rant

Doesn't work at all

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I was looking through the list of issues and bug reports for a module that I was considering installing, when I came across an issue with this title:

Doesn't work at all with VBO

My first thought was, "Wouldn't help you if that were a bug report submitted to me," followed by the thought, "Whiner."

Which isn't very empathetic of me. My immediate thoughts were reactionary and more negative than they needed to be. Thankfully, I recognized those annoyed emotions in myself. I'm working to be less frustrated and judgemental in passing things like that, but, dang, does that issue title annoy me.

Here's why:

1. "at all"

The module advertises it works with VBO. If it didn't work with VBO, the module author wouldn't have listed VBO in the feature list.

2. "Doesn't work"

Yes, please, feel free

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I swear, the 4th most famous last words are, "How hard can it be?"

When I read something like this (go ahead, read the whole post):

"The conference was a joke. You're a ridiculous outfit and I could do a better job in a fraction of the time and cost."

I have to take a deep breath, look down, shake my head, look up, and either burst into laughter or attempt to suppress that laughter. I have to do these things, because the only people who could possibly say these words are the people who HAVE NEVER DONE IT (where IT is defined at organizing and coordinating whatever the organized event is).

When I was running SBUL and MPUL, people would complain about this or that, about how unbalanced the teams were, about how I wouldn't let the teams play when the ground was too wet, about how the bathrooms weren't open or the lights were turned off too early, about how much the league cost, or about I don't know, pick something. Yes, the leagues were balanced on paper but life/injuries/sandbagging happens, we'd lose the fields forever if we played on them when they were wet, the bathrooms were open you went to the wrong ones, the lights went off exactly on schedule, and yes, field maintenance costs money, suck it up. No bit of logic would dissuade these people from complaining to a bunch of volunteers who spent their time helping CREATE SOMETHING THAT DIDN'T EXIST BEFORE, and existed because they wanted it to exist.

Fast forward to Hacker Dojo. Now THERE was a lesson in how many different ways I can keep a smile on my face while people complain about things that really didn't matter much in the grand scheme of things, all while getting kicked in the teeth in the end. Or Ignite Silicon Valley where a woman complained that the free-for-her event that I paid for and was organizing WASN'T SERVING DINNER.

The people who complained were invariably the people who have never managed an event, never created something from nothing for others because they wanted that something to exist, never been on the receiving end of two hundred people all asking for "one small thing, it shouldn't take long." They had never walked that mile in the organizers shoes, never understood death by a thousand cuts.

So, when I read something like the quote above, I see myself standing like Kris, one hand on my hip, the other hand on the bill of my baseball hat, looking down as I push the hat up and rub my forehead with the back of that upper hand, shaking my head slightly, a smirking grimace on my face. I see myself putting my hat back on my head, looking up, and echoing Andy Allan's words, "All I can say to you is please, feel free."

One minute each night

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So, I received a forwarded email today. It's one of those emails that I receive from a family member trying to save my soul. While I will admit from their perspective my soul may need saving, I will also admit that forwarding chain emails to me won't actually help. I'd be happy to talk to said family members and friends about religion, but, well, those conversations usually end poorly. It's a testament to the quality of my friends and family that continue to talk to me at all after those conversations.

Given that none of said people are here to discuss the email, here is the email with my thoughts interspersed.

It begins:

This is the scariest election we as Christians have ever faced, and from the looks of the polls, the Christians aren't voting Christian values. We all need to be on our knees.

Every election is the scariest election. This email has been going around at least four years, if not longer. The older a person becomes, the more disconnected from the previous generation she seems to become. Memories grow fuzzy, the hormones aren't raging, and the issues so important before you had a lifetime of experience are just plain different. Of course this is going to be the scariest election, the upcoming one always is because it is unknown: people find the unknown scary.

As for Christians not voting Christian values, they often don't. It's not a reflection on Christians per se, it's a reflection on the system.

And the knees line? Sounds like a call by a guy demanding a blow job from the next person.

Do you believe we can take God at His word? Call upon His name, then stand back and watch His wonders unfold. This scripture gives us, as Christians, ownership of this land and the ability to call upon God to heal it. I challenge you to do that. We have never been more desperate than now for God to heal our land.

The bible is written by men. While people claim this is the Word Of God, and therefore should be believed in full, it was still written by men, and therefore open to interpretation. It was also translated and copied many times over, often with omitted words and notes in the margins. There have been different books in the bible at different times, solidifying into the current format fewer than 500 years ago (and is actually not really solidified, there are different versions of the Christian bible). So, can you take God at His word? Probably, if you knew what it was. Can you take men at their word? Maybe, if you understand their motivations.

What I find interesting in the next line is the thought that an omniscient deity would bother to pay any attention to a bunch of lesser beings. To ants, we're probably god-like, yet don't really pay much attention to their calls. Bees or other insects are probably the same. "But, but, they aren't conscious! They don't think!" is a typical response to the analogy, which always makes me wonder how people would know this. I mean, have they actually communicated with anything such that they would know? Some people say animals aren't self-aware, don't think - I'm pretty sure they aren't farmers or pet owners.

Anyway, call upon His name, see him do stuff. Impressive that a human can command a god. Kinda makes me wonder about the definition of god and said human's place in the structure of his world.

The world that exists now is the result of human actions. If the author of the email thinks, "we have never been more desperate than now for God to heal our land," I'd probably suggest he head out and actually do something more than just send out emails.

This election is the scariest I remember in my lifetime. 2 Chronicles 7:14. 'If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.'

Last time I checked, the United States is not "the land of God." Pretty sure that's some place else, but okay, yeah, whatever.

During WWII, there was an advisor [sic] to Churchill, who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour for one minute, to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace. This had an amazing effect, as bombing stopped.

The last line of this section makes me laugh when I read it. It wants the reader to infer that the bombing of London stopped because a group of people prayed for a minute every evening. It wants the reader to believe in a direct causation: you pray, bombs stop.

It wasn't the praying that stopped the bombs. It was men fighting men with guns and more bombs, it was the starvation of an army, it was the politics and strategy and effort of men that stopped the freaking bombs. It wasn't the praying.

Give me hands that do, over mouths that pray, any day.

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America.

Yay?

The United States of America, and our citizens, need prayer more than ever!!!

Three exclamation points! It must be true!

What the United States of America needs more than ever is education in science and math. What the United States of America needs more than ever is an end to the victim mentality that pervades every part of its society. What the United States of America needs more than ever is the end of the overwhelming sense of entitlement. What the United States of America needs more than ever is people who believe in the good of people, in cooperation, rather than the us-versus-them winner-takes-all take-no-prisoners mob mentality of the non-thinking masses.

What it really doesn't need more than ever is more praying, it needs more doing: fewer words, more action.

If you would like to participate, each evening at 9:00 P.M. Eastern Time, stop whatever you're doing, and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, for peace in the world, the upcoming election, that the Bible will remain the basis for the laws governing our land, and that Christianity will grow in the U.S.

Fuck no.

History lesson for anyone who missed it in his high school civics class: the Constitution is the basis for laws governing our land. If you didn't figure that out, maybe you should go read it, it's the one that grants you religious freedom, a freedom that too many fundamentalist Christians want to take away from non-Christians. Here, let me quote the First Amendment to those forgot the Constitution was the basis for laws governing our land:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Hey, there you go. THE CONSTITUTION.

The author of the email really should memorize it, as IT is the basis for the laws governing our land.

If you know anyone who would like to participate, please pass this along. Someone said if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.

If prayers are the most powerful asset we have, we are in deep shit.

Prayers don't build roads or buildings. Prayers don't fix the plumbing. Prayers don't plant trees or raise children. Prayers don't *DO* anything other than, when done properly, move the speaker into a meditative state (which can be powerful, sure, but your hands, and sight, and brains are each a far far far more powerful asset than a prayer is).

Thank you.

You're welcome.

Please pass this on to anyone who you think will want to join us.

Done.

Which is to say, I didn't forward it to anyone.

Dear MIxed Greens makers

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Dear salad makers,

Yeah, that frilly stuff you put in the mixed greens? No one likes it.

And that deep purple crap that's bitter as hell?

No one likes that either.

If you stop putting those in your mixed greens mixes, I'll pay double.

Really.

Love,

Kitt.

This is a genre now?

Blog

Okay.

WHAT. THE. HELL?

Seriously now, there's a genre of books called "Teen Paranormal Romance" now?

Oh LOOK. They are ALL VAMPIRE BOOKS.

I wonder if they are all "he's so perfect, I'm so worthless," teach them to get pregnant when they're 18 because all babies are f'ing *perfect angels* ALL-THE-TIME crap.

GAH.

At least Christopher Pike varied his monsters.

Sheesh.

The win. It's all about the win.

Blog

While working in the living room today, Kris had the Kentucky Derby on the television. There was a woman jockey, Rosie, competing this year, so there was a lot of human interest stories around her. At one point, she was interviewed and asked,

"How would it feel to be the first woman to win the Kentucky Derby?"

She answered something like, "It would be great to be the first woman, blah blah blah something about inspiring women blah blah blah..."

Seriously, her answer was bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit.

I started ranting about it. Her answer should have been "Winning the Kentucky Derby would be amazing. It's what I've been working towards for years. And what do my boobs have to do with this race? Nothing. It's about the win."

Kris looked and me and said, "Tell that to the other groundbreakers."

I will.

And you know why?

Because that win is for her. That's why she's in this race. She's in that race to win. She's not in the race because she wants to be first woman to win the Kentucky Derby. She's not in the race to inspire little girls to love horses and become race jockeys. She's in that race because she wants to WIN. That win is for her. She may have something to prove, she may succeed (she didn't, but that's a different story), she may indeed inspire other women in the process, but that "first woman" part is for everyone else.

The win is for her.

Her boobs are irrelevant in that part.

Why do you find this acceptable?

Blog

The neighbors across the street from us have two children, a boy and a girl, fraternal twins. We see the boy out playing with his dad most evenings. They run the full gamut of various sports that eight year olds can play, from some sort of street hockey to basketball to catch.

We rarely see the girl. Instead, we hear the girl.

That eight year old girl has taken to screaming to get her way, or maybe just to vent frustration. Her screaming isn't a startled scream, nor is it short in duration or small in volume. Her screaming is top of the lungs, high pitched, full-on-I'm-angry screaming.

She does this when she doesn't want to get into the car, and her dad is carrying her and shoving her into the car.

She does this when her Mom is walking her to school and she doesn't want to go.

She does this when she's not getting her way on a Sunday afternoon.

Like now.

If you walk outside to my front yard, you hear a scream. And another scream. And another scream. And another scream.

I've stopped going across the street to knock on the door and make sure everything's okay. As far as I can tell, either the girl is upset, or her entire family is lying dead in the house and she's unable to cope.

It's times like this that I really truly want to ask someone who does this, "Why?"

Why do you think this is even remotely helpful?

What is this accomplishing?

Why?

Of course, part of me wonders about her parents. How many times am I supposed to bite my tongue out of social courtesy? You know what, your child is going to become a member of the society I live in. If my commenting on your parenting style helps her become a better functioning member, I'd say we both benefit. I so want to ask that neighbor, "What are you thinking? Why do you find this acceptable?"

Of course, I have a couple other people I want to ask that question, too. Why do you find this acceptable? Why do you believe it's acceptable to sleep in the same bed as your nine year old child every night? Why do you believe it's acceptable for your child to scream at the top of her lungs? Why do you believe it's acceptable for your child to be so dependent on you that he can't walk 300 yards to school without you? Why do you find it acceptable to do your child's homework, never letting him actually learn? Why do you find it acceptable never to let your child fail, so as to learn from her mistake?

Any to any parent who tells me to shut up, I'm not a parent, I don't understand, I'd like to tell you that giving birth doesn't make you suddenly wise, and it doesn't make you suddenly intelligent, and it doesn't make you suddenly better. It makes you a parent, not necessarily a good one.

So stop sleeping with your kid. Get her her own bedroom already.

The Annoying Deck

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So, my understanding of the Deck ads (the ones you see to the right of the free delivery pages on IconBuffet, which are subtle and fairly targeted), is that each is tested by the members of the Deck, and, if the website/product sucks, rejected if necessary. I've found all of the ads to be to sites that are interesting to me in some way. Sure, some of the sites are more useful than others, but all worth checking out.

The latest one I've seen is for GlueNow. It's a new ad, so I clicked on it.

It's for a website that allows you to post (create, whatever term you like) new content from a smart, tiny or dumb phone. Great! I write a lot, often on the go without my laptop, so I signup.

And get a page that says, "We will be releasing all Glue sign ups on a weekly basis. You will receive a welcome email once your account has been created. We look forward to making you a part of the Glue family!"

WTF?

Why advertise a new site if you aren't going to allow people to use the site? Worse, how could the people of the Deck have used it and thought it worthy if it's not available to the general public? Sure, yes, they could have been in on a alpha test of the site, but come on, how realistic would that test really be?

Now I'm just annoyed at the Deck. Boo.

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