Archive for February, 2012

Have you ever been listening to some music and someone walks in and asks disdainfully, “what are you listening to?”  The same thing has probably happened to you when watching a TV show or movie. It’s not that they ask what it is, it’s the way that they ask. Or perhaps the person just comes right out and asks, “how you can you watch/listen to that crap?” “Crap??”  “Crap” you say? How can something that I love and enjoy be considered crap by another person?

It’s my opinion that the “crap” label is assigned by a person of ignorance.  If they would stop and think for a minute, they wouldn’t be so quick to judge.  What I love may be crap to you, but what you love may be crap to me.  No matter how bad you may think something is, there is  probably someone who likes it. Your value judgement is not a universal truth.

Let’s take ice cream for example. Some people like vanilla. Some people prefer chocolate. Others want the swirl.  Maybe you’re the person that likes chocolate.  Do you deny that vanilla is a good flavor? Probably not. You accept that vanilla is an okay flavor but you prefer chocolate.

If we can do that with ice cream, why can’t we do it with music and other forms of entertainment? I may not like country music or reggae or jazz, but I don’t think those forms of music are crap. I accept that those forms of music appeal to some people.  If people were all the same and liked only one kind of music, then there wouldn’t be a need for different genres; however, that’s not the case. There is heavy metal and hard rock for people like me, and there is jazz and country and pop for others.

Part of what makes us different is not just our preferences but also our backstory. Where did you grow up? How did you grow up? What country were you born into?  For example, I didn’t grow up around people that watched sports, so football, basketball, etc. aren’t terribly important to me. I’d rather watch a movie or a TV show since that’s how I grew up. I believe that there are circumstances in each of our lives that mold us into the person we become, and those circumstances have a large influence on our preferences.

Do you mind if we go a little deeper?  Have you ever read any of DC Comics’ Elseworlds stories?  Most people know that Superman was raised by a nice older couple in Kansas, which had a large influence on his belief of right and wrong. What if Superman’s spaceship had crashed in Soviet Russia?  What if he was raised by greedy parents in the city instead of in the country?  Those scenarios have been covered to the enjoyment of many fans.  My point, tho, is what about you?  What if you had been born to different parents in a different city or even a different country or, heck, in a different time period??  That you are here now, born to who you know as your parents, etc. plays a large role in who you are.

The other day someone posted the picture on Facebook showing the Marines pissing on corpses.  Of course, this started a lively debate, and throughout this conversation a statement was made that the victims “chose the wrong god.”  That really stood out to me because I think that Americans take for granted that we can choose whatever religion or belief system we want pretty easily and even change our minds as life goes on.  In some cultures, tho, the religion and the culture are so intertwined that they are almost indistinguishable. What if you had been born to Middle Eastern parents instead of American parents?  If you had, you’d probably be part of the Jihad or whatever also.

I think that life is a mixture of where we find ourselves and the choices that we make, with the understanding that sometimes the choices we make are because of who we are. Next time someone is enjoying something that you don’t like, pause for a second and remember that you could just as easily have grown up to like the same thing.  Instead of calling their music or TV shows or art “crap,” remember that it’s their preference.  Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean that other people don’t, whether you understand or not.

Suggested Facebook categories

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Random

Have you ever considered grouping your Facebook friends into categories?  Well, here are a few that I’ve come up with.  Feel free to add any others that you can think of in the comments below.

  • Slideshow – If you change your profile picture every day, every other day, or multiple times per day, then you might be a slideshow.  People that post pictures of their face regularly and for no particular reason can probably be lumped into this category also.
  • DJ Wannabe – These are the people that feel the need to SHARE every single video they watch on YouTube.  There are actually forums for this activity where you can be an actual DJ, such as and, but they choose to post 15 or more videos to Facebook instead.
  • Game Evangelist – This is the person that doesn’t just post the occasional game achievement to their wall… they post EVERY game achievement to their wall.  Janie achieved Poop! Janie achieved Wipe! Janie achieved Flush! Janie skipped Wash Hands.
  • OG – Although this means “original gangster” elsewhere, for Facebook it means Older Generation.  These are the people that end every comment in LOL because they mistakenly think it means “lots of love” or share the same types of jokes and anecdotes that have been forwarded around in email since 1989.
  • Mood Swingers – (see also Bi-polar Status Update Disorder) These are the people that will post a status update proclaiming, “This is the best day ever. There is nothing that can bring me down!”  Then 2 hours later, they will post, “My heart is broken into a million pieces and no one will help me sweep up the mess.”  We have absolutely no idea what prompted either. All we know is that the mood went from one extreme to the other in a short period of time.

[I give credit for the inspiration for this post to Crispin Glover and his presentation this weekend.]

We like to say that honesty is the best policy, but how honest are we really?  I’d like to say that if someone knows about 90% of me, then that’s about honest enough. Most people probably only know 50% or less about me.  It’s not that I’m hiding some great secrets or anything. I don’t have any bodies buried in the backyard.  I simply don’t share everything there is to know about me, and I am sensitive to my audience, so to speak.

For example, my boss may or may not realize that I collect comic books.  Am I hiding that from her?  No, I’m not.  It’s one of those things that I simply don’t bring up in regular conversation, but at the same time, I wouldn’t deny it if I was asked.  I guess you could say that I’m strategically honest.  I generally avoid topics that I know the other party isn’t that interested in.  I’m also generally pretty good about not volunteering information. If someone asks, fine, but I’m not usually one to just blurt out everything little thing that I did this weekend.

I think that part of strategic honesty is having an awareness of how much people are really paying attention.  I’ll use Facebook versus Twitter as an example.  There are some things that I’ll post on Twitter that I would definitely not post on Facebook.  Sure, my tweets are public, and anyone can see them.  I know, tho, that most of the people that I know on Facebook don’t follow me on Twitter, are confused about Twitter, don’t see the point in Twitter, etc.  That allows me some freedom to express myself in a public setting knowing that most of the people that I know aren’t even aware of it.  Again, these aren’t details that I would deny; it’s just something that I choose not to shine as bright of a light on, so to speak.

While there are some things that are discoverable about me that I would not deny, there are some things that I keep to myself.  For example, I hate political correctness; however, it’s unlikely that you will ever find out all of the ways in which I’m politically incorrect.  I don’t feel that honesty obligates me to share every thought and opinion that I have. I’m smart enough to know to hold some things back. Do I feel repressed about this?  Not really.  It leaves something that is just for me.

Bottom line – If you’re a good stalker and really pay attention, you might know 90% or even 95% of me.  I’m going to save at least 5 to 10% just for me… until I get old and have dementia and just say whatever the hell I’m thinking.  Until then, tho, you’ll just have to be happy with knowing between 50 to 90% of what I’m really thinking/what my opinion really is.

We will not die like generations past.
We are immortal; for once you are on the internet you live forever.
We are curious about past generations, but the details that exist are mainly the highlights.
Although it takes effort to learn about the past, we care to do so.
The current generation does not lack for details.
Information exists about us from the highlights down to the mundane & trivial.
In the future, history will be learned via Google.
But will anyone care?

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Why do we teach kids to share?

Posted: February 16, 2012 in Random

I was thinking about this awhile ago when hanging out with my niece and nephews.  Of course, when kids get together they want to play with the toy that someone else is playing with instead of the multitude of options in the toy box.  The default parenting response seems to be “share with your brother/sister/cousin/friend!”  But why?  Why don’t kids have control over their OWN toys?

Think about it for a second.  As an adult, how much do you really share?  I mean, sure, you help your friends out when they need it, but that’s not exactly sharing.  Picture this: You’ve saved up some money for a down payment on a new car.  The first day you drive it, you’re friend says, “hey, that’s a nice car. Can I borrow it for the weekend?”  What?!  No way.  I doubt you would just let your friend take your day-old car for the weekend while you stay stuck at home without a ride.

That’s how kids are treated, tho.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas day and they just opened the presents 5 minutes ago.  If the other children in the house like the gifts and try to play with them whether the owner (that’s right, owner – the person that received and, therefore, owns the toy) wants them to or not, he/she is scolded and told to share.

Instead of harping on kids to share against their will, maybe we should be telling the other kids to keep their damn hands off of things that don’t belong to them. After all, that’s a valuable lesson to learn when they grow up. Sharing, however, is overrated.

Ugh… White People

Posted: February 11, 2012 in Real Life

Recently, I traveled to the Philippines for work, and it was my very first trip to Asia. I flew from Jacksonville, FL to Dulles, VA, and I then flew from Dulles to Narita, Japan and then to Manila, Philippines. Upon boarding the flight from Dulles to Japan, I noticed that the crew were all Asian.  I guess they match the crew with the destination. I was immediately struck by how friendly they were… like genuinely happy and friendly.

This hospitality continued once I arrived at my hotel in Manila. There was an abundance of staff, and you could tell that they were happy to be there, happy to be of service, and genuinely happy to serve you.  It struck me thru the week that I was there that, whereas Americans are generally “doing their job” when it comes to customer service, Asians seem more like they are happy to serve the customer and that they get paid to do so is simply a bonus.

The dichotomy was evidenced further on the flight from Japan back to Virginia.  Again with the crew matching the destination, all of a sudden I had to deal with white people again after being in the Philippines for a week.  I immediately sensed that the flight attendants were not smiling because they were happy to see us but because the employee handbook required them to do so.  I had the “privilege” of sitting close to the kitchen area where the flight attendants gathered during take-off and to prepare food, drinks, etc.  I could actually hear them having an attitude about customers.

As I sat there in my seat waiting for the plane to take off, I reflected upon my time in the Philippines and thought to myself, “hrm… white people.”