Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not dead, just lazy.

Got that everyone? I'm still alive. Just busy with, you know, everything.

And tired. God damn am I tired.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Graffiti

The charming example of the defacement of private property on the right was found, by moi, in a gas station restroom about five miles outside of Gatesville.

The graffiti was the first thing I saw when I wandered into the toilet. It was kind of hard to miss, what with it being one of only three others. ("Call Jenny for a good time xxx-xxxx" and "Fuck Obama", respectively.) All smears of black ink on the white plastered walls.

I couldn't do much but shake my head and snap a picture, then empty my bladder and get the fuck out of that town as quickly as possible. If that's what they think of poor, God fearing black folks, what would they do to a godless commie faggot like me?

But as I was driving out of town, I noticed something else. About two miles down the road from the gas station was a giant billboard with a "McCain/Palin" sign inexpertly pasted across the front. Again, I couldn't do much more than shake my head in disbelief as I tore past. (Doing well over fifty-five, trust me.)

But as I saw the billboard fading in my rear-view mirror, I realized how faded it looked. Three years of exposure to the elements hadn't been kind. It reminded me of some kind of barnacle, or maybe a particularly persistent strain of lichen, clinging to a weathered rock in an environment rapidly turning hostile to it. Sure, it's a worthless, pitiable piece of slime, but you've got to at least admire its sheer tenacity, if nothing else.

These evil fuckers are fighting a losing battle. People are moving on, and it scares the piss out of them, so they struggle even harder, burrowing as far as they can into cracks and crevices of society, retreating into blind hatred and insanity. That's all the far right is these days, a desperate graffiti scrawl on the face of our political system. A last ditch attempt to clutch on to the "good old days".

They've already lost.

And they know it.

 (For those of you who don't get the Church's Chicken reference: In the 1990's, there was an urban legend about Church's Chicken making the rounds. The company was allegedly run by the KKK and put saltpeter in their chicken in an attempt to sterilize the black population. Of course, this probably isn't true, but that doesn't appear to matter to the shining example of humanity that scribbled it in sharpie on a bathroom wall.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

GRE

Bleh.

Well, I'm past last week's wonderful little funk. I don't know what contributed to it, but I know that finishing the GRE (that's Graduate Record Exam, if you didn't know) certainly helped alleviate it.

Scores so far are:

Verbal:
    670/800

Quantitative:
    760/800

Writing:
    Waiting for evaluation.

It's good to have it out of the way, at least, and my scores are apparently pretty good.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a short story to finish, and a response to write to a certain blogger...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

...

     This isn't accurate, but it's true, which is more important.

      I hit upon the perfect metaphor this morning.
      For a while, I've been struggling to define the sense of disconnection that I have. Then, as I was fumbling to zip up my coat through a pair of thick leather gloves, it struck me. This is what I'm like. Stuck constantly trying to get a handle on the world, but unable to. Not stupid, but dull, like a knife blade either worn down or never sharpened in the first place. Like Jack said; “A copy of a copy of a copy.” A lens, out of focus, I can see the world around me, but the edges are blurred. I can look, but I can't understand. Not fully.
      And that scares me.
      God. Sometimes I worry that I'm going mad. That something inside me head is broken, warped out of shape by the cold of my constant analytical eye. Or maybe that's just the isolation talking. Maybe it's true that other people are the lenses that we see ourselves through, and I, with my astigmatism, am without a pair of glasses to rely on.
      But what is this? Poetry? Reflection? Introspection? I'm over thinking things, as usual.

(This little bit of happy prose came to mind as I was walking home from class today. It's a bit melodramatic, I know, but I felt the need to write it down and share it nonetheless. I'm slowly piecing myself together, not because I was broken by something mysterious in my past, but because that's what life is, the process of putting yourself together into a coherent whole. It's easy for some people, others never manage to fully achieve it, and in the end, it doesn't really matter, but I know I'll never be happy or fulfilled if I don't figure myself out. This is a part of that process.)

(God. I sound like a fifteen-year-old wearing too much eyeliner. Somebody shoot me.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Carl Sagan Would Like a Word...

...and the Spaceship of the Imagination is armed. With SCIENCE!

RE: The Evidential Problem of Evil

Cristofer Urlaub, he of the awesome glasses, runs a blog.

After he commented on a post of mine, I left a comment on a post of his, in a sense of reciprocation. My comment questioned the justifications he had presented for the "Problem of Evil". Apparently, thought, my arguments consisted of something known as the "Evidential Problem of Evil". I'd never heard of this distinction before, but it makes sense. The LPoE attempts to use formal logical deduction to show that a wholly good, all powerful, all knowing god cannot exist, given that there is evil. The EPoE, in comparison, only shows that it is unlikely that a perfect god exists, given the state of the world around us.

The response Urlaub gave to the problem of evil was the standard one of "free will". There's a number of objections that could be raised to the existence of free will in a universe with an omniscient, omnipotent creator. The God of Christianity is traditionally depicted as not only being completely aware of everything, not just what is happening now, but what will happen in the future, which kind of throws a monkey wrench in the idea of free will. The God of the bible, though, is also said to have a "plan". This plan is vague and ill defined, but it's there. One of the easiest ways to understand this problem is simply to think of Judas. Yes, he's reviled for betraying Jesus, but according to Christian doctrine, Jesus' suffering on the cross  is part of god's plan. He even knew, before hand, that he would be betrayed. Judas was nothing but a pawn in god's game. What does that say about his free will, and the free will of all humans?

But I'm getting off track. Urlaub promised a response to the Evidential Problem of Evil, and he delivered.

His response is divided up into several sections. Part of his claim is that there are different reasons for different examples of human suffering, so it's unfair for atheists to criticize one response for not explaining something it was never intended to, but I don't think any of these responses hold water. I intend to show the holes in every one of them.

Jim's Religious Survey

Here:

Link.

Take it! Do it! DO IT NAO!

It's not just for non-religious people either.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winterdammerung

My car thermometer says that it's ten degrees outside, but it's a known liar. I'd put the actual temperature at half that. Add in wind chill, and it feels like it's even less. Flurries of dry, powdery snow drift across the parking lot, only to pile up against hundreds of pairs of booted feet. My coat isn't quite enough to make being outside bearable.

I really can't emphasize this enough. It's not just standard winter cold. It's ball clenching, teeth aching, lung burning cold. Freezing. Algid. Frore. Rimy. Glacial. Bum-fuck-cold. Whatever you want to call it, it's not fun. I'm not built for cold weather. I've got less insulation on me than an aluminum aircraft hanger in the Bahamas! I'm a railroad tie with wire-framed glasses!

I'm telling you this to set the scene. See, the reason I'm outside, instead of at home, ensconced inside the cocoon I've piled together from every piece of insulating material in my room with a chemical heating pad stuck down my shirt, is that some stupid fuck pulled the fire alarm.

Why?

Sweet merciful raptor Jesus, why!?

Of course, since I'm writing this, you could, justifiably, come to the conclusion that I'm back at home. This is true. It still doesn't change the fact that I and four hundred other students spent a quarter of an hour rapidly solidifying in the parking lot.

Beware, alarm-puller. Beware, for you have summoned the wrath of four hundred angry, poorly fed college students. If your identity is uncovered, we will descend upon you swiftly and silently. Our ramen-fueled vengeance will not be stayed by petty human concepts like "mercy" or "dry cleaning bills". We will sacrifice our quarters at the temple of "Laundromat" to wash the crimson tide from our outerwear. WE WILL NOT BE STOPPED!

-QT, hungry for justice. And tacos.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

ted haggard is completely heterosexual...

We all know the sad, stupid story of Ted Haggard, mega-church preacher forced into exile from the religious right after his meth habit and affair with a male prostitute came to light.When I first heard about what he'd done, I couldn't help but laugh at the irony. Here's a man who has built a career on a facade of moral rectitude, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars by preaching a hateful and judgmental theology to the masses.

As poor an emotion as schadenfreude is, there's some times when it's the only reasonable response.

But now, Ted's back. In an article in GQ, he spills his guts to Kevin Roose, famed journalistic infiltrator of that center for evangelical education, Liberty University.

I began Roose's article with a profound sense of skepticism, but by the time I had finished... well... that hadn't actually changed. I still don't believe a word that comes out of Haggard's mouth. In spite of this, I can't help but feel a sort of sad pity for him, and, maybe, a faint hope that he might build himself up into a force for (at least a little) good now that he's had his whole life torn down around him.

Friday, January 28, 2011

you're in a cave - pt 2

The second part of an ancient RP, cataloguing my alarmingly rapid descent into madness.

(Edited for content.)