Deviant Paradigm: Of The Wolf Within
Random garbage. Remarks about the comic Deviant Paradigm, notes about my life, comments about politics. This is my place to rant and rave. Fear this, World! FEAR IT!


Nickname: Avvy
Age: 24
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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.

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The Big Gay Post

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Deviant Paradigm
Deviant Paradigm: Beware of Catgirl

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Deviant Paradigm
--My Webcomic--


Enea Volare Mezzo
-- Sapph's Blog --

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Proving Nothing's So Bad It Can't Get Worse
Wow. I mean, just, wow. The Palestinians, who have so far shown a truly remarkable incapability for responsible self-governance, look like they're going to quickly run themselves into the ground now. You may be aware, they recently elected the terrorist organization Hamas, whose only major goal is the absolute destruction of Israel, to pretty much become their government. I can see why they'd be tired of Fatah, but seriously folks... We're talking about an organization where one of the electees has been nicknamed 'Hitler.' *sigh* So most of the world is pulling funding. Good. Maybe after the bastards have no money, no hope, and no point, the Palestinians will figure out how reality works and they can start to become viable as a possible nationstate. If you think I'm being harsh, check this out. Yep. I particularly like this part, where they associate co-education with suicides.
He made it clear that one way Hamas planned to encourage the next generation to follow sharia was to revamp the Palestinian education system, separating girls' and boys' classes and introducing a more Islamic curriculum.

"We will take such measures because we look at examples in the West, like Sweden. They have the highest level of co-education and the highest level of suicides," he said. "We would like our children to have a protected environment. We don't want any distractions for our boys or our girls."

Then again, since blowing yourself up isn't suicide as long as you take some Jews out with you in the minds of these folks, they must have a pretty low suicide rate... ARGH The words I want use to refer to these personages aren't fit to write, even for on the Internet. They're not quite at the level of Iran's "Please convert my country into a big glass parking lot" President, but they're high up on Avvy's "Deserve to be Beaten Within An Inch of Their Lives by Obsidian-Studded Two-by-Fours" list.

And this part makes me laugh out loud.
"We are centrists, we are against any kind of extremism..."

Does anyone actually believe that statement? Now, in context, that's supposed to be about establishing religious police (the Happy-Fun-Time Brigade, as I call them), but it's a pretty wide generality, so I think I can safely mock it outside of that strict context.

If there was only some way to get the bastards to all kill themselves and leave behind the decent folk. Then we could work a "two state solution." Right now we're looking at a "one state and one lawless bloody region solution." And the Palestinians look like they're doing their best to deserve it.

Look at That! It's Resolving Itself!
Whoa, yeah, today... Once I got off work, today was a very good day. Had fun in Imperian, and now I'm level 25. I'm going to talk to my guild mentor and try to get out of my noviate status tomorrow. And while I'm on there, who starts messaging me on Facebook but Jolynn. I was very pleasantly shocked. Even more so when she suggested the very thing I've spent two weeks dithering over how to ask about -- meeting in person to catch up with one another. Hell yes. We'll see how she works things out (we'll meet sometime when she heads up to visit her grandparents, who live almost exactly halfway between us) but I'm hoping I'll have the chance to see her again soon. Gosh, twelve years...

I'm starting to get lines from the chorus of "The Story So Far" by Newfound Glory in my head, "Did you notice I was afraid? I thought I'd run out of things to say." *laugh* Yeah, since when have I ever had that problem, eh?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Surprise, Surprise; Torvalds is Not a Fool
Bored at work, so I was checking out The Register, as I read BOFH regularly. I came across this article. Personally, I've never been a GPL fan. I always thought it was foolish, since, you know, I'm a developer and I happen to like to eat. Don't get me wrong, open source is grand. I love it. I just don't like a license that says, "and if you use me, what you do is open too!" I DO like the BSD-style license, "I'm free, but what you do with me is your own business." If you want to contribute, that's great, it should be encouraged. Encouraged, but not forced.

Looks like Torvalds, the grandmaster of the Linux kernel isn't that far off from me, at least on certain issues. I know why they've got this DRM clause. DRM is something that open sourcers despise. I hate DRM on principle too, but you can't expect to open up everything the way he reads GPL 3 as doing. I'm going to trust him on this, since he obviously knows more about this sort of thing than I do. I agree with his point. Who in their right minds wants all their private keys to be public? Doesn't that start to intimate that we shouldn't have any form of security? I, for one, think that the kernel of the OS needs to support some nice lockdown procedures that aren't easy for the bad folks out there to get ahold of. Considering how much work I've put into securing the servers at work, I can hardly be blamed. Looks like Torvalds is with me on this one.

So Very Tired
Ugh... I really wish I could survive on maybe 5 hours of sleep. I could get so much done then. I could get into work on time (as I did not yesterday and did today), get all my homework done, and still manage to spend too much time in Imperian, my current game. I tell you, this is the first time I haven't minded playing with random people on the Internet. Maybe it's just because the discussion doesn't peak at "im gankin n00bs lolz" and in fact a person speaking like that would be treated as though they were insane...or just kicked off outright. It's refreshing and fun. Though it's really sad when you have dreams about playing a MUD. With the terminal and everything. Just really sad.

Apart from my newfound addiction to text-based goodness, I have really little else going on. I haven't heard if my thesis proposal was accepted, but I suspect it will be. I just hope I'll be able to pull the thing off. I'm building a voice command interface for these little robot things that all the new engineers get. And I'm doing it from scratch. Yep, I'm probably doomed. I'm still waiting on my couch. I'm evidently 33rd in line in the entire country to get a sofa and the company's starting to wonder why I don't have it yet too. At least that's what I gather from the phone call I got from them a couple days ago.

Mom just had neck surgery. She had a compressed disc in her neck, or something along those lines, and it was giving her terrible shoulder problems. She came out of surgery just fine and says that her shoulder is already starting to feel better. Here's hoping it's fixed for good.

Sapph's still wearing the collar I got him for Christmas. He probably doesn't realize how much I appreciate him humoring me. Jonathan's still majorly freaked out by Mal's leash. *grin* I'm so glad to help bring some bizarreness to the world. He was wondering last night why nobody told him anything. I told him it was because he'd just freak out about it. He then agreed with me that that was probably it. Whether he will remember this is questionable. He decided he needed reasonably drunk again.

And speaking of last night, the Spycraft went pretty well. We finished up Hoax and everybody (or just about everybody) leveled up. I'll have to start working on the haunted house episodes soon then. I think they had fun. I just wish it wasn't so hard to keep everybody involved. There's also been some concern that I need to get rid of all the non-players, since they tend to just distract my already short-attention-span-endowed group. We'll see. I don't have as god-like control of everyone that I or others would sometimes imagine. That and I don't want to upset anybody, which leaves me tight-rope walking between all the folks that aren't very fond of each other. We'll just have to see what I can pull off.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Resolving Conflicts by Not Having Conflicts
Well, perhaps I need not fretted, and the terrible decision removed from my hands. That is, it's hard to plot about another party when the other party doesn't speak. *shrugs* Could just be busy I guess. I'll let what happens happens. That's how it worked for me the last time. And I have little problem with simple friendship either, or as simple as I tend to make friendship. But you know, at least that much would be nice. Anyhow, c'est la vie. I'll just make the best of whatever's thrown at me. I can't really do much more.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bah. The problem with having your blog publicly attached to you whereever you go is that when you want to say something that might concern one of your friends, you have no idea if they will read it or not; just that the possiblity is there... Oh well, it's not like I have much to hide anyway. If I'm damned for this, so be it.

Nice that Pandora's supporting me. It just started playing "So Hard" by the Petshop Boys. *grin*

I'm beginning to wonder at the coincidence of my old friend finding me. You see, I figured she decided to search for everybody that liked, oh, say, Depeche Mode. Now I've learned that Facebook only searches one college at a time for something specific like that (BTW, all the female Depeche Mode fans in Omaha, and the others I've seen, look to be fairly attractive. I wonder if I can draw some sort of conclusion from this). Now that's not strictly true... But otherwise we're looking at more than 500 search results. This is a strong indication that she randomly searched for me specifically. Either that or the coincidences mount in a disturbing manner, but one I'm not totally unfamiliar with. I'm not sure which is more likely actually. Maybe I should ask her how she ran across me in Facebook. That would solve that problem.

The real dilemma is something else. Now, I'd like to see her again, just at least to rekindle a friendship left alone for twelve years. I don't figure this would be that hard--I just take off some weekend that she goes to visit her grandparents and I go back to the home region of the state and stop by. But I'm also tempted to have an ulterior motive. Mathis suggested that I "hook up with her," advice that I kind of want to follow. After all, I am a highly lonely guy who just got contacted out of the blue by an old friend who just so happens to be a beautiful, single woman. Not just that, but I rather had a schoolboy crush on her (I recognize now, years after the fact) long ago, and it's one that I've never quite lost. I looked up to her a lot back then. She seemed so much older and more mature, much more than just eleven months worth. I somehow doubt that she's changed from the take-charge girl that she was -- just the sort of thing I'd like to both draw out and temper my more aggressive aspects. Another coincidence that is not lost on me is that she lives right at the very edge of my dateable radius. Actually, I called that one well before I looked it up. I was not very surprised. It's exactly the sort of horrible coincidence that my powers produce. This brings up another problem -- she lives far enough away to not serve a very good purpose as a lap warmer when we watch movies here in the lounges. Not that I'll have time for movies later this semester anyway and since when have I gotten everything I wanted, eh? The other thing is that I don't want to risk totally killing any hope of rekindling our friendship because I want to press it into something more. See my dilemma? And it doesn't help that I notice things that I read into far too much (I could swear that when she got a hold of me this last weekend, her Facebook profile listed her as looking for "Friendship and Random Play" and now "Relationship" is in there too. It could just be my faulty memory, but I distinctly remember thinking that that was too bad, but I could understand since she was looking for work and couldn't know where she'd end up; so a relationship would only make things more complicated).

So, uh, any advice from the rest of you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"Say goodnight, dopplegangers!"
According to one of Luke's friends, who lives in California, Luke has a doppelganger. But not just any doppelganger. She went down to San Fran late one evening with a friend (this alone raises sanity questions, but I'll let them slide *grin*). Long story short, they consumed vast quantities of water, soda, and caffinated gum. With so much fluid and diaretic in their blood stream, they required the use of the facilities, so to speak. And discovered that gas stations in Twin Peaks (the SF suburb they were in) didn't have bathrooms. They got desperate enough that they stopped at a gay bar. And she saw Luke's doppelganger. In fact, she thought it was Luke -- until she noticed said doppelganger's current facial interaction with a big black guy. They left rapidly at this point and their story continues with a stop at a lesbian bar. Luke's friend then gets hit on by a pair of bull lesbians (not the term used, but I'm going for tact here), who were the very stereotype of their kind. She says she's now got numbers and business cards, at least one of which is for a bar she believes of highly questionable status. Anyway, Luke's got some kind of gay doppelganger in SF.

Makes me wonder if I've got a gay doppelganger. And if so, maybe he's having trouble finding dates, but has women falling all over him. And if that's also true, perhaps we should meet and exchange powers. Sure, that's a lot of if's, but one never knows...

Monday, January 16, 2006

In the immortal words of the Keymaster, "You will perish in flames!"
Lovely. At least I've got an excuse for not going to work. Someone set off the goddamned fire alarm. At 5:20 in the morning. As you can tell, it's not 5:20 anymore... It's 5:45 and the alarm is still going off. This is going to make sleeping very difficult. I hope whoever did this catches themselves on fire and then tries to stop, drop, and roll in an oil slick.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Blast From the Past
By Shockley, when Jamie told me that weird things happened with Facebook, she wasn't anywhere near kidding. I just got a message from a girl (woman, now) that I haven't seen in...oh, it's got to be eleven or twelve years. We used to wander through the canals back in the town I was born in, and we went tobogganing in the winters when she'd come up and visit our neighbors on school break (they were her grandparents I think...I'm a bit fuzzy on that bit). Hell, we even had one of those silly little clubs that kids form. Geez, it's all coming back now, I can even remember the name of the club... It's amazing how I can't remember what happened two-and-half weeks ago, but I can still remember the way the patio we used for the clubhouse smelled. I've got some serious catching up to do...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Something tells me that the "One Night in Bangkok" on the sign for the gay club/strip club near where I work isn't referring to the classic Murray Head song. Just a guess, you understand, but I kind of doubt that's what it's all about.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

New Things to FEAR
I just discovered the FEAR SDK was released. I'm so excited. I mean, sure, I know I'll probably never actually play with it... But just to have it. Ooooohhh. Shivers down the spine; let me tell you.

On Wrong and Evil
In my last post, I mentioned the words Wrong and Evil. For example I said that while I believed homosexuality is Wrong (you are welcome to believe what you like), I refuse to believe that homosexuality is Evil. If anyone tells you differently, let me know, I'll put on my ideological hobnails and we'll have a friendly debate. They might not be totally full of garbage, but it's going to be my first guess.

Wrong is generally self-gratifying and doesn't often cause other people much harm. What is Wrong might be different from person to person based on their own morality, but what is Evil is generally recognized as so by the average person. For example, a shoplifter is Wrong, but a mass murdering dictator like Saddam is Evil. Evil usually operates to increase the amount of suffering in the world. That is its end goal. Evil does Wrong, not because of the self-gratification, but simply because it is Wrong. Not everything that is Wrong is Evil, but nearly everything that is Evil is Wrong. Now I'll forestall your question from two sentences ago: "But Avvy, American occupation troops in Iraq have arguably increased the suffering of its people in at least some instances. Isn't that Evil?" The answer is no. As I stated, the end goal, the very point of Evil is to increase suffering. A temporary increase of suffering (and considering that the Coalition troops have yet to feed people into industrial shredders after raping their families in front of them, I can make a pretty good point against an overall increase in suffering in Iraq due to the war) is not Evil if its end goal is to reduce suffering. The American Civil War was a time of great suffering, but the North's fighting in it was not for Evil, to increase suffering. Rather, it was to lessen suffering. Dean Barnett at Soxblog, and I agree on this sort of thing. Sometimes it is necessary to do what is ordinarily Wrong to head off Evil. These times are always hard. We live in such times now.

Don't be surprised to see more disserations on the nature of Wrong and Evil from me. I've kind of run out of steam on it this time (the last post really took it out of me), but Wrong and Evil are things that occupy my attention a lot when I muse about the world on my long commutes to and from work. I hope to have more next time, but this should provide at least a primer so that when you hear me throw around the words Wrong and Evil, you know where I'm coming from.

The Big Gay Post
Considering both my recent conversations and the sudden wealth of other blog topics I've read on this recently, it is fated that I now endeavor on my big gay post. I say that in jest, though it should also be truth. This will be an enormously long post, and it concerns homosexuality. As it happens, most of my friends are liberal, excluding Luke, who is certainly farther Right than I, and Jonathan, who I think is more centrist. I've noted that they, and liberals in general, do not really understand conservatives -- to forestall negative comments before I actually get to things to disagree with, we conservatives don't understand liberal thought either. So, to help with this, I'm going to explain my own perspectives on homosexuality and gay marriage, detail how my intensely rational mind has distilled the most of the base conservative opposition to gay marriage (this is remarkably misunderstood, by both liberals and conservatives), offer some suggestions (what can I say, I'm a bit of a demagogue), and possibly even get into the meanings of Wrong and Evil and how the two are very different from each other.

First, to lay things down, I am, as one ass I ran into in the elevator landing felt necessary to state, "queer bait." To digress for a moment, I wish the President would authorize me to bash in people's knees with a bat, but only if they really deserved it. Kind of an NSA wiretap thing, only with physical pain. I'll keep out of that mess right now, I'm too cynical to believe that we have much of anything regarding privacy, especially concerning the electronic world. (The FBI and the NSA might read your email, but if you're a GMail user, Google does. And yet, who do we care about? But to get back to what I'm actually trying to talk about...) It's a sad fact of life that my style is not appreciated by many heterosexuals of my gender. Fortunately, I have never gotten a bad comment on it from women, or, to be more general and prove the ass' point, anyone who is attracted to men. I am actually eagerly anticipating someone calling me a homophobe. I can't wait. Because I'll just bring Sapph over and then laugh in their face. But what are my views? Well, as a conservative Christian (Lutheran, LCMS, if you really want to know the score) I disagree with homosexuality on a moral basis. In fact, President Bush and I agree completely on homosexuality. Now, you can spam me hate comments on this if you'd like, but I'd appreciate it if you'd actually research what his view on it is first. I won't bother putting up a link, you can just google this, it's veracity will quickly become evident. When asked about homosexuality, Bush has said, "Hey, we're all sinners." For some reason, people seem to focus on the 'sinners' bit and take offense. Actually this is some of the most tolerant language you could hope for from someone who believes that what you do is morally objectionable. It's not that he called gays "sinners," it's that he called everyone sinners. It's a truly Christian perspective. We all have sinned, are sinning. I know I do a lot of morally objectionable things during every day. I'm a sinner for sure. What it means is that we're no different. What you do is wrong, what I do is wrong. Neither is more wrong. Homosexuality is not one of those sins that God will not forgive, regardless of what some Catholic priests evidently believe, this Lutheran has never read that sort of language in the Bible. Ever. (Paul gets close in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 but then mentions forgiveness in verse 11.) And since we're all sinners, we're all in the same boat. According to the Bible, we're all sinful by nature. By nature -- that means from beginning to end. You don't get to be any more sinful by default than I am, even if you're gay. This is regardless to how you feel. Some of our crosses are far heavier to bear, and gays have it about the toughest. All of that said, I'll get hate comment spam from other Christians too -- I might be a bad Christian for it, but I have prayed that my gay friends find someone to be with. I hate to see my friends unhappy. I don't happen to think God holds their homosexuality against them any more than any of the terrible things that I do and am. Through my conversations, mostly with Sapph, I've come to the understanding that homosexuality isn't necessarily a choice. It might be something that some people kind of decide to do, but for others, it's simply the way they're wired. I won't go as far as saying there's such thing as a "gay gene" (in fact, I can make a pretty good biological argument against such a thing), however it is obvious that some people simply are homosexuals. While, due to my theology, I view homosexuality as wrong I do not believe that homosexuals are, by their nature, evil. In fact, I think that is a patently ridiculous notion. And considering that my theology also considers many of the things I do and am as wrong, I am certainly in no position to condemn them. Hell, I'd probably be lumped in the same group had the situation come up (homosexuality generally gets put with other forms of sexual immorality, including fornication, which I, given my track record with temptation, would almost assuredly be unable to resist had I ever had a willing girlfriend). You could always think of it this way -- if Jesus were to show up in the US right now, He'd be hanging out with the gays, the prostitues, the porn stars, the alcoholics, the swindlers, and the con artists. Folks like Pat Robertson would get those vaguely snide remarks from Him that He used to describe the Pharisees. If the Bible wasn't so specific concerning how marriage is intended, I wouldn't have much of a leg to stand on. But though I don't necessarily support gay marriage from a moral standpoint, I might have been able to be talked into it from a legal standpoint. Of course, I've long felt that the gay marriage issue was ruined for gays by their own leadership.

I've seen it as a problem of semantics, timing, and image. It is very hard to make people change or do things differently than the way they always have done unless there is a clear reason to. If I recall correctly, we didn't have a Catholic President until JFK. We have yet to have a black or female President. People as a group, including the American public, don't like to change. Change must be one of two things to be successful. Gradual or ignited. Civil rights worked because they could ignite popular opinion. And even then, how long did it take for the civil rights movement to actually ignite? I'd guess somewhere in the vicinity of a hundred years. Homosexuals have been a viable minority group for only about thirty years, before that they were considered "perverts" and "predators." Now we are at the point where they are accepted to some degree or another and in a generation or two will be as accepted as the wildly xenophobic human animal is capable. Not bad for thirty years of work. But not long enough to gain full acceptance yet. So you would need to have a spark to ignite the mass behind you. This is where the recent American push for tolerance and acceptance backfired. There's a lot of sentiment to tolerate homosexuality, preventing most of the wild or horrific events that could galvanize the nation as they did for the civil rights movement. So you have to act gradually to enact change. I can't really blame homosexuals for wanting marriage immediately, however. I'd have played the game a little slower, but barring that, the second mistake was semantics. When you're facing a large group that opposes change, their best bet would have been to never ever ever, even when discussing it amongst themselves, used the word "marriage." It's too loaded. They would have been much better proposing something that was legally equivalent to marriage, but gone to lengths to state that it is not marriage. There'd still be a fight, but it wouldn't be nearly as vicious, and I think it would be winnable. Then twenty years down the road, when it's settled law and accepted, merge it into marriage, because, after all, they're functionally identical. The other problem is one of image. Most of the most vocal homosexual activists can't make themselves obviously gay enough. They have to be different and show the world their difference. Let me tell you, there is a wide gap between some of the garbage they pull and simply living your life publicly without shame. It also apparently never occured to them that simple thing that any public speaking coach or psycologist will tell you -- if you want to persuade someone of something, it is in your interest to make yourself as close to them as possible, even to the point of mirroring their mannerisms. It puts them at ease and much more receptive to your words. Making yourself as different as is possible tends to turn people away and takes the focus away from your words.

Now that I'm covered, what about those other conservatives? Why all the abject fear regarding gay marriage in what is called the religious Right? You may have seen the email making the rounds (and posted at PVP (scroll down the page just a bit)) which is supposed to examine the views of conservatives on it. I'm going to cherry pick from it to make my points, both because it covers most of the points people are concerned about (at least the strawman ones) and also because it's more poorly reasoned than the points it's trying to refute (I think "reasoning by false analogy" takes the cake for the logical fallacy used most often in the email, but the logic in the email is really terrible throughout -- I know it's trying to be funny, but with a serious topic like this, when so many people will take it seriously, there needs to be some responsibility at least to have logical arguments in it). Oh, and to get this out of the way, I have yet to meet a conservative who doesn't think Pat Robertson is full of garbage. Honestly, if someone where to hit him in the head with a hammer in front of a batch of conservatives, our only comment would likely be "can you use a bigger hammer?" The man is an idiot. Scrappleface might be satire, but it sure seems accurate sometimes. If you're wondering why he gets on the news so much even though he's a massive moron spouting crap faster than a kitchen disposal with the motor reversed, I figure it's because the media has their own agenda, but that's something for a different post.

10 reasons Gay Marriage is wrong:

1. Being gay is not natural. And as you know Americans have always rejected unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

*sigh* Vacuous reasoning. This is only half the story -- using only a few data samples and claiming it's representative is a nice logical fallacy. I can call it reasoning by false analogy too. Americans have also rejected horrible things like bestiality as unnatural and wrong (yes, I'm choosing an extreme example, just like the email writer, no, I don't know any gays who think bestiality is okay -- we all agree that it's unnatural and wrong). Sure, my example is out there, and no I don't consider homosexuality to be morally equivalent to bestiality. Moral equivalence is the hobgoblin of Leftist minds (and passing judgement is probably the hobgoblin of Rightist minds *grin*). I'm just saying, there are things that Americans do reject as unnatural. My life has been decidedly improved by unnatural things like eyeglasses (obviously), polyester, and air conditioning. Proving that my life has been improved by homosexuality is much more difficult to do. This is not to say that it is impossible, just that it is much more difficult. Of course, this is actually a "gay-bashing" point, having only a little to do with gay marriage itself. As I've stated above, I'm not unsupportive of gays and their right to exist as free people. I may think it's unnatural, from a biological perspective at least, but the humans do a lot of unnatural things -- some of which we approve of and some of we do not.

2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

Reasoning by false analogy. Just as homosexuality isn't entirely a lifestyle that people choose, it's not entirely a physical property either. Your views and opinions, and even your own feelings regarding other people are affected greatly by the company you keep. It's not just heterosexuals who think it's possible to "turn people gay." Homosexuality isn't just something you're born into. I admitted above that it is not only a learned behavior, and in some, if not most, cases, homosexuals are that way naturally. Here I'm going to state that just because many, if not most, are born to it, does not mean that all homosexuals have always been homosexual. For some, they acquired it. Since this is possible, it's understandable that some, especially parents, will be afraid for their children, not because they hate gays or hate the idea of their children being gay but because they tend to associate homosexuality with some very unhappy situations -- it's a damn hard road as far as I've ever heard -- and they want to spare their children the pain.

3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because, as you know, a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

The reason the email can make this point is because the issue is often expressed by conservatives as a logical fallacy: a slippery slope. The real issue is actually a rhetorical question that seems to always be forgotten to be added at the end. While I would cynically caution that one never knows what the animal rights activists can acheive, that's rather beside the point. Conservatives have often suggested that legalizing gay marriage will inevitably lead to the legalization of bigamy and even bestiality. This argument is generally given as a slippery slope. Yes, it's silly. Anyone who actually thinks using their brain can tell you that. I won't insult anyone's intelligence by suggesting such a thing like this is true. The real point of the argument is always left off. It's not that gay marriage will lead to such things, it's that once we've redrawn the rules, what do we have to prevent other exceptions? How do we draw the line? How do we say, "well, we compromised our ideals to let Stan and Frank get married, but no, this time we're standing firm, Robert, Lorriane, Samantha, and Barry can't all get married to each other, and John and Fido can't get married either" without sounding vacuous? It's an internal question, a rhetorical wondering of how to draw lines without drawing them too broadly, that is virtually always misrepresented as a ridiculous statement of causation.

4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

While I'll admit, there's a lot more Biblical support for outlawing divorce than there is for preventing gay marriage, argument is comparing apples and oranges. Just because changes have been made, that doesn't mean that more must be. The other thing I'd suggest is that this falls into "timing" again. Exactly how long did it take for divorce to be accepted as common place or for interracial marriage to be accepted or women to have equal rights? In some places, interracial marriage still isn't tolerated particularly well. And we're talking about groups that have been accepted in society to a large degree for over hundreds of years (well over a hundred anyway). Gays have been accepted as gays and not something worse for only about thirty. Let's be serious. Change happens slowly.

5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. The sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

I'm against those sorts of ridiculous celebrity excursions too. We worry about the sanctity of marriage because the Bible regards homosexuality as a sin. We do the same thing for bigamy, fornication, adultery... We think all of these things damage the sanctity of marriage. We think marriage is a lifetime thing. In that regard, the gays I know who want to be able to marry are more understanding of the original intent of marriage than Spears. I'd support them getting married over her. This is an error by the "two wrongs make a right" logical fallacy, by the way. Just because Spears did something that we disagree with concerning marriage doesn't mean that others should be able to do what they want with it too. In fact, it's just an argument to make it much more difficult for anyone to get married and divorced (or get the marriage annulled), not that we should be more open with the institution. Please don't try to use this example to support gay marriage; it will blow up in your face.

6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

I actually used to use the argument this refutes as a quick and dirty way to pull the religion out of the issue. Of course, I also admitted that it was logically inconsistent and challenged those who were listening to me to find the problems with it, a task which they were easily up to. This is obviously a very poor objection to gay marriage. As an aside, the email writer doesn't know what they're talking about regarding children. The US is at population sustainability birth rate. And I'm sorry, I lost the link for that one. Maybe our intrepid wordsmith should go talk to the Russians, who have terrible (like death spiral sort of terrible) problem with a birth rate that is a long way from supporting their country.

7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

What? What in the hell does this have to do with anything at all? No conservative I've ever spoken to is afraid of this. We might think homosexuality is morally objectionable, and we may be concerned that homosexuals will have a difficult time raising children capable of healty relationships (see below, and I'm more than willing to admit that it's paranoid and probably delusional of us to think so in the first place), but that gay parents will raise gay children? We're worried because homosexuals have an unfortunate history of multiple partners and fractured relationships, things that we don't think are healthy for children, whether they're born into a homosexual or heterosexual version of that sort of situation. Ironically, gay marriage might help that out quite a bit.

8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

This one just pisses me off. Gay marriage isn't supported by many (possibly most) religions, in point of fact; I think we're all fortunate that the one most prevalent in this nation doesn't support stoning homosexuals. We're supposed to love them instead. Just try having this sort of dialog in the Gaza Strip. Hamas just aren't big on the whole gay rights thing at all. Anyway, you'd be mighty surprised how many decisions have been made simply because the values of religion were important to the people making the decision. For example, you don't think the slave trade stopped by itself do you? The values of religion have shaped an awful lot in the country, but we're a long way from a theocracy. I know you're trying to be funny, but it's just coming out as needlessly offensive.

9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

Foolish. This statement has never been made by conservatives. What we say is that children are most likely to succeed in the environment of the nuclear family with a male and a female role model at home. While the hand-waving, smoke-and-mirrors point the email tries to ascribe is obviously false and dumb as hell, the actual conservative opinion is much more difficult to refute. Children can and will do well in any home where they are loved and cared for and taught what is right (even from a very general sense -- don't judge people, don't kill them, don't steal -- the stuff just about everybody agrees is good), and they'll often do well in homes where they're not. The reason we like there to be a good role model of each sex at home is to demonstrate to the children how to have healthy relationships. We worry sometimes that this will be more difficult for homosexuals, but you know, personally, I've always seen this as one of the weaker points against gays anyway. I'm not sure how rigorous the adoption process is (would some of my adopted friends care to explain any to us?) so I'm not sure how much gay marriage affects gay adoption regardless.

10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

I really don't know what the point of this one is. Yes, it would change the foundations of society, and yes society can adapt. The actual question is do we want to change the foundation of society not can society handle having its foundations changed. This is a very important distinction.

In the end, the real issue is that so many conservatives oppose gay marriage as they see it as legitimizing something that they believe is wrong. It is generally seen as something along the lines as legalizing racial profiling. Arguments can be made for it, but if you think it's wrong, you will oppose it no matter the arguments made. You don't want it to be considered "okay" by society. There's a difference between shrugging and saying, "to some extent it will always be present," and saying, "it's fine for it to happen as much as anybody wants." This is not a perfect analogy, but, to some extent at least, that is the heart and soul of the conservative opposition. Of course, heaven forbid we inflict our own morality on anyone, so other reasons have to be made up. Some of these reasons are better than others and some of them are just insane, but that's true of any issue (think of something like affirmative action, for example). People are bound to end up offended on both sides of the issue. This is a very hot moral topic, something that many people consider to be an excuse to throw away their brains and just spout nonsense. And I say that concerning both conservatives (often especially conservatives in the case of gay marriage) and liberals.

Best bet for homosexuals now, at least in my opinion: play "softly, softly." Emphasize that you are ordinary people, just like the rest of us, falling in love. Point out how unfair it is, from a legal standpoint, and from the standpoint of delegitimizing the feelings you have for each other. Do not scream for more rights, or try to demand them. Too loud and people will shut you out. Stay controlled. State that all you really want is equal legal status for your relationship and for people to recognize your love for each other. Do your best to be nonthreatening and blend in. I don't mean to lose your identity, just don't feel you have to go out of your way to show that you're different. All the gays I've met have been nice, ordinary folks, the sort of people you can get along with and support. Somehow, they're being led by loud, militant psychos that frighten normal people (including normal gays) and make heterosexuals very resistant to supporting anything that they put forward. And I think everybody can agree, we don't need loud, militant psychos in charge on either side of the aisle. I really do wish homosexuals the best of luck with this. They have a hard battle coming up, but virtually nothing worth having is easy, and I think they'll agree that marriage is worth having. I may not support their side, but I can respect their arguments.

You may now unleash the attack dogs. *grin*

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Neverending Magazine
You know, I think it's time that I actually write GamePro and ask them to stop sending me their magazine. Back when I was young and foolish and read review magazines, I signed up for a free years' subscription through GameSpy. But apparently, it's actually a free lifetime subscription. I keep hoping they'll finally send me a bill and I can just decline the thing, but no... It's been four years now and they just keep coming. So that means it must be letter writing time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I am now so very tired
Ugh. Class at 8:30 AM tomorrow, and I really didn't accomplish nearly as much as I wanted. That was mostly due to my wanting to watch the last part of Sin City. Then Jamie grabbed me and we went down to the lounge. We watched Hardigan's extended cut and then the rapid green screen version of the show. Then we turned the TV off and sat there in the dark for about five hours. Entertaining, but not really productive. At least, not for the things I wanted to accomplish, like drawing the next comic so that there's a punch line. But it was cool, Jamie and I had a nice long chat and all. But I'd better sign off and get some actual sleep or I'll be a zombie come morning.

Monday, January 09, 2006

And in other, random news
And, because I'm bored and don't feel like doing anything productive or posting anything requiring deep thought, I'm going to regale you with some more random news from my friends.

I should mention that I got Sapph and Mal presents for Christmas. I got Sapph a collar and Mal a leash. I'll post photos if I can get permission from them. I think they're pretty cool, and the guys have been humoring me by wearing them a lot. In a way, I feel vaguely sorry for my future girl, because I'm (we're) certain to catch a reciprocal gift. I hope she doesn't mind photos with something like handcuffs and a whip. And, given my sense of humor, if they don't do it, I will, and blame it on--I mean, attribute, that's it, attribute it to them. Of course, anyone I'm attracted to will undoubtedly share my sense of humor and find it funny as hell also.

Luke is off in DC for a job fair. And therefore misses the entire first week of school. Poor guy. He also thinks he's going to get me to play Imperian. I'll admit, it's neat and tempting, but I don't like playing online games with other human beings and I don't have the time to dump into a MUD. But it would be fun to be some sort of wandering wolf-man tailor.

Congrats to Jamie. Looks like she's just acquired a boyfriend. I haven't met him yet, but he sounds like he's a pretty cool guy. It's a long distance thing, something that she's got experience with and is a bit leery of (not that I blame her, having some experience with that sort of thing myself). But if she feels it's worth a shot, then she's got my support.

We now know another way to rebut Jonathan's "I'm not easily weirded out" remarks. Me, I'd just use my coffee table (I'll grant he was sloshed the first time he saw the top lift up on it, but the "Whoa!" and big giant eyes were unforgettable). But Sapph and Mal discovered that the above mentioned leash and collar really freak him out. He says he doesn't mind the collar but he won't go out in public with another human being on a leash. I don't know if he thinks that Mal and Sapph lack the sense to not wear them when we're going somewhere that they're inappropriate (which is really silly -- they're almost certainly more in tune to that than the rest of us), or what. Personally, I think that he looks at the company he keeps (us) and blusters a bit so as to fit in. I'll admit, there are things that will weird me out, but Mal and Sapph generally keep themselves from exposing me to it and Luke is secretive enough to not want to demonstrate the weirdness he's seen. It helps that we usually see Jonathan as kind of harmless, even if we break him, but none of my friends have a good prediction of what would happen if they broke me. Of course, Fate seems to have decreed that I have to be violently thrust into virtually every situation that should freak people out.

Alan hosted a darn fine New Year's party. The batteries in my camera were dying, so I don't really have any pictures from it though. The "tetanus" cups (metal cups) were freaking awesome. I had to use them at the end of the evening mixing drinks for people (I'd run out of other cups). After managing to mix good tasting drinks for random folk at 2 AM out of the left-overs, I was bestowed the title of "Liquor MacGuyver." What's really sad about that is how proud I am of the title and how high of praise I consider it. Although MacGuvyer didn't drink. Oh well.

Now Found In More Places Online!
Well, dragged into another random thing by friends. I'm now a member of this Facebook thing. So you might want to Facebook me someday. I just considered it a terrible shame that there would be some corner of the Internet that people might actually be looking for me and not find me. So you can find me there now. Go enjoy yourselves.

School Begins
And that's the first day of classes for me. I have a whole one class on Mondays (and Wednesdays--but Tuesdays are from Hell). It was so nice and relaxing. Plus it appears to be fairly easy. At least so far. It's about computer networking, and I just did serial communication inside and out last semester, plus I've worked LANs before and done some playing with the TCP/IP stack and sockets; so it seems like it shouldn't be too tough. I'm not sure about the rest of my classes, but I'm optimistic about everything but Senior Thesis. That one's going to kill me. And I really don't know for sure what I want to do with it either. *frowns*

After class, I had to run some errands and buy books, so there wasn't a point in going to work. I get to take the day off. I was terribly pleased and relaxed. But now that I only have myself and my online friends to keep me company and entertained, that's starting to slip. I blame the guys on the shuttle bus when I came back from buying books. Bastards talking about sitting in a hot tub with some girls (all in the buff)... I only hope my good fortune kicks in soon.

Let me explain: I have terrible luck, but generally good fortune. I almost never get what I want when I want it, but I almost always get what I need when I need it. The only exception to this was my lucky die, which always gave me what I needed when I wanted it. And now even that's gone. Things are getting about to the point of need. Geez, I need to distract myself with the comic or something. I'm sure you'd all appreciate it, both for getting things done and stopping me from whining.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Chronicles of the Couch
Well, one of the suitemates moved out and took his nice couch with him. The new suitemate is one of maybe three people that I knew from high school, which is very cool (he's an awesome guy), but he's spent the last semester in Brazil (doesn't that sound cool?), so it's unlikely to get a nice couch out of him. And so it begins then. I had already known of my need for a couch for this summer and beyond, so I decided it was time. I have now purchased a very nice, full size couch. It's got a lifetime warranty on everything but the fabric, so the thing should last for nearly ever. It's out of Furniture Row Outlet, and is "Daytona" blue -- blue with yellow underlighting, it really looks quite nice. The salesman spoke often of the superior quality insisted on by the company founder, described to me as 6'8" and 350 lbs. In other words, a guy just like Mal. The couch is made by their company, which may explain the fifth leg, which forms a central column and should prevent the couch from sagging. I have purchased the sort of couch I was looking for -- one that I like the look of, am comfortable on, and yet should also support the needs of my enormous friends (why is everyone except Jason so much bigger than me?). They all got lucky, the couch has to be ordered in and delivered, so they don't have to help me move it -- this time. I'll post a photo when it arrives. They quoted me two to four weeks, let's hope it's on the short end of that range.

-- Update 4:00PM Jan 8, 2006 --
It looks like this only blue.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

"I call her Gladys, after one of the Sisters at school."
At long last, I have added the special edition of Sin City to my collection. And it is wonderful. I haven't watched all the extended vingettes yet (all but "That Yellow Bastard." I'm tired and want some sleep for once), but oh, they're great. Most of the sections that were cut were taken to make it shorter (127 minutes vs the uncut 147 total). I have to agree with Jamie, not having a "Play all in order" option for the uncut version sucks, but it's a small price to pay. I love this show so much. Granted, it's horrifyingly violent and my kids will not see it until they're 17 or older (assuming I can stop them...I know how good adolescents get at seeing things their parents would rather they don't). But I like it so much. The last time I watched it I noticed how all the pistols (.45 Colt 1911's) were from Springfield Armory, and how the characters kept them in Condition 2 (bullet in chamber, hammer down, safety on). Now, for the record, that's really stupid to do with a 1911, as the only way to put the hammer down is pulling the trigger. The 1911 is designed to go from Condition 3 (magazine in, nothing loaded, hammer down) to Condition 1 ("cocked and locked," i.e. hammer back, bullet in chamber, safety on) and nothing really inbetween, but this looks cooler and is easier than having them rack the slide all the time and most people won't be able to see them take the safety off. Also, for those in the know, it makes the characters more bad ass. This time I noticed something else. I noticed the tread on Marv's boots. He has the exact same boots as I do -- old style combat boots. My outfit has just gained a further +1 awesome, something I didn't think was possible. Just goes to show you exactly how those bonuses can stack. If I didn't have the extended error range on my Talking to Girls skill I'd be set. Blasted penalties. *grin*

Oh, the title is one of Marv's extended lines. If you like pulp (which I dearly love), go get this. It even comes with the graphic novel (SCORE!), so you can see what Sin City is like on paper.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Open Letter to Macromedia
Well, after having an Adobe/Macromedia dev contact me here in the comments, it is now obvious that I cannot simply use this space as though I am shouting angrily at empty walls anymore. BTW, jd, bravo on using your own time to visit random blogs and attempt to placate the angry mooks operating them. However, I see this as an opportunity that says that people who matter might just read some of what I say. First, to establish, I am a web developer and system administrator at work, and my primary contribution (if you can call it that), is what I call "the Flash monstrosity," the worst written Flash application ever made. Part of its problems are due to being written in ActionScript 1.0 (it was originally slated to run on PocketPC's, but we discovered that there wasn't nearly enough screen real estate), but largely they're due to my learning Flash while creating it. Since my job generally consists of making things work in ways they were never intended to, it's not very surprising that my Flash application, while it functions, looks awful. For example, each frame has an average of 300 or so lines of AS. Each frame. Not quite the way that Flash was meant to do things. But I spend a lot of time working with the software, so I do have a stake in having Flash from a programmer's standpoint, not just the "angry mook with a webcomic" standpoint.

So without further ado, if I could get one thing from Adobe--Macromedia division it would be this: complete documentation. It was very aggravating to search the Internet, hoping at random to find the secret, undocumented function that would do things like open and close the comboboxes on command (I was finally able to find this on Sephiroth, which means it actually is in the LiveDocs somewhere, but I found it at random in an Internet forum first). That one request would just be perfect. It would be nice to have an error checker that actually verifies that you are calling functions that exist, but I can, to some extent, understand why the error checker only does syntax checking. Since AS is pretty loose with variables (like PHP and Perl), and AS considers functions to be a bizarre form of variable, I can see why it would have some trouble error checking for them. A full doc would let me look the functions up properly and then I wouldn't worry so much about error checking. Though I guess I can be grateful for one thing. Having to guess at functions until I found what actually produced the effects I wanted taught me a lot about using the NetConnection Debugger, which is really quality work. Let me congratulate you guys on that one. Also, I hear Flash 8 has a thing that actually waits a specified amount of time and then fires a given function. Thank you. For us mooks, that alone is almost worth admission price. As much as I'd like to be able to import PNGs or implant HTML, or stream pure data (that was actually why I was looking to implant HTML -- I can add content-type headers, I just want to display my data), this isn't a perfect world. Thank you for your efforts to improve it, even if your grand project is primarily abused by web designers who hate humanity to punish the Internet at large.

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