700 (ish) hours

July 3rd, 2022

I was all absorbed in working on a cover I’m doing of Kingdom and so I didn’t actually catch 700 even, but here’s 700.4
hour meter showing 700.4 hours


June 28th, 2022

One thing that the supreme court events underline – and of course the Jan 6 hearings – is that the GOP lacks any honor. The justices had no problem with lying during their confirmation and no problem with figuring out any way they could possibly bend the law to ban abortion. They will cause very large amounts of suffering – which of course is the typical outcome whenever you let the GOP start making decisions. (Remember, this is the party that brought you the War On Drugs while they were busy piping those drugs into the cities with Iran Contra, the party that brought you the War On False Pretenses in which many folks lied in order to bomb Iraq back to the stone ages over weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist, and, of course, the party that brought you Trump.

People ask why he rents space in my head. The answer is because I haven’t figured out how to leave America yet – but Trump’s existence, and the fact that the people who supported him aren’t busy apologizing right now, underlines both that the GOP has no honor (we’re talking about a person who tried to use violence to overthrow the results of a free and fair election) and that America is a collapsing system with very little hope.

He rents space in my head because we elected someone who said “Go ahead, punch him, I’ll pay your legal bills”. Because we elected someone who suggested injecting bleach, who wanted to hide life-saving data about a pandemic because it might hurt his re-election chances.

Trump of course only cares about Trump. That’s become increasingly obvious. Destroying the USA bothers him not at all. And, of course, another thing Trump – and Fox – showed us is the problem with leading people down a long and varigated trail of falsehoods. The problem is the human mind encodes data by making physical connections, and because of it’s holographic nature the same confluence of subnets might represent a number of different concepts. A side effect of this is there is a significant cost to unlearning things, and in fact you can reach a point where you simply do not have the neurological resources to do all the necessary rebalancing of wiring to unlearn falsehoods. Your mind has to – at least subconsciously – evaluate the actual physical (neurochemical) cost of changing wiring to encode new information, and if the cost is too high, it must cling to previously learned data even if wrong because the alternative – not having enough resources to finish rebalancing after changing the physical wiring to encode data – sucks more. But this means once you go down the Fox News or Q rabbithole, it’s *very* difficult to come back up – partially, of course,because it’s hard to admit how much of a chump you’ve been. I suspect this also explains how people get stuck in religions that are obviously false-to-fact.

Anyway, so, here we are. People are utterly convinced it’s Biden’s fault that gas prices are high – the war and the profiteering of the oil companies have nothing to do with it – and of course Fox is happy to encourage that lie. Inflation is obviously a side effect of us deciding not to throw everyone under the bus during the pandemic but Fox keeps the lie going, it’s all the fault of the Dems, and people believe it.

Not that I’m all that happy with the Democrats either. Their cheating Bernie out of the nomination and their deciding not to codify the right to choose while they had a supermajority because it’s way too valuable as a donation farming method to push the emotional buttons on both sides and get them to keep forking over those dollars are two of the obvious reasons, but in general we’ve got Cthulu and Incompetence, Inc to choose from on the ballot. I tend to choose Incompetence, Inc, but it’s still pretty depressing. About the best politician I know of is my friend Brian Leeper who ran on a platform of fixing the stoplights on rt 28.. and actually did it. Based on his track record I’d nominate him for senate even though he leans far more conservative than me. At least he’s honest, something I am sure federal office would beat out of him fairly quickly. Or they’d find him shiv’d in a back room somewhere.

(This post is mostly just venting. But I am not sure I have words for how dissapointed I am that the conservatives were able to pack the court and no one stopped them, that they’re able to make abortion illegal and no one is stopping them, and that they quite possibly might implement christian sharia law. The lack of honor and willingness to ignore the majority is also depressing – as is the knowledge that most conservatives won’t admit they are wrong about almost everything even as they look at the fact that their policies during covid had them dying of overdoses of horse dewormer.)

More antireligious thoughts

June 28th, 2022

So, I’ve been pondering the behavior of God in the book of Job, and how Christians always assure me that God should be allowed to behave like that because *e was here before we were and therefore is under no obligation to behave morally, decently, or reasonably.

Now, I remain convinced the Christian God is a work of fiction and that we should all be profoundly grateful for that fact. But I also remain convinced that Christians think evil is good and hate is love – and one example of this is that they want to worship a diety that they think plays games with them and deliberately torments them to test their loyalty – or through inaction and encouragement, allows said torment to happen and makes bets on it. What would we think of a human who behaved as God did during this little endevor? And how horrifying is it that Christians assure us God gave Job back everything at the end – except, um, his daughters were dead, so he gave him different daughters, but hey, humans are interchangable, right?

Heinlein pointed out most (fictionally created) Gods have the manners of a spoiled child. This isn’t surprising, humans can’t imagine things smarter and more capable than them – it’s the same problem as sci-fi authors writing smarter aliens – and of course most of the people writing religions are doing it because they think they should be allowed to tell other people what to do (and usually get paid for it) and therefore have the manners of a spoiled child themselves.

I do remember a recent argument with someone who is convinced I’m going to hell for not beleiving in Jesus (and one indication I have that Christians have flawed morals is *they’re okay with this* – as Spider Robinson once observed, you’d think if Christians really believed in God they’d be trying to figure out how to declare war on h*, not worshipping h*) – kept saying over and over “You’re not God”. It’s true, but I’ve built worlds, I’ve used evolution as a force – I think I’m probably in a better place to get inside the mind of a God than most people and I don’t find their God of hate and evil believable at all. That type of creature would never create something with the beauty and subtlety of this universe. I understand that selling their God of hate and evil lets them do the horrible things they want to do. But I also have hopes that someday we’ll refuse to buy it any more.

Abortion: The gift taht keeps on giving

June 25th, 2022

So, we’ve entered another phase of donation farming. I have come to suspect that the Republicans struck Roe with the tact agreement of the Democrats, because A: both sides knew that without forcing more babies social security was going to run out of money and B: both sides know it’s a battle neither side can permanently win if they’re going to keep using it to farm donations from voters.

Obviously during Obama’s attempt to get Garland confirmed A: the republicans cheated and B: the democrats sandbagged. A friend of mine pointed out the democrats could have gone ahead and installed Garland, since obviously if the republicans wouldn’t hold hearings, they didn’t have a problem with his confirmation.

However, it would not shock me at all to discover that all of the voting is just puppetry and the people actually running the country make decisions and they just pretend that our votes matter in order to keep us from taking up arms against them.

I mean, I’m going to keep voting whoever seems to be the lesser evil. But I’m also going to keep championing ranked choice voting because this system is beyond broken. And I think if they attempt to outlaw birth control or sex outside marriage we should hold a general strike – share, work together, figure out how to barter food etc, but literally turn off the county. Leave it off until we’ve done *trillions* of dollars of damage to them. Make the bosses *hurt*.

If the Democrats were honest, they’d arrest the supreme court for lying to congress. If nothing else, Kavanaugh and Thomas lied in their confirmation and everyone knows it. Pull out the No lie MRI technology – ANN combined with a fMRI, foolproof lie detector, and make them confess that they planned this whole thing. Then slam them in jail and appoint new justices.

I am also asking various countries about the immigration process, because I am strongly considering just leaving America.

John Ayers

May 27th, 2022

So, I’m on my way to John Ayers’s remembrance party at Headwaters. I struggled with whether to go – partially because even though Phoebe had posted that ‘all are welcome’ I had vague worries that even though we were back on speaking terms “all” might not have included me – on the other paw I didn’t want to bother her during this obviously difficult and traumatic time by asking.. and I also knew if I didn’t go I would likely regret it.

Anyway, I thought maybe I’d throw some eulogizing of John Ayers in here. In a lot of fundamental ways, me and John are very similar – he was a jack of all trades, a master of some, and one of the few voices in my head – and in my life – that encourages taking the risk and spending the time to be a artist. While I still haven’t made it to professional musician, I have been putting increasingly more and more hours into it as the years go by and I feel like I’m a whole lot closer than I’ve ever been, and he is one of the people who has always encouraged me both that art is worth doing for art’s sake and that you can make a living being a artist.

John is also one of the few people I know besides myself who has built houses – who can run wiring, thread a pipe, put up a wall, fix a well pump. He doesn’t have my facility with repairing cars or computers, but what he has instead is a rock-solid sense of beauty and the ability to create beautiful things out of metal – or stucco – far beyond anything I will ever have. I was sorely tempted to buy his house even though I have no possible use for a house in Arkansas just because of the beautiful construction and the amazing home-y feeling it has. Even though I don’t generally retain visual memories, I still have strong visual memories both of John and of his house, which defines hygge.

He’s also one of the gentlest and kindest souls I have ever met, and defines everything that was good about the pot-smoking hippies of the 60s. I think he literally was in the peace corps – he definitely was doing some kind of good work in places other than America. I feel like I was a lot more like him in that regard in my youth and wish I could find that part of myself again – lately it seems like while I haven’t actually performed any acts of violence, the political and dystopian scene on Earth is making it harder and harder for me to really embrace peace.

He also had great taste in music and we had many good conversations over the music that he’d heard and collected over the years. He also was a photographer (as I said, jack of all trades) and I remember fondly exposing him to the first digital camera I’d ever purchased. I wonder a lot what he would think of the Rebel T6 I now carry, which in many ways is superior to the best 35mm cameras I’ve ever owned.

He is one of the few people who has spent significant time with me during a manic episode – long before I understood their cyclic nature, long before I knew what drugs would suppress them. His kindness to me during that period is difficult to even put into words.

In addition, of all the parents of lovers I’ve ever had, he was the most rational about my relationship with his daughter – and also the parent I most wished would have adopted me. I am still kicking myself for not stopping by his place more often, not talking to him more often. I always thought we had plenty of time. (Of course, having mostly broken my friendship with Phoebe, I could say similar things – I wish I’d made different decisions all over the place. But, tomorrow’s another day and I’ll just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hopefully do better in the future).

There’s really not enough good I can say about the guy. I will miss him terribly. I hope we will meet again, somewhere.

Couple of interesting thoguhts

May 26th, 2022

#1) I think I’m worried that humanity is living down to my expectations

#2) Part of why I loathe the cloud is that I am anti-authoritarian. The cloud is the ultimate authoritarian setup – they can change the price, the API, or just shut the whole thing down at any time and there’s nothing you can do. I prefer to control my own destiny in a computing sense. And in other senses too.

It terrifies me that I have friends who don’t understand that someone who thinks they should be president even though they clearly lost the election is the ultimate example of authoritarian government.

Believing Is Seeing, redux

May 24th, 2022

So, this album has easily the most man-hours I’ve ever put into a album, probably by a factor of ten. I’m hoping it’s not my last – I’ve been working my paws off trying to improve my musical skills, as many of you know, and I’ve already started songwriting for the next one. There’s a lot I could say about this one – pretty much every song on it had strong influences and thoughts and reasons for being included. However, I don’t know if there’s a lot of interest in that type of thing or not. I guess I will wait and see if people ask me for such things and then if they do I will publish them.

Believing Is Seeing

May 24th, 2022

Believing Is Seeing

As per usual, I am releasing Believing Is Seeing for download for those of you who wish to do so.

Official URL: https://www.sheer.us/stuff/BelievingIsSeeing2022.

Track IDNameWAV linkMP3 link
1Believing Is Seeing2496mp3
2Any Better2496mp3
4The other side of me2496mp3
5House Of the Rising Sun2496mp3
6High Grade Ore2496mp3
7This Too Shall Pass2496mp3
8Pride And Conviction2496mp3
9History Of Modern2496mp3

Album credits:

Entire album produced by Sheer
Mix and engineering by Sheer
Mastering by Bob Ohlson
Vocals for all but “Believing is Seeing” recorded at Orbit Audio and engineered by Joe Reinke, performed by Sheer
Vocals for “Believing is Seeing” recorded at Sheer Sound Studios East by Arthur St James, performed by Arthur St James
Executive Mix Engineer and Associate Audio Engineer Arthur St James
Lead guitar for “This Too Shall Pass” performed by Gabriel Smith
Drums for “Any Better” and “Believing Is Seeing” recorded at Orbit audio and engineered by Joe Reinke, performed by Bruce DeGrado
Percussion for “Holes” recorded at Sheer Sound Studios West and performed by Bruce DeGrado
Additional drum and synth programming for “Pride & Conviction” by Tory True
12-string guitar for “The Other Side Of Me” performed by Art Day
All parts not mentioned above performed by Sheer


“Believing Is Seeing” words and music by Sheer
“Any Better” words and music by Sheer
“Holes” words and music by Sheer
“The Other Side Of Me” words and music by Sheer
“House Of The Rising Sun” – traditional
“High Grade Ore” words by Lee Hart, music by Sheer
“This Too Shall Pass” – words and music by Sheer
“Pride & Conviction” – words aand music by Sheer
“History Of Modern” – written by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, used with permission obtained via Easy Song Licensing.

Religious thoughts (tinfoil hat)

May 24th, 2022

So, one of the interesting variants of the religious thoughts that go through my mind is the possibility that certain aspects of Christianity are right and they explain the wrongness of all the rest of the religion.

Here’s the setup – one of the things that they do say is that hell is the absence of God. What if what this actually means is hell is the absence of the *memetics* of God – that is to say, we remove all the best ideas. So, no polyamoury? Strongly pushing pair bonds even though humans are wired to fall in love more than once? Pushing the idea that you’re fatally flawed and someone had to die because you’re so broken? All in fact not the best truth, but because we’re not in Heaven (i.e. in the zone of good memetics and good information) we’re assured by the priests, who are among the most confused of all, that we don’t deserve good memetics and we should be punished for being what we are. Get closer to the zone of not-insane-memetics and you’ll find some of the nuttiness fades – i.e. no more worshipping paper dollars over real value, no more telling people sexual hunger is wicked or they should only want to pet their One True Person, no more the republican party is pushing authoritarianism – basically the idea here is that you can steer for the world that you want to live in by coloring your beliefs and if you see the above sorts of nuttiness you’re aimed in the wrong direction.

Which gets tricky. What is it that I’m not believing that’s excluding me from utopia? I mean, lately I expect humans to hurt each other, to spend their technological energy on tools for hurting each other, to hurt each other over stupid reasons, to lie, to start wars, to try to punish people for having sex, to try and claim that babies belong to indiviudals rather than to all of us and that individuals should have to suffer because they chose to have them even though evolution has wired all of us to be real stupid about reproduction.

I’m sure you’ve all see me go on about all these topics elsewhere in the blog, but I am starting to wonder if part of my problem is I can’t stop believing the worst about us. I need to believe that we are better than this, can be better than this, and will be better than this. It’s obvious there’s no moral deities here.

It’s also obvious that everyone could easily be experiencing a custom variant of reality, and that there’s very few guarantees about how those realities even overlap. I just can’t believe that people can’t come up with a better future than what the GOP is currently pushing – while in the meantime I like the future the Democrats talk about but they seem like they don’t want to actually implement anything – they’ll even let the GOP cheat (Refusing to nominate judges for example) – I can’t decide if the problem is they all want slightly different things, can’t triage, and each think their one hobbyhorse is the most important, or they’re actually a bunch of scammers who really just want to donation farm and collect money from the electorate and they have to be very careful never to actually get anything done because they’d have less issues to use to push people’s emotional buttons with.

Anyway, I guess the thought that I was playing with the most here is that Earth’s religions are all so obviously wrong *because* we’re far away from the utopic axis. My sense that things are getting progressively worse is either just that all humans feel that way about all change or that I’ve been steadily sliding down that axis as my beliefs decay.

Perl bluetooth communications

May 20th, 2022

I had a couple of notes on using Net::Bluetooth from a raspberry pi to talk to a Bluetooth serial port because I couldn’t get the example code given with Net::Bluetooth to work.

The following will connect to a mac address and send and receive data from it (in this particular example, a ESP32):


use Net::Bluetooth;
use Data::Dumper;
use IO::Handle;
my $obj = Net::Bluetooth->newsocket(“RFCOMM”);

$addr = ‘C4:4F:33:58:B6:FB’;
$port = 1;

if($obj->connect($addr, $port) != 0) {
die “connect error: $!\n”;

my $fh = $obj->perlfh();


print “sending \n”;

print $fh “V\n”;
print “receiving\n”;

$buf = readline($fh);
print “Fetchhost: $buf\n”;