Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. — Carl Sagan, Cosmos (1980)
I have always led a skeptical life for as far back as I can remember. Around the age of seven, living in suburbia Arkansas (are there truly suburbs in Arkansas, though?) I found myself bored and annoyed with all things church related. I dreaded waking up early, having to bathe on a non-school day (which is always a major source of irritation when you're in the single digit age group), dressing funny, and then sitting on a bench for what seemed like hours on end. I would weasel compromises out of my mother all the time in order to bring little toy cars — anything really to relieve the monotony.
All this to zone out while some old guy droned on about... Jesus or something or other.
I never really “got it” I suppose.
Even younger than that, I was always a little wary of Santa Claus and I don't remember it being a big ordeal when he turned out to be phony. Little to lose with so little invested.
Perhaps that explains my hawkish peeve with accuracy in other aspects of my life. It bugs me when people misquote me, mishear me, or otherwise inaccurately portray me. It's not just that I don't like my image/reputation besmirched by false statements about me, whether accidental or intentional, but that the truth is important. It's important to be accurate. At least, I'm the only one that ever seems to care.
Freedom means the right to be stupid. — Penn Jillette
I grew up middle class, eldest of two, with heterosexual parents that never divorced. I went to public schools. My father was more-or-less conservative. My mother, in the words of my father, was “knee-jerk liberal.” Mostly she didn't follow politics or care too much, hence the shallow and knee-jerk labels.
For the most part I tended to follow my father on things. His approach always seemed thoughtful, researched, and reasonable. Mostly, though, I didn't care. The finer intricacies of politics were lost on me for the simple fact that video games and the internet were far more appealing. And let them consume my attention I did.
The older I got, though, the more I took an interest. My political evolution has been slow and steady but probably predictable. From my father's seeding of conservative-leaning ideology, along with my general skepticism, I began to feel as though the big red R's didn't always fit quite right with me. I felt more and more that they weren't much different when all was said and done. I never could get behind any politician passionately, for there were always disconnects on specific topics.
I never really thought much of Penn & Teller growing up. I remember the occasional class during childhood using something of theirs for a fun science video. I remember later on seeing Bullshit! and liking that, if only because it was funny, vulgar, and provocative, yet surprisingly reasonable. Still, they were just interesting and amusing magicians for the most part.
And then one day while fiddling around idly on iTunes' podcast search I stumbled upon Penn Radio. Here were two guys just shootin’ the shit, ranting, laughing, covering odd news, current news, no news, and just generally having a good time. I was hooked instantly. These were the guys I wanted over at my house to sit in my living room all day talking about everything and nothing. We'd be such swell friends. It'd be just like college apartment living all over again.
But it was more than that. They were unabashed, unashamed, outspoken atheist libertarians. Whoa! What a concept.
As I warmed to the idea, they got me interested in the topics further. No more did it seem so radical or abrasive or taboo. I read more, I studied more, and I thought about things more. And here I am.
For some reason most people seem to be born without the part of the brain that understands pointers. — Joel Spolsky
Since I was young I’ve always been drawn to computers. It began with the original NES, but was cemented when we upgraded to a brand new Pentium 120 Mhz based machine (with a whopping 8 MB of RAM). I’ve been using computers non-stop since.
I always enjoyed tinkering with them, goofing off, and the internet was always an endless supply of amazement — or is that amusement? Programming was never specifically on my radar, but you rarely are thinking about careers when you’re that young.
Before college, my experience with any sort of “programming” was limited to various encounters throughout my younger years. Working on a personal AngelFire site? Check. Spending hours with RPG Maker? Check. Through everything I managed to pick up a wealth of knowledge about how computers work as well as some basics on things like markup languages and scripting.
In college, I wasn’t sure what to do but I knew I liked computers. I had an analytical mind (good at math), and everyone seemed to think I’d do “something in computers” so… one BS later, I find myself mired in intranet application development with .NET. Like a builder, I enjoy crafting works and seeing them come to fruition.
There's more to me than that, but I'll let individual posts elaborate.
Speaking of posts, maybe you’d prefer to know what my plans are for this blog itself?