Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Top 5 Internet Videos of 2012

5. Emma Lip-syncing Guster


4. Cat Puppet singing My Shiny Teeth and Me

This encapsulates everything a viral video should be and it didn't even originate from YouTube. Shout out to Tumblr.

3. Gangnam Style

One cannot talk about the best things on the internet of 2012 and not mention Gangnam style. It's just a brilliant/hilarious music video to an obscenely catchy song. Plus it's the first video to hit 1 billion views and has managed to do so in less than six months.

2. Live Prude Girls- Hannah Hart @ Let's Talk About Something More Interesting

Live Prude Girls are just so great; they could really have all five slots on this list, but I'm all about diversity.

1. Train Simulator Bitch


Special shout out to the YouTube channel GoodEveening . Amy's videos are awesome and her channel was a great discovery for me this year. And "Dawn of the Deluded" barely missed the cut and I feel bad because of my horrible Emma!bias xD

Thanks for reading


Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Top 5 Video Games of 2012

5. Trials Evolution

This was a truly brilliant Arcade game. Super fun. Competitive leaderboards. It is generally addicting to chase ghosts and improving times. 

4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Another edition of the Call of Duty series and while it's still largely the same, there are significant changes in Single and Multiplayer. I think the Campaign was the most enjoyable since CoD 4. Black Ops to introduces moral choices and multiple outcomes. The ending can range from happy to truly fucked up and I personally enjoy games that allow for multiple outcomes.

The changes in Multiplayer are a bit of a mixed bag. I love that Scorestreaks have replaced Killstreaks. As a player who goes headlong at objectives, I appreciate the reward. I also think Scorestreaks are an improvement over the Support Killstreaks in MW3. Another aspect that I think Treyarch nailed was gun balance.

There are some issues in Multiplayer, which is why I have it down at forth. I feel like the Scorestreak rewards themselves are overpowered. There seems to be so much air-support and ground-support that at times the chaos levels approach MW2. The Guardian and Shock Charges are particularly annoying to me as well. Finally, It seems to me that head-glitching is worse in this game than any other CoD.

3. FIFA 13

It was another strong addition to the FIFA series this year. The gameplay feels like a slightly more refined version of FIFA 12. Manager Mode was tweaked for the better with changes to the transfer system and the ability to change jobs more easily. 

Ultimate Team is largely the same. The match making was changed to a 'seasons' model. The change wasn't really that drastic. The game mode feels a little more robust this year and remains the same type of fun/addicting mix economics/gameplay.

2. Resident Evil 6

This was probably the game that was the most fun this year. It took a lot of shit from critics and players, but I really enjoyed playing the newest addition to the Resident Evil series. It definitely took some getting used to. There was a new system for inventory and healing. The upgrade system was changed from being solely weaponed based to a perk system. Melee became a more important and effective part of a player's attack.

The three campaigns were fun and provided a lot of gameplay. Having to face the same boss over and over again got a bit ridiculous, but the gameplay was still so much fun. Mercenaries is fun as ever and is the only way to unlock alternate costumes (and who doesn't want sexy Sherry and Helena?)

The changes from the previous two titles and complete divergence from all the prior ones in the series, hurt this game's critical acclaim. Drastic changes to gameplay are frustrating initially and I think RE 6 struggled with the expectation of being another RE 4 or 5. I feel this game is a hybrid between RE 5 and Arkham Asylum/City and should be judged through that prism.

Also the box art looks like a giraffe getting a blowjob.

1. Minecraft: Xbox 360 edition

The biggest time-sink of the year. I have never been able to explain why Minecraft is so fun. It just is. Mining and crafting and shit. The updates have begun to catch the 360 game up to PC version. It was a surprisingly great transition to console and definitely was my favorite game of 2012. 

Thanks for reading


Friday, December 14, 2012

Special Comment- Guns

Gun violence has been out of control in the United States for quite a long time. It is absolutely incomparable to anywhere else in the world (that isn't a war zone). There are too many guns, guns are too accessible and mental health parity still doesn't really exist, which is a very poor combination for a nation to have. I don't think there is a simple solution here; there are around 300,000,000 guns in the U.S. Those don't just go away with stricter laws, but even this alarming fact isn't the biggest hurdle.

Among the most powerful of lobbies in Washington D.C. and in State Capitols is the National Rifle Association. The NRA would like to see virtually all regulations on gun sales removed. Their influence is all over lax policies on the sales of guns.

Why are they so powerful though? I don't think a majority of American's do not want assault rifles to be legal to own or people with mental illness access to guns. One reason for their influence is they have big money and certainly will spend it to support candidates and run attacks. We saw this in the most election with their typical 'They're coming for your guns.' ads*. Another is their endorsement. It is almost a necessity for any Republican at higher than the local level to have the NRA's support to win nomination. The NRA's support is also coveted by Democrats, particularly in conservative states that are largely rural.

The leadership of the NRA has no concern after the tragedy of this morning. Just like they didn't after the shootings at Columbine or Virginia Tech. Or when there was an attempted assassination on Gabby Giffords. Politicians have proved over and over again that they will not stand up to them. Sure, Senators and Congressmen will issue statements of sorrow and sympathy, but they will not take action to prevent them from having to do that so often.

Is there a way to counter the NRA?  Well, it is hard to say whether or not this time it will finally be different. The pro-gun control sentiment is high right now, but is it going to last? to 2014? to 2016? Politicians ought to be held accountable for their servitude to the NRA. However that is no easy task. The NRA has the funds and will continue to exist as a force in American politics. Does there need to be a powerful anti-gun lobby? I doubt one could rise to have the clout that the NRA does.

The solution lays with the electorate. Politicians who sell their soul to the NRA should no be seen as liberty-perservers, but as extremists who are unwilling to compromise even when the problem with current gun laws is apparent. The NRA shouldn't be at the heart of our politics. It should be at the fringes with the Ku Klux Klan either until it falls apart or grows some goddamn sense. The NRA's approval should be a stain on a politicians record for a voter.

The legislation that needs can be thought of pretty damn easily. Even really basic regulations don't exist. In fact, regulations on gun sales are more lax now than they were before the Columbine massacre. I think most student councils could come up with a better weapons policy than the United States' government has managed to do. Here's some of my ideas for some reforms:

-Illegal to be in possession of any firearm, which is primarily designed to be anti-personell or anti-vehicle. 

The main example of this would be an Assault Weapons ban, which we had, but was allowed to lapse due to NRA influence. Certain guns exist for the purpose of combat. That's what they were made for and what they do well. An AK-47 certainly can kill a deer, but that's not it's designed purpose and their are rifles which are much less of a threat to human lives.

-Illegal to have any ammunition, which designed to cause greater damage (such as hollow points) to bodies. 

For much the same reason as above. There is no reason one needs tracers or hollow points, or armor piercing rounds for hunting or sport.

-No person with a mental illness should be allowed to own a gun. Gun Sales should be contingent upon review of ones medical history. 

I don't even know why this doesn't exist yet.

-Every weapons sale requires a clean background check.

40% of gun sales are done without these checks. Mostly because of what is directly below

-Ban Gun shows

Allowing these to exist is awful. A place where guns and ammo can be exchanged legally without any trail of the possession of a gun changing hands and no regulations.

-Allow local governments to have their own laws on the sale and possession of firearms. 

The needs of Chicago and rural Illinois are vastly different, but it was decided that it would be unconstitutional to have a local law further restricting sale and possession of firearms. I disagree. There is no sport going on with guns in Urban Chicago.

-Magazines cannot hold more than 10 rounds. 

High capacity magazines have absolutely no other purpose than to kill more people more quickly.

There is just so much that could've been done to prevent mass shootings from be such a common occurrence. And it just stays there, because Washington never moves and State houses do no better. This is a fight that neither major party is willing to take up and that needs to change. It hurts everyone. It puts everyone in danger. And all just to please the fucking NRA

Thanks for reading


*Always masked behind the idea of liberty.

Sluts and Such

Since everyone else is doing it. And I haven't posted in ages.

I'm not the hugest of Jenna Marbles fan. I was, until yesterday, subscribed to her channel, but I'll say I was picky about which ones were worth watching. If it looked like a funny topic, I'd be down, but there's only so many 'what guys think while' videos one can take. Anyway, her video this week was about how she doesn't understand 'sluts'. (If you wanna watch, you can look it up. I will not be putting a link to it here.)

I think it's informative to think about the issue of slut-shaming in a broad perspective. We cannot escape that as a western culture sex out of wedlock is frowned upon nor that the culture has largely derived its values from Christianity. Basically what that means is
Pleasure = Sin,
Sex(for any purpose other than recreation and in wedlock) = Pleasure
Therefore Sex = Sin
We all have grown up in this world. Our minds are sort molded to feel guilty for even desires of sexual activity and to place shame upon those who do get their swerve on.

I realize fully that when it comes to sex women have it much, much worse than men in terms of being shamed by society. It is a patriarchy after all. A man who has lots of sex with lots of different people* can certainly be shamed by society**, but that is atypical and only really happens when a man is unfaithful.

The main societal issue is obviously not with the perception of men who have sex. If a man is getting laid a lot, it's cause he's virile. It's a point of pride amongst male peer groups to be getting some booty.

Okay, enough about boys.

Girls and women who choose to have casual sex or pre-martial sex are viewed by our culture as 'sluts.' Not everyone shares this view obviously. People have their own moral codes and views. The stricter religious types may see any sex outside of marriage as being 'slutty.' Some people with looser views may think pre-maritial sex is okay with a longstanding boyfriend, but may still give a woman the label 'slut' if she has multiple partners. Or if she puts out on the first date. Or if she has one-night stands. Or all kinds of things.

I do not have definition of slut. I don't think it's a useful term. It shames someone for doing something that isn't shameful. Whether or not a person chooses to have sex and the frequency of it and with whom the act performed is no reason to slap a label on a person with such negative connotations. Calling some one a 'slut' just enforces the religious idea that sex is bad and the patriarchal idea that women need to save themselves for marriage.

The only sexual behaviors that should be under scrutiny of any one should be dangerous ones. There isn't a problem with taking 'too many dicks.' The concern should be whether or not that dick has a condom on it, or is there with consent, or has an STI or could cause an unwanted pregnancy.

If anyone deserves a derogatory term thrown at them for their sexual behavior, it is those who have unsafe sex. Even then it is so much better to educate rather than mock.

The culture on this issue isn't going to change quickly, I'm afraid. Different generations have drastically different views and the old and morally stricter generations have great social and political control. There will be a changing of the guard before too long though. There is a march towards tolerance of sexuality and sexual behavior. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

Thanks for reading and please comment

*I will come to safety in a bit
**See Tiger Woods***
***I am certain that if Tiger Woods were single when we learned about his propensity for having lots of mistresses, it wouldn't have been a big deal,****
****See Wilt Chamberlin

P.S. Ending on a Dr. King quote. Gag me with a spoon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

General Election Night Preview/Viewing Guide 2012

Hello all. Hopefully, this will be the last political post for a while and will be unless this goes past election day, which I hope it doesn't.

So, this post will be about how I expect tomorrow night to go. I'm not getting into the congressional elections as this will focus specifically on the Presidential election. This isn't a post in which I am predicting the outcome, but rather how the night will play out regardless of result.

Let's start with poll closing times. Here is nice and organized list of all the closing times:

So, the first closings will be Indiana and Kentucky. The portions of those states in the Eastern Timezone close at 6:00pm EST and at that point networks may project the winner in both of those states. These states will go Republican

The next batch comes at 7:00pm EST. Three non-competitive states close at this time, but the first biggie closes in Virginia.

7:30pm EST brings the closing of what seems to be the most coveted state of Ohio. The semi-competitive state of North Carolina will also close.

The biggest closing of the night occurs at 8:00pm EST. Mostly non-competitive states and Obama will get quite a few electoral votes out of this group. The Central Time Florida polls close at this time and as the networks found out in 2000 projecting prior to this is very unwise. The seemingly non-competitive Pennsylvania will also close.

Arkansas is the lone closee at 8:30pm EST

Another big group comes at 9:00pm EST. Wisconsin and Colorado are the two competitive states in this group.

A group of mostly red states closes at 10:00pm EST. Nevada and Iowa are in this group and are the final two 'battleground states' to close.

The left coast closes at 11:00pm EST. If the night goes well for Barack Obama this is the point at which the election will be called.

The final polls close with the Aleutian Islands in Alaska at 1:00am EST.

Okay, that's all nice orderly. However, it won't be that neat. I suspect that there will be emergency injunctions sought by the campaigns and granted by judges to extend polling time in states like Ohio. This has become a common practice and I see no reason to think it'll stop this year.

Alright, I want to talk about the four possible distinctions that each state will be given by the networks at their closing.

Obama wins the state's electoral votes: This is given to a state that based on pre-election polling, exit polls, and voting history will undoubtedly give its electoral votes to Obama

Romney wins the state's electoral: This is given to a state that based on pre-election polling, exit polls, and voting history will undoubtedly give its electoral votes to Romney

Too Early to Call: A state is likely to go to one candidate or another, but the network would like to see actual returns to confirm the result implied by the exit polling, pre-election polling and history.

Too Close to Call: All available data suggests a close contest in that state.

These distinctions with the early states can provide clues as to how the nation is breaking. The networks are extremely cautious with these things post the 2000 election. However, I will tell you that the people who make these calls are highly informed and the difference between 'early' and 'close' is significant.

A few possible hints that these distinctions could provide tomorrow night:

How North Carolina is initially classified. This state almost certainly a Romney state, but if it is given the 'too close' distinction instead of 'too early' it will be a good sign for Obama.

Another possible good sign for Obama would be Georgia not being immediately called.

A potential good sign for Romney could come in a very specific distinction for Maine. Maine can split it's electoral votes. Four are certainly going to be for Obama, but if the fifth isn't given to Obama quickly after close it's a good sign for Mittens.

Another potential positive sign for Romney could come from Michigan. It is state that should be called for the Democrats right a close, but another distinction could hint at a national trend.

I think there are several states whose results could take days. My ranking of likelihood:

1. Virginia
2. Florida
3. Colorado
4. New Hampshire
5. Ohio

The electoral votes of any of those individual states may not be important after election night though. So, while recounts may happen, they could be just for a consolation prize or a few extra electoral votes.

So, there you have it.

Thanks for reading


Sunday, November 4, 2012

2004 Deja Vu

Since it became clear that Mitt Romney would win the nomination, I've felt like this election has been strangely similar to that of 2004. When I say that, I mean in terms of incumbent vs. challenger not Republican vs. Democrat.

It is really hard not to find Mitt Romney reminiscent of John Kerry. Both are stuffy, rich white guys from Massachusetts who lack the public speaking ability of their opponent. Both stick their foot in their mouths often and it just proves how disconnected they are with the people. And both have a tendency to conveniently change their positions over and over again when it is politically advantageous.

In 2004, the incumbent party had the much stronger convention and saw a surprisingly large bounce out of it; much like this year. John Kerry won the first debate handily in 2004 as Mitt Romney did this year and it tightened the race basically by undoing the post convention bounce. The Vice Presidential debate were eerily similarly, with the incumbent V.P. pretty much schooling the young candidate. George W. Bush recovered and effectively fought the last two debates to a draw. Obama recovered a bit better, but the key in both cases was the poor first debate performances were made up for with the 2nd and 3rd debate.

I think the most significant comparison between the two campaigns is this: The challenging party is not enthused about their candidate, but are just wanting to get rid of the incumbent. Liberals hated George W. Bush as much the right hates Obama. However, that didn't seem to be an electoral advantage. Bush hovered around 50% approval as Obama has, but the challenger was less popular in both cases.

I think Obama is in a better position heading into election than Bush was in 2004 though. Obama seems to have bigger lead than Bush did in the polls (both national and swing state) and his electoral path is a clear and likely one.  

Probably another post tomorrow night about the election (my apologies)

Thanks for reading


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Electoral Blawg

I will eventually get back to blogging regularly. And maybe make a post about my own life. However, this post is not personal. It's one of my dreaded political posts. Anyway, at least this will be short. 

So quite a bit of my time these days is spent playing on interactive Electoral maps. Long time readers may know about my kind of ridiculous knowledge of the electoral college. Anyway, in looking at this election from a very broad perspective there are two really obvious things to consider:

-President Obama will lose states he won in 2008
-President Obama loses electoral votes due to the 2010 census

Okay, with that said the electoral victory Obama had in 2008 was overwhelming. He could lose a lot and still be just fine. Also given the way the way the states are likely to go Obama is much closer to hitting 270 in my opinion that Romney.

At this point there are eight states that can be considered competitive when I look at the map. They are: Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada. Taking those states out of the equation that leaves the electoral vote looking like this: Obama 237 Romney 206. 

Now of those eight state, I believe that 5 of them are likely going to a candidate. I feel reasonably sure that New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada are going to be states that the President wins and Florida will go to Romney. So taken these predicted results into consideration the electoral vote becomes: Obama 263 Romney 235.

These leaves Virginia, Ohio, and Colorado as the true toss-up states in my book. If this really is the case, it is very likely the President will win the electoral college. Romney would have to carry all three of those states, while not an impossibility, it is very unlikely; in fact, I think it is considerably more likely that the President will carry all three of them than Romney. 

I really think it is unlikely for Mitt Romney to win the electoral college. He could very well win the popular vote, but the electoral math is pretty daunting for him. He really needs to carry most of the states that are still up for contention and that seems highly unlikely. It could happen, but nothing in the polls or political trends really suggests that will happen.

I really feel that this election has been Obama's to lose all along. The Republican candidate was going to be weak regardless of who won their primary. Demographic shifts particularly in Virginia and Colorado make the electoral map more treacherous for the GOP. And ultimately Obama still is a very strong candidate and his campaign is amazing with the logistics of motivating and turning out voters. 

Thanks for reading


Monday, September 24, 2012


This is kinda of turning into an Emma response blog

I'm also really talented at typing my philosophies in cogent ways so this will be great.

So, I personally find myself thinking about the episode of Friends, "The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS." Joey makes the point that there is no such thing as a selfless good deed. Phoebe tries to prove him wrong, but isn't able to do it. Basically, the point is that you can't do something nice for someone else without getting some satisfaction out of it for yourself. It's funny as ever, but I think it's a apt philosophical point.

I believe that there is no such thing as a selfless action. I believe every action a person makes is in someway self-gratifying. The motivation may not be selfish, but in someway it will benefit yourself.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this and the thing that really strikes me is how one can perceive absolutely everything as selfish and be absolutely correct. In fact, I can look at opposite actions and see them both as selfish. The most basic example I can come up with:

If I eat, I am eating food that other people could use to nourish themselves.

If I don't eat and starve, I no longer can be productive in society and others will have to attend to me while I die and in the handling of my corpse.

There is no middle ground there. I can't not be selfish either way.

I really think the value of the line between selfless and selfish is pretty much nothing. How I really judge things is by their motivation. It really isn't that one is being charitable, but why he or she is being charitable to me. Being charitable is selfish either way, if you really thing about, but is one doing it for the acclaim and glory, or for the happiness of helping those less fortunate and seeing their lives improved.

I really think whatever you do or want, the judge of it's morality should be the motivation of it. I really think guilt of 'the self' is really built into western culture. Doing anything to benefit oneself in anyway is frowned upon and I don't think that's the right way. My self is as important as any other selfs out there and I'm allowed to want and do.

Thanks for reading


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quick and Hard: Michael's Enamored Tuesday

Yea, I haven't posted in quite a while. No excuses. I just didn't have any real desire or motivation to post. My job isn't exciting and I can't talk about in detail. Maybe I could do a post about Minecraft. I'm nearly finished with my biggest project yet, but meh... that's for another time, if ever.

So, yesterday was a particularly awesome day. A few friends and I went to the U.S. World Cup Qualifier against Jamaica. We were planning on leaving from at about 11;00, but someone was the entirety of 'The Price is Right' late. We ended up getting to Crew Stadium around 12:30. Grilling, drinking, sneaky public and such commenced.

The game didn't kick 'til 8:00 for a bit of perspective. Tailgating all day is pretty damn balla. Plus, I used a vacation day, so it wasn't a total loss financially.

The game was fucking amazing. Pretty much the entire stadium was cheering and Jamaica supporters were few and far between. Last year in Philly, the stadium was basically all Mexico supporter, so it was nice to be in a stadium full of U.S. supporters. 

Okay, on to what the title implies. I fell in love with two strangers yesterday. In fact, two strangers that I didn't even speak.Very shallow, or to put it more kindly, very ancient Greek* of me. This isn't uncommon for me,  but two in one day is special.

Anyway, I very briefly say girl #1 at Target. I ran into Target to pick up rations. I had filled up my cart with snacks and booze and was headed to check out. I always look around. I cannot do things that require much focus in public, because I am way too much of people watcher. Anyway, at the near end of an aisle aroudn the Pharmacy, I spotted this girl. She had blonde hair and glasses and was wearing a longish red skirt and red wedges.

I'm was immediately all aflutter(shy), but I know my social obligations well enough to not stop and stare with my mouth open.  That's all really, but she may have scored higher than anyone on the "First Sight' Test.

I was checked out by a chatty old lady cashier who commented on my booze and snacks. Damn right, I'm having a party and you can't come home with me.

Hours and drink later, in comes girl #2. She was standing behind me in the stands. Brunette, U.S. soccer shirt, jeans. Also, importantly a wedding ring on her left hand. So, aside from the fact that I'm constantly too nervous to approach any strange woman, she wasn't eligible. She was cute, nice to the people around her, cheered loudly, and was wearing a U.S. soccer shirt, so I was still infatuated.

This blog hasn't been so exciting since Hipster Girl xD

tl;dr: If I ever have a girlfriend, I will be dumped for my wandering eye.

Thanks for reading


*Outer beauty= Inner Beauty. Think Odyssey

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Re: Douchy Comments on Emma's Latest Video

Emma's Video

I've learned that direct engagement with the type of people who would leave douchy comments on comments on my friend's video about feminism is pretty well pointless. These people are entrenched in their ideas, so there's no changing there minds. Also, in all likelihood they're looking for a rise, so, in my logical/Hufflepuff style, I think it's best to just ignore them. Inform those worth informing and leave the rest.

I really think one big problem lots of these anti-feminists have is that they don't understand what equal means. There is a lot of fear in losing one's gender identity in there. The idea, at least I think, that they have is that equality means making the genders the same. This isn't the case obviously. Equal and same are very similar words, but there is a distinction. I think the easiest way to understand what equal means is in Math*. Take a look at this simple equation:

10-7 = 2+1

So, there is equivalency in two unique sides of an equation. Three equals three regardless of how one got there. Of course society is considerably more complex, but the general idea still works. Two unique groups of people can have equal rights and treatment without being identical.

I've think there are two main arguments I've found with these comments. They are actually quite hard to decipher. I don't even know whether to call the logic circular or just non-existent. 

The common argument against feminism that these people seem to make is about radical feminism. This is simply an association fallacy. There are extremists in everything. Yes, a few feminists really hate men and ride around with, "Circumcision Doesn't Go Far Enough" bumper stickers. And if you're arguing against feminism you're probably a white conservative male, so obviously you're in the Ku Klux Klan right?

Another argument that I've managed to decipher is the idea of "Female Privilege**" The idea here seems to be that women get certain benefits socially that men don't get. However, that is really just an extension of the problem. Having dinner payed for or a car door opened comes from the falsehood that women are weaker than men. Feminists don't want to have nice things done to them or do nice things just because one is female, but because one person is being nice to another.

There are also a few institutional advantages that women do have. The Mom will win custody battles a lot of the time. It is easier for women to legally change their names. Men aren't allowed to sit next to unattended children on airplanes. Feminism has absolutely nothing to do with these though and really doesn't like it anymore than misogynists do. These benefits come from old notions about the role women play in society.

I think the most important thing to remember that culturally and institutionally the system benefits men more than it does women. I may not get the kids, and if I try to change my name to spite my father they would just assume I was criminally. You know what I do get, better pay for the same work, sexual freedom, greater opportunity for advancement in nearly every field, assumptions of ability, and a whole lot more. I think I win in this trade off and I don't want to, because I've done nothing to deserve it other than having a penis.

Thanks for reading


*Sorry Emma.
**I really hate the use of the word privilege in a social sense. Everyone has advantages and disadvantages they are born with and it just seems to be another way to put groups down.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I had every intention to do BEDA this month. That didn't happen. Why didn't it happen?

Stop asking questions

I was just curious

Shut up

Okay, sorry

That's better, asshole

So, yea. I felt like doing it at the beginning of the month, but then after a few days I didn't want to anymore and I'm one to deny myself the pleasure of giving up without consequence. More importantly, my mood has been funky and I don't like putting things up that I don't feel good about. I'm usually willing to do it, because it's something that I like about BEDA. Compulsory daily posting is a cool thing just not when it hurts my mood.

Anyway, I got my Prozac adjusted back down and it helped. I'm still not feeling great though. I'm still having tension headaches. Still am having annoying nervous symptoms, but it is calming down and hopefully it'll settle back down once the dosage stabilizes.

I think I didn't get the job I interviewed for last week. I mean, I haven't heard anything, so I assume that's a "no." More looking for jobs now. I've made a resume and hopefully that'll get me into some interviews at some jobs (the types of jobs that don't usually involve resumes) and hopefully I'll mange to not muck one up.

Basically, I'm really just a malcontent right now. My mind isn't allowing me to be content with things. I've not been content with where I'm living in ages. However, I have been content with other things, but that just isn't happening for me right now. I feel like other people aren't happy with me. I'm hyper-bored at work. I sort of feel like my mind is broken. I don't know how to describe it exactly... maybe hyper-depression or sad mania. Fucking anxiety.

I'm not actually going crazy though. At least I don't think so. I just think things are out of whack and I want them to not be that way anymore.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Panicky Weeks

These past few weeks have sucked. They've sucked hard and for no good reason.

I don't know exactly when it started. Well, I kind of do. My medication was increased, because I didn't feel that it was working as effectively as it could and my symptoms had gotten worse in the week or so leading up to the appointment.

So, that was a mistake. Increasing the dosage didn't help in fact it has made things worse. Along with having trouble breathing most of the time now I have horrible tension headaches, which I've never had before. And long periods of anxiety have there natural result for me, which is just feeling bad about myself.

It's not too terrible. I can talk myself out of it, but it still sucks. I like this so much less than when I'm normally sad. I'm on drugs not to be sad and when I am it makes my mind all weird (really specific I know). I tried Klonopin and didn't like it at all. I'm all for chilling my brain out, but just chilled it out for too long.

Anyway, Next week hopefully we'll be able to my medication sorted out and I'll be hoping that I'll be able to start actually planning a move out of here. That'll be the most important thing to help me deal with this effing anxiety.

Sorry. Downer post. Rambling post. Really short post. I'll try to do better in the coming days. I'm having a hard time really focusing on anything. Another system of whatever the fuck is going on with me. I'm also tired a lot of the time, so I'm sort of ready for bed.

Thanks for reading


Friday, August 3, 2012


I think I'm really bad at hiding how nervous I am from strangers.

Today, I had an interview for a second job I think I did alright. Not brilliantly, but alright. As I tend to be I was super nervous and I tried not to let it show but it did. "Are you nervous?" was pretty quickly asked and I answered honestly. No sense in pretending.

Anyway, basically I tried to accentuate my positive and avoid the fact that I'm anti-depressants and can't stand my father.

I had to dress a little more nicely than I would for working at a Doctor's Office, which basically meant putting on a tie after again learning to tie a tie from the interwebz and dress shoes. I fucking hate dress shoes. I quelled my co-workers concern about me leaving, because I don't want to. I just want a second job to get the fuck out of here.

So today felt particularly long. I went to work for a bit then, left for the interview, went home to grab a certain prescription medication, picked up lunch and then went back to work. In wasn't particularly long in actual time though.

Hopefully, I'll have a second job before long and then there will be a better excuse for these posts being so lousy. I'm really tired. More story time tomorrow or something else.

Thanks for reading


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tony Sly

I really do not like the way the world reacts to celebrity deaths. It almost seems like almost a fetishazation of that person. Records sales sky-rocket. Everyone claims being a fan. They become an ideal, a deity, and all else is forgotten. Michael Jackson died? Everyone needs to listen to "Thriller" on repeat and discuss how significant he was in music. I don't get it. I don't like it. People do not stop being complex after they die. If it was quality before they died, it'll still be quality after they've died.

And now I'm about to wax about a dead guy.

Today, I learned that one of my favorite musicians died. His name is Tony Sly. He was the lead singer of one of my favorite bands, No Use For A Name. It was very saddening to get that news from my Sister this morning. In fact, I'm really saddened in a way I haven't been before.

His music is just so damn good and it's still good and it will always be good, but, damnit, selfishly I want more. I've never get to see No Use live as I've known them. I'll never get to go to an acoustic show of his.

It's really hard to express how much enjoyment I've gotten out of No Use albums for years now. I learned about them in 6th grade when I was introduced to Punk Rock. Most of the music, I liked in those days has fallen off of my playlist, but No Use For A Name has stuck around. Tony was such an awesome song writer. His type of song-writing in a Punk context is just amazing. His lyrics were always thoughtful and pretty much always sad and perfect in their unique way.

It's always sad when someone you hold in high-esteem dies. There is a finality to it that just seems unfair to those of us who are stuck with life. However, it is always important to think about what the deceased person would actually want. He wouldn't want you to be all bummed about his dying. He would want you to remember him fondly, jam to his tunes, and make certain his family is alright.

Tony Sly, I will miss you. We will always have the tremendous music you produced and will never forget.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blog Exaggerated Distinction Awards

This is the 300th time this has happened and to commensurate this occasion, I have come to settled on what was something like, "plan D." In Celebration of reaching 300 posts and more than two years of this crap, I present to you the Pastafarian07's Blog/Too Much Mine awards.

It could be said that having an awards post for a blog that has virtually no readers is very narcissistic. Especially since I am the host and judge. And to those people I say... Pbbbbbtttttt. As I look across the vastness of the internet, I see only a few faces bothering to look and to those people I say, "thank you" and "prepared to be mocked"

The first award is for "Best Search Term," What search entries have brought people to this blog? Well, quite a lot actually, but a few (only one really) has stood out and is worthy of distinction. The nominees are:

-coughing everytime i laugh
-puppapalooza maryland
-asking for direction with dick out
-my minecraft crib

 The Winner is: asking for direction with dick out. Accepting on behalf of this search term is meeeeee.

Who would've thought that having that experience with that creepy fucktard would lead to this. I just want to remind everyone that there are ways to pay people $20.00 to watch you jerk off with out soliciting me. Thank You!

On to the next award is for "Best Traffic Source" This goes to the site that has generated the most views for the blog. Not that I care about views... I'm not a sellout or anything*. The nominees are:


And Google analytics determines the award will go to: There was no question in this category. Oddly enough, isn't Kathy's proper url anymore. It is now  . I'll be accepting this award aswell

I don't get many view from the new URL though. I can't blame her though. She's a published author and this is ish.

Since this isn't going well and I would really rather be watching Doctor Who we're going to jump to most viewed post.

Google Analytics decides it is: Slapping the Keyboard Like a Monkey 

I will not be accepting this award because there is absolutely no reason this post should have so many more views than my others.

Anyway honorable mention to these things:

Most commented upon post: Electoral College vs. the Popular Vote

Personal favorite post: The tornado ones
              least favorite post: The dream ones

Shout-out to all the the post with no views/comments.

Oh, did you guys know that one time I got a comment from Liane of 5AG fame? It was pretty much downhill from there until Emma turned up.

OHHH... I still need to mock. Emma you're short and your boyfriend is old. Sarah you're old and your pets smell. GOT 'EM

So yea that's 300 posts and the start of another edition of BEDA after taking the last off. Back to melodrama and angst tomorrow. .

Thanks for reading


*I am insecure

P.S. Perhaps you could leave a comment telling me which of my posts has been your favorite of the first 300. 
P.P.S. There is actually 301st post that'll never see the blog. And I'm telling you this to troll. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Am Not a Patriot; I Am a Nationalist (with reason)

So, I do not consider myself patriotic. I don't feel any particular attachment to the country or the government. I am fond of American government in the broadest sense*, but it is not unconditional fondness. I never think the United States is right simply because it's the United States. That is what Patriotism is to me.

You see, I see patriotism as a way of thought and a willingness of service to a country and therefore a government. It seems a bit dogmatic to me; The U.S. is right because the U.S. says it is right and any other thought or speech is disloyal.

Patriotism has shown itself to be dangerous and I think it is particularly prominent in the United States. The U.S. is a country that is so diversely composed that the only real way for the populous to feel allegiance is through patriotism. The country can only feel unified by loyalty to a common government and probably more importantly a shared hatred.

In American history it is rare to find periods free of war and impossible to find one where there isn't a clear 'enemy' in American culture. Whether it be the British, the Mexicans, the Anarchists, the Communists, the USSR, the gays, the blacks, the Jews, the Irish, Illegal Immigrants, Islamic extremists...

Popularly supported policy in the name of Patriotism leaves a lot of stains on our history. Segregation, HUAC, McCarthyism, the Iraq War,  the PATRIOT Act, the internment of Japanese-Americans and the list goes on.

Loyalty to the government is misplaced in my eyes. A citizen's job isn't to serve a government without regard to how that government is serving him or her. A government governs by the consent of the governed. The government is replaceable if it stops serving its people. The government does seek to continue to exist by forcing loyalty by stroking the flames of hatred and fear of a common enemy. However, that shouldn't work as well on the governed as it does.

I do consider myself a nationalist. I think that nationalism and patriotism are distinctly different even if the words are often used interchangeably. I view nationalism as loyalty to a nation; I view patriotism as loyalty to a country.

I make a significant distinction between 'country' and 'nation.' A country is a political unit. Many nations can be in one country (i.e. England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom) or a nation can be divided between countries. Loyalty to a country implies loyalty to a government. Loyalty to a nation implies loyalty to a people and a culture.

I like American culture a lot. Blues, Jazz, Rock 'n Roll. A freedom from European conventions and social constraints. A diverse culture with influences from everywhere.

When I look back at our history, the agents of positive social change have been Nationalists not Patriots. The Civil Rights Movement, the Suffrage Movement, the Gay Rights Movement all seek to make the nation better in spite of what the government.

I of course cannot defend nationalism totally. It, as every other ism seems to be, can be dangerous. I think this danger is particularly evident in Europe during the first half of the 20th Century. World War I was basically started by nationalist egos across the region. The rise of Hitler was largely a nationalist movement. In fact, most supremacy movements are based in nationalism. 

I refuse to believe that I or any American is superior. However, that doesn't mean that I don't take reasonable pride in being a part of this nation's history and culture. I like it here. Yes, there are repressive assholes, but they exist everywhere. Our culture comes up with all kinds of fun shit in spite of them.

I am disappointed with the Government of the United States. I like the founding ideals, which we celebrate on this day, but this government doesn't live up to them. I would like to see the government come closer to that ideal for the betterment of our nation. Government shouldn't get away with just pointing to the ideals to justify doing things that seem opposed to them. I think patriots allow that to happen and nationalists do not.

Thanks for reading and please comment


*I like the idea of how it should work. I don't like how it actually functions or what it does.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Michael's Self Improvment Project Week #1- Injury Prone

Things were going pretty well on the running front and then they stopped going well. I ran a mile on Sunday in the rain, because I didn't bother to look outside before heading out/even though it should've been a rest day I wanted to be tired for what was to come that day. On Monday, I woke up at 6:30 and ran a route I had mapped out around the neighborhood. I was pretty damn fatigued and sore afterwards, but otherwise alright. I took Tuesday off, as it was a planned rest day. I improved my neighborhood route for Wednesday. I started running on Wednesday and my ankle was bothering me immediately. I probably should've stopped, but I trooped on after tightening my right shoe, which didn't help.

Anyway, I ran 2.3 miles on a bum ankle. I shouldn't have run on it. I've self diagnosed it as a sprain. It hurts like a sprain and reacts the way a sprain would to exertion and rest. The only thing that makes me question it is the lack of any significant swelling. Of course, that is kind of typical for me. I don't really swell very much with most injuries.

I haven't run since Wednesday. I don't have to limp most of the time anymore which is progress. It hurts to put my weight on my right leg and I've tried little bits of running, but the ankle doesn't agree with that. I think it has regressed though, because it felt better yesterday morning than it does now. I had to do a lot of walking on stairs yesterday, which is probably why.

Yesterday, I also succeeded in fucking up my other ankle. It has a nice contusion and bruise on it from being rammed into a step by a mattress*. I really thought it was going to be bad enough to require x-rays yesterday, which I can't afford, but it seems to be alright today.

Okay, enough with the bitching about my injuries and such. I'm disappointed that I had to stop. With the exception of my ankle, I felt great after running on Wednesday. My legs didn't ache terribly. I didn't need to use my inhaler.

So, my goal for this week is to start again, if my ankle permits. I'll probably start with some shorter runs to get back into it and make sure not to reinjure it. I also am going to really ramp up my look for a second job. Another job means that I can move out, which something I need to do for my sanity.

Spreadsheet to document the runs:

Thanks for reading


*It is dumb to move shit on a sprained ankle, but it is far preferable to having to listen to my Dad bitch about his pain or some shit.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Michael's Self-improvment Project Day #1

This morning, I did something that I haven't done in a very long time. I exercised. I went to Blacklick Wood Metro Part and ran. So, the reasons for this change are as follow:

I am horribly out of shape.

I know I am ridiculously skinny, but I am acutely aware of a developing belly.

It should help with my anxiety

Also, I'm hoping the health benefits will somewhat counteract the years being taken off my life caused by the stress of living at home.

So, I ran about 2.4 miles, if I trust the listed trail distances. I didn't think I could make it that far. My initial plan was to run to the end of the trail and then walk back as a cool down. However, I got to the end of the trail and still felt like I could keep going. So, I started running the other direction and ran the whole path back.

I was very winded by the end and my legs hurt badly. I cooled down by walking another trail, which I think was probably a mile. I saw two does and a fawn while walking there. After wandering around in Washington, our trees are unimpressive. They're just small and not dense.

Back to the topic, My plan is to run every other day. I'll just run around my house on weekday mornings and go to a park on Weekends. Then, I'll increase the number of days depending on how it goes from there.

So, I have an Socially Awkward Penguin moment from this morning's run to share. So, early on in my run, I was running and a girl was coming the opposite direction. So at the moment where brief eye contact is acceptable, my right ear bud popped out. I had to make the call whether or not to put it back in or just it dangle until she passed, but ended up doing neither, so I ended up just sort of holding it.

Anyway, I'll update how this is going on Monday's from now on. Next time, I'll also talk about my attempts to get a second job.

Thanks for reading


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Spontaneous Trip to Bellingham/Visit Emma (Part 3)

In the last part, the President sends me to Madison, Wisconsin. Hopefully this will be shorter than the others:

I had called on Friday morning for a Taxi to pick me up at 3:00 am on Saturday morning. So, I set my alarm for 2:30 am. I put the few things I hadn't packed the night before into my backpack. My cab driver called a few minutes before 3:00, so I went down to checkout of the hotel and got into the cab. I didn't get the driver who had picked me up*, but had an English guy. I had to give my, "I'm from Columbus and came to visit a friend" story a final time.

He got me to the airport without incident and I gave him the same generous I had given the lady who had picked me (mostly out of fear of being a terrible sexist.) I checked-in and got my boarding passes and couldn't figure out why I couldn't find security, which I had to sheepishly ask where it was. I was told it wasn't open yet, so I got to wait for that. There were several other people waiting though.

Anyway security opened and I got through that without incident. I sat around waiting for boarding. When I did get to board, I again had to walk out onto the tarmac and into the planes back door. I don't know what type of plane it was. I think it had jet engines, but it also had propellers. Anyway, time to introduce visual aid #2:

The crew was actually pretty goofy on this flight. Notably the flight attendant who greeted me used his best Cookie Monster voice when he saw my Cookie Monster shirt. Then when we were seated, they said we could change seats since there were some openings, if we wanted to sit next to someone more attractive. Anyway, they said the flight to Seattle would be quite turbulent. I didn't really notice any turbulence though.

So, we landed in Seattle and I don't think this plane was tall enough to use a regular gate, so again I had to get off onto the tarmac and then follow a covered path into the terminal. I found a screen, figured out which gate I needed to be at for my flight and started towards it. It was actually pretty far away, but it was a 3-hour layover, so there was no risk other than boredom.

I sat around for a while once I got there. Then I got up and bought a Sudoku puzzle book and a pencil that said, "Seattle" and tried my best to kill time. My plan was to sleep on the flight from Seattle to Chicago and I gave a little nudge to my tired with medication right before boarding.

Unfortunately, sleep was not gonna happen for me on that flight. Actually, it was probably pretty fortunate in terms of avoiding horrible jet-lag. I was too tall to be able to rest my head against the seat comfortably and then I tried to put my head down on the tray table, but that wasn't really comfortable either, so I gave up and started reading.

So, after several hours, the pilot comes on and says that we had made great time to Chicago, but we're stuck in holding pattern due to V.I.P. movement. So, we circled for a while and then he said we may have to divert to Madison, Wisconsin. Then we circled some more and then he said since we were low on fuel we had to divert to Madison.

So, I got to spend some time parked on a runway in Madison, because the President was flying into Chicago at the time we were supposed to land. Being trapped in Economy Class isn't exactly pleasant, but I wasn't in a rush because my layover was pretty damn long in Chicago. I did have to explain to the guy next to me who woke up to the knowledge that we were in Wisconsin what was going on.

We had touched down in Madison just about the time we were supposed to land in Chicago and about 40 minutes and a fueling later we took off again for Chicago. We landed in Chicago a little over a hour after we were scheduled, but it was no big deal for me. I still had plenty of time.

I started making my way towards the gate looking for a place to eat. I found a food court and bought some deep dish pizza at a place called "Reggio's." I sat at a mostly empty table and ate it.

The gate I was flying out felt sort of like the reject table. It wasn't part of the main concourse, but was downstairs. There were no windows and the board down there wasn't working. No one from the airline seemed bothered to show up at it until after we were supposed to have been boarding.

The flight was mostly empty, so the delay in boarding wasn't an issue though. However, we got delayed twice. First, we were waiting for an airline employee who needed to be back in Columbus, but he or she never showed up. Then Then we got caught in a line to use our runway.

Anyway this flight was cool. No one was sitting near me. Also, there were storm clouds to look at, which I thought looked amazing from above.

After a short flight, we landed in Columbus and even with the delays were on time. I walked out of the terminal and Mom was waiting in her car to pick me up and I was tired.  That's about it.

That's my story even if I'm not all that good of a story teller.

Thanks for reading

*Which was mildly disappointing

Monday, June 4, 2012

Spontaneous Trip to Bellingham/Visit Emma (Part 2)

May 30th, 2012 is the day that Emma Burbank and I met in person. Future historians will point to that date and ponder it's significance. People may look back at it and wish we'd been stopped. Okay, probably not, but it still was awesome. To pick up where I left off:

I go up to my hotel room and set my bags down. Emma and I exchanged texts and managed to set up a meeting. I called my Mom and Sister to let them know I was there and safe in the meantime. Then I fired up the interwebz to figure out how to best way to get to campus. I determined that there were two ways to walk there: One through the park and another slightly longer way by sticking to the streets. I decided against the buses since they didn't run very late.

I decided on just walking the street route because it seemed like the easier/less likely to get lost way. However, Google Maps lied to me as would became a mild theme on this trip. The street I walked on ended before it go to the intersection I wanted to get to. However, where it did end was just a block from the entrance from the path in the park (or Arboretum). Fortunately, the path ended where I was led to believe it would by the internet.

I walked down some steps and I then I was on the sidewalk, which I was pretty sure was near where we had agreed to meet. Of course, I really didn't know, because I had no idea which way was which, or where the fuck I was. However, I spotted her pretty quickly. At least I thought it was her as it was a girl sitting on a bench with a laptop with the right hair color and length. And I was right. She spotted me when I got near enough and we hugged the most wonderful of hugs. And there it was, Emma and I in person finally. (It is really hard to quantify with words how awesome this was.)

She took me to the library and when my jet lagged brain decided it was time to eat she took to a place where food was. And where we ate was perfectly normal for that it had a fucking view of the ocean. Also, the trash cans had like 1,000 options; it was intimidating.

After I ate and Emma had juice we wandered all around campus. There were various pieces of sculpture (most notably "Man Humping Bear" [Unofficial Title].) So, we walked and talked for quite a while and it isn't all that interesting to anyone who wasn't involved (or maybe anyone who isn't me.)

Unbeknownst to me, we ended up back near where I had come out at when I suggest we start back that way. Emma didn't know about the way I had came so she ended up leading me up the steps and we ended up looking some sort of memorial and Emma compared the inscription to Sisyphus and it was brilliant. We said goodbye there and I walked back up the trail.

I walked past my hotel and to the nearby grocery store. It started to rain a little harder as I got closer to the grocery store, but it never really rained all that hard by Ohio standards. I mean, I was wet, but I've been wetter before*. I grabbed a basket and wandered around looking for stuff. I looked for snacks and ended up getting Pretzels and Oreos (this decision was mostly because their packing wouldn't be affected by the rain.) Then, I looked for travel size tooth paste and things and found them after some searching**. Finally, I grabbed a six pack of water and 3 bottles of Powerade and went to check out.

I told the cashier that I didn't want whatever that store's card is called, because I wasn't from around there***. I had to tell the, "I'm from Columbus and I'm visiting a friend" story again. I'm pretty sure the Columbus to Bellingham trek is a fairly rare one.

The rain hadn't really let up when I went back outside. Backtracking a little, something that was odd to me about that store was that there was just an open main entrance. There were no doors, automatic or otherwise, for that entrance. I made the briefish walk back to the hotel and made an unfortunate mistake. I set my bags down outside the door to let myself in. I then proceeded to set my keycard and wallet down before going back for the bags and I forgot the hotel doors don't stay open by themselves. So, the door closed and I couldn't get back in my room.

I picked up the bags and rather sheepishly walked back down the the lobby and told them my predicament. Fortunately the girl who checked me in was still there and they let me slide without showing ID. Anyway I got a new key and got into my room with grocery bags without further incident****. I went to get ice for a drink after setting some in the mini-fridge.

The glasses in my room felt like they deserved to have something more classy than green Powerade drank out of them. However, that's what I used them for. That's pretty much it for Wednesday. I laid in the bed and listened to the RT Podcast and did my usual internet thing before settling in for bed.

I was tired enough when I finally shut everything down, that I fell asleep despite the person in a room near me who had their T.V. at a ridiculously high volume.

I woke up at about 5:30 am PDT the following day. I wasn't going to get back to sleep for two reasons. First, my brain was like, "it's 8:30 by my watch you're up around 8:00 every day no more sleep for you." Second, The ridiculously loud T.V. was still going and I was no longer so tired that it wasn't an issue.

Thursday, itself was the emptiest day of my brief trip. However, it was the day that anxiety decided to hit me hardest, which isn't all that surprising. It tends to happen when I have the least to worry about. Anyway, I basically laid around for a while and did shit on the computer before taking a shower and heading out to lunch.

I went to a Mexican Place called "El Egave" at around a quarter after 11:00. I decided to get a Margarita with my food and managed to puzzle the waiter with my Ohio Driver's License. I was the only person eating in the restaurant the who time I was there, so service was quick and I was done by 11:45. I walked back to the hotel and hung out for a bit and again made certain that I knew how to get to where the recital was from my hotel.

I walked to the recital (and saw a fucking black squirrel) and after a brief delay in getting into the hall, I took my seat. Emma was first to perform and she did very well. I'm biased, but I liked her performance best. All the other cellists did well, but they were no Emmas*****.

I got to see Emma briefly afterwards before heading back to hotel where I ended up taking a 5-hour nap.

I woke up at about 8:00 pm and wandered out to find some dinner. I turned right out from my hotel and went to the first place that looked good, which ended up being Quizno's, which I was really happy to see, because all the one's around where I live have closed down******. I got to have some Black Angus goodness that had been so missing from my life. Anyway, I fell asleep around 11:00 that night.

I woke up at 6:30 the next morning. I hung out in the room for a while and looked at a trail map for the Arboretum and went off exploring. I took a path that was supposed to take my by a reservoir, which wasn't what I really had imagined. I really just seemed like a fenced in area with some wildflowers Anyway, there were only four places that were specially marched so I hiked up the where the next one was supposed to be. It's called the Quiet Rocks Area. It wasn't really marked, but there was a place where rock was exposed, so I assume that's what that was. Then there was a landslide that happened in 1935 on the map and there was one area where there seemed to be an abundance of downed trees, so I think that's the evidence of that.

The last place marked on the map was the observation tower. I wandered to it and climbed the stairs to the top to get a fantastic view. I walked around for two hours and loved it. It was really pretty and the sun almost came out for a bit. I got to see lots of stuff I'd never seen before. Most of the pictures I took on this trip. There aren't too terribly many, because 1) I didn't want to spend all my time looking through a digital camera and 2) I didn't realize that my camera had the resolution set ridiculously high, so not many pictures could fit on the S/D card. Any here are some of the highlights:

From the Observation Tower

Quiet Rocks Area (I think). Also ferns, which my Mom found fascinating

Landslide maybe?

Reservoir(I think)

Anyway, I found my way out by a very narrow and slippery path on which I nearly fell countless times, but I managed to stay upright******* until I got out of the park. I walked back to the hotel again (here's what it looked like). I only stayed there briefly before going to grab lunch at the most exciting of places: Wendy's********.

After lunch, I showered and shaved (managing to give myself matching cuts on each side of my upper lip) and waited for Emma to come pick me up. She pulled up in her boyfriend's Lexus and we were off. First, we went to Blouevard Park or at least attempted to go there. We had been led astray by Google Maps, so we had to back track to her apartment to correct the directions and then we were at the park.

It was right on the ocean or bay or whatever. We walked the boardwalk back and forth and then chilled on a tiny beach for a bit. I thought the beach looked friggin awesome. Once I'd had my fill of beach sitting and ocean staring we went to get drinks. Emma very kindly bought me a hot chocolate and she got some fancy variety of tea. We sat on a bench and drank and spent a lot of time looking at all the dogs that had shown up.

After that she took me or tried to take me to Whatcom Falls Park. Again we were led astray by Google Maps, but Emma (being baller) managed to find her way to where we needed to be. We ended up making quite the hike in that park. Seeing falls and ending up wandering around a graveyard. It was interesting. Lots of very old graves in various stages of repair. It is the sort of thing that makes one ponder about a lot of things.

We turned around and walked back to the car. We skipped dinner (I hope Emma did eventually eat something) and went back to her apartment to meet her roommate to go to a show. She graciously offered me something to eat there and I ended up having a bagel. We sat around for a bit waiting for Emma's roommate Emily to get home.

Emily drove us to the Upfront Theatre for an improv show. So, I got to go to a show accompained by probably the two most awesome people in the Northwest*********. The show was very funny and I had a fantastic time. Afterwards, Emily drove me back to the hotel and Emma and I had to say our goodbyes. I was definitely bummed, but it was nicely balanced by how glad I was that I had come to that place. Also, this exists now:

Emma and I 

We had one final hug and then I went back into the hotel. My flight was at 5:00 the next morning, which meant I would need to be up very early the next morning. I made the call to try to get some sleep rather than try to stay up all night and ordering a pizza. It ended up being the right call.

Okay, I'll end Part 2 here. That's the story of Michael in Bellingham. Part three will be about the trip home, but you don't have to read that because well that will be more boring than this part was.

Thanks for reading

*Context is everything.
**I had a harder time finding these than I should've, but I feared that eco-friendly Northwest might not allow such tiny bottles.
***I don't buy travel size stuff just for kicks. I shouldn't be mean she was very nice.
****I would like to say my fatigue and jet-lag were the reason, but I'm sure that fully rested and aware Michael could've made the same mistake
*****I'll stop with the flattery now
******I actually found one in the Columbus Airport. Quizno's is good, but not really worth a boarding pass just to get some.
*******And avoid becoming Mountain Lion/Bear bait.
********It is the duty of all citizens of Columbus to test the quality of Wendy's outside of our fair city and report back to the ghost of Dave Thomas.
*********I lied about stopping the flattery

Spontaneous Trip to Bellingham/Visit Emma (Part 1)

Last Wednesday, I left the confines of Ohio and flew to a corner of the United States. I landed in Bellingham, Washington that afternoon and this is the story of that trip:

There isn't a lot of lead up to this trip. Through our secret means* I found that my dear friend, Emma had a cello recital on May 31st and wanted to go; It was the morning of May 19th. I had really wanted to visit her and to a lesser extent see the Northwest and to a lesser extent than that get further away from Columbus that I had ever been before. In my head, this recital became a pretense to do all of those things, so I started looking for a plane tickets.

In recent months, it hasn't been entirely uncommon for me to look for plane tickets. I have been bitten by the wanderlust bug recently, so I sometimes would just look. However, I usually had little intention of actually booking anything. I don't think I started out that morning with the intention of actually booking; it was just an idea. It definitely was the sort of thing that you should run by the person you're going to visit first.

However, in a fit of spontaneity (or insanity), I saw a fare that was quite reasonable and booked myself for the trip. Shortly after that I reserved a hotel room in Bellingham. So, in an instant months of "save now. travel later" rational was out the window, but I was excited and not really remorseful about the spending. In fact my main worry was that I was being an inconsiderate asshole to suddenly just drop in on Emma. I told myself that I would think it over and decided whether or not to just cancel it.

The next day, I woke up and I was still excited. I didn't have the buyer's remorse. In fact I had come up with a new rationalization to justify the spending: I've gotten through two years of college and am about to get an Associates Degree and haven't taken on any debt, so taking on a little debt for this trip is alright. So, I was planning on going through with it unless I got a, "no" from Emma, which she didn't give.

When, I first booked the trip I must confess my plan was to show up as a surprise at the recital. However, as I considered that more I realized how bad of an idea it was. One, That would probably cross a serious line in terms of appropriate interaction with an internet friend. Secondly, it is probably more creepy than sweet. Finally, in not giving someone fair warning you're kind of making a douchy/passive-aggressive move by basically forcing the person to either drop his or her plans or neglect you.

So, fast forward past all the planning stuff** and jump to May 30th, which was my departure date. I'd packed the night before, but I was certain I had forgotten something and there were things that couldn't be packed the night before (namely Deodorant.) I woke up at 5:00 am and packed the stuff that still needed packing and checked over and over to make certain I wasn't forgetting something important.

So, the thing about leaving on May 30th is that it is my Mom's birthday. So, as she drove me to the airport I wished her a happy birthday repeatedly. I felt bad ditching her on that day***. Still, I was so excited where I was going and who was going to be there and how I was going somewhere far away on my own.

I really went to security in Columbus as a novice. I'd only flown once before. I knew about the shoe thing. I knew about the empty pockets thing. I knew that I should bother with a belt. I knew no liquids. So, I wasn't completely hopeless, but still I made a few flubs. The TSA lady reminded me to take off my jacket. Then, had to take the laptop out of the case to go under the scanner. I didn't get a full body scan instead they directed me through a metal detector.

So, getting through security went smoothly and before long I had my shoes back on, my shit back in my pockets, and the laptop back in the case. I grabbed my bags and headed to the gate. It was about 6:45 when I got to the gate. The plane didn't leave until 7:40, so I had to kill a little time before boarding, which I mostly did by looking out the window of the airport. There wasn't much to see except the plane I was about to get into.

Ok, now I'm going to introduce a visual aid:

This my trip to Bellingham in a neat(ish) format. Of course planes don't fly in straight lines; they tend to kind of arc to the north in the northern hemisphere, because for some weird math reason that is less distance on a sphere. Anyway, still I think it does its job.

So, the plane took off pretty close to on time at 7:40 EDT. The flight to Chicago is as I remember from when I took it the one time before. It's really quick. As, I looked out the window it never really looked like I left Central Ohio until we flew over Lake Michigan. So, the plane landed at about 7:40 CDT; I just find it so interesting that I traveled 277 miles, but didn't travel through time.

By the time I got to the gate I needed to be at in O'Hare I had about 90 minutes left in the layover. I tried reading, but I just confirmed that I am way too much of a people-watcher to have any luck reading in public, because I can't concentrate when there are people moving around me and can be looked at. So, I just put my iPod on and creeped on strangers walking past until boarding time.

On this plane, I unfortunately had the middle seat. On the aisle side of me was a rather large gentlemen and on the window side was a person I can only assume was named, "Douchebag McGee." Anyway, Douchebag was trying his best to hide his annoying cellphone conversation from the flight attendants after he was supposed to have put it away.

Anyway, I had planned to use the laptop on this flight since the plane had wi-fi, but there wasn't really room and getting the wi-fi required buying a movie or some shit. So, I just read. The book I chose to take with me was "Paper Towns" for a reread. I didn't really want to start something new given the nature of this trip. I read for quite a while until I saw mountains out the window. It was the first time I had seen mountains with snow on top of them, because the mountains in the east are pretty lame. I watched out the window until things turned to just flat desert and then got back to reading. We landed in Las Vegas pretty soon after the land turned to desert.

I learned something after spending a little time in Las Vegas. I had assumed that Vegas was in the Mountain Timezone, but it isn't; It is Pacific. It didn't make much a difference in terms of catching flights, but it did explain why 11:30 there didn't quite feel like 1:30 EDT. Also, why I was so damn hungry. The terminal in Vegas is filled with slot-machines. I wasn't interested in playing them though. If there had been a Poker or Blackjack table I probably would've played, but that isn't exactly reasonable to have in an airport.

It took me a bit until I found a screen to figure out which gate I needed to get to. Once I did, it was time to do something about my not having eaten a meal in 18 hours. I started walking to towards the gate and settled on a Chili's-to-go. I got mozzarella sticks and they were delicious. Then I went to sit by my gate to wait for boarding.

I took the risk of connecting to an unsecured wi-fi network to check news and sure up some details for arrival in Bellingham. I made sure not to use any passwords though and hoped I wasn't killing the laptop. Anyway, I didn't stay connected for too long. I put the lap top away and watched as people got off a plane from Seattle****.

An old lady from Bellingham talked to me, because she was confused as to which gate the flight was going to be at exactly as all the announcements were being made from the gate next to ours. She asked whether or not I was from Bellingham and I told her I wasn't and was from Columbus, Ohio and she stopped talking to me and then wandered off in a few minutes.

This flight probably took the longest to board, but it was without question the best flight of the trip. The plane had a pretty decent amount of legroom and the seat next to me was empty. Also, one of the flight attendants was really pretty, which helps. Oh, and I got a snack. I tried to sleep on this flight and almost made it before the pilot made an announcement that startled me awake. He was just telling us where to look to see the 3 Sisters. I looked out the window for a while and then it clouded over. I read for a bit before we began our descent.

On the decent, my right ear didn't pop. It hurt badly. I was chewing gum and just hoped it would pop as the plane got lower and lower. It never did happen though. It stopped hurting so badly once we were on the ground, but I couldn't hear very well out of it.

When we reached the terminal at Bellingham International Airport, we got off the plane and on to the tarmac, which I didn't really think was allowed anymore, but apparently it is. I walked out of the terminal and then outside of the airport and realized a serious mistake in my plan to get to my hotel. While I knew there was a bus stop around the airport I hadn't really figured out which direction I needed to go get to said bus stop. I tried one direction and it wasn't right. Also, my plane was early and the bus I needed to be on wouldn't be around for a hour (presuming it was on time.) So I walked back to where there were walk-up taxis in front of the airport.

The taxi I got into was a Prius driven by a good-looking woman. I had to give my, "I'm from Columbus and I'm visiting a friend" story to the driver. Although, I was sort of guessing at what she was asking because I couldn't hear very well given the state of my right ear. I got to the hotel and paid her with a generous tip and checked in.

So, I'm splitting this into parts, because this is already quite long. I apologize for the boring nature of this post*****.

tl;dr I went to visit Emma. I recommend Alaska Airlines.

Thanks for reading

**Like how I was going to get around once I got there and stuff.
***Not too bad because I did have to pick her up from the airport on my Birthday and turnabout is fair play xD
****Which I must say seemed to have had a who can show the most cleavage contest on-board. It sounds more pleasant than it actually was.
*****Not that the other parts will be much more exciting.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Online Dating

With the Saga of Hipster Girl nearing its end, I am pondering a question that I have for a while.

Let's start this off with a story. Last Wednesday was the last day that I will be at my class with Hipster Girl that isn't a final*. I basically decided that morning that I would at least try to talk to her and possibly determine whether or not an asking out would be reasonable. I built up my courage with all the things one uses to imagine another as just a regular person. So, when break happened, I was going to do it.

She went out into the hall and I went out shortly after. I looked over at her and my mind was like, "nope, we're just gonna go to the bathroom." I kind of gave my self the ultimatum of that being the "last chance" and that still didn't motivate me enough to get over my shyness. There's still the day of the final, but I feel like trying to get a date during finals is probably a bad idea.

People really like to say things like, "the worst she can say is 'no.'" But to me the reply to that type of statement is, "exactly." Being told, "no" by someone you want to say, "yes" really sucks. However, being told neither is a n ambiguous existence in which the reality I desire and the reality I don't are both reasonably plausible. It is a place that is miserable in a lot of ways, but it certainly is comfy for the fear of rejection to just hang out and kill your confidence.

I like to fancy myself as a pretty secure person. I know what I look like and am okay with it. I trust the people for which I care. However, my refusal to try for the risk of being turned down is a certainly not showing any security. However, that isn't it simply. As I see it the reasons I bailed from even speaking to the girl I've pined over in order are these:

-Pathological Shyness
-Social Anxiety
-Fear of Rejection 

I've struggled with shyness and anxiety for quite a while now. It makes it hard to build relationships or get jobs. I now I am a good worker and I think I'm a perfectly nice person, but the stuff that it takes for me to get in a position to show people those traits is hard for me. My nature kind of forces me to avoid being nice to someone initially with someone. I'm pretty much never comfortable enough to make small talk or compliment or anything with a relative stranger. It's not that I don't want to; I really do. I just can't bring myself to do it and the best way I can describe my feeling is that I don't feel worthy.

I feel like the boy-asks-girl-out model is not gonna work for me. However that is the standard and I'm not particularly attractive nor do I talk much, so there's little reason for a girl to ask me out even if she were willing to break out of social constraints. So, my prospect for getting a girlfriend is quite limited at least in those confines.

For the past several months I have been considering trying online dating. I feel like it would make initial contact much easier. Being able to do all the preliminary shit virtually would allow me to actually do it, because it is easy to have confidence on teh interwebz.

I realize that this isn't a cure all for a lot of my social  problems. I still would have to actually meet a person. I would probably have to be able to control my nerves enough to eat around someone. If I'm honest, as I've said before, the prospect of an actual date terrifies even if I really want a girlfriend.

I just don't know if it would really be a positive move or just an act of desperation though. There are lots of things that I need to work on and perhaps I should try to work them out before dating at all.

Leave your thoughts on this in comments.

Thanks for reading and please comment


*I am skipping this Wednesday for reasons. Very important reasons.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gaming Tuesday- Minecraft Zombie

It's been nearly a week since Minecraft came out for the Xbox 360. I was really skeptical that a game like that would actually work on a console. It seemed like it was something too time intensive, without a plot and lacked the sort linear, exciting action one expects from consoles. However, I will happily admit that I was wrong. I'm enjoying Minecraft on the Xbox more than I did on PC.

The reason is quite simple. I am not a PC gamer. I am not used to having to use a keyboard and mouse as controls, so as fun as Minecraft was it always felt wrong. It's not like Minecraft is a game that requires a lot of buttons, so porting it over to a controller was surprisingly intuitive. I feel more competent playing Minecraft on a console and I've learned from the mistakes I made on the PC version of the game.

On the PC, I made to grand of a plan to ever actually follow through with. However, on 360 I am starting out small and expanding. As for the boring details. I built a house and surrounded it with a wall that was 10 blocks high. Separate from that I made a mine. I dug it out and flooded it so that a monster can't approach the wall without drowning. I connected the mine and the house by a tunnel, which is permanently on fire with netherstone. I also dug out a secondary defense and filled it with netherstone and set it on fire and on top of the wall I planted cactus.

I've built a temple around the portal to the nether world and monument to the Flying Spaghetti monster. I've also added a 2nd story to my house and two floors below ground. My current mission is to find a dungeon so that I can get a saddle to ride a pig.

That's really the thing with Minecraft. It is riveting for no reason and there's always more to do. No game is capable of eating up more time than it. It will it take 3 hours or more without me even noticing. It is like the most effective agent of addiction there is. I can't explain to you exactly why I like, but I know that I do.

That's why I'm calling myself a "Minecraft Zombie*." Minecraft is to a player as brains are to a zombie. You start thinking and even dreaming of things as blocks. You walk up to trees and punch. You use real life time to develop plans and strategies for your next Minecraft session.

Fortunately, I am certain that I will get tired of Minecraft on 360 as I did on the PC. It's fun and all, but eventually the appeal of it will tapper off and other things will seem like better uses of my time. As for now though, I will keep on mining and crafting.

Thanks for reading


*There are zombies in the game who are more worthy of that title.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Constitutional Argument

Everyone is very upset about the ban on gay marriage that was passed by a popular vote in North Carolina on Tuesday. I certainly disagree with the Amendment, but it doesn't raise my ire that much. In more states than not Same-sex marriage is banned by the state's constitution. I live in Ohio and we've had one on the books for nearly 8 years. In many states that don't have a constitutional ban, it is still illegal*.

I am not so maddened by the result in North Carolina or anywhere else, because I know that it is coming whether it is popular or not. The overturning of Prop 8 in California will undoubtedly bring this issue to the Supreme Court. The Court would have to break precedent to uphold these bans.

Let's talk about the 14th Amendment. This is probably the most important amendment outside of the Bill of Rights. The immediate effect of this amendment was to stop the Southern States from doing anything to deny citizenship or rights to freed-slaves. It basically takes the Bill of Rights, particularly the Due-process Clause and applies it to the states. A citizen of the United States cannot be denied citizenship to the state in which he or she resides. A state has to give due process and equal protection under the law to all United State's citizens who reside there.

One can also look at the 14th Amendment as the final shot of the Civil War. The Union had many aims in it's fight, but ultimately what the war proved was what the Federal Government says goes. States can't nullify laws. States can't ignore court orders. If the Feds tell a state to do something, it had better do it or Sherman will march to the sea again on its ass.

The Equal Protection Clause is the most important part of the 14th Amendment for us too look at when considering bans on Gay Marriage. Here's Section One, which is really the only section that still holds any bearing on Today**:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 

Equal protection (quite obviously) means that laws cannot be applied to one group and not another. Banning Gay Marriage certainly does that and the Courts won't allow it stand for much longer. Anyone who is a proponent of these bans will have to find an argument that proves these bans not be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and there isn't a reasonable one.

One can always make an argument against an Equal Protection claim. In this case it would be, "The ban applies to everyone. No one is allowed to marry anyone else of the same sex." That is effectively saying, "A law banning abortion applies to everyone, because men can't get abortions either.***" Perhaps in a vacuum those arguments would hold merit. Fortunately, the Court doesn't live in a vacuum and they can interpret and understand these laws for their actual intent and application, which is to treat homosexuals unequally.

The case that is most looked at on this issue is the 2003 decision in the case of Lawrence v. Texas. This ruled a ban on Sodomy in Texas, and therefore every other state with a similar law, unconstitutional. The Majority Opinion written by Justice Kennedy, who will likely be the swing vote if Same-sex marriage gets to the court soon, states that the 14th Amendment's Due Process clause protects the right of consenting adults to engage in whatever kind of sex they want to in private.

Lawrence v. Texas wasn't purely an Equal Protection case as the Same-sex marriage one will be. The decision was based on Due Process, because the men who brought the case had been arrested. However, the decision could as easily have been on the Equal Protection Clause as it was part of the oral argument for Lawrence. It basically would've been the same decision, if Kennedy had gone with the Equal Protection Clause.

So, I suspect when the day comes that the Supreme makes a decision about this, it'll be a 5-4 decision to overturn the bans on Gay marriage. Going back on Equal Protection precedent would catastrophic for all the advances this country has seen in Civil Rights. The Courts make up could change in the meantime, but as of now or if President Obama gets a second term****, I feel pretty confident same-sex couples will be marrying in this country before too terribly long.

Thanks for reading and please comment

*It was illegal in North Carolina as well, so the amendment was just a way to stick it to a group of people. 
**Section Two basically overturns the 3/5ths compromise, which still counts today, but it isn't the subject of any controversy.
***To be clear, Equal Protection isn't the first route you go when making a pro-choice constitutional argument. It works, but Due Process and the Implied Right of Privacy are better choices.
*I feel confident that he will.