Friday, April 20, 2007


Sitting here at the doctor's office. I'm like a professional escort for my family. Just drive people to their appointments, sit by my laptop and blog about everything.

My mum's in for her cough and something else, hopefully it's nothing. But man, our family as a whole has gotten so many doctor's visits in that we're likely adding wings to medical institutions. I really should get in the medical healthcare as a profession so that I can make some of it back.

So I'm going through my jumbled archive of American Baby, sorting it all in order so that I can print it into a book, and I realized how keeping the blog really helps me remember a lot of things that I've otherwise forgotten. Obviously, describing the day recounts some of those things, but it's the pedestrian things that I was thinking and doing while writing it that's also good for jogging those memories. But after about 5 minutes of cutting and pasting, along with the droney classical music that's seeping through the waiting room, I'm practically comatose. I need some stinkin' overtures to get me going, damn it.

Anyway, I had a thought about being evil. I think people in general like to think that evil is removed from our society, and that people like Cho are evil because they might have been abused, ignored, delusional, psychotic, what have you. They're always trying to pin evil on some kind of history that's deviant from the rest of us. That being evil is triggered by something dark and sinister, something horrible.

Was flipping through a Life Magazine Book (what?) yesterday and I came across many evils of mankind. There are some photos that reinforce humanity, but the ones that draw our attentions are the ones that linger around death. Just before death, the transition of it, or the aftermath of it. Of course, there's a lot of it that has nothing to do with the notion of evil, but there's a handful that certainly does. The evil that looms within the soul of an individual.

DOOOOOMMMM. DOOOOOMMMM! But seriously, I think getting people on camera to say that Cho was a weirdo, that he was antisocial, that he was this and that, are all ways of trying to distance him from the rest of us. Was he evil? Well, I would say yes. But I think only to a certain degree. I know my homebrew psychology doesn't amount to much, but here it is. I think he is evil in a sense that he did not regard the lives that he was going to affect.

But you read about him and some of it do ring true to home, I mean, most of us probably at some point didn't want to communicate with the world, just wanted to feel sorry for ourselves, and acted a little loco toward the opposite sex, right? Not to the extreme, but we think of it. There are times when we wished everyone in the room would just go away. Not die, but just to disappear for a while. Is that evil? Or is that just our ego trying to gain control over something that cannot be manipulated? We don't really like to acknowledge that the notion exists in any of us, and when it surfaces we like to squelch it with reasons.

Well, enough of that.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech

I think I've been a little bummed about life these past few days because of the massacre at VT. The shooting itself is upsetting, but it seems like the repercussions of it are making me a little agitated. It seems like everyone wants to use a tragedy to push their own agendas, and everyone's looking to blame somebody. I've been frustrated by some of the things that are going on, and I'm probably joining the masses in criticizing issues that I don't know enough about, but what else am I supposed to do with this blog?

The Media

The Media, specifically NBC, has really mishandled the whole tragedy, as it usually does. I don't blame the parents of Cho for vacating their homes for some sort of safehouse, because it's hard enough to lose your son, it's even tougher when your son is responsible for deaths. To have the media scrutinize your parenting is something I never wish any parent has to endure.

Last night I logged onto CNN and a photo of Cho, brandishing a gun toward me, was on the splash page. Now I myself don't particularly find that tasteful, because it fulfills exactly what Cho had wanted to do. To be elevated to a celebrity status, a martyr without a cause. Cho practically sent a press package to NBC, and NBC, for unknown reasons, decided to use portions of the videos and photos to a nation that's still trying to come to grips with it. A slap in the face for the families and the students at VT.

Furthermore, the media and authorities are just looking for answers and somehow falling into the trap of saying that he's delusional, he's a loner, a creep, and so forth. I don't know if he is a loser or not, but the media sure is giving Cho a lot of airtime. Like a misdirected classmate said, he's going to try to go on the air every chance he gets so that Cho doesn't get any airtime. Valiant effort, albiet a bit self-serving. But yeah, there was a bombing in Baghdad that killed scores a couple days ago. It's gotten very little coverage.

The media is a double edged sword - I mean, I'm guilty of scouring the net to find out more information, why, and how it happened. I suppose there should be better standards regarding the ethical glorification of any individual who's done something terrible. Cho absolutely got what he wanted. Exact violence, and be remembered for it.

The Gun Debate

Let it be known, that I do like to play with guns. At the gun range. I like the way they feel, I like shooting them, I like the inherent power within, I like their destructive power. However, I do not like to kill. I wouldn't go hunting, even if it were small game like birds or rodents. I like Futureweapons on Discovery Channel, but somehow my mind doesn't connect that these weapons are used for killing other human beings. Nonetheless, I think guns have their place in society, but only in the hands of law enforcement and military. There's a fear that citizens would be unable to arm themselves if the inevitable happened, whatever the hell that may be, but it's a paranoid assumption that a couple handguns in your home would protect anyone if The Threat really wanted to get you.

The current debate now is that if Virginia didn't have a law forbidding people with concealed weapons permit to carry guns on campus, the shooter might have been stopped sooner. The gun advocates like to point out the case of Luby's Diner in Texas, whereby a victim had a gun, but it was in her car because of the law. There is that assumption that she might have been able to stop what was until recently, the worse mass killing by firearms in America. However, that is still just an assumption. Another case, which I don't have the specifics now, was another shooting that was effectively stopped because two students/workers ran to their cars, brandished their firearms, managed to get the shooter to surrender.

All this sounds logical, but gun advocates also tend to forget that for every law-abiding, gun respecting American, there is a hot-tempered, judgment impaired American who really don't need to brandish anything sharper than the edge of a credit card. There was a shooting last year at Westlake Mall whereby this guy, who was threatening with a knife and was mentally unstable, was shot and killed by a man who had a permit. They ruled it as self-defense, but I think that might have been a little much. Excessive force is often used by law enforcement against people who pose little or no threat, we simply do not need everyone walking on eggshells. Allowing guns on the street "just in case" is really no different than the sentiment during the Cold War. And what fun that was.

The Videogame/Movie Debate

This isn't a new one, and yes, I like videogames. I have a certain bloodlust when it comes to Grand Theft Auto, Black, or God of War. They went through Cho's home and found no videogames, and Jack Thompson had to put his megaphone back into his closet.

Unless there was someone going around throwing videogames at other people, I can't find the argument that videogames inspire people to kill. By that rationale, shouldn't millions of people be going around with antisocial mindsets, killing everyone with chainsaw guns? And yes, videogames in the wrong hands of children may confuse their sense of reality and escapism, but on the whole, it would take a lot of neglect on the guardian or parents part to not instill a sense of right and wrong about videogames.

On the whole, I don't think videogames and movies have much bearing on violence in schools. They're just an easy target because nobody can effectively blame our society as a whole. Nobody can blame how a child can feel so alone. Nobody can blame why a child doesn't have a circle of friends and family that can be trusted. Nobody can blame the lack of community that binds people together.

The Fallout

Thankfully, I haven't heard of any real severe backlash toward Koreans, but there are a handful. Kids being spat on, stupid phrases like, "go home to your country" being uttered. I think it's hard though, that Cho is a silent, brooding, shy type that is a little off and antisocial, because that was me 10 years ago. I was probably funnier that he ever wished to be, and I think his scriptwriting skills are crap, but hell, Cho managed to fit the profile of a lot of Asians. I wonder racists ever got around to spitting on White People's faces when the Unabomber or McVeigh were revealed to the public. Absurd? Yeah.

This whole thing has touched off so many issues and it's frustrating because we are a nation already burdened with too much unnecessary blood on our hands. Well, enough politics. I just needed to get all these thoughts out of my head.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Saddest Photo in the World

Okay, I took a photo while they were crying. Get over it. I couldn't resist because it was cute.

Basically, they weren't playing nicely, so my wife told them to sit next to each other and to hug each other until they could get along. They cried while holding each other and I just had to indulge myself. I photoshopped a lot of Alex's face because of his owies.

2X Monday

Today's theme was double the fun. When my Mom sent me out for KFC, it wasn't until the drivethrough until I realized that I hadn't brought my wallet. Luckily, I was able to pull out before we had another baby. Wait. No, luckily, I hadn't ordered yet, so I drove home, got my wallet, and went back to KFC.

Then later that night, I went to Blockbuster, and was a bit excited that I had rented the newish Godfather Wii game. So I went home, pulled up the chair, and opened the case to see Wii Sports staring back at me. I called them and I had to bring it back, and I even had to explain to them that they've been ripped off, that Wii Sports was a literally free game that came with the console, and their new game was the last customers problem. I ended up with Marvel Alliance or something, which wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be.


Watched Children of Men yesterday and thought it was really good. So it came as a surprise to me when I went to the IMDB forums and some people, probably kids who cite Bloodrayne as their favorite movie, completely pan the movie. I think that the movie was one of the best yet, a very great sci fi movie without the sci-fi elements that usually turn me off the genre. Just trying to imagine a world without children or babies being born is enough of a premise. But seeing the long takes that are sometimes aided with CG, sometimes not, but never getting in the way of the movie, is just a involving experience. If you haven't seen this movie, go see it. It's a movie that says so much about humanity in so little words.


So I've been trying to settle on a photo management/editor alternative. Just thinking that I should do something with some of the photos that I have, and having used Aperture to correct a bunch of photos that I shot during yesterday's 18th birthday party that my friend's daughter had, I thought that I should probably do more with some of the great pics that I do have.

Right now I use iView Media Pro, and I do like it. Great organization, fairly responsive, does a variety of tasks that I do like. However, the image editor just sucks, and even if I could edit it in Photoshop, I would have to sort it back into the batch. It's not impossible, but not easy either.

I liked using Aperture, but that thing is such a memory and process hog. Using it just slows everything down, and I can't even use it on the Mac Mini because it's simply not fast enough. Furthermore, it's got no discernable organization tool or indicator that tells you how much space you've used, so backing up's kinda a pain. It's a little too much for what I do, but I do like two things about it. A strong, non-destructive editing interface built in, and versions. I am able to mess around and keep versions and masters separate. That I like.

iPhoto is for babies. I don't use that. I always think I'm missing something but like Aperture, it's a memory hog with very basic tools.

Anyway, just talking out loud.