Category Archives: miscellaneous

Gun buying advice for liberals

This made me LOL, but it’s a pretty good article, and of use to non-liberal newbies as well:

A Handy Guide For Liberals Who Are Suddenly Interested in Gun Ownership

I’ve been meaning to arm myself for some time, and started thinking about it more seriously in the run-up to Nov. 8 when things were looking increasingly dicey. Simultaneously to that, I realized that when things are suddenly looking dicey is not a good time to be buying a weapon.  Better to have one already at that time, right?  And to acquire one when things are not so dicey, so better care can be taken in the process.

In the mean time, I still have some other issues to work out.  One is being a former liberal myself, raised by a foaming-at-the-mouth anti-gun pacifist, I was instilled with a fear of guns at a young age, and steeped in liberal culture for most of my life. I find it’s a hard thing to overcome.  Oh, the logic of gun ownership is plain enough, but the emotional reaction is harder to argue with.

Then there’s the issue of money.  A decent weapon, ammunition, training for myself, and regular practice: I’d have to fit that within my existing budget somehow. That would mean giving up something else in exchange, and there aren’t a lot of things I could easily give up right now.

Lastly, there’s simply the matter of time.  Researching what sort of weapon I would buy, learning how to use it, and keeping up on skills, plus time spent familiarizing myself with the law in my state. Time is short. I suppose I could cut out some sleep time, right?

But the main thing I suppose is the fear.

Advertisements

Eddies

Observe a river from a distance.  It appears to be one smooth, uniform body of water, flowing simply and evenly in one direction.

Now move close to the river, along the shoreline.  Walk along and observe the river closely in different spots.  In some places you’ll notice eddies in the flow, where the water changes from its primary direction, perhaps flowing sideways, backwards, even in circular motions.

Life is an eddy in the river of entropy.

The Turkey City Lexicon

My normal source of political news has been on lockdown recently, so I’ve been having to look elsewhere for information and reading material.  This has led to a good deal of stumbling across unexpected but interesting items like this:

Turkey City Lexicon, A Primer for SF Workshops

Feel free to skip over the introductions and go right down to the good part, which is a list of science fiction writer jargon often heard at writing workshops, along with definitions.  For instance,

“Call a Rabbit a Smeerp“

A cheap technique for false exoticism, in which common elements of the real world are re-named for a fantastic milieu without any real alteration in their basic nature or behavior. “Smeerps” are especially common in fantasy worlds, where people often ride exotic steeds that look and act just like horses. (Attributed to James Blish.)

Or:

False Humanity

An ailment endemic to genre writing, in which soap-opera elements of purported human interest are stuffed into the story willy-nilly, whether or not they advance the plot or contribute to the point of the story. The actions of such characters convey an itchy sense of irrelevance, for the author has invented their problems out of whole cloth, so as to have something to emote about.

(Many current day TV writers could take a hint or two from that one.)

Or:

The Grubby Apartment Story

Similar to the “poor me” story, this autobiographical effort features a miserably quasi-bohemian writer, living in urban angst in a grubby apartment. The story commonly stars the author’s friends in thin disguises — friends who may also be the author’s workshop companions, to their considerable alarm.

There’s a whole slew of these things. Pretty interesting, often funny.

When you’re done reading those, go back up to Bruce Sterling’s intro section and have a go at it as well; its description of how a typical SF writing workshop works is pretty amusing.

I suppose why this stuff caught my interest at this moment in time is because I’ve been toying lately with the idea of writing a novel. Of course, I have no idea how I would go about doing that, nor how on earth I would find the time.  Maybe I could give up sleeping.

A more likely scenario is that I’ll get my eyeglasses updated and start reading fiction for pleasure again.  It’s been quite a while.  I used to be an avid reader, one of those who was always in the process of reading a book.  As soon as one book was done, I’d start the next one; there was never a day where I wasn’t currently reading something. But that started to fall by the wayside a number of years ago, and more recently I’ve gotten so thoroughly out of the habit that I have no idea how I used to find so much time for it. The last fiction novel I managed to get all the way through was Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, which I read two or three years ago I think.

Anyway, I’m going to add the Turkey City Lexicon to the sidebar links and see how that sits.

Teabag causes hot water to boil?

I’ll usually have a couple of mugs of black tea in the afternoon. It’s my preferred method of caffeine intake.  It’s milder than coffee (which I’ve never liked), and since I use Earl Grey tea, there is no need to add sugar, cream or anything.  I don’t have access to a teapot in the afternoon, so I have to boil a mug of hot water in a microwave oven, then drop the teabag in to steep.

I give the water enough time in the nuke so that it’s at a vigorous boil when I take it out.  Part of the reason I do that is to ensure evenness of temperature in the water—the bubbling action also stirs the water, which ensures that the entire mug is roughly at the same temperature, namely boiling hot. Which is fine for black tea.

The bubbling stops shortly after the nuke turns off, then I’ll take the mug out, set it on the counter and drop the teabag onto the top of the water.  The water will usually fizz when the teabag hits it.  It’s an interesting effect (especially if you’re easily amused like I am).

Today, though, something different happened.  When the teabag hit the water it caused the water to suddenly boil, fiercely enough to literally slop scalding hot water all over the counter and even a little onto the floor in front (I am really glad my foot wasn’t right there). The boiling lasted for about a full second and when it was done the mug had lost at least a quarter of an inch (6 or 7mm) of water.  I needed two paper towels to mop it up off the counter.

I wonder why it did that. I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was doing when it started; in fact, I was in the middle of a conversation with someone, so I’m not sure if I did something subtly different than normal.  Hmm!

Here is one scary possibility.  (I think I’m going to locate some stir-sticks before I make my next mug.)

Happy Solstice

Actually, it’s tomorrow, December 22.  So all you folks who can’t stand the excessive darkness this time of year have one more day to go yet before the days start getting longer again.

[edit] Actually, that’s wrong.  It depends on what time zone you are in.  The solstice occurs simultaneously worldwide, so in the “front” time zones, starting with Greenwich Mean time and a few immediately to the west of there, it actually does occur on the 22nd.  Here in the U.S., though, and for the rest of the world on this side of the International Date Line, it will be TODAY, December 21.  (Then, once you cross the International Date Line, you are back to Tuesday, December 22.)

Why I am not a liberal

I’ve been toying lately with the possibility of adding another category to my category list, named “why I’m not a liberal,” and then focusing on that for a while, with links to and discussion of all the various species of lunacy and hypocrisy that liberals are expected to believe in this day and age. The problem is, even if I limited myself just to current events, there’s so much out there that I could probably spend all day, every day blogging about that. It’s a veritable avalanche of stupidity, and I actually have to work for a living, you know?

So, for now, I’ll just throw out this link to Ann Coulter’s recent, wonderful rant: San Bernardino Shooters Unknown: Here Are Some Past Mass Shooters, wherein she takes aim at the New York Times’ patently ridiculous assertion that American mass shootings are perpetrated by “mostly white men.” Go Ann, go!

Sincerely,
A White Man