Category Archives: Daily Post

The Future of this Blog

I suppose I should start by saying that this blog does have a future.

That may be surprising to some of you. Over the last few years I’ve written less and less here, to the point where any thought about blogging tends to be followed immediately by wondering how long ago I last posted something.  Read the rest of this entry

Siblinghood Challenge! (Kinda)

I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I simply cannot complete the Siblinghood Challenge that E.H. gave me. I’m not really a part of the blogging community these days, rarely writing or reading blog posts. And there’s no way I can scrape up the brainpower to think of ten good questions, or even five bad ones.

But I ought to at least attempt to answer them. Maybe it’ll be the first step in writing frequently again. Maybe even thinking frequently, though we really shouldn’t get our hopes up. So let’s examine these questions.  Read the rest of this entry

I’ve been struggling with this post in the back of my mind for a month now, so I’m just going to type it out stream-of-consciousness style and hope I can edit something coherent out of the result.

First and foremost, thank you, E.H., for your flattering words here. I sat down that weekend to write something, I forget exactly what, and saw the comment that lead to your post, and haven’t been able to figure out how to respond since!

On the one hand, I’m thrilled that someone holds my writing in such high regard! On the other, I really haven’t written much this year. Read the rest of this entry

On logistics and software.

Reading this Wired article made me both wish I’d stuck it out for a software career & at the same time breathe a sigh of relief that I didn’t. The sheer scale of it is literally awesome.
The logistics of the thing fascinate me. I mean, it’s hard to convince 25,000 people to show up at one place on a specified date. To coordinate all that code, and the constant changes being made to it…. Well, it just makes Caesar’s British campaign seem a bit trivial, you know?
But I keep thinking about it. This huge thing that people are writing, where each part has to work with every other part. It’s amazing. And it’s not just a weird quirk, this is the future. This is how the next generation of the internet is going to be made.
It’s amazing, and I’m excited to think about what may come next.

“I love you, I just don’t support you or your right to get married.”

So I saw this posted on facebook.
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I am so angry about this I can’t even think straight. I expected better from the person who posted it.
Saying you “do not support” marriage equality is the same as saying it shouldn’t be legal. I can’t see another way to interpret it. That means you’re saying they should not be able to marry the person of their choosing, that they should be denied the benefits and privileges of the marriage contract. That this legal contract between equals should be restricted to certain types of people.
That all adds up to second-class citizen status because of who they love.

In this context, “stand for what we believe” means denying legal equality to an already persecuted minority. You’re not defending anyone, you’re not helping anyone, you’re hurting people for no benefit to anyone.

Furthermore, the stereotyping of Christians as hateful, small-minded bigots comes from statements exactly like this, statements that claim being a Christian means being anti-gay. The ones who push this stereotype the hardest are hate groups who want to pressure Christians to support them by convincing them that this is part of being a Christian. If you really want to separate Christianity from bigotry, you need to stop claiming it as your motivation every time you act like a bigot.

Incidentally, you can be a Christian without denying equal rights. If you don’t believe me, come to San Francisco Pride next year and see how many churches of various denominations march in it, often carrying signs advertising “I will marry you!”

Finally, the whine about “name-calling and stereotyping” being “what we don’t want done to you” grates me on another level, because while Christians do get called names and stereotyped, LGBT people get denied services, fired from their jobs, beaten, raped, and murdered. Don’t pretend that you’re equally persecuted with people who literally just won the right to have their marriages recognized throughout the country, and in half the nation the right to marry the person they choose at all.

Consider what friendship means before you imply all that, and then say “we’re still friends.”
I want my friends to be better people than that.

the psychology of power

Hello, readers. I’ve been digging through my drafts folder, deleting everything that doesn’t look like I can still get a post out of it, and I found this apparently complete post just sitting in there. I originally wrote it on February 17th, 2013, and I have no idea why I didn’t post it. I probably felt that I had more to say or something. Anyway, since I haven’t posted anything in a while, I figured I’d toss this up for you.

Interestingly, I don’t think I ever wrote a review of this book. Which is a shame, since it’s my favorite by this author so far. Maybe I’ll read it again and write about it soon, who knows.

Everything that follows the asterisks is from February 2013.

*** Read the rest of this entry

Priming the Pump

I’ve actually been meaning to write here a lot lately, but there’s been this problem where I can only think of things to write when I’m unable to write them. If I manage to remember that I can scribble myself a note about whatever idea I’ve had, I forget it by the time I find the tools to do that. This has been happening to me pretty much my entire life, but it’s been really bad lately!

So I’m not going to write about any of the deep ideas that wander through my mind in the shower or while I’m drifting off to sleep, instead I’m just going to write out a stream of consciousness for a bit, so that I can at least get some writing done. Maybe I won’t produce anything worthwhile, but at least I can try to keep in practice.

Of course, because I’m me, I’ve managed to start a list of subjects while writing this out. Yeah, I don’t understand my mind either. Maybe I’ll write about one of those right after this, but first I’m going to share the search term that led someone to my blog recently, “false tarvi”.

Which makes me wonder, do I have an impostor? Or, from someone else’s point of view, am I the impostor? How disturbing!

I also had an interesting dream when I dozed off this afternoon, but all I can remember now is driving a sports car with annoyingly cramped cockpit conditions, and doing parkour after abandoning the car. Huh.

Anyway, now I’m going to make a drink and see if I can’t write something more substantial.

How 50 Shades of Grey Should Have Ended

So I’ve been reading the excellent, entertaining and informative review of 50 Shades of Grey on The Pervocracy. The Pervocracy is a kink blog, (and thus Not Safe For Work) and Cliff is an experienced kinkster who brings a lot to the table discussing the book. This post would be worthwhile just to share that link, really. Though I suppose I should warn you that the book under review contains an awful lot of abuse. Seriously, unless Cliff is making stuff up and deliberately lying about the story, I’m a little shocked that these books made such a big splash because of the sex and not the abusive relationship! 

Anyway, I was reading the comments on the latest installment and an anonymous commenter provided this link to a fan(?)fic. It’s short and very good, and I recommend it after you’ve caught up on Cliff’s review. Soon after reading it I remembered that the trailer for the 50 Shades movie is out, and decided that if and when the people behind How It Should Have Ended get around to that movie, they could do a lot worse than take inspiration from that! Though I suspect they’ll go the route of suddenly reverting to the sparkly vampire source material….

That’s really all this post was for, sharing some links and a random thought. Since I’m thinking about it, though, how in the world is this whiny, tantrum-prone, abusive, petty rapist Christian Grey supposed to be sexy?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

By now I hope everyone has heard at least a little about Ferguson, Missouri. I figured I’d share some thoughts on it, since I felt like writing this evening.

There is no situation where a police officer can shoot an unarmed man six times in the back and be morally or legally justified. Ever.

Michael Brown was, and is, legally an innocent man because this is the United States of America where all suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It does not matter what video you have, it does not matter what evidence you have, it does not matter whether or not he did commit that crime, or any crime. Police do not have the power to execute anyone. The only time a police office is justified in shooting someone is if they are a clear and immediate danger, and even then I expect a serious investigation, not because things should be difficult for cops, but because shooting a human being is not something to be treated lightly under any fucking circumstances.

To crack down on fully justified anger for what appears to be an outright murder does not help the situation, because it ignores the real problem. The real problem isn’t that lots of people are angry about what appears to be an outright murder, or that some people are using that anger as an excuse for theft or violence, the real problem is that apparently a cop felt completely comfortable with outright murdering one of the citizens he was sworn to protect, and apparently has good reason to think he’ll get away with it.

And, for some completely inexplicable reason, an awful lot of people, especially those in power, seem to be closing ranks to defend this apparent murderer. Because that’s what always happens when a cop shoots an unarmed black man. (That’s five separate links spanning the last four years. They all came from the first page of a Google search.)

There is a pretty clear message here that black people can be murdered with impunity. To scold a 70% black community for being angry about this as though they were, (to paraphrase John Oliver), an unruly class in a high school assembly is not only refusing to recognize their situation or take them seriously, but to treat them as though they are the ones in the wrong for having the audacity to publicly voice the situation.

I seriously do not understand why this country consistently treats exposing and denouncing injustice as a worse crime than the injustice itself.

Worse, to wave away or minimize the very real situation that cops kill black people with impunity fairly routinely is nothing short of saying that it is okay for them to do so. If you’ve attempted to justify Brown being shot in the back by saying he allegedly robbed a store earlier you need to accept that you are saying it is okay for a cop to execute suspects without a trial, and I want you to seriously consider what that means.

There is no way this is going to get any better until cops start going to jail for shootings like this. I feel confident in saying this because I remember how stupid I was at age eighteen, and realize that if I were a young black man I’d be thinking very hard about how to protect myself from the cops right now. Until the police start facing justice, I can only see this escalating. And frankly, if peaceful protests are met with violence and military hardware, maybe it needs to.

I’ve heard that the National Guard has been deployed. I can only hope it is there to protect the people of Ferguson from their police.

Anniversary

I’ve been in San Francisco for one year now. I feel like I should write an introspective essay about what’s changed and what hasn’t, and how I feel about it, but I really don’t have time today.

So I’ll just take a moment to say that I still love this city. Yesterday I took a walk and discovered beautiful places that I never knew were there. I stood in what could easily be mistaken at a glance for an old-growth forest, surrounded by mist with water dripping from the trees, and then minutes later walked into an urban garden, with signs illustrating plants that grow well in this climate and teaching cultivation techniques.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I think I could happily spend most of it near San Francisco Bay.

The Dishonesty of TodayChristian.net

So, after my last post I eventually went back to read what PZ Myers had to say about those ten questions. Then I looked over his comment section a bit, as I sometimes do. (Pharyngula’s comments are not for the faint of heart) And somebody mentioned something that really caught my attention, if you go to the link Today Christian provides as the source of their allegedly unanswerable questions, you’ll find that this particular list was compiled by one Robert Nielsen, an atheist who answered them.

Nielsen compiled the list as his personal choice of some of the better questions, whether they were intended as honest inquiries or sneaky gotchas. He made good use of them, exploring them thoughtfully and sparking discussion in his comments. Then Today Christian stripped out his answers, added a snide preface that they could not be answered, and posted them. Without allowing comments. It’s breathtaking, really.

I’m a little surprised they still linked to the source. I guess they were worried they might be sued for plagiarism.

I feel like I should say more about it, but really, what else is there to say?

Some Questions Atheist Cannot Truly and Honestly REALLY Answer!

As promised, here are “Some Questions Atheist Cannot Truly and Honestly REALLY Answer!” along with my answers. Here is the source link, which I’ll be reading from instead of the Pharyngula post so that I won’t have to wonder if I would have said that before I read PZ’s answer. Hopefully writing the last post will have moved my mind in different directions enough to help with that for the questions I already read. Since the list is hosted on Today Christian, I will assume the context that the questions are being asked by some variety of Christian.

Read the rest of this entry

Thinking Influences Thinking

Looking over Pharyngula this morning I found that Professor Myers was answering another list of proclaimed questions atheists cannot answer. I was halfway thru when I decided that I wanted to blog my own answers, since I haven’t been writing much lately and apparently miss it. I decided this gradually as I read the list, there was no clear instant where I made up my mind, but I found myself comparing the first answer to pop into my head with the good professor’s, and finding substantial overlap. Enough that I started thinking I would have trouble keeping them from mixing in my head before I got them written down.

I stopped reading around question #4 and starting writing this instead. As so often happens, my mind wandered someplace interesting that I didn’t expect while considering the fairly mundane problem of eliminating bias from my writing.

My opinions may well have been colored by reading some of PZ’s responses before I wrote my own out, but while I was thinking about that it occurred to me that my responses have definitely been colored by his influence over the last five years or so, since I’ve started reading his blog.

PZ has been accused by several people of having a cult-like control over his regular readers, which may make him an unfortunate impetus for this line of thought. On the other hand, clearly his alleged mind-control isn’t too binding, since this is exactly the kind of thinking a proper cult leader would want to discourage! Read the rest of this entry

Legitimate Asshole Todd Akin reminds me how we are legitimately fucked.

I apologize for the scarcity of links and references in this post. Perhaps I’ll go back and add them sometime, but it seems unlikely.

Todd Akin is sorry that he said he was sorry about that “legitimate rape” bullshit he spouted off a while back. This spiraled off in my head to a conclusion about just how fucked up America is now.

First: Akin. In his apology for his apology the shithead has the utter lack of humanity to write this,

“Is it a legitimate claim of rape or an excuse to avoid an unwanted pregnancy?”

Which pretty much sums up why I’ve decided that abortion should be absolutely legal without restrictions or inconvenience or excess questions right up until fucking labor starts; because assholes like him will do everything in their power to make women suffer.

Look, we live in a society where the idea of making a false rape accusation that lasts long enough for paperwork to happen is pretty damn stupid right off the bat, because we live in a society that treats rape victims worse that it treats rapists. I stand by that statement as long as we have situations where, for example, high school football stars sexually assault a teenage girl on fucking video that gets publicly posted to the fucking internet and not only does their whole community rally around them and against their victim, but it takes a massive online shitstorm to even bring them to trial. And then people cry about these poor “ruined lives”, and they’re talking about the fucking criminals having their lives ruined by being held accountable for their crimes! Meanwhile, the victim is ostracized and driven out for demanding justice. That’s American society today. Read the rest of this entry

Moving on up

Um, hi.
So, I honestly meant to start posting again once or twice a week, but, well, I suddenly got a wonderful new apartment. So I’ve been very, very busy with moving and decorating and working as much as I can to pay for everything.
It’s been a busy month for me, and not likely to let up just yet.
I will try to post more now that I’m somewhat settled in, but since I don’t have internet right now I have to either post from my phone or set my phone up as a Wi-Fi hotspot and post through it. Neither is very conductive to my usual method of writing. So posts will probably be few & far between for a while yet.
There are still book reviews I want to write, and many things in the news and life in general that I feel like discussing, so there will be more eventually.
In the meantime, I love my new home!

Book Review: The Martian, by Andy Weir

Once upon a time, there was a webcomic called Casey and Andy. Mad science, zany characters and lots of geekery, it was one of my favorites. I was sad, but satisfied, when it ended.

Then about a month ago Howard Taylor mentioned a hard sci-fi novel called The Martian, and that it was written by the same Andy Weir who once gave us Casey and Andy. I bought the book before I finished reading Howard’s post about it.

And it’s good.

Read the rest of this entry

Pain, anger, and cats.

This has had me in a funk since I learned about it this morning. Three of a friend’s cats have been attacked by someone with a pellet gun. Two of those cats used to hang out with me.

Veterinarians are expensive and time-consuming, so here’s a link to a page raising money to help.

I don’t have anything more to say, except to wish my love to the family.

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