Monday, February 13, 2012

Just like Keanu Reeves to Al Pacino.

So you might have seen this picture making the rounds on Facebook and Google+ (Ok, maybe not Google+...) along with the requisite thousand-plus comments railing against decadent corporate growth, the heartless advance of technology, the desecration of ancient culture, the plight of the vanishing rainforest. Or at least that's what they'd all be commenting about if they could spell those things. You may have seen this news item and wondered, deep down in your heart-souls, "What does Sam Tyner think about all of this?"

Basically, what news articles (like this one) boil this down to is the Brazilian government saying "this isn't going to fuck anything up" and the chief of the Kayopos tribe saying that it in fact will, along with a ubiquitous picture of a semi-official (for Brazil, anyway) man looking down at the shirtless, backwater chief as he cries for the fate of his river. Because native peoples are allowed to "own" nature but it's vulgar for anyone else to.

We Americans may like to poke fun at our dumber citizens and worry that our high schoolers can't find America on a map, but we are one of the most educated and enlightened cultures in the history of the world. So we watch other  growing countries doing THE EXACT SAME THING WE DID AS A DEVELOPING NATION and point our fingers and whine about it, never wanting to acknowledge that developing a civilization has never been a clean, polite endeavor. We also like to think that we know what's best for people in other countries and have no problem voicing our comically uninformed opinions to anyone who will listen on the internet.

The article I linked to also mentions a "plea on Facebook to aid the native people" which I think underscores a larger problem in our society. With the internet being more integrated into formal news channels and the line blurring between reputable sources and "Dave's Internet News Shack," the reality of giving everybody a voice is sinking in. The problem is not that we should completely discount what certain people say, it's that those people don't have to inform themselves at all to be able to have their voices heard. A thousand people will read the same 50-word snippet on or 4chan and fire off a knee-jerk comment about "when will are copratate greed sotp!!1" or "stay the fcuk out da rainforrests!!" and that's considered the voice of the masses by news outlets. Reddit becomes an engine for change all of a sudden.

But this post isn't about retards on the internet. It's not even meant to belittle the struggle of old ways against new.  This is about our cultural preoccupation with hypocritically condemning technological expansion. Now that's a wordy subject, so I'll try to be less wordy with the rest of this post. People that complain about deforestation or displaced natives can only do so in complete ignorance of the entire history of humans. People that complain about how technology is going to ruin our future and end our species are presuming to know a lot more than anybody can about the future. And people that complain about any social issue need to read past the headlines before anybody is allowed to listen to them.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sam Tyner, Math Genius. Apparently.

So I went to a hardware store for some weather-stripping because my door isn't the same shape as its frame and "having it closed" was basically the same as "having it open." I went to the register to pay for my stuff.

The cashier told me my total was $7.26 so I gave her a $20 bill. After she had asked me for my phone number for some reason, I realized I had exact change.

I might as well have told a dog to read me the newspaper. She told me she had already hit the "$20 button" on the register. We had passed the point of no return.
So now there were two stacks of money on the counter: my $7.26 to pay for my $7.26 purchase, and the change the computer had told her to give me from my $20. I wasn't really annoyed at this point, because I still had a thorough grasp of my lack of proficiency with anything involving numbers. I'm totally freakin' awesometaculariffic with words, but as soon as you put numbers in anything, my brain just shuts off. So I believe that most anyone can grasp any mathematical concept that I can, so maybe she just didn't understand what I was saying.

Figuring this was the kind of arithmetic they prime kindergarteners on, I asked again. I would also like to point out that this was a white, American, English-speaking lady. So there are no cultural or language barriers to work around, which is a shame because that would be completely excusable. But still annoying.

She looked at the exact change from my pocket sitting next to the change that she had given me from the twenty dollar bill and told me there was $15 on the counter.

How do you not understand that the exact change for the price of the thing PLUS the $12.74 change you just gave me equals $20?! So I separated the money out so it was easier to look at. Instead of two random-looking piles of cash, we now had this.

Surely anything that stands on two legs and has a pulse can see that this money on the counter adds up to twenty dollars, and as a cashier you might rather have small bills and change in your drawer than a $20 bill that you can't do anything with.

I finally decided that the time I'd stood there trying to explain basic addition to an adult was not worth the convenience of having one piece of paper that I am statistically less likely to spend than the now four basically monetary worthless pieces of paper and ten annoying jangly pieces of metal that I honestly sometimes just throw away. I left the store more confused than the cashier was, but surely for different reasons.  How did I, of all people, out-math someone? I looked for plagues of locusts or doom-bringing horsemen as I drove home. All of which I would somehow defeat with my SUPER MATH POWERS OF INFINITY. TIMES A MILLION.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I'm onto you.

Every once in a while I'll reach a level of self-awareness (or sometimes just drink enough) where I get an glimpse of a larger picture that has always been hidden from me. My brain cells misfire in such a way that the illusions necessary for everyday life to continue wiggle just enough for me to register they might not be real. And what secret truth is revealed to me as the curtains are parted ever so slightly? That I am a mentally handicapped person.

Now, I don't mean "autistic" like so many other people my age who have found a convenient excuse for their unreasonable fear of interacting with other people-- as much as I'd like to have a reason to say "ASSBURGER" on a daily basis. No, I mean full-on helmet-wearing, velcro-shoed, derp-derp retard.

On these rare and illuminating occasions, I will discover that everyone who is nice to me is more of a benevolent care-taker who will laugh at my jokes to boost my self-esteem and have conversations with me to help exercise the parts of my brain needed to function in the world, and that I'm not homeless right now only because it would be inhumane in modern society not to provide state-sponsored care for people of my limited capacities.

And if I were to ever bring it up, my handlers would exchange sideways "uh-oh" glances, like I was a 4-year old who just asked where babies came from. Then they would coo and calmly reassure me that I was just like everyone else and that I was also special (whatever sense that makes. But what do I know, I'm retarded) and they would strap my helmet back on and we'd make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or play some more video games, instead of doing whatever a grown-up should be doing at my age. Trading stocks or renaming yachts or taking care of blissfully unknowing retarded man-children.

Maybe this was a bad time to quit caffeine.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Monday vs. Friday

I am relaxed and refreshed from a solid forty-eight hours of sleeping/goofing off/drinking/playing video games/laughing and maybe even refraining from doing fun things because it's the weekend and I don't have to do ANYTHING if I don't want to. Bring it on, Monday! I LOVE EVERYTHING!

Hey, it'll be OK, lobby full of angry customers. It's just pizza.  Maybe if you didn't start bitching on Monday like everyone else, you'd be in a better mood.

Man, why am I the only one here during the day. This place is understaffed and I don't enjoy being behind all day. It can't be good that I've started to resent every single customer that I talk to. I'm just gonna crash so hard when I get home. Fuuuuuhhhh...

OK, only one more day of this shit and then it's the weekend. But I don't even know how I'm going to make it through nine hours of work today to get to the weekend so I can WHAT?!? OH MY GOD IT'S ONLY THURSDAY. WHY!!!!!??!?!? WHYYYYYYYYYY why why why why why WHY!!! GOD DAMMIT!

I'm quitting. I am seriously going to quit. What if I just got in my car and drove back to my apartment. Or drove to Canada. I'll just go be a lumberjack. Make my own hours, take a few whacks at a tree, take a sandwich break, go home. What are they gonna do? Tell me I have to come back? I don't have to come back. I DON'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING EVER. EVERYBODY LEAVE ME ALONE.

[Stare at computer screen for hours on end, yet somehow completely ignore .txt file with my constantly lengthening to-do list. Watch cartoons. Forget to eat lunch until 7pm. Stay up too late playing ridiculous flash games meant for 12-year olds.]

[Get up super early (10:00am) and go eat an unnecessarily expensive lunch as "fuel" for all the errands I'm going to run today. Get stuck in traffic on I-5. Text Indiana friends and brag about the weather here. Give up after one errand. Go home and waste time with roommates. Stay up until 3:30am for no reason.]

You're wrong, and Mondays are awesome.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Greatest Hits, Volume 1

Saturday, 30 July 2005

Sam's Glasses: A Brief & Violent History
My first pair of glasses had thick punk-rock black frames. They also had the misfortune of being prescribed to me shortly before I turned 21. Here is an insurance report-style chronicle of their demise, complete with hyper-realistic mspaint renderings of each incident.

1) Smacked off my head by one Rachel Miller at a house party in Bloomington. Presumably a direct repercussion of a lewd/impolite comment, though the record cannot confirm or deny that.
[Result: Permanently lopsided.]

2) Scratched to all holy hell during a sidewalk face-plant while giving an official "Top 5 Drunks" piggy-back ride to one Allison Caye which ultimately precipitated an ambulance ride to the hospital and a substantial contribution to my general poverty.
[Result: Prominent series of scratches on left lens.]3) Accidentally stepped on by one Zula Mills post-Afternoon Delight, in spite of the fact they were on her coffee table. It is around this time that I seriously started considering LASIK.
[Result: Severely bent; repaired later that day by me.]

4) Pummeled off my head by one Amanda Buckles during a "Party Sam" gone awry/plea for attention in the downstairs area of Harry's Chocolate Shop (which, despite the name, is a college bar.)
[Result: Left lens unaccounted for.]

5) And finally, lost by one Sam Tyner while over-enthusiastically "Pete Townsend-ing" upstairs at Harry's. It should be noted that Item 5 occurred within 30 minutes of Item 4.
[Result: Totaled.]
Oddly enough, the next pair of glasses I got have lasted me over five years to the present day. I'm beginning to think that original pair was cursed, or maybe suicidal. Either that or I'm just not fun anymore.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Mah fellow Amuricans. I don't think I even need to tell you what an important election this is.  And I know you'll participate because voting has somehow become as cool as skinny jeans and Conan O'Brien. And I'm sure I don't have to tell you that you should be voting for the Republicrat candidate. Since the beginning of time, the Republicrats have stood for all that is good and wholesome. They have forever defended against the single greatest threat to our beautiful and perfect country: The Dempublicans.

The Dempublicans want to repeal Christmas, and make babies and rainbows illegal. And if you don't vote this November, they'll get their way. They will come to your house and take your bibles from you and use them as kindling to roast our honorable Amurican flag. Then they will sprinkle the ashes of our beloved flag like confetti during a Rape The Statue Of Liberty party. They're LITERALLY going to rape the statue. And then they're going to rape your freedom. LITERALLY.

The Dempublicans would like you to believe that they're also regular people with slightly different opinions from ours, just trying to make their way in the world and carve out their slice of the Amurican pie. But we Republicrats know better. These people are nothing less than minions of the Devil himself! They are not human! Why just last week I saw a Dempublican supporter in a Nazi uniform biting the head off a baby kitten!  It's true!

Why, even that one celebrity you like, they're a card-carrying Republicrat. And we all know that you have to be very politically savvy to be a movie star. Don't you want to be like that celebrity? Don't you like celebrities? DON'T YOU LIKE AMURICA?

And so, mah loyal Republicrats, I urge you out to the voting booths. Since I want to seem like a fair and reasonable person, I won't tell you who to vote for, but if you still believe this country is the only perfect and holy beacon of freedom in a world that has no other sensible forms of government or any kind of freedom in any country around the world, you will vote Republicrat this November.