Too worn out from work and in need of a break, I was cleaning up my draft e-mails.

Quite some time ago, a friend mentioned that one option for getting out of being unemployed was to start their own government contracting firm. In the end, they were daunted by the idea of having to wear the many hats of PR flack, business developer/salesperson, technical expert, manager, etc. They also didn't like the risk of spending months on it and ending up right back where they were.

Some research I did for them at the time may be useful to others. If you're willing to overcome the hurdles I mentioned above, the lesser hurdles of money and knowledge/training can be addressed easily.

The website set up to help small businesses find and win government contracts:

The financial assistance website:
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    tired tired

It seems so long ago

Earlier I went to bed with a migraine. Effing nonsense, and I hadn't had one in quite a while. This inspired thoughts and dreams, which I will hide behind a cut to keep the meat of this post from getting buried.

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Anyway, something in the dream plane crash inspired this. If you don't like the end, well, the first three stanzas pretty much came full-formed but felt imcomplete without actually saying something about the deeper impact; write your own ending after those.

It seems so long ago
that day when the planes went wrong
smoke and death and chaos
when everything shut down

It seems so long ago
though I've seen the Pentagon
with a gaping hole in its face
and bodies in the halls

It seems so long ago
until I visit New York
and see the buildings missing
and yet the people strengthened

It seems so long ago
8 years, 2 wars, so many deaths
most of them for unrelated reasons
all of them so deeply mourned

It seems so long ago
But I know it seems just yesterday
for the fathers and mothers
Here and everywhere

who cannot find a reason why
their son or daughter had to die.

Webcomic roundup

I'm somewhat surprised that I'd never stumbled across Schlock Mercenary before. Space Opera that at least tries to be internally consistent, plus sarcastic wit and fun characters... oh yeah, and moderately good artwork in the later stuff (to my tastes, at least.)

Plus, they have some great Crowning Moments of Awesome. Like using the godlike AI koala bear to deliver the best answer to "If there is a God, why does evil exist?" I've ever run across.

Yes, godlike AI koala bear. You'll just have to read the archives if you want that to make sense.

Other recent finds have mostly been "soap opera" comics: Anders Loves Maria and Candi are the only ones I can really recommend. I can't believe I'm reading this kind of comic, honestly. Admitting it feels like I'm starting in a twelve-step program.

I'm all caught up on the archives of those and am in danger of having a productive day today. What other webcomics should I know about that I don't?
  • Current Music
    Still Alive - GladOS & Jonathan Coulton
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"doomer" news articles

The companies running the fishing industry are bastards.

The companies running the beef industry are, too.

I'm not about to be smug about being vegetarian, though; I'm sure the veg food companies aren't great either. All companies have to make financial and ethical choices that would be labeled sociopathic if an individual did so, because profit to shareholders is the sole acceptable motivation for a company. This is one of the reasons why I advocate government-as-regulator; it is a way to attach profit penalties/rewards to desired behavior.

The fishing article makes the argument that the industry is a giant Ponzi scheme, which is really just stating that it's being run in an unsustainable way. So are the oil, metals, computer, and financial industries - and, therefore, the transportation and manufacturing industries that they support. Why shouldn't our food sources be managed to run out at about the same time as the wealth that lets us make use of them?

Links found via Flat Rock.
  • Current Music
    Billy Joel, "Moving Out" - stuck in my head for the last WEEK
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Shopping here in India reminded me that I have issues related to giving gifts.

There are gifts that are uniquely suited to people; the kind of item that someone will look at and say, "Wow, I never would have thought to get this, but now I know I would have wanted it." Those "thoughtful" gifts are rare, and nearly impossible to get for anyone that you don't know well.

There are gifts that are "fun" for the recipient without being really meaningful; games, or tickets to a show, or week-long cruises. These are what I prefer to give if I can't find anything that falls into the first category.

There are gifts that are "useful". Yay, a toaster!

Then there are gifts that are simply "trinkets;" pretty or interesting, but basically going to be put on a shelf and forgotten. This seems to be most of what people give, and it seems like most people don't mind getting them. I hate giving them because, to me, it means that I don't know the person well enough to give a meaningful gift OR to give something they'd enjoy. Even when I buy these gifts I try to lean towards the thoughtful (or at least useful.) When I get these, I'm glad that the friend thought enough of me to get something but puzzled; do they not know my likes & tastes, or are they trying to help those tastes grow in a new direction?

Sometimes things I thought were trinkets end up in the thoughtful category, and sometimes it's the other way around.

Most of my friends already had something in that last category from my previous trip to India, because that's what they sell here unless Indian culture aligns with the friend's tastes. Some are getting one this time. I really wish I knew everyone well enough to pick category 1 & 2 gifts every time.
  • Current Music
    the morning cries of crows in Santacruz
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I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Mumbai, taking a break from spening time with 30 people who don't speak english and 10 who do, but not as a primary language.

I'm getting a lot of practice for D&D sessions' roleplaying of non-verbal conveyance of ideas.

"That is my water!" is "Maru pani chhe!" in Gujarati. It's the language equivalent of reverse polish notation, so subject-object-verb except in that sentence, where the "That" is only implied. Nouns have sexes just like Spanish. The backwards sentence structure is the least of my challenges in trying to learn this stuff; it's also got four different forms of the letter "T" with no real way to tell them apart to an untrained ear...

Glad to provide today's foreign language lesson.
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    amused amused