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Retro Gaming Expo 2019 — Missed a Meeting for This

Retro Gaming Expo 2019

It has been well over a week since I was at the Retro Gaming Expo in Fisher Mall and then uploaded the vlog, so I got to think over everything I saw and experienced over 4 hours of being there while getting myself hopped up on caffeine and other legal stimulants. You should be able to sense the weird mix of enthusiasm and dejection from the vlog as I alternated between having fun looking at retro gaming stuff and getting pissed at something else.

While I was there, I was being pestered to go to some meeting in Greenhills, and I was becoming less and less interested as I wanted to get more footage. Then again, that’s just what happens when I’m being forced out of my house against my will. It may not have been the best way to handle it, but I’m quite pleased with the results.

This blog is about the details that were either omitted from the vlog or need more explanation.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in both the vlog and this post were based mostly on my first-hand experience while attending the event. If I get anything factually wrong, it wasn’t on purpose and I’m open to corrections. Reader discretion is advised.

Retro Gaming Expo Notes

I was going to do the same format as previous event vlogs like that of Cosplay Matsuri 2017, with actual review bits in between shenanigans kept in 15 minutes, but I felt too lazy to write a script and record voice-overs. I didn’t feel like scheduling the video on Wednesday with the risk of never finishing it at all like previous events I attended but ended up not releasing vlogs on.

I might finish editing the raw footage for those and just upload them as throwbacks at this point. It’s still content, after all.

So I ended up with a half-hour vlog with me mostly shittalking about whatever I saw there. To my mild surprise, I actually a pretty good response from people who saw it from me having shared it on Aya Ezmaria’s Facebook group. It’s quite encouraging and I’m already looking forward to the next convention.

Either Sticker CON on March 16 or Manila International Auto Show on April 4. Hopefully, I attend both if nothing else gets in the way. There’s also Cosplay Carnival on March 23, but I won’t be able to go to that one.

For those who don’t know what my vlogging setup is, it’s just an SJCAM M20 action camera mounted onto a Zoom H1 portable audio recorder. The camera is also hooked up to a power bank for longer recording, and I usually dick around for around 2 to 3 hours on the event floor.

I also took B-roll with my Nikon D5100 with a Sigma 24mm super wide lens, but that footage went unused because I’m an indolent twat.

The footage and audio is then loaded and synced up in the video editor and cut up to show the bits where I actually say something roughly interesting.

And boom, that’s how I make event vlogs, for the most part.

Got Feedback?

Have something to say? Do you agree or am I off-base? Did I miss a crucial detail or get something wrong? Please leave whatever reactions, questions, or suggestions you may have on the comment section below.

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No One is an Exception

Zhang Jiale: Taho Thrower

The last two weeks have been rather weird for me. I came out with that vlog for Retro Gaming Expo on the Facebook page and got a good number of positive reactions to it, which is gratifying. However, my desire to record more AVDRshows was hampered by indecision and anxiety as I planned to have one on current events (from three weeks ago). Unfortunately, I sat on it for too long and it’s no longer relevant, so I now salvage what I had by putting it all here.

My uncertainty with what I wanted to say on the chosen topics compelled me to write a script to follow. I figured out that if I put my phone right beside the camera, I can use it as a teleprompter. Therefore, I wrote a long script that necessitated revisions, thus prolonging the process. Soon enough, I felt that making the damn thing would be a waste as it was no longer relevant.

This is a common thing for me. While it would be indeed good to have a schedule I follow and crank out shows, no matter what, the possibility of getting facts wrong in any segment kept me from just jumping on hot issues as quickly as possible. I’d still rather get it right than get it out fresh. This is something I’ll have to contend with as I slowly ramp up my content creation efforts.

In the meantime, I hope you get something out of this blog post, if you do choose to read it. Thank you.

Link Between EDSA Ambush and Auto Repair Shop Fire

On February 17, at around 3:30PM, a businessman and his driver were killed and a woman was wounded in an attack by motorcycle-riding assailants along EDSA near Reliance St in Mandaluyong.

The businessman was Jose Ruiz Yulo, 63. He was dead on arrival at the hospital. It was most likely a hit.

Image result for jose ruiz yulo

On related news, the day after the attack, the AutoPlus branch in EDSA near White Plains Ave went up in flames. AutoPlus is a repair shop for “luxury cars.” Look at all those poor cars.

At first, upon hearing of the fire, it seemed like an isolated incident. But then, someone linked me something, and it clicked. Apparently, the murdered businessman owns this auto repair shop. He must have made some powerful enemies.

AutoPlus Fire Aftermath

This shit does tend to happen. For instance, there was another businessman who was killed just across the street from here. Rumor is his ex-wife was the one who arranged that hit. Stories like that are plentiful here in my neighborhood. Hitmen get a lot of business from rich people wanting to kill each other around here.

Before you think I’m looking to get hit myself, just know I’m talking about this to warn people about making enemies, so I’m actually doing you people a favor. People here are a fidgety bunch. You look at someone or talk to them a certain way they don’t like, they just go, “Tangina, ang yabang niya.” Then they seethe and brood, they become passive-aggressive towards you, and before you know it, they want you dead.

Man Killed by Hitman in T. Alonzo Food Store

You’d think going up to those people and directly addressing problems to them is the right way to go? Unfortunately, most people would take that as a personal attack. In an ideal world, that would be the way to go. That’s how I would prefer it.

Then again, it’s never about what’s right for them. It’s about what’s comfortable. And it’s comfortable to hate someone from afar. I don’t know if that has anything to do with the ambush, but that’s what you get from this blog.

Train Stations Not Allowing Liquids

Let’s talk about the liquid ban in train stations here in Metro Manila. The development of this news has been rather interesting, to say the least, over the past few weeks.

For those who are not aware, the train authorities implemented a liquid ban after the horrific church bombings in Jolo. But why do they have to confiscate your Mountain Dew before entering the station?

Even baby formula was not being allowed when the liquid ban was first implemented. Now that’s just ridiculous. It’s only a matter of time until security jobs get automated, so these schmucks should somehow prove that they’re human being with brains capable of consideration and empathy, not just doing their jobs completely by the book like robots with no compromise.

Image may contain: candles and text

If that’s the only way security can be enforced, then they should just be replaced by actual robots. That’s going to be a reality soon enough, even here in the Philippines.

I understand how strict train security can be. I’ve had at least three knives confiscated in train stations, including my old baton knife. I do miss that thing, but I’m surprised I didn’t get arrested for carrying it. Must be because I look middle class as fuck.

Concern for Explosives

They’ve since revised these regulations to allow liquids for small children, as well as medications and hydration for sick and disabled people. They also state their reason here on why they no longer allow most liquids in trains.

“Nitroglycerin is oily and clear, so if it is poured in an opaque lotion bottle, no one would know what is inside.”

Oily, most likely as in it has stabilizers in it. Pure nitroglycerin is incredibly volatile. If you agitate it even just a little bit, it goes ka-fucking-boom right in your face. Nowadays, there are stabilizers to make it less volatile. Good thing too since it’s also used as medicine for heart conditions. Nitroglycerin is a vasodilator that can be used to treat angina of the chest.

How can nitroglycerin be brought in to blow a train up? Well, you can stick wires into that liquid and press the switch or set the timer to blow it up. Nitroglycerin is pretty potent stuff.

Back in the day, there were no liquid stabilizers for it, so people were handling pure nitroglycerin and getting their hands and heads blown off left and right. They mostly used it in the mining industry to move earth.

It was crucial, yet incredibly dangerous. But they had to use it since the only other explosive substance available was black powder, and that wasn’t powerful enough to do what nitroglycerin did unless they use a whole lot of it.

Then an Swedish chemist and engineer named Alfred Nobel came up with a solution to make nitroglycerin much less volatile. His younger brother Emil had been killed in Stockholm due to nitroglycerin, so he had vested interest in this endeavor.

What he came up with was soaking up the liquid with a pliant substance called kieselgur, also known as diatomaceous earth. It’s fossilized algae that works a lot like a sponge. It soaks up the nitroglycerin and makes it a lot less volatile. You can throw it around without it blowing up, and the only way to make it explode in that state is to put an electrical charge through it.

Alfred Nobel had previously invented the blasting cap and his own detonator, so he had all the tools for creating a commercial explosive that was safe enough to handle. His invention was named dynamite and he became a very rich man. But he later lamented how it was then used as a weapon of war, and he become known as “a merchant of death.”

In repentance, he allocated most of his fortune to establish an annual prize for people who advance humanity, regardless of nationality. We now know it as the Nobel Prize. A little bit of trivia there.

This renewed interest in preventing bombs being directed to prohibiting liquids is weird since the explosives used in the Jolo church bombings were reportedly ammonium nitrate pipe bombs—basically fertilizer.

Ammonium nitrate fuel oil, or ANFO, is what’s primarily used these days to move earth. ANFO has more of a pushing force, making it great for moving heavy debris aside.

Nitroglycerin has more of what’s called brisance, which is breaking force. They’re best for tearing holes into stuff. RDX is an evolution of this, being the most energetic and brisant of military explosives, and it’s used for C4 charges.

TOTSE

I learned a little bit about explosives back in my younger days when I was still enamored by texts like the Anarchist Cookbook, Che Guevara’s Guerilla Warfare, and the original Temple of the Screaming Electron website. It was also the early days of 4chan, and you should know what kind of shenanigans are possible in that hellsite. I’ve long since outgrown that stuff.

I talk about this stuff here for educational purposes. Now you should know why people are getting so serious about this liquid ban.

Chinese Lady Throws Taho at Cop

Of course, many were unhappy about this new regulation. But perhaps the unhappiest was this lady who was so vexed that she felt that she had to make her feelings known. This happened back in February 9, and pretty much everyone in the country have caught wind of this bit of viral news.

Here’s footage of incident. The taho thrower was taken into custody, and then made an example of. As of this writing, she is up for deportation as an undesirable alien.

Image result for zhang jiale taho

This wasn’t the entrance, but the turnstiles. She was able to enter the station with the foodstuff to begin with. I’m not aware of stalls in train stations that sell taho, but I could be wrong. How was she able to bring the taho in to begin with. Where did she buy that, at the station itself or from outside?

Whatever it was, she was most likely warned about it and told to put it away. She must have gotten mad and taken offense. Thus turning her taho into a projectile. Unfortunately, her target was a police officer. It was never going to end well.

Too bad, she actually looks kinda cute. Apparently, she’s 23 years old and is here in the country as a freshman student, taking up fashion design. She now serves jail time for direct assault, disobedience to agent or person in authority, and unjust vexation.

Yeah, unjust vexation, one of the weirdest, yet also most interesting of Philippine laws. You can be charged for being stupidly pissed at something. That’s just so Filipino. Asar talo, kumbaga.

This kind of shit makes me feel bad. I’m also a Chinese citizen (technically) and I’m a hot head. Yeah, I haven’t thrown taho at a police officer, but I’ve almost done similarly stupid things.

Mind you, I’m not a mainlander. I was born and raised here in the PH, so I share most people’s feelings regarding mainlanders—Chinese people fresh off the boat, straight from red fucking China. With no manners and no respect, crowding like fucking locusts.

Yes, I can be racist towards my own race.

I should talk in the future about Chinese people and the difference between Filipino-Chinese and mainlanders. I don’t think a lot of you people are actually aware of the distinctions.

Train Stations Now

They’re making the regulations a bit more reasonable. They’re now allowing liquids less than 100mL, which is barely enough to wet your lips on your long journey through hot and humid Metro Manila. 7-11 must be making a killing these days from increased beverage sales.

Before you keep complaining about how they’re being too needlessly strict with train security, take note of this recent news. It may not be today, or tomorrow, or even next week, but these things do happen.

CAUGHT WITH GRENADE. Christian Guzman, 29, is caught with a tape-wrapped grenade at MRT3 Cubao station in the evening of February 23, 2019. MRT photo

On the other hand, people also do tend to quip on how sedate the security guards can be with their searches. They make you open the zipper, get a stick in there, maybe look in there for a bit, then let you move on. This is in malls, train stations, restaurants, and other public establishments.

Well, let’s flip it around. If you’re there searching bags and people every single day for 8-12 hours each shift, and a vast majority of them have nothing dangerous with them like knives, guns, explosives, and so on, you too will start doing that—just going through the motions.

But that’s usually fine because the bag searches function mostly as deterrents. They help filter people who may intend to do harm in the establishment, which is a very small percentage.

I’m not an expert in this, but I’ve had knives confiscated from me in MRT-3 Cubao and LRT-2 Santolan stations. I don’t intend to do harm since I use these things as tools mostly; I’ve never used them as weapons. But they don’t know that, so when they find one on me, they have to confiscate it, even if I change my mind and no longer want to ride the train.

If they start doing better checks like in airports, people will complain more since these are establishments people go through all the time; unlike airports wherein most people may go through there once or twice in their entire lives. But when something does happen, like a bombing in a mall, they’ll start complaining about security not doing enough checks.

Most people don’t want to be inconvenienced. But the thing is security guards don’t want to bother either. They’ll do the bare minimum most of the time to get through their shifts and get paid for doing their jobs. It’s tough work, and having to deal with people throwing negativity at them doesn’t help either.

We may not think much about it these days, but shit like this has happened before. Seems like a long, long time ago, so let’s keep it that way. Please.

Measles Outbreak in Metro Manila

The measles outbreak happening right now here in Metro Manila is a travesty. But perhaps unknown to most people, this has actually been going on for years now. There have been people who are either distrustful or simply unreceptive to vaccination and medical science for quite some time now.

But I don’t think this is like the anti-vaxxing movement in America, with the fear of autism and such. Perhaps it’s more of either the expense or the sheer haughtiness of the whole thing that turned many people away from vaccination.

Child vaccinations are mostly free, thanks to efforts throughout the years to bring inoculation to the most unfortunate. However, people like to not trust the government and powers-that-be, even in things done with actual good intent.

I’m not the only content creator talking about this. Gloco made a video about this. He graduated from nursing, so he’s more qualified than I am in talking about this issue. But he didn’t have as much awareness of the Dengvaxia controversy that led to this measles outbreak. I’m not that well-read about it myself, but i’ll try to give a brief rundown.

Dengvaxia Controversy

French vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur (this is an organization, not a person) came up with Dengvaxia. We have a vaccine for dengue fever now. Good.

This vaccine gets distributed to countries that approve its commercial sale. The Philippines was the first Asian country to do so, approved by the previous Aquino administration. Filipinos sorely need it, dengue fever is quite a motherfucker. A physics professor of mine died from it, and I myself was hospitalized for it back in 2009.

Then in late November 2017, Sanofi Pasteur put up an advisory, stating that Dengvaxia may pose higher risk to people who haven’t had prior dengue infection. Subsequently, a dengue vaccination drive in a school got suspended by the Department of Health, and things snowballed from there.

Sanofi Pasteur was accused of making Filipinos their guinea pigs to test the vaccine, but this was denied. Brazil had also gotten the vaccine as well, and they didn’t seem to have problems with it. The advisory was merely a precautionary statement, but it may have been taken differently. Very differently.

The FDA then ordered Sanofi Pasteur to stop distributing Dengvaxia. Various politicians from all sides then started to stick their heads into the ever-growing mess. The health scare became heavily politicized.

But shit really got thoroughly fucked when it was being reported that children started dying from dengue symptoms during this time. Their parents blamed the deaths on the vaccine, although some of them were actually not aware of whether their children had been injected with Dengvaxia in the first place. How is that even possible?

It was never scientifically confirmed that Dengvaxia was the cause of the internal hemorrhaging that caused these deaths. It was more likely that they already had dengue. Remember, this is a vaccine, not a cure.

Things then really became a mess when the Public Attorney’s Office got into what had already become public outrage. Persida Acosta expressed anger for the “medical malpractice” and filed criminal charges against the health officials of the Aquino administration that approved the distribution of Dengvaxia in the first place.

She now blames Sanofi Pasteur for having caused the shitstorm. Meanwhile,

Better Safe Than Sorry

That was what I could dig up, so I can’t guarantee my information is 100% accurate. But suffice to say, this got people really scared of vaccines.

Most of this anti-vaccine sentiment likely comes from a misplaced “better safe than sorry” mindset that makes them think avoiding those vaccines would be less harmful since they’re not entirely sure what can happen when their children do get injected with them.

I’ve written a bit about this “better safe than sorry” way of thinking. I see these parents as well-meaning idiots—they only want their children to be safe, but they’re not fully aware that getting those vaccines would be better for them than avoiding them due to misplaced fear and paranoia.

Here’s an anecdote. The significant other of a friend of mine—I won’t mention who—shared this viral post on Facebook about canned goods in Thailand have been rumored to contain HIV. Not only does HIV not work that way at all, but the news item itself was from a very questionable website. It was undeniably fake news.

She was notified of her error, at which she responded with a firm “BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY,” which we had rather not contend further to not offend her feelings that time. But there it was, that misguided “better safe than sorry” mindset that I can also see from these anti-vaxxer parents.

Where the fear comes from is understandable, but it’s quite exasperating. Now we have a measles outbreak because there were enough parents who didn’t want their kids to be vaccinated. Then those kids got measles, and they passed it on to more kids who don’t have immunity, and it soon spread. In this case, like wildfire.

And children are actually dying from it. Because measles is not a trifle, especially to children, as it compromises the immune system. The whole Dengvaxia fiasco doesn’t help. It only confirmed the fears of those parents, and they must have told other parents to err on the side of caution and not have their own kids vaccinated, thus further compounding the problem. The whole thing is such a confounding mess.

The Philippines isn’t the only one that got Dengvaxia. Brazil also approved the vaccine, and they have more problems with their government than worrying about whether a vaccine killed children. The conclusion in this article says it best.

“It is evident how the inability of experts to effectively communicate with the public and the inability of the public to understand and base their conclusions according to scientific data sparked a controversy that could severely damage public health.

It is not Dengvaxia that kills people. Rather, it is the politicization of the vaccine, the lack of proper communication, and the inadequate understanding of the public that continues to put millions of lives at stake.”

“Being pro-vaccine is to support a system that profits by keeping people sick.”

Let’s get more into anti-vaxxers, these wastes of bones and organs. I’m starting to understand why they feel the way they do, but they still deserve to choke on their own spit every time they take a breath.

A lot of them believe what they believe because of the pharmaceutical industry—Big Pharma. There is some truth in how they want to keep us sick in order to profit from our misery. Sure, I can believe that.

But in regards to vaccines, it’s not exactly the same thing. Again, most childhood vaccines are free, thanks to our taxes. Sure, Big Pharma profits from that too, but when kids die from refusing vaccines, that’s long term loss of future customers.

Some of these people then put forth that the measles outbreak may have been planned. Under what pretext? To sell more vaccines? Perhaps.

But there’s already a panic, parents have lost their children, and vaccines are not cures—they’re preventative measures. This conspiracy seems plausible, but falls apart under scrutiny. The premise with the Big Pharma narrative is they would never sell a cure to a horrible disease like cancer or HIV, only quick fixes to get them to the next dose and stay alive a while longer.

That is plausible, but I’ve thought about it further. I’ve realized that it’s quite flimsy. Let’s say a pharmaceutical company does come out with a cure for cancer. What happens then?

For one thing, they become the Apple of pharmaceutical companies. Their stocks will rise to astronomical heights and their reputation will be at its absolute best. The PR points a company can get from that are invaluable.

Also, the demand for the cure will be incredible. They can sell that at a premium and earn more money than they ever will. People would sell their own houses and empty their fortunes for a cancer cure. You really think they would never come out with a cure because they actually earn more from quick fixes?

Do you have any idea how much they’re really investing in finding a cure? Can you think long term?

Also, once they’re cured of cancer and go on to live longer, there’s a chance they’d get sick again. Companies can still earn from them. Only mortuaries and cemeteries earn from the dead.

Insurance companies certainly would love for a cancer cure to exist.

So-Called Alternatives, Like Chickenpox Parties

You people also tout catching the disease to “earn immunity” is better than vaccination. Okay, let’s look deeper into this bending over backwards in logic.

Getting sick to get less sick? People have weird ideas about sickness, most of them not good.

Getting sick is never good. When you get sick, you become susceptible to getting sick with something else, and the higher chance you get of dying.

This is exactly the case with measles, which is why children are dying from it. It’s not directly from the measles, but from complications due to their underdeveloped immune systems being compromised. Also, the more children get sick, the less chances they grow up healthy and strong. Hasn’t history taught us enough about people who grow up physically inadequate due to a sickly childhood?

Even with other diseases like chickenpox, some parents would take their children to these “chickenpox parties” to “earn their immunity,” which is ill-advised. Once you get past the chickenpox, it’s not really over yet. The vericella-zoster virus would still be in you, residing in the nerve tissue of your spinal cord, and it can reactivate to give you shingles. It’s not known to be life-threatening, but it has been known to be very painful. It will hurt. It will suck.

You will curse yourself and your parents for not getting booster shots. Like I will if I ever get it. Wouldn’t it be better if you’re vaccinated instead?

Here’s an example of the absolute extreme. A leukemia patient having gone into remission, only to die by complications from measles. Unfortunately, chemotherapy does compromise your immune system. The measles definitely exacerbates that. I lost two friends to leukemia, so this makes me feel bad.

I swear, you people will only be convinced of your error in logic once polio makes a comeback. When your children grow up wheelchair-bound, then maybe you’ll just change your mind. Maybe.

Conspiracy Mentality

Children in particular can’t make the choice to vaccinate, so parents do it for them. Unfortunately, some of those parents are taken by the so-called harm of vaccines.

It’s to the point that some run into the cognitive dissonance of their children dying from these easily-preventable diseases, only to state that it was better than “poisoning their children.”

We’re getting back to the olden days, when infant mortality was commonplace.

I personally think these anti-vaxxers, flat earthers, etc. do it because of the mix of ignorance and ego brought on by the conspiracy mentality.

What is the Conspiracy Mentality?

“I know something most people don’t. The establishment is against us, but I know better. I’m enlightened by this information. I’m not stupid like everyone else, so they can’t fool me.”

One of the problems of this is most of the people taken by this mentality are no different from the sheep they profess to not be. They’re into it because they’re a part of a greater whole who supposedly “rebel against the system.”

Being a part of a community of enlightened individuals who can see past the smoke and mirrors put up by the mainstream—the Woke. There is a comfort of being a rebel.

Like this anti-seatbelt advocate who later died in a car crash. Most would think of it as karmic justice, but he’s not the only one who thinks the nanny state is the greatest evil and citizens should be allowed self-determination, despite the logic behind most regulations.

Unfortunately, thoughtless bureaucracy takes much away from necessary regulation. People ask for it when something bad happens, then someone who wasn’t there think it’s unnecessary. Then enough people die and it’s asked for again, and then the cycle repeats.

Weaponized Ignorance

What I’m trying to do here is parse how these people are able to reject scientific fact to substitute their own. Yes, I come into this not as a neutral voice, but with bias against them.

I was once like them for a brief time, and I now see little to no point in self-censorship when it comes to calling them out for their ignorance other than that it makes you an obvious detractor, after which they can label you a corporate shill.

Well, then so be it. To that end, let’s try to define what they’re doing.

What’s the definition of stupidity? Not being smart enough to know you’re stupid.

The same goes with ignorance. That’s pretty much how it is to be ignorant—being ignorant of your own ignorance. A lack of self-awareness. Coupled with ego, ignorance and stupidity can be weaponized, just as the anti-vaxxing movement and many other “anti-establishment” groups have.

Let’s take this further. What is the definition of insanity? Doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.

Let’s now combine insanity and stupidity, which is more or less what those people are under.

The definition of insane stupidity—Doing something proven to be wrong over and over again and expecting to get it right.

That, coupled with the incorrect notion of “better safe than sorry” that I previously established, and we have ourselves a very dangerous mix. This exacerbates the spread of misinformation on the Internet, which then makes it grow even larger and more toxic.

For the most part, I go with the science. Mind you, that science can later be overturned with better findings, as we’ve seen in fields like nutrition (that’s for another video). But with the topic of vaccination, it has proven to work, as we’ve seen with what happens when people stop having them.

Please get your kids vaccinated. Get yourself vaccinated as well, if you haven’t yet. And give a skyward salute to Edward Jenner and Jonas Salk afterwards.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking of getting a new MMR shot because while I’ve had measles and chickenpox before, I’ve not had mumps yet. I don’t want to have my salivary glands blow up like balloons. I also don’t want to have to deal with the slim chance of becoming sterile.

That. Will. Not. Do.

Pardon me for getting preachy, but proper education is the vaccine against this form of stupidity. Educating the masses properly creates herd immunity against bullshit, similar to how vaccines creates herd immunity against diseases.

People latch onto things like anti-vaxxing, flat earth, chemtrails, and so on as a belief system, like with religions, political alignments, and so on. This is tribalism at its most perplexing. You know what the thing is about belief systems? They’re BS.

Personally, my vaccine against stupidity is what the late writer Robert Anton Wilson had espoused—being agnostic about everything. The key is to never rest. You will never be always right. Keep learning. Keep checking facts. It’s like checking one’s ego; it’s like sweeping the floor—you have to do it everyday.

That is discipline.

Image result for Papa Nurgle

You gotta hand it to them anti-vaxxers. They’re doing Papa Nurgle’s work, spreading plague and pestilence to all. In death, there is life. Upon decay of the living, other lifeforms like bacteria, viruses, and carrion-feeders thrive.

The death toll of the current measles outbreak has reached 203 as of February 22. Meanwhile, the developers of the game Plague Inc. have added anti-vaxxers in the game.

Good job. The Lord of Decay is pleased.

No One is an Exception

I conclude this with something I saw on Facebook long ago. Back when Humans of New York was at the peak of its popularity.

“People like to make exceptions of themselves. They hold other people to moral codes that they aren’t willing to follow themselves.

For example, people tend to think that if they tell a lie, it’s because it was absolutely necessary. But if someone else tells a lie, it means they’re dishonest.

So never make an exception of yourself. If you’re a thief, don’t complain about being robbed.”

Got Feedback?

Have something to say? Do you agree or am I off-base? Did I miss a crucial detail or get something wrong? Please leave whatever reactions, questions, or suggestions you may have on the comment section below.

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On the Perplexing Inability to Not Be a Turbo Fanatic

Neckbeard

Spending time in the martial arts space is kind of like being in a school playground. Imagine you’re at the swings, and everyone brags about their own way of pushing the swings to make it swing higher. But who really gives a shit about that playground stuff? Nothing about it matters in the grand scheme of things. However, it’s this perplexing seriousness and tendency to care about what doesn’t really matter that I’d like to talk about here.

It’s not limited to the testosterone-driven martial arts world. The same phenomenon can be seen in many other niches and aspects of life, civilized or otherwise. I’d like to touch upon this black hole, which has gotten a million times wider with the advent of the Internet and social media. Just like how flat earthers and anti-vaxxers now have an outlet for their lunacy, these fanatics are able to stretch their crazy out as far as they can possibly go through a multimedia approach.

Martial Arts

Discussions with other martial artists tend to descend into either one of two possibilities—a circlejerk or a shitstorm. If you’re talking to a student of a school of martial arts different from yours, the chances are you’ll soon get into a verbal sparring match with that person regarding what approach is more effective and more “martial artsy.”

Since martial artists who train in respective systems have those particular applications drilled into them, most aren’t able to move past their programming. There are more than a few ways to skin a cat, but a lot of fanatics of their own systems tend to see their own approach as superior to everything else.

It’s like how fans of Dark Souls games get epileptic seizures when they see someone “playing the game wrong.”

Unfortunately, most of the mandatory education system doesn’t teach critical thinking that well, so there are a lot of people out there who don’t have the requisite open-mindedness and ability to connect dots and parse subtleties and nuances to facilitate civil discussion.

Also, it’s because most practitioners get into it and/or stick around to be part of a tribe. Mind you, tribalism is both a good thing and a bad thing, but most people get it mixed up. It’s just a microcosm of everything else that’s problematic in this world.

It does keep things interesting, though.

I remember commenting on a thread in a martial arts Facebook group last year on what’s the best starting point for most people who want to get into martial arts for self-defense. I presented my hypothesis.

In my opinion, the framework of sprawl-and-brawl with good defensive grappling may be a good starting point for most able-bodied people. You get a base of solid striking and some grappling experience to learn how to stand back up when you ever get taken down. You can then build from there, hopefully learning good habits along the way for surviving violent encounters.

My reasoning for this isn’t simply efficacy, but also accessibility of training establishments. Since boxing and MMA gyms are becoming more plentiful, they’re the most available options for the majority (given that you can afford it). I thought it seemed reasonable.

A few minutes later, some dude professing to be a practitioner of Filipino martial arts replied about how mixed martial arts is not the best foundation as it doesn’t address every possible scenario (the usual schtick on multiple attackers and weapons) and how FMA is better for learning fundamentals for self-defense.

I then asked him where can most people learn FMA. He answered with the people he knows. I thought it sounded like a marketing answer, so I reiterated my question on whether most people can learn from that. He resigned with a “No.”

The question was about “most people.” Accessibility to learning is a significant factor when it comes to these things. That’s why I came up with my hypothesis as it factors in availability of basic martial instruction. Also, there’s that thing about how many traditionalists (from striking-based arts) are still allergic to grappling.

That pretty much takes you out of the discussion, in my opinion.

gRaPpLiNg DoEsN’t HaPpEn In StReEt FiGhTs WaHwAhWaH

They wish not for beginners to learn bad habits, which is understandable. But you can only learn to defend against something effectively by learning the damn thing.

This shit never ends. It’s a bottomless pit of mental gymnastics that descends into dick-waggling and trading provocations to challenge matches that never take place.

Sports

From a Marxist perspective, sports fandom is one of the finest examples of continuously providing support for something that isn’t really necessary for survival. Being a sports fan is as banal as you can get as far as things go. (I’m not saying being a sports fan is automatically a bad thing, mind you.)

Football hooliganism is an often-cited example of how far sports fandom can go when it comes to sports fandom gone mad. Never mind that it’s just watching other people play sports, but the need to be a part of a team and cheer on their city’s team, which is usually owned by rich businessmen and take in players from wherever they can and however they can fit in salary caps. Never mind that most of those players are not from that city anyway.

You gotta be a part of the team. But there shouldn’t be anything wrong about being a sports team, unless you actually wish (and actually inflict) bodily harm upon those who happen to admit support for the other teams. That’s pretty much what sports hooliganism is.

In the Byzantine empire, the main spectator sport was chariot racing in the hippodrome, which rose due to distaste of the mostly-Christian population of the Eastern Roman Empire for gladiatorial fights. The races were a major part of life for the citizens of Constantinople, and the fandom was split between the the demes, namely the Blues and the Greens.

Let this episode of Extra History tell the rest of that story. Suffice to say, the Nika revolt is one of the most notable examples of sports hooliganism gone mad (and even weaponized).

Gaming

The world of gaming is full of turbo nerds wearing their colors on their sleeves. Whether it’s the grognards who tell casual fans to “git gud” in Dark Souls and other difficult video games, or those who are opposed to that, or whatever loyalties to franchise, platform, or whatever else there are. Just look around the Internet and you’ll see them spazzing and wasting time and brain cells being embroiled in multiple online arguments all at once.

I’ve mentioned my encounter with a turbo fan of Star Citizen briefly in this blog before, detailing how fanatical they can be when it comes to their beloved upcoming space simulation game. If you ever want to see a good example of mindless investment in a game that hasn’t even been fully released yet, Star Citizen has you covered.

It helps that it’s one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns ever for a video game. For a game that is still in alpha after 8 years since its initial announcement, how it can still raise money for its development rivals the financing prowess of Bernard Madoff. These turbo nerds have no other choice but to double down on their sunk cost.

So much has been invested in it already, and they can’t stop now.

Anime

Do I even need to harp on about this one? This is a niche that sells body pillows with anime characters on them. Waifu worship is nothing short of an interesting phenomenon.

Anime fandom can be healthy since most of it is just like with television—we have favorite shows, and we share our own experiences of having watched those shows. But things come to a head when neckbeards talk about their waifus.

Most of these debates are done in jest, but I’ve seen some really special people who are way too serious about who is best girl.

It’s a can of worms I’d rather not revisit for this crappy blog post, but I’m sure many of you are familiar with the otaku subculture should have a good idea about it.

Politics

I like to think of the current political landscape as more representative of this insanity than in any other period of time in modern history. Perhaps this is more of me being a part of this particular generation, but I do think that the unfettered craziness that the mid and late 2010s is not as batshit ridiculous as it was in Cold War era or so on.

Identity politics is the very basis of this turbo nerdery that seems to pervade in everywhere else in the civilized world. The urge to latch onto something under some pretense of it being the

I’m sure a lot of readers who got to this part would think I’m an ignorant ass for thinking this, and perhaps I’m indeed willfully ignorant. But from what I’ve learned from history, I see politics and ideologies as means to an end, first and foremost.

Whether you’re an idealist looking to make the world a better place or a realist simply doing what you can for yourself and whoever else you could be bothered to help or hurt, politics is a game you need to adapt to in order to play well.

Anyone who thinks they can instill change through sheer force of will doesn’t know enough about politics and hasn’t yet faced the disappointment of realizing that it’s actually a lot harder to change people’s minds in something that can directly and indirectly affect their lives.

Conclusion

I can then go on to religion, but that’s opening an even more ancient can of worms with no definite conclusion. But I think I’ve made my case well enough in that tribalism is something that happens to just about anything that can foster a community, and it can fester.

There’s loyalty and camaraderie, then there’s madness and willful ignorance. I don’t want to set myself too far apart from people who get locked into this way of thinking as I don’t think I’m any superior to them. But there’s that other-ism that’s easy to fall into when seeing fairly extreme examples of this phenomenon.

May their displays of “intellectual inflexibility” (I don’t have any better terms for this at the moment) serve as reminders to pump the brakes and think of things critically, no matter what it is or how much it seems to be a trifle.

EDIT(22FEB2019@4:33PM): I forgot to put in here the most important thing about this.

CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING

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