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It’s been a weird month

and I’m trying really, really hard not to write a political post, because I’m a dissident and people don’t like that. If you really want to know my opinions and tell me I’m wrong, message me on Facebook or email me.

Just know: it’s incredibly difficult to make rational and well-thought decisions when you’re emotional.

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it’s time for change.

WELP.

This post was going to be about the good things that can come out of quarantine and the apparent changes we need to make in our institutions and society, but there were nation-wide riots all day today and yesterday, so…

I’m not sure I’m comfortable ignoring the fact that innocent people keep dying because of their race, but I still want to write about this topic, so I will. And keep in mind that there are problems that need addressing; problems outside the ones I discuss here.

Let’s start with the obvious ones.

The US medical system is too expensive and too slow.

It’s hard for a person who hasn’t researched this topic (me) to pinpoint exactly the reason for this is, but it seems to come from a few different places:

  1. It’s heavily regulated. That’s good for making sure everything on market is up to a certain quality, and it’s all well-tracked.
  2. There’s price gouging. The “good” person in me doesn’t want to believe this, but it seems to be pretty apparent. I’m sure the prices are also so expensive because of the time it takes to get through regulation.

It makes sense to me to raise taxes to help mitigate costs across the country, but that also requires people to be paid a livable wage after being taxed. There are a lot of problems.

Also, there are loads of other people who have written about this, and it isn’t really the focus of my post. Sorry.

The education system needs to be overhauled.

There’s no doubt that the American school model has changed to adapt technology. High school students are assigned laptops for their work, which is a change being rolled out across the nation. However, my concern isn’t so much with the amount of technology in the classroom, but with the classroom itself.

The necessity of a physical classroom is becoming debatable. The advent of high-quality video calling and the ability for teachers to take advantage of technology have created a very real possibility to retire school buildings.

With current technology, we should be able to be more flexible with how students learn, instead of forcing them into seats and lectured for an entire day. I personally don’t learn well in this model unless the subject is of particular interest to me, and even if I find myself enamored with the subject matter, I find myself in need of doing something else with my hands and eyes.

I have no doubt, though, that an advantage of the classroom is for face-to-face social development, but most teachers’ leniency for a loud classroom seems to end when the students are around high-school age.

Like most, this problem doesn’t have a simple solution, but its detrimental effects are growing worse each year.

Do we even need offices?

My extroverted friends will say, “yes.”
My introverted friends will say, “maybe.”

We have the internet. We can very easily work from home if the job allows for it. Communication technology will improve (imagine collaborating using a whiteboard but in 3D space).

The two biggest reasons to have offices are to encourage collaboration, and to make sure work is being done (and free food). Now with collaborative technology being improved, companies should trust employees with proven track records to work remotely permanently. It’s not such a radical idea.

If you eliminate offices, you eliminate the need to relocate employees. You also eliminate the need to be bound to time zones, which is something that restricted collaboration.

You also eliminate the catastrophic expansion of mega-corporations overwhelming small towns with transplants. We wouldn’t be having a housing crisis in Seattle if these companies weren’t building offices.

But I do miss my old co-workers. You get to know people fairly well when you’re confined to the same space all day.

This is probably an oversimplified solution to a complicated problem too. Who knows.

I’m just a guy who likes writing about stuff.

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My Weird Tastes

I don’t know why I feel the need to articulate what I like or don’t like. Perhaps it’s so I can spend some time thinking about why I like the things I do.

In general, my tastes are pretty different from those of other people. I’ll see if I can explain why.

I’m also fully aware that it’ll be difficult for me to explain my weird tastes without sounding snobby, but that’s just the risk I’ll have to take.

Games

A few key criteria for me here:

  • The game must not be changing drastically all the time.
  • The game must not have too much randomness.

League of Legends breaks the first criterion, and games like PUBG break the second. So does Catan.

These other factors aren’t game-breakers, but are highly desired:

  • The game rewards good technical skill.
  • The game has a learning curve somewhere, either at the bottom or the top.

A pet peeve of mine is when a game seems like it will have transferable skills but doesn’t. I want my skillful aiming to count for something significant. I’m looking at you, Borderlands.

And generally, if a game’s too easy all around, I won’t have much fun with it, though those games don’t tend to exist. Most games have a learning curve somewhere, even if they’re easy to pick up from the start. Super Smash Bros. is a good example of that.

Movies

I’ve had too many instances when I’ve gone into a theater to expect greatness and have had an awful time. Therefore, I have created but two simple steps that will determine whether I watch a movie.

  • Don’t watch anything in theaters (save for special occasions).
  • If people are still talking about the movie a year after its release, I will go and watch it.

People are still talking about Interstellar (2014) and James Cameron’s Avatar (2009). I will watch them.

I’ve also just got a bias against movies that have more action than story, and will not enjoy them. If I want to spend an hour and a half witnessing explosions and killing, I’d rather play a video game, where at least I’ll be able to control where and when the explosions are happening.

Side note: I fell asleep during the first fifteen minutes of Wonder Woman (2017) and couldn’t figure out why she was being unrealistically stubborn the entire rest of the movie. Is that on me? There was no character development for the remaining two hours.

Shows

If it’s a sitcom, it has to be witty. Bonus points if it makes references to things in real life, but I understand that’s difficult because of timing / aging.

If I can predict the joke, it’s not funny to me, no matter how good the delivery.

Otherwise, I like shows with dark tones. Thrillers, horror (somewhat), complex relationships between people. Same thing as with movies: I like more story than action. This rules out most anime, though I believe anime is moving on a more mature trend.

Music

Hoo boy. I think this requires a post in itself.

tl;dr

I don’t know how to summarize this. The best one-sentence summary I can come up with is:

  • I prefer to consume media that require me to pay active attention to what I am consuming.

But that’s leaving out a lot. I like being surprised, I don’t like a ton of repetition, and I’m always wary of what’s popular at the time.

Stay tuned for the post about my music tastes. It’s the one I’ve thought the most about, and the one I’m finding hardest to articulate.

If you haven’t thought about why you like what you do, I’d highly recommend it. This entire month has been a wild ride.


Thanks for watching! I’d like to thank all my patrons for making these videos possible. If you like what you saw here, be sure to subscribe and check out my other videos, and if you really like what I’m doing, consider supporting my channel on Patreon. That’s going to be it from me for now–thanks for watching.

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The Crime of the Century

October 17th, 1590. 1:24am. Naples, Italy.

“Bardotto. Wake up.”

I awoke to my shoulder being shaken and my master standing over me.

“Bardotto,” he repeated. “Fetch me some water, will you?”

Groggily, I arose from my bed. It was not unusual for master Gesualdo to wake me at this hour, but as I went to find his goblet, I noticed something amiss. There was a palpable tension in the air, and the front door was wide open, swinging gently with the wind. 

I shut the door before I returned to master Gesualdo and found him getting dressed. I set down the water and helped him don his jacket. “Where are you going, sir?”

He addressed me matter-of-factly. “I’m going hunting, Bardotto.”

“Hunting? What do you mean, sir? Isn’t it a bit early to leave for a hunt?”

He peered at me with a slight grin. “You’ll see what kind of hunting I mean.”

Still confused, I lit two torches and handed one to him. He reached down below his bed and withdrew a freshly-sharpened sword and arquebus, stowing each as he retrieved it. Standing upright and straightening his suit, master Gesualdo headed through the door and not to the entrance, but to the stairs leading upward. He beckoned for me to follow.

The ascent was hasty and the questions swimming in my mind were hushed by the deafening patter of our steps. My feet had never felt so heavy and my heart never so loud. Three armed men stood guarding the door to the room of Maria d’Avolos, Gesualdo’s wife, seemed to know exactly what was to come. They each looked at Gesualdo, and after a quick nod from him, turned and kicked down the door when we approached.

There were two shots. Screaming. The sound of blade penetrating flesh. Taunting. I don’t know how long it went on, but I couldn’t bear to watch; the servant Silvia and a nanny were outside the room with me, their wailing cries mixed in the din. An eternity passed before the three young men and Gesualdo emerged from the room, his hands covered with blood. The other three men departed, silent, blades sheathed, ostensibly to clean the blood off their uniforms. 

“Where is Laura, the matchmaker? I want to talk to her.” he addressed me, his voice calm and unquavering. I couldn’t take my eyes off the blood on his hands, and I couldn’t give him an answer. “I ask you again, where is Laura?” he asked again, his voice betraying his irritation. My mind was torn between giving him an answer and protecting Laura’s life.

“She’s not here, I don’t know–” I was interrupted by gargling from inside the room. One of them must still be alive. Gesualdo muttered angrily to himself and turned to re-enter. This time I followed.

It was Maria and her lover, Fabrizio Carafa, Duke of Andria. Carafa was moving very slightly, and I hoped Gesualdo didn’t notice, for my own sake. Brandishing his sword, Gesualdo continued to mutilate the bodies. Twenty-seven cuts on Carafa’s abdomen: one for each month that the affair had been going on. Maria was less lucky–most of her wounds were in areas that she might have wanted to keep covered, if she were still alive. 

Gesualdo ordered for the bodies to be set out into the streets for display, to show what might befall a couple who were unfaithful. I dragged the bodies down the hall, down the steps and out into the street. 

The clock struck two.

“Call a carriage for me, Bardotto.” Master Gesualdo addressed me as I returned. 

I was bewildered. “Aren’t you worried about repercussions, sir? Do you realize what you’ve done? You could be jailed, or put to death! What are you thi–”

“I don’t pay you to question what I do, Bardotto. I pay you to do as I say, and I’m ordering you now to order me a carriage.” He was calm and stern as we returned to his quarters. “Call the carriage before authorities arrive.” 

I sighed, defeated. “Where are you going, sir?”

“I’m going back to my family in Gesualdo to lay low. I’ll be back soon. You’ll see.” I called his carriage and he departed within the hour.

The bodies in the street raised some questions and the authorities were brought to question us the following day. By the time they arrived, master Gesualdo was long gone–to escape the retribution of friends and family that was to come. He was acquitted, his position as a noble protecting him from any legal punishment, and he later returned to continue his career as a composer.


Carlo Gesualdo is a classical composer from the 16th century, known mostly for this story. He is known as a violent and deeply-troubled man who cared for little more than music. After he returned from his self-imposed exile, he eventually remarried. 

His music was centuries ahead of its time, which may attribute to his lack of a mainstream following. He has virtually no other claims to fame.