Going forward, Sundays are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, I provide a helpful statement you may want to use as a response to the drivel often posted nowadays.
To make this easier, I’ve copied the text below so that you can simply copy and paste it. I changed the text a bit to express the idea using the least similar text possible. Can’t help it.
The Amazon River is 3,977 miles long, running through barely explored areas of the rain forest, and leaking its water through the porous limestone. The water flows into the depths of the earth, forming underground pools almost a mile below the surface. Evolution has resulted in the development of small, blind fish that have never seen the sky, sun, or surface of the earth, and thus isolated from human interaction.
Here I go again. I once reviewed Pringles honey mustard chips. Now, something else caught my eye. I learned that Digiorno has a croissant crust pizza, so I took to social media to express my disgust and curiosity, which were at odds. As a cat person, I knew I was going to try it, so the next day, I bought a pizza and left it in my freezer. I was thinking, “When am I ever going to eat this? On the weekends, I’m on the carnivore diet, and during the week, I workout every day and want to eat within 20 minutes of working out, so I don’t wait until I get home to eat. I’m never going to eat this!” But then, one day later, boom! Snow day! Within 24 hours, I had my opportunity, and I took it.
That was a long set up. If you’re still with me, here’s the review.
First, I’m an exceptionally picky eater, which means to survive, I can’t be a snobby eater. That is, I can’t snub a hamburger because I prefer filet mignon. I have to forgive the quality of the food . (I also have to be able to eat the same thing repeatedly without getting sick of it, but that’s not relevant here.) With that in mind, I’m perfectly happy with a Digiorno pizza. Besides, so many of you claim that oily, floppy, soggy, flappy New York pizza is the best in the world, and that stuff sucks even to me. It’s not like any of you have any place criticizing me for being more than happy with Digiorno.
Now I’ve insulted half the crowd, most of whom are spammers anyway, but if you’re still with me, here’s the verdict.
It’s not that it’s bad. It’s just that it’s no different than their standard pizza, except that it’s got an even higher calorie count. Going forward, I think I’ll pass on that, but if you like Digiorno pizza, it’s as good as anything they make.
Ah, Endgame. The movie that keeps on giving. To lawyers. I watched it again earlier this week, and had yet another thought. As I and many others have discussed before elsewhere, the Thanos Snap and Hulk Snap opened up a lot of legal questions. Here’s one suitable for a pedant like me.
When 2019 Nebula killed 2014 Nebula, what crime did she commit? Note: Self defense (really, defense of others) is an affirmative defense that comes into play only if a crime is committed, so it’s a valid question. She certainly killed a sentient being, so there must have been a crime to add to her litany of malfeasance (which is okay!). But what should we call it? The MCU has once again required legal analysis!
Remember. This is goofy pedantry at work. Just roll with it.
Homicide is killing a homo sapiens. Patricide is killing your father. Matricide is killing your mother. Suicide is killing yourself. Nebula didn’t really kill herself in Endgame. That was another Nebula from another reality. Also, I’m not a comics reader, but I don’t think she was ever a homo sapiens, and even if she were, she barely is one now. What kind of -cide did she commit then?
Sororicide doesn’t quite work either. She isn’t her own sister. In fact, despite what a DNA test would likely show, they aren’t even related, so even parricide (close relative) doesn’t work. Besides, even if you claim that similar DNA means they are related, parricide isn’t as precise as it could be. I demand precision!
No, we need a new term. Here are my suggestions.
Temporacide (“killing time”?)
Attornicide (tempting, eh?)
Okay, parricide it is, unless you’ve got a better idea. Though perhaps it’s best not to think too hard about this.
Here’s something non-nerdy presented in as nerdy a way as I can. (Translation: Boring.) Many of you know of my relatively recent weight loss. That context may be important for this post, but hardly necessary. This week, I was off work for Winter Fantasy, and I spent most of that time at home. That gave me the opportunity to completely control my diet. Eating at home was never inconvenient. So, for the second time in recent times (I lost 17 pounds in two months last time), I decided to go on the carnivore diet for one week. Today is day seven, so my report is actually for only six days. I enter my weight and nutritional information into MyFitnessPal. Here’s my weight chart for most of the past 3 months.
Yeah, that’s the carnivore diet at work.
In case you don’t know, the carnivore diet is what I call a starvation diet. As far as I know, my use of that phrase differs from what you’ll find on Google. I define that as any diet that insists you starve yourself of one or more food groups (e.g., no carbs, vegetarian, carnivore). The carnivore diet allows you to eat only meat: chicken, lamb, pork, fish, and beef. When you do so, you eat whenever you’re hungry without concern for calorie count. For example, on my first day (Wednesday), I ate 1,039 more calories than I should have ( based on my usual 1,850 daily calorie limit and factoring in my workout), and on the next day, I ate 1,388 to many. By the time I woke up on Friday morning, I had lost 1 pound. There was a strange blip on Friday morning’s weigh in, but then things started to drop again.
The results are as follows: When I started, I weighed 230.4 lbs. This morning, I weighed 223.8 lbs. Almost 7 pounds lost in 6 days. I stayed with meat this morning for breakfast, am skipping lunch, and have clearly broken this diet for dinner (National Pizza Day!), so these are the final results.
Note well that the carnivore diet may not work for you. In fact, it’s not necessarily good for me. As with all of these starvation diets, the results vary greatly from one person to another, and some of them are too new to address concerns for long-term effects. Sure, there are people who’ve been on the carnivore diet for years, and their kidney still work. However, I still have 24 years left (according to the statistical average for my demographic), and the data doesn’t go that long. Moreover, I don’t think it’s much better than any other starvation diet, and the losses aren’t sustainable. I wouldn’t disappear after 32 weeks on the diet.
What I do know is that the most important factor in losing weight is willpower. You can lose weight in a lot of different ways, and while the science remains unsettled, the most important thing is to pick a diet with which you’ll remain consistent. Studies seem to suggest that diet is the most important factor, outweighing cardio and strength training. I have a strong suspicion that those studies are more a measurement of human psychology than nutrition. After all, one reason they say to eat a big breakfast is to avoid hunger pains that will lead to extra eating later in the day. When I’m on my normal diet, I eat 100 calories for breakfast. Yes, I get hungry, but I ignore it. My willpower overrides their science not because the science is bad, but because it’s based on a psychological trait that simply doesn’t apply to me anymore (I was once 303 pounds!). I stick with the plan.
So, find yourself a diet that works for you, but once you’ve gotten to a reasonable weight (or sooner), make sure to add cardio and weight training to it. I personally focus on cardio because, like you, I have only so much time to workout, and perhaps unlike you, I’m getting old. Having a strong heart is more important long term than being able to lift things up and put them down. It seems that the studies suggest that strength training is a bit more important than cardio for weight loss. For what it’s worth, my anecdotal experience agrees. You have to figure out those things for yourself, because again, nothing will work unless you stick with it.
Do what works best for you.
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This post will make very little sense without the context of the last post. Here are just a few more notes on how this week went.
Dave really knows how to run these conventions. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but you just can’t say it enough.
I had yet another game with Mike and Michelle, and again purely by coincidence. We didn’t plan it.
I played a couple of other games that, again, I doubted I’d enjoy, but I did.
It’s now official according to Facebook. Beth is my sister from another mister, and she knows something about me that I’ve shared with only on other person (though I think Stephen was listening in, dammit). Nobody better talk!
I don’t want to even look at scotch again. I had way too much.
I went on the carnivore diet for this week, and I again had great success with it. It’s incredible that I can eat ~1,100 and ~1,350 calories extra in the first two days and drop four pounds. I’m sticking with this until Tuesday and am still losing weight. It’s a remarkable diet, but I’m not willing to risk long-term health effects of diets that eliminate entire food groups. Maybe I’ll do it again in a year if necessary.
I may have been talked into attending GaryCon this year. We’ll see.
Thank you to everyone that was part of my convention time.
This week should have been my annual trip to Ft. Wayne, IN for Winter Fantasy. We climb into a van in Sterling, Virginia, and drive to the Arctic Circle, gaming along the way. We call it Winter Vantasy: The Best 8 Hours in Gaming. It’s essentially the only time I game all year, and virtually the only time I drink. On any given night, I have as many drinks as I drink the rest of the year. The drinking is why I go. I get to see all my friends and hang out with them at O’Reilly’s. So, my primary concern was that I could put together some Zoom rooms and hang out with friends.
This year is obviously different. Like every other industry, Winter Fantasy has shifted to online only due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, I’ve never liked online gaming, even before I stopped playing altogether, so I had little faith that aspect of the con it would work out for me.
Surprisingly, the gaming has been better than I expected, so I’ve enjoyed it. At the last minute, I joined a table with Erik, who I always want to play with at least once. For my second game, my friends Mike (@slyflourish) and Michelle (@rosamoonshadow) coincidentally were on the same table with me. I was in Mike’s home game for years, so it was good to play with those two again. I had no games on Friday, but I’m optimistic that my two Saturday games will go well, and my Sunday game, the Eberron epic, will almost certainly be fun. The epics are always great, though I’m uncertain how much of the feel of an epic will be lost because it’s online.
Of course, none of that matters. If all the games suck, I won’t care if I get to see my friends and down some Glenfiddich. And I’ve done that. Each night we’ve had a great time handing out. I’m fortunate to be an actual friend of high-profile people in the industry and community at large, and we’ve had a blast, but that exposes a weakness of the online experience.
The flip side to having this opportunity is that these rooms have limits. Zoom allows up to 100 attendees, but that’s impractical for anything other than a lecture. There are tons of people that I want to see, and they basically don’t fit. Moreover, because some of the attendees are high-profile, everyone wants to jump into our room. (If only they knew how heavy the conversations can get.) I keep inviting more people, but there’s no attrition. Everyone’s having such a good time that they keep coming back every damn night. Worst. First World. Problems. Ever.
There are going to be a lot of disappointed people this week, but there’s a flip side to this flip side. This doesn’t have to end this week. Many of us are trapped at home anyway. So if you’re interested in a Zoom meeting in the future, hit me up. We’ll schedule something. I’ll even drink. I bought a 1.75 liter bottle of scotch, and there’s no way I’m going to finish that this week. In fact, I want a commitment to meet up via Zoom at least once a month. That’s not hard, is it? If we meet every week, that’s fine, but I’m not asking for that as a commitment. I want us to commit to once a month. Easy peasy.
I’ve seen a lot of (private) censorship going on by Facebook, and now it’s hit me right in the nuts. My “posting and replying privileges” were suspended for 24 hours because I made two jokes over the course of thirteen days that “violated community standards.”
RJS: “I have a long list of things I’d like to see improved with the coming administration, but one thing on that list, and I’m not going to say where it falls, is the decriminalization of a certain substance. Can’t. Wait.”
JD: “Okay now for sure if you and I ever both make the insane decision to attend a con in person, and it happens to be the same con at the same time…. Yeah, that.”
Calling people hippies is something I’m known to do whenever someone disagrees with me (a la Eric Cartman), but it seemed particularly appropriate here. Continuing . . .
RJS: “Frog enthusiasts.”
This, of course, meant that RJS and JD licked toads. Unfortunately, I had a brain fart and thought he was referring to me as a frog enthusiast, and that I was missing some sort of reference. Mea culpa. So, not knowing what he was talking about, I responded, “Mais je deteste les Francais” (“But I hate the French.”). Get it? The French are frogs. Not my best work, I know, but it was just a goofy response to something I didn’t immediately understand.
That was deemed hate speech. Here’s some discussion on it from a subsequent post, again if you have access.
First concert – Billy Joel Last concert – 38 Special (with Erik Nowak) Best Concert – Iron Maiden Worst concert – Jimmy Buffett Loudest concert – Iron Maiden (I was on the floor) Seen the most – Billy Joel (twice) Most surprising – Cowboy Mouth (soooo good) Next concert – It’ll be a while. I’m not a huge concertgoer. Wish I could have seen – Fleetwood Mac, RUSH, Genesis, George Benson
Someone responded “’Last’ sounds so final. Perhaps ‘most recent’?” I replied, “I plan to kill everyone who responds.” I assume that was deemed terroristic threatening.
Basically, Facebook’s algorithm (and apparently the humans that perform the follow up review) can’t distinguish obvious humor from actual hate speech or terrorism. Of course, neither can many people nowadays, so I guess there’s always going to be a market for Facebook’s humorless bubble. However, if you’re in that group, you’re a tiny minority. Most people get it, and the only way Facebook will learn to stop catering to such a small minority is for people to either reduce their presence or leave altogether.
I think I’m going to do my part. I’ve been looking for an excuse to part ways with Facebook, and they just handed me one. My presence is going to be greatly reduced until I settle on another option. I’ll refocus my efforts towards Twitter and my blogs, so if you want to connect on Twitter, just send me a Facebook private message. I have several different handles that deal with different subject matter (geekdom, sports, politics, and law) in order to reduce the noise. As long as I’m still on Facebook, if I see something interesting there, I’ll respond via my Twitter feeds (quick responses) and blog sites (verbose responses). I’ll link to my posts via the Facebook news feed but won’t engage in discussions there, relying only on my posts’ comments sections. I don’t mind discussion on my Facebook wall; I’m just saying I won’t be part of that discussion or even follow it. Will you really miss me though?
This Isn’t the End of the World, but It’s No Small Matter
I’m an attorney. I’m well aware of the distinction between private and public censorship. Private censorship is almost always legal, and public censorship is almost always illegal. Facebook, Twitter, and other “microblogging platforms” are private entities largely permitted to suppress speech, but they’re clearly heading for (if not already there) an oligopoly (i.e., a monopoly, but where there are a tiny number of providers rather than just one), which means antitrust law applies.
While many of you hate the people who joined Parler, don’t you still find it troublesome that, the moment a competitor started to gain a serious foothold in the market, one of Twitter’s companions, Amazon Web Services, effectively bankrupted them by cutting off their access with a 30-hour notice? If MeWe gets too popular, they could be next. Facebook and Twitter could cut out all competition, leaving you no other options, and once that happens, who knows what rules they’ll impose? The fact that one’s access to the primary avenue to communicate with others (i.e., speech), in a pandemic no less, is the precise service being suppressed makes this even more troublesome regardless of whether the government is doing it.
Each of these cases turn on their facts, so I’m not going to condemn or complement the Court’s denial of an injunction in Parler’s suit. Also, this one incident isn’t the end of the world. I’m simply pointing out the immense market power these companies have and how they’re making sure they never lose it. Sooner or later, that will result in an antitrust violation, and the violation will be to everyone’s primary means to connect in the Internet Age. Everyone thinks they’re virtuous, but these giants could easily come for you next. Whether they’re destined to throw you out, or you’re destined to get sick of it and leave by own free will, maybe it’s time to form an exit plan just in case. While doing so, don’t be your own worst enemy by letting these guys off the hook.
My exit plan is under construction. The fact that one is even necessary is evidence advancing my argument.