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Showing posts from July, 2008

Go

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Go, a.k.a. igo (Japanese) a.k.a. wei qi (Chinese) a.k.a. baduk (Korean) is the best board game ever invented by humankind. It's a shame more people don't know about it. (It is also the second oldest game still being played today, after backgammon.)

But why don't more people play board games like go? Chess is a pretty good game, and it's pretty much the top game in the western world. Everyone I know knows about chess, even if they don't quite know how to play. And yet, there are few people I know who could beat me at chess right now, even though I haven't played in ages. Most of them are in my family. Perhaps even the greatest board game ever invented by humankind wouldn't be played by everyone, even if they knew about it. I guess I never really thought about this before, but maybe some people just don't like board games. What a tragedy.

With that in mind, I will lessen my goals. Instead of showing the world the superiority of go, I will just show the …

In Which I Show My Puritanical Side

I, like quite a few Americans today, have ancestors who arrived in the Americas on the Mayflower. In addition to those pilgrims, my French background comes from Huguenots- persecuted Protestants who left France for the New World. Along with the Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and borderline Dutch-German in me, it clearly seems I'm just one big Protestant stew of an American! That, however, is just one side of me. My mother's side seems to be a bit more clear cut, or perhaps just less researched, being that my dad's mom does a lot of genealogy. I get a lot more German from my mom, but the overwhelming influence in my heritage -indeed the largest single nationality by a long shot- is Irish.

Ireland is now a huge hotspot for immigrants, being a high-tech developing country in western Europe, so it makes sense that my ancestors came to America way back when Ireland was a huge source of emigrants in the time of the Potato Famine. Now everyone wants to live in Ireland. Back then, onl…

PP's 1st Official PSA

Don't litter and don't put out garbage that can be gotten into by bears. That's just about the same as littering! Today my family carried out five bags of garbage from the woods on ours and our neighbors' property. It was not pleasant. Little if any of the garbage was ours, but now it is, I suppose, since our garbage can and my grandparents' are now full of it.

Here are a few common sense rules:

If you don't need to throw it away, don't. Clothes can be handed down and given away, food can be given to the dog or used in compost. Some stuff you may even be able to recycle, although there aren't many options for that in Ketchikan.

If it makes sense, burn it. You obviously shouldn't burn any plastic or things like that, but if you burn paper waste and other things that make sense to burn, you could save yourself some heating money as well as create less waste. Lastly and most importantly as far as bears go:

Use a bear-proof garbage can and don't put …

Trying not to Participate

Two nights ago I got a phone call that went something like this:

Hello?

Hey Peter! My name is so-and-so and I'm the navy recruiter for Southeast Alaska. Have you seen your ASVAB scores?

Yeah I got the packet thing with the scores...

Peter. You got a 99. That's the highest score you can get.

Of course there were many sections to the test and I only got 99 on one of them, but I guess that wouldn't have sounded as good. He continued:

Peter, what kind of subjects are you interested in?

Umm... language, history, foreign relations...

These are my standard interest answers now that I'm sure I'll keep using through all my college applications. Apparently this wasn't quite what he wanted though.

What's your favorite subject in school?

History, foreign languages.

Have you taken calculus or physics?

I'm taking calculus this coming year.

Have you taken chemistry?

Yeah I took physics... I mean chemistry last year.

(I remember that gaff and I'm trying to be accurate.)

The Quest to Not Be a Fat American

It's a little weird for me to delve further into my personal problems with being overweight, but I think I may as well since solving those problems is one of the top current events in my life and, truth be told, thereare quite a few people who share (or should share) this same quest as the one I am pursuing- the quest to not be a fat American. Some may even read this blog. I am here to inspire you! I hope.

There are two qualifiers to being a fat American like me, so there are two ways to complete the quest:

Choice #1: Don't be an American. This is either far too easy or downright impossible, depending on how you look at things. I plan on living outside the U.S. for who knows how long, but this wouldn't be for another five years at least. And besides, I'd still be American-born and proud of it. I think I may be stuck being an American the rest of my life, no matter where I go in the world. Anyways, the American part of the equation is not the problem at all.

Choice #2: …

Adjustments and Absolutes

Well, here goes my eating history:

After the service was over in church, my mom casually offered me a bit of chocolate as I was putting some stuff away from our camp. I took a bite, took off some to offer to my sister and then suddenly realized that the very first thing I had eaten back in Ketchikan had broken my little plan. I got over it quickly though, since I had actually said previously that the week would start at noon. After eating fruit that afternoon I was faced with the big decision point: dinner at my grandparents'. There I came to the same kind of compromise that I found with my daily walks- I pulled back on my original, over-ambitious promises but also solidified certain things that I think I can keep up for the rest of the summer. Here's the new plan:

I will not eat meat. Period.
I will drink only water unless I am served something different.
I will eat only fruit and vegetables, with some occasional but small exceptions.

And then, more generally but probably m…

Home Again Home Again

Well, as of around five this morning I am home again, and I'm pretty sure I will stay here for the rest of the summer and beyond. The next time I leave town may very well be the first AcDc meet of the year. I plan on talking about my week in Juneau as well as going through more of my France trip; now that I'm back I can finish going over all that time I was gone.

As of this moment, I was kind of flattered by one rather unique response to my pacifism post, but I find myself unable to respond to the speaker, someone who quite obviously needs responding to. I appreciated the compliment I got near the end of the soundbit, but honestly it's somewhat depressing to just have one's ideas blown off like that without any address of merit. In my thinking, it seems the key problem that inhibits people from accepting the beauty of pacifism is the fact that most people would rather kill than die in most any situation. This is of course a natural but all the same very depressing tho…

Au Revoir!

In a few hours I shall be leaving the internet world for what must seem like an eternity for you, my wonderfully loyal, somewhat nonexistent readers... In fact it will only be eight days. In Juneau, I hope to really catch up on my sleep and really get a good clean break from the mundane and slothful summer schedule that I sunk back into after France. I did get into my daily walk commitment though... and I pledge to continue that after I get back. I'm sure it shall provide the material for many a future post. In other news, I got Firefox Three yesterday evening, which was pretty great. I also have been exploring some new blogs and may put them up on the blogroll. You see, when a blogger visits and comments on another person's blog they always visit the other person's blog in return. It's an unspoken rule of honor among us blogfolk- I think. So when you might think I'm wasting my time by reading other people's crazy opinions when I could be writing my own, thin…

The Deeper Rationality of Pacifism

There's a general consensus that people become less radical as they age, and to a lesser extent this is generally a movement to the right on the political spectrum, wherever your original starting point was. There is one belief, however, that more than any other I hope I will cling to against that decay of time, and that is the belief that violence against a human being is wrong, and it is alwayswrong. That may be an acceptable conclusion for most people, as we know that sometimes doing wrong is right, but I will go further.

It is never right to kill a human being, not in any situation that humanity might ever come across.

This, when I state it, is usually met with what I imagine to be a lot of incredulity and maybe even some anger. Immediately in this kind of debate there are scenarios: suddenly someone is holding my family at gunpoint; suddenly someone is raping my daughter. When these things don't phase me and don't end the argument, things turn to numbers: suddenly I …

Getting to Know You

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mardi, le dix juin, le 3e jour du voyage
So far things have been fine, but this journey has not begun yet. We're not in France! I shall get back to you soon, journal[.] ... I doubt I shall write any more while flying.

And indeed I didn't, nor did I write again that entire day. After staring at the flight map from Scotland southwards, watching the big plane icon inch along the path for who knows how long, I finally felt the plane land on Heathrow tarmac. We had landed at Terminal Four and needed to get to Terminal Five. Didn't sound that complicated... but we'd soon learn. Immediately after getting off the plane and going down to the ground level, we were met with a queue for a bus to Terminal Five- and we queued up. And we waited.

In retrospect, it wasn't a very long wait at all, but we had yet to go through any of all the innumerable hours of worthless queuing and waiting that we would have to do in the U.K., so at the time it was a bit annoying. When the bus came…

New Look, Same Great Taste

I don't know if this blog would have such a great taste, if it ever had a taste at all, but I think I may be able to keep working on the recipe and get it better in the future. Hopefully that's evidenced right here with this pretty spontaneous makeover I've done. I cut down the length a lot and put up Paris as the header (as seen from the Tour Eiffel by moi). After I did that, I decided to compliment it with a new bleu, blanc et rouge color theme.

Any compliments or criticism on the new changes would be very welcome indeed. Even more appreciated would be you trusted readers spreading the word about this blog, however you want to go about that. I'd like more traffic! There used to be regular strangers coming in- at least one a day- and now it seems like it's just the same people all the time... not that you're unappreciated.

If there's anyone to blame for my complaints, it's me, of course, so in return for spreading the word about this blog to people w…

Getting There

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First off, I apologize for being so long on getting back to France... (As I've said, I'm really saying sorry to myself more than anyone else, so feel free to ignore the repeated apologizing.) I've been pretty busy since getting back with all the great things I have available for me to do. I've continued taking Keely up to the end of the Carlanna Lake trail every single day I've been in town ever since the three days I was home alone before leaving. I also have all my Academic Decathlon materials to study now, and I'm actually listening to the music right now:

Now playing: Usad - "Sensemaya" -Silvestre Revueltasvia FoxyTunes

I should probably put in those FoxyTunes signatures more; they're a nice way to incorporate music into the blog, even if you aren't going to hear anything. Anyways, I've also had that summer school work for my AP classes, although now my next deadline is August 1. But enough with the excuses, right? Now I'll finall…

Death of a Blog... Plus 'What to Do After Utopia'

I'm joking of course... this blog isn't going anywhere. That, however, is the problem. Recently I've been reading my Academic Decathlon materials a lot; this morning I finished with the Social Science, but in truth reading the guide once is just the beginning in any of the subjects, let alone the one in which I plan on doing the best.

I've been continuing to take Keely up on the Carlanna Lake trail every day, which has been a good commitment, but I'm not seeing many positive results besides having some outside thinking time every day. I've also been playing games online with my brother, which is probably one of the biggest reasons I haven't been blogging so much. Therefore, I promise to post a lot more in the days to come before I leave to Juneau, and hopefully I get some more traffic too. I no longer look forward to looking at my traffic reports for this site since they're so darned dismal... but like I said, I plan on changing that!

Here's somethi…

Declare Your Independence

Briefly I will take this July 5th to encourage all you dwindling readers to simply declare your independence (from everything), and to think about all things tyrannical in this world that you wouldn't usually associate with that word.

Poverty and hunger are tyranny.
For many, our entire economic system is tyranny.
Government, as it is, is largely tyranny.
Hatred is tyranny.
A closed mind is tyranny.
Dishes are tyranny. (Kidding! ... sort of.)

The list goes on... Freedom and independence are not really attainable in the physical world, when you consider all that you are obligated to do in this life. Perhaps, though, that's alright; the truest freedom is your freedom to think, and the only chains you can put upon your mind are your own. So today, open up your mind. Read a few conservative blogs and give them a bit of a chance.

:)

In other news, I believe I shall begin writing a story, and I may actually get around to writing about that France trip of mine too.

In other news,…

Could Ending Bullfighting Possibly Be... Not That Important?

(I originally posted this on Change.org a couple months ago, and I thought it might be an interesting topic to bring up here. In Spanish class two years ago we had a debate on bullfighting, but unfortunately I was gone when the class did the actual debating. I don't even remember whether I was for or against bullfighting in my project, -I'm pretty sure I was against it- but I certainly had very mixed feelings about it at the time. As for now... not so much.)

I joined this change so that I could post here and in a way play a devil's advocate for those who feel that bullfighting is something to really get angry about. Let's begin with priorities:

1. Humans are more important than cows.

Let's worry about our own species and the countless problems that people have before a tradition like bullfighting might need to be addressed. One can find so many issues to really care about on change.org- the efforts of ending poverty and hunger throughout the world alone are enou…