Monthly Archives: October 2003

Out of Context Awards: October 2003

Didn’t really pay attention to any good ones, but I managed to get a few.

Runner-up: “Fuck you, neighbor.” My friend Ryan was dressed up as Mr. Rogers for Halloween, this year.

Runner-up: “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. We were talking about Ian dressing up as a Neo-Nazi for next year.” Somehow, we got to talking about dressing up as a Jew for Halloween, and then someone dressing up as Hitler, but then changed it to a neo-nazi. Then, another person tried to join in the conversation after not hearing all of it. Not a good idea when stuff like that is talked about.

Winner: “You’re wiping your hiney with the lungs of the Earth.” – Ms. Armstrong. We were talking about global warming, deforestation, and human consumption, etcetera, in theology class. By the way, is it actually spelled “hiney” because I can’t find the word in any dictionary? Stoopid English colloquialisms.

So there ends this month’s OoCA. I think I had one more quote written down, though. I’ll look for it tomorrow to see if there actually was one. I’ll also be posting about my Halloween costume tomorrow.

Republic Versus Democracy

America is not simply a democracy. Nor is it simply a republic. It is both. It is meant to balance both. Too much republic, and the leaders become tyrannical. Too much democracy, and you’ve only really got an ochlocracy. That’s why it was originally a House of Representatives elected by popular vote, and a Senate elected by state legislatures. That’s why there is an Electoral College.

It’s definitely true that you can’t put too much power in the hands of the general masses. Anendotal example: In English class we were supposed to give a “present” to a character in the novel The Grapes of Wrath. After everyone presented, we were to vote on the best one. Now, some people had some well-thought out gifts, but ones that weren’t too appealing to the general masses. What did appeal to the general masses were breast pumps. People voted, and that’s what won.

Not everyone is a politician, not everyone is informed enough to make important decisions. That’s why we elect representatives. Many people aren’t willing to sacrifice in the short-term to achieve a long-term goal.

Would you rather have a well-educated or an uneducated person lead you? Or, let me put it this way, would you rather have an informed person lead you, or an uninformed person lead you? Not everyone can be trusted to lead. Not everyone is fit to lead. It does make a difference who leads us.

Now, this doesn’t mean that there’s an elite class to rule us, it just means that some people are better leaders than others. And those that are better should be leading. There are less people who can lead than those who can’t. That’s why we can’t just let the general public decide everything.

I’m not going to go into the dangers of lending to much power to the republic side. We all know about the dangers of dictatorship. I just wanted to explain that an ochlocracy is also dangerous.

Let me apply this to the recent successful California governor recall. According to what I said, perhaps you’d think I would’ve been against the recall. Not so. This is because it was at the state level. States are more local and should be influenced more by the general public. The federal government has more distance. States should be able to decide whether a popular vote can recall a state official. California did decide that. The recall was good. As long as the standards are set high enough, it keeps democracy and republic balanced.


Just a quick thought… I wouldn’t consider myself “pro-life,” but it seems that the states should decide the issue of abortion, according to the 10th amendment. Hm. I’ll have to think about this some more.


Every once in a while, I like to metaphorically take a step back, and then look at things. Lots of things are funny and/or interesting when you stop to think about it. Today, I was thinking about blinking. These flaps of skin flip down for a fraction of a second to moisturize your optical lenses. It doesn’t seem quite that efficient, but what other ways are there to keep the eyes moisturized? You never really notice when someone is blinking, but when that person hasn’t blinked for a while, then you notice it. Blinking is weird, but that’s what I get for writing about an odd topic towards the later hours of the night.

Comment Spam

My comments got spammed sometime last week. Luckily it wasn’t too many entries, so I deleted them. I hope this doesn’t become a bigger problem for me. Hopefully, MT will come out with bulk deletions for comments sometime. I don’t even want to waste any hatred on spam.

Control and Objects

The extent to which I like an object is usually directly related to control. I value things based on how much control they give me. I value computers because of the wide variety of activities I can accomplish with them. I can write what I wish with a pencil.

All these things are very useful and versatile, so shouldn’t I be judging things based on usefulness? Usefulness is a measure of how much control the object gives you.

Another factor is how much control I have over the object. Granted, true AI doesn’t exist, so humans have control over any object they create. I am able to press any button on the remote control. However, there are factors which make things harder to control than others, such as their comprehensibility. When I don’t understand what’s going on, I lack control, so I dislike the object or concept. For example, I like games which aren’t too complicated. Although I sometimes prefer some degree of complexity, this is because it gives me control over those who don’t understand the game. Also, I like it when I can win without an overwhelming amount of effort. That’s also based on my level of control over the game. Mastery is its own reward. This also applies to multiplayer games. I like winning. I like controlling the game to victory, and controlling my opponents to force them to defeat.

At times, I was relating these to influence over people. Control related to my relationships with others is a separate topic, for tomorrow (maybe).

A Part of Me is Missing

I’ve been walking around and I feel like something is missing. Some piece of me is not there. I’m feeling cold and warm at the same time. I’m getting mixed sensations. It’s weird.

I can’t stand it. I need to find that piece. But how can I find it, if I don’t even know what it is? Something is gone, something I thought was always there.

UPDATE: Okay, I found my left sock, and now I’m good.

E-Voting Comment

Josh said:

Wait, wait… Did you just say “Run it like a Video Game so people can’t get in”? Do you realize how incredibly wrong that statement is? Ever hear of Game Shark? Game Hackers? ‘Nuff said.

Let me respond: If all you had access to was the controller, would you be able to do any hacking? Likewise, I don’t think it’s that hard to encase the thing so people can’t get in. Key and alarm and more. When I meant like a video game, I meant making the thing with no access to any underlying OS. It’s like those little handheld games which only run one game. I feel like they’re making it way too complicated. Anyway, a voter-verifiable paper trail should solve all that anyway.

The Catcher in the Rye Part 1 Again

I never really said anything when I wrote my first two so-called reviews, so this time I’ll put a little more thought into it.

I don’t consider the book anything special. J.D. Salinger was not the first to write using the stream of consciousness-style narrative. He did not create the style. This means you can’t quite completely praise it for the original writing style. The book contains slang that a kid would use. So what? Is that supposed to be original and ground-breaking? Writing down what kids always use? Slang is a type of dialect for younger humans. Mark Twain was writing in different dialects long before Salinger.

In my opinion, I found the character to be whiny, not insightful. Just because he’s constantly depressed and a cynic doesn’t mean he represents a side of all of us. If there was a character who was completely happy, does that mean that he represents the happy side in all of us? Personally, I can’t relate to the character. Look at the origin of the title. He wants to preserve the innocence of children. I don’t like children. I don’t value innocence because it relates too much to ignorance.

Holden is not merely depressed because of the way the world is. He is depressed because his brother died. He praised Allie so much in the book. He wonders why Allie had to die, when Allie was so much better than himself. Again, I can’t quite relate to this.

I didn’t like the plot of the story, or lack thereof. I didn’t feel as if they were important. You can take out certain individual events and they have no effect whatsoever as to the progress of the story. I like action, rather than unimportant thought processes. That’s my opinion. I’ve expressed this opinion before when I said I don’t like writing about what I do in the day because I find it boring. I didn’t do anything exciting. Now, I know Holden gets beat up by a prostitute’s boss, but I still didn’t find it too exciting. The lack of purpose in the plot is exacerbated by a weak ending that doesn’t truly resolve, or give meaning to, the book.

Reiterating the valuing of actions over words, I’ll say that, as my personal preference, I did not like the book’s narrative style. Perhaps it’s a result of the years of drilling “show-not-tell” into my head from school. Perhaps it’s a result of the American shoot-em-up, bang-bang action culture.

Then again, you can still have action and delve deep into emotions. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (a book I enjoyed), deals with morality, yet has more “adventure” than The Catcher in the Rye. The Catcher in the Rye isn’t the final word on adolescence and cynicism.

Since I’m rather a cynic myself, maybe that’s why I didn’t find the book as funny as some people. Some observations are like my own. They aren’t anything new. Still, I find that the character meanders in his articulated thoughts, never making a point, which is different from my thinking style. I like to think in terms of cause and effect. So, there’s another point in which I can’t relate to the main character.

Just because a book decides to touch on those issues and has a touch of cynicism doesn’t make it an instant classic. I went too far in saying that I could write something similar, but compared to the plethora of books I have read, it didn’t rank well.

Maybe I’ll write a part 2, not sure.


I don’t know what the big fuss over e-voting is. The program is just counting the number of votes. There should be no bugs. If each console is individual, then you can’t worry about outside hacking. Why can’t it run like a video game, where people can’t get in and mess things up? I don’t see any problem with a voter-verified paper trail either. It shouldn’t be hard.

Quick Quip About My Math Class

My math class is so below me. It’s not that I know the material; it’s that I can learn the material without paying any attention in class. My teacher is boring. Graphing is too tedious. Homework is supposedly practice, but I don’t need that practice. I have a nearly perfect score on tests. The class is practically a waste for me. On the plus side, I did get a new picture done on my calculator, which I’ll soon be adding to my website.

Oh and note to self: reply to some comments on this blog that I haven’t replied to yet.

China Launches Human Into Space

How does everyone feel? Someone please comment. Myself, I’m scared. Very scared. With this act, I truly see the US as a nation in decline, and China as a nation on the rise. Where man goes, weapons soon follow. It’s true that the US and USSR did not fight a war with space weaponry, but I cannot help but wonder about the future of the control over space.

Tomorrow: Not about control in space, but just about control

Avoiding a “space Pearl Harbor”

We (the US) can be veritably fucked over if China starts to build weapons in space. Without all our satellites and stuff, it becomes infinitely easier to defeat the US in battle.

Yet, a high profile building of arms in space will undoubtably cause China to build weapons for their defense. Such is the problem of being number one and dealing with those who aren’t.

Perhaps we could build weapons secretly. Thus, if the US were to be attacked, an instant counter-attack could be mounted. This would completely surprise the enemy and result in… for lack of better words… total ownage. Maybe… But then what do we do afterwards?

Violating the Main Principle of Cheating

Forget about the finer points of cheating, people can’t even correctly do the most basic principle of cheating: Not telling anyone that you’re cheating. Why tell someone that you can see their cards? Just to see them jump? Why give away your edge like that? I wouldn’t, and I don’t.

Then, even if one is successful with not giving it away at first, that person gives it away later. If you tell someone how they cheated, they’ll watch for it next time! So it helped you one time, what edge does it give you anymore? People will just brush off their loss since you cheated.

That certainly ain’t the way I play the game! I’ve graduated past that simple tenet and become a much more efficient and successful cheater as a result of it.

Note: The principle doesn’t only apply to cheating in card games, but my cheating does… or does it?

The Recent Immigration to buzzComix

I submitted this to the Buzz Bugle feature on buzzComix. Don’t know if it’ll be accepted, so I’m posting it here:

The Recent Immigration to buzzComix

A note for all the smaller comics observing this migration:

TWC goes kaput. Now, buzzComix is the premier top list for webcomics. With the directions both top lists had been taken, one could argue that it was inevitable that this would happen. The wish for buzzComix to be number 1 has certainly been expressed before. So, what does all this mean, and what happens next?

The change has brought in many more successful webcomics to buzzComix. Some are upset by this. Their rankings have dropped considerably since the change, and they express their anger towards the bigger webcomics. However, there are only so many big comics; they couldn’t have made our rankings drop so much.

I say the cause is actually the influx of middle-sized and small comics. Let’s say someone got 5 votes before, early on in the month and sat pretty comfortably on the list. Now, there are perhaps twenty other comics with the same number of votes. There are also more people with 1 more vote than the original person, and more people with 2 votes more, and so on. We’ve been crowded out of the list.

Yet, I don’t mean to blame it all on the smaller comics which are new to bCx. On the contrary, it means there are more people just like you. Shouldn’t we embrace each other, rather than be mad at other comics who are struggling just as we are? We should understand that webcomics are different from traditional products. If I’m buying one brand of paper towels, that probably means I’m not buying other brands. With webcomics, if you decide to read a new comic, you usually don’t quit reading the original comic. If one comic links to another, it doesn’t take away readership.

This means reach out and link each other. Have you seen the Dayfree Press thing on Ctrl-Alt-Del and other comics? Do something similar. Form webrings. Form clubs. Communicate. Share.

Just because buzzComix has gained the comics that used to be on TWC doesn’t mean it will become TWC. What it becomes is what we, all the members of bCx, choose for it to become. bCx can be a more friendly, inclusive community, but only if we choose for it to be such.”

Recall! Over.

So, it looks as if Davis is gone, and Arnold is governor of California. This is a pretty momentous, being only the second recall in American history. Since I’m a Californian, this should affect me, but right now, I don’t have much to say. Let’s just wait and see what happens.

A Funny Thing About Weaknesses

Human beings are funny. We make up all these aliens and heroes and give them one major flaw. One weakness. Aliens that always seem invincible except for one weakness. Superman’s only weakness was kryptonite.

I don’t know why we come up with those things when we don’t have only one weakness. Practically every part of a human being is weak. You can get hit on the head, leg, arm, torso, and it hurts. Every part of the body is a target. Many places can deliver a killing blow, or incapacitate you easily. We only wish we were near invincible beings.

More Recall! Commentary

Hm, I don’t like being wrong. The day after I write my commentary, the new polls show Arnold way out ahead. By all indications — and, by all indications, I mean that one poll — Arnold is going to win. Plus, it looks like people want Gray Davis out. Or shall I say, “Grave” Davis. That one came from a slip of my teacher’s tongue, haha.

Although, as this election draws to a close, we see the smear campaign going in full force. Huffington quits the race, and she’s just mad an Arnold. She completely flips her position from supporting the recall to being against the recall. I wonder how much of the dirt is due to Davis, and how much is due to Huffington.

There isn’t that much time left, so unless something drastic happens, I’m not commenting on this issue again until after the results of the election are known.