Archive for the 'Opinions' Category
So, fuck, I got this tattoo ages ago. I’m finding it really hard to write about, because it asks a question that I was undecided on at the time, but I now know the answer, and it hurts.
The tattoo is from an Alanis Morissette song, That I Would Be Good, which is off her second record, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. People may argue it, but I feel like Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is the best writing she’s ever done. It’s absolutely my favorite Alanis record. I’ve likely said this before, but I figure it’s worth saying again. Too many people for my liking think Jagged Little Pill is her only record, but Alanis Morissette has done a great deal of gorgeous writing over the years, That I Would Be Good is just one example. The song is a beautiful inner-monologue of uncertainty, a running string of questions, fears… That I would be good, even if I did nothing. That I would be good, even if I got the thumbs down. That I would be good, if I got and stayed sick. Her own worries that are true to being human, worries that are in all of us. If one of my worst fears happened, would I still be okay? Anybody with a bit of self-awareness thinks such things, and often enough, our possible “worsts” become reality.
In the last ten years, I’ve experienced (quite literally) every single one of my worsts. I’ve lost people I love, to death and plain old circumstance. I died myself, but apparently didn’t care for it, as it only lasted a few minutes until my heart decided against giving up on me. I quit talking… and so on. Out of everything, losing people I never wanted to lose feels worse than dying but not. I don’t even remember my lights going out, but I feel all the empty places in me, the pain never stops. Sometimes, even after years of being apart, the pain doesn’t so much as dull. When I got this tattoo, I was thinking about someone in particular. I kept hearing Alanis sing…
That I would be good, whether with or without you.
I can’t just say it’s okay, because it’s so not. Being without her, it hurts every moment of every day. It’s been years now, I don’t love her any less, I miss her all the more. I hit kind of a difficult time health-wise, so I pushed her away because I felt like she’d be better off. Though, deep down, I didn’t think she’d go. I don’t think we really are better off apart. I know that together, really together, we can get through anything. We can do anything. I know that when I’m with her, it feels like home.
That’s it for now.1 comment
First, a confession. I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time a few days ago. From almost the first page you can tell it’s special, Harper Lee is special. If Ms. Lee were a super hero, Go Set a Watchman could be considered her Origin Story, but it’s one nobody need or ought know.
This isn’t really a book review, because Go Set a Watchman isn’t really a book, let alone some sort of sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s brilliant first and ONLY novel. The publisher ought to be really ashamed for even ASKING Ms. Lee for permission to publish, then for actually going through with it, and billing it as “Harper Lee’s new novel.” The “official” story behind its release goes, when Ms. Lee was asked for permission to publish this “newly found novel,” she supposedly said, “…if you think people will enjoy it, go ahead and publish it.” I don’t think the real circumstances were so tidy, but we’ll never know what was truly said, or the tone used to say it. My head and my heart tell me old-age and apathy are why Ms. Lee put pen to paper, allowing Watchman into the world. That it never should have happened becomes obvious all too quickly.
Go Set a Watchman is nothing more than either a first draft of Mockingbird, or more likely (since it IS titled), a failed manuscript of a book that evolved into Mockingbird. You see her spark in Watchman, you see that EVENTUALLY she was going to write something that’s publishable at least, but probably something ultimately beautiful. You see a writer trying to find her voice, testing parts of her craft, attempting techniques and devices, and in that sense Watchman is fascinating. Still, it’s astonishingly flawed, as anything one writes in their early attempts at a novel. It was rejected with cause, and never should have seen the light of day.1 comment
I knew that, soon enough, I’d get a pro-gun comment on my mass-shootings post. I also knew that when said comment came, I’d have to take it downtown to Chinatown…
A reader commented:
What is the root cause of shootings? Is it all about the tool? Not the actor, nor his motives? I realize that public policy is a blunt instrument which can more easily impact firearm availability than it can change motives, reduce hate, etc. That doesn’t mean that we ought to use public policy to “solve” this issue.
What is a military grade weapon? What is military grade ammo? I could argue that almost everything on the market fits this category. What type of firearm hasn’t been used by the military at one point or another? Any hunting rifle is practically identical to a sniper rifle. Hunting ammo is more lethal than what the military uses, by far. Revolvers were used by the military and police – even in modern times, like the last 50 years. Shotguns are used by the military. Get rid of them too? The military uses non-lethal rounds. So, could a private citizen shot bean-bags from a shotgun to defend himself within his home? I guess not, because both the shotgun and the ammo are military grade.
What is left for people to use to defend themselves? Pellet guns? 22s? Archery? Or should people just call 911 and hope for the best?
But if you want to get rid of the 2nd amendment, which was born from the right to self-defense, then who gets disarmed first? Law abiding citizens will probably be the first ones to turn in their weapons. They won’t want to risk going to jail for gun ownership. Then who is left? What is the plan for them?
Seems like a utopian plan that would be impossible to execute, in my opinion.
To which I replied:
My little aside about my personal feelings toward the 2nd Amendment isn’t the point. The 2nd Amendment isn’t going anywhere, nobody of relevance in politics is suggesting such. It’ll never be abolished, no matter my wants.
I think that we ABSOLUTELY need public policy to combat gun violence, particularly mass-shootings. The Federal Government has avoided the issue for way too long, and people have died because of it. There are many issues that are involved in the prevention of mass-shootings; better treatment of mental illness, better opportunities for higher-education, improved economic opportunities, social issues that will take time to fix. The immediate problem is the tool, as you say, the gun. The motives don’t matter, not right now, because all mass-shootings have the same common thread. Somebody really angry or really mentally-ill was able to easily obtain firearms. The motives and the whys are for psychologists to study, they’re the keys to long-term solutions. Long-term solutions won’t stop the bloodshed that’s happening of late, again and again and again, seven mass-shootings in just the past five months.
We need stricter background checks that REQUIRE psychological evaluation (The Brady Bill was a good idea).
All gun buyers’ finger-prints should be stored in AFIS.
The gun show and online sales loopholes need closed.
Private gun sales should require ATF oversight.
We need a new assault-weapons ban.
I think I have a few more gun violence posts in me, there’s just so much to say…3 comments
So, now we know that the killings in San Bernardino weren’t just our sadly typical mass-shooting, the killings were an act of terrorism. Since it was an act of terrorism, we are hearing calls, particularly from the right, and the far far right, to ban Muslims from America, stop immigration, shut down Mosques, the list goes on. These racist arguments are loud, highly visible, they dominate the news cycles. The right screams, “we have to protect America, keep the foreigners out!” While it’s absolutely true that we have to fight terrorism, the war on terror is very real and very serious, the fact remains that the “act of terror” in San Bernardino, at its core, isn’t any different than America’s previous six mass-shootings. There’s a common denominator among these horrible acts of violence, this common denominator is the real problem, the thing that should receive public outrage and media coverage. This common denominator is, legal access to military-grade guns and ammunition for anyone with the inclination to buy them. It’s easier to buy an assault-rifle in America than it is to buy, say, Sudafed (a key ingredient in cooking crystal meth).
The San Bernardino terrorists didn’t have to smuggle in the rifles and handguns they used to murder fourteen people. There was no chatter with Isis about arms delivery that anybody could have intercepted, no international plot to foil. None of that was a possibility. The killing of fourteen people was illegal, but the purchase of the guns used was not. The motivation behind the San Bernardino attack is really a non-issue if you consider the fact that the attack was made fairly easy to accomplish because the guns used were obtained perfectly legally. Assault-rifles, semi-automatic pistols, extended ammo clips, they’re all legal to purchase, in multiple ways. There are the myriad of gun stores where one can buy any number of guns with minimal background checks and minimal waiting periods. If you feel iffy about a background check, or you want your gun right now, you can go to popular weekend gun shows where gun enthusiasts buy, sell, and trade firearms of any kind with no background checks or waiting periods. It’s also totally legal to buy and sell guns online through, for example, Facebook or craigslist, anything from hunting rifles to AK-47s. You can even legally buy a gun right from your next-door neighbor, if they have one or ten and are aiming to sell. It’s so easy to buy guns of any kind, ammunition in any amount, legally.
Whether it’s a terrorist, someone who’s violently mentally ill, or a bullied high-school kid out for revenge, they all have one thing in common; quick, legal access to just about any type of gun and related gear under the sun. Unfortunately, people like Donald Trump are putting political rhetoric ahead of morality, and public safety. Political candidates know that one tried and true way to win an election is to present scared, disheartened voters with an enemy, then promise to protect them from said enemy. Blaming all our security issues on Muslims and immigrants is a political red herring, it’s an irresponsible, dangerous way to literally scare-up votes. It distracts people from the truly dangerous issue; broken, antiquated gun laws that basically roll-out the red carpet for anyone interested in putting a lot of bullets in a lot of people. We’ve had seven mass-shootings in five months, one of which was terror-related. Terrorists are not American’s biggest problem, not by a mile.
Politics isn’t broken, not really. We have power, we can demand common-sense gun laws, we can demand the reinstatement of the long lapsed assault weapons ban. We can let politicians know that if they don’t DO something to limit gun violence, they won’t BE politicians anymore come election time. We, as a nation, need to tell Donald Trump to fuck off. His hateful rhetoric goes against everything our Founding Fathers believed, and all the ideals on which our great nation was built.
President Obama isn’t “coming for your guns,” nobody wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment (Well, I want to, but that’s neither here nor there), but compromises have to be made. Otherwise, the parade of mass-shootings will continue, not because of international terrorist conspiracies, but because in America, it’s way too easy for the mentally ill and those filled with rage to obtain guns that are specifically designed to kill many people in very little time. Guns that no civilian should have at hand.
Until we recognize the true common denominator in all American mass-shootings, blood will be needlessly shed. It’s time to get angry at the real issue, and not politically manufactured shadows.6 comments
So, we are now running WordPress 4.4, Clifford. As far as the user-interface (UI) goes, again, there aren’t any crazy changes. The last several releases have been about refining performance, making it easier to post various types of media, and Clifford continues that trend. Aside from making WordPress sites scale to look gorgeous across all devices, Clifford lays the first stage of groundwork for the REST API, the next major step in the evolution of WordPress. REST will totally revolutionize the look, feel, and functionality of WordPress.
I have the tools, I just need my content to live up to them.1 comment
I have a much longer post in the works, but I have to note, it’s astonishingly sad that mass-shootings are becoming routine in America. Today’s mass-shooting in San Bernardino, California, makes for seven acts of horrendous gun violence in just five months. This time, at least fourteen people are dead, seventeen are critically-injured.
Thoughts and prayers to the victims, and anyone affected by this vile act of mass-killing.3 comments
So, we come now to tattoo #82, a lyric from one of my favorite songs, not just by Aimee Mann, but by anyone. The song is off of Aimee Mann’s fourth studio record, Lost in Space… the song is called, It’s Not.
It’s Not is really quite a sad song, yet very beautiful. It’s about being stuck, stuck without a way out. Sometimes life just doesn’t go in the right direction, and it feels as though it never will. It’s a horrible place to be, it’s horrible to feel utterly stuck, knowing deep down that nothing can pull you out of that blackness. I’ve visited that blackness, many times, too many times, and Aimee’s lyrics capture that blackness so completely. She describes such an awful place with beautiful words. Perfect words.
Now, even though It’s Not is astonishingly sad, it still holds happy memories for me. It played many evenings while someone I love slept peacefully with her head against my shoulder. I sang it to myself with a voice no one will ever hear as I looked into her eyes under a clear night sky one cold New Year’s Eve. I could get so lost in her eyes… she really did make everything and everyone else just an afterthought.
She’s gone, yet I miss her everyday, love her everyday. It scares me to write gone, scares me that I’ll never again hear her voice, or feel her asleep next to me… her soft warm breath against my neck.
I don’t want never, I want to go home.5 comments
So, it took me a bit, but I finally installed Mac OS X 10.11, El Capitan, and it’s really spectacular. El Capitan is basically Yosemite, but refined, polished… stable. Everything seems to run more smoothly, apps launch faster, OS-related animations are more fluid. I like the more robust Notes app, the subtle changes in Mail, Safari, and the new form of app management called, Split View. Split View is the sort of feature you didn’t know you really needed until Apple gives it to you. It allows you to work with two apps side-by-side, each occupies half the user’s display. So, you can, say, drag links and images from Safari into Notes without leaving either app. It’s really cool, I use it way more than I expected.
El Capitan feels the way OS X should feel, the dev team is redeemed.5 comments
So, Mac OS X 10.11, El Capitan, is here! Feature-wise, I’m totally excited about El Capitan, yet… I’m uneasy about installing. Yosemite went so astonishingly badly, I’m just nervous. Though, as I think about it, I’m getting disgusted by my absolute cowardice. I got into OS X at 10.2, and I haven’t missed a release day update until today. That’s upsetting. I can’t let being scared dictate anything, I’m letting it dictate too much. El Capitan is just the thing I’m up for talking about right now.
Well, then, tomorrow… I update.2 comments
So, this tattoo, number eighty, is a lyric from, and the title of one of my favorite Aimee Mann songs, Fighting the Stall, which is off her fourth studio record, Lost in Space. Though, it’s only found on the Special Edition disc.
One of my fears is being stuck, being worn away by circumstance and time until there’s nothing left of me. I’m scared I won’t be where I want to be before I quit breathing. Right now, that place is so far away I can’t even see it. When life takes its bad turns, it’s a fight not to get stuck, to stay stuck, to just stall out. Hence the tattoo, a note to myself that I’m fighting, and that I need to keep fighting to have the life I want.
A line from the song goes…
“…I’ll go down in flames just for the Hell of it all, ’cause I couldn’t take standing in place waiting to fall…”
That line has affected me since the first time I heard it, it’s how I try to live. I’d rather die because my vent failed while I’m on some adventure with a woman I love, than face the slow death that happens by inches over years just sitting “safely” at home. Death, the fall, is guaranteed, it’s the only guarantee time deigns to give us. I’d rather meet it on my terms than just wait for it. That’s the essence of the song, I think; make for the sky, fly high, fly hard, and no matter what, don’t stall out. Don’t die standing still.
To me, tattoos aren’t frivolous. Tattoos are permanent, even if removed your skin is never the same. I like that, I want that permanent reminder of a statement or thought or prayer. I get words or images etched into my skin that will always be important to me. It’s just a gut feeling, but certain things you simply know. I know fighting the stall is a fight that won’t ever end for me.
I’m stalled out now, but I’m fighting. I need to fight harder.2 comments