Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Smile

A warm smile is testimony of a generous nature.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sweet Peas

Today, I was walking down the street after a rather average day at work. A man was meticulously tending his garden. It was the sorriest patch of dirt in one of the sorriest neighborhoods in one of the sorriest cities.

This poor man struggled and sweat over his greens. I think he noticed my gawking because he let loose a friendly 'Yo!' Oh, god, totally snagged now. You can't have someone greet you and then not stop for a chat. It's just bad manners to do so.

His sweet peas clung vicariously to the small white lattice buried nearby. It was comical that these small sprouts yielded such large pods and here he was harvesting. The sweet pea pods fit easily into my hand, like a green pocket knife.

"I'ave been growin sweet peas," he boasted. "The're best dis time of yeer." I nodded in sage agreement. I had no idea that sweet peas were the best around the summer solstice. I have no idea when they would ever be the best in the year, but this man said it so self-assuredly that it must be so. Sweat peas are best this time of year.

"They do look great," I remarked.

"Wunt one?" I think I have never seen a prouder man. And to be completely honest, he had full rights to be. Anyone who can manage to make something edible grow out of the dusty old dirt hanging around the city is nothing short of a master botanist.

Sure, the city and the school and other big businesses have lots of trees and grass growing, but only with liberal applications of mulch and imported soil. It's not the native environment but an invasion. It is an unsaid admission that nothing good can grow here without serious cash. And yet, here was Sweet Pea Man, diligently watering and plucking his sweet peas, making the impossible possible.

Now, how could I refuse? You can't refuse a good hearted gift crafted with their very hands. It's bad manners to do so. In any such case, you take it and say, "Thank you very much," as if it were the one thing you have always wanted the most in the entire world.

I took the sweet pea and said goodbye.

Around the end of the block, as I was absent-mindedly playing with the pod in my hand, I noticed a small spattering of green pods. Had this man accosted others and forced sweet peas into their hands? And having done so, proceeded to chuck them away when safely out of sight?

Surely this man was not a hermit and must be familiar with his block. I wonder what he felt when he found that his precious crop, so lovingly tended and coaxed out of the ground, tossed as garbage onto the streets.

Ah, the price of giving a gift.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Out of Hearts

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Failure and Defeat

Failure is not defeat until you stop trying.


Some Observations in Real Life

I saw at work a poor woman attempting to wheel into the bathroom. She couldn't (through a lack of strength and dexterity) hold the door open and roll the wheelchair in at the same time. So hey, what did bystanders do? Why, nothing at all! I watched one women push her aside to get in, and let the door slam in the face. This seemed to amuse a bystander looking on.

Don't worry, I helped her through the damn door. I'm so glad that in the room of about twenty people, one ignored her and the other laughed. This, by the way, was in a hospital cafe. I'm glad that the men and women charged with their M.D.s could not find the time to put down their coffees and hold a door for 40 seconds.


Hey, look at that Susan Boyle on that "Got Talent" show. Someone with a beautiful voice. You think, "Ok, that's great, what's the big fuss?" The response is usually, "Oh, well, she's... special". Hey, let's cut the bullshit and just admit it: we think she's ugly.

And it amazes me how patronizing people are when they state things such as: "this proves that within each person is beauty". Oh, so you didn't think or notice that before? It's sad that she will forever live not in recognition of her talents alone, but that she looks different and was talented. As if only those gifted with attractive looks ever have or had talent.

If you can't see why this makes me seethe, just imagine if someone said this: "It's amazing how smart John McSmith is with his 1590 SAT and 4.0 GPA in Neurosurgery and how he invented a radical noninvasive technique to curing strokes. This proves that African Americans are smart!" Just look how patronizing that is. Honestly. And yet everyone just nods their heads and marvels.


Monday, June 8, 2009


Hello, my name is Winter J Akina and I am an alt of Anna.


She asked me to write here.

Tug Boat Rizzo

Toot toot, I am a humble tugboat.

My name is the Rizzo the Tugboat.

I push things. Sometimes I pull things, but mostly pushing.

When I'm not working, my owners tie me to a pier.

It tickles when they play and fix my engine.

I think I like being a tugboat, but I've never been anything else so I wouldn't know.

The End


Friday, June 5, 2009

More Flickr Fun!

Time to let roll on Jurin's Flickr photostream again! This time, I'll discuss each photo with my alts, Winter and Torvald. Blah Blah Blah Owned by Jurin Blah Blah Legalities.

Anna: Well, it's some kind of erector set in a ravine on a full moon.
Winter: ...
Torvald: Where is everyone? Scared of the werewolves?
Anna: I don't think so, I don't see any homes.
Torvald: Maybe their doors and windows can blend into the cliff?
Anna: Maybe they're going to build something, like scaffolding on a building!
Torvald: Then where's the tools?
Anna: Took them with them?
Torvald: Why?
Winter: ...
Anna: It's an intersection. Homes are beyond and behind the screenshot. Kind of like taking photos of a train track but not the stations.
Torvald: That's stupid.
Winter: It's Riven.

Torvald: Confession: I'm scared of mice
Winter: Why?
Torvald: They live in the walls. Who knows what they hear me doing?
Anna: And what are you doing?
Torvald: Not much
Anna: Then why worry?
Torvald: Well, what if I wanted to do something in private? The buggers will be listening and watching
Anna: Well, this mouse isn't a wall mouse. It's just a mouse on a wall.
Winter: Great Wall of China
Torvald: That mouse has horrible proportions. Can its neck and that body support that giant head? The tail looks like a jousting lance coming out of its ass.
Anna: Torvy! Don't be so mean. It can't help that it was born that way.
Winter: It is made of prims.
Anna: True, but prims have feelings too!
Torvald: Maybe it's comtemplating jumping? It's a rather blah day out in that pic, perfect weather for a suicide.
Winter: Suicide is not the answer.
Anna: If a mouse commits suicide, does it go to hell? People go to hell for it, but the Bible doesn't mention anything about mice.

Winter: Pretty
Anna: Madcow made this.
Torvald: Is that the one who doesn't talk?
Anna: I think so. I can't remember names for the life of me
Torvald: Oh? What's my name
Anna: Ha freaking Ha
Anna: The body is pretty blah, but those wings!
Torvald: I wonder how evolution would work to create such a wing pattern.
Anna: Well, such a pattern may scare away predators.
Winter: It helps in sexy times?
Torvald: Pretty gawky if you ask me.
Anna: You know, maybe it's like a bee, those colors are a warning. If you look closely, you can almost see a stinger on the abdomen there.
Torvald: Why are you looking at... you know what, I don't wanna know.

Anna: It's telling of the economy how there are no shows playing.
Torvald: Why go to a movie theater when you can download off the internet?
Anna: Yeah, if you have internet access for Second Life, you might as well go ahead and torrent everything
Torvald: And there is a movie poster for 'Twister'
Anna: That movie was bad
Torvald: So? The tornadoes were awesome, and everything got torn up.
Anna: Yeah, but...
Torvald: But?
Anna: I dunno, something about the movie rubbed me the wrong way. A movie can't be all action, can it?
Torvald: Well, it's a movie about tornadoes. How much plot can you expect? Twisters aren't exactly good actors. In fact, they tend to be windbags.
Winter: Bad jokes deserve the death penalty.
Torvald: lol

Torvald: Jurin and Dimi, sitting in a tree
Anna: Oh god
Winter: ...
Torvald: K I S S I N G
Anna: Please stop...
Torvald: First comes love...
Anna: Hey, Dimi and tree almost kind of rhymes
Torvald: Then comes marriage...
Anna: That's not a big theater, either, is it?
Torvald: Then comes baby in the baby carriage!
Winter: Death Penalty
Torvald: ouch

Torvald: "Doctor, my tooth hurts"
Winter: ?
Torvald: You've never played that game where you pull the alligator's teeth?
Winter: no
Torvald: I always had the damn thing clamp its jaws down on me. And it's killing me that I can't remember the name. Anna, I think you're rubbing off on me.
Anna: Hey, is it a crocodile or an alligator?
Torvald: Hmm, uh, I dunno. Winter?
Winter: ...
Torvald: Yep, no idea either.
Winter: Wikipedia
Torvald: No, no wikipedia! Hey, this scene is pretty tropical. Jungle book style.
Winter: ...
Torvald: I'm crusing down da Nile, this croc is chocking bile, maybe I'll get him riled... UP!
Winter: Death Penalty

Winter: Reeds hide Moses
Anna: That's a lot of hippos
Torvald: I'm amazed neither of you notice what's wrong with this scene
Anna: Care to enlighten us?
Torvald: What are hippos doing in a desert? Are they more jungle?
Anna: I dunno. Why don't you ask your friend Wikipedia?
Torvald: Let's.
Torvald: They used to be extant up and down the Nile, but not anymore.
Winter: Sad
Anna: So you think this is someone in Second Life trying to recapture a lost species?
Torvald: If by lost you mean "Not there anymore", because Hippos aren't extinct... yet
Winter: Sad
Anna: And notice how it's in the evening. A perfect symbol of the decline of hippos in the wild.
Torvald: How sad.
Winter: Sad

Anna: Does this frighten you, Torvy?
Torvald: No, not really
Anna: Mice do but giant tentacles don't?
Torvald: Well, it's all in where they live. Mice live in my walls. Giant Octopi don't.
Torvald: Are they Giant Octopi?
Anna: There's giant squid. They're related to octopi. So yes, there are giant octopus.
Torvald: Ok, well, as long as I avoid the shore I'm cool with them
Torvald: You know, it's like: I won't barge into someone else's home. Not like mice do.
Torvald: Plus, mice get into your food and shit in it. Gross.
Anna: It only has four tentacles.
Torvald: So?
Anna: OCTOpus. It should have eight.
Winter: Treading water?
Anna: Perhaps.
Torvald: It also looks like a lake. Or a really shallow bay.
Anna: Oh, then it wouldn't fit in there either, would it?
Winter: Textures open the imagination
Anna: Yes, that is good texturing. It really feels as if a giant octopus is coming out and exploring the world of air
Torvald: Ha, beat you to the punch, suckers!

Torvald: Didn't Jurin already visit heaven once already?
Anna: Well, not quite. It was just a 'driving through the neighborhood' moment.
Winter: Death's door is one way
Anna: Yeah, read what I said: just driving by. She didn't enter it.
Torvald: Why is heaven always bright and white?
Anna: Because we're dinural creatures and our culture associates white with purity and good?
Torvald: Really?
Anna: Just a guess
Torvald: There's even a stairway. Who has a wheelchair in the afterlife? Is your soul really remain crippled after you die? That's pretty mean of God
Anna: Perhaps. But maybe He doesn't make the rules.
Torvald: That's bullshit. He's God.
Anna: True, but notice he doesn't interfere in our world, either.
Winter: Decour eases transition
Torvald: I suppose it is easier for our minds to comphrehend. 2001: A Space Odessy was trippy enough
Anna: And that was a work of man
Anna: She's stopped about a third of the way up, though. As if the avatar in question is hesitant
Anna: Maybe she's in a coma, and is deciding whether to remain in a coma or fall into a vegetative state.
Anna: Trying to decide whether to suffer and potentially recover to the joy of her family, or leave for her own happiness while her family languishes over whether to pull the plug or not
Torvald: You're scary sometimes.

Anna: This reminds me of Spore
Torvald: Your mom reminds me of Spore
Anna: Ha, no. In Spore, the planets are really tiny. About as big as Pluto. It's weird.
Torvald: It's a game
Anna: I mean, how do they even retain an atmosphere? How did each planet get sized to the exact same dimensions?
Torvald: Game.
Anna: Really, this house is Spore. Your species has one city and it dominates the planet. Your creatures are like epically giant.
Torvald: GAME
Winter: Reflections of reality suspend disbelief
Torvald: It's a GAME. It doesn't have to do anything. You're just supposed to have fun with it.
Torvald: Evolution doesn't work that way, but does it make Spore any less fun?
Anna: No, but it's just ridiculous.
Torvald: Have you ever played a game where anything was not ridiculous?
Anna: Yeah, I guess everything gets kind of trippy.
Anna: Like Elmo's Letter Adventure.
Torvald: That game came out when you were about 14. Why'd you get it?
Winter: Siblings offer demands against the one
Anna: I have a lot of strange stuff around.
Torvald: So, you must spend a lot of time complaining about each and every thing?
Anna: Just when it's 'in your face' like the planet thing.
Torvald: But a house inside a moon is ok?
Anna: I never said it wasn't. Just that Spore got it wrong.
Anna: I wonder how you get home here. Is it following the Jetsons?
Torvald: It's rustic, I think maybe it's hot air balloons.
Winter: Proportion consistancy enhances design
Anna: Hm?
Torvald: I think she's pointing out that the window in the moon is way bigger than the door on the house itself.
Anna: Then those laterns are pretty big, too
Torvald: Your mom is big.
Winter: Death Penalty.

Anna: Yay! We're finally done. And... oh my god, there's NOTHING here.
Torvald: Columbus would be screwed.
Anna: It's something so beautiful and yet horrifying at the same time
Winter: Horror is reality
Torvald: Dandelions are real, are they horrific?
Winter: No
Torvald: Then reality is not horror
Winter: Their seeds spread and ruin the lawn
Torvald: Is that really that horrible? Just some herbicide will cure that.
Winter: The scars of battle would remain
Torvald: What?
Winter: The poison forever seeped into the ground
Winter: Welling up in the aquifier
Winter: Children pay for the sins of the father
Torvald: It's not DDT ffs, it's just some ol' herbicide
Torvald: You're just being melodramatic now
Winter: Tragedy breeds from willful ignorance
Torvald: You know what? I'm done.
Anna: What?
Torvald: I'm not arguing with her anymore. NOT LISTENING
Winter: ...
Torvald: LA LA LAH
Winter: ...
Anna: ANYWAY, back on topic
Torvald: This was during a crash
Anna: This was during a crash
Anna: Hey, jinx!
Torvald: Jinx
Anna: Double jinx
Torvald: Triple jinx
Anna: Quad jinx
Winter: Infinite jinxes
Torvald: I'm ignoring her, so no infinite jinx
Torvald: ...
Torvald: Infinity jinx
Anna: sigh
Torvald: sigh
Anna: So, we see heaven when we die, and when we crash, we see boundless ocean
Torvald: So, we see heaven when we die, and when we crash, we see boundless ocean
Anna: ...
Torvald: ...
Anna: Ok, Ok, I get it
Torvald: Ok ok, I get it
Anna: I'm a big moron and also I like to stick prim penises in my ear
Torvald: Ew
Torvald: Way to blow it out of proportion
Winter: ...
Torvald: I was just playing with you
Anna: Well, stay on topic. Play with the topic
Torvald: I am glad you admitted to being a moron.
Anna: Torvald!
Torvald: Just playing! Jeez
Anna: Well, anyway, this is one good thing about Windlight: crashes are pretty
Torvald: It's kinda boring, actually
Torvald: Can't they rezz some ships or seagulls?
Anna: You can't if you've crashed. The definition of a crash is when you glitch out like that
Torvald: Stick something moving and interesting in the sky, then.
Winter: The dead albatross heralds bad omens
Torvald: We're not sticking dead birds in the sky. Just something to liven up the landscape.
Torvald: And I said I'm not talking to you
Winter: Ears cannot unlisten
Torvald: I hate you too
Anna: Guys! Please!
Anna: ...
Anna: oh dammit, I'm seeing the same thing in Second Life. Thanks for crashing me out
Torvald: Anytime
Winter: Death Penalty
Torvald: That wasn't a even joke!!

Well, thanks again Jurin for providing the photos. And thanks to Torvald and Winter for suffering through this post. And thanks to me for posting it.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Me The Fool

I was writing a comment, but then (like all things I touch) it began to drag out so rather than spam the poor blog I decided to just write a post here instead.

I took this test honestly, and I scored a 6, so I "have considered buying virtual birth control/lube because you're ready to get down in the digital. You've thought and researched about virtual sex. Your avatar is your special secret self. When somebody touches your avatar, they are touching you. Sex online is equivalent to sex in real life." I've read fortune cookies offer better more specific responses. It's similar to those silly online quizzes that ask 'what color are you?' or 'what Twilight character are you?' (blue and Alice, if you're curious). It's funny because I'm something of a prude.

The questions are a joke unto themselves. "Do I care how my avatar looks? Do I pay money for clothes and hair? Do I try to look sexy?" Well, uh, yeah. I try not to look like I crawled out of a freebie box after falling all the way through a randomizer tree. "Have you had an argument over how to interact in a virtual world?" Who hasn't? Where hasn't this argument ever not been discussed? "Do you think Angelina Jolie looks hotter..." Why does that matter? What does Angelina Jolie have to do with virtual worlds at all? Nonsense. Half of them only barely tangentially relate to virtual sex/relationships.

So many words, and the article really boils down to:
"If you are invested in your virtual experience, and you have strong emotional or physical reactions to it then what happens there is pretty real. That's what makes the virtual world different from the real: your beliefs/feelings determine what's happening." Which, as you said, has nothing to do with the headline. The headline should have been:

"Emotional Reactions to a Virtual World"

Or how about:

"A Few Tired and Oft Repeated Sentences That Contribute Nothing In Particular to the General Discussion of Feelings and Spirtual Investments in Virtual Worlds"

How the media reports is how some people begin to think, too, even if they lose interest in the stories and headlines the memes stick around. If you happen to mention you're registered as a Republican, you're automatically labeled as a crazed fundamentalist anti-abortion gun toting grumpy capitalist pig homophobic SUV driving nutjob who thinks we should invade those cheese eating French ingrates (that'll teach'em to forget we saved them in WWI/WWII). Har Har I'm a Republican so I can't possibly debate over, say, clean coal because I'm obviously anti-environment!! Although, I think Ari covered more ground on this in a previous post about relativism.

Ah, life is good.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I have a bone to pick today, and it came up partly due to reading the aforementioned threads.

In one of them, someone thanked God for saving them from something or other in the past. I have no idea what the history was (she doesn't give further info), but I know of at least a few other people who, after being found by a Rescue team or saved by a Surgeon cutting out a tumor, thank God.

Excuse me? Did God get on his cell and dial up the Coast Guard when your ship toppled, or was it the engineer who installed the radio which allowed you to ring them up in the first place? And did God jump in the water and pull you out? No, Lieutenant Somedude did.

When getting that necrotic appendix out, is no credit given to the doctor who diagnosed it in time? Or the surgeon who managed to remove it? Or the fact that both of them went through years of medical school? Any of them get any credit at all for saving your rear?

No, they get shafted and get no credit because obviously God made it easy for them in order to be in place to save you (and others, I guess). To me, that belittles them to mere pawns in the hand of God. I know I'd feel a bit disenfranchised when someone would say, "You survived that brain tumor! I prayed so hard for you!" Sure, it may life the patient's emotional health, but who really get dirty and saved the crux of the problem (because let's be honest: being in perfect emotional health is pretty pointless when your heart refuses to beat).

I'm not saying God should be marginalized or ignored or anything. I just think it's offensive that people forget those who enabled the miracle in the first place. People who dedicated their lives to making our lives easier.

Please, share the kudos.

And of course, I'm sure I'll get people who will reply that only God can cure some things and some things will be beyond the reach of any science. I highly doubt it. Just a few years ago, getting HIV was akin to a fast death sentence and being a virus, it didn't seem likely that could ever change. Now, we have drugs which can delay and improve the quality of life for AIDS patients dramatically and research into anti-virals, while still a long way off, are becoming promising.

Sure, some things may be in God's hands only today. But every day, we get a little closer to sharing the power. Whether this is due to His designs or what, it's not fair to shaft the people, the human beings involved, when dealing out the kudos.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Forum Arguments

There was a big hubbub on Xstreet today.

Oh, by the way, I've taken to reading the forums there lately as I've been starved for entertainment. It's priceless when you throw a bunch of people together and all but force them to interact. So really, saying there was a big commotion doesn't really tell you anything at all.

So that thread is about someone thankful for finding out a family member is a-ok and who makes the grievous mistake of invoking god. Of course it's misconstrued in a hilarious manner, and also resulted in this follow up thread with even more hysterics.

I don't participate in forums. If you see anyone on the forums with my name, it's a faker. Too often someone beats me to whatever I'm about to say and it ends up as a 'me too!' post which clutters the board. Rarely do I have some new angle to think about. If I really want to write an argument, I do it here where I can scale Mount Redundancy Mountain without seeming to mimic someone else.

But that doesn't mean I can't mine them for comedy value!