Friday, September 26, 2008

Back in the Burgh for a bit

I have made my way back from New Bern and I am crashing at Zack and Sara's house for the moment. Its good to have friends around. I went mountin bikin with Nick and Backa for the first time in many months, it was pretty amazing to get back out on the trails. I took a few spills here and there, and then blew my tire at about the point where we were furthest from the car. I jogged the bike back, and on the way I took my worst spill of the day, I was just jogging along and I dont even know what happened but I ended up face down in the dirt with the bike on top of me... I do fine flying down the trails weaving in and out of trees at high speed, but then when i start jogging... haha, oh well.

Kari and I were bored one evening and decided, for some reason, to post personal ads on craigslist just to amuse ourselves with the responses. We both wrote up our ads (now that I look at it again, I wrote way too much, hah, but apparently I have a tendancy to do that, see: this post), trying to write whatever we could to get the most responses (which was basically all true, since we are the pinnacle of human perfection), and sent all the responses to the same email address. I feel horrible. Some of the girls that responded are really genuinely interested, and they seem like nice, decent people. The first one I got, 40 minutes after posting it, she said at the end "PS please write back, even if you are not interested, just so i know." Damnit! that made me feel like crap. So I responded to most of them, complimenting them in some way and making up some reason for rejection. The guys that responded to Kari are a different story. Lets just say we had some fun with them. There were 40 year old guys, total sleazebags, and even a few women (well in reality, it was probably more 40 year old guys) that responded to Kari, I think she has recieved over 200 responses so far... I got like 20. It is kind of sad that the biggest way to meet other single people is the bar scene, it was a common trend in the messages that they were "tired of the bar scene", but to resort to craigslist after that? well, seems like there could be some better options, although I do know a couple who met on craigslist... and they just got engaged.

I used to wear itchy shirts to church on purpose. I would sit in church and conocentrate on not itching the itchy spots. Just sit there dead still and concentrate. Church was not my thing. Ever. Since grade school, I would be sitting in church, nothing exciting going on, just sitting there, probably zoning out, and my heart rate would go up and my chest would kind of feel funny, like tighten up. I started measuring my heart rate, which is around 50 bpm resting, and it would get up to around 120 every week. I still have no idea why. Maybe I am allergic to ignorance. When I was getting my surgeries from the accident, as i lay in pre op with the monitors attached, they would yell at me constantly for having too low a bpm and not breathing enough, apparently a 38 bpm and breathing 5 times a minute wasnt good enough for them, I was just relaxed though.

One of my hobbies: when driving a manual transmission, try not to use the brakes at all to stop. Im pretty good at it.

Passive aggressiveness is possibly the absolute worst way that one could choose to make a point.

I have gotten into the show Heroes. I appreciate the whole evolution of human beings aspect of it, as far fetched as it is.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Teh southern ocean?

It has been a busy few days. We painted the bottom of the boat in the shipyard. We used a paint that is 70% copper, it was crazy heavy, and cost something like $250 a gallon. It keeps the blistering barnacles from attaching to the hull cause of the high copper content, which also means it is bad for humans, which means that it creates an annoying nagging sting when it gets on your skin, and it is really hard to get off, and I painted the entire hull, which means I had a lot of tiny little stinging spots all over my legs and arms. It was fun. We replaced the bilge pump, got the head in working order, and then took a crane ride back into the water. The sail back was great, we ran aground once on the way out of the channel, that was a little scary, but educational. The rest of the sail was great, with a reefed main we were doing around 8 knots and heeling like the dickens, I dont think I will ever get tired of that. I am at my aunt's now on my way back to Pittsburgh, I will be there, or Indiana, or Philly until the end of October, so if you are in any of those places, you should get ahold of me somehow.

Two of my hobbies: You know those ads that have little games that if you win you get a free ipod or a free trip to Rwanda or some such crap? Lose them. Its fun, and usually more difficult than winning. Like getting the quarter in the cup or shooting the robber or making the fieldgoal. Another hobby: writing out typos by hand. like OMG thats teh bset evarrr!!!!!11 Like that. Well, maybe not thats last one.

Southern Ocean... what?? This is like some Pluto bullcrap. You cannot just add an ocean. You cant! I think that pisses me off more than taking away pluto's planetory status. Can anyone find anything that gives definative barriers for the oceans? I cant. There is too much confusion, there needs to be a meeting. Someone call teh Prez. or Congress at least. Maybe Chuck Norris can help. Though, thats what I said about Pluto. Planetoid my ass. What is this world coming too.

And yes mom, I finished my paper and just did my presentation, they are all going out to buy some genetically modified food tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sale, hahah

We finally set the sailboat in motion on the ocean today on our way down the Neuse river. The teak looks good, the sails were perfectly functional, the motor ran great, it was smooooth sailing. Only real problems we had were the knot meter wasnt working (because blistering barnacles blatantly barraged below), and the head backed up. Why they called it the head, i have no idea, because it has everything to do with the totally opposite end of the body. So, that is never a good time. We made our way to a marina about 20 miles down the river to get the boat taken out of the water and dry docked, it is a pretty incredible sight to see a 10 ton boat lifted out of the water and carted around the shipyard.

I hate walking. It is so slow, and it makes my legs hurt. When I wasnt biking, I used to jog to class, I must have looked ridiculous jogging down the street with my backpack everyday. It stems from the whole efficiency thing i think, and maybe a bit... or a lot from my lack of patience. Come to think of it, maybe a lot of that desire for efficiency comes from impatience. I have recently decided that is not a bad thing. My patience is tried a lot out here, and I try to do my best to contain myself, but im afraid that sometimes I dont... It is much easier to say it is a desire for efficiency than impatience, I think i will just stick with that.

I think that when typing a laugh. well first of all, "lol" is out of the question, no normal person says lol. I am here to talk to you about "haha". I think it is important to convey how funny something is by adding or subtracting "ha"s. An awkward situation or a bad or slightly offensive joke deserves a "ha", something of average humor merits a "haha", which is the accepted generic form of this method of laugh conveyance, and when something is particularly funny, a situation which constitutes an actual laugh out loud in real life, that is when you can pull out the extra "ha"s. That is where the problem lies with "lol". Are you really laughing out loud? ya, i doubt it, it is way too overused and has therefore become obsolete. "ha"s also offer far more versatility, you can really get across how you feel about a joke, like that fowl joke??? hahahahahaaaa! you see the extra "a"s on the end there? you read that and do it in your head, you say that last ha in your head. And say youre not sure how many "ha"s a comment merits, there are methodsto overcome this! What you have to do is commit a faux typo, a faupo, fopo? fypo? anyway, what you do, is add on a rogue h or a to the end, or if appropriate in the middle, of your "ha"ing and it is left up to the discression of the recipient whether you meant it to be a whole "ha" or whether it was an accidental addition. think about it: hahah... was that a laughing out loud hahaha or a generic haha with an accidental h added? noone knows but you, and thats how you want to keep it. Use your "ha"s wisely. good luck.


Sunday, September 14, 2008


Here I am, supposed to be writing my paper to finally finish school, so I write now as a distraction more than any other reason. I only have 2 papers left to complete my G grades from spring semester and I will be a Pitt graduate. I am impressed even with my own ability to procrastinate. These papers were due about 5 months ago. New record. Though I dont think getting hit by a car is worth that impressive procrastinatory feat.
I am the definition of a procrastinator. I like to think of it as operating most efficiently. if you think about it, if you are going to spend only 5 hours studying, no more no less, wouldnt you say that best time to study would be right before the test? I would think so too, that is the premise under which i operate. I have spent many many sleepless nights studying for tests, literally staying up the entire night cramming, almost every night before a big test in my college career, only in Ochem did this method ever fail me. I am pretty sure I took a week off my life every time i pulled an all nighter, although when I think about it, when i am old and decrepit, I think I would gladly give up a week of my life for just 12 hours of my college years.
I try to operate as efficiently as possible in everyday life. I didnt really realize how many of my habits result from an atttempt to be efficient until walking with Kari one day, who insists on using crosswalks, and it really bothering me to go to the end of the street, and cross at a 90 degree angle. Diagonals! It is far more efficient to walk a diagonal across the street, and I now realize that I make a significant effort to walk diagonals. Im like a bishop, hah, get it? diagonals? oh you're useless... like in chess? nowww you got it.

Hey, I kinda wanna know who is reading this, leave a comment.

Go Steelers by the way. Polamalu just got an interception. He rules.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Secular Humanist

Today, as we were working on the boat, my brother asked what task I wanted, and I took the more difficult task, thinking that he would offer to trade later, or at least willingly trade if I asked. In my head I was doing something nice, but in retrospect, if I had it in mind that the action would later be reciprocated for my benefit, the act was never really an altruistic action in the first place. This got me thinking about altruism. I never thought that it existed, and I defy you to think of an action that is truly altruistic. Do you ever do anything without expecting some kind of reciprocal benefit as a result of that action? I had a discourse with the philosophy of religion teacher at Pitt, who Brooke reffered to me when she thought I would enjoy joining the discussion that was budding. In my boredom while we worked I was reminded of that conversation. I ended up writing a pretty intense summary of my beliefs on how morality could have evolved strictly through darwinian theory, and I think I accomplished my task quite well. I will copy it here, I would like to think it is worth reading, give it a glance. Brooke had mentioned to him that I describe myself as a secular humanist.

Tony, the prof, says:


"Secular humanism" is a very curious phrase.

1. How does your friend define it?

2. Does he have views about what is the case, or only about what is not the

3. What are his arguments for his views?

4. What, in particular, are his arguments for common sense, ethics, and
(democratic?) politics?

In short, if you want to make it a worthwhile discussion, then he has to
accept the burden of proof for what he holds, just as you have to accept
the burden of proof for what you hold. He can't just hide out in some
duck-blind and shoot at your ducks.

Bon appetit.


My Response:

Ha, well first of all I definitely stand right out in the open when I shoot at your ducks with a big ol sign begging you to shoot back, and when when the ammunition is a "burden of proof"... I like to think I'm packin' a pretty strong arsenal (i went way too far with the duck shooting analogy didnt I, haha), but anyway... When I call myself a secular humanist i do so only because it is sometimes convenient to have someone to align yourself with. I place a burden on myself as a humanist of my own definition to strive towards the truth as best as i can and more generally place the burden on humanity to do the same in order to advance towards the truth that my astronomy teacher in a rare moment of actually interesting lecture called "the reality state". He said that science in the past was flawed and incapable of achieving this "reality state", giving the example of the human heart, there were many previous theories about how the whole blood and guts thing worked, but we now know through adequate science exactly how the heart works and the blood pumps. I also believe that through modern science we are advancing towards this "reality state" and that God plays no part in it. I like to base my views on the most logical scientifically or philosophically sound argument or I can think of or have come across, relying on the words and ideas of people like Darwin, Dawkins, and Hobbes, and never Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Specifically addressing ethics and politics I would argue that, evolutionarily, humanity has come to gain from a tendency to operate as a progressing social group, which promotes ethics, and the resulting upholding of these ethics, ultimately leading to a political system. I could go on but I think thats enough for now, hah.


Tony responds:

Hi, Brooke,

Your friend writes:

> Specifically addressing ethics and politics I would argue that,
> evolutionarily, humanity has come to gain from a tendency to operate as a
> progressing social group, which promotes ethics, and the resulting
> upholding of these ethics, ultimately leading to a political system. I
> could go on but I think that's enough for now, hah.

My views are probably closer to his than yours, but not on this point. If
he tries to turn this sketchy remark into a deductive argument from truths
of evolution to norms of ethics, he'll find himself trying to deduce
"ought"-judgments from "is"-judgments--i.e., he'll be committing non
sequiturs. His uses of "gain" and "progressing" hide this problem, since
in his remark they do double--i.e., equivocal--duties as value-free terms
in biology and as value-laden terms in ethics.

In short, invite him to provide the argument that he "would argue". ("Pay
up, Buster.") Then, when he sees how awful it is, encourage him to read
Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.


I respond:
When I said I could go on, I meant it, haha. I didn't want to go into it if that wasnt where we were going, but I guess if he wants it, I will be glad to put my thought into words.
Most of the studies I refer to I learned about in my animal behavior and evolution classes, I wrote this sitting at work without any references, so I didnt cite my sources, but I am confident in the validity of the data I gave, as I didnt have to go into much detail to get the point across.

In order to try to rationalize an evolution of morality and politics, I am hardly an expert, but I will try to use what I have learned as a student of biology to deduce a mechanism for the production of ethical norms from evolutionary fact. Aristotle's Nicomachaen Ethics does not seem to address the issue i thought was at hand, it certainly addresses the "why" of ethics, but I think the more relevant issue is the "how". In an effort to unearth how ethics came to be, the whys would be inherent in the production of the mechanism, and if a reasonable scientific solution can be reached, it would hopefully stand as a physical culmination of many of the philosophies presented by Aristotle.

One of the first problems encountered is how this act of apparent altruism has any place in the dog eat dog world that exists under the rules for survival first set in place by Darwin in his Origin of Species. When the purpose of life is above all to most effectively spread your genes. The many factors that can influence the fitness of your genes include most effectively producing offspring, increasing the fitness of those offspring, as well as increasing the fitness of those with similar genetic makeup to your own, which includes parents, siblings, cousins, and so forth. Perhaps the most obvious display of altruism in animals is the colony life of insects such as bees and ants. As would be predicted by Darwin's theory, the insects have a high genetic similarity, due to the haplo-diploid genetic structure, and the common mother (the queen). The colonies consist of almost all females, who actually mathematically gain significantly more genetic fitness by assisting their queen in the production of more siblings than they would from creating progeny by mating themselves (this is due to the haplo-diploid genetic make up of the bees). I have seen studies on behavior in lions, meercats, naked mole rats, and many other species that act as a group. The "altruistic" behaviors are linked significantly to who is a benefactor (kin or not), with the behavior increasing with increasing genetic relatedness. This shows that what appears to be altruistic behavior from the bees and others is actually done for their own good. Another behavioral phenomena I think is relevant is the mobbing behavior that has been observed in seagulls. When a seagulls nest is approached by a predator, the neighboring gulls will attack the predator together, regardless of whether the nest being attacked is their kin's or not. The interesting part of this study was in the reciprocation of the mobbing. If a gull did not partake in the mobbing of a predator for someones nest, the response to an attack on its own nest would be greatly decreased. Once again showing the trend that these seemingly altruistic acts have an effect on the individuals own fitness, whether it be from direct benefit to kin, or indirectly through reciprocation of an initially selfless act.

Using these ideas, one can construct a theoretical mechanism for the establishment of the ethics system present in todays society. The behavior of the seagulls displayed a fairly high level of understanding, with the apparent understanding that in the future their actions would be rewarded. The capacity of a human to make this connection, in the nomadic group structure of early homosapien, would presumably be even greater, allowing for more of these types of behaviors at a higher level than the gulls. One can imagine what society would be like if we didn't have these "selfless" behaviors instilled in us. It would be brutal, unorganized, every man for himself warfare, our lifespans would no doubt be shortened, our children less likely to survive, and general health would diminish dramatically, resulting in a decrease in our fitness. It is not out of selflessness that we strive to uphold the ethics of our society, it is through an understanding that our efforts will be reciprocated by those around us. There are no altruistic acts, there is no "for the greater good", there are only individuals helping to create an environment that best suits their own needs. These behaviors developed in individuals operating completely through the devices of Darwinian evolutionary theory.


He replys:

Your friend doesn't see the task at hand. He offers causes of ethical
behavior instead of reasons for being ethical.

-and he wrote a few interspersals through my response which just echo these arbitrary philosophical meaningless discrepencies. I could see he was going down a road in which these same meaningless questions would lead down an ugly road to nowhere (which I think is often the case when a philosopher gets to a point of confusion in a duscussion), so I chose to end the conversation here. The causes for being ethical that I presented are the reason. There is no reason for all this philosophical crap, I put it all on the page, straightforward clear cut science. The cause is the reason.

a.k.a. I win. Go science.

So, let me know what you think if you read through it. I will be especially pleased if you find a problem with what I said.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ice pops and bus drivers

Man, I love ice pops. I got my grandad into ice pops. We have already gone through 200 in a week I think. Had to go to the hospital last night, my grandad was having trouble breathing and had a temperature, so we went, just to be safe, but he is fine now, it was nothing big, I think he just needed a couple ice pops. The orange ice pops are freakin nuts though. One killed a pudding pop once, right in my freezer. Maybe he ate too many orange ice pops.

The bus drivers in Kentucky are ridiiiculous. The first year I lived there my bus driver was some old dude who just turned off his hearing aid for the whole trip. He stopped in a parking lot on the first day and told us if we scream too loud he will have Nam flashbacks and freak out. The next year the dude stopped again and told us that he was in the war and he was 50% retarded cause he fell out of an airplane. normally he would go to 2 neighborhoods, but a couple times he would jsut forget and go right past the second one, and we didnt tell him till we got to school, and he would get all pissed and then speed back to try to get the kids, haha. And once when we went over the train tracks, he tried to beat the bars that come down, but they came down right on top of the bus. He wasnt our bus driver anymore after that.

We have wine at 9 every day. Port at 9 is not the same. Mark got some nasty dessert wine called port. not reccomended.

I miss poker.

There is a spot on my chest a couple inches under my scar on my neck from the accident that when i touch it, it feels like I am touching the scar, but really I am touching 2 inches below it. Its freakin weird.

Monday, September 8, 2008

au natural

I work on the sailboat, every day, with my brother and grandad. Today we scraped the teak trimmings on the deck to refinish it, we got it scraped down, and the teak has a really nice natural color to it, it looked good on the boat. So im thinking, man, this would be easy to just clear coat, no need to tape the edges around the deck, you can be sloppy, lets just clear coat it. But no. We have to stain it. What color is the new expensive stain he just bought? NATURAL TEAK! we are staining the natural teak... natural teak. ya, me neither.

My brother and I were looking at hurricane Ike a few days ago, debating over its path. He said he thought it woudl make landfall north of florida, following the route of Hanna. I said theres no way it will hit north of Florida. So we make a bet. One shiny nickel, I think it will hit florida, he thinks it will not. And damned if the bastard dosnt take a turn to the south, just for me, btu then it keeps going... and going... and now the thing is MISSING FLORIDA to the SOUTH! So, I effing lose the bet. Im sorry to everyone who lives there, but i really hope Ike clips the Keys. There are nickles at stake here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Foul Joke

I thought of a joke yesterday.

A duck, a chicken, and a goose walk into a strip club, and the... well... maybe I shouldnt post it here. It really is a fowl joke.


GET IT??? FOWL?!???

Ya, I know, I have already begun my plans to go on tour. But really, I think that joke is just way more fun to tell. You tell that joke to someone and try not to laugh yourself. Sure they might not laugh, but maybe the joke teller deserves a little bit of the benefit sometimes, screw the audience, tell my joke.

What the crap does "make do" mean? thats just two verbs. right in a row. nonsense. and somehow it means to deal with the situation that you are in. stupid. make. do. shut up.

I hear Kim Jong Il is dead. Woah.

fowl joke. hahahahaaaa.

Bald Nazi

I wanted a haircut, but only had a razor, and this happened. It takes a long time to shave your head, and it kinda hurts, especially without shaving cream. I dont know why I didnt use shaving cream. It is nice and easy though, having a shaved head. All the old sailor men at the boat dock say I look good, no doubt they are just trying to legitimize their own shiny craniums. Already multiple people have accused me of being a nazi, I cant think of why people associate baldness with nazism, I dont think Hitler advocated shave heads.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

So. Blog.

As I sit here in North Carolina and go through my AIM list, Google talk list, and whatever other means of casual contact with the outside world I have available, I realize that you all are busy, with jobs, school, whatever it is. You living your real lives. I am kind of idly sitting by waiting until real life punches me in the face. So I decided to start a blog. I need some way to share my thoughts and experiences, it is tough when you are alone. So, I imagine I will be putting some pretty random stuff on here, I don't even know if I expect anyone to read this crap, I kinda just want to do it. I realize that you may read some of this and think "who the hell would possibly care about that, why would you put that on the internet", I know I have said that to myself many times, but the answer is that I am doing this largely for my own entertainment. So, respond if you want, criticize, argue, agree, call me stupid, praise my genious, you know, whatever.

Well. I am currently in New Bern, North Carolina at my grandparents house and we are readying their 36' sailboat for a trip to the Bahamas. My brother and I are down here, we will be painting, cleaning, organizing, fixing, breaking, dirtying up the place until we leave in the end of October. My uncle, aunt and their two daughters are joining up with us in the next month and will be joining us on the trip. We will be in the Bahamas for 6-9 months, and it will be awesome. If you have any urge to run away to the Bahamas some time between November and June, I can arrange a free bed on a luxurious 36' sailboat for you. December is already pretty well booked, get your reservations in early. Location of said sailboat subject to change without notice. Price and participation may vary.

So, hopefully I will update this sucker every few days, put pictures up and whatnot, and speaking of which, I lost my camera when moving from my apartment, anyone know where that is?

Hurricane Hanna blew through here last night, it was fairly exciting, I was hoping for more carnage, like looting, some stuff on fire, maybe horses running loose in the streets, but it was just crazy windy an rainy. Couple trees fell over. It was OK.

Allright, I'm done for now. I am officially a blogger.