The Floss Experiment

(I love how my Dentist’s office is built to relax you but then you can’t really escape the reality that you’re in the chair. lol)

Most of the experiments in my life usually revolve around society or culture but occasionally I’ll perform a biological or physical one as well. For the last six months, I’ve been trying out my own oral hygiene experiment.

Since I was really little, my parents trained me to have two unconditional, unrelenting routines per day. Wake up- Brush your Teeth/Wash your Face. Before Sleep- Brush your teeth/Wash your Face. Every day for as long as I can remember, this has always been my routine.

However, growing up, as a kid, I had tons of cavities. I could never understand it. I had friends who barely brushed their teeth that never got cavities. I had the most rigorous of routines and I was always having to get fillings. EVERY single dentist appointment usually yielded another appointment to get drilled and filled (TWSS).

I got to a point where I had an actual phobia of going to the dentist. This was later elevated after some gum grafting oral surgery I had like five years ago. It was the consequence of massive gum degradation from constantly rolling my tongue ring along the ridge of my gum and teeth. High price you pay for rebelling and having an oral fixation.

The surgery itself wasn’t too bad but after the procedure there was a horrific process of “lifting” that was done while I was NOT sedated but instead given local anesthesia which was not effective and I felt everything. Anyhow, all I know is that I’m usually cringing every time I’m in the dentist’s chair now and I am clutching my hands together very tightly.

The pain of the cleaning process used to be so discomforting that I used to rake my nails across my hands to distract the oral pain. I never understood why it had always been so painful all these years. The hygienist always encouraged me to floss but I was quite stubborn with changing my routine. I would floss like once or twice a week and sometimes forget.

My teeth are so damn close to each other that it’s not easy cramming the floss in between them. It wasn’t until they started making the flat ribbon type of floss that I was able to try to do it more on a regular basis. So six months ago during my last visit, I had kicked up my routine to about 3 times per week. There was still minor bleeding during my cleaning and she was having to deal with a lot of plaque etc.

She told me I was prone to more plaque build up because my teeth are extremely straight (one of those blessing/curse things) and the tiniest of particles can be trapped without me ever seeing in the mirror. I also have all thirty-two of my teeth including wisdom ones that fully emerged by the time I was thirteen so it’s all packed in tight. BUT I hated flossing so I was very stubborn and resistant to adding it to my nightly routine.

After the last visit, I decided to do an experiment to floss every single day without skipping until my next dentist visit. I figured if flossing every day would make a painless dentist visit then I’d continue. If I still had massive pain, bleeding, and soreness afterwards (oh the pounding, pulsing, throbbing ache!), I’d say fuck it and throw away my floss.

Well during last week’s visit, I got my experiment results! There was virtually no pain whatsoever and she hardly had to clean my teeth at all. There was no bleeding, no soreness. She kept saying I did a great job and that my teeth were beautiful. Btw, beautiful teeth to a hygienist and dentist means they look healthy (not the Christy Turlington type of beautiful).

So lesson learned. Teach your kids to wash their faces, brush their teeth, and FLOSS every day! Actually, flossing is more important than brushing if you can believe that. The health of your gums are far more important than the sparkle of your teeth. Once your gums get hardened, there should be no pain and you’ll have short easy visits to the Dentist!

And then I woke for real

lol. This is gonna sound weird but this bit of script from the movie Before Sunset is kind of how I feel about the lyrics to Stop This Train by J. Mayer. It’s all about how we deal with age and growing know, what we take from it and how we cope with the reality that not just youth but the moments of life are fleeting:


I had this funny... well,
horrible dream the other day.

I was having this awful
nightmare, that I was 32,

and then I woke up, and I was 23!

So relieved...

And then I woke up for real,
and I was 32.

- Scary!
- It happens.

Yeah, time goes faster and faster.

Apparently, it's because we don't
renew our synapses live to 20.

So, it's pretty much
downhill from then on.

I like getting older,
you know, it feels...

I don't know,
it feels more immediate.

You know, like I can
appreciate things more.

No, me too, actually.
I really love it.

Sometimes it seems as if we look down and then look back up again and bam, it’s a decade later. I don’t want to look down and look up again and feel like I missed it all.

Happiness Series: Synthetic Happiness

I’ve been researching happiness for the last two weeks now. I’ve uncovered some interesting talks, articles, and a crap ton of comments from people who think they have a definitive answer.

As with everything, there’s always a flipside. And my mind is spinning out of control trying to process them all. I guess I’ll just break up certain sides into a series of posts.

So…one of the most prevalent outcome of searching for happiness from online resources is you’ll discover the notion of synthetic happiness. For many people, this is achieved through exercising the mind, limiting, choices, and focusing on the present. This is however, artificial happiness. It yields almost identical results as natural happiness according to Dan Glibert’s TED Talk (I’ll try to embed the video below).  The only difference is that it is stimulated by training your mind to bend and fold the reality at hand to produce an outcome of happiness.

This works. It really does. I believe it does. However, I’m too cynical and introspective to accept this method for myself. I call it self-deluding and I would always know I was deluding myself and therefore this wouldn’t work. There are other people in my life who are perfectly content with this form of happiness.

My brother is one such individual. He is a happy person. He has always been a happy person. Hmmm. I should have defined my definition of happiness earlier. I go by the generic definition in that happiness is state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy. If in some spectrum you are in this category state of being, I consider that happiness. There is a whole slew of semantics you could argue about this but I know that most people understand the basic concept of feeling happy.

So when I say my brother is happy, it’s not like he’s bouncing off walls and always adding LOVE!!! and YES!!! and COOL!!! after everything he says and does. He’s always had a very quiet satisfaction about his life. And he’ll admit this so it’s not like I’m passing unfair judgment. He has no qualms with self-delusion. He knows a large part of that contentment and deep satisfaction with himself and his life comes from encouraging his mind to reinforce his ego. In other words, he deludes himself into thinking he’s sheer awesomesauce. lol.

Wherever he goes, he has this satisfying smirk on his face and is often laughing at himself in pure self-amusement. My uncle once came to visit us and remarked immediately about my brother that he would always be happy and successful in life.

It’s true. With such a strong built-in mechanism for self-delusion, you are bound to ALWAYS uncover the brighter side of everything. I don’t think delusion is a bad thing at all but it only works if you are purely focused on the now and in the moment and not standing above yourself at all times analyzing every aspect of your thought. That’s what I do and it’s infuriating because it will not allow me to employ synthetic happiness.

I will say I actually got pretty annoyed watching the Dan Gilbert TED video because of his attitude about synthetic happiness. I almost want everyone who speaks about how to achieve happiness to say two things. 1) It is okay to not always be happy and 2) We are too varied a species to achieve happiness in the same way. By saying this, it eliminates the pressure that we must all conform to the same type of happiness. Genetics, socioeconomic, and environment will play a large part in the variances of our ability to “stumble upon happiness.”

And so my own personal reaction to the video was this:

"So basically you're saying I should indulge is self-delusion to chase happiness??"

“Synthetic happiness is a form of self-delusion. It's a rational mechanism we produce when boxed's a survival mechanism..not real happiness nor should it be a valid replacement in my opinion for natural happiness...not unless we want to be creatures of ignorance.”

And it wasn’t until I had calmed my nerves that I applied those two things I mentioned earlier that should be said before engaging in discussions about happiness. Then it was easier for me to process the idea of synthetic happiness and while it’s not something that works for me, I do believe people can live amazingly happy and lives from this theory. Even though I think he’s self-deluded in many respects, I often envy my brother.

Video: Dan Gilbert’s TED Talk- Why Are we Happy?

And here is my chat with Jemimus in the MetaTalks bindpoint channel about the Talk. You can see how my cynical my mind is:

***Metatalks Channel***
***Scroll Mouse over text box to pause scrolling***
Jemimus: watching them now
Jemimus: are you watching them or going to watch them?
Jemimus: the first one was very very good
Alachia: watching now
Alachia: btw. he paraphrased that Adam Smith quote
Alachia: I've known about synthetic happiness as a solution for a long time.
Alachia: it's called self-deluded happiness. it's effective 100% too if you rule out logic in your life.
Jemimus: I think the lesson I took from that talk, is that if you exclude CHOICE, its more effective
Jemimus: if you convince yourself that it couldn't have been different, then what you end up with is so much better
Jemimus: I think that is exactly what you have been doing
Jemimus: and so perhaps you are right, perhaps accepting your fate is the best coarse
Alachia: it's just a little flawed logically.
Alachia: that's like saying slaves were extremely happy because they were forced into a life with little options.
Alachia: they should be the most happy or capable of producing synthetic happiness
Jemimus: But I think that might be the point. Deprived of any choices, of any chance of things being different, people will -generate- happiness somehow. Even if their circumstances are harsh
Jemimus: of course there are limits to this I am sure
Jemimus: But the rule will probably hold more often than we think
Alachia: it's self-bias. it's all fancy for "ignorance is bliss"
Alachia: in which case, we should kill the information age immediately and go back to living like African tribes where the discovery of a torn plastic bag is the highlight of our month.
Alachia: and I'm not being facetious
Alachia: and this rationalization of limiting choices in our lives is not new. It was discovered and taught by Buddha thousands of years ago.
Jemimus: Perhaps then, we should become Buddhists, and cast off our false expectations of our so-called possible life. :) But yes, this is nothing new. And it's hard trick to pull off. To -accept- ones fate. You keep asking yourself if that is not the better course, but at the same time, realize that you can't do it.
Jemimus: And thus, are we left with feeling perpetually miserable about ourselves?
Alachia: it requires radical de-acceleration of our human minds desire to open Pandora's box, not to mention radical life change. people who truly practice Buddhism must basically abandon everything in their life.
Alachia: and even I take issue with true Buddhist monks. They are at the mercy of people willing to take care of them. That's just a little bullshit IMO. so at the price of their tranquility and zen, we have to feed them and provide them clothing and shelter.. ... in America we call that welfare.
Jemimus: indeed, if you think of the what exactly they try to change about their own physiology, it's not surprising. You can't do these things half-heartedly.
Alachia: but yeah.. I get the philosophy behind it
Jemimus: they have religious reverence on their side, it's a pretty sweet deal ;)
Jemimus: I think the lesson to take away from all of this is simply to maximize what you have, spend most of your efforts there, and not as much on what -could- be. But we seem to do that naturally anyway
Alachia: or that happiness is over-rated
Alachia: and it should NOT be a life goal.
Alachia: but a pleasurable outcome that happens from time to time as you pursue the simplistic goal of living.
Jemimus: I don't think its overrated, I believe happiness IS a goal, however, trying to strive for it may be pointless. It will come about regardless. If we don't have it, we will generate it ourselves, as you say, pursuing the simplistic goals. But also the not so simplistic ones: Buying a $1000 chair, making a podcast, chatting to friends, etc. Watching stimulating TED talks :)

(mouse over the chat box to stop text from scrolling up)

The Happiness Fairy

I was talking to a friend the other day about how our society tends to define how we’re supposed to view relationships. It’s funny that we grow up with a concept of belonging.

Ever since I was a child, hell even back to first grade, it was engrained in our heads that to be attached is the ideal. If you didn’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend you were a loser, a loner, and unlovable. I watched all of my friends hook up in grade school. It was a BIG deal to have a steady boyfriend/girlfriend. It was serious.

That’s the way it looked from the way our culture sets it up. It was all set in bold even more by the fact that break-ups were huge! There they were, these kids, not even twelve years old feeling as if they had failed at life because they couldn’t make a relationship last more than six months. All that mattered was that you belonged to someone.

I had a unique perspective obviously because I never hooked up with anyone. I was able to observe from the outside. I asked my dad a lot why I didn’t have a boyfriend. He would say that it would happen when it happens like it was going to be some cosmic magical force that was destined in life. Looking back, I find it rather absurd and amusing. I guess he certainly couldn’t have just said, “you don’t fit the standard mold of what people are looking for.” That would have been too cruel so I thank him for that.

In retrospect, I’m very glad I never had to ride the crazy rollercoaster of relationship issues my peers went through. At a certain point in high school, I decided I didn’t really need boys (or girls) to feel whole. My girlfriends would spend so much time obsessing and lamenting and constantly saying, “I need a man! I need a man! I want a man!” 

My mantra back to them is, “You don’t need a man.” But the truth was that they didn’t just want a man. They were longing to feel whole. For most of the people around me, all I hear is how life isn’t complete without a dedicated companion. So you can imagine how disappointed people spend their whole lives based on this concept?!

I wonder why in our culture we aren’t taught to think we are enough and it’s simply the sharing and growth we gain from other people that makes the human connection so powerful and beautiful. It’s just such an unhealthy perception that we need someone else to make ourselves happy, to be complete.

It feels great no doubt, to let yourself fall…To allow those social constructs of happiness seem to check themselves off the list. Even the most cynical of people want to fall in love, get married, and share a lasting, passionate, comfortable life together. The sad truth though is that no one can “make” you happy except you and that’s a scary fact to be confronted with. It’s way easier to put your life’s happiness in the hands of an external force.

Of course after all my stupid psychoanalyzing and coming to terms with this, I have not yet come to any solution as to become my own source of happiness. I guess just like everyone else, I’m hoping it’s as simple the happiness fairy coming by and sprinkling me with happy dust. [insert pharmaceutical joke here]. And this where I loop back around to my default defense mechanism: Isn’t happiness over-rated? If we chase happiness, won’t we always feel unhappy?

The "Outback"

The Maxx, Book 1, originally uploaded by Timaximus.

The Maxx is an American comic that was turned into an animated series by MTV in the 90s. It's a bit complicated but that's what I loved about the series as well as Aeon Flux. It wasn't until I watched those that I realized animations and comics had any depth to them (the exception being Winnie the Pooh and his great philosophies regarding the simplicities of life). Later on, I discovered anime and loved it.

This entire story line almost entirely takes place in the subconscious mind which is why I love it so much. It follows this woman who goes to help a man and ends up raped, beaten, and left to die. The world that is created in the comic is all about the psychological "Outback" in which she is able to deal with learning how to cope again.

The Maxx is sort of her guardian that is linked to her subconscious. In the real world, he's a homeless hopeless guy but in her Outback, he's a more effective protector. The dynamic of the two worlds is done very well and more importantly to me, it successfully visualizes the complexity of the human mind. I love how in depth they explore the psyche and how difficult it is to repair yourself alone.

I think I see the Meta a lot like the "Outback" but obviously not on the same traumatic story scale as Julie's plight. To a degree, I believe so many people are escaping or migrating to the Meta because they're trying to take control of something they can't cope with or fully realize in the real world. I'm very interested in observing people as they create their own "Leopard Queen" personas. Inevitably, as great as we think it is to delve far from reality, just like Julie, we discover that the "Mr.Gone's" and "Isz" follow us. The real challenge is allowing the Meta to help us find ourselves again and then returning back to reality better and more intact and not completely lost. Dilemma, I know.

Anyhow, the Animated Series ends well before the actual story line gets crazier which I think is good. It was already probably well over most people's level of psychoanalytical flavoring. I signed a petition a few years ago to try and get The Maxx produced to dvd. And I recently bought the animated series as soon as it became available on DVD. I think I might watch that this weekend.

Maybe I can figure out how to extinguish my own iszs. Here's a link/clip to the series if you want to check it out:

Flagship Alachia

Flagship Alachia, originally uploaded by alachia.

So when I bought my kite at the World Wind Kite Shop, the guy at the counter paused and looked up at me and smiled. He chuckled and said, "so this one... it will take 10-15 mins to set up. You might want to practice first."

I think what he meant to say was "LAWLZ. good luck flying a ship in the wind!"

The assembly wasn't too bad actually although I got the sails backwards at first. During construction, it kept wanting to take off on its own. However, while I tried to launch it, it would never catch wind. The wind totally started to die down and there were no good gusts.

I was totally determined though to make this thing fly! I finally caught it on a strong breeze after many, many attempts and it launched! I kept having to run around and try to catch more breezes. The wind really needs to be pretty strong for this type of kite.

It's also kind of crazy out there during the Zilker Park Kite Festival because of tangling lines and crossing over each other. Many people got caught in crazy webs! I was fortunate to not get crisscrossed. I got my kite sailing for about 10 minutes before the wind got too low to make a decent flight.

It was a lovely day though. I only wish it had been a bit windier. I'll post more pics tomorrow. I had to go to an unexpected but lovely dinner after the festival so I got back home a lot later than I had planned.

Mission make a boat fly though was a success! I'm quite glad the festival got postponed to this weekend so I got a chance to experience it.


Singed. that's what connections are to me.
they singe my "soul"

I am forever effected and the memory of that connection lasts with me. I've asked my friends in the past if they ever think about or reflect on the people from their past. They usually say they don't give it much thought. if someone isn't around then they aren't in their minds..they are forgotten.

I try a lot to forget sometimes but I can't. Maybe I allow connections to grab too strong a hold on me. Even some of the briefest meetings have left lasting impressions on me...sometimes it's just a facial expression I remember or even the few words exchanged... sometimes something super minor like how they looked at their shoe while talking. So you can imagine if someone has had any significance in my life that the impression goes very deep.

forgetmenotheartI don't let go easily..certainly not in my head. Physically I let people slip in and out of my life as they please..this is because
I hate the thought that someone is only around me because I want them to be... I hate forced relationships. I'm fairly easy to put down and pick up I think...although I know some people wouldn't agree.
It's just that I don't like the fuss of definitions..either we are or we aren’t connecting.

Anyhow, in a very selfish way, I think that being forgotten is extremely sad. I know it shouldn’t make me sad because when someone has no impact on your life anymore..why should it matter if they ever remembered you? I guess it’s that fear of just being like a ghost..that you pass through people without leaving a mark…that you leave no impressions.

I’ve become sort of obsessed with the flower Forget-me-nots lately. I keep trying to figure out how to obtain some to keep by my window. And since I probably can’t find any around here, I might try to get a picture print of some for my wall. This flower represents to me that we all transfer pieces of ourselves through our connections with others even if our touch is light. The blooms on the flowers occur in groups and are almost always touching one another and and often times the clusters generate a heart shape.

They’re sweet I think. Today I focus on the good remembrances…tomorrow I might delve into the ones I actually do wish I could forget… heh. Always a flip side.

Mayer, Nachos, and Penis

I had a great time at the John Mayer concert last Monday. Funny thing was that it wasn't even that great of a concert. Indoor acoustics always have a terrible bleed. I will always prefer an outdoor concert even if it means standing in 110 degree heat like I did at the Houston one.

That Mayer concert at the Woodlands Pavilion two years ago still stands out as my absolute favorite. The energy was so high and he played an amazing set list. I even hunted down and found an mp3 of that concert that someone recorded (I knew someone recorded it because the guy with the equipment was sitting in the row in front of me).

This concert's set list was okay and he had great stage presence as always but indoor concerts always have a very static vibe. My favorite parts were definitely the opening of the concert, the opening of the encore, and his cover of Ain't No Sunshine.

What I loved most about the event was getting to be there for Tivi's first concert ever and Flipmax's first Mayer one. It's always nice to see things through fresh eyes. And of course, my brother and I are both dedicated Mayer fans so it's great we get to keep sharing the experience of his concerts together.

We didn't eat before the concert so we ended up buying food at the vendors. Flipmax and I both got a cheeseburger and shared a thing of nachos. It was not easy carrying all that food and two giant extra large plastic cups of Diet coke down to our seats.

I ended up spilling a cheesy nacho on my jeans. Thank god for jeans though! After using the condensation of the cup and my napkin, you couldn't tell I just had hot cheese gooked on my pants.

Michael Franti came on as the opening act and I was not too impressed but Flipmax and I kept laughing at how schitzo his songs were. They'd start out all gospel like, then turn into a ballad, and then a rock section.. so weird. I got up to throw away our food and hunt down a t-shirt.

On my way back from buying my shirt, I stopped at another vendor and bought myself and Tivi some cotton candy. mmm!!! It was so delicious but gave me a really freaky sugar buzz..

After the concert, Flipmax said he loved the concert but that he wished Mayer had played Daughters so when we got back to the car, I played  a concert version of Daughters for him. lol. It took forever to get out of the parking garage which I realized was a mistake since I know downtown well enough to find a spot on the streets.

And despite our maniacal plans to yell out “Penis” and “Racist” during the middle of the show, we refrained. I did however get Tivi to say the word penis pretty loud before the show began. lol. I was surprised. I think it was because we had just watched 500 days of Summer this past weekend and there is a scene were they are shouting the word “Penis!” in a public park.

I of course looked at the set list for Houston and sure enough he played Something’s Missing AND Comfortable! OMG. I’m always at the wrong damn venue. I keep checking itunes to see if he’s released any more AS/IS concert albums. Nothing yet.


I am a lover
I want to have
I want to give
I am a lover
I want to crawl behind those eyes
I want to claw beneath that skin

You fold your hands around my arms
You try to consume me whole
But I am already vapor in your lungs
I like to tease.
I like to play
I pretend to be mad so that you
Do not perceive my queerness

I am a mad lover then
But I am not mad with love
I simply want to dance naked
Before your eyes and make
Us shiver with fierce desire

I want to crave what I cannot have
I want to seek which is unseen
I want to have this all in you
What I am not allowed
I am a secret lover

I like to hide the trinkets of my affection
In little napkins under my ears
I use my finger and carve a sketch
And dab the napkin with our flesh

These are thoughts which betray my mind
These are wishes which remain unheard
For I am not a lover
But a dream which a lover did have

This I cry
I am a lover

The Terrorists and the Photographer

Parking, originally uploaded by alachia.

Part of my failed attempt to pick up my tickets for John Mayer this afternoon led me to the parking lot across from the event center. The whole two hours it took me to run errands that led nowhere due to the Industrial Waste department being closed and the idiot ticketmaster booth not having tickets ready would have been wasted but for photography.

As I was heading back to my car, I kept noticing really abstract things in the garage and started to take pictures of signs, construction joints, etc. I snapped some pics here and there but didn't dawdle much because I wanted to get back home.

I was about to get in my car when this guy comes running towards me waving his hands at me. I was already halfway in my car so I got out and approached him...all the while thinking I gotta be prepared to fight if this is a mugging.

The guy gets to me and says, "Hi, I'm Paul blahblah with the Risk Assessment Management team and I noticed you were taking pictures. What was that about?"

I kinda of laughed because I was so annoyed but in the best of spirits tried to explain to him how I love finding abstract art in construction methods and industrial mechanisms. I said I love Exit signs and stairwells and stained concrete.

He seemed to believe me and told me he just had to check to be sure although technically I'm not sure how you really assess risk by just listening to someone go on and on about photography and the art of modern construction.

Although there have been no terrorists attacks on US soil since 9/11, I still feel they have succeeded somehow. We lost our innocence as a society. Every person with a camera is documenting for terrorism. Every person in an airport drinking water is set to light the plane on fire.

We live terrorized at the thought that walking among us is someone ready to blow up half a city block. It's sad. And the worst part is that it won't end up being someone who carries around a camera like a tourist. The problem is, the person who does something like that... you'll never even see them.

And being cynical, I could have just seen myself being beaten and raped in that parking lot without a peep of assistance from Mr. Risk Assessment but pull out your Nikon and wham...they'll be at your feet. But this is the world we live in now.

I keep waiting for google earth and bing maps to team up so I can just explore the world outside in pure VR. No one cares if you document a VR reality. I actually had fun doing that a few days ago using google maps. I was able to look around and capture images of a VR projection of a real space at my own leisure and without worry that a cop would come chase me down. At least I didn't get frisked like my friend Jason for wanting to take pics of an awesome smoke stack.

Weekend Unplugged

I went to my parent’s house this weekend to celebrate my father’s birthday. It was a nice visit because my brother’s girlfriend also came with us. When we got to the house Friday night, my mom had a delicious dinner waiting for us.. it was like 10:30pm. My brother was so hungry he was like sweating from stress. Lol. I could have gone like another 12 hours before eating honestly but definitely enjoyed the meal. Tivi didn’t eat much of it because she can’t stand to eat any meat that’s been boiled.

I like started to put their luggage in my brother’s old room but Taint was like “no, Tivi’s sleeping in your room and we’re in my room.”  I was like what? Why? Turns out she didn’t want them to stay in the same room out of respect for my parent’s in case they were against non married people sharing the same bedroom. I told her they totally wouldn’t care but she opted to sleep by herself anyhow.

Taint was pretty tired that night and crashed right away. Tivi wasn’t tired so we ended up watching (500) Days of Summer. It’s a bitter-sweet romance movie about how easy it is to fool yourself into believing in an idealized relationship…when in reality, it was probably never meant to be…and coming to terms with that. I particularly enjoyed the range of emotions it showed through the stages of the relationship.  The bliss and elation when you think you’ve discovered the key to the absolute bitter moment when you realize that neither person is happy anymore but you fake it until someone breaks. Also, it was another one of those movies that falsely glorifies the idea of being an architect. Lol.

I think I went to bed around 4:30am and woke up around 7:30am the following morning. I spent a lot of time talking to my parents. They love to talk a lot about the perceptions of how to live a life which I find quite amusing and a bit ironic because I don’t really consider them to have really lead a life but that’s just my perception, I guess. My parents aren’t religious but have absolute faith in their convictions about “the proper way in which life should be lead.” They are the reason I live the life I live today because deviation from that path would probably make their heads explode. I sometimes wonder how I came from them because I couldn’t have turned out more different. I hate it when my mom asks me if I’m happy because saying you aren't isn't acceptable.

It was nice to have Tivi there though because we got to hang out with her all morning and I got to divert a lot of attention away from myself to her. I think my parents are still trying to figure her out because she’s relatively new in their lives although she’s actually been with my brother for over three years. My parents don’t understand the secrecy of a relationship. For them, you like someone, you date publicly, meet the parents, family, and friends, then get engaged and marry..then have babies- spend your whole life dedicated to raising your kids—and then spend the rest of your life working until you retire. I’m not sure how they see their life at retirement. I’m kind of interested in seeing how they’ll live their lives when it’s just about living it for themselves and not their family.

I keep telling them to go and fucking live their live while they’re still healthy and have the energy. Stop waiting. I also threatened my mother that if she dared to leave me any money after she died, I’d donate it to the democratic party (she hates democrats) so she better spend it all. She and my dad always talk about how they want to be able to leave a ton of money to their kids when they die but I think that’s so bullshit. They save money and never live their lives so they can give away all they earned to my brother and I for what?? I hate that idea, just hate it.

We had a nice big lunch at a placed called Sartins where we all got the All you can eat Crab platter. What sucked is that I had to get the platter too which was a total waste because I don’t really like eating crab. I never learned how and getting the meat out of those things is very frustrating. I just eat the fried fish and shrimp that come with the platter. However, if one person gets an all you can eat platter, everyone has to…it’s their policy to ensure people don’t cheat off each other’s plates.

For my dad’s birthday, my brother and I were going to buy him a PS3 but we went all over town trying to find one but not a single store had one. It sucked. We ended up buying him a wireless adapter for his blue ray player, a jawbone wireless headset for his iphone and two blue ray discs (2012 and The Hulk). We’re gonna get him him the PS3 for father’s day instead. The wireless adapter is a temporary hold over so he can watch his Netflix streams in the living room but the connection isn’t strong enough for the HD streams.

We also picked up a cookie cake for my dad and I thought of Jeppy and how he freaked out the first time he saw a picture of a cookie cake. He tried to find one in the UK but the equivalent ones he found didn’t really look at all like ours. We always do cookie cakes for birthdays. I didn’t get a picture of it but I found out they do double dib cookie cakes which means they layer two cookie cakes with white icing in between! Omg.

Great food, delicious cake, and always nice spending time with my parents despite their occasional oppressive agendas. However, being unplugged from the Meta is like being in a time vacuum for me. It’s the most surreal thing nowadays since I’m so used to being plugged in nearly 24/7. I kept thinking about how much I wanted to log on to my laptop but there was never a moment free and usually if I do plug in, my parents are still talking to me so I can’t really immerse my conscious that much.
But now I’m back and super excited because today is the John Mayer concert!! I can’t wait!

Uploading Myself to the Hive

It’s pretty maddening how sad I can become in such a short period of time. Everything is predictable in the span of time we live and yet for some reason, we can not predict any of the range of things that will begin go to effect our emotions. You just never know when something good or bad will slip in and out of your life.

The one thing about realizing this is that you start to learn to really, really appreciate the times when you are flying and loving the moment. Why aren’t I more alive? Why do I let the darkness always consume me? Who was it that yells seize the day? Horace?

I keep wondering why I don’t expect more out of being human, knowing what is possible and what we’re capable of…and yet I don’t do much but observe and take mental notes. I guess that’s why I’m so invested in the Meta because it’s my way of actually doing something…of being more human than I can dream of in the RL.

Yet, it’s so hard to escape feeling like my life is this horrible broken record that continues to play that same sad tune. One of the only things that makes me feel alive anymore is trying to inject a bit of my consciousness into others who see me and anywhere else I can. I’m like that evil dude in Harry Potter, trying to leave bits of his life essence in objects and people around the world. lol. It’s true though, it helps to keep me sane.

It might be vain but I don’t care. I feel like that’s a huge part of being human. I mean look at it! It’s the essence of life isn’t it? When an animal or person gives birth, they are essentially vainly ensuring a trace of themselves extends beyond their biological body. I just choose to conduit my essence via brainwaves and digital foot prints instead.

And I also love the mutual exchange. It’s not just one to another, it cycles back and is processed and then re-engaged into another conscious and so on and so forth. We are a network of thought and ideas. The human collective is a powerful system as long as you toggle most of your preceptors on. I’ve always loved the idea of the borg.

To truly be able to share a hive mind seems beautiful to me and not scary at all. I think the scary part is where you think of it as mind control like when they introduce the Queen it gets fucked up because then it’s just brain washing and not truly a collective network of all thoughts and ideas. We all pride ourselves in individuality but can you imagine just how much more amazing we’d be if we could see everything through everyone’s mind?

Wow, I’ve managed to distract myself from my initial sadness with this post. That was unexpected. Must find more ways to keep my thoughts on the up and up.

Dinner and Groceries

Flipmax and I both hate going to get groceries so we sort of make it a habit of going together. We usually grab some dinner first and the head to the super market. This time we went to Nutty Brown Cafe. I actually don’t enjoy the food so much at this place but I love the appetizer called the Nutty Brown Queso which comes with three bowls of chip dip plus a bowl of salsa. mmmmm.

It’s also the times he and I just hang out ourselves without the rest of the group and it’s really nice because when they are all together they talk nothing but work since they all work at the same company now. This particular night we talked a lot about gaming stigmas because that news had just come out about that psychopath who attacked his mom when she interrupted him while playing WoW.

It's sorta weird because while actually in the grocery store, we don't often talk much. We have our own carts and occasionally he'll follow me or vise versa or we'll intersect at an aisle and make the odd comment or two (like about the fallac ice frozen desserts) or some new jam we thought looked cool.

We just like sharing our misery of having to shop together I guess and sometimes he copies the desserts I put in my cart and I copy the low-sugar items he tries out. I always get about 2x more groceries than him but he takes longer than me because I bring a list and he browses for what he needs.

At first, we tried to share a cart but that got to be too complicated when it came to the check-out counter. The best thing is that I got him hooked onto Diet Sunkist as well although he only drinks one pack in like 3 weeks whereas I drink 3 packs in 1 week. lol. Just spreading the message of Diet Sunkist to the world! *opens a can* here, the first one is free :)

This week I feel like I didn’t pick up enough produce and meat so I ended up with a cart full of snacks but no substance. I’m kind of paying for that now with lack of real meals but so far it’s not an issue since I have like zero appetite still.

FYI, pre-packaged sugar-free jell-o cups are awesome. Everyone should add those to their grocery list.

My 30 Second Life in Germany

So Sahd is in Germany this month for work and I sometimes chat with him briefly before his work 6am his time.. usually 11pm or so my time. He’s been doing twelve hour shifts and no weekends but seems to be enjoying a lot of weird food like a Turkish Döner kebab.

Anyhow, during our chat before his work he asks “wanna live in Germany?” and I go “Sure!”

He laughs and talks about how the guys over there really like him and how he could probably get a job there but it would require extensive traveling on his part etc. I thought for a moment that it would be pretty awesome to live in Europe for a little while. I quickly pulled up a map of Europe and gauged how far all the places I’ve wanted to to visit are from Nürnberg which is around where we’d be living.

Jeppy was 11 hours away and Jemimus was only 6 hours away! I’d get to see his new flat! Paris was 7 hours, London 9 hours, and Rome 10 hours. Europe is truly funny in the ability to cross multiple countries in the time span it takes me to cross my own state of Texas. It’s amazing…like the time I mapped the Netherlands over Texas to demonstrate to Jemimus why I think Amsterdam is very close to his home.

I just thought of how nice it’d be to go around taking pictures of actual genuine Architecture and see places I wouldn’t have the time to ever see. Of course, it was all short-lived in my head because he then told me that they have shitty internet connection. I was like.. yeah, no thanks. lol. such a bandwidth snob.

Also, pretty sure it’d be very difficult for me to find a job there and leaving my few but amazing RL friends behind would be almost unbearable. But it was fun living there in my head for the few seconds it was a possibility. I'd strongly consider though if I thought for a second Sahd was offering it up as a serious option.

FPS, BF, and the Game Stop Douche

I got bored playing Left 4 Dead because I don't really enjoy running the campaigns over and over again. I really like player vs player action and we never really got into 4v4 with that game. The people we were supposed to be able to scrimmage with ended up not being people who really like competition. It was a fun campaign though, I'm just not one to keep doing stuff just for weird achievements.

So then we picked up Modern Warfare 2 which actually looked promising. I was actually really not effected by the lack of dedicated servers which people claimed would bring the sky down. The only issues I had with the PC version was no punkbuster and therefore hacking was pretty common.

It is still surprising to me how many people get joy out of no skill kill shots just for the thrill of griefing. One day, I'd love to compile a round table discussion with those types and the youtube commenters. Of course, it'd just turn into a panel full of people screaming profanities and flipping each other off. lol. maybe not such a good idea after all.

But the real killer for me with MW2 was the noob tubing (grenade launchers). Certain level ups and class builds would get you to OMA (one man army) build. Bam, suddenly you're sitting on a never ending set up grenades for your 'nade launcher. You just sit and go *thooof* and never again have to bother worrying about the head shot.

I'd be rounding a corner and *thoof* I see this grenade thrown into the ceiling above me and bam.. dead. This was so prevalent. And what's worse with MW2 is that you get kill streak rewards. Soooooo, you do OMA nade until you get a few kill streaks, then get your chopper, then harrier, then at 25 kill stream nuke.

At times, there was so actual little man to man gunfire that I just go so bored with just eyeing the sky to blast down harriers. It's PROBABLY more realistic to modern warfare (duh!) but it makes for a very boring FPS in my opinion.

I actually don't mind getting decimated and destroyed over and over again by actual gun play. I find those games the most rewarding even if we lose. Anyhow, my brother kept harassing me about having quit MW2 and would sit there and brag about how he noob tubed an entire game and laughed maniacally. I'd just roll my eyes and say "hax" and "learn to shoot your actual weapon." Of course that's just teasing because he's actually really, really good with twitch skills. That's the thing that killed me about MW2, it would take some of the best man to man FPS battles and deduce awesome players into noob heads.

I also miss roll based FPS games... medic, sodlier, engineer, recon, heavy artillary etc. Those are so much more fun to me because you are highly dependent on a good dynamic of class specializations. SOO, I was over at Taint and Tivi's last night for Taco night and Taint was like, "hey, there's this trailer you should watch. you might like it."

He showed me the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 trailer. We had all played BF1942 and BF2142. I loved 2142. After watching the gameplay, I was like... "score! medic! engineer!" and "wow.. when is this coming out?!" and he says, "3 hours from now."

Lol., so we get on the phone with Gamestop and find out if they are doing a midnight release. We specifically ask the guy if they still have non pre-ordered Limited Editions to sell (at this point he says it's too late to pre-order). The guys says yeah but tells us to get there at 10pm so we can go ahead and buy them early and they can hand us the game at midnight.. yadayadada etc..

We're like, there is no way we're hanging out at a Gamestop for 2 hours. This isn't Cataclysm or Final Fantasy XIV for fucksake. Instead, we head out there around 11:30. There's like about 20 people in line...all men. Everyone of them had pre-ordered the game.

While we were in line, I was sitting there listening to a bunch of guys hanging out and talking about FPS games. They start on about Modern Warfare and sure enough one guy starts bashing the noob tubing fuck fest it has become and I turned to Taint and say, "see! I'm not crazy!" and he laughs and makes the *thoof* sound effect and laughs maniacally. lol. bastard.

At the counter, Taint buys a copy for Tivi and himself and the Game Stop guy goes.."uh.. I don't know if we have enough." He checks his computer and is like "okay.. I got two." And of course, when I go up to buy mine, the guy is like "that dude took the only copies we had for non pre-order."

Now, see. When we called this guy earlier, he specifically said they had a lot of non pre-order copies to sell. And we were like the only non pre-order people there. First Game Stop Fail.

So we drive down the street to the next Game Stop. I ask the guy if he has any non pre-order Battlefields for the PC to sell. He says yes. In fact, his case shows around 15 boxes. The store is empty.

As he pulls the game out of the shelf, he starts saying, "Actually, we shouldn't give this to you. If you want a midnight release, you need to get here at 10pm that way we can already have checked you and you could be home right now already playing the game. Also, you really need to pre-order if you want a game on midnight release. The only reason I have this copy to sell to you is because I had people revoke their pre-order. And you are losing out on all the unlocks because you didn't pre-order."

After, I'm like "yeah.. okay, cool. thanks for the information. we'll do that next time," he flips the game over and makes me read the system requirements for the game. He says, "I need you to make sure you have a computer that at least match these requirements or else there's no point in selling it to you because you wont' be able to play it." I tell him, "yes, my pc has all those requirements."

And then he cards me and tells me he can't sell me an additional copy (I was buying two in case Sahd or Flip wanted to play ) because he can only sell one copy per ID...which was funny because Taint had bought his two copies at the other store with one ID. Luckily Taint shows him his ID and I get my second copy.

Then the guy goes on about how if we had gotten there like 10 minutes later, the store would have been closed and we would have been SOL and standing in horrible lines at Walmart. He then goes on about how we had better pre-order for any other games like Cataclysm if we plan on getting it at midnight because it was likely we wouldn't get our game if we tried to pull this same shit again.

Whatever..douche. First, do you want to sell a fucking game or not? If not, fine whatever, I'll just go home and play WoW or surf flickr. Second, if that guy on the phone had told us they had vitually NO copies of non pre-order games to buy, we might have not bothered but they made it seem like it was no big deal.

And seriously, what is the point of showing up at 10pm and waiting two hours? It literally would have taken this guy 10 full second to ring me up if he hadn't been going off about how I didn't deserve the game and how I was missing out because I had foolishly not pre-ordered.

After my experience with Pre-Ordering Wrath of the Lich King at Game Stop, I have no desire to ever pre-order with them again. They are slow, their staff sucks. The night of WoTLK, I had to figure out how I was going to get an extra copy of Wrath because I hadn't pre-ordered at Game Stop for Tivi.

The Game Stop I had copies on reserve with that night was RIGHT next to a Walmart. I went to Walmart first that night because the Game Stop Line was rediculous. The line at Walmart was tiny (all non pre-orders) and second, the workers at the electronics/game departments at Walmarts don't give a shit about shooting the shit with you about games. They are fast as hell. They throw your game in the bag, swipe your card, and shove you down the line faster than you can say "Arthas."

I had not only gotten an extra game copy but also bought a lot of snack food from Walmart when I went to Game Stop to pick up our three reserve and there was STILL a line. The guys getting WoTLK at Walmart were all joking about how they were gonna walk by the Game Stop people and laugh.

Anyhow, pre-order or no pre-order, I read from the EA response to several forum questions that everyone would receive those unlocks. Limited Edition pre-orders get you some unlocks that would otherwise take you 15 hours to get.

15 hours. hahahahahahaa. That's hilarious. That's like a blink of an eye in FPS. And the squad unlock you get in 30 days and the one gun that might have been unique to the pre-order you can get by installing an old BF2 game. Whatever, I don't know why that guy wasn't just happy that we were buying the game. Maybe he thought it was wasted on me?

I remember getting home and installing it on my machine hoping it had been worth worth it. Whenever I start up with multiplayer FPS games there are three phases that shoot out of my mouth on repetition.
1. COME ON!! Are you fucking kidding me?
2. How the fuck did they?! oh... damn.. yeah..that's impressive.
3. Reloading...omg.. fucking reload.

This game was no exception and once I got my bearings, figured out how scoring worked and how to work spawning on squad, it was really hella fun. At first, I was combing through my gear looking for my normal engineering tools (I <3 playing engineer) until I realized it's all unlocked through levels. After that, I was on a mission to get my first mine.

Taint picked up medic and Tivi Assault (giver of the sweet ammo nector). I can't tell you how thrilling it was when Taint unlocked defib for the first time and I got an actual rez. Jeesus!!!! It's been ages since I've experience an in-game FPS rez. I've missed that kind of team dynamic. And later of course, I discovered the deliciousness of destructible environments. I've seen these in so many game trailers but until I actually RPG'd a wall down to get a camping duo in a building out, I had no idea what I was missing.

I only wish I had a better graphics card because apparently on Tivi's new upgraded machine, it looks awesome. I had to turn most of my graphic setting down to stop the game from glitching about. Maybe when I'm over there next time, I'll do a 1 minute video of her game play and also show you what it looks like for Taint to play on his 30" monitor.

I had a ton of fun playing this one from the get go as opposed to MW2 so I think I might be playing it for awhile or until I go blue screaming MEDIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mini Fire

Well, I went to take a shower after playing some Battlefield BC2. I was in a pretty cheerful and happy mood oddly enough. I got out of the shower and started to dry my hair.

Next thing I know, I hear this KAPOW sound and a part of the wire exploded and sparks flew everywhere. I quickly threw the hair dryer away from myself and it landed on the carpet where it started to flame. Luckily once I unplugged the dryer the fire stopped.

I tried cleaning as much of the soot off the carpet but I’m afraid the rest of it is burnt. I might be able to try and clip off the charred parts and then try to scrub the rest off with a solvent. RIP Hair Dryer, you dirty assassin.

The Scary Man's House

Joseph Andrew Stack Burnt House, originally uploaded by alachia.

On the way to Cirque De Solei Alegria, we had to pick up Tivi's niece to go to the show with us. She lived like two streets down from Joseph Andrew Stack, the guy who flew a plane into the Austin IRS office and wrote that manifesto.

I got a shot of his house which apparently he burnt down before he went off to commit suicide. Tivi's niece did not want to drive anywhere near the house. She kept saying, "don't got near the scary man's house!"

I had no idea he had burnt down his house first but there it was.. we even saw the front of the house later that night after we dropped off the little girl. It still had the police tape and everything.

Life is so fucked up sometimes. I don't even know if you could or should ever be able to explain it to a child... this is the world you're going to inherit.