Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Walking Dead (originally 2/12/2007)

I'm moving some older posts on other blogs I've run before here. Mostly, because I want to keep this all archived in one place. This is a post from near a couple years back, a poem, called "the walking dead".

-------

K..... So, I've taken under advice that I should try to write some poetry... First try at writing something like this and actually sharing it..

The Walking Dead, by Fate

Through the upper window peering down
Across the cold glass and icy air
People I see walking lost

Slowly dying having never lived
Barren faces void of expression
So marches the walking dead

Without meaning or knowing purpose
Drinking poison of muted voices
Passionless hollow spirits

Fear binds their souls such they stagger still
Paralyzed by thoughts of suffering
Unable to raise a cry

Yet hope offers life to those who try
To feel the white flames across the heart
From the sun shining down rays

A fire that pierces through hard armor
Stirring spirit feeling life anew
The walking dead awaken

Transitory suffering passes
Leaving love, joy, peace, and happiness
Now walking in life's brightness

For a strong love may end in torment
Yet in that passion the spirit lived
And the memory endures

Without the silence there is no song
Pain fills the gaps to urge moving on
Remedy the poison now

Let loose the sorrowful cry of grief
And accept the compassion given
To live rather than to walk dead.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another KC Shooting

Channel 5 Coverage

I've followed the stories of Kansas City violence at a distance. This has been one of the violent, bloody years in the area. And last night, that violence struck again.

I wasn't a close friend of Mr. Fopeano's, but knew him enough to say hi if I saw him out in public. Peter was a genuinely nice-guy, pleasent to be around, and will be missed by those of us that knew him.

There's not really too much more I can say than that. Maybe now, the public will be more aware of the increased violence in this city and work to cut it back.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sonnet to Science

Reading the collected works of Edgar Allen Poe, I ran across this. I find it an interesting take given Poe's general relation to the occult and all:

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the Jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

A footnote indicates that these were written by Poe much earlier in his life. I think Poe captured something here - we sometimes despise science for killing our dreams and legends. I think that misses the point though. Science allows us to create new dreams and legends, and shape those into reality.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Observations on bars and parties

I've been to several types of parties and bars with varying levels of boredom and insanity. Too date, I don't think I've hit the "rock band" level of insanity, but I've been at a few where I feared... After a few though, I've realized that the vast majority of party goers and drunks can be grouped rather well:

1. Baby Jesus Girl/Guy - One does not often find this type at a real party. In general, they are too busy criticising gays or reading and feeling smug about themselves to join up. When they do, you can expect them to attempt to be the 'reasonable' person, and give evil glances to anyone currently holding a drink. If one is lucky enough to pull them out of their natural habitat though and even luckier in seeing them try "just one drink", they can immediately turn into the most perverted and funny drunks on the planet. Sadly, the Baby Jesus person is often averse to any alcohol or drugs.

2. "My friends are coming" guy - This is the guy that boasts to other guys that "friends are coming". Generally seen making multiple conversations on the phone, that will NOT result in new party goers. "Friends are coming" guy will repeatedly inform fellow party guests of attractive female future party goers. In reality, the best case scenario is his sister showing up with a couple of friends to ask him for cash and then leave for a better party.

3. Horny Slut and Three Beer Queer - Both will offer you sex, but you don't likely want either. The Horny Slut is seen more often in movies than real life (see 40 year old virgin). Be warned: the horny slut may seem like a hookup, but will likely pass out before 2nd base from the consumption levels of alcohol which created her. The close relative of horny slut, is the three beer queer. Note: three beer queer is often a transformed Baby Jesus Guy, who will return to his former self after the beer is gone. A real hookup opportunity, if you don't mind the whole "queer" aspect.

4. Zombie Drunk - zombie drunk appears most often in bars and parties lasting into early morning. Zombie drunk is easily recognized by the vacant stare into space and limited ability to stand and walk. The Zombie drunk will not talk much, except to say to an occasionally passerby "Buddddd", which in his own limited vocabulary means any beer type drink. (Understand, beer is too difficult a word for zombie drunk.)

5. Mad Douchebag - The result of adding alcohol to a douchebag. The mad douchebag has 2 major characteristics - 1. he is a douchebag. 2. he wants to fight you. Like dogs, mad douchebags come in several breeds. Two of the most popular are the Frat Boy - far too worried about his face and hair to fight sober, the frat boy is mostly harmless, and The Wannabe Player - generally a self-branded pickup-up-artist who's efforts result in rather humurous epic fails.

Of course, there are multiple other groups to categorize and study. The field remains open for more research, provided the right funding and environment. Of particular interest to me now are "people watcher" and "annoyed bartender".

Friday, November 21, 2008

Not Drinking the Kool-Aid


Of all the things I am grateful for, free-will is often the thing easiest taken for granted. Sadly, a great many people allow their will to be removed under the guise of religious doctrines. 30 years ago this week, the events of Jonestown grotesquely illustrated the potential results of such misplaced trust.

People my age did not see Jonestown coverage. We haphazardly use the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" to refer to partisan thinking. Frankly, I don't think most people in my generation could tell you where the whole Kool-Aid reference originated. Which, when you think about it, is fairly amazing considering:

In the United States, Jonestown resulted in the largest death-toll of a non-natural disaster since the events of September 11. Over 900 people dead, near 300 of them children, and many held against their will.

The activities of religion are often glazed over from criticism under the moniker of "religious freedom". The faithful are given a pass from public ridicule because they have a right to their faith.


I'm not here to say that people don't have a right to their faith. To forbid someone their personal beliefs is removing one of the most basic human rights. The thing is, freedom of speech is another basic human right. And it doesn't violate your freedom of religion for me to point to the picture above, and state - the blood of those children lies on the hands of your religion.

As a society, we can not afford to give religion a pass from criticism. We can not afford to outlaw people standing and telling the truth about damage caused by the radical religious elements in our society. Lately, Christian conservatives as well as liberal 'tolerance preachers' seem to be missing the point.

If I go home, light candles, pray to Quetzalcoatl, cast spells, and then kiss a cross - well, that's my business. I have the freedom to believe whatever I want to believe. Further, I have every right to sit at a park bench, read my bible, head to a church and pray, and lead a group of friends in prayer. The serious atheist groups might call these things stupid, but you still have a right to do them. Your rights, however, end the second you start attempting to force people to live by the precepts of your religion. And further, your rights don't include some sort of "hurt feelings" clause that negates freedom of speech.

I find it amazing to hear criticism leveled at faith groups as "persecution". To be clear, this


is persecution. Engaging in rational debate is not persecution. Gays making out in public or getting married is not persecution. Wearing a pentacle is not persecution. Burning someone alive because they believe differently is. Forcing a person out of town because they practice witch-craft is.

Cult-like groups are not always far-off crazies that commit mass suicide. Many Jehovah's Witnesses have died by refusing blood transfusions. Young girls in areas of the south are being forced into sexual slavery in their preteen and early teenage years. Honor killings, apostasy trials, and witch lynchings still happen in multiple portions of the world.

To refuse to address and challenge those that would support such things in our daily life, to refuse to educate the public around you as to the dangers radical groups create, or to refuse victims the right to speak out is to tacitly aid these groups in their wrong-doing.

So, before drinking the Kool-Aid and mocking groups like Anonymous for picketing and marching, or refusing to voice your opinion on Evangelical Christian legislation, I urge you to remember Jonestown, and think about the power of ideas.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Disturbing Thought for the Week

Ever notice that "Good News" usually means you're going to hell?

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Top 10 Villians

So, I was thinking about it the other day, and decided to chronicle my favorite movie villains. Mostly because I'm curious right now what makes someone a good villain in a story. Here's the list I came up with:
  • Margaret Hamilton - The Wicked Witch (Wizard of Oz)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger - The Terminator - The Terminator
  • Anthony Hopkins- Hannibal Lecter - Silence of the Lambs
  • David Prowse & James Earl Jones - Darth Vader - Star Wars
  • Jack Nicholson - Jack Torrance - The Shining
  • Javier Bardem - Anton - No Country For Old Men
  • (Multiple Individuals) - alien - The Alien
  • Heath Ledger - Joker - Batman
  • Keven Spacey - John Doe - Se7en
  • Antonio Salieri - Murray Abraham - Amadeus
Looking at the list, I'm still not entirely sure what makes a great villain. Each of these went to a different place for me. In general, the best villains seem to be almost a force of nature, but some of the masterful ones are simply people doing very inhuman things for human reasons.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book Meme

"Mr. Quincy P Morris found me alone" - Bram Stoker, Dracula

From planet gnome:
  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open it to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  • Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST
I tag anyone interested. :)

Disturbing Thought for the Week

What exactly are you saying if you give a terminally ill patient a 'get well soon' card?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Disturbing Thought for the Week

According to American Society of Microbiology studies on people using public bathrooms, while 97% of females and 92% of males say they wash their hands, only 75% females and 58% males actually do.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Planners and Doers

I've noticed an interesting trend as of late in my life, directly related to my leaving the cult. While I don't think there exist true "categories" for people, I've recently found myself comparing the 'doer' to the 'planner'.

The planner might label themselves as a 'dreamer', but I find that description lacking. Generally, the planner will float along in life without much direction, going wherever the current takes him. While every detail of their life might be planned out, the plan constantly changes. The planner's life is a collection of "what ifs". Unfortunately, they never manage to live out these what ifs, because they are too busy changing their plans for the next change in situation. A planner is so stuck in the future, that they fail to realize opportunities in the present.

The doer, on the other hand, gets things done. The doer will often not know what direction a choice will take them, they just realize they need to make the choice. The doer will make opportunities and live in the moment. They live life in the present, are aware of the where the current is taking them, and can move with or against it as they desire. While the planner might chastise the doer as unimaginative, the doer has dreams as well. The difference is they are trying to live them out instead of planning every detail as needed.

It's very possible to be a planner or a doer with or without being a dreamer. Dreams do not make a person a planner or doer, they just change the actions or the plans.

As of late, I have started to notice when I run into planners and doers. Mostly because, I see myself moving from the planner to the doer. The planner will sit and talk about going to school, changing careers, living out a dream, but it will never actually happen for them.

For years, that was me. Constantly planning how to do things and what to accomplish. I never really went the extra mile or tried for anything. I just sat and watched where my life took me. That, I think, was one of most damaging things about the cult. If you don't believe this world is going to stay around for a while, why try for anything in it? All of your efforts are going to be wasted anyway. "Doing" for someone in that situation is nothing more than performing in the church. And, if you haven't really bought in to the church's idea of tomorrow, but have bought into their idea of today, the result is coasting through life.

If I had to point to my first action as a doer, it would be applying to college. I still remember talking about it with the family, my grandma in particular telling me that college was a waste of time and would destroy my mind. Still, I decided to apply because it was what I wanted. That application was my first action as a doer, but it'd be a long while before I started really moving.

To this day, it's something I work at. Over time, I've gotten better at pointing out things I'd like to do and moving directly toward them. And now, I've had the blessing of living some of those childhood dreams I've wanted, just because I made the decision to act instead of plan.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Disturbing Thought for the Week

Have you ever stopped to wonder if your mom gave dad a blow job before she kissed you goodnight?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Disturbing Thought for the Week

While completely safe, the average chocolate bar will contain significant trace amounts of insects due to the process of creating finished chocolate from cacao.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Disturbing Thought for the Week

Ever stop to think where that $1 bill was last used when buying your lunch?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Or, another view on Russia?



This is what someone without "Executive Experience" has to say.

Forget Iran, Let's Take Down Russia!



It's good to know she has the experience to make tough executive decisions!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dear EA,

I waited for Spore since I saw the first demo.

I would have gladly forked over double what you are currently charging.

I saw it as the first unique game in a long time.

When I go to the store, and purchase a video game, I expect to be able to use the CD-ROM for as long as I can find a computer to run it. *NOT* until I hit a magic 3 install limit and have to call a customer support line that will (or maybe will not) provide me with another "activation".

Spore - defective by design and not on my Christmas list.

Fuck you EA - you ruined a great game.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Conservative Values

I've heard a lot of talk about values from Republicans. Many love to speak of how America is a "Christian" nation, or that their values are "Bible based". I've spent a good deal of my life espousing "Bible" morality. We hear a lot about the "moral decline" of our country, the "decline of the family", the "culture war".

I have yet to see churches living to the "values" that they teach, or politicians that do anything more than pander to the established middle class. When someone says "Christian" values, this is what I hear:
  • I will not listen or consider the viewpoints of other Christians. They are "false" or mislead. My viewpoints on Christianity are the only ones that are "right".

  • I will not consider the plight of the poor. However, I will argue for the destruction of welfare programs, as welfare is so often "abused". Despite repeatedly saying that we Christians do so much, I won't donate time or money to any social cause

  • I will hold dogmatically to only the teachings on sexual morality in the Bible, and ignore those on greed, sloth, and gluttony.

  • I will argue from ignorance instead of learning about the larger world around me.

  • I will ignore reality for the sake of my own interpretation of a book. I will ignore fossil records, years of research, scientific advances, palaeontological and archaeological discoveries, and history books of other civilizations. I will actively deny these things exist. However, if my life is in danger or it's immediately useful to me, I'll help myself to the results.

  • I will ignore the harm I do to the environment, to animals, and to other people.

  • I will teach my children to love and respect others, but only provided that those others are in the same or a compatible branch of "Christianity"

  • I will state "love the sinner, hate the sin", yet demonstrate a hate the sinner mentality.

  • I will continue to espouse education techniques and views, despite demonstration after demonstration of failure. I will continue even if I see these same failures personally in my family.

  • I wil never accept my capacity to be wrong at any time. No matter how much evidence stacks against me, I will always consider my viewpoint to be the correct one.

  • I will do all of these things and know that I am better than other heathens who are not Christian. I will be thankful that my "God" has chosen me to be better than them.

  • Every religious act I do will demonstrate that I have stronger faith and am a better person than other Christians and especially the non-religious.

"Christian" values are a joke, no matter who is espousing them. Some groups like to claim that they are true Christians becausetheir "Christian values" have "better" results. You might here this claim from a Jehovah's Witness who's "Christian values" result in mistreatment of rape victims, sexual exploitation of children, thousands of deaths from refusal of medical treatment, and broken families.

As a group, Christians make me want to vomit. Repeaters of nothing more than "us versus them" mentality. A "me first neighbor second" attitude that stands directly in contrast with the "new commandment" Jesus gave.

Perhaps there are Christians out there that really do care about values, such basic things as caring for others. Still, the complete failure of any group to separate themselves from the hateful rhetoric of so many speaks volumes to me. It illustrates the moral bankrupcy that comes from gathering an entire ethical system from a single book instead of asking oneself tough questions.

And then, while espousing these moralities, "Christians" have no issue violating them in their private lives.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Things Fundi's Say - On the "M" word

I found an old red book my parents gave to me a long time ago. It's a treasure trove of quotes on the insanity of religious fundamentalism. But the whole masturbation topic stuck out the most.

... at the same time, you may have a certain wonderment and curiosity about your own rapidly changing body.... Should you experiment with your sex organs? Is there anything wrong with rubbing them in some way until the excitement is climaxed?
So, at first sounding a little like your standard puberty talk. Except, ... wait, "sex organs", is it really so hard to say GENITALS? We can't use proper terms like penis and vagina, can we? That might help fight against sexual abuse or something.

...Do you agree that because in today's world masturbation is a very common thing, this makes it a natural, normal function of the body? Lying and stealing are also common today....
Poor Timmy, if only he hadn't have touched himself, he would never have stolen that TV and be in jail now.

... In this connection note that, when the apostle counselled persons who were 'inflamed with passion,' he did not tell them to seek relief through masturbation, but through God's provision of marriage...
Ahhhh, God's provision of marriage. So, we need to keep a teenage boy's hands of his thingy until he can't take it anymore and gets married. Good to know kids are getting married for the right reasons these days!

.... Masturbation weakens a healthy conscience and love for what is right, the very things that can protect one against such practices...
It's funny that this whole article, from a "Bible based" publication contains only a couple scriptures to support their point. It's almost as if the Bible doesn't really talk about masturbation or something....

Now for the fun part,
In fact, masturbation can lead into homosexuality. In such instances the person, not satisfied with his lonely sexual activity, seeks a partner for mutual sex play.

This happens more frequently than you may realize. Contrary to what many persons think, homosexuals are not born that way, but their homosexual behavior is learned. And often a person gets started when very young by playing with another's sexual parts, and then engaging in homosexual acts...
Hey, Greenlees, is that you? If only you hadn't touched yourself.... You know it IS true. Most people do look for another's "sexual parts" to have, uhhhh, sex. Funny thing though, a large majority of the population of guys look for .... WOMEN! Go figure, people look for what they fantasize about? Am I the only one slightly disturbed by some old man in a writing room fanta..... theorizing about how little boys get started being gay?

On how to stop,
Reading - even aloud - the Bible or publications explaining the Bible is one of the finest helps.
Maybe this is why so many people shout "Oh God" during sex? Masturbating to the Bible? Ewwwwww

But wait, there's more!
Proper hygiene calls for certain handling of the sex organs, and one might feel that this would be a temptation to misuse them. But because your motive is right - with the aim of avoiding sexual tension - you may well find that such care will instead help you to take a more healthful view toward these organs. You will appreciate that they were never meant to 'take you over' and rule your whole life.

So there you go, if you are the religious type, masturbate in the shower! Cause, "your motive is right", and all you're doing is cleaning yourself off, right?

Of the many insanities with the religious, this all out war against masturbation is something I just don't get. Generation after generation have all grown up with this stupid idea - that teenagers don't have hormones. And generation after generation they do. And then, religious "authorities" create a prohibition using convoluted logic from a book that never explicitly mentions it.

Things Fundi's Say - "Friendly" letters

My Grandma took the time to write me again. I don't know if I'll write back. Last time, I just wrote a letter without any religious references. Never heard back, for a long while (several months, maybe over a year), then I got this today.

There is a tall, very handsome and extremely intelligent young man, who lingers in my memory.

[My Full Name Deleted]

I can still see those very talented hands on the piano keys, playing beautiful melodies. [Hymns] Where did he get this talent?

Psalm 139 - in a fear inspiring way you were wonderfully made.

verse 16 - your eyes (Jehovah's) saw your embryo and in His book - it's parts were down in writing.

Jehovah has a book - Malachi 3:16
a book of Remembrance

I know you are in it. You were so faithful - lovingly serving Him.

[Name deleted], your mom was just here for a visit and she is heart broken because she can't seem to get through this armor you have enclosed yourself with. Is this corrupt old world so important to you that you shut her out? She gave you life.

Your [Last name deleted] grandmother will be back in the resurrection John 5:28,29. The Kingdom has been established. Psalm 26 - Revelation 12:10

The new heavens are established - now has come the salvation of our God and the authority of His [eligible]. This old world is passing away.

1 John 2:15 - 17

Don't you want to live forever?

I don't know what your thoughts are - but you know there is one God - the Father - the Creator. You can't put that away. He reads your heart. He has blessed you in many ways. Count them!

Make your mind over - Ephesians 4:22-24 verse 10 Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the lord.

Satan is on his way out - no more will he be able to turn people away from the true Creator. It won't be long until he is crushed. Romans 16:20

Please write to a 90 year old grandmother who loves you very much.

[Signature]

I didn't need this shit this morning. Went to work, can't get it out of my head. Why did I even bother opening it?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Isolation and Cults

A constant theme of this blog has been recovery in leaving a cult and rebuilding my life - as well as the pure mind-fuck that happens doing that. The whole journey has been a difficult one for me and those around me. The part that's hardest to explain, especially to those that have been constant sources for support, is the complete and total feeling of isolation in leaving. After all, when people are so willing to adopt you into their family, listen to you bitch and moan, and give a constant ear, how can you possibly feel isolated?

Especially recently, with biological "family" events and happenings, the theme of isolation comes to mind. When informing my family that I most assuredly would not be attending their little reunion, they asked why I was "isolating" myself. That is when this new chapter of my life started making more sense.

Feelings are difficult to change. I wish I could flip a switch and suddenly connect with the people around me. I wish I could make the whole process "easy". Looking at what friends and family members of ex-cult members go through, I'd say that it's just as tough, if not more so, than leaving. It kinda makes sense that only a small group of people manage to 'work through' the walls raised by an ex to become friends.

A metaphor might help to explain what it's like to be in the "world" for the first time. Imagine that you embarked on a voyage across the ocean. On this voyage, you live in a small boat stocked with all the supplies you need to survive. On the horizon, you see other people in similar small boats. But you are alone in your boat - only a small radio and the ability to stand outside and wave to other people on the same journey provide any human contact.

For many, the decision to leave a cult is the single most solitary thing that can ever be done. Leaving the cult is the decision to step on the boat and venture off not knowing what is out there, with only the hope of hitting land at some point. And because that decision is such a solitary thing, no one will ever fully understand. After all the damage the cult did, the most emotionally destroying thing it will do is force this choice in leaving.

So, you push off into the world with only the hope of finding land, after years of being told that the ocean will eat you whole. Every social interaction, every party, every friendship, every love, every family - all - interactions defined as evil by your group.

The greatest irony is that my desire for connection, the pain that comes from standing in a crowded room and feeling completely alone, is created by the exact choice to "isolate" myself. I chose to isolate myself by moving across the dark void spanning the distance between the cult and those that live in the outside world. And now that I clasp the hands of those pulling me into a larger, greater, and more beautiful world, I see the reality of a group standing apart from humanity. Alone and pitiful.

So, as my parents warn me of "isolating myself", I stand and realize how very different that is from the reminder of my friends that they are there. The message from the family was not one of giving. They did not say "we are here for you in your time of need". They only stood and shouted that I was a fool for making my journey. And while I see myself in troubled waters, I am still moving forward.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Vegetarian Challenge - Conclusions

Tomorrow will be my last official day of my self-enforced diet habit, but I won't have much time to blog about it throughout the day. I've managed 6 days without any meat products, though I have not banned eggs and dairy.

As a health experiment, I'd say that the personal challenge here was very successful. I've managed to eat healthy, well balanced meals, everyday. I've also noticed increases in energy, easier time sleeping / better sleep, lack of muscle cramping / feeling of muscle cramping during tough work out, and have managed to loose a couple pounds. Also, I'm relatively certain my blood pressure has decreased back to my original good levels from the slightly elevated levels I've been stuck at for a while. As a health choice, it's forced me to avoid fast food, and convenience foods that filled my stomach but only provided questionable nutrition.

Now, that said, I think I could have achieved all of the same effects simply by watching my diet more as an omnivore. The thing is, I don't know if I constantly watching my diet is something I'm capable of doing. Not eating meat makes life a lot easier, as you remove whole groups of unhealthy and easy options. (Note: I'm aware it's very possible to eat an unhealthy diet as a vegetarian.)

I attribute the slight but noticeable health impacts to the following -
  1. Pure placebo effect by changing things up.
  2. Lower calorie intake
  3. Less refined sugars from fast foods
  4. Much higher potassium / sodium intake ratio
Of all things to be aware of, the fourth I did not really know about before starting. Yes, I'd heard 'keep the sodium down'. I had not heard that how important potassium is in your diet, that the average American gets much lower than the recommended potassium intake daily.

Insuring a solid decent intake of potassium (a daily minimum of 2000 mg), and lowering intake of sodium has benefits for hypertension, osteoporosis, and kidney stones.

So, overall, a positive experience. It also helps me to realize how difficult it can be to order meals as a vegetarian when everything seems to involve beef, chicken, or fish. Still, the overall moral of the story?

Eat your fruit and vegetables.

...

I still want a steak.

Edit, Forgot the links...

K-State Article

USDA Article
CO State Article

Things to think about



Worth remembering.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vegetarian Challenge - Day 3

I could really go for a hamburger now, preferably with bacon. And a steak. Maybe finish that off with a nice ham. Then polish the day off with a turkey sandwich.

3 days so far, and still successful at avoiding meat. The change in diet does seem to be doing some good, but it's really too short to know. I'm realizing now that I don't get nearly enough vegetables in my normal diet.

It's odd, that my 'challenge' to myself is basically to eat a diet that a great many people are forced to eat - simply because meat can be a luxury when you have little at all to eat. We take meat granted, largely due to an enormous amount of industrial know how and ability.

Actually, we as a society take food granted. There are groups of people that live here, yes, that have difficulty obtaining good food. But, those challenges are small compared to what can be found in other countries.

Still, I'm in the mood for a steak.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Vegetarian Challenge - Day 2

I've decided to be a vegetarian for one full week.

I'm not going the vegan route, so milk, eggs, and cheese are still on the menu. Fish, however, is not. Why do such madness?

Well, basically, I'm trying to start better watching what I eat, and further trying to eat healthier. I'd argue there is little about a vegetarian diet that is inherently "better" than an the usual, but I'm hoping that the attempt here will result in something better. Also, a couple of people are of the opinion I'm not going to make it.

I figure one week should be easy, so I'll be logging my progress here. So far, so good. Lunch today consisted of a olive and mushroom pizza with a small salad. So far, so good.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Things Fundi's Say - "I wouldn't know because"

In most contexts, a lack of knowledge or ignorance is a bad thing. Not so with Fundi Christians! I introduce you to a new phrase - "I wouldn't know because". When hearing this phrase, it's a clear indicator of a coming insult.

Example uses -
"What'd you think of that new movie?"
"I wouldn't know because I don't watch R rated movies"

"You know that corner of A and B streets where the drug dealer hangs out?"
"I wouldn't know because I don't do drugs"

Now, to truly show yourself as a fundi, you can't just say these phrases reasonably - a mistake I've made in a few of the above. The proper use of the phrase requires the ignorance and ignorance cause to be rather unrelated to the topic at hand. Bonus point if the phrase is in response to a statement and not a question.

"That restraunt had really good cocktails"
"I wouldn't know because I'm not a drunk"

Completed with a snear, this "I wouldn't know because" phrase is perfect for the budding fundi.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Denial

So, I'm watching TV a couple months ago, just after my nice 30" HDTV went out of warranty. I bought it a while back. It's a CRT, one of the last HDTV CRTs made. Compared to LCD screens, CRTs had (and still have) higher image quality. So, I was a bit concerned while watching the TV to hear a "pop" and watch the picture flash off and back on.

Not a problem, I thought to myself, probably just a signal hiccup, right? Yeah, that's all, I won't see it again.

A couple weeks later, "pop". Now, I'm thinking - ahh, not really an issue, it'll sort itself out.

Not so lucky.

It's now popping about once every 3 or 4 seconds, which makes watching TV near impossible - as soon as the picture comes back, "pop", bye picture.

How is it, I buy a cheapo TV that lasts over 10 years, my parents have a TV that recently hit 20, and I have a TV that craps out after 2?

So, now, I've joined those without TVs. On the plus side, that means more blogging, and I've read a good chunk of "Stranger in a Strange Land".

Of course, now I have a 150 lb CRT to figure out how to get rid of.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Friends don't let friends buy broken software

I'm shocked that EA is continuing it's current scheme of copy protection, after all of the consumer issues already reported with The Sims. Even more frustrating to me, is that I really was looking forward to purchasing Spore, which would be one of the first computer games I've bought in a couple years. (The last being Half Life 2, nothing new is interesting me it seems....)

However, EA is currently continuing it's draconian tactics of copy protection. Tactics that in the end serve to do little against dedicated pirates and directly harm consumers.

http://www.simprograms.com/?p=692

I'd ask that you seriously consider the attitude of EA towards its costumers, with this software. I'd ask that you consider that EA is charging you money for essentially broken software.

I will no longer be purchasing EA games and I encourage everyone to do the same. Limiting a user's ability to install a game, move it to another computer, is wrong.

I think the time has come for a class action suit against EA for selling broken software.

EA - if record companies have finally begun to understand the benefits of selling without DRM, what's stopping you?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Somehow, it's fitting that tonight I held a small memorial service for my grandma. A close friend and his family visited Kansas City. My friend performed some prayers and said a few words about grandma. The point wasn't a gathering of people, I've had that through various close friends and family. The point was ceremony.

The day before, I watched the Phoenix land with a small group of people. And the night before that, I went to a party held by my adopted sister. This weekend on a whole has led me to think about my life, the lives of those around me, and what I want out of the world. What strikes me most is the substance of the past few weeks. As a society, I think we sometimes loose track of the important things. And then, I realize what today is.

I believe our country is sick. A festering illness is rotting away our very core. On Memorial Day, we choose to remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we hold dear. And yet, as a people we have taken those freedoms and spat upon them. The illness lies in our own ego and pride - the belief that we are always right. It hops into our churches and courthouses. It sinks into our speech.

In Iraq, our forces fight to 'bring freedom to the people'. What strikes me though is that I'm not sure we remember what freedom is. Freedom is not a form of government. Freedom is a way of thinking. Freedom is self-determination. The Founding Fathers of our country recognized freedom, and attempted to form a government that would foster an environment for freedom. How can we bring freedom to another people when we ourselves have forgotten it?

Our attitude toward freedom is only one among many symptoms though. Freedom is just one of many basic rights. In forgetting it, we forget our responsibilities to others which allow us to remain free. That failure of responsibility manifests itself in our lack of decency and respect for human dignity.

Churches have become havens of hypocrisy, espousing a message that condemns abortion as murder, yet supporting politicians that would ignore the right of the poor to basic health care. We condemn human rights abuses in China, but currently rank near the top for executing prisoners. Not to mention the current debate as to what does or does not count as torture. We allow debt collectors and creditors to encourage enormous debts of stupid children and then turn and collect from them until they die.

As a country, it is time to turn back to the things that made us great. When facing a powerful opponent, this country once chose to demonstrate our ability instead of only poking the bully. And on July 21, 1969 the results of that demonstration became clear. Man walked on the moon. In that moment, the world took a collective gasp and all realized their humanity. The biggest blows in the cold war were not military victories or defeats. They were the battles for the minds and imaginations of people.

Sadly, preachers, politicians, and schools continue to espouse egoist messages and hate. The current war is not about bringing freedom to the middle east - it's about forcing a people to move to our government, convert to our religion, and give us their oil. We are taking a valuable opportunity to lead the world and frontiers of science and instead focusing our resources on imperialism.

So, on this Memorial Day, I remember the soldiers, and hope that we also remember our humanity.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Grandma, Rest In Peace

1921 - 2008

Despite our differences, I will miss you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Denial, Religion, Depression

Death is a tough thing, especially when it's close. I took a rather long road trip to visit a relative. Reports as to her health varied. Some look at this whole cancer thing as beatable, but the realist in me knows the odds aren't good. Nearing 90, cancer is tough. The truth here is that 'candidate for treatment' is going out the window even more every day.

So, visiting the situation was tough. It was even tougher with the whole religion question between my parents and I and my other relatives. A select few of my immediate relatives are not members of the cult. That said, they fall into the bible-belt Christian category. Relations between them and my family have been tense for years. Of course, my family and me don't have the best of relations either. So, I get to feel the brunt from both sides. Even more fun - the constant preaching and digs from my family.

So, I've been back in Kansas City for three and a half days now. Mentally, I still haven't recovered from the trip. It's not exactly easy seeing someone you are close to on death's door. The trip also forced me into some disturbing realizations.

The first of which, is I'm no longer sure how much of my separation from my family is me versus the family. On one hand, I hear things like "If you bring Christmas presents, you're no longer welcome at this house". On the other, at least my mom calls every now and again just to talk. And yet, they can't call or talking without preaching at me somehow.

I don't like the 'game' we are playing. And, it's worn very thin. We don't really stay in touch. We have an illusion of staying in touch. My parents preach at me, and I don't tell them about the vast majority of my life and views of the morally bankrupt Watchtower corporation. Because, *if* I told them about my hobbies and passions, I'd no longer be welcome there.

So, despite having gone through so much effort to break free, I don't feel free of it. I'm quickly reaching the conclusion that the only way I'll be able to relax mentally is to clearly let the family know, that not only do I view the religion as a fucking cult, but I have no intention of ever returning to it. Still, doing that would be devastating to my mom.

Why do I even care anymore?

An honest look at this here just shows me that whatever joy I gain from my family is overpowered by the crap relationship that the cult has created. It seems that I have worked so hard for others happiness, that I have no clue what I want. I just wish I could shut off my feelings for my family. Not give a fuck if they live or die. I'm sick of dealing with people that see me as "not doing anything about the truth". I'm sick of dealing with people that say they want to say hi, but really are just going to give an hour long preaching session.

Then, to add to my mental brain fuck, after spending a few days surrounded by people and family, I speed back to Kansas City. Down South, smothered by people who view me as sick. Up North, completely alone.

Truth be told, in the cult, I never felt like a liability. And now, I look at my general mindset, and think I am. I hate feeling like a needy bitch when I'm around people. And as I hate that, I generally hate being around people as well.

So, being around my family, trying to say goodbye to family, just showed me that caring hurts.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Still calling....

BCR == asshats

They called. In fact, they called twice today. And left messages.

Despite telling them I am not the person they are looking, they continue to call, repeatedly.

Fuckers.

Going to call their corporate office and try to get some resolution.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Need some advice...

I have been receiving phone calls from a company listed as "BCR". They have repeatedly called and asked for someone that is not me. Generally, they like to stretch the bounds of legal limits in terms of calling times. I have respectfully informed them the person they were looking for did not have this number, and that I did not wish them to call back. They continue calling.

Unfortunately, the calls continue. My question: what steps do I need to take in terms of getting these annoying, daily, phone calls to stop? As I have no business relationship with these people and have repeatedly asked them to stop calling, is this not violating SOME law? If it's not, it damn well should be.

The number they are calling me with is: 1.866.364.9836 - this number is tied to numerous complaints online in regards to harassing phone calls. I do not have an address or any information with which to write them.

A small part of me wants to inflict some pain upon them in some legal way/shape/form for repeatedly waking me up on the weekend and interrupting my dinner. I think I actually became "that guy" with this last phone calling, telling them "You have me really pissed off, I don't fucking know ****, I'm sick of your calling, and I don't want you to call back. Am I clear?"

Which was responded to with a click. You know, if I was ***** I'd be fairly upset about a debt collecting firm calling some random person and informing them that I owed a debt. Again, if that's not illegal, it damn well SHOULD be.

If they call again tomorrow, I might just stroke. As if dealing making a trip to a family that thinks I'm the anti-Christ to say goodbye to a dieing relative wasn't enough.

Fuckers.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Death

In a few days, I'll be traveling again. A close relative has cancer and it appears that after over 80 years of life, her end has come. And so, I now sit and wonder about life and death and my own mortality. Everyone in the family is grieving now.

As religious people, they have a "hope" for her- an expectation of life after death. This hope is concrete in their minds. Why then, the pain and anguish? If life after death is a real possibility, something to be counted on, and that life will be full of bliss and joy, why be sad? Why cry? As a young child, I took that view entirely. I'm told that after the death of a baby, I walked up to the casket, and whispered, "don't cry, she's just sleeping, she'll wake up in paradise". As a child, I accepted the possibility of life after death completely. As an adult, I have yet to reach a level of certainty about life and death. A large part of me believes that we do have souls, and that death is not an end, but the close of a chapter.

Unlike the child that whispered near the casket so many years ago, I have to admit that I'm not so resolute in that faith. Some people seem to break this general rule. The description of Socrates' death has him cheerful as he drinks a poison cocktail after receiving a death sentence.

It doesn't matter what faith or non-faith you hold, death raises a multitude of questions - the ethics and morality of how to die, how to sustain life, how to care for the dead, what happens to the dead. For the most part, our rituals and handling of death are more for the living than the dead. There are a multitude of different rituals designed to honor the dead. In the United States, there is the standard Christian style service. Some rituals in other lands involve things that many would say are immoral - such as cannibalism.

With all the fear and sadness and ritual, I wonder, do people really believe in the after-life? Looking at the behavior of people, I'm convinced that the vast majority have some deep rooted doubt. They are not the young child - they have seen enough of life to have lost some faith.

The general effect of death on me has been motivation. The current situation raises some questions. How do I want to die? How do I want to be remembered? What do I want for those around me after I die?

Without a doubt, my worst fear to this day is that I should die alone. For some reason, this has always been my worst fear, even back when I was a member of the cult. Maybe, it's because I never really managed a tangible relationship with another human while in the cult - either romance or friends. Sure, you have people you know, but real friends? Not often.

How do I want to be remembered? I don't know. The only thing I know is that I want to be remembered. When my time is up, I'd like someone to look back from time to time and remember me.

Iron Man

It was good.

Perfect casting.

Make sure you wait through the credits!!!!!!

Kept me awake, even though I had to see a 10:40 PM showing after running errands all day and getting ready for a trip to Dallas. It's been a long day. I'm getting sleep. :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Egocentric Faith

The theme of my week has been about being egocentric.

For some reason, humans tend to live most of life in a certain egocentric mode.

For example, fear of trying to "chat up" a woman (or man). The thought is often something like "what if they think I'm an asshole or slut". An unreasonable fear, considering the approached person would likely forget the encounter if the answer was "no". And even then, outside of assault, chances are the memory fades quickly from a photographic image to "some guy/gal" in a matter of hours. Any number of usual fears can be used to highlight our general concern of the world revolving around us. A slight wardrobe malfunction, a noxious odor, an accidental remark.

Moving into adulthood, these examples of egocentrism generally become more juvenile. While a healthy adult may have these thoughts and feelings, they do not have to be controlled by them.

Of course, shame, embarrassment, and caring what others think are not inherent evils. After all, such motivations can serve to make us do great things for others. Often, they are nature's way of whispering in our ear "caring about others benefits you." We don't have to look 4 steps ahead to see how charity and manners helps us out, because we know it instinctively.

Today, I went to the doctor for a sport's injury. And on my way, I was thinking, "he's going to think I'm stupid for having bunged myself up." Funny thing, I get into the Doctor's office, and there is another young man there, who ALSO appears to be there for a sports injury. Surprise surprise. Clue, meet Fate. Then, it turns out that the Doctor is actually fairly supportive of my sport, at least on a professional level. Maybe he just has good bedside manner, but in any case I left realizing - that my concerns didn't matter.

Looking at the situation now, I just see it as an extension of so many years of brainwashing. Years of being told that I was giving God's message to the people. We were responsible for preaching the "good news" to the nations! The governments of the Earth "feared our message". Not only that, but I was personally a "representative of God". And in being such, had to "set an example" for "worldly people". I was one of the few chosen special people.

In reality, people that I talked to thought I was a misguided child, or maybe a wacko cult member, or any number of things OTHER than a "representative of God". The line that "they aren't rejecting you, they're rejecting God" was bullshit. Why? Because it'd imply that somehow the hundreds of people out there could see that a teenage boy had a divine stamp of approval in his message. But even the fire and brimstone God of the old testament gave his profits irrefutable miracles. So by our own "good book", the idea that a young boy could so directly represent God without some backing was, well, crap.

It seems I've had a few conversations in the past several weeks where the proof for God was given as "God must exist because I think it so". (Actually, maybe that's been every proof I've heard). And that "think it so" is enough to condemn me to damnation for not choosing to believe in the exact same God as you. The odd thing, is that I'm not of the "no supernatural at all" camp (a subject for a later blog post).

How can we as humans define the universe by what we "know"? To me, there is a large and unbridgeable gap between "we observe this which supports this hypothesis" and "we know this because we know this". I've always been a spiritual person. Still, my experiences and beliefs do not define what objective reality is. And the exact same is true for everyone: the atheist, the deist, the theist, the Christian. The best we can do is recognize beliefs that we commonly can not observe in the world around us and beliefs that appear to be observable in the world around us.

On it's fundamental basis - that's what "Science" is about - a vehicle which we can use to recognize beliefs and separate them out from observation. Unfortunately, dogmas developed in the religious camps that observation spoke against. (I say observation here to avoid the loaded terminology of "Science"). In seeing the failure of dogmas to observation, we lost the ground rules. And the reason, I feel, is egocentrism. The faithful insist upon the world meeting their world-view. The scientist retorts with his or hers. And yet, I wonder how much effort is wasted in the dogma and debate, when we could be doing so much more with our time if we all just accepted that others will have thoughts different than us. A fair response shows fundamentalists forcing their beliefs on others. And so, we must fight.

This all brings to mind a video I once saw, and I think it's appropriate to leave it hear at the end, enjoy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ahhhh, stress relief...

So, I was away from the gym for a bit, and I came back today to discover we were doing.... tournament practice sparring. Sparring is cool, it's one of those times where you get to discover if you really actually have technique that might be useful against a real opponent. The school practices a couple different types of sparing, each with different rules and equipment (for safety). And we do some training on switching it up.

A couple interesting things happened today. First, for the first time ever, I was the ranking color (non-black) belt. Second, is the story I'm about to tell.

The instructor had us rotate through partners all class. Among my sparring partners was a bit of a surprise - a woman. Now, most of the people reading this will know that - 1. I'm male, and 2. I'm not exactly petite. So, as a 6'6" 230 lb guy, I have some reservations about fighting someone about the same size/weight as Janet (half my weight, a foot shorter). Not to mention, my mom and father constantly repeated the mantra "don't hit girls".

So, here I stand, ready for the start command with my new sparring partner. I timidly step up, and enter the usual sparring stance. The Master yells "SIJAK!" and the round begins. It probably looked comical, almost David vs. Goliath. But this time, David was a chic. Aha! An opening!

*Pffft*

I kick and connect, but it's really nothing more than a light tap. The only sound is a small release of air from padding. I have visions of disapproving parents looking at me, saying "oh my, he hit a girl."

*Pffft*

She returns a light tap to my side. Crazy, I realize, she didn't even try that time. She didn't have to. As I throw another kick, I hear her mocking cry "Is that all you can do?"

And, I realize, I'm at the gym, and I'm worried about hurting someone while wearing all this safety equipment. Why shouldn't I try to win? Damn it! This is my time to shine! Now usually, this would be a safe assumption when you weigh 2x as much as someone, but not today.

*WHAM*

Yes! A hit! I connected. And this time not just a light tap - a full on hit. Woohooo! A point! I'm dedicated to trying at this point. As you can imagine from my even telling, this doesn't end well. You see, my sparring partner isn't just a smallish woman, she's a 4th degree black belt, and a world title holder in Martial Arts sparring. For those unfamiliar with Martial Arts, there's a concept known as "reciprocity". It generally goes like this - a Master rank instructor will spar as you do to make you better at it. If I choose to go full contact, he/she'll do the same. And, well, I chose.

*WHAM WHAM*

Crap... The hits start to come. The details of the match aren't all that important, but let's just say the feminists reading here would be happy. At the end of the match, we bow, and she let's me know

"Wow, you've gotten a lot better"

Damn, not even a real sweat.

I smile and bow to the teacher, beaten yet having learned. (The other part of sparing a Master is that they come down to your level + 1 and try to teach you something through the match, if you're smart you know this and figure out what they're showing you...)

The awesome thing is that this wasn't out of the ordinary. But today, for some reason, either my generally bad week or crap from my family - well, it felt good having an excellent athlete teach me some new moves at the minor expense of getting beat up a bit.

So, doing the whole Martial Arts thing - one of the best decisions I've made.

Now, I'm gonna go collapse. I'd like to post pictures of the bruises inflected upon me from this match, but as I've lost my USB cable, I'll share some applicable music instead:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Psuedo - Haiku from current events

Preventable death
A battle with reason lost
Religious warfare

In reference to Janet's post. Things like this only add fuel to my ever increasing anger.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Midnight, not asleep

So, I grabbed the laptop since I was tired of staring at the popcorn ceiling of my apartment. Maybe I should go college style and put a poster over the bed. It'd probably be more interesting than counting ceiling dots. I've not been able to sleep properly for the past week, and I've taken a couple pieces of advice (including cutting caffeine/sugar).

Recently, I've just been angry. I'm not sure why, but I can't seem to escape it. It's almost a pseudo-depression. And it probably doesn't help that in my day to day dealing with people, I try to be the upbeat, optimistic one. Maybe I try to hard. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't some small part of 'want-to-be-liked' in there. I'm experiencing an identity crisis. Mostly, I have no clue who I am anymore. Somewhere, lost between my view of the 'perfect person', who I used to be, who I think I am, who I want to be, and who people see me as, is myself. My parent didn't support a new and burgeoning personality, they repressed it with indoctrination and religious dogma. I must agree with Dawkins, the worst mental damage as a child came from those around me stating I was of the faith of my parents. The person I was meant to be was shackled and thrown into a lake to drown. I'm still looking for them, but everyday I loose a bit more hope.

I want to dream. I'm tired of nightmares brought on by years of abuse. As memories of my childhood begin to surface, I realize why I forgot. To be the constant freak, the eyesore of all, for simply following a religious mantra. Year after year of no extra curricular activities, missed dances, ignored romance, and lost opportunities. And, to end up an adult, bruised, broken, beaten. Where even simple physical contact is difficult at best.

Why is it when things go well I feel like shit? I'm more convinced it's because some part of me still thinks I shouldn't enjoy the successes I've had. Because my life is now material, or sinful. Professionally, I'm respected, at the top of my game, and working in a top company with fierce competition to get in. Yet, my family won't talk about any of that, because I refuse to follow the path of their damn church.

I'm staring at a letter written by my family informing me that God will always be there for them, and that noone in the family can separate them from that. It's the first time in nearly a t year I've heard from these people, and that is what I get. I so badly want to tell them what's really going on. My mind is screaming to be heard. And yet, I live with the knowledge that this family of mine will never talk to me again if I am. How does a mere mortal fight with God himself? Yet, I know this is not "God", but an idea of religion from the minds of men.

Waking from great trauma is extremely painful, which is why I suspect dragging my sunken personality out of the depths continues to be so difficult. Building a life from scratch is so very, very difficult - and it's left me tired. I'm tired of forcing myself into so many things that I just don't have the energy or desire to do. Yet, I continue trying because I won't be satisfied until I find and help my true self come out. I wish it wasn't so fucking hard.

Back to counting popcorn.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Grrrrrrr stupid fracking family

Being single sucks (a repeated theme of this blog). That said, I'm generally happy that my bathroom doesn't look to have multiple medieval torture devices - hot wax, burning irons, curved scissors and picks, etc... Not to mention, I have the ability to go out with the guys or to the gym without hassle. Despite my being generally happy about my living situation - I'm not entirely satisfied. And, I really see nothing wrong with that. As soon as you are entirely satisfied you are either dead (and have proved the existence of Heaven) or stagnant and boring. I don't expect to ever be entirely satisfied, there is ALWAYS something you can be making better about your life, or relationship, or yourself.

I don't live in a constant mope/depressed state, but I'm getting close to living in a constant pissed off state. For whatever reason, there are waves in my life where everything seems to start coming together to remind me that "I should want more". And then I dip my toe in the water, and realize how much things suck being single. In short, I'm happy so long as people don't throw it up in my face. Cause then, you can easily forget the good things about being single (no nightmares about "I'm late!" or "why can't you spend more time with me?"), and see that there is more out there.

Why do I bring all this up? Because, for whatever reason, several people in my life seem to want me to settle down and have children. The 'have children' part there is the critical part, the 'settle down' is just required for that.

I don't want children right now.
I don't need children right now.
I'm not in a good place to have children right now.

I don't have someone to have children with right now.
I don't want to rush into finding that someone.
I'm not even sure I want to find that someone.

And yet, EVERY fucking time I'm on the phone with multiple different people. I'll get asked the question: "So, are you dating anyone yet?"

Fuck no, and you don't have to fucking ask me every time, I'll tell you if I am. Damn it.

My mom is OBSESSED with grandchildren. My grandma is obsessed with great grand-children. And now, I have another woman (who is reasonably close to me), attempting to set me up with someone (I'm not interested). Why? Cause SHE wants grandchildren and can't have them otherwise.

I feel like the guy in Wicker Man, surrounded by women that want some sick form of human sacrifice. They need something to give the marriage gods. Well, it's going to take someone very special for me to go down, and it won't be without a fight.

Damn it, what I do with my baby-maker is my own damn business(unless you are a reasonably attractive woman with very adult but hold-off-on-the-marriage-and-child-for-now ideas, then we can discuss it). I don't mind introductions, but don't pressure me to do something I'm not ready for, or sure about...

*muffled yell*

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Consequences

In the process of spring cleaning yesterday, I found a small book that I once used for various pieces of advice in my life. This particular book was replaced with another one while I was growing up, but my family still gave me a copy of the original. The book was title - "Your Youth - Getting the Best out of it". Curious about what I was reading as a child (my memories of childhood are still mostly gone, even though I have recovered some), I picked it up and turned to a couple chapters.

One theme of the book spoke of 'consequences'. Actions have consequences - a constant theme in my childhood. But reading the book, it dawned on me that so many consequences we face for our actions are not directly associated with the action itself. And what's more, many negative consequences are only defined as negative from a narrow point of view.

Single mothers are forced to bear an "unhappy struggle to rear an illegitimate child". Why do we as a society say that such a struggle MUST be "unhappy". I have no doubt of the difficulty involved - but is the struggle itself "unhappy"? Maybe there are some out there that find rewards, indeed happiness, in being a single parent. Even more surprising to me are remarks venturing outside well-defined results:

"So called sexual freedom changes what should be pleasurable and clean into something cheap and detestable. So, which do you want - an occasional brief moment of illicit sexual excitement with all the risks and problems in involves, or the satisfaction of having a clean conscience before God"

The same book goes on to tell how dating/dancing/music/appearance lead to sex, and so all those things should be done to prevent that from happening. The basic line of reasoning is: certain music leads to sex, which is inherently bad outside of marriage, therefore that music is bad. But, the final consequence of a dirty and unclean feeling didn't come from sex, it came from teachings about sex. To me, this amounts to playground reasoning:

"I don't see anything wrong with having sex"
"But, you'll get all sorts of nasty diseases."
"But I practice safer sex by limiting partners and using protection"
"You can still get diseases"
"I can still get diseases if I have sex after I'm married, and using safer sex practices, the risk of infection is small enough to not remove the other benefits - both health and emotionally"
"You will feel dirty after"
"Actually, I feel rather good"
"But, you should feel dirty, cause my Father in heaven, who is the biggest most knowning person ever wrote in his book that sex is bad if you aren't married, Neener neener"

Consequences from sex are one obvious theme. But this goes into so many other places.

Refusing to be Christian has consequences. Is it the refusal that causes the problems or reaction from that refusal? A person that decided to smoke pot faces consequences - less from the drug itself and more from the reaction of society to using a non-approved chemical for pleasure. The same goes for any number of other illicit chemical substances. A Governor recently went down for paying a prostitute. Pundits spouted moral outrage at his actions. My outrage is more for the hypocrisy of this man than his hiring of a sex worker.

The monster of consequence is constantly flashed at children, and yet we as a society are ignoring real consequences. 4,000 people dead in Iraq - that is REAL. Those people are not coming back - they have faced the ultimate consequence. We can sprout off some playground reasoning for why having sex or doing drugs has 'consequences' from some random piece of paper a group of men with funny hats denoted as Holy, OR we can look at the real, concrete consequences of our actions.

And in the end - that's the point. The religious right is so concerned with creating consequences for people they don't agree with that they have forgotten the soldiers of our countries being used as a ploy for oil and religion. And that, friends, pisses me off.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I promised to blog more often, but haven't felt like much lately. Still, this looks fun. One word answers.

You're Feeling: weary
To Your Left: lamp
On Your Mind: family
Last Meal Included: taco
You Sometimes Find it Hard To: wake
The Weather: bleh
Something You Have a Collection of: movies
A Smell that Cheers You Up: citrus
A Smell that Can Ruin Your Mood: vomit
How Long Since You Last Shaved: Morning
The Current State of Your Hair: 'Fro
The Largest Item On Your Desk/Workspace Right Now (besides computer): Feet
Your Skill with Chopsticks: God - unless you mean the food utensil then: Decent
Which Section You Head to First In the Bookstore: Specials
...and After That?: Philosophy
Something You're Craving: (censored)
Your General Thoughts On the Presidential Race: Fuck
How Many Times You've Been Hospitalized this Year: Nyet
A Favorite Place to Go for Quiet Time: Outside
You've Always Secretly Thought You'd Be a Good: pornstar
Something that Freaks You Out a Little: Taxes
Something You've Eaten Too Much of Lately: Hamburger
You Have Never: inhaled
You Never Want To: quit

From Janet + Others....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The God Delusion

So, after my readings of some apologetic writing, I decided to crack the other side and started The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Immediately, I was rather impressed by his writing style. The apologetics writings all came across as mafia style reasoning.

"It'd be a shame if you had to burn in hell for not following our line of thinking."

Dawkins' work had a refreshing air to it, namely the lack of some covert agenda breaking in on the point the book was arguing.

Theistic writing seems to work like this:

1. Prove why the "Science" explanation is unlikely/wrong.
2. Prove why the God explanation is "right".
3. Prove why X is the true way.
4. Prove why a given denomination or sect is the correct form of X.

Thankfully, some apologetics is open about its agenda. But in the day of "Intelligent Design", it seems for whatever reason religionists have become intent on hiding their real point.

I should note that I do not agree with Richard Dawkins views on religion. I have yet to find my faith if any, and I may still turn out to be a materialist in the end. That places me squarely in the "target" category for this book. As I see it, his book makes several points:

1. "God" should be treated as a testable hypothesis, which is answerable.
2. A believable model of the universe can be constructed without need for a God to exist.
3. Religion is not a prerequisite for morality, and common morals exist outside of religion.
4. Religion causes harm.
5. The "god shaped gap" in our brains can be filled by other things.

Contrary to the religionists claims, I was rather amazed by the large portions of the book that presented an alternative view of the Universe. Discussing this book with a few people, I've heard the sentiment that spending a whole book trying to disprove something just gives it credence. On a rhetorical level, that may be true. However, it was refreshing to look at the possibility of evolution and basic science and theory without having to dismiss it for my belief in God.

All that said, in my eyes, this book only hit the monotheistic religions. And of those, it really only dealt with the major Abrahamic faiths. To be fair to Dawkins' - the book is called "The God Delusion" and not "The Supernatural Delusion". And as such, I didn't really expect much response tho things such as Buddhism or Neo-paganism or any of the other off-by-one faiths out there. Which raises my major disagreement with this book - the stance on belief. Dawkins' speaks out clearly against "belief in belief". Now, I could be reading a bit more into his words than he intended, but he seems to imply more to belief than is reasonable.

It is a pseudo-worshiped principle, "the Scientific method". Granted from "reason". We have evidence, we use that evidence to create a theory, we test that theory, it fits the test or is disproven. Some theories have worked long and well enough that they are accepted as true, at least until evidence comes around to remove them.

The problem exists when we have a question with no or little evidence (yet!). How do we move, for example, from a thought experiment to the atomic bomb? And that, my friends, is when belief is necessary. Under this model, the hypothesis can be seen as a statement of belief. And the believer is willing to put this belief to the test.

That willingness is what removes a healthy belief form an unhealthy one. Belief in its most raw, basic form leads to great debates in science. Dawkins' thus appears to not be addressing "belief in belief" but belief in dogma. Belief in itself is healthy, but the whole "thou shalt not put your God to the test" business creates some dicey situations.

Overall, as someone still figuring out the world and leaving an abusive faith (a very well thought out point in Dawkins' work), I found the overall points Dawkins' presented well done.

As someone sitting on the sidelines for now though, I think it is important that we draw the distinction between belief, dogma, and fundamentalism. Drawing attention to provably false statements is a good thing. Calling people out for moral hubris based on belief systems should NOT be a taboo. But at the same time, non-dogmatic belief can lead to great discoveries.

Dawkins' limiting of belief to only dogmatic fundamentalism leaves a great many questions in my mind as how we as a society should handle belief systems that develop and already exist. In other words, how can society have "healthy faith" and "beliefs" instead of none-at-all?

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Haiku

Been a rough week at work, so thought I'd sure this:

Random failure lurks
In userspace or kernel?
Debugger useless

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Errrrr.... Scary.....

So, for a couple days, I've smelt a strange odor outside my apartment. I didn't think much of it, and kinda shrugged it off - yesterday, it seemed a bit strong, and the thought occurred to me that it might be natural gas. I made a mental note that if it was there, I might should call the gas company. Mostly, because I was in a hurry to make an appointment.

I'm gone for the day, head over with a group of coworkers to do a movie night thing. I get back to the house round-abouts 1:00 AM. There's a couple trucks out in the back of my apartment, but I shrug it off, and park. Head into my apartment, and crash.

This morning, I get a knock on the door - waking me from my sleep. I have two thoughts at the time, "shit, it's cold in here", and "why the fuck is someone waking me up". I zombie-walk to the door and am greeted by a rather nice MGE technician.

"There was a gas leak last night, and we had to turn gas off to this complex. Now that the leak is fixed, we are relighting pilot lights and checking gas lines."

Holy shit.

I've lived with natural gas 24/25 of my life, and I never been in a situation with a leak. I had gotten so used to it, that the danger my neighbors and myself in was not apparent to me. In short, I/we were damn lucky that nothing ignited the gas, and further, that someone called the gas company.

So, overall I'm glad that I've been reminded to not mess around with natural gas odor and to call the gas company, and REALLY glad that this reminder came from a night without heat and a polite MGE employee waking me up instead of being toasted in a fireball.

Lesson learned, and worth repeating: If you smell a rotten egg or odd odor, CALL THE GAS COMPANY.

I'm glad to be lucky this one time, next time, I'll remember to be proactive and not lucky.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A taste of conservative idiocy

I don't know why I get these emails, I don't know who the are from. But, I'm really having trouble reading this email from a couple days ago. I don't know if its funny, sad, or stupid. Still, I thought I'd share.

Obama is the real threat. You know how the Bible has given us clues to who the antichrist will be? Scholars have figured out that the antichrist will come from Africa. Obama wasn't born their. He was born in Hawaii and was sent to Africa to live. He grew up in the Militant Islamic schools that are spawning terrorists all over the world. The Bible also mentions that he will rise to power through the government and will become the most powerful man in the world.
...

Obama is a smooth talker. He has fooled many people who want peace, redistributed wealth and BETTER HEALTH CARE. The Bible talks about not being able to buy or sell, but it is mum about what you will be able to buy or sell. What if health care is the root to these means? They believe that he will be able to miraculously heal the sick through aborted fetus research. He will heal the sick with miraculous science and brilliant health care policies. Everyone will have to sign up. Health care companies will not be able to sell unless they agree to the government's terms. We won't be able to buy unless we accept the terms. I wonder if they will be able to stop you from purchasing any kind of health care product until you sign up? Or worse, prevent you from withdrawing your retirement until you sign up. Do you go down off the roof and into the house to get your your things, or accept the mark of the beast to buy or sell in the stock market or withdraw your life's savings? Will this be the means to the end?
...
Obama is a devout Muslim. He has never said the pledge of allegiance. He has never sung the national anthem. There are pictures on the web of him silently standing with his hands crossed next to Hillary and another senator singing the national anthem with their hands on their hearts. He is the first Muslim senator ever, and the first government leader to be sworn into public office on the Koran. I believe he will be the first president to be sworn into office on the Koran. Who is it that says you must believe our religion or die? Most people would answer,"Christianity". Islam is the correct answer. We know that Christianity isn't forced on anyone. If Obama makes Islam our national religion, watch out. If we turn against Israel, watch out. When Obama takes office, I believe all these things will begin to happen very quickly and it will be too late to go back into your house to get your things. It will be too late to get your retirement out. I'll bet he will block everyone from getting their retirement until they sign up for national health care.
It will be too late then. You will have to take the mark to buy or sell. Then what?
...

No one knows what Obama believes, All they know is that he looks good, sounds good and wants what they want - a future. He is a snake in sheep's clothing ready to take his place as ruler of the world. He is looked to as the only one who can bring peace to the Muslim world because he is the only Muslim leader in the world poised to offer it. 7 years of peace before all hell's fury is released. I believe he will use the words,"Peace through unity". This came to me on 3/5/08. We shall see.

I highlighted the interesting bits for those that didn't want to read it all. So, besides the facts that Obama has proved that he does say the Pledge of Allegiance, has been a member of a Christian church for an extensive period of time, and was indeed sworn into church on a bible... the 'scary' claims here that Obama is the anti-christ because he came from Africa and has a national health care plan....

Holy shit. I'm left wondering here how people buy into this fantasy. I might not agree with Obama on a _LOT_ of things, but this takes it to a whole new level. This isn't politics, it's insanity.

Don't really know what to say...

bedroom toys
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So, apparently, being sasquatch has its advantages - I can't really figure out why else I'd get the high number. For the right person, I might consider a $1,223.99 discount - hey, it's never free, ok?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Overland Park Drivers Suck

So, my morning starts out with a long nasty drive on 435 and I35. A perfect conglomeration of accidents and lane closures that ended up with ramps closed, and cars placed in park. Annoying, but something I could deal with. I hop off the highway and hit the back roads.

I make it to work, a bit later than I like, but still ok. The day goes on, I work on some cool stuff, and forget about the nasty morning caused by the numerous accidents sprinked along the interstate. At roughly 4:00 PM, I head out to deposit a check, so I can go out on the weekend perhaps. I head to the bank on a short break while waiting for a compile. Normally, this errand takes 15 minutes tops. Not today.

I slow and come to a stop waiting to make a left hand turn into the bank's rear entrance. There is only one car in oncoming traffic. A car behind me that appears to be stopped/slowing. The oncoming traffic passes, and I left my foot off the brake to make the turn. *WHAM* The car connects with my rear bumper.

The damage to my car appears relatively minor. The car that hit me managed to puncture the bumper with the license plate, but other than that, it looks ok. I got the other driver's insurance info. The annoying thing is that if the impact had been even a fraction less, there wouldn't have been any damage and I could have just moved on. A large part of me wants to just forget about the whole thing and move on. Another part of me knows that I'd be annoyed by the two small holes in the back of my rear bumper. Part of me knows that the person that hit me made a small mistake, and will get some level of hassle from this whole thing.

So, after 8 years without touching the paint of another vehicle (or my own), I have finally broken the whole accident thing. I've talked to a collision company and will be taking the car in on Monday. We are both insured by the same company, and they happen to have an office there, and my previous experience with both the collision and insurance companies was actually very good (despite their being a chain).

The thought crossed my head of not involving the insurance company at all, as the cost is likely to only be a couple hundred dollars (unless something more nasty happened than the obvious aesthetics). And yet, it just seems likely that every time I try to be nice to people, it just turns out to be trouble.

I'm really just sick of it all right now - I want things to go right. Looking at my life, I could easily say I've been a success, but I've had to pay somehow and fight for every one of the successes I've had. And then, when I hit a resting point and I'm not fighting for something at the moment, when I finally have a 'sabbath' if you will, this sorta shit happens. I really thought the 'event' of the week was over, after my mom e-mails me for the first time in a month, just to give me a reminder about the "Memorial". Universe /Divine Power /Goddess /God / Jesus / Allah / FSM / IPU: Are you done fucking with me yet? I dare not ask you to help rebuild my social circle or find romance. I fear what tragedy would befall if I even got close there.

Fuck the world.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Laying odds Texas goes blue in the next 12 years...

I've stated this again and again, but I think it just sounds so outlandish that people don't buy it. As strange as it sounds, the state that produced our current white house village idiot, very well could go blue. Why? The makeup of the state. Yes, you have the super-conservative core there. But you also have cities with large numbers moving in (or being born and coming of age). Not to mention the large contingent from New Orleans that have remained. Of course, you wouldn't get this idea from the press. (Unless you live in conservative Texas and get to hear about them damn (any number of censored nouns) taken' over.)

But, I think for the first time, we have some real solid evidence of the soon to happen turn over - the Primary. What's the story?

Here's the numbers:

Clinton votes: 1,455,959
Obama votes: 1,356,330

Total of ALL Republican votes: 1,319,960

Put another way: the number of democratic voters for EACH Democrat candidate outnumbers the TOTAL Republican voters. Given that Democrats at the primary outnumbered the Republicans by a near 2:1 margin, things may very well get interesting in the lone star state.

Compare this to 8 years ago, when the Republicans primary voter count hit double the Democrats, and further, compare that to 4 years ago where the count of Democrat primary voters was only 1/3 this count. I don't think it'll happen this election, but if/when Texas goes blue, the Republicans can very well count themselves out of the white house.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The world is changing...

A rather interesting article crossed my browser today, from the KC star of all places.

http://www.kansascity.com/105/story/505433.html

Things that I found most interesting was the last paragraph:

Hindus claimed the highest retention of childhood members, at 84 percent. The group with the worst retention is one of the fastest growing — Jehovah’s Witnesses. Only 37 percent of those raised in the sect said they remain members.


Indeed, the thing that struck me most about reading this was that, for all the talking of faith and religion, and the religious right - as a country, we have this sickness of glossing over and pretending faith. Why do I say sickness?

It's not the belief system, it's the lack of caring. It's adopting views about society, the world, what is bad and good, and following them without giving regard to consequence. The article above mentions some of the fluidity of belief - people moving away from churches to others. The large portions of society that identify themselves as "Christian", but can give no detail as to what branch. Non-denominational churches are rapidly growing, and a larger and larger number have moved to a "personal faith".

Now, to be fair, a large number of people that move or change faith have given a great deal of thought to it. And further, the fact that such a large number of people have changed faiths could very well say good things about people giving thought to what they believe. The problem I have, is the large number of people that are "cultural Christians".

"The End of Faith" makes an interesting point about these moderates in our society. The large contingent of people that are "just Christian" give those that want to see extremist policies more power. Because, "it doesn't affect me". The end result? States like Kansas try to push notions like "Intelligent Design" as science, and Presidential candidates are not laughed out of the room for "not believing in evolution".

Of course, the complete apathy over faith might lead to some enlightened philosophy... But, then again, I think there's something to be said for faith and belief and so on, or at least, remember what it is.

Part of me thinks that maybe we're just all burned out from the bat-shit insane religious right. Looking at the youths leaving the JWs, and seeing the number that just never really took to the lifestyle, and just want to live.... I think the vast majority could be termed in that light. Still, the cause of the apathy doesn't change the fact that it's there.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Back among the living...

Flu had me down, but not out. Good to be functional again. Now, got to get back in the swing of blogging.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Quest for a piano teacher contines...

Well, I took Saturday to visit several music stores in the area.

I've discovered a couple things:
#1 - Keyboardists and Piano players are second class citizens in the music world
#2 - Music teachers are very hit and miss

I guess I knew these both before. (Hey, the keyboardist is always the last band member to laid right?)

So far, I haven't been happy with much of what I've found. I'm seriously considering just going through a college and calling it a day, but that will put my plans on hold because I refuse to pay that much when I'm still paying off college, and moving/starting my life over, etc...

So, via google, I've done some websearching for local business and dropped some emails. Hopefully I get some responses. You'd think people would jump out of the woodwork for business.... Oh well...

In other news, while visiting the music stores I snagged a guitar cord, and discovered, after using said cord, I don't suck nearly as much as I thought - I might actually be able to play guitar. So, work continues on progressing above Bill & Ted garage band level there. So far, it's going well. (I think I might actually have passed Bill & Ted already, wooo!)

Edit: Damn it, I really can't type today.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Stupid People...

... I realized today, that the one thorn in my side that keeps aching is that of... stupid people. It's not a lack of intelligence, or ignorance, or naivety. No, one can be all of those things, and still not be stupid. Indeed, on even my best days I'll glaringly exhibit most of those traits at some time. To me, being stupid is more related to pride.

See, in order to be stupid, you have to exhibit those traits, and then waltz around the world in complete denial and self-assurance in your intelligence/knowledge/common sense. A stupid person does not listen to people that point to facts and say - have you thought about? A stupid person ignores that there are other people in the room potentially better in some area than them. A stupid person lives in a world so self-oriented that everyone should kiss their ass.

Even the most intelligent people can be stupid, it's not what you know, it's what you *think* you know.

And everyday, they seem to fuck with me in some annoying and small way. From the religious nut jobs, to the politicians, to various coworkers, and former friends. People that think they know better so they can inflict their idiocy upon me.

Such is life...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The race is on....

... and I'm disgusted. The problem with being able to care about politics? It sucks.

So, now it's between Romney & McCain, and Clinton and Obama... I suspect that McCain can beat Clinton, Obama can defeat both, and Romney v Clinton will be any person's game. I don't like any of them.

So, looks like my first vote for President is going to be a "Protest" 3rd party thing. Bleh.

Some part of me is expecting Clinton v. Romney - the ultimate in robot vs. douchebag.

Is it worth caring anymore?

My idea: a recall process for all federal elected officials. If the recall is successful, the outgoing scum gets a firing squad. Any takers?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Looking for a piano tutor....

Well, I've never done this before, so I figured I might start by asking the blog community for recommendations. In my playing, it seems I have hit a bit of a wall - mostly bad habits from years of self-teaching that are now starting to get in the way. So, I've decided that it's time to start looking for lessons (*grumbles*).

Anyway, I'm looking for someone that can do Adult, Intermediate to Advanced Piano, classical/jazz/new age. Bonus points if they can do voice lessons (not required though). I'd prefer someone that does mostly private lessons versus classes, and specializes in adults and can understand work schedules, etc...

I'm looking to work on some classics, technique, and improv.

And, while I really shouldn't have to say this, I'll only consider someone that is better/more skilled than me - I don't consider myself an advanced student, but I hope to be so soon...