maradydd: (Default)
I don't know what the hell bizarro universe I woke up in today, but I kinda like it. Democrats proposing tax cuts? In my Congress? It's more likely than you think...



Don't miss the money shot at 5:11 -- "particularly when we're using a Chinese credit card to pay for it all." Boo yah.

This should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway -- call your Congresscritters. Make this happen.

(h/t [livejournal.com profile] rialian)
maradydd: (Default)
Although I occasionally like to cook tremendously complicated things that take copious amounts of prep time, my time is at a premium these days. However, since the thing that has my time at a premium is the spring paper season, I'm being more budget-conscious, which means cooking rather than ordering takeout. I'm rather pleased with how tonight's endeavour turned out, and so I share with you:

Breaded Whitefish The Way Meredith and Her Mom Make It

Ingredients:

filets of any kind of white fish. In Texas it would be catfish; I used whiting.
cornmeal (a handful or two; you can also use flour, but I think cornmeal tastes better)
1 egg per 2 filets
herbs/spices to taste (you cannot go wrong with Lawry's seasoned salt)
cooking oil, butter, margarine, lard, whatever (I used the herbed olive oil that [livejournal.com profile] hukuma left over here, and it was awesome)

Beat the egg(s) in a bowl or glass and set aside. Combine cornmeal and seasonings on a plate or tray suitable for dredging the fish through. (Protip: the styrofoam tray you probably bought the fish in works great and you don't have to dirty a plate. If you buy your fish wrapped in heavy paper, that works too.) For each filet, brush one side with egg, dredge that side through the cornmeal, then repeat for the other side. Do this as many times as you want. Once makes for a fairly thin breading; twice is what most recipes say to do; three times makes a nice thick breading; four is probably too much unless you really like breading.

If your cooking fat is solid, melt it in your frying pan; if not, just pour some in. You want just a bit less than will cover the bottom of your pan. The oil is hot enough when it pops when you flick in a drop of water; if it's steaming, it's too hot. Fry the filets for about a minute on each side until the breading is a nice golden brown, then turn up the heat and give it another 30 seconds on each side.

That's it. Serve and eat, sprinkled with lemon juice if you like that kind of thing.

Prep time, about ten minutes; cooking time, about seven minutes. Total cost: €4, since whiting was on special at the supermarket today and I already had cornmeal and cooking oil. If you don't keep a bag of cornmeal in your pantry, do yourself a favour and drop a buck on a bag of it -- it's the best all-purpose breading out there, and you'll already have it around when the need arises.

Tomorrow I get to figure out what to do with the kilo of bone-in chicken thighs I also picked up on special, apart from throwing the bones in the stockpot and boiling them down for chicken broth. Next week [livejournal.com profile] chocolatecoffee will be here, and I'm sure we'll figure out something clever to do with that.
maradydd: (Default)
Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, recommended by [livejournal.com profile] shabda and available free on the web from the University of Virginia.

On that note, what's a good serious economic analysis of post-scarcity systems? This reading list is rather long, but also dates to 2000, and a lot has happened between then and now. Soddy's Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt looks like required reading, especially these days, but only has bearing on what I'm looking for. Also, emphasis on serious; goshwow predictions and wouldn't-it-be-neat-if have their place, but Vernor Vinge, Cory Doctorow and Murray Bookchin are all too handwavy.
maradydd: (Default)
It's been a busy week for comments over here at Radio Free Meredith, and there have been some exciting discussions going on. I'd like to break yet another comment thread out into a post of its own: [livejournal.com profile] heron61 and I got to talking about some freedom-of-speech stuff, which you can go read if you want to, and I'm going to continue that discussion here.

Why? Well, it's been two weeks since we started our discussion of Claude Shannon's "A Mathematical Theory of Communication". However, instead of moving on to Part 2 of that paper, I'm going to talk about the history of telecommunications, from both a technical and an economic standpoint. I'll explain some fundamentals -- many of which were driving forces behind Shannon's research -- and we'll explore the problems of bandwidth scarcity, how they got started, how information theory has helped to address them, and why they're still relevant today. I also have a modest proposal, but that will be a separate post.

I'm going to offer a counter-proposal to [livejournal.com profile] heron61's proposal of reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine, but to do so I'm going to need to step back in time and give a sort of technological history of broadcast media and why it works the way it does today. Hopefully [livejournal.com profile] enochsmiles will also jump in and put in his $.028 (he gets paid in euros) about the telecom side of things -- he was right there in the thick of it for a lot of what was going on between the big telecom providers in the late '90s and he's got a lot of good domain knowledge.

So. In the beginning, there was radio. (Actually, the telegraph came before radio, as did the telephone, and those will be important in the big picture, but we're talking about how mass media came to be, so we're going to start with radio.) At first, radio was just wireless telegraphy using Morse code, which is still well-loved by hams like me. Every radio signal that conveys something other than a continuous tone has a bandwidth, which is literally how wide a piece of spectrum the signal needs in order to be transmitted and received effectively. Bandwidth is measured in hertz, abbreviated Hz. One Hz is one cycle per second: the wave starts at zero, rises to its peak, falls back down past zero to its trough, then rises back up to zero.

For wireless telegraphy, also known as CW, the bandwidth can be as little as 20 Hz, which is a really narrow slice -- if I'm transmitting that signal using a 28.000000 MHz carrier wave or "transmitting on 28 MHz", with a 20 Hz modulation frequency, if someone else in range is simultaneously transmitting at, say, 28.000010 MHz, also with a 20 Hz modulation frequency, our signals will interfere with each other, but if the other guy moves up to a carrier wave at 28.000040 MHz, we're fine. (Modulating one frequency with another frequency gives you what's called "sidebands" which are the sum and difference of the two signals, so the other guy has to move all the way up to 28.000040 to keep his lower sideband from overlapping with your upper sideband.) With the amount of bandwidth allocated for 10-meter (that is, signals with a wavelength of around 10 meters) narrow CW on the current ITU region 1 amateur bandplan, there's room for 1750 simultaneous 20 Hz signals: that band goes from 28.000 MHz to 28.070 MHz and each transmission would use a carrier wave that is separated from its neighbours by 40 Hz to either side. (I'm oversimplifying this a lot, because there are a bunch of things that come into play when figuring out how wide a CW signal is, but they're not hugely relevant here.)

I didn't explain what CW stands for yet because now I'm going to explain AM radio: the two are interlinked. CW stands for Continuous Wave. It's a carrier signal of constant amplitude and constant frequency, and to use it to communicate, you turn it on and off. Shannon talked about this a little bit in Part 1, Section 1 when he described the signals used in telegraphy: a dot is ON for one unit of time and OFF for one unit of time, a dash is ON for three units of time and OFF for one unit of time, a letter space is OFF for three units of time, and a word space is OFF for six units of time. (Clever readers may be thinking, "Hmm, is this units-of-time stuff important?" Yes, it is. We'll get to that, though it'll be a bit.) Since the signal is of constant frequency and constant amplitude, each dot or dash sounds the same when represented as a human-audible signal, i.e., a sound wave; they're just longer or shorter in duration. (Humans can't hear radio-frequency waves, but we can mathematically -- and electrically! -- map those waves down to a range of frequencies that people can hear.) But a CW signal is really just a special case of an AM, or Amplitude Modulated, signal.

Amplitude modulation just means changing, or modulating, the amplitude (informally, the height of the wave) of that carrier signal in order to produce variations in sound. This was originally invented for the telephone. When you speak into an analog telephone, the sound waves of your voice create pressure on a membrane in the mouthpiece, causing the membrane to vibrate. Those vibrations are mapped to the DC voltage (voltage, as a measurement, is just the amplitude of an electrical current) on the phone line -- the voltage rises and falls in sync with the vibration of the membrane caused by the pressure of the sound waves of your voice. The varying amplitude of your voice modulates the voltage (amplitude!) of the current on the telephone line, and that current travels over wires between you and whoever you're talking to. On the other end, the receiver translates that varying voltage into vibrations of a membrane in the earpiece, and the sound waves from that little buzzing membrane travel down the other person's ear canal to the person's eardrum, where they make the eardrum vibrate, the nervous system translates that vibration into nerve signals which the brain can interpret, and the other person hears what you're saying. Phew!

AM radio works in a very similar fashion, but instead of modulating DC amplitude (voltage!) going over a wire, we modulate the amplitude of a radio signal. The thing is, in order to transmit a voice signal, you need much more bandwidth than you do for CW. Here's why. See, the frequency of the modulation signal determines just how quickly you can raise or lower the amplitude of the carrier signal. A guy named Harry Nyquist proved back in 1928 that a wave of B cycles per second can be used to transmit 2B code elements per second (if anyone's interested, we could read that paper sometime -- for now, just remember you have two sidebands to work with), so with a 20 Hz modulation frequency we actually have 40 code elements per second or 2400 code elements per minute. For somewhat obscure reasons, the word PARIS is used as a baseline for establishing transmission speed. (Like in typing, a "word" is really "five characters".) PARIS in Morse code is [.--. .- .-. .. ...] -- so let's look at how many times we could transmit PARIS in a minute.

By Shannon's reckoning (which is a little different from how hams do it, but let's go with Shannon), a dot takes up 2 time units, a dash takes up 4 time units, the space between two letters takes up 3 time units, and the space between two words takes up 6 time units. So we've got (2+4+4+2+3+2+4+3+2+4+2+3+2+2+3+2+2+2+6) = 54. 2400 code elements per minute divided by 54 code elements per word gives us roughly 44 words per minute. That's the absolute maximum words per minute we can possibly transmit using a 20 Hz modulation frequency -- the maximum capacity of the channel. If we could key Morse faster than that -- like Ted McElroy, who could do over 70 words per minute -- we'd need a higher modulation frequency, which would eat up more bandwidth because the sidebands to either side of the carrier would have to be larger.

But this is just dots and dashes. You have to make the amplitude fluctuate (the technical term for this is sampling, which I'll use from here on out) much more rapidly in order to reproduce audio. CD-quality audio uses a sampling rate of 48 kHz. In AM bandwidth terms, 48 kHz is a huge modulation frequency. Today's FCC regulations limit the AM modulation frequency to 10.2 kHz (before 1989 it was 15 kHz), which is why AM radio doesn't sound anywhere near as good as a CD. And the FCC really hasn't allocated very much of the broadcast spectrum for commercial broadcasting; it never has.

History break! Also, why we can't have nice things. )

Through all this time, the federal government has not changed the spectrum allocation for AM radio. But what about FM radio? What about television? We'll look at those as well -- but first, let's look at how FM works.

If amplitude modulation means raising or lowering the amplitude of a carrier wave to produce changes in sound, then frequency modulation is raising or lowering the frequency of a carrier wave to produce changes in sound. If you look at the waveform of an audio signal in the time domain (using, say, a program like Audacity), you'll see a sinusoidal wave of varying frequency and varying amplitude. The job of a frequency modulator is to combine this waveform with a sinusoidal carrier wave of fixed frequency and amplitude, to be sent out by a transmitter, and the job of an FM receiver is to tune in the modulated signal (by locking onto the carrier wave), strip out the carrier, and convert the modulating signal back into audio in much the same way that an AM receiver does, i.e., by turning it into a fluctuating voltage (amplitude!).

FM turns out to be much more robust against interference than AM, as you've no doubt noticed if you've ever listened to either of them while driving. If an AM receiver picks up two signals at or near the same carrier frequency, it can't determine which shifts in amplitude correspond to which signals, so it just demodulates everything it picks up at the tuned-in frequency and you end up hearing talk radio and the baseball game garbled together. Since the amplitude of an FM signal is constant, the signal strength is constant as long as you and the transmitter stay in the same place. This makes it easy for an FM receiver to pay attention to only the stronger of two carriers at or near the same frequency (known as the capture effect, so the weaker signal is attenuated (diminished) at the receiver, and only the stronger signal gets demodulated. This is a really nice property to have in a radio -- remember the problems back in the '20s with stations colliding on the air -- but it comes at a cost: FM requires more bandwidth than AM.

Rather than try to shoehorn FM into the 520 kHz-1610 kHz AM band, the FCC originally decided to put it in the VHF (Very High Frequency) part of the spectrum -- originally 42-50 MHz, later 88-106 MHz, and eventually the 87.8-108 MHz that it is today. That's nearly 20 times the allocation available to AM -- and for good reason, since each FM channel is 200 kHz wide, as opposed to the mere 10.2 kHz bandwidth per channel of AM. But that's only 101 channels. It was a lot back in the early days, but the spectrum filled up quickly, and broadcasters rapidly figured out that spectrum real estate was an incredibly valuable resource. So did the FCC. Licenses to operate a radio station are sold at auction, and the process is expensive and complicated. (As a concrete example, 122 licenses across the country are going up for sale this September 9th. The lowest opening bids are $1500 apiece, for stations in Peach Springs, AZ [pop. 600], Oak Grove, LA [pop. 2174], Rocksprings, TX [pop. 1285], San Isidro, TX [pop. 270], and Spur, TX [pop. 1088]. At the high end, $200,000 apiece, we've got stations in Lamont, CA [pop. 13,296] and Murrieta, CA [pop. 44,282]. So this should give you some idea of just how much Clear Channel has had to shell out for its 900-some stations in markets nationwide, both large and small.)

If you've read this far, you may be wondering what happened to all the information theory -- we started out so well, with Shannon and Nyquist and everything! Well, this is what Shannon had to work with back in 1948: analog transmission media over channels that could easily be polluted with crosstalk and environmental interference (i.e., weather). Building on Nyquist's work, he wanted to formally represent the notion of how much information could reliably be transmitted over a channel, with or without noise -- and in order to do that, he first had to characterise what information is.

After Shannon's groundbreaking work, engineers suddenly had the tools to figure out ways to represent information so that it could be transmitted more reliably, e.g., error-correcting codes. Also -- and this is the important part with respect to the FCC -- they had the tools to figure out how to interleave channels over the same carrier, thereby exploiting a single carrier frequency to transport multiple independently tunable channels.

Tune in next post, where we'll talk about the history and future of television, multiplexing, multiple-access protocols, software-defined radio, and some possible futures for the broadcast spectrum -- and the role information theory plays in all of them.

Comments are open -- have at.
maradydd: (Default)
Worth exactly what you paid for it, so hey, if I piss you off, all you wasted was your time.

Anyway. I recently read some discussion in a trans* community about the following excerpt from an HRC newsletter:
Getting the truth in front of the American public is no small undertaking. Extremist groups are not only attacking equal rights we've already won – they are raising millions to shut down progress on victories yet to come.

Backed by supporters like you, here's how we're making a stand:

* In Maine, preparing to defend marriage equality at the ballot – sure to be a major fight;
* In California, rolling out a massive initiative to organize clergy and religious communities in support of marriage equality;
* In New Hampshire, building grassroots pressure behind the marriage bill now making its way to the governor's desk;
* In New York, working with state groups to organize support for a marriage bill scheduled for a vote in the state Assembly today;
* In Iowa, ensuring elected leaders continue standing strong against the radical right's relentless campaign to overturn the recent court ruling;
* In Connecticut and Vermont, ensuring that marriage equality is protected forever.

Every single one of these efforts is being threatened. The truth is on our side, but we need YOUR support to broadcast it, talk face-to-face with Americans, and win hearts and minds.

The discussion was critical of the fact that transgender rights were not being addressed by the HRC's efforts at all. Now, this is a thing worth being concerned about, because there are some major issues going on in the US with respect to access to health care, access to housing, fair treatment in the workplace, fair treatment by the State Department, &c with respect to trans* persons. As an organisation which deals with sexuality-based discrimination issues, it is reasonable to expect the HRC to engage with trans-rights issues.

The HRC also has a lot of money, and it is tempting to assume that it can take on any goal it wants to. Making this assumption can lead to the conclusion that HRC is therefore deliberately ignoring trans* issues in favour of same-sex marriage. However, I submit that it is flawed reasoning to assume that the HRC's resources are unlimited; in fact they most certainly are limited compared to, say, the aggregate resources of the Republican Party and its supporters. This means that the HRC must pick its battles.

It is presently the case that there is legislation related to gay rights, and in particular to same-sex marriage, being considered in several state legislatures at this time. It is also the case that there are ballot issues and judicial issues related to same-sex marriage coming up that immediate, decisive action -- often in a grassroots fashion, as in the case of making sure people get to the polls in order to vote on important issues, or encourage their friends in areas of important ballot measures to get to the polls -- can make a major difference on.

Now, here is my question. What are some major trans* issues currently in front of the courts or the legislatures that I can have some impact on?

I ask that in all seriousness as a US citizen who maintains a residence in California. Offhand I can think of several government issues that I can affect, in California and in the United States as a whole, some of which have to do with same-sex marriage, some of which have to do with other issues with which I concern myself (e.g., privacy, copyright, open-source biology). For instance, if the petition for a rehearing in Strauss v. Horton is granted, I can write an amicus curiae brief -- a "Friend of the Court" letter. Is there a trans-rights case currently going before a state or federal court that I can research and submit a brief about?

How about a trans-rights referendum in some upcoming municipal, county, or state election? Is there, say, a proposition in San Francisco to require the City and County to cover HRT and SRS for trans* government employees? If so, I could encourage all my San Francisco readers -- and there are a lot of them -- to get out the vote. And they'd do it. That's the kind of people I make friends with. I could do the same for Houston, Austin, Iowa City, Chicago, Washington DC, Seattle, Miami, NYC, Boston, just by speaking up and getting the word out, thanks to my diverse group of friends. I can also write letters and make phone calls to Congresscritters, state and local representatives, and ask people in all sorts of places to do the same and get the word out themselves.

So I ask you, what are some time-critical issues that I can help spread the word about? Because HRC is going to have to focus on things that it can affect immediately, and really, that's the kind of thing I can help with too.

Is there a website I can go to that tracks trans* issues before the courts or legislatures? When I go to GovTrack and search using the keyword "transgender", I get seven results for the current session of Congress, six of which are memorial resolutions of one kind or another, the other of which is the National Hate Crimes Hotline Act of 2009. That's nice, but GovTrack only follows the US Congress, not state issues, and it doesn't do elections or courts. Is there a centralised repository of up-to-the-minute (-day would be fine, actually) breaking trans* political issues? Preferably one where I can send emails to my representatives with a convenient dropdown menu?

And finally, if there aren't any trans* issues before the courts or on the ballots at the moment, I strongly recommend putting some there. The issues exist, but in order to get them the attention they need in order to be addressed, they're going to have to be forced in the spotlight by someone taking a discrimination issue to trial, or by getting a legislator to propose some form of legislation, or by grassroots effort to get a proposition on a ballot somewhere.
maradydd: (Default)
I am not the world's biggest fan of Hugo Chavez, but sometimes, the dude comes up with some really good ideas. I don't agree with his blanket-condemnation sentiments about capitalism -- they make more sense interpreted as a slam against mercantilism, the belief that a nation's power depends on its supply of capital -- but bartering goods and services for oil is a perfectly sensible idea. In fact, in a world of fiat currency, where the money supply expands and contracts (mostly expands, these days) at the whims of governments and the individuals who keep them in power, barter is a better measure of value than money is.

According to the article, Venezuela is currently sending oil to Cuba, and Cuba sends doctors to Venezuela to provide free medical services to Venezuela's poor. Let's throw some numbers (pulled straight out of my ass, FWIW) on this and look at the values being exchanged. Suppose one barrel of oil equates to one eight-hour day of work from a doctor, plus his food/housing/per-diem expenses for that day. (In practice, this is going to be fuzzier, because of overhead; there are transportation costs, so it's more worthwhile to spend 28 barrels of oil + 1x transportation costs to send a doctor to Venezuela for four weeks straight than to spend 28 barrels of oil + 4x transportation costs to spread those four weeks out over multiple visits.) Suppose also that an average doctor visit takes half an hour. So, with these arbitrary numbers, one barrel of oil == basic medical services for 16 Venezuelans who wouldn't have received care otherwise. Cool!

But now let's phrase this in terms of a fluctuating money supply. I'm not sure how the Venezuelan currency is valued these days (the bolivar was pinned to the dollar in 2003, but it's suffered severe inflation since then), but oil is Venezuela's major export, so the purchasing power (in currency) of a barrel of oil is definitely affected by fluctuations in foreign currencies. So. Suppose Venezuela was selling crude oil to the US in July 2007 for $75 a barrel. Today's spot price for crude is about $91/barrel (down from a November high of $97, by the way). That's a pretty significant jump, about 21%. Suppose also that in July, a barrel of oil would have been enough to pay for a full day of work from a doctor. This is kind of absurd, because it assumes paying doctors $9.375/hr, but remember, these are made-up numbers meant to illustrate a point about currency fluctuation. So our ridiculously underpaid doctors still expect the same amount of money, but we have that; we got it when we sold that oil back in July. 16 Venezuelans still get health care, but gee, wouldn't it have been nice if we'd held onto the oil and sold it today, when it could have paid for ($91 / $9.375) = 19 Venezuelans getting health care?

Of course, we couldn't have known that the oil price would spike -- what if it had dropped to August's sub-$70 levels? -- but wait, it gets worse.

The rate of inflation is growing worldwide. In some places it's growing much faster than others, but in the US it was 4.31% as of November and has risen by about .8% every month since August. Inflation means that a currency's purchasing power drops, so people being paid in that currency have to demand more for their work in order to keep up with increasing costs. So if doctors now demand $10/hr for their services, we can only pay for 7.5 hours of work with the barrel we sold back in July, meaning only 15 people get to see the doctor. Sucks to be that last guy.

"But Meredith," I hear you say, "isn't this all just supply and demand in action? China and India are industrialising in leaps and bounds; the demand for oil is going up, so of course the price is going to rise, and if that means that consumers have to face increasing costs for goods and services and thus demand higher wages, isn't that simply the price of doing business?"

Oh, if only it were that easy.

A shortfall of goods in a regional market (perhaps caused by increased demand for those goods in other regional markets) will certainly result in an increase in the price for those goods. However, this is not inflation. Inflation is, quite literally, an increase in the size of the money supply -- the absolute number of currency units in circulation. So it's important to distinguish between price inflation and monetary inflation. Price inflation fluctuates with supply and demand. Monetary inflation fluctuates with the size of the money supply. Price inflation cannot cause monetary inflation; only the central bank creating more money (by printing it, or by issuing bonds or Treasury bills) can cause monetary inflation. But monetary inflation is always a factor in price inflation. Other influences on price, such as increased supply or decreased tariffs, can mask monetary inflation's effect on price inflation, but monetary inflation always has an effect on price inflation. (If the Fed prints more money at a time when prices are falling due to increased supplies of goods, ask yourself just how much lower those prices might be if the money supply hadn't been inflated.)

Just four days ago, the European Central Bank refinanced 348.7 billion euros at below-market rates to keep banks afloat over the next few months. The Federal Reserve is also busy injecting money into the US money supply to bail out the subprime mortgage lenders who are taking a bath on foreclosures right now, as [livejournal.com profile] ernunnos has been predicting for the last year-plus. (That European currency injection? Direct response to the Fed mortgage bailout. European banks are heavily invested in US real estate too, and they know they're about to take a gutpunch from hell.) The world is busy printing money to shore up the population of today against mistakes it made five years ago, without giving thought to the effect it will have on people five years from now. It's shortsighted and dangerous, and I fear for our future.

So, in the face of all this, I welcome an exhortation to embrace the barter system. We'll still have price fluctuation, and in many ways it will be more difficult to track; as baroque as the debt-backed currency system is, it's still possible to grasp the basics after a few days of study and analysis, and the rest is just observing trends. But an economy literally based on the exchange of goods and services is much closer to a free market than one based on a currency pulled out of thin air. Congratulations, Mr. Chavez -- you're an Adam Smith-style capitalist!

Now, lest I come off as an unbridled optimist here, let me point out that I'm well aware that there are risks here too. Any medium of exchange can be debased -- dollars, oil, even gold. But I argue that it's easier, practically speaking, to quantify the effects of debased goods than it is to quantify the effects of debased fiat currency. A BTU is a BTU, whether it comes from oil, solar, wind, or a guy walking on a treadmill. When I lived in Iowa, I quit buying the cheaper-per-gallon mid-grade gas in favour of regular unleaded when I realised that the ethanol-adulterated stuff translated to less energy per gallon burned. I was actually paying less per BTU for a slightly more expensive gallon of fuel, so I paid a bit more at the pump in exchange for going to the gas station less often.

Do the math, folks, and look at what you're buying. Exchange value for value, and think in terms of worth, not dollars.
maradydd: (Default)
Several folks took me to task for the "stuff like highway funding" remark in my last post, so I decided to do a little digging and find some real numbers about how federal expenditures by state break down. Conveniently, the US Census Bureau produces an annual report, Federal Aid to States, which covers all this stuff and explains it with lots of tables and pie charts and things. Let's take a look at how Uncle Sugar gives his kids their allowance, hmm?
Warning: lots of boring statistics ahead )

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