Back When the World Was Sane




The desert radio tower in Pahrump, Nevada that beamed Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell across the continent for a generation.

I miss the golden days of the face on Mars, Open Lines, whatever looney outer space conspiracy Richard C Hoagland was cooking up, Linda Moulton Howe and the UFO nonsense, and of course the C Crane radio because Y2K.

That was when late night conspiracy radio was at its finest, before it descended into paranoid racism.

I’m Going To Hell

“My buddy over at the bar and I are gonna go home and fuck like rabbits. We need someone to film it. Do you know how to work an 8mm?”

“Ladies, have I ever got a surprise in store for you tonight!”

I Give Up

Insomnia is an evil, evil thing.,

It’s 3 a.m. I woke up about 90 minutes ago and haven’t been able to get back to sleep. I tried all the usual tricks: clearing my head, consciously staring into the black void, counting my breaths, counting backward from 1000, and going to my virtual “happy place.” I even took a goddamned Benadryl as a last resort and nothing. I reached the point where I couldn’t get comfortable (one dog was planted firmly at shoulder level between Ben and I and refused to move), and was just tossing and turning. I didn’t want to disturb Ben any more than I already had, so I decided to follow some advice I’d read once upon a time and just get up for a bit.

I’m hoping it works. Otherwise I’m  facing having to function tomorrow on 3 hours sleep.

Among the many thoughts that poured into my head while I lay there in the dark was something I’d wanted to do for some time: pass on some history.

If you aren’t the first owner/occupant of your current house, how cool would it be to receive an envelope in the mail from a previous occupant, chock full of photos of the house in years gone by—or even better, when it was new—along with a letter passing on some stories of things that happened while they lived there? I know I’d think it was the coolest thing ever.

I realized that one of the gifts of age is my ability to now do that for someone else. Actually, four someones. Two of the homes my family owned while I was growing up were brand new when we moved in. A third (a 1930s era bungalow now in a much sought-after historic district in central Phoenix) was only about thirty years old when we lived there. And finally, while I obviously have no “new” photos of the 200-plus year old farmhouse my grandparents owned in upstate Massachusetts from the 1950s to the 1970s, I do have many photos from that period as well as a few from the early 20th century that they’d acquired while living there.

All these photos are already scanned; all I have to do is print them out, write some letters, and mail them off.

People always say, “If these walls could talk.” Well, I have in my power in at least four cases to compel that.

I Just Can’t Any More…

I am not generally one to cast aspersions on a fellow blogger (there are so few of us left after all), but I just can’t any more.

There is one blogger who I’ve been following for quite some time. He’s  gay, well-read, and at times a hilariously funny and spot-on reviewer of film and television. But lately, every other post has been about Call Me By Your NameIt’s like he orgasms at the mere mention of it. He’s admitted to thirteen screenings (and counting), and every newly discovered muscle twitch or sideways glance in a screening immediately generates a blog post.

Don’t get me wrong: I’d been eagerly looking forward to seeing this film based on his recommendations for months. I saw the film (which I might not have heard of at all had I not been following him) in December. I liked it. I’d like to see it again. (Ben was not as impressed.) I bought the soundtrack on limited-edition numbered blue vinyl for chrissake! God knows I have impure thoughts about Armie Hammer. But enough is enough, dude.

I understand it’s his blog and he’s free to write whatever the fuck he wants, just as I am. And furthermore I understand from his writings on the subject that this obsession stems in part from his own coming out story; like the young character in the film, this blogger’s first male-on-male sexual experience was with an older man while he was still in his teens, so I get how it reaches deep down inside him and tugs at his heart-strings. And if it takes him to his happy place, fine. But dude—please stop shoving this movie in our face on a daily basis! You’re starting to turn me off to it completely and I can’t be the only one who’s feeling that way. Or, better yet—as I suggested to him in a comment I left on the site which seems to have immediately been deleted—create a new blog that is nothing but Call Me By Your Name.

I like reading his other reviews, but frankly I’m at the point where I’m simply about to drop him from my feed for six months to see any sort of balance returns.

Oh scratch that…six months will be about the same time the BluRay of the film comes out. Let’s call it a year.

Go Fast

the universe: Okay, you’re a human. I gave you free will and a conscious mind, so you’re free to do whatever you want. So what do you wanna do?

human: GO FAST

the universe: Well, you’re a perfect pursuit predator but if that’s the way you want to evolve, go ahead.

human, climbing on a horse: GO FAST

the universe: Wait what?

human, inventing the carriage, the car and the bullet train: GO FASTER

the universe: I IMPLORE YOU TO STOP

human, trying to figure out lightspeed travel: FAS T ER

human:

THEORETICALLY MAXIMUM FAST

the universe:

How will the people in the ship not get gibbed?

Because the warp drive doesn’t actually accelerate the ship, it just makes the space in front of it smaller and the space behind it larger. Or something.

it works like this

image

Objects cannot accelerate to the speed of light within normal spacetime; instead, the Alcubierre drive shifts space around an object so that the object would arrive at its destination faster than light would in normal space without breaking any physical laws.

I love how mankind’s solution to FTL is just to bend to rules of reality a little.

the universe: ok human, with the physical laws as they are you can’t go faster than the speed of light.

human: ok, let me just figure out how to manipulate space time so I can go FASTER!

[Source]

It’s All Chaos From Here On In

From The Palmer Report:

The sitting President of the United States has been caught committing serious crimes to rig the election in his favor, and then committing more crimes while trying to cover it up. The prosecutors have him all but nailed for obstruction of justice. The president is only left with no-win options. His popular support is weak and his own party is still trying to prop him up, but wary that a few more blows and it’ll become impossible. Donald Trump is now living Richard Nixon’s endgame nightmare, but the outcome is less predictable, because even Nixon wasn’t this mentally unstable.

Welcome to 2018, or 1974 revisited if you like. Trump now has his back against the wall. There are days where he appears to understand that, and days where he’s lost in a delusional haze, but the bottom line is that he’s not getting past this. Maybe he’ll agree to testify for Robert Mueller. Maybe he’ll tell the truth, which would incriminate him. Maybe he’ll lie, which would also incriminate him. Maybe he’ll plead the Fifth, which would incinerate what’s left of his presidency. We have no idea what he’ll do, because even he keeps changing his mind out loud.

We do know, however, that we’re entering a period of chaos. We can see it just from how rapidly the endgame moves are surfacing. Everyone from Trump’s current Attorney General and current CIA Director, to his former FBI Director and his former Acting Attorney General, have all testified about him for the Special Counsel. People like Rick Gates, who didn’t want a deal, now suddenly want a deal, because they know it’s now or never.

All of the players in this scandal are trying to figure out how to play chess in a manner which keeps them from going to prison, and at the center of it all is a mentally deranged “President” who is intent on playing Hungry Hungry Hippos. Deals and confessions and accusations and incriminations will now be the norm. Revelations and bombshells will now land daily, as everyone jockeys for position. Donald Trump’s remaining allies will launch whatever feeble or not-so-feeble counterattack they’ve been saving for the very end. Then we’ll find out that Mueller has had an entire deck of aces up his sleeve all along.

We don’t know precisely what will come next, both because this guy is too unstable, and because when the last guy was in this situation, this was roughly the point at which he quit. Nixon had the sense to understand that he wouldn’t survive the obstruction charges. He knew it was about to finish him politically, so he bailed. What would have happened if Nixon had refused to resign, and he were five times crazier and ten times stupider? Welcome to 2018. Trump will go down in the end. But it’s all chaos from here on in until he does.

Quote Of The Day

The President said he was going to run America like his businesses. Apparently we have reached the part where he would usually just declare bankruptcy and run away.” ~ Jason Kander, Let America Vote

Death of a Mall

Is this for the door or the entire mall?.

Something I’ve wanted to do since we got back to Phoenix two and a half years ago was pay a visit Metrocenter mall to see how it’s changed over the past thirty-five years, but it seemed there were always more important tasks to attend to when we were in the area and I never seemed to get around to it.

Once upon a time this was the happening place in the (then) northwest valley. It opened my sophomore year in high school and I was immediately entranced by it’s futuristic, foward-looking architecture. Over the years it became one of my favorite hangouts, suppling clothing, music, sundries, and even an occasional fleeting lascivious encounter. I worked at two stores there: Diamonds (later to become Dillards) and Broadway Southwest. I bought Village People’s Macho Man and Michael Zager’s Life’s a Party at Musicland there the day they came out. My friend and great unrequited love Steve Golden worked at the Jox store. Needless to say, the mall holds many memories, so it was very sad indeed today when I finally had the time to stop see what had become of the place that played such a big part of my early adult life.

I knew that the mall was dying, but was unprepared for just how far gone the place was. Of the original 1970s anchors (Sears, Rhodes, Broadway Southwest, Diamonds and Goldwaters), only Sears and Diamonds/Dillards remained open. Broadway Southwest was demolished during the last two years to make way for a Walmart; the other stores (having long since changed corporate hands and branding several times) are now completely boarded up.

Goldwaters/Robinson-May/Macy’s
JC Penney

Vast stretches of the smaller stores are closed completely. When I was there at 10:30 am today, the few remaining stores that were still in business were all closed until noon. There were at most 50 people in the mall and four of those were extremely bored-looking security guards who couldn’t even be bothered to enforce the “no photography” edict I was so blatantly violating. Maybe it gets more traffic after 12 pm, but considering the number of stores that are outright out of business, I doubt it.

The view from the entrance to Sears
This is what death looks like

I made my way to the Food Court, a place that was once so vibrant you could be assured of waiting in line no matter which vendor you chose. When the mall first opened, the court overlooked a lower-level ice rink, and sported a bar that was built inside (or at least resembled) an aircraft fuselage that hung over the edge of the upper level and looked down on the ice rink. The ice rink and the bar were removed in early 90s, so I wasn’t surprised to see them gone. But I was a little surprised to see just how vacant the rest of the food court had become.

More than half boarded up

So another part of my young adulthood has died. This seems to be more and more common the older I get, and I suspect—is the same for every other person on the planet.

What surprises me the most about this (and the fact that Paradise Valley Mall seems to be suffering the same fate) is twofold. Firstly, the stores and restaurants on the ring surrounding the mall are booming. Secondly, “mall death” doesn’t seem to be the case in Denver. Denver malls are still alive and vibrant community gathering places. So what’s happening in Phoenix that the malls are rotting from the inside out?

It Seems I’m Not The Only One

MacOS is starving for attention. It is stagnating. It is falling apart. High Sierra is in many ways pathetic and scary in how sloppy things were done with it how many bugs there still are in many areas. The security bugs are embarrassing. I mean, it’s getting worse. Every release seems like it’s getting worse. Sierra was a terrible release also. Very unreliable, lots of bugs, lots of problems, lots of subsystems and things that were seemingly rewritten for vague reasons and then were worse and more buggy. This is increasing over time because they are not putting the resources into the OS that it needs to be stable and secure and to be moved forward.

I’ve found myself just more and more annoyed that things that used to reliably work, don’t work anymore. And then I see these software issues that are just disheartening and it makes me just feel like I want to throw my hands in the air and plop them down on the desk and say, “Now what? Now what do I do? Cuz I’m just screwed. Where am I gonna go? It’s just frustrating because it used to be this was my happy place. And maybe the problem is because I’m clinging to the Mac and the Mac is dead, but I don’t know where the issue is. Is it me? The Mac? Is it Apple?” ~ Casey Liss, speaking on this week’s Accidental Tech Podcast

Fixed. For Now.

Well, it’s fixed. It has been for a couple weeks now. I just haven’t bothered to write about it because I know y’all are tired of hearing me bitch.

As expected, the entire top case was replaced. At minimum that included the keyboard, trackpad, and battery. I suspect that the system board was also new, since the SSD (hard wired to said board) was returned with a clean install of Sierra (unfortunately not High Sierra as it had gone out with).

The keyboard (as evidenced by the new markings on the control and option keys) is from the mid-2017 line, even though my original was a late-2016 model, leading me to believe that the entire machine was swapped out except for the bottom cover (where the serial number is engraved) and that the serial number itself was transferred from one machine to another in firmware. I understand there are some minor internal changes in the 2017 keyboard design (there have been far fewer complaints of keyboard issues), so hopefully this will be the last trouble I have with this laptop for however long I end up keeping it.