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The Philosophy of carlsagan42

One of my “guilty pleasures” is watching YouTube and Twitch streamers who play Super Mario Maker. If you don’t know, the old school Super Mario Bros video games by Nintendo have been brought together in a very cool way. A suite of tools have been given to the players of this unique game that allow them to build levels, upload to a server, and be played by anyone who owns Super Mario Maker.

With a large variety of SMB items, from multiple classic games, the range of possible level creation is infinite. A brilliantly simple game has now been immortalized and, with only the human imagination as its limit, the wide variety of level design is showcased in Mario Maker via a game mode called “Super Expert”. The game picks, at random, 6 player created levels that have a low clear rate or a low attempt/clear ratio. Beat all 6 levels without dying more than 100 times and you rescue “Princess Peach” from the game’s antagonist, Bowser.

Simple. Right? This sounds simple, until you account for… people. These levels are created by the SAME people who comment on YouTube videos. Who post crappy photos on Reddit. Who comment “nice boobs!” on your Facebook photos. You know, trolls. The insane variable of difficulty in these Super Expert Levels is amazing. I am always humbled by the ability of the human mind to create better ways to torture other humans. Super Expert Level in Super Mario Maker is no exception.

I especially enjoy the puzzle levels that carl plays. Watching a SUPER INTELLIGENT MIND attempt to crack a difficult physics puzzle is fascinating. It can take him HOURS to find the answers, but he WILL find them. He has beaten every level he has committed to. They are ALL beatable. You CANNOT upload a SMM level without first clearing it yourself. So, it is just a matter of “do you want it bad enough?”

I have boiled carlsagan42’s philosophy down as best as I could:

“Within a defined physical framework, with an impartial, finite application of the rules, there is NOTHING the human mind cannot achieve.”

And carl proves it. Especially playing “Kaizo Mario” levels. As he puts it, Kazio is a Japanese word that means rearranged. It was originally called “Asshole Mario”, because of the hidden coin blocks the level designer places in the PRESUMED path of the player. Example, when Mario needs to jump over a large gap, he backs up, runs full speed, and jumps with enough momentum to clear the obstacle… but instead of sailing over the hole, he strikes an invisible coin block and falls straight down, dying. In order to clear the pit, the player is forced to change, awkwardly at times, his approach to the jump in order to not strike the block.

The intricacy of the Kaizo Levels are, at times, amazing.

 

This “kid”, who has just earned his PhD in molecular biology and works with plants in a lab to find new vaccines, is a speed runner. He has an ability that I compare to playing an instrument. He is the concert pianist of Super Mario. And when someone plays an instrument as if it is an extension of their own body, it can be a beautiful thing to see!

It is NOT easy. It requires practice, patients, and dedication. Passion, confidence, and a sense of pride in accomplishment. To see something to its completion. It is a reward in itself, just seeing a difficult project to completion. And carlsagan42 will say it, too-

You have to fail every conceivable way possible before you succeed. Eventually, after all the practice, and work, and failing, and more failing, you get it right. Then it’s “Easy every time!”

So, What’s My point…

In our government, we have seen every possible way to fail. The most ignorant of politicians, the most corrupt of politicians, the most honorable, and the slimiest have all come and gone. Some fall by the wayside in history with little lasting effect on our Country. Some, like Ronald Reagan, are ACTIVELY dictating how we live our lives TODAY via the Supreme Court.

Hope and change, a thousand points of light, a shining city on the hill, a chicken in every pot… ALL words of men who were out of touch with the REALITY of the MAJORITY of Americans. Herbert Hoover, self-made wealthy man, sought to end hunger and poverty. Believed he could do it in his Presidency. Reagan held up America as a beacon for the rest of the world, then armed rebels with illegal funds in secret and lied about it.

Do we even need to bring up GWB?

Either these men lost touch with their roots, or they had an agenda all along that was contradictory to the goals of the AVERAGE American. Being an AVERAGE American (I presume), I can say without a doubt that the END GOAL of the MAJORITY of AMERICANS is simple- helping to ensure we come closer to that more “perfect Union” envisioned long ago. No one is perfect. No government is perfect. BUT, acknowledging this, and accepting this, we can CHANGE the laws we got wrong. TOGETHER we can move the arrow toward right. So many times we have failed, but we continue to push. We are constantly looking for the missing puzzle piece or the right combination of moves that will bring us closer to the goal.

Maybe not this life, but the next. Each life moves us closer to the Princess. Remembering what we got wrong last run, we can make adjustments and dodge the obstacles we hit last time. Progress has been made. Knowledge has been obtained. We must now apply that knowledge and complete the journey.

Ultimately, life is like Kaizo Mario. A person’s inner light shines brightest when they hit the kaizo block and fall into the pit. Do you try it again? Or do you skip it?

The Princess is waiting….

Kim Jong-un vs. “…Your Mom!”

I am… a giant. At 6’4″, 175 lbs, I stand above everyone. With RARE exception, I can either see over a large crowd unobstructed or my hat (a SpongeBob SquarePants Yellow hat) can bee seen over everyone. I am instantly shocked when someone taller walks into the room. Because it never happens! I have been tall all my life. Tallest in class, tallest in the school. Taller than all but one of my teachers. (second grade, my teacher was 6’1″. I was only 5’6″.) I was the tallest kid in my elementary school at the beginning of 5th grade, but at some point that year, Mindi hit her growth spurt and passed me by a couple inches.

I think that’s the reason I had a crush on her.

When I was in Cub Scouts, around 13 yrs old, my friend Tim’s Mom was our Den Mother. I was 5’6″ or so and a mouthy thirteen year old, and she was as tough as a wolf mother, and not even 4’6″ tall… To my eyes, it was a DRAMATIC height difference. And, being a 13 year old, I liked to… um, kindly reference our differences in height…? (did anyone buy that?)

Right. I would smart off “Oh yeah? What’cha gonna do about it, shorty?”

…. quick aside here. As I write this, I have in my minds eye a scene where I am being sarcastic with Tim’s Mom. I HOPE that’s how it was? I sound like a hell-child writing it out loud! I HOPE that’s how it came across. If not, I guess, Look for my “Apologies and Retractions” section, coming soon!… sigh…

SO, smart-ass me says “What’cha gonna do about it, shorty?” And, bless her heart, all four-foot-nothing walks right up to me, serious as can be, looks me in the eyes and says “No matter how tall you get, I can ALWAYS stand on a chair.”

boom.

She was a wonderful woman. Very caring, loved her being our Den Mother. So she had earned our respect, and each of us tried to show it. And we had seen he grab Tim’s ear a time or two, so we knew NOT to piss her off!

I could not think of a better person to be engaging overseas with aggressive foreign leaders on behalf of the People of the United States. Honestly, who could make decisions that reflect the overall wellbeing of the ENTIRE US better than “…Your Mom!” I would say, in fact, IF Tim’s Mom were to run in 2020, that would be the ONLY possible opponent I could not defeat.

After all, she could just stand on a chair.

 

Everyone Else See This the Same??

It’s not THAT hard to see, right? As a Nation, we are attempting to deal with an issue in PUBLIC SCHOOLS (#NeverAgain), and the “leaders” making life or death decisions about funding and legislation, have NEVER ATTENDED a PUBLIC SCHOOL?!!!

I remember the year that my High School (Olathe North H.S., Olathe, KS… go Eagles…) began hosting an ARMED OPD officer daily. Well intentioned. That was the kind way of saying the idea needed a better solution. In the end, it is the ARMED POLICE OFFICER who won the conversation. And since 1996 an armed Olathe Police Dept. Officer has been on campus.

From a community stand point, it is a perfect coalescence of Protect and Serve. Immediate, obvious, informative dialogue daily for both sides, the Protectors and their ’employers’. But, as a student, back in my day, get off my lawn, let me tell you a story you little… I felt it was gas on a fire. If you don’t want a gas fire, do not bring a gas can to the fire. In an environment openly attempting to recreate a prison system in order to protect the students, the idea of bringing a side arm into a prison seems illogical.

I’m sure there are Standard Operational Procedures guidelines that would be available for running a prison, a juvenile detention center, you know, a for profit organization that specializes in “that sort of thing”, maybe some former Sherriff Guy could ADVISE us all on, maybe someone knows a FAMILY MEMBER or something, who once knew a PRINCE they once met at DEVOS who could EDUCATE US, SECRETARY….

I’m not the only one seeing this, right?!!

Hope I’m not… wow

End the Electoral College

Don’t Forget, We Will ALL Still Be HERE

No matter what happens. Tomorrow, the Sun will rise, and we will all still be here. Of course, not those who have died, they’ll be dead. But us, the LIVING, we will still be here… together… on the same rock…

The electricity might get knocked out due to a storm, but we will still be here. It might snow in Florida, and we will still be here. An earthquake could flatten a city or cause a tsunami, but we will still be here. A child might die, at school, killed by a person with no hope left, and we will still be here. A man with a gun might decide to take his own life instead, and we will still be here.

The storms WILL come, stronger, more of them. Fibonacci shows us how a life in motion quickens, and we will still be here. Things will be the same… only different, and we will still be here. More of us will understand, more of us will resist the changing tide, and still, we will be here.

We know this. We EXPECT this. We EXPECT hell to unfold on Earth, as we have been told by the past to EXPECT it to happen. We have seen it unfold in our daily lives, sometimes on live TV. AND we are STILL here. And TOMORROW, the Sun will rise.

What we want tomorrow to LOOK like, must be created NOW. Because, no matter what happens, hell and/or high water,

WE WILL ALL STILL BE HERE- TOGETHER!

Keep your head UP!!

JC

Race, Sex, and Gender IRL

As a white male, when I interact with humans (being socially awkward to a degree, I avoid this interaction as much as possible), I have come to expect a certain reaction from people. Maybe not reaction, a better word might be impression. As I assume all people do, they look a person in the eyes and usually see from most people some type of reaction. Inquisitive eyes, happy eyes, etc. Often, I see happy eyes looking back at me since I wear a yellow SpongeBob SquarePants hat. One of the main reasons I like wearing it.

I have learned to appreciate this, as not everyone receives this. As a young man, one of my Father’s best friends was a 6’6″ black man named ‘Magic’. His real name was Verdon, so I see why he preferred Magic. He had a chance to go pro and play for the KC Royals back in the ’80s, but due to a family illness, he chose not to try out. Very good man with a big heart. He went on to greatness when he helped my Father coach my little league baseball team, leading us to second place overall, and 1st place in the B-flight tournament.

That’s not my point… Some time after I turned 21, we went out to a local dive bar named “The Crossroads”. So, suburban Kansas City, after work. Handful of Harley-Davidsons out front,  couple of pick-ups… average white suburban hole-in-the-wall bar with darts, pool tables. This was the FIRST time I had gone out with my Uncle Magic just him and myself.

I will never forget it.

When we walked in, a quick pan across the room showed 20 to 30 middle aged white men, a handful of white, middle aged women, classic rock playing on the jukebox, people laughing can carrying on… A bar. BUT, as Magic and I walked in. He’s 6’6″ and BLACK,not brown or tan, but BLACK. I’m a 6’4″ white beanpole, maybe my whiteness helped contrast the difference, like a polar bear in a tropical forest, but EVERY set of eyes turned and trained on us. EVERY ONE. For a good couple seconds, they looked. To me, it was like a punch in the face. I stopped. I assume my mouth was agape. In my head it was! But Magic slapped me on the back and said something like “Come on, what’cha havin’?”

We didn’t outright discuss it. But I said something like “Did you see that?” He noticed that I had never seen that before. But it was obvious that he sees that ALL THE TIME. As if the situation was just another day, he blew it off and we went and grabbed a pool table.

It angered me. As I thought about it over time, I tried to empathize and thought “Maybe they don’t have a whole lotta black friends? Maybe its just Magic’s massive build?” I didn’t realize at that time. Not for many months, it didn’t occur that that situation could have been a dangerous situation. As I sit and write this now, I wonder how many times a situation like that DID turn dangerous for him. Just because he is a black man.

I look at a person and begin to size them up from the get-go. Nothing concrete, impressions can change, as they should. But a person’s outward appearance says a lot about where they come from, where they’re going. To me, in my mind, these things say NOTHING about a person’s inner character. They give information about ones decision making process, but say nothing about their future potential. I went to the Urgent Care center a few years back with a persistent cough. After an hour wait in the lobby, I went back, saw a nurse, answered the questions (where’s it hurt, how long, let’s take your temp) and then waited for the doctor. She came in, sized up the situation, and wrote me a prescription. She said, “This will take care of it. Have any problems, call or come back and see me.”

I said thank you and extended my hand to say thanks, to wrap up the evaluation and show my appreciation. She was shocked. A bit ecstatic, but shocked would be the word. As if she did not expect I would want to shake her hand, or did not receive this simple gesture of appreciation from men too often? There is a lot of assumption on my part here. Maybe she was happy I didn’t ask for Percocet or Oxy, IDK. But, to me, its seems insane that a medical professional would NOT be shown this simple gesture by everyone she evaluates.

Regardless a person’s race, gender, age, we ALL have important attributes that are valued by everyone, and we should remember to show appreciation for that. Sometimes our ignorance can come across as judgement of others if we do not express how we are feeling. Communication. It’s required by businesses of its employees to be tolerant of others differences, because we know everyone has the SAME CAPABILITIES ON THE INSIDE. As HUMANS, we ALL work the same, we are put together a bit differently from model to model, but the ‘manufacturer’ is the same. Expressing this from time to time is important.

In real life, we all want to feel we have a role to play, a place we are needed. Sometimes expressing a limitation within yourself to someone else,as a sign of empathy or compassion can change a mind, and open a dialogue once thought impossible.

Expressing our own ignorance, AND the desire to become more enlightened, will see unity FASTER than a speeding bullet. I may not know EVERYTHING, but I CAN someday, with help from others, know everything. And that is the path I am on, and I know I share this path with many others. We just gotta talk about it more often, to more people, with confidence.

And, again, being introverted, I understand it can be hard. Baby steps, right?

Keep your head UP!!

An Independent President

As I see it, there is only one solution- we MUST elect a President who has NO intrest in a political career, who has no political ‘history’ (THE reason Hillary lost, IMHO), and is a ‘working stiff’ like myself. The “Average Joe”. AKA someone who represents the MAJORITY of Americans.

 

me_pic
Mr. Jack Charbonneau

 

 

Under normal circumstances, I would NOT run for President. I would say there are MANY more qualified persons we need to be at the helm. But we have reached a ‘tipping point’ in our country. What we have created, this intercontinental economic powerhouse, born and bread here in the USA, is now attempting to, and successfully I might add, change the rules… change the legislative structure ITSELF… to its own benefit.

If the law makers are sympathetic to your company, even better have worked for or will be working for your company, then laws can be passed or undone in your interest. Our government is similar to refs in an NFL game. What would happen if the players were allowed to be the refs? At some point the game would come to a halt due to the inflated egos on the field! Instead of a competition of skill, it would become a “battle royale”.

Though the idea of a death match on the Senate floor MIGHT sound appealing…

I hope over the course of 3 years I will be able to lay out a full description of myself, articulating my positions on as much as I can think of, as well as any questions thrown this way, to show exactly why I can be President. Because we all KNOW the President is only as powerful as the Congress allows. If they are all in agreement, progress CAN be made. It has happened before. It MIGHT happen again!… maybe… I’m optimistic. Not 100%, but at least 65% confident…

A President with an UNDENIABLE MANDATE from the VOTERS, THE PEOPLE, from whom this government gets its marching orders. By sending a representative from the PEOPLE, NOT the special interests, NOT the legislative elites, NOT the wall street leaders.

A person who, when someone looks at that leader and asks “Is he looking out for my interests?” You can absolutely say “Yes”. Because, as I see it, the MAJORITY looks, acts, and THINKS exactly like I do. We bust our ass, follow the rules, try to get ahead, set a good example for our kids, then see the banking industry gamble all OUR money away on risky loans and NOT GET PUNISHED. Or see Donald Trump break LAWS and… nothing. Or watch an oil company kill 11 workers due to negligence and no one goes to jail!

NOTHING?? If I go to the casino tonight, put it all on red and come home broke, my family’s financial future is bleak. If I were to attempt to write off those losses, my ass would be in jail. Same for anyone else. Accountability used to be universal.

Let’s make America ACCOUNTABLE again. Your actions speak volumes. EVERYONE is accountable for their actions, GOOD and BAD. Let’s do good, for everyone, together.

Keep your head UP!!

 

…just another Tuesday in Kansas.

Kansas, the only place on Earth where one can experience ALL FOUR SEASONS before noon. Yesterday we had temps pushing 60 with rain, now we have 30+ mph sustained winds, snow, sunshine, dark clouds, sleet, and temps just above freezing… AND the tornado sirens sounded about 45 minuets ago. Of course, it was probably a test, as they only went through one cycle, still. It makes one look to make sure the path is clear to the basement!

It is a unique life here in Kansas. Everyone of us is a meteorologist. We have to be. It is LIFE OR DEATH when you live where the twisters live. 24/7/365. There is not a month in the year we can rest at ease. When there is snow on the ground, we tend to forget. Honestly, it shouldn’t happen when the temps are below 60. But no one doubts, at any point in there day, that the sky could open up and remove you from the map. It is bizarre, I know! But it is a fact of life.

People from the Great State of Kansas are hardened more so than a lot of people. Maybe not as tough as people from the Great State of Alaska. (I mean…Barrow. Those people are INSANE!) But, in a way, more so than people of Alaska. Kansas is one of the only place on Earth where temps commonly range between 120 degrees F and -30 degrees F. EVERY type of weather can happen and does happen here. Often, ALL in one day.

The stories of people who have lived a lifetime on the prairie can speak to the changes we see in the weather today. The winters used to be colder and snowier. The rain patterns were more reliably west-to-east. The only time west moving systems would pass through were remnants of a tropical system. It is still odd to see, but more common. Non tropical storm systems moving east-to-west happen yearly. It is heartbreaking to see farmers lose everything due to the wicked ways of the weather. Some years due to drought. Some years, the crops die in the fields due to constant rain, making fields impassable for multi-ton farm equipment. Then, add the pressure of feeding THE ENTIRE WORLD… and your family…

Just random weather thoughts. The Lion surely Roars this March morning here in The Free State.

Keep your head UP!!