athelind: (far call)
Last week was the 41st anniversary of the Apollo 11 flight, widely viewed as the "defining moment" of my generation.

Really, though, the defining moment of my generation was not when Humanity reached out to stride upon the Moon.

It was when we turned away.


athelind: (eco-rant)
Okay, one reason, and one alone:

The United States of America consumes a disproportionate amount of the world's resources, and produces a disproportionate amount of its pollution. Even a massive socio-economic catastrophe isn't going to do more than moderate that, at least over the next half-century or so. this is an issue that I can't run away from, because the ripples affect the entire world, and not just economically.

I am an Earth Systems Scientist.

If I have any hope of having an effect on this globe-threatening situation, it's gotta be here.

I've got my lever, rusty as it may be, and I think I'm narrowing down my places to stand.


athelind: (politics)
This was originally tacked on as a footnote to my last post, but I think it needs to stand on its own.

For the record, the "Divided States of America" is only a "worst-case scenario" if the Balkanization is violent. That's not unlikely, because we're all pretty pissed at each other right now, and we do like our guns.

On the other claw, the Soviet Union managed to spin off its component without devolving into all-out war, though, even if there were border skirmishes; if the U.S. pulled off the same trick, California might wind up better off than we are now, with the Federal Government funneling money out of the eighth-largest economy in the world and into Red States who rant against taxation, welfare and government interference.


athelind: (prisoner)
Mostly for my own reference: some thoughtful and measured words about emigration.

I'll tell ya: ever since reading Toffler's predictions for the future of the two "Second Wave" superpowers in 1990's Powershift, and watching it come true in the Soviet Union less than a year later, there's a part of me that's been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Yes, I'm fully aware that this kind of apocalyptic paranoia has contributed to the paralyzing stasis of my life since graduation.

Still, there's an important truth in play: things aren't getting any better in the Untidy States, and the best-case scenario is to hope that the continual erosion of our rights and freedoms will be sufficiently gradual that we won't notice.

And the alternatives ... well, we seem to be using all the worst clichés of Cyberpunk as a road map as it is, why not that one, too?*

I would really like to convince myself that this is just pessimism due to the latest economic downturn, but even during the boom years of the '90s, I saw the "New Democrats" quietly and casually continuing the trends of restricting the rights of biological individuals and increasing the freedoms of "corporate persons". Some oppressed groups have made a few advances in acceptance, but really, it's just welcoming them to the same Village that the rest of us live in. One step forward, two steps back.

I'm in the process of reevaluating my life, realigning my goals, and trying to get a better grip on how the "real world" works.

And around here ... it doesn't. Not very well. Not in ways that will do me any good, now or in the future.

Realistically, if I'm trying to reconstruct my present to make plans for my future, "emigration" needs to be one of my options—even and especially if I land the elusive "Real Job" locally.

The big issue, of course, is that the other Anglophone nations don't really want more USian expatriates.


This is not a post about pessimism or defeatism. This is a post about options.
*See next post.

athelind: (hoard potato)
Remember my post about the Real-Life Arkham Asylum, in Danvers, Massachusetts, which was being turned into luxury condominiums?

Well, last week's issue of Batman Confidential was the final chapter in Yet Another Retelling of the Dark Knight's first encounter with the Joker -- or rather, in this case, what happened after the Joker was in police custody. After causing multiple deaths while in custody, under guard, and in chains, including the death of at least one judge, the authorities were at a loss with what to do with this pasty-skinned sociopath. They couldn't put him in with the mainstream prison population, and they couldn't remand him to conventional psychiatric care.

As Gordon and the D.A. (a pre-acid Harvey Dent, I believe) were having this conversation, a television in the background showed a news story about a certain old hospital being converted into condominiums.

One of them says, in disbelief, "Can you believe this? Didn't they used to experiment on patients there? Who the hell would want to live there?"

On the next page, it's announced that the state has used eminent domain to reclaim the property, which was going to become a special facility for extremely dangerous psychiatric cases.

athelind: (Default)
Remember my post about the Real-Life Arkham Asylum, in Danvers, Massachusetts, which was being turned into luxury condominiums?

Well, last week's issue of Batman Confidential was the final chapter in Yet Another Retelling of the Dark Knight's first encounter with the Joker -- or rather, in this case, what happened after the Joker was in police custody. After causing multiple deaths while in custody, under guard, and in chains, including the death of at least one judge, the authorities were at a loss with what to do with this pasty-skinned sociopath. They couldn't put him in with the mainstream prison population, and they couldn't remand him to conventional psychiatric care.

As Gordon and the D.A. (a pre-acid Harvey Dent, I believe) were having this conversation, a television in the background showed a news story about a certain old hospital being converted into condominiums.

One of them says, in disbelief, "Can you believe this? Didn't they used to experiment on patients there? Who the hell would want to live there?"

On the next page, it's announced that the state has used eminent domain to reclaim the property, which was going to become a special facility for extremely dangerous psychiatric cases.

athelind: (Eye of Agammotto)

Archaeologists Find Mayan Hell; Provide Plot of Mummy IV



It's like some kind of pulp adventure tale: deep in the Yucatan jungles, there's a flooded cave complex that the Mayans believed was the entrance to the Afterlife, Xibalba. Scuba divers have, slowly and carefully, explored the caverns and found vast, air-filled chambers filled with temples.

This is right out of Call of Cthulhu -- and I don't mean that in a good way. I mean that in a "Do Not Call Up What You Cannot Put Down" way.

It's cool, yes... but pretty damned creepy. I mean, we're talkin' LifeGems level creepy. The Mayan afterlife is not a happy place; "Xibalba" means "Place of Fear".

We're talking Hell itself, people. They've found Hell. This is not the start of any happy movie; Brendan Fraser wisecracks are the best we can look forward to here.

If I were given to Omens and Revelations....

EDIT: [livejournal.com profile] halfelf reminded me that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012!

Okay, now I'm really creeped out.

Found via BoingBoing.
Coincidentally, I spent the morning reading pages at http://www.xibalba.demon.co.uk/ -- also found via BoingBoing.

athelind: (Default)

Archaeologists Find Mayan Hell; Provide Plot of Mummy IV



It's like some kind of pulp adventure tale: deep in the Yucatan jungles, there's a flooded cave complex that the Mayans believed was the entrance to the Afterlife, Xibalba. Scuba divers have, slowly and carefully, explored the caverns and found vast, air-filled chambers filled with temples.

This is right out of Call of Cthulhu -- and I don't mean that in a good way. I mean that in a "Do Not Call Up What You Cannot Put Down" way.

It's cool, yes... but pretty damned creepy. I mean, we're talkin' LifeGems level creepy. The Mayan afterlife is not a happy place; "Xibalba" means "Place of Fear".

We're talking Hell itself, people. They've found Hell. This is not the start of any happy movie; Brendan Fraser wisecracks are the best we can look forward to here.

If I were given to Omens and Revelations....

EDIT: [livejournal.com profile] halfelf reminded me that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012!

Okay, now I'm really creeped out.

Found via BoingBoing.
Coincidentally, I spent the morning reading pages at http://www.xibalba.demon.co.uk/ -- also found via BoingBoing.

athelind: (big ideas)
Okay, now, this is one for the list of Places To Go Because Of Their Literary Connections:

The Avalon Danvers Apartments in Danvers, MA.

What the Avalon web site doesn't mention is that this lovely, mid-19th Century "castle" used to be Danvers State Hospital, a mental institution. Originally built to be a pleasant, peaceful setting to help treat the mentally-ill degenerated over the years into an overcrowded bedlam, complete with lobotomies, electroshock treatments, and cemetaries with numbered graves. It was also the setting of Session 9, a horror movie I now have to hunt down.

The blogger who was so cheerfully disturbed by the graveyard and the movie also failed to mention a few delightful facts about this place:
  • It sits on Hathorne Hill, where once stood the residence of one John Hathorne, the "hanging judge" of the Salem Witch Trials.
  • Danvers, you see, was once known as "Salem Village" (to distinguish it from nearby "Salem Town") -- and much of the drama of said trials played out right there.
  • Danvers was mentioned several times in the works of H.P. Lovecraft, both by its real name and as "Arkham Sanitarium".
  • HPL's "Arkham Sanitarium", in turn, inspired Denny O'Neill to incorporate "Arkham Asylum" into the Batman Mythos.

That's right, kids. Live near Boston? You can rent an apartment or buy a condo in Arkham Frakkin' Asylum!

I am so using this in the Legacy 2020 game. Asylum full of lunatic supervillains? Overused to the point of tedium. Yuppie condos built on the former site of an asylum full of lunatic supervillains?

Creeeeeeeepy.

athelind: (Default)
Okay, now, this is one for the list of Places To Go Because Of Their Literary Connections:

The Avalon Danvers Apartments in Danvers, MA.

What the Avalon web site doesn't mention is that this lovely, mid-19th Century "castle" used to be Danvers State Hospital, a mental institution. Originally built to be a pleasant, peaceful setting to help treat the mentally-ill degenerated over the years into an overcrowded bedlam, complete with lobotomies, electroshock treatments, and cemetaries with numbered graves. It was also the setting of Session 9, a horror movie I now have to hunt down.

The blogger who was so cheerfully disturbed by the graveyard and the movie also failed to mention a few delightful facts about this place:
  • It sits on Hathorne Hill, where once stood the residence of one John Hathorne, the "hanging judge" of the Salem Witch Trials.
  • Danvers, you see, was once known as "Salem Village" (to distinguish it from nearby "Salem Town") -- and much of the drama of said trials played out right there.
  • Danvers was mentioned several times in the works of H.P. Lovecraft, both by its real name and as "Arkham Sanitarium".
  • HPL's "Arkham Sanitarium", in turn, inspired Denny O'Neill to incorporate "Arkham Asylum" into the Batman Mythos.

That's right, kids. Live near Boston? You can rent an apartment or buy a condo in Arkham Frakkin' Asylum!

I am so using this in the Legacy 2020 game. Asylum full of lunatic supervillains? Overused to the point of tedium. Yuppie condos built on the former site of an asylum full of lunatic supervillains?

Creeeeeeeepy.

athelind: (ME!)

The Three Things Meme


Snagged from A Whole Lot O' Folks

  1. Post 3 things you've done in your lifetime that you don't think anybody else on your friends list has done.
  2. See if anybody else responds with "I've done that." If they have, you need to add another!(2.b., 2.c., etc...)
  3. Have your friends cut & paste this into their journal to see what unique things they've done in their life.

Oof. This would be a lot easier if [livejournal.com profile] eclipsegryph and [livejournal.com profile] wy weren't on my f-list; a lot of my best stories are Coast Guard tales. Still...
  1. Visited a major landmark just because it appeared in a movie -- and then had natural phenomena provide better special effects than the movie did.*
  2. Attended the funeral (or other major occasion) of one of your all-time favorite writers (or other celebrities) in an official or invited capacity.**
  3. Gone from being a child-free bachelor to a grandfather less than two years.


* Devil's Tower, Wyoming: lightning storm. The year after Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out, no less!
** I buried Robert A. Heinlein.

athelind: (Default)

The Three Things Meme


Snagged from A Whole Lot O' Folks

  1. Post 3 things you've done in your lifetime that you don't think anybody else on your friends list has done.
  2. See if anybody else responds with "I've done that." If they have, you need to add another!(2.b., 2.c., etc...)
  3. Have your friends cut & paste this into their journal to see what unique things they've done in their life.

Oof. This would be a lot easier if [livejournal.com profile] eclipsegryph and [livejournal.com profile] wy weren't on my f-list; a lot of my best stories are Coast Guard tales. Still...
  1. Visited a major landmark just because it appeared in a movie -- and then had natural phenomena provide better special effects than the movie did.*
  2. Attended the funeral (or other major occasion) of one of your all-time favorite writers (or other celebrities) in an official or invited capacity.**
  3. Gone from being a child-free bachelor to a grandfather less than two years.


* Devil's Tower, Wyoming: lightning storm. The year after Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out, no less!
** I buried Robert A. Heinlein.

November 2016

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