Dog smell and sound
I might be on the spectrum, but either way I'm sensitive to strong smells and loud noises.  But only certain ones.  I have trouble going in stores that sell candles and soap and whatnot because it feels like my brain is so overly stimulated by the smell that I can't function.  But at the same time I love the smell of a nice fire-charred whiskey barrel, or a big greasy bacon cheeseburger.  It's the same with sound.  My human child occasionally likes to scream, and it's sort of like my ear drums go numb, except it's still painful.  But at the same time, I go to loud concerts and don't have a problem. 

It occurred to me recently that this is why I don't like dogs.  All dogs, literally all of them, have "the smell."  Dog people think their houses don't smell like dog, but I can identify a dog owner after spending a millisecond in their house.  And all dogs are loud, despite "Oh he doesn't usually do this" or "Wow she never barks this much."  Dogs are smelly and loud.  I don't like them. #nature

NJ culture
James Carville on Club Random with Bill Maher
Connecticut does not have a culture, ok?  I'm serious.  New Jersey actually has a culture.
#sociology

City business
Certain cities are known for certain things, and it's sort of part of their identity.  Like Las Vegas's business is gambling, Los Angeles's is movies and TV, and Detroit's (at one point) was cars.  I went to Nashville recently, and their business is country music.  The city I live in now is Huntsville, AL and our business is rockets.  For Tuscaloosa, a city I recently visited which is home to the University of Alabama, their business can best be described as "football team." #business

Rule enforcement
I often encounter rules that aren't enforced and have no consequences if they're broken.  A rule without enforcement or consequence is a suggestion.  Just because you put it on a sign doesn't make it more serious.  Like, "Employees must properly mark all documents."  Who's checking, and what happens if we don't?  Or, "No bikes on walking path."  Is someone patrolling, and what's the punishment?  It's not that I'm a contrarian, I just don't recognize authority that's absent and impotent, especially when the rule seems trivial and annoying.  And here's the thing:  If the rule is easy, I'll follow it.  If it's convenient and simple, I won't even question it.  But if I have to go out of my way, or it's a hassle or difficult or time-consuming, I'll happily ignore your silly little suggestion and go about my business. #psychology

RedZone good bad
The RedZone Channel is simultaneously the best thing and the worst thing that's ever happened to football, and perhaps all sports, on TV.  Instead of watching a single game interspersed with commercials (or more accurately, commercials interspersed with gameplay), I can watch up to 8 games simultaneously.  But wait it gets better:  Instead of just watching 8 games at once, the producers simply splice all the games together and only show the good parts.  It's phenomenal.  I literally can't bring myself to watch a regular game because they're too slow and boring.  Like many technological advances in our society recently, this has further destroyed my dwindling attention span. 

ESPN tried a similar thing a few years ago for college football called Goal Line which didn't have quite the same feel because of the inherent dispersed nature of college football (many divisions, many channels, etc.).  YouTube TV has a thing currently called Multiview which lets you watch 4 games at once.  As soon as the early afternoon games finish, the quantity of multiviews decreases until you're left with just one or two games at a single time.  Going from inserting copious amounts of live sports directly into your veins, to sipping on a single primetime game is like switching to diet soda, or de-cocained cocaine. #sports

Nashville
I spent the weekend in Nashville, and I think I can never go back there.  It's too over-stimulating for me.  I'm a sucker for live music, and even though I don't like country, it really didn't matter.  The talent level of the casual musician in any bar in Nashville was orders of magnitude better than probably any person I've ever met.  And once you recognize what you're witnessing, it's impossible to look away.  I stayed in one bar for way too long, listening to some band play what I would describe as "old-fashioned Sunday country" if that means anything.  I walked past another bar late at night whose open window was projecting the voice of a girl singing a sad country song, and it sent chills down my spine.  Every bar on Broadway has a live band playing (seemingly) 24 hours a day, and most bars have more than one floor with more than one band.  The place is fucking sonic chaos.  Add in a little alcohol (a little) and some interesting people-watching, and Nashville is literally too much for me to handle. #music

Expensive empty lot
I always find it weird to see an empty lot in an expensive area.  There's a neighborhood near where I live where a bunch of houses have marble statues and curved stairs leading to their ornately decorated front doors.  But a few lots in, there's an empty lot complete with overgrown grass.  Like, what's the deal here?  No one wanted to build a nice expensive house in just that very particular space?  Is it flood-prone (that's solvable).  Haunted? 

I was at the beach in New Jersey last week, and there's an area with multimillion-dollar houses, interspersed with empty lots, directly on the waterfront.  The property taxes have to be $5000-$10000 per month, so I can't even imagine what the owners of the empty lots are doing.  I get the idea of waiting for the right offer, but come on.  And there's literally no way they're waiting to "save up" $5 million so they can build their dream house.  Either you have that kind of money or you don't. #lifestyle

Twitter alternatives
With Twitter's ongoing demise, there are a few alternatives if you're into that sort of thing (mostly short-form, mostly text-based posting and commenting): 
  • Mastodon.  It has the features and core functionality of Twitter, without all the shit.  Also without all the people, which is sort of the problem.  The other problem is that, like early blogging, it's way too tech-heavy, with lots of unnecessary jargon and new-user friction regarding servers and instances and federation and whatnot.  It's cool to have all that infrastructure, but the overwhelmingly vast majority of users don't care or need to know about it.  Just set up the system and make it easy to use.
  • Bluesky.  From what I've heard, it's great.  But it's currently in closed beta and can only be accessed with an invite code.  This is a cool idea for new products because it can generate buzz while also allowing you to iron out your technical difficulties.  But after a certain point, this is just a walled garden that most people (including myself) don't have access to.  This doesn't make me more interested in it.  In fact, it's just the opposite.  It's like walking by a country club you know you'll never be allowed to join.  People are just gonna find another thing with a door that actually opens for them.
  • Threads.  This is Facebook's entrant to the market.  I'm not a huge fan of providing Facebook with yet another source of my data which they can sell to advertisers.  Plus, I'd prefer to keep my Facebook identity separate from my Threads identity, which is possible but difficult.  Finally, all I've heard so far is that it's missing some fairly critical core functionality, which would maybe be fine for a startup, but Facebook isn't a startup anymore.
Probably the biggest blunder in all this is that Twitter has created a sort of diaspora of weird people who want to interact with the internet in this very specific way, and the fact that there are multiple alternatives that are very much not connected to each other means that the thing Twitter actually created -- community -- is no longer.  Absolute moronic fuckup, or all according to plan, depending on your point of view. #technology

Death of Twitter
Twitter is currently dying.  It was force-purchased by a megalomaniacal troll who is focused on changing its entire essence and burning it to the ground in the process.  Here are some highlights: 
  • Timeline.  They changed the timeline view from a reverse chronological list of Tweets posted by people you follow, to a randomized list of Tweets that have achieved some degree of virality (maybe) interspersed with some Tweets from some of the people you follow.
  • Verification.  They removed the core functionality of verification and replaced it with a paid subscription.  Admittedly, the verification system was sort of spotty and often came down to knowing a person who worked for Twitter.  But in the past, you could generally depend on a verified person being relatively noteworthy.
  • Ads.  There are now sooooo many ads on the timeline, as well as in individual Tweets.
  • Bots.  I was told one of the things Elon wanted to fix was the bot problem, but since he's taken over there are an innumerable number of bots, most of them porn-related which brings a nice touch of elegance (this is sarcasm).
  • Boosting.  Tweets and replies from verified users a.k.a. "blue checks" are now boosted to the top of the timeline and single Tweets, regardless of relevance or importance.
  • Name.  In a final act of breathtaking stupidly, the name "Twitter" no longer exists and what was once Twitter.com is now X.com, which is completely irrelevant and meaningless.
At least part of the appeal of Twitter was the level of access afforded to everyday people interacting with notable people.  You could, in theory, tag or comment with actors, athletes, even the president, and perhaps get a reply.  It's silly, but there has historically been no greater equalizer of access to people in power.  You weren't dealing with a press secretary or a public relations representative.  You were accessing the person or the company or the CEO directly.  Now that's all gone. 

One of the reasons for the hostile takeover had to do with conservatives feeling like their voices were being suppressed, which they weren't.  They were being suppressed because they were spreading racism and hate and promoting insurrections.  But now that any old schmuck can buy a blue check mark, all the worst voices are being equally amplified.  Twitter is just noisy static now, plus porn bots. 

Perhaps the weirdest and worst part is the rename.  It's just so arbitrary and dimwitted.  You don't need to be a business major or brand manager to know you don't change the name of a successful product.  Twitter is a brand name internet property.  It's also become a verb, like Google or FaceTime.  Speaking of Google, they sort of changed their name recently, and so did Facebook.  But in reality, they changed the name of their parent companies, shifting "Google" and "Facebook" into their portfolio of products.  If X.com is a parent company, you don't remove the name "Twitter" unless you're an idiot.  Or unless you're trying to eliminate the legal liability associated with the name Twitter, which is a neat little conspiracy theory. 

Actually my favorite conspiracy theory regarding this whole thing is that Elon lost his government security clearance when he smoked pot on the Joe Rogan podcast.  This jeopardized his ability to do business as a rocket launch provider for spy satellites for the military and intelligence communities.  At the same time, the military and politicians around the world were getting uncomfortable with how easy it was to use Twitter to organize mass protests and uprisings.  So they blackmailed Elon into buying Twitter (something he had said he wanted to do) to retain his government contracts, knowing he'd reduce Twitter to smoldering ruins because he's an idiot and a troll.  And here we are. #technology

House-selling is emotional
Having sold my house and moved recently, I was surprised how emotional the process was.  It's weird because it's essentially just a financial transaction, and if there's anyone who can have zero feelings about something, it's me.  But to work with a realtor who tells you how much money your house is worth, then to deal with potential buyers who try to low-ball offer you 80% of that price, then to haggle with a prospective buyer about all the things you should fix before they buy it, it's just a lot.  Part of it was that we were selling at sort of the tail end of the market high, so prices were naturally dropping.  But to see your neighbor's house sell for one price a month before yours, and they had literally all the same features and upgrades and everything, and then to see your house's price drop for literally no reason other than "market forces" felt like very dumb bullshit.  I almost wished I could've just paid someone to take care of all that nonsense for me and tell me the final price at the end.  But then I would've wished I'd been more involved because of my dumb emotions.  Yuck. 

I think part of it had to do with the fact that that house was sort of my dream house.  It had all the things I wanted in a house, and after moving into it I planned to live there until I died, at least partly because the moving process had been so absurdly unenjoyable.  Moving out of the house prior to that one felt like getting out of a toxic relationship.  Moving out of this house felt like losing something special.  Like breaking up with someone vs. being broken up with. 

The other thing is that a house is a physical structure you live in.  But by living in it and making improvements and remodeling and painting the walls and hanging pictures, it becomes a home.  Home is where you live, it's where you sleep, it's where you feel safe.  It's where you eat dinner, watch TV, and celebrate holidays.  A home is a house with emotions. 

This move sort of came out of nowhere, so it didn't feel like we were ready to leave.  And this isn't to say I wish it didn't happen or that I'm not happy in my new home.  But I think the magnitude of the process, and the shittiness of the experience, plus the accelerated rate sort of amplified the emotions of it all. #lifestyle

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