Archive for August, 2011


Friday, August 26th, 2011

To those of you unfamiliar with Avenue Q, it may come as a surprise that I spend some of my relaxation time looking at porn on the internet. God says she leaves me alone at those times, but I think she peeks.

Anyway, if you do enough looking at pictures of naked men on the internet, you’re likely to come across pictures of men trying to suck their own penises, with varying levels of success. I don’t know if it’s (nearly) universal for men to attempt this but I can certainly attest to the fact that in my own youth, before I even knew that porn existed, I gave it a try myself. Now that I’ve seen lots of pictures and even a fair number of videos, I’m pretty sure that most men are not capable of doing this to any reasonable degree of self-satisfaction. They can come close, but just not quite close the deal.

So I asked God why that is, why most men can almost reach their own penis with their own mouths, why we can come tantalizingly close to being able to give ourselves blow jobs, but not really get there. Did she design us that way as punishment, as a cruel joke?

She blamed it on evolution.

Apparently it’s not uncommon for minor mutations to make it possible for men to suck themselves, as is amply shown on the internet, but for some reason men that get such mutations tend not to reproduce, tend not to get women pregnant. I suppose you can imagine why that may be.

Just Right

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Sometimes being a big fish in a small pond is just the right thing.

I’m at a science fiction convention this week. There’s a lot of people at these conventions that are “household names” within the relatively small community of SF fandom, but who are complete unknowns outside the larger, but still small group of people that read speculative fiction. I lamented to God that it must be hard to be here and be “somebody” and then go back home and be just another faceless part of the crowd. He told me that I was looking at it wrong. He pointed out some of the problems that come with celebrity; paparazzi, fans pestering you at inconvenient moments, all your foibles being up for discussion in the twenty-four hour “news” cycle. These writers and editors get to be celebrities in a staged environment, get to bask in the glow of their fans, and then get to go home, live a normal life, and really relax once the show is over.

For a lot of them, it’s like being Goldilocks, they’ve found the bed that’s “just right” and the rest of the night is nothing but pleasant dreams.

But It’s a Nice Cage

Friday, August 12th, 2011

The race to become the next Republican nominee for President of the United States keeps trying to heat up. New candidates enter and leave the race on a regular basis, and no one has been anointed as the expected winner. As he and I watch them and their mind-numbing pandering, God keeps reminding me that fortune favors the better bankroll.

The thing that appalls me is that the Republican leadership, at least as far back as Ronald Reagan, have been clearly engaged in class warfare, doing everything they can to improve the lives of the rich at the expense of the poor and the vanishing middle class, and yet there are voters who time and again keep voting against their own interests; they remind me of animals kept so long in a cage that they won’t venture out of it even when the door is left open.

I’d like to think that the people engaged enough to actually vote are smarter than average but if they are, then I’m left to believe that the Republican poor are traitors to their class, selling themselves into slavery because they think that they’ll win life’s lottery and end up on the other side. And by God, when they get there, they want to make sure that it’s worth it.

So are they traitors, or stupid, or just bad at math and at seeing how the deck is being stacked against them. Only God knows, and he’s not telling.

Of Man and Code

Friday, August 5th, 2011

I think that hanging out with God may have prepared me for a new level in my career.

One of the things that I’ve always liked about computer programming is that it is possible to understand a program completely, to know every nook and cranny. When you know a program that well, when a problem comes up you can fairly quickly narrow down where to find the cause and what approach to take to fix it.

Not so this week. This week I’ve been grappling with a problem that is only cropping up a tiny fraction of a percent of the time. Unfortunately since the program handles literally billions of transactions per day, even a small fraction of a percent can add up to an unacceptable amount in absolute numbers. Now this is software that I didn’t originally write myself, and that uses tools that realistically I have no direct control over and neither did the original author, all of which makes it harder to know.

So with a touch of whimsy, I’m realizing that dealing with this software is sort of like God dealing with humans. He has granted us free will and has to live with the consequences and unsurety that that produces. In a sense because of the way the program I work on spends its time flitting in and out of the parts that are out of my control, and which are, in fact, the controlling parts of the program, the program manifests an aspect that feels like it has a mind of its own, like it has its own, very limited, free will. Don’t get me wrong, it’s infinitely simpler in its countenance than even the most narrowly focused obsessive compulsive among us, but still, with billions of inputs a day, inputs which, even though narrow in scope, are generated by the web at large and so none-the-less have a large degree of chaos, it manages to do things that I haven’t been able to explain, let alone predict.

So I’m learning to work with it, to accept that I will never know it completely but that I can still guide it and give it the tools it needs to deal with adversity. I just hope that it doesn’t learn to despise me by the time it’s a teenager.