Monday, June 01, 2020

Don't Let Them Tell You

Don't let them tell you nothing can be done. That is a lie.

If you're wondering how long police in the United States have been murdering African-Americans for non-violent crimes, I can tell you the date it started.

July 4, 1776. That's when it started.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Friday Links!

Out of nowhere, a pretty substantial week.

This is a fascinating story: Why a college football coach hid his bipolar disorder diagnosis for 30 years. What an idea for a science fiction story: Mystery as 60 peculiar cubes with inscriptions pulled from Coventry river.

From Wally, and among others, Instacart appears to be the devil: Sick Days. This is so bizarre and such a good read (and a staggeringly great headline): A Feud in Wolf-Kink Erotica Raises a Deep Legal Question. It's all very, very strange (but kudos for wearing a mask): 28 of the most creative face masks from around the world. Terrifying: I Can't Believe I'm Still Alive After Using Facebook Dating.

From Ken Piper, and this is fascinating: Gears of war: When mechanical analog computers ruled the waves. Next, and this is so strange, it's This Lickable Screen Can Recreate Almost Any Taste or Flavor Without Eating Food. This is excellent: The Science of Temperature is Weirder Than You Think.

From Eric Higgins-Freese, and these images are amazing: You Can Lose Hours Looking at These Old Photos of Car Dealerships From Decades Past.

From Meg McReynolds, and this is wonderful: Your Guide To Not Getting Murdered In A Quaint English Village.

Tremendous links from C. Lee. First, and it's an excellent read, it's How We'll Live on the Moon. This is such a terrific story: Teen who lost all video games on 3/11, buddy, win award for app. A warning, to be sure: Warren Harding Tried to Return America to ‘Normalcy’ After WWI and the 1918 Pandemic. It Failed. Well, one party feels this way today, at least: The 1924 Law That Slammed the Door on Immigrants and the Politicians Who Pushed it Back Open.

From David Gloier, and it could be useful: Washing Your Hands Triggers Trillions Of Tiny Molecular Explosions.

From Geoff Engelstein, and it's amazing: Cleveland Indians Hid Nicolas Cage in 39 Lineup Graphics in 2019, and No One Had a Clue.

Closing out the week, from Brian Brown, and it's a fantastic read: The sprawling, must-read history of Maxis’ former “serious games” division.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

This is Short Today, but a Netflix Recommendation

I need to write the last four chapters in a continuous stream, instead of considering them as separate chapters, so I'm essentially locking myself in until Eli 18.9 gets back on Sunday. Maybe I can Daniel Day-Lewis this thing to the ground. So this is going to be very short today. I hope to get back to normal on Monday, when I will discuss Redneck Sophie's Choice.

In the meantime, I finished watching Call My Agent! two nights ago, and it's one of the funniest shows I've seen in a long, long time. It's French (plenty of subtitle options), and it is unbelievably clever and witty. I laughed out loud half a dozen times each episode, at least, which is unheard of for me. Three seasons, six episodes a season, and it's consistently brilliant. Well, except maybe the first episode of the first season, when they have to set everything up. After that, though, it's all aces.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Lost In The Ether

I was stumped for a topic today.

I have plenty of topics, but most of them are involved (my favorite is "The Concept of the Other in Conservative Politics"). It's a barn burner, really.

However, right now I'm trying to rewrite the last four chapters of the book. They're gut-wrenching, hopefully, and writing them is a gut-wrenching process, so I'm pressed flat by the time I'm done each day.

In one of my Gmail folders, though, I found little notes I'd hidden for myself. Of course, I'd hidden them so long ago that I no longer have any idea what they mean, but it's almost better that way. I can only imagine what I would have written about the following:
The tiger wranglers
He counted out ninety-nine cents in change
The myth of the whole day free
It's very difficult to be a person who understands things
People who survive on only the scent of applies

I think they're little snippets of other things I read, and I can figure out two of them ("the myth of..." and "It's very difficult to be..."), but the rest are a mystery.

On the topic of "It's very difficult to be a person who understands things," how ironic is it that understanding science and how dangerous COVID-19 is somehow being interpreted as a political declaration?

We live in a strange, strange time.

And Another Series of Texts From Up North

we found buy two get three  big
bags of chips at meijer so we 
bought 30 large bags. holy

                    That's just called smart shopping.

30 bags for 13 dollars. Couldn't pass it up. 

                     It's the investment of the century.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Greatest Moment

I left Dell in 2000, but I still occasionally have a dream about working there.

Last night, my boss was a real idiot (unlike in real life, where I was very fortunate) . He moved my cubicle to this open area where I had to sit at the end of a long conference table. I went off for something, and when I came back, he was having a meeting at that table. He saw me and complained that there weren't enough chairs, and that I should go get some immediately.

Instead, I went off looking for any of my old bosses so that I could get another job. Then I went back and he saw me (meeting still going on) and complained again.

The greatest moment is that moment when I realized it was all a dream, I didn't work for an idiot, and I didn't have to go get those damn chairs.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Ultimate Contest

Eli 18.9 never saw Shaq in his prime.

Shaquille O'Neal was the most physically dominating player I've ever seen. If he wasn't the strongest player in history (maybe Wilt Chamberlain), he was a close second.

I've talked to Eli about Shaq and his place in history, but I can never explain how totally dominating he was.

Recently, though, the lack of live sports has done my work for me. There are plenty of Shaq moments in viral distribution now, including a few where he absolutely terrorized defenders on overwhelmingly powerful dunks.

Today, we had a text exchange (started by him).
How many Shaqs in his prime would it take to beat 
a silverback gorilla?

                                             I think the over/under on that is three. 
                                             Not sure which side I'd take.

A silverback can deadlift up to 1800 pounds. 
It would take at LEAST seven Shaqs for me to 
take him in a fight. I would rather fight an 
armed Shaq  than a silverback.

                                           Shaq could bench press 475, which translates 
                                           roughly to about 800 deadlift. The problem 
                                           for Shaq is the natural athlete factor with the 
                                           silverback. I would pay to watch  this encounter. 

I think if you put five Shaqs in a ring with one 
silverback and put it on tv it would be the most 
watched event in television history. 

                                           Okay, after some research, I'm taking the over.
                                           Wrestling is the gorilla's favorite way to play.
                                           Not good for Shaq.


Just another normal day, for us. And on a side note, I still say that Wilt Chamberlain was the greatest athlete of all time.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, a brilliantly written article: The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet. Wait, this also deserves to to lead, and it's heartbreaking (from C. Lee): This is a fantastic article! The Devastating Decline of a Brilliant Young Coder.

This is a quite the story: FC Seoul hit with record fine for placing sex dolls in the stands.

From Wally, and this is incredibly detailed: The Granicus: Alexander's Conquest of Persia. This is an excellent read: Superheroes are scrapping their secret identities, and it’s for the best. This is an incredible run: The Mountain Biker Who Won Without A Chain. These pictures are just astonishing: The Most Beautiful Flower Garden In The World Has No Visitors For The First Time In 71 Years And I Got To Capture It.

From Daniel Willhite, and it's wildly entertaining: This Word Does Not Exist.

From C. Lee, and people are so strange: During the Renaissance, Drinking Wine Was a Fight Against Physics. This is terrific: The Thonet Chair: How the humblest of chair designs became the hardest-working furniture in film. What a relief: Why Microsoft Word Now Considers Two Spaces After a Period an Error.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

A Sign That Is Clearly Needed


Meanwhile, There Is No View Like This For Me

Eli 18.9 and his three closest friends have been quarantining and rarely seeing each other for the two months since they all came home from college.

One of the friends has grandparents who have a lake cabin, and all four of them have gone up there to prepare the cabin for when the grandparents come back from Florida (a common pattern up here). He sent a picture:

It's hard to think of a more pleasant place to ride out the zombie apocalypse.

In other news, I finished another new chapter today. I have one new chapter left to write, four original chapters to rewrite, and then I'll be content complete and officially in beta. In this case, "beta" means six months of editing to fix a long list of items. Still, though, it's progress.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Grand Campaign

The advanced version of Fortune and Glory is wildly fun.

As we were playing yesterday, I said that we should design a board game together, and Eli 18.9 said, "I'm way ahead of you." So he's on board.

As a start, we're going to create a grand campaign for Hnefatafl.

Hnefatafl is a fantastic strategy game. Not evenly matched like chess, but a bloody struggle where you're either the King and his men, trying to break out from the center of the board, or you're the dark invaders, trying to contain and capture the troops and surround the King.

A castle siege, basically.

It's not as diverse as chess, because there are only two types of pieces, and the movement rules for every piece are the same, but it's still fascinating.

What it lacks, though, is a sense of something larger going on.

Here's what we decided to do. I'm going to use Inkarnate and create a detailed country map. Here's an example from Inkarnate's gallery page:

That is one sexy map. 

Castles are going to be strung along the border, and the matches will be a series of castle raids. The difference will be that the results will affect the number of troops going forward, so every single piece in every single match matters. Eventually, one of us will capture the other's country. 

When we get this done, I'll make a PDF of the rule set (Eli will type it all up and add images, because he's incredibly detailed about things like that) and share it with you guys. Hopefully, it will be a nice way to spend time during The Endless Days of Plague.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


George is feeling old and tired these days, like a lot of us, but he still enjoys going out onto the porch early in the morning and watching the birds.

Okay, I know this is sub-Van Gogh quality, but he never had to work with food:

Here's another picture of the view from the porch, this one focusing on the beautiful tree in bloom:

Site Meter