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On gay marriage (1) Wed, May 30, 2012
I heard a soundbite recently from a John Q. Citizen that went something like, "I don't believe in gay marriage because it goes against my beliefs."  For one thing, the wording was odd.  Whether you believe in it or not, it can exist.  But that's just Christian-inspired semantics.  My main criticism is the idea of judging another person's actions based on your own personal convictions, especially when those actions have no conceivable effect on you whatsoever.  It would be one thing if it was an ethically obvious issue like murder or spousal abuse or racism, where there's a clear victim and a clear victimizer.  But gay marriage, and homosexuality in general, is the product of consenting human beings, with the only victim being the sensibilities of bystanders. 

The most common argument against gay marriage is that the Bible forbids homosexuality.  I'd like to point out a flaw in that logic:  The Bible also forbids, among other things, the worship of any other god besides the god of the Bible, and it does so in the Ten Commandments.  I know plenty of people who, if not outright worshiping other capital-G gods, surely don't worship the god of the Bible.  Opposing gay marriage makes the exact same amount of sense as opposing Hindu marriage, or atheist marriage. 

I'll be honest:  I haven't always felt this way.  There was a time during my fundamentalist phase where I happily opposed gay marriage because it could lead to the further deterioration of the moral fabric of our fine nation, to say nothing of the abhorrent thought of a gay couple raising a child.  But at some point (fairly recently, admittedly), I came to think of sexual orientation in the same vein as gender and race:  Qualities a person has that shouldn't be repressed or made illegal.  And marriage is a right just like liberty and justice.  To restrict it to certain groups of people based on personal qualities is distinctly un-American.  And as for gay people raising kids -- being around gay people doesn't make you gay in the same way being around lawyers doesn't make you a lawyer and being around cats doesn't make you a cat.  Also, it could be argued that Christian parents can be damaging as well.

It's funny because I find myself bringing up the topic of gay marriage quite a bit in conversation, which might suggest something about me.  But the thing is, I'm not gay.  Like at all.  To be completely honest, I think gayness is gross.  I'm repelled by homosexuality.  But as a supporter of individual freedom, I think people should be as disgustingly gay as they want, as long as their actions don't impinge on the freedoms of anyone else. 

Someday I hope we'll look back on this period of human history in the same way we look back at slavery.  How could we have been so stupid, so naive, so insensitive to think the opinions of the majority reflect the interests of the minority?  Nowadays it's almost preposterous to think that there was a time when women weren't allowed to vote because of their gender, and black people weren't allowed to attend the same schools as white people because of their race.  Hopefully we'll add to that list:  Gay people weren't allowed to marry because of their sexual orientation. #sociology

Calendar date formats Wed, May 16, 2012
There's a bit of international discrepancy regarding calendar date format, i.e. whether you write and say the date as "Month Day, Year" or "Day Month Year" or something different.  As with many things, America is nearly alone in referring to dates as "Month Day, Year", which is not only confusing for people who don't use the format, but also presumably illogical if you're not accustomed to it.  I think it's more of a case of familiarity than logic, but I have a hard time arguing for the other side for the following simple reason:  When naming computer files or folders, if I use the calendar date and I want to find something I worked on in June, it's difficult if I use the day first, as in: 
file-01-01 (Jan 1)
file-01-06 (Jun 1)
file-01-12 (Dec 1)
file-02-01 (Jan 2)
file-02-12 (Dec 2)
But with the month first, it becomes easy: 
file-01-01 (Jan 1)
file-01-02 (Jan 2)
file-06-01 (Jun 1)
file-12-01 (Dec 1)
file-12-02 (Dec 2)
This could all be a matter of perspective though, and the above example proves dumbfounding to a non-American. #sociology

Wedding investment (2) Wed, May 16, 2012
When I get invited to a wedding, I try to convince myself to be content with the fact that I'm socially obligated to attend.  I say, "Hey, at least there's free booze."  And free booze there is, which is how I became acquainted with whiskey a few years ago.  Stepping back from the situation, I can't help but notice how the booze isn't really free.  Gifts are given, often on more than one occasion, so that's maybe $100-300.  If I'm in the wedding party, there's a tux rental involved, not to mention a public performance involving the simple yet intimidating prospect of standing in front of a room full of people.  Is the wedding nearby?  No, it involves a car ride and a hotel room and a few meals in between.  Finally there's the intangible expense of spending an entire day making awkward small talk with people I only sort of want to talk to while stuffing my face with cake containing fruit. #lifestyle

Compost magic Tue, May 08, 2012
I'm kind of in awe of compost.  Somehow, as if by magic, I'm able to pile a bunch of leaves, grass clippings, vegetable parts, rotten fruit, rabbit droppings, coffee grounds, and newspaper, and after a certain amount of time, I'm left with simple, healthy dirt.  I understand the idea of decomposition, and I realize it's mostly just worm poop, but I still find this process immensely fascinating. #nature

Old age pains (2) Wed, May 02, 2012
I turned 30 recently, which means I'm no longer young.  The opposite of young is old; hence I am now old. 

I was sitting at my desk on Monday morning, and kept noticing various parts of my body which were in pain.  This isn't too uncommon; I occasionally work out and sometimes even do hard physical labor.  But it had been a while since either of those two occasions happened, so I was sitting there trying to figure out exactly what I had done to cause this specific pain.  The front of my neck hurt, almost like whiplash.  I was racking my brain trying to figure out what activity could've caused whiplash.  Did I fall on my back at some point on Sunday?  Did I not use my legs when I lifted something, instead somehow miraculously using my neck muscles?  Did someone push me down the stairs? 

It finally came to me:  I slept in, and at one point, I must've been laying face-down on my pillow.  That's right.  I injured myself sleeping.  Welcome to old age. #health

Frozen Planet Tue, May 01, 2012
When I'm sitting on my couch watching TV on a Friday night, I don't flip through channels, see a nature documentary, and think, "Ooh, this seems interesting and educational."  But I accidentally caught a few seconds of Frozen Planet and got hooked.  Well done, Discovery Channel and BBC. #entertainment