Jul 21


This is something I began noticing at least ten years ago, but has become so pervasive that it eliminates any productive conversation on most sites.

“People have come to use the word ‘troll’ to mean, ‘It made me angry on the Internet,’” said Doyle. “And that’s pretty broad. It’s a big and noisy Internet.”

I’m old enough to remember Usenet and pre-internet BBSes, so I know what true trolling is. And it’s not someone who disagrees with you posting on a website for fuck’s sake.

Jul 19

MPDG overreach

I agree that there is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype, and that it is cloying.

However the classification boundaries for this archetype seem to have moved from “Natalie Portman in Garden State” to “Any woman in any movie no matter how old or young who exhibits awkwardness or dopiness ever.”

This isn’t useful, people.

It seems in the feminist sphere more to have become about hating women with qualities that some other women wish they to some extent possessed than a legitimate cultural critique.

I’ve seen it claimed that everyone from all the women in Love Actually to Maude in Harold and Maude are MPDGs.

Next, I am sure someone will claim that Pvt. Vasquez from Aliens is also an MPDG.

This reminds me in the 90s and early 2000s how every man was quick to mention that he “hated” Brad Pitt and thought he was a terrible actor because, of course, they wished they could be more like him.

Also, I don’t agree that Amélie in Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain fits anywhere near the MPDG archetype at all because the film is about her. To be an MPDG, the woman has to be seen through a man’s eyes and act as no woman ever would. Having known women like Amélie (incredibly lonely, bad with people), it is no stretch to see one depicted on film.

If anything, the man that Amélie hooks up with in the film is the MPDG. (Really. Think about it.)

That’s a side point, though.

The main point is that the criticism of the MPDG archetype loses its power and veracity if any woman on film with a speaking part is claimed to be one.

Jul 18


I’m from the US, and a rural area at that, so to me “rural” means “I can’t see any evidence of people no matter how hard I look and it’s a long drive to the nearest supermarket.”

As I discovered in the UK, areas classified as “rural” in the minds of the British are totally different than I expected or considered.

I was riding in a co-worker’s car and we were passing what looked to me like a pretty standard semi-suburban area – not that dense, but with a few dwellings and businesses around and off in the distance.

My co-worker commented something like, “It’s hard to find anything out in these rural areas.”

I looked around, but didn’t say anything. I could see a dozen houses, a pub, a restaurant and a hardware store. Where I am from, that’s a town!

But in the UK, it is “rural.”

Strange these differences that you’d never even begin to think about if you don’t experience them in person, even in two cultures similar in so many ways.

Jul 18

Iguana show you something

Here’s the iguana that’s been doing iguana stuff outside our place.

It’s over three feet long and looks fearsome, but they are docile vegetarians. Also their skin doesn’t really look pixelated like that. The resize algorithm in GIMP was written by that slow kid in 3rd grade who ate paste and whose parents encouraged him to run with scissors. At least as far as I can tell.

Jul 18


Nice gender bend: Streetfighter Sagat cosplay.

Streetfighter is one of the few video games I’ve played a lot of, because I can’t really stand puzzle or quest games. Sagat was my least favorite character to fight.

Love the scar and the contacts.

Jul 18

Copy ain’t even right

The copyright cops are making everything worse as usual.

If I had the power to do anything I wanted to the laws of the US, one of the first things I’d do is to eliminate copyright altogether. Not curtail it, not reduce its length.

Nuke it.

Yes, it’d be chaos for a while. But from chaos something new and better would be born – better because it could not get any worse in the copyright arena than it is right now.

Jul 16

Having seen a lot of every damn thing

I was helping a guy on the UK team troubleshoot a major problem today since no one was around on that side of the pond any longer. All the others had been troubleshooting it most of the day. To set the stage, I don’t know much about their gear or their equipment or anything about their setup at all there.

He asked me to look at a firewall to see if there was an issue with traffic to and from an IP address. I happened to notice that the firewall management box I was connecting to was on a public IP address and the same network as the IP address he gave me to check.

I couldn’t reach the firewall management box at all and since I had already noticed the IPs were on the same network, I went to RIPE net’s whois and found out who the IP address block belonged to. It belonged to Easynet in the UK, which means that is the ISP.

So then I looked up the status page for Easynet’s services and found out that they were having a major outage.

Problem identified. It took me about thirty seconds.

The UK tech was amazed that I’d been able to figure out what the problem was in thirty seconds. It was something that various people had been working on all day.

But having seen a lot of every damn thing, it was just another day at work.

Funny when companies lay people off, they usually get rid of people like me. I’m expensive. But when you have a major production problem, I’m the difference between losing two days or losing thirty seconds.

And that’s the reason I am expensive.

I know where to draw the X.

Jul 16

See less

Anyone who uses that “see more…” javascript on their site that inserts itself when you copy and then paste some text should be shot in the face with a planet.

Preferably Jupiter.

Jul 16


Why do we demand flawlessness of character in writers especially?

There isn’t a truly great writer alive or dead who is a paragon of wholesomeness and good living. It just can’t happen.

First of all, to be a writer you have to be uncommonly stubborn. Writing is not a natural act, especially writing in volume. Uncommonly stubborn people tend to persist in inadvisable actions for longer than they should. This alone leads to many of the common flaws found in the character of writers.

Second, to be a great writer you nearly have to have lead an interesting life. An interesting life is impossible to have without making mistakes – sometimes very large ones.

Third, no one who ever wrote anything great did so by avoiding the tendentious or concentrating on the anodyne. Revelation and novel thought doesn’t emerge from a void – chances are the writer has explored a range of possibilities in his or her own life from which these insights came.

So give me my writers bloodstained, mud-blotted, buffoonish and antagonizing – just as long as their writing is interesting.