Tuesday, November 18, 2014

State of the Apocalypse, Eleven-Eighteen-Fourteen Edition

So who thinks I’m kidding when I say zombies are popular because any apocalypse beats the one we’re suffering now? Over the last week, two things happened that, if you’d predicted them in a novel 30 years ago, they’d have laughed at you.

First, this typhoon in the north Pacific Ocean got really, really big. Typhoons tend that way, as they have a lot more water over which to spread out, but this one supposedly bumped into a cold front coming off Siberia, and became one of the All-Time Biggest Storms on Earth.(This is all to the best of my recollection from watching Disney’s Wonderful World of News on ABC last week.) The storm became so big...sooooo biiiiiig...it literally (literally!) knocked the jet stream for a loop. This loop of Arctic cold dipped south over North America, and early February’s single-digit days came to mid-November. It didn’t get above freezing for nearly a week.

It was hailed as the Terrifying Return of the Polar Vortex from last winter, but if you look up “polar vortex” in Wikipedia, you’ll wonder if the truth isn’t a lot more...chilling. It turns out that it’s a weakening polar vortex that causes the jet stream to meander southward, bringing Arctic air to North America. 

So what weakens the polar vortex? Never mind. It’s not an argument I care to get into. All we need to know is it got really cold last week, sooo cooooold, that “warming up” means we get highs in the mid-40s F as opposed to 9F. As of 10 November, Autumn 2014 was done. The leaves still on the trees freezer-burned from red and yellow to dead brown. They’re all bare now.

Winter 2014-15 is in full effect, and with any luck this will be the last cold season I see here in Colorado. I am not going to miss these killer cold snaps when I get back to South Carolina. 

Also in This Week in Real Life Sci-Fi Dystopia, the good people of the European Space Agency spent a metric ass-ton of money that might have been better used for stimulus programs in the PIGS, and landed a spacecraft on a speeding comet. Except that one of the guys running the show wore a loud, tacky shirt over his uglier tattoos, and presumably caused women everywhere to abandon Lucrative Careers in STEM. (I’m linking to the #shirtgate hashtag. I didn’t feel like picking any one of the many things that has been written about this.)

Who cares what this man actually did? Look at that
That some privileged, upper-middle class females of the chattering classes found something utterly trivial to be offended about on one of the most momentous days in human history is to be expected. That the privileged, upper-middle-class twits who run the media played down the momentousness of this accomplishment (we landed something on a comet, for God’s sake!) in favor of the foot-stamping and whining of these unaccomplished slags is also unsurprising.

That this brilliant scientist wept like a big pussy and apologized—that’s the heartbreaker. We’re doomed, my little purple penguins, no two ways about it. And we deserve it.

I can only imagine what the Great Men of Yesteryear, the Teslas, the Edisons, the Einsteins would have made of this inked-up girly-man blubbering for the camera. I doubt Marie Curie would have offered this soft, damp thing a hug, either.

Could science fiction visionaries like Heinlein or Asimov have believed such un-men would exist in 2014? 

We’re doomed. And we deserve it.

So I won’t have to close on a downer note, I’ve saved the best news for last. Not that anyone knew about it, but I’ve been struggling with writer’s block for the last month or so. No new pages were made, and there wasn’t nearly enough noodling on the existing ones to justify that. For reasons various and sundry, and not at all important now, I simply ran out of enthusiasm. If you didn’t hear about it before, it’s because I’m not big on crying in public. It was something I had to work through. So I did.

The excerpt I’m finishing now has sadness and death and a big moral lesson about the Meaning of Life, which is quite a tall order of work. But I’m up for it. Especially now with this blogpost out of my system.

Thank God no one reads this blog! For those of you who have gotten this far, though—this is one of those “fits of observational Tourettes” I mention in my banner logo. Don’t worry; I don’t do this a lot. I hope to have an excerpt from The Wrong Kind of Dead up here soon.

What can I say, but, hang in there, and stay warm? It’s all I know how to do.