The End of Script Frenzy

NaNoWriMo Corporate logo This morning, I received some sad news.

... [T]he OLL Board of Directors voted last month to end Script Frenzy.

Their reasons for discontinuing this yearly adventure are sound and I certainly can empathize with the costs of maintaining the infrastructure required to support what is essentially a self-driven effort with no real tangible value outside of bragging rights of the individual author, or script writer in this case.  I will miss Script Frenzy.  I have found that I like writing scripts more than I like writing stories, and the month-long challenge was a great incentive for me to challenge myself to produce something, despite the distractions of the normal day.  It was an escape and chance to be creative for a couple of hours a day before returning to the real world, even if I did not have time this year to participate this year.

I am glad that the Script Frenzy pieces will be integrated into the main site.  Maybe they will open up NaNoWriMo to include the option to write a script.  But even if they do not, it will not keep me from occasionally sitting down and trying to write a script if the mood takes me.  And I thank the folks at the Office of Lights and Letters for introducing me to the art of script writing.

Conservatives threaten to move to Canada following the SCOTUS Upholding the US Health Care Law

I am Canadian.  I am not going to discuss the merits of the United States Health Care law.  There are enough people talking about it.  But I am going to bring up one interesting point that I found in an article on yahoo.

An alarming number of Twitter users, Buzzfeed noted, declared their intent to move to Canada

It should be noted, in the context of the article, that this group of individuals threatening to invade Canada are those who were opposed to the health care law.  As George Carlin might say, these people seem to be of a group that left their brains at home, or did not have a lot to work with to begin with.  Canada has, at the provincial level, mandated health care.  Each province handles it differently.  In Ontario, where I grew up, it is a payroll tax that covers the payments for medical needs.

Fortunately, most of these conservatives will find that living in Canada is much harsher than the cushy life they are enjoying in the United States.  For example, there is a lovely tax, called the Harmonized GST.  That is a combined provincial and federal tax on good.  And it is very inexpensive. Only 14%, down from I believe 16% before it was harmonized and the carbon tax removed.  If they move to Toronto, they will have to sort their garbage, carry their own bags (Toronto has enacted legislation to ban single use bags, like the ones you get in grocery stores) and pay restaurant tax, provincial income tax, federal income tax and if I read the story right, TTC tax (a percentage of the residential tax in Toronto goes to funding the Toronto Transit Commission.  That amount went up, and thus, property taxes are going up).

So be my guest.  Welcome to Canada.  Please leave a credit card on file with Revenue Canada so we can more easily collect what you owe.

Field Day 2012

Field Day 2012Every year, Amateur Radio operators (also know as hams - a term, personally, that I despise), take to the field

To work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. Field Day is open to all amateurs in the areas covered by the ARRL/RAC Field Organizations and countries within IARU Region 2. DX stations residing in other regions may be contacted for credit, but are not eligible to submit entries. (ARRL)

Field Day 2012 is Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24 and plans are well underway.  Clubs and individuals alike are busy pouring over the rules, trying to determine how many stations they can put on the air, how they will power them, how close they can put their antennas without causing interference and how they will dragoon, cajole and otherwise convince friends, family, and elected officials to visit, operate, and participate.

I have not participated in Field Day since 2008 for a number of reasons, least of which is lack of time.  Field Day takes a lot of energy out of those that participate, even more out of those that organize, and organizing Field Day, if you do it as a show piece, takes a great deal of energy over and above the energy needed to operate.  But I would encourage you to find your local club and check out the goings on.  You will find a number of interesting technologies and techniques that you probably do not associate with Amateur Radio.  In fact, I would suspect you will be amazed by what these hobbyists can do.  And Amateur Radio operators are purely hobbyists - we receive no money for our public support activities, and we generally own all of the gear that we use.  At any Field Day site, you will encounter hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in gear, antennas, and parts, whether commercial off the shelf or lovingly handmade.  Each one treated with respect and care.  And each operator willing to talk to you about what they are doing, and why they love the experience.

Amateur Radio is not, despite several lists to the contrary, an obsolete technology.  In fact, Amateur Radio, and her experimenters are on the cutting edge of communications technology, responsible for wireless communications, satellites, and other forms of telecommunication that are the backbone of today's interconnected world.  And without any form of government funding, Amateurs have come to the aid of their communities in the event of disaster, and lent their support, providing a life line out from the disaster sites until regular communications can be restored.

So while you are out and about over the weekend of the 23rd and you see antenna towers on an empty field, take a moment and drop in.  You will be amazed what you will learn.


...when all else fails...