albadger: (Baby Hitler)
The process of becoming a Lyft driver and thus contributing to the destruction of civilization continues. Drove to San Francisco, met with my "Lyft Mentor," a very cheerful young lady whose cel phone cover matched her blouse; she clearly loves driving for Lyft, and signed me off (valid Driver's License, check; proof of insurance, check; car works, check). We even did a "test delivery" where she gave me an address to drive to. "Do you use Google Maps or -- ?" she began to ask, but stopped, awe-struck by the built-in GPS in my wonderful car. The GPS is named Navi, and sounds just like the character from Ocarina of Time.

Next step is the criminal background check. If they miss the panda-smuggling, I'll be a Lyft driver in days!
In other news, I submitted my Hugo awards ballot last week just before the final deadline. Why was I voting for the Hugos after years of inaction on that front? Sad Puppies. Rabid Puppies. You can get a fairly good explanation here.

If you're like me and too lazy to click through, point is, some right-wing nutcases felt that the Hugos were going to too many women and dark people and homos (sometimes all three in one writer!), so they "gamed" the system, and filled up most of the slots on the nomination ballot with work done by themselves and their allies. People were outraged, mud flew, and I thought, what the hell, I sent in 40 bucks to be a "supporting member" and vote on the final ballot. A lot of people did just that (around 1400), with the intention of stopping the Puppies nominees from getting any awards. But, hey, I thought, I'll be fair, and I'll read the nominated stories -- maybe they're good in spite of pleasing the teabaggers.

And now I'm angry.

Every one of the right-wing slate nominees stinks like a skunk poop cracker with Munster d'Alsace on it. On them. Each one in a different way. Which is worse, because if they'd all stunk in the same exact way I would have given up and imagined throwing my e-reader against the wall (I wouldn't really do that, it's my second e-reader, I sat on the first one). After 13 of the damn things (aliens who conquer earth but are taken in by a simple trick! ghosts who realize Jesus can still save them! sentient war machines who read their user manuals aloud to us!), I'd had enough, and only bothered with the first 8 pages of the last one, which has a sentient war machine reading its user manual aloud to us, but stopping long enough to let us know that a mob had broken into the United Planets capitol building and lynched all the do-nothing bureaucrats and this was A GOOD THING. I think I've done my due diligence.

I'm mad at the Puppies because they nominated crap, and I had to read it. Had to. Lord knows there's lots of "conservative" SF & fantasy out there, and it often wins awards (Lois McMaster Bujold springs to mind, but of course she's a woman), and these pups couldn't find anything of value. I have never voted for NO AWARD with such gleeful relish.

On the other hand, because of all this, I did read the Goblin Emperor, which I might never have done without the froo-frah. I'm grateful for that -- it's a great book, it wasn't on the Puppies shortlist, and I voted it first place among the novels; also nominated for Best Novel and also recommended is Ancillary Sword, but read the first book in that series first. So, read those 2 novels, avoid the Hugo-nominated short fiction this year, and if you need a ride somewhere, I may be your guy!

After I clear the criminal background check.
albadger: (Here's where they hung Joe Camel)
In exile again! The county has been repaving the roads in our area, and it feels like it's taking forever (it's not, it started in December & is about done). I'm horribly inconvenienced today, as there are NO PARKING 7AM-5PM signs all along Selborne Drive, so I'm currently in the Hayward Peet's, happily at the highly-valued table in the corner. There's a fascinating conversation going on at the next table, two women talking about the delivery of city services, and all the obstacles they have to doing it properly. I'm loving it! Right-wingers sneer at women like them, but these gals are actually getting stuff done!

Not right now, of course, they're at Peet's. But in general. Which is sort of why I'm in exile.

This and some other things have me thinking about right-wing nut jobs (hereafter RWNJ's) -- my breakfast encounter during last week's exile, stuff that pops up on my Facebook feed (I don't have any RWNJs in my friends list, but my friends do, so I get a light sampling of crazy). This one struck my fancy:

6a00d83451580669e2017c38053308970b

A standard line with Climate Deniers is "back in the 1970s, scientists thought there was Global Cooling!" And, yes, the rapid rise in atmospheric temperatures that went on from 1900 to 1940 did stall for 40 years, and a few scientists posited that things were going to chill. Most scientists didn't think that, but a few reporters talked to the minority-opinion guys, and RWNJs have been flogging one Newsweek article ever since. So this is where the Time cover is from, right?

Nope. It's a fake.

Which means somebody went to the trouble to mock up a magazine cover and spread it around in the Wingnutosphere, where it seems to have been accepted uncritically. I can see the acceptance; it's easy to buy into things that support what you want to be true, that's human nature, whatever wing you're on. But the person who made the mockup was deliberately lying. She (or he) knew that it was a lie... but was happy to spread it anyway. Now, that seems to me a very Right Wing, Fox News thing -- knowing that you're spreading a lie, but feeling ratified if it's believed.

Or it was a hoaxter who was just having fun. Yeah, that explanation lets me think better of people in general, so I'll go with that.
albadger: (Baby Hitler)
Today begins "interestingly." Last night, I notice that the little signs are back on the side walk. NO PARKING 7AM-5PM JANUARY 21, 22, 23 they say, with the sweet sweet promise that the repaving, only half completed in November, will finally be finished... but it means I need to wake up in time to move the car, so I think I'll go out for breakfast instead of doing my normal oatmeal at home.

Castro Valley is an adorable little enclave here in Alameda County, and has several good breakfast spots, of which I pick the one by the Albertson's, because when you order bacon there, you get BACON, thick meaty slabs of it, and not the 2 or three you'd get at Denny's, but 6.

About 15 minutes in, two old farts plop down at the table right next to mine. This is 'open seating,' mind you, they could take any place in the nearly empty dining are, but they plop down right next to me. I have a waffle to conquer, so I pay no attention to their chatter until one fart asks the other, "Did you hear that asshole on the TV last night?"

(For non-Americans, last night was Barak Obama's State of the Union address.)

"Yeah, disgusting," says Fart Number Two. "Bastard just giving everything away to poor people." I contemplate the hours of stimulus-response therapy that the Fart endured before he learned to say "poor people" instead of "the coloreds," and I smile inwardly.

"Geez, yeah," ripostes Fart Number One. "What, now if you're poor you don't pay ATM fees? I swear, poor people have it so easy." I laugh inwardly, as Mr. Obama's speech challenged idiots like these to try being poor themselves if they think it's so easy, but the Farts clearly are not content-oriented.

This was free entertainment for me, until their conversation changed. "You saw about the San Mateo Bridge, right?"

(For non-Bay Area people, there was a protest on the San Mateo Bridge a few nights ago; the protestors parked their cars to block the bridge, the protest being against police violence and societal acceptance of same.)

"Hell, yeah, those creeps. Police went too easy on 'em. Shoulda just thrown 'em over the side of the bridge. Or shot 'em..." I forget if this was Fart Number One or Fart Number Two.

Something snaps in me then; I could enjoy their stupid, nasty blather, but now they are advocating murder, they are seriously loving the idea of killing people for dissenting. I call the waiter over and asked if I could move to another table farther away. "Sure," says the waiter, and carries off my waffle plate. I pick up the other plate (eggs and precious bacon), and do something I rarely do. I do under no obligation to explain the reason I wanted to move, but I do it.

To the Farts I say, "I really don't want to start my day with your hatefulness." They look a little taken aback. I'm pretty sure they spend the rest of the morning talking about the horrible dirty hippie. I have an impact!
Three points I really need to add to this sad but inspiring story:
  1. The Farts had also been talking about their union benefits, benefits they would lose should Republicans get their way, benefits that Barak Obama is protecting. Such is life in the irony-free zone.
  2. Fart Number Two, commisserating with Fart Number One's litany of Obama sins, nods and says, "We got a revolution coming, that's for sure." Oddly, he's right.
  3. The bacon really is incredible. All stories should end with bacon being incredible.
albadger: (Baby Hitler)

Netflix streaming is nearly my only access to movies right now -- I don't get cable, don't get Netflix DVDs by mail, and am too lazy to walk the few steps between my computer and my TV to plug the HDMI cable between them (which would give me YouTube on the big screen, and such gems as Cthulu Mansion, thank you Juan Piquer!). And Netflix enables my worst habit.

You see, there's no penalty for starting a movie, so I start movies. Mockbusters from the Asylum, quirky indies, overlooked classics. And there's no penalty for bailing on the movie after 15 minutes. Usually because the movie sucks, but as often because I just can't get engaged, or I'm hungry, or there's a moth I have to track down and kill. Or.

Here's the case of Atlas Shrugged: Part I. Worst movie ever, say many, or at least the 14 people who have seen it so far. Given that Ayn Rand's two major Hollywood efforts, the Fountainhead and Love Letters, are both hilarious, marrying A-list budgets to Ed Wood-style dialog & bizarre acting, hey, why not give it a chance? Sadly, there's bad and then there's bad. ASP1 is just dull, scene after scene of meetings in board rooms and restaurants as the rich and privileged Novacainely read from the Tele-Exposition-Prompter, with occasional cutaways to stock footage and fake news. But if I give up on this, I thought...

...if I give up on this movie, it's because I'm a brain-dead liberal, right? It's because I've been softened and corrupted by government handouts, right? It's because I'm weak. And I'm not weak. So I stayed with it. 30 minutes. 37 minutes. I even posted to Facebook that I was watching it. 45 minutes. My sister-in-law replied to my post, saying, "well somebody's got to watch it!" And that's when it hit me.

I wasn't watching ASP1 for any personal gain. Not education, not entertainment, not even the delicious shiver of shadenfreude that a truly Bad movie brings. I was watching it so I could tell other people, and then they wouldn't have to suffer through it. Watching ASP1 was itself an act of altruism!

And thus, the watching of the movie is condemned and despised by the very film being watched. So, yeah, I bailed at 45 minutes. It seemed rude to keep watching if the movie didn't want me to.

But I've been thinking, and I realize it would be more honest to say that Netflix enables my second worst habit. But that's not important now.

albadger: (Baby Hitler)
"Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who will seek the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship, maintains that we do not have to worry about climate change because God promised in the Bible not to destroy the world again after Noah's flood."
albadger: (Baby Hitler)
"Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who will seek the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship, maintains that we do not have to worry about climate change because God promised in the Bible not to destroy the world again after Noah's flood."

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