Sunday, February 23, 2014

Murman Kuchava

Art Appreciation

I follow several blogs that appreciate art. One blog in particular is Artodyssey. The blog focus entirely on artists and their work. So, many of my blog entries stem from Artodyssey.

One particular artist that caught my attention that Artodyssey blogged was Georgia-born artist, Murman Kuchava. Kuchava is known for his avant-garde painting techniques and use of color and texture.

You can see more of his art HERE.

via artodyssey1

Girl with Book via figurationfeminine

Bewildered via artodyssey1


Saturday, February 15, 2014

"Cyber-trolling... an internet manifestation of everyday sadism"

Canadian researchers recently found people who troll the Internet are more likely to be sadists. Named after Marquis de Sade, sadists are people who get pleasure from inflicting pain on others.

In a recent paper published in the Official Journal of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences (ISSID), Erin Buckels, Trapnell, and Paulhus found correlations between "Dark Tetrad" personality traits and trolling. The "Dark Tetrad" comprise of sadism, psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. 

In particular, the researchers found a stronger relationship between sadism and Internet trolling. In other words, sadists enjoy trolling because it gives them pleasure.

You can read more of the findings HERE and HERE. The actual report can be found HERE.

Sources: E.E. Buckels et al, "Trolls just want to have fun," Personality and Individual Differences, 2014 Wikipedia

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Trade Shows

Trade shows have an interesting type of culture.

You have all types of exhibitors trying to sell or promote their particular product in a enclosed area to people who don't mind paying up to $20 for the experience.

Shoppers sometimes find great deals at these events; although, it does seem to me some of the products can be found online for the same price or cheaper.

Regardless, trade shows are like the Renaissance festivals but with cleaner bathrooms. For an entrance fee, you get entertainment, information, and overpriced concession food.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Politics of Little League - Spring Season

Spring season is almost here. It's when everything starts to turn a little green; especially the baseball field diamond.

A few nights ago, we had our monthly board meeting to discuss the spring season. On the agenda was the logistics involved in opening ceremony and the selection of team managers.

Because we are short team managers, the board president turned to me and asked if I was interested in managing a girls team.

"Who me?" I said stunned, "I... I don't have time. I'll volunteer as much as I can this spring."

"I don't know softball," I thought. "I can't manage a team."

That evening, after the board meeting, I started thinking of why this upset me. I know the basics of baseball. I know softball too. I know what looks good and bad. I know how to manage a team. Why did I shy away from this cool opportunity?

Unfortunately, my current job is a little demanding of my time. It would be a disservice to the team if I were selected as a team manager.

Then it occurred to me, my father-in-law managed several little league baseball and softball teams. So, that evening, I shot him an email informing him that the board was searching for team managers. He hasn't responded.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

DND and Satan worshiping

When I was young, I remember watching a news report about kids who played Dungeons & Dragons harming themselves and others. I remember my church youth group even telling us that playing DND was like playing with Satan and that we'd go to hell for it.

For many years, I avoided anything that was DND because of that fear which was instilled in me. Ironically, that never stopped me from playing Gauntlet, which is a DND-like game, at the arcade when I was young.

While having a beer with my dad at the new Whole Foods in north Austin, my dad mentioned his concerns regarding my son and his involvement with Minecraft. He felt my son was spending too much time playing Minecraft and it was affecting his school work. It didn't help that my son mentioned to him that he had gotten an 86 in science class, because he had forgotten to do an assignment.

I explained to my dad that Minecraft is similar to what Legos were for me. The difference is that instead of building with limited blocks, kids can be creative building with unlimited amount of items on the computer. Instead of incorporating He-Man and GI-Joe with Lego men, kids can fight zombies and skeletons on the computer. Additionally, kids do learn a little about geology and crafting.

On our drive back from having a beer, I mentioned to my dad being invited by my friend to join his friends for geek night. I was excited to share my experience, "Dad, I was invited to play board games with some friends the other night. It was pretty cool. We played a game that is similar to Dungeons & Dragons and another that is like Risk"

I didn't expect his response, ""That's what concerns me... exposing your son to Satanic games. It's like playing the Ouija board. I just don't like that."

I downplayed the experience as an innocent board game between friends, and I swiftly changed the subject.

Like many other things, I started to think about this. I went online to do a little research as to when all this hoopla began about DND and Satanism.

It started when parents and police in the 1980s sought reasons as to why kids were killing. Rather than considering lack of cognitive reasoning and mental health of these kids--parents don't like to consider the thought of their kids being mentally ill--they sought answers in things that looked like the primary problem: board games that had demons, dragons, ghosts, and skeletons.

It all goes back to the Gauntlet game I use to play at the arcade, almost 30 years ago. I was a kid who went to church and feared God; yet, I still played the game that had wizards, ghosts, and goblins.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Photo: Kitty in Love

There's a cat that has been hanging out under the bushes. I think he's an alley cat who wonders around the block. I've heard him get in a couple of fights with other wondering cats at night.

Meredith (aka Kitty) was at one time a stray cat that we found in the garage last year. After we tried several times to reach her original owners, we decided to adopt her. Since then, Kitty has lived indoors with no plans to explore outside.

I decided it would be cute to show Kitty the alley cat under the bushes. She noticed him and hasn't been the same since. Now, she waits for him at the window in hopes to see him again.

Photo taken on January 25, 2014 using the iPhone 5S.