kiran collie likeshine

The State of Kiran

So it's been awhile since I posted, so here's an update. Or something.

It's a girl!

Or, it will be. Sarah and I found out that the aforementioned sexess baby we were having will be a little baby girl. While we don't currently have a name, we are leaning towards the name Scarlett Rose - just unusual enough to be interesting, but not something silly or crazy.

Although the sex determining ultrasound was not without some drama. The doctor called us a few days later to let us know that the ultrasound showed some ... irregularities. Namely choroid plexus cysts which are cysts in the brain of the child. Apparently, these occur in 1-3% of all pregnancies and they usually resolve themselves on their own. But, they can also be an indicator of certain genetic disorders such as Trisomy 18. So, she wanted us to go to UAB in Birmingham for a more detailed ultrasound.
 
So Monday, after sweating this shit for 2 weeks, we went to Birmingham. I have to admit, I was impressed with the facility. The first time I can ever remember a doctor getting us in ahead of our appointment, and at one point we had two doctors, a medical student and a tech looking at the ultrasound. Fortunately, thank God, they pronounced that there were no more signs of the cysts and everything else looked completely normal.

House for sale.

But with a little girl on the way, Sarah and I have discovered that there is simply not enough room for us in this house with all the baby stuff. The house I bought back in 2007 is simply not big enough for all the stuff we're going to be buying. And forget having enough room should another kid come along in a few years. So, concluding that now was a good time to buy and that I only want to move once again, we finally put the house on the market last weekend.

It has been very bittersweet, and I've run the gamut of emotions on it. I gotta be honest, though, I'm gonna miss this place. I've really loved this little house and I have a lot of memories here. It'll be sad when we have to leave. But if anyone's looking for a home in Madison (great location 5 minutes from the Arsenal and Research Park), let me know.

In the meantime, we've put an offer on an absolutely enormous house in another area of Madison. 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 3,150 square feet. It has a huge open floorplan living room, an enormous master bedroom and bathroom suite with a closet larger than some bedrooms in my current house. And, best of all, a huge front room with a separate office. It was once used as a model home and the builder had their offices in the front area.

We've been going back and fourth with the builder. He's trying to unload it, but I'm firm in my resolve to sell my current house before committing to a new one. So prayers would be appreciated that all this works out.

Vacation.

In the past we've taken some big vacations. Jamaica, Las Vegas and London come to mind. This year we're staying a little closer to home and driving down to Pensacola this weekend to spend 5 days ont he beach. It'll be the first time I've been back to Pensacola Beach since way back in 2003 when I went with my Dad. 

Truck!

Today, I did $800 worth of work on my truck. Among the service done:
  • Two new tires.
  • Two older tires rotated and balanced.
  • Oil changed.
  • Brakes services.
  • Alignment fixed.
It's pretty nice not to have that major vibration in my steering wheel anymore. Moreover, with all this done now, it should be some time before I need to do any major service again *knock on wood*.

This post was originally made on DreamWidth. Please leave comments here (you can even use your LJ username and password!) Or ... you can join me there!
kiran collie likeshine

Penn State.

As a college football fan, I would be remiss if I didn't at least have some thoughts on the biggest scandal ever to hit college sports.

I remember when this first started to surface last year. I was very cautious at the time as everyone around seemed to be out for a pound of flesh. I generally try to avoid mobs and witch hunts - what I most wanted was to let the investigations play out, and find out who knew what and when did they know it. Because only once we know the facts of a case can we truly sit in judgement.

Well, now we know the facts, and it's worse than I could have ever imagined.

Now, I haven't read the Freeh report - I really haven't had time (or desire) to digest a 227 page report detailing the actions of a child molester and the people who enabled him, even after they knew. But the report is the probably the single most damning thing ever to land on a college athletic program. It eclipses Kentucky's point-shaving in the 50s. It eclipses Louisiana-Lafayette's academic shenanigans in the 70s. And it most definitely eclipses SMU's "Pony Excess" in the 80s.

This is, without a doubt, the worst, most rotten thing I could possibly imagine. I don't think this would have even been imaginable 15 years ago. And yet, here we are. All of those cases pale in comparison to what happened at Penn State.

As the report details, the problems at Penn State were wider than just the football program. Many, many people, from the President down to janitors, knew what was going on ... but nobody said anything. A culture of silence and, more importantly, a reverence for athletics beyond all reason, pervaded everything that happened in State College. Nobody would go against, or risk threatening, the almighty sacred golden calf that was the Penn State football program. For all intents and purposes, Penn State football and Joe Paterno were sacrosanct and any attempt to confront them would elicit the highest orders of outrage.

What happened to those kids was terrible - and the justice system will see to it that those responsible are held to account for their crimes, as will the completely justified lawsuits which are sure to follow. But there are some other points surrounding this whole thing that I think are worthy of pondering here as well.

For the longest time, I held Joe Paterno and Penn State as the paragon of stability that all athletic programs should strive for. I mean, here was a guy that was head coach for 45 years. In that same time period, Auburn had six coaches and Alabama had eight. In retrospect, I can't help but wonder if that same stability allowed a culture to flourish that enabled something like this to happen. Is it good for one person to be allowed to accumulate so much power and hold it, unchecked, for so long? Would a few changes in administration have helped deter this situation?

I would like to think so and, in truth, it may. But think the problem is bigger than Penn State and cuts right to the heart of the worship of college athletics in the United States. This same "athletics can do no wrong" culture can be seen at many major Division I schools. I mean, in my heart I would love to believe that something like this could never happen at Auburn. But I also cannot discount the power that the athletic department holds. The same can be said for Alabama, LSU, Oregon (whose program I think is absolutely rotten to the core on so many levels) and so many programs. Can I honestly believe that a janitor who sees something like that janitor at Penn State saw and has to decide between his job and reporting will do the right thing? And even if they keep their job, would have to constantly be on the lookout for some crazed "fan" much like we hear every week on Finebaum to do something insane?

That's the thing about this whole sad situation that I don't think is getting enough discussion. This scandal is an indictment of the worship of athletics that pervades colleges across the US. Penn State just took that same worship that happens at every Division I program and turned the knob to 11. As a result, a culture of silence allowed a child molester to run rampant for years with the full knowledge of many people, who placed covering up for the name of the Nittany Lions above doing the right thing.

This. Has. Got. To. Stop.

The thing that is so damning about all of this is that it's not the oh so loved "lack of institutional control" that we usually hear about when it comes to sports scandals. In this case, the institution was in such complete control of every aspect of Nittany Lion culture, that no one would dare go against it. This is unique, uncharted waters for college athletics.

Now, I don't know what the NCAA will do, if anything. Frankly, my opinion of the NCAA is right down there with the UN in terms of being able to do anything useful. But if there's any justice in the world, the NCAA will drop the hammer on Penn State and end the program. At least for a couple of years. And if the NCAA doesn't do it, Penn State should, for once, do the right thing and pull the plug themselves. Shut everything down, cool everything off and, in a few years, return with a new focus on what is really important. Because even though all the people responsible are gone, the culture is still in place. You have to change the culture.

Yes, I said it. I'm talking the Death Penalty. A slap on the wrist - a few scholarships lost, a TV or bowl ban - would be insulting. To do anything less in this situation is to condone the very attitude that allowed Jerry Sandusky to molest children for years. A message needs to be sent, to universities and fans across the nation that there is a line of acceptable behavior and culture when it comes to college athletics, and that Penn State flew over that line at supersonic speeds. There must be accountability.

SMU paid some played. Kentucky shaved some points. But at Penn State, a culture of silence and reverence for athletics enabled a child molester to go unchecked, with full knowledge of the administration, for years. If that's not worthy of the ultimate penalty, the entire NCAA is s sham and should itself be disbanded.

For the average college football fan, this should be yet another sobering reminder of the dark places that operate at some of alma maters. For as much as we would like to believe in the purity of sport, this scandal - perhaps the saddest and worst ever- indicates of the depths to which evil can spread.
This post was originally made on DreamWidth. Please leave comments here (you can even use your LJ username and password!) Or ... you can join me there!
pissedoff

Fuck.

This is why we can't have nice things.
Are you fucking kidding me?

Now, in the case of the first one, the assault apparently happened after Anthrocon was over, and it's not certain that the person was actually an attendee. Whenever you get that many people in one place, there's bound to be at least one creep. So I don't "blame" Anthrocon, and there will always be people shitty people who will do shitty things, although that hardly matters to my main point below. The incident at FurBQ, on the other hand, is absolutely inexcusable.

There are two things that connect both of these incidents: they occurred in public at furry events, and in both cases no one did anything until it was too late. All I can ask myself is "Why?"

Why did no one go up to that person sexually assaulting that woman and say, "Hey, you should stop doing this immediately before I call the police." Why did no one go up to the two jackasses fucking in fursuit on the hood of a car in broad fucking daylight, in front of children, and say, "Hey, you should stop doing this immediately before I rip your dick off and feed it to you. Take it to a room!"

Why? Because it's uncomfortable. I get that. No one likes to have to be "that guy" that has to break up the "fun." In the back of our heads, we know what we're seeing is wrong. We tell ourselves, "well, it doesn't involve me" or "someone else will talk to them." But no one ever does because everyone always thinks it's someone else's problem. Everyone always passes the buck to someone else who's supposed to be responsible. And because people were too busy looking away, a woman was sexually assaulted and two furs fucking in public cost an ambulance service hundred of thousands of dollars and (apparently) several people their jobs.

I am saying this clearly, without any equivocation: every person standing in front of the Westin when that woman was assaulted, and saw it happen, bears some responsibility for what happened, because you did nothing to stop it. Every person who attended FurBQ and saw those two morons fucking on the hood of the car bears some responsibility for what happened, because you did nothing to stop it.

We furries have got to begin to police our own. I'm sorry, but "it's someone else's problem" is no longer a justifiable attitude to have as long as you are part of a community and live in civilized society. When you see something like this happening, you have a choice to make. You can take the easy road and say, hey, it's not my problem. Or, you can do something about it. If you choose the first option, you bear the same shame as the offender.

It is your moral obligation to look out for others and the community.

Any time you, as a furry, are in public or at a furry event in public, always remember:

Your behavior reflects on us all.

Especially fursuiters, because you are the most visible members of the fandom to non-fandom members.

When you fuck in fursuit on the hood of a car in broad daylight, average people think all furries fuck on the hoods of cars in broad daylight. You may think that all furries do (or would, given the change) but, news flash Sparky, they wouldn't. Most wouldn't. Some wouldn't. A few wouldn't. In fact, it may just be you, ya damn fools! So quit taking it on yourself to give us all a negative image!

The sexual assault incident should never have happened. It was in public, in front of a hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. But it did, and more than anything that's sad and infuriating.

Now, I've ranted enough about this. Instead of sitting back and just shrugging, I'm going to do something positive to offset this. I'm not sure what yet, but I'll find something. If you are looking to help:
This post was originally made on DreamWidth. Please leave comments here (you can even use your LJ username and password!) Or ... you can join me there!
kiran collie likeshine

Cursillo

How can you possibly put into words what was one of the most unexpected, best experiences of my entire life?

I'm not going to write much about what actually happened at Cursillo. It's not out of any secrecy or shame - to the contrary, I wish I could share the joy of what I experienced with every person on Earth. But I also don't want to ruin the surprise and, no matter what, I don't think words could adequately express the joy of the experience. Regardless, my experience was different from that of my fellow pilgrims, and from past and future pilgrims. It's different and unique for everyone; we all experience it in different ways.

Coming out the other side, it feel like a new person. Cursillo was literally a life changing experience.

I will, however, share with you one observation I made about myself over the weekend:

As part of the weekend, they take your cellphones and watches. Not having my cellphone made me consciously aware of how much i actually look at my phone, and how socially ... lame ... it has made me. The first day or so any time there was a lull in any conversation, I found myself unconsciously reaching for my pocket. But by the third day, I wasn't doing this anymore, and seem to have recovered some of my atrophied ability to socialize. I'm going to try to be more consciously aware of it in the future.
This post was originally made on DreamWidth. Please leave comments here (you can even use your LJ username and password!) Or ... you can join me there!
kiran collie likeshine

Anthropomorphic Radio Productions

Anthropomorphic Radio Productions is an idea I've been kicking around for a few years now that I think could be a lot of fun.

The idea is to produce "radio dramas" in the spirit of the golden age of radio, which lasted from the early 1920s through the introduction of the first televisions in the 1950s. This was an era that produced many of the most famous productions of old radio (think Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air, War of the Worlds, the Sherlock Holmes radio dramas, etc). I'm envisioning going beyond just "audiobooks" - just one or more people reading a story - to a full adaptation and production, including music and sound effects.

In order to pull this off, we're going to need a wide range of talent:
  • Writers and radioplay adapters. There will be a role for both original content and adaptations of stories from other furry mediums.
  • On-air talent. Obviously we'll need voice actors. :)
  • Sound effects. We need people to research sound effects for the productions as well.
  • Musicians. While I'd love to have some original music, this may be the single biggest obstacle to overcome, so we may need to look into royalty free music.
  • Audio technicians. We need talented folks to mix a lot of sound together in a way that sounds awesome.
  • Producers and directors. Somebody's gotta shepherd a production from idea to completion.
  • IT/Web hosting. We'll need a website and a place to host the files. I'd like to see them available through iTunes and the like as well.
  • Sales? I kinda had this idea of selling advertisements as well. This is up for debate though.
Interested in helping? Join up!
This post was originally made on DreamWidth. Please leave comments here (you can even use your LJ username and password!) Or ... you can join me there!
kiran collie likeshine

10 Years Ago

It weirds me out a bit to think about how long, and yet how fast another 10 year marker has gone by.

Ten years ago, right now, I was driving across Nebraska. I had left a Days Inn in Lincoln and was heading for Rawlins, Wyoming. In Rawlins, I would spend the night before heading up US-287 towards my final destination: Yellowstone National Park.
This post was originally made on DreamWidth. Please leave comments here (you can even use your LJ username and password!) Or ... you can join me there!
kiran collie likeshine

New Truck Stereo

Upgraded the stereo in my truck.

Before:


After:

The new head unit is a Clarion CX-501, which has built-in support for Bluetooth audio streaming from my iPhone as well as built-in support for Satellite radio. I figured since I'm probably going to be driving the truck for the foreseeable future, I may as well have a good sound system.

This post was originally made on DreamWidth. Please leave comments here (you can even use your LJ username and password!) Or ... you can join me there!
kiran collie likeshine

April 27th: One Year Later

Today, one year ago, was literally one of the worst, most terrifying days days of my life.

If you haven't been "under the gun" for a tornado, or otherwise affected by a major natural disaster, it's hard to explain what the terror islike. You know it's coming, but you don't know how long it will last or how bad it will be. The feeling of absolute helplessness is the worst.You are totally at the mercy of Mother Nature, and whether or not she decides to fuck up your shit is a stroke of the divine. None of yourpreparations matter. All you can do is take cover and pray to God that he spares your life, let alone all your shit.

 
My memory of that day will forever be Sarah and I cowering under blankets in the downstairs bathroom as tornadic cell after tornadic cell passed us by. I had my laptop in the bathroom while we streamed weather. It was so loud in there, with the wind and rain pounding. And when the power went out, we weren't even sure if it was because we were about to die or what.

It would be a few days of no-power before we would finally decide to bail and spend awhile in Nashville before things leveled out in Huntsville.

You can read more of my thoughts and memories of the 2011 Super Outbreak here. In short, the tornado and the aftermath of it was a life-changing few days. The things I thought were so important before suddenly didn't seem so important.

Anyways, it just seemed like an appropriate day to look back.
This post was originally made on DreamWidth. Please leave comments here (you can even use your LJ username and password!) Or ... you can join me there!
kiran collie likeshine

A lifetime ago...

It seems like a lifetime ago...

I was working at my first real career type job - a junior programmer for a transit company. All summer I lusted over a 2000 Ford Focus. And, if there was one indispensable soundtrack to that "last summer" before I left for Auburn, it was the Titan A.E. soundtrack. 

It was only 12 years. Why does it feel like a whole different life, and a whole different person?
This post was originally made on DreamWidth. Please leave comments here (you can even use your LJ username and password!) Or ... you can join me there!