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Craig Rickel

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Fie on Missouri! [Oct. 12th, 2009|04:25 am]
Craig Rickel
[Current Mood |grumpygrumpy]

So for those not familiar with the Saga, a quick summary: We made a non-profit last year, raised a bunch of money for Safari's Sanctuary in our charity auction, and Missouri believes that we're not sales tax exempt; this despite the Missouri code stating rather clearly that social clubs - which we are registered with the federal government as - are exempt. But, at length, we found out that as a small charity/social club, with very little money to spare, we have absolutely no recourse in the matter.

As it turns out, if you're a corporation (such as a non-profit entity) an individual cannot represent your organization to the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission unless they're licensed to practice law in Missouri. Since we're small charity and can't afford legal representation, we effectively have no representation, no matter the fact that we have both the Missouri Statutes AND a previous court ruling on our side.

This has left me irked. I wrote our state representative and senator to let them know of this hole in our legal system, but they won't be drafting new legislation until January, even if they hear about this. I would ask anyone who lives and pays taxes in Missouri consider doing the same. It's pretty easy to do - forms are right on their website.

But, yeah. We'll be holding next year's Wild Nights convention in Oklahoma. Again. :) Hope to see you all there. Should be more fun this year! We'll have a lot more people.

Which reminds me. I need to go tend to registration. And fill out state tax forms. =^-.-^=
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Wild Nights - New Convention [Feb. 27th, 2009|11:19 pm]
Craig Rickel
[Tags|, , , , ]
[Current Mood |bouncybouncy]

Well, we finally did it. Heros and I finally went and started a furry convention of our own - Wild Nights. It's taken a lot of work, particularly paperwork, but we have a non-profit organization set up and will be having our first year down at Robber's Cavern State Park in Oklahoma. It's a semi-outdoors kind of con, with cabins, a dining hall, plenty of space for all kinds of things to do, and a huge campfire.

Yes, I realize the actual name of our organization is the Missouri Exotic Species Art Association - but funny thing, Missouri didn't want to host our convention. Their loss, and we'll try to make it so we can have our convention there next year, but for now - Oklahoma!

The convention is running from April 23rd through the 27th. A $40 registration gets you food (prepared by yours truly), lodging in the cabins, and a variety of activities we're running there at the campgrounds. There also might well be horseback riding available, and tours of the cave along with something called the 'animal feed'. Not sure what that is, exactly, but it sounds like a lot of fun.

Anyway, hope to see you all there!

MESA President
(and Head Chef!)
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The Rye's the Limit [Jun. 25th, 2006|09:07 am]
Craig Rickel
Something interesting happened to me this weekend. I'm sitting here looking at a fifty dollar bill someone gave me. Why? Because they really liked my bread.

Lately, I've been baking up a few loaves, and a business friend of Joel's said, 'Hey, could you make me a few loaves? As good as I hear it is, I'll give you $5 a loaf.' Hey, not a bad way to make $20 with 50 cents worth of flour, eh?

So I baked up four. Only one of them ended up being your basic 'loaf' shapem actually baked in a tin. One I baked on a pizza cooking tray (my baking sheets weren't clean) and two I baked in pie tins (hey, you gotta use what you gotta use, and they didn't come all the way out to the edges anyway, right?).

The two in the pie tins split down the middle while they were baking. Probably because they spent too long in the oven - I put them in on the lower racks with other bread in the oven because I was running short on time and they weren't browning properly at first. But no problem, I brushed the sides with egg white in the last five minutes of baking to give them a shiny finish and called them 'artisan'.

So I sent those off, happily anticipating my $20. Instead, he sent back a $50, and a list of more breads he wants me to bake for him. More white bread, rye sourdough, pumpernickel, and cinnamon raisin (in an english muffin dough).

I don't even known HOW to make english muffins yet. But I do know this. Rye and pumpernickel are almost the same dough, except for one important detail. Pumpernickel spends 18-24 hours in a steam filled oven.

Real pumpernickel, that is. That's traditional German pumpernickel, the dark brown, rich, flavorful bread that's been colored by the Malliard reaction all the way through. You cook it low and slow. These days, bakers recognize that the biggest limit of their profession is time, and so cook high and fast. They get that rich, dark brown by throwing in things like molassas, coffee, even cocoa powder.

Hence, I have an internal conflict. There's the 'quick and easy' way, which will take only 2-3 hours from start to finish but give an inferior bread, and then there's the 'right' way. But when am I going to sleep?

Decisions, decisions. I'm probably going to go with the 'quick and easy' way. Although I don't have any molassas, and really haven't ever worked with it before. I wonder if I could use brown sugar...

Oh, and he said he was going to share this bread with all of his friends and trying to convince them to pitch in. Which means I'd be baking even more.

And here I thought I was just getting a $20!
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It came back from FC... [Jan. 25th, 2006|11:47 am]
Craig Rickel
Yeah, figured I'd do a con report. Everyone else is doing it!

I'd like to being by saying 'ow'. Ow. Ow ow ow ow. Why? Because this was the first night in a week that I once again was able to sleep in a waterbed. A warm, cozy, but not-quite-entirely-filled waterbed. I slept very well indeed, but woke up with a very stiff back from the bed not being firm enough. I missed my waterbed, I did indeed, but I need to fix that.

How was the con, though? Well, funny thing, that. I missed most of it. We spent the first night visiting Joel's parents who, I would like to note, are cool. Not just like, supportive, and parenting, but very cool to just hang out with. If there hadn't even been a convention, I might've gone just to see them. They're that cool.

But we arrived at the convention site, got settled in, ran back and forth picking up friends of ours from the local airports - apparently all of them chose to arrive in different cities. Punks. And somewhere in the middle of all this, Joel and I got drafted into staff. I never did get a registration packet, but I don't think that would've mattered all that much.

See, the main reason that we started actually going to FC was Heather Alexander. I didn't go for the panels, the events, the art auctions, the dealers, or any other sort of thing going on around there. Just her, and her music. This year, she couldn't make it due to some scheduling conflicts with another convention, but we went anyway because we've made a lot of friends down there and Joel wanted to help out with the dance and stuff. To put it bluntly, friends of mine who were going were the only reason I was there this year.

So I spent almost the entire con there in the gaming room (the side with all the video equipment) making sure none of it was wandering off, listening to the furs attempt kareoke and play the same songs on Guitar Hero over and over again for three days. When I finished there, I'd go and find some friends and hang out with them. And that's what I did for the entire con. Didn't go to any panels, didn't follow the fursuiters around with a camera, didn't even manage to poke my way into the dealer's den anytime they were open.

I did manage to get a picture of my character, though - only the third one in existence. Yeah, I've been in the fandom... what, seven years now? And I only have three pictures of my character. One art trade with Frosttail, one con badge done in pencil by Krahnos, and this one, my third, the first I've actually paid money for, from Steve Martin. I also learned a very important lesson - when you're getting something done by an artist like him, who does huuuge amounts of art, that being their main source of income, give them more detail. Also, go in with a clear idea of at least what you want it to look like, because they can draw whatever you come up with. When he asked me, 'What should I have your character doing?' and I had no idea... he made something up based on the fact that I specified my character's musculature as a 'swimmer's build'. You know, muscled, but more lithe than bodybuilder style. So I got a picture of my character riding an octopus in the ocean. Not at all how I was picturing things - but the more I look at it, the more I like it, because he got my character's expression (which I did specify - 'quietly amused') dead-on. You can't quite tell what he's up to... but he's up to something, that much is sure. That is a perfect description of my character.

So how was the convention, though? I suppose I really just don't know. I had a lot of fun, but didn't really go for the con. I went for the people. Ran into almost everyone I was looking for. Almost - I missed areitu. *pokes the cheetah* And I missed a couple other people I was looking for simply because they weren't there at all, dang them. That's actually why I like the smaller conventions - it's a lot easier to find the people you're hunting when you only have to look through two hundred, instead of two thousand. Yeah, the number I heard quoted was 1980 people. YEESH. If I hadn't had my cellphone, I wouldn't have been able to find any of them. I also met some new, random people, which is always fun.

Think that's about it. I'm back home, grateful that I have a real kitchen. Next year, I'm pondering the possibilities of hunting down a suite with a kitchen or something. Zarel and I had some fun cooking up a dish of scallops over pasta on a portable little hotplate he brought. I'm tempted to see what he can do with a real kitchen, and share some of my own cooking with him. We shall see.
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5 Weird Things About Me [Jan. 14th, 2006|06:35 pm]
Craig Rickel
Riiight, so...

"The first player of this game starts with the topic "5 Weird Habits of Yours" and people who get tagged need to write an LJ entry about their 5 quirky habits, as well as state this rule clearly. At the end, you need to list the next 5 people to be tagged."

Well, I've got nothing better to do. Weird habits of mine.

1. I get utterly fascinated with a topic. For about two weeks. During this time I act as an informational sponge and suck up everything I can understand (which tends to be most of it, these days, even with things like particle physics). Then I get bored and move on to the next fascination.

2. I'm a neophile. Not to the degree that, say, xiuv is, but I really like things that are 'new'. That aren't, well, crap, like 90% of everything new. New games, new movies, new books. If I don't get enough new stuff, I get wanderlust-ish, impatient, and generally cranky.

3. I'm technically a fur. Yes, most of you know what that is, and don't consider it particularly weird, but HEY. Most of the world still does. The reason I say 'technically' is because I'm mostly just in it because of my atavistic beliefs. I don't get turned on by fursuits, neither do I particularly fanboy the art.

4. My body wants to sleep on a 25 hour schedule. This means that roughly once a month, my schedule will rotate around entirely, from sleeping in the morning to sleeping at night and then back again. This makes 'normal' life difficult.

5. I can't think of a fifth weird thing about myself. So I suppose that's pretty weird in an of itself. But that means that I do have five things, but... ARGH!

And I'll tag: xiuv, jayger, dook, halex, areitu.
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Scathing political commentary! [Sep. 26th, 2005|11:31 am]
Craig Rickel
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury.
Alexander Tytler

Tyranny and despotism can be exercised by many, more rigourously, more vigourously, and more severely, than by one.
Andrew Johnson

The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.
Art Spander

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Benjamin Franklin

A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national election.
Bill Vaughan

In a democracy everybody has a right to be represented, including the jerks.
Chris Patten

Democracy: In which you say what you like and do what you're told.
Dave Barry

Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic.
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How's that again? I missed something.
Excerpt from the notebooks of Lazarus Long, from Robert Heinlein's "Time Enough for Love"

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
George Bernard Shaw

Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
George Bernard Shaw

The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.
Gustave Flaubert

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
H.L. Mencken

It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.
H.L. Mencken

Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.
H.L. Mencken

Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
Helen Keller

Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population -- the intelligent ones or the fools?
Henrik Ibsen

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
Hubert H. Humphrey

Democracy encourages the majority to decide things about which the majority is ignorant.
John Simon

We'd all like to vote for the best man but he's never a candidate.
Kin Hubbard

Democracy is the name we give the people whenever we need them.
Marquis de Flers Robert and Arman de Caillavet

Democracy is the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
Oscar Wilde

Politicians are always interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.
P.J. O’Rourke

The greatest fallacy of democracy is that everyone's opinion is worth the same.
Robert Anson Heinlein

Democracy, as has been said of Christianity, has never really been tried.
Stuart Chase

Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.
Thomas Jefferson

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
Thomas Jefferson

All extremes are bad. All that is good and useful, if carried to extremes, may become-and beyond a certain limit is bound to become bad and injurious.
V. I. Lenin

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill

Vote - Because the winning party doesn't want you to.
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On a lighter note.... [Sep. 21st, 2005|07:52 pm]
Craig Rickel
One of my best skills these days is the ability to find information from search engines and discern good, accurate information from bad information. I can't think of any job where this is actually an asset (maybe a researcher at a law office or something?) but there's no doubt that I'm very good at it.

Hurricane Rita has just hit 904 millibars of pressure. It's dropped 10 millibars in a single hour - that's a new record in meterology. That currently rates her as the 3rd strongest Atlantic hurricane of all time - and she shows every sign of getting even stronger. The eyewall was at 25 nautical miles wide this afternoon, and has shrunk to 20 nautical miles. Once it reaches 10 nautical miles, the eyewall will begin to collapse and go through a replacement cycle, which will stop the intensification.

However, that likely won't happen until early tommorrow morning. Before then, Hurricane Rita will continue over the Gulf loop current, an area of warmer water circulating through the Gulf of Mexico, which will continue to intensify her. There is a distinct possibility that she will drop below 888 millibars of pressure, which would make her the strongest hurricane in history, period. She will almost certainly make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane, making large parts of Texas a disaster area, and possibly even doing damage as far inland as Houston. As a contrast, sea level pressure is 1040 millibars.

If you've got relatives in Texas, you might want to get them out. Soon.
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Angst [Sep. 21st, 2005|06:55 pm]
Craig Rickel
Well, I've figured out one small segment of my personality. There's a lesson that I learned through grade school, through all of high school, and even in college. It's a bit amusing, as it's something more typical of Asians than Americans. It hurts them academically, it prevents them from succeeding in corporate jobs. But right now, it's just making me feel like crap.

The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.

All through my life, this lesson has been hammered into me. Don't look different. Fit in. Don't draw attention. Don't succeed. All of those things just make you a target. I just blend in, fade into the background, and try to do a good job while not trying to get too much attention.

The problem that Asians have is when they're in a corporate job, that's what they tend to do. They'll tell their superiors about what they're working on, but they don't brag of their accomplishments. They don't put themselves forward. They just do their job, do it well, and do it quietly - and watch their coworkers get promoted around them because their bosses hear about all the wonderful things they're doing.

My problem runs a bit deeper, though. I'm constantly picking up new things and then dropping them before I really get anywhere. I say I'm learning this, or that, or the other - and I am, don't get me wrong - but before I get anywhere near an accomplishment, I drop it and move on to something else. Get too successful, and people will start to notice - and being noticed is bad.

Being noticed in grade school got me beat up. It got my parents called about their 'precocious' kid by the teachers. I can't recall a single experience I had where I did well and something good actually came of it. It just made me a target.

Part of me is wondering if I should change. After all, it's gotten me this far in life, why stop now? The rest of me is looking at myself, looking at my life, and seeing just how little I've really done. I'm turning 27 in a week, I'm a third of the way through my life... I can't keep a job, I don't like talking to people, and I wish that the world would just leave me alone.

To be successful, I have to start putting myself forward. But is it really worth it? I don't know. I just don't. And I don't know how to change, even if I want to.

How do you undo twenty years of cultural conditioning?
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Civilization? [Sep. 1st, 2005|09:58 am]
Craig Rickel
Rimmer: "They say that every society is only three meals away from revolution. Deprive a culture of food for three meals, and you'll have an anarchy."

So, we've got armed looters all throughout New Orleans. People shooting at rescue helicopters. Arson at the Superdome, one of the cities major evacuation points. Gangs of roving policemen, begging food off of people and having to siphon gas from abandoned vehicles for theirs.

Jesus Christ.

What really gets me is that even the police - trained personnel - did not fully realize the basic, fundamental rule of survival: You must take care of yourself before you can take care of others. They didn't know about the holy trinity of Food, Water, and Shelter. Even my mate, who is by no means trained in survival, knew about those!

I would like to personally send out kudos to all those people who had the sense to listen to the mandatory evacuation order that went out before the hurricane hit. Every single one of you has helped make the situation that much easier.

And I'm even more glad I live in the midwest. The worst thing we have up here? It's not the tornados. It's the occasional ice storm. We get one bad one about every three/four years. Knocks out power to parts of the city for a day or two. We know how to deal with it.

Something like this? The next time a Category 5 Hurricane comes barrelling in towards a major city, odds are, it'll be so far in the future that people will have forgotten all about this object lesson.
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(no subject) [Aug. 28th, 2005|07:41 pm]
Craig Rickel
"Oh, I wouldn't want to live in the Midwest - I'm scared of tornados!" --- Louisiana Citizen

"With windspeeds of over 150 miles an hour - well, imagine an F-3 Tornado 300 miles wide..." Weatherguy talking about Hurricane Katrina

I just don't get people sometimes. :D
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