Friday, September 30, 2011

A sensical blog about a worthwhile comic artist

Hello folks.  Recently I posted a .... ummm ... post complaining about comics and similar art.  Well I thought I would pop in and comment on one Artist that does NOT fall under the negative side of that art form.

Faith Erin Hicks is the artist and author of some very good online and print comics.  If you have any interest in comics I would wholeheartedly recommend you pop in and check out Friends with Boys or the Adventures of Superhero Girl.  Both of which she (and her publisher(s)?) kindly make available online for free!  I would post a sample but I don't know if she would approve of that.  I know follow through clicks are rare and thought a small sample would motivate you.

You can also buy original prints from her if you like her work.

Anyway I don't normally do this I know but I have been following her work for a while now and thought I would break my rule just once.

They are very interesting, funny and make for great Friday entertainment.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


This may seem a little off topic even for me, but I just realized how vital this information could have been to me when I was in High School if I only had it. Out of curiosity I decided to search out some tips just to find out of the information was readily accessible.

Most of what I found were tidbits of information buried in pages overflowing with ads and expensive product sponsorships. So I thought I would post what I have learned in retrospect with some tips that I have seen work.

The very first thing you need to realize is that there is no magic solution. You shouldn’t be searching for a fire extinguisher. You should be hunting for the match that started the fire to begin with. The fact is that there is no easy way to get rid of them. They are tough but they are not invincible.

If you follow these rules STRICTLY you WILL notice a decrease in acne on your face. They aren’t in any particular order as they are all as important and the next. I am not including any magical tricks or special recipes. These are simple rules that are logical and basic. Some are difficult to abide by but how seriously you take this problem will show as a direct result in your complexion.
  • Wash your face often. Seems simple enough but you would be amazed how much this will help if you do it regularly. If you feel your face dirty or sweaty, wash it as soon as possible and use a clean towel.
  • Avoid touching your face with your bare hands. Our fingers carry oils and the dirt from everything we touch. Just don’t do it.
  • Avoid makeup. Yes I realize a lot of ladies use makeup to hide those pimples but you are only making the problem worse. Stick to lipstick and eye products exclusively.
  • Eat healthy. I KNOW how hard this is but it is critical. Avoid greasy and spicy foods.
  • Sleep well. Sleep at least 7-8 hours a night.
  • Wash your sheets and pillowcase even replacing your pillow if it looks ugly. (Buy 7 pillowcases and wash on Friday.)
  • Drink a lot of water. How to gage if you’re drinking enough? It may seem gross but your urine should be clear.
  • If you’re an adult, consider having more sex if it isn't against your faith to do so. This really, seriously works. (I can’t vouch for whether or not this works for teenage acne so don’t take my word for this one.)
  • Wash your clothes and towels often.

If you follow those rules above you WILL see reduced acne. I just thought I would share.

Monday, September 26, 2011

About You - Stored (7-4-07) 40 Reads

(Update:  OK this one needs a little explanation.  For those of you that remember MySpace you'll remember a section called About You.  Usually it was just filled with information you wanted the world to know about you.  No one ever really looked at it or commented on it.  I wanted to make it more social so I posted a blog about all my friends on MySpace with short lines describing who they were to me with links to their pages so they could also befriend each other.)

(¯`•¸·´¯) ThaLia (¯`·¸•´¯)    Old neighbor, now friend of the family.
*~XoXoXOxOxO~*    Cousin. I used to take care of her a lot when she was in diapers.
•·.·´¯`·.·•BiG V•·.·    Cuz-in-law and one of the first to openly welcome me to the family. :)
AkiGen!    Poetic cuz-in-law and wife of Oni.
Albondiga    Friend-in-law.
Apple Something    Trendy, original and blunt mutual friend, gracious host, wonderful mother, wife of Papaya Whatever, co-creator of the Blythe Lyfe movies and shopowner.
beach bum    Gamer I met at E3 with aspirations to become a Videogame editor. Good luck!
Blythe Lyfe    The profile we created to better manage and share our Blythe Lyfe projects.
C.    My brother. He's no longer active on MySpace but he's my brother.
Charley    Easy going and creative guy I met on MySpace and now play frequently on XBox Live.
DebiDeb    Cuz-in-law. Always a great host and I can frequently look forward to her bringing a smile to my wife's face.
E-MAN    Bro-in-law. Young, still enjoying life and therefore not around as much as we'd like him to be.
Eydie ?'s Clinty!    Cousin. Close cousin's way back in the day but we grew apart and up until recently began communicating more frequently thanks to MySpace.
Gabriel aka Shikamaru    Friend of a sister-in-law's ex-boyfriend and one helluva Halo 2 player and a great XBox Live opponent.
Hektiklyfe and Hektikwyfe    A profile we created for the sole purpose of uploading our little music projects.
HektikWyfe    The world's best wife. Baker, caretaker, business professional and still quite the homemaker!
Jenny Girl    Friend-in-law, MySpace acquaintance and regular blogger.
John Henry    Friend of a sister-in-law's ex-boyfriend and one helluva Halo 2 player and a great XBox Live opponent.
Love Neverending    Old High School buddy. I think we found each other through Classmates? Maintained occasional communication since then.
Lzbth    Friend-in-law. Creative and funny.
Me llamo Jonathan    MySpace acquaintance. Recent XBox Live opponent.
Molly    Friend-in-law and frequent blogger.
morbidangel    Creativity flows effortlessly from this person. Met as a Blythe Lyfe fan and has now become a frequent communicator with the ladies of the Blythe Lyfe series.
nine inch nels™    XBox Live regular. Good honest player.
Oni    Cuz-in-law-in-law. XP
papaya whatever    Jokingly self-described as tall, handsome and good smelling, he truly is a humble and gracious host. Incredibly quick witted, hard working and fantastic cook. Husband of Apple Something.
Phantom Lord    Bro-in-law and Zero's favorite playmate.
RAHCOOL    Husband of sis-in-law's old friend and fellow controversial blogger. We frequently agree to disagree but it's usually quite the battle before we get there, great fun.
Sarah@AppleSomethings    Apple Something's creativity shop. Stylish accessories, clothing and other doo-dads designed by her.
Smile : ) (AKA Bring Me Water) RIP   Frequent blogger and one of a small group of individuals that reads and comments on mine. Much appreciated! :)
you dont listen to trance... you feel it.    I can't say enough about this guy's intelligence and maturity. Good kid I see going places. Always helpful and participating whenever I come up with some whacky scheme.


Nine Inch Nels: I feel special. lol. you're gonna go up on my top thingy now! XD

Lynn: thats so sweet thank you!! i guess in some weird way poetry runs in the family.......all of us have that passion some share it in song, others drawing, and like me....writing! thanks for putting me up primo!! many hugs!

Rahcool: That is a great, accurate description.

Apple Something: Aww, I wish you guys would make more musics. Me likey dem.

Wife:  Thank you for taking the time to write this.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A nonsensical rant about superheroes, comic books and animé

I was never really into the whole “superhero” thing as a kid.  Owning action figures was equivalent to owning dolls as far as I was concerned.  Robots, hot wheels and dinosaurs were OK but not “action figures.”  I was at the right age to be a He-Man fan but it just didn’t capture my attention.  Perhaps that is why I have such a negative opinion of superheroes and the movies they star in.

I’m not anti-fun.  I like popcorn movies.  I even find fun things to like in bad movies as you can probably tell by my old movie reviews.  I like superhero movies.  I really do.  I just don’t like ridiculous superhero movies.  By ridiculous I don’t mean impossible because having a superhero at all is already highly improbable.

It just stretches the limits of my imagination when not one superhero emerges but an entire army of flamboyantly costumed “extremely rare” positive mutations occur.  That’s partly the reason I like origin stories.  It slowly explains the transition from regular person to freak of nature.  When they all of the sudden give themselves a super corny name and cartoonish outfit…I lose interest.  Not to mention the hilariously over sexualized female tokens.  Having so many super heroes makes them less “super,” naturally.  I didn’t like comics as a kid for those reasons and I don’t like them now because they haven’t matured.

I thought I would give them a try.  There have been a few decent movies with comic book origins I figured perhaps they had improved.  I checked out a few forums and searched for a few to read.  No dice.  The great ones are few and far between and even the best have some stupidity to it that just really turns me away from it all.  Yet Hollywood keeps digging for gold in the comic warehouse.

I’m an adult dag nabbit and I really wish Hollywood would learn to respect me as such.  If they are going to make a cartoony movie, just make a cartoon.  That would make it much easier to digest.  It seems though that they just make these movies live action to keep their countless employees working.

Animé has a HUGE untapped consumer base in the United States.  People importing foreign animation, swallowing up Nickelodeon shows like Avatar and pestering Disney to translate and launch Miyazaki films.  It seems though that the powers that be in Hollywood don’t take animation seriously.  They see it as a children’s market so you see Pixar and its competitors spend tons of money and handicap their projects by building them from the ground up to focus on childish plots.

Now don’t get me wrong, they have made some AMAZING movies.  The Iron Giant and Wall-E are some of my favorite American animation films.  I don’t think they should stop making them altogether.  I just don’t believe that they should continue forcing all animation projects into the children’s section.

Japan, known for its successful animé directed at adults decided to give it a shot and they release a movie called Final Fantasy: Spirits Within.  The critics hated it.  Rotten Tomatoes gives it an average 43% score meanwhile crap like Happy Feet sat comfortably at 74%!  Final Fantasy was created by a company that was known for making video games, so naturally the video game enthusiast press was ecstatic about it at first.

Then when the movie was released they were quick to express their discontent.  One of the common complaints was that they didn’t know who the movie was directed to.  It didn’t have any relation to the games they have made in the past and it wasn’t geared toward children.  So naturally, there was no one left right?

WRONG.  People who enjoy movies were left.  This was a science fiction story meant to be enjoyed as a singular entity.  The fault I saw in reviews came from the fact that most people went in with a preconception or hope of what they would see.  That spoiled them in my opinion.

“Despite the utterly amazing animation and exciting action, this is nothing like its source material and is very disappointing in the end.”
Ignoring the fact that the art was amazing and the action was exciting…
It was nothing like its “source material”?  It was never promised that the movie would be based on any game.  In fact they came out and said exactly the opposite but I digress.

Instead of opening a door to creativity and a completely new branch of film genre, the preconceptions of the critics single-handedly threw this art form back at least a decade while Superman, Batman, X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers, Spiderman, Captain America, The Green Lantern await their next release.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Me & the Mighty Ducks (7-11-07) 46 Reads

Current mood:sleepy

I'm not a sports fan, I've never been one.  I was forced into baseball as a youth for reasons I don't look back kindly on.

That didn't stop me from wearing sports paraphernalia as a teenager though.  One day I saved up enough money to buy myself something and I wanted a sports jersey.  I refused to follow the heard and get Dodger's or White Sox or whatever was the current fad.

Enter the Mighty Ducks.  The initial enthusiasm for the new team had already died down so I found an actual jersey for very cheap.  It was cool but since I wasn't a sports fan I felt stupid every time I would wear it or when people would talk to me about the sport and I knew nothing about it.  So it remained in my closet for a very long time.

My father works for a company that used to give their employees tickets to many sporting events such as Baseball, Hockey and even racing events.  One day he gets a pair of tickets to see the Mighty Ducks at the Pond in Anaheim.  He tells me to find someone to take but I insist it be he and I.

I figured what safer place to wear my Mighty Ducks jersey than at a Mighty Ducks home game, right?
So I pulled out my dusty Mighty Ducks jersey and wore it proudly.  They just so happened to be playing the Redwings.  I admittedly don't know anything about sports but I do know that the Redwings were a big deal.  We didn't even make it to our parking spot before heckler's started yelling out rude comments.
We were walking to the stadium and drunken tailgaters menacingly approached us with glass beer bottles in hand.

So we go up to our seats and I'm immediately amazed at the difference between your average baseball seat and the smaller, more intimate Hockey viewpoint.  We had average seats but they were great in comparison to your average binocular necessary Baseball ticket.

I'm feeling embarrassed and I could tell my father was feeling embarrassed for me.  I looked around the stadium and it was a sea of red jerseys in the audience.  Even my father's co-workers which were sitting right next to us started blabbing and even suggested my father disown me.

I felt stupid.

Not even 3 minutes into the game the Duck's score.  The big horn goes off and my father and I both jump out of our seats in excitement and relief.  Neither of us Hockey fans but we sure looked the part.  We were laughing out loud at the irony of it all and slowly returned to our seats as we noticed the glares of everyone in the audience.

The Ducks were on a losing streak but they did go on to win it.  The red jerseys were gone.  I guess the "fans" had taken them off in their embarrassing loss.

I wore mine proudly.  Not proud because I was a devout sports fan or even because the Mighty Ducks won an upset.

I wore my jersey proudly because even in the face of adversity, even when I felt embarrassed and humiliated, I kept that jersey on.  Even when I thought they would lose, I kept that jersey on.  I was not as cowardly as all those other "fans" and I was not even a fan to begin with.  Standing my ground and holding strong to my opinion and decisions, a trait I believe I learned from my father.

The Mighty Ducks didn't play all that well that year but have since gone on to win the Stanley Cup which is the biggest thing a Hockey Team could win.  I saw this on the news and it reminded me of this story.

This blog is not meant to be a bash against sports fans which I don't understand but a great memory I have of my father.  I just thought I would share.

Rahcool: If anything, I would have been embarrassed to wear the jersey not cuz of the team or cuz I know nothing about hockey but cuz of the awful piece of crap Mighty Ducks movies.
Wife:  That was not the point of the blog but ok.

 Wife: By the way, as always; good job on the mighty ducks logo! That's awesome!
Apple Something: Whoa, that is brave. I don't have the balls to do that.
Thanks for sharing this story. :)

 HektikLyfe: You really think so? I've always thought it was cowardice. To be unable to say "you know what, I was wrong."

 Wife: I love this story too. You still have that jersey. They are no longer called the Mighty Ducks though right? But they sure are still mighty. Yes, your trait is to stick to your decisions. Awww I thought it was so cute that you didn't want to take anyone else but your dad. I wonder what your dad's co workers said to him the next day.

 Molly: lol this is a great story!
 HektikLyfe: Thanks. I originally wanted to write a small book full of stories like this that I remember. But I know it would never get published and no one would ever buy it so fork it. On to MySpace.

 HektikLyfe: Ignore the Smart Tags, MySpace's fucked up filters won't let me remove them. :S

(Blogger's text editor did allow me to remove the smart tags.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why I.T. guys are jerks (6-21-07) 65 Reads

Current mood:apathetic
Do you have a computer department where you work?  Ever wonder why most
guys that work in that department are mean and bitter?  I hope to answer
these questions, (AND MORE!!) in the following blog I have titled;

Why I.T. guys are jerks

To be a member of the "elite" I.T. department usually takes years, an
education and a pretty hefty debt.  It doesn't pay as well as it used to so
if you think we're rolling in cash you are terribly mistaken.  Most of the
cash that goes into our departments goes right back to buy hardware we use
to support all the "users."  Both on your desktops and in the back office
which "users" may never see.  The technology we use and the science behind
it changes frequently.  Unlike most other fields where there are only minor
changes or modifications to the current procedures or regulations, a
completely new set of technical skills is required whenever there is a major
change.  This happens every few years.  So we have to be on our toes
constantly learning unlike most other careers.  That said, in order to
properly support our "users" we must have an intimate understanding of what
those "users" do.  This basically means we have to know how to do their job.

Yes, all of them.

So next time you call for help to find a file that you deleted, or you wonder why your data always disappears when you have magnets stuck all over youR computer, or you can't figure out why your computer keeps shutting down
after you spilled coffee on it (but wiped it off "really quick") keep these
things in mind.

1.  We make less money than you.
2.  We have a higher education than you.  (Therefore we owe more money than
3.  We can probably do your job and usually everyone else's that we support.
4.  We take the blame for the mistakes you make.
5.  We ALWAYS have something to do but we still stop to help you when we are on our way to help someone else.
6.  We have to accept the fact that there is no such thing as an uninterruptable lunch.
7.  There is no such thing as off the clock for us so Saturday at the Mall questions are common.
8.  People only talk to us when something has gone horribly wrong.
9.  People are only nice to us when we walk by with some new equipment.
10. A flat-screen will NOT make you work faster and we know it.


Wife: YES! I was finally able to read this! I loved this blog. And your banners are so awesome! :) Because you are in IT, I always make it a point to be extra nice to our IT people. I always say thank you and please and "when you have time no rush"

Bring me water: my IT guy isnt that bad.. he's pretty nice.. but i do hear him complain about all that you said. especially when he's on call. good blog!

Molly: Haaaaahahha!! This is great! I work for XXXXXXX Computer Training Center in XXXXXXXXX. I work in the Operations department, which incorporates our facilities (IT) department. This is all sooooo true. We are the lowest paid department, yet with the highest amount of "need" from our coworkers. And hahaha to flat screen will not make you work faster... This is a great blog!

HektikLyfe: It is also an interesting side-effect that since we go under people's desks to connect the occasional PC, they see us like they would janitorial or maintenance employee's.

We're like mechanics with a college debt.

 Brother: With 17 years of experience in this field I have more comments to add.

11. Our job is never secure. Managers are always exploring great new ideas to outsource the I.T. functions sometimes to people in India who make like $20 week!
12. Our leaders don't even understand what we do, yet they don't hesitate to take credit for our accomplishments.
13. Our "real" work has to happen at the "convenience" of the  (MySpace in all its wisdom decided to cut all long responses including this one so we will never know.)

Lynn:wow........makes loads of sense thanks!! yeah flats screens work the same they just look nice......the more they have to learn the more they should get paid because the more other people learn they get a raise right? for example....a legal secretary learns how to use new equipment or to do dictations the owner decides that she/he is worth more and the mear fact that i.t techs have to learn more and more due to the change in the procedures and so on and they still get paid the same is not a fair trade. We should appreciate them and say thank you more ofen maybe (another MySpace neutered comment.)

HektikLyfe: I apologize on behalf of Tom's punk ass and his desire to "add" new features i.e. take away and fuck up basic text.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Testing 1,2,3...

So Google finally, FINALLY releases an official Blogger app for the iPhone.


Now more witty lunch break banter by yours truly and the innocent bystanders I blast with my nonsensical spewage.

Just for fun, in the attached photo...alas I can't format exactly where I would like it to show, you can see what kind of advertising crap I'm tired of. Try to find the content of the article I was reading...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reorg Earth - USPS

Apparently, like most other businesses in the US, the United States Post Service is experiencing financial troubles.  Never one to withhold my two cents…here they are.

According to the NY Times the postmaster general Patrick Donahoe is considering getting rid of Saturday mail delivery in addition to laying off 120,000 workers and closing up to 3,700 post offices.  All this may be done in an effort to reduce the post office deficit which will total $9.2 billion dollars by the end of this fiscal year.

More and more people are going “paperless” which really means we are saving the companies that send us paper money by opting for e-mail instead.  I wouldn’t be surprised of 99% of what I use the USPS for is incoming mail I did not ask for.  The few times I actually deal with the USPS for items I would like to ship out or packages I would like to mail, it has been a hassle.

•    The wait is long at all hours of the day.
•    The post offices are usually understaffed.
•    The staff is unhappy and not to mention unsightly.  I’m sorry if that’s offensive but who comes to work without running a comb through their hair?
•    Every post office I’ve ever had to frequent usually stinks.

In other words it is not a pleasant experience.  No I don’t expect spa like treatment but it’s also not fair to have your paying customers suffer through this opposite extreme.  The cost of labor and the benefits associated with them haven’t changed fast enough if at all to meet the “downturn.”   Their services have also shown a dramatic reduction in traffic as well.  It is inevitable that changes are forthcoming.  This post is a short list of changes I believe could help keep the post office from disappearing completely.

First let’s take the bull by the horns.  Shutting down locations is a must.  I can’t see any way you can make up that amount of loss by any sort of simple reorganization.  Even in a good economy people would be using them less.  If the economy improves people aren’t exactly going to start sending letters of joy.

Shutdown the locations with the least amount of traffic provided there is another location at least a respectable distance away.  “Respectable” of course being completely subjective to the area they service.

The best and only the best reviewed employees are transferred to nearby offices to balance the greater workload forthcoming due to the shutdown.

Adapt to the changes forced upon by the competition.  For years now the USPS has provided tracking numbers which don’t track.  They just let you know, sometimes an entire day after the fact that your package has arrived.  This is unacceptable.  Their direct competition for package delivery offers sometimes up to the minute tracking.

Provide services the competition does not.  If there is one good thing about the USPS is that they are there on a regular schedule.  (Provided it doesn’t rain, sleet, snow or sprinkle.)  Or some random dog barks at them from behind a safe gate and then they refuse to deliver mail to your home.  Aside from that the post is usually delivered around the same time.  No other delivery service can say that so uniformly.  If the USPS offers guaranteed delivery schedules that range within the hour as opposed to the 8 hour delivery window usually provided by UPS or FedEx, that would be fantastic.

Do something about morale.  If they want a job, they better be happy about it.  If not they better be damn good about pretending they are.  They provide a service and they should do it with a smile.  The last thing anyone wants is to be spoken harshly to by someone you waited 30 minutes to see and pay money to.  This will make people come back.  Yes SOME UPS employees can also be rude (and occasionally terribly uneducated) but you can be in and out of a drop off in 5 minutes.  You can’t have both.

FREE package pickups directly from your home provided you apply the valid home printed postage.  Not all areas do this but they should.  Larger packages would have to be prescheduled of course but that would be made clear during the purchase of the postage.

Those are the few things I think would be interesting but the two most important changes I think would greatly help?

1.     Make the receipt of junk mail opt-in.  It would then be up to the snail mail spammers to do their research first before shipping their junk mail out (and paying postage.)  If your home does not accept junk mail and the advertiser sends it anyway, their junk mail delivery is completed.  To the origin address that is.  Less junk mail means a LOT less deliveries.  This also means less manpower is necessary in the long run once the junk mailers are forced to reduce that business practice.

2.    My second, and in my own personal opinion, best idea is to revitalize the mailbox.  Those little R2-D2 mailboxes served their purpose.  They should be retired.  In their place the USPS should install Redbox style mini post offices.  These new mailboxes should be a blend of a mailbox, and a Coinstar machine.  If you’re unfamiliar with Coinstar read this.  The mailbox would have a larger area than pictures in the Coinstar machine for up to medium sized packages, a scale, be able to dispense folding boxes and stuffing paper as well as postage stamps.  (Large packages would still require a standard post office.)  These machines would greatly reduce the workload of the post office and in the long run would also prove cost efficient.


Any suggestions?

(UPDATE:  Well lookie here.  (  It looks like the competition is doing what I recommended to the USPS.  You need to be quick old Blue.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Unspoken Laws of Christeodynamics (2-8-07) 38 Reads

Current mood:hopeful
I'm not ashamed to admit that I was raised in a typical hypocritically-Catholic home.  You know the type.  They believe it but just actively choose to ignore the rules.  Even though it doesn't sound like it I believe it turned out to be a good thing.  Our open home prevented the brain wash that unfortunately occurs with many strong faiths.
I was allowed to make up my own mind and search within myself for answers.  I was very young when I was first introduced to the Mormons.  They came to the house and my mother proceeded to kick them out but I was curious and started asking them questions.  She then relented, let them in and they showed us a film or a slideshow, I can't remember.
After the film I started asking them general questions.  One question I remember asking was "Who is God's mother?"  Yes, I was very young like I said, forgive the ignorant sound of the innocent question.
They acknowledged the deeper inference of the query and said that God has always been and God will always be.  That God is omnipotent and omniscient.  He is all powerful, He knows all and sees all.
That was all well and good for me but then I couldn't help but question "His" lack of compassion when it came to the suffering of "His" children here on Earth.  I received no satisfactory answer.  All I got from them and from the few deeply religious family members was the impotent response, "This is why you must have Faith" or "God works in mysterious ways" including the Jehovah's Witnesses that lived with us for a while.
I went through various stages of spiritual confusion following my teenage life including many, many years of uneducated atheism. 
Then I went to college.  Then I took some courses.  Including but not limited to the history of Eastern and Western Religions but sciences like Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry and Anthropology as well.  I began to see connections within all these seemingly different branches of study.
I also saw striking similarities in the different religions of different era's.  Many similar morals and lessons.  Sometimes the characters in those books and scrolls served the same purpose and had similar names.
When I learned to read with an open mind, extricating myself from any emotional attachment to the subject, I began to notice common patterns and themes.  I was slowly coming to an understanding and belief system that I was comfortable with.  One that made absolute sense to me.
I didn't believe in a God of any kind for a long time.  It seemed with the sciences and studies of nature that any supernatural existence was impossible if it was not explicable.  Many people get lost here just like I did, in limbo if you will.  They learn that some of the "facts" in the Bible, or their Bible are "wrong" and their world is shattered.  They become angry, hateful and self destructive when they no longer believe a superior power is watching over them.  They blind their own guilt with their anger.
Once I taught myself to make the connections between the various religions and dug myself out of my bottomless pit of desperation I started acknowledging the existence of connections between all the sciences and all the faiths.
I like mysteries.  The Bible, and it's many iterations, has many of them.  If God exists and is as compassionate and loving as they describe, why do people suffer and die?  Some of those facts and mysteries, as quite a few strict religious sects have chosen to defend, has led to the failure and public abandonment of their faith.
We will stick to the Catholic Bible for the sake of the much needed brevity (10+ paragraphs into the blog and not even half way through yet.)  Religion has regularly been known to clash with science.  The two (roughly speaking) groups have been at each other's throats since the beginnings of human history.  Science has poked holes in the minute details of the Bible making statements regarding; the ages of the protagonists and the earth itself, the impossibility of successful breeding due to incest, the existence of Homo Erectus and of course, dinosaurs.  Some religious supporters have chosen to "fight" science on its own turf and therein lies the problem.  *coughscientology.
You have to segregate them the truly allow them to work well together.  How does this make sense?
It makes perfect sense to me and this is how I see it.
1.       Religion tells you what happened, why and what you should learn from it.
2.       Science tells you how.
For example, in Genesis God creates the heaven and the earth.  He then creates light and then divides it from the darkness then ending the first day.
Speaking from a scientific perspective, ignoring the super powers it would take to perform an act such as that, you would have to question how day and night could possibly be divided and ended on a round planet that somewhere is ALWAYS in the light.  Was God ONLY located in Israel?  You would also have to ignore whether or not the people who wrote the bible were aware that the planet was round at the time therefore challenging God's all-encompassing knowledge and forcing us to have Faith not in God himself, but the ancient words of a human witness which could not have been there to begin with since we were not yet created.
Problems become immediately visible if you choose to read the Bible that way.  If you try to look at the holy books as facts and dates instead of a book of lessons and morals.
As far as I understand it, religion is there to teach you how to live your life and support you as you trudge through it if you need something there to motivate you to do that.
So I return to discuss what is actually meant by the "DAY" in the Bible.  Who is to say that a day was the same thing it means today?  For all we know, a "DAY" in Genesis could mean billions of years.  The point is, it doesn't really matter.  At least that's the conclusion I came to in my youth.  Although it seems really simplistic, it worked for me.
That section at the beginning of Genesis is there to show you who is responsible for creating the entire universe we exist in.  To show you that this marvelous miraculous existence has a purpose.  To fill that void and solitude that we all feel in our dark days.  It is consolation, it is comfort.  It is not a dictionary or encyclopedia.
If you understand the messages in the King James Bible and most other religious collections, you will read stories of people living their lives and learning lessons.  Learning how to treat each other and learning how to treat themselves.  How to respect life and eat healthy.  How to exercise and the importance of a hard work ethic.
The Flood
Now I'm not saying that none of the events actually occurred.  I'm just contemplating the possibility that some of the things could be interpreted differently yet still be equally significant.
Incest apparently does not affect the characters in the Catholic bible because not once but twice do they overcome the boundaries set by human health.  There are still a lot of lessons to learn in that story, such as humility, trust and compassion.  Did the flood ever actually occur?  We may never know.  But if it did and people did survive I think it is more important to find out exactly how they survived with each other.  I don't believe it was just a single boat with every living species on the planet.  There could have been a flood.  There could have been some survivors.  The way I see it is if this ever did actually occur, that one family on that one boat could represent an entire population that survived only by finding a common ground and learning how to live well with each other in peace and harmony.  The "flood" could just have likely been a widespread disease or a deadly addiction.  The message remains the same.
I had a minor interest in the stars and was awestruck by people's ability to identify constellations of stars in the sky.  When I would look up at the night sky all I would see was the moon and the big dipper surrounded by a bunch of bright specks.  I could point out the big dipper but that was about it.  So I took some courses and the labs so that I could wrap my head around what I thought was impossible for my mind to comprehend.
It turns out identifying the constellations was only the beginning.  I learned a lot about the life cycles of the stars and the molecules which they are made of.  I learned many important things in these classes but one thing had stayed with me more than any other facts and figures.  Every molecule and every atom which make up what we are was at one time a tiny but significant piece of a star.  (All complex molecules require extreme pressure and heat to fuse which only stars can provide.)  A piece of light.
We are Beings of Light Read more about the life cycles of stars here.
Sound familiar?  Many religious writings describe humanity in the same way.  It also gives new meaning to "Let there be light."  I may be reaching but it is this little connection satisfies the internal desire to feel like we're part of a greater system.
"So if God did not physically create the Earth and the universe around it, then how can you believe HE exists at all?"
The Universe has an end.  What is beyond it is the subject of much speculation and little hard evidence.  "Nothing" seems to be a popular choice.
"If nothing exists beyond the universe then how is it the universe exists at all?"
It is expanding so it had a beginning at one point.  If it had a beginning and it came from "nothing," defying the first law of thermodynamics stating that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, then it would have taken a miracle...
It would have taken a miracle to create our existence.  It takes a miracle to maintain it.  For how can something...exist surrounded by nothing?
In a discussion with my brother many years ago, for the sake of argument he questioned my explanation and understanding of God's place in the universe, stating that science's answer was to keep pushing God farther and farther away.  I never continued this discussion because part of me suspected that he was trying to find himself as well.  I thought it would be fair to let him develop independently of what I believed without being pulled or pushed to either side of the spectrum by me who was also a person unsure of where I was headed.
If you haven't fallen asleep yet, read on.  It's a little broken but they are important little bits for you to understand where I'm going with this.
The natural state of all matter is static unless acted upon by an outside force.  A ball will only roll if you push it.  It will only stop because of friction and gravity but it's natural state is motionless.
Heat is generated by rapidly moving molecules.
Space is cold where there are no stars.
If you put an ice cube on the sidewalk on a hot day, it melts quickly both slowing down the hot molecules in the cement and speeding up the slow molecules in the ice cube.  Yet the stars continue to burn.  The earth stays warm (deep earth warm not weather warm) and all the objects continue to move.  Yes the sun burns by the process of quantum tunneling but after so many trillions and trillions of can this process continue?  Is the universe itself a perpetual motion machine?
How long has this been going on with the freezing space and the scorching stars living as relatively peaceful neighbors?  I'm sure it would take billions upon billions of years to reach an equilibrium.
Yet it goes on and in this turmoil we continue to exist.  Fuel continues to be generated.  The Universe continues to expand and matter...somehow continues to exist where it shouldn't.
So to answer the question proposed by my brother so many years ago, no, I am not pushing "Him" farther away, I am realizing how much more powerful "He" truly is and how the subtleties in the work "He" does is much more humbling than even organized religions admit to.
I can't say without a doubt that something more intelligent than us does or does not exist out there.  I can't prove or disprove that.  I don't believe a being like that would have a personality, experience anger or have magical powers.
I may be wrong but I feel good believing this way and ultimately, that is the key.
Thank you for reading.


Rahcool: For some reason people would rather have exaggerated tales of grandeur to follow than rational conclusions and interpretations to the different scriptures. I always thought religion works best if it is taught side by side with science instead of pitting them against each other in a perpetual irrational battle. Well written argument.

 C:  (The following comment was riddled with cut parts thanks to MySpace so its hard to understand.)  ou put alot of effort into this. One question that stands out to me is why God would let bad things happen. Although I have not finished reading the book "The purpose driven life" I did find an answer that I liked in the first 10 chapters...
We are here on this Earth for a short while. While we are here we are learning lessons and being challenged. God will not put us through more than we can handle. Our greater purpose is not meant for this place, but rather for our next existence. I know this requires a lot of faith, which I don't think a lot of people have, but it works for me. Personally, I can ask why was I made to suffer? Why would God allow that fucking bitch to make me miserable and continue to fight me for every minute that I want to spend with my son? The answer to that is so that I can know what some other people will go through and be better prepared to help them.
A man falls in a pit. A doctor walks by and sees him and says, man, you look pretty bad. When you get out of that pit call me and I will help cure you. A pastor walks by and sees him and says, man, I will pray for you but when you get out of that pit come to me and I will help you get closer to God so that you wont have so many bad things happen to you. A police officer walks by and says man when you get out come talk to me so that we can find out how this happened and punish whoever dug that pit. When the man's best friend comes by the pit he jumps in. The man in the pit says NO! Why did you do that, now we are both in trouble. But the best friend says no friend, I have been in this pit before and I know how to get us both out. 
I want to be the best friend.
What I've heard from the bible is that where more than one get together in the name of the Lord, then He is there.
Jenny Girl:
The man in the pit story was great.  I loved it.  It brought a tear to my eye.  I wish that everyone could read this.  So simple, but poignant in a great way.
Great blog.... well written.
I read somewhere that Church is where people congregate whether there is leadership or not.
Friends for example or the kitchen table with family.  I always find it much more fulfilling to discuss subjects with peers than with any close minded believer set in his/her ways.

I just wish there were a group of people we could meet with to discuss this. I can't help wanting a chuch. I heard that Universalists would be the best religion for us. I would like to visit a session:

Who are Unitarian Universalists?

We are a religious people who have woven strands of a rich past into a tapestry of the present.
In the first centuries of the Christian era, Christians held a variety of beliefs concerning the nature of Jesus. In 325 CE, however, the Council of Nicea promulgated the doctrine of the Trinity-God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost-and denounced all those who believed differently as heretics.
In the sixteenth century, Christian humanists in Central Europe-in Poland and Transylvania-studied the Bible closely. They could not find the orthodox dogma of the Trinity in the texts. Therefore, they affirmed-as did Jesus, according to the Gospels-the unity, or oneness, of God. Hence they acquired the name Unitarian.
These sixteenth-century Unitarians preached and organized churches according to their own rational convictions in the face of overwhelming orthodox opposition and persecution. They also advocated religious freedom for others. In Transylvania, now part of Romania, Unitarians persuaded the Diet (legislature) to pass the Edict of Toleration. In 1568 the law declared that, since "faith is the gift of God," people would not be forced to adhere to a faith they did not choose.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, radical reformers in Europe and America also studied the Bible closely. They found only a few references to hell, which they believed orthodox Christians had grossly misinterpreted. They found, both in the Bible and in their own hearts, an unconditionally loving God. They believed that God would not deem any human being unworthy of divine love, and that salvation was for all. Because of this emphasis on universal salvation, they called themselves Universalists.
In the eighteenth century, a dogmatic Calvinist insistence on predestination and human depravity seemed to liberal Christians irrational, perverse, and contrary to both biblical tradition and immediate experience. Liberal Christians believe that human beings are free to heed an inner summons of conscience and character. To deny human freedom is to make God a tyrant and to undermine God-given human dignity.
In continuity with our sixteenth-century Unitarian forebears, today we Unitarian Universalists are determined to follow our own reasoned convictions, no matter what others may say, and we embrace tolerance as a central principle, inside and outside our own churches.
Also during the seventeenth century, reformers in several European countries, especially in England, could not find a biblical basis for the authority and power of ecclesiastical bishops. They affirmed, therefore, the authority and power of the Holy Spirit to guide the local members. These reformers on the radical left wing of the Reformation, seeking to "purify" the church of its "corruptions," reclaimed what they believed to be ancient church practice and named it congregational polity.
These same seventeenth-century radicals did away with creeds, that is, with precisely phrased statements of belief to which members had to subscribe. Members joining their churches signed a simple and broadly phrased covenant, or agreement, such as this one: "We pledge to walk together in the ways of the Lord as it pleaseth Him to make them known to us, now and in days to come."
Some of these reformers, the Pilgrims and the Puritans, crossed the Atlantic and braved the North American wilderness to establish covenanted congregations whose direction belonged to the local members. Some of these original congregational churches developed increasingly liberal theological beliefs after 1750, and in the early nineteenth century, many of them added the word Unitarian to their names. Thus, some of the oldest churches in the United States, including the First Parish of Plymouth, Massachusetts, became Unitarian. In the late eighteenth century, other radicals who believed in religious liberty and universal salvation organized separate Universalist congregations.

In continuity with our independent forebears, today Unitarian Universalist congregations are covenanted, not creedal. Congregational polity is a basic doctrine. In the spirit of freedom, we cherish honest dialogue and persuasion, not coercion. We embrace democratic method as a central principle. Our local members unite to engage in and to support ministries of their own choosing.
The seventeenth-century scientific revolution began a great shift in Western thinking. In the eighteenth century, the Enlightenment brought an increased willingness to look critically and analytically at all human institutions, without presupposing the sanctity or privilege of any.
Many religious groups fiercely resisted these scientific analytical ideas. Some still do. In the churches of our forebears, new scientific and social ideas-from Newtonian physics, to evolution, to psychology, to relativity-found ready acceptance. Indeed, some of the greatest scientists and social theorists of the age were either privately or publicly Unitarian or Universalist: Joseph Priestley, Charles Darwin, Maria Mitchell, and Benjamin Rush, for example.
In the nineteenth century, increased travel and translation of Eastern religious texts brought greater awareness of different religions. Again, many of our forebears were uncommonly open to new ideas from Eastern cultures. Ralph Waldo Emerson was deeply influenced by Hinduism, and James Freeman Clarke was among the first in the world to urge and teach the study of comparative religion.
In continuity with our forebears, today Unitarian Universalists expect new scientific disclosures to cohere, not conflict, with our religious faith. We embrace the challenge and the joy of intercultural religious fellowship.
(There were three responses to that but they were lost in My_____)

I read this blog in sections since this morning. I am impressed love! You did a good job of jotting down your thoughts. I am so glad. I have to be honest, it's a little scattered, but it's all there and I KNOW what you are saying. I felt like I was sitting next to you and you were explaining your point of view. I hope other people are able to go through it and read it thoroughly. You have a lot of interesting points made!
I really appreciate your religious point of view. I hope it grows stronger.
I think you should try reading the bible. Or getting one of those "Read the bible in one year" books. I would read it with you.
By the way, I think a book store visit is due. What do you say?
(Two lost responses to this comment.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

About Pixar

I love movies. I love books. I love good movies that take you to another world where you are completely enveloped in the universe they create, much like a good book. Pixar has done this pretty well in the past but lately…my faith in them has faltered.

I really like the simplicity of their movie themes. It’s no secret that they go after popular children’s topics like toys, monsters and cars. They seem to do wonders with the simplest concepts.

A few years ago I read a quote by the director of a few of those Pixar movies, Brad Bird. On press day for the movie Ratatouille he said that they didn’t make movies just for money and that sequels don’t come about unless it was a story they were excited to tell. The interviewer inferred that this meant Pixar was not in the business of making sequels. Taking a look at the past and future movies on Pixar’s plate…I think they have changed their minds.
  • 1995 Toy Story
  • 1998 A Bug’s Life
  • 1999 Toy Story 2 (Sequel)
  • 2001 Monsters, Inc.
  • 2003 Finding Nemo
  • 2004 The Incredibles
  • 2006 Cars
  • 2007 Ratatouille
  • 2008 Wall-E
  • 2009 Up
  • 2010 Toy Story 3 (Sequel)
  • 2011 Cars 2 (Sequel)
  • 2012 Brave
  • 2013 Monsters University (Sequel)
  • Upcoming (Untitled Dinosaur Movie)
  • Upcoming (Untitled Movie Inside the Mind)
  • Upcoming Toy Story Short "Small Fry" (Sequel/Short)
  • Upcoming The Incredibles 2 (Sequel)

A third of the movies we know about are sequels and two are sequels to sequels. In all fairness Toy Story 2 and 3 were very good. I would even argue that in some ways better than the original. Cars 2 though didn’t interest me in the least bit. I didn’t feel there was “more story” to be told there.

I don’t doubt that Pixar could successfully pull off a good sequel; I just think they are capable of greatness when they are challenged with an original story. The Incredibles and Wall-E were my absolute favorites of the bunch and they were both original tales. (For them anyway.) Then again so was Ratatouille and I found that story horribly boring.

I feel there are plenty more basic children’s topics to cover before they give in to the guaranteed cash of a sequel. I like what little I’ve seen of Brave. I think it will do well if they keep the same theme shown in the teaser. Dinosaurs can be interesting even though their bedfellow Disney already did an arguably uninspiring CG Dinosaur movie.

A Monsters, Inc. buddy origin story? Dumb & Dumberer did such a great job why not right?

The Incredibles told a great story. It was a complete tale that closed that arc. A lot of people want a sequel but I don't know why. The original story was about the comeback of heroes and that story is told. If they made a sequel it would just be another superhero movie in an overpopulated sea of superhero movies.

What topics I would like to see Pixar take on?

Aliens - They've done space but not aliens. Sony did it unsuccessfully with Planet 51 so the trophy is still available.
Astronauts - (Maybe combining them with Aliens for First Contact...?)
Time Travel
Magic / Wizards
Dragons / Camelot
Cops & Robbers - (Think a comical Al Capone)

I can see them doing a movie about a special needs child with a different/refreshing view of the world teaching us all a valuable, humorous and emotional lesson.

Do you all have any likes/dislikes/hopes for Pixar Flix?