Delusions of Simulation

If we exist within a computer-simulated world, does our knowledge of this fact make our lives any more or less meaningless than if we were truly alive? I can’t imagine life being any less meaningful, but perhaps being part of a simulation might lend purpose to our otherwise purposeless lives through transference.

Personally, I doubt we are in a computer simulation. The people who believe we are just going through the motions in a facsimile of a world are probably grappling with their innate (and possibly unwanted) faith in a higher power which they refuse to call “god” but is certainly based in magical thinking and superstition, not empirical evidence. Instead of having delusions of God, they have delusions of simulation. They don’t want to admit to a belief in an all-powerful being so they gravitate toward this alternative, a simulated universe where we humans are not free in any real sense, where we, some higher power’s insignificant creation/program could be ended with the push of the power button, and therefore whatever we do in this simulation has no repercussions whatsoever.

If that’s not a belief in “god,” I don’t know what is. I only know I have no such belief.

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Where Do I Go?

“When you’re not blogging, where do you go and what do you do?” asked no one, ever. So I’ll tell you. I’m usually consuming media. That includes watching American TV shows, listening to podcasts, or even music on Spotify. I think I’ve already mentioned that I’m a very happy MLB @ Bat audio subscriber, so I try to listen to at least part of one baseball game every morning when I roll out of bed.

I suppose that doesn’t actually answer the first part of the imaginary question, but contrary to popular school myth, I do get out and about quite frequently. I often walk to nearby (within 2 miles) grocery stores at least 3 times per week. On weekends, when the weather is nice, I try to walk a little further, visiting a shopping mall I like or a sporting goods store to peruse their selection of sports socks (with wicking action) to combat my sweaty foot problem (TMI?).

Occasionally I’ll take the metro downtown, but due to the invariably large crowds found on the walking street, I tend to avoid that area for the most part. I’d rather focus on the overwhelming insignificance I feel while sauntering between skyscrapers or the cultural and linguistic isolation I choose whenever I walk among the ancient parks dwellers through surprisingly well-pathed botanical gardens.

It’s also quite unknown that I play various video games on my PS4. I have Monster Hunter World, MLB The Show 18, and GTA V to keep me busy when I’ve got nothing better to do or if I need to escape this world for a while.

Lunchtime Blog Post Number One

As time permits, I’d like to get into the habit of blogging during my lunch break(s), this being the first such post. As I don’t much feel like writing about what I ate for lunch, I suppose I need to begin a new paragraph.

I don’t have a lot on my mind these days. Basically, I’m just waiting out this part of life to get to the better parts beyond. I know. I know. I’ve heard it before, it’s not about the destination, but it’s the trip that should be enjoyed, and I get that. And for the most part, I am enjoying this trip called life, but I know a light at the end of the tunnel awaits me come the middle of July when I’ll once again know the meaning of true freedom once more.

In the meantime, I’ve been walking a lot on weekends and playing basketball throughout the week. Last week, I caught someone’s fingertips in my right eye, and it took about a week for that eye to get back to normal. Every morning I would awaken to a blurry film of goop which I needed to blink away and then rub off my long thick crusty eyelashes. Bright light made me wince in pain as my right eye hurt when it constricted my pupil. I’m all better now, and I can’t wait to play basketball with those teachers who nearly blinded me once again.

I’ve been following MLB baseball this season. I shelled out the $19.99 for MLB @ Bat so I can listen to my favorite teams teams, the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Yankees, play ball on my Bluetooth speaker sent from either my computer or my phone. That low price also entitles me to watch the “Game of the Day” for free. So as far as getting live professional sports content for a low low price, you can’t beat MLB @ Bat! Go Tribe!

The weather here (at my secret location) has warmed up nicely already this spring, and I’ve bought several very nice and very cool, breathable polo shirts. I wouldn’t yet call myself a clotheshorse, but my closet has become a little too full. So much so that I need to bag up my winter weather clothes to make more room for my summer clothes.

In conclusion (the best way to end a lunchtime blog post), I think this blogging session has been a limited success. I count at least 3 paragraphs (not counting this one) of information above.

I Deleted My Facebook Account

And I couldn’t be happier about it.
There comes a time in the life of every social network when its administrators must decide between treating its users with respect or exploiting its users. I feel like Facebook has had several such moments, and each time, they have chosen to screw the users of their platform. So now it’s time for me to say goodbye to Facebook and all of the subtly racist and sexist content my “friends” post there. According to the response when I “deleted” my account, it has been suspended and will “permanently” be deleted in 14 days.

Apple Journalists Are Lame

I’m not a fanboy of any particular company or operating system, but I’m super critical of headlines that are clearly in service of fanboyism. Here is a prime example of the lameness I’m referring to:

Phone Makers Are Embarrassing Themselves By Copying Apple’s Ideas

Come on. This is hyperbole at best, and rubbish click-bate at worst. The phones that are iPhone’s strongest competition are not copying Apple in any meaningful way. Samsung and Google’s phones are ahead of the iPhone and IOS in many ways, and consumers know it. That’s why iPhone’s market share is flat while Google and Samsung’s are increasing.  Both the Pixel2 XL and Galaxy S9+ can boast of better cameras than the iPhone X has. THAT is a headline. The fact that an Asus (yes, Asus makes phones) has copied Apple’s ridiculous screen notch is NOT worthy of a blog post.

The fact that other phone manufacturers also have face-unlock is NOT an example of copying Apple. iPhone was not the first phone with face-unlock. Apple copied Samsung. Who was first with face-based emoji? Google’s Allo messenger began turning selfies into emoji’s first. As for the “vanishing headphone jack” (which pisses off most new phone buyers to no end), Samsung, Apple’s biggest rival, is NOT copying Apple’s terrible decision to replace excellent, proven analog tech with sketchy, low-quality Bluetooth audio and dongle-life. Apple copied Android phone makers by making phones with larger screens. Toshiba was first with the fingerprint to unlock technology, also used by Motorola in 2011, which Apple copied on the iPhone 5 more than a year later. Apple also copied Samsung by using AMOLED screens (which they buy from Samsung).

Do you know who is embarrassing themselves? Journalists who write ridiculous non-stories to pump up Apple products and services when competing products and services are obviously more advanced, superior, and less expensive.

Getting Better Every Day

Used to be that for me, blogging came fairly easy. I’d just sit down and one of my computers and bang away at the keyboard until enough words had appeared upon the screen that I could click post without batting an eye. But nowadays, it seems I’ve become too serious about my blog posts, too nervously reserved about my choice of topics and words, self-censoring and redacting to the point of silence.

I haven’t yet regained that old elation the freedom of unleashing my thoughts onto the world used to release within me. I haven’t yet broken completely free from the curse of she who shall not be named. Although I feel like I’ve excised that cancer, one never knows when it might once more rear its evil head and fuck up one’s life all over again. But I’m working on it and getting better every day.

My Life Is Great

I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve been unable to find the right words to accurately express my thoughts and feelings. Why is that? I’m sure that my new role as a literature teacher, has a great deal of influence on me. I spend a good deal of time explaining to my students that they must consider several things when writing, including their audience, the organization, and structure of their writing. When I take my own medicine, I find I hold back, censoring myself here instead of just letting the words fly.

My students know that each of their writings should have a thesis supported by paragraphs with their own main ideas and supporting information. I find when I blog, that I don’t like to follow this rule myself. I’d rather ramble on and on, following my stream of conscious awareness of my mind’s contents at that moment without forcing myself to hover over the keys while I consider the proper organization of the paragraphs. And I’ve certainly never been known to structure the information contained in my blog posts in any order of importance; no upside down pyramids here.

Which brings us to the main idea of this blog post. At the risk of oversimplification, I’d just like to point out that my life is really good. Actually, my life is great! I’ve landed on my feet with a new job in a great new city. With a lot of help, I’ve finally recovered emotionally from the train-wreck that was my marriage. I’ve been shown just how happy I can be if I let myself choose it and stop clinging to the anger and destructive regrets that had been dragging me down. Life is good because I’m ready to move on, advance, embrace happiness.

I know I’m burying the lead, but that’s just the way I roll. Life is good because I’m ready to move forward with a new mindset, a new outlook, and a very different perspective than I had before. There’s a whole world out there to explore and experience, and although I was prepared to fly solo, I now realize I don’t have to.

Keep Your Mouth Shut

Unfortunately, the best advice I can give to a westerner planning to travel or move to China is this: Keep your mouth shut. No, I don’t mean breathe through your nose. I mean keep your critical opinions (and you will have many of them) to yourself. Nothing good will come from telling Chinese people what you see as wrong with their government, their environment, or their culture. Most of them are not ready to hear criticism of these things, even if they know you are right.

Instead, they will blame you, the messenger, even if the message is full of wisdom and truth. It won’t matter that your words come from a good place of concern and caring for the Chinese people. They will point their accusing fingers back at you, throwing every (obvious) flaw and criticism of America (and there are many) they can think of, in your face as though two wrongs make a right or somehow cancel each other out. They will use logical fallacies and motivated reasoning to make false equivalents between problems like China’s pollution and America’s presidential election and endemic racism.

So save your breath. Keep your mouth shut. Don’t speak your mind unless it’s 100% positive, non-critical flattery that reinforces the Chinese belief that their country is the center of the universe and soon will rise to power and dominance as America’s form of democracy falters and its influence around the world continues to decline.

Violated

Have you ever been stalked? Have you ever had your privacy and freedom so violated you’ve had to leave the city you lived and worked in to get away from the perpetrator? Have you ever felt like your life was stolen from you, all of your online accounts invaded and ripped from your hands (along with your phone) by someone you used to love, used to trust? Have you ever had your apartment burglarized, every stitch of clothing, every personal possession taken,  by an insane spouse with the delusional belief you’ll have no choice but to return to her when you have absolutely nothing left? I have, and that’s why I’m now just a ghost.