Archive for the Personal Category

Altruism and Dimes

Posted in General, Personal with tags , , , , , on October 22, 2008 by ddollas

I experienced an interesting parallel today while reading The Selfish Gene before my history class.  I had only just opened the book and was reading then introduction about the lack of true altruistic species when I was approached by a female student who asked me to watch her bag while she went to the bathroom.  This was the second time that we have spoken.  The first time she had asked me for a dime to replace the one that the vending machine had stolen from her.  

I found myself laughing inside at how much of an example of selfish altruism I was displaying by watching this girls bag, just as I had done a few days prior by offering her a dime.  While I would like to think that I gave her a dime purely be cause it was a “nice” thing to do, subconsciously I suppose and am almost certain that I had other motives driven by both social and genetic reasons.  By giving her a “dime” when she needed one I have opened the door for future “dimes” to be bestowed upon me when the time comes that I am out of “dimes”.  I speak of “dimes” with quotation marks because while it serves fine as an example, “dimes” are not the only thing that I could get back out of my one seemingly selfless act.   Perhaps I might need a quarter at some point in the future.  Maybe I could find myself without a pencil and for whatever reason desperately need one then.  Delving further, I could in theory use this situation to begin striking up conversation with her.  Conversation opens the door to flirtation, which opens the door to possible sexual reproduction.  Regardless of what I may need in the future I could turn to the recipient of my altruism and expect it to be returned in kind.  I expect it to be returned because of the simple fact that if it is not, the recipient would be cutting themselves off from future acts of kindness.  

I understand that the last part of that paragraph might make me appear as a lonely blogger trying to gather up courage to talk to a girl.  (I assure you this is not the case) I merely wanted to express my belief that in almost all cases acts of selflessness are just selfish acts in disguise.  I furthered a type of trust with someone who in the future I can now hopefully rely on when I need someone minor.  Therefore by acting altruistically now I may have hurt myself ever slightly (I’m out a dime), however, I only did so to selfishly set up a future situation in which I will benefit.

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Hypnopædia

Posted in PC, Personal, Political with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2008 by ddollas

 æ  That letter shows up quite often in “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley.  So often you’d think that this author speaks Greek every chance he can get.  ç shows up as well, and I’m sure as I get further into this book even more fun letters will be coming out of the wood work.  

Never being fully sure if I am pronouncing certain words aside, I’m very pleased so far with this book, it details a dark future based completely on rigid caste systems that are decided at birth and forced upon helpless fetuses by controlling the substances and oxygen levels granted to developing test tube babies.  Hatcheries are responsible for making babies smarter or dumber to fit certain caste requirements.  Most of these genetic offspring come from a single egg in a process called the “Bokanovsky’s Process” in which a single egg is divided up to 96 times creating a large set of identical twins who are then all forced into the same job.  

“Brave New World” is just another anti-utopian totalitarian book that I am to soon am to have under my belt.  The past month allowed me time (time I have regrettably spent away from writing, though I feel much more refreshed and alert mentally after drowning myself in so many books) to read some very good classic negative utopian books, such as “1984” and “Animal Farm” and once I finish this current book I shall be moving right on to “Fahrenheit 451” which I haven’t read since high school.  

I’m not sure what has captivated me with the obsession to read about such dysfunctional societies, though my personal view that the United States is slowly starting to mimic Oceania in terms of telling us what to think and what to care about instead of allowing us to come to our own conclusions.  They make it a point to force a two party system on us, and televise debates between the two candidates to aid us in making our choice as to who is going to be the next president.  Of course the debates never include candidates from any other party aside from Republican or Democrat, thusly elimanating virtually all chance of the presidential nominee of the Libertarian, Green, or Constitution party from ever being elected.  

Why are these parties barred from such debates?  If we truly lived in a democratic society then no single person should be barred from an event, people like Ron Paul shouldn’t be censored from Fox news because the party might now agree with the message he is pushing.  The election is presented as an event where the people shall decide who shall lead them.  Unfortunately Ron Paul stood no chance against McCain since there was a concerted effort to keep him off television until recent times.  He has been on quite a high profile talk shows now that he stands no chance of being voted the presidential candidate of the Republican party.    

I work in a highly political real estate office, where people love to spend hours debating about liberal or conservative views, Republican or Democrat everywhere I look.  Hell most of these people are ignorant to the fact that more then two people even run for president thanks to our media blackout on every third party candidate and local states refusal to place them on Ballots.  I’m looking at you New Jersey.  For anger’s sake I’m going to list the three major third parties presidential candidates for everyone.

Libertarian Party – Bob Barr

Green Party – Cynthia McKinney

Constitution Party – Chuck Baldwin

I don’t claim to know the policies of any other these people aside from Bob Barr, (since I’m Libertarian I better know what he is about or else make a nice ass myself) but I have the decency to know that they exist and take issue that these candidates are treated more then unfairly with ballot access.  How can a state simply decide that someone isn’t allowed to run for president from a legitimate political party?  While I am sure that there is some red tape reason that prohibits them from being on the ballot, what is the harm?  Every single person running for president deserves his or her best chance at being elected.  As far as I am concerned it should be illegal to withhold any person from a legitimate political party who has other elected officials working for our government from running for president.  Anything aside from a truly open ballot allowing all candidates a chance to be voted for president, or at least allow people to know they exist while at the ballot booth simply isn’t democracy.  Then again we live in a Republic, so I guess I shouldn’t complain much right?  

Before I go I should define the word I used in the title of this entry, Hypnopædia means sleep learning, and in the novel “Brave New World” they use it to imprint certain morals on the various castes of society, such as the impulse to throw out something old and buy something new, spend money on leisure at every opportunity, and that every class below yours is simply horrible and you shouldn’t speak to them.  I don’t even have to stretch it to find a comparison to modern society.  

Post Rock

Posted in Personal with tags , , , , on July 31, 2008 by ddollas

I know I didn’t mention post rock as something I would be posting about with this blog, and in fact, I’ll just go ahead and say that this post goes against the intent of this blog, but whatever, so long as I keep them few and far between right?  

Tuesday night I attended a show at the M-Room in Philadelphia PA, which was featuring Yndi Halda and two other bands I had never heard of.  Yndi Halda was amazing, as anyone who has ever heard of them could expect them to be, however it was the opening band that really surprised me with how much I enjoyed them.

Cloud Minder, which from what I gathered was a local Philadelphia band, was just plain good.  They did everything I expect from a band of this genre, which is basically rise and fall multiple times over the course of a song, do that and I’m happy, but again, their music was good, I enjoyed all three of the songs they played which is much more then I can say about the second band Now soon Nowhere who had me wanting to kill myself during the 6 or 7 songs they played, the only reason I didn’t walk out is because I was going to sit through them and see Yndi Halda come hell or high water.  

I find it to be a terrible shame that Post-Rock music simply cannot catch on here in America the way it can thrive anywhere else.  Even bands that have notoriety like Godspeedyou!  Black Emperor or Sigur Ros pull blank stares from people more often then not.  Yndi Halda has gained a considerable following over in England and despite only having one album out is already internationally touring.  The M-Room show was their first show in America, and at best maybe 30 people were watching them at any given time.  Perhaps it is because their music along with mostly all other post-rock isn’t delivered in the classic Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus.  I’m not saying that I don’t like songs that are song in this fashion, far from it i fact, but anything that isn’t song in this fashion (Pink Floyd aside) rarely gets on the radio over here, because it is just too different from what we have been fed over the radio to catch on with most people.  

More people should listen to experimental independent music, they are missing out on a world of emotion and idea’s all conveyed in 17 minute+ songs that rise and fall beautifully…. so long as the band is any good that is. 

And Cloud Minder is.

Recent lack of posts

Posted in Personal with tags , on July 23, 2008 by ddollas

Some recent personal family upheavals came up last week which demanded most of my attention, so I never managed to get around to posting anything on this blog lately, which I assure anyone who cares, will be corrected soon.  I love WordPress, and I love that people other then two personal friends read this and comment on my thoughts and ideals.  So to anyone that cares, I certainly do not plan on quitting updating this blog.

Oh Linux

Posted in Personal, Technology with tags , , , , on July 14, 2008 by ddollas

I love Linux.  I love how an operating system can come together that works so well, cost nothing, and be fully supported by a large group of die hard fans.

These same fans however, bother me to the point of disgust at times.  This weekend I happened to notice someone was running Ubuntu Linux on his Macbook Pro.  Since I had nothing better to do at the time, I attempted to make small talk and commented on how much I enjoy Ubuntu.  Said Linux person replied quickly that he hated Ubuntu, and preferred openSUSE.  However, he did mention that the reason openSUSE was in fact not installed was because it was tricky and difficult to get it installed, where as Ubuntu installed easily and gave him little trouble.  I was given only one reason that he hated Ubuntu, and that was because it made people look like idiots.

Well no shit buddy, most people that use computers are idiots.  I give it to the guy that he knows how to configure and install tarballs, configure important system files, and sift around to find some sort of workable drivers.  That is great and he is most likely better at it then I am, but hey I don’t want to spend 2 hours getting my video card to function like I had to do with Dapper Drake.  All versions of Ubuntu since then have done it for me in seconds.  Fresh installs just get up and running with all that basic starting bullshit taken care of for me.  This seems to aggravate hardcore Linux users, because they like to configure everything themselves, and therefore feel angry when Ubuntu takes that away from them.  Even though it doesn’t really, Ubuntu is just as configurable as any other Linux, the only difference is that someone who isn’t a multiple computer science major can use it with barely any trouble.

Ubuntu is taking a very good step with it’s usability and marketing.  Ubuntu is more commonly searched in on Google then Linux is these days.  Now if these Linux snobs can get over the fact that more people are using it, and that some people enjoy going outside a few times a day over staying inside wondering why their opensolaris computer won’t stay online longer then 5 minutes before I have to pull the Ethernet cable out and replace it.  (It happened!)

Point is, like it or not, more people are using Linux, and it is a good thing!  Everyone should have access to wonderful free open source programs, and nice secure operating systems that are free of the viral plagues that is the world of Windows.