Blog News


Because the real Opiate of the Asses goes by the name "Ego" now. Fuck you.

Friday, October 25, 2013

My New Blog

My new blog is the Man Who Rules The Universe
You'll notice a few differences. It's a lot brighter, I suppose that represents my shift from hating everything to more or less loving everything. Yes the titles and logos are hand-drawn (besides a little touching up in photoshop), yes, thank you I AM an amazing artist. Yes my real name is Maciej Jachtorowicz, and yes, I am no longer anonymous, something I felt was necessary if I'm going to be blogging partially about events in my own life.

So yea, read and enjoy.


Friday, October 18, 2013

End of the Line

On June 4th, 2012, I turned this failed programming blog into a scathing political opinions blog, and, as of today, this blog has been running for one year, four months and 12 days. I started this as a scathing political and social opinions blog, to vent my teen anger and frustration with the world (which I still do from time to time). However, I'm not the person I was when I started this blog. I have change drastically over the past four hundred and ninety nine days. As I look back, many of my opinions I had when I started no longer reflect who I am, what I believe and what I think.

Even the title of Opiate of the Asses doesn't reflect me anymore. As a fairly extreme leftist at the start, I chose Marx because he reflected leftist ideals that were so often demonized and bastardized by the right. The image of Marx flipping the bird was essentially a "fuck you" to those people, a "fuck you" to all who ignorantly dismissed liberals as being "commies" as, unwittingly, did the same to the right side. I've opened my mind so much wider than I ever knew I could. I used to detest any music that wasn't made by actual instruments but here I am jamming out to Bonfire by Knife Party.

The point is, the Opiate of the Asses, Marx, this whole site represents something I've grown out of. I've found myself wanting to write posts that don't fit the genre defined here.

So I've decided that I cannot continue with this blog.

However, that doesn't mean I'm done writing.
I'm going to start a new blog, one that reflects me, my views, who I am and what I think much more accurately than this site. It's been a good run here, but it's time to start fresh. I'm not quite sure what I'll name it or even what site I'm going to use yet, but you can be sure of one thing; I will continue writing.

The new blog will have, not only what you've found here, but more. In addition to my political, philosophical and social rants, I will have more posts about my life, what I've been up to, projects I've been working on, people I've been collaborating with, and anything else that pops into my head.

So Goodbye for now. In a couple days I'll update this post with a link to my new blog. I'll see you there.

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Thoughts on Music in the Modern Day

Music as an art form has changed drastically over the last few thousand years. Its place and function in society has shifted from a privilege to a right. Everyone and anyone has access to some sort of music. The sheer volume and variety of emotions, passions and messages held within the endless genres of music is honestly humbling. No matter who you are, there is a genre of music that you will like, that you can relate to, that speaks to you in some way. Recently, I've been expanding my musical knowledge, exploring new genres and finding new bands with new sounds.

My Freshmen and Sophomore years of high school, I listened almost exclusively to Tool. I considered them the most talented band in the world, I literally listened to nothing else. The feeling I remember the most from listening to them is a sort of reverence for the amount of skill and passion that went into a single song. The rhythms were transcendental, the lyrics enlightening and the beats impossibly complex. Their albums were nothing less than incredible journeys through subtle, savage, beautiful and brutal terrain. An hour listening to a Tool album was a psychological thriller that I reveled in.

I loved Tool so much I sort of killed them for me. One day, I realized that I had listened to every song countless times. Even the somewhat more obscure albums Opiate and Salival, and even the rare demo tape, 72826 (I didn't actually own a physical copy), they were all overplayed in my mind. Even today, I'm still jaded on the band. The only thing that could bring me back would be new material. So Tool became my gateway to the wide world of music as I sought to fill the void that Tool could no longer fill. I started with the familiar. I went to Rage Against the Machine, and enjoyed their rebellious raps and righteous riffs, but found that they didn't fill me with the artistic reverence, or give me the sense of a narrative that Tool did. I entered the Ska world and found Streetlight Manifesto, just in time for their new album release. There I found puncturing lyrics, a sense of a narrative combined with a powerful ideology supporting the mesmerizing melodies. Again, it was different, it was really good, but different. My musical knowledge expanded just like this, finding bands that filled some parts of the hole left by Tool, but none of them were quite the same. Recently, I've come to Arcade Fire. Their variety, style and the enigma of their lyrics and subtle melodies fill me with the same reverence I had for Tool, but in a different way.

Tool, metal, rock and roll, even Ska, those are relics of a generation before mine. It is important to remember, appreciate and enjoy the old, but it is also important to embrace and encourage the new. Arcade Fire is music more suited to my age. It is the modern, the trendy, the surreal, the new sound that I can't step away from. At least for now. My sister had been listening to them for a while, and I was first hooked on them during their album debut after the 2013 season premier of SNL. Arcade Fire is something new, something fresh. Spinning off retro themes, then jumping into brand new ground, Arcade fire combines new and old philosophies of music with lyrics of modern issues. Seeing them made me think "This is modern art, this is what I want representing my generation in the history of music." From energetic, to melancholy to contemplative to outright chaotic, Arcade Fire's music has so much variety and new ideas that I simply can't get enough of.

I'll finish this post off by posting a playlist of music that encompasses everything that I've been listening to recently. So shuffle, listen, and enjoy.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Middle Ground: Abortion

As I mature, evolve, change in my journey through life, I've found myself drifting away from the left side of the political spectrum a bit, and while I still have many left-sided opinions, I think I've gravitated enough to call myself a moderate. I do my best to see both sides of the political spectrum, and found that each side has their share of idiots and valid opinions. So I've decided that this site should reflect that. No longer will I write to make this place a bastion of left-wing opinions, I will do my best to open the gates and encourage a healthy debate.

So here comes a new kind of post: "The Middle Ground". In these posts I will look at a topic, present both sides, and analyze the strengths and faults of each argument. Hopefully, I will attract more of a crowd from the right side as well as the left side. Should debate erupt in the comments section, I will play the devil's advocate. When either side makes a great point, I will deconstruct it and provide a rebuttal. 

So let's start with something easy: Abortion.

The Left Side
Most leftists and liberals believe in women's rights to choose. They say choices about a woman's body belong to her and her alone, often saying that choices about a woman's body shouldn't be made by old men in congress. Criminalizing abortion simply makes it more dangerous for women who need it badly, as they resort to drastic, potentially fatal methods. Also often brought up is the issue of rape pregnancy, should victims of rape be forced to carry the babies of their attackers?

A woman's choice is one thing, but the child is half the father's as well. Shouldn't he get a say in the fate of his own child? At what point does aborting a fetus become murdering a child? During the very beginning of pregnancy, a fetus is merely a small ring of stem cells, not even close to anything anyone sane would call a thinking, feeling human being, but there is ample evidence that later in pregnancy, the fetus acts and reacts like a normal baby, something that would most definitely feel the pain of death. Criminalizing abortion, though it would not stop all expectant mothers, would prevent most people who realize the danger to themselves in more dangerous, uninsured, off the grid clinics. After all, drunk driving laws don't stop all people from driving under the influence, does that mean we shouldn't have laws against it? As for rape pregnancy, most sane people know that the claim of "A woman's body shuts down during rape" is absolute horseshit, but does a rape truly justify the death of an innocent child? Adoption is always an option. If you don't have the financial resources to raise a child, or don't want to raise a child that was the result of a rape, adoption is an option beyond killing the child.

The Right Side
Many right-wingers and conservatives bring up the prevalent issue of morality in abortion. Are you really going to kill an innocent child because you don't want it, or because of one bad decision? A common ideology is "don't do the act if you can't accept the consequences", and brings in the role of responsibility in sex. If you don't take proper precautions before sex, you have to accept the consequences and responsibilities that follow the act. 

Morality is of course a huge issue in this debate, and the question is, during an abortion, are you really killing a baby, or removing an unfeeling mass of cells? Up until about the third trimester, it's really just an unfeeling, unconscious mass of cells. If you're going to argue that removing a fetus then is murder, then you can make the same argument for the initial zygote, that tiny ring of cells that no person in the right mind wall call a thinking, feeling being. Another issue for morality is that morality is relative. When talking about abortion, the "morality" mentioned by conservatives is a very christian, religious sort of morality. History has shown us that morality depends on the culture around us. The Romans saw nothing wrong with making prisoners fight each other to the death for the entertainment of crowds. Today, that sort of thing would be considered heinous. Another example is giving blacks the vote. Many people had the sense that it was moral for blacks to stay as servants, that it was the "natural order of things". Obviously today, that's an insane opinion to have. 

So what do you, the reader think? Leave a comment and let this debate begin.
I'll sit here, observe and interfere,
from The Middle Ground.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Philosophical Ramblings: Human

It's 11:30 at night and I'm tired as all dick from doing 4 chapters of AP Physics work. I just watched a couple videos that inspired me to try and break out of my writer's block with the most heavy handed way I can think of.

Moar writing

So I suppose I'll start by talking about creativity.
My creative writing teacher would try and get us inspired by making us write nonstop for 20 minutes about anything we wanted. I used this technique often in the past until I didn't really need to anymore as topics began popping in my head like fucking popcorn. Those were the days where I would write more than a post a week. I suppose I'll try this technique again, but it doesn't really seem to be working because, as I mentioned, it's 11:30 at night and I'm tired as all dick which is slowing my mind down to the point where I'm typing a hell of a lot faster than I can think right now. I'm also beginning to suspect I'm a little stressed because I swear I just heard the first three beats of Queen's "We Will Rock You" in this utterly motionless and sleeping house.

Usually when I get inspired to write, it's because of a phrase I heard somewhere that reminds me why I love writing. This phrase can be anything, but usually it involves good vocabulary and a context of good writing. Today this phrase is "vociferous lack of shit-giving".

I like to consider myself an artist that paints with words but I'm not sure exactly how accurate that is, because I'm not sure any of my writing is actually good. My AP Language teacher reads some of my posts here and there and when I ask her, she tells me I'm a good writer. I tell myself I should believe her but my insecurities always get to me and I have little confidence in the quality of any of these posts. My "Fuck you Peter Singer" post was based off an assignment I got in that class, and I handed in an edited version of my post. I'm not sure what I'm so fucking worried about because that essay got the highest score it's possible to get.

I don't know if this is me bragging or being insecure, but I constantly feel my writing is very hit and miss, mostly the latter. Maybe this paranoia I have is the reason I apparently write well, so if I stop worrying maybe I'll stop writing well.

I've watched a lot of videos warning against the trap of fame, that you should generate content on your own accord instead of doing what you think the fans want. I don't know why I'm bringing this up because I'm in no danger of falling victim to my own fame because my fame doesn't exist. I suppose the danger was more apparent when I first started this blog, or at least the opinions portion of it, because I expected it to be something else. I originally wanted something along the lines of Maddox's page, angry, cynical, and actually pretty juvenile in an effort to derive some humor from the mix. I'm glad I grew out of that and this blog went in the direction that it did, but now I'm left with a bunch of angry, juvenile posts that no longer reflect my views. I still read Maddox's page and still find it funny, but I also realize that Maddox isn't necessarily the person he portrays himself to be, whereas this blog I try to do the opposite, as these (more recent) posts do reflect my views. I do fluff up my opinions to an extent, but I've noticed I've been doing so less and less.

Perhaps the insecurity of my writing is also in the insecurity of many my opinions. I like to think I'm educated and I know what I'm talking about, but I often remember that I am just a 17 year old kid, how much can I possibly know? I can't always be right, but when am I wrong? I try to put these insecurities to rest with quotes like this, but the doubt remains.

Perhaps its only because it's so late and I'm so tired, when I wake up in the morning I always feel confident with who I am, how I look and my abilities, but at times like this I always question myself. It's at times like this I look at my actions and decide, am I being a hypocrite? Am I being an asshole? And more often than not, the answers I give myself are "yes", and I resolve to continue trying to better myself.

I don't know why I'm writing this down. I don't know if it's wise to post this. I don't know if this sounds depressing or self-centered.

Right now I'm sitting in a dark room, at 12:10 at night. The only sound I hear is the sound of my own typing. Tonight, I am merely human.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spotlight on Games: Thomas was Gay

I just played the most moving and sentimental game I have and will ever experience. Never again will I look at life the same way. Every minor aspect was thought through and considered, creating a beautifully weaved masterpiece of a game. The industry will never be the same. Thomas was Gay is a story-driven adventure game, loaded with subtleties and messages, leading up to an emotional climax guaranteed to leave the player in tears, and cause them to rethink the way they live life. Developed by an anonymous indie developer, and distributed for free, Thomas was Gay is, simply put, beautiful.

 And yes, incredibly, this masterpiece is FREE TO PLAY https://googledrive.com/host/0B8Qz88jTfzpnLVJWc293blN6Zlk/index.html

 This game will go down in history as a classic milestone in the gaming community, representing gaming's transition into an art form. Every aspect, from the colors, the dialogue, the story, the pacing, the lack of sound, everything is carefully selected and given meaning. This anonymous developer has truly outdone himself with this intricately crafted emotional tapestry.

 ---

 Alright, look you fuckers, there has been a problem arising in the gaming industry as of late, developers passing off interactive movies as "adventure games". I'm certainly a fan of deep, cognitive story based games, but the key word in that statement is "games". Games have gameplay elements, like puzzles. There are plenty of great cognitive story-based games, like Depict One or Looming, and especially Myst, which basically gave birth to the whole genre. However thing that sets those games apart from interactive movies like Dear Esther and (possibly, I'll decide for sure after I play it but for now I'll put it here) Gone Home, is that there are puzzles and actual things to do. Let's get one thing perfectly clear.

Walking around a creepy environment and learning the story with no possibility of failure does not make a game.

The point of a game is to present a challenge, not simply engage the player's interest. There needs to be a possibility of failure, some sort of "bad end" to challenge the player to actually play. Simply exploring an environment is interesting and all, but without a challenge, without a possibility of failure, without actual gameplay elements, it is not a game.

So it really rustles my jimmies when games like Dear Esther and Gone Home get good ratings based exclusively on their story instead of the things that should actually make it a game. Having a good story is important, and I'm sure Dear Esther and Gone Home have excellent, moving and emotional stories, but they are by no means games.

If I wanted something cognitive and interesting to do that doesn't require me to actually play a game I'd just watch The Prestige again. Christ.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Guest Post: Will Be Mad

Twenty years ago, under the howling of a vicious storm, a boy was born. A boy that would grow up to be a really sarcastic and grumpy man. In the years to come, this man would write a blog. After a series of seemingly inconsequential and unconnected events you are now reading an introduction to that blog. It will change your life forever...

I am an angry man. I have been told this. I know it and I accept it. In fact I do more than accept it, I embrace it! I have spent the last 20 years trying to find something I'm good at. God knows I'm shit at everything else. Give a baboon a piano and the resulting cacophony is the extent of my musical talent, and don't even get me started on art. A Neanderthal with a lump of charcoal could do better. Despite all this, I am capable of stringing words together to form coherent sentences. As a result I thought that I would use this skill in the only way worthy, a blog. Because who doesn't want to read sarcastically angry posts from a skinny white guy? 

So what do I write about? Absolutely fucking anything. If it pisses me off it's fair game in my opinion. So far topics include Call of Duty, the weather, Margaret Thatcher and the French. Hell, if you cross me in the street and are a colossal dick then you may just feature. Nothing is sacred, no one is safe.

My blog does come with a health warning though. If you are easily offended then you might want to look away. If you are offended for other people then I will personally hunt you down and slap you in the face with my penis. Don't be that guy. Nobody likes that guy. If you don't like what I write there is an option: you can fuck off. If you aren't that guy, feel free to drop by and have a little chuckle at other people's expense.

You can find me on Will Be Mad; a blog about things that get on my tits, delivered with wit, humour and a sprinkling of sarcasm.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Selective Media

In the aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict, there's been a hell of a lot of "Where's the Media Outrage" posts circulating. You know, the ones that outline some terrible crime that the media pretty much completely ignored, then say something like "Why doesn't the media care?!?!"

So I've taken it upon myself to answer that very question, with the added bonus of explaining why people who post these things are morons.

First and foremost, the media cannot cover everything at once. There is an entire world of events that happens every single day. Crimes, celebrity appearances, trials, what have you. There is too much going on every day to be able to cover all of it. That isn't the only limiting factor. People don't want to spend all day listening to a list of how and why people got murdered or killed or raped. If you want something like that go read the obituaries. The media cannot cover every brutal crime that happens, they have to pick and choose. Even if they chose something other than the Zimmerman case to report, someone would probably bring up that very case in one of those fucking "Media outrage" posts. 

How do they choose? Well yes, a major factor is ratings, news studios do want to report things that bring their viewers back, it is a major factor, but it's not the only factor. Another factor is in the name, people want "new" news. People know soldiers die in Iraq, nobody thinks the military is all fine and dandy. People know they're in a war-torn region and car bombings happen. Call me cold and heartless, but people aren't going to necessarily care if they hear about some nameless soldiers that lose their lives in that region, because that's something we're expecting. And don't get me wrong, people do care about it, but those same people aren't going to be particularly surprised or intrigued when they hear of another car bombing in Afghanistan. What people do want to hear about are the things we aren't expecting. 

Also, the news isn't just going to report something everybody agrees upon. They want to report things people are going to disagree about. Let's take this for example 


This showed up on my Facebook newsfeed the day of the Zimmerman verdict. Before I go any further, I just want to say my condolences go out to the victims' families of this crime. I'll start by saying, yes this being a black on white crime is probably a factor, but it is most definitely not the only factor. Lets take this scenario. Let's say this is what the media reports this instead of the Trayvon Martin case, here's how the conversation would go. 

Me: Hey did you hear about those five blacks that brutally murdered that couple?
Friend: Yea that's pretty shitty
Me: Yea, shame. Wanna grab some lunch?
Friend: Aight

And here's a conversation I had about the Trayvon Martin case.

Me: Hey you hear about the Trayvon Martin shooting?
Friend: Yea, I wonder what actually happened, Trayvon was unarmed but it was the dead of night, Zimmerman must have been pretty paranoid.
Me: I dunno, it could have easily been a racially motivated murder, I mean how threatening can a black kid with a bag of skittles really be?
Friend: Could he even see his skin? It was the dead of night and the kid was wearing a hoodie, I mean even that is pretty sketchy. I'd be scared.
Me: Dude, I've walked around in the middle of night in a hoodie, it's fucking night man, it gets cold, why wouldn't you wear a hoodie?
Friend: Yea but we live in a pretty safe neighborhood, and plus, this was Florida. Remember when we went to Disney? It doesn't really get cold there ever. 

And so on.

The news gives people something to talk about, something to think about. Nobody wants to hear about something that's obviously terrible. People like a little bit of ambiguity, something to contemplate. People want news thats interesting. We know shitty things happen, but a lot of those things aren't very interesting or stimulating.

That's not the only reason the media would avoid that 5-way murder case. That murder is fucking brutal. They made this guy's girlfriend watch as they chopped his dick off and set him on fire before she herself was shot. There's a crowd of mothers that would go absolutely ripshit if you put that on TV. Say what you want about selective media, this is still television, and there's a line you don't really want to cross when reporting. I mean, call me crazy but I don't think people really want to hear about a guy getting his fucking dick chopped off. That's some hardcore "Boo goatse" shit. 

No the news isn't perfectly unbiased, yes there are some things that should get reported that don't. But the Zimmerman case is something I want to hear about, because it gives people like me something to talk about, something to think about, and something to post about. The news does keep us informed about the world around us, but you can't expect them to inform you about everything.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Twitter

Okay, I'm back, here's a short post, I'll have longer ones later. 

Unless you live under a rock, you've definitely heard of the huge abortion debate going on in Texas, and the decision that the senate had in the pro-life direction. Obviously, there was a lot of anger about this decision. This was to be expected, it's an important issue that affects a hell of a lot of people. But then there's people like Erick Erickson. Shortly after the decision, he posted this on Twitter. 


And people go ripshit mad.

Alright, yes he's a moron, yes he's your stereotypical republican with a tenuous grasp on the reality of the situation, yes he's from Fucks News, but it was a joke. A tasteless, stupid, grim joke, but a joke nonetheless. This is why I don't like Twitter, everything is taken too seriously. People think this is some huge political powerhouse and what they say here will affect the fucking world. This is not how the political process works, you're not getting anything accomplished by sending this idiot tampons and coat hangers. All you're doing is aggregating this divide between republicans and democrats as one side stereotypes and insults the other. This is why republicans think liberals are idiots, and vice versa. If we're ever going to reach any sort of bipartisan cooperation, this needs to stop.

It was a fucking joke, let it go, move on with your fucking life, and stop pretending to get things done by trashing people on Twitter. 

Speaking of social networking, It seems I have a sufficient fanbase to try for a Facebook or twitter presence. Time to sell out I guess. If you want an Opiate of the Asses Twitter or Facebook page, comment and let me know.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Spotlight on Games: LIMBO



LIMBO is a dark, Tim Burton-like gameplay driven platformer created by the Danish independent developer Playdead. At $9.99 on Steam, and usually half that price during sales, it's difficult to resist impulse-buying it. At first glance it seems like the average indie game, but playing through, you will realize it is well worth the buy.

A few things you should know before you play the game. It may seem like an art-driven game, and to a point it is, but it's actually very gameplay driven, relying on intense timing based puzzles and mechanics to convey a feeling of profound insignificance. The gameplay, combined with the soundtrack that ranges from creepy, to powerful to mellow, and the gloomy, to calming to outright scary art style, creates a powerful sense of intense purpose that does a great job of immersing you in the game. Also, if you own a controller, use that, as the keyboard controls are a bit laggy, and the controller matches the platformer style of the game much better.




Warning: Spoilers Here

You play as a small boy in a vast, surreal black and white world filled with dangers up the wazoo. The environment has a strong, ethereal and dreamlike feel, and seems to imply some sort of psychological analogy, also hinted at in the description on steam; "Uncertain of his sister's fate, a boy enters LIMBO..." Perhaps I'm just drawing parallels with the free flash game Coma, but the entire game feels like an analogy for an internal battle. The boy, the character you play is completely nonchalant and aloof, showing only an inkling of emotion with his body language at the very end. Throughout the entire game, bizarre, nightmarish beasts and vast, terrifying environments dictate the game, all seem to conspire against the boy. I interpreted this as an analogy for a mental battle of the boy coping with his sister's presumably grim fate. It also played off several seemingly innocent things kids do, such as pulling the legs off a daddy longlegs.

It's difficult to take each aspect of the game and explain how it affects the game as a whole, so I'm going to take certain parts of the game and pick them apart, explaining why each part worked.

First, we'll talk about something closer to the end of the game. Deep in the bowels of a dark, industrial section of the game, you flip a switch and the entire map starts turning clockwise, you have to time your jumps to climb onto the wall and avoid getting crushed. These scene is one of the most intense and immersive parts of the game. The game accomplishes this by limiting the light you have with a single swinging light bulb, and accenting the colossal feeling of the environment with a soundtrack of a deep, throbbing tone, intensifying the fear of the time-based puzzle.

There are countless scenes like this in the game, the developers did an incredible job of immersion by gameplay. Another excellent feature that added to the intensity is the autosave feature. The autosave points are just far apart enough so that you need to learn and know the terrain between them enough to feel like you are skillfully navigating the level, and it requires you to "practice", much like older games with no save feature. However, the autosave feature saves often enough that you don't lose a frustrating amount of progress if you die. In fact, the game did an excellent job of avoiding frustration, as the immersive nature made you feel more determined rather than frustrated when you die.

The physics system is also a work of art, the animations and physics of this two dimensional environment are so smooth, they become a major factor of the immersion, combined with the dark art style, it creates an interesting juxtaposition that adds to the pure surrealism, not to mention the added and more obvious juxtaposition of the young, innocent boy in a deadly, nightmarish world.

The setting itself seems to take place on the outskirts of a post-apocalyptic industrial city, and the game transitions from wild forests and fields with rural natives to the bowels of a sprawling, intimidating machine

There is so much I wish I could put into words about this game. I wasn't too impressed at first, but thinking back, I realized what an effect it had, and I was overtaken with the urge to play through again. It is worth the ten dollars, but my advice is to wait for it to go on sale.

Final Verdict: 8.3/10

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Microsoft Office

Today I got in a brief argument with someone bragging about being "certified" with Microsoft Office after taking a class on it.  Today I am going to explain why taking a class on common software like that is absolutely useless.

First, let's take a look at what the prerequisites and requirements are for taking the exam. For the sake of this post, let's take a look at Microsoft Office 2010. Microsoft provides a great page where you can look at the skills being measured in the exam. For the sake of brevity, I'm just going to look at Word 2010.

Microsoft Word 2010

Sharing and Maintaining Documents
-Applying different views to a document.
Basically all you have to know is go through and memorize the "view" tab. This shouldn't take more than 5-10 minutes to learn

-Apply protection to a document
I didn't actually know how to do this, so I googled it. The first link brought me to a page from Microsoft detailing exactly how to do it.

-Manage document versions
Basically, this is just opening the recovered files when you quit without saving.

-Share documents
If you have an email, you can already do this.

-Save a Document
Who the fuck doesn't know how to save a document?

-Add a template to a document
You don't even need to Google this to figure it out.

Formatting Content
-Apply and Manipulate page setup settings
Fuck around with that bar with the arrow and numbers on it.

-Apply Themes
Essentially the same thing as applying templates

-Construct content in a document using the quick parts tool
This sounds difficult. It's not. It's actually just pre-writing footnotes and watermarks and shit like that.

-Create and Manipulate Page Backgrounds
Again, easy as hell to figure out.

-Create and Modify Headers and Footers
If you've ever written any sort of research paper, you already know how to do this.

Creating Illustrations and Graphics in a Document
-Insert and format pictures in a document
-Insert format shapes, word art and smart art
-Insert and format clip art
-Apply and manipulate text boxes

This was any paper you wrote before 9th grade. If you don't know how to do any of this, you have to be literally retarded when it comes to computers.

Proofreading Documents
-Validate content by using spelling and grammar checking options.
First of all, you don't have to do this if you actually know anything about the English language. Second of all, this is just right clicking on the words that have that fucking red or green squiggly line underneath it.

-Configure Autocorrect Settings
If you've ever chosen the "add to dictionary" option, you know how to do this.

-Insert and modify comments in a document
This is actually a pretty cool feature used when multiple people are working on a document. It's incredibly user friendly. It takes less than 5 minutes to learn.

Applying References and Hyperlinks
-Apply a hyperlink
Easy as all fucking hell

-Create Endnotes and Footnotes in a document
Again, if you've ever done a research paper, you already know this

-Create a table of contents in a document
This barely has anything to Microsoft word, it's more about formatting it right, and that was already covered earlier.

Performing Mail Merge Operations
-Setup Mail Merge
-Execute Mail Merge

This may actually be the hardest part of the entire certification. But as it turns out, Microsoft Word practically does it for you.


There is absolutely no reason to take a class on anything Microsoft offers, because everything is user friendly, and pretty self explanatory, and Microsoft provides anything you could ever need to know about their programs for free. You can literally become a Microsoft Office Expert overnight. One week, or even one weekend fucking around with these programs and pages makes you as competent as you'll ever need to be.

Microsoft Office is fucking easy

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Truth

Truth is relative. There are very few truths that can be considered absolute. Truth depends on the person, the belief, the religion, the morality, truth changes drastically. You can argue for anythings falsity, you can argue that the earth is flat, that scientists lie to us, that magnets are "fucking miracles man", or that reptilian aliens rule the earth. These are the truths of the people I consider "ignorant shitheads". However, these people believe with the entirety of their being that the bullshit they are spewing is true.

My truths are very different, but I spew them with equal, if not more vigor. I've recently asked myself the question, why are my truths more true? What makes them different than all that moronic drivel? Today I am going to attempt to answer that question.

Let's start here. Truth does not exist beyond the human experience. Without humans, or any sort of consciousness observing the universe, there is nothing to say make observations or statements about it. The universe just is (or isn't, who the hell knows). Truth is an entirely human construct used in part to describe the world we live in. There aren't any real "universal truths" because the universe doesn't have truths. All we have are the "truths" that the human experience has created. This is a problem because the human experience itself is limited. We can't know everything, and what we know is based on either our observations, or the  observations of others, which also cannot be completely accurate. What we end up with is a mess of inaccuracy with is inherent in every truth and observation we have.

Now that was on hell of a digression, let's back up. We've established that truth is a purely human construct. When you look at it this way, nothing is true, because what is true for one person can be completely false for another. And yet nothing is false, because something that's false for one person can be completely true for another person.

What the actual fuck.

Let's take this in a completely different direction. Why to people believe in these personal truths? For me, my truths give me a sense of completeness and superiority, and give me a sense that the world I live in is beautiful and complex as it is enigmatic and chaotic. They give me a sense of awe and the sense that we, as humans, have a duty to find all of these "truths". For others, their personal truths may give them comfort in this scary and confusing world, and the sense that there is a simple world beyond and there is always a plan. I hold my truths in a sense of duty and awe at the world we live in.

But certainly there are things that are more true than others. My truths are based on the evidence we see in today's world, certainly that makes them more true than the "truths" that have no evidence behind them. I am, of course talking about the truths of science versus the truths of religion. If truth is a human concept meant to describe reality, then truths must be based in reality, they must be based on some sort of experience in order to be as true as they can be. Let's assume for the sake of this argument that the truths of religion are based on the experience of a few men, the founding preachers of that religion. If this proving experience is privy to these few men, then while the things they preach may be true, there is no evidence that others can experience. Scientific truths, on the other hand, is based on evidence anyone can see for themselves (most of the time. For some things you either have to take their word for it or learn a hell of a lot about mathematics and quantum physics.)

However, we must come back to the fact that we only have our perspective. We only have the world we experience through our own eyes. I believe my truths because I experience them. What I believe is true, makes it true. Other people do not experience the same world I do, and what they experience as truth may be completely different. Our consciousness, our being, is our entire world, and the only world we have. And within that world, that provincial self-awareness is where our truths lie. My truths are true because I experience them. Perhaps, other people are experiencing completely different worlds, with completely different truths.

But the truth is, we'll probably never know this for sure.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

North Korea, Chill the fuck Out

So everyone has heard of North Korea's rampant warmongering as a result of their insecurity about the size of their penis nuclear weapons. They've been throwing around threats and generally trying to scare the shit out of everyone. For some people, it's worked, a lot of people are paranoid about getting hit by a nuke. A lot of people, however, aren't very worried.

Let's start here. Let's take a look at the culture the North Korea has right now. There isn't all too much information about the aptly named "Hermit Kingdom", but there have been a few brave souls that have ventured inside and escaped with a glance of what it looks like to be on the inside. The biggest thing is also the scariest; the indoctrination. North Koreans are brainwashed from birth to worship their "great leaders" Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un. And when I say worship, I mean literally worship. They hold their leaders in great esteem with a cult-like fanaticism, from how you're supposed to address them, to how you're supposed to take a picture of them. In a style not dissimilar to 1984, everyone feels watched, and no one knows if anyone around them is legitimately loyal to their leader, or just too scared to dissent in any way, shape or form.

The level of education and technology is far behind any of the countries North Korea is threatening to attack. It looks like they're pretty much stuck in the early 80's. There are barely any cars on the road, computers look like this, and warehouses full of modern medical equipment that other countries have donated but none of the North Korean doctors know how to use. A few years ago there was a documentary about a humanitarian doctor that came to North Korea to cure patients suffering from cataracts. Most of them had progressed so badly, that they were completely blind, and when they could finally see, instead of thanking the doctor, all the credit went to their "great leader".

In the same documentary, they interviewed a family and asked them "Can the great leader do anything wrong?" The family just stared back, as if they didn't understand. When they tried to take a picture of Kim Jong Il's statue, the camera man laid down in front of it to get a better angle, and the North Korean "tour guides" went ripshit.

The original idea behind to politics of North Korea was the idea that if they remained completely united and loyal, they could conquer any country, no matter their size, education, training or technology. At least the military branch of North Korean truly believes this, and they're crazy enough to try and follow through with it.

The worst part of this is, Kim Jong Un himself was raised and indoctrinated in this very culture, and he's the one with his finger on the trigger. The threat of a nuclear attack on another country from North Korea is very real. Kim Jong Un seriously believes he can take on the rest of the world and win, and there's only a few ways that a war like that will end. All of them end very quickly.

As soon as North Korea launches a nuclear missile at anyone, war is going to break out. Even if the missile gets taken down by anti-air defenses, it would be an act of extreme, unwarranted aggression, meaning war. If the attack is on the US, the US goes in and slaps their shit. If the attack is on South Korea, the US goes in and slaps their shit. If the attack is on Europe, most of Europe will go in and slap their shit. If North Korea attacks anyone, they get their shit slapped. There is absolutely no favorable outcome for North Korean, not a realistic one at least.

The only real fear is where the North Koreans strike first, because it's the only strike they're going to have. As soon as its out of the way, everyone has an excuse to invade and slap their shit shitless.

So this is my message to North Korea:
Chill the fuck out. You are trying to play a game where the only winning move is not to play.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

More Sketches from my Notebooks



I dunno. Thought it was pretty cool. I think is was during an art class.


Isn't this a pokemon?


Shrooms man...


Steampunk is incredible


I don't even know.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Why the Equality Movement is not like Kony 2012

I've seen a lot of people changing their profiles to the equality symbols in support of gay marriage. I have also seen a lot of opposition to this trend (The trend of equality symbols itself, not the actual gay marriage issue). Today I'm going to give my two cents on these kind of trends.

Lets wind the clocks back a year. Lets wind them back to the Kony 2012 movement. This is a prime example of a completely useless trend that got absolutely nothing done. This is what happened. In 2003, the Invisible Children foundation was formed. Almost a decade later, they release a half-hour video about what happened in Uganda in 2003. A bunch of people saw the video and jumped on the bandwagon. Instead of doing something that would actually helped, people just joined Facebook groups and changed their profile pictures instead of doing something that might actually help, like donating money or joining the Invisible Children foundation and become active members. Nope, people just changed their profile pictures and pretended it did something.

This same thing happened with a movement aimed at ending child abuse. Instead of donating, joining a police force or volunteering at a foundation, people just changed their profile pictures and considered themselves moral human beings.

The same thing is happening with the DOMA and Proposition 8 issues. People are changing their profile pictures and thinking that it does something. Useless right?

Wrong.

The difference between those failed movements is this. With Kony 2012, and the Anti-Child Abuse movement, the solutions are things that require actual involvement and actual work. The Equality movement is different, because there is no foundation to donate to, no places to volunteer at. (EDIT: This point is moot, but sending a message affects this movement far more than movements such as Kony 2012 or the aforementioned anti-child abuse movement.) The only thing that anyone can do is send a message. There are multiple ways of sending a message. There's the conventional writing a letter to a Supreme Court Justice (yes, they actually read the letters), there's marching in front of the Supreme Court waving signs, and in this day and age, there is Internet activism. If enough people take up the cause and change their profile pictures, it would definitely get media converge. Media that would reach the eyes of Supreme Court Justices.

Some people argue that Supreme Court Justices don't care about public opinion. This is simply not true. Yes, they never go up for reelection, but that doesn't mean they don't care about what people think. When the Supreme Court Justices make a decision, they have to completely understand the implications of the decision they make. As some of the greatest legal minds of the generation, they realize that, unless they have some sort of input, they can't fully encompass all of the viewpoints and facets of the issue. That's why people write letters, asking them to consider their point of view.

In theory, the Supreme Court Justices are purely there to decide whether or not laws, propositions, bills, ect, are constitutional or not, and whether or not they conflict with previous laws, bills, ect. In a perfect system, the Supreme Court Justices would be unanimous in their decisions, but the problem is that people are people. They have biases, opinions and values they uphold that may differ from their peers. The constitution and civil rights are up for interpretation. A liberal interpretation would consider marriage between people of the same sex a civil right, and put that above the states' rights to define a family. A conservative interpretation would do just the opposite, putting the states' rights above individuals' rights.

Two sides of the coin, two different interpretations of the law, both arguably constitutional. It all comes down to which opinion, liberal or conservative prevails. The Equality movement is showing support for the liberal ideas, and there are anti-gay marriage movements showing support for the conservative view.

Besides, trying to convince the Supreme Court Justices is not the only goal of the movement. The movement is also showing support for all the gay couples in the country during this stressful time for them, their marriage hanging in the balance. Seeing a huge group of people very clearly and simply showing their support is bound to be a huge comfort, encouraging them to fight for the things they believe in. Encouraging them to fight for equal rights. Encouraging them to fight for their ideals.

Encouraging them to fight for love.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Manifest Desitiny

The reason I dislike the US really boils down to those two words.

Manifest Destiny.

For those of you who don't know, (American) manifest destiny was the idea around the time of Louis and Clark that the United States created its own destiny to take over the entire continent. The only reason this idea existed was because the US wanted to justify their greed. It was the idea that the white man was the only civilized thing in the world, that industrialization and assimilation were the only way to go and that Native Americans were all dirty brutes no one cares about.

Today people use Manifest Destiny to try and justify the century and a half long decimation and genocide of the Native American people.

Yes, genocide.
Because of the United States and their rampant greed and petty superiority, over 95% of the Native American people were killed. That means that less than 5% of the earth-loving, respectful, peaceful and culturally rich original inhabitants of this land actually have any sort of claim to the land around here. This genocide was not only condoned by the US government, but even sponsored. Here's just a few examples.

-In 1763, American soldiers handed out blankets infected with smallpox at Native American reservations.

-The 1820 Indian Removal Act, also known as the Trail of Tears forced over forty five thousand Native Americans off of land originally reserved for them by the government, and then forced them onto a huge trek comparable to a Nazi death march. Thousands of the evicted men women and children died from overexposure. The lands that were freed up by this act were settled by whites.

-The 1862 Homestead Act essentially gave away Native American land for us to farm and cultivate. The Native Americans were never informed, just forced off the land with muskets and rifles, forced to flee the homes they had inhabited for generations.

-It is believed that the US had a policy of exterminating buffalo in the guise of hunting to kill off the source of the Native Americans' livelihood. Native Americans revered the buffaloes, they were a central part of their culture. When they killed a buffalo, they used everything, they left nothing behind, because to them, the buffalo was sacred, they depended on the buffalo to survive. In their time, buffaloes literally coated the great American plains. Columbus described the plains "black, and ... as if in motion", from the sheer number of buffalo that inhabited the area. We don't see that today because of over-hunting back in the 18th and 19th centuries. We killed the buffalo, and the Native Americans starved.

Nothing justifies genocide. Don't give me that chickenshit "Manifest Destiny" or "Social Darwinism". Here were a people that respected the earth, they nurtured it, grew corn, worked with it, had a thriving and beautiful culture, and the US decided they would have none of that, and now we have pollution, global warming, all these problems with the ecosystem.

A Native American man was asked by a newspaper, "Where did the white man go wrong?" He replied "White man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water, women did all the work, medicine man free, Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing; all night having sex. Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fuck You Peter Singer

Today I came across an old article from the New York Times dated September 5th, 1999. It was called The Singer Solution to World Poverty. At first it seems it's for a good cause, but it quickly turns into a bigoted, insulting, hypocritical and narrow-minded rant on how everyone is a terrible fucking monster for not donating every penny they've ever made to charity. His entire premise is the idea that every penny you make that doesn't go towards necessities for life should go to charity. He makes several arguments trying to guilt his readers into donating to charities. He uses tactics like false dilemmas and incredibly implausible and unrelated arguments like choosing between a child a sports car or having children's organs harvested for a TV.

Let's start here. Say we do what Peter Singer proposes. We donate all the money we make that we would otherwise spend on luxuries. Well, that felt good, look my neighbors are doing it too, looks like the whole nation just donated all of their luxury money to UNICEF  How great! Now we can rest in peace knowing we did the right thing. I'm kind of hungry, let's go to the bank to take out some necessity money for food. Oh shit, the bank is closed. Oh shit, all the banks are closed. Oh shit, the entire fucking economy is absolutely demolished because nobody spends anything other than the bare necessities. Now everyone's still in poverty,  UNICEF can't buy any more medicine or food because the dollar has collapsed and there's no one left in the US that makes medicine anymore, because the entire economy is gone.

Nobody wins, everybody lives in poverty, the world is set back decades in terms of technology and development because of some dumbfuck that thought this would actually work.

People have the right to buy what they want, they have the right to choose how they spend their hard-earned money (notice I said "hard-earned". Fuck mega-corporation CEOs). You can't force people to give away everything they don't spend on necessities on charities. If you do, you end up with a situation not dissimilar to the Soviet Union, where you're expected to work hard for no real, tangible gratification, you're just a cog in society.

We need to buy luxuries to keep the economy running. The economy isn't just this big machine that manufactures money, it's a series of tubes that circulates money. It's the entire cardiovascular system the the nation. If you start taking too much money out of the system, the system starts to die. We can take out a little, like donating blood, before allowing the money to replenish a bit and balance out from the other world economies.

Besides, just donating money is just treating the symptom instead of the problem. It's like giving blood transfusions to someone with a massive wound that won't stop bleeding. If we're going to fix third world countries, it has to be by establishing a powerful foundation for a successful society by building infrastructure like schools, hospitals and farms instead of just buying the things they produce. They need to be able to prosper autonomously before any real progress out of the third and second world can be made. Everyone knows the old saying, "Catch a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime." They need some sort of industry that brings in a substantial amount of money into their country, something solid and constant. Turns out there already are a lot of these things in third world countries, minus the solid income. Mega corporations like Nike or Apple that take advantage of third world labor laws and child labor. The infrastructure is there, it's just that these greedy assholes don't pay the workers enough. They're mega corporations, they have the money to do this, but they don't because of greed. If they were to pay third world workers even half of the US minimum wage, things there would start to improve because they would have money to spend. Money to spend on school, food, housing, and luxuries. They would have money to store in banks and to spend on whatever they wanted. They would have enough money for an economy, and therefore, progress.

So let's create economies instead of destroying them Peter Singer. Or maybe we should kill some disabled babies instead. Babies that could end up being geniuses like Rain Man or write books like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. The issue of abortion is a woman's control over her own body. Once the baby is born, it's no longer an issue with her body, now it's the baby's body. You are literally killing innocence that could become something great, no longer because the mother doesn't want to go through the extremely painful and stressful process of having a child, but because it's disabled. Here you are talking about "Let's save these poor third world country children, it's not their fault they were born into poverty", yet somehow it's the child's fault if they're born disabled. Fucking hypocrite.

When I was discussing this with some friends, it was brought up that the original article could be intentionally bigoted and over-the-top to guilt us into donating. If so, it didn't work. It actually made me not want to donate just to spite this guy who's arrogant enough to think that would work. You see this 200 dollars I could spend on charity? I'm going to buy a new graphics card instead because of your self-righteous and pretentious douchebaggery. I thought you were a "utilitarian" Singer, and consequences are the only thing that matters. What about the consequences of intentionally writing a bigoted piece of bullshit and insulting your readers enough that they lose any motivation to "be a good person" in an effort to spite you.

Now I'm not saying you shouldn't donate to charities, I'm saying don't do it because of this dumbass. Do it because it's the right thing to do. The purpose of this post is not to discourage you from donating to charity, but to consider alternate solutions that might be more effective, and to point out what a fucking moron Peter Singer is.

The New York Times opens his article by describing him as:
"A contentious ethicist explains why your taste for foie gras is starving children."

I'm pretty sure they misspelled "pretentious".

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Nothing Proper about your Propaganda

Yesterday I got my hands on a piece of christian propaganda. It was just a questionnaire to be filled out in Sunday school, 16 questions, no biggie. These questions, though they were opinion questions, had an obvious "right" answer for all of them. So naturally I filled it out myself.

1) Do you believe in "Absolute truth"?
-Yes as a matter of fact I do.

2) Do you believe that some things are right sometimes and wrong at other times?
-Absolutely. The world is far more complicated than many would like to admit, and there are countless situations that go far beyond a simple black and white, right or wrong choice. For instance the Kholberg Heinz Dilemma, or a Hobson's Choice. There is not always a right or wrong answer.

3) Do you believe that, in some cases, abortion is okay?
-Yes, it is not anyone's choice but the pregnant woman's, and arguably the father's. It is never right to impose the belief of a few on the majority, especially when the few aren't affected at all.

4) Do you believe that you should always tell the truth, no matter what?
-No, lies can be used for good. If everyone told the truth, the Diary of Anne Frank would be a hell of a lot shorter.

5) Do you believe, in some situations, it is okay to live with someone before you're married?
-No, everyone who ever had a college roommate should be burned at the stake. What a stupid question.

6) Do you believe it is okay, in some situations, to talk behind people's backs?
-Disregarding the fact that this is pretty much completely unavoidable, I'd say not unless you can pull off a Tyler Durden.

7) Do you believe it's okay to stretch the truth or life if it means not hurting someone's feelings?
-In some situations, yes.

8) Do you believe it's okay to cheat on your homework?
-You are NOT getting through high school if you don't cheat on your homework at least once.

9) Do you believe that if you are a pretty good person and you don't do anything too bad, that you will go to heaven when you die?
-This was one thing that always bothered me about the Christian faith. Under their dogma, a good, moral person who did everything they could to better society and help those around them would still go to hell if he happened to be an atheist. Personally, I try to live by a quote from Marcus Aurelius.

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."

10) Do you think that it is okay to get revenge on someone?
-Not necessarily revenge, but retribution, yes. A righteous fury is a force that can drive people to do great good, like in the case of Gandhi  or great evil, as in the recent case of Christopher Dorner. Retribution, or revenge  if you will, is not good or bad, it is a neutral force.

11) Do you think that, in some situations, smoking is okay?
-Personally I don't smoke, but I'm pretty sure someone out there could come up with a really damn good excuse to smoke.

12) Do you think in some situations stealing is okay?
-See question 2

13) Do you think that other religions other than Christianity are true and useful?
-I have never found a real reason Christianity is any more valid than Islam or Hinduism. From an objective, unbiased standpoint, it's easy to observe that most religions actually just say the exact same thing in different ways. They might have different story lines and minor discrepancies in terms of what you can eat or wear, but the core message of nearly every religion is "Be a good person". They all have their populations of extremists, but for the most part, religions generate healthy, social, functioning members of society. From an objective standpoint, it honestly doesn't matter what religion you follow, because in the end, if you do it right, it all amounts to the same thing.

14) Do you think it is okay to watch MTV?
-Only if you're okay with having terrible taste in television.

15) Do you think it is okay to listen to secular music?
-Why the hell not? Unless you're trying to brainwash people or something. Oh wait...

16) Do you think it is okay to have a lot of stuff and not share with the rest of the world?
-This is the reason I am a socialist. Funny how most stereotypical republicans are christian right?

Monday, February 25, 2013

You Cannot Corner the Dorner

Today I am going to defend a man who killed four people and left three others wounded.
Today I am going to defend a man was who the subject of one of the largest manhunts conducted by the LAPD.
Today I am going to defend a man many people already hate

Today I am going to defend Christopher Dorner.

First, let me get this out. I do not condone Dorner's killings, they were horrendous and brutal. What I am opposing is the media's and police representation of a man who felt he was forced into his actions. I am opposing the brutality, corruption, and the alleged "blue line" within the LAPD force, I am supporting what Christopher Dorner felt he stood for, the righteous vengeance of everyone at the mercy of the bias of a corrupt officer.

I do not endorse or condone Chris Dorner's actions. But he is a grizzly reminder of what corruption can do to a good man, how anger can manifest itself when not controlled.

The LAPD was extremely overzealous trying to track down this man. It's understandable why they would be angry. Chris Dorner exposed their fraternity, and along with it the corruption it entailed. They did everything they could to demonize and slander Dorner's image, so much so that it backfired. They were a little too eager to get this guy. They shot up two cars trying to find him, and shot two innocent people. Why? Because the cars they drove looked kind of like the one they were looking for.

Is this the state of our law enforcement today? Is it sad that I would rather be locked in a room with Chris Dorner than one of these LAPD officers? What kind of an idiot would shoot at a car that might have the guy they're looking for? Was there no way to make sure? Was in impossible to, oh I don't know, look through the damn window before going guns a'blazing at those poor people.

As it turns out, the victims were women. I guess maybe if they were on the hefty side, it might be kind of reasonable that you could mistake them for a 270 pound black man (no offense to the victims, I wish them a speedy recovery and lots of money in the impending lawsuits). No, as it turns out, the police are just that stupid, because the car wasn't even the same color, and didn't have the right licence plate. There was absolutely NO reason to just start shooting. Hell, they didn't even give any warnings before they unloaded their clips. Just "Hey lets shoot up the car, who cares if it might not be the right guy, it'll be fun!".

I understand that he's an armed ex-cop, but there's one of him, you could have called in backup, had them surrounded and made damn sure it was him before you started shooting. At that point, you shouldn't have to shoot, because if it was him, you'd have him in the open, with very little cover, completely surrounded. You'd be able to take him alive.

Nope says the LAPD. We just shoot people. 'Murrica!

At first I might have doubted Dorner's motivations, but after seeing the absolute stupidity of the police force in this fiasco, I have to say, I really see his point.

In the final showdown, they may have had him trapped, surrounded hopeless, but Christopher Dorner really had a point. We see it in his manifesto, and the actions of the LAPD in the manhunt, his death will not have been in vain. If this is what he had to do to reveal what really goes on in the police force, so be it, now we know. They may have cornered him in a burning cabin and found his charred body, but we the people will make sure,

that you will not corner the Dorner.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Power of the Individual

When I call myself a socialist, some people immediately think of Orwell's 1984 or Huxley's Brave New World. They label me as a conformist, a slave, an opponent to individualism, another "brainwashed sheep" following icons in the media. 

They couldn't be more wrong. 

Let me tell you about how I view myself.
I see myself as a man with kindness in his eye and a fire in his heart. I believe that progress and an ultimate goal of utopia can be achieved through camaraderie and cooperation, compassion and strength. I see myself as a Catcher in the Rye, doing what I can when I can to help someone become a better person, to get them on their feet and give them another chance to do good. I believe in the power of a clean slate, a fresh start, unburdened and unfettered. I believe there is a universal set of morals worth fighting for. A set of ideals worth dying for. A set of humanistic laws worth suffering and battling to the bitter end for. I believe every individual deserves the chance to become what they want to be, to contribute to society at their full potential and make some good in this world. I believe fame should be based on skill and morality instead of money and power. When judging a person, I ignore wealth, power, race, gender, beauty, and look at only a person's morality.

I believe that love is simply the exchange of chemicals in the human brain. I believe that love is one of the most powerful forces in the world. I believe that our minds react in positive ways to certain stimuli, visual or auditory. I believe that art and beauty are more than just words and concepts, they are ideals and absolute truths to fight and die for. I believe religion is a concept created by man to deal with the terrifying prospect of death and to keep order, and that it has been twisted and corrupted over the years by people using it for their own agendas. I believe religion provides comfort to those who need it, and provides functioning members to society, and that it provides those members with a tangible connection with the world around them. I believe we are insignificant creatures on an insignificant hunk of rock, mere specks of dust in the universe as a whole. I believe the world we are on is beautiful and breathtaking in all its chaos and bleakness, and that every human life is worth saving. 

Sometimes I sit and reflect, realizing and marveling at the fact that we are the universe observing itself. Sometimes I sit and wonder if consciousness itself is immortal, if I will live forever or if there is some existence beyond our meager lives. Sometimes I sit and wonder how it all came to this, whether there are parallel universes and whether the nature of infinity is the sole reason for our existence. Sometimes I sit and wonder whether this is real life, what it all means, if there is anything beyond our universe. Sometimes I look around and wonder:

how?

I realize that eventually we all need to come back to reality. We all need to get on with our lives because we are, after all, trapped in a system we did not ask to be in, we must obey the laws of the country we reside in if we want our lives to continue on the course of our aspirations and goals.

But I believe most of all that everyone has power as an individual, that everyone has choices and ideals, and that I am not the only one with kindness in his eyes, and a fire in his heart.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Obligatory Religion Post

It's about time I start talking about religion. I don't hate religion as much as I let on. I think, for the most part, religion provides healthy, socially stable and functioning members of society. People that do their job, contribute to charities and aren't assholes to other people. if you're religious and you contribute to society and your community in a positive way, I have absolutely nothing against you. In fact, most religious people I have nothing against. However, I do have something against you if you do any of the following:

-Use your religion as an excuse to be a smug, superior asshole
-Indoctrinate your kids into your religion without exposing them to other beliefs or ideas
-Try to use religion to argue against scientific theory
-Use your religion to commit heinous or generally illegal or immoral acts
-Try to covert people who don't want to be converted
-Get angry in arguments when people disagree with you

Lets take this one by one, explain what it is, and how not to do it.

Man, this is going to take longer than I thought

Using Your Religion to be a Smug, Superior Asshole
This is the whole mentality of "I'm of the Church of so-and-so, you're obviously all blasphemous heathens, I hope you all burn in hell because you don't believe what I do". They completely ignore anything anyone else says, hiding behind the shield of "You Heathen!", which is basically the equivalent of a 4 year old sticking their fingers in their ears yelling "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU".

Be open-minded. Realize that the people around you are thinking, feeling human beings. Try befriending them, instead of pointing fingers yelling "Heathen!". Have an informed discussion, buy them a beer, realize that you are not the only person in the whole damn world, or that your church isn't the only church in the whole damn world. Stop living such a provincial, closed-off existence and just live.

Indoctrinating Your Kids Into Your Religion
There are a lot of reasons people do this. Often, it's because of overprotective parents. Maybe they're afraid their kids will turn against them and turn into rebellious Satan-worshipping blasphemers. Here's a protip: if you try and suppress and indoctrinate your kids too much, they'll want to rebel more. If you give them too much freedom, they'll rebel more. You have to give your kids enough freedom to express themselves, hang out and be themselves, while enforcing the idea of hard work and morality, they'll grow up to be good people. You don't need to indoctrinate them into abstinence, because then they'll get pissed and try and contradict everything you do. The same thing with sex. If you tell them sex is the devil, you're either not going to have any grandkids, or have too many grandkids (or too many abortions).

The major part of this is the idea of creationism and evolution. Evolution is the basic theory of biological development. It makes sense. When you indoctrinate your kids into a closed-minded, provincial concept like creationism, then tell them everyone else is wrong, no matter what, all of a sudden we're moving backwards in terms of education as a country. This denial of basic scientific theory is holding us back as a society. Here's what you do to fix this. Teach your kids creationism, sure, but teach them evolution as well. Teach them that there are cultures beyond your smug little circle of "Praise Jesus" and allow them to experience all of them, and choose which one they want for themselves.

Using Your Religion to Argue Against Scientific Theory.
All this ever really accomplishes is that it makes you sound like an idiot
Nuff said.

Using Your Religion to Commit Heinous or Generally Illegal Acts
I'm looking at you Muslim extremists, Christian pedophiles and Westboro Baptist Church. This is probably the worst possible thing to do with your religion. I'm looking at you Crusades, 9/11 and Anti-Gay Rights Protests. Not only are your hurting people for the sole reason of "I'M RIGHT, YOU'RE WRONG LALALALA", you're doing it in a way that pisses literally everybody off. The only people the benefit from this are the people doing it. Whether it's for their own gratification, pleasure, or whether it pleases "God" or "Allah", I'm pretty sure the almighty is going to be pretty fucking pissed off at the fact that you had the gall to do it, the gall to be an asshole enough to harm people, physically or mentally to refuse to give people dignity in their final rest, the gall to piss on the ashes while the rest of us try and move on with our goddamn lives. If whatever god you believe in is truly just, he or she will be shitfuck pissed with anything that involves harming innocent people.

Try to Convert People that don't Want to be Converted
I'm looking at you missionaries and Jehovah's Witnesses. This is similar to indoctrinating your kids. If you go out to some third world country and tell a bunch of tribals that they're going to burn in eternal hellfire if they don't convert, that's not really helping them at all. It'd be better if you showed them the concepts of science and educated them to be contributing members of society. Hell, it'd be better if you left them them alone and allowed them to develop their own culture and science as they see fit.

Then there's the people that try to convert people who already have their own beliefs, are aware of the would-be-converter's beliefs, and respectfully choose not to convert. It's their own choice to have their own beliefs, not yours. Leave us the fuck alone, I haven't accepted the Lord Jesus as my savior and I'll be damned if I do.

Getting Angry in Arguments When People Disagree With You
There's never any reason to get angry in an argument, unless the other person is people a total dipshit and repeating the same moronic phrase over and over. When you're actually having an intelligent conversation, if you bring up religion, there's no reason to get angry about it. If you remain calm and open minded, people will respect your right to have your own religion, as long as you respect theirs.


In Defense of Religion
Go ahead, be religious,  it's your right, I'm not going to stop you. I'm not going to stereotype you with the stupid extremists of your religion, unlike some people.

You know who you are.

I got into this debate with a guy that was completely convinced every Muslim ever was a fascist that followed the Quran to the letter. I was trying to argue that people, as individuals, can choose to agree or disagree with certain aspects of their religion. I started when I brought up that there could be Muslims that support gay marriage. it went downhill from there. To describe the situation better, I made a flowchart for you.

This is not an exaggeration. This was the same guy that inspired this post. He legitimately believes all Muslims are fascists, and that Jews run all the major corporations, governments and economies in the world. Ranked on my Arrogance Scale, I'd say he's on the border of Psuedo-Intellectual and "The Omnipotent One". 




"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones." -- Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Spotlight on Games: Anna

It's been a while since I did one of these, might as well.

Anna is an indie game available on steam for ten dollars. Here's what you need to know.
Anna is NOT worth the 10 dollars. Hell, it wasn't worth the 5 dollars I paid for it while it was on sale.

I have a bit of experience with games similar to this. I'm a fan of the Myst series, and I've played through Amnesia: The Dark Descent a couple times. Compared to both of those, Anna is a piece of shit. Here's why.

Puzzle Mechanics
The game used extremely stupid, sideways logic in their puzzles. They're the kind of things you wouldn't be able to figure out logically, it's basically "Use this random object with this random object". There's hardly any reason to do it. For example (spoilers here) in the first level, you have to arrange two pieces of a mirror into an eye, and then add an iris somehow. How do you add the iris? By burning a fucking pine cone in the mirror. Makes perfect sense, right? Most of the puzzles are actually like this. This sideways logic alone makes this a bad game, because you don't feel like you're solving anything, just stumbling around, getting frustrated until you accidentally use the right object in the right place.

Gameplay and Physics
The game uses the Unity3D engine, and its physics are basically what you get if you take Amnesia's physics, water them down a ton, and take away jumping, sprinting and crouching. There's only a couple things you can actually move around, the rest is literally part of the environment. And no, you can't jump, crouch or sprint. You move at a set, constant speed. Interacting with objects is similar to Amnesia, but a with a lot more glitches, and more frustrating. The graphics themselves are comparable to Oblivion, in other words, mediocre for a game made in 2012. The controls are hellish to figure out at first. Everything is controlled with the mouse and the WASD keys. You open up  your inventory by clicking the mouse wheel, something that actually took me 10 minutes to figure out because it's such a stupid place to put it.

Scare Factor
Really the only place Anna gets any amount of points is scare factor. They manage to create a pretty creepy atmosphere using dark lighting, isolated rooms, a relatively small FoV and random events that can easily catch you off guard. For instance, you enter a room, try to solve the puzzle, look around back through the doorway and suddenly there's a ghostly figure standing there. You go up do it, suddenly you're frozen and more ghostly figures appear behind you. It doesn't force you to look at them, it just waits until you do. The game also uses a lot of effects with sound, but the audio quality for those sounds are pretty bad. The scratchy audio and poor choice of dialogue really take away from the atmosphere for most of the game.

I'm not covering storyline because I never actually finished the game, because I don't have the patience for stupid, sideways logic. My sister finished it with all three endings and said they were pretty disappointing.
Overall I'll give this game a 4.5/10. Don't buy it. It could have been so much better.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

PC versus Consoles

This is going to be a short long post, I just need to get the facts out there.

A well built gaming PC is superior to any console.

That's right. Your Xbox or PS3 isn't worth shit compared to a gaming computer. Here's why. Gaming computers have interchangeable parts. You can buy a better graphics card than an Xbox, and put it into your computer. Hell, depending on your motherboard you can buy MORE than one. Same thing with processors. I read an article on how the next generation of Xbox is going to have a quad-core processor "better than any gaming computer." I laughed as I read that, then proceeded to shop for already existing and on the market six-core processors on Newegg. Besides, computers never get the "red ring of death". If a computer has a problem, it's a lot easier to fix it. If an Xbox gets red-ringed, you have to pay more money and take it back to the shop. They refuse to let you do your own repairs in order to get more money out of you. When you built your own computer, you know what everything looks like, what everything is supposed to look like, and more or less how to fix it. If any part of the computer gets completely fried, no problem, just replace the part yourself. Optical drive broken? 20 bucks and 10 minutes later, you're good to go.

In terms of software, PC wins again. Xboxes and PS3s can only play the games that you have on disc or are on the distribution network. Older games or retro games are completely lost on the console, you can't play them unless you kept your N64 or PS1. With your PC, you can download Project 64 or ePSXe, configure it, torrent your favorite games, and play away. Most games that are available on Xbox and PS3 have been ported to PC anyway. There's only a few exceptions to this, like some sports games, but that's only because the audience that plays those games don't usually use PCs because sports games are for casual gamers. If you're used to a controller instead of the keyboard and mouse (which is better for FPS games, especially with a R.A.T. 7 mouse), you can actually buy an adapter for a couple bucks and plug in your controller. A lot of games are already optimized for Xbox or Dualshock 3 controllers. If they aren't, there's programs like Joy2Key available. Speaking of programs, the game distribution platforms for PC are honestly superior to the PlayStation Network or whatever the hell the Xbox thing is. Steam has thousands upon thousands of games, ridiculous sales that make them all dirt-cheap, and they have an excellent layout that lets you mod games easily (another thing PCs can do a lot easier), chat with friends while playing or fix glitches without even exiting out of the game.

The things you can do on a PC that you can't on an Xbox or PS3 is really the final nail in the coffin. A gaming PC isn't only for gaming, it's for browsing, word processing, making videos, chatting with friends, picture editing, flash animations, you can do so much on a PC that you can't on a console. The only thing that really keeps people from getting a decent PC is the price. But if you know what you're doing, you can build a really decent computer for under 300 dollars, and add onto it as time goes on and parts go obsolete. The only reason people get consoles is because they either don't know how to (or that you even can) build a computer, or they're morons who think consoles are superior.

To prove that last point, I recently got into a (short) argument with an Xbox fanboy. He wouldn't bring up any valid points for his side of the argument, and after a few minutes I found out why. He didn't know anything about consoles, or how they worked. He thought graphics were dependent on what kind of TV you had hooked up to it. He didn't understand the concept of a "graphics card", and started accusing me of making it up. This is the reason people prefer consoles over PCs; they're plain old stupid.