Thinkpiece

With the abundance that only people on the internet can generate, there seem to be a dozen articles for each side of every argument ever made. And now, it seems like the cool thing to do is deride these articles by calling them thinkpieces.

  • "Why I Won’t be Reading Your Harper Lee Thinkpiece,"
  • "Your Confederate Flag Thinkpiece is Old and Tired."

Even when someone praises a "brilliant thinkpiece," it seems to have the effect of minimalizing the article. At least to me.

Why I’m Not Giving Up

Even though the internet, and particularly sites like Medium, through which writers can reach a large audience, is inundated with other people just like me, who have lots to say on lots of subjects, and my own articles - generously - reach maybe fifty people consistently, I’m not going to quit. I’m not going to let the nay-sayers, those droll insta-critics, hold me back from writing. I’m also not going to let the deafening silence in my comments section intimidate me. I’m not writing for instant gratification. I have thoughts. I have opinions.

Sure, sometimes they’re the same as other people’s, but sometimes there might be a nugget in there that makes someone think, and maybe spawns a "thinkpiece" of its own. Even if it’s a negative reaction to what I’ve written.

So go ahead. My thinkpieces are tired, and you’re not going to read them. That would make you different from essentially nobody. Congratulations.

There’s a Song Title In There Somewhere

Been Away Too Long

It seems like just yesterday that I was walking away from my 20-to-39 challenge after getting completely sidetracked from it and overwhelmed by it. I posted an explanation for my failure, but then never really got back to it. And then that was it. No blog activity since April.

Always On My Mind

I have had things I've wanted to write about - white privilege, privilege in general, posts on programming - but I've been busy doing other things - things that, I guess, I would have blogged about, if I hadn't been so busy doing them. So, yes, I've been stepping out, but I guess you want to hear all the sordid details. Well, we've been together for ten years now, so I guess you've earned the truth.

Demolition

When we moved on to the acreage, Kim had some very strong opinions on the kitchen. Granted, it's a galley kitchen, and we suffered through that at the condo. It's never been our number-one choice, and finally, we're going to do something about it. We've already started stripping the walls, cutting into them, and buying things like counter-tops and faucets, so I guess it's really happening.

Love Shack

No, not really, but we have been building a shack outside. We'll be getting chickens in the spring, so it's at least a little bit important for them to have somewhere to live. So we hit things with hammers and hope they stay up. Fortunately, we've had the help of a friend who is very good with a saw and a drill.

Paperback Writer

I've really been concentrating on writing stories. I've struggled, quite often, with knowing what to write next, how to get my characters to develop, what that development should even look like and how a story should work. Larry Brooks's informative-if-irritating Story Engineering has been instrumental in my learning how to properly plan a book. I've tried going in without a plan, but the biggest successes I've had were when I did have a plan. I figure finding out the best way to plan is the way to go. Even if Brooks's methods are only a starting point, it's definitely time I've spent well.

Cats in the Cradle

Between the things I've written above and the ridiculous assertion that I don't want to be an absentee parent, I haven't taken the time to update the blog in awhile, as I'm sure the ones and ones of my regular readers have not failed to notice. So, "Why now?" you ask. What could have brought me back here when there are so many dynamic and challenging other things, not to mention a full-time job, that are taking my attention?

In a New York Minute

Life can throw things at you; wake-up calls that should not -- must not -- be ignored. I got some disturbing information the other day, that Cliff has decided to decommission his blog. He cited that he has been ignoring it and that writing posts often feels like work. Combined with his web host shutting its doors, he made the decision to move on. I'll miss his views, his sense of humour, and the videos that always made me reach for the eye-bleach. Okay, maybe not those, so much, but all the other stuff anyway. But I understand his point. A blog sitting around unused maybe has some value as an archive, but it's meant to be active. So I'm making a decision the other way. Instead of pulling my blog off life-support and moving on, I'm just opening the doors, cleaning up, and opening up shop again.

Against All Odds

"But what about your other things? Won't you just go running back to them? Am I supposed to just sit here and hope you'll come back someday?" Yes I will. But I'll be back. I'll always be back. If an almost three-month hiatus can't kill us, what can? You know, unless you've stopped coming here entirely, in which case, I'm sending up words for the ether.

Closing Time

In summation:

  • I'm busy, but I'm not going anywhere.
  • I'm sad to see Cliff leave the blogosphere, but hope it treats him well.
  • It's good to be back, even though I haven't really gone anywhere, and I'm just typing words into an editor.

One Last Thing

On the horizon for the blog:

  • A review and summary of Story Engineering by Larry Brooks - It helped me, and maybe it can get you unstuck, too.
  • A discussion of MarkDown - a way to format writing on the web more efficiently than HTML
  • A discussion of emmet - an HTML-generation add-on to text editors that has completely blown my mind
  • Summer blog challenge? - we'll have to see if it's something I can commit to this year

Audio Citations

  • Been Away Too Long - Soundgarden - King Animal (2012)
  • Always On My Mind - Willie Nelson - Always On My Mind (1982)
  • Demolition - Rick Derringer - Piledriver: The Wrestling Album 2 (1987)
  • Love Shack - The B-52s - Cosmic Thing (1989)
  • Paperback Writer - The Beatles - Hey Jude (1970)
  • Cats In the Cradle - Harry Chapin - Verities & Balderdash (1974)
  • New York Minute - Don Henley - The End of the Innocence (1989)
  • Against All Odds - Phil Collins - Against All Odds: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1984)
  • Closing Time - Leonard Cohen - The Future (1992)

git commander / blessed

What crazyness is this, I say about git-commander. That's incredible, it's a terminal?

How does this even work?

*browse code*

Wait, where's all the code?

what's this require...

WHAT IS BLESSED. OMG!!!?!! This is a thing!?

The state of the art is my childhood. This is insanity.... or awesomeness...

If I could find a turbo pascal to javascript/blessed transpiler, I could whip up some awesome shit

THE FUTURE IS FUCKING WEIRD!

So This is Adieu

What better way to close things off than with a headline using a French word? Nobody saw that coming! HAHA!

So, here’s the deal. At the end of this month, my current web host is going out of business. And yeah, I could jump to a different host and keep going, but the more I’ve been thinking about it the more I’ve realized that I really just don’t want to.

It can’t have escaped attention that this place has basically become as lively as a cemetery. I pop up now and again and actually make an effort to blog, but then my interest again wanes and once more this place falls to silence. And what’s the point? This shouldn’t be something that I have to force myself to do. If it has become work, why don’t I actually try to land another freelance gig and do work that pays me money?

For whatever reason, my current interest in blogging resides around the nil mark. And that has been the case for awhile. So this is it. Read through my years of scorn and mockery, or…you know…don’t. Whatever you wanna do. Perhaps I shall one day return to these Interwebs, sharing my angry takes on whatever pisses me off like the jackass that I am. Perhaps. But not today…well, not today AFTER this post…and this one totally doesn’t count and stuff.

BEST ANYTHING EVER

Have you ever wanted to see a movie with Viking women armed with automatic weapons? Perhaps you want to see Hitler as a Kung Fu master? Maybe you’ve always thought that dinosaurs were cool, and just wished they could fight robots. And hey, what if there was a movie starring a guy who looks like a Double Dragon character? It would be great if he spit out horrible puns like they do in 80’s action movies. And giant Norse gods with sweet pecs never get old! Hey, perhaps David Hasselhof could do the theme song at the end!

Search no more. It’s here. All of it is here. Also, Nazis, nut shots, a Power Glove, hair metal character intros, a Triceratops in a police uniform, the greatest hacker ever, time travel, talking cars, beating a man with his own arm, teamwork, ‘the chosen one’, spirit animals, cartoons, a living and homicidal arcade machine, a laughing tyrannosaurus, a sweet headband, scenes of a police chief freaking out, a cell phone commercial, debate about who has the better Aryan mustache, explosions, music featuring a lot of keytars, hacking montages, and a couple of Mortal Kombat-esque fatalities. Enjoy Kung Fury.

THIS is what Kickstarter was made for.

New Shinies!

Oh hai, new graphics card!

Oh hai, reader!

That’s a GTX 970. One of them is now in my computer. This pleases me.

It came before work, so I uninstalled my existing drivers, swapped out my old card for this one, plugged everything back in, started up and…

…the monitor stayed in power saver mode, because the card wasn’t being detected.

FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU...

Streams of obscenities escaped my face. Entire sentences consisting of nothing but swear words and filth were heard. Cats fled, fearing for their very lives. Thankfully, shutting down, re-installing the damn thing and restarting worked, and an epic spree of death was averted.

And then I had to go to work, so that kinda sucked.

But tonight. Oh, tonight. I have run Battlefield 4 with every single setting cranked. And it was pretty. And it was smooth. And I did shoot many people in the face, but in a purely virtual environment that allows me to escape prosecution.

And the world was good again.

What in the Actual Hell?!

GAAAAAHHHHH?!

I am kinda without words. So prepare for some off-the-cuff ad libbing.

Seriously, what the Hell? Did Alberta wake up today and for the first time realize that there are other political parties out there?! WHAT HAS HAPPENED HERE?!

I don’t even have anything to rant about! Now we can look forward to watching Jim Prentice take his seat, make like an also ran and SHUT THE FUCK UP. We shall be nourished by your delicious tears of…wait…what? Jim Prentice was elected and is now stepping down? Of course he is! Because he’s an absolute front running coward! What a shocker. Once again, he completely ignores what the voters actually want. Good goddamn riddance. Good riddance to every one of these arrogant twatwaffles. Also, a special good riddance to Stephen Mandel, who has become a completely unlikable, humourless troll of a human being.

And here’s why this is a good thing. I don’t want 30+ years of NDP rule. I don’t want never-ending elected dictatorships to happen again, EVER. And to avoid that, we need quality political parties. Lots of them. And yes, that includes the PC party. You know what works best to curb the arrogance of a snot nosed punk? A beating. And I’d say that this certainly qualifies as an absolute shit kicking, finished off with a curb stomp. So, good riddance to everyone who brought them to this point, start fresh, and come back with something new.

And Alberta. Oh, Alberta. You’ve grown up! You’ve FINALLY realized that you have options! I’m so proud…and that’s weird, because I’m really not used to it. I don’t even know how to deal with it. Don’t forget! Don’t forget the fact that YOU actually control this thing! That’s probably the single most important thing that has been determined tonight, and I sincerely hope that it’s a lesson that sticks.

Cooking With Dad : Uh…Something?

Chickpeas. Cucumber. Celery. Onion. Mayonnaise. Dill. Seed mustard. Something with a bit of heat.

Is this a salad? A side dish? A cry for help?

I don’t know what to think of this, except that it’s awful.

This monstrosity is clashing with itself, and my mouth is the battlefield.

I cannot bring myself to shovel more of this into my face.

I may weep.

Pray for me.

You’ve won a trip to…Edmonton?

Yep, it has actually happened. The Price is Right has hit the skids. Welcome to the bottom of the barrel, game shows. You’re now handing out vacations to Edmonton, Alberta like it’s an amazing prize.

I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry. And what is going on with that background image for her trip to THRILLING Edmonton?

Here's an image that has nothing to do with the place in question!

Talk about leading someone squarely down the highway to disappointment! Edmonton has no lakes and is hours away from any mountains. The only body of water that this poor, misled woman is going to experience here is the corpse-filled mud sink known as the North Saskatchewan River. We don’t have mountains, but we do have a picturesque pile of glass balls near a highway! And an exciting gigantic shopping mall in an online shopping era that renders physical mega-marts less important than ever! Actually, nothing is quite as ‘Alberta’ as that last one…

There are some trees around, but you’ll see a lot more pickup trucks equipped with lift kits! Trailer hitch balls as far as the eye can see! Drink down the tall glass of disappointment, Brenda! NOW you’re truly enjoying the real Edmonton experience.

Tearing off the Band-Aid

I’m supposed to be hip-deep in a blogging challenge. I’m supposed to be filling your idle surfing time with amusing anecdotes like the time I entered a bachelor auction, or the time that I got headbutted in the stomach so hard that half my stomach was black and hard like bone to touch for a week.

Instead, I’m struggling through two posts that outline my failure. I had to take a year off after my first year. No, it wasn’t academic probation or Dean’s Vacation or any of the other euphemisms that suggest I wasn’t up to snuff.

But I wasn’t. I went in with a terrific work ethic and did really well, then I fell back into old patterns from high school once I realized that effort level was required.

When I started with some harder classes, I wasn’t ready to kick the effort level back up, and I did poorly. I passed all my classes, but it wasn’t a pretty semester. So I left school.

But there are lots more things I want to say about that second semester and the year I wasn’t in school, so I’ll finish off those posts and get them up here.

I just didn’t want fear of you all knowing how I screwed up to keep me from actually writing those posts, so I tore off the band-aid in a fourth-wall-breaking extravaganza. And now I have no excuse.

Other than the NHL playoffs.

Hoping to see you soon (though I won’t talk to you like this),

Liam