So it’s been more than a year since my last post here. Because reasons; many reasons. One of them is that this is the 666th post on this blog, and that invokes my interests in symbolism, metaphor, and numerical shenanigans. Seems like I should “do” something in this one.
The Beast I’ve had in mind all year is that Obvious Monster a bunch of very angry, very stupid, and in some cases very evil, people connived (emphasis on “con”) into our POTUS. I’ve made my feelings very clear on that (in so many of my posts last year), so I’m not going to say (much) more in this one.
Instead, because it was a rich, full year, more of a personal recap.
Which, for me, raises (it does not, however, “beg”) the question: Why? Why bother? Who cares? (I’m not even sure I do!)
It’s significant that I missed a number of key dates that begged for posts: most crucially, both Solstices (and the fall equinox), but also others. Certainly 11/11 and 12/31 called out, and so did eclipse day. I really thought about it New Year’s Day.
They all passed.
Part of it was not knowing what — if anything — to do special for post #666. I don’t have any major attachment to (or fear of) the number. One can regard it simply as “two-thirds” (i.e. 0.666).
At one point I thought I’d trivialize it by posting any old day and talking only about my months-long ice-cube tray saga. (A quest closed disappointingly after a seeming glorious victory.)
Somewhere, on some level, I just didn’t feel like posting.
Part of it is a feeling of futility and invisibility.
This, by most common measures, has not been a successful blog. It has succeeded in persisting since 2011, and in reaching 666 posts (and assorted pages), and certainly I’ve enjoyed some wonderful conversations here (and on other blogs).
As works of mine go, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve done here, certain parts especially (the Special Relativity series, for example).
But it became obvious my appeal was even more narrow than I’d imagined. Shouldn’t have been a surprise. Over the last few years I’ve come to understand more fully just how disconnected I am from the human race, how different is my value system.
And this is, make no mistake, entirely on me.
The real question isn’t so much why this post, but why post at all. All year that question hung before me; all year my answer seemed, “[shrug] Got no reason.”
This is not the first time I’ve ponder this here. Each time I claim a move to a new kind of blogging — usually something more informal and “web-log” like.
Each time I slip back into the publishing pattern, constrained tamed posts.
Maybe this time, having reached a point of seemingly genuinely giving up, it’ll be different.
Or maybe this will be the last post.
Mostly I really just don’t care anymore.
If I write at all, I think I can promise a more hostile, don’t give a shit, fuck you anyway, kind of writing. (And, definitely, positively, this time, no more little pictures. I am so sick of searching for just the right image to illustrate a point. Often triples the writing time. Fuck it.)
The current political-social scene (mostly the political one, but also the social one) is making me very angry and very hateful. Which is not a natural state for me.
That Tangerine Tony was able to run, let alone get elected, proves a point I’ve been making (very loudly) for decades.
Bluntly: Most of you have allowed yourselves to become unforgivably stupid. And by “most” I mean well over 90%, so, yes, I probably am talking about you, dear reader.
There may be no point to blogging, and (obviously) I may be full of shit, but I think it’s a good bet most future posts will be venting the rage I feel these days towards the human race.
I suggest you unsubscribe now.
Seriously… Go. Away.
I’ll say this for 2017: For me it was a pretty interesting year, and I mean that in both senses of the word. It really was an interesting year, but it was also, in the best curse sense, an “interesting” year.
One great interest to me: My Minnesota Twins!
In 2016, losing 103 games, they had the worst year in franchise history. In 2017, they bounced back nicely, managing to just barely get into post-season as a wildcard. They set some records and, more importantly, were thoroughly watchable for the first time since 2010.
(In fairness, 2015 was weirdly good, but their success was untrustworthy and fragile. I can only pray there won’t be a even-odd pattern!)
The irony is that I became a major fan (of baseball and the Twins) in 2010, so with the exception of that minor (and weird) oasis in 2015, it’s been a long, dry desert for this Twins fan. Finally, after all these years!
Even higher on the Blessings Count list, my buddy and I took an Amtrak to Seattle for a vacation in April — we’re both retired, so what the hell, let’s go check out Seattle. Plus he had an Amtrak voucher remaining from a destination wedding trip he and wife took.
My first (long distance) train trip, and it was, all in all, a lot of fun. There are many advantages to train travel (spending the entire day drinking in the observation car, for example).
On the downside, I don’t really enjoy eating every meal with strangers (usually different each meal), and I really hated the cramped quarters. The toilet (also the shower) is literally the size of a phone booth.
It’s as far west as you can go on the Amtrak line (the Empire Builder) that runs through the Twin Cities, so it was on obvious choice. The line splits in Spokane, so Portland was another option. Both feature some great local breweries, plus there is the Seattle music and art scene.
More importantly: Fresh Seafood! Especially: Halibut!
Those are the obvious reasons to go to Seattle (or Portland). Recent changes to the state laws of Washington (and Oregon) were the very last thing on our minds…
Here’s the thing about the trip to Seattle.
You know how vacations are hard to get right? Many details need to fall into place correctly in a short period of time; there are so many points of possible failure. Which can cause tensions to run high; arguments and fights are not uncommon.
Apparently Murphy also decided to take a vacation, because: Every. Thing. Went. (not just right, but) Perfectly.
Even things that seemed like “whoops” turned out great. Like getting on the right bus, in the right place, but going the wrong direction. That turned into a delightful (cheap) tour of the city (upon just arriving!) and a fun chat with the bus driver (who was from Louisiana).
We weren’t in any real hurry, so we just rode the bus to the end of the line and back past where we got on to our destination, an amazing place, called Ponder.
Yep. First thing we did after checking into our hotel. All I’m gonna say here is: Mind Totally Blown.
It was a week of really delicious food, wonderful local beers, two great ballgames, delightful local encounters, and unabashed touristyness.
(In all honesty, it was the touristy things that impressed me least: the Farris wheel, the aquarium, the wharf area in general. Pro tip: skip the expensive harbor tours and just take a ferry ride. Grab some food and beers from the snack bar and kick back.)
As another example of how the Gods of Vacation smiled on us, we decided on Sunday to just mosey down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast and basically just hang out all day. You can burn out if you push constantly and don’t take a bit of downtime.
Expecting nothing (and not being really in tune to the date) we walk into what turns out to be Easter Brunch Buffet. At a lull time, so pretty much no one in the place.
We were at Hotel 1000, a four-star in downtown Seattle, so it was a ritzy buffet. They had me at “waffle station.” I’m talking guy in a white hat making waffles to order. And, oh, my, the waffle options…
But these are stories for another time, perhaps. There is a whole year to cover!
So much happened. Our Minnesota Senator, Al Franken, became a casualty in a wave of social-sexual awareness and justice. Anyone who knows me well knows I have a great deal to say about all this, but that, too, is for another time.
I will say that I’m glad to no longer have to apologize to, like, everyone I know, about not liking (or finding at all funny) Louis C.K.
On the flip side, Kevin Spacey. Damn.
Yes, that’s totally geeky, very high on the geek scale.
Suffice mainly to say that I rarely have so much fun programming that I actually laugh out loud with delight. One might even call it chortling.
Seriously, the SQLite, in particular, opened a hugely valuable door. The bittersweet part is that I could have opened that door the moment I started using Python many years ago.
But I never pursued it because I assumed the SQLite interface required a support install, such as with MySQL APIs. I always intended, but never got around to, installing MySQL, so using SQL in Python was a future thing.
Turns out Python comes with all you need to use SQLite. The whole API is in the Python module, and that module is part of the standard library.
So I could have been using SQL all along.
Which is a pity because I used SQL a lot during my career, I know it well, and it would have made my Python baseball API way, way, way better.
But better late than never. Just that I’m now faced with the idea of re-writing the baseball code to use SQL. Not all that hard — the code isolation is good — but still a major functional change, so one fears unexpected consequences.
See also: If it works, don’t “fix” it.
The Matplotlib module allows me to make some really cool charts, a capability I’ve wanted a long time.
Heretofore, I’ve made my charts with a simple image creation module and calculated all the necessary pixels (with the help of simple primitives, like lines, circles, and squares (oh, my)).
Funny how you go through eras as a programmer (at least I did).
In the beginning it was various assembler languages and BASIC dialects (and, believe it or not, PL/1). Then a long era using C , followed by one using C++ (my conversion to Object-Oriented design). VisualBASIC was also a main language during this time. Then an era nearly all Java. And SQL and DHTML (my final years at work).
Work for about ten years has been with Python, which may be my last language. Good one to go out on!
And, BTW, the other kind of posts I might make in the future are totally geeky ones. Another reason to unsubscribe now!
I’m guessing at this point I’ve bored any readers, no one is reading anymore, and I can safely dive into politics. Should be well beyond the TL;DR point of most.
I said I felt disconnected from the race and accepted it was on me.
But, really, a disconnect happens on both sides. It’s not just me.
I’m an outlier, I absolutely accept that. I’m even proud of it sometimes.
But you fuckers let Cheeto Charlie get elected. Some of you even voted for that Obvious Monster. That’s on you.
And the bulk of my ire isn’t really directed at that one-third of truly deluded fools and genuinely stupid idiots who supported — and beyond all sense, reason, and logic, persist in supporting — that egregious excuse for human, but at those who should have known better.
A lot of it is directed at the cable news and at social media. (Never have I felt better about not having a Twitter or Facebook account!) And the Democrats, which I mostly see as bumbling fools.
[I am decidedly and firmly neither “D” nor “R” (nor “I” nor “L”)! Because fuck party. Fuck this monkey tribalism.]
But I am furious with the fuckingRepublicans (yes, that is one word) who’ve demonstrated once and for all that all their pretense of moral high ground is an utter sham. The behavior of most has been shameful, reprehensible, and revolting.
And, my, oh my, hasn’t the “Evangelical Christian Right” been shown for the self-serving hypocrites they’ve always been? Gandhi supposedly quipped that he rather liked our Christ, but found many of His followers so un-Christ-like. Yep.
Funny how Christian Republicans are actually the very face of evil, eh?
And this is on you, most of you, with your infantile fascinations and distractions. You’ve let evil in the door, because you haven’t kept your eye on the ball (e.g. “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”).
Your unwillingness to think or learn has brought us to this point.
Your moronic monkey tribalism has brought us to this point.
The proof is in that fucker squatting in the Oval Office right now.
Remember, Spray Tan Sally is a symptom, not a cause!
You fucked up because you’re being stupid!
And I’m probably not done telling you just how stupid I think you are, so — seriously — you should probably unsubscribe now!