The Problem With Mary: Catholicism and I Don’t Get Along.

So, this is a little different than usual. Not gaming or book related, nor is it a thought experiment. This is just a straight up diary entry about some shit that’s on my mind, and that shit just so happens to be Catholicism.

Now look, I don’t like the Church, Vatican, or really anything to do with Catholicism. I was raised in a very anti-catholic household. Pentecostals, as well as many other protestant denominations, are known for their aggressiveness towards Catholicism, and with good reason. The Church hasn’t exactly been kind toward their fellow Christians, not to mention anyone else who disagreed with them. This all being said, I do not hate Catholics. My wife is a Catholic, and a proud one at that. Her whole family is Catholic. I do not hate these people, nor hold anything against them. This extends to all Catholics. Just because I have HUGE problems with the Church doesn’t mean that I hate the people in it. I do not believe that they are evil, nor are they against God or going to Hell. I was certainly taught that, but that teaching was/is wrong. Catholics are just as Christian as I am, even though I believe that the Vatican is mostly mislead. The Vatican is no different than really any big church or organization within Christianity. They’re all corrupt and evil in many ways. The Vatican being Catholic doesn’t make them any worse than the Mega Churches who exploit their congregations for monetary gain, or the many other terrible things happening within the other denominations. I also don’t believe that Catholics are part of a cult, despite some really culty shit going on, but every sect has cult within it. The Catholic Church is far from being as much of a cult as say the Mormom Church, who I have even bigger issues with, but I’ll save that for later. All in all, Catholics are not evil. The Vatican can be, but the people within the Church aren’t, or rather, not all of them. By people, I mean the people in the pews, not the people running the show.

Ok, we good? Everyone on the same page? I don’t hate Catholics, nor think they’re evil, going to hell, etc. Good, we got that out of the way. All of that being said, the Catholic Church is just full of made up shit. By made up shit, I mean stuff that has no basis in the Christian faith. Of course, you could say that it’s all made up, so what’s the difference? The difference is that the “Bible”, which has the words/instructions of Christ, is the basis for Christianity, yet there is so much about Catholicism that COMPLETELY ignores scripture, and this pisses me off.

Purgatory and Limbo used to be something that aggravated me to no end, as it has NO Biblical basis whatsoever, but the Church finally got rid of that. Took them a thousand years, but they finally realized that, “Hey, this shit isn’t in the Bible. Maybe we should stop teaching it like it is?”. Shouldn’t have taken them that long, considering EVERYONE ELSE thought this doctrine was wrong, but hey, A for effort. At least you got there, but that’s not what I’m talking about today. No, today, I wanna talk about Mary.

I could go on and on about the really WEIRD obsession that the Church has with Mary, but I want to focus on one particular aspect of Mary that I learned just a few days ago. This mind blowing fact is that the Catholic Church believes and teaches that the Virgin Mary was ALWAYS a virgin. We all know that she was a virgin when she got pregnant with Christ. This is not what I’m mad about. That’s kind of Mary’s whole deal. She was a young virgin that gave birth to the Lord. It was a miracle. We all know the story. What I take issue with, and what BLEW MY FREAKING MIND, was that they believe that she remained a virgin until she died. This is something they call “Perpetual Virginity”.

Ok, first things first. No where in the Bible does it every say or allude to Mary being a virgin for life. She was just virgin when she got pregnant with Christ. She had to be because of the prophecy, and blah, blah, blah, but after, she was still married to Joseph. She was a young married woman living in Judea over 2,000 years ago. My wife and I end up having sex when we can’t find something on TV, let alone if we were in a desert with nothing to do. You’re telling me that Mary and Joseph never hooked up once? That doesn’t make any sense, but hey, if the Bible never said that she had sex, then one could assume that she didn’t, right? There’s just enough evidence for this theory as there is against, right? Yeah, no. This theory might hold water if Jesus didn’t have a freaking brother.

That’s right, Christ had a brother. In fact, he had quite a few, but one of them was really prominent in the Bible. How prominent, you ask? Prominent that HE GOT HIS OWN BOOK! His brother was James, as in the St. James, and the writer of the Book of James. You kind of can’t ignore his existence. The Bible also refers to James as the brother of Christ MULTIPLE times, so you can’t say that he was his brother.

But what if James was his adopted brother, then he would still be his brother, right? What if it was a child from a previous marriage that Joseph had? Well, that could work, if you had any evidence for these claims whatsoever. Look, James didn’t have the powers of Christ because he was just a man. He was the son of Joseph and Mary, while Christ was God’s son who Mary gave birth to. That’s not that hard to understand, but for some reason, the Church found the need to ignore this possibility. They might’ve been able to get away with this if the Bible didn’t call James the son of Mary. That’s pretty cut and dry, but I guess they don’t see it that way.

This isn’t a translation or interpretation thing, either. The Bible says that she was a mother to James. It says that Christ had brothers. It also alludes to Mary laying with Joseph, because of course she did, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Look, protestants have A LOT of weird shit, too. Lots of stuff that’s not supported by the Bible. I was raised to believe that Jesus never drank wine, alcohol was evil, and that what they drank back then was juice. This is a complete and utter lie. Jesus drank wine. He freaking turned water into wine! He talked about drinking wine, and was even called a “winebibber” aka a drunk. The Jews and Romans had words to distinguish wine from juice, and while there are many translation errors, this wasn’t one of them. They just made it up because Pentecostals and Baptists are famously anti-alcohol. The doctrine fit their needs, despite it not being supported by the text. It’s evil and wrong. Catholics aren’t the only ones to just make up shit, but it’s what they chose to make up that bothers me. Maybe it’s because I’m not familiar with it, but this stuff truly boggles my mind.

I don’t get why Mary had to stay a virgin. There is nothing in the Bible that says that she couldn’t have had relations with her damn husband after Christ was born. Nothing. Keeping her a Virgin makes no sense. Does her being a “Perpetual Virgin” make her more pure in the eyes of the Church, cause that’s kind of fucked up. A woman’s purity/worth is not tied to whether or not she had sex. Also, Mary was married, so there’s no “sin” to worry about, either. Women have sex. Not only is that ok, it’s good. Mary had sex. She probably really liked it. That’s ok. She’s still an important figure. David literally had countless wives and concubines, and even committed adultery with another man’s wife, got her pregnant, then killed the husband so he wouldn’t find out. All of this, and he’s still considered the greatest King of Israel, yet if Mary even looked at her husband, she wouldn’t be as pure? Screw that. She still gave birth to Christ as a Virgin. She’s still the mother of Christ. Her having sex after doesn’t change that.

Stadia: Google is Full of Crap!

I so want to like Google’s Stadia, but it seems with each passing day that Google is just trying its best to get me, along with everyone else, to hate it.

From day one, I was aboard the Stadia train. Despite having a lack of solid, uncapped internet, I was intrigued with the idea of game streaming, and I thought that if there was anyone who could pull it off, it would be Google. That was then. Now, I’m not so sure Google has any idea what the hell they’re talking about.

First, the lack of general information that Google has put out there was a huge cause of concern. Multiple conflicting reports about how Stadia will actually work did little to get the populous on board. We all thought Stadia was going to be like Netflix for games, but then we were told that wouldn’t be the case. Google alluded that Stadia would have both a subscription service, but also have games that you could buy and play over the service. Not exactly Netflix for games, but it sounds pretty good, or rather, it would’ve sounded good had Google back tracked and said that all of that was untrue. In an AMA back in July, Stadia Product Director, Andrey Doronichev, said that the Stadia Pro package was more similar to Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus, in that you would get 1 or 2 free games a month, along with discounts and such. Everything else, the consumer will have to pay full price for, just like if you were buying a game on a console.

See, that right there, sucks. Why does that suck? Well, it has to do with the fact that Stadia is not a console or PC. You don’t own it. It’s also reliant on the internet 24/7. You would be paying for a service that you won’t be able to use all the time. If you don’t have an internet connection, you can’t play your games. With a console or PC, you can still play your games, as long as they don’t require online to play. This wouldn’t be so bad if you bought a 60 dollar game and had 2 copies of it, like Microsoft’s Project XCloud, which allows you to have a game that you can play on your console, while giving you the ability to stream it to your phone or PC, if you want. With Stadia, there is no home console or offline play. As far as we know, if you bought a 60 dollar game on Stadia, you would only have access to it through Stadia. This fear isn’t helped by the fact that Google hasn’t revealed what exactly the subscription models are, or what they do. Another concern of Stadia being always online is the fact that Google could just kill this whole thing if it doesn’t go well, meaning you would lose everything, however, this isn’t why I think Google is full of crap.

I went from being completely sold on Stadia, to skeptical at best, to completely unsold on the idea in just a few months. The final straw, however, came just few days ago when Google made what might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard out of them. Google announced that Stadia would eventually be able to out pace consoles and PC’s by achieving negatively latency. Let’s stop it right there. Negative latency. Just think about that for a second. Latency has been a problem for awhile, whether it be the latency from the controller to the console itself, or the latency from the console to the TV/monitor. When someone presses a button, they want it to register instantly. We used to have this problem solved, monitorwise, back when CRT’s were in every household, but once everyone switched to flat screen HDTV’s, latency and lag became a problem. This is why there are gaming monitors and TV’s that advertise their high refresh rates, and why they also have “game modes” that do their best to get rid of input lag. Input lag and latency are big deals, and is one of the main concerns everyone has with game streaming. It’s hard to get rid of with a hard wired set up, yet Google claims that not only can they get rid of it, but have negative latency. Negative. Not zero, but negative. This is impossible on anyone’s set up, let alone a set up that require the internet so it can STREAM the game to you.

That right there should be the biggest red flag that Google has no idea what they are doing, or at least that the guys they’re letting talk have no idea, but it gets worse. Just claiming negative latency would’ve been enough to turn me off of Google Stadia, but it’s how they said they will achieve it is what really drove the nail in the coffin. According to Google, they will use a system that predicts the inputs before a player presses a button. Yeah, I’m sure that will work perfectly.

These predictive systems are already in use today in many smartphones. They use algorithms that predict what apps you’ll open before you finger touches the screen. When it works, it works, however, when it doesn’t, it can be completely annoying. You go to open up an app, but for some reason your phone keeps opening up another one. That gets frustrating quick, and it’s also really obvious. Now, apply that to a game like a platformer or a fighting game where input precision is key. If the program messes up, and it will, it will cause you to lose games. That doesn’t fun, nor does it sound smart. Playing games isn’t like typing or texting. Software that chooses for you can only hurt your gaming experience. Oh, and by the way, even when it comes to typing and texting, the programs often get it wrong. We all know the frustration of auto correct changing our words again and again, completely ruining a message. It annoyed me so much that I have it all turned off. Can you imagine that if your games did that? It would be awful.

I honestly can’t believe that Google would let someone say that, or even think that the idea was a good one. In theory, it sounds like a good idea, but one doesn’t have to think very far until they see how it would fall apart. All of this is what finally made me turn around on Stadia. I no longer believe that they know what they’re doing. Look at Microsoft and how they’re rolling out streaming. You would think with Google showing up that Microsoft would be pushing XCloud super hard, but they’re not. They believe in it, but they know that the tech isn’t there yet, and you would never hear them say crap like “negative latency”, because they actually make video games, consoles, and computers for a living. Such a phrase would never be uttered, nor would the idea implementing a system that predicts a gamer’s inputs.

I’m really disappointed. I believed in Stadia. The idea of playing games anywhere was really cool, but now I’m not so sure, and I’m a Google sell out. I’ve had both the Pixel 2 and 3, and I’m amped for the Pixel 4 reveal. I’m not anti-google, but all of this just makes it hard to believe in them.

I believe that Stadia will come out and that it will work, but that’s about it. I’m no longer confident in Google’s ability to make it more than just a fun gimmick. I would be if they sounded like they knew anything about what they were talking about, but that’s sadly not the reality we live in. I hope I’m wrong, but at this point, I don’t think I am.

What Happened at Bioware is Normal. THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE!

Be warned. This is a rant.

I want to make something very clear. Just because something is seen as normal does not mean that it is right. There was a time where slavery was normal in the United States of America. It was an everyday thing. It was accepted, and even seen as good by many, but did that make it right? Hell no. Slavery was evil, is evil, and is a stain on the history of this country. You won’t hear too many people, other than racists, try to justify slavery today by saying that it was “normal”. Why then, am I hearing from all kinds of people, that what happened at Bioware isn’t that bad, because it is normal for the games industry?

Overwork and crunch is normal in the game industry. It is also normal in many industries from film to construction. When you think about it, overwork and crunch are normal in just about every job, at least in America. This is the norm. This is also wrong.

It has been proven that productivity goes down after 40 hours, and the total upper limit is 60 hours. Everything is downhill from there. The longer a person is at work, the longer they’re away from home. The longer they’re away from home, the longer they’re away from family, chores, etc. Take all the stress you have from work and add all the stress you get at home where it seems like everything is falling around you. You’re working so long that you don’t have time to cook, clean, relax, for basic hygiene, and even sleep. Your family also starts to feel like they’re unloved because they never see you. I know all of this, because I’ve been through it. It’s not fun, and it does cause breakdowns. My last breakdown left me without a job, and now, I’m in a worse place than I was then; however, my productivity at work was also going down before I got fired because I was being over worked. Stressed at home, and stressed at work. There is no relief. People die because of this. Stress will kill you, and yet employers do not care. This has to stop, and it needs to stop now.

Let’s back up a bit. Besides stress, fatigue, etc. Let’s looks at productivity. We know that companies and corporations want something done for as cheap as possible, right? This is why these horrible business practices continue. The funny thing is that these practices DO NOT SAVE MONEY! Overwork leads to lower productivity. That not only means that it will take longer to make a product, but that product may come out “broken”. A bad or mediocre product costs you money. People will not only avoid buying the product, but will also avoid doing business with you. I saw that all the time in construction. Factor in severance and lawsuits for worker abuse, your company didn’t save anything! If you would’ve limited work to 40 hours, and maintained a healthy work environment, you would’ve released a better product, got more people to purchase your product, got more people willing to work with you, sewed in good will, and wouldn’t have to pay any money in severance and court fees. It’s a win-win, but for some reasons companies don’t understand this. It would still be unacceptable if these practices were profitable, but the fact is that they are not. Knowing this, it really seems like companies are treating their employees like crap just for the fun of it, and it needs to stop.

My point is, companies in every industry need to stop treating their employees like crap. They’re people. Treat them like people. You reap what you sew. If you want good, then put in good.

Google Stadia: A Great Idea That Won’t Work.

Let me quickly address the headline. Some may be arguing that my headline is wrong. Stadia was shown to already work, and that it’s test run ran pretty smoothly. That is true. Stadia does technically work, but it only works for the few, and even then, it may not be the smoothest experience. Also, by work, I don’t mean that it will fail. Stadia will most likely make a huge profit for Google. Hell, it’ll probably lead to many a great things, but it’s not the idea or really anything in Google’s control, that will keep it from working for the masses. The internet infrastructure just simply isn’t there.

The first road block that Stadia will run into is that many countries just don’t have access to broadband internet speeds. Broadband might be there, but prices might put it out of reach for the population in many countries. Another thing is data caps. Many countries, like the UK, have internet data caps. You only have so much data a month. This limits everything, from downloads to streaming, but imagine if you’re streaming a game at 4k. You could likely use your entire data in one session. If that was the case, then why would anyone use the service? They wouldn’t. Even at 1080p, the amount of data used would eclipse anything that you would see from Netflix or Hulu. This would put Stadia out of reach to a sizable population of the world. Why waste my data on Stadia when I could just download the game or buy it physically, and stay under the data cap?

Let’s throw away data caps and try to focus on just the US. There are plenty of people to serve in the US, and after all, that is where Google is based. Is it possible for Stadia to have a giant player base in the states? Not really. It depends on what you consider “giant”. A few million is a lot of users, but far from what Google would likely want. According to the FCC, Google’s Stadia wouldn’t have much trouble. According to FCC data, over 90% percent of Americans have access to broadband internet. That would be good news if those numbers weren’t crap. Govtech.com reported that Microsoft directly disputed the FCC’s claims.

The FCC claimed that only 24.7 million people didn’t have access to broadband internet, but Microsoft’s data suggests that over 162 million either don’t have access, or don’t use it. That’s a much bigger number. The number gets even larger when you factor in stability. There’s a difference in an ISP having the ability to get 25mbps (the speed at which Google claims is best to use Stadia) , and having stable/constant speeds of 25mbps. Most broadband providers can get near that number, but like to bounce up in down. In order to use Stadia at optimum levels, you would need a constant speed of 25mbps, which most people in America do not have.

I truly love the idea of Stadia, but the infrastructure just isn’t ready. Where I am, there is no internet, and I live not too far from the capitol of Texas. I have to use a glorified hotspot that I pay over 200 dollars a month for, and is limited to 150GB a month. Stadia is just not a possibility for me, neither is downloading updates, patches, games, etc. Everything I do has to be metered. Have to work as hard as I can to stay within the limit, which is a lot harder than one would think. For many people, they don’t even have this option due to just not having the money. Google could do something about this. They could force the expansion of the internet in the US, but they’re not. They used to, back when Google fiber was one of their tent poles, but now it just doesn’t seem to be one of their priorities. That together with net neutrality being killed, things aren’t looking good for the many people, like me, who want better internet access, but either can’t afford it, or can’t move to somewhere where there are more options.

Maybe Google will figure something out, but at this current moment in time, it looks like Stadia will remain just a lofty idea. A nice pipe dream that millions of people won’t have the ability to use. At least we’ll still have the dream.

Amazon and Charity: Could Bezos have given more?

My Photoshop skills need work.

A few weeks ago, Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and richest man in the world, announced that he was “donating” 2 billion dollars to charity, specifically to help the homeless. That’s a Billion with a B. That is an immense amount of money that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Almost immediately after the announcement, however, people from all over jumped on him, saying that it was a publicity stunt, a smoke screen to hide Amazon’s poor treatment of employees, that the money would be better spent on improving the lives of Amazon employees, or that it was simply not enough money.

Now, I first heard that and thought, “How the hell is 2 billion not enough money? IT’S 2 BILLION DOLLARS!”, but after a second or two, I remembered that Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world, who is worth, at the time of this writing, around 136 billion U.S. dollars. With that little piece of info, that 2 billion doesn’t seem so big anymore. This all got me thinking, could Bezos have given more? The answer to that question is, SPOILER, yes. He could have given more, but I wanted to find out how much more. That, as it turns out, was a much harder answer to find.

Before I start, I wanna say that I do believe that donating, no matter how big or small, is a great thing that should be celebrated. 2 billion dollars is a lot of money, and though it may not be the most that he could give, it is still an enormous amount that can change so many lives. According to this article from USA Today  Bezos is using that money to set up a fund for the homeless that is run by Amazon. This makes me wonder why this couldn’t just be another part of Amazon, a company that makes far more than 2 billion every year, but what do I know? This is also clarifies that he didn’t just give 2 billion to charity. He allocated 2 billion dollars to himself, though, it is to do good things. So, this isn’t exactly a donation, but it is still a good thing. I do believe that the criticisms that people are giving Bezos are valid, but what he is doing is a good thing. Is it enough? Well, that’s what we’re trying to find out.

Another that needs to be pointed out is that the numbers I’m using are slightly outdated. When I did all of this research and math, it was February 28th, 2019. Bezos’ net worth at the time was 134.8 billion USD, and Amazon shares were worth 1,639.83 USD. We’re

Ok. With all of that out of the way, we can finally start to get to the point of the article: Could Bezos have given more, and how much more could it have been? In order to figure this out, we need to know how much money Bezos actually has. His net worth was 134.8 billion, but net worth is mostly bullshit. Net worth doesn’t tell us how much money the man actually has in the bank. How do we find that? Well, I wish I knew.

I first tracked down his annual income. According to Salary.com, Bezos makes an annual salary of 1.6 million dollars a year as CEO of Amazon. That’s a lot of money, but far from the 134.8 billion net worth. According to a Forbes article from 2013, Bezos sold 500 million USD worth of shares. Another article from Bloomberg in 2017 states that Bezos made sold 1.1 billion USD worth of shares, and says that he tries to sell a billion dollars worth of shares every year in order fund Amazon and other projects. From that, we have 1.6 billion USD. If give him a billion each for 2016 and 2018, the total comes out to 3.6 billion USD. I’m gonna round this to 4 billion, because Bezos has made many transactions since then, and most likely has way more than 4 billion anyway. It’s the most concrete number I can figure, at this time.

We now have number, sort of, of how much Bezos has in liquid capital. The number is probably a lot more than 4 billion USD, but that’s what I have for now. If this is the amount of money that he had in the bank when making his 2 billion dollar pledge, then that is a substantial amount. That’s 50 percent of his entire (estimated) savings. Now, while that seems like a lot, remember how he came into that money. He sold shares. He could easily do that again, and get all 2 billion back in less than a day. You know what that means, right? That means that we need to figure out how many shares Bezos actually has, and what’s the most he could make if he sold them.

Now, in order to do this, we have to figure out how many shares Bezos has. That answer is easy. As of 2-28-19, Bezos owned 78,814,200 shares of Amazon stock. He is the majority owner by a large margin. One might want to just liquidate all of his shares, and use that to see how much money he would have, but that’s not that simple. Bezos’s net worth was 134.8 billion USD, and most of that is due to his large stake in Amazon. That 134.8 billion number doesn’t concern me. I don’t care what he would have if he liquidated everything, in fact, I don’t want him to. I believe he should still have control of his company. In order to do that, we need to find out the number of shares he we need to keep in order to have majority ownership.

The second biggest holder of Amazon stock is a company called Van Guard Group. They owned, as 2-18-19, 30,528,310 shares of Amazon. Theoretically, Bezos would only need a single share more than that in order to keep control, but it would be really easy for Van Guard Group to buy more and gain control. I decided that 40 million shares would gives Bezos a good enough cushion to keep the majority, and protect from a take over. To get to 40 million, Bezos

Ok, in order to get down to 40 million shares, Bezos would need to sell 38,814,200 shares of stock. At 1,639.83 USD a share, that comes out to 63,648,689,586 USD. That’s nearly 64 billion USD! Add the 4 billion we figured from earlier, and that’s 67,648,689,586 USD. That’s a lot of money. With that number, the 2 billion set aside for charity seems very small, though it is just below 3 percent. Why is that important? Well, it is estimated that the average person gives 3-5 percent of their income to charity, so, at this point, he’s just slightly below the average, but we’re not done yet.We

Before we can get a good percentage of how much of his income/savings he gave to charity, we first have to figure TAXES! Ah yes, good ole taxes. For this, we are going to have him as married but filling separately, consider this all as income, and use no tax loop holes. Basically, we’re gonna do the exact opposite of what a billionaire would do. So, Bezos claims residency in Washington, so there is no state income tax. That saves some math. Everything we’re going to figure is federal. In federal income tax, he would have to pay 25,029,979,702.82 USD, Social Security Tax would be 8,239.80 USD, and Medicare Tax would be 1,589,743,080.27 USD. That’s 26,619,731,022.89 USD in total. That blows his 2 billion donation out of the water. Now, 2 billion on top of all of that would be pretty awesome, but since most of this money is in stocks and/or not considered income, it’s not taxed. Seems to me that Bezos could do more by just paying taxes, but I digress. After taxes, Bezos would be left with 41,028,958,563.11 USD. Still a lot of freaking money. If you take 2 billion out of that, that’s around 4.8 percent of his income, which is in line with the national average.

So, after all of that, we still find that his so called “donation” is in line with the national average. It’s good to note, however, that the national average is not a moral guideline. If anything, it shows that his donation isn’t really that special. In reality, his donation is less special. Donations are good thing, a great thing even, but if you want praise, then you have to go above and beyond. He didn’t. Even if you liquidate most of his assets and tax the crap out of them, it’s still just average. He didn’t liquidate these assets, nor did he pay billions of dollars in taxes that would benefit the country.  Crap, he technically didn’t donate anything. It’s just a pledge. A pledge he made to himself.

Charity is a good thing. Helping the poor and the needy is a good thing, but the more I look at these numbers, the sadder I become. I hope that this venture is fruitful and helps countless people get out of poverty, but it’s hard to look at these numbers and not be cynical. To answer the question, “Could Bezos Have Given More?”, the answer is yes. So much more, but not just to charity but to the country as well. He could do all of this, then donate half of his fortune, and still be richer than most people will ever be, but he hasn’t. At most, he’s done the bare minimum, and at the least, he’s given just a sample of what he should owe the country.