September 27, 2013 1 Comment
…from the mightily awesome Calvin & Muad'Dib tumblr.
September 24, 2013 No Comments
"So you never feel completely sad, or completely happy. You just feel kinda…satisfied with your product…and then you die."
- Louis C.K., explaining why confronting the essential loneliness / sadness of being human is preferable to compulsively reaching for something (a text-message, food, whatever) to kill the pain.
I could make arguments against Louis' generalizations of technology here, but the important point is that this is insightful talk about human emotions made funny and accessible, and whether you understand it or not yet, it's good to hear it put so simply (and on TV no less). Enjoy!
September 22, 2013 3 Comments
Humor hits a home run again — is it sick or wrong that in our (my) present society, the most insightful commentary is coming from places like The Daily Show and Cracked.com?
Maybe. Today I don't care, because I like laughing and crying the way some people like sugar on their pickles, or cayenne in sweet tea. I'm also a gamer — at one time pretty hardcore (think "FPS LAN-parties" and "unlocking every single side-quest in 80-hour-long RPGs"), less so lately, but I still follow the industry pretty closely…when I can stand it.
This article is an incredible, dead-on, sobering, awful, and freaking hilarious description of why sometimes I can't stand it. It's a short explanation of "Six things more sexist than breasts" in video games, and it delivers the comical WTF as only quality venues like Cracked (yup, I just said that phrase) can.
And I highly recommend it.
Except for the comments.
The last line of the article — which stops being funny just before this in a beautiful drop-kick maneuver that you see on some of my favorite bits of TDS too — makes the point that "If you're trying to prevent discussion of a problem, you are part of that problem." Sadly, one gets the impression that virtually no-one who left a comment read that far: Instead, they saw the name of a game they liked (or just saw the article's title), stopped there, and flew in to Deny Everything and loudly point out why this topic isn't worth discussing.
In one sense it's funny to watch oblivious people wander into a logical bear-trap like that: Cracked is too business-savvy to call out their own audience as fuckwits, but the writers (who are kept anonymous, a tactic which neatly serves double-duty by cutting off rape/death threats — the actual, usual response to things like this written by women; look around — and forcing the reader to at least consider the possibility that the article has to be taken as seriously as if it were written by a man (though several commenters do jump in claiming to "know" which parts "must" be female-penned)) obviously foresaw the flood of NUH-UH THERE'S NO SUCH THING the article would generate, and let their last words be a foreheadslap hanging in the air for when it inevitably happened.
Still, holy CRAP is it disturbing how clearly, uniformly, and obviously it happens. Tossing explanations of sexism and rape-culture to the public is like sprinkling feed to chickens — you know where they're all going to rush to, and watching them do it, you're strongly reminded how very like little machines we animals are, programmed and reactionary. (Then you remember that we don't have to be, and you have to fight down the urge to find a railgun and perforate some morons for the good of the herd. But I digress. ;)
The commenters are often upset about something that was said about a game they like, though (making them mostly a higher class of commenter than you usually get in these situations!), which raises an interesting logical question: Can you make arguments about the degree of sexism in each of the examples? And the answer is more complex than most people like it to be. Briefly, if you're a woman, you can talk about how the game's elements affected you (both as you experienced them, and after giving it more thought, because one thing that's almost always overlooked is that women live in a sexist culture too — sometimes an even more sexist one than men do — and so it's not, in fact, immediately apparent to many of us when we're being subjected to it…it's normal, and for many women, "the way things should be") – and that's valuable information, in the aggregate and also in evaluating some of the personal impact. But even then, whether something is sexist is a function of how it affects everyone, its place coming from and speaking to the culture. And those on the wrong (actually, right) side of the privilege divide can't ever claim based on their feelings that something is not sexist — just as I, a Caucasian person, can't ever claim that something is "not racist" because I don't think it is. People get upset at this, because we all like thinking that our feelings and opinions matter, but the plain truth of it is that when you're talking about culture, some questions are not democratic. Some people's answers don't matter — i.e when we're discussing "whether the European treatment of American Indians counts as a genocide", by reason of how that question is framed, the yes/no opinion of a European-descended person counts for about 10% as much (if that) as that of a Native-American-descended person. Why? Because by default, we don't know what it's like on the other side of that line. Even if we grew up talking to Native Americans about it, studied it in school and went on to work on a reservation, we know more about it intellectually than other people like us, but we still can't know what it's like to be descended from the people who experienced what may or may not have been genocide. And for the question of whether or not it was to be answered, we need the data that can only come from asking people who do know what it's like.
And that's "rape culture" for you. If you didn't grow up a woman, if you haven't lived as a woman, if you haven't had the daily-for-decades experience of being exposed to things like commercials and video-games and conversations and advice from your elders and treatment at work and all of the things that go into "being in a culture", you just don't know. If you want to make an educated guess and you don't know, literally your only option is to listen to as many people who do know as possible, and try to understand why they have the opinions they do, and then extrapolate from there (being clear with yourself and others that what you're presenting IS an educated guess).
Logic doesn't always feel good, guys — Sorry, but it's true. In the world of "things that are segregational and therefore by definition only directly affect certain populations", everyone does not get an equal say about what's really going on. It makes me feel icky as a white European too, so I do understand a bit how shitty that feeling is. But if I swooped in on a public article with almost a million views and outed myself as not believing in racism, or as an appropriate arbiter of whether or not something was racist, I'd be figuratively shot in the face, and I'd deserve it.
Yet for some reason that's still okay when the topic is sexism. Huh. Maybe it's because sexism affects so many more people? Sounds counterintuitive, but in the early days of anti-racism it was probably really hard to be someone who actually knew and loved people who were getting discriminated against…yet virtually everyone knows and loves at least one woman. Maybe there's such blatant denial of (equally blatant) sexism the world over because every man alive feels like shit knowing that he's been part of a world that's organized itself for centuries to unfairly and horrendously mistreat his mother, his sisters, his friends and lovers…I mean, that's gotta feel AWFUL.
Um…::rereads some of the comments::…
September 20, 2013 4 Comments
- I'd forgotten, or never appreciated, how stone cold awesome Daniel-san's mom is. She's supportive, doesn't stop trying to communicate, and doesn't freak out over things like going to a party or dating. She also apologizes when she's wrong, and doesn't apologize for wanting to hug or kiss her son in front of people.
- And speaking of hugging, I seriously want to hug whoever's responsible for Mr. Myogi's teaching style. SO dead-on. He also does Chinese massage pretty authentically, though the clapping-the-hands-together bit is a Hollywood affect (understandable though; you can't see it when a healer heats their hands IRL), and he would have almost certainly "fixed" Daniel-san's leg with accupuncture (which, they don't say he *didn't* I guess, but he certainly didn't have any gear with him to do so). Though it's funny that before the experiences I've had with Chinese medicine, I thought the "Mr. Myogi fixes it and now he can sorta walk on it again right away!" thing was silly — but it's actually quite accurate. Especially for muscular and soft-tissue injuries and overtraining, those needles are *magic* in the short-term.
- Years ago when I rewatched this, it was for the fighting — because I have some experience with Shorin Ryu and crane-style kungfu, which is what Daniel-san is learning (yup, only the bad guys in the Karate Kid are actually using karate). This time the teaching styles and the characters are both more interesting – maybe because those aren't the styles I'm actively studying anymore?
- Although from any perspective, that crane-kick climax is still *amazing*.
- The music, on the other hand…uuuuhhhh, nothing from the 80s really held up well, did it?
- Kids and bullies, high-school boys and girls, and parents and old martial artists are all portrayed nigh perfectly here as their archetypes: Simplified in the way movies do best, in service of a story, with real emotions and fake details; but the end result is that if you know the emotions, you can follow along flawlessly. Though I'm sorry to say that BAD martial-arts teachers, while never as cartoonish in my experience as the dreaded Cobra Kai teacher, also get their souls writ large and clearly in this film. I don't think I really have to say this, but…If any teacher reminds you of that guy, even for a split second, RUN.
- When I was a small child I had this weird dream that I grew old and woke up and looked in the mirror and I was Mr. Myogi. …::looks nervously over shoulder::…
September 19, 2013 3 Comments
Not Enlightened Yet Episode 9 delivers content and promises more content about the nature of content.
September 14, 2013 2 Comments
For those of you caring, Episode 8 of "Not Enlightened Yet" is up (finally!).
I'm happy with the content of this one: I had saved up three useful things to talk about, and I hope they're well-explicated. It's also got a terrifyingly embarrassing moment in it, but especially after three attempts to do this episode that got eaten by the tech gods, I refused not to post this one just because it makes me squirm. ::fistshakeatuniverse::
[Update: Thanks to Alex for noticing that I at first uploaded one of the several TechFail videos by mistake...sort of a one last encore of TechFail, hehe...that's been fixed now, and the link above goes to the right one. Whew!]
September 10, 2013 3 Comments
Hey everyone! I just wanted to share the exciting news that Ubersleep Second Edition has received two (five-star!) reviews on Amazon – and I swear, I didn't beg, threaten, or pay for either of them!
(I would, however, immediately throw away all those moral misgivings and grovel, write poetry, or have drinks with anyone who wanted to write a few more, or add some to Lulu.com [ebook | paperback] where there aren't any for the Second Edition yet… ;)
September 9, 2013 2 Comments
Ah, the occasional utter borking of the schedule.
Do I, either as-me or as-a-polyphaser, do this more often than most people? I've no idea. But I definitely do it sometimes. And the takeaway I usually get from it is that wow, even when totally stick-blendered, polyphasic schedules are a lot easier to recover.
Yesterday I had a pretty normal 2-nap day, and slept for 4.5 hours last night. (Actually, my E4 core nap is turning out to be mostly closer to 4h 45m — which doesn't surprise me, since when I sleep for 3 hours, it's actually 3:15. Is this related to the fact that when I sleep for 8 hour nights, I actually need closer to 9 to feel rested? Worth wondering.)
Also worth noting, especially as a YMMV: I know these times because I don't use alarms anymore, unless it's to be certain I wake up at a certain time for an important thing, and even then I usually don't need them. I know how long I'll sleep based on how many naps I got and when, and I wake up on my own pretty predictably.
Until I do shit like today, that is. ;)
Today I headed off to a taiji class in the morning (after a normal morning consisting of the normal 2 cups of coffee-with-butter — yup, still doing that, and I still love it as a form of breakfast; not every single day but usually). I stopped for tea / second breakfast, because fun fact: when you eat (or drink) breakfast at 5am or thereabouts, you're hungry again by ten or eleven – and then went straight to the climbing gym. I grabbed a nap (it was close to noon; I'd last slept at 7 and normally would have napped about one, but it didn't surprise me that I was tired early after a pretty intense martial-arts class, and anyway I wanted to sleep before I got to climbing) and didn't sleep for very long (note: I don't know how long, because I don't bother with alarms for 20-minute naps at all anymore, because here's a weird one: even if I don't sleep for some or even most of it, I will still almost always stand up after 20 minutes, or a little sooner; my internal alarm is getting pretty hilarious!) – probably I didn't sleep much due to some combination of sleeping early, being excited to go climb, and sleeping on a hard surface in a new place with lots of ambient noise. But I did feel refreshed after, and then I:
- Climbed for about two hours
- Stopped for a light lunch
- Climbed for another four hours
- Walked about 2 miles
- Ate a pretty huge meal (for me)
- Walked another 2-ish miles home
In other words, I had a great day that ended with my getting home about 9:30pm, having skipped my evening nap and cycled through at least a thousand calories in extra exercise and food.
So of course I came home, luxuriated in blankets and a book for a few minutes, and passed out deliciously cold, probably about 10pm. I woke up about 3 hours later, at a few minutes before 1am.
(Another fun fact: If I sleep at an odd time because I'm worn out from exercise, I almost always sleep 3 hours. Occasionally 1.5, but much more often three — 3 hours seems to be my "recovery sleep" time.)
And I felt great — well, a bit sore in the hands and shoulders, but duh, marathon of climbing. I could have gone back to sleep if I wanted, but overall I felt quite rested, so I got up, showered, read my email, watched some videos, and, well, wrote this — it's now about 3:30 am. I suspect I'll get tired again around four or five and grab an "extra" nap before my regular morning one at 7-ish.
So with only a bit of effort, my schedule will be easy to get back on track tomorrow, even though what I did to it today could easily be described with the "o.O" emoticon. That's definitely one of the benefits of being polyphasic, especially when you're prone to having crazy high-energy days sometimes; instead of sleeping a stupid ton to recover and then finding myself in the middle of an uncomfortable re-adjustment, I just shift a core, add a nap, and wham. And it's not as complex to do as it is to explain: I know this part might be due to my being really used to polyphasic sleep by now, but all I'm really doing is sleeping when I'm tired, and doing so for the durations I know work for me (20 minutes and 3 hours, basically).
One last thing: I've been getting tired of defending polyphasic sleep lately, because there's been a lot of discussion filtering through my inbox and my RSS feeds, and a lot of it is either completely unrelated to the kind of thing *I* mean by polyphasic sleep, or just attacking straw-men by showing that sleep dep is bad (which it is, but I maintain that in the modern world, at least as I experience it, being monophasic is more likely to involve sleep-dep than being polyphasic). Anyway, the temptation is there to just shrug and go about doing my thing, but I do see how that's not the best thing for everybody, especially if due to my circumstances as a long-term polyphaser, I have information that could be useful to others who are trying to fix sleep problems or find a schedule that's better suited to their lifestyle. So please pardon me if I lapse into silence about it sometimes — it does get draining, after a while — I promise I'll pick it back up and keep going.
Also, I have been working on some major changes to this site, which will hopefully make finding the droids you're looking for easier. Stay tuned!
September 9, 2013 1 Comment
"The NSA has undermined a fundamental social contract. We engineers built the internet – and now we have to fix it. Government and industry have betrayed the internet, and us. This is not the internet the world needs, or the internet its creators envisioned. We need to take it back. And by we, I mean the engineering community. Yes, this is primarily a political problem, a policy matter that requires political intervention. But this is also an engineering problem, and there are several things engineers can – and should – do."
As a user and/or builder of the 'Net, would you get behind engineers' efforts to fix it?
September 7, 2013 3 Comments