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Bits and Bobs

09/03/2014 Comments off

Bits and Bobs

Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

Originally going to be called: Jetsam, it reminded me more of what happens when Legos explode out of their container.  (yes, I’m that graceful)

No matter the perspective or the tour through the 3D Preview Window, this one’s a hot mess of bits and pieces everywhere.

Inspired by Project DMM – Radiance

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The (Not So) Common Sense of Online Socializing

08/28/2010 Comments off

 

     Mainly this is a sub-section (or additional entry as the case may be) of my wanting to vent issues that I’ve seen an awful lot of online in the last decade.  Keep in mind, before 1996 I do remember things to being much differently.  Either because of a bad case of wearing a pair of rose-colored glasses, though more often times than naught was because I ventured into areas where manners and good natured dispositions were required.  So with that in mind…  Here I go, up on my soapbox.

 

1.  The casual use of words like Rape and Stalking and AIDS equals extreme ignorance.

 

     Nothing can send me through the roof (in anger) faster when I hear some 20-something in a chat shrieking something like, "you’re [cyber-]stalking me!" or "Don’t follow me, you stalker!"  or worse, "I’ve never been raped before… and I want to be!"  Really kids, Rape is a very violent crime often involving healing from gross physical trauma, years of therapy fighting various anger issues and the psychological damage that will remain for the rest of someone’s life.  And while stalking can be a crime when things get out of hand, is just as psychologically impacting as being raped.  These are not words or actions bandied about casually nor are they interchangeable with either someone following you about online (stalking) or rough role-play of consensual sex.  These are crimes, people!  Crimes you don’t want happening to you, ever!

 

     As a survivor of being raped in my 20s, and stalked to the point of needing a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) and getting police involved to getting an ex-boyfriend arrested in my 30s, seeing these words bandied about so casually and even blithely from teenagers still living at home, or 20-somethings barely having experienced life on their own — as  callous, insensitive and at worst just plain ignorant.  Thinking a little before blurting such words out does wonders.  Even makes you look intelligent and thoughtful, instead of just being another ignoramus in the crowd. 

 

     AIDS (like cancer and a half-dozen other terminal illnesses) isn’t something to casually wish on anyone either.  All of the friends that I made in Atlanta the first five years I had moved there had died from the ravages of AIDS, some of them screaming in complete dementia and agony.  This is not the sort of thing that I would wish on anyone, and neither should anyone else.  Only the truly ignorant wish such things on any human being — even the ones that they hate/despise. 

 

     Pity a campaign hasn’t started with the use of these words in much the same way as the campaign "Think Before you speak" (http://www.thinkb4youspeak.com/) as they have with the phrase "That’s so gay…!"  Though I’m sure it’s only a matter of time they do so there. 

 

2.  I’m so bored […Entertain me]!

 

     I was once told in my mid-20s by an older gentleman that overheard me say the very same thing in a bar, "Darling, only boring people are ever bored.  And listening to you, you are in fact quite boring!" 

     I was embarrassed by what he said. 

     I was pissed off by the condescending way that he said it. 

     And I made it a point to never be bored again (if only to spite the man for saying it). 

 

     It’s true — I’m rarely if ever bored.  Be it if I’m sitting here watching the kids chatting in a room and ¾ of them have been shrieking on "I’m so bored!"  Or playing one of the games that I’ve played a half-million times since it’s been released to CD/DVD, or the rare times when I sit there watching a television program.  And this is the reasons why:

 

  1. I can only be entertained if I know what I want. 

    This isn’t hard people — one has to know what they want before they start looking for that entertainment to pass the time with.  If you don’t know what it is you want, then nothing — nothing — is going to entertain you, no matter what it is you’re doing.  Take the time to clear your head and think about what it is you want before you launch that web-browser and join a chat.  Sometimes entering into a chat environment isn’t what you need to be doing to be entertained. 

    Further, if you yourself don’t know what it is you want (to be entertained by), might I strongly suggest sitting there doing nothing, clearing the constant static in your head and listening to the background noises of your house, your backyard, even your neighborhood.  You will find that it can cure a case of boredom just as easily as having constant input.  Try it sometime, you’ll be surprised with the result. And try it earnestly and honestly. 
     

  2. In order to be entertained, I must be entertaining.

    There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.  When it comes to an online social environment (as is in a real-time/real-life social environment), it takes work (sometimes quite a lot of it, though trust me, you get used to it and can do this as second nature in a matter of time), dedication, sharing and most importantly opening your mouth to speak, or engaging your fingers across a keyboard and communicating.  If you don’t do that, then:
     

  3. No one on this earth at the moment can read minds, tell people what you’re looking for!

    It’s true.  We might see telepaths in our near or distant future (Babylon 5, Star Trek and The Tomorrow People just to name a few sci-fi shows off the top of my head), but at the present time no human being can probe your brains and see what it is you really need in order to get out of the state of boredom you’re going through.

    If you don’t/can’t communicate your needs to others — then don’t be surprised or throw hissy fits shrieking all the more "I’m bored!  I’m so bored!"  Because in society, adults don’t put up with petulant children (even when they’re in the bodies of an adult) and will scold when they have the opportunity. 

 

3.  In a public setting, your actions do have consequence (AKA There’s a world beyond the end of your nose)

 

     This has to be the most frustrating of my issues as I often find the selfishness. oblivious and self-absorbed delusions of teenagers and tweens (twenty-somethings, not pre-teens as the word has mutated to being) to completely off the mark when it comes to a public setting.   And this doesn’t just happen online anymore either, I’ve seen this sort of thing happening in public settings outside of the Internet. 

 

     A public setting can be simply and basically described as anywhere people can come and go in an unregulated or semi-managed manner.  It is a place where people can congregate and be entertained in some manner or another, chatting, and/or watching/listening to something/someone.

 

     Some good examples of this in the world outside your house would be a coffee-house, movie theater, concert hall or coliseum, a state or federally mandated recreational park, and even the sidewalks and streets of the city, village or town you live in.  (Again just to name a few off the top of my head).  Online, the following places have been and always will be designated as public are Chat Rooms (without invite or strict moderation be it a web-chat environment, IRC, Yahoo/PalTalk, etc) , Usenet, and Web-designed Forums – Social or specialized (like gaming, tech support, or television shows, or news). 

     Hell, as a system administrator of various chat environments and even being NOC in various ISPs, I can tell you nothing done online is truly ever private.  There is an illusion of privacy given to the end users but is not actually true privacy.  True privacy only comes by not doing anything in public — online or offline.  Everything else falls under the scrutiny of the public. 

 

     As we’re taught early in life (or supposed to be, though giving what I’m seeing here it’s dubious as to whether kids are actually listening): Always be mindful of your environment, no matter where you are.  Just because you’re in your bedroom or living room, chatting in an online public chat area in your pajamas and that you’re chatting with a couple of close friends at the same time doesn’t once mean that the online environment you’re in is your bedroom or living room.  There are other people beside just you and your close circle of friends chatting as well.   That means they can see what you’re saying (or even doing in word and/or deeds implied from those words), and can comment, snark, remark, or even correcting anything said within that environment. 

    That also means you can’t be shrieking, "I’m not talking to you, butt out!" or "That’s none of your business" and so on.  You’ve made it public business when you decided on sharing it in a public setting!!!  If you didn’t want the public to know, there are plenty of alternatives to making it more private:  any messengers (Yahoo, MSN, AIM, Jabber, Gmail, the list goes on) where you can create a private chats of friends only, or one-on-one.  Even e-mails (although see above on the part about illusion of privacy). 

 

     I would be remiss not to mention that places Facebook, DeviantArt, Spaces, Blogger even Twitter and so on are public settings as well, given that by default, everything that’s posted there is set to public.  And further, given that old brick and mortar companies are becoming more online aware of such social settings and taking the appropriate actions — these actions of their employees can reflect badly on them and they will take action in some manner or another against those employees, either by writing them up to simply terminating their employment.  Even so far as to deny employment for some of the actions and activities posted online.  Or my personal favorite — getting arrested by police and other forms of law enforcement for illegal activities.

 

4.  People’s memories can be as permanent as things typed/left/shared on the Internet.

 

     An offshoot of point #3 (above) and would become more convoluted the more I ranted about it.  Contrary to the popular belief — people do have long memories.  Particularly when one has been caught intentionally deceiving, being disingenuous, being duplicitous, being harsh, intentionally hurtful (or hateful) and even being hypocritical.  Evolution has taught we homo sapiens that pain (be it physical or abstract as in mental or emotional) is the best teacher.  Once bitten: twice shy, as the saying goes.  If at any time in a public setting your actions fit any of these negative qualities; be prepared for people to bring it up against you each and every time possible. 

     This also carries over when someone is caught disposing of one online persona and creating a new one in the hopes of getting away from the shit storms and bad publicity caused.  Truth be told — one’s personality is pretty much set by adolescence, the best one can do is enhance the good traits while atrophying the bad habits picked up through life.  And no matter how hard you try to "re-invent" yourself into a new person, you on the whole are still going to shine through — be it whether you’re an unfeeling asshole, self-absorbed narcissist, or all around hero and champion of causes.

 

     Be honest, be fair, be concise, be humble (if possible) and be upright are the only ways to weather whatever storm one causes through the consequences of one’s actions.  Failing any of those, and it’ll keep haunting you, no matter where you are.   Because the instant you make noise about the negative things you did — you’ve basically sent up a flag that people are right about you and will ensure you don’t do to others what they experienced themselves. 

 

5.  You don’t know me, so don’t judge me!

 

     Another off-shoot of #3 (above), however I didn’t want to convolute issue 3 any more than I already have.  This is another thing that gets my goat hearing children shrieking whenever someone makes a judgment they don’t like.  Face it, we humans judge, label and categorize everything and everyone we encounter.  It’s a trait of sentience and sort of evolved out of the whole need to identifying friend, family or threat. 

     Don’t like the way someone passed judgment on you?  You have two choices:  prove them wrong by showing facets you’re proud of, or ignoring it as simply bad judgment on the individual’s part.  Screaming about it and demanding people not to judge you is wrong, and extremely duplicitous.  I guarantee, everyone makes judgments — some simply aren’t as verbal about it as others.  Nothing that you do is going to change the judgment or label they have given you, and will probably continue to have a negative impression of you, the more a tantrum about it is pulled. 

 

6.  No, it’s not just words on the screen, there are human beings on the other side of your screen.

 

     And one of the final off-shoots of point #3 (above).  It doesn’t matter whether they’re in the same room or if you’re chatting with them and they’re half-way around the world.  Common sense would dictate if you’re in the same room with them that you would act more mature and more compassionate/empathetic.  For centuries we’ve had a wonderful social construct that we have relied upon when meeting people face to face that involved courtesy, manners/politeness and even etiquette and protocol for handling a variety of situations and scenarios. 

     In the latter portion of the 20th century, I remember when chatting with complete strangers there was a sort of modicum of manners and civility, and even a sense of order with the fights and the flame wars in many of the places I used to inhabit.  Since the end of the 20th century and advent of the 21st any sense of manners, any sense of understanding that there are other people that use the internet has nearly vanished.  Kids of the new generation that grew up with ready access to the net think act as though the whole of the internet is there for their amusement — and can say anything that comes to mind without any editing whatsoever — as well as without any consequence. 

     If there is any twinge of guilt, instead of facing the consequences of it, will instead say as a mantra "it’s all just words on a screen" as though it makes right and an excuse for any wrong-doings (or in some cases emotional drama) they have committed.  And what really gets me is watching them whinge and whine about the very same treatment they give everyone else about it. 

 

7.  The Internet is not a Free Therapy Session.

 

     While it’s a good thing that there’s a place to find other people that have experienced similar situation (and come out basically in one piece) and have the wisdom to share it with others — the internet should never be treated as a free therapy session for whatever woes one is going through. 

     Nor does it mean that each and every you log on the first thing they should do when they enter a chat room or forum is unload with a million and one of your problems and then sign off once they’re through.  Many people come online for entertainment, for thought, for research or occasionally for consoling — but that doesn’t mean that you should do it constantly.  We call those people that do that in our lives "foul-weathered friends", and that sort of emotional black hole experience is enough to drive people away and not deal with you anymore. 

     Further — if you’re having serious and severe problems in your life.  Sign off, seek help and the advice of a professional.  That’s what they are there for and will even do so pro bono if it’s that seriously bad. 

 

     Well, I think I’ve pretty much gotten most of the piss and vinegar I’ve had going on the last couple of weeks.  Perhaps I’ve gotten old.  Perhaps I’ve finally gotten to be a stick mud about things and seeing the changing world as changing too much from the things that seemed to work better when I was younger.  Or maybe the world has changed enough and needs to swing back a little bit from where it currently is.  Either or…  well, there it is.

Categories: Uncategorized

Entry 06/21/2010 05:15:35 AM – Mentat 575

06/21/2010 Comments off
 

     So it’s the first day of summer here, and it looks like we’re looking forward to more scorchers and rain.  Whee!  Nothing like dealing with more rain during my days off.  At least it will definitely keep me out of trouble.  Although, given last night’s dream I’m not too sure of that.  Turns out that last night, I woke up to a "fun filled" (read: stressful) dream where I had decided on quitting a job in the middle of my vacation because I didn’t like the amount of stress that I had going on in it.  Woke up to the sound of my alarm, and saw that it was much darker than usual, so I was able to confirm that it had been raining cats and dogs outside and was able to sleep an hour more to shake the cobwebs and the unnecessary stress out of my head before heading into work.  Of course, the funny thing was that as I was heading to work this morning, I realized that the job that I had been stressing about I had quit 6 years ago…  Which makes it odd that I had dreams about it last night. 

     Then again, given the things that I had been going through the last couple of days, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that I would be having a sort of déjà vu/repeat of the drama from that time of year either. 

 

     Yeah it hasn’t been exactly the most amount of fun the last couple of days.  Though now that I’ve said my peace to the appropriate people, I think that it’s safe for the moment to talk a little bit about them without sounding as though I’m emotionally bleeding all over the place in the process. 

 

     There are just some things that I don’t want to have part of my life anymore.  Drugs (of the recreational sort), excessive amounts of smoking, excessive amounts of drinking for starters.  Then there comes the emotional issues…  Excessive amounts of passive-aggressiveness, codependence, are also high up there.  Along with people that instead of talking issues through, or informing me that they want some personal time to work things out, simply shut down, shut me out, and run.  To me there’s simply no need for shutting down and shutting me out — because as an adult, one has the ability to communicate their needs about wanting some personal time, and then coming back afterward (once things are worked out) to talk about what had been bothering them and why they felt the need to bugging out.  That’s what sane adults do, the last time I checked. 

     My last ex used to do shut me down and ignore me…  a lot  He used to shut me down and shut me out primarily to get even with me because he knew that was one of the best ways of getting even with me whenever he felt like venting his self-disappointment in my direction.   Then some hours later, he would come back and bitch at me, and any chance of talking the issue through, would repeat the process of ignoring me until I couldn’t take it anymore and all that was left was exploding on him. 

     Another thing that my ex wouldn’t do is explain to me what he had been feeling at the time, and instead of trying to talk about it — would drop it for such a time as he felt that he was ready to talk about it, and would do so incriminating me as the source of whatever fault, or problem or emotional upheaval that he had been feeling, blaming me for these issues of his for months at a time. 

     I promised myself after he and I had broken up that if I ever so much as caught another person doing this to me, I wouldn’t waste any more time dealing with the person or whatever issue that they were going through that caused them to shut down and run. 

 

     I had been fortunate when I had met Damion that he would talk his issues through.  When he wasn’t able to talk about whatever problem he had with something we had been discussing or whether it was something personal between the two of us, he would tell me that he needed a time out and would even give me how much time he would need before he’d return to speak to me (or speak about the subject).  He would do so calmly, evenly and would make sure that I understood what he problem was and why he had it. 

     In the year we had been speaking, we had only one serious dust-up, and that was because I tried to surprise him about going to Seattle to meet with him.  And even then we had worked out those issues that allowed us to keep going for the next 5 months before the two of parted amicably. 

 

     Now flash forward a couple of years to about my birthday.  Was chatting with someone that seemed to be turning out sort of nicely. At least at first.  However, within the first couple of days I had various niggling feelings that had come to identify that it was going both too quickly even for the likes of me — as well as paraded over so many personal issues that I quickly finding myself going to wanting to putting the breaks on, to wanting to bail faster than The Runaway Bride (and the fact that I remember that wretched movie is enough to even give me a cringe or two). 

     Smoking?  Yep, he did it.  While not a pack and a half to two a day, a pack every three or so days is enough to affect me as I’ve been in a smoke-free environment the last 5 years?  Drinking?  Did that too.  More than I’ve done in the same amount of time. And far more than I’d care to deal with on the day to day, week to week or month to month.  While these two aren’t deal breakers (of sorts), when coupled with other issues that I had been seeing, rapidly built up from being niggling problems to the sort of habit that paraded on whopping issues. 

     The comes the first time that I shared something.  I decided on sharing the location of the two stories I had written (and posted on Dev-Art).  He read one of these and at first began getting all squirrelly, and then later at the end of the story, complete wigged out, shut down and shut me off.  All right, not good, I’m thinking to myself.  Already sort of told him again and again that talking to me would be better than just shutting me out and running away, as I am the writers of the story and can give insight into what I was thinking and feeling when I wrote them. 

     He came back the next day, apologized and told me that he couldn’t handle the material of the story.  I accepted his apology and told him that it’s best that he never do that again, and proceeded to tell him that my ex used to do precisely what he had done, and even strongly suggested to him that if he needed the time out, to simply tell me and I’ll more than happily give him the necessary space.  Still though, the niggling feelings continue to grow as I caught wind of other issues that reminded me too keenly of my ex and how similar the this one was acting to the ways my ex used to act about infatuation, love, and even jealousy. 

     Then came the beginning of my four day weekend.  He runs into some sort of financial trouble and he’s stressing about it.  I tried strongly urging him to instead of waiting for last minute, and staying up all hours of the night, to head to bed early to deal with problems first thing in the morning.  I explained to him that banks can take some hours to work out the issues with something, and that in spite of the fact that he had to work in the afternoon, that the hours at the bank will eat into his recreation time, and he might still be forced to rush from the bank to work.  He gets testy with me, and then completely gets stubborn with the likes of me.  Push comes to shove and instead of talking to me, shuts down and shuts off again. 

 

     At this point, the fury’s kicked in.  This is the second time he’s done this shutting down to me without any kind (or polite) parting words.  He’s acting as though I’m a not person that he’s just met, but instead as though we had been together for months.  Somewhere while he had stepped away and I had gone to grab my lunch for the evening (I had eaten particularly late that evening), some personal anxiety and I had simply spoken aloud explaining to myself this sort of shit shouldn’t be happening the first week I’ve met anyone, and if it is — there’s some serious underlying issues that are occurring that shouldn’t be there. 

     So, came back online and there he was chatting with other people. And that’s where I cut my losses and said, this one’s too childish for my taste, and has way too many of the same habits of my ex that I don’t want to deal with (at all).  In the end, I took a couple of days to myself, completely ignoring practically everyone, and at the end cut my losses. 

 

     Seriously, there’s just so much drama I can take before I’m like — you know — perhaps there are issues here that need to be addressed more than trying to settle down and "nest". 

 

     Well, that’s the rest of the journal entry that I hadn’t written from the other day.  And I’m calling it a day for the time being.  I’m pretty knackered here and I need the sleep.  Until the next time.

 
Categories: Uncategorized

Entry 11/19/2009 08:38:32 PM – Mentat 542

11/20/2009 Comments off

     T-Minus 2 days and counting… 

     … And at the moment, I have positively no energy to want to sit here and do my weekly laundry.  Technically I have more than enough clothes to wait ’til my vacation, given that it’ll start Sunday Morning when I run out the door leaving skid marks in the process — but even then I don’t necessarily want to do laundry the first day off either.  And before any of you say anything, yes, the coffee’s been brewed, it’s sitting on my Twilight DVD coffee coaster and I’ve taken a couple of swigs since.  Still though, I’ve got the lethargy which I’m infinitely happier to have than the rage that I had going two days before. 

     Yeah, I had the anger and rages going on Tuesday Night/Wednesday Morning.  Pretty damned bad too.  My night started normally, not the over-the-top chaos that I’ve been walking into the last couple of weeks, but not as slow as I’d expect it to be for the winter.  Then at about 2 in the morning I had gotten about 5 excessively stupid people that couldn’t follow the simplest instructions and demanded that it just work for them because they wanted to get online and check e-mail (in the city of sin).  On the last of those 5 excessively stupid people I went off for the rest of the night.  Between the silent rage, the wanting every stupid person that would say "Windows 97" (or even say, "I don’t know") when I asked "What operating system are you running?" to jump out the window of their hotel room and remove themselves promptly from the gene pool…  I fought my impulse to tell people to either "die!" or "just shut up and send your computer back to wherever you got it because you don’t have a clue how to use it and you shouldn’t be dragging it along."  By the end of the night, for my last call of the morning I found myself swearing for 20 minutes straight because I had had it by the end of that time…  To top it off, it was a dreaded call from the typical New Englander that usually starts with, "my…  isn’t working." and invariably ends with "I want it fixed immediately" and filled with either passive-aggressive silence or a stream of comments on how "crappy" the service has been since they switched (or in the case of this last call, all of the above).

     Yes, me…  swearing like a trooper for 20 minutes straight using the ever so lovely and poetic F word as a noun, verb, adjective and various articles and prepositions had a sort of charm at that moment and was enough for me to realize I needed to put myself to bed at an earlier than normal time…  Further, I hoped that whatever it was that bothered me that night/morning would pass for the next day:  New Mood Madness, change of hours to something that my body’s not used to quite yet, the routine stupid people extravaganza I don’t like dealing with from the City of Sin, randomly and completely forgotten manstruation (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=manstruation) that I was undoubtedly due for, or even the usual, ‘no really I’m hating life at the moment because of the end of the year dysfunction we otherwise call "the Holidays". 

     Fortunately for me it did.  The next day when I went into work and worked out what I was going to do with the PTO time I had accrued and not used for the year was set to pay-out (40 hours of it anyway), carried over to 2010 (50 hours of it), and the rest for the two weeks of vacation that I have planned for the next two months.   And yes, as Tracy said, I’m "such a slacker". 

 

     All right, first cup of coffee through…  my brains are actually working, I have a little more energy, and maybe even building up the gumption to work on the man-eating pile of clothes that spit up my cat that’s sleeping on her bed now…  Then again, maybe not.  It can sit there ’til much later.  I don’t want to deal with it right now… 

     Ugh…

 

     So I finished another book from the portable library that I have in my possession: Michael Brotherton’s Star Dragon.  Frankly, the jury’s out on whether I was moderately entertained by it or not.  It’s sort of a solid book with predictable elements, but I found myself completely apathetic too the five characters that were traveling to SS Cygni on the Karamojo.  Fisher was too obsessive with his research of the dragons on their way to the star 250 (relative) years from Earth, and when he began to play like a team player it came off entirely too disingenuous for my taste.  Captain Fang was trying entirely too hard to prove herself to being the hard-ass Captain of the ship.  Henderson was a third-wheel in this all, and I get the distinct impression that Brotherton didn’t really know what to do with him, so Henderson’s wheels were spun throughout the book.  The Jack (of All Trades) — Stearn — seemed to have the most focus on this, of which looking back in the story I wonder if Brotherton was projecting more than a little of himself into this character… And finally Devereaux didn’t seem to be well written even for a support character. 

     Oh and let’s not forget the AI of the Karamojo, who was called Papa by Captain Fang.  The AI itself was comprised of two elements , human (organic) components of the AI were designed to emulate Ernest Hemingway and the mechanical (inorganic) components more a traditional AI.  While I understood the importance of the human interface, toward the end of the book while the ship and crew were hunting the Star Dragon (a life form that seemed to live in the plasma disc accretion between a binary star system), there were about 5 pages of the AI’s musings of Hemingway hunting of a Rhino in the Serengeti of Africa that I completely was off-put and skimmed ahead as quickly as possible to get away from it.  Admittedly I have never been a fan of Hemingway’s stories, partially because some of his books were required reading in High School, but mostly because of Hemingway’s predilection to men doing "manly things" — war, drinking, hunting, and of course sailing.  Blah….  I get enough of that attitude dealing with internally homophobic gay men trying to be "straight-acting" rather than understanding their own masculinity. 

     While it’s true that the book had the necessary elements that demonstrated the necessary growth and maturity of the characters, I found that I couldn’t relate to any of them as their movements and their actions seemed…  coerced by the writer’s attempt to create specific scenarios to prove their immaturity, rather than demonstrating the necessary synergy of people aware of their environment and knowing that the universe is in fact quite dangerous.  Perhaps it was because of the virtual immortality that Brotherton describe Homo Sapiens of that far flung future had been attained that caused them to forget that death can come from poor decisions in unknown surroundings…  But personally I think it’s more the trends that I’ve seen of science-fiction books in recent years that mankind is in fact getting stupider because the technology attained is allowing people to forget the dangers of the wilds of the universe. 

     Yes, I like the shrewdness of Shatner’s Kirk (Star Trek), or Boxleitner’s Sheridan (Babylon 5), or even Stewart’s Picard (Star Trek: The Next Generation) that demonstrates both the understandings of strategy and even bluffing when necessary when facing issues and problems that need to be surmounted.  Brotherton’s book reminds me too keenly of the civilian expeditions of Jack McDevitt where they seem to have the right ideas, but the expeditions go terribly wrong because of human ego, selfishness and failing pride. 

     If I were to give this piece a rating, it would probably be 2½ to 3 stars (out of 5).  I probably would have liked it more if I could find one character to relate too, but alas — the characters remind me all too keenly of the people I’ve worked with in the past (when I was living in Atlanta) — and I thought a majority of them a disreputable, selfish lot with positively no endearing qualities among them.  Not the sort of thing I like dealing with, and certainly not the kind of people I want to read about.  

 

     Next book I’m reading is A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay.  Seems all right enough, but the first chapter is extremely superfluous and the character that Lindsay draws there nothing but fluff.  Bait and switch is not a good way to start a book in my opinion, but I’ll trudge along just to see where Lindsay’s going to go with this story. 

 

     That’s about it for the time being…  I want to play a couple of games before I tackle the pile.  Until the next time.

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Entry 09/17/2009 03:48:14 AM – Mentat 530

09/17/2009 Comments off
 

     Well, I’m home and while I had a fun time in Boston, I’m finding myself in the middle of frustration with a POS DVD from Disney that in their infinite wisdom, choked positively to death with DRM bullshit.  Not only did the DVD not load up, but attempting to watch the Digital Copy through iTunes was a complete fucking waste of my time.  The quality seemed all right, but the when it got close to the chapter change the thing would spike up the CPU and the movie would skip like it had Tourette’s.  In fact, I let my aunt borrow the movie to tell me if there had been any problems with the DVD and when she told me there wasn’t, I’m probably going to gift it to her, given that I can’t watch it on my system.  Fucking piece of DRM shit!  Angry

     But enough on that shit, I’m in no mood fuming about this crap anymore.  If anything, I’m more than happy at the moment that I’m sitting here watching Battlestar Galactica with nary a skip or hesitation while working on this journal entry. 

 

     My trip went well, even though I didn’t go out for a drink on Sunday nor Monday.  The reason why I didn’t on Sunday is that when I got back from Newbury Street and wandering about to check the layout of the Copley area, saw that Fritz’s was wall to wall with queerfolk.  Not up for the amount of people that I saw in there, I said to myself, "what the hell, maybe tomorrow night." 

     The next night after waking up, having my usual large iced coffee, getting something to eat from a local eatery that looked appetizing enough to stop at, I wandered about a bit checking out the shopping experience on Newbury.  Getting back to the hotel I realized that it was wall to wall once again.  And unlike the night before, the instant I got a look at the television and seeing it was the Patriot’s opening day — I decided against it once again. 

     Now, don’t get me wrong — there are times when I don’t mind this — but 30 years out of the closet I’ve seen the changes going on within the "community".  Changes that I haven’t liked watching at all.  There has been an almost infectious attitude of internalized homophobia where gay men are trying their best not to be too nelly or too gay.  So gay men are trying their best to being butch without actually being masculine.  Which is a contradiction as my experience with gay men at jock/sports bars that while they might look masculine and carry themselves with such a swagger that they appear to be a man’s man — the instant that they open their mouths out pops a Gucci Purse.  Yes, that means they’re sounding as girly and as nelly as a queen during a drag show.  And the only people they seem to be fooling, are themselves. 

     Long ago, someone said to me, "Who do you think threw the rock through the window at the Stonewall Inn that started the Gay Revolution?  A drag queen!  And who do you think were the ones that marched in the parades for queers today to enjoy their pride and the rights that they bask in?  The fairies, the drag queens, the nelly boys, the gender benders, the transvestites and transsexuals, and the fags and dykes that couldn’t and wouldn’t hide.  And don’t forget for once it was them that continue to march for your rights." 

     The years from the incident at Stonewall, and the Pride Parades through the 70s and 80s queerfolk reveled in their reinventing the wheel.  Sometimes for the better, other times for the learning process that they would go through — took it upon themselves to shun the habits of the heterosexuals in their lives;  shunning sports, and being jocks (although no gay man would say no to a jock in their bed *grinning*) taking up cooking, gardening, poetry and the intellectual arts and so on.  As the years wore on and the fear and phobias because of AIDS and because queerfolk are "different" only in who they want to be intimate with, queerfolk began trying to be the same as those that hated them in order not to be shunned, or to be bashed.  But in doing so, in way queerfolk have slowly become that which hated them.  We bash our own that are too gay or too nelly.  Queerfolk now camouflage by being "straight acting" (Heh, how is one straight acting when a man is kissing a man, and a woman is kissing a woman?) and "butch".  Queerfolk now try to be just like the Joneses next door because it’s easier to be like everyone else for self-preservation instead of being themselves regardless of being too gay or too nelly. 

     Standing there outside of Fritz’s for those couple of moments while seeing folk packed wall to wall watching the game and attempting to look as "butch" as possible, I thought to myself out of the 300 or so people I could easily bet 20 of them were masculine.  The rest?  It was clearly nothing more than a performance trying to be something they weren’t…  And that something was, themselves. 

     So I called it a night and enjoyed my own company, reflecting upon the history and the revelations that I was having watching the folk in the bar, and the new dance that was being performed, and wondering, "Why are y’all so afraid of being yourselves?  What is so terrifying about being different?" 

 

     The rest of my trip was puttering around Haymarket Square, State Street and the New England Aquarium with the rest of the photos being seen at my Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbaldelli.  I admit that I didn’t take quite as many photos as I was planning to, but then again I wasn’t really back in Boston for sightseeing — I was there to remember the path that I’ve walked since coming out.  It was still nice to be out of my head for a little bit, and wandering about the roads and paths that I’ve wandered in the past. 

     The perk on this trip was finding Club Café over near the Back Bay Station and figuring out the memories I had of the place that I could only vaguely remember when I first saw it.  Glad to know that I’m not losing my memory — just that I have my head filled with all sorts of other things…. 

 

     Well that’s about it for the time being.  Until the next time.

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Entry 08/18/2009 06:50:52 AM – Mentat 525

08/18/2009 Comments off
 

     I’m glad that it’s the weekend finally, although it’s hard to break the habits of the time off sitting around in chat and watching the kids playing…  Slouching and doing pretty much nothing while sitting in there.  Or playing the hundred or so games that I have access to.  Or in this case, getting caught up on yet another series I’m rather thankful Hulu has from beginning to end…  Kyle XY.  I did try to catch it back in 2006 when I first saw it advertised on ABC Family, but at the time I had been working at Brooks/Eckerd and the one night that I had been working until 9 PM ended up being the night that it was moved to.  So, I completely forgot about it since.  Then of course, scouring through Hulu, I find out that they have the three seasons of it online.  So, here I am, 4 in the morning, sitting here watching the episodes and writing my weekly installment into my journal.  Still keeping up my weekend habits in spite of everything else going on. 

     To begin…  It would appear that I’ve got one of my muses back after a long hiatus.  Yeah, I’m back to writing.  Not quite with a vengeance, but at the same time not feeling as though I’m trying to force myself to sit there with a story open and trying to write.  Like I was trying to do with the short story that’s died at 75% completely — An Interview with the Voices in My Head.  Strange thing that…  At the very place where I found it the most difficult to sit there and write that short essay, is the very place that I’m picking up with Talos.  I feel almost as though I’m heading back to the very place that I’m most familiar and comfortable with.  Strange thing that…  I’m able to return to the element on relationships and partnering in the midst of drama and intrigue, and yet trying to work on the Romantic in Interview, I find myself sort of incapable of being introspective enough to delve into the very feelings I often seek to re-experience.  I’m not entirely sure whether this is a self-protective mechanism (which it entirely possible), or whether this is simply one of my quirks that I’ve had for so long that I don’t even think twice about and have had no want to changing (which is probable but less likely). 

     But anyway — as I’m here working on this entry — the wheels in my head are turning as to what I want to do next within the story…  Some of which I’m not sure I should follow through on if only because they seem to be a bit on the cliché side.  And I’m happy that at least this muse seems to be back and I have something else to do with my time other than whinge about the routine bullshit going on at work, and outside of work. 

 

     Work…  Well, work is work and I’m just simply biding m time ’til the end of the month when things are supposed to be going through changes.  I’m not at liberty to go through what changes I believe are coming up within the next couple of weeks, I can say that I’m actually looking forward to the change.  Hopefully, the nonsense that I’ve had to put up with for the last year might finally be coming to a close.  Finally… 

 

     I still have a vacation to plan.  And probably going to end up going to New York City as the choice.  Miami would be fun, but the problem is that I’d rather wait until Autumn or Winter for that sort of trip — when the weather is a bit cooler here in the North, it’ll be nice to do a Snowbird to the South for a week or so to enjoy a little warmth while folk in the north look forward to the frost and impending snows.  *grinning*

 

     Not too much else going on at the moment.  Off to watch a bit more and then maybe write.  Until the next time.

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Entry 04/22/2009 08:07:21 AM – Mentat 506

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     Another fine morning here in the Biggest Little.  Now it’s feeling more like a spring-like morning with the temperature at 52 F (~11 C), enough so that while it’s a bit on the chilly side, I’ve decided what the hell; it’s certainly warmer than what I’m currently feeling in the house; let’s get some fresher (albeit wetter) air through the house…  Even got the right amount of sunlight going on which doesn’t make me feel quite like I’m a mole-man hiding in a burrow someplace.  Good thing too, because I was seriously beginning to think that I was…  Who knows?  Maybe tonight instead of making my own coffee, I’ll get up relatively early (well early for me is 7’ish given that this is a weekend, I prefer sleeping in) and bike on over to Dunkin’ in Blackstone just to prove to myself how out of shape I am at the moment.  And yes, I know how out of shape I was.  I did a test run with my bike the other day when I changed out the breaks to Rhodes Ave and back, and I was wheezing and huffing like an old motor from less than ½ mile bike-ride uphill. 
     So last night, I found out one of the culprits to my lack of sleep…  *looking down at the Hellbeast with a leering sneer*  Yeah…  She’s one of them.  Seems that now that she’s gotten older, she doesn’t quite move quite as quickly to come to bed as she used to, which means that instead of 5, maybe 10 minutes to head to bed with me, she’s taking 30 – 45 which wakes me up the instant she hits the bed, and taps me on the head to get under the covers.  This is causing me to treat the sleep that I got by the time my head hit the pillow to her waking me, as a hyper-nap and causing me to stay awake for the next 4 hours.  Ugh… 
     A friend of mine suggesting locking her out of the bedroom, but the din that she’ll make for the abandonment issues, not to mention the clawing at the door and rugs would only wake me up to scold her for doing it would defeat the purpose, and most probably I’d end up being awake for the next 4 hours because of it.  So, I’ll just do what I used to do when I was a kitten…  Pick her sorry ass up and bring her to bed with me.  Either way, she’ll be happy for the free transportation as well as spending time with me getting comfortable before I try rolling onto her so she can growl at me like the cranky old woman that she is. 

     God, and is my aunt ever stubborn.  And annoying…  (And a nightmare to anyone that works in IT).  As I think I mentioned some time in the recent past, she had to…  no wait…  I didn’t make that one public…  All right, quick recap.  My aunt had to get a new PC because her old one died.  Turned out that the drive was the thing that died, the computer was fine…  But she went out and bought herself a new PC because she was tired of the old thing and wanted to get a new one.  With Vista *cringe* Got the thing running when she was away in Aruba because I could work on it at 2 in the AM while they were away, and I was awake and feeling the need to work on it.
     What a pain that was.  Particularly getting an Anti-Virus Solution running on it…  But I got it up and running and it’s behaving on the network in spite of the fact that Vista seems more insistent about running the uPnP controls both on her part of the network as well as my own subnet.  Couldn’t recover anything on the old hard drive as it turned out because the partition is completely gone, and nothing in the world I’ve done has allowed me to recover it.  Further, I don’t think that the drive’s working properly as it’s grinding when I power the thing up, which means it’s more than just the MBR that’s gone on it. 
     So she had a backup…  A USB Thumb drive that I urged her to buy when her drive (or the fan, I couldn’t be sure where the sound was coming from) began to make the really high-pitched sound that comes from metal grinding against metal.  Told her to simply plug in the drive and follow the prompts on it to do back ups and restores.  Showed her several times how to do it, and then got her to do it a couple of times more with me watching her and ensuring she understood the prompts.
     The computer dies, and she loses track of the Thumb drive.  *sighs*  It wasn’t in any of the usual places she would’ve put it.  Told her that chances are, given the size, it’s probably thrown out with the other things given its size and its weight.  Confirmed that the cat didn’t get hold of it and use it as a cat toy as it wasn’t anywhere the cat would’ve picked it up and deposited it. 
     Turns out that in one of my Uncles DOS cleaning modes, it had ended up moving from the usual places to a cookie tin to the basement where he puts things he doesn’t know what to do with, but are apparently important enough to save themselves from the garbage. 
     I asked her whether she’s been doing the backups like she was supposed to. 
     She looked at me with the typically blank look my grandmother used to give me when I said something smashing smart and sarcastic all at the same time, and responded, "no, that’s what you’re here for." 
     Ever see the look Moe Howard makes in The Three Stooges when one of the other two say something that boggles the mind and the imagination?  That’s the look I’m making at this point.  Instead of channeling Moe Howard, I simply say matter-of-fact as I knew it had been some months since she’s done any backups whatsoever, "You won’t be able to recover the pictures you took while in Aruba the last two trips, and because you don’t have access to the money program that you had on the Compaq, you won’t be able to use the financial program, so that backup is pretty useless, not to mention old…"
     Secretly I was happy about that part, because the woman is a financial disaster.  Never in my life have I seen a combination of mathematical errors, come grazing and impulse shopping, come a serious need for better glasses ever strike a checkbook or checkbook managing software in my life.  But then she does have habits that she maintains that seriously worries me about her creating what I call the "Floating Balance Syndrome" which is the reason why her checkbook’s the mess that it is — especially when coupled with her with the egregious data entry errors she makes when putting the numbers into the checking program. 
     "Okay, whenever you get to it," she would say to me. 
     I told her I could do it now, but she’s like, "no not now, whenever…"
     This went on for four days, each time she’s like, "are you going to load it up?" Every time she’d ask when I’m waking up and trying to push myself through a routine.  When I gave her the look she’d like, "Okay, not now.  Whenever." 
     Make up my mind woman…  Really?  Now or not now?  I’m not a mind reader and haven’t professed to being one without being completely sardonic about it. 
     Each time I’d remind her, it doesn’t matter how fast I did it, all she’s getting are pictures which she never looks at, and various saved documents she hasn’t touched in months and years.  I’d reinforce, there’s no use about the accounting program files, she didn’t have the software and wouldn’t be able to read it. 
      So this morning I have the time as she’s pushing about it at the right time, even though I said I’d do it yesterday and it wasn’t a good day for her.
     I moved the pictures, the documents, the saves, but not the financial back up.  When she asked why, I’m like, "Did you not hear me the last 10 times I said this to you?  You don’t have the program so you’re not going to miraculously be able to read that file which is…"  looking at the modified date and heaving a great big old dramatic sigh, "…six months old anyway." 
     "Well why not?" 
     The look on my face was as usual priceless. Instead, I had to get loud about it, and say, "As I said the last 10 times which you weren’t listening to me, you can’t use that backup if you have no programs to run it on."
     "You don’t have to yell at me," she quipped back.
     "Apparently I do, if you didn’t think it important enough to remember it the last 10 times I told you." 
     In the end, I worked out a deal with her about the old program that I’m currently using being bequeathed to her (for free), while I get the newest version that seems to have hit the market in the last couple of months.  In spite of her getting all proud about it in the middle of me making the deal with her. 
     Which means that I have a few more headaches with this to run until things are relatively back to normal. 

     I also came across something rather interesting in my checking out some of the recent (last 20 second) deviations.  A profile/site on it called…  Deviant Art Secret (http://deviantartsecret.deviantart.com) which is a sort of DA version of a couple of sites where people submit their secrets anonymously to tell the world because they can’t hold their secrets in anymore.  While some of them have been amusing, and even outright comical, there had been a couple on there that certainly gave me pause enough to wonder whether I had any deep dark secrets that I had that I wouldn’t share with the world. 
     And you know, I do have at least one or two that I could share in that manner.  But you know what?  For me, I don’t get the satisfaction of sharing the secrets that I have with the world anonymously.  They are secrets not because of the damage they could do, but because of how precious they are to me.  When the time is right, or when the time is long since past that they are no longer a secret, I share them.  Until then — they are where they are because I need them to be there.  When they no longer need to be there, I talk about them.  With friends, or here… 

     Well, that’s about it for the time being.  Time to get into the pjs and get ready for bed. Until the next time.
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