Monthly Archives: January 2005

The Agnoiologist’s Direction

I’m starting to figure out the direction I want to take with the Agnoiologist weblog: the subtle edge. I don’t want to be super caustic and lowbrow; the Agnoiologist needs class and elegance. Maybe the type of jokes that will go over a lot of people’s heads. But that would take effort. Effort which I don’t have at 8:38 in the evening. Yes, that should be early, but it’s not. Even though I took a long nap, I am extremely tired. And I have yet to do my work for today.

However, I’ll entertain you a little bit more with my plans for my website, Looking back, I have some good stuff, and some not so good stuff. The site feels less mature than I want it to be now. Next redesign, which will be a summer project, will involve a major content redesign, as well as the usual backend overhaul.

Okay, and I guess I’ll try to actually be entertaining for a bit:

I figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be the guy that names crayons. I found the greatest colors today: “tickle me pink” and “purple mountain’s majesty.” I would like to bring simple pleasure to everyone who opens a box of crayons. However, no matter how long I worked, I don’t think I could ever top this name: “mauvelous.”

Iraq Election Day

Perhaps there is still reason for hope. Perhaps the Iraqi people do care for freedom. I think it will be funny to see criticisms in the coming days. Actually, now that I think of it, I got some good ideas for satire… look for it in the coming days.

All I want to say for now is just think of the situation in Iraq. Never take our own democracy for granted.

Two Unlikely Events

We were playing Texas Hold’em. It was heads up. I had maybe 1/3 the number of chips my opponent had. I went all in with K-J suited. Ryan calls, and I see that he has K-3. In case you haven’t played Texas Hold’em, that meant the odds were severely in my favor. He catches a 3. In case you haven’t played Texas Hold’em, that meant I lost. I am still mad at Lady Luck.

Yesterday, I gave Pat a ride to Wendy’s, in my classy car. He complimented my taste in music. Typically, what people say to me about music is, “Wow, do you even listen to any music?” What can I say?

Apprentice Week 2, Season 3

What do you call it when you keep like a running weblog entry as something is going on? I think there’s a word for it, but I don’t remember. Anyway, I coined the term “echo-blog” when I was talking to Lloyd the other day. I want to expand that term and implications in future entries.

What wacky predictions do I have? I don’t know, haven’t watched the show yet. Let me, however, give you my proto-hypothesis, my uneducated guess, that I told Jason before this season of Apprentice started: The “street smarts” team would win at first, but in the end, Trump would pick someone originally from the “book smarts” team.

An uneducated guess, though. So, I don’t put any stock in it, really. I’ve decided to put it out there, though, just to see what will happen.

8:40 – My sister upon seeing Bren during the intro sequence: “Ew, he looks like Smeagol.”

8:51 – Danny wore a suit. Smart. My level of respect for this guy just went up.

9:13 – I was thinking about it, and wow, it is all about the customer service. If people think you’re nice, they will give you a higher rating than you deserve. You know you’ve done it. Good call, again, Danny. Another notch up. The PM of Net Worth will probably get fired. No control. Once you start to lose control, you got to change directions. Nip the problem in the bud. He could’ve gotten past the budget issues, I bet. But not controlling your team. I didn’t think he was a bad leader until after everyone ditched him, and he did nothing.

9:24 – Okay… weird Verna walks out. Hello, all the people from first season got good job offers, even though they didn’t win. But you…? Nobody wants a quitter.

10:00 – Verna comes back, but whatever. We all know you’re not going to win. As for who might win? John is actually my early pick. His remarks about Brian were right on the money. John’s intelligent, and already proved he was a good leader.

Moral of today’s show: Never quit. Maybe you can learn something from TV.

Why The Apprentice is a brilliant show: It’s one big advertisement. First off, it’s great advertising for Donald Trump. You’ve also got product placement: The Donald lauds the hell out of those companies. Then, you got the more subliminal advertising, like going to Target. I was not surprised at all to see an actual Target commercial later on.

Unsorted STD

Today, I got a piece of mail with a stamp on it that said, “Unsorted STD.” Great. Just great. What is wrong with the Postal Service? Before, all I had to maybe worry about was anthrax. But now I got to worry about STDs too? Wow. I am sticking to e-mail.

[Hm… not sure if I be writing such low-brow items…]

The Deficit

I heard on the news today that the projected deficit was $470 billion, but the Bush administration admitted it would probably be higher. What kind of projected estimate is that? If you know it will probably be higher, why did you not estimate higher? This is not the Price is Right. If you go over, you do not go bust.

(I apologize if the number is wrong because I was listening inside of the car, and I am not very good with memorizing numbers.)

Pondering the Agnoiologist

I have been pondering the Agnoiologist weblog, as an entity, as of late. I have also been pondering the question of readership. What does that Agnoiologist offer that would make you want to tell your friends about it? What new insights does it offer?

Weblogging is becoming trendy and I don’t want to be an unvisited cookie-cutter weblog. I’ve been writing in general, and I’m still proud of what I wrote… I just want to take it do a different level, or at least try something different. What I want to do is find some kind of niche I can occupy in this here ecosystem called the blogosphere.

Should I hearken back to the roots? The Agnoiologist should study human stupidity, no? Hm. But the question is how. What I really want to try to do is make a weblog that people can laugh at. As much as I love my satirical pieces, I cannot do those all the time. Not only is it too much work, it’s too much like The Onion. Besides, I have principles against parody for parody’s sake.

I have an idea of what I want to try, however. Recently, I have been working on a comedy bit — a stand-up type routine. For my weblog though, I can’t post long pieces. What I want to try is post little random comedic blurbs. Of course, there will still be interludes of geopolitics.

Let’s try this:

My English teacher gave us a project for Valentine’s Day. We are supposed to find a love poem, decorate a card, and write a short biographical blurb. It is due before Valentine’s Day so she can get it back to us before then, just in case we want to give it to someone. Yeah, that will be smooth: “Here you go, my one true love, here is a card I did for an English project and inside is biographical information of some person you do not know.” Nothing says love like a required assignment. “I got an F on it, but hopefully you will give me an A.”

Compliments and Such

“God let 175,000 people die in a tsunami, you think he’s going to help you with your test?” — something I said to a classmate yesterday. Got a positive response from someone else too: “Good one, Shawn.”

I love compliments like that, for things I don’t expect. For example, the first day I said the Pledge of Allegiance without “under God”, the person in front of my uttered the comment, “Nice.”

In calculus, I like to draw pictures on the chalkboard. So, I was talking to someone during Psychology, and she says, “Your last drawing inspired my class to draw something funny.” So, we take the hall pass (this is right before the bell rings) in order for me to view the picture. Inside the classroom, some girl I don’t know learns that I’m the one who has been drawing the pictures. I’m happy to hear that she thinks they’re absolutely hilarious.

It reminds me of the positive e-mails I’ve gotten for my website,, which have been rather lacking as of late. I haven’t updated that site enough and there’s no excuse. I just have replaced it with other priorities. I miss them, though — the positive e-mails, I mean. Instead, all I have is immature vitriol on my Weekly Polls. However, I can take pride in that some people know not to take things seriously: “oh yeah, Mr. Dictator? making up things isn’t going to provoke any comments from me, so there!”

Apprentice Insta-Entry

I’m watching The Apprentice right now, and I have a comment:

HELLO! Danny, this is the year 2005! Forget your retro-lingo.

He really bugs me. I hope he gets fired.

EDIT: 9:14 PM

I’ll tell you what’s “unbelievable”… how unbelievably annoying and corny that is!

9:24 PM

Carolyn: “This is sad.”

I agree. A cardboard box hole is your promotional material? C’mon. But really, I’m happy. This means Danny is prime material to be fired, and it will make the show that much less painful to watch.

9:33 PM

Trump’s purple tie was better than the one he was wearing in the boardroom. And, I have to admit, I did not like his pink ties last season.

9:47 PM

Ooh, power tie — red. Note to self.

On The Apprentice, you’re more likely to get fired if you bring in the wrong people. As much as I’d like to see Danny fired, there is a good possibility that what’s-his-name will get fired for bringing in Todd. He probably should’ve brought in the other marketing lady.

9:59 PM

Oops, sorry, I meant Todd would get fired for bringing in Alex. Whatever. In any case, I was completely right. And things were going to go exactly as I had predicted until we learned that new piece of evidence and Trump changed his mind.

Danny is just plain uncool. That’s all I have to say.

I was also thinking about the whole “high school” vs. “college” distinction. You know what? Most of the “street smarts” team did go to college! (At least, that’s the impression I received.) They just didn’t graduate. I also remember reading or hearing somewhere that most of the richest people had some college, not a degree. Moral of the story: go to college, but you don’t have to graduate.

[EDIT: I hope you know I’m joking. Really, it’s not street smarts versus book smarts… whoever has the best of both will win. Street savvy and a degree… that’s my plan. I’m not seriously going to use a TV show as the actual basis for my life plan or create my basic business philosophies. That would be ridiculous. It’s assisted reality. Still, it’s fun to watch.]

Shawn Learns the Value of Patience

So, yesterday, I learned the value of patience. From poker… Texas Hold’em. I really figured out one of my basic character flaws. I get impatient, and then I start acting against my instincts. You see, because I’m not getting the results I want, I lose confidence in my methods. So, I try to do something different. Because of that, I played two hands horribly, and I knew I was playing them horribly. Yet, I did it anyway because of my impatience. So, I thought about life in general, and realized that probably applies to other areas. When things often come easily for you, and you’re used to winning, you become easily disenchanted when you’re deprived of instant gratification. I’m too good for my own good, so to speak.

Today, I put my lesson into practice. There were some hands that were like those two hands I played horribly, only this time I resisted, and forced myself to fold. I got a lot of bad hands and my chips were being whittled away by the blinds, but it finally paid off when I doubled my chips. Then, I did it again and I had the chip lead. Later, I went all in (pre-flop) with a pair of sevens and lost to A-K, but I didn’t feel as if that was the wrong move to make. I was at least following my instincts. I didn’t win that game, but I’m learning patience, which is an even greater prize.

I figure if it’s already helping in poker, it should help in life. I’ll apply this lesson of patience to other areas in my life.

You Fat American Pigs

Those stupid 100 Calorie Packs. The only reason they’re 100 Calories is because it’s such a small portion.

Wait a second, us silly Americans. We complain about these stupid small portions, but we forget to realize that we’re fat pigs who are used to eating gargantuan over-sized portions. Really, if we ate less, we wouldn’t be as fat.

You go out and eat, and since you paid so much, you feel obligated to eat it all. And our elders don’t help. After all, there are starving kids in Africa who’d love to eat that. Psh.

That’s the overlooked item. Exercise more. Eat healthier foods. Less carbs. Less fat. How about less food?

Pirate Speak and Ebonics

psychowarddotorg: Ever notice how similar pirate speak and ebonics are?

psychowarddotorg: I mean, in terms of grammatical structure

ttamyzarc: aye

ttamyzarc: aite

ttamyzarc: whoa!

ttamyzarc: shiver me timbers and holla at my peeps

Upcoming weblog entry: Something relating school to Waiting for Godot.

Tsunami Tales Two

I was talking with my mommy and the whole God and the tsunami dealie. She told me that there were some miracles. I replied, “Yeah, but for 150,000 people, there wasn’t a miracle.”

After all my thoughts, I was excited to find this article on Slate: Send a Message to God. That eloquently sums up my own proto-thoughts.

[By the way, I’ve updated MT, and re-enabled commenting. I’ll be playing around with that more sometime. And holy crap! MT has sub-categories! I’ll definitely be playing around with that!]

Yesterday’s Seizure

The truth can be a rather impulsive creature. Sometimes, I feel like the most impulsive of actions are the best way to seize the day.

So, I did some impulsive things yesterday.

That morning, I said the Pledge of Allegiance without “under God” in it. If you’ve read this weblog for a while, then you’ll know all about my thoughts on the Pledge of Allegiance. If you don’t, then do a quick search on my weblog. I like how some people use the argument: “Oh, if you don’t believe in God, then you can just not say it.” Yes, because that option doesn’t make any child inconspicuous by finishing the Pledge before everyone else. That option definitely isn’t an exclusive option. Yeah, no exclusion there. If I was younger, I would definitely be very uncomfortable in that situation. I would probably say it and wallow in the indoctrination. But I’m older (not necessarily wiser) and comfortable enough with my viewpoints to keep on not saying “under God.” Ooh, another funny point is that some of the people who probably have made that earlier point would be offended if anyone actually did it.

Impestuous act number two: Playing piano for 4-5 hours. I didn’t get my fingers to bleed, but they were very very sore. Still, after all that playing… I’m still not done with the first movement of Pictures at an Exhibition. However, I did get the first promenade down pretty well. (And I worked on the second movement before finishing the first.)

And yet still… I do not feel as if the day was seized enough…

Tsunami Tales

For some reason, this headline didn’t warm my heart: Pop stars unite for quake victims. I’m sure they have good intentions, but it reminds me of, in the vaguest of ways, when I was railing against Campell’s Chunky: Tackling Hunger. Okay, these two things aren’t even in the same league, but charity events (emphasis on events) don’t give me the warm fuzzies and make me feel like the world is a wonderful place.

Don’t worry, folks. If you didn’t like that paragraph, things get progressively worse. And it starts with this headline: Public warned of fake aid appeals. Exploiting a tragedy to swindle people out of their money? AGH! How can people in this world be so horrible?! HOW?! Somewhere around 150,000 people dead last time I looked. That’s a gargantuan number, and people just don’t care. I don’t get it.

Finally, we have Quake disaster ‘could test faith’. Times like these reminds me of how being an atheist can make so much more sense. It makes the universe simpler, however, that doesn’t make it any more comforting. Personally, I don’t get how an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God makes this happen. Sure, you can look at the good in the situation, but this reminds me of when I was musing about an Emotional Broken Window Fallacy. Think of all the families — mothers, fathers, children — who loved each other, and how all this love was just wiped from the face of the Earth. Gone! If there is any type of god or gods, I cannot believe they can be both omnibenevolent and omnipotent.

regarding the whole “blog-gate” matter

This article, “Blog-Gate“, from the Columbia Journalism Review, has been popping up all over the blogosphere.

My summary:

“Rar! Weblogs are evil! Republicans write Republican blogs; this must mean they are part of some vast conspiracy! People who tell the same version of a story are suspicious. CBS didn’t do its job, but it’s those darned weblogs that are the villains.”

My favorite line: “When the smoke cleared, mainstream journalism’s authority was weakened. But it didn’t have to be that way.” Hmm… Yeah, and maybe it wouldn’t have been that way if Mr. Rather and company had lived up to their responsibilities as journalists.

Oh wait, but it’s not their fault… Mr. Rather trusted his producer, and his producer trusted her source. I forgot all about that! Wow, I’ve been in the wrong for so long! It’s not their fault at all! But don’t worry, they’ll find the real villains, even if it takes so long that, by the time they find’em, everyone will have forgotten about this story! In the meantime, let’s just blame those darned weblogs.

Faceless Speechwriters

Forgive me for being a little naive and idealistic in this post:

I read this in kausfiles (it’s quoted from an e-mail): “Anyone who has worked as a speechwriter in politics knows how rare it is for an elected official to take the time to find someone and thank them.”

It provoked some questions. I’m not so naive as to not know that politicians have speechwriters, but I never imagined the situation like this. I never thoughtfully considered that our modern politicians are being given scripts by faceless, unknown persons — and it seems as if they play no part in the creation of these words they say to the people.

And the implications… How do we know what our candidates think? What do these people represent? Carefully crafted scripts written by ghostwriters? Is it just BS, the type of writing us kids are so familiar with?

Do these people make decisions or are they just mouthpieces? Do they believe what they’re saying or are they just skilled orators/actors?

I guess with the modern media and faster news cycles, it seems necessary for speechwriters. But I have one last question: How different would you view history if the Gettysburg Address or [insert favorite historical speech] were written by speechwriters?

New Year’s Resolution

Typically, I make a laundry list of to-do items as resolutions. One-time things that can be accomplished with some effort. Not going to do that anymore. But first, let’s take a look, with my comments in bold, at last year’s resolutions:

  • Get my driver’s license – CHECK
  • Learn C++ – C+what? I think I remember looking at some stuff way early in the year, but I haven’t an idea about it now. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I did any coding in PHP! (Actually, it was probably when I fixed the Weekly Poll at Perhaps I’m partially exonerated by the fact that I did learn some Java… but that was only because I’m in a required computer class at school. In fact, since I’m more of a manager in that rather large class, I once more can’t remember the last time I actually wrote a program.
  • Learn how to solo on trombone – The only thing I can note of worth regarding trombone is that I did learn all my major scales at one point. Other than that, I’m rather appalled in my progress on trombone. I need to practice more.
  • Get 200,000 hits in one month at – Let’s see. My original webhost, after years of being with them and having no problems, went down, and then ran away with my money. My hits took a plunge, and only are now climbing back to previous levels. Actually, they’re a little bit higher than previous levels with a solid breaking of 100,000 hits for the past few months.
  • Finish one of my long stories – I’m too lazy to check right now what I’ve actually done, but here’s what I recall. I did maybe two chapters of Return to Dawn. I did one chapter of Misadventures of a Post-Apocalyptic Trombonist. I had another unnamed story which I was four chapters into, but then I decided to re-write the thing. I’m only one chapter into it now. At least I wrote over 50 poems.
  • Get both French videos finished (subtitles and commentary, too) – Richard did put the first one on DVD, which we had a screening of at school, but I never got a copy of it, myself. We decided against a commentary track, however. The second video remains unfinished.
  • Write and film Majestic, the Movie – Nothing. Nothing. I scrapped that idea long ago. Too much work.
  • Write songs and lyrics for that fake musical (don’t absolutely need story done yet) – Discarded this idea, as well. I did write one song, with no lyrics.
  • Finish the stuff currently on my Coming Soon list at – HAHAHA! At least none of the old stuff is there anymore, but I can’t say that I actually accomplished them.
  • Learn and memorize all of Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 – Actually, I was making really good progress on it through summer. I memorized it up through part of where it says “tempo giusto vivace.” However, I stopped playing that particular song for a while, and now I hardly remember it. There are still pages to go. I would work on it again, but I’m going to order Pictures at an Exhibition. I’m really excited about that piece.
  • Update more often (the only one that’s more general) – Not even close to the 2003 frequency, except during the ending of summer.
  • Do at least 40 TPVs this year – Rather moot resolution since I ended TPV. However, it ended on a sincere note.
  • Do at least 12 Majestic comics this year – Nope. However, I am currently at #12, overall. And, I did go back and redo the style of all the old ones. Does that count as actually doing twelve?

Really, Shawn, this is pathetic. (Sorry, folks, I have a tendency to refer to myself in third person when I do something particularly unslick.) It’s rather disappointing, since I did pretty well the year before, when I put it on paper. Don’t misjudge me, however. I did a lot this year; I just didn’t concentrate on those specific tasks.

In any case, this year will be different. I am only making one resolution: To seize each day, and live it to its fullest. I’m going to squeeze all the life out of each day, like squeezing all the juice out of a lemon. Even if all the juice misses the cup and spills all over the floor, I will still be satisfied, knowing that the day was seized.

This year will represent a new chapter in my life. The year of new freedom… That’s what I called it in the last post of 2004. Why? Mostly because I’m done with my college applications. I don’t have anything hanging over my head anymore, and I can do more of what I want to do. Have more fun, accomplish more.

I do have some specific goals I could have made, but I don’t want to so confine myself this year. The goals will come with the day. Notice how I said seize each day. I picked those specific words because I want to treat each day as one of those lemons. Each day will be its own entity. Each day will be new, different from every other. I will live that day, and only that day, not yesterday or tomorrow.

I already accomplished one thing today — those aforementioned college applications. I stayed up until I finished each and every one. Then, I went to bed, and awoke with a clean slate. This is a new year. But I do not plan on seizing this year — only each day of it.