Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I think I'm becoming cynical. I remember several months ago, I made a post about how I wasn't a cynic. I'm too lazy to look it up and link it, but it's not really important to be familiar with that post to read this one. I'm simply stating that I think my attitude towards other people, in general, is changing.

I remember in that post, I provided three definitions for cynical, and I'm going to do that again:

1. like or characteristic of a cynic; distrusting or disparaging the motives of others.
2. showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one's actions, esp. by actions that exploit the scruples of others.
3. bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

The third definition is a bit harsh. I'm not bitter and I don't sneer (much). But lately I've been finding it quite difficult to see anything in people other than selfishness, and it makes me wonder what has been going on around me that has been feeding these emotions. There's nothing that I can think of that stands out as the defining moment where I stood up and proclaimed, "OMG yes, people DO suck!". It had to be a bunch of little things.

The largest reason that I can think of, off the top of my head, would be the fact that I play a game that basically encourages selfishness. You can talk about the teamwork all you want, but 98% of the people who play that game play it to get their gear so they look cooler than anyone else. Period. While it's true that I've made some of the greatest friends in that game, it's also true that I've met some of the most horrible people as well.

There are other, smaller reasons, too. Watching how people treat each other as they drive. Watching how people will cut in front of you in line without thinking twice about it. Stuff like that. Now, these things are nothing new, and typically I just shrug them off just like any normal person would do. As the Bee Gees said, you gotta look out for number one. And it's quite apparent that most people are doing just that.

Part of my problem is that after seeing so much of this, however, I start to second guess EVERYONE'S true intentions. The last few days, I've been catching myself do this from the moment I wake up, until the moment I go to bed. This is compounded by the fact that I'm not very good with people to begin with (though this isn't as bad as it once was).

I stopped at Sheetz this morning, and the cashier was exceptionally polite and nice. But all I could think was, "You're just being that nice because that guy behind you is probably your manager."

And unfortunately, I haven't only been questioning the intentions of strangers, either. I've been doing it with EVERYONE, even those closest to me who have given me no reason to believe that their reason for talking to me is anything other than just wanting to talk to me because we're friends. Cynicism may not even be an entirely accurate term to describe it. It's borderline paranoia. Borderline. I don't think everyone is against me, and I don't think anyone is out to get me. So it's not paranoia in that truest sense of the word.

I have also considered that the factors which make me question the intentions of those around me always exist, and my recent problems with them are result of something else. In other words, some other factor is affecting my ability to deal with these things that I see every single day.

I've long suspected that I suffer from "major depressive episodes". They're not bad, and I am able to deal with them just fine without any professional help or medication. It's been about three weeks since I've had one, so I'm about due for one of those happy joy rides. And it makes me wonder if this could be just another symptom of that. It's interesting to note that one of the key symptoms of an MDE deals with self-worth. Here's the word-for-word description from Wikipedia:

The person may think of themselves in very negative, unrealistic ways such as manifesting a preoccupation with past "failures", personalization of trivial events, or believing that minor mistakes prove their inadequacy. They also may have an unrealistic sense of personal responsibility and see things beyond their control as being their fault. Additionally, self-loathing is common in clinical depression, and can lead to a downward spiral when combined with other symptoms.

I think it's quite viable that this symptom could manifest itself as the very thing I've been experiencing over the last few days. If I'm subconsciously questioning my self-worth, it would make sense that I would, in turn, think that everyone else is too. It's sort of backwards thinking, when you look it from that perspective. I'm projecting my own insecurities to those around me. When you take into consideration that ego of mine that everyone knows and loves, it does make sense.

This actually worked out better than I thought -- writing these thoughts down helped me make some conclusions that I otherwise might not have made. I'm still left with this nagging feeling, however, but that's just my problem solving mind wanting an all-encompassing solution. Sadly, there isn't one in this case. But I've been here before, and sooner rather than later I'll leave here again.

All that being said, I think that a little cynicism is a good thing. It keeps you safe.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Even the smallest drop could be deadly.

I've noticed something today, nearly at the cost of my own life (several times, in fact). Even the smallest hint of warm weather turns normal human beings into retards. It's true. I tried to go to lunch today and I was nearly run over by seven people. And I'm not just talking about people driving unnecessarily fast or erratic. I'm talking about people DRIVING DOWN THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD. It's like the entire population of motorists were replaced by David After Dentist.

I just wanted a fucking sandwich.

In other news, after getting back to the office and eating my sandwich, I did some reading on the future computer games that I'm interested in. Dragon Age looks like it's still on target to be released later this year, so that's good news. I've been sort of craving a single player RPG in the vein of The Witcher ever since I finished that one, and this one should fill that role quite nicely. Conversely, it looks like Alan Wake is becoming more and more like vaporware. Sad.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What this doing in here?

I went to the bathroom this morning. Common occurrence. Typically I'm quick about it, because I don't particularly enjoy public restrooms. Especially the ones here at the office, since they tend to smell like flaming inside out ass.

Anyway, I go in, do what I need to do, and head over to the sink to wash my hands. It was there that I stopped quite suddenly in my tracks, because I noticed there was something on the sink that really, really shouldn't have been there. It was the bottom part of a CD spindle case. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a picture compliments of Google image search:

Naturally, my mind began to think of why someone would take the bottom part of a CD spindle case into the bathroom. And naturally, my mind went right into the gutter.

And it further degraded into the gutter as I thought, "Ok, so they left it by the sink...did they clean it off after they were done or something?"

I need to stop thinking. Either that or I need to stop using public restrooms...

Monday, March 23, 2009

On Saturday night, I went on my monthly quest for new music. I always start by checking to see if any of my favorite bands have come out with anything new, and from there go into trying stuff by artists I've not listened to before. On average, I will download about five albums each time I do this. Surprisingly, I don't delete albums. I tend to do my research on a new band before I decide to try them out.

Sometimes, I'll want something new from a band that hasn't released any new material for a few years. In those cases, I'll check to see if they have any earlier albums that I never got, and download those just to have them. I did this with The Bravery on Saturday night, but also noticed they released a new album. But it wasn't really a new album. Their most recent album was called "The Sun and the Moon". This "new" album is called "The Sun and the Moon Complete". I like the band, so I checked to see what this was all about.

This new album is two discs instead of one: One is "The Sun", and the other is "The Moon". Intrigued, I decided to download it. I discovered that The Sun disc was the original album that was released a year ago, and The Moon was a disc containing the same exact songs but mixed differently. I'll admit, if I had actually paid for the album, I would have been annoyed.

I do like hearing different versions of songs, so I kept it. If any of you are familiar with The Bravery, I put both the Sun and the Moon versions of Believe into my playlist for comparison. If you aren't familiar with them, but you listen to the radio, I'm going to take a guess that you know this song but just didn't know what it was called or who did it. So listen to them anyway. =)

Monday, March 16, 2009


So the Sci-Fi Channel is changing their name to the syfy Channel.


There are so many ways I could blast this that I don't even know where to begin. So I will just let it go.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This cold has left the realm of inconvenience and is now flatout annoying. And you know, I feel fine. The body aches are gone, the sore throat is gone, it's all just congestion now. But, because of the draining my sinuses are doing, I'm left with a facet for a nose and a constant feeling that I need to sneeze. Which, in turn, makes my eyes water constantly and leaves me needing to sit at my desk and work while I'm staring at the ceiling in order to negate the need to use a kleenex every 7 seconds.

The fucking drip needs to stop and move on to the stuffiness. It's not even mucus coming out of my nose. It's water. Fucking bizarre.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Know Thy Enemy

The wookie is coming to my team. Suffice to say, this is not a shocking development. This has been in the works for almost a year now, and I knew that one day it would become a reality. The move is probably about a month or two away.

I dubbed her the wookie because of her hairy appearance. That's really it. It had little to do with her apparent "furry" interests. In fact, I wasn't aware of those interests until after I had given her the nickname. If I'm going to be working with this girl every day soon, I figure that I should at least know what I'm up against here. So, between working and sneezing my head off from this stupid cold that is now in full swing, I took it upon myself to do a bit of research on the term "furry".

The term "furry" refers to a fan base for fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics.

Ok. Simple enough.

The term became mainstream in 1983, but could have existed as early as 1965. The first "furry convention" was in 1987, and the first furry IRC channel went up in 1990.

But what do furries do? Well, they write stories about their characters, they draw them, make comic books, and other stuff like that. Some furries craft "plushies", and others create "fursuits" that they will wear to conventions. Most furries do not own a full fursuit, due to the cost. Instead, wearing accessories such as ears and a tail is most popular.

I was shocked to learn that the largest furry convention in the world is the Anthrocon, held right here in my own city of Pittsburgh. Sometimes, I really regret researching things.

But yet, just like you do with a train wreck, I continued to look.

Apparently, there is some debate on what the term furry actually means. Surveys have concluded that a majority of people who consider themselves a furry believe the term simply means "someone interested in socializing with others who share the common interest of anthropomorphic art and costumes". That's not bad, because it means that a majority of these people are pretty normal.

Then it goes on to state that "6% of furries do not consider themselves human at all".


And now to delve into the area of furries that no one ever talks about. Ah yes, the sexual aspects. Here we go.

So, the most common sexual aspects of furry fandom are erotic art, and furry-themed cyber sex. This doesn't surprise me. I've seen some of the art myself. And look, I learned a new word: "Yiff" is the term used to describe sexual activity within the fandom, or sexual art with a furry theme. Great, I'll add that one to my vocabulary.

I went on to learn that most furries believe these sexual aspects give furries a bad name, and they call these people "furverts". Oh dear God.

According to a combination of surveys, 25% of furries are homosexual, 48% are bisexual, 8% prefer "alternative sexual relationships", 2% show an interest in zoophilia, and less than 1% show an interest in plushophilia.

If you haven't figured it out, zoophilia is another term for beastiality, and plushophilia is having sex with a stuffed animal. Yes, you are quite welcome for those mental scars you've just received.

All that being said, I'm not judgemental of the wookie. I just think she's overly hairy.

Monday, March 09, 2009

WTF is Plinky?

So you'll notice the post below this one is a bit bizarre. Why the fuck am I talking about bears and sharks?

I stumbled upon this site called Plinky. Plinky is a place that will give you inspiration to blog about something. The idea is, if you find yourself unable to think of something to blog about for an extended period of time, you just go to Plinky and it will give you a topic to discuss. There's a new topic every day.

Now that I've tried it out, I must say it's about the stupidest thing I've ever seen in my life. Heh. No seriously, why would I need someone to give me ideas about what to blog? My desire to post a blog entry is typically fueled by wanting to share some part of my every day life. Not to just hear myself type.

It was fun to try once, though. I guess if they ever ask a question that I actually care something about, I'll do it again. Otherwise, it's just another one of those sites designed to help people waste their own time. Just like I am now.

Oh, and I think I'm getting sick. Fuck.

Second edit: 500th post!!

My money's on the shark

Animal face off! Who would win a fight between a bear and a shark?

The problem with questions like these is that I will analyze the question to death. So here goes that:

What kind of bear are we talking about here? Grizzly? Or what? How about the shark? Great White? Tiger? I think that would have some influence on the outcome of the battle.

Also, would they be fighting on land, or in the water? That's going to have a MAJOR influence on the fight. Obviously, the shark will have the advantage in the water, and the bear will have the advantage on land.

I'm going with the shark simply because there have been many more movies about killer sharks than there have been about killer bears. I can only think of one killer bear movie -- The Great Outdoors -- and that was a comedy with John Candy.

You want me to do what now?

I rarely act surprised. I typically remain basically deadpan about anything, regardless of what it is. Sometimes, that gets me work that I'd rather not do. Case in point: This morning I walk by my boss' office and he calls me in, asking, "Would you be okay training KLine (one of our customers) on Rate Access (a module of our software) today?"

The correct response to that question should have been a deer in headlights stare. Maybe a bit of drool running down the corner of my mouth or something. That would have been appropriate. But instead, I gave a confident, "Sure!".

I've been ass-deep on another project for the last few weeks, for another customer, and I have therefore not had much time to take a look at the new release of our software that we are training these people on. I don't know it all that well. And I just agreed to train an important customer on it. Yes, I am an idiot.

But there was no one else to do it, and I knew my boss wasn't looking for a yes or no answer. He was basically telling me I was doing the training. I know this. That's why I said sure.

And the training went fine. Well, it went as fine as I expected it to go. This release has problems. There's a lot of new functionality that does work, but it doesn't really work the way that our customers would expect. And, and lot of this new functionality is not intuitive at all. But despite that, the training went fine. I even went over more than just the module I was assigned to cover, since they were asking me rather specific questions about other areas of the product. And thankfully, it seemed that they understood that I was not the person to complain to about changes in functionality. I was only there to show them what was there.

One enjoyable part about this training was that this customer is in the United Kingdom. I do love their accents.

Apart from business, I have a new band that I've recently discovered and have been listening to. I can sort of tie them into this post because of the whole UK thing. These guys are from the UK as well. There, see, a connection. And yes, I love their accent as well. I could listen to them all day long.

Anyway, the band is called "The Kooks". Their music has this "feel-good" quality to it. You listen and you just feel pretty good. Here's an example:

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I don't understand people. I will admit that I'm sort of at a disadvantage, though. You see, I was raised by wolves and didn't have any contact with human beings until I was about 19 years old. Ok, that's a lie. But I'm using it as a metaphor to explain that I didn't really make any real attempts to understand people until that age. Before then, I really didn't care about people, and was under the impression that they didn't really care about me either. Since then I've learned a lot, but I still don't understand people. Why is that?

I sometimes wish that life was more like a TV show. But, not for any of the reasons that you might think. When you watch a TV show, you know what the characters are thinking because the show will tell you. They may tell you by having the characters think out loud, or through the actions the characters perform, or by subtle pauses/glances/expressions they make. They do this because it's a TV show and the audience needs to know why the character is doing what they are doing. They need to understand the character in order to enjoy the show. Ah, a light bulb went off just now, didn't it?

Life is not like a TV show. People don't always say exactly what they mean. They don't always explain their motives. They don't always make it known exactly how they feel. And, sadly, a lot of the time they aren't as caring and considerate. And it really makes things complicated, don't you think?

Here's a good example. I was driving to work this morning. As of Monday, there's a small stretch of highway on my route that is down to one lane for construction. It's not a long stretch. You're through it quite quickly with a minimal delay in your commute. I bitch about road work all the time, but at the same time I realize that even though it's a hassle, it's also necessary and there's really nothing I can do about it anyway. So this morning, I approach the construction zone, and I know that the right lane is closed because I've been through here two times before already since Monday. So I get in the left lane. Traffic is backed up before the point where the right lane closes by about 10 cars. Big deal, we're still moving. I'm never in any hurry to get to work, so I didn't care to use the right lane all the way up to the merge point.

I look at the car in front of me, and I watch as he edges to the right. In front of him a truck, so I assumed he was going to just go around and merge back in up where the right lane started to close. Instead, he just sat there, in between this truck and me (who were in the left lane), but he was mostly in the right lane. He was trying to block anyone who might try to use the right lane all the way up to the merge point. And when someone did use the right lane up to the merge point and went around him, he jerked his steering wheel to give the impression that he was going to swerve into that other vehicle as it went around him.

Why? Does it anger him so much that those people are gaining 10 car lengths on him that he risks causing an accident? Does he not understand that you are allowed to use the right lane up until the merge point? Does he just enjoy fucking with people?

I also asked myself this question: Would he still have acted in this way if each person that was going around him was a close friend or family member, or even anyone that he knows personally? Or was he just acting this way because his car was granting him anonymity?

This brings me to my next point. I think the main reason that I feel I don't understand people very well is because of what makes up a majority of my interaction with them. Aside from the family I live with, my interaction with people is basically broken down into only two things: Interaction with complete strangers that I meet through various means such as shopping, driving to work, going to eat, and...other means, and interaction over the Internet.

It's clear that people act differently when they have anonymity on their side, and that's never more true than over the Internet. Have you ever scanned through a "Comments" section on a news article? It's quite a sight. It's amazing what people will say when they are only a mouse and keyboard to everyone else.

This makes it extremely difficult to know someone, when your only interaction with them is online. You can't see their facial expressions when they talk to you. You can't hear their tone. How do you know what they mean when they talk to you? Are they being serious? Are they joking? Are they fucking with you? Are they trying to get to know you better? It can be very frustrating.

The guy who said "All the world's a stage..." is full of crap. Either that, or someone stole my script.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Meanings of Color

Black is the color of authority and power. It is popular in fashion because it makes people appear thinner. It is also stylish and timeless. Black also implies submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God. Some fashion experts say a woman wearing black implies submission to men. Black outfits can also be overpowering, or make the wearer seem aloof or evil. Villains, such as Dracula, often wear black.

Brides wear white to symbolize innocence and purity. White reflects light and is considered a summer color. White is popular in decorating and in fashion because it is light, neutral, and goes with everything. However, white shows dirt and is therefore more difficult to keep clean than other colors. Doctors and nurses wear white to imply sterility.

The most emotionally intense color, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. It is also the color of love. Red clothing gets noticed and makes the wearer appear heavier. Since it is an extreme color, red clothing might not help people in negotiations or confrontations. Red cars are popular targets for thieves. In decorating, red is usually used as an accent. Decorators say that red furniture should be perfect since it will attract attention.

The most romantic color, pink, is more tranquilizing. Sports teams sometimes paint the locker rooms used by opposing teams bright pink so their opponents will lose energy.

The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colors. It causes the opposite reaction as red. Peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is often used in bedrooms. Blue can also be cold and depressing. Fashion consultants recommend wearing blue to job interviews because it symbolizes loyalty. People are more productive in blue rooms. Studies show weightlifters are able to handle heavier weights in blue gyms.

Currently the most popular decorating color, green symbolizes nature. It is the easiest color on the eye and can improve vision. It is a calming, refreshing color. People waiting to appear on TV sit in "green rooms" to relax. Hospitals often use green because it relaxes patients. Brides in the Middle Ages wore green to symbolize fertility. Dark green is masculine, conservative, and implies wealth. However, seamstresses often refuse to use green thread on the eve of a fashion show for fear it will bring bad luck.

Cheerful sunny yellow is an attention getter. While it is considered an optimistic color, people lose their tempers more often in yellow rooms, and babies will cry more. It is the most difficult color for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused. Yellow enhances concentration, hence its use for legal pads. It also speeds metabolism.

The color of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic. However, because it is rare in nature, purple can appear artificial.

Solid, reliable brown is the color of earth and is abundant in nature. Light brown implies genuineness while dark brown is similar to wood or leather. Brown can also be sad and wistful. Men are more apt to say brown is one of their favorite colors.

Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.

To the human eye, orange is a very hot color, so it gives the sensation of heat. Nevertheless, orange is not as aggressive as red. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity. It is highly accepted among young people. As a citrus color, orange is associated with healthy food and stimulates appetite. Orange is the color of fall and harvest. In heraldry, orange is symbolic of strength and endurance.

Orange has very high visibility, so you can use it to catch attention and highlight the most important elements of your design. Orange is very effective for promoting food products and toys.
I really wanted it to be warm this morning. I mean, come on now, it's the first day of March. Can it at least be mild? On Friday it wasn't too bad, I probably didn't even need my heavy winter coat. So I was really hopeful this morning. I only wore my pull over sweater, instead of my coat.

Yeah. It was 6 degrees this morning. Mother Nature just wtfpwnt me. It's so cold outside that it's even fucking cold in the office, and usually it's so damned warm in here I'd prefer to work naked.

In other news, there's supposed to be road construction starting on my main route to work today. Oh fucking joy. Spring time arrives and so does construction season. Let's nevermind that's it's still 6 freaking degrees outside. Spring may not be on time, but the road work certainly is.

Let's see, what else is happening? With the impending arrival of spring also comes the impending arrival of my birthday. Will the curse remain, or has it been lifted? We shall see.

I will race you to the waterside
And from the edge of Ireland shout out loud
So they could hear it in America
It's all for you
Snow Patrol - The Planets Bend Between Us


Holy smokes.  The last post I wrote for this blog was on October 18, 2017.  Through the little more than  two years since, this blog has be...