Monday, January 31

Get Your Damn T.V.s Off My Pump

There's a Shell station near here, and some genius thought it would be a super idea to stick televisions on the pump. I mean, in the three minutes I'm getting gas, I doubt I'll have time watch an entire episode of anything interesting, so I'm guessing these are designed to fill up my head with advertising.

That's a brilliant thought, Mr. Executive! Buy televisions, spend money on installing them, powering them, and upkeeping them, then overcharge my gas, and tick me off in the process, so I'm less likely to want to visit your establishment!

Since you are too dumb to realize what you are really selling, let me explain it to you: The entire point of getting gas is to encounter a small slice of time, a meditative bubble, where we have nowhere to go, and nothing to do, where we wait for a number to magically count up from zero gallons to our personal capacity for enlightenment.

After I've slid the card, stuck the nozzle in the tank, and picked 87 cause I'm cheap, I'm in charge. Let me say that again: I'm in charge. I want to lean up against my car and do nothing. I want to check my windshield. I want to look over my car for dents. I want to clean off the birdshit. I get to pick, because I'm in freaking charge, and your T.V.s are getting in the freaking way.

We need moments of respite in this crazy world, and pumping gas is one of those few islands in the storm. If you fill it up with inane babble about your stupid credit card, then you have ruined the experience. You have annihilated a section of my life that I appreciate, and you need to know that there will be a natural consequence for your disregard of our merchant/customer relationship--

I see that Chevron across the street has no televisions.

Friday, January 28

4e Dungeons and Dragons: Bah, Eladrins!

Dwarf: "Hey, you!"
Eladrin: *sigh* "Yes...?"
"Go elf the walls!"
"I'm an eladrin."
"Pointy ears, pouty demeanor, likes trees and badgers...I don't care what you are, go elf the walls!"
"I'm a knight."
"Right, and I'm an orc. If you can't elf the walls, then what good are you?"
"I can use my superior intellect to calculate the precise trajectory--"
"--so you're a nerd. Not only are you useless, you are also a book-reading, four-eyed dweeb. Listen Einstein, can you even cast spells?"
"Well, no but--"
"Okay super smarty pants, you have a huge brain, and you were too dumb to learn fireball. I'm sure your pansy prince was totally thrilled about knighting an egghead."
"I'm out of here. Farewell!"
"Good riddance, freaking elf tin can. Bah!"
*eladrin teleports away, while dwarf continues down passageway, which triggers an explosion trap*
"Why didn't he sodding elf the walls?!?"
*dwarf dies*

Wednesday, January 26

Why You Should Never Read a Blog

I'm watching Lost on Netflix streaming at the moment, and I've come to the conclusion that I hate television.

I really do, but not in the way you are thinking. Rotting my brain with all the crappy people doing crappy things thrills me, so that's not the issue. What bothers me about normal t.v. shows is that they go on and on and on and on and on, for season after season after season.

Now it's not so irritating after the show is over, and I have a definite timeline for how many hours of my life a specific show is going to devour. In this case, Lost has six seasons, so I realized when I started that I needed to set aside a certain number of brain cells to kill. (Twenty seven neurons burn out every time Jack talks, just like Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn in LotR when he exclaims, "You cannot wield it! Weenie man, away!")

The same thing applies to a blog. They have indefinite endings. Whoever you are following is just going to keep blathering on about crap, and never really get to a conclusion. At least until they are dead, which is the one crucial advantage that books and movies have over television and blogs.

So I beseech you. Please, do not read blogs, at least until they have an exact stopping point. That way you are truly certain that once you start, you can see the end in sight.

Monday, January 24

Fat Buddha Said Play Hooky

What he really said was, "Screw you guys," but I interpreted that to mean, "Stay home, take a break, and don't bother with the rest of the world. At least for today."

So I will not shave, though I will probably take a shower, and I will sleep in, and when I do bother to get up, I will not change out of my scrubby clothing, and I will feed the kids Hostess donuts for breakfast. The kids will veg out on video games and T.V. all day, and I will not miss the looks and cold shoulders from the moms and grandparents of the world (the grandmas are the worst, it's like I'm going to eat their grandkids).

Except I will do the dishes. That needs to get done, and I think Fat Buddha can let me at least do that. I also will feed the kids, though I'll let the five year old stand in front of the refrigerator and let out all the cold air. To hell with it! Take five minutes to figure out what you want! Yes, I am cooling down the whole world!

So my kid is not going to school today. He's playing Wolverine, and the two year old is singing and eating a chocolate donut. We are all a mess, and Monday will be our day of rest.

Fat Buddha said so.

Saturday, January 22

Comic #25

A Kind of Immortality

I get haunted by ghosts all the time.

Now before you call Ghost Hunters, I'm talking about the abstract kind. These are the empty husks of memories that follow me around and punch me in the gut when I'm doing something else. I'll be minding my own business, driving to breakfast while listening to my wife and kids, and I'll see a soccer field, and all of a sudden I'm possessed, and apparitions from when I was a scrawny kid with acne will bombard me. I'll be back in time when I was a wallflower, and I'd avoid the ball, until the coach told me to get more aggressive. With sweaty phantoms of blue and yellow all around me, I will growl, just like I did on that grass. I will be angry. I will be an animal, and I will kick that goddamn spiritual soccer ball in that goddamn ethereal goal.

Until with a jolt, I must stop the car, just like how the referee said, "Hey kid, you can't growl, that's a warning. You do it again I'll kick you off the field." I am no longer bewitched, and the ghosts have faded.

Though I can still feel them, as they swarm beneath the surface, and all of the people I've known, who are dead and gone to me now, who are just figments of my imagination, will continue to live on through me. Perhaps there is not a heaven. Perhaps there is not a hell. Perhaps there is no where we truly go when we die, and everything we've ever done will mean nothing in the far distant future.

For now, however, those who have passed on from my life exist in me, and one day, when my physical form is gone, just as I have been haunted, perhaps others will be haunted by me.

Thursday, January 20

A Different Sort of Penis

The wife went to a "Future of Social Gaming" seminar, to which I replied, "Tell the geniuses at the social gaming thing to make people suck less."

I was half serious, and as she always does, she ignores me when I'm being...being, well like me. Then last night, I'm playing League of Legends, which is a free-to-play competitive PvP game, and the dicks arrived. They started using the N-word, and dropping F-bombs, which is shorthand for, I'm a dick, and I'm going to let you know I'm a dick, and there is nothing you can do about my dickishness.

Then they started "feeding" which is a type of griefing in which a player lets the opposing team kill them over and over again, which in turn makes the opposing team more powerful because kills give experience and gold. So not only are the dicks being dicks with words, their actions are dicky as well.

So the half-serious quip becomes truth.

Now, to be fair to LoL, they have a reporting system (which is ineffective due to the number of complaints vs. the number of employees at their company), and they are implementing a democracy of sorts called the Tribunal System, where we the players may judge other players. Hopefully all of that works out. Perhaps heads will roll, and Viva La LoL! will save us from the dicks, but honestly, that is just sweeping the dicks to another place, somewhere else where they can continue to be dicks to other people (hopefully each other).

My observation about most attempts to corral the dicks away from "normal people" is that they tend to treat the symptoms. Yes, suspensions and bans work, about as well as prison does, which means it's too little too late. As proposed by Penny Arcade in this comic, what gives the dicks their power is the anonymous nature of social gaming. I mean, think about it, how can something be social if the people in question have no idea who they are being social with? Wouldn't that be called "anonymous gaming" or perhaps "gaming with strangers?"

Though the quick fix of attaching your real life information to your game avatar has serious issues, as evidenced by the World of Warcraft Real ID fiasco. So on one hand, we have anonymous dicks, and on the other, we have dicks IRL.

So I'll rehash here what I told my wife (seriously this time), because the entire future of social gaming depends on it--

Hey Geniuses: Fix the Dick Problem.

Wednesday, January 19

Contentment Defined

Happiness <---> Unhappiness

As I alluded to in my last post on the subject, the above sliding scale is wrong. By this I mean, ineffective, counterproductive, and unlikely to make anyone anything other than ticking time bombs of self-destruction. For if you are not happy, then you must be unhappy, and since there are so few moments in your life when you are happy, then you must be unhappy the rest of the time.

Remember, I'm using these definitions:

Happiness = Pleasure + Triumph
Unhappiness = Pain + Grief

My prediction for everyone on the planet (and if I can't make that assumption, which is a fair objection, then I can at least make it for myself) is that there are relatively a few moments in our day to day lives where we are feeling true pleasure or triumph. So if you aren't happy, then by all accounts, if you only use the happiness/unhappiness scale, then you must be unhappy. You might not feel it, you might be doing your daily routines, wondering what is wrong with your life, your job, your kids, your hobbies, yourself: why you don't feel happy, and if that means you really are unhappy, underneath it all.

I propose that your life is not wrong, and that you are just fine, because your spectrum should look like this:

Happiness <---> CONTENTMENT <---> Unhappiness

I have put the middle term in all caps, because 90% of your life is smack dab in the middle. You are only up in the clouds 5% of the time, and you are only down in the dirt 5% of the time. The rest of your life is in that middle ground, where everything tastes like water, where you aren't too hot, aren't too cold, where you might not get what you want, but you might just get what you need.

Once you reorient yourself, once you stop seeking out the fleeting wisps of happiness, or rolling with the hard knocks, then you can perceive that who you are, no matter what you do, is an invisible path. Your life is the intangible middle ground. You will not remember it tomorrow, and you will not notice it all around you, until you stop, and pay attention to your contentment.

What is contentment? Well, let's define it further:

Physical Contentment = Flow

What is this? Flow? That sounds dumb. And yet, when an athlete is acting and reacting, without thought of failure, when they move like water, when they flow, then they are truly content. They are in the zone. When you are brushing your teeth, or vacuuming your carpet, or cleaning your toilet, or driving, or eating, or watching your kids play, or whatever concrete action you are doing when your life is moving on and on and on into the future, you are flowing with it and around it and through it, without thought, with and without effort, and you are water. Your life is mostly flow. It goes on, and you only notice the rapids and rocks in the river, while you ignore the river itself.

Abstract Contentment = Meditation

Huh? So we are all monks now? Do we have to sit cross-legged and chant "oooom?" If it helps you, sure, but I'm talking more the general use of the term, where your brain is occupied, but neither filled with triumph or grief. This is the place where daydreams go, or where you might think about the task at hand, or you might not be thinking at all. Your brain might be in idle, or it might be supercharged, working on your doctorate thesis. The key thing to notice here, is that we are talking about your day to day thoughts, combined with where your brain is when it is not thinking at all.

So where do we go from here? Now that we have a framework for contentment, we can notice it, and strive for it. We do not need to buy that car, or fuck that person, or wallow in our misery. Our goals can be a sustainable self, with contentment as our goal, and while the ups and downs of happiness and unhappiness might frame our lives, we are secure in the knowledge that we are content, and that everything is just fine after all.

Tuesday, January 18

Six Things I Hate About Your Movie

1) Awkward Moments. There are times in my life where I have not been stellar. Memories I'd rather forget, and yet, your movie has some idiot saying or doing something that makes me embarrassed for them, which in turn churns up nausea-inducing flashbacks to high school/crowds/parties/girls/hazing. Trust me, you don't want me feeling queasy about your movie.

So stop it with the awkward speech, awkward confession, awkward meet-up, awkward sex, awkward-whatever-is-in-your-twisted-past-that-you-thought-looked-super-on-film.

2) Groups of Friends that Don't Look Like Friends. "Hey, we are all friends! We sit around and drink at nondescript bars and don't have real conversations, and we have nothing in common whatsoever! Let's move on to the plot!"

I hate your characters if they are comprised of six stereotypes that shouldn't belong. A protagonist, a stud, a geek, a slut, a wallflower, and a prude do not mystically group up for no reason. Give them a common purpose for being together. Pick something, anything. Make them all like kayaking, I don't give a shit. Just please don't make it any easier for me to not give a damn about your characters.

3) Invincible Normal People. If a non-superhero gets shot, punched, kicked in the face, thrown off a building, flung out of a moving vehicle, or whatever idiotic thing you think looks cool, please have them react accordingly. I've watched enough Mythbusters to know that Buster the crash test dummy is royally fucked over by one quarter the damage done to movie characters.

Yet, in Transformers 2, three normal humans in a car are dropped from the sky, a fall of about ten stories, and they are perfectly fine because of the airbags (even the dude in the backseat!) In Iron Man, Tony Stark gets flung about 100 yards in the desert, and he's fine because he's inside a steel suit he made in a cave. Sure.

So please, if your protagonist must be punched in the jaw, please break it, and have them be in agony for the next couple weeks. Your script will be greater because of it, I promise.

4) People Meeting Each Other. "Hi. Hi. I'm Jub Jub Binky. I'm Goo Goo Montana. I like peanuts. So do I. Do you like penguins? No. Me neither. Okay. Okay. Let's have a scene with conflict now. Sure, let's do that."

Cut out the beginning of every scene where people are meeting each other for the first time. I'm a smart dude. I can fill in the blanks. If you want two people to meet, do this: a) show the two people for 3 seconds. b) cut to them having a conflict. We can figure out that they met and did stuff before that point, and will be grateful that we didn't have to watch the tedious parts. Give us conflict now, not later, because by the time it gets to later, we will be too bored to care about your dumbass characters.

5) People Drinking/Eating. I realize that your actors are not talented enough to hold the audience's attention without a prop, so I understand your need to fill their hands with generic alcoholic drinks. However, might I suggest that you give these actions some characterization? Boring choices make your characters (guess what?) boring.

At the beginning of Chaos Theory, the so-called random Mom (who is pissed off that her husband is so bland), makes waffles, sausage and bacon. What, you thought I wouldn't notice? Movies are for watching, derp! Random Mom should serve leftover Chinese food and Pop Tarts for breakfast. Those would be memorable choices, and give the characters something to react to and argue over. Bing! Conflict!

Now I'm not saying every meal has to be filled with random crap. Just please please please please fit the choices on screen to who the characters are. Random Mom would not have a clean counter either, or a bowl filled with glorious fruit. She'd have clutter everywhere, and the sink would be filled with dirty dishes. Random Mom is a mess, so show her that way. We notice, and so should you.

6) Horrible Extras. In Hellboy 2, there is a scene in an underground troll market, with lots of despicable faerie creatures running around. Or actually it isn't, since there are only a couple of CGI monsters, while the rest of the crowd is made up of extras in robes with bags on their heads. We could have had a super cool backdrop, instead, what we got was Hellboy walking around a bunch of people with shitty costumes.

I get why you are doing this. If you make your extras look marvelous, then there is the chance that they might upstage your main characters, and we'll pay more attention to the background than the foreground. However, that just means your main characters are boring. Make everything exciting, and we'll be excited about your movie. Your movie is only as good as the weakest link, and if your weakest link sucks, then your movie sucks. Funny how that works.

Monday, January 17

Blue Monday

No wonder I've been having a difficult time writing anything. I've been down all day, and didn't know why. I'm going to play with my little girl, maybe that will make me feel better.

Friday, January 14

Love, Leads To

Love, leads to
sex, leads to
babies, leads to
overpopulation, leads to
scarcity, leads to
bickering, leads to
war, leads to
death, leads to
hate, leads to
exhaustion, leads to
reparation, leads to
forgiveness, leads to
peace, leads to
love, leads to

Thursday, January 13


"Justin, go get dressed! Mama Rose is coming to pick you up!"
Justin ignores me.
Five minutes later:

"Justin, go get dressed like I told you to!"
"Okay, I'll get dressed."
Justin comes back wearing this:

Eh, what the hell...
If my kid wants to be a skeleton, so be it.

Random Photo #13

Wednesday, January 12

Comic #23

What RPGs Should Learn From Movies

As you know, I'm currently playing Dragon Age: Origins, and while I'm certainly enjoying myself, I'm also bored out of my mind. I think this game would have been far more effective as a storytelling platform had it taken a thing or two from another medium.

My BA was in Creative Arts with an emphasis in film, while I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, I do think that I've been exposed to a fair amount of quality narratives in not only the movie structure, but in literature and fine arts as well. I am a holistic artist, which is why I have such an interest in video games in the first place, considering they combine all aspects of every other art form in existence already. I'm not writing this post because I despise video games and think they can never be art, but because I am passionate about them, and am absolutely convinced that video games are art.

So here are the places where I think Dragon Age fails, and hopefully future video game narratives can pick up the slack:

1) Video Games Should Reward You For Conflict. Way back since dudes in togas, we've understood as artists that conflict is compelling. In fact, I would almost be inclined to say that you can't have art without strife, but I'd rather not derail this post. Suffice it to say that the most common form of artistic expression demonstrates forces in opposition.

Yet, in Dragon Age: Origins, when I talk to my companions, I get points for agreeing with them, and I lose points for disagreeing with them. If I disagree with them a whole bunch, they get pissed off, and will leave my party. This means I am rewarded for passive behavior, and punished for instigating conflict.

Here is a perfect example where gameplay and storytelling are at odds with each other, instead of working together to keep the player involved in the world. The designers have set up a Catch-22 where if I want the most points, I'm bored, but if I seek to end my boredom, I lose points.

Future games, if they wish to be taken seriously as narratives, must switch this dynamic around to something counter-intuitive: players must be rewarded for disagreeing with companions, and punished for agreeing with them. Then not only is the player happy with their bonus points, but they are also excited by the conflict in your story.

2) Cut Out Your Exposition. Or at least, if you absolutely must have it, stick it in an obscure place that players never have to experience, and do not reward players for reading it. No one gives a crap about the country of Ferelden, or the Ash Warriors, or the history of your fantasy land. It is crap. It seriously is. Audiences want a story, and a story is conflict, not a history lesson.

If the exposition does not flow from conflict, then it should be cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. If you don't show it on screen, then it is unimportant, and is actively hurting the immersion of your players. And by "show it onscreen," I'm talking about the old but true "show, don't tell," which RPG designers seem to feel doesn't apply to them. Bull shit. Your explanations disguised as dialogue are terrible, especially when you make me read them to gain points for agreeing with your NPCs.

Don't treat me like an idiot. If you want me to know that mages can become abominations through demonic possession, then freaking show me a mage getting possessed by a demon. Don't make me listen to voice actors tell me about it. Fail.

In short, show me your world through scenes of conflict. That is the first thing beginning film scriptwriters learn, and it is a lesson every game designer needs to know.

Tuesday, January 11

Random Album Cover

This has been floating around Facebook:

Album Cover

1 - Go to Wikipedia and hit random. The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2 - Go to and hit random. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”. Third picture no ma
...tter what it is will be your album cover.
4 - Use photoshop or similar ( is a free online photo editor) to put it all together.

5 - Post it with this text in the "caption" and TAG the friends you want to join in. (or not)

So here's my random album cover:

Seven Ways to Fail at Twitter

I felt the need to provide a counterpoint to this.

Since I'm an introvert, I have a knack for ticking people off. Through much trial and error, I have found the best ways to ostracize myself, not only from Twitter, but pretty much any gathering of humans. I currently have 23 followers and falling, and will probably have even less after this post. Huzzah!

If you wish to retain your reclusive nature, here are the seven best ways to fail utterly at Twitter:

1) Don't care about other people. This seems obvious, but it can be deceivingly difficult to have complete apathy for other humans. (Notice I'm not talking about antipathy here. This is indifference, not disgust.) Don't take an interest in anyone else, and hopefully, they will take the hint and get their attention elsewhere.

2) Don't read tweets/posts/blogs by anyone else. People only care about themselves, and if you start reading about what they think, then they are more likely to think you care about them.
See 1).

3) Never respond to anyone by name. People like attention, and if you give it to them, they might stick around, which is appalling in the grand scheme of things. In other words, if you do read what other people write, then for Pete's sake, don't tell them you did so. Though it is far better to only write about yourself, and preferably in abstract ways that mean little to anyone but yourself.

4) Talk about your cat/kids/poetry. Besides caring about themselves, people only really like controversy. Think train wrecks or beautiful people doing dumb things, and do something absolutely the opposite. I suggest linking pictures of waterfalls. Like so.

5) Never ever use "#". Using a hashtag is like an indoctrination tattoo that brands you as a member of a tribe. And tribes are made of people. And people are bad.

6) Play the Devil's advocate. Argue...I mean, debate people about everything they care about. Preferably if you can maintain a cool composure. Everyone hates a hothead troll, but people loathe the guy who never insults everyone, who reasonably shreds everything you care about to ribbons, and who always seems to be right, while making you look and feel like an idiot.

7) Never ask for the opinions of other people. If you ask for comments, that implies you will read what they write, which goes against 2).

Hopefully this post will be helpful to the frustrated introverts among us who have been doing this thing all wrong from the beginning, and will teach them the fundamental tools to sever interpersonal relationships, so that we can find fulfillment with our intrapersonal communication.

Comic #22

Friday, January 7

A Guide

Let's travel this road, you and I
you do not know this city
so I will teach you the words
you have no money
so I will feed you crackers
and apple sauce, and don't
worry, you can have my share
I will carry you when you are
too weak to walk, I will show
you places you've never been
watch out for that alley! Let's
hurry, but not too fast, for
others who have walked this
path have said "you will miss
this when it's gone" and we
can never go back, not ever.

Perhaps one day, far from here,
I will not know the city
so you will teach me the words
I will have no money
so you will feed me crackers
and apple sauce, and I'll be
pleased, you've learned to share
You will carry me when I am
too weak to walk, you will show
me places we've already been
watch out for that alley! That
is where I must go, and you
must not follow, not yet, for
you have another road to travel
and possibly, you may take
someone with you, my child.

Thursday, January 6

A Conversation With a 2.5 Year Old

She looks at me.
I look at her.
She smiles at me.
I smile at her.
She grins at me.
I grin at her.
She points at me.
I point at her.
She laughs at me.
I laugh at her.
I say, "What are you doing?"
She says, "I'm eating my butt!"

Wednesday, January 5

Dragon Age and the Tea Cups

Whenever you make a character for a roleplaying game, it's a part of you. You pick a name, you generally pick the appearance, and you might even go so far as to pick the personality or profession of the character. This means you are emotionally invested right out the gate, unlike a movie or book where you have to learn to care about the characters involved.

So when I played Dragon Age: Origins (yes, I'm a cheapskate and waited until Steam had the "Complete Edition" for $25) and my male elf mage was able to choose to have sex with a male elf rogue, it effected me more than I thought it would.

I mean, a part of me chose to have sex with a virtual male. That is a pretty big deal for me. I mean, I have no choice when the dudes in Brokeback Mountain get in on, because I'm a passive observer, but here I am, actively choosing a virtual homosexual relationship. Here's an analogy:

Say we are at Disneyland. I don't like the Tea Cups. Don't get me wrong, if other people ride the Tea Cups, that's fine with me. That's their business. It doesn't hurt me when they ride the Tea Cups, and it doesn't seem to hurt them, so I respect it. I don't hate the Tea Cups, I just don't like them. Vice versa, if I like the Matterhorn, I wouldn't expect the people who like the Tea Cups to absolutely like the Matterhorn, but I would expect them to respect that I do.

So here I am, playing a game, and bam, a part of me chooses to ride the Tea Cups. (Of course, it's not the same thing, since it was more akin to watching a home video of someone who snuck a camera on the ride, but you get the picture.)

While I was watching two male elves have sex (one of whom was me!), I felt aversion. Now don't get me wrong. This wasn't hatred. I just didn't like it. In the same way that I would get nausea from riding the Tea Cups, and not like that experience, I also did not like this experience.

However, I am not the type to start carrying torches and berate Bioware and Electronic Arts for putting homosexuality in their game. Far from it. I'm self-reflexive enough to wonder why I felt the way I did. Here are the two points I took away from that experience:
  • If a part of me chooses to be homosexual, and I don't like it, then that means I'm not homosexual. Which sounds obvious, but we are treading into the future, and these virtual spaces we have set up can blur the lines, and it is better to explore these concepts, rather than ignore the elephant in the room. Especially when other fellow heterosexuals often turn their aversion for homosexuality into hatred, which is counterproductive to society.
  • Second, I wonder if homosexuals feel the same aversion whenever they make an RPG character and choose to have a heterosexual relationship. If that is the case, then I'm sorry that there are an overabundance of heterosexual relationships in RPGs, and I wish for a future where there are more games like Dragon Age, not less.

Tuesday, January 4

Fish and Religion

In Texas, there is a church on every street corner. I would even guess that there are more churches than schools. In neighborhoods where people live in shacks, the house of God is a mansion.

Now before I get too far into this post, I'd like to be clear about my intent. I'm not trying to be judgmental about this. I don't want to get into a war over religion, at least not with this particular thought. This is not a criticism on religion, but an observation and hypothesis of why I think Texas is overflowing with it.

It's really quite simple: Texas is a huge, flat place. The sky seems like it goes on forever and ever, and in any direction you look, all you see is land and more land, that goes on forever and ever and ever. I've now traveled up and down southeastern Texas and it is mile after mile after mile of horizontalness. It's exactly like living in Flatland. (Granted, south and east Texas isn't all of Texas, but it's where most of the people are. Also, west Texas looks pretty flat when you fly over it.)

Contrast this to where I live, Silicon Valley. The most obvious thing is that I am bounded by hills. I see limits, the sky is diminutive in comparison. If I want to, I can actually reach a mountain without much effort. I have the option to get somewhere, and I am never ever lost.

Just imagine the psychological ramifications of this:
  • In one land, a person is insignificant, with no end in sight, with limitless surroundings, and where it is pointless to go anywhere because everything is exactly the same, no matter where you go. The smaller you are, the more likely you are to notice how colossal everything else is, and be more inclined to prioritize the observance of an infinite being.
  • In the other, a person can easily reach landmarks, goals are achievable, and the sky does not intimidate. Horizons are varied, and thus things may change. The bigger you are, the more likely you believe that the heavens are in your grasp, and be more inclined to neglect the observance of an infinite being.
In essence, in Texas, you are a small fish in a big fish bowl, and in California, you are a big fish in a small fish bowl.

Saturday, January 1

I Will Be Back

Been sick for two weeks, then traveled around Texas for a week.

Will update this soon.