justdrew

Interactive musings from a creative technophile
 
 
05.09.2012

Well, I guess after months of inactivity, it’s time to update this site.

I nearly lost my best friend last week. My wife of some 20+ years (we gave up counting a long time ago) contracted a virus that caused her meninges (the membrane that surrounds our spine and brain) to inflame to the point where she had a seizure.

I have had some medical training, but nothing really prepares you for seeing someone you know and love become a flailing, gasping rag doll for three excruciating minutes. Now, any time three minutes seems like a short amount of time to you- try holding your breath and watching the clock. You’ll get some idea of how very long 180 seconds truly is.

Turns out this is both bad and good. It has helped me realize how much we neglect time and neglect our lives by letting small moments go unnoticed and unremarked.

Not only due to the threat of having it all taken away at any moment- which it can be, make no mistake. We are all just a moment away from experiencing the abyss of eternity and the end of our seemingly permanent existence. Sometimes we get reminded of this. And I think we’re fools if we ignore such opportunities to recognize and appreciate the gift of our mortality.

My motivation to write this came partially from a conversation with some relatives who implied that our near-brush with death should somehow convince me of the existence of their mythical deity.

I am convinced that if you believe in some other-worldly wishful afterlife, you’re likely to fall into the trap of allowing those little moments to go by un-cherished in this life. All the while convinced that there’s another infinite one waiting just around the corner. Well, to turn Pascal’s wager on its head here: what if *you* (the believer) are wrong?! What if you’ve been pining for something that turns out not to be part of reality??

What if the bus you’ve been waiting on –instead of getting up and walking to your destination– never comes?

Which of us will look back on our lives gnashing our teeth over the missed opportunities? The things never said or tried? You might console yourself with ‘Well, I’ll get plenty of opportunities to do that in heaven…’ but we both know better. Just like little Jimmy who still desperately wants to believe in Santa thinks that if he just believes hard enough, his mean so-called friends who said ‘Santa is just your parents’ will be proven wrong. There *is* a santa claus. There just *has* to be.

And like Jimmy, you’ll only be trying to comfort yourself for the mistakes you never bothered to try and repair in this life. You always had more time, right? And even at the end of your life you still think you still have more time, but you don’t.

Soon you will go back to the place you were before you existed as a sentient being. Your consciousness was something of a fluke. A rare spurt in the cosmic dust that appeared to have purpose, but will fade into the background radiation of space like all the other majestic stars that first generated the atoms you briefly used to form your body while alive on Earth.

We all have but a moment on this planet to do anything; great or small. Then we are gone. Maybe some of us will be remembered for a short time, but all will eventually settle back to the void of space. That, if anything, is our heaven. We are merely specs on the radar of cosmic space-time. Barely registering as a contrast to the vast meaninglessness of the cosmos.

And yet, that can be enough. If you really suck the marrow out of life here on Earth. And if you face reality for what it is- that is your only true choice. All else is wishful (and IMO wasteful or even dangerous) thinking.

To all my well-intentioned but (again, IMO) deluded friends and (mostly) relatives who even hinted that Jeanette’s illness was somehow ‘proof’ of their god’s existence, I say you go ahead and pray to that nasty imaginary ‘friend’ of yours.

Reality has no need for such inventions. To paraphrase one of my fav quotes from Col. David Crockett, ‘you all can go to hell, I am going to Texas’ I say ‘you all can have your petty god delusion (and its hell), I will embrace reality and not regret it’


I often wonder, “Don’t the creationists ever stand up, look around and recognize how much what they’re saying [in defense of creationism] is a mirror image of what flat-earthers and geo-centrists said just four or five centuries ago?”

It borders on insanity to look past the overwhelming evidence of evolution, yet maintain it does not exist simply because your religious texts say otherwise.

Apparently, these buffoons are no more students of history than they are of science (and reality).

I guess it’s okay if a few of us wish to believe that the moon is made of cheese, the sun rotates around a flat earth, and some god made it all in 6 days a mere 6,000 years ago. But teaching innocent children this nonsense serves only to retard the human race and to stifle their innate curiosity and creativity. Why bother searching for facts when those facts contradict our nice little illusion?

Fortunately, there are voices that hold a light up to the forces of willful ignorance. One day we can move on to solving the real problems we face- and stop getting in our own way by propping up these childish fairy tales as literal facts.

While this priceless quote values the immediate need of jobs, I agree the same is true of long-term human progress:

Baton Rouge high school student Zach Kopplin said up-to-date biology texts are critical to training Louisiana students to compete in a global economy. While there are plenty of jobs for biologists, “There are zero creationist jobs. Zero,” Kopplin said.

Read the full article.


Maybe I’m missing something here, but this made me laugh.

Looking for a pay-as-you-go talk plan for when I’ll be in Europe next month. Caught this gem. Not sure how one can go over “unlimited” but Tesco is ready to charge me handsomely if I do.

Guess I’ll have to budget and stay just under “unlimited” while I’m there, otherwise those additional minutes are pretty dear.

How cool is this?!

Author: Drew
09.11.2010

Sometimes I really, really love the interwebs…

Go to full screen and enjoy!!

-Drew

Dresden Edition Complete Works of Robert Green Ingersoll Volume 07

Recently I posted a snarky comment on a friend’s Facebook post that highlighted a recent Onion article that calls into relief how a certain conservative moron has thousands of equally moronic conservatives under his sway.


The headline is a classic:

Nation Once Again Comes Under Sway Of Pink-Faced Half-Wit

In case you don’t care to read the article, Glen Beck is the asshole moronhalf-wit in question.

I chimed in with this comment,

Drew What is it these days with conservatives and stupid people? At least Bill Buckley Jr had a brain… why do these morons now choose to follow other morons? So bizarre.

which was followed up by Jon, an apparently incensed conservative who took offense at my characterization of conservatives as moronic… which isn’t what I meant to say.

Jon If ya’ll think conservatives = morons I’m not sure this disconnect you feel is their fault…

Okay, deep breath. Obviously painted with too broad a brush there, Drew. So I replied with

Drew Okay, not all conservatives are morons; but Beck is, Palin is, Rush is… and every dumbass who swallows what these clods serve up is- at the risk of sounding redundant- a moron.

To which Jon says

Jon You’re proving my point. Doesn’t screaming `you’re an idiot’ at someone you disagree with (without, of course, actually addressing anything specific) show more about your own lack of understanding than anything else? And by the way, Buckley and Rush were friends, I was a big admirer of his. Was it the PBS show and his aristocratic accent that made him more palatable?

Really? What does he expect, citations? This is a Facebook comment thread, not a formal debate. Also, I was not screaming anything.

In any case, a mutual friend’s FB wall is no place for what was shaping up to be a good ol’ political argument. Still trying to keep it light, I clarified my position and ignored the fallacy implied that just because Buckley was friends with Rush (something of which I was unaware) that makes Rush smart by association. Very smart people are bound to have friends with room-temperature intellects. The law of averages demands it.

Drew I’m not saying they’re morons because they disagree with me. They are morons because of their reckless and childish adherence to logical fallacies and hate-filled speech.
I referenced Buckley as a counter-example. He was smart- not because of his accent -I’ve read many of his books and articles and in my head he has a very different accent :-)

Of course, our intrepid conservative is having none of that

Jon Reckless and childish adherence to logical fallacies = faith? Hate filled speech = the state has to shrink?

Really? not sure I said anything about faith (though I will) nor the size of the state (which I feel is a red herring- conservatives are generally quite happy to increase the size of the state when it can enforce their agenda- remember faith-based initiatives and the Patriot Act?)

Still, neither of those are things I even remotely referred to, so I posted this rejoinder… plus an apology to the friend whose wall is now filling with these comments

Drew Wow, I didn’t think it was possible to present a strawman in such a short post. Well done, sir.
Jon, you’ve inspired me. Let’s take this to my blog- FB comment thread is not the best forum for a political debate. Sorry, Sian :-)

Hence this blogpost where the debate can continue, should Jon care to.

He has the last word on the thread with

Jon Strawman? As you didn’t give me much I was guessing. And I’m not interested in debating, just trying to understand. You’re a liberal (right?), and that’s fine, I’m just fascinated by the dismissiveness. Political opponents aren’t just misguided, they’re morons, hated filled, etc.
And Sian, I’m sorry too if this has gone too far.

For the record, a Strawman is when you characterize an opponent’s position in such a way that you can easily tear it down.

The example here is Jon assuming that my (liberal) argument equates the concept of faith with logical fallacy. Many people of faith live their lives based on a house of logical fallacy cards, however I never said or even intimated that faith was even part of the equation.

So, I have invited Jon to come read this post and comment in a more robust forum where he can refute my proposition, which follows:

Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh areis a stupid and/or disingenuous peopleperson who havehas managed to sway thousands of credulous and stupid people into believing practically everything they sayhe says.

Since I am affirming, I accept the burden of proof and will provide it, should Jon accept this friendly debate.

28.07.2010

For some odd reason, I have always harbored a deep loathing for organized crime and all its trappings.

The fact that it is glamorized in popular culture in the way of movies and television literally makes me sick to my stomach. No, I’ve never watched The Sopranos, and no, I don’t care how good you think it is.

The only reason this is odd (I think every person with a conscience should be repulsed by mobsters) and how strongly I feel about it has nothing to do with any direct personal experience. My only contact with a wise-guy is like most of us- movies and television.

There’s just something about the very notion of mafia-like organizations. The cruelty, the utter lack of a sense of fair-play (again, don’t give me the crap about ‘family’ and stupid shit like that. Even the most despicable of people loves their mamma and their own kids… while they kill and orphan those of others)

Anyway, I’m done with my little venting. I found this story quite disturbing… for obvious reasons.

ZDNet article


23.07.2010

Yeah, it's for real...

Now you know what to get that someone in your life who has absolutely everything… everything BUT a super-sharp pencil. (pencil not included)

17.07.2010

Just moved ISPs and was expecting a HUGE hassle getting my blog back up and running.
Amazingly, once I uploaded my database and edited the new configuration files to match slight changes in DB names and passwords, everything just worked(!)

Well, truth be told, not *everything* worked right away. I did have problems accessing the administration screens. However, once I re-uploaded 3.0 manually, all that was needed was to fire up the upgrade.php script and accept the prompt to update the database, everything worked almost like magic!

When I’m asked to show an example of opensource delivering truly wonderful UX, I don’t hesitate to answer, “WordPress”. I’ve said it before, but this thing just rocks. Well done, team!!

28.06.2010

Great movie, if you haven't seen it, it's wonderful. Old skule Austin at its finest.


Here it’s been months since I started a new job, got back into martial arts, battling a chronic cough and moving in all sorts of new and exciting directions in my life- you’d think I could stop a bit and share some cool stuff on my blog… of course, you’d be wrong, QED.

Anyway, news to come of a new travelblog my lovely wife Jeanette and I are putting together. Don’t believe she’s lovely? just look at her! she’s gorgeous- [pic to follow]

We both love to travel- though lately she’s been doing all the fun travel. Over the past few years I was doing all the business travel. Spending time on both coasts and even the Caribbean (it’s not nearly as much fun to work there as you’d imagine).

Hoping to put together an entertaining and informative podcast that will likely alternate between audio and video segments.

 

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