From Facebook friend to blocked in 3 days!

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Well, that was quick. Had someone who asked me to friend them two or three days ago unfriend and block me within the past 12 hours. I only agreed to accept the friend request because we had a mutual friend, but apparently she didn’t look first to see if she’d appreciate my point of view on things spiritual before sending out the invite.

It all started when she posted this Atheism meme on the right here to her wall. It was exactly the sort of thing I find hard to let slide by without comment. So I pointed out that Atheism has nothing to do with the Big Bang Theory or the Theory of Evolution. That atheism says nothing about a person’s beliefs beyond the fact that they lack belief in god(s). Above and beyond that, it misrepresents the science of both theories.

Click to embiggen.

Things went downhill quickly from there. Someone else asked what it was the meme was trying to say and I pointed out that it was a poor attempt to clapback at a similar meme on Christianity (also to the right). The difference between them being that the Christianity meme hits on actual tenets of Christian faith — everlasting life through belief in a resurrected god, the taint of sin, Eve and forbidden fruit, etc. — that sound ludicrous when you think about it whereas the atheism one doesn’t because atheism isn’t a religion that requires adherence to doctrine.

Then a fourth person made a comment about “a-theism” meaning they must be “a-gainst God” to which I responded with the fact that it’s hard to be against something that doesn’t exist. You may as well say you’re against Unicorns for all the sense that would make. That the word “atheism” has been around since before the 5th century and is derived from the ancient Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning “without god(s)”. When I next returned to this thread because someone had liked my comment I was surprised to see it had been deleted.

My new friend then started asking me if I didn’t understand “allegory”, but rather than take up the argument, I pointed out that a previous comment had been deleted. I said I was happy to have this discussion with them if it wasn’t going to upset them, but if my comments were just going to be deleted then I was certain I could find better ways to spend my time.

It was at this point that she took it upon herself to explain to me that her concept of god was less old-white-bearded-guy-in-the-sky than it was “Consciousness” with a capital C. She went on to tell me that there are no atheists in fox holes and that the reason I didn’t believe in whatever it is she considered to be God was because I lacked the curiosity and desire to truly know the truth.

One of the things that always irritates me is when someone who barely knows anything about me attempts to explain to me what I do and don’t know or how much effort I’ve put into understanding or learning about something. So I pointed out to her how arrogant it was to presume that I must not have been sufficiently curious enough or wanted to know the truth bad enough just because I don’t believe the same things she does. I said it was that kind of you-must-not-have-believed-enough “victim blaming” was, frankly, offensive. I pointed out that dismissing my viewpoint being a result of my apathetic curiosity was a lazy way to avoid having to provide support for her beliefs.

Of course, I was much more eloquent in my phrasing, but I’m trying to recall all of this from memory because it appears I’ve been unfriended and blocked as there’s no sign of the comments she had left on posts on my wall and I no longer see her in my friends list.

Not that I am at all bothered by this. Clearly she was happy to be my friend so long as we expressed similar viewpoints. Which, politically at least, we did. However, the moment I disagreed with her on her spiritual beliefs she couldn’t unfriend me fast enough. The thing about it is, I worked very hard not to suggest she was an idiot and even when I got irritated, I tried to keep it civil. I also attempted to drop the matter with a I’ll agree to disagree and move on, but she had to go and try and tell me how I had failed to be curious enough.

Chalk one more win up to my sparkling personality.

If Jesus tells you to take your hands off the wheel while driving at high speeds, don’t listen to him.

Jesus is known for being a bit of a practical joker and is always pulling pranks on people. Like the time he pretended to “die” and then showed up three days later just so he could freak out his mom, but this time his prank could’ve gotten someone seriously hurt.

Chad O. England, the latest target of Jesus’ weird sense of humor.

It seems Jesus thought it would be funny to call upon 33 year old Chad O. England of Tennessee while the poor sap was speeding along I-81 and tell him to close his eyes and let go of the wheel so Jesus could take over. You know, as a kind of co-pilot or something. Except Jesus didn’t take the wheel which resulted in Chad’s 2015 Toyota Tacoma truck veering off of the freeway and flipping over five times while bouncing off a rock wall before coming to rest in the emergency and right lanes of the road.

Driver: Jesus advised to ‘let go of the wheel’

“He said that Jesus was calling him and advised him to let go of the wheel, and that’s what he did,” the report states. “He stated that he did not take off running, he was ‘being called and was traveling to bow before someone.’ He also stated he was not driving, but he was behind the wheel.”

Officers searched the wrecked truck and located about six grams of marijuana, a vial of white powder residue, which the driver identified as cocaine, the report states. The officers also said they found a couple partial pipes, rolling papers, a nearly empty bottle of alcohol and “huffing” cans.

Ha ha! What a joker! To be fair, Jesus was looking out for Chad as the man did make it through what is an impressively major crash with no injuries to speak of. However, he is going to need a new truck.

Now some of you might doubt this man’s claims because of the drugs found in his vehicle, but given what we know about Jesus’ fondness for pranks — is there a food item he hasn’t drawn a crude picture of himself and/or his mom onto? — I think it’s wrong to doubt the truth of Mr. Chad’s claim. After all, we know Jesus talks to people all the time.

Hell, he recently told respected Texas Judge Jack Robison that a woman on trial for allegedly trafficking a teen girl for sex was innocent and as such the Judge had no recourse other than to inform the jury that they should find her not guilty.

Judge Jack Robison apologized to jurors for the interruption, but defended his actions by telling them “when God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it,” according to the Herald-Zeitung in New Braunfels.

The jury went against the judge’s wishes, finding Gloria Romero-Perez guilty of continuous trafficking of a person and later sentenced her to 25 years in prison. They found her not guilty of a separate charge of sale or purchase of a child.

I bet Jesus is pretty pissed with those jurors right now. At least the Judge can rest easy knowing that he did his duty in passing along the message.

Hopefully Jesus will return to some of his tamer pranks that don’t result in people losing their means of transportation and, for that matter, their freedom. Like when he told several different Republican presidential candidates that he wanted them to be President of the United States only to turn around and put a man wholly unqualified and disinterested into the office instead.

Man, is Jesus a cheeky monkey or what?

Ten letters that were dropped from the English alphabet.

I found this YouTube video by Austin McConnell quite enlightening. I was unaware that there had ever been any letters other than the 26 standard ones that we know today. The funny thing is, I know I’ve seen some of these in old books and texts and wondered what the hell they were supposed to be, but never got around to looking them up. At least one of them, the Ampersand, I was aware of and that’s mainly because of its usage in programming and search filtering.

Check it:

Interestingly enough, quite a few of these are a part of the standard character sets that can be typed on your computer. Some of them have been repurposed for other uses, but they’re still there.

Happy New Year 2018!

Yes, I know I’m a bit late with this, but I have a good excuse. My new year started off poorly with the onset of excruciating pain in my left hip/leg after eating lunch at a local Olive Garden. It got worse on the ride home and attempts at sleeping it off did nothing to help. By 4:30 PM it was so bad that I couldn’t get into the car to go to an urgent care center. After deciding against calling for an ambulance I continued to try and rest, but the only position that didn’t cause immediate pain was laying on my belly, a position I never sleep in, or standing straight up, which is also not conducive to sleep. Still, I managed to doze off a couple of times and by 2:30 AM things had improved just enough for me to fold myself into Anne’s car for a trip to the ER at Saint Joseph’s Mercy hospital in Ann Arbor.

This is me in my hospital gown standing up in my room because it’s too painful to lay down.

I was admitted pretty quickly and had an IV stuck into my arm whereupon I was given healthy doses of morphine which helped in making my immediate situation bearable. Over the course of the next day and a I half I had a couple blood labs done, an x-ray session and, ultimately, an MRI. By Wednesday evening they had worked out what my issue was. Despite it being the location of all my pain and misery, my hip and joint were ruled out as having any issues other than some minor arthritis. However, upon looking at my spine they noticed a problem:

L4-L5: Moderate-large size central to left paracentral disc extrusion. Slight caudal migration. This results in compression left anterior/lateral thecal sac with moderate to severe narrowing of the left lateral canal. Encroachment on the expected left L5 nerve root. Mild left foramen stenosis. Right foramen patent.

Which is to say that I have a partial disc herniation that is pressing on the root of one of the major nerves in my leg resulting in, to put it more collequially, “sonofafuckingbitchthatfuckinghurts.”

The first time I was able to lay on my back in over 24 hours and only because I was very doped up on that sweet, sweet morphine. You can tell it’s only slightly dampening the pain in my expression.

Near as I can figure, this is the result of a fall on my stairs that I took nearly three weeks prior just as I started my annual end-of-the-year vacation. Stepping down the two steps from my kitchen to the landing in front of the side door of my house, we had a small rug there to collect debris on shoes as we came in and I slipped on it falling backwards and smacking my ass and right arm into the edge of the step. I thought I had only bruised my ass badly (and, indeed, there was some sign of that in the x-ray), but I thought I’d come closer to breaking my arm than my spine.

After much more waiting around, I finally got word from the neurological surgeon that was consulting on my case that they wanted to try giving me a lumbar epidural steroid injection Thursday morning and then they’d keep me around until Friday evening to see if it had any effect and if it didn’t reduce my pain by at least 50% then I’d be scheduled for spinal surgery on Saturday morning. Considering that I had already missed most of the first week I was supposed to be back at work and that surgery would mean four to six weeks of recovery time, I was seriously hoping that the epidural would work.

Fortunately, it did. This is me sitting up on the edge of the bed eating my breakfast Friday morning.

Mind you, I’m on a healthy dose of percocet in the picture above, but it was still more than I’d been able to do for three days. They kept me around into Saturday, but I was finally let go with a prescription for more percocet and ibuprofen (to reduce inflammation). After a weekend spent sleeping off and on, I went back to work on Monday.

I’m far from fully recovered, but I’m at a point where I’m able to stretch out how often I take my pain pills from the recommended 6 hours for the percocet and 8 hours for the ibuprofen to as much as 10 or 12 hours depending on if I’m sleeping through it. I’m able to sleep on my side again, but I can only manage sleeping (in any position) for at most 4 hours before I have to get up and walk around to get my leg to stop hurting enough to go back to sleep. The pain still manifests in my hip and the calf of my leg, the latter feeling like the muscle is just this side of going into a full charley horse. Additionally it causes numbness in the pinkies of both my hands and along up the edge of my arms. The medication keeps it down to an annoying roar, but I can definitely tell when the pills have worn off. Walking is a bit rough at times as all this also makes my left leg somewhat weak hence why I have my cane handy.

But, I am able for the most part to function. I’m on restrictions with regards to lifting heavy things and bending over too far, which makes putting on socks and shoes fun. I am also scheduled for another injection in February with the possibility of one or two more depending on how much progress I make in the coming weeks. It may be that I’ll end up having to have the surgery in the future anyway, but at least this offers some hope of avoiding that for the time being.

So, yeah, my new year is not off to a great start. I’m hoping this means things can only get better from here on out. I’m not looking forward to the bill for all of this and finding out how much of an additional pain in the ass my insurance company is going to be about this. They’re already refusing to pay for more than one week’s worth of percocet and only once a month at that leaving me to pay it out of pocket, but that’s a rant for another time. Here’s hoping your new year was pretty good or at least not as eventful as mine has been so far.

Merry Christmas 2017!

Just a quick update to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at SEB.

I finally got Uncharted 4 for the PS4 along with Assassin’s Creed Origins, a new Hawaiian shirt, the book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really AreGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Deleted Scenes From the Cutting Room Floor, by Caro Emerald, a Doctor Who lanyard, a couple of Rick & Morty decals, Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1: 1980-1982, and a cool wall clock that plays tunes every hour.

I was going to post a picture of me being jolly, but for some reason WordPress isn’t letting me do that at the moment so it’ll have to wait.

Les looks at stuff from Cards Against Humanity Saves America.

Holy shit! I did another vlog!

Feel free to leave feedback here or on my YouTube channel.

A little holiday music to start the season…

I’m not normally a huge fan of the more religious Christmas carols for obvious reasons, but I’ve always had a soft spot for We Three Kings and this here may be my favorite version of it to date:

I’m going to have to check out the rest of their Christmas album.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Just a quick post to say Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us at SEB.

Anne and I are hosting my mother and my daughter for dinner today and, of course, one of the bathroom sinks has clogged up. Because of course it has.

So in addition to all the usual stuff that goes with Thanksgiving, I’m also learning about plumbing and clogs. Also possibly learning the number to a local plumber to call tomorrow if I can’t figure this out on my own.

DashCam footage now in movie form: “The Road Movie”

I have to admit that one of my big guilty pleasures is watching compilations of dashcam footage on YouTube. If nothing else, it’s a reminder of why I need to avoid distractions while driving. It’s also prompted me to look into acquiring my own dashcam.

Given the huge number of other people who also watch these videos I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone decided to throw a bunch of clips together and release it as a full length movie. The Road Movie does just that and it does it specifically with footage out of Russia where, thanks to rampant attempts at insurance fraud and a particularly inebriated citizenry, dashcams have become ubiquitous resulting in a wealth of weirdness caught on video. Check it:

I’m not sure this will be successful as a theatrical release, but I could see it doing well on streaming services and home video. I won’t be seeing it in theaters because I know most, if not all, of these clips are available for free on YouTube. In fact, there’s dozens of clips in this I know I’ve already seen.

That said, these videos are hugely popular. There are dozens of channels on YouTube that do nothing but compile these clips and have subscriber numbers well into the tens of thousands. Some of them specialize with clips exclusively from Russia or the United States and others will take clips from anywhere they can find them. The better channels give credit to the folks who originally uploaded them, but some just rip off whatever they can find.

One of the channels I watch regularly is Road Cam Videos which publishes the CAR CRASHES IN AMERICA USA series. Their most recent collection includes footage of an accident just up the road from where I work. There’s a bridge over I-96 in Brighton for Pleasant Valley Road that was struck by someone in September doing enough damage that they had to close the bridge and take out the section over the eastbound side so they could rebuild it. You can imagine my surprise to find out some trucker caught the accident on their dashcam:

I’ve linked right to the start of the video clip of that accident and you can see the aftermath in the thumbnail above. It doesn’t look like it did that much damage, but here’s some pics from the Michigan Department of Transportation that shows why they had to demolish that part of the bridge:

Oh, yeah, that’s bad.

This next pic of them demolishing this section of the bridge had me wondering about their judgement on placing heavy equipment, but I suppose they know what they are doing:

This seems unwise.

Another shot of the demolition:

At the moment they haven’t started rebuilding it yet, but I suspect they’ll get around to it soon.

So, yeah, they’ve gone and made a movie out of videos like this. Again, no idea if it’ll be successful but I can see the logic behind the decision. These videos are hugely popular on YouTube so a movie should also be hugely popular, right? If they’ve managed to come up with a way to tell some sort of story with the clips that might end up working in their favor, but if it’s just clip after clip after clip then I’m not sure I see why anyone wouldn’t just turn to YouTube for that.

What do you think?

Happy Halloween 2017 and an update.

First up, here’s wishing everyone a Happy Halloween today!

Jack O'Lantern

This year’s classic take on the Jack O’Lantern on my front porch.

Second, it appears I am as bad at vlogging regularly as I am at blogging regularly. I’ve done a whole two videos and one of them is just me petting Cuddles. I really had planned on doing more, but I’m being overly critical of my own efforts and giving up. That said, I’ve learned a lot about editing videos and I’m probably going to try just picking a subject and talking about it instead of trying to cover multiple topics at once. Will make for shorter videos, but perhaps I need to ease into it.

I have made several gaming videos including the ones I put in my last post and I’m thinking I’d like to start streaming. Still trying to decide if I should stream on YouTube or Twitch. I have accounts on both platforms and I’d be starting off from zero either way so I suppose it doesn’t matter. One thing I need to develop is my ability to talk about what I’m doing as I play. I still get so caught up in playing that my only commentary tends to be me whinging a bit when I feel I died a cheap death. I’m also finding it difficult to monitor the stream on the same PC I’m streaming on so I may need to put together a secondary machine strictly for monitoring the stream at some point. I’m not sure how people who do this full time are doing it. I’m not even sure if I play anything compelling enough for people to want to watch.

This week sees the launch of Call of Duty: WWII and I’ve taken Friday off because A) I had the time to take and B) three day weekend and I was thinking of using that as a starting point for streaming. Of course the game unlocks at Midnight so if I stay up to play it right away then there’s likely not going to be anyone awake to watch the stream. If I wait until after a good nights sleep, well, it’s Friday and everyone will be working anyway so I doubt it makes any difference.

Spooky Lantern

Picked up a new Halloween themed lantern for the front yard.

Anyway, other than that I’ve been enjoying decorating the house for Halloween and looking forward to the upcoming holiday season. Also looking forward to handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters this evening. Being that I live in an actual house in an actual neighborhood and not an apartment complex for the first time in my adult life, I fully expect to see tons of kids. Or at least I hope so because we bought 3 bags of candy totalling over 700+ pieces that two diabetics really shouldn’t have access to if no one shows up at the door.

Also I did get a new Pixel 2 phone from Google. I’m very impressed with it so far and I’m debating trying to do a review of it either as a vlog or standard blog entry. Dunno that I have anything particularly profound to say about it.

So that’s it. Nothing major going on right now other than playing around with YouTube and video editing without producing much of anything in the process and getting ready for Halloween. What have you folks been up to?