Eric's Thoughts


Hi, I see you've decided to take a look at my thoughts. Well, all I can say is that this page will be updated when I am sitting around with time on my hands. Which strangely enough, happens infrequently.

Video Games

I feel that video games are an excellent way to tell a story. Not just any story but an interactive story that changes and responds to the player's input. These games are a visual story, not only can you immerse yourself in a whole new world but you can actively explore it. I am primarily talking about RPGs. Role Playing Games. These games are an amazing interaction between many elements, sight, sound, and imagination. Now, you may say at this point, is this not harmful? Is this not an escapist ideology? I would ask if a book is not the same. While true, I will give you that visual elements can greatly enhance the sense of reality that may impress a young child. But that with age appropriate games this is no more dangerous than a book. However for a different view on this, take a look at this article.

Though he makes many bad points, Grossman does have a few good points. There are and should be age ratings. Parents have a responsibility when exposing their children to video game and television violence. No one would consider letting a child use a power drill or saw without parental guidance, and yet there are parents that will let a child use or watch any video game without parental guidance. These parents have to stop complaining and begin taking responsibility. The television is not a babysitter, the Internet is not a babysitter, and video games are not a babysitter. To begin to censure various forms of media is not a solution, it is a lazy parent's outcry.

Also Grossman ignores the fact that though video games may train our children to kill, they certainly do not give them the incentive to kill. In other words, skills alone are not enough to account for homicidal behavior. We must accept the fact that the impulse to kill resides in a person, they will use whatever skills they have at their disposal to carry out that impulse. It is the environment that teaches a child how to react to a situation. The coping skills are taught to the child. Sometimes the teaching is obvious, a man teaches his son "how to defend himself", by teaching him how to make a fist and fight. Or a mother sits down with her daughter and teaches her how to control and positively deal with her stress and anger. Sometimes though the teaching is subtle: a child watches as his father abuses his mother, either physically or emotionally. This is what teaches a child to be violent. Not video games. Not television. Not the Internet. Children are not born violent, they are raised violent.


I am an atheist by choice. I look upon religion and see controlling dogma and paternalism. These may seem harsh words, but I feel that they are justified. Religion is a tool. If used properly it can help people and enrich many lives. I know of a church group that routinely volunteers and helps Habitat For Humanity. I also have read about the crusades and read the preachings of hate by religious zealots. Religion, like any group, has its fanatics, and those fanatics naturally commit extreme demonstrations of their faith. It is those demonstrations that bring the public's attention and creates the bad image.

Recently I have been think about religion and logic. An acquaintance of mine was writing a book to prove religion. However I think this is quite silly. Proof denies faith, and without faith religion is nothing, to paraphrase Douglas Adams. It would seem best to therefore assume that there is not god, and then work toward proving this to be impossible. Those of you who took some math would know this as proof by contradiction or for the logicians, refutation. This would seem to be the best method. To assume god is real and work toward proving a personal belief seems wishful thinking. It is not thinking critically.


What is art? this question has been asked countless times. Not only is the answer subject to scrutiny but also the person giving the answer is also questioned. I feel that I can competently say what art is.

I am an art major. I am also a computer science major. I believe my art courses have exposed me to many different forms of art. They have taught me about such styles as classical, Greek, romance, and so on. I have seen a white canvas with a black dot. I have seen a picture of a jar of urine with a cross in it entitled "Piss Christ". I have seen the trees change color in the fall and the earth bloom in spring. I would have to say that art is ... life.

I have met artists who firmly believe that art can only be created with intent and by an artist. I find this idea ludicrous. These people are pretentious, arrogant people who wish to find a way to elevate themselves above others. They do this by saying that only they, the artists, can appreciate a given painting or sculpture on different "levels".

I think that each person has their own, for lack of better word, "dialogue" with a given piece or art. Each person must decide where to draw the lines for art. Is this vase art? Is this blanket art? ... We all ask these questions. I think not only I am qualified to decide what is art, but that everyone is. Each of us must decide for ourselves what is art. I cannot decide for you and I will never let you decide for me. I can consider what you call art. I can see if I agree. But only I can decide what is art to me. And I see art everywhere. I see art in nature, created without thought and without purpose. I see art in beauty and I see art in chaos. Art does not exist just in a museum, it exists wherever there are people to experience it. Art can be decided for yourself, but no one can tell you what art isn't.


Ahh, the pain of breakup has washed over my heart again, like a shadow cast by a tombstone at sunset. I suppose most of the pain from my most recent break up came from the fact that my g/f used the exact same words as my last girlfriend to break up with me. To quote, " I don't have as strong feelings for you as you have for me..." This leaves me with quiet a troubled mind. Is it wrong to feel deeply? Is it wrong to commit one's heart and soul to someone you care about? I can see where it would be scary from the receiver's point of view. But I would not be scared, for I would see it as a reflection of my own feelings. I have been on this world only 21 years, but I have never found someone to match my intensity. Should I change? I would seem to be facing a unanimous "yes". But alas, I cannot.

It is who I am. I am in intense, I feel things deeply. At first I thought this was a curse and at times it is. However, to be caught in a rush of happiness and joy that words fail to begin to capture is a just reward.

I realized something that disturbs me. My first girlfriend, Jill, spoiled me. Even when I was with my last girlfriend, I dreamed of Jill. Even though she broke up with me I still hope, I still want to be with her. I have accepted the very real probability that I will never know that joy again. But I do know that I care for her more deeply than anyone I have ever known. Maybe I am scary. Maybe I am even a monster. I do not believe that though. All I can do is show Jill that I wish to be friends. If we are friends, we both win. If we are more, we both win. All I do know for sure, is that she will be in my heart and dreams forever.

UPDATE 3/9/00
The above was written several months ago. I have since started dating a friend I have known for five years. A friend recently pointed out that I might want to take down the above comments so that my current g/f didn't see them. At first I was inclined to do so. But after rereading them, I cannot. Those thoughts have been thought, taking them down won't change them. I don't know if it makes any sense to anyone but me. I know Jeannine, my love, knows how I felt, and she more importantly, knows how I feel for her right now. The love I feel for Jeannine is different than what I felt for Jill. There is still passion, there is still a happiness beyond words, but it is different.

UPDATE 6/17/00
As my relationship with my current girlfriend Jeannine continues, I realize how I lucky I am. I love Jeannine in a way that is different yet the same as what I have felt. It is nice because it isn't that I need her, its that I want to be with her. She makes me very happy, her touch, her smile, everything about her.


Censorship seems to be a increasingly important topic as the influence of the Internet spreads. What are people free to view and type? How does the rights of one influence and affect the rights of another? If someone where to post copyrighted material in a chat thread, does the copyright override the individuals right to free speech? Will the public opinion be for the individual or for the cooperation, say Microsoft?

There is also much controversy about filtering software. Do parents have a right to block content to their children. It would seem to depend upon the subject matter. If the subject matter is pornography I know many who wouldn't hesitate to say parents have the right to filter content. This argument is still gripping libraries with Internet access. However suppose it was medical information that Christian Scientists wish to withhold from their children? This site argues that all filtering is bad. I would disagree. I think a parents have a right to limit what their children view, however I would argue also that a child has certain rights too, that supersede the parents wishes. This is why we mustn't censor libraries and other public institutions Internet access. If a child is about to become sexually active, a parent blocking information about birth control and STDs will only harm the child. Everyone must have uncensored access to the world wide web. However this must be balanced with a parents rights too. I believe that it is my right, when I am a parent, to block objectionable content or all content if I wish. I believe that the Internet is similar to television, parents should view and participate with their children, whether on the web or on TV.

Also to consider is the current state of almost all filtering software. Most filtering software is, quiet simply, sad. Not only is it ineffective, it is also outdated, and poorly executed. For instance a popular filtering program, will block the National Democratic Homepage, but not the National Republican Homepage. This program shows this consistent political bias. Also programs have been shown to block web pages about the "Panama canal", because the word "canal" contains the word "anal". This is beyond pathetic. Also most programs do not update their lists in a timely manner. There are quite a few pages that no longer exist but are still on a filters "blacklist". Another program will block URLs that no longer point to the original webpages. How can these companies live with themselves when their product doesn't even perform the services advertised? If the program is blindly working off a URL blacklist instead of actively checking each page, how can that company claim to be providing an accurate filter?