Sunday, August 30, 2015

You Don't Know This Loneliness

There is none so blind as those who will not listen.
 - Neil Gaiman

While by and far the majority of people I have attempted to discuss my blindness of faith with to have been completely incapable to conceive of such a possible; for those that do, it is incredibly refreshing.

Too often, when I suggest an inability to accept thing--like supreme deities or magic--on faith alone, people go one of two way: complete denial or disrespectful humor. I can't say I prefer either over the other. Those who tend toward complete denial refuse to belief such a thing is possible, that I'm thinking about it too hard or in denial myself. Those who tend toward disrespectful humor question if I have faith in gravity or science.

Except gravity and science are not immaterial in the sense that I would have to accept them without proof of their existence. I can see and experience proof of gravity, proof of science, friction, tensile strength of matter, evidence that they exist and work. No faith is required.

Any justification in the existence of a supreme deity requires a pre-existing belief. Prayer. Healing. Miracles. If you can handle the razor without cutting yourself, Occam can explain all these things with Causality, Biology, and Human Nature. (The last because nobody writes of or publishes the times it doesn't work, in hopes of making their hero seem larger than life. They don't even count them as actual attempts.)

Of those who are able to consider this handicap (for lack of a better word), there are two additional pools: those who are willing to try to understand, and those who are the same as myself (as such, no exertion is required). I can appreciate the difficulty of those who try to understand in my own struggles to see there perspective: to have faith.

As for those the same as myself... well, I don't think I've met anyone lacking the ethereal "sixth sense" of faith, but I have read and listened to commentaries by one man, who seems to be of the same mind.

His name is Joss Whedon.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How Many Channels...

How many television channels must you have such that there is never "nothing" on?

The question is both harder and easier than it looks. It all depends on who is doing the answering, what their tastes are in television and entertainment, both where they overlap and where they don't, and how forgiving they are in finding satisfaction in watching something they don't actually like.

For me, that answer is simple and (to some people) deceptively small: One channel.

I don't use a television set for television programming. I use my set for video games and streaming media. While it could be argued that each of my auxiliary cords is a different channel (HDMI 1, HDMI 2, Component 1, etc), I prefer to see it as aux-or-off. Unless you count "off" as a channel (like counting the absence of color a color of its own), my count is decidedly one.

But that won't hold true for everybody. Some people are wholly dependent on television programming for entertainment, at which point their tastes and their forgiveness are what determine their minimum number.

When I speak of "forgiveness," what I mean is: how willing are you to watch something you don't enjoy watching in order to pass the time to get to a new selection of programming choices. If you have a high level of forgiveness, you can get by with fewer channels. If you have a low level of forgiveness, either you must have more channels, or the channels that you do have must be specific choices; last time I checked, there's no TSP (television service provider) that charges you based on how many channels you can pick and choose from their selection rather than being forced to choose between predetermined packages.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Privatizing the English Language

It's only a matter of time before the English language is wholly trademarked up to its eyeballs and we have to go looking for another language that isn't owned by massive corporations seeking to protect their interests. But you probably think I'm exaggerating.

If only.

Now, I may be getting a bit ahead of myself, but it's not like there's a master list of all the common-use words that have trademarks on them. No, instead, you have to search for them manually and individually on the USPTO website.

How did I find this out? A little innocent bumper sticker design I had a friend cook up, never seen the like before (and trust me, I've checked) only to discover there's a blanket trademark on the word, and my screenprinter is too fearful of lawsuits.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Modern Day Sisyphus

With hands and feet he tried to roll it up to the top of the hill, but always, just before he could roll it over on to the other side, its weight would be too much for him, and the pitiless stone would come thundering down again on to the plain. Then he would begin trying to push it up hill again...
 - Homer's Odyssey, via perseus.tufts.edu 

I used to think I knew what this was like, working in a large retail store that catered to materialists, and worse still, being partially responsible for the upkeep and cleanliness of the Toy department.

These days, however, I'm finally out of retail, out of the business of dealing directly with customers, sorting presorted mail. I still feel like Sisyphus.

I work on just one of twenty-or-so lines in my facility, for just one-of-three round-the-clock shifts, pushing over twenty thousand pieces of mail from one end of the building to the other and back again. Sisyphus never had to worry about papercuts.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

LOL Cats:Inside Voice

" 'Use my inside voice?' Why would I even have a inside voice?"
- Laugh Out Loud Cats #2288 by Adam Koford

When most people think of inside- and outside-voices, they're referring to volume, inside-voices are quieter and outside-voices are louder.

I don't get much louder than my normal speaking voice, so I have little access to the kind of volume normally associated with an outside-voice. So for myself, outside becomes equivalent to aloud, and inside refers to inside my head.

I don't know what it is, but I can't really yell or scream. I can project well so that I'm heard (in most settings) but significantly increasing my voice in volume is beyond me.

I suppose you could say I reduce the concept by an order of magnitude.