Friday, January 30, 2009

Ads vs. Labels

So lets start from the assumption that an environment with omnipresent advertisement is destructive to those who live within it.

What about labels? This came up when my growing concern about the constantly formative nature of experience was first mixed with a distrust for advertisers. It's only been a few days but it's proven to be a potent combination. Anyway, it was at the height of my suspicion that I was sitting in a lecture hall before class started, and looking around me I saw

Diet Coke
Vitamin Water

None of these were actual advertisements though. They were labels, and the more I think about it the more I'm okay with that. If your ads are primarily on your product then in order for you to get more advertising out you have to move more product, and without the ad system you'd have to improve your product.

I'm well aware that it's too late for that system to be implemented, but I think I'm okay with label ads for a very simple reason. I bought a sandwich from Subway. The bag they gave me says Subway on it. By carrying the bag around I'm tacitly advertising for Subway. I buy from them because I like their product, so I'm not opposed to advertising said product. The Label/Brand is something I'm not against because it's a form of passive consumer advocacy.

Big Idea

I have... something. It's a big idea, and it feels really important, and I don't have a proper grasp on it yet. I'm recording the fragments here because I have more pressing uses for my whiteboard.

-Think about why you think what you're thinking when you're thinking it.
-"When I was happy she would celebrate with cookies. Then then I was sad she'd cheer me up with cookies. It's not my fault Hank, all of my emotions demand cookies."
-When was the last time you heard actual quiet
-Internal Enslavement, and the World of Warcraft effect, comfortably numb.
-I love the system, I hate the machine.
-The goal of capitalisim is to make money.
-How do you know who you actually are?
-The idea that people are the sum of their flaws is only partially valid. People are, as May Payne said, the sum of their choices, but what causes them to make those choices.
-100% of experiences are formative
-Without indoctrination you wouldn't have structure. It's necessary
-Deciding who you are.
-Mans struggle against nature. It used to be to stay dry, now it's to bend the earth to serve ten billion
-Fire, the moment humans became better then animals. & Playing with something you don't really understand but have a semi-sufficent understanding of the practical effects of.
-Overpopulation vs. Genetic success. How to tell people that they're not good enough to breed without being a monster.
-Epigenetic success. Surviving the next five generations.
-1st state of the world was natural providence. My belief is that the last state of the world will be technological providence. What I neglected was that population growth is what shunted us out of natural providence. We may only get techno providence by dropping some numbers
-Race War. Population control meets team spirit.
-Genetically Better. The horrifying future where we can give you a numerical rating based on something other then your actions.
-Detachment, Reality 2.0. Surrender vs. Fight. Is this really a bad thing? If it makes you disfunctional in the real world is the solution to stop doing it or to fully check out from the real world.
-Pick a world and stick to it.
-Acceptance. We're all doomed and could easily fight it but won't because part of whats doomed us has convicned you that you don't want to.
-There is no overlord. The grand conspiracy of short sightedness.
-Reaping what they've sown. Are advertisers above the indoctrination.
-Hate will overcome. A constant state of background outrage as the key to overcoming ad based passive indoctrination.
-Reprogramming. The Black Spot Campaign. "I know you've just been burned, and I know I was harping about saving you from fire, but take this torch and set your house on fire. Trust me, I'm the good guy remember?"
-Passive eugenics. Letting people die.
-God says that you've been fruitfull enough. You can stop now.
-Threshold point. Too far?
-Picking apart all of the invisible subroutines that govern humanitiy and slowly turning all of them into ways to sell things until you've finally manged to break humanity.
-We made GM crops so that they were tough enough to withstand harsh pesticides. Then they started killing off the Bees. Isn't the obvious solution to this super tough GM bees?
-Science is the new magic. Ex Technologico Omnius
-We're all doomed. Again. Possibly still.

Clandestine Truth: The Root of All Evil

I think I may have finally figured out why money corrupts. And understand that I'm not saying wealth corrupts, I'm not arguing that an abundance of money corrupts, I'm arguing that currency itself in our consumer society is a destructive force. Follow me on this.

Money, currency, is exchanged for goods and services. In this respect money can be almost anything. It can be food, it can be a car, it can be immunity to certain laws, it can be the aid of a trained specialist for a certain amount of time. Money is raw potential in a physical quantifiable form. Thus, money allows us to ask the fundamental question "What do I want?"

And that question is deeply deeply wrong.

That question is a product of society. When one lives without society the things that one wants are present to them. I want to get out of the rain. I want food. I want to make sure that thing doesn't eat me. These kinds of wants arise on their own, they're not crafted by the imagination, but rather they are the result of the environment. When you ask "what do I want" you're doing it backwards, because you're starting with the ability to solve a problem, and then deciding what your problem is. Even worse, in the modern world you're usually opening yourself up for someone else to decide what your problem is. It is in this way that money creates problems.

The worst effect of money though is the loop. Money is potential, and having potential, then seeing all of the things you want (or have been told you want) you're faced with the fact that all of those objects are beyond your potential. However, now you want all of them. So now the answer to the question "What do I want?" which is generated by money, is "More Money." It's a loop, self reinforcing, with no escape clause.

If you go searching for desires you will always find them, even before advertising saturation kicked in. Don't think about what you could get. Go through life, and allow the things you actually want to present themselves to you. As long as you make sure those wants aren't being presented to you by salesmen you'll do fine.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The World of Darkness

I had an interesting thought about why I like Hunter better then D&D. In every game like this there arises the question of "Can I do blank." Normally this is a straight DM discretion issue, where it's a matter of do the rules and the spirit of the rules allow you to do it. In the various world of darkness games that question is more or less thrown out the window. You can do all kinds of stuff, because most of it is bound to happen eventually anyway, but if you're going to do that you have to remember that the world around you will inevitably react. If what you're doing is something that people will have a problem with you're going to have to deal with that, whether the thing you're doing is making deals with vampires, or shooting setting a mall on fire. The world is there, and it offers both the potential to do anything and the reason you shouldn't.

There's a great example of this in my current group. Jason is playing a Mage, everyone else is a Hunter. The group has an understanding that Jasons character isn't a bad person, etc. etc. and since they share similar values they're working with him. That's all well and good, but to most hunters anything supernatural is The Enemy. If/When they find out that twist is a witch and that these people aren't a proper hunter cell, but a cancer cell, there's a good chacne that former allies may become enemies, that people they didn't even know about will come stalking them down. It may also be simpler and much more horrible then that. When other hunters find out that one of your friends is a witch you'll have a very simple choice. Do you kill a long term friend, or do you let him burn the witch?

All of the bullshit metagaming about what you can and cant, or should and shouldn't do is resolved in the way it always should have been. In Character.

The awesome power of the mind

I've amassed an impressive collection of candles now. This is due in part to the fact that every time I wander over to Walgreens I seem to come back with a new scent, but is due primarily to a recent gift from my mom (Thanks Mom.) Looking over all of them raises one interesting concern.

I have two french vanillas, two pomegranate, two cherry, a cookie, four pumpkin pie, one almond creme, and a honey dew. I'm worried that if I ever light all of them at the same time I may go into psychosomatic diabaetic shock. It would be troubling, but if I survived it would make a great subject for a potential thesis.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Things You're Proud of

I came to this thought from a few different angles. The first point in the story comes somewhere around 10:30 a.m. yesterday.

On Tuesdays I have a class that ends at 9:30, and a class that starts at 12:30, and no obligations in between. On a normal day I have one hour of downtime, which is spent playing a dollars worth of Tekken 5, and walking around campus. This brings us to 10:30 where the game of "What should I do" vs. "What do I feel like doing" was in full swing. The latter was the victor and I went about an old nerd tradition, making a character sheet of myself. Most of the details don't matter, but as this was a Hunter: The Vigl sheet I had to select a virtue and a vice for myself. Virtues and Vices in the various world of darkness games represent an aspect of the charcter, and are a means by which a character can regain willpower points. A truly virtuous act is so fufilling that it replenishes all of their willpower, while endulging their vice is wickedly fufilling enough to give them one point of willpower. Keeping this in mind the choices were immidiately apparent. Faith and Pride. The vice, Pride, is what's important here.

The second angle of this started when I was rearranging my living room. It was a few simple changes, but I like it a lot better now. Part of the process was putting the DVDs onto the shelf below the TV. We have more DVDs then will properly fit on that shelf, which actually came as resolution to something that had been bugging me while I was alphabetizing them.

Our DVDs are kind of lame.

This meant that eliminating some wasn't hard, the ones that I wanted to be on display were obvious (cast away, lord of war, etc) and the ones that seemed too classless were equally obvious (Family guy box set, Ren & Stimpy box set.) These two moments came into focus earlier today while my mind was wandering.

A lot of the things that I'm trying to put behind me are in that same general catagory as the box sets I didn't want on my shelf. They were classless basal amusements that didn't do much in the way of improving me. There is an argument to made that they were amusing, and that they shouldn't have to possess other merits, but I'm not going to get into that now because it would take me off focus. What all of this has gotten me thinking is that I may be able to improve myself, and indoctrinate myself into a new set of positive habits, simply by reminding myself whenever I'm making a choice that I should do what I would be proud of. Besides, even if it doesn't improve my character it will net me a ton of willpower points.


-I'm reading a book right now called Culture Jam. I'm only fourty or so pages in, but so far it's amazingly interesting and speaks to a concern that I've been having recently and will discuss later. The thing is that this book is about fighting consumer culture. It's about the capitalist world poisoning us, and when I'm not reading this book I'm marking my place with the same thing I used to mark my place in the last book I read. A one dollar bill.

-Given the size and shape of bookmarks I've never understood how a bookmark could cost more then a dollar. Why would I exchange one piece of paper which also enters into the Eidos of worth for a piece of paper that doesn't.

-We did a practice run of exam seating today in one of my classes. My exam seat is very front, all the way to the left, and normally only one girl sits there. She sits there because she's deaf, and the signing team does their stuff right in front of those seats. It's a really good thing that I don't sit there every day, because I spent most of the lecture trying to read what I already knew he was saying in the sign language.

-I mentioned once the problem of words being read fine when spelled with their internal letters out of order. This was a problem back then because I was just being introduced to the word Causal, and kept reading that certain sociological effects were found to have casual relationships. Proofreading this post I find that I have to add signing and singing to that list. This problem probably doesn't come up very often though. There's not a lot of overlap between signing and singing, except of course Karaoke for the deaf.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Escaping possibility

For the last week or so I've been thinking about wasting a lot of money. Its a waste because there's absolutely no reason for me to buy an Odachi. The thing is, even though I know that, I can't shake the feeling that I really should own a giant sword. It just seems appropriate, and eighty dollars isn't that much.

I've finally managed to resolve this issue. It comes down to a very simple principle. If I'm going to do something I'm going to do it right. This means that I'm not going to waste the money on a not really full tang sword that's probably not nearly as battle ready as they say. If I'm going to buy a sword I'm going for quality.

So, buying the right Odachi means spending $450, and that's too much to even consider. Problem solved.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The lighting in my room has always been a little odd. This used to to because I clung to my darkness like your standard embittered youth, and even though I've left the darkness I'm still not a fan of normal indoor lighting. It's hollow and weak and I simply cannot tolerate something which is both of those.

My preferred means of lighting my room is sunlight, and during the summer this works great. In the winter, in Seattle, not so much. My solution to this for a long time was my sun lamp, which is a bit hollow, but also very intense. The sun lamp is still in regular use, but a month or so ago I got into the use of candles. My appreciation for them grew immensely once I began using scented candles, and before long I had new tapers for my old candle holders. The candles don't really give enough light to see by, but there's a warmth to the light that only genuine fire can give. This makes them weak, but not hollow, so they're in.

Now that candles are in I've begun sampling around different scents. Vanilla is still the default, but I have a few pomegranate ones that I like, but may be a bit much for some. I also have one that smells like cookies which I use primarily to infuriate my roommates by giving them false hope. In addition to those I acquired a layered candle which claims to have Garden Rain, day's End, and Indigo nights. None of those are actual scents, with the possible exception of Garden rain, but it smells like a nice soothing blend. The problem is that I'm still infected with quotes. I bought that candle a month ago and I'm just now lighting it for the first time because every time I look at it the same simpsons line pops into my head.

Homer: I've given up anger forever. Now I'm into candles, soft music, and horse tranquilizers.

I hear that quote and part of me worries. What if I really am on the slippery slope to soft music? Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go put "Please God No" on a loop and let The Darkest of the Hillside Tickets battle it out with Garden Rain.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Target Market

Every now and then google's auto-target ad system ends up being hilarious. The ongoing e-mail thread that is the basis of our current hunter group prompted a few adds that made sense. There's one for a miniatures site, there's an ad for Red Blade Studios which apparently does fantasy art work, and there's a few for online RP utilities of various sorts.

Those are the ones that you'd expect. They're on target in an obvious way. There's also a few that seem completely insane. For example an ad that links to a dead site which is trying to sell "Vampire Contact Lenses."

The best ones though are the ones that are exactly on target in a non obvious way. The ad at the very top was a prefect example of this. It simple read "How to Ask a Girl Out." Google not only knows that we're role players, it also knows that we're nerds.

Although honestly how hard is it to figure that out once you know that someone is a fan of clothes on roleplay?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Doing Research

A certain amount of cajoling on my part has recently remade my D&D group into a Hunter: The Vigil group.

Hunter is a game set in the World of Darkness, which is basically a horror movie version of the actual world. Vampires, Ghosts, Werewolves, Mages, and things that people don't have names for lurk in the shadows of the world. As hunters the players in this game are the only things standing between the monsters and the innocent people of the world who either don't know or won't admit they know what's out there.

My role in all this is that of Storyteller, which is this games version of Dungeon Master. They're playing the candle in the darkness. I'm the darkness. Since this game is set in a reimagining of the actual world, all of my darkness is painted over the world. Some of the stories are simple, they come from thinking about monsters, and the monsterous things they might be doing, but that's not enough. Horror isn't distant. Horror is lurking behind the corner. Horror is watching you from a window across the street. Horror is in the shadows just behind you when you least expect it. So in order to write a real horror story I have to find those corners, those windows, and those shadows. Which leads me to one of my favorite new activities.

It's beautiful, and it's simple. In essence I'm just going for walks with my camera, and not my iPod. I keep my eyes open, I look around at all times, because every now and then I'll find something. A little alleyway, a secluded underpass, a building which is a bit too nondescript. All of these things could be explained rationally, but if you take the time to let your imagination look at these things then you have to wonder what really goes on there.

Take for example this picture.

That's the Hotel Decca on Brooklyn and 45th. The reason that picture might matter to a hunter is this.

See that? What broke that tile? It's over ten feet up. It's too wide of an impact to be a gunshot. It almost looks like something smashed into it. What would smash into an awning that high up? Maybe something was thrown into it. Maybe someone was thrown into it. Who or what is strong enough to do that? Then, see the area around the impact. It's blackened. Maybe that's just mold. Maybe it's a burn. A burn from what? All of these are interesting questions that I can pose to the players. I will, of course, decide what the actual answer and implications of said answer are before hand. The real game lies in getting to the truth, and, when appropriate, shooting the truth thirty times in the back before it throws a prius at you, then dragging one of your friends to the back of your van so that one of you can perform first aid on his mutilated body while the rest of you focus on getting the van the hell out of there before the monster finds another prius to throw at you. A few weeks later when your friend is out of traction you start looking for someone who will sell you silver bullets without giving you too many weird looks, and you get rid of the damn thing before it hurts someone else.

Then I'll go walking again. I'll find something else. Like why does that building on eastlake have so many no parking signs around it, and such a drab streetfront. What goes on in there? What exactly is "The Foundation Group." I'll know, and the truth will be so much more then they ever thought it could be.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


There are a number of topics that I've noted in one way or another as subjects that I should investigate in the form of a blog post. I haven't posted these because I haven't gotten far enough into any of these discussions to have anything salient to say. However, I've now gotten enough subjects built up that I think the list alone constitutes being recorded. So, things I've been thinking about recently.

-Settling as a form of predestination.
-Settling vs. Aspiration
-Stability vs. Aspiration
-The difference between hope and faith.
-Differentiating between learned habit and nature, and the possible illusion of nature.
-Programmed want vs. genuine want vs. need vs. percieved need vs. indoctrinated need, and the illusion of necessity.
-Freedom vs. Routine
-Freedom vs. Stability
-The idea that truth can be created from lies by forcing people to keep promises. I.E. "Dragging them kicking and screaming into the light."
-Charisma vs. Coercion
-Systemic society's potential to create a sense of predestination. The implications of this, with particular focus to the possibility of creating a sense of powerlessness, and the possible detrimental impacts of that upon the society itself.
-The necessity of structure.
-Freedom vs. Respect
-Tolerance for practices resulting from opinion, belief, and tradition in the face of scientific evidence that such practices are harmful.
-The right of people to ruin their own lives and the lives of those around them.
-How to make a functioning economy without the debt based "imaginary money" problem.
-The fixed currency concept.
-The systemic flaw of the world that promotes those with talent over those with virtue. I.E. "The problem with the world is that when good people rise to power evil people kill them, take their power, and use it to tell everyone else that the person they just killed was evil."
-The inherent flaw with honor. I.E. "The Carib had honor, and courage, and were fighting for their ancient homeland, but the Spainish had guns."
-The state after global market capitalism, Technoprovidence, and why I hate and love Marx.
-The information age, the role of personal use technology to facilitate the normalization of isolation, and the subsequent normalization of anti-social tendencies, and the numerous possible implications of them, including hyper-tribalism, the loss of cooperative skills, the ease of leadership, the ease of The Powers™ to dupe the distracted masses, the possible dependence on mood altering drugs to function with other people and the subsequent rise in the use of both illegal and legal drugs, and the possible fall of humanity resulting from the grand scale implications of these various things. I.E. "The world is oblivious. They've got headphones on."
-Bluetooth, the personal world phenomenon, and the immediate need for established etiquette.
-The lack of true consequence in american government.
-Whether the proper response to a rise in gun violence is speaking out against gun ownership or getting a gun.
-Gun control vs. Mandatory military training. Which will have a greater positive effect on society, and the false dichotomy of the question.
-Accepting the violent nature of humanity. I.E. "I would support banning guns as long as everyone had to fight with Samurai Swords."
-Technology as the facilitator for our most horrible tendencies.
-Distractions, the value of stress, and why I might hate entertainment.
-The tendency to latch onto crazy ideas in moments of high stress, and the nature of these ideas as always being right on the line between outright madness and clear genius. I.E. "Do I still hate entertainment when I'm not freaking out? And doesn't that just prove my original theory right?"
-The morality of enforcing conquence.
-Variant forms of martial arts, and the idea of enlightened or genteel violence. I.E. "The Gentlemans art of punching people in the face."
-War vs. Battle, which is in essence a grander extrapolation of Soldiers vs. Warriors

I think that's it. For now anyway.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fast Evolution Virus

Before you understand any of this you should probably Google the word epigenetics. It's very complex, much more so then I could properly describe, but the gist of it is that all of your DNA has the potential to be turned off by a process known as methalation.

The determining factor in what genes are methalated is a nurture effect, and as it happens a hereditary effect. This means a lot of things, but first and foremost it means that nurture is beating nature for the first time in a long time. It also means you can hereditarily pass learned traits, which means that Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was right.

So, there's a lot of things about epigenetics that inspire/terrify me. First and foremost the decay of methalation as you age may be the cause for any number of things. Cancer, for example. Also Alzheimers. Studies, case studies not thorough experiments, have shown epigenetic repairs to be an effective treatment for lukemia in that one case they were studying. If these problems that arise with age are due to deteriorating methalation patterns, maybe the other effects of aging are also related to deteriorating methalation. Will the pattern repair substance serve as an elixer of youth? Or some kind of super cure?

The other thing, and this one has much less basis, is that the way your body reacts to certain chemicals changes over time. I don't know why, and I haven't done thorough research as to why, but what if it's methalation? A functional change in DNA would definitely explain a lot. If it is we could tell your body that it's in a different phase of its life. Infant like regenerative abilities, pubescent like reactions to alteration hormones, etc. The possible effects here are mostly cosmetic, but it's still a fascinating area of study.

The reason I'm terrified is also quite simple. Pesticides have been shown to screw up methalation in mice. These screw ups are then passed on, in what ranks pretty high on the list of horrible experimetns done with mice. The problem is that it might be the same in humans. Your exposure to pesticides in foods may be damaging your epigenetics, and may be making all of your descendents more prone to a host of horrible destructive conditions. As they're further exposed they will pass on even more damage. The last generation of humans may only be five or ten away.

Theres... a lot I could say about a lot of things. It's amazing, and may doom us all, or save us all. Which, in the end, is more or less status quo for science.


A lot of my recent thinking has been about conditioning. I've been thinking about it recently as a form of exercise. If you want your body to perform feats of strength you tell your body that it should by working out. If you want your habits to work in a certain way you do the same thing.

I've already spoken enough about conditioning yourself into doing certain things, but I've turned my focus recently into examining the things I'm already conditioned to do. This is what lead me to consider violently destroying our large Tupperware bowls. I used to regularly use them as eating dishes, and they're symbolic of a negative behavior that's been ingrained into me since childhood. The basic syntax of it is this:

I'm bigger then everyone else, so I eat more then them.

It's something I don't even think about. I would get more food then normal because it was an unspoken undiscussed assumption that I needed more food then normal. So, one of the things I've been doing every morning since this occurred to me (Yesterday) is eating an amount of cereal that is an appropriate size for one of our normal bowls. It ends up being around 1/2 of what I would've eaten from the tupperware bowls, and I still find that I'm satiated. Followup experiments with a 6" subway sub confirm earlier findings.

It's amazing to think about. How many years have I defaulted to ordering a large simply because I assumed that was what was appropriate?

It's fascinating to think about, and I wonder what else I may find. Amongst other things, maybe I should stop leaving an hour before class starts when I know it will only take me 20-30 minutes to get there?

I'll think about that later though, it's 9:27, and I have class at ten thirty, so I need to go.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Technical Success

It's fascinating the positive experiences that can arise from our flaws. Our example for this particular exercise is over thinking. Around 30 hours ago I began to freak out when I found out that I might be doomed. As of 29 hours ago I had finalized plans to find out for certain if I was doomed, and had amassed a number of contingency plans, and put a few of them into tentative motion. The problem is the time between 28 hours ago and 3 hours ago. That time was filled almost entirely with what we'll call background panic. This is what expresses in most people as actual panic, and expresses in me as a kind of null emotion hyper vigilance. The phrase that seems to mark this state is

"This isn't the time to be scarred/worried/upset/angry, this is the time to think tactically."

Now there's some obvious risk here, the phsychological implications of this are complex, but when all is said and done I'm prepared to write this one off as a merit. I'm willing to trade a bit of long term psychological health for vastly improved problem solving skills.

That being said, I don't stop functioning in this state even after I've done the key tactical task, and without an immediate objective this mindset is a bit... Stressful. This prolonged stress raises the subjective signifigance of the problem that sent me into tactical mode. This means that the result of the tactical action will come with a double dose of emotional impact. The Success will be glorious, and the defeat will be crushing.

So that brings us back to three hours ago, when I was told that the thing that had started this whole process didn't have to be an actual issue, and, if I continued to show improvment, could be circumvented.

Now this feels like a tremendous victory. The thing is, all I really did was check on a possible problem and confirm that it wasn't a real problem. I didn't really do anything. And when you run the numbers things now are functionally the same as they were before this whole episode started. A potential problem was addressed yes, but it doesn't really seem like it should feel like this much of a victory.

But that's a mindset that I'm trying to reject. Is it really a victory? Who cares. it's an excuse to enjoy it. This, however, is another subject that I'll discuss later.

Monday, January 12, 2009


-I've been thinking a lot about the power of certificates. The little badges that don't really mean anything, but give you authority. It's for this reason that I'm working on getting a concealed weapons permit, and a food handlers certification. I'm thinking about becoming a notary, and an ordained minister after that. Then I'll begin looking for other quick and easy ones.

-I was poking around the net via an interesting google ad, and I got to a page that was basically trying to convince people who know about science that science supports God. Now that's just bullshit, but it's still usually an interesting read. It was from this page that I found a header reading "If you can read this, I can prove God Exists." I clicked on that, and firefox froze up and closed, and if I'm understanding the original logic correctly, that means that god doesn't exist.

-Orange is one of the only sweet flavors I genuinely enjoy. Orange is also one of those flavors that's tricky to find in anything other then orange soda, orange juice, and oranges. This may be why I enjoy chocolate oranges. It may also be because I had one as a child, and the act of smashing it before unwrapping it fascinated me, and cemented that memory firmly in my head. For whatever reason I enjoy, and hence bought a chocalate orange. The thing is, I remember them being much more prone to cracking, and not so much to denting. Mine, before being eaten, had be smashed into a partially flatened oblong, rather then the perfect wheel of orange slices I remember from childhood.

-The more I learn about the way people learn, and about the education system, the more my I find myself believing my own wild conspiracy theory style beliefs that it's all bullshit. Then every day I get up at 6, and some number of hours later I go to class, and I can't help but think that it's all bullshit, and that thought is begining to scare me, because it may end up being the thought that ruins my life.

-I worry too often that whatever the most recent signifigant thought of mine is, it will be the one that eventually ruins my life.

Subject Zero

I think I may hate entertainment. It's ubiquitous and consuming and it keeps providing a distraction from my growing sense of manic insanity, and recently I've been to notice how important these moments of manic insanity are.

By the simple virtue of how my brain works it's hard for me to talk about this. In order for me to take a clear step outside myself and think clearly about such things I can't use words like "I" or "me." So, let us take a moment to discuss my case study of Subject Zero.

Subject Zero's increasing manic behavior no doubts stems from a growing concern about his performance in school. The subject possess the potentially hazardous combination of pride and confidence, which gives the subject a form of operating immunity to criticism, but the subject's innately analytical nature leads it back to a more solid form of measurement. The majority of Subject Zero's goals are highly ephemeral. The only one that is routinely measured in a clear numerical way is academic performance. As this has not substantially improved the other improvements subject zero had perceived in its life are suddenly called into question.

This questioning, combined with the subjects tendencies toward obession, results in a behavioral event which we will be referring to as a "Freakout." The freakout phenomenon is a particularly dramatic one because it plays to the subjects strengths, expression, analysis, intellect, but it originates from a violent emtional outlash. The subject experiences the sudden onset of extreme doubt, which builds into a negative mindset. The subject then attaches the negitivity to a singular focus, which brings up Subject Zero's predisposition for fixation. Fixation can occur in varied circumstances, and is often a key problem solving tool for subject zero, but as the subject lacks complete control over it this trait serves equally well to damage it. In a Freakout this fixation, based in a burst of negitivity, is then acted upon using the aforementioned strengths. The result is a bursty of violent accusatory thought that the subject percieves as insightful. These are usually take the form of a rant meant to blame the subjects most recent failures on the focus of the freakout. The actual merit of the ideas expressed could be debted, but their violent accusatory nature marks them as clear indicators of a damaging behavior.

The subject does not always react to doubt in this manner. Other behaviors, such as panicked attempted damage control, and behavior akin to mild depression are equally common. A single freakout incident usually emcompasses more then one of these behaviors, with the most common pattern being: Damage control, outlash, depression.

Recently the pattern has begun to change. Subject Zero knows his own depression behaviors, and will sometimes take measures to actively counteract them, with varrying degrees of success. When successful the subject will go into a state that it refers to as "Holding on to the madness." In this state the lashing out behavior, and the damage control behavior resurface. The subject in this state will also take means to counteract the lashing out behavior, leading us to suspect that it values this act because it believes that it has some greater ability to perform acts of damage control and planning while it is still experiencing a manic energy rush. This has been shown to be at least partially true, with the subject taking more genuine steps towards managing the situation then it would have otherwise, but the potential psychological damage done by the self analysis is worrying. Subject Zero is already prone to dramatic actions, and in these moments of manic energy large potentially self destruct thoughts are often expressed, some of which make it as far as loose planning. While these ideas tend to subside with the manic energy itself, there are patterns, some of them recurr, and the question of their effect on Subject Zero's vulnerability to moments of doubt is rightly raised, and there is a clear trend showing a greater occuracne of freakouts since Subject Zero began conciouslly opposing the depression phase of the experience.

One final note, from which it is hard to draw any conclusions. Subject Zero appears to have little actual worry for his long term success, even though his short term success is prompting him to a level of analysis that clearly borders on insanity. In this case a form of suspension of disbelief in which the subject writes about itself as though it were an outside observer, a practice Subject Zero uses in order to attempt to analyze itself without the biasing factor of pride. Subject Zero appears convinced that he would be able to survive on his own under his own means as a funtioning memeber of society, even in the event of what he refers to as "Spontaneous Academic Failure," a hypothetical scenario in which the subjects performance drops to the lowest possible levels with no apparent cause.

It should be noted that this particular hypothetical scenario is just one amongst many, all of which follow the theme of "Spontaneous *blank* Failure," which appears to be something along the lines of a game that subject zero plays both for personal distraction/entertainment, and as a means of ensuring constant preparedness.

This unwavering self confidence underlying a larger more vulnerable construct brings us back to our intial point. Subject Zero is known to be recovering from anxiety issues, which were caused by an identity crisis which was an unintended consequence of the subjects recovery from long term depression. It is our opinion that this identity crisis was never fully resolved. We believe this is the direct cause of the increase in freakouts, as the subject tries to resolve its own concept of self, and its intended target of self with a paticular carrear.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Wheel of Infirmary turn turn tun...

Kevin doesn't get sick. He's only been seriously sick a few times, and he normally shrugs off any disease that comes his way. This means that when Kevin does get sick, I almost always get sick as a result. He was sick last week, and lo and behold I began one of the strangest disease I've ever encountered Tuesday.

Nothing about this is particularly bad, but it's very odd. I haven't gotten any symptoms, I've just gotten symptom, and what that particular symptom is has been changing every 12-14 hours. It started out as a sore throat, on Wednesday it was a running nose, then it was sneezing. I've still got a bit of sneezing now, but I've moved into the phase that can actually stop me from doing anything. Exhaustion. It's frustrating, I've been making a point to walk more then normal for the past two weeks, and now I'm getting tired just pacing around the apartment. It's maddening.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


This story starts about forty seconds ago as of 11 a.m., pacific standard time, on the third of January in the year of our lord two thousand and nine.

I got an e-mail from Valve confirming my online order. Included in this was the address that the things are being shipped from, and the one that things are being shipped to. Now the way that this is going to work is that Valve will hand it off to USPS, they'll take it to be processed, it will go onto a truck, and over to my place, where they'll find that I'm not home, put a note on my door, and a few days later when I finally remember to I'll go down to the post office to claim my package.

That works fine when I'm ordering something long range, but when I look at the address that Valve is shipping from I actually know where that is. It's about an hour from here. I have a car, it wouldn't be hard, but "I'll just swing by and pick it up" isn't one of the shipping options. It's a sign of bad bureaucracy, but there's nobody to yell at because we've automated our bureaucracy. It may be another symptom of my atrophying nerdity, but I'm becoming more and more appreciative of deals where there's someone to talk to, or yell at, as the situation warrants.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Life Doesn't Fit

I'm finding more and more often that my lifestyle is chafing me. I find myself pacing, burning off the nervous energy created by a need to be doing something. When I turn to my old leisure activities I find them unfulfilling, and I'm noticing more and more that my surroundings are chafing me in the same way. It's a strange feeling, a powerful need for some nonspecific, not fully understood change.

I think I may have come to understand it, and I am forced to admit that it frightens me. I may be growing out of being a nerd. It's too late to say anything, but the time has come to think many new things.