Intelligently Evolve

          Evolution is the change in the inherited traits of organisms through successive generations.  Anyone who wants to see proof of ongoing human evolution should tune their television to any American Sports Network.

          Historical recap:
  1. Between the 1500's and 1800's hundreds of thousands of humans were kidnapped on the continent of Africa and transported to The United States (nee: British North America) where they were forced to serve as chattel slaves.  Only the strongest and healthiest—and their strongest and healthiest offspring—survived the slave ships, and the new world's diseases, and the legal punishments, and the life of forced labor.
  2. After the abolition of the slave trade (around 1800) and before the passage of the 13th Amendment (1865) slave owners increased their chattel using an internal slave trade and by focusing on breeding a self-reproducing labor force.  The census of 1860 lists over 4 million slaves in the US.
  3. Until 1967, many laws prohibited inter-racial marriage or sex between races.
          If one were to imagine a quick and efficient means of engineering super-humans...it might entail selecting a group of muscular people and forcing them to exclusively inter-breed.  Then, by forcing them to constantly labor and use their muscles, one could identify "best breeding pairs" as well as cull the underachievers, injured, handicapped and weak.  If one were to repeat this for about a dozen generations, and follow that with maybe six generations of regulated inter-breeding, the obvious result may be...the African-American sport icons and super-players of today.

          It's a safe bet you think kidnapping for the purpose of slavery is way more than just a reprehensible series of acts, and—even though there are about 27 million people still working unfree today—it's also a safe bet you think there should be no slavery anywhere in the world.

          However, along a similar vein, there's a sixty percent chance you don't think the world should be gender equal.  An uncountable majority of the world's women and LGBT people—almost 2.5 billion—are subjugated by their society's religion, government, customs, and males (or all the above).

          Even though evolution is as close to fact as science will ever permit the use of that word, (evolution's poster-children are any NBA All-Star lineup) nonetheless, there's also a sixty percent chance you disagree with this fact.  Of the dozens of religions in this world of 7 billion idiots, almost every one of them contains a creation myth as well as some form of dogma which promotes prejudicial ideation and/or behavior towards non-followers or followers of other religions....which means 4.5 billion don't believe in evolution, no matter how convincing Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are.

The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up.  The shortcut to closing a door is to bury yourself in the details. — Chuck Palahniuk (Lullaby)

This is where I was at ten years ago — You (.2)?


Imagine books and music and movies being filtered and homogenized.  Certified.  Approved for consumption.  People will be happy to give up most of their culture for the assurance that the tiny bit that comes through is safe and clean.  White noise. — Chuck Palahniuk

This is where I was at ten years ago — You (.1)?
United Snakes - Stephen Walker

March-n-Beat Box


Your handwriting.  The way you walk.  Which china pattern you choose.  It's all giving you away.  Everything you do shows your hand.  Everything is a self-portrait.  Everything is a diary. — Chuck Palahniuk (Diary)

The Advert Planters of Kuala Lumpur

" ...please where can I buy a unicorn? " 

Thirteen months ago, the anonymous author of these seven words intrigued me.  Could this commenter be my long-lost friend with scars on all eight of his fingers?  (If anyone had reason to still remember the words on that sign it'd be him.)   I re-dredged my decrepit and bleary memory of that night with the word 'unicorn' as a spotlight—still nothing.  I replied with:  " Ano..., I think they still sell them for a buck 3.80 on the other side of this sign.  Tell ya what, I'll pick one up fer ya next tyme I'm sign time! "

This was not just flippancy on my part—this was me saying "Marco!"  About a buck three eighty was a term coined by a forgotten comedian-of-yesterday.  When my friends and I wanted to imply something was cheap or worthless we would say it was "worth about a buck 3.80" (it rolled off our late '80s early '90s tongues in a funny ha-ha way).  Twenty years ago it was a broadly-understood inside joke (like quoting some catchy phrase from Robot Chicken today). 

Almost a month later, I received this comment (which didn't contain the "Polo!" I'd been waiting for):  " Hiya,  I can't say thank you enough for all the advice the people here have given me over time!!  Love this site!  (:(:(: "

For several reasons—I'm not people (plural); I don't give advice; and...although I don't emote...aren't those scowling-sorry or worried-sad faces?—I chose not to introduce this comment to   but, instead, to reply as if she were the unicorn-guy...so I wrote:  " De Nada.  I'm still lookin fer yer one horned horse.  I'll get back to ya when I find one, kay? "

Nine months later:  " In my opinion you commit an error.  I suggest it to discuss.  Write to me in PM, we will talk. "

Although every week of those nine months I'd moderated-deleted two or more spam-type advert comments from this post (and one other)...which is weird in-and-of itself...I wondered if the error this stumble-translating commenter was alluding to was my faux-surmise that the unicorn-guy and the scowly-girl were one in the same, so I wrote:  " Which error dost youse allude to my dearest poorly-translating ay-no?  I continually commit errors all the tyme (intentionally and un).  And, any old evening you'd like to discuss the multitude of wayz I (errr we) fumble that there infernal ball, I'm wide open...only you'd have'ta do two things:  1 - Translate this comment of mine (and I've not made that easy for a computer program to do).  2 - Stop hiding behind the anonymous mask.  Can ya do it?  I doubt it. "

Within a month, twice-a-week became about two-a-day (still only on this post)—so, wrongfully concluding that it may be computerized, I embedded some spam-poison along with this sentence:  " I'm unsure why, but this page seems to attract 90% spam (and 10% anon-loonies) so, I'm attempting a solution: Fight Spam! Click Here! "

Last week I received (from stumble-translator, I'm sure):  " In my opinion, it is a lie. "

I (now) assume he is she, she is they, and they are all together (koo koo ka-choo)...one group of advert-planters who inject advertisements into Squire from a small village near Kuala Lumpur.  To make their job easier, they put a random word or words (Like: Sign Story) into the goog, plant advertisements, and then bookmark the page where they plant...returning every so often to see if their ad-weeds are flourishing.

I suspect that they get paid a bonus when advertisements aren't deleted.  I also suspect they occasionally post non-advert comments (sufficiently generic for continuous cut-paste) to determine if a moderator is deleting all comments or only advertisements.

Three days ago I wrote:  " You unicorn hunters are definitely the loonies.  And anonymous status guarantees that your opinion doesn't count. "

Today I had the pleasure of deleting ten of their advert-comments.

Although I'm getting tired of the persistent kudzu-planting fuckers, pissing them off has definitely brought me a measure of pleasure.

My goal is to create a metaphor that changes our reality by charming people into considering their world in a different way.  It's time—for me, at least—to be clever and seduce people by entertaining them.  I'll never be heard if I'm always ranting and griping. — Chuck Palahniuk

Sneaky Low Down Persistant Ellipsis
Kill Twitter, kill it dead and Happy Lunar New Year
Open Letter to Crazy
Is Complacency in Your Resume?

70 Million—Hold Your Horses!


We tend to live by rules that never made any sense, but we've forgotten they aren't the truth. — Chuck Palahniuk

John Hughes was a hack

I received an email from a good friend which contained the following giggle-ditty:  ...the John Hughes montage from the Oscars last night made me feel all warm and nostalgic inside.

The lengthy recognition that The Academy bestowed upon the late Mr Hughes (who's creativity died twenty-three years ago) was extremely generous for such a hack-writer.

For twenty-nine years between 1979 and 2008, John Hughes wrote almost 40 screenplays for film and TV.  While six of his films, released between '84 and '87, were good-to-great:  Ferris Bueller's Day Off; Sixteen Candles; The Breakfast Club; Planes, Trains and Automobiles; Pretty in Pink; and Some Kind of Wonderful (the last of which is debatable), Mr Hughes only directed four of those gems.  I recognize Home Alone is popular with six-to-eight year olds—and those who were that age twenty years ago—nonetheless it's as much a vacuous, ham-handed, template-driven, piece of shite, as Drillbit Taylor, Beetoven, and all his Vacation movies were.

For every good film that came out of John Hughes's head, he wrote four absofuckinlutely terrible movies.  He got by with a 15% good to 85% terrible ratio.  And don't forget...he was so ashamed of the dreck he was generating towards the end, that he wrote under the pseudonym Edmond Dantes (and yes, I think he was trying to send a message of some sort by using the character's name from The Count of Monte Christo, but I don't care enough about him to hypothesize what that might've been).

For comparison:
  • Stanley Kubrick         wrote/directed about 15 films      60% good to 40% bad.
  • Akira Kurosawa         wrote/directed 60+ films             18% good IN THE US!
  • Cohen Brothers        wrote/directed 18 films                45% good to 55% bad.
  • Kevin Smith               wrote/directed about 9 films        50% good to 50% bad.
This is how Kevin Smith could become the next John Hughes:  with the handful of good films he already has under his belt—all he has to do, now, is continue to spew out the same unwatchable movies he's shat for the last decade (at a rate of one-turd-a-year) and die of a heart attack around 2023.  The Academy could, then, compile a montage of Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma and have Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Matt Damon, Chris Rock, and Selma Hayek provide verbal tributes.
 
There’s always the chance you could die right in the middle of your life story. — Chuck Palahniuk

Paper Digital drafts

Davecat, a long-term pen pal Squire mate (my first two marriages were shorter than the six-years he and I've been equainted) wrote an article about the ephemeral nature of writing in this après-paper world.  He highlighted one quality that separates the convenient-for-archiving-medium of the last few centuries and the convenient-for-editing-medium which has become de rigueur.  His conclusion (I'm presuming...because his landing was a mite soft, stopping on a ? the way he did) was that one of the negative side-effects of the digital age was the loss of all the unsaved preliminary sketches, initial drafts, and index card outlines.   He questioned if there were some past tangible benefits from the preservation of the unrefined building blocks of the creative process.   

In an imaginary monastery in 1453 a similar treatise was written (by Brother Davidcatatoniacal of he Chanting to hear the Graduals order) about how the newfangled and inexpensive pulp caused fellow-scribes to discard preliminary scrolls, which—if they were still writing on parchment—would have been reused.

Man has communicated with himself in many ways.  To name a few:  Wax tablets (very etch-a-sketch meets twitter); papyrus (fantastic in the desert, but rots in the rain-forest); quipu (where messages were knotted and worn); and now—the new paradigm—digitally communicating with Squire.

Synchronicity may explain the thing—where you stumble across a word for the first time (a while back, for me, it was: abstruse) and then every time you turn a page someone else has found a way to utilize that neat-o abstract/obtuse combination-word you just learned.

Was it also synchronicity when, two days ago, I learned about Rudyard Kipling's preference for writing longhand and about his paranoia that the labors of his writing might profit someone besides himself—so much so, that he insured his "roughs" were burned, daily, under supervision?  Because I think it's an answer to Davecat's question:  that the largest thing lost by the digital-snake eating his own tail (second and third drafts consuming the initial) is the profits to be made from selling the "discovered in an old trunk" sketches and rough drafts of famous artists, authors, and musicians. 

As I was writing this Echo, I came up with a question which is related-in-a-abstruse-sort-of-way:  How long will the world's governments continue to subsidize socialized communication?  The postal service is being used less and less.  Squire is being used more and more.  Eventually (in as soon as ten years?) won't corporate shipping companies completely replace government postal services and if not, why not?   When was the last time you wrote a letter with pen and paper?  Will your children's children think of postage stamps the way we think of sealing wax?

Leonardo's Mona Lisa is just a thousand thousand smears of paint. Michelangelo's David is just a million hits with a hammer.  We're all of us a million bits put together the right way. — Chuck Palahniuk (Diary)

let yourself feel—Esteban Diácono


Deliver me from Swedish furniture.  Deliver me from clever art.  May I never be complete.  May I never be content.  May I never be perfect. — Chuck Palahniuk

Heavy Rain

A video game for film lovers, Heavy Rain is a unique detective and revenge thriller that will keep you entertained for 12-15 hours the first time (I'm almost finished with my second go-round).

Reasons to like this game:   Death is death.  In most other games when your character "dies" he returns at a previous save-point or re-spawning location (which my paramour calls 'the Shoots and Ladders element', bless her heart)—not in Heavy Rain.  If one of the four characters you control dies, you're 25% closer to game-over.  It is possible to identify the serial killer and win the game with only one remaining character alive and mobile.  

No cheats or work-arounds.  The most common work around in other games is to save your game (especially before a conflict) and when you die you re-load and resume where you saved—not in Heavy Rain.  Saving your game is not an option.  When you make a mistake the game immediately autosaves...so that's where it will return if you try to start over. 

No jumping through the movie scenes.  In many games the "story" may feel like it is slowing your game play so you skip the story and get on with the mission—not in Heavy Rain.  You are watching a movie.  The plot unfolds differently depending on what actions (or inactions) you choose with each of your characters, but you can't skip the (sometimes lengthy) film and dialogue.

Emotional investment in the characters.  With the use of theatrics (music score, camera movement, mise-en-scène, script, and stereotypical protagonist/antagonist plotting, etc.) you begin to care about your game characters like you would a film character.  Your emotional desire to "protect" or "save" your character(s) influences your game decisons.

A desire to re-play more than once.    The outcome of the entire game will be different if you defend yourself completely, drive the car expertly, and don't trip at that crucial moment.  But, as the story unfolds from four points-of-view you'll choose what to say, you'll accomplish some "mini-missions," and you'll make mistakes.  Consequently, you'll want to go back and make a different decision or master the unique controls one more time.

All Trophies are unknown.  Trophies provide a record of additional accomplishments for those who want more goals than just the completion of the game.  In many games you can scroll through the list of trophies to determine some of the important "mini-missions".  In Heavy Rain all trophies are locked and unknown until you earn them. 

Reasons to dislike this game:  Linear-gameplay.  This isn't a sandbox-game and, therefore, you can't roam and explore beyond the confines of the scene-area, which enforces the "film feel" of the game.

Vehicle driving.  Although your characters drive different vehicles, you don't have much—if any—driver control; again, enforcing the "film feel".

Character similarity.   Two of your characters look very similar...so much so, that—until one grows a beard—you confuse them.  The first time I played the game, I thought this was intentional and that I'd eventually learn they were related (brothers or, maybe, a Fight Club-thing).  Nope.  Just poor casting by the director.
 
No Jumping through the movie scenes.  Yea, this is/was a plus...but it's only positive the first time or two through.  On the fifth viewing, now you've memorized what they're going to say for the next five minutes, and you may abandon the cut-scene heavy game.

I have heard, and read, strong criticism about the unique character controls.  I think it's important to understand that the uniqueness of the controls is crucial to enjoying the game.  If the controls were simple or similar to other games the challenge of moving your characters in a stress situation would be non-existent.  As your character gets excited, it translates to his thoughts and to the controller, then you make mistaken statements or take clumsy movements which adds to your fear for your characters safety...and that empathy drives your desire for a win-finish.  It wouldn't be a thrill if you could rely upon muscle memory to control your characters, so...floating a "button/movement" on the screen when specific actions are needed lends a spontaneous immediacy that could not be attained in any other manner. 

On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. — Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)