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This is my blog, named for an old New York Lottery marketing slogan.

07 August 2018

Glow

C. and I have been watching the second season of Glow. It’s a good show for dialogue, with lots of interplay between the women as well as the men exploiting them.

The guy directing “Glow” (the titular women’s wrestling cable TV show) is almost too easy to dismiss as an irredeemable misogynistic asshole, but in this season he occasionally shows moments of tenderness and introspection.

For example, he says to Ruth after a showing of one of his early films at a banned movies festival, “I don’t hate you. I’m just insecure and defensive.”

When he laments that he usually knows why a production has gone wrong, but can’t figure out why “Glow” is about to be cancelled, Ruth struggles with and eventually yields to the urge to confess that it might be her fault. As she did so, I cringed, expecting him to tear Ruth a new asshole for running away when the network president tried to force himself on her.

Instead, the first words out of his mouth are contemptuous, but not toward Ruth: “Fuck that guy.” The following morning, he takes a tire iron to the windshield of the network president’s BMW. A witness to the vandalism has nothing to say but, “That guy pisses off a lot of people. It could have been anybody.”

27 June 2018

Starship’s Cat

It wasn’t a mouse. Any of the humans aboard the PFS Investigator could have figured that out, even the marines the brass insisted on sending with us in case we ran into intelligent and hostile natives. Regardless, it was about the size of a mouse, with gray fur stippled …

14 June 2018

DIY Typesetting and Document Processing with groff and mom

I want to start typesetting my own novels and stories so I can publish them myself, but I don’t want to use LaTeX. I don’t mean any disrespect to the people who worked on it, but LaTeX is probably overkill for my purposes and despite having, reading, and understanding Leslie Lamport’s book I have never managed to produce good output.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative. They didn’t have TeX or LaTeX at Bell Labs. They had troff. If it was good enough for Brian Kernighan, Dennis Ritchie, Rob Pike, etc. then there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to use it. Of couse, troff doesn’t seem to be part of the OpenBSD base system.

No matter. There’s a port and package for the GNU version of troff, groff. And it includes an interesting macro package called mom.

The MOM macros for GNU troff (groff) look like they might be straightforward. The online documentation certainly makes sense.

I’ll have to give this a try, and see if I can put together a little anthology: The Milgram Battery and others.

13 June 2018

WordPress.com? Hell No

Jesus Christ, WordPress.com is as clunky as self-hosted WordPress. How the hell is that possible? I guess it doesn’t matter, since Automattic’s inability to make their own flagship blogging platform look good saved me from making what would probably be a mistake. I’ll just stick to hosting my own site and building it with a static site generator.

07 June 2018

HTTPS?

Do I really need HTTPS for this website? I’m tempted to get rid of it, but a blog post by Mathias Biilmann Christensen at Netlify suggests five reasons I should stick with HTTPS even though my site is static.

Larry Sanger and Geek Anti-Intellectualism

I had forgotten that Wikipedia founder Larry Sanger was writing about the possible rise of anti-intellectualism among geeks back in 2011.

Looking back seven years later, I suspect the answer to Sanger’s question is “hell yes”. If you want evidence, consider the following:

  • The rise of neo-reactionaries, the “dark enlightenment”, and the alt-right.
  • The seemingly prevalent opinion among techies that schools should only teach STEM subjects.
  • The growing acceptance of pseudoscientific bullshit among geeks like evolutionary psychology and scientific racism (under the guise of “human biodiversity”).

What’s the answer? I don’t know. I’m a geek and a college dropout who codes for a living and writes crappy sci-fi novels, so my opinion is probably worth fuck-all.

I would suggest that young geeks and techies be given a heavy liberal arts education focusing on history, literature, psychology, and sociology. It might give them some perspective to viewpoints they might not otherwise encounter if left on their own.

05 June 2018

Talk is Cheap

Nat Friedman will be taking over as GitHub’s CEO once Microsoft’s acquisition goes through. He says he wants to earn developers’ trust. I’ve heard that one before, from a dude with better hair.

You could argue that I’m being unfairly cynical in my refusal to trust Nat Friedman and his stated intentions. However, Mr. Friedman has one problem: he’s Microsoft’s puppet CEO, and I remember Microsoft under Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. They stood trial on antitrust charges for a reason. As such, he is to GitHub what Vayne Solidor was to Dalmasca in Final Fantasy XII—and I know exactly how nerdy I’m being for making this comparison.

Regardless, I think it’s apt, and I will be looking for options that will allow me to migrate away from silos like GitHub this year. Self-hosting would be a lot easier if residential broadband wasn’t so restrictive about running servers, but maybe DreamHost will let me rent a VPS that will allow me to run my own git daemon and other goodies…

01 June 2018

High Bars

Last year I took Catherine to Paris for her birthday. This year I’m doing my best to be a caring and supportive husband as she fights breast cancer. That’s a hell of a comedown, but I suppose I set the bar pretty high for myself by treating my wife to a vacation in Paris as a fortieth birthday present.

No, this isnt a humblebrag. At least, I don’t think it is. I honestly feel like I’m letting Catherine down because we’re not in a position to make as big a deal over her 41st birthday as we did over her 40th. Never mind that 41 isn’t the milestone that 40 represents.

This is probably all in my head, of course.

26 May 2018

Dark Souls Remastered

I’ve got a USB stick and a copy of Dark Souls Remastered. I’ll show you how to git gud by avoiding my mistakes.

25 May 2018

GDPR

I’m not sure if I’m bound by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or not, but it doesn’t really matter. I don’t intentionally collect any data about you.

  1. There’s no mailing list or newsletter to collect your name and email.
  2. There’s no Google Analytics spyware.
  3. There’s no Facebook spyware.

However, you should be aware of the following:

  1. Some posts have embedded content from services like YouTube. These embeds may contain spyware.
  2. This website is hosted by Dreamhost, which maintains server logs for various purposes.

If you want to be safer while visiting this website, you should either disable JavaScript or use a browser that doesn’t support JS, such as Lynx.

As for why I don’t collect data about you: I don’t need to. I don’t run ads on this site. I don’t have a “business model”. I have a day job.

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