Archive | August, 2009

Alcohol

30 Aug

Alcohol; I have no interest in it. I’ve never been drunk in my life, and I really don’t see the appeal of being drunk. When I told my friend that I was helping my girlfriend throw an alcohol free party he replied “I don’t see why people say they can have fun without alcohol. It makes you able to have more fun! Trying to have fun at a party without alcohol is like trying to start a fire with flint and steel. Why use flint and steel when they’ve invented the lighter?” To which I quickly replied: “Yes, but how many people have accidentally burned down their house with flint and steel?”

I’m in my senior year at Lynchburg College. Last year I had a house with 5 other guys, and the place was party central. After watching last year unfold, I can safely say that nothing good came out of  the drinking that took place in my house. We had people mixing their medication with their drinks, people throwing up, relationship drama, and had to call 9-11 on several occasions.

When you drink your ability to make good judgments goes down, that’s a fact. It’s like people here get drunk so they can fuck each other and make bad decisions and blame it on the alcohol. If they really regretted making bad decisions while drunk, they would stop drinking. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see the appeal of not being in control. I want to be able to control my actions and be able to make good decisions. I guess it’s called responsibility.

I’ve always been the responsible one. Last year I would drive crying drunk girls home, I would clean up if something happened, I would make sure the house didn’t burn down. I also had to talk to the emergency services whenever there was a problem because I was the only person not inebriated.  Eventually I got really fucking sick and tired of having to clean up after the irresponsible.

The first weekend back a “Liberty” “University” student came over to our apartment to party. “Liberty” “University” students often come over to my college campus to drink and party because their evangelical christian school bans all parties and alcohol. This student, a 19 year old girl, drank way too much and mixed her medication. Next thing we know she’s passed out on my friend’s bed in a giant pool of vomit, not responding. My housemates had to call 9-11….again…. I came out of my room to socialize only to find an emergency happening in my apartment.

Religious equality

18 Aug

It is a common misconception that Atheists want to eradicate religion from the United States. All we really want is religious equality.What’s that? Well, we just want the government to treat those without faith with the same respect and dignity that it treats others. We don’t want people getting special privileges that are denied to us, simply because they say they believe in a god(s).

Luckily for us, the First Amendment of the constitution states that the government should be neutral in the “establishment clause”.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

In other words, the government can’t favor one belief over another, and it can’t pass laws that mess with your right to practice your religion.

Take a look at this sign:

Do you recognize it? If you don’t, it was a sign erected in the Washington state capitol last christmas. Why was this sign placed there? Well, Washington state officials in the capitol had allowed a nativity scene to be placed in the building. In order to be equal and follow the constitution, they then had to allow Atheists to put up their sign on government property. All or none. If you’re going to allow one group to put up a sign on public property, you must allow all, thereby not giving a government endorsement of any one group. (Unfortunately, some people were not happy with the inclusion of Atheists and protested. One person even went so far as to steal the sign and throw it in a ditch. Thou shalt not steal?)

As you can imagine, after letting one group put a sign, then another, and another, the capitol building became littered with them. The “all or none” doctrine works great for keeping everything fair and in line with the constitution, but allowing all clogs up space. The best way to archive religious equality is to allow none. This way Atheists couldn’t put a sign, and nor could the religious. People would still be free to put as many signs as they want on their private property, but when it comes to public property that people of all faiths must share, it’s better just not to go there.

While Washington state is a good example of government abiding to the constitution, there are many other places where government blatantly ignores it. If you pull out your wallet and find any piece of money, you’ll find the words “In God We Trust” written on them.

Atheists (and some christians) are fighting to get this phrase taken off of the money and out of the pledge. Some people try and rationalize the phrase by saying “Well, it doesn’t mean the christian God, it means any god.” While this might sound ok, further examination will show you that this is not so. There is a big difference between “God”, “god”, “gods”, “goddess” and “goddesses”. “God” capitalized (like it is on the pledge) refers to a proper noun, in this case the  singular male Jedeo-Christian god. “god” can mean any singular male god, “gods” multiple male gods, and so on. There are only a few religions that have a singular male god, there are others that have a female goddess, others that have multiples of both, some people have none of the above.

Since there isn’t enough room on the money/in the pledge to give Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Athiests, Animists, Shintos, ect, a spot, the best thing the government can do is to just not go there and take it off.

Atheists aren’t trying to dictate what you can do on your private property. There you are protected by the constitution to say whatever you like. On public property, however, the constitution protects the rest of us from the government excluding one group while allowing another. That’s all we’re aiming for, religious equality.

coexist

I’m not like this is real life

18 Aug

Some people have made comments to the effect that I’m rather abrasive and rude on my blog. Yes, sometimes I am. But I’m not like that at all in real life. In real life I’m much more polite and reserved. I never bring up religion or politics unless someone else does first. And even if they do, I try to be respectful and polite while still holding firm to my values. I’m actually a really nice person who will go out of my way to help a stranger.

On my blog I’m different. Here I’m not bound by etiquette. I’m not dealing with people I see face to face on a daily basis. Here I am able to write behind a screen of anonymity. Here I let off  pressure without consequence. As such I don’t censure myself here on my own blog.

But in real life I’m different.

I hate spineless democrats

18 Aug

This makes me furious. Obama might back off of the public option for healthcare even though 72% of the population want that option!?!?! Excuse my language, but what the fuck is it with spineless democrats! A few grumpy old white men in congress get mad at you and you go belly up despite having 72% of the population behind you?

Who gives a fuck what the conservatives in congress think? Last time I checked people had had enough of them ruling the country and ran them out of power in BOTH branches of government. They don’t even have enough seats in the senate to be able to stand up and whine forever. Despite all this the democrats cower in front of them?

I’m sorry, but the democrats make me furious. They have ever since 2006 when I felt betrayed by them. I used to be an extremely passionate supporter of theirs until the 2006 elections. They took congress and I suddenly felt the dark reign of Bush would be stopped, but it was as if the republicans were still in charge. They just fell over in fear every time the republicans got angry. It’s like they secretly feel in their hearts that the republicans are right, and America is an extremely conservative country. Why the fuck they’re in politics I haven’t a clue.

No, I wish we could just fire all of them. I want someone in there who won’t betray us and the change we voted for. Someone who will have the balls to stand up to the grumpy old men and tell them to go to hell. They no longer have the power, and after 8 years it’s time we start fixing the country.

Hit points

17 Aug

Hitpoints have always been a curious invention by gaming. I guess the frailty of our bodies is not very fun, and so to make gaming fun, we need to invent hitpoints.

Can you imagine if games were like real life in terms of total damage a body can sustain? You wouldn’t get three feet in a shooter game. The first bullet you took would shatter and shred your internal organs, leading you to bleed out all over the floor while going into shock. Not exactly stuff that would make a game like Gears of War a hit.

Huge battles in RTS games would be over in a few seconds. All your expensive units would die after being hit once, it would suck, but then so does war in real life.

One game that I must point out that does this differently is the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. In the game you are not a human tank. Bullets will deplete your health much faster, and even after you’ve been hit you will bleed, depleting your health further. While the damage is “more” realistic, it isn’t perfect. A bullet to the stomach would pretty much put you out of action. Still, the game is commendable for going the extra mile.

(Here is a really good and funny video review of it by Zero Punctuation)

What I find really interesting in games is how some weapons do more damage than others. Sure, if you want to talk physics a bullet has more joules behind it than an arrow, but both will still kill you. The total energy is different, but the end result is the same.

Perhaps the idea that some weapons are “superior” to others in games stems from the existence of hitpoints instead of the fact that weapons evolved for efficiency reasons and not because newer ones “killed you more”.

EdgertonBullet

Weapon effectiveness

16 Aug

So today I was playing around with Empire Earth II. I was having a great time and then a swarm of enemy pikemen surrounded one of my tanks and killed it. I was like “Hey…wait a second….” Let me see, how I can best put this? Oh, I know!

tank pwns

I know how the game calculates damage. X unit has Y hitpoints and does Z damage. If enough of unit A gangs up on unit B, then eventually the damage done by unit A is going to deplete unit B’s hitpoints. Simple. Unfortunately, in this case that scenario is totally impossible. A bunch of guys with pikes could never destroy an active tank. Maybe if it was left in a field and they had a few weekends to take the nuts and bolts off, but not if it was manned, moving, and shooting.

Now this is a computer game, and so it’s rather trivial, but it would be nice to make it as realistic as possible. Unfortunately, that would require a lot more code to be written about what the computer should or shouldn’t do when 2 units fight. Production times and costs are already so enormous, this issue will definitely be on the back burner for a long long time.

This is an area where I think table top gaming has an edge over computer gaming. D&D and its many spin offs have AC “armor class”. AC determines if, when attacked, a player takes any damage. The better your armor, the better your AC, and thus the less likely you are to take damage. Now the system is not perfect for every possible weapon/armor combination, but it really helps in trying to make the game more realistic.

Am I an extremist?

15 Aug

First off, I want to show you this comic:

I think it makes a nice point: a “militant”  Atheist is one that is open about their Atheism. That’s it. For a religious person to be “militant” they have to be willing to resort to violence or something close to it, but for Atheist, all they need to do is be unafraid to say they don’t believe in god. No violence or threats of violence needed. It’s a ridiculous double standard. Same goes for the term “extremist”.

Do people call me “militant” or “extremist” in my Atheism? Yes. Does that make me so? No. In fact, I don’t consider myself to be either of those terms. Do I want to irradiate all religion from the face of the earth? No. Do I want to ban religion from the United States? No. All I want is a little something called equality. I just want the wall of separation between church and state respected. There are, however, many religious “extremists” and “militants” who do want to irradiate all other religions from the face of the earth, etc. To them, their path is the only true path.

Why is it ok for a religious person to profess their faith openly, by either saying so verbally, or silently with symbols like bumper stickers and religious themed jewelry, but when I do the same about professing my lack of faith, I’m somehow bad, an extremist?

I see religious bumper stickers all over the place. People don’t give those drivers dirty looks. When I put up my bumper stickers I get honked at, flicked off, and people scowl. Now keep in mind, my bumper stickers aren’t offensive (any more than a christian fish is offensive to me). My current one reads “You don’t need god to be moral”. Simple, not hostile, just a statement, not attacking anyone. Yet for things like this I get called “extremist”.

Do I hold my views very strongly? Yes, but then so do religious people and they’re not labeled “militant”. Am I willing to change my mind if presented with enough evidence? Sure. That and not wanting to force others to believe as I do is what seperates me from the “extremists” and “militants”.

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