Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Your favorite color is Green. And you LOVE watching Seinfeld!

Oh, man am I SOOOO sick of the "Atheism is a Religion", meme. If atheism is a religion, then NOT collecting stamps is a hobby, and bald is a hair color.

You could never get away with the stupid shit people say about Atheism if it WERE a religion. Try telling a Muslim that they actually worship the Moon god or some such other bullshit and see how far it gets you. And yet every time I'm in a conversation about religion, people try to tell me what I think.

Listen up, Atheism is NOT having faith in the idea that there is an absence of a god. No faith is required except the kind you use every day: the faith in your ability to perceive the world around you and make conclusions from those perceptions. Atheists don't believe in God the same way we don't believe that there is a cosmic doughnut floating somewhere between the earth and the sun, or invisible, intangible pink unicorns are living in our closet.

Both the dougnut and the unicorns are currently untestable ideas, but we don't have to suspend judgment on weather or not they're there. You can reject them out of hand because there's no evidence to suggest them, and there are plenty of things that we DO know by the merit of evidence that conflict with the Doughnut/Unicorn theory that we can say both are wrong with confidence.

So what does God have to do with Dougnuts and Unicorns? He's quite a bit more unlikely.

The Cosmic doughnut is, in principle, verifiable/defeatable claim. All we have to do to know for sure that there is or isn't a doughnut floating in space somewhere between the Earth and the Sun and we're set. But in the practicality of it it's impossible to test. The size of the space we're looking in compared to the size of the doughnut means that even if we knew within 99% accuracy of where the doughnut should be we'd never find it. And we don't have to waste our time trying. We know that a Doughnut is man-made and that it's stupid to think someone wasted secretly launched one into space and it established a hidden solar orbit.

God is like the doughnut because he too in principle, is a testable claim, people say life is SO complicated it MUST have been intelligently designed. If that's true, all we have to do it find the "Joe T. Deus" signature somewhere on us and Presto! Proof of god. That signature just has to be something in nature that works as is but less complicated forms couldn't. Like a Wheel. You'll never find animals on wheels because when you take a wheel apart it's individual pieces are useless. Have we found rollycats? No. Also intelligent design is absurd, if were WERE intelligently designed, why our our sinuses such a ridiculous mess? If they were a strait drainage chamber from our ears to our nose no-one would EVER get sinus headaches. And our spines are weirdly curved to let us walk upright, why not just straight up and down? And what the hell is an Appendix for?

Science has answers for these questions, God doesn't.

God is also like the Unicorns because he's a logical paradox. The Unicorns are Invisible, intangible, and pink. HOW the hell can they be PINK if they're INVISIBLE? And while they live in my Closet, by merit of their invisi-intangibility I will never see or touch them, but people claim that I should think that they're there?

Like I said in a Myspace Blog that I have yet to edit and post here:

God, by the common definition is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good. Within this definition alone we can find a HEAP of problems, some more mentally-masturbatory (Can he make a rock he can't lift? If he knows what he's going to do next Tuesday at 3:26am can he really change his mind? Etc.) some more real and, in my opinion far more compelling (the problem of Evil & Suffering)

For Richard Dawkins, the big clincher is "Ok, if everything was made by God, where did he come from?" That's a real hum-dinger -though not the only one. No theologian I've ever hear of has ever produced a satisfactory answer, the leading bullshit responses are variations of 'It's turtles all the way down!!' or 'cuz'.

But for my money, the problem with god I can never get past is the problem of Evil. If there were an omnipotent father-figure up in the sky, how can he allow so much suffering here on earth? The favorite answer of the theologian is 'free will' but surely SIDS, earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes have nothing to do with a choice anyone has made here on earth. And if it's as Pat Robertson and other assholes love to claim, a punishment meted out for some misdeed of other (usually something done in the bedrooms of consenting adults) then why cant he cut back a little on the 'collateral damage' and perhaps own up to the abuse he (back)hands down to his children on earth?

Either god is A) Not all-powerful and apparently very busy, so some evil gets though.
B) Not all-good but rather nucking futz and an evil child-abusing bastard.
C) Not there at all, and these things are a result of the natural structure of the world we live in and the best thing to do is learn how they work and how we can deal with them.

Of the three, C is the answer that makes the most sense to me. It also inspires me, we as human beings have a great thing going. And if we don't screw it up, we might just be able to keep it going forever, or at least a really, really long time.

Get Educated

Saturday, February 24, 2007

How to draw...the un-talented nerd way!!

First, doodle in pen experimenting with perspective that is way beyond your artistic ability while you're supposed to be working:

Then, after work, draw it in a cafe while one of the staff looks at you sidelong trying to reconcile his stereotypes of foreigners as cool and fantasy art as totally dorky:

I'll try to finish it and color it in the next few days/weeks in the meanwhile snicker away!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Japanniversary IV: The Final Japanniversening

Today is my 4th and final Japanniversary.

Sometimes I think, "Wow, it's only been 4 years since I came to live here." and others, "Wow, it's already been 4 whole years since I came to live here." My original intent was to stay one or two years so either way I have long since abandoned my original timetable.

I'm going to miss my students and my co-workers, walking and taking the train EVERYWHERE, artists and musicians out on the street, deafeningly loud cicadas, every season having it's own special reason to get completely plastered , the ten minutes of camaraderie before diving back into mind-numbing FTL boredom, girls in kimono and hakama saying tearful goodbyes at the station every spring, the Shinkansen, Loligoths and punk-goths finding a way to conform and rebel at the same time, that one person who manages to find a way to stand out in a crowd of seventy-five under big man, Nakazaki-cho and tea with Richard talking about Dr. Who, going out to see the disparate members of Pizacatto Five, being into obscure Japanese bands, being able to rent CDs, a Cherry-Blossom report in the daily forecast, リンカン on Tuesday evenings, Curry Udon, DenDen Town and Osaka Otaku, Shinsaibashi waiting for first train, tea at Himeji Castle and people diving into the Dotombori, being the only foreigner in the live-house, and reading manga on the train.

I'm not going to miss that goddamn nazal voice shouting about some bargain in my ear, old men pissing in the street, middle-aged men reading porn on the train next to elementary-school-aged girls, people thinking they are somehow a different species, being complimented on my ability to use chopsticks, being told that the store staff cannot help me as they do not speak English when I am asking for help in perfect Japanese, black vans blaring out the Kimigayo, people pretending the rape of Nanking never happened, nothing costing less than 100 yen, having germs sprayed across the back of my neck by some ass who has never been taught to cover his mouth when he sneezes, old ladies shoving pushing and throwing elbows to get to a seat that I would have offered to them if they were just the slightest bit gracious, and salarymen fantasizing about the playboy lifestyle I don't lead while insisting that it is foreign men sleeping with Japanese women, and not their coming home to have unprotected sex with their wives after taking an unprotected sex-tour of southeast Asia that spreads STDs in Japan.

I've learned and gown so much. I've discovered countless fascinating places. I've met and continue to meet an endless stream of fantastic people, and it's them more than anything else (more than the thousands of years of history and culture, more than the ultra-hip/uber-geek subculture, even more than the okonomiyaki.) that tempts me to stay 'just one more year...'

It would be so easy.

But if I say, "Well...I can always head back next contract." What's to stop me from saying that 12 months from now, or 24, or 4 years from now when I turn 30?

Teaching English 30 hours a week for roughly $2500 a month + medical, dental, and retirement is a comfortable situation for a lad to find himself in so early in his career. But then, it's not a career, it's a job.

There's no up, up from where I am so it has to be away.

And while I keep meeting people who I wish I had the chance to get to know better there are so many people waiting for the the Llyw they know oh-so-well to come back to them. (At least, I hope there are.)

Really though, that Llyw can never come home. I lost him years ago; heated him over a flame and drew the vapor across a chilled plate condensing the Eu de Llyw and adding new elements to bring out a wholly new, but somehow familiar flavor. (Can you tell I've been drinking?)

Those who know me well, know that I was something of an outsider though my formative years and suffered quite a bit for it. Strange then that I should voluntarily live in a place whose inhabitants describe me first and foremost as 外人 「GaiJin」 (literally 'outsider'). I've thought about that a lot, and the best my armchair psychology can come up with is a desire to say "Yeah, I'm not one of you. But so what? I'm Awesome anyway and you know it."

Ok, all bullshit, psychoanalysis & metaphor aside, I'm not the same person I was four years ago, or three for that matter, or two or even 6 months ago. And the more I change the more I come to understand the parts of me that will never, ever change. I'm never going to get the chance to do everything I what to and go everywhere I want to no matter how long I live. I'm never going to be able to pretend to be someone I'm not (except when I'm acting). I'm never going to be very good with money. And I'm never going to shut the hell up. These things will never change, and I don't know that I want them to.

I don't regret a single minute of the time I spent here in Japan, but I do regret all the minutes I missed back home with my friends and family in America, I miss everyone so much. The other day on the street I heard a noise that reminded me of the sound of my brother's laugh and I got so homesick I forgot where I was going.

I never want to leave, but I can't wait to be home.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Onward, Outward, Inward

I've decided I enjoy this, whadayacallitagain?, blogging.

However, the facilites provided with my myspace account are somewhat lacking so I've dedided to set up something here. Eventually I'd like my own domain with a gateway page and the ability to browse through the things I'd like to share in various ways. But for now, we'll see how this works.

Why Quaquaversial? Because that's how I want to grow as a writer and creator; in every direction at once. Ideally, I'd like to write and publish all sorts of stuff, Novels, Short Stories, Children's Stories, Comics, Stage Screen and Teleplays, even Video Game Scenarios and the like.

I'm not there yet, hell I just got rejected by UBC's Creative Writing Department for the second time running. (No hard feelings though, I deserved to be turned down both times.) But if I ever hope to be there I'm gonna have to start somewhere, and here seems as good a place as any
-well, maybe not as good as in a conference room with Neil Gaiman, Hyung Tae Kim, David Fincher, and Tetsuya Nomura but whadayagonnado?-

I'll be posting a lot of randomoid stuff, from your average blogpost to comic pages to D&D notes of mine, but please don't think of them as non-sequiturs but rather the perciveable shadows of my omni-directional expansion.