queenlua: (Default)
2020-04-17 08:28 pm

[sticky entry] Sticky: Semi-Friends Only

My public stuff is fic updates, meta, and perhaps occasional musings on non-fannish things (writing, birds, etc).

Random life commentary, or general commentary that happens to include potentially personally-identifying information (for some relative value of that term, anyway) is private. I like my secret internet double-life, yo.

If you want to be friends, just leave a comment here (all comments screened). If I've seen you around, or you convince me that we have some stuff in common, I'll probably add you!
queenlua: (Default)
2017-06-08 05:33 pm

weird game of the month: space station 13

So I watched my boyfriend play Space Station 13 the other night and boy is it weird. And fascinating. It reminded me of lots of things I loved about my old play-by-post RPG days.

So: once upon a time (2003), some internet person with a funny handle made a convoluted, overly-complicated online multiplayer game, using some weird game engine that made everything look like a shitty NES RPG. The internet person started slacking off with updating it / maintaining it, though, so someone stole the compiled source, someone else reverse-engineered it, and in the over a decade since then, people are still running servers and modding the shit out of the original source code, all totally community-driven.

Ostensibly the point of the game is a mafia-esque "some small subset of you are traitors, try to hunt down the traitors before you all get killed" thing, but that's somewhat akin to saying the point of life is getting your next promotion at BigCo. Turns out, when a bunch of nerds spend a decade hacking in new characters, environments, systems, etc, all willy-nilly into their unsupervised space-game, they will reimplement approximately the entire universe, opening up infinite opportunities for mischief, quixotic sidequests, and general faffing about.

Like, okay. Let's make this concrete. In the playthrough I watched, my boyfriend chose to be a chef, because it's a pretty basic/easy role to play. He wanders through the space station and asks the head-chef (another player) what to do, which turns into this whole cooking subgame—I was expecting a couple cute cooking-mama-esque interactions, but holy shit look how thorough this food and drinks guide is.

At some point he and the head chef wandered into a back room, where a little calf was standing, and they brutally slaughtered it for its meat—then the head chef turned on him, punching him to the ground and tying him up. The head chef reveals his true self at this point—he's a vampire—no, I'm not sure why there's vampires in space—and he tries to beg to be turned into a vampire, but apparently it doesn't work that way, so he just gets all the blood sucked out of him and dies. Afterwards the chef takes his body, grinds it up in the meat grinder, and starts serving it to the denizens of the space station, who remain none the wiser for quite a long time.

At this point, he then got to wander around haunting the station (you can't do much once you're a ghost, but you can knock random objects over and do other minor nuisance-y things). I got only the vaguest glimpse of the random incomprehensible shit happening around the station. There was: (1) a clown that was going around HONKing its horn at random people, and trying to get someone to build him a "H.O.N.K. mech", (2) the captain of the ship occasionally making announcements where he sounded kinda stoned & warned people to watch out for vampires, (3) some kind of space carp infestation that security was being called in to deal with. There was also a crab infestation, but no one seemed bothered by that, just let them hang out in the dining hall. (I called them "space crabs" but apparently that was incorrect; there are space-animals but also just regular animals.) There was also a portal to some beach paradise place, which is where I would wanna hang out, but seemed surprisingly unpopular. At some point someone discovered the identity of the head chef and forced him to drink holy water, which caused him to burst into flames, but at that point a "biohazard level 3" was unleashed and people started falling over coughing all over the place. Which led me to Google how the fuck biohazards in this game work, and led me to the gloriously trollish list of space diseases—to counteract a plague, folks have to band together to correctly diagnose the symptoms and make an antidote before everyone dies, just like a real-life Center for Disease Control would.

That was about an hour of play. This game is bananas.

Every single character class seems to have a related subgame / emergent system / etc that's so complex it could make up a whole game in and of itself; I think I'm most charmed by space law so far, but gosh knows there's a ton I haven't even looked at yet. The subreddit has a cute topic of "SS13 stories that sounds bizarre out of context but make perfect sense in-game."

I guess an apt comparison would be Dwarf Fortress, based on what I've heard of the game (I've never played myself), but this has the upside of being gloriously & gleefully multiplayer where DF is solo, and has simple n00b character classes to let you ease into the maddening complexity a bit.

Anyway, in my heart, I adore shitty mid-2000's RPG things; gimme a ring if you're ever on the Paradise server because that's where I'm getting started :P
queenlua: (pic#7912258)
2017-05-22 06:19 pm

world-machine

At the Ginko Petrified Forest in eastern Washington, there's a little spot of lawn at the campgrounds, by the visitor center. As you stand there, on one side the land plunges down into canyon—the Columbia River stretching vast between those ancient rocky walls. On the other side is broads stretch of shrub-steppe, scraggly little desert-grasses and bare desert-bushes, curving slowly a distant ridge.

But at that little spot of lawn, those unkempt beautifully-twisted shrubby bushes turn, all at once, over a stark line, into bright-green short-cut suburban-as-hell grass. There's four enormous revolving sprinklers going off all the time, because when you're in the goddamn desert you have to do that kind of aggressive maintenance to keep anything so mundane as grass alive.

And even though I'd seen sights like this before, even though I'd been to this exact spot before, when I stood there Saturday morning I felt a flash of hot, unbridled anger. Perhaps the shrub-steppe just struck me as particularly beautiful that morning, or I was feeling particularly temperamental, or something else. But I thought, how stupid and wasteful and ugly seems. How stupid and wasteful and ugly lawns everywhere seemed—here we were in the heart of sagebrush country, the last untamed bit of the American West, and instead of respecting that for what it is, even in the grounds of a state park, we've got four damn sprinklers going off all at once just to preserve some perverse purity, some symbol of civility.

Read more... )
queenlua: (Default)
2017-05-22 05:10 pm

re: my family's slave:

i found it quite curious to see "My Family's Slave" percolating through the facetwitsocialsphere. it has "slave" in the title. it is about a slaveowner. and yet the comments accompanying the article weren't outraged so much as awed.

i read the piece. and it is written quite tenderly & beautifully. i had two major impressions of it: first, i was quite gripped by the author's pained relationship with his mother, the pain and complexity of it, her legitimate sacrifices just as obvious as her casual cruelty. second, i was bothered that the author never seemed to do much to help Lola. or rather, really, i guess, the author didn't seem troubled enough by his failure to help Lola. it's hard for a twelve-year-old to turn on their mom; i get that. it's easier for a young twentysomething to just avoid contacting a family that's doing a horrible thing than to turn in your own mom for doing a horrible thing; i get that. when mom dies and she's left behind a slave who's ill-equipped to get a proper place of her own, taking her in may seem benevolent; i get that.

but none of those choices should rest easy. none of those were the only choice, much as the author tries to imply that. the relationship with mom is hard, sure, but Lola had it hard too, and the author found it easier to stay distant and yell at mom rather than truly help. and i was especially bothered at the very end—the author didn't try to help Lola get a place of her own, or learn to read, and so on. even if the author was benevolent, it was a relationship based on a hideous imbalance of power; if the author couldn't repair or make moves to amend that then at least they could've tried.

so yeah, i found it quietly troubling.

and yet all the generally urban-lefties i know on the facetwitsocialsphere seemed to love the piece. "wow" and "so powerful" and so on. i couldn't quite grok what exactly they meant by "amazing read!" without further qualifiers.

so when a friend directly linked it to me, i shared my thoughts with him directly: it's a nice piece, but, isn't it kind of fucked up too? don't you find the author's actions, even if understandable, still troubling? isn't it messed up that we're only hearing about this after both the author and his slave is dead?

Read more... )
queenlua: (Default)
2017-05-22 03:34 pm

swakane (tl;dr i found a rare bird)

Last summer, my boyfriend and I stopped by Swakane Canyon on the way to a cabin in eastern Washington. Very few eBird checklists had been submitted for the place, but luckily, the dead-tree book Birder's Guide to Washington had a nice writeup, which gave us a better idea of what to expect. We picked up a lovely variety of eastern species—Bullock's oriole, black-headed grosbeak, yellow-breasted chat.

Last weekend I went to Umptanum Road, a very well-known birding spot that I'd never actually been to before. I was surprised to discover that the habitats there are almost exactly the same as Swakane Canyon—dusky canyon entrance, mountain stream, ponderosa pine. Geographically, the two aren't very far from each other—a few hours' drive—and you'd expect the same diversity of birds in both. And yet one is crawling with birders, and in the other, I saw nary another soul. Why?

Some of it's probably reputational—people know Umptanum has good birds, so if they're planning a trip, they'll go for the sure thing rather than the unknown quantity, and then they'll report more birds, so more people know Umptanum has good birds, and etcetera etcetera the cycle continues.

Some of it's access—the roads in Swakane Canyon are not quite as nice, and it's an hour further from Seattle, which is a hugely concentrated birding population.

But it's not lack of good bird habitat. So here's this whole undiscovered, underbirded canyon; if I visited tomorrow, I'd be the first birder in the whole past month, according to eBird. Who knows what might be hiding there?

* * *

When we made that trip out to Swakane, we saw a very strange blackbird. Instead of the red-and-yellow you see on a red-winged blackbird's wing, there was a single stripe of pure white. It was far away, across a marshy field, so we squinted through our binoculars for a long time and crept closer and closer, trying to see if it was a trick of the light. Just the white. It made some weird calls I didn't recognize—not any classic red-winged blackbird calls, but not any classic tricolored calls either. When it finally flew, I saw a tiny flash of red, and alas, I didn't have any equipment to take a picture of the darned thing.

I wrote a long description of the encounter and sent it to my Elite Birding Cabal* mailing list. Several folks said that indeed sounded not-red-winged-blackbird-like, but tricolored blackbirds are quite rare in Washington in general, only flocking around some ponds in Othello, two hours southeast.

* that is not the actual mailing list name :P

I shrugged, and figured it was just a weird red-winged blackbird. I wasn't very good at birding Washington yet, and I didn't want to be overeager to shout "RARITY!" where there was none. Surely, if it were rare, someone else would've noticed it?

Except, this past weekend, I went out to those ponds in Othello, and I saw a whole flock of tricolored blackbirds, and God if they didn't look just like the weird bird we saw in that canyon.

I'm now quite certain what we saw was one very lost, confused tricolored blackbird, and given what I now know about how underbirded the Swakane is, I think maybe we were the only ones who saw it.

Unfortunately I didn't have a decent camera on me, and it was a year ago, so I doubt I'd be able to convince the wider birding community. No way the bird's still there.

But I know what I saw, and that's plenty for me.

And even better: I know there's this little patch of bird-territory that barely anyone goes to, and who knows what I could find there next?

I can't wait to go back.
queenlua: (pic#6817173)
2017-05-10 10:35 am

some cowboy bebop warblings

thought-dump from a conversation i had with the boy last night:

The parallels between Firefly and Cowboy Bebop are bleedingly obvious, he said, but he could easily see someone liking one and not the other. The style of humor is different, for one.

I said, well, is the style of humor or just the presence of humor? Bebop isn't a very funny show (one or two gag-ish episodes aside).

He mentioned the whole "data dog" thing with Ein, and I started laughing, because the running quirky stuff with Ein is very funny—the ridiculous circumstances they capture him under, the subtle nods here and there that Ein's smarter than he seems, that final bit in Brain Scratch where he finally does... something... and the fact that we never really learn wtf a data dog is, it's cute, it's funny.

But it's not Firefly humor. The humor in Firefly is much more situational and character-driven, more laugh-out-loud, more sitcom-y in nature. Mal does an embarrassing thing and {Inara wittily derides him, River says weird shit, Jayne exploits to the situation to some amusing petty advantage, etc} and we all laugh.

It gives me the instinct that it'd be much easier to write Firefly fanfic than Cowboy Bebop fanfic—take any 2-3 characters in Firefly and do some fun twist on their standard interactions and, bam, you have a fanfic. Whereas I've never quite known where to start with a Bebop fanfic. You can do some overwrought Spike backstory, and AO3 indeed tells me that's been done, but honestly I think Spike's backstory is better left mostly-unsaid (and given how my entire jam is writing backstory fanfic I feel this is a strong statement). You can do some kinda sweet post-show Jet/Faye, which I think may be the most fruitful avenue, but that still doesn't feel quite right. You could do a monster-of-the-week-style interlude-episode, but I'm not really into fanfic that doesn't do an interesting development/change on the source material, and—well, I think the problem is, as much as people complain about Bebop's main plot dragging, I think it proceeds exactly as fast as it needs to. All those "filler" monster-of-the-week episodes show the crew growing closer, bit by bit. And then, once they've become close enough, once Spike inevitably goes back to face his past, the crew drifts apart—because they don't need each other anymore, and because that's how it had to be. I wouldn't want to fanfic it any other way.

Anyway, back to characters. Here's an interesting thing—Firefly desperately wants us to believe Mal is this stoic, badass, brooding personality, but it's just not true.1 He's far too pleased with himself, his "snapping at his underlings wah i protect my people" thing isn't so much as badass but a little insecure and controlling, his whole "wah I remember the rebellion wah" rings absolutely stupid and hollow given that he's just running a petty smuggling operation, etc.

Spike, on the other hand, is a dude with some damage. He's way closer to the stoic badass that Firefly is looking for. And you can tell it not from some sort of Heroic Old-School Principles he's always rattling on about, or his snapping at the crew, or anything like that. It's the moments when he seems to care just not quite enough about his own self-preservation, the thing where you look at the biographies of extreme sportsmen and notice a lot of them got hella depressed at some point in their life and you think, did they just decide they didn't really care whether they live or die anymore?. And it's in the subtle way he distances himself from people—not deliberately putting a distance there, really, but how in moments his smiles seem to only go skin-deep, how it seems like in his falling-out with Jet in "Jupiter Jazz" that, somehow, after being bounty hunters together for so long, this had never ever come up before.

There's similar things going on with the other folks on the ship. Like, Jet's a grump, I guess he could also be the stoic-badass ideal Firefly's going for, but he comes across as actually grumpy/stodgy rather than snappish, he's got these charming soft edges to him, and yet still there manages to be so much unsaid between him and Spike. In general, rather than an aggro-Mal-type thing, folks on Bebop tend to retreat inward.

So yeah, it's not that Cowboy Bebop doesn't have characters. But they're quieter personalities. And by that I mean: more reserved, more guarded, a little more damaged. Which means that Bebop ends up with wry, dry, understated humor, and if you're never gonna like that as much as sitcom-y big-personalitiy humor then you probably won't like Bebop that much.

Which also got me to wondering if Cowboy Bebop could be successful in another medium. When your characters' personalities aren't big, you need the setting to do a lot of work. I can't tell you the difference between one setting in Firefly and the next. Whereas the setting is all I can remember of some Bebop episodes—and the setting does so much speaking for the characters. The blue shores of Ganymede, the yellow mists & floating isles of Venus—okay, yeah, that would be a whole separate essay, so just consider the thought thrown out there.

in conclusion i still really love cowboy bebop

1 I'm pretty sure, last time I rewatched Firefly, I wrote a Tumblr-rant about how Mal is just kind of a dick and the other characters are way too reverent toward him and why the hell is he calling Inara a whore in every other scene, but I can't find that rant, so, y'know, just know that if you've heard me bitch about this before, you're not just experiencing deja vu :P
queenlua: (pic#9405713)
2017-05-03 01:49 pm

American Saints

Trump's most recent ignorant blather is almost too idiotic to be worth discussing. Once again he has managed to outdo even the wildest satirst's dreams. News at eleven.

But I've found the reaction to be quite interesting.

The part of Trump's rambling that irked me the most was the "why couldn't the civil war have been avoided" comment—because it shows an almost mind-boggling ingorance of history. Leading up to the Civil War, there were endless compromises, and attempts at reconcilliation, and proxy conflicts. If the Civil War wasn't averted, it sure wasn't for a lack of trying.

But the knee-jerk reaction here in Coastal Liberal Land has been a bit different than mine. The two major strains:

1) Lots of snarky one-liner takes on Twitter and whatnot, with people angrily pointing out YEAH THERE WAS THAT WHOLE SLAVERY THING TRUMP IT COULDN'T HAVE JUST BEEN WORKED OUT. In a way, they're right. The states' rights interpretation of the Civil War is slowly dying the death it deserves.

At the same time, I think it's important to remember that the Union wasn't these heroic crusaders who'd finally decided the evils of slavery should be expunged once and for all. Lincoln was loath to bring the slavery question into the conflict; he was justly nervous that turning it into a "war against slavery" would alienate working-class whites in urban Union areas; his solution for dealing with the border states was just to militarily occupy them; the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in states he had no control and did nothing for slaves in states he could control; he had that famous bit about "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it". Implying that the reason the Civil War wasn't "worked out" was because the North universally saw a mighty injustice to be slain just isn't accurate.

(Here I once again include my appeal to actually fucking teach reconstruction in schools. That's the "working it out" Trump longed for, really. The south "lost" the war but managed to get a sympathetic president & fought against all the reforms and enfranchisement meant to lift up blacks blacks, leading to another century of Jim Crow de-facto caste system that suited those old rich southern landowners just fine. The problem wasn't that we didn't "work it out"; it was that we "worked it out" at the expense of the most vulnerable among us.)

2) A lot of folks seemed most furious at the mention of Andrew Jackson—which surprised me, probably more than it should have.

Read more... )
queenlua: (Greater Bird of Paradise)
2017-03-24 12:25 am

stream-of-consciousness artsy ramblings, loosely inspired by The Velvet Underground

i.

a couple weekends ago i stayed up late and had a couple beers while trying to figure out why The Velvet Underground is a big deal.

uh, let me backtrack a bit.

Read more... )

ii.

when i first played porpentine's "howling dogs", i rolled my eyes at the opening, which is just a long quote lifted from a kenzaburo oe's teach us to outgrow our madness. i had an unconscious, knee-jerk reaction: oh gee, look at this pretentious person, probably into lousy MFA fiction, majored in lit, putting on airs by name-dropping foreign nobel prize winners. (my unconscious it not very nice.)

i played the game and didn't much like it. it felt pretentious. its language was overwrought. there wasn't really a solid core.

Read more... )

iii. )

iv. )

v. )

vi.

i've noticed lately that i've used the word "patient" to describe art i really admire.

Read more... )

vi. )

fin. )
queenlua: (Magpie (Snow))
2017-02-20 12:42 pm

fear of the heavens

I spent my weekend in the Okanogon, a vast and rural county in eastern Washington, its largest city: population 4,000. The landscape was mostly variations on themes I'd seen before. Yawning stretches of shrub-steppe, low valleys hemmed in by mountains, and on our last day, to the south, a flat endless plateau.

But the highlands were new to me, and they were harrowing.

Read more... )
queenlua: A black-and-blue jay perched on a branch. (Yucatan Jay)
2017-02-16 09:31 pm

yesterday i reread the script for Inception

and then today i got so excited about it that i blathered about it to a friend, and then on tumblr, and then i, uh, accidentally like 2k words about cool stuff i noticed while rereading the script.

the thing's so damn long i probably should've just posted it here instead of on tumblr but, whatever, just linking to it from here for now.
queenlua: (Birds are Love)
2017-01-24 12:27 pm

skagit birding crosspost

i talked about birding in the skagit on tumblr over the weekend, but it occurs to me it may be of interest to some folks who follow me here and not over there, and also it was a really fucking cool trip i can't stop thinking about it, so, there's a link~
queenlua: (Default)
2016-12-06 09:36 am

"sticky" culture

fact: when i moved to boston my roommates claimed i had a southern accent. i had no idea i'd had an accent, but whatever accent i had, i lost in under a year. for a while my roommates claimed it still came out when i was drunk, but i sort of doubt that's the case anymore.

fact: seattle is full of terrible drivers. i know, every goddamn city thinks their drivers are the worst, but seattle's are terrible in a specific way: they are all painstakingly polite. like, in boston, car accidents happen because two assholes tried to pull a fast merge on each other and collided. in seattle, they happen because some dumbass was trying to wave someone across an intersection, when that person really didn't have the right of way, but it's just nice to let other people go sometimes, and then that person gets t-boned because they didn't have the right of way, idiot. *

fact: my boyfriend is a seattlite but drives like a maniac. he claims this is because he learned to drive in Los Angeles. if this is the actual case then i am never driving in Los Angeles.

i was pondering these and other facts when i was wondering how "sticky" certain aspects of culture are. all things being equal (e.g. i know some people naturally pick up new accents more easily than others, i know a lot of this stuff depends on the extent to which you're immersed in a new community, etc), i wonder which regional tics you are most and least likely to lose? i'm not thinking so much about conscious cultural things, like continuing to be southern baptist in a city of liberal heathens, but the unconscious things that you may not even think of as being particularly regional on a daily basis: driving styles, saying "hello" and smiling at strangers, always being on time vs always being late, etc

half-baked theories welcome; i'd produce some myself but am too braindead to do so atm

* the way it was described to me once, by a friend who lived in all three of the cities he described: "in boston, everyone's an asshole, but at least they know how to drive. in seattle, everyone's fucking terrible at driving, but at least they're polite about it. in washington d.c., everyone is terrible and everyone is an asshole about it."
queenlua: (toritachi)
2016-11-30 02:57 pm

first impressions: final fantasy xv

i had no idea final fantasy xv came out yesterday, actually, but i already had plans to hang out and play video games with an amazing brofriend of mine, and he was the one who was like "this came out today and we should buy and play the shit out of it and do the high school nostalgia thing" and i was like "AGREE"

disclosure of my own tastes/preferences: i've played all of FF6 through FF10 and varying amounts of others in the series; i think 10 is objectively the best (for some sense of objective—by this i mean the plot in that one is remarkably tight/streamlined throughout, in a way that even a non-JRPG fan would be able to appreciate, and the gameplay is very polished), but 9 is my personal favorite; i was bitterly disappointed that i couldn't really get into 13; while I appreciated that the series was trying new things, i thought they made some pretty major missteps.

anyway, thoughts so far:

one extremely minor spoiler for something that happens in the first three hours, but really it's just a general take on gameplay and storytelling choices )

in conclusion FFXV is surprisingly fun and hope i get to blaze through more of it soooooon
queenlua: Red XIII from Final Fantasy 7. (Red XIII)
2016-08-30 08:44 am

(no subject)

apparently there's another final fantasy movie coming out and i just found out about this yesterday

somewhere, fifteen-year-old me is howling in rage at twenty-five-year-old me, because how has my older self become so lame to not know about this, younger-me would've been counting down the days for months, etc

anyway i'm sure it's going to be a beautiful disaster like every other final fantasy film ever and i've accepted the fact that i'm going to watch it anyway
queenlua: A wolf resting. (Wolf: Resting)
2016-08-08 02:46 pm

for the love of character

i've mused, in the past, on how it seems like being too close to your subject can make your writing quality suffer. now i'm musing over a highly-related but possibly-distinct concern: being too close to any one character.

Read more... )
queenlua: (Default)
2016-07-22 10:52 am

aphantasia

Some number of years ago I stumbled on this blog post, "I don't see anything when I close my eyes".

The author says that he can't mentally "see" objects in his mind—for instance, if asked to imagine a red square, while he knows intellectually what it looks like, he can't really imagine/see it unless it's in front of him.

I found this fascinating to stumble upon, because I thought this was how everyone was. When people talked about seeing a picture in their mind, I thought it was just kind of a figure of speech, but this dude's post + various anecdata indicates most people actually do this, and I'm the weird one for not being able to picture things!

Anyway, this week I found a couple cool articles on this topic! Turns out researchers are starting to look into this, which I find exciting, because it seemed like such a tricky and quirky thing to study that we'd never get actual scientists on it, and yet here we are. Also it has a name now: "aphantasia."

Also, another person reports he's also unable to mentally "hear" music, which is fascinating to me. I can hear music in my mind, quite vividly, and have composed whole songs that way; it feels weird that not everyone can do this.

Other tidbits:

* I'm really curious if there are any good artists with visual aphantasia. I actually liked art a lot as a kid and drew lots up through middle school, but I wasn't excellent at it. I imagine with more training/effort I could've become good, but I wonder if I'd eventually hit difficulties once I got to Serious Business stuff? Like, I can imagine composing music without being able to hear music in the mind, but it'd be a huge pain in the ass, you'd be pretty reliant on synthesizer-like tools to experiment with sounds, and I imagine not having the ability to turn over different approaches in your mind would make iterations/improvements harder. But maybe not!

* Amusingly, I think this explains why I found it so impossible to find an approach for meditation that worked for me. A bunch of meditation guides have stuff like "start by imagining a white dot in your mind," and I think that was supposed to be the easy part, but I would get stuck there, trying and trying to conjure up a thing in my mind that just was not happening. Once I read a guide on walking meditation it all made much more sense.

Also if anyone else shares this experience let me know, because I'm super curious, join the aphantasia club etc etc
queenlua: (Mejiro: Hanging)
2016-07-12 10:45 am

enlightenment vs technocracy part deux

Here, have an abstract-y ideological-y post about Brexit, "The New Politics of Meaning".

It reminded me of my own post on enlightenment vs technocracy, but I think this guy states it a little more cleanly. In particular, I like his term "systematic mode" better than what I call "technocracy", since it pins the root of this sort of thinking further back historically, and avoids the Soviet-Russian-communism insinuations I think of when I hear "technocratic."

I do not have the time to dig through the whole of his blog, which seems like one of those things that's aiming to offer a Grand Master Theory Of Culture and Ethics, and thus would probably be interesting to scour through once I do have the time. His blog has the faintly wild lilt you'd expect from the sort of internet person who has a Grand Master Theory, and thus I suspect I will mistrust/quibble/argue with a lot of it (already in this other post I skimmed I'm raising eyebrows hardcore at the offhanded "mostly only STEM majors who can make [the transition to a higher mode of thinking]," and I'm a little skeptical of his leaning so hard on some dude's theories which, granted, I've not heard of before but feel really similar to Kohlberg's theories, which I have some familiarity with), but it's nice to see some of my own confused, intuited understandings reflected in the words of someone else, and I'm hopeful perhaps he has a better resolution to the dilemma than I found.
queenlua: (Magpie)
2016-06-28 12:05 am

thirteen ways of looking at looking at things

i.

My dad and I went birding in Colorado. Not for long, just for as long as we could sneak away from the family, one hour one evening, when we drove up to a nearby ski resort and tromped through the forest.

There was a path, but I abandoned it because I could hear a hermit thrush singing and I wanted to see it. Hermit thrushes are elusive little birds, prone to hiding in the underbrush. We went deep into the forest; I took a step and got soaked all the way to my calves in mud. Damn, wetland.

Dad and I struggled through the mud for a bit before my dad noticed—there were these slender white flowers that seemed to like water; the mud was deepest where they were, shallowest where they weren't. Sure enough, we wound a far-drier path forward by creeping between patches of white, and just a few minutes later, we came to a clearing and saw the thrush: singing, loud, triumphant, at the very top of a tree where no thrush ever sings from.

ii.

I started writing this because in my mind all my hobbies are the same: programming is music is writing is birding is everything. And I thought I'd come up with some brilliant connection between birding and programming, how they're exactly the same, but I wound up convincing myself it was also, well, everything.

The key to everything—it's so zen-sounding obvious-sounding stupid: awareness. Or rather, observantness. But hear me out; I promise there's not an iota of pseudo-zen in this post. (EDIT: rereading this by the light of not-3am-on-a-work-night, this is a blatant lie and this is all hippie shit but feel free to read anyway!)

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queenlua: Tamaki and Kyoya of Ouran High School Host Club with the text "Elitist Bitches." (Ouran High: Elitist Bitches)
2016-06-20 06:34 pm

who wants to be a (spouse of a) millionare

Here, have a very interesting story by Elon Musk's first ex-wife, where she talks about how she fell in love with the to-be uber-jillionaire & what caused them to grow apart.

I like it because it's not a "wow this guy was an A+ raging asshole" screed, and is more about how a young, ambitious woman fell in love with a young, ambitious man, the only man who seemed to respect and admire her ambition. And yet, as the man became more and more successful, he became more and more wrapped up in work, expecting her to take up more domestic responsibility, expecting her to be blonde like the wives of all his friends, showing more and more disdain for her "books," until one day she realizes she's been slowly turned into the trophy wife she never thought she'd become.

Read it a while ago, but posting it now since a friend brought up an interesting question this morning—if you had the opportunity to marry a fabulously wealthy person, e.g. a Saudi prince, would you go for it? (I answered, first I need to love them and have compatible goals for our future, and if that hurdle's cleared even then I'm a little nervous. Most marriages end in divorce, so you can't just be "now I've got it made"; I'd want to continue having my own money and my own career. Friend seemed more optimistic about the idea, saying it'd open huge opportunities for him and his potential kiddos. idk. interesting stuff.)