Sunday, July 29, 2007

I too must be left behind

So a while ago, I dealt in a long session about my feelings about a girl who caused my second heartbreak (I use that word to simplify an annoyingly complex situation). But I've overall gotten over it, except I wish, I wish we could still be friends (I also still have some feelings of guilt over the way the relationship ended and until just a bit ago I had some fear that since she had had some depression problems that she was dead). I really liked this girl and to have no contact with her seems just sad. Well, let me take a step back from present time to a couple years ago when I had some stronger lingering feelings, I saw her name on Facebook. Given that she had cut off contact with me and that I had attempted several unsuccessful times to contact her immediately after that (phone calls, emails, etc.), it probably was a bad choice to send her a message, or maybe it wasn't I'm not really sure. But I had thought that time had passed and perhaps we could become friends even if romance was out of the question.

Soon after that she removed her Facebook account.

Now I see she's started a new one (at another college, though, making me wonder whether I provoked a breakdown in her forcing her to switch colleges, and even though that is a very arrogant and paranoid thought, it still bothers me). This has provoked some deep relief for me because I had feared that her problems had finally gotten to her, but it also raised the question should I try to contact her again. The sensible answer taking into consideration the past is no. But right now, having just seen her Facebook account I find myself filled with sadness, regret, and self-loathing and I almost feel that if I could talk to her all that could go away.

But first of all, given my past try it probably wouldn't bring a reply, it might prompt her to remove her Facebook account (although a less me-centric view of the situation might conclude that for other reasons she left her previous college and that caused her to remove her Facebook account since this was back in the day when Facebook was still for college kids (and not you high school bums, yeah you know who you are BUMMMMMMS!!!!)), it might simply bother her and I don't want to do that. It's unlikely that anything she could say could erase feelings that are have stretched themselves way beyond the rational. While I did some really stupid things when I was trying to get her to be my girlfriend, nothing I did was really that bad, and while it would be nice to have contact with her, not having contact with her isn't the end of the world. Yet it feels like I was a monster to her and it feels like not being able to contact her is the end of the world, and this sucks a great deal, but it's not something rational, and it's not something that could be defeated by getting even a good answer from her (it certainly won't be helped by a bad answer). Instead I simply have to remind myself of the truth, I wasn't that bad, and while I did love her, I have moved on in my life. And though the waves of emotion will crash upon me still, if I keep that in mind, and try to keep living my life and not wallow in depression, eventually this too will fade. A part of me is sad about that, insisting that my feelings for her should never fade and that I should try no matter what to win her over.

But she doesn't love me, and I have accepted that, and even if it makes me sad I have to keep my feelings for her dead and gone, because she, for whatever reasons she had, she had to leave me behind, and now I must do the same.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I wanted to be all you need

Perhaps in response to my newest, I guess, prehaps crush, perhaps, but the point is that I seem to be dwelling in my memories of the last time I had, well, to summarize a complicated situation in a short and completely and utterly cliched way, the last time I had my heart broken. I imagine it's just a way of my brain telling me to stop trying and just give up on women. The relation between this and the title (not that there needs to be a reason between the title and subject of a session, at least in my book and my book is the only one that counts, especially after I start writing it) is that the title is part of the chorus of the song Here is Gone by the Goo Goo Dolls (I'm not a fanatic on the Goo Goo Dolls but I like them pretty well and especially, most especially this song, which is actually somewhat, although not totally atypical from most of their stuff), anyways, that song, especially that line sums up that heart-breaking occurance pretty well. When it strikes me there are parrellels between a song and my life I like to try to explicate it a little and so I thought I'd explore that a little (now this may seem a little random since, well, ok, here's the deal, I've wanted to talk for a while about the last time my heart was broken because well, it's a good piece of who I am, and this is one of the less uncomfortable ways to do this), so let's look at the lyrics and I'll explicate a couple lines with my life, let's do this!

Here is Gone
By Goo Goo Dolls

You and I got somethin
But its all and then its nuthin to me, yeah

I'm trying to do this in a way that avoids naming names, but I suppose since there are very few people who actually know or care much about our whatever it was, I can let loose some details. I met her when I was hospitalized in a mental instution, I got out before she did, and even after she got out we didn't really see each other and so although we kept contact through phone and email there were times when I could almost forget about her, when she was gone from my mine, but most of the time I was filled with passionate insensity about her, that somethin we had was nuthin sometimes but usually it was all to me.

And I got my defenses
When it comes through your intentions for me, yeah

I don't know if this really applies, maybe that's why I usually forget these parts of the lyrics, see while I had intentions, I wanted her as my girlfriend, I wanted a relationship, etc., she, she, well I don't know what she thought, but I don't think she had much intentions for me, she liked me at least at friend level at first at least, but the one time she actually really got into the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing she told me that she didn't think she could deal with that stuff at the time, my interpertaion of that was clumsy, stupid and insensitive, basically I thought well, I'll wait a while and then she'll want to be my girlfriend and then after a while I said, well I think we're boyfriend and girlfriend at least that's how it is to me, I didn't see if she was ready despite the fact that she had been having all these things to deal with, and maybe I'm being to critical of myself, but it was awfully stupid to just come out and say that when I hadn't seen her in person since I left the hospital. So if anything my defences were my delusions of a romantic relationship to her intentions for me, which were ultimately nothing

And we wake up in the breakdown
With the things we never thought we could be, yeah

We were both dealing with breakdowns at the time, people warned me not to try for a relationship because of that, but, well I did, and so well, again to summarize in a overly-simplified and overly-cliched way, I got my heart broken

Im not the one who broke you
Im not the one you should fear

If I still had any contact with her I would tell her that...I dunno, I never meant her any harm, that I'm really just harmless, and so there was never any reason to fear me, if she did fear me, I don't know if she did. It's another one of the dimensions of that situation which I don't understand. But I really wish that if we couldn't be girlfriend and boyfriend we could at least be friends, but instead she stopped responding to my emails and calls and so I have to assume she had a little bit of fear about me, and if I could I would just like to assure her that I'm not the one you should fear

We got to move you darlin
When she was still in the hospital I used to tell her that if she wanted I would break her out and run away from her. I was high on the emotion and young and said all sorts of crazy, stupid stuff like that.

I thought I lost you somewhere
But you were never really ever there at all

I would pretend with people that she was my girlfriend, I told myself that I was just simplifying the matter, but the truth was I wanted to pretend, but she never told me that she was my girlfriend and in the end all the romantic dreams I had of us came to nothing

And I want to get free
Talk to me

So much of that period in my life was just trying to get away from my fears and anxieties and my disease, but when I talked to her a certain peace washed over me, that's how I think you know you're in love, when just talking to someone can make you feel completely and utterly healed and whole, I miss that

I can feel you falling
And I wanted to be
All you need

I knew she was still having problems and I wanted so bad to make them all go away, I wanted to be the one to take away all her pain because I felt that she could do that for me and I wanted to be the one she relied on, I wanted to be her superhero, but perhaps she didn't need any of that or perhaps she just didn't want it from me

Somehow here is gone
In the end that all belongs to the past, she cut off contact with me, and I no longer want to bother her with my attempts to renew contact. I did try very recently, but I think she made it clear she doesn't want to deal with me, even if she never actually said it. The thing is though, because I know she suffered from the same sort of problems I did I worry about the fact that I can't contact her, because what if she's dead, and what if it's my fault, and what if she's dead?

I am no solution
To the sound of this pollution in me, yeah

I still don't know how to solve all my anxieties and fears and disease, I can make things better but I don't know how to get rid of all this, except to trust in God to save me

And I was not the answer
So forget you ever thought it was me, yeah

I never knew how to really help her, so no matter how I wanted to help her, I was not the answer but these lines, especially the second belong more to her, because in the end she was not the answer to my problems either and she probably would wish that I would forget you ever thought it was me

Im not the one who broke you
Im not the one you should fear
We got to move you darlin
I thought I lost you somewhere
But you were never really ever there at all

And I want to get free
Talk to me
I can feel you falling
And I wanted to be
All you need
Somehow here is gone

And I dont need the fallout
Of all the past thats in between us

In the end this is past, and I'm tired of dwelling on the scars that these events left on me and I'm sure she is too. Of course, the past is a part of us and I like who I am and so I don't really wish it gone, unless, unless the fallout ends up really hurting one of us. But I really think I'm sort of over this, for a long time I would dwell endlessly on this situation and just like it once inspired me to write love poems the situation then compelled me to write poems of despair and then to despair so much that writing no longer seemed worth it, but eventually I moved on from it, still it is a part of me and from time to time my mind wonders to those days and it makes me smile to remember the good times with her and then it makes me sad to remember how things ended up, especially now that I'm feeling a new crush, not love mind you, but still probably, perhaps, an actual crush, my mind drifts back to this, perhaps trying to justify my fears of making any attempt to ask this new girl out

And I'm not holding on
And all your lies weren't enough to keep me here

Like I said I'm not holding on to this stuff anymore, I mean it's a part of me, but it's no longer my obsession. But the second line doesn't apply to me, she never lied to me, but perhaps it's owed to her, I told her that I would do all sorts of romantic stuff, and I wroter her all sorts of romantic stuff but in the end I didn't see her in person once after she left the hospital, and all my romantic fantasies came to nothing (well, they did inspire various writings, including the epic poem, but when it came to what I gave her, it came to nothing, I always really did want to give her gifts and shower her with love, but while I gave her some random crap in the hospital and wrote her stuff, ultimately, in the end, it really amounted to very little), she could say very justified that all your lies weren't enough to keep me here and I could say nothing in response except I'm sorry and I didn't mean to lie, but that really amounts to very little and much too late

And I want to get free
Talk to me
I can feel you falling
And I wanted to be
All you need
Somehow here is gone

And I want to get free
Talk to me
I can feel you falling

I know its out there
I know its out there

I know, when I'm not paranoid about her being dead from suicide and depression or something, I know that she's still out there and I wonder and sometimes I used to even fantasize about what if I met her again, so, what was my love, well I know it's out there but since I can't really do anything about it, I guess that's not that important except for the comforting thought that the world's better off for having her out there

And I can feel you falling

I know its out there
I know its out there
Somehow here is gone, yeah

I know its out there
I know its out there
Somehow here is gone, yeah
In the end it's over, it's done with, it is gone but the fear it brings still remains, and that's one of the reasons in addition to my natural paranoia and anxiety I've been so nervous about asking girls out and especially nervous about what I'm feeling now with this maybe crush, of course the whole mess I had with another girl before even my last heart-breaking also left scars, but that's for a different session

It's a good song is it not? Least I think so. I'm sure there's more I could write about this matter, and perhaps someday I will, but I don't feel like doing it now. So anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Some dreams deserve to die

I often say to myself, in this webpost or to other people that I am an ambitious man. That is undoubtedly true. I want success, I want influence, I want fame and a long and far reaching legacy. Most of all, I want power, beautiful, immense and utterly absolute power. Lately I have pondering exactly what this ambition means to me. It's this pondering that has led me to some odd thoughts.

One of the manifestations of my ambition as well as my love of stories and tales is that occasionally I play out in my head dramatic scenes of me acting like some sort of superhero or supervillain and often a part of that is the confrontation scene where I find my counterpart and stunned by my appearance he asks, "Who are you?" because no mere human should be able to do what I have done in this little story playing in my head.

Although the answer most of the time is simply "I'm Rand," I've played with a lot of variations on the question, such as "Who are you that you could survive my minions?" and "Who are you that walks through walls and controls flames?" (when I pretend to have superpowers), but one variation of the question bothered me profusely, I imagined a confrontation where my enemy said to me "Who are you that you controls the winds and the waves?" Now what bugs me about this is that this far too close to

'"Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."'

A description of Jesus in Luke 8:25. These little senarios I make up in my head in a way sort of capture my ambitious spirit, it shows that I want to be something so incredible that anyone who opposes me will not be able to even understand who I am. But now I was comparing myself to Jesus in this scene, and in a way I was showing an ambition to be Jesus, and not in the way that I want to imitate Jesus' goodness but in a way that I want the power of Jesus, I want the power of God.

If this kind of seems almost blasphemous well, I didn't intend it to be that way at least consciously. Unconsciously I guess this was my desire. And to be honest this scares me. Am I really that ambitious to go to the point that I want to have the power of God? This really smacks of meglomania and insanity. Which really isn't suprising given that I have many symptoms of manic-depression and meglomania is simply another one. But that doesn't help the fact that I have this desire, and unlike my other symptoms of my mental illness which seems to come to me from parts of my brain that almost seem completely separated from the rest of my personality, this seems deeply engrained in my own self.

But in the end what I have to do is reject this. I cannot be a good Christian and harvest this ambition. Yes I can take advantage of my ambitiousness to keep me driven but I must always remember to keep myself in check.

And that makes me wonder. One of my common dreams is to enter politics, to become a political deal maker, to become a key person in international politics that makes the world tremble at his will. But if I am to keep my meglomania in check, I think it might be time to say goodbye to this dream.

Moreover, I think I must keep in track my cultivation of this alternate persona of Rand. I was planning to create a Randopedia, something like Wikipedia but based on my views on things with input from users but edited to keep my ideas primary. I was also planning to create Rand-centric productions for videos and such (not just like my comic and perhaps a spin off of that but cultivating Rand as a media persona). I was even dreaming of trying to create a sort of school of thought following of myself.

Even more sadly, I was pondering whether I should use the organization of Knights of Mars I was trying to start (based on the ideal of friendship) as an instrament of my ambitions and dreams.

It doesn't matter that all of these ambitions seem completely unrealistic, what I wanted was to complete them in part or bits, so I could taste power at the very least. It occurs to me that all of this is madness. And so perhaps it is time to throw that all away. Perhaps it is time to give up on my idea of becoming a high political official (although I'm not ruling out any involvement in politics), perhaps I should abandon the idea of creating Rand as a media figure and perhaps I should put the idea of the Knights of Mars on the back burner until I can truly concentrate it on the idea of friendship (or maybe given my bad organizational abilities and lack of concentration perhaps the better course would be to entrust someone else with the idea).

But then in the end what do I want for my life. Well, I want to write stories and I want to share my ideas with the world and I want to help people with those things. But perhaps what I don't need is to become powerful, it would be nice, but perhaps I just need to put that behind my writing and such. I dunno. All I know is I really don't want to be a man obsessed with ambition. I need to remember that and keep that in mind whenever I get the temptation to obsess over my lack of power. If I end up not powerful so be it, as long as I am a good man, it does not matter.

Friday, July 27, 2007

In the body in the mind in the stomach

Now for something a little different.
That's actually not something very different from my regular persona, but I said something a little different not very different. But moving on from that, I find myself wondering how exactly to start my intended topic without sounding monumentally whiny. Perhaps my difficulty in doing so is a warning that I should not attempt it since perhaps the topic is inherently whiny and so perhaps I should go with something else. But the medium of webpost (my replacement word for blog, because blog is such an ugly, ugly word) is by its nature a hit or miss forum, it is designed for the easy expression of thoughts and emotions, not all thoughts and emotions, even those that might appear useful might not actually be useful. But if I am too cautious, I can not maintain a steady flow of posts and the webpost will transform into nothing but a collection of rough, unpolished essays and not very many of them. The frequent schedule of the webpost has been vital in keeping me writing and I'd very much dislike to end that, and so I press on into the unknown or the known whichever.

Anyways, a thought which has occurred to me lately, often, is I don't take good care of my body. I eat badly, don't exercise enough, drink too much caffine, are careless about germs, I don't brush at night (I do do so during the day, mostly), I don't sleep much and I eat at odd times. Now much of this can be explained rationally. I eat badly much of the time because I like good food over healthy food. I am also supremely lazy and extremely casual, and this does not lend itself to the formal habits of taking care of myself well. But I think sometimes it's more than a matter of that. Take my brushing habit for example. Now brushing is a small thing and honestly while I might forget about it every now and then if it was just a matter of laziness I would still brush most of the time. But rather when I even think of brushing my teeth at night I freeze up. I get filled with anxiety. It suddenly occurs to me that if I try to brush now I'll be committing myself to brush in the future. Moreover it seems almost as a commitment to self improvement. And then as I face this anxiety I face the continuing self doubt about my ability to conquer my anxiety. And then there is a feeling within me that hates any idea of self improvement and seeks any chance for me to harm myself (the slow decay of my teeth being one of those opportunities)

When I'm depressed the fullness of this becomes apparent. I stop brushing, I stop bathing, I stop eating except when I force myself (often I trick myself by pretending that I'm eating food just to give in to my base appetite) and even then I eat mostly food that's very bad for me.

I suppose what it comes down to is I need to put caring for my body as one of the things I need to force myself to do when I'm depressed, just like going to school and work. After all, I have many things to do in the world before I die.

But it is an open question as to how much of a degree of taking care of my body I want to engage in. My basic plan now is enough to stay healthy (I'm not really doing that right now because I've been pushing off my lyme disease testing for way to long), and enough to be comfortable with myself. But I suppose I should add to that enough to attract a girl.

Because like I said before, most men in the world keep their appearances up just to attract women, and those that don't are mostly arrogant or gay. Mostly.

Anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Anime for the lazy May

Except it's July so it's not lazy May. But anyways even though Youtube has annoyingly been removing a lot of it's tv shows (ah, I can't blame them, lawsuits and all, but I'll elaborate my position on this sort of stuff later). Yet there still are some tv shows if you look for them. At least with old anime shows, like Video Girl Ai and Ranma 1/2 and some episodes of Azumanga Daioh (which isn't really old which might explain how some of the episodes have been removed).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Welcome to the Show that never ends, except when it does, which probably won't be soon

And with that title I say hi.

The Good, the Bad, and the Absolutely Horrible

In much of the debate about the war in Iraq many commentators have said that going to Iraq was either a good or bad choice. Because of the nature of conversation this is perfectly natural and perfectly acceptable, but it does hide a bit of the reality of international, national, and heck all politics really, but especially international. International politics is rarely a matter of unqualified good and unqualified bad decisions, it is a matter of better decisions, worse decisions, and the constant possibility of monumentally horrible consequences even from the right choices. In the debate about Iraq we should always remember that the choice for invading Iraq was never as simple as whether to go or not, it was whether to leave Saddam in power and let his rule play out to its fulfillment or end, or to invade. Ultimately I think the choice made was wrong, but in considering the matter we must look carefully at the alternatives.

In retrospect, Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction, he likely would have cooperated with terrorists if the opportunity raised itself but it was unlikely he would have become much of a leader for him given his crippled economy and weak military. He did not pose a short or medium term threat to us, only in the possibilities of the longer term did the chance of a threat arise. Given the alternative of leaving him in power, he would rail against the US, he would give support to Palestian suicide bombers and likely some other terrorist groups but not in a major way, he might attempt to rebuild his military but with a crippled economy and continuing sanctions and endemic corruption this would be very difficult, especially given his own mismangement of his military. Geopolitically he would remain a minor source of destabilizing but not a major one.

Looking between the two choices, from a threat assessment point of view leaving him in power was the better alternative given that there is an inherint risk of destabilizing a country in the democratizing process even in the best of situations (let us remember that even in the US after the Revolutionary War (a fairly bloody affair despite claims to the contrary), we had a mass exodus of loyalists and several years of pretty unstable government under the Articles of Confederation which sparked a sizable revolt, and we were in danger of subversion from several foreign powers including Spain and Britian). Especially given what we know now.

But let us look at the moral perspective. The current situation is pretty disasterous, much violence, much chaos. But like I said, it isn't a matter of good or bad but better or worse. Leaving Saddam in power wasn't good either from a moral perspective. Saddam had attempted genocide before, against the Kurds he had used chemical weapons and done a mass killing campaign which decimated the population especially the male population and especially coupled with refugees fleeing the country. But leaving him in power would he have done it again? If he could, most likely yes, especially given the pro-American bent of many of the Kurds and his need to rally Arab nationalism to secure his position within his country and internationally. He was sponsoring a highly murderous group in the Kurdistan region of Iraq that was destabilizing the area. But could he have attempted genocide again? No. In truth, our no-fly zone and support of the Kurdish parties in Iraqi Kurdistan had made it highly difficult to enforce his will there even if he was to be incredibly ruthless about it. In truth he would not be able to attempt genocide against the Shi'ites either because there are simply too many Shiite Iraqis.

But that doesn't mean his rule would not be horrible. He would continue torturing, continue terrorizing, continue his tryanny for the forseeable future. Even though his country was weak, it was stronger than the power of its people (this isn't meant as an insult to the Iraqis but rather an assessment of Saddam's highly effective efforts to paralyze non-governmental organizations, keep his people divided and paranoid (this was actually a large cause of much of the sectarianism we are seeing today, it is possible, although this is a debatable point, if during the somewhat lighter rule and more prosperous times of the pre-First Gulf War era might have been less prone to this sectarianism and perhaps had we freed the Iraqis (and it is a matter of freeing them instead of granting them liberty, liberty is a natural right that was taken away from them, not something to be given) during the First Gulf War, perhaps the current situation could have been avoided), and maintain a strong internal security structure. He was a monsterous tyrant, one of the worst in the world (although probably in terms of monstrocity of the tryant (although perhaps not severity of the situation), North Korea has it worse off), and it seems to me, although this is a debatable point, that given his lack of care for his own population, no international pressure short of military intervention could really change matters. And so he would remain. Given that dictators who can live very luxuriously when they don't have serious opposition, this could mean another 30 or so years of tyranny. Of course then there's succession. If a dictator does not have a clear successor, a less ruthless, weaker, or less capable ruler might arise and that might lead to a collapse of the dictatorial system. However, Saddam did have two clear candidates for succession and had clearly established one as his favorite, his sons. This suggests that there would most likely not be a huge struggle for leadership after Saddam's death and even if one of his sons died, the other could still take his place.

By most accounts, one of his sons, the older one, was somewhat unstable, and might, might have been destabilizing to the government, but given the weak state of the anti-governmental forces outside Iraqi Kurdistan, even this would not have led to the end of tryanny and given the cruelty of his unstable character, things would not get better and could very well get worse. His other son, the one most likely to be next in line, was more stable, but just as if not more ruthless. His reign would be just as brutal, and he would care just as little about his people giving him a cushion against international pressure. This could lead most likely to another 30 or 40 years of tryanny, during which a rebuild of Iraq would be possible, however, matters this far in the future are conjectures for futurists must always remember that crystal balls always have a bit of haze to them.

The end result would be most likely another 50 or so years of absolute tryanny. But again 50 years is a long time things could change, however given that Saddam and his sons are for the most part, ruthless, smart and internally powerful, all the components for an indefinite tryanny are there. A possible objection to this perdiciton is that most tryannies don't last this long, but my answer to that is, most tryannies lack to some extent ruthlessness (most tryants to some degree, somewhere in their hearts care about their people and this often leads to their downfalls because then they respond to needs for economic growth or mercy), intelligence (although there are various kinds of intelligence, many tyrants while they might possess the intelligence to rise to power, they lack the intelligence to maintain it for long periods of time), or internal power (during the Cold War and immediate aftermath this was especially true since either the US or the Soviet Union almost always picked some anti-governmental force to support)). Then there must be the consideration of what would the democratization of Iraq be like after Saddam. If a good ruler emerged things might be alright. But sectarianism was not decreasing during Saddam's time it was increasing, and it would have kept increasing if Saddam remained in power, the democratization of Iraq might have ended up more brutal than even now, althoug here we must remind ourselves that this is a matter of extreme conjecture. That is the sad alternative.

Is the current situation better? In the short term and possibly medium term (depending on how long the chaos lasts), no. The current chaos is worse than Saddam's reign for many, if not most, people. In the long term, probably, the nation is not so divided that it would altogether collapse and it has a clear ethnic majority that currently and for the forseeable future has more power than the minority and so matters will eventually settle down. Will there be genocide though? It is possible, but given that there are sizable areas with Sunni majorities, and the Sunnis while weaker than the Shi'ites are still considerably powerful, furthermore divisions exist between the Shi'ite, while not numerous enough to create indefinite chaos in Iraq, although numerous to create short and possibly medium term chaos in Iraq, it is enough to make Shi'ite politicians interested in courting Sunni leaders for political support. Genocide is still possible, but highly unlikely in my view, although this is debatable.

However, countries should not invade each other simply because they believe that it is better for the people of that country, even if they are right. Especially given the considerable ideological component of the word "better" (some people say it is better to be poor and free, some people say it is better to be rich and oppressed, some people say it is better to be poor and oppressed but have cultural integrity, the first group is right by my book, and that's the only book that counts, but my point is that people disagree about the word), it is generally not a good idea, although this is a debatable point and I do admire the idealism of those who disagree with me on it (if you don't catch it here I'm arguing against the Cold War as well as any potential new Cold Wars). The problem is that this causes considerable international chaos by essentially creating a global war fought potentially everywhere (although some places will be "hotter" than others). Every government will have to look over its back for a potential revolt. Paranoia will spread and this will encourage even those defending liberty to resort to measures that undermine freedom. Among those less fond of liberty reprisals for even whiffs of revolt can be brutal and at times, genocidal. Military intervention, or considerable support for rebels everywhere where people are seen as oppressed, while perhaps in the long term good (after the Cold War ended freedom and even economic growth has spread immensely), in the short and medium term, a short and medium term that could last even 70 years (the approximate length of the Cold War), things can be in some cases be absolutely horrible (see the Khmer Rouge where approximately 1/3 of the population of Cambodia was slaughtered, and yet during different times the regime was supported by the US and the USSR).

So overall, the invasion of Iraq was not the right choice. Countries should only be invaded if there is an imminent danger or perhaps an imminent threat of genocide. But things would not have been good for Iraqi people by any stretch of the word if Saddam remained in power, or if a similiar tyrant takes hold. And yet things are not good now. Leaving Saddam in power was more likely the better alternative, but it was not a good one. It is still a sad one. That is the nature of so much of international politics, when even the most ethical and even correct of people must make choices involving trade-offs that cost thousands of lives or leave a people oppressed for decades. It is sad, very sad. But this world is often not kind to those who dwell in it.

Pretty Interesting: Riding Shotgun iManga Episode 1

Check out this video: Riding Shotgun iManga Episode 1

Add to My Profile | More Videos

I have to say I'm impressed with what they've done with what looks like a minimal budget, and still the whole thing came off pretty well. It's open to question however, how well this thing will look with future episodes. But I'm interested in seeing them at least


I've decided to transfer much of my old archive from mySpace, so the dates for a while will be messed up, but you're all bums, you don't care, you don't care!!!! And you don't have hair either!!!

I am well not woman and I'm not really roaring

India recently got it's first woman president. For those of you that don't know that India has a president the role is basically like the King of England except there are some cases, such as in emergencies where the president does have some power. But anyways the new president stressed sustainable economic growth and empowering women. Good goals, good goals, and we would do well to remember that the two are interconnected. By bringing women into the workplace we are upping the amount of talented people in the workforce, which improves productivity which is the cornerstone of sustainable economic growth. So, well, go India's women! Woo!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rutgers Rules!

"Rutgers University is inarguably America's cockiest, smartest party school. The only school in history who rejected their Ivy League invitation"
-The Star Ledger

So yeah Rutgers rules, anyways, I'm back from Texas and I have the Robot devil's hands to prove it. Had a great time down there, among the buffulo, or well, maybe not among the buffulo, but among the Malankara youth (basically the type of Catholic I am (well, sort of, since my mother is of the Syro-Malabar rite and I attend Latin rite masses often, I could also be placed into one of those, maybe, possibly, eh, I'll deal with that matter in another session), it has to do with Eastern-rite Catholicism, I'll get into it later). Lot of fun time, a lot better than what I expected from a Christian youth conference. Lots of fun people, some interesting speechs (a couple less interesting ones), a nice basketball tourtament (to prove how fun it was, I'd like to point out that it led to two hospitalizations), some dancing lessons and some nice socializing. To be honest I was a little afraid that the conference would be 1-dimensional and the people there would be 1-dimensional, I suppose this was just me playing into stereotypes, after all I'm a deeply religious person who does deeply religious people and I've got so many dimensions that they're slowly collapsing in on themselves in one of those infinite black hole things. So met some nice people, did some cool stuff, all awesome.

Let me explain Malankara a little before I move on (see I told you I'd get back to it, and I'm sure you thought, oh he's never going to get back to it or he's only going to get back to it months down the line, but here it's coming and you know what that makes you, a bum, yeah that's right, I called you a bum, bet you didn't expect that). See the Catholic world actually consists of several rites, the one that has the most people and which most people know of is the Latin rite, led by the Pope (hence Roman Catholics), but there are other rites. There are a couple very small other Western rites, like the Mozarabic rite practiced historically throughout Spain and Portugal and still in a couple churches in Spain, but most other non-Latin rites are Eastern rites, ie, east of Rome and Latin speaking Europe. These rites came into and out of communion with the rest of the Catholic world through a variety of reasons and ways, a couple actually never fell out of communion. Most Eastern-rite churches, however, find their origin in the split between the Catholic and Orthodox worlds, over several issues including some theological and cultural points, but mostly over the pre-eminance of the Pope over the other leaders of the Christian world, especially over the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Bzyantine Emperor. This created many Orthodox churches, most in communion with each other but some in a seperate group called the Oriental Orthodox. Over time parts of many of those churches came back into the Catholic fold through reunion movements sponsered (occassionally forcefully so) by various religious and political leaders.

This might explain how the Malankara Catholic Church (sometimes called the Syro-Malankara) was formed but that's not the case (probably, the history is a little hazy and confusing). For the Malankara Church, the initial split from Rome reached back further to the contraversies over Jesus Christ's exact, percise nature (I use this in the general sense, not in the theological sense), this prompted what was called the Nestorian Church (the current descendents of this church dispute this name, I'm kind of hazy on the matter myself, but the proper name for them is the Ancient Church of the East for those still outside the Catholic Church, and the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church who rejoined the Catholic Church) (let's call them Assyrian Churches since their patriarches were Assyrian) to split off, this being largely the church in Iraq and east of Iraq including India and what would later be the Malankara Catholic Church.

Little confusing, yeah, I'm a little confused by it too at times. Ok, but the situation was that the Indian churches (yes there were Indian churches, started by Saint Thomas, found in the Kerala region of India) was that they were mostly in communion with the churches in Iraq, accept some might have been in communion with churches in Syria, and some might have still been in communion with the Pope and just isolated (my father who knows the matter better than I would probably scold me for not knowing this better if he read this session, but hopefully I'll revisit this sometime when I know matters more certainly).

That was the situation in the 15th century, then the Portugese came. They found the local Christians practicing their own rite and tried to enforce communion with Rome. Some joined willingly, some joined unwillingly, but an Indian-rite denomination (although influenced by Portugese practice (to what degree I'm not exactly sure, it's generally said that the Portugese were not very respectful of the local Indian Christians, on the other hand, the rite that emerged from this was still very much Indian)) was formed in communion with Rome, this was the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Also at the same time the Portugese baptized some new Christians, these became the Latin-rite Cahtolic Church in India. But some of the local, older Christians were defiant about Portuguese domination and impositions and the force the Portugese used, and these stayed part of the Orthodox Churches or part of the Assyrian Churches or on their own, and some were later influenced by Protestantism and their were other splits and such, it's all very, very confusing.

Anyways, what is more clear, is that Bishop Mar Ivanios, then of the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church, in 1930 led his church and others to reunite with Rome and form the Malankara Catholic Church, of which my father is a member of. I attend the Malankara masses and consider myself a member although I also attend Latin rite masses and like I said my mother is Syro-Malabar. And this church had a North American Youth Conference (Youth being 15-35, with a good number in their 20s) in Houston and that was where I was.

Anyways the important thing is is that the Malankara Catholic Church rocks the house, Catholic rule in general and I had a lot of fun.

So I got ot go to sleep soon, so take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The road to somewhere not interesting or my Traveler review

I've never seen the Fugative but I know it is considered a classic tv show and that it has spawned a little genre of its own, the man on the run from the law, accused of a crime he didn't commit. To be honest, not only have I not see the Fugative but I've seen little of this genre in general. That isn't to say I wouldn't like to see it, but there has never been a show or movie in that genre which I've found intriguing enough and available enough to prompt me to go out of my way to watch.

Until now (dun, dun, dun, cue ominous music). Traveler definely fit the latter available part of the equation. It was right after some other show I was watching, Scrubs perhaps, or something similiar of the like. It didn't really fit the intriguing part but still I was in a generous mood and so I said to my brothers let's give the whole thing a try.

The whole thing starts with old college budies doing minorly mischievious stuff and then getting framed for blowing up a building. One of the buddies has disappeared and appears to be the framer (and his name is gasp, Will TRAVELER), the other two our framees and decide that they must clear their names. Of course they can't turn themselves in and let the legal process sort itself out. Of course they can't simply hire top notch private detectives to sort things out. Of course they have to go head to head with the FBI, and of course they get to out wit them. The rest of the show and the next episode has enough of courses to fill the page but I'm not going to bother with them. This is a show I've never seen, this is a genre I'm not well-versed in, but it seems so familiar. I think it's because pieces of the framed guy genre have leaked into popular culture. Just the most cliche and obvious pieces of the genre, though, nothing more in-depth, none of the more specialized conventions. I guess it is those pieces I am seeing in Traveler and amazingly, very little else. It is as if you asked a man on the street, ok, I want you to make up the plot of a generic framed guy tv show.

Sometimes though the characters in a tv show can redeem even a completely cliche plot. Here, not so much. The main characters are so incredibly bland they seem like caricatures of yuppies instead of real people. All the stock characters are here, there is the tough-talking FBI agent who's always second guessed by her superiors. There is the mysterious helpful man who gets the guys out of trouble. There is the loving fiancee who for some reason can't go along for the adventure, but hangs in the background pining and being questioned by one of the mean government agents. There don't seem to be any nuances to the characters and in none of them are the classic attributes of these stock characters raised to an extreme that might make them interesting. I couldn't care less about them unless I started to really think about them like I do now and now I care even less about them and I want them all to disappear and never be heard of again.

Sometimes even the most cliched of cliches can be elevated by superb execution but no, no, that is not here. The camera work is nothing special. The dialogue is mediocre. I can't see any significant production value to the show. It is adequately made, poorly thought up, with little content and little style.

I think some people might be attracted to the show because they like the framed guy genre and they like it so much and have seen so little of it lately that they are willing to forgive the flaws of any show that belongs to the genre as long as it can make it into the air and perhaps bring the framed guy genre back into the mainstream. But these fans should be warned of what a show like Traveler can do to its genre. It can become such a failure that its stain spreads to other developing pilots killing its more legitimate brethern. For the sake of the framed guy genre, Traveler should die.

The only redeeming quality I can find in it is the whole its so bad its good quality. It takes the cliches so seriously and so clichedly that it's like a parody of its genre. But such a parody has only limited appeal. Because it never relents in its march of cliches that after watching it and saying hey this is so cliche is funny for an hour one has to say man this is so cliche I want to burn my television. Now Traveler has become that threat that my brothers use when they want to watch something. Hey if you don't like this show we can always watch Traveler.

And then we all laugh at the insanity of the thought.

Overall, I can't see this getting more than a 3 out of 10, but that's largely because I haven't paid enough attention to bad tv to properly calibrate my scores below 5.

So anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Off to Texas

Given my sporatic posting lately, I am sad to say that for the next couple days my posting might be even more sporatic since I'm off to Texas to attend a Malanka Christian Youth Covention. I'll try to get in a session before I go, but if I can't help yourself to my archieves and check out : The World of Rand

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Scarecrow loses again, poor scarecrow

I've got to admit I often construct what's called a straw man arguement. I pick the most ridiculous representative of the opposing side of an arguement (one I usually recruit from Wikipedia), and then construct a very sound arguement against him. Now the point isn't that I can win the arguement, sure I can, but the fact is that winning an arguement against a person who's position is very insane is worth very little. So I must strive to correct this fault. I feel it has infected must of our current political discourse on tv, newspapers and radio as well, and it would be a good idea for other pundits to try to correct this fault as well.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A peaceful world without a trace of care

One of the greatest contraversies between Libertarians and well, almost everyone else, is Libertarians think (or most of the hard-core Libertarians think) that people would generally behave good without any government, while a lot of, if not most other political philosophies believe there would be unrestrained terror and chaos. My own position is in between but leaning towards the more hard-core Libertarian idea. I think without government people would be generally good but there would be a number of people who would behave badly, and while it would be a generally good world there would be an element of chaos that would make things a bit unperdictable with a slight chance of things going really bad.

Now imagining such a hypothetical world does at times seem pointless since it is highly unlikely that an area with no government will arise any time soon (even areas like Somalia where government had disinigrated for a period of time (the situation has changed recently in a complicated way), there were large clan-based armed groups that essentially were governments of any region they could get a hold of)), but it does allow us to ask whether our overall level of government should be greater or lesser. However, even if imagining how things would be like without a government might be useful it is very difficult.

Like any hypothetical world model, to figure out what a world without government would be like requires an understanding of that most un-understandable creature, the human. We are strange beasts, with all our mysterious cogs and gears which are most likely impossible to completely understand. So we must make guesses and conjectures to figure out how people would behave in this situation or that. The most common guess for situations like the no government one is that humans would act in narrow self-interest. This means they would do what is best for themselves.

The pessimist might than suppose everyone would be inclined to rob, steal, rape and kill as much as he could just so he could get ahead. This I think ignores the fact that in general if people cooperate and respect each other they can get a lot more done. Also, people realize that if they treat people badly they are more likely to be treated badly. Overall, cooperation protects them, it also builds up institutions like community response to cime, that protects them long term. Most people, if just interested in their own well-being will go with that, especially since if everyone robs, steals, rapes, and kills, even if you're the criminal, the damage to society will be so great you're almost certainly going to get screwed over as well. (In someways this resembles a prisoner's dilemma type problem, I'm not sure of all the implications of that assertion, but I think it backs up my point that people are pretty likely to cooperate)

Me presenting this arguement might suggest that I believe full-heartedly in the hard-core Libertarian position that in no-government situation everyone would behave great, but I'm not completely sure of that. The big point I question with the model I just painted is that people behave solely on narrow self-interest. But people don't simply act that way. People act irrationally sometimes, based on deep subconscious reasons that make no sense given their conscious desires, but in more reasonable times they still might not act self-interestedly, they may act instead out of love of their children or out of love of an idea or out of the principle of love in general, or maybe they could act out of hate. This means that ultimately people's actions are based on what they believe.

Let's add that to our model of the world without government. Most people believe that not doing bad things is good, but most people also can be convinced to do bad things if there's a sufficiently good ultimate reason. So how bad or good the total situation is depends on how many people have been convinced to do bad things. So therefore it depends. It varies based on which beliefs are popular and what those beliefs mean to the current situation. Without a government things could be very very good, or they could be very very bad.

If people believed in nothing, if they just acted in self-interest the world would likely be much more peaceful place, but the soul would suffer from a lack of love. We would be truly simply animals and be empty of worth. But in the end we believe in many things which adds an element of chaos to the equation, making things perhaps good and perhaps bad, but full of beautiful passion, which means that even when things are bad, people and life is still beautiful. So I'll take the chaotic world of beauty to the peaceful world of empty souls.

Least that's how I think (and how you should think, because I am awesome). So anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

On the road of life, watch where you're fuckin' going

Ladies, gentlemen, and germs of all shapes, sizes, genders, and kingdoms (especially you Mr.Ecoli, by the way I loved your last play), welcome to the show that never ends, The Rand Show! (not to be confused with the other show that never ends, something that Emerson, Lake and Palmer were talking about.) Anywho I write this having narrowly escaped death, since the universe did not implode, and it could at any moment now. On a slightly less death-defying note, but one which could have been if not deadly still much much worse than it was (it would have been, could have been worse than you would ever know), I got involved in a car accident. As the matter transpired very little damage was done, no injuries and while the ending monetary payments have not been made I'm unlikely to recieve any insurance penalties for this (unless the insurance company reads this session, but if they do I'm just glad that they are reading).

Now I could simply go into excuses, I was extremely tired from the promotion event I just did, I've been having insomnia, my medication's tireding me out somewhat, but honestly looking at the matter I can see that the mistake was my fault and it could have been prevented on several levels.

First of all, I could have not taken the promotion event job which I knew would require me waking up at four AM given my insomnia lately and my overall tired state. Given all that it would have made sense that driving would be dangerous with so little sleep and I should have said sorry but no. My justification is that I hadn't done a job for them for a while, but given my current state that isn't enough.

Second of all, I played Settlers with my brothers until around 1 am. My justication is that I forgot about the event, which is a pretty poor excuse any day of the week.

Third of all, I should have had a diet coke in the car while I was driving, true I drank caffine filled beverages before I drove but if I had it in the car I could have given myself an emergency boost.

Fourth of all, I should have pulled over, maybe got something to eat and drink when I was feeling that tired.

Fifth of all, I should make it a rule not to try to pass someone unless I'm fully alert.

Now why all this analysis, is it a matter of crushing guilt (as usually mistakes are with me)? No, actually not. I do feel guilty and I am sorry (people get pissed when you say sorry for a major mistake nowadays, but really what more is there to say in situations like this? It was all my fault? Same general expresssion except there are certain circumstances where even if you might need to be more sorry than the other person but the blame still must be shared. You can say it won't happen again, but with a major mistake isn't it a given that you're going to try to stop it from happening again, and honestly it's rare that you can ever guarentee something won't happen again. Overall, sorry is usually the most appropriate word after a major mistake even if it is often annoying to hear when you're the one who suffers from the mistake), however, I do not feel the crushing guilt I felt, say after my previous car accident (again not fatal, but with more damage than this one). But if a person is sorry I think he shouldn't simply ignore what has been done and push it aside, but rather think about why the mistake happened and what can be done to prevent it in the future (if someone doesn't want to hear sorry you could tell them all the things you're going to do to prevent the mistake from happening in the future (if you can think of any besides trying harder) but that can often take a long time and just irritate the other guy more).

So that's what I'm doing, I'm looking back and thinking like a wild man chasing the wind. Well, since I've started to cease to make as much sense as a wombat in a wildebeast cage it probably is time for me to wrap things up and get some much needed sleep (perhaps what I can take most from this is my need for sleep, but given that my various reasons that I have problems sleeping at night have not gone away and that I've been trying to get more sleep for some time now, I'm not sure how much will get done on that front).

So anywho, take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sometimes you're trukin' and sometimes you're trucked

My deepest apologies for my highly irregular posting schedule lately, I have been deeply considering my various plans for various things and various matters indeed. Plus there are matters of sickness and depression and busy-ness and etc., etc., indeed. But that is a matter of that and matter is matter except when it matters.

If I seem a bit strange of tongue today it is likley because I am beat, highly beat in fact, extra-special highly beat (actually not really that beat). The event which has drained my energy was a 5-hour drive today that should have taken 1 hour and ended at WRAT rock radio station. Instead I drove around and around and got well near Delaware before the radio station texted me and told me that I should just go home. So I'm pretty damn annoyed. And beat. Beatity beat beat.

Now, however, if I think about it rather more deeply however, I wonder why I am so displeased with this turn of events. I generally like driving, but driving this much is often exhausting and well boring, especially along roads that often look very similiar. But work at the station is often tedious and hard work, and probably would have taken longer time than my long driving trip. It is very well possible that I would have to do more annoying work (say emptying out a van or something) at the WRAT than I would just driving. And yet driving aimlessly was so much more irritating that a day of work at the WRAT, even a bad day of work at the WRAT (well no, a bad day would be more annoying, but a tedious day, one which was more tedious than driving, would still be better if it was working).

The reason for this I think, is the same reason that working at the day camp last summer was more annoying than my duties at the WRAT, despite the fact that task per task most of the work was easier. When I work at the WRAT I get a sense that I am building an institution that I like a good deal. I like the WRAT. It plays good music, it has good atmosphere, it is a fun place with good people. So even if the jobs are sometimes fun or unpleasant I get a joy from working there.

I'm not sure if I could get that sort of enjoyment from say a label-making company. I didn't really have that much attatchment to the day camp, and so it was more annoying, and a random faceless coporation would give me a lot less emotional connect than the day camp. I mean it would depend on my tastes matching the company (I could see how other people could get emotionally attatched to that day camp, but there my tastes did not match the corporation). I wonder how my life will be if I can't make a living as journalist I'll probably need to take a corporate job, I just hope it's at a corporation I like rather than one I don't like.

But even if I don't like the corporation, that is not the end of me. There are countless stories of people being drained of their lives by working at jobs they hate, and it is very possible (though overall not likely) that I could take a job that I hate. But I still can write in my private time, I still can hang around with my friends, I can still strive to become a writer. Even with a tasteless job, I need not lose the taste of my life. I need not lose my soul, if I simply refuse. And I can always refuse to die, at least in the part of myself that is most important.

I can be only meeeee

Johnny Johnny Man
I've got to be a Johnny man
Johnny Johnny Man
I've got to be a Johnny man

Always somewhat popular
Always da man
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Johnny Johnny man
I've got to be a Johnny Man!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Still rockin in the free world

I'm still around, I've just been a little bit sick, a little bit depressed and a little bit unsatisfied with the way some of my projects, personal life, and professional life has been going. But that just means a little extra truckin is in order. I'm still figuring some stuff out about what I want to do about what, and so I might be busy somewhat lately, but in the future I want to not just keep up a reliable every day posting but also improve the quality of my posts which I feel has slipped (unfortunately, I can do little about the quality of my readers, you bums, but I love you anyways). Anywho, I'm working on that, as well as on a revamp and restart for my comic, which I might be renaming from the cool sounding but a bit hard to remember (especially spelling-wise, which can be important on the World Wide Web), Comikier, to the easier to remember The Rand Show. It might sound a little too Rand-centric, but I'll take the risk I suppose, maybe. If so I'll be able to call myself a triple threat in my Rand persona alone, since I'll have a webpost, a comic, and well, I'll actually have to wait for this to come through before I can ascribe it to myself, but hopefully next year I'll be getting my own radio show, so get pumped for it, yes, The Rand Show on the radio.

For now, while you wait, check out some of my old posts in the archives, very little of it is topical crap (and even then there usually is something that remains interesting today), and so I like to think my posts have a little bit of a timeless quality (I like to think that, whether it's true or not, well find out you stinkin' bums (yeah I know you stink, I can smell you, smell you through the INTERNET)).

Also check out The World of Rand

Until we meet again, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

OVA won't you play

As any anime fan knows OVAs (only for video releases, basically straight to video tv shows) tend to beat regular tv shows in quality. I always wondered why we didn't have them in the US. Now in fact we are actually starting to see some with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Futurama planning straight to video releases. But in Japan you have shows that have never had any precedent on regular tv released on video, and that is still unlikely to happen. I understand now why though. Most OVAs are released piecemeal, one episode at a time, afterall it's difficult to invest a lot of money unless you know the project is going to go well, and the production time on a full OVA series is often immense. In Japan, where people I think are more comfortable with buying mass quantities of videos and DVDs, that might work, but in the US most people are going to see buying a single episode of a show they haven't seen a bit of a rip. I know I would. On the other hand there are some non-mainstream niches where OVA stuff does well, where mainstream TV doesn't usually go. But I suppose we'll never have a OVA market as rich and diverse as Japan as long as the US is full of cheap-skates like me.

Musically speaking, I AM MUSIC

I love AMVs (anime music videos) on you tube. I always loved them even when I could only get a hold of some old Otakon videos. I always found it nice to see top notch animation combined with top notch music. And then there were the odd juxapositions that brang a smile to my face. But with you tube, you can get a really nice selection of AMVs. Best of all, since I'm incredibly lazy when it comes to buying music whenever I want to listen to an old song I can just look up the AMV. AMV's are also nice for exposing to new animes, that's how I first got interested in Neon Genesis Evangelion, for example.

It's not just a crappy new Korn song

Let me start out by saying I think evolution is the general cause of species differenciation, etc., etc. I like evolution, it's got a nice logic to it, it's a neat idea that might not appear naturally but once you understand it you're like duh! People inherit traits from their parents. Some traits are more likely to get people laid than others. Those traits are passed on in a larger number. Over time those traits become dominant among the species. Given long enough time and enough traits, you have a completely new species. Now beyond that basic theory of evolution there's a lot of fine tuning. One of the main complaints of the creationist crowd is that there is too much diversity to be explained by slow evolution. But on that matter, Stephen Jay Gould, gives some good explanation with his refinements of the theory and there are plenty of other refinements which while not completing a perfect account of everything in the world gives a pretty reasonable account of much of biological history. Sure there are questions still to be resolved, but they aren't ones that are that beyond our capacity. Well, that is excluding the really big questions like the ultimate why, and some of the most deep hows. But evolution works pretty good.

Creationism actually is pretty dangerous to religion as it fulfills all the criticism of the anti-religious that religion is just for filling up the blank spaces in science. That is not the case, but Creationists play into the stereotypes. Religion actually has several important purposes, greatest of which, is offering the ultimate whys for doing things, or at least some of the penaultimate whys (that depends on what you define as religion and if you put as a why the reason for choosing a particular religion and your reasons for choosing, of course with perhaps the ultimate ulimate why, reason is perhaps unable to suffice). One of the alleged replacements for this however, is the idea of evolutionary morality, that evolution has given us enough morality. I have some serious flaws with this. First of all, I'm a little skeptical about some of morality preached by religion. But more importantly, evolution offers no real reason to follow it. Evolution offers a course of action, but we can always refuse it, afterall some specimens have to fail the evolutionary test for there to be any change in the species.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Transformers, more than meets the eyes, DAMN IT!

So I haven't seen the new Transformers movie, but I'm not confident about it. The critical consensus, among those critics who have actually liked it, is that the movie is good "dumb fun". Look not every movie has to be sophisticated, or complicated, "dumb fun" is fine. But that isn't what Transformers was all about. Transformers was about an epic battle between good and evil, it was at times a space-opera, at times a concept-driven sci-fi show, and yes it was a kids show, but it contained a short of grandeur that ignited kids' imagination. It wasn't "dumb fun", from a visceral stand point it often wasn't that exciting, but it was thrilling to see this magical world unfold. Once you got to the space episodes and the full space opera, then it got more exciting and even more wondrous. It was an amazing universe, and I'm sad to see it smushed down into "dumb fun."

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Logician's Dilemma

I am a man who likes to invoke logic. It often clarifies arguments a great deal and sometimes it is one of the few available methods of resolving a particularly bitter dispute between people of very different systems of thought. Yet I must make a confession. I am DB Cooper (I'm sorry Adam West, but somebody had to take the fall). But also I don't really like formal logic. I like logic in general, but I mostly just use the basic largely intuitive semi-logic. I realize that the problem with using that kind of logic is that it is inpercise, it tends to make overgenerous assumptions and it sometimes takes unwarranted logical jumps. But the advantage of intuitive semi-logic is that it is simpler, easier, and shorter. Formal logic is a different beast. It is a beast I respect, that I admire, but which annoys me if I'm around it for too long.

Formal logic is something that starts at the basics then marches up bit by bit to the end. Good idea if you want to be right. Bad idea if you're lazy or with little patience (I happen to have both qualities and I'm so incredibly awesome it doesn't matter if I'm wrong every now and then). Semi-logic might get you the wrong answer sometimes but it is quick and that means it allows me to solve a problem before I lose interest in it and it's good in a debate because its easy to explain in English (formal logic has its own language, and if I'm going to learn another language, well it's going to be this, but that's only because I'm taking a class about it, but I'm only taking a class that sort-of-half-assed teaches it (nothing against the teacher, but that's just the nature of the class)), also in an arguement one often lacks the time and scratch paper to work out a formal logic proof. But perhaps most usefully, the semi-logic is, as I have labelled it before, intuitive, which means that it can often work with your sub-conscious which is good since your sub-conscious tends to usually undermine your logic attempts.

I realize there is a sort of pure beauty to formal logic, but I only can catch it in glimpses. I can say wow look at how these things interconnect and make sense sometimes but most of the time I'm like huh? (confused) or buh? (mildly annoyed or bored). Those who can see the pure beauty of formal logic, they are the smart ones, they are the lucky ones, but they aren't the everybody ones and they aren't me. But still we ought to remember to give them some respect (not too much respect because the beauty of logic can sometimes blind people to their mistakes and also you don't want to inflate their heads too much) and we got to raise a glass to them. Cheers!

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks!

we don’t need to profile one race of people because actually most of the world hates us

There's a quote from majority of Indians like us for example, and much of these popularity ratings fluxuate and are do to multiple complex factors. However, that said, the above quote still rings of truth. We still have to be careful about racial profiling (look I know that this is an inaccurate term since in this case we're talking about profiling based on a religion, and even if we were talking about profiling Arabs it wouldn't work since technically Arabs are white, but until I think of a better term for profiling based on wide ethnic or ideological based groupings, I'll use this one) because there are actually a large number of and highly diverse cast of possible terrorists out there. That's why I'm a little bit annoyed at the saying that we need to be tough on "Islamic terrorism." I mean I understand why people are saying it, and I'm not going to hold anything against people who say it (well, I'm going to try not to hold anything against them, the subconscious is often a slippery thing to control and so I'm not to pretend to be completely its master), heck I might slip into using it sometimes (of course, I do have some pretty negative feelings about myself, even though I am Rand the mighty and glorius), and sometimes the saying is appropriate. But here's the problem with that saying, it ignores the fact that not all terrorists are Muslims.

What is the second largest terrorist attack on the US. The Oklahoma City bombing, granted it wasn't on the same scale as the September 11th attacks, but it beats out any other act of domestic terrorism, including any other act of terrorism commited in the US by Muslims. And guess what, the culprits were American. Moreover, because of racial profiling, media claimed the culprit was probably Arab, resulting in attacks on Arabs in America (see the Wikipedia article).

So we can't just be vigilant about "Islamic terrorism," we must be vigilant about terrorism in general. And that includes terrorism by white supremists against Arabs in the US as well as against Muslims in the US (the two terms aren't interchangable, most Muslims in the world or in the US are not Arab, and there are plenty of Christian Arabs in the world, and in the US most Arabs are actually Christian (this is do to a number of factors, including but not limited to the fact that Christian Arabs find the US easier to live in than Muslim Arabs and the fact that Arab countries often (that is not to say all Muslim Arabs hate Christian Arabs, that would be a gross sterotype) have problems in the religious relations between Christians and Muslims. Given the increased attacks on Muslims in the US by hate groups this is a pressing concern that must be addressed. We must be vigilant in protecting all our citizens from terrorism no matter what the religion of the terrorist or the victims.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Never time to wait

I am often busy these days. However, more and more that I think of it, I realize that there is no reason that I need to be busy. My current responsibilities are my two days a week internship and my two days a week class, both which do not occupy the entire day. So logically I should have plenty of free time, and yet I always feel crunched for time. Blah, blah, wah, wah.

Anyways, the point of the matter is the reason I am busy is because I keep on taking on more and more projects. I work on a comic, I expand my website, I work on this webpost, etc., etc. On top of that, I am at times hugely depressed and demotivated eating up those hours. So I am busy, but on the other hand it is largely, although not entirely of my own fault. But I suppose I enjoy this business more than simply laying around. Well, enjoy is perhaps the wrong word. Keeping myself busy undoubtably reduces my time to just lay around reading, watching tv, etc. and gives me much unneccessary stress. But I derive satisfaction from my work. So I keep on truckin' because trucks are cool.

July 4th

Happy July 4th! God Bless America!

I say that not because of any particular political position, rather because I love this country. I realize that a country is an imaginary object, well, perhaps imaginary is the wrong word, but it is a mental object. Countries do not have any physical reality beyond what people are willing to enforce them with. And they only enforce these realities because the country exists in their mind. It's all in the head. But that doesn't mean that a country doesn't matter.

The United States of America is a country, a mental object and not a physical one, and yet it still matters to me. I am not mystical about countries or ethnicities, I do not believe that they have a special spiritual essence of their own that requires protecting. But the term United States of America is not meaningless to me. It is a community, it is a collection of sometimes inexpressible associations, it is a jumble of ideas and concepts, that all come together to form something beautiful. A country is like a novel or a movie, it is an imaginary object, but that doesn't stop it from being loved. But there is also the community aspect, the aspect of how this imaginary object, although interpreted differently by everyone (sometimes slightly differently, sometimes radically differently) binds us to other people through our common love of it, and it encourages us to love each other. Those two aspects, the beauty of the imaginary object, and the encouragement to love the community are why I am proud to be patriotic and in love with America.

I know how easily though, this beautiful idea of love of country can be twisted into something horrific, monsterous, inhuman. Afterall nationalism fueled Nazism, nationalism launched a million failed economic, political and social experiments that left millions upon millions dead, nationalism has blinded people to the excesses and war crimes of their leaders, it has prompted people to murder their brothers without mercy. I am a student of history and I know of the burden of history borne by the word country.

Yet, I think much of that has to do with the twisting of passion. Previously I wrote about how religion has been used to justify horrors but that this is really due not inherintly to religion, but rather to passion in general. I'd apply the same rule to nationalism. Afterall, the most murderous (although perhaps not most horrific) ideology of the last century was Communism, an explicitly non-religious, and supposedly non-nationalistic ideology. When we are passionate enough, it is easy to use that passion to justify our worse insticts, but moreover, it is easy to say, well, the idea that I'm so passionate about is so important that it is worth killing for. From there the road to murder is easy and from murder mass murder can flow. Nationalism can be twisted into great evil, great hatred, but at its heart is love. The love an idea, the love of a community.

The key is to use that love inclusively, not exclusively. Love the country, love the community, but do not hate other countries or other communities. Instead of treating nationalism as a matter of choosing one country to adore and others to detest, make it a gift that you give to one idea, one community. But even that is not enough, sometimes what is good for the country (although given that a country is a hard-to-define, ever-shifting, abstract concept with an ever-shifting, ever-changing community attached to it, what is good for a country is often very, very difficult to find and define) and what is good in general conflict. In such a case, it is imperative that we remember that while country might be a matter of affection and belonging, our core beliefs of right and wrong must come first. We must always remember to choose what is right even when it opposes what is good for our country.

As I wrote previously, I think of myself as Christian first then American, and that is a representation of the fact that while I love America dearly, Christianity is at the core of my beliefs, the core of my conception of right and wrong and so it must always come first before my nation. That's why for all those Muslims who say they are Muslim first, then their nationality, hey good for them. In the end, nationalism I think, when properly used, when properly embraced can be a great positive, but when it opposes what we know according to our core values is right, we must fight for what is good, even if it is against our country.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Moving on up or not

I'm contemplating a move, or at least a partial move, in a number of ways, virtually speaking, because the futures (are) made of virtual insanity, or maybe just because as Rand the mighty and glorius I must maintain a strong internet persona (although I'm thinking of toning down my plans of launching a full-fledged internet identity, since you don't know my plans for that, this means very little to you, but it means very much for you my loyal, loving, extremely bummy audience), anywho, I'm thinking of moving, or perhaps launching a secondary blog at Blogspot since it offers some better features for blogging (or if you perfer pretty words to ugly ones, maintaining a webpost (I am getting actually somewhat tired of my war against the word blog, perhaps it is time for me to call it quits on that front, or perhaps it is time for me to take it up a notch, in the words of Emeril, BAM!), on the other hand it lacks the large social networking community MySpace offers, so it's a tough decision (plus I've already got some people apparently reading my stuff here, and they are probably pretty bummy so I'm not sure if they'd go along with my move). In the long term, I hope to gain the internet guru skills to put a webpost on my own independent website, and make it much more fancy than this. But that actually brings me to another question: Should I move my website off of angelfire, at least so I can get away from that horrendously long address. Oh, decisions, decisions.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Just as soon as I belong, then it's time for me to disappear

That's a line from one of Metallica's later songs. It doesn't compare well with their earlier work but it's still decent. It was I think part of the Mission Impossible II soundtrack (I never saw Mission Impossible II or III or the TV series, but I saw I and liked it, so maybe I'll get to the TV series sometime and maybe I'll watch a bit of II or III if it's on tv.), but more importantly it calls to a certain part of personality and so perhaps that is what you should remember it for. I am a person with a sort of eternal restlessness. It is partially due to my disease, partially due to my ambition, partially due to a certain force of personality the two contribute two (I'll elaborate more on this upon another hour). But it always calls on me to move. And yet, movement isn't enough, the movement has to actually take me away from somewhere for it to matter to me. When I was younger this was something possible, I could wonder into the woods, or follow a stream under a bridge, or just go down a road for a ways. When I was young there was a sense that there was an external world beyond my home that was still ready to be explored, still unkown, still filled with limitless possibilities. But as I got older I began to understand that the internal world of my home was in fact part of that external world, and all this world was explored. Those few pieces that are not explored are contained, understood, studied, out of reach or empty.

The unknown can no longer simply be walked into. Or at least, well, when I was young I could explore for a while and then come home, the unknown world was just down the road, or just a jog into the woods. Now, just taking a trip somewhere doesn't expose me to a new world, just a little known branch of my world. The way my restlessness calls to me I am tempted to run out into the night and catch a train and go somewhere far away. But I'd still be a phone call from home, I'd still be connected to my old world. And I still would have to come home.

The only way I could really get out into a new world is if I moved, if I actually packed up my stuff and went somewhere else and lived and worked there. But the dilemma is this. Say I did do that, I mean it's one more year till I graduate from college, and I'm porbably going to move (probably to New York (New York, New York!)), at first it will be a new world, filled with anxiety and wonder. I'll have some problems dealing with that, but I'll be fascinated by the city no doubt. But eventually I'll get used to it, understand it, and it will become my home. And then I will belong. And then it will be time for me to disappear. The restlessness does not disappear because I am in a new place. It didn't disappear when I got to New Brunswick, it will most likely not disappear if I go to New York, and so I will want to go elsewhere, and if I do I will be filled with wonder at the occassion, and then I will want to go further. I will want to leave and leave again and again, because the restlessness continues.

But I realize I can't live like that. Just as I realized that it made no sense years and years ago to leave home once my restlessness manifested in this way. But I would like. I would like some place, that has enough of a pull for me that it offers me enough to counteract the restlessness. I mean, home does, Rutgers does while I'm in college, etc. But I'd like somewhere that has enough for me that the restlessness does not bother me. Some place I feel at home. Perhaps that's why I want a girl.

I heard some one talking about how guys just want with a girl is to get laid, but for me I'd think (never having any real romantic relationship, not to mention no sexual relationship (I'm actually not planning to have sex till marriage, which isn't really here or there but this seems an appopriate enough place to put that), I don't know exactly what effect having sex would have on my values, but in most likelyhood they wouldn't change too much) what would be more important in my relationship, was being able to talk with her. When you talk to someone you love, it eases the spirit, it gives you peace. It is hard to imagine a place I can really find that is home, but if I found a girl who I fall in love with, truly in love with, being with her, simply being some place where we can talk, that would feel like home.

Or so I conjecture, so I hypothesize. So I think. Anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Check out the newest Comikier

And check out the rest of the World of Rand.