Broken Record

140418141121-largeBroken Record

Taking out old records
Or what passes for records now
Spread out on the floor
The auto changer dropping platter after platter
Sleeves thrown here and there.
Joni Mitchell gets me into one of those moods
Sorry but there are places I may never
Go again, Tory, dreams beautiful and deadly.

This is why people drink, I suppose.

The problem with old people is that
We’ve learned to be careful
This fills young people
With a fury that amuses us.

What they can’t imagine is
Why it’s important to be careful.

Sometimes memories can hurt you.

 

Nathan Zalman
12/13/14

An Open Letter to Paul Sage

Dear Paul Sage,

It’s become clear to me in the last few months that this game is evolving away from the paradigm that attracted me to it in the beginning. I’ll admit that I was a bit starry-eyed in those days (I’m talking about the bad old “beta” days last year), but I did my best to adapt. I won’t mention the betrayal your “secret” testing group represented. That was a red flag I failed to heed, to my sorrow.

Turns out that this game hasn’t been good for me, for my emotional or physical health. This is not only about the game itself, and the stress of unending, repetitive combat that game-play requires (I can’t for example, just play through everything once. I have to fight the same battles from multiple points of view in order to progress my little cast of characters past the elementary ranks).

It’s not just that, though the biggest of these battles and combat sequences has begun to leave me breathless and heavily stressed. I’ve developed a stress-related heart problem as a result. Turns out playing the game more than 1500 hours as I have hasn’t been good for me.

It’s also the “community” and its arrogance, uncharitably, and intolerance. I knew about that early on, but I thought that, through feedback, I had a chance to make a difference. Actually, what I know now is that it was a chance to be alternately mocked and ignored. I’m not a young man any more. If this is what the 25-35 year old generation is like, Goddess help us all.

Most of all, though, is the certain knowledge that feedback of the kind that I have is not welcome. You’ve decided that players are expendable, and that you’ve accepted the idea that the game is a revolving door; people come, people go, and you’re counting on a lot of subscription turnover.

You don’t care whether I’m happy with your game or not. There will always be a new player to come to take my place. It might surprise you to know that some people don’t care to be viewed as a commodity.

None of these things are new, and, taken separately, they are all things that I could live with.

Not any more. Stress, caused by this game (not just the game; but the other stressors in my life are not your concern), is killing me.

Literally.

So I’ll be doing what I can to correct that problem. I’ve found a better virtual world to explore, in “Dragon Age: Inquisition.” And when it comes out, eventually, there will be “Witcher 3,” possibly. Perhaps a new Mass Effect game down the road. These games should scratch that itch well enough. It seems that lots of people like that kind of experience. You tempted us into thinking that ESO would be like that. What a joke you’ve had at our expense.

I’ll also be going back to writing. After finishing four novels, I found ESO. It’s as if I had joined a cult or something. The things I loved no longer mattered to me. I didn’t write a word. I filled my notebooks not with story ideas, but with character build ideas. I became someone that nobody could talk to.

So that’s all over with now. My subscription is canceled, and I’ve said my last goodbye to my characters.

But, as I know very well, none of this matters to you. And that’s why I’ve posted this on my blog, and linked to it on Reddit — where you’ll be unable to delete it. With any luck, a few people will read it and decide that they, too, have had enough.

Here’s hoping.

Why Do You Hate Science?

Happy Lappy just won the right to screw over their employees because they (as all-wise christianist hypocrites) believe that IUD’s and the “Plan B” pill (also called the “morning after” pill, or emergency contraception) are instruments of abortion–and therefore murder, in their eyes. And everyone is against murder, right?

Never mind that even if fertilization occurs (which it doesn’t) what might get implanted (it doesn’t) isn’t a fetus yet, but a blastocyst. Never mind that; you don’t need to know the biology of human pregnancy, let alone what a blastocyst is, to understand the studies which state that it doesn’t happen.

NYT Article: How Hobby Lobby Ruling Could Limit Access to Birth Control

Here’s the money quote:

IUDs come in a number of forms. They can be inert, or have copper or hormones embedded within them. Most scientists believe that they interfere with the ability of sperm to get to an egg in time to fertilize it before they die.

Research does not support the idea that they prevent fertilized eggs to implant. 

Emphasis added. So, why do these people hate science?

Another quote:

Emergency contraception, which is really just a large dose of the hormones in a birth control pill, works in a similar manner. The pills can thicken the mucus in the cervix to make it difficult for sperm to reach the egg, and they prevent ovulation from occurring in the first place. Because the doses of medication are very short-term, they probably cannot affect the uterine lining in such a way as to affect implantation.

Moreover, the fact that both of these forms of contraception can fail, and allow pregnancies to occur, provides evidence that if a fertilization occurs, it can move on to implant and grow.

So again I ask, why do these people hate science? Why do they continue to maintain as fact something that is not fact at all, but the same ignorance we’ve seen from religious people throughout history?

Indeed, it seems that religions have always hated science. And they want their views to be respected? Hmmm…

I’ve also seen maps debunking climate science by claiming that since the Arctic ice extent is increasing, that cooling, instead of warming, is occurring.

Never mind that these people refuse to understand the difference between climate and weather. People who believe the world is 6,000 years old might have a hard time understanding time scales longer than their noses, but here’s some climate data for you. Note the trend in Arctic sea ice coverage over just the last 40 years alone:

Arctic Sea Ice Change Over Time

Yet another blowhard Republican office-seeker (i.e., lobbyist-in-training), thinks that global warming is the greatest hoax in the history of mankind. Really, greater even than christianism?

GOP Lawmaker Says Climate Change Is ‘The Greatest Deception In The History Of Mankind’

And here’s another from that widly respected scientific journal, Forbes:

Record Antarctic Ice Extent Throws Cold Water On Global Warming Scare

And yet, here’s an article that might give you a clue about the extremely complex interactions between climate and weather. For instance, warming can cause snowstorms and droughts. That’s what the science tells us, and politically motivated distortions serve one purpose only: to keep profits high for corporations.

Union of Concerned Science: Global Warming and Weather

Relevant Quote:

The Arctic summer sea ice extent broke all records during the end of the 2012 sea ice melt season. Some researchers are pointing to a complex interplay between Arctic sea ice decline, ocean patterns, upper winds, and the shifting shape of the jet stream that could lead to extreme weather in various portions of northern mid-latitudes — such that some places get tons of snow repeatedly and others are unseasonably warm.

And I ask you, why do people hate science?

The answer is simple:

The Universal Lubricant

The Past Is Gone

thepastisgone
My thoughts exactly.

For those of you who like time travel, this will come as a disappointment, I know, but I’ll break it to you gently. The past doesn’t exist. For that matter, neither does the future. The perception of what physicists call the “arrow of time” is nothing more than illusion caused by our point of reference, which is also an illusion. How does an illusion perceive an illusion?

Not very well, it turns out. How do I know this? I have special knowledge passed on by aliens, the gods, and my bookie. Seriously, what a question. Of course I don’t know anything. Nobody does. That does not need to stop me from creating plausible explanations and flogging them to the highest bidder.

This is a good deal for you, since you’re not paying one fucking cent to read this. It’s exactly equivalent to looking a cat videos.

So what’s the cute little kitty doing this time? Well, would it shock you to know that what it really wants to do is eat your eyeballs? Okay, see, what you know about kittens is stuff that exists in your head and your culturally-attuned memory. What cats can and will do is limited only by their size, experience, and their own survival instincts. In other words, they would if they could. There are cats that do not share the kitten’s limitations. Take tigers for instance. They wouldn’t want to eat just your eyeballs, and wouldn’t hesitate to rip out your testicles and eat them while you lie there screaming. Never mind about that.

The point is that we live in illusion—past, present, future—all of it not-real, by definition. We rely on that illusion to keep us sane. Question the basis of your illusions, and you’re asking for deep ca-ca.

I’ve spent the last week or so sorting through my old stuff—books, stories, music, poetry (don’t worry, I won’t bring that up again, but did you know I’m a published poet, too?), gaming… a whole spectrum of things, all of which are part of the past and of the present to a varying degree, though mostly not.

There’s sex, too, though I don’t use this blog to talk about that. Not because there’s nothing to talk about, but because I’ve decided to fix a boundary there. It has nothing to do with my hosting contract, either. I suppose if I were to put sexy things here (pictures of erotically posed men, for instance) and someone complained to the management, there would be an issue, but then I could just move elsewhere. There is always an elsewhere. I own the domain, and there are always people who will host you for a fee. God knows there’s enough sex on the Internet, prohibiting it in one special place like this one seems more than a little precious. Not to mention silly. But it doesn’t matter.

So no, this blog isn’t about sex. It’s probably the only part of my life that isn’t, in one way or another. But in any case, it does free up my thinking and allow me to try to understand what’s happening to me over time. Sex has a way of stopping time; that’s a good, and also a bad, thing.

Random picture of cow.
Random picture of cow.

Nothing exists but the present, and even so I have doubts about that sometimes. I have spent a great deal of time wishing I were some-when else. Back in 6th grade, talking back. Back in 7th grade, hitting back. Back in 10th grade, shooting those motherfuckers. Back in college, making better choices. I should have told him I loved him and no, he shouldn’t marry that girl, that he should fuck me, here and now, in the goddamn student union, on the carpet, in front of everyone, goddamn show my feet to Jesus, make my asshole bleed, and we should ride away together. Back in 1996, when I should have killed myself. Hindsight is everything. It is better to live with fear and shame, or just die? It was my call, and inaction was the worst choice of all.

See, this is why I’ve decided that the past doesn’t exist, because once I agree that it does, the chorus of “you should have” grows to drown out Niagara Falls. When I look away, things are calmer. Look at it, they start up again.

Do yourself a favor. Forget about the past. You’re better off without it.

Frozen Niagara -- the only way to get the damn thing to shut the fuck up.
Frozen Niagara — the only way to get the damn thing to shut the fuck up.
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