improperlyhuman: (Default)
I cycled on my spinning bike for twenty minutes this morning. I walked for about thirty-eight minutes this evening. Tomorrow I'll have an idea of how much damage I've done, and I'll know for sure the day after that.

I look fatter. I'm back on a diet. Enduring hunger seems easier when I'm not exercising. I don't know why. I've been going to bed without eating and...no night sweats! What's up with that??

It seems that there is no way for me to use a Google account from home totally anonymously. I tried to sign in with Tor browser and my foreign IP address tipped Google off. I was prompted to enter my country; doing so would merely tip Google off the next time I sign in with Tor browser unless I keep reseting the Tor exit node so that it gives me an IP address that corresponds to that country. Relying on library computers is a bit too uncertain for work.

I feel that I will be able to sleep without pills tonight.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Don't think i'll be able to go a whole week without exercising. Maybe i'll try the bike tomorrow or just some walking. I wanted to do some chores today but forbore for fear of depleting myself.

Messaging people on OkC has become easier for me. I guess that's because I only message people I'm not really interested in. Those are the only people I come across. I guess anybody can send a quick greeting when there are no expectations.

I installed Qubes OS on my other partition because I got tired of fiddling with settings every single time I started up Tails OS. Qubes' security is based on applications running in separate VMs: something for which this laptop, with its measly 5 gigs of RAM, isn't well suited. I have to get used to seeing a list of VMs instead of application categories in the Applications menu.

The wind has been blowing wicked hard here for the past few days. The sound is rather pleasant.

I've come to see that I can stop freaking out about things so much by...just not focusing on them. The thought goes through my mind, and I don't follow up; I just let it go. Sometimes letting it go gives me the peace of mind to come back and consider it serenely (rather than anxiously).

Goodnight, John Boy :)
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
Squated one hundred and ten pounds this evening. I increased weight for all three of my exercises. I don't see how I'm going to squat much more than this because I'm putting an uncomfortable amount of pressure on my wrists to stabilize that weight, and I'm fairly sure my grip is proper. I got a copy of Starting Strength from the library. I have weak, puny wrists.

Saw therapist today and she surprised me a bit by focusing on breathing exercises that are supposed to help me sleep. I was quite worried about my ability to stick with these exercises because focusing on my body is so boring. The only way I can exercise for more than 5 minutes at a stretch is simultaneously watching videos or listening to music. I gots to start sleeping or my lifting will suffer.

Today was supposed to be grocery day, but I didn't want to reschedule my therapy appointment or go grocery shopping on a lifting day anyhow. I'm planning on going tomorrow though I know I won't have the energy for it. Haven't decided whether I'll take paratransit or not, but if I do, let's hope I remember to ask for a taxi driver that will not be playing the damned radio.

Right now I am downloading Tails, a security-based OS. It runs from a live USB and leaves no trace on the hard drive, so I can use it to access Google Docs and have secure conversations. There is a similar OS that is meant to be installed to hard drive. Can't remember the name at the moment. I want it on my other partition, but I'm afraid I'll install to the wrong partition again and overwrite Debian.
 
I'm going back to a highish carb diet. I don't feel satisfied eating all these damned legumes, and that just makes me eat more than I would otherwise. And cooking potfuls of beans and lentils is a pain in the ass anyhow. I miss the ease of putting a yam or baked potato in the oven. I'll eat tofu for protein, and I don't think I need 80-90 g of protein per day anyhow.

I've been reading a lesbian novel I bought before the fire. It's called We Too Are Drifting, and damn, is that title ever accurate. Very dry book, not much happening, and what is happening is only palely illustrated by the characters actions. Their actions: so much talking without saying anything and sitting around not doing anything, gives it a very bourgeosie flavor.

The protagonist, Jan, seems to have a lover she doesn't much care about and is just passively going along with the relationship. Jaded and can't focus on her art. 84 pages in, Jan has had tea with someone she is interested in and is still not being forthright with the lover. Lots of ambiguous looks and lighting cigarettes and sipping brandy throughout the story. Who are these people who drink hard alcohol every day.

Peaceful.

Feb. 8th, 2017 11:19 pm
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Finally got myself away from wasting quite so much time on forums. I've been studying grammar to improve my editing skills, and, as of today, I'm learning Linux programming.

I have a dream of being a freelance programmer. Programming is so much more cut-and-dried than editing: either the program does what it's supposed to do or it doesn't. But I need to build up years of skill. I could do that in no time if I were my younger, less jaded, less rundown self.

Back to the good ole days, the reading and fiddling with computers late into the night. I've only just recently gotten my sleep/wake schedule back to early rising (where I want it to be), and now I'm poised to destroy that.

Got tired of Debian hanging at boot, so I re-installed it. The installation went haywire and installed to the wrong drive, over-writing my old Ubuntu. So I'm looking at other distros to use on the unused drive. I like CentOS, but it's not really a general-use OS (the repos are nearly empty), so I'll probably just use it as a Live USB and install Mint.

Having an OS as a live usb will allow me more secure access to Google Docs (if I ever need to work with Google Docs). Being a derivative of Red Hat, CentOS is also the perfect OS with which to familiarize myself for professional opportunities. I looked into Linux training and the courses cost thousands of dollars. What the hell. So I'll be learning from youtube videos.

I don't even know if there is much of a market for Linux development. But like everyone is focused on web development right now, aren't they? (Yuck). So I'll be in the minority of the minority and maybe can get my foot in the door that way. And maybe the endless tracking on the web will drive the market back to standalone software. Haha. I'm not actually laughing.

I'm in another repulsed-by-people phase, so I took down my dating shite again. Not that there was much to take down this time. I think this one will last a loooong time; forever, I hope. I have better, less random things to do with my life. In addition, some new understanding about my sordid psychosexual history squicked me out so much that my sex drive has departed. Hallelujah.

Actually, I'm not really repulsed by people. I feel that from time to time, but mostly I'm just weary, disinterested, and demoralized. I enjoy them more this way, from afar, when I'm not invested. My life is more peaceful this way. 

I don't seem to be losing any weight, so I was just considering lowering my calories down to about 1000, when I was suddenly weak today and ended up eating a ton: after my navy bean, kale, and millet soup, I went out to Taco Bell for tortilla chips and a bean burrito with rice, then had two Clif Bars. Haven't felt that full in a long time.

I thought I just felt bad because of low blood sugar, but I still felt bad after eating, so, I dunno. I'm lifting heavy again, and maybe I just need more food. Or just more protein. I'm benching more than I ever have: 30 pounds this week.

Actually, I probably just need to finally get my staggered caloric intake planned out instead of eating the same 1100 calories per day.
improperlyhuman: Burgendy text on black background: "Promoting Commodified Sex Positive Is Not Sex Positive" (pic#8372521)
I don't want to rely on copyediting for income anymore. I'm working on an unpleasant job right now. We went back and forth with a zillion comments; comments were flowing all over the screen in Word and I was overwhelmed with keeping up with all the little details we discussed. I've never even seen Word do that before. My performance on this job hasn't been great (I've been overlooking small things), and communicating with clients is becoming too much for me.

I want to do something that is more cut-and-dried, something involving STEM. There's too little certainty, too little right and wrong in copyediting. I'm tired of getting stuck on a job while trying to figure out which of two equally unsatisfactory editorial changes to make.

I'm also tired of worrying about how I appear to other people. Soooo I'm gonna stop. I'm driving myself crazy! Being distracted and nervous about not looking people in the eye is worse than not looking people in the eye. And if I just lower my expectations yet again, I will have too little hope about social outcomes to bother worrying about what people think.

That's the plan.

I finally got Debian re-installed today. It seems it somehow got installed to the wrong partition, so my Ubuntu 11.10 got overwritten. It makes no sense; I checked and checked and checked and checked that I was installing to the second partition. Maybe something wonky happened when I installed the bootloader.
improperlyhuman: icon says: Radical Feminism: Females First. Always. (females first)
Was supposed to go cycling today, but I felt down and didn't want to put up with the wind again.

I felt down because I'm tired of having to keep my mouth shut about feminism! But I don't want to expose myself to hostile men. I even tried talking about my sense of isolation and unsafeness on the veteran's crisis chat (which still doesn't load without my allowing Google Analytics! I even tried refreshing Firefox and had to re-install all my add-ons.) That didn't help. I felt worse as it progressed, the responses came very slowly, and at some point my Internet connection conked out again!

Then I decided to try out Reddit, which I'd previously written off as a sort of cesspool (portions of it probably are), but there are radfem groups that weren't being invaded by misogynists and gaslighters, and even a lesbian group that's for females only! it felt great to be amongst like-minded people.

I've turned my garbage can and recycling bin upside down to discourage people from from tossing their crap in them.

improperlyhuman: (Default)
Super bored this evening.  I spent today studying grammar and trying to fix software that Debian downloaded but failed to configure. I've got two stacks of novels here that I looked through, but the ones I haven't read yet seem pretty boring. "Pretty boring" needs to be understood in light of my difficulty focusing. I finally decided on Prince Lestat by Anne Rice. Maybe I can get into the vampire thing again.

I'd hoped to re-join wind band once I'd moved here, but transportation out of town is much too expensive. That's too bad because I really need to get out of the apartment. And I'm ready to get out of the apartment. But I wouldn't have anywhere to practice anyhow. I must be terribly rusty.

So I decided what that other blog is going to be about, enough to start it up, anyways. I think I'll do that tonight, since I probably won't be able to fall asleep for a while.

Today I watched an hour-long interview about weight loss for females with Lyle McDonald, who has researched and written several books about weight loss and fitness. Recently newly devoted to my diet, I've decided to eat at maintenance one or two days per week to avoid having my hormones and metabolism crash. That should coincide with the days I cycle hard.

I need some new weights for my barbell row, but I can't afford the shipping and handling charges. Hell, I actually shouldn't be buying the weights themselves. I'm down about it. If only I could get some more work!

I've considered leaving the money situation up to fortune and just buying the weights regardless of my financial situation because lifting is so important to me, and goddess knows I need it in my life. I'll probably end up cutting back on barbell rows because I can't deal with the loud clanging of the weights I currently have, which, I've discovered, fit poorly on the bar.
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
I need a surge protector for my home office. I found a U.S.-made one that seems good, but it costs over two hundred dollars. For another hundred bucks, I could get an unfinished computer desk! The company's cheaper surge protector also has eight outlets, but it's supposedly only for one "typical computer system." What kind of system requires that many outlets?
  1. tower
  2. monitor
  3. printer
  4. modem
  5. scanner
  6. router
  7. external HD
  8. ??
Those are the basic peripherals I can think of, and that seems a lot for one computer system. I have two laptops, one tower (perhaps a second occasionally), a modem, one monitor, and I'll have an external HD at some point. I know next to nothing about surge protectors. I hate having to trust strangers' technical information, and I hate when purchases turn into research projects.

I received notification that transfer of my food stamps and Obamacare has been completed, and that I will receive a new EBT card for this county. So this EBT card for which I traveled two counties was only good for one month. Waste of frickin resources is what that is. Except for the card and case numbers printed on the front of the cards, they look exactly the same. A single card should be good throughout the state.

A few days ago, I had another epiphany regarding my psyche and sexuality. I used to think that my only fantasizing about and watching sexual acts that I was not interested in experiencing (or physically unable to experience, given that some are all-male) was just a quirk.

Although it's been years since I made the connection between my early fantasies/taste in porn and things my dad told me in adolescence, I also thought that the rest of the warped and violent fantasies were just some facet of my personality. I remember thinking to myself on several occasions that I seemed to become another person when sexually excited, but that's only been true when I wasn't wanting or about to have sex with another person. Indeed, aside from inability to orgasm, my people-oriented sexuality seems rather normal; only when trying to achieve satisfaction alone do I have issues. This is one of the reasons why I want a girlfriend: to have sex without facing my own dysfunction.

So I watched something kind of warped (but animated; no animals harmed) a few days ago and felt bad and not even physically satisfied afterwards. Now I have put pi and pi together:
  • almost never had interest in explicit imagery pertaining to the sort of sex I actually like
  • always unable to reach anything beyond very low-level physical excitement with such imagery or related fantasies
  • gradual lifetime decrease in ability to achieve physical satisfaction
  • physical response despite mental revulsion and sense of not being myself (mind-body split)
  • interest in explicit imagery and explicit fantasies pre-dated any sexual interest I had in other people 
and so forth and so on. My conclusion is that I have never sexually been myself. My very first sexual fantasies (as a teenager) were based on things my dad had told me about prison rape when I was about 12. That grew into other types of rape and then Internet porn took over from there once I was 18. I never had the chance to develop a healthy solo sexuality. It has been warped from the start!

So I was fairly upset when this first occurred to me, but I'm more level-headed now. I despair to really fix this since it started when I was so young. I mean I don't know how to stop having physical response to certain things. So I'll just stick to my vanilla animated porn, which isn't very exciting or prevalent. That's what I've been doing anyhow; I just got super excited and tried something different this time. Fortunately, the meh physical response will keep me away. Kinda shitty to not even enjoy worshipping Onan, especially given the rest of my crappy life. I guess I can feel consoled that it's "not really my fault"? That's not really much of an improvement because I never really felt strong, definite, clear guilt in the first place because it seemed like unconscious desire, something I had no idea how to even begin controlling.

I'm just messed up. That's ok. Lots of people are. I thought about quitting porn all together but meh. I don't think what I normally do is wrong or warped, and I've got a bunch of other shit to worry about.

I've begun looking for new work. I'm going to start working with Google Docs in a VM I guess. I'm probably going to have to buy my own desk. The vet organization that gave me a check for furniture doesn't even provide that service anymore.

Hey! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Too bad I won't get anything for Xmas :(
I really need a goddamned desk. The only furniture I have in here is a plastic and aluminum lawn chair.

The landlord brought me a new heater yesterday. When he saw my weightlifting equipment, he called me a stud.

The laundromat in town is expensive so I may just wash my clothes in the bathtub.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
My laptop came back to life last night! I hit the power button one last time before going to bed, and system diagnostics came up. I'm using it right now.

Something is happening to me. I don't have much of anything to post about. It seems that I cannot introspect like I could so recently. I am too outwardly focused, too focused on other people at this point. It is a strange and hollow feeling, a feeling of having little substance, a thin and watery self. However, it does feel lighter than I normally feel.

In fact, I can't even finish this blog post tonight because I'm responding to someone else.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Instead of going to bed last night, I decided to try eating some more. That vegan pizza got rid of my migraine almost completely!

No workouts today because my inner thighs are too sore.

Not having any pictures on my profiles lit a small fire under my bottom, so I wanted to take some pics, but my hair was a mess. I worked up my whatever to call one of the local barbers and ask her if she could cut kinky hair. She said yes!

At first I was like eh... because she has an accent. Auditory disability and barber shops are bad enough, but auditory disability and foreign accents are a match made in Hell. But I went in and got a nice skin fade. It was a small, quiet shop (no blasting music), just one chair, I think, which is good because I didn't want to be somewhere where other people were waiting and/or getting haircuts. I'm trying stay kinda on the downlow in this town. Also: a female barber! I didn't even think about that part. Super convenient, less than a five-minute walk from my apartment. 

So I took some selfies with the Android, but this computer won't mount it. My other laptop mounted it automatically, but I guess that computer can't be revived. RIP Lubuntu.

My buckwheat hulls arrived today! They aren't at all too hard. Just lying on the bag feels good, so I'm confident they'll make a great pillow. I just need to get and keep them in my pillowcase without spilling them everywhere.

Hmm just noticed that I have LED error codes on my laptop. Maybe reseating the processor will revive it.
improperlyhuman: black and white icon with text "if you identify with gender, you identify with patriarchy." (patriarchy)
Maybe my main desktop got tired of the power cord being abruptly pulled out. I spent literally all day today trying to get Debian to boot. Noting that the boot hung for lack of /sbin/init, I took a look in /sbin and found it completely empty. I'd hoped to restore the system with a LiveUSB, but rescue mode wasn't helpful. By "not helpful" I mean that  I had no idea what to do. I couldn't figure out how to access the installation packages to copy stuff into /sbin.

I finally got it to boot by copying /sbin/* from my super old Ubuntu system and adding init=/bin/systemd to the kernel command line. I don't know why I had to add that last; according to what I read, systemd is the default—I dunno what it's called, whatever controls services—on Debian Jessie.

My second laptop, the little one I got at the state surplus auction, suddenly lost it this morning. It seems to be in suspend mode permanently. The screen remains totally blank, so I've no idea how I can fix it.

I'm finally having success with Stand2Pee. I gave up on trying to follow the directions to the letter: I don't stand up perfectly straight with "knees locked." Locked knees was causing me to pee off to the right! The next step is to do it with only one hand, which I did once today. I tried to skip this step, but then I saw how important it is for the next step: peeing with pants and undies on. I need that second hand to hold pants and undies out of the way.

I put the tent up last night to protect myself from fleas last night. I didn't sleep at all, so I won't be getting into it again tonight.

Tore myself away from my malfunctioning laptop for my first weightlifting session in forever this evening. I squatted a measly 50 lbs. I'd forgotten to get another plank of wood to squat on, so I used two 5-lb. weights.

Nowadays, I struggle to remember the important things I want to post about. It's like I'm stuck in homeless-chronically-sleepy-and-tired-so-unable to think mode.

I should go to bed before I get really hungry. There's almost no food at all in the kitchen, and there's certainly nothing open this late.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
My new Internet service provider completely skipped my installation appointment today, so I still don't have reliable Internet access. The next available appointment wasn't until Friday, which is grocery shopping day, so I had to settle for next Monday, nearly a week from now! The shitty customer service I've so far received bodes poorly.

I found a way out of town, but it goes in the wrong direction, and I didn't have time to explore it because I had to be home in time for the installation appointment that never happened. I'll have to lug my bike up a flight of steps to get to the path.

I am depressed.

My neighbor has visitors all the damned time, and I can hear nearly everything they are doing from my living room, including yelling at grandkids, singing to the dog, booming up the steps, and talking while the T.V. is playing. I tried to escape by moving into the kitchen and could hear from there as well (and I can't get a good wi-fi signal in there)!

The landlord stopped by with some Borax and some sort of natural flea treatment (in case the Borax doesn't work) and asked me whether everything else was ok. Of course I couldn't remember to mention the neighbor's noise because I can never think during a damned conversation! He asked me how I was doing and I stood there staring at him like a moron because I didn't recognize that he'd asked me a question. Actually, I didn't stare, I looked back and forth between his gut and his face because I couldn't look at his face the whole time. Weirdo, that's me.

And what good would that have done anyhow?? I don't know that they are terribly loud; it seems that the walls are just thin.

I have to get out of here ASAP. I just moved in and I already have trouble sleeping at night and getting up in the morning.

I did have time to explore the single bike path in town. Bordered by the road and a rusting, barbed wire fence, it is nothing but an unmarked strip of concrete featuring raised cracks every three or four feet. I doubt that it's even half a mile long.

I called the GI Bill hotline and found out that I'm not eligible for any more educational benefits.

The veteran's service officer who payed my deposit still hasn't gotten back to me about helping me with furniture, which I would like to take care of ASAP so that I can pick up the furniture and get my stuff out of storage on the same day and not have to pay for two different moving trucks on two different days! I couldn't bear being on the phone this afternoon, so I tried to e-mail her before the end of business hours...and that's when the wi-fi went out.

And I couldn't save the e-mail as a draft. So I saved it as a "File," not knowing what that entailed, so that I could reboot the computer (after which the wi-fi inexplicably worked again, but it was already after 5 pm at that point). Then I had to remove all the formatting from the e-mail, which had been saved as an HTML file. What sense it makes to save an e-mail as HTML, I've no idea.

Some idiot used the word "mankind" to refer to all humans. AGAIN. That is irritating even under good circumstances, but I just couldn't deal today. Piece of shit, I hope you die, you and mankind. I don't even care if that sounds horrible; I have no more patience. It's 2016, anyone who isn't aware of a reason for not referring to females as "mankind" is a moron, and the people who do it anyhow are trash.

I'm going to call the housing facilitator tomorrow and ask him to continue searching for housing.

My main laptop won't boot lol!

Taking my bike out the back door is the most inconvenient thing ever because the lock is messed up and we have to keep a stick wedged against the door to keep people out. So I have to take it in and out of the front door without getting crap on the carpets.

So now what am I gonna do with myself? One would think I'd at least be happy to live near the water again. NOPE. It's cold near the water. To cold to go for an angry walk outside. All my movies are on the laptop that won't boot. Maybe I'll try reading a book in the bedroom. With the door closed. I feel like destroying something, honestly.
improperlyhuman: (trumpet)
The landlord wants to do something called "bug bombing" to deal with the fleas. This of course involves toxic chemicals (and my temporarily leaving the apartment) that I would rather avoid. I suggested the salt + vacuum cleaner solution, and he said that he wasn't sure how the salt would affect the carpet?! It's just table salt! He's willing to put toxic chemicals on the carpet, but not salt? People are exhausting.

I got nine books for a total of three dollars (paid on the honor system!) at the local library's book sale. One of them was a yoga book. I'm planning on adding a yoga practice to my morning routine. Wait, that'll get in the way of my morning cycling routine once I get my spinning bike here. I dunno.

While reading an alleged truscum tumblr this evening, I came across a question about how the questioner could deal with the fact that she'll never be male (and wants to be). The person running the tumblr suggested several things, including getting rid of mirrors and pictures. She used the words "you have to trick yourself." My goodness, these people and their self-deception. Is it really better to try your damndest to live a lie? 

I was trying to purchase some hemp undies online this evening, but the website would not work, probably because I have googleapis blocked. I started to wonder if that script was really dangerous in this context. I ended up skimming a discussion about the most secure browser. Someone suggested running a browser in a VM. I'd never thought of that before. Maybe I could do that with Google Docs, then I wouldn't have to turn down work!

Speaking of VMs, I almost died laughing at this xkcd comic: https://xkcd.com/1764/

It might be cool to get a new computer with a shitload of RAM and try this just to see how far I could get before I crashed it.

whoa, random déja-vu.

I felt mildly sad and resentful again now that my great match has disappeared, so I had to snap myself out of it.

Now that I'm far away from both the nearest VA medical facility and the soonest available neurology appointment, I'm once again eligible for the Veteran's choice program. I spoke to a program rep today to begin the process of finding myself a civilian doctor, and she asked if I had a gender preference! Wonderful.

I finally looked at my checking account balance a couple of days ago, and I found out that I blew through another thousand dollars between returning from Oregon and now. That scarcely seems possible. I had two thousand in my account at the time of the fire, and another eleven hundred once I got my security deposit. Including the price of my "new" bike, my trip couldn't have cost more than six hundred dollars, and that's a generous estimate.

Oh well, it's gone now.

The Undead

Aug. 18th, 2016 08:40 pm
improperlyhuman: this icon is a picture of crowd of people with text "please stop breeding" (breeding)
After another tiring trip cross-town on an unfamiliar transit system, I saw the dermatologist this afternoon. I don't really understand what the hell went down during that appointment. The doctor said that my skin patches seem to be located around hair follicles. Maybe I'm just used to having bad eyesight, but I don't see how he could see that from as far away as he was. Hair follicles on my upper back?

He hypothesized that the problem was blocked hair follicles filling up with gunk and causing trauma to the surrounding skin as they tried to rid themselves of bacteria. You know what that sounds like? That sounds like acne. And he prescribed two different acne medications for me to try.

My problem isn't acne. There are no bumps, no pimples, no pores filled with gunk. There are just dry patches of scab-like skin that appear out of nowhere. I asked him how inflamed hair follicles could cause dry skin, and he said that it was probably the dry skin causing the inflamed hair follicles. Or something. I can't really recall, and listening and absorbing the information was not easy. I had to ask him to close the door because morons were talking right outside of his office.

Same old story. I couldn't think straight and forgot to ask if there were any natural remedies. I did, however, ask if the problem was perhaps caused by anything I was doing or anything in my environment. He said no, so that probably means he didn't have a natural remedy to offer. Doctors hardly ever do.

So I just nodded and went along with the plan. I ended up waiting for maybe an hour longer than necessary because I refused to wait in the pharmacy's check-in line behind other people. I watched Olympic diving and then went back when there was no one in line.

I got benzyl peroxide and a shampoo made of salicylic acid and sulfur. The check-in pharmacist advised me that benzoyl peroxide "dries out the skin." Not as a side effect, like that's what it's meant to do. Great. I complain about dry skin and get something to dry out my skin.

My other option (I needn't and probably shouldn't use both) is this shampoo that the doctor said is suitable for use on the body. The bottle indicates that it's dandruff shampoo. Wut. According to the description, however, it seems like it may do something for me: it gets rid of built up dead skin.

On the other hand, if my scaly patches are so easy to get rid of, why can't I just scratch them off? They bleed, leave scars, or both when I try that. They're undead skin; scaly and peeling like dead skin, yet still so connected to me that my body complains and punishes me if I try to force them away.

I am of course terribly leery of using this stuff. The doctor decided to not schedule a follow-up appointment because of the amount of time the medication may take to work (or not). I'm not gonna use this stuff long-term. If I use it at all, I would expect that my skin will get drier and I'll just stop.

My new phone arrived today. It's an Android. Knowing next to nothing about smart phones, I was unaware that Android is a Google invention. The phone is basically stocked with Google spyware. Merely using the phone requires me to accept Google's downloads and installations (there was no choice to opt-out, just a statement and a Next button).

I most certainly will not be using this phone for anything as long as Android OS is installed. I looked into open source mobile OS' and found two options, but neither supports my phone. The phone is a Coolpad, a brand/company I'd never even heard of before. Searches about replacing the OS turned up information about backdoor access that the manufacturer deliberately packaged with the OS. Lovely.

So I'll be sticking with my cheap, call-dropping, non–smart-phone and awaiting the day on which I can permanently chuck cell phones for a landline. I see something sinister in the deliberate distribution of spyware and cracking vulnerabilities with government-supplied cell phones. Hell, government-supplied cell phones are sinister in and of themselves because of the tracking possibilities.

I can tell when I'm on the right track with my thoughts and personal goals because my sex drive increases and I have a specific sort of pleasant thought that is almost impossible to have otherwise. But wanting sex and not getting is kind of a pain, so being on the right track isn't all unicorns and rainbows. Maybe the end of the track, the destination, is the part that's all unicorns and rainbows.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
This is the first adult French novel I read, back in 2012 when I was living in my car in Sacramento.  The main character is a scientist who discovers a way to shrink and expand matter: decreasing and increasing inter-atomic distances. I believe the procedure came to be called fleurisation.

The scientist leaves the city and sets up an elaborately secretive and secure home/laboratory out in the middle of nowhere to develop and test his idea. Early in the book, he talks about how ridiculous people are and wanting to be away from them. He refuses to read the work of his colleagues, preferring to keep his ideas pure.

After successfully applying fleurisation to non-human animals, then a desperate little person, and then an army that subsequently uses its size advantage to win battles, the scientist turns to his next challenge: General society.

Terrible idea. We all know how nerds fare in the social realm. They just don't understand people. They expect them to behave according to predictable principles like the physical world does, expect them to have their own nerdy, asocial motivations and introverted temperament. They never take sufficient account of emotional factors. The scientist doesn't release his invention to benefit or harm anyone. He does it out of pure curiosity.

So fleurisation becomes commercially available to the public. It becomes hugely popular, far more popular than the scientist had anticipated, more popular than he thinks is prudent. Huge shifts in the structure of society come about, a society made up of people who expand themselves to float up amongst the clouds and shrink themselves to invisibly hitch free rides on buses.

Of course the beauty of the title (despite the misogynistic reference to all of humanity with the word "man") is the double entendre: fleurisation reveals that people are not only biologically elastic, but also socially and psychologically elastic, as evidenced by their rapid and enthusiastic adoption of a major technological change and subsequent sociological upheaval. An elasticity the scientist did not foresee. What was just an experiment to him becomes a new way of life to everyone else.

Nearly everyone elects to undergo fleurisation. Because their new sizes afford them some sort of immunity to viruses and bacteria, everyone who has not undergone the procedure comes to be seen as a health threat. The government rounds them up and houses them in a camp against their will.

The scientist steadfastly refuses to undergo the procedure, and so, in a lovely twist of irony, ends up imprisoned in the camp birthed by his own misguided social experiment. And there he dies, several years later in his old age, still stubbornly in his unchanged body.

I love this book's plot and totally identify with the scientist (I pretty much always identify with the scientist in science fiction). What I love even more than that beautifully metaphorical title and the contrast between the scientist's disdain towards humanity and decision to experiment socially is the artfulness and fidelity with which the book reflects actual technological shifts in society: what is novel, dangerous, grotesque, and bizarre to the current generation becomes mundane to subsequent generations, no matter how extreme the departure from former conditions.

Yet another interpretation of the elasticity theme is technology itself: it grows, changes, fulfills new wants and needs while its original purposes are abandoned. It outlives its inventors and may bring about their undoing.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
I am very tired, but I don't know why. I have been getting a lot of rest these past few days.

For some time now, I have been trying to find an article I read a couple of months ago. It was an account of an anthropologist who had accompanied some primitive (South American?) tribe on a river voyage. A tribal girl asked to go along as well, and was allowed to do so. During the voyage, this girl cleaned the boat and swam in the river to catch food (some sort of shellfish, I want to say) that she later cooked on deck. Without being asked to do so. She was SIX years old.

Obviously, I do not know how much of this story is true, but it is quite cosily within the realm of possibility. As I was reading this story, it occured to me how utterly useless civilized kids are relative to this child. How many of us could even swim at the age of six, let alone in a river? How many kids can safely cook over an open flame? This six-year-old child had better independent living skills than civilized kids twice her age. It's the omnipresent infantilization of civilization at work. With all of our food produced by someone else, and no hope for most of us to live the materially independent lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer or even the small-scale farmer even if we want to, the necessary collection of skills disappears from our common heritage of knowledge and child-rearing. I find it a bit terrifying, relying on other people for something as crucial as food.

Infantilization is only part of the issue, however. Civilization being based on slavery, the upper castes are granted leisure time, freedom, because the work of the lower castes fulfills their material needs. From this, a warped, class-conscious attitude develops: the absolutely necessary work of those who feed, clothe, and shelter us is somehow "lower" or less valuable than the useless and often destructive fiddling about of the professional classes – the paper pushers, the navel-gazing academics, the businesspeople who work with mere concepts and digital representations of money rather than actual, material resources. This would simply be an idiotic idea if it wasn't enforced by creating abysmal wages and working conditions for the "lower" work, and forcing people to accept it by making it impossible for them to live otherwise. So, everybody wants better for their kid than the lower castes, and, consequently, we are not only economically forced, but ideologically disposed, to put more effort into "educating" them, preparing them for the life of symbolic manipulations of the professional classes, or even the blue-collar classes, rather than teaching them how to survive like the animals they are. And we've grown accustomed to our unearned leisure time and the oodles of gadgets we've created to fill it. So our kids would struggle to properly feed themselves, but they've mastered video games.

The Four

Oct. 24th, 2013 05:11 pm
improperlyhuman: screenshot of Apocalypse from X-Men: The Animated Series (apocalypse)
Pestilence

Disease is isolated in the context of sparse of human populations. Some may get well, others may die, but there is no one to carry the disease to the next town/tribe/commune/whatever. Crowded cities basically create pestilence through forced routine contact with large numbers of strangers and large concentrations of human waste. Unhygienic cultural practices such as keeping animals as pets and the jet-set class galivanting all over the world, picking up foreign bugs that they then pass on to their compatriots, worsens the problem.

Famine

Risk of famine increases with the adoption of mass agriculture and "development." Incessant, large-scale farming strips the Earth of minerals and, in extreme cases, may ultimately lead to desertification. The relatively modern agricultural practice of monocropping creates a food supply that is far more sensitive to threats such as pests and unfavorable weather conditions – when the main food source becomes scarce, insufficient quantities of alternate food sources facilitate mass starvation, as in the Irish Potato Famine. Civilized development is simply the paving over and building on arable land, generally preceeded by theft of land from the poor and powerless. The result is less food producers, larger numbers of people dependent upon huge agro-conglomerates, greater pollution due to the waste generated by the latter's concentration of thousands of farm animals. Then there is the crowding into urban areas of the dispossessed, which facilitates disease epidemics.

War

Quite difficult to wage without huge numbers of soldiers and the financial resources to support them. Without warfare technology, spats between neighboring populations result in relatively few deaths and little material destruction. When no one is building up huge stores of, say, grain or precious metals, and there are no economies in which to trade them in anyhow, and little or no technology with which to mine, refine, or otherwise produce them (not to mention, no class system that allows for a group of people to sit on their asses thinking up such contraptions while others produce their food, clothing, shelter, and mind their kids), the justifications for warfare decrease.

Death

Death is obviously the end result of all of these, but it's more than that.

The concept of necrophilia (original credits to Mary Daly, if I recall correctly) refers to the fact that all roads lead to death in patriarchy:

Poisoning and polluting technology and industrial production lead to death.

Violent, hateful, unjust societies lead to murder and suicide.

Chemically-engineered pesticides and additives in our food lead to death.

Monopolization of resources leads to death.

Marrying off females into a lifetime of reproductive and domestic slavery leads to death.

and so forth and so on. Patriarchy is death-loving and death-supporting. Patriarchy is behind civilization, and civilization, in turn, is behind the other three horsemen. So death (necrophilia) is the alpha and the omega.
improperlyhuman: (thinking)
The day before yesterday, I was hired to create some math assessments according to Texas school standards. Before I officially accepted the job, I told the employer that I would deliver the work as pdfs, unless told otherwise. There was no comment on this. After I accepted the contract, the employer sent me a .docx template with directions to fill it in with Microsoft Equation Editor! So, I sent yet another message to clarify that I could not work with .docx files because I don't own MS Office. Irritatingly, the employer told me that my software should be able to export as .docx, that plenty of test-generating software does so. This person clearly assumed that I was using Windows. I don't even have any test-generating software.

In addition to pdfs, I had the ability to deliver a shitload of other formats, but it just HAD to be .docx. In the end, we had to end the contract. Good-bye, $300. It annoys me that so many employers expect to have work delivered in proprietary formats. Don't they know that this crap costs money? It's also kind of sad because it means that they have wasted money buying expensive M$ software when they could have found free, open source alternatives.

In some cases, it's just technical ignorance. Anyone who has had to typeset equations more than just a couple of times knows that M$ Equation Editor is the slowest way in the universe to do so. The fools overseeing the internship I participated in last year forced the interns to write our research papers in MS Word. THE HORROR. I had less than 10 equations in my paper, and I spent forever trying to get them to look right. No one who actually composes research papers as part of their job uses that mess. Unrealistic, traumatic internship experience.

I want to put MS out of business.
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