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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in rincemaj's LiveJournal:

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Monday, November 10th, 2008
10:42 pm
deunking post-election spin
In the aftermath of Barack Obama's historic victory, many conservatives have been trying to console themselves with the following self-deceiving argument (from Bill Kristol's op-ed in today's New York Times):
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Current Mood: annoyed
Thursday, November 6th, 2008
4:28 pm
Rosa Parks sat in 1955.

Martin Luther King walked in 1963.

Barack Obama ran in 2008.

That our children might fly.
3:23 pm
north-south? no! city-country!
For all those looking at the electoral map and despairing once again about the south and the middle, bear this in mind:

The biggest electoral divide in the US is urban-rural, not north-south.

To whit, of the 70 largest metropolitan centres in the US, the tally was:

Obama: 63
McCain: 7

Further, of the 7 that McCain won, one was his home town (Phoenix), and three were incredibly close (Salt Lake City, Jacksonville and Fresno). That basically leaves Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Bakersfield as the largest cities to vote solidly Republican.

Among the cities that Obama won handily were:
Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Texas
Atlanta, Georgia
St Louis and Kansas City, Missouri
Tampa and Orlando, Florida
Indianapolis, Indiana
Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee
Louisville, Kentucky
Birmingham, Alabama
New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Omaha, Nebraska

Current Mood: urbane
3:18 pm
man, it's been a while...
Quite often (especially in the last 8 years), I find myself deeply embarassed by the actions and attitudes of the nation of my birth.

And then it goes and does something like it did yesterday.

If there is one thing that America does better than any other country in the world, it is reinventing itself. Turning the page on a chapter of history, acknowledging that things have gotten pretty fucking bad, and looking to the future without being mired in the past.

And honestly, I know I'm not the first to say it, but how incredible is it that in one generation we went from civil rights to a black man (and three black women and a new puppy) in the white house?

And to all the people out there who say Obama won because minorities voted for a minority. I say the more incredible thing is that nearly half the white people in a country with a long history of racism voted for a black candidate DESPITE the fact that he is black.


Current Mood: ecstatic
Sunday, April 22nd, 2007
2:52 pm

Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Robo Defender

Your Superpower is Radiation

Your Weakness is Glitter

Your Weapon is Your Venomous Blade

Your Mode of Transportation is Llama

2:41 pm
Your Life is 72% Green

You live a very green life, and you're aware of how your actions help the earth.
Of course, it's hard to be totally green. But when you make a tradeoff, you know why you're making it.
Monday, March 19th, 2007
7:39 am
Saturday, February 17th, 2007
11:06 am
There are times...
when living in the 21st century really is pretty freakin' cool!

The blind will see: bionic eyes to help restore sight

Peter Weekes
February 18, 2007

MELBOURNE'S Eye and Ear Hospital will start implanting in two to three years bionic eyes that restore sight to the blind.
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Friday, December 29th, 2006
10:46 am
Typo takes tourist 13,000 km out
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What I particularly love is the guy saying "I knew something was wrong, but I just didn't want to make a fuss."

"I didn't notice the mistake as my son is usually good with computers," his mother, Sabine, told Reuters.

Current Mood: amused
Tuesday, October 24th, 2006
8:18 pm
mixed messages
Am I the only person who is a little disturbed that the current Beck's beer ad campaign is focused on the fact that they comply with German laws about purity?

Current Mood: amused
12:46 am
In 2 and a half days...
I'll be on a plane on the way to the US, to pursue a career in democratic politics.

I'm excited, and not a little bit scared.

Current Mood: optimistic
Monday, October 23rd, 2006
2:41 pm
Daily dose of irony
The website for social security?

broken and has been for an extended period of time.

Current Mood: amused
Tuesday, October 10th, 2006
12:57 pm
The latest developments...
Firstly, I'm writing this entry on my shiny new macbook pro. After a decade of wandering through the wilderness of PC critical security flaws, I have returned to the fold of mac users, and boy is it about time! I LOVE my new computer! :)

In more exciting news, tomorrow is my last day at my current job. I have officially resigned in order to...

move to the US!!!!

That's right, I'm finally putting my money where my mouth is folks. I'm moving back to America in order to get my hands dirty in federal politics. I'm starting out working on a congressional campaign in Pennsylvania through the midterms, and then moving down to DC to find work as a congressional staffer. I already have some promising leads lined up, but if anyone out there happens to know of a congressperson desperately in need of a charming young aussie staffer, please do let me know!

I'm a little apprehensive about the whole exercise, but I really do feel that it is something I have to do. I've wanted to work in US politics for years, and I figure that if I don't do it now, before marriage/kids/mortgage/responsibility, then I'll never do it and I'll always regret it and wonder what if.

Overall, the response from people I've told has been good (although not TOO good, they are at least making a pretense of being sad to see me leave! lol). My parents aren't so impressed with the idea of me living on the other side of the world, but even they realise it is something I have to do. Mum has even started eating again!

So on the 26th of this month, I get on a plane and wing my way across the ocean. Next stop, Congress!

Current Mood: excited
Tuesday, September 12th, 2006
10:20 pm
in defense of film scores...
OK, I admit it, I like movie scores.

No, I'm not talking about movie sountracks (some of which are good but most of which are marketing tools for b-grade pop). I'm talking about about mostly instrumental/orchestral scores.

Many people I know who are classical music fans (as I am) look down their noses at film music. "It is so obviously aimed at manipulating emotions," they cry, "and so unsubtle!"

But that is exactly why I like them (the good ones, anyway). As much as I can enjoy the intellectual exercise of music (which is one of the main reasons I listen to jazz), the power of music is fundamentally about how it makes us feel. Does it make us soar or crash, feel like taking on the world or curling up in bed, want to fall in love or go to war? And that is exactly what film scores are all about. Most of us don't really notice film scores while we watch the film, but they heighten our emotions. They send us subconscious messages about what we should be feeling in any given scene.

Perhaps this is because I tend "see" music when I listen to it. For me, music is an intensely visual experience (hence my secret dream to be a film soundtrack compiler). When I listen to a song that grabs me, I tend to see it as well, either abstractly in terms of colours and shapes, or, more often, as the soundtrack to a particular image or scene.

Of course, I do still have standards when it comes to film music. As with any genre, a lot of it is crap, and some of the biggest names are some of the worst perpetrators. John Williams wrote three soundtracks in the late 1970s (Jaws, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones) and has been writing variations on the themes ever since. He is probably the best example of a composer who has worked out a marketable sound and decided never to stray too far from it. Danny Elfman, on the other hand, has managed to create a very identifiable sound whilst still doing new and interesting things with his music.

For the record, a handful of film scorers (by no means exhaustive) I feel are truly worthy of the title "composer":

Danny Elfman
Hans Zimmer
Basil Poledouris
Phillip Glass
Mark Knopfler
Thomas Newman
Michael Kamen
James Horner
David Arnold
Friday, August 18th, 2006
9:49 am
return of the long-lost rincemaj!!!
You know you've been neglecting your LJ when you start getting reminder emails from people on your friends list who want to know if you've suffered an accident and lost all your fingers...

For the record, no, I am not typing with my nose. ;)

My, but the last few months have been busy ones for me...let's recap:

- Took way too many subjects in the first semester of my master's degree in corporate environmentalism and sustainable management (3/4 study load + full-time job = tired + stressed + burnt out + absent from lj rincemaj). Became increasingly disillusioned with both the general quality of the postgraduate student body at Monash University and the course itself, since it is kinda hard for scholars to teach sustainability when they themselves can't even agree as to what it is.

- Endured endless renovations to my house; they were meant to last 2 months, ended up going 5. On the plus side, we now have an extremely cool home cinema that was installed as part of the renovations (now if only I could work out how to use the 14 remotes that came with it...).

- Had relatives staying with us for 5 weeks, which was good fun, although many angsty conversations with my neo-adolescent cousin ensued (since when am I old enough to be the wise old experienced one? argh!)

- Continued working at my government job which is becoming more and more stultifying. Starting to explore my options for what comes next.

Which leads me to:

- Took a holiday to the US, where I met up with many old friends, including kale_eater and glib_dichotomy and some new ones too (especially kimmaline and dizzy_gizmo). Also came to the conclusion that for the first time in a long time, I feel like I could move back to the US if the right situation arose. Started discussing business ideas with a friend of mine.

- Said friend and I developed an idea for an eco-software company which will allow us to take over the world (natch!)

- Determined that I need to forego the boring security of my comfy public service job and need to take a risk and follow my heart: into working in politics, probably in DC, and probably for slave wages (at least to start). So I have started to actively look at job opportunities over there (if any readers know of any good jobs, do let me know k thx!). More on those developments as they occur.

Current Mood: thoughtful
9:34 am
food for thought
The Nation
An Antiwar Campaign That Takes a Page From the G.O.P. Playbook
George Tames/The New York Times

Published: August 13, 2006

JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN’S DEFEAT in the Senate Democratic primary in Connecticut is a reminder that intramural contests are often the most bruising in our two-party system, and can leave the party involved vulnerable to attacks from the opposition.
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Monday, July 31st, 2006
6:56 pm
woohoo! just me and a crewful of babes!
LiveJournal Username
Fifteen men on a dead man's chest!
Cutlass or pistol?
What is the name of your pirate ship?
Where is your secret pirate base?
What kind of loot do you prefer?
What do you and your crew prefer to be called?
Parrot or monkey?
Your capable first matekimmaline
Your bumbling cabin boy with a heart of goldczarina69
The aloof, yet honorable, pirate with a mysterious pastdimethirwen
Is always the first one into the fraydiyeana
Is the naval officer who ruthlessly pursues your shipsclerotic_rings
Is the comical pirate who is always drunk on groglucyjune1684
Is currently in Davy Jones's lockernephnie
The amount of money you make as a pirate$70,612
This Fun Quiz created by Lynn at BlogQuiz.Net
Taurus Horoscope at DailyHoroscopes.Biz

Thursday, May 11th, 2006
11:17 pm
call me crazy, but...
when a teacher fails 2/3 of the class on an assignment, saying that "clearly most of you just didn't understand what was being asked of you" then that is a failing of the teacher, not the students.

(for the record, I happily fell into the third that didn't fail)
Sunday, April 16th, 2006
11:06 pm
In the spirit of...
the recent parallels drawn by many pundits (eg Paul Krugman) abou the similarities between the ratcheting up of rhetoric pre-Iraq and the current administration talk about Iran, I offer two (in my opinion) very concerning pieces of linguistic semantics:

In watching FOX news the other day (know you enemy and all that), I noticed two distinct trends when they discussed Iran:

1. Much was made of the fact that Iran is ONLY 51% Persian and therefore almost 1/2 the country is being oppressed by the Mullahs and yearns for freedom and liberation. The fact that the country is about 92% Shi'a is conveniently omitted, as is the fact that Iran is one of the very few Islamic countries which has Jewish and Christian minority rights enshrined in law, including setting aside parliamentary seats for those religions.

2. The talking heads are no longer talking about the idea that we can't let IRAN have nukes. More and more, it is about not letting Ahmadinejad have nuclear weapons. We can't let THIS man have WMDs and his finger on the trigger. Am I crazy or are they creating a concrete, discrete demon image to go fight?

People keep saying that Bush wouldn't be that stupid. That's what I kept saying until quite late in the game on Iraq. I was convinced that with so many realists (in the polisci sense of the term) in his defense establishment, he would see the pitfalls. I was wrong then, and I think that people who are relying on his better judgment may be sorely mistaken (though I fervently hope not). Iran is a country with roughly 2.5 times the population of Iraq over about 4 times the area, much of which is rugged mountains like afghanistan rather than conveniently flat desert plains as in Iraq. And we all know how much difficulty the US military has had rooting out resistance in Afghanistan just due to terrain...
Sunday, April 2nd, 2006
12:40 am
thoughts on turning 25...
so a friend of mine told me yesterday "now you can't say you're in your early twenties anymore."

I responded "but early 20s is 20-23, so i haven't been early 20s since I turned 24."

to which he responded "yes, but when you're 24 you can still CLAIM to be in your early 20s. At 25, you're officially over the hill."

does this mean I'm entitled to an all-expenses-paid quarter-life crisis now?
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