Day Job and Insomnia

dreaming

Image: alghad.com

I’m beat.

I’ve been working at the new day job for a little over six weeks and I’m loving it, plus they seem to be loving me. The pay is good and I’m working from home. Probably will be too until at least the end of July and maybe longer.

But with doing a bunch of other, littler jobs before that, although the pay was lousy, I had tons of time to write.

Then there’s the insomnia. I go to sleep okay, but wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes I’m able to roll over and eventually go back to sleep, but other nights, I’m up for a couple of hours.

Last night, I forced myself to stay in bed, but it seemed like it took forever to doze off again.  I finally was in the space to really sleep when it was time to get up.

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When Twitterati Troll Women in Action Films

Screenshot from twitter

So I came across a tweet on twitter from someone I follow named “Mara Jade” (@OG_MaraJade). It was a retweet of this.

I followed the link to the source and came up with |Blake| the Villain (@Enemies_Allies) who originated the image. He also said “This was a very successful tweet. They literally just expose themselves.”

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I Want My Old Normal Back

selfie

© James Pyles – Selfie in the age of COVID-19

I’ve been hearing the phrase the new normal a lot lately. It’s the idea that even once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, the U.S. and the world won’t simply go back to “business as usual,” as if the pandemic never happened.

There are some people who even see this “new normal” as an opportunity to “improve” things. For instance, House Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is advocating for people to not go back to work once restrictions are lifted. She is specifically referencing people who work 60, 70, and 80 hours a week at low paying jobs and who feel no security in their lives. You can watch a video of her statement on YouTube.

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has said that the pandemic response is an opportunity for structural change. Of course that might only be a good thing if you share his political viewpoint.

Yet, from what I’ve seen, the protests people are actually doing go in the opposite direction from Ocasio-Cortez and Biden.

A few days ago, people in Orange County, California (where I used to live) held a mass protest at Huntington Beach opposing Governor Gavin Newsom’s closing beaches in Orange County and only Orange County. He did this in response to a perceived overcrowding at Newport Beach the weekend before. Just how crowded the beach was has been disputed, but based on the photos, it looks crowded.

Nevertheless, Californians are pushing back, including at a rally at the California State Capitol where 32 people were arrested, both because they were in violation of Newsom’s stay-at-home order, and because of the ban against protests on state property (but I thought people had a constitutional right to protest on any public property as long as it was peaceful).

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Coronavirus is no laughing matter…or is it?

bleep

Sorry about the “language”

I’ve read a number of social media memes that have suggested the death rate due to COVID-19 has been exaggerated. I also read a New York Times article that said New York City added more than 3,700 additional people who were presumed to have died of the coronavirus but had never tested positive, which seems to support that suggestion.

And yet, when I tried a Google search on overestimates of Coronavirus death tolls, all I came up with is info on how the death rate is underestimated.

Here we have more or less the same news from ABC News, Nature, and CNN among others.

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Science Fiction and OPPs (Other People’s Priorities)

temp

Image found at K. Tempest Bradford’s blog

I’d heard of K. Tempest Bradford before, but only tangentially. So far, she hasn’t blocked me on twitter, but I expect that to change any time now.

I came across her blog post I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year thanks to a notice posted on Facebook by Louis Antonelli (I’m aware that Louis can be quite controversial, but on the other hand, he’s frequented by a favorite SciFi author of mine Neal Asher).

Among other things, Bradford has “issues” with Antonelli, particularly with his current bid for the Presidency of the SFWA board.

Here’s part of what she wrote on her blog:

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This Probably Isn’t Funny, But…

tp

© James Pyles

…we’ve got plenty of toilet paper in Boise, Idaho.

Addendum – March 13, 2020: Idaho’s first case of coronavirus has just been confirmed. While an Oregon doctor said that 82% of cases are mild, there is also information about how it is different from the flu.

This is off the cuff. No research (or damn little) involved. I’ve been listening to the hysteria over coronavirus for weeks it seems. No cases in my little corner in the world, but I can’t ignore that thousands have died. I also can’t ignore that this isn’t anything like Stephen King’s The Stand, either.

Look, I’m sorry actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson contracted the virus while on a trip to Australia, but on the other hand, being celebrities doesn’t mean they are any more victims than the rest of the world.

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Mike Resnick, Jaym Gates, and Yes, Go Ahead and Block Me

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The late Mike Resnick – photo found at Goodreads

I’ll warn you now that this one is really long (if you include the screenshots), so if you’re a TLDR person, stop now.

Another warning: This is one of my rants about the culture wars that appear to be gaining momentum in the “official” world of science fiction and fantasy. It seems that it’s not enough to write a good story anymore.

I’d never heard of SciFi author Mike Resnick before he died. He’d won Five Hugos and other awards during his career, so that says something. He was heavily eulogized (if you’ll pardon the pun), and also memorialized by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. But he was also criticized.

Let’s get to his death first. From Heavy.com:

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“I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” or How to Succeed in Both Offending and Encouraging Readers

clarkesworld

Cover image for issue 160 of Clarkesworld Magazine – Zarrio by Edwardo Garcia

UPDATE – January 18-2020: Fortunately someone archived the original story, so it is preserved, even though Clarkesworld it offline.

UPDATE – January 16, 2020: This story has been pulled from publication by the magazine, and the rationale can be found here!

On twitter, I happened across a tweet by Cora Buhlert. It was referencing a story written by Isabel Fall for Clarkesworld Magazine called I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter. Actually, I saw that Buhlert was referencing a twitter conversation of someone called The 1000 Year Plan (actually a Marxist blogger named “Gary” who announces personal pronouns as “he/him”) commenting on Fall’s story.

As you can guess, he didn’t like it.

What got my attention first is that Gary tweeted:

All of the comments are absurdly over-the-top praise that appeared almost immediately after the story was published. There are way more of these than is normal for a Clarkesworld story.

I looked at the story and couldn’t see any comments anywhere. Slightly earlier, Gary tweeted:

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Fiction’s and Real Life’s “Bad Guys” and Stereotyping

I’ve been thinking a lot about villains lately. Actually, this particular File 770 “Pixel Scroll” first brought the topic up in my mind. If you scroll down to item #4 “AUTUMN LEAVES” and to “Watchmen” just below that, you can read:

Oct. 20, 9 p.m., HBO
Confession: I know nothing about Watchmen. Never read the comic or saw the (polarizing) 2009 film. I had to pause many times while watching the pilot so I could look up characters and backstories on Wikipedia. With that said, I can’t wait to see more. Set 30 years after the comics, Watchmen takes place in a world where police hide their identities due to terrorist attacks and a long-dormant white supremacist group wants to start a race war. The show is expensive-looking but not hollow. There’s a humanity to the characters that is often lacking in comic book adaptations, due in large part to the exceptional cast, including Regina King, Jeremy Irons, and Don Johnson. Hardcore fans will have to make up their own minds, but this novice is intrigued. [emph. mine]

I know I wrote a blog post sometime ago about adult-oriented comic books and how they are now themed to emphasize social justice, but I can’t find it again. I do remember that, thanks to Donald Trump, most, if not all of the villains are straight white men, and specifically alt-right white supremacists.

No, I’m not defending racism, white supremacy, bigotry, or anything like that. My wife and children are Jewish, so I specifically take a dim view of antisemitism as well as other forms of prejudice and bigotry. Yes, some of my political views are unpopular to certain demographics but I don’t advocate for hate.

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In Response to “Toxic Fandom”

toxic

Found at knowyourmeme.com

Oh heck. I wasn’t going to comment on this here. Seriously. I admit, when I saw the title of the File 770 article Fandom, Entitlement and Toxicity I had a pretty good idea of what it was all about. When I saw the author was my old “friend” Hampus Eckerman (really, we’ve only had brief online encounters, but they were pretty unpleasant) I was sure of it.

Turns out I was wrong.

What Eckerman was really saying was that his “ownership” of certain characters and franchises, he focuses on “The Amazing Spider-Man” comic book, can lead us as fans to respond pretty badly at times when the creators of these pieces of work do something that rubs us the wrong way.

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