Friday, June 11, 2004

In Response To Jared (not Sibbitt)

Jared, I understand what you're describing. I actually call it the "bubble of free will" theory. Fate or God or whatever designates a few major events in your life (i.e., car accident, presidency, Strong Bad answering your e-mail, etc.) and then you just run around until these events happen.

Fun to think about, but still contradictory.

A "perfect will" and a "general will" (or more accurately, a "less-perfect will") as two separate forces that act upon each individual do not reconcile with the definition of God.

I'm told that God doesn't do less than perfect.

Free will does not exist if God's will is paramount.

This is another idea that I have been told to credit to the great mystery, to shut my mouth and accept as fact.

Even though human beings are quite adept at going around with several contradictory points of view, I find that life is a helluva lot easier when I don't.

Since you brought up the subject of games, here is another popular one:

Pascal's Wager

Let's see...Pascal pretty much said "Okay, God either does or does not exist. Now, if God exists and you follow the rules, then your reward is infinite happiness. If God exists and you don't follow the rules, then you win infinite torment.

Now, if God doesn't exist and you follow the rules, well, then at least you've lived a pretty decent life, right? If God doesn't exist and you don't follow the rules, then you might have had a good time but your life was devoid of real happiness that comes with having a sense of purpose."

I'm pretty sure that's how it goes. So, what do you bet?

You are betting that God exists.

I am betting differently.

I think Pascal glossed over a significant point. If you are following rules for a God that doesn't exist as you believe it to, you're kinda throwing away what your life at the moment; what you do have.

I'm not saying drink all night and eat candy all day, but if you're passing up all your opportunities to experience life because you believe there is something better (even though no one can tell you exactly what that is), I'd call that a poor bet.

Pascal's said to believe in God because you have nothing to lose.

I disagree. You can lose the only thing you have, the only thing anyone in the world has. We all have exactly one chip with which to bet. On that chip, soldered into the cheap plastic, are the words "Right Now."

Myself, I'm about to go place that chip down on some Macbeth auditions (a play which also deals with Fate vs Free Will). I guess they liked my audition on Tuesday because I got called back.

Either that or they want to tell me that I'm terrible directly to my face. Eh, wouldn't be the first time.

Carpe Diem.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

*I had written this during my lunch break at work and now that I re-read it, I realize I left out at least one important word. So if you happened to read this before 6:22 pm, that wasn't exactly what I meant. I also fixed the "plethera" of spelling errors. I hate deadlines.

Yesterday, At Work.

On my way to the restroom, I came upon a cart stacked almost to the ceiling with a plethora of processed snack treats. Surely, the great Cheebus had seen my energy-depleted body and sent me a boon of sugar.

I overcame temptation and left the treats unmolested. I concluded my business in the restroom and returned to work.

I could hardly believe some of the stuff I came across.

Apparently, a student at Dixie college burned down his apartment. He had been barbecuing out on his patio. A little while after he had finished eating, he took out the coals, put them in a cardboard box, and stuck them in the storage closet.

Of course, coals remain hot for quite a while.

I doubt this guy is going to make the Dean's List.

The mail got even stranger. I read a police report about a group of clowns that assaulted two girls.

The clowns had been working at a nearby haunted house. They confronted the two females, pinned them down, and told them they wouldn't let them go until the girls made out with each other.

Let this be a lesson to all of you out there who mock those who fear clowns. They're just bad news.

The next piece of mail I read has been occupying my thoughts since I picked it up yesterday.

It was another police report. A handicapped man had been beaten to death while he was sleeping in a motel room.

There were pictures accompanying the report. It showed the crime scene shortly after the man was taken to the coroner's. He had been attacked with such ferocity that blood had splattered everywhere. It was on the floor, the walls, even the ceiling.

I didn't investigate the document any further. I marked it, stamped it, filed it, and went on to the next piece of mail.

But I still thought about it.

For the past few days, I've been discussing aspects of Christianity with some of my friends who are of that religion. There was a lot of discussion of the requirement of faith, the willingness to suspend your disbelief and just trust.

I tried to imagine applying that principle to this situation. I tried to imagine myself walking up to this man's family, putting my hand on their shoulders to console them. "Don't worry," I'd have to say cheerfully, "It's all part of God's plan."

Your son, brother, father or friend was just obliterated by another human being while he lay helpless. Yes, sounds like everything's going according to plan.

There was also a lot of rhetoric about how I won't really understand what people feel when they receive the Holy Spirit until I experience it for myself.

And yet, what I experience when I come across such an atrocity is that this is wrong. This is evil. This is not supposed to happen. And my instinct then is not to blame a god for it.

It was a man that did this. Just a man.

There is no Loving God, there is no Vile Satan. There is just Man, just us and what we make here.

I don't need the patience to wait for the afterlife to find Heaven, to find Hell. They're both right here.

With us.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I've fulfilled my life-long dream today. As an admirer of the comic duo of magicians, Penn and Teller, I've always wondered what Teller, the silent one, sounded like.

Now I know. There is an interesting debate going on in the magical community (real fake magic, not the fake fake magic) about a museum revealing how Harry Houdini accomplished one of his tricks.

Teller has a bit to say about it.

He does not disappoint.

* * * * *

I have as yet been unable to reconcile my nocturnal habits with my 9-5 work schedule.

Today's lunch break found me snuggled happily in car, my snores providing back-up for the dull roar of the industrial-sized air conditioning unit.

Work was work. I admire the foresight of the higher-ups. They only require business-casual work clothing so that I can't hang myself with my tie. Of course, there's always my belt.

There was more fun mail, though. Someone's attorney wrote "As he left the bar, the plaintiff was struck in the face with an unknown object and momentarily lost conciseness," instead of "consciousness".

I could picture it...

[In the bar]

Friend: "Hey man, where are you heading off to?"

Plaintiff: "Out."

Friend: "What are you going outside for?"

Plaintiff: "Air."

Friend: "Do you want me to come with you?"

Plaintiff: "No."

Friend: "Oh, okay man."

[Plaintiff steps outside of bar. Assailant...assails him.]


Plaintiff: "Having just been struck in my facial area with an as-of-yet unidentified object, I find myself experiencing intense pain with accompanying visual phenomena, i.e., bright flashes of color, stars, and the like as my brain waves alter from beta to delta, bringing with it a disconcerting darkness."

[Plaintiff then passes out.]

* * * * *

I'm thinking of mailing stuff back to the various attorneys. Just little notes, like "Help, I'm being held prisoner in a mail room!"

See what happens.

Before I quit, I will.

I can just imagine some other poor bastard in a mail room across the country opening that letter. Then he'll tear it up, saying, "No way, if I can't escape, neither can this guy."

Some people just don't know how to be team players.

* * * * *

Chris H. and I were talking the other night. He said that he is audio-visual. Well, he didn't say audio-visual, he said some other word that escapes me at the moment. But I think audio-visual works just fine, because pretty much he sees sounds as colors.

I found it very interesting. I also felt cheated, since I only see static.

I've tried to explain it to some of my other friends before, with mixed success. I'm sure most people have seen when the television is on and there is nothing but black and white pixels dancing on the screen.

I see that all the time. Other images, such as the keyboard, and the computer screen I'm looking at right now are overlaid on this static background. I guess it's like projecting a movie onto a stucco wall. I can see just fine. The static is always there, though, even when I close my eyes.

I don't think I'm the only one who sees this way. I think a lot of people are probably used to it. Sight is sort of weird anyway.

Because from what I understand, we're not really seeing anything, in a way. Our eyes pick up different strengths and frequencies of light and then our brains decode that information to construct an image.

If you were to be blindfolded and then try to walk around while someone else shouts out where everything is, it would amount to much the same thing, wouldn't it?

I guess I'm saying that I always try to be aware that when I see something, it is still because of something that is telling me I'm seeing. This is a useful frame of mind for me because I have vivid hallucinations as I'm just waking up.

Heh, when I was living with Phill we shared a one-bedroom apartment. I woke up one night, look around for the clock to figure out what time it is, and I see Phill sleeping in his bed a few feet away. Phill had a large, striped comforter, and he was wrapped up in it with only his head and one arm sticking out.

But I didn't see a striped blanket. I saw Phill sleeping peacefully under a pile of legs. Human legs. Not bloody or anything, more like large doll's legs.

I stared for a few seconds. The image didn't change. I buried my face in my pillow and huddled under my own covers. "That's not real," I said into my pillow. I fell back asleep.

That wasn't uncommon. It still happens a few nights a week. I see ghost cats a lot. Dark figures crouched in the corners are also popular.

Fun stuff.

Stuff like that reminds me of when I was very little; afraid to traverse the dark hallway in the middle of the night to reach the bathroom because I was afraid of monsters. Then, I would pretend that I was a monster, too, and creep stealthily to my porcelain lair. No other monsters dared bother me, because I was much fiercer and scarier than any of them.

* * * *

I had better get some sleep. I'm going to audition for a play tomorrow. Macbeth. My old acting teacher has a theatre company, The Bright Angel Players, and she had asked me to audition at the end of last semester.

Even if I do get cast, (in a minor role, no doubt; I've never performed Shakespeare) I doubt I'll have the time. But hey, it's been four years since I've been in a play. I wonder what it would be like now.

I wonder if I'll just horribly embarrass myself?

Ha, well, there's only one way to find out.

*I must be out of it, I actually had to use the spell-checker. You win this round, grammar crutch.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

The week ends, the week begins.

I am learning to grudgingly admit to myself that I want to go to sleep before midnight.

Lousy work. On the plus side, I get paid this week. It's seems strange to think about. So, yeah, money. What am I going to do with this?

Fix my car window? I guess I could. Actually, I could have a long time ago and I just haven't. I always roll down my windows when I drive and I have never kept anything of value in my car.

Buy more stuff? I don't think I need anything. I mean, if there is something that I need and I don't have it right now, I must not really need it.

New clothes? I don't need more than three actual sets of clothing. Five days out of the week, my wardrobe is already planned.

I know. I'm going to track down and buy a lobster hat. Two years ago, Brian G. and I went down to Easley's Fun Shop to look for Halloween stuff. There was a hat that had a stuffed red lobster attached to the top. The claws would wag whenever I turned my head.

I didn't buy it. I've regretted it ever since.

And now, here's something I stole from Jaclyn.

What comes to mind when you hear...?

..snow?: Frostbite, blindess. Snow to me is like a little death. The torture machine from The Princess Bride that sucks off years of your life? It's powered by snow. It's fun to play in, though.

..rain?: The day you left, the heavens wept.

..tornado?: Zorro's horse, wasn't he? Or was that the Lone Ranger's?

..summer love?: "Out on the road today, I saw a DEADHEAD sticker on a Cadillac/
A little voice Inside my head said, 'Don't look back. You can never look back.'/
I thought I knew what love was/
What did I know?/
Those days are gone forever/
I should just let them go but-/"

..Jon?: The only one with that spelling that I can think of is Jon Arbuckle.

..Mike?: Check check and a lot of my friends that were named Mike.

..Shea?: The Wayne's World pronunciation.

..banana?: Nothing phallic comes to mind, I can assure you of that.

..dizzy?: Dizzy Devil from "Tiny Toons". And the girl from "Starship Troopers".

..Laura?: One of the coolest girls ever.

..Juan?: My friend from middle school. All we would do was quote "The Simpsons". Toon. Carton. Milk. Soy. Chai. Asian. Toyota. Car.

..white?: Not anymore.

..peppermint?: Schnapps.

..New Found Glory?: Good for them.

..placebo?: Double my prescription. juice?: I prefer red juice.

..candid camera?: One of the earliest evolutions of reality television. Still waiting for someone from a apocolyptic future in which the only thing on television is a show about people watching television to go back in time and assassinate that show.

..sister?: She got me a writing quill. Which one?

..hate?: A desire to destroy, erase, obliterate. Often misused. I blame them for these bad roaches.

..President?: Elect me. I'll still screw things up but at least I'll admit it. The reason I went to Mountain Pointe in the first place. Then I realized I didn't really like football so I never joined the team.

..rap?: Yeah, I know you're rich, but that's not interesting enough to make a whole album about. Old school rap is where it's at.

..pop?: Pop-Rocks.

..rock?: "I don't need instructions to know how to rock!"

..punk?: Yeah, I know you're pissed off about high-school but that's not interesting enought to make a whole album about. Except for the good punk, of course. A relatively new idea. When everything on Earth was asexual, life was much simpler. And there wasn't nearly as much bad poetry being written.

..death?: "Do not go gently into that good night." Always depending on the kindness of strangers.

..duuude?: "Dude, you are being very un-Dude."

..the end?: Now it's someone else's turn to tell a story.