Archive for May, 2011

Presentations and Conversations; Why Easier Is Not Better

So here’s the thing about blogging and writing stuff, or rather, writing stuff in general; no matter what you do and no matter what you THINK you’re doing, you are, in every sense of the word PRESENTING something. Now, yes, MY presentations are usually chock full of references to absolutely anything and everything I can get my hands on, but an interesting point to explore is the fact that no matter what, I have a main point that is USUALLY easy to clue in on, and that main point is prevalent throughout everything I do, even if I go on random tangents. That HOWEVER is no longer becoming the case with the art of presentation.

You see, it isn’t really that difficult to present something; usually, you have something to say and something worth saying something about it. It’s simple, if I have a cookie and I want to present that cookie, all I have to do is talk about the cookie, which is what you’d expect. Sadly however, this is no longer becoming the case, and presentations are now becoming muddled up with conversation. That is to say, I am no longer informing YOU about the cookie so much as WE are talking about the cookie. Can you tell the difference? I’m sure you can, and I’m sure that you are also starting to notice the trend. Long story short? People can’t present.

Well, NO they still CAN present, it’s just that they mess it up and somehow end up having a conversation with the audience they’re supposed to be presenting to. More importantly, however, they don’t argue and they certainly don’t debate their point (like you’d expect them to do), they simply give you information and expect you to do something with it. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are people out there who can present EXTREMELY well, but these are the people who are expected to; Steve Jobs and Walter Lewin need to be able to speak or write about their plans in a way that people can understand, which is why they’re presentations may SEEM like conversations, even though the information is being delivered in an efficient and thorough way. The people who are EXPECTED to present are trained over and over again by experts to get their tone right, to get their language (both physical and verbal) just right, to get everything down to the way they dress as close to absolute perfection as is humanely possible. Or who knows, maybe each and every single world leader, CEO and professor is just innately born with a talent to speak fluidly and dynamically. Sounds kinda crazy when you hear it, doesn’t it?

Practice is the one thing that separates presentation and conversation, yes, this I can agree on. Presentations require preparation, they require time, effort and memorization, and if they don’t? Well, they sound like a poorly made and under prepared high school report on fluid dynamics or electromagnetic medical technologies, and THAT is the one thing that we ALL want to avoid. When we present we want to sound like we could be invited to speak at TED, and not The View (and in case you’re asking, YES. I DID just insult the view to get people to comment and criticize. See what I did there?), so when we begin presentations that end up like conversations the question is no longer “What went wrong?” so much as “Why wasn’t enough effort put in?” because let’s face it. Presentations are DEFINITELY not easy; there are SO many factors to overcome that listing them all is not in my current interest. HOWEVER, presentations are not so ASTRONOMICALLY difficult that there isn’t a single idea or individual that cannot be presented by anyone. Presentations showcase ideas and thoughts to peers through words and pictures (whether moving or otherwise). It’s really simple when you break it down.

So what’s the reason for poorly prepared presentations? Frankly, I think it’s really easy to explain and I’m sure I’ve already talked about this; people prefer to take the easy way out of things. People prefer the conversation method because it’s FAR easier to speak WITH someone (usually, I’m working on it people, relax) rather than TO or AT someone because then there’s a divisive line that’s formed and people do NOT like divisions between themselves and others (and don’t even get me started on the whole “people fight and argue” concept, we all know that if we all AGREED on something and divisions didn’t exist, we’d all get along just fine, which is why we don’t LIKE the divisions, exceptions apply JUST LIKE ALWAYS. MOVING ON!), so they take the easy way out and things don’t end up sounding as good as they could and they don’t sound nearly as CONVINCING as they should .

People (and I’m including myself this time too) like to take the easy way out of things because THAT way we can accomplish tasks with LESS work, and that’s what’s been ingrained in our minds since antiquity; less work is better. If you can solve a 5 step problem in 3 steps, why bother with the added 2 steps? If you can code a bug out of an algorithm in 3 strokes instead of 7, why bother with the extra 4? Though, we ALL know the answer to that question. Taking the easy way out is not ALWAYS the best solution, even though it might be cheaper, or more whatever. Unless you know for a fact that using 1 step instead of 3 will get you the same result (if not better), you SHOULD go through those 2 extra steps. Allow me to provide an example. I’m writing this article (or post, whatever you’re cool with) on OpenOffice.org 3 instead of Microsoft Word because I know that all I need to do is type this up and then spell check it before I copy it over into wordpress’s dashboard utility to post it. Notice that I’m using OpenOffice.org instead of Microsoft Word. Word is DEFINITELY the better product. It’s more sleek, it runs just that bit smoother and it makes the document look professional and well done.

So why am I using an inferior product (I’m so sorry Oracle, I love OpenOffice.org but let’s face it, it is DEFINITELY no Microsoft Office, and I’m sure A LOT of your customers both understand AND respect that, moving on however)? The reason is that it’s EASIER for me. On my computer, it’s faster to open up OpenOffice.org’s word processor than it is to open up Microsoft Word. More importantly, I don’t NEED word right now. I don’t need to change any of the formatting for this article, I don’t need to add a title page or spruce up the document with a certain theme, in essence, I don’t need to hand in this article for evaluation from a boss or professor, or so on and so forth and therefore I’ve decided to use this inferior (though still WORTHY) product. I’m accomplishing a task in 1 step instead of 2 because I know that this doesn’t NEED to undergo that extra step and THAT is what people need to remember about this universe. Things are easier for a reason and it’s usually because you’ve somehow managed to complicate something. Operating systems are more complex now than ever before and yet they’re easier to use than ever before. The machine I’m using right now trumps almost ALL of what existed decades ago and it is GARBAGE compared to even the WORST machines available on the market, though I digress once again.

The point is this: people are getting worse and worse at presentations because they’re not willing to put in the extra effort to get a truly GREAT presentation, but it isn’t JUST the presenters. Almost every single individual on this planet is gravitating towards the easier method that can provide a solution even though they ignore the principle that something cannot be made from nothing and that in order to gain, something of equal value must be lost, even if it SEEMS like something of LESSER value is being lost. Remember the most obvious principle of the world people: the law of conservation of mass (and please don’t go around using this principle to figure out human relationships because I can guarantee you that it won’t work out EXACTLY how you’d like it to), because easier does NOT mean better and it most certainly does not GUARANTEE equal results. To think, all of this because I was complaining about my VERY poor presentation style!

As always, this has been your Admin; comment and criticize and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

Kung Fu Panda; Dream

Alright folks, in preparation for the awesomeness that is supposed to be Kung Fu Panda 2 and The Hangover Part 2, I watched both of the originals and I’ve come to a devastating conclusion that might just tear apart the universe…if most people didn’t know it to be true already. Kung Fu Panda was WAY better than The Hangover, and for some reason I’m the only one who finds it funny instead of a terrifying implication on our world and those who inhabit it (not to mention those who go around watching and making movies…take THAT Spielberg! Ruin my favourite Franchise by adding E.T. FORSOOTH!), but I digress. Long story short, Kung Fu Pandas 1 and 2 were both far better than The Hangovers 1 and 2, but sadly, this ISN’T the review for either of these movies, mainly because they’ve been out for 3 years and 2 years respectively and they’ve been reviewed to the Nth degree, no THIS is a RANT on Kung Fu Panda, a rant that I’ve been dying to go on about for the longest time. Well no, I watched it twice, once on Friday and once on Saturday, so it’s been 2-3 days, though I find that bit of information to be a tad inconsequential!

I suppose I should make it a point to explain the story of Kung Fu Panda to those who haven’t seen it, or heard of it for that matter. Kung Fu Panda (hereby shortened to KFP) is about a Panda named Po who wants nothing more than to escape the clutches of his father’s noodle shop and become a Kung Fu legend, or fighter…it’s not really explained but the implication is that he wants to do something with his life OTHER than cooking noodles (diced vegetables and meats by the way are the new it thing in the noodle world, sliced is no longer the way to go, I’m just saying). So I suppose Po should be applauded seeing as how he’s got a dream that he wants to see through, the problem being that an anthropomorphic version of China is incredibly pragmatic, seeing dreams as just that dreams and nothing more. So when Po even brings UP the topic of following through, his goose father essentially tells him to put on the apron and start slicing those meats (dicing, sorry, I keep forgetting).

That, however, is the first point I’d like to bring up, the whole dreams and reality juxtaposition; our good friend Po the panda is a PANDA and in case people don’t know, the PANDA is NOT prominent in the Chinese Zodiac (to the extent that Western audiences would be able to challenge that, it’s all very subjective you see, but I digress) so that part of the movie is played up. Po can’t perform Kung Fu. In fact, he can barely get up without destroying the house, and that, incidentally is the point. He has a dream and therefore he should (technically) be able to do what he wants. Though life is very rarely like that, especially reality (which is a TERRIBLE teacher I might add); humans often have dreams and unless they’re extremely lucky, those dreams are rarely fulfilled. That cheerful point is essentially embodied in the character of Po’s father, Ping, who points out that while he DID have a dream during his youth (he wanted to tackle tofu folks, all he wanted was the TOFU) , he learned to face reality and, more importantly, to face his place in life. Another WONDERFULLY cheerful life lesson taught to us by our friends at Dreamworks.

So suffice it to say, Po is distraught and he’s sent back to the kitchen and the dining room to serve the customers until, and this part I love, a MIRACLE happens and the dragon warrior is to be found. This is all fine and dandy and a bunch of visual gags are queued up for the audience to view right before Po crashes into the arena and is hand picked (by the wise turtle grandmaster Oogway, who is my FAVOURITE kung fu master EVER by the way) to become the dragon warrior, which pretty much means he gets to defend the land and be one with the universe. It’s all very technical really, but I digress.

Oogway brings us back to another point in that he’s a helpful reminded that all it takes is a little luck, well that and the ability to be in the right place and the right time to impress just the right people. Sadly however, this is a fact that is often ignored (especially by me, don’t even get me started on that one) and for some reason everyone’s got it in their mind that if they’re smart enough or fast enough, good enough at writing or good enough at acting or even good enough at stacking cups that the universe owes them some sort of favour and they’re immediately worth hiring or investing money into. The sad truth is, people get lucky by meeting the right people and by being present when they’re needed. Frankly, that’s how I think stacking cups became a sport, I mean SERIOUSLY people, those commercials aren’t joking, there IS a Cup Stacking League, they’ve got INVESTORS, they actually MAKE a significant amount of money! I mean sure, it’s no hockey or tennis but still!

Where was I? Oh right, yeah, right time right place, well THAT right time and place is Oogway, the wise turtle master who picked Po after he falls down from the sky in a “ball of fire.” And the best part? Oogway claims that it WASN’T an accident; I mean SURE, he’s probably covering his bases, you know, so all of China doesn’t think he’s insane (which he probably ISN’T) for picking a panda as the legendary dragon master (the universe does that, go figure right?), AT FIRST. Afterward, however, he’s all FOR Po being the dragon master, and that moves us forward once again! All it takes is a little help people. Yes, you COULD work at it alone and get nowhere (or who knows, you might get somewhere, but you’ll still need SOME sort of help) or you could find someone who’s actually willing to support you and help you. I don’t mean a spouse or something like that, and I don’t even mean a friend. I mean someone who will try to help you when you ask for help and someone who can guide you. Now PLEASE don’t go around asking random people, because you probably already have this person, just PLEASE for the love of the universe, don’t mess it up with them!

Oogway, however, also brings up another FANTASTIC conflict: hardwork vs. nepotism. Let’s review shall we? Po took away the honour of being the dragon warrior from the FIVE most POWERFUL and WISE masters of kung fu in all of CHINA. Not just the valley, but the entire COUNTRY, so clearly he didn’t just get lucky, he won the jackpot, and THAT is BEYOND astronomical. Though the one thing he keeps riding on, despite the fact that he DEFINITELY shouldn’t be there is the fact that he was chosen as the dragon warrior. Nepotism people! He gets special treatment and gets to stay with the legends NOT because of his hardwork and abilities (not to mention his determination) but because of plan nepotism. He is Oogway’s chosen one and therefore he deserves to stay, but not without insult of course, because what ELSE would you do to a giant panda?

Mind you, that wasn’t entirely fair because he actually DOES try really hard to get better and in the end he does make up for it. And finally we get to my second favourite part of this long piece of text (because that’s what it’s become. It’s no longer a rant so much as a bunch of paragraphs strung together regarding my thoughts, boohoo), the fact that even AFTER everything Shifu tries to teach him (Shifu’s a little red panda, good times), he STILL is TERRIBLE. Which is why after consulting with the great turtle master, it turns out all it really takes is the right motivation to get the panda going, this time being food. An awesome montage ensues, Po learns kung fu and becomes the true dragon master, he beats the evil snow leopard and everyone gets to survive the possible destruction of the valley at the hands of Ian McShane (Tai Lung).

Alright individuals, let’s review shall we? Po’s got a dream. Except he doesn’t have the means to fulfill his dream so he gets lucky (remember that) and somehow he acquires someone who believes in him and someone who can guide him. What have we learned from all of this? Well it’s QUITE SIMPLE really! So I’m going to break it down for you all Bob-O style: Nothing worth having in this world comes easy, and whether you’re a giant panda who wants to learn kung fu or an aspiring graphic designer finding out that everything ISN’T working out the way it should be you’re going to have to work to get to what you want. You also need a little bit of luck and something to guide (notice how I used the word something and not someone) you, and YES. Life is REALLY difficult, especially REAL life and things get hard and things blow up in your face (please stop snickering…-snicker-) but the fact of the matter is that if you already have something you want, you already know how hard it is to get it, and clearly that isn’t going to stop you, so stand up, you’ve got two strong feet and move forward; and don’t STOP moving forward until you’re exactly where you want to be, whether it’s a shrine in the middle of China, or an art school in the heart of the city.

As always, this has been your Admin (who’s starting a new thing RIGHT now), comment on this article, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

Crazy v. Normal

So here’s what I’ve been thinking about for a few days now. No no no, let me try that again; you know what’s really been on my mind? No no no, that one sucked too, oh you know what? Forget it, I’m sure we ALL know how this is going to work out, I’m going to think up something to say sooner or later and find a way to segue into my main point. Frankly though? I can’t seem to figure out ANYWAY to do that, and seeing as how this isn’t a high school essay, or a thesis for a Ph. D of ANY sort, I figure, I’ll just get into it: normal is BORING and crazy is INTERESTING!

Now folks, let’s get some VERY important stuff out of the way RIGHT now. Normal is a fluid concept (actually, let me explain something; I’ve been saying that things are “fluid concepts” for the longest time now, and it wouldn’t be right to go on without explaining what I mean. When I say something is a “fluid concept” I mean that it’s subjective. This means that whatever I’m talking about isn’t specifically objective, people can look at it from different angles and derive different thoughts and responses. It’s like saying a movie is “the best ever” it probably ISN’T the best ever [Citizen Kane folks, Scorsese said it himself], but it’s the best that you’ve seen at the moment, or the best to YOU, now that THAT’S out of the way, let’s move on, shall we?). It’s a VERY fluid concept and, sadly, as any teen movie has proven, our perception of normal goes a little something like this: you are equal to those around you in every way, shape, or form. This means that if your FRIENDS have 2 cookies to their names, you’ll be “special” if you have 3 cookies. Likewise, you’ll be ABNORMAL if you have 1 cookie, you’re the odd one out.

That’s how we work folks, more is better and less is not. Which is why poverty is a negative thing and why wealth is a positive thing (challenge me and I’ll be cross, you and I BOTH know what I meant when I said that so don’t go off on a “what is money’s true value” tangent because I don’t want to hear it; comment on something useful, not something obvious), but the fact of the matter, and the point that I’d like to point out is that (for all of those who HAVEN’T figured it out) NORMAL (the concept itself and everything it embodies) is NOT the right step to take. Well, not the right step for a LONG TIME anyway because the world we live in requires us to lead, follow, or get out of the way (I watched Idiocracy again last night; DEFINITELY my favourite comedy ever, notice how I said COMEDY. I made the distinction) and following and getting out of the way are the two NORMAL options because leaders are CRAZY. After all, why would any SANE individual decide to take the task of having human physiology AND psychology under their care? The logical (and NORMAL) decision would be to avoid these risks and simply take care of yourself (and your own needs) while making sure that nothing TERRIBLE happens.

For all of those who claim to be “sane” you’ll find my previous statement to be dark, morbid and EXTREMELY narcissistic. Though, again I say, that is the LOGICAL option. Based on human nature (and it’s extremely animalistic roots) this is the course that any NORMAL individual would take. Yet we know for a fact that time and time again human beings risk their lives to save those of others and disprove theory after theory regarding just how “dark, morbid, and extremely narcissistic” we can be. Which (once again) brings up my earlier point NORMAL is boring and CRAZY is interesting; CRAZY saves live, CRAZY changes things, CRAZY makes things grow, and CRAZY makes things different. And let’s face it. If there’s one thing humanity as a whole hates more than crazy, it’s change and difference. Because difference makes us lose things that we knew, it makes us have to readjust, it makes us have to rethink our life strategies and so on because now everything has (and yes, I AM going to love saying this) CHANGED.

That really is the end of that. People fear change, or rather, no. People fear difference, CHANGE is merely a by product of difference and ANYONE who’s NORMAL will fear change and difference because who in their right mind who POSSIBLY want to lose something important to them? Though, before I leave, just remember one thing; whenever we lose something, we usually gain something in return (-cheeky smile- just look at Ed and Al).

As always, this has been your Admin, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

I did it; THERE it’s done!

Yup. I finally did it. I changed the theme of the blog, and frankly? It’s about time. I’ve been wrestling with the idea of changing the theme and I FINALLY changed it to monochrome. Look how pretty it is! Ooo! And look at the really awesome SANS SERIF font! There. It’s done shh. No more talk. Also? We’re not professional, so the previous posts will still have their weird glitches. Though, we CAN promise that the NEW posts (starting with this one) will have NO glitches.

-EK

Deodorant; Pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator

I am a male. I’m sure many of our more logical readers could have deduced that much from my writings and my literary voice, but the fact that I’m male is prominent. In fact, some might say it defines me as the individual that I am. So suffice it say, I can and WILL perspire. To all of our NOT so logical viewers, that means I will sweat and stink up something FIERCE, all assuming that I don’t wear deodorant, which I do. Though, it’s only been recently that I discovered something very interesting about the deodorant I could and, most likely, WOULD buy; I have NO idea what it smells like before I smell it.

Now, some of you might possibly be questioning my sanity and my ability to live in a world where we are sublimely ruled by our senses, and to you I say this: go to a shop, find your favourite deodorant and PLEASE for the love of the universe TELL me what you THINK it’s going to smell like and what it REALLY smells like. For example, I PERSONALLY buy a lovely type of deodorant called “Cool Impact” that I am promised uses “Silver Ion” technology. So first of all, I STILL don’t know what it smells like before purchase. Well, no, that’s not entirely true, NOW I know what it smells like because I’ve been wearing it since it first came out, but when I first walked into my local Drug Store (for everyone who doesn’t know, a drug store is a place where one can purchase over the counter pharmaceuticals like Advil or Motrin, in addition to prescription medication; it really is a FANTASTIC invention, but I digress) I had NO idea what to expect for the simple reason that the NAME told me nothing.

Cool impact is actually quite interesting namely that I think of getting hit in the face with a piece of ice the size of a conventional football (European or American, I don’t really care) whenever I hear it. Suffice it to say, if you name something “Cool Impact” I think of painful things, things that want to explode and release cold energy from the negaverse, etc. I definitely don’t think of a refreshing scent that’ll cover my own -ahem- NOT so refreshing scent. Alright, so we’re clear on this right? The name is insane and doesn’t tell me what it smells like? Well that’s good because I’ve got ANOTHER problem. What, in the name of the universe, is SILVER ION TECHNOLOGY?! What (and I’m actually NOT joking here) did they go to the local nuclear power plant and just STEAL some ionized SILVER?! How does one even go ABOUT DOING such a thing?! Is there a hotline for these people?! Am I going to DIE because I was born with genes that make me smell like a 400 pound gorilla in LABOUR?!

The answers? No, I don’t know, no, and absolutely not because I don’t smell that bad. Well, no, those aren’t ALL the answers see, there IS one thing that I haven’t mentioned, and frankly? It’s a gender thing to boot. Male deodorant is given, well, MASCULINE names. Stuff like cool impact, or matter horn, or silver bolt (which honestly makes me think of a really camp DC superhero [sorry DC, but I’m looking at you]), or (and this one’s my personal favourite) ADVENTURE. I’m not even lying about that last one, the thing’s called ADVENTURE. Seriously, google ADVENTURE deodorant, you know what? Here, I did it for you. It’s the first link.

In comparison, female deodorant is given less, oh what’s the phrase? HEART POUNDING? Yeah, heart pounding; female deodorant is usually given less heart pounding names (and I know that last sentence’s syntax seems off, and it is, so let it go); name likes Ultimate smooth, or powder fresh (which sound more like what they do and what they’re made of then anything else). Seriously. Males get ADVENTURE, and females? Well they get powder fresh. And in case you’re wondering, I’m not getting into the whole “gender image in the media” thing right now. Instead? I’m getting into the deodorant names are CRAZY thing right now because it is INSANE how crazy some of the stuff we buy is named. I’m honestly waiting for the day Gillette offers the AK-47 razor, capable of “utterly murdering your hair follicles in a sensation that leaves you feeling smooth, sexy, and (just because I’m really having fun with this) MAAAAAANLY!!!”

I mean, why not? Old Spice has already offered a type of body wash that apparently gave Terry Crews to turn off the sun and then (because it’s too cold) turn it back on again. I’m also pretty sure he added another sun and blew up a few buildings, but you get my point. Well, my TWO points; (1) deodorant names are insane and provide NO information to the potential buyer on the SCENT and (2) marketing and ad campaigns pretty much pander to the lowest common denominator and we (as consumers) are perfectly alright with that so long as we know that our shave is super smooth (and capable of bringing down a third world country dictatorship faster than twitter [I’m looking at you Egypt]) and our legs will be able to “bring out the goddess” in ourselves. Take that last sentence how you will.

As always, this has been your Admin, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

Deadman Wonderland; Violent As All Get Out

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the SECOND of two posts to celebrate the Victoria Day holiday here in…oh that’s right, the internet! Folks, I have a FANTASTIC post lined up for you right now and for today, and it’s all about, alright I’m sorry, I really can’t carry that kind of hype for too long without it getting annoying. Back to the main point, this actually IS the second post I promised to do, and while that might not seem like a big deal (and it really isn’t), I have been struggling with the source material for this thing for a while now. Well, for a few days.

Originally, I wanted it to be about Deadman Wonderland, an EXTREMELY violent manga written by Jinsei Kataoka and drawn by Kasuma Kondou (the guy who did Eureka Seven), but frankly, I can’t even get myself to finish reading it. The wikipedia page is as violent as humanely possible, and that’s surprising enough as it is. Oddly enough though, it’s not that I can’t stand violence, in contrast I’m currently watching the 4th movie in the Saw franchise and I feel relatively fine (terrified of the prospects of course, but otherwise I understand that it’s a work of fiction and that I should treat it as such, after all, no one went into the Human Centipede to take notes for their Life Sci course, they went to see it because it makes no sense under ANY circumstance and that’s cool too), it’s that the way it’s being portrayed that, well, TERRIFIES me! I mean seriously! I remember when I was younger I’d go through the same emotions, I wouldn’t be able to watch or read something through because of how scared I got and that’s just troublesome. Though, one does learn to adjust themselves to the violence, but still.

Hold on a minute…hmm….Let’s see shall we? Teenage protagonist thrown into a fight for his life and the world he holds dear against his will? REALLY weak teenage male protagonist who is as cool (emotionally) as fire? Meets characters who are SIGNIFICANTLY stronger than he is, characters who he constantly wishes he could be? Weird albino female protagonist? Crazy awesome power that comes at a VERY dangerous price? Blood spurting every which way? Characters who die faster than a drop of a hat? Good grief people, this is Evangelion except not! I was wondering what took me so long to figure it out!

Although in all fairness, it’s starting to grow on me; I read about 10 more chapters while writing this review and while it certainly doesn’t have the literary flair that Evangelion did, it IS interesting, and after reading Bakuman, I can safely admit that YES I now judge work based on how interesting it is.

And that’s been the worst “review” of anything ever. Don’t challenge me on that one folks, I’ve been fighting this topic in my mind since Friday, and frankly, I’m not in the mood to analyze Deadman Wonderland for anything more than it is: a very well drawn fight for survival in the worst prison since Sona.

As always, this has been your Admin, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

Stupidity; Know That You Really Know Nothing

So folks, clearly we’re all still here, meaning that the Rapture rumours turned out to be false! It’s a shame too, since I hadn’t really planned for the next 60 or so years. OH WAIT, that’s RIGHT. I DID have that much time planned and frankly, getting involved in ANOTHER search for some powerful move that can only be acquired by getting Adam is NOT on my todo list. That’s what the Rapture rumours were, right?

No, no, I’m joking, I’m joking…or am I? Though the whole rapture thing did bring something to my attention, well NO, it didn’t just MAGICALLY point it out to me, but while discussing it with friends and acquaintances I noticed that oh good grief why even bother beating around the bush? PEOPLE ARE STUPID. They are MORONS and most of the time I CANNOT tolerate how DUMB we can be! And before you even bother bringing up the two most obvious points on your minds; NO I’m not talking about religion, I refuse to be close minded to other cultures (STUPID by the way, is NOT a culture, though the way I’ve been exposed to it, it might as well BE!) so this isn’t ACTUALLY about religion. SECOND. YES, I am guilty of being stupid as well, so don’t even bother with that moronic point. Of course, there IS a third point that I haven’t brought up that you’re probably thinking, or at least, it should be a derivation of this point, though the fact of the matter is that I’m going to bring it up later.

So here’s the thing: people are stupid, but the thing is, stupid is a really stupid concept. So what might be stupid to me wouldn’t necessarily be stupid to someone else, but the fact of the matter is that the third question you should be asking yourself needs to be brought up right now: people are stupid, so how do we fix that? The first, and most obvious, method is to ignore the REALLY stupid stuff, or rather let the really stupid stuff go, and then move on with your work or life accordingly.

The next thing we could do is this: use Pavlovian tactics to try to TEACH people how to NOT be stupid, but that’s really cartoony and that wouldn’t work anyway, because there’s ANOTHER problem we haven’t thought through. There will ALWAYS be stupid people in this world because not everyone thinks the same, and that’s what’s going to cause problems in the world. People disagreeing with other people will lead to conflicts and frankly, we already know that. But that problem is that we don’t. Even now, I’m expecting a lot of you to agree with me on this, even though I’ve never met you and even though I have no reason to. This is because opinion is NOT objective. It is ENTIRELY subjective, and though we always PROVIDE our opinions, we (or rather, I) often forget that people do NOT have to agree with me.

Although, another thing that I should probably mention is that a lot of times, we (and again, I) don’t know what INTELLIGENT actually is. For example, we look at a profound pianist, or perhaps an artist, or a physicist and claim that they’re geniuses. And then we look at so called “lesser” individuals and wonder where they’ve gone wrong, or rather, what happened to them that changed their lives, while the truth is that often, NOTHING has gone wrong. They are, for all intents and purposes NOT stupid, because they have done what THEY wanted to do. In all fairness though, is it REALLY fair letting a “genius” physicist judge intelligence? If they were smart at all, they’d know that they know absolutely nothing. But really, that’s what makes people smart or intelligent, they’re smart enough to know that they know nothing, and that’s why they don’t just stop learning after one lesson and preach to people about what they’ve learned. It’s because stupidity and intelligence are one and the same. And sooner or later, no matter HOW smart you are, something will make you feel stupid or inadequate.

Though that’s the interesting thing isn’t it? You feel inadequate, but then you realize that you need to know that too, so you can learn even more. Because that’s what intelligence is really. It isn’t really knowing HOW to do something so much as it is being able to LEARN how to do that something. See how I phrased that? It means that the journey’s more important than the destination. It also means that rational thought doesn’t make you smart; even thinking rationally doesn’t make you smart, because rational thought is as fluid as the air in the atmosphere, and therefore changes constantly. Then again, what do I know? Oh wait, that’s right. Nothing! Not YET anyway!

As always, this has been your Admin and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

Welcome to TheByteDaily (Reprise)

Date: May 18, 2011

I can’t seem to come up with an idea, and I mean that, obviously, in the blog sense of things. Seriously people who read my blog, for some reason, over the past what? Week or so since the Blood Brother analysis? I haven’t been able to come up with ANY good material for this thing. Oh wait, hold on, Saturday right? See! I can’t even ADD properly anymore, well I mean I CAN just not right away and that is DEFINITELY not because of my age!

So here’s the thing, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to write about, and people have been throwing ideas at me from here and there; like a Thor review. I liked the movie folks, it had Thor falling in love with Natalie Portman and learning the error of his ways…not a LOT of subtext there now is there? And it didn’t do enough things wrong to actually bother me, so I don’t really see the need to rant about it. Which brought me to an interesting point, do I do this for the readership or do I do it for myself? Well the answer’s really simple, I do this for myself, meaning I’m not EXACTLY in a position where I NEED to please other people (more than my nature dictates of course).

You DO know what that means, right? It means that I’m selfish enough to WANT people to read the blog, but certainly not UNSELFISH enough that I won’t let go of my desires and try ENTIRELY to please them. But I digress, the original point was my lack of ideas. So after completely crushing the possibility of ANOTHER Thor review that says the EXACT same thing (Natalie Portam-Thor relationship WTF? OMG EXPLOSIONS!!! OMG ODIN!!! ZOMG DESTUCTOR SCENE!!!) I thought about writing a breakdown of Mike Posner’s Bow Chicka Wow Wow. I’d like to say this now, I am IN LOVE with this song for some VERY odd reason. I think it’s also why I’m such a fan of R. Kelly’s Bump N’Grind; it’s a rather straightforward song that is NOT trying to hide what it wants to do; to bump and grind and bow chicka wow wow respectively.

Then the song idea got me thinking even further, what’s the point of this blog? I already established that the blog is for me and not anyone else, so what is the exact PURPOSE of the blog? I suppose to those who are reading, and for those who HAVE been reading since the beginning (about 3 people) it seems like I’m just another byproduct of the internet times; I use the internet to provide my opinion on A LOT of stuff, trying my best to avoid topics that illicit MAJOR outrage (Libya, Charlie Sheen, and the recent news regarding America are ALL examples of topics that illicit MAJOR outrage). But what IS the purpose of the blog really? Well, in all honesty, this blog is a side project that is slowly becoming a rather major and extremely interesting endeavor (don’t get me wrong folks, I am NOT quitting the blog, this isn’t the end of a rather unknown [well clearly not entirely unknown] internet venture).

The TRUE purpose of TheByteDaily, which went SEVERAL name changes during the first few days, is to be a place where I could pretty much talk about what “bytes.” To those of you who don’t know, and it’s a colloquial thing so don’t be ashamed, if something “bites” it has a negative connotation for those involved. For example, hmm OH! Getting hurt bites, OH! Better example! The Phantom Menace bites. And you know what really bothers me about the whole “bite” thing? It’s all in the present sense. It’s not like “sucks” which can be used in the past, present AND future tense. Something DOES bite or it WILL bite, the Phantom Menace BITES, it didn’t BIT, and I seriously don’t know why that is!

I digress once more however, this blog is about stuff that “bytes.” Well, that was actually the MAIN reason, but I decided to use the twitter feed for that, so the main blog is pretty much for well, whatever! So I suppose I DID get one idea for the blog. Just not an idea that can be seen in this post. I’ve decided that the main blog WILL be used for whatever, whether it be a rant, psychological evaluation, or a breakdown of Mike Posner’s Bow Chicka Wow Wow (seriously people, AWESOME song), so I suppose what I’m saying (Iron Man 2 was an awesome movie by the way, JUST SAYING), if I’m saying anything at all is welcome back! To TheByteDaily! Because starting today, things are going to CHANGE around here, well not really, but still, I think I’ve figured out a way to bring a rather sense of balance to it all.

As always, this has been your Admin, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

Font Information

I’ve decided to switch things up a little with the font for the blog. I’m going to use Georgia size 12 font for the blog posts, but it won’t be the standard size that my wordpress theme dictates. It’s going to be the font from Microsoft Office 2007. You’ll notice the differences in font size with my latest post.

-EK

Blood Brothers (n vs. n) Analysis

Date: May 14th, 2011

Alright, before we start this analysis, I need to make something remarkably clear. I am REALLY excited for this. I mean, as soon as the play started, two things were made abundantly clear to me; I was going to have to write a review of the play (with references to actors and roles, without using any REAL names) and I was going to have to post a major analysis of the play, and by analysis I meant something that was a rant. That made me even more excited to see the play too, which well, I’m sure if you’re reading the ANALYSIS, you’ve read the review. If you haven’t, well read it YES, but if you’re just in the mood for a rant that’s acceptable as well. I hope you all understand, it’s been an interesting week; things have been fantastic, but I am in the mood for a DAMN good rant.

So let’s begin with the most obvious factor here, the play is pretty much a dramatic interpretation of the classic “Nature vs. Nurture” argument. And I don’t mean that like it’s some magical revelation. No no, this is made REALLY obvious from the moment Mrs. Lyons makes Mrs. Johnston swear on the bible to stop her from revealing their pact to the rest of the world or their children. Though, that’s not entirely fair to the play. The MOST obvious point in the play where nvn (which is what I’m calling nature vs. nature from now on) is discussed is actually when Mickie and Eddie are told by Mrs. Johnston that they’re brothers to each other and Mickie screams at his mother asking her why she didn’t give him away in place of Eddie. Actually…well, clearly you can see my point. Nvn is discussed frequently throughout the play, but my greater point has little to do with the play; are we defined by our genetics or are we defined by our upbringing? Will the asthmatic individual overcome said asthma if he or she is placed in an upbringing where rigorous activity occurs on a daily basis and access to modern medicine is limited? Will the unintelligent boy become a genius if his parents are both scientists for NASA? How IS intelligence defined ANYWAY? These are all questions that are brought up thanks to the nvn concept and frankly, it’s about time someone says it: nature and nurture move humanity forward TOGETHER. See the problem that I’ve noticed, and that I constantly fuel, is that we want a cure. ONE magical item that can provide the ultimate answers to humanity, and this concept of the one item is prominent throughout most of human history. Sadly, now all I can think about is Lord of the Rings and the ONE ring, but still, you can see my point.

This is a problem mainly because human growth, and HUMANITY doesn’t move forward due to a single concept. We are who are and, more importantly, we are WHERE we are because of BOTH our own nature AND how we are raised. Think of it like this: you know the country hicks that all the “educated” people laugh about? Well just think, if that country hick grew up in, oh I don’t know, London, with let’s say a banker father and a teacher mother, he wouldn’t be a country hick anymore! Likewise, if our good friend Hicky’s parents were country hicks who then moved to London, England to have Hickey, he’d also be different. And then you have to factor in Hicky’s own personality that would develop thanks to the media he views and the friends he makes, which makes life even MORE complicated and then we all begin to see the point that it wasn’t JUST Hicky’s environment that raised him. Which is, incidentally, the first actual conclusion I’ve ever presented; nature and nurture work hand in hand to move us forward.

NOW comes the philosophical part, once again thought up thanks to our good actors who played their roles FANTASTICALLY in Blood Brothers; can one event define our entire lives? Or, let me rephrase that, can one single event define us? If you asked Bruce Wayne, he’d say yes, namely because his parents died and he became the god damned Batman (I’m sorry, but it’s Batman, we all know I had to use that quote). Oh oh! If you asked Harry Potter, he’d also say yes! OH! Hey! Frodo too! Anakin, let’s not forget him. What about Ichigo? Or Naruto? Light and L? Or even Edward and Alphonse! Of course, we’re forgetting the important characters of Mrs. Lyons, Sammy Johnston, Mickie Lyons, and Eddie Johnston. Notice that I excluded Mrs. Johnston herself, I surmised that that should’ve been obvious enough to ANY reader. Each of those characters pretty much had their entire lives written for them (and I don’t mean that in the literal sense that they’re nothing more than characters on a page) as soon as they passed through ONE moment. Mrs. Lyons sealed herself as Mrs. Crazy as soon as she decided to fake a pregnancy; Sammy sealed himself as the jailbird as soon as he set his school on fire; Mickie and Eddie sealed themselves as Mickie and Eddie when one had the (mis) fortune to be chosen of the other and so on and so forth. But the major question to be asked is this: did their “one moments” define their entire lives, or did their choices throughout their lives define them?

Well, I personally believe (like I did with nvn) that one moment does not define our entire lives. We define present and future through the actions that we undergo, but I will say this: whether it be an all powerful deity or the unknown universe, 50% of our lives are dictated through a sort of universal randomness. The only way to avoid life, of course, is to not live it; lock yourself up in your home for your entire life, have people deliver groceries, etc. and use the internet and television to discover what the outside world is like and you’ll find that even THEN things won’t turn out EXACTLY how you might plan because of some sort of universal randomness. Also, yes, I believe that this randomness accounts for an exact 50% of our life. You can counter and argue on the comments page (in fact I recommend that you do, trolls and all!).

Finally we come to MY favourite point during this rather long rant; what’s the difference between having bad luck and being in a bad position? Sometimes, the difference is almost nonexistent, other times they’re really noticeable, and I’m going to use an extreme as an example (I HATE reductio ad absurdum by the way, so me doing this is actually torturing me on the inside); YOU (-points- yes you) are involved in a small robbery after being reared in by your brother, your brother loses control and shoots the guy, you both run away and are both caught by the police. You then spend seven years in jail. Was it bad luck or being in a bad position that lead to you being in jail? The answer is actually a fluid concept, because I never mentioned that your wife is pregnant, you’ve both lost your jobs thanks to being made redundant by a MASSIVE recession and you just CANNOT find employment by ANYONE even the company that fired you where you offered to work for half the pay and twice the hours just to get by. So let’s ask again: was it bad luck or being in a bad position? Honestly, this goes back to the other question: can one moment define our entire lives; most importantly was it your nature that made you accept your brothers offer, or was it the environment that you found yourself in?

For the observant readers, you’ll know what I just referenced, but that’s not the point. The point is this: when it comes down to it, I don’t know the difference between bad luck and poor positioning because those are such fluid concepts. And I DEFINITELY don’t know which one trumps the other, nature or nurture (that’s why I just say it’s both and leave it be). Frankly though, I don’t think anyone does. You can argue your points until your both succumb to cyanosis from lack of oxygen to, but neither of you will win. But I DO know this, one moment does NOT control our entire lives. That’s why success stories are possible. That’s why humans can grow and learn from their MISTAKES. That’s why humans can move on and adapt. That’s why we as organisms who share this universe can EVOLVE forward.

Anyway, that was a lot of fun, and DO comment this time. I really want to discuss this further. As always, this has been your Admin, and DO remember! Always look on the Byte side life!

-EK