What goes down, won't come up.

Every time I use the restroom at my school, or anywhere with the auto-flushing toilets for that matter, I’m always glad when everything that was in my pockets is still in my pockets. I’m watching it flush with the momentary power of a tiny black hole, and thinking, “Wow. It’s a good thing that the car, house, office and mailbox keys with my USB jumpdrive that are hanging precariously from my back pocket stayed hanging precariously from my back pocket.” I’ve stood up a number of times at home and realised my drivers license and credit card were on the floor. Maybe once or twice I’ve dropped my mobile.

Every time. I think about it every time.

Funny thing about this post. I started it ages ago, got on to other things, and didn’t finish it. I’ve been meaning to write it for even longer (since I realised that I think the same thing every time). Just a few days ago, my mom says to me, “I was listening to NPR and someone said something about those stupid airport toilets that flush automatically, and how they always flush before you’re done! And they always do! I hate that!” Evidently there’s more than one issue to be had with these things.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m more than happy to not have to touch a public toilet, although I’ve always used my foot anyway. John Snow removed the handle from a water pump and began the eventual control gained over cholera. Hopefully no one has been drinking the water from public bathrooms anyway, but the same idea applies. The paper towel dispensers are even automated now. Wave your hand in front of it and it spits paper at you. I don’t know that anyone has bothered to research whether or not all of this automation has slowed or stopped the spread of any diseases, or whether it is just easing the minds of public restroom patrons.

Although it doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job of that either.

Up to date and accidental resolutions.

This post refers to a website no longer available for viewing.

So begins the current posts. Everything I never finished in the past year or so has been so and posted accordingly. I wanted to get all of that done before starting in on posting anything new… Just seemed like the thing to do. All of it is what was in my head, and at some point, I wanted it to be posted here, so… It made sense.

So, it’s 2004. No big surprise, it’s a new year every… year. I didn’t exactly make any New Year’s resolutions. I usually don’t. And the few times I have, I don’t end up following them. I did coincidentally purchase a yoga dvd and a pilates dvd on December 31, and make a general decision to try to do one or both every day… So I suppose you could consider it a New Year’s resolution… An inadvertant one if anything. Which seems fitting. I’m one of very few people I know of who could make an accidental New Year’s resolution. I suppose it gives me a good excuse if I don’t follow through. “I didn’t mean to make it…”

I got hired at Blockbuster a month and a half ago. The manager told me that I needed to get my paperwork done so I could get the orientation done. That was the Friday after Thanksgiving. I’ve been calling them on a weekly basis since then, and either the manager isn’t there, or he still had no idea when the orientation was. So much for working over break and getting the time and a half for working holidays. I’m gathering that I’m not really hired. Or they’re completely stupid. Both of which are distinct possiblities, the latter more likely than the first… And at this point, I’m not sure I want to work there. First of all, I won’t be able to wear my lip ring… Which is probably the case most places. Really, much moreso than that, why on earth would I want to work at such a disorganised place. It’s ridiculous. I’ve essentially given up. The manager said he would call me when he knew when the orientation was. I never heard back. I’m sure I could go in there and find someone who’s been hired and gone through orientation since I was supposedly hired. I honestly don’t even think I could respect him as a manager now. Which doesn’t exactly lend itself to being an employee in a low level, corporation retail job.

Anyway… I dropped an application at the bookstore on campus, which would be ideal. It’s right there and they work around your school schedule… So you could work 3 hours here, 2 hours there, if you wanted to. My cousin offered me a job at the restaurant that he runs. But my school is over an hour away from my house. His restaurant is 45 minutes from my school and same from my house… So it’s a giant triangle from the two places that I already have to be. Not so good. But I figure if nothing else works, I can drive out there on weekends. We’ll see.

School starts in a week and student loan checks will be mailed shortly thereafter. That’ll at least afford me more time to find a job. Hopefully one that I’ll enjoy.

And then one day…

I’m doing better in college at the moment than I have in my entire college career. Literally. I earned two 4.0’s (A’s or 100%’s for those of you using different grading systems), which is something that I’ve definitely never done in college, as well as a 3.67, two 3.33’s, and one 2.33. Music Theory I was the shaky one. I went into the final with a 67% in the class. This meant I had to get an 84%+ on the final to pass the class. In the Music Department at Wayne, anything below a C is not considered passing and must be retaken. I ended up with a C+. Which meant I had to have gotten an 86%+ on the final. I’m amazed. I plan to ask for the test back at the beginning of next semester. That I’ve got to see, hehe. Frame it maybe. Everyone kept saying “Oh, you’ve just got to get an 84%, you’ll be fine,” to which I responded, “I have a 67% in the class, what’s the likelihood of getting an 84% on the final,” to which they responded, “Oh. Yeah.” Heh. Somehow I managed. I’m so geeked. It’s super exciting. I have to finish my voice juries at the beginning of next semester, but I’m not terribly worried about it. They’re doubling as my official audition into the department, as well, which works out great for me. One, I don’t have to sing for them twice, and two, the auditions are _much_ less strenuous and scrutinised than the voice juries themselves. They just want to hear your voice and whether or not you can sing. That will definitely be demonstrated by my jury. So, that worked out well. And that’ll get the audition out of the way, me into the department, and leave me with one less thing to have to remember to take care of.

Either way, I’m beyond excited about how things went. I suppose at some point things fall into place. I didn’t really change what I was doing. Something just seemed right this time.

I suppose that’s how it happens. And I still have all the time in the world. Pretty damn good.

Battlefield God.

My friend Matt instant-messaged me a link this morning. It was to a site called Battleground God. The tagline is, “Can your beliefs about religion make it across our intellectual battleground?” It’s a series of questions who’s scores are not related to a right or wrong answer, they’re determined based on whether or not it’s consistent with your previous answers. Are you consistent in your beliefs. There’s three possiblities for “scores” on each question. One, you answer consistently and continue. Two, you take a direct hit. This means you’ve answered in a way that is in direct contradiction with a previous answer. Three, you bite a bullet. This means you’ve answered in a way that most would find “strange, incredible or unpalatable.” This, as they state, is based on their opinion of what is considered normal, and leaves more room for disagreement than the direct hit does, because your view on normal might differ from theirs. In that fact, some of the questions and answers can seem hypocritical, since, for example, they talk about following inner conviction. If your answer is in line with your inner conviction and you stated that you follow such things, then regardless of what society thinks, you’re consistent. Which is what the point of the whole thing was in the first place. But it’s all based on perception, and it’s written from the writer’s perception, and therefore falls into their rules. Either way, clickety click, I entered the battlefield.

Battleground Analysis

Congratulations!

You have been awarded the TPM medal of honour! This is our highest award for outstanding service on the intellectual battleground.

The fact that you progressed through this activity neither being hit nor biting a bullet suggests that your beliefs about God are internally consistent and very well thought out.

A direct hit would have occurred had you answered in a way that implied a logical contradiction. You would have bitten bullets had you responded in ways that required that you held views that most people would have found strange, incredible or unpalatable. However, you avoided both these fates – and in doing so qualify for our highest award. A fine achievement!

How did you do compared to other people?

– 160722 people have completed this activity to date.
– You suffered zero direct hits and bit zero bullets.
– This compares with the average player of this activity to date who takes 1.39 hits and bites 1.11 bullets.
– 7.29% of the people who have completed this activity, like you, emerged unscathed with the TPM Medal of Honour.
– 46.07% of the people who have completed this activity took very little damage and were awarded the TPM Medal of Distinction.

There we have it. I’m very consistent. Honestly, I think it’s more that I’m very open, very aware of the concept of perception, and very smart. Here’s why.

Question 1:
Does God exist?

Don’t know.

Question 2:
If God does not exist then there is no basis for morality.

False.

Morality is a personal choice. The dictionary definition of morality is “the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct.” What defines “good conduct.” It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Either way, the entire planet does not believe in God and there is still a standard for such “morality” and consequences for behaving otherwise. If your reason for being moral is that God says you should be and will reward you for being so, more power to you. This does not imply, however, in any way, that without God, no basis for such things exists.

Question 3:
Any being which it is right to call God must be free to do anything.

False.

In my humble opinion, anyway. I have many ideas on what God might be, if there is a God, and not all of them fall into that category. Regardless of anything else, I refuse to limit what God is or would be. Saying God must be free to do anything might not seem like a limitation, but it places the constraint of a label on a creature, that I would assume, probably has no constraint at all.

Question 4:
Any being which it is right to call God must want there to be as little suffering in the world as possible.

False.

Who am I to say what God “must want.”

Question 5:
Any being which it is right to call God must have the power to do anything.

False.

Not all of my ideas fall into the omnipotence category either. This, as well, falls into my refusal to limit.

Question 6:
Evolutionary theory may be false in some matters of detail, but is essentially true.

True.

So science says. I’m inclined to believe so.

Question 7:
It is justifiable to base one’s beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner conviction, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity of these convictions.

False.

This begins the many references to “justifiable.” Justifiable according to what. To justify something is to be able to demonstrate that it is correct or right. This slips into a perception of what exactly constitutes demonstration of such. It’s not often that verbalising one’s inner conviction works in such a manner. So, do people base beliefs on inner convictions regardless of evidence? All the time. Is it justifiable? Not really. But many things are not.

Question 8:
Any being that it is right to call God must know everything that there is to know.

False.

Refusal to limit.

Question 9:
Torturing innocent people is morally wrong.

True.

This again comes to what defines morality. In my opinion, it’s wrong.

Question 10:
If, despite years of trying, no strong evidence or argument has been represented to show that there is a Loch Ness monster, it is rational to believe that such a monster does not exist.

True.

Do people believe, yes. Is it rational, no.

Question 11:
People who die of horrible, painful disease need to die in such a way for some higher purpose.

False.

I just don’t think so.

Question 12:
If God exists she could make it so that everything now considered sinful becomes morally acceptable and everything that is now considered morally good becomes sinful.

False.

Besides my previous limitation refusal, the commonly spoken of God supposedly granted free will. To change something like that would be to change the minds and thoughts of people, since what is considered morally right and wrong was determined by generation after generation of humanity. I just don’t see that happening.

Question 13:
It is foolish to believe in God without certain, irrevocable proof that God exists.

False.

It’s not foolish. People do it all the time. More power to them.

Question 14:
As long as there are no compelling arguments or evidence that show God does not exist, atheism is a matter of faith, not rationality.

False.

There are also no compelling arguments to prove that God _does_ exist, and therefore it’s perfectly rational to be an atheist. By that theory, though, believing in God is rational as well. It all comes back to a perception of what’s considered the basis for “rationality.” Atheists will say that the lack of evidence is the basis for rationality, and the believe with the lack there of is the act of faith. Theists believe God exists, so the basis for their perception stems from that. It’s all relative.

Question 15:
The serial rapist Peter Sutcliffe had a firm, inner conviction that God wanted him to rape and murder prostitutes. He was, therefore, justified in believing that he was carrying out God’s will in undertaking these actions.

False.

Again, what exactly defines “justifiable.” Obviously, he was convicted and received a stiff sentence. So the judge and jury certainly didn’t think it was justified.

Question 16:
If God exists she would have the freedom and power to create square circles and make 1 + 1 = 72.

False.

Limitations.

Question 17:
It is justifiable to believe in God based on a firm, inner conviction even if there is no external evidence that God exists.

False.

People do. To them, it’s not about justification.

Adventures in the big city.

I wonder if I’m the only person in Detroit who still looks when something drives by with a siren on. I’m not sure if that part of growing up in Rural Countryville will ever be adapted out of me. It’s tied in, though, with some inane fear that they’re coming for me and I don’t know it. Not like men-in-white-coats-I’m-nuts kind of coming for me… Like my-house-is-on-fire-and-I’m-not-aware or I’m-seriously-injured-and-having-an-out-of-body-experience kind of coming for me. Strange I guess. Not sure where it came from.