Sunday, March 29, 2015

Video Workstation Configuration

My desktop finally died. It didn't owe me anything since I bought it refurbished five years ago for $900. When the fan on the video card quit working two years ago, the desktop would crash after a few minutes as the video GPU reached about 120 degrees C. This was an odd sized fan and I could not find a replacement to fit, so to keep the PC running I removed the side panel and GPU cover and put a small USB powered fan to blow air over the cooling fins on the graphic card. This worked for a couple of years, but other things also began to fail: the front USB connections, card readers, and finally the PC would not stay on for more than 10 or 20 minutes. Rather than buy a new desktop I decided to run entirely off my laptop, which is a bit under-powered for video editing, but I'll see if it works.

Four-monitor laptop workstation 

Friday, March 27, 2015

White House Council on Boys & Men

Dr. Warren Farrell, author of The Myth of Male Power, Why Men Are The Way They Are, Father and Child Reunion, and many other books on masculinity, and his supporters are requesting that president Obama establish a White House Council on Boys & Men.

The proposal outlines several problems facing men and boys. It concludes that we are facing a profound crisis in the education, work, and physical and emotional health of our sons. Some important facts taken from the proposal include:
  • Boys are more medicated and less educated
  • Boys’ suicide rate goes from equal to girls’ prior to adolescence to five times girls’ between 20 and 24
  • one out of three children in the U.S. living in father-absent homes
  • the male-female life expectancy gap has grown from one year in 1920 to more than five years today
  • boys and men die earlier than girls and women from nine of the 10 leading causes of death
  • One of every five men 25 to 54 is not working
In this video, Dr. Farrell explains the difficulties involved in bringing this proposal to the attention of the White House, which includes the necessity of sending a contingent to the Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses to meet the candidates while they are still accessible before the election efforts are in full-swing. Donations to fund this effort are needed, and welcomed.

I have been invited to document this effort, which begins in April, 2015.

Gender Relations in India with Filmmaker Deepika Bhardwaj and Men's Rights Pioneer Anil Kumar

The details vary slightly but the one-sided, false-narrative of female-victim / male-villain in domestic violence is being told around the world in many different ways. Join us on March 31 at 10 AM EST (7:30 PM IST) to discuss how this narrative is playing out in India today.

Deepika Bhardwaj is a filmmaker in India whose current project, Martyrs of Marriage, explores the "legal terrorism" inflicted on men by section 498A of IPC, a law which

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Florence, Italy - A Traveler's Tale, Part 2

My first language is English but I speak enough French to get by, even to enjoy myself. In fact I like it when my French is better than the English of someone I meet because, more often than not, people will default to English and I miss an opportunity to practice my french.

English is so widely spoken in Europe that, as an English speaker, it seems possible to avoid any other language since there's always someone nearby who can translate, and a surprising number of people in the service industry speak English. Add a little French and you can do well in most of Western, and even Central, Europe. It doesn't hurt to have a little Spanish from High School under my belt either - although I can't carry a conversation I can often figure out what was said, and make sense of simple written sentences. But Italy is different. Italians are not as multilingual as other Europeans.

View of Ponte Vecchio from San Niccolo neighborhood
We are staying in an apartment in the neighborhood of San Niccolo, Florence, and I was surprised at how alienating it is to be unable to communicate even simple thoughts. I have had short experiences of "inability to communicate" in the past but they were easy to dismiss because they were quickly over. It's different to face a couple of months in a foreign country where contact with most of the people is restricted to meeting simple needs like "un cappuccino per favore."  It can make you feel isolated even though surrounded by people, and