The Exigent Duality
Tough Sledding - 17:57 CST, 5/29/23 (Sniper)
I saw this thread on Reddit, almost impossible for me to fathom that it was ten years ago. I frequently call the last ten-odd years of my life my "lost decade", this is a perfect example of the phenomenon. I didn't write much in the aftermath of that game, but maybe now is the time to share.

I watched the game via-- as always-- a feed, on the Sony SXRD I had at the time. I'd never been so nervous for a sporting event in my life, and haven't since-- huge knot in my stomach. The game was the most intense football match I've seen to this day, with both sets of players desperate to not make a mistake. I started out sitting on the futon couch, then sitting on the floor, then kneeling on the floor, then standing right in front of the 50" screen. I was living and breathing with every action.

I'm not prone to emotionalism, but when Lulic scored that goal, I actually shed a tear. The release of tension was incredible. What's more, the presentation cut to Lotito's face right at that moment, and I will probably never, in my life, see another reaction like that: it was pure relief, pure joy, all bottled into such an authentic snapshot, that I never again after that doubted that Lotito is a true Laziale, through-and-through.

Modern Hardware

This thread reminded me of a blog post segment I've been meaning to write: get out a piece of paper, and try to do a math problem, such as "10.25967 * 22.47876". Keep track of how long it takes you. Depending on how good at math you are, maybe it would take you a minute, or two minutes, or five minutes.

Now imagine doing a hundred of these. That might take you three and a half hours, or longer. Imagine doing a thousand then. Or a million. One million math problems like this could take you something like thirty-eight hundred years, if my math is correct. Now imagine doing a trillion of them. How many generations of human beings would need to sit there working on them, to finish? How about forty trillion such math problems? Mankind isn't old enough of a species to have even approached being able to do that many, if that's all man had ever done.

The RTX 4070 Ti video card in my PC can not just do forty trillion floating point math problems-- it can do forty trillion such problems per second. That's how powerful modern computers are. And that's just the video card! We haven't even discussed modern CPUs yet. Even a platform like the PlayStation 5 can do ten trillion such math problems per second on the GPU. Heck, even the ancient Nintendo Switch can do 150 million of these math problems per second.

And what are developers making today, to leverage what amounts to unlimited power? Mediocre-looking thirty frames-per-second third-person action games with mini maps and dodge rolling. Or pixelshit roguelikes with Famicom music.

When I was a kid and young teenager, people like John Carmack were making cool looking quasi-3D worlds such as "Wolfenstein 3D" which ran on a 12.5 MHz 286 with 512 kilobytes of RAM; they were making full open-world games like "Star Control II" with entire galaxies to explore, on similar hardware; they were simulating entire planetary food chains and evolutionary paths on 25 MHz 386 chips, such as in "SimEarth". Going back to the thread then, today programmers are stunned by a game on the Switch with a rudimentary physics engine. I don't get it.

A lot of it is a lack of talent from contemporary programmers. I'll include myself in this group: I have essentially zero math background, and can only make games in pre-canned game engines. A lot of it is the bloat of modern tooling, which suck up insane amounts of resources before the actual game-proper has even begun to execute its specifics. A lot of it is DIE-based hiring. There are probably other concerns as well.


The usual caveat: if you're reading this, I'm not talking about you. A good microcosmic example came up late last week of my interactions with other people, in general. I'm going to substitute specifics so I don't identify the individual or the setting:

  • Other Person: "I'm a stickler for snow blowing until not one molecule of snow is left."
  • Me: "Can I play devil's advocate? It would take way too much time to get every single molecule, for little added benefit due to the diminishing returns. Just my two cents."
  • Third Person: "I agree."
  • Other Person: "So what I'm hearing, boss, is that we're never going to do snow blowing again."
  • Boss: "Oh, obviously not! No one would go for that! Of course we'll keep doing what we've been doing!"

In one sentence, the other person both straw-manned my opinion and appealed to authority, in just such a way to elicit the exact response which would convince the boss to tacitly support their position over mine. I don't know if the other person was evil on purpose or if it was some kind of sleazy passive-aggressiveness they'd acquired subconsciously from their family during childhood. Either way I found it very off-putting.

The thing is, people are constantly pulling this crap with me. Every interaction I have with almost everyone is laced with this land mine-filled maze of caltrops, tripwires, and other lethal explosives. That's why it's tiring to be around people. Quite literally the only exception, in forty one years of life, is at my church: they are so friendly and supportive that it's almost difficult to believe. It flies in the face of an entire lifetime of experience.

Stop the Ride

It feels like my life is carousel going at five hundred miles per hour. Even when I have a long weekend or take a couple of days of vacation, it's not enough. I need a long sabbatical or something along those lines to do some self-discovery, and to catch my breath. Since my fifteenth birthday, I've only been unemployed for two weeks. That's almost twenty seven years of unceasing, straight labor, with outrageous stress levels.

I've often wanted to get laid off from my job, because my employer would owe me eight months of full severance pay. I am already fully-vested in their pension, and would almost certainly be able to land a significantly higher paying job within my field as well once that theoretical extended "vacation" would elapse.

I've been contemplating getting my own apartment in the town twenty minutes from my house. My in-laws have been great, so it's not their fault-- but my "mental health" has never been lower than it is now, even during the height of the scamdemic when I was barred from receiving health care, eating at a restaurant, or going grocery shopping. Having "strangers" in my own home is really taking a toll, and I'm not sure if I will ever have a much better comfort level with them than I do now.

I've been eating so badly that I'm approaching fifteen pounds over my best weight number of just a year and a half ago. But without the junk food, I'm barely functional. I'm working on my issues, but it's slow progress. Right now it's a downward decline that I need to arrest somehow. I'm tempted to temporarily go back on "Abilify": that drug turned me into a total maniac, creating three of the most productive months of my life, followed by a soul-crushing crash. It's a scary deal with the devil, but I'd at least be able to lose this weight.


This section comes compliments of my brother:

"Good example of plutocracy at work. The 'study' cited by this article was conducted by the ICCT - the ICCT is funded by the Energy Foundation, while the Energy Foundation is a crystallization of private wealth from donors including the Rockefellers, used as a political money-laundering device: in the Foundation's words, 'Intelligent philanthropy can influence energy policy with multi-billion dollar payoffs.'

So, ICCT is a plutocratic sock-puppet for pushing energy reform; but why does the 'Green' movement exist at all? Again, in the Energy Foundation's words, 'At a time of grave [geopolitical] danger and volatility in the Middle East, it is worrisome that the United States is increasing its dependence on foreign oil...'

For context, global oil production is dominated by states like Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China - most of which are on the US' shortlist for regime change; the US, in turn, is owned entirely by plutocracy, or by 'civil society', as they call themselves.

Also, I use the word 'plutocracy' only to stick a label onto the disgusting creatures who hold power, and to point out that the power rests in private hands - and partially also because Fascism described this phenomenon with extreme accuracy 100 years ago; it's worth digging up this knowledge and putting credit where it belongs, isn't it?"

I couldn't agree more. It's weird listening to speeches from, ahem, "taboo" leaders from the past and hearing the world I live in today, predicted and described perfectly.