Gettin’ My Game On

The upside of following the ALA conference tweets is that I’ve picked up my puzzle books again. (Specifically, KenKen and NYT Crosswords.) I like the former way more than the latter since it has the logic components with Sudoku but without the giant stoic grid. I’ve got myself back to where I left off (6×6 grids) in the first Easy to Hard book but I have yet to pick up my Killer KenKen book. I don’t like to skip puzzles and there was a puzzle at the end of the 5×5 section that really stumped the hell out of me. I’ll tackle it later once I get through the current KenKen book.

Crosswords are an interesting prospect for me since I tend to be a literal person when it comes to clues. I knew I was doomed when I heard an interview with Will Shortz in which he talked about how playful, mysterious, and humorous crossword clues can be written. (I wish I could find that interview to link, but sadly I cannot.) I still like the easy ones, though.

It really has been making me yearn again to make more time for gaming. I’ve really cut back on my World of Warcraft playing time as my interest for other things (including blogging) picks up. I really don’t have the interest for a D&D game (unless it was short 3-4 hour sessions) but I want to get back into board and card games. I’ve heard there are multiplayer game applications on Facebook, but I have yet to try it out. (For anyone who wants to walk me through it, I’d be grateful.)

I wasn’t going to connect this to the library, but since I had to cancel a Teen Wii program today, I might as well make amends. Some of this recent resurgence in gaming has been from following Liz Danforth’s tweets (and subsequent post) regarding gaming at the library. Maybe I can live the dream and get paid to play all in the name of library science.

=D

power to the people

Of all things to be looking into over the internet (and perhaps I’ve exhausted all of the juvenile ones), I’m looking into how to form a political action committee and starting one with my friends. Yes, seriously. And why not? The age of Obama has proven that the internet is a perfectly viable means of harnessing a grassroots effort. Political activism is currently in vogue right now, my interest in the World of Warcraft is winding down, and I’d like to do something different that is both helpful and meaningful to me.

The good news is that finding information on PACs is relatively easy. The Federal Election Commission has a good FAQ complete with a guide and forms for an interested individual. The bad news is trying to read the guide. I wish I could say that it was a file thing, but it’s more of the fact that it is written by lawyers under the direction to write something “user friendly”. So it meanders through regular people talk and ominious awful legal talk. I had a year of law school before going into library science and this crap gives me flashbacks. However, in cursory reading, it’s not that bad. Sure, it’s a 134 pages of gobbelty gook, but it doesn’t feel like a hot fire poker enema. So, it might be worth sloshing through.

This has also been a (gasp) educational experience. I didn’t know they came in multiple flavors (organization or company based versus nonconnected versus a leadership variety) and that that their spending limits are comparable to individuals (which makes sense when I think that people make their own PACs or donate to other PACs so they can make multiple contributions to a single campaign, thus gaming the system; yay American democracy). The most important position in the PAC is the treasurer since apparently you cannot function without one. In fact, it’s the only position listed and discussed to any extent. Since it’s all about money, it makes sense. Then, oh yes, there is a section that is all about communication. It’s like tips from your grandparents about what you can say or can’t say on a date. If you mention a candidate, the money goes there. If you get money that is earmarked for a candidate, then it goes there (I think). Then there are types of solicitation that resemble downhill slalom skiing. And you have to spend $1,000 before you have to register with the FEC. And then what I read starts to meld together in my head as it gets into filing and filling out the forms for filing and so forth.

From there, it is about what kind of candidates to support. This is a two fold question. The easier of these is whether you are going to support local or federal or both. If it is both, then two bank accounts will need to be maintained. Of course, this begs the question: what sort of platform would this sort of PAC support?

I have a firm faith in my friends that there could be a consensus found for a platform that we would all support. We cover a range of the political spectrum, but I don’t think we are incapable of finding compromise on issues. Obviously, this could be a fatal error to the whole PAC idea, but I have some hope. What I would be looking to support would be pragmatic politicians who could supply sensible solutions to various issues (e.g. energy, education, and other domestic issues) regardless of their political party. This might be the most complicated part of this proposal, but it also might be the most exciting in getting into some good political discussions with friends.

Now, as a nonconnected PAC, you can solict the general public for funds. In looking at the Obama campaign, my take on it would be utilizing PayPal and CafePress. I’d have to investigate PayPal more, but it is an excellent means for collecting money and moving it to actual bank accounts (especially in combination with CafePress). Why CafePress? Merchandising. Bumper stickers, bags, hats, t-shirts, and everything in between. It would raise money for the PAC and it gives people some unique swag. (Ask about our $100 bumper sticker!)  And it is harnessing the power of the internet to boot.

This might be the dawn of a new age of politics. Or something like that.

And so it begins

I read a lot of blogs. It started as a work assignment at the library. I was collecting political websites to gear up for the presidential election. And, naturally, no actual questions actually materialized. In fact, I don’t think I had any patrons even remotely come close.

In any event, I got to collecting blogs in my Google Reader. These were the best of the bunch, the links that when I clicked on that didn’t make my head explode in one way or the other. I’ve added a few since, taken out a couple, but they have mostly stayed the same.

The political blogs are the widest collection that I read. They run the whole gambit from conservative to liberal to progressive to whatever other political stance buzzword they have out there. I like them all, even when they are posting or saying things that I don’t agree with. In fact, I might like them more in that case since it puts me outside my comfort zone. I get to mull over the points, digest the meaning, and come out with a new or refined belief. I think the questioning is what makes the arguments stronger, what makes it so I can argue both ways, and what makes me really think about what is going on.

Of course, there is an insane amount of “white noise” in political blogs. The petty issues can stymie any sort of actual conversation with the petty bullshit that prevents us from truly moving forward as a people. And while there is some blame to sling around, the real blame falls to everyone: those who partake, those who allow, those who abstain, and all who don’t call shenanigans on it. But sometimes, sometimes, you get lucky and find something that you didn’t know, whether it is about yourself or the world around you.

The second largest contingent of blogs are all library based. Being a librarian (or, the technical term for a male librarian, a “guybrarian”), I like to keep up with the news and trends. A news feed from Google News and LISNews along with some other smaller blogs covers the territory nicely for me.

Beyond that, it’s all the light stuff. Cartoon strips (Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield without Garfield) and World of Warcraft blogs make up the true time wasting end. Well, ok, they aren’t complete time wasters, but fun stuff after all the dreary political crap.

And so, here I am. I started a public blog before and then just let it die. I maintain a LiveJournal because all my friends are there. But with the advent of Facebook and Myspace, there is just too much social networking crap. This is a public journal, a soapbox, a place where I can jam my note into a bottle and toss it out into the sea of the internet. For, in my experience, people just want to be heard by other people. It is less about trying to bring someone over to your side as it is tryng to get your viewpoint out there.

And so it begins.