Edumucations

I’ve often wondered how I came to learn much of what I know. More specifically, I’m intrigued by the processes I use to learn, rather than where I’ve learned it all – as the sources didn’t teach me how to seek knowledge, but instead just gave me the knowledge.

A standard practice of my learning is my utilization of a large variety of resources. It’s fascinating how many people I can talk to that will never interact with each other, and thus I can safely approach without fear of overlap, but still receive a wide variety of thoughts and experiences outside my own. My long-standing tendency to befriend people older than myself helps a lot with this, too.

Some of these are friends, whom aid by walking ahead of me (as the majority of my friends have been older than me, since the beginning) and allowing me to watch as they make lots of stupid mistakes. A few are mentors – not necessarily teachers, but the handful of guys I looked up to and seek out for advice and clarification. The last group would be my ‘audience’. The audience consists of all the people that get to experience the end product, and then supply feedback on where I am. These would be family, friends, acquaintances (peers and co-workers), and superiors (elders, teachers, bosses).

My process of learning begins before there’s even a real problem to address. At the earliest hint or inkling of any new issue, I inflate whatever I experience to what feels reasonable to me, in order to justify a measurable reaction. Reasonable is traditionally defined by how I see those I respect handle similar conflict within their lives – but as time marches on, I move closer to perceptual independence. I know that realistically, my situation is often a far cry from what most people are truly experiencing, thus when I set out to learn more about what a whole situation is about and how to deal with it, I preface everything with the knowledge that I’m young and inexperienced. The boons from this are twofold: my chosen teachers are more inclined to share what they have to know due to this candid confidence in them, and they’re also less likely to alter their translation in an attempt to appear more or less than what they truly are. If they know they’re not being judged for their views, but instead being relied on, they’re infinitely more willing to offer honest advice without consideration for bias. I can then make use of the availability of multiple extreme viewpoints, and taking them all into consideration, find the happy median, a balanced portion of everything I’ve heard.

Take a case example: for much of my early pubescence, I was entirely convinced of my need for some kind of romantic relationship. Some of the motivation for this could be cited towards bizarre parental relations (or lack thereof) in early youth, but looking back, it seems to me that I was attempting to tackle a problem that many men don’t ever figure out how to address, even into their last years. Spawned out of the rather irrational fear that I may have to deal with it for the rest of my life, I felt rushed to exterminate a weakness that I saw plaguing men greater than myself.

This is the formula I concocted, as best I can tell.

Step one: Encounter a new feeling that, ultimately, is insignificant. Examine it and compare it with what I know I could and should be feeling, were I in enhanced circumstances.

Two: Consider existing evidence on the matter and start watching others live out the situations I’m imagining myself in. It’s like living vicariously, but just taking notes on how other people are stupid and where I can afford to make mistakes. Once I’ve collected some concept of what’s normal and healthy, I start making more active efforts at addressing my self-made problem.

Three: Start discussing. Highly depending on the nature and sensitivity of the situation, but in general, I’ll find five different people I can trust to provide varied opinions on how reasonable my feelings are (remember that I’ve exaggerated everything in my head – what comes out to other people will sound significantly more realistic and reasonable than what I’m truly experiencing). A rough number, but I’ll keep talking until I feel satiated in the amount of information I’ve collected and the perspectives I’ve both assumed and received on the situation. I’ll process the information over (most typically) a week.

Four: Settle on one person to bring all my findings to that I haven’t talked to yet and present my situation and conclusions, but offered in the same manner as with my other friends – a dire need for advice, regardless of what I’ve learned thus far.

Five: Adjust, adapt, and record. I’ve successfully learned how to solve a problem that I haven’t experienced. By amplifying all my feelings in the situation and imagining myself in more epic circumstances than exist in reality, I push my perspective to a place that it won’t otherwise go.

People do a lot of things that they never realize.

I think too much.

Delivery

If you go back a few days, I wished life were as easy to win as the internet.

I’m not so sure it isn’t.

Examining the elements of interaction is all it takes to see that dominating the way I communicate is merely a matter of adaptation and methodology. The formula increases in complexity when you bring it into real-life situations, and demands a much higher reaction time and capability to think on your feet, but the process is the same, in the end. Bear with me, here.

In any internet interaction, it’s always a matter of reading comprehension, followed by finding the pressure points in what another person’s saying. If you know what you’re doing, you can identify these sensitive spots just based on simple pattern recognition, with enough experience. Identifying familiar patterns goes a long way in saving your words for when it matters, which is necessary to preserve your own sanity, as well as the perception that will be drawn around you. It all comes down to what kind of persona you’re trying to emit, and how that persona is to counter the persona of your victims (or potential allies). So, I suppose the key tenets would be:

1) Don’t waste words. That doesn’t mean be reclusive, but save a response for when a response is both called for and productive. If you’re doing it right, you’ll be impossible to trap into circular or never-ending arguments (which degrade your image and sap your energy), and your words will be seen as something that shouldn’t be ignored.

2) Know your target. Identify your subject of communication, but more importantly, know your subject’s tendencies and qualifications. This is necessary to ensure that you aren’t trying to bullshit someone that knows more than you do, but also for stocking your bag of tricks. Watching how others communicate with your target is the best method for collecting knowledge on your target; approaching unknown entities is not advisable. Lurkers are dangerous for this same reason, as they rarely reveal enough to grant an understanding of their patterns, but often have the patience and the know-how to cripple any discussion on the table, and thus must be avoided, and confronted with caution.

The best knowledge will be in the form of key phrases and buzzwords that they react positively AND negatively to (depending on how you want them to react), an understanding of their favorite topics and the topics with which they have the most experience, a smattering of personal information (primarily gender, political affiliations, marital/child status, and location), and an understanding of their true personality. Their true personality is not what will be displayed at all times, but the causality behind everything they say.

3) Know your goals. Every interaction has a goal. Generally, you’re either looking to corner them as efficiently as possible, or you’re looking to generate a positive response (via humor, a thoughtful post, encouragement, or sharing interests). You can do both, of course, and it’s the best words that do just that. You have to know what you’re aiming to do. Aim for a simple goal (produce a quality counter-flame), and then work up. Not every encounter will be a supreme victory. To dominate, sitting on the sidelines to wait for the opportunity to rip face will just not do. Sometimes you have to settle for mediocre, to build up towards the truly winner moments.

4) Know your available methods, AKA know yourself. Knowing what you’re good at is what it’s all about. Focusing your strengths on the vulnerabilities of your target is what’s it all about, and unless you know what your strengths are, you can’t even begin to do that. That’s why arrogant newbies suck.

My point in writing all this is that if you’re careful in examining all of that, it’s pretty easy to realize that all of that transfers perfectly over to real-life interaction. The way I write about it sounds incredibly manipulative and subversive, but I’m inclined to think it’s just a realistic look at how people interact in a semi-anonymous manner. The rules and boundaries change when you bring it into the real world. The taboos change and what’s effective here isn’t worth a thing there. It’s all a matter of pattern recognition in general interaction, and then identifying what’s most effective for communication on an individual basis.

My preliminary tests suggest that I’m not off target.

Centrism

As children, the primary goal for our elders is to show us, by whatever means necessary, that the world does not revolve around us. Cultural nuances are what these people are attempting to instill within us: standards of common courtesy & manners, tradition, honor & respect. These form the foundation necessary for normal interaction within one’s world. How one creates and defines one’s world is another ocean of intrigue entirely – today, I ponder upon the evolution of our idea of self, among a sea of other selfs.

Generally, we define assholes by their sense of self versus our own and/or those we care for. How dare he let his dog shit on your lawn? What did his mother ever teach him? Probably nothing, lol.

I’m more and more convinced that personality is a matter of how well one can alter one’s perspective at will. This ability is more commonly known as keeping an open mind – but so many are convinced that the expansion of the mind is more related to politics, than to every day interactions, that few even ponder the true depth of such a concept. The open-minded person is capable of empathizing and sympathizing with every person and every situation with the fullest extent of his or her heart. This is an ability most often attributed and reserved for therapists, yet why would we try and treat such a fantastic trait with such aloof disdain by quarantining it to something so limited as a counseling session?

kaika_sk: I guess it is because of my interest in psychology that I love learning about people.
salandarin: exaaaactly
kaika_sk: Its kind of a hobby, I observe people everywhere I go.
kaika_sk: Probably why I tend to troll the forums instead of posting.
salandarin: i enjoy both sides of the equation. observing other people as they react to me allows me to observe myself in a more objective manner, but i get to learn about other people and myself at the same time
salandarin: i like to think of each interaction as a chance to improve on the last one
salandarin: constant state of improvement!
kaika_sk: *nods* That makes sense.
salandarin: it’s kind of like the real-life RPG 😉
salandarin: i wish more people thought of life like that.
salandarin: which might sound kind of conceited, but a lot of people have given up on improvement and growth
salandarin: and instead are just gunning for breaking even, survival
kaika_sk: I agree, I mean, I think too many people are not really seeing the bigger picture.
salandarin: i sort of understand – experiencing just two weeks of constant work work work work gave me a real case of tunnel-vision, it’s so easy just to get lost in the details of life
salandarin: life can be lonely and embittering if you don’t keep perspective
kaika_sk: Well, I think right now for myself, I am in the survival mode, but more so because of my financial situation, I just don’t have the time or energy for more.

This is my point. Why do we lose sight of self-improvement? The primary focus of our social education in youth is how to play nice with others. Yet once that eighteen or so years of learning are done, we somehow come to accept that “people are the way they are”, that who we’ve become by the time we have our degree is who we’ll be, for the most part, to our death-beds. It’s a state of docile acceptance: we treat our personalities and our perspectives as concrete, immovable objects that cannot be improved or harmed. Our environments and circumstances only “unlock” certain aspects of ourselves, good and bad (such as depression or contentment). Why are we content with what’s enough to make it through life, when we could be emotional and social giants, building each other up with even the most minute interactions?

Idealism sucks balls.

Budding Terrorists

From Slashdot:

“A student at the Houston-area Clements High School was arrested, sent to an “Alternative Education Center” and banned from graduation after school officials found he created a video game map of his school. School district police arrested the teen and searched his home where they confiscated a hammer as a ‘potential weapon’. ‘ “They decided he was a terroristic threat,” said one source close to the district’s investigation.’ With an upcoming May 12 school board election, this issue has quickly become political, with school board members involved in the appeal accusing each other of pandering to the Chinese community in an attempt to gain votes.”

One more, two more.

Some good comments:

I made a map of my school shortly after the Columbine thing, for Duke Nuken 3D.

I got extra credit from my Visual Arts teacher for being ‘creative’, and lemme tell you, I had a HELL of a lot more than a hammer for weapons at my house.”

(in response)

My Visual Arts teacher gave me an “Incomplete” for the course. I shouldn’t have made my map for Duke Nukem Forever.

Dude, you are way underestimating the seriousness of this issue. They found a hammer in this kid’s house…a fucking HAMMER. He could easily have knocked one, maybe even two people unconscious with that thing before anyone could do anything about it.

What does anyone need with a hammer in their house anyway? Forget about banning him from graduation, this little mini-Osama should get sent straight to Gitmo. There is absolutely no reason to have a hammer in your home unless you intend to commit a terrorist act.

Plus, if all that weren’t bad enough, this kid is ASIAN. Christ man, do you have any idea how crazy those Asians are? One of them killed a bunch of people at Virginia Tech just a short time ago. This categorically PROVES that all Asians are sociopaths just itching to shoot up a school. You can’t argue with this logic, it is completely impervious.

You have no idea what we’re up against here, man. This shit is SERIOUS. Don’t come crying to me when your kid comes home with a big nasty bump on his head because one of these little Asian al Qaeda wannabes smacked him over the head with a mallet. You were warned.”

(in response)

I spoke with Charles Hammerton about this, and you are neglecting many aspects.

He might have had the hammer for home defence. There is nothing wrong with some sport hammering from time to time. Of course, we believe that hammers should be licensed, and background checks done before a hammer can be purchased. Training is, of course, very important, and hammers should never be left where children could harm themselves with them. If appropriate, a hammer lock can be had at any high school that teaches wrestling.

Dont forget about the constitution, and the right to bear hammers.

Responsible hammer ownership is a right, and should not be infringed by a few nut cases.

As Charles said “you can have my hammer, when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers”.”

Dont forget about the constitution, and the right to bear hammers.

People are always misquoting that amendment. It’s the right to hammer bears. Which, as the supreme court affirmed in smokey v. ashcroft, means that you have the right to get a bear drunk if it’s more than 18 years old.”

(in response)

He could easily have knocked one, maybe even two people unconscious with that thing before anyone could do anything about it.

As a proud, lifetime member of the National Hammer Association, I must insist that we not go too far here. It’s part of our constitutional rights – the right to Arm and Hammer – to arm ourselves with hammers. This incident is merely one more reason that everyone ought to carry hamers everywhere they go – if others had been armed with hammers, this student would have had a serious disincentive to consider possibly carrying out the egregious act he was prevented from possibly committing.

Soon, crazy liberal will want to outlaw air hammers, jack hammers, Mike Hammers, pipe hammers – even Diesel hammers – you name it. Act now to preserve your hammer rights – join the NHA.”

(in response)

Hey! If we outlaw hammers, only outlaws will be able to put shelves up!

(in response)

Don’t underestimate the hammer. Remember the Blacksmith of Brandywine.

During the US revolutionary war, a blacksmith performed an errand for General Washington, only to return home and find that redcoats had murdered his family in his absence. The blacksmith took a heavy sledge from his workshop and walked onto the battlefield of Brandywine. There, before they finally brought him down, he slew 20 british soldiers. With a hammer.

No, I’m not being serious about a hammer being a viable weapon, not these days. (Although note that the Blacksmith story is true, from all references I can find.)

I just found it ironic, that the Blacksmith of Brandywine went on a murderous rampage in response to oppression from a ruthless government…and now, our government is so scared of our children that they’re even taking our hammers away.”

1. It is not illegal to create game maps for a first-person shooter game.
2. It is not illegal to show maps for a first-person shooter game to someone else.
3. It is not illegal to possess five swords.
4. The board had nothing to react to in the first place.
5. The student committed no crime for which the police could legally arrest him, at least pre-PATRIOT Act.

He, an honor student, was removed from his high school and forced to attend an alternative (read: for delinquents) education center, will not be allowed to receive his diploma with the rest of his class, and will probably have difficulty, if not being accepted to, at least getting financial aid for a good college. All because he went to a school staffed and parented by a group of reactionary morons.

How should the school have handled it? There’s nothing to handle. When/if parents complained, the appropriate authority figures should have repeated my response to #1: “It is not illegal to create game maps for a first-person shooter game.””

A terrorist under every rock, and a WMD in every child’s hand. When will this crap cease and common sense prevail?

Oh, that’s right: never.

I’d read the article, but it’s been Slashdotted.”

(in response)

Since I’m from the deep south (somewhere east of Texas and west of Mississippi) I feel qualified to say…

This is par for the course in this part of the United States. Ignorance, fear and xenophobia run rampant, white men run everything, and opportunism prevails at every turn. Police forces are treated as a paramilitary force, and zero tolerance is the rule in schools – even though it only means that more kids every year get fewer chances at straightening up and becoming successful.

Louisiana (and other population-losing red states) wonder why it’s best and brightest move away as soon as they finish college – crap like this is the reason why.”

An overreaction is when you lock up someone for life when they stole a loaf of bread. This doesn’t even accomplish their stated goal – to protect their school from an unbalanced and violent individual.

Let’s assume for a second that they are right. The guy is violent, mentally unstable and is using his home grown CS map to practice his planned killing spree (which was apparently to be carried out with a hammer). What do they do? They merely transfer him to a different school. In no way, shape or form do any of the school’s actions prevent him from entering the school again and carrying out his assumed plans. At best, they’ve moved the problem to a different place, and put others at risk that hadn’t been at risk before. At worst, it really pisses him off, and he escalates his planned violence (pipe bombs really aren’t hard to make). Any which way you look at it, the actions of the school and the police were completely irresponsible.

Factor in that the guy had none of these plans to begin with, and you’re looking at a massively incompetent school administration, board and police whose only goal is to cover their ass. They don’t care whether what they did solved any issues; all they wanted was to have something to point to if the student does go apeshit and the inevitable question of “who’s to blame?” rolls around.

The US is going down the shitter, and attitudes like these towards kids and education are the reason why. Way to ruin your future generation.”

I died a little on the inside when I read this. 🙁

(in response)

Don’t worry, you’ll respawn in Mrs. Crabapple’s classroom for round 2.

You Are a Pirate!

*hums*

Leave it to Iceland to create a song about pirates for children. They breed the pirates early over there. This song is actually quite old (I’ve known about it for some time), but I felt the need to reprise this for your benefit.

And, to set the election day mood:

BluECliQ: believing that Mcafee is going to protect you from hackers and viruses is exactly like believing that republicans can actually protect you from terrorists

Ninja_P: Okay, I just watched a guy puke in a glass, then drink it again
DragonAtma: Congratulations, you now know how congress operates.

Jim Kuhn: I just think it is silly that if I live in certain states in a ‘free country’ that I am not allowed to even read a poker forum.
DrSavage: What gave you an impression that you live in a free country?
bigalt: fox news

andyg721: i think it was on CNN
andyg721: Condoleeza Rice went to Asia
andyg721: the headline was RICE IN ASIA

I have this sneaking feeling that the Republicans will lose tomorrow.

Psychoanalyzation

This year’s return in candy was, dare I say, pathetic. I’m left with what could barely be called handfuls of candy, disregarding the large piles left from what we didn’t hand out. The process of gathering the candy amounted to less fun than desired, as well. Listening to the melodramatic “situations” in other people’s lives isn’t what I was particularly hoping for in my Halloween night. Returning home was satisfying, though, sitting in the attic and sorting through my pitiful collection of candy, watching the remaining half of the Sixth Sense, which for some reason I saw at the ripe old age of 11, which, in retrospect, might have been a little too young.

Edit: I failed to mention, my costume was exceedingly brilliant. I was, as some of you know, Dr. Schrödinger, the physicist who developed the Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment. I sort of (not really) attempted to look like a scientist and carried a box labeled “cat”, but absolutely no one understood it. No one.

Returning to the melodrama I spoke of; I think people like to psychoanalyze and gossip about other people’s lives because their own lives are otherwise too boring and generic. Making a big deal over things that absolutely don’t matter is an excuse to not think about that which actually matters. A further possibility is that people just want something to talk about all the time, another concept that I fail to find myself comprehending. Imagine the horror of having nothing to say (or, ideally, just refraining from saying anything) (also, note the sarcasm of this sentence).

It reminds me a bit of the social commentary within the sixth season of the Sopranos. One of the things they suggested is that we, as a people, are bored, and participate in vaguely stupid activities to cure this. The case they cited would be carnival rides, like the generic spinning teacup thingo (we’ve all seen and/or ridden it, kind of like your mom). The actual event of getting in a metal hemisphere decorated like a cup and spinning around for fifty seconds isn’t fun, but the concept of being thrown around by something more powerful than you, that you have no control over, is. More precisely, the possibility of danger, such as the safeties failing, is what makes it fun. I’m not sure I entirely agree, but it is at least somewhat accurate, in that we’re seeking to inject something more interesting than ourselves into our lives, as if what we have isn’t enough.

I’m not suggesting we should be self-reliant and isolated. It merely seems to me that people are too reliant on artificial thrills. This is a broad statement – it stretches from alcoholism to thrill-seeking to…a whole lot of other things. Perhaps I’m guilty of this as well, but I don’t really know. Refer to the title of this post for my justification to speak so arrogantly on the matter.

Oh, in other news, I ran the mile in 6:11 (lol, that’s my address number), which I’m extremely confident I can do better on (I’m thinking like 5:50).

I also hit 39 in Wow (shut up, 60s), and have been positively mopping up in PvP. Then again, it’s not a PvP server (and the server as a whole suxxors), but has been fun regardless.

As for SK, my enthusiasm has slowed down a bit as of late. You have played 766 hour(s) so far.

EDIT: lolz

The Otaku Alliance

I bring you a dual-media post, containing both a podcast as well as a post! This is Paul-style, with music and even a rip-off of his introduction! I tried to add some crazy effects to the introduction, but all I could do was make it echo, or change the pitch. Neither were what I wanted. Anyways, I had to chop this one up a lot, so there are some obvious changes in tone and inflection occasionally. Not intended (except for in the beginning).

#6 – “X3 Sucked”

Muzak – “Answers” by Vigilante, “The Price is Right Techno Remix” by a guy on YTMND.

As noted within the podcast, #5 was fully produced, but came out with large technical issues. If you’re so inclined, you can listen to it, but it’s pretty messed up. I reused some (a lot) of the content from #5 for #6, so that will make it even less interesting. I actually liked #5 a lot more than #6, but you can’t reproduce this stuff at will. Anyways, I can see you’re all desperate to procastinate, so, here you go.

#5 – “Super Deciding Banana Antics”

Anyways. I suppose I enjoyed my weekend – I have something of a tan from all the mowing. Speaking of which, I now have 6 customers, resulting in 80 bucks for every round of mowing I do. Not bad, although with all this mowing I’m gonna have to pay for the blade sharpening and the gas (I haven’t had to before). Non-taxable, though. I’m still gonna apply at Greenstar, since I don’t want to rely on such a varied resource for my income. It’s nice having money again, though. Nothing makes me feel more out of place than having people pay for me. It’s also nice to be able to get people presents on their birthdays.

Speaking of which, I went and saw X3 with Christopher on Saturday, as a pseudo-birthday present for him. I’m assuming most of you now realize that the title for Podcast #6 was a complete lie – I just wanted to proudly state that it sucked hard. Way, way hard. They completely overused Wolverine/Hugh Jackman, and gave him the worst dialogue heard in a movie since Star Wars (“It’s a trap!”). Motivational speeches, TWO references to the title of the movie, and one-liners abound, attached to one of the most disorganized and improbable plots I’ve seen in a while, with mediocre production qualities (did they really need a 1/3 scale model of the golden gate bridge?), and total abandonment of the X-Men canon (Jean never killed any essential characters), combined for a truly terrible move. Christopher and I laughed about it the whole way home.

Soon after, Paul and Karen rescued me from certain doom, and we went to see Thank You For Smoking, which was still quite good the second time. Afterwards we realized that no Chinese places were open at 11:30 PM, so we went to Wegman’s. Now, I was way confused – I thought we were actually looking for food, but we ended up in the candy section, and somehow, I ended up with 1.5 lbs of gummy bears and 3 boxes of Pocky (note this for later). Likewise, Paul was assailed by dozens of feet of licorice, and we managed to escape with our lives, and even a little money.

In all honesty, though, I was confused as to why we were strolling the empty deli section, as well as to why Karen was buying some of the nastiest salmon I’ve ever tasted, until I realized that I was actually buying my dinner. I remained confused when we just sat down and ate it in the car – perhaps I’m just silly, but the car seemed awfully lacking in convenience and an atmosphere conducive to eating. But hey, I shouldn’t be complaining.

In other news, I think I’m turning into an otaku or japanophile or something. I’ve started searching for more anime, and I’m patiently waiting as 6 more download (ever so slowly). I’ve been thinking about taking up learning Japanese, too – I don’t know exactly where I could learn around here, but I think it’d be totally sweet. I don’t want to turn into Steven Segal or something, but Japan in general just fascinates me. Four large alphabets sounds somewhat scary, though. Although, I suppose I already know the romaji, so it’s more like three. Except, you know, the kanji has like 2000 characters worth knowing.

I also found the the ultimate get-rich-quick scheme that I developed while mowing today.

  1. Wait for a controversial or “anti-Christian” film, book, or song/album to come out. The target must be fairly popular.
  2. Write a book addressing this piece of media. The title must include the name of the said media. In this book, “prove” that the media’s focus is wrong. Place images from the said media onto the cover of the book.
  3. ?????
  4. Profit!

Seriously, there’s like half a dozen or more books on Amazon focused on “debunking” The Da Vinci code. It’s insanity. Who cares? Is boycotting or disproving the movie doing anything for the cause of Christ? Why not take the 30 bucks you spent buying that book, and give it to someone who actually needs it? These authors are literally living off of the laziness of those who are unwilling to go research this stuff on their own. You don’t need super awesome laser technology with your lollornets and roflcology, you need common sense.

The movie apparantly sucks anyways.

Hot Coffee v2.0

As many of you should know, yet another video game scandal has boiled over, before even the mighty Jack Thompson trounced upon it (although we’ve only got, at best, a week or so before someone puts him on TV again). Oblivion has been modded to include teh nudities and was subsequently rerated to mature, at the protest of Bethesda.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. The last scandal was pretty ridiculous – there’s no reason a game should be re-rated based on material not intended for inclusion within the game, but really, San Andreas should have been rated AO off the bat, with or without the Hot Coffee mod. In the end, though, it wasn’t Rockstar’s or Take Two’s fault that someone uncommented some code. They shouldn’t be blamed for that.

I don’t feel so generous with Bethesda. Maybe their whole “pay us two bucks for a model of a horse with armor” deal put me off but, it seems that this is entirely preventable. Oblivion is an extremely well made game (and yes, I will eventually do that review thing I was talking about ages ago), and it also happens to have an engine comparable to that of the Source engine in terms of flexibility. They made it to be modded, and because their game contains female characters with an obvious need for breasts in order to maintain realism, they should expect someone to go out and do this. No, it’s not their fault if someone does, but, whose fault is it if someone steals your car because you forgot to lock the door? Not yours, but you certainly aren’t getting much pity from me.

What I mean to say is, why didn’t Bethesda take some preventative measures? I see two options here. One involves making it harder to toy with the skins on the models – this would be the lesser solution, as it would be punishing all modders for the possible actions of one modder. The other would just be to ask any and all Oblivion mod databases to not host any nudity mods. Honestly, I’m positive every one of them would comply. It’s totally reasonable. But, Oblivion didn’t do that, and now Jack Thompson’s got fresh meat.

A minor point of speculation on my part begins here. The degree of complexity to the nudity mod seems to be disputed – many people are under the impression that it requires some complex retexturing of the basic models, but that does not seem to be the case. Equally many people have described a much simpler process, one possible within the Construction Set (the editing program for Oblivion). I should stress the fact that when I was cruising through the thousands of available mods, I saw at least five mods claiming to add nudity (ironic wording there – “add” nudity). It’s one thing if the mod is mildly complex, but I don’t think this is the case.

As for the rerating of the game to Mature, I think it’s stupid that it was rerated over a mod. It’s kind of like (using the car analogy again) blaming the car manufacturer for car theft (there are obvious cases in which this is reasonable, but, stick with me here). Oblivion probably should have been rated M anyways, though. As many have pointed out, you’re gonna find rotting corpses, on fire, hanging from the ceiling, with knocked over chairs below them. And once you get close enough, you can take the gold and meat out, complete with a squishing noise as you open and close the inventory! I’m no proponent of the idea that we should ban anyone below 18 from buying such horrid filth, but really, there’s stuff in the game that makes me cringe occasionally. Are breasts really worse than decapitated corpses and festering zombies?

I think the ESRB generally does an okay job of rating games, but I just hate to see them become pawns of the lesser forces in our country. It is an inevitability, of course, but one that I hate to see nonetheless.

You Call Down the Thunder

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is my CIA rant. I gotta get this out of my system – I was babbling about it pretty much all day after the speech, so otherwise, I’ll be doing this for practically EVAR until I write thoroughly about it.

(for those of you who don’t know, CIA stands for Congress in Action. it’s where US History students get assigned a representative, an issue, and must argue for or against this issue based on the opinions of their representative. this involves a lengthy research paper, a short speech, and an open debate.)

My representative is an ultra-crazy Democrat from Texas, strangely enough. I don’t exactly agree with her on 75% of everything, but thankfully, for this, I can argue my true opinion. The topic I presented was a fake bill providing for the legalization of Bush’s warrantless surveillance program. My job was to explain why this is a bad thing.

All around, I’ve actually had trouble with delivery of my content. I have really excellent content (if I do say so myself), but in both the paper and the speech, I’ve had issues with getting that message across. In the paper, I had serious length issues. I barely pulled it up to 6 full pages (although this can depend on which text editor you use), which is kind of the minimum. I had plenty of sources and research to use, but I ended up having to quote excessively, which I wasn’t too pleased about.

I initially had trouble coming up with convincing arguments, but in the end, it came around like this:

  • the bill is improper:
    • violates IV Amendment (surveillance is unwarranted, and entirely unreported)
    • violates all provisions of FISA (exceeds the full year under which the president may conduct warrantless surveillance)
    • not provided for under the PATRIOT Act/AUMF (intended for action against the September 11 terrorists, and none others)
  • the bill is ineffective:
    • america faces much larger issues of security:
      • we’ve failed in the war on drugs (it’s a $65 Billion business in America alone)
      • we’ve failed in our border control (60 million people travel through the US yearly, 7 million living on american soil illegally)
    • the targets are hardly traceable considering the aforementioned facts
  • the bill is unnecessary:
    • warrants provide necessary checks & balances against abuse in the system
    • warrants are easily obtained (usually less than 24 hours), and not necessary for up to 72 hours under FISA, therefore meaning they do not hinder time-sensitive situations
    • aforementioned time-sensitive situations are EXTREMELY rare

That pretty much sums up my arguments. I tried to communicate most of that in my speech, but I was REALLY nervous and it was REALLY cold in that room, so I stopped a lot, coughed a lot, and apparantly scratched my nose a lot. Apparantly my “content was great, delivery was not so great”. Because of my bad delivery, a lot of my points didn’t reach home.

The ensuing debate was very infuriating. The “Republicans” were ABSOLUTELY obnoxious – they’d clap whenever anybody said anything supporting their side, and kept using the SAME argument over and over even though I’d proven them wrong (ex. they kept saying time-sensitive situations were still threatened, I kept quoting FISA, which provided exactly what they needed). I also didn’t get to address the biggest point which was “if you have nothing to hide, then why does it matter?”, because Khoa (the Speaker of the House) kept picking the same people. I really hope they let us finish it tomorrow.

So, yeah, that’s CIA. I’ve had fun with it.

And I’ll reap the whirlwind.

[edit: This is entirely unrelated, but I found this snippit from a BBC article on a truly awful military idea very funny.

“During WWII: Attach a bomb to a cat and drop it from a dive-bomber on to Nazi ships. The cat, hating water, will “wrangle” itself on to enemy ship’s deck. In tests cats became unconscious in mid-air.”
/]

I Feel the Winter

I’d really like to go to Italy some time. Ancient Rome is possibly one of my favorite subjects in history, and the terrain is exactly what I go for – hilly, lush, diverse. It’s really the only European country (with the Scandanavians – Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway – as the exceptions) that interests me. Not that I would want to live there, but some day, when I’m rich and famous, I could go for it.

I’m really enjoying The Catcher in the Rye. I didn’t like it at first, because it was just the monologue of an angsty teenager. As I’ve read on, however, I realize there’s a lot in Holden that’s extremely easy to relate to, but there’s a complexity to the character that makes it hard to interpret. I had this really interesting discussion with a girl in my English class (as the rest of the class sort of sat there and said nothing) about whether or not Holden is, at heart, untrue to himself and just a coward, or whether he’s really emotional/opinionated but unable to express himself in a way that others understand, and is thus forced to comply with the social norms to function. I argued for the latter.

The real point is, this is really the first book I’ve come across in the high school curriculum that approaches any level of intellectual complexity. Maybe I was just encouraged more by the fact that another person exists that even has the desire to discuss this kind of stuff in detail. I don’t mean to say that we actually bothered to continue talking about it after our 45 minutes of class ended; Lord knows that will never happen. Only politics and religion could pull enough interest out of any given acquaintence to permit prolonged discussion.

Things have been very surreal. I’ve been watching people around me grow up – I’ve been carefully marking the point at which the line between us and Joe “sixpack” Smith on TV is blurred. I don’t doubt my own maturity, but it is strange to watch everything around me continue to grow, but in a very, very demoralizing sense, not change. To illustrate what I mean, look at American histroy. We’re discussing the “growth” of industry in the late 19th century in US History, the same “ideas” of the time are inescapably true today. We are owned by “the man”, the corporations, “the system”, as it were (this is so cliche). I understand why this is, and why this will never change, despite what illusions we may create. The knowledge that humanity is no different than it was at any point in time is very demoralizing, especially in the sense that I will not live to see “better days”. Days with less blatant acts of sexism, racism, homophobia, or whatever discrimination of your choice, I will probably see. It will simply be traded off for another culturally acceptable evil that, in time, will morph from the norm to teh ev0l.

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do, are doomed to watch as it is repeated by those who do not know it.

I could end the post here for dramatic effect, but I feel like noting the fact that nobody will comment on this post – whenever I make these type of posts, the numbers are very low, possibly because nobody can find anything funny to say to break the mood of the post, or because nobody feels like debating whatever I’ve said. Please, though, I do enjoy discussion. Write thoughts, if nothing else.

Estuans Interius

I have never been more scared to play a game, ever. F.E.A.R. is just so scary. I’m not one for horror movies or games, ever. In fact, I really don’t like them (mostly because I don’t discount the existence of the unholy supernatural), not that I can’t sit through one without crying, but really. It probably stems from me picking up a copy of Resident Evil 2 my brother had brought home, and subsequently having nightmares for two weeks straight. I was seven years old, give me a break. It’s also why I won’t ordain my gamecube with a copy of Resident Evil 4.

[geek]

Like I was saying, F.E.A.R. is just insane. It’s scarier than Doom 3, but then again, Doom 3 wasn’t scary after an hour of playing it. I withstand the sheer fright that is this game because it’s just really fun and really cool. The gameplay is really good, it’s so satisfying, well balanced, plenty challenging, it’s just awesome. The literal pools of blood, exploding corpses, intermittent flashes of dead people and such are really scary, but the incredibly well done AI is so worth it. The AI, man. They run around you, they know the map, they hide behind stuff, they roll, they jump, they ambush, just so well designed. Wort.

Anyways. As some of you know, I discovered Ruby on Rails the other day, and got all excited by their demos, thinking I could easily start running this here blog completely on my server without using WordPress. I spent three hours ripping my hair out trying to just figure out what the documentation wanted from me, then realizing it was five years out of date, and nothing they told me to do would work. Beyond that, I learned that Ruby is really not a good language anyways – it doesn’t do anything that Perl or PHP can’t easily do alone. I was displeased. I’m trying to learn another language in addition to Java – C++ is the obvious first choice, but I don’t want to run it through Cygwin, and the Eclipse plugin is finnicky, but we’ll see. I’m thinking Perl or Python would be good to learn, but it’s not real important.

[/geek]

That snow day was indeed a blessing. I used it well, I think. Ben, Zach, and I went downtown (with some intermittent snowball fights, and falling down stairs) to go present shopping with money I didn’t have, which was fun in its own right. That wasn’t before playing a rousing game of Rise of Nations in which I reasserted my authority over Paul (after a shameful loss). This also wasn’t after an interesting birthday party at Paul house, which there are pictures for.

In important news, the Patriot Act got owned! I am pleased about this. Something I’ve kind of noticed, is that the media spins everything into party politics. The loss of the Patriot Act is somehow a loss for Republicans. I don’t get it. It means people didn’t like it, and that the majority has won, nothing else. Then again, I don’t care about politics enough to sit down and try and reason through why there’s always been two parties in our political system, and I’m not getting a degree in Political Science to find out. At least the act got shot down.

Mmm, Pie

Once again, I bring to you a revolution in my thinking on a popular topic. Marijauna is today’s subject. I bring to you a poll, reflecting the opinions of a whole lot of people. Some of you have given me your thoughts, some of you haven’t.

As you can see, it is mostly balanced. Many of those who said yes are my more conservative friends. Interestingly enough, the ones who said no are not stoners. For those of you who are asking yourselves “Wait, he said marijauna, not Cannabis!”, Cannabis is the name for all species of marijauna, that which is used for hemp as well as drugs.

As a starting point, I suggest some of you go read the wiki on the Cannabis drug. I know a lot of you don’t want to do that, so I’ll summarize the important points. I’ll try and be as non-biased as I can.

Cannabis has been around for practically ever. It isn’t new. At all. Scythia and Thracians used it (about 2000 years ago), and was a big part of most Western culture up until the early 20th century. What happened, you ask? Fear-mongering, akin to the Red Scare of the 50’s, produced by a single man seeking political power. Does this kind of slogan sound familiar to you?


Beware! Young and Old – People in All Walks of Life! This may be handed to you by the friendly stranger. It contains the Killer Drug “Marihauna”, a powerful narcotic in which lurks MURDER! INSANITY! DEATH!

This is lead to extreme taxes on all marijauna (Maria Joana), contrary to the advice of the Amercian Health Association at the time. Think $100 per pound. That’s crazy expensive even now, and insane at the time. It also required all merchants selling marijauna to register with the police, giving them all their information, a violation of the fifth amendment. This was not smacked down until 1963, but by then, all 50 states had banned marijauna outright. Posession or use of Cannabis was not made a federal crime until 1970, with the CSA, placing it alongside Schedule I drugs, like Heroin, Ecstasy, and LSD (Schedule I is the “most dangerous”, Schedule IV is “least dangerous”). It’s a full schedule above Ritalin and Speed, two schedules above steroids, and three schedules above Rufies. Look ’em up.

It is obviously considered a highly dangerous drug. So it’s got to do something bad, right? Time for a bulleted list. The bad effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Lowered coordination
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Enhanced stress or anxiety*
  • Enhanced nausea, dizziness, or headaches*
  • Short-term memory difficulty (this is debated)*
  • Hallucinations (in large doses)*

Doesn’t sound good does it? Note the asterisks. Those are effects that are supposedly uncommon or rare. Those effects are generally dependent on the person using them. Marijauna has the opposite effects on the positive side, so they obviously don’t happen all the time. Speaking of the good effects, let’s have another bulleted list:

  • Mild Euphoria
  • Increased appreciation of humor, art, music, colors, patterns, and food.
  • Increased mental acuity, sensory perception, and awareness.
  • Enhanced memory of past events and introspection.
  • Reduces headaches, nausea, stress and pain.

That about sums up all the good and bad effects with the short term. I won’t even touch the benefits for those with any kind of potent illness. Read for yourself, there’s tons. THC (the main active chemical) has a lot of uses, and marijauna in its entirity has even more. As for the long-term problems? I will list off all the common mythical problems with long-term usage. A bulleted list is again in call here.

  • Death

There are no recorded cases of an overdose of marijauna. It is estimated that the only way one could overdose on marijauna – requiring 42mg/kg of weight in the human body. Basically, for a 165 lb male to overdose, he’d have to smoke a minimum of 22 cigarettes with the maximum potency, with no loss of THC (the “killer” element) whatsoever. The last two factors make this almost entirely impossible, let alone the feasibility of doing so. Marijauna makes you sleepy, who knows how tired you’d be before the end of that run.

  • Addiction

Marijauna is not naturally addictive. The most addictive use of it is as a sleep aid. In this way, it is as addictive as sleeping aids. Even then, withdrawl symptoms include feeling mild depression, sleeplessness, and anxiety. THC also stays in the system for several days, causing the withdrawl to come very gradually. And no, the effects don’t last for that period of time.

  • Lung pollution

Marijauna is, in fact, a mild pollutant to the body. Compared to cigarettes, it is much less harmful. The tar in marijauna sticks to the lungs differently – it does not reach the alveoli, meaning it inhibits breathing less, and comes out much faster with time.

  • Psychosis, Schizophrenia, and Depression

These are symptoms evident in a certain group of users. It was initially thought to be apparant in all users, but upon further study, it has been shown that mental disorders only develop under two circumstances: frequent adolescent use, and genetic predisposition towards these illnesses. To develop these requires frequent use over a long period of time (months, possibly years). This ONLY occurs in those with a genetic predisposition – adolescent use increases the chance of those with the predisposition. Marijauna can also conflict with other drugs, causing problems, but generally only in cases of antipsychotic medication. That’s basic medicine though, it’s why alcohol plus basically any drug is bad.

If you still think marijauna is bad, think about alcohol. Alcohol has a lot of contributions to society. Just think about it. Drunk driving, enhancing violence, enhancing depression, overdosing, alcoholism, it’s just a great thing. Obviously we stopped trying prohibition because it just didn’t work, stopping millions from using it entirely is almost impossible. I consider alcohol fine in small amounts (ex. a few glasses of wine or cans of beer, know your limits), although I personally only like really sweet wines, and on occassion champagne.

My conclusion? There is no reason it should be banned from medical usage. If it were to be totally legalized, there would have to be an age minimum (18, as per usual). Benefits to this would be that the government could tax it. The total revenue from the uses as hemp, medicine, and recreation would be huge. And we all know the government needs more money right now.

All that said, I’ve never touched the stuff, and don’t plan to. If it were legalized, well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. The big concern is the decreased inhibition. My logic is that if alcohol is okay (as in, you won’t be acting like a duck in the midst of communist Russia after a glass of Guinness), how different is this? This is the question it comes down to for me. Challenge me here.

You no take candle!

This so, so so isn’t ready, but I desperately want to post. I’ve been dreaming about it. I kid you not. This blog is wonderful to me. I love it dearly.

We’ll backtrack from here to then.

I’ve spent the past 3 days pretty much just playing World of Warcraft. I caved in and used Paul’s 10-day free trial, after which I will continue playing. At the moment, I’m a level 13 priest, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Very good game. But none of you have waited a month to hear about that.

Work has improved marginally. At this point, I’m basically getting paid to learn/do AutoCAD, which I shouldn’t be complaining about at all. It’s actually been a really good learning experience – I’ve learned how to mail all kinds of packages (I only knew how to mail letters before), stain wood, do stuff at the bank, lots of random things that are kind of useful for every day doings. It has a lot of boring moments though, mostly when I don’t have enough variety in my work. This last project in AutoCAD I’ve been doing has just shot my nerves – every day, something new changes or happens and I have to redo a lot of work. Frustrating, let me tell you. Thankfully, I’m not under any deadline, so nothings going to fail because of me. Actually, the project I’m working on right now is for a building that will be going up where Dominoe’s (that don’t look right O.o) used to be, next to the Gateway Center. It’s a pretty spiffy building. Maybe there’s an NDA on it or something, so I should probably be hush hush….

The only other significant thing in my daily life (e.g. that consumes time) is Jen, whom I still don’t like. She’s mostly house trained, but she’s still a puppy, and thus retains puppy-ness. How quaint.

In important news, Jonothan gets back from Iraq September 15th. He actually arrives back on the 5th (this Saturday), but has to stick around for a many number of days for whatever reason. I’m really looking forward to seeing him. I won’t be able to go down and meet him because it’s 10 days, but, whatev, I’ll see him soon. Before I got WoW, I was playing lots of Zelda (the gamecube version, which I will get to, and OoT), which brought back some great memories from our first Christmas here. We’d get up in the morning over break, grab some hot chocolate and all the blankets we could find, plop down in front of our little monitor and play for many hours. I can’t remember how we worked it out, we probably took turns or something, I dunno.

No word has come in on Christopher’s discharge (still). I’m hoping he’ll be here before Thanksgiving, at this point.

Let’s see….I’ve acquired a job with a cool old Russian dude. He’s a retired professor from Cornell, like 80 years old, so I help him out with gardening and stuff. It lasts basically indefinitely, which is how I’m going to be paying for WoW.

Zach lent me this CD from a band called Bloc Party – it is growing more, and more, and more on me. The lyrics SUCK, basically the same phrase (which was good the first time he said it) over and over (not so good the 8th time). However, the music is excellent, and my constant techno-listening (6 hours a day minimum, thanks to work), I can phase it out and listen to the good stuff.

And now, for the rants that have been brewing for a month.

I.D.

I can’t stand it.

I can tolerate a literal interpretation of Genesis, but the ID mindset has gone too far. For once, Bush has really ticked me off. As most of you know, I was once a big fan of him, but he’s servicing the “religious” right, giving them everything they want while he has time. I can’t stand it. Whether I’m a part of the people he’s blowing kisses towards or not, I don’t want the tax dollars I am now spending (I pay income tax now! Huzzah!) to go towards a movement to stick a “science” like ID in schools. A Slashdotter put it perfectly: Once the ID crowd are willing to say that the Intelligent Designer (God) is falsifiable, then and only then can ID be considered as a possibility. And I know well enough that it’s impossible for that to happen. Faith is the hope in things that cannot be seen, proven, or denied. As with most things that are written in the midst of emotion, I will probably regret a specific phrase or sentence which does not reflect what I mean. But we’ll see. Open fire.

The Gamecube Zelda.

It sucks.

It sucks majorly.

I could live with cell-shading. I could almost live with playing a child, with child-like characters in a child-like work. I could just about live with the sailing. But not. It sucks. I want the next version, which has been delayed until 2006.

Nintendo, if it isn’t good, I sincerely hope you go down in flames.

I wish you all well on this night. I will slowly improve the blog as I desire, but it’s readable, and that’s what matters at this point.

The One Redeeming Quality

Something I’d forgotten over the past few years is something about Ithaca that redeems most of the liberal extremists, leftist tree-huggers, and drugged up hippies.

During my daily checking of Slashdot, I came across an article about video game violence, written by a student who went to Columbine during the shootings, and was friends with the shooters and the shot. I’m always on the hunt for good backup for the day when I’ll have to defend myself against someone who doesn’t understand what I do for a hobby, so I checked it out, and also read the comments on the article on /..

The sole blessing of Ithaca is the fact that as a high school student, I can be who I am, and I am not going to suffer in any way for that. Seeing stories about ignorant parents who take away their child’s computer permanently and news about geeks like myself having their only defense against the sucky world that is high school taken away, really strikes home. God has blessed me with parents that know and understand me enough to see that the tube I sit in front of all day is not a handicap or an escape. Knowing that other parents are foolish enough to give into the public hysteria that is the mainstream media pains me.

I am comforted to know I don’t have to deal with real rednecks and jocks.

Not that I’m stereotyping or anything.

But it’s not like they’ll find out anyways, being rednecks and jocks.

That wasn’t a stereotype either.

Honorable War (O.o)

The main event for today: A Soldier’s Story. In light of reading All Quiet on the Western Front, and our recent studying of WWI and WWII, the school invites veterans from just about every war of the previous century to come and talk, as a yearly event. The veterans can give a wide range of responses and stories – generally, the ones from Ithaca are Vietnam veterans, as they only went due to the draft. The rest are pretty much up in the air.

Veteran Number One, Sergeant Major Looplund:
This guy was probably 80-something years old, and an E-9 in the Marines and Active-duty reserves. He’d been in WWII, Korea, and I think Vietnam, I’m not sure on that one. He was drafted in the beginning, but chose to stay with the Marines to this day. As with all Marines, he was deployed to the Pacific in WWII, and in specific, Iwo Jima. In his fully reinforced company of 255 men (there were others, obviously, just not with him), only 35 survived the assault on the island. Nobody asked if he’d ever killed anyone – there were 21,000 Japanese on the island, and only 1000 survived. You do the math.

His company was intended to join the other divisions for a direct assault on Japan – but his company had suffered too many casualties, and was pulled back to Hawaii, re-equip, and the join the other divisions, but before the assault was approved, the atomic bombs were dropped. Something that really struck me about that, is this: “If the atomic bomb had not been dropped, I would not be here today. The Japanese were fanatics; when we landed, every man, woman, and child would be waiting to resist us.”. After WWII, he stayed as an Active Duty reserve, and was activated during both Korea and Vietnam, but I’m not sure if he fought or not.

This guy basically represents, to me, the wisdom you gain with age. He knew what he was talking about. He never swore, not even once. He was detailed, succinct, polite, and basically, just a strong soldier. He had perspective. Someone asked if he wanted to join the war, and he didn’t rant and rave about how war is pointless, how America is stuck on hating the world. I, for one, appreciate that. But he didn’t lie, he gave an honest answer. He sounded proud of his achievements and his past, but acknowledged the reality of what happened. He had also moved on from whatever might have happened – he wasn’t plagued by memories and nightmares. That, right there, is a man I can respect. Part of the reason I respect him highly is I didn’t realize exactly how bitter one can be until the second veteran.

And that, I kid you not, is not because he is (or claimed to be) a Christian.

Veteran Number 2:
This was some girl’s dad (Juliet’s – the one who screamed at me for being a Republican early in the year), I can’t remember his last name. He never gave many details on his rank and position. He was about 50 years old, and fought in the Vietnam War. He was born in Ithaca, and thus obviously only went because he was drafted. He was a semi-pacifist at the time. He was rarely in direct combat while in the army. To be honest, I don’t know what he did. He was really definitely affected by Agent Orange, as he couldn’t keep on a single track for too long, often went on tangents, stopped to cry 3 times (this was his 3rd time speaking today alone). He said that of the 25 places sprayed most with Agent Orange, he stayed at 18 of them.

After spending some time in Vietnam, he was recruited for a series of special bombing runs against North Vietnamese encampments. His job was to go with 4 other soldiers, sneak to other bases, record the coordinates, and take them back to the artillery. I don’t trust the accuracy of his guesses, but he said the missions saved thousands of Americans and killed thousands more Vietnamese, and still regretted doing them. After that he went into a long thing on how Bush was a liar, coke addict, alcoholic tyrant who wants to be a hero. I almost forgot to mention – he swore a LOT.

I had to come back to English later in the day to make up an essay, and he was talking about the same thing to another class. I asked him why he thought that, and man, do I regret asking that. I got about 5 or 10 minutes of curse-filled earfuls on how Bush is the worst thing since poop on a stick. Honestly, I only said three things to him. The first statement, then “I dunno…I just disagree.” and finally “It’s not that I think you’re crazy, I just disagree, that’s all.”. Lesson learned. Needless to say, I don’t have much respect for this guy. Yeah, ‘Nam was bad, so was WWI, so were the Crusades, say what you will, there’s nothing new under the sun.

This is a very long musing on war. Shoot me down if you so please. A lot of my musings are probably not befitting of a kid, but hey, I feel like writing, so I am.

[musing]

This kind of brings me to my whole view on war. The curriculum at our school is really geared towards getting to go see how horrific war is, on realizing it’s a bad thing, all that jazz. I don’t really buy it. That’s a gross oversimplification of my views, but that’s basically the sum of it.

    • All wars are not fought the same way.

All Quiet on the Western Front is a graphic and sometimes nasty portrayal of what happened during WWI – the most pointless, and yet possibly the nastiest war of the previous century. WWI is an exception, like Vietnam, to what war is like. WWI happened in the middle of a technological revolution, and left armies with tools fit only for trench warfare, and by the end, were crushed by sheer numbers and starvation. WWI was before the first Geneva Convention – weapons outlawed long ago in today’s age were weapons of fear and mass destruction. Flamethrowers, gas, shotguns, anything went. Because these were new and better weapons, they were used without warrant. It was war – nobody stopped to ask questions. Vietnam is, in some ways, same thing. Agent Orange, Napalm, it was superior tactics on page, but when implemented were really terrible things, and nobody realized until later. WWII, Korea, Iraq, these do not suffer from the same things.

    • All wars do not have the same purpose.

The best example here is WWI versus WWII. WWI was a war that started almost entirely out of pride in your respective country – it was just an excuse to exert your country’s ability. It was not out of hatred for other countries, but from love of your own. WWII, was far different. WWII was one gigantic resistance to stop three countries from taking over the world. Contrary to popular opinion, it was not to stop the genocide of Jews (which is similar to the myth that the Civil War started because of disagreements on slavery), although that did encourage Allied involvement. Treating war as a whole is a gigantic oversimplification of what it really is.

    • All wars are not won the same way.

Wars are not won if you are fighting for the correct reason. Wars are not lost if you are fighting for the wrong reason. Wars are not won by superior numbers. Wars are entirely dependent on how involved the country is in that war. Sergeant Major Looplund said something very striking: Soldiers hear about the reactions back at home from the newspapers and radio – if they’re only hearing protests and complaints, and no support, what’s gonna happen? This is true, regardless of time. Motivation, morale, that’s what the soldier needs. If a country wants to win a war, they’ll put a complete effort behind it – towards technological advances, gathering of resources, production of materials, behind supporting the soldiers. A divided country is a weak country. That, my friends, is why we spent app. 18 years in Vietnam, and why we are still in Iraq. Both of those have been spearheaded by ineffective military strategies, but, that is beside the current point. Do not think I am comparing Iraq to Vietnam, though. Iraq isn’t even close.

War is often portrayed as the worst of things that can happen between humans. To me, it’s definitely bad, I do not doubt that, but war is just another implementation of sin, human nature. War is not innately more horrific than what happens elsewhere in our lives. We’re just more accustomed to the other things.

[/musing]

In other news, I have another color template I’d like you guys to comment on. Tell me if you like it. It’s not gonna get implemented any time soon, but, it will eventually get around here.

Check it, yo.

Death.

I was prompted to do this from a post on Eileen’s blog, but for different reasons than hers. This was also encouraged by an introductory thing we did as we’re starting Macbeth in English. We listened to famous audio clips from musicians who died young, while showing pictures of them and explaining how they died. I mused to myself how much it would suck to be them. I’ve never wanted fame or fortune (although money for the random things in life would be great), just from examples like all these people who chased after really retarded stuff in a vain search for happiness. I didn’t make this to mock those who have died in useless pursuits of satisfaction, though.

As I was pondering a comment to Eileen’s post, I got thinking a little bit. I’ve never really talked about death on here before, I figured it was long enough and fit for this context. Death has never really scared me. I look forward to it, in some ways, but that desire comes out of my faith, not from some emo self-preservation issue. In the same way, death around me doesn’t really scare me either. It may be a callous look on things, but I get tired of people saying the same things over and over again when it comes to others dying. National or international tragedies leave me highly unsympathetic due to the reactions I see around me. Very few people actually care, most pretend, or care out of obligation. This is not to say they shouldn’t care, but some elements of the facade could be done without. For me, dropping a dollar in the bucket for a charity just doesn’t make me feel like I’ve done my duty to help those in tragedy. I remember the school-run charities during Middle School when 9-11 hit, and giving a few dollars to get the neat-o red-white-n’-blue ribbons they were handing out for donations of more than 10 cents. Perhaps it’s the only thing I CAN or COULD do, but it doesn’t change that “I want to do something a little more” feeling. I doubt that will ever change. When/if I donate, I don’t do it out of a guilty conscience, but out of duty and the knowledge that it would help.

Back to the real point. Death. I don’t know about most of you, but death just doesn’t phase me. I don’t hold a lot of attachment to this life – most of it is spent working so that I can rest. Ironic, no? If anyone I was remotely attached to died, I’d be sad, don’t mistake what I’m saying for a lack of caring. What I would NOT do, is make bad resolutions to not make the same mistake most people do, which is not to live life to their potential. I’m not a fan of cheesy (no matter how dire or set in stone you may seem at the time) resolutions, either. The only thing I fear? Pain. A gun to the head doesn’t scare me, but drowning has the potential to make me quiver. Why? It would be pain that can’t even be soothed or aided, unstoppable, while you get to contemplate what happens to you in three more minutes. Another good example for this? Cancer. Cancer doesn’t scare me. The treatment does. The stories I hear about chemotherapy and radiation therapy really don’t sound pleasant to me. Sure, the cancer itself aint a walk in the park, but I somehow doubt it would cause the same kind of pain.

Enough of my musings, go do something else.

O.o

Oy, I haven’t posted for a week. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to post about, I just didn’t feel up to it, I guess. Overall the week has been okay. Lots of Halo 2 playing has occured (I’ve played well over 300 games now). My Clan and I actually played against Bungie (and won!). Proof that Bungie owns, right there. 😀

I stayed home from school because I’m a lazy, lazy bum. I woke up this morning thinking a lot of things. “My homework is done.”, “I have no tests today.”, “I’m tired.”, “I’m going to be late for school.”, and “Thankgiving Break is too short. Let’s make it longer by one day!”. So I stayed home. I slept until 12:30 (making for a total of 12 hours of sleep!), and just lazed around for most of the day.

Daniel stopped by for a few minutes a little bit ago. He came and picked up some of the money I owe him (27/66 bucks). *shuffles slowly towards his Xbox*

EDIT: I was a little bored, so I decided to revise a report I did on Global Warming for my Global History I final report. The beginning and end are a little cheesy, as I had to cater to my teacher’s political leanings at one point or another, but the point comes across. I presented a rather weak argument in favor of the common theory of Global Warming, but to be honest, there isn’t much of one.

http://oftimarchive.blogspot.com/2004/11/report-global-warming.html

Have fun picking it apart. Since it’s been a year, I forgot the sources for that solar info (about the earth’s axis and rotation), but you’ll live.

[2012 edit: looks like these gems are lost forever]

I’ve had so many conversations it’s ridiculous. So many arguments. This is getting out of hand. But I’m gonna let it go on, because it’s interesting. If you feel the need to discuss or debate with me on anything, go RIGHT ahead. Don’t let anything stop you. But don’t be stupid. I don’t wanna see a lot of misinformed Bush-bashing.

That being said, I have a few recent conversations to show you.

Gay Marriage #1

Gay Marriage #2

Abortion #1

My disclaimer for talking over IM – the conversation, unless overtly personal, will get posted on here.

 

[2012 edit: looks like these gems are lost forever]

GIVE ME A FRICKING BREAK. I swear, if I see another rant on how Bush shouldn’t have gotten elected, someone’s throat is getting slit and it’s not going to be mine. I’m glad we all have opinions, but don’t treat them as FACT. It is your OPINION that Bush is bad, not a FACT. Anyone who treats it as a FACT is simply IGNORANT. I’m not saying this because I like Bush – I’m saying this as a general rule of life.

That being said, I’m glad he won. I went a little overboard and “in yo face!!” at school, but not too badly, I hope. A couple girls in my Global and English class decided that Republicans don’t deserve to have a fair argument, so 1 minute into a discussion on embryonic stem cell research, one of them starts screaming “NO! NO! NO! YOU’RE WRONG! I AM RIGHT! I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! NO! NO! NO! YOU ARE WRONG!” “Well, you’re just ignorant!” and it went downhill from there. Stuff like this pushes my buttons like nothing else.

I don’t wanna see a political discussion in my comments – if I do, I WILL BAN YOU FROM COMMENTING FOR A WEEK. Yes, I can do that. Now that I have that out of my system, I can continue. I was up till 4 AM watching the results and stuff. I sort of slept my way through chemistry, testing out various ways of looking alert but be asleep. Chemistry is interesting only because we have so many slackers in our class. So if they aren’t up to par, it’s a snore fest.

I’m getting really, really psyched for Halo 2, it’s only 5 days away. Can’t wait…*repeats mantra*

O.o

I think I may have set a record for how long I’ve ever slept. 15 hours, 11:00 PM to 2 PM today. I woke up feeling a littel better than yesterday, and right now I’m feeling not too shabby. I’ll probably go to school tomorrow. I’m kinda tired of staying home, watching the news until someone logs online to talk to. Watching the news gets pretty boring, too. The same stuff kinda gets mulled over and over until you’re brainwashed. Today’s wasn’t so bad, watching the 9/11 comittee review people. It’s also kind of frustrating, listening to how the FBI and CIA get stuck in the beurocracy of politics when they shouldn’t be. It reminds me of how I used to bother arguing with some of my friends about Bush as a president. It really bugs me looking at these people who claim to be so open-minded, yet tell me “you’re stupid. you like President Bush” or “all republicans are stupid” As if Gore, or, *snort* Nader would have done a better job. I won’t rant about my political views here, not worth your time, or mine.

In other news…*ahem* I still have to write this research report…it’s not hard, jsut time consuming. I have 75% of it done, but the stupid works cited and in-text citations take FOREVER. You forgot what page the info was on? You have to go look it up. I’ll have it done soon, I just have to get down to work some time soon. As in, tonight. I’ve also got that German thing to do, but that I’ll reserve for doing as school. Peace.