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I’m Rightly Pissed Off

And here’s why: https://bit.ly/2S9lXwW

Donald Trump, in his eternal ass-licking of the fascist Evangelical Christian movement, seeks to deny my existence. Not content with stripping minorities of their civil rights, he is now attempting to define me out of existence.

What next? Is he going to round us up and put us in ghettoes, as the Nazis did in the 1930s and ‘40s? Or maybe the same detention facilities concentration camps he’s using to house immigrant children?

People have been saying for years that “it can’t happen here.” But it is happening here, and has been, ever since the Great Pumpkin (aka Trumplethinskin) and his cronies stole the election with the help of Russia.

Trump wasn’t elected: he was Putin office.

Who’s next? Atheists? Gays and lesbians? Minority races? And even “minority races” is a joke, since collectively they outnumber the so-called White majority.

I’m so angry right now that I have to save this as a draft and walk away until I can think more clearly.


Much Later

The news keeps getting worse. With the Rethuglican party firmly in control of the Senate, it’s probably going to sanction these new policies. And since they’ve managed to stack the deck in their favor on the Supreme Court, any legal challenges to these unconstitutional policies will also be denied, even the the Constitution plainly states in Article 14:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I’m pretty sure that denying people their civil rights by executive dictatorial decree does not constitute “due process,” but I could be wrong. After all, I’m no lawyer: my parents preferred that I pursue an honest career instead.

But it Ain’t Over ‘til it’s Over

As a wise man once said. Perhaps this latest indignity will wake up the sleeping masses and fire them with sufficient zeal to overturn this dictatorship.

But I doubt it. Most likely they’ll just go back to Netflix & Chill.

Technology Transfer and Me

“Technology transfer” means the transfer of new technology from the originator to a secondary user, especially from developed to less developed countries in an attempt to boost their economies.

But in this post, it means “all of the hoops I had to jump through to transfer my iPhone contents to a new iPhone.”

Some Background

My ex, her daughter, and I all have iPhones, for which I am paying. My stepdaughter is in a situation where she can no longer use hers, and so my ex returned it to me so that I can cancel the account and—we hope—no longer have to pay for it.

That was some 3 months ago.

This morning it dawned on me that (1) my 16 Gb phone is always running out of space, and (2) her 32 Gb phone has the amount of memory I should have gotten for myself, and (3) it would make sense for me to start using the iPhone with the greater memory.

And so began my journey through purgatory

Actually, it wasn’t that  bad. Just terribly time-consuming.

I had previously reset the phone, clearing all personal data and returning it to its factory-fresh state. When I put it on the charger to check the battery level, it automagically went into setup mode, the first step of which was updating the operating system to the latest iOS version. No problem—except that it took nearly an hour to complete.

Did I mention that I worked on Apple’s iPhone help desk on the day it was first released? We had had two weeks of intense training about how to handle calls, and how to distinguish calls that could be handled by Apple and calls that should be routed to AT&T—the only carrier originally. We also had no idea what the iPhone even looked like, secrecy was that strict.

Anyway, after 8 hours of handling calls, all of which were of the AT&T variety, only to have AT&T route them back to us, I went home, drank an Irish coffee, had a nervous breakdown—and never went back to the job.

So yeah, I know what frustration  is.

The Next Phase

After the iOS update, it was time to do the same with all of the apps on the new phone. The initial setup had copied over the icons for the apps on the old phone, but none of the applications themselves. That took another hour.

Finally, there was the matter of actually launching the apps and having to key in userids and passwords. That ate up another 30 minutes, because I had to look them all up on the other phone. I mean, who has memorized userids and passwords for all of their accounts?

And What’s My Takeaway From all This?

It’s quite simple: whenever you buy a new device, make sure it has enough memory. Think you need 32 Gb on your iPhone? Get 64. My new iPad was 128 Gb, and I’m already wishing I could have afforded more.

Here’s the rule of thumb when it comes to memory: however much you have is never enough.

Thanks for stopping by.

Robyn Jane

In a Hole In The Ground There Lived a Hobbit

Long before any cartoons, long before any movies, and long before any graffiti, there was Bilbo Baggins. And long before Bilbo, there was J.R.R. Tolkien.

I don’t remember whether I was 17 or 18 when a friend pressed a copy of The Hobbit into my hands, with the whispered secret knowledge that “Bilbo Lives!”  In a way, it was her small revolt against the ubiquity of Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land and its byword of “May you never thirst.”

It’s funny, now, when I think back 50 years later, that I don’t even remember her name, that rebellious friend who started me on what has become a life-long quest for well-written fantasy, science fiction, and the various sub-genres we now lump under the heading of Sci-Fi (or sometimes, Sci-Fy).

Today I came across an old, somewhat weathered paperback copy of The Hobbit, and I was instantly transported back to that day in the hall of Highlands High School when I first heard of the book subtitled There And Back Again.

“Bilbo Lives!” never became the great rallying cry that “Frodo Lives!” turned out to be. Maybe The Hobbit came too soon, or maybe The Lord of the Rings had better press. Either way, had there not been The Hobbit, there would have been no Lord of the Rings (LOTR), in the same way that had there been no monthly The Strand magazine, there would be no BBC series called Sherlock.

And there most certainly would never have been that great classic of modern literature,

bored

But I digress.

The Lord of the Rings

I we were in the early years of the reign of King George Jr. when The Fellowship of the Ring was released in theaters. Shrub (so-called by Texans because he was the little Bush) hadn’t yet embarked on his take-no-prisoners approach to the environment, but already I could see the parallels to the Orcs tearing down trees in order to fuel the flames which would birth the great army of Uruk-Hai that would soon ravish the land and enslave millions if Frodo failed in his mission.

frodo failed

After watching The Fellowship, I came out of the theater wanting to be Arwen (Liv Tyler), elf-maiden, and fierce warrior. And to be honest, the fact that she (like me) had the hots for Aragorn, played by Viggo Mortenson, didn’t hurt, either.

LOTR, Redux

17 years later, the Eye of Sauron has reopened. This time  it has taken the form not of the ultimate evil but rather that of complete incompetence: Donald Trump as Gollum. Slimy, hate-filled, monomania wrapped in fascism and served up via a Russian samovar. Toxic masculinity at its absolute narcissistic worst.

Where is the Frodo Baggins who will destroy the ring in the fires of Mt. Doom? Or will he fail, and the country itself be driven there by Gollum?

Please. Vote sensibly in the mid-term elections this November.

Pinterest: A Love-Hate Relationship

Do you use Pinterest? And if so, have you ever had this happen to you? Last week I cleared my browser cache, and was subsequently unable to log into mt Pinterest account. “No worries,” I thought. “Use your other browser.”

I did, only to have Pinterest ask me for my account and password in order to log in. But no matter how many times I tried, no matter how many ways I tried to access my account, I was unable to log in.

This is the third time this has  happened to me, and each time, after receiving absolutely no reply from Pinterest technical support—which I suspect doesn’t exist and never has—I have had to create a new account. And here’s the kicker: if I then search Pinterest for my previous account, it doesn’t seem to exist anymore!

My ultimate solution? I’m continuing to use Pinterest to get ideas from other people, but I am saving those ideas on my laptop—and I’m not trusting Pinterest enough anymore to store my most important ideas there. Nope, I’m going back to OneNote and Evernote.

The Cloud is an excellent additional storage place, but don’t rely on it to be your be-all and end-all of your storage solutions.

Me? I have an external hard drive I back up to every night, and I also burn my critical information and files to DVD on a weekly basis.

Always remember Robyn’s First Rule of Computing:

BE PARANOID AND COMPULSIVE!

No Time for Novels?

The Guardian recently published an article claiming that

When our daily news is apocalyptic, it’s irresponsible to read made-up stories. It’s time to start reading the serious stuff instead.

Go ahead and read the article. This post won’t make sense otherwise.

This was my initial response on Facebook. Why Facebook? Well, that’s where I discovered the link to the article.

Nonsense. What better time to use one’s imagination than during a crisis? It was a lack of imagination that created the crisis in the first place, or more to the point, a lack of understanding possibilities.

Tom Clancy wrote about a 747 crashing into the Capitol building years before 9/11. In fact, after that tragedy, intelligence experts interviewed Hollywood writers about possible similar events.

The discussion on Facebook turned out to be just that: an actual discussion as opposed to the usual “You doodoo head! You don’t know what you’re talking about!” free-for-all insult exchange that usually passes for discussion on Facebook.

By the time I had finished reading the entire thread (as of 8:30 this morning), I was more convinced than ever that we absolutely need fiction now more than ever before.

(By the way, the Clancy novel I referred to was Debt of Honor. Like all of Clancy’s works, it can be summed up with a quote from the late Ronald Reagan: ” A good yarn.”)

To write at all you’ve got to be creative. To write fiction you’ve got to have a plot. And to write good fiction, you’ve got to have a good imagination.

Last night I watched The Fellowship of the Ring on Netflix. Sure, I had seen it before, but this time, watching the Orcs tearing down trees and creating a barren wilderness where there once was beauty, my own imagination immediately saw a connection between those scenes and Donald Trump’s slash-and-burn, scorched earth approach to the environment.

From there, my mind jumped to Dr. Seuss’ classic tale of The Lorax, and once more I wondered why people who insist on poisoning the air and water, destroying forests, and levelling mountains in the name of profit have the nerve to call themselves conservatives. Just what the hell are they conserving? Wall Street?

You know Tyrannosaurus Rex was destroyed before
By a furry little ball that crawled along
The primeval jungle floor
He stole the eggs of the dinosaur
CLOSE YOUR EYES & CREATE THE SOUND
OPEN YOUR HANDS & REBUILD THE GROUND
We are egg snatchers –
flashin’ sunshine children
Bunch of diamond thieves
Mau Mau (Amerikon)

Paul Kantner wrote that song back in the ’70s for the very first Jefferson Starship album, Blows Against the Empire.

Our own empire is falling all around us while the Emperor plays not the fiddle but the back 9 at his golf resort, and all of his sycophants exclaim over how lovely his new clothes look. The barbarians are not only at the gates but they have actually broken through and are now looting the nation’s treasury.

Will we survive? Can we survive? Or will some future Edward Gibbon chronicle these days as The Decline and Fall of the American Empire?

Or is this just a prelude to the decline and fall of Western civilization?