Depressed for time

I wrestle with this quandary myself now and then:

I saw a story in the new Mary Janes Farm about a woman who works as an architect by day and makes incredible art quilts by night. And that makes me enormously sad; I count it as a good night when I have a half-hour to work on anything. I haven’t “designed” anything in a long time (as much as I ever “designed” anything — mostly just plugging a fancy stitch into a standard 64 or 72 stitch sock pattern). I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I never seem to do anything meaningful. I feel like when I’m gone I’ll be totally forgotten because there’s nothing I’m leaving behind that matters.

I think this explains my alleged productivity: I expect to be forgotten before I leave. And if none of this matters — well, when that’s determined, I don’t expect to be around to hear the verdict, so I’m not too worried about it. Then again, about halfway into the typing of this, I got a notification that someone favorited one of my stories, and, well, it’s halfway to 600 reads. Perhaps I’m the worst judge of my own material. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person suffering from that syndrome.

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Up and coming

For some reason, singer Angela Everwood added me to her Twitter list, and as is my usual practice, I went out to look for a reason to reciprocate.

And here it is:

This is the sort of Taylor Swift-ish song that Taylor Swift isn’t interested in doing anymore, so I’m glad Angela’s here to take up the slack.

She has several tracks posted to ReverbNation for your dancing and dining pleasure.

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Cradle stick-up

There’s lots of stuff at Interested-Participant, but arguably the label most often used at that blog is “Women With Troubles,” and a rather large number of the women in question have been caught with some underaged kid, though usually not in mid-diddle. In one recent incident, a 31-year-old ex-band teacher, following an anonymous tip, was busted for a 2012 tryst with a 14-year-old of apparently indeterminate gender; there is no shortage of other examples.

Robert Stacy McCain, who has been covering this phenomenon for many months, explains how this sort of thing can happen:

If we set aside all moral, legal, social and ethical objections to such behavior, must we pretend that we are unable to explain why a woman would be interested in a 15-year-old boy? Oh, hell, no.

Having once been a teenage boy, I know exactly what she enjoys in this activity. If erection equals consent, I was in a condition of permanent consent from the time I was 13 years old. A teenage boy is capable of sexual arousal with the least provocation, or no provocation at all… [E]ven if we ignore whatever aesthetic appeal there might be in the youthful appearance of an adolescent, there are other attributes typical of youth that might lead an adult woman to desire a 15-year-old boy as a sex partner. The teenage boy is more or less a tabula rasa, a lump of unmolded clay, an empty page on which she can inscribe whatever she wishes. Suppose that the teacher, attractive as she may be, is dissatisfied with the quality of her relationships with adult men. There in her classroom is a teenage boy, who is ready, willing and able to attempt any sexual act his teacher may desire him to perform. Not only is the boy’s impetuous eagerness flattering to her ego — adult men are probably less impetuous and more demanding — but as the teenager is less experienced in sexual activity by comparison to her adult male partners, the teen may be more easily tutored to perform sexually in the precise manner that pleases his teacher the most. The boy is more eager to please, more cooperative and less judgmental, and probably far more grateful to have her as a sex partner than any adult male would be.

There’s a lot to be said for “less judgmental.”

This interchange from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer seems apposite:

Cordelia: So, does looking at guns really make girls wanna have sex? That’s scary.
Xander: Yeah, I guess.
Cordelia: Well, does looking at guns make you wanna have sex?
Xander: I’m seventeen. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex.

Inevitably, there are some incidents where an adult (legally, anyway) woman has chosen a young girl as a partner, which is similarly heinous but is occasionally brushed off, because feminism, or some such excuse.

And there’s this:

We view as creepy the middle-aged executive who divorces his wife and acquires a much younger girlfriend. It’s not just that the 25-year-old female is young enough to be the 50-year-old executive’s daughter (triggering our crypto-Freudian suspicion of symbolically incestuous ideas lurking in the old man’s depraved psyche) but that we assume, without need for any evidence, the young girlfriend is a selfish gold-digger who is cynically trading sex for money and status. Certain other assumptions are involved in the case of an older woman who goes into “cougar” mode, pursuing sex with virile young studs.

One could argue, I suppose, that we don’t have the facts of the matter and therefore should not pass judgment. This works right up until the moment when those facts materialize — but not one second thereafter.

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It may even be true

Although technically that’s supposed to be a judgment call by the health inspector, not by the awning painter:

Deli Grossery sign in NYC

(From Kevin Walsh’s Facebook page.)

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Easier than getting it to print

First you need to know this:

“Canon Pixma wireless printers have a web interface that shows information about the printer, for example the ink levels, which allows for test pages to be printed and for the firmware to be checked for updates.”

I have something like that on one of my printers, come to think of it.

Michael Jordon, Context Information Security analyst, having pointed out the interface, then pointed out what was wrong with it:

[T]he interface doesn’t need any sort of authentication to access. Off the bat the worst anyone could do would be print off hundreds of test pages and use up all of the printer’s ink. Jordon found you could do much more, though. The interface lets you trigger the printer to update its firmware. It also lets you change where the printer looks for the firmware update.

In theory, you could create a custom firmware that spies on everything that printer prints, it can even be used as a gateway into the network it’s tied into.

To show off what he’d learned Jordon opted for something far more deadly: “I decided to get Doom running on the printer.”

Which he did. [MP4 video, no audio, 28 seconds.]

Canon is working on a fix for both current and future models.

(Via Fark.)

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Always running out of room

Bill Quick tosses this one at us:

Was there even a terabyte of storage in the entire world when you first got into computing? Not when I did, but that was in 1965. According to Wikipedia, when I bought my first PC in 1986, there was about three exabytes in digital storage.

There’s a terabyte (about 75 percent empty) in the home box right now, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot. Then again, I started fooling around with these contraptions with the Commodore 64, which stored 170k on a single-sided floppy. Call it six to a megabyte; then you have six million to the terabyte.

An exabyte is one million TB, and to make sure I remembered that correctly I slid over to Wikipedia, where I found probably the same page WTQ did, in which I found the following tidbit:

The content of Library of Congress is commonly estimated to hold 10 terabytes of data in all printed material. Recent estimates of the size including audio, video, and digital materials is from 3 petabytes to 20 petabytes. Therefore, one exabyte could hold a hundred thousand times the printed material, or 500 to 3,000 times all content of the Library of Congress.

Or your backup copy of Windows 10.

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Fair to mittening

Yours truly, in the midst of World Tour ’03:

Two of the four major automotive magazines are based in Ann Arbor, and they complain routinely about the Third World quality of Michigan roads. I didn’t cover a whole lot of Washtenaw County, where I-94 is quite acceptable, but I-69 just south of 94 is somewhere between wretched and horrible; I kept looking around for Ba’ath Party members with remote-control devices.

Today, two of the four major automotive magazines are based in Ann Arbor, but not the same two. (Okay, one of the same two.) How are the roads?

Well when you see a medium duty truck slow to a 15 mph crawl in a 40 mph zone so the cargo (or truck) isn’t damaged, you know the roads are somewhere between “is this really paved?” and “the dark side of the moon.” The double whammy of repeated freeze/thaw cycles and a poor state economy for a couple of decades has resulted in potholes, craters and chasms in our roads. Two of the steel rims on my daily driver have been bent.

Although Lansing apparently has decided that neglect is no longer Option One:

Things are getting better. Just about everyone in the state agrees that the roads need fixing and even our fiscally conservative governor has advocated an increase in the gasoline tax to repave the worst roads here.

They certainly don’t fix themselves.

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Totally umbrageous

Perpetual outrage? It’s a frickin’ industry, says Amanda Kerri:

We have turned righteous indignation into a marketable skill, and a way to make money. Fox News is a company that thrives off of anger, rage, misinformation, and disgusting behavior. I honestly cannot remember any time in my life, people who called themselves journalists working for a news organization, thinking it’s okay to call the First Lady fat. The only reason Rush Limbaugh even exists is because he figured out how to make money off of being offensive and angry. Don’t think liberals are any more enlightened. People have launched entire public media careers based off of spewing half understood academic terms they got from an Anthropology 101 class, to make money on youtube, blogs, speaking tours, etc., being outraged at every last slight. They look for things to be outraged about. If you aren’t the right kind of activist you’re worse than any member of the hetero-cisgendered-white-right handed-pull over instead of button up-dog loving but cat disliking-colonialist-patriarchy that might or might not be oppressing you. You have committed the sin of being of a different approach or opinion on the matter. And the horrible thing about these people, is that they are just so goddamned loud! They drown out those that have nuanced, educated, balanced opinions that are more interested in building bridges between camps instead of trying to figure out ways to burn down those camps. Those people get driven out of movement and shouted down because they’re more interested in talking instead of shouting (for a $5000 speakers fee mind you).

This is what we’ve become.

The key to that is in the middle: “They look for things to be outraged about.” Life’s rich pageant offers them no obvious balm for their twisted souls, so they look for incidents to reinforce their pet prejudices, and they think that’s enough — especially if somehow they can get paid for it. I have reduced my news consumption to one newspaper (local), one magazine (The Week, which reads all the other magazines so I don’t have to), and blogdom, the latter assisted by Twitter. (There are things I read which don’t specialize in news, but occasionally actually have stories worth reading: for example, Vanity Fair, whose fawning interest in rich people often produces really good financial-industry coverage.) I’m not saying I’m any more nuanced or educated or balanced than the next guy, but I don’t enter echo chambers willingly if I can possibly help it.

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BT or not BT?

BT Group plc, the communications company once known as British Telecom, is branded as BT.

Brian Transeau has been making music as BT for many years now.

This created no problem for anyone until BT Group decided to field a Twitter response team: should a customer have a problem, she need only tweet at @BTCare. Which is fine. But what if she tweets to @BT instead? Then we have this:

Interestingly, BT the musician has 700,000 Twitter followers; BT the corporation has 63,000.

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Somewhat lacking in dash

Attack with Numbers has a subtle little piece called “The laws of shitty dashboards,” the second of which is “If it’s called ‘Dashboard,’ it’s probably shitty.”

Of course, they’re talking software dashboards, but the principle could be extended further:

Take car dashboards for example. They use vast amount of real estate to display information that is useless 99% of the time. How often do you need to know the RPM on an automatic car? Can’t you just take that stupid dial out and put something useful instead?

Then again, if you don’t have that information in the remaining 1% of the time, you’re hosed. And I look at the RPM all the time, if only to see what sort of shift points I’m using. And there’s this, for instance: the car is fully warmed up when, and only when, 70 rpm can be had below 2500 rpm, useful information of the sort you can’t count on from today’s typically wonky temperature gauges.

On the other hand, I’m definitely down with this:

They also employ UX techniques that dates from a time where the only UI component you can use was a light bulb. If that red thing is critical, can’t you tell me right away what it means?

One wants to know, after all, what the engine is doing, not what it just quit doing.

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It’s just a print

Given Emily Deschanel’s longstanding commitment to animal welfare and vegetarianism and such, it’s not at all surprising that she’d make an appearance for Mercy For Animals, but I have to admit, I wouldn’t have expected this dress:

Emily Deschanel for Mercy For Animals 9-12-14

I mean, yeah, great dress, but it seems like it might suggest something contrary to the mission. (The organization’s annual gala was held Friday night at The London West Hollywood.)

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Fark blurb of the week

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Off to reform school with you

You may have heard the term “special snowflake” before. Here’s a particularly flaky example:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Parents won't buy me a nice car?

Speaking for the defense:

First, I am “spoiled” but if you’re going to comment that I am you’re wasting your time because believe me, I know I am.

Okay so I drive a 15 year old POS that doesn’t even start all the time. It’s a crappy Nissan SUV that’s in an ugly girly color. The inside is crappy and I feel embarrassed driving my gf or even my friends in there because it is so filthy. It’s almost disrespectful to my passengers and I try to clean it but you can’t get out decade old stains and smells. At my HS, kids drive NEW BMW 4 series coupes, Mercedes Benz, even Porsches I know 4 girls who drive 911s. Like everyone in my town, including my family, is very wealthy. We live in the wealthiest county in Florida. Kids get dropped off at school in Teslas, limos, and their nanny’s range rovers. And I don’t get why my parents can’t just buy me a 15k BMW!? Like my wrist watch is probably worth more than my car. It is so frustrating. My best friend drives a new Mercedes c250 and my other friend has a 2012 5 series. It is just annoying af and I feel self conscious because they have plenty of money to buy me a used car. That would be like your parents saying they don’t have $2 for a vending machine water when they obviously do. I have a job, but it’s an internship at a real estate office and there’s no way in hell I can afford a car making minimum wage. What should I do

This is how your parents got rich: not buying you crap.

Only one question left: does he run for Congress in ’26, or wait until ’28?

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Conference room A, one hour

The organization doesn’t exist that never holds meetings. But there is such a thing as overdoing it:

When I worked in the high-corp world, especially when I was the executive assistant to the vice-CEO of a NASA corporation, I learned the value of regularly held meetings. But my boss held back-to-back meetings all damned day, thus eating up my time with creating Excel spreadsheets, running upstairs to rip them off of the huge Calcomp printer, then running back downstairs to mount them on the wall of his conference room. Hour. After. Hour. Taking care of 12 departmental checkbooks, requisitioning tools and parts, and performing secretarial tasks for his departmental heads had to be sandwiched in between my jogs up and down stairs. It’s no wonder that I won an unofficial poll as “Best Legs in the Company” and that I brought home huge paychecks that included three or four hours of overtime every day. Those checks helped me pay for that penthouse with the view of the Pacific, which I seldom saw because I never came home until well after dark. That job taught me the frustration of redundancy and meeting overkill. I used to joke with my boss that he and his heads must be Baptists, who are famous for holding meetings to schedule meetings.

Grateful am I that I work on one floor and one floor only — though that floor has a single step that I must traverse dozens of times a day, playing hell with my knees. And none of my paychecks are huge enough to afford a penthouse, which may be just as well since the damned thing would perforce be upstairs.

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Strange search-engine queries (450)

The number 450 hasn’t a great deal of applicability in real life: for me, it’s the temperature to which I should have preheated the oven instead of 400, but I didn’t notice until I’d already shoved in a full baking sheet. In Canada, it’s the score for a perfect game (twelve consecutive strikes) in five-pin bowling. Anyway, here are this week’s search strings:

“baby duck syndrome” asperger:  This perhaps explains more about the grown-up Donald than Disney had intended.

blurbese:  The language of marketing. Any similarity to English is coincidental and not intended.

scdo 07 latex corset ballet boots:  As seen on People of Wal-Mart.

the wonderful webers:  Not referring to grilles, either.

slightly skewed skateboards of oklahoma:  You know, we wouldn’t have this issue if we had some real sidewalks.

626 capella glx fuel consamptoin:  It’s like “consumption,” only faster.

celia ebert one buckhead loop condo association:  Never met Ms Ebert, but I’ve seen plenty of buckheads thrown for a loop.

the boston rag:  That would be the Globe. (The rival Herald is more of a dustcloth.)

elyse moore diaryland xanga:  Um, did you try Geocities?

martha lasley “clean language”:  Um, did you try Geocities?

cold calculating thinking:  Less common than it used to be, but so are other varieties of thinking.

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Several last things

The other day I got Twitterspammed — if that isn’t a word, it should be — by someone whose main interest in life, judging by that day’s tweet production, was promoting this song:

“Good theme that swings”? Okay, I’ll look.

This was the song, and I liked it enough to snag it from iTunes:

I know from nothing here, except that Aldrey is from Venezuela, and that this video was shot largely at a pediatric hospital in Maracaibo — which makes its bucket-list lyrics just a hair more poignant.

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