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"The sea is so beautiful," the sailor said.
"It truly is," the mermaid said.
"Yet so wild, unpredictable and cruel."
"What? No, the sea is calm, regular, and comforting."
"No, there are storms and hurricanes and-"
"Those are not the sea. Those are the sky clawing at the sea."
#MicroFiction #TootFic #SmallStories

covid, uspol 

as the year comes to a close we have crossed the threshold where one out of every thousand USians has died from covid-19.

absolutely tragic, and made more so by the fact that many of those deaths were completely avoidable.

we deserve better. the status quo must break or the rest of us surely will.

Long-winded story about working retail during the winter holidays, story involves irresponsible parenting. 

A Twitter user called @ciaraturnerart posted the question "if you’ve ever worked retail what was ur craziest moment? mine was when i witnessed 2 grown women fist fighting over a bowl at homegoods at 9am"

I had a response for that, and here on Fedi you get to read it without tweet thread breaks.

Used to run a mall arcade. In Nov-Dec I had to be extra-vigilant for families leaving their too-young-to-be-alone children (like, 5 and under) wandering in the arcade while they fucked off to do their shopping in crowded mall chaos.

Multiple times a day, all shopping season.

It was a dark, noisy, usually crowded arcade, with its own big unguarded extra exit directly to the parking lot, and only one worker (me).

When I caught parents trying to do this I'd yell at them, in front of their kids and all, raise the above points, and tell them to fuck off.

"Are you trying to get rid of your kid? Don't you like your kid? Why the FUCK would you abandon them alone in a dark noisy place full of FUCKING strangers? You should be ASHAMED."

When one managed to leave their kid there, from behind my counter I'd see the kid wandering around dumbfounded and have to shift into "oh, this shit again" mode. That involved comforting a scared kiddo, bringing them around the whole crowd confirming they weren't with anyone.

(This worked okay if the kid had enough English or Spanish and was amiable and composed enough to talk with me amongst the aforementioned noise, crowd, and darkness, conditions which were not always in place.)

Fortunately I'm good with kids, but these families didn't know that!

Once I'd confirmed I had an abandoned kid I'd get on the horn to mall security, tell them "it's Rob from the arcade, we got another one," and described the kid in hopes that a guard who looked like them and/or could speak their language was available.

Of course we didn't have security cameras, the owners weren't spending that kind of money. They put a fake one up at one point, as a deterrent against whatever-the-crap they thought they wanted to deter, and because they didn't know how to install it it fell off the wall and broke.

Often it was a couple hours before the kid's family came back to collect them after what they thought would be an entirely free and qualified daycare experience by the scruffy dork behind a counter in one corner of the big dark room opposite the open door to active car traffic.

At this point I'd do the yelling at them part, sadly not in front of their kid but still in front of their fellow mall crowders, and direct them to the fucking security office to collect the scared child they seem to hate so much from the tired guards and/or cops there.

This happened far too often. I sent at least a dozen frightened toddlers away with a mall security guard every holiday season.

Even when, as I was, you're not selling physical goods, working retail is a great way to learn to hate humans, especially this time of year.

Th'End

If you're into adult romancey monster stories for grownups of age, like I can certainly be when the writing is good, I think you'll find Magen Cubed's work some of the best out there. She is an independent author and brilliant human being well worth becoming a fan of.

There's a bunch of her work on deep sale through tomorrow, check it out: twitter.com/magencubed/status/

I'm bored with the confrontational default in music mashup titles; "INXS vs. AC/DC," "Gwen Stefani vs. Black Eyed Peas," etc.

Why "vs.," why should they be fighting?

I'd like to see "Gorillaz hang out with Jadakiss." "Cher nuzzles Madonna." "B.I.G. plays SNES with Miley Cyrus." "The Beastie Boys share a wholesome lunch with Alanis Morissette."

hot? lukewarm? take 

if your "makerspace" doesn't include crafts that have been traditionally viewed as feminine i don't want to hear about it

"oh this is the makerspace? cool, where's the knitting section?" yes i am that bitch

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"Coming 2 America" is probably all well and good, but I'm still waiting for a Three Putzes in the Barber Shop spinoff.

there is a python module for parsing pirate input...

Its called yargparse

dark humor, WTC, gender, offensive-joke critique 

There's an old attempt at offensive humor that goes - and this is me quoting for criticism, not endorsing as a joke - "Genders are like the Twin Towers. There used to be two of them, and now its a really sensitive subject."

As a 1980s kid from New York, there's something that's always particularly bugged me about the parallel drawn in this old attempt at a joke.

When the Twin Towers were introduced, nobody liked them. The city had used Eminent Domain to claim the area for the WTC's construction, pushing out the existing diverse population of residents and small businesses. In a city full of classically-shaped and artsy skyscrapers in all sorts of imaginative shapes and styles, the Twin Towers' utilitarian plain-ass big-ass rectangles were seen as ugly and devoid of imagination. A common quip thrown around back then was that the Towers were "the boxes the Empire State and Chrysler buildings came in."

The Twin Towers reminded us how the privileged could waltz in and do what they wanted, without regard for the area's preexisting hipness, personality, and character.

In architectural terms the Twin Towers were front-runners of a wave of plain, dull, cheap-to-produce but expensive-to-rent buildings big business loved for the efficiency with which they could stuff in the most bullshit, not considering aesthetics or impact on the skyline. Inside the Towers, meanwhile, the windows were narrow slits between fat pillars, making the inside pretty oppressive and jail-like for those who had to work in them. (I'd visited some of the non-touristy office areas, and I can confirm they were gross.) The buildings had only attracted tenants in the first place due to a ton of government subsidies bringing down the rent prices, and this was during a period where normal real estate already had too many vacancies; the city economy was eating a lot of shit at the time.

For all the things the WTC and Twin Towers came to represent after 2001, to residents back then they mainly represented pure concentrated gentrification in an unavoidable form which was placed permanently into the public's field of vision.

The towers were their era's symbol of how the influential could decide things for everyone around them at a whim just because they say so, regardless of the real impact on the lives and wellbeing of the thinking, feeling individuals around who never asked for any of it... something that could also be said for the rigid binary-gender social construct.

πŸ‘‹
⬇️
πŸŽ€β€‹

Th'End

Because now is the time for a dark comedy about fake politics being manipulated by jerks, we did a podcast episode about 1999's "Election."

modern.technology/2020/12/15/m

Oh look; BBC Radio is releasing the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series in podcast form: anchor.fm/s/41d505d4/podcast/r

AFAIK, individual seasons have intermittently been up for playback, off and on, as embedded web content, but this RSS release is new.

This is fascinating.

RT @rebeccaromney@twitter.com: Finally an article about the rare book heist that observes what the evidence points to: experienced criminals veered naively into rare books when they saw an opportunity β€” and didn’t realize how stupid it is to try to resell them on the black market.

theguardian.com/books/2020/dec

TOMORROW (Dec 10th) at 7pm EST join #DEFCON201 as we hack into Night City to play #cyberpunk2077 for Child's Play Charity with hacker guests as we talk about #cyberpunk, controversy, glitches and more!

Watch the #DC201 LIVE Stream on #Twitch, #dLive, @YouTube & @torproject: linktr.ee/defcon201

#cdprojektred #pcgaming #cyberpunkisnow #hackers

Frankly, I don't care if "hackers" get copies of how a Covid-19 vaccine works. It shouldn't be proprietary information in the first place.

It's rare that the schmaltz-y emotional and freedom-loving geek sides of me get to celebrate at the same time, so this is doubly exciting:

My #clown troupe has posted our annual #holiday video, and for the first time we are #SelfHosting the files!

Please enjoy this little bit of joy we worked hard to create for you, and do so without having to endure the ugliness of ads, trackers, or big data mining companies.

With love from the Circus Freaks:

"Hear This Silence"
circusfreaks.org

A little inspirational poem I wrote around ten years ago. I call it "Bootprints."

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hackers.town

A bunch of technomancers in the fediverse. Keep it fairly clean please. This arcology is for all who wash up upon it's digital shore.