Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pics: Images of the week

Woh! Hmmmmmmmm.


Yeah...I'd say that's an accurate summary.

I don't know why this one cracks me up so much.

You're never too young to start.

It would SUCK to be that lizard.

No...really...God IS watching you!

This is every little girl's worst nightmare come true.

Entry: My first lucid dream

I had my first portion of a lucid dream the other night. It was rather startling. I'd known that it was possible for years, but never have I actually had one. Granted, it only lasted for a few minutes (and I mean dream minutes, not ACTUAL minutes). I just remember suddenly wondering if I was dreaming or not. I tested it by trying to read a sign. The sign said "SONY" on it. I looked away and then back, it then said something else that was completely incomprehensible. I realized then that I was dreaming. It didn't last long after that. Drat!! I'm wondering if this is something I should try to cultivate.

Movie: Avatar

Ah yes....'Avatar'. Everyone's talking about it, most are seeing it, and a large number are seeing it more than once. Did I enjoy it? The answer is a resounding "yes". I enjoyed the h*ll out of it. I get swept up in so few movies anymore. This one, however, struck several chords.

Firstly, yes....it was a very politically-charged production. Anyone with an affinity for politics will find plenty to either gripe about or praise. It had everything including inter-racial coupling, loyalty and patriotism, environmentalism, the scientific process, and the ever-evolving might of the military industrial complex. I cared just enough to be able to identify all that stuff but none of it really struck a nerve. I'm sure that the engineers in the world will smirk at the iconic use of "unobtainium".

So, what was it that I liked so much about this movie? Well...firstly, I enjoyed how Cameron was able to enable the moments in the story to so easily translate through the screen. In this particular context, I'd say that the movie was "epic". I also really enjoyed the soundtrack. James Horner really outdid himself (especially since his primary claims to fame have been the 'Star Trek' movies).

However, it was a single line in the movie that really piqued my interested in the story. In the beginning, our hero, Jake Sulley (a disabled former marine), is sent to the planet Pandora to reluctantly fill the role that his since-murdered twin brother was contracted to play. From the beginning, the character really doesn't seem to be in lock-step with the people around him. In his own words, he became a marine for "the hardship, because he believed he could pass any test that a man could take". The only thing missing in his life was "something worth fighting for". That's the line that got me since I've seen it echoed time and time again in society. Of course, Jake had to go to completely different solar system to find his cause. I guess you could say that I'm still on my quest for "empassionment" and that that is why I identify so much with his character.

Hmmm....on that note, maybe I should join the USMC! :)

(And no, Mom. That was a joke. I'm not really going to join the military.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Article: The pope has been copyrighted. Awesome!

Yep. The Holy See, the body of people responsible for all things pope, have decided that the venerated position and all its icons are worthy of copyright. I'm actually surprised that it took them THIS long. I mean....man! There's so much prophet...errr...profit potential there and they're just now beginning to realize it! Looks like I won't be donning my favorite obelisk-wannabe hat for Halloween next year lest I pay a royalty.

Of course, I'm only kidding. More power to them, I say. Of course, I have no idea how this will bode for my favorite comic book...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Entry: The unhappy Humanist

Ok...anyone who's read my blog enough knows that I enjoy learning about different faiths and philosophies. Tonight, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with the Lowcountry Humanist Society. Those folks are pretty cool. They remind me a lot of the Unitarians. Great folks, all of them, and oh so ready to welcome. However, the point of this blog entry is not to talk about the virtues of Humanism or its practitioners, but to mention one who stood out as an antithesis among them.

Unfortunately, in the process of discussing with people the events leading to my being there this evening, one man took interest in what I had to say about my experiences with the Christians, the pagans, the Unitarians, etc. He made a derogatory comment about my having been with the KKK (or so he felt like mentioning after others had come up to listen in on the conversation). Obviously, he had made that part up, but he had made his intention clear. He was also interested to know what group I would go to next after I was done with the Humanists. So...my question is this...is it wrong of me to be so open about my lack of obligation to any one group when I go to check one of them out? Should I not mention that I'm going strictly as an academic exercise simply to expand my horizons and not to offer allegiance? Did I invite this on myself? If so, dang. If not, then this gentleman can SUCK IT.

The subject in question bore the tell-tale character template of so many atheists that I've had the misfortune of knowing. (Granted, I never actually asked if he was an atheist, but he certainly put on a good show if he wasn't). The conversation that came after his ridiculous introduction, while under the guise of curiosity, was conducted in the usual fashion of the atheist inquisitor. You know of whom I speak...the one who comes up to you, asks you questions about your philosophies, and simply does nothing but offer counter-points to everything you say. (sigh). Granted, not all atheists are like this, but the ones that are operate under the grand illusion that their employment of "ultimate logic" in their thought process gives them a privileged status among their fellow man. It's simply another form of blind faith, IMHO. I just never thought I'd see one turn his sights on an agnostic...especially one like me. :)

The idea of this post wasn't to knock Humanism or anything. I rather enjoyed my time with the group. The moral of this story is that EVERY group has an ass who is just waiting to make himself known. It doesn't matter if you're Muslim, Christian, Jew, Pagan, Hindu, Buddhist, or whatever. There will ALWAYS be those with the inflated sense of identity and self-realization. To all those out there who fit this mold, I offer you this advice....

"Sit down, shut up, and eat your d*mn food."

Entry: Xmas party '09

Xmas party '09 was interesting (to say the least). I opted out of my company's party and decided to escort a very nice co-worker to hers instead. It took place in the usual spot...the Embassy Suites Convention Center, right next to the N. Charleston Coliseum. I really do think that 95% of all Xmas parties take place there.

The party itself was a blast. Good friends, good people, good times. SOME dancing was involved, but most were too inebriated to pay too much attention to the pregnant camel (ie, me) in the middle doin' my thang. I find the songs that you can simply rock back and forth to to be the best. :)

About halfway through the party, a co-worker and I decided to go party hopping. This was almost inevitable given that there were four separate parties side-by-side. The Meade-Westvaco party was kinda...well...there. We walked in...we walked out. We walked over to the next one in line and they had just closed their doors. I forget what company it was, but MAN are they light-weights! The final selection was the gem. It was a party put on by Trident Health Care. I had no qualms crashing THAT one. Of course, I kept very close to my rule of not consuming anything since it wasn't my party and I wasn't invited. The decor was top notch. Central bar (with plenty of Pepsi for people like me) surrounding a giant Xmas tree, large fake patio trees all around the room with decorations and lights, live band playing a bunch of 80's tunes, couches in the corners (which my friend and I deemed the "Pimp Couches"), a nice chandelier, a veritable cornucopia of delights, and a nifty chocolate fondue fountain. Only one thing seemed weird and that was that the people, although looking high class, were not very lively. We came to find out later that it was a room full of doctors. Go figure. I suppose I should have paid attention to what the "THC" stood for. By the way...as far as they were concerned, I was Dr. Phil, the Proctologist.

We left after not too long and went back to our party. It turns out that the THC folks later came and crashed ours since they wanted dance music. Go figure. :)

Anyhoo...after a long night of dancing, (others) drinking, and plenty of "prom pictures" to last a lifetime, the party came to an end and we all adjourned to a room up at the Embassy Suites for the after-party. I was beat and didn't stay long. After I was confident that my "don't let any drunk people do stupid things in public" duty was done, I bailed and finally hit the sack at ~330 am. Blah.

It was a good party with good people. 'Nuff said. ;)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Book: The Lost Symbol

So, here are my thoughts on Dan Brown's latest fictional concoction.

After reading 'Angels and Demons' all those years ago, I thought that I had found a new favorite author. It wasn't until I read ALL of his other books that I realized that they are all the same! Here is the algorithm for determining the identity of the bad guy:
  1. Determine who has died or was given as having been dead since the beginning of the book (more often than not a protagonist)
  2. Nevermind. There is no #2. The answer is #1.
Brown is a master of assembling a veritable cornucopia of disparate truths and combining them into an intriguing flight of fancy. Of course, that's what we always think until we see a special on the History Channel about how whack he is. All things aside though, I will admit that he has an awesome ability to pick only the most interesting tidbits for his tales which often prompt a further investigation into things we didn't even know existed. Seriously...who'd ever heard of the Opis Dei before that book?? And sure enough, the term "Laus Deo" ("Praise be to God") is actually enscribed into the capstone on the washington monument (a monument, I might add, that no building in DC is allowed to be taller than). Interesting. Of course, 'The Lost Symbol' has proven again that Brown doesn't know much about computer networks. (And yes, I'm a nerd by trade).

Although this book's story was a tad more underwhelming than its predecessors, I will say that it had the best take-away of any book of his I've read. The theme was very simple....we have lost our way. The premise is that the accumulated wisdom of man has since mutated into a form of pseudo-wisdom.

This was not in the book, but let me give you an example to "illustrate" what I mean. Take, for example, things such as Stonehenge, the pyramids, ancient mathematics, ridiculously accurate calendars that were engineered by simple peoples, astronomy, etc, etc. They all have a common theme. "How were they built?" "How are they so accurate?" And my personal favorite..."How in the hell did some 4,000-year-old pagan align a rock in a way that perfectly foretold the apogy of Saturn across the southern sky in the year 2513?" (Of course, I made that last one up, but you get the point.)

The implication that I took from this book was that man was much wiser in much simpler times. Over time, that wisdom was lost and the fruits of that wisdom were mutated into something resembling todays religions and dogmas. Modern science, taking nothing on faith, marches toward the re-birth of these truths which were obscured by time, ignorance, and tyranny.

After re-reading that last paragraph, I'm wondering just how vague I can be. It's hard to articulate a thought like this. :)

Then again, this is all in my humbled opinion, as always. ;)

Entry: What's up with school??

I spent a lot of time writing about my experiences with Nova Southeastern University prior to this entry. The fact of the matter is that I am no longer with that institution. For lack of better explanation, let's just say that their program didn't "conform" to my idea of an ideal academic posture commensurate with the degree that I was seeking.

I have since been accepted into the graduate school at the University of South Carolina. This degree will not only be hard but will be a ridiculous exercise in logistics considering that it consists of normal classes (not night classes) in Columbia, SC, which is 100+ miles away from where I live. Did I mention that these classes will be held in the middle of the work day? Did I mention that I have a full-time job??


I figure that this will end in one of two ways:
  • humiliating defeat that will at least allow me to re-claim what will be left of my sanity
  • an overall victory that will more than likely leave me in a permanently catatonic state
I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Site: Nintendo music

(Note: pictures does not match link below...it's just REALLY cool)

It's always important to be able to download one's favorite old-school console music. :)


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Well....a new year is upon us. I'm currently in Tampa and about to undertake the inevitable return to Charleston. I will be starting a new job in a few days. Excited about it? Not as much as I could be, but it's a job, nonetheless.

I s'pose that I should make a list of the new year's resolutions. I can't recall if I typically did this in the past, but it never hurts to write them down, I guess. :)

Actually, I'm going to compile two separate lists. One will be for the actual goals that I will work on and the other will be for things that I would *like* to work on but very likely won't.

The goals:
  1. Fix my body. This actually has two components. Firstly, I have a bad shoulder and a bad knee. Time to get off my rear and get them fixed. Secondly, I've become so sedentary that I'm actually ashamed of myself. Things need to change.
  2. Consolidate my communications infrastructure. I currently have four different phone numbers (don't ask) and it drives me just as crazy as those who have to call them. Time to dump three of them.
  3. Figure out whether I'm going to stay in my house or not. If not, then take definitive steps in that direction.
  4. Take a more proactive role in my industry. If I'm going to do it, then I'd might as well own it.
  5. Travel more for leisure. This is, of course, completely contingent on work and finances allowing.
  6. Start saying "yes" more often and stop being such a reserved wuss. There's no harm in trying new things and taking a few risks now and then
The runners-up:
  1. Keep in better touch with friends. I suck at this tremendously. This is also somewhat coupled to #6 above.
  2. Work harder in school. I'd like to say that this was going to be definite, but, to be honest, my will is wavering at the moment and I'm debating taking the next semester off.
  3. Actually show my important friends how much they mean to me. I consider this to currently be a personality flaw on my part.
  4. Be better at checking my mail. I hate snail mail.

I'll see what I can do to keep everyone in the loop regarding how this is going. :)