29 April 2012

Cubicle Village

This is a bit late, but I'm pretty sure it's time to tell the tale of the Cubicle Village.  The story behind the village is this: As I began building more and more things, I wanted to put them in a place where they would be relatively safe from the predations of my son. So, I initially started putting the buildings in my cubicle. My coworkers liked it, with one in particular even being disappointed when I didn't add to the collection regularly.

Due to a variety of reasons, we also had some empty cubicles in our area. Well, I decided that squatter's rights ruled, so I created street tiles and began building a village, complete with cardstock inhabitants.

This went well for several months, until a director walked through doing a safety inspection. The village caught her eye, but not in a bad way. She began bringing other members of the site lead team to view the village, amazed that someone could create an entire scaled village. Even the site HR rep got in on the act, taking a photograph and displaying it as part of the lead team's safety presentation (from what I hear, it was placed in a powerpoint presentation at the end, as a lighthearted moment for a fairly successful safety audit).

The best part was my boss's boss didn't know I had commandeered a neighboring cubicle. He thought all the stuff was in my cubicle, so when he was asked "did you know about this?" he replied "Well, yeah, of course." Now, I don't know what conversations went on after that. However, just before GenCon 2011 my leader told me that due to incoming employees, my village would have to be relocated. You may notice in one of the pictures that the Imperfect Rioters have placards decrying eminent domain abuse . . . .  Strangely enough, it is only recently that this particular cubicle has become inhabited by someone who isn't 2-dimensional (nor afraid of paper shredders). 

Building models include Dave Graffam's models, and Fat Dragon Games.  Citizenry is courtesy of Imperfect People, by Dryw the Harper.

Dude, you asked for asylum at the wrong embassy

So a Chinese dissident escaped from his handlers and reportedly fled to the US embassy in Beijing. The dissident in question, Chen Guangcheng (who happens to be blind), has helped show the world the atrocities of China's government. Namely, forced abortions and sterilizations. Think about that for a minute. In China, the government has that much power. Of course, he ran to the embassy of a country who's current leader wants the government to have that kind of power. And now there are talks and debates about how to "balance" human rights versus diplomacy. To parse the language, the administration is asking "How can we keep the people who own a lot of our debt happy while maintaining the illusion that we support the right to dissent?" See, this is why being in debt is a bad thing. "The borrower is slave to the lender." The US cannot negotiate from a position of strength here. We will end up being conciliatory in order to have the Chinese government continue to buy our debt. Which pretty much sucks for Chen's family.

23 April 2012

The Irony of Government

The U.S. Government has been fighting illegal drugs for decades. LSD, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine. And yet, surprisingly, none of these have been able to be eradicated. In fact, the cost of cocaine is decreasing.

Why? Well, like any business, the drug lords are making gains in efficiency of production, with economies of scale and new technology allowing the drug lords to lower the price of the product while maintaining or increasing their profits.

So the government has been trying (in vain) to eliminate the scourge of illegal drugs (as well as perfectly legal ones, like oxycodone and pseudoephedrine), during which we've seen the price of these drugs drop. Meanwhile, the government's been pushing mortgages and college like . . . well, a drug dealer. One might ask what the effect has been.

Thanks to the government's push towards loans with minimal down payments (at least before 2008!), PMI was added to those borrowers who didn't have enough to put down. Of course, the banks realized that people didn't want to pay PMI, and so offered 80% down traditional mortgages and 20% HELOCs. Or they allowed buyers to refinance 120% Loan to value. Or they encouraged people to cash out the equity in their homes in order to pay off credit cards or buy new cars. Because, you know, financing things that drop in value is so smart. And now, if you buy a house with less than 75% LTV, you get to pay for Obama's mortgage bailout with a 1/4 point fee.

 And the costs of a college education . . . well, a picture's worth a thousand words.

Let's recap, shall we? Government tries to stop something by declaring it "illegal," cost goes down. Government subsidizes the cost of something, it goes up. The lesson should be "STOP HELPING!" But instead, we get politicians who insist that they know better than us mere mortals.

h/t Radley Balko

06 April 2012


Mowing the lawn isn't a chore for me. Well, it is a little bit, but mostly it's relaxing. It helps that I have a decent mower.

However, tonight I was zipping around a tree, looking down, and what did I see?! A mushroom! And not just any mushroom, a morel. These are prized fungi. People go out into the woods looking for the, hunting them in the spring, because they're TASTY.

I hopped off the Chopper and called Mrs. Workshop over. I'm not a mushroom hunter, so I figured I'd ask her if she knew what a morel looked like. No luck there, but a neighbor did help me out. Yep, it was a morel. And Mrs. Workshop indicated where I had already run over three others. Dangit!

Still, I grabbed one that hadn't been destroyed by the mower and proceeded to slice and saute it up. It's too bad that Mrs. Workshop had to go off to a friend's house. That mushroom was darned tasty. Sauteed in butter, a little salt and pepper . . . wow!

Granted, I've never eaten mushrooms out of my yard before. There were too many horror stories when I was growing up about deadly mushrooms that looked just like edible ones. So I figured if I was going to die a horrid, gut-wrenching death, I didn't want my wife around. Still, when she got back and I told her about it, she didn't seem all that enthusiastic about trying one for herself. "That's okay," I told her. "I will happily eat them without you."

01 April 2012

See You, John.

I can't be in Colorado today, I figured I'd break out the blog and post. Not much to say, except this picture pretty much shows how I'll remember him.

2012 Annual Tax Day Post

This year, thanks to Mrs. Workshop working less, we were able to substantially decrease the amount of money we sent to our favorite corrupt and dysfunctional government. Unfortunately, with the amount of the green energy boondoggle (Solyndra, et.al.), and the upcoming cuts to the national defense budget, it doesn't look like my money went to anything decent.

Dear IRS,

I hope you enjoy the $11,000+ I sent you in 2011. I could have used it to fund Little Workshop's college fund, or retirement. Or I could have blown it on hookers and weed, which would have no doubt been a better use of it than sending it to you guys. I would have preferred burning it in my backyard, because then I'd at least have the satisfaction of watching enviroweenies complain about my rabid disregard for Mother Earth.