Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tea party contradictions

Great reply by George R. R. Martin in response to a comment from a reader on his blog.

The blog post was about the eerie similarity he observed between a video of a Tea Party political rally or town hall meeting, not sure which, and the biergarten scene in Cabaret where a Hitlerjungend sings "Tomorrow belongs to me". I think George's observation is spot-on. He's picking up on the emotionalism of people, the kind of emotions that lead to fascism, as people cling ever more strongly to failing narratives about American individualism and American exceptionalism.

Pugix says (in his serious, professorial mode) that the Tea Party is a type of libertarianism. They want minimal government; they want to be left alone. The desire to be left alone by government was the founding impulse for Americans to move West. This may be why the Southwest part of the country demonstrates so well the consequences of libertarian pressure on government: note Arizona selling off their government buildings to try to meet debt obligations as a consequence of both economic downturn and severe cutting of taxes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Crown of Swords

Dreams and Speculation blog's Wheel of Time challenge

Tor's Wheel of Time re-read and synopsis by Leigh Butler.

I am tired of whining about the quality and characteristics of these books. This month I just plunged in, and read it as if I were AA-grinding in EverQuest. If you want a payoff, you knuckle down and endure the dreary bits. I'm glad to say I finished it a few days ago.

I'm getting better at skimming over useless redundant detail. I've settled in my mind that this is poorly-written plot-driven "young adult" lit, and I'm treating it as the smelly object it is, trying to enjoy a few sparkly bits here and there.

My attitude being less-than-serious, I'm not glaring at the details, demanding that they make sense, I'm just shrugging my shoulders and saying "whatever!" It's like watching a bad movie and saying to oneself, "what the heck, it's sort of entertaining, though the script/acting/costumes/setting/effects are wrong and stupid," which would be typical of most movies these days.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Margaret Atwood and Science Fiction and Space Opera

Over at TJ's Dreams and Speculation fiction review blog, I was surprised to learn that Margaret Atwood had denied that her books The Handmaid's Tale or Oryx and Crake were science fiction, saying "science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen." According to Wikipedia she has since refined her objection, and described her work as social science fiction.

It made me think that she actually had in mind the sub-genre known as "Space Opera", which is light on the science, and heavy on the interpersonal and situational drama. Not that they can't go together.

Space opera on TV is the topic over at Dreams and Speculation.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Parallels VM configuration

Finally got my Parallels VM working.
Turns out Parallels 5.0.9344 doesn't really play nice in the Mac OS 10.6.4 environment. It's hogging memory, so... give it less memory. It has to be physically restricted.
Parallels preferences: Total memory allocated: Manual: 1456 Mb
VM Configuration:
  General: 1Gb memory (I have 4Gb total memory)
  Options: Optimization: UNcheck Adaptive Hypervisor 
           UNcheck autocompress 
           CHECK Tune Windows for Speed
           Optimize performance for Mac OS X applications 
  Options: Shared Applications: UNcheck Share Windows Applications with OS X 
           UNcheck Share Mac OS X Applications with Windows 

  Hardware: Video: Maximized video memory (256Mb on this MacBook Pro).

Removed my Parallels VM folder from Spotlight. 

I'm a bit miffed about the product's crappy support. I had to rely on other users discovered solutions to resolve a serious problem that affects many users.