Whatever

So, the verdict on my computer: it’s busted. I took it into I.T. and after two hours of working on it, the dude (whose name I never caught) threw up his hands and said my only option is to reinstall the operating system. I don’t have the discs, so I just ordered them from Amazon. I hope this doesn’t take too long. With I.T.’s help, I was able to salvage some of my files from the computer, so it looks like my work is not all lost. (There is a possibility that those documents are still infected. I opened them up on a library computer because I just wanted to make sure they were intact and really hoped nothing bad got into the library system, and they looked fine. I guess I should still scan the hard drive before transferring the files back onto my computer.) This, to put it mildly, has not been fun.

It’s an essential part of my daily routine that I spend the first few hours dicking around on the internet. When I wake up early in the morning and can’t get back to sleep, I open up my laptop and do stuff while lying in bed. Some mornings, I mean to go to the gym, but don’t get around to it until the afternoon because I’m so busy reading and watching crap. In fact, I’m writing this at work because I’m so tired of having to wait until after work or my off-days in order to do the shit that I normally can do whenever I want. Maybe it serves me right for not making sure that Norton Antivirus was up and running. But I could have sworn that I took all the necessary steps to activate it after downloading and paying for it. All I know is that it sucks to have to live without a working computer, especially when the change happens so suddenly and you have no say in it at all.

This, by the way, is part of the reason that I am suspicious of the technological trend of consolidating music players, video players, web browsers, telephones, and vibrating sex toys into one device. If that device breaks down, you’re fucked, aren’t you? I can live without the internet. But when I have to take a subway just to get to a place where I can watch one of my DVDs, I start to pine for the days when people watched their movies on television sets. Hell, it used to be that you’d come home, turn on the TV, and fall asleep in front of that. Even that requires more of an attention span than Facebook.

It’s been far too long since I’ve talked about Doctor Who, so now I’m going to talk about it. The current Doctor, Matt Smith, has just announced that he will be leaving the show, much to the regret of fans who really liked him. I didn’t. The current era, as I have said many, many times before on this blog, just doesn’t work for me. Russell T. Davies leaned far too heavily on melodrama and childish humor, but still understood what, fundamentally, the character was about. Steven Moffat doesn’t. In his hands, it’s basically a time-travel show that features the Doctor, rather than a show about the Doctor that features time travel (there’s a difference). As for Matt Smith, well, I liked the part where he told the Silurian not to try any of that “I am the last of my kind” bullshit on him, because he knows all too well what that’s like. I just found his take on the character far too focused on being quirky and “modern”. Yes, I know that Doctor Who has always been about updating its look and style to follow current trends, but in the case of Matt Smith, it felt like somebody realized that being a hipster is in, then decided to make the Doctor a hipster. I hope the next incarnation feels more organic.

Pictured: a person who was in the news.

Pictured: a person who was in the news.

I feel like I should say something about the Paula Deen controversy and the Supreme Court rulings on the gay marriage cases. Amazingly, I don’t have much to say about the latter. As for the former, I will say only that while she sounds like a pretty hardcore racist to me, she also sounds sorry for what she said. It’s as if she’ll never get over her racism, yet doesn’t want people to be hurt by it all the same. Truth be told, I feel a little bit sorry for her. Not sorry that the Food Network fired her (technically, they just didn’t renew her contract, but…same thing), just sorry that somebody who clearly considered herself a decent person had to face up to all of the horrible, bigoted, truly terrible things she’d said and done. I’ve read some healthy discussions on various blogs about how surprised we should be that an old Southern lady is racist vs. how unfair it is to assume all Southerners are racist, but all I’ll say in that regard is that in my experience, a lot of conservatives and Southerners tend to oppose discrimination on a micro level–being quite

Pictured: some people who were also in the news.

Pictured: some people who were also in the news.

comfortable with black friends, neighbors, and coworkers–while supporting discrimination on a macro level–opposing affirmative action, opposing Obamacare just because a black guy proposed it, etc. And on the other hand, I’ve met many Northern liberals who voted for Obama and support affirmative action, but would skip across the street if they saw a black dude in a hoodie approaching them. Which one is worse? How the fuck should I know? But these are just generalizations, and should be treated as such. I’m glad we’re having the conversation.

When my computer first started acting up, I figured the problem would be easily solved. Maybe I’d just have to restart it. After a while, it got more complicated, and refused to go away, like a massive fossil that I saw only one part of which at first. A lot of things are like that. I’m trying to do more than wait for it to be over.

In conclusion, this ranks just below Buckley’s version as my favorite take on the song. The gap-toothed blond dude fucking slays it.

Not Important, Just Necessary

I like this video. First of all, it’s a catchy song and a funny video. Second, it’s a nice big “fuck you” to everyone who says that women can be funny only if they aren’t physically attractive. (And before somebody says so, no, Christopher Hitchens was not one of those people. He said women generally aren’t funny, not that they can’t or shouldn’t be funny. Essentially, he was poking fun at exactly the cultural standards people accuse him of upholding. If attractive women worked harder to entertain him, that just made him that much happier.)

My computer has a virus on it (I think). I don’t know how it got on there, which is annoying, since that leaves me baffled as to how to prevent something like this from happening again. I didn’t visit any suspicious-looking websites, download any suspicious-looking programs, or open any suspicious-looking emails (recently, anyway). Fortunately, almost all of the data currently on it is either recoverable or something I can live without, which means that I still have to transfer the stuff that I need and don’t have backed up onto my external hard drive, which is difficult, as the computer is barely even functioning and the hard drive will have to be scanned afterwards. At least the I.T. people at my school are willing to help me with it. Maybe the problem is that my computer doesn’t have virus protection software. I downloaded Norton, but it didn’t activate for some reason.

I think we need to talk about how fucked up so much children’s entertainment. The Giving Tree is a beloved classic, but it’s also about an abusive co-dependent relationship. Why is that so moving? I don’t know, but I really love that book. Belle in Beauty and the Beast has a case of Stockholm Syndrome, but it’s a hell of a lot more complicated than that. The Beast lets her go when he realized that her father needs her, and she returns of her own free will. So no matter what the cynics tell you, that is real love, even if it’s just a movie. (I met one girl who tried to argue that the movie’s message is that every beast is a prince underneath, which falls apart when you consider that Gaston is as handsome as anyone in the village but also a total piece of shit. The Beast really isn’t a bad guy, and when you look at what he does, none of it causes any lasting harm. So there.) There was a live-action version of the story back in the 40s, although that one implied that Belle liked the Beast more when he was, well, a Beast. He’s certainly more interesting that way, but that’s why the movie ends immediately after the transformation.

I’m still having trouble with this whole “letting go and moving on” thing. Too many of my friends have drifted away over the years, and I can’t tell if they’ll ever come back or not. With some of the ones I knew in college, I can’t tell if they’re just preoccupied with other shit or were never really good friends to begin with. Some of them I unfriended on Facebook a while back and they didn’t even notice. Then I re-added another, and he didn’t accept. I guess he just didn’t care anymore. I’m not really sure what to make of that. I try to keep in touch with people nonetheless. Honestly, if you’re somebody I knew from those periods and you’re even reading this, don’t worry, because you’re not one of the people I’ve lost touch with. I just don’t really know what to make of myself sometimes. I moved from California to New York, got a degree, and…yeah, that happened. I have a lot of fucking debts. Moving on.

Blue Screen of Death

As of this writing, something awful just happened. I tried to back up my few remaining files before bringing my computer in to the I.T. people this Tuesday. It took over an hour for my computer to boot up in safe mode. I waited until it was ready, then plugged in my external hard drive. Just as I was opening up my documents folder, the Blue Screen of Death popped up. I tried to restart my computer, but now it won’t boot up at all. This virus is fucking sadistic. There were essays and stories on that computer that I had written longhand, then typed up on the computer. That took longer, but the result was better writing. I still have the hard copies in my notebooks, but the fact that my computer waited until I was just about to save my work, then stopped functioning makes me wonder if there isn’t some Lisbeth Salander-type hacker somewhere who woke up this Tuesday and decided to make my life a living hell. I can deal with getting a new computer. But I don’t want to retype all of my work. It’s just too fucking draining.

You know, I’m not very tech-savvy, but I’ve never seen a virus behave like this before. My computer was working perfectly that morning. Then I put it in hibernate and went to the gym. When I got back, nothing worked. The only virus(es) I’ve seen before will give some warning that they’re there. The computer will start running a little slower, you’ll notice an icon on your desktop that wasn’t there before, and then the whole thing will shut down. This virus is like the Bubonic Plague or something. It hits suddenly and kills before anyone has had time to process things. Maybe I should have made sure my virus protection software was working better, but this seems like an especially harsh way for the universe to teach me to have backup files and shit. It just isn’t fair. I don’t deserve this.

I’ve had to go to the library to use the computer these past few days. It’s put a drain on my porn consumption. Here’s an 80s song.

Things I Hate Doing, Part 5

5. Listening to People Speculate About How Much Longer Jon Stewart Will Do The Daily Show

john oliverLook, I know he’s been doing it for fourteen years and three months is a long time to be away from any job, but I really don’t think Stewart will be leaving the show anytime soon. This is not to say that we cannot have an interesting talk about whether or not the show would be able to survive without him. Unlike The Colbert Report, in which the entire show centers around the persona created by its host, TDS has become an institution over the past decade-plus, and a great many (myself included) use it as their go-to source of information whenever something newsworthy happens. I’m just saying that I think we can dial it back a notch. Stew Beef is in his early fifties, which is well below retirement age, and as much as I like John Oliver, I think a lot of the people who are saying that Stewart’s act has gotten tired are just falling victim to the old saw about familiarity breeding contempt. Stewart’s the best we’ve got for the moment. My only problem with him is that the interviews are hit-and-miss. The authors and politicians are often interesting, the movie stars less so, and Stewart’s need to be a nice guy and appear deferential causes him to go way too easy on dbags who deserve far worse, like Mike Huckabee. I also dislike watching him ask an old comedy buddy on the show just so he can trade stories about the good old days and feign interest in their shitty new movie. But sometimes he gets somebody who knows how to play off of him.

Maybe I should spend less time on the internet. The need people have to overanalyze every new development and talk about how this new thing is just so much better than that old thing (which was never all that good even in its prime, incidentally) is fucking grating. I’m going to go read something.

4. Having to Go Way Out of My Way to Do Something I Want to Do

Upstream Color is now available on Netflix. It’s an obscure little indie movie that, when it was in theaters not too longshane carruth ago, was only being shown in one theater in all of Manhattan. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make time to see it, but then I did. Good movie, not for everybody, but definitely one of a kind. There is no point in summarizing the plot here. It’s a science fiction film made on an incredibly low budget that deals with an organism that allows people to form telepathic links with each other. There is also a love story in there, along with some philosophy and sort of a crime thriller. It’s very good. The filmmaker, Shane Carruth, surprised the movie-going community in 2004 with Primer, an even lower-budget film about a pair of dudes who create a time travel machine in one of their garages. Pretty crazy stuff, and if you can explain what happens in the last 20 minutes, you’re smarter than I am. I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I just want to say that if there were justice in the world, Michael Bay would be mopping Shane Carruth’s floors and Shane wouldn’t have to take nine years in between movies just to scrounge up the miniscule amount of money that he needs. He’s one to watch.

3. Not Having Enough Energy

Right now, I feel not so very different from how I felt in the months leading up to my departure for grad school. I spend most of my day sitting around on my computer caught between several things I kind of feel like I should be doing. Mostly, I just dick around. You can measure how bored I am by how many times a day I check in on Facebook. Someday, I hope that number will be zero. But for now, it’s much higher. I just don’t really have any focus. I’ll go to work and spend every minute I haven’t specifically been told to do something on the internet. They give us projects to work on in our downtime. I recently finished my last project and was immediately assigned the same thing all over again (but with different books), so it’s hard for me to care too deeply. My very first project was basically data entry, and since it required a computer, I could go on the internet whenever I wanted, but took pains to minimize it because hey, I’m at work. Now my project does not involve a computer, meaning that I have to log off and stand up in order to actually get some work done. That’s a lot harder. One day this week, I was so tired that I just found a dark corner of the stacks and sat quietly for a while. I have the kind of job where one can slip away for long periods of time without being noticed. That doesn’t mean I’m not trying to do it less.

2. Having No Friends

Okay, so this isn’t strictly accurate. I have a few friends. Like, four or five, give or take, depending on what mood I’m in. But there’s a sort of malaise to my life these days. Everybody else seems to be doing exciting shit, like taking a cross-country road trip with their significant other or something. My average day consists of shelving books for eight hours, then going home to watch something on Netflix, masturbate, go to bed and start the whole thing over again. It’s draining, and since a lot of people skipped town after graduation and I wasn’t that close to too many of them to begin with, there just isn’t much for me to do except keep on doing the same old shit while looking for a job and stuff. Sigh.

1. Going Nerd-Crazy

Okay, so as you may have noticed by reading this blog, lately I’ve been getting deeper and deeper into Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire. It’s fun, although I’m trying not to let it take over my life. It seems to have succeeded Harry Potter as the epic fantasy series of the moment, and that’s fine with me because, as somebody (can’t remember who) said to me not long ago, “Sometimes the reason everybody is into something is because it’s actually good.” I’m still only about two-thirds of the way through the third book (reading can be slow going for me, and I’m splitting my time between that and a few others, plus the library sent back this other book that they had had on reserve for me before I was done with it, which is annoying) and watching the TV show at the same time, trying not to get ahead of where I’m at in the book. There’s a lot to keep track of here. They should really offer Poly Sci credits to people who can follow all the subplots.

By the way, did you know that before he was Bronn, Jerome Flynn was a pop singer? I love the way that all of the comments underneath the video are about GoT.

I wish this were Daenerys’ theme music.

Let’s Talk About Privacy

"My best day ever is living in a fairytale. High up in a castle, I await the arrival of my prince charming as he scales the tower, careful not to wake my sleeping dragon. After being rescued, we make a daring escape out of the kingdom in his carriage." --Lauren S., Grade 9, Wyoming

“My best day ever is living in a fairytale. High up in a castle, I await the arrival of my prince charming as he scales the tower, careful not to wake my sleeping dragon. After being rescued, we make a daring escape out of the kingdom in his carriage.” –Lauren S., Grade 9, Wyoming

I like to think that even in a time when Google, social media sites, advertisers, and now the government are monitoring your internet activity and can trace the location of anyone carrying a phone or tablet, it’s possible to keep a few secrets. There really isn’t much need for anyone else to know about my porn-viewing habits. It mostly just features consenting adults fucking, and the stuff that doesn’t is still harmless and legal. If I were a pedophile or a zoophile, maybe you’d have cause to worry, but I’m not, so you don’t. Anybody who wanted to track me down based solely on the information in this blog could probably do so inside of an hour. But who reads this thing? It gets, like, ten hits per day, if that. Lots of people describe themselves as very private, but what does that mean? I like to think that it means that even if somebody were to dig through your phone records and emails and such, they still might not be able to learn everything about you. At least some of what I do is completely off the grid. And what isn’t might at least take some time to dig up. I hope to keep it that way.

I am resistant to the recent trend in technology of combining different devices into one device. I don’t need something that can play music, make phone calls, check my Wells Fargo balance and give me a prostate exam all at the same time. It’s been my experience that anytime somebody tries to do all of those things at once, they do most of them very poorly. I’m going to sound like either an old fuddy duddy or some Zen master-in-training, but why are we so afraid to leave our homes without our smartphones? Are we worried that we’ll get lost if we don’t have Google Maps to tell us to put the left foot in front of the right, then the opposite, and so on? I imagine that there are plenty of practical uses to some recent technology–having a Magellan is probably more convenient than writing down the directions on a piece of paper and fumbling with it as you drive–but man, I still don’t get why anybody needs a Kindle. Just stuff a goddamn paperback in your pocket, why don’t you. Besides, if you lose your book, it’s no big deal. If your Kindle screen gets so much as a crack, you’ll feel like a tool for having wasted all that money on it. And while I know plenty of people who have iPads or tablets, I don’t see the point of those things at all. If you want a computer, JUST BUY A FUCKING COMPUTER. No, you don’t need to be able to stream Netflix while you’re on the treadmill at the gym. You don’t need to, that’s my point.

I realized recently that I don’t want an office job. I might be willing to work in one someday, but I can safely say that at this point in my life, I have no interest whatsoever in sitting in a cubicle all day. Give me some kind of job where I can actually reach out and touch whatever it is that I’m working on. I’m sure that there are plenty of interesting jobs that involve staring at a computer screen all day, but none of them interest me. So there’s that.

The problem with social media is that nobody takes it seriously. I’ve had people tell me off for getting angry at somebody on the internet because I can’t really discern somebody’s true intentions unless we’re speaking face-to-face, can I? By that logic, I shouldn’t even be able to understand the person who’s telling me off, yet somehow, I always manage to. What the person is really doing in that situation is cutting me out of the conversation. They and the person I just called out will go on with their lives, possibly continuing in person the conversation that they started on Facebook the other day. The only difference is that I won’t be a part of it. Which I actually might not mind if they were more upfront about it. It’s amazing how angry people can get because you responded to what they actually said rather than what they wanted you to think they said. Which doesn’t mean I’ll stop.

There are few things more obnoxious than a person who thinks they know what they’re talking about but doesn’t. I meet a lot of those one the internet, folks who say, “Yeah, the Republicans might be hypocritical about which amendments they care about, but the Democrats are just as hypocritical about their ice cream toppings!” I don’t give a shit that some Democrat somewhere did something bad. I hate to say it, but people like that really are beneath me. They say that they’re just trying to add balance to the conversation by bringing up desserts in a post that is about gun control, but really, they’re just trying to paralyze us so that nothing can ever get done. No, it’s not hypocritical for Jimmy Carter to say that he supports public education, then send his daughter to a private school. People do what’s best for them at any given moment. You can be anti-capital punishment and pro-choice. Judge every situation on its own merits. That goes for people, too.

In One Person

Fuck all of you up your stupid fucking asses. I hope you die slowly and painfully while your mother watches and you go to hell and Satan shits down your neck for all eternity. Yeah, I said it.

Fuck all of you up your stupid fucking asses. I hope you die slowly and painfully while your mother watches and you go to hell and Satan shits down your neck for all eternity. Yeah, I said it.

Well, I’m in a bad mood as I write this. I didn’t get the job I wanted, you see. That’s not so horrible; what sucks is that they didn’t even offer me an interview. I’m pretty sure I’m good enough for an interview. I know I’m qualified for this job. I want it and am passionate about the kind of work that the Department of Parks & Recreation does. Most importantly, it would make perfect sense for a guy at this point in his life. And they didn’t even offer me an interview. I sent them an email letting them know it was their loss, which I didn’t expect to take the sting away, and it hasn’t. I spent an entire evening on my application back in mid-April. I crafted my answers like they were college admissions essays. I even got my advisor to write me a letter of recommendation. So why the fuck didn’t they offer me an interview? Because they’re assholes, that’s why. I’m sure they got plenty of applications, but I doubt they were all from people as talented, driven, and conscientious as I am. So if you don’t want to see me wallow in self-pity and bloviate about my own greatness, navigate away. I am a fucking genius. The world needs to recognize that.

I’ve always been wary of online dating, but now I’m thinking I should give it a try. Generally, I prefer to meet people in the real world, but fuck that. Most of my friends seem to have met their significant others through the time-honored methods of living their lives. But that hasn’t worked for me. I’m active and engaged, or at least, I try to be. Throughout high school and college, I not only went to classes and parties, but was involved in lots of extracurricular activities. The result was that I watched others fall in love, move in together and even get married while I stood on the sidelines wondering when my time was going to come. I think my time needs to fucking come already. I’m in my mid-twenties and have never even had a proper date. I’ve waited long enough.

The funny thing about being single is that after a while, you start to get more picky, not less. “Boy, when I finally meet someone, they had better be really awesome, to make up for all of this time spent masturbating!” you say to yourself. Yeah, I know: There is no settling down without settling for, blah blah blah. And when you think about it, being a bastion of support for somebody–emotionally, sexually, and domestically–is a hell of a burden to place on even someone as amazing as I am. But I think I can handle it. I’ve accepted that I will never get to marry Eddie Redmayne, but whoever my future boyfriend is, he had better be pretty fucking tough. I don’t have the patience for anything less.

I know wanting something badly is not enough to make it yours. But I think I wanted that job for the right reasons. The Parks & Rec people didn’t want me back, I suppose, and I’m not sure I’ll ever know why.

It’s getting harder and harder in this day and age for people to feel that they actually own their media. I downloaded an audiobook off of Audible not too long ago and was outraged to discover not only that I could not play it on my mp3 player, but that DRM prevented me from converting it into a format that was compatible with my device. Admittedly, that is partially my fault for not bothering to learn more about the product I was purchasing, but unless I’m mistaken, isn’t mp3 pretty much the standard format for audio files? Wouldn’t it at least have made sense to make the file convertible, if not offer it in the standard format to begin with? On a somewhat related note, I learn that sharing HBO Go passwords is, apparently, a punishable offense. That, to put it mildly, is fucking idiotic. HBO has refused to allow its programming to be streamed on Netflix, Hulu, or any website besides its own. The only legal way to watch HBO is to pay for a subscription to the network or to get the DVDs. I’m sure that has nothing to do with why Game of Thrones is by far the most pirated show on TV. Seriously, if the network were trying to make file-sharers out of all of us, I don’t know what they would be doing differently. It’s one thing to make copies of a book and hand them out on a street corner. It’s quite another to simply lend your friend a book you enjoyed. The former is pirating, the latter…you get the idea. And don’t even get me started on the Xbox One.

I have one more thing to say before I go. The sci-fi/fantasy crowd has always been full of misogynists, and while I have always striven to be both a good feminist and a good nerd, I do think it is possible for feminist nerds to be a little bit too critical sometimes. I saw somebody in a comments section accuse Isaac Asimov of writing lousy female characters and was baffled. Asimov’s female characters could be two-dimensional, but so could his male characters. With a few exceptions, he generally gave every character a handful of identifiable traits and set them loose in a twisty narrative (he would have made a good mystery writer) that explored ideas of technology and human advancement. On that front, he is at least better than Tolkien, who either didn’t know how to write women or just didn’t feel like trying. Today, of course, we have George R.R. Martin, whose love for badass women is second only to Joss Whedon’s.

I love you, Daenerys, but you terrify me more than any ass-kicking sci-fi/fantasy chick since Zoe from Firefly.

I love you, Daenerys, but you terrify me more than any ass-kicking sci-fi/fantasy chick since Zoe from Firefly.

Try not to worry about me, people. I’m surviving, for the moment.