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Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Forty Six

Journal by mcgrew

Awake
        I woke up about quarter after seven, and Destiny was already up and had coffee started. "Hungry?" She asked.
        "Yeah, I am. Did we even eat dinner last night? Did you tell the robots to start breakfast?"
        "No, I wanted to try something new for breakfast and wanted to see what you wanted to eat first. You know I'm a history buff, well, I found a really old recipe in the computer called a âbreakfast horse shoeâ(TM). They used to have them in the twentieth and twenty first centuries in a city in the American midwest."
        "A horse shoe? That doesn't sound too appetizing, What's in it?" I asked.
        "Well, the recipe I found calls for ham or pork sausage, but turkey or beef or chicken or almost any kind of meat will do. It's a piece of toast covered with cheese, with meat on the cheese, more cheese on the meat, scrambled eggs on the cheesy meat, cheese on that, hash browns on that and more cheese on top of the hash browns."
        "Sounds cheesy," I said. "Sure, I'll try one."
        We took a long, fun shower together while the robots made horse shoes, and I only had enough time to finish half of it, but I had to go to work.
        That horse shoe was pretty good. The recipe was so old I was surprised it was in the database, but Destiny probably brought her own history database along. She really likes history, and she's getting me interested in it.
        No shower yet today, I was going to need one when I was done with inspections anyway.
        All of the readouts were okay in the pilot room, except for that I probably wouldn't be able to inspect those hundred and twenty two engines that I still hadn't been able to get to because of all the nastiness blocking the halls, and number seventeen was of course still not working and it was one of the ones I couldn't get to. That didn't really matter, though, because I'd be damned if I was going to light it again, even if the robots could fix it without melting.
        Maybe the maids had paths cleared out by now so I could inspect the rest, they'd made lots of progress when I was down there yesterday.
        No way was I going to inspect cargo today no matter what that damned book says, that would have been crazy fucking stupid dangerous. Some of the dropheads might be low on drops and there's no way I'm inspecting a monster's pen. Fuck that God damned book, I wasn't going to do it.
        I went to inspect the sick bay first. Tammy was still in a coma, and I was worried. What were the droppers going to do when they woke up?
        The maids had indeed jettisoned a lot more of the gross, nasty mess and I was able to get through the halls and inspect almost all the engines this morning, although there was still a hell of a lot of stinking gore and I still couldn't get to the generator or two engines.
        There was a different robot working on seventeen, with a smashed up robot next to it, probably damaged in the excitement. Damn it, I wanted that damned engine dead. I unplugged it, took a lead off of the battery that powered the robot and plugged it back in, hoping another damned robot wouldn't reconnect the battery. Anyway, I trudged back up those damned stairs. As I was climbing stairs I foned the computer and told it to "alert me when Doctor Winters regains consciousness." The stupid computers, they only understand military nerd talk. I took my filthy boots off at the landing at the top of the stairs, it was still really gross down there. I took my shower when I got home.
        Destiny and me had roast beef sandwiches and fried potatoes and salad for lunch. I was starved, I'd only had time for half my breakfast and that was probably my first full real meal since yesterday morning. I don't think we ate that pizza we ordered for lunch the day before.
        While we were eating, the alarm went off; Tammy was awake. Thank God! Both of us took off at a run toward the sick bay. I told the robots not to clear the table, if I didn't the stupid things would throw the rest of my lunch away.
        She was sitting up on the medic with the oxygen mask still on her face and the needle still in her arm. She was taking the mask off, looking a little groggy. "The droppers!" she said, her speech a little slurred.
        "I know," Destiny said. "Tell me where the drops are and lay back down, you had a serious concussion. You've been out for two days and we're worried about the droppers."
        "You two can't handle them," she said.
        "We have to," I replied. "you can't."
        "You could overdose them!"
        "Better than underdosing," I said.
        "Not much. Look, John, there is a trunk in my quarters with a false bottom, the drops are in there. They're in small bottles and there are plenty. Just put one bottle in each addict's quarters when you do inspection and I'll adjust dosage later when the gurney lets me go."
        "Okay," I said. "What do I do if one is starting to go through withdrawal?"
        "Drop the bottle and run like hell!"
        That seemed logical to me. Hell, opening the door and just tossing a bottle in seemed even more logical, these girls were freaky scary without drops. Scarier than Destiny's old gray horror movies, even.
        "We'll be back when we're done," Destiny said.
        There was a melee in the commons. I locked the door and gave them nitrogen instead of air while Destiny tossed bottles into all the rooms. Then I went in after they passed out and put a drop in each one's eye. Their eyes were all pretty bloodshot but nowhere near monster red yet.
        I hope Tammy's better soon, she's pretty busted up, damn them whores. We're lost without Tammy. The medic's readout said she'd had a very severe concussion, dislocated shoulder and a few broken ribs. At least she was awake now and the medic read "condition fair".
        I should have let the robots clear the table, lunch was way past by now so when we were done we ate dinner... huh? Steak, potato, and salad. I hadn't hardly touched my salad at lunch. Huh? How the hell am I supposed to know what kind of damned potato, potatoes are potatoes as far as I'm concerned. The robots cooked them, anyway.
        We had a bottle of wine to go along with it, but this time we only drank one bottle, then watched another Rawhide together, then a really, really dumb movie about California beaches from the nineteen sixties that we turned off after fifteen minutes and finished the Star Wars movie. I was surprised, this one wasn't as funny but it was still pretty good.
        It was still early and the bottle was only half gone, so Destiny put on that old prison movie. Halfway through it she said yeah, that was from the book she was reading and "this one follows the book pretty close except it was Popeye fucking Olive Oyl in the book" and that they'd left a chapter or two out in the movie. She added "Except for the flies coming out of the big black prisoner's mouth, and the scene where the guy gets burned up, and the magic shit I thought it was good, even if it wasn't a hologram."
        Then we put old music on and cuddled a long while and went to bed.

Next: Captures

User Journal

Journal: VDH is an academic, so I guess that makes him an 'expert', or something 25

Journal by smitty_one_each

America is suddenly angry at the laxity, incompetence, and polarizing politics of the Obama administration, the bad optics of the president putting about in his bright golf clothes while the world burns. Certainly, no recent president has failed on so many fronts â" honesty, transparency, truthfulness, the economy, foreign policy, the duties of the commander-in-chief, executive responsibilities, and spiritual leadership.

It's a great article, but, if it doesn't translate into candidates offering real reform if elected, then it's just so much whinging about.
Furthermore, Obama is a symptom, not the disease. Had his golfing fixation crippled him in 2008 the way it does now, the NTRCU (No-Talent Rodeo Clown Union) would have provided a similar piece of work.

User Journal

Journal: "What's even more interesting is how you can distinguish Obama from [Reagan]" 25

Journal by smitty_one_each

Let's see. . .
For a random example, Reagan's leadership directly led to the fall of the Berlin wall, indirectly to the fall of the Soviet Union.
Obama's has led to. . .a golf course.
Your juxtaposition of the two is so farcical as to rate a JE, so more people can laugh at it.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Forty Five

Journal by mcgrew

Injury
        We both woke up around seven, still cuddled up on the couch. We'd been asleep for fifteen hours on that thing. We cuddled a little while more, then Destiny started coffee while I took care of the ship's air and corrected the course, since I was sleeping when the generator came back online.
        We took another shower together after drinking a little coffee and she told the cook to make pancakes and sausage, and we watched the news while breakfast was cooking. That robot makes pretty good pancakes. The sausage is pretty good, too, but my mom could do better.
        There was nothing new on the news except Venus and pirates, and pirates sure weren't new to me. More people on the Venus station were dead and the rest weren't expected to live. That must be one nasty disease!
        There was some sort of scandal where some politician was caught having financial connections to the pirates, was impeached, charged with violation of banking laws and bribery, fined, and put on probation.
        I'd have shot the God damned son of a bitch, or at least put him in prison. Fucking bastard was a God damned traitor. The pirates they'd caught on Earth earlier had all been sentenced to prison, which is what led up to the politician's arrest; his pirate friends had ratted him out in hope of lighter sentences.
        At eight I checked the readings, which of course was fine because I'd just been in there an hour earlier. Then I did inspections. The monsters were all sleeping, even the German woman, and everything was fine upstairs.
        I had to check the engines and generators but could only check half the engines and only the starboard generator because all the hallways halfway from port to starboard were completely clogged with body parts; I couldn't check the port side engines or the busted generator.
        It would take the maids weeks to clean up all the blood. They'd still be working on it when we got to Mars. God, but it was a nasty mess down there, and it was starting to stink really bad. You couldn't smell it upstairs, thank God, but going downstairs made me want to throw up. And it looked as disgusting as it smelled.
        I took off my bloody boots at the top of the stairs and put on the shoes I'd worn there. I was going to need another shower.
        There was a commotion in the commons on the way back to our quarters; Sparkle was in there and obviously low on drops. Dangerously low. Tammy came walking quickly up.
        "So youâ(TM)re going to visit Sparkle?" I asked her.
        "Are you fucking crazy, John? Of course I am! I must not have been clear in my book. If one of these women runs completely out of drops, weâ(TM)re all dead. Really. Trust me on this, this is my main field of study."
        "They knocked you on your ass and stole your drops the last time."
        "It was... well, a gamble. It paid off, I got knocked out but how many pirates died?"
        My phone rang; it was Sandy, a chubby red haired girl, wanting to know why the maid didnâ(TM)t show up. Of course, they were all in the engine and generator rooms, cleaning up blood and guts and the nasty stuff that's inside guts. It really stunk bad, worse than when Billie blew herself up. Most sickening mess I've ever seen, or smelled.
        I told her they were only coming half as often because of the sickening mess downstairs, and hung it up... where did that phrase "hang up" come from? And answered Tammy.
        "From what I can tell, thousands."
        "Where are all the bodies?"
        "The robots jettisoned them. Lots of them, anyway, there are an awful lot still downstairs. Now theyâ(TM)re all little bitty comets, except the ones that haven't been cleaned up yet. But there's still one hell of a mess down there in the engine and generator rooms and it isn't even all the way cleaned up upstairs, here."
        My fone rang again; a heavy German accent asking about the maids.
        I hung up the fone after telling her and wondered again why we said "hung up", and why the damned thing was called a fone. But then, why is an apple called an apple? Why are robots called robots? I'm called John because that's the name my parents gave me. I should go to college. Maybe I should read, like Wild Bill and Destiny does.
        I got on the PA and informed them that maids would only be there every other day for the duration of the trip because they would all be busy in the engine and generator rooms. I went the rest of the way back home and took a shower.
        While a pizza was cooking we watched another Star Wars movie because the first one was so funny, but we only got to see twenty minutes or so before an alarm went off: Injury to passenger.
        "Pause it and come on," I said, hurrying to the door. "Tammy's hurt." I talked to the fone. "Where is Tamatha Winters?"
        It said "Cargo eighty seven."
        "Is she alone?"
        "Affirmative." Damned computers.
        "Is a medic on the way?"
        "Medic en route." Why did this thing type "en route"? Why not in route? I ain't French.
        "Where's Sparkle?"
        "Unable to process order or question, please rephrase." God damned piece of shit computer! Who programs these damned things, anyway?
        "Where, is, Sparkle?" I repeated.
        "The term âsparkleâ(TM) does not exist in the database except as a dictionary entry."
        Shit. "Destiny, whatâ(TM)s Sparkleâ(TM)s real name?"
        "I donâ(TM)t know."
        Shit. "What are you going to do?" she asked.
        "I don't know," I said, and then I had an idea. I'd done this before. "Computer, when I say so I want you to replace all air except here and the sick bay with nitrogen and inform me when everyone in, uh," damned computers, "the affected areas are asl... uh, unconscious."
        "Affirmative," it said. Stupid computer. I could find Sparkle's picture in the computer but it would take too long to go through two hundred pictures.
        "Is doctor Winters in sick bay?"
        "Affirmative."
        Damned computers. "Condition?" I asked.
        "Critical," it said, and Destiny got pale. I probably got pale, too. There was no way Destiny and me could handle those dropheads without Tammy.
        I decided to look for Sparkle before knocking all of the droppers out; I don't want to damage cargo, let alone hurt people.
        It only took a few minutes to find her; she was in the commons noisily attacking the two Thai girls who had the same names. I thought it looked like she wanted to eat them, as in take them apart and swallow their flesh like a cannibal or a lion or a wolf or something, and her eyes weren't even all the way red yet. Her eyes were still really scary, though. The gruesome picture of the generators and all along the halls by the engines haunted me; it looked like some of the remaining flesh had been partially eaten. There were even bones with teeth marks on them. Nasty. But the two Thai girls were holding their own; I didn't know it but both were excellent at martial arts; Lek told me later they practiced Thai kickboxing. I have no idea how they got hooked on drops. They were easy to tell apart, now that one of them had started wearing clothes.
        I had the computer shut the door and flood it with nitrogen and hoped Sparkle passed out before the Thai girls did. When they did I had two medics bring the Thai girls out and I cuffed Sparkle, wrists and ankles. Then I went to Tammy's quarters in search of drops; angel tears were all that was going to save all of our lives now.
        I looked everywhere. She'd hid them real good, because I couldn't find them after looking for an hour and a half, so I called Destiny. She didn't know where she kept them, either.
        Shit. We were all dead.
        Maybe not. I'd had Lek, the Thai girl who talked kind of all right and knocked me out (I think, I'm not sure) but was acting human these days who I'd had took to sick bay. The other Thai girl hadn't been injured but the one that talks good was still unconscious and sporting a black eye. If Sparkle didn't get her drug she was going to die horribly and if she wasn't chained down we were all going to die horribly, and maybe even if she was chained down we'd still all die horribly.
        I went to the sick bay to see Tammy and Lek, hoping Tammy was going to live. Her medic said she was stable, but she still wasn't awake. I guess stable is better than critical, which is what she was before, but I ain't no doctor. The whole side of her face was purple.
        Destiny was there. "John," she said, "Shit, what are we going to do?"
        "I don't know," I said. "If Lek wakes up maybe we can save Sparkle and if Tammy wakes up maybe we can save everybody, but without those drops we're all dead."
        Lek stirred a little. "Give her time," Destiny said. "Let her wake up."
        But she was already sitting up on the medic, ripping off the oxygen mask. "Sparkle need drops! She be animal! She no have drops she die! We all die!"
        "I know," I said. "But we don't have any. Do you have some?"
        "I no want be animal and dealer hurt real bad," she said, glancing at Tammy. "All I got is all I got!"
        "You're lucid," Destiny said. What the hell does lucid mean? "If Tammy dies we're all dead, you can see that. Now we're trying to save Sparkle. We don't want anyone going through withdrawal. How much would it take to save Sparkle and how much do you have?"
        "I no have enough," she said. "I be animal before I get to Mars."
        I got mean; this was one of those God damned times I really hate, when I had to be an asshole just to keep people from dying.
        "Lek, what you got is what you got unless you're willing to share. And you know what you got won't get you all the way to Mars, we'll all be dead first. I'll tie you up and let you die from withdrawal if you won't help Sparkle."
        "You would not do that!"
        "Watch me, bitch. My job is getting all of us to Mars alive, or at least as many of us as possible. Now where are your God damned drops and how much does Sparkle need?"
        She pulled out a bottle, one of the kinds with a dropper for a cap. "She only need one drop now, only in one eye, give rest back, okay? I no want be animal."
        "Thank you," I said, "I'll give you your bottle back. I know that's why you want to go to Mars. You don't want to be a dropper."
        "I want be human again," she said. "I not dropper, I drophead. I no want be animal. I hope Tammy wake up or we all dead."
        Yeah, me too.
        We would be okay if Tammy woke up in time, but she was still in a coma when it was time for bed. At least the medic's readout had said her "condition was upgraded to fair".

Next: Awake

User Journal

Journal: one of my mental problems 5

Journal by Bill Dog

Yes, that was plural. One other is that I'm deeply misanthropic. No, not like the Leftie kind. I'm totally with the Left on the belief that people can't be trusted to make the right decisions. But my religion (which is a reference point to my politics, and not one in the same), or my God, commands me to love and forgive others for their failings [if only I could apply that to myself!], and to recognize that despite being highly flawed, my species (i.e. not realy about race, or gender, or other, for me, although I have my prejudices) that I despise so much was made in the image of God and unlike the rest of creation possess cores that will live on past this very beautiful and at the same time very ugly physical world.

So I've never been like for example my sister when she was in college (studying biology/chemistry at UC Berkeley) who wanted to invent something that would, as she put it, wipe out all the human beings so that the animals could live in peace. Nor am I like more adult-thinking Lefties, in feeling that the masses should be enslaved in some sense, for their own good (and that of the earth, and fairness/some universal cosmic karma I guess, etc.)

But though I'm not as bad as maybe around 1/3rd of Americans who are solid Left, it's still something I want to work on.

And then another would be the constant mini-digressions, that I'm prone to, that can be seen in the first couple of paragraphs here. I think this condition of mine manifests itself, in my writing, in lots of parenthetical clauses, and lots of commas, to break up the subthoughts of a thought, and to separate out the hyperlinked if you will related illuminating or context-adding pieces to a thought.

You see, if I don't try really hard to control it, I'm naturally an incoherent mess. So that's another I continously try to work on.

But it's also this second one that leads me to the third and last one I can think of, which is the real topic of this JE. (!)

I constantly get caught up in my own little world, in my head.

From a work performance aspect, I think I was born to be a programmer because I can get in the zone quickly, and get in deep. And I think I create stuff expressed in a way that makes sense, and is robust.

But from a soft skills aspect of work performance, it hurts me badly.

1) In meetings I'm constantly zoning out. My mind frequently wanders back to the issues at hand in the quiet, individual, at-my-desk part of my job. Sometimes unnoticed by me the conversation has meandered to something I've worked on and a question gets posed to me all of sudden, requiring the context of what has transpired so far to interpret. This is hugely embarassing, and is not so swell for my career.

I don't know what to do about this except just try to remember to stay focused on all the floundering around and illogic that the idiots I work with do in meetings, and probably in their own minds.

2) Now I don't think everyone is an idiot of course, and I actually like some of the idiots I work with, because they're nice (goes a long way with me/I can overlook a lot with that), and so my frustration and disappointment with another manifestation of this condition. So I'm deep in thought in what I'm doing, and someone comes by at the end of the (or their) day just to be friendly and social and say goodnight. Like a slug I often just mumble uh-huh or something.

This really hurts, because I don't want to be that way, I'm not really that way when I'm, well, of a fully conscious (of my surroundings) mindset. I really like to socialize with the nice people (who are so few (in today's working world in general?)), I'm just not my "normal" self when I'm engrossed in something. So I come across as a cretan, and so undoubtedly also affecting my working relationships and success.

3) The final aspect of this is that so much time or such frequent trips to my own little world, also coincides with an unhealthy amount of introspection. Don't get me wrong, I treasure my introspective abilities, in a land of what I think are mostly oblivious dullards. But in the workplace, and sometimes in social situations, I would really like some effing obliviousness, as far as internal that is.

Because one deadly way this manifests is in, broadly, public speaking. My somewhat proneness to anxiety attacks are physiological and not psychological, it seems to me, so that's not really part of what I'm talking about here. But examining my voice and my self for cues of it, worrying about if or how much it's coming across, really makes me dysfunctional in orally presenting.

Because of this I dropped most every course in college that included a speech, because I know how my body freaks out (while mentally I'm not worrying about anything, except my body freaking out!). I.e. it's not a preparedness thing, about knowing my topic well enough, or anything like that.

But whatever it is, this also holds me back (as another example I can totally block during a job interview, on something I know full well), and I don't know what to do about that. My mind wants to zone out and focus inward, at the most inopportune times, and it means I don't get to convey to the team everything that I want to about something I've done or researched, and it means I can sometimes just stop, and then the anxiety builds as I can't get myself to focus on getting back to where I was because I'm stuck in worrying about how long it's going to take for me to regain focus! (Usually it's an external stimulus that snaps me back to the task at hand, like someone speaking or otherwise some kind of noise.)

I don't have ADHD or whatever, as I can almost always get myself to sit and read a book and study something for long periods of time. I get engrossed in a movies.

So I'm normal, yet I also grapple with being normal. I don't know how people switch so fast, between deep thinking and social awareness, and how they think and communicate* at the same time without their minds being violently distracted by related thoughts.

*Maybe that programming involves being constantly mindful of related concerns is why I can think and communicate to a computer at the same time.

[Edit: Hit the wrong button while checking for typos; regret if this means redundant notifications get sent out by this system.]

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Forty Four

Journal by mcgrew

Nitrous
        I pulled out my fone and called the fleet commander who I was amazingly boss of and told him about our little power problem, then asked the computer what the robots were doing about repairs. Or tried to, anyway.
        "Computer, what is the, uh... status of..." and the God damned machine interrupted me, of course. Who programs this junk anyway?
        "All cargo unconscious except specimen in commons area. Danger to cargo."
        "Computer," I told the piece of shit, "God damn it, how much oxygen will keep them alive and asl... uh, unconscious without damaging them?"
        "The percentage is..."
        "Add it, you piece of shit!" Yeah, getting pissed at a machine is really smart, ain't it? But I really needed sleep. "Computer. Where are them fucking robots?"
        The stupid thing replied "Robots have no sex and do not engage in..."
        Jesus. "Computer, where are the..."
        A robot carrying oxygen bottles and masks came in, the door opening quickly, it entering quickly, and the doors closing really damned fast. I thought nitrogen was harmless? It turned out that the nitrogen wouldn't hurt us but monsters would; they were all outside the commons trying to get in to kill us and eat us. We would have been dead if we'd tried to get to the houseboat.
        We got to work making the vampires and werewolves and frankensteins and whatever the hell kind of other monsters these damned dropheads were back into humans, or something not really all that different from humans, again. Some had some pretty bad cuts, we gave them their drops first and then medics took them to sick bay to treat them. I ordered the computer to put normal air in sick bay.
        Poor broads. I really feel sorry for them. I hope Destiny's charity that Tammy works for can help them, it sure looked like she was getting results from Lek. Lek was wearing clothes and acting like a respectable lady, although her eyes were usually a little bloodshot and she wasn't smiling much, especially for someone who came from the Land of Smiles.
        That God damned stupid fucking computer must suck at arithmetic, because I barely got the last drop in the last monster's eye when she started waking up. Scared the shit out of me, how would you feel if you were putting eye drops in Dracula's eye and he started to wake up? Especially if he had scary red eyes like a mad dropper? Christ, I almost had a coronary!
        Now I had to see what the hell was wrong with that damned generator and do a full inspection of the engines. Shit. Well, it wasn't as bad as that Saturn run when all the engines blew out, at least I had plenty of full batteries and all but one engine was working.
        You guys know, of course, that you can only run fifty eight engines on batteries. That's only point twenty five gravities and usually not even much, I don't know how Bill managed more but he's a nerd that reads a lot of technical manuals. The whores ain't gonna like it one little bit. And if more pirates come... I mean, we ain't that near to Mars yet, we have a while. I'm just glad I have that fleet. And its commander said I was in charge! Wow, I ain't never been in charge of nothing but machinery before.
        Tammy called. "John, we need nitrous oxide, a precise amount, in the atmosphere. The computer said I don't have the clearance to accomplish it."
        "Give me a minute," I said, and hung up. Hung? Up?
        "Computer," I ordered the fone, "add whatever Doctor Winters asks for to the atmosphere." What the hell is nitrous oxide and why did Tammy want it? I called her back. "You're getting your nitr, uh... whatever. What the hell is it and why does it need to be in the atmosphere?"
        "Nitrous oxide. Laughing gas. It will calm the droppers down and they won't mind the low gravity much at all."
        "Will it affect us?" I asked.
        "Of course it will," she answered. "What, you think it's something that only affects droppers?"
        "Well, I'd hoped so. What will it do? Look, Tammy, if I can't think straight we might die. It's bad enough with me being so damned tired and sleepy, I already can't think very straight."
        "I've seen you drunk on wine!" she said.
        "Not when there were pirates after us and running on batteries and with another hailstorm coming that we'd been past if our only working generator hadn't broke and when I'm in charge of a God damned fleet and I ain't never been in charge of nothing before. Captains may not have to know as much as they did when they had to go to college, but we got to know when it's okay to drink and when beer will kill you. And this is one of those times. I can't get intoxicated!"
        Intoxicated. Them two is rubbing off on me. "I can't be breathing laughing gas. It could kill us all. Because right now I need what little brain I have left."
        The computer interrupted with an alarm. "Meteor shower ahead".
        She thought a second... maybe not even that long. "Get an oxygen generation belt from sick bay and breathe from that. Your thought processes may even be clearer depending on how much nitrous you ingest."
        "I what? âIn jestâ(TM)? What's funny got to do with it?"
        "Breathe. Drink. Eat. With this itâ(TM)s just breathe. Keep the oxygen mask on and you should be okay."
        "Okay," I said, and told the computer to flood the pilot room and my quarters and Tammy's quarters and engines and generators with normal air, with Tammy's laughing gas mixture in the rest of the boat, and then I went to the pilot room to steer around the space rain.
        After driving for fifteen or twenty minutes, by hand, no less, and I almost never do that even though I did fighting all those God damned pirates, but I had to because I was on batteries, I was around the rocks. I clipped the bottle of oxygen to my belt that a robot had brought, and put on the mask. I had to see if the robots were having any luck with the generator, and I still had a hell of a lot of engines to inspect down there.
        There were a hundred giggling, naked women in the commons. I guessed Tammy and Destiny were in my cabin where air was normal and they wouldnâ(TM)t get stoned, and that Tammy had been generous with drops. She sure knew what she was doing.
        I went back down the five damned flights of stairs to the starboard generator. God, but it was a nasty, stinking, bloody mess down there, so many body parts piled in the hallway I wasn't going to be able to inspect half the engines or the other generator. Where were the damned robots? I pulled out my fone. "Computer," I said, "why arenâ(TM)t there any robots working on the generator?"
        It replied "Repair machinery is removing parts from the port generator that were not damaged when the generator incinerated." I wondered how the hell they got there past the stinking mess.
        "Can they fix it?"
        "Negative."
        "Why not?"
        "We are lacking a replacement pressure regulator. Port generator pressure regulator was incinerated."
        Damn. "Okay, computer, How long is it going to take to replace everything except the regulator?"
        "Between one and three hours."
        It sounded like time for a movie, I thought, so tired that I forgot how badly I needed to sleep. I inspected the engines and was amazed that there wasn't anything wrong with any of them after what I'd put them through. At least, the ones I could get to, bodies and parts of bodies were piled three or four meters high. I started back to my quarters, but stopped when I had an idea. I called my "second in command"; heh, how about that? Anyway, I asked Ramos "Does anybody in this fleet have a spare pressure regulator that will work on my generator?"
        The answer was a "yes"; one of the boats could shut down a generator and remove the regulator, whatever the hell a "pressure regulator" is, dock, and my robots would install it. Of course I had to get paper from the company, but we had three hours. I sent paper to the company and went home. I called Ramos again and told him to to dock and supply when the paperwork came in.
        I left my bloody boots on the landing and walked home in my stocking feet.
        We didn't even bother with dinner, we just took a shower together and then sat on the couch cuddling to Clapton. This had been one hell of a long, trying day. In fact, today had been several days long. At least tomorrow we would have normal air and better gravity.
        We both fell asleep on the couch, cuddled up together.

The Matrix

Journal: Foley is a Fake 16

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

Kidnapped in Libya, got away. Kidnapped in Syria, "beheaded".

Orange jump suit? Not even b-movie material. Edited from hours of footage, Photoshopped and Premiered to forensic nonsense - and hey! Look, they cut a different place than the "severed head" was separated.

He is probably dead. That's what happens to CIA screws.

You remember, don't you? Like Nick Berg...

It's all fake, turtles. All the way down.

User Journal

Journal: Perhaps they thought Foley some kind of double agent

Journal by smitty_one_each

Foley came to Syria to support the Sunni Islamist rebels against the Syrian government. He was a vehement advocate and while he didnâ(TM)t necessarily side with any single group, he echoed the one sided narrative rather than telling the truth about the Islamists. His Twitter feed was full of urgings to arm the Jihadists.
Meanwhile he sneered at Americaâ(TM)s War on Terror.

I would that he could have learned this lesson at a price less than the ultimate one: barbarians gonna barber.

User Journal

Journal: H2G2: The saga?

Journal by Timex

I was talking to someone at work about how some of the best political wisdom I've heard came from a Douglas Adams book, specifically the bit about how the ones who aspire to positions of authority are those least qualified to have said positions. The conversation then devolved into how the Beeb had created a site to act as a real-life Guide.

Out of curiosity, I set out to see if I could find my posts, and I did. The problem is that I hadn't posted there since April or so of 2000. I had no idea what my login was, no clue on the email address associated with it, and certainly not my password. I went back and forth with their "Gurus", explaining all this and how I would gladly answer any question they had in an effort to identify myself. I gave email addresses I used at the time, too. Next thing I know, they're sending me my login and my password via email, in cleartext.

Wow.

Needless to say, I changed the password right quick.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Forty Three

Journal by mcgrew

Monsters
        "Hold on, Destiny," Tammy said, "we're still in trouble."
        I got it. Finally, even being so tired that my brain wasn't working right. God, what a dumbass I was! I really needed some sleep, but I wasn't going to get any for a while. "Computer, lock all doors," I said. "She's right, Destiny, We're in trouble. I finally get it. She left them short of drops and told them the pirates stole them. They're not even human any more, you should have seen them. They scared the hell out of me with those crazy red eyes and all those knives and their eyes weren't even all the way red yet. Jesus, my boat is full of inhuman monsters!"
        "John!" Destiny said. "How can you talk like that? They're people!"
        "John's right," Tammy said. "they aren't. Only Lek and the ones in here that had squirreled enough away that they wouldn't go through withdrawal are human, and these girls are only barely human. John, you might not be very educated but you're not stupid. Destiny, he's right, they're not human. They don't even know about drops right now. We need to find a way to get this drug into their systems and..."
        "What if we can't?" Destiny asked.
        "Then everybody's dead. We have to find a way. A spray bottle of drops won't help anything against all of them. John, is there any way to send vapors of it into the atmosphere?"
        I shook my head. "If there is I don't know how."
        Destiny said "If we can't get the drugs in them, we can use John's houseboat to escape at least, since the droppers will kill everyone and die anyway. We can ride back on one of the fleet's boats."
        Tammy said "Just getting to the houseboat would be incredibly dangerous, but I don't really see any other way."
        I said "I'm afraid they'll find a way in here anyway, they shouldn't have been able to get through the stairwell doors but they did, even redeyed."
        "I did that," Destiny said. "I told the computer to unlock the door."
        "You can do that?" I asked, perplexed.
        "John, my dad started this company. There isn't a company door anywhere I can't open with a word. How did you think I got outside the ship? But we have to get to that pilot room!"
        "Hold on," I said. "No, it's way too dangerous and we won't have to. I have an idea the computer gave me earlier when Angel thought she lost her drops down the drain." I pulled out my fone, forgetting I'd already ordered the computer to lock all the doors. I really needed some sleep! "Computer, lock and seal all doors, especially the door to the commons and my quarters and Doctor Winter's cabin and the pilot room."
        The computer replied "All doors have been locked for the last five minutes. Sealing doorways." I was really sleepy... and scared.
        "What good will that do, dumbass?" Tammy asked. "You might as well lock the doors against a herd of elephants that are holding sharks with friggin' lasers!"
        "Huh?" I said.
        Destiny laughed. "We haven't watched that one yet, Tammy. What are you thinking, John?"
        I said "I'm thinking Tammy knows drug addicted whores but I know my boat and its computers. Now shush, both of you. I know what I'm doing.
        "Computer!" I said into my fone, "replace all air in every room except the commons with nitrogen. And have robots bring three small oxygen bottles and masks to the commons."
        "John," Tammy said, "you're not a dumbass, that was a stroke of genius! That's how you controlled Angel and the ones that attacked me. I wondered how you did that. Are you sure you haven't gone to college?"
        "I don't get it," Destiny said.
        "You didn't take many biology courses, did you?"
        "Not after undergrad, and not much then even. Why?"
        Tammy laughed. "Of course not. What does an astrophysicist have to know about biology?"
        I said "I thought you said you were an astronomer?"
        "There's been no difference in the last hundred years, John. Astronomers have to know an awful lot of physics and chemistry. But Tammy's right, no biology. So what's going on and why am I scared to death and you guys seem to be fine?"
        Tammy said "John's smarter than I thought he was. I knew he was no dummy, even though he isn't educated. But that was really a stroke of genius, and I'm embarrassed I didn't think of it."
        "Think of what?"
        "Nitrogen is an inert gas," Tammy explained.
        "Yeah, I knew that," Destiny said. "Undergrad shit. So what?"
        "It isn't poisonous, like carbon dioxide. They won't even know there's no oxygen, they'll just get light headed or high or something like that, and go to sleep. Then we put on the oxygen masks John told the robots to fetch, put a couple drops in their eyes, and make the atmosphere normal before they get brain damage from lack of oxygen."
        "What?" Destiny said. "There are two hundred of them!"
        "Relax," I said. "Once they pass out we'll add oxygen to the nitrogen so there won't be brain damage. Once we get drops in all their eyes we'll set the atmosphere to normal and they'll all wake up happy. Will they remember any of it, Tammy?" I asked, curious.
        "Not much," she replied. "Certainly nothing after they stopped being human."
        "What do you mean, âstopped being humanâ(TM)?" Destiny asked. "You guys keep saying that!"
        "God, Destiny," Tammy said, "when you're out of your field you're even dumber than John!"
        I didn't know whether to feel insulted or complimented.
        She continued. "A wolf with rabies is more sentient than an angel tear addict going through withdrawal. You know those old gray movies we used to watch about vampires and werewolves?"
        "Huh?" I said. "You guys have known each other for a long time?"
        "Shut up, John," Destiny said. "We went to college together. Go on, Tammy."
        "Is a werewolf human? A vampire?" she asked.
        "Of course not."
        "So where does a vampire come from?"
        "Come on, Tammy. A vampire bites a human and he turns into a vampire himself."
        "Is he human?"
        "No, he's a vampire."
        "But was he human?"
        "Yeah."
        "So were the droppers. But not now. Like a vampire, or a werewolf. Only this isn't some sort of supernatural hocus-pocus stupid movie voodoo, it's chemistry. This is real. These women are worse than vampires or werewolves. They look human, except for those eyes, but they're not. I thought you'd read the literature?"
        Destiny blushed. "I did. I guess I just didn't get it."
        Tammy grinned. "John got it. You two dumbasses are perfect for each other."
        Destiny said "Shouldn't we start now?"
        "Too dangerous," Tammy said. "Wait until they've passed out. How long, John?"
        I laughed. "You're the scientist, all I know about knocking droppers out with nitrogen is what the computer told me." My brain was actually working despite the lack of sleep. Wow. Adrenaline, I guess. "Computer," I said into my fone, "how long until all cargo are unconscious?"
        "All cargo will not become unconscious under present conditions for foreseeable time frame" the stupid, stubborn piece of junk computer said.
        "Computer, explain!" God damned computer.
        "One specimen is in a protected area," the computer said.
        Stupid damned computers. Why in the hell do they act like that? I sighed. "Okay, dumbass computer, excepting the single specimen how long?"
        "One minute," it said. What? Damned computer, would it take one minute or did it mean it had to compute something? God damned computers.
        "Computer, inform me when all but the âspecimenâ(TM) in the commons are aslee... I mean, unconscious." It replied with the expected "Affirmative." And then another damned alarm went off as gravity seemed to get lighter.
        God damn it, there isn't enough damned money on the solar system to pay me for this shit. I'm retiring, I've had it.
        If I live, anyway, I thought. I have two hundred vampires and werewolves on board. Drugula, I guess.
        Shit. The other damned generator went out. And I couldn't do another inspection until we got drops in the werewolves' eyes and made the atmosphere normal.
        And I really needed some sleep really bad.

User Journal

Journal: I don't usually respond to A/C, but this is worth exploring 6

Journal by smitty_one_each

When you follow the Judo [gi, that's funny] Christian God (and it isn't the only God that exhibits this), you are for collective punishment. One of the first stories in the Bible was about how God collectively punished all humanity of all time because of the sins of Adam and Eve, and each individual has to find their way back to good standing with Big Father (who's always watching you!) is to follow His teachings, which for most people means, ironically, retarding their individual growth and maturity, believing in voodoo instead of science, believing in fairy tales instead of facts, forming collectives and Inner Parties (churches) and believing in whatever the well dressed figurehead at the alter says.

You can't really play the Romans 5 card, emphasis mine:

12. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13. (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

. . .without noticing the symmetry of having one man finalize that group punishment for all mankind, before or since. Furthermore, one chapter over:

Everyone's flesh gets paid the same wage: a final heartbeat. But for the punishment to achieve true universality, we'd all have to die at once. But this punishment is not universally administered; we each get our reward as individuals. Those who've internalized what life really means (i.e., Jesus Christ) needn't fret that final heartbeat. Or the fables of the secular priesthood, like anthropogenic global warming (or whatever the current focus-group/choir-approved term for the lie is), life beginning at some arbitrary, lawyer-defined moment, or whatever tale the dirt-diggers (I mean 'experts') are spinning this week about when/where/why early humans were tooling around. God bless them all. I wish that there was some other course one could steer in life and reach joy. I grasp that mine is insufficient for you, and hope you find mercy, in the final analysis.
(a) I haven't really 'won' anything, in a secular sense: there is no competition.
(b) While I flatter myself an eternal winner, in a non-secular sense, there is scant value in winning ugly.
(c) Peace.

United States

Journal: Why Ferguson Is Just the Beginning of Future America 12

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius
by Malooga
lifted from a comment

@154 luca kasks: "Why don't you people wait for all the facts to come in?"

Facts are not like beloved relatives coming in to visit on cherished holidays; facts are like murdered ex-collaborators, to be secretly disappeared and buried deep in some dank forgotten hole in the ground.

Facts, for the ruling class, are dangerous beasts. Myths and stories are far safer fare.

Facts may escape unexpectedly at the very beginning of an event, before proper control systems are in place, after that all one is likely to get is the official story, or if that fails, the official fall-back position.

How could one get what is going on geopolitically by following this blog, and not get that the same conditions and principles of domination, control and brutalization operate similarly on a local scale?

Perhaps it might be helpful to detail those conditions and principles in order to remind ourselves what the theater in which these events take place is truly like, both for the residents of places like Ferguson, and for the police who manage those residents.

The war on drugs was not a war against drugs. It was a war for the ultra-rich rulers to control and profit from the cash streams of illegal drug profits, to finance un-sellable illegal wars, a method of destabilizing other countries through drug addiction, and a method of criminalizing the intentional poverty and hopelessness of the bottom 30%, or more, of the domestic population. (See: US protection of heroin in southeast Asia and Afghanistan, CIA crack distribution in US cities, Gary Webb, etc.)

The "War on Terror" is virtually the same thing: An outright war on the poor, and a destabilization of territories the empire does not control outright. Additionally, like drugs, the "war" is largely synthetic, that is to say, fake and victimless, where the perpetrators have to be secretly sponsored to create an artificial enemy, with what Rowan Berkeley accurately termed "pseudo-gangs."

These wars are not real, in the sense that the problems as described are not real; and, such problems as may exist, are intentionally handled so as to exacerbate them, and reinforce the problem-reaction-solution dynamic.

Drugs are not a problem to be eradicated, rather, they are a medium to be employed, a means to an end. Terror, as we know, is not even a thing, it is just a tactic. You can't criminalize a tactic, but you can employ it as a means to an end.

I don't need to remind you that the US, the "land of the free," has the largest -- in absolute and relative terms -- prison population on the planet. And the vast, vast, vast majority of those who are imprisoned are there for victimless crimes.

But that's not all. Because if you grow up in the projects, and you raise your kid right, and miraculously manage to keep him away from guns and gangs, you still face two more daunting hurdles: poverty and police violence.

Let's start with poverty. Official unemployment rates are lied over, real rates can be many times higher, and many in the projects can find no work at all, or only part-time work, without benefits, in a fast food joint. Lack of work equals lack of money, which equals lack of education, which equals lack of opportunity and work, and so on, in an endless vicious cycle.

Domestically, a new war is underway: an outright war on the poor, where those who can't -- because of unemployment or other reasons -- keep up with their financial obligations are threatened with imprisonment for non-payment of bills, taxes, child support, court fees, parking tickets, etc. Indeed, we as a society have regressed to the days of Oliver Twist and workhouses. Prisoners must work for their keep these days as low cost producers for corporations, and quaint notions like labor laws or minimum wages do not apply to them.

Prisons have been privatized, and prisoners are just another commodity to be profited from in the capitalist system, like pork bellies, or wheat futures. Judges, like police, have been proved to have quotas: they are expected to meet a production goal where, like a factory worker, a certain number of people must be imprisoned each month or year. After all, the owners of these prisons are top campaign contributors, and they provide "jobs" to the local economy, so they must be kept happy. Cops, like judges, are under pressure to do their part in maintaining prison occupancy rates.

Any fool can see that this is not a description of a society, as anthropologists might have studied 100 years ago, but of a catabolic process, whereby a sick or diseased body (politic) greedily consumes itself on the way to the grave. And, as they quietly lament around my way, "it is what it is."

And yet, it is worse: for those that escape these first three evils -- drugs, the "war on terror" and poverty -- which I have briefly detailed, there is a fourth evil to be circumvented: what the sociologists call "structural violence." And this takes two forms. The first comes in the form of what psychiatrists term "frustration aggression." Watch industrially raised chickens, confined to 2/3 of a square foot of cage space, artificial lighting, and a diet of drugs and GMO feedstock engage in vicious acts of cannibalism, and you will get a sense of what that is. The ghetto is a similarly sociologically confined space, and frustration and the inability to cope or escape can lead to misplaced violence or acting out against others.

The second type of violence is institutionalized violence, where, in an intentional process of social engineering, one group or class of people is taught to hate and fear another group or class. This is the process that I, employing Gregory Bateson's insights, term schismogenesis. It is divide and rule at its most base level: Civil wars, genocide, pogroms, mob violence, etc.

And yes, the police are deeply inculcated in perpetuating institutional violence. They are trained to both hate and fear the public they lord over. And the system is not accidental, by any means. The police on the beat, the SWAT teams, the civic snipers, etc. -- these are people of rather limited intellectual abilities in understanding how the entire geopolitical system works. They are, by nature, not curious in that way -- rather, they are ordinary people who value fitting in, convention, tradition, and law and order in society. In other words, they buy into the myths of our society, its "freedom," and "liberty," and "goodness of purpose," and "rightness of heart," and "exceptionalism," lock, stock, and barrel. And they expect others to buy in as well in order to be "good" patriotic Americans. After all, "if you are not with us, you are against us," as George Bush Jr. explained in one of his few elegantly articulate formulations. Therefore, the police are vulnerable to being easily propagandized.

They are then compartmentalized in knowledge, grouped into subgroups, and endlessly trained and drilled in hate and fear of the official "enemy" of the day, and then trained in techniques of the highest level of violence in thwarting the alleged goals of these enemies. Police no longer make use of bobby clubs, they are now given the elite weapons of war that our soldiers use in combat. They watch movies to see how these weapons are employed. And to seal the deal, they are given special classes, trainings and drills from the same "specialists" on "terror" that train our military because the American way of subversion always includes making people feel special. Now, they are not dumb cops anymore, they are well trained, and they are told that they are our elite guard protecting the "homeland" from those who hate our ways of freedom.

They are also economically privileged compared to the people of places like Ferguson. Police have unions, and theirs are probably the only labor unions in America today not under constant attack from the ruling class. So they get generous overtime, benefits, can buy houses and raise kids in safety outside of the leviathan that I am describing. They also, to a certain extent, benefit from the inequalities of society. So they look down on those they are policing and look up to their betters: The wealthy and those who are experts in the "threats facing society today." Go to a real wealthy neighborhood, and the cops don't have that same smug attitude. They address you as "Sir" or Ma'am." If they have to pull you over for having a headlight out, they can be downright apologetic -- after all, you may be a judge or a city councilman. They know who their betters are, and now they act like public servants, albeit a little falsely servile. This is obviously not the case in Ferguson, where the number of police stops annually is greater than the population of the town, and arrests are similarly elevated.

Finally, police on the force for any length of time must face the complete corruption of our society: They know that justice is a farce. They know who the drug dealers are, the money runners, the pimps, the bought politicians, and judges -- the whole nine yards. And they know that there is no will to change any of this. Moreover, they have no power over any of this: They can either choose to be complicit in the corrupt system, or keep to themselves and hope for the best not to be set up one day as a patsy.

Thus, police in our society live in a state of total cognitive dissonance, what one might call an ethical double-bind. They are forced to see that on one hand, we are supposedly the greatest society ever; on the other hand, life is hopelessly brutal and corrupt. They must believe in, or at least publicly pay lip service, to the myths they are sworn to uphold: the wars on drugs and terror; the promise of progress and a quasi-religious kind of civic and moral redemption -- that if you just keep your nose clean and work hard, you can escape the poverty of the ghetto they police; and that we live in a just society in which they are the protectors of that justice. Meanwhile, they like everyone else in America, watches as the whole system is rapidly breaking down. They know that there are no real jobs for the people of Ferguson, and that, like in the movie, "TheTruman Show," the residents cannot escape the set.

This double bind is of course unresolvable. So police themselves, under tremendous internal strain, resort to the same frustration-aggression, and unexpected violent lashing out, in order to cope.

Under these conditions, the only power police have is over the people in the community they are supposed to serve. And the only way they can demonstrate that power is by acting out brutally and violently.

Sociologists and criminologists know that the methods police are taught and trained in don't work, just as economists know that "trickle down" really means "flow up." Gentler methods involving community involvement, restorative justice, etc. have all been worked out and proved to work. But the new methods actually do work, only for different purposes and to different ends: they frighten and cower populations, they allow one group to dominate another, they isolate people and pit them against each other in fruitless zero-sum games, and they destroy human lives, values, and charitableness. In sum, they control people, and allow them to be selectively harvested for profit, like a slowly maturing cash crop in the sweltering St. Louis summer heat.

And, community policing, bad as it is these days, does not even compare to the violence perpetrated by the new elite SWAT teams. These groups are as brutal as the teams used to clear houses in Iraq -- and no surprise there, for they are taught the same methods: If it moves, take it out.

And that brings us back to the police. Under the conditions I have just detailed, under the impossible constraints they forced to endure, how can they not be violent, at least some of the time. And how can they, as an organized force, not be violent in a systematic manner. Perhaps not all the time, but more often than not the social forces which police work under these days force violence to be propagated down in a systematic and totalizing manner.

And it is the awareness of all that I have described that causes many commenters here to reflexively assume police lies and violence to be ubiquitous. I hope that this is more understandable now. It is not a judgment of an individual's (the cop who shot Michael Brown) -- who one obviously doesn't know well -- moral value, rather it is an holistic appraisal of the social and material conditions of our society today, in which the American underclass, and their handlers, seek to operate.

Therefore, as for the police themselves, yes, perhaps out of the many hundreds of cases a year like this of police murder, corruption, assault, brutality, cover-up, bribery, theft, etc., there are possibly a few that were accidental, unintentional, or even false charges. If that were to be the case -- which appears practically impossible -- the facts would get out -- unless the cop were being intentionally set up. But, to focus on this petty detail, and insist upon its importance to the bigger picture, is to miss that bigger picture altogether. I hope we can all see this.

Posted by b on August 20, 2014 at 06:49 AM Permalink

If you are good, you will be assigned all the work. If you are real good, you will get out of it.

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