Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Sadness

It's been a week, eh.

Woke up quick, at bout 7:34, checked facebook, and this was the first thing I saw

I'm not making this up, a news station posed a question to their facebook followers about whether or not it's fair that Old Navy charges more for plus-sized clothing.

For real.

What is worse - having an opinion one way or another, or shopping at Old Navy in 2014?

And yep, you guessed it, somebody, somewhere in the comments said this was "a gender issue". I can't even walk out the door and shit on my neighbor's lawn anymore without somebody making it a gender (or race) issue.

Here is what should be the final word on the question: shut the fuck up.

Next, we have a diatribe against the vile, racist entity known simply as "brunch". Spoiler alert: NYT content.

No shit, there is an author out there with enough time on his undersized hands to courageously speak out against brunch. While the article, intentions, content, and author's life are all truly unnecessary, I do agree with his point that brunch food is often times covered in sauce that is too rich.

Then the dude from The Strokes found time to weigh in:
In an interview last month in GQ magazine, when pressed for an answer on why he left New York City for an unnamed “upstate” locale, Julian Casablancas, the lead singer of the Strokes, said, “I don’t know how many, like, white people having brunch I can deal with on a Saturday afternoon.”

Prayers, condolences, and all that stuff go out to Mr. Casablancas for suffering the indignity of having to deal with white people eating breakfast later in the day than usual. Must have been truly horrifying.

One time, on my way to Milwaukee for one of my first punk shows, I got lost in the hood. Kinda sketchy, but punk rock, right? Found my way, still in an unsavory neighborhood, parked my car, walked by a porch with a bunch of nonwhites hanging out, menacingly watching me. Then to my terror, a bunch of white people having brunch popped up outta nowhere and that was it, I took off running. Ran back to my car, never to return. #Scarred4Life

Forget climate change, my money is on complaining ourselves to death as what eventually gets us.

Friday, October 31, 2014

telepathy now!

The other day I read this article, and was amused at this particular author's take on telepathy. More precisely, why he wouldn't necessarily want to read the thoughts of other people. You have to wonder, if telepathy was a thing, would it be selective? Could you only read the minds of those you wish, or would your life be a cacophony of tiny voices, driving you to insanity, at the hand of the inane thoughts of the dullards all around you. His Rachel Jeantel example was spot on.

Sure, if telepathy resulted in the latter, you could go to a quantum physics conference, and from roughly eight in the morning to five in the evening, enjoy the most fascinating thoughts from some of the greatest brains in the world. But once the work day is done, and the bar opens, you likely won't luck out and get treated to Feynman-esque thoughts of playing bongos with hookers in South America; you'd be treated to really smart people and their capacity for depravity and minutiae, much in the same way of their capacity for intellectual stimulation. It's a continuum, friends, good with the bad.

Anyway, rambling thoughts aside, this article was meta-linked in the previous article, and it is an abstract of a Harvard research paper about using the internet, and other technology, to telepath furiously. You can tell it's serious because there are many strings of big words followed immediately by capital letters that are bookended with parentheses. I'm not sure what that means, but I'm guessing it's highly scientific and official. Harvard.

I'm sure I've posted here before my layman, layperson, theory of evolution: as humans, we are evolving into a superior race of cat people, #destiny. My wife (an actual scientist) definitely refutes that. Keep in mind that I have absolutely no evidence beyond thinking Orange Guy is awesome. And hope. But shoot, we've seen what happens when you add a little hope to a little bit of change. Wait, that's not helping my case at all. Either way, this telepathy stuff got me kinda thinking - what if?

What if this computer enabled telepathy became part of evolution? Human evolution is accelerating and the limits of bioengineering and robotics are getting pushed every day. We are constantly improving our knowledge and manipulation of inheritance and gene expression. At some point there's going to be an apex, or more likely, a vortex, into oblivion, you asshole humans.

Imagine one day in the not so distant future, finding a lab subject or two and serving them up a sick speedball of Lamarckian inheritance. It may take a couple generations and a little sci-fi leap of faith miracle action, but here (hear) me out. If you could implant a bio-bluetooth chip in the dna of a couple subjects, and hit that sequence up with the right combo of methyl-whatever to turn it on, and get it to send and receive the transmissions, bam(!), Jean-Baptiste Lamarck would no longer be the bastard child of made up stuff.

If and when telepathy becomes a thing, somebody is bound to hone in on my thoughts. And if you've spent any time at all on this blog, (or if you're telepathic) you already know what the next sentence is gonna say.

I'm sorry.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

we got fat!

You've seen the pleas.

You've seen the postings.

You've been annoyed.

Yep, my guitar finally sold! And you know what that means? I can buy a fat bike! So you wanna know what I did? You wanna read about what I did?

I bought a fat bike.

To catch you up, in the past year or so I have been riding, checking out, and reading about various fat bikes. I had gone from a super budget bike to an expensive one, back to a budget-ish one, and all over the place.

Finally, I had it narrowed down; I was pretty much set on the Framed Alaskan Alloy ($1400). It wasn't due until mid-November, and I was fine with that. But then the date got pushed back to sometime in December, and I got kinda sketched out, not wanting to wait for an unknown and liable-to-change release date. So I crossed it off the list.

Note here that the Alaskan is a sweet bike, (and for the money, the Minnesotas ($8-900) are too, and the dudes at The House Boardshop are really stoked on the Framed bikes, rightfully so. Also, with this being my first fat bike purchase, I decided I wanted local bike shop support. That, and the wheels on the Alaskan were a huge question mark. Either way, it's off the list, for now.

Another one on the short list was the Specialized Fatboy ($2100), which I had ridden a month or two back, and it was pretty sweet, but not $2100 sweet. Having bought my first mountain bike from Erik's Bike Shop a year and a half ago, I thought I would call and see if they could do anything on the price. So I called, asked if they could help a brother out. You know, the kind of brother that would be buying his second bike in less than two years. The dude advised that because there are only two size medium Fatboys in the entire (entire!) company, they couldn't do anything. I forgot that Specialized isn't a huge company and probably couldn't send more bikes when current stock gets depleted. That, and when I brought my bike in for a tune up, they fucked up the rear derailleur.

Then I heard some 2014 models were on closeout at a local bike shop, so I went to check them out. First I took out a 2014 Salsa Mukluk 3 $(1550), it was great, but the component spec was pretty entry level compared to the price, and the undrilled rims, however petty, were a deal-breaker. So a (large) step up, the 2014 Salsa Mukluk 2 ($2000), was there too. A great bike for a great price. Also, they had a 2015 Muk 3 ($1950), which for essentially the same price as last year's Muk 2, you get a lower spec. But that wine red color though.

Note here again, if you're choosing between any of those three, there isn't a bad choice. And the bike shop has a great reputation.

The day I rode the Mukluks, a Tuesday, I also put in a call to the other LBS and inquired about the Trek Farley that I was told was due in mid-October. At this point, I was wrestling with the 2014 Muk 2 for $2000. Note here that Heckyeahwoman gave me the go ahead no problem. It was my own inner demons and strife (Yes, Strife!) that held me up. Fast forward to Thursday, and I get a call from the LBS that one 2015 Trek Farley 6 ($1750) in each size will be available on Friday for testing.

So what did I do?

I went over Friday after work and rode it.

Then you wanna know what I did?

I bought the fuckin' thing.

Then you wanna know what I did?

I rode it furiously.

The bike is awesome. It rides (shitloads) better than my (entry level) mountain bike, a 2013 Specialized Rockhopper, which B-T-dubbs I really like. It's light and the component spec is great, especially for the price.

It's funny, they say when you ride a fat bike, the smile never leaves your face. Unfortunately, my smile is two thirds sneer and one third scowl. So while I may look like I'm pissed and don't want to be on my fat bike, know that I really do. Also of note, as stupid as it may sound, I really didn't want to go over the $2000 price point. Yeah my wife is awesome and was cool with that, but it was an asshole personal thing.

It's been almost a month and I'm still super happy. The bike shop, Riverside Bike & Skate has been fantastic. Their service has been top notch, and the guys there are almost as PUMPED as I am. Nice touch: they threw in the shitty pedals from the test ride, and when that shitty pair busted up, they threw on another pair for me in the interim while I wait for my nicer ones to ship, no charge.

Best part though, bringing the bike home and having Heckyeahwoman jump on it, and with that perfect smile, her telling me she wants one. So yep, my mountain bike is now for sale - you should start seeing those postings soon.

Monday, September 8, 2014

nudes leaked, brah

Nude photos of babes like Jennifer Lawrence and Kirsten Dunst (Ok, semi-babe) recently leaked, and you probably heard about that. But what you probably didn't hear is that nudes of successful singer Jill Scott leaked, and both racism and white privilege are the reasons nobody wants to see them. Most pics on Google Images show her as somebody I would not necessarily want to see naked, but she looks pretty cute here.

See, the white male media establishment has criminally brainwashed us into thinking that only fit, healthy, and attractive people are physically attractive. These racist, sexist, homophobic scumbags have egregiously subjugated so-called standards of beauty to the point where this rape culture in which we live is being promoted everywhere we look, and it is affecting not just our preferences in women, but our treatment of them too.

I can't cross the street without bumping into a beautiful obese woman being victim-shamed for not getting raped because of our now perverted standards of beauty. Racist, rapey white assholes (read: all men) parade around raping only white women because religion. This is reality, folks and I'm not comfortable with it.

Those cracker-jack jerkdudes have tricked me into thinking that what makes my wife so amazing is that she is simply a woman, and not her beauty, intelligence, sense of humor, personality, or awesome smile, as I had previously been led to believe. I've been boondoggled!

To think that I have been so shallow in the past, it's disgusting. Shame on me for not appreciating the physical beauty of the slovenly, the gluttonous, the obese, the lazy. Shame on those of us who live healthy lifestyles and take personal responsibility for health, and not only appreciate, but prefer to associate with other like-minded individuals, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation. Our empty ideals clearly aren't enough.

We need to open our minds, and truly try to empathize with those not like us, those with less ambition, less drive, lower intelligence. Because, they're the exact same as us. We need to strive to be better. We need to remember that evolution doesn't apply to humans, that science only applies when either white males are to blame (all the time), or when it's convenient.

Say it with me: I refuse to believe that the universe doesn't care.

For the record, so there is no confusion: I would like to formally apologize for being born both white and male. In addition, I now officially condemn my parents for being good parents and for loving me. Further, I now formally rescind my whiteness and masculinity. Going forward, I will be a Mexican woman.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

this was real

An article has been making the rounds on facebook recently, and the title of that link is: 11 Things White People Should Stop Saying to Black People Immediately.

Anyway, I know a lot of racists, assholes, and racist assholes, and this isn't even stuff we talk about, even when we're drinking. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that these things come across the minds of reasonable white folks very rarely, at any time.

Let's take it from the top and see what these 11 things are:

1. "Why do black people have to make everything about race?"

This is a valid question, validated when one @1EGOTRIPPINDIVA tweets that she will stop talking about race, when white people stop benefiting from white privilege. Please reread the title of the article, check the picture of the author, and then reread this first one here, and watch as a black person makes it all about race. Then get grossed out.

2. "I don't have white privilege. Stop saying that I have white privilege."

Here and I thought the reason that I have been able to not commit crimes and avoid incidents similar to what is happening in Ferguson is because my parents did a pretty decent job of raising me!

Turns out, it's just because I'm white. Sorry Mom and Dad, but thanks for being white, apparently.

3. "I'm not racist. I have black friends."

In the year 2014, this is actually a hipster meme, and hasn't been uttered with sincerity since the mid 90s. Bonus LOLs for the HUGE picture of Donald Sterling. Racism is stupid, but crucifying a senile old man for being old and senile (and white), seems pretty stupid too.

4. "These protesters speak so well, but they're such violent people."

I don't know if those two sentiments together have ever been said by a white person, but I'm sure independently each has. Just so we're clear here, this article says that when you, as a white person, compliment an African American on speaking well, or presumably any other thing he or she did well, that is underhanded and you are racist, end of story. This is what's called "just can't win".

The latter part isn't that unfounded, even as the HuffPo link somehow tries to turn the alarming amount of black violence into an anti-gun diatribe. "Dude wouldn't have gotten so pissed and murdered those other dudes if that gun wasn't taunting him, sitting there on the table, in his periphery, begging to be used. That gun, what an asshole".

5. "You probably voted for Barack Obama just because he's black."

Well, if you're black, you probably kinda definitely did just that. For as much as the black community seemed to dislike Bush's presidency, I'm at a loss for reasons, relating to policy, that the black community would vote for a second Obama term. 

6. "It's not fair that you all can say the n-word, but we can't."

Is the idea of reclamation and constant usage of a racial slur stupid? Possibly. 

Maybe put another way would be better: does the usage of a word by one race, a word seen as a racial slur by all other races, does that make my life any better or worse? Nah.

Keep on fighting that good fight for the right to regularly use a racial slur, and I'll keep on having an awesome life, independent of its usage, fair or not.

7. "I'm clutching my purse or my wallet when you walk past, because I think you might steal from me."

Here, intelligent tweeter, @BroderickGreer eloquently tells it like it is, while making it about race: "Armed white men can walk through Target with no consequence, but unarmed black teens are routinely murdered by white police. #Ferguson"

I don't know the technical term for this particularly insidious type of logical fallacy, perhaps it is just a non sequitur. But I would totally be cool with black dudes walking around Target with concealed weapons. Unfortunately the qualifier at the end of the tweet, "routinely", should be substituted for rarely, as that's more accurate, and pales in comparison to the black on white crime stats.

Back to the tweet though, I've never heard of armed white men in Target causing trouble. Have you? I think we can all agree that unarmed black teens getting murdered by anyone is indeed bad. Though you'd think unarmed black teens would be more wary of armed black teens.

Either way, however right or wrong, stereotypes come from somewhere, and when your stereotype is derived from rap culture, which uh, glamorizes violence, crime, and misogyny, that's not awesome. Apologies for preferring not to associate with those that look like they just stepped out of a rap video.

But there are white stereotypes that should be avoided, like white dudes in white robes, or white people that look like juggalos, though statistically I would probably be less likely to get assaulted.

I'm going to clutch my purse when a person that appears to characterize a certain stereotype enters my vicinity (note that the other day I decided I was born a woman, so I am now carrying a purse).

8. "I don't understand why you people..."

OK yeah, this is a pretty stupid thing to say, but I can't help but wonder what the author means by "white people" when he lists the things they need to stop saying to "black people". 

9. "When I see you, I don't see race."

Here, the writer argues that by rejecting and seeing past race, you are still racist. The creative, if not backward ways this writer imagines in which white people can be racist would boggle the mind of even the sadly not late and definitely not great Reverend Jesse Jackson.

10. "If black men don't want to get stopped by police, maybe they shouldn't dress that way."

Hey no fair, this is the same thing as number 7! 

11. "Racism ended in the 1960s. Stop making such a big deal out of nothing."

Said no cracker jack motherfucker/white person ever. I live in Northwest Wisconsin, which is in the Midwest, and I'm white, so clearly I'm racist, and I've never heard anything like that uttered. 

But seriously, stop making a big deal out of nothing.

Monday, August 18, 2014

delivery man: the movie

On Friday night, the missus and I crushed a fish fry, and get this: the baked fish was baked in Hidden Valley Ranch. So American/lol. But prior to the fish fry crushing, we hit up the local Redbox at the sketchy gas station in the unsavory part of town. Seriously, as we were pulling out of the parking lot, we watched a dude leave the store, twelver of Natty Light under arm, cross the street, and cut through a yard between two houses lol.

Serious visual stench of scum permeates that couple of blocks.

So yeah, we rented a movie, Delivery Man, starring Vince Vaughn. I remember seeing the preview for this movie in a theater, while waiting for Bad Grandpa to come on, and my friend commenting about how stupid this movie looks, while I secretly thought it looked sweet.

Long story short, I was kinda right: it was wholly unnecessary, but pretty good for a quick PUMP.

The premise is that Vaughn's character, David Wozniak, a loser meat-delivery driver for his family business makes bad decisions (poor investments, owes money to the mob, is a bad boyfriend, etc.), and when he was younger, donated so much sperm to a sperm bank that he was one half of producing 530-something bastard sperm bank babies.

Finally one day, those babies, mostly grown, filed a class action lawsuit, wanting to meet him. It gets national press, he goes on a heartwarming mission to meet those kids, helps them out in some way, finally the lawsuit gets its day in court, and you can probably guess the ending is super PUMP-filled and PUMPY.

If you're looking for a mindless feel good movie, this is your flick, bros.

One thing of note is the Libertarian bent the movie sort of took on. Despite Hollywood, and the mainstream media in general, loving anything Democrat/Liberal, this movie managed to kind of buck that trend. See, Vince Vaughn is a pretty big movie star, and he's also a Libertarian, so it was nice to see the hints at sanity throughout.

A couple plot points of the movie could, in real-life, be rallying points for big-government Democrat types. Instead, the plot follows a more or less Libertarian philosophy, and says, "hey government, let me fix this mess you created". And just like in real-life, when that philosophy is allowed to play out, it works.

First, and maybe the most glaring issue, is that the lawsuit - the premise of the movie - was not quickly dismissed upon a judge reading the first couple sentences. But, no garbage lawsuit, no movie. Still though, it's hard not to empathize with the kids wanting to meet their #BioDad.

Second, the class action lawsuit against Wozniak is brought on not because the children want money or punitive rewards, rather, they just want to know the identity of their biological father. Of note is that the children are generally in their mid-20's, and it's kind of cool to see Hollywood display these kids/young people not as a parasitic mass of government teet-suckers, but as able-bodied and able-minded young adults that want merely truth, and not constantly chasing the federal dollar.

Third, the meat of the movie, and the source for much PUMP is when Wozniak is secretly meeting his bastard children, with them having no idea who the old weirdo is. Obviously it's a movie, so the probability of Wozniak appearing right when a life-altering act of kindness is needed most, is pretty low. But the sentiment is still there: you don't always need the government to give you or your kids money, you should probably try to be a decent person first. It's sad that being a good parent is shown as a Libertarian value, when it should be universal.

Finally, the court ruling in the movie reflects fairness and sanity: the anonymity documents signed prior to sperm donation uphold Wozniak's right to anonymity. Oddly, here in modern reality, the court would likely rule Wozniak is not just responsible for revealing his identity as the biological father, but also monetarily liable in some weird way.

It's funny, if you ask any Democrat or Republican, he or she would likely tell you that Libertarians want to eat your children, or something equally as absurd. However, when you look at Libertarianism through the lens of its application to real situations, no matter how far-fetched, it sure seems pretty reasonable.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

i'm that idiot

My birthday was in July. It was awesome. People showered me with gifts, both lavish and shitty.

On the lavish side, my mom bought me a really nice bike computer from Wheel & Sprocket in CrAppleton. Turns out, that bike computer was meant to actually fit into the frame of only a select few hyper-douchey road bikes. Kinda cool, the speed/cadence sensor fits right into either the chainstay or somewhere in the fork. But I don't have one of those bikes, because fuck Mary Burke (she worked for Trek, who owns Bontrager). So it needed to be returned. For those keeping score, it was the Bontrager Trip 300/DuoTrap S Combo. No shit, that's the actual name. Looks like an awesome product though.

Note here that the packaging is poorly labeled, and there is no way my mom would have known that it was compatible with only three different bikes. And of course the asshole at the counter isn't obligated to ensure a solid customer experience.

Anyway, the return sounds easy: proprietary technology + my mom not being cheap = probably a hefty return value. My mom bought me this awesome bike pump too.

So when my wife was back in the Fox Cities area, she kindly went to the Wheel & Sprocket shop location in OshCrap, as she agreed to exchange it for me. Ah, but the forgotten variable introduced by a highly intelligent and business savvy woman: the cost of doing business. See she needed a helmet, and bartered her way into a new one, using a superior brain and assumed surplus return value, and her good looks. I put a post it note on the box, explaining what I needed: a bike computer that will measure everything, with sensors that are universally compatible, and a helmet for you (not you, but for my wife).

Now we have: (proprietary technology + my mom not being cheap) - a new helmet = goddamnit.

After the transaction went down, a recap over the phone sounded benign enough. She went and got a bike computer that will work on my bike, really any decent one would do, and she got herself a nice little helmet for that nice little head of hers. All is well.

A week later, the beautiful woman reappeared at our house with the bike stuff! And other stuff!

Her return brought me this, the Bontrager Trip 300 computer. Notice it is the same computer from above. Upon opening the box and discovering that it was labeled exactly right, with only a computer and no sensors, I could feel the pangs of #ragesweat.

So I did what any sane person would do - called the bike shop to make sure I wasn't missing something. Luckily they were still open. I gave him a brief run down of what happened, and explained to the dude what I was holding in my hands (not a wiener, weirdos), so he went and grabbed the same product to compare with me. Turns out, he confirmed that yeah, I simply have just the computer and would need the sensors.

Here's the kicker, he went on to say I would need the DuoTrap know, the one I just told him was JUST FUCKING EXCHANGED BECAUSE IT IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH MY BIKE.

I detected confusion.

Naturally, I went in a little bit more detail to explain to him what happened, almost exact verbiage here: my mom accidentally bought the wrong computer, and the turd at the counter didn't say anything about this product being compatible with only a few bikes, and then my wife exchanged the Trip 300 DuoTrap S Combo, and the idiot at the counter gave her the same goddamn computer, though minus the sensors. Wouldn't the computer need sensors so it can COMPUTE!?

His response? A meek, "I'm that idiot".

At least he was nice about it.

What is the takeaway here? The Wheel & Sprocket chain is like the Kohl's of bike shops.