Do you ever — have you ever — felt like an alien in this world?
I have and I’m guessing you have, too. I first became consciously aware of my alienness when I was around 11, though it was unconsciously there the first times my kindergarten teacher tried to force me into “social” games that left me like a deer in the headlights. It was there in the way my parents treated my brother and me as if we’d been left on their doorstep by a particularly bizarre band of gypsies. (Brother and I were very different critters, but we were both unconventional loners and deep thinkers, unlike my uber-social, join-everything, voted-most-popular, shallow-as-a-mud-puddle older sister.)
By the time I was in high school, I’d invented an elaborate mythology to explain how I could look so human while being so apart from my supposed peers. I was sent here as an alien spy; the physical transfer succeeded but something went badly wrong when it came to transmitting my mind across space.
In the adult world — where there are so many more options, where it’s forgivable not to be just like everybody else, and where now there’s a whole Internet! — I’ve seldom been bothered by that terrible sense of being something irreconcilably foreign to the “normal” world. Adults can find their own “normal.” Or live outside of “normal.”
Once in a while alien horror strikes out of the blue, though.
Don’t be put off by the word “knitting.” Even if you’re not crafty (and I’m not!), even if you’re a guy who’d rather build a brick wall or try for a perfect grouping with your best rifle than (heaven forbid) knit. This is about that process common to so many things.
You know how you sometimes open a book at random looking for guidance? For some it’s the bible. For somebody else, one of those Chicken Soup things. Could be Ayn Rand or Herman Hesse. But you hope if you just open and read there’ll be a message there, just waiting for you?
I have to laugh. I just picked up Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, not because I had real interest but because it’s one of those must-read books and this is a good time. I opened near the end to a chapter about self care and the art of just being still and listening.
Then I took my old copy of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience off the shelf and arbitrarily opened to a page that heralded the value of 16-hour workdays, but with the work so integrated with free time that you can barely distinguish one from the other.
Yup. And of the contradictory two, I must admit the latter appeals to me more than the former. Not, mind you, because I’m some virtuous workaholic. Far from it. I favor the latter because the former is harder.
ChrismaKwanzaaHannukahYule gift season is coming right up. Yes, stores are taking down their gauze cobwebs and pointy witches’ hats and soon endless repetitions of “The Little Drummer Boy” with thrum throughout the land.
Let me get ahead of the game by telling you briefly about one really cute book for the kids on your list.
The fact that the author is a very nice person who recently got (you’ll pardon my expression) scr*wed out of her socks is a factor in my recommendation — but a small one. The book is fun on its own merits. The fact that it was written by Sue Hensler Schmidt, who lost her job when JPFO peddled itself to SAF, just makes it personal.
I must have your mailing/autograph details by this Thursday, October 30. Just follow the instructions in the post linked above.
One batch of books went out last Friday. Another goes tomorrow. The final batch will go to the post office on Halloween.
I still haven’t received details from these people who said they wanted books: Shel, knitebane, MCR, and Richard S. So email me, please, guys. If you didn’t receive my email or you did and you think your reply may have gotten lost in the ether (been happening a bit lately), drop another comment on this post.
Now that I have copies of RebelFire: Out of the Gray Zone to go with my boxes of Hardyville Tales, I thought I could offer a little better thank you to some of the people who donated so generously to my Raise-the-Roof fund drive.
I apologize for not having any new books to give; I realize a lot of you already have one or both of these. But … well, maybe you still need an autographed copy or perhaps you might like to give a book to a friend this ChrismaKwanzaaHannukaYule.
If you donated $25 to $49, take your choice of either RebelFire or Hardyville Tales.
If you donated $50 to $99, take ‘em both or take two copies of either one.
If you donated $100 to $299, take three, all one kind or mix and match.
If you donated $300 or more, heck, you can have whatever you want. :-)
(Note to Anonymous and Rockefeller: You, too, should you choose to uncloak.)
The Roof Raiser PayPal donation form didn’t require addresses, so I’ll need to get them from you. If you want books, please just leave a comment on this post using a real email address where it asks for your addy. I’ll see it; no one else will. Then I’ll email to ask which book(s) you want, what name(s) you want me to sign to, and where to send. You don’t have to put any personal info in your comment!
Or if you already have an email address for me, just write and tell me your details.
Please just make your request by Thursday, October 30. I’d like to have all the books in the mail by the end of the month (before I go into deep hermitting).
I’m sorry I don’t have any new books to offer. This feel like an inadequate gesture. But really anything would be inadequate; I can’t tell you what a huge, huge thing you did. Huge.
Gads, it was 80 degrees yesterday. Eighty in October in the Great NorthWET. There are entire summers when we don’t see 80. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this warm this late in this corner of the world.
Supposed to be “only” in the 70s for the rest of this week. Oh, poor us.
With construction catastrophes keeping the house in chaos, I’ve been trying to de-clutter to help deal with the fact that every time I organize stuff in one area, it immediately has to be moved back out because … oh, the roof falls in or somesuch.
So I’m whipping myself into a crusade to de-stuff.
The bad news is I got rid of “Daddy Wouldn’t Buy me a Bow Wow” by filling my brain with “I Love a Cop.”
You’re in luck, though. The only available YouTube performances of that one are too screechingly awful to link to, so the link is lyrics only. Song’s actually kinda cute. It’s just the idea of the thing …
All in all, I’m beginning to think that nooz and poly-ticks are less painful than this.
Okay, with me deadlining, let’s let Vin Suprynowicz continue to carry some weight around here. (Seriously, it’s good to see him back so strong after a few quiet years.)
As Bear pointed out in comments yesterday, Vin’s got a new novel coming out soon and is running excerpts on his blog. Here’s the first excerpt. Two others are already up. Look in the archives under “books.”
It’s very cool so far. Kind of a DaVinci Code vibe around a biblical mystery and a seller of rare books. I love that stuff.
First thing: Thank you for all the good words and scary stories after Friday’s out-of-the-blue tree fall. MamaLiberty’s tale of random mystery destruction definitely takes the prize, though Karen’s lightning-from-nowhere story also reminds me of Mother Nature’s notorious temper.
One reader, C, even made an extra little contribution to the roof fund. Its timing was lovely (“Take that, damned tree!”), and the fact that it came from somebody I know has very little to spare made it even more appreciated.
I’m now looking at November 1 as the most likely date to commence a serious year of hermitude.
The following review of AS-III + commentary on our own times is by faithful reader (and even more faithful Outlaw) Mac the Knife:
I went and saw Atlas Shrugged – Who Is John Galt today. Thought you might like a few observations about the movie.
I thought it was probably the best of the three. While they stray from the book in places they capture the essence of what Ayn Rand was saying. Kristoffer Polaha plays John Galt and he does a very good job. Probably not the image most people would expect John Galt to look like, but he actually did a very good job. I also liked Laura Regan as Dagny. As expected they could not put everything from the book into the movie, but they really did not leave too much that was important out. The scenes in Galt’s Gulch were very good. The best part of the movie in my opinion. From Dagny returning to the end of the movie it seemed a little bit rushed to me. But they had a lot to convey in a short time. The speech was short; only a few minutes long but it held the essence of the 90 page or so speech in the book. Basically he asked do you want to live as a sacrificial lamb to the state or live life free and keep all the fruits of your labor.
When President Thompson was interrupted at the start of his speech by John Galt a woman sitting behind me told whoever she was with that she wished that would happen to Obama.
Two people that should not have been in the movie at all were Sean Hannity and Glen Beck in cameo appearances after Galt’s speech saying this will be the downfall of President Thompson. They are both statist to the core and I cannot stand to listen to them. Ron Paul also made a cameo appearance in support of the speech.
While they portrayed the crumbling infrastructure in the movie most of the characters were using modern cell phones and there were large screen TVs and computer monitors throughout the movie.
The audience was small, maybe 20 or 30 people in all, and mostly elderly. Not very many young people at all. But then this is not their type of movie to watch. With the education system in place today not very many young people would understand what they were watching anyway. And this is sad, because they are the ones that need to be woken up to what is happening and what their future will be like if present trends continue.
Since Ayn Rand wrote the book when there was still a semblance of a gold standard in the country she wrote about the physical destruction of the infrastructure being the result of the men and women of the mind being on strike. While you do see a lot of that happening today in stores being closed for over five or more years with no one reopening them, it has progressed no where near far enough to cause a collapse of the system as a whole. What I think will bring down the system world wide is the complete collapse of the financial system since every central bank in the world is in a race to see who can print the most money. 10 or 15 years ago I did not think I would live to see the financial system collapse, but now I think I will, and I will be 70 in Dec. I do not think the fantastic increases in wealth and gadgets in the electronics industries will be enough to stem the tide of the physical and financial collapse.
Personally I do not think the financial collapse can be stopped. The world is drowning in debt and there are only two outcomes. Complete dictatorship or a complete collapse with total chaos. Not a very bright picture is it. I would love to be proved wrong but somehow I do not think I will.
There is only one scenario that might get us through all this. A complete collapse of the financial system and the people realize that it was all brought on by governments and central banks. If they can be gotten rid of soon enough after the collapse and never allowed to make their reappearance, the world may have a chanche.
Sorry to be so down on everything, but the facts cannot be changed. But it is just great just to be alive and I enjoy and love every single minute of it.
End guest commentary. I’ll be waiting for the DVDs myself, since none of the AS movies ever play at theaters within 100 miles of me. And I may be less pessimistic than Mac about the state of the economy and freedom. But it’s another beautiful summer day and I’m going to enjoy it.
But on the good side of that subject … Wally Conger reviews my How to Kill the Job Culture despite the fact that it’s been out of print for several years. Hm. If I can find those old files or get somebody to OCR the book for me, maybe a Kindle edition is in order?
Ken at Popehat says yes, there is more to that incident of the teacher arrested over his SF novels. Ken also opens with the best description of media-cop relations I’ve ever read. (H/T jed in comments)
Making the rounds today: Video of a polite young man shutting down cops who demand to search his home.
Same old story, same old song. Once again everybody’s a “terrorist” except of course the actual terrorists. (per Shel in comments)
Economics as explained by The Simpsons. I’m not sure whether it’s a bad thing or a good thing that somebody proposes to teach economic principles this way in college.
Not being urban, I hadn’t heard of the phenomenon of turning HOV lanes into toll lanes for those prosperous enough to pay for better “highway service.” Figures that Robert Poole (who loves all things “privatization” even when they’re really just all things crony capitalist) would be for it and agin’ the activists opposing it.