fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
While I've mostly overcome a lifelong habit of feeling excessive symbolic stress on calendar markers, birthdays require advance work to remain calm. Each day I'll write a post about something interesting related to my day. The goal is to make myself either do myself either do something interesting or view the day as interesting regardless. The point is to head off that "what am I doing with my life" stresshole that tempts me every year.

Tonight I saw a bullshit performance, though I briefly enjoyed it as confirming I've reached the point as a viewer that I can quickly discern between unsuccessful and bullshit. I won't be specific as the performers had staged good work elsewhere.

I will say: if I have to sit through another piece which mostly involves minimalist writhing on the floor very near an audience in flat rows of chairs, meaning only those in front can see enough to appreciate the tableau, I'm going to bean someone with a Stagecraft 101 textbook.

The bullshit involved recycling an installation piece (staged over hours in an empty room viewed through a window) as a dance with zero contextual changes except length.

Upon reflection, the original installation was an ideal for the second space, a small low building in a high traffic area with windows on several sides. So now I'm puzzling over the process which led to a seated audience: was someone concerned not enough people would walk by and look in? If so, was it the venue or the artists? Who knows. I watched the backs of people craning their necks for a while then left.
fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
It's 22 days until my next birthday. While I've mostly overcome a lifelong habit of feeling excessive symbolic stress on calendar markers, birthdays require advance work to remain calm. Each day I'll write a post about something interesting related to my day. The goal is to make myself either do myself either do something interesting or view the day as interesting regardless. The point is to head off that "what am I doing with my life" stresshole that tempts me every year.

Last year I found a 1967 50 Kopeck piece commemorating 50 years of Soviet power near the Picasso Sculpture on Daley Federal Plaza. I carried it around, imagining stories of how it got there, feeling like I had a ward against capitalism and eventually losing it. This is part of a longer cycle of symbolic coins or tokens that have passed in and out my pocket.

This morning I was walking along brooding on how much I hate capitalism when I stopped to pick up a pile of pennies on the sidewalk to give it to a nearby panhandler. Speaking in a voice low enough I had to bend to hear, he told me the pile was a test and asked me to give him the dignity of listening to him for a few minutes. It wasn't a hustle so much as just the familiar trawling for a larger donation I've heard from public radio, alumni associations, candidates and any allegedly worthy cause. This pitch acknowledged what it was while pointing out the humiliating need ask for money and respect was still real. I'm resistant to most sales, but an appeal to the obscene divide from which I benefit was hard to resist. 40 bucks, 2 tall boys, a pack of smokes and two blocks making small talk later, we parted ways. As he walked away he paused and threw a coin on the ground towards me. It was a 2 pound coin. I can't tell if it was a gesture of appreciation or contempt, or the street version of a complimentary tote bag, but I'll hold onto it until it inevitably slips from my grasp.
fengi: (Ms. Financial Analyst)
Over the last week Fort MacMurray, a major city on Canada associated with the tar sands, was partially destroyed by a wildfire which is still burning. It was one of the largest mass evacuations in Canadian history - but not the largest, which wasin 1979 when a chemical train derailed in Mississauga, Ontario forcing 218,000 people to flee (it's now called the Mississauga Miracle because no one died).

It was massive, spectacular connected to climate change and spreading smoke as far as Wisconsin, impacting the weather even further. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan had expressed regrets about not being able to help more due their own wildfires.

I'm up on much of this because part of my daily podcast listening are news break pods from Canada, but it's also been getting major coverage in Australia and Ireland. I suspect this is partially a commonwealth/former British thing, partially a sense of kinship in massive natural disasters that have increased in intensity in recent years (for Ireland floods, for Australia, flood and fire).

Yet despite fire being high on the list of atavistic fascinations for humans, conversation about this was light on my social feeds. I follow a lot of people, but that conversation involves enough factors (Canadian or paying attention to Canada, paying attention to the news, uses social media to discuss news and/or terrifying/depressing things, has thoughts about a specific event they consider interesting enough to post, posting at a moment when I'm watching feed) cohere into a venn diagram far more rarely than the confirmation bias machines in our heads expect. Instead the social media slot machine coughed up far more chatter on how long it took for the coalition in Ireland to select a Taoiseach. At my workplace, well, the conversation is limited most of the time. My in the flesh friends and family had little to say on this particular item out a million others save "WTF". So I had feels in every direction with no outlet and now the crisis appears to be passing without enough massive devastation to buzz in my circles at least. Which is about the least interesting aspect, but there you are. It's me on Livejournal.

To somewhat coalesce this set of tangents, the most recent news search I did while typing this post produced this comic yet appalling result.

No one died except my profit taking.

The algorithms decided the biggest trending aspect I'd be interested in was how less tragedy than expected was a bit of an economic loser. Capitalism everyone!
fengi: (Mr. Oswald)
Via Twitter, I found out today is the 20th Anniversary of the Shawinigan handshake (that link provides most of the info, except how the Prime Minister broke one of the protester's teeth). It's one of those things which is amusing on one level yet not fucking funny at all.



The guy getting choked was protesting cuts to unemployment benefits. An obscure iconic image from Canada is as much a harbinger of North America's future.
fengi: (Ms. Outrage)
@girlziplocked or Holly Wood is a pseudonymous author writing with energy, wit and creative swearing about politics today. Her work resonates. You can find her on twitter on Medium and tumblr (which includes a link to a tumblr of great quotes she curates). I've got decidedly mixed feelings on twitter's long term utility, but there are a number of great writers, most not dudes and/or white, whom I never would have found otherwise.

Here's a quote from a piece she wrote for the Village Voice:
If I am alarmed, it is by the profound languor of the comfortable. What fresh hell must we find ourselves in before those who've appointed themselves to lead our thoughts admit that we are in flames? As I see it, to counsel realism when the reality is fucked is to counsel an adherence to fuckery. Under conditions as distressing as these, acquiescence is absurd. When your nation gets classified as a Class D structure fire, I believe the only wise course is to lose your shit.
fengi: (Default)
Today we went to CAKE, the Chicago alternative comics expo, then Fiesta Del Taco.

I had certain expectations about Fiesta Del Taco, based on things like Perogi Fest and Tamale Fest. One assumes the titular food will have a significant presence.

I'll be honest, the first thing which came to mind when I read "Fiesta Del Taco" was this:



Which is not entirely out of bounds, given that Mr. Perogi and Miss Paczki are a thing.

Alas it was a generic street fair with funnel cake and wildly unsafe looking rides and about ten of the usual street fair booths - mobile phones, sports drinks, Budweiser - with just one offering tacos. Which is weird considering it was the west end of 26th Street, the very long retail strip of the La Villita neighborhood which has many top rated taquerias.

This fest is run by Special Events Management, one of the two companies who handle nearly all the finances and logistics for neighborhoods festivals, which is why the same filler can be found at each one. They are like carnies gone corporate and dull,filler crap to every fest.

It's up to local organizers to create a distinct personality around the standard crap, and Fiesta Del Taco is an example of what happens when the local element - in this case a Church - is too weak to do much. I'm sure SEM was fine with this and would prefer just moving the shabby midway and sponsored marketing booths to various spots around the city with no extra trimmings..

StarEvents, the other major street fair player, may actually be worse because they also do entertainment and their roster is almost entirely inoffensive bullshit bands. I don't know if local organizers have become less interested in booking talent or StarEvents is good at pushing them around, but bands like Too White Crew and Hairbangers Ball and Mr. Blotto are undeserved dominant sounds of summer.

Still I do love a fair, the humanity and the quirks which manifest around the carny stip mall elements. This one was just particularly half-assed. We ended up having tacos at Taqueria Los Gallos a large pleasant place with a rooster motif including two stuffed fighting cocks mounted on one wall. They are famous for their soup, but the tacos were excellent as well.
fengi: (Default)
My account is now active on LJ and DW as Fengi.

Dreamwidth's strength is the ease with which one can import all Livejournal entries (except for videos and some polls) and the cross posting feature. The layout options are more limited, but overall I'm glad it is there.

For various reasons, Livejournal remains my primary site for now. I anticipate copying Livejournal posts into Dreamwidth by hand more than I use the DW crosspost tool. We shall see.
fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
The forums of Men's Rights guys are a seething mass of misogyny, full of revenge fantasies and tacit to open advocacy of violence. Alpha Male is a favorite word, a way to signal allegiance to the cause when used with certain rhetoric.

Elliot Rodgers was a men's rights guy, a resentful "incel" and self proclaimed alpha male. His language, tone and internet behavior all reflect his connection. Even his alleged hate of pickup artists was fury at their methods not working; the PUAhate group he belonged to was full of violent misogyny.

The persistent undertone of violence of men right's types is undeniable. Paul Elam, leader of a Voice For Men, started an enemies list site, which included personal information, and described his mission this way way:
I find you, as a feminist, to be a loathsome, vile piece of human garbage. I find you so pernicious and repugnant that the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection...We are coming for you, and we are coming for all the liars out there that have been ruining people’s lives with impunity...You are SO fucked.
Men's rights inspired violence is an ongoing pattern. One example: Darren Mack, who murdered his ex-wife after and tried to kill the judge on his divorce case was a rabid men's rights activist who was represented by father's rights crusader Dean Tong (who tried to distance himself after).

Now it's happened again and they are all pissy that people are accurately observing over the top internet tough guy talk about making women pay is intrinsic to the movement and the only thing they do consistently despite pretending to care about other issues. Boo hoo. That's your bed boys, lie in it.
fengi: (Goblin)
In a recent debate, I mistakenly thought several posts about free speech and racism *written by other people* had been written by [livejournal.com profile] bemused_leftist. While I disagree with some of [livejournal.com profile] bemused_leftist's opinions, parts of my comments were unfair and confusing because they were directed at opinions written by entirely different people.

I apologize for the misdirected vehemence. It is the sort of careless reading and skimming that I dislike when others do it.
fengi: (A Nice Day for Killing)
The Raid was one of the best action movies I've seen in years. It had a propulsive setup involving one building and an arrest gone horribly wrong. It was essentially a dance film with bone crunching fight scenes, a showcase of Gene Kelley, Fred Astaire, Donald O'Connor and Bob Fosse brawling.

The Raid 2 is about 45 minutes too long because it is a full musical to the first film's dance recital. So there's more plot, characterization and build up to each violent set piece, some unnecessary. There's also a lot more blood and gore, including a scene of multiple executions as two secondary characters negotiate which struck me as being similar to a humorous patter duet and, like those numbers, it's skillful but not as clever as it's supposed to be.

Fortunately The Raid 2 inverts the weakness of many classic Hollywood dance films in which there are fewer big numbers as the plot develops. Here there's more action once the stakes are clear, right about the time this character appears:




Hammer Girl.


She and Batboy are on screen for 15 minutes at most, but holy shit. Holy fucking shit. She gets one solo and one duo and scenes are stolen. The pace picks up and it's like everyone else stepped up their game to match the sheer awesomeness of Julie Estelle. Even a car chase scene - which might as well be the waltz of action films - is lively and amusing.

So I can still recommend the film. I can also imagine more than a few couples going with low maintenance but high reference value costumes like this:

IT BEGINS

May. 17th, 2014 12:16 pm
fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
In 2008 I wondered how long it would be before we reached this point, where even the thinnest of veils started to drop. We're almost there.
I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse. For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such...While I believe the problems associated with minorities in this country are momentous, I am not phobic.
-a public statement by Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, in response to resident who complained after he called Obama n----r in a restaurant.
He's worked with a lot of blacks in his life. ... He said some harsh words about Mr. Obama, and here we are. This woman, she's blowing it all out of proportion.
-Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni Jr. on why he won't ask Copeland to resign.

It was just overheard in a public place, but he doubled down in a public statement to a constituent without exactly repeating it. It's just short of an official or pundit calling Obama n----r on the record. A direct statement is the last line left. I think it will be crossed before 2016, and a lot of bigoted white guys will whine about the response with some bullshit about "free speech".

This isn't defending "free speech", but speech free from consequences (or even criticism). The idea powerful white men who can, and often have, harmed the targets of their bigotry should be free from others responding by saying they shouldn't have power.

These false free speech arguments often include"next time it might be us". The real issue isn't speech, but fear what was done to others will be done to you. It's the bully assuming everyone else would be as bad if they could. Thus the pretense that a white guy facing consequences for talking shit is the like a lynching, or a gay man losing his job just for being gay.

Everyone else already lives in a world where saying anything, let alone whatever the fuck you feel like saying, may lead to problems. Free speech means everyone can say an asshole shouldn't have power and everyone does, quite often, only occasionally with real impact. Considering many other groups face disadvantages without saying a word, rich white bigoted dudes can handle being responsible for what they say.
fengi: (Mr. Pissed Off Capitalist Calvin)
There's a community which follows Russian LJ News, created after they realized SUP rarely keeps English users informed. They have a post summarizing the Russian announcement of the site change.

They link to the original post (from one of the developers, apparently).

What's interesting is the comments. The Russian userbase is more active and varied so there was demand for modernization. More importantly, SUP took time to promote and explain the changes in advance. Most negative responses criticize details or bugs. There's the usual back and forth between haters and lovers of change: "This is garbage." "No, what's garbage is people who do nothing but shit in the comments."

Some, however, are dramatically frustrated in a way which resembles English user reactions to LJ changes over the years. Using Google, I've made a crude translation of a few. It shows the LJ persona can be universal, at least when disgruntled.
Rats pose experiments under the guise of St. George ribbons...
----
"All information is now in one place"

Copywriters who use this phrase should be mercilessly beaten :)
-----
How to bring back the old style!? This new profile is pizdets [Russian for fubar]! You should have tested on dogs first then on humans!
------
This nonsense. Everyone is just Talking how to bring back the old design. I hope your team can see these conversations. THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!

(Reply)

Yes, the team do not care. Yandex had pics of this [update] and there 98% were against. I personally design a new LJ style, a huge contrast font and so on. In general, good-bye, LJ site format, I use my style only.
-----
The new home page is just hell and I will not read! You sawing the branch of on which you sit...
-----
How much and who do I pay to NEVER HAVE ANY innovations appear in my journal?
-----
I think you need to completely reprocess this bad design. I have virtually no positive impressions...As long as it's possible I will stay on the old version. It's much more functional and intuitive.
-----
How do I remove this fucking tape widgets in friends list? It's useless and only eating space on the screen.
-----
Rubbish

1. Who needs a touch interface with buttons on half of the screen on conventional computers and laptops?
2. Active zones - rubbish. The button should work instantly and not force the user to look for it. The delay between "point the mouse" and "result" pisses me off.
3 . Font - magical crap. Looks like squashed Mushin shit except on iPads with retina. On conventional displays, it looks muddy and weak (if ClearType is enabled) or ugly (if off). I'd like to make a law requiring use on sites Sans Serif font and prohibit Calibri, Segoe UI, Lato and SolidoPro except in the headline with a font size no less than 64 pixels.
4. Huge margins and dimensions of interface elements - rubbish. It's touchscreen pornography which allows less content, devalues normal monitors and infuriates owners with lousy noutov 15" with 768 pixels in height.
5. Background Color admin panel is subpar. Everything else - annoyingly dull.
6. You need to chop off the hands of the designer who put labels and headings in uppercase.
7. Tape-style Google-plus - not that that is not the best solution, but just a hell of a shit. [Ed Note: I was unable to interpret this one.]

PS: Sorry for the abundance of swears. Other epithets can not be printed at all.
fengi: (Have a fucking puppy.)
So I resorted to an all caps support ticket and got a prompt friendly reply. Big thumbs up to LJ Support for being nice about it.

The reply itself is pretty awesome in terms of site design failures:
When viewing any system page that shows the standard blue header banner (such as the home page), there will be a link labeled 'Post in blog' near the right side of the banner, a blank space, and then an envelope icon. Click on that blank space between 'Post in blog' and the envelope icon'.
I tried this and it worked. Here is where you need to click:

thechangebackbutton

Last Straw

May. 15th, 2014 12:34 pm
fengi: (Mr. Horse)
It has been achieved.

Does LJ still support crossposting to Dreamwidth? Can I import all my posts over there, or just the unlocked ones?
fengi: (Mr. Vox)
So is this good or bad? This dumbed down dashboard is not as friendly to power users, and kind of feels like a rock band of a certain age issuing an electronic dance music album a bit to far into their career. What I'm saying is acting like Bono when it should just coast like Sting.

It also appears they've half broken filters. One can still post using a specific filter, but at this point one cannot select a filter for viewing your friends feed. Which sucks because LJ occasionally starts omitting friends posts at random and the only way to see them all was to go to "filter friends page" and select "default".


Remember when this would produce a tsunami of "what the fuck" and angry macros and threats of flouncing? Will it create a small squall this time? Will it drive more people away, or are we few going to hold out no matter what?
fengi: (Have a fucking puppy.)
Tomorrow, May 15, the FCC will vote on rules which would effectively end net neutrality using a bunch of weasel terms and workarounds.

It's time to take action to protect what remains of neutral access to online communication and commerce.

There are several options, the lazy (and perhaps not effective) one is at the bottom.

Option A1: Email the FCC.
Here is a new link to an inbox for internet comments. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] microbie.

Option A2: Call the FCC
1. Dial 888-225-5322
2. push 1, 4, 0
3. A person will answer.
4. They will ask for your name and address. you can just give them a zip code if you want.
5. Be courteous: "I'm calling to ask the FCC to reclassify Internet Service Providers as Title Two Common Carriers."
6. They'll ask if there is anything else you would like to add.
7. "No, Thank you for your time."
8. Hang up.

Option B: Call Congress
Go to OpenCongress & type in your zipcode. Pick up the phone and call each of the these folks. Believe it or not, someone will answer the phone, and phone calls make a difference. Politely tell the congressional staff that picks up to "Have the FCC classify internet as a Title Two common carrier." Ask them to repeat what they wrote down.

Option C: Online Activist Shortcuts
These are sponsored by the Free Press PAC, who will add you to their mailing list.
Stop The Slow Lane automated emailing to Congress
Email Petition to FCC
Before giving money to the Free Press, check out the evaluations here, here and here.

The "crisis fatigue" narrative is now being imposed on Net Neutrality, sometimes by people who should know better. It's the bullshit idea the ability to care about real ongoing issues is the same as audiences being bored by fictions which go on too long. This crap arises from various agendas, be it a shitty journalist who confuses their own lazy boredom with what qualifies as news, or a vested interest who wants people to stop paying attention.