Friday, October 31, 2014


There are certain moments when Bryan Cranston sounds like Adam West.

Friday, October 24, 2014


You know you're steampunk when you like to pretend a gold accessory is actually brass.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Permanence of Trauma

This is a story concept I thought of the other night.

It's set in a world where there's a species that can love and attach normally, as humans do. But when they suffer trauma or abuse, their response is to permanently bond with the cause of it. A lifetime emotionally chained to whoever gave them that feeling of fear or pain. This connection is unshakable, regardless of willpower: the victim will always tend to obey or be drawn toward whoever induced the bond.

Within the world, this is used as part of their pair-bonding ritual. They are strictly monogamous and use this biological facet to induce an enduring bond that can weather hardship. In these cases, the trauma is consensual and mutual. I picture elves for the appearance of these beings, though elves are overused.

However, problems begin when they encounter other species who aren't subject to this rule and, worse, find this species highly desirable. As a result, you begin to have them forcibly bonded to beings who are not obliged to reciprocate. Worse, you can have more than one bonded to the same person, which goes against their psychology. They become highly valuable slaves, since slavers have to take care not to trigger their bonding process before selling them.

The main character of the story: a male of the species who, when young, was forcibly pair bonded with an older woman. She was later killed, which freed his body but not his mind. Her ghost now haunts him as he travels the land dedicated to a mission: to free as many of the slaves as he can. He knows he cannot undo their past, but he can at least stop the torment they are experiencing in the moment.

The main internal conflict would be the war of his mind. On one hand, it is still possible for him to love and feel emotions for others, However, the assault rendered him unable to permanently attach to anyone, because his attacker is always in his mind. He fights her influence, which asserts itself especially in his low moments.

Thematically, the obvious theme is the impact of abuse: physical, sexual, and emotional. The different forms abuse can take are explored, as well as different coping mechanisms and societal reactions. I picture it being a serial in nature, similar in construction to an ongoing manga with different arcs portraying different instances and a small constant cast.

Friday, October 17, 2014


The NSA uses a multi-level approach, where if they flag one suspect they also go after his contacts, their contacts, and so on for at least 3 levels. As a result of employing this kind of degrees of separation search method, they've determined that the global mastermind of all terrorism is Kevin Bacon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Kubrick's Lolita

Finally filling in some gaps of my Kubrick movies. Started off with his 1962 "Lolita." I went in expecting an interesting film depiction of the book's famous "unreliable narrator" mechanic and instead got a scathing condemnation of the permissive life style of the 1950's that would burgeon into the free love movement of the 1960's. And it has archetypes and attitudes skewered in a way that make it relevant to today.

The way Kubrick altered Lolita's character is absolutely chilling. She goes from the victim of an obsessive unhinged older man to a sociopathic manipulator, incapable of true affection. He even strongly hints it began before Humbert arrived, beginning with the mother's treatment of her. It's going to take me a bit to unpack my thoughts on the film, but the acting was amazing. James Mason and Peter Sellers were excellent choices. The Easter egg of the Spartacus reference (his previous film) was amusing.

Next up are the four films he made before Spartacus: Fear and Desire, Killer's Kiss, The Killing, and Paths of Glory.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Policy Evaluation

Two criteria for policy evaluation:

1) Theoretical - If the policy were enacted perfectly as intended, would it deal with the issue at hand? How well does it address the problem? Does it fall within acceptable moral constraints?

2) Empirical - Can the policy be implemented successfully? How well can it be put into practice? If the policy has been passed, how well has it been doing so far?

If a policy could never actually solve the problem even if done perfectly, than its empirical considerations are moot. Attacking that side is therefore a much stronger objection. The problem is it tends to get into very fundamental concepts of right and wrong, which can be very abstract.

However, highlighting a policy's inability to be successfully implemented due to logistical difficulties or human nature - a more practical side - can be useful as a pragmatic and fact-based argument. "This policy is a great idea - but it'd cost more money to implement than exists in the world" is a very reasonable objection that most people can understand and side with.

I feel like often there are policy debates where two people will argue different support/objection grounds and end up talking crosswise at each other.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

All You Zombies

"Zombies" is the term I like to use to describe an archetype I have had numerous bad run-ins with over the years and continue to be both puzzled and repulsed by.

Their defining trait is the deadness they have inside. There is no true emotional response from them, just imitations of such. They can form no deep bonds with others, lacking the ability to feel attachment or to contemplate future outcomes. Since they have no sense of attachment, they tend to dabble in superficial levels of human interaction, making them willing to toy with others. There is little to no curiosity about the world around them - they have no sense of wonder or excitement at new. They often take refuge in the moment, lacking the passionate energy that enables long term pursuits.

Passionless, frigid, and manipulative are three words I have found useful for them. However, it doesn't seem to capture how broken they are.

I have found they are drawn to certain ideologies, though, such as nihilism, as well as demented viewpoints such as "the mind is just a bunch of chemicals." The question is whether they are broken so they adopt broken views or if they adopted broken views and it broke them.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Prom Theme

"Have you chosen a prom theme?"

"Yes. Cannibals!"


"Is there a problem?"

"Why not something more...romantic?"

"Cannibals are totally romantic! They're all about heart! And lungs. And kidneys. And spleen."

Friday, October 3, 2014


I once made "Growth" one of my classroom principles. The character I used to represent it? Eren Jaeger.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Alpha Males

Three archetypes of alpha males:

1. Social Alpha - These are the ones who rely on charisma and charm to establish their position. They live for groups and enjoy the social dynamics that comes from interacting with others. They are often eloquent, well dressed, and have an intuitive grasp of what it takes to talk to people. This is the archetype most commonly portrayed in popular media as an alpha male. Many of the "rugged leading man" Hollywood actors fall into this category along with a lot of politicians.

2. Intellectual Alpha - These are the one who distinguish themselves with their brains. They prove themselves with their ideas and analytical skill. They fight and debate to discover truth in whatever subject they are in. The halls of academia are filled with these, and they are many of the richest men in the world. Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, and Steve Jobs are all examples of this.

3. Iconoclast Alpha - Similar to the social alpha in that they often command a strong charisma. The difference is while social alphas like large groups and socializing, iconoclast alphas prefer to be lone wolves. They often reject societal standards they find oppressive and play by their own rules, for good or ill. They qualify as alpha because of the willpower they demonstrate in living life their own way. Jackson Pollock and Hunter S. Thompson are two notable examples.

Obviously, someone can be a blend of two or three. These are not all the possible types, either, just three I thought of. As for which one I fall into - I just wrote a note exploring and breaking down different kinds of alpha males. It's kind of obvious.

Each of the three also has a negative counterpart, an archetype of someone who strives to be one of them but fails due to flaws in their personality, most commonly insecurities and fear.

1. The Bully - While a social alpha revels in positive interactions with others and seeks to expand his circle for the goal of meeting new and interesting people, the bully wields his skill with people as a weapon against others. Instead of a web, he sees strata and tried to enforce a rigid hierarchy scheme to create the illusion of dominance.

2. The Fake - Unable to create or innovate on the same scale as other, the fake steals ideas to present them as his own. Others will confuse simple memorization with intelligence and try to earn their title by overwhelming others with facts. The worst are the gatekeepers, who "screen" those who can acquire access to information by some arbitrary measure. This can take the form of loyalty tests, political alliance questions, or discrimination by gender or race. They believe that "intelligence" is preserved by denying its spread and hording their ideas - the opposite of healthy intellectualism.

3. The Hipster - Claims to follow his own drum, claims to be "outside the mainstream." In truth, he is shaped utterly by those around him. His rejection of things is based on their popularity, making him no different from those who slavishly follow such trends. Instead of creating a bubble of will around him and plowing through life on his own, he is caught in the flow like others. He tries to pass off decisions with no conviction as genuine emotions. His behavior masks an absence of ideology or ideals. He isn't an iconoclast bursting with energy to burn his own path - he is an empty shell waving in the breeze and calling it dancing.

One reason "alpha male" has such a negative connotation today is that it's these three negative counterparts people have met or encountered. Each claims to be an alpha, while not being one. It is correct to feel disgust and contempt for the negative counterparts. However, it's important to remember that alpha males are not what the dislike is directed at - it is those who are not.