So, nerd stores

Well, since our dear leaders have decided that interest rates (that are exceeding low), and "crowding out", and Very Serious Invisible Bond Traders, which all allegedly come from federal deficits, as opposed to say, the unemployment rate that's up around 9%, it's very hard to find a job. So that's led to thinking about ideas on what kind of job I can make. Now, while I'd much prefer a job saving the world, and doing the stuff I spent years going back to school for, that's not worked so far.

Well, what about starting an engineering company? Well, there's issues there with getting a license, which requires working with already licensed engineers for a length of time, plus getting contacts for jobs, and starting something without a reputation or experience. So for the moment, that's not really looking practical.

Computers? Well, I know them, but I'm not a hardware guy, and I haven't kept up at all with programming languages, network stuff, or anything like that. So I could learn it, but I don't have any of the credentials or experience there.

Working for somebody else in retail sucks, especially in a crappy economy, which is where I'm currently stuck.

So, what kind of retail could I do? Well, the most obvious is a nerd shop, probably comics and games. I worked at a game store for five years, I've been friends with people who ran comic shops, I know both those markets pretty well anyway. And it'd give the possibility of creating a place for people to come and meet and have fun and interact, and that'd be good.

Comic/Game shops are hard, though. They're operating in a relatively small market, comics are non-returnable for little guys, and costs four bucks and up each. That aside, there's also a lot of stereotypes about comic and game shops, like they're essentially some dude's basement. And there really are ones like that. Or just look at The Ferrett's column about his FLGS. There is a comic shop chain here in Savannah, but as their webpage shows, they have a bit of hoarder in them too. Plus there's nothing else to that site besides that page. But the pictures, with the T-Shirts hanging from the ceiling and the confusion, that's not so appealing. The hobby shop I worked in had some of that too. We kept it mostly clean, but it was piled with stuff, especially trains, almost to the ceiling on a lot of shelves. So, obviously, I wouldn't want to do something like that. Running somewhere clean, safe, and welcoming to everybody would be the goal. There's no point in turning away customers by having the store look bad.

The problem there, even in a city like Savannah, with SCAD having its art college with a sequential art series, the market for comics isn't always that big. and the comics don't always help with that. And that's a little scary when looking at opening a shop. Comic stores are always shoestring businesses, which is part of the reason so many end up messy. There's lots of other things out there, and there's lots of TPBs and the like that provide more value for the money, but I'm not sure how easy it would be to try and change all of that. Or if I'd make any money doing it, and not just end up owing even more money when it failed.

Continuity of Identity in Regards to Communities

Going back to places (IRL or online) after being away from them a few years can be weird. It's the same place, but it's not. Which makes sense in terms of continuity of identity. For example, the dwarf's Grandfather's Axe, carried down through generations. The handle and the head have been replaced repeatedly, but it's still the same axe, due to the continuity of it. Now if you took the original axe, and then jumped straight to the "same" axe, after the replacements, it wouldn't seem (to you) to be the same axe. But instead of time travel, you leave for a few years.

The people in the community are the metaphorical axe handle and head, if I didn't make that clear.

This is probably one of those posts that seems insightful at midnight, but turns out to be crap when looked at in daylight.

Weird places my brain goes to

You know, I'm almost certain that if better pre-construction investigation had been done, they could have found a better spot to build a hotel, a botique, and a swinging hotspot. A brownfield, or an area needing redevelopment. Both of which would have had better infrastructure and transit, which could have allowed for a smaller parking lot, or completely removed the need to put it up in the first place.

(ref: Counting Crows (cover) and Joni Mitchell (original))

...and I feel fine

The thing that's always bugged me the most about predicting the end of the world (besides the zillion times it's been wrong) is that the kind of God who'd blow up the world and make everybody's last days full of pain and suck is, by definition, a bad guy. Which sorta works for the early Old Testament God that's all "Sacrifice your kid! Flood the world! Knock down those walls and kill everyone inside!" but is pretty out of character for most non-vengeful turbolaser versions of Jesus. So, yes, a lot of these prophecies are bad biblical fanfic.

Of course, Fred's already covered this over at slacktivist with "goofy hat Jesus".

Oh, and no, the world's not going to end tomorrow. We'll still be here for my regularly non-updating blog. But just in case it does, I'm gonna be out where things are fallen down and trying to fix them, and rescue people. Because that's what good guys do. They don't sit back and laugh at other people's misery.

So, Linux

So, for about a month now, I've been running Ubuntu Linux 10.whatever on my laptop. Partly because Vista, after coming with it and being used for a couple years, was doing really random bizarre things like not recognizing USB things unless they were plugged in when the computer was turned on.

So, how has it been working? Pretty good, really. I haven't had anything to complain about. Mostly, I'm running internet stuff, and that's supported as well or better on Linux as it is in Windows. Gaming other than flash games is harder, but I got out of the habit of a good bit of gaming through the simple expedient of being broke and busy and not having the time or money. Other than gaming, for internet stuff and writing and such, Linux is doing just fine for me. The desktop's laid out well enough, and it has a search for programs, which was one of the things I'd gotten to actually like about Vista. Made me feel like I was using command line again almost.

I realize this isn't a very in-depth review, but somewhere along the way, I stopped being so interested and entertained by figuring out all the little tweaks to make computers run right, and just want them to work like I need them to. Ubuntu's been doing that pretty well for me, and so I'm happy. I do have Windows 7 (legal, even!) installed on a partition, but I've rarely felt the need to use it.

For the Birds!

I'm just gonna link this post of UrsulaV's, where she talks about just wanting to grow a garden with hummingbirds, and the trip down the rabbit hole this led her on through all the dysfunctional systems we have in the world.

And if you're interested in a field guide to this particular rabbit hole, I recommend Worldchanging, the new 2.0 updated book, or the website, with its archives of solutions and more.

Time to get fixing things. Even if people look at you like you're crazy.

One Winter at a Time

"The future is inherently a good thing. And we move into it one winter at a time. Things get better one winter at a time. So if you're going to celebrate something, then have a drink on this: the world is, generally and on balance, a better place to live this year than it was last year." - Spider Jersualem

Also: Reasons to be Cheerful by Charles Stross

2010 Book Roundup

Unseen Academicals - Terry Prachett
Jennifer Morgue - Charles Stross
The Truth about Organic Gardening - Jeff Gillman
Carrots Love Tomatoes - Louise Riotte
1635: The Dreeson Incident - Eric Flint, Virginia Demarce
Natural Capitalism - Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins
Spook Country - William Gibson
Beginnings, Blunders, and Breakthroughs in Science - Surendra Verma
Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters - Alan S. Miller & Satoshi Kanazawa
The Elements of Moral Philosophy - James Rachels & Stuart Rachels
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
Consilience - Edward O. Wilson
Space on Earth: Saving Our World by Seeking Others - Charles S. Cockell
Fundamentals of Hazardous Waste Site Remediation - Kathleen Sellers
After the King: Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien - Various Authors
A Beautiful Math: John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature - Tom Siegfried
Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery - James R. Benn
A Deepness in the Sky - Vernor Vinge
The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers - Tom Standage
The Engines of God - Jack McDevitt
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature - Janine M. Benyus
The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America - Steven Johnson

22 books, not too bad. See how this coming year goes, without school work to workaround.

And happy New Year everybody, a proper post on New Year later (or maybe not).