It’s True, I Really Don’t Get It


Certain little software issues arise along the way, and it’s true, I just don’t understand why. Like one day, caption data starts disappearing from the image files I’m making with GIMP. I finally figured out the problem by reading a fifteen year-old bug report on exif data that was allegedly resolved way back when. And now it’s apparently not a bug; this is the way it goes now. But it was strange, because the problem showed up only occasionally, at first, and then one day just was. And there was no ongoing update. It was squar’ in’tween updates.

Did my update notifier just break my system? I don’t think so, but it is also true there was an update waiting when I checked. (It’s a joke about my particular Linux flavor and spice: If stuff starts acting weird and slowing down, check the update manager; once it has an update to give you, it really wants to take care of the thing, but for whatever reason the only way it lets you know is by slowing everything down.) It is true I like to blame APIs in the age of HTML 5; as a blogger, it seems everything started going to hell around the same time every website got their new bells and whistles and all the end users got out of it was a bunch of lousy pop-ups, drop-downs, and overlays.

But this is really quite simple: I have not been hallucinating my find & replace method for the last five years. Longer? Hell, I don’t remember. But you cannot convince me I have been dreaming this bit where I can highlight text, hit a key combination, and have my text replace interface waiting to replace the highlighted text.

I was actually ahead of schedule when Gedit broke. It’s just a lot of stuff to highlight and replace by hand. So much for the schedule; I should probably get back to replacing.

But, yeah. The moral of the story: Never set goals.

No, really, I was going to finish all of a few minutes early, and now I’m over a couple hours behind and pretty much finished for the night.

Because I somehow managed to break Gedit.

Honestly: How the fuck do you break Gedit?

Canon and Theme: Notes on Belief and the Loss of Magic


“What do you think is become of the art of forcing the thunder and celestial fire down, which the wise Prometheus had formerly invented? ‘Tis most certain you have lost it; ’tis no more on your hemisphere; but here below we have it. And without a cause you sometimes wonder to see whole towns burned and destroyed by lightning and ethereal fire, and are at a loss about knowing from whom, by whom, and to what end those dreadful mischiefs were sent. Now, they are familiar and useful to us; and your philosophers who complain that the ancients have left them nothing to write of or to invent, are very much mistaken. Those phenomena which you see in the sky, whatever the surface of the earth affords you, and the sea, and every river contain, is not to be compared with what is hid within the bowels of the earth.”

―Rabelais, 1534

“There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we listen and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life. But some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests; and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.”

―H. P. Lovecraft, 1922

“It had taken him years, and much conniving, to get access to the mighty, and more trickery still to learn which of them had dreams of magic. When pressed. He’d used the jacket, seducing those who fawned upon potentates into revealing all they knew. Many had no tales to tell, their masters made no sign of mourning a lost world. But for every atheist there was at least one who believed; one prone to moping over lost dreams of childhood, or to midnight confessions on how their search for Heaven had ended only in tears and gold.”

―Clive Barker, 1987

“See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.”

―Robert R. McCammon, 1991

Is This Thing On, and Why Would You Care?


Brook, the jolly Humming Pirate who also happens to be a skeleton with an afro. (Detail of frame from 'Shonen Jump One Piece'.)

It occurs to wonder what actually happens when the written word is dismissed from duty and argumentation is carried out via social media with links to other people’s YouTube rants.

No, really, I just don’t get that bit about how someone wants their voice to be heard so they send you a link to an hour-long YouTube rant. Honestly, they’re like really unskilled salesmen; getting you to sit through an hour of their favorite bigot is the point. Seriously; they know they’re not going to convince you. They just want to demand that you waste a bunch of your time in order that they might feel special, and then despise you for accommodating.

Sometimes it feels stupid to post these notes, but then we might recall the godawful narration explaining poker to a James Bond audience; and something goes here about the simpleminded moralist explanations in Hunter x Hunter mixed in with the sexual molestation scene and the nostalgic bit with the guy standing there in the middle of an emergency sniffing the scent of a woman from his fingers.

No, seriously, at first it’s a combination of Dragonball and Boobah―(“Look what I can do!”)―with infantile moral lessons describing character motivations, and then ....

Which actually might prove useful, for once. Perhaps the proper response to, “Here is a long-assed video in lieu of me actually doing any work to post a proper argument,” would be to simply post episodes of Hunter x Hunter and One Piece, the latter of which actually has the courage to denounce sexual harassment by its name.

Cryptically Plain? Cryptic Plainness? Cryptonormal? Never mind.


Detail of 'Relativity' by M.C. Escher, 1953.

I don’t know, maybe it seems cryptic, but that’s also kind of the point.

Simply: It is true that we notice certain aspects about other people because those aspects are important to us.

But then there are occasions when those aspects are so apparent, not noticing requires some deliberate effort.

To wit, if at some point one makes a deliberate, sustained, focused, and otherwise sufficient attempt to disrupt another, the other will eventually notice.

The only question remaining is why, or, perhaps more directly expressed: What do you require of me at this time?

Because nothing else, in that moment, exists anymore. Not what I was about, going to be about, or need to be about; only this. You now have my attention, what do you require?

The Internet and the Attention Span


Just once, when people are arguing online, I would like to see someone complete whatever rhetorical maneuver it is they attempt.

I happened to witness someone I’m not especially sympathetic toward seemingly attempt a windward tack in order to bait an opponent. Naturally, internet discourse being what it is, there are plenty of peanuts in the gallery lining up to shell the one. The weird thing is that if they wait, this maneuver can go one of two ways, and the most obvious reading is that the early critics would be pleased by the outcome if the other actually takes the bait.

And, yes, just once I would like to see someone actually complete this maneuver. Or pretty much any other rhetorical maneuver, instead of sound-biting from one moment to the next as if nothing anyone is saying has any relevance to anything.

Does life imitate art, or is it the other way ’round? Observation suggests it’s a dynamic interaction, but if we all are supposed to loathe politics and politicians, why does everyone seem to want to behave like politicians in a political spat?

Kind of like the people who disdain or disbelieve psychology trying to psychologize.

And pretty much as vapid.

Ecchiriffic


Sekirei, from season one opening credits

To the one, it seems easy enough: If the series has an ecchi tag associated with it, one is best advised to simply avoid it. In truth, it is not so much a prudish rejection of sexual stimuli in animated motion media, but, rather, a critique disdaining the waste of prudery. The tropes are myriad and obvious, with the result that it really does seem childish to a creepy degree. Say what we will about the (ahem!) “premature nosebleed”, but it does kind of work as a catch-all symbol within the frame.Because premature ejaculation is always worth a laugh .... (Sekirei, ep. 1)

More problematic, of course, is the blatancy of the stimuli. It is almost hilarious when baseball and anime overlap off-screen, because those who will discuss in earnest the physics of a left-handed pitcher’s throwing motion in relation to the placement of the heart within the human body apparently find no reason to wonder how this or that best fighter in the Universe managed to pull off that maneuver without slicing off one of her myth-cupped breasts.

The nature of ecchi, though, is to not be so explicit as, say, hentai or open pornography. But the artists do seem to revel in what they do present. And it is, of course, one thing to chuckle at the outsized breasts popping into open air, and the goofy sound effect that goes with it, but somebody had to draw that.

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A Note to WordPress: Quit Lying


To: WordPress

re: “Switch to the improved posting experience”

There's now an easier way to create on WordPress.com! Switch to the improved posting experience.

In truth, I think it would be better if you stopped lying. It is not an easier way to create. It is not an improved posting experience. It is extraneous, bloated, and slow. Indeed, the charming robot-sounds caption isn’t so charming, all things told.

Then again, I can also anticipate your response, to unsecure my browser entirely, in order to accommodate you.

Given all the sketchy data that would ask users to engage just in order to optimize their easier, improved posting experience, that response would be beyond insufficient. That is, of course, unless you expect people to not use the web to access anything else while they’re posting via WordPress.

I really don’t care about the so-called “improved posting experience”. Indeed, your firm has commercial concerns, so those of us on the courtesy platform owe it to you to suck this diseased nutsack. Yeah, we get it. Still, though, I just think it’s really low of you to lie like that, especially when there is absolutely no good reason under the sun for fattening up the process with all that Flash-y lard.

Well, okay, that’s not fair. I’m pretty sure the commerce side can come up with a good reason, in which case it would seem our posting experience is improved in the context of your own hosting experience.

But this is (beep-beep-booping) stupid.