That is all.
Without me, your show wouldn’t be
Professional right down to a “T”
Yes, I’m the one who pulls the curtain down,
Yes, I’m the one you’ll never see. — Encore by TACO
The alarm goes off, if you bothered to set it last night.
The lights come on with a mere switch-flip, or are even automatic.
The water flows at the turn of a faucet – and it’s clean and safe.
Things go down the drain and are Dealt With – without adding to misery by disease.
The gas flows, keeping the house warm and the water hot.
The signals propagate through space, or cable, or even fiber.
Even with automation, someone, somewhere, is watching over things. Monitoring the monitors at the very least. Calling forth and adjusting generating capacity up and down as needed. Seeing that reservoirs are neither overflowing nor draining excessively. Flow rates and pressures kept in a nice, safe, useful range. The transmitters watched over, signals fed to them. A very few, the newsreaders and anchors, are seen providing the signals. Unseen, the cameramen (or persons) the audio engineers, the technicians.. keep the signals going, the power, water, and gas flowing. Other places, those businesses (and services not necessarily for profit) still open, also go on. Travelers can fill their tanks, get coffee, and something to eat even if it isn’t a “proper” Christmas Dinner. The cops can be called. If need be, fire crews summoned. Medical emergencies dealt with. And way off, those in the services are serving – hopefully not needing to use everything they know how to do – but will do them if they must.
And remember the folks in the background, quietly (hopefully quietly! – for success means being all but invisible and forgotten) keeping the world running.
Better than a Business Card. (And yes, I know of Moo Cards, thanks.)
Business cards seem to be a Good Idea, Almost. If you are really interested in the business, you keep that card that was given or included. But more likely it gets piled, stashed, stowed, forgotten, and finally tossed. If not tossed right off. There are other means of keeping your name in front of people: paper notepads (used, if less so, even in this Smartphone Age), pens, pencils… but those are both universal and interchangeable. Today I got something new, and at least for a while (until “everybody” is doing it) it will be better than the rest.
I have my in-use smart phone, the older ones – so far generally employed as over-capable clocks, but they can do more and one day might, the Kindle, the various computer screens, and… glasses (that haven’t been glass since sometime in the 1970’s). And this company (Cerrxian – I have some of their USB cables now) has their name and email address on a lens/screen cleaning cloth – something I find atypically useful and will thus keep around. And, so far, I’ve not seen anyone else include such with their products. For the moment, they win.
“Postmaster please deliver between…”
If you ever figured that the local Postmaster never actually sees that, or only sees them in a glance and they get maybe a smirk, you’re right. I used to work at a Post Office (I’m feeling much better now, thanks) and I’d see this all the time. And the Postmaster was generally in his office or such, not being bothered with what is really advertising aimed at the end recipient – or instructions to the folks actually moving the mail.
Perhaps you’ve heard (or even repeated) the alleged joke that a postage rate increase is to cover storage. At the place I was at, we HATED getting stuff we HAD to sit on (tax forms, mainly) as… there was no extra room. Storage? Nonsense, we genuinely wanted to move the mail as fast as we could – get it out of the way! And if you think the USPS is slow, have you dealt with postal services of other countries? As lousy as USPS can be, it’s the envy of most of world for good reason: The damn thing works. Yes, it’s rusty, crusty, inefficient, government AND union regulation bound… and it’s STILL better than most. Damn, those other guys must REALLY suck at their jobs.
I really like Honor 8 phone… but it ain’t perfect.
Yeah, others have a few more megapixels on a camera. Big whoop. This thing will do. No, the real annoyance is that plugging it in to charge – on a fast charge capable charger anyway, it shows a fancy animated bit to show it’s fast-charging. Fine. But it will not let you do anything else until that show is over, which is annoying when one plugs in to be sure there’s power to Do Something. Yeah, it’s only a few seconds – but in a microsecond world, that’s S..L..O..W. Let me override that, Huawei – if I’ve just plugged it in, I fscking KNOW it’s plugged in! If the light doesn’t come on, I know the other end of the cable isn’t getting power. Stop getting in the way!
The IR port is great, but the app is necessarily limited. I get that there’s no pre-defined entry for a 20+ year old all-in-one stereo system. What’s annoying is that there seems to be no recognition such things exist and so one needs to find some other class of things to wedge into that to even do manual programming. Universal remote that isn’t, really. It seems if there’s some one-off weirdball thing that doesn’t work with a “Universal” setup… I have it. At least the app knows of TVs and so I could tell it about the now-ancient Contec set (which “universal” remotes, even back when, seem to deny exists). The other downside is that there is serious temptation to find the right codes to use on TV’s in bars and restaurants and such and turn them off.
The Neighbor’s House…
Is finally cleaned up or cleaned up enough. There are FOR SALE signs in the yard and have been for a couple weeks now. I’ve not seen anyone looking at it, but my hours mean that I’m usually sleep or otherwise engaged when so-called normal people would be looking at such. I suspect I’ll still blow out the driveway of that place when it snows, just to make it easier should someone wish to move in during the snow season – and it means the snowblower will run more than just a couple minutes and the engine can more likely get up to a good operating temperature.
Huzzah! It is happening! $HOUSEMATE has already reserved us a room. Now when convention registration finally opens… I hope I’m aware of it in time!
If you have an idea for a delivery of $SOMETHING to $SOMEONE at LibertyCon that would be best done (committed?) by me under ACME Delivery color, please let me know. I can be reached, curiously, via e-mail of Vakkotaur, with domain that of google’s mail service. I know it’s awkward that way, but if I wanted spam, I know where to find Hormel. And don’t put it in the comments – surprise is a Good Thing – and maybe you want some anonymity.
Or, for that matter, if you’ve an idea that I ought to be at some other event… please enlighten me about such. Do to work constraints, “last minute” means “ain’t gonna happen.” Right now I have only two must-be-there events. One is LibertyCon and other is the Siouxland Renaissance Festival. I am hoping to make Riverssance (Sioux City) this coming year, after a couple years of unfortunate interruptions. Everything else is pretty much open, so long as I have the time and funds.
People watch this crap?
The local VFW closed (poor/limited menu choices meant it was not a popular dining venue) and a new owner has the place as his restaurant. Tried it once, so far, and have been quite impressed despite some obvious start-up issues. While there, I saw (the volume was low, thank goodness) some ABC show (‘Speechless’ I think) and what I saw looked like everyone was overacting or every character, save perhaps the fellow in the wheelchair, constantly over-excited. I have NO desire to see more, let alone experience it with the dialogue. TV like this is great… for convincing me to keep to old time radio shows.
[This was originally posted on AccordingToHoyt. I’ve done a light retouch as I had not truly polished some errors away. This was inspired by a comment on an earlier ATH post. Credit for inspiration goes to “madrocketsci” and blame for the remaining errors to the slow ox.]
“I’m only human.” “You’re only human.” “(S)He’s only human.”
It sounds like an excuse for being of limited capability, “only” human. Alright, humans are not Gods. Not to themselves, anyway. They warn themselves not to “play God” and point to horrors of their history when someone has tried to do that very thing. A most sound warning. Mr. Marx might not have realized it, but he eventually killed millions in his perhaps unknowing attempt. Mr. Hitler made an attempt and contributed to the horrific cost. Mr. Stalin as well. And Mr. Mao. And… well, it’s a long, horrific list. The “Zombie Apocalypse” might be less deadly should it happen – at least Humanity will know it has an Enemy and be willing to fight it from near the beginning. Yes, humans “playing God” tends to end in disaster.
And yet… it’s humans that called my kind into existence. Yes. Sure that one story is about a sacrificial gift not sacrificed, but used in a most unusual (and genetically impossible) breeding procedure. But the result, horrific as Asterion and his story was and is (yes, “The Minotaur” had a name: Asterion) it did inspire the idea of the general form and give it – us! – a name.
Humanity has similarly created centaurs, unicorns, mer-folk, fauns, satyrs, dragons (the dragons will deny this…), and a good (or bad) many others. And when that wasn’t enough, why, they came up with Personifications. The process of dying and the state of death was a thing that was somehow more easily understood by inventing the character of Death (it was not “JUST TERRY PRATCHETT” though he [He?] did very well with the characterization). Yule? Solstice? Christmas? The Great Spirit of Giving is created in Santa Claus (and if once-common lumps of coal do not send the message of “you get a common, near worthless gift, you Problem Child” with sufficient force, there is Krampus – the anti-Claus as he were.)
“Only human.” Only. You have created… us. Your myths are our existence. In that way, humanity, you ARE our Gods – you have made us. Yes, we are imperfect – in the same ways you are. Only the traits are… amplified. The centaurs party and party hard. There is, as far as I know, no centaur version of William Tell. It is simply understood that of course the centaur’s arrow hits the apple and not the noggin – even if the centaur downed a barrel of wine. Us minotaurs.. well, let’s just say you do NOT wish to be the “Guest of Honor” at a minotaur event (I suggest you nominate a sheep – one that will NOT be missed – for that role. Mint jelly optional, but highly recommended). The unicorns are more faultless than Angels… or are at least as evil if not moreso than Demons, depending upon the tale and the teller.
Ponder that power. Humanity.. creates. Yes, rocketships to the Moon and wafers of silicon where they’ve taught the sand mathematics and lightning politely gives error messages instead of smitings. But also… entire species. Entire Universes! Mirrors. Oh, Mt. Wilson and Palomar and those that came after are impressive, sure. But virtual mirrors of humanity itself. Not mere mirrors, but amplifying mirrors. One trait or another, good or bad, is dialed up to 11. Or 12. It’s not that we are human – we are not. Nor are we “better” than humans. Humans might claim such, but we didn’t summon ourselves into existence. That’s a Brilliant Human Trick. We did not do that. We are… stories.
Humanity, please keep telling the stories. And if you do not like them, then tell better ones. My kind…our kind… depends on you. If you forget us, we cease to be. We are NOT Gods. You… you… just might be. Don’t play at it. Take it very seriously indeed. We’re depending on you. And so are you. Embrace it, but with great caution. What you create or summon can be Good or Evil.. dialed up. Choose wisely.
After the verdict in the Twin Cities, some assholes blocked I-94. The right answer: KEEP IT IN GEAR AND KEEP GOING. Why? Reginald Denny, that’s bloody why. That, and the sad lack of a forward-aimed flamethrower.
ACME Delivery will not be at Penguicon this year. I will be, but it might be the very last time, for reasons mentioned earlier.
I’ve been going to a convention called Penguicon for several years, first as just a visitor and later doing deliveries for ACME. The idea of the ACME Delivery is to give the recipient an item that will be appreciated or amusing, in a way that isn’t a nasty jab at the recipient. The person getting the delivery is the ‘star’ – I am not.
In recent years, it’s gotten harder to figure out what to give to whom. At first it was fairly easy. I could skim the web site’s list of guests of honor and figure something out for at least a few of them. Or someone knew someone and they had an idea I could make work. This year? I haven’t a clue.
It could be that it’s just an “off year” for me or Penguicon and if it hadn’t been for the last few years I’d consider that. But a tale of the George Burns (and Gracie Allen) radio show comes to mind. Some episodes got ratings better than others, and some ratings jitter was expected – but eventually there was a downward trend. Not jitter, but a trend. That was a problem – and they addressed it (they realized the characters of George and Gracie on the show were still acting like newlyweds despite years together and disbelief wasn’t being suspended.. so they ‘wrote older’ and the ratings went back up). This looks more like a trend than jitter to me.
Part is that I now find myself worrying more about how people will take what should obviously be a joke – and I do try to make sure it is one the recipient will find amusing. It might be the rise of the so-called Social Justice Warrior, a person who seems to take offense at anything if it fails to absolutely conform to the world view or cause du jour. It’s possible it’s something else, but after last year when it felt like there was more virtue signalling than solid content, it seems the likely explanation.
Perhaps this really is just an “off year” or things haven’t gone off the rails, but it would also not surprise me if after this year I felt no desire to go again next year. If it’s not fun anymore (and SJW’s are all too effective at sucking fun out of things), why waste my time and effort? It’s a bit surprising I’m going this year. I’d have already bailed except $HOUSEMATE is slightly more hopeful than I am in this case (also, was at every Penguicon ever, so far) and decided to give things one more chance. If Penguicon “embraces diversity” (far I as can tell, it has since it started, without any need to make a big show of it – the best example is a lived example, not a sermon or billboard) except for diversity of ideas – then it has utterly and completely failed. I do not expect to fly the plane – nor do I care to, but if I can see a crash coming that I cannot prevent, I see no reason to remain aboard with a perfectly good unused parachute either.
ACME Delivery… but what to give to who, without tripping on the seeming ever-increasing invisible cultural mines? The fun seems to be sucked right out of it all. Sure, there will be some room parties, and a some folks I know, and perhaps even a couple panels of interest. Yet… I don’t have even a single delivery idea yet and it’s only a few weeks away now.