May 22

Healthful

At first when health care reform was being proposed in the US, I couldn’t understand why employers were so dead-set against it as it would save them hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Didn’t take me long to figure it out. They oppose it because having health care linked to employment basically makes employees into indentured servants – that is if they want health care for themselves and their families.

It’s a way to keep wages low and just as much it’s about power. If you think companies only care about profit, that is not correct. The only thing more corrupting than money is power, and CEOs, middle managers and all of those corporate execs with their tiny fiefdoms love to hold that power over those they perceive to be worth less than they are – even if it leads to somewhat less profit over the long term. If you don’t believe me, it probably only means that you’ve never worked in a public or private corporation in your life.

People have long been worried about the tyranny of government, but it turns out for the last 50 years they’ve been looking in the wrong direction – corporate tyranny is far more prevalent and is getting worse.

In 100 years, it probably won’t matter much as climate change, while it might not lead to global human extinction, is going to so shake up the order of everything that the world then will not be recognizable to us now.

Another thing that people refuse to believe, but is absolutely inevitable.

May 17

NYC this

The last time I was in NYC, I was at a sushi bar eating dinner.

There was a woman next to me at the bar who kept looking over at me, so I knew she’d talk to me soon if I didn’t step away. I was feeling remarkably social for me so I stayed.

About a minute later she did indeed look at me and ask, “Is that one good?”  as she pointed at something on my plate. Turns out she was a dancer and dance instructor in NYC. Twenty-five years old.

We talked a little about our lives. She was remarkably candid. She said she was poor, struggling, and had many student loans. I asked her if she was able to pay them off.

She said, “No, I stopped paying them and don’t plan to ever start again. There’s no way I can pay $80,000 in loans with any job I’ll ever have.”

Later I paid my tab and left, but I think about her from time to time as that story is going to become increasingly common.

We’re creating an underclass in this country. It doesn’t matter if it’s deliberate or accidental, conspiracy or no – it is what is happening.

Some people will criticize her for the very act of being a dancer. But understand this: not everyone can be or wants to be an engineer, which is one of the few employment reasons it is worth going to college for these days.

I’d argue that the world needs dancers just as much as it needs engineers, Hell, perhaps more.

Anyway, no matter what the world needs, I fail to see the wisdom of creating another entire class of people who are basically barred from participating in regular society by debt they can neither pay back nor discharge in bankruptcy.

No matter what you think about the morality of it all, this is good for no one; not for society, not for the graduates, and not even the moral scolds who think that dancer should be punished in perpetuity for perceived mistakes.

May 16

No community

I’ve been a feminist supporter as long as I can remember, even before I knew the word “feminism.”

I’ve confronted street harassers in real life, and will do so again. I’ve gotten in physical fights about this and will probably do so again.

I’ve donated money to causes that help women and equality and will donate more in my life.

I’ve fired creepy dudes at work for harassing female employees, and will probably do so again.

Yet I am not really a member of the feminist community because I am just not good at ideology, though I’ve read more on feminism than even many feminists (This is true on about any subject as I read a lot. A ridiculous lot. If you think you read more than me, you are almost certainly wrong*). This not being good at ideology is why I am not really a member of any community. I can’t seem to drink anyone’s Kool-Aid.

Don’t like the taste. Can’t stand the mental dying.

I like to examine everything, turn it around in my head, figure it out and see its strengths as well as its weak spots.

Seeing the “weak spots” is what gets me into trouble, of course. Can’t mention that. Can’t even point that direction.

Note that I am not picking on the feminist community here. It’s not unique in this respect, not better or worse than any other, just one that I happen to feel a lot of kinship with so it’s easier to see its flaws than a community I hardly know nor care about.

As a sociological experiment once I posted nearly exactly the same comment on several different feminist sites – the comment was strongly feminist, and completely on topic.

If I posted under a very-obviously female name, my comment always, without fail, was greeted positively and with warmth and many responses. If I posted under a male name, a comment with the same content (I actually softened the tone a little) was generally attacked, ignored or outright deleted.

Note that I was expecting this, and it was cruel, so I never identified any of these sites on my blog. And never will. It doesn’t prove anything. It proves that feminists are human is all.

And it proves how distant I am from most humanity, a true Alien.

I’m a member of no community and probably never will be. I’m not proud of it or upset by it; it just is.

Fortunately I don’t need anyone’s approval to do the right thing, nor will anyone’s threats or disapproval make me do the wrong one. Kicking me out of a community doesn’t change my opinions of it in the least. Hell, I’d probably kick myself out. I’m a prickly, difficult fucker who likes to ask too many questions that no one can or wants to answer.

I will always support feminism and its aims because it is the right thing to do, even if its community members are as human and as flawed as anyone else.

I guess my position in any community will be at the periphery, the Crazy Uncle (or Aunt, as you like) who yells things towards the fire that occasionally someone listens to and realizes is right. And then they become like me, and everyone distances themselves from her as well.

*And if you do read more than me, please tell me your secret.

May 16

Dream job

I think my dream job would be to tase in the face men who harass women on the street.

Can hardly think of anything more rewarding than that would be.

May 15

No

Looks like Google just went right ahead and ruined Google Maps.

I don’t want it to be customized and depend on social bullshit to function correctly. I don’t want all the interface elements to be hidden. I don’t want it to be flat.

I am not using a goddamn phone. I have a 30” monitor and a 23” monitor beside that.

I really can foresee a time – not that far off – when the Internet becomes basically useless to me, as it all becomes about social bullshit and everything is prescribed and proscribed, herding people into certain directions.

Being herded is not something that I do very well.

In 10 or 20 years, I’m guessing I will hardly use the internet at all as it will have been completely co-opted by corporations, “social” whatever and this sort of crap.

May 15

8 up

No, fuckstick, the reason there has been so much complaining about and disapprobation of Windows 8 is because you wanted hundreds of millions of desktop users who need to get real work done to use a fucking phone interface on their work machines.

Also don’t believe this for a moment – it’s a lie due to the way Microsoft counts licensing.

So let’s pause for a moment and consider the center. In the center, selling 100 million copies of a product is a good thing.

For instance, we use Windows 7 at work and only Windows 7. Yet all of our Windows installs count as Windows 8 sales. Why? Because when a new OS is released, you can only buy a Windows 8 license and then have “downgrade rights” to Windows 7.

Microsoft would’ve recorded 100 million sales if they had released any OS at all, even if said OS were just a single line of code that said, “Print ‘Windows 8 is the shit!’”

And the same is true of OEMs – Dell, HP, etc.

Those 100 million sales of Windows 8 are probably less than a quarter of that actually used in the real world, and maybe far less than that.

Pretty sad when you have to lie about sales numbers.

May 15

Dressing down

I’m not convinced this is necessarily sexism (though I am not saying it is not), mainly because I hear this all the time and I am male.

I don’t do casual Friday and I wear what I call “business goth” most of the time. I wear dark, dressy pants and a dark, formal collared shirt nearly every day.

I also work in IT where often wearing shoes is considered “dressed up.”

Most weeks I get the “Why are you so dressed up?” Or the, “You know, you don’t have to wear that. You can wear jeans” statements about 2-3 times a week, and sometimes more often than that.

I’m pretty sure that most of my co-workers know I am male, so I don’t think sexism explains that.

I don’t wear jeans. I don’t even own jeans. I wear what I want to wear.

I think humans are just naturally good at singling out anyone different/deviant for attention and covert criticism, although of course this can be combined with sexism.

May 15

Touched

I will probably never buy an iphone or similar as I can’t use touchscreen keyboards. I can type – even with practice — 4-5wpm, and often slower.

On a physical phone keyboard, I can do easily 20-30wpm. On a real keyboard, I can usually exceed 100wpm.

So you can see how crippling a touchscreen keyboard is to me. Part of it is that there is no tactile feedback. Another part is that touchscreens often do not respond to my touches due to low conductivity of my fingers (perhaps due to not enough sweat?).