Irrsinn.net: taking joy in human unreason

2010

Enviable Family Ties

My mother always wanted a tight-knit family.

Instead, she got me and my father.

Twice in the last couple of days, I’ve been privy some eye-opening views on families. One of my friends is trying very, very hard to have a baby. She’s struggling, but it’s her goal, and what most of her energy seems to be going towards.

It was fascinating to sit and talk with her about her research on everything from breastfeeding to cloth diapers to her psych class education on child development. She’s a critical thinker who has a sharp eye for analyzing what she sees in other parents/kids and cutting through bullshit.

I love it. Didn’t make me want to have a kid, but I always enjoy being around someone geeking, and I still suffer from wanting to know something about (almost) everything.

Yesterday, one of my coworkers was talking about her family–her brother did this, her other brother did that. Most of the stories she tells–which are all great and funny–are about her family, which struck me as unusual. She has non-family friends, but doesn’t talk about them much.

Finally, I asked, “Your family seems very… family-oriented. What’s up with that?”

Keep reading >>

Weekly linkage

This week’s internet cruising:

  • APW Book Club: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed, Round II « A Practical Wedding – Not all choices are empowering. "Because here is the thing: the more we talk about marriage here, the more I worry. I worry that we’re being given the illusion of lots of options, and the reality of really sh*tty options. I worry that the sh*ttiest of options (over-work, under-appreciation, enormous sacrifice) are being sold to us under the guise of 'independent womanhood,' instead of under the guise of 'life is hard sometimes, and you can make it through, but you should fight for things to be easier.'

    I worry when I hear about most of us* doing the bulk of the chores around the house. Not because we have to, but because we want to ('I just care more about cleanliness than he does, so I need to take responsibility for that.')"

  • Reproductive Writes: I Choose My Choice: An Interview with Elizabeth Kissling | Bitch Magazine – It's about a commercial that ran back in March of this year, but Kissling defines "post-feminism"–a term I've heard and never seen clearly described–and ties it into an enlightening analysis of this commercial and neo liberalism.  I don't know enough yet to analyze her comparison of post-feminism and neo liberalism, but I agree with her analysis of this "period-control" product: it's control over your body (yay, superficially), but not necessarily actually empowering.

    Her words on the neo liberalism dilemma with regards to menstruation: "A menstruating woman can't present herself as a rational, self-actualizing subject, she isn't able to participate in consumerism 24/7. A non-menstruating body is much better suited to market success in the consumer economy."

  • Elf M. Sternberg – Someday, Cognitive Dissonance will be Painful – "He got riled up to the point where he said, 'If I'm ever at a baseball game and the guy next to me doesn't take his hat off and stand up for the pledge, I'm going to knock his hat off, grab him by the collar and stand him up.'" I'll tell you, there'd be two cases of felony assault going on.
  • thestar.com iPhone : Controversy pushes girl off coed hockey team – This is absolute bullshit. This young woman (the only girl on a coed hockey team) was singled out for lacking skill–a dubious claim, according to the coach–by the parent of another child on the team. She quit to spare herself the scrutiny.
  • Buying individual health insurance policies with pre-tax dollars – "The PPACA may make it possible for workers to get the same tax break for purchasing health insurance on the individual market (via an exchange or otherwise) as they would if they bought their employer-sponsored plan (if they’re offered one)."
  • MenTaLguY: Metroid: Other M – The Elephant in the Room – I don't play the Metroid Prime games, but this coverage of the Other M game is an awesome read. "For the last few releases, the games have been getting more and more story-based, with Sakamoto’s very strong emphasis on narrative in Other M turning Metroid into a series with a story that literally can’t be ignored except through well-timed bathroom breaks. This might be fine if the story were different."

Uplink: Soothing Routine, or Monotonous Punch in the Face?

I picked up Steam’s Indie Future Pack this weekend–great buy, by the by–which includes Uplink, a game about hacking. And more hacking. …And getting caught.

The premise and mechanics are pretty simple: you’re an agent of Uplink with a handle, a plaintext password, and a bank account. You connect to the web through your gateway (think: managed, dedicated server), and hack companies and government databases to earn money, increased rating through Uplink, and status amongst your fellow hackers. There’s also some sort of “hack the planet” or “save the cheerleader” plot in there, but we’ll get to that.

Or not, actually.

I played this game a few years ago and loved it. I don’t remember why I stopped, except that maybe I graduated college and became exhausted.

Picking it up this weekend, though, I found that I have a much more analytical eye towards it. I blame the Weir(d) One. The game suffers from a narrowly-defined path to success, which gives the feeling that there’s only one (or two, or three) ways to succeed at the game. When a game opens by giving me a crap-ton of missions, no plot, and various ways to upgrade and optimize, I expect more of a sandbox than Uplink provides.

SlashNBurn was my first hacker. (Hey, at least it wasn’t “ZeroCool”.) Keep reading >>

Wedding Video vs. Photos

A thousand dollars for photos, or a thousand dollars for video?

Surely, this is a normal modern bride’s dilemma. If I pick only one to be done professionally, which is better?

Or should I pick neither to be done professionally? Disposable cameras on the tables are very “in” now, and neither service is cheap.

How often do we really look back on photos? Greg: never. Me: I… like organizing things. On the flip side, how often am I going to watch a video of my own wedding? At our first anniversary? When I’m contemplating divorce in seven decades?

Keep reading >>

Google Apps: Migration to New Services

As of yesterday, I had two Google accounts: my irrsinn.net Google Apps account and my regular ol’ Google Account. Both had the same email address, but the Google Account let me into services like Reader, Voice, and Feedburner.

Having two accounts was annoying, but not unbearable. It meant that Google Voice, for instance, had none of my preciously-maintained and iWone-synced contacts. I just created contacts within Voice as calls came in, no biggie, but I’ve definitely been using the service less as a result.

Turns out that Google’s been working on this, and recently added a boatload to services to Google Apps users: Voice, Feedburner, and Reader being the three I’m more interested in. AdSense was tricky, and was only moved for posterity. Keep reading >>


Recent Posts

This Lens, That Cat

A picture of Greg-the-cat.

I love my prime lens.

Buying Russian Train Tickets: A Tale of Language and Gaming

Goal

Get from Moscow to Saint Petersburg on a particular day, starting at a particular time, and on a particular train.

Trouble

I don’t read Russian! Nor do I have a grasp on the phonetics of the alphabet, although I can now successfully remember/guess the sounds of some letters and thus near-cognates (e.g., “ДOKУMEHTA” is probably something about a document, although Google Translate throws up its hands).

Things in My Favor

Keep reading >>

All-Call: Granny Squares Translators

I have a lot of French-, Hungarian-, and Italian-speaking visitors to Granny Squares, and a common complaint by visitors is that it’s only in English.

I would love to have help translating into different languages. I’m going to take a first-pass with Google Translate to implement the above three languages, but here’s my all-call:

Keep reading >>

January 31st 2014
Tags: On Life and Love, , , One Comment

Visiting Russia: the Unfriendly Reactions

The trip to Russia is in planning–our traveling companion is researching hotels (so we can get visas!) and sight-seeing destinations in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

An aerial shot of Norilsk, Russia.

An aerial shot of Norilsk, Russia.

What’s been surprising me is how much negativity I get when I tell people I’m planning a visit to Russia. “It’s depressing!” (with pictures like the one to the right) “Don’t go to XYZ!” “It’s super-dangerous!” “The USSR?!”

It’s disappointing that my friends and colleagues have little other than (relatively uninformed, I think) skepticism and dire warnings. I find wonder in so many things; a few pictures from the internet don’t suffice to satisfy or discourage that. I might choose not to visit an active damn war zone. I might choose not to flirt with women or gender-bend in a homophobic country. I might also choose not to travel alone.

But as someone who still marvels at standing at the edge of a country or continent in their own damn state, how can I pass up an opportunity for this kind of experience?

Future Proof Has a Blog!

Go read it and subscribe! We’re just getting warmed up, but there’s an announcement there that will be of some interest to folks who might be asking, “Whatcha working on now that Ossuary is released?”

I’ve got a couple of posts lined that will likely end up there–I’ve been playing in the world of free-to-play (mobile) games on my shiny and fast new phone, and the ethics of the set are… fascinating.

January 4th 2014
Tags: On Life and Love, , , One Comment

Of Course: 2014 Travel Is Still Undecided

So last year was Iceland. That was pretty spur-of-the-moment. We decided in May and went in August. Done. I would love to go back, particularly to see northern and eastern Iceland.

This year is up in the air, though. St. Petersburg, Russia is maybe an option, but talks stalled a bit over the break, and I’m a little undecided on traveling with children. Greece or Germany are still appealing.

I’d toyed with going on an adventure cruise with Explor Cruises to the Amazon last year, but the prices were nauseating (see the “Voyage to the Heart of the Amazon”) and I didn’t get a great feeling when I spoke with the agent at Explor Cruises.

That exact same cruise is offered through a few other agencies, including REI, which at least gives proper credit to the actual company running the cruise, Amazon Nature Tours. It’s also cheaper through other agencies.

Keep reading >>

January 2nd 2014
Tags: On Life and Love, No Comments

Time Is Not Discrete

I am not feeling New Year’s resolutions this year. When I think, “What do I want to achieve this year?” the list is the same as I am always striving toward:

  • Health (mental, physical, and spiritual),
  • Education (of myself and others), and
  • Creation

Those are the things I strive for everyday anyway. What metrics do I need to judge if I’ve really worked “hard enough” or “well enough”?

Am I healthier? Do I and those around me have more knowledge and compassion for the world? Have I created something and shared it?

Keep reading >>