Writer’s Log: 2540 7EZKool

7EZKool thought about poisoning the scruffy gray dog. But then he imagined watching it writhe and foam and flop in the mud of the monsoon and pictured himself chewing the poison, swallowing it, feeling it boil in his belly and decided not yet. He only had poison for one.

7EZKool made sure all the glass pictures fell and cracked before leaving his grandmother’s retirement home that morning when the city sprayed malathion to kill the billions of mosquitos that had infested the flood waters. The one photo of his younger brother he smashed with his elbow.

7EZKool watched a mother of two accidentally drop $40 on her way into the grocery store. He followed her at a distance selecting hickory smoked beef jerky and three sixteen-ounce Monster drinks. When he got to the checkout 7EZKool paid with her $40, popped the top and sipped, listening to the woman sob over the cans of baby formula she could no longer afford.

7EZKool pried open the locked-up plywood doors of the abandoned skating rink, slipped inside and plopped himself in the center of the buckled wooden floor to finish off the last of the Monsters and jerky. When his bladder whined, he stood and pissed in a circle leaving a dust-cleaned ring which he jumped on his way to spend the last of the $40 on some molly.

7EZKool stretched out on the gravel roof of the repair station where his father had hung himself in the block-and-tackle engine-lift chains, marveling at the stars and the satellites and content that he still had two more ecstasy pills in the baggie in his pocket.

7EZKool cursed himself that he hadn’t brought another Monster and decided to climb down the ladder and drink from the outdoor faucet that always leaked giving weeds as tall as his waist a chance to thrive. In his delirium, 7EZKool misjudged his momentum as he swung his leg around to touch a rung.  The ladder tilted sideways, scraping the wall. 7EZKool, gripping the aluminum frame, slid with it. He landed face up, his back plunging down onto the spike of a broken steel signpost.

7EZKool thought about the grey dog, the $40 woman and the last heart-shaped pill he still had in his pocket which he knew someone would find and take it. This person, 7EZKool thought, was welcome to it. He decided that he’d rather smoke weed, eat beef jerky and hang with Rolly and Smudge rather than get all heavy with molly, staring at the universe and thinking about his dad swinging from the clinking chains in the building beside him.

Cross Discipline Creativity – I wish!

Creativity may flow from an endless tank, once it’s activated. But, if you have access to multiple tanks, they can only be turned on one at a time.

The creative faucet I’ve been wielding recently has nothing to do with writing fiction. Which I lament. No, not just lament, I bemoan the fact that my energies are being spent toward a creation I despise: software that will be used to promote the further promulgation of the evil duo consumerism & capitalism. Yuck. And it’s not just the building of solutions, it’s the monitoring, worrying, fiddling, responding to “incidents”, and the exhaustive fixing of code that worked—and then just didn’t anymore.

It could be due to the fact that during this joyous season of giving, this data-broker middleman company is positioned exactly where the most “giving” flows. Literally millions of orders a day grinding through this system. What worked for five-hundred thousand cannot deal with two-million. And so the hours of hand-wringing, the feverish typing-testing-deploying of code. Oy! The humanity.

And throughout it all, the sad fact that I’d rather be writing fiction. But can’t. Because I can only turn on one creative spigot at a time. I’ve tried to run two. Can’t. The code flows—or the story does. But never the twain. Dream-time brings visions of syntax checks and semaphores dancing in my head. Of event-streams and data-queues, stacked and awaiting their processing turns.

Maybe when I was thirty I could have maneuvered and managed both. But here at sixty, what a sad number is sixty, I can only handle the one.

Happy Saturnalia, all.

-Mole

The wrong end of a pistol

Out of curiosity, regarding the recent return of the TallyPo in Afghanistan, I went researching (armchair, skip-scanning of articles that matched my topic at-hand—which does not actually qualify as “research”), the treatment of women by the three major Abrahamic Religions.

What I found, anecdotally, made me question why these religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, even exist.

Throughout the ages, these religions pretty much codify the treatment of women as property. Islam being the worst offender. But the other two are just as dismissive of women as equal partners in all aspects of familial and community governance.

Let’s see:

  • The “books” of “God” are all written by men.
  • God is a dude.
  • God created Man and then Woman as an afterthought.
  • Men and Women are both contractually welcome into their associated heavens, not as a generalized people, but specifically as Men or Women.
  • The locations of worship, the synagogues, mosques and churches are generally off limits to women. Women should worship at home.
  • Roles within each religion are segregated and the dominant ones always assigned to men.
  • Women’s roles are always servile where obedience is the “godly” behavior attributed to ascension.

How could 1/2 (or more) of the majority of the population of the planet just put up with such station?

Fuck that.

And now that the women of Afghanistan, who have enjoyed a much expanded set of freedoms (not perfectly equal, but way better) are back under the TallyPo’s oppressive religious regime?

I’ll be awaiting the rise of the Afghan Underground Women’s Rebellion. There’s a shit ton of guns in that country, thank you very much Russia & the United States, and when they fall into the hands of the women whose lives are now once again severely throttled, I suspect the TallyPo will have more to fear from within than from without.

As a white, male, armchair, theoretical tactician I know I should be ignored. I have zero credibility regarding my opinion on such matters. I offer the above as an insubstantial hope that the reversal of women’s fortunes, eventually to the positive, does not demand a sacrifice too dear.

Waltzing Matilda – quiet coercion

I’ve been fond of the song Waltzing Matilda since forever. Whistling, strange words, catchy-tune, what’s not to like.

There’s a history of the song, of course, which depicts a rather unpleasant story about sheep shearers, a strike and the pursuit and suicide of one of the shearers near a pond.

The phrase, Waltzing Matilda is suppose to mean go on walk-about with your kit (swag, including your tent). But, I think there’s way more to the phrase that what we innocently take on. Reviewing the lyrics: (wikipedia)

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his “Billy” boiled,
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

Chorus:
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda,
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his “Billy” boiled,
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

(Chorus)

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred.
Down came the troopers, one, two, and three.
“Whose is that jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

(Chorus)

Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong.
“You’ll never catch me alive!” said he
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong:
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”


You’ll notice that each time the stanza, “You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me”, is spoken, there’s a specific directive implied.

  • I’m gonna drink my tea.
  • I’m gonna take you, sheep, kill you and eat you.
  • You’re commin’ with us, says the troopers to the swagman.
  • You’re all gonna follow me to the grave, says the ghost of the swagman.

That last one is especially poignant:

And his ghost may be heard as YOU pass by that billabong,
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.

Is Waltzing Matilda, ultimately, a euphemism for dying? Not a very happy tune, now is it?

Fermi Paradox solution: Superbugs

The arms race against pathogens is a losing proposition.

What if all the effort we put into killing bacteria, fungi and viruses only serves to evolve those microbes into variants that will eventually kill us off?

“Kills 99.9% of germs — Woo-hoo! Ninety-nine point nine percent, that’s great.”

“Uh, what about the other 0.1%?”

“Bah, they don’t count.”

Humanity has been fighting a war-on-microbes for more than a century now. And it’s been a boon to the eradication of illness. What used to kill us, infection, poor sanitation no longer does. I realize that not all of us have benefited, though. Lack of proper sanitation is still one of the top killers in economically challenged nations. Education and enablement of good hygiene and public health remains a top issue there.

Yet, I wonder what one hundred plus years of killing *nearly* all the microbes—leaving their most robust, heartiest brethren to evolve, repopulate and spread—has accomplished.

Wouldn’t it be ironic to learn that all of our germ-o-phobe behavior has actually been developing superior strains of super bugs. Wash your hands with soap and warm water (leaving the strongest bugs to live another day.) Wear deodorant that kills almost all of the odor causing bacteria (leaving only the smelliest to persist). “Kills 99.9% of germs on contact” — mouthwash, sanitizers, wipes…

  • 99.9 percent reduction is the EPA’s arbitrary cutoff for sanitizer performance.

What if our efforts, for a century, has been creating an army of Killer Pathogens Set On Humanity’s Destruction!

Sure enough, the list of antibiotic resistant pathogens grows yearly. The more we fight the stronger they become.

Is this a war we can never win?

A war we will eventually lose, ending human civilization.

If it happens to us, this desire to protect ourselves by eradicating pathogens—which only escalates their evolution—might it not happen to most intelligent alien races? Killing them off, thereby solving Fermi’s Paradox?

Here comes SuperBug to save the day!