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hallo, everybody peeps! - The Villages — LiveJournal

hutch0
Date: 2009-07-31 21:42
Subject: hallo, everybody peeps!
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:calmcalm
Music:vaughan williams
That'll be me back, then. I see you haven't done much decorating while I was gone...
Gather ye round and pray charge yer glasses with yer favourite grog, and I'll tell ye a tale of pirate derring-do on the Spanish Main, I will, ahaarrgh.
Or maybe not.
Busy, busy time these past few weeks. Work (the real-life work that barely - just barely, and occasionally not even then - pays the bills) has been insane and surreal. The past couple of years of falling circulations has finally forced the company I work for to take a long, hard look at itself and decide that the only way to stop itself from getting in real trouble is to have a roots-and-branches restructuring, buy in busloads of outside consultants and human resources people, and drag itself, claw by withered claw, into the twenty-first century.
The company's actually in pretty good shape financially, but the papers, in common with pretty much every newspaper in the world, are not doing so well, and the company has set out to try and remedy this.
It's all been a bit of a culture-shock. Suddenly we have an HR department. Suddenly we're doing focus groups. Suddenly there are new and clear-cut demarcations between departments. Suddenly there's a culture of openness and collaboration which would have - and indeed has, I think - offended a number of the older members of staff, which is a shame because we could use their experience. Suddenly we're having brainstorming sessions refereed by outside consultants. It is, best beloved, all a bit weird but rather fun at the same time.
The upshot is everyone's in fear for their jobs and trying desperately to prove their worth to the company, which is why my workload keeps going up. As I said, busy, busy.

In addition, I made a rather rash promise to Jetse DeVries some time ago that I'd try and write a story for his anthology, Shine. Or, as it seems to be rendered, SHINE. Shine is an anthology of optimistic science fiction stories - yes, I can hear you laughing and I know you're way ahead of me here: hutch, write something optimistic?
Actually, in real life I don't deserve the Duke Of Gloom nickname. I'm quite a sunny soul, really. And I thought it would be a good exercise to actually try and write something that wasn't a complete downer from beginning to end. But I couldn't think of anything, so I sort of forgot about it.
Then one day a couple of months ago the mighty Marianne Plumridge posted something on her Facebook about taking pain meds. Except she had a Freudian Moment and typed `paint meds' instead, and I got the little lightbulb over my head all of a sudden.
So the result is `Dali's Clocks,' which I finished last night and sent off to Jetse, with just a couple of days until the deadline. I've been working rather desperately to get it finished, which has meant a lot of late nights after a lot of long days at the office, and it's actually not too shabby. It's only the second short story I've written this year, though, which is annoying me because I should be doing more than that.
Is it optimistic? Well, it ends with one of the lead characters in jail for thirty years on industrial espionage and terrorism charges and the genome of the entire human race rewritten, but compared to having Britain put to the sword by elves it's practically I Love Lucy. Now all we have to do is wait and see if Jetse likes it. The chances are slim, but you never know.
I got the advance reading copy of Under The Rose at the beginning of the week, and it's such a lovely book, it really is. And unexpectedly chunky. I knew it was quite a big book to start with, and we picked up some stories along the way, but I hadn't realised quite how substantial it would turn out to be. You could easily maim a small child with it, if it came down to you or him. And if the reaction to the cover is anything to go by, it's going to do rather well. Which will be a first for me.

In State Of The Cat news, as of Kuron's last blood test a week or so ago all his important numbers are now either in or just fractionally below the low-normal range, which we take to mean that the drugs have finally got some traction on his anaemia. His doctor - one of the doctors who advised us it might be kinder to have Kuron put to sleep - has pronounced himself very pleased with the results. So there you go.
One worry is that he's losing weight again. He's actually very bony now, and we're feeding him stuff with a syringe just to make sure he's eating something. We're continuing, as per doctors' instructions, to ramp down the steroids he was prescribed for the inflammatory bowel disease and which he's been on now for the best part of a year. He's down to half a tablet every other day, and next weekend we stop giving them to him altogether. The doctor up at Potters Bar wants to see him again and see if he can do something about the weight loss, but at the moment Kuron seems as bright as he was before he got sick - ie, he sleeps most of the day, then wanders about in the middle of the night howling for attention.
Obviously we're still not out of the woods yet, and he's never going to be well again - he'll always have to have the medications - but the signs are better.

So, how's with you?
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RealThog: shoe
User: realthog
Date: 2009-08-01 01:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:shoe

That's great news about Kuron -- not the best news, as you say, but in relative it's extremely good to hear.

"The internet has brought us a total democratisation of opinion, which is brilliant"

I'm not so sure it's brilliant at all. What it's bringing is a playing field wherein the views of fruitbats are given the same weight as -- if not far more than -- those of people who actually know what they're talking about. This has been the pertaining situation through much of the US media for the past fifteen years or more, and the consequence is an object lesson in why the "democratization of opinion" is likely to be a civilization-ending disaster: here in the US the levels of basic ignorance, bald misconception and inability to reason are absolutely staggering.

(As a single example, look at the whole "birther" bullshit -- not just as a piece of bullshit but in terms of the way great sections of the US population would rather be stirred up into a frenzy than pause for one moment to think or do elementary research.)

Myself, I think we're going down the tubes anyway and that we'll be lucky if by the end of the century there are more than a few million of us -- because of climate change, and our puerile unwillingness to do anything about it -- but the hope always was that those few million might preserve enough of our culture/knowledge base to give some hope for the future. Thanks to the "democratization of opinion", however, I very much doubt it: more likely they'll be ascribing the hostility of the environment and the near-extermination of the human species to the wrath of their imaginary sky-being and, amid much chanting of mumbo-jumbo, burning at the stake those whose ethnicity or sexuality makes them obviously the ones who got God all het up.

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Kat
User: artykat
Date: 2009-08-01 04:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I keep reading this word but not understanding it. Could you explain "birther" to me?

And I, too, am glad to hear about Kuron's upswing. It is so nice for there to be good news!
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RealThog: shoe
User: realthog
Date: 2009-08-01 04:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:shoe

"Could you explain "birther" to me?"

The birthers are the fruitbats whoclaim Obama wasn't born in the USA and therefore isn't qualified to be US Prez.

They are impervious to such evidences as his birth certificate.
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User: sarcobatus
Date: 2009-08-01 15:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Orb Eye
I happen to think fruit bats are cute. So please don't compare them to "flat earth-ers and morons", lest a fruit bat fly up your proboscis. ;p
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calcinations
User: calcinations
Date: 2009-08-01 09:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Birthers - people like this:
http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2009/07/farah_weve_got_them_right_wher.php

There are a million keyboard commandos backed up by some fairly important right wing news outlets, not mainstream, but big enough to make a noise, and certainly bigger than one man operations. They've gotten so bad that the GOP and even Ann Coulter have had to backpeddle fast to avoid being caught in the crossfire.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-08-02 16:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Indeed. I've read more than one commentator who believes the White House haven't come out and resolved this story once and for all because it's so stupid it's doing useful damage to the Republican cause.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2009-08-02 23:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

"the White House haven't come out and resolved this story once and for all"

The White House has, quite some considerable time ago. But even the open availability of Obama's birth certificate doesn't deter the birthers from demanding he make it openly available. I kid you not.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-08-03 21:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Isn't there some stupid thing now about `short form' and `long form' certificates?
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calcinations
User: calcinations
Date: 2009-08-03 21:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think I saw that one early this year. There's very little new, its just the echoes bounce back and forth.

As far as I can see, apart from the politics, it comes down to the same thing as saying that I don't have a real true original birth certificate because this copy I have here specifically says it is a copy and not the real thing.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-08-02 15:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Indeed it is; as I said, we're unlikely ever to be completely out of the woods, but at present it seems we're starting to manage his condition, which is a very great improvement to the situation we were in at the beginning of the year.
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RealThog: heffalump
User: realthog
Date: 2009-08-01 04:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:heffalump

"but in relative it's extremely good to hear"

Oops. That shoulda been "but in relative terms it's extremely good to hear" . . .
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User: sarcobatus
Date: 2009-08-01 15:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Nevada Jenny
Editors . . .
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-08-02 15:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm not sure the situation is any different to what we find in the mainstream media, which gives a platform for the views of people like Bill O'Reilly and The Monster That Is Littlejohn. I agree with you that we need to improve people's understanding and engagement so they can filter out the commentators who happen to be completely batshit crazy. If the internet is to be a properly democratic medium - as I think it has to be - it has to reflect all shades of political opinion. And yes, that means allowing the birthers their say. They're arseholes, but they're just as entitled to their opinion as you or I are. Just as we're entitled to call them arseholes.
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RealThog: shoe
User: realthog
Date: 2009-08-02 22:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:shoe

I'm not sure the situation is any different to what we find in the mainstream media

Er, I think that was what I just said . . . with the consequence being nearly inconceivable (to the UK) levels of ignorance among very wide swathes of the US population, not to mention a widespread lack of the ability to think rationally -- or even realize the wisdom of such a course.

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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-08-03 21:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes, you did. I was just restating your argument as a rhetorical device and to make myself sound good.
The problem is that relatively few people have access to the mainstream media as a form of comment. Anybody can set up shop on the internet.
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