AIDS Walk 2019

The short version is:

I’m participating in the Raleigh AIDS Walk and 5K Run again, and I need your help to reach my fundraising goal. I’m looking for small donations from friends and family. If everyone who reads this gives at least $5, we should hit the mark.

Click here to donate.

Click here to learn more about the event.

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Over the Wall

Manchester ruins wall

I’m getting rid of my Facebook.

I made my profile back in 2008 about a week after I almost missed a birthday party because the invitations were sent via Facebook event. By that point I was already a creature of the internet, and there were things about the platform that made me bristle.

I was a denizen of video game message boards, so The Social Network was alien to me in a lot of ways. It annihilated topicality. Its forces of moderation were opaque and incorporeal. And its very purpose was to reject anonymity.

But interacting with real names on the internet has never been the same as interacting with real people. Absent anonymity, authenticity doesn’t take over. And despite its stated mission, Facebook has never made me feel closer to anyone.

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Neighbors, Numbers

John McCain walks onto the Senate floor Tom Williams CQ Roll Call Getty.jpg
Photo: Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call / Getty

My neighbor introduced himself to me a few weeks ago.

He told me that he frequents McAlister’s Deli at North Hills, and that he likes to read crime novels. His favorite author is Patricia Cornwell.

(I also know from living in the apartment below him that he watches a lot of Law & Order. The “bong-bong” carries through the floor.)

He has amblyopia, and there’s a slight hesitation before he speaks. He volunteered a lot of this information without my asking.

At one point, he had a job working with computers, but he no longer works. He said he stopped after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

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Muddle

The election party I went to felt wrong from the moment I walked in.

There was a band playing music that sounded like nothing, and there was popcorn with the character of styrofoam. The beer was good at least, but the TV screens felt small for the crowd.

Some friends and I walked up shortly after the polls closed in NC (except for Durham county), and there was already a hint of bad news. It didn’t look good for Deborah Ross in the US Senate race.

The biggest cheer came when they called the Wake county transit referendum in favor of the For vote. Others were false alarms as we saw the percents and compared them to the number of ballots counted.

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Heap (Politics Edition)

Vote Raleigh Sticker Jedidiah Gant.jpg
Image: Jedidiah Gant / New Raleigh

Early voting ended on Saturday. The election takes place on Tuesday. My mother called me the other day and told me that she went and cast her ballot. These are the circumstances in which I’m finally writing down my thoughts on the election, the campaign, the state of things. You know, stuff I should have written down weeks ago when it meant something.

This is going to be disjointed, but I think that’s the only way to get it done at this point.

Inhale.

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Slunk.exe

Buckethead would have you believe he was raised by chickens and grew up in a chicken coop.

That he’s the proprietor of a fictional “abusement” park named after himself.

That he has a nightmare nemesis, a direct negative wearing a black chrome mask, who chases him through dreams.

Those are hearsay and rumors.

Reality is subjective when dealing with Buckethead, but it’s more than likely he’s a robot, an android of some kind. Made to look like one of us, but perhaps by someone who doesn’t know what human beings look like or how they act. He’s simulacrum from a time or place where we may be gone or where we never existed.

Whatever his origin, there is music there, of a sort.

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Orlando

We follow the script.

Black Ribbon of MourningWhen you wake up the morning after a mass shooting, you find out when you check Facebook, or Twitter, or a news channel. There’s an email in your inbox urging action. An investigation is ongoing into who the shooter is, how he was armed, what his motivation was. There are thoughts/prayers.

The next day, or maybe late that afternoon if the shooting happened over night, someone will say “Don’t talk about the shooter, talk about the victims.” They’re not wrong.

You don’t need to wait for that article, though. I can tell you about who was shot in Orlando.

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Heap II

I feel fortunate that I don’t have to have long conversations about what I do for work. Whenever someone asks and I tell them “I work at a digital marketing company,” their eyes tend to glaze over and the subject changes shortly thereafter.

The only people I really talk to about work are people at work, and even then, sometimes I have to say, “Guys, we’re at lunch, can we just not for half an hour?” The answer is usually no, but that’s the nature of conversation when standing on a limited amount of common ground.

Some people say that the mark of true politeness is to never talk about yourself, but if that’s true, doesn’t it set up one person to be impolite? I guess the solution is to only talk about other things. Maybe that’s why sports make some of the best small talk.

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Obey the Sign

Bathroom-gender-sign

If you live in North Carolina, you’ve probably noticed a lot of people driving slower this week. Frustrating, no doubt. Suddenly you’re showing up to work five minutes late because you got stuck in traffic that wasn’t a thing yesterday.

But it’s not really traffic. There aren’t more cars on the road. It’s the same people, just driving slower.

Turns out Pat McCrory has decided our state needs to crack down on speeding. Under the direction of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, law enforcement and highway patrols will be pulling people over for speeding as much as 1 mile-per-hour over the posted speed limit.

You’ve heard plenty of cutesy safety campaigns over the years. “Click It or Ticket.” “Booze It and Lose it.” Well the new thing is “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine.”

This new initiative officially goes into effect today, Thursday March 24. My coworker said on his two-mile commute this morning he passed five people who had been pulled over. And there were more speed traps in that space that hadn’t been sprung.

According to the poll in that WRAL article, 81% of respondents drive somewhere between 1 and 9 mph over the speed limit, so I guess we all need to be careful now. Ol’ Pat’s got our priorities set, and they’re serious about it.

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Save Scum

XCOM 2 Skyranger loading screen screenshot.jpg

There are two kinds of loading screen in XCOM 2. The first is diegetic, and it appears when loading into or out of a mission. You’re shown an interior view of the dropship carrying the squad you’re sending into battle. When deploying, there’s a mission briefing projected on the wall of the cargo bay, including the code name, objective, and an image representing the terrain of the area of operation. Upon extraction, combat stats are displayed instead, giving you a qualitative indication of how successful your tactics were.

More important than the brief and debrief is the view you get of your troops. Flying out, you can see them shift in their seats, a mix of anticipation and determination on their faces. When returning to base, the mood within the Skyranger will depend on the results of the mission.

This loading screen is necessary to give the game time to load in alien combatants and procedurally generate the battlefield, but it also gives you valuable face-to-face time with the men and women under your command. It endears them to you, and it can give extra weight to any seat that might end up empty.

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