The TRT Diaries – 3 years & 10 months on TRT

Its been a while since I updated this blog. I’ve just been so busy with other stuff that I haven’t had a chance to update it. But I guess it doesn’t really matter, since this is only a fun side-project, so its all good. But still, its nice to have an update or two at least every now-and-then. The good news is, the time has finally come for an update!

This time around, I’m going to be updating an existing series. That series is none other than “The TRT Diaries”. I haven’t updated this series in what seems like years (I think the last update might have been 2-3 years ago), and that’s because I haven’t had any major updates…until now. Shortly after my 1st year on TRT, things went pretty quiet. Everything settled down and so everything became pretty boring. There was really no point in updating the series if there wasn’t anything particularly new. That would’ve made me sound boring and repetitive.

For the past year, there has been something that’s been on the back of my mind. This is something that I’ve kept an eye on ever since I started my 2nd year on TRT. That something is my body hair – mainly in my face and lower abdomen. The thing that’s been bugging me about that is how slow and erratic it seems to be growing (keep in mind that I’m almost 4 years on TRT). There are some areas that have long, thick strands. Most of them, however, have thin and short strands. I’m thinking that it might be time to increase my dose.

In late February, I visited my doctor and discussed it with him, in order to get a 2nd opinion. I told him about what I was experiencing and asked him whether this is normal (like if it’s a genetic thing or something) or whether I need a higher dose. I even went without shaving since around late last year, in order to show him what I was talking about. He determined that its very much possible that I might need to increase my dose and ordered a blood panel, in order to see whether or not its appropriate and help make a diagnosis.

I’ll be seeing him again in late June. I just got my blood drawn earlier today and will be getting my results when I see him on the 27th. We’re going to be checking my:

  • Liver enzymes (in order to see if my liver is in good shape; this is important to know before increasing one’s TRT dose)
  • Kidneys (to see if they’re all good)
  • Total Testosterone (obviously)
  • DHT (this is what drives body hair growth)
  • E2 (Estradiol; very important to keep a close eye on that as well)
  • LH (in order to determine whether or not my testes have seized production…if they haven’t then that means I might need to increase my dose)
  • FSH (the fertility marker; this one’s not that important, I’m just curious to know where my fertility stands; this can also help determine testicular function)
  • Free Testosterone (this is to see if there’s enough Testosterone for my body to use)
  • SHBG (this can affect Testosterone production)
  • Vitamin D (this plays an important role in Testosterone production, plus I’ve never checked my levels before and I’m curious to see where I stand; this is something a lot of people overlook)

My T levels as they stand right now (from early last year) are about 662 (or 672). I actually registered around 300, before I made the full switch to a Primal diet and lifestyle, after 1 1/2 years on TRT (this was back in early 2016). They went up to around 600 after I fully adopted a Primal diet & lifestyle (and this happened only after about 3 months Primal). Make sure you clean up your diet & get your lifestyle in order before increasing your dose, since environmental factors play a very profound role in T production. I’ve been a year fully Primal and I’ve posted some of my best (if not my best) results.

I’m hoping that increasing my dose will also help me get rid of the fat around my breasts (which was caused by gynecomastia – a common complication of 17B-HSD Type 3 Deficiency). I can deal with the puffy nipples (they’re easier to conceal), but not the fat. The fat is annoying as fuck, makes my chest look ugly, and its harder to hide. I have to wear a compression shirt specifically made for this condition in order to properly conceal my gyno (I’m actually wearing one right now and been doing so for the past year).

I’ll be back at either the end of the month or in early July (most likely the end of the month) with the results of my blood panel. In the meantime, I’m going to try to get you all up to speed on stuff that’s been happening around here as of late. Trust me, there’s a lot that’s gone down since I last posted and there’s a lot more to come!

P.S. I’m now on Steemit. I update it on a regular basis (although I’m still trying to get into the habit), so go here and check it out!

Finding My “Car Soulmate”

When I was searching for my “car soulmate” (that is: a car that I could use on a daily basis and that was more than just car, but an extension of me as well…something that reflects my personality well), I was looking for something that had the function, utility, and clearance of a truck, as well as the space and flexibility of a minivan but with the style and utility of an SUV. Clearly, I was looking for something that was more along the lines of a truck rather than a sedan (this probably stems from the fact that I grew up riding in trucks the majority of the time). I wanted something that would fit my active lifestyle – which is more along the lines of active and utilitarian.

I wanted something that was tough and reliable, yet elegant and pleasant-looking – all weaved into a functional design. I wanted something that was simple – both in function and form. I wanted something that looked and felt like a tank and/or a muscle car (i.e. something that has that strong, tough, boxy look). I wanted something that would allow me to do the things that I loved and/or wanted to do. It took me a long ass time to realize all of this, but after I was certain about the kind of lifestyle I wanted (and, I’m not gonna lie, doing some growing up), it all became clear to me.

It took a lot of “fitting” to finally find the right car for me. After going through a lot of car models and types, I finally came across my perfect match: the Ford Econoline (a.k.a. the E-Series). The Econoline is perfect for me because it gives me ultimate flexibility. I can customize it to my heart’s content and to meet whatever my needs are at the time. It is very reliable, built like a tank, and looks great. It has a simple, but functional and elegant design, which makes it very flexible. It has a high clearance, which allows me to have a commanding view of the road (which really comes in handy when you’re a short guy) that makes me feel like I’m on top of the world (and makes me feel safer). It feels a lot more like a truck, which is great because I grew up around trucks and always wanted one. Trucks just seem to be more of my thing.

Perhaps the greatest thing about the Econoline is that it is a lot like a ThinkPad, and so that means that they also remind me a lot of my ThinkPads (if you know anything about ThinkPads then you’ll know what I’m talking about). If you take a closer look, you’ll see that the Econoline and the ThinkPad are strikingly similar. Just like a ThinkPad, an Econoline never lets its owner down, is loyal, and is a great companion (Econolines are some of the most sought-after used cars for this very reason). It also has that boxy, rugged look that ThinkPads have – and that I really love, in general  (I’m a huge fan of that type of look on things, in general. This probably stems from my decade+ love affair with ThinkPads).

I’ve always been curious and fascinated by the Econoline but it wasn’t until late last year when that curiousity finally started to really grab my attention. It wasn’t earlier this year that I finally caved into that curiousity – and I’m glad I did, because the Econoline is a great car-brand that shares a lot of characteristics with the ThinkPad brand. I just wish I would’ve done it earlier, because the van models (but not the cutaway models) have been discontinued (wish they hadn’t 😥 ), which means that I can only buy a used one. But better late than never, right?

The Econoline is my newest addiction. Its really no different from my ThinkPad and music addictions. I get a huge rush of euphoria whenever I see one. I’m really excited to get one for myself and be a proud Econoline owner.

But…I need to hustle first, in order for me to be able to get one. So my purchase will have to wait a bit – but just rest assured that it’ll happen.

@juanbuis, We Need To Talk (About Your Inane TrackPoint-Bashing)

Hey everyone!

I’ve got a nice little treat for you today: a response to a shitty article! When I first saw the title of this article (and even worse, its subtitle), I had a brain aneurysm. My brain was in just in serious pain from the thought of coming across yet another shitty, dumb, trashy article – one that merited a response.

Perhaps the most painful part of all this is that this article is targeted at a feature from my favorite computer in the world: the ThinkPad. The feature that’s being smeared, you ask? None other than the TrackPoint, of course! Because there just isn’t enough of that already!

Today, I’m going to be responding to some guy called Juan Buis. He wrote a nice little article about the TrackPoint titled “We Need To Talk About The Nipple Mouse” (the title alone gives it away). If you don’t know who he is, lucky you! Trust me, you don’t wanna know who he is after you read this horrible piece of trash ‘article’ he has put out…Well Actually, I’m going to do the reading for you so you won’t have to go through all that torture (and trust me, its torturous). Consider me taking one for the team!

So with that out of the way, lets get started, shall we?

“This is the nipple mouse.”

What are you? 5?

“If you’ve never seen one before, it’s pretty hard to guess what it actually does.”

Here’s an easy way to know what it does: move it around (especially with the computer on)! Any dummy can do that.

“The pointing stick, as it’s also called, is a way to control your laptop. Developed by IBM in the 80s as an alternative to the trackpad and mouse, it was designed to keep your hands hovering above the keyboard. This way, you could switch between typing and moving the cursor faster, without moving your hands.”

“Sounds great, right?”


“If you’ve ever used it, you know it’s pretty much the worst thing ever.”

I beg to differ. As someone who has used one of these “nipple mice” (as you so eloquently put it) for 13 years, I can tell that its THE best thing ever! The TrackPoint (as its actually called), lets me keep my hands on the keyboard, while moving the cursor, at the same time. It saves me a lot of time and energy. This is great, not just for typing, but also for working in Photoshop or Illustrator, doing 3D modeling, and working on a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
Trackpads just can’t compare. They’re absolutely horrible for productivity. They’re very clunky and constraining. In fact, every time I have to use a laptop without a TrackPoint, I absolutely need to use a mouse, because trackpads just give me nothing but endless frustration. If anything, trackpads are the worst thing ever.

“The nipple mouse isn’t just incredibly ugly — it’s also very hard to use.”

I’m assuming you’ve used the pointing stick (known as the TrackPoint on ThinkPads) on non-ThinkPad laptops. If you’ve ever used the TrackPoint on a ThinkPad, you’ll know that its very smooth. Its really not that hard to use a TrackPoint. You just gently slide your finger on top of it and move it to the direction you want. Its sort of like the joystick on a game controller (because the TrackPoint is really just that – a joystick). You don’t need to press it hard (something that I can just tell you’ve done).
Believe it or not, when I first used the TrackPoint, I got the hang of it on my very first try! I originally thought that it was going to take some time to get used to it, but apparently I was wrong!
And newsflash: not everything is about looking ‘pretty’. Sometimes, you have to prioritize function over form – especially when you’re making something that is more on the utilitarian side of things.

“To move the cursor, you need to firmly press your finger on the dot and wiggle your finger around in the direction where you want it to go.”

No, you don’t. I just explained it earlier: you don’t need to press it hard.

“This nipple is extremely sensitive, however, which makes it hard to land the cursor where it needs to go — instead, it tends to fly across the screen uncontrollably.”

That’s whole point! (No pun intended!) The TrackPoint is supposed to be sensitive, that way, you won’t need to press it firmly! If you press it firmly, guess what? The cursor is going to fly across the screen uncontrollably! Go figure! The TrackPoint is really no different from the joystick found in game controllers.
And also, can you quit calling it a “nipple”? Its extremely annoying (you’re already annoying enough).

“After IBM’s invention, they refined the technology and put it on its laptops. Now called TrackPoint, throughout the 90s millions of consumers got to know the dumb dot — it was stuck on the keyboard of the company’s popular line of ThinkPad computers. Lenovo then acquired the ThinkPad line in 2005.”

WHAT!? DUMB DOT!?!?!? Could you be any more of a fucking child!?
Where the fuck are you getting this stuff from? The TrackPoint has ALWAYS been called the TrackPoint. IBM came up with the term. Lenovo didn’t refine the TrackPoint. The TrackPoint came along when Lenovo acquired IBM’s PC Division (which, of course, included the ThinkPad). If anything, the TrackPoint has always been constantly refined – ever since the launch of the first ThinkPad (the changes are so subtle that you can’t notice it unless you use one).
This really proves that, you sir, really ARE the dumbest person in the world. BUT, I will give you credit for getting that last fact right.

“The pointing stick never became a commercial success — today, trackpads dominate the laptop market.”

While its true that the TrackPoint doesn’t have the type of success that the trackpad has, have you ever considered that maybe the reason for the TrackPoint not having that type of success (i.e. mainstream success) is because its more of a niche product? These things are typically found on business/professional laptops. Professionals require more precision and value utility more than form. The TrackPoint – unlike the trackpad – is more about function over form. Consumers (or at least, typical consumers), on the other hand, don’t really care about function and so they don’t mind sacrificing that in order to have more form.
To call it a failure is just going too far. “Failure” is so far from true. It has certainly found success, just not in the mainstream. You just need to look around you, but for that, you will need to get out of your little bubble and actually use your brain (which I can see you’re not comfortable doing).
Let me tell you something: a Lamborghini isn’t a hot-seller like, say, a Toyota Prius. By your logic, Lamborghini is a failure because it hasn’t achieved the type of commercial success that the Prius has. But what you fail to realize is that its not all black and white. The Lamborghini is a niche product, so of course its not going to have the type of commercial success that a Prius (or other mainstream car) has. But just because it doesn’t have mainstream success doesn’t mean its a failure. If you take a closer look, you’ll see that the Lamborghini is certainly doing well in its niche (the same is very true of one of my other favorite cars – and my most favorite car – the Ford Econoline [a.k.a. the Ford E-Series]. The Econoline is another niche product and did very well back when Ford was still making the van models, in fact, it was the best-selling van in America for a long number of years before being discontinued in 2014 – despite how successful it was in its targeted demographic).
Bottom line is: both the TrackPoint and Lamborghini are indeed successful – just not in the mainstream…and there’s nothing wrong with that. That, right there, is just the reality of having a niche product. Don’t go out and call something a failure just because it has achieved mainstream success. What you’re doing right there is just dumb, lazy, and disingenuous. All this just goes to show you that you don’t understand marketing and how target demographics work.

“Apple used to make the best ones — they’re big, made of glass and support multi-touch — but in recent years other manufacturers caught up, and most laptops sold today feature a great trackpad.”

Nah. Trackpads still suck. I don’t care how good trackpads are, they still suck.

“All the while, companies are constantly coming up with new ways to interact with our devices. Microsoft’s Surface Studio introduced the Dial, a funky puck-shaped controller that’s great for creatives. Apple’s new iPhone X comes with an impressive array of sensors that map the muscles in your face to enable things like Animoji.”

And that’s great! Microsoft’s, in particular, interests me. I think its great that companies are coming up with new ways to interact with our devices. Having all these options at our disposal is just great. However, that doesn’t mean that the TrackPoint is “outdated”, as you so claim it is. Its just another tool available at our disposal. What pointing device you use really depends on your needs, as well as personal preferences.

“All the while, for some reason, the pointing stick is still alive and well.”

Wait…Hang on a second. “Well“?
Didn’t you just call it a “failure”? Is it doing well, or has it failed? Which one is it?
And the reason the TrackPoint is still kicking is simple: its because people still want AND need it. (Just take a look at what I wrote a little while ago if you need a refresher.)

“You read that right — this 2017 Lenovo ThinkPad has it front and center. You can buy a new laptop today and it’ll still have one of the worst pieces of technology ever baked in.”

What the fuck is it with you and this TrackPoint hate boner of yours!? Like, what the fuck is wrong with you? The TrackPoint is one of the BEST pieces of technology ever invented. Trackpads, on the other hand, are one of the WORST pieces of technology ever invented. Get the fuck outta here with this shit!

“And it gets worse—on September 25, the 25th Anniversary Edition of the ThinkPad leaked. Guess what it still has.”

Oh no! The horror!
Man, you really are a child. I don’t think you understand what the word “retro” means, so I highly recommend you look that word up in the dictionary. Take the time to learn something new today.

“When Lenovo’s chief design officer David Hill was asked why the hell some of the company’s laptops still ship with a nipple mouse, he replied:
Some people get it and some people don’t; some people acquire the taste. It’s hard to explain, but I still think there’s a use for it.”

Maybe, just maybe, you should listen to what he has to say and take his advice.

“David, are you serious? Come on dude, it’s time to retire this… thing. Call it the nipple mouse, call it a TrackPoint™ Pointing Device, I don’t care. It’s old technology, it’s incredibly ugly and nobody wants it.”

I hate you so much right now. You cannot be fucking serious right now. You have pushed my last buttons. IT’S NOT “OLD” TECHNOLOGY. It’s a CLASSIC, TRIED AND TRUE technology. It’s NOT ugly, It’s just a TOOL! YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO USE IT! If you wanna use a touchpad, then use it! If you don’t want to use a TrackPoint, then don’t! Its that simple.
I don’t give a shit about what you use. What I do give a shit about, however, is when scumbags like you go out and smear something (or someone, for that matter) that you don’t understand – without even taking the time to understand it. You sound no different from a schoolyard bully. I also cannot fucking stand it when people intentionally spread around misinformation and are being disingenuous.
The TrackPoint is something (perhaps THE main thing) that makes a ThinkPad, a ThinkPad. If you were all of a sudden get rid of it, it just wouldn’t be the same…Not to mention that you would be feeling the wrath of ThinkPad diehards like myself. There’s a saying around ThinkPad circles that goes along the lines of: “No TrackPoint, No ThinkPad”. The TrackPoint is a very crucial piece to the ThinkPad’s identity. Not to mention that it makes it stand out from all its competitors. If it didn’t have it, it would be ‘just another laptop’.
You are just dead wrong here. There are PLENTY of people out there who still use AND WANT the TrackPoint, including yours truly. Just take look around you and ACTUALLY take the time to understand us and the TrackPoint, instead of doing all this smearing.

“After 3 decades, just take your loss. Trackpads won.”

What an enticing argument you have there, Juan! Great job! You deserve a gold star for that!
But in all seriousness, what you really deserve is an award for “idiot of the year”, because you really ARE this year’s biggest idiot – not to mention, biggest asshole. This is such a weak ass argument you’re making. The fact that trackpads are more prevalent than TrackPoints/trackballs/pointing sticks doesn’t mean anything (see my previous arguments earlier in this post). I also love the fact that you don’t even bother to go into more detail on WHY trackpads are so great compared to the TrackPoint. All you’re doing is talking shit on something that you don’t understand and clearly don’t want to take the time to understand. You sound like nothing more than a whinny-ass little bitch.
Just admit it: you have no real argument, which is why you have to resort to writing garbage like this. In writing this piece of shit post, you made yourself look like a total jackass. Congratulations!

Unlike you, I can tell you exactly why the TrackPoint is so much more superior to the trackpad. I can also tell you why trackpads are inferior compared to the TrackPoint. So with that in mind – and to wrap things up – here some reasons why TrackPoints are so much better than trackpads:
– Its versatile
– Its quick and efficient
– Its simple
– Its ergonomic & comfortable to use
– It allows me to keep my hands on the keyboard without moving my hands, allowing me to finish my work quicker and saving a lot of time and energy
– Its great for graphic work, as well as music production and DJing (which requires me to turn a lot of knobs, move a lot of sliders, etc.)
– Its precise
– It just works

And here are some reasons why trackpads suck:
– They’re rigid and constraining
– They’re clunky
– They’re slow
– They’re imprecise (seriously, have you tried working in Photoshop with it?)
– They’re not very ergonomic
– They make me more prone to making errors
– They make my hand tire out much more quickly & are generally uncomfortable to use
– They feel unnatural to use & are a general pain-in-the-ass to use

Juan, do us all a favor and stop making pieces like these. This only makes you look like a total jackass and I can’t take you seriously, as a result. You really sound like a child doing this kind of shit. This is nothing more than sensationalist, clickbait-y, garbage.

Unlike you, I understand why people use trackpads (even though I don’t agree with them, or like trackpads and think they’re garbage). I just don’t go around demeaning people who use them and writing slanderous articles about them. Why? Its because there’s a little something called personal preference. You might want to go look it up. Next time, take the time to actually understand something before you write a negative piece on it. I know that if I were to write a critical piece on the trackpad, it would be, well…critical! I would be making well thought-out, coherent arguments, instead of downright trashing it.

As you can see, this piece is just another shitty, generic, TrackPoint-bashing article. Its making the same arguments (or lack thereof) as other negative pieces about the TrackPoint. Unlike others however, this one was particularly bad – and infuriating – because it was really nothing more than childish banter. It basically amounts to: “Waaahhh!!! This thing isn’t new and shiny and I don’t understand why people still like it, therefore its bad and icky!”

Well, that’s all for now everyone! Thanks for dropping by and reading this! Feel free to share this wherever you want and I’ll see you all next time! Take care!

Quick Announcement: Personal Tumblr and YouTube Re-brand!

Hey everyone!

Just wanted to make a quick announcement. After much thinking, I recently decided to re-brand my personal Tumblr and personal YouTube channel. Doing this will help to compliment this blog, and will act as extensions of it. From now on, my personal Tumblr will be named “Elipalooza+” and my personal YouTube will be named “Elipalooza“.

While this blog will be centered more on stuff like op:eds, commentaries, reviews, critiques, self-reflection, and the like, Elipalooza+ will be more laid-back. It will sort-of serve as my ‘public’ personal Facebook, in that I’m going to post shorter, public personal updates, quick thoughts/opinion pieces, and just random, fun stuff that I find that I really like. I had to take a bit of a hiatus from Tumblr but I’m now active on it again, so feel free to follow me over there!

As for my personal YouTube channel, that will be more experimental and (just like Elipalooza+) more laid-back. I will be posting random stuff that I like, including more playlists of stuff on YouTube I like. It’ll be nothing dedicated…this is just going to be a fun little side-project that I’m going to do on my spare time, so updates will be infrequent. (If you want something more dedicated and ‘professional’, then head on over to the PROJEKT61 channel, which can now also be found on Vidme).

Overall, the premise of both Elipalooza+ and the Elipalooza YouTube channels are to serve as places where I’m free to express myself (sort of like this blog). Hope you all enjoy the new changes!

P.S. I recently created a blog where I will be documenting my music journey, as well as providing useful information and other stuff for music producers/artists. You can check it out here!

Why I Left the YouTube ‘Skeptic’ Community

I mentioned in my recent update post some of the reasons why I decided to switch to blogging for making commentaries & criticisms. Something I didn’t mention in my post was how dissatisfied I am with the YouTube “skeptic community.” The reason for this was because (besides the fact that I forgot) it was too long to explain. This was one of the leading reasons why I decided to switch to blogging on WordPress. So with that in mind, I’m here to explain why I left the YouTube skeptic/commentary ‘community.’

The so-called ‘skeptic’ community on YouTube seems to have gone the way of the SJWs, in that it seems to have taken on this tribalistic, reactionary, ‘us versus them’, mob mentality turn. It is becoming Atheism+ 2.0 (If you don’t know what Atheism+ is, its feminism & social justice/political correctness combined with Atheism). We might as well call the group of “skeptics” who engage in this type of behavior, “Skepticism+” and “pseudo-skeptics.” Additionally, they’re starting to become more like modern-day feminists. They’re now claiming to be fighting a non-existent cultural war, in the same way that feminists claim to be fighting a non-existent patriarchy. They’re acting like a bunch of whiny little bitches. They have become exactly what they’re claiming they’re fighting against.

The YouTube skeptic community seem to be more interested in “rekt-ing” SJWs, bashing the left, drinking “liberal tears”, and apologizing for Trump and the right than having an actual open dialogue and coming up with solutions to problems. It makes it seem like these people aren’t as skeptical and rational as we all originally thought and are only in it to make fun of SJWs and get a piece of that internet fame. There’s nothing wrong with making fun of SJWs, its just that in this case, with these types of people, they seem to only want to make cheap shots and their content is devoid of any real substance (plus, they seem to only be focused on SJWs and nothing else).

The election of Trump seems to have shown a lot of these so-called skeptics true colors. From my observations, it seemed to have become much more prevalent after President Trump’s inauguration. I witnessed a lot of Trump apologetics after we all found out just how much of a disaster Trump is. A lot of them seemed to have excused his bad policies (which, lets face it, is almost all of them), and are ignoring all the bad things the right is doing. They only seem to be focusing on the SJWs and the far-left and don’t seem to be willing to criticize Trump and the right, even though they have more influence now and are trying to pass a lot of regressive policies. This leads me to think (especially after you look at some of the comments on these videos) that the YouTube skeptic community seems to have been taken over by right-wingers (primarily the “alt-right”). Both radical right-wingers and the far-left aren’t capable of making good arguments, so they have to resort to cheap shots, strawman arguments, and scapegoating of “the other.”

Lastly, I seemed to have noticed a lack of originality and diversity in content from this group, and an oversaturation of this genre of content as a result of this. A lot of the content from people who claim to be skeptics are response videos to the same old videos that everyone else has made, repeating the same old points, facts, etc. Lets not forget that a lot of their content also consists of mocking SJWs, which seem to be repeating the same old jokes and punchlines to no end (sometimes, they even to the point were they’re downright bullying). It may be fun to do that stuff at the beginning, but after a while, its starts to get boring and repetitive. I’ve noticed that these kinds of videos are pretty easy to make and so after a while, they no longer become challenging or interesting (especially when you have the whole world doing the same old thing). Additionally, a lot of these skeptic channels seem to only be focused on SJWs.

The lack of consistency in criticism, substance, and nuance, the Trump/right-wing apologetics, the continued blind-bashing of the left, the lack of an actual intellectual discussion (where we also come up with solutions to problems), the lack of diversity and originality, and this tribalistic, ‘us versus them’ mentality have all driven me away from the YouTube skeptic/commentary community (along with all the other stuff I mentioned from that update post). Not to mention, this continued shift to the right that I’m seeing on the YouTube commentary/’skeptic’ community is making me feel unwelcomed. I’ve seen quite a lot of YouTube commentators, who have claimed in the past to be Liberal, sell out to the right (Dave Rubin would have to be a great example of this) as of late. They have thrown away their integrity and values in favor of shilling to the right just because of some regressive assholes on the left. There are now only a few Liberals and skeptics on YouTube who have actually stayed true to their Liberal and skeptical values and refused to sell out.

I really think that SJW-related content is going the way of religion-related content, in that it is becoming less and less relevant due to the fact that a lot of SJW talking points have been refuted. There’s only so much that you can refute and when something has reached its limit, its time to adapt and move on. The channels that only focus on responding to SJWs and nothing else will eventually fade into obscurity if they don’t adapt.

As for me, I’ll be focusing more on opinion/editorial pieces, refuting stupidity, and just talking about whatever I want – depending on whatever happens to capture my interest at a given time. Unlike a lot of these so-called “skeptics” I’m actually going to be nuanced, objective, call out all sides, and not engage in apologetics. I hold everyone’s feet to the fire – even if I like you and you’re my friend (or relative).

I Freaking Love Bashing On This ThinkPad! (Responding to “I Freaking Love This ThinkPad”)

Hey everyone!

I’m back with a special treat for you all. Today, we’re going to be responding to a review published on Gizmodo called “I Freaking Love This ThinkPad” – which you can read here, if you wanna put yourself through the torture of reading it. This is supposed to be a review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 5 (which I will be referring to as the X1C5), but there are times were this review becomes more of a smear piece towards the X1C5 rather than a review. So, how bad is this review? Lets dive in and find out!

The review started on a positive note but it didn’t take long for it to turn negative, when the author, Alex Cranz, called the X1C5 a “chunky black machine.” Alex, what exactly do you mean by “chunky”. Last time I checked, the X1 Carbon isn’t chunky. Its actually pretty damn thin, certainly much thinner than my ThinkPad T500. By today’s standards, even though its fairly thin for a laptop of its size, my T500 would be considered “chunky”.

So after beginning the review with a somewhat questionable (but overall positive) tone, she then went on talk about the pricing of the X1C5 – which, I would have to say, was also a bit mixed:

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has never been a cheap machine, and this year’s model is no different: It starts at $1329 with an i5 Kaby Lake processor, and I reviewed the $2200 i7 variation. That’s unusually high for a Windows-based laptop.

Well, what do you expect from a name like ThinkPad, and in particular, the X1 brand? May I remind you that this is a premium product – a product that has been built with some of the best materials out there and with plenty of R&D to back it up. So yeah, of course its going to be expensive. That’s what you would expect from a high-end product.

This next line is actually kinda funny, as Alex then went on to call Windows – not Windows PCs themselves – as an affordable alternative to Apple’s products:

These days, we largely see Windows as an affordable alternative to Apple’s pricey objects of beauty.

I think you mean “we largely see Windows PCs as an affordable alternative to Apple’s pricey objects of beauty”. You might wanna phrase things better next time. Also, are you implying that only Apple products can be “objects of beauty.” Ever heard of the Lenovo Yoga 910? (Just to give one example.) You know, I’m getting really sick and tired of people saying that only Apple products look great and there are no Windows PCs that look great as well. Especially now a days, this notion is completely false. The problem is, you’re just not looking in the right places.

Even though she thinks that the price point for the X1C5 is a bit excessive, Alex does go on to say that its actually warranted!:

But the ThinkPad X1 Carbon feels luxurious enough to warrant the price, and crucially, it’s luxurious in all the ways an Apple laptop is not.

Well Alex, I’ll give you huge props for saying that. At least we’re now on the right track.

This next line is also pretty okay. In fact, Alex goes on to say that doesn’t have to look like an Apple product and goes on to praise the X1C5 for forging its own path:

But the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is festooned in soft touch black plastic, the display is matte, and the device is not striving to be the thinnest laptop around, just the nicest. It’s a refreshing reminder that a premium device doesn’t have to look like it was designed in Cupertino.

I’ll give you more props for saying that last bit, Alex. As for the material the X1 Carbon is built on, its a combination of CFRP/GFRP material for the display cover and a magnesium alloy hybrid kind of material for the bottom cover (this is according to Lenovo’s own PSREF site). The reason I say this is because when you say plastic, you seem to be implying that its built out of regular, inexpensive, ABS plastic – which, of course, its not (just thought I’d mention this in case there’s any confusion around this). May I also remind you that ThinkPads are about functionality in an elegant design (function over form).

After she acknowledged that a premium device doesn’t have to look like an Apple clone, she then went back to calling the X1C5 “chunky”, while at the same time, acknowledging that that same thickness she dislikes so much is actually beneficial. This is about the point where it starts to get bad:

The chunkiness means it can fit in a nice speedy Kaby Lake processor and up to a 1TB solid state drive, without getting so scorching hot you need to pull it away from your legs.

Yes, that’s the whole point. I hope you now realize that having a very thin device can be very detrimental, as you risk overheating – particularly when you have more powerful CPU and/or GPU. Having a thicker design facilitates better cooling. In fact, ThinkPads are very well known for their excellent cooling, while MacBooks are notorious for overheating due to their poor cooling systems (or so I’ve heard). Thinner is not always better and how light something is really depends on the materials used to make it. Its not all about thinness.

But wait, it gets even better (and by better I mean worse – prepare to cringe):

There’s a big unsightly vent on the side to keep things cool, and normally I’d want to cry over that ugliness, but I have to admit that with summer on the horizon, a laptop that stays cool even when I’m running a game is an appealing proposition.

Seriously? You’re going to bitch and moan about a fucking cooling vent? I couldn’t help but laugh and cringe at this absurdity. I seriously don’t know what else to say about this except to laugh and cringe at the same time over this. Its not “ugly”, it just smart design – which is the reason you won’t have to deal with overheating in the summer.

The good news, however, is that she redeems herself a bit with this line:

The thickness also affords the laptop plenty of space for ports so you’re not a prisoner of dongles as you need to be with more minimal USB-C only laptops.

Great that you’re starting to see the light, Alex.

And she builds upon that momentum with this following line:

Part of that sturdiness is psychological. It’s got a really good balance to it, even when laid out flat like a frisbee, and soft touch plastic just naturally makes things feel more durable than they might be. Yet this thing is also constructed with durability in mind. There’s no glass to shatter or metal to chip. If this laptop accidentally fell on the floor my heart wouldn’t jump into my throat.

Well Alex, all I can tell you is, that’s ThinkPad design for you – and smart, functional design for that matter. The very thing that made ThinkPad such an icon and so long-lasting.

She then goes on to praise the ThinkPad keyboard afterwards (which is not surprising, considering that ThinkPads are very well known and praised for their excellent, legendary keyboards), while also mentioning and praising its spill-resistant design. After talking about the keyboard, she then went on to talk about the battery life – which she was very impressed by, and then went on to talk about the display. But then she had this to say about the display:

It’s stunning at first glance, but after a while it’s frustrating that it’s 1080p only. If there’s a place Lenovo missed the premium ball, it’s on that display.

First of all, I believe Lenovo also has the option of a higher resolution WQHD screen, if that’s more of your thing (but this is something you’ll have to wait a while because, according to Lenovo, it won’t be available until June). Second of all, 1080p is actually a pretty decent screen size for a 14″ laptop, especially when you consider the fact that when you go to a higher resolution you will most likely run into scaling issues. I will say, however, that ThinkPad screens have typically been mediocre and that’s something that Lenovo can and should improve upon (it also happens to be something that ThinkPad users have demanded for years now), but that’s another topic for another day.

By this point, Alex had redeemed herself after initially making an ass out of herself by writing so stupidly about the X1 Carbon Gen 5. But unfortunately, the good times were about to come to an end with the next last few paragraphs, which are even cringier than the comment about the vents. Prepare yourselves because the level of retardation is about to be turned up to the red zone:

The only other real notable “issue” with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is its mouse solution. There’s a trackpad in the usual place and a dorky red trackball at the center of the keyboard. Lenovo insists it maintains the trackball because the ThinkPad’s fans love it. Good for those fans, but it’s a questionable decision all the same as presumably those fans are retirement age and can’t have that many laptop purchases in their future.

Excuse me? Dorky red trackball? Retirement age? First of all, that “trackball” is called the TrackPoint and its not dorky. Second of all, here’s a current pic of me. Does this look like I’m of retirement age? If you ever get the chance to see me in person, you’ll see that I barely look like I’m legal – even though I am! (I turn 27 at the end of May, believe it or not.) That’s one of the leading reasons why I want a full beard and a bodybuilder type of body. In fact, I started using ThinkPads not long after I entered adolescence. My first laptop was a ThinkPad, and the first laptop I ever used was a ThinkPad. I have a lot of friends who are ThinkPad fans and guess what? A lot of them are young and they love the TrackPoint – so much that they can’t see themselves using anything else because its far more superior to a trackpad. So what the fuck are you talking about when you say that ThinkPad fans who love the TrackPoint are of retirement age? What the fuck is up with this assumption that ThinkPad fans are primarily old people? As a young ThinkPad fan, I find it insulting. Its clear that you were too lazy to do your own research into what the ThinkPad fan base consists of.

But, it doesn’t end there. In fact, it gets worse:

Trackballs are a product of a bygone era.

No they’re not. They’re only a product of a bigone era to people who only care about trends, making a fashion statement with their tech products, and being “hip”, as opposed to having something utilitarian.

…And gets even worse from there:

They were, once upon a time, super common on laptops. Most trackpads were terrible, and the nubbin, while not especially nimble, was at least consistent.

I’ve got news for you: most trackpads to this day are STILL terrible. I’m typing this from a Lenovo Yoga 910 and even though it has the best trackpad I’ve ever used, its still a trackpad. Meaning, it still feels rigid, constraining, and inefficient. That’s why I use an external mouse with it (if I don’t have a TrackPoint, then I use the next best thing which is an external mouse). The TrackPoint, on the other hand, is far more convenient and usuable (and yes, its still consistent to this day). It means that I don’t have to move my hands away from the keyboard when I type and need to move my cursor. It also comes in handy whenever I’m using Photoshop or making music on my Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), since it means that I get to make quick, efficient adjustments.

Then she goes on to talk about some of the difficulties she had with her X1C5’s trackpad. Supposedly, she found out that the “Edge Tap Filtering” feature was enabled and that that’s what was causing her to have issues with her trackpad. But then, she had this to say about the feature:

The setting is built for people still stuck in a time when touchpads included buttons. It’s meant to make dead zones. I’m not sure why the elderly love this setting, but I can confirm that when it’s enabled you will want to murder your laptop by flinging it into the sun.

And there she goes to, once again, insult the intelligence of the ThinkPad userbase by yapping about how “the elderly” love this setting. Yeah, because it is only the elderly care about practicality and usability. Nevermind the fact that having physical buttons (particularly on the TrackPoint) is more efficient and practical (especially when we’re talking about certain tasks – usually professional-related tasks). If you prefer practicality, usability, and efficiency over flashiness, you must be an old geezer apparently. What a joke.

Then she goes on to claim that because she had the issue with her X1C5’s trackpad resolved, that she didn’t “need” the “trackball” anymore – because fuck usability, comfort, and efficiency, am I right?:

Once that issue was resolved, I had zero use for the trackball.

Yeah, because its not “cool” or “trendy” in your eyes. Yeah, fuck usability! I’m just gonna go by whatever is “in style”, despite the fact that what’s in style right now is not very efficient.

If you thought that that was the end of that debacle, think again! Prepare yourselves because the level of cringe and retardation is about to go into the red zone:

Because trackballs are no longer a “thing.” Lenovo’s bright red one feels a little outdated. It makes an otherwise cool new laptop look like something out of 1998.

Arghhhhh! Stop! Just. Fucking. Stop. You know how you sound like right now, Alex? You sound just like the professional car reviewers who have reviewed recent models of the Ford Econoline (also known as the E-Series) and constantly bashed on it because of its simplicity and no-nonsense, classic design, not realizing the niche demographic it was targeted towards (sound familiar?). What they say does not reflect what real, everyday drivers of these vans have experienced. There’s a reason why the Econoline is was the best selling van in America (the Transit is now the best selling van in America – and the world), is one of the most sought-after used cars, and lasted for 50+ years until eventually getting replaced by the Transit (the more “hip” and, dare I say it, ‘modern’ version of the E-Series) in 2014 (at least when we’re talking about the cargo van and wagon models). But even with the E-Series getting replaced with the Transit, people still love them (there are even some people refusing to get Transits). In fact, when Ford decided to retire the cargo van and wagon versions (that’s the passenger van version of the E-Series, for those of you who aren’t aware), the Econoline was STILL the best-selling van in America with a loyal following (don’t believe me? Then go into the comments section of this video and this video and see for yourself – make sure to also read the description of the second video, its quite interesting). Its user base does not care about trends and being “cool” and “hip”, because that’s not what their needs are and that’s not the purpose of this van. What these users need is something functional to get the job done, not something flashy or extravagant (plus, the Econoline already looks elegant with its clean, minimalistic design). Kind of like, oh I don’t know, ThinkPad users! It seems like the author of this review doesn’t care much about functionality, but rather cares more about being “hip” and “trendy”, and having the latest technology just for the sake of it. If something is rarely used then its automatically obsolete, in her mind. Technology seems to be all about making a fashion statement these days – and ONLY a fashion statement.

…And it doesn’t stop there:

In a world of flimsy, shiny laptops the ThinkPad X1 Carbon sets itself apart with its 90s look. Retro isn’t necessarily in, but its also not the end of the world.

First of all, a lot of people seem to be into that retro look these days (its hard not to see why – its pretty cool and gives you that feeling of nostalgia). I mean, just look into some of the stuff coming out of the graphic design world. Second of all, what’s with this assumption from some people who think the ThinkPad is stuck in the 90s just because of the way it looks? Just because a manufacturer chooses not to give a product a radical design update doesn’t mean its outdated, it just means its classic (something that requires more of an evolutionary type of design). I’ve never really understood why some people choose to be such snobs about products like these and the people who use them. Are you really that superficial and blind? Do you really care that much about what others think about you?

The good news is that things start to calm down somewhat, although things are still cringey:

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is so well built that I don’t mind it’s fashion faux pas.

See what I mean when I say that these days technology is all about making a fashion statement? She’s basically saying that the X1C5 is very well built but that she wishes it were “flashier”. Also, may I remind you Alex (and anyone else out there that thinks like her), beauty and art are subjective. Not everyone is going to have the same taste in fashion, art, design, etc. as you. Some of us prefer something that’s a little more pleasant to look at – something that’s easier on the eyes. ThinkPad design isn’t “old” or “ugly” or whatever other derogatory name you dumb, mindless, hipster fucks want to call it. It is classic, functional, timeless, and elegant. If you’re going to say that about ThinkPads, then you might as well say that about Ford Econolines, Jeep Wranglers, military vehicles and trucks. What ThinkPad and all the vehicles that I just mentioned have in common is that they focus on functional design, while having an elegant, no-nonsense type of design at the same time. Their primary function isn’t to make a fashion statement, but rather, it is to help their userbase get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. I personally absolutely love how the ThinkPad (and the vehicles that I mentioned) looks and is my preferred type of look.

As terrible as that last line was, at least she concludes the review with this:

If you’re a typist with cash to burn, or you need a big display and a lot of power in a package that’s super light, then the ThinkPad X1 Carbon should be one of your top choices for a laptop.

Great job, Alex! At least you (somewhat) get it.

And to wrap things up, Alex then provides a “readme” (or a review) of the things she said in the review – stuff she thought were the most important points. This list of things left me rather annoyed. Just read for yourself and you’ll see what I mean:


⦁        Crazy light and sturdy feeling
⦁        Retro aesthetics will either leave you annoyed or in love
⦁        Fantastic keyboard for such a thin and light laptop
⦁        Trackpad had some system breaking software enabled out of the box. That’s bad.
⦁        The trackball still works. Cool?
⦁        Soft touch plastic makes this thing feel great, but boy does it attract fingerprints.

Clearly, there were some positives, as well as a legitimate concern, but they seemed to be overshadowed by the negatives. In fact, there seemed to be more negatives than positives. This leads me to believe that she doesn’t really like this ThinkPad (hence the title of this post).

Unsurprisingly, she gets absolutely destroyed in the comments section, and rightfully so. She made a complete fool out of herself. If you take a peek into the comments of this video, you’ll see a lot of people defending the ThinkPad and calling the author out on her nonsense. (If you want more, you can take a look into this Reddit discussion.)

Overall, this review seemed to be all over the place and poorly written. It was going from praising the X1C5 to downright smearing it. I don’t even know if the reviewer actually liked the X1C5, or if she hated it. To be honest with you all, the title feels a little clickbait-y when you take all of this into consideration. You could also sense the laziness that went into making this review – with all the ThinkPad and TrackPoint bashing, as well as the downright degradation of the ThinkPad user/fanbase. It was poorly researched and poorly crafted. If Alex Cranz really liked this ThinkPad, then she would’ve had worked on giving this article a better tone. If I had to give this review a rating of 1 out of 5 stars, I think I would have to give it 2.5 stars.

My advice to you, Alex? Do a better job researching the product(s) you’re reviewing, next time. Actually take the time to look into its user/fanbase and see why they use/love a particular product and go from there. Don’t just make assumptions about what they must be like or why they like a particular product. Actually take the time to know them. My second suggestion is to take the time to look into the design philosophy of whatever product you’re reviewing, and why that manufacturer choose to stick with that philosophy. Not every product is built to make a fashion statement (which, may I remind you, come and go). Some of them are built with the purpose of being useful, and that means not making a grand fashion statement but instead being more stealthy with their appearance – which means it can come across as ‘unattractive’ to outsiders who only care about being hip. Sure, products like the MacBook Pro look very nice but the problem with products like these is that they often sacrifice function for form, making the product not very useful or long-lasting (just look at the current lineup of MacBooks if you wanna see this in action). Products like ThinkPad, on the other hand, focus a little more on function, therefore increasing their longevity and usefulness significantly (as a testament to this, my ThinkPad T60 has been running for 10 straight years now). Not everything that isn’t trendy is “obsolete”. Also, work on the tone of your articles and titles.

Thank you all for bearing along with me going over this, at times, terrible steaming pile of shit. Feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it, comment, etc. I’ll see you all again soon!

I’m Getting A Sandbag!


Brute Force Heavy Hitter I sandbag (image courtesy of Brute Force).

I’m going to partake on a new challenge later this year (around summer). I’m going to get myself a sandbag for my birthday and start doing dedicated strength training and bodybuilding using sandbag training. This is something that I’ve been meaning to do forever now but haven’t had the chance to because of lack of proper equipment and because I didn’t have my diet dialed-in yet. The diet thing I’ve got under control (I’m finally fully-Primal/Paleo!) but I still have yet to get the proper equipment and that’s finally going to happen soon with the sandbag. I live in an apartment so that means I don’t have room (or money, for that matter) for traditional weights or anything like that (you know, traditional gym equipment).

A sandbag is the perfect solution to this problem – its inexpensive and its portable, so that means I can also take it with me anywhere and doesn’t take up much room. Through research, I found out that sandbag training is in a lot of ways more superior to conventional training. Sandbags help with stimulating several muscle groups at once, something that traditional weights cannot do. Its also more challenging than using traditional weights because the contents of the bag (the sand, in this case) shift around a lot and that also means that you have to use different grips – which also means a more intense workout (which is what I’m looking for). This type of workout simulates lifting heavy things in real-life, which are also variable, unlike traditional weights which are much more rigid. Sandbag training also happens to be one of the oldest (if not the oldest) form of training – before gyms and weights came along, we trained with sand.

The primary reason that I’m doing this is to build more muscle mass, and then of course, the second reason I’m doing this is to build more strength. I’ve always been a ‘smaller’ guy and I’ve always hated it. I’ve always felt insecure about it and it just doesn’t reflect my personality very well. I still have yet to fill out my shirts, in fact, I often try to avoid wearing certain types of shirts (like t-shirts) because they make me look skinnier. I’m very much looking forward to changing that. I have engaged in strength training/bodybuilding before, however, I’ve never engaged in it to this degree. The last time I did it, I used bodyweight exercises to do it. But over time, I’ve found out that they don’t really challenge me to the degree that I want. I thrive on short, intense exercises (I even have more energy afterwards) and bodyweight just doesn’t cut it. I’ve also never engaged in a dedicated long-term strength training and bodybuilding program before and so this will be my first time doing it and are also very much looking forward to making this a regular routine (I’ve done something like this but with bodyweight exercises once, but that was only for a brief amount of time).

Overall, I’m really excited to start this new challenge and build my dream body. Gaining muscle isn’t easy, it takes a lot of work (its much easier to lose weight than to gain it, especially when we’re talking about building muscle). I’ve finally got my diet dialed in, now its time to get that sandbag and get to work! I can already see myself having a great summer! (I’ll also be posting updates on my progress when I start.)

If anyone’s interested, this is the sandbag I’ll be getting. Here’s an article detailing some of the benefits of sandbag training.

The Evolution of Elipalooza

Before I begin, let me just say that this post is really just an extension of my previous post. It goes into further detail about the new direction of this blog. With that said…

This blog has grown and evolved as I have grown and evolved – which is a given since this is my personal blog, after all. Recently, I decided to re-brand this blog after I realized that I needed a platform to put out my grievances about stuff, but the branding I had before just wasn’t cutting it. I dabbled with doing it on YouTube, but after trying it, I realized that it was becoming a big hassle for that purpose (since I don’t have the proper resources and its a whole lotta work – its much easier for me to run a music YouTube channel). I’m highly opinionated and right now, I seem to have several opinions on various things and I need a place for me to broadcast those opinions, hence the re-brand.

When I first started this blog, I did it purely for fun and as a form of therapy. I wanted to see how it was like to blog. Since I started this blog in 2010, I’ve done a lot of experimentation with it, because that’s what it originally was: an experiment. I had no intention of taking it seriously. This was just something I did on the side to rant about stuff or goof around (depending on what mood I was in). Earlier this year, I made a commitment to write more stuff (both in the form of regular writing and music), since writing is something I’ve always enjoyed and – just like music – has always been a form of therapy for me. Like I said in my last post, I seem to be doing some of my best writing right now and I want to build upon that. I’m also hoping that this (just like with my artwork) will aid me in my music journey by helping me to write better music and make me more productive.

I’ve dabbled with the idea of taking blogging more seriously in the past, but I’ve never felt ready to do so or knew exactly what I wanted to do. It seems like I have finally figured it all out (see my previous post). I’m probably not going to take blogging fully seriously (since I’m already considering doing that for my music project right now) but I’m going to play around with taking it semi-seriously, to the least (since this is more of a side-project). Perhaps I’ll open up a Patreon for this blog in the near future, depending on how things turn out (that way, I can earn some extra money on the side and keep doing this on a more regular basis).

I would have to say that my biggest influences for this re-branding would have to be The Amazing Atheist, the Drunken Peasants, MrRepzion, Secular Talk, and MundaneMatt. (If you look closely, you’ll see that this blog and this re-branding is pretty reminiscent of that of MrRepzion.) This re-branding is very much influenced by YouTube commentators, like the ones I mentioned above. I’ve become an avid YouTube viewer in recent years (where I view mainly news, commentaries on news, politics, culture, & entertainment, educational content mostly relating to music, business, and marketing, and listen to music) and this re-branding reflects that. In actuality, the re-brand of this blog has been in the works for about a year or two and I’m very excited to finally roll it out. During this period, I had found a new vision for the blog but was puzzled as to what direction to take it in, until now of course.

The bulk of the content that I’ll be posting from now on will consist mostly of opinion pieces (you know, commentaries) on news, politics, and culture, as well as technology and maybe music on occasion (I kind of want to save the music one for the PROJEKT61 blog, but might try to dabble with it on this blog initially). This blog has always been about posting about whatever interests me at the time, and right now, this is the type of stuff that interest me (outside of music, of course). I’ll also post the occasional life update and some random stuff every now and then. In addition, there will also be a video commentary or some other thing on my personal (2nd) YouTube channel every now and then.

I’m playing around with the idea of maybe re-naming the URL of this blog from “thepcxp” to “elipalooza”, if the free version of WordPress allows me to. I’m also thinking about renaming my personal YouTube channel from “Eli Turner” to “Elipalooza”, since its really just a supplement to this blog and it’ll be much more consistent. I took the time to clean up the categories a bit and have now been re-organized, in order to reflect the changes to this blog. You’ll also see a few other updates, including on the “About” page.

Here’s to the new chapter and continued evolution of Elipalooza!

Blog Update For 2/27/2017

Hey everyone, I’m back!

If you’ve been a long-time subscriber/follower of this blog, you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting very much as of late. I’ve posted some stuff last year, but last year (and the year before that) was probably my least (or at least one of my least) active year(s) on this blog. The reason for this is simple and straight-forward: I’ve been busy with my music project/career and I’ve been struggling with what direction to go with this blog…until now, that is.

Lately, I’ve been really feeling in the mood to write some more. Writing has always been one of my favorite hobbies and something that I keep getting better and better at with time. I feel like I’m writing some of my best work in recent times and I’m really enjoying it. I really, really enjoy giving my opinion on stuff on the side. One of the things I want to do this year is to write more (and yes, that also includes more music, lol).

I was planning on becoming a little more active on my personal YouTube channel and do my opinion pieces there but the lack of resources (a proper mic, space, etc.) is keeping me down, plus I’m focusing more on my music channel right now since that needs my attention more and I’m having more fun working on my music channel. Additionally, making the type of videos I want for my personal channel takes up a lot of my time since they take a lot of work to make – I spend way more time editing and recording those videos than I do with the videos for my music channel. Not to mention that YouTube seems to want to censor certain opinions on the grounds that its not “advertiser friendly” (which in my opinion is bullshit because these same advertisers place their ads on sites that report about murders, bombings, etc., for example), and then there’s the whole “YouTube Heroes” nonsense, their broken flagging system, and a few other things. With all this in mind, I figured that blogging about that stuff would be a much better idea instead, since it gives me more freedom and allows me to publish stuff much quicker.

With that said, I’m planning on starting to write more commentaries on politics & society/culture as well as technology, along with occasional life/personal updates, and a few random things every now and then. For the commentaries, I plan on doing responses, op:eds, and the like. My main motivation for the commentaries is to debunk stupidity. This stuff right here is what’s interesting me the most at the moment (besides music, obviously) and this blog has always been about writing about what’s interesting me the most at the moment, since its my personal blog – and a sort of experimental blog as well.

So this is the direction I’m planning on taking this blog on. I’m not sure where this is all going to take me. All I know is this is something I want to do to blow off steam and keep myself level-headed (especially with this shitty Trump Administration in power), but regardless of all this, I’m really excited to do this! I’m not sure how often I’m going to be doing this but I’ll try update this blog as much as I can!

RE: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Review: Tommorrow’s Display in Yesterday’s Laptop

Recently, Tom Warren, senior editor of The Verge, wrote a review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. In my opinion, this was more of an opinion/smear piece rather than a review. He spent the majority of the article bashing ThinkPad design and the TrackPoint, calling them “old” and “outdated”. He called ThinkPad design “boring” (which is typical of people ignorant about ThinkPad design – and design in general), and thinks the TrackPoint should be taken out.

Being a longtime ThinkPad loyalist/fan/lover/user, I of course, took issue with this, as did many others (just check out the comments section of the article. If the article made you feel sick to your stomach, perhaps the comments on the article will make you feel better). I really don’t like it when people talk about ThinkPads like that. People like these come across to me as childish and I just can’t take them seriously. These people clearly don’t understand ThinkPad design – or design as a whole – and instead of taking the time to understand it, they’d rather just bash & smear it. This is perhaps one of my biggest pet peeves. I decided to make a response to Tom, in the form of an open letter, and that’s what I bring you today.

Here is my open letter to Tom Warren:

@tomwarren Instead of bashing & smearing something you don’t understand, take some time to actually understand it.

Your comments on ThinkPad design and the TrackPoint were abominable and ignorant. Just because ThinkPad design and the TrackPoint aren’t your thing, doesn’t mean that you have the right to bash them like that. Maybe if you’d actually taken the time to understand why ThinkPad design is the way it is and why people like it so much, I would’ve taken you much more seriously. If you said something like “ThinkPad design and the TrackPoint aren’t my thing, but I see why people like them so much, why they’re so useful, why Lenovo has decided to constantly redefine the design as opposed to drastically changing it, and the philosophy behind ThinkPad design”, I would’ve also taken you much more seriously. But you didn’t, and so that’s why I’m writing this open letter to you.

I’ve been using ThinkPads for 12 years (since I was only 14, in fact). I am proud to call myself a ThinkPad lover/loyalist/fan/user and I really can’t see myself using anything other than ThinkPads. The quality and reliability just can’t compare to other brands and the brand played a huge role in my growth and development in my youth. Your comments on ThinkPad design philosophy (i.e. the TrackPoint, the black box design) was downright disrespectful and ignorant to a highly respected and beloved brand that has been around for almost 25 years. How many computer brands do you know of that have been around for and have lasted as long as ThinkPad? I take big offense to anyone who bashes ThinkPads like that, because they clearly don’t understand the philosophy behind ThinkPad design – they’d rather bash something they don’t like or understand. This is, admittedly, a big pet peeve of mine.

I find it ironic that you bash ThinkPad design, while at the same time praising Apple for “changing” and “modernizing” their design. Apparently, you seem to be ignorant to the fact that Apple doesn’t drastically change its design either (at least nowadays – in the last 10 years or so). Just like ThinkPad, Apple has a minimalist design that is unique and iconic. You can instantly recognize a ThinkPad or a MacBook – even with their logos covered up. Same thing with products like the Porsche 911 or a military tank. As someone who has studied design (and that includes ThinkPad design philosophy), I can very much tell you that drastically changing the design of something isn’t very smart or practical. It is so much better to constantly redefine something over time, rather than drastically change it. Industrial design is a mixture of design and engineering. You have to take both aesthetics and functionality into account and create something that flows seamlessly together.

Notice how Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and the military don’t drastically change the design of their vehicles? This is because they know that you can’t just change the design of a product just because you feel like it, or just to make it look “prettier” – just like you can’t just change the design of your logo for that exact same purpose. You need to develop your product in accordance to usability and efficiency. Not to mention, that different products are targeted towards different audiences, and so you have to develop your product in accordance to that. MacBooks are targeted towards consumers, ThinkPads are targeted more towards business users – and professionals in general. Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Ferrari, and Lamborghini are targeted towards higher-end, affluent customers. While military vehicles were made for use in combat. All of these brands have mastered the art of industrial design and that’s why their products are so great and have withstood the test of time.

The TrackPoint is an excellent pointing device. It is quick, accurate, efficient, and functional. I am a music producer and sound designer, a digital artist and designer (I do photo manipulation, graphic design, illustration, and now, 3D art/modeling), and video producer, and the TrackPoint helps me out tremendously in doing my work – its much more precise and allows me to keep my hands on the keyboard. Have you ever tried working on a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) or a virtual synthesizer (VST)? If you have, then you’d know that without hardware (i.e. MIDI controllers), you need a pointing device that is precise and efficient, since in music production & sound design, you’re turning a lot of knobs and sliders in your VST or DAW – and there are even times where you need to type in numerical values. Sure, a MIDI controller and a Wacom tablet/pen (for art & design) are even more efficient but I don’t always have access to that stuff, it isn’t always practical, and I don’t want to plug in a mouse (unless its a desktop or non-ThinkPad laptop). The TrackPoint is the best thing there is when there’s no other options available. A trackpad is very impractical for these purposes. Trackpads are clunky, inefficient, and rigid. I hate them with a passion.

ThinkPad design is anything but outdated. It is classic, timeless, elegant, rugged, functional, and visually pleasant (easy on the eye), while the TrackPoint is an extremely useful pointing device. ThinkPads have withstood the test of time and that’s only because of its design philosophy – not to mention that Lenovo takes customer feedback into account, which further adds to its resiliency. This has nothing to do with ‘nostalgia’ and ‘playing it safe’ and everything to do with ease of use and functionality. If you’re going to bash ThinkPads, you might as well do the same thing to the MacBook, Porsche 911, and military tank (or any other military vehicle, for that matter). Please do some more thorough research next time before you make ignorant statements like these.

Sincerely yours,

Ryan Turner

(a.k.a. PROJEKT61)