reality is weirder than you think

Month: September 2017 (page 1 of 3)

Two variations of black and white outfits

Melania has recentlyish worn two black-and-white outfits, both very different.

First up, the “competent” outfit (seriously, this exact outfit is what you get when you search “competent woman).

Embed from Getty Images

Gets the job done, is classic, the end. Not especially stylish or Melania-like (except for that subtle white stitching detail), but it works for this venue. She’s doing a job that’s focused on conversation, not on herself.

Nest up, the “fashion” outfit. The cropped, wide-leg pants (which you can’t see because I refuse to embed the images that Getty has which have her from a slightly below angle which makes her look awful) are very now, and the double-breasted yet tailored jacket is quite a striking look.


Embed from Getty Images

She’s also doing her job here, but in this case the entire point of the job is a photo-op — to look at her.

The Bitcoin Carnivores

For those of us who have “taken the red pill,” we know that one area of skepticism leads to another, which leads to another, which…

Jordan Pearson of Vice’s Motherboard is just now learning that lesson. He wrote an article on the circle of Carnivores within the Bitcoin sphere, which is significantly large enough to attract attention.

For the Bitcoin carnivore, there is a kind of metaphysical parallel between decentralized digital ledgers and an imagined idea of what our ancestors ate, and by extension, how they lived. Politics, food, and money—it’s all connected.

“The 20th century was disastrous for human health and wealth, and the rise of central banking and industrial food was clearly a major reason why,” Michael Goldstein, founder of the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute and a vocal Bitcoin carnivore, wrote me in an email. “Bitcoin is a revolt against fiat money, and an all-meat diet is a revolt against fiat food.”

The implication of “fiat” is that modern money and modern foods are both artificial, and Bitcoin carnivorism supposedly solves this problem. Goldstein has been a dedicated carnivore since 2015, he told me, and eats “only from the animal kingdom, and mostly fat.” When I asked him to spell out the apparent Bitcoin-carnivory-libertarianism trifecta at play, Goldstein responded, “Once you put on the They Live glasses, you can’t take them off,” referring to the 1988 film in which a drifter finds a pair of sunglasses that when worn reveal the world is controlled by evil aliens.

It seems self-evident to me now, but yes — of course — everything is connected. Parallels systems exist in many different aspects of human activity. And yes, the people who self-select to think outside the system, and even live outside the system, are generally intelligent enough to apply their insights to multiple domains.

I love the reference to They Live, seeing how there’s a screenshot from the movie as one of my header images.

Speaking of self-selection, the author unwittingly reinforces the whole point of off-road thinking with this snide aside from the mainstream nutrition community:

(I reached out to a couple of well-known nutritionists for this article. One responded in an email, saying that the diet is “too ridiculous to be covered.” Another wrote, “Yet another extreme diet. Sigh.”)

“Health care professionals” with the RD or RDN credentialed had their education bought and paid for by the USDA and big-Ag. The people who self-select for the dietetics credentialling process tend to be compliant and incurious; perfect mouthpieces for the establishment’s current system of “fiat food.”

And you can’t expect people of the system to be able to comprehend, let alone have a valid opinion on, a new way of doing things. Especially when their livelihoods depend on people being confused about what to eat — which carnivores are decidedly not.

Actually, a Bitcoin-level carnivore getting trapped in the same room as a dietitian could be the start of a really great comedy sketch. The IQ differential between the two would be so astronomical that communication would be nearly impossible, and there’d be plenty of predator/prey punnage to draw on.

Because you’ll (almost) never find a dietitan with this mindset:

“If someone is willing to say, ‘Oh hey, I’m into this thing that 90 percent of everyone says is dead wrong,’ then you’ve probably got yourself both a cryptocurrency fan and an all-meat dieter”

Personally, I haven’t stepped into the Bitcoin world yet, but I’m hoping to do so in the near future.

A metric: the Creative Achievement Questionnaire

I’ve been listening to Jordan B Peterson lectures on YouTube again. (Always super motivating and super depressing at the same time. Reality has a way of doing that to you.)

One of the hardest things to learn about creativity (and anything, really), is that potential means nothing. What matters is what you produce; your body of work.

For those of us just starting out on our creative journeys, it’s important to define what success means and cobble together some metrics to judge whether or not we’re heading in the right direction.

JBP and Shelly Carson created the Creative Achievement Questionnaire to test creative production (not merely creative potential!), and it turns out that it could make a perfect objective measure for achievement in creative pursuits.

My score is 11, which places me at the top end of the Novice Creative category. Mostly of those achievements happened in during my teenage years; I neglected to cultivate my creative talents in university and afterward. There are a couple of scores I could fudge to push myself into the Maker category, but that’s edging into “lying to myself” territory.

Now, as far as using this as a metric: looking over the scoring system shows that each creative domain is scored in a logarithmic scale of difficulty. It will take an immense amount of work to bump up my total score even 1 point, let alone a whole category. However, 1 more point will push me over into Maker–which I could make happen by next year.

If I really double down, I could push myself into the Creative category. I’ll have to formulate some concrete systems and goals to make that happen.

But! We now have a measure for creative output. Let us watch The Gap again and put it to good use.

Read on for the full questionnaire with my scores.

Continue reading

KILL ME HEAL ME appreciation post

Of all the Korean dramas I’ve watched (which admittedly isn’t that many) Kill me, Heal Me is perhaps my favorite. I’m indulging in a re-watch right now, because I need something comforting at the end of my work days (and am ready for a good cry).

I’ll do a longer post when I’m done to dissect the plotlines, which are interestingly interwoven and complex even if they do roam rather far into soap opera territory. But that’s part and parcel with Korean dramas — if you can’t get down with the melodrama, find something else to watch.

Once you get past the first episode, which is a bit more ambitious than the production crew can pull off — beware scenes set in “America” and the weirdest club crowd I’ve ever seen — the production is above average if a bit cheesy. (BUT WHAT IS A KOREAN DRAMA WITHOUT A LITTLE CHEESE?)

By nature of its story (a man with dissociative identity disorder must sort himself out), the drama lives and dies on the ability of its actors. Fortunately for us, the actors are more than worthy of the work.

It is a testament to the quality of the writing that KMHM can keep emotional coherence while simultaneously careening from gonzo humor to deeply moving pathos. The emotional tenor of the story takes its cues from the personalities embedded within the main character, but instead of taking a dispassionate view of its subject, this drama pushes forward until aspects of each personality infuse the drama.

I also appreciate the contrast between the main heroine, who is loud and played by an actress who is great at physical comedy, and the two main personalities of the hero — one mild, one intense. The juxtaposition of styles keeps the drama from veering too far into seriousness, and keeps it off-balance. The hero and heroine don’t seem to be a good match at first, but grow together over time.

It’s rare that you can find fanvids of great quality from one single drama, both a tear-jerky MV (top) and a laugh-out-loud crackvid (bottom).

Also the costumes are great.

Watch it!

More colleges shut down memery

Breaking: college-age kids like spicy memes.

I’m sure you’re shocked. /s

I’ve avoided talking about higher ed on this blog because my day job involves way too much of it, and I really didn’t want to bring work into this space where I talk about what I want. However. The left continues to wreak its hive-mind onto everything it touches (including higher ed) and since I can’t always speak my mind in the workplace (I’d still like to have a job), I’ll speak it here.

Today I read the second news that college officials are discovering that their student body is made up of Gen Z savages:

A private Facebook group used by Pomona students, known as “U PC BREAUX” — pronounced like “[Are] you PC, bro?” with “PC” standing in for “politically correct” — was filled with “images and comments so vile that they would be right at home in the comments section of The Daily Stormer,” a neo-Nazi website. That was how the page was described by Ross Steinberg, the student journalist who broke the story in an opinion piece titled “The Dark Underbelly of Claremont’s Meme Culture.” Examples of the memes are available here, on another student news outlet’s website.

The college has launched an investigation into the matter, and officials said the posts fit under the college’s guidelines for a “bias-related incident.”

Guess what, everybody: students have a point of view! And sometimes, it’s not even the same one as your own! That means its biased and they have to go in for reeducation! Because K-12 brainwashing clearly wasn’t enough!

And it gets worse. Some of those despicable free thinkers might even ACT on their convictions!

Memes were posted about rape, genocide and, in one example, calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport undocumented immigrants because they were being too loud, Steinberg told Inside Higher Ed. He said he had been randomly invited to the group, which contained about 300 members. Pomona enrolls about 1,650 students.

Bahahahahahaha. Such deviancy, calling ICE.

Truly, upholding the law is the new counterculture. Back 10 years ago, I imagined something like that would have to happen but I could not conceptualize at all what that might look like.

Who knew that being the law-abiding rebels would also be bringers of mirth?

You laughed, don’t lie.

Kids, keep having fun. Don’t worry about the no-fun police. Your memes are funny. You might even do some good and change some minds. Maybe not on the administration, but definitely in the student body and maybe even the peon-level staff.

Your biggest mistake was using Facebook.

The Architecture of Chronic Illness

Sometimes I underestimate the amount of impact that chronic illness has had on my life.

Some people live their lives untethered, flitting from one activity to the other. Or, conversely but just as freely, they live driven toward a single goal. In both cases, nothing gets in their way. They aim themselves at what they want, and go for it.

I envy them, in a way.

My path has been much less clear. My river is full of snarls, backeddys and boulders — to navigate well, I must always have my eyes open. I scope out the river in front, the depth underneath, and feel the the wind’s speed and direction. In order to live my life, I have to plan ahead, outsmart my own guts, and make changes on the fly when my own body decides not to cooperate with me.

Does this always have to happen? No. I can go back on high-octane pharmaceuticals and live a relatively normal life for a while (that is, until the side effects catch up to me again). I’ve chosen this life, to live without drugs but with a treacherous body.

Sometimes I wonder if this envy is a byproduct of looking at other people’s lives from the outside in and missing all the hairy, awful details that a person chooses not to share with the world. There are certainly lots that I refrain from sharing. But I’ve also had conversations with people, and interacted with friends, where they talk about a lack of common ground with people like me who have to fight through chronic illness to get where we want to go.

I have a doctor friend, for instance, who doesn’t know how to work though sickness. To his credit, he’ll admit that he becomes a big baby when he’s ill. But because he’s always been so healthy, he has no framework for unhealth.

Dissimilarly, I made friends with a guy who was one of the bangers, who took advantage of his cool, clear river to swim from shore to shore, and explore every rock and branch that came along, as he took a passing fancy.

It was very difficult making plans with this person, because everything I do has to be planned out, but most everything that he does is spontaneous.

It’s in those moments, when the incompatibility between my life and another’s shines bright — so bright that it prevents us from connecting — when I feel my disease most keenly.

It’s not the physical discomfort that the problem — that’s easy to live through — but the utter disconnect with people whose bodies are the vehicles for their souls and nothing more.

My body shapes my life.

Tumblr, the alt-right, and me

As part of research for a project I’m working on, I went on Tumblr this afternoon.

(I haven’t been on Tumblr in ages. Tumblr is an SJW wasteland.)

And in Tumblr, I searched “alt-right.”

The results came back as pretty much what I would have expected. Lots of BLM posts, “punch Nazi” cartoons, and long impassioned rants about feelings. There are a few nationalist and traditionalist blogs on there, intrepid souls, which was a bit surprising and very uplifting. I got lost in Wrath of Gnon for a while.

Not a lot of nuance, especially with those related search terms: nazis, racism, white nationalism.

It was interesting watching my own emotional reaction to things as I scrolled through the post. Most it skewed toward “SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET,” related to the lack of nuance.

I’m of the school of thought that the alt-right is a big umbrella, with sub-groups underneath; the white nationalists/Nazi larpers are just one cluster of thought. There are others: traditionalists/Western Civilizationalists, omni-nationalists, and if you squint, the New Right and Proud Boy types.

The New Right and Proud Boys work hard to distance themselves from the alt-right, but that is because the left — with its total lack of nuance or care — has defined the alt-right as entirely neo-Nazi. Or perhaps that is Richard Spencer’s huge ego eclipsing everything and trying to bend all media coverage to itself.

In my opinion, the Spencerites play right into the left’s hand by accepting the idea of “white” identity. There is no white identity. It is an artificial bucket created in opposition to the “black” identity. To give any legitimacy to that false construct is a huge mistake. It lets the left dictate the frame of the argument.

Not that the left cares. They’re delighted, I’m sure, to have ready-made villains for their political theater.

What I have to learn is this: that trying to earnestly explain to people that not all of the alt-right is like that is not a helpful thing to do, and in fact will disperse my voice into the noisy background of pixels and bits on the internet. There may be a time for a dialectical discussion, but some random project on the internet is not it.

I need to focus on rhetoric, and hone rhetorical strategies that will dovetail with Tumblr themes but also hone in on chinks in the SJW armor.

I’m being vague about my project for now, because it’s still in the beginning stages, but I look forward to debuting it when the time is right.

Let’s just say I rediscovered Hugo-nominated author Chuck Tingle today as well. Delightful.

Stay nimble, my friends.

Milo* actually does something funny: The Antifa Handbook

While I’m becoming less of a fan of Milo and his antics (the schtick is becoming too rehearsed for my taste; I hope he’s still reaching people but I’m so far down the rabbit hole to really connect with many of his ideas anymore), I’m a big fan of taxonomy-type illustrations and character sketches.

For instance, I’m delighted to find that Your Scene Sucks is still online, which I highly recommend if you want to relive the scene kid glory days of the 2006-2011 era. One of the featured types is even what I view to be a precursor to the topic of today’s post, the straight-edge mosher. I had a few friends in college who were like this, with the bandana-masked protest and the veganism.

Oh, and crustpunks. Never forget the crustpunk (not that you could if you smelled one).

Anyway, in honor of the Free Speech Week that may or may not be happening at Berkeley, Milo has released The Guide to Antifa. It’s a tongue-in-cheek taxonomy that in 10 years will send this year’s crop of college graduates into a nostalgic reverie about their college years, much like Your Scene Sucks did for me just now.


AIDS Skrillex is my favorite of the bunch, first broadcast by Owen Shroyer, named by /pol/ and lovingly depicted by the artist Vey. “AIDS Skrillex” is the most stupidly funny name; I hope that the channer who created it is proud of himself.

The SOY meme has been the best thing to come along for a while now (you know it’s good when you can use it offhand in a conversation with your parents and the track with it). Anything that can spread the word further is a good thing.

The more we can deride and laugh at Antifa types, the better. They tend to be incredibly self-important, so laughter gets to them in ways that “free speech” or self-defense moves at a legal public gathering never will.

* The handbook was written by Allum Bokhari, not Milo. Surprise, surprise.

I Made it Through

And sometimes, that is enough.

I’d rather be…

I don’t smoke, but I’d rather be doing this than what I’m doing today.

Love this drawing by Ginger Haze.

Normally I hate Lord of the Rings alternative universe reimaginings, but this one seems both faithful to the book and imaginative (rather than full of gratuitous fanservice).

Anyway, today is the day I get paid to pretend to be an extrovert for 24-hours straight.

I’m going to pretend that I’m Galadriel instead.

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