Are You Doing the Right Thing?

I’m still in Lakeview, so my options are a bit limited. I was able to work just fine, but when the work day finished, all I have are a couple of laptops and a longing to do things at home. I want to play Cyberpunk, or work on my new keyboard, or try out my new VR headset and see if it’ll be enough to trick me into exercising.

While at my mother-in-law’s home tonight, someone on Twitter reminded me of this post I wrote last year, about doing what you love. I reread it and it’s a good one. “Do what you love” is one of those messages I need to remind myself of from time to time, because it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut, doing things just to get by.

Again, I’m in a hotel room, so I can’t exactly do the what I really want to. I can do more preparation for the novel I’ll be starting in… holy shit… 11 days?!? What the hell happened to October?


Most of the things I really want to do, I can’t do right now. That doesn’t mean I’m just going to sleep until Sunday morning, when I get to drive us back home. I’m going to do stuff.

That’s where this follow-up idea comes into play. If you can’t do what you love, is what you’re doing making you happy?

While sitting in my mother-in-law’s home eating dinner, I was forced to watch local television, and it definitely did not make me happy. I avoid TV so much now that it felt like I was consuming poison. I think they’ve shortened the time between commercials, so you’re constantly flooded with half-truths and calls to action, with no time to catch your breath and think about what they’re forcing into your eyes and ears.

Melissa saved me from that by shutting off the TV, and it felt like the tiny home filled with air again.

Right now, I’m writing this blog post. It’s not exactly what I love, but it does satisfy me. I’m using this cool keyboard I built, sharing my thoughts with the world, moving one step closer to finishing my goal of writing at least one post a day, every day in October. It is good. It makes me happy.

Sometimes, we must to do things we do not want to do. We have to deal with the loss of a pet or loved one. We have to do that thing at work that no one wants to do, but if it isn’t done, the project will fail and no one will get paid. Sometimes we have to mow the lawn when we’d rather be playing video games, or do our taxes when we’d rather be reading a book. Responsibilities are a part of life.

It is good to do those tasks, even when they don’t make us happy. Sometimes we have to do something just because it’s the right thing to do.

I think it’s important we stop every once in a while and examine what we’re doing. I spend a bunch of time on Twitter, and not all of that time is good. It isn’t edifying me or bringing me joy. It’s not fulfilling any need or responsibility. Sometimes it’s just doom scrolling or participating in the current drama, which none of us should be doing ever. That isn’t to say that Twitter is always bad. I have friends there, and I get some measure of socializing when I chat with them. I just need to stop and recognize when it’s time to close the tab and look at something else.

Last year’s post was the answer to the question I’m asking today, which is, “What should I be doing right now?” I should be doing what I love, and if I can’t do that, I should be doing what is right.

If I’m still not sure what to do, I should do something. I just need to make sure that I don’t overdo it, especially if it’s not the healthiest activity.


Progress on Several Fronts

Melissa and I made to Oregon without any problems last night. We came in just before 11PM, got our room, and promptly crashed. While Melissa is on vacation until Monday, I’m working Thursday and Friday. I’ve worked from this hotel before, so I knew coming in that it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Speaking of work, I was able to deploy something to production today. There’s a feature that’s been about 90% successful the last few months. In this industry, that missing 10% is basically an F grade. It’s bad, and I’ve spent a bunch of time and energy trying to get it fixed. Especially this week, where I changed course and tried a completely different way to solve the problem.

It worked in Dev, and now it’s working for a site that was completely broken in production. It was a very low risk deployment, but it feels great to see the effort realized on the screen. When I’m done writing this post, I’m going to do some more work, deploying the updated product to another trouble site. It’s pretty exciting.

One of the mental health care liaisons from UC Davis called me today. We had a good chat, and she pointed me in the right direction to see a psychiatrist for an evaluation and also find a new therapist. In some ways, this is the most significant progress on any front I made today, though I still need to make some phone calls on my own in order to take the next step. It would be really great to have my depression under control, and to have additional tools at my disposal to deal with those times when I lack executive function.

This evening, I joined Melissa at her Mom’s place and I fixed her TV. Melissa and I are back at the hotel now. She’s on the bed reading. I’m at this cruddy table, using my work laptop to finish all the things I still need to finish.

Twenty for twenty as far as Blog-tober is concerned. Not too bad. Yesterday was the most likely day for me to miss, but today could have been a miss as well, considering all the work I have in front of me, and diminished capacity to do that work. My laptop screen is small.

Today’s post feels lame to me, but that could be because this is sort of the middle slog. The middle of every story is the hardest part to write, because so much has happened yet there’s still so much to resolve. There is uncertainty. That’s how the middle of this month feels.


The Next Work Project

It’s lunch time, and I don’t have a lot of time. I’ve been up since 6:30AM working. When 5:00PM rolls around, Melissa and I are jumping in a car and heading to Lakeview, Oregon, where I’ll be working until Sunday. Just like NaNoWriMo, I have to write during lunch sometimes, otherwise I won’t make my goal. And I have every intention of making all my goals.

Because work is on my brain, I’m going to talk about the next work project. I won’t get too technical or dive into code. I think I can make this interesting without giving away company secrets or getting into esoteric fields.

Before I can get too much into the new product, I need to talk at least a little bit about the product it will be replacing. We have a suite of applications that work together to present information about solar production to our customers. The customer owns land with equipment on it, including solar panels and batteries, and we talk to this equipment, allowing the customer to control it all. Additionally, we provide reports and metrics for how well things are going. It’s pretty sweet.

Unfortunately, time is a thing, so the decisions we made 8 to 10 years ago when building this system are no longer the same decisions we’d make today. We used some technologies that have aged out. We built the whole thing based on the requirements of that day, which are no longer the requirements of today. Everything has to be both bigger, faster, and run on cheaper hardware. Those three requirements on paper should be mutually exclusive, but we think we can do it. And, we think we can save a lot of money along the way.

The current system requires a lot of setup time. People with specialized skills have to build out components of the system. Once those parts are built out, they’re then able to configure the website to work with that equipment. They currently can’t do much in the website until the components are configured, because the website won’t have anything to talk to.

That approach made so much sense at the beginning, because we didn’t have the website when we first started. We just had those components, which are good at talking to the equipment and reporting to the agencies that are interested in power production. That was our specialty in the beginning, so those components were designed to be very good at fulfilling that task.

We realized fairly soon that we could build on top of that, and so we did. That’s how we got to where we are today, and we’re very successful. We do good work. I have an excellent team.

But now let’s talk about the new product. If we want to make it bigger, faster, and cheaper, what is our path forward?

For starters, we’re going to start building the new system from the other direction. We’re going to make it so that we — or the customer — can use our platform to configure the site before they’ve even broken ground. No equipment or components will have to be configured in advance, because our website will be the way the configuration tool.

We will use advanced simulation software so that the person configuring the site will be able to see what it looks like when it’s real. All of the tweaking and adjusting required to make a satisfactory presentation, controls platform, alarming, and reporting, will be done in advance. If we do it right, the customer will be able to do it themselves. When they’re satisfied with how it looks, they can place their order to make it a reality.

Based on how the site is configured, we will ship out the equipment necessary for the operation of the site. This could be a few devices or a few hundred devices. Instructions will go out with this equipment, and either one of our field technicians or the customer will do the install. Once the hardware is in place, it will phone home, register with our software, and the configuration will be shipped down to the site.

At the site, the configuration will be split out over however many devices are available on the network. The main component will monitor all the satellites, shifting pieces of the site configuration around for load balancing. All of that happens without user intervention. When a piece of hardware fails, the other hardware takes up the slack and alarms are raised, so that the bad hardware can be replaced when convenient.

Our biggest pain point right now in terms of cost is configuration. It takes people with specialized knowledge hundreds of hours to get all the configuration correct before the system operates. Our new approach will reduce this considerably. If we make it so that the customer can do the configuration themselves, it could eliminate our configuration costs entirely.

The configurations can be bigger, because we’ll distribute them. The system will be faster, because we’re using new technologies more suited towards getting the higher throughput we need. And the installations will be cheaper, because we won’t need to send multiple expensive servers to a site for the operation of the equipment. Instead we can ship an appropriate number of inexpensive devices, all working in tandem to provide greater stability.

That’s the next work project. I have a great team, and I think we’re going to make the best version of this software that exists in our corner of the market. We just have to stick to our vision and not be scared and compromise when things look tough. If we do it right, it will change the game.

I am excited for this. Am I as excited about this project as I am about the next novel I’m writing? Well… it’s different. My novels don’t sustain my family. They just keep me sane and happy. The technical projects satisfy me, and I appreciate making a living. I will keep working on my writing and striving for that to become my next full time job, but the job I have now is a good one, even when the hours get a bit long.

Okay, that’s it. Now I have to pack a bag, so that Melissa and I can start driving as soon as we’re both done with work.


Just Work Harder?

Yesterday, I put in a marathon of coding and work. There are a lot of different parts to my job, and I don’t usually have time to do all of it. By staying up and working until 11PM, I was able to get most of it done. Not quite all of it. I focused on the most important item, which is a change in the way we move data from the sites to the cloud.

I did an unreasonable amount of work, and I’m going to do another unreasonable amount of work today. It’s Tuesday night, so I’m going to enjoy some time in Shut Up and Write, then I’m going to join Michael Gallowglas’s stream where he’ll have Jennifer Brozek on as a guest. It’s going to be a great evening for writing things! But as soon as that’s done, I have to switch back to the work laptop and get some more stuff done.

Some of this is a reaction to what I was feeling yesterday, about wanting to quit. Rather than look externally, I’m focused internally, trying to do as much as I can so that I can be as blameless as possible with regards to my work. It’s not necessarily healthy, and it mirrors how I deal with other problems. I blame myself first, then try to fix it by fixing myself.

What effect did this have?

My boss is very happy with me. He wanted something done and I did it faster than anyone could have hoped for. I wrote a major feature in less than a day, and it’s already tested, primed for going out in the field. He expected it to take about two weeks to get to this point.

The coworkers I showed this to seem impressed, too. They also seem a little bit hurt that I didn’t use their expertise. Basically, our boss wanted a team to get this thing done, and I did it all. Not because my team couldn’t do it, but because it was the fastest way to get from point A and point B. Also, if I didn’t do the work, it would have reflected poorly on me, because I’m the one responsible for this system that’s been failing.

I should probably clarify something.

Would it actually reflect poorly on me? I think it would, but it’s not the sort of thing that would show up on my review. Some of what I’m describing is how I interpret the situation. My intuition told me that if I didn’t stay up late and get the entire feature finished, it would have been bad for me. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true, but it’s the information I have to work from.

I’m not working for a sweatshop. Trimark has always taken good care of their employees. I have always felt valued there.

If I’m wrong about the various levels of approval and disappointment I’m wading through, then making the extra effort isn’t going to hurt my standing at work. If I’m right, then I’m doing exactly what I need to do to continue to be valuable to the team.

It’s definitely way too much and is not sustainable by any stretch of the imagination, but what can I do?

I have some time right now to get this blog post done, then I’m going to rest a bit while I listen to friends of mine talk about writing. Once that’s done, I’ll go back into the coding mine and extract and refine the next feature.

There is no way I’ll be able to do Nano next month if I keep this kind of workload. I’m going to need to write during lunches, and I’m going to need to spend extra time on the weekends in order to get ahead, in case I have a really bad work week. I’ve succeeded this way before.

I’m also going to have to fall in love with my story and really believe in it. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting there. Right now I think it’s a good idea with some interesting potential.

That’s it for now. Tomorrow, I’ll write my post during lunch, and hopefully talk about something other than work.


How Long Can I Keep This Going?

I don’t intend for the title to sound alarming. This isn’t about depression, though the bouts with depression do not help. This is about staying in the same house, in the same family, at the same job, maintaining the same relationships, sticking to the same routine, and participating in the same hobbies. Sunup to sundown. Seven days a week.

I like most of the things I just listed. I like my house. I love my family. My hobbies are fantastic, and I do pick up new hobbies. The mechanical keyboard thing is relatively new, and making stuff with the 3D printer is also new.

It isn’t that I don’t appreciate what I have. I do. I just feel stuck most of the time, and I don’t know what to change.

Everything is great with Melissa, so don’t misread anything into what I’m saying. The reason I’m writing this tonight is because today was a really difficult work day, and it’s not even finished. A lot of time, in order to accomplish what I need to accomplish with work, I have to sacrifice parts of my evening. It’s the only time I have to actually focus. The rest of the work hours are all about helping other people and putting out figurative fires.

Today, I really wanted to quit. I just wanted to tell my boss to shove it, and that they can figure it all out on their own.

Maybe if I was twenty years younger, I would have. I don’t know. Now it feels too irresponsible to upset my whole life just because of a bad day. I know that it isn’t just one bad day, that these feelings have been building up for a long time, but it still seems like a bad idea.

I like working in the solar industry. I like my company. I like my coworkers. I just get tired of feeling powerless to affect change, which is weird as hell because I actually have power at my company to get things done. What I lack is time and energy.

It’s exhausting. Things break, and then I break myself trying to fix those things, and then stumble into the next problem, wishing I could just catch my breath and focus for a few days.

The vacation was supposed to help with that. But Covid impacted the efficacy of the vacation, and when I got home, the same problems I thought I fixed were still there, and now that’s all I’m able to focus on. I’m not gaining any ground. Everything is slipping, and it feels like it’s my fault.

I put my head down and I keep trying, and it feels like I’m going to get fired, no matter how hard I work.

I’m tired. But I’ll keep going.

I wish I could just write. But at this point, I don’t think I’m ever going to make money doing that. To be a successful writer, you have to have already made it, or you have to be a good salesperson.

I’m not giving up on the writing dream. I just don’t feel a ton of optimism at the moment. I’ll keep going. At least the writing part brings me a great deal of satisfaction.

It’s going to be a long week. And I don’t know how much longer I can keep this going.


Writing at CoffeeWorks Again

I’m sitting in a coffee shop, butt in chair, hands on keyboard. I have Richard and Ana sitting near me, and we are talking sometimes, working on our different projects other times.

Until this moment, I don’t think I realized how long it has been since we’ve done this.

A few weeks ago, my coworker Bryan invited me out to have a beer with him after work, and it felt amazing. It was absolutely a normal thing to do, and it’s the normalcy that delighted me. There’s something of that same flavor happening right now.

I think some part of me gave up on feeling normal again. I spend most of my time at home, and I keep a mask in the car, and I look at the world and worry about how many people are dying, and how so many people don’t seem to care. It’s frustrating. It’s soul crushing.

So, these moments of normalcy feel like revelations. I get why people are trying not to think about Covid anymore. It’s a huge bummer. It has robbed us of so many of these precious normal moments where we can just hang out with friends and enjoy each other.

I still think that we need to remain vigilant. I’m certain we can strike a balance between taking necessary precautions and holding onto these moments that make life feel good.

It does feel good to be writing in a coffee shop on a Sunday morning again. I wish Michael was here, but I think he’s busy this weekend. I’m using his keyboard, continuing to test it before I hand it off to him. It’s working very, very well.

I know what it takes for us to get to the point of “getting back to normal.” It means getting everyone vaccinated. It means normalizing staying home when sick, and not forcing kids or workers to be around other people when they could spread a deadly disease. It means becoming more sensitive to the idea that 300 or more people are dying every day to this pandemic that didn’t actually go away. It means not standing in front of the nation and saying stupid things like “the pandemic is over.” It means keeping the masks around, for the times when we have another wave.

Masks work. We have lots of data that supports this. We have data just from the Writing Excuses Retreat. The infections in our group were exponential until we enacted the mask policy, and then the number of new infections dropped dramatically. We have the data. Masks work.

I think I got off on a little bit of a tangent there, but it’s all related. I’m at CoffeeWorks, writing again. With friends. It is good.

When I’m done with this blog post, I’m going to do some more prep work for the Cyberpunk story. November is approaching faster than I like, and as Illidan might say, I am not prepared.

If you are preparing for NaNoWriMo, I hope your preparations are coming along nicely. If you’re participating in Inktober this month, I hope your drawings are delighting you. And if you’re just trying to enjoy some normalcy while the world continues to burn around us, I hope the time is as sweet and delightful as my time writing in CoffeeWorks.


More Mechanical Keyboards

I’m sure I’ve talked about mechanical keyboards here before, but I want to talk about them again today, because I’m working on some new ones (and an old one).

For starters, I’m writing today’s post on a keyboard I made for Michael Gallowglas. It’s the second one I made based on the Sick68 design I found on Thingiverse. As a sophomore project, it boasts some improvements on the original, while also carrying brand new problems I’ve never had to deal with. Double striking, inconsistencies with performance… my soldering improved so much by the time I got to this keyboard that I made connections with less solder. Which also meant that they were weaker, and that with rigorous use, the keyboard came apart in subtle ways.

Michael returned it to me, and I’ve been tinkering on it from time to time for a little while. Several weeks ago, when I finally worked up the courage to query The Repossessed Ghost to an independent press I met at Baycon, I used this keyboard to send it. After all, it was Michael giving me the encouragement at the time to submit the story. It felt correct to use his keyboard to create and send the email.

Then the “g” key stopped working on the keyboard, and I had to go back to tinkering on it again.

I reprinted the base. It’s now a proper yellow instead of the weird orange I used before. I used more solder. I cut an aluminum bar and placed it inside the keyboard to give it rigidity and support, just as I recently did for my keyboard.

I dedicated a bunch of time to this keyboard today, and I think it’s in the best shape it’s ever been. I’m looking forward to the next time I see Michael so I can give it to him. Actually, I’m just looking forward to seeing Michael again. It’s been a little while.

I have plans to make one more keyboard like this one, bringing the total up to 4. That is, my red and blue one (that I’m going to use to write the Cyberpunk story with), Michael’s, the one I gave away at the Writing Excuses retreat, and this new one which will be a Christmas present. I don’t know if she reads my blog or not, so I won’t say who it is for.

All of that alone would be enough to warrant talking about keyboards. It doesn’t take that much to get me to talk about this, though. This is a fun hobby for me, and it’s kind of perfect. It’s both technical and creative. It involves expression and problem solving, and when everything goes right, there’s something very useful produced at the end. Something that can be used for writing.

I will complete 4 with this original style. As of today, I’m starting a new one of a completely different style. One that looks more like this:

I like ergo keyboards, and Melissa likes ergo keyboards. She won’t use a keyboard these days unless it’s ergonomic. So, I’m starting one of these, and we’ll see how we like it.

Again, I’ll take the first one, which will bear all of the scars and imperfections that come from learning how to make these things. I’ll let Melissa try it, and if she likes it, I’ll make another one, customized for her.

This new keyboard will replace the keyboard on my desk. I will be able to write with it, but I’ll mostly use it for programming and gaming. I think it will improve my productivity with work, because I won’t have to move my hands off the keyboard nearly as much.

So far, I ordered the PCBs and electronics. I found some print files for the base, and I’ve printed half of it in glow-in-the-dark PLA, which should be really amazing. I still need to order some cables, keycaps, and buy some hardware. I think this keyboard is going to come together very quickly. Possibly by the end of the week.

This one is a bit more expensive than the ones I’ve been making. The PCBs and the electronics raise the price of materials by around $80. I won’t be making a ton of these.

I think that’s all I have to say on the subject of mechanical keyboards today. I’m sure I’ll talk about them some more, especially once I’ve finished putting together the new one.

But if I’m only making one or two of this new style, and I don’t have any intention of making more than 4 of the original style, what am I going to do with this hobby? What’s next?

I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll make more for friends or family. I think it would be neat if my kids were into keyboards, because I’d love to make one for each of them. Chris wants one with a 10 key, though, and Bryanna also doesn’t seem that interested.

If you have any thoughts on this, let me know.


I Liked She-Hulk

I’m probably going to get into some spoilers here, so if you haven’t watched the entire first season of She-Hulk on Disney+, you might want to come back later. There will be another blog post tomorrow on a different topic if you don’t want anything She-Hulk related spoiled.

She-Hulk was good! Really good!

There appears to be a bunch of people on The Internet that didn’t like it, so I will acknowledge a couple of things about the show before I start lavishing praise on it. The big concern before it started airing was the CGI. For the most part, I thought it was really solid, but there are a few scenes where it’s a little bit weird and might pull people out. Whatever goofiness there may have been occasionally with the special effects didn’t bother me. It was not perfect, but it was good enough for me to have a great time.

A couple of the characters weren’t very deep or believable, to me. That also didn’t bother me, because they were in the spirit of the show. This thing was light, quirky, funny, and smart. An outrageous stylist and a self-entitled rich kid that wanted to dress up as a frog were pretty much on point for the tone of the show. That goes for a number of other characters, too. The show knew what it was, and they knew what they were doing.

I can’t think of any other ways I’d criticize this, other than to say I wish it was longer.

It completely captured the feel of the She-Hulk from the comics, right down to her 4th wall breaking. There are a handful of people that criticized this (while at the same time praising Deadpool for it), which is odd because in the comics, she was breaking the 4th wall before Deadpool started doing it. That was part of the tone of the comics, which was woven directly into the show.

Tatiana Maslany crushed it as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk. She was the best part of the show, which already had a lot going for it.

Unlike a lot of the other Marvel Disney+ shows, this one knew that it was an episodic show, and it played out as an episodic show. As much as I like the other shows, they often feel like a 3 hour movie spread over 8 episodes. She-Hulk dodged that.

It was a good time. Really. Is it my favorite thing ever? No. But it was everything I wanted it to be, and that’s enough.

Two more things, then I’ll close this off and play some video games.

First, I see the argument over and over how the MCU is all the same. It is not. It wasn’t all the same before She-Hulk came out, and it’s definitely not now. This one is different, and it addresses the meta in the text of the show, through Jennifer’s 4th wall breaks.

Finally, I want to talk about the ending because apparently, it’s controversial.

The very beginning pays perfect homage to the old Incredible Hulk TV series starring Bill Bixby. As soon as I saw it, I knew I was in for a treat. It made me happy. Then the episode unfolded, and as Jennifer got beat further and further into the ground by the plot, she became more and more unsettled. In the end, she broke the fourth wall entirely, making it look like the show dropped out to the Disney+ home screen, then proceeded to go to the show’s writer room and KEVIN in order to straighten things out.

The funny thing is, this is Jennifer Walters using one of her superpowers, her ability to break the 4th wall, in order to solve her problem. That’s different, but completely in-line with every other superhero finally.

I love it!

So, those are my thoughts on She-Hulk. I’m hoping for a season 2, and I hope she makes it onto the big screen, too.


The Person I Least Want to Talk About

Donald Trump. That’s who I don’t want to talk about. His lawsuits are in the news, so I feel a little bit compelled to talk in that direction.

How the hell did we get to this point? A demagogue with no redeeming qualities is heralded by about a third of the country as the dearest of leaders, and now he’s finally subpoenaed to stand and answer questions regarding the shitshow he stirred up on January 6th, 2021. Of course, he’s really only going to be compelled if the democrats retain control of The House.

And I’m just so, so sick of it. A criminal should not be dodging justice as a matter of political discourse. Right? Am I alone in thinking that’s a fucked up way to run things?

Quick aside… the grammar genie that lives in this application is telling me that I should have said “fucked-up,” using a hyphen. Thank you, grammar genie. I’m going to ignore you for now, but I appreciate you for not judging me on my use of profanity.

Where was I? Oh yeah. That fucking guy.

I really don’t want to talk about him anymore. I don’t want him taking up oxygen when there are so many other things to worry about. Climate crisis. Wealth inequality. Covid.

He had four years in office that he could have addressed any of that, but he wasn’t interested in anything but himself. He held rallies. He played golf. He made sure people used his hotels.

That’s four years we’re never going to get back. I don’t want to think how many more years we’re going to have to deal with the idiots he emboldened. The anti-vaxers. The pro-Russia, anti-American idiots that watch for Q drops and spout off that they’re the true Americans when they stand for none of the ideals delineated in our Constitution. Nothing but the 2nd Amendment, anyway, and their interpretation of that lacks merit. Red hat wearing, loud mouthed assholes that proudly announce that there never was a pandemic, and that Covid is just the flu.

Maybe I’ve been hitting the cough medicine a little hard tonight and I shouldn’t be saying these things. I know at least one person that would encourage me to take a lighter approach and try to be understanding.

Look. Listen. Let me be clear.

If after all of the bullshit you’re still a Trump loving redcap, you and I are not friends. I don’t want to have anything to do with you. I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t need you to read my stories. I don’t want you in my life. I don’t know how you found me or this blog, but the exit is that way. I’m not going to try to save you. I want nothing to do with you.

That’s not a very nice thing for me to say, I know. But I’m not trying to be a nice guy. I want to be a sweet man. I want to be a good man, and Trump’s followers are not good people. Some of them may be suckers at this point, but I don’t care. There have been plenty of opportunities to get off that train. The “grab ’em by the pussy” guy, the one that cheated on his wife while she was pregnant with his son, has shown you who he is every day for years. If you’re a good person, you should not be following him or buying his snake oil.

Okay. Big sigh. That was cathartic.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to write something with a little less vitriol. I guess I just needed to get that off my chest.

And to keep this post at least a little bit writing related… damn. The last half decade sure has given me a lot of good material to use when writing about a dystopia.


The Danger of… Hand Gestures?

I don’t know why I was worried about finding enough topics for this month. Every day, there is a new outrage on Twitter to comment on.

Today, I learned that we’re not supposed to give a thumbs up gesture anymore.

The thing is, it’s an old gesture that has a clear purpose. It’s an affirmative, a good-to-go, a sign of approval.

It seems like some people used it sarcastically, and now it’s… bad? It’s aggressive?

We should all grieve the death of nuance and context.

When the OK hand gesture was basically overtaken by white supremacists, I was a little bit upset assholes usurped what I thought was a common gesture, and we just let them have it. Maybe there’s some subtle difference in the tilt of the hand, but as a white guy that wants nothing to do with that hate movement, I’m not going to risk it. No more OK hand gesture for me.

But thumbs up doesn’t fall into that category. If we’re going to find fault with people using it with passive aggression, maybe we shouldn’t be upset with the gesture as much as the passive aggression.

As someone else said, I’ve seen people get a little upset over ending a sentence with a period.

I really think this all circles back to context and nuance. If I’m texting with someone that has a particular style, I’ll respond appropriately to them to try to communicate effectively. I won’t necessarily change everything about the way I communicate to appease someone else, because I expect that over time, people will come to understand my style of communicating as well. You may text in all lower case with no punctuation, but I’m still going to text like I’m trying to please a grammar teacher.

This goes for the thumbs up, as well. A hand gesture as an affirmative can be effective, giving a visual queue to go along with my words.

As far as Twitter drama is concerned, this one seems pretty small, and maybe I’m just adding fuel to the fire by giving it as much attention as I have. I guess I just don’t want to give up forms of communication for reasons I have a hard time agreeing with.