November 23rd, 2007

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It's begining to feel a lot like Flipmas

So, Thankgiving was nothing overly spectacular. I spent most of my time watching March of the Penguins rather than socializing. I'm still not sure how I feel about these sort of documentaries. On one level, they're fun and engrossing and on another, they're the most henious form of brainwashing propoganda you're likely to ever run across. There's something about having just the right mixture of cute animals mixed with the right editing, narration, and soundtrack that would make someone running a Stalinist re-education camp weep out of inadequecy. People can't help but anapamorphize what they're seeing and the narriator helps them along, painting the actions of animals with human emotions and intentions.

In general, the messages sent have been pretty fluffy and PC, but I wonder if it'd be possible to take something really repugnant and with the nature documentary as your tool, twist public opinion. Hell, I wonder why I'm even wondering about this. I'm absolutely sure it's been done before and it's only my lack of knowledge that even has me pondering this. I'm sure it's not uncommon since it's far better to simply use animals as models when they fit whatever your particular whackyass world view is. You know, the whole, animals don't murder (except in this cases where they do) or the whozit about those gay penguins and other animals. Though you don't usually see people advocating rape by saying, 'hey, the ducks do it so why can't we?'. Besides, even if you did, you'd only run into some sort of counter-activism.

Anyway, this has ranged a bit far afield. After getting home from Thanksgiving, I realized there really wasn't anything I wanted that I was willing to sit outside and wait around for so I passed on the whole overnight Black Friday thing. I went to bed and woke up around a hour ago to make my bladder gladder. One the way back, I noticed the 'WII AVALIABLE' signal flashing on my desktop. Turns out amazon had more in stock and I jumped on it like a lion on a gazelle. As long as my orders don't get canceled (which is always a possibility) I have 6 Wii's coming to me which will ship out around 12/4. I'm not looking for an obscene amount of profit, so I figure it'll be easy to flip them. The prices on ebay have reached insane proportions, with people asking and getting 500+. At the very worst, I'll at least break even on the deal.
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Hurry up and wait

Since I was up anyway, I decided to head over to gamestop this morning at 7am. They're doing a buy 2 and get 1 free for all their used games and I wanted to go browsing through what was avaliable for the PSP. I figured that if I went right as they opened, I could avoid the crowds and swing through all three of the ones in the area and skim off anything that seemed interesting.

I realized that something fundamental had been amiss in the calculus when I pulled up to the store and saw a line of people out the door. I had gotten there right at 7am, and they opened up as I parked the car. I couldn't fathom why there were so many people on line at that hour to buy crap at gamestop. Some investigative skills later and I found that almost everyone there was in line hoping for a frakking Wii. Since your average gamestop is about the size of a large walk-in closet, this meant that most of us ended up standing out in the cold. A fire marshall even stopped by and made sure that the store wasn't past its occupancy limit of, what I'll wager was, 15 people.

It was like purgatory out there in a t-shirt and sandals. I must've had a prescient flash since I had chosen to wear my 'I'm with stupid' shirt with the arrows going everywhere. At least the rest of the poeople there were hoping to get a hard to acquire gaming system. All I wanted was to browse through some used games and ended up getting caught up in the line to hell with the rest of them. It was 40 minutes before I managed to get into the store and by then most of my toes had turned blue.

I ended up picking up a few things that looked interesting and then spent even more time waiting to work my way to the cashier. All in all, the entire exercise probably took around 2 hours of my life that I'm never going to get back. I'm not sure it's worth it given the skimpy gaming haul I ended up leaving with.
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Are you there, God? It's me, Henry.

It's sorta funny really. I was just thinking about religion and pondering the fact that all in all, I think it's been a generally positive force in society in the modern age. I suppose that's sort of odd given that I have no religion of my own. Frankly, given my nature it's probably a miracle that I'm not an aethist. God knows that one more cynical, bitter troll would hardly go noticed in that crowd.

Still, I can't help but believe that religion has done a lot of good and each day motivates millions of anonymous little people to be just a little bit better than they might otherwise have been. It must also be incredibly comforting to know in your heart that the universe has a purpose and that there is a creator who loves and cares about your welfare. All of that low-level good across the globe is more than enough to counter the horrors we do see when religion runs amok IMO. I guess it's kinda like the whole school shootings thing. School violence has been going down for decades across the board, but most people would never believe that because we always hear about the large scale and sensationalised FUBARs.

The only thing I'm really ambivalent about nowadays is Islam. I'm not quite sure I can really apply the positive label to it. I wholly believed the 'it's a religion of peace' and 'it's been hijacked by extremists' talking points, or at least I did in years past. After a while, you just see a little too much and you wonder. It dosen't help that every once and a while someone runs over to the middle east to run public opinion polls and ends up finding that bunches of people think it's okay to blow up a bus to make a point.

Ah, well.