My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Jul 23

So way behind…

Category: Life

I’m so way behind in my writing, it’s fucking ridiculous. I have, like, 15 tattoos I haven’t posted. I don’t even think I have goddamn pictures of some. I’m vexed, at myself, at others. This is supposed to be a something like a live memoir (as there’s other non-memoirish writing), and I’m not memoiring, or othering . Apathy, depression, ennui, whatever, the lack of writing is my fault. I just have to make myself write until something clicks or sticks or whatever voodoo happens to us writers who aren’t hearing the words.

Also, I have to move the blog to a new server, otherwise the blog goes dark.

3 comments

Jul 20

Something, nothing

Drugs without the high.

Sex without your sky.

No answers to the wherefores and whys.

You’d give anything for something, an horizon filled with nothing.

1 comment

Jul 6

Things to Do: Fire a gun with a switch

Category: Life,Opinions

So, two Saturdays ago I got to scratch another item from my Things to Do list, and it was quite the ballyhoo; I went to a local shooting range, Reload, and I got to fire a Glock 17 with my switch. Now, for those unfamiliar, a switch is a piece of assistive technology that I use to control my various Macs by way of wiggling my eyebrows to operate an on-screen keyboard. Let’s get all the technical stuff out of the way before I go on about anything else.

The gun firing scheme was created by an absolute fucking genius, Bill Binko, from ATMakers.org. The really hard part was finding something to safely, firmly hold the gun in place during the firing. The good folks at Ransom International were kind enough to send us a Ransom Rest, basically a sort of vice specifically designed for holding guns in place for precision aiming. The Rest is used in ballistics testing, it’s been used on MythBusters, it’s a well-respected tool. Also, I didn’t get just any Rest, I got the very first Rest, created by the late Chuck Ransom. He was the only person to ever use said Rest, it was kept in a glass case at the home-office with a little plaque bearing Chuck Ransom’s name. Well, by now it’s back in its case, and my name is being added to the plaque. Very unnecessary, and very nice. I was also given a bullet from a totally kind smith at Ground Zero Reloading; I fired this round first. All that taken care of, Bill created a little piece robotics for pulling the trigger, it was a little robotic arm attached to a chain attached to the trigger. The arm was controlled over wi-fi via a hand-coded web interface; I pointed Safari toward the robot’s IP address, got a camera view over the gun barrel and two buttons to arm then fire the gun. A Glock 17 doesn’t need cocked, the “arm” button was simply there for safety purposes, just so everybody was absolutely 250% certain the gun wouldn’t go off accidentally. Bill didn’t know my level of gun awareness… better safe than having me blow off Bill’s fingers! Using a web interface is ideal for this sort of project, the gun could be fired from any platform. I used a MacBook running macOS High Sierra, but I could have used anything.

Gun Interface

At any rate, that, in a nutshell, is how I fired a gun with a switch. Of course, most people want to know the why

I’m an ultra-liberal, anti-National Rifle Association, anti-all things Trumpian. I think our antiquated gun laws are disgusting. It seems that in America, a person’s right to obtain any sort of gun as quickly and easily as possible is more important than the lives of children. The Second Amendment was written during a time of muskets, not AR-15s, Glock 17s, it’s time to completely overhaul our gun laws. Guns are too readily available, our background check system is a joke, we don’t require psychological testing for gun buyers, we allow civilians to own military-grade weapons, we are irresponsible about gun control. I understand guns aren’t our only problem, but they are a problem, a problem that needs addressed. So, these being my firm beliefs, why would I want anywhere near something I’m so against?

The short answer is, I’m not against guns. I’m against our irresponsible gun laws, I’m against our lax gun regulation, I’m against people using guns for ill, but I’m not against guns. I’ve been a fan of Star Wars, Alien, Tarantino films, Predator (though Predators is probably my personal favorite Predator movie), any zombie movie, whatever, forever. As a kid, my mom never censored my fiction, I learned right and wrong, fake and real. I didn’t need censored. Thus, guns as part of fiction, guns as objects have always fascinated me. As real-world pieces of engineering, as props in films and video games, I’ve always loved guns. I mean, when someone cocks a shotgun before they relieve a zombie of its head, that click-click sound is cool. Lately, I really dig the John Wick movies; Keanu Reeves is a top-tier assassin who rains vengeance down upon an underworld that wronged him, using gorgeously engineered firearms. I think you can admire a gun as an object, as something used for fun, and still be strongly against the ways in which people use guns to perpetrate absolutely vile acts of cruelty.

Life isn’t black-and-white, it’s gray. Guns are surrounded in gray. When John Wick throws his empty gun at a guy’s face, draws a fresh one, then puts the guy down permanent-like, it’s so over the top it’s laughable. If you firmly grasp the difference between reality and fiction, it’s possible to see the humor in John Wick, while feeling empathy and disgust when a cop shoots an unarmed black man ten times in the back. You can hold guns in your mind and see them in two totally separate ways. Taking a Glock 17 to a range and blowing holes in paper targets using my assistive technology was spectacularly fun, and I don’t regret it, yet if I had to point said gun at a living being I’d be sick to my stomach. Again, fiction vs. reality comes into play.

I don’t see enjoying guns for their own sake as morally wrong, intent is critical. My personal intent regarding guns is simply fun, and to exercise an aesthete’s taste in fancy weapons. That’s why I wanted to fire a gun with a switch, I like them. I understand their power, their ability to end lives en masse, but I don’t think guns themselves are the problem. The problem is that the gun-lobby has D.C. in a death-grip, we haven’t seen meaningful gun legislation in thirty-some years. You know, cars used to be really fucking dangerous; seatbelts were optional, a fender-bender could become an inferno because of faulty gas tanks, cheap parts and cut-corners were a-okay! It took legislation to make cars better than coffins-on-wheels. Guns are too potentially deadly to go unregulated, it’s our moral failing as American voters that we have yet to demand that our legislators do the job they aren’t doing.

At any rate, everybody involved in my gun firing quest was super nice. The folks at Reload closed off an entire room for us on a very busy Saturday. The good folks at Ransom International sent us the key piece of hardware that was the foundation for the other pieces of our project. Ground Zero Reloading took the time to craft me my first round. Then, of course, Bill Binko, the genius who not only solved the puzzle, but also crafted most of the pieces. Absolutely everyone who took part in this project has my thank you!

It’s a little fatey that I should fire a Glock 17… Way back when DVDs were a thing, one night Sara brought out the boxed set of this BBC show by Simon Pegg, Spaced. The show pretty much encapsulates everything I love (it also made me fall even harder for Sara), it’s like, Simon Pegg in Sandbox Mode. Spaced was basically just practice for his eventual films. Anyway, watch episode 2 and you’ll get it about the Glock 17.

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Jun 23

Knocking out a Thing to Do

Category: Life

So, I have this Things to Do list, it is exactly as the name says; a list of things I want to do. I really avoid the term, Bucket List, which sort of brings to mind death and fulfilling one’s lifelong dreams, probably on the double-quick, maybe involving T.D. Jakes. My list isn’t that. I mean, sure, a few of the items are lifelong desires, but others are just fun, like the day one of my all time favorite assistants and I went “theater hopping.” Sarah and I spent an entire day sneaking from theater to theater, watching really really really bad horror movies. That wasn’t a lifelong goal, but it’s one of my fondest memories.

Anyway, today, I’m off to knock out another Thing… I’m going to fire a Glock 17 with my switch. Now, why would an ultra-liberal, anti-NRA, anti-all things Trumpian such as me want to do such a thing? I’ll explain all the particulars when I get back…

3 comments

Apr 24

My voice

Category: Life

So, I’m here singing along with Aimee Mann, her record anyways, Mental Illness. Singing in my silent way, though, after all these years I still feel the words in my throat, still half expect to hear my voice when I move my lips just so. I didn’t particularly like my voice, especially my singing-voice, which makes me think of Sara…

Sara used to say she loved my voice, even singing, she actually liked when I sang. She said I always sang on-key. I wouldn’t really sing around most people, but I’d sing with Sara, lying together, morning sunlight dusting her face, listening to Elliott Smith, Tori Amos, Nirvana, Aimee Mann, whatever the whim of whichever playlist. I think, for the first time, the full measure of sadness that is in this record, that is in me, is hitting me. I don’t let the sad that’s in me out of late, but I can hear it in the singing-voice that’s only in my head, feel it collecting itself in my eyes. Aimee sings, I sing, She made her choices, and now that is that… and I miss her. I miss Sara, I miss Sara so goddamn fucking much.

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5 comments

Dec 30

Tomorrow, I’m old…

Category: Life

So, tomorrow’s my birthday. I’m going to be… old.

I have more thoughts, but I’ll save them for the day itself.

3 comments

Dec 8

From Facebook, a tussle…

So, I got into a bit of a tussle on Facebook, a little politics, a little gender equality… I tweeted in favor of Al Franken, who is a person not without contriversy. I’m ALL for the #MeToo movement, I want it to flourish, I don’t want it to stop. I also think that some political dark artists used a movement that’s truly good to do something truly disgusting.

I got the following comments:

“Person 1:You are dead wrong on this and I’m actually disappointed but not surprised at your response. Women have become use to this response. Zero tolerance for sexual assault is about the protection of women. It’s not about politics. If the republicans want to play dirty I do not care. This mentally is why nothing has changed for women. Franken should step down for the good of our country. We don’t lose because someone will take his place that is a democrat. You should speak with a women that has been sexually assaulted or disrespected in the work place. It may change your mind on making exceptions for a likable man. Women shouldn’t have to “take one for the team” because of republicans. It’s gross and hypocritical. Get mad at Al Franken for disappointing us all because of HIS BAD CHOICES. Get mad at him, not female democrats asking him to resign. Your anger is in the wrong place.”

and

“Person 2:“…a few vague claims against Franken…”

What YOU think of what Franken did doesn’t matter. What Franken’s purported victims thought of his behavior is the issue. They said they thought he acted inappropriately. They said he made them uncomfortable.

Yeah, it’s a detestable shame the Democrats hold themselves to a higher standard of behavior than Republicans. And now is the not the time for the party to immolate itself, this close to the midterms.

But that doesn’t change the fact that we, collectively, have to do better. And those that are giving Moore, Trump, Fahrenthold et al a pass on this will be judged harshly by history, because they’re on the wrong side of it.”

To which I replied:

“This is all a little Salem Witch Trial-y. “He made me uncomfortable, burn him!” or “SHE made me uncomfortable, burn her!” Person 2, I’m certain at one time or another, unintentionally or otherwise, you’ve made women uncomfortable. I know I’ve made women uncomfortable. My own mom has made MEN uncomfortable. If the standard for losing your work and your reputation is “uncomfortable,” then we’re all guilty, and we all deserve to be punished.

=Person 1, EVERYTHING is about politics, especially right now. If you think all accusers are genuine, and that nobody’s going to weaponize the times, you’re dead wrong. Who was on-camera trying to dupe the Washington Post in order to vindicate Roy Moore? A WOMAN. She obviously didn’t give a damn about the movement to empower women. People are going to further take advantage of this movement, to the detriment of the movement. If too many people use the movement as a weapon, it hurts the movement, maybe gives an excuse to END the movement, and I don’t want to see THAT happen. Someone very dear to me was assaulted, helping her to not blame herself, staying up all night to make sure the tv always had cartoons, because after a nightmare having cartoons and someone to talk to helped her feel safe, I’d have done ANYTHING to take away that pain. Also, given the opportunity, I’d have killed the evil sick fucker who inflicted it. I mean that, every word. I HATE abusers, which only gives me more incentive to see that the abused get justice, and the abusers lose everything. I want the movement to stay strong and righteous. Here, we can agree, yes?

Now, where we disagree… I’m not sticking up for Franken because I think he’s guilty, but darn likable, and a great Dem besides. If I actually thought he was guilty, well, you know my feelings. No, I’m sticking up for him because I don’t think he’s an abuser, an harasser, or a skeeze. I think he was a test case for a new chapter in the Political Dark Arts Manual. I think the right wanted to see if they could use the current social climate of women’s empowerment to their advantage. I think Franken caught the business end of a political hit-job. They gin’d up accusations knowing we’d go zero tolerance, and that’s that. I think they built their entire scheme around that stupid photograph. I know people look at that photograph and say, “Monster!” I just don’t see it that way. He wasn’t a senator, he was a comic on a USO gig, and he played a prank, as comics are wont to do, a stupid, immature prank… and it cost him the world. It shouldn’t have, but it did. Also, his seat isn’t guaranteed to stay with us. The Governor of Minnesota will appoint a placeholder Democrat, then comes a special election in early 2018. Minnesota is very purple, we could easily lose the seat. So, we lose a good Democrat, and I think, a good man, over allegations from a BIRTHER and a bunch of “anonymous” sources. Is that really okay? Doesn’t it seem really reactionary? If a woman sold out her gender and CHILDREN for Roy Moore. couldn’t some political dark wizard have found a few women to lay low Al Franken? I think, absolutely.

Zero tolerance is a bad way to go, it’s punishment without reason. Not every man, or woman, who makes someone feel uncomfortable deserves to lose their career, their reputation, everything they’ve built. Also, I’m sorry, but it’s especially dangerous in politics. The right isn’t playing by the same rules as us, they’re not even playing the same game! There’s a mile of CREDIBLE evidence against Roy Moore, a PEDOPHILE, and they’re going to let him in with open arms, because he’s an easy “yes” vote, and a fearless liar. Trump has TAPED evidence against him, bragging about sexual assault against women AND abusing his power as a pageant owner, walking in on young girls in their dressing-rooms, yet he’s safely ensconced in the Oval Office, telling lies easy as breathing. Of course, he surrounds himself with liars, and therein lies the problem with zero tolerance in politics. The right does not and will not play fair. The GOP will keep their abusers, no matter how egregious, and I genuinely fear Bannon with his Trumpian cult will pick off any Dem who makes their Master’s life too difficult. What happens if Kamala Harris starts hitting Trump too hard, then a picture shows up of her doing a beer bong in college at some party, then a fellow from that party says she was aggressive, drunk, touched him inappropriately… then a few “anonymous” staffers from her lawyering days pop up and say that she could be very verbally abusive, and at the office holiday parties, well, they had to quit hanging mistletoe… What if that happens? Zero tolerance? We lose another strong voice against Trump, the GOP loses nothing. Some GOPers may go up on ethics charges, some might even go down, but they won’t be anybody important. Trump wants to surround himself with more radicals and easy-liars anyway. They get to say, “See, we’re cleaning house too!” all while the Moores and the Trumps stay safe as houses.

Our sex crimes laws are broken, our governmental ethics system is broken. Let’s remove the the statute of limitations on sex crimes, no abuser should slip through the cracks. As far as the government goes, instead of the current broken ethics committee system, let’s establish a Bob Muller-style non-partisan investigative office. They’d hear all ethics complaints, swiftly, yet thoroughly. Rather than zero tolerance, both parties get due process, which is the basis of our just system.”

Maybe I’m wrong… If I am, I’ll admit it, and I’ll apologize. I guess we’ll just see.

These are dark times, America has become an Orwellian nightmare… and I wish I was kidding.

5 comments

Nov 16

WordPress 4.9 is upon us

Category: Life

So, we are now running WordPress 4.9… Most of the new stuff is for coders, which I am not. I’m but a writer of words.

I know, I haven’t written in… months. I have a few post ideas, however, maybe they’ll get written.

No comments

Aug 19

Monuments to heroes, monuments to hate

Category: Life,Opinions

You know, until recently I never gave much thought to historic monuments, particularly Civil War Monuments. I just saw war statues, I definitely never broke them into categories; Union and Confederate. I thought they were “historic,” but I never gave any thought to the individual histories behind each statue. Then Charlottesville got me thinking, then Heather Heyer’s death changed everything.

We have monuments to historic figures all over America. Monuments to people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, both great men, but men with flaws. They owned slaves, which was, sadly, a cultural norm at the time. They did nothing directly to end slavery, but they did help to found our great nation, a nation with a Constitution that all but guaranteed an end to slavery. Our Constitution appeals to our better angels, it promotes freedom and equality, it’s a document that would be read by a someday generation who would see the hypocrisy in slave ownership while swearing an oath to said Constitution. So, yes, we still celebrate our slave owning Founding Fathers, not because they were perfect, but because they were ultimately good.

We have a GIANT monument to Abraham Lincoln, a fellow who, in his early life, was known to speak racial slurs, yet would ultimately put an end to slavery. He saw the powerful words written in our Constitution, rose through the ranks of American politics, and eventually became the President who broke the slavers’ chains. Of course, we honor President Lincoln. Still, slavery wouldn’t go away easily, it was big in the American South, and the South was willing to spill a lot of blood to keep their slaves. Southern leadership broke their oaths to the American Constitution, broke away from the United States to start their own country (the Confederate States of America), and levied a treasonous war against the North. The American Civil War cost the lives of some 600,000 American soldiers, North and South combined, all because some Southern rich white men just had to have their slaves.

After the war ended in 1865, monuments went up to honor the Union leaders and soldiers who fought and died to end slavery, as well as to keep these United States united. These Union monuments absolutely belong, they represent a part of American history that should be remembered, a part of which we should be proud. Almost all of our monuments are monuments to heroes or heroism or noble ideals. Almost…

Unfortunately, we have some monuments that really don’t belong in America, Confederate monuments like the monument to Southern General, Robert E. Lee, a monument White Nationalists murdered Heather Heyer over, simply because she protested against it.

See, a majority of these Confederate monuments went up between 1890 and 1950, funded by groups of white folks, especially women’s groups, like United Daughters of the Confederacy. Part of the reasoning behind these monuments was to raise Southern morale, to romanticize what was really an ugly chapter in the Southern story. However, I think these confederate monuments had a far more sinister purpose, a purpose that even today, nobody in the South wants to acknowledge out loud. They went up during the era of Jim Crow segregation, a time before anybody even thought to march for Civil Rights. These Confederate monuments didn’t go up in war cemeteries, they went up in town squares and public parks, places where they’d be seen. Imagine being black in the South during Jim Crow; you’re not welcome, the Klan burned a cross on your lawn just last night, AND every single day, you have to walk by a monument to a man who had your grandmother whipped to death. These Confederate monuments were built to further delusions of former Southern glory. These Confederate monuments were built to intimidate black Americans.

People who argue for these monuments, like Donald Trump, say they’re beautiful statues. They’re part of American history, of Southern heritage. Absolutely none of that reasoning flies, it only demonstrates an ignorance of history. Germany didn’t build monuments to Hitler & Friends so they could remember their heritage, so they could remember his inspirational speeches, while forgetting he was an evil lunatic. They relegated Hitler & Friends to the history books, filed under The Evils That Men Do, and moved on. Germany worked toward atonement, they did not build monuments that glorified the sins for which they were trying to atone.

Our Confederate monuments are nothing but tools of revisionist historians and symbols of bigotry. They celebrate treasonous war criminals, slavers willing to kill to stay slavers. These monuments are rally points for hate groups, as we saw in Charlottesville, they inspire such people toward violence. Heather Heyer, a young woman who believed in social justice and equality is dead because a bunch of bigots decided a monument to Robert E. Lee needed their protection… at all costs.

It’s important to remember our past, it’s important to mark our wrongs in history books, and teach future generations not repeat those wrongs. We should not build monuments to the perpetrators of our most vile wrongs. Confederate monuments are monuments to hate, there is no valid justification for their existence, no matter how nuanced. The fact that the only people who show up en masse to protest their removal are hate groups is exactly why they have to go.

America is country founded on noble ideals, not vicious hate. Monuments to the Confederacy are one of our mistakes, a mistake it’s time to fix. Now.

4 comments

Jul 20

Lying vs. being wrong

Category: Life,Opinions

So, health care reform was always sort of a political white whale; Presidents chased it, but President Barack Obama was the first to successfully run it down. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) completely changed the American health care system, it was a big deal. President Obama tried really hard to pass a bill that would get Americans health insurance, particularly those who couldn’t have afford it. The ACA has done a great deal of good, and helped a great many people over the last seven years. Still, not everything President Obama promised worked out, for SOME people the ACA has been a hindrance. Now, this post isn’t about the nuances of the ACA, it’s about a piece of shit con-man calling an honorable man a liar, but to set the stage it’s important to note that the ACA developed flaws, and President Obama made promises that went wrong.

Okay, yesterday I’m watching MSNBC, Trump is going on and on about the greatness of the Republican health care bill, just typical Trumpian nonsense. Then I hear something jarring, something that really gets my heart going. Trump says, the ACA was a “giant lie.” He says, when President Obama made certain promises they were lies, that President Obama knew he was lying to America. I’m listening to Donald J. Trump, a con-man who lies easy as breathing, often stupid lies, lies that can be found out by a simple Google search, and he has the nerve to call President Obama a liar… I’m so livid I want to put my fist through the tv.

President Obama governed for eight years without a scandal. I had no need of MSNBC, not during the Obama Administration. He never did anything outrageous, he definitely never did anything stupid. He was bad business for the late-night comics, he gave them nothing to work with, absolutely no material. He was the first President I ever truly respected, truly admired. President Obama governed with a steady hand, he was thoughtful and deliberate… He was not a liar. Maybe because Trump has never spent an honest day in his entire life, he doesn’t understand the difference between lying and beings wrong.

The ACA is a large, complex piece of legislation, something nobody ever successfully enacted. President Obama signed the bill with the best intentions, he told the American people how he thought the bill was going to work. He made promises he thought he could keep. I’m sure there were promises he refused to make because he was certain he couldn’t keep them. He’d never knowingly mislead the American people, his sense of morality wouldn’t allow it. Another concept Trump couldn’t possibly understand. At any rate, the ACA didn’t work exactly as planned, President Obama couldn’t keep every promise. He was wrong on some key points. What Trump didn’t mention in his nonsense speech was that President Obama owned his mistakes. He acknowledged the ACA’s flaws and took full responsibility for them. Above all, he wanted to fix the ACA, but the Republican majority felt that it was better to waste six years trying to kill it. Trump didn’t mention that either.

President Obama never lied about the ACA, he simply ended up being wrong where he meant to be right.

Trump’s default position is LIE, a moral failing he likes to project onto others.

8 comments

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