Category Archives: Diary

Don’t expect too many of these. These entries are where I am both trying to document my emotional and mental state in a way that’s useful or meaningful to others. It’s not enough to record what I’m at, I’m trying to record them in ways that’s worth sharing, to make clear the struggles that can come as a part of the work of creative endeavours and research. It matters to me that you can identify me as a person, not just as a dispenser of advice – and that means occasionally, sharing about how I’m doing.

Smooch Month 2023 — Blending The Blandness

Here we are, in 2023 and our first! theme month! It’s February, the month of Valentines Day and my dead grandmother’s birthday, and since people are going to be selling chocolates at a discount at some point and TV will be screening romantic media, it’s of course, the best of times to focus on that, in our theme of Smooch Month!

And of course, when it’s Smooch Month, we get to see two particular types of article, which I’m going to try to get out of the way ahead of time: One, ‘here’s what I mean by Smooch Media,’ and two, ‘wow, it’s super hard to write Pile articles this month.’

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January Wrapup, 2023!

It’s not the end of the month just yet. I’m looking down the barrel of the end of the month, and seeing what’s coming in the last week or so, and phew. I better write this month’s wrapup now because at some point I’m going to be helping someone move house and that’s not fun at the best of times.

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Cancon 2023 Wrapup

As I write this, I have gotten home from Cancon 2023. The day started at around 7 AM, then started on the con floor at 8:30, and following that we had to pack down at 12:30 and finally got ourselves on the road at 1:30. It’s now many hours later than that and much of my time has been spent recovering from the drive and the weekend of standing on my two feet and shouting at people a lot. What follows is memories constructed, as best I can, from the notes I took of the time, and the information present to me now.

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Fundamentalism Is A Grift

It’s not that fundamentalist christianity is itself fundamentally a grift, it’s just it’s a space that’s always, always, always going to feature some variety of grifters. I don’t have an explanation for why, this isn’t a scientifically researched position or anything, it’s just me noticing a pattern with the same thing, every single time, every single time I stumble into it anew.

It’d be easy to extrapolate that this is related to power dynamics. If a fundamentalist group are all people who defer to a specifically limited interpretation of some source text or ideological position, it almost always expresses as refusal to engage with, or accept, things outside that position. It’s not necessarily the same thing as being big on ‘fundamentals’ per se — I don’t imagine there are mechanics who refuse to fix brake pads because they’re too committed to the fundamental principles of the lever or anything. The basic idea I’m talking about here are ideological communities, usually ones like my fundamentalist evangelical christian background.

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2023, The 10th Year Of Press.Exe

Hey, it’s January! That’s an odd-numbered month, which means there’s not going to be a theme here. It’s also the start of the year and there’s going to be a bunch of stuff getting cleared out from 2022 so it’s not going to have a proper theme but it’ll definitely have something… themey.

What’s coming? Well:

  • February is a month of Smooches!
  • April is a month of Self Indulgence!
  • June is a month of Pride!
  • August is a month of Tricks!
  • October is a month of Dread!
  • December is a month of ‘Ween!

Then, each month, look forward to

  • A How To Be article talking about a character in 4th edition D&D
  • A worldbuilding article talking about building my setting of Cobrin’Seil, or building settings in general
  • At most one article on 3.5 D&D, one on 4e D&D
  • Each month I’ll show you at least one article on Magic: The Gathering, where I’ll show you this month’s daily custom cards, and well, we have a big special project for that, which we’ll talk more about soon.
  • An article talking about an OC, usually from City of Heroes, but hey, wide open world.
  • One piece of graphic design for a t-shirt, mask, or sticker
  • A story pile article each monday, with at least one anime a month (loose target)
  • A game pile article every friday, with at least one video a fortnight (harder target)

Each month I’m going to present at the end of the month, a summary of the game dev I’ve been doing that month, which is also going to be built out of articles posted on other social media spaces.

Ah.

Yes.

Other social media spaces.

You know, like Twitter, where I used to do this all the time.

I’m writing this back in December, of course. I don’t know what’s going on with Twitter. But I think it’s probably bad, and I think I’m enjoying not having to be on a space that predominantly is known for everyone on it screaming about how bad it is. So what I’m going to try and do going forward is do things like dev threads over on my Mastodon, which lets me do long-form threading with graphics, and search my own history. That’s what I really liked about what twitter gave me. I’ll also be presenting things on Cohost and Patreon to see what the audiences there want to say.

Basically, what you’ll find where:

  • Drafted article ideas where you can comment and give me direct suggestions where I’ll be able to meaningfully engage? Cohost.
  • Threads for showing ongoing progress on projects where I’m primarily taking notes on my own work? Mastodon.
  • Places for answering polls and questions about the game development I’m doing where you get to provide meaningful input into things I’m doing? Patreon.
  • Just the video articles? Youtube!

Each of these platforms is going to do a different job, and that’s important. I need to stop treating you as if you’re going to different sources for content firehoses. What I want you to do is come to my blog to look at the best of my material, and look at those other platforms as places you can go if you want more. This blog hosts articles. Those places are for social interaction, in different ways.

Particularly, this plays into the new way I’m approaching Brainstorm posts. Instead of having each month open with a post explaining that month’s game project, which can feel a bit like an open space, my intention is to present a link to the month’s brainstorming thread on Mastodon. Mastodon serves a purpose that the blog doesn’t necessarily, where it allows for lots of small additions, maintained in reverse chronological order, threaded on one another. At the start of each month, there’s going to be now, a post summarising that thread. This also stops cutting off a bit of extra time, where scheduling meant sometimes a month was more like three weeks of working on something rather than 31 days.

Below the fold, though, there’s some reflection on the history of this blog, why we have ten years of Press, and how I feel about realising this is now one of the longest ongoing projects I’ve ever had.

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The All of 2022 Wrapup

In January, I wrote out a plan for the year. In that plan, I described types of articles I was going to make, and kind of like ‘caps’ on the types of subjects I would write about. I also promised to watch more anime, which was like a threat, I guess. I also mentioned the eventual Avatar update, that would serve to bring presentation on a lot of platforms in line.

Knowing that, then, how’d I go? What were the good bits, the pieces of 2022 that I think, now, you should go back and check out (and I will go back and check out myself when I’m browsing the blog looking for ideas I want to further expand on).

Big, long-term projects included a daily Magic: The Gathering card, released at first on a twitter account every day, and now being posted on Mastodon and Cohost. Those got a set of summarising posts. I also did a podcast with Fox about watching all the Disney Animated Canon movies, which we called the Disney Animated Canonball.

It was also at the start of the year that I stopped using an add-on for the blog called Jetpack. Jetpack let me do things like find out how many hits each individual page was getting, and that formed the basis of what I then, at the end of the year, would list as the ‘most popular’ stuff. It was useful to see what you thought was good here, rather than just what I liked, in hindsight. It sped things up. But I’m not using Jetpack any more, and that means that instead… I had to go through all the articles I wrote, and ask myself ‘hey, is this good?’ and ‘why would someone wanna read this again?’

Which means we’re going to look at a lot of links here.

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Decemberween 2022: Fox!

“Eat shit, love of my life!”

What else could I write about today?

This has not been a nice year for Fox. There’s been some losses and some setbacks, and I try not to talk about other people’s stuff going on in their lives here. Especially since this is Decemberween, which is a celebration. I nonetheless want to bring up that this is a year that has featured some immense challenges for Fox, and I’ve been there watching her coping with them and overcoming them. And you know, it’s trite, it’s a familiar thing, hey, Fox had something hard and I was so impressed watching her overcome it, she’s so brave, she’s so whatever, I don’t mean to dwell on that as if overcoming adversity is something she’s doing to impress me.

But.

This has also been a year of people embracing the term goblin mode and when they do that, they are carrying with them the spirit of Fox, who has been full time goblin for many a year. It’s nice to see people celebrating the urge of someone who wants to huddle in blankets and cause problems on purpose.

And… that was all I was going to say.

I was going to let that go, and let the rest of it be something of a mystery. You know, challenges and all.

Fox is a woman who lives her life on the internet. The fundamental nature of her art is to make, with her hand, on a digital interface. Fox makes code by typing and she draws with her hands. This year, Fox had to confront that multiple pandemic years coupled with reduced mobility had given her tennis elbow and now, her ability to write, code, and draw, are all curtailed and needs to have a set of interruptions. And when your hands become a thing you need to care for, you’re going to be surprised how often you forget that your hands are vulnerable. This year has been full of moments where Fox starts doing something, I notice, ask if she wants help and she realises what she’s doing endangers her hands (that she’s meant to be giving a chance to recover!) and there’s a little ‘ahahah, oh shit’ moment.

This year, Fox contacted the government to make sure they got her status correct. Do you know how big a deal that is? The Australian public support system is so much better than the American ones that you complain about, but also, it is absolutely designed to make you feel ashamed and humiliated and stop using it ASAP. Fox put her head down and made a call to people who she knew were going to make her life harder and…

I don’t know if you can understand how heroic that is.

And I talked to her about it, and she’s okay with me talking about it.

Because Fox is braver than I am and stronger than I am and I am shocked at the things she’s okay baring to the world at times. She’s been learning about guitars, rebuilding server systems, making virtual tabletops, even streamed for a while this year as she tried to get into a particular habit. And all of this while she was struggling with pain in her arms and hands!

Fox is great, and I love her, and every Christmas, I take the opportunity to remind her that she is, and has given me, a gift.

Decemberween 2022: NixiiiE

It’s another Nixie Posting!

Nixie is of course an influence on my work, partly because she’s my adorable disrepectful internet family, but also because this year has featured some super dope Nixie Content.

I’m not linking to twitter, because

uh

Twitter, right now.

But that’s okay because what Nixie has done this year that excites me the most is seizing the pedagogic means of production. What she’s been doing has included amongst other things, learning languages and that includes things like moving, something which sucks at the best of times.

But twice this year, Nixie has come to me to ask my help making a game. And then when I told her methods and tools I’d use, she did that thing that I always love to see: She went ‘okay, I got it,’ then she went and made the game to her specifications.

These games were then cool enough that she showed them to her teachers and those teachers went and told the class about them.


Twice this year, I’ve watched live-streamed performances of Nixie at choir. One of them was because she wanted me to save a video for her, and one of them was because, well… it was her recital. It was a choir performance she did, and she invited me to come watch, so I woke up and sat back and changed my day’s plans to make sure I was there to talk to her about it.

Is it weird to say I was proud of her? I know I clapped at my computer. That seems weird. Oh well.


Now of course, you already knew I think Nixie is great and adorable and sweet and definitely cool. And I’m really laying it on thick here just so I can bully her with reminding her of how wonderful she is. But the point is the longer this article is, the more of it she’ll have to read as she gets more and more annoyed at me.

See, she’s also a good writer, but without the threads to link to, I’m not about to be able to prove it. So that’s why this year, around when Twitter Looked Volatile, I made a cheeky little move to contact her and ask her to give some input to an article I was writing about one of her favourite movies, Air America.

And then, to my amazement, she and I made one of the same jokes in our writing, without any input from one another, and it’s an obscure bloody joke.

Decemberween 2022: Going To Bed Early

I can’t believe what a treat this is.

I have a friend who has been, for a while, tootling away on her trumpet about how it’s a great idea to go to bed early and not stay up late. Personally, I value that time late at night heavily, because it’s time when the house and neighbourhood are quiet, and I can do audio recording safely. Not to mention that it’s a time when I can enjoy the focus of being pettily unmindful of other people.

But now, for some reason or another, sleeping late is hard. Sleeping late after a late night is rarer, and nights of going to bed at 1 and waking up at 7 is a fine way to create a steadily growing sleep debt.

This means that this year, this December in particular, I have been extolling the practice of going to bed early. I feel like there’s a pattern easily seen and even more easily fallen into. You go to bed at 10, with your phone, dick around on the phone and go to sleep at 1. So you the next night think that well, you’re going to be up until 1 anyway, why bother going to bed, and so you stay up out of bed until say, 1 again, and then you go to bed with your phone and dick around for an hour or two, and you push this cycle.

You?

I mean me.

I mean me, I do this. I do this where I sit in my bed, on my laptop, and try to get writing done. Tonight, I’ve put down four drafts and I’m working on this one as well. In the morning, there is work to do, and I’m honestly looking forward to do it, and I want to do it while energised. I want to do it thinking about it and not slogging through it.

And that makes this moment, now, when I close my laptop at eleven o’clock and just turn off the light, head down in the dark, a treat.

A little few hours of sleep, just for me.

As a treat.

Decemberween 2022: Rabbi Tovia Singer

Oh yeah, Decemberween, when I recommend a bunch of free, online content that I find enjoyable so you can partake of it in this period of Everything Being Busy, what kind of fun cool interesting media are we talking about today? Well, extremely deep Tanakh scholarship from what amounts to the internet version of a conservative Jewish call-in show.

Look, when I recommend media, you know I’m not recommending media veganism. I don’t think that Rabbi Singer is in any way going to line up with me on almost any front. I tolerate a pretty high level of what I’d call ‘coot factor’ when it comes to religious scholarship. I imagine, I assume, that say, an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi who lives In Israel probably has some pretty cruddy views about oh, you know, maybe that country they’re living in called Palestine, and I’m not asking you to make exception to that.

Matthew corrupted Jewish Scriptures to craft a preposterous Christmas story - Rabbi Tovia Singer

Still, I have been listening to a lot of this guy this year, because of a specific area of scholarship where he’s been working very hard since the 1980s. Singer is an aggressive and constant opponent to the idea of Messianic Judaism.

Messianic Judaism is the idea of Christians trying to convert Jews. This is typically done by claiming that Christianity is compatible with Judaism, or that Judaism has been Christianity all along. There’s also a lot of imagery nonsense, like trying to use The Wordless Book style storytelling over the Seder to show that hey, doesn’t this bread remind you of Jesus?

What I’ve known for a long time is that the gospels are inconsistent, and this should be a problem for people who claim that the gospels represent divine literal truth. What I didn’t know is how much the New Testament is inconsistent with the Old Testament, where phrases that I knew didn’t line up are demonstrated changes in the text, rather than what I, an English language speaker thought growing up, that they were just translated differently.

Immanuel's Mother was No Virgin! Matthew Corrupted Isaiah – Rabbi Tovia Singer

Anyway, Rabbi Singer defends his position and his faith and his values, and provides a perspective on Christianity from the position of someone who knows it very well and who knows the faith it claims to own. I find these talks and these long form textual conversations about specific wording changes in the two components of the Christian Bible super interesting. What’s more, they’re just going to come at things on a different footing. Me, an atheist, pointing out how Christianity does feature ritual cannibalism and a human sacrifice, get eyerolls because of course I’d just ‘not get it’ because I’m not religious. But when someone who is religious brings those same ideas to task, that position looks very different.

It’s interesting to me, and Rabbi Singer seems to have an extraordinarily strong grasp of all the concepts. When he talks about Dispensationalism and Evangelical Christianity, his mastery of the topic aligns with what I know, and he justifies what he knows from texts that I can go look up (even if I have to trust others translating Hebrew). Some of it is still Preacher dialogue, and I’m familiar with that, but it’s still really damn interesting to me.

Happy Hanukkah.

Decemberween 2022: Yale Divinity School Lectures

… I promise I’m not the most boring man in the world.

Hebrew Bible Interpretation 1, Lecture 1

You know Yale Divinity School? I understand a Yale is a pretty important thing. Yales are famously important school related things. Anyway, you know how there’s that thing where schools put their lectures on Youtube, and you can watch them, for free? You might ask ‘who would do that?’

Well me.

Me, I did that.

Today.

I watched all 26 hour long lectures (at increased speed), which is looking at the Hebrew Bible, an examination of the Old Testament as a document that was made by people and for its own purpose, before it got hijacked by Christianity with that there dang New Testamenty thing.

Something I particularly like about this lecture series, and I know this is a small point, but something I genuinely really like, is that to my amusement, Dr Baden pronounces the Hebrew names in a Hebrew way — and even teases and makes fun of the Americanised pronunciations. Why’s that a big deal? Because I had no idea that I was hearing Americanised pronunciations!

I really like Dr Joel Baden’s delivery, I find him fun to listen to, I like his delivery style and I really enjoyed watching these lectures, and I learned a lot. It’s free. Check out the full playlist here!

Black Friday Isn’t A Thing

I feel the need to let you understand, in a generic sense, that here, in Australia, Black Friday isn’t a thing.

For those of you unfamiliar, in my own country, Black Friday is an American shopping ‘tradition’ or ‘event’ that is fast approaching ‘recognised occasion,’ and it’s the first Friday after they have Thanksgiving, which is to say, American Thanksgiving, which is to say, a single holiday Americans and three other countries have, most of which are directly connected to or heavily dependent on America.

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving in the fourth weekend of November, which means it moves around but it’s late in the month. Then, the first Friday after that, since it’s the first shopping day for Christmas that falls after they’ve recovered from Thanksgiving, stores tend to present sales. A lot of the stores banded together and made an event of it. The name as I understand it comes from it being seen as a plagued or cursed day by retail staff, who would talk about it as ‘black Friday,’ and then oh wait now the stores are calling it that too, because, ha ha ha, huge presses of retail shoppers are the worst.

Er.

Anyway, when it comes to American media, typically speaking if they have it and they screen it, we get it, which means we’re treated to American Christmas TV shows, where everyone’s dealing with snow and the like in the middle of what is, to us, Summer. We get your Halloween advertising, and we even get the yearly tradition of someone who’s an adult saying in a public space where people can hear him ‘well yeah, I wonder why people don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the rest of the world.’ Because America is amazing at not realising the rest of the world is a different place.

Despite this, though, despite the fact we do not have a Thanksgiving to be the starter pistol on Christmas shopping and indeed, our stores tend to try and get you buying Christmas junk in like, early November, despite that, our stores have been trying, with very little, if not no success, to convince us here in Australia to attend ‘black friday sales.’

Last year, I was advertised a Black Friday sale at my local mall that did not happen on Friday.

This is a really stupid thing and if you’re wondering why you’re hearing about it, this is why. American media is damp and it moistens everything near it.

Big Pile Of Bookkeeping

I make a point of trying to write about what I’m experiencing and thinking about and feeling, not because it’s some grand pcinriple but because it’s a lot easier and I’m not particularly creative about why I write, just that I write. The result is that when I’m not partaking of much that I think makes interesting writing subject matter (‘not making content’) I tend to trail off about it. Sometimes that’s things that I think ethically, I should not share, like spending a lot of time taking care of my niblings, or students’ work and input.

Sometimes it’s like what happened today.

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Taking a Breath And Waiting

You know the weirdness with time?

This was written back at the end of October. At that point I was looking at the schedule for the blog and seeing that I had posts lined up and set up to fire on schedule for the next four days. Four!

For the first two thirds of this year, my schedule of posts was somewhere between thirty to forty days ahead of me. I had holes in it — videos get made a lot closer to time, for example — but I was working with effectively, a long corridor in front of me of safety. Now this means that sometimes things aren’t timely and there can be weird coincidences. Back in October, I had a pair of articles set up about Alex Jones that dropped the day of his billion-dollar judgment. Kinda weird.

Right now I am sitting in bed, with the dog next to me. It’s 9pm. I woke up this morning, on a saturday, and did work, to make sure I was ahead of work for the coming week. I have a meeting on Monday. I need to make sure I’m prepared for it. I need to make sure that this work, which is very important to me, is done, so if I can get it done before it’s due to be done then I can use that time for other things.

The overall effect however is screwing me up like a rag and wringing me out. I have four days ahead of me and yet I am feeling an anxiety about not having done something today to extend that bridge. I’m only writing this now because I know getting it done will give me a feeling of reassurance, give me some comfort despite my tiredness, and maybe in the morning I’ll trash this and restart the idea.

I feel that one of the most boring things I can post about on this blog is posting about posting on this blog. I try to limit myself to one a month, like it’s a monthly subject along with Transformers or Magic: The Gathering. They’re here to serve a useful purpose; to demonstrate engagement and to explicate process. I want you seeing that I’m trying and I want you to know that there are going to be days when it’s hard. It’s not all just the easy mode, I don’t just drop a thousand really good words out of nowhere.

Tonight, I brushed my teeth early and retired to bed to sit and type on my laptop and know that when I’m done, I’m going to put the computer down and hug the dog and go to sleep.

I am thinking about this as No Effort November, which is a month to celebrate minimal effort. To look for things that seem easy, things that I would normally forget about or ignore because they’re too simple, or because surely everyone knows that. To accept that there are areas I’m weaker and times of year when it’s harder to write interesting things every day.

Anyway, g’night.

The Alex Jones Readings

Yesterday, I talked about Alex Jones, but I did so with references to specific examples of the man’s behaviour from his show. You might wonder, Talen, do you watch his show? And the answer to that is no, no, I don’t.

Alex Jones’ work is one of those things people mostly experience as a few short viral moments; infamously, there’s the Turn The Frogs Gay clip, or some similarly ridiculous moment that people meme on.

The dude’s got the same basic DNA as a dozen other types of grifter from my own past. These days they’ve moved to ‘supplements’ rather than ‘cures’ but in the end it’s people selling you overpriced horse piss as ‘snake oil.’ I didn’t feel the need to delve into him because I kinda knew what I was looking at when I first saw him. Moment to go viral, pivot to an ad. Promote a weirdo to get their audience engaged with you, pivot to an ad. Frame the world as scary and doomed and dying, pivot to an ad.

When John Oliver did a segment explaining Alex Jones, he noted this exact structure:

Alex Jones: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

But this is still a surface overview of the man and his process. It’s still something that Alex will claim ‘takes out of context’ the work he does, in general. If only there was someone, you wonder, who isn’t on Alex’s side, who say, watches the entire show and can provide exhaustive proof that no, he’s not being taken out of context, these things don’t get better with more information, and the figleaf of denial that Jones uses is just a tactic.

Well, what if I told you there’s someone who does?

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The Five Stages of Alex Jones

Alex Jones is scum.

This isn’t a complex, researched, authorial notion, this is my opinion, and my opinion is that the guy is scum. It’s based on observing him over many years, and from how he clearly replicates the patterns of a lot of guys exactly like him, who just weren’t as successful at monetising their particular variety of scum.

Of late, I’ve been seeing more of his stuff, more of his particular set of tactics, and I wanted to offer you an easily remembered, simple set of instructions as to understanding What Alex Jones Is Doing. This is much like with young-earth creationists, operant on the idea that Alex Jones is literally never a good faith operator, and that everything he does, in every single context should be regarded as acts of manipulation. I’m sure there are some people he’s honest with but his reputation is so fundamentally broken that you can’t treat him as if he is.

Alex Jones presents the illusion of being opposition, of being able to argue, to fight with people, but if you listen to him, if you pay attention to the process, you’ll realise there are five things he does, and they largely never relate to what he’s being told, not really, not as part of a meaningful conversation with points that can be considered. Everything is instead, smoothed into one Greater Fiction where Alex was Always Right.

What then, does Alex Jones (And His Ilk) do when confronted with dissent?

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Dread Month 2022

As the good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
Night’s black agents to their preys did rouse.

It’s the season of the spooky; when the internet slowly fills up with people sharing art of skeletons, and not just the ones they want to have sex with. In the United States and Canada, the days are growing colder, the leaves are turning, and people are staying in to watch horror movies or TV shows. The Satanists are up to something, I think, and there are probably some variety of ghoul or witch about under the doorsteps, which is where I guess they hang out.

Here on Press, October is dread month. The Story and Game Piles are about horror media, games and media that gets to delve into things like slashers and guts and serial killers and hauntings and all that.

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Input/Output Problems

Last night, at one in the morning, I gave myself permission to close the blog without contributing an article to the hopper. Now, it’s the next morning, at one thirty, and I’m debating if I do that again. I don’t like going two days without contributing anything, and part of what leads to that is the feeling that all I have to do is something and that’s a start.

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Remembering The Queen

When I was about eight years old, my older cousin excitedly showed me the little .wav file he had of an excerpt from a Pop Song, which he had reversed in windows sound editor. When played, it made a little weird yelp which he informed me was the phrase “It’s Fun to Smoke Marijuana.” This was proof of the danger of that kind of music.

The excerpt was a snippet of Another One Bites The Dust.

Queen - Another One Bites The Dust (Live)
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Cool Tapes

I was born in an age when television was pumped into your house via some variety of tube. This is why the box of a TV was so large – it had to contain the bottle that filled up with television over the course of the day, and the screen you watched it on was the ‘bottom’ of it. You watched it when it was on — and that meant there were times of day, when, well, it didn’t matter what you wanted to watch, the TV was only offering news, news, and also, news. Channel 10 was at least kind enough to put the news on at 5 PM (First at 5) so the ‘news’ slot could be replaced by the Simpsons reruns.

But at some point in my youth, back when I was a youths, we acquired a Beta recorder, then, quickly, a VHS recorder, that let us record dad’s Murphy Brown episodes while he was away at Bible Study and we wanted to watch… I… you know, I don’t know. But we watched something.

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The Great Disappointment

Been thinking about Qanon a lot lately.

Hey have you ever heard of William Miller? He was this really weird dude from the 1700s, a land-owning preacher who started out as a Baptist, then read some books and became a Deist, then got scared about the fact he would die and became a Baptist again, a trajectory that’s kinda familiar to me. Anyway, he got really scared about the fact he was going to die, and then that meant he wouldn’t be alive, and that got him back into being a Baptist and from there, an obssessive reading of the Bible resulted in him getting all het up about Biblical numerology, the sudoku cousin of normal Biblical prophecy’s cryptic crossword.

Content Warning: Me, talking shit about Christian faiths!

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Velikovsky

There is a concern in the sciences of the idea of demarcation. The demarcation problem is the question of how do we tell the difference between science and non-science. This can represent a challenge when dealing with propositions that struggle with replicability or extremely complex systems – think like psychology versus physiology, or even whether there’s a scientific methodology that can be applicable to fields of art, literature, and religion.

The whole fundamental question of demarcation kind of lives in the space of where you can say science doesn’t apply here. The general idea for a time there was that you can’t use scientific methods to grapple with questions of religious belief, a position that was forwarded by Stephen Jay Gould with his framework of non overlapping magisteria. Notionally, science looks at facts while religion looks at values and therefore, these two things should not be seen as competing with one another, and should not be seen as threats to one another.

A problem immediately arises, then, when religion seeks to make fact claims; such is the problem with Young Earth Creationism or fundamentalist Christianity which uses fact claims to justify rules they demand people outside their faith. This can apply on big, important, political ideas like who gets to guide the country and by what rules, and therefore is of specific interest to me; another area it’s important is when you consider who does or doesn’t get to have a voice in a community of ideas.

Demarcation can be seen ultimately as a question of who gets to speak and where.

What if someone had an idea outside your field that made a whole bunch of complicated questions work

… but nobody in that field would ever listen to their ideas?

Let’s talk about Immanuel Velikovsky.

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