[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Tuesday, 2017-05-16

Moving forward

Filed under: About Me,Philosophy,Society,Travel — bblackmoor @ 09:03

I realized yesterday that I don’t want to move to somewhere I have already lived. I think of that as moving backward. It occurs to me that this is not how most people think.

Also, I would really like to move somewhere not populated by ignorant bigots and ruled by a death cult.

Tuesday, 2016-03-15

Retiring abroad

Filed under: Fine Living,Retirement,Travel — bblackmoor @ 14:40

Nova Scotia has an average of 8-10 feet of snow annually, which is too much for me. So retiring to Cape Breton Island is out. Retiring to Cape Breton Island is still a possibility.

Looking at the countries on this list, Cuenca (Ecuador) is still high on my list, because of the climate, the cost, and the existing expatriate community. Boquete (Panama) is a strong second, and Panama (for the moment) makes it very easy to obtain permanent residency. Mexico (Guanajuato or San Miguel de Allende) would be a third choice: it’s easy to emigrate there, and like Panama and Ecuador, it rates pretty well for health care and medicine. And it’s a lot closer to the USA, in case we want to come back for visits.

A lot of the other places listed in the attached link sound great in most respects (like Malaysia), but are just too warm for me, while others sound great in most respects but are too expensive for me to consider retiring there (such as Ireland).

The first step will be visiting one of these places to see if we actually like it there. Anyone up for a group vacation in 2017?

I need to remember to check on the internet speed, cost, and reliability in these places.

Update: Internet in Cuenca seems decent. Netflix and Hulu are available, but require a VPN. In Boquete, there appear to be a number of high-speed internet providers, but Netflix and Hulu are only available through a VPN. Guanajuato also has high speed internet, and again, a VPN appears to be needed to access Netflix and Hulu.

Reading the “Gringos Abroad” blog (linked above), two things jumped out at me as possible deal-breakers for me: parasites, and cockroaches. So maybe ten feet of snow is not such a bad thing.

Tuesday, 2013-08-20

Groklaw takes its ball and goes home

Filed under: Civil Rights,Privacy,The Internet,Travel — bblackmoor @ 14:15
book in chains

Legal Site Groklaw Shuts Down Rather Than Face NSA

I stopped flying years ago, because it offends me to be scanned, groped, and treated like a criminal in order exercise my fundamental human right of travel. Now I am wondering how long it will be before I stop using email and the web. Perhaps I should have stopped already.

How did we become a cyberpunk dystopia without most of us noticing?

Saturday, 2013-06-01

Stephen Fry In America: The Deep South

Filed under: Television,Travel — bblackmoor @ 14:02
Stephen Fry In America

In episode two of this charming series, Fry visits the South. He has such an obvious affection for what makes us distinctive, including our friendliness and our love of our history (celebrating the good and transcending the bad).

I can’t help but wish that more Americans had as few prejudices about the South as Stephen Fry does.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

Friday, 2013-02-22

MystiCon 2013 schedule

Filed under: Conventions,Friends,Gaming,Travel — bblackmoor @ 11:52

Here is my MystiCon 2013 schedule, in case you are interested in that sort of thing.

Fri 8:00 PM
Ballroom D
Gaming for Beginners

Fri 9:00 PM
Ballroom E
Game Development

Sat 10:00 AM
Ballroom C
A Conversation with Steve Long (I’m interviewing him)

Sat 1:00 PM
Ballroom D
Blog Much?

Sat 10:00 PM
Boardroom 1
Ouch! You Bit Me! A Zombie Survival Guide

Sun 10:00 AM
Ballroom C
The Artistry of Gaming

Sun 12:00 PM
Ballroom E
No Shirt, No Shoes, No Entry ‐ Business Etiquette

Sun 1:00 PM
Boardroom 1
If They Came in Saucers, Why Are We Smarter?

Friday, 2012-03-09

The TSA is corrupt and incompetent

Filed under: Civil Rights,Science,Travel — bblackmoor @ 21:54

I write to my Congress people every so often asking them to abolish the TSA (not reform, not privatize — abolish). If more people did so, at least the corruption would be more obvious.

Tuesday, 2011-11-08

Cancer-causing airport scanners? Enough Is enough

Filed under: Civil Rights,Technology,Travel — bblackmoor @ 21:14

It’s bad enough having to shell out exorbitant amounts of money in order to travel, but there’s no reason any individual should be forced to choose between a certified health risk or a humiliating, invasive search of their person by ill-trained government agents. Even the airport personnel have expressed concerns about the scanners. The Allied Pilots Association has urged its members to opt out of the body scanning measures because of the “ionizing radiation, which could be harmful to their health.” That caution has been echoed by the Federal Aviation Administration’s medical institute, which has raised a concern about the effects of radiation exposure on pregnant pilots and flight attendants.

(from Cancer-Causing Airport Scanners? Enough Is Enough, The Rutherford Institute)

Wednesday, 2011-08-31

The Mugs of August – Treasure Island mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 23:58
Treasure Island mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

I spent about six hours in the car yesterday, driving all over central Virginia looking for the perfect kitten. So this, the final installment of the Mugs of August, is a little late.

When we went to Las Vegas in 2002, we were amazed at how much fun you can have for free, or nearly free. For example, every morning, we made the rounds of the “free spin” slot machines, and came home at the end of the week with a dozen decks of cards, a few packs of dice, a number of “collectible” dolls, tote bags, and other assorted crap. We also got a pair of theatre tickets for Splash! just for taking a bus tour of the Las Vegas suburbs and listening to a half-hour pitch for a time share. The bus tour was part of the pitch, but I thought it was a pretty cool thing to do on its own. We got another set of tickets for Showgirls of Magic for listening to an hour pitch from a hotel-timeshare.

I’ve already mentioned how much I liked Showgirls of Magic. Splash! was a pretty popular show at the time, but we hadn’t planned to see it, and probably wouldn’t if we hadn’t had the free tickets. It was a variety show, much like what you would see on “America’s Got Talent”, but with intermittent topless showgirls, and a big closing musical number celebrating the sinking of the Titanic. (Yes, we thought that was odd, too.)

A number of casinos had free entertainment, either outside or inside. One of the hotels we stayed at, the Flamingo, had Russian trapeze artists and acrobats performing every few hours. The Bellagio has its fountains, Circus Circus has its midway circus show, and Treasure Island has a pirate ship fighting an English man o’ war. (Or had — apparently they have changed the show up a bit since then.) It was a great show: every bit as good as something you’d see at Universal Studios, in my opinion. And free for anyone who happened to be walking by.

It’s a great mug, too. Heavy, but comfortable to hold and drink from. I am drinking coffee from it right now, in fact. You might not be able to tell from the photo, but the skull and crossbones is raised a bit in bas-relief, which is neat.

And thus we come to the end of the Mugs of August. I hope you found it entertaining.

Monday, 2011-08-29

The Mugs of August – Forsvarets Fjernundervisning mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel,Work — bblackmoor @ 21:25
Forsvarets Fjernundervisning mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

In April and May 2003, I went on a long business trip to Europe for SAIC and Joint Forces Command, on behalf of the Partnership For Peace. Susan went with me. We visited the Czech Republic, Germany, and Norway. Norway was the last leg of our trip. We stayed in Oslo for nearly a week.

Oslo is a very interesting city. It seemed to me that everything was made of stone, and that the streets were deserted. Part of that perception was caused by the fact that Susan and I would wander around late at “night”, when normal Norwegians had gone to bed. But it was broad daylight. Oslo was very clean, and even the prostitutes seemed well dressed.

It was very expensive, though. I seem to recall a Big Mac cost almost $10. We didn’t eat at McDonald’s — I was just curious about the prices. I did have whale steak while we were there. I didn’t care for it, actually, but I am glad I was able to try it. If you’ve ever had a really horrific bloody nose, with golfball sized clots in your throat… it tasted like that.

I spent my days at Akershus Castle, a 13th century fortress which now houses museums, and at the time also housed the Forsvarets Fjernundervisning (which translates roughly as “Norwegian national defense distance education”). Like all of our hosts for that trip, our Norwegian military hosts were friendly, and proud of their city and their history. They gave Susan and me a private tour of the castle, and gave each of us one of these mugs as a parting gift.

Fun fact: in Norway, they don’t dub movies. American movies have American soundtracks. They also learn other languages in school at a very young age. Our hosts generally spoke English while we were around. I only overheard them speaking Norwegian with each other a few times. It actually did sound a lot like the Swedish Chef, believe it or not. But their English was superb, and the younger they were, the better it was. There was a contractor for IBM who I’d assumed was from California, based on his accent. Imagine my surprise when we took Susan and me out clubbing, and we found out that he was a local. His English was just that good. Not that I am criticizing anyone who speaks English with an accent. I have tremendous respect for anyone that learns English. I think that’s amazing. But his English was flawless.

Thursday, 2011-08-25

The Mugs of August – Mug from the Jekyll & Hyde Club, Chicago, IL

Filed under: Art,Food,Movies,Travel — bblackmoor @ 23:33
Mug from the Jekyll & Hyde Club, Chicago, IL

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

Feeling nauseous as hell, but I want to get this done.

In the late 1990s, Susan was sent to Chicago for a week for training on polarized light microscopy (note to self — get the actual date from her, and make sure I have the term correct). I went with her, and while she was in class all day, I wandered around Chicago. It was awesome. For such a large city, people were incredibly friendly. I ate pizza at some famous Chicago restaurant that had the best pizza I have ever had, I had a hot dog (or was it a cheese steak? memory fails me…) at some famous hole-in-the-wall place that used Cheez-Whiz instead of actual cheese (and it wasn’t half bad!), and I just generally wandered around and made a nuisance of myself.

At night, we went out on the town. Drinks and an awesome view at the Sears Tower (which was, at that time, just recently dethroned as the tallest building in the world). Drinks and blues at Buddy Guy’s. Dinner, drinks, and a haunted house at the Jekyll & Hyde Club (warning: that web page has a very loud and obnoxious Flash animation). I’m sorry to see that the Chicago location closed. It had great food, and a great atmosphere.

Anyway, that’s where this enormous coffee mug came from. This was the first of the humongous giant coffee mugs I bought. For the first week after we came back, I actually tried drinking coffee from it, but that’s not really very practical. At the speed at which I drink coffee, it gets cold about halfway through the mug. Nowadays, it holds a dozen or so pair of 3D glasses from various 3D movies that have come out in the last couple of years. Frankly, I doubt I’ll be putting any more 3D glasses in it.

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