Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Scientific atheist

What kind of atheist are you?
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You scored as Scientific Atheist

These guys rule. I'm not one of them myself, although I play one online. They know the rules of debate, the Laws of Thermodynamics, and can explain evolution in fifty words or less. More concerned with how things ARE than how they should be, these are the people who will bring us into the future.

Scientific Atheist


Apathetic Atheist


Militant Atheist


Spiritual Atheist




Angry Atheist




Science isn't my forte, but I have found that I am often logical to a fault. I always overthink things, sometimes to the point where I can't sleep. Occasionally I feel like a robot, because I don't understand human emotions: "What is this thing you call love?" I couldn't say if I've ever been in love, because I barely know what it is. So the concept of religion, unwavering devotion to an invisible being with violent mood swings, or even a benevolent one, isn't for me.

Australia's former life as a penal colony is coming back to haunt the nation, with several serial killers and other dangerous types calling the subcontinent home. Martin Bryant, described as "a quiet lad and a bit of a loner," went on one of the deadliest killing sprees in the country's history. He fits the standard mass murderer/spree killer profile; history of abuse, IQ of 79, causing him to be ridiculed and isolated, diagnosed with schizophrenia. Australia also saw the brutal rampage of a killer known as "The Mutilator," a Scottish-born man who, after murdering his often homeless male victims, chopped off their genitals and left them in bags scattered around his home area. Leonard Fraser was another Aussie who set fear into the hearts of his countrymen with his streak of rape and murder, and, unlike most other serial killers, was described by law enforcement as "looking like a violent man."
Why are experienced law enforcement officials surprised when serial murderers show no emotion when describing their crimes? When Leonard Fraser maintained a stoic expression at the announcement of his murder conviction, they were surprised by his coldness. On a show about Joel Rifkin, the prostitute murderer who stalked New York in the early 1990s, the investigators recalled being shocked at Rifkin's flat tone in describing his brutal crimes. I'm a mere civilian, and I'm not surprised. These men, and in a few cases women, are all but incapable of "normal" emotion. Psychopaths are what a writer would call a flat character, with little emotional expression and even less understanding of their motives. Rifkin says that he didn't feel any unusual surge of rage before killing his first victim, he was just overcome with the desire to kill. In the excellent film No Country for Old Men, Javier Bardem plays a convincing psychopath, chilling in his stoic demeanor and violent actions.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tom Cruise reveals his true intentions

And those intentions include world domination through Scientology. The crew at Defamer has preserved the YouTube video that Scientologists quickly got taken down for all the world to see. Cruise, looking possessed as always, and adding a manic laugh to punctuate his diatribe, claims that Scientology is the sole authority on drug rehabilitation. Said program, Narconon, is an untested therapy that includes, if reports I've read are correct, vitamin saturation and saunas to, I guess, sweat the drugs out. If it sounds crazy, that's because it's Scientology. He also says that Scientology has unequaled success in rehabilitating criminals and curing mental ills. Until I see the evidence, from what I know about Scientology, I'm not buying it. This "religion," "therapy," "cult" or whatever it is was created by a failed science fiction writer whose sole motivation was to make money. This video was likely taken down by the cult brass because Cruise mentions "Suppressive Persons," a term that's supposed to be confined to the group's inner circles. "SPs" include anyone who questions or contradicts Scientology, and according to L. Ron Hubbard, these are people who need to be intimidated into silence. Scientology has ruined the lives of those who have spoken out against it, like Paulette Cooper, Jon Atack (whose book A Piece of Blue Sky I highly recommend) and the writer of a highly critical article in Time magazine. It's impossible to tell how deep Cruise is in the bowels of Scientology, whether he is a true believer or in on the scam. Atack, a former Scientologist, writes in his book that most Scientologists are not bad people and genuinely believe that their chosen religion or therapy is legitimate, but have been misguided. It's a cult trademark to take advantage of trusting lost souls. Charles Manson did it, Jim Jones did it, and Hubbard did it, with his successors continuing to take money from followers and ruin more lives.
Anyone who was on the Metro yesterday probably saw the sign-waving troops of the anti-abortion army. I guess it's not enough that anti-abortion group A Second Look has ads on the trains, now I have to look at more signs. One featured a picture of a baby with the words "Face it. Abortion kills." The word "life" is written on the back. It's not worth it to try to reason with these people, such as explaining that most abortions take place in the first trimester, when the fetus looks nothing like the picture they place on their signs to drum up sympathy and guilt. For the most part, their minds are made up. What really bothered me yesterday was seeing a little girl with who was probably her mother holding a sign. She looked about eight or nine years old. I find it hard to believe that a girl that age could make an informed decision about this issue without pressure from her parents. I always have a problem with parents who bring their children to political protests, because the child hasn't decided to come on their own, but was roped into it by their mother or father.
Scientologists and anti-abortion protesters: two things guaranteed to make me mad.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Russia: Mafia state?

I was watching a show on the History Channel about the Red Mafiya, Russia's organized crime faction, and it revealed some disturbing news. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, most Russian businesses pay at least 30% of their proceeds to the mob for protection, while one-third of Russians make less than a dollar a day. The Red Mafiya, aside from striking fear in the hearts of even other gangsters (on The Sopranos, Tony tells an associate, "Don't fuck with the Russians"), is more intellectually sophisticated than the average criminal enterprise. One scam involved buying cheap grain alcohol in the US, dying it blue and shipping it in industrial tubs, claiming it was window cleaner to bypass the charges attached to shipping alcohol. When the "window cleaner" got to Russia, the coloring was removed and the cheap booze was sold as vodka. With a reduction in charges, and the large amounts of vodka consumed by Russian citizens, the Red Mafiya made millions of dollars in the process. First the tyrannical Czars, then the failed experiment and paranoid leadership of Stalinism, now an economy run by gangsters and a government run by an ex-KGB officer who is possibly offing his enemies with poison, as well as several active serial killers; Russia changes, but very little has improved for the people.
On US soil, a black man charged with raping several men is currently imprisoned in Texas. Though it wasn't addressed during the trial, his outlook isn't good. Rapists are low on the chain of command in prison, often raped themselves once behind bars, and a homosexual rapist would likely be even lower, especially in Texas. And while Texas has come a long way from the time when a black man was dragged to his death behind a truck, this rapist's race could pose another problem. I'm unfamiliar with the cultural reasons behind this, but I've heard that homosexuality is a particularly strong taboo among black men.
Personal news: For the last few nights, I haven't been able to sleep. When I go to bed, I can't stop thinking and just drift off. I think about what's happened, things I saw and heard that day, which lead to similar past events, and on and on until an hour has passed with no sign of my mind stopping. I've never done drugs, aside from antidepressants and sometimes drinking way too much, but on those nights, I think it might be nice to have something that will turn off my overactive brain. But there are a lot of reasons why I've never used drugs. Primarily, I'm already paranoid and hypersensitve. If I used any kind of mood-altering substance, I think my head would explode.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I am an island

It's fun to think of myself as a tortured genius, even if it's not entirely true:

You Are 81% Tortured Genius

You totally fit the profile of a tortured genius. You're uniquely brilliant - and completely misunderstood.
Not like you really want anyone to understand you anyway. You're pretty happy being an island.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A very sad story

A woman killed her daughter because she couldn't handle the child's autistic behavior. That's depressing enough, but then the mother said she felt responsible for her child's condition because she had been vaccinated. The mother, as an MD, should know by now that the link between autism and vaccines has been thoroughly discredited. She said she loved her daughter but hated the autism, and wanted it out of her life. However it happened, the child came with the autism, and most parents in that situation do their best to help the child cope in whatever way they can, even though it may be difficult. Being a parent is hard, and I know I couldn't handle it at this point in my life. This mother took the easy way out, suffocating her very young daughter because she didn't think she could handle the child's condition, something hundreds of other parents deal with.
I have an interest in autism because a few years ago, I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism. When I was younger, everyone knew I was different, something I never heard the end of from nasty kids and confused adults, but they didn't know what was at the root of it. AS didn't enter the DSM until 1994, when I was 12, and didn't gain public recognition until years later. I was diagnosed at 19, after I had developed the social skills that were lacking when I was a kid. AS is marked by social impairment, an inability to pick up on social cues that most people inherently understand. All my life, I've heard that my "tone" was saying something I never intended to say with my words, something I was totally unaware of. The casual terms of endearment that adults use with children, and sometimes adults use with other adults, like "hon" and the like, were intolerable to me, and still are. Someone who doesn't know me has no business calling me hon or darling. And in introductory casual conversation, I still hate being touched. Once in high school, a teacher tried to put his hand on my arm while conducting a condescending talk about one of my assignments, and I recoiled. When I object to these things, I have people telling me they're just trying to be nice, but I don't see it that way.
Because of my condition, it has always been hard for me to make and keep friends. But it has improved as I've gotten older, as I've gradually learned the social techniques that I previously didn't understand. On my new favorite TV show Dexter, as unsettling as it is to identify with a serial killer, in a flashback scene, a teenage Dexter is approached by a girl, asking him if he's heard about the spring formal. He says yes, but nothing else. When the girl leaves, Dexter's father tells him that the girl wanted him to ask her to the dance. Dexter replies, "But that's not what she said." I totally understood. There's so much work in communicating; not only listening to what's said, but deciphering body language, tone, context, it goes on and on. I shouldn't be too surprised that it took me so long to pick up on it, and why I still need work in perfecting it, even though it seems to come naturally to almost everyone else.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Major turnaround in my life

After four long months of being unemployed and becoming broke, I finally have a new job. It doesn't pay too much at first, but I'm tutoring again, something I've always enjoyed, and I'll have a steady income and won't go totally broke and have to leave my apartment. This news, combined with my still-flourishing new relationship (though I'm still not sure if I should call him my boyfriend), has put me in a rare good mood, and I'm hoping it continues.
There has been some sad news though. Bound will not be open again until February 1st, due to moving to yet another venue. But from what I've heard, the new spot is a good one, so please, a call to the goth/fetish freaks out in the DC area, please come out on Fridays and support us. What else is there for our people to do on Friday nights? Also, my friend Juan, of the awesome band Baskorov (sorry if I misspelled that), is leaving for New York soon. I wish him the best of luck in NYC, and would like to make it out to the band's last DC area show for the time being tonight, but it's tough for me to get out there, and it looks like I'll already have plans for later tonight. Still, if anyone can make it out there, please support them.
For all the changes in my life, both good and bad, one thing remains constant: stupid guys who think they actually have a chance of having sex with me. Guys who can't spell, including one whose page on MySpace was a mess of near-illiteracy, and one who gave me his phone number. For the very few of you who don't already know, giving your number to a stranger you see online is a bad idea.

Monday, January 07, 2008

First blog of 2008

A week into the new year, I'm cautiously optimistic. Although I just found out via form email that I didn't get one job I interviewed for, I have an interview tomorrow and a promising lead on another possible opportunity. I get to keep my apartment for another month, and Anthony and I are still seeing each other.
New Year's Eve at Bound was a great time, though I wish more people had shown up. I guess there was too much competition from Rapture. But Anthony and I had a great night, recorded in a photo taken by our good friend Phoebe. We also ended up at Bound last Friday, where attendance was down yet again. Bound has lost yet another venue, and I want more people out for the grand re-opening at Felix on Februry 1st. There was a decent crowd at Midnight last Saturday, so I know the market is there. And Bound is the only event of its kind on Fridays, so where is everyone? Angels on Acid, an awesome band, will be perfoming at Felix on Bound's first night there, so that should be a big draw, I hope.
At Midnight, I saw another awesome band, Mankind is Obsolete. Very goth/synth, but with a hard-rocking edge. A cool band made up of equally cool members. I wish I had the money to buy a CD or T-shirt, but being unemployed, I didn't. Maybe next time they come through town, and I'll be there when they do.
So I'm going into 2008 with a slightly improved mood that I hope doesn't turn around and bite me in the ass, as often happens when I get a shred of optimism. But a happy new year to everyone who has helped me through the hard times and joined me in celebrating the good times. Happy 2008.