Sunday, April 26, 2015

Coversations

Tam (Holding up some iKindleThingie): "I know better but it still seems wrong that there are rare earth magnets all around this pocket computer."

Bobbi: (Engineerishly) "There's no magnetic storage in those."

Tam: "I know, I know -- but still, computers, you weren't even supposed to have food or drinks around them!  I remember losing a week's homework because somebody stuck a CB magnet* on the side of the filing cabinet the floppy discs were in!"

Bobbi: "Tam, how old am I?"

Tam: "Ancient."

Bobbi: "And what do I do for a living?"

Tam: "Ancient technology?"

Bobbi: "No."

Tam: "Obsolescent technology?"

Bobbi: "No, really.  Other than records, radio and TV were and mostly still are all magnetic storage.  --And yeah, the magnetic connectors on my Surface weird me out in the very same way."

     Who knew The Future was magnets instead of plastics?
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* Tam and I both remember mag-mount CB antennas, the quick & dirty way to equip your car for the CB craze. Of course, I used 'em for ham radio antennas -- but I must admit, if it wasn't for CBers, those gadgets would not have been so inexpensive and widely available.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It Is Claimed...

     "Title 14, Section 1211 of the Code of Federal Regulations (implemented on July 16, 1969) makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to have any contact with extraterrestrials or their vehicles."

     In other words:
     STOP!
     Don't touch!
     Tell an adult!

     ...And some people think my stories about the Hidden Frontier are imaginary....

Angles Of Attack

     I'm reading Marko Kloos's Angles Of Attack.  You should, too.

     While mil-SF is not one of my major interests, I've read Elizabeth Moon's "Ensign Suiza" and "Vatta's War" series, Starship Troopers and the various mil-ish C. J. Cherrryh novels (notably Rimrunners and Tripoint) and David Drake's Leary and Mundy series.  Marko's series is as good as any of them.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Tamara Returns

     After being away for some time on a Secret Mission, Tam is back at Roseholme Cottage.  This is a considerable relief to me -- I'm glad to see her again and the cats will have a lot more Adult Supervision.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Why I Still Haven't Mowed All Of The Front Yard

     Flowers!
     Yeah, I'm not quite to the Edward Gorey level yet.  These little white flowers -- almost certainly some kind of weed -- come back every Spring (along with a good scattering of violets) and I'm happy to see them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

...Insurance...

     It's gotten steadily worse.  When I started in my present job -- which was, I admit, before anyone outside of colleges and the .gov was on The Innerwebz -- my employer offered traditional insurance.  It was a benefit.  Didn't take a dime from your pay.  It didn't cover routine doctor visits, just hospitalization, imaging and physical therapy.  Then they added prescription drugs and physicals and the price went up, up--

     And my employer switched to a PPO.  That cost employees a little, but in return, there wasn't much they didn't cover and their network of physicians was huge.   Even then, in-network and out of network  payouts differed by less than ten percent, anyway, so you really only needed to keep track for big stuff.

     Over time, options shrank, the network shrank, and it cost more.  Eventually, my employer switched to a different company.  They had a smaller network and only two plans, a kind of high-deductible basic one and a fancier one that cost more, but had a low deductible and slightly better coverage.  Out of network providers were not covered very well.

     Their network kept getting smaller, they dropped the "nicer" plan, and the price kept going up.

     After I went to the ER with a kidney stone earlier this year, I had a call from the hospital: according to their records, I didn't have insurance!  I was annoyed the hear this and gave them my insurance information again.  I haven't heard back.

     Recently, we were informed that our PPO no longer has a network in Indiana.  They were one of the smaller companies in this state, and their analysts decided it wasn't cost effective.  As of the first of this year, they are still our health insurer -- but we have been in some other network.  And none of the online network-membership checking works for us.

     Do I even have insurance in any meaningful way any more?  I'm not sure.

     I think I might do better going to Vegas, finding a bookie, and making a series of bets against my health. --And paying for my own routine medical stuff.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sheesh

     I'm going though three drafts of this drivel in recent days.  Way too much work.

In Which I Talk About The Hugo Controversy

     I had a much longer post written, one that went into much greater detail and then I thought, "Nope.  Scroom."

     Brad R. Torgerson gives every indication of being a good man, who made a sincere effort to pick suggested nominees based on literary merit.

     Sadly, a random -- accidental, in fact -- sample of "Puppy" supporters, encountered on the Facebook page of a person very much in the "Sad Puppies" camp rather than "Rabid..." left a much less pleasant impression with me:
    Four in five argued that there is a single objective definition of "Science Fiction and Fantasy," and attempted to support this assertion with the tired Limbaughian slogan, "Words mean things!"  Yes, they do -- a lot of things.  SF/F is what consumers of the stuff buy, period.  It's subjective.  Interestingly, none of them put forward a definition -- I guess we'd have to pass it to find out what was in it?
     Addressing a story they did not care to see on the Hugo ballot, all five would not discuss specific points and at least four gave little evidence of having read the story, only paraphrasing distorted reviews; four put forward notions that are not supported by the actual text (those words, the ones that mean things, suddenly had become dogwhistles, flexible and cunning!)
     Four in five appeared to believe that no one could sincerely hold an opinion different to their own.
    One in five contributed only insults and put-downs.
    One in five made claims of membership in a group strongly correlated with hardcore racists.
    ETA: Another one in five was reasonable and decent, and simply disagreed about some things without making accusations. 

     Random Facebook sample.  Might as well be backing chariot-racing teams in Byzantium.

     I have seen as bad from minions of the Old Hugo Guard,* at times more competently executed, including "poison pen" press releases.  (The same old "choice:" Stupid Party or Evil Party?  They'll both revile you if you pick None Of The Above.)

     "Groupthink (Right-wing)" replacing "Groupthink (Left-wing)" doesn't fix the basic Groupthink problem. Neither does the solution Justinian used for the Nika riots -- for the Hugos, that would be voting "No Award."

     SF Fandom is neither "Just A G--d--- Hobby" nor "A Way Of Life."  It's a stinking cesspool.

    Oh, well, Sturgeon's Law tells us everything is 95% crap.
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* Yes, yes, they've been tagged "Social Justice Warriors" -- which is no more accurate than claiming all "Puppy" supporters are sexists and racists.  Blue!  Green!  Nika!  --Tell it to the Marines.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Poor Rannie

     Rannie the cat has had soft, gravy-covered cat food the last two feedings, since she has decided the dry stuff is too much work to eat (unless she can get me to hand feed her).

     She eats it in a quirky way, carefully lapping up all of the gravy before turning her attentions to the chunks of food.  The entire time, she glances every so often at the closed door between the front and back parts of the house.  Huck waits on the other side, having gulped down his food as quickly as he could.  Rannie knows as soon as I open it, he'll come dashing through. The thought worries her.

     I try to reassure her but as far as Rannie is concerned, I'm only occasionally an acceptable Mommy.  Even sitting on the couch after she's been fed, she'll curl up next to me, purr, smooth on me, nap awhile with her head pillowed on my hand -- then suddenly sit up, give me a shocked look, and be off in search of Tam: You're not my Mommy!

     No, little cat, I'm not.  I cherish your occasional affection nonetheless.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Watched The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1 Today

     It's pretty good -- another competent imaging of the book. A little less at odds with what I had pictured than the first two films.

     They have managed to keep the moral ambiguities of the series -- it's not too subtle or deep in the original, but it's there and wasn't lost in the film.   Novellas and YA books often make better movies than full novels, they're a little easier for Hollywood to follow.

     Looking forward to the final film in the series.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Still Good

    Vanilla gelato with plenty of cinnamon on it is still one of the best treats I know of.

Friday, April 17, 2015

I'm Done

      I don't have anything to say to most folks.

     I'll write here occasionally for myself.

     I want to sleep more, exercise more, play with my radios more, read more (Hammett and Chandler are safely dead and didn't write SF) and spend some time coming to terms with my own mortality.  The clock is ticking. The candle burns.  It won't last forever and neither will I.