Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Xmas

As a gift to those of you who read this, I'd like to exerpt from one of the better essays I've read about today. Would that everyone realize that there are two distinct holidays today, and not everyone celebrates both.


But I myself conversed with a priest in one of these temples and asked him why they kept Crissmas on the same day as Exmas; for it appeared to me inconvenient. But the priest replied, It is not lawful, O Stranger, for us to change the date of Crissmas, but would that Zeus would put it into the minds of the Niatirbians to keep Exmas at some other time or not to keep it at all...

But what Hecataeus says, that Exmas and Crissmas are the same, is not credible. For the first, the pictures which are stamped on the Exmas-cards have nothing to do with the sacred story which the priests tell about Crissmas. And secondly, the most part of the Niatirbians, not believing the religion of the few, nevertheless send the gifts and cards and participate in the Rush and drink, wearing paper caps. But it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honour of a god they do not believe in. And now, enough about Niatirb.

C.S. Lewis, Xmas and Christmas

So merry Xmas (or Christmas, if that's the holiday you celebrate). May you spend it with people you care about.


Blogger Luke said...

Actually Xmas and Christmas are technically the same thing (gramattically speaking)..."X" is apparently either Greek or Latin for "Christ", so it's really just a shortening of the word. I see what you're saying, though.

12/27/2005 9:36 AM  
Blogger Luke said...

And are you sure CS Lewis wrote this piece? Doesn't sound like his normal style.

12/27/2005 2:45 PM  
Blogger Aaron *@ said...

Yeah, he wrote it. It's one of the essays in God in the Dock, which is where I read it.
And I know Xmas and Christmas are technically the same thing, but I really liked the distinction he drew between the 2 holidays and decided to use his terminology when giving my holiday greeting.

12/27/2005 4:28 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

gotcha...good article. its just that ive heard so many christians say how horrible it is that we say "Xmas" instead of "Christmas". Yet another pointless thing to argue about...

12/28/2005 8:10 AM  

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Thursday, December 22, 2005


So I've been on vacation the past few days. Went down to San Diego with the family, caught the Lion King play down at the Civic Center, and in general kicked it down in SD. The play was excellent; it had a lot of colorful African imagery, the costumes were amazingly well done, and it was well-acted. Truly I love that city.

Yesterday, we headed up to LA to visit the Getty Center. Now, I'm fond of saying that LA has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I'm not above admitting a mistake. The Getty is LA's one redeeming quality. My god, that place is amazing. It's a huge stone structure well designed and built that has the most amazing art collection I've ever seen. It's still hard to believe that some of the sculptures and paintings they hare are 500-1500 years old. They look new. Truly one of the most exciting (and depressing) aspects of art is the fact that it transcends time. At least that's how I see it, which is probably why photographs illicit more of an emotional response from me than paintings. A snapshot takes about 1/250th of a second in time and freezes it. Forever it sits on the negative and the photo paper, an event occurred. People grow old and die, but their youthful image remains on film. But I digress. To me, the most interesting aspect of the architecture was the modularity of the design. Everything was built using a standard 34 cubic inch stone, which allowed for very precise placement of landscaping. I think I took about 4 rolls worth of pictures (96 for those who can't do math). I was trying to beat Catherine's record of 106 in one day (and had promised that I'd take a lot of pictures when I told her I was going), but failed. The sun shouldn't set until I tell it to, goddammit.

So that was my vacation, or at least the highlights of it. Not as exciting as going to Mexico like we've done in years past, but enjoyable nonetheless (and a hell of a lot cheaper).


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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Evangelist Bingo

Since there seems to be an influx of evangelists in or around the SLO area, I propose the following game. Actually, I doubt it's an original idea of mine, but I came up with it without any outside influence. It's called Evangelist Bingo and both atheists and non-atheists alike can play. It's a rather simple game. Create a standard BINGO card. You get your FREE space (I recommend a picture of Buddy Christ in the FREE space). Pick 24 of these 300 Proofs of God's Existence and strategically place them around the card. Every time someone attempts to evangelize to you and uses one of these proofs during their spiel, mark it down on your BINGO card. The BINGO rules would have to be decided before a game is started. To make things more interesting, a pool could be created where everyone throws in $5 to play. Winner takes the pool. However, to make things fair for those of us who don't go to religious schools, it has to be unsolicited evangelism. When I say unsolicited, I mean that the person doesn't know who you are or what your religious affiliation is, and they cannot be directed to you by anyone who knows you or your religious affiliation. For example, Mormons at your door count, as do Farmer's Market evangelists. Roommate Dan, former Bible study leader, doesn't count. If something's grey area, we can go there from then.

Out of sheer boredom, I've made a blank playing card. If enough people are interested in playing, I can make a little web app that would allow you to generate your own BINGO cards using this card as a template.


The problem with boredom is that it doesn't go away very quickly. As a result, I wrote that little webapp that allows you to generate your own Evangelist BINGO cards. It's still fragile, and it's still a work in progress, but if you want to play, you have two options. You can go to this free site I set up and make yourself a card, or you can go to my personal server, which I'd rather not link to on the Internet (hint: if you know the address of my server, the page is evangelist.php). If anyone wants to play an offical game where we'd compete against each other, let me know and we'll make some rules that everyone feels are fair and/or fun.


Anonymous Will said...

I haven't been evangelized to in years...I think the people going to private schools are at at severe disadvantage in this game.

12/15/2005 8:33 AM  
Blogger Aaron *@ said...

Well, I suppose I could open it up to solicited evangelism so things like church and chapel counted. The easiest way to make the rules fair would be to play it a few times to figure out what works.

12/15/2005 11:54 AM  
Blogger Forrest said...

Theism = belief in god
a-theism = (without) belief in god
non-atheism = non non-belief in god.

Weird how anti-things get inverted again in language. Although, I'd guess that thiests only came after atheists called themselves that. You know what Arthaey says about guessing at etymologies tho.

12/15/2005 8:09 PM  
Blogger Aaron *@ said...

I actually put thought into how I was going to phrase that -- atheists and non-atheists or religious and non-religious. I decided to do the ego-centric thing and categorize everyone in relation to me. So, atheists and non-atheists. Besides, I would imagine that atheists would be more likely to want to play this game at all.

12/15/2005 8:17 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

(1) In the movie King Kong, Kong is shown ascending a set of stairs to a precipice(sp?) made of rock.

(2) Stairs demand iteligant design.

(3) The movie was filmed in New Zealand, a natural location

(4) The stairs occur naturally

(5) Therefore, God exists.

12/18/2005 12:39 AM  

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Pleasant Surpirse

Today I decided to crack open a bottle of the apricot wine that I made last year. Some of you may remember me mentioning that I did this last year. I originally wanted to drink it during Thanksgiving, but we forgot about it. When I poured it into some glasses, I was first surprised by its color. When I bottled it, it was an orange color, like an apricot. When I poured it today, it looked more like lemonade. It tasted surprisingly good. It had a subtle taste of apricot and was slightly bitter, but not too much. It was one of the better wines I've drank as of late. I'm going to hold off on opening the other two bottles for a while. I'm thinking one a year. We'll see how it is next year.


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Friday, December 09, 2005

Flaming Forrest

I just went to Costco to pick up some pictures I took during my time in Vista. There were also some older pictures from Mexico and this picture from last year. Personally, I'm surprised it came out as well as it did.


Blogger Forrest said...

Flaming? Me?

Oh. I get it. You have picture of me on fire. Right? Please, oh god, right?

12/10/2005 5:10 AM  

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Where's The Outrage?

Don't ask me why, but today I somehow ended up at the God Hates Fags website. From the title of the site, you can imagine what the content's like. It's rather hateful and very depressing, especially the pictures with small children. This picture here in particular really made me sad. It's four girls who are about 14 years old wearing God Hates Fags shirts. But what really got to me was the fact that they were smiling. And then I realize, that's all they know; that's how they were raised. They think it's right and that's why they're smiling. I sometimes forget that there's some...out there...people in the world, but that was a rather poignant reminder.

Which brings me to my point: Where's the outrage among the Christian church? Why don't you guys denounce these people? Whenever you hear something about Muslim terrorists, the first thing you hear from Muslim leaders is that the terrorists aren't representative of Islam. Why do I not hear this from Christian churches or groups whenever this shit happens? Oh sure, in our Bible studies we used to denounce them, but that's denunciation in private. I sometimes think Christian churches don't publicly denounce these groups and people because they secretly (or not so secretly) agree with them. They may not agree with the methods, but they agree with the message. Which makes me very sad because it sometimes becomes very hard to not consider the extremists representative of the entire group. So, if you'd like to help me have a renewed faith in the rational religious person, you can do your part by publicly denouncing the extremists (or counter-protesting if you ever feel adventurous and motivated).

Oh, and on a similar but even more ridiculous matter: there is no War on Christmas waged by Teh Evil Godless Atheists. You aren't being persecuted; get over it


Anonymous Will said...

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

(2358) "The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination...constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."

Obviously wearing shirts that say "God hates fags" is not "accepting them with respect, compassion, and sensitivity" I would say that the Catholic Church does condemn and denounce such discrimination.

The people in charge of the website and t-shirts definitely aren't Catholic (and I personally wouldn't even consider them Christian)...but the point is, publicly denouncing them wouldn't really solve anything, because from a Christian perspective, they don't really represent Christianity (which isn't unified).

It would be absurd to associate those people with the Catholic Church, unlike (for instance) the women who ordain themselves as "Catholic priestesses" and threaten to ordain other women. Those people cause confusion about what Catholics really believe...and BAM. They're publicly denounced (and excommunicated, where applicable).

My guess is, if the "God hates Fags" people started associating themselves with one particular group of Christians (such as a certain denomination)...they would be publicly denounced on the spot.

12/09/2005 10:57 AM  
Blogger Aaron *@ said...

They're actually based in a Baptist church in Kansas (as if I'd expect the Baptists to condemn them).
And I think denouncing them would solve something in the public's eye. You know the Catechism of the Catholic Church; a lot of people (possibly most) don't and don't know that the Catholic Church officially condemns the behavior. Telling people this fact wouldn't hurt. Would it cause them to stop doing what they're doing? No, they'd ignore it because they believe you're not a Christian more fervently than you don't think they are. But it would still be nice to hear a religious figure on TV who wasn't some crazy extremist.

12/09/2005 2:37 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

I think the reason you don't see moral, true Christians on television denouncing this activity is simple: what would get better TV ratings? Controversy or Sound Christian doctrine? The networks probably would be very hesitant to air anything where Christians teach non-Christians what they really believe.

Personally, I think God does love even homosexuals, although the Bible is clear that homosexuals have no place in God's kingdom. He does love them, as we should as well, and wants them to be with him in heaven, but as we well know, that is not enough for all homosexuals to convert. We could easily apply the tired cliche: Love the sinner, hate the sin. This is what is missing in the Homo-denouncers's faith. They don't have love in their hearts. They are just angry people that look in the Bible for a verse that condemns homos and go after them with that verse on their swords.

12/09/2005 6:11 PM  
Blogger Aaron *@ said...

You don't have to teach doctrine necessarily. Something as simple as saying, "These guys are full of shit" with regard to idiots like this group, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson would be perfectly acceptable. Let's keep in mind that there are people in the media denouncing these guys; it just doesn't come from the Christian church. I'm just saying that it should. That's all. Hell, I'll abstract this thought out so it doesn't seem like I'm picking on a specific group: whenever members of a group (religous or not) says in a very vocal and extreme way something clearly and blatently contrary to the teachings or beliefs of the group as a whole, the more rational members of that group should feel an obligation to bitch slap the extremist members so that outsiders don't get the wrong idea about the group.

12/09/2005 9:09 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

I agree, I'm just saying that the reason you won't hear much from Christians is TV networks dont feel its necessary to air it. I'm not saying there are a lot of Christian groups trying to publically denounce them (I really have no idea about that), I'm just assuming that even if there were, there's a good chance they wouldn't be aired on TV or the newspaper. You can hear public denouncing of these people @ Christian schools and churches, so it's not like we aren't denouncing them, I think the problem is finding a nation-wide outlet.

12/10/2005 8:43 AM  

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Monday, December 05, 2005

I Have Issues

Around campus, there are these Under Four posters that attempt to get students to cut back on their drinking by quoting various statistics about student drinking habits. For example, there's one that says something like 75% of Cal Poly students haven't caused property damage while drinking. I took pride in being a minority student for all the posters with the exception of one: I had never taken a test drunk.

Now I have.

Allow me to regail you with the story. Writing about things that bother me has always made me feel better, so this is a rather personal post. You have been warned.

The story begins last night around 6. Forrest and Catherine want to go to AJ Spurs, and they invite Jerry and I as well. Rather, Catherine invites Jerry and I. We'd already eaten, but I enjoy the company; and I can just sit down and drink a soda or something. It's pretty clear from the get-go that Forrest doesn't want us to go. But we have the invite, so we go out the door and walk to the car. Catherine decides that she needs to get something out of the apartment, so we all walk back. We're out the door when Forrest decides to hole himself in the apartment. Catherine goes in, and, about 5 minutes later, she announces that they're just going to go. I ask why the sudden change, and Forrest says that it isn't right that we're going and not eating. This is a bullshit reason, and I call him on it. I tell him that it's a poor reason to uninvite us and that he should come up with a better one. We stand outside the apartment for a few minutes in a stalemate, Catherine goes to the car, and he follows shortly after.

At this point, I'm furious. I severely dislike being uninvited someplace. But that's not the only reason I was pissed off. First, he wouldn't even tell me to my face that he didn't want me to go. Catherine did it. Second, it was a bullshit answer to my valid question. It's as right as I fucking make it. If I buy something at a restaurant, I've earned the right to sit there. End of story. It's not really up to anyone but me to decide if that's right. He could have said something like I want to have a dinner alone with Catherine, which would have been a perfectly valid reason. Of course I'd still be furious because of the uninvite, but it's a valid answer and probably a truthful one.

The most painful thing, though, was the situation taken as a whole. I like to think of myself as a full member of our group of friends. Because I am. The whole situation made me feel like an outsider and a third wheel. That Forrest holed himself in the apartment and pouted because Jerry and I were going really hurt. I don't care what you're doing; you don't pout about your friends going somewhere with you when you've fucking invited them to go with you. Personally, I enjoy spending time with my friends; I don't think I've ever viewed it as a chore because I don't associate with people who would make me feel that way. I just don't see how it could ever be viewed as a burden.

So I drank. Heavily. I took no pleasure in it; it wasn't one of those things I did because I enjoyed it. I drank to cope. So I started doing shots of rum, shots of kahlua, and had a rum and coke. Although I don't remember it, I chugged amaretto and peach schnapps. I bitched about the situation to Dan and Jerry. They patiently listened to my drunken ramblings. I passed out.

I woke up at about 5 in the morning, wondering how I got in my bed. I tried to get back to sleep and woke up at about 6 to get ready for my final at 7. I was still drunk. I was still pretty drunk when I took the final, but I think I did fairly well. Kris and Shawn got a good laugh at my predicament. After the final, I was walking with Kris and Sysadmin Tom and said something like I thought I was sober until I stood up [to turn in the final]. So now Sysadmin Tom is going to tell the professor that one of his students was drunk during the final. I'm tempted to tell him myself, though I don't know what purpose that would serve.

The problem with drinking to cope is that it doesn't work. I woke up, and the situation was still painful. It hadn't magically resolved itself while I was drunk, though I don't think I expected it to. I think I drank because there was nothing else I could do. I couldn't approach them because they already left, and bitching to Jerry wasn't helping me feel better. But still, I want to know why the first thing I thought of was drinking. I suppose I'm not doing as well as I thought controlling it. On the plus side, I'm glad I passed out. I imagine that had I not, I would have said hurtful things when Catherine and Forrest returned. Well, whatever. Hopefully I'll feel better by writing this; maybe it'll bring some closure.


Blogger Luke said...

At least you realized it doesnt help. Its probably very true (cant say I would know firsthand for sure).

12/06/2005 11:38 AM  
Blogger Aaron *@ said...

Yeah, I'm quickly learning that there's not really anything that drinking actually helps.

12/06/2005 9:33 PM  

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