Watermelons Suck: Selecting “The Good One”

Back in the day, I used to work in the produce department at a local Sam’s Club. I stocked food and had the pleasure of dealing with dumbass customers which could be a post all on its own. It’s been awhile since I worked there so I don’t have that fresh, fiery hatred to rant about it as if I had just experienced it. One of the things I would be asked on a regular basis was, “How do you know what watermelon is good?” or “How do you pick out a good watermelon?” And, dammit, that question would piss me off more than nearly anything else ever, besides asking me for a product that they’re standing in front of. So how do you pick out a watermelon?

“How to Pick a Watermelon”

First off, I’m not a watermelon lover by any means, so me being constantly asked about how to pick out a “good watermelon” was ridiculous from the start: there are no good watermelons because they all taste like shit. It’s like asking me to pick out a good country song: there are no good country songs. The same goes for coleslaw. I also hate cantaloupes and any other sort of “melony” melons. It must be a DNA issue with me or something because I have no control over it. When customers would ask me about “the good watermelons” I’d usually tell them that I don’t even like watermelons so I didn’t know how to “pick one out” and usually suggested that they just randomly grab one. They didn’t like that advice. 

Slaw

…in case you needed to be told this.

Luckily some of the more zealous customers would tell me, matter-of-factly, how to pick out a “good watermelon.”

Some told me to look for wide stripes on them! Watermelons have dark and light green stripes on them (in case you’ve never seen one), and the ones with the wider stripes are “gooder” apparently. How the stripes determine the flavor profile of the melon I don’t know, but that’s what makes a good one. Some other people would say to look for a spot where it lay on the ground because it means the melon is ripe. Nevermind the fact that they all have a spot because melons, in fact, grow on the goddamn ground. Some people would say to look for a little stem at the end that would pull off easily, or something like that. Others would pick the damn melons up, put their ear on them, and knock on them like it was a fucking door. I tried this myself and they all sound the same and I never learned what “sound” a “good watermelon” makes as opposed to a “bad watermelon.” I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few of these “tried and true” methods for determining what makes a watermelon “good” or “bad” but whatever. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this post anyways…

Lightly researching on the internet (because everything on the internet is true), gave some even more ridiculous methods for finding a “good” watermelon. One person insisted on the melon having “straight green lines” and “the more perfect the better.” The same person also recommended that the scar where the flower falls off should be small, and that this “guarantees a perfectly sweet and rupe [sic] watermelon (;” Another person suggested that, as direct advice from a farmer (!!!), that the prospective watermelon pickers look for the location of a bee sting on the melon, given away by a tiny bit of juice oozing out husk. Once again, this all but guarantees that the watermelon is decent. And just to cap it off with some really fucked up nonsense, another person described an old wives tale about putting a broom straw on top of a melon, and if this straw spins, the watermelon is ripe. At least this person didn’t seem to take the technique too seriously, by adding “…entertaining at least.”

Does Any of That Work?

As stated, I’m not a watermelon expert, but I’m pretty damn skeptical of these methods mostly because they trigger my “sounds like bullshit” alarm. Even though a farmer (who is expected to be an expert) suggested something about bee stings, I know enough about bees, or have enough questions about bees and their habits that should undermine that theory. Do bees even eat watermelons? If they do, why would they sting the melons? How do bees know the melon is ripe? Has anyone actually compared a “bee stinged” watermelon to a non-bee melon and compared the taste profile? I doubt it. The theory seems on shaky ground, and just doesn’t seem to make plausible sense. I mean I might be wrong, but it sounds fishy from the start.

What about stripes on the melon? Once again I’m skeptical because there are natural variations in all fruits, vegetables, and meats. It’s a bad analogy, but it’s like saying people with black hair lie a lot, or that blondes are more likely to get cancer. I’m just skeptical that the damn stripes or the “greenness” of the melon really has any correlation with how yummy the melon is. Once again, I might be wrong, but shit like this should be so easily testable that it should be common knowledge by now. Get a green melon, or a “straight striped” melon, and eat away. Are they better, or not? Do some fucking science people.

Ooo, or what about the straw from the broom? Someone please tell me how the melon’s interior, by being sweet, yummy, and tasty can influence a piece of straw to rotate? Do the sugar molecules move in such a way that produces a magnetic field that somehow interacts with the tiny amount of iron in the piece of straw which causes it to rotate? Maybe it does! Or maybe that theory is just some silly bullshit that someone made up?

At the very least, given these ideas might actually work in selecting a melon, no one is this picky when shopping for other fruits, vegetables, and meats. With apples, you check to make sure they’re not rotten, and you buy them. Lettuce? Is it green or brown? Brownish lettuce is starting to rot, and green is fresher (unless the lettuce is naturally brown). Duh. Squishy tomatoes are about to go bad, and potatoes are obvious as fuck due to the horrid smell they emit. No one browses through package after package of ground beef looking for “the good one”; you just grab one that isn’t a nasty brown color and go about your day. But melons, NO! Somehow melons are the single thing in the produce department that takes 5 to 10 minutes to find the “the good one.” Get the hell out of here…

The Right Way?

I found a website that seemed to give some decent tips at finding a “good” melon, or as they called it, a “ripe” melon. First off, a ripe melon is a different thing than a “good” one, and already seemed to be off on an objective footing. Secondly, the things to look for actually make some sense in an obvious way. Suggested traits to look for are a firm husk with no soft spots, a yellow spot where it laid on the ground (as opposed to a whitish spot), the melon should feel heavy, and the melon should sound hollow. These are boring things to look for, but they don’t send my “bullshit” alarm into insane mode because they make logical sense. We look for firm fruit and vegetables all the time, and it’s almost obvious to realize a soft watermelon is going to be nasty to eat. At first I was confused about the spot, but if it starts off as a white spot and becomes yellow as the melon ripens, well, that makes sense then. It’s like saying a red tomato is ripe when a green one isn’t. Like no shit. And the heaviness? That is because a ripe watermelon has a lot of water in it (go figure) and water is pretty heavy. “Listening” to the watermelon also makes some sense as you’re simply listening for a hollow-sounding melon that doesn’t sound “dull.” This ensures that the melon isn’t filled with nasty, goopy, rotten pulp.

The point with these things is that they don’t tell you that the watermelon will taste amazing! No, they simply tell you that the watermelon isn’t fucking unripe or rotting. These traits are also fairly obvious as opposed to the witchcraft the customers all seemed to be doing. There isn’t a “good” watermelon sound that only you can hear properly; you’re just making sure it doesn’t sound dull and liquidy inside. Picking watermelons isn’t glamorous, and you don’t get to prance around like you’re the Watermelon God or something because you’re so damn good at it, so sorry. But considering the watermelon is a melon, these techniques are probably about as good as you can do without cutting it open and having a taste of the damn thing.

If I Ate Watermelons…

…I’d look for something akin to the paragraphs above: a watermelon that isn’t blatantly rotting, soft, or leaking all over the place. That’s it. If I go to buy a watermelon for someone else, that’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to walk up, and get a damn watermelon. It’ll take me twenty seconds at most to find one, and it’ll probably be almost as good as any other watermelon. And if it isn’t, well, it’s not like the watermelon eater I’m shopping for will know the other melons were tastier. It’ll be good enough.

In case you don’t know, Sam’s Club (and hence Walmart) is a fairly large company and they don’t source their melons from mom-and-pop farm operations; they most likely get melons in bulk from big-ass farms that mass produce them, just like every other thing they have in stock. My point here is these melons are planted in bulk, probably genetically modified, grown in bulk, and are all picked at the same time with little care given to ripeness or quality. There isn’t going to be much variance in the melons, because they’re not “hand picked” in that way that hand-picking implies. There probably is nothing better about watermelon A, B, or C; they’re probably nearly carbon-copies or clones of each other. And if I was buying a watermelon from a large supplier like that, well, I’m going to just randomly pick one because that’s about as good as you can do. The melons probably won’t be the best, and won’t vary much in flavor, so don’t waste your time.

If you’re at a farmers market or a local produce supplier, sure, you might be a bit more discerning with your melon picks, although you might be assured that the person picking them is themselves an expert and picked them at the prime of ripeness. This also gives you some reassurance that the melons will be “good” because someone who knows what’s going on with melons would’ve picked them. But if you’re at Walmart, or another large grocery store, just do what I’d tell a few customers to do in regards to finding a “good watermelon”: just fucking pick a melon because they’re most likely all the same.

Fun Fact: There’s a National Watermelon Promotion Board complete with a Watermelon Website. Yes, watermelons have their own lobbying group to influence the government.

Fallout 4 Sucks

I got Fallout 4 during Christmas of 2015, not too long after it was released. I played it, got sort of far through the game, and then just burned out on it. I didn’t remember much about the game, and didn’t feel very into it. It didn’t seem very memorable. And now, in March at least, I decided to pick the game back up and finish it properly. I don’t want to write a proper review to the game, because it’s 1.5 years old and no one cares now, but I can still write a post about how damn shitty it was thanks to my refresher course over the past few weeks.

In case you’ve been stuck in a real life vault somehow, Fallout 4 is a post-apocalyptic RPG (role-playing gaem) from Bethesda. You might know Bethesda from their other games, all of which have very stiff characters and tons of stupid glitches and shit. Shit clips all over the place and their games can randomly freeze, usually after you’ve forgotten to save in the past 20 minutes. Hell, in Fallout 4 I seen a rock from the “back side,” and there was no texture at all.

Fallout 4_20170404150135

My coat slicing through my wrists as I relax.

Half the rock had a face and texture, and the other half was invisible. That’s a stereotypical Bethesda trait right there. Nevertheless, people love their games because they offer decent role-playing and adventuring elements as well as interesting quests and storytelling (sometimes). These make up for the awful technical aspects that Bethesda games are known and “loved” for.

But Fallout 4 just sucks and here’s why. Obviously, spoilers, but if you haven’t played the game since it came out then that’s your fault.

Ugly Overworld

My first gripe about the game involves what everyone sees most of the time (besides the damn Pip Boy menu): the overworld. Getting directly to the point, the overworld looks like shit. I don’t mean it looks like shit because it is a post-nuclear wasteland; that part is understandable. I mean it looks like shit because that’s how the game was designed to look. Everything is grey, dreary, and ugly looking. Plants aren’t really green; they’re sort of greyish-greenish-yellowish. Even far up in the northern terrain of the game, the world is as ugly as everywhere else. They cities and towns are junk. The sky is often covered in an ugly haze with radioactive thunderstorms half the time. You’re probably thinking “Duh, nuclear wasteland, idiot.” but still. Not everything in a post-apocalyptic world will look like shit. Having some really gorgeous terrain would contrast the shitty areas in a shocking way. Maybe away from the destruction there is a pretty forest that reminds us of what the world was like before? Nope. Grey. Shit. Everywhere.

Fallout 4_20170404145520

Looking North from some bridge. At least the sky looks nice.

The world looking like shit has two consequences. First off, I don’t give two shits about exploring because the world looks the same everywhere I went. In Skyrim, another Bethesda game, I could climb snowy, rocky cliffs, go look at ice floes on the Sea of Ghosts, watch animals graze in the grasslands, or see some hot springs caused by the eruption of Red Mountain to the East. There were places to go and things to look at and they gave the overworld some delicious variety. In Fallout 4 I have nuclear wasteland to explore here, and some nuclear wasteland to explore over there, and guess what?! Some nuclear wasteland over there as well! I guess the swampy shit to the south was kinda cool, and the Glowing Sea was amazing, but everything else looks gloomy and vomited out onto the screen which overkills the whole nuclear wasteland motif.

The second aspect of the world looking like shit is that you don’t care about the world because it’s a dump. Everything is a nuclear wasteland, and there isn’t much left to be enthusiastic about. Many games have you attempting to stop the end of the world; since the end of the world already occurred there doesn’t seem to be much at stake. There isn’t that pretty forest depicting life before the war, there isn’t any beauty yearning you to return the world to it’s pre-war days. It’s shit, everything is shit, so why even care? More on that later…

But what about exploring inside the places you discover in the overworld?

There’s Nothing “Special” in the Game

Nope. Those all suck too. Every building or “cave” or whatever I go inside has the same shit: enemies to shoot at, loot to haul off and sell, and a wrecked and fucked up interior. The underground areas don’t look as bad, but those only go as far as “generic underground factory” shit. Bethesda games have always had an issue with that as far as I can remember, with the interior areas you can explore seemingly very boring and copy-pasted, but The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind made it work just fine. They did this by having cool shit you could actually find in its fairly bland dungeons.

Most of Morrowind’s dungeons were shit just like Fallout 4′s except they were caves and tombs instead of buildings. The one saving grace with Morrowind was that there was cool shit you could find inside certain caves. Most of the dungeons had generic shit you’d haul away and sell, but some had overpowered and/or unique weapons/armor/spells/magic items that made dungeon diving feel useful. You really could stumble upon something special that would make your character overpowered. This isn’t the case in Fallout 4. I think there are certain special items, but they don’t feel really special. Like I might find a gun with a certain effect, but it looks the same as the other guns I have and isn’t much cooler. It’s special, but it’s still just a shitty gun to pew pew the bad guys with.

In Fallout 4, confronted with boring dungeon after boring dungeon, you simply stop caring about exploring. You won’t find anything special or interesting, and any location you happen to discover, even though there are over a hundred locations, you won’t explore because it’s all the same. Junk, ammo, enemies, and guns.

As a side note, I think I did find a few “unique” dungeons, such as Vault 81 that might’ve been interesting, but they were locked off and are only accessible through a dedicated quest. That’s good for making the quests better, but awful for exploring. Basically if I found a locked door that required a key or a special password, I’d know it was a quest location that was currently off limits.

Stupid Quests and Factions

How about the quests and the factions? As stated these can be the saving grace of Bethesda games. The Brotherhood of Steel is okay at first, but the logic they show in their factions belief system is fucking ridiculous. They want to wipe out the synthetic humans (called “synths”), not because they have a clear reason but because their scared of them and how they might be harmful to humans in the future. There are no complexities to this train of thought and it really seems to be “synths are bad, kill them.” Okay.

The Railroad (a faction dedicated to freeing synths) isn’t any better although they are the complete opposite. They believe that synths are people too! While the Brotherhood is totally anti-synths The Railroad is totally pro-synth. Now, I don’t know if a synthetic, robotic human could be considered a person or not, or if these things would be dangerous, but that isn’t my complaint here. These factions have simple, one-sided views with no subtleties or anything. Robots are either good or bad, to be saved or destroyed, and no one seems to stop and think about the larger, complex issue at all.

Another gripe about the factions and the quests is that they give you some serious responsibilities almost immediately. No one thinks twice if you’re a good fit for their faction, and you never have to “prove your worth” to the group. You show up, do a single quest, and suddenly you’re the savior of the organization and are given some ridiculous influence even though you literally just showed up a few days ago. Where the fuck does this occur in the real world? No where. You get a job and you’re stuck there for years until you can notably move anywhere in the company. According to Fallout 4, some people can get hired at a place and in 3 or 4 days be a mid-level manager, or maybe even higher up, like a director on the board! This makes the factions lose their element of immersion. You show up and you’re amazing. It’s not hard and you don’t have to do any work. You’re that special.

Then I Almost Cared…

I must admit this entire post so far was written without me making it through the main quest. Well, I finally discovered The Institute and suddenly started to enjoy the game a bit more. The Institute isn’t a fucking dump like everywhere else in the game, they seem to actually want to improve and fix the world, and that spurred me on to actually care a little.

Fallout 4_20170404150738

Hanging out at The Institute. It doesn’t look like shit.

Here I found a place that was wonderful, and it would be great if I, as part of this group, could bring this level of society to the rest of the Commonwealth! So even if the game does get better, I still have to ask why the fuck it take so long to actually become interested in the main quest. The fact that it took me twenty or thirty hours to actually give a damn is sad, and I gave up a year ago because I couldn’t bother with the game anymore.

…Almost

So I finished the main quest – the meat-and-potatoes of the game – the one thing that should’ve been great, and it was just as shitty as I’d had feared. It started off sort of meh, got slightly better when I found The Institute, and then went downhill quickly as the questline drew to a close.

In case you didn’t know, the leader of The Institute is your son, Shaun, who is also a dick. The final few missions he sends you on are to assassinate an enemy faction’s leader and to totally fuck over the Brotherhood of Steel. I was hoping I could reason with him a bit (“Maybe we could let the Railroad survive, and adopt their view on Synth morality?”) but nope, Shaun said to kill their leader, and there was no other choice even though I was #2 in the entire organization. So I walked in and put a shotgun shell in her face. When I was told to wipe out the Brotherhood I tried to argue against all out war (“Maybe we should wait a bit? I don’t think they’re that big of a threat.”), but nope! “You’re wrong. Go wipe the Brotherhood out!” I had no choice other than to destroy them with the help of a giant, Communist-hating robot. Damn, it sure is cool to know that my abducted son who I was desperate to find turned into a ruthless leader on par with Kim Jong Un, with hardly any sense of morality, and no qualms against using me, his own father, as his personal pawn and assassin. I’m so proud of you son.

Fallout 4_20170404145405

The flaming wreckage of the Brotherhood of Steel. This means you’ve won!

So anyways, the game ends, The Institute wins (in my playthrough), and nothing really happens. The main quest is just a power struggle for the overworld. That’s it. Remember in Fallout 3 when you had to fix a water purifier to help the people around Washington D.C. and you felt good for helping people? Remember in Skyrim where you had to save the world from some dragon that wanted to destroy it (for some reason) and you were a big-time hero? Remember in Oblivion when you had to save the world again from some demon dudes? Remember in New Vegas when you were stuck in a power struggle but you actually seemed to have an influence in the world and weren’t just a stupid errand boy? Yeah. Those were the good ole days…

I Just Don’t Care

By far the worst part about the game was its inability to make players give a fuck about the world. This was also a problem I had in Fallout: New Vegas but luckily the game gave you a way to not care. They had a faction in that game called The Legion who we’re basically a knockoff of ancient Rome down to their leader being called “Caesar.” They were also a terrible organization that wanted to bring the current fractured society under the wing of their Legion and even enslave everyone. My not giving a fuck about post-apocalyptic society could manifest itself by joining The Legion because they didn’t give a fuck, I didn’t give a fuck, so why not say to hell with trying to have a nice, peaceful society?

Fallout 4 doesn’t even give you that option. The world is shit – everywhere you travel is full of rubble, junk, horrible monsters, and radiation – and no one is trying to fix it. They all simply want power in the world. The world is bleak and shitty, the NPCs and factions boring and one-sided, and it’s just so hard to give a damn about the world and the people in it.

Fallout 4_20170402114725

This is probably the best part of the game IMHO.

And somehow, even though the game is an “open world” game, I figured it wasn’t really, and you’d still have a limited amount of ways you can help people. Like I said, at the end of the game, nothing really changed. The organization you picked wins the power struggle, and maybe that will have some lasting effect on the world, but…who cares?

I did sort of enjoy the game, and it has its moments where it’s fun, but more often than not it felt like a chore where I wasn’t sure why I was doing anything in the game. It’s a game to keep you busy with no purpose. Gun modding was fun, and there were a few characters that were memorable (detective Valentine?), but the game had some insane ability to just make me not give a shit, and that apathy isn’t a good thing to have in a game. It leaves you with no reason to play, no reason to get involved, and in a world meant to be engrossing and interesting, you end up just being bored as hell.

Republicans Suck: Ryancare Edition

As you probably know, the bill that was supposed to repeal and replace Obamacare didn’t have the required votes to pass the House of Representatives so they pulled the bill. That bill, officially known as the American Health Care Act, or as it will probably be known to history as Ryancare (or Trumpcare, or Republicare? lol), had a rocky start from the beginning. Wasn’t the bill drafted in secrecy and was kept locked away from people? Being a bill that was meant to change federal law on health care you’d expect secrecy probably wasn’t the best route to go with, and it started the bill off in a bad way. Publicity for it didn’t get any better as people learned what was in it: 24 million people would lose insurance, medicare funding would be rolled back, pre-existing conditions would be a thing again, among other provisions. The bill had an approval rating of 17%, which was an insanely low number. People called and bitched to their representatives, and I don’t see how anyone actually wanted it to pass except those asshats that dwell in the House of Representatives.

Obamacare Sucks (aka the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), and I’m not here to defend it by any means, but it’s sort of okay. There’s some cool parts to it, and there are some bad parts. I for one don’t like the idea of mandating that people buy something; it just seems like a surefire way of making prices skyrocket (Because if people have to buy your product, why not jack up the price?). But it’s okay. It can be fixed, and at the very worst, it could be repealed. We did “okay” without the ACA before 2007, and the US wouldn’t fall apart if it was repealed. And that’s what I expected after November: a flat-out repeal of Obamacare! There was a Republican controlled House, Senate, and a Republican in the White House. How could the damn thing not be repealed after years and years of people bitching about how awful Obamacare was?

Well, that’s what I’m getting at here. The bill didn’t pass, but it wasn’t due to the Democrats controlling the legislature, or by having a president slap the thing down with a veto: it failed because of how incompetent the Republican party is and how terrible the bill was. Dear Leader Trump blamed the Democrats for the bill’s failure; after all not a single Democrat voted for it so “obviously” it was their fault it didn’t pass. But when your own party is in control of everything you don’t need the Democrats’ votes you fucking idiot. The bill failed because they couldn’t even get Republicans on board with how shitty it was.

The hardcore-right Republicans (the Freedom Caucus) hated the bill because it wasn’t extreme enough; they wanted a full-out repeal of Obamacare (once again, wasn’t this the goal?) They wanted Obamacare murdered and gutted whereas the bill sort of halfass did away with certain provisions of it in an attempt to dance around a full repeal. The moderate Republicans didn’t like the bill because people would lose insurance and it wouldn’t really help anything. These people probably had that angry 80% of the population calling and griping to them about the bill and didn’t want to get screwed over in the midterms. Anyways, Republicans couldn’t even agree on it, and even though they control everything, they still couldn’t pass the damn thing.

“Obamacare is the law of the land. It is going to remain the law of the land until it is replaced…We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

-Paul Ryan

And let’s not forget that the whole “repeal Obamacare” thing has been being repeated over and over for the past 7 years. There was plenty of time to conjure up some health care bill that would get rid of the ACA and give the free market the power and freedom it needs to please conservatives and maybe lower prices. Nope. Let’s pull a bill out of our asses in a couple of weeks and have a vote on it! Let’s also ignore the fact that healthcare is a very hard topic to play with, and it has burned almost everyone who attempted to work on it. Let’s do that first!

How much do you have to Suck to fuck up that bad? I, like everyone else, was certain Obamacare was going to be destroyed within a month of the inauguration and somehow the Republicans fuck up bad enough that it remains. “Obamacare will remain the law of the land.” Seriously? You fucks said you’d repeal Obamacare over and over the past however many years and even with control of the House, the Senate, and the White House you guys still couldn’t do it? Welcome to my blog, Republican representatives; You people really do Suck.

Anyway You Slice It, π Day Sucks

March 14, 3-14, also known as “Pi Day,” is a pseudo-mathematical holiday where people get all excited over the date being equal to the mathematical constant pi. From here on out I’m going to use the actual pi for pi, π, mostly because it looks cool and is what math people use. Pi is just an english bastardization of the actual greek letter π anyways. π is pretty damn cool, being all mathematical and shit, but π Day is fucking stupid. Here’s why.

What is π?

π is a pretty important mathematical constant, and probably the most fundamental mathematical constant depending on who you ask. (I’m partial to e, but most people don’t make it far enough through math to really understand the beauty of e. That’s probably nice because we don’t have to worry about friends spamming Facebook about day, whatever that would be.) It isn’t just some random number either; the value of π is inherently built into the universe and if God designed the universe, he had to purposefully work π into it as a fundamental constant. It’s that important. π is usually defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and is the same for all circles. Besides this, π seems to creep up in all sorts of places even where circles aren’t apparent; in an alternate version of angle measurements, π is also considered to be an 180 degree angle. π’s importance is an understatement and you can’t really blame people for liking this idea of “π Day.” But some of the things that make π as cool as it is are the very things that make π Day Suck.

π is Irrational

For those of you who happened to fall through the cracks of the American education system, you might not know that a key attribute of π is that it is irrational. In this case irrational isn’t synonymous with “Donald Trump,” it means that the number cannot be written as a fraction. π, being irrational, cannot actually be fully written out; the decimal value of the damn thing keeps going forever. That isn’t a figure of speech either, the decimal expansion of π is truly infinite. This is a pretty insane property and is the first reason that π day is stupid. First, here, have some π to whatever amount of decimal places:

3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582

Cool. Math! π!

Since π is irrational, you can never actually get to the true value of it. Most people consider March 14 to be π day, because it’s usually denoted at 3-14. Sort of like how π is 3.14! But π isn’t 3.14. It’s that never ending amount of digits that I sort of posted above, but that’s not π anymore than 3.14 is. It’s closer, but still is an approximation. 3.14 is just a bullshit approximation, and a pretty terrible one at that. If you want to be extra precise about it, you might want to celebrate π day at 1:59 (a.m. or p.m.?), or maybe if you want to use 24-hour time, at 15:92. Oh wait, that doesn’t work because there is only 60 minutes in an hour! Whoops. Or maybe you want to celebrate it at 0.159 of the day on the 14th. That would be at 3:49 a.m. by the way. But this is all stupid because…

Our Time Measurements are Arbitrary

There is nothing special about 3-14. In fact, if you write the date as 3-14-17 that isn’t π. π Day last year was 3-14-16, which was slightly cooler because of rounding and the year being accurate. But what if you write the date as 3-14-2016? That doesn’t make shit for sense. Hell, even some people write the date starting with the year, and then the month, and this π day would be 2017-03-14; π doesn’t start with 2017 at all.

I haven’t written it yet as a post, but the calendar Sucks due to this arbitrariness. Just because we call this month “the third month” doesn’t actually make it mean anything special or plop a meaningful 3 on anything. You might want to call π day by its monthly number, such as 3.14159 months passed from the beginning of the year, but this would put the day on April 4th. This is because January would be month 0 through 0.999, sort of like how the first set of digits don’t have 1s in front of them. March 14 is also the 73rd day of the year, and I don’t get how that is anymore π than anything else. We could celebrate it on the 314 day of the year too! What if you consider the entire year to be the circumference of a circle? Then π Day would be the 116th day of the year, whenever that is (365/π≈116). Like a pie (get it??), π Day can be all sorts of days depending on how you mess around with numbers. 3-14 isn’t anything special; it’s just how our stupid-ass calendar works.

π, Pi, and Pie

People also get excited because π sounds a lot like pie, and pie is a sweet, tasty, edible treat. But pie and π have nothing in common at all, except for the fact that you can calculate the area and volume of your pie using π (because most pies are circular). Pie being involved on π Day is just another reason to roll your eyes at the whole affair. “π and pie? THEY SOUND THE SAME!” What a coincidence…It blows my mind…

But Math is So Kewl!!! XD

I love math. I love math probably more than anyone else I know. I’m the guy going around yelling at the kids when they blurt out, “But when am I going to use this!?” Math is bigly underappreciated and will probably become even more so in our growing age of ignorance, which is depressing. With how bastardized math and science are in education and society is it any surprise that decent jobs are being outsourced? ANYWAYS…

It is cool to have some enthusiasm about math, but π Day just seems so…contrived. It has nothing to do with what π actually is–a fundamental mathematical constant that is built into the universe itself–and more to do with an arbitrary date and perhaps looking cool. It’s a fake, popular, mathematical sort of enthusiasm that has little actual purpose. Just because someone posts a bunch of π shit on the 14th doesn’t mean they appreciate math or π anymore than anyone else. It almost screams, “Look at me! I’m a geek! Math is cool! π! Lol such a dork.” Obviously, some people observe the day with some knowledge and respect for π, and that’s cool, but you know damn well there are others going way overboard for no damn reason other than they can. Math is cool, underappreciated, incredibly useful in the world, and π Day just seems kind of a “meh” way of going about celebrating a much-loved mathematical constant. And I doubt it does much to improve the standing of math in our culture. Hopefully I’m wrong though.

…But Fuck Potato Chip Day

While lurking on the Facebooks today, I also realized that today is supposedly “National Potato Chip Day.” Yeah, I’m serious. Do a Google Search. As much as I’m griping about π Day, who the fuck celebrates Potato Chip Day? And if you are going to celebrate potato chip day, why would you hold it on π Day? Remember how I said math is underappreciated in our society? I just imagine a bunch of potato-chip-corporate-fat-cats trying to pick a day for their “holiday,” and by being totally ignorant of anything mathematical they pick 3-14 not realizing it’s π Day. As dumb as π day is, it’s a hell of a lot cooler than National Potato Chip Day. That’s really fucking stupid.

Spring Ahead is Awesome, Fall Behind Sucks

You better make sure you set your damn clocks back otherwise you’re going to have a pretty screwy Sunday ahead of you. The one nice thing about Daylight Savings Time (DST from here on out so I don’t have to type it over and over) is that it occurs on a Sunday; if that shit went down on a weekday at least 35% of the workforce would show up early/late to work depending on which direction the clocks are moving. Anyways, it’s that time of year again to set the clocks ahead which means you’re going to get one hour less sleep than you usually get. Have fun with that, I’ll be sleeping in anyways. We all know the drill by now: set the clocks ahead in the spring and back an hour in the fall. (Spring ahead and fall behind if you forget which way the clocks are moving) Thanks to this, we get an extra hour of daylight in the evening (by losing an hour in the morning), and in the winter there is no daylight whatsoever and everyone is massively depressed, pale, and sickly. Winter sucks enough so why make it suck even more?

A key point I want to make is that we are on DST in the summer; DST begins when we set the clocks ahead in the spring and ends in the autumn when me move them back. So while I’m complaining about DST Sucking, I’m really complaining about changing the damn clocks year after year and the fact that DST has to end; I actually like being an hour ahead and you should too unless you’re a damn vampire. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just set the clocks ahead an hour and just leave it? That sounds like a fantastic idea because DST is Awesome and changing the clocks back in the fall Sucks. At the very least, it’d be lazy and hassle-free.

A Quick History Lesson

Everything Sucks isn’t supposed to be a history class, and if you really want to learn more about DST I’m sure you can figure out how to do a proper internet search. This site is all about complaining and whining. But I’ll give a quick, very brief rundown of why we have DST in the first place. Something about Benjamin Franklin and the French a long time ago. Then the Germans apparently started it during World War One in an attempt to save coal or something. The allies then copied the Germans because of some reason or whatever. Maybe they were upset because the Germans were saving so much coal? I don’t know. But after the war, DST sort of disappeared. Then, when the Germans decided to start another World War (oh, those Germans…), DST was resurrected for (probably) the same reasons that it was during WWI. Once again, after the war, DST was killed and banished for good and we never have to worry about it.

Lol no. Gotcha.

The US enacted DST nationwide in 1966 for whatever-the-fuck reason. Apparently the railroads didn’t like a bunch of local areas having whatever time they felt like–and that makes sense–so some national standard was needed. Currently the only states that don’t play along with DST are Arizona and Hawaii. Arizona is hot and if the daylight is longer people run their air conditioners longer and waste energy. Okay, and Hawaii is close to the equator so they really don’t know about these “shorter winter days” that us continental Americans are aware of. Curiously, Alaska hates DST because of the opposite reason: they’re close to the North Pole. In the summer it’s daylight a lot and in the winter the sun doesn’t exist, so moving the clocks an hour ahead/back is pointless. But apparently they still officially use DST? *shrug*

DST is Awesome, Non-DST Sucks

There are some supposed benefits to DST: lower energy usage, lower traffic accidents, reduced violent crimes, and even improvements in health thanks to people being outside longer. Even though these sound good, in many cases the effects are pretty damn small and/or debateable. Energy usage, for example, is a pretty complicated matter and just because the day is longer you can’t assume that power usage will be lower (like the example from Arizona earlier). But who cares? You don’t need hard data to back up the fact that the longer days are nicer, just think about it. In the summer you have all the time in the world to do whatever the hell you want outside: shopping, bike riding, sports, hiking, yard work, car rides, picnics, and many other things. I remember as a kid playing outside seemingly forever in the summer with the extended DST hours. It was amazing. Sure you lose an hour in the morning, but who the hell cares? I might not be a morning person, and I don’t see who the hell can actually be a morning person, so I might be a little biased. But those never ending summer days at the expense of an hour later of sunrise? Sounds like a good tradeoff to me.

And don’t even get me started on winter. The sun sets so damn early it’s insane. Like I said, winter sucks enough already with being cold and with the shorter days, so why would we want to set the clocks back and have sunset even earlier? Fuck that. We need that extra hour of daylight in the winter so we all don’t succumb to seasonal affective disorder and kill ourselves in depression. Our bodies’ vitamin D supply requires that extra hour of light! Some people like to point out that the poor school kids would be getting up and out of the house in the dark but that’s no reason to hate on DST; the school days start at a ridiculously early time and should be moved later anyways (maybe a future blog post?). Farmers also like their standard, non-DST time because they can get up and moving naturally with the sun. But so what? We’re not an agrarian society anymore so they can start work an hour later. Sorry farmers, no hard feelings….

So DST sucks. Well, DST itself doesn’t suck because that’s the reason we can actually do shit in the summer evenings thanks to the endless daylight. DST sucks because it ends in the fall and we have to change the damn clocks back an hour. Even though you “get an extra hour of sleep,” who cares? It’s then going to be dark and the sun will set around 4 or 5 p.m., people working that 9-5 shift won’t see the sun after work, and everyone is depressed and lacking vitamin D. These time changes also jack with people’s schedules and we all need a week or so to properly adjust to the new daylight times. And, once again, at the very least it’s a chore and is something else sort of pointless to worry about: “Oh! I gotta remember to set my clocks tonight! Hurrdurr!” DST sucks, but only because we have to end it in the fall. Let’s be lazy and just leave the damn clocks ahead an hour and roll with it.

Society Sucks: A General Introduction

I intend for this to be an introduction to another expected large section of the site: a section about all of the stupid shit that exists in society as a whole and why these things are stupid. The more I think of it the more topics and posts I see this category having so if there’s an “intro” post about it, maybe that’ll make it all cooler. I don’t know. Maybe I can compile them all into an ebook someday or whatever and get rich.

We are very social creatures and our survival owes a large thanks due to this fact. After all, why go it alone? Early humans could team up, split the workload that is required to survive, and help each other out. It makes such an intuitive sense to us, and since it’s ingrained in our genes, it seems dumb to ever think otherwise. Why would a single person want to hunt for themselves, build their own shelter, find water, and survive the winter alone? By splitting the workload among many, early humans could excel at certain jobs and everyone could benefit from it. If we have a single person build shelter, they’d be better at it then everyone individually building their own crap. This still continues today as jobs are very specialized; you don’t hire your plumber to also be your doctor. Anyways, we’re social and it serves us well for the most part in form of our semi-close knit community called society. So if society is so useful in ensuring the survival of the human species, why does it Suck? And if it does Suck, why is it such a large topic?

The main reason–and the reason that will show up in every post in this category–is because society has no system in place to “correct itself”. It’s an organic thing, and customs can arise, die, and even stick around in way that just sort of happens without any logic or conscious thought from anyone. Fashion is a pretty good example but not really. Why the fuck are fuzzy boots currently a popular style for women in the winter? I don’t mean boots in general which have some utility to them, but the decorative fashionable ones. The ones with the fur on the top. Yeah, there is no answer other than “they look good,” whatever the hell that means. Fashion styles arise, die, and hang around outside of conscious thought as part of society and are a good example of how things “just happen” in society.

Other things come into existence because they are needed in society and they naturally grow out of this necessity. Daylight Savings Time was started for some whatever fucking reason (was it one of the World Wars? Or something about farmers? Or synchronizing train schedules? Fuck, I don’t remember.) and it made perfect sense when it became an actual thing a long time ago. The needs of society created a thing where we move clocks forward and back. Whatever, sounds cool bro. But the original reason for Daylight Savings Time are certainly gone in today’s world but the damn thing still hangs around. Since it’s established we stupidly set our clocks ahead and back once a year, and we complain about it, but we still let it to exist.

There’s a bunch of these things too, which is why the topic is so large. Why do kids get off school in the summer? Why are a.m. and p.m. a thing? Why do the months not have all an equal number of days? What the fuck is up with February and its 28 days? Why don’t we use the metric system? There’s a ton more, but you get the idea. You might know the answer to why we do these things, and while I want to explain why we started to do these things, I really want to explain why still having them around Sucks.

It’s almost like a form of brainwashing. We do things because we were raised to do them, everyone else in society does them, and we give it no thought as to why these things are around. That’s the really damning part about it; we don’t even realize we’re thinking in a box because when everyone is inside the box, you can’t even imagine being outside of it. It’s not like there is a list of bullshit things we are given and we have the option to not use them. No. We don’t even know there are other options because being creative is hard.

So, that’s it. Society is bullshit because it sticks us in a box where we do a bunch of things without realizing they don’t make sense. It really isn’t our fault because having the creativity to think outside of the norm is pretty damn hard. Let the complaining begin!

Changing the World Sucks: You Can’t

I was browsing Facebook like I always do when I’m trying to be somewhat productive, and I stumbled upon someone’s comment about climate change. This guy basically stated that it is our lifestyle that causes climate change–our personal day to day lifestyles–and through our heavy use of things that require fossil fuels why would we expect society to change? Climate change, to that asshat, isn’t a problem that should be tackled by government or anything with actual power because fundamentally it’s a personal lifestyle problem.

I immediately became pissed off over this and thought about all the things I am trying to do to personally lower my carbon footprint. I ride my bike to work, I bought a little 2-cycle engine for my other bike, I drive a small car, and I try to use e85 fuel to lower my dependence on oil. From having a manual reel mower to using LEDs to plotting about installing rooftop solar panels I am doing everything realistically I can to help change the world in the sphere of my own life and that of my family. And if everyone did this, the climate problem would fix itself.

Obviously, he was right about our lifestyles causing it. Us Americans love our SUVs, our commuting lifestyle, our electricity, and our hamburgers (cows fart out an amazing amount of methane), so why the hell was I pissed at Random Facebook Guy if he was correct? Because of what I wrote three sentences ago: if everyone changed their lives a little the problem would be solved. But guess what? No one actually changes their lifestyles and a large portion of people don’t really give a damn about the climate as long as they get a pay raise every year and don’t have to shovel snow as much. The key to it being solved isn’t necessarily me, it’s other people, people who I have an infinitesimal influence over.

We live in a hugely connected world where ideas from across the globe can reach us and influence us. Thanks to the internet, natural boundaries which once limited human collaboration and the sharing of ideas are nearly gone, and even foreign languages can be translated instantly so even that isn’t a barrier as much as it was. This sounds great for the possibility of world change,the possibility that one person can make a difference through the use of technology. It doesn’t work that way though. Humanity is big. Really big. There are about 7 billion 7.5 billion people in the world. Billion doesn’t even properly reference how big of a number that actually is. But there’s 7.5 of those billion out there in the form of people, and you’re just one of them. 1/7,500,000,000. Or 0.0000000001333 of the total human race.

Why the fuck would I think I can have any effect on climate change, or anything for that matter when effectively I am zero of the total human population? I can’t even figure out how to pester the city to put bike lanes along a few major roads, but somehow I can change the world? Sure bro. Sure.

That’s why I’m pissed and that’s why changing the world through this “live the life you want others to live” shit doesn’t work. I can have a zero carbon footprint on the planet without sacrificing any real comforts (yes, I know my phone and solar panels need to be manufactured but how the fuck does that compare with gasoline in cars and coal fueled power plants?) and this makes zero difference because there’s another 300 million Americans, and 7.5 billion other people on the planet, that can and will make my contribution null. I can be as awesome as sourcing all water from the rain and all electricity from the sun but a few fuckers in their SUVs can ruin any of my progress in a few hours (if that). And guess what? They don’t give two fucks about it and I can’t change that.

So even though we like to think we can be that “big change” we like to see in society, we really can’t be. There’s simply too many other people in the world that can fuck up your plans in a way that they don’t even have to try. The key here is influence, and a single person carries almost no influence and ability to change a thing. You might get lucky and become the next Zuckerberg where people will listen to you, but probably not. And if that’s not the beginnings of a dream-killing train of thought, I don’t know what is.