind of a relief, because i know she won't have to suffer anymore (nor will my wife).

girl lived a productive life for a cat, and was even memorialized in a few lolcats, one of which was featured on the wikipedia entry for lolcat for more than a year (until it was removed in june by someone who didn't understand wikipedia's copyright policies). she may be gone now, but she lives on in our hearts... and on flickr, where her photos will continue to bring joy to others.

goodbye, girl. you will be missed.

next caturday

Friday, December 05, 2008 
local chevy dealer to mayor: bail me out!
given the choice between buying a mediocre product, a small proportion of which was made locally, and spending a bit more to buy a superior product that was assembled a couple hundred miles away, i know what i'd choose: the quality product. some people disagree—and that's fine, except when they take on a tone of moral superiority about it.

yes, hold on to your hats, folks—i'm defending mayor greg ballard here.

ballard recently followed through on his campaign promise to replace some of the city's police cars with hybrids. he chose to buy camrys, but he's been getting flak from some (including some who should know better) for not buying chevy malibus instead.

the malibu hybrid was introduced in 2008. its gas mileage isn't much better than a standard gas-powered car. it's cheap. some of its parts are made in indy and nearby bedford. in contrast, the camry is more expensive, but gets much better gas mileage—so, when you factor in the gas savings over the next few years, the camry is actually a better investment. toyota is a japanese company, but the actual cars are made in our neighboring state to the south, kentucky.

seems like a simple decision to me: pick the better car with better mileage. but some are complaining quite vocally. the local chevy dealer whose bid lost out has been crying to the media about it—apparently he believed that he deserved to win the bid, just because his cars' sticker price was lower.

most offensive of all is the union rep who seemingly tries to blame the city for pending layoffs at his plant. i'm generally a union supporter, but dude, the city's order of 85 cars would not have been enough business to prevent layoffs at your plant. the economy is in the tank, and while japanese companies were planning for the future by designing hybrids, american companies kept pumping out SUVs. as a result, japanese hybrids are simply better. maybe that'll change in a few years as american hybrids catch up, but for now, them's the breaks, and nothing mayor ballard does will change that.

the concept of buying locally is that you can often get fresher, higher-quality products from local businesses rather than having stuff shipped in from afar (which is both expensive and bad for the environment). and if the camrys were being shipped in from japan, perhaps it would make sense in this case. but pretending that a chevy malibu is a "local product" simply because a few of its parts were made here (and then shipped out of state to be assembled) is a stretch. and even if it were truly local, the mayor is under no obligation to buy an inferior product simply because it's local. otherwise, the police might as well buy cheap, homemade guns and handcuffs, too. because, hell, they're locally made, right?

Thursday, December 04, 2008 
indy star zen: flat broke edition
last one for today:

not just too broke for gifts... too broke for comments!

indy star zen: obscenity edition

as if to prove my point, this turned up in my feed reader mere hours after i published my previous post.

indy star zen: gay marriage edition
if you use a feedreader and are subscribed to any of the feeds (particularly the "top stories" feed), you've probably noticed an increasing number of stories like this popping up recently:

just a headline, with no story... yet posted on the site and to the feeds, for all to see. i call these indy star zen—kind of like haiku, but without the syllabic restrictions. who needs an actual story when the headline gives you a vague sense of what happened?

sometimes these zen "stories" are humorously poignant. other times they're depressing. and sometimes they're just frustratingly uninformative.

what's particularly odd in this case is that the article is online... right here at and the links on the front page of point to the correct place... just not the feed.

perhaps this kind of thing is inevitable considering the star is going through yet another round of layoffs. but it's happening so often now that it's moved from being funny to being simply pathetic.

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