Saturday, November 28, 2020

I've got nothing. Just listen to more Cannonball Adderley, is all.

  I've been putting this off all day, but it's 11 p.m. Country Standard Time and I don't want to break my streak. I'm just really not in the mood. Nothing particular is wrong, really. Stress, I guess, but it's not stress affecting me directly. I am stressed out about the fact Trump isn't conceding and more stressed about his cult being less inclined to accept reality. I really don't think he's doing anything but fundraising, but the Base is taking on a more fanatical air.

 I guess it's second-hand stress. My brother's stressed mainly because his wife is stressed. A cousin's stressed. A cousin of Momma's who's always been a favorite is terribly stressed. There's nothing I can do about any of it, and that always drives me up the wall. A friend passed away earlier in the week and I find myself dealing with that weird feeling of not-quite-guilt I sometimes feel about my monk-like lifestyle. Just a weird week.

 Anyhow, that's a good enough segue into links for this week's News. A good week, if everything was a bit short. I just made wordcount Monday and Friday, but Wednesday had a little more meat to it. To be fair, there really wasn't much news this week beyond Trump's ongoing nonsense and his worshiper's increased fervor. Sure, there was an assassination of an Iranian scientist that's worrisome, COVID-19 continues to gallop out of control, and general shit-assery Trump's trying to pull on his way out, but that's still all connected to this total goofiness. It's been a tedious week, man.

 I don't know what else, really. Been sleeping a lot because I'm tired of the world and I don't have access to good weed. I don't see much reason to stay awake. I'm still working on Brain Greene's A Hidden Reality and enjoying it, and I've been playing a good bit of Phantom Reality and Pillars of Eternity II over the week. But I have nothing new to say about any of that.

 I've been watching a number of absolute stinkers on I'll pick one and just let the algorithm pick whatever comes next. None of them actually stand out for any reason. They're just bad, bad, bad. I really don't care to watch "bad movies" to laugh at them, a la MST3K. It's fun enough with someone else but not really by yourself. I can't even remember any of the titles apart from Evil Bong, and that's just because they nailed some stoner stereotypes. They were very broad stereotypes to be sure, but they were funny enough in a "fart joke" level of humor.

 I've got 10 minutes and a little over 440 words. I don't know if I'm going to make it, but I'm not too bummed about it one way or another. I did take out 10 minutes to fill out a job application for a resume writer. Probably what I'll do is post this and come back to do the minimum amount of editing I do. But, hey, that's 500 so I believe I'll shut it down. Maybe if something comes to me I'll come back, but I think this is the way things are going to be for a couple of days.

 It is what it is, I guess.

Friday, November 27, 2020

We'll hold up our glasses against evil forces.

  Okay. I have some Actual Paying Work to do tonight, plus Momma's got supper almost done. And I think Tuesday's entry was so fine and slick it deserves another read. But this is now and we are here, so let's get something down.

 First off, if Thanksgiving is your bag, happy Thanksgiving. If it's not, happy Thursday. I also think we should take a moment to recognize that this day is not necessarily one of celebration for our Native friends and neighbors. And we must understand that not everyone has a blood family they can spend time with though they might have a group of friends. When I lived in Athens, I'd get together with some of the other musicians, townies, barflies, and the rest of the citizens of that particular island of misfit toys for a Thanksgiving throw-down at one of the clubs. Or it's like that story about the lady and youngster who started a tradition due to a missent text. That's just damn sweet.

 Anyhow, enough of all that. Have a good time whatever you do and try to be good to each other. That's all ye know and all ye need to know. It's really not any more complicated than that. We've just chosen to make life more difficult than it really needs to be all for the benefit of a relative few. "You're just jealous of rich people's wealth, Matt." No, I'm jealous because they can do anything they want and not have to work a soul-destroying job just to eat. The main reason they can do that is because we the people work those jobs and they get the profit. It's a helluva thing.

 Whoops. Getting a little dark there, and no one really wants more melancholy gloom and doom on the holidays. Regardless of the truth therein because the truth is not always pleasant. But that's life and we must muddle through. I'm not particularly interested in the news today, though the antics of Sidney Powell continue to entertain. Apparently, donations to the cause mean writing a check directly to her. Yeah, buddy. Beats working, I suppose.

 I finally got around to watching Oblivion last night. It's cheeseball as hell and goes maybe just a bit too far with it - they made a Man-Thing joke, but I won't lie it made me laugh - it's nevertheless a nice way to blow 90 minutes or so. It's getting basically a five out of ten from most review amalgamations and that's about right. I'd go higher because I dig westerns, sci-fi, and general silliness, but that's just me. One's mileage may vary, naturally. I'll get around to the sequel the next day or so.

 What else is there? I don't know. I've been playing Phantom Doctrine but I've said enough about that already. I doubt have anything interesting to add. Momma's in there talking to my brother and I saw my cousin's oldest boy at the gas station. My big extended country family usually gets a couple times a year, usually Thanksgiving. Of course, we're not this year and that's a drag. In any event, I just heard the dinner bell and this is word count. Be well, friends and neighbors, and take care of each other. It does no good to make life any harder than it needs to be.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Hold my own on the dark side of this town.

 It's the 21st day of the... you know what? I'm not doing that joke. It's done. It's over. Trump lost. Joe Biden's the 46th President of the United States of America. It's a done deal, all that's left is the details.

 Emily Murphy of the GSA finally signed off and Trump threw her under the bus. Pennsylvania and Michigan are officially in Biden's pocket, which puts him over the 270 electoral vote line and, more importantly, eliminates any other path Trump might have. Even if somehow Georgia flips back red, which is looking doubtful, he's still the loser in this race. Deal with it.

 Indeed. Matter of fact, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, when they're not getting caught with more insider trading, are saying a planned recount might do them more damage than good. Ain't that a helluva note? Trump's shenanigans could actually cost the GOP power when the 2021 session rolls around.

 It's amazing to watch all this. One understands why the Trump people are having such a hard time dealing. For one, Trump "never loses," and up until now, he was in a position to make that as much a reality as it needed to be. When you spend your whole life making sure everyone around is dependent on how well you think they kiss your ass, it skewers your priorities. That's why he does the Twitter tantrum at least once a week. Being president is the first time anyone has told him "no, asshole" and he had to pay attention.

 The other reason is the Trump Administration put so much effort into rigging the game in their favor - even considering the edge the Electoral College gives conservatives - and they can't believe they lost, much less got blown out of the water. From Louis DeJoy's bullshit with the Post Office to shuttering polling stations in predominately minority precincts, making it as hard to vote as possible, Trump spent more energy trying to cheat than he did try to convince folks to vote for him. And he still lost by almost six million votes and what he called in 2016 an electoral landslide.

 And I understand why Congressional Republicans are still fighting fate. They threw their hat in with him and no the Base would skin them alive if they dropped him. A lot of people like bringing up tweets from 2016 by Lindsay Graham or Jenna Ellis trashing Trump, but most Republicans are craven jackanapes who would deep-fry their own grandmas for a few more votes.

 You'll notice how quickly they joined the MAGA faithful once it became apparent he would be the 45th president. You'll see how Trumpism has become de rigueur for the Republican Party, that being a mean, petty son of a bitch is how you win. That weird Nazi fanboy in North Carolina or that unhinged Q lady from Georgia. That's the New Normal for the Grand Ol' Party, folks. When you ride with pigs, don't complain when your shoes get covered in shit.

 Which brings us around to the Point. That is, the heart and soul of the GOP, the Base. Talk all you want about party bosses and backroom dealers, a political party lives and dies by its voters, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the Republican Party. From the Moral Majority to the Freedom & Liberty Warhawks to the Tea Party right down to the MAGA Faithful, the Republican voter has the party leadership by the short and curlies, at least on a national level.

 And y'all, them folks are full-gone looney. I'm not talking mentally ill or even "crazy." That sort of ableist bullshit doesn't fly here. Nor do I think they're "brainwashed" by conservative media. That's one of those words when used by the average slob pretty much tells you that the conversation can be ended there and nothing of value will be lost. That takes away agency, makes them innocent victims in some dark, twisted scheme by shadowy figures.

 No, sir. The world does not work that way. We need to face the fact that's been screaming in our face for the last four years, at least. They choose to think this way. They choose to believe it's impossible Joe Biden got more votes than their new Savior. It must be some chicanery or foul plot to steal away the People's Voice, and anyone who disagrees with them, well... they must be in on it. Even if they're Republican politicians or conservative judges appointed by Republicans, they're all a part of the Deep State.

 These people believe this like some people believe Jesus died for their sins or that the Saints will make it to the Super Bowl this year. And there's nothing wrong with belief. It's a fine thing that gives many people comfort in a cold, cruel, uncaring universe when they don't have the consolation of philosophy. I'm not a man of faith - any kind of faith - but I can't throw stones at people who need it.

 That being said, if you have faith in goofy shit or faith in logical impossibilities or faith in things that are only possible in poorly written spy novels, well sir, I have the right to stay as far from your wacky ass as I feel necessary. I'm serious, go to Twitter, and read what these people are saying.

 They cannot believe Trump lost. They can't believe that many people voted, much less voted against him. They fully believe, however, that he and his crew of thick-skulled, thin-witted dingbats that call themselves lawyers have some super-secret, sure-fire plan they're going to whip on us any day now. Seriously, I've seen people say they're going to name their kid after that Powell woman after she got kicked to the curb.

 But they're not crazy, no. They're not mentally ill, no. They're definitely not brainwashed, put that right out of your mind. Like flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, moon-landing hoaxers, and aliens-built-the-pyramid goobs, this is what they really, truly think. That is what we need to take seriously. The why? Well, that really doesn't matter, does it? They say they're never going to accept Trump lost or that Joe Biden won or - and this is what really hurts - most of the country doesn't want their worldview deciding things. Does that matter?

 No, it really doesn't. If "reasonable conservatives" want to work on the why, they're free to waste their time. The rest of us got shit to do and there's no reason to spend any energy trying to convince someone the Earth isn't flat and there's no conspiracy making people think so.

 Bank on it, bubba.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

I've got nothing here.

  We're on the 18th day of the 2020 Presidential Election and I am tired. Tired of that nonsense, tired of all the pain in the world, tired of the world in general, just basically flat-out tired. I had one of those days where after letting Otis out for his morning ablutions and then both of us called it a day. We really didn't stir until about 3 p.m. and to be quite honest, I may go right back to bed once I hit word count. First, though, the News.

 I'm going to start with Friday. One of the reasons I'm disinclined to deal with the world is I heard yesterday that one of my oldest friends, someone I've known for almost as long as I've been alive, passed away earlier this week due to congestive heart failure. I wrote what I thought and felt about it there and I'm really not inclined to rehash any of it. All I will say, friends and neighbors, tell the people who are important to you they are every chance they get.

 The rest of the week was fairly normal, concentrating on the never-ending stomping of Trump's attempts to use the courts to overturn the election. Over and over again, whether it's Monday's revelation of Lindsay Graham's attempt to influence the Georgia election or Wednesday's revelation that the people trying to get ground in Michigan got it confused with Minnesota, it's been fairly laughable.

 It keeps going, too. The attempt to stir up stuff in Pennsylvania has been dismissed with prejudice, which means in legal turns don't bring this shit up anymore. He's still trying shit in Michigan but he dodged the G-20 teleconference on COVID-19 vaccine preparation to golf and bitch about getting beat. And while this is going on, El Paso has the National Guard coming in to help because their morgues are too full of people who died from the virus.

 But I'm not in the mood to talk about that no more than I'm in the mood to talk about the election. My friend's passing depresses me, sure, but it also reminds me that I haven't made a single attempt to reach out to anyone I knew before I left home for college over 25 years ago. I still don't want to, for whatever that's worth, but I sometimes wonder if I should. I don't really know if I have anything to say to them since our lives have been so different. Most of them got married (a couple of times) and had kids, plus the normal dopey shit adults deal with. I've spent the last 25 years either being suicidally depressed or having a good time blowing my mind however possible.

 It's as likely as not I'm just feeling guilty and sad for my friend's family. He's got a Momma and a brother. They're good people, too. I don't know if he ever married. Anyhow.

 I don't have really anything else, I guess. I dipped back into Pillars of Eternity 2, spending some time on the DLC's. I'm almost to the end of the game. There are three DLC's and three choices to follow at the end, so I think that's what I'll do to finish it.

 And that's word count, buddy. Let's hope we get some good news, in re the election. We could all use a break.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

I was made to play the part.

 We're on the sixteenth (16) day of the 2020 Presidential Election. Though he has yet to accept the reality of the situation, Trump's chances are drifting further away and Joe Biden's victory becomes more solid. They recently finished up a count in Georgia, confirming his victory. After the election commission declined to challenge the Michigan vote based on a pair of GOP members' blatantly racist attempts to toss out votes from the predominately African American Detroit while ignoring more suspicious if predominately White communities, those same weasels said they wanted a do-over. It was past due, so nothing can come of it, but an interesting wrinkle is Trump himself took an active role in getting them to monkey with the count.

 And depending on how it's approached, that might be illegal. Much like how Senator Lindsey Graham's attempts to influence Georgia's count in his master's favor might be illegal, at that level it all depends on how bad they fumbled it and just who they've pissed off along the way. In any event, the Trump gang have withdrawn their lawsuit, saying it's served its purpose of, and I quote, "to stop the election in Wayne County from being prematurely certified before residents can be assured that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has not been counted." In other words, they wanted to slow down the inevitable since the game was over Tuesday night, and that's supposed to be a victory. Otherwise, they're like 2-27 when it comes to lawsuits trying to change what can't be changed.

 So much for all of that. As I've noted a number of times, I am sick to death of writing about the election, just as I'm sick to death of writing about whatever soft-headed bullshit Trump and his goons pull next. Either as president or trying to be president again, I am tired of that fool's very existence. Don't get it twisted, I wish him no special or particular harm. I just long for the day when I don't have to worry about the bastard anymore. He's a cheap punk and we're not only a poorer nation for his presidency and the viler aspects of the American Psyche it encouraged, we're a poorer culture just because a half-wit greedhead like that can become president.

 Donald Trump is an example of the American Dream being a dead and lifeless thing. He didn't kill it, but if there was actually anything to it, he would've never become a celebrity much less President and Most Powerful Man in the World. That's just all there is to it.

 Okay, then, let's move on. I have some Actual Paying Work to do tonight. It's a different beast than the usual post for a law firm to snag Google hits. Not much different, mind you, and it's more a question of for whom it's written rather than the subject matter. Either way, it's not interesting to get too deep into. Which as much as anything brings me to my next stroke.

 I often wonder just how much I should share here. Politics, naturally, and pop culture recommendations/considerations, of course. However, I find myself reticent to get too deep into my own brain here. If we met in public and became friends, you'd shortly know just about everything I tell anyone, from my closest friend to my therapist. I'm that sort of cat, I wear myself completely on my sleeve, and what I wouldn't tell you I don't tell anyone.

 My past because, quite frankly, I don't find it all that interesting. I had a good time as much as possible and when I wasn't was when things got ugly. I don't really like talking about friends and family, past or present. I have nothing but love for everyone who rides the highways with me and I've forgiven everyone I thought wronged me, whether they did or it was just my take on things.

 I really don't care to talk about my romantic history because, not to put too fine a point on it, I really can't figure it out. It's the same stroke; when I had fun it was great, when I didn't it wasn't. I'm not good at relationships or intimacy, stayed faithful if boring. I've had way more "meaningless" sexual encounters than actual relationships and I regret none of them. I don't think many women who were part of the process regretted it much, either. No one holds it against me, at least.

 The only problem, if it is indeed a problem, is it sometimes bothers me at just how inept at it. My brother celebrated his eighth anniversary earlier this week. My cousin recently hit her twenty-fifth. Some of my closest friends have recently clocked ten years together. My parents were together 44 years before my father died.

 I don't understand any of it. My last girlfriend is a wonderful human being and was in love with me. I was not in love with her, or at least I don't think. She's still one of my Better Angels and is better off with her current fella. Most of the ones before her I haven't talked to in at least five years. No real reason, just when it's over I think it's over.

 There's no regret or wistfulness at losing their affection, either. If they never think of me, fine. Indeed, the one woman I actually burned for and wanted body and soul... well, let's just say I could've had a one-night stand if I wanted. She was right there and ready to go, believe you me. But that one time it wasn't enough to have sex and go on with life. She still drifts across my mind, but I'm so glad I'm not the man in her life now, some fifteen years later.

 At the time, passion clouded my thinking and desire destroyed reason. When it fell through because she chose someone else - someone she told me regularly treated her shitty but she "couldn't have two men in her heart" - I was miserable for six weeks or maybe three months. I couldn't understand why she didn't choose me when I told her I would give her anything I could and, at the time, I meant it. I would have given her the whole world. At the time.

 Nowadays, I'm happy she's happy with her life, and she is, just as I'm extremely happy I'm not the father of her children or even who she sees when she first wakes in the morning. Was it love? I still don't know and that bothers me. I know I've never felt like that for anyone since, even for women who wanted that from me and I couldn't give it. That question bothers me, but not because I wish things were different. I just don't like not knowing something and I guess that's something I'll never figure out.

 Well, neighbors, that's enough of that nonsense. Back to politics, country music, and video games, I say. We're having fun and, in any event, it's like that old New Orleans saying.

 It is what it is.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

I can't come up with anything and I haven't figured out how to write out guitar hooks.

  We're on Day 14 of the 2020 United States Presidential Election. The needle really hasn't moved, except the Michigan GOP is actively trying to disenfranchise African American votes in Detroit, and Rudy Giuliani's attempts at arguing Trump's claims in court are, in a word, comical. Someone else compared it to a Lionel Hutz bit from The Simpsons. To me, it looks like just what it is: a not-particularly-good lawyer trying to turn bullshit into buttermilk when he hasn't worked a case in court in almost 40 years.

 Anyhow. It's been twenty minutes since I wrote the above paragraph. I just don't have much going on tonight, I guess. We'll run for word count, but I surely don't know what I'll fill this space with.

 I'm still working on the Brian Greene book. Those things are pretty meaty. Even dumbed down to a layman's level, physics and cosmology books are always heavy, even when the writing is sharp. Greene usually is, but still. It's heavy subjects that require heavy thinking, and I usually wind up reading some Hunter Thompson to calm down.

 Trump fired his cybersecurity guy Chris Krebs because the man debunked one of the Boss' many, many false claims concerning his crushing defeat in the election two weeks ago. But so much for all that. I am still sick to the teeth of writing about the goddamn election and that cheap bastard's refusal to accept reality or, for that matter, the brainless chumps that believe every hint of bullshit like it was Gospel.

 I'm going to indulge in a little loose thinking, so feel free to skip the next couple of paragraphs. A lot is been made of the fecklessness of the Democratic Party the last couple of days. And feckless they are, let's make no bones about it. There's some talk about who Biden will appoint to his cabinet and, as equally galling to some, who he will not appoint. Put it this way, he doesn't need to screw around too much with the makeup of the Senate right now.

 One thing sticking in the leftist/liberal craw is the intimation that the Biden Administration might not pursue legal action against the Trump Administration once the former gets settled in the White House. Now, I admit, I'm not keeping too close attention on this particular stroke, so I'm not sure there actually is anything they can nail him on. The New York attorney general has first dibs on his orange hide and there's nothing the White House can do about that.

 However, while we again do not dispute the basic gormlessness of the Democrats these days, one does wonder if they're not doing the best they can under the circumstances. One thing most people forget is they have to cover a lot of ground, from far-leftist loons like me to Republicans genuinely embarrassed about being lumped in with pea-brained fascists and everything in between, plus the big money men.

 Furthermore, and I know people will dispute this because it's easier than thinking, I think the Trump Years have taught us the Big-Time Media is easier on the Republican Party. How long did it take them to say the president is a liar? How many puff pieces have we seen trying to figure out why Trump supporters worship him when it can be easily explained as "Americans love authoritarian assholes?" They've not changed in five years, what's so hard about this? They abandoned George W. Bush because he refused to be quite that awful and Sarah Palin when she couldn't keep the grift going, is it so surprising they'd go for a celebrity who's pretended to be a business shark?

 It wasn't all that different during the Bush Administration, really. It plays into familiar narratives and that's always easier than thinking. We pretend affordable healthcare and guaranteed wages are some sort of socialist pipe dream while we also pretend "pro-life" actually is or that morality is only white, Christian, and financially successful regardless of how it got there. So, they're up against a lot. That's not suggesting they're above criticism or, indeed, current criticism should let up. One of the reasons the GOP is so successful despite being a black hole of politics is their message of greed and exclusion doesn't require much work.

 I don't know what else. I've been listening to a lot of Taj Mahal lately. For the longest time, I never really ventured outside his earlier records but I've come around. A lot of Cannonball Adderly, too. It's great stuff to fall asleep to, for whatever it's worth. I've been finding really low-quality horror movies on Tubi or ShoutFactoryTV diverting as well. Just awful shit, but hey, they're free. Can't beat that with a stick.

 I guess that's plenty for today. As always, if something comes to mind I'll come back around. Otherwise, catch y'all at the News tomorrow.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Tell me again, but I don't think you'll convince me.

  Well, hellfire. I laid down for a quick nap after supper and damn near slept the night way. It's almost 10:30 p.m. Hillbilly Standard Time and I haven't written anything. I don't really want to write anything, but c'est la vie. At least we can eat with links to this week's News.

 A good week as it turns out. Monday was a look into all the screwy stuff going on in the Trump Administration, noting, in particular, the firing of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and the shenanigans of GS Emily Murphy. Because the former got more interesting by Wednesday, we explored the wholesale packing of the Pentagon with Trump localists. Friday we came back home and looked at just how badly the Trump Administration and Gov. Tate Reeves have muffed the whole COVID-19 thing for Mississippi. Five days hand-running of more than 1,000 coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period.

 The whole time, Trump's crushing defeat got more and more evident and the record-tying Hurricane Eta kicked the shit out of Central America. Today we find ourselves looking down the barrel of another hurricane, the twentieth this season. And, of course, Trump's victory in this, the eleventh day of the 2020 Presidential Election, becomes more and more a dream as President Pissybritches loses more and more court cases trying to deny reality. He's something 1-20 now, and that one covered less than a thousand votes.

 Today finds the Proud Boys marching on Washington, D.C., in support of the giant whiner they've decided is the New Messiah. There have apparently been a couple of crashes between those dopes and Antifa and/or BLM counterprotesters, but far as I can tell, nothing serious. The D.C. fuzz got involved to protect the MAGAts before things got too serious and the president's egging them on to engage in more violence, because of course.

 That sort of sums up my feelings towards the Proud Boys, for what it's worth. I know I should take them more seriously as a bunch of xenophobic racist, sexist homophobes, but despite being a cis straight white guy, and thus not someone they'd challenge. But they're ridiculous goofballs without the System protecting them. Sure, they're a danger because they tend to be heavily armed and they're the biggest argument for severe gun control, but without the backing of the cops, they'd fold like a cheap suit.

 There's a video of a tussle between the groups going around on Twitter that's been selectively edited so as to stir up the Base and the President is encouraging it. Indeed, he's encouraging actual police violence on people who disagree with him politically. And I've now officially written more about the Proud Boys than I have ever wanted to. They are bad people and wouldn't be shit if they didn't have the cops to protect them.

 Y'all, politically charged scuffles are nothing new and they're not going away, particularly when conservatives' idea of "building bridges" is total capitulation. I've said it before, but this country does not have a problem with thuggish authoritarianism. Indeed, we sort of dig having a group of people to kick the shit out of when they point out the Powers That Be aren't playing by the rules they set out.

 It's kind of why I don't put much truck in this whole "Trump's encouraging creeping fascism" because this country has always been just this side of totalitarianism for anyone who doesn't fit in. The idea, of course, is personal freedom, but the truth is the cops will kick the living shit out of you if the government wants your land. Just for one example. Maybe it's getting worse or maybe middle-class white folks are becoming hipper and/or catching some of the shit rain on themselves.

 Okay, so I've gone around a bit. It's 11:30 p.m. and I have word count. I guess I should go ahead and post this, but I really don't want to end on such a sour, downer note. I'm still not seeing much support for Trump outside his cult. They're furious at Fox News. Normal people are sick of the shit from both Trump and Fox. So that's there then.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Write your own song.

  I have some Actual Paying Work due tomorrow. As of right now, I'm not particularly inspired to do much writing about anything. I'm reading Brian Greene's Hidden Reality and sort of was to get back to it. I bought it before I quit reading seven or eight years ago and just never got around to it. It's all about the possible implications of the Many-Worlds Theory and that's my current jam.

 Speaking of jam, I'm currently listening to a band from the '90s called The Freewheelers. They were signed to Def American around the same time as The Black Crowes (a favorite) by the same guy, George Drakoulis. They're not bad, but the self-titled first record really isn't all that interesting. I've got the second album, too, which is supposed to be better, but so far... meh.

 On that note, I will say that Apple Music is the best thing invented by man. For around ten bucks a month, I get unlimited access to not quite every piece of music released but pretty damn close. I'm often shocked at what I find, some really obscure shit or long-dead indie band trying to get something out of the whole mess. It gives me a chance to listen to stuff that I previously wouldn't have taken a chance on, as funds are limited.

 It's been fairly successful, as far as that goes. I've reassessed my opinion on '70s California country-rock, discovered some of the neat '60s garage rock bands that fell through the cracks, and reaffirmed my belief that most music released these days, even blues and country, really isn't for me. See? The internet doesn't have to suck and the big corporations don't have to be complete shits.

 Okay, that's it for now. I figure the APW will put me over the word count. If I get inspired, though, I'll come back. Don't hold your breath, though.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

My sins have overtaken me.

  We are in week two of the 2020 Presidential Election. It seems most of the votes have been counted and verified, and Joe Biden leads 290 to Trump's 214. He's also up by four to five million in the popular vote. Trump, most of the GOP, and the Base, however, insist that every weird conspiracy theory and silly misunderstanding of how presidential elections work is so real and Trump totally won, you guys.

 But this was to be expected, really, or should have been. If anyone thought they wouldn't do just this regardless of how the vote turned out has not been paying attention to anything. Trump could've lost the entire country apart from the Deep South, Montana and Idaho with a popular vote lead of a solid million and they'd still cry about voter fraud.

 This is an aspect of the GOP that Trump brought into sharp relief, the idea that whoever whines the loudest is the most right. To date, the only evidence of any sort of chicanery was the revelation that the Erie, PA, mail service worker that told cheap punk James O'Keefe's laughably named "Project Veritas" that his claims of vote tamperings were lies. He admitted that his signed affidavit was nothing but bullshit once federal investigators interviewed him.

 And that's where I stand on all of this, from Hunter Biden's laptop to any claims of voter chicanery. If it's coming from Republicans, it's all bullshit. It's up to them to prove to me otherwise. That's pretty much where I stood beforehand, but this is a fine example of why. Sort of like when I consider white people being racist, they're actually being racist and I'll apologize if I'm wrong. I rarely am, though. I've been taking notes for a long time.

 So much for all of that. I have no doubt Trump will never concede, and I for one hope he doesn't. I want to see him pulled out of the White House, screaming and crying, like William Macy at the end of Fargo. I am rarely this vociferous, much less this vindictive, about politicians, much less presidents. I'll make an exception here, though. Just like I would love to have seen that shoe connect with George W. Bush's head, I will get a massive chubby if Trump is reduced to a blubbering, squealing, snot-nosed mess by people who no longer have to say "yes, sir" to him. Again, though, the Base will see him as the Alpha Male, but what the hell. They're beyond redemption and should be treated as such.

 Now, moving on. I'm almost finished with the fourth book of the "Reality Bleed" series. I made a mistake when I mentioned these books earlier, neglecting co-author Justin M. Woodward along with J.Z. Foster. My mistake. Anyhow, I'm still enjoying it and still interested in seeing where it goes. It moves at a fast clip, though most of the books are less than 200 words. I don't have a problem with this. The plot stays lean and uncluttered without all the unnecessary fluffery that slows down most serial books. There's been a couple of auxiliary short stories to expand the world. It works.

 Unfortunately, I made a mistake and didn't check to see if the other issue with book serials, and that is the revelation that it isn't finished. Dammit. It's just halfway done. The fifth book comes at the end of the month and the series is planned until next August. That's a bone of contention for me. I want to finish the goddamn story once I start. This dates back to Timothy Zahn's first Star Wars books, the Thrawn Trilogy. I knocked out the first two in less than a week and then had to wait almost a year before the third and final book hit paperback. No offence, Mr. Zahn, but there's no reason a Star Wars serial should be a twenty-dollar hardback book.

  Anyhow. That's enough for now. I mentioned in this weekend's News that there might be changes since Trump won't be around to kick around in two months' time. Or it may not, since the GOP doesn't seem to show any signs of not being complete dirt.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

I love being a free man.

 Google Chrome is acting screwy again. It's not wanting to load anything but the home page. Nothing times out, it just doesn't load. Microsoft Edge works as does iTunes so it's not a connectivity issue. Matter of fact, this just happens with my tower. My laptop's Chrome is running fine. It did this the other day and only kicked back into gear after putting to sleep and waking up the computer. Weird. I need to get this thing looked at.

 Anyhow. Pennsylvania got through counting all their votes and the state goes to Joe Biden, which means he is the 46th President of the United States of America. Or is projected to be so, anyway. Like we discussed yesterday, there's something called "faithless electors" to contend with but I doubt they'll matter much. Regardless, it doesn't become official until the electors cast their votes and that doesn't go down until December 15.

 Of course, Trump is still pitching his fits and promising to fight it out on the hill that he was robbed all summer. However, the general consensus apart from the hardcore faithful is "sit down and shut up, you had your shot and muffed it." There's a lot of celebrations going on across the country and a lot of Very Serious People admonishing liberals and leftists. Reach out and try to build bridges, they say. Listen to the Trumpers who's been saying "fuck your feelings, America hater" for the last four years and try to understand where they're coming from. Sure.

 Before we get too much further, let's put out this week's News links. Of course, a lot about Tuesday's election this week. Monday was the lead-in and Wednesday was the fallout. Friday was a look at how interesting and unique this year's race was rolling out. From a purely observer's standpoint, as someone who just gets off on how the Game is played, it was entertaining as hell. As someone who has to live in this country and deal with its fellow citizens, it was nerve wracking as a son of a bitch.

 And to paraphrase a Twitter acquaintance, I'm not going to feel completely at ease until Biden is sworn in and Trump is running from the Southern District of the State Court of New York. Now Chrome is working. Weird. Momma just got back with supper from Peppertown Restaurant and I've completely lost my train of thought on this. To sum up, I reckon, unless something weird happens, Joe Biden is our next President and Trump will spend the next two months being as big a pain in the ass as he can be, partly to stay out of jail, partly out of an attempt to scuttle the Democrats, and partly because he's a dick.

 Moving on, I started and finished a rather neat science fiction book by one J.Z. Foster titled Hell On Mars. In a nutshell, the near-future of an alternate universe where the Cold War took a different turn and hasn't ended sees mankind is exploring the solar system among heating international tensions. On Mars, a former Nazi rocket scientist inadvertently opens a door to another dimension and Lovecraftian nasties come through as they are wont to do. A maintenance crew is sent to figure out why the Martian space station is gone black and shit goes south, as one would expect.

 As I've often stated, I'm a sucker for a good Lovecraftian horror set up especially if ol' Henry Phillip has nothing to do with it. It's not a revelation that his prose is almost unreadable purple, his racism, sexism and xenophobia leeks into his stories far too easily. One gets tired of reading how a bourgeoisie white dude from the early 20th century is scared of white people having sex with black people.

 Mixing Lovecraft and space travel seems like a perfect fit. So much of space is unknown and even if there are no gibbering extra-dimensional horrors from the dawn of time, we're still an insignificant part of a much, much greater whole. Movies like Event Horizon are great but not too give too much away, it's still too centred around human conceptions of reality, especially Western conceptions. One of the great strengths of Lovecraft's universe is that humanity is not important at all in the grand scheme of things if we make any noise at all.

 It's a quick, fun little read and a completely believable representation of a very pedestrian support crew being thrown knee-deep into the heaviest of shit. It is part of a series, though, and one never likes that. This was a quick read and did just what a book serial is supposed to do - that is, leave jonesing for the next book - but there are eight books in the series. The last time I dug into one of those it got so tedious I can't remember anything but the barest details. So, we'll see.

 Speaking of Lovecraftian horrors, thanks to the beautiful people at Humble Bundle, I've been messing around with the most recent Lovecraft-inspired game, Call of Cthulhu by Focus Home Interactive. So far, good enough if nothing particularly interesting or unique. Grizzled private dick with a troubled past gets hired for a mysterious case and has to go to Innsmouth, Lovecraft's Deep One-controlled crumbling fishing town. It looks nice and has some good atmosphere, but it doesn't bring much to the table that Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth did in 2006. A little less buggy, a bit sharper designed, but nothing really new so far. Granted, the Innsmouth Deep Ones business is probably my least favorite part of the Cthulhu Mythos and I can't for the life of me understand why it turns so many folks on.

 And that's enough for now. It's been a long week and I, for one, am glad it's over. From what I'm seeing on the internet, a collective sigh of exhausted relief is going on around the country.