My Problem Right Now

Me: I want to write a long piece on politics today!

Brain: Sorry, man. Not up for it. Too much thinking involved.

Me: But I have important things to say!

Brain: You should have thought about it before you decided to fuel me exclusively on Christmas cookies for three days straight.

Me: What’s wrong with that?

Brain: Dude, carbs and sugar? Exclusively? It’s a miracle I have the attention span to let you put together a sentence, much less paragraphs and think pieces.

Me: What a crock. The cookies have butter. That’s a fat.

Brain: Think about what you’re saying here.

Me: But the world needs me to opine!

Brain: Fine. Six tweets.

Me: What?

Brain: I’ll give you six political tweets today. That’s all I got.

Me: But I’ve already done two political tweets today! Arguably three!

Brain: Better make the next 420 characters count, then.

Me: You’re awful.

Brain: Have another cookie. You’ll feel better.

Me: Mmmmm… Christmas cookies.

Brain: Yeah, that’s what I thought.

52 Comments on “My Problem Right Now”

  1. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me

    Thanks for reminding me I have two pieces of pastry from my favorite bakery left to fuel my revision of my novel. It’s all I can brain for right now.

  2. LOL. Tell the brain we will wait patiently. And … have some EFAs! Duck confit! Dark chocolate!

    (I mean, Brain. Dude. Bill O’Reilly admitted last night that white privilege exists — albeit while arguing for its active promotion and promulgation by way of the Electoral College et seq — and David Cohn and Zerlina Maxwell had some excellent contextual commentary on The Last Word. So we’d really like for you to come up with something eventually.)

  3. I am so there right now. Only in my case, it is trying to untangle legal stuff; a necessary part of lawyering. It is hard, so very hard, to focus on that stuff with all the Christmas carbs running in my system.

    My Christmas break cannot come soon enough.

  4. Mmmmmm. COOKIES!
    Today’s pun from the mathematical discipline of General Topology, Stone–Čech compactification: an inebriated guy in Prague was crushed in an automobile-crushing hydraulic press because of the Stoned–Czech compactification theorem.
    “Million Dollar Man Hunt”
    . by Jonathan Vos Post…
    Drain the swamp
    auction alligator hunting
    with Trump’s kids, no Pomp
    and Circumstances, no bunting,
    no balloons, no elephants — but photo op Trump
    German police seek a Tunisian man
    born in 1992, papers in Christmas Market truck
    ISIS claims to have inspired his plan
    to kill a truck driver, hijack
    the truck for the Berlin terror attack
    Noplace is safe — an introduction —
    Alien abduction
    on the 5 —
    5:03 a.m.
    Wednesday 21 December 2016

  5. At this point, is there anything to say? The only thing that happened recently was the EC failed in its one and only job to stop a demagogue like Trump. So we need to chuck the EC and hard.

    Other than that, we had a demagogue president elect before, and we have a demagogue president elect after, and starting on January 20, the world burns. And nothing anyone says is going to stop that.

    Every appointee named by Trump should be opposed. Every single one of them is a sorry excuse for a human being. Except dems dont have control of either house, so, what can dems really do but shout while the pyromaniacs light the fuses. Republicans have shown they have put every priority into party loyalty and have zero fucks to give for decency in general, or the american people in general.

    Seriously, what could be said at this point that would make a damn bit of difference. We are looking at 2 years minimum of unfettered fascism and bigotry in America. And then maybe in 2018 the dems can get back control of the house, and maybe senate if we’re lucky, and maybe start dousing fires.

    As far as I can see we are looking at rolling civil rights progress back three or four decades, a pointless war, repeal of obamacare, privatization of social security, and no words spoken by any progressive is going to change that.

  6. Wait… does this mean yesterday’s “burrito” was a lie?

    Or have you just blocked it from your memory?

  7. I guess we should feel bad for you, since getting your thoughts out is indeed important. But, in all honesty I think we shouldn’t feel bad because, come on you have Christmas cookies, I want Christmas cookies. I’m just too lazy to bake some, or hell get out of the house to buy some.

  8. Get ready for the next 8 years (Trump will be re-elected if his terrible diet doesn’t catch up with him in the next 4).

    OTOH, 420 characters is more coherent letters in a row than the tiny-handed vulgarian has managed since the campaign started.

    Interestingly, a lady I work with was in several business meetings with Trump 20 years ago – back then, he wasn’t incoherent and actually made sense in the meetings, without being bombastic or condescending, and he didn’t try to grope her or otherwise be inappropriate. She thinks the reality TV and/or dementia has gotten to hi,m.

  9. Ok! I was diligently scanning your tweets for political content, and got sidetracked; Marc Laidlaw’s freebies are available on Amazon UK as well, so thank you Marc, and thank you John.

    I propose to have a mince pie; this culinary delight may be peculiar to Britain, but modern mincemeat is made without the meat, but with spiced and brandy soaked fruit, along with the pastry which surrounds it. At least, the expensive ones are; the cheap ones are either made from cardboard, or simply taste as if they are. Taken with a cup of tea they are really very nice.

    And we need all the help we can get: Brexit and Trump are painfully close to the doomsday scenario. However, I was heartened to see that the German police moved swiftly to establish the innocence of the first suspect and released him; those are the values we are defending, and holding to them is our best defense against those who want to take us down…

  10. The problem right now, as I see it is that you are just a spine-less sympathizer of the Rebel Alliance, hiding behind a blog post…how do I know? Simple: “One, it’s not like there aren’t tons of toys coming out of this anyway (the film’s time setting also allows a canny refreshing of lots of old school Star Wars merchandise, including everything Darth Vader and Death Star), ” We here on the Dark Side call it THE BATTLE STATION, not a “DEATH STAR”…Rebel Scum!!!

  11. Flour contains protein too: for whole-wheat flour, about 16 g per 120 g*. As a typical male, you should aim for about 58 g of protein daily. So all you need to do is consumer 435 g (about 1 pound) of cookies per day and you should be fine, nutritionally speaking.

    * Subtract about 20% for processed white flour.

  12. Made mincemeat pie yesterday. Must make Brandy sauce to go with (just buttercream flavored with brandy) Made apple pie today. Tomorrow I will make pumpkin, then the traditional Christmas cinnamon rolls for Sunday morning. Busy kitchen!

  13. I am rather surprised that you haven’t declared it a post-free zone yet and shut down Whatever until after Christmas. Given a choice between political rants and homemade gingerbread, I’m in favor of the gingerbread. The Rage Mango will (probably, regrettably) still be around after the holidays, and I’m willing to ignore the tweetsharknado until then.

  14. John Scalzi will go off, ladies and gents, at some time in the not too distant future. Just wait for it. It’ll be like cookies, but better.

  15. megpie71 – Australian, female, fat, over forty. Been hanging around the internet (first Usenet, now blogs) since about 1997. Far too cynical for my own good.

    I’d be sympathising with you, but this year my partner and I are living in a rental place which has the following “features”:

    * No air conditioning (trust me, I really noticed that one yesterday – 43C maximum temperature, which is on the hot side even for Perth).
    * Not much ventilation in the kitchen.
    * A very small and cheap stove which doesn’t have the world’s best insulation around the oven – so when the oven is in use, the entire kitchen heats up. (Definitely not comfortable at this time of the year, but I’ll be keeping it in mind for winter! In fact, I have next year’s Christmas presents planned out already: fruit cakes, baked in the middle of winter, and carefully fed brandy and rum over the next few months).

    So this year, my Christmas cooking extends to making White Christmas (a confectionery item of the “Chocolate Crackles” school of cooking – combine dry ingredients, pour over melted Copha, leave in fridge to set) and rum-raisin chocolate truffles (where the only cooking done is melting the chocolate). Biscuits/Cookies are pretty much off the menu until at least about April (when the weather is scheduled to cool down again).

  16. The Beltaine Lady – I am a blue dot in a very red state. A New Yorker transplanted in Alabama. A 3° Alexandrian Witch in the Bible Belt. A Buddhist, yogi, tree-hugging dirt worshipper surrounded by evangelicals and southern Baptists. A liberal (although really rather moderate in contrast to some) in a sea of "conservatives". Pagan. Kinky. LGBTQ (but don't put me in a box because I love who I love and what they have in their pants doesn't matter.) Feminist. Humanist. Animal advocate - especially for pit bulls. I rescue the dogs other people throw away. I have fibromyalgia and narcolepsy, so I'm on SS disability, which means I'm also one of those "throw away" people. I used to be a very active public pagan but now...well...look where I am. I used to keep my mouth shut (well, not really) but then my country decided to have a collective circle jerk and I am pissed off. Congratulations, you woke the sleeping mama lion. Welcome to my blog, where I shall rail against the incoming fascist establishment while I still have the freedom to do so.
    The Beltaine Lady

    Every time I think about writing a thought-out political blog post, I get overwhelmed by the depression of those thoughts and retreat from it. And since it’s the holidays, my retreat leads to baking — which leads to things like “Blasphemy Cheesecake”.

    I’m pretty sure my friends are much happier with my baking retreat than my blog posts, as they are recipients of said blasphemies. LOL

  17. Next year make sure there are peanut butter cookies in there. If no one is allergic. They fulfill all the foods groups because of the protein from the legumes.

    Black forest oatmeal drops also help. The cherries were a superfood a few years ago. They should be in rotation to be there again soon.

  18. Megpie 71, you could make berry tiramisu with store bought ladyfingers or pound cake.

    If you are willing to microwave melt chocolate or butter, I think I can find more no-bake holiday desserts for you.

  19. Seriously, we might as well eat well as not while watching the crazy. There are only so many ways I can eat popcorn!

  20. Kore & Megpie: Our solution to the “too hot for baking” problem is a giant pavlova. Pre-baked shell, whipped cream, topped with All Of The Fruits!! coarsely chopped, plus maybe some shaved chocolate. Sorted. I just can’t go White Christmas any more; something about the mouthfeel of Copha. We receive some each year, and fortunately everyone else in the house likes it. And there’s always those Danish butter cookies that come in the blue tins. And shortbread, and Lindor truffles, and roasted cashews & macadamias…

    Not-so-random quote of the day: “Politics were for those who had too much to eat.” ^_^ (From “A Brief History of the Trans-Pacific Tunnel” by Ken Liu)

  21. Scalzi Brain, do you have something to say about John Kasich’s duplicitous signing of an abortion ban after 20 weeks’ gestation? Abortion bans are still bans, even if they’re not as absurd as a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The legislators knew they weren’t going to get that one, so they settled for what in their view is the “next best thing”.

  22. Kasich won a Hamilton Elector, Ron Paul (not his song Rand) won an Elector, Bernie won one, Colin Powell won two, that native American woman Faith Spotted Eagle won one…
    MetaSonnet: Valley of the Half-Blind
    by Jonathan Vos Post
    In the Valley of the Half-Blind
    the 3-eyed dog is king
    sung to B. B. King
    Lie Down with Dogs
    Get Up With Fleas…
    There’s no such thing
    as being half-pregnant
    half a crook
    or half-blind
    but never mind
    Some say the glass is half-full
    some runneth over their cup
    some say it’s all a bunch of bull
    Black is White, Down is Up
    3 p.m., Wednesday 21 December 2016

  23. Richard Winks – Long time Sci/Tech lover and practitioner, socially tolerant, fiscally conservative, apolitical, unremarkably ordinary, admitted pedant, long suffering cynic. @dwinx49r on Twitter
    Richard Winks

    Hear that?… Someone’s knocking at the door. It’s the squirrels, they are coming for you. Merry Christmas (cookies) you nut.

  24. This is why I write first thing in the morning. My prose is generally clean due to no carb and sugar contamination.

    Might explain why I don’t sell anything. I’m either functionally comatose or pretty much done in by SQUIRREL! by 1:30. By the time I get home and contemplate all that business stuff, my brain is barely capable of binge-watching Marvel shows, music documentaries, or reruns of The Wire and Game of Thrones.

  25. I like your quote Shrinking Voilet; its a useful reminder for those of us not living at the bottom level of Maslow’s heirarchy.

  26. So “Miniatures” showed up in “People who buy this also buy these” and I googled “whatever” and here I am and I liked your review of #RogueOne so I preordered it (“Miniatures”) and I may follow you on @twitter (I read your pinned tweet) and tomorrow I’ll be going “Who is this guy again?” (Just another day online.) But I’m glad you’re around.

  27. While I enjoy your political commentary, I’ve got to admit that the biggest reason I’ve been visiting Whatever a couple times each day this week is in the hope of finding one of your yuletide tales. I am recovering from orthopedic surgery last week, and between PT and pain-killers, I desperately need a good laugh. I’ve pre-ordered Miniatures and am eagerly awaiting its arrival, but it doesn’t sound like that will ship for another week or two, and I need help now.

    I apologize – I know very well that you’re not my bitch and that you don’t owe me or anyone else (except your publisher) anything. But if those cookie-befuddled synapses of yours happen to feel like having fun with silliness of a different variety, this humble fan would be simply delighted to see the results.

    Joyful holidays to you and your family, sir, and please have fun doing whatever the hell you please. If you decide to share it here, I’ll squee with delight, but either way, just have fun. And thanks for all that you do.

  28. And now the really burning question: what *kind* of cookies?
    Here are the ones I brought into work:
    American gingerbread
    Swedish gingerbread (no molasses)
    Swedish rye cookies
    Cranberry-orange chocolate chip walnut

    But what would Scalzi eat?

  29. Before I sink
    Into the big sleep
    I want to hear
    I want to hear
    The scream of the butterfly





    But, seriously: either join them or fight them. The cookie monster is now tooling up with a large arrangement of weapons, but he was always a militant one.

    Looks at 4th Wall: I heard you’re not into Dragon Symbiotes having sex? Yeah, that kind of stuff and metaphors are really important now.

    Double-Down: how to lose, a 2016 Film coming last month.

  30. Colonel Snuggledorf, hope you make a full recovery.

    If you preordered from Subterranean, the e-book links have gone out. I’ve got mine loaded on the Kindle, but I’m trying to hold off reading until the 25th — we’re postponing the family Christmas because some relatives won’t be back in town until the 27th, so I’m going to use Miniatures as a Christmas treat.

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