Blog News

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

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:


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.