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Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Forty Seven

Journal by mcgrew

Captures
        I got up about seven thirty or so, and Destiny was still asleep. I started coffee and told the robot to make breakfast, and then I shit, shaved, showered, and got dressed. Destiny was still asleep and I had to be in the pilot room in fifteen minutes so I started eating by myself. At five 'til I filled my coffee and took the rest of my breakfast to the pilot room. Huh? Eggs and bacon. What? Of course it was turkey bacon. Now knock it off before I walk out of here.
        At a minute to eight I put it down, of course, and when readings were done I finished eating, and went back to my quarters to fill my coffee. If I told the stupid robots to get me a cup they'd pour the pot of good coffee down the drain and give me a cup of that nasty robot coffee. Stupid robots. Stupid robot programmers. What the hell is wrong with them? Ain't they never been on a boat? Don't they drink coffee?
        I had a full inspection today. I'd talked to Ramos, the fleet commander, about parts for the busted generator but he told me it would have to be fixed on Mars because nobody had the parts out here and it was going to have to be rebuilt in any case. At least the robots got the other one fixed with a part from another one of his boats. He said he could spare a few maids, which was a relief, it really stank downstairs. Maybe they'd have it cleaned up before we got to Mars.
        Tammy came walking down the hallway, with her face still badly bruised and with her arm in a sling, looking like she was in pain. "The medic released you?" I asked.
        "Yeah. It gave me a bottle of some kind of synthetic opiate but I'm not taking them, I need a clear mind. I'm taking Ibotrin."
        "That better than naproxin?" I asked.
        "Not much," she said. "Maybe a little. Look, I need to control the medics, I need readings on all the droppers and the computer says I don't have clearance for what I need to do. Can you fix that for me?"
        "Yeah," I said, pulling out my phone. "Computer, give Doctor Winters complete access and command control to all medical robots for the, uh, duration of the trip."
        "Acknowledged," It said.
        "Thanks," she said.
        "No," I said, "No need to thank me, you're trying to keep me and everybody else alive and you're researching how to cure monsters. Look, Tammy, I have to finish my inspec..." an alarm went off, it was Ramos. "Captain Knolls, it's Commander Ramos. There is pirate activity, what are your orders, sir?"
        Sir? What the hell, I work for a living!
        "Have you done this kind of thing before, Commander?"
        "Yes, sir, we're very experienced. I studied at Annapolis and was a commander in the Marine Space Corps, and my men are all ex-military as well. And we've been seriously kicking some pirate ass lately, too, sir." There's that damned "sir" again.
        "Good," I said, "your orders are to protect our people and property. Wait to transfer the robots until things quiet down."
        "Yes sir, Captain."
        "Don't call me sir, God damn it, I work for a living!"
        "Yes si..., uh, yes, Captain Knolls.
        "Call me John. What's your name?"
        "Joe." I wondered what the whores would call him?
        "Just do your job and we'll be okay, Joe. Okay?"
        "Yes, Captain." Shit. Oh, well, these ate-up military guys never change. I know, I spent a hitch in the Army and all the lifers were ate up like that. I hear the Marines are the most ate up of all the military branches. Assholes...
        I let Ramos worry about the pirates, that was his job now. I had a bunch of drug addicts that were all worse than vampires and werewolves to deal with. Lots more dangerous than stupid damned pirates, especially with a fleet and an experienced commander protecting us from the pirates and nobody but ourselves to protect us from the monsters. And I still had inspection. And I didn't know if Tammy had gotten them under control yet. Or even if she could all busted up like that.
        Nope, not gonna inspect cargo today again, still way too damned dangerous, I don't care what the damned book says. I called Tammy and asked her to call me when the cargo pens were relatively safe.
        Nothing caught fire when I inspected the empty passengers quarters that the company is stupid enough to power and have maids clean.
        The starboard generator was fine, engine seventeen... wasn't that the one that shorted out earlier? Yeah, it was. Anyway a robot was working on it, damn it. I unplugged it, sealed the plug hole with epoxy and told the computer to keep the damned robots away from it. I was done with everything before noon, except the damned cargo inspection. I wanted to hear from the doctor first.
        Destiny was sitting on the couch watching the news with a cup of coffee when I got back. "Youâ(TM)re a little early today," she remarked.
        "I didnâ(TM)t inspect cargo," I said. "I want to make sure Tammy gets the monsters under control first. Iâ(TM)d inspect the Frankenstein monsterâ(TM)s house before Iâ(TM)d inspect a dropless drophead's house. Damned addicts. Is there any good coffee left?"
        "I just made another pot. Are you hungry?"
        "I could eat. What are you having?"
        "I donâ(TM)t know, maybe a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of potato soup."
        I told the robot to make lunch and poured a cup of coffee and a glass of water.
        The news was talking about the Martian terraforming project. They had the hole halfway drilled and something went wrong and the machinery caught fire. It must have been built by the same morons that designed our old robots. Three people were in the hospital, one in critical condition.
        The hole they were drilling was for a big magnet. The lady on the news said that without a magnetic field, a planet canâ(TM)t hold much of an atmosphere and there's no shield against solar and cosmic radiation. The whole terraforming project was expected to take a few hundred more years to complete, but when it was done Mars would have Earth gravity or close, a similar atmosphere, lakes, rivers, and oceans, and they wouldnâ(TM)t need the domes any more.
        Everyone on the Venus station was dead. They were debating what to do with it.
        Commander Ramos called with news that the pirate boats had all been eradicated, fifteen had been captured and the crews put in detention. Damn, but he's good. Four of them were our companyâ(TM)s boats, and eleven were from two other companies who would be paying us recovery fees. Hell, they did have some of our boats! I hadn't thought they could do that. Of course, they would have had mine were it not for Tammy's monster blockade and then the fleet showing up.
        Then Tammy called and said it was safe to inspect cargo pens, so I did. The German woman was in the commons eating and the rest were all sleeping, except Lek, who was apparently reading although I wouldn't be able to read it. It was obviously in Thai and they must have a completely different alphabet than us, because it was just squiggles to me.
        I complimented her on her dress. She smiled weakly despite her bloodshot eyes; Tammy's book said she was in pretty much pain right now and no other drug would ease it. She would have to put a drop in soon, even though she didn't want to.
        We would be docking at the repair facility the day after tomorrow, and the landing boats would already be docked at the facility. Destiny and me will fly down in my houseboat.
        It was finally safe to drink a beer or two. I went back to my quarters and opened one, and Destiny had the robot bring her one, too, and asked me what I wanted for dinner.
        "I don't know, pork chops, caviar, and Champagne maybe?"
        She laughed. "Yeah, on gold plates and silver cutlery! Fried chicken and mashed potatoes and broccoli sounds good to me, what are you having?"
        "Chicken sounds good."
        The robot fried the chicken and cooked the vegetables and wheeled over with the food. Robots make pretty damned good fried chicken, lots better than I can.
        Then we watched some really weird movie from the end of the twenty first century, and went to bed. No, I don't know the name of the stupid movie.

Next: Engines

User Journal

Journal: [Beloved] It Is Not a Word 2

Journal by johndiii
It is not a word spoken,
Few words are said;
Nor even a look of the eyes
Nor a bend of the head,

But only a hush of the heart
That has too much to keep,
Only memories waking
That sleep so light a sleep.

-- Sara Teasdale

I remember.
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Journal: Seagate - At least I got a heads up 6

Journal by stoolpigeon

Booted up my Fedora box at work this morning but instead of starting normally it put me in emergency mode with a message to check the logs. On the whole I'm very pleased with this development. It gave me a prompt to give it the root password and then I could view the logs with journalctl from there.

Unfortunately though the resolution of the text was such that I couldn't read most of it - it went off the screen. So that's a bit of a problem. I had the system start up to the default state and then I was able to look at the logs in Konsole - which was a lot nicer. Looks like the hard drive is on its way out the door.

I ran smartmon and double checked. So now I'm copying everything off that I might be worried about. (In addition to my normal backups. I like to do this just in case.) And I think I've found the Western Digital drive that I'll be buying to replace this Seagate drive that is toast.

From what I've read WD is much more reliable than Seagate. Though I can't complain. It is the original drive that came with the machine and I bought in 2010. I don't think 4 years is an impressive time for a drive to last but I don't think it is terrible either.

But kudos to Fedora for alerting me to the problem and giving me time to plan ahead. The system still seems to run fine, I'm typing this JE from it - but I know that this wont stay true. And probably I could route around the damage for a while but I'd rather not. Storage is too cheap nowadays. I'll be picking up another TB drive for about $50.

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Journal: The Glass On My Galaxy S3 5

Journal by stoolpigeon

A while back due to a freak accident, the glass broke on my S3. I decided to buy a kit and replace it myself. It went o.k. but I wasn't too crazy about the result. Touch didn't work as well afterwords and the home button was a little too recessed. I figured either I didn't get the adhesive set right or the glass was thicker.

Not long after I fixed it ( within 6 months?) my daughter knocked my phone off a counter and the glass broke again. So I ordered another kit.

This one came with a sticker on the glass packaging. It said, "There is a thin layer of plastic on the glass that is very difficult to see. Be sure to remove it."

As I pulled up the glass I installed the first time it broke - it pealed away with a layer of plastic under it. The first kit hadn't had that warning and I installed the glass without removing the plastic. Now that I have it in correctly it fits much better and everything works much better. I celebrated by updating Cyanogenmod and now I'm running KitKat.

So my daughter did me a favor busting the glass on my phone.

User Journal

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

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal: Reverse Mod-bombing? 1

Journal by damn_registrars
Slashdot just informed me that recently 5 of my comments - all in different discussions - were up-modded "underrated". It seems an odd coincidence; perhaps someone had mod points they didn't know what to do with? (could it be related to this JE?

Though just as with the people who mod bomb me in the other direction, mod points are likely more effectively used elsewhere. It also isn't likely to bring people to read those comments as the discussions they were in are teetering on extinction.

But hey, to each their own. If someone has mod points they can use them as they please.
GNU is Not Unix

Journal: systemd 1

Journal by squiggleslash

Having read up on it, I don't think systemd is a bad idea. I rather like:

1. Doing away with shell scripts with huge amounts of redundant, and frequently badly written, garbage to manage starting and stopping system services.
2. Using cgroups to properly isolate, contain, and track system services.
3. Centralizing the services concept so it's network aware, rather than a separate inetd server

The major criticisms seem to be "I don't like change/I understand shell scripts" (well, true to a certain extent, but I don't think the current situation was particularly good), XML configuration (reportedly, having seen it, but yeah, XML sucks), and the developers are rude, arrogant, and assholish, which I assume means that the critics are also boycotting Linux and half a dozen other FOSS projects...

I think criticisms 1 and 2 are valid concerns and are essentially the same concern expressed twice. My belief is that there's much to be said for making configuration files as simple as possible, and to avoid manual configuration where possible. Hopefully that's what the systemd developers believe too.

User Journal

Journal: Using VirtualBox Guest as a Server 3

Journal by stoolpigeon

So right after I wrote my last je I googled a bit and set it up so that I could access my Fedora vm from the host OS (Mavericks).

It was pretty simple though I had to piece together exactly what to do from a few different places. These instructions work well though they leave out one part. The first part about creating a new interface - for me vboxnet0 wasn't already there. I needed to do go into the VirtualBox preferences, then in the networking section I needed to create a host-only network. Then it made it possible for me to create the host-only connection.

Now I can ssh to the guest and browse to it. Very nice. This will allow me to be a lot more productive when I travel.

User Journal

Journal: The Macbook Pro 5

Journal by stoolpigeon

I am getting more used to my Apple Laptop.

It still makes me crazy when I need to hook it to external displays. I wanted to show a video to some friends the other night and thought I would just connect the mac to my tv via hdmi. Couldn't get it to work. Crazy. I just switched to my PC that is always connected and downloaded the video there.

This post I am writing though from inside a VirtualBox instance running Fedora 20. It took me a little bit to get it working properly but now it is pretty good. I need to figure out how to get the mac to connect to the virtual machine so I can run the vm like a server.

I don't know how often I'll use the vm but I like having it. Sometimes it feels good just to get back into Linux and have a break from the Mac way.

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]" 41

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.]

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman

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