All that is wrong with the world…

March 1, 2011

Not in this country…

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.., Travel — Tags: , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 3:02 pm

Often when traveling around in a country that is not my own, I may argue something with someone that is common across many countries. Often instead of arguing their point or providing proof they resort to using “well not in this country” or some variation as their closing argument. Hasty generalization much? It’s annoying because these people generally don’t know what they’re talking about bur rather than conceding they may be right, prefer to implicitly dismiss me because I am a foreigner. A great example of an Ad Hominem attack. They wouldn’t be able to resort to such an argument if it was a native making the same argument, so it is always frustrating when they do instead of actually considering what is being said.

Some people get offended that I as a foreigner dare to question a native resident about their own country. Often they become downright indignant. Some people would accuse me of arrogance for daring to do such a thing, however there is nothing arrogant about it. If you have done the research then it’s downright reasonable. What I’ve found out is often people simply don’t know everything about their countries. For example, I spent just over a month trying to find an alternative to paying for a notary public in Canada simply because I was broke. Even if I wasn’t broke I would not have paid for it because I know it is not necessary. Most people I asked had never needed the service of a notary so had no idea about it, yet there were still the few who were convinced it was the only way to get documents certified.

In my home country it costs nothing to have copies of identity documents certified, and there are many different professions that can do this, while some may charge a fee it is entirely possible to have copies certified without paying anything. It was a similar situation in Canada, which I found out after doing research. I first found the Service Canada website setup by the Canadian Government that lists a variety of cost free alternatives to a notary public. The first experience was with the RCMP, who at various offices denied that they were able to witness identity documents, despite the website and their supervisors saying so. I then contacted a legal aid office and was informed a commissioner of oaths could witness my documents for next to nothing.

Of course, the commissioner of oaths I happened to get had no idea what she is talking about. She was convinced that she was unable to certify copies that would be leaving Canada. That is utterly ridiculous. A commissioner of oaths is the direct equivalent of similar positions in many western countries, and there is no such limitation on what they may certify in Canada or elsewhere. I was curious to know if in fact there may be such a limitation and asked for a reference, although she simply replied with the “in this country this is how we do it” argument. I was unable to find any such limitation in the legislation or from any source, and ended up going to a different commissioner of oaths once I realized they were the easy alternative to a notary public.

It happens in the states a lot, where people who have never left their home state are convinced that the rest of the country is exactly the same save perhaps weather. Despite my having actually been to other states where I know something may not be the case, they resort to the “not in this country” argument. It’s a frustrating experience. It’s bad enough when you meet people who can’t accept that they may be wrong, but when they use the fact that you aren’t from their country to dismiss you…that makes is more worse.

February 11, 2011

Thoughts on my 2010 and looking forward

Filed under: Travel — Tags: , , , , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 6:16 pm

I meant to post this much closer to the start of the year but it is still early enough to count. Last year was a very interesting year for me. As long as I have been traveling I feel that it was last year that I realized some further things about myself and about people in general as well as understanding some personal issues with greater clarity and gaining the motivation to accomplish my goals which I had been lacking for several years.

After leaving Germany I went to NYC with a firm goal of trying to establish my business. I had been living in Germany for over a year after going to be with a friend. This friend was very deer to me and after a lot of drama I felt like our friendship was in danger and in any event wanted or needed to be in close proximity to her. After more than a year of sorting out issues I really thought we had solidified things and we were ready for whatever may come next. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case.

Anyway, after arriving in NYC in November and just getting settled in, really not doing anything towards setting up my business, I decided to go to New Orleans for NYE. Part of the reason was that I met my friend in NYC oh so many years ago in late December and didn’t want to be in NYC without her. Irrational, but there it is. The other reason is that being estrange from family and friends I often like to go somewhere for Christmas where I don’t know anyone, so I can force myself to go out and meet new people, which I did.

Staying a hostel I met a cool guy from San Diego and we hung out. I was quite grateful to him as I was completely broke, still waiting for money to come to me from Germany. Once again I was in an exciting place in the world while something interesting was going on without any money to enjoy it. Thanks to my new friend though, I was able to. After drinking hurricanes and watching fireworks on the Mississippi it was time to hit various clubs in the French Quarter. They were all pretty horrible or cost crazy amounts to get inside, but it was an interesting experience.

I had expected to be going back to NYC a few days after NYE was over but due to my lack of funds this was made impossible. I found some very cool people to stay with and ended up staying through Mardi Gras. Again which I had no money to do anything, although I did see a few parades which was fun. I got the impression however that New Orleans as a party town was severely overrated.

It was then time for me to leave the US or risk being there illegally, so off to Colombia I went, again with no money. I can’t even remember how I paid for the flight although I must have borrowed it from someone. During this time I managed to stay with some truly awesome people and see some local culture. I had a great time and 3 weeks later I was back to Florida.

My entry back into the US was the thing of dreams….I had no return ticket or proof of funds but was not asked any questions. The customs guard was smiling and stamped me in while wishing I enjoyed my stay. Amazing. Florida was interesting. I first stayed in Orlando with a guy who was overly friendly and loved debating although was not terribly good at it. It was strange for me as he was very friendly and hospitable but seemed a bit insecure about some things. I don’t think I was able to connect with him on the level he wanted which ended up making things kind of awkward.

Then I was off to Miami. I was quite excited to go to Miami as I had never been there and was interested to see the Cuban influence on the city. I was also interested to see what Spring Break would be like only having seen it in movies and TV shows. After walking for an hour at night at about 1am to my hosts place as I was told the busses were 24 hours I finally arrived. I got on really well with my host and ended up staying for around a month, which was an amazing help as I was still broke waiting for my German money.

I still had no money to get home to NYC and with spring break going on had no money to go out and revel in it. I did try, but by gosh it was not a fun experience. There were no parties on the beach…indeed, the beach closes at midnight. Everyone in the clubs seemed fake or stuck up unless you had money to flaunt. It seemed to just be normal going out, without anything special going on except many of the people were out of town. I mostly went to the Clevelander to take advantage of the lack of cover or sneaking in when they did have a cover and boy that was hard to meet people there.

There was another bar I went to that had cheap $1 beers where I met a few cool people, and the bouncer in particular was very cool. As I was out almost every night we started talking, and without even knowing me very well he lent me $20 so I would be OK. Thank you Billy, for being awesome.

It was also during this time that the end of my friendship with my best friend had started occurring. I had thought after Germany (in itself the result of a failed romantic relationship) we were OK. Back to being close friends and finally ridding the relationship of excess baggage. Only, this was not the case. I thought things were odd while we were talking via email as we just didn’t seem so close. I spent a few weeks making a card that I worked hard on which was barely acknowledged. There was no desire or interest to talk via Skype….I didn’t know what was going on.

After talking on MSN in Miami near the end of my time in Florida…I asked why it didn’t seem that we were close and was told that frankly, we weren’t that close. I couldn’t understand it and asked what happened since we used to be so close. Only to find out that we never really were. That was a horrible thing, to find out that the way I viewed the friendship was largely in my head. A delusion. I know that she cared about me to a great degree but…the fact that we weren’t the close friends I thought we were explained so much. So many times I was hurt by what was actually reasonable behavior for our friendship. I really couldn’t deal with this too well, as I had shaped many of my previous years around this friendship.

After my money finally came through I was able to return to NYC where I sent a letter formally ending our friendship. At least for a time, I think I left it open…I don’t know. Her reaction was amazing…understanding and respectful….but somehow this made me angrier…that she wasn’t fighting it more. I wasn’t exactly thinking clearly at this time. After being back in NYC for only a few weeks it was time to head out of the country again, so off to Costa Rica I went since it was the cheapest option. Of course before I went I ended up spilling Dr Pepper all over my laptop. Reaching for a glass and stumbling over a mouse in the dark ended in tragedy. The worst part was that I managed to clean my laptop and prevent damage…only to forget to disconnect it from the power and short it while cleaning it a second time. A stupid mistake.

I set my time in Costa Rica for two months as I wanted to ensure that I would have time to stay in the states after DEFCON. I knew that I couldn’t come back from Mexico, but if I had bothered to think my trip through at all I would have bought a cheap ticket to Mexico and traveled down to Costa Rica over two months. Still, it was an interesting experience. I stayed for a week in San Jose trying to work out what I would do with the lack of people to stay with and my lack of money. I managed to get a few nights free fixing computers but it was frustrating being unable to drink with everyone else.

While there I met a girl who was amazing. We talked and kissed and I hoped at the least we would continue to be friends. It was nice after recently ending an important friendship and longing for some sort of intimacy. Only she went somewhat insane and completely disappeared from Facebook.

A quick trip to Jaco which was not so enjoyable given unfriendly hostile reception and the place tending to be a bit of a dump, then it was back to San Jose. It was time to leave, and off to La Fortuna I went. Which was a pretty cool little town where I stayed due to it being cheap, and there being some girls that I got to make out with. Awesome. While in La Fortuna I met a girl who seemed very interested in me and we decided to travel to Monteverde together. It seemed we had the start of a friendship and she offered to host me when I came to California. Amazing. Except that while making plans to head to Peñas Blancas and onward to Nicaragua, they disappeared. I found out they left the next day with other people and I never heard from her again. The only reason for this I can suppose is that she didn’t like my opinions on some controversial topics, although she never even hinted at their being a problem. So be it.

Then an hour out of Monteverde while waiting for the bus to Peñas Blancas I met a very cool guy and girl, just friends who had met on the trip. We started talking and ended up going to San Juan del sur together and sharing a hostel. They went on to Granada and Ometepe ahead of me, but I knew I would see them soon. I struck up quite a friendship with the girl and while we seemed to hit things off…we don’t talk so much these days. Damn her busy schedule.

I stayed in San Juan del sur a few extra days as it was cheap before making my way to Granada. I was seriously low on money here, although it was nice to meet up with my friends again. The hostel I was staying at had a policy of paying upon leaving, so I was considering exploiting this due to feeling I didn’t have any other option. Luckily, it didn’t turn out to be necessary. I managed to get work doing some programming and got my almost 3 weeks food and board in exchange. This saved me, as by the time I got back to San Jose ready to catch my flight back I was down to $40.

It was just before and while in Granada time that my feelings of hurt and resentment had been building towards my friend. We had not really talked since I ended things in May except when it was necessary and I just kept feeling angry and hurt. How could have everything have been false….how could I have been so stupid….how could she let me think this for so long? So many decisions I had made had been based around something false. I could have been getting my PhD or putting more effort toward my Business instead of accommodating her so I could spend time with her. Time and effort that I didn’t feel was appreciated.

Without anyone to talk to and everything just built up and I sent her an angry letter to vent out. Part of me wanted to hurt her as I had been hurt…but also just to let her know that I was hurt. I couldn’t understand anything anymore. It was a horrible letter where I ended things, and we have not talked since. Since then my head has cleared and I regret it and hope that somehow we can make amends….but only time will tell.

In Tamarindo only a few days before catching my flight that I had my first cougar experience. I had been unable to get laid the last two months as every girl I met was either too religious or too young or too slutty or just plain unattractive. The few I did meet that I was attracted to weren’t interested. Which…became frustrating. Still, it was an experience and I have the feeling that Cancun is going to make up for my lack of action during Spring Break and in Central America in spades.

After getting back to NYC where I again got greeted with a smile and a stamp it was time to prepare for my HOPE. The conference turned out to be a letdown for me, but it was still an interesting experience and I met some interesting people, not least some real life superheroes. It was so nice to be back selling comedy tickets, hanging with people I knew and being able to explore my favorite city. I was still having money problems and having to dispute a claim on my card took a lot of time. First it was approved then my account was cancelled…it took two months before I actually got my money back.

After an interesting 2 weeks in NYC it was time to head to Las Vegas. I hadn’t been there since I started traveling so I was interested to see it from a different perspective, as well as to see what it was like after having gotten into the TV show of the same name. I went to DEFCON which was a letdown for many of the same reasons as HOPE but was likewise an interesting experience.

I stayed with some very cool people in the first two weeks but it was the last person I stayed with that was the most interesting. I was able to stay until I got my money sorted out but we also hit it off as good friends. It’s rare to find people these days who can actually make an argument that isn’t from emotion or pride. While staying with this person I also got to make many new friends and party a lot, which was cool. Beer pong is a fun game that needs to spread to more countries.

I still didn’t have my laptop but decided to try and get it fixed under warranty…which amazingly worked. After shorting it out and spilling soda on it, it was returned like new. Amazing! I was still a bit depressed around this time what with things ending badly with my friend and just being uncertain of where I was heading. I tried getting back in touch with the girl I had befriended in Costa Rica who I managed to track down….but she didn’t want anything to do with me. Alas, it was out of my hands. I had considered returning home but new it would take me a while to get back to the US, which I didn’t want to do. Thus I started my trek to Canada with the goal of getting a US visa which would come back to bite me due to my lack of research.

Going up the west coast was uneventful as I had been to L.A. before and just wanted to get out as quickly as possible. I met up with my cougar again though…I’ve never been bought dinner before a one night stand before. A very nice experience. Then on to San Francisco where I had wanted to stay a wee bit longer, but I was having trouble finding rides to Portland. I ended up being there during a blues festival which was interesting to see and hear some good music, but I was unable to meet anybody. It was in San Francisco I realized I could not get a US visa as I was not a resident in Canada. Why oh why can you only apply for a visa in a country where you are a resident? What a stupid rule. Anyway I decided to get my Canadian visa which is a simple process for me, then with that I can apply for my US visa. Frustrating and a longer process but still cheaper and more interesting than a going home and back.

I then managed to find a ride to Portland for free, which saved me. I was excited when I arrived just to see the similarities to Springfield, as I know that many parts of Springfield were based on Portland. Aside from the street names I didn’t see that much despite knowing there was still a lot in common, although it was interesting to picture that this was how Matt Groening possible envisioned Springfield.
Going through Portland and Seattle up to Vancouver was not too interesting, although I came to realize this section of the world is by far my least favorite area of the world. It seems to be filled with anarchists, ignorant feminists, homeopaths, conspiracy theorists, vegan nuts and all kinds of willfully ignorant people. In Seattle there is Bastyr University which receives federal funding while offering courses in homeopathy, which is appalling. I do understand that my perception was limited by the people I met but somehow I got the feeling it seemed to be the unmistakable character of these cities.

Vancouver was interesting in that it seemed entirely unremarkable. Just an average city with a large student population. I stayed with a few different people and then met a person I ended up staying with for quite a while. This person and her friends were as frustrating as they were interesting to me. Very good heartfelt people….but so ignorant that it was painful. After witnessing the G20 protests in Toronto they formed the opinion that all states are evil and became anarchists. They are convinced that violence in video games leads to violence in real life and that games like GTAIV lead to an increase in rape. Thinking that companies like Facebook control all of your data and your life despite that being contrary to laws and practice. So many things and I could not discuss it with them, because it would be me against about 15 people…which is fine, but I felt that I would upset them more than anything constructive being gained, so I refrained. I was running out of money again as well, which was lame. After borrowing nearly $1000 to my friend from Las Vegas and not hearing back, I was starting to get worried.

I met a girl while I stayed in Vancouver who seemed interested in me, and we met for coffee a few times and I then ended up staying with her after missing a train. $200 for a ticket that Via Rail stated was refundable only for their shitty and rude customer service to deny everything. It turned out this girl was asexual yet in an open relationship with a big guy. Interesting development and unlikely to get laid. We seemed to talk about some interesting things, although she didn’t know some things. When trying to introduce her to new concepts she dismissed them as she thought she already knew them and was then surprised when she didn’t. For example, thinking an XSS attack was importing buggy code from another domain.

Still, it was interesting to see how she dealt with her jealous man-child of a boyfriend who agreed to an open relationship in principle but was quite opposed to the idea when he thought we were involved in some way. Still, they cared for each other and are still just kids, so I think they’ll figure it out. It was during this time that I won a competition for new boots…which was amazing. I have been needing new boots for almost a year or perhaps more and was planning to steal them…but now had them for free. Only that my package arrived after I had already caught my train. Sitting in a train chair for 4.5 days is an experience I hope not to repeat. Still, with more time than money, what was I to do.

The whole reason for my going to Toronto was that I had found out to get my Canadian visa I had to leave Canada and come back, as it is awarded at customs. If I had researched this I could have saved myself money by jus going to Mexico and flying back to Canada when I had been awarded my visa. But then, I would have not had the experiences I had, so I don’t regret it in the least. The biggest problem was finding a notary republic. $40 for certifying photocopies is fucking bullshit and I would have expected better from Canada.

The worst part was that as per a website set up by the Canadian government there are several agencies or professionals that could certify my documents that would also be accepted by the agencies in my country. When actually trying to confront these people to certify my documents they wouldn’t do it, being too fucking scared. Even the RCMP refused to do it, dramatically stating they could not sign their lives away. I understand it might be customary for people to go to a notary but it isn’t required, and when people don’t have money to do that and the police can do it, then the police should fucking know that they can do it. I got a letter after complaining which confirmed that RCMP officers can certify identity documents but they are not told this. Great.

In my country we have justices of the peace which are free and when I have gone to embassy before JP’s are available for no more than $10. Except for the embassy in Canada where they only use JP’s, where each document must be on its own page…which for me would have set the cost to $120 for five pages. Luckily I ended up finding a Commissioner of Oaths who did everything for $7. Finally I had everything I needed. I decided to send everything by priority mail hoping I could then apply for my visa before the 17th of January, so I could get in to NYC to see the King Tut exhibition. Not realizing it takes 10 days process to send out my license information and at least 4 weeks for my Canadian visa. Which I thought was money wasted, but after 3 weeks when my package was listed as only having left the post office, I found out that they don’t deliver to P.O. boxes. I had thought I had wasted money and it was lost, but because of the salesman’s incompetence in not realizing this I received a check back for a full refund. I got the check when I was already in NYC…but it will be nice to have when I go back to Canada.

Given that I wasn’t going to get my visa anytime soon I decided to go to Montreal for NYE. I partly wanted to go as my ex best friends best friend lived there….and I guess I thought maybe if we ran into each other or she saw me then it might stimulate my friend to talk to me. Crazy and irrational…but there it was. I think around just before Christmas I sent a short letter apologizing and hoping we could talk at least….and as of yet have not received a reply. I broke down on the 1st after a terrible NYE and sent her another short message telling her where I was…still no reply. Now it is Mid February and I can’t decide if I should send her another message or wait…wait until a year has passed. I can’t help but feel the longer I wait the less likely it is we can patch things up.

Montreal was an interesting experience. I stayed with a group that was more like a community; as soon as I arrived I was invited to a Christmas Dinner which was amazing. It was cool hanging out with all these people who were friendly and fun….somehow witnessing everything I felt like an outside, which was reasonable as I didn’t know them that well. It occurred to me that I may always feel like this…always traveling and not letting anyone get close. It is strange because the decision is mine, but I can’t seem to take the leap of faith required to form interpersonal relationships.

While I was in Toronto I met a girl on a dating site who I have been talking with pretty regularly, which is exciting. We seem to be hitting it off and while I don’t think any romantic relationship is a possibility I think I have made a new friend, which is nice. I contacted a girl in Montreal as I was interested in meeting some more people while I was there…only for her to cancel when I asked if we could compromise on the meeting place. I didn’t really have money for the subway and didn’t want to walk for an hour to meet her…yet simply asking if it was possible to meet somewhere else caused her to cancel. Why must there be so many idiots in this world.

I had been planning to go back to Toronto, but given the problems with my visa I decided to risk going back to NYC. I am not meant to be let on the VWP unless I leave North America, but decided to take a chance. I bought a flight out of the US saying I was only coming in to take a flight and hoped it would work. The guy a caught a ride with seemed very strange when communicating via email but turned out to be friendly. Luckily it worked! I got into NYC, albeit only for 2 weeks. Still, it was long enough for me to see king tut and meet up with some friends. It was an interesting two weeks which I will write about in a separate entry when I get time.

I had considered staying in the US illegally as I had places I could stay, and given my previous times in and out of the US they don’t seem to have departure dates computerized, only going by passport stamps. I probably could have but at the last minute I didn’t want to take the risk and so came to Cancun. This works out nicely as I can hopefully have a proper spring break, see some ruins, a necessary trip to Belize and maybe go to Cuba before going back to the US. Now I am in Cancun about to get a job where I won’t have to worry about food or accommodation for a while and will be able to meet new people every night. I am starting to look forward to it, which is an unusual feeling for me.

I also have so much planned for this year. It’s already February and I haven’t done as much as I had hoped, but I know that I am going to. I will actually have a US visa so I can live in NYC properly without having to leave every 90 days. I will perfect my business plan and make every effort to find investors and get something off the ground. I’m going to amp up my writing a lot. Articles on OS X insecurity, Linux being far from ready as a complete desktop OS, Feminism, Pedophiles, Piracy, Eminem, Scientology and more. Above all else though, the most important thing is to fix things up with my friend. She is part of my family….and there is nothing more important than the people who matter to you. I’ve forgotten that in the past which I now have to try and fix.

I’m going to learn another language to a passable language. Spanish at the least since I have every opportunity to practice, but also hopefully Chinese if I can stick to it enough when I’m back in NYC. I’m going to get back into martial arts so that I am doing some kind of exercise, as just writing and reading isn’t sufficient. There is so much that I still want to learn and I want to at least make some effort this year. Physics, the finer points of writing shellcode, various political ideologies, a lot more modern history…so much. It will be a year to start making good use of the amazing Khan Academy.

Overall it was an interesting year where I learned a lot and continued to be surprised at how people react and what they are capable of. I was introduced to Shopsin’s, witnessed the end of 24 and Nip/Tuck and the premiere of Archer(best new comedy!), got to see Miami and Mardi Gras….saw almost the entire coast of the USA as well as Canada and most importantly regained some confidence. I am still fighting depression….but I feel that I am making progress towards my goals because I have started believing in them again, instead of just wondering what the point to anything is.

This year has not started off to brilliantly what with the NYC blizzards, the Arizona shooting, the flooding in Australian or my lame NYE. Even so I have a good feeling about this year. I am at a low point right now where I don’t even have shoes without holes in them (well, not with me) or money to support myself or even get back to the US. I’m not worried though. I’ve landed a job in Cancun and will put all my efforts into making my business succeed…making something of myself. Or die trying. As of the 11th I haven’t received my license information but hopefully it is on its way otherwise who knows how long I will be delayed. Even if I am delayed further….I know that it will be interesting and I will get everything eventually. This is going to be a good year, or at the least an interesting year.

September 22, 2010

Two months in Vegas

Filed under: Travel — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 6:28 pm

So, a lot of interesting stuff has happened in the last two months or so. It’s been a very interesting year what with Central America, personal relationships, traveling and such, and now I plan to write about it. I don’t know how many people will care to read this, but it’s interesting for me to have an outlet which can serve as a record.

I have my laptop back!

So, I got my laptop about a week and a half ago. It was pretty damaged, and now everything has been replaced with brand new parts and it works beautifully. I’ve been without it since the end of May, just a few days before I left for Costa Rica and Nicaragua for two months.

It was such a nice feeling to have it back. I’ve felt quite lost without it. While traveling, it is my primary source of communication, entertainment and work. There has been so much I have wanted to do and write, and have been unable to without it. Well, now I can, so I can finish the 20 or so articles I have been planning – hopefully before the end of the year.

I honestly thought I was going to need $300 or so to repair it.., what with spilling Dr Pepper over it, breaking several seals when cleaning it and finally shorting it out due to forgetting it was still plugged in. Add to this the fact that it was purchased overseas and no longer had a serial number or proof of purchase with it. $300 isn’t much…, but at the moment without income and limited savings, it is a significant amount. It’s kind of sad, but getting it back for free was definitely the best thing that happened to me this month.

The only difference now is that I have a US keyboard. This doesn’t matter and I’m quite used to it, although I had gotten used to having access to pound and euro symbols, not to mention a lot of now wasted effort to get my Alt+Gr key working properly under Linux.

One thing I was worried about was that my trial of Windows Server 2008 R2 had finished, and Windows was now reporting it as not genuine. I would not even consider paying the $700 or so for a license, and the last crack I tried, ChewWGA ended up leaving me with an endless reboot loop. That may not have been ChewWGA’s fault, but I couldn’t find out what the cause was. This time, I tried RemoveWAT which I had used successfully on installs of Windows 7. I am happy to say it worked perfectly, and I now have a fully functional install of R2.

Recently when trying to access one of my external hard drives…it failed. Having a hard drive on top of everything else in a suitcase and having it fall forward…the full weight of a suitcase pushing it to the ground, is not a good thing. I was somewhat dismayed, as despite making sure to copy my lists of movies and all my comics across all of my hard drives, I apparently never bothered to backup my photos, the one thing not replaceable. I had thought they were gone for good, but this was OK as I thought it was only my Europe and USA photos that were on there, which I had copies of somewhere. However, when trying my hard drive again a bit later…it works! Not great, but well enough for me to copy 8 GB of photos from a clicking sorry sounding hard drive with robocopy.

It’s actually a nice surprise, as I forgot all about my photos from Egypt, Brazil, and other places that I definitely did not have copies of anywhere. I can’t believe how well that worked out. Now to send it back under the awesome 5 year warranty, and start downloading all those classic TV shows yet again. What was also interesting was my collection of music videos I had on there. All 232 of them. I remember how nice it was to have all the latest singles that I could play whenever I liked, back in 2002/3 or so. I completely forgot about them as YouTube has made them completely irrelevant, something I thought was interesting.

Post DEFCON

With that out of the way, I’m going to write about what has happened in the last month and a half, because I think it has been interesting, as my life so often is. After DEFCON finished, I literally had nothing to do. I didn’t have my laptop so couldn’t really write stuff, I was still waiting for some bank stuff to be sorted out so didn’t have any money, and didn’t really know anyone here. I was staying with a cool girl I met, which was a burden of my mind that I didn’t have to worry about accommodation.

It was nice to just chill out for a few days, trying to work out what I will do next. I spent quite a lot of time playing counterstrike 1.6 with my friend’s friend’s son. It was nice to play what is now a ‘classic’ game with one the next generation. Spending my days talking philosophy and politics had to come to an end however, as my friend was going overseas at the end of the week and I had to find somewhere else to stay.

I managed to find a couple to stay with, which was a relief. They were a small family, and pretty chilled out. Again I didn’t really have anything to do, and didn’t have my laptop, so spent most of my time reading or watching movies or just finding a way to procrastinate somehow. I talked a lot with one of my hosts, who I shall refer to as Mary. Mary was a very hospitable host, very kind and generous, but I found that I couldn’t talk to her for too long. The reason being was that her beliefs were basically completely ignorant. Beliefs such as raw milk can cure cancer and such are bad enough, but then trying to tell me that quantum physics is defined as the ability to alter reality based on will alone? Fail.

The thing with these types of people is that explaining why/how they are wrong will do absolutely nothing. Its one thing to believe that you can alter reality based on will alone…fine – but to label this quantum physics when quantum physics is well defined as something completely different and scientific is just…dumb. It’s impossible to help those who are not willing to help themselves. Which is truly sad…what is left of the optimist in me believes there must be some way as I can’t understand why people would bury themselves in ignorance to that extent.

The other interesting thing I noticed was Mary’s kids. Mary’s kids had absolutely no discipline. This is not a criticism of Mary or her husband by any means, but it seems all the parents I meet of kids these days refuse to discipline them in any way. Of course it is better if you can reason with your kids and not have to resort to some sort of punishment, but there is nothing inherently wrong with punishment either. While it is completely anecdotal, I think it is interesting that all of these kids who grow up without discipline assert themselves over their parents, and do what they want to do. Since the parents won’t use discipline, they don’t seem to have any way of actually stopping them from misbehaving.

I started looking for someone else to stay with, as I didn’t want to feel like I was imposing on a small family’s residence. I started looking frantically for someone to stay with as my money was still tied up, and no one seemed to be responding. I managed to find someone to stay with eventually, just out of dedication to basically messaging what seemed like everyone.

A few nights before I switched hosts, I went with Mary and her husband to a poker night. I couldn’t play, as I was unwilling to gamble even $5 from what I had left, instead I just watched and talked to people. This is where I ended up meeting CT. CT was an interesting guy, very charming and generous and promised to put me in touch with investors I could show my business plan to, as well as hook me up with some acting gigs.

This was awesome news, as I am always looking for investors I can show my plan to. I’m extremely interested in getting into acting as well, so hookups in both of these areas would have been amazing. Unfortunately it seemed the guy was full of shit. I tried contacted him after that night, and when he finally replied he insulted me for not knowing who I am, and then said he had no time to be my agent. What a shame.

My new residence

A few days later I changed hosts to stay with a guy I’ll call Zane. Zane is a very interesting guy. It is nice to meet someone interested in arguing who can actually do so properly and support their points or admit when they are wrong. The first night I came over Zane and a friend were smoking a hookah, which I joined in. The last time I smoked a hookah was in Tokyo back in 2005, which made it easy to drift back to then.

Zane’s roommates were interesting. A gay couple who stayed to themselves in one of the bedrooms, and who I didn’t really talk to. A girl we can call Tori was by herself in another of the bedrooms. Tori was very interesting. She was about three months pregnant and still agonizing over whether or not to have an abortion. This seemed pretty wrong to me. I’m for abortion, but not when it’s kicking and clearly a human being. She then went on to profess how the moon landing was clearly a fake and talk about just how stupid the rest of humanity was, equating them closer to dogs. Amazing. Lastly, there was Frank, who lived on the couch. Frank seemed cool enough, but as I would find out later there was a lot of drama going on in the house.

The next few nights were interesting as I settled in and met Zane’s friends and roommates. One of the most interesting things was the whole communal nature of the apartment. Anyone was welcome to take anything from the fridge or pantry.., it really didn’t matter who it belong to. It was a share and share alike culture. This really wasn’t working out too well for Zane, as instead of the communal environment that Zane had wanted, it was more the case of everyone taking advantage of Zane’s generosity. The main reason for this was that his other roommates were on average 10 years younger than him and just expected things handed to them.

One of the main things about Zane’s apartment…is that it is/was a party zone. There were always people over and drinking and games and much fun. Despite having a computer to use and internet for the last six weeks, I’ve barely written anything. By the time I wake up each day and check email and read gossip, maybe watch an episode, it’s time to start drinking again. I’ve basically secluded myself after getting my laptop back, which is the only reason I have been able to write anything. Since I don’t like the new roommates, it makes it easier.

Ahh yes, the new roommates. The whole thing with the old roommates getting kicked out was quite a bit of drama. First to go was Tori, who no one seemed to really like. Zane and she had some sort of argument, and he basically told her to get out immediately, although ended up giving her a few hours. What I found interesting was that both Zane and the manager of the apartment complex were positive that he could kick her out immediately and take control of her belongings simply because her name is not on the lease. Either they were both wrong, or Nevada law fucking sucks. If you are paying rent for a room then you are a tenant, and failure to remove your belongs by a certain time does not imply abandonment of those belongs. At least under any sane law system.

Then the Frank situation got interesting. Frank was a cool enough guy, but apparently had a history of alcoholism and being less than respectful. The guy was staying on the couch for free and not paying bills, yet demanded certain things like the AC stay on all the time or that he be allowed to have sex on the couch. Quite a nerve and I wasn’t surprised when he was forced to leave. It’s a shame because he was a smart guy, but was just making some really dumb choices.

So, then came the new roommates. First there was Ruddy, who picked up and left the east coast without any money or plans. AT just 20, he was very much a kid and acted like it. His only source of income was a credit card that he somehow got approved to and had no intention of paying back. I quite enjoyed him treating me and everyone else to whatever we liked. If he wants’ to be stupid, he has to learn one way or another.

Then came Bob. Bob was just 19, and one of the more annoying people I have met recently. He has an opinion on everything, and is totally convinced he is right. The only way to shut him up on stuff when is clearly so very wrong is to bet money, which he backs out of embarrassed. Everything he says is literally “that shit is tight dog, I’m not gonna lie” or “nah dude, you trippin”. I have never met anyone who actually speaks like that constantly before. The kid is like a living cartoon.

Lastly there was Rowan, a pretty cool guy. Very friendly and engaging, but has one very annoying characteristic. I don’t know if it is because the guy is studying acting or not, but he wants to act out everything. Instead of just having a conversation, he sets up a scenario and acts it out as different characters, for even the most trivial of things. This shit is annoying. He also has a habit of touching people….hands on shoulders and such. A very annoying person, yet at the same time very generous. Aye.

Now, while not anew roommate, Bob has some friends. Bob’s friends are idiots. Bob isn’t an idiot as such, but Bob’s friends certainly are. One big guy just 18 called CK is so very annoying. He walks in and acts like he owns the place. If you’re playing Xbox against a friend he just expects you to give him the controller so he can take over. When playing a game he just arranges the rules or whatever best suits him. I guess it was just another example of the lack of discipline in children these days, but it’s aggravating. The roommate situation went from having two guys who stay in their room all the time, to a semi cool guy on the couch and a lot of friends coming over; to barely twenty year olds who think they know everything. Gah.

One of the more annoying things was how often they ask me to buy them alcohol. I don’t really mind doing this, as Ruddy was paying for food and Dr.Pepper and basically whatever I wanted for near a month, so it seemed a fair tradeoff. Of course, now that his card has run out I can’t really be persuaded to go these days. They really shouldn’t be drinking anyway. They can be high all the time as they are without having to be drunk as well, I mean, they need to save some money for Doritos.

One night out in Vegas

One night I got bored of hanging with the kids at the apartment, and decided to go to the strip. I was hoping something interesting might happen…meet some random girls, win large amounts of money…, meet some random supermodels. Something not unlike any episode of any TV show where someone would go to the strip themselves and have amazing things happen. Unfortunately, nothing like that happened at all. The first mistake I made was going too far on the bus. I guess I kept seeing the strip ahead out the window, and when we got to it took me a while before I realize it wasn’t ahead anymore, and realized it was behind me. Lame.

A bit more walking and then catching the bus again, to at Las Vegas Blvd. Which, only technically is the strip. I was too poor at this time to take the Deuce bus, which is a rip-off as it is. It took me about 20 minutes to walk to the stratosphere and then another 30 to walk to the area around Caesars’ Palace. There were many hot girls around, but none easily approachable simply walking the strip. I went through a few casinos, until I ended up in Caesars after walking past Pure and not wanting to pay the $30 or so cover. I put my only $20 in a slot machine, and watched it go down to nothing before getting back up to $26, a win of $6! I decided to leave, as I now had enough for at least one beer, somewhere.

After some more walking around and trying to figure out what there is to do being over 21 and by myself on the strip, I ended up in the Mirage, where I again played a slot machine. This particular slot machine ended up taking the rest of my night, and I believe I played it for over two hours. The thing with this machine was, I became obsessed with getting the free spins. 300 free spins were possible apparently, although the most I got out of this was 20. With 4 out of the 5 free spin bars, it was still only 20. During my quest for the free spins…I got as high as $70, back down to $20 or so, then as high as $96…then back down to…0. Nothing. Just enough money to tip for a free drink and catch the bus home. So very lame. Although as the $20 came from Ruddy, I managed to stop myself from feeling too bad. I ended up catching the bus home and walking through the sun, and so ended my attempt at a night out in Vegas.

Not feeling too well

I’ve been really quite depressed for the last month. Well, longer than that, probably this entire year. Things worsened at the end of May as I felt I had to end my friendship with the only person I considered to be my real friend. Part of that reason was finding out that a lot of what I thought was true in the friendship was false, and worse that my friend did not want the same thing as I did out of the friendship. Despite telling me that they did for two years, and me moving to a different country to try and work on things. Lame. I’ve been thinking about them a lot..we have not been in each other’s live for a few months now, and I can’t help but wonder what they are up to, and if they wonder about me at all. Missing someone can be consuming at times, and its lame. Very lame.

At the same time, I was struggling with whether or not I should return home. I have not been home in basically four years, and since it was quite possible my sister was going to die, was thinking about it. I’m glad I didn’t end up going as she was fine, but I was actually considering not going anyway…what kind of a person does that make me? I’m not close to my family, even so, I surely would have regretted not going back had something happened. Yet.., I wanted to focus on setting up my business, getting investors and my visa and such. A lot of what I can do I can from anywhere, but it’s important for me to return to New York as that’s where I want to have things set up….having to return home would have been such a setback, having to raise the money to come back to the US and everything. I guess a part of me wanted to avoid having to go home at any cost, to face the fact I’m not close to anyone there.

I really don’t have many friends at all. It’s a side effect from always being on the move, and at some low level the entire reason I travel so much is probably based on the fact that it stops me from being attached to anyone. I don’t talk to my family, and don’t have any friends I really stay in contact with or can rely on. It puts a dampener on things. Then for the rest of the year my money has been tied up for most of the time, making it near impossible to even go out and meet people. Even being at home all the time and having a lot of free time, I have not had the motivation to write as much as I want to. It took me almost two weeks to write this article, when it should have taken two days.

Suffice to say…dealing with such loneliness and other feelings of depression is hard. It is quite the burden. It gets to the point sometimes where I can’t help but think of suicide. While it isn’t something I think myself capable, I still think about it. I feel like telling people, but I don’t want to worry them for no reason, as I know it isn’t something I would do. It seems to be a way for me to better examine how I feel by exaggerating things.

When going out grocery shopping one night for alcohol and various foods, I decided to take a free blood pressure test at the grocery store. Not for any reason and expecting it to report me healthy as they generally do. Alas, this time it reported I have stage 1 hypertension. Not good…not good at all. Considering I live off fast food and drink copious amounts of Dr Pepper, probably inevitable. The interesting thing is how this has affected me. I basically have no motivation to do anything about it. While I could never commit suicide, letting my body deteriorate until it takes care of itself seems like the solution. I am consciously aware this isn’t a healthy train of thought, and despite having no motivation to do so will go to a doctor and get some advice when I can.

During all this time, since the end of DEFCON, I had resolved to try and quit smoking. As I get older the risk to my health just gets worse. It’s an unnecessary expense which didn’t really worry me, but saving money is a plus. I still expect I will smoke socially, as it is one of the easiest ways to meet people. Traveling around the world by myself, that’s a useful thing. For whatever reason, I don’t think my body develops much of an addiction. I went from smoking a pack a day of cigarettes with 1.6 mg’s of nicotine to maybe one a week to none for the last month…with no noticeable difference except the odd craving. I certainly don’t notice everything tasting better as many people stated was the case. Having said that though, I’ve been smoking hookahs every few days each week since moving in with Zane…

Trying to make some new friends

I liked meeting a lot of Zane’s friends. They tended to be a bit younger, but it was fun to hang out and drink and play beer pong….it was somewhat similar to a frat house experience I imagine. There was one girl in particular, Aimee, who was somewhat odd. She would call everyone an affectionate nickname, and tended to jump to conclusions. After being alerted to the fact that she liked me I made an effort to talk to her one night, and some secrets were shared and such. It was a few weeks later I found out she somewhat complained about what we were talking about. Why would you carryon on a conversation if it made you uncomfortable? Sigh. I’ve been away from adults for far too long.

It was also the first time that I have heard Americans say that a different accent is incorrect. I mean, seriously? Some of these kids are the same people who thought Australia was in Europe. I just can’t get my head around that. If they went to the UK or somewhere would they still think everyone around them was pronouncing everything incorrectly? That level of arrogance and ignorance boggles my mind. I don’t know which is worse, thinking other accents are wrong, or thinking Americans don’t have accents. Aye.

About a week ago some friends came over, Max and Rachel. They are a pretty sweet couple, and I could sense a lot of genuine feelings for each other. Unfortunately, Max is just too damn stubborn and believing the worse. He became convinced that Rachel was cheating on him because of stupid shit like a friend leaving her a voice message saying let’s get fucked up or her sleeping platonically next to a friend. It made me sad to see a relationship end for no good reason. I honestly hope that they work it out, and Max learns to trust Rachel. It’s kind of necessary for any relationship to work.

That whole dating thing

I met up a few weeks into staying with Zane with Lisa for what turned out to be a date. This was one of the most interesting dates I have ever been on. I thought it would be just two friends meeting up briefly…, but it ended up being a date. What was interesting about this…was the amount of offending things being said which were not meant to be offensive, resulting in awkwardness. Lisa is a great girl, but I honestly don’t understand why she wants to date me. We have no common interests, quite opposite personalities and possibly get on each other’s nerves. I think it’s nice to try and make new friends, but I don’t really understand it unless you instantly like the person…

When I was in Costa Rica, I really hit it off with this girl, let’s call her Nancy. We talked for a few hours and seemed to have a good chemistry, and this then progressed to kissing. We added each other on Facebook after she left the next day, and I thought at the last I made a new friend. Apparently though she felt guilty about the whole thing, may have been seeing someone back home, and ended up disappearing completely from Facebook. This disturbed me, as I really hit it off with this girl. I couldn’t find her on the internet at all, and messaging her friends to get her to contact me didn’t work. Knowing a paper she published, and her university managing to have a predictable pattern for student email addresses I managed to find her after many hours on Google. She basically said she went through a bad time and removed everyone as a friend, and politely denied my request to be friends with her. I find this sad, as I think we would have been amazing friends, but I guess there isn’t much you can do in such situations.

Of course, Nancy was not the only girl I wanted more to do with. Aside from many anonymous online dating girls, there was Marsha, who I met in Nicaragua. We really hit it off, and I know I made her laugh all the time, and she seemed attracted to me. We were talking late one night and she even said she just prefers occasional casual sex instead of relationships, like me. So, I couldn’t help but be…miffed, when I couldn’t get her into bed. I blame it all on me being depressed, us being in a hostel, and her being with her friend. Lame. Even so, I really did have a fun time talking to her…and would possibly like her as a friend, but have to make the effort. Random Facebook chatting is not the best way to get to know someone. Still, I will see where it goes.

As I knew I was heading to LA soon, I tried arranging to meet up with some of the girls I met in La Fortuna in Costa Rica. They were young, but obviously old enough to travel around Central America by themselves. Of course, I got knocked back which was kind of annoying. All of these people I met while traveling and I can’t stay in contact with any of them…it’s always my problem. Of course, that isn’t quite true.

I’m still in contact with Megan, an amazing girl I met en route to Nicaragua. There was a lot of flirting and a lot of intellectual arguing, and just chemistry in general. We really hit it off, and I plan to visit her in November. We’ve been talking sometimes online, which is nice. Even so…, I feel such an urge to try and build friendships with these other girls. I don’t know why…perhaps because it’s a challenge and something to fill the void…it’s a strange feeling. I guess also that having more people couldn’t not hurt…at the moment I have like 3, and I’m not that close to any of them, so building more seems to just make sense, if not only as a contingency plan.

Feeling lonely as I was and with my complete lack of money, I thought I might try some online dating sites. This really didn’t work out so well. I filled out my profile all thoroughly and with photos, and a got a great many views and winks or whatever. However, it didn’t matter how many girls I started talking to…the conversations never really went anywhere. I just don’t know how to keep a conversation going days apart.

I went out on another date with Lisa a few days ago…; we went to see a movie, Scott Pilgrim Vs the World. I persuaded her she would like it as I had heard nothing but good things about it, and had wanted to see it myself. In any event, it certainly beat the alternative to Lisa’s pick, Cats and Dog’s 3D. It was interesting hanging out, and making jokes of the awkwardness. I mean…, its one thing when someone’s knowledge is based entirely on stereotypes and you can’t shake them from it, but it’s another when that person is somewhat condescending and insulting without meaning to be. I don’t mind hanging out with her but…It’s just strange. At the same time here is someone making time and effort to see me and I can’t see the positive things here. I am aware of that, and not really sure how to change my outlook, or if I want to. If people annoy me, they annoy me…anything else would seem to be burying that annoyance for the sake of…what exactly?

What next

I just found out yesterday that all my money has come through. I now have a few thousand dollars to secure me for the next few months, hopefully until next year as I find some work and settle on setting up my business. Good news and a huge weight off my chest. Who knows, perhaps my blood pressure has gone down as a result.

I’ve also been trying to work on my business plan for a long time now. I have a pretty awesome idea and solid plan. However, I know almost nothing about business plans, accounting, financial projections etc. I’ve read a lot on it, but there is a lot of conflicting stuff. So, back in 2007 or so, I decided to hire someone to help me. Well, I got fucked over, as all I got sent was automatic output from the Business Plan Pro software, which is extremely useless. Two years later my business plan is still a horrible hodgepodge, with horrible redundancy and inaccurate information and a confusing structure. Even with a computer to use, I haven’t had the motivation to deal with it, and the person I hired this time round to help me has not really gotten back to me. I may not succeed with my business, but I have to try. There won’t be much worse than seeing my idea in common place and knowing I could have been the one to cash in on it and make it a reality.

My time so far in Vegas was not the sex crazed topless pool constantly drunk crazy adventure I had secretly hoped for, but it was interesting in and of itself. I met cool people and had a place to stay and feel secure while I worked out my money issues, and get in touch with people and try and come to grips with stuff. One of the more interesting aspects that I could have been anywhere. Las Vegas is like anywhere else, except for the strip, and I only went there during DEFCON and my failed night out. Somehow I feel like things would be different back in NYC even though they probably wouldn’t be, and there is just as much chance for random adventures and encounters. Even so, it’s been an interesting two months and I’m ready to make my way up to Canada, and see what adventures I will encounter on the way.

September 18, 2010

Railwhoring

Filed under: Entertainment — Tags: , , , — allthatiswrong @ 10:54 am

What is railwhoring? Railwhoring is a term which refers to a type of behavior when playing QuakeLive (or the older series of Quake games for that matter). Railwhoring is defined by using the railgun as the exclusive weapon while staying as far away from the action as possible. If confronted, the person railwhoring will typically run away instead of fight. You may have guessed that railwhoring is a negative thing, what with the word whoring being part of the term and all. You would be correct.

Why is railwhoring a bad thing? It is as annoying as fuck. When playing team based matches, railwhores as they are known don’t help the team in any way. Take CTF for example. I’ve played several CTF matches where the railwhore had a chance to protect our flag had he been using basically any weapon except rail, but instead chose to run away or insist on using rail, making our team lose a point.

I understand it is an easy way to rack up kills….but it can hardly be said to be playing the game. The only reason railwhores get kills is because everyone else is actually playing the game. Most players know how to try and avoid getting railed….but when it’s a frantic match with everyone trying to take the flag and railing isn’t a typical feature of the map…then it’s just fucking annoying. Anyone can do it, but if everyone did do it, then the game would not be fun and no one would play it. It is the same as AWP whores back in the day of CS, but at least when they were taken out they didn’t respawn instantly.

It used to be easy enough to deal with railwhores. As soon as the map is changing, continually vote them off(binding it to a key works best) and get the vote to reach the server before anyone joins so it will be automatically approved. ID put a stop to this making sure that one command can’t be sent in excess…, so switch it up, alternate between a vote to change map and kick the player until the player is kicked.

Personally, I just don’t understand what motivation these kids have to railwhore in the first place. Play the game properly and get better, so you can gain skill and not run everytime someone confronts you, or join a match where railing is the whole point. Silently racking up easy kills isn’t an achievement, and just makes people dislike you.

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