I've been longing for the ableness of yester. I've been somewhat successful with the reinvention I've put myself into early this year. I feel focused, and, for once, I'm listening to my needs and my wants. More importantly, I've come to be in peace with the fact that in many cases the former will not be the same as the latter, but has a higher priority.

However, I stand here, as always, doubtful. I've realized that the inclination with which I've grown (or want to have grown) feels... how can I put this?

I had a good description of it a minute ago, I swear.

Darn! I just had it.

I'm looking at my still hands at the keyboard, grinning, unable of thinking of another word other than boring.

I know what you're thinking, and I concur. This is where I need to be, and in the most part, I want to be. I have a good job, a challenging job (the concept "boring" is far, far from its description). I've endured test after test, where I have been learning, even sometimes to the point of requiring time off from it, which, may I add, I've learned to administer well. I've made progress academically, and the people around me have noticed it. My love relationship has grown beautifully, to the point that we're taking the next step in it, and it is coming forth very organically, swiftly, as I've always wanted a relationship to be like. I've also been building friendships, slowly, but surely, and I've lighten up their darkness as their shine have brighten mine.

Basically, I've learned, nay, I now know that Rome wasn't built in a day, and that it was burnt in less than one. I am being weary of that, and this past year, as you've read/seen, is evidence of it. Ironically, I think that has been the source of my boredom.

I've been too careful. Too safe. Too many baby steps. Too few risks. And, even though there has been progress, it has been too little. I'd love to say that this is me being the ambitious guy I want to be, but, frankly, I'm just not sure. Maybe this was what I needed this year, feeling safe and all. I must admit though, it feels good. It's just that I didn't expect any collateral damages. How ironic: it seems as though being safe has it risks. Doing nothing can also hurt, it's just a pain that crawls up on you softly and stings every time you look back.

So, boredom, our next foe. I hope that Periquín Plumero was right:

Todo lo que emprendas hazlo sin prisa, pero sin pausa.

Everything that you undertake do it without hurry, but without pause.

Periquín Plumero, from Cri-Crí, a children radio character.


Academia is a weird monster. It preys on silhouettes of new thought foundations, but ends up eating itself. It is supposed to be the route with which mankind can evolve, and control its own evolution, towards a greater tomorrow. It is supposed to encompass the best that we as a species can generate, and, while I don't doubt that this is the case, I also know that it also encompasses the worst.

I have procrastinated writing this post, not because of laziness (although, it was factor), but because I didn't feel I had the experience nor had seen enough in Academia to make a well-informed argument towards it. I still feel the same way. However, as Oscar Wilde stated:

The young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.

I was interested in Research, at first, for romantic reasons: pushing the world forward, with a great possibility of teaching in the process. Then, the status of "Doctor" became my drive. My ultimate push was the frustration of the mediocre, greedy incompetence that plagued the Industrial sector.

I quickly realized that it wasn't all that different. That frustrating incompetence is also prevalent in the Academic sector, just with different resources, means, and hats. The objective is disappointingly still mainly the same: money, power, and notoriety. Even the noble act of teaching has been demeaned to a set of meaningless protocols where he who has the most history and/or connections gets to decide how, when, why, where, and what to teach. I appreciate the reasoning behind it (those with more experience have better judgement), but, as with most of the human psyche, "experience" can be subjective, and too much of it can actually hinder the overall Education/Research process.

I could propose some fixes, but it will involve solutions that every good scientist has thought of:

  • Make Research be a joyous process, not just another job. Salary, bonuses, promotions, etc. should be removed, and the university/institution provide housing/entertainment/daycare services directly to the researcher. There would be nothing to gain for, just research results and bragging rights. This is very similar to the philosophy behind the Open Source initiative, and I believe it is more than adequate to be applied in Academia. It won't be glamorous, obviously, but that's alright, Research shouldn't be glamorous (just ask Paul Erdős).
  • Bragging rights are just for that: bragging. They aren't supposed to be used as part of an argument to win an academic discussion. Meaning, the phrase "I discovered plutonium. I know what I'm talking about. I'm right." is a moronic way to make a point. Everybody, even the young ones, are allowed to be skeptic of anyone. It is the duty of the elders (and any researcher, for that matter) to present a logical, step-by-step argument of why they're right.
  • All publishing committees must require to have, for every sought after publications, at least two reviewers with opposing views. That way, every algorithm or novel process that discredits or out-dates a current algorithm or process has a chance to be reviewed without a conflict of interest involved.

Like I said, nothing new, which is disappointing as there hasn't been much done in this regard, even though many fixes are right in front of everybody. Dinosaurs still roam the Earth, and offending them, even by means that are irrelevant in Research, implies little evolution. Well, doing anything, even nothing, implies little evolution, and thus lies the frustration.

But I'm young (at least, that's how the Academia has welcomed me), and I am aware that being young equates to inexperience. I'll probably read this in a decade or so and smile in condescension of my stupid, ironically-naive, pessimistic view on Academia. The problem is I'll most likely welcome it.

Common Sense

Reason. Logic. Common sense.

The train connecting the two terminals in Mexico City Airport does not allow passengers without a boarding pass. The city's subway only reaches one of the terminals. If you don't have a boarding pass, like in the case of a father that wants to see his child off and takes the subway, a fee-based bus needs to be taken from one terminal to another instead.

There are some medical insurance policies that state that a person needs to call the insurance company to approve for ambulance transport, even if the person has been in an accident that have rendered him/her unconscious.

In Mexico, a birth certificate is required for most bureaucratic federal procedures, including obtaining an electoral id. Such an electoral id is not sufficient when it is used to identify a person for other type of procedures (school paperwork, house leasing, etc.), so both documents are required even though one is dependent of the other. To add to the stupidity of it all, if you do have an electoral id but have lost your birth certificate, you can get one if you have an electoral id.

Advertising is what pays the TV producers to put on shows, and the reason why there are public channels that are free to watch for anybody that owns a TV. Customers pay for cable TV as well as when they go to the movies, because the cinema and movie makers need to cover costs and make profit. However, there is advertising in both these scenarios, meaning that the customer is literally paying to watch commercials.

There's a reason why it's called common sense. It's a shared definition of logic, with which we all can agree on what is the right/logical thing to do. But more and more it feels as though that it is slipping, a symptom of the fact that we're more and more far apart, and that our common ground is shrinking.

The reason for this is depressingly simple: fear. The train company doesn't want the airline to think that it is being used by everybody, just by its customers, so they won't feel as a security risk. The insurance company wants to control the payment process so there aren't any unnecessary costs. Bureaucratic procedures want to have both documents, just in case of fraud. Advertising is used to lower the price of cable bills and movie tickets as less and less people are watching TV or going to the movies.

Seat-belts, water fountains, outdoor parking. You can find something that doesn't make sense in any of these that's linked to a protocol set in place to assure somebody that everything is going according to plan. And that somebody feels that there isn't a need to treat others as adults to explain why things are carried out as such.

Fear of losing customers, of high costs, or just plain uncertainty. Ironically, because of fear, the plan built to avoid it is rarely well thought out. The airline could have put the entrance to the train after the boarding pass inspection that is already carried out in the entrance to the gates's area, and just have one big security entrance near the subway station in the first terminal. The insurance company could just slightly raise the premium to include ambulance transport, and explain it to the customer. An electoral id is enough, if there is fear that the id is fake, a birth certificate can be equally falsified and the identification process can be thrown out the window. I can watch commercials at home, either take them out and raise the ticket/billing cost or keep them altogether and bring more in to the point that cable TV and the movies are completely free: anything in between is infuriatingly confusing.

The reason why this is a problem is that it bundles up, to the point in which people, myself included, learn to take it and not question it.

That's how things are done. If we speak up, we'll just lose time.

Why is my Mexican citizenship being questioned when entering Mexico while I am carrying a Mexican passport? Why am I required to provide 5 copies of paperwork to an office that has a copying machine? Why are there accessibility ramps in the entrance of my 4-floor office building but it doesn't have an elevator?

Bring the reasons out in the open, explain yourselves, your solution may not be in your best interests: they are definitely not in ours. "This is our policy," doesn't cut it. The plan brought out by your fear of losing customers, high costs, and plain uncertainty is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you can't see the video, go to:
Barry Schwartz: The real crisis? We stopped being wise

Qur'an, Bible, Torah, etc.

During this couple of days, there have been news about a pastor planning to burn copies of the Qur'an during the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which coincides with this year's Eid ul-Fitr (the celebration of the end of Ramadan). I rarely comment on recent news, but this story is very interesting because it puts the spotlight on the line between two sensitive issues: religious correctness and freedom of speech.

I, as a free man living in free country (theoretically), can do whatever I want as long as I don't hurt or endanger a third party. I am free to run naked around my house, bathe myself in milk, and frolic under my rug afterwards. I am not hurting anybody in the process.

However, also as a free man, I can conduct any type of religious beliefs and rituals. I am free to belief the sun is really a glowing disc put there by a giant rabbit, called Sarah, and that, with the moon, both glowing balls are her scrotum dangling in the sky. I am free to worship Sarah as written down in the traditions of Sarahcism.

The problem lies when one of these freedoms intersects with the other: if Sarahcism forbids me to bathe myself in milk, because Sarah is a mammal and thus milk is sacred, and condemns anybody that does so to eternity in Pumpkin Land (rabbits don't like pumpkins; and you don't want to live there, trust me), paradoxically I'm effectively being limited by a freedom.

This is were religion irks me. It's an illusion of having "no choice" of doing or not doing something, that you yourself have decided to believe (yes, it's a choice, nobody is born believing in Jesus). Burning the Qur'an, the Bible, or the Torah being condemned as blasphemy is illogical, as these books themselves are an embodiment of blasphemy. A man, a mortal, a creation of God, thought he heard voices, wrote them down, and claimed them as being The Words of God. How dare he put himself up as the messenger of an all-knowing all-capable God? Pretty blasphemous if you ask me. If God wanted these words to be known throughout mankind, they would have been imprinted in us since birth; words such as love, compassion, and empathy (sound familiar?). These words mean something and resonate in all of us; the Qur'an, the Bible, or the Torah are just books that some people agree with and others don't.

However, it is still your freedom to believe in limiting yourself, but I have no obligation in believing in that same limitation. In fact, I am free to limit myself in a whole different manner than you. I can burn your book, I can shit on it, wipe myself with it, and eat it (in that order if I want to). You can call Sarah an exhibitionist furry whore, with an addiction to milk, that will probably die of a bladder infection. We are free to do that, as our limitations are not the same, and even though you may hurt my feelings doing so, I am not free of being insulted.

"... as long as I don't hurt or endanger a third party", nowhere does it include feelings; and faith is just that: a feeling. Muslim can burn Bibles, Jews can eat in front of a Muslim during Ramadan, and Christians can blow off the Hanukkah lights. Anyone doing any of these things is not committing a crime, he's just being a douche. It's just one personal limitation not being the same as another. And permitting these limitations is not "following the law", it's just being considerate and thoughtful; and there's no legal obligation to be any of them.

Now, if somebody commits an actual crime in the name of God, the only thing you can point is that they have committed a crime, period. Their freedom impeded somebody else's, and that's the fault. The religious reasoning (whatever that is) behind the crime is irrelevant in the process of deciding if the person did a crime or not. It only points out the twisted limitation he has imposed in himself. Any generalization that persons with similar limitations are bound to do the same crime is an extremely stupid extrapolation, as such limitations are personal, always; no two Christians interpret the Bible in exactly the same way.

So, what do I think of the Qur'an-burning pastor? He's free to do whatever he wants, and burning a book has rarely hurt anyone. And it's not like he's going to burn the last copies of the Qur'an; there are plenty to go around. If he'd use the fire to begin burning neighboring houses, that's another story. He has a big yard, though, I wouldn't worry.

However, by burning copies of the Qur'an he has definitely, irrevocably, undeniably achieved the title of Complete and Utter Douche. Congratulations, scumbag.

I just need to share this.

by Tanya Davis

If you are at first lonely, be patient. If you've not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren't okay with it, then just wait. You'll find it's fine to be alone once you're embracing it.

We could start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library. Where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books. You're not supposed to talk much anyway so it's safe there.

There's also the gym. If you're shy you could hang out with yourself in mirrors, you could put headphones in.

And there's public transportation, because we all gotta go places.

And there's prayer and meditation. No one will think less if you're hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.

Start simple. Things you may have previously based on your avoid-being-alone principals.

The lunch counter. Where you will be surrounded by chow-downers. Employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town and so they -- like you -- will be alone.

Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

When you are comfortable with eat lunch and run, take yourself out for dinner. A restaurant with linen and silverware. You're no less intriguing a person when you're eating solo dessert to cleaning the whipped cream from the dish with your finger. In fact some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.

Go to the movies. Where it is dark and soothing. Alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.

And then, take yourself out dancing to a club where no one knows you. Stand on the outside of the floor till the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one's watching...because, they're probably not. And, if they are, assume it is with best of human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats is, after all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you're sweating, and beads of perspiration remind you of life's best things, down your back like a brook of blessings.

Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you.

Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, there're always statues to talk to and benches made for sitting give strangers a shared existence if only for a minute and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversations you get in by sitting alone on benches might've never happened had you not been there by yourself.

Society is afraid of alonedom, like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements, like people must have problems if, after a while, nobody is dating them. but lonely is a freedom that breaths easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it.

You could stand, swathed by groups and mobs or hold hands with your partner, look both further and farther for the endless quest for company. But no one's in your head and by the time you translate your thoughts, some essence of them may be lost or perhaps it is just kept.

Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those sappy slogans from preschool over to high school's groaning were tokens for holding the lonely at bay. Cuz if you're happy in your head than solitude is blessed and alone is okay.

It's okay if no one believes like you. All experience is unique, no one has the same synapses, can't think like you, for this be releived, keeps things interesting life's magic things in reach.

And it doesn't mean you're not connected, that communitie's not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it. take silence and respect it. if you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it. if your family doesn't get you, or religious sect is not meant for you, don't obsess about it.

You could be in an instant surrounded if you needed it.

If your heart is bleeding make the best of it.

There is heat in freezing, be a testament.

EDIT (2010-08-23): The creator of the posted video was interviewed a while ago. The interviewer (Simon Owens, who I appreciate making it known to me) had a beautiful sentiment on the matter:

I guess it’s worth noting the irony that someone who created a video called “How To Be Alone” would derive such pleasure from the human positive feedback that resulted from posting said video. But perhaps the poem even predicted this seeming contradiction [in its second-to-last paragraph].

Spot on.

The Doc's Always Right

I was sitting in my garage one late afternoon; reading and thinking. I always tended to remember my dad during that part of the day. I remembered the evening after Verne and I came back from 1888 after he tried to change my parents' minds of naming him Verne just before he was born. Dad told us, "Don't worry, lads, time has a way of fixing itself." He was right, he was always right. Verne turned out to be named Verne after himself; quite the story.

Then, the shocks and fumes of time-travel interrupted my reminisce. After the smoke cleared the DeLorian door opened, while all the too-familiar myst floated down. It was in very bad shape: the tail light where we hid the emergency button was broken and sparks were flying down the back of the car. It was definitely much more teared down than how we left it in the warehouse after dad died. Something was clearly at odds.

Only one person I know was able to time travel and land inside a garage. He stepped out, with the look of savagery I knew from when we were little. "Verne?" I gasped.

"How is it that you always recognize me?" he flaunted.

"You shouldn't be here. You... I... You're dead in this year. I saw you fall myself," I stuttered, while trying not to see him.

"Julie, Julie. Of course I know I'm dead in this year. Well, not me, technically," he had a disgusting stare I've never seen from him before. "It's funny, I kind of expected a much more manly version of you in this time line, with my death and all, but nope. Same all, same all. It's as if you're the same wuss regardless of the time line you're in," he muscled out with an undistinguishable accent.

"Time line?", I hastily questioned.

"Inter-temporal-line travel," he paused, while stretching his back. "You've heard of it, right? Passage between time lines?"

My eyes widened, my heart began racing, "It can't be. I saw dad's blueprints. You would need to map every possible outcome of every possible temporal fork from the beginning of time right until its end. Dad trashed it because it was obviously..."

"Impossible. Yes, I've heard," cracking his neck. "Your dad was a brilliant man, don't get me wrong, but he only went so far. Your time line's Verne on the other hand; he was something else. Inter-temporal-line travel was a superb idea that can only be of a superb mind like Verne's," he sighed.

"But, my dad told me that..." I quibbled.

"Look, it's understandable how your dad reacted. His son has just died and he found his blueprints describing an idea he thought was ludicrous. What was he going to tell you? That your freshly deceased brother was a nut case?" he interrupted. I froze in shock.

"It's a shame, really. Verne's Temporal Fork Analysis and Compression Algorithm was a masterpiece. Made it so much simpler, " he paused, condescendingly looking at me to finish his thought. "Can you guess how?"

"I... uhmm... well," I stumbled. "I suppose that each temporal fork is linked to another, so they can theoretically be grouped into one," I said, trying to pull myself together. "But even if you could group them, the resulting amount of groups would still be enormous," I inquired. He nodded.

I went on, "Having them linked, however, would make them related in such a way that they can be filtered by some sort of relevancy factor; a type of measurement of how a fork affects the following forks. In that way, the amount of forks could be reduced to a practical size," I paused. He smiled. "But how can you calculate such a complex factor?" I nervously asked.

"Your brother came up with a simple but elegant solution to that problem: ask the user to provide that relevancy factor. Make the user act as the filter. That's how he came to my time line: he wanted to meet his alter ego. And your brother was very thrusting with his findings," he said, while stepping closer. "I'm definitely glad I stopped by."

"What is it that you want from this time line?" I stepped back.

"You see, you've just confirmed that you can recreate your beloved Verne's plans. And, actually, you're the only one left that can do that, Julie," I felt his knife clawing into the inside of my liver. "Y'know, one would think that the future would have provided far more practical weapons than knives, but they're all traceable and far less sneaky. Besides, the police, not to mention the federal government, would go nuts with a person burned to death by gamma radiation in this country, leading to social chaos, which would then lead to nuclear war, blah, blah, blah."

I felt numb all over while my knees touched the ground. "But being stabbed and left for dead in your garage, with your house a mess? Oh, that's far more common, far more menial, far more expected. And, according to Verne's design, your death by robbery will only inconvenience the Truman family across the street; something about burial grounds custody. But that's it. Your life is literally without significance. No wife. No family, whatsoever. Not even a dog to keep you company. Couldn't find a replacement for Einstein? Didn't like that puppy you saw in the pet store three weeks ago? Lucky me. That dog would've barked, the Kevin kid next door would've suspected, his parents would've gotten involved. You get the idea. You would've named her Marie Curie, by the way. She's long gone, and the Jules of that time line is too. Oh, and Kevin? He tripped and fell in the well out back."

"You killed my brother," I whispered while I was finding oxygen in the air around me without luck, "You pushed him over the edge."

"Hiking accident. Brilliant, isn't it?" He smiled.

"Why?" I coughed.

"Because now I can be the only one, Julie," he whispered.

I could feel my body wanting to faint, and I didn't have the energy to keep it from doing so. My face touched the ground while all my body felt as if it were going somewhere without moving.

As I was hearing how Verne was tearing up my living room, I could see the sparks flying down the car and the emergency button dangling close beside them. The wires that connected the button to the small quantity of nitroglycerin inside the DeLorian were swelling up and were about to make contact. The last thing I felt was a swift air wave knocking me over and the last thing I heard was the scream of that other Verne.

"Don't worry, lads, time has a way of fixing itself."

You were right, dad, you were always right.

Magic Yellow

Surrounded by wilderness, I'm hearing sounds that I shouldn't be. Cars stopping and going, children loudly demanding their parents' attention, and planes whooshing by. I'm standing here with a forest in front of me and a grocery store behind me; to my right, a canyon with an incessant river forming it; to my left, The Canyon Village Lodge with Wi-Fi and Sky TV at your disposal.

Six years ago, I wouldn't have thought of wishing that this trip would be more "roughing it" than "need more clean towels". But it is what it is, and my parents aren't up for the latter kind of trip. And I suppose that I should be grateful that a national park like Yellowstone is so accessible, but am I too melancholic to think that its accessibility is fading away its magic?

Taking pictures of wild animals from the car doesn't ring "wilderness"; it screams "Disneyland", and the two are definitely mutually exclusive. I can't find a moment beside a waterfall alone to hear the relaxing sound of, well, water falling, because every two seconds there's a camera going off or a mother calming down her kid. This is clear evidence that Yellowstone isn't a place for sightseeing anymore, but an amusement park that has no roller-coasters.

Take Old Faithful: it is the most watched attraction in Yellowstone, not because of its size or extravagancy (it's not the biggest nor the most extravagant), but because it's the most predictable and its schedule is compatible with that of man. The visitor center provides a predicted hour it will go off and has a little sign that says "Remember: we don't schedule, we predict", an implicit confession of the many occurrences in which people have complained about Old's "misbehavior". A ranger actually had to tell a group of people, while we were waiting, that there wasn't a man-controlled pump below the surface that made it go off.

By the way, Old Faithful blows around every 40-80 minutes, so you can go have lunch at any of the three (yes, three) different cafeterias nearby if you just missed it.

We were lucky enough to be present while a much lesser known geyser, The Grand Geyser, blew it's 24 hour load (5 hours give or take). It's huge, freaking huge, and lasts almost 15 minutes (almost three times longer than Old). But it isn't practical for amusement-park minds; and no more than twenty people were there experiencing it. Compare that to the more than a hundred people that came in to see Old and left the geyser basin right after to go the gift shop 50 yards away.

Don't get me wrong: I loved that almost nobody was there to see Grand. It was solitary. I could hear it bubbling up and gushing sulphuric water up in the sky. For a moment, I could hear the Earth breathe. The people that were there are now forever connected. It was magical, like all Yellowstone should be.

There is no quiet place in your cities, no place to hear the leaves of spring or the rustle of insects' wings... The Indians prefer the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of the pond, the smell of the wind itself cleansed by a midday rain, or scented with pinon pine. The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath - the animals, the trees, the man. Like a man who has been dying for many days, a man in your city is numb to the stench.
Chief Si'ahl
Leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Tribes, Washington State

PS. If you laughed at any of the "load", "go off", or "freaking huge" double-entendres, you can be my friend.

I'll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours

I rarely watch television anymore. It wasn't in small part because of how unimpressed I am up with the writing quality of many of the series; another is that the series that I do like always get cancelled. But a third is how so many of the series seem to be overly feministic: the woman is strong and overcoming, while the guy, if there is any, is either a stupid ass that is lucky to be the woman's object of interest or a completely fictitious blue prince that the woman drools over but everybody knows doesn't exist.

Unfortunately, I don't know if the pseudo-reality in television has spilled over to society or the other way around, as in most metropolitan areas in USA and Mexico the man is know pushed aside. The reasons vary: we are the ones that start wars, we are the perverted ones, we,men, are the problem. Thus, we need to sit in the back of the Metrobus while the woman can sit anywhere she wants; there are laws specifically to protect and enhance the woman's life where she is repeatedly confronted by the harshness of the male presence. Children can't sit alone with an adult man in an airplane flight, bathrooms are "woman exclusive", and a woman can cut in line with no problems and any justified verbal retaliation coming from a man is frowned upon.

I know history, I understand why this is so. But why am I being punished and stereotyped for the wrongdoing of a few? Yes, a few. Stating that "all men are alike" implies that you know, intimately, a large enough random sample of the male population, at least a 20%. Do you want to do the math? When one instrument is de-tuned, the whole orchestra sounds bad, but it doesn't mean all of them are lousy musicians.

I understand, as I've stated, the grounds for the feminist movement. However, their main goal of empowering women by these methods does not only feels petty but is counterproductive. A strong woman (or person for that matter) would scoff at the fact of "being protected", as it entails a privilege over other people that is unjust and degrades their dignity as a human being. We are all equally important in society and the law should treat us that way; no extra credit should be given just for having a vagina or a penis.

Our physiologies are different but our roles are potentially the same. When a child is born, everybody involved goes through it, some physically, others psychologically, anothers economically. Each challenge has its virtues and shouldn't be dismissed as inferior. The same goes for raising a child, household and workplace roles, and all their moral and ethical implications. These aren't sex-specific, why do they feel that way everywhere I go?

Tell you what, I'll show you mine if you show me yours. I enjoy the sight of any of the possibilities, I hope you do too.

EDIT (2010-07-20): From reader comments and various re-readings, I've noticed that this post was published without the care of explaining myself that I like to have in my posts. I apologize. For amends, I present to you a reply I made to one of my favorite readers in the comment section that I think clarifies this post a bit more:

My intent here is to point out how society is beginning to lean on a legal overprotection of women by denigrating the social status of men, instead of making clear the sexual equality under the current law.

To do this, arguments of historical sexual deviance are thrown. In this is what I meant by "few", which they are in the bigger scope, as few men are convicted of rape compared to the total male population. Keyword being "convicted", as far more women are found innocent in rape crimes than men and it isn't considered discrimination, while it clearly is.

If a job isn't given to a woman, sexism is always suspected and even sometimes used as leverage. If a man even hints at touching a woman, charges can easily proceed. In all the examples I've mentioned (in the post and this comment), turn the roles around and ponder about the different outcome. It's a social/cultural thing (I'm not pinpointing women per se) and its acceptance was driven by misguided guilt, misplaced blame, and ignorant pride.

As for misogyny, if I were a woman, I would hesitate bringing it up, since "more than a few" are guilty of misandry. Discrimination goes both ways, and it only worsens with more acts of discrimination.

Rhythm, Rhyme, and Reason

The night filled the moment as I pondered when and how was I going to sleep.

The way they moved inside me, penetrating the intestines of my discontent, breached the wall that I myself had built. I am no one, this is no one, and, by the time this is finished, none of you will be there anymore. Just me and this.

To think, to wonder, thing of ponder. Words used for melodramatic obsolete purposes. I can't remember a time when doing this brought pleasure. And I can't remember why I even began to do this. Exercise maybe. To show off possibly. Or maybe just to confirm that I can still do it. Unorganized, thoughtless, without technique... like always.

This writing, like my life, was supposed to be a poem, but it grew into prose. And I miss it so; the connection between rhythm, rhyme, and reason. A true challenge, even more so for the fact that it shouldn't feel like one. If so, the lines suffer from unwarranted tension; although, sometimes they feed from it. Of the ones I've pulled off, some certainly did, but I didn't begrudge. They were my children: one of the few things in my past life that were truly genuine. Honesty swept from my fingers, while I struggled to not think, to not feel, to just write. Like now.

I've tried to revive it, but it is of no use. Poetry in verse is a melancholic blind spot, easily drawn into a corny soap opera, in which mediocrity oozes, sucking the life out of the paper. It ends up lacking character, a definition... it ends up lacking balls:

Dirty sweat and muscles tightening.
I tear the skin off her.
The meat, the sour, the scream,
all steer my strength to sunder.

But it's useless, as those four lines equate a lifetime of exasperation with my own self. Those lines were tiresome, heartening, and just plain vicious, in both message and technique. They do no favor in disguising the writer's inner struggle between wanting to be a good poet and wanting to be an honest writer. It may have balls, but the sweetness underneath was kept aside, forced into submission, all for the sake of saving an ego-driven face:

The weak pull from you,
steal your tears,
but you keep on,
drowning in your own sweat.
Blast through the traps with no fear,
Just don't forget,
those lines hooked and set
were pulled by your own self, dear.
But, no worries, no shroud.
Step in, forget the cloud.
Quivering in expectation,
I await your blunder.
A slip, a fall, a stumbler.
The oh sweet sound
of another one tripping in.
Go on, another round,
why maybe, who knows?
Lucky you might go again.

It's near, but not for long, like it's saying goodbye, but I don't want to wave back. It can hold so much meaning, the simplicity in its own can be enough to explain whole essays, yet I've never learned how to grasp it adequately. Like a magic sword with no owner, a threefold stool that doesn't seem to hold any weight, or a symbol that only God understands: it's powerful but untamable. Character, beauty, and meaning; rhythm, rhyme, and reason...

My fingertips are growing numb
as the sentiment of a known past is yonder.
Canned in the outer wrapping
it peels off, steadily,
to a brisk powder.
I wait, hastily, asleep
in a dream that seems no different in splendor.
Stopped, I awake absent of it,
but feeling just the same.
It has flown away from me,
as if it were never mine.
My fingertips feel warm,
they dance now to a different time.
Different style,
but same thoughts,
same grunts.
It slips, "let go."
Today's different,
"I'm through.
You don't need me anymore,
you haven't since long ago."

A memory of solitude, of warmth in time of cold, teachings of how to hold on while letting go. Irony, it seems, it's immune to style, and letting go seems as appropriate as ever. The cloud is still there, and, even though I'm left with only one tool to walk through it, it is the one I forged. With it, I'll ride through the myst that is called life, and breath it through the new lungs I've been using all along.

Verse, I hardly knew ye, and I hardly think that will be a problem.


I've recently written an article about Steve Jobs' position on pornography in the iPhone (to summarize: He doesn't like it). And while writing it, I've come to realize the suicide subject which is pornography, wielding its powers of dividingness.

If you talk bad about it, you get people like me championing it as a celebration of freedom of speech, with billboards filled with timetables showing how it has helped legitimize today's current technology.

If you talk good about it, you get extreme conservatists and fundamentalist telling us how it's immoral, detrimental to society's backbone, and can even cause earthquakes.

Of the handful of readers of this blog, I'm sure that by now you know I like to comprehend the many sides of an argument, but in this regard I can't help see the conservative side with a hint of condescension. Really? People fucking is wrong? How is it that practicing my voyeuristic side by seeing a video of a consenting couple doing it is immoral? In what page of the Moral Guidelines Book does it say that I'm hurting somebody (even myself) by doing so?

One famous argument is that "it degrades women". To that I say: it depends on what type of porn your watching (pause for laughter). Seriously, though, nowadays the Pornographic Industry (that's right, it's an industry) is one of the few economic sectors in which the woman can be expected to be paid more than the man (like I said, depends on the type of pr0n); even 100% more.

Another bogus argument is that of "pornography induces perversion"; it doesn't, it really really doesn't. However, that misconception is very dangerous, prone to heritage through the ages, fostering stigmas against any type of sexuality (even the "normal" one), and making youths either believe it's wrong to have a boner or experiment outside of a safe environment.

When I preach to myself about this, I always hear my other voices answer back "but what about the children?" You mean, the thousands of kids that see on National Geographic or the Discovery Channel two chimps doing the nasty and finding out the hard way where the little bugger actually came from? Easy: you say to the wide-eyed mucus factory, "that's pornography, some people like to see it because it causes them pleasure, but to some it's distasteful, so don't be showing it to everybody". This was exactly what my dad told me when I was five, a person that to this day doesn't like pornography, but has never ordered me to stop seeing it.

To put it another way: don't bullshit your kids, porn is everywhere and they will eventually find out about it. I find it cruel that some people try to deny children the freedom of finding out for themselves if they like it or not. Like horror films or chick flicks: some like it, some don't, based purely on taste, not perversion.

And this is the most horrifying stature of this whole ordeal: pornography's reputation as a "sin" or "immoral" can be directly traced to how fundamentalistic-conservative persons believe that the pure act of sex is derived from evil. That act that not only grants us the ability of procreation, but the way we can manifest our love for one another, providing a step closer to God in every shared orgasm, is defined as "bad" for an unknown stupid reason. And everything related to it (like pornography) is likewise wrong.

If only people would realize that rain isn't God's tears, but is God cumming over all of us (pause for gasps). Thunder is his orgasmic grunt, while he watches millions upon millions of us (animals, plants, you name it) doing every type of weird shit he has grant us the imagination to do. Yes, you're reading right: God likes pornography. We are his pornography. Smile for the camera!

And of all the type of pornography he gets to watch, I think he likes the one about us, mankind, the best. Why do you think we are the only ones to wear clothes in this planet? He likes to watch us strip before we get down and dirty.


The rage in pudding, the guacamole of sorrow, and the solidarity in masturbation. I grew up with these afflictions and virtues, and I feel their disconnection. A disconnection I've long forgotten.

It's been a while, and, such a short time has passed, I don't feel the change anymore. I could say that the change has been the only constant, and, thus, I've grown accustomed to it such that I don't feel it anymore. Like a burning sun after the fifth hour: the burn is there, but somehow it isn't anymore, as the skin absorbs it, and you become the burn.

Or I could say that there isn't a change, and that I've peaked to whatever being my sub-conscious has decided to flourish into. This alternative appears as the most satisfying, but you and I know this isn't the case. I've seen myself after all these years, and I know the incessant change has only altered the way I look at the world, but not who I am, indicating that the change hasn't even begun. This may seem as a paradox, as I still don't know who I am, but, alas, I feel the same. If symbolic logic has taught me anything, is that you don't need to know the value of something to know that it hasn't changed, just the differential from one point to another.

This year, the differential seems null. The same pudding, the same guacamole, the same solidarity. And I ache for some change, some improvement, some sort of evidence that here lies a less egotistic being that acts more upon his written words. The struggle has been evident, however, and the fire and the sun and the moon have witnessed it. Have they? Darn, I'm not sure. Cold blood serving beside a table of witchcraft still lingers; the scratches still appear, and the weary stillness of my stare towards the sky still account for it. That's my struggle, and it's still there... is it?

Maybe I've been looking at this all wrong. Maybe the wall that I'm pushing has been altering itself. Maybe that's the change that's been happening: I'm the same, but the struggle is different, and my old tactics aren't working against this new enemy. New bullets need to be fired towards new targets. New abilities need to be learned. New ways of changing, new alternations for a new oblivion.

... Thus, I need to reboot. I need to start over. Clean slate, empty mind, a bowl and nothing more. And then, reabsorb, refill, look at things anew, and re-comprehend their meaning.

I'm too full, too big, too fat with self-contradicting truths: I need to find myself amidst these weeds of ego-filling pseudo-knowledge. Throw myself from a hill, let myself loose pieces of myself and look at me downstream. Symbolic logic has done all it can, now its time to open up the variable and find out what's in there. The fact of the matter is I've been teasing myself of what lies inside, trying to remember from pieces of memory of what's locked in there. In reality I honestly can't remember what I've been repressing all these years, only the legend-like remembrance of it being "bad".

All this bullshit that I've grown fat from has served as the wall of a prison of myself... My God, that's the same wall I've been fighting! The outer has turned inner, and I've been too scared to look at the other side of the wall. The change has occurred, but in a part I haven't been looking at. Yes, I've been definitely looking at this all wrong.

It's time then... the pudding, the guacamole, and the solidarity are going to see themselves in the mirror. Strangely, a feeling of familiarity is present, as if I've done this before. Yet, as whenever uncertainty points to a misty road ahead, I can't help feel frightened of where I'll end up, of what lies buried beneath my fattening presumptuousness and delusions of grandeur.

Logic implies that I should be frightened of finding a deep sense of evil, but such definition actually calms me. "Evil" is misunderstood, and by comprehending it, it can be salvaged. Another possibility is that "ego" winds up being my fuel, but that just would mean that the locked up enemy was the one that I've been battling all along: the misty road would end up where I am right now. No, what I'm frightened of the most is that I find nothing there: I don't know what to do with that. What would that mean? How would I go about after that?


I'm grinning right now, because I realized that I've been so foolish. Of course I know what to do with that: fill it up, exactly as I was preparing to do a couple of paragraphs ago. The mean becomes the end. By preparing to tear down the wall, I would be tearing down the wall. I get it now.

While staring at the keyboard, I can't feel anything, and for the first time I'm actually content with that. That's why my sub-conscious chose "Nihil" as the title for my blog and my electronic children. It was right there all along. I am nothing, and I haven't done anything about it since ever. But, should I? There's a part of me that wants to enjoy this as it is, and another that wants to begin filling it up... I'm grinning again:

Fuck it: I'll do both. It's a misty road after all, I haven't travelled it yet, why not embrace its uncertainty? Why define what can and can't be done so early?

It's time to look at things with wonder again, to relearn things I supposedly know, to fuck up where I've fucked up before, and to let myself enjoy it this time around.

I am nothing and nothing am I


Now that I got your attention, lest talk about Privacy.

I have a Facebook page, I have a Twitter page, I have a blog with a sidebar that has all my other "Internet profile" stuff. My name is Caleb Rascon, and if you google me, you'll probably know all you need to know about me.

It has come as a knuckle in the face to many thirty-something-year-old users the fact that they can know more about their children through their Facebook statuses then knocking on their door and talking about the birds and the bees. Also, that same knuckle has given a black eye to many teenagers bragging about their crazy nights and having their mothers and teachers know about it. And the knuckle has come full circle to me, as these groups of people have become very vocal about it and I just don't get what the problem is.

I keep reading about them "being forced into" a situation in which everybody will know things about them that they didn't want disclosed, and that "privacy is a right that is being violated". However, I always come back to "Were you really forced into it? Or did you just click without reading?" and "If you didn't want somebody else to know about your dildo fascination, why did you put it in your Facebook page?"

A borderline conspiracy theory is being woven: the government is tapping into your Twitter feed to know about your behavior and... well, that's where I get stumped. Why is it considered so gruesome the fact that people can know about my behavior? It's not like I don't tell people about it, and they tell their friends, and so forth.

I read the following in the comment section of an article about privacy:

If you don't mind being Facebook friends with Obama, consider what happens when future President George Z. Bush gets to read every anti-conservative comment that is on your wall. Be afraid.

Afraid of what? Of the government knowing I don't support them? I don't. If they knew about it and forced me into a van, I won't be thinking "I shouldn't have put that anti-government piece in my blog". It would be more in the lines of "This government is crap!", and I'll be yelling it through the van windows.

If people are concerned of what other people might do or think if they knew what they do or think regarding controversial topics, they're wusses that shouldn't be posting it in the web in the first place. Yeah, you read right, wusses.

Here is a small sample of my "dirty laundry". Enjoy:

  • I watch porn (sometimes gay, depends on my mood).
  • I proud myself of being woman-like. I even get mood swings in a monthly basis.
  • I want consistency in legalizing drugs: either all should be illegal, or all legal. It's stupid that alcohol is legal and pot isn't, while both are hazardous in the hands of a doctor during surgery.
  • If I ever got the chance, I may hesitate saying no to water-boarding George W. Bush.
  • When people tell me that God spoke to them or that God wants them to do something, I usually give them the number of a psychologist.
  • Legalizing gay marriage is an idea as stupid as legalizing heterosexual marriage, and I think we should be focusing on other things. If two persons (of any sex) want to get married because they love each other, why get the government involved?
  • I like Belanova.
  • [I'm putting an extra one here just to give all my metalhead friends time to soak in that last one]
  • When people say "this tastes like dick", I always answer "tastes good, doesn't it?"
  • If a slutty-dressed girl is allowed to slap me in the face when I look at her cleavage, I should be able to slap her in the face if I dress slutty and she keeps staring at my junk, even more so if she laughs after.
  • If blacks "are allowed" to say nigger to each other without care, they have reduced the meaning of the word irrelevant of its history. Having it as an "insider word" only provokes confusion and awkwardness when a person from another ethnicity wants to carry out a conversation with them. Tell you what, they can call me beaner, if I can call them nigger.
  • Ethnic pride and patriotism are an insane state of mind when used to put down another ethnicity or country; they're based on the accomplishments of people that aren't alive anymore. "You enslaved me," or "You would be speaking German if it wasn't for us" are idiotic: you weren't even alive when that happened?!
  • I find endearing the relationship between persons and their dildoes. It really does show how shared memories between two entities is what really makes a friendship grow. This goes also for toilets.

There. If a future employer googles my name and finds all these things about me, and denies me a job because of it, then I don't want to work for that employer. He's a douche that thinks gay porn is relevant in my work.

There are legitimate reasons for the right to privacy, and most are life-preserving and preventive of identity theft. I will only disclose my home address, my credit card numbers, my current geographical position, etc. to a very exclusive group of people. And Facebook, Twitter, and Google give you the option to do just that, or even to not disclose any information at all. I don't know where this "forced me into it" deal we are so worried about came from (read before you click, damn it!). Oh, and of course, there's always the option of not posting it.

But if you don't want people to know about you because of "what will they think of me?" then you're a wuss. A flat out coward that has gone through life showing different masks to different groups of people, to make everybody like you. Unfortunately for you, the Internet has come, and what you say in one site is transferred to another, with which people get to know you better. And you're scared of that, of somebody not liking something about you. Well, guess what? That's why we're here: to dislike, to bitch about things that we don't like. However, while talking about it, we get to know you, the real you. And based on that, we decide if we still don't like you.

It can be so liberating, though: no more hidden curtains, no more masks. The people that stick with you do so because of the real you, and you stick with them because of the real them. It becomes real, more so than it has ever been. Why would you opt out of that? Privacy is important, but using it as a shield for hiding a part of you that you feel ashamed of is just wasteful, and counterproductive of what the Internet can do for you. There's a whole world out there of people with your same afflictions, in which they congregate in forums to talk and chat openly about those afflictions. Where you can feel connected to people that truly see the person that you are: a weirdo, just like everybody else there. If your mom, teacher, and/or employer doesn't like what they find about you, google their names and point out how they are weirdoes too.

Being "normal" is for wusses. Embrace your weirdness, be the person that you are, and let the Internet help you be that person in an international level. Go to forums around the web, and type with all caps "I LIKE DILDOS, AND AM PROUD OF IT!" You'll see that it will make you feel much better, and get you a lot of interesting friends.


I was talking to my office-mate about her plans regarding going abroad for some time to think things through. She admitted to being scared of the prospect of being somewhere unfamiliar. I said that it was normal to be scared, but that there was a worthwhile reward of overcoming it: to gain perspective. While saying that, it dawned on me the weird mechanism the human psyche has on acquiring perspective: it needs to compare its current state to another to know what both states mean.

From understanding our social behavior, to taking for granted what we have (material and not), all the way to the manner in which our body goes about its day-to-day routines: everything is based on comparison.

  • You can't know what it is to be happy until you have been sad.
  • You can't really measure how rich is somebody until you compare their earning to others'.
  • You can't know the direction and the distance of someone calling at you until, respectively, the sound and light has hit both your ears and both your eyes.

Perspective is such a complex but ultimately elegant solution to our social standing. Once you gain it, not only does it grant you a better understanding of your current state, but also of others'. It is in that regard that you can reach a better conclusion of "both" our current states. And, even though you won't be able to understand every type of state there is (monetary and temporal limits), the process is filled with a humane vive that seems... right.

In addition, and most importantly, if you have the vision to pass that perspective onto others, it gives me hope that one day we, as a human race, will be able to proceed onwards with a universal perspective. A perspective that will be able to really account for every living and non-living entity out there, and provide a sound and viable argument to why and why not do or say something.

The only way to do it, though, is to compare; and to compare you must comprehend; and to comprehend, you need to reach out; and to reach out, you need to get out there. And in that process (while planning to pass on the acquired perspective), I believe, lies the true nature of our existence: to experience, to get to know, and build on the universal knowledge. Yes, I'm basically stating that the meaning of life is to live, which seems boringly benign, but, if you pass on your knowledge, that meaning becomes a purpose. That's why, I believe, we procreate and have schools (even though our animal counterparts don't share that sentiment as formally as we do). The meaning becomes a purpose and:

"That the powerful play [that is life] goes on, and you will contribute a verse."
Walt Whitman

Although your contribution may not be overwhelming, it will be something. A grain of sand in the beach that is humanity's shared consciousness:

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."
Mahatma Gandhi

Pure elegancy; I'm really glad now I've gone through everything that I have. It makes sense, I'm where I want to be, I'm happy here, and the only way I could really cherish this moment is by having something else to compare it to. I get it now... thank you, Teacher. I'll pass this on to others.