Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Online gaming

Well, I've been hella distracted recently with online gaming. I've been filling up a considerable amount of my time playing Battlefront. I'm also starting to get addicted to the new Pirates! game, though it's not an online game. I'm looking at a monitor at work and at home, and I've noticed that my eyes get more tired now because it. Also, I'm sure my g/f has noticed a bit of a crunch on our shared time too.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Mind Control works for fun and profit

From a recent AFP story, "A poll last November by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 63 percent of people who attend services more than once a week vote Republican, while 37 percent of regular attendees vote Democrat."

See, mind control works! When someone gets used to being told what to believe, they tend not to question anything regarding what they are being told from their masters.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Vegas 2005

It was nice to get away in Las Vegas last weekend with some friends. Even though I was there 3.5 days, it felt like a week. Margaritaville at the Flamingo was fun. I got nicely toasted on their Perfect Margaritas. Quark's Bar resturant was great. Miriam even challenged the female Klingon with a dual over her male Klingon mate. Pretty damn funny. I came close to braking even on my gambling efforts as well. I had a good time.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Conservatives are speaking up over the Neocons for once

The house just voted to limit the Patriot Act. It looks like the Conservatitives still do have some voice in the Neocon run Republican Party. Let's see if they can still get past Bush himself to prevent at least some of the Partriot Act's privacy invasion clauses. Some how I still think the Neocons will get their way though.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Saturday party

Saturday’s party was a lot of fun. We reserved the VIP upstairs area for Miriam’s birthday party at The Buddha Lounge. Over twenty people showed up. Miriam’s goal was to get totally smashed, and she soundly succeeded. Being supplied alcohol by the bottle helped a lot in that regards.
This one big guy tried to crash the party by sneaking into the VIP area. The first time I noticed him, I simply got in his space and sent out unwelcoming vibes. He cleared off, but came back a bit later. As he leaned against the railing that overlooked the dance floor, I came up beside him and asked if he was with the party. He was all, “The owner over there told me to come up,” while gesturing his hand to a random area near the bar. I was like, “Really. Which guy is the owner?” He pointed to the same general area, “That guy over there.” Dumbass didn’t know the owner was a woman. I never told him his mistake. After realizing he wasn’t fooling me, he figured out it was a private party. So he turns to me, using his height and mass to tower over me. He looked me straight in the eyes. I stared right back at him with intensity that threw him off so much he was forced to make verbal threats. “You know I could beat you up and there’s nothing the bouncers could do about it.” I responded with an ever so slight, arrogant “Whatever” facial gesture. “Just leave. It’s no hard feelings.” He was all, “There never is.” I patted him on the arm, gesturing him to go. I backed off a bit, giving him a chance to leave on his own. I could see he was thinking about it before slowly turning and heading out. I could tell he was unfamiliar with the club, such as the number of bouncers at the club, the number of cops within 150 yards of the club (quite a lot actually), and he seemed blind to the fact that there was immediately three guys and my g/f just waiting to pounce on him if he even flinched at me. Not to mention the other 5 or so guys in our party that woulda been up there in a instant.
So, did I mention that Miriam got totally drunk? LOL Over all, we had a lot of fun. Always feels good to have a private area to drink and relax in between dancing and roaming around. On, and the bartender was awesome, keeping mixers and ice available the whole night, so thanks Heather! :) I'm definately considering reserving the VIP again.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Something about evolution just occurred to me...

In popular science, human evolution is often described in terms of when our ancestors headed off into our own branch of the great ape family tree. Something just occurred to me. What if, in our development, all the other great apes diverged from our branch? That is, in the course of our evolution, we left behind the ancestors of the Chimps, Gorillas, etc.

This is certainly a human-centric view of evolution. However, it must be admitted that things happened to our ancestors which didn't happen to the ancestors of any other of the great apes.

  • We have much better buoyancy, allowing us to swim. 
  • We walk upright. 
  • We have more complex brains. 
  • We have less prominent body hair. 
  • We have a protruding nose. 
  • We have much less muscle mass, etc.
Our environment changed, forcing these adaptations. Those groups of our ancestral species which were in far off locations didn't experience the need to adapt. Gorilla line broke off, moving into a panda/sloth-like direction, having never adapted to meat eating. Chimp line broke off much later, having never needed to walk upright. Neanderthal and the other extinct humans species broke off even later.

In a New Age sense, I might ask, what if we are the intended form? What if all the other species on this planet are just off-shoots of our ancestral line? I'm not sure about taking this line of reasoning seriously, but I'm putting it out there for others to think about with me.

We may not be able to apply this reasoning to all of Earth's history, but maybe it can be applied to the primate line. Even further, this doesn't justify viewing one species as inferior to us. Nor does it justify viewing different races of our own species as inferior. In this line of reasoning, I would hold that all humans represent the intended form. In fact, given our lack of genetic diversity, maybe we are missing a few races which we sorely need to keep our species genetically healthy into our long future. I would also say, this line of reasoning demands that all species on this planet are our cousins, brothers and sisters, whether Great Ape, monkey, lizard, fish, fungus, plant, or sponge.

Anyways, to finish a thought about the 12 tribes of Israel

In Genesis, the twelve tribes of Israel are listed as descendents of the twelve sons of Jacob. More over, these sons are the offspring of Jacob's four wives.
Leah bore Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.
Bilhah bore Dan and Naphtali.
Zilpah bore Gad and Asher.
Rachel bore Joseph and Benjamin.
Additionally, Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, who's descendants are treated as their own tribes.

Now do the math
Leah bore 6 sons. Bilah bore 2 sons. Zilpah bore 2 sons. Rachel bore 2 sons. Joseph (son of Rachel) bore two sons, and he himself doesn't count. 6+2+2+2-2-1=13, not 12. Yet, even throughout the bible, Israel is often said to be the made up of 12 tribes.

Even more contradictions come from different texts in the bible from different periods.
At Deuteronomy 33, leaders of all the tribes of Israel are said to be present at a gathering to receive their tribe's blessing. The odd thing is that the tribe of Simeon isn't listed. Were they snubbed? Unlikely. Such a snubbing would be listed with reasons for condemnation. In fact, even more strange, Joseph is listed right along with his two sons as though a separate tribe from them.

There's also missing reference to a tribe in 1 Kings 11 in the prophecy regarding the brake up of the nation of Israel.

Song of Deborah
However, the biggest glaring contradiction comes from the Song of Deborah in Judges 5. "This may be the oldest textual fragment preserved in the Bible, dating to about the twelfth or eleventh century B.C....," says Gary Greenberg in his book 101 Myths of the Bible (of which most, but not all, of this blog entry is derived). The Song of Deborah records Deborah's efforts to rally the tribes of Israel against the Canaanites. It lists the tribes that heeded the call and the tribes that didn't. The names of the Israelite tribes listed in the Song of Deborah are substantially different from the traditional 12 (or 13) tribes of Israel. Gilead, Machir, Meroz are included, but Simeon, Levi, Judah, Manasseh, and Gad are not mentioned. Take a quick glance above to see who are the mothers of these missing tribes. That is an interesting nuance.

Mr. Greenberg states,"Because this is one of the oldest textual passages in the Bible, the inclusion and omission of names provides solid clues about the emergence of Israel and any connections to the sons of Jacob." Additionally, "The absence of these five tribes from Deborah's list strongly suggests that they had not yet come into existence as political entities until later and that their namesakes had no earlier existence as sons of Jacob."

Excuses, excuses
Growing up in a Christian Fundamentalist home, one thing always excused away was the inconsistencies in the number and names of the tribes of Israel. Is it 12 or 13? I count 13, but we always would say it's 12. Then, when it came time to read the Song of Deborah, the contradiction of names and number was waved off with something like "the extra tribes mentioned were actually other peoples in the area that decided to help Israel." Of course, there's no support for that statement anywhere in the bible. It was pulled out of the air by someone hundreds of years ago and has been passed along as a quick way to prevent people from questioning the contradiction; which could lead to questioning the idea of taking the Bible literally. (Oh, the horror of it all!) Also, the ridiculous excuse doesn't explain why so many of the traditional Israelite tribes are missing from the list.

Traditions
The stories surrounding each of the tribes of Israel were written long after the events listed. These stories were written as metaphors for each tribe's place in Israel. As tribes disappeared, their stories where lost, or changed to suit the newer tribes. Each tribe needed its own story in order to have a place in the Israelite nation. This political story telling was a tradition that has its origins in Egypt. The Israelite priests and leadership carried on the traditional after they were expelled from Egypt as a way to legitimately establish new political/religious structures in the new land. It is likely many of these first priests and leaders had similar positions in Egypt before their expulsion. In fact, the name of Moses himself is a clue as to the real origin of many of the stories in the Bible. More on that some other time. Hint: Hyksos.

There's always a tomorrow...

There's always a tomorrow today.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ironic

It's ironic that I finally get highspeed cable and I end up blogging a lot less.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bible Myth #63

Genesis 49:1-2, 28 states that the twelve tribes of Israel descend from the patriarche Jacob's twelve sons. As stated in 101 Myths of the Bible , "Jacob's twelve sons were the mythological founders of various political groups that merged into the House of Israel."
...just got busy...finish this line of thought later.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Trees and Hair

Seattle has so many trees packed into its city, the only way to add more trees is have the homes built in the trees as tree houses.
Stereotype alert: Do all of the local Seattle residents have bad hair? Even people with styled hair go out of their way to make it messy. What gives?

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Seattle

How would I describe Seattle? Well, from my frame of reference, it is kinda a cross between San Francisco and Monterey, with trees EVERYWHERE. My g/f and I got there in the afternoon on Sat this weekend. The plan was to get there in the morning, but our flight was delayed. We had a good room (with a great bathroom) at the Grand Hyatt in the downtown area. This put us in walking distance of everything. We did a little shopping after settling in. Then we had a relaxing sunset dinner cruise around the harbor and inlet areas. Although the food pretty much sucked, the expereince was still very enjoyable.
We slept in hella late on Sunday. Lost half a day. Oh well. We started off by hopping on the monorail which took us to the Space Needle. It wasn't as tall as I thought it would be. We had a lovely and fun brunch in the revolving rest'rant at the top. I had my g/f place a penny on the rim to see if it would still be there when we rotated back around. Being the brat she is, she put the penny tail side up to give bad luck to anyone who tried to take it. When it came around again, I flipped it head side up to reverse her curse intent, but she said it didn't count. lol
That evening, we had dinner at Ototo, which is kinda a hip sushi rest'rant. It had good food in good portions, though I'd recommend avoiding the sake based cocktails.
Monday morning, we headed down to the Pike Street Festival. All kinds of local arts and craft were available. We watched the fish throwing antics of the famous fish market down there. The only question I had was, "Who would by so much fish at once?" cuz they sold the fish whole, and the fish they sold whole were BIG. Well, luck for us, someone did buy one of the fish, giving us a wonderous, yet brief, display of their throwing and catching abilities. We later checked out the Science Fiction Museum and part of the rock-and-roll museum near the Space Needle.
When checking in for our flight home, I discovered I had purchased first class return tickets. Nice surprise for myself. We literally had the worse seats on the flight to Seattle (next to the engines in the last row). We literally had the best seats on the return flight, complete with cushioned leather seating, breadsticks and a tasty dip, and whole cans of soda.
My thought upon returning home is that I could imagine living in Seattle.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I'm a happy camper

I got a promotion last week. Yeah me. Only draw back is that my job title now officially has the word "engineer" in it. Oh well. lol

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Acting Style Star Wars Prequel Trilogy

America has been so over exposed to traditional Hollywood style method acting and other "realistic acting" styles, we've come to consider any other form of acting as bad. Also, movies that fall outside the traditional Hollywood way to make movies tend to be either jeered or at least under appreciated. The Star Wars prequel Trilogy stands somewhere in the middle. The style of these movies today is considered very Hollywood in the action, filming techniques, etc. However, when the first Star Wars movie was released, it was anything but Hollywood. Hollywood has since adopted the original Star Wars style for its own science-fiction films. Before this point, the classic style of the old 1930's films had long vanished, and there wasn't enough interest in making sci-fi's to form a genre with footing in Hollywood. So, even though the original Star Wars movies were groundbreaking, the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy films today are very Hollywoodish by today's standards; except for its acting style.

There are several forms of acting. Each is used to tell a story for which it is best suited. "Realistic acting", which has dominated Hollywood since the 1950's, best tells strong emotional character driven stories. Unfortunately, it's used for almost every movie these days. It doesn't fit many types of stories. But, us Americans are so accustomed to it, we are adverse to any other acting style.
There's a quote from George Lucas about the acting style of the Prequel Trilogy: "It's not deliberately camp. I made the film[s] in a 1930s style. It's based on a Saturday matinee serial from the 1930s, so the acting style is very 30s, very theatrical, very old-fashioned. Method acting came in in the 1950s and is very predominant today. I prefer to use the old style. People take it different ways, depending on their sophistication."[001]
Taken in context of filmmaking, without regard for American prejudice, the acting in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy is very good. The formal acting style is used very effectively. It allows the story to be told through a balance between dialog, plot, and character development, rather than being over driven by character development as in the case of many Hollywood movies of any genre.

I too used to have a prejudice in favor of "realistic acting". However, the Prequel Trilogy has opened my mind to other forms, not just of acting, but filmmaking in general. I now not only understand Non-hollywood films, I can enjoy them as much as I enjoy Hollywood films. I don't believe I'm alone. I think the Prequel Trilogy is, in part, responsible for the growth of the independent film industry since the 1990's. Thank you George Lucas.

Yesterday

I was in Fresno for my friend's graduation from Fresno State. Afterwards we had a bbq and fairly busy house party. It was a fun, long day. :) The drive was over two hours to get to Fresno. Today, I headed up to my folks place. They live about 1.5 hours from my place, so I'm still debating whether to head home tonight or tomorrow morning.

I did check out the Chocolate Festival in Oakdale today. Kinda lame. Hersey's Chocolate sponsers this thang cuz I guess they used to have a factory there or sumfin. Anyways, the festival doesn't have a whole lot to do with Chocolate, dispite its name.