You know how, back on 2009-09-07, I said I wanted to mostly avoid NSFW language in my blah?
Well, fuck that shit. I don't think I can say what I want to say under those restrictions; I'm certainly not willing to try.
I've been feeling really useless recently. Worthless. Unappreciated. This is in large part why it's been over five months since I wrote anything here; I don't feel I have anything to say worth saying.
I feel of no value to anyone, possibly (only possibly) excepting myself. (I know it's not true. Those feelings are disconnected from that knowledge.)
I was there as the ARPAnet mutated into Internet, passing through stages like the NSFnet, with ancillaries like Usenet. As the September that never ended struck. As we got invaded and overrun. I'm here now as the net we, we who were there and built it, the net we built, is being driven into the ground, wrecked, for the sake of lining the pockets of a few greedy arseholes who, unsurprisingly for greedy arseholes in positions of power, are well above 99th percentile on the list of people who least need more pocket lining.
Emotionally at least, I belong to a conquered people, and, possibly worse, one where the conquerors don't even realize it. (Ironic, for a white male North American.)
And the most I've ever gotten out of anyone, even the few who also go that far back, is basically `yeah it sucks, learn to live with it'. There's some truth in that, but it's singularly unfeeling, even cruel.
I've written megabytes of code. To a very good approximation, I give it all away, both in an attempt to give back a little of what the net has given me and in a refusal to exploit the bug in our legal system currently (mis)called `intellectual property'.
Nobody's noticed. As far as I can tell nobody's even fucking NOTICED.
I've been trying to call attention to the disaster that is modern Internet governance, until I'm sick of it and others are probably sick of my harping on it (see my blah post of 2010-08-03). Nobody seems to have noticed that either. I feel like a Cassandra.
I poured years of time and energy into NetBSD. They have been gradually making it clearer and clearer that they don't care about me, don't care about my contributions, and have no intention of continuing to serve the niche they used to serve and used to make a point of serving, the niche I identify with and which brought me to them. They're running themselves into the ground trying to beat Linux and Windows at their own games (desktop share), screw the developer and user base their former strengths built up. So I feel betrayed. (Reasonably, unreasonably, probably some of each, to degrees I can barely guess at. Feelings and knowledge, as I remarked above, and perhaps even more feelings and reason, are at best weakly related.)
I recently spoke (and exchanged email) with an astrologer about my chart. (For those who care, 1964-07-06, 39 degrees 45 minutes north, 104 degrees 52 minutes west, 16:20 local time.) My Mercury is apparently completely unaspected. This apparently is "very powerful, very creative and original". But very alone, too, "like a king with no-one else in his kingdom". I'm good at what I do, damn good. But it seems to be something nobody needs done, or at best only occasionally. I don't fit the society around me; it mostly tolerates me, unless I kick up enough of a fuss to get noticed, at which point I get squished as societies, which necessarily are fundamentally conformist, have always squished nonconformists.
That same astrologer writes that my Moon, which is about ten degrees Gemini, gives me an "[urgent] need for sharing and communicat[ion]". That too fits; notice in the above that my aloneness has led to loneliness, that I do need to share and communicate and that my failure to do so is a source of anguish for me. I've done a little teaching and I love it; with luck, maybe, I'll manage to do more someday.
If anyone wants to learn anything I can teach. Back again to being a loner with lots to offer that nobody wants.
In terms of D&D and related systems, I am aligned extremely heavily lawfully. (LG, not LN and certainly not LE, but not nearly as hard-against-the-margin Good as I am Lawful.) This is a problem in a society that I have trouble putting anywhere but True Neutral, and the don't-care kind rather than the balance-is-necessary kind. I know maybe one person as heavily Lawful as I. Maybe. Just to keep things interesting, I suspect I might well be unhappy in a heavily lawful society—though there have been a few incidents pointing the other way.
When I write that I'm more Lawful than Good, this is not a matter of my own inclinations; they are fully LG in both dimensions. Rather, it means that Chaotic things bother me more than Evil things; for example, I will yell at someone who's bicycling down a one-way street the wrong way, but not at someone who's walking a dog and being mean to it. This is something I don't like about myself; I think Good is a more important value than Law, but lots of my reactions and feelings seem to disagree. I'm not sure why, and it makes me uncomfortable.
I feel very crushed by the tyranny of the majority. There are many products I like, or would like, but which aren't available because, apparently, not enough people want them, or don't want them badly enough to pay a premium for them, or some such. This exists in many fields: from the shorts I wear (whose pockets are made of the same material as the rest of them, something I've had trouble finding) to one of my favourite drinks (Nestea green tea frozen concentrate, which I was a loyal buyer of for a while and now appears to be nonexistent) to travel (more and more forms of travel are getting more and more uncivilized; see, for example, my letter to Voyageur about their adopting the same sort of stupid pseudo-security that's the major reason I won't fly these days) to electronics (nobody seems to make a documented FPGA; someone did, briefly, but the market apparently didn't care) to, even, frickin' lightbulbs (I've been told that there are governmental plans to put a stop to selling incandescent bulbs, despite all the things they're good for that there really is no substitute for and all the existing installed base that's not friendly to CFLs).
On the last Wednesday of July, my then-girlfriend told me she wanted to break up. It's been some three and a half months, now, and it's beginning to hit. We've stayed friends (so far, at least)—for example, we each still have a spare set of the other's keys—and I'm having trouble telling whether she's just staying friends or is trying to break up without breaking up. I'm not sure she knows. I don't know whether I am glad to see her as a friend or whether it twists the knife in our breakup. Perhaps both.
I don't like to think of myself as someone who needs to be in a Relationship. But that's what it's seeming like. And I feel (and, based on my track record, this feeling is probably close to fact) incompetent to meet anyone new. Based on what little I've heard from others and managed to filter out from the fiction surrounding it in cultural references, I'm not even sure I want to learn, at least not what most people seem to mean by it. Back to fitting poorly-to-horribly into the society around me.
I'm not even sure what I want in a Relationship. There are so many things that seem to get rolled together for most people and I don't know how important the various things are to me; too many of them have always been present or absent together, making it difficult to disentangle their effects. I know at least a few of the things I want are things I've never found under the aegis of a Relationship and rarely found at all, such as someone who shares my love for recreational mathematics and suchlike; I find things like Raymond Smullyan's work great fun, and that seems to be really rare. A bunch more are things I've always had or lacked together, as I mentioned above; these are mostly physical things, such as sex and touch (an important distinction which our society blurs depressingly).
I really do not want to spiral back down into depression.
I wish I could cry.
 CFLs don't provide a thermal spectrum (use a CD or a DVD as a diffraction grating sometime and have a look), which affects a few uses (such as photography) and affects perceived colour for objects with narrow spikes and dips at suitable places in their reflectance spectra. CFLs flicker far more than incandescents (though much faster than them). CFLs have completely different electrical characteristics; light bulbs are very useful as current limiters crossed with load draw indicators when working on small appliances. CFLs throw far more interference. CFLs have a long fade-out time once they're turned off, making them unsuitable for applications (like darkrooms) where turning off a light means it needs to stop giving off light right now. CFLs have a long startup time—some take a second or so to turn on at all, and most of the rest take a minute or two to reach full output unless they've been on recently. CFLs are hazardous waste; they've got enough mercury vapour inside that breaking one can easily put a room past workplace-acceptable mercury limits. And that's just what occurs to me off the top of my head.
 CFLs want to stay cool. Incandescents are perfectly happy running, literally, hot enough to fry an egg on. Designed-for-incandescent fixtures often run hot enough to kill CFLs despite the lower power dissipation of the latter.