June 21st, 2019

#6715: Two little things

Bioluminescent plankton. I never realized it was A) so vivid and B) so quick.

One story I never finished (and should) is about the first man to travel to Alpha Centauri. There he finds a world which is hotter than Earth, but not so hot that water cannot remain liquid, and it's covered with water. The only time he can go outside his ship without an environment suit is at midnight, when it's a mere 50°C outside, or about 120°F. But that's when the sea comes alive with light from the creatures that live in it; and some of those creatures turn out to be sentient.

Bioluminescence is one of those things I find incredibly fascinating.

--speaking of which, summer begins in eight hours and I haven't seen one firefly yet. It's been too cold.

* * *

This has been one of my fears for a very long time. Once people get to know me they stop liking me and merely tolerate me. Figured I wasn't the only one.

* * *

I should be in bed. Cripes, at 11:30 I was thinking, "Maybe I'll make an early night of it," but while I was on my phone it died, so I tried to listen to music and read on my tablet but it ran out of juice. Instead of taking the hint, I started trying to find ways to describe something in the useless dreck story that I worked on the other night, so I found myself doing image searches for a reference that would help me nail it down. And that was fruitless, so I ended up looking at Imgur and found those two things I just linked.

"Useless dreck"--in about 1987 or so I found myself drifting away from writing SF and started writing...I'm not sure what it is. Plain fiction, though, mostly about romantic relationships. I tried reading some of it after I read that novel I wrote in 1986, and I just couldn't.

But a lot of it was important chiefly for what it helped me learn to do, which is to write narratives about people--and, furthermore, to make them believable characters. It helped me learn how to add dimension to them.

The story I was working on the other night is basically about a teenaged guy who gets his face literally broken when he's caught kissing his next-door neighbor, a girl who is a couple of years younger than he is. He's 15, she's 13, and her dad pounds his face against a car dashboard a couple of times.

The last one I wrote, before this one, was about a shy teenaged guy who is invited to a party by a girl, only after he guts it up and actually goes to the thing, when he gets there she acts incredulous that he came, "I was just joking," etc, and the fallout of this debacle. It has a happy end, though. Came to about 15 pages as I recall--none of these are very long, which is why I'm writing them rather than trying to suppress them.

Still--it's a plus for me to write stories in which nonsensically bad things happen (such as a guy getting his face broken because his girlfriend's dad had a bad day and too much to drink after it) because I have a tendency to make things too logical, to have an explanation for everything. Okay, in the story about the guy invited to the party, we never find out whether the girl was leading him on, or if the invitation had been honest only she changed her mind mid-stream, or what. No one really knows why she did it; all we have is what she says about it and how she acts after the debacle. And I don't even know, myself; it's an ambiguity that I maintained on purpose, precisely because it wasn't important that we know why she did it. But doing something like that is hard for me. I want to know.

Anyway, AV is what needs attention. This particular story has maybe five or ten pages left in it; and once I've put it to bed, I'll turn my full attention to getting AV completed. After all, getting it done was one of my New Year's resolutions.

But for right now, I'm just going to bed.

#6716: It's summer. Where is the summer WEATHER?

Today's complaint is the same as yesterday's. It's 72 and cloudy, following a night with temperatures in the fifties. The forecast says virtually nothing but mid-80s next week. We'll see.

* * *

So, Stranger Things season 3 will be "more of the same", just like season 2 was. Season 2 was...lackluster. I know what they were going for, but they missed that target; it ended up being seriously "meh".

Season one: monster from the upside down threatens everyone.
Season two: monster from the upside down threatens everyone.

And season three? Guess what: monster from the upside down threatens everyone.

You see?

In the "not helping" department, there's the fact that the girl who plays Eleven reminds me of Michael Rosenbaum in drag, and that as the actress' hair grows out the comparison becomes more apt rather than less so. I keep seeing her as Lex Luthor in Smallville; I thought that losing the crew cut would fix that, but it doesn't.

* * *

Well, that's it for gas prices this year.

* * *

Technically, though, it's not wrong. You see, "gender" is actually a linquistic construct. There can be any number of genders.

Where it falls down is in the modern equation of "gender" with "sex". There are only two sexes.

Sex is a fact of biology, which is science. Gender is a construction of language. They are not the same thing; they do not mean the same thing.

Sure, you can claim that your gender is two-spirit otherkin, but that won't change the fact that you were born with either a penis and testicles or a vagina and uterus, and those bits--the ones you're born with, not whatever they may later have been surgically altered to resemble--are what determine what sex you are.

* * *

Tell me again how same-sex couples are so perfect and wonderful that we should let them raise children. I realize that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data", but damn.

It certainly sounds as if she murdered him for the crime of not being a girl.

* * *

"If an uninhabited atoll in the South Pacific doesn't blow up tomorrow, you're in big trouble." No, I shouldn't rag on Apple for having bad batteries. It's not like Apple fanboys ragged on Samsung when they had problems with the Galaxy Note 7 batteries, right? Right??

Though it would be nice if Apple's hardware had user-replaceable batteries. You know, if the battery pops you might have a chance of yanking it out before it blows up the house.

Seriously: this is the problem with energy density. The more energy-dense you make batteries, the more possible it is for them to blow up. Lithium ion batteries are fantastic things; they've let us put the power of a supercomputer from 1980 into our back pockets--but if they are not designed correctly, they can cause a great deal of trouble.

Incidentally--how many "fireproof safes" does the typical Apple store have? When I was with Geek Squad they had zero fireproof containment facilities for exploding laptops.

* * *

Apparently Neal Stephenson has gone full SJW/NPC. That's kind of funny, considering how non-SJW his first novel, The Big U, was.

That book--if you've never read it--skewers a lot of the lefty college archetypes. There is some limited skewering going on towards the right, but it's at caricatures of right-wing groups that get skewered anyway.

Vox Day concludes, "I don't know. It sounds so over the top that in light of his famous account of his duels with William Gibson, I can't help but suspect him of selling books while taking the piss out of his SJW readers."

I wouldn't know; I didn't like Snow Crash because I freaking hate stories written in present tense, and haven't read anything else of his. Oh well.

* * *

I wouldn't worry about this too much.
...[P]aying reparations to all descendants of slaves is a mistake. Take me for example. I was born three decades after Jim Crow ended into a privileged household in the suburbs. I attend an Ivy League school. Yet I'm also descended from slaves who worked on Thomas Jefferson's Monticello plantation. So reparations for slavery would allocate federal resources to me but not to an American with the wrong ancestry--even if that person is living paycheck to paycheck and working multiple jobs to support a family. You might call that justice. I call it justice for the dead at the price of justice for the living.
Reparations for slavery is something the Democrats trot out whenever they're worried about losing an election. They do it in order to make sure as many black people vote for them as possible.

But they are not going to pass it should they get the Presidency; they'll find a way to sabotage it, quietly, so that it doesn't become law. And so the next time they need to make sure they can secure the black vote, they can trot it out again: "Say, we never did pay you guys for all the shit we did to you!"

It is a transparently naked attempt at buying the black vote. It's worked plenty of times before, of course; the real question is, "Will it keep working?" Blacks have been promised reparations several times, now, and have never received so much as a dime from it; I'd like to think that as a demographic they'd be smart enough to recognize that the Democrat party has consistently played them for fools since 1965. Unfortunately, that was 54 years ago, and so far, no sign that's the case.

* * *

It should be remembered that the Progressive movement did not begin as a Democrat movement. Democrats were against it; that was back when the Progressive movement was about things like ending slavery and protecting the civil rights of minorities.

That changed, though.

Soon it became about expanding government control; and as the movement grew in power the marxists and the communists began to take it over--and before long it was the progressive movement we know today, which is about taking away freedom and stomping human faces approximately forever.

* * *

Chicago's new lesbian-of-color mayor seems bound and determined to gut the already-limited efficacy of the city's police department. Owing to the policies of her predecessors the police in Chicago have already taken a self-preserving attitude towards doing their jobs, which includes being very selective about what offenses they enforce in order to avoid controversy and censure. Having a mayor in office who is obviously anti-police is not going to improve that.

Avoid the city.

* * *

The question of the detainment of illegal immigrants being "concentration camps" hinges on one important matter.
The reality is every month, there are more than 100,000 people crossing our southern border. Most speak no English. They have no money and no job skills. Many have communicable diseases that have been eradicated in the United States. How do these people integrate into the United States and not end up homeless on American streets? How much financial responsibility do American taxpayers and tax-funded social welfare programs have to take care of these people? What is the upper limit of new people we can put onto these programs before they collapse? Should there be a process to vet the people crossing our border to determine which ones are truly deserving of asylum and which ones are not?

The "detention centers are concentration camps" position allows the person making that argument to wave away all of those concerns as just evil, racist, white supremacists, Naziesque talking points because moral people do not support concentration camps. The only moral option is to set every single one of those people free.
You know what, though? I agree with that last sentence 100%. Let's set them free back into fucking Mexico.

Americans have zero responsibility for these people. We have zero responsibility to allow anyone into the country, regardless of reason. Our government already spends three million dollars a minute on welfare programs, and is borrowing a trillion dollars a year to pay for it--the last thing we need is more poor people.

Okay, yep, I'm really sorry you didn't get here sooner, but we've had the doors open for forty years and we really need to shut them now because we're out of money. Check back in three or four decades; maybe by then we'll have finally assimilated the ones who are here now and we'll be able to afford more useless eaters. But at the moment, we're tapped out.

The camps we have set up right now are the best possible answer to a problem that we should not have in the first place, that we only have because the laws on the books are not being enforced.

And the people who refuse to enforce those laws scream the loudest when they learn they might have to put up or shut up. The "open borders" people running the sanctuary cities, they sure as hell don't want those 100,000 illegals dropped off in their back yards. Besides, their districts already reliably vote Democrat! They don't need more Democrat voters there!

* * *

This brought a smirk to my face. TL;DR: Iran shoots down a drone. Trump gets ready to hit back; then reconsiders. The Democrats who were all ready to slam Trump for "overreacting" got caught flat-footed, and now they're attacking Trump for not hitting back.

* * *

YouTube, every so often, decides that I really didn't mean it when I told it not to show me "Breaking News", and pops it up again. And every time, I click it, and YouTube says, "Got it. We'll tune your recommendations." And that doesn't stop it from happening again and again.

I trust YouTube to feed me balanced "breaking news" about as much as I expect it from NYT ABC CBS NBC CNN. I don't watch YouTube for news; I watch it to see videos of people falling off things, and to look at car videos and stuff. Stuff that cannot be spun left or right because it's factual information.

I mean, there's no spin on "I had to adjust the low-idle mix to get this engine to run right." You can't say, "Well, if DONALD TRUMP wasn't such a racist, the idle mix would be fine!" (Well--you can certainly say that. Go right ahead. It doesn't change the fact that the Trump Presidency has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the ratio of fuel to air produced by your carburator is stoichiometric when the engine is idling. And I'll stop watching your videos in short order because you're a delusional fuckwit.)

* * *

I complain about my job--same as everyone--but it really is a pretty good one, all told. There's a lot of frustrations. It's not like Ace Hardware, where I had one set of defined duties, and a nice office environment, and predictable workload, a reasonable commute, and so forth; there are some big downsides to this job compared to that one.

But then there are some major upsides, as well. The biggest being working from home. Right now it is quiet; I'm sitting here listening to the birds sing as I wait for a call. We usually hit a lull around 4:30-5:00, particularly on Fridays. (Then it picks up around the time my wife generally gets home from work as the second shift customers start coming on and having problems.) And during those times it's possible to sit here and listen to the quiet and relax a bit.

* * *

You know, for quite a while I've had trouble remembering much of anything prior to 1982. I had a typical childhood--nothing unusually good or bad, just a typical white suburban childhood in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Though, if my friends' lives were any guide, a lot less divorce-y. I had two friends whose parents were not divorced, and that only really lasted until after high school was over.

Sometimes I wonder about that--the memory thing, I mean, not the prevalence of divorce. The drama llama in me seems to want there to be some big thing that happened, and that's why I don't remember much, but the reality is mundane: there's just not that much to remember.

But a bunch of key events of 1978 came flooding back to me, things I hadn't thought about in years. It occurred to me that there was a dream I had, in 2008? maybe--a nightmare--which scared me so much I woke up yelling. The only time on record where something like that happened. And that dream had been set in 1978 and in it I was molested by an older man.

Now, as far as I remember I was never molested by anyone, let alone in 1978 by any person, and in fact I believe I had a normal unmolested childhood. I don't think there was anyone around the Fungal Vale who was a molestor, or who was molested, and certainly if there had been it would have been a huge frickin' scandal, to say the least.

But the drama llama says, "Hey, wouldn't it be something if you had been molested as a kid, and that's why you don't remember much before 1982? You got molested and you repressed everything! Hey, and that's why you're so screwed up, too!"

Bah.

Reality: not molested, no repressed memories, just normal everyday life didn't get recorded because it was unremarkable; and the lack of reinforcement kind of sidelined a couple years' worth of highlights.

But remembering those highlights kept me awake last night until well after bedtime. All of them were good things, or at least not-bad "coming of age" moments, like the first time I got a look down a girl's blouse when there was actually something to see there, or watching my best friend kiss his girlfriend, or a Halloween party which was mostly girls and I was one of two guys present--all of this at age 11, no less.

Perilous times indeed. But normal. Clearly, I have been well blessed in my life.