Tuesday, December 05, 2006

National Get In Matt's Way Day 2006

Today must be National Get In Matt's Way Day 2006. For me to declare such a day nowadays is amazing, since my commute is so short now.
On my way to work today, I got into a Left Turn lane with a few cars ahead of me and a green light. Well, this one work truck from the lane next to us decides to cut into our turn lane, stopping everyone beyond his merge. He pulled up to the light and stopped just as it turned yellow. Had he just waited, the turn lane would've been clear, and he'd still be in front of the lane on that yellow light.
So, I make a quick action to get out of the turn lane and precede on the straight ahead green to make a U-Turn just past the divider island on the other side. Well, just as I get to the U-Turn point, this truck is in the land fast lane. I wait for him to pass before I turn. I pull around into the slow lane ready to make my right turn on green. Well, just as I am pulling up to the intersection, that truck decides to pull right in front of me to make a right turn. Of course, he does this and practically stops at a green, waiting for it to turn yellow. It does. Then he waits more until the traffic in an unrelated direction starts to go. So, we both make our right turn, but just 100' down the road, the Train Xing bars lower, again, as he pulls up to them. ARG!
Anyways, I finally get through this maze of stupidity and get to work.
Home the way home for lunch, I enter onto the freeway behind this other car, within All of a sudden, this this big mover truck makes an abrupt move in front of the car in front of me into our lane! So, the car in front of me gets over, but then goes the same slow-ass speed as the truck. My problem is that I need to be in the lane because it becomes an exit only lane and I take that very next exit.
No, it doesn't end there. He exits, and so do I. I decide to turn in the opposite direction as he, because both directions can take me to where I want to go in about the same time. Right turn is more direct, but with less cooperative traffic lights. The Left turn is longer, but with less traffic control. He turns right, so I get into the left lane at the light. As soon as it turns green, I head off! ...only to run into another Train at that same Xing! This train blocks all the roads leading to where I'm going. The end result, that stupid-ass truck ends up a couple blocks ahead of me in the direction I'm going.
So far, that's the extent of thangs today. I hope National Get In Matt's Way Day 2006 doesn't become National Get In Matt's Way Week 2006. I did have some trouble with trucks yesterday too, now that I think about it. ARGGGGG!!!

My perspective, not well explained

My experiences have taught me about many facets of this Universe and life of which I previously stood in complete denial. These lessons have not been someone saying that I should believe one thing or another. I believed a great many things in my youth because I was told so. Without realizing, I had been raised to adopt certain metaphors and took them as reality.
Here are examples.
• God is a divine individual with a distinct personality and particular methods of communication.
• God created the Earth and Universe as they are now.
• There are rules that people are given by God which we must strife to obey.
• Adam and Eve where the first two people. We die because Adam sinned (broke the rules) and by him, we all sin.
• There is no continued existence once one dies.
• Christ was God’s first creation and come down to Earth in human form to die to pay for all of mankind’s sins. One perfect man’s death corrected another’s corruption.
• The world will end soon. In fact, by my old beliefs, the world should’ve ended by now.

My experiences now stand in complete opposition to those original beliefs.
• God is a metaphor for the unknowable or hidden workings of the Universe. I do not have any particular beliefs about God.
• Earth and the Universe have come into existence by particular and knowable processes.
• All life is governed by Karma.
• Our existence on Earth and our death are necessary components of Karma.
• All life lives through cycles of reincarnation. These cycles are closely linked to Karma.
• Everyone is responsible for their own actions. No one can remove responsibility for someone else’s actions.
• Old systems within this world will end and new ones will replace them, but the world itself will not end suddenly as the result of divine interference. Earth is and will always be governed by the same processes as it was when it first came into being. It is those processes that will eventually destroy it, in like a billion years.

Of course, some people who have not shared in the kind of experiences I have may say that I’m replacing one set of metaphors for another. I would agree with them. I understand that the concept of Karma is a metaphor. I have adopted it, not because I’ve been told it is the truth, but because specific events in my life have served as my teacher. The Karma metaphor is simply a better metaphor than old metaphors of organized religion.
Why do I need a metaphor? Well, those same events in my life which freed me from my old metaphors also presented no solution in the reality of science. Someone that has turned their back on the old metaphors of organized religion for different reasons than mine may find it hard to accept any other metaphors. They may gravitate towards factually verifiable truths. “There is no God because I see no verifiable evidence of such a being.” But for my experiences, science only forms part of the solution.
Science makes it easier to understand the physical world around me, and it is adding many conveniences in my life. Science doesn’t explain the spiritual aspect of our existence. It’s direct observation of this spiritual aspect that has forced me along a path where I accept both scientific facts and spiritual events, though I’m responsibly critical. I’ve come to the point where I am curious about nature and the supernatural, but I don’t hold firmly to beliefs about either. I continue to search for more understanding. However, I’m not frustrated by what I don’t know.
So, what are these events which changed my perspective about life, the Universe and everything? I’ve come to the conclusion that each person must experience these types of things for themselves, and they will when the time is right (no matter how much they believe they won’t…hehe).

Monday, December 04, 2006

Alcatraz by phone camera photos

Alcatraz Island is interesting to read about and makes for entertaining ghost hunting documents. Actually visiting is more of a novelty than an actual adventure. Allie and I went cuz we haven't been. It would be just a little funny having lived in the area and never seeing it.

Teepee and ruins This first photo was taken by Allie's phone camera. The tepee was put up by Native Americans who claimed the island as Indian Land for 19 months from 1969 to 1971. I'm not sure what the ruins above at the top of the cliff used to be. There is a lot of rubble left all over the island, with large sections closed off to the public. Some areas of the island appear to be a park of pills of down concrete structures, more than a famous prison or old fort.

Prison from lower level This photo cover more area of the island from the lower level looking up to where the prison stands. It's an interesting shot that reveals the contrasts that make the island what it is.

Allie took this third photo with her phone. Me in  Cell Block A I believe this is cell block A. She wanted me to pose for it, though I'm not exactly sure why she needed me in the shot. hehe

The infamous Solitary Confinement Cell 12 in Cell Block D A finally, this is the infamous solitary confinement cell #12 in cell block D. Some say #12 has a less than friendly ghost. I walked inside for a minute. I did get that feeling that I always get when "something" is present. I also stood in cell #10, and felt something there too, but the feeling wasn't too strong.

Overall, the place is a bit underwhelming. Allie and I did pass on the audio tour, so maybe that robbed us of some of the experience. :) It was interesting to see up close some of the artifacts that one hears about over the years. I saw the cells that were broken out of and the dummies used by the escapees to go undetected. They were crude, and even at night, I'm not sure how the guards where fooled. It almost makes me think that perhaps the whole story was never told.

I think I would have a lot of fun joining one of those night time ghost hunting shows at Alcatraz, if not for any other reason but to mess with the show's stars and crew. ::evil laugh::

Sunday, December 03, 2006

SF Alcatraz

Allie and I took Friday off. She needed a day away from work, and I needed to take time off cuz I'm at my limit of vacation time at my job. We drove up to SF. For the first time, I visited Alcatraz. The visit was underwelming, but I'm glad we did it. It was fun and interesting. It was amazing just how small the prison was. The individual cells where amazingly tiny. Ick.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Choreday In Progress

Welp, I got all of the errands done including a new item that popped up. I had to take my printer for warranty repair back to the store. Arg. So much for printing out directions this morning. Just had to wing it.

Now, just relaxing for a bit and then think about what I can do around the house this evening before I working on repairing my Xxxx.

Choreday

Ok, today's chores:
::sucking in a lung full of air::
Shave, shower, check directions to take my busted Xxxx to manufacturer, take my busted Xxxx to manufacturer thru late rush hour traffic, get back in time for my hair cut appointment, then off to lunch with my friend, the back home to call our microwave manufacturer to find out what's wrong with it, then housing cleaning and finally dinner.
::would let out the remaining air in my lungs, but just used it all on this list::

I guess I better get started. Oh, don't forget to check out my eBay auctions. lol


Check out my Auctions
Ok, ready, set, GOOO.....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Shameless Promotion

Well, it's still a bit young, but I've launched a new content site for SolidWorks. If you don't know what SolidWorks is, don't go looking. hehe If you do know what it is, please check it out!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shameless Promotion

Cheap cheap DVD's! hehe (Seriously, look!) Buy my stuff!

Check out my Auctions
Well, anyone with a couple of bucks can benefit from the fact that Allie and I have moved in together. Too many DVDs! :) Well, really it's just a few duplicates.
In other news, Thanksgiving turned out pretty laid back. We spent some time at my aunts, then the even with Allie's parents. Turkey turkey turkey. Friday was spent in recovery. hehe So, I know this is prolly what 99% of all American's experienced this week, so maybe this isn't "news" per se.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bond, James Bond

Well, the new movie was good. I liked it. It is definately one of the better 007 movies. However, it prolly coulda been split into different movies (maybe part 1 and 2?). It coulda ended several times. But still, a good movie.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Star birth linked to waves of life on Earth

I found this interesting article that proposes a link between new star generation in our Milky Way galaxy with the waves of bacteria life in Earth's past.
Quick quote:

"Dr Svensmark noticed that the biggest fluctuations in [bacterial lifeform] productivity coincided with high star formation rates and cool periods in Earth's climate. Conversely, during a billion years when star formation was slow, cosmic rays were less intense and Earth's climate was warmer, the biosphere was almost unchanging in its productivity."
This idea is interesting because it demonstrates just how linked we are, not just to the Earth, but the cosmos as a whole.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lettuce give tanks!

I was looking forward to this weekend. We had a good evening and dinner with some of Allie’s friends on Friday in Burlingame at Mediterranean Kebob’s and Gyros. The restaurant is small and you place your order at the counter, but the food is very good and full of flavor. Me and her friends geeked out a little bit in our conversations about common cultural references like the Simpsons, which annoying Allie a little bit, I’m sure. Hehe
Saturday, we relaxed a bit and then headed over to my friend’s place for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner because all of us will be spending Thanksgiving Day with our respective families. The evening was pretty relaxed with good company.
Sunday, we took her mom to Bloomingdale’s to use a discount on a dress she had already bought for Allie. It’s a dress meant for Allie’s company’s Christmas party in a couple of weeks. Nothing much else happened that day. I am getting a little annoyed that Fox constantly moves the time they show the Simpsons though.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Resident Jorge, A Haunting

Ronie and I had determined that we would look for a place in the San Jose area back in 1999. I had met her online a while before and figured we could roommate near our jobs. She found a third person, David C., and we looked around for a good deal. I found this one ground level apartment in a 6-plex, with a patio and large backyard for a good price. When I first entered it with the landlord, I got a creepy feeling from the hallway leading to the bedrooms. It was a feeling I’ve had before, but as usual, I ignored it. As before, I later found out I shouldn’t have. We all moved in not long after. I had the master bedroom.

After settling in, we had a good time. The house was always lively in some way. I found a girlfriend, Jaymie, a few months later, who then proceeded to conduct a stealth move-in that was made official very early 2000. With all four people living there, we began noticing little things, but no one talked about it.

I had collected a few McDonald’s toys, like hot wheels (left in their plastic bag wrappers, and left them out up on my computer desk’s hutch in my room. I would frequently find one particular toy car down on my desk top. I heard it drop a couple of the times to come into to find it there. Twice, I watched it drop while I was in my room looking in the same general direction. There’s no way it could’ve dropped on its own. I was in its wrap on a level surface upside down. Not of the other objects on that same surface moved, including another unwrapped car toy left on its wheels right next to it.

Ronie would often see a young male figure standing beyond her when she looked into her bathroom’s mirror. She even started talking to him (to shoo him out of the bathroom, usually).

Jaymie would get small finger sizes bruises around her thighs when she slept on the couch for a nap or some evenings.

Also, the living room would get inexplicably cold, even in hot summer days.

While I lived there, the incidents were somewhat frequent, but not overly intrusive. By 2001, David C. had moved out and Danny was living with us. I’m not sure what, if anything, he noticed himself, but I know he was aware of what Ronie was noticing.

Jaymie and I broke up in mid 2001, and I moved out. Ronie took the master bedroom and Jaymie moved into her old room. Jaymie started getting bruises every night, and Ronie started having more interaction with the ghost. I was still a frequent guess, and each of them started relating more frequent incidents. Based on Ronie’s description of this ghost, I called him Jorge.

Jorge was trying to interact with Ronie more readily. After on particularly unpleasant event and the situation was no longer possible to ignore, everyone in the house figured it was time to do something. Jaymie’s mom is fairly talented physic and medium. Upon learning about the events, she visited them with an open eye out for this ghost. She called him out and he appeared to her, though he did try to hide. Jaymie was there at the time as well, and was able to make out his shape when her mom forced Jorge into one spot. Jaymie’s mom talked to him and found out he was a young man that had worked in the orchards that filled the area near the turn of the 20th Century. I don’t know how he died, but it was around the age of 17. She also found out that he was afraid of me when I was living their. Though Jorge had been stuck on Earth in that area for almost 100 years, he was still the 17 year old that had lived in the area. He viewed me as a dominant older male and generally tried to stay out of my way when I was around, or so how the story was related to me. Heh, some ghost kid was afraid of me. I wasn’t much past being a young buck myself at the ripe old age of 25. lol Anyways, Jaymie and her mom directed Jorge’s spirit to the other side. He didn’t want to go, for whatever reason, but once he was gone, incidents involving Jaymie ended, and although Ronie still has some experiences, they where not on the level as before. Perhaps more on than one ghost was in the area, or he returned from the other side to visit her once in awhile. I remember that the creepy feeling that the hallway often had ceased, and the cold spots no longer occurred. BTW, his real name wasn’t Jorge, but that’s what I called him and that’s what I remember. :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wierd Al Strikes Back!

Wierd Al kicks butt!!!




And here's his old school classic!

Is Curehuman for you?

Are you human? Do you feel as though you may sometimes be human? Many people are suffers of being human on a daily basis. If you are one of those 6.5 billion sufferers, then look at Curehuman and talk to your doctor if Curehuman is right for you.

Side affects may include being human, related to humans or at the very least, a resident of planet Earth, and in extremely common cases death may occur. Sufferers of these side affects didn't realize the there is no drug that can cure the human condition and therefore spent way too much money on this pointless drug. Should any of the side affects occur, you will likely be dead or will eventual die. Never take or come into contact with Curehuman if you are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, incapable of becoming pregnant, or alive.

Curehuman, the treatment for being human.


[Inspired by blog entry at: Hey Freak!]

Sunday Drive simpsons

Instead of finishing up work around the house, I asked Allie if she just wanted to go for a drive somewhere Sunday morning. The day was fairly sunny, so I thought it would be nice to get out. Almost before I finished the question, she mentioned that she wanted to go to the new mall up in San Francisco. I think I give a slight smile and an involuntary sigh. I had asked, and she had spoken. It was already on her mind, I suspect. hehe

We had breakfast at the near by McDonalds, then we headed up. We ended up getting a couple of shirts and a tie for me so that I can dress up nice for her company’s Christmas party.

We got home in plenty of time for her to further torture me with episodes of Parental Control. The show’s saving grace is that it does have hot people making fun of each other and the parents chiming in with zinger phrases that I’m sure they were coached on how to use.

But when all was said and done, I got to watch my Simpsons and catch the trailer for the new Simpsons movie. Rumor has it that it’s actually going to be in 2D! Can’t wait. ;)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Touching close to home

It is bizarre to people who’ve never been through it, but movies like The Lake House and books like The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger call to mind experiences I had with a past love.

My quick critique of The Lake House is that it could’ve been written a lot better and it desperately needed an actor with more range than Keanu Reeves. It also had a Hollywood ending tacked on that didn’t make sense with the rest of the movie. It would’ve been much more beautiful (though sad) had the ending stayed true to the rest of the story. However, the general story touched close to home for me.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a deep story told in an experimental and clever style. The storytelling style and events in the book are even a bit reminiscent of what my past love and I experienced. I highly recommand this book, BTW.

I’m not going to go into how these stories remind me of those experiences because unless someone has gone through it firsthand, it really just seems completely implausible. I will say that those fictional stories do not literally represent what happened to us, but there is a lot of truth in them that applies to our experiences. As a side note, no matter how much one thinks they know about the future, it hasn’t happened until it happens, and tinkering with it can throw things into wildly different directions. Oh, and that closure is a luxury only afforded to fictional characters in movies and books.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Al-Qaida Cheer for Democratic Take-over!

Crosswalk recently posted an article that droned on about how the middle east is celebrated the Democratic take over of the US legislature. Although the article is essential factual, the point of the article was not lost by others who have reposted it, such as this Jesus is Lord blog. Of course, I think my reply (currently posted on that blog entry) fits well. And I quote (myself),

It’s completely meaningless to us. The Al-Qaeda have claimed credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union and made a video cheering their “success” about that many years ago. Do you mean to say that the USSR should’ve held on to control simply because Al-Qaeda would take credit for its collasping? Who cares what they think. It's about as important as worrying about what Hilter would’ve thought about today’s world.
nuf said! lol

Saturday, November 11, 2006

List of Five Famous People


Ah, Britney. You've been restored to my List of Five Celebrities. What's the List of Five? There's a Friends episode where Ross learns about the rule where either person in a relationship can set up a list of five famous people. If they ever did anything with anyone on that list, it wouldn't be considered cheating.

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My list current looks something like this:
Jessica Alba
Scarlett Johansson
Britney Spears (recently recovered her position on this list)
Angelina Jolie
Grace Park (newish addition)

One of the previous members of this list that have since been remove is Lindsey Lohan (who peeked around the time she did Mean Girls, but has since partied waaay too much).

UPDATE: Of course, I have an alternate secret list, but shhhh, don't tell anyone. :)
Sophie Marceau
Monica Bellucci
Keira Knightley
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Gwen Steffani

SECOND UPDATE (updated and corrected!):
Man, I can't believe I forget about:
Alyssa Milano
Rachel Weize
Jennifer Love Hewett
Alshey Judge
Mandy Moore
(I guess this 5 is my double secret probational list! lol)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Trouble with PETA

From PETA’s mission statement,
“PETA is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment. PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in laboratories, in the clothing trade, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds and other "pests," and the abuse of backyard dogs. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.”
Although I do agree that humans must take responsibility for our treatment of animals, I disagree with PETA’s stand and many of their characterizations of how animals are treated by people. PETA has undertook good activities, but bringing to light some serious mistreatment, such as in the fur farms. But they’ve also overplayed their position on many occasions.

I remember listening on TV to one individual complaining about California cheese ads with the slogan, “Real cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.” He was going on about how the ads are misleading and how bad cows are really treated on a daily basis. From his description, one would assume conditions resembled those of WWII concentration camps. His description may have worked on some New Yorkers who’ve never been seen open land. However, I grew up in a region that has a lot of farms here in California. I’ve seen just how cows are treated first hand. His description wasn’t just misleading. It was false. Beyond that, the ads are obvious funny and not meant to be taken literally. I do understand they aren’t treated as one would treat people, but they aren’t people. They are a source of food. As such, they are treated pretty damn well.

This brings me to a second point: animals as food. I’ve seen pro-vegetarian literature written from both Eastern and Western perspectives. Unfounded statements generally file pages of arguments against the eating of meat. The underlining goal is to convince the reader that humans are not meant to eat meat which is complimented by some moral or ethical reasons. I just have to laugh when I see these arguments. One argument compares the human intestine to that of a wolf. Of course, the argument never makes a similar comparison to truly vegetarian animals, such as cows. That’s because the human digestive system doesn’t resemble that of either carnivores or herbivores.

In fact, our digestive system has specifically evolved to eat something that no other animal on the face of this planet ever has before. Our digestive system has evolved to take advantage of cooked meat! Even our close cousin, the Neanderthal didn’t make that evolutionary leap. 80% of their diet was raw meat, making it likely that their intestine actual did more closely resemble that of a wolf.

A third point is that all flora and fauna have the same origin. Plants, animals and fungi all have a common ancestor. From a truly unemotional perspective, there isn’t a whole lot of different between munching on a head of lettuce and munching on strip of bacon. Actually, there may be a different. The bacon is already dead when we eat it. The lettuce is still alive! Experiments from the 20th Century proved that plants experienced rudimentary reactions to things happening to them (such as leaves being trimmed) that may be interpreted as emotional responses, such as fear. Should we stop eating plants now too?

How far are we supposed to go to protect other live forms? Our bodies may be invaded by parasites, such as tape worm or malaria. These are also animals. Is it wrong for our bodies to defend themselves against these invaders?

Is it ok to kill bacteria? Our body kills millions (maybe billions or trillions) of bacteria throughout our lives. Are we to take a moral stand against that as well?

Bottom line, all life feeds off of other life to sustain itself. The only reason why members of groups like PETA try to protect certain types of life forms is because we as humans tend to identify with them. If a person makes a personal choice to not use other animals for any purpose (food, clothes or otherwise), that is their choice. However, they should not try to enforce their own beliefs on to others, especially when those beliefs are based on emotion instead of fact. PETA often reminds me of a religious cult whose god is the idea that animals are somehow more special than other life forms.


My own personal belief is that we should use animals to fulfill our needs. This should be balanced with some level of humane treatment to avoid unnecessary suffering. Additionally, I believe that humans are responsible for the proper care of animals we have domesticated for co-habitation (pets or labor animals), whether born as such or feral. But how far we go in these areas should not be determined by self-righteous organizations that do not have a clear foundation for their reasoning.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sci-Fi Tipping

I read a book one time that illustrated just how complex the math gets when figuring out a split dinner bill. In this book, calculating each person’s portions of a dinner bill was used as the drive for an interstellar space craft. Apparently, the math is so complicated that simply trying to figure it out is all it takes to move a ship thru space at ludicrous speeds. I forget which book exactly, but it is one of them in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.

I’m going into this because I got an email originally written by a former waitress that mentioned how to tip. Of course, being by a former waitress, it was complete nonsense. I replied with more correct rules for tipping. When I proofread my reply, it was so complex that it reminded me of that scene from Hitchhiker book. It goes something like this:

Statement: “4. For the love of GOD, leave a freakin’ decent tip. Look at your bill. The total bill including tax. Move the decimal point one place to the left and double that. There's your tip. Servers work very hard and get paid very little. Plus a lot of the cooler places pool tips which means what you leave goes in a big bucket and is divided between servers, bartenders, bussers, etc. You need to make up for the jerk wad who left $6 on his $50 bill.”

My reply: “Nope. This list must’ve been written by a waiter. Tip varies from place to place. $6 is a lot for a $50 bill in some areas (that’s well over 10%, which is common for many areas). In Silicon Valley, great or impressive service is 20%, and does NOT include the tax portion of the bill. Not-so-good to normal service is 15% of the dinner bill. Bad service is 5 to 10%, depending on just how bad. Service that is extensively rude or outright insulting is 0 to 5%, even if the meal is comp’d by the manager. However, the tip is based on service, not the food itself. Don’t punish the wait staff for the cook’s mistakes. Also, 15% of the wait staff’s tips often go to the bussers and greeters. Some people get lazy and multiply the sales tax by two to make that the tip, and this is fine too, but it depends on the area. The base CA rate is 6%, which means in some areas, doubling the tax is 12%. If the tip rate is 10% in that area, it’s fine, but if it’s 15%, that’s a bogus tip. Additionally, if the meal is comp’d or discounted, you tip based on what the full price would’ve been.”

Just as a side note, here was another person’s response: “Yes I remember working in the business and you get compensated for what you do. If you are stupid/forgetful/drunk (as most of us were in college) you get a crappy tip. Stop complaining and give good service, its your job. Oh yeah and when I was a cook, these bastards [on the wait staff] rarely split a sufficient amount of the tip. I just made the food right? It was they who carried it to a table 15 feet.”


LOL

Sufficiently confusing?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Evolution meets reality

The Theory of Evolution doesn’t exist as a counter to the bible or belief in gods.  It is founded upon geology, paleontology, archeology, biology, chemistry, etc.  It exists to provide common-sense, factual explanations of the evidence, as a result of using the principles upon which it stands, based on scientific discoveries made throughout the 17th to 21st Centuries.

In particular, discoveries in geology forced scientist to recognize that Earth is far older than stated by common interpretations of the bible.  These discoveries are summed up in a series of geological principles. Andrew MacRae of TalkOrigins states, “Most of these principles were formally proposed by Nicolaus Steno (Niels Steensen, Danish), in 1669, although some have an even older heritage that extends as far back as the authors of the Bible.  An early summary of them is found in Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology, published in 1830-32, and does not differ greatly from a modern formulation.”

The principles are as follows:

  1. Principle of Superposition - in a vertical sequence of sedimentary or volcanic rocks, a higher rock unit is younger than a lower one. "Down" is older, "up" is younger.  This is more commonly called "Law of Superposition" nowadays.
  2. Principle of Original Horizontality - rock layers were originally deposited close to horizontal.
  3. Principle of Lateral Continuity - A rock unit continues laterally unless there is a structure or change to prevent its extension.
  4. Principle of Cross-cutting Relationships - a structure that cuts another is younger than the structure that is cut.
  5. Law of Included Fragments - a structure that is included in another is older than the including structure.
  6. The principle of "uniformitarianism" - processes operating in the past were constrained by the same "laws of physics" as operate today.  This particular principle is not longer viewed as a necessary factor of modern science, but was important for those who lived in a time when most people considered ancient myths as fact.

In science, a principle (or law) is a description of a phenomenon in a particular situation without considering the cause based on evidence.  Laws are commonly retested just as everything is in science.  If a scientist comes across evidence that seems to contradict a known principle or law, that scientist understands that the principle needs retesting to determine how their new data fits into the overall collection of observations.  For example, the principle of original horizontality basically says that sedimentary layers of rock in the ground must be laid horizontality.  However, many rock formations are made up of sedimentary layers that are nearly vertical.  Is the original horizontality wrong?  No.  The layers where originally laid horizontally. Shifts in the Earth’s crust caused the layers to be moved into a nearly vertical position long after they were laid.  This particular observation was a factor in allowing scientists to eventually discover Plate Tectonics.

What does this have to do with the Theory of Evolution?  Even before radioactive dating, these geological principles forced scientists to realize that the Earth must be at least millions of years old.  Further, fossils of life forms are present in various layers of rock.  The fossil record shows a progressive change in life forms on Earth over time.  There is no period in which every species (particularly plants and animal) exist at the same time.  This led curious minds to ask, what is the process for bringing about new species over time?  Creationism said that all creatures were created in the beginning, but the fossil record shows that species come into existence and died out over different and vast periods of time.

Enter Darwin’s exploration.  He studied modern examples of plants and animals, and understood the fossil record.  His research and publication led to the discoveries of evolution and natural selection.  Why does life change over time?  It evolves.  What is the main driving force of evolution?  It is natural selection.

Darwin didn’t actually create the Theory of Evolution.  A theory cannot be made by one person.  A theory is the working explanation for repeatable observations and predictions in nature that are supported by scientific evidence and verified multiple times by various groups of researchers via peer review processes.  To briefly paraphrase Karl Popper, scientific theories must have testability (ability to test the theory), falsifiability (test if the theory is false), or refutability (test if the theory is refutable).

Evidence collected and verified by this process throughout the 20th Century did nothing but continue to reinforce the Theory of Evolution.  The fossil record became more complete and understanding of genetics improved.  Richard Lenski states, “Using DNA sequences, biologists quantify the genetic similarities and differences among species, in order to determine which species are more closely related to one another and which are more distantly related.  In doing so, biologists use essentially the same evidence and logic used to determine paternity in lawsuits.  The pattern of genetic relatedness between all species indicates a branching tree that implies divergence from a common ancestor.”

In the 21st Century, new discoveries in biology are not only further proving evolution; they are actually using knowledge of evolution to make new discoveries, particularly in areas of battling diseases, as mentioned in the article “Antibiotics in Action” at Pharmaceutical Achievers.  In other words, the Theory of Evolution is practical science benefiting humankind directly.  This puts the Theory of Evolution in the same league as Universal Law of Gravitation, Music Theory, theories within Mathematics, and General Relativity.

So, why is this important?  The key difference between notions based on Creationism such as Intelligent Design and actual theories such as Evolution is in their value to science.  Intelligent Design is the end of knowledge. It cannot be tested. It leads to no further discoveries.  It does not improve our understanding of the world around us.  On the other hand, Theory of Evolution is the beginning of knowledge. It is a model of science being used in practical ways. It also leads to more discoveries with endless possibilities.  The value of Theory of Evolution is that is expands our knowledge.  Just as geology opened the door to discovering Evolution, Theory of Evolution is opening the doors to many other sciences involving biology, biotechnology, infectious diseases, genetics, environmentalism, farming, etc.  It leads to a better understanding of the world around us as a logical result of the many observations we make of that world.

References:
Andrew MacRae
Karl Popper
Richard Lenski
Antibiotics in Action

Monday, October 30, 2006

California Props 2006 (quick note)

My main problem with the California propositions this year (2006) is that most of them are trying to sneak something by the voters. I've commented on some of this on a previous entry.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Getting wet in Capitola, CA



Here's Miriam about to get soaked up to her butt. Posted by Picasa

Capitola, CA


After many attempts and many negotiations of time, Miriam and I finally got to go on a get-away Friday. We headed to Capitola for the day. We started by having lunch on the waterfront at Margeritavilla (not the Jimmy Buffet one). Neither of us have been this portion of Capitola before. We didn't even know it was here. It's a very charming area with 4 million dollar waterfront condos. The day was perfect.
At lunch, these two young girls were sat at a table near us. We couldn't help but over hearing their conversation. I coulda swore they were filming the MTV show Laguna Beach right there! To break up the "fun", a pigeon flew in and demanded attention from the girls. The little blonde started feeding it tortilla chip crumbs right out of her hand. The moment got a bit tainted cuz them the other girl was trying to get her to take a picture of it, followed by Miriam trying to do the same too.
Afterwards, we relaxes on the small pier, then got some towels and relaxed on the beach. Of course, it wasn't long before she wanted to chase the crashing waves. Neither of us were dressed for such beach activities, and getting soaked meant staying soaked, which happened to here. I was a bit more cautious, but it didn't save my pant legs.
It was a very relaxing afternoon, but we had to get back. I'll definitely be coming back, maybe with Allie for an overnight stay at the $200 novelty hotel made to look like tiny Spanish villas. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Friday's Afternoon

I took off early from work last Friday in order to get a bunch of stuff done. I got home to make myself a lunch a relax for a little while. I then headed down to the Voter Registrar to update my address and get the Nov 2006 California Ballot (see my previous entry about this). I was a bit surprised to find it was two sheets long. I was prepared on the Props, but didn’t have a clue about the local elections, so I took it home with me.
I did my additional research and completed the ballot.
I think had to find my old cable modem to return to the cable company to remove $100 from my final bill. Once in hand, I headed to the cable company local center to drop it off. Then, I headed to DMV to pick up their change of address form. On my way back, I dropped off my ballot at the Voter Registrar.
I filled out the DMV change of address form and prepared it for mailing. I think contacted the company that made my company mother board in order to get a RMA to return it for replacement or fixing. It turns out they had to mail me a form first. ::rolling my eyes::
It took all afternoon, but it’s all done. Just in time to figure out where I’m going to find time to do this weeks errands.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Watch not Watch

Much like the telegraph, male brimmed formal hats, milk delivery men, and other faded cultural norms of the past, the wrist watch is no longer needed and is losing popularity. I remember when I was growing up; it seemed almost alien to be without a watch. My mother and I had discussions about the different ways to wear them. Lefties usually wear their watch on the right hand; right handed people wear theirs on the left. Some people had the clock face on the top of the wrist, and others wear it to the inside of the wrist. The watch could be worn high on the wrist or dangling against the hand.
If you look at any old photo of me that shows my arms, you’ll see the signature small clock with band wrapped around my wrist. Sometime in my early to mid twenties (in the mid 1990’s) I began feeling as though I was walking around with too much gadgetry. I got rid of my cell phone, stopped carrying a pager, stopped trying to use a planner, stopped wear belts unless I really needed it, and slowly, I stopped wearing watches. I vowed to myself that I would wait until all-in-one electronic devices came out before I’d considered carrying or wearing any of that stuff again. I enjoyed the new freedom. I didn’t really need a watch because almost everywhere I go; I can get the time just by looking around for a couple of seconds.
Over time, I’ve developed the habit of specifically making it a point not to wear watches. I still might wear one to a special event for fashion, but I’ve never think about it when such events come up, so it never happens.
It seems for whatever reasons; watches are fading in popularity across our culture. I’m personally glad to see the watch go. It really serves very little purpose now. Some watch makers are trying to increase the value of their watches by adding functions to them, such as compasses or calendars. But it’s a gadget that’s time as past. Good riddens (or riddance if you are so inclined).

Friday, October 20, 2006

Trouble with Its Trouble

Despite my best intentions, it appears I've only achieved an evil factor of 31% Phoowie!

This site is certified 31% EVIL by the Gematriculator

California Proposition Nov 2006

Prop 83 - Known as Jessica's Law. This law is extremely unrealistic. Some of the provisions of the law are good, but many are simply ludicrous. The onthingng that I find completely insane in the requirement for people tagged as "sex offenders" to wear a GPS tracking device for life. WTF? Not only is that completely pointless, it is a complete waste of public funds to maintain a system that has to keep track of these people. It is the first step to requiring more and more minor offenses to also have this GPS requirement limiting their freedoms. Sure, none of us like sex offenders, but I also don't like the fact that society feels it has the right to tell an undefined segment that it can go here, but can't go there, for LIFE! This is a slippery slop to totalitarianism. First it was repeat offender drunk drivers, now this nebulous class of sex offenders, then terrorist, then supposed gangbangers, then violent criminals, then any criminal, then any group who's views don't fit the social order. One day, it will be political opponents, and maybe the general population. Think I'm kidding or exaggerating? Just take a look at the end result just this kind of control over the population in North Korea! Already, the term "sex offender" has been expanded to include people that might be a bit surprising to many. It even has been applied to people that have never been convicted of a crime! How's that possible?! Imagine such limitations being applied to someone that has never been convicted of anything! It will happen. I'm reminded of the book 1984. Another fact that makes this prop just silly is that only 7% sexual assults are committed by registered sex offenders. Most incidents are perpetrated by someone that the victim knows from within their family or circle of friends. Should we next put GPS devices on everyone to prevent the other 93% of incidents? Jessica's law is far too broad. It needs to be more well thought out, and limited to increasing law enforcement's ability to catch perpetrators, increase of prison time, and increase of parole terms. It should also make medical treatment more dominate during and after prison terms. Anything else should be scrapped as unworkable or just ridiculous. NO!

Prop 84 - Proposition to protect and improve our water and nature resources infrastructure. I'm marginally yes. I don't have a strong opinion about this one though. Yes.

Prop 85 - This proposition seeks to establish a waiting period and Parental Notification before a minor can have an abortion. The previously rejected proposition for this same purpose attempted to define when life began in a first step to completely outlaw any abortions. I am in favor of requiring parental notification for any medical activity for a minor, but I'm against the attempts to erode away at a woman's right to choose. So, NO!

Prop 86 - Tax on cigarettes. One issue that hasn't been addressed is the fact that this proposition does remove some level of accountability by Hospitals. Why would a simple tax want to have any say in how Hospitals operate? It is very suspicious. No.

Prop 87 - This is a tax on California oil to fund Alternative Energy research, production and incentives. This is a very good idea. We need to pay for this now or later, and it is always more expensive later. Right now, Texas and Alaska get paid for the oil pumped from their states, but California does not. In fact, even though much of the oil we use is from our own state, we have traditionally paid much more for gas than any other state! We need to kick this oil habit, and this proposition is a big and correct step in the right direction to that goal. It will decrease our dependency on all oil (not just foreign). It takes money from oil company profits (billions of dollars) that should be paid to California anyway. For too long, the oil companies have been taking or oil, making too much money from us by selling it to us at the highest rates in the country. I'm voting Yes.

Prop 88 - I don't have a strong position on this one. So, since it is a tax without any strong purpose for me, I am voting no. (BTW, it's something to do with Education funding).

Prop 89 - It's called Political Campaigns. Public Financing. Corporate Tax Increase. Contributions and Expenditure Limits. Initiative Statute. It seeks to regulate public financing for campaigns, especially for all these propositions. However, it does go way to far. I like the idea of limiting corporation financing of political campaigns, but I'm against many of the other provisions, including taxing corporations to pay for public funding of political campaigns. I don't see the value in this. It would be much better to require TV and radio stations to provide certain amounts of free airtime dedicated to the political campaigns. This would go much farther to evening the playing field between the rich and powerful with grass roots. The more support one has by the people, the more airtime earned. So, while limiting corporations in their funding of pthingcal campaigns (a very good thang), this proposition is over reaching by forcing the bulk of all funding to come from the government. This can be used to eventually silence the minor or grass roots instead of helping them. In my opinion, this Prop is nothing more than a power grab attempt by particular unions. NO!

Prop 90 - This proposition seeks to limit State and Local government use of eminent domain for any other purpose other than public use. It also narrowly defines public use. It does a few other things too, which make the proposal a bit more palatable. I'm pretty much dead set against this proposition. In an attempt to limit government powers regarding eminent domain, it in fact opens the door for developers to do pretty much whatever they want, increasing urban sprawl, while allowing inner city degradation. Cities much develop both by expanding at reasonable rates and by urban renewal. Taking away a government's authority to carry out its responsibility to the people to keep our cities vital, this proposition tries to pull us back to a period in which cities expanded without regard, ignoring their interiors without any an organized overall plan. It puts communities at the mercy of large land owners and developer by taking away the public's right to have any say in the process. It will cost money strapped communities millions to revitalize city interiors, and open them up to unlimited lawsuits regarding any move towards urban renewal. Someone thought, "hey, it would be a good idea to limit government power." But what this proposition really does is limit the people's power to determine the course of their community's future. This is libertarianism taken to an unrealistic and poorly executed extreme. NO!

Prop 1A - This proposition strengthens Prop 42 on how sales tax revenue can be used for transportation purposes. Limiting government's power to fund projects is normally well intentioned, but usually has consequences. A marginal No from me.

Props 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E or all much needed bond measures. I'm marginally Yes on these.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sharing spaces

I’ve been living with my fiancé for about a month or so now. She was already living in the place I moved into, so it was kinda like me moving into her space. It’s taken her a bit to realize just what’s involved to share space with another person, but physically and emotionally. But for the most part, everything is going pretty well. Not much else on this topic to talk about. :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Metaphors of Religion

What are my religious views? Metaphors are created to explain what is currently unknowable. Religion is formalization of those metaphors into a belief system that often involves the necessity for particular practices. Far too often, religion takes their metaphors as fact. When knowledge is increased and what was previously unknowable is finally discovered, a religion will often cling to their metaphors. They may reinterpret them to conform to the new knowledge, or may oppose the new knowledge.
Imagine a person who has never seen or heard of a banana. Now imagine that person is hungry. A kind stranger walks along and hands that person a banana and tells them that it is food. The person tries to taste it without peeling it, but really doesn’t know what to do with it. All they know is that they’ve been told is that they can eat it. So, another kind stranger walks along seeing this hungry person looking at the banana. That stranger walks up and peels the banana for the hungry person. But now imagine that instead of eating the newly exposed banana flesh, the person throws the flesh aside and continues to grasp the peel as though the peel well feed them somehow.
This is kinda how religion tends to respond to new knowledge. When the metaphor is found to no longer be useful (peeled away to reveal knowledge), a religious system will often still hold on to it instead of taking in the newly discovered knowledge.
To break free from this, a person must realize that the metaphor has its place, not as factual representation of knowledge, but as a way to explain what is currently unknown. If one can admit that they do not know something, then the metaphor can be used effectively until such knowledge is obtained. This can be an empowering position.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lorono

Lorono is one of those surnames that is just hard to figure out. Does it have a meaning? Where is it really from? Anyone remotely famous that can remotely be associated with the name?
Clues are few and far between. Family hearsay suggests some origin in the northern area of Spain normally associated with Castile. However, I was contacted a few years ago by someone who had some sort of familiarity with the name Lorono. That person provided an digital copy of an old regional map which showed the location of a little populated area that bore the name. What was interesting is that he associated the name with the Basque population in the area (north central coast of Spain, near France).
More recently, I did some digging online to find another little populated area that also bore the same name, but in Galicia (north western tip of Spain). I found that the name is listed as being of native origin in Galicia. This is kinda stunning. It’s not a commonly known fact that the people of Galicia are Gaelic. If the name Lorono has its origin in Galicia, there’s a good chance it may have Gaelic origins.
Since the name also appears in the area associated with the Basque peoples in Pias Vasco, the suggestion might be that there is some link between the use of Lorono there and with Galicia.
The Gaelic link intrigues me because I am also part Irish. (Ireland is the only independent Gaelic country in the world.) It means that my heritage has some very interesting twists and turns, and may have yet to reveal some very surprising links across the three continents that my family tree derives from: Europe, Asia and North America.
Other forms: Loroños, Loronos, Loroño.
References: Source 1, Source 3, Source 4, and Source 5.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Interviewed by the Devil?

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: No. I believe in things that are tangible or that can be proven.

Q: Do you have a car?
A: Do I have a car? Yeah, sure.

Q: What make is it?
A: What make? It’s a Ford.

Q: So Ford made your car?
A: Well, yeah. the company Ford.

Q: So your car had a maker? That maker was Ford. Your house has a maker too, just as everything must have a maker. (This statement is sometimes followed by a biblical reference). [Note: Normally, this isn’t actually a question, but a preaching point to link to the next topic, which is usually started before the interviewee can reply.]

Q: Are you a good person?
A: Sure, yeah, I’m a good person.

Q: Have you ever lied?
A: Sure, who hasn’t?

Q: What does that make you?
A: A liar.

Q: Have you ever stolen anything?
A: Sure, I guess.

Q: What does that make you?
A: A thief?

Q: Have you ever looked at or lusted after a woman?
A: Well, yeah, kind of, I guess.

Q: The bible says if someone looks at a woman with lust, they have already committed adultery in their heart. [No pause or opportunity is usually allowed before the next question is asked.]

Q: Have you every used God’s name in vain?
A: Sure.

Q: That’s blasphemy. The bible says that sinners are going to hell. Given your sins, where does the bible says you are going once you die?
A: Well, I don’t believe in the bible, but I guess if you believe in such things, it says you are going to hell. But do you think hell is a reasonable expectation for such minor things. I’m a good person and always do what I’m supposed to do. I’ve never been punished for anything I’ve done by the law, nor have I intentionally tried to hurt anyone. Do you think someone like that should go to hell?

Q: The bible only offers only one way out from going to hell. That is through our Lord Jesus Christ who came down and did something amazing for us. Do you know what he did?
A: Well, again, if you believe in such things, he died for us.

Q: He suffered for us on the Cross to pay for all of our sins and buy our way to heaven. Only by accept him can we escape hell… [At this point, it turns pretty much in to a preaching session. The interviewee is usually left a little confused and frustrated at the fact they just allowed them-self to be preached to by some thickheaded bible thumping dumb ass. If the interviewee iterates being an atheist or brings up any further counterpoints, the interviewer will excuse them-self and abruptly cut the interview short, often iterating comment about going to hell.]

The important thing to note is that the interviewer is employing conversation and thought manipulation. If the person were weak minded (or even just undereducated), they may be influenced into accepting the preached message (even if it’s just a little bit), leaving that person open to being controlled by further suggestions.

Even experienced and educated persons will be trapped in this conversation. There is no real point to this interview other than to find someone who is impressionable or to make the audience feel justified in their belief system by harassing what they consider to be willful unbelievers.

One way to engage in the conversation and make it two-sided is to break up the rote pattern that is being used by the interviewer. Force them to acknowledge answers to their questions instead of just running through a list of questions culminated with a preaching service. Bring them into the conversation by holding them accountable for their questions and answers to your questions. If they are inexperienced, they will be suckered into a pointless point for point debate that they cannot win. If they are experienced, they will excuse them-self and move on to the next hapless victim. This will prevent them from using the interview in their sermons later on. Of course, avoiding the interview altogether is the best choice, but how much fun is that?

So, how about if the interview went something like this?


Q: Do you believe in God?
A: Nope. The existence of a god cannot be proven.

Q: Do you have a car?
A: Sure. It’s a Ford.


Q: So Ford made your car?
A: Yup. In a manner of speaking.

Q: So your car had a maker? That maker was Ford. Your house has a maker too, just as everything must have a maker. [Interrupt them at this point.]
A: Do you have a psychology degree with a license to practice?

Q: No. I’m asking you if it is reasonable to say that your car had a maker, but not the Universe, because…[Interrupt them again at this point.]
A: No, you are using psychology conversational tools used to direct one’s thought. But instead of using it to help someone, you are using it as a brainwashing technique. That is wrong, and in your terms, it is sinful to try to control someone’s mind. If your god was real, he wouldn’t need mind tricks to try to con people into being followers. Trust me, if there is an afterlife, you are going be held more accountable for your mind control deeds than any one else you claim is a sinner only because they don’t know Christ. You know what? I’m going to report you to the authorities for practicing psychology without a license. What is your name again?

Of course, it doesn't matter whether anything you say make 100% sense, or is even true (I'm sure there aren't any laws linking flawed arguments with "practicing psychology".  The point is to take up their time so they can't harass anyone else, and to maybe scare them a bit so they think twice before continuing to practice their technique on unwitting people.

Another method is to take the line of rote questions away from them.

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: Nope. I find it hard to believe in something that can't be proven. I mean, that's the difference between a car, which has a known maker, and the Universe. You can see that a car was made by humans because it is assembled to fulfill a particular role. But you don't see that in nature. In nature, everything is random. Cars and houses don't just come into being by themselves. If this Universe was created by a nurturing and caring god, one of the main things we should expect is that all of our corporeal needs are directly addressed. For example, people who raise animals feed that animal, groom it, raise it, protect it, and even clean up after its dirty business. Imagine what would happen if a cat owner didn't clean the litter box. Yuk! Yet, this Universe doesn't do any of that for us. We have to find our own food. We have to cook our own meals. We have to build the houses we live in and the cars we drive in. We even have to wipe our own asses. [At this point, the interviewer should be pretty red in the face and trying to cut the interview short. Bate them as long as possible into a pointless argument to keep them from pouncing on some other unwitting victim.]

Yet another way to ask for an insane amount of detail to explain their questions, then use their answers to prove they are not the true religion. This requires some knowledge of the bible, but can be particularly fun.

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: Which god?

Q: The God of the bible.
A: Which god in the bible. There’s several mentioned. Elohim, Yahweh, Jesus is referred to as a god, and Jesus himself calls Satan a god.

Q: The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. That is the only true God.
A: Oh, the Trinity. Which type? Do you believe in three persons, one god? Or is it one god with three facets?

Q: God is three persons and one God. [Of course, the answer doesn’t matter cuz either way, this is the answer:]
A: That's odd, I thought you said you believe in the god of the bible. There’s no mention of that god in the bible. When the bible goes into talking about the nature of god, it only mentions one person. Well, OK. You are a sinner and a blasphemer. I'm sorry. It's against my faith to talk to you about the bible. Christ makes it clear not to associate with bad apples.

Q: [If they are dumb enough to try to argue your points, let them have it.]
A: Nope, I'm sorry. You are the devil appearing as an angel of light. You use god's name, but you do not know him. Get away from me, Satan! Only by accepting the true god can you be saved. Repent now, SINNER!

Any other ideas? :) 

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I figured out what ACURA stands for

ACURA stands for A Car Under Repair Always. OMG, this is crazy. I was taking my car in the dealership for routine service, and on my way there, the transmission broke down. This is the third transmission to break down on my car since I got it back in 2003. Very annoying.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Tap the Top of a Soda can

I used to be one of those people that laughed at people who tapped the top of a recently jostled soda can in order to prevent it from fizzing wildly when opening it (as opposed to just letting it take the time to settle down on its own)

We've all dropped our soda can or been the victim of someone shaking it before giving it to us or something similar. The desire is to not let that slow us down from enjoying the tasty beverage contained within the soda can.

So, I one time, I saw someone tapping the top of his soda can after dropping it, and I was like, "What are you doing?" I mean, how does that have anything to do with the released carbon dioxide from creating pressure in the can, right?

Everything "official" I've found on the topic also says that it doesn't work. This person or that person supposedly did this or that test which never shows any difference between tapped and nontapped shook soda cans. But that doesn't change the fact that it does work. Remember, I used to laugh at people who did this. With basic cola like Pepsi and Coke, I've never had overflowing fizz blow out of the can if I tapped it. Since I started using this technique myself, I have amazed others with full on demostrations.

Of course, there are others who are proponents of this technique.

So basically, I've had nothing but success using this method on regular colas. (I've seen results with A&W Root Beer, and me own experience says that no trick works with it cuz it is designed to foam and foam it does!)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Urbandictionary.com

In case you've not heard of it, there's a great place to find out the meaning of the newest words or phrases being used, called Urban Dictionary. Fellow users frequently update the Urban Dictionary with new words and definitions, including yours truly. So far, I have added 6 words that have been accepted, 5 of which have been met with significant thumbs up peer approval.
I'm also a frequent user of Dictionary.com too, which has recently improved its site content.
Oh, and also, on many online searches I do nowadays, I follow up the search text with "wiki" to make sure wikipedia entries show up, as these are often more concise and useful than traditional news or database sources.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Moving chills

Last time I moved rented a Rider truck and headed down to the Home Depot. As always, there was a load of day laborers seeking work. I made eye contact with one of them as I was pulling into the parking lot. I didn’t get much further when the whole lot of them just started running all around the truck. The guy I had made eye contact with was first. He straight up opened the passenger side door of my truck, slammed it behind him and scooted to the middle. The rest of the crowd then caught up. This one kid made it to the passenger side door first, but as he opened it, this older guy snaked right by him into the truck, slamming the door shut. It was crazy. I was like, well, I got my two guys. lol I checked them out and negotiated the day’s rate. I let them know it was going to be moving furniture, just to make sure they where both up to (especially the older guy). My truck was still surrounded by the others, but I was able to pull forward.
At my old place, we got the first load onto the truck and headed to the dump (to get rid of my infamous Cal King bed ::sniff:: and utter stuff too). After unloading, we headed back to load up the items for the move. It turned out that the older guy was a much harder worker than the first guy.
The lesson learned? Lock the passenger door of your vehicle before approaching a Home Depot looking for day laborer help. :)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Google

Google or Yahoo? Well, I use both, but mostly Yahoo for immediately available content. There, there's also Clusty that organizes my search results. That's all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Unusual attention on an old post

Sometime last year, I posted a light-hearted commentary on the idea of viewing human history in human-centric terms titled Something about Evolution Just Occured to Me. What's odd is that this posting has just recently provoked a healthy array of comment responses.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Al-Qaida must be stratching their heads

Recently Al-Qaida leadership has offered a hand out to Americans to join the Muslim faith. Then days later, they go about making more threats against us. I say it now, truly, if every American was a Muslim, Al-Qaida would still be a terrorist organization fighting against us. They are so hypocritical, that it is just ludicrous. One has to wonder why they haven't figured out why 1.2 million Muslims within the U.S. haven't stooped to join their cause.
America isn't a place that people live so much as it is an idea we hold valuable. Freedom isn't a sin. It is God's gift to those who are willing to give trust to a system that at least tries to treat everyone with equality, even if we do fall short of that goal in reality. What does Al-Qaida offer? Freedom from freedom? Laughable.
America isn't a superpower because strove to be. We did not seek this out. It was thrust upon us. And, history will show, we have acted most responsibility amongst any other nation that has held this position in any time in history.
Al-Qaida is nothing more than a power lusting organization that is covering over their sins under the banner of jihad. Watching them work is like watching a mediocre online RTS game play out. It's as though they got their world strategy by playing Command and Conquer. Seriously, if you've play any of those games, you can see the pattern.
There will always be a yin and a yang, with two opposing sides. But Al-Qaida has done nothing except make the U.S. more powerful and drove us to become an even greater superpower. ::sigh:: I've never seen the U.S. be able to wield so much force with so little effort. We are waging two wars at the same time on a peacetime economy! Imagine what would happen should America convert our economy over to wartime again (as we did in WWII). This is not the direction we should be taking the world in. Yet, it is Al-Qaida which is driving the America to become such a force. As much as the Japanese underestimated America in the 40's, Al-Qaida is underestimating us much much worse now. The Japanese awoke a sleeping dragon. Al-Qaida has sharpen that same dragon's claws and given it steroids.

Friday, September 01, 2006

So, a bit more on Pluto's demotion

It is appropriate that their are already scientists that are rebuffing the recent supposed demotion of Pluto as a planet. I mentioned there would be embarrassment on this decision within 20 years. Well, one week is certainly within 20 years. lol

Reuters reports:

"The IAU can say the sky is green all day long and that doesn't make it so," said Stern, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "The IAU created a definition which is technically flawed, linguistically flawed and scientifically embarrassing," Stern said in a phone interview.


This is pretty funny and pretty much matches the point I made previously. These people don't own our solar system and they don't own the English language.

Fact of the matter is, the new definitions of "planet" actually are poorly worded to specifically exclude both Ceres and Pluto as planets.

A "planet" [1] is a celestial body that: (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.


Furthermore, these rules fail to recognize the differences between the accepted planets. Gas Giants like Jupiter or Saturn have very little in common with Terrestrials like Earth or Venus. Instead of playing political games with how words are used, these scientist should be working to create meaningful classifications of planets that describe their general make-up and origins.

Once we start exploring other solar systems, I think we will find the familiar order of our own solar system is quite rare, and that our current understanding of what a planet is not resemble its future definition. There will be planets that share orbits in one fashion or another. There will be protoplanets larger than Earth, but residing within an Asteroid field. There will be double planets that are similar in size and that orbit either other. There will smashed planets, rogue planets, comet tail planets, double Gas Giants, heavy element planets, obround planets the size of Mars, empty planets, planets that look like the Virgin Mary or Abraham Lincoln, hard surface planets bigger than Neptune, and planets where it really is easy being green. All of this makes the current politically motivated discussion, of what deserves to be called a planet, all very silly.

Friday, August 25, 2006

So, on Pluto's demotion

Lame. Astronomers are so lame. They don't have a clear definition amongst themselves regarding what is a planet and what is not, yet they are so arrogant that they imagine they have some sort of magically authority or ownership over our solar system and the English language.

The redefinition of Pluto from planet to "dwarf" is going to go down as one of the biggest moves by any group of scientists in our times. The fact is, they are making this weird decision at a time when it is becoming increasingly clear that there is no single description to suit all sizeable bodies that orbit a star. Earth has less in common with Saturn that it does with Pluto. Well, we call Saturn a "Gas Giant" planet. Funny, so it's not the same type of planet as Earth? This is where the artificially imposed definition of the word planet is going to seem really stupid in a couple of decades. There's all sorts of bodies of all sorts of shapes orbiting all sorts of stars. Some will be called planets and some won't because of their location in their respective solar systems? I think we are going to find out that the variety of how solar systems are organized is going to make that practice absolutely silly.

It's going to look every more silly cuz all they educated astronomers can't stand the fact that Pluto was discovered by an amateur, an outsider to their world. This is jealousy if nothing else. Again, they've got this strange almost religious belief that they are somehow empowered to have authority over our perception of our Universe. Umm, yeah, No. With the same authority they use to speak of the solar system, I used here to speak of them now. I hereby declare them lame and without any authority over our solar system or the English language.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Trouble with personal responsibility

Personal responsibility seems to be elusive to some people. It's like, there's individuals that don't really understand or choose to ignore just how their actions directly impact those around them, and their own lives.
If you cut someone off in traffic, you screwed up. Don't go flipping off the person cuz they were so scared they didn't know how to respond. In fact, let me make this broader. The Today show did a segment today where they talked about how parents are feeding their daughters self confidence, like they can do they want, but then don't give them the tool necessary to handle the empowering properly. They aren't taught how to handle failure, or that others need respecting as well. They aren't taught the consequences of their actions. They aren't taught how to take responsibility for themselves when the do something detrimental, such as drugs are teen sex. I think it is because my general (who's having and raising all these brats), took these lessons for granted. How we learned them, without realizing them is somewhat of a mystery. It means that my generation isn't doing a good job of passing this knowledge. The knowledge of personal responsibility. Society doesn't owe us anything other than thangs that make society good, like roads and schools and local police, etc. We are responsible for ourselves. I'm not just talking about in this society, but also Karmically. If you hurt someone in spite, that will come back on you somehow, so don't be all butthurt about it when it does. Anyways, people need to learn to take responsibility for their actions. Many people need to realized just how their own actions directly and indirectly affect themselves. Ok, 'nuf ranting on this topic.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

That asshole Nick (the first one)!

This letter was such a raw and straightforward stream of conscience, that I'd thought it would make a good read, even though it's not about me, personally. I'm posting this with Kristin's permission.

Matt, Matt, Matt....do I have an interesting weekend to tell you about :) Hope all has been well with you. I will be sure to read that page you sent me this week so I can keep myself up to date about what's going on with you...oh and I will definitely give you a heads up for when I come to San Jose b/c I didn't get to do any sightseeing and here's why:

Michelle & I got together at the Olive Garden on Friday when I came into the Central Valley. I've never eaten there. We ate soo much! It was so great seeing her again! We headed over to the mall and walked around. This is the night I dealt with scumbucket Nick who I was supposed to see in San Jose on Sunday, which I was very excited about.

Nick told me to call on Saturday to get our plans worked out for Sunday. I waited 6 hours on Saturday for a phone call in return to mine, then I ended up calling, put thru to voicemail. Called from Michelle's cell phone b/c she was with me at the Mall and he picked up. Found out that he was "Deeply involved in a baseball game" and that's why he didn't pick up for me....(((yet he's picking up for a number he doesn't know))) He promises to call me back in 30 mins, and he does.

I find out he was at the Giants/Dodgers game that I had dreamed of going to and he knew that I wanted to go. He could have waited a day so that I could go. I told him "I waited 6 hours for a call back about plans for tomorrow and I drove 300 miles to see my friends here, on top of that, make a trip out of my way out-of-town to see you, and you can't even extend a common courtesy call to make our plans official?? I believe I deserve an apology." He told me "You think I owe an apology to someone I don't even know?" Then, here's the kicker. A girl in the car gets on Nick's phone and says "There's a really cute, hot guy sittin' next to me and if you don't flirt with him, I will. Oh yeah, and for someone he doesn't even know to expect an apology from him...just get over it!" She hung up on me. He never called back. I ended up going out to the club with Michelle after this to do something productive so I wasn't thinking about it.

So Sunday was actually spent watching "Before Sunset" with Eric's roommate & brother Neal (Eric is who I was staying with, a friend of mine). I went with Neal & his roommate Jacob to see "Snakes on A Plane"....don't see it, its a rental. Then I hung out with my best friend Nick (different from the one above) by going to see "Accepted" followed by going to Frozen Yogurt. Monday was spent going to lunch with my best friend Claudia, eating frozen yogurt, listening to new music for hours, and watching "Before Sunset" the sequel to "Before Sunrise." On Tuesday, I had lunch w/my best bud Nick, then met up with Michelle at the Mall b/c she was killin' time waitin' for her boy alex to get done with football practice. She was really supportive with the whole Nick thing b/c she was practically there when it went down.

That's about it...in a nutshell....LOL. Oh and if you want to give Nick a piece of your mind, you can do so at his myspace page: http:.//www.myspace.com/lizardking33

~Kristin

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sankes on a Plane

Man, I don't understand what people have against the movie Snakes on a Plane. I know it sounds crazy, but Snake on a Plane could very well be the best movie of the year, so go see it! After all, it is snakes and they are on a plane. What's there not to like? Think about it. Snakes, on a plane. Do miss out!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Orientate your orient

I got a co-worker that's all, "There's no such word as orientate. It's orient." and I'm all, "Orientate is the root word of orientation, so how's it not a word?" Of course, the truth is actually ::HERE:: Of course, everyone has their own opinion. :)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Horrors of Kerioki!

If you know what's good for your, you will avoid this click of three guys with accents from around the globe singing "The Women in Me". Shania Twain, eat your heart out!


Monday, August 14, 2006


It finally came. My voucher from Microsoft to buy anything I want for my computer use. The question is now this. Do I support the economy and buy something new with this voucher, or do I apply this voucher to a purchase I've recently made? Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I went hiking a couple of weekends ago with Allie, her friend Wendi and a couple of their friends up at Rancho San Antonio park. We hiked up an up and up and up. The day was hot, but fortunately, the heatwave that had been plaguing the Bay Area had already pasted, so it wasn't so bad. Did I mention we hiked up? There's some good trails at this park, where you hike up. Also some great views of the South Bay once you get up the hills. At one place, we could pick out the Shoreline Amphitheater, Moffett Field and the north end of Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. From our viewing angle, the whole region appeared to be covered with trees. After hiking up all those hills, we ended the hike going down hill through this one covered trail next to a stream with a lot of little quaint bridges. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Infant Memories...

I've heard it said that we are blank slates at birth. My own memories from the womb involve self aware thoughts and feelings. I do not have sensory memories per se, just mostly emotional. We've been so conditioned to believe we don't remember anything from our earliest ages that most of us believe it, but it's not true. I even remember having the conversation with my mom at a young age asking her why I didn't remember anything. The answer she gave me lead me to believe it was true. "No body remembers anything from when they are an babies." Well, that was wrong. Most of us just don't recognize what the early memories are. It is true that I don't have may well defined memories from before 3, but I do have some, mostly in the form emotions, without much sensory relationship to them. We don't have much in the way of sensory memories because our brain isn't yet developed enough to fully experience the the physical senses. So how is the brain going to to record such events? It would be like holding your finger over a tape recorder's mic while recording. I think much of the confusion on this topic comes from not understand this simple fact. Yes, we don't have many memories of physical events, but we do have the memories of the emotions that those events caused. We carry those memories our entire lives without realizing them and what they are. My memories of that period are not recovered. I've had them all along. It just took me a long time to realize what they were in the context of my own experience. From what I remember, I most definately had a well developed personality just waiting for a chance to express itself. But that's a different topic.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pix from the Kimi, Miriam and Jenn nite

Us at Buddha Here's a photo of Kimi, Miriam, and Jenn at Buddha Lounge a couple Fridays ago. The quality of the pix is directly related to the person holding the camera phote, and the strength of the flash on said phone. Also, in this particular case, I took the picture by accident while trying to show some drunk-ass how to take the photo for us that included all of us.

Us at Buddha I actually made it into the next photo. :) It took forever for the fellow random bar patron to figure it out. I'm actually surprized it came out as good as it did. Below is Jenn and Miriam growling at each other. I don't think I remember any real growling, but it kinda looks like that in the photo. grrrr hehe

Us at Buddha Actually, what was going on there? A picture says a 1000 words, but are any of the words spoken by this photo saying anything meaning full or representitive of our evening? grrr. grrr. hehe

Us at Buddha And finally here I am. I was trying to go for a sweet smile, but I think this photo is telling in other ways. :) Special thanks to Kimi for providing this pix!