Sep 18

On being interesting

Used to when I was young, I had dreams of being someone interesting, of doing amazing, daring things and living to tell about them.

Turns out I did those things, and did in fact live through them.

This isn’t why I did them, but I thought it’d make people like me more. Turns out I was right about that but it also turned out that it didn’t matter.

Because those sort of experiences also separate you from people. Not to glorify myself, but when you’ve seen things and done intense and dangerous things that most people really haven’t experienced, it builds a wall over which most people just can’t climb.

I’ve never been in combat thankfully, though I have been in some pretty hairy non-combat situations, and when in Homeland Brody finds that he can only talk to Carrie about himself and his life, I understood where he was coming from. Where they both were.

Luckily my current partner had no problem climbing over that wall, or we probably couldn’t have stayed together for as long as we have.

But for most people, there is no path, and no stairs, no catapult, no hovercraft, no jetpack or anti-gravity device that gets them over. We are just from different worlds and I have nothing to say to them that they’d understand.

Sep 18

Got my goat

Only yuppies who’ve never been around goats would sign up to go on a “goat hike.” Goats would be terrible pack/hiking animals. They are ornery, wily, mean, and will charge you when your back is turned just for the fun of it.

Can’t find the page I was looking at last night about it now, but saw someone’s miserable experience with a “goat hike.”

It would never even occur to me to sign up for something like that, having grown up in the country. Goats are like the coyotes of the even-toed ungulate world, barely capable of being domesticated and always willing to show you who’s boss.

Sep 17

Incomparable standards

Just realized that “ditziness” in women considered to be attractive is probably/almost certainly the exact same phenomenon in men that supposedly signals higher intelligence – that of the Aspereger’s or Asperger’s-like obliviousness to certain social cues and expectations.

Thinking about it, I can’t really see any difference.

Funny that the same behavior can be read so differently, even when supported by no evidence.

Sep 17


Even worse than the US national forest sites not having GPS coordinates for various trailheads is when the GPS coordinates are completely damn bogus. That makes life very difficult.

Sep 16

In truth

University of Oregon to Faculty: You Belong to Me!

The suffocation and of the American university system – once the greatest in the world – will in some distant future be seen as roughly equivalent to the destruction of the library at Alexandria.

Turns out that being force-fed raw capitalism directly isn’t good for anything – the environment, the university system, or the planet as a whole.

Sep 16


So-called ergonomic keyboards hurt my wrists a great deal. I can type on them for 10-15 minutes. No problem with regular keyboards. Can and have typed on one of those for 16 hours straight with no issues.

But getting a keyboard again with mechanical switches really sped up my typing and made my fingers less tired.

Of course during the early 80s when I started typing heavily all keyboards came with mechanical switches. Gradually, manufacturers switched to cheaper, worse keyboards and mainly only people like me who had been using PCs since the early days noticed.

Now mechanical key switches in keyboards are making a resurgence, and that’s a really good thing.

Sep 15


So many people still hate science fiction and this surprises me because sf has taken up the mantle that most “serious” literature these days ignores – that of dealing with real actual social issues.

Science fiction plays a role here. SF is one of the most trenchant present-day forms of satire. Harsh truths about our present-day society can be too inflammatory to express outright. But if they’re dramatized within science-fictional worlds, vast numbers of citizens may be willing to absorb them.

For instance, Max Barry’s Jennifer Government has done more to lampoon and illuminate the libertarian ideal end state than all the academic monographs in history.

There are hundreds more examples, of course. Thousands, really.

One wonders, for instance, if the world wide web would have arisen in its present form if it hadn’t been for the popularity of Tolkien and of cyberpunk science fiction. Very many of the programmers were reading both of these sets of novels.

Exactly. The web standards are open and available to all for that very reason. They just as easily could’ve been patented and locked away, and available only for large fees. The inevitable outcome is only inevitable in hindsight.

The foundations of the internet and the web are both fundamentally anti-corporate and anti-capitalistic in nature (though funded by capitalistic enterprises – interesting subversion there) all due to some sf-infused hippie hackers.

Interesting how the world turns.

Sep 15

When you don’t fit

Strange that in my life contemporaneously I’ve been called an “uptight Republican” and a “hopeless tree-hugging liberal” (along with some slurs about my alleged sexuality).

When you don’t really fit into any ideological category and also emphatically decline to join any tribe, people see what they want to see and try to fit you into places that make some sense to them, even if completely inapplicable and unsupported by the evidence.

Not that I think being hated by every group makes me right. But I do believe that being hated by every group means that I think for myself and reach my own conclusions, which is far more important to me, right or not.

Sep 15

Adipose the question

This is a good article, as it doesn’t engage in the scientifically-dubious “healthy-at-any-weight” schlock, but is also compassionate to the obese. Also, I think I read a shorter version of this somewhere.

Questions of aesthetics aside, obesity is bad because it causes disease by, for instance, raising blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stuffing your liver full of fat, blocking your throat so you can’t breathe at night, crushing your joints. Fat people are more likely to get blood clots, gallstones, gout and some cancers – as well as type 2 diabetes, which leads to all manner of medical mayhem. Fat men and women make less money, marry less often and are less educated than the lean. They are more often depressed. In the Framingham Heart Study, which has examined the causes of cardiovascular disease across generations, the very fat lived on average six to seven years less than the lean. The moderately fat lived three years less. If you quit smoking and get fat, you may as well have kept on smoking. These dire facts are not my opinion. They are based on empirical data extracted from large international trials and studies. I wish it were not so. I wish you could get really fat and stay healthy.

Personal experience here. I lost around 25% of my body weight and I feel vastly better. I went from being dead-tired after walking 4-5 miles to walking 6-7 and feeling like I’d done about nothing.

I don’t feel like I am 18 again, but I went from feeling like I was 60 to feeling 30. So fucking worth it.

I know and understand why it’s a reviled phrase, but it worked for me so I like it: that piece of pizza doesn’t taste nearly as good as being skinny feels.

If you make a fat person thin, you are sentencing them to a lifetime of hunger.

So what? Life isn’t fair, as my father frequently reminded me when I was a kid. Everything you want is traded for something else. That is the deal in this universe, and always will be. Crying about it won’t help one little bit.

I know that everyone just can’t buck up and make their body do what they want, but there must be some reason that obesity is so high these days that doesn’t involve the genetic virus conspiracy theory explanation. We should look into the real reasons and do something about those, as I realize most people won’t be able to do what I did.