28 June 2015

Let's Play Games: Unravel

This game was announced at e3 and the guy that did the intro was very sincere and nervous and charmingly relatable.

Plus the game looks great!

26 June 2015

26 June 2015: It's About Damn Time

Just Two Beautiful Men, Sharing a Moment
** Pictures look best if you narrow your browser window until they are stacked on top of one another **

I love America. This country is full of idiots and bullshit but if you are lucky (and I am very lucky) it can be a lovely place to live and work, because it is also full of wonderful people and places.

Today we got a long overdue reminder that sometimes the judicial system actually delivers a very tiny bit of sweet hot justice: gay people can get married in any state of the union, regardless of which backwards fuckwits think that marriage should only exist legally between a man and a woman in whatever backwater fuckwitted state they choose to call home.

Equal protection and equal rights under the law means everyone, all the time. If that offends or bothers you then you need to get over yourself or move somewhere your views are reflected in the law (I hear Saudi Arabia is lovely this time of year). The Supreme Court did not tell anyone what marriage is, they just said 'hey, treat everyone the same - the law cannot and will not discriminate'. If you think marriage is only valid if it is between a man and a woman then that's cool, get down with your bad self. Keep thinking that backwards shit! But you cannot legally enforce that view because it is discriminatory. (Sad faces.) Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Big shout out to all the dissenting justices (each wrote their own dissent) so they could go on record as flag-bearers for discrimination for future generations! It's like you all knew were going to be remembered as assholes but wanted to be remembered as unique assholes in your own special way.

If you, the reader, insist on pushing and enforcing your discriminatory views out into the wider world on religious grounds then you should just fuck right off. You are on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of human decency. (Which: what the hell? Why are you such a dick?) Someday people will look back on your views with regret and chagrin, and wonder what people were thinking. That day cannot come soon enough, and today was a big step on the way there.

America. Fuck Yeah. Finally.

Jim Jeffries and Gun Control

Big Cheese sent the attached video and asked what I thought about it. I had some thoughts, which I have reproduced here. It's a funny video!

He's not wrong.

Anti-gun advocates like to talk about Port Arthur because Australia enacted legislation and they have not had a mass shooting since then. There is actually a disturbing amount of overlap between Port Arthur and Sandy Hook, the two shootings that white people seem to care about. (Note that white people only care when other white people get shot - more on this shortly.)

Left unmentioned is that Australia, despite all its bluster, is a pissant country comprised of mostly empty space. And they had a lot of shootings! That place is fucked up. Australia has about half as many people as California, and less than 1/10th as many people as the US as a whole. Nice place to visit but it is basically Florida, with worse food. So, yeah: Australia banned guns! :: wanking motion ::

Setting aside the very real problems of scale: yes, constitutional arguments are dated and reductive and feeble in the extreme. It is just as bad as pointing at the bible when you are having a religious discussion; complete non-starter. Also the constitution has a proud history of being impressively wrong about important things: slavery, equal rights for women, booze, etc.

That a gun owner is more likely to use their gun on themselves than someone else is not an impactful argument against gun ownership. So what if they do? The people most likely to die of gun violence are either 1. Young black males, or 2. Older, unattached white men in their 50s and 60s. If you remove suicides from gun death statistics then the people most at risk are young black men, and it is not even close. When white men agitate for gun rights they are, statistically speaking, fighting for the right to shoot themselves. I'm fine with that. Free will is free will.

Guns are too easy to get. The recent massacre in South Carolina highlights this fact all too well. I think owning a gun should be like getting a pilots license. Everyone can apply but it requires a demonstrable level of proficiency and commitment in order to take one home. If you can get through the screening process and demonstrate proficiency then you should be able to own whatever gun you want.

As for Sandy Hook, no one gives a shit about the black kids getting killed around the country every day but when a mentally ill, mentally retarded kid uses a gun his mom bought him (legally) to shoot a bunch of white kids it is the end of the world. Soccer moms across the nation are afraid for their little angels, and the NRA says they should put an armed guard at every school. Both reactions are incredibly dumb. Your kids are not at risk, and an armed guard is just the first guy to get shot.

People want to enact legislation on anomalies. What cascade of legislation is going to effectively prevent a mother from buying an expensive gun and making it available to her sociopathic, autistic child? I suggest: none. That was a catastrophic failure on too many levels. Legislating and adjudicating for anomalies leads to extreme reactions that may or may not solve future anomalies but almost always have unintended consequences. (The militarization of the police in the US saw its genesis in large part as a result of the North Hollywood shootout. That was two guys, one time, and now we have a country literally overflowing with wannabe soldier-cops and provincial SWAT teams.)

Let's address the real epidemic: gun violence in inner cities and urban areas. It has been ongoing for a generation now and shows no signs of slowing or stopping. Let's address the root causes of the violence (poverty, lack of opportunity, the drug war) and instead of taking away guns let's see if we can find a way to give poor people a reason to stop shooting each other.

25 June 2015

I Went There: San Francisco

(One in an occasional series.)

Went to SF for a conference and spent several days down by Union Square and the Tenderloin and the Mission. It was a busy week in SF: the Warriors won the NBA title, Obama came to town to see how I was doing speak at a Mayors conference and it was also some kind of centennial for City Hall. Oh and it was sunny and unseasonably warm for most of the week, which happens only slightly less often than Centennial celebrations.

So it was a happening week in the city. My room at the Parc 55 had a nice view. Union Square is my least favorite part of San Francisco - it is everything shitty about a mall combined with everything shitty about crowded urban areas - but once you got past the mediocre restaurants and aimless throngs of tourists (do they not have a Banana Republic in Germany??) you can wander into the Tenderloin or south of Market for some local color and good foods. The areas do get legitimately sketchy with the mentally ill and drug-addicted homeless but stay out of the alleys and don't be phone zombie and you will be fine.

Spent a Friday afternoon drinking beers at Pier 23, which is pretty much the best way to spend a sunny Friday afternoon in San Francisco. Got to catch up with Ze Newbs and his family in person in the evening. That was superb because it made my trip fun instead of just work. Good times.

21 June 2015

Keep Calm and Make It Rain

Congratulations to the Warriors and their long-suffering fans. A great year capped by the NBA title? It gets no better.
Keep calm and Steph Curry.

Ps. Fuck Matthew Dellevadova back to the D-league. That guy is good at all the parts of basketball that are miserable to watch and awful at all the good parts. He is basically the inverse of Steph Curry.

13 June 2015

This Book is Not Good: Maplecroft by Cherie Priest

I was able to buy a used copy of Maplecroft by Cherie Priest for $0.99 plus shipping. I overpaid.

This book is not good. The monsters are not scary. The characters are flat. It is all just a lot of predictable, boring, by-the-numbers crap. Brief periods of action are frequently interrupted with long-winded expository whining. Don't bother unless there's absolutely nothing else to read. And even then: meh.

Priest is good writer but her talents are wasted here.

08 June 2015

Hot Jamz: Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding (Jasper Dietze Remix)

There are a lot of good remixes of this song. I prefer this more uptempo version. Put some bounce in it!

03 June 2015

The Internet Delivers: Weird Fish Rash

The internet is full of an unlimited supply of stupidity. (You can find quite a lot of it on this blog.)
But sometimes it delivers the goods. This comment was from a weird (kind of pointless) story about not eating sewer fish in New Jersey. If you were thinking of eating sewer fish then most definitely do not. But then this happened, courtesy a glorious person that is out there, in the world, doing good work with local wildlife:

A few years ago I went down into a city ravine (water up to the knees or waist depending on where you stood) to help a 3-foot-long muscular sumbitch of a fish get off the gravel pile it had beached itself on and into deep enough water to “breathe”. My wife snapped photos, I looked like an idiot, it was all a very bad idea. Got a weird fish rash. Probably against the law? Not sure what law. Anyway, it was meant to help the fish. Somewhere in there I probably contemplated a mercy killing. Probably killed it anyway by accidentally feeding it an ice cream cone. (It got fish splashed so we dropped it in the water... and the fish went right for it. Gulp.)
Trying like hell to remember why this anecdote was relevant. The end? Thhpbbt.