Curious Rat

♦ Learn New Things

I’m not what one would call a “handyman”. When it comes to burst pipes or broken appliances, I typically call a professional, pay a few hundred bucks, and spiral into a depressive state of self-loathing at my inability to fix even the simplest of problems.

Over the last several weeks, however, I’ve made it a point to teach myself a few things to both avoid these expenses and to boost my knowledge in basic home maintenance. So far, I’ve:

  • Disassembled the dryer, cleaned the air vent of lint, and re-assembled it
  • Re-grouted fallen bathroom wall tiles

When I set the tiles in place and restarted my dryer without it rattling all over the basement, I felt a rush of elation. It was invigorating to say, “I did that (and didn’t blow up the house)!” As a result, I’ve decided my next project will be re-wiring the two-prong outlets throughout the house to be three-pronged, as I’m sick of trying to hunt down one of the many gray adapters that seem to go missing every day.

These aren’t big projects and I’m probably making a bigger deal out of them than others might, but they’re reminders of how important it is to always be learning. I’d love to get back into coding, as I have an idea for a very niche iPad app that would probably only benefit a handful of people (me included), but it’s something no one else is going to think to build. It’s one of my bucket list items for when I have the time. I tried building an app years ago, but I didn’t devote enough time to it and I didn’t quite grasp the concepts in the books I read. I’m hoping to rectify that over the next few years.

The same thing happened when I tried to learn Ruby. I got to a certain point and just stopped. Other priorities, a lack of motivation, and a constant nagging voice screaming, “Just stop! You’re no good! Do something else!” grounded me before I had a chance to fly. Oddly enough, that nagging voice was also present while I wrote my first two novels and it pushed me to finish them. It’s funny what happens when you stop listening to the negative and progress blindly towards your goal chanting, “It’s okay if this sucks. It’s okay if this sucks…” It happened when I taught myself bass and it’s happening again now.

So, I’m teaching myself new things little by little and I’m having fun. I’m keeping myself busy. It’s exciting when it goes right and enlightening when it goes wrong. I just hope the house is still standing when things do go wrong.

Sony to YouTube: ‘Take That Video Down…Even If We Don’t Own It' →

Amid Amidi for Cartoon Brew:

Sony Pictures has demanded the removal of the CGI short film Sintel from YouTube due to a claim of copyright infringement. One small problem: they don’t actually own anything in the film.

And this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

Who Said What? Don't Ask Allen West →

Tom Boggioni for The Raw Story:

A review of former congressman and Founding Father enthusiast Allen West’s new book has turned up a wide assortment of fake quotes attributed to Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other famous historical figures.

According to the Palm Beach Post, West’s “Guardian of the Republic,” which outlines his political philosophy and his “warrior code,” includes many quotes that have been described by historians as erroneous.

For those who are unfamiliar, Allen West is a former Florida congressman, retired U.S. Army liutenant colonel, and currently a contributor on Fox News.

Happy World Rat Day! →

This should be a national holiday.

World Rat Day

Pitchforks On the Internet →

Carl T. Holscher on former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich’s stepping down:

It may be a win. But it’s not a pretty win. How is this any better than others losing their job for their views? We should not be out for blood. We’re not trying to make the whole world blind.

Are we any better for bullying a man who gave a small amount of money to a cause four years ago? He has not publicly spoken out against it. He has not made it an issue. He has not enacted policies to forbid it. He is coming out of this whole situation looking like the bigger man. He gave $1,000 to a cause where over over $83 million was donated.

The world isn’t getting any more tolerant. It’s getting angrier. One wrong move and your podcast, TV show, or job could be lost because the public demands it. Why is it we sympathize with the monster in the movies, but behave like the townsfolk in real life? Where does that get us? Certainly not any better than the people incurring such wrath.

I find Eich’s beliefs—if he even still believes them—abhorrent, but I find the Internet Outrage Machine’s trigger-happy nature to be far more toxic than the catalysts for its reaction. As my friend Patrick Rhone said on social media last night:

Did Martin Luther King solve civil inequality by getting those in opposition fired from their jobs? Or did he simply show them non-violence and loving kindness and thus create a world where injustice was not accepted as a societal norm? A deeper change.

Where will this end? Where’s the line? Do we go after News Corp next? Or Verizon? Or Exxon? It’s been ten minutes without a demand for someone’s head and I’m worried the Internet’s losing its edge.