A New Home

Well, after close to a decade slumming it in LiveJournal and another decade stealth posting in Blogger, I’ve finally decided to settle down in WordPress. It took me a while to finally decide to settle down with a pre-made CMS. In the past, I kept thinking that as a prospective web developer, I needed to prove myself and build a blog from scratch…

In hindsight, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel when there’s so many well rounded and free solutions already available. That being said, this site is obviously looking pretty far from done. In the near future, I hope that I can re-integrate more pieces of my past to build a more complete picture of where I came from, as well as look forward to creating new content for the sight.

There’s so much work to be done. Onward!

Rant Tuesday: Ranting About Not Able to Rant Anymore

Today, I’ve finally come up with a good topic that I wanted to cover. However, about an hour into it I’ve realized that I can’t post it, not publicly anyway. It’s not the first time I have to reconsider posting something candid but controversial, and for that reason linking these writings with my real identity does sort of suck.

In any case, I should be careful about what I post, anyway… too many people got their fifteen minutes of fame the wrong way by posting something incredibly irresponsible and stupid on the internet, and they have to live with its consequence for months if not a lifetime. I don’t think I’ll ever post anything as severe here, but some topics will get a rise out of someone regardless of how carefully I craft the argument… so in the end, I err on the side of caution.

Then I have to consider my potential audience. There are just things that I would gladly talk about with my friends but not my family; there are things I’d talk about with my family but not my current and potential future employers. If I have to self censor and post something that’d satisfy all three categories of audiences, what’s left over (or what I’ve been posting so far) is so generic that I might as well not make the posts at all.

The reason I’ve decided to blog-a-day is to re-hone some of the crafts that I’ve dropped post-college; ranting about brain dead, politically correct topics is not going to improve any part of my being. Starting next week, I’ll replace this space with short stories, scripts, or extra materials from one of the four other daily types (game design, webcomic, music, art).

Still have to make up for last Friday. More art to do for tomorrow, too!

Rant Tuesday: Verily, This Lack of Taste Buds Can Turn Bothersome

Lately, I’ve been concerning myself with one of the more innocuous attributes I have: I usually don’t have a strong preference for anything at all. Aside from several choice items in each category, I have no problem with most types of cuisine, movies, art style, women archetype, games, tv shows, music, fashion choices…

I’ve always thought that not having a preference is a good thing, a sign of having tolerance for all the strange differences we possess and not being a bigot about certain beliefs, but lately I’m terrified by it. It’s like not having tastebuds, or not being able to feel pain. If I can’t tell good games or good art from bad, how would I ever arrive at a point where I know I’m making good games or creating good artwork?

I don’t think that sense of preference can ever be learned. If I’m born without it instead of just having to discover or rediscover it, then I think I’ve found something to be afraid of for the rest of my life…

Rant Tuesday: Why Can’t Anyone Tell Me Any of This?!

Let’s start with something easy… I’ve come to understand the significance of having your wedding ring on. Yes, I’ve known the definition of what a wedding ring is for a long time, but only recently have I discovered that it’s an extremely reference guide to tell someone that “yes, you’re married” without exchanging a single word. I bet it saves a lot of people a lot of embarrassment! And silly as it is, nobody ever spelled these things out, so I didn’t come to this realization until I’ve started to actively look for potential partners.

By extension, that makes explaining the anomaly of having an extravagant engagement ring obvious: since the couple is not officially married, the ring is basically a giant “stay off my woman” sign.

There’s just so many of these little things that nobody ever bothers to write down, that when you finally had it figured out you’d look at your younger self and lament about how naive you really were. As far as book knowledge is concerned, you do absorb a ton between 13 and 21, and it’s easy to think you have the world figured out… then you grow older and you pick up on all these inconsequential things that wasn’t explained, can’t bother to be explained, never written down, that people simply “get” as they age. I suppose those kinds of hidden knowledge is what people call “maturity”.

Maybe someday, somebody will actually bother to write all these things down, and we’d have people truly full of adult wisdom before the age of 21. I don’t know though… there’s something about learning by experience that really makes the knowledge permanent and pliable. Some things about life simply can’t be taught.

Rant Tuesday: Don’t Stand So Close to Me

As a continuation of sorts from last week’s rant, I’ve taken some consideration on the other side of useless information that I collect a lot… personal information. Whether it’s from Twitter,Facebook, or Reddit, they’re all inane slice of life messages from people famous for doing something totally unrelated to their daily life. Looking over my tweets, in terms of getting tweets about things that I can learn and use improve my craft, the signal to noise ratio is about… 4%? and that’s on a good day.

What it does, though, it make me feel so impersonally personal that I admire. I’m nowhere near these people geographically, but when I read about their daily routine it is as if I am their roommate or office buddy, watching their every move. We’ve gone from a daily entry in LiveJornal to the hourly updates of MySpace and Facebook to the minute updates of Twitter. With every increase in frequency we’re that much closer to one another.

And that closeness creates tremendous friction. For people with tens of thousands of followers, each twitter account is just an incubation chamber waiting to explode. Unscreened by publicists and instantly connected to fans and haters, there had been many instances where in the heat of the moment respectable people end up tweeting horrible things, and because everyone is still coming to grip with the fact that all writings on the internet are public and permanent, the disaster explodes instantly over all the relevant media outlets.

Twitter is a useful tool… it’s a amazing way to get a one-to-many message across the entire network. However, I think it’s being used altogether too much right now. Don’t stand so close to me – if you speak, please say something that I’d need to think about!

Rant Tuesday: I Probably Know Too Much

It’s a silly notion, isn’t it? And not in the spy movie “I’m going to be killed now because of my knowledge of some sensitive information”. I just mean information in general. I’ve been pondering about the fact that there’s so few topics I can come up with when I talk to people nowadays. And it’s not for a lack of reading things – I read so much, in fact, that it’s sometimes distracting to my real work, but that’s a story for another day.

The thing is, with near instant access I have to the internet, there’s not a lot of reason for me to retain information anymore. I’ll be the first person to admit that having almost any question answered at my fingertips saved my job and enriched my life in more ways than one (mostly in the form of delicious recipes) but again, keeping that same information in my brain does nothing for me.

Ironically, I still find it incredibly difficult to hold down a conversation, just because the things I look up and read about are so disconnected. For example, a youtube video led me to another video which led me to look up the background song “Living in the Sunlight” which led me to Tiny Tim and what looks like the first episode of Spongebob Squarepants. How do I even begin to bring up stuff like this in a conversation?

Rant Tuesday: Being the Minority of a Democracy Sucks

Rant Tuesdays are for… ranting. Maybe one day I’ll actually do my research, but it’s just more therapeutic to spout vaguely supported ideas based on questionable statistics, verifiability be damned. Today’s inspiration:

Being the minority in a democratic state sucks.

We’ve had our primaries recently, and as I have discovered since I’ve started voting, a few initiatives of questionable importance are being put on the ballot every time California holds an election of any sort. And as expected, the ballot results are not what I wanted.

I keep feeling like I’m wasting my time leafing through the election guide pamphlet and actually reading the text of the laws. Who gives a damn whether I’ve actually come to an informed decision or not, I only have one vote and if the result turns out one way instead of the other none of it really matters. It’s not like if a vote goes 51% to 49% (as most propositions end up being), then the actual policy is suppose to meet halfway between one solution and another. Nope. It means half the people are happy and the other half gets screwed. Guess which end of the stick I’m more likely to be on.

It’s not like I can really make a change either. I’m a firm believer that intelligent debate is useless. People will pay you lip service for you to get off their backs, but their anonymous vote won’t change. If you want an actual behavior change, you either deceive or threaten. Otherwise why bother? I like my opinion better than yours, I don’t care if it’s prejudiced or factually incorrect, I’m comfortable with what I believe and no amount of truth or reasoning changes that. It’s the path of least resistance. Funny thing, a majority of people like taking that path.

So I’m basically stuck. I can either choose to be blissfully ignorant or principally discontent. In the end, happiness be damned, you can pry my principles out of my cold, dead hand. That, and the single vote that I still have… and if the majority has anything to say about it, something I might actually lose in my lifetime, and wouldn’t it be a bitch when that happens.