Apr 14


Funny that people at work are very Microsoft-centric and make fun of Linux and Unix as being archaic OSes, but who do they call the moment they run into a problem with a Unix- or Unix-like OS?

Yep, me.

Oh, what is it, the phone system needs to be in by this week and no one including the $1,000 a day consultant hired for that purpose knows jack about Solaris?

Wish I could get a cut of that grand a day.

Apr 12

Escapism and guilty pleasures

I’ve always despised the concept of “guilty pleasures.” Perhaps that is just my native contrarian nature coming out, but when someone asks me, sputtering, “But how can someone like you like rap?” I immediately want nothing more to do with them.

Not that my choices of music, of books, should never be criticized but at the same time I am allowed to critique the critique of me, and also to reject the critic. Which I do with alacrity.

Just like Jo Walton so elegantly does.

Escaping doesn’t mean avoiding reality, escaping means finding an escape route to a better place. Seeing those options can be the file to get through the bars. Anyone who thinks this is a bad thing is the enemy.

It is no exaggeration at all to say that were it not for the music and books I consumed in middle and high school, that I’d be dead now. Tori Amos, Tanya Donelly, Hope Sandoval, Throwing Muses, Faith No More and authors too innumerable and varied to name – these people kept me alive, and showed me a better world that I knew one day that I could be and would be a part of.

And I did become part of, but never would have without their art.

So when people criticize me for reading “bad books” or liking music I’m not supposed to like, I revert to my old Southern ways and lose the eloquence of Walton and say simply “Fuck all ya’ll.”

Apr 09


Of the many times I’ve been banned from Pandagon, one of the earliest was for espousing the ideas of Shulamith Firestone, by far my favorite feminist thinker and writer, and probably the most underappreciated.

Apparently, in the Pandagonian world of feminism, feminism so radical is itself oppressive to women because they can “never live up to such a standard of feminism.” Who knew our goal should be to aim as low as possible!

Regardless, Firestone’s ideas appealed to me both because they make sense and that I thought of many of them before I’d read Firestone’s work (thought of course she thought of them all years before I was born!).

Pandagon is a site I read but frequently mourn reading as it more reinforces the status quo than attempts to break it down. The reason is that you usually can’t show up on your enemy’s well-prepared and booby-trapped battlefield and expect to win all that often.

Damn, we really need more people like Firestone. She was one of the people I had picked in one of those, “Which three historical people would you like to meet and have dinner with in their prime?” questions. The other two were Charles Darwin and Laura Veirs (hey, no one said they had to be dead or even not current).

I found The New Yorker article over at Sarcozona’s blur blog.

Apr 09


I am still an iPad skeptic, even though I own one and use it frequently.

Nearly all I do with mine is to read books with it due to the gorgeous screen. It is exceptionally good at that; however, at everything else, like all tablets, it’s a nearly-total failure.

The screen is too small to read webpages very well.

I can type 100wpm+ on a real keyboard. On the iPad keyboard, maybe 4-5wpm if I really get going.

It’s too slow to process photos, and won’t handle raw files anyway.

It’s designed for content consumption, not creation.

Its screen isn’t large enough to do any real work.

It multitasks like crap.


It is a really great e-reader. For anything else, it is far and away trumped by a desktop PC. I am glad I got it, but the only thing it will or ever could be for me is a very expensive book reading device.

Apr 03

Yon singer

For anyone who thinks that Beyonce’s “Star-Spangled Banner” was lip-synced at the inauguration you should really watch this:

That’s what a four-octave range sounds like, folks. Notice that even when 10-15 other people are singing in the background she is still easily louder than all of them while still hitting every note. And while sitting down, which is worse for singing.

Apr 03


Yesterday I realized how rich people get themselves into trouble by saying stupid things. It’s surprisingly easy to do when your life is much different than others who might hear you.

I’m certainly not rich by the American definition, but I don’t spend all that much money and due to certain (legal) things I’ve done in my past, I don’t really think about money much most of the time. It’s just not an immediate and pressing concern in my life these days.

So one of my co-workers asked, “Have you noticed if your bonus has been deposited yet? I’ve been looking for it in my account and haven’t seen mine.” And if I’d thought even for a fraction of a second before I said this and hadn’t been busy at the time, I wouldn’t have said it.

But I said, “No, I haven’t noticed or looked at my account in a long time.”

Then my co-worker kiddingly (we get along well) but understandably said, “Look at Mike, working with us peons — he doesn’t even need that bonus!”

And that’s how rich people easily get themselves into trouble. Not that I am defending their idiocy. I am not rich by American definitions, and unlike seemingly most of the rich I have empathy and want a strong and non-stigmatizing social safety net, etc.

But when your life is very different from those around you, sometimes you don’t even realize how what you are saying or doing might be taken the wrong way.

Apr 01

Looking glass pass

It’s not that I’d ever be in a relationship with someone that I find completely unattractive, but I don’t pick potential partners by how beautiful they are; beauty fades, and what remains is what matters.wheat

That said, at the end of high school I dated for a while a girl who was extremely physically attractive. She had silky natural blonde hair the color of sunset on wheat, long muscular legs and a smile that could stun a rhino into submission mid-charge.

The thing is, she had fairly bad self-esteem because as lovely and frankly gorgeous as she was, her two sisters — well, they were two apollonian goddesses elevated into the apotheosis of physical pulchritude by benevolent aliens from planet Beatific Excess. The entire family was an inexplicable genetic freakshow in that sense, especially as none of them looked a bit like their parents. However, my girlfriend was always compared to her sisters by herself and by others, and she felt that she always came up lacking.

Don’t get me wrong — I was glad to be dating her rather than either of her sisters. Her personality was a match for mine. Neither of her sisters really shared many of my interests or tendencies, though both were very nice and I did like the both of them really quite a lot and we got along very well.

hippie-yeah7But as for looks, neither of the sisters ever wore make-up (And before any freak-outs occur, I know this for a fact — I was often there when all three of them got ready in the morning and it was a very hippie household, so doors were usually wide open, and in fact many of the rooms had no doors at all) and were so attractive that makeup would’ve actually made them look a lot worse. To bring it into the real world, the two of them both looked like Evangeline Lilly, but about twice as lovely and as physically fit.

My girlfriend “only” looked like Evangeline Lilly. Only. (Really, she did, but with blonde hair.)

She recounted to me once a story about an old man who had lost all ability to hold his tongue who had visited one day, and how upon seeing her two sisters he said something like, “My word, you girls are plum beautiful!”

And then my girlfriend walked up, and the old dude when introduced to her said, “But what in the world happened to you?”

Yeah, that probably doesn’t make one feel very good I’d imagine. Amazing how much creatures of relative rank we humans are since as I’ve my noted my girlfriend was prettier than about 99% of well-known Hollywood actresses easily. But next to her sisters to some people (but not to me) she looked like a cave troll.

I’m so tired tonight that I probably wouldn’t have even written the above if I weren’t about to drop, as it’s a touchy topic for understandable reasons. But I’ve never dated for beauty, and I don’t really have a “type,” a concept that I think is idiotic. My type is “intelligent and not too unhealthy to go hiking and outdoors with me” if I could be said to have one at all.

(Or rather, my type is my current partner — she is one of a kind in all the best ways.)

My point is lost, I think, in the exhaustion. But for a young, previously-unloved adolescent it was a whole different world sitting on the couch watching a movie with one barely-clothed girl on one side leaning on you (hippie house — no AC in Florida!), and her equally barely-clothed sister leaning on you un-selfconsciously and companionably on the other side because you are her friend and it feels natural.

Or all piling into a bed together because it seemed like the right idea and hey, there’s the bed and we’re all tired (not in a sexual sense but because, hippies.)

Why can’t I stop writing when I am tired? Ramble, ramble.