Dec 11

Change Out

Absolute truth. You see this in people’s non-reaction to climate change. It is naïveté and Pollyanna-ishness on a scale that is almost unbelievable. I wonder how much fiction affects this and by what method. Is it because there most disasters look like a fun adventure, with nearly always some happy ending?

Buncha people are going to learn about reality the hard way.

Dec 11

Level With You

I hate anything that says it’s “next level” or it’s going to take me there or has anything to do with “leveling up” or the like. I do my level best to avoid hearing that or reading that. Just no. Corporate speak makes my skin crawl, but particularly that phrase and its variants.

Dec 11

Comedy

Oh wow, this is a beautiful project.

Was today trying to remember some of the works Tia and I read to each other. This was one, at least part of it. We liked the prosody of the Mandelbaum translation. We also read aloud a lot of Robert Frost, Adrienne Rich, and she loved Edna St. Vincent Millay (I read that whole linked poem to her at least twice), whom I had never read before meeting her. It wasn’t just highfalutin stuff, though. Not at all. Plenty of Dave Barry and song lyrics and errata and abstracta we made fun of (such as reading part of Little House on the Prairie, but trying to change it in real time to match our new title: Little Crack House on the Prairie!).

Dec 11

Passing Is Passing

I did this at about the same age when I calculated I could never do homework or turn in the folder crap, and still pass my classes if I aced all the tests (which I did, except math).

From that day on I never did homework, and told almost all my teachers in advance that I did not and would not do homework. Still passed every non-math class handily.

Dec 11

Pensive

Exactly. The Mac Pro is “so expensive” according to everyone, when in reality in its market segment is a damn good deal.

In a different market segment, the previous company I worked for had the fastest non-supercomputers in the world available to customers (IBM Power9-based Power System E980s for reference) — and the customers still were asking for something quicker as it wasn’t enough. There are tons of people who will pay, and pay dearly, for performance.

Being able to encode 8K faster than real time. Holy hell. That is something.

Dec 11

Therapist Off

The one who does not — therapy exists to perpetuate itself. While people do sincerely believe they are being helped (and maybe some are), mostly therapy intensifies and increases manias and fixations, surfacing negative emotions, thus requiring more therapy.

Be suspicious of that for which the treatment never leads nor can ever lead to any cure.

Dec 11

Multiplication

Thinking about why people have such trouble with any sort of competence across different knowledge areas. I mean, even a bit of basic knowledge is beyond most, even when they think they are trying. I don’t understand it but I want to. I am trying to. Sure, I have a big brain but I’m still just a single human. My time is just as limited as anyone else’s. I am not 100x smarter than anyone else — no one is. What is that I am doing that other people aren’t? Can it be reproduced?

Sure, the world is a big place, but the basics aren’t that hard. They really aren’t.

Inspired by my dead friend and what her natural inclination would be, I want to try to help people be better, rather than deride them for being not good enough. This is me pondering that and how to do it.

Dec 11

Watching Again

The best part of Watchmen is how it recognizes that the past is never past. In a way, that’s the leitmotif of the entire show, explicitly with Dr. Manhattan, but using that to thematically stamp the rest of life with it.

The conversation across time that Angela Abar has with her grandfather — brilliant, wonderful, perfect.

Dec 11

Final Thoughts on Finality

Even though I hadn’t spoken to my friend Tia in 23 years, it seems just utterly wrong that no one alive will ever get to hear her joyous barking laugh again. That hit me harder than I thought it would — grief compresses time; the present and past overlap, coalesce, the Möbius strip insinuating its flat coiled line. It feels like just a moment ago I was watching Tia paint and reading Vonnegut to her, hoping to spark that laugh of hers. That it was 25 years ago and in a different world altogether feels stranger to me than if you’d told me I actually time-traveled.

I guess that’s how you know you deeply care about someone — that you want them to prosper and be most who they truly are even when their world line and yours diverge completely, never to intersect again.

Thinking back, she lived her life wide open and perhaps she knew somewhere deep inside her that she didn’t have as much time as the rest of us.

And I wanted to say this, just so it’s somewhere. I said that Tia was kind, and she was — the kindest person I’ve ever known. Inextricably related to this is how she observed everything, paid attention to all the world, which is probably why we meshed. For instance, she noticed that I drank Mountain Dew constantly (then) and I am certain sensed the first time I visited her at home that I felt a bit unsure if she really wanted me around. By the next time I went over, though, she’d tucked Mountain Dew cans into every free spot of her little fridge — her wordless way of letting me know with that I was welcome in her life, that she did want me to have a place there.

But she was not weak, for which kindness is often mistaken. She stood up to her parents. She emancipated herself from them legally, against all odds. Can you imagine the guts that took, the will? Could you have done that when you were 15? She was as strong as a titanium beam where it counted. Tia was unlike anyone else, a stray from some other, superior universe, and she had the misfortune of alighting in North Florida. And like poison it seeped into her, killed her, silenced her, foreclosed on a better future while making a mockery of the best parts of her that in another place would’ve shone like supernovae. That’s what makes areas like North Florida deplorable — not the people, but what those areas do to the people who don’t at all deserve that poison in their veins.