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Giving In

I walked blindly into facebook this weekend.

I’m not sure what to think of it yet.  There are more people–which is positive–but I don’t know what to think of the presentation.  It doesn’t seem to lend itself to actual writing, (For whatever it’s worth, I want to write!) and the interactions are limited and superficial, from what I can tell.  (No offense, Zuckerberg and the rest of the world)  I know I’m not up-to-date with how it works yet, and the situation will likely improve, but it’s very scatterbrained, and already my timeline is filling up with political posts and stuff I have no desire to read.  I do like the people, though.

If there’s a way to do Facebook more than superficially, I’m totally in, whatever that would look like.  Until then, I don’t know.  It feels like more of the very thing I’ve been fighting against for four years.  I found out I couldn’t do relationships with girls well when the entire business remains essentially superficial, (Or well in general?  There’s a case to be made.) and so far that’s all the relationships have ever amounted to.  I catch myself avoiding chit-chat some days, because it feels like I’m cheating people out of something.  I don’t want a ton of surface-level relationships, I just want a few meaningful ones.  (Apologies, this is me being demanding)  I would prefer the concept of facebook to be less manic.

But no griping until an actual effort is made; it’d be a shame to hate it and find out I’m still the real problem.

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For My Next Trick, I’m Going to Purchase Gloves

I think a really cool magic trick would be to ask an audience member to think of a number between one and ten.

When they choose their number (but before they tell it to you), hold up that many fingers.

But that could get old.

So I would make them choose between 1 and 100.

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Near as I can tell…

Arachnophobe:

noun – a person who makes jokes about spiders

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Today brought some of the wildest weather we’ve had up here in years.  After three separate rounds of 65+ mph wind, it culminated in the most intense four-mile drive home that I can remember, around foot-deep lakes (and through slightly shallower ones in a very short car.)  It felt as if the city had been turned into a giant maze, with select intersections and roads turned into dead ends.  Meanwhile the overhead strobes are set to ‘seizure induction mode’ and set to repeat for eight seconds every burst.

So that was fun.  From what I can tell, nothing majorly awful happened either, which is nice.  Nothing takes the fun out of fun like property damage or worse.  I always imagine something terrible happening and hearing some snide voice ask “Are you happy now?”

Well no.  I like wild, not homicidal.  Thanks for that.

I’m planning to migrate blogs here soon; this one is seeing less use anyway.  Content is going to be completely different–start fresh, hopefully improve.

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Awards Night

   The auditorium was packed–rows upon rows of nameless faces: conspirators and colluders, perpetrators and abettors.  Lionel von Drath had apparently just left the stage; he was conversing in the corner with a pair of blue-suited henchmen and stroking his carefully groomed facial hair, mutton chops and a neat blond mustache.
Given a guess, Morris Brandeis suspected the man had given the same speech he had given to the crowd in Achany the week before: how he had graduated from the Academy of Villainy as class Maledictorian.  He probably thrilled the crowd with stories of exploding sandwiches and the thousand cheap and replaceable things he had lifted from the classrooms and the charity across the street and the teachers’ lounge on the days he wasn’t setting everything on fire.
He continued to walk down the incline between the left and right seating banks.  Cyrigan Ames was finishing up in front of him, but heads were already beginning to turn in his direction, even as she spoke of growing up in the town of Nicle, once the self-proclaimed “Friendliest hamlet on earth.”
It was a good story, he had heard it before as well–how she had grown with the town, corrupting it and changing it and building a reputation of her own.  It was no longer referred to as Nicle, however.  Ames was renowned for being the woman to single-handedly put the Evil into Niceville.
And yet the crowd was already drawn to Brandeis, who hadn’t yet set foot upon the stage.  Ames was slowing now; she had been winding down as he stepped in the door.  He watched the audience respond warmly as she concluded and stepped down to join von Drath.
Or rather, those who hadn’t noticed Brandeis enter responded well.  Those who had gave perfunctory applause in deference to tradition, even among rogues.
Brandeis approached the podium without a word; the crowd waited as anxiously as could be expected from such a crowd of hardened miscreants.
“My fellow malefactors,” he began.  “I’m certain you have heard your fill this evening of antics and escapades, high class and classless destruction.  I don’t intend to discuss my achievements with you tonight;”  –At this the crowd’s enthusiasm perceptibly sagged–  “I’m sure after two hours of stories the anecdotes begin to coalesce into a formless rush of noise, moreso when as listeners you weren’t the ones to perpetrate any of it.”
He took a short drink from a glass of water that had been sitting on the podium since before the first speaker had presented his case hours prior.
“So I will try to describe myself.”
He began to stroll across the stage, holding the glass in his left hand and drinking occasionally.  Von Drath crossed his arms and listened.
“Imagine a man who fights with nothing to lose, because he understands that anyone and anything can be replaced.  A man who trades in destruction not because of its effectiveness as a currency, but simply because he enjoys the smell.  One who each morning spreads butter made from the tears of children onto toast made from kittens.  A man who in his foulest and most desperate hour would find himself incapable of hurling the earth into the sun only because he would have done so long before that point.”
Brandeis returned to the podium and set the glass back in its place.
“I am that man’s evil twin.”

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Malmisdysification.

In my copious free time this week, I stumbled across a book about Dysgenics.  After skimming page three and assessing the content, I burned the entire book, with the assistance of six gallons of napalm.

Mind you, the subject is the complete opposite of Eugenics, which you may have heard of.  In what is quite possibly one of the most insane and socially unhealthy schemes ever, Baron Gregor Von Nerdblindel sought to use selected breeding of morons, violent uprisings against the “Oppressive iron minds of the intelligent,” and straight-up murder to bring about the creation of a “Vastly Inferior Race.”  His hope was that the development of said nation of morons would allow him to look like a five-sigma genius by comparison.

Apparently he never got the funding; his backers were too busy eating tree bark and drooling large puddles onto their shirts.  He died alone and rather unliked, regardless of who he was compared to.

But his legacy lives on in popular culture.

Random thought…  Would dysgenics be the complete opposite of eugenics?  At the very least it’s one of the opposites.  If eugenics is the promotion of “good genes” by:
A: Murder,
B: Locking the “unfit” in asylums, and
C: Selective breeding,
Then dysgenics, naturally, is the promotion of “bad genes” (I don’t know how many quotes are too many.  Four?  Seventeen?) in the same way.

But I think other opposites of equal magnitude would be:
A: The act of resurrecting people to promote said “good genes” rather than killing them, whatever the heck that process might be called.
B: Handing out free marriage licenses to the residents of an asylum, or
C: Forcing carefully selected pairs of adults to eat babies.

My impression is that the true opposite of a depraved system is probably not itself also depraved, so that pretty much rules every one of those answers out.  In this case, the healthiest opposite of a depraved system is no system at all, and thankfully, that’s the lack of system in use.

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A Plug and More from Book/Part II

Before I get into my latest block of text, let me point you toward someone whose writing has been far more purposeful than mine (so far-I’m not aspiring toward meaninglessness here). To avoid any confusion – her writing is challenging, inspiring, and meaningful, and I am not for a moment trying to place myself on that level by linking to her. I just strongly advise you to read through what she’s been up to over the last year or so, if you have the time.

 

As for what follows, two things:
One, I do not know why WordPress is incapable of making it easy to format a proper paragraph, or why I am incapable of figuring their process out, if there is one.  I put spaces in because that is what I can do.  I am truly sorry.

Two, It will most likely be difficult to associate with the characters here because most (if not all) of the readers have no clue about their background.  So emotional connection is probably out of the question.

Either that or it’s just my writing.  You’ll probably be able to tell.

Anya Rayleigh, meet Gregg Saunders.  You already know him, but you’re going to meet him better.

 

          “I finally thought I had it figured out,” Saunders explained.  “Who I was, what I wanted to do with my life; I was enjoying my independence.  And then this comes along and like a flood it shows me how easily everything can be torn apart, especially when you’re facing it alone.”

Anya shrugged.  “Leave it to a near-death experience to offer some perspective.”

“Perspective, and a break from the purposeless funk that I’d been fording my way through for the past year.  I’ll admit it; there’s been more than one moment where I would have gladly gone back to solitude and obscurity.  But I would have regretted it; this chase, this feeling of being part of a cause–it’s invigorating.  And when I say these events give me perspective, I’m not only referring to the sensation of playing a small part in something larger than myself, and I’m not speaking only of the reminders of mortality, though that most certainly gave me a reason to reflect as well.”

“Then what else?” Rayleigh asked.  “You make it sound as if you’re waiting for something.”

“I’m talking about finding you.”

There was a pause, and Gregg realized that he had caught her off guard.  He figured his interest had been obvious.  Anya tried to create a perception of distance by leaning back and pulling a small leafy weed from the ground next to her.  She twirled it with her fingers.  “Saunders, I don’t know if I’m ready.”

He leaned in slightly.  “Why not?”  He looked out at the river beyond her, down the shrub-lined bank toward the rolling mountains ahead of them.  There was a hint of a break in the barrier where the river had split the great divide, but it was well hidden by trees and hills.  The evening breeze hung still for a few long moments as he waited for an answer.

“It’s me, isn’t it.”

“Gregg, no.”  Anya picked a new plant to replace the one she had already shredded with her nervous twirling.  “I just don’t…” she collected her thoughts.  “I don’t think it’s the best idea to start a relationship during a crisis.  We haven’t known each other for a week, and all we do know of each other has been skewed by panic.”

“So?  I feel better knowing how you’d react during a crisis.”

“That’s not what I mean.”

“Then what do you mean?” he asked, his gaze moving from the river to her eyes, both of them as blue-green as the water beyond, but a thousand times deeper, and ever more entrancing.  “Hear me out, okay?”

“This here–what I think you’re trying to say but aren’t–has been the story of my life.  I spent my entire childhood listening to people tell me what they thought I wanted to hear, whether they were trying to make me believe that I was something I wasn’t, or holding back the truth because they thought it would hurt.”  He picked up a small stick, rolling it between his thumb and first two fingers before gently tossing it out into the current.

“Imagine my surprise when it turns out that reality hurts that much worse when you aren’t expecting it.  Sure, you deal with it in your own way and move on, but it numbs you.  It doesn’t take long before you become accustomed to the lies and stop believing any good word tossed your way.  Like a callous your cynicism builds, and you start placing barriers between yourself and the outside so the external pains can’t find their way to the internal hurt.

“I don’t ask for much from anyone, but I do ask for honesty–and maybe, just maybe, a hint of respect.  It seems like this is a nice way of saying that you’re not sure what you want, but you’re fairly certain that it doesn’t involve me.  And I’ll never feel that I can learn from it and move on when I know we ended this–ended us–on a lie.”

Saunders’ full-blown honest assessment was apparently the very last thing Rayleigh had expected–or wanted–to hear.  She stood up, her normally placid marine eyes enveloped in a fire Gregg hadn’t seen before.

“Or maybe I’m trying to tell you that if this mess were to ever settle down I could have taken that chance.”  She hid her face as her voice lost its edge and the fire gave way to something else–as her eyes lost their aura of unbreakability to the onset of tears.

Gregg’s mind rewound itself trying to pinpoint exactly what had set her off, but Anya didn’t give it enough time to process before she found enough of a foundation to continue.

“I could have, but only given time.  Because even an ingrate can be noble during a disaster when he knows every decision matters, and I needed to know that you would remain the same during the times when the answers weren’t so obvious–when nobody’s future was hanging in the balance and the worst that could happen is that I would be hurt.  I want to know that you could still choose with me in mind.

“I don’t want to know you as only a knight, because not everything in life is a battle.  I’m tired of seeing you through a lens of apprehension, because I know it’s distorting my view of who you are during the times when the choices aren’t so clear.  Any man can give when he senses future returns, but what about the days–the moments–when there is no apparent reward?”

Saunders interjected.  “Are you saying that the only reason I came back here with you was because I was thinking with my–“

She ignored the comment and cut him off, regaining the full strength in her voice.  “But if I wasn’t sure before that my future didn’t involve you, I’m skabbing certain now.”

She departed for the campsite with a prohibitive finality that left Gregg alone and silent.  Had she meant any part of what she had said?  To him it seemed like a cover-up for a perfunctory let-down, albeit a more elaborate one than he was accustomed to.  “Saunders, I like you, but…”  He’d heard that before.

The rejection bothered him, yes, but not as much as the means she had used to say it.  If she truly wasn’t interested in what he had to offer there was little he could do about it.  Nobody could appeal to everyone, and he wasn’t deluded enough to believe that he was the exception.

What bothered him was the nagging feeling that up to and possibly including her last unintentional burst of emotion she had only been telling him what she thought he would want to hear, or what she thought he could handle.

 Everyone wants to hear a saccharine lie, he decided, stepping over a branch as he made his way back to the rest of the group.  And they would tell them just the same.  Anything to avoid the truth.

But why?  What was it about the truth that frightened everyone?

Nobody gains when we debate the hypothetical.  He dwelled on his conclusion before it took him father down its own path, mirroring his own along the pebble-strewn bank.  But nobody gives anything, either.

It made sense; the half-truths were protection in their own right.  They were a hedge against change, a way to prolong the discussion without ever getting to the real issues.  If both parties involved were aware of the problems that kept them apart they would have no excuse not to address them.  And when the inevitable split occurred, both parties would carry guilt because the problems still hadn’t been addressed, and guilt wasn’t convenient at all, because it implied wrongdoing.

It’s all talk and not a hint of commitment, because none of it is true enough to matter.

Saunders parked himself on a rock, marginally closer to the campsite but hidden from it by a small cluster of trees and long-leafed shrubs.  His conclusion was probably as good of an explanation as any: The truth had to be covered because otherwise the house of cards would fall apart too quickly.

Summarizing the situation didn’t make the idea any more tolerable, however.  Maybe the questions had been too forward too, come to think of it.

 That’s stupid, he thought.  If I hadn’t been forward, neither of us would have learned anything from that mess.  I actually broke the protective wall, but it happened at the same time that I broke everything else.

Of course, learning wasn’t the end he had been hoping for in the first place.  Saunders gave up, knowing he would be second-guessing himself for as long as he let it continue.  There were more pressing matters at hand.  Matters that were now just a little more complicated.

One last question nagged him as well: What if everything she said were true?

He heaved himself up from the rock seat with a grunt and peeked back toward the campsite; Rayleigh was nowhere to be seen.  Gingerly ducking under a branch, he began the trek back, willing himself to walk as slowly as he possibly could.

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Nothing Says Science like Drilling Asteroids for Oil.

As of this writing, Popular Science has on their front page an article describing a project which visualizes the relative profits from asteroid mining based on a number of individual characteristics of each rock.

A quote directly from the article:

“Imagine it: trillions of dollars worth of precious metals, fossil fuels, and fresh water, just lying around waiting to be claimed by anybody with a little know-how and an adventurer’s spirit–any lucky person willing to travel a few million miles into the great black unknown, latch on to a big hunk of funny-shaped rock, and claim ’em!”

Gentlemen, (and ladies)

In an effort to appease El Señor Gore, we are going to stop drilling for natural gas and petroleum, mining for coal, and researching into the capture of tar sands here on earth.

Because all the carbon-rich, ex-biota juice fuels we could possibly need are going to be found in space.

Thank you for your time. Popular Science needs to take a break and go think about what it has done.

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Schrödinger’s Baby

Chris Murphy, who is running for one of Connecticut’s senate seats, stated during a recent debate that ultimately, he believes that “life begins at birth.” His opponent Linda McMahon didn’t explicitly state it, but agreed with him after he made his point.

Hnngh?

Then what the skabs is going on in there for those long months? A bad case of bloat? Is pregnancy some sort of guessing game, where the baby is neither alive nor dead until somebody directly observes it?

I propose an experiment: We find a whole bunch of pregnant people (probably women), and then we go ask both of these fools what kind of cereal they’ve been smoking.

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Dos Cosas Pequeñas

My first question is this:  What’s up with the word queue? Why use five letters when you could do the same with four, three, or even one?

Question two:

What’s up with bomb threats?
When someone calls in claiming to have a bomb, if it’s not followed by “Meet my demands or I turn the place into a parking lot,” I believe it’s fairly safe to say that there is no bomb.  Everyone knows actual terrorists do not phone you up to talk about anything except demands for money, or the release of prisoners, or whatever Hollywood dreams up next.  What else would they call for?  Validation?

“It turns out the statement they wished to make absolutely required them to flatten the mall on a Tuesday, but they didn’t actually want to hurt anyone, so they called us up and asked us to evacuate.”

This should be obvious, but the people who are crazy enough to do that kind of thing just go out and do it and don’t give a care about who knows beforehand.  The world will figure it out when the place goes kaboom.

But of course, we can’t ignore threats, so they won’t go away. Because the moment somebody ignores one of these things and something does happen is the same day that person is publicly executed, probably with words but possibly with weapons. You don’t ignore threats from even non-murderous crazy people.

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