The Argument for:


It was some time ago that I found myself vehemently opposing any manner of censorship.

Intriguingly enough, as I have become exposed to “Occupy Wall Street: Los Angeles Edition”, I began to realize that not only do I oppose censorship, but I support it!

Wait, what?!

I’ll be brief: If I write “FUCK THE COPS” on the sidewalk with chalk, I am performing my freedom of expression. Congress can’t change laws to prevent me from doing so (private, city, and state laws can, however). If the next guy comes up and doesn’t like the fact that I wrote what I wrote on the ground, he’s free to take a bottle of water and wash it off the ground (chalk is water soluble).

By him washing away what I wrote, he, too, is performing his freedom to express himself. It just came in the form of censorship, that’s all.

Personally, I prefer that people not censor the music or videos the artist created, because, in all likelihood, that artist didn’t want to censor themselves, so why the fuck are you doing it for them?

But then again, if they decide to let some retailer sell their product or Internet video website distribute their video, then I suppose they know what they’re getting themselves into.

[photo courtesy of: www.edenvalleyenterprises.org]


Driving: For Idiots

(DFW Edition - may or may not apply elsewhere)

I am by no means a perfect driver - even NASCAR drivers aren’t perfect, but they’re much better than most of us. However, I feel it’s necessary to alert people as to what they are doing wrong, or right, and give them the information they need to improve their driving ability.


Learn to take your foot off the gas.

Your brakes are not meant to reduce your speed by small amounts. That’s only a PART of the function of brakes, and a rather small part, as well as situationally. Generally speaking, brakes are designed to slow you to a stop, and quickly slow you down so that you may avoid a collision. When you need to simply reduce speed, take your foot off the gas. In EVERY case, your vehicle will begin to deccelerate, even going downhill. A general idea of physics allows further understanding:

•Friction - the weight of your vehicle on the ground causes friction, which forces your car to slow down. I’ve gone 70mph heading up to an overpass, and right as I began going uphill, I simply took my foot off the gas. By the time I’d reached the top, I was going at a crawl of about 35-40mph. Obviously gravity aided in my slowing, but that should be sufficient evidence that you don’t need to apply the brakes when going up an overpass. On an overpass you can safely go 45-60mph, as well.

•Momentum - although a heavier vehicle has more momentum, it also has more friction. A heavier vehicle doesn’t necessarily take longer to slow down; remember, the lighter car may have less momentum, but it also has less friction. (there are some cases where there is an obvious difference, like an 18-wheeler)

With this information in mind, you can stop slamming on your brakes and showing everyone behind you that you’re stopping. This will prevent them from slamming on their brakes, and creating a chain reaction… something we all know as a “traffic jam”. It’s also not necessary to ride your brakes in order to slow down, in fact, over-use of your brakes will cause them to wear out faster, costing you money.


Learn to gauge distance between vehicles.

I see this so much, and it bothers the hell out of me. When there’s space enough for roughly one car between myself and another vehicle, but a football field of space behind me, DON’T MOVE IN FRONT OF ME! Just slow down and get in behind me.

If you are driving in any lane, and you have a very large distance in front of you, is there ever reason to hit your brakes or slow down? The thing I’ve seen most frequently is people will normally be going a good 5-10mph slower than the surrounding traffic, there will be a large distance in front of them, and, for some reason, they slow down when something WAAAAY off in front of them happens, like someone moving into their lane, or that person WAAAAY in front of them slows down for some reason. This is ridiculous, and makes me think they’re half asleep or on drugs.


Learn how to approach yield signs.

There are many places where yield signs exist. But let’s just say this, yield signs are not stop signs. A safe practice is to always slow down when approaching a yield sign, but only stop if you would otherwise cause a collision, or if they have the right of way (such as at a street light). If the right hand lane at a street light has a yield sign, and your light is green, you have the right of way, don’t stop. This happens more than it should, and it’s really annoying, so stop it!


Learn to drive in the left lane.

The left lane is intended for faster vehicles and passing. Although the speed limit may be 60mph in a particular area, it’s actually quite safe for people to speed somewhat over that limit in the left-most lane (not 90mph, btw). The speed limit is mostly geared toward traffic merging on and off the highway, and is considered a safe speed for approach and departure.

If you are driving in the left lane, and more than 3 people pass you in quick succession, you’re going too slow, and you should move over at least one lane. If the majority of traffic on your right is moving faster than you, you should either move over a few lanes, or just get off the highway altogether. Additionally, if you are at the front of a line of cars, and they have no room to get around you, get out of the way by moving over to another lane, which may require you to speed up. It’s courteous to let faster drivers pass, and you’re just being an ass if you’re blocking other people. In fact, it impedes the flow of traffic, which, in many cases, is illegal.


Learn how to pass.

Passing isn’t hard, but people make it look like it is. If you need to pass someone, make sure you have room between the vehicle that will be in front of you, and the vehicle that will be behind you after completion of passing. ALWAYS speed up to either the speed of the rear-approaching vehicle (or faster, which is preferred) so that you can prevent a collision, i.e. don’t cut them off. Pass on the left unless it’s imperative that you pass on the right, such as a slow driver in the far left lane.

Also use your indicator every time you pass. And just because you do, it doesn’t mean you have the right to move over immediately following use of the indicator. (I’ll be discussing indicators further down)


Learn when to use hazard lights.

When you are a hazard on the road, this is when you use the hazard lights… wow, really?! Shocking. A few instances to shed some light on the matter:

•Broken headlight - Too often I see people with a broken or missing headlight, and all they do is turn on their high beams. This is inconsiderate and reckless, it needs to stop. An individual in this position should turn on their hazard lights, slow to no faster than 5 miles under the posted limit, and move to the right-hand lane. Completely getting off the highway is best for all unless the person requires highway travel to get to their destination.

•Slow driver - If you wish to drive very slow for ANY reason (e.g. you like slow speeds, your vehicle is overweight, there are potential projectiles hanging from your vehicle) slow to no faster than 5 miles under the posted limit, get in the right hand lane, and turn on those hazards.

Notice a pattern? Turn on hazards, slow down, & move to the right. This allows normal and faster traffic to continue without your hazardous position compromising their safety.

As a personal addition, when the roads are iced or snowed over, I find a lane in the middle and drive slowly with my hazards. This seems contradictory to previous advice, but by driving in the middle, you have more room to avoid a collision and slow down, in the event you lose control of your car.


Learn how to enter/exit a highway.

Think of an on-ramp like your own personal launching pad, it’s designed to allow you to increase your speed to match that of the highway traffic. If you’re driving 35mph up the ramp, you’re not going to merge well with the highway traffic, and they and the drivers behind you on the ramp will find you to be an asshole. Just speed up and get on the highway, or don’t drive on the highway, it’s simple.

Exiting is somewhat the opposite. If you pay enough attention, those yellow speed limit signs aren’t actual speed limit signs, they are warnings… but for what? For every yellow limit sign, I’ve noticed the limit is the same as the speed limit of the service road to which it attaches. So when it says the limit is 40mph, that means the road you are approaching has a speed limit of 40mph, simple right? Apparently not. People seem to think this is the limit of the off-ramp, so they tend to slow down immediately following their exit from the right-most lane of the highway. This is obnoxious and wrong, and it needs to stop. All you have to do to slow down properly is… take your foot off the gas, and apply brakes if needed, but only for brief bursts, no need to ride the things.



For the love of all that is good and right in this world, PLEASE use your indicators, very often, very frequently, and only when necessary. Here’s a short list of times when you NEED to use your indicator:

•Changing lanes
•Turning onto another street
•Turning into/out of a parking lot or driveway
•Backing out of a parking space
•When entering/exiting an off-ramp or overpass

A general rule for when you would need to use your indicator could be one of the following:

•If your steering wheel will be turning more than 90° in any direction (a quarter of a turn)
•If your destination is not DIRECTLY in front of you, even if you are making a slight change of course

One of the biggest reasons to use your indicator is because it’s the law. I’ve known people who were pulled over and ticketed for not using a turn signal when changing lanes or turning on to another street. Oh, and let’s not forget accountability if you get into a wreck. Say you didn’t use your indicator, and a collision occurred because the other person wasn’t aware you were moving over, it’s your fault, and you get to lose lots of money for being ignorant.

If you pay attention to all these tidbits, then your chances of a collision will drop, not to mention you will likely see an improvement in your attitude while driving, since you’ll be more aware and less chaotic, the environment should change for the better.

Hopefully this tutorial has been enlightening.
Drive safe… PLEASE, because otherwise you’re annoying!!

[Originally posted: February 15, 2010]


Holographic Key “Feedback”

The current issue with holographic keyboard interfaces (that do not yet exist) is that the finger will simply push through the key, with little information registering to the user. In order to properly allow efficient use of a “non-existent” keyboard, some other stimulus must be presented.

In the YouTube miniseries H+, persons are able to see data that is visible only to them via implant. In order to properly type on such a setup (be it internal or external), the user will need the aforementioned stimulus.

Via an implant, when the user “presses” a key, the coding within the implant can recognize the 3-Dimensional location of the holographic key and the body’s interaction with the preset space where the key resides. When proper criterion are met, the body will then receive feedback from the implant—essentially telling the mind, “you pressed this key”—similar to how the brain recognizes the same stimulus when typing on a physical keyboard.

A greater potential in the technological future would be for no physical need to manipulate the hands at all. Movements would be anticipated by the brain/implanted system before signals are sent to the hands, providing the desired function.

[Photo used courtesy of Flickr]


My Strengths Are My Flaws

There are those who see my qualities as flaws: they will only see them as flaws, and nothing more; they will likely move on, or attempt to make my life hell. I am not afraid of moving on, and I can lose touch easily. Those who doubt me, despise me, or reject me no longer provide me with fear… only pity for their loss.

Those who see my qualities as strengths: they are likely to stick around, bolster me, and make me better. They are the persons who can criticize me, and I won’t rid myself of them, because I’ll have respect for their opinions. Those who embrace me, care for me, and accept me for who I am [crazy as all hell] provide me with the strength and courage to fight for a better future… they will always have my respect.

It’s still possible that I may lose touch with my friends due to unforeseen circumstances, or simply distance, but if we were to ever cross paths again, in all likelihood, dinner would be served and conversation would be had.

[Originally posted: August 1, 2010]


Fat Kids at School

It’s pretty obvious that America is getting fatter, hell, I’m getting fatter.

I look back at my school days and realize how much more active I was. Once I was able to drive, I stopped riding my bike everywhere, and around that time I started hanging out with people who spent most of their time playing video/table-top games indoors.

But then I look at the schools. In middle and high schools, we weren’t forced to have some kind of exercise, we were “allowed” to choose another class in lieu of a PE class. In high school I took J-ROTC for 2 years, and spent most of my time on the rifle team, barely ever doing anything physically demanding. Other options were things like band and choir. And two years of “PE” was all that you were required in order to graduate, that’s it.

In some schools (even some states) they have forbidden the game of ‘Tag’. Seriously? That was fun!! Hell, I had a friend who wanted to set the world record for the largest game of Tag, and he still may attempt it some day. Why forbid it? Because the overweight kids were being picked on and couldn’t compete. And who really complained? The parents. I’m sure the kid told the teacher(s) at some point, but when he comes home and complains about being singled out and picked on, the parents head off to the school and do their fair share of complaining. These days, parents (not all, but a significant number) are passive and want to be their kids’ friends, but NOT their parents. A real parent would analyze the situation, realize their kid is fat, blame their parenting (because it IS the parent’s fault for having a fat kid), and make the necessary changes in order to keep their child healthy. Hell, Tag is a great way to stay healthy, if they just kept at it.

I’ve decided that there is only one acceptable idea: from the time kids begin attending public schools, until they are FINISHED with their education, they should be required to attend a 1 hour PE class. Does this mean they should be rigorously exercising for the whole of the hour? No. It means they need to get off their asses and play, work out, have fun, and, most importantly, be fit.

What needs to happen is that from day one, every day at school, the kids should be active for roughly one hour. If a child is sitting there moping, the teacher should make an attempt to console the child for whatever reason, but encourage them to get up and move. (I never played football as a child, I usually spent time jumping rope and playing patty-cake with the girls, too bad they don’t let me play patty-cake now) If the child is reluctant, they should have further encouragement, even from the other kids if possible. If it becomes a recurring issue, the parents should be informed and basically instructed to get their shit together, for the good of their child.

This one hour period of activity should be mandatory all the way through college. I’m not talking about taking elective courses to “fill in” the PE spot, REQUIRE PE. Every day. If in college, PE still. Not some easy weight training course or archery or some other nonsense. I think you get the point.

Think about it this way. Let’s say in that 1-hour period of PE, each person commits to roughly 45 minutes of activity, with time to rest and change up what they’re doing and where to do it. Now, I recall in Mesquite [Texas] schools, 180 days was the school year. So, if they are active in this 45-minute period (and this is just the PE class, nothing else) they would have spent 8100 minutes in a school year being active; that’s 135 hours, which is 5 days and 15 minutes. That’s actually quite a lot of play, for ONE year. Now, extrapolating that, for a 12-year public school education life-time, it comes out to 97,200 minutes, which is 1620 hours, which is 67 days and 12 hours of activity.

Now remember, this is ONLY exercise that is performed in the mandatory hour of school time. Not to mention any minutes/hours spent being active after school and on the weekends; e.g. sports, ballet, bike riding, etc.

Coming to the real point here. Being active this much for such a long period of time, the child will not only grow accustomed to being active, but in all likelihood, they will enjoy being active, and shy away from sedentary behavior.

That only makes the situation better in the long run.

But there’s something missing, something to ensure that our children and subsequent adults are to be in good/peak physical condition. The one thing all schools have: tests.

Now, I’m no personal trainer; I’ve not spent years studying human anatomy, training regimes, and proper physical fitness management, or whatever the hell it’s called these days. Thus, I wouldn’t know the correct or effective way to test physical fitness, but there ARE people who do. The military for one, and doctors for two.

Each year at the beginning of the school year, a child’s fitness level should be measured. Body fat content, stamina, strength, etc. Then, throughout the year, their fitness should be reevaluated, just like most classes. If at the end of the year, their scores are sub-par or simply horrible, they should still get to move onto the next grade level as would normally happen… however.

At the beginning of the year, if those who had poor results in the previous year did not get in shape, they should be put into another “fatties” PE class. This class should get these kids in shape, and be sufficient enough to allow them to pass the final physical test at the end of the year. Kind of like “The Biggest Loser” for fat children.

The potential is self explanatory. Every year, the kids are tested and retested to see if they’re healthy, and if not, proactive and preventative action is implemented… whatever that may be. If the school has to involve the parents (they will in some way, it’s the parents’ fault for having fat kids), then so be it. Keep them after school for an hour? Do it. Whatever it takes.

People are becoming overweight, obese, and severely obese at increasing rates, and children appear to be getting fatter, faster.

Start from birth and move forward. Maybe in a hundred years, we’ll be better off.


[Originally posted: January 22, 2010 & January 23, 2010]


Equality My Ass!

Men and women are NOT equal. It’s okay, take your time and think about it.

Fact: Men are physically stronger than women. Men are the hunters of the human race. We’re designed to have strength so that we may hunt, kill and drag the food back to the homestead.

Fact: Women are mentally stronger than men. Women are designed to keep order within the family unit. They must make sure their progeny can survive, and nurture them to full health; mentally and physically.

So far, so good. I know I’ve pissed off some people who’s egos are just too fragile, but I don’t care, it’s the truth.

Men and women are… Complimentary.
If you’ve ever taken a geometry class, you should recall that two angles that add up to 90° are considered “complimentary”. One angle could be 1° and the other would need to be 89°. They work together to achieve a goal - a 90° (or Right) angle.

Men and women compliment each other in how they live together; in the house, community, society at large. If men could handle it all, there would only be men on the planet. If women could handle it all, there would only be women.

Fuck all. If people disagree with the simple idea presented heretofore, then they’re idiots, and convincing them will never occur. They’ll just live out their life of idiocy until they either realize the truth, or die.

Hopefully the latter, and sooner rather than later.

[Originally posted: January 21, 2010]


"Rest In Peace"

The idea that one does not “Rest In Peace”, to me, is a bit absurd. This is because I’ve given the idea some thought over the years. Having dealt with death at a young age, I have had plenty of time to come to terms with the subject.

The person is dead, they are at rest, no matter the circumstances surrounding their death. However, the people who are still alive and must deal with the grief are those not at peace. Once that person has come to accept the terms of the deceased, it then becomes a point of the victim as having finally “rested in peace”.

It’s all in the mind of the living.


My Neighbor

I live in the city of Los Angeles, yet I do not know the names of my fellow city dwellers.
However, we all live in this city together. We are all “Angelinos”.

I live in the state of California, yet I do not know the names of my fellow state dwellers.
However, we all live in this state together. We are all “Californians”.

I live in the country of the United States of America, yet I do not know the names of my fellow country dwellers.
However, we all live in this country together. We are all “Americans”.

I live on a rocky planet called ‘Earth’, yet I do not know the names of my fellow Earth dwellers.
However, we all live on this planet together. We are all “Earthlings”.

I live within the vastness of space in an enormous conglomeration of stars, dust, and planets called the Milky Way Galaxy, yet I do not know the names of my fellow galaxy dwellers.
However, we all live in this galaxy together…

I live in the chaotic and supremely humbling confines of our Universe, yet I do not know the names of my fellow Universe dwellers.
However, we all live in this Universe together…

[originally posted: April 30, 2010]




It changes you…

…or does it?

I’ve been told that “money changes a man” for many, many years. But I believe otherwise. I’m of the understanding that money reveals who you are, and nothing more. But does that mean only the acquisition of funds reveals you, or is there something more?

Just this last week on Tuesday (September 25, 2012), as I was walking out of the Library with a new friend of mine, an older gentleman dropped $40 on the ground. At this point - considering that I’m homeless, jobless, and hard up for funds - I decided the best thing to do was to pick the money up and give it back to him.

Seemed the right thing to do.

Strange thing happened, he refused. What it came down to was that he didn’t understand a single word I said, couldn’t speak any English, and I couldn’t speak Spanish. He thought I was giving him something that wasn’t his, or that’s what it appeared to be. Fortunately, a passerby who was able to translate informed him that I found the money that he dropped, which included recent receipts. He gladly took his money and continued on.

One might say that I’m insane: a homeless guy with essentially no cash on hand doesn’t pick the money up and run? Well, money does not change us, it reveals us.

But I feel something has been overlooked with this whole money thing. You see, if acquiring money doesn’t change you and reveals who you are, then so too can the lack of funds. Why not, right? Take my anecdote, for instance. I may be one of few people in my position to return the money, but I did it because I personally felt it was the right thing to do.

So then we need to look at the middle, and conclude that no matter where you are on the spectrum of wealth, who you are will remain the same. This leads to an interesting thought.

[“Money” is the first song I can recall hearing in my life.]


I don’t think I need to provide any kind of proof that there are greedy rich people, greedy poor people, and greedy middle-class people. Greed spans the gamut of wealth and permeates it to its core. Some have stated to me that because money is a construct of man, that we’ve created greed. But I feel that their viewpoint it a bit myopic. Greed does not only come in the form of money, it is simply an incessant and selfish desire to  more.

It seems that no matter what, greedy people will always exist. And, really, the only thing we can do about it is attempt to call them out on their behavior, and reveal them for who they are. Hopefully, doing this will ruin their reputation.

Huh. Reputation…

Isn’t that what Money really is? It’s just paper reputation. Allow me to clarify.

In a barter system, one person trades a good or service for another good or service in such a way that they feel the value of each good/service is equivalent to the other. (Value is a subjective term, so the value one of item may change depending on circumstance and many other variables, but that’s really for another day.) What if, however, you don’t have any possessions or services that you can provide, or that the other person with whom you are bartering has no need? What do you do?

You can do something we all generally do, and back yourself up with your reputation. You go get five people you know who like you to sign a document saying you’re good for the computer you want to barter for. The names on the list are names the guy selling the computer trusts, so he gives you the computer. But then something like this happens later, but on the flip side, and thus you’re even.

You just traded money.

Money is pretty much worthless on its own. It’s just linen with ink on it. But we value it highly because it permits us top trade for goods and services.

Money isn’t the root of all evil, greed is. It’s just that people focus more on money because it’s a neutral tool of its own accord. Without people valuing it or devaluing it, it simply sits there and is worthless.

When you focus more on the money than the greed (which, as stated before, exists within all socioeconomic realms), then you’re likely to be building a better world. Trying to get “money out of politics” isn’t going to cut it. Because it’s not the money that’s the issue.

It’s the greed.


Texting-While-Driving: Good for the Future?

Image courtesy of the Texas Motor Transportation Association

The idea that someone is looking down at their phone while they are opperating a motor vehicle is rarely (if ever) debated to be anything but horrific.

I’m here to tell you otherwise.

Pretty bold statement - claiming that texting-while-driving is “good”? Yes, actually. But not in the short term.

The simple reason: Future Progress

How? Well, that requires a bit of explanation. Let’s first consider why texting-while-driving can actually be a good thing: someone who is good at something generally does not fail at that thing, right? So it stands to make sense that if someone is good at texting-while-driving, they aren’t going to be bad at it, and, as a result (or lack thereof), they will pose a significantly lower risk regarding an accidental collision due to this behavior.

You might be saying that it’s less likely that someone will be good at texting-while-driving, and more likely that people are inherently bad at it, thus promoting the behavior is bad because that will cause more accidents and unnecessary deaths.

Here’s where my Devil’s Advocacy somes into play: Good! Let ‘em die off!

Darwin Awards are rewarded for a reason, people dying because they did something they could not succeed at doing, in as much as the act of failure is cause enough for death. Kill off the gene pool who can’t text-while-driving, and allow those who can to continue to perpetuate the species, whilst creating offspring who are more likely to be able to text-while-driving.

Why is this important? And why does it appear that my ethics have been thrust out the window into a burning pile of wretched garbage?

Because, in this case, things are as they appear.

Have you seen any movies with high quality unrealistic technological interfaces?

DISTRICT 9 MOGRAPH from 7577 on Vimeo.

As seen here, in the movie District 9, there was a point where one of the Insectoid-like alien species [Prawns] had interacted with the controls of the spaceship that was docked on the ground in Johannesburg, South Africa. These controls were of a holographic nature and the Prawn essentially was not “touching” them, and yet it was touching them, because it was interacting with the controls.

Again, how does this relate to texting-while-driving? Allow me to futher provide a connection to something more current and a bit jarring to some:

A Magazine is an iPad that Doesn’t Work, via YouTube

As you can see, here is a 1-year old girl playing with an iPad. When I initially saw this footage, I was rather astonished at how well she could manipulate the iPad…also the fact that she didn’t completely destroy it, as she is a 1-year old, after all. However, the comments in the video got me to thinking. Many people were upset that the young girl was going to lose her sense of tactile sensation and that she would be ruined as a person. This, as is evidenced by the video itself, is mere fallacy.

You see. She uses her fingers to manipulate the iPad, and attempts to manipulate a magazine, the latter of which proves more difficult for her. This is the stage at which human beings of her age will come to be different people from the rest of us in the following years. She will likely never know the nostalgic sense of flipping a page in a book, something I personally enjoy. Her motor skills still function. Her tactile sensation still functions. Everything still works - shewillunderstand the physics of the world without issue.

She will also understand that which we do not.

What kind of technology will exist in 2020, in the next 8 years? The iPhone came out in 2007, 5 years ago. Look at how things have advanced. This young girl is now two years old; in 2020 she’ll be 10; in 2030, she’ll be 20. When she’s 20 years old, her behaviors will have already been ingrained into her, and she’ll be a crazy text-while-driving heart-throb. And if it’s not her, someone else will be.

Tying this in to the District 9 example, the technology we have today could very well be leading up to the techonolgy seen in District 9. We have physical interface devices that use spacial skills to manipulate the rendered graphics on screen. Yet, as time goes by, the technology will become less and less physical, as it has already begun doing so, and more and more virtual - like that of the content in District 9. It’s only a matter of time before something uses the technology like an iPad, combined with the technology of the Kinect, with something similar to Google Glass, and a smattering of Microsoft Surface.

The evolution of technology requires the evolution of human behavior - or, more accurately, the adaptation of human behavior. We need people in this world who can successfully text-while-driving so that they can produce offspring that will have effective and natural spacial multitasking skills. If we are to arrive to the point where technology is similat to Star Wars, District 9 or even Final Fantasy: The Spritis Within, then we need people who will challenge the status quo of acceptible, albeit risky, behaviors.

There may be many hurt and/or killed due to what would otherwise be considered a dangerous driving behavior. But the way I see it, the sacrifice was worth it.

(Banner image courtesy of the Texas Motor Transportation Association)