January 5th, 2007

Ann Vole

Selfish and self-sacrificing are almost the same

I just watched "My Super-Ex-Girlfriend" and noticed how this super hero was really selfish. She gave up so much to save the world but became selfish from never having to make compromises. My brother finally read some of my journal and had an issue with the post where I pointed out how movie dads and my dad scuttled the plans of their kids including me. My brother accused me of being self-centered and selfish and I agreed except... I could not get any "but" in the conversation. I want to save the world and am going to try no matter what my family thinks of my plans. Superman's earth parents were worried and at a loss when he left home to learn of his past and plan his future with the hologram of his real father. Was it selfish of him to break their hearts? Maybe but the world got the self-sacrificing Superman. I think lack of communication is the key problem with my family. They mean well and are really quite helpfull (especially my Dad) but they clearly do not see things from my standpoint. As soon as my brother hears me say "my" he seems to hear "it is all about selfish me". On my side of things it is more like "I need to save the world here... Help me or get out of the way." Heros seem to be by nature a bit self-centered because they have to believe that they are the solution to the world's problems. If they loose that confidence they end up no longer being effective heros like Spidy in the middle of the Spiderman 2 movie and we all think Peter Parker was being selfish and self-centered then (as crime rose unchecked).

So it IS all about me if I ever want to succeed at being the self-sacrificing cure for mankind's ills. My family is important but so are my goals for helping improve the lives of millions (humans and animals). A different kind of selfishness and self-centeredness is needed for each and most heros have to choose which to go with... Help family and friends or help complete strangers.
Ann Vole

Course 3 of 4 to be an HRAI qualified heating system expert

Course 3, Hydronics is the radiant floor heating course. Curently I have done the first two HRAI courses: course one was determining the heating and cooling load in buildings, the second course is sizing the air ducts to each room according to heating and cooling loads and air exchange rates and pressure drop between the air handling unit (furnice fan) and each room (so there is no large pressure drops between rooms). This course is in a few days so I am not quite ready. It is also in Winnipeg like the previous two so I will likely have the same instructor and maybe some of the same fellow students. I need to do some other preparation due to this being a 4 day course instead of 3 and I am not sure I can remain an effective student after 3 nights living in a vehicle. I will have to find a way for a bath and a way to dehumidify the vehicle. I will likely take my van instead of my car which has a better heating system and lots of room for sleeping but right now it is full of a half a ton of animation stand parts and I am not sure where I want to put all that heavy and fragile stuff (and would rather not move it twice). When all your dreams come true too close together, it sometimes causes logistical problems making full use of the "bounty" (great equipment, great business opportunities and qualifications, information access, friends in the industry of interest, great new ideas). My new Nightlife bat drawings and my Llaprami story will likely be on hold as I am busy moving stuff around and taking on extra shifts if I can to cover the missing week of work this month when I am off to Winnipeg.
Ann Vole

Background on the Llaprami story

Some of the native tribes of humans in the western side of Brazil where this story is supposed to happen, did not wear any cloths (before westerners came with cloths and Christianity). The only things they wore were to carry weapons and babies and the sexually active guys wore bark ribbons around their penises to prevent embarasment of getting an errection when looking at someone else's wife (or not getting an errection when expected I am sure). These nakid people would be the Llomamo that the Llaprami would be used to while their culture developed. About a hundred years before this story is to happen, some humans from outside this area would have shown up (1950's) to bring modern weapons and clothing.

South America only has cat family and raccoon family for larger carnivors as well as New World monkeys. Most animals are killed by the many large raptor birds or the alligators and parrhana fish so the role of large carnivors in the food chain is minimized. I envisioned these Llaprami animals to be an odd offshoot of the carnivor order of animals somewhere between the cat family and the raccoon family. One member of the raccoon family found exclusively in South American jungles is the Olingo with a very long prehensile tail and mostly eats fruit but like other raccoon-like animals is an omnivor and does hunt small animals for a small portion of it's diet. Studies on the diets of the puma (also called cougar or mountain lion) show that the South American pumas eat some plant matter like bears and it is thought that a general lack of bears in South America might account for this difference between them and the North American pumas. I envisioned a puma-like body with an extra long semi-prehensile tail and the wide muzzle and fancy fur patterns of the smaller jungle cat species of South America. Listening to the voice recordings of these small cats, I can hear a much wider range of possible sounds they can make giving me the impression that such a short wide muzzle and tongue makes their mouth similar in shape as human mouths and thus more likely to make a language that humans might be able to hear and imitate. It is a personal theory of mine that the bird species who can imitate humans are the ones with a tongue designed for manipulating food to get seeds out of shells. This control of the tongue and even of the jaw position is what gives those birds the talking ability but not to very smart birds like crows and ravens (pointy tongue and little use of tongue in typical eating). I hope that compensates for my lack of images of the Llaprami as I see them in my mind.

The point of this story is to show that animals who do not wear cloths or have any possessions can still develop an advanced culture and language such as the nakid Yamomamo native humans. All you need is a language and a reason to pass on stories from generation to generation. I also wanted to show how westerners have stripped many native cultures of their language and traditions simply by bringing disease that wipes out many and hunting them down before they are recognized as humans and stealing grave sites including skeletons for sale as novelties or for storage in musiums and anthropology research places. To show advanced culture, I wanted to have different Llaprami have detailed discussions of religion and politics but do it from the eyes of non-humans. If you were expecting primative speech from them, you will not like the far more complex grammer and cultural traditions in speech I really wanted to have them speak. I have to play around with just this one simple rule (not speak the name directly of someone who is not present) to get the nuances right. I have 13 such rules in mind but chose to stick to the one for now. Also remember this is just practice for doing the more interesting and complex epic stories I want to turn into webcomics or movies. This story is "disposable" because it would be to expensive to make into a TV series and too long to be a movie and not dramatic enough for a radio play and not enough action for a webcomic and generally requires too much explaination for a novel. I can dabble with different mediums with this and not mess up a better story idea I have for each of these mediums.
Ann Vole

Public vs private automobile insurance

Two different recent posts of mine showed the opposite oppinion on a unique form of auto insurance where I live. First of all, the insurance company is government owned so it is supposed to be cheaper by not adding a profit margin. Second of all it is "no fault" insurance so there is always coverage even if both parties of an accident have no insurance and to make that work, all parties in most cases are not allowed sue anyone. There are a few situations involving criminal neglegence where some aspects can be sued for within limits. Living in the next province over (with the same sort of insurance most of the world has of private insurance companies paying policies then sueing whoever they can to recover that payout to keep rates competitive) I saw many ruined lives due to accidents involving uninsured drivers or uninsured pedestrians. While people are recovering in hospital or grieving the lost of accident fatalities, they have to be fighting their insurance company for a fair payout or they are being sued for every penny they have left when they need savings more then ever. Public no-fault insurance is a good thing to prevent such tragic things and keeps the rates very low. The problem of course is that some government cronie decides what gets covered and what does not and if you are not satisfied with what you get... Tough luck, you can't sue, you can't go elsewhere for private health care without paying for it yourself, and you are always suspect for defrauding the system (with no alternative if they think you are defrauding the system except to move to a different province). You also get suspicious reporting by police who are likely paid under the table to lie about what they saw at the accident scene. With private insurance, those companies will do their own investigations and sue the police force for false reporting.

Which do I prefer? I am really not sure and wish I could think up a third alternative with the social advantages of public no-fault and the anarchist, non-governent-involvement advantages of private "sue your pants off" insurance most people experience. For now I enjoy one of the lowest auto insurance rates in North America but know that if I am in an accident, I will have to accept the medical care and loss compensation that some government loser thinks is right and if it is not good enough, hope I am covered by supplimental private insurance of some sort. This extra insurance many people feel is necessary is why I say the rate for my insurance is really not cheaper.
Ann Vole

Canadian animated filmmaker shot dead

A Canadian filmmaker of animated shorts was shot dead by an unknown person in her Atlanta home (likely "snowbirds" who move south for the winter) and her husband survived three shots. A sound clip they played of a neighbour sounded like he said "they had a pig who was very nice. I don't know why anybody would want to shoot it" and they have a young child who witnessed the violence (and was being held by the wounded father when help arrived). The animator's last name was "Hill" and I think I may have met her when I lived in Calgary if it is the same Mrs Hill I remember. Her husband was a doctor who provided free services for those unable to pay of medical services where they are living (Atlanta, Georgia I think I heard). Still rather "close to home" as I have been involved with many who make animated shorts in Canada. One of the film names they mentioned was about a pig which adds to the possability that I heard right and they had a pet pig who was also shot.
Ann Vole

Spiders as in mobile video broadcast via the web

There was a interesting webcomic called Spiders where the logistics of war and terrorism is changed considerably due to millions of robotic spider-like units with video cameras and two-way communication and controlled by anyone on the internet that are roaming the war zones. Soldiers and freelance fighters (or call them terrorists) on all sides have to be nice or they will have internet junkies fighting against them by reporting their activities to the other side.

The news reported that a group of Isreali troops out to assasinate a militant leader in one of the occupied areas did some rather nasty things to civilians and did not succeed at killing their target. The whole thing was videoed by multiple camera people and broadcast live via the internet for the over two hours of fatal action and relayed on many stations in the middle east. Several police were investigated and punished due to brutal beatings or accepting bribes that were recorded, usually with cel phones, and posted on UTube. Right here in my city, a person was fatally shot and a bystander recorded it with a cel phone. At first I did not want a camera on my cel phone because many locker rooms ban photo devices for porn making reasons and I did not want my cel phone banned. Now I am thinking that cameras on cel phones and web-capable devices may bring about world peace and democracy. It may also be fuel for Islamic holy wars though... But I think peace will result in the long run as people decide for themselves which sides to support based on integrety and justness.