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Current Location:Corporate East Hotel, Ulysses, KS
Subject:Gaming in the Middle of Nowhere...
Time:12:14 am
Current Mood:Tired
A little background for those whom aren't familiar with my current line of work...
I'm an IT Professional currently working as a contractor for a gas company based out of Tulsa, OK. They're in the middle of a large-scale migration project upgrading practically all of their workstations from Windows XP to Windows 7. This job involves making trips out to the various sites around the country to swap out the hardware and make sure they're more or less in working order.

So I'm currently working out here in the middle of nowhere Southwest Kansas (Ulysses, KS) for at half the week before moving on to Amarillo, TX for the second half. Last night, my coworkers and I got back from an office we were working in, but we still had some remote work to do. Therefore, we setup our laptops in one of the hotel's conference rooms for about 2 to 3 hours.

It was getting late and we were close to turning in for the evening. At a particular quiet moment, I heard some familiar music. I said to my coworker, "I...I think I hear someone playing Minecraft..."

I peeked my head out of the conference room's double doors to look to the front desk. There at the desk was the night-shift dude playing Minecraft on his XBOX 360. It was awesome.

Now, I need to check-in to my Minecraft Server...

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Subject:LiveJournal Nudge
Time:09:12 pm
It seems not too long ago, LiveJournal introduced a way of seeing how long ago your friends have posted...

I have a friend in that list whom I still talk to via other mediums that hasn't posted in 10 years! Tonight, I made a comment on someone else's post that more or less summarizes my use of LiveJournal as of now...

I just wish I was a little better at allocating time to placing the myriad of thoughts into the digital ether like I once did years ago. Sadly, I only have enough time to post snippets of my reality via social nets like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. However, every once in a while, LiveJournal summons me back.

Plus, I'm not always comfortable posting about my personal troubles in life with other individual humans here. I have a habit of only doing so with another human being face-to-face.

Nowadays, I find myself posting when I have an issue or musing about me versus the (corner of the) world at-large.

Until then, I'm generally content with creeping on other people's journals to keep-up and attempt to maintain a level of personal perspective...
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Subject:Some semi-random thoughts and rhetorical questions for the evening...
Time:12:25 am
As an American society, what is the ideal way to live?
Are we to merely live for ourselves with few restrictions?
Ideally, should the other humans around each and every one of us be treated as merely an elaborate means to an end?
Should people who 'can't make it' one way or another be eliminated through an elaborate system of social and economic ostracization since outright first degree murder is frowned upon (and apparently illegal)?
What does "We the people" mean? Does it mean "All of us that are in it together?" Or does it mean, "We, a bunch of individuals that merely tolerate each other to varying degrees to get through life? No more, no less?"
Are the blatant and intentional exploitation of other human beings okay as long as it's legal and our selected faith gives direct or ambiguous license to do so?

Hm. I seem a bit cynical this evening...
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Current Location:Carney, OK
Subject:INFOGRAPHIC - What Do IT People Really Do All Day?
Time:08:58 pm
While folks can nitpick the specifics of the poster itself and the descriptions, it still grants insight into what IT folks do every day...

INFOGRAPHIC - What Do IT People Really Do All Day?

This entry was originally posted at http://strife-caecus.dreamwidth.org/2149.html. If you wish to comment at Dreamwidth, please comment there using OpenID or your registered Dreamwidth account.
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Current Location:Tumultuous Plexus, Stillwater, OK
Subject:Mary Sue and the Author
Time:02:44 am
I was reading the Interrobang Studios' Pot Luck Comic's "Ensign Two: The Wrath of Sue".

It features a character named "Sue" which named after the moniker "Mary Sue".

In short, a Mary Sue (or Marty Stu if you're speaking of a male counterpart) is in its most negative connotation a character inserted into a story as a form of author wish-fulfillment.

The character in the "Ensign Sue" series is a hilarious caricature entity of such a character and wreaks havoc throughout the J.J. Abrams Star Trek's USS Enterprise. The crew managed to get rid of her using the "Red Shirt Principle," but unknowingly caused her to infect the parallel dimensions of the Multiverse.

I decided to insert a character of my own into the story just for personal exposition purposes and to provide a different perspective. Unfortunately, it's not set in the hilarious tone of the comic, but I can totally see a power-abusive Author being behind the Sue shenanigans. Hey, isn't interpretation and retelling the heart of fan-fiction--good or bad?

Without warning, a being beams directly onto the bridge of the USS Enterprise. Helmsman Sulu was shocked by the sudden intrusion and proceeds to ask, "Who are you?"

"I, for lack of better words, are what you call a 'Sue'. Or rather, a Marty Stu. You may call me Cecil. Excuse the monologue, but we don't have much time...

I was created for the purpose of attempting to mitigate the 'Sue' threat. However, it won't be easy. See, the Sues infecting the other dimensions are driven by the will of the Sue's creator--the Author. The Author is akin to a god-like entity to your respective realities. Limited only by their imagination, an Author can create one or more characters to insert into any given reality and bend it to its will. A more experienced Author can even fabricate entire realities from scratch or as a splinter from another reality. Truth be told, where many Authors come from, they typically don't have any notable superpowers of their own outside of their imaginations. But here and other realities, the power of their imaginations make them nigh-untouchable."

Sulu replies, "Is it safe to assume you have your own Author?"

"Yes, I do. From what I understand, he's trying to track down the Author of the rampant Sues to see about reigning them in before they irreparable damage to your reality and any adjacent ones. I will use the Stu powers granted to me to avert the threat. However, there's a catch..."


"Yeah. When two or more Authors and their respective Sues or Stus begin to clash in a given reality--the attempt to assert each other's control over a given reality can cause its very fabric to tear itself apart. The competing Authors either have to voluntarily agree to subdue their Sues, be stopped by an intervening force in the Authors' own reality or risk destroying one or more realities in the ensuing conflict. It's not pretty. Characters in the sundered realities aren't necessarily killed. They just fade away into a strange limbo or are reborn in a state different than their previous selves.
For the sake of your reality and the others, I can't bring my full powers to bear against the Sues as of now, but I can still help you...

Sulu curiously asks, "Has a Sue ever crossed into the Author's reality?"

"No. Well...not usually. There have been a few exceptions. It usually happens when a character is intentionally fashioned as a demi-deity or full deity. I'll give you a prime example. Around 3,000 years ago, a collection of Authors created a deity with the best or worst powers that usually comes with a Sue: omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, invincibility, able to warp reality on a whim, etc. It was used in religious texts to explain much of the happenings of the cosmos at the time.

However, unlike other characters found in texts, it had followers that applied their faith and will into this deity character. This devotion granted their deity so much power it entered our reality and has persisted through the last three millennia. Despite the fervor of its followers, this entity tends to act upon its own accord.

The followers say our population owes our existence to the entity when it's technically the other way around. Even many Authors are under the influence of the entity. However, some of the more crafty Authors in recent history have realized we were the creators of the deity character. Unfortunately, its power will not diminish until many of us stop feeding it our will. I don't think that day will come anytime soon...

An idea is a very power thing, Mr. Sulu. If one is not careful how they're applied, it can have irrevocable results. The Author we're after has a blatant disregard for the existing realities. This person must be stopped! Otherwise, I fear the Sue threat will never truly be contained."

This entry was originally posted at http://strife-caecus.dreamwidth.org/1874.html. If you wish to comment at Dreamwidth, please comment there using OpenID or your registered Dreamwidth account.
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Subject:Middle-East Political Chess Game
Time:09:27 pm
Ten years after Iraq war began, Iran reaps the gains

And the political chess game in the Middle East moves on...

The attitude I get from all this is that us everyday Americans are mostly content with the Middle East making their own plays for power as long as it doesn't directly affect us. Once that does happen--whether actual or perceived--we go over there, shake up the proverbial chess board as a sort of lesson. Eventually we leave and watch them resume the game--thankful America isn't breathing down their throats quite as hard...

After the September 11th incident, back then I wanted to find those responsible for the attacks and have them dealt with as such. First, we got involved with Afghanistan and then we got involved with Iraq and rest is history. In my early 20s, even I knew going to Iraq would have some not entirely foreseeable consequences. It can be safely assumed the average American isn't privy nor concerned with the complex history that comprises that region of the world and our hand in it over the last several decades.

Here we are 10 years after the beginning of the US-Iraq conflict and now I ask the average American, "Have we truly accomplished what we set out to do there a decade ago?" I'm sure I will get different answers depending upon whom I asked. Some will hand-wave it and say they have other pressing issues to deal with in their day-to-day here at home. Others will state that they didn't even support the notion of going over there to begin with.

So for now, the rest of us will sit and wait and see how the chess game over there plays out. I just wonder how many of us will be eager to have our military go back over there in greater numbers nowadays...
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Current Location:Shortcakes Diner, Stillwater, OK
Subject:Theoretical Civil War Scenario
Time:01:00 am
Since March 2011, Syria has been locked in a conflict between its citizens and the current regime under President Bashar al-Assad. The rebels wants Assad out of office. However, what kind government would be installed should Assad be ousted? Optimistically, it would be a more democratic-type government. Pessimistically, it would be another Islamist branch that's not necessarily friendly to all its inhabitants.

Of course, I'm oversimplifying the forces at work in that country since there are different ethnic groups as well as religious ideologies clashing there. Not to mention different countries backing the rebels or the Syrian government. I would suggest reading the Wikipedia article "Syrian Civil War" to get an idea of this war's complexity.

Now, let's bring things back home for a moment...

We're currently embroiled in our own so-called "Culture War." This also includes developments such as:
- The ever-present gun control issue
- Increasing mistrust in our own government due to a multitude of factors including a sort-of disconnect between the politicians and their people, undesirable legislation and ideology shifts
- The mere fact we have someone like Obama in office during this current administration
- ...and vice versa
Thankfully, our "conflict" is one of (mostly) words and not of guns and other lethal weapons.
Surfing through the comments area of various online articles and blogs, there are murmurs of some upcoming revolution claiming the government is coming for their guns and what's left of our rights. As of today, one could assume it's just the more paranoid and angry voices venting on the Internet.

However, let's say there is the unlikely event of a revolution against our own government. If so, what would be the demographic of our rebels? Furthermore, would they be for the rights of all its U.S. citizens or only for the support of certain groups and the outright oppression of others? Also, would the players involved in such a revolution be just as complex as Syria?

This entry was originally posted at http://strife-caecus.dreamwidth.org/1570.html. If you wish to comment at Dreamwidth, please comment there using OpenID or your registered Dreamwidth account.
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Current Location:Aspen Coffee Company, Stillwater, OK
Subject:Neil deGrasse Tyson's Frustration...
Time:10:26 pm

I feel Neil deGrasse Tyson's frustration...

Personally, I want to dare to dream. I want to once again enter the realm that was supposedly only reserved for our deities and imagination.

It irks me when I hear people say, "But we have so many problems back here on Earth. We don't have the time and/or money to worry about space." I feel like that answer is a cop-out for those whom feel they will never get to space or aren't curious enough to find out what's beyond our planet's atmosphere. It's as if they feel what we already know or what we think we already know is enough. It's much easier to just be consumed with our daily lives rather than continue our ancestors' tendencies to explore the unknown. I feel there should be a certain solace to the mere fact we can't know everything, but that shouldn't stop us from learning and understanding more. Our thirst for discovering and understanding is arguably one of the hallmark traits of humans--something I wished we harnessed more often.

What disturbs me is all the modern conveniences we enjoy and take for granted today are because of our curiosity. Some of our conveniences were even created as a result of trying to get to space. Was some of it driven by fear and greed? Definitely. But it was also driven by our wanting to know.
"What does this do?"
"How does it work?"
"Why does it work?"

I guess for many of us, we need that proverbial fire lit under our butts. A nudge...or shove to get back out there--at worst a crisis. I was hoping we wouldn't have to wait until we're low on living space or resources before looking to the stars again. Perhaps if we want to have a more cynical reason to return to space, it would be to take our so-called "problems" into the void. Maybe there, we could learn an extra thing or two about humility, working together and appreciating life. Perhaps I'm asking too much?

It really ticks me off when something goes wrong in our exploration and people say, "See? That's why we shouldn't be going out there." Will it be dangerous? You betcha! However, exploration has always been a risky venture. From crossing oceans to crossing the vacuum from one celestial body to another.

Maybe the combination of private (like SpaceX) and government entities will help us get back to space. There's a part of me that still wants agencies like NASA to spearhead exploration, but perhaps for now I'll take it.

This entry was originally posted at http://strife-caecus.dreamwidth.org/1446.html. If you wish to comment at Dreamwidth, please comment there using OpenID or your registered Dreamwidth account.
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Current Location:Tumultuous Plexus, Stillwater, OK
Subject:Cynical and Optimistic Thoughts of the Day - USA and "How?" and "Why?"
Time:05:22 pm
Cynical Thought of the Day

United States of America, eh?
A collection of nation-states full of individuals suspicious or outright paranoid of each other hardly sounds "united".

Individual States of America?
Republic States of America (since we are a republic)?
Are these names more apt?

Optimistic Thought of the Day

More and more people in my generation and the next are learning to ask a couple of important questions: "How?" and "Why?"

"Why are certain prejudices (e.g. racism) considered overall intolerant while other prejudices (e.g. homosexuality) are considered okay?"
"How am I applying my faith benevolently to those around me? Or are my beliefs potentially (emotionally and/or physically) damaging those around me?"

Learning and continuing to ask the questions "How?" and "Why?" allows us to continue learning from each other and how to progress as a species. To understand the impact of one's beliefs upon their surroundings instead of relying on pure blind faith helps to reduce the likeliness of easily becoming more dogmatic in nature.
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Current Location:Tumultuous Plexus, Stillwater, OK
Subject:More Gun Politics...
Time:03:48 pm
I was reading a picture someone post on their Facebook timeline today that stated, "If the government won't trust me with my guns, I don't trust them with theirs!"

It once got me thinking about the whole ever-present issue of gun rights and control once again. I went and read about the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Serving in a well regulated militia aside, landmark decisions in 2008 and 2010 established that a gun-owner can use their registered weapons for purposes of self-defense. Alright, I can get behind self-defense of the home from everyday intruders like petty thieves and such.

Where things get weird is where some folks talk about the theoretical scenario about our own government becoming tyrannical and turning against its people. These folks want to be sufficiently armed for such a potentially revolutionary conflict. Here's the problem. Of the 300+ million people in this country, how many of them want to be armed well-enough for such a conflict? Sure, having several million adults armed with at least one gun may give its people a fighting chance, but also consider the military's arsenal. Aside from their obvious military-grade projectile guns there's also (and not limited to):

tanks, armored personnel carriers, rocket propelled grenades, artillery, surface-to-surface missiles, attack helicopters, stealth fighter jets and drones, EMP device, high-tech heat array, flying gun-ship mounted laser weapon, bio-weaponry, near-future ship-mounted rail gun and tactical nukes.

From the outset, if the military wanted to turn me inside out, individually it won't take much and my little gun won't get much accomplished before I'm reduced to Swiss cheese or a crater. If the people wanted any chance of taking on a tyrannical government, several scenarios would need to occur...

- A sufficiently armed populace organizes and takes on the government in concert.
- The armed populace would also need to learn military-style training along with guerrilla warfare tactics. I'm going to assume the everyday gun owner doesn't have that kind of training.
- Have (ex)military defectors to gain control of certain military-grade hardware to use in the conflict.

If you want to use more morally questionable tactics:
- Have your armed groups mixed in the civilian populace in the hopes the tyrannical government-controlled military doesn't wantonly kill civilians. To be crude: meat shields.
- Use of IEDs
- Basically employ many tactics used by groups against our military in the Middle East conflict areas...

So yeah. Defense of the home or person from an everyday intruder? Sure. It's a legit argument.
Taking on a potentially tyrannical government? One may want to place more thought into that before engaging.

Another question I would like to ask of folks is, "What is a sufficient number of guns needed to strictly defend one's home or person?" I can see one weapon for each adult and spouse, but beyond that is it still strictly self-defense against mere burglars? I'm going to exempt gun collectors since I would like to think they're in their own category with their own set of questions.

P.S. When I think back to this entry I posted a few weeks ago, a twisted scenario popped-up in my head. I see a lady giving birth to a child. A random person not related to the family is also in the delivery room pointing a gun at where the child is about to emerge. The person figures if the child seems a little too crazy after exiting the womb he'll just shoot it and save a lot of potential misery for everyone else. Is this a highly inaccurate portrayal of how many of us would like to treat each other?
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[icon] Strife Caecus' Chronological Nexus
View:Recent Entries.
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