Sunday, June 30, 2002

Another Photo



Ominous Clouds


Can also be seen at Renderosity.com

Photos


Driving Thru the Park




My Hitch Hiker



Can also be seen at Renderosity.com

Friday, June 28, 2002

The NashGrill



Yesterday John and I went to a new resturant for lunch. It was ok. Nothing special. I'm pretty sure it is called NashGrill, but I'm not sure. It's so new it's not even listed on Nashville City Search. If I were them I wouldn't want to be on there either. This place still needs some work.

The food was good. Nothing fantastic, but good. The menu is very small and is really "bar food", but the decor makes it look much more hip and upscale. Yet they also have video games. This is a place with a serious identity crisis going on.

We went at lunch, but I bet at night it would look better. There were little flaws and cheaply done design pieces everywhere. It's like the owner has great style and taste, but doesn't have the budget to do it. Like the Trading Places people from TLC did it on thier $1000 budget. There is only so much you can do, ya know?

Lastly the people working there were, frankly, a bit back-woods. Hey I have no problems with funky looking people. I go just down the street from this place to the Sherlock Holmes Pub all the time and while Margery, co-owner, is the most wonderful woman you'll ever meet, she's not much to look at. Still again, with the look of NashGrill you expect young good looking people working the place. Instead our waitress, while very nice and helpful (we tipped well), was not much of a looker. And there was this funky dude that was sweating like crazy in his grunge outfit (he was wearing a Melvins t-shirt!). He walked back and forth about 4-5 times while we were eating. Regardless if he was a cook (god I hope not) or a guy working on the place, or someones buddy, he shouldn't have been walking around.

My ultimate judgement is a 5 out of 10. It has potential, but it needs to figure out if its a resturant or a bar and adjust accordingly. It'll not survive in its current form. Perhaps that corner is just cursed. We'll see.

Monday, June 24, 2002

Tip of the Week


Swiffer Wet - Floor cleaning

If you don't have a hardwood floor, this is a waste of money. These things will pick up dirt and some grime, but you still have to scrub away the nasty stuff first. I suppose if you use them all the time, they'll keep a clean foor from getting too nasty, but over all, I found they are expensive and not too effective.

Stick to the good ol' mop. It's cheaper and gets the job done just as well and quickly. I think the Swiffer people are just ripping us off. Making us think we need something that we really don't.

I wasted my money. Hopefully you won't. Guess I should have listened to San.

Saturday, June 22, 2002

The Imperfect Human


After talking with my old roomie and good friend, who just happens to be a Knight of Columbus, of the Catholic Church, I’ve decided to retract my comments about religion being the cause of so much pain and destruction throughout history.

Humans in general are to be blamed. We are fundamentally flawed. That is our nature and our curse. Even the most well intentioned person or group will make mistakes. The pieces of history, which I must admit I’m not an expert on, I used, as examples were not flawed by religion, though it certainly had a hand in the situation.

Religion itself is a construct of the human mind. Its pure ideology is intended for good. However there have been many individuals throughout history who have tainted the image of religion through their own selfish and unethical actions.

Charisma is a wonderful and evil trait at the same time. Used for good it can produce a great leader who will be able to make the world better for those who follow that person. Unfortunately, used for evil it’s can just as easily create a great leader who will be able to create a great deal of damage and hate in those who follow that person.

The abuse of power is nothing new, but when used with religion it becomes worse…evil. Bill Clinton used his power to talk Monica Lewinsky into giving him a blowjob. A poor use of power? Certainly. Was it evil? Everyone has his or her own ideas of evil, but I’d say no. Now take the Catholic Priests who have been accused of raping alter boys. A man of God, a man with a great deal of power, especially to the faithful and especially to these young boys. This is more than an abuse of power. This is just evil and wrong. There is no way to get around that.

There are other examples all through history, but there is one right now that the entire world has to deal with. A charismatic leader who is using religion as his shield and recruiting tool, when in fact his reasons have very little to do with religion. Perhaps once they did, but power often corrupts those who wield it. Why do you think we have term-limits for our political leaders?

In case you haven’t figured out whom I’m referring to yet, it’s Osama bin Laden. Here is a man whom was upset for his father letting the U.S., infidels in his eyes, occupy places he felt were sacred and holy. These were places that non-believers should not be walking. Fast forward after he is kicked out of Saudi Arabia. He teams up with the Afghani people in their struggle against the Soviet Union and learns battle tactics from the U.S. CIA. Had the U.S. helped rebuild Afghanistan at the end of the war with the Soviets, then perhaps bin Laden’s displeasure with the American infidels would have been quelled. Unfortunately, the U.S. walked on out and left the country to fend for itself. Flash forward a few more years. During the battles with the Soviets, bin Laden gained respect and leadership with the Afghani people. He was a charismatic person and he held strong to the Muslim faith. When the Taliban came around, he fit in naturally with their scheme.

All this time bin Laden’s displeasure with the U.S. grew into hatred. But when he started his evil terrorist plots he lost his footing on religion. Though he claims what he is doing is justified by the Koran. Twisting the words with his own ideas. This in itself is not unusual. Christians and Jews do the same things. Likely every religion that has had a text has had people twisting its words to justify something that is obviously wrong. Muslim religious scholars have rejected bin Laden’s interpretations many times over. Unfortunately many people are sheep and he is a big bad wolf. He prays on their ignorance and desire to belong, to fit in.

The things he prays on are the very same traits that cult leaders, regardless of religion or belief, look for. They are hunting for the weak minded. Those who cannot think about spirituality for themselves, or simply do not wish to. David Koresh successfully led his group into a fiery oblivion through his charisma.

The problem isn’t with charisma. Without it there would be no leaders. The problem is that there are too many blind sheep. Everyone in his or her lives is a sheep at some point or another. Many have their opportunities to be a wolf too. The trick is to find a balance. People just need to educate themselves more.

I myself fell into sheep mode when I wrote what I did yesterday. I had seen what bin Laden has done with religion, twisted it into an evil sword of destruction. I hear about the Catholic Church and I consider what has happened in its history. But the fact I seemed to forget was that these things, evil and good were all done by people. Imperfect people. I became blinded by my own frustration with the nature of the human race and found a scape-goat. I apologize to those who I may have offended.

I certainly hope the human race can make it with our strong flaws. If we don’t we’ll be doomed to become simply another pre-historic age for our future predecessors.

Friday, June 21, 2002

God without Religion?


Can there be such a thing? Of course! God, no matter what your theological belief is, can exist without organization. I believe religion holds the human race back from acheving world peace and social maturity.

Though out history you can see examples of how religion has destroyed and killed in the name of god. People were enslaved or worse because they believed something other than the popular norm. Christianity, because of its size and popularity, has a history rittled with horrible crimes against humanity. Every time they are forgiven, yet horrors occur again. Christianity preaches forgiveness. That's wonderful, but without learning from the mistakes of the past that forgiveness was wasted.

The Crusades, the hunt for the holy grail, killed countless Muslims unnecessarily. The Christians invaded in the name of God.

Muslims are not innocent either. Not all are extreamly strict, however the popular belief, which is shown here, shows a religion that practices oppressive and agressive social and ethical rules. These rules worked thousands of years ago, but today only express ignorance and intolerance.

Buddism is very popular and yet passive, however it is really a philosophy. A way of living.

Three very distinct views on the world and heaven and unfortunatly, in general cannot work together. For the world to come together as one, these differences MUST be put aside. A cosmological disaster could bring us together, such as an on coming asteroid or comet, however aside from that our religious differences will keep us apart.

Even those who are agnostic are alienated from those who have a religion. There are many shades of gray here. This isn't black and white.

I believe there is a god. Something started this all, but I don't agree with any of the religions I have studied. I don't feel the need to belong to a flock of sheep either. There are many individuals in various religions who are very intelegent, educated and tolerant of others beliefs and ideas. Unfortunatly, as we see every day, those kind of people are a very small minority. Every day we see people armed with a very small piece of knowledge and a large piece of popular speculation and judge all those around them with it.

You could say, "Hey Marc, that's exactly what you are doing here." Possibly yes, but the point is not to say everyone is wrong for thier beliefs. People go wrong when they do not THINK! I do not claim that ridding the world of religion would be practical or even possible. I don't claim that it would fix the worlds problems either. Without religion people may find a new outlet for thier fight for supremacy. The Nazis did this. They said all that were not like them were inferior and many, in particular, the Jews were considered so bad that they should not be allowed to live.

Consider this, we are ALL Earthlings. We all live on the same planet. Like it or not everything that we do affects everyone else. We say things like, "It's my life, I can do whatever I want." Now expand that to the city, state or nation. We sound like teenagers! The U.S. is the pretty rich kid who things he/she is better than all the others. It doesn't matter if the US is or not, the point is that the behavior upsets countries that have to walk in the shadow of the US. It also creates small "lacky" countries that pretend to respect us, but really dont. They are around to take advantage of the associations with the US and the scraps that come thier way.

Truely is this the way the world should work? Are we truely a bunch of greedy teenagers? The "me-me" mentality can be removed without religion, which...

Sorry, to be continued....

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

If you don't find this funny, you must be dead.


Brushing my teeth and then suddenly remembering the webcam is
on. Doh!



Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Tip of the Day


(or of the Week at this rate!)

When printing digital photos use an online service like Shutterfly or Snapfish. They will produce quality photos from your digital pictures (given that the digital copies are good).

Local photo printers, like Wolf Camera, as an example, charge a premium for digital prints. They look great and when you need a photo quickly, they are still your best bet.

If you have plenty of time and all you are printing are snap shots, use an online service. They are all free to use and offer great prices for prints. Shutterfly for example charges 50 cents for a 4x6 print. If you think this is pricey, think about how many regular photos you throw away when you have them developed at Walmart.

Disclamer


Boss, I am not bored at work. I have plenty of work to do.

Thank You,

Marc

bored


Ugh! I hate being bored! Here I am stuck at work with very little, of interest, to do. I have stuff to do at home! I need to clean my apartment. It's not a mess, but the detail work is starting to pile up. I need to mop and scrub the tub and stuff like that. No it's not very glamorus or any fun really, but it's gotta be done.

I also need to continue to write a free-lance web design contract for a propective client. God I can design and draw and be creative all day long, but you ask me to do business work and I draw a blank. Contract writing sucks! No wonder lawyers can charge an arm and a leg to do it! Hell I need to find one to review the contract anyway, maybe I should see how much it would cost to have someone do it? Naww...I don't have a lot of cash to be tossing around. I can do it, I just don't like it. Blah!

Finally, I want a night to veg! I've been on the go for the last 4 or 5 nights. Sit and read a book or play a video game or just watch tv all night (not that there is anything on).

If anyone says I have no life because I'm single...well, they are sadly mistaken and I'll make sure they know that.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Intelectual Piracy


Think about this for a moment;
A organized crime piracy ring (music, video or software) will make an effort to produce goods that are nearly indistinguishable from the orginal. Silk screening and quality printing. Even the lower volume pirate can setup a CD copying shop for less than $10,000.

These copies are sold for very much less than the original distributer would have sold them for. Probably cost of materials plus a reasonable percentage profit. But much less than the $15-20 we are used to seeing now.

Now look at the big legit production and distribution chains. You think they can't produce a CD for even less? They buy in bulk for one and they also have faster, more efficient processes in place.

So why does the CD from the legal source cost so much more? You have to pay the artist. But after that its all marketing and profit. There is no reason the price of a cd cant come down once it has broken even. After that its all profit. So if a CD is a big hit, it's $20 for the first couple of months, then it drops in price.

Oh wait, that's not how supply and demand work. But the pirates are already wreaking havoc so why not?

The only obvious answer is greed. It's intelectual property. The costs of production and time are easily quantified. Once that goal has been met, there is no longer a "LOSS" that can be truely claimed. Thing about that the next time your favorite platnium record selling artist claims that piracy is stealing money from him/her.