August 14th, 2017

#5796: Things ain't looking too good for Elio.

Both these links are to Jalopnik, but finding news on what's going on with Elio is hard, so I'm making an exception in this case and linking to them even though commie-lib.

$376 million needed to start production.

Facing $500,000 fine for violating Louisiana state law.

Looked over their Faceboob page and haven't seen any updates for quite a few months. Their web site is similarly free of useful information; the most recent press release was on August 4, about making a public offering, and prior to that the last press release was issued in April. And these two articles were published in June and July, respectively.

I was really looking forward to them starting production; I've made no secret of the fact that I really want to buy one. But it looks as if I won't have the opportunity.

#5797: Encouraged again by what I'm reading

So, over the past couple of nights I've been reading Apocalyptic Visions from the beginning of the space war onward. I've got a few things I'm trying to sort out.

Originally, between the end of part one and the beginning of part two, I put a four-month hiatus and picked up the action in December (after leaving off in August). Problem is, that didn't make sense when you considered where the narration was picking up. But moving the date up a few months screwed with some of the exposition at the end of part one.

I spent some time trying to fix it, trying to decide which way was better, then gave up and changed it back to having it pick up about where it left off. You know what? I decided. Screw it. People are smart enough to figure out what I'm doing here. Sure, the narration talks about what happened over the next four months, and then I go right on with the narrative from where I left off--but sometimes a little background doesn't hurt anything, and I'm not giving away the candy store by letting the reader know this is the denouement for that situation before moving on to building up the next crisis.

It figures in what happens next, anyway. If it takes these guys four months to patch their ships together enough to GTFO the solar system--well, it's going to be a major plot point. And I'm also filing it under "setting", because this way it's stated explicitly what's happening globally (galactically?) in the background.

I'm rereading it to make sure all this fits together. But more importantly, rereading it reinforces my feeling that I'm writing a good story, here. I get to this or that event in the story, and think, Yeah, that's cool! and want to read the paragraph aloud to my wife, who doesn't know anything about the story other than that I'm writing it, only to realize that without any context she wouldn't understand what's so cool about what I'd just read to her (and "I wish you'd finish the one about the cat!" is her usual comment anyway).

Second chapter of part two begins by pretty much laying out who the villain is, here, but it also lets the reader know the answers to some of the unanswered questions left from the first part, long before the protagonists in the story will.

I'm a big fan of always answering the questions posed in my stories...eventually. It's part of my philosophy that other than the eternal questions, there's nothing we can't figure out sooner or later. (And in fact "the eternal questions" turn out not to be so eternal, either.) The pact I make with my readers is pretty simple: everything that I do, no matter how nonsensical, has an explanation, and you will know what that explanation is sooner or later, as long as you keep reading. Maybe not in the same book in which it appears, but there will be an answer in the narrative somewhere.

Splitting it into three books is still not off the table. If part two turns out to be as lengthy as part one was, I'll have to, because part three will be still more story.

One of my friends from high school commented, once, on how writers of SF and fantasy tend towards epics, rather than individual novels.

In the sober light of adulthood, I realize that he's right, but also why he was right. You spend a lot of time on building a world--a universe in which a story takes place--and it naturally leads you to think about other stories set there. But moreso, if you love stories, the first story you write makes you wonder about other stories in the same setting--and leads you to write stories set in that milieu until and unless you finish it off.

For this world I write in, there is a progression of events, and counting the unusuable dreck I've written around a dozen stories in it, about seven of which are novels; the rest of them are anthologies of short stories and novellas. They all fit in the same timeline. Everything I've written that takes place prior to AV is pretty much garbage as written; the plot points are good but the writing is complete trash, and for the most part that material won't see the light of day. One story from that set is slated to be written as soon as I figure out how to write it. The others--we'll see.

Pretty much, it turns out to be an epic. And now it looks as if AV is turning into a mini-epic inside an epic.


#5798: A very, very important distinction

Ace says it:
The Nazis had a permit; antifa did not. (Say what you will about Nazis, but they're bears for paperwork.)

Antifa raided the permitted Nazi rally space.

Police let them -- and let beatings go on. They gave them Space to Destroy, as they say.
So one group is holding a legal, permitted demonstration. Another group came specifically, and without permit, to disrupt that protest with violence. The police did nothing to stop the violence instigated against participants in a permitted demonstration.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is not freedom of speech and this is not equal protection under the law, either.

But guess what? Look at what Karl Denninger found. I'm guessing that the guy in question is a major figure in the white supremecist side of the Charlottesville demonstration, yet prior to Trump's election he was an Occupati, which is a hard-left ideology.

Of course, it is not much of a step from being a leftist to being a Nazi. The idea that fascism is a right-wing ideology descends from the fact that political scientists and sociologists use the "left-right" axis differently than most people do. To political scientists, Gorbachev was "left wing" and the hard liners in the Politburo who wanted to stop Glasnost were "right wing", which is virtually the opposite of how it applies to American politics.

That means that, in America, Nazism is a left-wing ideology, as it's socialism with a veneer of nationalism atop it (hence "national socialism", whence comes "Nazi"). Considering that Obamacare is a fascist revision of our health insurance system, it even makes sense.

Denninger is merely asking, "What if...?" but if he's right this would not exactly represent the first time that leftists used deceit, "false flag" operations, and violence to swing public opinion their way.

It all goes back to one extremely important question: "Why were the cops told to stand down?" Denninger asks that question, and further asks--I'm paraphrasing him here: Who gave that order? Who gave the order to force the original protesters--who were holding a permitted political rally--into the waiting maw of the counter-protesters, who were there illegally and without permit? What political affiliations are held by the people making those decisions and giving those orders?

Those are some important questions, and the answers to those questions figure prominently in assigning blame for this weekend's stupidity.

The Constitution and the law are pretty plain on the issue: everyone has a right to speak his mind. No one has the right to use violence to shut anyone else up. When government takes sides against a viewpoint and allows one group to violate the law and the civil rights of another group, that is a very bad thing.

The First Amendment was not put in place to protect popular speech. Popular speech doesn't need protection. It's not there to protect people who sing happy pop songs, or folks who only say nice things about everyone. It's there to protect the free speech rights of people who say unpopular things, or things which are inconvenient to the government. Freedom of expression lets the anti-Trump-tards call him "Drumpf" and they let the people with Bush Derangement Syndrome call George W Bush "Chimpy McBushitler", the same way they let me call our last President "MC Sleepy" and "Boss Tweek". Freedom of expression lets me say that Illinois is a festering shithole because of the policies of the Democrat machine that's run it for the last million years.

"Freedom of expression" does not permit me to throw rocks at people who disagree with me, the same way it doesn't let them throw rocks at me. If I have a permit to hold a demonstration, and people start physically attacking me because they don't like what I'm saying, it is the responsibility of the police to arrest the people attacking me, because that is assault.

It is not their role to herd my co-protestors and I through a gauntlet of the people who are attacking us.

It is not their role to protect the people attacking us from reasonable defensive measures.

No matter what we're saying, we have the right to say it in public. Other people do not have the right to shout us down, or pummel us with blunt objects to silence us. If government aids and abets those who would silence free speech that is actual literal censorship.

So I do think that there needs to be a significant federal-level investigation of what happened, exactly, in Charlottesville. Unless everyone's fine with tossing out freedom of expression and rule of law.

#5799: This is going to take some getting used to.

New glasses came in today, so I went and got them, and it's going to be a bit of an adjustment.

Strongest RX ever, lenses are wider than the old pair, and everything is convex and moves incorrectly. I'm used to this when getting a new pair of lenses, though, so that's not too bad.

Mrs. Fungus is unhappy that I couldn't find a pair of frames like my old ones. These--like every single last pair of frames in the store--are square.

...and I'm not sure I like them.

The frames are made by Oakley, and they're pretty sturdy, but the lenses are wide and there's a lot of chromatic aberration at the sides. I keep taking them off because they press wrong on my nose and my temples. Everything looks wrong because when I move my head things are not looking the way they normally do.

I keep telling myself to take it easy and get used to them.

But on-line ( I found a pair of glasses almost exactly like my old ones...for nearly three hundred bucks less than this pair.

I have never bought a pair of eyeglasses and then taken them back, but I may do it this time. Besides, they were supposed to give me an RX for contact lenses as well, and didn't, even though they charged me for it. Right at the bottom of the RX, it's checked by "not approved for contact lenses".

All I need is for my wife to come home and measure the distance between my pupils. I've checked it 3x using their method and come up with 63mm each time, but I want to be certain.

$56 is better than $351. And they'll be a style I like.

Come to think of it--I wonder if they actually used high-index lenses? I paid (through the ass) for lenses with a 1.67 index of refraction, but these lenses have a lot more curve to them than the old ones, and the RX is not that much stronger--half a diopter or so. And sitting here at the computer, these glasses make the right side of the monitor look taller than the left side. How is that even possible? Looks like the glasses don't sit square to my face, which is no surprise considering how much of a hurry the person was to get them fit to me. Didn't offer any real assistance with fitting them, just handed them over.

The geometry of the monitor changes depending on where I'm looking. For crying out loud, my prescription changed by half a diopter. It shouldn't be this huge a difference!

These are the worst glasses I've ever had. Guess I'm going back to my old ones for a little while longer.