June 29, 2007

Integrate Your Own

I really can't express or quantify the intellectual debt that I owe to Ayn Rand. The woman was a genius and she outlined the philosophy by which I try to run my life.

But you may have noticed how rarely I actually quote Ayn Rand. I do have almost all of her books on my bookshelf and I am familiar with how to use an index. But I rarely quote her for a reason.

I think people quote her for a reason.

There's nothing wrong with providing a quotation or reference. I mean, Ayn Rand did say things better, like, all the time.

I think lots of people parrot what she said, though. They say it, but they don't really understand it.

Diana remarked on this tendency recently:

However, Paul's comment did have a more serious point, namely that Dr. Peikoff's fine example has become something of an Objectivist bromide, overused (and misused) by other Objectivists, such that the principle might seem to rest largely on that single example. The same thing happens with Ayn Rand's various furniture concepts (e.g. coffee table, desk, table, bookcase, furniture) as examples of a low-level hierarchy of concepts. Those examples have been so overused that sometimes it seems like the Objectivist theory of concepts is good for nothing but forming concepts of furniture! (One side-effect is ignorance of the difficulties of forming some low-level concepts, e.g. those those of species of living organisms.)

As I tell my students, if you can't construct your own examples, then you really don't understand the abstract principle in question. Using Ayn Rand's own examples might be legitimate in some contexts, e.g. when introducing Rand's own views to those unfamiliar with her work. However, the re-use of standard Objectivist examples often seems to stem from haste (i.e. inadequate time to think of a new example), laziness (i.e. unwillingness to exert the effort to develop a new example), or timidity (i.e. fear of using a misbegotten, half-baked, or problematic example).

Exactly!

Speaking for myself alone, I'd rather say it my own way and get it wrong than quote her and still get it wrong. And, really, I'd rather get it right with my own, too.

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HAPPY FRIDAY!

oh. Mah. GAH! SO CUTE!!!!

I Can Has Cheezburger again.

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June 28, 2007

I Hate...

...that my office uses those stupid low-water usage urinals and toilets. The urine in the urinals never really goes away and it takes several flushes to get rid of even a single sheet of toilet paper floating on the surface of the water.

I can't imagine how 8 flushes uses less water than 1 flush and I am comforted by industrial toilets that blast water through the pipes at 100 feet per second. I really think germs and waste do not like that at all whereas I am sure they love the cushy life they have in our weakass toilets here.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 03:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Truth in Advertising

I just want to complain about the fact that the 24/7 peep show near my work is never open in the morning. They sign in neon CLEARLY says that it's open 24/7, but when I walk past it on my way to work, there is a heavy metal garage door pulled down in front of it.

Someone call the better business bureau about this egregious example of false advertising!

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Time Waster of the Day

Throw paper airplanes!

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Sign Me Up

Being a corporate recruiter must be a thankless job.

I met and spoke with several recruiters during my last job search. They didn't do a thing for me and they were all complete idiots. I'm not just saying that because they hadn't read my resume or bothered to ask what sort of job I was searching for, I'm saying that because all of them offered me jobs that I'm not only not interested in but woefully underqualified for. It's like they didn't even read the description of the position they're supposed to fill.

I met with one recruiter here in New York last February and we were talking about what I want from my next job. When I told her my salary requirement, she raised an eyebrow and asked incredulously if I really thought I would find anything in that range. I responded cooly, "I've had two promising interviews today." Obviously, she didn't get my business.

I'm sure not all recruiters are stupid, but I've been annoyed with many. My biggest pet peeve with them, though, is their propensity to call me at work. I don't know how they do it, but they get the number to my desk and call up.

A guy called me yesterday and asked if we could chat. I said, "No," and he laughed. When I didn't return his chuckle, he said his goodbyes.

I would have been happy to chat with him, but not on my work phone and not spontaneously in the middle of my workday. Why not set up an appointment with me to chat so that I can arrange a more discrete setting to talk about my goals?

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Not Art

I was reading about Greg Packer this morning and I happened across this line in this CNS article:

When told of the lengths Packer has gone to to be at major events and meet celebrities, Robert Thompson, a Syracuse University professor of pop culture, said Packer has turned a passion into an art form.

"If you're totally obsessed with Shakespeare and James Joyce and go to the ends of the earth researching them, we call you an English professor," Thompson said. "This guy has chosen his body of art to consume, it just so happens he can't make a living off of it. The only fundamental difference is he doesn't have tenure."

Greg Packer is the first guy in line to buy an iPhone this morning.

But listen to me: English Professors are not artists by virtue of their obsession with a writer. If you write fiction, then you may be an artist, but simply being a professor doesn't.

I get tired of this cliche, the one that refers to every parsimonious solution or tenacious effort as art. It's not art.

And there is a deeper fundamental difference than tenure between a professor and the guy who waits in lines for things.

I hope that guy was joking when he uttered those things.

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Don't Be a Retard

Reuters: Court acquits teacher in "retard" case

PALERMO, Italy (Reuters) - A teacher who forced a pupil to write "I am a retard" 100 times was acquitted by an Italian court on Wednesday of abuse charges.

Reuters, Reuters, Reuters.

That lead and that headline are a leeeetle bit misleading. Way down at the end of the story they clarify:

In Italian, she made the boy write: "Io sono deficiente," which literally means "deficient" but is more commonly used as a disparaging term meaning "moron" or "mentally retarded.

Apparently, she issued this punishment after the deficiente harassed another boy and called the other boy a froscio. So, gay rights people actually sided with this teacher and called for the acquittal.

I think there are more effective ways to punish children than what was done here and I'm really perplexed as to why anyone would support such foolishness. This is one of the reasons I'm not very active in the gay "community." I refuse to agree with people on issues just because they like the same kind of sex I like.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What's Sex?

Inspector went and looked up Leonard Peikoff's comment on masturbation as sex from his Love, Sex & Romance Q&A:

"Q: Is masturbation sex…?

A: Yes it is Sex; sex is any contact with and pleasure from the genitals. It does not say what form of contact – despite our president [Clinton] – and it does not say who or whether it’s you yourself. If you get pleasure from scratching your back, that is not sex… but if it’s the right area, it is!”

(note also that the "despite our president" comment got big laughs")

As a friend of mine in college used to say: "Don't be dumb. Get you some."

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June 27, 2007

Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

I don't really regret dating any of the people I've dated although I do recognize that I could have exercised some better judgment in those I chose to date.

Well, remember my ex who did his cry- for- attention- faux- suicide attempt?

At the end of that incident, I told him to never speak to me again.

Last night, that fool sent me an instant message. I didn't save the conversation, but I wish I had so I could share it with you guys.

It went something like this:

Him: I got beat by a drag queen.
Me: Seriously, never talk to me again.
Him: Whatever.
Me: No, not whatever. You need to understand that I don't want you to ever talk to me again.
Me: Are we clear on this?

He also swore at me and called me ugly names. But he stopped talking to me.

I THINK I'm finally rid of him. Only time will tell.

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Not a Great Day

Today was not the funnest day in New York history.

I woke up late and went to the gym where I had a very mediocre workout on the treadmill. I just couldn't get in the zone and gave up after a mere 25 minutes of some running and a lot of walking. (I always tell myself that it's ok to have days like that now and then -- just showing up and doing something is better than doing nothing at all.)

And then work was drudgery.

Remember me bitching about that person who acts like his time is more important than everyone else's and how we rescheduled a meeting just so he could attend? Well, today was the first day of that meeting for him. He was at least 15 minutes late and missed very important discussions regarding the project.

Don't worry. I've documented this and reported it to my supervisor.

But then someone else who is involved with the project suggested today that because of the delays (caused by that one guy's team and a bad set up by the setup team) that the project should be moved to a different project manager.

Nothing soothes the nerves quite like a presumptuous vote of no confidence.

Don't worry. I documented that and reported it to my supervisor as well.

And here's a fun fact: when thunderstorms develop suddenly, they give me headaches. We have such storms right now and I have a headache right now, too.

At least I'll sleep well tonight.

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The Stars May Lie

I am really astonished by the number of people who believe in astrology.

Most people don't think that you can tell the future by them, but many people seem to think that when you're born affects your character and personality. The whole notion is insane. But people still love it.

Of course, when I object and point out all the reasons why it's idiotic, they just smile like they think they're my grandmother and say, "You're such a virgo."

How to Recognize a Virgo

Married or single, it's fairly simple to spot the Virgo in public. For one thing, he won't be making much noise. He's not exactly garrulous, and he'll stand out as a loner. See that gentle, attractive man over there in the comer, with the thesaurus under his arm? The one with the tick-tock mind, clicking away the hours neatly and methodical­ly noticing the smallest details? If you look closely, you can almost see him measuring each minute for what it's worth. He's a Virgo. See that quiet girl with the beautiful, soft eyes, waiting for the bus? Notice her spick-and-span white gloves, her cool manner. She'll have the exact coins for the fare ready in her hand. She wouldn't dream of asking the bus driver to change a five dollar bill. She's a Virgo.

The description of a Virgo is so wide-ranging that it would almost be impossible for any person to not be a Virgo. I'm sure the same is true of other signs.

It probably wouldn't bother me so much if people just regarded it as an odd, antiquated system of ideas, but they don't. People think it's real.

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June 26, 2007

And Now for Something Different

Due to certain after work events that I will attend this evening that involve vodka snowcones, I had to reschedule my trainer to let me work out during lunch today.

I don't know if I will ever do that again.

I am completely wiped out.

Usually, I work out with him, go home, eat, and go to sleep. I don't do anything that requires significant concentration or effort. But now I'm sitting in the office and I almost can't make myself focus on anything. I certainly don't WANT to focus on anything.

Oh, but fun fact: my trainer told me today that chocolate milk makes a good after workout drink because it has both protein and carbs.

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The iPhone is Wicked Cool

Thanks to Diana, I've just watched a demo video for iPhone.

It's SO COOL!

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 12:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Heavy Breathing

I work with TWO people who are extremely heavy breathers. Neither of them are obese people, but they have something wrong in their breathing that makes them very, very loud.

One of them also swallows loudly.

Conference calls with these two are painful.

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Xtina No More

A few years ago during the Jesstinitney War of Poplet Princessdom, Christina Aguilera came away looking like a regular skank. No one can deny that the woman has a great voice but she was lacking in class.

Well, her latest incarnation is a vast improvement. I love these two videos from her latest album because they're stylized and fun. She's gorgeous and she doesn't look like a complete prostitute. (We have to ignore the song lyrics a little bit, though.) I hope she keeps this trend going.

Also, props to RCA Records for posting The Candyman video to YouTube. I love that the record company is embracing YouTube and promoting their products through that medium.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 08:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Quoting A Reader

In my comments, Inspector left an eloquent description of sex that I think bears being highlighted:

Objectivism's view toward romantic and ideal sex is one of breathless reverence for a sublime greatness

YES.

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Because I Can

From I Can Has Cheezburger!

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June 25, 2007

Ug. I'm Silly Sometimes.

This weekend I ran into The Cuban. The Cuban and I dated for a while late last year. A couple three months, I think.

He was really sweet and sexy and I really enjoyed many things about him, but we had some ideological differences that really bothered me and I felt like we were lacking an intellectual connection. So, we broke up.

But I do miss him. I miss all the good things that made me date him in the first place.

I saw him Friday night while hunting for a bar that wasn't too dark, too loud, too crowded, or too expensive. And it was really nice to see him even if it was only for five seconds.

Well, that brief encounter then lead to a text message exchange on Saturday.

This will totally sound like a lie, but it's not, I actually thought he was someone else sending me a text message (one of the cute guys I met Friday), so I was kind of flirty. Even after I realized it was him, though the conversation continued a little longer. It was kind of hard to not respond when I had been texting him all evening.

Eventually, I did just stop responding, though. And today he sent me an email saying it was nice to "talk" to me.

I have to say: this is one of the more difficult aspects of my strict dating policies. I have good reasons for dating the people I've dated and I'm not confused or unclear about them. I also have good reasons for not dating them any more and they are equally clear.

The decision I make about the relationship is a direction function of my hierarchy of values and it wouldn't make any sense for me to try to go against that. But I still have a little internal conflict on the situation.

I mention all of this only to highlight the fact that being a rational human being doesn't mean that one has no conflict. Just because you know the moral thing to do doesn't mean that you are blind to the possible (limited-range) value of the alternative. The difference is that one recognizes the greater value in acting rationally and morally.

Sure, I could probably call up The Cuban and ask him for a date and he'd probably say yes. But that is obviously not the best decision to make. So, at this point I'm not even responding to his recent note. There's nothing to gain by it.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 10:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Time Waster of the Day

Defend Your Castle!

In this game you have to pick up the little guys and drop them from a high height and let them splat on the ground so that they can't break into your castle. You earn points for killing them which allows you to upgrade your castle.

One of the coolest parts is that you can convert your enemies to your cause and teach some of them to be suicide bombers.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 04:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Pride of the Gays Weekend

I'm such a bad gay. I didn't attend any Gay Pride Festival activities.

On Saturday night I attended this charity mixer and then popped over to a party hosted by a friend of a friend. I was up way past my bed time, fell asleep on the subway and missed my stop. I wound up not getting to bed until 4am.

I then woke up at 7 am, got dressed, and headed into the city to get tickets to The Color Purple for me and a friend of mine from business school.

See, my roommate told me that I could get rush tickets if I went to the theater box office first thing in the morning. He said that he thought it would open at 8am and the website I checked didn't give any clear indication. This information proved to be false as the theater box office for The Color Purple doesn't open until 12.

I sat on the sidewalk for four hours.

On the bright side, I met some sweet people. The Starbucks people brought us free samples of their new summer flavor, the Orange Creme Frappachino. Delish. It tastes like one of those orange cream ice cream bars.

And since I was there so early, I got good tickets. My friend and I sat in the second row of the orchestra, right in front of the stage. We were so close that a lady sitting a few seats down from me reached out and shook Fantasia's hand when they came out to take a bow.

The performances were good. The stage design was incredible. (When it comes to theater, I'm generally most interested in the set, lighting and costume design and little else.) I enjoyed the show and it was worth the $26.25 I paid for my ticket, but musical theater still isn't something I foresee incorporating into my life on a regular basis.

But given that the regular price of the seats we got were about $120, I will be going to rush tickets when I can.

So, that's about it. Enough to keep me busy, but nothing to do with the pride of the gays. Maybe next year.

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BLOG FIGHT!

So, I was recently introduced to this new Objectivist Sex/Love blog, Erosophia. Yeah, Objectivist sex. Fun, right? Trust me: it's not always crazy rough sex like between Dagny and my man, Hank Rearden -- but sometimes it is. Haaaaaayyyyy! (Say that as gay as you can and possibly snap your fingers over your head.)

Erosophia is written by a couple, Jason and Megan. It seems interesting, but I'd like to see where it goes. They seem like they're still trying to find their own style and voice.

Well!

Ergo of Ergosum is TOTALLY picking fights with them now. Or maybe Jason is picking fights with Ergo. I don't know.

I don't care to track down the timeline, but snarks have been fired. Check out the comments on Jason's post on threesomes. And look at the comments on Ergo's oft-misunderstood post on sex.

I don't know who started this but it's all I can do not to make jokes about Ergo and Jason settling their dispute by dousing themselves in baby oil and wrestling it out gentlemen, but I have no idea how anyone would take that so I have to content myself with making a list of ways to pick fights with Brad Pitt. Actually, the fight picking list goes with a separate list of which Brad Pitt is just one option.

I blogged on a portion of Ergo's post over on my other blog, but I haven't been able to migrate my old posts yet. Ergo and I are also in the middle of a little email conversation on the topic as well.

I will admit: when I first read his post on the topic, I really wasn't clear on Ergo's actual position. It appeared to me that he was advocating "friends with benefits." After mulling the topic over with my readers, I came to the conclusion that "f!bomb buddies" and the like are generally immoral.

But I've also had the benefit of Ergo's own clarifications and I don't think he actually supports that.

I believe his argument is simply that there isn't some sort of crazy categorical imperative against sex without Love. There are lots and lots of situations that one can imagine that one might be in that would make sex with someone one doesn't Love the perfectly moral thing to do.

One situation is the case of Kira and Andre in We the Living. Kira does not love Andre. I think she learns to admire him some, but her love goes to Leo. Her reason for having sex with Andre is so that she can save Leo's life. Given their situation, Kira's actions are moral.

Obviously, most people do not find themselves in an oppressive socialist system where their lover is dying and the only available means of saving them is prostituting themselves to a leader of that oppressive system of government. That, my friends, is drama. DRAMA.

A more common situation might be one where one lives in a community where none of the available mates are ideal, so one is left to choose someone who is as good as possible. It may be argued that such a situation represents the individual "settling" for a lesser value, but bear in mind that no higher value is present. It would be inhumane to subject one's self to a life of celibacy when there are willing, not-offensive partners available. Naturally, if the ideal person does show up, one would drop the lesser to have the better, but we can't possibly expect that poor person to know that their ideal would arrive when all signs point to lifelong loneliness. It would be moral given the context of the decision for such a person to choose a mate of the available partners knowing full well that the highest level of Love is not available to them.

We can also think of an even less depressing and far more common scenario: dating. Let's say you find someone who is attractive and willing. You start dating them and every sign indicates that this person is a wonderful person and your relationship may one day develop into one of mutual respect, admiration, love, and reverence. But prior to realizing this deep love, you might choose to have sex with that person. It's a risk because you might break up. They might turn out to be a schmuck. Obviously, you don't want them to be a schmuck and you wouldn't want to have sex with them if you know they'll reveal themselves to be a schmuck, but neither would you save yourself for marriage.

And before I wrap up, I want to mention another situation in which sex happens but you're not in love: masturbation. I count masturbation as sex. We might stretch the definition of Love to say that one is loving one's self, but throughout this discussion we haven't used the word in that way.

So, anyway, the point here is that there are lot of cases in which one might have sex without love and still not be immoral.

This doesn't mean that one is going to go about being a rapist or that one is being an intrinsicist for advocating sex with one's ideal partner.

From what I can tell we're all on the same page here, but if folks have to get rowdy about it, I guess that's what they'll do. Who needs more baby oil?

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 10:45 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

June 23, 2007

The Date Cult

A few weeks ago a friend of mine invited me to go to this dating event here. It was to be facilitated by this guy who was supposed to teach us how to find and build relationships based on out deeply held values and some such. I don't think I really have a problem with that, but I thought I would go with my friend and -- who knows? -- maybe there would be someone interesting there.

It was... special.

At one point, we were arranged into two concentric circles where each circle would take turns asking each other questions like, "What's the last movie you saw that you enjoyed?" or "Tell me about your favorite pet or a pet that you'd like to have in the future."

Fracture. It's like a long episode of Law & Order and Anthony Hopkins reprises his Hannibal Lector persona this time as a man who plots to kill his wife. But it was interesting and I liked it better than Ocean 13, which I saw more recently.

In the future, I'd like a pet dinosaur. Any species would have its benefits, really, but I think I'd either like one that is big enough to carry me to work.

I was actually impressed with how insightful some people were. At one point, we were sitting in small groups and one guy observed that when it comes to finding men who share his values, he notices that some people share some of his values but often it turns out that they lack something important. He implied an understanding of the difference between essential and optional values. It turns out that he's a social worker. I don't know what values he was talking about, but I was still surprised.

The speaker was... special.

At one point he wanted to demonstrate that you can meet people with shared values by attending events and activities for gay men who share interests. The example he gave was going to a bath house.

I'm not SO interested in booty bumps and anonymous sex, but I really would like to know where the gay Objectivist nuclear physicist triathletes meet. I've begun scouring the internet, but I suspect that the only group probably meets in Switzerland. And I think it's a secret because I haven't found anything yet.

Another oddball activity was when he asked us to bow to one another instead of shaking hands.

He called two men to the center of our circles to demonstrate how people bow.

Thanks to my multiple post-graduate degrees in bending at the waist, I felt well prepared for any pop quizzes on this topic, but it was nice to have a little refresher. The two men opted for the prayer hands plus bow movement and showed the group. Most people imitated this, but I went with the far more advanced Japanese-style bow with my hands relaxed by my side. Once, I even had my hands clasped behind my back. I wowed everyone when I combined a handshake -- quite against the rules -- with a bow. I'm a bad boy.

The reason he wanted us to bow was because he said it was "more intimate." He asked the two men who demonstrated the yoga bow and they assured us all that it was "much more intimate" to not touch one another and perform a culturally foreign action as a means of greeting. I assured those who received my bow that I did not find it more intimate, but I was too pre-occupied thinking about how cool it would be to have a pet dinosaur to fuss over it.

I had fun at this event, but I felt bad for some of the people there. Many of them were older men who, I think, came to this event immediately following group therapy. There was a lot of talk of damaged self-esteem and most unfortunate family situations that I felt were out of place.

Later we were directed to give our phone number or email to people. I ended up with seven numbers and I gave my email to three people.

Since I was there with a couple of friends, we went for drinks afterward and we were joined by one of the guys I gave my number to. He's cute and funny, so we'll see.

All in all, it wasn't a complete waste of time, although I don't think I will do that again. But one of my friends who was with me there wants to go to Qwikdates now. Is that any worse than trolling the internet? I will say that it's a lot more engaging than sitting in a dark, crowded, noisy bar.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 22, 2007

A Staggering Instance of Interoffice Insensitivity

I'm not sure if I should be blogging about this. I don't know if anyone from my current office actually reads my blog. But I'm going to blog it anyway, because apparently I don't know what's good for me.

Here's the deal: in my office when someone has a birthday, their boss or someone on their team gets a card and passes it around the office and everyone signs it.

Well, there's this woman in our office who recently returned from a sabbatical. The reason for her absence has not been explained, but the rumors around the office all say that it was either for alcoholism or depression.

It's tragic, whatever the reason, but I would be particularly disturbed if the reason were alcoholism, because since she's returned I've seen her drinking on two different occasions.

Her birthday is this week and there's a card going around for people to sign.

I signed it and then I noticed what it says. The front reads, "It's your party, you can cry if you want to..." and the inside says, "but we'll all be laughing."

Her absence was never explained, so it's not like I can say for sure that the card is insensitive to her plight. I know who got the card and I am sure that they didn't think anything of it. Nevertheless, I am concerned about how this card will be received.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 10:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If the Robots Win, We'll Have to Listen to Techno

I don't remember how I found this band -- they may have sent me MySpace Spam -- but I really like their songs. I wish they had more of them.

Maldroid is a sort punk sort of band. Their lyrics are pretty simple and quirky. My favorite song is called "Heck No!" and the chorus starts with "If the robots win, we'll have to listen to techno. Heck no! I'll never listen to techno!" It's fun.

So, check them out!

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 10:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

There's Hateration up in this Dance-arie

Reuters: Hacker claims Harry Potter's alleged ending on Web

BOSTON (Reuters) - The mystery surrounding the end to fictional British boy wizard Harry Potter's saga deepened on Wednesday with a computer hacker posting what he said were key plot details and a publisher warned the details could be fake.

The hacker, who goes by the name "Gabriel," claims to have taken a digital copy of author J.K. Rowling's seventh and final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," by breaking into a computer at London-based Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

For months now, leading up to the book's July 21 release, legions of "Harry Potter" fans have debated whether Rowling killed Harry or one of his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, in the final book.

Gabriel has posted information at Web site InSecure.org that, if true, would answer that question.

"We make this spoiler to make reading of the upcoming book useless and boring," Gabriel said in the posting.

Ridiculous. I don't think that the people who did this really understand the purpose of art as fuel for the soul.

I enjoy the Harry Potter books because they're about a young man learning about reality and applying his knowledge to the end of producing happiness for himself and those he loves. There are strong themes of friendship and integrity in the books as well. One reads and enjoys them because they affirm a positive sense of life. You don't read them just to find out what happens -- although what happens is the mechanism by which that sense of life is developed.

All the same, knowing how it turns out wouldn't ruin my enjoyment of the book at all.

That said, I went to the hacker website and read the alleged spoiler. I'm skeptical. I don't think the ending that he describes is wholly consistent with Rowling's philosophy, but I could be wrong.

The most interesting aspect of the whole thing is the reason the hacker gives for doing this:

Yes, we did it. We did it by following the precious words of the great Pope Benedict XVI when he still was Cardinal Josepth Ratzinger. He explained why Harry Potter bring the youngs of our earth to Neo Paganism faith.

So we make this spoiler to make reading of the upcoming book useless and boring.

The attack strategy was the easiest one.
The usual milw0rm downloaded exploit delivered by email/ click-on-the-link/ open-browser/ click-on-this-animated-icon/ back-connect to some employee of Bloomsbury Publishing, the company that's behind the Harry crap.

It's amazing to see how much people inside the company have copies and drafts of this book.
Curiosity killed the cat.

Who kill curiosity?

To protect you and your families

God bless you

Gabriel

Reuters made it sound like "Gabriel" is just a snotty, mean-spirited person who has set out to spoil the ending for the sake of just spoiling the book. This letter reveals that he believes himself on a mission from God, which is a very different kind of evil.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Happy Friday! Changes Coming

I slept in this morning and skipped the gym. It felt really good.

Anyway, my blog may be undergoing some more changes in the next couple of weeks as it sounds as if I will be migrating to a new blogging software. I'm excited about the change, but it also means that my blog template may jump around for a little while until I get it all worked out.

One thing I hope for on this sunny, beautiful, Gay Days Friday is that the RSS feed works better for reader Daniel who has given me feedback on its appearance but never to his satisfaction.

What's your Gay Day's wish?

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 21, 2007

A Quotation for the Time Being

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

- Epicurus 341BC - 270 BC

Props to Chip Gibbons who quoted this first. He has the source linked on his site, so go visit him and say hello.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 01:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Too Much Poop

I don't eat very much. I don't know why. I THINK I eat a lot, but I really don't.

I'm trying to gain weight and gaining requires getting more calories, so I made a meal schedule that includes three "big" meals and two snacks. An ordinary day on this schedule might have included something like this:

Breakfast: eggwhites equivalent to two or three eggs. (I don't measure, so I really don't know.)
10am Snack: protein bar
Lunch: a turkey wrap and cottage cheese.
3pm Snack: protein bar
Dinner: chicken breast and veggies

I liked this schedule because I wasn't hungry at all throughout the day, but I also wasn't stuffed to the gills.

Well, that isn't enough food. I started losing weight. When I talked to my trainer he said I need to eat more. He said that I should probably try to get some 2500 calories a day.

Given that the USDA recommended allotment is 2,000 calories in a day and I felt like I was eating a lot, I swore to him that I HAD to be eating at least that much in a day.

Guess what. It's not.

All that food and, if I've figured it out properly, I was probably only getting somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 calories. WHILE doing cardio five days a week and weights three days a week. No surprises there that my clothes were getting baggy.

Fortunately, I don't think I've lost more than five pounds.

So, I tried to eat more yesterday. For my 10 am snack, I had a protein shake instead, which is worth about 600 calories. And for my 3pm snack I had TWO protein bars (180 calories each). Even with my three soysage patties (60 calories each) and the crazy chicken and red sauce with pasta that my roommate made last night, I think I only BARELY got over 2,000 calories in yesterday.

This is very hard for me.

Today, I repeated the protein shake and brought two turkey wraps for lunch. I haven't been able to eat the second one, though, because I feel like I'm about to essplode.

I grew up in a family of grazers. We wander around the house and we eat a little bit here and there. A few baby carrots here, a dollop of ceiling spackle there. We'd have only one large meal in the day, supper, -- IF we had an actual meal -- and that's it. My parents also weren't very big on the "clean your plate" philosophy. We ate as much as we wanted and that's it.

In general, I think we ate pretty well, granted I've always been skinny.

I find that as an adult now, I rarely eat very much in one sitting. I eat a little and rest. Eat a little and rest. Eat a little and rest. And when I'm done eating, that's it. I don't eat more.

So, now I'm trying to force myself to eat and I do not like it. How will I ever eat some 2,500 calories?!?!

And another irritating aspect of eating so much more is that I have to poop so much more. Personally, I do not like to defecate. I don't care if it is an unavoidable fact of human existence. I don't like it.

And eating so much is just putting more stuff inside my body so that it can come out the other end. It just makes this whole process even more bothersome.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 01:14 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Happy Solstice!

It's the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere! The point at which the north pole is tilted the further toward the sun occurs today at 2:06 EDT.

It's all down here from here... until December, anyway.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gossip

Buddhista sent me a link to this Variety article on PerezHilton.com.

Variety: Perez Hilton blog having problems

In what may be the first hit against bloggerazzi star Perez Hilton's empire, his main webhost has dropped Perezhilton.com.

After numerous warnings against Hilton's (aka Mario Lavandeira) use of copyrighted celebrity images, the Oz-based Crucial Paradigm took the site off line; it was dark for a number of hours before it returned to the Internet with a different host.

Hilton is currently named in four lawsuits involving eight photo agencies for his alleged theft of photographs that appear on his site, one that's been a popular gossip destination for some 2½ years. Hilton frequently adds his own captions to the shots.

[...]

Hilton, who has contended that his actions fall under the fair use provision of the Copyright Act, did not respond to Daily Variety.

As I told Buddhista, I predict that Mr. Lavandeira is going to lose this suit. She and I agree that he SHOULD lose the suit.

From the U.S. Copyright Office:

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

I wrote back to Buddhista with my take on the law behind this.

On the first rule,he loses because his site does generate commercial revenue through advertising and there's no way that his site could be considered non-profit.

His defense might claim that his site is for personal use, but the copyright law restricts that as well and that argument doesn’t exactly apply to the internet which is more comparable to a broadcast transmission.

For the second and third rules, I think he loses because he is reproducing the photos in whole and his scribbled captions do not constitute any significant modification of the material in a way that could be construed as artistic, scholarly, or anything else that might even remotely excuse the reproduction.

Finally, his site is effectively a tabloid, which places it in direct competition with the market to which companies like X17 sell their photos. By reproducing the photos, he is eroding the market value because the print or commercial online tabloids will protest paying higher prices due to the competition presented by perezhilton.com.

Frankly, I’m surprised that he’s been allowed to persist for two and a half years.

Buddhist put it more simply:

I think he should lose. He is making money directly off of other people’s work. That is robbery.

Perez does usually have the latest celebrity gossip, but he is a bit to snarky and dark for my tastes, so I never read his site. I much prefer Pink is the New Blog.

Trent Venagas who runs "Pink" always gives photo credits and immediately removes any images upon request from the photo owner. (Of course, he really ought to get permission BEFORE using them.) But Trent is much nicer than Mario and I like that.

P.S. Suri Holmes Cruise is a demon. No baby is supposed to be that cute.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 10:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

NEW UNDERWEAR!!!

I am so happy!

The other day I went to jockey.com and ordered a bunch of new underwear and undershirts.

I love new underwear and I love Jockey's sport line of briefs and boxer-briefs. They're so comfortable and they look really good, too!

So, I have a huge box of new undies under my desk right now. I can't wait to start wearing them!

(And, no, Britton, I will NOT post a picture of me trying them on.)

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:36 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Importance of Drafts

If you work in a cubical-based environment, it is pretty much guaranteed that you're going to get an email that makes you want to take a swing arm stapler to a certain someone's eyelids.

Trust me: violence is not the answer -- in this case.

Instead, I like to write what I'm really thinking, erase it, and then write a professional response that is composed with my professional (not rage-reducing) goals in mind.

I work with a someone who believes that his time is more important than everyone else's time. He frequently asks other people to do things to help him accomplish the things that he deems too unimportant for his schedule.

I've had projects delayed for several weeks before all because he felt it was not worth his time to direct his team to make the project a priority.

Recently, he submitted a request to me, but he used the wrong system. I asked him to use the correct system and offered to train him on how to use it. He said that would be cool and that he would make some time to sit down and go over it with me.

Mind you: my job is not to train people on how to read and click appropriately. But in the interest of efficiency and effective project flow, I have offered some of my time to do this. It is the right thing to do.

Well, he didn't get back to me. I reminded him and he said he'd be with me in a minute and he didn't get back to me.

This morning, I got in and he had sent his request to me via email asking if I could begin working on it without a properly submitted request.

Of course I can. It would be absurd not to, but the reason I have to do that is a problem that needs to be resolved.

So, after his email this morning, I wrote a draft of an email saying what I really wanted to say. It contained this line:

Sure, I'll do your job for you -- again, but please set aside some time tomorrow so that I can talk down to you like the punk you are. I promise to get away from you as fast as I can because I hate you and I feel reasonably confident that you're not going to tell me to my face that you're too important for this. Jackass.

See? That would be rude. That would be unprofessional. That would be wrong.

Instead, I edited it down. I EVEN avoided using an emoticon because in a note like this, we all know what those damn smiley faces mean. I have the restraint of a saint with a fire and brimstone thrower.

I will create a ticket for you so that it is in the system, but please set aside some time tomorrow so that I can go over this with you. I promise it’s very quick and painless.

My calendar is up to date if you’d like to send an appointment.

Much better and I don't have a lot of pent-up rage about it, either.

The next time I bitch about people at my work, I might talk about people who refuse to check my calendar and instead send me emails saying, "Are you available at X time?"

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 08:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OAC Matriculating Class of 2008

I received this press release from ARI this afternoon:

Ayn Rand Institute Offers Educational Program for the Study of Rand's Philosophy

Irvine, California (June 14, 2007)--Fifty years after the publication of her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, interest in Ayn Rand has never been greater. For those who want to study her ideas in depth, the Ayn Rand Institute's educational program, the Objectivist Academic Center, offers systematic instruction in Rand's philosophy, Objectivism.

More than one hundred students currently participate in the OAC's graduate and undergraduate programs, which for years have been offered as a supplement to a standard college education. The undergraduate program helps students develop a basic understanding of philosophy, of Objectivism as a philosophical system, and of the art of clear, objective thinking and writing. The focus of the graduate program is on mastering Objectivism, with special attention paid to proper philosophical methodology.

Students from all over the world attend classes online and via teleconference. Local students also have the option of attending classes at ARI's headquarters in Irvine, California. Select courses are open to auditors.

As a benefit to students who would like to receive college credit for their OAC coursework, ARI has partnered with Chapman University to offer two OAC courses, "Introduction to Philosophy" and "Introduction to Writing," through Chapman's distance learning program. Students are able to take the classes for credit, transfer the credits to their own university, and apply them toward their college degree.

Most full-time students receive tuition waivers, as well as other generous scholarships to help defray the costs of participating in the OAC. Additionally, ARI offers a wide array of support for OAC students, including grants, scholarships, and mentoring.

The application deadline for the 2007-08 academic year is July 30.

For more information on this program, please visit the Objectivist Academic Center website at http://www.objectivistacademiccenter.org/ or contact:

Debi Ghate
Vice President, Academic Programs
Ayn Rand Institute

I'd love to attend the OAC, but I just don't see it happening. The expense of it aside, it's also a bit more of a time commitment than I'm willing to make right now.

I suppose that one might constantly continue to make such excuses, but a commitment one isn't committed to really isn't quite a commitment at all, is it?

Anyway, I've heard nothing but great things about the OAC, so if you're at all interested in the program, I am comfortable recommending it in spite of having never participated myself.

Thanks to Diana for the press release!

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 08:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 20, 2007

Words

When I'm chatting with people online they often ask to not discuss a topic because they think that it is not easy for them to express their ideas online.

I don't understand this.

It's easier for me to express myself in writing than it is in speech because my writing isn't interrupted with pauses for me to think or say "um" or "like" or "you know."

I usually think that when people make this excuse that they don't really know what it is they think on a topic. It's OK to not know about something, but I don't like that some blame the medium for their inability to communicate what it is they think.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 02:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

NO TOUCHING!

Reader GyroJim sent me this article this morning:

MSN: School penalizes students for hugs, high-fives

VIENNA, Va. - A rule against physical contact at a Fairfax County middle school is so strict that students can be sent to the principal's office for hugging, holding hands or even high-fiving.

[...]

But at a school of 1,100 students that was meant to accommodate 850, school officials think some touching can turn into a big deal. They've seen pokes lead to fights, gang signs in the form of handshakes or girls who are uncomfortable being hugged but embarrassed to say anything.

How does any rational person agree with this policy? Let's talk about the reasons they give for instituting this draconian policy.

Pokes that lead to fights.
Fighting is against the rules. Touching anyone who doesn't wish to be touched is against the rules.

If someone pokes you and you don't like it, you say, "Excuse me, please don't poke me like that. It makes me uncomfortable." Or you find some other way to tell them not to do it. If they do it again, you alert the authorities because they persist in assaulting you.

You do not start a fight about it.

It doesn't follow that because neither the pokers or the pokees can conduct themselves as civilized people that policies should be made to stop friendly, welcome/accepted, consensual... um... poking.

Gang signs in the form of handshakes
So? I understand that they want to dissuade children from joining gangs and prevent their proliferation, but I am certain that the cornerstone of the gang-mentality is not handshaking or even the gang signs themselves.

Outlawing touching to prevent gangs is like installing a window to keep out the sun.

Girls who are uncomfortable being hugged but embarrassed to say anything
These ladies need to grow up.

Unfortunately, what this shows isn't that some people are fools, because that isn't a revelation. Instead, this is yet another reason why public schools do not work and should be dissolved.

Keep the government out of education!

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:08 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 19, 2007

Shocked to Tears

Chip Gibbons posted this You Tube video of Paul Potts (I hope that he was born before 1975 with a name like that) singing on Britain's Got Talent:

Even though Chip said it brought him to tears the first time he saw this, I wasn't prepared. This poor man is ugly. He has speech problems. He doesn't articulate himself very well, nor does he carry himself with confidence.

The judges visibly brace themselves for disappointment when he steps to the mic and says that he's going to sing opera.

And then he sings. Boy, does he sing. It's glorious.

And I'm pleased to hear from Chip that Paul wins the contest, too.

Well done. Very well done.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 05:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

iJibber iJabber

The more I read about the iPhone the more excited I am to actually see it and lay my hands on one.

Thanks to my wonderful readers, I've found out that Apple has extended the battery life and upgraded the surface to make it more durable. It also uses Flash memory so it won't be so susceptible to drops and jostling.

And I've mentioned before how beautiful it is.

My Verizon contract doesn't expire until January and I will probably force myself to wait that long to get it because I will want to buy the fanciest iPhone they have.

But, of course, I'm interested in the doomsayers, too. I did a little googley search and found the following remarks:

Six Problems with the iPhone:

1) It's not rugged enough. (Addressed with rugged glass surface.)
2) Fixed battery. (Addressed with longer battery life.)
3) It's not a phone. (I fail to see how this is actually a problem. The commenter talks about it as a marketing strategy only, which isn't related to the phone itself.)
4) Expensive (Again, this seems like a marketing issue to me AND there are other very expensive smart phones out there)
5) DataSpeed is insufficient. (I dunno about this one. But I've seen rumors that there is a 3G iPhone in the works.)
6) Expectations are too high. (How are expectations both too low -- 'it's a phone!' -- and too high? -- 'It's the iPhone!' ?)

To his credit, this article was written in the early days of the iPhone rumor machine and many design improvements hadn't been announced or incorporated.

So, more recently that skeptic wrote a follow-up post on the same. He added several things to it, but I find his remarks largely unconvincing. Of course, I also can't tell what his purpose is.

Is he discussing this from the context of whether or not to invest in Apple stock? If so, market and marketing considerations are valid.

Is he discussing this from the perspective of a prospective buyer? If so, shouldn't he stick to technology, design, and usability considerations?

In reading the second article, the slant does seem to be toward the former consideration, the business landscape of the iPhone. I don't think his concerns on that front are unwarranted. It IS a very high-end phone-gadget with a price tag to match. That it is being mass marketed isn't a hideous error, though, I think, because it's a highly covetable product. That everyone will want one is part of its sex appeal. It might be more accurate to refer to it as its elitism appeal -- people who buy one will want everyone to know that they have the hottest gadget on the market.

He does bring up some technical and usability to concerns though.

Ruggedness - I understand this concern and I do think the iPhone will be less durable than my Nokia phone (with flashlight) which, I think, could stop bullets. But I am far less convinced by this argument than I was before reading more about the phone; I think it will be durable enough to withstand moderate wear and tear.

Battery life - Again, this article was written before yesterday's announcement. We now know that you can watch 7 hours of video on the iPhone. Yeah, so you can't watch movies on it all the way to Europe, but guess what. I can't do that on my laptop either.

Multi-touch - This is a reference to the input method, meaning you can touch the screen with more than one finger at a time. I *think* the writer thinks it will be difficult to handle the phone in this way.

No physical keys - This one does concern me. I hate touch screen ATMs. They don't seem to read my touches. Will the iPhone be able to handle my gigantic fingers? I did read in another review somewhere that it is somewhat slow-going while trying to type on the iPhone.

The last item, the crowded cell phone market, returns to the business considerations of the product. I agree that confidence in the iPhone is high right now, which means some people are undoubtedly overshooting the mark with their projections on sales and Apple stock.

I don't suggest that iPhone will flop, although I am skeptical about its long-term prospects compared to the current inflated expectations. But I do mean to throw a little cold water on the Kool-Aid drinkers and wake them up from their dream state.

But, I'll be honest. I started my cursory look into the iPhone hype and hate on the hater side. It looked too expensive, too fragile, and too flimsy (in battery life) for my needs and preferences. Now I find myself thinking things like, "It's an iPod PLUS a smart phone," "They upgraded the glass and made it tougher," "The battery life is sick compared to other complex handsets."

Basically, I'm sold. I will wait until after Christmas. It'd be nice if the Second Generation iPhone were available by that time.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

New Email

Want to reach me?

AIM: ScreamingApathy
Yahoo!: TreyGivens
MSN: treygivens@yahoo.com

Email: flibbert AT THIS DOMAIN

MySpace: myspace.com/supatrey
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/p/Trey_Givens/577560191

But don't try to add me as your friend without identifying yourself to me.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mamas, Don't Cut Your Babies

CNN Headline news reported this morning that according to a recent survey by National Health and Social Life that only 57% of the male children born in 2004 underwent circumcision. This is down from 90% in the early 1960's.

Good.

Circumcision is a completely superfluous procedure and amounts to nothing more than male genital mutilation. Foreskin is not a health risk. It is not any more dirty. And aesthetically, foreskin has been included in marble sculptures for millenia.

The foreskin contains a lot of nerve endings that make the sexual experience more pleasant. You wouldn't have your daughter's clitoris or labia removed, so why are you cutting off your son's foreskin?

The foreskin also serves as protection and a lubricating membrane for the penis as well.

Anyway, I'm against circumcision and I'm glad to hear that fewer parents are choosing to mangle their baby boys like that.

Update: Here's the CNN article on the same report:

CNN: Fewer baby boys being circumcised in the U.S.

According to a study by the National Health and Social Life Survey, the U.S. circumcision rate peaked at nearly 90 percent in the early 1960s but began dropping in the '70s. By 2004, the most recent year for which government figures are available, about 57 percent of all male newborns delivered in hospitals were circumcised. In some states, the rate is well below 50 percent.

Experts say immigration patterns play the biggest role in the decline, which is steepest in Western states with big populations from Asian and Latin American countries where circumcision is uncommon. The trend has also accompanied a change in Americans' attitudes toward medicine and their bodies.

"The rates of drug-free labor and breast-feeding all rose during the 1980s, while the initial declines in male circumcision rates began during the 1980s as well," said Katharine Barrett, an anthropology lecturer at Stanford University. "It may have been part and parcel of the wider effort to reclaim bodies -- adult female and infant male -- from unnecessary and potentially harmful medical interventions."

The article has some interesting statistics and discusses some of the very dubious claims about the benefits of circumcision.

Though I was circumsized (my mother has since apologized.) I remain staunchly opposed to the procedure, but I'd like to highlight one more aspect of the circumcision tradition:

Ruth Katz, 38, of San Francisco had both her sons circumcised at brises. She and her husband, Michael Rapaport, were astonished when the teacher in their birthing class described circumcision as "immoral" and "not consensual."

"The edict to have your son circumcised was the first covenant with God -- the first challenge to being Jewish," said Katz, pursuing a master's degree in business administration. "I am a progressive person and think a lot about human rights issues, but I have never questioned this

So, there you go. God said so. All the more reason not to do it.

Point of fact: it is a violation of the child's right to his own person and is, therefore, immoral.

I understand that the unfortunate decision is often made in ignorance. Many people are taught that having a foreskin is bad or something, and in the chaotic, emotional period immediately following the birth, people don't have time to weigh all the options and information. And, understandably, when preparing for the birth of a child, foreskin is not at the front of one's considerations.

So, I'm not upset or angry with my mother for making the decision she made and what's done is done. But these people who walk into the situation informed, but decide to do it because God told them to are not so easily excused.

Circumcision is a sin.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 05:26 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

June 18, 2007

Freedom Makes You... Unfree?

I was just over at MySpace where an ad for a book caught my eye. I read the review and it sounds utterly ridiculous:

Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole
by Benjamin R. Barber

In Consumed, political theorist Benjamin R. Barber argues that where free-market capitalism once bolstered our democracy, it is now in danger of destroying it. According to Barber, big business traditionally produced goods (like oil, grain, and steel) that met people’s actual needs, a business model that allowed companies to make money and help others. Now the businesses with the biggest profits are those that manufacture a “relatively useless cornucopia of games, gadgets, and myriad consumer goods for which there is no discernable ‘need market’ other than the one created by capitalism’s own frantic need to sell.” In order to sell, and sell some more, capitalism’s frantic marketers encourage children to grow up prematurely [....] and turn adults into overgrown kids who seek the instant gratification of unchallenging, endlessly replaceable consumer goods.

[...]

Unfortunately, when Barber offers solutions to get our off-the-rails democracy back on track, their inadequacy is almost as depressing as the problem itself. Still, if Barber can’t solve our problems—or avoid making some minor factual mistakes—he skillfully makes an important point: the freedom to buy what we want is making us less free, and that is a problem for anyone who values democracy.

This is book is guaranteed to be trash.

"The freedom to buy what we want is making us less free, and that is a problem for anyone who values democracy." That's the theme? Allow me to restate this in paraphrase. "Being free makes us less free and people who think it's important for people to be able to express their individuality will see freedom as a problem."

It's gibberish even in the review. The book itself can't be any better; I'm sure it's worse.

I find this bit of the review to be particularly egregious:

According to Barber, big business traditionally produced goods (like oil, grain, and steel) that met people’s actual needs, a business model that allowed companies to make money and help others. Now the businesses with the biggest profits are those that manufacture a “relatively useless cornucopia of games, gadgets, and myriad consumer goods for which there is no discernable ‘need market’ other than the one created by capitalism’s own frantic need to sell.”

Who defines "actual need?" How is it possible to distinguish between an actual and an imaginary need?

It would seem that if I had a sandwich for lunch, then I don't actually need another sandwich, but how do you know? If I were a farm laborer, I might actually need the extra calories. If I am a coma patient, then I probably don't need the calories.

Truly, people COULD survive as hunter-gatherers or living in caves, throwing rocks, so we should question whether or not any of this farming or steel production is an "actual need."

The reality is that it's none of your damn business what I need. That's the beauty of market systems. "Need" is defined by my willingness to pay. The more I'm willing to pay, the more you must assume that I need whatever it is I'm buying.

Further, everyone should be insulted by the presumption this man has to declare anything we purchase as useless.

The author of this book hates human beings. If he didn't, why would he dare imply that people have no business having a quality of life above basic subsistence?

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 02:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

A Quotation for the Time Being

"With Paris Hilton in jail and Mike Nifong disbarred it seems almost as if something is right with our justice system."

Chip Gibbons

Right?

If I were superstitious, I'd think something really, really bad was about to happen.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 12:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You Rock

I am SO impressed with my readers.

You guys know a whole lot about a whole lot of things!

Cell phones, weight training, global warming, airplanes, Thomas Robert's naked torso... the list is staggering.

I love you guys.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 12:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

More about Cellphones

I was just checking on my Verizon contract to see when I would be eligible to receive a discount on a new phone. You see, I am coveting one of my coworkers' Blackberry 8830.

But I just looked at the price tag: $520.

*sigh*

I hadn't imagined paying that much for my next phone. This makes the iPhone a much more likely option to me. Not only does the iPhone support all the fancy functionality, but it really could take the place of my iPod, whose name is Poppet. I know Poppet will be sad not to come with me everywhere I go, but I will be happy to have my music with me just by virtue of having my phone with me.

I will also be happy to be able to get to the internet and all that other stuff.

I dunno. I love Verizon's coverage here in the city and most of my family is on Verizon as well.

Tough call.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 10:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

My Genes and My Workout

I think I'm going to start running a little bit again. I haven't been running in probably a year. When I do my cardio workouts in the morning, I'm usually on the eliptical, but this morning I hopped on the treadmill and cranked out a little over 5 miles on the "hills" workout without much of a problem.

Then, I went to the locker room to get dressed.

Last fall I bought this skinny black suit. I decided to wear it today because I'm going to this art show at a gallery later and was asked to "wear black" because the dress code is "downtown hip" whatever the hell that means. Anyway, I'm wearing this skinny black suit which has always been, well, skinny on me.

I have sort of big quads due to soccer in high school and then all the running I've done in the last five or six years.

Anyway, I put on my suit this morning and it was big on me. Last week, I noticed that I had to cinch my favorite belt a notch tighter, too.

Even though I'm trying to build up, I take this as a good thing since I'm trying to tone up and burn off a little fat right now.

But one thing I have to come to terms with is the fact that I am not genetically disposed toward having the sort of body that I admire in other guys.

I'm not talking about those crazy, 'roided-out, bubble bodies. I'm talking about bodies like Antonio Sabato Jr. in that Janet Jackson video or like Brad Pitt in fight club or... well, lots of guys.

Here's the thing, though: I have narrow shoulders and a long, lean frame. I seem to have more slow-twitch muscle fibers than fast twitch. Building muscles with any noticeable bulk is rather difficult for me.

I'm sure that if I worked at it really hard for a long time I could build up a nice amount of muscle and a body that is of the sort of body that I like to see on other men, but the fact is that I would have to work at it more than some other men.

Instead of aiming for some crazy standard that isn't really "natural" for my body type I'm trying to develop in my mind an image of how I want my body to be that is consistent with how my body CAN be -- without an insane amount of work. (Emphasis on insane, there, cuz I'm not opposed to doing a significant amount of work.)

Anywhoodles, an inquiry was also made about what my workout consists of.

I work out with my trainer two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we do different things. In order to keep my development pretty steady and make things exciting, my trainer and I cycle through different sorts of workouts on a 6 to 8 week cycle. (I think it's 6 to 8 weeks. He keeps track of all that stuff and I just do what he says to do.)

We do a cycle of lower weights with repetitions of 12 to 15. Each exercise usually consists of just two sets and we move pretty quickly from exercise to exercise. This cycle also includes lots of exercises that I generally categorize as "jumping." In actuality, it's a bunch of aerobic and plyometric exercises. We do a lot of things with one arm or one leg at a time, too. And there's a lot of standing on one leg, too, which I hate. I usually end these workouts by collapsing on the floor in a panting puddle of sweat. It's good.

Right now, we're in the heavy weight cycle where we do three sets of exercises with high weights and few reps -- six to twelve depending on the exercise and how well I handle the weight. My trainer likes to get the weight to where the 10th rep is my limit and I am almost about to drop it but not quite. We usually do fewer exercises during this cycle, too, because we rest for up to two minutes between sets.

During both cycles, we focus on different muscle groups. Right now, Tuesdays consist of Legs and Shoulders. Thursdays are Chest, Back, and Arms. On Saturday, when I work out by myself, I hit my entire upper body, Chest, Back, Shoulders, and Arms.

All of my workouts start with 4 to 7 minutes of cardio to warm up and some kind of ab exercise.

So, our Tuesday workout might look something like this:

1 legged leg press - 3x10 - 240lbs
Weighted Lunges - 3x20 - 60 lbs (30lb dumbells in each hand)
Shoulder PNF - 3x10 - 20lbs
Hack squat machine - 3x10 - 540lbs
Shoulder press - 3x10 - 40lbs (40 lb dumbbells in each hand)
Seated calf raises - 3x10 - 90lbs
Wall sits - 3x1.5min to 2min. Sometimes I hold a 25lb? bar out in front of me, but I've only managed to hold that up for about 40 seconds.

My shoulders do this weird thing where, when under stress, they will briefly pop out of the socket. It's mildly painful and terrifying to my trainer, so we're always doing things to try to strengthen the muscles around my shoulders and rotator cuffs.

On Thursday, we might do something like this:

Bench press - 3x10 145lbs compound set
Bent-over rows - 3x10 60 lbs

One arm Lat pulldowns - 3x10 100lbs? compound set
Push ups - 3x20

Skull crushers - 3x10 60lbs compound set
Standard curls - 3x10 25lbs

Something like that.

And then on Saturday, I try to do 8 to 10 different exercises that cover all of the major muscle groups in my upper body. I follow the same 3x10 pattern Trainer has me do. I really like compound sets, so I do a lot of those, too.

I'm terrible about keeping track of my exercises and weights. Trainer does all that and I never seem to be able to remember what we did. He also changes things every week, so we rarely do the same exercise two weeks in a row. I should really start writing them down or something so that I can keep track.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 17, 2007

You're Invited

Let's go sit up on my roof and watch the sun go down behind Manhattan.

I think there's some cold beer in the fridge and the weather is beautiful.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 04:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

My New Crush

Bear Grylls.

Dude is a badass and he's not hard on the eyes at all.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:19 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Swiffer Wet Jet: Nasty

I was just watching a Swiffer Wet Jet commercial and it said that it dissolves dirt.

I take that to mean that the dirt is still there, it's just spread out over everything.

That's gross.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 10:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

iPhone iLike iScared

So, have you seen the Apple iPhone? It's beeeeeeaaautiful. It also comes out June 29th.

It has a big, color touch screen. It has the global intarwebs in there. It has music. It's SO pretty. It has the blueteeths and

My roommate, The Actor, and I were talking about it and he thinks it's going to be a flop. Not that people won't spend $499 for the 2GB version or $599 for the 4GB version, but he thinks there will be lots of complaints.

The biggest problem he sees is that iPods break a lot when people drop them and people drop their cell phones all the time. So, people are likely to drop their iPhone a lot and they'll break.

He also questions the talk time. He told me last night that it has less than 2 hours of talk time, but according to Apple and other sites, it has 5 hours, which is apparently better than other smart phones.

The Actor also thinks that 4GB is WAY too small and that you'd have to carry both an iPod and an iPhone in order to be completely satisfied. I have to agree on this one because I hate carrying gadgets around. I just want the internet in my brain.

So, the iPhone isn't for me.
- I hate carrying lots of gadgets.
- I put my gadgets through a LOT of wear and tear.
- I drop them.
- I am not willing to spend $500 on a phone/intarweb machine/empty3 player.
- Verizon doesn't have the iPhone

I hope the iPhone is really cool and doesn't break or mess up because it's 2007 and it's totally time for pretty, slick, fancy machines like this. The iPhone world is the world I want to live in.

Update: Tom Rexton informs me that The Actor got the memory wrong on the iPhone as well. It's 4GB and 8GB, which is the same as the iPod nano. That makes a huge difference to me.

I still won't buy one because it's expensive and I do think I would break it and because Verizon won't have it.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 07:14 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

My Workout Schedule

Reader Tom Rexton writes:

Anyhow, you work out six days a week? What workout philosophy are you abiding by? Because from what I've read you need about 2 day(s) of rest between workouts for each muscle to allow time for recovery and growth. In effect you don't exercise a particular muscle or muscle group more than three times a week, else you produce adverse effects, including injury and slow hypertrophy (muscle growth). So I do a split routine and workout three days a week.

Of course I'm no weight training guru, so I'm not going to stand by that as a scientific law. :P It's just what I've gathered from (lightly) reading about weight training and the theories behind muscle growth.

I would add that one needs two days between workouts to enjoy being sore. :o)

Here's my workout schedule:

Every weekday, I do 30 minutes of cardio and a few sets of abs before work. That's 5 days a week right there. On Tuesday and Thursday, I workout with my trainer after work on weights and on Saturday, I do another workout by myself on weights.

Tuesday nights are legs and shoulders.
Thursday nights are chest, back, and arms.
Saturday is all upper body because I'm trying to focus on building that up.

So, there you go.

I'm in the gym six days a week getting some kind of work out, but it isn't six days of weight training. My trainer seems to think that two days of rest are necessary, too. He says I can do arms and abs every day if I want, but he doesn't like for me to do other stuff unless I have a full day of rest before I work out with him.

Well! I need to get moving. I skipped the gym yesterday because I woke up late, so I'm going to get my Saturday workout in today.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 06:28 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 16, 2007

Speaking of Blog Problems...

On my last blog some of you complained that you were seeing horizontal scrolling. I tried not to do anything too crazy with the layout on this one, so I'm wondering if that is still a problem.

Also, how does it look on lower resolutions? Anyone running something less than 1024x768?

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oops!

At some point during the tweaking of my blog, I accidentally turned off comments on new posts and didn't realize it.

If you tried to comment on something I posted in the last couple of days, you probably noticed. Well, I fixed it. Sorry 'bout that.

Please resume showering me with praise and fawning agreement with all of my opinions.

Thanks!
-MGMT

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Steamy Sexy Times

I'm about to get out of bed and head down to my local NYSC (New York Sports Clubs) gym. I'm running kind of late because I'm tired. For the past two weeks, I've been at the gym six days a week. That's a lot to me.

Right now my shoulders are sore and I have to actually force my shoulders to relax down and back or else I will just sit here with a permanent shrug.

I guess I could go get a massage, but that's expensive. It'd be nice to sit in the steam room for a little bit.

I've never been in the steam room at NYSC before. The reason is because I usually work out at the one on 41st and 8th and it's a moderately cruisy gym. This means there are many gay men there and they have sex in the steam room.

This bothers me. I do not want to have to fend off advances. I do not want to accidentally sit or step in a puddle of semen. I don't want to sit in the dark and listen to or watch two men having sex who cannot separate the fantasy of lockerroom sex from the reality of the lockerroom.

Real Jock: Sex at the Gym: Harmless Fun or Just Plain Wrong?

Some days guys go to the gym for a full strength-training and/or cardio workout. On other days, they may only have time for "a Hollywood" (just a steam). Either routine can help them relax. But some gay men say they need more than that to de-stress, which is why they go to the gym not only for a workout, but also a working over. And this "gym sex" is causing a rift at gay gyms between those who point to the rule of "consenting adults," and those who think that sex in the sauna or steam room encroaches on the rights of other people at the gym.

Apparently, it's a problem everywhere.

I will say this: it's not a violation of my rights for other people to have sex in the steam room whether I'm there or not. It's a violation of the rights of the gym owners who have explicitly stated that sex in the lockerroom or steam room is not allowed. They've permitted these people to come into the gym on the condition that the follow the rules and they refuse to follow the rules. That's why their memberships get revoked.

If I don't like the fact that people are having sex in the steam room, I can, as I have, simply avoid the steam room. We might argue that it's rude, but it's not a violation of my rights. But the owner of the gym is the one who makes the rules and it's their rights which are being challenged by these people.

Well, I can't go to the steam room at NYSC today because the steam room at BOTH the gyms I go to have been closed by the Health Department. (I don't think it's the Health Department's business, either.)

I don't know how long they will stay closed and I don't know how long my ears will wait before getting a restraining order against my shoulders, either. All I can say is that I'm annoyed by this.

Update: They've re-opened the steam room at my gym on 41st street. Now it has good lighting and you can see what people are doing through the little window in the door. I still didn't go in.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:02 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 15, 2007

Doncha...

.. just love this?

I love this having just one blog thing. Now -- provided I have the time to post -- you get exposed to the wide-ranging thoughts that cross my mind throughout a given day and I don't have to worry about sorting through them to figure out which goes where.

It's like blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah...

Woohoo!

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 04:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Note on Pronunciation

Although I am not a native speaker of Spanish and I am far from fluent, I have been told on several occasions that my accent is pretty good. That said, I do want to issue a correction to a certain set of people, a member of which set is also a person with whom I work.

The word "queso," which means "cheese" in Spanish is pronounced "kay-so" or, possibly, "keh-so," but not "kwee-eso."

If you speak any Spanish, you know that the 'ue' diphthong when it follows a glotal stop (hard G or K) produces a sound similar to the long A in English, although it is much shorter in duration. Examples include "guerra," "porque," and "aunque."

I can see how listening to some people speak might lead a person to think that there is a EE sound between the glotal and the long A sound due to air escaping the throat from an incomplete stop. You can make this sound by trying to sustain a K sound which makes it a sort of throaty hiss.

But I assure you that the hiss you're hearing does not yet qualify as a distinct phoneme. "Standard" pronunciation of the word "queso" does not contain that hiss, nor does it contain a vocalized EE sound.

So, dear coworker who berated everyone for pronouncing "queso" as "kay-so" and not "kee-eso," you are wrong. And you look like an ass because you made such a scene about it.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 04:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Master of Social Engineering

One of my coworkers said of me yesterday, "He is a master of social engineering."

Overhearing this remark, I said, "I don't know what that means, but it sounds really good!"

And he said, "It means you're good at manipulating people."

I laughed. "It IS good!"

We were joking and everything, but one thing I have learned to be good in my work is getting people to do what I want them to do.

I have lots of little tricks and strategies that I use and I want to share one with you today.

The trick I want to share with you is about deadlines.

When you want someone to do something, you should always provide a deadline. Don't just hand them something and say, "Whenever you can get to it" unless you really actually don't care if you ever see the results. And if you don't care about getting the results of their effort, it begs the question of why you asked them to do it in the first place.

Many people at my work do this to me and I try to go back and ask for a deadline, but when I don't, that request goes to the back of the line. If they say, "I need this by Monday" then I do everything I can to make sure they get it by Monday.

And it's so easy.

I find that people respond well to this. You should try it.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 03:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Life on Welfare

I am VERY excited to see how The Serious Food Economy Challenge turns out.

Basically, Ari Armstrong and his wife are going to live off of $3 each per day for food for six months. !!!

* Any advocate of spending more tax dollars on food stamps may promise money to help fund the challenge. The minimum promise per contributor is $100; a maximum at or above that amount should be specified by the contributor. The Armstrongs will accept the challenge once a minimum total of $2,000 in promised contributions has been received. All promises of contributions must be received on or by July 10, 2007. Promissory notes should be mailed to Ari Armstrong, 9975 Wadsworth Pkwy. #K2-111, Westminster, CO 80021.

* Following the six-month period, if the Armstrongs have spent less than $1,080 on food, those who agreed to fund the challenge must contribute $10 to the nonprofit of the Armstrongs' choice for every $1 that the Armstrongs have saved out of the total budget. If more than that amount has been promised, the total contribution will be split among all those who have promised a contribution, in proportion to the maximum contributions specified. The contributors must then send a check directly to the nonprofit specified no later than February 29, 2008.

Hat Tip: Noodlefood

As I commented over on Diana's site, I just did some quick calculations from my Fresh Direct purchase history and found that I spend about $10 a day on food excluding any eating out I do. (I eat out perhaps once a week or so.) And that $10 covers a lot of pre-packaged/processed food and the Fresh Direct mark-up.

So, I think $3 a day is an attainable goal, although I think I would have to work very hard to maintain it.

So, anyway, I'm excited to see how it turns out.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 02:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Talk on Ron Paul

Just scooting around the web a little looking for more stuff on Ron Paul.

Capitalist Forum folks are talking about him.

Apparently, he's also pro-life, but feels that abortion law is under the purview of state legislation.

Wonkette regards him as a moron and calls libertarian views "overly simplistic," while simultaneously oversimplifying his views on things.

The more I read, the more convinced I am about his Libertarian credentials.

What wrong with Libertarians, you ask.

Well, I'll tell you. Libertarians regard freedom and liberty as these crazy, floating abstractions. Objectivists regard freedom and liberty as proper, moral political conditions for human beings derived not from mythologies about ghosts and old man creator beings, but from the nature of human beings as rational animals.

Mr. Ron Paul says that God made us free. If there's no such thing as God, does that mean there's no such thing as freedom?

Anyway, I'm still pretty impressed with him considering what he has achieved in mainstream office.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 01:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

He's a What?

In discussing the 2008 presidential race people generally mention Clinton, Obama, Richardson, Romney, McCain, and Guliani. I don't really hear much about anyone else.

Well, this morning one of my coworkers came in RAVING about this guy Ron Paul about whom I've honestly heard nothing at all.

Wikipedia:

Ronald Ernest Paul (born August 20, 1935) is a 10th-term Congressman, physician (M.D.), and a 2008 presidential candidate from the U.S. state of Texas, seeking the nomination of the Republican Party. Paul's presidential campaign has received considerable attention after his participation in the televised Republican presidential debates.

As a Republican, he has represented Texas's 14th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997, and represented Texas's 22nd district in 1976 and from 1979 to 1985.

Paul advocates a strictly limited role for the federal government, low taxes, free markets, a non-interventionist foreign policy, and a return to monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. He has earned the nickname "Dr. No" because he is a medical doctor who votes against any bill he believes violates the Constitution. In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Paul is the "one exception to the Gang of 535" on Capitol Hill. He has never voted to raise taxes or congressional pay, and refuses to participate in the congressional pension system or take government-paid junkets. He has consistently voted against the USA PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the Iraq War.

Emphasis added.

I need to say again: this is a Republican.

He wants to abolish the IRS and the income tax. He also wants to return us to the gold standard.

He's personally opposed to gay marriage, but doesn't support government involvement in marriage beyond enforcing contracts.

On race, he remarked:

"Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called "diversity" actually perpetuate racism. Their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racist."

Sound familiar?

Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage -- the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.

One of his sons' name is Rand. Coincidence?

And one of his supporters in one of his videos is wearing a shirt that says, "Who is Ron Paul?" alluding to the famous line in Atlas Shrugged, "Who is John Galt?"

I'm not saying this man is an Objectivist. He's Protestant Christian. He's Republican.

But I have never heard of a major party politician like this on the national circuit. His voting record has been consistent for 10 years and he seems to practice what he preaches.

He has lots of videos up on YouTube.

He was on the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.

Obviously, he gets support from Libertarians. But he also gets support from Democrats and Republicans.

After digging through his views on several issues, it looks like he's just a repackaged Libertarian, so there's some inconsistency in principle on some of his positions. I would specifically cite his endorsement of the Just War Theory and his views on immigration (which mostly just seems unclear to me) as examples.

But, I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised to hear someone relatively mainstream preaching some of these principles.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 01:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fraud, Lies, and Fiction

Fraud, lies, and fiction. Criminal, immoral, and paid.

I didn't blog about it, but maybe you followed the drama of J.T. Leroy on your own. Small world. I actually new a designer who worked with "J.T." but that's neither here nor there.

J.T. Leroy is a fictional person who wrote semi-fictional non-fiction. Did you follow that?

Basically, author Laura Albert made up this J.T. Leroy persona and then wrote semi-autobiographical novels and short-stories under the name. The stories generally revolve around transgenderism, drug use, and prostitution.

I've never read any of her work.

Well, Laura Albert is being sued for fraud. The New York Times reports on it, but I found out through Galley Cat:

Rumors have swirled the last few weeks that Laura Albert, the now-infamous writer responsible for the "J.T. Leroy" persona, was being sued by film producers on the basis that she misrepresented herself as someone else and so they shouldn't have to make the movie as a result.

Of course, Albert likely claims artistic license with regard to her fiction and lies and naturally claims that they shouldn't be conflated to the level of fraud.

Push the clutch.

In 1940, existentialist Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borges wrote a story called Tlon, Uqbar, and Orbis Tertius. The story is basically one in which a bunch of people undertake to propagate a fiction as if it were true and suddenly physical artifact from their fiction being springing into existence.

In the story, an encyclopedia article about a mysterious country called Uqbar is the first indication of Orbis Tertius, a massive conspiracy of intellectuals to imagine (and thereby create) a world: Tlön. Relatively long for Borges (approximately 5600 words), the story is a work of speculative fiction. One of the major themes of "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" is that ideas ultimately manifest themselves in the physical world and the story is generally viewed as a parabolic discussion of Berkeleian idealism — and to some degree as a protest against totalitarianism.

If that sounds crazy to you, just try reading it in Spanish if you aren't fluent in Spanish. I think it took me some three hours to read it and at the end I was like, "Whaaaat?" That's true of many of Borges' stories though.

The notion of fiction becoming non-fiction or getting mixed up with the real world has been a dream, aspiration, practice of authors for a very long time.

Michael Crichton's novels routinely mix historical and scientific fact with fiction. Edward Cline's Sparrowhawk series portrays fictional characters as being involved in actual historical events, namely the American Revolution. one could make a list miles long of similar examples.

A friend of mine recently described an idea for a novel he has in which he would like to invoke the name of actual scientists and historians as authorities on a fictional ancient city-state somewhere in south-western Europe or west Asia. He wants to get their permission, of course, and his intent isn't to propagate the fiction, but merely to mix some modern-day elements of reality into his fiction.

The idea behind mixing fact and fiction is to create a fiction that is more engrossing.

Downshift.

James Frey got Oprah Winfrey to dress him down on national television when he wrote a fiction and claimed that it was real.

Oprah's outrage stemmed from the fact that she believed the story in A Million Little Pieces to be true, but it wasn't. She was inspired by the story of this criminal and drug user cleaning himself up and finding happiness and success in life.

I've been told that the book stands well as fiction as well. I haven't read this one, either.

I think some people are more inspired when an inspiring story is true. I have not observed a similar response in myself, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility, I suppose.

While I can appreciate the value of infusing a fictional story with non-fictional elements, the need to propagate the fiction out into reality strikes me as not only superfluous and the sign of a very weak author, but as we can see in the case of J.T. Leroy criminal.

Some elements of reality are inherently a part of all good fiction. The elements may not be specific, proper nouns, but parallels are always drawn. If an author describes a large, bustling city, readers immediately imagine New York or some other metropolis within the context of their knowledge.

Only non-art and bad art attempts to avoid any parallels with reality. For examples, please review the work of non-representational painters and sculptors or the work of performance artists, interpretive dancers, and the like. I'm fairly confident Bertold Brecht attempted something like it in theater, but I'm not certain.

Good art shows its audience the world as it really could be. Powerful art shows us the world as it could and should be.

Could these liars be considered innocent? Might we think that they're merely trying to make powerful art even closer to reality and applaud their effort even if misguided? I don't think so, but I can see someone trying to make that excuse. The problem is that one can't fake reality. Either this is a world in which the underdog can succeed through hard work and determination or it isn't. You can't make the world something it isn't by lying and saying it is.

But we needn't lie about great fiction. We know that it's a projection and not a reflection. Lying about it doesn't help it; if anything it hurts it. So, I think we can't do anything but assume that the work isn't very good if the author is compelled to lie to us about whether or not it's true.

And I think we can all agree that bilking people out of their money is just plain wrong and does nothing whatsoever to help the work.

Fraud, lies, and fiction. Criminal, immoral, and paid. J.T. Leroy, James Frey, and Michael Crichton.

Put it in park. Let's go get some ice-cream.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hot, Gay, and on Television

Ok. Listen to me, people: I don't care what you've heard or what you've been told. Anderson Cooper is not the hottest CNN anchor. That title goes to Thomas Roberts.

I'm not saying that Cooper is an uggo even if his face is a little bit pointy. I'm just saying that Thomas Roberts is way hotter.

Check it:
andersoncooper.jpg

thomasroberts.jpg

See?

They're both gay, although Anderson Cooper has declined to state his sexual orientation definitively much to the irritation of gay activists everywhere.

And can I tell you something that I hate about Anderson Cooper? I just hate how overwrought and emotional he seems on the news. In his much-lauded hurricane Katrina aftermath coverage the man nearly broke down into tears at every other sentence.

Maybe I'm showing what a heartless, little sociopath I can be. I understand that it was a traumatic scene, but he wasn't looking at dead bodies. He was looking at broken homes. Those aren't even close to the same in terms of lost values. A house versus a life or limb.

Anyway, it doesn't matter. Thomas Roberts is way steamier.

Update: I also just read that Playgirl ranked Cooper number three on their Sexiest Newscasters List in 2004 behind Sean Hannity and Keith Olbermann. Yes, Sean Hannity can be attractive (when he's not so heavy) but Keith Olbermann? This is why we can't take a publication like Playgirl seriously.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:48 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

A Question About Unions

I was just reading about how prison guards in Papua New Guinnea walked of the job for a few hours in protest over low pay. And everyone has heard about people walking off the job or going on strike over pay, but this is very confusing to me.

If you're willing to strike or walk off, why not just quit and go get a new job?

If you feel like you aren't being paid enough, ask for a raise. If they say 'no' just go somewhere else.

There are few things as economically devastating to a business as not being able to acquire supplies, be it labor or materials.

I guess maybe people don't understand that they do not get to set market prices.

Hmmm... I wonder: has anyone ever filed an anti-trust suit against a labor union for price fixing, collusion or some other unfair business practices?

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

More Good News

Reuters: "Robin Hood" banker sent to prison

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German banker who stole money from rich clients to help poor ones has been sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison, a court said Thursday. The 45-year-old, dubbed by German media as a modern day Robin Hood, diverted 2.1 million euros ($2.79 million) to clients he felt were needy while holding a senior position at a savings bank in the southern region of Tauberfranken.

Good. I'm glad that fool is going to jail.

Stealing is evil and wrong. Being poor is not.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Awwww...

Someone brought in donuts for everyone and I had to turn it down because it's too much carbs and sugar.

But, you know what? Forgoing a little temporary pleasure right now will pay off for me down the road.

I'm gonna go flex in the mirror for a little bit or maybe go military press a toyota or something.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Happy Friday, All!

I have to say: I am extremely relieved to have merged my two blogs. It makes things so much easier to keep track of.

In other news, I've made some significant progress recently in my job-hunt marketing plan -- something else I don't think I've discussed with you guys.

Basically, I have a marketing plan for finding a new job. It involves establishing my real identity out here on the global intarwebs. You'll recall that one of the reasons for merging blogs involved eroding the brand of my other blog, so to speak. (This is why I am asking you all to try to not reference the name of that other blog for a while! It is very near to my real name and I need Google to start looking somewhere else.)

Anyway, there's that.

Plus, I am working on starting a small business (More on this when the project actually launches. We're in the planning stages still.) with my best friend and I'm tickled to see that moving forward.

And my workout/diet is going well. Especially the diet. I've fallen into a good rhythm with when I eat and what I eat. It goes like this:

- Egg whites first thing in the morning when I wake up.
- A protein bar at 10am
- Lunch consisting of a turkey wrap & cottage cheese or a salad laden with egg whites, chickpeas, and turkey
- A protein bar at 3pm or a bunch of almonds
- Supper consisting of something like tuna steak or chicken breast or something.

And speaking of working out, I'm up to six days a week, which is kind of crazy. In my defense, on three of those days I'm only doing about 30 minutes of cardio. I'd like to do about 45 minutes to an hour of cardio on those days, though. I just can't swing that right now as I am still getting used to doing three days of weights.

And, you know, in spite of the fact that I am launching into a new job search, I will say that work is going reasonably well.

The romance department, as you know, is still without work or prospects. I have to say that it is pretty rough being without smooches right now, but I'm doing what I can to resolve that.

And I think I'm going to go with Justin's suggestion of "Flibbert" over "Flibby." I do kind of like the sound of it and it makes Justin happy. Who knows? Maybe he'd hot and he'll go gay on us.

And tonight I'm going to go see Mika in concert. That should be fun.

Oh! And on the roommate front, I think my frustration with The Law Student has subsided a bit. He wasn't home when I got in last night and didn't come in until about 10. Immediately, he started smoking, but I was busy doing something else and just closed the door to my room. I will have opportunities to confront him about it this weekend.

Speaking of the apartment, I'm going to be cleaning like a madman this weekend. The apartment is simply filthy and although we've made lots of improvements, there is just a general dirtiness about it that needs to be resolved immediately because I'm going nuts.

Once complete, I hope to discuss with The Actor and The Law Student some system of dividing/rotating responsibilities so that the place stays clean. In any case, things simply cannot persist as they have.

So, anyway, that's a summary of my life at present.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 14, 2007

My Reading List

I have a pile of books on the dresser next to my bed. In case you're curious, here's the list in no particular order:

- Make it Stick
- Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics
- All Marketers are Liars
- Theodore Rex
- Flowers for Algernon
- Snow
- Ayn Rand and Song of Russia
- The Compleat Strategyst
- Rumors
- The Thornbirds
- The Crimson Petal and the White
- Eats, Shoots, & Leaves
- Games and Decisions
- Business at the Speed of Thought
- Mr. Darcy's Diary
- The Three Musketeers
- The Wings of the Dove
- The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
- Crime and Punishment
- Sense and Sensibility
- Mansfield Park
- The Good German
- The God Delusion
- The Masque of the Black Tulip
- Assassination Vacation

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Overheard on Gay.com

Long-haired, Shirtless Dude hi. nice pic

Flibbert Thanks.
Flibbert Where'd your shirt go?

Long-haired, Shirtless Dude oops.... yeah, it was a momentary lapse of judgement
Long-haired, Shirtless Dude I must have been tipsy

Flibbert uh huuuuhhh...


Why do I go on there again?

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 13, 2007

Stupid Magic

I was just on gay.com chatting with folks and this one guy IMed me. He's attractive, professional, funny, polite, etc. I was really excited to talk to him.

But, of course, before I'd go out on a limb and ask him out, I had to ask him THE question. Here's the relevant excerpt:

Flibby: Do you believe in god?
Flibby: You haven't indicated your religion in your profile.

Attractive Stranger: oh yes but not in a very conventional sense of what that might mean to most people

Flibby: Oh?

Attractive Stranger: so not a christian
Attractive Stranger: and u

Flibby: No, I'm atheist.
Flibby: Which is why I asked.

Attractive Stranger: dont get me wrong christianity is really hot on the right guy

Flibby: HA!

Attractive Stranger: not to worry
Attractive Stranger: were u raised as a southern baptist

Flibby: No.
Flibby: I was raised Pentecostal.

Attractive Stranger: oh my goodness

Flibby: slash Methodist.

Attractive Stranger: as in the texas Chain saw Mnethodist

Flibby: Well, sort of.

Attractive Stranger: now that was funny right

Flibby: heh heh heh... yes.

Attractive Stranger: ok
Attractive Stranger: just checking

Flibby: So, tell me this unconventional definition of god that you use.

Attractive Stranger: well if i had been raised as a penbtacostal that would have turned me into an atheist

Flibby: hahahahaaa... that's not why I'm atheist.

Attractive Stranger: God is not a person
Attractive Stranger: God is not a personality

Flibby: uh huh...

Attractive Stranger: but there is a pwer that revelas a pressence in the unfolding of things

Flibby: ?

Attractive Stranger: u really want to know

Flibby: Yes.

Attractive Stranger: its very hard to explain

Flibby: I imagine so.

Attractive Stranger: i have experienced the pressence in the unfolding of my life

Flibby: hm.

Attractive Stranger: thus the power speaks into my life thru the venst of my life

Attractive Stranger: the events are the syllables
Attractive Stranger: the emssage is slowly unfolding
Attractive Stranger: and my typing sucks tonights
Attractive Stranger: sorry

Flibby: That seems like a sort of buddhist way of looking at things.

*sigh*

No matter how muddled one's definition of magic, these sorts of beliefs all amount to the same thing.

First, their view of the universe is precarious at best. Certainty, even in the basic facts of existence, is up for debate. Their ability to deal with the facts of reality is beyond their power.

Second, their method of coming to know anything is grasping at straws. When it comes to broad, foundational aspects of reality, they rely on faith. When it comes to facts outside of the range of their immediate experience, they rely primarily on authority, guessing, or probability and they often fail to integrate whatever facts they are pragmatically certain of with one another.

It's so frustrating to me.

Eran Dror recently advised me to constrain my search for romance to people in technical or scientific fields because of their reliance on rationality. In general, I think this is sound advice. I just wish it weren't so common everywhere else.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:01 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

A Blog About a Hero

People often think I'm being a crazy, egomaniac when I say that I'm a hero.

But, let's put that statement in its proper context, which is my life which is that of a human being and takes place in reality.

As opposed to the imaginary anthropomorphic kitten lives filled with derring do.

In its most general sense, a hero is a person of high virtue.

Since I subscribe to Objectivism, all of the things I am willing to consider virtues are entirely attainable to practicable by human beings.

Independence
Rationality
Justice
Honesty
Productivity
Integrity
Pride

So, when I say I'm a hero, I'm saying that I'm a person who practices these things.

I don't know everything. I make mistakes in judgment now and then. But I force myself to face all the facts of reality and deal with them as a rational person. And that makes me a hero.

Update: Interestingly, Leonard Peikoff commented on something related to this topic:

Q: In your judgment, is it possible for a person who has achieved moral perfection, i.e., unbreached rationality, still to have some psychological or psycho-epistemological problems?

A: Yes, definitely. Morality pertains only to the conscious and volitional, i.e., to factors within one’s direct control, and “perfection” is defined accordingly. One can have psychological problems and still be totally moral, if he treats his problems rationally—i.e., without evasion and with the use of his full mental effort. He may not be able, in an hour or even a lifetime, to solve his problems; but if he does what is possible to him, no moral code can ask him to do more.

Moreover, there is a difference between inner conflicts and existential behavior. Apart from psychosis, a man can act “perfectly,” i.e., with unbreached rationality, even if he does have unresolved conflicts and doubts. (Similarly, he can think rationally, even if hampered by automatized psycho-epistemological problems.) In part, this involves doing what you can not to take your inner problems out on other people. For example, don’t act out motives you know to be neurotic, such as insecurity by venting hostility, or dependence by declaring love.

The above does not mean that you must spend your years trying to solve a psychological problem, if you can find no clue to its solution or to a therapist who could be a helpful guide. In such a case, in my opinion, you should delimit to the extent you can the influence of the problem in your life, but cease beating a dead horse—until and unless you discover some signs of life. In other words, you live with the strengths you have, and stop condemning yourself for weaknesses which, it seems, you cannot change. If there is ever reason to reconsider the problem, in order to shed further light on it, do so; but look for such light only when you have some idea of where to look. If so, you have done morally what you can. Only you can determine whether your decision to live with, rather than attempt to solve, a psychological problem is honest.

By the way, discussing your problems with an untrained friend is often, I have observed, one of the worst and most confusing ways to proceed.

Thanks to Diana for the tip!

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 07:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Weirdos on Gay.com

I often visit gay.com to chat with people and to look for potential dates. The vast majority of the people there are just cruising for sex, but there is a not insignificant number of cool people who really are just chatting and also looking for dates.

So, anyway, I was on there last night and, I swear, the weirdos were in full-effect.

First, some 50 year-old dude sends me a private messages and our conversation starts exactly like this:

Troll: I don't think so.

Flibby: No?

Troll: I only like jocks like me.

Flibby: Huh?

Flibby: You IMed me. Why are you giving me this information?

Troll: Nice try.

Troll: Whatever.

Flibby: I only like sane people like me.

Then I blocked him.

Next, another older fellow IM's me and says he's "generous." I immediately snapped at him, "Are you calling me a whore?"

He stepped back and tried to explain that, no, he doesn't think I'm a whore, he was just saying that he is generous like with dinner and drinks and stuff. I told him I wasn't interested and he left me alone.

Then, there was the usual bevy of people who are "bored" (read: horny).

I attracted my usual mass of gaysian men as well. I'm not particularly attracted to Asian guys. I've seen a few that I've thought were hot, but mostly that's just not my thing.

And there were NUMEROUS people under the age of 25, which, as far as I'm concerned, is a total waste of time.

And, of course, the people who just can't get it through their heads that I simply will not date people who believe in magic. No matter how clearly I explain it, they always want me to make an exception just for them.

I guess most of that is pretty normal for gay.com, though. But those first two guys I mentioned were a little out of the ordinary for me. Weirdos.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 05:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

News on the Merge

Those of you coming here from my other blog probably have a few questions. Here are answers to the big ones I thought of. If you have others, feel free to leave a comment and I'll try to answer as best as I can.

Why Did You Merge?
Several reasons.

First, I got tired of maintaining two blogs. This one was supposed to be personal and the other was supposed to be political/philosophical/whatever, but because all of these things are linked, it was hard to separate them. It made this blog trite and it made my other blog boring.

Second, related to the first, the reason I started a blog was to paint for you the life of a real hero. This includes my ups and downs. My experiences and what I learn from them. My thoughts on ideas personal and impersonal. Maintaining separate blogs places that objective out of my reach, so now I can get back to that.

Third, that other blog is relatively easy to find via Google and all that and it's sort of near to my real life name. You'd think that's a good thing, but I need to at least temporarily destroy the "brand" associated with that other blog and that other name while I build a brand for my real-life identity. So, I need some distance.

I'm sure there are some other reasons, but those are the big ones.

What About Your Name?
Here, I'll ask you to refer to me as "Flibby" or "Flibbertigibbet."

When I bring my posts over from my other blog, most of the references to that other pseudonym will be removed, edited, or erased.

If this is an anonymous blog, why are there pictures of you all over the place?
Because I'm pretty and I know it. Clap your hands!

The pictures in the design are so grainy that if you don't know me, you're not likely to recognize me from those.

I will probably post pictures of myself that show my face, but I think the risk of eroding the brand I'm trying to build out of my real-life identity is relatively low.

Won't You Lose Readership?
Yes, I expect that I will. I was on that other blog for a long time and lots of people were linking to me there and now all those links are gone. I'll be starting from scratch in many ways.

This was a tough decision and those are acknowledged consequences.

And let's face it: worse things have happened. This is a blog, not a business.

I Don't Like the Design
Tough. I'm open to suggestions, but don't expect me to change anything. If you're having display problems, by all means, let me know, but I may or may not address those either.

But do let me know soon since I'm in the mood to tweak things. If you wait, I will definitely not feel like digging back in.

Oh. And this will look best in Firefox. If you're in IE, I just don't know if I can bear to try to fix it for you.

One more thing about the design, those of you coming from the other blog will recognize many of the design elements. This is basically a "deconstructed" version of that other design. I wanted to go in a different direction with my design this time around and achieve a looser, more casual feel. I think I've compromised readability in some ways, but this isn't the news, so I think I have a little wiggle room on that item.

Anyway, hope you like it. Hope you come back. Hope you stay.

What's going on with that background?
If you'd like to see the entire background image, click here. It's a super large image to accommodate larger monitors/resolutions, but you aren't really intended to see the bottom or far right parts of the image.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 03:54 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Skillz

Ok. I was faster than I thought.

Now, I have some other things to do...

Remember when I warned you about changes a while back?

Here it comes!

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 01:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What's Going On?!?!

I'm messing around with my site design.

Construction is likely to continue for several days since I'm slow and lazy.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

-MGMT

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 12, 2007

Rainbows

Well, it's June, so of course I'm thinking about my brothers and sisters of the sugary loafers.

Amazingly, it's 2007 and there are still people out there who are cursing gay people. No, really. Actual curses. I found out from Joe.My.God.

To all those involved, sinners in spirit, and whoever helps and protects them, may they feel a curse on their souls, may it plague them and may evil pursue them; they will not be requitted of their transgressions from heavenly judgment

Ya heard?

I can't think of anything more removed from my life.

One of the really convenient things for me is that there are tons and tons of gay men in New York. Basically, if you do not like gay people, you should not come to Manhattan. Seriously, just stay away.

And yet there are people who are that way.

At the end of the month, the Gay Pride parade will sashay down fifth avenue. I used to frown at all the "freaks" thinking that they give gay people a bad name. But over the years I've come to think that they're good for changing people's attitudes overall because no one is like that on a daily basis. When bigot meet gay people who aren't so flamboyant, they think, "Oh, gay people aren't that bad after all."

But today I'm thinking something slightly different.

You know, if you're a wild and crazy person who likes to put on nutty costumes and parade down the street, go for it. There's a certain joie d'vivre that I really appreciate about people who take it up to that level. What they're doing isn't hurting anyone. Instead, they're presenting a highly stylized vision of human beings and I appreciate that.

So, anyway. Happy Gay Month, y'all! Go hug a gay person.

P.S. For those who don't know, apparently "rainbows" is another name for barbiturates.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 05:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 11, 2007

Ecstasy

Continuing our drug-themed blog-post titles, I just wanted to say that today turned out to be a really good day.

It was insanely busy -- another recurring theme in my life right now -- but it was a good busy.

I got a lot of work done. I went to a client meeting -- something I love to do -- and did well.

It was just a good, productive day.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 07:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Crank

Matt Chancellor has remarked that I seem cranky lately and that I need some time away from the city.

Actually, I was away from the city a couple of weekends ago and I had a good time. It was fairly relaxing.

I think the problem is that I am frustrated with one of my roommates and I am frustrated with my job. It's time for me to start looking again, but there are several things I need to do before I can begin my search in earnest. My goal is to have those things done in the next couple of weeks, though.

But even once I begin that search, it is sure to be another few months before I can move on to something new.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Speed

I am screaming inside my brain this morning.

My natural speed of movement and thought right now seems to be set at about three times that of everyone around me. People are walking, talking, doing everything WAY too slowly. They're making too much noise and accomplishing too little with the effort.

And my computer is even too slow. It's slow all the time, though.

To make matters worse, even though my brain is moving fast, my body doesn't seem to be moving as quickly as I'd like it to go. Like the speed at which I'm able to type. I can't type nearly as fast as I'm thinking at the moment and it's painful.

This is very definition of frustration.

I had a dream that I had white hair last night. It was really weird. I wound up getting it cut off because it looked crazy.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 08:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 10, 2007

Busy Week/End

This week was kind of bonkers for me.

I can't even remember everything that I did.

I know I finished up a freelance project I was working on. I saw a lot of my friends. I went to the gym a lot. I saw a movie and did a bunch of stuff to fix up our kitchen.

It was all pretty buck wild.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 07:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2007

Inconsiderate or Not?

Dear readers, I would like your opinion on something. You can probably guess where I stand on the issue, but I will try to describe it to you objectively.

Our office has a water cooler which uses 5 gallon water bottles to supply the water. Water will continue to flow for a short period of time after the water bottle is empty, but it is never unclear when the bottle is actually empty.

Some people in our office contend that so long as there is water still flowing, then everything is ok and no further action is required.

Others think that the bottle should be replaced as soon as it is empty.

One side makes sense because there really isn't an accurate way to gauge how much water is left in the tubing of the cooler. If water is flowing, then water is flowing and there may be as much as two cups of water remaining.

On the other hand, if one approaches the cooler and the bottle is empty, one logically knows that there is less than the total amount (about two cups or so) that the tubing can hold. Further, if the tubing is empty, then the cooler isn't cooling any water and the person who comes along and has to deal with a fresh bottle of water also has to drink warm-ish water.

Obviously, I fall into the latter camp. My thoughts on this are twofold.

First, there is an office rule, "If you kill the joe, you make some mo'. " Meaning, if you drink the last of the coffee, you make another pot. Opponents hold that they aren't using the last of the water available, they've only used the last of it in the bottle. I also point out that when one is driving one's car and the gauge is on E, you don't continue to drive until the car stops. You find a gas station and fill it up.

Second, not replacing the bottle, in my opinion, displays a crass lack of consideration that absolutely galls me. People who don't pay attention and take due effort to ensure that things run smoothly are people who cause problems. They're the ones who make it harder to navigate the subway or stairs or sidewalk. They're the ones who back up traffic because they don't want to get out of the left lane. They drink all but a tablespoon of milk or juice and put the bottle back in the fridge. They do any number of things that display a fundamental lack of consideration for everything that is going on around them.

My coworker told me that "everyone" agrees with her. She even shook her head in disbelief when I told her that I have never done that before. I haven't and I won't. I will sooner get my water from the tap.

Are my expectations too high here? What do you think, readers?

Update: Although everyone I talk to seems to agree with my position that the bottle should be replaced when it goes empty and not simply when water runs out, I have encountered this sort of situation before. There is no way (within my power or inclination) to get people mind their manners. I have a solution that works for me.

I am of the mind that when people are considerate, things run more smoothly overall. One benefits from a conscientious society but the benefits are indirect.

If everyone replaces the water bottle as soon as they empty it, then everyone will have cold water and no one will find themselves with just a quarter cup of water and having to stop to replace the bottle -- a process that is more frustrating and takes longer than replacing the bottle at the beginning or the end.

If people on the sidewalk will simply walk purposefully from place to place and stand out of the way of traffic when they need to reorient themselves, have a conversation, consult a map or something then foot traffic will move smoothly, quickly, safely, and with minimal jostling and interruptions.

Although this is true, there is an inherent variability to life that sometimes disturbs the best systems and plans. I understand that, but I have little patience for it and an inherent skepticism about how often these things occur. It is far more probable that people are not paying attention and have little consideration for what's going on around them.

I am a rather self-centered person -- far moreso than most people who know me realize. I am extremely conscious of the fact that people are not paying attention to me and are not looking out for my interests. I know that just as they aren't getting in my way on purpose, they're also not getting out of my way on purpose. They're minding their business and that's what I do, too.

By and large I am very conscious of my immediate interests and how my actions affect them. I expect that of other people as well. This means that I walk purposefully. I don't stand in the way because it means I will have to move or I will be jostled. I replace the water bottle because it ensures cool water for the next time I want water and keeps people out of my way when I am ready to come back. I put things away around the office, because I don't want them in the way.

Although my expectations for other people are completely reasonable, it is highly improbable that people will adopt a more selfish outlook and do what makes sense to ensure that their overall environment is conducive to their goals both near, intermediate, and long term.

So, when I encounter problems like this water bottle, it sometimes take me a minute, but I realize there's nothing I can do that will correct other people's behavior, so I stop participating. My solution is this: I won't drink out of the water cooler any more.

My work provides orange juice, soda, and milk to drink. I can also drink water from the tap. So, I don't have to replace the bottle and I don't have to deal with the frustration of other people not replacing it.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 03:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 06, 2007

DUDE.

This guy sits in a cube near mine just introduced me as having the last name "Barret." My name isn't anything CLOSE to that.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 03:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2007

Five Minutes to Kill Yourself

This is almost exactly how I feel when I get meeting requests, although I usually want to kill other people and not myself.

Five Minute to Kill Yourself

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 02:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My Indifference to Your Complaint is Merely a Reflection of the Fact that I Have Nothing to Do with the Problem

Flibby: Hi, Network Guy! Will you be able to change my phone to my new desk today?

Network Guy: Yes, later today.

Flibby: Cool.

Network Guy: Could we coordinate these moves better, like maybe a day in advance, instead of just moving one morning?

Flibby: Sure! Next time I change desks, I will try to let you know.

The problem with my response was my tone of voice which made at least one of several things clear:

1) I didn't have anything to do with planning my move.
2) I did let him know a day in advance.
3) I have no intention of changing desks. I didn't even intend to move desks this time until my boss came to me and said I'm moving.
4) I really don't care about his complaint that he weren't given more notice. My phone must be moved. He promised to move it today. He can either fulfill his promise or not.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2007

Don't Do Drugs! Part 2

Ok. Sorry for the interruption. It was late and I had to get some sleep.

So, there was this lady at the party last night telling us a story from her first few months in New York.

She was 18 and it was the first time that she had been out on her own and away from home. She said that she went wild, partying all the time and using drugs. One day she was having a party at her apartment and everyone started using acid.

No one at the party had ever tried acid, so she explained to us that acid, among its many effects, is that it creates a sense of shared psychotropic euphoria. As a result, she felt an intense communal bond and felt she could not possibly leave the company of her fellow party people.

Well, apparently, one of the other effects of acid is sudden diarrhea. I don't know if that is normal for everyone, but she said that is the case with her.

So, under the effects of acid, this woman was suddenly afflicted with violent diarrhea. She went to the bathroom, but it was occupied. When it reached the point where she couldn't hold it any longer, she had to find an alternative, but due to her perceived dependency on the other people at the party, she couldn't leave.

Then she sees a large purple bowl and takes it and steps into a closet where she evacuates her bowels into this bowl. Feeling much better, she left the closet to find some means of disposing of this big, purple bowl and she found a plastic, grocery store bag and returned to the closet.

No one at the party noticed her activity.

So, she put the bowl in the bag and brought the bag out of the closet and passed back through the party and threw the big, purple bowl of diarrhea out the window onto Amsterdam Avenue.

And that is why you should not do drugs.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 08:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 02, 2007

Don't Do Drugs! Part 1

So, tonight I had a date with a deaf guy that I've been chatting with recently. I "met" him on gay.com. Yeah, I know. Gay.com is not the place to meet homosexual Objectivists or really any homosexuals who aren't interested in just one thing. But there are some guys on there who are interested in somethings other than sex. I've made a couple of friends there. Anyway, I've been chatting with this guy and it turns out he's deaf.

For as much chatting as we've done, I haven't quizzed him yet on my requirements. Even so, I agreed to go to dinner with him this evening and then go with him to a party.

Dinner was nice, but the party was a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

His friends are all fun, interesting, and very genuine.

It took a little bit to get used to the signing and the odd speech patterns, but I caught on before too long.

I thought it was funny how they would "whisper" by turning their back to you or stepping around a corner or in some cases just signing behind someone's head.

This guy I went on a date with speaks very well and there is only a slight imperfection.

Anyway, that was fun. At the party, there were many hilarious things that people said. This one lady was a real character. At one point, someone said that there is some sort of national championship for female ejaculation and she exclaimed, "You mean there is something else I could be winning?!?!"

It was disgusting and hilarious.

Well, she entered the party saying that she once threw a bowl of diarrhea from her window on the 10th floor. The followed that statement with: don't do drugs!

Later in the evening, we insisted that she explain.

To be continued...

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vacillation

I'm supposed to hit the gym this morning, but my arms and back and chest are sore from my workout on Thursday. I slept a lot last night because all this week, I stayed up past my bed time.

So, I'm very reluctant this morning.

But my trainer said that I need to get another chest, arms, and back workout in on Saturday.

If I go, it will mean that I've been to the gym five days out of the week and had a total of seven workouts. That's three workouts with weights and four of cardio. That's a lot of time at the gym.

But I suppose I won't reach my goal of having a super-mega-killer body by sitting on my butt watching cartoons, so I had better get moving.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 08:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 01, 2007

Your Friendly, Neighborhood Pervert

First of all, let me say that today is sure to be a glorious day -- excepting, of course, the true topic of this post. It's going to be 90 degrees today in NYC. I don't have a single meeting lined up on my calendar and Theory is having a sample sale.

So, last weekend, I had a great time in Delaware. I went to the beach, I was only minimally burned in a couple of places that I missed with the sunscreen. I relaxed. I spent time with friends. I did some shopping.

In fact, I bought a pair of really cool linen pants. They're a sort of off-white with a grey pin stripe in them. Super cool. I also got this nice brown shirt. I'm wearing both of these today, actually. Since it'll be 90 degrees, it seemed appropriate.

Well, this morning, when I was packing up my clothes to go to the gym, I noted to myself that I need to wear white underwear with my linen pants since dark undies will show through light-colored linen pants.

I pulled out a pair of my favorite underwear, white Jockey sport boxer briefs. I love them. They're so comfy and they look sexy, too.

Anywhoodles, I picked out my underwear and put them on the bed beside me. I picked out my socks and other sundries and put my stuff into my backpack and headed out the door.

You know how you sometimes just have a feeling that you've forgotten something, but I can't remember what it is?

Well, when I got to the gym this morning, I realized that although I had selected my underwear and put it on my bed, I did not put it into my backpack.

Perhaps you don't understand what this means: I am wearing LINEN pants and no underwear right now.

All my goodies are on display. Seriously. There is no denying the visible penis lines (VPL The same acronym is used to refer to panty lines on women.), so it looks like I will be alternative glued to my desk or rushing around the office to stand behind something.

Also, my shoes squeak on our office floor. So obnoxious.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 08:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack