Summer vacation 2013

The last couple of weeks have been my vacation, and full of incident.This explains the absence of blogging.

First, World Boardgaming Championships. I did respectably, making quarter- and semi-finals in a couple of events, but failed in my goal to make the Power Grid finals again this year and place higher than fifth.

I did very well in Conflict of Heroes, though; my final game – with the tournament organizer – was a an epic slugfest that attracted the attention of Uwe Eickert (the game’s designer) who watched the last half enthralled. I lost by only 1 point and was told I’d be put on the Wall of Honor. I like my chances at the finals next year.

Then Summer Weapons Retreat. Huge fun as usual; I spent most of the week working on Florentine (two-sword) technique. with some excursions into polearm and hand-and-a-half sword. I’ve posted a few pictures on my G+ feed.

First full day I was home, a thunderstorm blew out the router in my basement. Yes I had it on a UPS, but ground surges (though rare) do happen; this one toasted the Ethernet switch. Diagnosing, replacing, and dealing with the second-order effects of that ate most of yesterday.

Now life is back to relatively normal, though it will take a few days for the muscle aches from a week of hard training to entirely subside. Blogging will resume.

38 thoughts on “Summer vacation 2013

  1. >EXPN “Wall of Honor”?

    Each tournament event has a sort of triangular kiosk thing that is set up in tournament rooms to tell people where they should go to sign up for a heat. It includes a listing of winners and notable high scorers from previous years.

  2. I think it’s been a year since the last smartphone thread. Time for a new one! Lots has happened (and not happened) since then….

  3. Oh, and if you’d like something else as a starting point for a post, and if anyone would like a good laugh, check out this. It turns out there’s something called a “transfat activist” that has nothing to do with hydrogenated oils.

  4. I’d like to meet that guy sometime…and yell at him for mocking the obese. A thin person wearing cushions is like a white guy going around in blackface and telling people he’s a civil rights activist.

  5. PapayaSF/LS: I think you’re being trolled, albeit skillfully.

  6. Poe’s Law, indeed. I’ve seen enough social justice Tumblrs that that one seems out-there-but-real and not a hoax. There are ones that seem like pure mockery (e.g.) but a number that seem serious (e.g.).

  7. It’s not quite indistinguishable from parody, but it rates a solid 3 on the AFJ mastery scale. It sucked me in all the way through the first reading, and I had to read more of the site in order to confidently convince myself it was a joke.

  8. I’ll grant that that particular post may be someone trolling the blog owner, but I think the whole blog is sincere. 120+ posts seems like too many for a gag, and “thin privilege” really is a thing in the world of social justice. And the world of social justice has gotten so absurd that even that post seems likely to be sincere. If I hadn’t lived in San Francisco for years I’d have thought it was a hoax, but I’ve learned there really are a number of people who think that way.

  9. Certainly, the world has too many of these pampered self-appointed Defenders of The Downtrodden….Douglas Adams would have sent them all off in the Middle Ark.

  10. Speaking of summer vacations, I’ve reluctantly concluded that I can’t afford to go to Worldcon this year, so I’ve got an attending membership for sale. Get me an attending membership to the 2015 Worldcon, wherever it is, and throw in $25, and it’s yours. Email me at milhouse.vh@earthlink.net

  11. ESR, you may be contacted by someone in the near future about writing an essay for a ancap SF anthology, I pointed him to your essay A Political History of SF here

    — Foo Quuxman

  12. @Jon @ESR thirding the request about IP… very interesting topic IMHO.

  13. @PapayaSF @LS what I love about the “obese social justice” stuff is that it is so obviously absurd that it has potential to ridicule and sabotage the whole egalitarian-postmodernist project. This is the kind of stuff nobody outside first-worlder middle-class white liberal arts students, so nobody outside the Stuff White People Like camp would take seriously. This could help incubate a reaction against the whole worldview. The world as such could even get to the point when the first-worlder white middle-class liberal arts student will no longer be a high status person to emulate, but a weirdly hyperpolitical dweeb to be ridiculed by everybody else who are more practical. How cool that would be!

  14. @shenpen
    I am living in the first world. But I have no clue what this is supposed to mean. What is this about? Trans gender? Obesity? Anti social people in public transport?

    Or is this a parody? But of what? I am lost. Which might indicate that your “revolution” might be missed by those not living in the first world.

  15. I am living in the first world. But I have no clue what this is supposed to mean. What is this about? Trans gender? Obesity? Anti social people in public transport?

    The blogger purports to be “trans-fat”, i.e., thin in reality, but having the personal identity of a fat person — much as a transgender person might be physically male but identifies as female.

    Or is this a parody? But of what? I am lost. Which might indicate that your “revolution” might be missed by those not living in the first world.

    It’s a parody of the fact that Tumblr has served as a social forum/echo chamber for “social justice warriors” or SJWs, people who wish to score whuffie by pointing out instances of oppression and/or claiming to be a member of an oppressed group. SJW-ism also attracts sad people from all over the internet, who believe that their particular form of dysfunction or insanity should be recognized and even celebrated as an alternate lifestyle or an accident of their birth over which they had no control, and turn judgement of said dysfunction or insanity into a civil-rights issue akin to discriminating based on race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. At its lowest level, this entails fat people waxing frothy-mouthed about “body shaming”, and how the fact that they can’t fit in a single airline seat constitutes institutional weightism (“thin privilege”) on the part of aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and society in general. The truly weapons-grade crazy comes into play when you get to the furries, otherkin (people who believe they are reincarnations of mythical creatures like dragons), otakukin (people who believe they are reincarnations of anime characters), and people who claim to have dissociative-identity disorder or “headmates” in Tumblr parlance, all demanding that they be embraced, respected, and loved for their “differences”.

    However, I was not entirely convinced that the “transfat activist” was a parody, in part because I’ve encountered worse online. There is a person whom I am aware of via a friend, and she is a perfect storm of autism, child abuse in her history, sociopathy, delusion, and stupid. She is what you might call “trans-thin”; freely admitting to weighing close to 200 kg, but still she insists that she is thin and beautiful. She has “headmates” as well and even converses with herself in their voices — much like Gollum; many of them are fantasy versions of men she once dated, who still love and worship her (the real ones bailed a long time ago once they saw the sheer scale of crazy they were dealing with). Reports from multiple people close to her indicate that she has gleefully abandoned any pretense of self-discipline, eating massive amounts of food, eliminating in an adult diaper, tooling around in a Rascal scooter instead of walking, and screaming and making a loud honking noise when angry. All of which she considers her sacred right because she is autistic and therefore “special”. There’s more but I won’t get into it here.

    Compared to this, Transfat Activist would be small-time crazy even if real.

  16. @ Winter
    re:’Transfat activist’

    I am living in the first world. But I have no clue what this is supposed to mean

    I found this, an answer by a third person to a question by a second person wanting to know what some woman meant when she described herself as being a transfat activist at:
    http://x-trung.tumblr.com/post/27813856421/jenn-lists-herself-as-being-a-transfat-activist-ive

    Jenn is a gainer, meaning she is transitioning to a fatter state. Her family often shames her for her behavior, and she is quick to remind them that she has every right to gain weight and that there is nothing wrong with choosing to be fat.

    The word activist and the concept of thin privilege in the page linked to by PapayaSF suggests that, not only is it okay to choose to be(come) fat, it is morally wrong for anyone to negatively judge a person for making this choice.

    This sort of mindset tends to jump from there to the idea that it is a violation of a fat person’s rights if anyone does negatively judge the person for being/becoming fat.

    This idea is an instance of the more general idea that it is morally wrong for life to not be “fair”.

  17. @BRM aka Brian R. Marshal
    Thanks. Never heard of such people. But I know that anything imaginable is the absolute faith of someone.

  18. “…choosing to be fat…”? Shshshsh! Accepting responsibility for one’s choices like that would undermine the entire progressive worldview.

  19. > Reports from multiple people close to her indicate that she has gleefully abandoned any pretense of self-discipline, eating massive amounts of food, eliminating in an adult diaper, tooling around in a Rascal scooter instead of walking, and screaming and making a loud honking noise when angry. All of which she considers her sacred right because she is autistic and therefore “special”.

    And of course this behavior is heavily tax-subsidized.

    Makes me nostalgic for the days when one of the most important unwritten laws was “If you don’t keep your shit together well enough to hold down a job, you will live on asylum slops or outright starve.”

  20. > Makes me nostalgic for the days when one of the most important unwritten laws was “If you
    > don’t keep your shit together well enough to hold down a job, you will live on asylum slops or
    > outright starve.”

    And when (not if) The Day Of Fiscal Reckoning * comes, that rule will come back into play with a vengeance. “Brother, I ain’t gonna pay for your crazy! And nobody’s gonna make me!”

    * – Seems to me sooner rather than later. Examples at three scales: the city of Detroit, the state of California, the nation of Greece

  21. >>* – Seems to me sooner rather than later. Examples at three scales: the city of >>Detroit, the state of California, the nation of Greece

    You probably have Greece and California reversed for size — but ‘Yeah’

  22. And of course this behavior is heavily tax-subsidized.

    Actually in this case no. This person came from a background of some wealth; and at first relied on her parents to subsidize her indolence and lunacy; but eventually they kicked her out. These days some poor fool she found, even stupider than she, is paying her way, though his money is running out fast.

    And when (not if) The Day Of Fiscal Reckoning * comes, that rule will come back into play with a vengeance. “Brother, I ain’t gonna pay for your crazy! And nobody’s gonna make me!”

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings, yada yada. Quick question: How do you hold down a job when the Gods of the Market Place no longer have need for your labor?

  23. @Jim

    I was thinking political scale, not necessarily economic scale. Your point is well taken.

    @Jeff

    > Quick question: How do you hold down a job when the Gods of the Market Place no
    > longer have need for your labor?

    Find or figure out something else to do gainfully. Not everybody can do everything, of course, but every one of us should have a couple of skills that they can get someone else to pay them to do. (“Pay” includes barter and labor exchange.) In extremis, learn how to raise enough veggies in a home or neighborhood garden to eat. Remember the Heinlein quote:

    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, …. Specialization is for insects.

  24. >>I was thinking political scale, not necessarily economic scale. Your point is well taken.

    Even there, I’m not so sure that California isn’t ahead. They force Japan to build cars to their rules.

  25. @Jeff Read

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings, yada yada. Quick question: How do you hold down a job when the Gods of the Market Place no longer have need for your labor?

    In the event, water will still wet us, and fire will still burn.

    I think Kipling would have agreed that TAANSTAFL would still apply.

  26. Remember the Heinlein quote:

    Heinlein’s work is by and large wish-fulfillment fantasy. He never really stopped writing juveniles. His work was toxic, in many of the same ways that Ayn Rand’s work was toxic: it put bad ideas in the minds of dangerously influential people. You just quoted his millennia-old Mary Sue from one of the worst of his novels. Here in the real world, we have about 80 years, give or take (and, indeed, contrary to popular myth, a prehistoric human who made it to adulthood and, if female, survived childbirth had about 80 years, give or take). Most of that time is spent doing something to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. Most people have the capacity to learn one or two skills that they may turn into trades, and one hobby if they have kids; maybe one more if they’re childless. If your job is rendered obsolete at age fifty, the chances of you being able to start again on the ground floor, acquire modern skills, and keep pace with the twenty-year-olds are quite slim. You may find yourself forced into early retirement, with not nearly enough to retire on.

    Most developed countries have accepted that bankrolling a few indolent crazies is a small price to pay for providing adequate social safety nets for decent folk.

  27. And building on Jeff’s comment, we’re getting to the point where lots of “good jobs” are going the way of Ned Ludd’s weavers.

    There’s now subscription-based software that writes legal briefs about as well as a second-year attorney, specialized by field.

    What’re we going to do with all these unemployed litigators? They can’t all sit in Congress…

  28. @ Ken Burnside

    >There’s now subscription-based software that writes legal briefs about as well as a second-year attorney, specialized by field.

    Only a person who does not understand what a lawyer does could possibly think that software of the type to which you refer would result in fewer lawyers.

  29. @Jeff Read

    The first thing to do is to stop suppressing employment. Payroll taxes, rules, regulations, and so on hit the low end of the labor market particularly hard; the low marginal utility of a semi-skilled worker means almost cost increase makes them too expensive to their employer.

    I don’t want to believe that for Democrats employment suppresion is an intentional policy to increase their voter base.

  30. What’re we going to do with all these unemployed litigators? They can’t all sit in Congress…

    Think you answered your own question there, Ken; Congress can just legislate the problem away to protect their friends in the trade.

  31. @Jeff Read

    > Here in the real world, we have about 80 years, give or take …. Most of that time is spent
    > doing something to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. Most people have the
    > capacity to learn one or two skills that they may turn into trades, and one hobby if they have
    > kids; maybe one more if they’re childless. If your job is rendered obsolete at age fifty, the
    > chances of you being able to start again on the ground floor, acquire modern skills, and
    > keep pace with the twenty-year-olds are quite slim. You may find yourself forced into
    > early retirement, with not nearly enough to retire on.

    I just turned 58. I’ve earned my own way in the world since I dropped out of college the first time at age 20.
    I’ve been paid to be an electronics technician, a programmer/software engineer, and am currently a computer systems administrator (getting paid to do Windows, but can do *nix and sorta do Macs).
    Along the way, I’ve learned to do rough carpentry, plumbing (galvanized iron, sweated copper, CPVC, and PEX supplies; cast iron and CPVC waste), wiring (pretty much anything in a house beyond the main breaker box, including adding, splitting and consolidating branch circuits), hang drywall (but I let my wife finish it to her exacting requirements :-) ), install rubber roofing and 3-tab asphalt shingles, etc. In other words, I have most (but not all) of the skills necessary to build a livable house. (I could barter for the ones I can’t do, like foundation work.) These I all learned, out of necessity, by working on our rental properties.
    I’m also a rather good cook. (Not just my family’s opinion, but my friends and acquaintances think so, too.) I can also repair bicycles. I think I could get a job as a copy editor. (At least I wouldn’t be embarrassed to apply for one.)

    I’m not trying to brag, but just pointing out that, in the ordinary course of my life, I’ve picked up a fairly wide range of skills, many of which I could (and have!) used to earn my way.

    “Go thou, and do likewise.”

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