Kenosha.

I am desperately trying to not become numb to the violence gripping this country. I know the Republicans like to point fingers at everything but the problem, and top their finger pointing with a bunch of Yankee Doodle Yackey, but the truth of the matter is, this country still has a systemic racism issue and it’s only gotten worse since the last presidential election.

The words and actions of Trump have emboldened the racists.

I fly over or around Kenosha, Wisconsin on almost every flight I take these days. I’ve driven through Kenosha countless times. I’ve flown in and out of their airport several times. I don’t know a lot about Kenosha, but I know it’s in the news way too much this week because of an inhuman, normally unspeakable act of police shooting a defenseless man seven times in the back. In front of his kids.

What is this country coming to? Is this really who we want to be? I’ve often quipped that we’re in the midst of the “Second Dark Ages”. Too often the actions of too many American prove my right.

We can do better. We must do better. We will do better.

Vote in November. Vote for sanity. Vote for compassion. Vote for equality.

Dance Break.

Is this track really 12 years old? My goodness, time is flying quickly.

I’ve had this song stuck in my head this morning, so dance along with me. From 2008, here’s Alphabeat with “10.000 Nights (Bimbo Jones Remix)”.

Fear.

Apparently HairWeave and BadDyeJob, the two lawyers from somewhere in Missouri that pointed guns at protestors in broad daylight, spoke at the Republican National Convention last night to let people know that Joe Biden will abolish suburbs and let the non-whites cross the moat.

I can’t even type that last sentence without vomiting.

What does that even mean? Abolishing suburbs? I’m pretty sure the President of the United States doesn’t have the power to do that anymore than Hillary Clinton as President has the power to come in and personally take your penis substitute gun away from you right in the middle of your living room.

My god I’m really tired of stupid people.

My husband is watching the RNC as “an informed citizen”. I’m sitting out on the balcony weighing my options of pitching myself off the fifth story balcony or going in and sitting next to him on the couch while I strongly ponder Illinois’ legalized pot.

Flicking through the chaos last night, the bright bulb in the photo above spoke passionately about defunded police, death panels, and billions of dollars in new taxes if Biden is elected president. And with Kamala Harris as Vice-President, all the white folks will go to jail while immigrants run free drinking all the milk driving stolen Land Rovers from the suburbs.

Maybe she didn’t say those words, but her babbling was equally ridiculous and since it was Monday night I figured I shouldn’t get blasted drunk with 4/5ths of the work week still ahead of me.

I’m going to walk inside in a few moments and either throw a sledgehammer through the television or convince my husband to watch a rerun of “Sports Night”.

It’s not that I’m an all-in, no holds barred Democrat. I’m a middle of the road kind of guy and like the last several presidential election cycles, the Democrat is the most sane choice who actually has a chance of winning the damn thing. When someone mentions on social media that they’re still undecided it takes all my might not to drive to their location and not kick them squarely in the teeth.

It’s rather doubtful that I’ll be sharing potato salad at a family reunion anytime soon (at least for a couple of parts of my family).

All I ask is that we stop being so scared of those that are different from us, so scared of idiotic conspiracy theories, and so stupid all the time. Please strive to achieve an IQ higher than the speed limit. That’s all I ask.

They say we could have a close fly-by of an asteroid right before Election Day. There’s a part of me that’s hoping the Mayans were just off a few years.

Let’s do the dinosaur.

No.

We shouldn’t disparage Rita Repulsa in this manner. Anyone that buys the crap being spewed at the Republican National Convention is a lost cause. Move on. Watch Power Rangers.

Ommwriter.

I have rediscovered the Ommwriter app, something I used to use on my very first iPad so many years ago. Curiously, I can’t find Ommwriter on the iOS app store anymore, but I did find a new version for Mac, so I’m using this on my 2015 MacBook Pro. It runs just fine under the latest public beta of Mac OS Big Sur.

There’s a number of things I really like about this app. First of all, as you can see in the screenshot above, it takes up the entire screen by default. This allows me to focus only on what I’m writing and nothing more. I don’t know if notifications are muted or not; I don’t generally receive that many notifications. I’m not really that popular. 

Secondly, I really like the default color scheme the app uses. It’s relaxing. It’s engaging. But most importantly, it’s not distracting. And that’s very important to me. I think part of my inclination for this type of focused color scheme is from growing up in the days of CRT terminals that were one color with a black background. There were three choices: green (the most common), amber, and white. When I worked for Digital in the late 1980s, we were given these choices and nothing more. I didn’t work in a department that warranted full-color (which was a total of 16 colors I believe) displays. I knew of only one person on the entire floor where my cube resided that opted to go with the “dark letters on a light background” setting on her terminal. It was freakishly awful to look at. 

Back to Ommwriter. While I’m writing this entry, I have my really good, and quite old, Bose over-the-ear headphones on. These headphones are not actively performing noise canceling but they do a decent job at the task in a passive manner. There’s a number of music tracks built into Ommwriter. Each key press generates a soft click noise in the background, so I know I’m doing something productive. The approach is subtle but effective.

Addressing the color scheme, I’m reminded of the proposal for a new operating system called Mercury OS. I believe they called the color scheme “Fog”. The aesthetics grab my attention and keep me focused. That’s not an easy task to do with all the things going through my head at any given moment.

If you’re looking to write beautiful prose from your own little world, I recommend this Ommwriter app for Mac OS. I’m really hopeful I can find the iPadOS version again. It would be great to have this on the iPad Pro. 

Neighborhood.

If one were to subscribe to the propaganda coming out of D.C. about The Windy City, one would think my husband and I risk being gunned down while shopping at the Jewel for our weekly grocery shopping.

Honestly, this is not how Chicago works. My husband and I have lived here over three years and we’ve never felt unsafe in our adopted city.

We live on the North Side. Our neighborhood is vibrant, eclectic, and exciting. We hear a smattering of languages while we walk the sidewalks. We can have anything we want at any time. There’s culture, there’s excitement, and there’s a certain amount of Midwestern friendliness and charm.

I will always defend Chicago. I always tell anyone who will listen what a beautiful city it is. Many American cities have their problems; Chicago is no different in this regard. But those that decide to call this city the derogatory “Chi-raq” have no idea what they’re talking about.

I am proud to call Chicago home.

Money.

Apple reached two trillion dollars in valuation this week. The company is the first U.S. company to achieve this feat; and it achieved this, doubling its one trillion dollars in valuation in just two years.

Honestly, I don’t know a lot about what this means other than the fact that Apple has a metric ton of money.

Yet, the company continues to strong-arm developers and the like into following their “30% cut” of generated revenue from developer apps in their App Store. As a developer that has never developed an iOS app, I’m really not sure how I feel about this, as I’ve never developed anything where Apple had to take a 30% cut of the revenue simply for having the app available for iPhones and iPads.

As consumers we are stuck in a tricky place; Apple charges an exorbitant prices for their hardware and dings developers 30% of their revenue from the apps that are distributed through the Apple app store. Kinda sucky. At the same time, Google offers the Android ecosystem with their Android phones, but vacuum every scrap of data they can from the consumer and use the data to sell ads and share the information with god know who on the other end, disrupting any shred of privacy a user may expect.

Honestly, as consumers we have no great choice. Spend an unreasonable amount of money or whore out our privacy to god knows who.

This is not how technology was suppose to evolve. Devices were suppose to get cheaper and we weren’t suppose to give up our privacy. Why does a company need a two trillion dollar valuation? What purpose does that serve?

Masked.

I figure if we’re going to be wearing masks for a while I might as well make the most of it. I’ve shown off my Star Trek mask before. This week I purchased a couple of the masks shown in the photo. If you’re not familiar with the design, the graphic is a part of a “sectional”, or the maps pilots use to navigate the skies. Actually, most pilots have moved to GPS and all sorts of electronic wizardry for navigation, but all of that data is based on a Sectional. It’s called that because you buy charts for the “section” you’re flying in.

The company I purchased my masks from gives the opportunity to get the sectional of your home airport as your design. If you look at the graphic on my mask, you’ll see KUGN, Waukegan Airport. The blue arc denotes O’Hare’s airspace. The “13” you see denotes the highest elevation, in this case 1300 feet, of an obstacle in that particular quadrant of the sectional.

There’s a bunch of other notation visible. If you want to learn more about a Sectional Chart, take a gander at this Wikipedia article.

And wear your mask!

Urgency.

If you haven’t seen it yet, please take 20 minutes and watch President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. Many of the speeches brought me to tears, especially Gabby Gifford’s speech near the beginning of the night’s lineup. It was good to hear a President speech coherently, with complete sentences, and cohesive thoughts. In many ways it boggles my mind how we went for President Obama to the idiot we have in the White House today.