Aug 31

Anity

“Let no one young delay to study philosophy, nor when old grow weary of its study. For no one can come too early or too late to secure the health of the soul. And the one who says that the age for philosophy has either not yet come or has gone by is like the one who says that the age for happiness is not yet come or has passed away.”

– Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus

Aug 31

Bam bam

Obama blew the biggest opportunity in history and we’re all going to be paying for that unforgivable flub for a long, long time. Every day I realize even more what a useless mook weenie he was and wish he would’ve done the right thing by the country even once.

Aug 31

Speed Beep

Co-worker riding in my car yesterday on the way to lunch: “Wow, this car is fast! You’re really flooring it!”

Me: “Uh, I have the accelerator about a quarter of the way down now. I can’t actually floor it on this road because we’d be doing over 100 less than six seconds from now.”

Most people have never ridden in car that’s really fast rather than some playtoy car that just looks fast on the outside — especially most women, which my co-worker was (and still is, I presume), since they are not as often part of car culture.

After a year of having the SS, I can report that it’s a great car. It has no flaws in anything I care about. It’s an extremely low-volume, special-interest car that has the bugs I expected, mainly in the electronics systems. The electronics portion was obviously tested for literally tens of minutes, likely by someone with a blindfold and listening to Metallica at top volume.

The most hilarious electronics bug is one that I ran into yesterday morning. It has a parking assist system that comes on whenever you put the car into reverse. It’ll park itself if you let it. I never have because that’s just not my thing. It beeps a lot. A whole lot. I usually hit the button to turn it off when it starts beeping. All fine and good, though annoying a bit.

But this is the bug. The above is just poorly-designed electronics stuff. What happened is that I hit the button to turn off the parking assist right as one of the periodic beeps was occurring and instead of stopping, the beep continued non-periodically and just kept going…and going…and going. I started pressing buttons until it eventually went off.

Truly, all the electronics could be removed (if such a thing were possible in a modern car) and that’d be peachy with me. I don’t need or want any of it. The car itself is wonderful to drive. Utterly poised, capable, wicked fast, discrete and even gets decent gas mileage on the interstate for what it is.

If you want a car that’s a complete blast to drive and that cops don’t even glance at, the SS is the one for you.

Aug 30

Heined

Jesus fuck, someone writing sensibly about Heinlein for the first time in many years.

When I was plowing through the shelves of my local library, the few Heinlein books I discovered literally changed my life. They made more difference to my thinking and my approach to the world than any other books that I read at that time.

When I was 8 or 10, no one told me that women could be starship captains.

Heinlein did.

No one told me that sex didn’t have to be some fearful, shameful thing, and that women enjoyed sex, too.

Heinlein did.

No one told me that the future might be really different, and that we’d have things that I couldn’t even imagine, and that I might see and learn things that no one could even conceive of in a backwards hick 1980s North Florida town.

Heinlein did, and he was right; the future (now) is vastly different than where and how I grew up.

In the feminist rush to declare Heinlein an evil dead white male, they forget that he was writing about ideas and concepts that no one else at all was writing about, very subversively for the most part for his time, and that for young people like me who were living in places that nearly amounted to Christian fundie Bible camps, finding Heinlein on the shelf meant my mind had a chance to think far bigger thoughts than it would have without him.

I’d never even read or heard of an sf novel with a girl as the main character before I read Podkayne of Mars when I was 9 or so. (Hint: Because there weren’t really any.)

Heinlein was not perfect. But he was so much better than almost all else at the time and finding his novels on the shelf opened my world in ways that I am eternally grateful for.

Aug 30

Piper

Even though I don’t care for Doctor Who, I almost want to watch the season(?) where Billie Piper is the companion, because I do care very much for Billie Piper.

Fuck, I could practice for years and not deliver a performance like those.

Aug 29

Nym Tym

I don’t know the person’s real name, but I’ve found the first good writer I’ve ever discovered on Tumblr. There were quite a few good writers on LiveJournal I used to read back in the day, but most writers on Tumblr seem semi-literate at best.

as they brought it in, i remember how eerily silent it was. normal raccoons chatter almost constantly. they fidget. they bump around. they purr and mumble and make little grabby-hands at everything. even when they’re in pain, and especially when they’re stressed. but this one wasn’t moving around inside the carrier, and it wasn’t making a sound.

Read it. It’s worth it.

Now, my experience with rabies. At a family reunion, my cousin and his friend found a bat. It was docile. Tame. They played with it. I didn’t; I didn’t because I read books, and what I read in those books is that an unafraid, tame wild animal is not a normal thing and it probably means rabies.

When people tell you that book smarts and street smarts are opposed, that’s not really true. You need both. Books saved my ass on at least two occasions. This was one of them. My cousin and his friend had to get rounds of rabies vaccination shots and were at real risk for rabies. I did not because I never went near the bat, never got within 10 feet of it. Because I’d read books that told me exactly what was up.

The bat was tested at the University of Florida, and it did indeed have rabies.

Aug 29

Sesquipedalian Pedanticism

That the Inuit (there is no one Inuit language, but work with me here) have 50+ words for snow, as the legend goes, is both true and untrue. It’s true in the sense that the word or words for snow can be conjugated and modified in the various related Inuit languages in a way that leads to more than 50 words for snow. Or more than 100 — but that’s because this language family works differently in the method it uses to assemble compound words and verbs than English does (in most cases). I don’t want to get too far in the weeds of it all here, but Inuit languages would be more like German than English.

For instance, we might say something like “the fast snow falling now.” In an Inuit language variant, that’d be all one word, like “fastfallingnowsnow.” So in the context of English, that’s all one word. But in its own context, that’s just a stem to which suffixes and affixes and phonemic modifications can be attached. In other words, the words in our hybridized generic Inuit language work fundamentally differently! They are incomparable in important ways to English.

Thus, that’s why I say that to our eyes and ears it seems like an Inuit language has a whole lot of words for snow but a speaker of the Inuit language would not, for the most part, see it that way.