athelind: (Eye - VK)



Originally posted 18 February 2010 at 18:15.
athelind: (Eye - VK)
Again, my prejudices are reinforced.

I now want to start a social networking site.

I'll call it "JumpOffABridge", and the tagline will be "Because All Your Friends Are Doing It."


athelind: (Default)
Sometimes, the more something is explained, the less sense it makes. With sufficient explanation, a supposedly-simple task will be revealed to be impossible.


athelind: (Default)
… I have an icon for "pointless, repetitive, soul-destroying work", but not one for "vital, productive, fulfilling work".


athelind: (Default)
I hate to say it, but with all the fuss about Google Buzz and having to create a full profile to opt OUT of the damned thing, I'm trying to fight down a wave of Insufferable Smugness about refusing to get a gmail address in the first place, because I Didn't Trust Google With My Private Mail.

I SAW THE FNORDS, MAN.


athelind: (Default)
AMC has made all 17 episodes of Patrick McGoohan's classic series, The Prisoner, available online.

This series is required viewing for anyone who's ever ...

Well, for anyone.

Anywhere.

Especially in this day and age.


I am not a number!
I am a free man!


athelind: (Default)
After sleeping in far too late yesterday, I went to bed earlyish last night, determined to roll out of bed at a decent hour, hop in the shower, and fire up the computer for the usual rounds of email and job boards.

I did indeed wake up around 7-ish, looked at the clock -- and, rather than blurry LED numerals, saw nothing. The power was out.

No Net. No TV. No lights in the bathroom.

I wound up going back to bed until 8:45, then taking a shower by candlelight.

(I do so love bathrooms in candlelight.)

Needless to say, the power came back five minutes after I got out of the shower.

It was only a few minutes ago that I realized that it was the Second of February, and that I had gotten up, seen my shadow, and gone back into my hole.

Looks like six more weeks of winter, from here.


More water-themed dreams last night; how much of them were due to the sound of rain outside, I can't tell. Not the usual crystal-clear water, this time; in this one, the nearby creek actually ran through the backyard. The usual gang of Generic Dream Friends and I were looking it over. The water was higher than usual; I noticed that conditions were exactly right for a flash flood, and suggested that we should get back over the creek and into the house. Of course, everyone blew me off, right up until the big muddy rush of water hit.

For some reason, I was wearing robes of some sort, as was at least one of the others.

athelind: (Default)
Last night was gaming night, and, as a result, I caffeinated for the first time in a week and a half. As a result, I didn't get to bed until after 01:30, and when sleep finally came, all manner of vivid and surreal dreams occurred (with recurring water symbolism, for the record).

The dream that left a real impression on me, however, happened between "Well, I guess I'm awake now" 07:15 and "Wait, how did it get to be" 08:30, a time more associated with hypnopompic states than REM sleep.

Like the dream of the Dolphin in the Library, I was watching this one unfold from a third-person vantage. The protagonist in this case was a female lion-like creature, not anthropomorphic in the humanoid sense, but definitely possessing language, culture, and some degree of tool use. She was pregnant, and not entirely "with it"; in retrospect, there was a hint that those caring for her had her drugged. They her kept giving her puzzles to solve, and treating her solutions as oracles for the fate of her unborn offspring.

The most distinctive feature was an entity that looked like a cave painting of something a gaunt coyote, visible only to the dream's protagonist -- and not entirely visible, at that. It seemed more a fleeting shadow of an entity that whispered in the protagonist's ear, giving different interpretations to those oracles, or dismissing them entirely. Despite its sinister appearance and bearing, there was a suggestion that it was actually more benign and well-disposed toward the protagonist than the tangible and superficially-benevolent people caring for her.

It called itself "Nine-Moons-Winter"; the dream's protagonist thought of it as "the Winterthin Thing". Either name was an obvious reference to its gaunt appearance: as gaunt as something that had survived a winter that lasted nine moons.

The Winterthin Thing was more visible than the "real", tangible creatures, as if I were observing the action from the Dreamtime -- which I was, I suppose. There was definitely some Ursula Vernon influence here, visuals of cave paintings twining around and interacting with vaguely-seen but definitely "real" creatures, vivid black charcoals over soft gray pencils; the captions were even in the same font [livejournal.com profile] ursulav uses for Digger.

(Yes, there were captions. The "format" of the dream was somewhere between a comic and a movie. And yes, I can often read very clearly in dreams, contrary to popular lore that says you can't.)

It was a very vivid dream, one that stayed with me on awakening and fairly well demanded that I record it here.

... did something just introduce itself?

athelind: (Default)

You know, I used to think that it was awful that life was so unfair.
Then, I thought:


Wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair,
and all the terrible things that happen to us come
because we actually deserve them?"


So, now, I take great comfort in the hostility and unfairness of the universe.



-- "Marcus Cole",
in J. Michael Straczynski's
Babylon 5

athelind: (Default)
A statement like that might seem to need qualifiers, but really, it doesn't.

I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

About very nearly anything.


athelind: (Default)
Mostly for my own reference:


Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design




While Dr. Akin is an aerospace engineer, most if not all of these Laws apply to systems design in general.

[livejournal.com profile] normanrafferty should take particular note of the following:


14. (Edison's Law) "Better" is the enemy of "good".



Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking, whom I forgot to credit when I first posted this.

.
athelind: (Default)

Pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So is optimism.


-- distilled from Robert Anton Wilson,
"Ten Good Reasons to Get Out of Bed in the Morning".




My thinking is broken. I've assimilated unhealthy memes.

Taking control of my life means, first and foremost, taking control of my head.

Re-Reading List:
  • Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminati Papers
  • S.I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action
  • R. Buckminster Fuller:

    • Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth
    • Utopia or Oblivion
    • Ideas and Integrities
    • Critical Path (Have I actually read this, or has it just been sitting on my shelf for years?)

  • Sun Bear, The Path of Power
  • Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity
  • Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • Richard Bach:

    • Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
    • Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Hush. It's my metaprogramming list.)




athelind: (Default)

Fed Official Sees High Unemployment For Years

-- Associated Press, via NPR

You know, this actually makes me feel better about the job market in the near future.

Remember the Clinton Boom? (I know it's hard, but it really wasn't that long ago!)

Most "official government reports" of that period just foresaw the good times rollin' along. The few who saw the boom as part of a boom-and-bust cycle were dismissed as Chicken Littles. Same with the housing bubble that ranged through both the Clinton and Bush years.

In the same way, the government officials who currently insist that Recovery Is Just Around The Corner sound impossibly optimistic, seeing unicorns and rainbows in every little upward jig of an isolated economic indicator. Not only don't they convince us, they don't even sound like they've convinced themselves.

Official statements like this one sound so much more plausible. They're rooted in the "common sense" observations every one of us makes every day. They're logical extrapolations of the future from current conditions.

Just like those glorious predictions of the Infinite Boom.1

Because, you see, deep down, nobody really believes in change. They don't believe that things will ever be different. They find it hard to believe, in their hearts, that things ever were different, even if they experienced it themselves.2 My parenthetical comment above, about the Clinton Boom? 'Fess up: it's getting harder and harder to remember those times as genuinely prosperous, isn't it? Instead, it's just the top of a downward slope, not so much "better" as "where 'worse' started".

Don't read too much into this post, really. It's just an early-morning knee-jerk reaction to a headline article. Semantically, it boils down to, "hey, the government says this, so it must be wrong."

I suppose that's as good as any other method of economic prediction.


1Somewhere along the line, as Boom shifted into Decline and from there to Bust, the treatment of the "Technological Singularity" in speculative fiction shifted from "The Rapture of the Nerds" to the geek equivalent of Left Behind. See Accelerando, by Charlie Stross, for a good example of the latter.

2This is, of course, the root of Global Warming Denial.


athelind: (Default)
Desired Title.

My "Desired Title" is "Lord Chief Justice, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Master of the Buckhounds, Lord High Auditor, Coroner, Archbishop of Titipu, Groom of the Back Stairs, and Lord High Everything Else", but I'll settle for "Lead Cartographer: Mars Terraforming Fleet".

I mean, what the frak? Who cares what they're called? Is someone looking for a "Hydrographic Technician" going to blow off my posted resume because I have "GIS Specilaist" listed?

One of these sites basically hijacked my resume submission to somewhere else, and then demanded that I fill in their extra blanks before I could change the (really obnoxiously obvious) password they sent me; I'm tempted to put some sarcastic title there just to blow off steam.


(They also have a "delete resume" button, which I'm tempted to hit. Am I gonna get anything but spam from http://hotresumes.com?)
Update: I hit it.
athelind: (Default)

NPR: Government Eyes Crackdown on Texting And Driving



Okay, I can understand the argument that using a hands-free phone shouldn't be any more distracting than conversing with a passenger actually in the car -- I can poke several gaping holes in the logic, but I can understand it. I acknowledge the need for those "I promise not to play with the touchscreen while driving" disclaimers on the various HUDs that new cars have.

Texting while driving, though... glancing at messages is bad enough, but actually sending them when you're behind the wheel?

Why is this even an issue? Why is it common enough to be an issue? This should be something that crops up once or twice on the "News of the Weird" or, preferably, the Darwin Award sites -- something that is so flagrantly, suicidally idiotic that most people have to stifle a morbid laugh about it.

It shouldn't be something that's common enough to need a "Government Crackdown".

It's taking your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel. Don't people listen to The Doors?

Why not read the news while you drive, or take a frakking nap? Hey, next month is NaNoWriMo -- why not write a novel?

Arrrrgh.


athelind: (Default)
I'm posting this link in part for my own benefit, for easy reference in the future:

“Mister Taxy” Is A Friend Of The Rich.


In which MGK makes it clear that the biggest beneficiaries of tax dollars devoted to social infrastructure are, in fact, the wealthy.

Excerpt:
The level of income inequality between the poorest and richest is the greatest it ever has been in human history. On the one hand, that kind of sucks; on the other hand, it’s amazing. There’s a reason that feudal lords in the Middle Ages weren’t as comparatively rich as modern tycoons, and it’s not because of technology: it’s because they don’t have to spend money on keeping people alive and healthy and generating value and furthermore able to generate the best possible value, because the government does that for them, and frankly does it better than individuals could anyway.



athelind: (Default)
Apparently, there's a group out there encouraging people to red shirts on Fridays to "support our troops".

Here's a link to their site, which plays really, really cheesy music. You've been warned.)

Yes, let's wear red shirts on Friday to underscore how nameless and expendable our troops are.

I know that not everyone is a Star Trek fan, but even a cursory Google search would have suggested the Unfortunate Implications.

athelind: (Default)


The video doesn't mention it, but some of the technology for this has been in the works since the late '70s. I have copious notes in my old high school notebooks about similar developments.

athelind: (Default)
...is a song whose signature line is "you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave" really the best choice for tech support hold music?


EDIT: "Every word I say is true, this I promise you" is not much better for customer service. =P

athelind: (Default)

Emission of extremely strong magnetic fields from the head and whole body during oriental breathing exercises.



I have no idea what to make of this, but it's fascinating. This is mostly a reference post; this is exactly the sort of thing I like to crib for SF stories.

The abstract says that "One subject emitted a magnetic field at the level of 200-300 mT (2-3 mGauss) and the other at 0.13 mT (1.3 mGauss)."

This gives two different conversions of Tesla to Gauss -- the correct value is that one Tesla is 104 Gauss. I think the HTML converter for the site may have screwed up converting the µ symbol; I'd try and figure out what's what, but it's after midnight, and my brain's ability to slide decimal points around shut down about an hour ago.

The human nervous system normally generates 0.1 - 1.0 picoTeslas, so even if that is supposed to be in µT, we're looking at a field eight orders of magnitude more intense.

More Benchmarks.
athelind: (Default)

The Florida legislature has approved religious-themed specialty license plates.



They didn't get to see them before the vote, but here's a pic:



Tasteful, aren't they?

That big gap in the middle makes coming up with appropriate personalized plates a challenge that we rose to meet.

Cut for tasty, tasteless sacrilege! )
And now it's your turn!

That's what Comments are for!


athelind: (Default)
Easter is a holiday that almost escapes my notice. I observe the Equinox, of course, and I've been quietly raising a glass to Yuri Gagarin every evening, but when I drifted away from being even nominally Christian (around age 12-13, honestly), Easter was just one of those things that went with it.

Christmas, now... Christmas has been embraced so thoroughly by the secular culture and, more significantly, the consumer culture that it's acknowledged and sometimes observed by people of entirely different religious faiths.

Easter, in contrast, has always seemed thoroughly Christian to me. Not that I think that's a bad thing: unlike many of my peers, I don't have the knee-jerk reaction that Organized Religion Is The Enemy Of All That Is Just And Good. Believe me, if there's one thing about the Christian faith that resonates with me, it's the themes of Sacrifice and Redemption, of Rebirth and Renewal.

I even, these days, practice Lent, in an entirely secular manner: there are things that I want to cut down on, and it's easier to give up something when there's communal/social reinforcement -- even if you aren't in any direct contact with the actively-practicing community.

Easter is such a thing of nails and crosses, though. It's so specifically religious that its secular/commercial aspect of hard-boiled eggs and cheap bunny fursuits never really seemed to have the same cultural import as the Jolly Fat Man and his Bag Full of Presents. It didn't even occur to me that the comic store might not be open on Easter Sunday until my boss asked me, apologetically, if I would mind working on a day that I normally work anyway.

Even my expectations for the day reflect this quandary: The bosses expect it to be slow, since most of the mall will be closed, because it's Easter. I expect it to be swamped, because we're gonna be the only open store in a mall with a major cinema complex on a day when Families Go Do Stuff.

I just don't think of Easter as a "real" holiday anymore -- that is, one celebrated for reasons besides its religious signficance. For the last couple of days, I've been pondering this cultural disconnect -- my complete lack of recognition of Easter's apparent importance as a secular phenomenon -- and I think I've finally hit upon the core of the issue.

Cut for socio-religious metaphysical maundering... )

So, let me ask those of you who aren't practicing Christians -- what does Easter mean to you? What parts of the holiday do you still recognize and acknowledge?

athelind: (Default)
It's Day 3 of this cold, and Your Obedient Serpent's brain is rambling through those twisted corridors that squeeze between sinus pressure, DayQuil, and something akin to stir-craziness.

In this mental state, I happened to observe that, while I have achieved the highbrow milestone of hearing "The William Tell Overture" without thinking of The Lone Ranger, and have occasionally even listened to "Also Sprach Zarathustra" without thinking of 2001: a Space Odyssey, it was going to be a long time before I could hear Bob Dylan's classic "All Along The Watchtower" without thinking of both Battlestar Galactica and Watchmen.



Of course, the Watchmen movie and the BSG finale are still very much on my mind. When I'm in the altered states of consciousness that being sick always seems to induce, and my mind is dwelling on two vivid and engrossing works and worlds... I start to see... connections.

Especially when music is involved.

Cut for BSG *and* Watchmen Spoilers! )

Appropriately enough, I posted this on Joseph Campbell's birthday.
athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] halfelf pointed out an article about a guy who thinks that Stephen King killed John Lennon.

The very idea is, of course, absurd.

It's obvious that Lennon was killed by the occult conspiracy behind the rise of the Neoconservatives as a ritual assassination of all the positive aspects of the '60s Youth Revolution.

It was all part of the obscene memetic ritual that turned Hippies into Yuppies.

Your Obedient Serpent had figured that one out by 1985.


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