September 6th, 2019

#6837: The hour of the wolf

(Stole that one from Babylon 5.)

The middle of the night holds no mystery for me. And in fact, I'm trying to remember the last time the night seemed long to me, even in winter.

No: usually if I go to bed early and wake up in the middle of the night--as I have tonight--it's to the realization that an alarm clock is going to go off soon (a handful of hours) and I'd better get back to sleep so I can heed it when it does.

Being beset with chronic anxiety, I have developed coping mechanisms. I've learned how to put things out of my mind--as many times as necessary--and try to think of other things. When you're laying awake in the middle of the night, plagued with self-doubt and (usually) baseless worry, it helps to be able to say, I am not thinking about this right now; it is fruitless to do so and think about something else. Even if you must do it fifty times before you fall asleep. I don't think I am possessed of unusual--or even very much at all--self-control.

But most of the time, when I wake up like this, it's because my body needs things done, and it won't wait until morning. Hit the can, get a snack and a drink--like that. Hydraulic pressure must be relieved; and although I once was able to, I can no longer sleep when my stomach is a yawning pit, at least not if I don't want to wake up with a headache. And then I'm up for around an hour, because I find it difficult just to eat something and go back to bed. This splits the night into smaller chunks, further reducing its apparent length.

That's what's happened tonight. And I, having finished my snack, feel my eyelids getting heavy again.

* * *

Which reminds me--

Been thinking about one of the worlds in my SF universe which has a 30-hour day. It's just six hours longer than Earth's is, and populated by humans, but they have lived there for a few hundred years shy of ten thousand Earth years. And I was trying to figure, with night being an average of 15 hours long, and with the day being six hours longer in total, how that would affect the circadian rhythm.

It used to be, apparently, that people would go to bed a short bit after supper, then get up late at night and be up to the wee hours, after which they'd go to bed for six or eight hours. I forget where I read that, but apparently that was a thing up until a century or two ago, before industrialization required that everyone heed a clock.

It occurred to me that this was probably what these people would do. I suppose it's possible for the human body to adapt to a 30-hour day, but it seems excessive: sleeping, say, ten hours, and then being awake for twenty. We know that those of us on Earth can't really do a schedule like that without all kinds of problems, not for very long. They live an average of ten times longer than the terrestrial variety of human, so theirs is a slow-moving culture, given to careful deliberation over hasty action, and it fits that they'd have something approximating siesta.


"...I'm trying to negotiate a treaty with these people, and suddenly someone declares it's nap time and they all go to bed!"

"Sir, they have a thirty hour day. I think that's to be expected. You know our own people have been having trouble with it."

"Maybe, but it's damned inconvenient, even so."

"Where are you going?"

"To my quarters! 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.'"

* * *

Sage advice. Off I go.

#6838: Well, it had to happen eventually, I suppose

Robert Mugabe is dead. He was 95. He was the guy that drove Zimbabwe right off the cliff and wrecked its economy after being handed a fully-functioning modern nation in the early 1980s. Ran the country--badly--from the time he took power back then, until 2017. Not a good guy, but not as bad as Arafat or Castro, so this is not a celebration; merely an acknowledgement of the event.

* * *

Speaking of African atrocities, Ethiopia and Live Aid. I suppose that's one reason we don't often hear "Do They Know It's Christmas?" around Christmastime; it sounds as if the story was actually covered when the reality was discovered.

IDK, because in 1985 I didn't pay attention to the news all that much. My reaction to the whole thing was, "American liberals wanting Americans to feel guilty because people elsewhere in the world have problems: what else is new?" I thought it was bullshit and didn't care about it. It wasn't until I started listening to Limbaugh that I learned that the famine in Ethiopia was a political one--that most such famines are--and the revelation was not surprising. Not even remotely.

Modern farming and shipping methods ensure that if one part of the world has less food than it needs, we can supply that part with food without taking any away from anyone else. If people are starving, usually it is because someone wants them to starve.

And the government which was withholding food from the people, starving them to death, was a marxist government. Leftist. Socialist. Communist. Pick your synonym.

Of course it was.

* * *

Oh, yes, absolutely, I believe the official story. Mechanic sabotages a passenger jet.

Mechanic's name: "Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani".
Notably, Alani's decision to tamper with the plane's sensors comes at a particularly sensitive time for the industry. Faulty sensors were blamed for contributing to the two deadly crashes of Boeing 737 MAX 8s that forced the global grounding of the planes.

According to Alani, "his intention was not to cause harm to the aircraft or its passengers" but to "cause a delay or have the flight cancelled in anticipation of obtaining overtime work," per the affidavit.
Sure it was. Absolutely. No question whatsoever.

The story goes on to say that union employees deliberately sabotaging aircraft happens all the time.
AA characterized this as an unprecedented escalation in a labor dispute that has seen mechanics routinely engage in conduct intended to slow or stop the return of aircraft to service. These small-scale sabotage attempts have led to the cancellation or delay of hundreds of flights.
Still like unions?

* * *

One of the best things about this is that we can tell these people don't do this, it will be bad for you to our hearts' content. If they learn that we're advising them not to do whatever it is, they'll do it bigger and harder just to spite us.

In this case, CNN wants to do a "town hall" focusing on LGBTATNJEBBQWTF issues. The linked post explains why that would be a bad idea for the LGBTQ community specifically and the Democrats in general, and believe me when I say that the last thing they need is for the American people to learn just how not like them the gay community is.

* * *

It looks as if there are a few sensible judges left. Reportedly the people whose charges were not summarily dropped, but taken out of the courtroon in handcuffs, looked "shocked."

Both the defense attorneys and the DA had requested that the charges be dropped. Doubtless the defendants were told confidently that they wouldn't be punished, that the charges would be dropped because "everyone" agreed that they should be. Well, the judge did not, and denied the requests. And good for him! Start punishing these assholes for the crimes they're committing and it'll stop happening.

* * *

The climate models don't work because they don't model the atmosphere. They model a subset of variables that do not comprise the entirety of the energy inputs and outputs of the system, and they substitute constants for some of the most important variables in the system. That's not a simulation; at best it's a video game. A really boring one.

* * *

Today's pop music all sounds the same because it is the same.
In an interview, Billy Joel was asked what has made him a standout. He responded his ability to read and compose music made him unique in the music industry, which as he explained, was troubling for the industry when being musically literate makes you stand out.
You can tell who the composers are, and who are not, simply by listening to their product.

(You know who else is classically trained? Eddie van Halen.)

* * *

More about the aging of the Boomer music icons.
The problem, as I see it, is that there aren't any composers stepping up to create new music; and without new songs, rock 'n roll will fade away, just out of pure boredom. (Tell me you don't ever consider changing the station when "Stairway To Heaven" or "Hotel California" come over the air.) Instead, most modern music is so formulaic as to be unlistenable (see here for a really good explanation why).

Even worse is that actual music is being replaced with illiterate doggerel (rap) in the popularity stakes. I know that my parents' generation bewailed the replacement of Rogers & Hart's complex music with the simplistic melodies of rock 'n roll--'twas ever thus--but compared to Jay Z's musical efforts, Lennon & McCartney sound like Chopin. Like everything else, music is being dumbed down (and down, and down), just like literature, art and movies.
The fact that lots of present-day pop comes from two songwriters does not help, but rap is not music and generating it takes only the ability to speak quickly and to a beat.

* * *

After yesterday's fiasco, my "to-do" list has only gotten longer. I need to get to work.

#6839: Well, that was some good effort.

Got rid of my bed today.

Wrapped the mattress and box springs in plastic and hauled 'em down to the curb, along with headboard, footboard, sides, and support slats. This is the bed that broke about three or four times in the time I had it, and which I repaired again and again. It has had its day and the box springs is bent (from one of the times the side rail broke). I actually called the garbage pickup company on Tuesday to arrange for the pickup, so we're all good there.

With that done, I turned my attention to the shelves, and took care of a significant amount of cruft. What remains on them now is stuff that can be packed up and stored until the room is done. There's no point to moving them elsewhere; I'll just get a box and packing material and bip bip bip. Half an hour, tops.

Then, my storage closet.

In there, several boxes of anime videotapes, nearly all of which were commercial releases that I paid good money for.

I threw away all of the Maison Ikkoku, because I have the first three seasons on DVD, the videotapes were dubbed, and the dub was hideously bad but for a very few bright spots--and if I ever have a hankering to see those bright spots, they're on the DVDs. The only MI tape I kept was the fansub of the final movie.

Got rid of CLAMP Campus Detectives because I have been spoiled by some really f-ing good series since that was in release. Used to be a big fan of CLAMP, but that's no longer the case. Two of them were still in the shrink wrap. I've got Cardcaptor Sakura on DVD somewhere and I'll keep that, but I got rid of the Magic Knight Rayearth fansubs along with CCD because it's just not my thing any longer. I dumped Evangelion and Tenchi in Tokyo and Magical Project S. Tape after tape after tape after tape, even stuff I'd forgotten I had, like Tank Police and Devil Hunter Yohko, because they've been in my closet now for 15 years and I haven't wanted to watch any of them.

I kept all the Ranma 1/2, though. Getting rid of that would feel like jettisoning my early thirties; it's one of my top five all-time favorites.

Earlier this week I saw Saber Marionette J volumes 1 and 2 sitting on a shelf in my closet, and summarily dumped them. I think I've had them for two decades and the tapes were never even taken out of their shells.

Saved out End of Summer, which is a Pink Pineapple release from 1994 based on a game called Doukyuusei. Having reached the end of my endurance, I dug out a DVD/VHS combo player, a set of patch cords, and a power cord, and hooked the player up to the blab slab which still graces the south wall of my former bedroom but which has not been turned on in five years.

Took a mirror and a head lamp to get the plugs in the right sockets; and then I had to look all around the bezel to find the control panel. I'd never used it before but at the moment only God knows where the remote control is. I was able to get it powered on and the volume adjusted, and so I sat down to watch End of Summer to decide if I wanted to keep it.

The answer was no. It was not as good as I remembered it being. I watched the whole thing; but once it was over, I ejected the tape, put it back into its clamshell, went outside, and pitched it into the trash can. It's been over 20 years since I last watched it, and in fact the last time it was in a VCR prior to today was when I digitized the ending theme of the thing.

Kept out a few videos, though, which I will watch as I have time for them. Both TVs now have combo units connected to them, so I can watch both DVD and VHS as suits me. I just need to find the damned remote controls for the things. *sigh*

* * *

I really am rooting for the Indians in their attempt at landing a probe on the Moon. It's a pity their attempt failed. It's not out of incompetence or anything, because what they are trying to do is really hard to accomplish.

There is no shame in trying something like that and failing. Giving up, though....

* * *

We're two weeks away from the autumnal equinox. No wonder it's already dark at 8 PM.