PITY ME! PITY ME DAMMIT!

I haven’t been able to get a job (and not for lack of trying, as I have had no less than four interviews, but there really is very little in the way of real job search engines for students). Despite my money being incredibly tight and Mom pressuring me to get some sort of job if only for the work experience.

The battery on my laptop is virtually nonexistent, thanks to, from what I have read, being seemingly designed for obsolescence.

I can’t put it on standby or hibernate if just about anything is open, lest it fail to do so and force me to completely shut down, which defeats the purpose of putting it on standby or hibernate.

(If I could change standby or hibernate in any way, I would make it so there is always a way to get out of it right up until it actually finishes entering standby or hibernate, or alternately, until the “Preparing to hibernate” screen disappears. Barring that, I would make it so that Windows inserts a marker the instant it’s done saving the computer’s state to disk; the next time Windows boots up, you have the option of loading from that marker, so if something goes wrong and you have to turn off the computer, you can recover from the marker anyway. If it doesn’t detect the marker, you know the problem came before Windows finished saving the state of the computer, and the end of any escape should come after the marker has been saved. But for reasons I describe below, I now suspect the real problem may be the fact that Windows turns off the keyboard and mouse at all.)

I have no real internet connection, not even one I can steal from inside the house, so I have to run outside a few paces to get anything done online if I don’t want to run about seven blocks (a 10-15 minute walk) to the library. That includes every single night I post the strip.

Which requires the use of my nonexistent battery.

On Saturday I was told I was being kicked out of the library until Thursday because I had been in the library late on Wednesday, the result of my laptop going into a coughing fit (as I described in my Savidge v. Obama post) and me not wanting to take it away from an Internet connection.

So for the next three days I’m going to have to spend some of my precious, sparse dough to use the Internet at a cafe. And walk for a longer distance.

I have a ridiculous backlog of posts I need to get written. My usual Tuesday webcomic post will probably be late this week.

And then last night I head outside to use the Internet, in the act of trying to post the strip, just trying to verify that the strip actually got posted before I created the page (Freehostia’s new file manager is a bit unacceptably slow and had a bug when I tried to post something, but the word is it should be fixed when I reboot), and as I head in the computer starts going on hibernate.

It’s slow enough in doing so that I can plug it back in and hit Esc a lot and get it to stop hibernating, but my jubilation is short-lived. My touchpad and keyboard stop working.

And they don’t come back when the computer mostly ends its latest coughing fit. Among other things, this causes me to lose two of the posts in my backlog (as well as my planned challenge to my “exclusion” from the library). One of them wasn’t going to get posted until after my Truth Court announcement anyway, and required a lot of expansion, but the other is time-sensitive, was all but finished, and is due to be posted at the end of this week. And it presages more posts that will add to my backlog.

It’s enough to cause me, an agnostic-athiest, to want to start screaming at the heavens. WHY ME! WHY SHOULD ALL THESE PROBLEMS STRIKE ME! WHY HATH THOU NOT BLESSED ME WITH WORK ETHIC SO I COULD GET A JOB! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe I can answer part of that question, actually. One reason I haven’t been working as hard as I probably should at finding a job is that I’ve spent so much time on Da Blog.

In some sense, Da Blog has been my job this summer, so I might as well make money off it.

So effective immediately, advertising is coming to Da Blog, courtesy Project Wonderful. (I also applied to have advertising on Sandsday and the web site in general, but the latter was rejected for “lack of content”, and I want to have a uniform look across the web site, which means no ads on one part if there aren’t ads on the other part. On the other hand, I also have such a breadth of stuff on the web site that I’d like to be able to split it up across several “sites”, but I don’t really know how to work that. I could put a horizontal ad space below the strip instead of in the sidebar as I was intending…)

PW essentially uses an auction model for ad space; you stipulate the most you’re willing to pay per day, for how long, and how much you’re willing to pay total. Because you’re charged by the second if your ad is the high bid (and you’re only charged just enough to beat the second-highest bid – so if you’re the only bid you get advertising for free), you could say you’re willing to pay less than you were willing to pay per day. Ads aren’t served up semi-randomly like Google Adsense, which means I can screen the ads, so no porn ads or anything like that. My income isn’t dependent on people clicking on the ads, which makes it easier to make money (and recognizes that just having people be able to see the ad is valuable). And if I make, say, ten dollars in Project Wonderful, that’s ten dollars more than I would see with the equivalent level of activity in Google Adsense, where I wouldn’t be able to see one red cent until I made $100.

There will be two ads on Da Blog, at least to start: one “premier” ad at the very top of Da Blog and also appearing on the RSS feed, and one “standard” in the sidebar. For the first week, the ad space will advertise the ability to advertise if there are no bids; if there still aren’t any bids after a week I’ll put up something of my own. If you’re really interested in advertising for the long haul, subscribe to the new “advertising” label and stay up to date on traffic spikes and changes in the ad model. As soon as I clear the backlog of posts I’ll have a short FAQ on the web site for people wishing to advertise.

I would ask you to donate to me to fund anything to help my situation (I’M REDUCED TO BEGGING DAMMIT!) – a new battery, perhaps, or books for my upcoming return to school – but I have heard a LOT of bad things about PayPal and I don’t know of any competition for it.

My indecision could be your gain!

Doing something different with the strip this week. Today I’m starting a little experiment and I can’t decide whether to do it for only five days or for a full two weeks. I have four strips in the pipeline; I’m not doing a poll, but I do want to hear whether you want to see more of this or go back to video game stuff, or whatever your thoughts are. Leave a comment on this post (remember, Livejournal comments don’t get to me) or e-mail me at mwmailsea at yahoo dot com. Comments will be counted if they’re in by Thursday at 8 PM PT.

More Sandsday stuff later today.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 8/9-10

All times PDT.

Saturday
2-1 PM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, soccer, shooting, badminton, fencing, equestrian, beach volleyball, basketball, and weightlifting, including the awarding of shooting and weightlifting medals (USA). Same on both coasts. According to NBC’s olympic site, “the first gold medal awarded at the Beijing Games could come in” either the shooting or weightlifting events. Aren’t they both scheduled for a certain time? Could you not just look at the schedule?

1-3 PM: Little League Baseball, Senior League Softball World Series (ESPN2). No, they’re not just making random shit up to tide people over for the big shebang.

3-5:30 PM: IndyCar Racing, IndyCar 300 at Kentucky (ESPN2). A moment of silence for the IRL’s impending move to Versus.

7-10 PM: Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC 87 (PPV). So it turns out the UFC does space out its PPVs after all. I apologize for suggesting otherwise. Interferes with Olympic primetime coverage on the West Coast.

Sunday
11-11 AM: Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, basketball, tennis, soccer, archery, and weightlifting, including the awarding of medals in archery and two in weightlifting (USA). Same on both coasts (if that causes a problem, coverage is on NBC from 12:30 to 6 AM). Because real men stay up all night watching the Olympics!

11-4 PM: PGA Golf, PGA Championship, final round (CBS). If golf were to become part of the Olympics, what would happen to the PGA Championship?

5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, St. Louis @ Chicago Cubs (ESPN). Hey, I need to get baseball in somewhere. I should have NBC’s primetime coverage next week.

11-1:30 AM: Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, boxing and tennis (CNBC). NBC has said that they’re putting stuff on CNBC that fits with its male demographic. Um… not the UFC, bloodlust-filled male demographic… more like the wimpy, pass-the-caviar, rich-snob demographic…

An update, but not really.

Last weekend I attended a relative’s wedding, and at the time I considered making a post about the experience, but most of my thoughts were gone by the time I got home. I did get street sign pictures from it though. They’ll be up on the web site when Freehostia can get its new file manager to work the way it wants to.

New poll asks whether you think the label list clutters up the sidebar too much. I thought it did, at the expense of Da Blog Poll and other things below it, but some of what I write is so long it might not matter.

Correction

So I stayed up until after 3 AM just to try and get my computer to settle down enough to get my Truth Court demonstration up, a half hour after that to get the strip up, and a half hour after that to get this up.

I made an error in the strip that has nothing to do with the lack of sleep, because I made this strip back in February.

As I learned, well, I guess last night now (a guy just ran by apparently delivering newspapers and it’s not yet 4), the Opening Ceremonies do not start at 8:08:08 AM Chinese time.

They start at 8:08:08 PM Chinese time.

Which means I could have run today’s strip on 8/08/08, instead of the less pretty 8/07/08.

Oh well.

Savidge v. Obama: Liar? Maybe, but not exactly for the reasons claimed.

Full announcement of Truth Court forthcoming, and an apology to anyone who comes here for more light-hearted reasons, but the reason that, as I indicated in a previous post, I had subscribed to both Media Matters and Newsbusters was because they both serve the important role of keeping the mainstream media in check from opposite perspectives. I heartily recommend that anyone concerned about the truth and able to devote the time to it read both.

Part of what I had in mind with Truth Court was looking at the cases where Media Matters and Newsbusters contradict each other, and it’s somewhat surprising that the first such case would be… this segment airing Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC:

First, the matter of the advertisement(s) they’re talking about:

The Obama ad turns out to have a problem of its own: McCain hasn’t actually received $2 million from oil companies. The ad cites both the Center for Responsive Politics and a Washington Post report, and according to FactCheck.org, the Obama campaign used the Post’s report of $1.1 million from oil and gas companies in June alone, and added that to the CRP’s figure of $1 million total from oil and gas companies prior to that. (It’s worth noting that it’s illegal for corporations themselves to contribute to political campaigns, so these figures are actually coming from people in the oil and gas industries.) If it seems suspicious that McCain would receive as much from oil and gas companies in one month than in his entire campaign prior to that, it is. The former figure, it seems, actually went to a fundraising effort that sent money to various places, including the McCain campaign (how much went to McCain is unknown) and the RNC. If Obama wanted to use one consistent figure for McCain’s haul from oil and gas companies through June, he could have used numbers through July from the CRP, which show McCain receiving $1.3 million from people in the oil and gas industry. Last I checked, that doesn’t round to $2 million.

If this were anything more than a demonstration of what I hope to do with Truth Court, I would be sending e-mails to the Obama campaign trying to find out if they knew they were making an apples and oranges comparison and if they knew they could have used more accurate and recent figures. But I’m not making those calls because I don’t have any credibility whatsoever and I don’t have that kind of time.

I’m also not making those e-mails because that’s not the point of what has Media Matters in a tizzy and Newsbusters in a fit of jubilation: Martin Savidge asking “isn’t [Obama] a bit of a liar?” because “Obama’s getting that same money” from people in the oil and gas industries. Indeed, according to the CRP Obama has received $394,465 from people in the oil and gas industries. Newsbusters claims that’s “hardly a difference for Obama to get huffy about”, blithely ignoring the fact that McCain thus makes more than triple the amount from oil and gas company people than Obama does. On the other hand, Media Matters may be reaching a bit by claiming that Obama thus “does not ‘get that same money’.” He does get some oil and gas money, and in fact FactCheck.org has criticized him before for claiming during the primaries not to take any money from oil and gas interests. The difference between the candidates is dramatized when you consider that McCain has been raking in significantly less overall than Obama, but still, FactCheck calculates that oil and gas money make up .92% of McCain’s total and .12% of Obama’s – a drop in the bucket for both candidates. (So maybe Media Matters and Newsbusters don’t actually contradict each other, but they certainly have opposite implications and conclusions.)

Again, if this was anything more than a demonstration I would be delving deeper into the numbers to see how that .92% figure compares with other candidates, including other presidential candidates and the two Bush-Cheney runs in 2000 and 2004 (the Obama ad says “after one president in the pocket of Big Oil” – Bush – “we can’t afford another”). But the CRP’s OpenSecrets.com is kind of a hard web site to pull data from elections other than 2008 from, and I still don’t have a real internet connection or a real battery, and on top of those problems my computer for some reason started deciding to have hourly coughing fits that eventually became one continuous coughing fit where it was continuously doing something that I was never quite able to verify for certain what it was. (The hard drive light is still blinking a lot and it’s still struggling to do just about anything to the point that I can get about one page loaded each time I head out to poach some Internet bandwidth on my limited battery life.)

Verdict: So is Obama a liar? Throwing two very different numbers together to produce one big number, and making an apples-and-oranges comparison in the process, certainly looks unseemly, and I’m tempted to proclaim Obama guilty whether he knowingly chased the largest number he could get away with or not. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I would award anything to Savidge. The gist of his statement seems to be that Obama is a liar by calling McCain the candidate of oil companies. You can’t call Obama the candidate of oil companies, as outlined above, and it’s true that McCain has received more than twice as much from the oil and gas industry as the next heaviest hauler, Rudy Giuliani. So to the extent those industries have a favored candidate it appears to be McCain, though how much of his oil and gas haul came before he became the presumptive Republican nominee, and how much of both candidates’ hauls came after Obama and the media both started acting like the former was the Democratic nominee, I wouldn’t know.

But does that mean McCain is the oil industries’ lapdog? Certainly they like his offshore drilling plan, but according to FactCheck the ad’s claim of a $40 billion-plus tax break for oil companies is actually part of McCain’s plan for a broad overall reduction of the corporate tax rate. And on a percentage basis McCain would only lose a little less than one percent of his funding if it weren’t for oil and gas companies – .8 percent, if we take Obama’s haul as a baseline percentage – though I haven’t compared that to another favorite target for being in the pocket of oil companies, Bush.

Obama: Probably guilty of something, but not enough evidence to convict. Savidge is innocent of the charge by Media Matters that his statement was “baseless”, when taken by itself, but guilty if you hold him against the implications and probable intention of his statement, that Obama is at least as much the candidate of oil companies as McCain, which is ridiculous on its face.

If you have some of the evidence I wished for above, or if you have completely new evidence that might sway my opinion, submit an appeal in the comments or to mwmailsea at yahoo dot com.

Quickly typed in a closing library…

Very quick check-in.

I will post a Random Internet Discovery tomorrow, but I have a LOT on my plate. I need to do something to find a job this week and my schedule is all out of whack after I went to the wedding of a relative’s AND ill-advisedly subscribed to RSS feeds from both Media Matters AND Newsbusters. New street signs coming by Friday, and plans I had made to re-announce Truth Court on Thursday now look to be waiting for Saturday or later.

Robert Howard posted on 7/30 to say it’ll still be two weeks before Tangents is on a new site. I’m probably returning to Order of the Stick next Tuesday, and that’ll be on the 12th, so I should have a full week after that to look at Tangents.

Investigating the cause of a collapse

After a two-day spurt following the link from David Morgan-Mar’s LiveJournal, Da Blog fell back to essentially the levels it held prior. Which could mean one of two things. It could mean the people who came here weren’t interested in my writing long-term, which probably means the comment I received saying “I can’t imagine why you don’t have a job” is a minority opinion.

Or it could mean everyone is reading off the RSS feed (and not being moved to comment) or the-zaniak’s LiveJournal feed. the-zaniak left a comment the last time I brought up the LiveJournal feed, leaving what seemed to me to be a good enough justification for what seemed to me to be redundancy: aiding the addition of Da Blog to people’s LiveJournal friend lists.

But the more I think about it, the more I don’t like it. There are several inferiorities of the LiveJournal feed to the Blogger-provided RSS feed. I don’t know this for certain, but it appears that the LiveJournal feed allows people to leave their comments on the LiveJournal feed, and not on Da Blog. I’m not paying attention to comments left on the LiveJournal feed, so you’re going to need to head over here to comment. For you, LJ updates only at certain intervals (as opposed to every post) and might not be updating with every single post. (It omits the post that caused that spurt of popularity in the first place, but does include older posts.)

Also, it appears that Blogger allows me to add to the RSS feed an element that cannot be included in the LiveJournal feed. That’s something I’ve been thinking about and that I may have more on later in the week.

Oh, and if you don’t like my writing, feel free to let me know as well. You don’t even have to engage in constructive criticism; just telling me I suck should be good enough for me to keep my ego in check. But don’t overdo it.