Texting is Ruining Your Life. And Mine :(

Over the past few month’s, I’ve noticed a fairly common trend of pulling out your smartphone while in a social setting to see the faint glow of that oh so familiar home screen. I’m guilty. I do it, too, but especially when I’m with my girlfriend, I’ve made it a point to keep my phone in my pocket, unless I’m checking the time or using it to engage conversation with the people/person I’m with (taking photos, talking about a new app, etc.). It’s been somewhat of a social experiment of mine. I haven’t told anyone until now, and it’s been pretty incredible to see exactly how much time people spend in social settings with their stupid faces glowing. 

I’ve started to notice that when I see other people do it instead of looking, listening, and interacting with the people they’re with, I can always sense a slight insecurity and rudeness. At dinner with friends, people often whip out their iPhones, or Droids, or whatever the fuck piece of overpriced technology they’re using when conversation slows, and they begin texting bullshit to whomever-the-fuck instead of thinking about new shit to discuss with the people actually present. I’ve even seen people at parties with their faces glued to their phones giving zero fucks about what’s actually going on around them. 

Don’t get me wrong, there may be an actual reason to be staring at your cell phone at some point, but chances are, you’re just conveying to everyone around you that they either bore you, or that your personal insecurities are causing you to care way too much about what’s going on with people you shouldn’t be giving two shits about at that moment.

Ask yourself this question: How many people do I regularly text everyday? Then ask yourself, how could my relationships with them be greatly improved if I called them once a week instead of constantly texting? How much time could I get back if I didn’t spend all day, every minute, texting 17 people at once? 

What’s really sad, is sometimes those people who care about you aren’t addicted to social media and texting. Perhaps they don’t give a shit about the outside world when they’re with you. Maybe that 45 minute text conversation could be better spent on a 5 minute phone call ending with you not giving a single fuck about whatever else is going on in the universe besides where you are, hopefully enjoying yourself. 

If you know me well, you probably know that I witnessed a car accident on my birthday in 2011 in which I saw an 18-year-old mother cross a busy highway at 80 miles per hour and crash into a semi-truck killing her 10 month old infant child. I was first on the scene to find her bloody corpse hanging out of a car and her infant son inside crushed to death. The street, littered with blood, diapers, and baby food is one of the most harrowing scenes I’ve ever witnessed. Browsing the Internet later that week, I found that the cause of the accident was because the mother was sending a text while driving. That’s another story altogether. The point is, you’re disconnecting yourself from reality. I promise that whatever you’re about to text or receive isn’t that important. If it was, then you’d probably have gotten a phone call. 

When you break your habit of looking at your cell phone, you stop checking texts and Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Gmail and Tumblr and SnapChat and all the other fucking countless zombifying time wasters, and you start to care less about everything else in the world besides the moment you’re in. You’re probably thinking, “LOL OMG but I want to use Instagram and Facebook to document this amazing cheeseburger beer combo next to this candle GUUUUYS!” That’s totally fine. It’s great actually. I encourage you to document your life socially, but please don’t look through your newsfeed while we’re having dinner. It’s fucking rude. Seriously, if you’re with someone that you should be talking to right now, then stop reading this! Go fully engage with that person.

Think about it… You could have living, breathing, human people in front of you hanging on your every word, but instead, you’re looking at the same bullshit photo of your friend’s crossfit paleo diet, or a filtered #nomakeup selfie of some slut you went to high school with.

Just remember that real life is not your secondary priority. Your cell phone is.

And, don’t be an asshole. 

An open letter to “Christians” on Facebook

Dear Christians,

I’m now going to express my right to free speech. I respect your right to express yourself publicly, and I actually encourage it. I hope that you take advantage of your First Amendment rights daily. But, just because you do, doesn’t mean I have to agree. As such, I have formulated a response to some of the more unredeeming social commentary I’ve seen lately. Is this also an excuse for me to write something I’m passionate about? Sure. Why not.

I’ve witnessed and recorded, over the past day, countless posts on social media regarding the election. Some have been positive, some have been negative, but an unnecessary amount have been disturbing, racist, bigoted, and just generally mean-spirited and bitter.

The most disturbing part of these responses, is the assumption that because Barack Obama was elected for a second term, that our world is ending and that this is a sign of that unlikely event. When I say, “the world is ending” I am obviously referring to the scenario where a zombie rides a horse from the sky to the Earth and makes all the other zombies rise from the dead along with living human beings to join him on a quest to a place where they’ll all go to church forever or some such rubbish. If this were true, I would then be judged by the aforementioned leader zombie and forced to spend all of eternity burning in a lake of fire with Hitler and Stalin and Ted Bundy. Oh also, Warren Buffett, Bill and Melissa Gates, Roger Ebert, Ernest Hemingway, John Lennon, George Orwell, Larry King, Gene Wilder, Thomas Edison, Richard Dawkins, Mark Twain, and even Paul Ryan’s first love, Ayn Rand just to name a few. Because, we all have one thing in common. We’re atheists. To actually believe, in 2012, after having looked into the wondrous beauty that is our universe, that there is a man in the sky who is choosing people to go to Heaven or Hell is absolutely and phenomenally astounding. To believe this, with a full-working, adult, human brain is daring at best. To be proud of this, is idiotic, and to wish this intellectual slavery on others is utterly and profoundly audacious.

But, for the sake of argument, I’ll play along. If God is omnipotent and his plan is unfailing and everlasting, then does that not mean he allowed Barack Obama to be elected… Twice? Just admit it. You have no idea what God actually wants. You trust his decisions, yet you publicly renounce every democratic decision that is made in this country. The truth is, there’s no more room for you in a well-adjusted, educated, intellectual, free-thinking, progressive world. You’re dying off. You had your chance. You create nothing while ridiculing and destroying anything that doesn’t align with your archaic and bronze-aged belief structure. You bash homosexuality publicly from an electronic device that was made possible by Alan Turing, the founding father of computer science, who was for all intents and purposes of this argument, a homosexual man. You use Google and Facebook to spread your hate, while both companies are public advocates of same-sex marriage. 

And while you’re sitting  in your car munching a piece of fried chicken on a roll with just a pickle, scientists will watch stars explode. They will witness radiation converge into nuclear energy by its own mass millions of light years away. The human race will discover a stable nuclear source and clean renewable energy. We will cure cancer. We will rid the world of disease. We will find ways to live longer and fuller lives. We’ll possibly create solar systems on a sub-atomic level. Perhaps black holes. Perhaps entire universes. We’ll even create better gadgets for you to more efficiently spew your insolent nonsense publicly. While you sit. In your car. Eating a fried chicken on a roll with just a pickle. With grease dripping down your hand and ketchup smeared across your face. Listening to Rush Limbaugh complain about contraceptives. Stop and think for a moment. Let it sink in. You are what is wrong. The religious right. The extremist Christian. God’s warrior of prayer.

To people like you, this wasn’t a political battle of different opinions. It was a battle of good and evil. God and Satan. Heaven and Hell. Unfortunately, there’s no way to reason or compromise with someone like you. I can’t reason with someone who thinks like this. I wind up saying “Let’s work together to make the future better” and you scream “EEEVVIIILLLLL!!!” while placing yourself on a pedestal pretending you know what’s good for the general populace even though you haven’t read a book that wasn’t written by Rick Warren since the  tenth grade. For all your zeal in trying to dismantle foreign theocracies, you’re doing a remarkable job building one at home.

The only conclusion I can come to is that God is punishing you for not being conservative enough. You didn’t pray hard enough. This is actually the only thing that makes sense to me. Seeing as the book that you love so dearly transparently says in -

Matthew 19:21 – “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your worldly possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven…”

None of you have done this. None of you. Not one. Why? This is the burning question. You vote for a candidate who is unearthly rich. He’s also Mormon. You even find Mormonism crazy, and you think the world was created in seven days and that there were talking snakes and that a man could live inside the belly of a fish.

So I encourage you – be strong in your  faith. Pray for our country publicly. Stage elaborate shows. Beg for funding for your buildings. Take offerings from your congregation. Stand in the pulpit and preach. Pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray continually. Pray without ceasing. Pray constantly.  I welcome your right to do this. But please, do it whole-heartedly and without provocation from an election. But, if you think your church and religious views should be dictating public policy, then maybe your church should pay taxes.

Or, maybe we should just all stop believing that there is always going to be someone there to fix our problems or tell us it’s all going to be ok. Maybe it’s time we help each other out and do what’s right concerning your fellow human kind. Maybe it’s time to grow up. 

Or maybe this is all just God working in mysterious ways. Right?

If you would like to sign a petition which would strip violating religious institutions of their tax exempt 501(c) status, please click the following link:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/enforce-tax-code-and-strip-violating-religious-institutions-their-tax-exempt-501c-status/mCsW32Ng

"Obamacare" explained to a 5-year-old.

Bob: Hi, insurance company. I’d like to buy some health insurance.

Insurance company: No. You had cancer when you were 3 years old, and the cancer could come back. We’re not selling you health insurance.

Bob: It’s not my fault I got cancer when I was three! Besides, that was years ago!

Insurance company: If we sell insurance to you, we’ll probably lose money, and we’re not doing it.

Bob: But I need insurance more than anyone! My cancer might come back!

Insurance company: We don’t care. We’re not selling you insurance.

Obama: Hey, that’s totally not fair. Bob is right, he does need insurance! Sell Bob some insurance.

Insurance company: If we have to, I guess.

Mary: This is cool. Obama said the insurance company has to sell insurance to anyone who needs it.

Sam: Hey, I have an idea. I’m going to stop paying for health insurance. If I get sick, I can always go buy some insurance then. The insurance company won’t be able to say no, because Obama’s told them they have to sell it to anyone who needs it!

Dave: that’s a great idea! I’m not paying for health insurance either, at least not until I get sick.

Insurance company: Hey! If everyone stops paying for insurance, we’ll go bankrupt!

Obama: Oh come on Sam and Dave, that’s not fair either.

Dave: I don’t care. It saves me money.

Obama: Oh for god’s sake. Sam, Dave, you have to keep paying for health insurance, and not wait until you’re sick. You too, Mary and Bob.

Mary: But I’m broke! I can’t buy insurance! I just don’t have any money.

Obama: Mary, show me your piggy bank. Oh, wow, you really are broke. Ok, tell you what. You still have to buy insurance, but I’ll help you pay 95% of the cost.

Mary: thank you.

Obama: I need an aspirin.

Insurance company: We’re not paying for that aspirin.

Posted by captainpixystick

Humanity is strength - A message to Mitt Romney and his followers.

I’ve been reading some political philosophy books lately, and I’ve lost a lot of perspective on whether I’m left or right. I have become extremely skeptical of pretty much every possibility in the system we have in place these days. I’m skeptical of how great of a societal structure we have, and quite honestly, I’m just as skeptical of the alternatives.

I’ve heard a lot of big talk from the right about leaving the lame behind and letting the strong succeed in true Darwinian fashion (even though it’s safe to say that most right-wingers worship a socialist deity named, Jesus). I’ve heard them say that it’s all about strength. Strength will let you go anywhere. It will get you to the top. That the poor aren’t poor because of their unfortunate circumstances - they are in this position because they are weak. 

I could debate that until a point in time where science can give me a machine gun attachment for my penis with which I could kill the idiots who makes this claim. 

So, let’s assume this premise is absolutely true, even if it absolutely isn’t. Is it still “good” to leave the weak behind in true Ayn Rand fashion? In politics, we should maintain awareness of the situation at hand. We shouldn’t care about the economic situation, the socially acceptable situation or even the scientific situation. No. It’s something much simpler and something that should strike you as pretty obvious. I’m talking about the situation of our species. 

Step back for a second. Realize that we are an incredibly advanced species. Look around you. Look at the tips of your fingers. Look at your fingernails. Look at the little hairs on the back of your hand. Look closer. See those tiny cracks in the skin? There are millions of cells dying in there. Dividing. Growing. Electrical impulses are firing in your brain allowing you to read this sentence. You comprehend these words almost instantly. Amazing, isn’t it?

Zoom out a bit. 

You probably traveled in a vehicle today. How fast were you going? At least over 50 mph? Maybe close to 100 mph? If you were on an airplane, you went much faster. Yes, a human being can move that fucking fast. Fuck cheetahs. Birds? We have airplanes. And fish? We have submarines. We have consistent access to a bizarre and chaotic hive-mind that is the Internet. What was the fuel for these discoveries? Unfortunately, it was greed, often. But also, and thankfully, it was sheer curiosity. If that isn’t shocking and wonderful to you that many people will devote their lives just to satiate raw curiosity then I don’t know if anything in the universe can impress you. Many people, fully aware of their awaiting non-existence or even in believing their punishment after death, have given their lives for each other. We are so very mortal and fragile, and in the face of that, many of us are so paradoxically brave that we will plunge face first into the void for one another. 

On that note - there has never been anything more brave than human space exploration. Ever. 

From the incredible technology that allows us to breathe underwater or in fucking space, to the profound music and art that so frequently reduces humans around the world to tears simply on the merit of beauty. What kind of amazing animal does shit like we do? WE CREATED THIS. We forged an amazing and breathtaking world out of chaos. We can provide shelter. We can help each other. We can feed each other. And ultimately, we can save each other.

We have become so biologically determined, so intelligent and so incredibly moral for mortal sentient beings that we have thrown off primordial shackles like gender roles and racial prejudice that saved us in our primitive forms.

If this image evoked emotion in you at all, then I hope you realize what I’m saying here. You have no reason to care, but you do. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t that a little hard to take in? You likely have never experienced what this child is feeling, which brings me to this question: What is your logical reason to sympathize with this child?

Honestly, I can’t find one for myself. But, if you didn’t sympathize with this child, you would be sub-human. Agreed?

Keep reading.

It is the essence of our species to transcend these evolutionary principles of abandoning the vulnerable.

If you base your politics on something insignificant like money or national pride, I urge you to wake the fuck up. Your money will not save us. Not even the Bill Gates’ or the Warren Buffets of this world can donate enough money to save us. Your country will be forgotten and will erode culturally from the inside before it inevitably dies anyway. Humanity is our only hope. Fuck your borders and your cultural identity. Learn to identify as a human. Learn to exist as an inhabitant of a tiny planet in an infinite universe instead of a tiny nation, that when you zoom out is about as important as a colony of cockroaches. 

Even if those below us are seemingly weaker, it is weak to let them be and simply try to hoard up more power for yourself. If you do this, you represent the putrid gluttony that is also the defining feature of our species. If you truly value strength, then I will point you toward the truly strong humans who devote themselves to their species. There is nothing strong about getting a lot of money, sitting on it, and cackling maniacally while screaming at the less fortunate, “You’re going to have to earn this!”. There is no dignity or strength in reverting to the cruel ways of nature and leaving your fellow man in the dirt. 

Strength is using your intelligence and your skills to help those under you. To elevate the human race approach significance in this cold and meaningless, however, beautiful universe. 

If you’re going to treat anything significantly, please let it be your humanity. As I’ve said before on this blog, it’s all you have.

Beauty is not natural. We are the only species that we know of to be breathtaken by amazing landscapes and the cosmos - the only known species to appreciate beauty. Beauty does not exist outside of humanity.

Base your politics on the benefit of humanity, not on the benefit of yourself. 

Let’s face it. You mean nothing in comparison to the 7 billion minds on this planet. Why would you waste such a short and fleeting existence on hoarding treasures for yourself? Recognize the beauty of our species. Selflessness is your strength. Greed is your weakness. Those who die helping others will be forgotten after corporate executives, and will be loved for far longer. 

Beauty doesn’t exist. Love cannot exist… without humanity. 

Yup

Yup

The most simplified and informative video I’ve seen on the nature of black holes and singularity.

Dear religion, Get out of our science classes or start teaching evolution in church. Stay out of politics or be taxed. 

Dear religion, Get out of our science classes or start teaching evolution in church. Stay out of politics or be taxed. 

My thoughts on Kony, Invisible Children and the state of Uganda

The Answer is to change our thinking.  We should all be able to agree with the mission statement: “Human rights are important.” We should recognize that everyone only gets one life on this planet, and we should be committed to ensuring that everyone gets to live a life of dignity. That on any level, global or interpersonal, we will make a conscious choice to choose people over money and politics  

I think that’s what the filmmaker is trying to say although in a very manipulative way, is that if we can get this guy arrested in 2012, it would signify a global movement in the direction of human rights over policy.

This is not the case right now. I believe, based on the evidence of our current state, that our way of thinking has lead us to a life that is unsustainable and leaves children, the sick, and the elderly to go hungry and die preventable deaths. So, a different way of thinking is most certainly called for. A sincere and realistic way of viewing the world that isn’t the present one. 

We also must take into account the fact that this is an awareness campaign started solely to well, raise awareness. IC has never claimed to be a “feed the needy” foundation or anything of that sort. Its ultimate goal is to see Joseph Kony (pronounced “Kohn” actually) arrested (but most likely killed when you think about what would happen in a combat situation).

I’ve seen an incredible amount of negativity toward this campaign, but I find it fascinating, from a social psychology standpoint, how many people are quicker to criticize Jason Russell than Joseph Kony himself. It’s almost the same mindset as saying Apple is for sheep and Microsoft is evil. 

"Taking a stand against the stand that’s against the status quo is so IN right now."

This reminds me of Heath Ledger’s quote as he portrayed The Joker in “The Dark Night” - “Nobody panics when things go according to plan… even if the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I told the press that a gang-banger will get shot, or a truck load of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all part of the plan.” An African warlord doing African warlord things? That’s just part of the world we live in. Try to change that, and you’ll see protest.

As for the Ugandan National Army being accused of rape and looting: Sure, that’s shitty. I agree, but hasn’t our own military been accused of far worse? I’m not saying that I condone this behavior, but when you’re looking at the lesser of two evils, I would have to say that Kony is definitely more tyrannical, and this behavior IS condoned by him. 

I’ve seen a lot of people complaining that posting stickers and updating your FB status can’t help this cause. Posting updates on Facebook, printing posters and stickers, etc., only helps when it comes to things like SOPA and PIPA right? Social media platforms have the power to change the world for good. Just take a look at the Egyptian liberation that was fueled by Facebook. 

On the subject of Jason Russell being a rich white guy who makes too much money from his charity. The dude takes a $90k yearly salary. Mind that the CEO of Doctors without borders takes $130k. This guy has a family and risks his life to do what he does. I think he deserves it. if we’re going to complain about salaries, why not complain about the multi-million dollar contracts that athletes get for playing with a ball and acting like children? Why does Jason Russell have to suffer a median salary because he’s doing something good? I think it’s people like Russell who should be celebrated and rewarded. This all goes back to changing the way we think about societal normality.

Another issue is that people aren’t going to ask questions, because in essence, people really don’t care about what happens outside of their social bubble. They’re going to take whatever information is given to them at face value and support it until someone else gives them a viewpoint that contradicts it, then they’ll support that until they read something else that makes them feel better about supporting the original cause. We’re a generation of non-thinkers and non-doers ready to the take the side of whichever is easiest to comprehend. In this case, IC did an incredible job of tugging on the heartstrings of the world and manipulating those who they knew would share it. Being a marketing guy, this was definitely an incredible way to do it. I’m a professional social media strategist, and trust me, this guy is an ace.

Personally, I don’t agree with their mission to lobby Congress to keep U.S. troops in Uganda. Especially in light of evidence that Kony isn’t even in Uganda and that he’s been militarily defeated, but what is the other alternative to seeing him stricken from the Earth? He deserves harsh punishment for the atrocities he’s committed in the name of religion.

The most astounding fact

I have a huge space-boner right now.