Things Pissing Me Off Tonight

June 22nd, 2009

I’m not in a terrible mood, but I realize that most of the things I’ve been thinking about, or seeing online, are not great things.   In fact, most of them suck and have been pissing me off to different degrees.   I’m not feeling any great insights about science or science fiction tonight, so I’m going to rant a little.   Hopefully that will make me feel better and perhaps entertain you.

I’m pissed off because I just found out that my kindle purchases have a limited, small number of downloads available.   Or not.   Or limited number of devices.   Or something seriously messed up.   Read up on “kindlegate” yourself and explain it to me if you can.

I’m similarly pissed off because I just authorized my itune purchases for a new computer, and that number is limited, too.   I’d rather not go back to buying CDs.   My six month old ipod shuffle also decided to stop working today, and keeping my devices current and working is hard enough.

This is back to ridiculous stuff like replacing your albums with tapes with CDs.   That’s stupid with digital files now that can be moved from system to system.   I will totally use available software to pirate my own damn books and music whenever I reach these arbitarary and poorly advertised limits.   This is the kind of thing that creates minor revolts.

The Iranian government is pissing me off, for obvious reasons.   I believe theocracy is incompatible with democracy.   Iran’s problem is that they actually let people believe they had a democracy, and now they’re paying for it.   You don’t kill your own citizens for disagreeing with you and letting you know it.   You know what you do?   You change or you become evil.   Toss up in Iran right now, leaning evil.

The Chinese government is pissing me off in a similar way.   We had the 20th anniversary of Tianiman Square, but it might as well not have happened if you live in China.   You’ll never hear about it there.   Not easily.   The government controls the media and communications in a way that Iran has failed to do.   China will not change as Iran is (hopefully) changing now.

The United States is pissing me off, too, while I’m picking on countries.   Here in Brazil there’s softcore porn on regular TV late in the evening without society crumbling, while on Wife Swap (which they show here) there are 15 year old girls getting verbally berated for wearing sleeveless t-shirts.   Then there’s the marijuana criminalization that fills our prisons.   And the ridiculous mainstream media that panders to celebrity and extremism and rarely presents a serious thought or calls out the liars on their lies.   Roger Ebert has some interesting criticisms of one aspect of this.     We’ve got the TSA full of shit violating our civil rights.   The police and government more generally, too, too often.   We’ve got a miserable politically motivated candidate for Supreme Court in Sotomayor who makes me embarrassed for Obama (and if she’s the best there is, we suck).   From her first amendment misruling, to Girl’s Club not discriminatory to I’m Quitting the Club politics, to putting procedure and cost ahead of justice, and to saying that a wise latina has better judgment than others (sometimes perhaps, more often not particularly probably, but even saying it is poor judgment as it puts down everyone else).   We’re not the bastion of freedom would should be or could be.

And I’m pissed with Brazil because the public bathrooms are shitholes without toilet paper and sometimes when you’re out for a run it isn’t easy to get back to your house.   No country can crawl out of third world status the whole way without decent public bathrooms.   I mean, I see people urinating in public here every week.   In the United States, too, but much less regularly.   Last episode: Friday morning at 10AM on the sidewalk in full view.   Talk about pissing.

I’m pissed off that formulas work so well in movies and popular books.   I should have learned long ago from Shannara ripping off Lord of the Rings.   If I wanted to sell a lot of books, I shouldn’t have tried to be original.   I should have recycled Heinlein, Niven, Clarke, Asimov…and just called them homages.   The whole publishing industry is insane now.

The speed of my email server is pissing me off.   Slow internet makes for slow work sometimes.   Just two minutes to do one thing, then five minutes to make sure the dang thing gets sent…and all the sites on the internet that work different or not at all (hulu.com) when you’re out of the country.

In a related vein, it pisses me off that most people are dumb and swallow all sorts of silly things, seriously.   A friend had a taxi driver here Thursday who spent a ride explaining that men never walked on the moon.   Idiot.   They’re everywhere.   Here’s another one about NASA’s lunar explosion experiment being threatening to extraterrestrial bases on the far side of the moon.   Moron.   And ten more top space conspiracy theories.   Astrology, fortune telling, numerology, miracle faces in grilled cheese sandwiches, conspiracy theories…I swear.   Then we have the anti-science crowd who thinks they have a clue about science, and whom I rant about enough here.   I’m embarrassed to be human sometimes.

Do you know how much it pisses me off to talk to a pretty girl, to like her, and then have this happen?

“What do you do?” she says.

“I get to explore the universe. I’m an astronomer.”

“An astronomer?” she says.   Then too often follows something stupid and sad that makes me write the girl off as anyone I could get serious about, for example (for real):

A. “An astrologer?   I’m a Libra.”

B. “Tell me my future!” (Sticking out her palm for me to read.)

C. “I took astronomy.   Earth…that’s the third planet, right?”

Having said all this, I know so many beautiful, thoughtful, creative, loving, fair, and interesting people and can always find a book, movie, game, painting, meal, or song worth my time.   I just don’t know why I have to wade through all that crap out there to do it.

It pisses me off.

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