Archive for April, 2007


Ars Amatoria

Why I Will Never Have a Girlfriend is an interesting paper written by Tristan Miller, in which the writer seeks a purely scientific explanation to his troubles with the fairer sex. Through a series of mathematical equations (which, I admit, went quite over my head,) Miller comes to the conclusion that the odds of his meeting his ideal partner (i.e., achieving “true love”) are extremely slim, and that he will likely never do so. To be sure, the paper is not entirely serious, but it nevertheless manages to raise some interesting points, and represents an unusual take on a fairly commonplace subject.

The paper hit particularly close to home with me, considering I have spent more than my fair share of time pondering my own romantic woes, and was thus of considerable interest to me. I admit that there is a certain degree of comfort in finding a scientific explanation for one’s problems, even if the hypothesis is not one hundred percent bulletproof.

The one area where I took issue with Miller is his refusal to believe that he himself might possibly be the cause of his unwilling celibacy. This is not a sentiment which I share with Miller; I freely acknowledge my considerable shortcomings, and I would be the first to admit that I myself am the impetus for whatever difficulties might arise for me in the course of my life. This is not to insinuate that Miller might have any shortcomings which he is ignoring; I’m merely disagreeing with his assertion that one’s celibacy could not possibly be a result of a problem with oneself. This gripe notwithstanding, Miller’s conclusion is solid.

The probability that I (or indeed anyone, for that matter,) will ever achieve so-called true love is indeed slim to none. This is a suspicion that I have held for some time, but Miller’s paper gave some factual basis for my inkling. I do not expect to ever enter into a truly loving relationship. This is not to say that I expect to be celibate forever; I do think I will be married or in a relationship at some point, but in all honesty I believe that any relationship of which I am part will be one without any real passion; it is most likely that, given what I know about myself, I will go along with the first attractive woman who is so lacking in self esteem that she would be desperate enough to have me as a significant other. In other words, it will more than likely be a marriage of convenience for both parties. The same can probably be said for most celibate individuals in the world.

As a postscript to my review, I would like to draw attention to Robert Sternberg‘s Triangular Theory of Love, which I came across while searching for a suitable image for this article. It is another good way of looking at love in purely scientific terms. According to the theory, my future relationship is likely to be either Empty or Companionate love. Personally, I think the former is more probable.


It’s That Day…

Today is the 20th of April. In other words, 4/20. Today is an unofficial holiday for all proponents and aficionados of marijuana. The smell of cannabis is likely permeate the air tomorrow, especially where I live, since not only will I be on a college campus, but a college campus in the Northwest, at that.

For whatever reason, the number 420 has become iconic for those members of cannabis culture. This perhaps began with the notion that 4:20 in the afternoon was the optimal time to get high. It is to the extent that 420 has become a commonplace euphemism for smoking marijuana.

the silent killer.

Personally, I’ve never had much interest in smoking marijuana; alcohol has always been my drug of choice, as it has the advantages of being legal and not filling my clothes with an unpleasant telltale aroma. I don’t particularly support the use of marijuana, but at the same time I don’t oppose it. Nor do I see why there is such a fierce backlash against the drug, particularly here in the United States. In fact, I once wrote a paper in which I argued for the legalization of marijuana )I’m not sure whether or not my teacher agreed with me or not, but in any case he seemed to like the paper).

Not surprisingly, 4/20 usually sees a fair amount of protesting or demonstration in favor of legalizing marijuana. This has not been in vain, apparently, as some progress has been made, particularly in Canada, and more recently in Denver. Rather progressive for a red-state city, I must say.

While I myself won’t be partaking in any of the 4/20 festivities, I know there are many out there who will. I may, however, just have to eat a few bowls of Captain Crunch.


Losing Touch

There’s currently quite a stir in the gaming world about the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV since the recent release of the game’s trailer. As of now I haven’t seen the trailer, nor do I have any idea what the hell the game is about, other than what I can deduce given the nature of the other games in the Grand Theft Auto series. This is a symptom of a larger problem (if you want to call it that), namely that I am entirely too out of touch with the world of videogaming to qualify as a proper nerd.

The last time I was ever really in touch with the scene was way back in 2004, in the interim between high school and college. Upon my departure to college, I became wrapped up in matters academic, and my interest in video games promptly faded to a mere shadow of what it once was. The fact that I never had access to a decent television set also compounded matters somewhat.

My golden age of gaming was even longer ago, in the distant past of 1998-2000 (coincidentally, or perhaps not, those were my middle school days). That was the heyday of the original PlayStation, which is nowadays affectionately known as the PS1. In those heady days I played Resident Evil 1-3 religiously, along with a generous helping of Parasite Eve and Final Fantasy Tactics, all of which games I still have, though they’re really only gathering dust at this point. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was another one of my favorites, though I sadly made the mistake of loaning it to a one-time friend of mine who proceeded to become a furry. I never got it back, because that would entail actually talking to a furry, which is something I was not and am not going to do.

So why have I lost interest in videogames? I can think of at least three reasons.

First of all, I am entirely too busy with real world concerns. Though I only spend about twelve hours a week in class, I still have a lot of homework and reading to do. Beyond that, I also work, since I have bills and rent to pay. I simply don’t have the free time that I had back in the day, and with video games becoming more involved and time-consuming with every day that goes by, free time is a major prerequisite.

Video games are also becoming entirely too expensive. The current consoles sell for anywhere between $400 to $600, and games themselves are at least $50 or $60 apiece. Granted, new games have always been pricey, but now that I don’t have much a disposable income to speak of, I just can’t afford to be throwing away that kind of money on games.

Finally, I think I’ve simply outgrown video games. These days I’d much rather read a book or take a walk. Gamer culture (and to a larger extent the Nerd culture of which video games are a part) reflects an attitude of eternal childhood; an unwillingness to grow. This isn’t necessarly a bad thing; plenty of nerds have gone on to be quite successful. Just look at Steve Jobs. It’s just not a culture of which I want to be a part anymore.

Of course, I still play games from time to time. I have been playing Civilization II consistently for almost a decade now. And there are still games that look interesting to me; the forthcoming Manhunt 2 is one such game. Maybe I’ll get back into video games after I graduate and when I have a real job and a place of my own. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


The Intricacies of Blogging

Creating and running a successful blog is a lot harder than one might think. I am finding this out rather the hard way. It is surprisingly difficult to come up with something interesting to say on a regular basis, much less a daily one, and I have to tip my hat out of respect for those who are able to do it.

This is perhaps why most bloggers will pick out a single topic and stick to it. Movies are a typical subject; it never ceases to amuse me how much people can find to say about movies. Video gaming is another popular topic, even if there is a considerable amount of rampant brand loyalty to be found from time to time. On a similar note, computing and gadgets in general tend to be popular as a source of content. Lastly, there are political blogs, which probably get the most attention.

But what is one to do when does not want to concentrate on a single topic, or cannot think of a topic on which to concentrate? In such circumstances, blogs such as mine arise. To be perfectly honest, I often have a hard time coming up with things to say (the dearth and brevity of my entries is no small indication of that.) Yet at the same time, I do want to say something. I am not a particularly outspoken person; I tend not to have strong opinions on most things (except when it comes to my own shortcomings, about which I could go on and on. Perhaps I should make a blog about self-loathing? It’s a better idea than you might think.)

I have to admit that a large part of the appeal of blogging lies for me in the visual design of a blog. This explains why I change themes on a nearly weekly basis: I just can’t seem to find a theme that really fits perfectly. I could always purchase the upgrade which would allow for fully-customizable CSS, but I need to generate some traffic before I can justify such a purchase. Yet to generate traffic, I need content, which brings me back right to square one.

At the very least, I finally thought of something to write about…