Would you rather be liked..or be right?

In emotional face offs, I try to be liked, and I forget being right with those I love. But being right comes somewhat more naturally to me than to the populace in general—sometimes I have no choice but to be right. And in these cases I find myself often hated.

For example, in high school I envisioned a movie plot where the director falls in love with his cinematographer. Ten years later a movie came out with such a plot. My friend Julian observed that my view is off by about 10 years—I have 10 years to make my visions real before someone else does.

In this last election, I railed against my family who voted for Trump, pointing out the discrepancy of my female cousin spouting praises to the woman-abusing president elect, saying it was particularly ironic she was doing this on Facebook—a company I said has never respected its users’ privacy. Since then, the #MeToo “movement” happened. Since then, Trump was slapped with multiple, multiple sex abuse allegations from women. Since then, Trump shepherded in a Supreme Court justice who is in the same position. Since then, Facebook was found to have unwittingly helped the Russians fix our election. Since then, Facebook’s login service has been found to allow hackers to control applications you use Facebook to sign in to—in addition to compromising its own service (your info, your posts).

A few years ago, I predicted/suspected that my uncle was carrying a gun when he came to our house. My grandmother scoffed. “That’s my son you’re talking about. Rusty doesn’t have a gun.” Then my mom asked him and he confirmed that he brings a gun to that house when he goes. But nothing ever changed and I never got an apology from my grandmother. What would that mean to her? That her grandson was right about something she thought was a certain text? That I knew what was going on better than she did, with her son?

The first such event happened when I was four or five years old. I heard my parents arguing. I asked if they were going to get a divorce. My mom said “Maybe” and my dad said “No.” About 15 years later they divorced. My mom told me the truth. My dad tried to comfort me. But he did so with a lie—and I have never forgiven him for that. That was the first time I was right instead of being liked.

In work, in 2008 (10 years ago), I suggested to my boss that we build an alternate reality platform game. He had asked for ideas. The game I imagined would custom build a level on top of the real world around you. That was a far-fetched idea back then. Now the Apple App Store has a full category for AR games. An AR platform game would be perfect. Fifteen years ago I suggested a different company build a retro-graphics RPG. Something with pixelated 3d graphics—focus on gameplay, simplify the graphics. My boss said he couldn’t see people playing such a thing because they were already expecting more and more accurate 3d rendering. Fast forward 10 years: Minecraft. And every other pixelated game. Are never short of users. People don’t mind pixelated graphics—they love them.

So of course I’m sick of working for someone else who is subverting my ideas. And now that I’m on disability, I probably won’t have to. With my books I can claim to be the sole expert on how to produce them. I don’t have to listen to what people say of them. I’m free to grapple with issues or stories or characters or styles that I feel appropriate.

If I was going to do a bit of predicting today, I would say that the United States is about a year away from further modifying its First Amendment in a way that will censor more of what we now call “art.” That’s just my feeling. I hope I am wrong.

But even on lithium for my manic depression, I’m a wild one. The notes I wrote to my family pointing out these weaknesses in their thinking were not polite. They were not nice. And I don’t believe any of my family are seeing the present-day events while thoughtfully considering my advice. They think I’m crazy. They have to. Because if I’m right, it means they have to do their lives differently—and they don’t want to do that. It’s much easier to sit in the flock of that family and do nothing. I chose not to sit silently. I chose to say my piece and move far, far away from them in this jumbled life. And I’m glad I did.

Purity Ball

I’m thinking about my next book, which I’m pretty sure will be called Purity Ball, based on the events of the same name that have popped up in the last about 20 years in the United States.

The reasons I’ve been interested by this idea are:

The US has displayed a disturbing trend—also displayed by some of our so-called political enemy states—of wanting to impose a false religious rule over everyone..on issues that don’t concern those doing the imposing. Abortion is one of these. Everyone can understand why you might want to have an abortion. Rich people get their abortions anyway—overseas and in secret. Look at the politicians in this country: They generally want to impose asinine rules like this while they themselves live by a different set of rules—and they live in hiding. The Purity Ball’s first aspect of interest for me is this: Fathers who want to preserve their daughters’ “virginity.” They want to control their daughters’ sex lives when doing that only has tangential effects on the father while potentially having massive effects on the daughter.

But that’s not entirely what a Purity Ball or purity ring and promise to remain a virgin are all about, is it?

Not at all. The girls promise their celibacy to their fathers until the daughters’ wedding night. There is language in their vows that has to do with the father approving/disapproving of the daughter’s choice in husband. That could majorly affect the daughter’s life in a culture that rarely arranges marriages.

It also subtextually reinforces the idea that these daughters will get married at all. Further still, it reinforces heterosexuality over all else.

Also: Where is the purity ball for sons? There isn’t one. Sons are allowed to go buck wild while daughters are restrained by “purity.” And I think this is not at all about the woman being the baby carrier..not at all.

But still I don’t think we’ve gotten to the bottom of what disturbs me about the Purity Ball. This third level down is contained in the pictures of fathers and daughters at these events. The fathers are kissing their daughters on the mouth. They are holding their daughters closely. The event is a “date” between many father/daughter pairs. And while the young children invited to such a ball may have no idea what is going on emotionally, their fathers certainly do. The teenage girls who go to these events (some of them) may have the same level of innocence of understanding as the kids and some of the ignorant fathers. But some of those fathers (the smarter ones) certainly do understand that these events have overtones of incestuous child sexual abuse. Certainly incest is not prevalent in this community—but they’re putting on a play that says it does.

I think my main or semi-main character will consider himself intellectually superior to his peers—and he will perceive the events with that extra layer of awareness which intelligence brings. If it’s a dual-main character thing, so will his daughter.

I think now that this is a first-person [father] POV, because this: Half the time, the girl has sex before marriage anyway. They have sex without protection more often than if they hadn’t made a purity pledge. They have oral and anal sex as alternatives. So there isn’t a purity effect on the daughters—they just enjoy a date with their dads. But for the dads there is something far more complex going on. Yes: The Purity Ball is all about the dads.

I’ve played with the idea that the whole neighborhood is in on this daughter-rape idea—that the main girl character comes to realize this (but too late).

I think this idea is well placed given the recent US Supreme Court nomination and attitudes shamelessly adopted by US politicians and religious people. The world is fighting for freedom. We are railing against secrets kept by our governments that would rapidly change life for the better for all people. And all the while, the US gov’t is fighting to take away the rights of the poor (to kill the poor). This Purity Ball idea is a provincial example of this taking away or holding back rights from the poor, by the rich, enfranchised, and famous among us.

Make the title Purity Balls? A play of sorts based on the men’s balls? I don’t think so—but consider it.

D urged me to play both sides of the satire, in my last book. I think that worked well. If the dad is the main character, have him come to feel that in helping his daughter stay safe by pledging her virginity to him, that he is right to take it himself. That it becomes right, over the course of the book, that he take her and enjoy her—that he takes the purity pledge most seriously and that he takes her “purity” from her.

Maybe start with the sentence, “Purity is one of the most dangerous concepts in our vocabulary,” (or something like that) and their obsession with purity and cleaning and resets of virginity and controlling others’ purity drenches every word.

I’ll probably write this in November. I’ve made notes and captured pictures and sites from the web.

$5700/month for valbenazine

My health insurance was recently cancelled by the government.  HealthCare.gov sent me a letter encouraging me to call them.  When I did, the woman I spoke to informed me that I have Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and that my Medicare coverage overlapped with my Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage which I paid for each month (using my monthly government subsidy).  She told me she would be canceling my Highmark BCBS coverage and even though I protested, that’s exactly what she did.  I asked if instead we could cancel my Medicare Part A and she informed me that I could not cancel my Medicare Part A without also canceling my disability income—unless I give up my only income, the only choice was for her to cancel my Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

I applied for Medicare Part B (health insurance) and was rejected because I applied outside the acceptable period.  I’ve been told that after two years on disability Medicare Part B will be automatically added to my benefits.  I’ve been on disability for almost three years and this has never happened.  Now I have no health insurance.  The only way I can get my prescriptions is through an emergency prescription program.  My prescription costs have gone up by a factor of 10—from an affordable level to an almost unaffordable level.

There is a new medication, valbenazine, which was specifically designed to address tardive dystonia, which is a disorder of uncontrollable movements like Parkinson’s disease.  I got this condition as a side effect of a medicine I was prescribed in a hospital.  It is a permanent condition.  Last month I was able to try valbenazine (as a sample) and it helps somewhat.  My psych doctor is trying to get me more samples.  This medicine is not covered by my emergency prescription card.  It is not covered by Medicare Part B—which I don’t even have.  The cost of one month of valbenazine without insurance is $5700.

That is more than twice my disability income.  Even if I was making what I made when I was a software engineer, the $5700 price tag would be prohibitive.  That amount is more than three times the maximum amount I have ever paid for rent—it is 10 times what I currently pay for rent.  That price tag, combined with my now having no insurance, means that unless my psych doctor can get me samples, there’s no way I can pay for the medicine.  What is the point of pricing a medicine so high?  (Please: if you know: tell me.)

I’m not complaining.  I am explaining.  I’m doing ok.  I have disability income to offset the fact that software companies (or other companies) will not hire me with bipolar-type schizoaffective disorder and that I can’t sit up, walk, stand or move normally due to tardive dystonia.  The local health clinic helps me and I pay them on a sliding scale.  I’m glad to live in a place where I have such help.  My life is full.  I live with my girlfriend.  We live a simple, mostly peaceful, inexpensive life.  I am not asking for anything to change.

What I am doing is painting a picture for you.  I am asking you why such details are the way they are.  I am asking you to understand my position.  I am asking you what sense it makes to price a drug at $5700/month.  Who can afford that?  What insurance would I have to have to get ahold of that drug?  I am shaking my head.  This is senseless to me.

And even more broadly: as a society, as a species, why is this the way we do things?  Why don’t we help each other when we need help?  I used to work with Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield—I helped them build their software systems.  Now I am in need of health care and I cannot get it.  I have to laugh at that.  I help people do things when I can.  I would like to see us all do that.

Railing against my own insignificance

Over ten years ago I invented some types of cellular automata, building on Stephen Wolfram’s ideas. I posted images of those systems plus explanations of how they worked to the forum on his website. That forum is long gone, replaced by a new forum, and email I sent to Wolfram’s people go unanswered.

I’m not going to pursue this any more. My cousin once asked me why I wasn’t publishing my CA results in a journal. I said I didn’t care. Somewhere in there I decided that I do care. And now I’m deciding that I don’t care again. Wolfram et al obviously don’t care about lost inventions that used to be on their website. My fear is that someday a second edition of his book will come out..and that CAs will be presented which demonstrate the features I came up with, and that there will be no credit to my name.

You know what, though? Fuck it. I’m going to stop railing against my own insignificance and let it go. I’m going to link to a resume that links to those inventions and move on. There’s code there that describes some of what I added to the Wolfram forum—and some is lost! What difference does it make? Is someone going to be reviewing the history of this universe someday and be like: “Gee. It’s too bad we don’t have a compete record of what this Matthew Temple did.” No one is going to care. No one cares now. I’m not doing things for money. I’m not doing them for the credit. I’m doing them because I like to—I enjoy it and it’s fun.

The link provided above, I’m never going to edit again. I’ve made a reasonable effort to collect my blogs into one (this one). And I’m making a reasonable effort to collect my books on my book site. Beyond that, who cares. I’m leaving it all behind. If I write more books I will post them there. Any links I think of that are mine I will add to this post:

I will never again be on social media nor write to literary agents (which I haven’t done in five years) nor will I do any promotion except as is accomplished by posting to this un-promoted blog. I’ll keep my talk to my writing process and have as little to do with anything else as I possibly can. And I will let go of all ideas of my own significance from here on out—ie significance is a concept I will eliminate from my thoughts about myself.

A book trailer?

I was reading around the web this morning for book promotion advice and I once again saw the idea of making a “book trailer”—that is, a short video introducing the book, cast with characters from the book, featuring quotes from the book, etc.

I think this is the most ridiculous idea.

I’ve been to film school and there and elsewhere seen trailers for movies that don’t exist..as a way to promote the movie idea to producers.

How do you make a trailer for a movie that doesn’t exist? You can only do it horribly. A trailer editor has as its disposal all the footage shot for the film. It is the compression—or pulling from—all that footage that when done well makes an interesting preview. In my way of understanding a trailer, you can’t make a good one before the movie is shot. There’s no way to create the needed compression or sampling ratio without a large library of footage to pull from.

I have never in my life seen a beforehand preview that was good in any way.

But even more absurd is a book trailer. You’re creating footage for a project whose primary form—whose essence—is text. And this essential text may never inspire another form. A book may never become a movie.

And yet here on this web a book trailer is suggested as a good way to get people to read your book.

The suggestion is juvenile. It lacks understanding of what a book is and how it exists: as a block of text that must be read. It takes time to read. It can’t be sampled or shortened in a query letter or a book trailer. It can’t even be represented by its first page (which I suggest as a better query letter).

So I guess: have your book trailers. I won’t watch them and I won’t make them. I don’t think this is a quality of my age, but rather a matter of sense and nonsense. If my books are less read because of this, so be it. At least I’ll proceed with my head on straight.