Thursday, December 30, 2010

A New Post Evey Week

Ok, so here's the deal.

I'm nothing special. I am a sophomore in college, I have a normal life, a normal(ish) family, and I typically don't do anything out of the ordinary. In college I make average to above average grades. I graduated #9 out of about 275 people in high school. 

Basically what I'm saying is, I'm semi-intelligent, but average and haven't done much. Yes, I'm 20, but still. I do not want to become one of the masses. The way I see it, that's where a lot of us are headed. I don't want to be one of those many people. I would like to do at least one thing that is at least a little meaningful. Thus, THIS BLOG!!!! 

In this blog, I tried (and am trying) to open up forums of discussion by bringing up topics and then fleshing it out a little, hoping other people will comment and a dialogue is opened up, much like this guy (to be fair, I tried to do this before I even knew about him. It's not copying him, just a co-development that he developed firsts. Like calculus). 

Yeah... That didn't work out so well... Mostly because 1. Not many people read my blog and 2. There are more assholes on /b/ that intelligent people (Yes, I advertised the blog [kind of] on 4chan. I was looking for numbers, hoping to pick up some readers. Thank goodness for think skin). So I tried other ways to get my blog out there. Stumbleupon, Reddit, Digg... (Does anyone even use Digg anymore?). That wasn't very effective either. Then I had another idea. I was listening to Jonathan Coulton's interview on the Nerdist podcast, and though, "Wouldn't it be cool if I made a blog post every week?" No, it wouldn't get me more readers, and no, it wouldn't guarantee that a forum of discussion would open up, but it would be a personal accomplishment that would make me feel great.

So here's what is going to happen. I am going to try to have a new blog post up every Friday, and Saturday at the latest. I'm not sure what the posts will be about. It may be more thought provoking posts (which I hope my last several posts have been), it may be some rants, it may be a stupid story that happened to me in my past. But, unless something really big happens (like a report that is due, which is entirely possible) I will give you a new post every week. 

So, please, enjoy! Follow me! Comment! Share it with the WORLD! Heck, if you even want to bump me up on Reddit or whatever, DO IT! Give me ideas to write about! I want this to be as enjoyable for you to read as it is for me to do! 


This is me excited. I'm jumping for joy, daggit! And catching water in Epcot...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Effect of Subprime Mortgages on the Economy

Ok, so as some of you know, I am an Honors student in the University of Tennessee at Martin (GO SKYHAWKS!). As part of the Honors program, we have to go to small seminars and large academic talks and write a big paper on one of the topics discussed. This was my paper that I wrote my freshman year, in it's entirety. This is not to be used for anyone else's classes, papers, or any other such thing. I am putting it out there for the sole purpose of informing people of what I found and what I discussed. 

On February 4, 2010, Julie Stackhouse of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis came to the University of Tennessee at Martin campus to give a seminar on the economic recession and recovery in the United States of America. One of the main points Ms. Stackhouse spoke about was subprime mortgages, also known as predatory loans. These loans let less than credit worthy people get loans at lower rates initially, but with the increasing interest rates after a few years, the people could not make payments on their mortgages, causing foreclosures, which put stress on the banks, causing a burst of the housing bubble and a recession to occur. I have chosen this topic to research further and expand on. The subprime mortgages played a major role in the downturn of the economy.

To understand the harm subprime mortgages caused, one must first determine exactly what they are and who received them. Most subprime mortgages were “given to borrowers with credit scores of 620” (Lee), and as low as 600 by some sources (Gerardi, et al.). Most of the loans, “about 80 percent, [had] adjustable-rate mortgages” (Lee) and required little or no down payment. This in and of itself was a problem because that low of a credit score indicated that they had problems making payments on loans, had financial problems in the past, and overall tend to be bad risks when it comes to giving credit. It also meant that the person seeking credit did not have to have much money to back up the loan for the down payment, making it easier still for a bad risk person to receive credit. If the credit rates increased, they would almost surely default on the loans. Also, some believe that “minority borrowers were steered into subprime loans in some cases when they might have qualified for cheaper conforming loans or…were given subprime loans that had fees or rates that were too high” (Haughwout, Mayer, and Tracy). Other groups of people who were exploited were “immigrants, the elderly” (“Senator Dodd: Create, Sustain, Preserve, and Protect the American Dream of Home Ownership”), and other groups on fixed incomes. However, a majority of the “subprime borrower[s] [were] not someone buying a house, but someone refinancing” (Lee) and did so to pay off credit card debt. The way borrowers were misled by the creditors and the groups that were preyed upon by the banks increased the number of predatory loans, which would harm the economy later.

The subprime mortgages started being issued to make money quickly. “Interest rates were relatively low in the first part of the decade,” (Crouhy, Jarrow, and Turnbull) fueling the mortgage industry and the housing industry simultaneously, along with other related businesses, such as logging and making windows. With loans easier to get, people who previously could not get credit suddenly could, allowing them to buy houses with low interest rates. They could achieve at least part of the American dream of owning a house with low monthly payments and a low interest rate. The subprime mortgages were attractive to borrowers because they could pay “low teaser rates over the first few years, often paid no principal, and could refinance with rising housing prices” (Crouhy, Jarrow, and Turnbull). This allowed the consumer to get more money to buy commercial and luxury things, pumping money into the economy, allowing other businesses to grow. The increase in the number of people with the ability to buy a house spurred the housing industry, seen firsthand in my hometown of Atoka, Tennessee, where from the time I moved there in 2004 until the bursting of the housing bubble in 2007, the number of new houses being built seemed to increase every year, with cotton and corn fields being sold to contractors to be converted into subdivisions. Businesses such as tiling, home improvement, and other related industries started booming alongside the housing industry, with my neighbor, who tiled floors for many years, making remarks about how he had never been so busy in his entire life and he had never made so much money so fast. The loans were attractive to lenders because they “offer[ed] higher yields than standard mortgages” (Crouhy, Jarrow, and Turnbull), allowing investors to not only make more money, but issue more of the predatory loans, creating a constantly repeating cycle. This cycle also drove up the prices of houses, due to the high demand for houses, forcing prospective home buyers to borrow more money. If some of the investors “had…known the future trajectory of home prices, they would have predicted large increases in delinquency and default” (Haughwout, Mayer, and Tracy), and would not have made as many subprime loans, if any at all, and a lot of the crisis could have been avoided. With the incentives of banks and other creditors to make a lot of money off the predatory loans, and the desire of the consumer to become a home owner and move up in status in the community, the vicious cycle was perpetuated not only by greed but by the desire to look good and acquire a higher social status.

A domino effect caused the credit crisis and added to its severity. In 2005 home prices started to “decline in price, [and] people who refinanced, especially those who did so with variable interest rates, suddenly had homes valued at much less” ("What Caused the Subprime Mortgage Crisis?"). It is going to take a lot to improve the credit situation. There has already been “more than $8 trillion [committed] to bailing out banks” (Taylor), yet the banks are hesitant to give out loans (Taylor). Some statistics show that “as many as 10 million families will lose their home before this crisis is resolved” (Kuttner), dragging down the economy even more. One problem that is being addressed is “the regulatory oversight for non-bank mortgage institutions was all but nonexistent” (Taylor) during the boom years of the housing bubble. The CRA Modernization Act of 2009 is a proposed law that would strengthen the existing Community Reinvestment Act to make it more effective and expand CRA's purview to financial institutions other than banks, and had it been enacted before this crisis occurred, many of the unethical and unsavory lending practices that caused the situation would not have occurred at all (Taylor). Some stimulus programs such as Cash for Clunkers, bank bailouts, and automotive company bailouts have done some good in improving the economy and restoring employment so that people may retain their houses. It will be a long time until the effects of this crisis have worn off and continuous growth can occur again.

There were many factors that caused the downturn in the economy, but the subprime mortgage crisis was probably the single largest contributor to the recession. The extending of credit to people with less than desirable credit scores was probably the first mistake investors made. The fact that the loans were misleading in that interest rates started low, had adjustable interest rates, and required little to no down payment on the loan only worsened the situation. The borrowers were mainly refinancing their homes, and when their homes became worth less than they were paying on, the market was flooded with houses, driving the prices down further. Banks made the loans because they promised a higher yield than traditional loans, more of them could be made, and the money off the predatory loans could be made quickly. Other businesses prospered from the refinancing of homes because consumers were buying luxury items or improving their newly purchased house. Greed and lack of oversight on the part of the creditors and desire for more and better social status on the part of the consumer allowed the subprime loans to be continued to be made. The same businesses that prospered from the booming housing industry also suffered because of it, increasing unemployment as more and more businesses either reduced their workforce or went out of business completely. As unemployment increased, more defaulting on loans occurred, hurting banks and other creditors more, along with the economy. Legislation and government sponsored programs have done some good in improving oversight and the economy as a whole, but it will be a long time until we see a complete recovery. These predatory loans greatly hurt the United States economy.

Works Cited

            Crouhy, Michel G., Robert A. Jarrow, Stuart M. Turnbull. “The Subprime Credit Crisis of 2007.” Journal of Derivatives 16.1 (2008): 81-110. Business Source Premier. Web. 2 March 2010.

            Gerardi, Kristopher, Andreas Lehnert, Shane M. Sherlund et. al. "Making Sense of the Subprime Crisis." Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (2009): 69-159. Project MUSE. Web. 2 March 2010

        Kuttner, Robert. "Reforming Credit." The American Prospect  20.6 (2009): A2-4. ProQuest Social Science Journals. ProQuest. Web. 2 March 2010.

        Taylor, John. "Reversing the Damage. " The American Prospect  20.6 (2009): A24-27. ProQuest Social Science Journals. ProQuest. Web. 2 March 2010.

            Haughwout, Andrew, Christopher Mayer, Joseph Tracy. “Subprime Mortgage Pricing: The Impact of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender on the Cost of Borrowing.” Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs (2009): 33-63. Project Muse. Web. 2 March 2010.

             Lee, Mara. "Subprime Mortgages: A Primer : NPR." NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. Web. 04 Mar. 2010. <>.

            "What Caused the Subprime Mortgage Crisis?" WiseGEEK: Clear Answers for Common Questions. Web. 04 Mar. 2010. <>.

"Senator Dodd: Create, Sustain, Preserve, and Protect the American Dream of Home Ownership | U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd." U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd | D-Connecticut. Web. 04 Mar. 2010. <>.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Making Life Worth Living Again

I'm not sure how many of you read the post that came before this one, but here's the link to it. I suggest that you read that one before you read this one. It will make more sense because this one is basically a rebuttal.

Ok, if you read that one and then chose to continue to read this one, I congratulate you.

So the overall tone of the previous article was that life has no meaning anymore. Judging by the comments, many people thought I was suggesting suicide. That could not be further from the truth. My argument was that life, especially in modern times, has no real meaning or worth to it. I stand by this opinion.

Now, this leads to a very bleak and sad existence. With no meaning or purpose, there really is no reason to continue living. But billions of people chose to continue living every day. Why is that? Why are people still happy? Why is it, that despite all the bad things in the world, we live, grow, and prosper?

The reason is that we set goals for ourselves and take pleasure in the small things.

That's it. There's nothing special to it. Many of us will never achieve fame, fortune, or acceptance by the masses (which is mostly impossible anyway. Name one person who is universally loved by all). But these two seemingly insignificant things have a huge impact on our lives.

Let's start with the first one. We set goals for ourselves. This is very true. "I will lose 5 pounds by December." "I want to make a decent dinner." "I've never been to that blog before. I wonder what it's about..." Minor goals get us through the day. "Just two more hours of work and I can prop my feet up at home." "Two more pages of this book and then I can buy the next one." "I hate my boss. Thank goodness I have only one and a half more weeks of his crap..." Minor goals can also improve us, even if it's just in a small way. "Even if I mess up this cake, I at least learned something." "Maybe if I learn how to carve this wood good enough, I can make a little money on Ebay." "Using a blog to expose my ideas to the masses surely will start a conversation that will lead to all of our knowledge being expanded." (Sorry. I hate the fourth wall. Three are enough for me.)

"So what?" you may be thinking. "Minor goals are just that. Minor. Insignificant. Useless. How are they making life worth living?" Well, for one, they keep us moving forward. That in and of itself is major if you ask me. If your life turns stagnate, that means that you are a failure as a human. A failure in that you do not wish to improve yourself, do not want to further your knowledge and experience, and do not want to live any longer. Humans have a need to move forward and improve themselves. Look around you at all the cities, inventions, and improvements, even in "under developed" regions of the world. No matter how advanced or unadvanced the civilization is, they all want to be better.

Now, the moving forward may be insignificant to an outsider, and it may even be insignificant to the individual. But it is still a goal, and it still helps out. It may not help "The Greater Good," and it may not help the individual financially, but it does help the individual emotionally, and that matters a lot.

The second point is that you should take pleasure in the small things. Now, I personally have believed this for a long while and follow my own advice (making me happy 95% of the time I'd like to think), but this is echoed in a great talk by Barry Schwatz's TED talk (linked below).

Now, this may also seem insignificant, and is actually hard for most people. It the crap storm of life, it's hard to stop and enjoy the sight of a snail crawling over a pebble. But, by enjoying the small things, the big things become outweighed. Think about it: A small glow of happiness may be overshadowed by a huge cloud of gloom, but many small things can outshine all that and more.

Yes, this sounds lame. Like it's being said by a pansy. BUT it holds true. The little joys in life outnumber the bad. Catching an elevator right before the door closes, catching a fork before it hits the ground, the smile and thank you of a stranger when you hold a door open for them...

And that also is the key to making life worth living again. Helping others not only helps them, but makes you happy. The happiness you obtain increases your morale. Increased morale makes you more productive. The more productive you are, the more worth you feel about yourself, and that is all that really matters in this case.

Life only has meaning if you add your own meaning to it. Striving to get better, setting goals for yourself, seeing the small things for the little wonders that they are... All these make life the meaningful thing that it is. Enjoy it. And add the meaning back into your life.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is Life Really Worth Living Anymore?

Ok, so you look at the title, and immediately you think "Oh, another whinny emo kid talking about offing himself again." Well, really, if you put some thought to it, it really is a big, relevant question. Is life really worth living anymore?

Consider this: If you are reading this, chances are you are not rich, famous, or doing anything productive. This is a nothing blog. It's not written by a famous person, it's not popular, and you probably found it through some guerrilla advertising, a troll, or someone sent a link to you. That's about it. If I'm right, you are probably between the ages of 13 and 35 (on the high end). You are either about to enter college, in college, or not that far out of college (or about that time of your life when most people do so. No judgement if you aren't in college). So what I'm about to say is relevant to you.

The way I see it, there is nothing out there for us. Nothing.

I'm sorry, but I find this to be truer and truer every day. Look around you. What I am about to explain will make sense.

First of all, there's the job market. There are no real jobs. Now, first counter-arguement: "It's the economy. It will get better." Well, it will get better. That's called the business cycle. But, when it does get better, how many people will be hired? A lot. Not all of them. This is understandable. But with more and more people getting higher education, or going to tech schools, or learning trades, getting a job will be more and more cut throat. It's simple supply and demand. Populations all over the world are growing larger. More people all over the world are getting more schooling (This can be proven on just about any college campus. Look at the number of people from overseas. It's a lot). How many people can businesses hire until it's saturated? And with technology replacing people, the saturation point is getting lower. Demand for people is small. Now for the invisible hand: People who entered the job market before you have presidence over you for that nice job. Experience is wanted, and experience is rewarded. Now, there are some people willing to hire on no real experience. But this can work against you too. I know of at least one company that required 2 years of experience before they hired you, but if you worked for a certain other company that hired you on no experience, your application was passed over. It happens.

Then there's what happens after you get the job. You get paid, you pay taxes, you buy stuff. That's about it. Very, VERY few of us will have the opportunity to do great things or productive things. We will be just cogs in the larger machine. A few high points of recognition, some small accomplishments, but still a cog. So, for most of us, we will be working for a paycheck. Counter-argument: "If you like what you do, it's not a job." Look guys, a the end of the day, it is still a job, and you're just trying to make money to stay afloat in this life. You need money, you need a job, and the fact that you like it is just a perk to help get you through the day. The motivating delusions are all a lie. And what do you do with all this money you make? Buy stuff. Food, a house, clothes, necessities. You need them, so you get them. What about the rest? You save it, then spend it on other stuff. TVs, board games, comic books, things to make the front yard look better. But how many people buy things just to accomplish something? Sure, completing the lawn gnome set in the front yard may be great for you, but what about the rest of us? Not many people restore furniture anymore, or build train tracks in the garage, or buy spices to make a new dish that is uniquely our own. We hire people, have other people do it for us. Pre-assembled grills, ready to use spices, people hired to do this or that. The argument is "Well, they can do it for better and cheaper than I can." But by doing this, you rob yourself of the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. "I built that TV stand." "I painted this entire house, inside and out." "I made this dish, and I didn't follow a recipe like any bozo who can read can make." Instead, you rob other people of the accomplish they task. "Yeah, I hired a contractor to tile the bathroom. Did a good job didn't he? I'm real proud of him. Real proud of the work he did for me." It's all a false sense of accomplishment. It lifts us up, but it's an empty feeling.

So how do we, right now, feel some sense of accomplishment, belonging in our hopelessness, and superiority over others? Facebook. MySpace. Twitter. Celebrity gossip. That kind of trash. People watch it, gossip, trade stories over the same thing everyone else has watched, say how the 16 year old mother messed up her life and how you would never do that. It raises you up over the image of another person who is better than you, while creating a sense of belonging with the people you gossip with. But what does it really do? Nothing. Gets you from one day to the next. That's about it.

So if you're still reading this (congrats to your dedication), you may be wondering what my point is, how all this relates to the original question. Well, here it is: With all this going on, what's the point of living? To have friends? How much do they really help you, and how much more drama do they cause in your life? Humans are social creatures. It's part of our biology to crave social interaction. To reproduce? Again, purely biological. To be the best? At what? With billions and billions of people out there, even if you create something new to be the best at, given a little time, someone else will be the best. To improve yourself? Sounds great. It even holds up in most arguments. But at what point do you decide there's no real point in improving yourself? At what point are you trying to improve yourself and then settle for what you've done and say "This is good enough for me for now?" It's all to keep they rest of the lower 90% of us working (Reference: the top 10% pay the most taxes and [thus?] have the most influence in the U.S.A. and world-wide).

Let me add something else. If you are still reading, great. If you are still following me, fantastic. But if you are really thinking about what I said, and are really digesting it, let me put this little thought in your head: This may all sound like conspiracy crap about the upper class keeping the poor man down, or a bunch of who-ha from an emo kid, then why are depression rates way high? Why are suicide rates up? What are less people feeling satisfied with their lives? Why do 6 different spices come in one box so that you can make the best, perfectly seasoned shrimp scampi? Why do shows like "Teen Mom," "Jersey Shore," "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," and other such shows exist? Why is it harder and harder to get a job flipping burgers or working at chain stores?

So what's the solution? Kill yourself? Putting aside religious arguments, social expectations, and fear of what comes after, this may seem like a good solutions. Semi-logic at least. But that just defeats the purpose of existence, and our problem is with life here. Be productive? That's doing what's best for "the greater good," going back to being another cog in the machine.

In all honesty, I don't have a solution. It seems like everything we can do is in some way just another attempt at staying afloat in all this mess. I'm not entirely sure there is anything we can do. Maybe form utopia communities and try to find meaning in that or something. Religion is another option, but that has become so closed minded, intolerant, and more focused on filling pews that helping people find meaning in their lives.

Is life futile? Maybe. It's up to you to decide. I'm just an observer.


I posted a counter-argument/rebuttle to this post. Published 11/23/10

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Why "It Gets Better" Just Doesn't Work

Ok, first off, GO GEORGE TAKEI! I'm glad he finally called someone out on it and he did it is such a way as to call real attention to the issue. If you haven't seen the video yet, here it is:

That being said, I have a problem with something that he and a lot of other people have been saying. "It gets better."

Now, I'm not going to sit here and bash gays, or argue whether or not it really does get better, I'm here to call attention to the real issue. The REAL one.

This all started when the gay teens killed themselves. Yes, it was tragic. It should never have happened. But then this message sprang up. "Don't kill yourself. It gets better." And this was supposed to solve all their problems.

Ok, in all fairness, I'm sure no one was really under this delusion. The intention was to provide support for homosexuals and to stop or prevent bullying. Both good causes. But what about the suicide part?

If you go on YouTube and look at a lot of the messages, very rarely do they say "Get help." They should. If a person at the point that they are considering taking their own life, they don't need a hollow message and a fake support net made up of random strangers and celebrities that will never talk to them. They need a therapist or some other form of treatment.

This may sound bitter, hateful, or down right mean to some people, but if you ask any doctor, therapist, or medical professional, they will tell you the same thing. If you are considering suicide, look for help.

And that is my problem with this campaign. It's detracting from a major issue. People mean well, but really, have some sense about you. Maybe it gets better. Maybe once you get out of the hell hole we call high school it does get better. Maybe it gets worse. I'm not sure. I do know that there are support groups (for lack of a better term) on my college campus and on several others. I also know that in many towns or businesses if they suspect that you are homosexual, you will not get a job or will be ostracized.

It's a good campaign, intention wise. It really is. Just get help if you're going down that dark road. Somewhere on it you may find something that makes it better, but it won't get better without help.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Why I will NEVER eat at Pizza Hut EVER Again

This post was originally made on LiveJournal, and it's not that old actually. 

Ok, so here's the short and skinny: Pizza Hut REALLY pissed me off today. Julie wanted to do something special, and I knew that Pizza Hut had a sale on wings on Wednesdays. Cool beans. We went. We get there, and this little mousy girl greets us and seats us at the table. I could't understand a word she said. Then the waitress comes over and immediately asks us what we want to order. Um... How about a little time to OPEN UP THE MENUS?! Anyway, so we got our drinks and looked at the menus and all that jazz, and then we waited. And waited. And waited. For about 15 minutes. To order. WITH NO ONE ELSE IN THE PLACE! Literally. Empty. At 5:00 on a Wednesday. So finally I go up to the counter to ask for someone to take our order, and the employees are just standing around talking about sports and what not and the girl at the counter was chatting away ON HER CELL PHONE! Look, I like the cell, but not at work, especially in a service industry like that. So when I asked for service, the girl looked at everyone else and said "Oh great job guys!" and that was it. Our waitress came and took our order, and things were ok. We waited about 10 or 15 minutes to get our pizza and wings, which I thought was fair. Here's the thing: the food sucked. Pre-made crusts, tasteless wings, no sauce on either of them, just a real lack-luster meal. A similar meal at Domino's would have been $3 more and totally worth it. I And this isn't an isolated incident. A Pizza Hut opened in my home town and the food there is absolutely horrible. And then there's the phone hub. When you call Pizza Hut, instead of contacting the actual store you want to order from, you get redirected to a hub that processes your order and then sends it to the nearest store. So if you want information (like I did last night), you have to wait and hope the operator can handle it. It sucks. Now, I'm not saying that Domino's or Papa John's or any other place like that is better (That's a lie. That's a dirty lie. I totally am), but I am saying that Pizza Hut has recieved my last dollar. I will never EVER brighten their door with my presence, and a certain other chain has a more loyal customer than they ever had 5 hours ago. I don't really care if you agree with me or not, but basic economic knowledge states that by not going to one store with one policy and instead going to another store with a better policy, the market as a whole benefits. Take what I just said as you will. I won't say more on that. Also, before you say "If you feel that passionately about it, why not contact them about it?" I did. Pizza Hut twice with a scathing review and Domino's once with praise for not being Pizza Hut. TO THE FREE MARKET!

My Roomie Rant on Twitter

Ok, so this was yet another old rant on Twitter, this time about a horrible roommate I had my freshman year of college. He sucked, was annoying, unclean, and was a bad pothead/binge drinker. This was what happened that night:

 Boy twitter, do i have a helluva story for u

Ok, so there i was, sittin watchin star trek tng, cuz thats what i do. Im that much of a nerd. And i hear cussin in the livin room

It turned out roomie (formally drunky, now stony) locked his keys in his room. With 2 rolled joints on his desk in front of the door.

Yes. 2 rolled joints. High end weed. On his desk. For the RA to see the moment they opened the door.

So we all freak out. Its in his room, but its a drug charge the ass hole would lie to take us down with him. Hes said so.

So first him and his stoner crew get a BUTTER KNIFE to unlock his door. A BUTTER KNIFE!!! IT WOULDNT FIT THE FREAKIN HOLE!

So then they want to cut my screen in my room, walk a 2 inch ledge, cut his screen, and then unlock the door. O hellz no!

So i shot down that plan REAL quick. So they try to break down his door. I dont wanna get involved so i take out the trash

When i get back, they broke down the door and there was a huge crack down the inside where it touches the frame. The door almost shattered

Now keep in mind, stony said this semester he was clean and wasnt doin that no more and it was 2 days after he puked all over himself

So he says "i know i shouldnt be doin this. This is a sign" and then leaves to smoke the joints.

So him and his buddies DRIVE AROUND smokin WEED in a truck with CLOSED WINDOWS! THATS NOT SAFE!!!!!

So i took a walk to talk to the parents to find a good course of action. When i get back, so are they and theyre stoned and has the munchies

So, i have a stoned roomie, several of his stoned friends, and im goin to walmart to try the new pepsi. Fun freakin nite... The end for now

UPDATE FOR BLOGGER: So things kinda worked out. Near the end of the year he and his friends of that very night got busted for driving around stoned. He had enough money so no charges were filed (the good old boy system is still alive and well here in the South), but the university still kicked him out. He is no longer friends with them, has no job, is still smoking weed, and is banging a high school sophmore (He should be a college sophmore by comparison). Funny how karma works out, isn't it?

My iPad Rant on Twitter

This is another old post I made on Facebook the day the iPad was announced. I still hold some of the same opinions about it. Though less relevant now, it shows how opinionated I can be (in case you want to follow this blog).

Instead of clogging up the status feed with updates like normal, I decided to make a note so friends will quit bitchin. Enjoy :)

@sidshuman Im not seeing anything special with the #iPad. Nothing but a kindle, i phone, and maybe a mini computer kinda

Im not seeing anything special with the #iPad. Nothing but a kindle, i phone, and maybe a mini computer kinda. Maybe a game boy in there...

Think bout it: iPhone: changed phones a bit. iPod touch: iPhone w/ no service. iPad: a fancy Kindle and a Game Boy with a few extra features

AND @sidshuman was right. All the hype for an underwhelming product... A real waste if u ask me...

I think Apple is just tryin to sell useless crap at this point....

Maybe its doin the right thing by condensing a lot of things, but really, how much useless stuff do u need? Just come out w/ ANOTHER iPhone

Watch. Early adopter are gonna get screwed again big time. I predict 2 new iPads after the initial launch within the following 18 months

iTampon is trending... How appropriate. Cuz the way i see it, the iPad is gonna be a bloody mess by the end of the month

BrentSpiner Didn't Captain Picard used to play with a pad like that in his ready room? STAR TREK STRIKES AGAIN!!!

TravisMoses RT @ChrisMorell: long-term cost breakdown of #iPad vs #iPhone:

Ok, this article has shown me the first real use for the iPad (via @TravisMoses) So gaming and browsing?

Heres the thing tho... The iPad is big (length and width wise) that i dont see it bein real popular as a gaming or browsing device

Maybe the iPad would be better than the Kindle in the reading area because of the size, but a netbook almost seems like a better option...

Remember the Apple Air of w/e they called it? Big hype, but it died early. I think theyre just doin a face lift

Lookin at some rough pics, the iPad seems almmost too clunky. Not very portable it seems

The more i think about it, Apple had the right idea to role some of the best features into one product, but it turned out lackluster

And on the advertising, the editors and reporters are right. Too much hype

Has Apple come out with so many great products that it cant meet expectations anymore? Or is its marketing machine too effective?

Im not a big Apple fan, but i have to admit, their products (excepts macs) are good. I guess u hafta have one or two failures...

Basically, i think the iPad is gonna be a passing novelty and another iPenis. Makes u seem better, but u just wasted money and wont admit it

Btw, if the iPad is successful, I will be one of the first to admit i was wrong. But i doubt i am.

ADDITION FOR BLOGGER: Yes. I was wrong. It was successful. I have no idea why it is, but it is. I was wrong and concede that point. 

Advice for College

This is an old post I made on Facebook, and I still think it is relevant now. Something for high schoolers and other prospective college students to think about...

When I entered college last August, I had no idea what to expect. I had an idea, but I was kind of out on my own. Now that I (kind of) have things under control, I want to help next semester’s freshmen. I made a list of things I wish I had known. The things are based solely on my own experience. The list is not all inclusive. The list is not going to fit you 100%. I violate a lot of the advice I give in this list regularly. I’m just trying to help in any way I can.

1) Don’t drink! Yeah. You’re probably underage anyway. And you don’t need the morning hangover. And that’s valuable study time you’re wasting. And you can’t afford it. Like my bio prof once said, “Get through college. THEN you can drink. Besides, you’ll have more money to buy better beer.”

2) Your roommates are not NECISSARILY your friends! You are co-habitating with them. That doesn’t mean you HAVE to be friends. Yes, it makes things a LOT easier, but don’t try to make a connection where there will never be one. Just go with the flow, avoid conflict, and get a mini fridge and a food box.

3) Make friends! Yeah, it’s not easy at first. Trust me. But later you’ll be thankful you have some in the immediate area. The support net you make will help in more ways than you can possibly imagine. Get involved with clubs, frats, sororities, organizations, church groups, volunteering, ANYTHING to make friends and have a support network.

4) Make friends with art majors! Yeah. I’m not going to explain this one. You can thank me later though.

5) Get hooked on a web comic! Yeah, it sounds dumb. But that one little laugh from a comic can make the difference between a good day and a bad day. Read one that not only interests you, but one that updates regularly and often. Questionable Content, Dr. McNinja, QWANTZ, Girls With Slingshots, and XKCD are good ones to follow.

6) Read DAR! A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary! Don’t let the name turn you off. It’s not censored, and it gets really risqué, but Mrs. Moen’s story of her life and what she went through, from college to the real world, is really inspiring and pulled me out of many low spots.

7) Don’t do drugs! Duh. No explanation needed.

8) Don’t go wild with your new freedom! Control your impulse purchases, set a schedule for yourself, and don’t do anything you wouldn’t want the cops or your parents finding out about.

9) Set a schedule for yourself! You’re going to want to sleep in, stay up late, and eat whenever you get hungry. Yeah. That hurts you in the long run. Get up at a certain time (or close to a certain time) every day, eat lunch at about the same time, eat dinner at the same time, and go to bed at the same time. You’ll feel a lot better for it. 

10) Watch your diet! Yeah, you hear stories of the Freshmen 15, but you don’t think it can happen to you. It does. Trust me. Keep in mind what you are eating, eat regularly, and cut out the dessert and snacks. 

11) Work out! Yeah. I hated it too. But it helps. A lot. Not only does it help control your weight and keeps you healthy, it helps you feel better both physically and emotionally. It relieves stress, keeps you alert and attentive, and keeps you happy. Sounds like crap, but research and experience back me up on this.

12) Don’t procrastinate! We’re all guilty of this. Senioritis lasts until the middle of the semester or until you fail your first test. Get your work done as soon as you can. And do it well. Professors are picky. Trust me on this: all nighters suck worse than virgin hookers. 

13) College is not like high school! Yes, you have to take notes. Yes, you have to study all the time. Yes, you have to do actual research. Get used to it.

14) Research is not websites! Research is electronic databases, scholarly journals, books, and government documents. Not Wikipedia,, or anything from Google.

15) Check your school email often! Professors email you. Don’t miss a single one or you WILL be screwed. 

16) Make friends with your professors and get involved with the faculty! Remember, these are the people that write your letters of recommendations. Even if you get involved with a professor in a department totally different from your major, it’s a good thing. Word gets around, and when it comes time to get job experience while still in school, you’re more likely to be called upon if you are well known and in good standing.

17) Things you will need for the dorm: mini-fridge, food box, TV, computer, heater, fan, George Foreman, microwave, pots, pans, measuring cups, silverware, plates, napkins, paper towels, regular towels, washcloths, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, soap, shampoo, razor, A SHARP KNIFE THAT ACTUALLY CUTS, headphones, mp3 player, printer, Pepto-Bismol, comb, rugs, blankets, manicure kit, bandaids, plates, bowls, clothes, dish soap, laundry soap, fabric softener, and just a FEW things to make your room less sterile and more like home, just to name a few things.

18) Don’t be a afraid to decorate, but don’t go overboard! You’re going to be living there for a while. May as well make it inhabitable. Just remember, whatever you take with your to school, you have to take back home later. 

19) Manage your time! A full calander, a daily planner, cell phone notes, a dry erase board, and sticky notes do a lot in the way of keeping you on track and making sure you get things done. 

20) You have meal plans for a reason! Use them! Free food! You don’t have to cook! YOU SAVE MONEY! There’s no reason not to use them! 

21) Sleep! Yes! You’ll want to do it more than ever, but it’s hard to come by! Binge sleeping on the weekends is not good for you either. Plan on getting at least 8 hours a night. Finding out that you can operate on 6 is a bad thing. You WILL regret it later. Don’t drink coffee or caffine about 4 hours before you go to bed so that you have time to clear out your system. Don’t work in your bed. Best quote: “Your bed is for sleep and copulation. Nothing else.” If you work or even read in bed, you body gets primed to work, making it harder to fall asleep and get a good night’s sleep. 

22) Watch how you schedule your classes! Having all your classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so you can have Tuesday and Thursday off sure sounds nice, but that’s a hell of a rigorous schedule and you will get burnt out very quickly. Also, schedualing your classes later in the day sounds like a good idea too, but you are wasting pretty days and study time. 8 a.m. classes suck, but you get the rest of the day to do whatever you like or need to do. Night classes suck. Period. Having a lot of classes after lunch is bad. You have lost a lot of motivation after 12 or 1 o’clock. So as much as you hate it, get up early and start your day. Worst case scenario is that you take a nap in the middle of the day. At least your meeting your classes and being kind of motivated.

23) Watch how much you nap! Sleep during the day, and you won’t at night. Its that simple.

24) Facebook and Twitter are your enemies! I’m a prime example of how you can get screwed over by them. 5 minutes turns into 3 hours very quickly.

25) Get a Twitter account! Yes, on the heels of that last one, I’m saying Twitter can be good. It’s like the web comic thing. If you follow the right people, you can get a good laugh, find a few good articles, and have an outlet to express your thoughts freely. It sounds dumb, but I have been able to use article I have found on Twitter to use in class, both as openings for discussions, providing background information, and just to send to the professors as a supliment to the lecture. I suggest following @wilw, @mental_floss, @donttrythis, @erikamoen, @shitmydadsays, @grantimahara, @nerdist, @sidshuman, and @jephjacques. Some are funny, some are intelligent, some help in class. Just some suggestions.

26) Be different! Take the different approach or idea or argument in class! Professors really like different idea as long as they are presented intelligently. You may be completely wrong, your opinions overly biased, or facts not quite right, but it opens up discussions and helps you learn. Trust me, I remember more from tangents in some lectures than the actual lectures themselves. 

27) Your first couple of week will be hell! You will want to quit, you will want to go home, and you will want to die. You just have to stick it out and do your best.
And finally, an extra word of advice: Take this with a grain of salt. This is based just on my experience. ONE PERSON’S EXPERIENCE! Not everyone is the same. I just wish that I known some of this going into college last semester. I hope this helped. Have fun in college kids! :)

Other college kids and graduates: Feel free to add your own advice too! I wish I had had more at the time!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Let Me Tell You A True Story About Mr. Glenn Beck

This story is completely true. How do I know? Because it just unfolded. And this is how it happened:

In the beginning, there was this comic:

Innocent, a bit funny, but an interesting idea. So interesting, in fact, that some people, the author of this strip included, wanted to expand the idea. The idea grew and blossomed until it culminated into a book:

The book is a bunch of really good short stories, narrowed down from even more great short stories that people wrote just for this book. Now, there were a few problems for this book. First, there are no big name authors in this book. No Stephen King. No Dean Koontz. Just regular people who wrote an amazing story. Then there was the selling of rights, ebooks, distribution... The whole thing is outlined here:

So what were the authors of this book going to do? Have a brilliant idea of course! They would tell everyone to buy the book on a certain day off of If it reached #1 on the top seller list, which isn't hard evidently, they would pick up a great readership and make good money. What day did they pick? October 26th. 

The problem with this day? Dear Mr. Beck was releasing his book the same day. No one involved in this project knew. So a huge viral campaign was started, and it was a rousing success. Machine of Death reached #1 on the Amazon book list for the day and a small idea became a huge success! The very core of the American ideal! What's the problem then? Let's ask Mr. Beck himself:

"And I want to tell you that, um…our books are ALWAYS #1. And I find it REALLY fascinating, FASCINATING, that if you go to, Broke is number THREE.

And then, the #1 book — TODAY, at least — is Machine of Death. And it’s a — collected stories about, you know, people who know how they’re gonna die. Haowww!
These are the — this is the left, I think, speaking. This is the left. You want to talk about where we’re headed? We’re headed towards a culture of death. A culture that, um, celebrates the things that have destroyed us."
Um, what?
Evidently, the creation of a novel idea, the hard work of many people, a genius idea that makes use of modern technology and information sharing, and being beaten to the #1 best selling spot is left, un- American, and evil. 
Just so you know that this isn't being taken out of context, here's more information:
And a bit more background and a few more links:
This is the man who endorses the "American way" and is trying to "help America get back on track," yet when his book is out sold, which happens in Capitalism, it's bad. Yeah. Think on that. 
Spread the word. Share this information. Help promote the book. Forward this email and legally purchase the book.