Category Archives: Personal

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

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

Are you okay?

Howard Taylor’s Schlock Mercenary is one of a handful of webcomics that I still read fairly regularly, and I’ve come to respect his opinions on movies, so I always check the blog post to see if there’s a movie I should see or avoid. I’m glad I’ve gotten into this habit, because it gave me the chance to read this short non-fiction piece about mental health. Do yourself a favor and check that out. 

Something that occurred to me though was that the title, “No. I’m fine.” is something I’m likely to say if someone asks me if I’m okay. Regardless of whether or not I’m okay, I’ve been more or less trained to answer that question with “I’m fine”, “Yes, nothing to worry about”, or “I’m always okay”, and usually I don’t even spare a thought to consider whether or not I am, in fact, okay. (Does it still count as a lie if you don’t actually know & just answer automatically?) Read the rest of this entry

Tiring day

It’s been a very long day for me. Spent much of it traveling from one city I’ve never been in to another city I’ve never been in, by way of a city I’ve only briefly visited, and the last time nearly eight years ago. Only got mildly lost twice, not bad for being out of practice at the travel thing. I’d like to thank the bus driver who let me on with my too large suitcase with only a scolding.

I’ve caught myself writing the wrong word a couple times in here already, it wouldn’t surprise me if I missed a few. Sorry about that.

Some of you got a sneak peak at my post a day safety net.  I remember when I made it there was some weirdness, I didn’t realize that I’d made it a page instead of a post. That’s fixed. If all goes well, it will never be public again.

Not much more to say tonight, I’m exhausted. Take care everybody.

Daily posting.

At the beginning of October I joined the Post A Day challenge. At the time I was wondering how long I could keep going. Apparently, the answer was “About two months”.

It’s a strange thing. Often I feel like my life, my hobbies, and even my personality is somehow subject to the laws of inertia. I find it very difficult to start doing things, but once I’ve started I don’t want to stop. Annoying, really, so many things would be much easier if I could just pick them up and work on them for, say, 45 minutes and then move on to something else. Such is life, I suppose; I doubt I’m the only one who feels that way.

Yesterday the Daily Post had a survey, and it asked an interesting question. “What is your personal system for blogging?” I didn’t really feel like I qualified to take that anymore, but I’m going to discuss it a bit here anyways. If nothing else, at least I’m writing. Read the rest of this entry

New feels old, old feels new.

I got a new old laptop today, which is pretty cool by itself. After wiping its hard disk, I fooled around a bit before settling on Xubuntu for the new OS.

Holy crap. It’s like the Gnome version of Ubuntu used to be back when I liked it! Guess I should have listened to Dan when I was whining about Unity back in October.

The only reason I’m writing this right now instead of migrating this machine is a little hesitation about Dropbox. You know, the cloud service? In Linux, it only works with Nautilus, the Gnome file manager. Read the rest of this entry

Technological limitations

Yesterday the winds came. They blew down fences, trees, power lines, and my internet. Today I made lasagne in bulk. In fact, I think the only practical thing I did today that wasn’t lasagne was shopping for more stuff to make lasagne. I’m not even confident it’s going to be good lasagne, I tried a new technique a little old lady told me about and frankly I’m not sure there was enough cheese.

But I should still try to make up for the missed post yesterday. Just because it was physically impossible for me to post anything is no excuse to not catch up. And I think at least one of the Daily Post blogs was a decent idea for something to write about, so I can go back and write about it.

That’s going to have to wait another day or two, though, because I’m surprisingly busy all of a sudden. It’s good news for me, but bad news for my blog. Well, seems like everything’s a trade-off.

I promise you four posts in the next three days, even if that’s four on Monday. For now though I’m going to sleep, it’s been crazy today.

The Burzynski Clinic: Probably frauds, certainly assholes.

The odds are very good that if you’re reading this, someone you know has or has had some form of cancer, maybe even yourself. About 1,500 people die every day in the United States alone of cancer or cancer-related illness. More than half a million a year. It’s a boundless wellspring of human suffering that scientists have been working to understand better for over a hundred years. So far the best treatments we’ve got are still pretty crude, but all over the world researchers are working tirelessly to find new ways to improve the lives of cancer patients.

So when someone’s charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for a treatment they claim can cure cancer, I tend to think the worst of them. When their response to criticism is angry, weak legal threats that clearly weren’t made by a lawyer, well, that doesn’t really make me think any better of them. Read the rest of this entry

Free and brave

So, Congress wants to know why everyone hates them. Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but the reason I hate you, Congress, is because every time I turn around you assholes are doing something like this. (Incidentally, what’s up with the links on that page?)

Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), have apparently decided that what’s wrong with America is that we’re not enough like a fascist dictatorship. I wasn’t surprised to see McCain’s name on that, he introduced similar legislation in ’09 or ’10 which would give the President power to declare anyone an unperson without trial or charge, and specifically denied the option of judicial review. Seriously, the man introduced a bill to give the President, and any future president, the power to declare anyone (I think the term used was) an “unlawful enemy combatant”, who could then by held indefinitely without being charged with a crime, or given a trial, or even allowed to petition a judge to review the justice or legality of the detention.

In no free country should any one person have that kind of power. Certainly not one that has the Bill of Rights in it’s highest legal document.

Well, now McCain’s teamed up with another enemy of freedom and found a new approach. They should both be ashamed of themselves. Hell, I’m ashamed that they weren’t booed off the floor, this is my country and these are my countrymen, how could they consider that for even a moment?

The “detainees” taken in this alleged war on terror are a real sticking point with me, no matter which way you go they illustrate the criminal truth about the whole awful enterprise. If we’re at war, then those detainees are prisoners of war and subject to the rules and protections of the Geneva Convention. It we’re not at war, then these detainees are criminal suspects and subject to the rules and protections of Due Process. The term “Unlawful Enemy Combatant” suggests both while claiming neither, as if these people are somehow war criminals without ever being either criminals or soldiers.

I understand that this is a sticky situation where it’s often not clear, but changing the law to broadly strip (more) protections away from everywhere is not the answer here. The law isn’t about making the government’s job easier, it’s about protecting people.

So I was already in a cynical and angry state of mind when I saw this Guardian article about the crackdowns on the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Here is what Naomi Wolf of the Guardian learned when she started asking OWS activists what they wanted.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

Haven’t heard much about that in the U.S. press. In fact most of the news I get about OWS comes from Europe. Maybe the money in the government is in the media, too.

Maybe that’s why Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are sneaking in this obscene rape of the Constitution, it’s a way to protect the money. Or hell, I don’t know, maybe they’re so frightened of the threat of terrorism that they’re willing to take the chance that some president might declare them enemy combatants and have them detained indefinitely, and possibly tortured.

Were I president, and handed that sort of power, the first thing I would do is send troops to detain Congress. Because while Al Qaida may or may not be the biggest threat to our lives, it’s been made abundantly clear that the biggest threat to our freedoms, Congress, is you.

Interesting times

Busy day for Occupy Wall Street, lots going on. Twitter’s #OWS tag was very active, and yet never trended. Meanwhile, “Women Who Don’t Cook” was a trending topic, with predictable depressing shit being said. Well, fuck. Between that and the truly ugly things opponents of Occupy were saying, I’m feeling a little down.

Look, people disagree on things. sometimes passionately, sometimes even violently, and it’s easy to get angry when someone disagrees with you on something that seems so obvious to you. It’s important not to let anger blind you to the fact that your opponents are still people. Maybe they’re misinformed, maybe they’re stupid, maybe they’re selfish or maybe it’s something else entirely, maybe even they’re right and you’re the one who’s wrong, it really doesn’t matter. They’re still people, and if you dehumanize them, you’re becoming a bit of a monster yourself.

Worse, you’re opening yourself up to the worst kinds of manipulation, where someone can convince you to commit real atrocities. Because how bad can it be? It’s not like they’re asking you to do anything to actual people.

People matter. All of them. How rich or poor they are, what religion they claim, the politics they espouse, the color of their skin, the clothes they like to wear and the sex they like to have, all these things are irrelevant. Even the worst of us matter, we’re all in this together. You don’t have to like them, you don’t have to be nice to them, but when you forget that they’re people, when you start to see them as just obstacles, then what are you becoming?

Take care everyone, and take care of each other.

The Fucking Patriarchy, Part 5

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, this is the end of Fucking Patriarchy Week. Whatever I still have to say on the subject after this post (and there’s still a lot more) is just going to have to wait for another opportunity. Read the rest of this entry

Worthy of notice

Dissatisfied with recent Daily Post topics, I was cruising the web for something to write about. I read this interesting post at Blag Hag, and after a short series of adventures from there I wound up looking at Jen McCreight ‘s Wikipedia entry. If you look at that page you’ll notice the article is being considered for deletion based on the notability guidelines.

This post will not discuss whether Jen McCreight is notable enough for Wikipedia. This post is asking why Wikipedia cares about notability at all. Read the rest of this entry

Everything’s a pain. It’s still hot, too.

Hopefully that title got all the whining out of my system for a while.

So in naive anticipation of cold weather, I’ve returned to the manly art of crochet. I’ve decided to start off this year’s projects with another scarf, partly because of my limited skill, but mostly because I like scarves. A big part of that is probably because I can only wear them comfortably when it’s genuinely cold, and I suspect I only really like the cold weather because where I live Summer lasts for eight solid months. Read the rest of this entry

Well, that didn’t take long.

Ok, so QTM was in fact the only one I was able to install that actually works with WordPress. I suspect Drivel would if I took the time to find out which API WordPress is derived from, but now I’m annoyed and just want to go off somewhere and sulk.

Two of the programs wouldn’t install because of failed dependencies. One of them was actually an applet, just adding on to the fires of hate stoked by the latest Ubuntu release. Maybe I should just go back to KDE. Anyhow, there’s that project explored and abandoned. I’m more disappointed that I wasn’t able to try out more of the software than I am by not finding one I like, make of that what you will.

I’m going to walk a dog and let my mind wander, maybe I’ll have one more post for you today when I get back, maybe I’ll just read or show up at a friend’s house with a bad movie & pizza. We shall see.

The Fear of Writing

Well, today’s Daily Post thingy was to pick a topic from yesterday’s list of things you’re afraid to write about and, well, write about it. Nice idea, but leaves me a little light on topics. So I’ll write about learning disabilities and my fear of writing, and the connection between them.

Parents! If you ever hear your child described as “bright but lazy” by well meaning but frustrated teachers, have that kid checked for learning disabilities right away! The sooner you can get them into a program that knows how to work with them, the less it will cast a shadow over the rest of their life.

My learning disability is called dysgraphia.

Read the rest of this entry

Ah, rain

I love the rain. There’s something magical about water falling from the sky. It cools things down, cleans the air, and brings happy memories of rainy days and the people I spent them with.

I’ve always wanted to get sick of rain. I don’t mean wish it wasn’t raining because of some other plans I had, but just have it rain for so long that I get tired of it and want it to stop. It probably stems from living where I do, where rain is a rare and special thing. I often wonder how I would feel about it if I lived someplace that gets a lot of rain for a year or two. Would I be happier there, or longing for hot sunny days with the same intensity?

Anyways, I have a mystery for you. Due to several factors, mostly the age of this house and my reluctance to put holes in it, there is a long Cat5 network cable running out my window, across the roof and down to another window where it connects me to the internet. So on this nice rainy morning I found water dripping out of it. Seriously, right where the RJ-45 connects, there was water seeping out of the cable. The router narrowly missed getting drenched.

I cut a few drain holes into the outer insulation so it shouldn’t damage anything, but where is it coming from? Everything’s dry up top and I can’t find any holes or breaks in the cable. Either the outer shell’s become porous enough that the water is seeping through it, or it’s condensing in there. Well, or there’s something else that I haven’t thought of or a hole in the cable I missed. I’m leaning towards the first explanation right now, since this never happened before and it seems likely that a break would be obvious.

Come to think of it, most plastics photo-degrade, and this one’s been out on the roof for several years now. That’s a lot of sunlight. It might be time to replace that wire or install wifi on this thing.

Anyways, that’s this morning’s weirdness. I’m going to tag it for Post a Day, which feels a little like cheating but it’s clearly a post and therefore counts! Blog at you later with something completely different.

Hey, remember me?

So I’m checking my email, and I see this. If you’re too lazy to follow links today, it’s promoting two writing projects at once. First is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which, in short, is a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. This is no small feat, so the second promotion is WordPress’s own PostADay Challenge, which is exactly what it says on the tin, a challenge to post every day. (Presumably, to your WordPress blog.) Read the rest of this entry

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