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Getting ready for Jury Duty  
12:24pm 21/04/2011
 
 
Narei Mooncatt

Next week is my birthday, so what do I get? The state of Wisconsin is assigning me to 4 days of slavery jury duty.

Ok, so why do I call it slavery? First off, I've never served before, so let me just say this has nothing to do with the act itself. I understand that part of it. My problem is they only pay $32/day + mileage (I live a whopping 3 miles at best from the court), or $16 + mileage if I don't get selected for said trial. I have no problem calling that an insult at best. Considering it is less than minimum wage, and no one can live on that today, they may as well pay nothing. On top of that, the only out they give us is for vacations, only it just defers your servitude until a later date. They don't off assistance for child care, so I really feel bad for the single parents and ones like my mate where there's only one parent at home most of the time and don't have reliable child care arrangements. What are those people supposed to do? Bring the kid(s) to court with them?

It wouldn't be so bad for me if they paid a half decent amount, but now I see why people hate to serve. Though at least I've learned something from this. Going off on a tangent, we've heard a lot recently how people on the left think health care should be a right. That everyone in the country should be entitled to it. Comparing that to jury duty, having a trial by a "jury of your peers" is also a right. In jury duty, someone is infringing on my rights and abilities to be a productive member of society and putting me in a financial hardship so they can have their right in the trial. If health care was also considered a right, then doctors would also be forced to take on undue hardships (or even perform at the point of the proverbial government gun) to treat all the people that can't/don't want to pay. But that's an argument and example for another day.
mood: aggravatedaggravated
tags: jury duty
 
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Yay spam bots  
08:08pm 23/03/2011
 
 
Narei Mooncatt
Hello LJ, long time no see, and seems the people I'm watching have been quiet lately too. So I thought I would share an IM exchange I had with what used to be a friend on YIM but had his account hacked and is now a spam bot that keeps trying to get people on said friends list to go take an IQ quiz.. 

Spam Bot (3/23/2011 7:48:31 PM): you there?
Me (3/23/2011 7:48:58 PM): Hello Mr. Spam Bot
Spam Bot (3/23/2011 7:49:02 PM): no?
Me (3/23/2011 7:49:14 PM): *nods* Yes
Spam Bot (3/23/2011 7:49:23 PM): will you do me a quick favor and take an IQ quiz for a project im doing?
Me (3/23/2011 7:49:48 PM): No no no. We already went through this the other day. I'm just gonna keep messing with you instead.
Spam Bot (3/23/2011 7:49:58 PM): I need to see how many people out of my friends get over a 115.
Me (3/23/2011 7:50:16 PM): But spam bots don't have friends.
Spam Bot (3/23/2011 7:50:28 PM): just go to *spammer link removed* and take the test.. if u do ill owe you big time.
Me (3/23/2011 7:50:40 PM): Hehe, and just what do I get out of it?
Spam Bot (3/23/2011 7:50:48 PM): please let me know what score you get. thanks so much
Me (3/23/2011 7:51:07 PM): Nope. But you're welcome.
Spam Bot (3/23/2011 7:51:13 PM): im going to go cook while you do it
Me (3/23/2011 7:51:36 PM): That's what you said the last time. BTW, what did you have to eat?
Spam Bot (3/23/2011 7:51:43 PM): BRB, let me know your score when im back!
Me (3/23/2011 7:51:57 PM): I'll tell you now
Me (3/23/2011 7:54:35 PM): I scored 800

That was all. He always goes to cook something to eat and wont hang around for a chat. *Pouts* BTW, his screen name was not "Spam Bot". I changed it to hide the actual name, though I do now call it by name as Mr. Spam Bot. LOL
mood: chipperchipper
 
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Went to our first local fur meet  
03:03pm 06/02/2011
 
 
Narei Mooncatt
Happened to have yesterday off, and a local fur group has meetups for newcomers on the first saturday of the month. We made the 45 min drive down to Appleton (a rather long distance as far as they were concerned. lol) to hang out at the mall since our girl was already at grandparents for the weekend. Their meetup notice just said they'd have a plush on the table, and it was a rather cute husky from Build a Bear dressed up as a cop. So we dropped in and had fun chatting it up, grabbing Sbarro's for lunch in the process. After a while Allie and I walked around with a couple of the others and had fun checking out Hot Topic's new line of psuedo-fur attire. No tails in this one, just the snow caps with ears on them. The other guy, Walter, found a shirt with a feral vixen in a semi seductive pose that said "I want to fox with you". Put him on cloud nine the rest of the day since it's apparently from a youtuber named = 3 (Equals Three as he pronounced it). May have to check him out, but that was the only shirt like that they had. We met back with the rest of the group before disbanding and Walter and a few others went to a local arcade place for some DDR action. We tagged along and I wore myself out on one as well. Pro-tip: DDR played in work boots is NOT a good idea. We hung out there for a couple hours or so before deciding to call it quits and heading home for the night.

All in all a good meet and a welcomed distraction from Allie's laboring. She's been having contractions about a week now, so we keep waiting for our new one to pop out any time now.  Sounds like a fairly active group, and maybe next meet, I can get everyone else's names. LOL.
location: Home
mood: happyhappy
Listening to: Pandora Radio
tags: fur meet
 
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Finally got my Oklacon report up  
12:20am 15/11/2010
 
 
Narei Mooncatt

Oklacon Day 1 (Thursday)

After two days of driving, we finally rolled in about 6pm today. I left Green Bay yesterday with Allie, our daughter Kira, and a very, very….VERY packed car. Yesterday’s drive was a long 14 hour day with severe head winds from that wind storm that was blowing through the Upper Midwest, but it settled down about half way through until we stopped at my ex-wife’s place for the night. Had a good visit with her before we crashed, and thankfully Kira went to bed easy despite sleeping most of the day in the car seat. Got up this morning and met a few other people that stopped by before we left out for the final 8 hour stint into Watonga, OK. Again the drive was uneventful but the 70-75 mph speed limits were nice and made great time. Also didn’t have to worry about the wind, so fuel mileage was back up where we expected. We were supposed to stay in the lodge at the campgrounds but due to renovations that were delayed, we were moved to a local motel.

We got checked in pretty easily and cleared out some of the car to give us breathing room and headed to a local store to pick up steaks and hot dogs to go with some corn we already had for the grill at the con site. Things at the con were pretty laid back, and we got checked in easily enough and met several people I hadn’t seen since we’d been there 2 years ago. After check in and gave out some long over due hugs, we grilled up the foods during the BYOBBQ and headed to the camp fire after eating. We didn’t stay down there too long, sprinkling coffee creamer into the fire (fun for any pyro!) and listened to a couple of people telling stories until Kira started getting fussy. At that point we decided to call it quits and headed back to the motel. Today was mostly a meet and greet day and tomorrow starts the con’s first main day and events.

Day2 (Friday)

We started off going to a Subway across the street from the motel at a Loves. Loves is nation wide but come to find out Watonga is home to store #001. That was something neat, but not too special I guess. Especially since it was a rather small store. Normally this would be the official first day of a convention, but despite its small size, so many people come early and leave late that this is technically the second day of the convention and it spans 5 days total. Friday was still kinda slow in terms of events so a lot of it was spent sitting around the camp fire and me helping set up A/V for the nightly dances. The dealers den and such was up and running and one dealer reported making more sales in one day here than she did the entire weekend for Anthrocon (the world’s largest furry convention for those that don’t know).

There were the usual snags and last minute changes that had me standing around and not doing much while waiting for something else to be moved for the lights and sound system to be set in place. But I love working with this stuff, so it wasn‘t all bad I guess. It can be stressful sometimes because a lot of stuff is set up on the fly, since don’t have the time or space to plan out permanent setup locations. Heros is the A/V head but he had to run to another town to grab a computer monitor so I worked with Psyfur, Ratchet, and another attendee to do what we could, getting most everything mounted to trusses and ready to plug in once the trusses were moved into place for the dances, as well as getting most of the sound board set up.

Allie stayed down by the fire most of this time until dinner, which was a pretty yummy spaghetti. One thing that stands out at this convention is they provide you with at least one actual meal a day. Again, unlike other cons, there’s not a ton of places to go eat and all are a 10 minute drive into town. A lot of trail mix is consumed here. I took a break from my work while we chowed down and then went to a cookie exchange. Allie baked up some great M&M cookies, and a small group shared the batches of home made cookies as well as putting together a large batch of them all for the charity auction. Allie also made up a large batch of puppy chow for the auction, which is basically Chex cereal, chocolate chips, powdered sugar, and peanut butter melted and mixed together. It’s pretty simple and that sold for $28. We would have been pleased with $5, but one thing about Oklacon is the attendees are pretty devoted to the convention’s charity.

Once registration was shut down, I went back to work rapidly moving the lighting in place for the dances. Thankfully that went fairly smooth for the DJ’s to get going and I finished setting up my visuals stuff to project onto a screen. For such a small event, we have a surprisingly large A/V system. At least 2 decks with a main mixer that also have one or two other laptops plugged in for the different DJ’s, a full sized rack of audio mixers, eq’s, and other enhancements. Lighting was on 3 trusses, using 3 boards to control them and 2 laptops for my various visualization programs to switch between. I still wonder sometimes how we don’t blow breakers right and left. We ran until 1am and then packed up the expensive stuff and headed back to the motel to crash again from a long day.

Day 3 (Saturday)

We got up kinda early because Pardus from Safari’s Sanctuary, the con’s charity, was doing a little presentation with a bobcat they brought. Ricco was so cute and we were able to get a few good shots with the cameras. They had him around a few times during the con on a leash. Yes, he was on a leash. Rather well trained bobcat for the most part. After that, we had lunch before the start of one of the con’s biggest events. They hold a game called Predator Vs. Prey, which lasts about 2 hours. It’s a pretty detailed and active game, but basically some players are “prey” species, others are “predators”, and some are special characters such as flood, fire, a hunter, a Mack truck and others. Prey have to survive with food and water, while predators hunt them as well as water, and they all have to avoid the bad things like fires and floods. Think of it kinda like a massive game of hide and seek meant to mimic life in the wild.

I had our camcorder and filmed a lot of this because the chases can make for some pretty interesting footage. Since it lasts so long, we also sat around the campfire again, which was also a popular spot to see someone being chased through despite the size of the campground. Didn’t have a lot of stories ourselves to share, so we mostly just listened in until dinner time. About that time we ordered a custom little hat for Kira, but the lady’s needle broke and she’ll be shipping it to us later. They also had the variety show this evening, which went with the con’s theme of the Great Depression. It involved near vaudeville type acts and references to the era of the depression. Including a rather interesting skit about the Coyote 10 commandments and an Irish drinking song aimed at “The Death of Old Mouse Corsi”. If you don’t know Corsi, I can’t really explain him, other than he’s pretty popular at the con and is known for his rendition of 69’ing Gay Raccoons.

 

After that, it was about time to set back up for the night’s dance again, only this time I couldn’t set my projector up until it was about over. Tonight they had a fursuit auction. You could bid on a fursuiter to have the first or sometimes second dance with that night, with all money again going to the charity. Like last night, they kept concessions open most of the night, but this time the table top refrigerator was in the way since I was running a rear projection setup and it blocked the image. Thankfully it was moved when concessions shut down so I could fire it up for about the last hour. Also had a couple of hiccups that got laughs from the people when the DJ’s hard drive started acting up with a full volume USB disconnect sound. I think that sound helped ease a tense moment pretty well actually.

Day 4 (Sunday)

Today we slept in since there wasn’t much going on and took it easy until time to go see the charity auction run. As usual it lasted a rather long time because there was a lot of items up for bid. We had won a door mat a couple years ago that said “Wipe Your paws” and they had another up for bid this year. That was about the only thing we wanted because ours was worn out and could use a replacement. That we won, and had fun watching the bids for all the other items. Everything from a pair of Sponge Bob boxers to hand made wine box with openers was on the auction block. I was tempted to buy the 2 cans of Bawls energy drink. I don’t really go for energy drinks, but with the cans being blue and a name like Bawls, you sometimes just have to empty them. XD

After the auction, they had closing ceremonies, and was when we learned the final membership counts and amount raised for Safari’s. There was something like 368 attendees there this year, making it the largest in the 8 years the convention has been going on. Through all the charity events like the various auctions, poker tourney, straight up donations, etc, we raised $4871 for Safari’s. That was the second largest single event donation made in Oklacon history. And for years we have been Safari’s single biggest donator, even when you include corporate donations. While Blue Otter was giving some final words, I pulled Horses Ghost aside and suggested we ask for another push of donations to put us over the $5000 mark since we were so close and he thought it a great idea.

Once Blue was done, HG took back the mic and asked for that final push and he wasn’t even done with his little speech when people were basically throwing money at him! It took them a few minutes to count it all so Pardus made another little speech to make sure we all knew that Oklacon attendee’s are always more than welcomed at the sanctuary to see the animals free of charge for all our contributions. When he finished that, HG took back the mic and gave the final final numbers for donations. It ended up being Oklacon’s largest ever donation of $5365 to Safari’s. In just those few moments they pulled in over $400 extra and $5 Canadian. Hehe. I heard someone did a bit of quick math and said it came out to about $60 in donations in some form or another per person this year, meaning we’re still the highest per capita in donations of any fur con they know of.

After that I had to go give Pardus a big hug and made plans to go see them next Thursday during our trip back up to Green Bay after going to visit my parents down in Texas. Then it was off to Watonga, which is actually a few miles from the campgrounds to join in with some fursuiters that wanted to go on a walk through town. We caravanned in and grouped up and had a nice long walk. Watonga is a very small town, but everyone driving by had to look and wonder what was going on. Maybe they thought it was some Halloween event or something, but most smiled and waved. While in one parking lot, a couple of women with their kids walked up and a couple of the suiters hung back to interact with them and get some photos taken. One kid didn’t take it so well, but I’m thinking by his age he maybe thought his plushies had come to life and were now after him. There was also a huge American flag painted on the side of a building that made for a great photo-op with all the suiters lined up.

We then went back to the hotel to start getting things together to pack up and went to a Chinese place for supper. It was the 3rd choice of places to go. When I said this town was small, it’s “everything closes at 2 on Sunday because who in their right mind would want to go out after that” kind of small. The 2 other places we tried were closed already and everything else open we had already been to. It was a decent place though and had some stuff that even a non-Chinese eater like me could enjoy. Then we headed back up to the campgrounds one last time to watch a bad movie, a-la MST3K. It was a truly epically awful movie called Alien Apocalypse, about an insectoid alien race that invaded Earth to harvest all its timber. A delicacy for their kind, and they were stripping the planet of wood without replanting. Kira went to sleep during it as we expected so we didn‘t have to worry about leaving early. We said some final goodbyes then and headed back to the hotel to crash and get ready for the journey on south to the Dallas area to visit my parents.

All in all, good times with some “interesting” times thrown in to keep us on our toes. On the way back we stopped at Safari’s as we planned and took about an hour long tour there. Pardus had hoped to do it but he had other commitments and another volunteer took us around. We got to check out all the lions, tigers, and ligers, as well as smaller wild cats and wolves and such. Our highlight was the fennec fox that Kay let us hold for part of the tour. She was so cute and loved to ride up on our shoulders as we walked around. I had been wanting to visit them since the first time I went to Oklacon but never had the chance because of my job. This year we had some extra time and Kira was with us and we thought she’d love to see the animals too. She wasn’t quite as in to it as we hoped, but maybe next time when she’s a bit older to know more about what’s going on. 

You can find all the videos at www.youtube.com/user/Nareimooncatt
My pictures can be found at http://www.thefoxydj.com/cons/oklacon_8/album/index.html


mood: accomplishedaccomplished
 
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Ever been confused for Saddam Hussein?  
03:33am 19/09/2010
 
 
Narei Mooncatt

For those of you that don't know, or not in the trucking industry, I've been following an issue that's been brewing the past year or so in Minnesota. The state patrol there came up with something known as the fatigued driver evaluation checklist, using a bunch of bogus and unscientific items to determine if a driver was fatigued. Some of the things on the list included an overflowing trash can, a bed that's been made, having books or computer in the truck, if you've had family or dental problems, what your neck size is, etc.  If you were determined to be "fatigued", they would shut you down for 10 hours (originally thought so you could get rest but turns out it was punitive only reasoning). Even if you were completely legal with the hours of service regulations and had only been up and driving a few hours, there were still reports of people being shut down because of this list.

Long story short, the Owner Operator Independent Contractors Assoc (OOIDA) filed a lawsuit against the people in the MN state patrol over the issue and the trial started last week and expected to end this week (of course there could be appeals later). From the sounds of it, OOIDA seems to be pretty much pounding this issue into the ground and will hopefully put it to rest. Where does Saddam Hussein come in to all of this? Well to give you an example of how asinine this issue is, the OOIDA lawyer presented a slide from one of the power point presentations used by the state patrol for training officers on the fatigue program. In it, they use a picture of Saddam after he was captured by our troops, pointing out things to look for to spot fatigue.

You can see the full checklist as it was introduced at the start of this program at http://www.mntruck.org/pdf/fatigueflier.pdf  Yes, some things on that list could be relevant, but most of it has nothing to do with being tired. OOIDA's expert witness on the issue told the judge flat out that it's impossible to determin fatigue from a short survey on the side of the road and requires several hours observation and monitoring of brain wave activity in a clinical setting.  OOIDA's magazine has been posting updates on the trial at http://www.landlinemag.com/ The part about using the pic of Saddam is in the Day Three report.

Don't get me wrong, I'm just as much against tired driving as the next guy, but the way MN was trying to do it was not only so wrong as to not even qualify for simply being flawed, but also didn't allow a way for a driver to know what was required of him ahead of time so he could pass this arbitrary checklist.
location: In the bed
mood: sleepysleepy
Listening to: Random noises outside
 
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May be in the market for a new phone  
07:59pm 31/08/2010
 
 
Narei Mooncatt
I was looking at a new Android phone Sprint is offering in their military spec line since. I was kinda excited since I was wanting to check out a droid and I could really use a highly durable phone when I get my next one. My current mil-spec one is damn near bullet proof and worked well over 4 years. I was seriously let down by droids and touch screens in general. The touch screen is cool and all, but I need a traditional physical key pad for one handed use. The one I looked at only had a virtual or slide out QWERTY. I did find another phone with a virtual key pad and T9, but even standing still I couldn't hit the keys right. I don't have large fingers either. You'd think phone makers would make a phone for normal people, not those with toothpick fingers.
location: Home
mood: annoyedannoyed
Listening to: The tv
 
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The Anti-Meme meme  
02:35pm 16/07/2010
 
 
Narei Mooncatt
Think of some witty letter, poem, or art centered around a part of your body, fan boy/girl interest, or some philosphical idea.

DON'T write it down or draw it to be posted on your Livejournal, FA, DA, or any other social networking site.

DON'T ask for your friends to respond or give input for the purposes of stealing the meme and posting on their sites.

DON'T tell the person you stole it from that you did so and where you also didn't post it to.

DON'T put in the obviously bogus claim that by forwarding it to X number of people, Y will happen (wish come true, meet true love, etc).

Lastly, you DON'T loose some imaginary game because you thought about it.

Now go forth and not spread this all over the internet!
mood: crazycrazy
Listening to: Wafa, Ewid Disco
 
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What if...  
09:33am 14/06/2010
 
 
Narei Mooncatt
Here's a hypothetical for you. Lets say you didn't have to worry about any negative effects of any sort, including health and enviromental. Think about all the gases held under pressure. The air in your tires and compressors, propane and helium tanks, welding gases.... The list goes on and on. I wonder what would happen to our atmosphere if all those pressures were released so everything was equalized. Would our atmosphere simply have more pressure, or would it increase in volume and expand more into space so that the pressure remains what it is now? Maybe it's somewhere in between. Who knows.

These are the kind of things I think of when bored while driving.
mood: curiouscurious
 
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This just in....  
08:55am 21/05/2010
 
 
Narei Mooncatt
Not sure if any of you saw or remember my prior journal about Jonesey's All Night Truckstop, the overnight radio show on Sirius/XM radio, but I've now been made their news man. I swear his show is addicting, and the format is like no other talk show that I know of. Considering the time slot and how you don't get near the number of listeners/callers as a day time show, there are lots of regulars that keep it very interesting during those long night drives.

Since many of us call in so much, you kinda get to know some about us over time. It is almost like a live soap opera sometimes. In fact, Bates (from the prior posting) is about to be "married" to another caller as part of show schtick. Another is a Justice of the Peace in his town, so he's offered to perform a faux cerimony on air if Bates and the lady do marry. Sound fun yet? Anyway, I've been calling pretty regularly now and never miss it when I run at night.

A couple of days ago was a very odd day in the news. The deal with Pakistan going after Face Book, Arizona essentially telling LA they'd be more than happy to cut the power to the city if they really want that boycott, a baby crawled out of a house and into the street where a bus driver stops just in time (caught on video no less), a former NASCAR driver leading cops on a 140mph police chase..... There were a few others, and all in the one day. So when I called in, I just mentioned how it was an odd news day and rattled off those headlines, which got a good number of laughs and Jonesey liked the idea of weird news reporting. At the end of the segment he asked if I wanted to do that every time I call in. Sure, why not. So now I get to browse the net each day to find a quirky news story to tell about on air. Took long enough to earn my place, but I think it'll be fun.

International Brotherhood of Jonesey, long live the IBJ!
mood: excitedexcited
Listening to: Late breaking news interruption music. :P
 
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I own at Laser Tag...  
11:45am 29/04/2010
 
 
Narei Mooncatt
At least when the gun is working. Went to play laser tag as part of my birthday stuffs and got in a couple rounds at one of those family fun center places. It was fun, and I got 1st and 2nd highest scores in the respective games, but I think it was more my ability to dodge other people than the stellar equipment. [/sarcasm] The guns have two triggers. The one on the front handle is used to "charge" it, then the one on the back to fire. You have to hold down the one on the front while you shoot or it wont work. On the first round, it worked mostly ok, but the front trigger had some issues. On the second game with another vest, the front trigger didn't want to work much at all. Even had the employee watching over the game check it out. Of course it worked fine for him both times he checked it, but wouldn't work for me no matter how hard or soft I held the front trigger. I finally just gave up and waited by the door for the game to end since it was so frustrating. Yet I still got in a lot of kills before it acted up and some of the bases. All in all it was fun, but now my legs are a bit sore for all the crouching and sneeking. XD

Now on to something else confuzzling me. Face book. I signed up because I was trying to check on some things that are not available elsewhere online. All I entered was my name and email addy to sign up and somehow that site found people that I know/know of, but have no contact with any more. A couple I have on my YIM friends list, and some that Allie has on her FB list, so I can see some connections being made that way. Only thing is, the YIM contacts FB suggests are ones I haven't seen online in ages, and used an alias, not my actually account name. To get even more puzzling, there's contacts on there from people I don't have any contact info for in YIM or any other place, but that I still know from a few of the fur cons. Remember, FB still knows nothing more than the basic name and email to sign up with. I haven't filled in any interests, where I've lived, went to school, etc. I never did like social networking sites like it and Twitter, but this is just a bit spooky and I think I like FB even less now.

In either case, don't bother trying to friend me there. If you're reading this, you already have a way to contact me if you need to. The host of the nightly radio show I listen and call in to a lot has an account there and a lot of other truckers as well. Since the host doesn't have his own site for people to congregate, they usually find him there and then share their own info. Only thing is, I can't find him now and he's said several times on air how to search for him. Oy, internets. How I loath thee sometimes. LOL
mood: confusedconfused
Listening to: The Black Fox by Bill Emmerson
 
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