Deep Regret on Past Behaviour

In light of recent events, I feel like it's become necessary to get this off my chest now before it takes on a life of its own.

Back in my high school days, over 20 years ago, I once attended a Halloween dance dressed as a girl. I don't know whether there are any pictures of this out there, but I feel I should get ahead of this now so I can put it behind me and continue to pursue my career and political goals without this hanging over me like a ticking bomb that could go off at any time.

I never meant any disrespect for girls and it didn't come from a place of hatred or belittlement of women.

I sincerely apologize if any girls were offended, both then or now, by this and deeply regret having made the decision to do it.

I only hope that I can move forward from this with people understanding that I have nothing but respect and admiration for women and have never felt that they were lesser people or deserving of ridicule.

Please forgive me. I wish I hadn't done it but I cannot change the past. I can only move forward from here hoping that people will judge me for the character they know me to have and not view me in a lesser light due to the mistakes of my youth.

Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

Most people will never be “successful” in any definition that means people outside your immediate circle will ever talk about you.

Nobody is ever going to write a magazine article about me. Nobody is ever going to write a magazine article about a list of people that even remotely includes me in the most superficial way.

I just recently learned that some people make hundreds of thousands of dollars a MONTH playing video games on Twitch.

I’m content with how my life is going but that sure puts my level of success in perspective.

There’s a LOT of people out there making a TON of money through a lot less effort than most of us put out. That’s awesome for them.

There are WAY MORE people that are working a lot harder than I am and not doing nearly as well. In the overall scheme of things, I’m pretty darned successful.

But nobody will ever write an article about me. And that’s fine.

If you’re not satisfied with where you are in life, then take steps to change it. If you’re NEVER satisfied with where you are in life (and aren’t struggling with real issues like poor health or poverty) then I suggest you re-think your definition of success.

It’s normal to want more and to strive to do better. If you’re not happy with where you are along the way though… well… what’s the point? The more you get the more you’ll want and before you know it you’ll be facing down the end game and can’t go back.

Nazis are Inhuman Monsters and Should be Executed for their Beliefs

I know that's a very loaded headline so there's a few things I'd like to get out of the way right off the bat.

Firstly, I mean it. Exactly as it's written. If you encounter a Nazi it should be ok to simply shoot them in the face and be done with it. If you think this makes me just as bad as they are then I encourage you to look into the parodox of intolerance.

That said, I also want to acknoledge that there are a lot of people out there that think they're Nazis but aren't actually. Whether through ignorance or stupidity they don't actually know who and what the Nazis were and have rallied around some ideal they don't understand. I vaguely sympathize with those people, though only to the extent that I feel bad for stupidity in general. In their case I'm mostly just embarassed for them as their stupidity frames their awfulness to be even worse than it already is.

I acknowledge that you can be a white supremacist asshole without being a Nazi. That still makes you awful, but doesn't mean you should be killed for it. That would be a Nazi way of thinking and in no way would I even suggestively endorse it.

And that's the kicker.

Nazis weren't just right-wing zealots. They were monsters. If you don't believe that torturing and murdering the people you dislike is a perfectly reasonable solution for dealing with them, then you're not a Nazi. You can't redefine what Nazis are and try to portray yourself as a kinder gentler Nazi. If that's your way of thinking then you're not a Nazi and should be standing right beside me in condemning anyone who is.

The world seems to be normalizing this insanity. The president of the United States has defended actual Nazis. The people of Toronto just cast over 25 thousand votes for a Nazi sympathizer to be mayor. I fear that people are forgetting what Nazis are and that it's allowing a dangerous rise in tolerance for people who cannot be tolerated.

If you disagree with me on this premise and don't think they should be killed, then I suggest that you too don't actually know what Nazis are and what they did.

Now I know that we will never tolerate the execution of Nazis who haven't otherwise committed any crimes yet, but if there's one thing I'd like everyone, no matter your political persuasions, to take from this it's this: If you find yourself shoulder to shoulder with Nazis on any issue whatsoever, the most important thing in that moment is to separate yourself from them and to condemn the Nazis.

There is no issue whereby your shared beliefs make it ok to stand with them. They are everyone's mortal enemy. Whatever it is you're standing for, you must first be opposed to Nazis. Only then can you deal with whatever issue it is that is so important to you that you even considered allying yourself with a Nazi in the first place for.

How Bitcoin Mining Works

I wrote this to try to explain Bitcoin mining.

Here’s an analogy for Bitcoin mining.

Let’s say I open a giant factory to make origami sculptures. I open the doors and say that anyone that wants to work for me is welcome.

You bring your own paper.

I pay per piece and I pay in gold coins worth about $10 each.

I want an average of 3 sculptures per hour. If the people are producing more than that, I’ll make a more complicated pattern that takes them longer to fold.

Whenever someone brings me a completed sculpture, everyone else throws their paper in the garbage and the next pattern I want folded goes up on the big board.

The gold coin I pay per sculpture never changes but let’s say the price of gold goes up 10% every day.

Do you bring your paper and come work in my factory?

Also, China sends a giant delegation of expert origami artists to work for me.

Note that just because you're not very good at origami doesn't mean you can't take a crack at this and maybe get a gold coin.

If you like, you can get together with a bunch of your friends and even a bunch of complete strangers and come to an agreement that you'll all go to the factory and, if any one of you earns anything, you'll pool it together and then divide it up based on how many folds you made. Even if all your papers ultimately went in the garbage, you should still get something out of this.

Obviously you're gonna want some ringers in your group and they'll be folding way faster than you are and with more accuracy. It's only fair that they'll get a bigger share of the loot. So number of folds seems like as good a measure as any to divide it up.

Steve will collect all the coins for the group and put them in a bucket in his basement. He'll give you access to a spreadsheet so you can check whenever you like to see how many coins your group earned and how much of it is your share.

One day Steve will tell you he went to put the latest coins in the bucket but found it empty. There's no coins in it. Steve has no idea how this could have happened.

Steve will then buy a yacht.

BitCoin GoFundMe for Gummy Bear

I've been looking into the whole crypto-currency thing to understand how it all works. I think I've got a pretty good handle on it now.

FWIW, my conclusion is that the whole thing could go up in smoke at any time and is ripe for manipulation but that a lot of people are going to make a lot of money right up until it does. It's basically a giant game of hot potato and whoever is holding the coins when the music stops loses.

As part of my research, I went and got myself a Bitcoin wallet and would love nothing more than to see it actually do something.

To that end, I sent out a tweet and a few messages basically begging anyone who would listen to send me some small fraction of a Bitcoin. Just a penny's worth. Enough to buy a gummy bear. Nothing more.

So far, nobody has. I've utterly failed in my fundraising goal and will probably never be able to afford the sweet sugariness of a gummy bear.

You can see the balance and transaction history of my wallet here. https://blockchain.info/address/1CSo3bVBkxBErBtGfi1KxPpahjApjn5r4Z

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. 🙂

Did You Lie Or Were You Lied To?

I want to start a movement.

Critical thinkers have long been aware of all the fake news and outright lies being spread on social media and elsewhere in support of just about any argument under the sun.

More recently, it's become a more mainstream news item and people, including major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are looking for ways to combat the phenomenon.

This is how I'm trying to do my part.

I'm starting with the premise that people don't want to be lied to and that they don't want to spread lies. In light of the facts behind how this became an issue in the first place, you might think this premise is ridiculous but I don't think it is. I just don't think people realize how much they're being lied to and how much of what they think they know is the direct result of that.

So my plan is to create an easy way of pointing them out with the hope that once people are aware of just how much this is happening, they'll realize how important it is to be critical of everything they're told and will learn some very basic research skills to try to validate things before they propagate them.

Here's how it will work.

I'm going to create a meme that you will post whenever you see an obvious and verifiable untruth. The meme will simply say:

DID YOU LIE OR WERE YOU LIED TO?

People will then respond to that meme with a few canned choices. These will be:

I LIED. YOU CAUGHT ME.

Some people ARE unashamed liars. If you encounter this sort of person, there's nothing further to be done other than to question their moral character. If someone is known to be a liar, then nothing they say is of any argumentative value and there's no point in furthering a discussion with them.

I WAS LIED TO. THIS IS WHO LIED TO ME.

I expect most people aren't willingly liars. If they realize they lied, hopefully they'll take some conviction in calling out their source so both they and you can know not to ever rely on that source again.

I WAS MISTAKEN. I HAVE NOW SEEN THE LIGHT. HERE IS THE TRUTH.

Sometimes people just make mistakes. I have a feeling this is going to be a very popular option because people don't like to be wrong and like to make excuses as to why the lie shouldn't impact your opinion of their moral character. Hopefully after a few of these, people will learn how easy it is to verify facts before they post them and will make that minimal effort in the future. Imploring people to post the truth may even open them up to opposing viewpoints and change their world view. One can hope, right?

If someone refuses to post the truth of the matter because it opposes whatever argument they're trying to make, then the idea of them having been mistaken can be considered a lie in itself. In this case, they'd actually lied but just don't have the moral character to admit it.

Note that if people find themselves posting this one a lot, I would hope they realize that it will make them appear to be stupid. Everyone makes mistakes now and then but if you're constantly making these mistakes in your postings, it's proving that you're either stupid or very gullible or both. Nobody wants to look stupid and the solution is to verify stuff before you repeat it.

I DIDN'T LIE. HERE IS THE EVIDENCE.

Before posting the meme in the first place, you're supposed verify that what they said was demonstrably untrue. There's nothing wrong with healthy debate and with giving opinions. Opinions aren't lies. If you call someone out as a liar and they prove you wrong, then you should suck it up and post one of these responses yourself in defense or apology for your initial finger-pointing.

It's that simple.

Before I set up the graphics and try to get this thing started, I'll open it here for comments. My social media reach is rather limited but you never know. Maybe it'll take off and maybe something good will come of it.

If you have ideas for additional appropriate responses, please explain them as well so I have as complete a set as could be expected when I get it started.

World… Meet Snowfie!

Here's the newest member of our little family. She's a lot of work, and it can be heart-breaking trying to get her to work into our schedules while still getting all the care she needs, but so far it's going well and she doesn't seem to hate us.

We're Jeep People Now!

Last night was our first night with the Wrangler. The pics aren't very good, but it was pretty dark when I took them. For first impressions though… well… I don't hate it. I actually think I'll have a lot of fun with it in the future, once I grow more comfortable behind the wheel. She really is a monster! With our first night involving a blizzard, I got a chance to see how it handles the snow and I'm actually impressed. I know there's a bunch of computers doing all sorts of whiz-bang stuff with the brakes and throttle to keep it all straight… but she does go straight with no drama at all. Now, obviously it weights as much as a house so I need to leave lots of distance for braking and what not… but all in all it was pretty good on the stock tires. I also had a bit of fun doing full on opposite-lock drifting in 2WD with the TCS off until I got that look that says "You need to stop that now!"

So what the heck happened??

Our Mazda had been having issues for the past year or so and the needed repairs and maintenance were really starting to pile up. It was time to make the choice to either pour a bunch of money into it, or cut her loose. To be honest, now that I've got the Porsche in the garage, cutting it loose really wasn't hard.

With those issues in mind, I'm probably the only one you know that's going to save money on gas by buying a Wrangler.

Michelle and I had talked about it in the past and even went and test drove one in the summer just to see how much I'd hate it. The answer was "not as much as I expected to". I'm not a truck fan and she knows it so she never really pushed. She, on the other hand, has always loved Jeeps since she was young so really, it seemed only fair to make that dream come true. I mean… mine's already in the garage, right?

If I was miserable on the test drive, that would have been the end of it but I wasn't. If anything, I'd say I was just a bit bored. It felt like driving a tractor.

Last week we got to talking about the issues with the Mazda and the fact that the Canadian dollar is dropping drastically so car prices might jump up at any time. It might be time to do something.

We dropped by again to talk to the sales person we'd dealt with and I asked him a bunch of questions about some options I'd read about on the Jeep Canada website. He explained how most of them couldn't actually be ordered and that there seems to be some huge disconnect between the website and the ordering system. As it turns out, what happened is that a bunch of Jeeps got sent to dealers with an option package that was then very poorly represented on the website.

As I found out later… what ACTUALLY happened is a bunch of Wrangler X models got built and sent to Canadian dealers while Jeep Canada seemed to have no inclination whatsoever to actually have another model in their lineup and just called them Saharas. In the US, it's a separate model. They even had one at the Detroit Auto Show. I posted up a picture of it here.

Well… as it turned out, he had two of them on the lot so we went and had a look at them. One was black, and the other was this yellow one we bought. My first thought was that the whole package looked pretty badass. It's got the fancy hood from the top-trim Rubicon and a bunch of stuff blacked out that normally isn't. It's even got black wheels on it. It all looked pretty cool and we liked it. We asked him if he could look into whether he could find one in blue and then left it at that.

At the time I didn't yet know about this whole Wrangler X thing and neither did he. As it turns out, they're only available in black, white, red, and yellow. Here's a link to the details on the US website. http://www.jeep.com/en/limited-editions/2015/wrangler-x-edition/

So we discussed it and, while I've made plenty of school bus jokes, we decided that the yellow looked pretty wild and we'd be happy with that. I'll probably paint the fenders black at some point, but in the summer with the black soft top on it, it'll look great.

We made a decision on how much we'd be willing to pay and I emailed an offer to the sales person.

As it turned out, I was being a bit ambitious on what to expect in trade on our Mazda, but in the end, we probably did as well as we could hope for anyway, considering we also save the taxes when it's traded in.

We did some haggling back and forth and came to an agreement.

We went in on Monday to have them do an actual appraisal on the Mazda and to test drive this actual Jeep, and then signed the papers.

And there you have it. We no longer own a vehicle with a fixed roof.

The Whole World Has Gone To Crap