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kleinbl00  ·  15 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 1,2018

OH FUCK MUTHERFUCKER NOW YOU'RE WINDING ME UP

Because beer fucking sucks right now.

You know it, you just don't want to admit it - beer is straight-up bullshit at the moment. Yeah, sure there's a million tiny shitty little breweries out there but they're all being bought up one by one by AB InBev or SAB Miller and they all make fucking IPA. You know what IPA is? It's the beer you make when you don't have the room to make beer - IPA requires no refrigeration to make. It's that shit you made in your dorm room when the RA wasn't watching. It's that swill that tastes the same whether it's turned or not because they sell it to you pre-turned. It's that shit you drink because hefeweizens are too heavy - you know, the beer that they've convinced you to put an orange slice in it so it doesn't taste quite so much like pruno.

Fortunately for the beer companies, your tiny shitty little IPA from bumblesquatch colorado can be sold for fuckin' $2.50 a bottle because it says you need a lumberbeard to drink it or some shit, as opposed to $1.25 a bottle for pilsners that you're shipping from Canada or Copenhagen (or brewing down the street, but as we all know your dad's macrobrews have been fucking terrible for decades, that's why we started down this road). Unfortunately for the beer companies, nobody wants to spend fucking $9 for a sixer of Fat Tire anymore and the alternative you're offering them is fucking Michelob Ultra Organic or some shit which tastes about the same as Zima without the sugar, assuming you remember what Zima is. Fortunately nobody remembers Zima or Bartles & Jaymes so let's try selling them "summer shandy" or "radler" because a wine cooler by any other name would taste as cloyingly sweet.

LOOK AT THIS PICTURE.

LOOK AT IT.

Bud. Light. Lime. STRAW ber RITA. "Try it over ice!" What. The Actual. Fuck. This is AB InBev throwing their hands in the goddamn air and saying "we never knew why they liked our swill in the first place, mix a Kool-Aid packet in there and see if they buy it." Meanwhile the beer that everyone drank forever is fucking gone, yo. When was the last time you saw an Anchor Steam? I mean, I live 150 miles from the brewery and I have a hard time finding Weinhard's.

I used to drink Kirin Light. Now I can't even find Kirin.

I used to drink Amstel Light. I haven't seen it at the market in three years.

I'm drinking Sam Adams Light - and that'll work - but it is literally the only drinkable light beer left at my supermarket. They generally have three cases of Sam Adams, two cases of Sam Adams Light, five cases of Heineken, two cases of Heineken light, and an entire aisle of various and sundry IPAs.

And those fucking "summer shandys."

You know what I drink down here in LA?

They've got me drinking Russian beer, yo. I live in goddamn America, home of the macrowbrew and because the industry is pushing trasherita premix I'm drinkin' shit that's been shipped from SAINT FUCKING PETERSBERG.

Let's drive a stake through the heart of the whole goddamn industry. I'm so completely fucking over the direction it's taken. Kill this bitch so we can bury it and move the fuck on.

kleinbl00  ·  71 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why No One Answers Their Phone Anymore: Telephone culture is disappearing.

'K. So. That was delicious.

The "disappearance" of "telephone culture" is a direct consequence of place and decorum in that telephones used to be for places. You had a home phone and an office phone and if you needed to be reached at the office you had a number. If you needed to be reached at home it was presumed it was someone who knew you personally, wanted to know you personally, or had something important to communicate.

A phone was not an obligation - a phone was a tool for communicating within certain settings. And because phones were controlled by large monopolies with ridiculous build cost and tremendous vertical integration it was exceedingly difficult to sidestep the decorum associated with calling a phone number. And if you didn't connect, you didn't connect. If it was important, you'd call back.

Answering machines, which are older than Alexis Madrigal, allowed people to leave messages. This allowed people to screen calls, which has been happening since before Alexis Madrigal was born. Where things got messed up for the phone company, however, was when they went digital.

Because they couldn't do it all at once. Your digital system had to be backwards-compatible with your analog system, and your analog system had to be backwards-compatible with the first phone systems installed back in nineteen diggity-two. Which meant, effectively, that the controls on digital technology were adequate for nineteen diggity-two.

The same technology that allowed the phone company to give you voicemail allow VoIP pirates to phonebank the shit out of everyone from a call center in Bangalore. Once it's become data you can do anything with it. The original PCS transport protocol is literally 10BaseT. You're on a computer now, bubba.

So they made them smaller and they put one in everyone's pocket and phones were no longer about place. I fought them for years using this very argument: "I am not a place. If you need to reach me, you can reach me AT home. You can reach me AT work." For a while cell phones were things you called in an emergency because they were expensive. Texts, despite being free sideband metadata, were equally expensive. And then things were deregulated such that texts were free and calling was cheap and suddenly

you

could not

escape.

And that's the thing Madrigal doesn't get (because he's a fucktard). "Telephone culture" has vanished because there's no goddamn freedom from it. There's no longer any unreachability because the number everyone has (and it's on Facebook and it's everywhere and VoIP is so cheap that you can literally dial every number sequentially) is in your back pocket. Which means if someone is calling you, they're fuckin' interrupting you. You can't get away from that thing.

So yeah. People text first because it's polite and asymmetrical. If you're the kind of person who responds to texts too quickly, people email you. You likely chat with your friends on the phone, but rarely... but when you do, it's important.

I work freelance. We're hired on the phone. Random-ass number calls you, you pick up because it is likely a producer who got your name from a friend or coworker and they don't want to waste time. They want to take your pulse and answer any questions. I once almost got fired off a job because I cracked a joke (wish I had in retrospect). Voice communication is more important now, not less.

My wife delivers babies. She's got a client portal in her EHR. She answers texts from patients all the time. But every single one of them - ALL OF THEM - call when it's time for the baby.

That most reclusive of species, the early-20s woman, who never talks to anyone on the phone anymore, CALLS my wife in the middle of the night to say the baby is coming.

Telephone culture isn't dead. It's just been elevated. And if you don't get that, you deserve to get hung up on.

kleinbl00  ·  92 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas: At least 8 killed, sheriff says - CNN

"Hey, live feed. Active shooter in Texas."

"Where?"

"Santa Fe."

"Isn't that outside Dallas?"

"I dunno."

"Just another example of the government not doing their job."

And then we called attendance.

________________________________________________________________

When I went to college 20 years ago, there were signs up about what to do in the event of a fire. This time? There is no room, hallway or bathroom without an 11x17 placard telling me what to do in case some fucking nutbag with an AR-15 decides to kill me.

We keep hearing "it'll never happen here" and statistically they're right but fuckin' hell, a buddy's daughter lost a friend in a school shooting so statistics or no, that is FAR too few degrees of separation between a statistical fluke and me and my loved ones. You know what I grew up with? I grew up with a constant back-of-the-mind fear that the Russians would get itchy and we'd end up as mohawk-wearing dogfood eaters on the edge of the Great Nuclear Desert.

Forty years. Strangelove, Failsafe, Wargames, Day After, Threads, Road Warrior, the Russians would eventually blow us up. It left an indelible mark on culture and fuckin' hell if the 'boomers didn't wallow in that shit like it was sausage gravy. If you were a kid? You just knew that between AIDS and Andropov there was no fuckin' point in planning for the future.

"I've always felt like eventually it was going to happen here too."

By the time I graduated high school most of the fallout shelter signs had come down because it had just been accepted that there was fuckall that could be done. It feels like we're getting there with school shootings. But while the 'boomers made sure the whole fucking culture understood that death was coming from Ivan the Terrible, everyone is fucking ignoring the fact that we've raised an entire generation to expect one of their classmates to turn an assault rifle on them sometime.

Friend visiting from Fresno. She's talking about the junior soccer league there. Apparently there was a barbecue and one parent got into a fight with another parent and pulled a gun on him. AT A BARBECUE. Which meant there had to be a meeting. About whether concealed carry was okay at soccer league functions. One faction argued - in all seriousness - "that it just isn't a party until the guns come out." And we have to humor that. Because that's the culture. But if anybody said "it just isn't a party until the tits come out" it'd be national fucking news and someone would be required counseling before they were allowed to work in an occupation around children ever again.

I'd rather my kid be around tits.

When I was in high school I had ready access to weapons. Went plinkin' multiple times a week sometimes. Friends of mine got in an armed standoff because someone made someone else mad. Nobody died. I used to fantasize about walking into a classroom with an AR-15 loaded with blanks to shoot at the ceiling. Never did. (1) I knew there would be dire consequences (2) I cared.

I think the caring part has decreased. When the Russians were going to kill us all, it was about fearing a natural disaster, basically. Nothing we could do. Active shooter shit? If you're at the end of your goddamn rope, and you have no real concept of mortality because you're seven-fucking-teen years old, the choice between popper and poppee is a moral one. And in these here United States, you aren't allowed to say "If you have a fatalistic attraction to tools designed to kill multiple people at once and minimal affinity for socialization and thriving, you are sick and we need to help you." Because if you love guns, you're a True American and if you think there should be not just access controls but oh, I dunno, maybe a concerted effort to disrupt a culture that values the tools of military aggression in the hands of civilian sportsmen... well, you don't understand, you're wrong, and I'm a responsible gun owner why are you punishing me?

It was just as easy to get guns 20 years ago as it is now. By any measure, the murder rate has gone down while the gun ownership rate has gone up. You are much less likely to die by gunfire now than you were then.

But back then, you were a lot less likely to die out of the goddamn blue, for no goddamn reason, by gunfire.

The NRA aren't terrorists. Gun owners aren't terrorists. Gun rights advocates aren't terrorists. But every mass shooter is a terrorist and our country has a hobby that is the proximate cause of terrorism.

Most people will never face a mass shooting. But every school student in America has to prepare for them as if they are, and they have to face the reality that we'd rather they memorize "run, hide, fight" instead of "stop, drop & roll" because a splinter fraction of the populace is concerned that if they give an inch, we'll take a mile and the next thing they know they'll be in fucking FEMA camps.

She was Serbian. She'd lost two houses in the war. Her neighbors had firebombed her house in the country and burned it to the ground. Then NATO had bombed her city and leveled her condo. I asked her which was worse. "The country," she said. "Carpet bombing you don't have to take personally."

The entire country arranged its culture around eventual, impersonal armageddon at the hands of unseen Soviet aggressors. Yet that same generation is perfectly okay with kids wondering which one of their classmates might shoot them in the face some day.

When the Run-Fight-Hide generation is tasked with taking care of the Duck'n'Cover generation, I wonder what they'll do.

I wonder if despite all their triumphs, they'll end up eating alpo on the edge of the desert.

And it takes every inch of my generosity to not wish for it earnestly.

kleinbl00  ·  97 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Paralyzed.

I'll totally pretend to give you answers.

    What is killing me this time - compared to all the other challenges I faced in life - is that this one; first, is not in my hand and I am simply sitting there and suffering, and second, it affects more than just myself.

know the difference between FEELING helpless and BEING helpless.

So okay. You went on a trip and met a girl and felt titillated and infatuated for the first time in a while. Happens to literally every person in a long-term relationship. I flirt recklessly. My wife knows I do. She also knows I come home to her because a lot of it is situational. Infatuation is exploring the possibilities. Love is cherishing the realities. You may not be in love with Sarah but she's also not surprising you much anymore. Novelty is a hell of a drug.

And okay. Sarah accepted that she cares more about you than you care about her, and you, for some dumb goddamn reason, decided to keep her around as a fuckbuddy until AUGUST or some shit.

This is the only thing I'm going to give you a ration of shit for. You're in a shitty place. It sucks. I'm sorry. I'ma give you some pathways I promise but for a minute, sit there and feel bad for this. Because it's a shitty thing to do to another human being. "I don't feel that we have a future together but... let's keep rubbing our genitals together for another four months because we have nothing better to do." It's one thing if you're both at "eh" in the relationship but if you're already acknowledging that she's way more into you than you are into her, keeping her on the leash is fuckin' cruel, dude. And it's going to cause things to cascade one of three ways:

(1) She's going to muster up her self-esteem and drop you like a hot rock because who the fuck are you to string her along like that after you've both acknowledged that she's got feelings you can't reciprocate.

(2) She's going to take what she can get for as long as she can get it and try to win you over to her way of thinking HONESTLY. You've given her a deadline, you've given her an ultimatum, you've given her a way forward: how to win a guy in 120 days. And, as a bonus, she gets to bump uglies.

(3) She's going to take what she can get for as long as she can get it and try to win you over to her way of thinking BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. You've given her a deadline, you've given her an ultimatum, you've given her a way forward: how to land your man in one easy step. And, as a bonus, you already had a pregnancy scare 5 weeks ago.

If I understand correctly, you have not been present at any doctor's appointments. You have her word that she's pregnant. If you believe her, that's plenty evidence enough. If you don't believe her, she wouldn't be the first person to fake a pregnancy in order to push a guy into marriage. It's happened to three of my friends, in fact. But don't focus on that. In the end it doesn't matter. Those three pathways are independent of pregnancy, real or feigned; the pregnancy is a complication but it does not affect the fundamental core of your relationship with Sarah.

Your relationship with your father is coloring your current situation way too much. Makes sense. Entirely natural. By all means analyze it, reflect on it, react to it, but then set it aside because the relationship that matters now is between you, your potential child, and the mother of that potential child. That's where a lot of the helplessness is coming from: you had no power over your father yet he still holds power over you. You have no power over this child yet this child holds power over you. Hold it up to the light, nod at it, then put it back in the drawer.

Your current reaction to Sarah has a lot to do with the fact that you thought you killed all responsibility to the relationship yet still managed to reap the benefits. Yet here she is, drowning you in responsibility and threatening to cut you off entirely from any benefits. She's making it clear that you are unnecessary to her future plans, much like you made it clear that she was unnecessary to yours. What was the word? "Paralyzed." All right. You're frozen. You can't move, you can't breathe, and you're freaking out. Hold it up to the light, nod at it, then put it back in the drawer.

NOW

You're all about abortion which leads me to believe that divorce doesn't offend your religious sensibilities. You're freaking out about your family's reaction to a kid out of wedlock. And you're fixated on this child's future alienation because you're going to have no input into their life. Yet the obvious solution - marry the girl - has been ruled out, out of hand, with no discussion whatsoever. Why is that?

Marry the girl. Now you've got a say in the kid's upbringing. Commit to not being a stranger. Get to know her family and friends. Commit to three more years in Germany, three more years of trying to see what kind of life you can build with Sarah. It's the first two years of a child's life that govern so much of their future and having two parents that love them under one roof where they feel safe and loved makes all the difference in the world.

If you're not into it within three years, part amicably. Support your child. Be a part of their life. Be anchored in her family. Be a relative that doesn't vanish. Be a father. You can be travel dad no problem. After you've front-loaded the commitment it'll be nearly impossible to shrug you off, particularly if you comport yourself like a gentleman. And fuckin' hell, you may discover that having something in common with Sarah, who is about to give over her body and time for the next two years to the life and well-being of your firstborn, makes her someone you can love more.

You might be surprised what happens when you extend the girl some trust and empathy. You might find she warms up into more of a person you want her to be. And, you might discover that she miscarries and you didn't have to blow up your life. Maybe you go through with the wedding, maybe you drop her like a hot rock and learn to never again string along a girl who likes you more than you like her.

Either way, your best move is to commit to a wedding and let it play out for better or worse. All the bullshit above aside, saying I'm going to do this means you're DOING something which breaks you free from paralysis. You're making a move, you're making a decision, you're acting towards your own future, and you're forcing the probability cascade to break down in your favor.

- You propose to the girl. She turns you down. You say you want to help. She turns you down. You try to be in the kid's life. She turns you down. You've done all you can, your father can't resent you completely, and the door is open to be a part later.

- You propose to the girl. She says yes. You get married, have a kid, stick it out as long as you can, and end up being Foreign Dad. By then you're more settled financially, you have a better idea what your future holds and you've influenced your child's future in an immeasurably positive way.

- You propose to the girl. She says yes. The pregnancy disappears. You walk away unscathed.

- You propose to the girl. She says yes. The pregnancy disappears. You find your feelings towards Sarah have changed. To be continued, for better or worse.

- You propose to the girl. She says yes. You have a family and live happily ever after.

Either way, when you've decided you no longer care for someone as much as they care for you, stop fucking them for both your sakes.

kleinbl00  ·  108 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 2, 2018

There's a girl in The Horrible Art Class. We'll call her Rebecca. In the first of four "allow me to memorize your names" segments The Horrible Teacher said "Rabak? Rebech? Arbitch?" at which point Rebecca, blushing, said "Rebecca. My first name doesn't fit on the attendance records for some reason." She was embarrassed by this.

Rebecca's hair is too long and her clothes are frumpy. But her eyes are alive under too much makeup. She's one of the Annoyed Ones in That Horrible Art Class; or, at least she's one of the ones who jets as quickly as she can.

Monday she was wearing a too-large sweatshirt. It said "In Case of (mid-life) Emergency Dial (Porsche) 9-1-1" and had a crude representation of a red RUF turbo on it. I asked her "So who saddled you with the shirt? Who has the disease?" and she said "My dad had a 911" and I plowed straight through "I just got one they're great everyone should have one" without touching on "what happened to it" "what happened to your dad" "why are you wearing your dad's sweatshirt." But you can see it. Whatever the circumstances there's a good possibility she's going through life minus a parent.

I just want to tell her she looks nice. I want to tell her to be brave enough to cut her hair, to stop hiding. I want to make everything be all right. I think when you're a teenager you're too busy being consumed by your own fragility to notice that you're all standing around like scared deer waiting for the tigers to come.

I've surrounded myself with children in the virtual world for fifteen years now. When surrounded by real ones my instincts are the same. Protect, inform, advise. I think I've realized that my overwhelmingly paternal instincts are an overreaction to my fundamentally feral upbringing.

My wife got back from a conference a couple weeks ago. They were talking about ACE scores and how many in the midwifery community tend to score higher than baseline. My wife and her new employee remarked that they were "zero" and "one" respectively but the argument was that if you have a non-zero score and your patient has a non-zero score your relationship has a cumulative score and in a traumatic birth your interactions are going to be a product of the cumulative, not the individuals. Curious, I took the test and scored a six.

It bugs the shit out of me that my altruism is motivated by the shadow effects of 30-year-old bullshit. It's disempowering. It makes it feel fake. It means I became Reddit's Father Confessor not because I wanted to do good but because I was flailing to fill the hole dug there decades earlier.

Now all I can notice is how stinky teenagers are. I wonder if they always were and now I sound like David Fucking Brooks.

kleinbl00  ·  113 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Judging A Book By Its Sobriety

Writing is fun. Being a writer is bullshit. This dichotomy is one of the things writers don't talk about, don't write books about, don't tell students about.

Somewhere on here there's an article about the dirty little secret that every writer you've ever read had/has a spouse or a parent that allows them to eat so they can spend fuckin' forever grinding away at that magnum opus that nobody gives a shit about. If you're a "writer", odds are good you're also wasting your time from an economics standpoint. Stephen King will tell you that Tabby basically underwrote his career through Carrie. Anne LaMott will mention in passing that her dad's agent read eight of her books and oh by the way she's divorced from the guy who put food on the table while she did it. It's the dirty little secret: the people who don't have a benefactor are competing with the people who do but nobody mentions the benefactors. The two successful screenwriters I came up with were both in a position where they could live in $3k/mo apartments for two fucking years without having to earn a penny so they could sit there and write. Must be nice.

The other dichotomy is nobody gets into writing because they want to perform in front of an audience. Nobody sits down to write a book so they can carry it around under their figurative or literal arm to dozens of trained professionals all intent on saying no. Nobody sets out to prove themselves over and over and over again only to be sent a "not for us - sent from my iPad" email on Thanksgiving evening (true story). But once you get accepted by an agent you're a god. But once you get rejected by a publisher you're scum. But once you get published you're a god. But once the book gets panned you're scum.

And it's all so goddamned capricious.

If you ever want to see into the soul of any performer, ask them what work they're most proud of. It won't be one you've heard of. It'll be that thing they believed in, that they put their heart and soul into, that the marketplace crushed. And maybe they'll have rationalized why it got crushed, and maybe they won't, but it's still the central fable of their lives, be it written or a work-in-progress. It's the thing that allows them to make peace with the capriciousness.

Some people don't make peace with the capriciousness.

Hemingway was absolutely at the top of his game. Pithy mutherfucker. "There's nothing to writing. You just sit at the typewriter and bleed." Said the guy who tried on 47 endings and 18 titles for Farewell to Arms. David Foster Wallace? The closer he got to death, the more personal his writing became, the less interested his audience was in what he had to say.

The stories I write for me? Nobody wants to read them. The stories I shit out because someone throws a buck at me? ZOMGBUSINESS. That'll fuck with a mind: You're auditioning for genius but for some reason what they love the most is derivative crap. You'll notice nobody ever calls Danielle Steel or Dan Brown tortured geniuses. You may not think Amy Winehouse would have been different 20 years sober, but you don't care if David Lee Roth is different 20 years sober. Amy Winehouse was "serious." Diamond Dave is not.

So if you're a serious artiste you're left grappling with the cognitive dissonance that if you get paid you're a sell-out but if you don't get paid you starve (unless you're one of the lucky dilettantes we don't talk about but we all know and us serious artistes all know they aren't serious anyway, just lucky). And if you're a serious artiste you know that validation is nothing but validation is everything but validation is illogical but if it matters it MUST be logical and somehow

if you let yourself go

and turn off for a while

and give it to the bottle, give it to the powder, give it to the needle, give it to whatever

it doesn't

matter

so much.

Writers, as a species, are sensitive. Writers, as a species, are introverts. Writers, as a profession, must have nerves of steel and an endless appetite for rejection and writers, as a profession, are chronically, criminally underpaid and undervalued. And if that writer has a tendency towards dependency, that dependency is what allows them to power through that cognitive dissonance. It's the thing that allows them to write for an audience.

Would Amy Winehouse's material be different if she were sober? Who knows. King's certainly is.

Inebriation allows writers to plow through the bullshit of being writers. Lots of writers can do it without substance abuse. Some can't. For those who can't, the proximate cause of their substance abuse is the bullshit of being a writer, and the bullshit of being a writer definitely colors their writing (lookin' at you, Charlie Kaufman).

    who wants to be a great writer if you are only a great writer when you're fucked up? what an awful fucking curse you know?

Said every writing drunk in the history of writing, ever.

And then they poured another shot.

kleinbl00  ·  122 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 18, 2018

Something I didn't say last time about that one app that I should have:

You're an exceptionally talented, exceptionally interesting young man. But you reveal nothing about yourself until you've been directly questioned. Then you're cautiously enthusiastic about the stuff you're, like, really good at.

You know what's sexy as all hell? Enthusiasm. The unbridled confidence to not just believe but to know that the stuff you think is cool IS cool and that anybody would be delighted to get a glimpse into this awesome world you live in. Passion and enthusiasm is what makes things interesting; being the vessel of that passion and enthusiasm is what makes you interesting.

You're a great communicator. Every interaction you have with a girl should take the form of "you're going to think this is cool because X." If you can make someone feel the awesome you do they will view you as awesome through simple transference.

kleinbl00  ·  156 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Dos Equis erases The Most Interesting Man from its history

Keep in mind: for all intents and purposes, once you hit 25 you've chosen every brand you'll ever choose. This is one reason why advertising focuses heavily on teenagers and young adults; it's easier to hack a presidential election than it is to get your mom to switch dish detergent. Macrobrews are kinda fucked in this regard because those goddamn whippersnappers tend to buy a sixer of something expensive and semi-local, but only every now and then: my roommate will buy six Blue Moons about three times a year while my dad will buy a half-rack of Coors Light once or twice a week. So they're marketing to a rarified stratum: people under 25 who are deciding on "their regular beer" that they can get most places. The Most Interesting Man came out in 2006 so everybody they could (legally) influence back then is between the ages of 35 and 40. Time to do something new because they know that even if they kill off The Most Interesting Man, you aren't going to switch to Corona at this late date. You started drinking Dos Equis to set yourself apart from those choads.

The owners of the macro brews give no fucks, of course. 70% of beer sales in the US are controlled by one fucking company.

kleinbl00  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 7, 2018

I know. And that's why I refuse to humor you.

The difference between being glum about a physiological limitation or not being glum about a physiological limitation is glumness. Worse, the worse your attitude the worse your hormonal and chemical balance. The more you act like a little bitch, the longer you will be a little bitch, the harder it will be to not be a little bitch... physiologically.

Toughen the fuck up. Not because I think less of you but because your strongest ally in this is yourself and you sell yourself short at the drop of a hat.

kleinbl00  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 7, 2018

I had an epiphany maybe three, maybe for years ago. I was running, as always. Up the dune, as always. A mile into my 3-4 mile run, as always, same as it ever was, as I have been doing since 1988.

This dude smoked me. Trotted right on by like I was standing still. Made me feel like shit. Then I thought about it and realized that I was old enough to be his dad. I'd been running longer than he'd been alive.

I was faster when I was younger. But I'm still going. I'm doing pretty goddamn well, thankyouverymuch, and all the shit that holds me back isn't bad enough to hold me back much. I'm healthier than my parents were at my age; I'm healthier than my grandparents were at my age, I'm healthier than my friends at my age.

I'll take it. In the end, we're only competing with ourselves, and we only get to win until we lose. I'll take every win I can get.

kleinbl00  ·  253 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Liberals Need to Take Their Fingers Out of Their Ears

It struck me as wanting to be salty, and wanting to yell at someone else about the problems.

both the Democrats and the Republicans have been lying to the poor for decades, but the Democrats kinda sorta feel bad about it. it's that ambivalence that has left them crushed and despondent.

IT'S FUCKING STUPID. There are so many more poor people in the United States than rich people, so if they want power fuckin' rally behind the fuckn' poor people. I'm almost willing to give them a bye over the fact that it used to be hard to scare up individual donors and if you're looking for whales you're looking for the rich by definition but fuckin' Bernie Sanders.

The Democrats should have been just as gobsmacked by Bernie Sanders as the Republicans were by Trump but instead of going "oh shit we have lost our base" they went "it's Hillary's turn damn the torpedoes full speed ahead" and here we were, living in fear of Twitter.

kleinbl00  ·  269 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 22, 2017

    it's primarily that he gets his ideology from memes. Not kidding. His Facebook history is full of fucking memes - and I've got to reference Dawkins here for the literal and original meaning of meme, because the sourced knowledge this guy has on politics is insidiously hard to pin down. His news feed is full ubiquitous, pint-sized ideas and fact-checking every meme he's ever come across and internalized is a herculean effort.

This is insightful. I've experienced it. I have not put my finger on it before but you have the most of it.

I work with a couple die hard conservatives. They are lonely people in Hollywood; there's a contingent to be sure and they're insular as fuck but the overwhelming majority of Hollywood liberals are in fact liberals.

One of the things I've noticed in discussions with them (careful, respectful, well-bounded discussions) is that the conversation is not built around ideas. It's built around factoids. It's built around totems. It's built around memes.

These ideas are not, in and of themselves, coherent components of a greater philosophy. They are not arguments. They are touchstones. They are bookmarks in an internet search of alienation, secret handshakes of cultural identity.

A funny thing happened when Trump won: they got cranky. Keep in mind: I know people who worked with Trump. a lot. Had I gotten here a few years earlier I totally would have been crew on The Apprentice. He's a known quantity around here and yeah - it's a right-wing conservative orgazmotron. But at the same time, with Republicans owning the house, the senate, the executive and the judicial, the world should be perfect, right? But they knew - they knew - it'd be a long way from perfect. Theirs is a philosophy of opposition, particularly here in liberal Hollywood, and it wasn't so much that they were right, it's that everyone else was wrong.

HERE's MY THINKING

We don't drag him along, we live our lives and do the right thing. We don't assail his ideas hoping that eventually something sticks. It's an oppositional mentality and so long as he wants to oppose, it really doesn't matter what he's opposing. They're a tribe that want everyone else to lose. They don't really know what that looks like, but they want it really badly.

This is the way cognitive dissonance works: it starts by feeling uncomfortable so you ignore the sources that assail your worldview. Then it pushes you into an insular place because you're retreating from information. Then you lose sight of reality because you're working so hard to keep up your microcosm. Then one day it snaps - and it snaps hard. And now you're a disillusioned searcher.

Trump and the modern conservative universe is about the purest form of cognitive dissonance challenge you could ask for. He's not a conservative by any stretch. He's leading the party towards the reductio ad absurdum place the liberals always joked about - Trump literally defended Nazis. And they have nothing to build on, and their efforts to tear down are failing.

There's going to be a reckoning. There's going to be soul-searching. And we'll need to welcome them back.

but not yet, goddamn it

kleinbl00  ·  318 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 4, 2017

I've taken to referring to my time in Los Angeles for work as the time when I'm within the event horizon for the black hole. Communication in or out is tricky and time stretches to the point where your frame of reference is no longer valid.

This time last week I was in Los Angeles which appears to have boosted the Schwartzchild Radius.

My daughter is in an immunotherapy study. It's going to take years but there is a high likelihood that she'll be less allergic to peanuts on the other side. I phrased it to her as "how would you like to help other kids be less allergic to peanuts?" and she went all in, despite the fact that they had to make her back itch and draw her blood. Then her bloodwork came back with low immune response levels (probably because she had the sniffles) so she had to go in again. She likes the "magic cream that makes her arm tingle" but still, she's four and has had her blood drawn twice in two weeks with no complaints. The administrator told us that they really hope they can get her in because while they can't tell me her peanut IGGs, her regular IGGs are the highest in the entire study. Go kid. Glad you're more allergic than anyone else they've ever seen. not.

Had lunch with my buddy. Told him I'd done reasonably well in cryptocurrency, told him that if I couldn't use it for shit like chemotherapy copays what the fuck can I use it for, told him that the point you stop being able to be proud and refuse charity is well before the point where your relatives put out a GoFundMe for you and cut him a check for a thousand dollars. He cried and said it was really valuable to him to have long-term friends around (we've known each other since we were 4) so I punched him in the face and told him to stop being such a pussy. We now have a regular lunch date for as long as I'm in town.

Saw Front 242 and Severed Heads in Los Angeles. mk did not because he is lame. We got wasted - 60ccs of bone marrow aspiration be damned, I drank like four doubles of well bourbon and blasted my fucking mind out with EBM. The last time I saw Front 242 I ran lights for them and everyone was 20 years younger. The local alt-rag made fun of Front 242 back then for being totally into their music and dancing around like "a bunch of boojie boys" well past their primes because alt-rags are always bullshit. And here it is 20 years later and there's Jean-luc DeMeyer, 60 fuckin' years old, black leather jacket, sunglasses at night, rockin' it like it was '85. And the audience was not nearly as gothy as it would have been in Seattle - i mean, there was a guy in a hawaiian shirt and a fanny pack. And fuckin'A I was wearing goddamn cargo shorts so who the fuck am I to say anything.

one of my buddies is insecure. I told him to be more like Jean-Luc De Meyer - rock the sunglasses at night. That mutherfucker has known exactly who he is for 40 flippin' years and nobody remembers that bullshit alt-rag review but me while he's still sitting there headlining sold-out houses ten thousand miles from home. And then I got home and dropped my kid off at school wearing fuckin' house slippers and the same goddamn cargo shorts and realized that everyone else was all dressed for work'n'shit and I realized I have no fucks to give.

A friend turned me onto a Boeing gig doing tedious webcast shit. Sure, why not. So you talk to the recruiter. She wants a "resume." Oh, right. Out here in the world they still care about that shit. Fine, here's a thing I did in Pages like three years ago which I refuse to install on my computer to fix the address and email so here's a PDF with some wrong info because I can't be sussed. Then they want an "interview." Oh, right. Out here in the world they still care about that shit. Fine, okay, I'll pick up the phone, yeah, your rate is half what I make but so long as you give me enough work to not fuck up my unemployment checks until I get to my real job I'll take your money. What's that? You want me to fill out a profile on your website so that other recruiters can reach me? I mean, Okay...

At some point in the not-too-distant past I gave OftenBen a ration of shit about millennials because everybody harshes on the next crew but Millennials are the first posse that thinks it's okay to show up to an interview in flip-flops or some shit. It's a trope that's been in Forbes, Huffington Post, Time, whatever. Ben, I owe you and the rest of your generation an apology. Flip flops are what you wear to interviews you don't give a fuck about. The fact that you don't give a fuck about the interview doesn't say anything about you, it says a lot about the job being interviewed for. It says a lot about your regard for the culture that wants you to jump for their bullshit hoops.

I'm about to be 43 fuckin' years old and I have successfully opted out of that culture. My contempt is cushioned by disinterest and success; I can easily see it coming from a position of despair and resignation. Hipsters? Hipsters are the kids that aren't putting up with your bullshit and still feel kind of okay about themselves. A fully enlightened millennial generation will be a sea of vinyl-listening, avocado-toast-eating, flip-flop-wearing hipsters.

I've been to four watch-making classes. I'm learning not a lot and having the time of my goddamned life. The watchmaker at Vacheron Constantin recommended a book that is hard to find and very expensive. Turns out one of the instructors at the class scanned that fucker to PDF but never read it. It's DOPE. Did you know that there are really only five gears in a watch necessary to tell time? Did you know they're really fuckin' fun to take apart? Did you know that ten years building scale models, 20 years working with surface-mount electronics and 30 years tuning carburetors and otherwise performing fine work on motor vehicles gives you orders of magnitude more manual dexterity and fine motorwork than your peers? I didn't. I do now. I'm fuckin' good at this shit.

That's a pallet fork. It's about 4mm wide. Turns out that 10x macro lens that clips onto your phone that you got in your stocking can be really goddamn useful. So yeah. Took apart a pocketwatch and got it back together again in the amount of time it took everyone else to take it apart. LOVING IT. With a semi-decent CNC machine I could build these things from scratch all goddamn day long and be a pig in shit. I would be utterly and completely divorced from this bullshit "show the recruiter where on your resume the bad career touched you" society and walk around in my goddamn cargo shorts and house slippers all day because I don't have a boss to care.

Finally, my car is dying. It needed $1500 worth of work six months ago and still does. Then I gave a buddy a thousand dollars so he wouldn't fucking die and figured maybe, as a 43-year-old man, I deserve to drive something that doesn't smoke when it warms up and doesn't have gorilla tape keeping the headliner out of my hair.

So I'm negotiating on a Porsche 911 carrera cabriolet because my inner douchebag clearly wants out. Even better, it's the shitty 996 water-cooled one that Porsche nerds love to hate because apparently every time you turn the key Ferry Porsche spins in his grave because it's water-cooled and made with Boxster parts and has headlights like fried eggs and and and. Here's what I know - if I can get a car? That sold for $80k? With 21k miles on it, new tires and $15k worth of service just done on it for less than the price of a Prius C? I'ma do it.

State farm wants $7 less per month to insure an '02 Carrera than they do to insure a '95 Dodge. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

mk, thenewgreen, I might be rippin' through San Fran at some point soon because taking a ragtop Porsche up the PCH in fall sounds like a pretty nice birthday present to myself.

__________________________________________________________________

wellthatwascathartic

kleinbl00  ·  321 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Mapping’s Intelligent Agents: Autonomous Cars and Beyond

    What I'm apparently failing to explain is that I want more consideration, not less.

What you're explaining loud and clear is that you feel the people responsible for the truth on the ground are not giving it the proper consideration. When I called you out for arguing (as a grad student) that you knew better than the law, you doubled down:

    That's not my luminary genius insight but professor after professor after professor has taught me.

I took one (1) acoustics class. It was taught by the two acoustics Ph.Ds at UW. And we started the class with one of the profs explaining the measurement rig he had pointed out the window: see, the buses outside were loud, but it was spring and soon the trees would be covered in leaves and it would be much quieter. et voila. Acoustics.

We believed him - I mean, I was 22 and the actual math of the attenuation of a shit-ton of leaves is intensive. Nonetheless we never did end up comparing beginning and end. Once I started working in the field I relayed this story to my boss and she laughed uproariously and showed me the B&K chart listing attenuation on the x and "meters of forest in hundreds" on the y.

These are acoustical professors with Ph. Ds prestigious enough in their department to fund a boat that flips on its tail for sonar studies. And we learned all sorts of great stuff about nodal analysis, resonance, deep channels and the like which provided a fundamental basis for the practical knowledge that I then picked up in the field. Because "practical knowledge" wasn't their thing - they were busy rewriting the theory. And for environmental acoustics, the theory was laid out by a dude a hundred years dead.

We'll disregard my profs' erroneous assumptions about the way environmental acoustics work. We'll even disregard the fact that when they were busted, they shined it on as if it never happened. We'll focus instead on their attempts to broaden the body of knowledge that we all benefit from and thank them for it. We'll even spot them the assumption that if my boss were to walk into that room and give them a lesson on the acoustical isolation of leaves, they'd listen interestedly, ask intelligent questions and have a rigorous debate about the mathematics at play.

Because nobody comes out ahead when we assume everyone else is a fucking idiot.

FIIC. Field Impact Isolation Class. A two-digit number that takes two trained professionals two days and ten thousand dollars worth of equipment to arrive at. Lucrative, no? I mean, we couldn't roll one for less than $3k. Which means we didn't get to roll them nearly often enough. And we spent a day burning through the math in custom bullshit Excel spreadsheets that sucked and that wasn't any fun either. So when we were presented with an opportunity to test some composite floors so we could build up some better mass law models, my boss paid me to schlep concrete and sand up to the 4th floor of a condo for six weeks so we could do our own testing. Contribute our own models. Put in our own research.

I billed out at $150 an hour, dude, and she sank 240 hours into it.

So I'm glad you're "all worked up." You should be. You "want the underlying assumptions, biases and structural issues unearthed and discussed" which can only mean you think they aren't. You "want to know in which context they work and in which context they don't" as if you think people don't fight over this shit every goddamn day. And I've been trying to say this a dozen different ways and you aren't hearing it, probably because it's offensive, and because it assails your worldview:

The experts in the field know more than the people they measure.

That's it. That's my beef. That's my fundamental observation, that in any esoteric body of knowledge, the practitioners of that knowledge know more about that knowledge than the people who encounter that knowledge glancingly. No matter how broad your evaluation of mapping and GIS, it will never be as focused as the mid-level bureaucrat in some forgotten town who has jurisdiction over where roads go in his township.

The argument put forth in your essay is that the experts are fucking idiots. When I tried to find something about objective vs. relational you came back with "no, it's that the experts are fucking idiots." When I came back with "you know, the experts I've worked with seem to know their shit" you came back with "they don't know it nearly enough because research." So yeah. I'm fucking offended. Your argument hinges on the idea that the practitioners of a science are incurious about the theory of the science, which is the argument people always make, so often that you actually whipped out

    So you sound to me like yet another arrogant engineer who thinks their numbers are always a good enough substitute for the truth.

Dude.

DUDE.

The "arrogant" engineers are the ones that know they know more than you and are sick of having to explain it. They're the ones whose knowledge is called into question because somebody just did a study somewhere. They're the ones being forced to (temporarily) rewrite their entire code of behavior because some expert somewhere in another unrelated field has better PR.

These are Assistive Listening Devices. They cost about $300 each, plus about $1000 for the transmitter. And thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you have an auditorium that holds more than a hundred people you have to have enough of them for five percent of the audience. That means if you have a school somewhere with a gym that seats 300 people, $5500 is going to be spent on shitty FM radios that nobody ever listens to... rather than band instruments, rather than gym equipment, rather than art supplies.

This happened because a well-meaning audiologist argued back in the mid-80s that deaf people were being left out of public events because they couldn't hear, and a lot of them couldn't afford hearing aids, so clearly any public building should be forced to pay to bring them in so that they would be "handicapped-accessible." And none of them ever get used - you wanna stick someone else's grody earthing in your ear? - but they're mandated by law and building inspectors across the US have to count the fuckers every time there's a permit issue. Millions of these things, mouldering away in closets.

Repeat for in-class reinforcement, smartboards, etc. What usually happens next is some journalist gets a bug up their ass to investigate waste and comes after whatever the it-thing is and administrators are pilloried for wasting money on that thing that only has one study to back it but ALS has hung on for three decades because the ADA was written by the Pope, effectively, so here we are. But fundamentally? People who don't know telling people who do know bones it for everybody.

My argument, simply put, is it's dangerous and offensive to assume that the people doing the majority of the work are in the knowledge minority. And the fundamental argument put forth by this argument - and by you - is that if we have a number, and everybody agrees on it, it reflects calcified thinking and oppression of the populace.

    I don't want to paradigm shift my way to glory, I want people to stop and think about the values and methods they pick.

The only way you could want this is if you hold deeply the idea that "people" aren't already doing it.

And fuck right off with that shit.

There's a great Frontline that answers all your questions. Unfortunately it hasn't been digitized.

The problem with trading up the chain, simply put, is that law enforcement only knows what criminals tell them. They are not constructing parallel cases. They're not making the roads safer, they're filling their quota of speeding tickets.

Torture doesn't work for the same reason - if you tell me you'll stop pulling my toenails off if I tell you who gave me the IED, I'll stick with the pliers so long as my source scares me more than you. Which means all I need to do is give up someone who scares me less than you do - and there's no downside to iteratively throwing names out there.

Let's say I've got four buddies - Alex, Bob, Chuck, Dave and Elvis. You've got my phone and you know that I call all of them. You're going to throw me down the forever hole unless I give up my dealer, and you suspect it's Alex, Bob, Chuck, Dave or Elvis. I play cards with Alex. Bob occasionally buys weed from me. Chuck's a single dad who hits me up for money. Dave gets me work sometimes as a bricklayer and also loves to share his collection of child porn. Elvis works for the Zetas cartel.

I'm going to give them up in the following order:

1) Chuck because he's a drag on my bottom line

2) Alex because I lose money when I play him, even if it's usually fun

3) Bob, because I'll miss that income

4) Dave, because I'll really mis that income

Never) Elvis, because I don't want my entire family to end up beheaded on the side of the road outside Amarillo

Presume, for the sake of kindness, that the DEA can rule out Chuck and Alex immediately. They are obviously, visibly harmless. Bob? The DEA is going to squeeze Bob, who will give up his own list that also doesn't include Elvis. Each one of the people on his list will be squeezed until eventually someone is stupid enough to flip a supplier. That supplier is then going to play the exact same fucking game. Elvis is doing just fine, the DEA is chasing their tails, and low-level addicts are suddenly drug kingpins because they're all narcing on each other.

Let's add some financial incentive to the pot, shall we? Every single person who gets implicated is also subject to DEA seizure. That means they get to take anything that touches drugs. Did you drive a car with drugs in it? it belongs to the DEA. Did you ride in a friend's car with drugs in it? It belongs to the DEA. Store drugs in your house? It belongs to the DEA. Store drugs in your landlord's house? It belongs to the DEA.

Along with everything in it.

Let's take my buddy Dante. He was addicted to Meth. He got clean for the sake of his life, and for the sake of his son. And then his buddy, who helped him get clean, told him that he needed 2 kilos of coke to make it across town by 5 or the Zetas would kill him. So my buddy Dante got the keys out of a mailbox, got in the car and started it up.

The car? The DEA's. The drugs? The DEA's. Dante's buddy? Trading up the chain, giving up Dante rather than the guys the DEA wanted because Dante couldn't make him show up headless on the side of a freeway outside Amarillo. Dante, of course, had no one to give up so he was charged with trafficking and faced a ten year bid for a first offense. Lost his truck, lost all his musical equipment, is a felon forever.

Well yeah. Shouldn't have gotten in the car. No shit. But if you think policing, public order, the war on drugs or any civil good has been advanced by this travesty of criminal justice you're not only high, you're evil.

And that's what's wrong with it. Dante is real. The seizures are real. The dead on the side of the road outside of Amarillo is my sister's ex-boyfriend. And here's the DEA, getting low-level smurfs to snitch on each other for fun and profit while the Coast Guard siezes 225 tons of coke.

kleinbl00  ·  332 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 20, 2017

    Welp. I'm in the hospital for a week or so. My transplanted kidney is experiencing some antibody mediated rejection. It's got some permanent damage, but with treatment and increased immune suppression, I should get a few more years of use out of it. Grateful for everyday since 2009. Grateful for my donor, and his family. Grateful for good healthcare. Grateful for my kiddos. Grateful for all the people who have supported me since my kidneys failed in 2007.

That's a buddy of mine, couple weeks ago. I've known him since I was three. He's center left. I'm center right. This was my seventh birthday.

He was my main rival through elementary school; the other smart kid. We were the twin towers of nerd-dom. Only he got distracted by other stuff and basically flaked out on school; I think he literally got perfect SAT scores but his academics blew. He now thinks it was the paint chips he ate as a baby because apparently he's got other hallmarks of lead exposure. Me? I started hanging out with the overpass kids and noped the fuck out of academics pretty hard so by the time anyone gave a fuck about achievement we were both too cynical to care.

    The out of pocket cost for these treatments will be approximately $5000. Worth it, but extremely difficult to cover, especially given the amount of unpaid leave from work he has had to take (2 weeks so far, plus at least another 10 days in the next two months for chemo). He's a good, hard-working man who hasn't been able to catch a break when it comes to his health.

We have lunch when I can find time; it's always striking to me because I show up wearing WTFever and he shows up in coveralls with his name on them. perfect SAT score. My life was no bed of roses but fuckin'A.

He's gonna die.

He's three months to the day younger than I am and he's gonna die. He's got two kids; one just graduated high school, I think, and the other is three or four years out. His wife got him all the way through recovery and then decided that she didn't want to be anyone's wife anymore. And his commute is miserable and he's gotta deal with shit like dialysis AGAIN.

I've done well in Ethereum. It's play money, too. And my instinct is to frickin' pay off his gofundme. I mean, there's a girl on the roster there a thousand miles away whose existence I'd forgotten until yesterday and she put $250 towards this guy she prolly hasn't seen in more than 20 years. I've had lunch with him like twice this year and I haven't been here for half of it. Maybe that'll buy him another couple years. But then I put my name on it and it hangs over both of us. Maybe I don't put my name on it and then it hangs over me. I don't know.

His parents are government employees with rippin' pensions but he doesn't talk to them anymore of course and besides, he's a grown-ass man. A grown-ass man whose sister is begging on the Internet to pay his medical expenses because we live in the most advanced Western democracy in the world with the best healthcare in the world and the best doctors in the world and we're crowdfunding someone's renal failure.

I make reality television for a living and my daughter's inhaler costs me $5. Her epipen costs me $5. Her ER visits? A whopping $70 ZOMG. I get hot towels when I fly and he finishes out the day with Gojo and growing up, his was the house the nicest one I'd been in and his mom was on the city council and their cars were always new and I hunted mice so I could sleep and here we are and I don't understand how we've created a society where a million little choices by a million little kids lead us to this place where I keep my bike tools in a Harry Winston bag and he's begging the Internet for another couple years on this earth, please.

So I'm home, and I slept in my own bed, and I started a class in taking apart watches and I've got a feature and a short to mix and what really fucks me up - and has been fucking me up - is my buddy.

I sent him a text saying we were setting up a standing lunch date, my treat, he picks the day of the week and the place. I haven't heard back.

America.

kleinbl00  ·  339 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: I watched my patients die of poverty for 40 years. It’s time for single-payer.

I firmly believe that "single payer" would get a lot more support if people stopped talking about it in grandiose themes and noble vignettes and started talking about it in real terms. All the liberals I know are in heavy favor of "single payer" without any of them knowing what the fuck it is.

HERE'S WHAT THE FUCK IT IS.

I've got a medical facility - Al's Medicine. Al's subcontracts to Betty the Biller and Cindy the Client Specialist. I operate in a state where my medical facility is covered by Medicaid. We also take private (employer-provided) insurance, which is underwritten by the following insurance firms: Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z.

Al's must sign individual contracts with Q, R, S, T, U, V and W. These contracts are "take it or leave it" binding: they say that for ICD code 1, Q will pay Al's $7.50 but for ICD code 1.000000001, Q will pay Al's $0.00 because fuck you, Al's. Note that Q might pay Joe's $6.50 or $9.50 or pi.ie^2 for ICD code 1. Q is entirely within its rights to do so. Al and Joe, on the other hand, are contractually forbidden from discussing their rates for ICD Code 1. If Q gets wind that Al and Joe know what the other are getting, they can drop both because fuck you, Al and Joe. Also know that Joe might not get anything for ICD Code 1 because Q has decided that all of Q's contracted healthcare clients can drive 75 miles to Al's for those services because fuck you, Joe. Also know that Q can tell Al's they'll pay $7.50 for "services" verbally and in writing, but when the actual contract comes through the actual number listed is $2.25 because fuck you, Al's. Also know that they won't tell you what ICD codes they'll pay for, they'll just say "services" and let you resubmit your bills over and over and over again until you find the ICD code that pays out the most because fuck you. Also know that the ICD code they choose to pay for can and will also change because fuck you.

A few other notes: Al's might have to provide, for example, rhogam shots to prevent babies from dying from blood type incompatibiliy. These rhogam shots might cost Al's $28 but Q is going to pay $7 because fuck you, Al's. If you ever wondered why hospitals charge you $40 to hold your baby it's because they're trying to claw back the $21 the insurance company isn't paying for medicine they're required by law to administer (for example). Also note that your involvement, gentle consumer, starts when you get an "explanation of benefits" from the insurance company listing all the outrageous charges the doctor hit you with. It will provide no explanation. It will show how generous they were in all their disbursements and then show you that your doctor's office is going to bill you STILL MORE MONEY because they're such bloodsuckers.

This is where Betty Biller and Cindy Client Specialist come in. Betty makes 10% by pickaxing all the money she can get out of Q. Betty's whole job is knowing what Q pays out on. Betty knows which ICD codes Q pays out what on, and can turn your "normal child checkup" into 42 different codes that pay the maximum rate Q has contracted to pay. She is literally a medical billing bounty hunter. Betty is the back office side while Cindy talks to you, the client - here's what's coming, here's what it means, here's how to get your insurance to pay for this ahead of time, here's how to get preapproval for that.

For those keeping track at home, billing specialists outnumber doctors 2:1 in this scenario.

Multiply times insurance companies R, S, T, U, V and W, who all have their own rates, all have their own codes, all have their own geographic exclusion areas, and probably have seven or eight sub-plans so that it's not actually "V" it's V.a, V.b, V.c, V.d, V.e, V.f and so on. Suddenly, Betty and Cindy look positively useful and you will pay them gladly because the act of billing for care takes three to four times as many man-hours as actually providing that care. Betty and Cindy make good livings and their existence is entirely parasitic on the insurance companie's deliberately opaque, byzantine and antagonistic reimbursement practices.

Not Y and Z, though. Y and Z contract through Medicaid. Medicaid has no patience for that bullshit. They will pay the following amounts on the following ICD codes. Anybody who contracts through Medicaid bills those codes and gets that money. It is known. Y knows, Z knows, Al knows, Joe knows, and all of Al and Joe's clients can fuckin' look it up. And when Medicaid's reimbursements lag behind the real world, it gets turned into a bill that goes to the legislature that raises the rates for everyone.

Al's, in fact, might get better reimbursements out of Y and Z (because of medicaid) than they get out of Q, R S, T, U or V.

Unfortunately you as a patient don't get your insurance through Y and Z because you make more than the poverty level for your county. You get whatever insurance your job provides, which might be V.c, might be Q, might be nothing because you drive for Uber and fuck you.

As a provider, we get to choose who we contract with. We do not get to choose what those providers pay us. And if 50% of your clients work for Microsoft, you bloody well better be able to take V.c, despite the fact that they reimburse at exactly half what Medicaid reimburses at (which is funny, because all your Microsoft mommies make six figures). R, on the other hand, may decide that they'll never cover you because they have enough of your specialty in network, never mind that the nearest provider is a ferry ride away (because this way they don't have to pay for those services).

As an insurer, you get to decide who you contract with. You can pick the providers that are the stupidest, that will accept the lowest rates, that have the lowest conflict rate of you arguing over charges. And you get to discuss this with the HR reps of companies large and small, none of which have any background in medicine, medical billing, accounting or statistics. To no one's surprise, they choose on price.

But the poor people? They pay what the state says they pay, the insurance companies collect what the state says they collect, and they contract with the providers the state says they contract with.

THEY STILL MAKE MONEY.

They're still private insurance companies, privately managing your health care, privately paying out private doctors. It is not "socialized medicine." It is not "universal healthcare." It is not the National Health Service. The healthcare industry is something like a tenth of the US economy; you're never getting that. But you go single payer and all of a sudden things go from back-room knife fights between Q, R, Betty and Cindy to state-mandated pricing and state-mandated coverage.

My future is tied to health care. I've got more in a medical practice than you have in your house.

And I'm a big booster of single payer.

And so's Aetna, who in this example is R.

kleinbl00  ·  371 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: A Flower Pot of Significant Personal Importance

Houseplants are important psychologically. They demand nothing from us other than water and light, yet they are a living thing whose existence depends on us. By requiring our care they allow us to shift our focus from ourselves to something else, but at a much lower concentration than pets or humans. They're useful for staving off depression. The hard part is when the depression wins.

Mine started about ten. I'd had a couple houseplants and an aquarium in my room in 5th grade; when we moved in sixth I took the opportunity to plan a large skylight (which I never got - my parents put them in two other rooms but) and hang up a couple 4' grow lamps. By the time I was sixteen I had maybe 25 pots of various foliage, two aquariums and a hand-me-down cage full of finches.

By the time I was seventeen my sister was stealing my shit to sell to her friends, my parents weren't interacting with me unless it was to give me shit, I was a full-blown exercise bulimic and I was trapped.

And I let it all die.

At one point I went away for four or five days and my parents broke into my room because they suspected there were things to be fed in there. They apologized when they realized everything was long since dead.

But they never wondered what the fuck happened, and they never did anything about it.

I like green, growing things. My own little Silent Running in the middle of the fucking New Mexico desert was my escape capsule. And the fact that I couldn't keep it alive still messes me up.

The fact that my parents never gave a fuck made me angry for a very, very long time.

kleinbl00  ·  404 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What happened when Walmart left

I've noticed a peculiar thing happening to my psyche. Whenever I hear the words "intersectionality" "privilege" or "coal miner" I find myself losing all sympathy and empathy. My hackles are raised, my interest in debate plummets and I go full "plague on both your houses" mode.

I have a couple friends in West Virginia and I don't give a fuck about West Virginia. As a country, we were talking about doomed fucking coal jobs in the '80s. And when your two choices of employment are the Walmart and the prison, your local economy is end stage already.

And can we level for a minute? Those of us who grew up in the Mountain West were surrounded by ghost towns left skeletonized by an end of mining, agriculture, ranching, you fucking name it. Everybody moved the fuck on. And while I appreciate that the mortgage is an excellent instrument for trapping workers in place for better predation by corporations, fuckin' take the hit and leave.

I spent a lot of time driving through rural Arizona back in the late '90s. I spent a little time driving through rural Arizona in 2010. Know what I saw? New ghost towns. Places where it made sense to live when Clinton was president but totally didn't when Obama was. Empty houses, empty stores. Fuckin' sunrise, sunset. Know what we call the people who left squalor and risked everything to find new opportunity? YOUR ANCESTORS. Know what we call the people who stayed? We don't. They've been forgotten by time.

    Given her mother’s health issues, Nicole Banks tries to compensate for Walmart’s departure by seeking out fresh fruit and vegetables in the surrounding area. But it’s not easy. The nearest replacement store, Goodsons, is too expensive, she says, and other Walmarts are an hour’s drive away along Appalachian roads that are as tightly coiled as the copperhead snakes that live in the local forest.

I mean, eat a dick. I grew up an hour from a fucking Taco Bell. Walmart? The first Walmart I ever saw was a two and a half hour drive away and even at the tender age of 11 I could tell it was a blight upon the community.

    It was into this stunning setting that Walmart descended in 2005 on the site of an old Kmart, like the spacecraft of alien botanists that lands in the forest at the start of the movie ET. And there it sat: a massive gash of concrete encircled by nature’s abundance.

Talk about burying the lede. So a store with higher profit margins crashed, so Walmart came in with lower profit margins, until even they were just losing money. But somehow this is about Walmart leaving rather than fuckin' McDowell County returning to the primordial "largest mixed mesophyte forest in the world" as is good and just and righteous and proper. Know how many people live on South Georgia Island? Two. Know how many lived there when whale hunting was legal? Hundreds.

    Wanda Church has been unemployed since that day when she cried as Walmart’s doors were closed for the last time; the company offered her a night shift at the next store along, but she couldn’t stomach the hour’s drive either way and wasn’t prepared to leave her home.

That howling sound you hear is every urban commuter reading this article and screaming at the top of their lungs that their commute is over an hour and that's just the way it is princess.

    The company had worked with all the employees who had lost their jobs to find them suitable transfers or give them severance pay. “We look forward to continuing to serve our Kimball area customers when they visit our stores in Bluefield, Princeton and MacArthur,” she said, (without referencing the hour’s drive.)

There are THREE fucking Walmarts within an hour. Workers at any supermarket chain you care to mention are quite used to suddenly having a shift an hour away. This happens in major metropolises and yes, I can say with authority that Walmart does it, too.

This is literally liberal disaster porn talking about those poor fuckers in coal mining country who no longer have a Walmart across the street but can drive 40 minutes to get to one. They're fuckin' 40 minutes from the goddamn interstate; time was going to forget them sooner or later and sincerely - from those of us "scots irish" who grew up in the goddamn desert, welcome to thunderdome, bitch.

Articles like this? They make me want the opioid crisis to accelerate, Obamacare to crash and global warming to destroy the economy of appalachia even faster. If the only thing that kept you hanging on was the talons of Bentonville Fucking Arkansas, you were ready to shuffle off the coil a long fucking time ago.

Get busy livin' or get busy dyin' and either way, know that I'm all the fuck out of sympathy.

    Being a schoolteacher, Phillips has a theory for what happened when the store closed. “Socialization. We lost our socialization factor. Now it’s hard to keep track of people, there’s no other place like it where you can stand and chat.”

    There was something else Phillips lost with Walmart’s departure. To illustrate the point, he reaches into his red pick-up truck and pulls out a loaded Para Ordnance Warthog .45 handgun and waves it at us, telling us not to freak as the safety is on.

    “Bought this in the Walmart parking lot,” he says. “Guy sees me reading a gun magazine and asks me was I carrying. He offered to sell me the Para warthog and I got it for $775.” Phillips took his new possession home and added to his collection of 140 firearms.

no words

kleinbl00  ·  443 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Homelessness up 26% in LA YoY, 10% in Seattle , *61%* among LA youthx 2

"These people" are "us people" under poorer circumstances. There's a real tendency for people to think that poverty reflects a moral or intellectual failing but it's a shamefully dismissive way to view the problem.

kleinbl00  ·  477 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Buying Silicon Valley's Horseshit

    “The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists.. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”

- Banksy, AdBusters interview backintheday

The issue is not that these choices are available, the issue is that these choices crowd out the sensible ones. There's a lot of fallacious product design in toothbrushes. At the same time, it makes sense to apply what we know about dental hygiene to what we know about human habit to what we know about materials science to what we know about merchandising because even an expensive toothbrush is what? $4? $5? That's before you get into the land of Sonicare and its ilk and there are justifications to that, too. I have a $140 toothbrush. It was recommended to me by my dentist over my $100 toothbrush because apparently I was brushing hard enough to require some repair at the gumline to the tune of $900 billed to my insurance. The difference? The new one tweedles at me when I brush too hard. First world problems? You betcha. Asymptotic improvement? Mos def. BUT it is innovation in pursuit of improvement.

Dollar shave club, on the other hand, doesn't help you shave better. What it does is provide you access to bottom-of-the-barrel no-name Chinese blades at substantial markup to you. Yeah - a bag of Bic safety razors is like $3 for 24 or whatever so obviously you don't have to purchase that, either, but Unilever spent a billion dollars buying Dollar Shave Club instead of, I dunno, making better razors.

Lather, rinse, repeat. You rightly state that you are not directly impacted by any of these deeply silly Silicon Valley choices but you are indirectly affected. As you state, you're a fan of Blue Apron - what if Silicon Valley spent $120m on improving the efficiency of produce delivery to wherever you are instead of $120m on ways to sell chopped fruits and vegetables for $10/lb?

Henry Petroski has argued many times that necessity isn't the mother of invention, luxury is - we do not invent a fork because we cannot eat without one, we invent a fork because it's easier to eat with one. The inventor/manufacturer profits off of the increase of ease he provides us, and we pay him gladly. The argument put forth in the article (not as clearly as it could be, no doubt) is that the Silicon Valley business cycle is not focused on efficiency, it's focused on inefficiency and predation. And while this is not universally true, the argument for "disruption" is not "make the world a better place" it's "break laws and make money until they legislate you out of existence."

I have thousands of hours of music on hard drives. I used to have hundreds of CDs. My access to music went up an order of magnitude with the advent of Napster... but I can't really say that MP3s improved the state of music. It used to be that technological innovation was largely in pursuit of quality-of-life improvement and that argument could easily be made about Napster et.al. However, the inefficiencies of the music market also provided a living for most of the people involved in its generation.

And that's another issue - companies like RentBerry and Fiverr are, at base, eliminating inefficiencies. However, in a marketplace that's even a little unfair or uncompetitive, "inefficiencies" are often the profit of the disadvantaged. On a perfectly level playing field, assembly line workers in Detroit should have no problems competing with assembly line workers in Guadalajara.

But.

    This article is annoying because it stands on the premise that someone offering a choice to you is the same as you being forced to participate, and that a choice you don't agree with is somehow this nefarious plot to screw your life up. Fiverr doesn't exist to destroy the middle class dream. It connects freelancers with people who hire them.

Hi. Freelancer. Years of experience. Union member, skilled laborer. And where I work, the middle has dropped out. I'm one of the youngest people in my industry that I know of and my 20-year reunion was a while ago. See, used to be you started out as a gopher PA and then you became a set PA and then you picked up a skill and then you started making a little money and your network grew and you started making more money and eventually you had a wife and two kids and a house in the Valley. But now there's a sea of film school grads who can work for free because mommy and daddy understand that you have to do that for a while in order to get experience so they'll pay Janie's $1900/mo rent for a studio in Panorama City while she struggles for free until eventually it becomes clear that as soon as she starts to ask for money there's ten more Janies eager to take her place so eventually she's going to go back to live with her parents in Dayton and take orders at Applebee's while meanwhile, the guys that are actually hiring new kids who don't know what they're doing are generally doing it with their parents' money, too, and they're going to fail out within however long it takes for their folx to get sick of paying for their hobbies and in the meantime, we're all getting older and we're all hanging on to the gigs we have and the kids? The kids are not coming up because the opportunities that are available to them are a mirage.

Make no mistake. I'm the other side of that divide. Comfortably. But the gig economy, in my industry at least, is a fucking meat grinder for those without protections. Multiply times everything.