Cat: Context and Editing

It’s time again to write about why I haven’t been writing much.

Other than being particularly anxious / depressed / affected by stressors I don’t recognize, I don’t have much in the way of excuses about why I haven’t been writing. When I think about it, the blame rests on the difficulty and tedium of context and editing.

I actually have a number of topics on which I’ve written this week. They include:

Regarding Recent News

No love was lost for James Comey from me, for several reasons which seem to be lost or ignored or not understood by our legislators. We need to remember that just because he’s a jerk with more integrity than Trump (a rather low bar) he’s still a jerk. Also, it’s a very G.R.R.Martinian trope for Comey’s discharge to be less a satisfying comeuppance and more an event that unpins more proverbial gears to spin freely, thus upending the DC arena further.

When elected officials burn spies for reasons other than saving lives, it’s a personal peeve of mine, what is a product of growing up during the Cold War and wanting, as a kid, to be a spy, myself. I should cover what it is to burn a spy and why I was sorely outraged when George W. Bush burned Valerie Plame as a political reprisal against her husband. And I’m pissed off that Trump probably endangered allied spies when he blabbed high-value intel to the Russian diplomats, and was doing so just to brag. Trump may not know and may not care how sources of intel can be inferred, and how that might compromise their identities and possibly their lives. Not that I wasn’t already disgusted and livid about Trump. It wasn’t even our spy to burn.

Of course everything is recorded in the White House (and around the President). This isn’t a matter of paranoia (as it was with Nixon) but (among other uses) posterity. Everything that happens in the White House, or with the President of the United States is relevant to US history, by definition. When an interviewer’s recording device was discovered to have failed mid-session with Obama, White House staff just arranged for a transcription to be forwarded to him. We want everything in the White House recorded so that our grandkids can follow without guessing what happened during each administration. The benefits of knowing all that is said when and where far outweigh the liability of those recordings being subpoenaed. Of course, that means that Trump does have recordings of meetings with Comey, and those probably will be seized for the Russian ties investigation. Unless he erases them.

I think the recent WannaCry ransomware epidemic may prove ultimately to be a good thing, a wake-up call to our agencies and tech industry of how vulnerable to hacking we’ve let ourselves become. The NSA’s primary roll was supposed to keep communication lines secure for US interests, but for years now they’ve stopped reporting system exploits, instead keeping them for their own infiltration efforts. The Shadow Brokers have hacked the NSA before, and considering our agencies’ lackadaisical attitudes towards securing their own systems, it probably won’t be the last. This is to say not only is the NSA arsenal of exploits vulnerable to hacks, but so is that immense database of everyone’s data that they’re sucking up. Even if you keep your cheesecake photos and dick-pics secure, the NSA isn’t being so diligent with its copies. Network security is a matter to be taken seriously. WannaCry demonstrates this. And we should start taking it seriously before tankers start capsizing or planes start falling out of the sky.

Regarding Personal Events

My current Terraria world ran out of chests. Each chest is not just an object but also a list of objects stowed in them, and that database is one-thousand chests long. Recently it stopped letting me place them. But I have an extensive tunnel network which is liberally seasoned with encampments, each featuring chests in which I dumped excess gathered stuff. Maybe between those and the chests that come scattered throughout the map, I reached a thousand chests after all.

The 60s were a time of paranoid hippies. We dismissed them for their reefer habits and crazy theories around aliens, HAARP and Stargate. But they also had crazy theories about the rising police state, the surveillance state and the consolidation of power within the military-industrial complex, about all of which they were spot on. In the aughts, we realized we owed those hippies an apology, and about then was when I realized I sounded like a cannibis-paranoid hippy myself when I tried to warn friends and family about how dangerous our nation could quickly devolve in an authoritarian regime. And it’s curious how, even when the evidence is plain as day, and can be pointed to on the internet, people are still reticent to believe me.

I still have more to say about Redshirts and Dispatcher part of an ongoing Scalzi reading binge.

Each of these could be in itself an essay (or three!), and I’ve written plenty of copy about them (and a few more related topics). But then I have to add context, which is to say, explain enough of the base topics in common enough terms that someone who is not an enthusiast or a participant in that field could still understand what I’m talking about.

And then, I invariably discover after the fact, that much of it is incoherent. Some of it is just plain gibberish. Word salad. That’s not counting mere typos and grammatical errors (which are tedious but easy to correct). No, sometimes I’ll have to decypher whatever it was I was trying to say, and then rephrase it so that it actually means that.

And these efforts are a lot of work. Work that has surpassed my volition this week.

Part of the problem is the fatigue of trying to keep current with the chaos oozing from the trump administration. This same fatigue is hitting journalists and activists as well. All the current Trump news evolves throughout the day, sometimes changing by the minute. And it’s exhausting trying to keep up. I was much better during lent, just checking every morning that the world hadn’t ended and getting on with my day.

And part of the problem is that my coping games are stalled. I got to the point in Subnautica where my progress in the game has caused frame-rate slowdown that interferes with play. And then there’s the aforementioned chest problem in Terraria which is requiring some additional intermediary steps.

So yeah, I’ve been stressed out and writing but not motivated enough to write up context and to edit.

And so I haven’t been posting so much.


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