Baby Burro

We're crossing Arizona today. We detoured across Route 66, taking the scenic route through Oatman. Just before town we came across some Christmas trees:

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I include the car and surrounding area just to provide a proper sense of the middle-of-nowhere-ness of the location.

Then when we got into Oatman we had to wait for the daily gunfight to clear the road. So while we waited we got out and bought some kettle corn and watched the baby burro:
IMGP4036aThat basically made the scenic route worth it.

Freedom of the Press

President Obama while in China - November 16, 2009:

But I am a big believer in technology and I'm a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information. I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas. It encourages creativity. (emphasis mine)

Hillary Clinton - January 1, 2010:

[President Obama] spoke about how access to information helps citizens hold their own governments accountable, generates new ideas, encourages creativity and entrepreneurship. The United States belief in that ground truth is what brings me here today.

Hillary Clinton about WikiLeaks - November 29, 2010:

It is an attack on the international community...

Sarah Palin about Julian Assange - November 30, 2010:

Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders?

Senator Joe Lieberman - December 7, 2010:

It sure looks to me that Assange and WikiLeaks have violated the Espionage Act.

Philip Crowley (State Department Spokesman) - December 7, 2010:

What WikiLeaks has done is a crime under US law.

So much for Freedom of the Press and holding our own governments accountable. Also, as much as people are clamoring to charge Assange with a crime there's the small problem of him not being a U.S. citizen. Seems rather extraordinary to charge someone with a crime under a law in a country in which they neither live nor have citizenship. But Palin apparently has the answer to that, just call him a terrorist and kill him where he stands.

Regardless of how you feel about the leaked information WikiLeaks needs to be protected the same way any other news organization would be, including the New York Times which collaborated with WikiLeaks in processing the documents and deciding what to publish.

Christmas time is here

Per Jess' traditions we needed to decorate the tree today (today being the first Saturday in December). This, of course, necessitates having a tree to decorate. So we had to go and get a tree. Per Dickerson traditions this requires cutting our tree down ourselves after trudging around in the snow at least until you can't feel your toes, preferably until someone is crying. Unfortunately, California weather doesn't really cooperate with those requirements (though I suppose we could drive into the mountains far enough if necessary).

So instead we headed out to the Christmas tree farm that we went to last year in the 50 degree sunshine. We found a fairly decent looking tree and I cut it down. And yes, it's on the side of a hill, which is why the fence is crooked.
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In no time at all we had Beatrice (last year's tree was named Albert, this year's is Beatrice) tied onto Chloe and ready to travel.
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The main difference from last year being that we actually went during the day and not as the sun was setting. Easier to work when you have light. We got the tree home and set it up. TADA!
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Check out that spotlight work on the angel.

Jess cheated and slipped some new ornaments into the ornament box as presents for me. Then tried to make me feel stupid for not recognizing them at all. But they are pretty neat. She used a Linux program which will convert a picture into a cross-stitch pattern for you. This one is my Mii from the Wii:
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And this is the Linux Penguin, named Tux:
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Since I had the camera out and on the tripod already (since I needed the tripod to get decent shots) I started playing with things. Here's my abstract art of our tree:
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And this is what happens when you zoom in on the tree while the exposure is being taken:
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We spent some time watching the Livermore Christmas Parade (I suppose it's probably called the "Holiday Parade" or "Winter Parade" or something, but it does end with Santa). And we watched The Muppet Christmas Carol while decorating.

Oh! And we hung up our stockings! Jess' mom made her children stockings and last year made one for me too, so Jess and I have matching stockings. They're quite lovely.
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Flamingos!

It's a pre-Christmas MIRACLE! We were at the grocery store tonight and when we were checking out, I forgot to hand the cashier my coupons until we'd already started the payment part of the transaction. She said no big deal, she'd send me over to customer service, where'd they'd give me money back for the coupons. After we got done there, we happened to glance at the little display of Toy Story 3 DVD's next to us. And do you know what we saw? A single copy of Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 on the stand! It's been unavailable for sale for years, and Kyle had just told me 10 minutes beforehand about how they were now apparently selling Blu-Rays, but no DVD's. AND HERE IT WAS! No idea where it came from, either, or where it was actually supposed to be. But we turned right back around and bought it.

So now I'm going to show Kyle the yo-yoing flamingos! Eeep!

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