Jun. 20th, 2012 11:15 am
kiranlightpaw: (pissedoff)
This is why we can't have nice things.
Are you fucking kidding me?

Now, in the case of the first one, the assault apparently happened after Anthrocon was over, and it's not certain that the person was actually an attendee. Whenever you get that many people in one place, there's bound to be at least one creep. So I don't "blame" Anthrocon, and there will always be people shitty people who will do shitty things, although that hardly matters to my main point below. The incident at FurBQ, on the other hand, is absolutely inexcusable.

There are two things that connect both of these incidents: they occurred in public at furry events, and in both cases no one did anything until it was too late. All I can ask myself is "Why?"

Why did no one go up to that person sexually assaulting that woman and say, "Hey, you should stop doing this immediately before I call the police." Why did no one go up to the two jackasses fucking in fursuit on the hood of a car in broad fucking daylight, in front of children, and say, "Hey, you should stop doing this immediately before I rip your dick off and feed it to you. Take it to a room!"

Why? Because it's uncomfortable. I get that. No one likes to have to be "that guy" that has to break up the "fun." In the back of our heads, we know what we're seeing is wrong. We tell ourselves, "well, it doesn't involve me" or "someone else will talk to them." But no one ever does because everyone always thinks it's someone else's problem. Everyone always passes the buck to someone else who's supposed to be responsible. And because people were too busy looking away, a woman was sexually assaulted and two furs fucking in public cost an ambulance service hundred of thousands of dollars and (apparently) several people their jobs.

I am saying this clearly, without any equivocation: every person standing in front of the Westin when that woman was assaulted, and saw it happen, bears some responsibility for what happened, because you did nothing to stop it. Every person who attended FurBQ and saw those two morons fucking on the hood of the car bears some responsibility for what happened, because you did nothing to stop it.

We furries have got to begin to police our own. I'm sorry, but "it's someone else's problem" is no longer a justifiable attitude to have as long as you are part of a community and live in civilized society. When you see something like this happening, you have a choice to make. You can take the easy road and say, hey, it's not my problem. Or, you can do something about it. If you choose the first option, you bear the same shame as the offender.

It is your moral obligation to look out for others and the community.

Any time you, as a furry, are in public or at a furry event in public, always remember:

Your behavior reflects on us all.

Especially fursuiters, because you are the most visible members of the fandom to non-fandom members.

When you fuck in fursuit on the hood of a car in broad daylight, average people think all furries fuck on the hoods of cars in broad daylight. You may think that all furries do (or would, given the change) but, news flash Sparky, they wouldn't. Most wouldn't. Some wouldn't. A few wouldn't. In fact, it may just be you, ya damn fools! So quit taking it on yourself to give us all a negative image!

The sexual assault incident should never have happened. It was in public, in front of a hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. But it did, and more than anything that's sad and infuriating.

Now, I've ranted enough about this. Instead of sitting back and just shrugging, I'm going to do something positive to offset this. I'm not sure what yet, but I'll find something. If you are looking to help:


Jul. 25th, 2011 11:31 am
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
I'm gonna write a post about all the traveling we've done in the last two weeks in a little bit, but right now I need to get something off my chest.

I rented a car this last weekend in Florida to go to a wedding. While I was in a coffee shop, a lady trying to get into the spot next to me hit the rear quarter panel of the car. I was parked in a valid, marked parking spot and was not even in the vehicle at the time the incident happened.

The Chevy HHR is the rental car. Seriously, how do you fuck this up with all that space?

Now, to be sure, this is a pretty minor accident. But it's left me with a mountain of paperwork and multiple entities to work with to try to get this resolved. Even though there's no way in hell I will be found at fault with this (the lady admitted fault to the police officer), I'm still on the hook for the damage to the rental car. Even though I'm not at fault, I still have to file claims with my insurer and the credit card company, because Hertz is going to come after me regardless of the outcome of the investigation.

I have to hope that, between my credit card and USAA, I have sufficient coverage for the damage (I think I do) to where I won't have to come out of pocket, and I have to hope that they'll all work it out between themselves so that the lady's insurer ends up footing the bill.

Thankfully, like I always do, I rented the vehicle through USAA. This means I shouldn't be on the hook for all the other bullshit fees that rental car companies try to cram you with when you have an accident (like "Administrative costs" or "Loss of use" or "Decrease in value" fees).

I guess I'm just irritated with all the useless work this has left me with just because she wasn't paying attention. It would have been easier if she had just hit my truck. I could have just seeked USAA on her and gone on with my life.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
This is an update to my previous post.

A few days after the city tagged the vehicle as abandoned, my wife called me at work. It was apparently owned by the people in the house. It was also apparently disabled, because her teenage son and a couple of his friends were outside pushing it up out of the road ...

... and into the front yard.

Seriously? Are you just trying to fulfill every stereotype of Alabama? Maybe you should drag a sofa out there for good measure. Litter the yard with some Natural Light cans and a few dog pens. Still, it was out of the road and off public property. As far as I was concerned it was redneck as all hell, but was no longer in my way.

So this evening we were eating dinner and we hear a truck pull up out front of the house. I go to the front window and look.

It was a tow truck. But not a nice one like the city would hire. It's like a 30 year old tow struck. No labels on the side. It looked like just something a derpy Alabama redneck in overalls would drive. They talked for a few minutes, then he hooked the car up and towed it away.

I really did not want to make a big deal about it. I tried to talk to them about it, but no one ever answered the door. I just have to wonder: if I hadn't called the city, how long would they have let that car sit there in the road?
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
So there's been this Lincoln Mark VIII parked in the road across the street from me. It's been in the same spot for more than three months. The whole time, the windows have been down (keeping in mind that it's springtime in Huntsville - we've probably had several inches of rain in that period). The rear end of the car is also practically on the ground - the tops of the wheels are buried in the wheel wells. I can't tell if this is some new fad or something, but it looks broken to me.

For the first couple of months, it had a license plate, because I looked closely at it one day and made a note that the plate expired in June. Interestingly enough, a few days later, the plate surreptitiously disappeared from the back of the car...

... which qualifies it an abandoned vehicle, according to the city.

Now, I really don't want to make a big deal out of this, but it looks trashy. This neighborhood is hardly wealthy, but it is solidly middle class. I really don't want it to slide down into some redneck hovel with people having broken cars on their lawns. Hell, I wouldn't even care if it was sitting in a driveway. But it has sat in a public roadway for months without moving.

I've tried to talk to my neighbor about it, but every time I've knocked on her door, no one answers. So, unfortunately, today, I had to escalate the problem. I called the city code enforcement office and filed a complaint.

One benefit of living in this area: they seem to take code enforcement fucking seriously. By the time I got home this afternoon, the car already had a little orange "abandoned vehicle" sticker on it.

Now, I don't know how long until they tow it. I don't want to attract attention by looking at the sticker, and they don't say what the city statutes may cover it. The state law says they have not less than seven days. So, hopefully, sometime in the next week, the eyesore will be gone.


Dec. 19th, 2010 10:39 pm
kiranlightpaw: (pissedoff)
Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have noticed me railing against a company called FlightPrep. You may be wondering, what exactly is the big deal?

The short of the story is, there were a bunch of websites out there dedicated to flight planning. Some of the best ones (SkyVector, Flyagogo, NACOmatc and, best of all RunwayFinder) allowed you to plot a course overlaying a VFR Chart the same way you would in Google Maps. You could modify your route simply by dragging it about, and click airports along the route to get current weather reports. It was kinda like Google Maps for preflight intelligence.

Well, along comes this company called FlightPrep, who decided they weren't getting rich enough (just ignore the owner's $500k boat). So they convinced the USPTO to give them a patent on, bluntly, drawing digital lines on a digitized chart. The filed for the patent in 2005 (after a number of the sites above were already online), but used legal sleight-of-hand to get it backdated to 2001. Eventually, after a number of rejections, they were able to find a friendly clerk and were awarded the patent.

They then immediately lawyered up and started going after all of these free flight planning websites, many of which were simply hobbies of some pilots who also happened to know how to program. They requested that these sites "license the technology" (what a ludicrous thing to say, being that the sites pre-dated FlightPrep's patent) or face lawsuits with damage claims of $149 per unique IP per month.

So what happened? SkyVector settled and "licensed." NACOmatic, Flyagogo and RunwayFinder all shut down under threat of lawsuit. They've also gone after FlightAware, Jeppesen and the AOPA with no success, so far.

It's pretty clear that, instead of innovating, they're litigating. Rather than develop some radical new technology, they're abusing the patent system in an attempt to corner the market.

Bluntly, I'm pissed because they robbed me of a tool (RunwayFinder) that I loved and that was highly useful for a student pilot.

But, general aviation is a small community, and the backlash against FlightPrep has been a beautiful if small-scale example of what happens when you abuse your target market. Within the course of a week, they've become a pariah and the most hated company in general aviation. They had to close off their Facebook page because it was being overrun with people voicing their opinion, and their products are receiving highly negative reviews in all markets. The story even made it to TechDirt (thanks in a very small part to yours truly).

But, while this is all great, it doesn't bring back RunwayFinder. Even though Dave from RunwayFinder has decided to fight back, he faces a long uphill climb to have this asinine patent thrown out.

In the end, it's just sad. As I said, GA is a small community where nobody is getting rich. We're all supposed to be on the same team.
kiranlightpaw: (pissedoff)
Since I was drunk last night I didn't get to post this in real time, so excuse me for flagellating a deceased equine.
Dragoneer: No more cub porn on FA.

Kiran: *popcorn*

Normal, Sane Fur: That makes sense and is an appropriate policy. Kudos to you for implementing it.


Moron Fur: This is a slippery slope, I tells ya! Next it'll be ferals and quadrapeds! Then furries with rubber mallet porn getting taken away! There's no end!

Pseudo-Intellectual Fur: Well, you know, they shouldn't say we can't do that because technically it's never been proven illegal in a court of law.

Fursecurtion Fur: OMFG FURSECUTION!!!!!!1!!one

Seriously - I saw each of these happen on either Twitter or a blog post.

Everyone really needs to shut the fuck up. Furaffinity is a private site, and can make changes to their terms as much as they like. They're not stopping you from drawing that shit, they're just telling you not to post it there. This, I think, is a sane and reasonable course of action given the nature of the material and the risks they take financially by hosting it.

It's easy to bitch and be macho when someone else is sticking their neck out - legally and financially - for you. It's a lot harder to assume those risks yourself. If you want to post cub porn, get your own web host and post it there. Seriously. Godaddy hosting starts at $4.99 a month. If it's so important to you, make it happen!

Or, to put it in perspective:
Soldier in Afghanistan: Wow. It sure sucks that I might die in this shithole today...
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Feb. 18th, 2010 01:06 pm
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
So most of you have probably seen, by now, the news of a small plane crash into a building in Austin, Texas. That building that, as it turns out not coincidentally, contained the Austin IRS offices. The minute I heard that, I had a bad feeling I knew exactly what happened.

Minutes later, via Twitter, Joe Stack's manifesto / suicide letter surfaced. First on the homepage of his self-owned company, then reprinted in the Statesman. And it contained pretty much exactly what I was expecting.
"Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well."
I may or may not have more to say about this later, but for now, I'll leave my thoughts at this: dude made a lot of poor economic decisions in his life, blamed everyone else for it, and thought that by getting a high enough "body count" he could get the "American zombies" to "wake up and revolt."

Probably what Timothy McVeigh thought too.


kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
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