Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Category: Thoughts (Page 2 of 14)

Interdependence Day

If I’m going to celebrate anything about today, it’s the continuation of an experiment.

I’m working my way toward fifty years of age and I don’t have a lot of what one could call “patriotism” left. The country’s a mess, its ideals under attack from without and especially within, by the rich and the powerful and the willfully ignorant, by those who are gaming the system to the breaking point so they can win ongoing perpetual rule and control. But the ideals stated at the start of it all still mean something. Maybe I’m naive to hold onto that belief. So be it.

If I’m going to celebrate anything, it’s those ideals.

Not for the troops, because as soon as we decide that a uniform and a weapon automatically make a person superior then we have ceded a level of personal responsibility, but for the kind of people who choose to take up arms specifically for the cause of protecting those who cannot protect themselves. Not for the flag, because crass symbolism has become just another wedge to divide us, but for the kind of people who see the flag as a reminder of the importance of those naive ideals that started this whole grand experiment off in the first place. Not for the history, because boy howdy is this country’s history full of greed and corruption and outright evil swathed in lies meant to convey respectability and holy purpose, but for the future that I hope we still have the chance to make together, a more inclusive and honest and understanding future for everyone.

Not for independence, but for the hope of interdependence.

Not sure what’s next. Gonna be something.

The 3WA thing kind of ran its course. I went into this year with big ideas but I lost touch with the whole “makes me happy, might make you happy too” aspect. So away it goes. Sorry, no more book reviews about books that don’t need my reviews anyway. (If anyone’s curious, say the word and I’ll do a quick round-up bundle post about what was on my list.)

This past week or so I’ve been in a big re-think mode while I figure out what I’m going to do with my online presence. I shut down the Mastodon server a while ago. I haven’t done anything with PixelFed (still percolating on that) or any of the other domains I’m running. I’m back on Twitter as my main communication/interaction system but wow, the reasons that drove me to Mastodon in the first place certainly haven’t gone away and the overall experience of being a Twitter user is generally deteriorating, so that’s probably not a good long-term plan.

What I need now is a better toolkit. I need to be able to do more things here, where I can control and archive them. I need to tie in just the external pieces I actually need and jettison the rest. At the same time I need to acknowledge that I’m using the mobile devices far, far more than I am using my actual desktop computer. The WordPress app is… not great. (It’s designed for sites actually hosted on WordPress-dot-com servers.) Is the mobile experience for WP5.x better than it was the last time I tried, which was back in the early 4.x days? Maybe I’ll find out.

As for what I do here… I’m not sure yet. I work well to a deadline and seem to slack off rather badly without one, but deadlines imply a project, a concept. I want to be able to do more free-form material and not feel shackled to an idea I came up with most of a year prior.

There’ll probably be more pictures. The most fun non-3WA thing I did recently was that Raspberry Pi build. The new Pokémon Go camera feature (where you take your Poke “out of the ball” on demand to take pictures in AR+ mode) looks promising so far. I haven’t shared all of the results of some of the photo shoots over the last couple years; I made a few rather nice 1920×1080 wallpapers, for instance. And there’s a bin full o’ ducks that haven’t seen daylight in far too long. We’ll see.

Thank you, reader, for being here. I’ll try to make your visits more entertaining from here on out.

My Time Is My Own

It was suggested, years ago, that I rejected monogamy because I have issues with commitment. The fact that I’ve maintained two stable relationships for a dozen years or so now may put the lie to the intent of the statement, let’s be clear.

There may be a commitment problem in my mind, though. Just not the one some may have suggested. I’ve been thinking lately about how attached I get to the idea of finishing a thing, sticking with a thing, long past the point it stopped being fun.

Which is to say, I’ve been thinking about why it’s so hard for me to let go of TV shows and video games that aren’t fun anymore. I get too invested in the idea that I’m “supposed to” be watching a show for whatever reason (a friend got me started on it and I don’t want to seem disloyal, for instance). I feel like I’m letting the pixels on the screen down if I walk away from a silly little game.

For Uncle Pete’s sake, it’s games! It’s TV! It’s leisure-time crap! I should be able to walk away, cool as that guy walking away from the explosion without looking back. And yet, nope. I had a hard time removing a game from my tablet that had been actively pissing me off the last dozen times I played it.

(Sailor Moon Drops, for the curious, a game whose difficulty scale can best be summed up as “get lucky or spend money, loser.”)

The impetus for writing this post came this week as I tried for a second time to get into the Supergirl TV show. It’s cute, it’s quirky, it’s clever, the lead actors are very good! But… it triggers my embarrassment squick a lot and the first few episodes spend a lot of time setting up some kind of love-triangle-ish mess and I’m profoundly un-interested in watching that play out. Yet I think, “I should power through this, for the sake of all the stuff people tell me is good about the show!” But. Why? Why am I letting what I perceive as something other people might want me to do control what I actually do with my free time? I should be watching shows and playing games to relax, not as a required chore to meet some kind of social requirement.

Yep, that’s me in a nutshell: Stressing myself out over how I spend my leisure time by imagining what other people want/expect from me and trying to do what would make them most happy, when in fact nobody really cares if I do/don’t watch/play anything in particular.

It’s even worse with mobile games, since literally nobody cares if I grind for levels in Puzzle & Dragons or do my dailies in Future Fight, yet I feel bad about the idea of leaving my pixel-art monsters/heroes to wither and die, let alone taking care of my daily “friend”-transaction requirements. (To be fair, I’m still enjoying Future Fight. PAD, not as much.)

Play shouldn’t be work, dammit. What’s wrong with me?

Anyway. My new goal is to become stronger about choosing how I spend my downtime based on what is actually fun & fulfilling, not by how attached I am to virtual objects made of pure data. I can do this, right?

PSA Taken To Heart

I realized something this morning: In a weird sort of way, I embody the warning not to drink and drive, as I do neither of those things.

(This could’ve been just a “tweet.” The other thing I realized this morning, however, is that I haven’t posted here in over a month. I have some new music reviews to tidy up in order to remedy the dearth of content…)

Still Watching Anime: Snow White With The Red Hair

Just because i deleted the unused anime blog and just because I spent most of the last three years barely using my CrunchyRoll account doesn’t mean that I’m not still an anime fan.

For instance!

Starting up this month is the second batch of episodes for a delightful fluffy gem of a fantasy-romance show called Snow White With The Red Hair.

What’s it about, really? In short: A spunky redhead who wants to be an herbalist comes to the attention of a sleazy local prince who tries to force an indecent proposal on our heroine. She promptly cuts her hair and kites off through the forest toward a neighboring country. Along the way she runs into trouble and is saved by… the younger prince of that country. Sparks fly, adorableness commences, adventures are had, hearts and minds are won over, and so on.

Let’s be clear: This is fluffy stuff. Sometimes it almost looks like it might get a smidgen dark, but that’s been averted every time so far. It’s just that kind of show. Bad things do happen but the show doesn’t make a grimdark deal about it.

And you know what? I adore the show. It’s nice to get a relatively uncomplicated romance with two young, determined, smart, devoted people surrounded by similar smart and devoted mentors and minions. If Snow White can’t make you smile, you may need to consult your doctor about a heart replacement.

You’ll find it on Funimation‘s streaming service, which runs you something like five bucks a month. Honestly I’d say it’s worth it to be able to watch Snow White and Arslan alone, never mind whatever else is in their streaming catalog.

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