Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Random Thoughts, Random Rants

When you spend $150 on a watch, the 11th hour tick mark is not supposed to fall off for no reason.

Walking 1.2 miles to the bars is NOT too far to walk. 1.2 miles IS too far to drive drunk. Think about it.

In the Xerox men's room, there are three urinals. Urinals 1 and 3 are in play. Urinal 2 is OFF LIMITS. I don't care if you are 50 years old and this is only your tenth time today. Haven't you listened to Jerry Seinfeld's buffer theory?

Thayer Rd. and Dartmouth needs to be a four-way stop.

Listen to Jose Padilla's new album Man Ray v.4. So good.

I need to get my passport soon so I can head over to Yalta with GBro. Russian girls better be as hot as you say they are GBro or your turtle gets it! ~holds badass machete up to turtle~

... ~realizes turtles are impervious to stabbing~

... ~realizes GBro doesn't have a turtle~

... ~wonders where the turtle came from~

... ~wonders where the badass machete came from~

... ~wonders why the badass machete has "MIG" monogrammed on it~

... ~wonders why someone would monogram a machete~

... ~wonders where one would go to monogram a machete~

"Ibiza is (dot dot dot)." If you can tell me what that's from, I'll give you a cookie.

Glenn did it. Don't let his pleas of innocence fool you.

I need to stop procrastinating.

Blank Canvas

I read Kurt Vonnegut's "A Man Without A Country" cover to cover last night. Rarely have I engaged in such pointed but light conversation through a book. If ever I could rattle around in the mind of another, my choice would have to be Kurt Vonnegut.

If you don't know, Kurt Vonnegut is the honorary president of the American Humanist Association. I myself did not know this until reading his book. He defines humanism as: "Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead."

Why can't all religions and/or moral contexts be so simple? The perspective of humanism to me is this refreshingly blank canvas that one can build their life around. I hated paint-by-numbers as a kid. Organized religions are paint-by-numbers. Free-thinking is a blank canvas.

Monday, June 27, 2005

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

So one of the movies I have had a keen interest in of late is What The Bleep Do We Know. It synthesizes a bunch of ideas and fields that hold a particular intrigue to me, such as quantum physics, philosophy, and secular humanism.

At one point during the day, I decided I would delve deeper into the backgrounds of the "scientists" involved in the voice-overs. Most seemed valid, albeit a bit out there and new-agey, but relevant to debate in my opinion.

However, there was one woman who always kind of pissed me off during the movie, because she always seemed to be preaching more than suggesting or proposing. After researching a bit, it turns out, she has no valid scientific background, is the leader of some cult at the base of Mt. Rainier in Washington, and believes herself to be the embodiment of some mystical being named Ramtha. Furthermore, the three directors of the movie are all students of hers.

The thing that really gets me too is that none of this is overtly disclosed during the movie. Instead, the directors try to pass the movie off as based on compelling new facts and hypotheses. Perhaps it might be, but it just lost a significant amount of credibility in my book. With so many interesting ideas and perspectives, it is a shame that What The Bleep Do We Know now holds the denomination of "infomercial" in my mind.

Back to self-propelled freethought for me.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Science, Philosophy, and Spirituality (Part 1)

I have been delving into a sort of synthesis of science, philosophy, and spirituality as of late. I find this to be the closest thing to what people perceive "religion" to be. I do this from time to time because it keeps me grounded.

I do not believe in the religion I was raised in (Catholicism) nor do I believe in any other organized religions. The only "religions" I sympathize with are the ones that stimulate self-realization and enlightenment. I do not typically consider these religions, but states of mind.

I spent a great deal of time as a child and teenager wavering between complacency with and resistance towards Catholicism. My biggest complaint has to deal with the denial of the self that many religions directly or indirectly promote. This has proven an insurmountable complaint and to this day, I have rejected my birth-faith.

In Catholicism, and many other religions, there is a supreme being usually referred to as "God". The religion dictates that it is our goal to exert ourselves for the appeasement of God in order to receive the benevolent gift of eternal paradise. God is described as incomprehensible to the human mind, yet there are suggestions that we can follow to assure favor with God.

My problem is that dealing with a supreme being that holds absolute dominion over us removes responsibility from the self. I do not deny the existence of God. I consider God to be a higher truth that acts as a reflection of the self. To rank God relative to the self in any capacity is irresponsible, because the two are incomparable and mutually dependent.

I've been reading "The Fabric of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene, and a recurring concept that I've found in and out of this book is the power of observation. There are forms of energy that, prior to observation, exhibit an infinite arrangement of possibilities. The act of observation brings one possibility into reality. I then apply this concept on a larger, philosophical scale. I suggest that we exist on a canvas of infinite possibility. The responsibility falls on us to paint possibility into reality. The reality around us does not exist until we realize it with our minds. I will even be so bold as to suggest that nothing can possibly exist without the intervention of consciousness.

A movie called "What The Bleep Do We Know?" which I have seen several times, includes this notion and further details many other ideas. For example, the movie talks about reality as a function of our mind because it cannot be experienced directly, rather, only through the senses. Since reality is experienced by the mind, the act of controlling our reality is as simple as controlling how are minds react to certain stimulus.

Now, I'm not trying to suggest that we can fly if we think hard enough. I do however believe that we can control our path to paradise by applying ourselves. Modern-day organized religions promote blindly following doctrine, self-sacrifice, and the restriction of free will to achieve eternal reward. To me, the harder one tries to accomplish these aims, the further from paradise they become.

I believe that through meditation, the pursuit of knowledge, and human connection, we have the power to change the very face of our existence, realizing paradise out of possibility.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Don't crash into me...

Go see the movie Crash. I watched a very poor bootleg of it the other night when I found myself unable to sleep at 3:00 AM due to the incredible humidity. I had been hoping for a movie that would put me to sleep. Instead, I was completely taken by it. After the movie, when I did fall asleep, I had dreams about it for hours. I woke up to my mind having a conversation about the movie with itself.

The premise (and I'm not really ruining anything as its virtually the first line of the movie) is that human beings have become so isolated and yearn for human contact so desperately that they violently crash into one another just to feel something. From this pain springs racism, hatred, anger, desperation, sorrow, and further isolation. Remarkably, the movie actually teeters between depressing and inspiring.

It was intriguing to me because ever since reading a book called The Celestine Prophecy in my teens, I have been fascinated with this concept of human connectivity. Isolation has consumed us. It would be so easy to tear down the walls of isolation, but no one does. We can't let go of it. So many people are hollowed out by isolation.

The guys at work will laugh at me for bringing this up, but I've always suggested ideas that might make people stop and think for a moment. I just wish more people would stop and think to themselves 'is this really the only way to do this thing called life?'.

For example, how many people do you see on your way to work? I see only school children waiting for the bus, runners, and the occasional person dragging a garbage can to the curb. Everything else is cars and buildings. A person in a car is not a person, its a car with a person isolated inside of it. A building is just a giant honeycomb with people in it. There's a reason cubicles are called cubicles... because the term cell is too synonymous with jail.

So my theory goes like this. At lunch time, instead of driving, why not walk to the mall (which is about half a mile from my office) as a whole company? Then, eat lunch at the mall. Finally, walk back. It's that simple.

Imagine the conversation. You have 15 people to talk to from all different backgrounds, and you have nothing else to do than talk to them or walk in silence. Who, when given the chance to converse, truly wants to walk in silence. (Sidenote: I never understood why people sit completely silent on airplanes... its a tremendous opportunity to connect with someone from a completely different part of the world. I talk to the guy/girl next to me every chance I get. I don't know how the conversation starts, but it inevitably does.)

Imagine the people sitting in their cars thinking we're insane. Who walks with a group of 15 people to the mall? They would think we are crazy for not driving. But then it might occur to them that maybe we're happier NOT DRIVING for this one trip out of the day. That "does-not-compute" stimulus is what I want more to people to feel. And I want to feel it as well. It forces you out of your comfort zone, where the real ideas are.

Back to blogging...

I've been exceedingly busy of late. I've completely reshaped my life and I'm trying to grab control by being proactive instead of reactive.

Some things I've accomplished as of late:

  • Altered my sleep schedule to allow for more time in the morning, including a morning run or bike (and eventually a swim if the pool was open earlier during the summer). Even my roommate is getting up with me at 6:15 to hit the pavement!

  • Made my bed every morning for weeks now. This is a major accomplishment in my book. I never used to do that.

  • Converted my diet from primarily eating out to grocery-based meals. My diet is about 85% unprocessed foods now. I rarely eat fast-food or heavily manufactured food. The cravings for those things are ending.

  • Stopped being overtly lazy at work. Actively pursuing work during idle periods.

  • Layed out a plan for managing my finances for the next 3 years. The goal is to be debt free in the shortest amount of time possible.

  • Started spending more time actually studying stocks and other investments. Actively participating in online fantasy stock markets. Currently, making on average 16-18% on my portfolios. Next step, do it for real.

  • Trying to eliminate all deconstructive negativity and mental blocks.

  • Turned off the freaking TV during the work-week. I watch The Daily Show over breakfast (via DVR) and the local news after work. That's it. Next up, turn off the TV on the weekends. Contemplating canceling cable altogether. I've grown to recognize how mind-numbingly boring the vast majority of TV really is.

Things I need to accomplish:

  • Spend more time with my friends.

  • Make new friends.

  • Take a vacation.

The sad part is that I've been told to do these things all of my life, but I never took them to heart. No one around me was actively trying to improve themselves, so I never tried to either. Fortunately, I have come across various people who not only discuss self-betterment on a frequent basis, but also act on it. This has been the catalyst for me.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Ben Franklin, you are the man!

The following quote sums up my frustrations with the religiously fervent out there:
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." ~Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Toronto is an amazing city. I went there for the first time on Friday. I got home last night. I want more... now!

The FITC Design and Technology Festival was a non-stop orgy of techno, graphic design, mathematics, programming, artificial intelligence, and rockstar industry experts. I would have been psyched just attending the conference by myself, but to amplify the awesomeness, I got to spend the weekend with most of my New Media Team Project team, the New Media professors, and a handful of up-and-coming New Media students. Its going to take a long time to come down off of this high and return to normalcy.

Some of my favorite things from the conference:

  • Flash 8 Preview, 8-bit alpha transparency for Flash video.
  • Denstu elevator visualizations.
  • Branden Hall, perceptron neural networks + genetic algorithms + Lindenmayer fractals = insanity.
  • David Carson, "cokedout", Zapf Dingbats.
  • Robert Hodgin, Perlin noise, flow-field systems, Pong written for an 8x8 grid of scrubbing dials.
  • Casey Reas/Ben Fry, processing, 'softwares' as building blocks.
  • Yugo Nakamura, everything and anything he showed.
  • Gmunk, and the hilarious Mandingo
  • Joshua Davis, Paper Mario

Ok. So now what. I got to work today and for some reason, life just didn't seem as bright.

Starting a blog...

Alright society, you got me. Here's my blog. I'm a conformist hack like everyone else.

As a developer, I try and keep project logs (or 'plogs'... how clever) for many of my projects, both personal and professional. These writings serve to remind me where I'm coming from throughout the duration of the project.

I tend to write down my ideas in sketchbooks or in random digital documents on my computer. Unfortunately, these get lost very easily. Therefore, I'm gonna centralize everything right here. This will be nothing more than a random collection of ideas and writings.

Please make comments! Even though I intend this blog for my own aims, community involvement will only stimulate more writing and postings.