This Land Is Your Land

Polling Place

The honest truth is that pretty much every race in this year’s election is more or less predetermined where I live, from US Senator down to the local school board. You can blame the fact that Jersey is still a strong blue state (in spite of our governor), as well as strong gerrymandering for that. I’m sure it’s the forgone conclusion nature of so many elections that will keep a lot of people home and not voting in this election. That, or general apathy over the fact that our government in Washington is hopelessly gridlocked (it’s hard to have a working government when one side has decided that its only prerogative is to destroy the other side because the black man is president).

Still, I have a strong civic pride in the whole voting thing. I’ve voted in every general election since 2000. Not necessarily because I thought my one vote was going to swing a race or impact the world in some great way, but because it’s the thing to do. I think that we Americans, of all political stripes, really do take our political freedoms for granted. We may not always like the people we’re asked to vote for (and trust me, there’s plenty wrong with both sides), but we’re the last word in putting and keeping them in power. And maybe, one day, enough of us will be able to band together and fix some of the problems in the fucking system (like getting all the money out of the elections).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that even when you’re stacked with somewhat shitty candidates and races that you can’t get excited about, voting still fucking matters. You’re a goddamned American and this your goddamned civic duty. If you’re not getting out there and voting each and every year, maybe you need to stop and ask yourself what you’re doing calling yourself a member of the stars and stripes nation.

Get out and vote. If you don’t know where to go, this website will help you out. Just plug in your address. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for or talk about who I’m voting for. Vote your conscience. Vote your ideals. Vote your pragmatism. Whatever it is, just fucking vote, okay?

Photo Credit: stephenvelasco on Flickr released under a cc by-nc 2.0 license.

Crash Into Me

Crashplan

A few days ago, my trusty ThinkPad T420s’ hard drive decided that it had enough and it was time to retire. Major bummer, right? Eh, not so much. Thankfully, I have this nifty service called Crashplan which seamlessly backs up all my stuff to the cloud. What a lifesaver. Once it became obvious that the hard drive was beyond the point of reclamation, it turned into a scenario of “OK, let’s move on and do something else.” And because that damn service had all of my shit tucked away in a remote data center somewhere, I could do that. Setup new laptop, load Crashplan on it, start the restore before I leave for work, and my data is waiting for me—fully intact no less—when I get home.

The moral of the story is it only takes one total hard drive failure to make the money you spent on a backup service worth every penny and then some. Get a service and back your data up on the regular.

Cold As Ice

icebucketidiots

Let’s talk about that stupid fucking ice bucket challenge. Yup, I called it stupid. I really cannot stand this whole thing. This is one if those things that sort of took off, because we’ve become a total meme culture that has to follow something because someone (usually their favorite celebrity, because nothing matters more to so many people these days than what the celebs “care” about) else does it. Think about what this thing is. You’re nominated by someone and either donate $100 to an ALS charity or you dump a fucking bucket of water and ice on yourself. Basically, it’s a bully move dressed up as philanthropy. I thought this started as a whole “wouldn’t you rather give us some money rather than be doused in ice cold water? Come on, buddy, you know you want to stay dry ;)” until it took off as this whole “Haha look at me. I was up to it. Aren’t you?”

Fuck all of you. I am so turned off by this, because it’s a whole social bullying thing now. Aren’t most if your friends on Facebook berating anyone who thinks that the challenge is dumb, or complains about water being wasted, or whatever? I’ve seen more than a few of mine do it. This is philanthropy at its absolute worst.

I ow my opinion on this is unpopular. I also know that ALS is a serious disease. I am also sure that the ALS charities are better charities to donate to than a charity like Susan G Komen. I’m sure these charities do important work. But this peer pressure campaign rubs me the absolute wrong way. Let me choose where I want to donate my money. Or, better yet, let’s take some of this energy and use it to pressure world governments to actually pony up their money and resources to try and cure this disease. Until then, take your ice bucket and fall in it.

Photo Credit: MSNBC