Well, it's the new fad now to be on about Net Neutrality. Really, that's downplaying it somewhat. I was reading up on it (at savetheinternet.com, which I linked to from PvP, a very funny comic put out by fellow UNT alum Scott Kurtz), and it seems like a pretty important thing. For the lazy ones (you know who you are) the short version is this:

Last year, a law was passed that allowed cable and phone companies to do away with previous legislation that forced them to keep their networks open to competitors. This gave them (your ISP) the power to do away with net neutrality, too. The only thing right now that is keeping your internet performing like it always has is a temporary ruling from the FCC.

The net neutrality movement is an effort to make that temporary FCC ruling a law. If the proposed legislation to protect net neutrality doesn't pass, the temporary FCC ruling will expire. At that point, your ISP will have the legal right, and certainly the financial incentive, to regulate your web content. From the ISPs' perspective, it's brilliant. All websites will be rank-ordered. Websites they own, as well as websites which pay them "access fees" will be given preferential treatment - mostly in the form of faster load times. Not that your internet will get any faster, just that 'non-preferred' sites will be artificially made slower. Some 'non-preferred' sites may not be accessible at all. For example, if SBC wants to promote Yahoo! (a website they own) over Google (a website they don't own), and your ISP is an SBC subsidiary, it may become, ah, inconvenient for you to get to Google. Of course, Yahoo! will always be right there, ready to help with your searching needs. The only trouble is, Yahoo! is a completely inferior search engine. Getting to places like this blog may become completely impossible. If Blogger starts asking me to pay a fee to use their service, so that they can pay "access fees" to various ISPs to avoid 'non-preferential' treatment, I may just have to buy a typewriter or something. Learn skywriting, maybe? Who knows.

Anyway, while I'm usually in favor of a more "laissez-faire" style government when it comes to art, religion and the internet, what we're talking about here is regulation for non-regulation. And that's something I can get behind. Or in front of. Whatever. If you, too want to do something that is free, painless, and will at least make you feel better about yourself, go to that save the internet site I linked to up there and sign the petition. It's a little form, it'll take you about 30 seconds. You can click the "spam-free" option, too, which is always nice. It automatically generates a letter to your senators (based on your ZIP code), letting them know you support net neutrality. You can also edit the letter, which is also a good thing. That way, you know what you're signing your name to. I embellished mine a bit. It was fun!

While you are there, I encourage you to watch the "Ask a Ninja" movie on the subject. It's a bit odd, as you might expect, but they mention something about access to certain websites being blocked by "a wall made out of the shredded remains of the first amendment..." I liked it. It's also pretty funny, and talks about the tri-colored hats worn by Hotdog on a Stick employees. Tee-hee, those are some funny hats!

If your name is Sarah, you should nag your husband into writing a little something on this topic for the newspaper, as he is a journalist. If your name is Phil, you should write a little something on this topic for the newspaper. After all, you're a journalist. This is what you do, right? We can't let the man keep us down!

In other news, I went to Scarborough Faire this weekend with some friends. It was fun. It was hot. It was a lesson in capitalism. They charge you $20 to get in (my friend graciously bought my ticket, which was very cool), and then they skin you for food and drink. Essentially, the people who run the fair pay minimum wage to a skeleton staff (who must provide their own costumes). Then, they charge vendors to rent booth space. Performers don't have to pay, but they're not getting paid, either. That's why the performers beg for donations at the end of every show. The people running the fair make a mint off of entry fees, vendor's rent, and food and drink sales. Beer is $4. FOUR DOLLARS!!! And we're not talking about good beer, here, this is what they charge for Butt Lite and Michelob Ultra-Nasty. It's a genius enterprise.

At any rate, I had a good time. I saw some people wearing really cool costumes. I also saw some people who shouldn't have been wearing their really cool costumes... I swear some of those corsets must've been reinforced with titanium. Excuse me while I climb up on my soapbox...

Okay. If, after donning your corset, your cleavage oozes up and slightly out over the top of the fabric, much like the crown of well-made muffins or cupcakes, this is a bad thing. It's bad for many reasons. My friends and I have coined the phrase "dunlap" syndrome to describe this, similar to when one's belly protrudes over one's belt, but this happens a bit higher up. It's not sexy. Also, corsets and the costumes that accompany them are expensive. If you've just spent several hundred dollars on an elaborate period costume, you want people to admire it. But if you've got "dunlap" boobs, no one is looking at your costume. They're looking at your boobs. And they're not thinking nice things. Do yourself a favor and buy something that fits you. Or maybe consider losing some of that 400 lbs you've got hanging around.

Also, women of all shapes, sizes, and levels of costume-appropriateness seemed to be fond of sticking smallish items in the bustline of their corsets. Usually, this is a small flower or dagger (for the more dangerous ones) strategically nestled where it may draw attention. That's fine. However, the choice of item is important. Food is usually not a good idea. Nobody wants to see that hot dog you're saving for later stuffed down your shirt. Things that accentuate "saggage", such as a playing card placed sideways between one's copious bosoms, are less than enchanting. Finally, it is not a shelf. Wearing a corset does not suddenly turn them into "cargo boobs". Pick ONE item. Just one. Not ten. It is not a utility belt.

And, before I leave the soapbox, a word about tails. They're freaky. If you are wearing a tail because you are a furry, or because you believe you are partly a woodland creature, you're already freaky and you deserve the social ostracization you will no doubt recieve. If you are wearing a tail because you think it's "cute", let me explain. There is NOTHING cute about wearing the butt of a dead fox or raccoon tied around your waist or snapped onto the back of your pants. The words "animal cruelty" spring to mind. Besides, people might think you're a furry...

Okay, soapbox time is over. I had lots of fun, I got my hair braided, I toured what could be referred to as a human zoo. It's not a bad way to spend a Saturday!