Serious Putty, ADD, and Sloppier then Fiction

Comic is from XKCD, by the brilliant Randall Monroe

I suck…suck at taking myself seriously.

I’ve talked about this before, though I think I was just really trying to just get the “I’m really frustrated and GRRRAHHGFRAKRA…fuck this” out into the open so I could pick it apart and examine it.  You know, out into the open where I could actually get a look at it in decent light and figure out what the heck this mess was made of.

Then hit it with a hammer.  A lot.

Also from XKCD by Randall Monroe.

In either case, I realized that I probably end up blaming my attention span for the issue more then it deserves.  Oh, don’t get me wrong; that is also a problem.  My attention span and I have, what you might call, an adversarial relationship.  The thing is that I’ve managed to, more or less, fine tune this problem into an additional tool set.  I still really can’t have the TV on at the same time that I intend to do anything but watch TV, but I’ve also managed to find ways to make it work to my benefit.  It’s still pretty damn tricky, and I remain capable of buggering it up from time to time.

It’s not the problem it once was however, and it seriously isn’t holding me back like I thought.  No, the problem is my almost religious devotion to not taking myself seriously.  Ever.

As I grew up, whenever people around me were pretentious?  It hurt me.  It still does, more often then not.  It hurt me worst when I displayed it, and I think I naturally just gravitated towards humility as a result of patten recognition.  I’m happy with that too, as humility is much more prone to self-discovery and growth then walking around thinking that you’re perfect.  Most of the presumption and cockiness I have is a sort of private joke.  Look at me, says the joke, I am a parody of arrogance!  Look all this stuff that is nothing more then ego insulation for the insecure douchebags of the world!

XKCD again… 😉

Which is all fine, and good, and very useful at dealing with said bags of douche.  Try to create something more interesting then a D&D character however, and suddenly that incredible lens of pretension penetration backfires.  That internal dialogue is now picking apart everything I try to do…because who am I to take anything  seriously?  I mean, isn’t there someone more qualified for this?

I’ve been trying to keep the message of a particular video I found in my head lately.  It was posted by one of my favorite Youtube personalities, Levni Yilmaz.  While all of his Tales of Mere Existence are solid gold, the follow strikes a nerve in a profound way.

I always love Lev’s work, because there is an amount of underlying self-awareness with everything he does.  It’s like he doesn’t quite get why anything he does resonates with anybody, and that he takes it too damn seriously, but he’ll be buggered before he lets something stop him from creating.  I strongly suspect this, due to this other video he posted which seems somewhat related to the preceding one.  I’m not going to pin it here since this post is sort of bloated as is, but I strongly advise you to watch it if the first one entertained you at all.  Seriously, the guy does great work.

So really, it’s about pushing forward.  I haven’t yet figured out the shape that it will take.  It’s going to be interesting to say the least.  It’s also probably going to be really difficult, but mostly I find myself looking forward to it in spite of this.  I have a sneaky suspicion that this has the potential to be a lot of fun.


Perspective, or “We’ve always been assholes.”

I feel like I ended up coming of age in one of the worst political and economic climates the entire world has ever seen, and that after I came of age it only got worse.  If you listen to any news service, it seems the United  States is in a nose dive of petty political infighting, the likes of which have never before been seen.  It’s always someone’s fault, but no one seems to agree on who that is.  One thing is certain: we’re all screwed and it has never been worse.

Then I remind myself that this statement is bullshit.

In 1798, President John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts.  These were a group of four acts that, if you’ll allow the short version of things, gave the government the power to silence and imprison critics.  That’s right, criticism was a freaking crime…a crime 11 were tried for and 10 actually served time for.  This wasn’t some modern thing.  This was something that happened in the first 10 years of our country’s existence, and during the second president’s tenure.  This was at the dawn of our political existence, and it didn’t bode well for us.

I have no illusions about how bad things are.  I have no illusions about how much gun control, economic warfare, taxation, gender politics, military politics, politics politics, freed of speach, freedom of religion, bipartisanism, bisexuals, infighting, out there fighting, and every other topic under the sun are effecting our country’s well being.  I get it.  I understand this.  However, to listen to the news?  We are on the brink as we have never been before.  It’s the end of times….

…because that is what sells.  Fear.  Anger.  Hate.

I think back to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, and Jon Stewart’s moment of sincerity…

..the above clip cuts off one of my favorite parts unfortunately…which I have found a transcript of.

Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution and racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day.  The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV. But Americans don’t live here or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundation that sustains while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done. Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals, or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do, often something they do not want to do. But they do it, impossible things every day that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make. -Jon Stewert

I wonder why CBS (the people who posted the youtube clip)  cut that part of his speech out.  Sort of a poignant omission, don’t ya think?

We’ve done stupid things…and we’re going to do stupid things again.  Same as always.  Same as everyone else.  I’m not going to make excuses for the foolish things our leaders do….but I’m not going to fall into the trap that does nothing but give money and attention to fearmongering tactics.

I’m better then that.  We all are.

Letter to Craigslist People…

MissiveDear Craigslist People,

If you’re going to sell your old videogames?  Do not try to sell old sports games.  Ever.  No one is ever going to be looking for vintage hockey games.  No one is going to want Madden 2011, when any future Madden has been released.   Deal with the fact that EA has bilked you for 60 bucks on what should have been an expansion pack, and stop crowding Craigslist with bullshit no one will ever want in a thousand years.


Topic Buffet: Airborne Mongols, Kotex Terrorism, and 50 Shades of Dorks

"Influenza, bitches!"

“Influenza, bitches!”

Dear gods, do I love Airborne!  I was initially dubious of a product that seemed to be the fucked up, radiation baby between alka-seltzer and hippie vitamins.  Then both the lady pet and SH ended up with ebola of the throat, so I felt that the seven dollar risk was worth safeguarding against the potential loss of 10~20 pay hours.

Holy fuck nuggets, it actually worked.  My immune system has, thus far, kept the mongol horde at bay.  I feel like I just found a buff item out of an MMO.  These things are fantastic.

So it seems the Pentagon (which, as a shape, can kick the ass out of a rhombus), has lifted the ban on women in combat.

If you menstruate?  The terrorists win.

If you menstruate? The terrorists win.

While there are some very interesting, very worthwhile, and very poignant discussions to be had on this topic?  I’m most looking forward to watching conservative outlets try to explain why this is bad thing while trying to do so without being so misogynistic that they get pitchfork wielding mobs.  My guess is they’ll try and make a connection with the period, menstruation, and logistical concerns therein.

Seriously, I’m willing to bet money within the next year that some jack ass blames military spending on tampons, tissues, and Midol provisions.  This sort of stupidity writes itself.

By the way, special thanks to David Demar, the Amateur Professional, for bringing this issue to my attention.

Women in Politics = Patriotic High Heels? Dafuq?

Women in Politics = Patriotic High Heels? Dafuq?

While we’re talking about gender politics, I feel bad for women when it comes to voting.  The leading Democrat and Republican female politicians are both trope-tastic meme fuel.

The Republicans have Sarah Palin, and holy shit…she acts like “Hunter Hick Barbie”, with a public speaking ability granted via her inexplicable ability to read a teleprompter.  Then there is Hilary Clinton…aka Lady Macbeth.  I am fully convinced that the only reason she conceded the Democrat’s nominati0n in 2008 was because she was also vying to be the Witch-Queen of Narnia, and she could only reasonably manage one.

At this point, I hope Oprah does run someday; it would be nice to see a woman vying for President of Vice-President that doesn’t make me cringe.

Pictured: A place that doesn't understand a county isn't a state.

Pictured: A place that doesn’t understand a county isn’t a state.

So apparently, Franklin County in Indiana has declared that any Federal modifications to the second amendment don’t count and are invalid.  In other news, awwww….isn’t that cute?  Bumblefuck-Nowhere, Indiana thinks it’s a sovereign nation!  How adorable!

On a related note, I’ve noticed a disturbing correlation.  There seems to be a tendency amongst those to view the Right to Bare Arms as sacrosanct and unable to be modified due to the obvious intent of the founding fathers.  So….why don’t these same people have the same view about separation of church and state?

No one does literary criticism like Gaston...

No one does literary criticism like Gaston…

I have mixed feelings about the whole “Shades of Grey” trilogy.

Not as a book; gods no.  I wouldn’t even let the rats use it as cage liner.  BDSM-esque Trilight fan-fic?  No. no. no.  What I am curious about is what is might end up doing to fetish sub-culture.

World of Warcraft was the last catalyst needed to push nerd and gamer cultures out of its own niche, and bring it into the broader pop culture audience.  It wasn’t the first blow either.  Now, this brought about a lot of changes.  Did it start off as a wave of sub par, pseudo-geek  crap that pandered to the worst stereotypes and frat boys? Well, yes.  It also got us an Avenger’s movie directed by Joss Whedon, the ability to buy packs of Magic at 3:17am at a Wal-Mart, ushered in conventions like PAX, and you can probably also thank it for the rise of YouTube serials and Kickstarter backed creativity.

It sucked at first, but it also started a Dorkish Renaissance….and some of what that has yielded as been amazing.

I wonder if the Greys won’t do the same things for the fetish and BDSM; draw in the masses, and leave the already curious

.....just make sure they can remember it....

…..just make sure they can remember it….

hungry for the real meat and potatoes.  It’s hardly the first push, it’s hardly the last shove…but it was a big one, and I’msort of cautiously eager to see where this leads….and the changes are already visible.  Some of them are hilarious.We now live in a world where grannies can and have purchased main stream fetish porn in a supermarket.

It’s  a brave new world….which, by the way, makes a good phrase to use as a safeword.

So Special, You’re Boring

The SSE (Sister Shaped Entity) wrote an interesting post about patron gods.  It’s more focused on the the Asatru/Heathenry take on the subject, but it really could apply to just about anything Pagan.  I have heard her full opinion on such stuff in person, so the article was familiar ground for me.  While it didn’t add anything new to my knowledge base, it did trigger the desire to say something on the subject, because it did catalyst a few epiphanies that I had been working up to.

When I have an epiphany, I say my brain just "Tetris-ed".  I rarely have to explain this metaphor.

When I have an epiphany, I say my brain just “Tetris-ed”. I rarely have to explain this metaphor.

I don’t have a patron.  I don’t have a fulltrui.  Not amongst the Norse pantheon or any other, so far as I can tell.  If I do, the party in question has been pretty damn quiet about it…so either it’s not time yet or it never will be time.  Personally, I’ve stopped worrying about it.  It took a little while to get there, and I realize one of of my hang ups was…well…other Heathens.

It was surprisingly difficult to be one of the people in the room that didn’t (allegedly) have some sort of connection to draw upon.  People around me were talking about having a connection with the divine, and I wanted to touch on that as well; I still do.  Not because all the cool kids were doing it, but because I wanted to understand this new vista.  I wanted to do more then send a prayer forth like either either a plea to a parent for cash or like a thank you note to an aunt for a Christmas sweater.  I wanted to speak to and thank the forces that I hold sacred, and I wanted to do it personally.  Not out of some perception that there was a divine obligation that I was owed, but out of a desire to be truly respectful.

"Lures, sucka!"

“Lures, sucka!”

I am surrounded by people who actually get something out of spiritual traveling other then an accidental nap.  I know multiple acquaintances who have inspiring or vivid dreams, where the last dream of note that I had was one where Mr. T showed me a selection of fishing equipment.  These things are talked about often, and I feel like I am completely unequipped for the conversation because I feel unequipped for the playing field.

So I get why people push themselves to have connections that they don’t, in fact, have.  It’s difficult feeling like the odd man out in a room full of black sheep, and it’s the sort of thing you end up searching for answers for.  Failing finding the answers, you might end up creating answers of your own devising.  It sort of makes sense that people would make themselves believe in something that has not, in fact, happened.

It’s still pretty dumb though.

At a recent event, the SSE suggested that perhaps what I wanted out of spirituality wasn’t what I was going to get; maybe it was beyond me, and that I shouldn’t feel like I was deficient for it.  That I shouldn’t be a fish feeling stupid for being unable to climb a tree.  While I’m not going to quit attempting to kiss the infinite (or, at least, snuggle with a particularly vast finite), I think there was a something she touched on that was quite poignant.

The SSE and her Ginger-Orc fiancee have come to their faith and spirituality through some pretty unique and challenging ways.  The lady-pet has her own views, and while the path she walked was equally unique and rocky?  I would say that it wasn’t even vaguely similar to the other two.  Other people I’ve talked to have shown me widely divergent paths as well.  I haven’t found the one that works for me yet, but that’s the key word: yet.  I’m still looking.  If I never find anything, I intend to be seeking something until the day I die.

I have looked upon the face of faith and smiled.  With great difficulty, I’ve done things I once thought I’d never be able to do.  I have seen my intuition sharpen dramatically over the last year or so.  There is a path for me to walk, just as there is a path for everyone.  The only way that someone would be truly incapable is if they decided they should be so.  If they walk away from that path purposefully.

This is where that pressure makes some people fall short I think; they go so desperate to be any sort of special that they’ll take up the first special they come across and just say “me too!” and not realize they’ve just made themselves as bland as paste.  You might think that a fireman is pretty special, but if you just grab their helmet and wear it all the damn time for no bloody reason other then trying to be special like a fireman?  You’re actually just ending up as part of the scenery.  You’ve opted to trade whatever might be amazing about you some day for what is amazing about someone else today.

Axe Cop grabbed the Axe, not the helmet.  Be like Axe Cop, kids.

Axe Cop grabbed the Axe, not the helmet. Be like Axe Cop, kids.

It won’t fit.  No matter how dapper you think you look in that helmet?  You’re not a fireman.  Don’t try to be one.  Be you.

(If you actually are a fireman, please disregard the preceding metaphor.  Especially if my house is on fire then…shit…for the love of all that is holy BE A FIREMAN)

Edited on 1/24/2012: Edited due to numerous typos and for clarity.

Feeding the Kindle

Dear gods, I need to stop buying books for my Kindle.

No...not that Andy Williams....

Turns out Andy Williams knows a ton about search engine optimization…

Over the last month I have purchased Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Evolutionary Witchcraft by T. Thorn Coyle,  Guards! Guards! by Terry Prattchet, Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, SEO 2013 & Beyond by Andy Williams, Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition by Cora Anderson, Honoring Sigyn by Galina Krasskova, and The Culture of the Teutons by Vilhelm Gronbech.  I am alternating, in more or less an active fashion, four of them.  I have actually finished one.

I might have a problem.

Truth be told, that’s really more bragging then complaint or cry for help.  I really do love my e-reader.  It’s been getting pretty consistently fed, and I’m planning on feeding it more still.  Aside of that horde I mentioned I have twice as many

Magic: because having fun should be fucking complicated

Magic: because having fun should be fucking complicated

books I’ve already purchased, two PDFs with some of Sis’s stories…and probably her thesis once I remember to download it, the complete rules for Magic the Gathering, a copy of  a tender and sweet promise the lady pet and I have made to each other, some of Mark Stinson’s work, and a dictionary.  This device, for all that, weighs in at less then a pound.

I have heard some complaints about the fall of libraries, and that’s a pretty legitimate concearn; I’m not really fond ot if either.  However it’s hard to argue with the perks.  I have approximately 1,450 pages of Pratchett with me, and I can make that number double pretty damn easily.  I can reference Plato’s Republic, Machiavelli’s The Prince,  and Sun Tzu’s Art of War.  I can keep doing this as long as I remember to charge the battery once a century and as long as we’re not currently victims of an EMP pulse.

I’ve heard grumbling from bibliophiles that e-readers are no replacement for libraries…and while I

See, now if the local library had been more like this...

See, now if the local library had been more like this…

get their point, I wonder if they’re not missing a different one.  I never really was engaged by any of my local public libraries; they were filled with stuff I didn’t care about.  I grew up in subrubia, and the library wasn’t filled with treasures; it was filled with books that I could have gone to any bookstore and picked up for (in most case) five bucks.  I’m sure people with different tastes or with more established libraries has every reason to fall in love…but that wasn’t my case.

I have gotten from my kindle everything that people say they get from libraries…and my library goes where ever I do.  Growing up, I played games where items like mystical spell books where everywhere.  An ereader isn’t quite a spell book, but the technology feels a lot like magic sometimes.