Sunday, June 28, 2015

a big gay week

finally, for the united states at least, gay marriage is now simply "marriage". well done!
here are some great reactions.

racism:

jon stewart on the south carolina shooting
obama on the topic

is canada's race problem worse than america's?

how our brain works:

apparently we count logarithmically. this is fascinating stuff.

what makes human brains special? fire, it would seem.

environment:

bio-engineered duckweed could provide a sustainable solution
are we on the path to another mass extinction?
we're running out of water
even the pope thinks something has to change
"I found out that one quarter-pound hamburger requires over 660 gallons of water to produce. Here I've been taking these short showers trying to save water, and to find out just eating one hamburger is the equivalent of showering two entire months."
-Kip Andersen, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
so the reduction in meat consumption is working, then.

parenting:

penny arcade on fighting kids' monsters

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

vegan rant

it started with this article on obesity. after a long discussion about this, someone posted the following:

So, a couple of things. First, BMI does not indicate obeseness. BMI does not indicate anything, because it is simply a random formula invented by a nutritionist with no medical or other relevant training in the 19th century. To be brief, studies have shown BMI to have zero relevance to actual health or nutrition. Read up on it. These days it's used mostly as a tool of fat shaming, which isn't really a decent medical practice.

And speaking of fat shaming, you guys must be really proud of yourselves, full of affluent privilege, berating those fat, lazy poor? So over there in reality land, eating fresh and healthy actually costs considerably more than eating crap. Crisps are cheaper then potatoes. Factory crappy mac n cheese is about tenth the cost of actual pasta with actual cheese, if I remember US prices correctly. Any snacks made of corn or corn syrup are dirt cheap, due to US subsidies on the crop. Not to mention if you're a single mother of 3 working 2 or 3 jobs to keep food on the table, you truly don't have the time to daintily chop up vegetables. You need something to fill the kids' stomachs, and you need sleep, and that's it.

And one other crucial thing: why do you care so much if people are fat? Do you feel it makes less of you in some way? Does it bother you aesthetically? If you're gonna say it's unhealthy for them, stop. Go read some research from the last five years. You'll find researchers hypothesizing that perhaps being fat doesn't necessarily make you ill. Perhaps, the fact that when a fat person seeks medical attention she usually gets berated by healthcare providers about her weight and is sometimes downright refused treatment unless she losses weight, and that due to the way they are treated fat people stop seeking medical attention, and thus let diseases fester and build longer, perhaps all this is relevant to the question of why fat people are ill more. Thus, there is now a movement to reexamine which fat-related diseases are truly related medically, and which only socially. People can be fat while being in good shape and having good health (incl. cholesterol values and the whole thing). Being fat isn't an indication of health. It's just an indication of weight.


i don't know what studies you're referring to, but i'd love to read them. i'm also wondering how you read the above conversation without picking up on the fact that there's a focus on nutrition and health. if you'd like to know where i source my arguments from, all sources are cited on nutritionfacts.org and i've personally gone through the process of verifying that the studies there aren't cherry-picked or biased.

regarding a couple of your points, are you implying that half of americans are single moms who can't afford vegetables or don't have the time to prepare food? these vegetables: organic, GMO-free and gluten free in special hand-picked pre-washed packages, or just regular loose stuff? when you say "healthy", are you including meat, dairy, poultry and eggs in your assessment?

being obese is not an indication of good health. neither is not being fat, by the way, but obesity is a more sure sign that something's wrong. when that movement of yours completes its re-examination and has solid data behind it, let me know! i'll be glad to eat my words. in the meanwhile, i'll continue to push for people to make an effort to educate themselves because our educational and medical institutions aren't making much effort.


gd posted the following:


well, that's an interesting comparison. let's see what walmart has to say. beef stew vs pinto beans (new york prices, apparently):

beans are half the price per ounce.
the beans contain 52 servings of 7g protein each, the beef stew contains 2.5 servings of 9g protein each.

amazing.

now, i'm not advocating a diet of beans - just beans would be unhealthy - but it's clear from this that the "it's cheaper" argument is invalid.

...

then neil degrasse tyson: let's see him use that same argument to convince people that eating dogs is okay.

just because he's a scientist, doesn't mean he's not vulnerable to cognitive dissonance. just because he's right that we've engineered modern cows, doesn't mean that those cows don't have thoughts and feelings. the fact that he won't consider a plant-based diet as a solution has nothing to do with science, so even though it's the great neil degrasse tyson, it's still a human being who would rather seek impractical solutions than give up his few minutes of decadence.

...

circus animals: when this lion attacks, it's *justified*.

training and keeping circus animals is a savage practice and we need to bring it to an end. animal slavery for food, as misguided as it is, is marginally better than animal slavery for entertainment.

Monday, June 22, 2015

comedy and tragedy

more than a week since my last update...

last saturday:

an interesting haircut, french practice, leaving very slowly, a beautiful sunny day is tough for someone trying to avoid tanning, le rose de lima lunch, a walk to find soap bases (not found), a charming elderly black new yorker keeping us in direct sunlight, metro home, chilling on our balcony and engaging in a serious session of napping.

followed by shopping, raging over a sick supermarket packer, abe's odyssey and some more very serious napping. that was followed by a lazy night of not-much.

last sunday:

a relaxing start, shadowrun: dragonfall goodness
gorgeous day, godmother coffee with feet in the sun

sandpapering the balcony until my fingertips became like the sandpaper, satisfying results but a lot of work and only halfway through

a fair amount of shadowrun, which was very cool, a long chat with my mom, making an awesome dinner, falling asleep to jen kirkman: i'm gonna die alone which is brilliant

last monday:

rls and a frustrating night's sleep, waking up to miserable weather

vomit in the metro, a morning full of bugs. lunchtime shadowrun fan club.

nem being such a complete asshole that i had to restrain myself from smashing him in the mouth with my coffee mug.

so visibly tired that i got kicked out of the office, and started saying something inappropriate before being rescued by my manager being picked up, giving me time to think about what i needed to say.

shadowrun: dragonfall while gd slept, refusing to negotiate the price of my boxing gloves and speaking to a potential illustrator

pregnancy and nutrition: it's a good idea to get the latter sorted before the former.

"lecture"

tuesday:

introducing a doctor to nutritionfacts.org, pay day machinations
finally deploying with minor issues, good feedback from my managers, a solid hour's run, a hot shower and sweating in the office, an afternoon broken down into a jumbled assortment of tasks and attempting to learn something about query optimizations, leaving later than planned but overall feeling a lot more relaxed about everything

take out and sense8 and finding a half-price second-hand lumo.

bethesda's fallout shelter is stupidly addictive. it's brilliant, which is precisely what i'd expect from them and which is also precisely the problem.

wednesday:

waking up early and well, french lessons
a relaxed day, defeating bureaucracy and transitioning my team into proper agile

nem making an ass of himself publicly while i spent the afternoon learning how he's basically made himself the gatekeeper for our team's logging systems but isn't capable of understanding them.
putting the pieces together, i understand that he's only working this job to have a stable income while his other projects mature: he's not competent enough to keep the job as a developer, so he's positioned himself (by lying) as a manager. this was working right until we got a good look at the systems, but even though we know he's a liability we can't get rid of him until we find a replacement.

there's nothing quite like the satisfaction of having "his guys" coming to thank me for the procedural fixes i've been introducing.

i've seen nifty's second page for my comics, and i am EXCITED ^_^

boxing coach out of commission, two of us drilled hard. i hit the hard bags with the gloves i was trying to sell after giving up on selling them.

a very long night with very little sleep: i'm not good at dealing with pregnancy emotions

thursday:

lucid nightmares, a low morning that almost scored its own sick day.
office politics, driving hard and finishing well (but too late to deploy)
taking my manager to pushap for lunch.

quiet evening, sense8 and going to bed early.

friday:

a morning shaped by puscifer and a perfect circle, walking out to the trauma of body paint costs (seriously: $150 to cover yourself in a colour? what planet are we living on?!)

a beautiful t-shirt day at 13 degrees

starting my day being sought out by the data science team's lead to congratulate me on a clever fix.
over-complicated photo shoot timing.
a long afternoon upgrading my mysql expertise.

...

i was feeling pretty good about myself, having made the effort to hit the gym and finding my groove on the treadmill, when i saw a man in a bjj gi get off the mats and hop all around the octagon. damn, i thought, there's not much more frustrating than getting injured during training - what a bummer!
then he got around to my side and i realized that he's actually missing a leg and was just getting some water.

well, that certainly puts my achievements today in perspective.

...

engaging weekend mode and skipping the class that wasn't being taught anyway, slovenia awkwardness all the way home and then returning to find inappropriate mail in our mailbox which has taught us that gd's ex does not understand boundaries.

he will not be messing with *my* family.

saturday:

waking up to finishing the previous evening's story, trying to get upbeat before our photo shoot, almost failing when running stupidly late and having hot coffee explode all over me.
a fascinating shoot, wasp protection, walking painted in public.
showering, good israeli music, p.m. for an awesome late lunch, exhaustion and too much sun on the way home
the mortal kombat movie in lieu of napping, terrible writing but great fun
introducing gd to high fidelity

thought for the day: "i can't believe i finished all that sezchuan tofu... and now there's no more sezchuan tofu..."

very painful rls

watching the 2013 documentary the ghost army. holy crap! bradley cooper, you don't need to give this story the hollywood treatment to make it riveting. it's completely absurd and intriguing without adding the usual tired tropes.

yesterday:

a nightmare: being chased by jehovah's witnesses who attacked me from a white golf, remembering only a partial license plate, trying to report the incident and being laughed at

an awesomely slow morning, shadowrun: dragonfall brilliance, pharmacy lunch mission
the cobbler (mostly fun but shitty characters)
the last episode of sense8 season 1: is that it?! great series so far.

this morning:

password control, phone call frustrations

Saturday, June 13, 2015

a long, dark week

sunday night madness

monday:

struggling to get out of bed on a dark, wet morning

half an hour on the phone with hydro-quebec trying to understand how they arrived at our extortion-level final bill. i eventually arrived at the conclusion that if you're staying somewhere for more than a few years it's cheaper to install gas heating, solar panels and a battery.

a day full of meetings, nem politeness, lunch money

seeing some poor guy chasing after a laptop thief in the distance and helpless to assist
walmart vacuum cleaner confusion and a decent $30 pair of sneakers
earache concern
netflix failure

tuesday:

really feeling my son through the skin over gd's belly

up early (only trapped in bed for half an hour) to not go to the clinic, french lessons and the uncomfortable realization that i picked up someone else's gloves by mistake

losing hac to a better offer when we desperately need him, he's the second good asset to leave in recent weeks

running with spotify: i don't know how the steps per minute detection works for anyone else, but for me it totally failed. setting the bpm manually, though? win. that was a great run for 160MB per hour!

finally - late - completing the big project [or so i thought]
an afternoon of hassles

i hate wet and muggy. that's weather that just doesn't happen in winter.
passport pre-loss find, joint salad with little dragon and sneaker pimps
fail videos and house

wednesday:

early up for french lessons and chores

a long presentation, a screwed up sprint planning but a great team review, it's nice to feel like we're all playing the same game

after losing the previous day's policy battle with nem because he succeeded in talking in circles until everyone was so confused that they just conceded, i put a mechanism in place to prevent anyone from easily doing the wrong thing - which wouldn't have been necessary if they'd just listened to me. nem is such a moron, though, that he manually overrode the mechanism, making precisely the mistake he'd promised everyone his method would prevent and thereby forcing everyone to admit that i was right and allow me to implement the simpler, safer procedure that i'd been arguing for.

a surprisingly positive meeting with the head of IT about eco-friendly initiatives

my new-dad co-worker's awesome advice and the excitement of learning how maternity leave works

boxing glove humiliation, i'd forgotten that my new gloves were plain blue. there's nothing like being on the receiving end of an unmistakable look of "what an asshole" from my coach.

walking in warm rain, mentally irritating but emotionally comforting
chihuahua snuggling, early bedtime

thursday:

slow wake on another should-stay-in-bed morning, 4 non blondes and edie brickell and foo fighters

giving pg the go-ahead to ship my stuff - i guess it's time to feel settled. or at least be reasonably certain that i'm not returning to the holy land

leaving a bit late and realizing as i hit the metro that i'd forgotten underwear for after training...

not doing my job, but babysitting nem instead. holding back rage when he told me that due to my clear enthusiasm for git i should consider a job as release manager. what he's reading as enthusiasm is my caring that he doesn't **** up our code-base again. he's so ******* limited that i just want to punch him every time i think about the stupid things he says.

comics: TWO PAGES DONE! nifty and i sat together and actually worked together instead of the usual discussions, and if we can figure out how to work like that online we might proceed pretty quickly.

studying hac before saying goodbye, spending the afternoon forced to do the work of two or three people. i *have* to relax...

... really *needing* to hit the punching bags for the first time since working with megaman, borrowing eighteen ounce gloves and working with a beginner who accidentally kicked me in the chin and made my neck vibrate whenever he hit the pads...

yesterday:

the last dream:
forgotten pasta growing out of a trash can in a corner of my bedroom and my mother upset with me; a visiting friend breaking the toilet
rescuing my pet bat after finding it in a river, returning home while it followed me in the trees. after entering and abandoned building it turned into a colourful, shape-shifting bird who convinced me to trade my soul. huddled ghosts of families warned me, after which i committed (or attempted) suicide by jumping down two stories and landing face first of brick steps
being amongst people in the hospital or asylum watching the previous incident on tv and someone next to me saying he knew the story
breaking out of the hospital and being forced to drag myself up an extremely claustrophobic ladder, squishing a threatening spider with my finger after blowing him away didn't have any effect
gangbangers destroying and exposing crowded family shacks with a football
travelling through apocalyptic wasteland with tv and gps
fighting with a fast-food chef about nutrition in an ultra-shitty mall-type den


starting the day with a plan that fell apart fairly quickly, getting some good work in in good time and under pressure but still not reaching the goal before deadline

lunch break at the bank paying a surprise fedex bill for customs fees that have left me with $2 in my bank account (and my visa's pretty much maxed), being told "just two seconds" by a teller who was actually taking her lunch break (cow).

one manager telling me i need to rest, the other explaining that "that's corporate" when the more you're capable of the more you get screwed. at least the three of us are on the same page, and at least my team's doing (mostly) good things.

once again leaving half an hour later than planned, running for forty minutes and then doing an exhilarating and exhausting boxing class. i - once again - really needed to hit the bags and i let it allllll out.

so... starting the weekend on a good note, followed by a great homemade meal and being subjected to gd's cocoa butter experiment (i smell like chocolate) and rls treatment.

this morning:

after a good night's dreamless sleep and good coffee, i feel like i'm ready to plan a fun weekend :)

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

linkage on a monday evening


environment:
drones being used to hunt illegal logging. yes!
arnie in oz on emissions
science! and plasma rings. very cool.

nutrition:
the hydrateme - although i wonder how the bottle stacks up to the science in terms of quantity.

society:
more racist cops.
snowden news: some good, some not so good. but it's a start.
kicking out the right person for a breastfeeding complaint
the dyslexia font is helpful.

economics:
the headline says "no-tipping policy", but that's not what this article is really about. it's about fair wages and incentivizing participation.
the silk road found getting life without parole is a travesty of justice.

gaming:
serious sports prizes for gaming. the time are a'changing.
fallout 4. whoa... that looks gooooood.

Monday, June 08, 2015

headaches and peeves

another exhausting week. emotions and hayfever are not a great combination...

monday:

dinner, comics, bed... but sleeping horribly, between rls and long, lucid nightmares
a late morning, an incredibly cold june morning
taking forever to log my previous week's hours, a long day full of meetings, getting a little too excited during one of them, someone else farting loudly just as i started talking, leaving late

tuesday:

a very strange superhero dream, during which i went back to 2010 and participated in defacing neil gaiman's hotel room, i was caught by my handwriting and humiliated

code clean-up (mostly others' legacy shit), integrating hac into our emergency project, small wins, a decent run

urban farming and composting, cooking tensions, good news from tokyo, deleting ezpzrpg on grounds that it's generated obsessive behaviour, sandman and house

wednesday:

a pretty good night for the first time in a week, good breakfast, decent weather
forgetting my wraps again, picking up shitty walmart ones on my way to work
a full day of post-review fixes, a good first team meeting
just after my backend "master" left i learned that he broke everything, leaving me intensely frustrated by incomprehensible errors after everything had been working beautifully
everything coming to a grinding halt at the end of the day as our lack of progress on the git-process front came to bite us in the ass
clearly expressing my lack of faith in my now-ex manager (nem) before leaving for boxing
a great class, tough but fun and ending hard but feeling good
Getting Stuff Done

thursday:

tough awakening, re-postponing laser treatment (how am i tanned??), arguing with vfmp, grateful for cash back from the dep to pay the cleaning lady, her making sure gd's resting

git stabilization, QA strategizing and a  looong afternoon of painstakingly hand-copying an enormous quantity of code into a new branch

walking up the gym stairs, feeling wiped out and walking right back down again

vfmp positive update, working on my new system, headaches and exhaustion and no sponges and dinner, sandman, rough getting to bed

friday:

i need to tone down my contempt when speaking to nem (see previous post)
completing the hand-copy, handling bureaucracy, finishing the day positively but positively exhausted.
getting to the gym only to realize i'd forgotten my shoes again, talking to my mom while she was writing my second mom's eulogy, running and bags and teaching my shadowrun partner boxing, almost losing my nabu x, greasy fries on the way to the metro
our landlord finally coming through for us, take out and dogsitting
sense8 is very good, lgbt but not intrusively so, seems like a great metaphor for the powers the internet has bestowed on us

yesterday:

a good night's sleep
temporary fridge fix, high tone, spotify's remote functionality very annoying when you're trying to use it in two places at once
play ar is very cool, but awkward in an orthopaedic office.
all day sense8

today:

midnight snacking and cramps, weird, unpleasant dreams and early morning frustrations
the fridge finally sliding into place felt like a metaphor for the day
home center (twice :S), snob coffee, dollarama and shopping
abe's odyssey, too distracted to code or read, the joys of pregnancy (from hormones to feeling my son's head and back through gd's belly), and back to sense8

Sunday, June 07, 2015

the ultimate pet peeve

what is it about him that makes me so angry, that so easily slips under my skin and grinds against every fibre of my being?

i'm lying awake in bed contemplating my week, in particular my frustrations and my unprofessional responses to them, while simultaneously revelling in the moments that generated pride, the unexpected compliments and respect and appreciation.

it's not his lack of initiative. it's not even his incompetence. i'm coming to believe that it's the deception - primarily the self-deception - that snaps shut the lid on my heart.

mediocrity is the corruption of the soul. it's the lack of ability accompanied by a reduction of ambition, when ambition is what produces ability in the first place. it's the shrinking of goals to fit the narrative of "i can't" by justifying it with "i shouldn't"s instead; it's the self-limitation that's transformed into rules that limit whoever listens to him. it's the repetition of misunderstandings and mistakes and their transformation to a lifetime of bad decisions.

and finally, when confronted with the truth, when presented with solutions and attempts to educate, it's the rationalization of "but i've always done this". his insidious insinuation that his grey hairs show his experience and authority, when his attitude reveals his infantility.

this is a man who believes that death is the prize for struggling through a life without meaning, a man who works long, unproductive hours because he can't bring himself to think by himself, a man who does nothing but talk with authority about things he cannot understand, a man who "plays adult", who looks up to the lethargic and coaches a lack of discipline and values.

i want to feel pity for the man. i want to be kind, and compassionate, and patient; but i cannot accept that his kind exists, i cannot accept that our world is as dysfunctional as it is because of people like him, and that its dysfunction produces and encourages people like him.

i will not accept his kind. i refuse his world. i want to live in a world of heroes. i want to live in a world of enlightened beings, of risk takers and game changers, of honesty and integrity and bravery. it's so easy to make a world like that. it's so very wrong not to.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

vegan tension

after another experience where gd was traumatized by some disturbing images on her feeds, i posted the following on facebook, which offended some of my friends:

"you know what, facebook friends? when you post disturbing images without any form of trigger warning, you're being an asshole. have the decency to give others a chance to decide if they're ready to see animals suffering horribly. i don't believe in trigger warnings at poetry events because you should know what you've signed up for, but here it's a relatively public space. you're hurting the people who care more than you're teaching the people who don't."

a long argument ensued. eventually they dropped it, after i responded with the following:

i totally get what you're saying, i really do. but i think context is important. if you're talking about standing outside a baton rouge holding up traumatizing images and slogans - i'll be standing there with you. but facebook is a place for family and friends and coworkers - it's relatively public, but it's *not* public. i find it hard to believe that the proportion of people you're positively affecting when you post, especially considering that most of them are people who know you and have probably heard you speak on the subject, is significant relative to the number who're sympathetic already. hence my response hashtag of #preachingtothechoir.

i am all in for opening people's eyes, i simply disagree with your assessment of facebook as a good place to be aggressive about it.


this morning i happened to see something in my feed that i felt i needed to respond to.

hey vfmp, i hope you guys are well.

i just happened to see your post about north carolina's ag-gag veto:
"It's bad enough to have people who ostensibly care about animals tell me that posting images of animal cruelty is "not what Facebook is for"."

well. let's begin with the fact that that is not at all what i said. what i disagree with is the WAY you post those images. what i disagree with is your approach to creating awareness, with your methods, not with the act of increasing awareness.

let's begin with the way facebook filters our news feeds. facebook does not show your posts to all of your friends. facebook only shows your posts to a handful of friends that it thinks you like engaging with. this means that people who usually like your posts see your posts first, and if a post generates a lot of engagement then *maybe* it'll spread. that means that when you post these disturbing images, the people most likely to see them are the people who've seen them already and indicated that they're interested.

just FYI: you and your partner and brother were not the people who inspired my status on the topic. i barely see disturbing images from you guys, whatever that says about facebook's filters i don't know.

in short: when you post these images on facebook, even if it is the case that most of your "friends" need a wake-up, you're probably only showing them to your friends who don't.

even if it wasn't for facebook filters i firmly believe that "you catch more flies with honey", but i guess that's just my opinion. i think vegan aggression is doing more harm than good to its own cause, and i believe in enlightening people on their own terms because doing otherwise generates cognitive dissonance. we've had a hundred years of misinformation, it's going to take a considerable amount of work to break that.

finally, in response to "ostensibly cares": i'm trying to wrap my head around how disagreeing with your approach equates to not caring about the animals. if you care so much about the animals, posting on facebook is not really an effective way to go about fixing the situation. taking the kinds of actions that get posted about on facebook, however, is.
considering your great efforts with your
[personal] project, i know that you're capable of doing more than that. i will happily help out in any initiatives that won't jeopardize my residence, but while getting the world to go vegan (and we have our different approaches to that, too, but we're definitely both making an effort) is a good long-term influence, there's a lot of need for direct action. facebook is not direct. and alienating people instead of bringing them around is not conducive to bringing about change.

i hope you can appreciate where this is coming from.

Monday, June 01, 2015

restless

i'm standing here in front of my computer on a massage ball that's really hurting my feet which is far preferable to lying in bed trying to rest while my feet and legs ache as they've been for the past few days. i'm tired, we had a long day, i managed to get *some* things done but i'm uncomfortable that tomorrow's monday already and i really don't feel rested at all. it didn't help that i was irritable all day with no good reason.

...

anyway.

this morning was a surprisingly cold morning, i'm actually standing here in a sweater right now.
landlord anger: our landlord has not been fulfilling his obligations. after a week of ignoring us and two phone calls this weekend, he called back this morning and promised to come in on friday. we're calling the rental board tomorrow morning to make sure of our rights in case he doesn't.
getting shit done, in particular sorting out our online banking account that we opened months ago and promptly forgot about. what's cool is that we actually have a use for it now that we're getting ourselves out of credit card debt and pooling our resources.

gardening fails, a trip to home depot, then a walk to aubut, and on the walk back i had an epiphany regarding mixing capitalism and socialism that i hope will lead to something beautiful. i then did the regular shopping, came home to gd's delicious burgers and tried to rest afterwards.

overall, today's "ugh" factor hit around a 7.