Jeffrey’s Jammin Birthday Bash

Join me to find out how I like my new job, the exciting plans I have for the upcoming year, and so I can give a personal thanks for your personal friendship!

Please note, the official start time is 20:00 because I want to make sure not to start it before I finish my first full day of work at the new job. If I finish sooner, I will open the room earlier. This is, after all, an exciting time for me. My first new job in 18 years, and the first of four steps on the route to make me a better man, and much, much happier!

This event is opened to everyone who claims to know me! All of my software colleagues, all of my fellow authors, fellow science readers, fellow Doctor Who fans, fellow cosplayers, fellow Electric Car drivers and enthusiasts, all of my Equal Rights Amendment sisters and brothers in arms, all of my National Popular Vote Interstate Compact supporters, all of my avid gaming friends, all of my friends abroad except those in Europe—have your kip, mates—all of my fellow Toastmasters, all of my fellow aviators, all of my fellow musicians, tous mes amis qui parle français oder Deutsch или по-русский o italiano, my acting friends and my friends who eschew meat!

The only thing I ask is you be respectful, kind, and know that I hope you all consider any friend of mine a potential friend of yours!

There is a password to this event. It’s not hard to guess if you know me but if you want to know, and you are reading this on from Twitter, message me, on Tumblr, message me, on LinkedIn, again, message me, or join me via the Facebook event. Or, just comment on this blog, with your email address, and I will mail it to you.

See you all next Wednesday!

Meeting does not exist: 83969414860.

Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1

Finally!

TeslaFi had been spamming me with news about TeslaOS 2020.16 for a while and I’ve been itching to see what, after giving us the amazing stop at a stop sign in the last minor update.

Turns out, not much. I am mostly unimpressed by Tesla with this update, though nonetheless very appreciative. Autoformatting a DashCam drive—I wonder if it supports 2TB yet—and a better layout for Easter Eggs are, after all, improvements, even if the Easter Eggs aren’t really hidden gems anymore.

The coolest new feature, though, is the new SuperCharger filter, allowing the driver to only see Version 3 stations and filter out all the slower ones. I love the fact that I have free, lifetime SuperCharging, and one of these days, I’m gonna cross the continents with that perk.

Overall, I’m not disappointed despite being underwhelmed. And one rumor is that this, or a soon to be released version will add V2G to the Tesla. I can’t wait until that rolls out as the Tesla Battery Pack may make for a new, mobile Powerwall. Mind you, even if #CO2Fre could do V2G, my house isn’t equipped for it anyway. So, even if it doesn’t have V2G, it’s still a cool update!

Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1
Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1 adds a new toy box interface, a SuperCharger filter, and auto-formatting of DashCam media. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

Gentle reader, if you have been keeping up with me since 11 February of this year, you know that I have been posting once a day since then. As such, today marks a hundred days of a hundred daily posting. Through that, I’ve shared with you exciting electric car news, updated to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, my struggles to get the Equal Rights Amendment to be our Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, written about my many works of fiction, and the many books of nonfiction I voraciously read to be a better scientist. I’ve shared with you my cosplay adventures, and my love of Doctor Who, my love of games, and a bit of my speaking in tongues as well as delivering speeches and singing to my heart’s content. I’ve talked about international travel and how I love to fly there in my own plane, discussed my acting and my dietary needs. And most of all I’ve told you I’m an excellent coder who is always keen for new work. Thanks for riding with me as we cruise upon the cloud to another one hundred posts!

An Envelope

Although Vote By Mail Doesn’t Hurt the Left, It Also Benefits the Right

One of the most common myths promulgated by the right is the idea that Vote-By-Mail is a ploy by the left to steal elections. However, the great state of Utah has had Vote-By-Mail for a number of years and yet it remains in Republican hands. The article, ‘Does vote-by-mail favor Democrats? Utah begs to differ, plus other mistruths about mail voting‘, by Reid J. Epstein and Stephanie Saul and as reprinted by The Salt Lake Tribune, bursts this fallacy.

Amelia Showalter, who was the data analytics director for former President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, found in deeply reported studies of all-mail elections in Colorado in 2014 and Utah in 2016 that there were very slight partisan advantages in each race.

Epstein, Reid J. and Saul, Stephanie, “Does vote-by-mail favor Democrats? Utah begs to differ, plus other mistruths about mail voting.The Salt Lake Tribune 10 April 2020 online.

As found in states like Utah and Colorado, the effect is small and tends to balance out. My friend and fellow cosplayer Amelia Showalter (she cosplays an incredible Starbucks Mermaid!) points out that there may be some benefits to Democrats, but there are indeed advantages to Republicans.

The truth is that for folks in Rural communities, where polling places are few and far between, Vote-By-Mail is a huge advantage as it doesn’t require a long drive to the perhaps one polling place in the county. If anything, the most disadvantaged by Vote-By-Mail is with some minorities, who don’t necessarily trust the postal system. This is why, at least in urban areas with greater ethnic diversity, having some traditional polling places is still a good idea. Alas, many states like to close the urban polling places making it all that much harder for poor minorities to vote.

This issue doesn’t manifest as sharply in the Western states which have Vote-By-Mail because their ethnic diversity is much lower than in states like Virginia. While Utah has a mere 1% African-American population, and Oregon and Washington merely 3%, Virginia’s population is about 20%. Even Colorado at 10% isn’t quite the best proxy for the average Southern State. This is why it’s important even with Vote-By-Mail to allow in-person voting for anyone wishing to do so, at least in those more ethnically diverse states farther East.

The biggest argument, however, is when we see that Utah is a generally Republican state and yet remains so, even with Vote-By-Mail. Clearly, postal voting works for Republicans. Otherwise we wouldn’t see the Republican majorities in Utah that we do.

Showalter found the biggest turnout difference in all-mail elections came among people who were the least likely to vote. These voters tend to pay the least attention to politics and are the most ideologically flexible.

Epstein, Reid J. and Saul, Stephanie, “Does vote-by-mail favor Democrats? Utah begs to differ, plus other mistruths about mail voting.The Salt Lake Tribune 10 April 2020 online.

The greatest advantage, however, is to enfranchise the forty to fifty percent in non-battleground states and the thirty to forty percent in battleground states. Too many Americans are non-voters so anything we can do, like make it as easy as getting an SASE from the State and posting back your ballot, will make this nation a better Democratic Republic.

An Envelope
Vote-By-Mail is as easy as sticking a sealed ballot into an envelope.

The best way to ensure that every vote equal is to have one person, one letter, one vote.


UPDATE 11 May 2020: Updated to better reflect that Vote-By-Mail helps both parties for the most part equally thanks to input from Amelia.

Grand Moff Tarkin admiring #CO2Fre

May the Fourth be with you, 2020

In this era of lockdowns, thanks to SARS-CoV-2, it feels like we can get a little stir crazy. Try to stay sane my friends and maybe go for a walk. But if you do go out, do it in style. It is, after all, May the Fourth and you know what that means?

Grand Moff Tarkin admiring #CO2Fre
“I wonder if this may be of use to the Empire” Grand Moff Tarkin admiring #CO2Fre. May the Fourth Be With You. © 2019, Donald B. Holmes

Thank you Don for taking this wonderful photo of my Grand Moff Tarkin cosplay. This so makes me want to cruise on the cloud again.

May the Fourth be with you my friends—or let it be crushed by the Empire!

How to make your own Surgical Mask

What follows is a series of TikTok videos my dear friend Lena Volkova demonstrated on her account. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find a way to remove the cranky, white border around the videos to keep it in line with the esthetique with the site, its theme, and the official category of this post as Cosplay. Nonetheless, I feel this is important so f’d up CSS be damned! We need to stop SARS-CoV-2! So, without further à Deux, here is her A/B Reusable Mask Tutorial: A Mask with a Pocket for Filtration Media Such as a Surgical or N95 Mask.!

Pretreat the Fabric

This is part of a larger effort to help those out in need.

If you’re planning on helping out with making surgical face masks, you need to pretreat and disinfect your fabrics prior to sewing.

To pretreat fabrics:
    • Prepare a cold water bath to soak your fabric.
        ■ 100% cotton is preferable for masks.
    • You can add two tablespoons of salt for dye runoff.
        ■ This is optional.
    • Add one cup of distilled, white vinegar to your cold water bath.
        ■ Vinegar works both as a color stabilizer and disinfectant.
    • Add your fabric to the bath and let saturate thoroughly.
    • Set your timer and let it soak for thirty minutes.
    • Rinse with cold water and let air dry.

@lena.volkova
@lena.volkova

Sewing your own surgical masks. Part 1 — pretreating fabric. This is part of a larger effort to help out those in need. ##coronavirus ##helpers

♬ Hold On – Moguai,Cheat Codes

Of course, first you need to find some fabric you have lying around. Perhaps some old, cotton clothes or linen sheets you could sacrifice? Either way, this pretreatment step is important as it helps keep the color from bleeding while in use and of course disinfects.

Patterning

The pattern for this A/B Mask style mask and instructions can be found on craftpassion.com.

    • Start by folding your fabric—you need to cut two of each fabric (inner and outer layer).
        ■ This is easy if the fabric is folded onto itself.
    • Using your pattern, measure out an additional one inch from the sides.
    • And three eighths around the rest of the mask.
    • Cut your fabric—this is your outer layer.
    • The inner layer is a half-inch shorter on the side than the outer layer.
        ■ Use your outer layer as a template to measure.
    • Cut out your inner layer fabric.
        ■ Set it aside.

@lena.volkova
@lena.volkova

Part 2 — A/B reusable mask turtorial: patterning. This mask has a pocket for filtration media such as a surgical or N95 mask ##coronavirus ##helper

♬ You – Petit Biscuit

For those wondering, the Face Mask Pattern can be found here.

Assembly, Part 1

    • Separate your fabrics, but keep the layers together as a pair.
    • Finish the raw edge that is curved.
        ■ This will face the inside pocket and needs to be secured.
    • Any overlocking or zigzag stitch will do.
        ■ You don’t need a serger.
    • With the right side facing inward, pin together and sew along the curved edge.
        ■ Use a quarter-inch seam allowance.
    • Do this for both inner and outer layers.
    • Open your fabric, then flatten the finished edges onto the fabric and sew the finished edges onto the fabric.
    • Align the inner and outer layers.
    • Fold the side edge of the inner layer onto itself twice—you’re rolling in the raw edge.
        ■ Pin in place.

@lena.volkova
@lena.volkova

Part 3 — A/B reusable mask turtorial: assembly. This mask has a pocket for filtration media such as a surgical or N95 mask ##coronavirus ##helper

♬ Classical – Piano Classics: Masters of Relaxing Solo Piano Music

I’ll be honest, I keep thinking about investing in a sewing machine. I know at Nova Labs, I could borrow one of their machines, but I’m nervous about doing seamwork in a public space. Plus, I need to find some decent patterns to so—like an A/B Surgical Mask!

Assembly, Part 2

    • Sew the roll into place along the inward edge of the roll.
    • With the right sides of the fabric facing together, align the layers and sew the top and bottom edges together.
    • Clip the curved edge of the fabric where both layers meet.
        ■ It should be approximately a quarter-inch inward.
    • Turn the mask inside out.
    • Roll the raw top and bottom edges inward onto itself to cover the raw edge.
        ■ Pin in place.
    • Do the same for the side edges.
        ■ There should be approximately a half-inch of fabric remaining on both sides.
    • Sew into place along the inner edge.

@lena.volkova
@lena.volkova

Part 4 — A/B reusable mask turtorial: assembly 2. This mask has a pocket for filtration media such as a surgical or N95 mask ##coronavirus ##helper

♬ Classical – Classical Chill Out

Remember to leave those sewing margins! You’re almost done.

Finishing

    • Fold the side flap inward, under the inner layer pocket.
    • Sew in place—both sides.
    • Insert your filter medium—cloth, a surgical mask, or an N95 mask.
    • Make sure the nose wire aligns with the nose part of the mask.
    • If using elastic, take a sixteen-inch length of one sixteenth elastic cord.
        ■ There’s a tolerance of plus or minus one to two inches for sizing.
    • Feed it through the channels you made in the sides, and secure it with a double knot.
        ■ Hide the channels.
    • To wear: Hold the mask in one hand and slip the bottom elastic over your head, followed by the top.
    • Adjust accordingly to endure a proper fit.
    • To wash: hot water, like scrubs.
        ■ Can be autoclaved.
        ■ Remove media as appropriate.
        ■ Sanitize elastic as appropriate.

@lena.volkova
@lena.volkova

Part 5– Reusable A/B mask tutorial: finishing. Mask has a pouch for removable filters like surgical masks or N95 masks. ##coronavirus ##helpers

♬ Piano Piano – Piano Solo – Charlie Glass Piano Man

I never cease to be amazed as the skills and achievements of my friend Lena. I am so astonished I can call her my friend, but then she’s one of the nicest, funniest people you’re likely to meet.

Thank you Lena. Hopefully when SARS-CoV-2 abates, we can cosplay together again!

Another Missed Munchie Squad

I got in to cosplay a number of years ago. I was aware of it for quite a while but I really started to take an interest on a trip up to Connecticut to visit me mum. Back then I was in #CO2Fre3 or #CO2Fre2 and in those Nissan LEAFs, I had to stop a number of times to get enough electricity to get to my destination.

So, I stopped a Hotel in Baltimore to use the CHAdeMO charger and get some fuel when I passed some cosplayers going to a convention. I asked to get a picture and kept it as part of my trip log memories on Swarm, as I used to do back then.

Of course I was intrigued so when I heard about this new group, D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoot, forming on Facebook, I joined right away, getting in on the ground floor. I remember that phone call very well as I was driving #CO2Fre home from work. Sarah Brice, an amazing cosplayer in her own right, was there with the other founders. That’s when we planned out what the group would be and how it would be organized. In those early years I was more of a lurker rather than a participant.

I started going to a local Doctor Who convention, ReGeneration Who, now defunct. Seeing all those Whovian cosplays, I decided it was time for me to start building my own cosplays. That’s where I met one of my very best friends in the entire world, Ilona Hull Berberich, who is a dead-ringer for Susan [Foreman].

I was finally ready to attend my first D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoot event. I invided Ilona so I would have someone I met there and we made a great team, having a number of photos taken of us.

From that point I attended a number of D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoot events, building my cosplay database up from a since Doctor Who companion to various other media franchises, getting some great photos and making some great friends.

One of the best parts of all from those events was the Munchie Squad. After an afternoon of posing and snapping picture, we’d all gather and have a friendly meal together. I so enjoyed chatting with my very dear friends Rachael S. Norberg, an amazing cosplayer, and Kevin K. Nguyen, an outstanding photographer, and so many others! It was the perfect capstone to a great event.

But then I got burned.

Back in 2018, Regeneration Who was in its fourth year and they had an amazing lineup. The actress who played Tegan Jovanka, an Australian air hostess, Janet Fielding, was going to be there. Janet, in fact, is one of only a half-dozen my official Twitter aggregators. She’s wonderful! Mark Strickson, who played Vislor Turlough, was also coming. As was Matthew Waterhouse, who lived at the time in Connecticut, where I was born. And also Sarah Sutton, who is the sweetest, and Peter Davison, who was a wonderful Fifth Doctor, and the amazing Nicola Bryant.

I was going to do a Tegan crossplay for the convention. Ilona was coming and would be in a Turlough crossplay. We were both very excited.

I had commissioned a Tegan crossplay months before the convention. I obtained all the COTS elements of the cosplay: blouse, pantyhose, pumps, wig, and purse. I just asked the commissioner for a skirt, a belt, a jacket, and the pill-box hat. I hoped it wouldn’t be too hard. I would have done it myself but I didn’t feel up to the measuring and sewing, especially by hand.

Days before the convention my commissioner said she couldn’t do it. She really, valiantly tried, but it was just beyond her. I hold no ill will and have not asked for my money back but the whole event soured me to cosplay. I prepared and prepped for this perhaps once in a lifetime photoshoot and to come up short. It still hurts, to this day.

Tegan and Turlough meet the 1980s Doctor Who cast
My dead friend Ilona and I are cosplaying Vislor Turlough and Tegan Jovanka as the now-defunct Regeneration Who convention’s 4th and last year. Pictured with us are, in order, top to bottom, left to right, Mark Strickson, Peter Davison, Matthew Waterhouse, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, and Nicola Bryant. © 2018, Bryan Humphrey

All that said, Bryan Humphrey took a wonderful photo!

Today there was a D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoots event in Leesburg, VA. I haven’t been to a photoshoot in years because I have no new cosplays to share but I really wanted to go to the Munchie Squad! I miss all my cosplay and photographer friends, like Rachael, and I go to Leesburg at least once every fortnight, so it would have been no big deal.

But I forgot.

I really miss cosplay. What will you see me as next?

Who is the TimeHorse

I joined Toastmasters last year to both practice my public speaking and to lear to be a better performer when acting. I enjoyed answering Table Topics and being challenged to come up with a spontaneous speech—at least when I knew what the topic was—but when it came to my own Ice Breaker speech, I kept putting it off.

The thing is, I don’t like talking about myself. I love writing fiction and talking about Science but when it comes to my personal life, I get embarrassed and ashamed. Much of my personal story is really not for public consumption and is rather confounded with emotional difficulty and lack of self-worth. I do hope through Toastmasters, to overcome that, just as I have found Cosplay to help with my self-image, but that journey isn’t the subject of this post.

Instead, I want to talk about my Ice Breaker.

I decided to cover my digital self. As you can see from the side menu in the upper-right corner of my site, I have a lot of social networks accounts! Indeed, the currently 26 or so I have listed there are only a fraction of the dozen or so twitter accounts I have, the half-dozen Facebook pages I run, the three instagram accounts I control, the dozens of meetups I’m in with my two accounts, one professional, one personal. Or even the fact that I have a separate blog for Reston Writers and one for the Affordable Electric Car NOW!

The long and short of it is, I wanted to talk all about these accounts, right back to the Original George Harrison and Tomorrow People home page and MINITEL in France and 1200 Baud Modems. I wanted to covey my diverse interests in so many subjects, and I planned a 6–7 minute speech to do it.

Of course, seasoned ToastMasters will know that your Ice Breaker is actually 4–6 minutes, not 5–7, so my speech ran long. And I did tend to lose my place as I spoke, having had no time to memorize it word for word. Nonetheless, I did my best and delivered my speech and got some great advice from my friends and colleagues at the Loudoun ToastMasters, club 5154. My mentor Jonathan gave me some amazing and helpful advice and I am so thankful to all of my fellow Toastmasters!

What do you have to say?