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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Short Story: Stepping Back from The Nail

Stepping Back From The Nail
by Samuel Garcia

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

The day I stepped on a nail was the worst day of my life.

We were playing in outside. Somehow, just somehow, it was protruding from the ground.

I screamed.
Then came an onslaught of infection, surgeries, amputation, atrophy, innumerable doctor and therapists, bedstays, quarantines... friends left, family died off...

I did what anyone would do after years and years of focused determination to overturn these events.

...

I built a time machine.

...

After a jump to the left, a step to the right, and madness after the warp, and almost falling a down, I dropped into our old family barn. I heard the children playing and laughing. Me.

I thought. And thought. I leaned onto my cane. The crutch of my existence.

I just stood there.

I glanced at the place where the nail was supposed to be. It was not there.

I grabbed a nail from the barn, hobbled while they were gone, and stuck it upwards in the soil. And warped away.

I stepped back from the jump and planted my cane to set myself.

While I do not walk the space of this universe, I walk time. That nail was my first step.

Time is fixed.

...

After a jump to the left, a step to the right, and madness after the warp, and almost falling a down, I dropped into our old family barn. I heard the children playing and laughing. Me.

I thought. And thought. I leaned onto my cane. The crutch of my existence.

I just stood there.

I glanced at the place where the nail was supposed to be. It taunted me with it's rusty shine.

I yanked it from the mud, hobbled while they were gone, and dropped in by the barn. And warped away.

I stepped back from the jump. No cane. My leg is back.

I will walk to right the wrongs of the past, present, future.

Time is plastic.

...

After a jump to the left, a step to the right, and madness after the warp, and almost falling a down, I dropped into our old family barn. I heard the children playing and laughing. Me.

I thought. And thought. I leaned onto my cane. The crutch of my existence.

I just stood there.

I glanced at the place where the nail was supposed to be. It taunted me with it's rusty shine.

I saw myself yank it from the mud, hobble while they were gone, and drop in by the barn. And warped away.

But if I saw myself here, is there more than one line of time?

I slide to each universe, looking for my equivalent selves, wishing their time and observing their sadness and happiness. That time when I stepped on and stepped back from the nail.

Time is parallel.

...

And on and on and on...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

On Thee Subject O' Shipping : Wishful Matchmaking

Some recent thoughts about the same subject from She-Who-Doesn't-Want-To-Be-Named prompted me to write my own thoughts (I was the acquaintance in the post, woohoo!). Also, give her blogs lots of views and comments and things!

Basically, shipping is wishing. As in, wishing for certain two people (fictional or not) to become a couple in a romantic relationship. So it's a step below active matchmaking. More like passive matchmaking, or wishful matchmaking(?).

The word is usually used in a "fandom" context, which is the general term for the fanatic fan bases of fictional works. Yes, I just described "fans" as "fanatic".

Apparently, I'm the President of the CP Matchmakers Club, by the Founder of the Club, C_____ Thompson (first name removed to protect identity). So I have a lot of expertise regarding this. I did bring a couple into a long term relationship. (But really, that was more of things working out rather than I having some invisible hand in it, I think. Meh. I'll take credit for it).

My friend here, She-Who-Doesn't-Want-To-Be-Named, points out that shipping friends is, well, awkward.
Especially when you are at the receiving end. There goes "So-and-So with So-and-So", and so on. Thing is, people, even our best friends, don't know their own friends that well. Or they are just bad at judging.

Or maybe, the friends don't know who they are shipping you with. They may know you, but they don't know the other person well enough. At least, you know things they don't know. It can range from superficial differences to deep rooted doctrinal belief systems.

Or maybe they do know their friends well, but the "opposites attract" principle actually applies to the people you like. I get tired of people pairing me with short girls, or girls with glasses, or girls with dark hair, or fill in the blank. Just because I am one way doesn't mean I want my future mate to be like that!

Gianna Jensen, an abortion survivor and pro life activist with cerebral palsy, sums it up well. I heard her say the following at the home school convention in Cincinnati. She may be a survivor, but she is a victim of shipping.

My friends would always tell me that they found a great guy for me. He's smart, handsome, etc. whatever.

And the clincher.... he also has cerebral palsy. (Gianna makes a distraught face)

Just because someone is going through the same thing as us doesn't mean we want our future spouse to be going through such things. Maybe we want them to have already overcome those things. Or not have to worry about them. Or we just prefer not to be reminded about ourselves and our shortcomings.

Also, just because a pair are really good friends does not mean they will make a great, or even a good couple. Friends at work, friends at church, or anywhere. They may make a good time, but in the end, you don't want to spend the rest of your life with them. Having romantic notion will kill some friendships. There is a good reason for friendzones. Sometimes, they are just there to preserve that relationship. Personally, I keep girls I like to an acquaintance level before dating them. I do not want to be close friends with them. I will not date any girls that are close friends with me, currently. If I consider you my sister, or something, I definitely will not date you.

It's also coupled by the fact that really good friends sometimes fall for the ones you do like, because they see that person perfect for them, not you. Many a rivalry have been started between friends because of love triangles, simply because the friends were so alike. It makes me sad, bu also, I've experienced friends fall for girls I like enough that I don't have that many close friends who are of the same gender.

It boils down that there are a lot of factors one must consider for that perfect pairing, not only in paper, but naturally, as well. What looks good in theory, will not always work in practice. I guess that's where dating comes in.

I do wish someone would accurately ship me with people I do like. Haha. ;) Also, if I do not recoil from your ship of me and another person, she might have a chance! XD Usually, it would be a person I have not met yet that I would give a chance.

In the end, some of my ships have been wrong. Shipwrecked, as one would say. But looking at the couples today and how happy they are, I'm glad I was wrong. Still, I have a reputation for matchmaking, so... all hands on deck!

To conclude, here are some of my "ships":
Artemis Fowl series: Artemis Fowl and Minerva. I think an Artemis/Holly pairing is way too mainstream.

Doctor Who:
The 10th Doctor and Madame Pompadour. I love Girl in the Fireplace! There is no reason for the Tenth to simply time travel back to take her again to be a companion.

The 10th Doctor and Astrid. If not Madame Pompadour, Astrid is my second ship for the Tenth Doctor.

The 11th Doctor and River. This is canon and OTP (One True Pairing). (I had to look that acronym up, too)

Sherlock (BBC): Sherlock and Molly, hands down.

ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) comic strips: Ace and Christi, of course! Stop being so platonic! (Granted, I don't know anything that happens after the 6th grade PACES)

Real-Life: Initials only for privacy, but you can guess. Ask me privately, and I'll confirm if you are right. There's a mix of church friends, college friends, online friends....
D M and L M.
M S and C M.
J M and A T.
L G and B P.
H S and J G.
E K and R M.
A S and J G.
B P and P K.
J G and T H.
A Y and B J.
C N and A G.
Will edit as I think of them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Short Story: I Can't Wait Until the Last Minute to Conceal Too Much

I Can't Wait Until the Last Minute to Conceal Too Much
by Samuel Garcia
(May or may not be based on a true story.)

You know when you're trying to clean your room, that you get that devious idea to hide everything in your closet?

Because you're getting visitors?

Yep. Well, I did that once, and never stopped. You heard that right. The collection thrived.

Stuff just piled on and on. I stuffed in a washing machine and a dryer. I think there was a dead body in there, too. Probably one of the bandits who tried breaking in our house back then. Nothing a little Febreeze could fix.

A couple of months later, the closet burst and filled up my whole room. So I started to sleep on the couch on the living room. And more stuff I piled on as the days went by. I did manage to get my laptop and my iDevices out of the mess, don't want those missing.

Time passed, and for some reason, the walls of the room collapsed. The debris was now in every room. It doesn't matter, though. I did have to swim a few times to retrieve a few useful things. I can live with it.

I called a friend over for pizza. She berated me for keeping such a messy apartment. I shrugged, so I went over to the fridge to get her some soda. I came back, and could not find her. I found her scarf and coat on the wall of things. I tried calling her, but she won't answer her phone.

I plopped down, ate a slice, and drank what was supposed to be her Mountain Dew. Mmmmm, cheesy.

Wow, she must have been really miffed. Oh well, remember, always have friends that will not judge you for your stuff, because true friends will always be there for you, regardless.

Even the living room collected too much to sleep in. So I took my sleeping bag and put it in the hallway of my apartment building. My neighbors looked on at me, but never muttered so much a word or two. Whatever, mind your own business.

Everything is fine and dandy.

Ugh, it's the landlord. I could hear him stomping up the stairs. I guess I have to find the payment for my lease. I opened the door to my apartment and scaled down the cliff face. I waved down at the small village over the horizon. They are such nice people, if primitive.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

MindWrap: Why Are Humans Afraid Of An Artificial Intelligence Rebellion?

I'm still grieving today from the Tittle's loss, but due to a couple recent articles in the news about a subject I've always wanted to touch, I will analyze this question, "Why are humans afraid of rebellion from super artificial intelligence?". Movies like the Terminator and Matrix popularize the idea: that man will be ruled by machines.

The Butlerian Jihad, a fictional artificial intelligence uprising in the Dune series


On May the 1st, "Mayday", Stephen Hawking, the acclaimed thinker, warned us about the implications of highly advanced artificial intelligence and it's possible threat to humanity. To him, we aren't taking artificial intelligence seriously enough.

One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all. ~ Stephen Hawking

Today, an article comes out on Neurogrid, a chip that is modeled after the human brain's parallel processing power. While not specialized as traditional supercomputers in that it can run purely mathematical computations, Neurogrid is important step in that in reflects brain activity as is understood.

But the fundamental difference between the way traditional computing systems model the brain and the way Neurogrid works lies in the way the computations are performed and communicated throughout the system.
Most computers, including supercomputers, rely on digital signaling, meaning the computer carries out instructions by essentially answering "true" or "false" to a series of questions. This is similar to how neurons communicate: they either fire an action potential, or they don't.

Indeed, interesting technology. It does seem we are headed to some kind of singularity, but not one imagined by transhumanists in my opinion. But I digress. We come back to the original question. Why are humans afraid of a revolt by computerized beings?

As a Christian, I believe that the created are no greater than the creator(s), and there is no evolutionary process that creates something greater than itself, though I believe there are only at best, horizontal changes, not anything significant vertically upwards. I also believe the Bible is literal and completely true.

With those assumptions, my argument is simple. Humanity remembers his rebellion against God in Eden, and we fear our creations will do that to us.

In Genesis, God, a Superintelligence far beyond comprehension, creates intelligences according to His image: Adam and Eve. They were not greater than their Creator. And yet in their desire to become like God, they fell.

In our remembrance, we falsely think that mere computers will become self-aware. Unfortunately, self-awareness is only available through spiritual means. Even animals are not self-aware but are ruled by instinct.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

I subscribe to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, in regards to the mind and brain. Only the spirit can bring self-awareness. No amount of software programming or advancement in hardware will create something greater. Yes, computers are very specialized and efficient in what they can do, whether or not be it mathematical computation or chess, but it will only be mere reflections and only statistical advantage, not a qualitative one.

In our primal memories and fears and sinful nature, we create the robotic Skynet boogeyman. We fear that computers will be corrupt because we are corrupt.

And that is true to an extent. It would make sense that everything we make is fallen. Humans might program or manufacture devices to have evil purposes. But machines will never be inherently sinful or purposely, self-awarely corrupt, because they will be at best, tools, not life.

Though maybe the statue of the Beast in Revelation may be an exception. Who knows? It's possible that demonic presence or counterfeit intelligence may manifest itself.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. Revelation 13:15

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Paradox of Grieving and Celebrating: Dedicated to the Tittles

Rebekah Tittle

Last Sunday night, for the first time, someone I have cared about died.

A tornado struck Paron, Arkansas, and Rebekah Tittle, along with her sister Tori, and their father Rob Tittle passed away. Their house was ripped from its foundation.

For no reason, I woke up around 3 AM in the morning. When the news reached me by social media through third-party sources, I felt numb and in shock. Rebekah was just on the VDP Skype chat yesterday. She just liked a photo on my Facebook yesterday. She just posted some statuses on G+ just hours ago. How can she be gone?

But when more information came in, particularly news from Whitney, the sister of Rebekah and another good friend, it hit me. This is real. This is happening. This isn't some kind of joke or hoax or misunderstanding. I started to cry. I never cried for someone who passed away before.

The surreal attitude froze me. I have to tell them.

Them being the VDP, of which Rebekah was an integral and important part of. As the Prime Minister and Director of Membership, we've never had to experience a loss of our member in such that short of that timespan of our existence. She was our Ninja of our VDP Chat. She kept things lively and jolly. She won our contests and wore her VDP hoodie as a Valiant. She made our non-CP VDP members part of the Society. She was a great recruiter.

Them being the College Plus community, of which Whitney and Emily Tittle were a part of. Rebekah and Tori were not part of CollegePlus, but we considered them part of the community. We ached as we have met them in CP gatherings, participated in our CP Skype calls. Most of us were hoping to meet them in a gathering soon.

Them being other homeschool groups that the Tittles are part of. Rebekah made many friends. They became my friends, too, because of her.

I hate being that messenger. I stayed up all morning to ask prayer for the Tittles. Because what else can we do but to pray to our Father?

Before, I prided myself in my cold logic. That I could separate emotion from my thinking. That I would weather any calamity and disaster just by being rational and reasonable. I was wrong. I am wrong. There is a time to mourn, and I am not exempt.

I did not pray to bring Rebekah, Tori, and Mr. Rob back. They literally are with the One Who I am praying to. And that is a much better place, a place I desire to be in, a place every Christian desires to be in. To wish for them back is selfish. They would resist being called back from His presence.

No, I prayed for those that are left behind on this fallen Earth, full of death and sin. I prayed that we would  have pure religion to have compassion upon the widow and the fatherless according to James. I prayed for my apathy and my corrupt priorities and my shortsightedness of eternity. I prayed for the Tittles.

The paradox of grieving and celebrating is this: Our earthly loss is heavenly gain. Our loss of temporal relationship is their gain of eternal places.

Please pray for the Tittles.

This is our memorial to Rebekah.

Job 1:21
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 116:15
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

John 11
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

I Cor. 15
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Publishing HTML5 Games on the Chrome Web App Store

Without further ado, I present you my app in the app store, TitanFlap!
  1. Host your HTML5 app in a website that you own. No Dropbox, Use iframe on a website if you have to. Submit website to Google Webmaster to verify your ownership.
  2. Zip up a manifest.json and icon_128.png file. The icon_128.png must be a 128x128 PNG image icon for your app.
  3. Go to Chrome Developer Dashboard and sign into your Google account. Upload the zip file.
  4. Fill the remaining information and hit "Publish".


App URLs must be domain and subdomain level website names that you own and end it with "/" or there will be a path error.
Web URL must have the same domain as the App URL, and is the path for your app. 
Example manifest.json file, use Notepad or similar program.
{
  "name": "TitanFlap",
  "description": "Commence TitanFlap!",
  "version": "1",
  "manifest_version": 2,
  "app": {
    "urls": [
      "http://neogenerationgames.webs.com/",
      "http://www.neogenerationgames.webs.com/"
    ],
    "launch": {
      "web_url": "http://neogenerationgames.webs.com/prototypes.htm"
    }
  },
  "icons": {
    "128": "icon_128.png"
  },
  "permissions": [
    "unlimitedStorage",
    "notifications"
  ]
}

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Fool's Pranks Wrap Up


1. My Conversion to Reformed Theology
Not my idea, but I played along. Brittany really wishes this to be true. :P



2. My Letter of Resignation from the Valiant Defender's Party Student Leadership Society

"by Samuel Garcia
It is a great honor to have served the Valiant Defender's Party Student Leadership Society as Prime Minister from it's very inception. We have grown from a small student government elections party to the leadership society we see today. To say that I am proud of you, members, is an understatement.However, college and work have taken a toll on me. I'm on my last stretch of my degree of Computer Science, and hopefully going off to Bible college in the spring of 2015. There are many opportunities for me to advance the causes of Integrity, Innovation, and Initiative for His glory." (read more)
3. CPHarmony
Someone created a courting website for my college program College Plus. Whoever created it was smart enough to leak it early long before the 1st. The site is shut down now (address was http://cpharmony.cf)

4. Instagram Prank
If the picture doesn't show up, click it to refresh. ( http://instagram.com/p/mQ5T_5LRl5/ )



And I leave you with this: