It’s time to clip my nails again because they’re getting in the way of typing. Also, today is my birthday which means I can do whatever I want. I have ten beers left, and since it’s my birthday I’m going to start drinking them by 9AM simply because I feel like it, and if stuff gets done today it gets done. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t and I am not going to expend any energy caring about any of it.
Firefox: “You are about to close 33 tabs. Are you sure you want to continue?” Me: “Well not really but since you’ve decided to throw a temper tantrum and hog every resource you can find I suppose I have no choice but to close everything down and then re-open everything and log back into everything so I can continue my work from the last saved point, assuming that exists.” Have we voted on whether or not technology has the ability to be passive-aggressive yet? Because if not, I’ve got a contender for a test case.
So we start this fine Monday morning with the realization that the Patriots are going to the Superbowl. Again. Can we all agree that the Patriots are colluding with the NFL to ensure their continued appearance at the Superbowl? I am a Ram’s fan for this game because the only thing that can possibly get me to root for the Patriots is the Falcons, and that happened a couple of years ago. The only balm for my wounded soul at this point is Braves baseball starts in a month with the beginning of Spring Training. God this is going to be a long month.
Next up on adults doing horrible things in the name of politics, however wrong those kids were for mocking that vet, doxxing them, (that is, searching for and publishing private or identifying information about a particular individual or individuals on the Internet, typically with malicious intent), is completely inexcusable. Don’t do this, or share it when someone else does it, or make excuses for it, because it’s never OK. I think we need to shut social media down until everyone gets their shit together.
Logs onto social media. Sees all kinds of excuse-making for what those kids in MAGA hats did to that Native-American veteran. Logs off. This stuff is disgusting. If you cannot condemn, without reservation or buts or whatabouts, hateful words and actions regardless of whose side they’re coming from and especially when they’re coming from your own side I want nothing to do with you. This isn’t hard!
I don’t care how right you are or how righteous your cause is. Piling onto someone in a comment thread is not OK and if I see it happening on any of my threads I’m deleting it. On Facebook specifically, this includes firing a bunch of comments to a post in quick succession, which has the effect of pinging the phones of everyone who’s ever commented on a thread with notifications. There’s a word for that among those who moderate comments for a living but it doesn’t matter. It’s a behavior I won’t tolerate. If you do it to strangers on the internet, you’ll do it to people you care about, and vice versa. No one deserves to be treated like that.
Dear fellow blind people: The difficulty experienced by people with disabilities while using an interface is very often a factor in determining that interface’s accessibility. I’m all for people with disabilities learning to use their tech but please stop quickly dismissing these users’ requests for their struggles to be alleviated as mere entitlement, especially since most of you screaming entitlement are not accessibility specialists, do not understand the relationship between accessibility and useability, and in an overwhelming majority of cases are training people with disabilities how to use their tech based on self-taught knowledge instead of the data-driven, factual approach you’d be using if you had a reputable certification.
I’m annoyed that I even have to spend time (a) looking for this and (b) saying something about it, but since I’m apparently going to have to put up with the scourge of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez let words fall out of her mouth only to then have people defend her because tribalism trumps decency, let’s just get this out of the way. Making jokes about gang rape in support of your political cause is not cute to say the least. In fact, it’s deeply offensive, and I for one am not going to go to the wall to defend Ocasio Cortez over this. And Trump supporters, you can sit this one out. You’ve nodded along with every crude statement made by the president, at best dismissing them all as jokes that didn’t land well, even when we exclude your performances during the Kavanaugh controversy. And yet when Ocasio Cortez makes what is absolutely a crude statement, you’re clutching your pearls and heading toward your fainting couches as if you’ve finally found the decency you so calculatingly put down for the sake of your tax cut, your judges, and your immigration wet dreams. Forgive me if I’m not exactly impressed by your newfound concern over politicians joking about rape to further their political ends.
I’ve set aside some time this afternoon/evening to upgrade my two WordPress installs so that they support full unicode and don’t break my pasted Hebrew or emojis. One of them, (this one), is a rather large database with close to twenty years of content in it, and I don’t want to lose any of it. Not being able to use the full unicode character set though has gotten to the point where it’s getting in the way, so I will be glad when this is done. Once I’m done with it I’m going to document it, because if you have a database as large as mine it’s a painful process. This is definitely much easier to do when you’re starting with a fresh install.
In actual “Internet of Shit” news, a smart diaper has been unveiled at this year’s CES. It’s a wearable that attaches to a diaper and sends notifications to your phone to alert you of the diaper being full, among other things. The intended use is so that parents and caregivers will act quickly so that babies don’t get diaper rashes or urinary tract infections. I suspect the actual uses are going to be quite different, as they always are with cool new tech. Also, maybe let’s not add data with babies in it to the mix until we have a technically savvy congress and a technically savvy president who can sort out some of the problems we already have with all the issues around data collection and monetization and access and consent to tracking, and until we have a public that is at least somewhat educated on some of this and no longer looking at this stuff as “Hey cool look what I can share” and not considering the implications of making decisions that involve all these data complications for humans who cannot yet consent.
Oh look! The White House is sharing anecdotes with no sources and playing fast and loose with statistics again, and topping it off with an appeal to emotion. This is called propaganda. But yeah, the media. If you’re still spouting the “But the media!” excuse I am no longer interested in what you have to say on the subject. I am done with the excuse-making for your preferred politician and I am done with listening to you whine because the media give you the pared-down stories taylored to you which you demonstrate over and over and over and over that you want through your clicks and your shares and your retweets and your quote-tweets. You are not helpless victims of the media you love to hate, you are enthusiastic enablers and eager co-equal participants in the thing you love to hate. And yet, every other day I read or hear some media-hater type preach something about how people think they are victims and it’s all the media’s fault. Well, take a good look in the Goddamn mirror because the people shouting the loudest about being tricked and being victims are you guys, and I’m done with all of it. Either start demonstrating some personal responsibility and discipline when it comes to the things you click on or watch or share, or quit whining.
“Buttered Popcorn Oreos Are Reportedly Coming Soon And They’ll Change Movie Nights Forever”. No, no they will not, and if you come over to my house to watch movies and I find out you brought them to share I will ban you from my house until you repent of your error.
Skipping the president’s speech tonight. I have more important things to do, like actual work. I’ll just read the transcript and then post it later interspersed with the best Twitter commentary and fisking.
Last year my reading challenge goal was to read twenty-six books. I completed the challenge, and I even ended up completing it before the end of December, but I never increased the goal. I think I just got to a point where I felt like “OK, goal achieved, I’m not working one ounce harder on this.”

This year, I want to read one hundred books, and I expect most of them will either be fiction, or interesting non-fiction that has nothing to do with anything remotely related to my line of work. It’s not that I don’t think work-related reading is important, I do. But books for me are a really great way to chill out, and I already read a metric ton of articles related to work. I don’t have much of an anticipated booklist yet, and I’m not sure I’m going to put in the time to create one. I think I’m going to just roll with it. I have some books I started reading towards the end of last year that I am carrying over to this year. They’re pretty long (twenty to forty hours or more in audio). Those are the best kind. I will probably read some short books as well, and for the sake of this exercise I’m defining “short” as ten hours or less. I also want to review the books I read, and I may write some reviews of some of the books I read last year, at least the new ones. I also want to write more status updates to go along with documenting percentage fiinished, and I’ll post all that here.

So, with all that said, on with the challenge.

We’ve pretty much finished with the holiday season, and lots of us are thinking about both the year ahead, as well as the prospect of going back to work or at least resuming normal life in the next day or two. I’m going to squeeze in one more day of some kind of break, since last week did have some work days in it, and I’m really not mentally ready to go back to full time full speed ahead yet. This month, along with doing the next chapter of my yearly book reading challenge, I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I decided to participate because one of my goals for this year is to spend more time working on content for my sites instead of pouring content into social media platforms I don’t own. I think social media can be valuable, but far too often it provides us an excuse to be toxic toward each other and I want to do my part to decrease that a little less. I haven’t picked my phone up off the nightstand yet but I’m seriously considering removing any Twitter apps from my phone. Facebook is already gone and I really haven’t missed it that much. I can use Twitter on the desktop to find links for later reading, which I’ll start saving to my own websites as bookmarks. this was a goal I had for last year but I never got around to actually implementing it, so I’m keeping it for this year. Of course there’s the obligatory “do better when it comes to health/weight” goal that I think most of us start with, and that’s also part of my list, but for a slightly different reason. I haven’t set a weight-loss goal I think is unattainable, but at least for theh last month I’ve pretty much eaten all manner of good things and now it’s time to buckle down and resume eating more healthily. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s posts from the Ultimate Blog Challenge and commenting on the one’s I read and have something to say about. It will be fun to build new relationships, rekindle some old ones, and find new things to explore. For now, it’s time for coffee.