Put The Thing in the Thing And Then Hopefully It Works Out

 

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Photo by dave @ Morguefile.com

So, I was inspired to write this due to a post that Suze had made. It began with a lighthearted non-sequitur involving sex education before she adjusted her glasses and noticed that the word was “ovation” not “ovulation”. But it serves as an excellent springboard because she asks the question:

ovulation: Well honestly, I don’t know why the daily prompter would come up with this particular word…I mean, don’t they teach sex education in schools anymore? We have to blog about it now?

Unfortunately for her, the answer is “no”. Perhaps a more accurate answer is, “Well, kind of but we do a piss-poor job at it.” Just a note before I go on, I’m trying to keep this in the bounds of good taste, but it will get a little personal. Onward!

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A First Time For Everything…

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Photo by Dylan Greene

As a way of dealing with some of the stressors, I find it helpful to get out of the house. Being cooped up in my room with no one else around often leads me to rumination, perseveration, and isolation. I decided to head down to College Park to a board game cafe known as Board and Brew.

I was greeted with a wide assortment of games and a variety of players to game along with. My friend’s dad was there, so I said hello to him. Truth be told, I had the mischevious impulse to give him a hard time. Thankfully for him, I was dissuaded when my group of players started up a game.

Board and Brew’s selection of games goes beyond what you would find in a department store such as Target. It also goes further (though I am unsure as to how much further) than my beloved store in Glen Burnie, Games and Stuff. There were hundreds of board games, ones that I had never heard of before.

My group and I played Room-25, Euphoria, and Abraca-what. In fact, going to a board game cafe is good not only for meeting new people but also for trying new board games. My experience with Euphoria, while lengthy, was positive to the point that I considered introducing it to my friends once my bank account goes back beyond double digits.

There was an interesting conversation that I had with several of the other players. One of them brought up OkCupid and it had inspired me to reactivate my account, which I had shut down about a week prior after a mediocre date.

Pikesville is not well-known for its geek subculture. It may exist on some level, but it’s small. It is a community in Baltimore county best known for being religious and affluent. If you spend enough time there, you’ll find plenty of synagogues, and the Jewish community there is quite large.

Ever since I moved out there, I have felt very out of place. It was a consequence of my father’s remarriage, so I’m just kind of stuck with it until I move out. Fortunately, I am mobile and there’s nothing better than a road trip.

So it was a bit of a refresher to find a cool new place, just a bit out of the way! I wonder, perhaps a trip back will be in order come January?

It All Falls Apart in the End

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Photo by Alvimann @ Morguefile.com

There’s a particular trend with games that I find quite troubling. I began observing the trend in the previous console generation and it doesn’t seem to have died down. My experience with Final Fantasy XV has proved this. Although I have thus far enjoyed much of the game, my experience with the endgame has not been so favorable.

Before I go on, spoilers for Fable 2, Indigo Prophecy (or Fahrenheit), Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Bastion. With that in mind, let’s continue.

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What is Going On With Final Fantasy XV’s Soundtrack?

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Photo by ManicMorFF @ Morguefile.com

I have to stop making announcements about what I’m going to write about next because I tend to shuffle around articles. I am still planning on that Final Fantasy VII Advent Children review, since I have seen the movie several times as to highlight flaws with the narrative. But now I have a different issue.

Recently I took the time to pick up a copy of Final Fantasy XV, and for the first time in a long time, I was tempted to pick up the deluxe edition. This temptation was left unfulfilled because I wanted something very specific: the game’s soundtrack.

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Gunning For Discover!

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Photo by clarita @ Morguefile.com

I must admit, after resurrecting Memory of the Star, I have sought to achieve some of the things that I did during my heyday at Eyes Through the Glass. At that time, WordPress’s term for “editor’s choice” was becoming “Freshly Pressed”.

I received that award twice, and given that I have come quite far since that time I have been considering the option of submitting my posts to Discover. Previous attempts have proven futile, with a submission sent and nary a response.

It is difficult to surmise what exactly they’re looking for. I say that because they have a general overview of having a strong point of view, using images, and so forth. But, I question exactly what content works.

I say that because the content I produced that got me Freshly Pressed wasn’t my personal favorite work. Then again, my taste and my editor’s tastes are never going to be exactly the same.

Admittedly, now that my blog has had a taste of views that go to the double digits…or in my best case quadruple digits with my Dungeons & Dragons article, I have begun to seek a larger audience.

The process has been slow, with most of my views coming from Flipboard users and nearly fifty followers. I am fortunate to have readers like Suze and SunkenThought who regularly contribute to discussions. Part of the nature of online discourse means that most people who read your posts do just that. They don’t necessarily hit the “like” button, leave a comment, and so forth.

I speak regularly on the virtues of Flipboard, and out of all social media platforms I’ve used it’s had the greatest return on investment. It is, however subject to booms and busts, depending on how things are categorized. I also don’t post everything on Flipboard, usually blog announcements and random images, so my November posts were scant.

Getting followers on Flipboard took a while, I have a few now, including (out of all things) a Japanese newspaper. Truth be told, I always wanted a connection to Japan and I hope to translate my articles into Japanese when I get the chance and I manage to relearn the language.

Still, the process of climbing the blogosphere ladder remains somewhat of a mystery for me. Perhaps the issue is going to be time, out of all things. Until then, I will be producing the best content I can make.

 

The Human Face of Atheism

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Photo by lisaleo @ Morguefile.com

I have found one thing very odd during my time in the blogosphere. Despite my atheism, I have for some reason attracted a small contingency of openly religious bloggers. I have no explanation for this, though I suppose it can be chalked up to mundane demographics like the geographical location of the bloggers.

For a while, I was trying to figure out how to broach the topic of my atheism. I could do what other atheists do and argue my position and I could a pretty good job too. Indeed, I could spend the rest of my blogging career refuting theistic claims. Yet, I also shy away from that because the atheist-theist dialogue is painfully static. Most of the atheists I know are still refuting Pascal’s Wager, usually because theists don’t check beforehand to see if this is an argument that has been presented before. This ends up with pages upon pages of refuting the same arguments. I would never run out material, but I’d be making the same arguments over and over again.

Yet, I can make one observation: Atheism, as viewed by most theists, is misunderstood at a very fundamental level. Even my dentist’s assistant had trouble grasping the notion and I get a lot of people asking me if I celebrate Christmas. Surprisingly, not only do I celebrate the holiday, but it is also my favorite holiday for a very specific and secret reason. Though you may be able to wring it out of my offline friends because they know.

Since logical argumentation doesn’t seem to be advancing the dialogue, I decided it would instead be more productive if I simply told my story. How I came to atheism, and what has changed as a result.I also really like the personal story of atheism, seeing the story of atheism being taken out of purely abstract concepts and given a human face. So, just how did this start?

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The Problem With Synthetic Relationships

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Photo by marinapriest @ Morguefile.com

Well, if there were anything better to come back from hiatus for, I can’t think of it. It is a topic that I have wanted to write about for some time but never felt the impetus to write an article. But, after exploring the topic further and hearing some things floating about the cultural ether, I believe this needs to be addressed.

Let’s talk about virtual girlfriends, or perhaps more appropriately “synthetic relationships”.  It’s a phenomenon most associated with Japanese culture, but has global implications, given that we now have more access to Japanese culture than ever before thanks to the internet.

Due to my status as outside of that culture, I can only speculate on the cultural factors that resulted in this rising trend. But what we can discuss is their impact.

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