Saturday, August 28, 2010


Since the fall of my favorite places to hang out in the Seattle area, I have been on what seemed a never ending quest to find a good place for hanging out when I feel like it. Many places had the look and feel of small town coffee shops but still felt cold for some reason, it just didn't feel like a hang out spot. There have been a few in downtown Seattle but oddly the one I will return to the most isn't in downtown Seattle ...

The Gypsy Cafe & Pub

This is one really nice little shop, in spite of my aversion to places that serve alcohol I discovered this place while walking around aimlessly with a friend. Long disturbing story so I won't explain why we wound up here. But this shop has great coffee and feels nice sitting there drinking it. The music isn't too loud, the seating is very homely and comfortable, and they even have live entertainment some nights. My friend and I will likely be there again during the entertainment just because we like local color. Also someday I would like to get another gaming group together and this would be the perfect place to run an old school AD&D campaign.
Seems there are slow periods as well, so it's not over crowded which is great. The customers span the rainbow as well, from regulars to simple town folk. The barista working when we went was friendly and helpful.
Urban Spoon

Uptown Espresso

Another down to Earth coffee shop with good coffee but this one is pretty busy, sometimes there's almost no place to sit and enjoy the coffee. Also sometimes the music is too loud to really talk to someone without almost yelling, which is another drawback. Those two flaws aside it's a great place for coffee. The setting is comfortable and the coffee is good.
The locals in this area are a bit snobbish though. The baristas are also a little cold.
Insider Pages

Online Coffee Company

When I need to go online, this is the perfect place to sit and have a cup of coffee, but the seating isn't all that great in the downtown location, unless you want to use one of their computers. It's a little cramped. The music can be obnoxious sometimes but this is very rare. The servers are awesome though, and free wifi isn't all they offer for surfing the web. The coffee tastes unique, different from most coffee brands, which is a bonus when you are sick of the Starbuck's and their copy cats.
The biggest problem is the customers attracted to this shop in downtown Seattle, thy are often in contrast with the baristas, which I have mentioned are awesome. Typically it's the snobby upper class or the wannabe tech geeks that wind up frequenting this shop, though the occasional homeless person makes good company most of the customers are so stuck in themselves you feel like an outcast if you are at all unique.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Equal Rights

What are equal rights, what does it really mean? Normally when this question is asked they ask how it means to you. But here's the problem, equal rights isn't about you, or me, or we, or us, or them ... it's just equal. Many rights in the country are trampled on in the name of equal rights, but then that makes them no longer equal. The one most effected by this is freedom of speech, in which people think freedom of speech means "you can say anything you want ... as long as we approve first."

The sad fact is that in order for freedom of speech to be an equal right then we have to let those who say things which do offend us speak as well. While I'm against the religious fanatics and the racist groups, I would never dream of forcing them to stop saying what they want to say, because I truly to believe in equal rights. So if the KKK wants to hold a peaceful rally ranting about how superior they are, we really can't stop them. If the religious fanatics want to whine about gays in the military, they must be allowed to even if someone else disagrees. The reason is quite simple, oppression of speech in any form is not equal. The FCC also goes against equality, but in different ways.

But really, what is equality? It's where all the laws and regulations effect everyone and everything the same, regardless who or what is being effected. If everyone has an equal say in things typically the best idea will have the most supporters, sometimes this is not true but to deny any one voice from being heard is to deny them all. There is a growing problem of superior rights in our country though, instead of being equal many groups are pushing for more than their share, in the name of past persecutions. This is not equal in any way really.

It's easy to see that they are not productive, they are destroying equality. First the ones being effected by this were not the people who actually committed the persecutions in the first place. It would be nice if you could go back in time and prosecute the original perpetrators, but you cannot. Asking for things like payment from their ancestors is far from equality, so is asking for extra protections based on past behaviors. Admittedly these things would have been appropriate in the past as a method of creating change, it is out dated and unequal especially in this time.

So how do we achieve true equality? There is no realistic way to be perfect in this matter, but the laws can be by simply blinding justice, as it was suppose to be. Simply remove any law stipulation that pertains to things which do not effect others. Sounds so simple now, but for some reason this change is impossible to achieve. The main reason is people who are often fighting for equal rights push beyond those and try for superior rights, give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

Ultimately I doubt many people in this country even want equality, at this rate, even the "minority" groups I am part of have been pushing too hard and going to far, so I have seen this from both sides. When I speak of seeking equality I hide or ignore these groups I belong to because I want real equality, not superior rights. Perhaps more people should try living in other shoes like this, maybe then more will see the error of what they believe they are fighting for.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Politician Power

I use to be a part of a political message board though I left for one reason. Seems that the majority of people in my country (United States) are of two types, the conspiracy wacko who thinks everyone is out to get them and the people with blind faith in politicians swallowing what they say regardless of evidence to the contrary. Right now I am going to focus on the blind faith.

How can you follow a politician with blind faith, in the US especially? That contradicts the whole spirit of our nation not to mention against human nature. The worst followers are those who say they believe in political parties, the big two are probably the biggest lies in the country. I have seen a lot of debates turn into party squabbles yet when you listen really close to what they are saying you find that the two parties are almost the same. Look into the actions of politicians from these two parties and they look exactly the same, just different reasons for the actions. People who follow these politicians blindly are incapable of seeing this though because their blind faith would be shattered if they did.

Parties aside, there is a really bad reason to follow any leader blindly, but to follow a politician blindly is pure stupidity. Career politicians, the ones in really high positions, are there for one reason, to earn an undeserved paycheck. Lower ranking politicians it can be hit and miss, some may actually want to do something for the people but their voices will always be drowned out by the higher ranks. I know that quoting their actual pay for the positions contradicts this, but let's look at these deeper. Every tall tale has a kernel of truth, even the conspiracy nuts have theirs. You will notice that all politicians in high positions have holdings in companies, businesses that make money based on what the government here says.

The politicians don't directly influence this, of course they have to go through channels to, which is suppose to keep abuse in check. It really doesn't because the politicians decide on who has control over the organizations that do have the final say in the matter now. Many of these organizations, like the Census Bureau, FCC, and FDA, are allowed the power to decide who gets money, what products are allowed, and which choices we are allowed to make. When we really don't need them to have that power in the first place. There are laws in place to handle almost everything they do already and our law enforcement may not be perfect here but they do a better job than the organizations.

The control of these organizations that too many people have blind faith in as well offers the politicians the ability to control what products, services, and other organizations get acceptance and funds. The strings are too complex to explain in one Blog post but there is logic behind this. So putting blind faith in those at the top, regardless of their party or what they say, is plain ignorant. Politicians make a career out of lying to everyone, even themselves, to gain the trust so no one will question them in the first place. This causes damage, as we can see from the last regime change, and lots of it. To add insult to injury the blind followers are now making excuses for the lies as well instead of demanding the politicians in power now follow through their campaign promises.

In most discussions and debates I offer ideas on how to improve, but not this one, I will merely point out the logical and illogical concepts on this matter because no one will act on them anyway. So here's the task, we have the power of the internet, the ability to look up things from official sources on here, start doing that. Don't pay attention to the "facts" posted by Blogs or talk show hosts who make money on contention, yes, don't even take this Blog at face value, do your own research now. They can't hide everything so the data is out there, you just have to start looking for it. Also, do me a favor, ignore Wicrapedia for such things as well, when any nutjob with a keyboard can edit the information the chances of it being reliable are slim.

As for my "authority" on the subject, as I said, I use to participate in a political message board and had to research a lot of crap to do so, and the logic could not be ignored in this matter, politicians are out to con you, plain and simple. ;)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cinema Matters

Something about today's movies sucks. Sometimes there are a few good ones, but they never make it well in the box office, instead sparkly vampires and bad remakes are selling more tickets. So what makes a movie truly "good"? Now they do have to make money, mind you, so popularity is important, however popular does not appear to be the same as good these days. Seems Idiocracy is coming true, survival of the most stupid.

To better understand what movies are good we need to look at the real classics throughout the ages. Most of the really good classics from the pre-color movies are based on novels, really big novels, with lots of story and full character development. Later they added in special effects to the mix yet still the characters were well written and full of life. Then the fall, the dependence on special effects and complete disregarding of character background. Now we are in an age of bad remakes and screen effects.

So I ask the writers of new movies to consider one thing: Has this been done before and do I have characters the viewers can believe in?

We'll look at one of the cheesiest horror movies of all time, Nightmare on Elm Street. The franchise started off with a laugh, though the characters were lifelike they had an element of stupid in them. Freddy was the biggest clown of the killers, with bad jokes and one liners that made you chuckle. His story was simple and yet made sense. The characters he was targeting were "just because he could" ... which actually added the fear into it.

So what's wrong with the sequel to Nightmare on Elm Street? Everything. They tried to turn a B-movie into a serious one, that was the biggest mistake. Losing the humor of the main character turned him into just another supernatural killer, of which there are already too many. Changing the script was another mistake. They even changed the story, just enough to make fans of the originals choke on their own vomit. Watching Freddy was like watching a set of knives that kept falling onto people ... bland, boring, and lifeless. Nothing scary, just a bunch of pointless red colored sugar water spilling on the floor.

Sometimes, I admit, remakes are improvements, Lord of the Rings trilogy was one. The first was rushed and though animated well for it's time it also was not the best telling of a massive story. The sequel did well in telling the story with only a few changes and great writing. So not all remakes are bad, just the ones which take something already well done and turn it into ... crap.

Then there's the movies depending on the special effects to tell the story instead of using them to enhance it. Not the Final Fantasy movie, though that story fell a little flat, ones like Avatar. Special effects are fun, yes, but if that's all you want there are video games you can play. Movies are about the story, a novel in motion.

Now Hollywood, we have demonstrated, as movie fans, that we can sit through three hour movies, why are you cheating us now with 60 minute garbage flicks featuring vampires wearing glitter and soft core child porn? Give us good remakes like The Wolfman again, or better quality stories like the Star Wars Four, Five, and Six. Also some new worlds like Delgo are a good idea to.

As to the fans of the crap being put on screen these days, grow up already. That mentality was never popular, "it's like totally uncool to like behave so childish, you know?" Did the stupid stick hit you all when you were born? Look closely at yourselves, do you really want to be known as the most moronic generation? No, nothing you are doing now is new, it's not different than the rest of us, but when we were young your behavior was laughed at because it was the same as watching Three Stooges reruns in real life. Thank you.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Religion and It's Role

I am religious, yes, a religious science geek, thus the "mad scientist" jokes I make. But what is religion? Many people claim atheism ins't a religion, many claim their particular religion is the only true one, many think all religions have some fragment of truth, others say religion is the root of all that is evil in our society, and many say that religion and science are polar opposites. The strange thing is that they can all be right.

The concepts of religion are generally unprovable, this is why there is such a huge animosity between the religious fanatics and science followers, but does unprovable make it impossible? No, unprovable just means we have not gotten to that level yet. Many things are considered magic until we understand them, medicine is full of such instances. The animosity does not come from this though, really it comes from the binary thinking (there's that concept again) that's been plaguing humanity for too long. This wasn't something humans have had through all of history, it's relatively new since about the time of the beginning of the Roman calendar strangely, year zero. Before then there were many religious groups who not only accepted science but spearheaded many advances in it. Look at the Ancient Egyptian religions for a prime example of such.

The only part of religion that is not really compatible with science is the mythology, because as we know the more we learn of the past the more we learn it's not real. Ancient cultures dealt with this sanely, they just changed their myths to match their findings, but today people break into arguments or worse over such inconsistencies. But let's look at why the myths are important to better understand how we can all learn to get along. Myths in religion are not suppose to validate the religion itself, validation is suppose to be something "spiritual" not factual, since the religion itself is unprovable external validation is pointless anyway.

So why do religions have myths and legends? To teach morals. Very simple really. Science teaches us how, religion gives us why, so the myths were never intended to be logical or even factual to begin with. Myths written today for such reasons are called "science fiction" or "fantasy" yet they are really the same thing as religious myths. They have an underlying lesson to teach, whether it be that we should be more aware of the world around us or even something as simple as treating other lives with the same respect we want. So even atheism can be considered a religion in it's own right, just the myths are a little more modern and tend to include aliens or robots. A good one to check out is I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov, great book and an excellent lesson on how we should be viewing technology and life itself.

So then we fall back into why science and religion should mix instead of being at each other's throats as they are. For one thing, again, science is the how and religion is the why. It's a very simple concept and though seems binary isn't really. It's more like symbiosis. A dream cannot exist without the dreamer, science is the dream, religion theorizes about the dreamer, the two cannot be complete without the other. But what is the problem if the two cannot get along? Not much really, the two could continue to be against each other until the end of time and not much would change. But what if they do get along one day, and people stop trying to force each other to see things their way? Just, what if.

As for what religion I am? That's for me to know, and you to figure out ... maybe.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Perhaps one day, simplicity will make a come back. Why is such a thing important with all the wonderful new stuff we get from complexity? That's simple to, security. All these people cry about security, they worry about what's around the corner, they fear what's new yet claim they are new. Something lacking is real advancement in technology today, not because we have reached the top, not because we have gone into another Dark Age, but because we lost simplicity. With simplicity we had a reason for advancements, to survive, a very simple need. But now we don't worry so much about survival, we have almost everything in check. Through the technology we have created we are no longer threatened by the world around us, the only threat is ourselves and even then that threat is minimal.

So how do we find simplicity? The dreamers, a few actual advance have come from dreamers, mostly because of the gaming dreamers, but we haven't tapped this resource nearly as much as we should. They are part of simplicity, in spite of their elaborate dreams, for in these dreams they do still experience the simple need for survival we are missing. I dream of neural networks, computers capable of fuzzy logic, but to achieve that dream we have to ditch binary, the bane of technology now.

Binary was once the best advancement to humankind, but it is now holding us back. In spite of all the power that our technology has, binary is limiting us a lot. A couple decades ago they were actually looking into fuzzy logic for computers, but then ... they stopped. Everyone lost interest, our processors became faster and better so we stopped advancing them. Why? Because they failed to see the need. So we need to go back to simple needs, find a new one if possible, perhaps instead of survival we can use exploration as the simple need. With fuzzy logic we could store trillions of bytes of data in only a few megabytes.

How do we get fuzzy logic? Not through our current technology, we've tried that and failed, perhaps a step back is the likely solution to this problem. Yes, tapes, old tape systems had fuzzy memory, they weren't binary really. Maybe if we jump back a bit and start exploring a forgotten tech we could advance beyond where we are. But again, we need the dreamers now for this. So don't discount the "crazy mad scientists" or the "dinosaur tech jockeys" ... embrace us.