A (very) belated post-apocalyptic blog-day.

So, how’d that Mayan apocalypse go, eh?

Funny story: The idea that the Mayan calendar “ended” last week was always wrong to begin with. I always felt that Y2K was an apt comparison for the whole “Mayan apocalypse” hysteria, since last week actually marked the end of the previous and the start of a new b’ak’tun, a period of about 394 years. The Mayans themselves don’t seem to have ever believed the world was going to end in 2012, referring to future events after that date, but they did have a creation myth that said that the previous world ended at the start of a 14th b’ak’tun, the same one that started a week ago. That previous world was scrapped as a failed experiment that never had humans placed in it, so people who believed the world was going to end last week were a) implicitly believing in the Mayan gods and b) implying this world was a failure despite c) the presence of humans (which should be a mark of success) in it.

Think about that for a second.

Another funny story: The last change in b’ak’tun was in 1618, just a few years after the Catholic Church forbade the teaching of the Copernican heliocentric model of the cosmos, which caused Galileo to stay away from the matter for the seven or so years following. Before that, 1224 was just the year before the Magna Carta became law. 830 saw the foundation of the House of Wisdom, which played a key role in preserving many Greek texts by translating them into Arabic, and roughly corresponds with the decline of the Mayans themselves, or at least their “classic” period; 435 is a couple centuries too late for their rise, but it is smack-dab in the middle of another, more well-known decline, that of the Roman empire, and just five years after the death of St. Augustine (and only nine after the completion of his City of God).

The year 41, less than a decade after the crucifixion of Jesus, saw the formation of the first Christian communities and Jews being given the freedom to worship following Caligula’s death. Alexander the Great was two years old in 354 BC, and it’s possible some of Plato’s later dialogues were being written around that time; as such, the entire b’ak’tun from 748 BC (four years after the traditional founding of Rome, and possibly the rough time Homer lived and Zoroastrianism, perhaps the first monotheistic religion, was founded) to 354 BC corresponds fairly well with the so-called “Axial Age”.

It’s probably engaging in the same sort of over-reading believers in a Mayan apocalypse do to actually claim any sort of correlation between the Mayan calendar and these developments, and even if so it’s hard to figure out what it means given the disparate nature of the milestones involved. It’s worth noting, though, that the last three milestones can be correlated with, respectively, the birth of modern science, the birth of modern notions of freedom and equality, and the birth of the modern intellectual tradition. Now consider that the exact date the Mayans placed the founding of our world at was 3114 BC. This is only 12 years before the start of the Hindu tradition’s Kali Yuga, and right in the middle of the period between the creation of Adam and the Flood in the Bible, suggesting a cross-cultural placing of importance on that time period, and both can be correlated with the unification of Egypt, the start of construction on Stonehenge, and the rise of the Minoans, as well as the earliest writing systems, which some scholars consider the start of “history” itself. It is, in short, the period when what we call “civilization” begins.

Given that history, what sort of period might we be entering now?

It’s possible, as I tweeted a while back, that this is essentially the point when global warming becomes unstoppable and inevitably plunges us back to the Stone Age if not worse. Personally, I prefer to look more optimistically at it, that this is the herald of a change that will make all the changes in human history since the agricultural revolution look like child’s play. Call me conceited, but as a philosopher, I always felt that at this point, I would introduce my own nominee for this change, by starting to increase humanity’s awareness of its own nature. As such, much of the entire history of Da Blog up to this point has been preparation for something to happen on December 21st. I initially planned to release the first of several treatises outlining my philosophy on that date. Later I planned to start my new webcomic then, and even felt, after failing to do much work on that comic over the summer, that I could use one of my classes as an impetus to work on it. When even that failed, leading to me flunking two classes when I hadn’t failed one in over a year, I was all set to settle for writing a rant on America’s reaction to the Newtown shootings and how completely wrong it was in every way.

The day came and went, and what did I do? Bupkis.

You might say I’m going through a personal apocalypse right now. I allowed my e-mail box to completely fill so I could focus with laser intensity on the comic, which of course, didn’t work. Then I planned to write an apology to my teacher, but haven’t been able to work myself up to do it, which also means I haven’t even registered for the new quarter; I’ve been thoroughly depressed throughout the winter break, especially after not doing anything for the 21st, and have wasted most of it on semi-random pursuits. I’m still five classes away from graduation, but that includes probably the two hardest, and I don’t know what’s motivating me to complete them anymore; I seriously considered taking winter quarter off entirely. Flunking two classes means that, for the next three months at least, Mom will cut me off from home Internet access for the entire quarter, reverting me to the state Da Blog was trapped in for much of its history.

Such is a fitting close to Year Six on Da Blog, a year which saw my attempt to recover my early posting frequency with the return of The Streak and a brief return to semi-regular webcomic reviews, yet the former took a far lamer form than it ever had before, with me repeatedly having to finesse and fudge my way to maintaining the streak to a significant extent (often with posts explicitly existing just to continue the streak), and most days posting less than an hour before midnight, leaving me wondering if something was wrong with me compared to the earlier streak, despite the Random Internet Discovery helping sustain the previous streak. Would I have been more able to pull off my goals just a few short years ago; has something damaged my decision-making ability beyond its already questionable levels? That may be unanswerable, and I don’t know whether I want to find it out. As if that wasn’t enough, I finally launched the long-awaited forum, which I saw as the birth of a community that would do much to boost Da Blog’s popularity, yet I might shutter it before it hits its one-year anniversary because it’s gotten to the point I simply assume any new thread was started by a spammer.

A year ago, I felt Da Blog was on its way up. Now, I feel like my future and that of Da Blog has never been cloudier. I still feel the need to do something with my ideas on human nature, if only because I fear the only people who have the clearest vision on human nature lack either the work ethic to share it with the world or the scruples to use it to benefit anyone other than themselves, and I still believe enough in my webcomic idea to do something with it, but it really does feel enough like work that I don’t know how willing or even able I am to do it. There’s something unreal about most of my plans, like they’re all fantasies of mine that I rationalize my way into relying on and which are all disconnected from one another, and they certainly don’t seem to be connected with an actual experience of doing them; I rarely have a clear, realistic path to a concrete goal. I’ve seen myself as a philosopher for years, yet I’ve always found it far easier to think about my philosophy than to actually put it down on virtual paper, and so long as it feels like a job I don’t know if it’s what I’m meant to do after all.

Perhaps my future is in numerical analysis of sports – the SNF Flex Schedule Watch has long been the most consistently popular aspect of the site, and I spent much of my post-failure funk working on several different mathematical formulae with different applications for sports. That’s certainly something I wouldn’t have thought even a month ago when I was thinking of shutting down the College Football Rankings and Flex Schedule Watch after next season. Or maybe not; I knew going in that the FF50 project was going to gobble up a massive amount of time at the worst possible time, but by the end I was finding it so tedious that I doubt I’m going to do much of anything on that front next year. This despite the fact I took 11 of my 42 teams to the championship game – something like double the rate I expected – and won all 11 (after losing my one championship game last year and despite screwing up my ESPN lineups last week knowing ESPN has two-week playoff rounds so I could make it up in Week 17), so let me take a moment to acknowledge my championship fantasy teams: Fox 2, Fox 8, ESPN 3, Fox 3, NFL 6, Split Backs, ESPN 8, Fox 1, ESPN 6, NFL 3, and ESPN 10. (Yeah, Fox leagues don’t seem to attract the strongest players…)

Perhaps that might be the inevitable fate of all my projects, for me to take them up, work on them obsessively for a time at the expense of my other obligations, and then abandon them as they become work and get too tedious. That may have already happened to those formulae I was working on, and it certainly would be consistent with some things I’ve read about Asperger’s Syndrome (including, of all things, an argument that Order of the Stick‘s Eugene Greenhilt has the same thing). Perhaps this site is always doomed to be a holding place for whatever project I take up for some period of time and eventually abandon, my own personal mezzacotta. If so, it doesn’t bode well for its ability to sustain itself, or my dreams of, whatever it is I end up doing in life, being one of the all-time greats at it.

Thanks in large part to The Streak, I’ve written 262 posts since my last Blog-Day post, which is in no way close to a record, as hard as that may be to believe when I couldn’t even hit 100 a couple years ago. I doubt I’ll fall short of 100 again. But I also doubt I’ll ever approach these heights again either. Here’s to Year Seven, a year I can’t even begin to predict.

Ugh.

So, I’m theoretically working on a project where my current stage of research involves hanging out on TV Tropes, in hopes of it feeling less like work.

Today, I spent so much time doing completely unrelated things on TV Tropes that I didn’t even submit waiver claims for any of my fantasy teams.

I have no idea what’s wrong with me or how to fix it, but whatever it is I have it bad.

It’s only a matter of time before Rose signs up for Bubblr.

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized DRUNKEN LESBIAN GLOWING VAMPIRE TROLLKISS 2012.)

I have said very little – okay, nothing – about the progress of the intermission so far, and I suspect I’m going to save most of my remarks for when the intermission is over. I’ve been trying to put together two posts’ worth of coherent thoughts on Homestuck in general, but as anyone who’s been reading my other posts knows, it’s been more of a distaction than anything else.

For now, let me say that while the walkaround non-flashes have been fun to play and explore in, the pre-scratch trolls are so much one-dimensional cariactures that Hussie has seemingly telegraphed that they’ve only been introduced for him to kill them off, and I’ve had… mixed reactions at best to the segments with the original kids, which is odd considering how much I’ve missed them. (The sooner the new sitcom “The Adventures of John and Jade” gets cancelled, the better, and watching Rose stumble around falling-down drunk is making it hard to read her earlier appearances as arguably the most clear-minded member of the group.)

However… whatever your reaction may have been to this, I will freely share it. Well, unless maybe you were a Rose/Kanaya shipper. Not putting down your preferences, I’m just not into that sort of thing. But for anyone else who underwent some combination of shock, bemusement, and bewilderment, well, allow me to add my name to the list.

(While I’m here, and need to fill out space to fill out the thumbnail, let me say that I was very surprised to see John learn of Vriska’s life-free status before finishing his journey, especially since Vriska went straight into exposition mode before John had a chance to commiserate about it.)

(Wow… have I spent a year in this place already? Funny how the time flies… and how long Act 6 has seemingly ground everything to a halt… really puts things into perspective just how much the post-Scratch kids have taken over the comic… feels like the comic’s really going to have to rush to its conclusion if Act 6 is still going to be shorter than Act 5…)

What a wasted week.

So on Sunday, I started a new focus medication.

In the following week, I did exactly zero work on anything pertaining to school or a non-football project I’m working on for the site.

The idea was that the focus medication would help me get some work done. But now I wonder if it’s helping me focus on the wrong things.

(Hell, I was kinda hoping to have a post on Homestuck today, but I doubt that’s going to happen.)

Update on my school year

Okay, I’ve clearly completely failed at managing my projects vis-a-vis actual schoolwork, because I’m tired all day and I’m falling horribly behind on it, despite the fact that I was trying to make one of my projects into schoolwork.

Obviously the FF50 challenge is a major timesuck, but there’s one or two other projects as well, which are actually starting to crowd out one another, and I’m not sure how to weed them out. I can’t abandon leagues much faster than I’m already doing; if I’m in contention for a playoff spot, let alone the championship, for me to then abandon my team would cause utter chaos. Already down to 42 leagues before I even started, I was thinking of dropping to 32 next year, and now I’m thinking even lower, because I have never put in all the roster moves I would have liked to before deadline.

Thoughts on the new baseball contracts coming Wednesday.

Requiem for a lost summer

In less than a week, school will start up again for me.

I had all sorts of ambitious plans for the summer. As it turned out, no thanks to the Webcomic Overlook (and a fairly ambitious Homestuck post I’m trying to write), I couldn’t even get any webcomic reviews in – I couldn’t even catch up on Ctrl+Alt+Del like last summer! – and now I probably won’t be able to get any in for most of the rest of the year. I might sneak in a couple of reviews of Erfworld and VG Cats at some point, and maybe eke out a Girls with Slingshots review at some point down the line, but that might be it for the foreseeable future.

In all likelihood, I’m going to drop the streak sometime soon, and in fact posting on Da Blog could hit an all-time low for the next eight months or so. All the posts on Da Blog are going to involve football, the sports TV wars, OOTS, Gunnerkrigg Court, or Questionable Content for the remainder of the year. I’m still going to try to get a project off the ground, but I had been hoping to be so far along with it that I could say with confidence that the end of The Streak wouldn’t matter. Needless to say, that did not come to pass.

I may have mentioned before that I’m about to hit a series of classes that will involve some hardcore work that needs to get done, more even than I’ve otherwise encountered at school up to this point. Regardless of anything else, I would expect posting on Da Blog to come to a near-complete halt in April through early June, and if nothing else I would hope to high heaven I can at least get this project off the ground by then.

God I’m so pissed off at myself. This was going to be an absolutely critical summer for the future of Da Blog, and it may have actually been less productive than other recent summers. What the hell is wrong with me?

Update on the state of my laptop

So I finally got my laptop back, and not only was my hard drive either reformatted or replaced, I actually got DOWNGRADED to Windows XP instead of Windows 7, EVEN THOUGH WINDOWS 7 CAME WITH THE COMPUTER. Oh, and the sound is crappy, the power cord is being finicky all of a sudden, and the W key is loose on an allegedly new keyboard, making me wonder if the only reason the hard drive needed reformatting or replacing is because they screwed it up.

Honestly, I’d much rather have gotten a brand new laptop, and I have a feeling that could be the main thing dominating my Christmas list. I might be able to reinstall Windows 7, which might fix a number of those issues, but I’m worried it might cause a host of new ones, given the options staring me in the face.

In the meantime, I’ve brought back the donation button to try to help raise funds for such a computer. If I get Windows 7 back and I’m satisfied with how I do so, I’ll probably take the button off.

Setting the stage for the next week

My laptop is on its way to HP. Under the circumstances, it looks like I’m probably going to be working off Mom’s computer for all of next week, and maybe into the week after that.

The FF50 challenge looks to be in good shape. I may have to either move Tuesday’s drafts later, or move at least the noon one to 9 AM PT, due to various commitments, but other than that everything should proceed swimmingly, aside from Mom’s attempts to get me to do other, more productive things.

Naturally, after my promises to keep webcomic posts to a minimum while my laptop is getting fixed, next week may prove to be a rather webcomic-heavy week. QC and Homestuck definitely, Gunnerkrigg Court maybe. The HS post will be rather general in nature; I’m going to hold off on posting on Act 6 Intermission 3 probably until it’s over, intentionally this time, partly because of the three daisy-chained exploration non-flashes that either start or consist the intermission that are probably intended to form one long non-flash, partly because of how buggy it is still; even in the preferred Chrome browser on Mom’s computer, sometimes the sound will spontaneously shut off for no reason, so I’m going to wait until my computer comes back to go through the other non-flashes.

Between webcomics and other things, I have plenty of ideas to fill out the next week of posts already.

As if I wasn’t having enough trouble getting anything done this summer…

So, the frame of the screen of my laptop has become disconnected from the screen itself in one corner, AND one hinge has come loose, so I’m going to have to send it in to be repaired and that could take over a week.

The timing on this could not be worse as it jeopardizes the FF50 competition; I will probably have to do the drafts on my mom’s computer, if I do as many as I had planned at all, as Mom’s probably not going to be happy about me monopolizing the computer for large chunks of the day, especially when I could be doing more productive things.

Also, I’m going to be keeping my webcomics posts to a minimum over the course of the week. It’s unfortunate with the current events in Gunnerkrigg Court and Questionable Content that could become post-worthy soon, but it’s probably necessary.

Bakson busy bakson.

Even if I wanted to write an actual post, I’m too tired after a long day with small meals to do so.

But even if I could, I’d probably be pouring into the new OOTS book I just got. (Mom tells me I should be saving for a new laptop. Psh!)

Coming sometime Friday: a post on Gunnerkrigg Court, Questionable Content, or the webcomic blog review I’ve been promising all week.