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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And another thing...

And speaking of my earlier speaking of...

This series of novels, "Quarter Share," and "Half Share" and "Quarter
Share," is a brilliant resource for understanding the necessary
constraints of any fully-recycled environment, but of course a
specifically space-faring, self-supporting environment. If you want to
understand the fundamentals of a self-supporting environment, as well as a
shipboard environment, this is a purely wonderful source.

Granted, it's a bit saintly in perspective, but it's what used to be
coolest about the Golden Age. So, it is good science fiction, but it's
also a brilliant source for real-world life. It is, bottom line, how do
you survive in an unfamiliar environment? How do you learn how to cope
with a new environment?

So I still think this is a wonderful book. I'm now up to chapter 6. I
have listened to a lot of audio versions of a lot of books, for the past
several years. But still, I this book, narrated by the author, is
brilliantly done by every measure I can come up with. It is a good book,
it is good based on the standards of the Golden Age -- the best era for
storytelling in SF, and why I keep looking for Golden Age stories I
haven't read or heard yet, and why it's called the Golden Age, a damn
demanding standard -- and it's brilliantly read, oddly enough, a writer
who can read well, too? He must be killed before he makes the rest of us
look bad! He said, with a scary tone in his voice...

This guy is really scarey good.

Yeah, I'm a geek, yeah, I'm absorbed with this whole audiobook thing -- I
need to have two or three things going just to be able to be focused on
any of them --- but I'm getting just a profound kick out of this book,
because it's about someone LIKE ME -- someone who can't be fascinated by
any topic unless I know how it's part of everything else. And this is a
story about trying to understand everything at once. Which is something I
can't help but do.

So, yeah, I'm well-suited for that time, someday, when it's possible to
make a use of all my skills in an environment that asks for them.

And the bad news is, I'm a telemarketer, and none of my best skills will
ever be used by my current employers. I am likely to remain in a place
where no one will ever actually make use of the areas of expertise I have.

Because I'm a telemarketer, and that's all anyone will expect me to be
capaable of.

So, what's a guy gotta do to get a cup of coffee around this joint?

Oh, what's you're missing, and why haven't you already subscribed to
"Quarter Share" on Podiobooks.com?

--
Grizzly's Growls -- The Life and Times of a Minor Local
Celebrity
Podcast: <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Listen or Subscribe:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysgrowls>

... and ya know what's really cool?

Speaking of my previous entry, you know what's really cool?

My best friend, Jeff Fosle, who I grew up with -- I literally have known
Jeff since before he was born, having seen his Mom when I wandered across
the street to his family's house, since my brother played with his older
brother, and my younger sister played with his (later) big sister.
There's his Mom, big as a house as they say, and she was carrying him at
the time.

Knew him since before he was born. Literally.

Anyway, Jeff -- and his son, John -- are now certified to go out on The
Boats. Duluth and Superior are big shipping sites, and getting On The
Boats is the core function here. We used to have a lot of other stuff
going on, but the steel industry is in the toilet and the Air Force base
is now a minimum security Federal prison.

But going on the boats is the real money job.

So I'm thinking, this is a great source for understanding The Boats. I'm
wondering if the author doesn't know a bit about this stuff...

Fascinating stuff. Might even learn something, go figure.

--
Grizzly's Growls -- The Life and Times of a Minor Local
Celebrity
Podcast: <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Listen or Subscribe:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysgrowls>

Quarter Share Podiobook

Still working my way through the library of Podiobooks.com. I mentioned
the books I've been reading/listening to on my podcast with my last
(rather huge) show.

My latest acquisition is "Quarter Share," a science fiction book focused
on a brand-new crewmember on an interstellar trading ship. I've been
reading science fiction for decades now. This one, I'm just loving.

What I particularly love about this one, is our brand-new crewmember gets
into a steward's slot on the ship, primarily food service. I have a dozen
years of experience with food service, even a degree in "Commercial Foods
& Restaurant Management." Never was a particularly good cook, but I can
manage the mechanics thereof. I am particularly good at Food Costing,
ingredient costs being a particularly important element of any restaurant.
But of course, right out of school, they didn't want me to handle recipe
costing or stock management, they wanted me to cook. And I suck at
cooking. So I gave up cooking a decade ago or thereabouts.

Anyway, there I am, listening to a science fiction novel, about becoming a
crewmember on a space trader ... and this new crewmember falls right in to
place, because he makes damn good coffee.

And I make damn good coffee.

So I'm thinking, hey, waitaminute, for years I've been reading science
fiction, and thinking "yeah, but I'd never have the skills to do that sort
of thing," and they need a good coffee guy? Maybe, after all, all this
science fictional stuff comes down to doing what you do, but in an
environment that might involve a lot of high-tech whatchamacallits, and
yeah, there's a need for high-tech-whatchamacallit experts... there's
still a need for people who know how to do the basic stuff that still
needs to be done.

And I can do that.

Reminds me of when I was working down at Ocean Reef Club back on the
pointy end of Key Largo. Very high-end environment, and certainly they
had a bunch of folks who were brilliant on alla that fancy chef stuff one
needs to do. One day I had a chat with the overall Chef of the whole
operation down there, who's name as I recall was Jeff Olson. I pointed
out that I really didn't have all the fancy-schmancy skills some of the
guys had, and he said, "yeah, but all the other stuff -- pealing potatoes,
and prepping vegetables, and so on, still needs to be done, and done
reliably and consistently. With enough money we can get lots of the
brilliant guys. But the day-to-day stuff still needs to be done. And the
brilliant guys sometimes think they're Too Cool to do that stuff. So we
need you here -- maybe more than we need the brilliant guys."

Never meant more to me than right now.

I gave up cooking maybe two years after finishing cooking school. That
was probably closely related to leaving behind my fiancee, who I'd met
while working down in Florida as a cook. Kinda kicked my enthusiasm for
cooking to the curb.

Granted, the NASA astronaut program isn't looking desparately for me. But
if there is ever a real space presence, there will be a need for people
know how to do the basic stuff really well. And that I can do.

And it's nice to be reminded that science fiction after all isn't about
Dirk Savage, Space Hero, but in the final analysis about regular folks who
find themselves in a complex environment, and still have to live their day-
to-day lives.

Like us, when you think about it.

Anyway, based on a dozen episodes, I can strongly recommend "Quarter
Share," and the following "Half Share" and "Full Share," already online at
Podiobooks.com. Science fiction about the real world. Reminds me of the
best Golden Age science fiction, most of which I've already read.

Gotta see if there's a promo for that, for some future episode of
"Grizzly's Growls."

--
Grizzly's Growls -- The Life and Times of a Minor Local
Celebrity
Podcast: <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Listen or Subscribe:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysgrowls>

Monday, November 19, 2007

Making Amends

I tried to start another show last night, but ended up trying to write the
show still at 3:00 am or so. Never finished.

Anyway, decided I'm not sure what to say about this particular topic.
It's not done yet. I have a vague idea of the questions, but no clue as
to the answers.

This weekend, off singing Kareoke at one of my primary bars (I've pretty
much given up on one location, but that's a story for another day), I ran
into someone I hadn't seen in a couple of decades.

He turned out to be someone who used to bully me back in High School. He
turned out to be someone who is now a recovering alcoholic. And he turns
out to be seeking to Make Amends, as required by one of the 12 steps. I
have no idea which one, but one of them. He didn't expect to see me, but
upon seeing me, he decided he needed to Make Amends to me, too.

Which raises the question: How do you make amends for bullying?

For the first four years of my life, the only people I encountered were
family, and a very few, very close neighbors. My oldest friend from those
days wasn't even born then.

Then I went off to school, kindergarten. They didn't have Day Care back
in the day. My first meeting with people other than that little group.

It was a long time ago. But my first memory of Kindergarten, my first
memory of meeting anyone not family and dealing with them day-to-day, was
of being bullied by a big guy named Bruce. I don't remember his last
name, and it's possible I never new it. It's not like it would have been
my top concern.

Up to that point, I had gotten along okay with nearly everyone I'd ever
met in my entire life. The few exceptions included three guys from the
next street over who'd already been bullying my brother, and decided since
I was nearby, I was a target, too.

And then I went to Kindergarten, and became a target.

Sometimes I wonder whether this whole Aspergers Syndrome thing means
anything. Take any child and torment them from the age of five, for the
rest of their young lives, and see if that makes it hard for them to
socialize, to react with extreme stress to the contact or even closeness
of anyone. See if romance is utterly absent from their lives. See if
they start rocking, flapping their hair, and staring at the ground.

Bruce tormented me through the next six years of my life. He created a
culture of abuse focused on me, as part of a culture of abuse that was as
much a part of our school system as number 2 pencils. Your school system,
too, probably.

"Boys will be boys."

Maybe that's true. Let's ask an expert on boys, like John Wayne Gasey, or
Jeffrey Daumer.

I was tormented for so long, and by so many people, literally a culture of
abuste, that by my junior year in high school, people were tormenting me
by calling me names that had had a particular meaning in Kindergarten, but
no one but me (and Bruce) actually knew what the hell those abusive names
referred to. People would call me those names -- I haven't quite gotten
to the point of closure where I can even type them -- and think them
nicknames or terms of affection. I eventually blew up at my desk-partner
in homeroom, because he called me one of those names. After I explained,
he told me he'd had no idea what the name referred to.

I managed to turn maybe half of my Senior year of high school into
something resembling a good year. But I was still fouled up. Call it
PTSD, it's not a bad description. I was voted the Most Intelligent of my
senior class. I didn't graduate with my senior class. I had to take
night school to finish one class, and summer school to finish another,
both required courses.

At the time, I could have attended college locally, at a fully-fledged
college, for free, funded by my state, for a four-year degree, anyway. I
didn't go. My experience up to that point had been that school meant
abuse. School meant ridicule and humiliation and torment. I didn't want
more school.

Then, one could get a Good Job with a High School diploma -- I've got one
of those, barely. Now you can't get a decent job without college. I've
got none, I'm a telemarketer.

So, let's make amends.

How do you fix that? As George Cluny put it in another context, "So who
do we see about that?"

He wants to fix the mistakes he made. And yes, he was part of the torture
I went through for a dozen years. But he wasn't the only one, and I
didn't remember him by name, so I suppose he didn't own such a big piece
of that pile of crap. But I'm 49 now, no education, no decent life, no
American Dream for me, can't do a job interview without being overwhelmed
by expectations of ridicule. I'm a telemarketer. "So who do we see about
that?"

Does it make it better that he just bought into the existing culture of
torture? Does it make it better that he was just accepting the pain
others inflicted, while only creating a little more pain himself,
directly?

How does he make amends for that, for not standing up?

How does he make amends, for just being a soldier in the army, for just
following orders, for whatever reason -- if you're not with us, you're
against us, you're against us, if you're not a killer, you're a victim.

Sure, Killer seems such a strong word. "That which does not kill me makes
me stronger." And that which takes away most of my life -doesn't-
essentially kill me?

How does he make amends? How do you fix that?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Re: [Long_Live_TechTV] Consumer Groups Ask FCC to Fine Comcast

It was 2 Nov 2007, when jimmy miller commented:

> A coalition of consumer groups has formally asked the Federal
> Communications Commission to stop Comcast Corp. from interfering with file
> sharing and to fine Comcast $195,000 for every affected subscriber.
>
> The petitions will be the first real test of the FCC's stance on
> the so-called "Net Neutrality" issue. The agency has said that Internet
> service providers can't block customers from Web sites or from using
> Internet-based applications, but it has not had to enforce that policy,
> given the long-standing industry practice of treating all Internet traffic
> substantially equally.

You wanna hear my Conspiracy Theory?

Currently, we have a handful of corporations (with large amounts of money
attached thereunto) who control access and use of a significant number of
tunes people love and want to keep hearing.)

They currently have access only to those tunes they've bought.

They are, apparently, trying to kill off the access of anyone, even those
who have paid for access, to their paid-for songs. They're getting
viciously aggressive as regards anything even approaching reproduction of
those songs, even if those reproductions are local, only for the use of
the person who's already paid for access.

Why?

Well, lessee. We have companies that have paid billions to create the
ability to reproduce and promote music. But they can only reproduce songs
they're licensed to reproduce.

But what if there were no longer any copyright restrictions?

What if the companies that are best positioned to reproduce in volume can
reproduce in volume anything they care to?

They no longer have to decide which songs they reproduce -- if they have a
copy, they can produce more, whatever happens to be saleable right now.

So, if they want that, what's their biggest obstacle? Copyright. They
need to get permission from whoever has the authority. Even if they're
"friends" with the source, they still have another negotiation to get
through. And even if they're friends, there's still anti-trust -- can't
have all the buddies negotiating deals so they can just do what they want.

So, let's suppose everybody figures they'd be better off if they can just
do what they want without having inconvenient obstacles like the law and
whatnot.

But yeah, there's still copyright, back in the real world. How do you get
past that?

So, how do you get past copyright?

Convince everyone that Copyright Is Wrong.

Convince everyone that Copyright Is Evil.

Convince everyone that Copyright is something driven by that artificial
satan, the RIAA.

Except, the RIAA is just an artificial entity. Driven by all the Vinyl
Record Creating Corporations.

It is a lie. And it is the Father of Lies.

But damn profitable.

God Bless.

There is no try. There is only "do."


--
grizzlysgrowls at gmail dot com
Podcast: <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Listen or Subscribe:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysgrowls>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

Monday, November 12, 2007

So, where have I been?

Had intended to do a show last weekend, but we got one a them shed
thingies, that's more like a tent with a heavy frame, and we put that up
on Sunday, so I didn't get it done. Or started.

Then early in the week I blew up at the bartender at one of my two regular
Kareoke bars. Then late in the week I got pissed -- in a couple of
different senses -- at my other Kareoke bar. I'm out of places to sing.

Just as well, I'm really tired of Kareoke.

It isn't Kareoke I'm tired of, really. I'm tired of hoping that something
major will change in my life. Because it doesn't change. Same stuff,
different day.

I should have done a show this weekend, too. This weekend, I don't have
any excuses.

Does back pain count?

Okay, let's pretend it does.