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Kremlinology of Myself

Un­der­stand­ing what goes on in­side my head is not easy for me. I am sep­a­rat­ed from the thing I am ex­am­in­ing by sub­jec­tiv­i­ty, and suf­fer a com­pre­hen­sive ob­serv­er ef­fect that clob­bers sim­ple re­port­ing and dis­ables my com­pre­hen­sion.

So, it's rare that I have a mo­ment where I feel one way or an­oth­er in a clear man­ner. To me "How are you?" is con­fus­ing. I tend to hes­i­tate for ten sec­onds while scram­bling for the stan­dard re­spon­se, like the ter­mi­na­tor scrolling through re­sponse trees. Usu­al­ly my state is, I feel ex­act­ly like my­self. I feel the way I feel, and I just have not put that in word­s, scales, and com­par­ison­s, much less one word.

Half the time it's eas­i­er for me to know how oth­ers feel. I look at my wife and I know. I look at my son and I can prob­a­bly tell you if he got a good lunch at school to­day, and whether he won his last rock pa­per scis­sors match.

I can do that be­cause I can see them. I can see their faces, and I know how they look, how they change, how they re­ac­t, I know Juan does this thing with his lip when he's frus­trat­ed, I know Rosario puts her sweater back­wards if she's dis­tract­ed.

I have to get my self­-s­ta­tus in­di­rect­ly. I woke up ear­ly and rest­ed. I look for­ward to work­ing, or to do­ing some­thing in the week­end. I at­tack a task with in­ten­si­ty, I avoid an en­coun­ter, I for­get to start mu­sic, I aban­don pro­ject­s, I reach out to peo­ple, I can't come up with ideas, I make up ex­cus­es, I make a quick joke.

I have to won­der where that comes from, then. Who is the me do­ing those things I ex­am­ine to de­cide how I feel? I feel like my head is a town and I sit in a cafe, in a street table, and lis­ten to the passer­s-by, gaug­ing the mood.

Some­times, just some­times, I wish I was sim­pler, and straight­fr­ward. I wish I could do things with­out think­ing so much. I wish I could re­act nor­mal­ly with­out in­ter­me­di­at­ing my­self in my own thought­s.

Of course maybe ev­ery­one does the same things. Maybe ev­ery­one is the same. Even if not the same, strange in the same way, just like things can be all dif­fer­ent and part of a class, dif­fer­ent in de­grees and the same in essence.

I am fine, thanks. And you?

Nature Hates You.

The next time some­one sug­gests you take a di­etary sup­ple­men­t, or a plant or herb ex­trac­t, or tells you to eat, drink, ap­ply on your skin, in­hale, or do any­thing with the ar­gu­ment that it's nat­u­ral, re­mem­ber this:


Al­most ev­ery­thing that comes from na­ture will kill you. All an­i­mals would pre­fer that you die, all plants are tox­i­c, and it's on­ly through a long evo­lu­tion­ary process that you are bare­ly ca­pa­ble of di­gest­ing any veg­eta­bles.

There is a rea­son why we take as­pirin in­stead of chew­ing bark, and why we cook meat be­fore we eat it. Freak­ing potatos are tox­ic if eat­en raw.

Give pars­ley to a par­rot, give choco­late to a dog, give cel­ery to a cat, give hem­lock to you: DEAD. Be­cause all around you is try­ing to kill you. All the time.

Na­ture is not a moth­er, na­ture is ac­tive­ly hos­tile to you and will be hap­py to make your life as hard, brief and painful as pos­si­ble. Man has changed that. Say­ing "o­h, but this is nat­u­ral" is an in­dict­men­t, a warn­ing sign.

Raw food­ist­s, pa­leo di­et ad­vo­cates, herbal-­sup­ple­men­t-chug­ger­s: you are all the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of a long his­to­ry of know­ing what is semi-safe to eat be­cause ev­ery­thing else will kill you.

I will not eat any­thing na­ture gives me un­til it has been care­ful­ly test­ed by men and sci­ence. Be­cause sci­ence is good and na­ture is evil.

Much Fall of Blood (Heirs of Alexandria, #3)

Cover for Much Fall of Blood (Heirs of Alexandria, #3)


I had read the first cou­ple of Heirs of Alexan­dria books years ago, and saw this one for free at Baen.S­ince I had rather fond mem­o­ries of those first, I gave this one a chance.

The sto­ry is in­ter­est­ing enough, but ... the di­a­log. The di­a­log is try­ing so hard. Just so hard. It tries to be smart, fun­ny and clev­er, but it all comes out as weird, self­-­con­scious, and stilt­ed.

It's like read­ing the in­ner voice of a shy teenage boy who deep in­side knows he's bet­ter and smarter and more hon­or­able than the rest, be­cause oth­er­wise why would he be so lone­ly and sad?

I hat­ed the di­a­log.

Al­so, the way ev­ery "good" char­ac­ter is bet­ter in ev­ery pos­si­ble way than ev­ery "bad" char­ac­ter is grat­ing.

I am now re­con­sid­er­ing if the fond mem­o­ries of the ear­li­er books are just se­lec­tive mem­o­ry, or the des­per­ate grat­i­tude of a fan­ta­sy read­er in Ar­genti­na, where there just was­n't all that much to read at the time.

How You Could Not Replace Cable, If Only This Were Legal

Sup­pose you want­ed to have free TV. Sup­pose by that you mean se­ries, not movies or news (both of which you can get in oth­er ways).

Al­so, sup­pose you want to have it on your ac­tu­al TV. Al­so, that you don't mind break­ing IP laws. Well, this is how I would do it, if that was the case.

First: get hard­ware.

You need a gen­er­al com­pu­ta­tion­al de­vice with TV con­nec­tors and lots of stor­age. Like, say, a Mele A1000 or A2000 run­ning an­droid, and a SA­TA disk. This will cost you around $150 or so.

The Mele has HD­MI, VGA and com­pos­ite, so it can con­nect to pret­ty much any­thing that can dis­play im­ages. You could even use a 64GB SD card in­stead of a SA­TA drive if you want to go cheap­er.

Sec­ond: choose some se­ries.

You could go to ShowRSS cre­ate an ac­count and just choose se­ries you like. ShowRSS would then pro­vide you with a nice RSS feed up­dat­ed as your shows are up­load­ed.

You could even choose be­tween SD and HD ver­sion­s.

Third: get the episodes.

You would need a Bit­Tor­rent client that sup­ports this:

  1. An­­droid.

  2. Choos­ing the des­ti­­na­­tion fold­er (u­­Tor­rent for an­­droid does­n't)

  3. RSS Feeds with autodown­load

For ex­am­ple: aD­own­load­er

If you are us­ing the Mele and the SA­TA drive, there is a bug in aD­own­load­er where it can't write to the SA­TA disk. You can fix it if you have root and some pa­tience.

Fourth: get a good video play­er.

You want one that:

  1. Has HW de­­cod­ing

  2. Has SW au­­dio de­­cod­ing (a mele-spe­­cif­ic is­­sue)

  3. Sup­­ports many video for­­mats

  4. Sup­­ports sub­­ti­tles, if you need them

For ex­am­ple: MX Play­er

Fifth: get sub­ti­tles.

If you ev­er watch some­thing that is not in your na­tive lan­guage, you al­so want some­thing that au­to­mat­i­cal­ly gets sub­ti­tles for your videos. For ex­am­ple Subload­er

How well would this work? Well, it would take rough­ly 5 min­utes to down­load a show in SD or 15 min­utes to down­load it in HD on a 10Mbps in­ter­net link.

It would let you play them in your own time.

It would let you see shows be­fore they air in your coun­try, and even if they will nev­er air there.

It is al­so il­le­gal as all hel­l, so don't do it.

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