Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Welcome SykoShadow to the Thoughtful Gamer(s) Blog!!

The Thoughtful Gamer is about to be renamed The Thoughtful Gamers, as my friend SykoShadow has joined the blog as a contributing author. In addition to the new author, the blog will now be displaying multiple blog posts per page; likely three but I am still playing around with this. Between 3-5 will be the final number, I imagine.

Re: Atheist Billboard in North Carolina Defaced - by Syko Shadow

Magx, in your Last Blog you made a very good point about how divisive the "Under God" graffiti on the secular billboard is, but you didn't bring up another issue in the story of the stupid motherfuckers defacing a billboard to get their jollies off insulting free speech:

Whenever someone like me from the ghetto does any form of graffiti, it's considered vandalism, labeling all graffiti artists as delinquents and thugs. Even if it's really good-looking art, like a mural or some real gangsta shit, it's looked down upon by mainstream America. However, when some dipshits with a box of Crayola scribble "Under God" on a secular billboard (NOTE: not atheist, simply secular. There is nothing atheistic in that billboard), the same people who previously got up-in-arms about ghetto graffiti are suddenly rallying behind this theistic outpouring of stupidity, despite the fact that the billboard incident is in fact an act of vandalism. I guess it's more than acceptable to be a fucking "delinquent" when you're trying to disparage minority groups, such as atheists. Or maybe it's just people in the ghetto who aren't allowed to pull shit like this. It wouldn't surprise me if such a double standard existed, especially if it is done so "under God."

Atheist Billboard in North Carolina Defaced. NEWSFLASH, PEOPLE: "One Nation Under God" is DIVISIVE!!!!

I was sent a news story by a friend over MSN tonight. The story is entitled 'Atheist billboard defaced on N.C.'s Billy Graham Parkway' and it can be found at the following link:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts2936?b

An excerpt from the story:


Unknown vandals unhappy about atheists' billboard in Charlotte, N.C., spray-painted "Under God" on the ad, the city's atheist association discovered Monday. The defaced message will remain in place until after July 4, the group reports, which is the soonest that workers can furnish a fresh billboard image. Here's how the vandalized billboard now looks:



The billboard reads, "One Nation Indivisible," which is the phrase preceding the 1954 insertion of the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, reports the Charlotte Observer's Tim Funk. The billboard was erected on Billy Graham Parkway last week. (Graham is, of course, the state's famous evangelical preacher.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Alpha Protocol Xbox 360 Review

Alpha Protocol Xbox 360 Review-
Choose Your Own Adventure



















Alpha Protocol is a 3rd person Action RPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by SEGA. The game has you assume the role of Michael Thorton, a newly recruited secret agent working for the top secret organization known as the Alpha Protocol.

Note: This Alpha Protocol Xbox 360 Review can also be found HERE.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit? Pt. 3

This is a follow up to THIS post, entitled "Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit? Pt. 2"

Some further discussion has taken place. A new comment from him, in response to the last one I gave (featured in part two of this (originally not intended to be a) series:


Then again I never studied psychology so thank you for elaborating. I just don't know how that general psychology or psychoanalysis as you pointed out helps any in the business world other than bettering someone as a person. I feel the same about art even though I am kind of an artist myself; I think it's totally useless unless you're actually going into art.

And my response to that was as follows:

Well, I'm not sure why you're using the business world as an endpoint (remember though, I still basically agree with your contention), but if that's the one you're going with, I suppose one could argue that, ina ddition to bettering yourself, as you pointed out, you could possibly use an understanding of the human psyche to aid yourself in processes like detecting falsehoods, guaging prospective employees, social networking, closing deals, etc.


Not that I really buy that (well, to some limited degree, sure) but I think that could be an argument. Although, if you remove the business world as the end goal, you have all sorts of ends: the sake of knowledge, interest, interpersonal relationships (famiial, marital, etc), professional endeavours (counselling), etc etc.

I was never a fan of it, but I don't think it's wise to write it off entirely (not that you or I are necessarily doing that).

If you compare real world benefits of something like your field and psychoanalysis, I think that the clear winner is your field. I think the argument could be made that of all areas of study, mathematics is probably the most important, as much as I hate(d) it.
What do you think? If you offered an opinion after part one and/or part two, does this have any bearing on your opinion at all? As always, feedback is mucho appreciado.

EDIT: Go back to part one to see a comment from this very same person. His original opinion is no longer one that he holds to the letter. I think we had a productive dialogue here. I also got his major wrong :(

Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit? Pt. 2

This is a follow up to THIS post, entitled "Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit?"

A bit more discussion has taken place. Him:

At the same time many psychological hypotheses are not testable and repeatable and that is a controversy in psychology. Modern psychology does use the scientific method a lot so that's why I consider it to be somewhat of a science. I totally agree with what you said about neuropsychology and evolutionary psychology but when I was talking about psychology being 'lame' I was talking about the main branch of psychology that most people study in college. I think it's kind of useless in the business world, not totally though.
And my response:

You're talking about psychoanalysis, and you're 100% right. However, I don't think that's the most studied branch of psychology. I think (at least, it was at the university I attended), that psychoanalysis was taught in intro psyc as a starting point, and also in history of psyc courses. I could be wrong though, as this is only based on one school. I can say that there are so many branches of psyc now that I feel confident thinking that it's probably no longer #1, and I DO know that it's an area of contention within pyschology itself.


When I studied psychology, I took courses on psychopharmacology, neuropsychology, psychology of health, psychology of sleep, personality, learning psychology, psychology of media, social psychology, behavioural pychology, cognitive beahvioural therapy, etc etc etc. The only times I ever really studied psycholanalytic theory was in intro pych (aka psyc 101 as it is commonly referred to) and in the 4th year borefest, history of psychology. I believe a bit of it was also covered in a philiosophy class I took, as some of it wasrelevant to some of the philiosophical ideas we studied, but the details of this are hazy.

Thanks for the eaboration though, and I must say (and I say this with no condescension, I swear) that this serves as an example of how we must be careful when we speak, as it is easy to totally screw up and have our message be misconceived. I mean, you stright up denigrated all of psychology, when really, you were taking issue with a paritucular area of study within it. There's a huge difference there, and I went from being a bit....well, off put to completely understanding and even agreeing (although we could both be wrong in our conceptions, and I am sure there are plenty of people out there who would like to alleviate us of our misconceptions!!!!) (and they'd probably have a big problem with me, having studied it and all lol).
What do you think? If you offered an opinion after part one, does this have any bearing on that at all? Mine might not, as it is merely a retread since I had already discussed psychoanalytic theory, but his comment probably will, as it represents further clarification on his end; clarification which changed the way I saw his original comment, and quite likely may for you as well.

As always, feedback is mucho appreciado.

Horror Story: Memories Along a Fault Line (Conclusion).

This is the second and final part. Part One can be found HERE

This vision however, was just that, although it was actually retroactive in nature; just her dreaming mind adding its bizarre touch on an already bizarre real occurrence. The skull and ring of fire were just the horrific embellishments of the dream state. The first transition during wakefulness, and the accompanied change in lovemaking behaviour, however, were not. Neither were the cackle and the wink, and these, in conjunction with the crazed look on his face and the sudden change, were so horrifying, that the fire skull would have added little to her terror.


Now her dreaming mind took her to early March, 1995.

Bonnie awakening in the night. Lying on her left side, facing Bobby's side of the bed, she opened her eyes and saw.....nothing. No sign of Bobby. Turning over so that she was in the Supine position, she sat up, and was met with a frightening sight that stopped her cold. Bobby was standing at the foot of the bed, only it wasn't Bobby. Whatever it was that was inside of him was standing at the foot of the bed, and it was brandishing a knife, and it was grinning maliciously.


Eyes wide, she surveyed the situation. He was standing about three feet in front of the bed. The doorway, and only exit, was behind him and to the right. She contemplated jumping off of the side of the bed and running for it, but she knew that he would easily be able to get to her, if of course that was his goal. Which, of course, judging by the knife in his hand and the malevolent look on his face, it was.

Get moving then, her mind, always the pragmatist, insisted, And do it now!

Bonnie, feeling her fear manifest itself as a lump in her throat and a cold sweat on her back, quickly slid off the left side of the bed and groped for the dresser, realizing that her best shot was distraction. She groped for something she could throw at him, and she knew she needed to be quick about it. Keeping her gaze fixed on what used to be her husband, she blindly reached until she got ahold of something. It was her jewellery box.

It'll have to do, she thought.

And so, she wound up and threw the wooden box directly at his (it's?) face, and at the same time, dove across the bed, jumped off and ran for the door. She reached the doorway and came to a dead stop, uttering a bloodcurdling scream.


Bobby/it had hold of her and he was cutting into the back of her neck with the knife.


Feeling more pain and terror than she had ever thought possible, she, acting on complete instinct, threw her head forward and simultaneously kicked backwards as hard as she could. Amazingly, she managed to slip free of his grasp and took of running down the stairs, with him bellowing after her.

And then her dream shifted to mid March.

Bobby in custody. Bonnie, having decided that she would ignore her rational mind and just give it a try out of desperation, ignored the psychologists and had approached the local Catholic priest, telling a tale that was met not with incredulity, but a solemn seriousness that both unsettled and oddly reassured her, despite her intellectual and critical objections.


And so here she was. Bonnie and Father Belham, thanks to a favour granted by their lawyer, in a room with a chained up Bobby, who was, much to her relief, in one of what Bonnie referred to as his refractory periods. This struck her as doubly fortuitous, as these periods were growing more and more infrequent.

Flash forward through the introductions, explanations, demurring, pleading, solemn warnings, and eventual reluctant acceptance, and her dream finds her at the moment of truth.

Father Belham bent over Bobby, head on his forehead, reading from the Bible. Bobby sat, eyes closed, playing his part. And, contrary to Bonnie's expectations, her terrified eyes were met not with the grandiose stuff of film and literature, but a calm, quiet proceeding that was over in minutes and featured no climax whatsoever. Father Belham continued as he was for a few minutes, stood, pulled Bobby's eyelids both downwards and upwards, and said a few words to him, and then, seemingly satisfied, he walked towards Bonnie, and, escorting her out of the interrogation room, explained to her that things should turn out alright.

Bonnie awoke, the dreams resonating with her, lingering, reminding her of the events of that year long period in their lives. Steadying her breathing, she reminded herself that those events were long over. Bobby had, after much bureaucracy, testimony, and psychiatric care (unnecessary but impossible to get anyone to believe that) returned home, although home was now Cleveland. They had left Pittsburgh, and the events there, far behind them.

(or did you?)

Bonnie ignored the thought. There was no reason to think otherwise. Bobby had been his normal self ever since.

(had he really Bonnie?)

Sure, there were little lapses in his usual demeanour at times, but after what he'd been through, who would expect otherwise?

(what about two nights ago, Bonnie?)

Bonnie shuddered. Images tried to penetrate her consciousness but she did not let them. Realizing that she had been unconsciously rubbing at the scar Bobby had left on the back of her neck, a constant reminder of that dark time, she stopped and rolled over, wanting to wrap her arms around Bobby and assuage the discomfort that she was now feeling.

Except Bobby wasn't there.

Bonnie looked out to the hallway, and saw a dim light. Listening, she heard the faint sound of slightly running water, and the occasional curious metallic clinking sound.

Sounds like something hitting porcelain, she thought. What the fuck? Is he shaving?

Perturbed, she climbed out of bed and left the bedroom. She walked down the hall, her nightgown billowing out around her, and as she approached the open door of the bathroom, she, just by sound, ascertained that he was indeed shaving. She was filled with unease.

Why is he shaving in the middle of the night?


(ah, a part of you knows already, Bonnie, a part of you knows)

Bonnie's arms broke out in gooseflesh, and she pulled her nightgown tight around her, and, with her arms crossed tight against her chest, and her breath held, she entered the bathroom, and when she was met with the scene inside she screamed the scream of the mad.

Inside the bathroom, Bobby, or whatever it was that was inside of his body, was standing at the sink, shaving, a malevolent gleam in his/its eye. The water ran red with blood.

Bobby, or whatever it was that was in his place, was slowly shaving off pieces of his/its face. He/it looked up, and, meeting Bonnie's horrified gaze in the mirror, shook bloody chunks of skin off of the straight razor and, realigning it, started to take a strip off of his/its right cheek.

Bonnie fainted, and Bobby/it went right on shaving.