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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in phierma's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, October 28th, 2015
1:04 am
Is this thing still on?
Haven't posted for years. Literally. Am discovering that more of my friends than I thought are still here. So... um... Hi!
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
2:11 am
A Spoilerific Response to kukla_tko42's Review of "The Dark Knight Rises"
I originally tried to enter this as a response to kukla_tko42's review of "The Dark Knight Rises", but apparently, lj-cut doesn't work in replies, so I moved it here:

Wow. You and I could swap reviews for "The Dark Knight" and "The Dark Knight Rises". (Disclaimer: I was in a theatre with brilliant, crystal-clear sound; it helps to hear the actual dialog. [See also my gripes about MirrorMask-- it sounds as if you just had for this film the experience I had for that one.])

This was the first version of Bane that I could stand in the slightest. I DESPISE AND LOATHE the canonical version (and let's just forget the B&R version, shall we?). And I still think Ledger's Joker was an abomination that did untold violence to the true character.

Catwoman was an unrelenting delight,...WARNING: SPOILERIFIC PORTION OF RESPONSE BEHIND CUTCollapse )

Ah, well...
De gustibus non disputandum est.
Saturday, May 15th, 2010
12:56 am
Not joining the exodus
It seems lately that a large number of my friends (and I mean friends, not merely electronic subscribers) are abandoning LJ for Facebook. I won't be following, because I'm not going to join Facebook. I'm also not going to debate it, either. However, I thought it might be worth making mention of it before everyone disappears.

To be fair, I haven't exactly been verbose here myself; I don't often have a lot to say (I'd be willing to bet my responses and comments outweigh my original postings). That said, I do plan to stick around here.

Current Mood: pensive
Monday, February 2nd, 2009
11:07 pm
Groundhog Greetings
Happy Birthday, axejudge!
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008
6:25 pm
Quick take on "The Dark Night". (WARNING: SPOILERS)
I realize this will brand me as a communist liberal heretic or something, but...

I was disappointed by it.


I did like the movie, but even with guarded expectations, I came away less satisfied than I expected to be.

Current Mood: disappointed
Monday, July 21st, 2008
6:06 pm
Meme sheep loose in the Peanuts field...

Your result for The Peanuts Character Test...


Marcie is Peppermint Patty's best friend, and secretly loves Charlie Brown. She is always willing to help Patty through class and with homework, and plays on her sports teams even though she would rather be doing something else. Always address people you respect as "sir".

Take The Peanuts Character Test at HelloQuizzy

Current Mood: amused
Saturday, March 29th, 2008
9:36 pm
A bit of meme sheepery

Find Out Which Disney Girl You Are!
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Ariel

Sometimes, that seaweed isn't always greener in somebody else's lake! Ariel couldn't stop dreaming of life away from her family and friends, and one filled with an exciting adventure. Sometimes it's also awesome to settle down and chill with your family and friends too - your life isn't as bad as you think!





















Snow White






Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)


Current Mood: amused
Friday, March 7th, 2008
2:44 pm
I don't usually bow to peer pressure, but...
A group of co-workers and I seek out interesting or exotic restaurants each Friday for lunch. We call it "Flavor Fridays". They've been bugging me for some time time to take the "Nerd? Geek? or Dork?" test at OkCupid.com. So I finally did (more comments to follow):

Your Score: Modern, Cool Nerd

73 % Nerd, 86% Geek, 17% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used
to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a
pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world
that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and
geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very
least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent,
knowledgeable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing
computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one
you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one
up there, winning the million bucks)!


Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

So if my highest percentage is geek, why did they label me a nerd?
(By the bye, I edited down the results HTML to save space, trim fluff, and correct spelling. I AM geeky that way.)

Current Mood: geeky
Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
11:17 pm
There are no ninjas here...
...only trees.

Current Mood: devious
Wednesday, November 7th, 2007
11:59 pm
I haz be very 'fraid now, 'k?
I'm not sure whether to be amused or appalled by...

The LOLcat Bible

Current Mood: confused
Tuesday, June 19th, 2007
1:47 am
This should surprise no one...

Your Score: Androgynous

You scored 63 masculinity and 53 femininity!

You scored high on both masculinity and femininity. You have a strong personality exhibiting characteristics of both traditional sex roles.

Link: The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test written by weirdscience on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Current Mood: sleepy
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007
11:33 am
Compose in haiku.
Is it even possible?
Can it be achieved?

Sensibly express
comprehensible statements
wholly in haiku?

Stay, in the confines
of such a rigid format,

Not just broken prose
divided by syllable

rather, each stanza
encapsulating its own
coherent concept.

It's cheating unless
Individual verses
contain complete thoughts.

(Ideally, each line
would carry discernible
meaning of its own.)

Notwithstanding that,
they must still work together,
advancing the whole.

Shakespeare delivered
iambic pentameter
in his plays, of course.

Can I really be
so arrogant as to think
I can approach that?

(Never mind trying
to keep the reader engaged
in what I'm saying...)

Haiku at its best
seeks to create impressions--
deals in images.

Some consider it
poor form to write haiku in
complete sentences.

A fleeting image
whispered transient moments
such is true haiku.

There I go again!
Two nice, perfectly good lines,
and in sneaks a verb.

You'd think I could cope--
stick to nouns and adjectives.
But then, you'd be wrong.

Artistic intent
is insufficient to keep
poetic form pure

Here's my dilemma:
to say something of substance
I find I must DO.

Or, more correctly,
the words I put on paper
have things they must do.

(I really did write
the whole first draft on paper--
I'm such a Luddite!)

Is it possible,
then, to write a sensible
essay in haiku?

To say what I want
without violating form?
Somehow, I doubt it.

Current Mood: creative
Friday, May 11th, 2007
2:00 am
The Nicest Traffic Stop I've Ever Had
I was coming home from a Partylight candle party, and needed to make a left turn, so I activated my turn signal, slowed as i approached the flashing red light, and suddenly noticed two things:

1) I was in the straight lane, not the turn lane.

2) There was a Ferguson Police car pulling up to the light in the cross street.

I had no desire to make an illegal turn in front of a police officer, or to make the kind of sudden lane change that says, "Please arrest me for drunk driving," so I turned off my signal, came to a full stop, crossed the intersection, pulled into the parking lot of the business on the corner, turned around, went back to the intersection, made a cautious right turn, and proceeded on my way, pondering as I did so how odd all of that might have looked to a police officer. Seeing no obvious response, I relaxed and set about driving home. About three blocks later, the Christmas lights exploded in my rear view mirror.

My first coherent thought after realizing I was the intended target was, "Well, there goes a couple hundred dollars." I assumed that I had gotten a bit sloppy about my speed, and that this would therefore turn into legal expenses. Let me mention in passing, by the bye, that I was absolutely sober. My lane placement error had been due to unfamiliarity with the intersection-- it widened at the actual crossing point to add a left turn lane, and I had simply missed seeing the additional lane until I was committed to the other.

Having fairly recently read bradhicks's commentary on traffic stops, etc., I made sure to make myself as non-threatening and approachable as possible. I signalled that I was about to pull over, then did so. I turned off the radio, lowered the window, turned off the engine, put my hands up on the steering wheel in plain sight, and quietly waited for the officer to run the usual check for bench warrants, of which I knew that, barring some kind of clerical error, there would be none.

While I was waiting, no less than three other police cars drove by in the opposite direction, each one slowing down as it passed, surveying the scene as if gauging whether assistance might be needed. None of them stopped, but I got the distinct impression that I was being perceived as something of a novelty-- a late night traffic stop involving someone with a light complexion (as I have observed other traffic stops in the area, it's difficult to avoid thinking that there is some degree of racial profiling going on). I kept my hands on the wheel, and did my best to appear calm and composed (actually being calm and composed was going to be a bit of a stretch). I mentally rehearsed responses to the several things I thought it most likely I would be asked about.

Eventually, the officer approached. I noticed that he stopped in a position that kept the car's door frame and rear door window between him and me. He asked if he could see my license and insurance. I replied, "Yes sir," and slowly extracted the bundle of ID cards from my belt bag. I then removed my license and insurance card, checking to be sure I had the one with the currently relevant date range (I may have been making quiet "search mutters" to myself as I dug them out), and handed him the two cards together. As he leaned forward just far enough to take the cards, It struck me that the officer bore a remarkable resemblance to Michael Garibaldi from Babylon 5. He asked if I was going straight home from work, and I replied that I had been visiting friends and was now going home. He asked where my fiends lived, and I had to look up the street name on the mapquest map I had printed out (it being only the third time I had been to that house, I didn't remember the name offhand). The officer observed that the address on my license lay in the opposite direction from that in which I was travelling. (It took me a moment to realize what he meant, because it's been a while since I lived there). I explained that I had moved since that license was made, and quietly wondered whether I would be admonished (or ticketed, even) for not having it updated. He then explained that the reason he had pulled me over was that it seemed suspicious for me to have my turn signal on, go straight, turn around, and the head in the direction I was originally signalling. Fortunately, this was one the possibilities for which I had rehearsed. I responded (more or less) as follows:

"I had been planning to turn left, so I put on my turn signal, but then I realized I was in the straight lane, so I turned off the signal, went straight across, and turned around in the first parking lot I found, so I could go back and make a legal right turn. It was just a mistake, and I wanted to correct it as safely and legally as possible."

The officer was quiet a moment. Then, in a voice that sounded genuinely and pleasantly surprised, he said, "Good answer. Have a good night, Mr. ." and handed me my license and insurance card. I thanked him, put the cards away, and drove away carefully, making sure to use my turn signal as I pulled back into traffic (one other car was passing at about that time). I mused that my answer had the benefit of actually being the truth, and that I really couldn't hope for a traffic stop to go any better than the one I had just been through. I also decided to share the story with those of you who read my journal, and began outlining this post in my head. The remainder of the drive home was both uneventful and unusually pleasant.

Current Mood: relieved
Tuesday, December 12th, 2006
1:26 pm
MSG-free speech (no Accent)
Apparently I have almost no accent whatsoever.

Curiously enough, I've almost always been able to mimic others' accents and dialects.
(Once, during an abortive attempt at learning Japanese, I echoed the practice
phrase so perfectly that the instructor said, with an astronshied expression
on her face, "How did you DO that?". I replied that I just imitated what I heard.)
When I was little, we used to visit our relatives in Arkansas, and I would come back with
a rich Ozark accent (which, as my friends know, I can slip into in a heartbeat if
want to.)

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Current Mood: pleased
Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
11:20 pm
Hooray!!! I was WRONG!!!!
I dance a bitter jig of despair for the failure of my misgivings to come true (see previous post).
Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
11:53 am
My trip to the polls
cos_x and I voted early this morning. Here are a few of my observations:

Things seemed to be going smoothly in general.

I heard an official asking people to turn off their cellular phones (?). To be fair, there had been several rings in a row, with people saying "Have to call you back; I'm voting." It seems at least polite not to make a call from the actual polling place (is there a law regarding this?). My phone was off anyhow, as is my general custom (It's intended as outbound/emergency only, so I only turn it on when I'm actually making a call).

There was almost no wait for paper ballots, but moderate to long line for touch screens (go figure). I heard a child comparing the paper ballots to taking a test; perhaps that figures into it? There were five touch screens and 3 paper booths (punch-card booths retrofitted with level, smooth particle boards-- I found this mildly amusing). With the size and layout of the paper ballots, I had the oddest sensation that I had been miniaturized.

We met a friend coming in as we were going out.

The only difficulty I had was that the scanner rejected my ballot on the first attempt to load it. I noticed that the notched end of my ballot was not facing forward, and, playing a hunch, rotated the ballot 180 degrees in its privacy shield, after which it was (apparently) read without trouble. I'm not sure if that warrants reporting or not (the official assisting with the machine said that it occasionally balked on first reading, but was taking ballots consistently otherwise, irrespective of orientation).

I was vaguely disquieted to see that the slot for provisional ballots was on the front of what appeared to be the collection bin for scanned optical ballots. I don't know if the internal bin was separate or not.

I resisted the urge to plead with people to use the paper ballots.

A veteran was distributing flags outside to everyone who voted. They had little "support [candidate] for Mayor" cards attached. The mayoral election was not today.

It occurred to me to wonder whether the fact that I've never seen serious voting problems in my ward has anything to do with the fact that (based on my informal yard sign / bumper sticker count) it has a slight Republican bias. Or am I just being cynical here?

I dearly hope my vote is counted; I have an uneasy feeling about this election in general.
Friday, September 15th, 2006
3:05 am
Feeling (meme) Sheepish, but no real surprises in this one

Third Way Liberal

You scored 79% Personal Liberty and 31% Economic Liberty!

A third way liberal believes in little to moderate government
intervention on personal matters and moderate to high government
intervention on economic matters. They tend to be opposed to war,
police powers, victimless crimes, and what they may consider to be a
corporate state or rogue capitalism. They generally support personal
liberty and believes in a social safety net or welfare state. They
support self-ownership and privacy. Third way liberals are essentially
the "mainstream" left and left of center.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Personal
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Economic

Link: The Politics Test written by brainpolice on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
Saturday, September 9th, 2006
12:44 pm
An Exercise in Class Warfare
This past Labor Day, bradhicks, cos_x, and I were on our way home from a barbecue, where there had been the usual hashing of current events and politics. I had had to work the next day, so we left relatively early, in the middle of the conversation, which at that point had been dissecting Randian philosophy in particular and libertarianism in general. As is our wont, we continued to natter about it on the way home, mostly elaborating on a point I had brought up earlier, which was that Libertarianism shared with unrestrained lassaize-faire capitalism a dark and brutal underside. I was reminded of how I first became aware of the concept, and related that story to the others. Then bradhicks asked me to write it up in detail, and post it to my LiveJournal. My ardent fans (both of them) will be aware that my journal has mostly been occasional meme sheepery so far, chiefly because I don't often think I have all that much to say. However, I agreed that this topic warranted that rarest of all LJ beasts, a real post from me. So, Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1976, whence, amidst the expected Bicentennial furor, I first encountered a glimmer of deep political thought...

I was in 8th grade, and my Social Studies teacher (who also happened to be my homeroom teacher), was something of an activist, and by way of encouraging such activism in his students, offered extra credit to students who would write letters to government officials or otherwise actively lobby for what he considered relevant causes. I should have suspected something was up when he set aside two days' worth of class time for an abstract trading game, but to the extent I gave it any advance thought at all, I merely thought that I needed to win to keep my grade up (never mind my generally competitive nature).

These were the rules of the game as they were outlined to us:

- The class was divided, initially arbitrarily, into three groups: A, B, and C.

- The object of the game was to accumulate points by trading tickets (small rectangles of construction paper):
. Gold Tickets were worth 20 points
. Blue Tickets were worth 10 points
. Red Tickets were worth 5 points

- At the beginning of each round, tickets would be distributed as follows:
. Those in the A group would receive: Gold Gold Blue Blue Red
. Those in the B group would receive: Gold Blue Blue Red Red
. Those in the C group would receive: Blue Blue Red Red Red
(or something very like that)

- During each 10-minute round, players could trade tickets according to the following requirements:
. A trade consisted of a player exchanging one of his or her tickets for one of a different kind.
. Once a trade negotiation was initiated, neither player could back out without completing the trade unless the round ended.
. The same two players could not trade with one another twice in a row.
Note that this was engineered so that trades were inherently unbalanced, with the obvious loopholes plugged.

- At the end of each round, the tickets were collected and scored, and the class was redivided into A's, B's and C's based on accumulated points so far in the game:
. The students in the top third of scores became the new A's.
. The students in the middle third of scores became the new B's.
. The students in the bottom third of scores became the new C's.
I don't recall whether the initial distribution counted in the overall total, or if it was only the post-trading results that counted.

- After each re-division, the new A's were allowed to add one new rule to the game.

I don't recall whether the class was divided alphabetically, sequentially, or randomly (remind me sometime to write a polemic regarding the tyranny of alphabetical order), but as it happened, I started out as a C. Here's what happened:

In the first round, I went immediately to a friend/acquaintance of mine in the class, who, as it happened, had lucked into being an A, and offered to trade him one of my red tickets for one of his gold tickets. To my vast astonishment, he agreed. I then succeeded in trading another red for a blue, and I think I was deadlocked in the third negotiation when time was called. When the scores were tallied, it turned out that I had managed to trade my way up into the B group. The A's added a rule forbidding trading between members of the same group.

In the second round, I went straight back to my friend/acquaintance, and once again, traded red for gold, astonished that he was willing to make such a trade (again!). I don't recall what else I traded that round, but when it was over, I had advanced into the A's. Someone suggested adding a rule permitting A's to back out of a trade negotiation if they wanted to. Having made the scramble from (as I perceived it) the losing group to the winning group, I wanted very much to stay there, so I eagerly agreed, realizing that it meant I would never be forced into a losing trade again.

The third round of trading, unsurprisingly, didn't result in any further changes to the membership of the A group. Desiring to cement my place among the winners as firmly as possible, I suggested that we add a rule granting A's (and ONLY A's) an extra Gold Ticket at the start of each round. My fellow A's agreed.

With the extra Gold Tickets and the ability to back out of trades at will, we A's had pretty much locked in our positions at the top of the pecking order. This didn't stop us from enacting more rules designed to ensure that we could not be displaced. I don't recall what the later ones were, except that they were equally unfair to the lower strata.

Then, after the final round, during the final tallying, the most astonishing thing happened. The B's and C's, fed up with the trampling they had received at the hands of the A's, pooled all of their tickets and gave them to a handful of their own members, displacing enough A's to institute one final rule: all the players who had been B's or C's going into the final round were awarded an extra 1000 points each-- enough to make them into A's and B's, while deposing the prior A's into C's. The prior A's howled at this, of course, but there was no rule stating that tickets could not be GIVEN AWAY.

I spent a fair amount of time fuming over the unfairness of it all, and worrying about how it would affect my grade, despite the fact that what they had done was technically legal, just as all the rules I had helped impose as an A had been technically legal. The next day in class, we discussed the game and how it had played out. It turns out that in his other classes, not all of the A's had been as ruthless as we had been. One class had even instituted rules that leveled the playing field. Suddenly, I was appalled at how rapaciously greedy I had become, and with what little provocation. And then, just as suddenly, I GOT IT. The game hadn't been about scoring points for our grade; it had been done to give us an object lesson in the abuse of power. It was an exercise in Class Warfare (though we didn't use that term to describe it). I had been confronted with my inner Robber Baron, and I was ashamed of myself, both for having behaved that way, and for not having figured out what was going on until I was beat over the head with it. I had managed to put both my avarice and my stupidity on full display. (To be fair, as far as I could tell, nobody else got it until the post-mortem discussion, either, but that was little comfort to me at the time.)

Several questions remained unanswered:

1) If we (the A's) had been content with the backing-out rule (which sufficiently guarded our position), or granted everybody an extra ticket, or somehow softened our stranglehold on the game, would we still have been deposed?

2) What was I really thinking when I became so ruthlessly power-mad? Why did this one game matter so much to me? OK; I thought it might affect my grade, but beyond that? Was this just me being my usual competitive self?

And the biggest question of all:

3) Why was my friend/acquaintance so willing to make such obviously debilitating trades in my favor? (I spent the whole game trading up my red tickets through him.)

Here are my guesses:

1) Possibly not, but who knows? All I know for sure is that our teacher didn't mention it happening in any of the other classes who played the game.

2) I really am deeply competitive, and this was probably just another manifestation of it. (Therein lies fodder for yet another post.)

3) This fellow was not one of the more popular kids in our class. I was one of the few people who had the time of day for him (partly because I wasn't exactly Mr. Popular myself). Perhaps he considered my good will more important than the outcome of the game.

I remember relatively little else from 8th grade Social Studies, but that one lesson in Class Warfare and the abuse of power has stayed with me and done much to shape my ethical and political thinking ever since.
Sunday, June 18th, 2006
1:30 am
Wednesday, June 14th, 2006
3:48 pm
Meme Sheep on the Wing-- Or is it the Other Way Around?
Well, I'm surprised...

~~Claim Your Wings - Pics and Long Answers~~

You are one of the few out there whose wings are truly ANGELIC. Selfless, powerful, and divine, you are one blessed with a certain cosmic grace. You are unequalled in peacefulness, love, and beauty. As a Being of Light your wings are massive and a soft white or silver. Countless feathers grace them and radiate the light within you for all the world to see. You are a defender, protector, and caretaker. Comforter of the weak and forgiver of the wrong, chances are you are taken advantage of once in awhile, maybe quite often. But your innocence and wisdom sees the good in everyone and so this mistreatment does not make you colder. Merciful to the extreme, you will try to help misguided souls find themselves and peace. However not all Angelics allow themselves to be gotten the better of - the Seraphim for example will be driven to fighting for the sake of Justice and protection of those less powerful. Congratulations - and don't ever change - the world needs more people like you.Image Copyright Sheila Wolk (prints available through treefreegreetings.com) - words added by myself.
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