Friday, June 22, 2018

Have blog will travel?

I published another version of this post over at My Mind's Eye on Thursday. So today's post will be slightly different. It was video I shot going through Arizona on the way to California.

[VIDEO] Unlike the other video which shows the landscape outside of the train through the windows of the observation lounge, this video is of the inside of the consist that most Amtrak passengers will have access to. Seems to be a fitting video to give you an idea of what you can expect aboard a train. I shot this on the way to the west coast in 2016 aboard the Southwest Chief.

I start off in a coach car on the lower level where I take a shot of the rolling landscape. I head up stairs where you see the coach accommodations before heading towards the observation lounge. The observation lounge is where many passengers sit around to look at the landscape or often socialize with other passengers. What I didn't document was the cafe downstairs where passengers can purchase snacks and beverages from the lounge attendant.

Beyond the observation lounge is the dining car where passengers take their meals. If you have coach accommodations your meals are extra, when I travel by coach I wouldn't be as willing to eat in the dining car. They won't cost an arm and a leg but often they're not cheap. However, you will at least have breakfast, lunch and dinner and often require a reservation. As you may see in another video shared here on this blog, the seating is often communal meaning you will be meeting your fellow passengers as you take your mean. Well that is assuming you're not seating with a young person who is more interested in their mobile phones as happened at one point during my trip....

Anyway if you travel by coach you will have to pay for your meals, however, if you have a sleeper car accommodation meals are complimentary. The accommodation fee for a sleeper is what pays for your meals although think of a dining car as a restaurant. You may not have to pay out of pocket for your meals, however, you still should tip your server just to let them know you like the service. I would like to explain at length making your train reservations at a later time.

Beyond the dining car are the sleepers here I go through two of them until I had downstairs to look out both sides of the train at the rolling landscape. On this trip I was in a roomette with my mother and it was definitely cramped space. It was adequate though I would've liked my own roomette just didn't work out for this trip. The cramped space meant I'd have to take the upper bunk while my mother slept on the lower bunk. At least there were another place on the car for other carry-ons that it wouldn't be feasible to put in the roomette. I would like to explain the sleeper accommodation also at a later time.

This three minute video in a nutshell is documentation of riding a long-distance Amtrak train.

Thursday, June 21, 2018


I'm afraid I'm a tad late to this party with regards to the children of illegal immigrants being separated from their families. In this case, we've heard of some bad stories involving children crossing the border into this country. Of course as this is being debated in Washington and even with an executive order being signed by the President seeking to end this police there are some other issues to consider.

For example, illegal immigrant children being separated from their families are being compared to children separated from their parents by the criminal justice system. And evidently that number is a larger number than these illegal immigrants that have caught fire in political circles lately.

I wanted to show you a racial angle to this and presumably this could be the angle of disproportionate sentencing between whites and minorities in the criminal justice system. That is perhaps the difference between a minority getting a good lawyer versus say whites. Ideally a good attorney can keep you out of jail, though I can recognize that it's likely deeper than that. And I wish I had more stats and studies on hand to really back this assertion up.

To start I've been following Boyce Watkins over at my other instagram handle The Sixth Ward and occasionally regram some of his posts. Here's a few posts he did regarding this issue.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Student loans

The idea of holding up people's professional or driver's licenses due to student loan debt doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Someone is in student loan debt and perhaps they have a law license (probably incurred even more debt to go to law school) and if they can't practice law if that debt remains unpaid. Or if it's necessary for you to drive to work you can't - well shouldn't anyway - if your state decides to suspend your license over student loans.

So basically student loan bill collectors have tools at their disposal that will make it difficult for you to either get the job that enables you to pay off the debt or even harder to get to work so you can pay that debt. So think about it if you don't pay off your student loans we'll make it harder for you to get out of debt by taking away a professional license or you just can't drive.

Too bad! Shouldn't have gotten into debt anyway. Your responsibility!

Anyway, this post at Instapundit shows that there are people in Washington, DC who are trying to curb that. I think there are many looking for some form of relief.

Also I never thought of student loans this way "At the same time, Americans are spending more than they can afford on higher education, driven by the kind of cheap credit that fueled the housing bubble."

With my experience at Morehouse in mind - with financial aid and student loans - now that makes sense to me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

How to get the media to ignore a shooting...

“Did you hear about the mass shooting in New Jersey?” asked Victory Girl Amanda Green while I visited her this weekend.

“Shooting?” I hadn’t. There was no news alert on my phone, which I check religiously for updates about what’s going on in the world, so I started searching.

One suspect was killed, and 22 people were injured in a mass shooting at an arts festival in New Jersey yesterday.

Big news outlets did cover it. As of this morning, I’ve seen stories on CNN, BBC, Fox, LA Times, Washington Post, and the New York Times. But what I haven’t seen is any of the usual outrage that accompanies a shooting of this magnitude. There was no David Hogg screeching about stricter gun laws. There were no social media posts virtue signaling their outrage about the mass shooting. My usually well-informed leftist friends remained silent about the violence in Trenton, and there were no heartfelt “thoughts and prayers” from the right.

As of this morning, there’s no trending hashtag on Twitter either, even though a 13-year-old child was injured by the gunfire.
Well a little bit about this incident and the coverage it recieved so what about the media ignoring this?
This shooting – like many other gang-related acts of violence – involved minorities, involved gangs, and supports assessments that show gang members to be responsible for roughly half of the gun-related crimes in metropolitan areas.

For some reason, gun grabbers don’t like that narrative. It’s much easier to just pass laws that have no hope of quelling violence than to acknowledge that there is a serious problem with gangs, that gangs – like other criminal elements – will not abide by the laws, and that said criminals tend to be part of the minority groups that liberals studiously protect from criticism.
The Hogglets aren’t staging “die ins” in New Jersey, demanding “universal background checks,” a ban on high-capacity magazines, or “assault” weapons, because New Jersey already has them, and they have no hope of preventing gang violence.
This shooting doesn’t support the narrative, so it will be summarily ignored by the gun-grabbing maggots on all sides of the political aisle. They will just wait for the next white Trump supporter to lose his shit, and then blame Trump for the carnage and the failure to disarm us all.
Hmmmmm, so these gun controllers are selective about who they oppose. They're not even thinking about for example violence in the city neighborhoods of Chicago for example.

Via Instapundit!

Monday, June 18, 2018

LA Times: High cost of housing drives up homeless rates, UCLA study indicates

I'm sharing this with you not only because I had spent a small amount of time in LA's Skid Row in 2016. Contrary I want answers to the increasing homeless population in LA. This is a must read!
In a study contained in the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast, released Wednesday, UCLA found that higher median rent and home prices are strongly correlated with more people living on the streets or in shelters. The research backs other studies that have found a similar relationship.

Last year, Zillow released a study that showed that a 5% rent hike in L.A. County — where more than 50,000 are estimated to be homeless — would cause 2,000 additional people to lose their homes.

In April, according to Zillow, the median rent for a vacant apartment in the county was $2,462, up 1.9% from the previous year. In 2017, rents climbed an average of 4.3% and in 2016, 6.5%. The median home price in April was $608,800, up 9% from a year earlier.
I have heard housing costs are pretty high in some areas of California - not just Los Angeles - however is this a reason for the increase in the homeless population?

 BTW, this is from two years ago at Newsalert, Subsidized rent, but nowhere to go: Homeless vouchers go unused. What a shame!
LAs Skid Row

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's day "heteronormative"?

[VIDEO] I break from my normal Sunday's off to share this video from Mark Dice. The conservative YouTube personality discusses the idea of heteronomativity. Yeah the idea of that sounds convoluted but the idea of a mother's or father's day is under attack under the idea that neither of those special days are very inclusive. Let people celebrate mother's or father's day. Better yet let people celebrate special person's or parent's day.

h/t Marathon Pundit

Here's another link to click for father's day via Instapundit. It's great to have a dad around, yes?

Hopefully everyone had a wonderful father's day!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

#NXTTakeOverChicago 2017

[VIDEO] As Saturday is the big day for the superstars of the NXT universe, let's reflect in part on what happened last year in Chicago for NXT TakeOver. Of course if you've subscribed to the WWE Network, perhaps you should consider if you are not - you should find this event and watch it on demand before the festivities kick off start at 7:00 PM Chicago time.

Last year the event finished with #DIY vs. Authors of Pain. Authors of Pain has since been moved to the Raw roster after WrestleMania. #DIY as you see here will break up as a tag team and Johnny Gargano & Tomaso Ciampa would engage in a bitter feud that hopefully will end with a streetfight match back in Chicago on Saturday. Just wait for the turn near the end of this almost half-hour vid.

Let's not forget on Sunday is Money in the Bank. The male and female superstars from WWE Raw & SmackDown Live will compete in ladder matches to procure a briefcase that will contain a contract for a title match at anytime. Such a concept has created quite of few interesting moments and opportunities over the years, especially when a performer comes out to take advantage of a situation where the champion is weakened after the match. One such situation you have seen with Carmella as she stole the SD Live women's title from Charlotte Flair after WrestleMania 34.

And of course as I often try to be for WWE PPVs, Raw, SD Live, 205 Live & NXT, I will be live tweeting. Feel free to tweet at me...

Friday, June 15, 2018

 Over the years I've written about those videoblogs that have been created over the years. These days videoblog aren't just blogs set up to exhibit videos now it's a YouTube channel. YouTube channels have grown in prominence over the years to the point where there's currently some activity on my YouTube channel.

There are some videos being posted that are more current and lately I wanted to upload some footage from my 2016 vacation on Amtrak's Southwest Chief to Los Angeles, California with jaunts to Las Vegas, Nevada and Grand Canyon, Arizona. Nothing groundbreaking or exciting just forcing myself to share some of the memories I created for myself over the years. That means I don't expect many of those videos to go viral.

To share these videos I may post some of them here though I had created a blog for that purpose to show photos and videos the new My Mind's Eye. Perhaps I'll have a feed in the sidebar - to replace the space a Feedjit widget used to take up - so that you can see what's new there although nothing much has been new there for a while.

I suppose you can say although I do have a YouTube channel I still want to create a platform similar to those long ago vlogs that I used to be a fan of. Of course I wanted to do some of the stuff they did, however, I feel as if I lack the talent and patience for editing. And the same for being creative like creating title cards or watermarks. Perhaps I'll get there and do all of those things the best way I knew how, just bear in mind this "blogmaster" is not a professional videographer.

As of late I have been using my iPhone to record videos (I've owned three generations of iPhones since 2012). Since 2015 I have utilized Olloclip to shoot photos and videos that have greatly enhanced my snapshots and videos. I should show you the difference between wide-angles, fish eye, or telephoto and then just use the lense on my iPhone that isn't enhanced.

Since about 2007 or 2008 I've also owned a mini-DV Sony Camcorder and from that time to now I see how firewire has fallen out of favor. If I owned the new generations of digital camcorders (or as I've learned I could just find a good still camera to shoot video) I could just used a simple USB process to upload video to a PC. As of now I have to figure out how to upload video from my mini-DV tapes without firewire.

Another thing I would like to do is find some editing software. Perhaps edit footage from my mini-DV tapes or edit iPhone videos. Now that I have a Windows 10 machine they don't seem to have a native complimentary video editing program that Windows machines from XP to Vista would provide. Even then those complimentary programs won't recognize an iPhone video which are typically MP4 or MOV.
I have some work to do on this but with some time or patience and a willingness to learn my YouTube channel will be a lot more active than it used to be. It doesn't matter to me if I don't get 100K subscribers and get that nice plaque and congrats from someone at YouTube. Just post for my own enjoyment and see what happens.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

#WWENXT #NXTTakeOverChicago

[VIDEO] Since subscribing to the WWE Network I've been following the NXT brand for the most part. In some respects what you see on their weekly show is somewhat more interesting than what they seem to do on either Raw on SmackDown Live from week to week. While some NXT superstars gets some major play in what's known as WWE's developmental brand that doesn't always translate to success on either of WWE's main programs.

All the same this weekend NXT TakeOver is coming back to Chicago. Their TakeOver events are akin to WWE's PPVs and will usually take place the Saturday nite before a WWE PPV. For example, NXT TakeOver New Orleans took place in another stadium while WrestleMania New Orleans took place at the Superdome. The TakeOver will take place the Saturday before WWE Money in the Bank PPV at the Allstate Arena or if you prefer the Rosemont Horizon.

Man one of my goals has been to be in attendance for WWE events in Chicago or perhaps find one to go to in a city I've never been. Perhaps follow WrestleMania - I could've gone to New Orleans and next year I could go to East Rutherford, New Jersey for the next one. Just things that I have wanted to do and never have until fairly recently. And I do want to feel the passion of the NXT universe.

Either way at least with NXT and WWE PPVs I have the WWE Network and will eagerly anticipate both TakeOver and Money in the Bank on Sunday. Meanwhile at NXT TakeOver you see this vignette that aired Wednesday nite where Johnny Gargano promos with his former #DIY tag team partner Tomaso Ciampa. Since last year's NXT TakeOver Chicago they really had a bitter feud that almost costs Gargano - aka Johnny Wrestling - his NXT career. Also this caused a very bitter fight which I though should've ended at TakeOver New Orleans which was a brutal non-sanctioned match. And finally we will have a streetfight in Chicago on Saturday.

Should be a good show as always?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

California could become three states?

 Tim Draper who's spearheading this initiative is probably thinking though I also recognize that splitting up the largest state in the union will still prove to be difficult:
An initiative to divide California into three states has received enough signatures to qualify it for the November ballot, the California secretary of state's office confirmed Tuesday.

The three-states campaign, dubbed “Cal-3,” submitted more than 600,000 signatures.

Tim Draper, a billionaire Silicon Valley venture capital investor, sponsored the ballot measure to divide America’s most populous state into three jurisdictions, the Mercury News of San Jose, Calif., reported.
I wrote two posts about California dreams in March. Unfortunately in recent years those dreams have been dashed. The "golden state" like many states have some undeniable issues, unfortunately since it's an important state those issues tend to get magnified! Remember it's been in the news that they have a booming homeless population and it's bad enough where you see videos of tent cities in the state. Unimaginable in a state where people go not just for the nice weather, but they go for the opportunities out there.

BTW, Mr. Draper states:
“California government has rotted,” Draper told the Mercury News last month. “We need to empower our population to improve their government.”
“Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes,” Draper told the Times in an email. “States will be more accountable to us and can cooperate and compete for citizens.”
You know as an aside sometimes I wonder if California would be better served by a larger legislature. Perhaps akin to the type of legislature that New Hampshire has - which is a very small state senate though a very large state house of representatives. If you get election from the one of 80 districts in California you would represent at least 465,000 people however in New Hampshire if you gain a seat out of 400 from 205 districts you would be representing at least 3,300 residents. Granted New Hampshire is a much smaller state that California. New Hampshire has only 24 senators in their state legislature, California has 40.

See I don't live in California and I'm coming up with some reforms. It's safe to say those who choose to live out west have to eke out some major reforms. They need to shake up their political system, not that I myself have them, but it's necessary as they seem to have a number of issues on a number of fronts they need to address.

California has a top two electoral system which means the top two candidates will be determined in a primary - regardless of party - will face off in the Novemeber general election. The one to watch will be the governor's race between Gavin Newsome and John Cox (who was formerly a perennial candidate in Illinois). Since Cox seems to have the endorsement of President Trump this race though a long shot could become very interesting in the long run.

Evolution of internet platforms

I've been part of the internet for many years. When I first logged on most of the homes that were online connected through a dial-up connection on a telephone landline. The designs of most websites were pretty basic as opposed to now (to understand what I'm saying look up and go back as far as you can over at What a vastly different place it is today.

You don't really hear about webpages anymore. Basically a website is a collection of webpages though virtually every website has a webpage. Even this blog could be seen as a series of webpages and it gets updated semi-frequently which constantly expands like a book.

I always imagined having a website even though ISP's once commonly offered free webspace to customers it's something that has become obsolete these days. As stated before there are so many free tools these days that allow anyone an online platform. In the late 1990s through early 2000s you had to create that platform. There was no social media, and the service I currently use Blogger didn't exist until at least 1998.

When I first created a website it was through Geocities - which had been owned by Yahoo!. Of course I never realized that if you want people to visit you had to have a draw to it. I bought a photo scanner to post some pics and used the rudimentary photo editing software. I also shared some of my favorite Star Trek pics that I found online at the time. And this was during the time I was at Morehouse College. Of course it wasn't until 2005 that I started blogging which makes updating a website far easier.

And yet the internet evolved some more with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram. Now most people access the internet on their smartphones. I myself now own an iPhone which is a multifaceted tool that allows me to make phone calls, text, email, shoot photos, shoot video, etc. And with an iPhone and these other smartphones you can also update social media, and upload photos & video on the go!

Now it causes me to wonder where I could've taken this internet thing if I had discovered Blogger in the late 90s to early 2000s. The tech available at the time that I just simply had no idea about beyond what I had already learned about back in the day. Though thankfully it doesn't take long to find out about what's available these days online. Not only that there is an app on a mobile device also!