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:

README

⦁        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!

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)

No, Intersex People Don’t Prove That Gender Isn’t Binary

I recently saw a video by Blaire White (who’s a Transgender Woman who speaks out against SJWs on YouTube), where she read some comments by Social Justice Warriors (SJWs). One of the comments she read was about intersex people, and it read: “Don’t intersex people prove that gender isn’t binary?” Of course, Blaire and I agree that intersex people don’t prove that gender isn’t binary and this inspired me to make a comment about that on her video’s comment section. I initially was going to write a shorter comment but I ended up writing something longer that looked more like a blog post, so I posted a shorter version of it. I decided to turn the long post into blog post since I thought it would make for some great material for my blog, so that’s what I bring you today! So here are my thoughts on people saying that intersex people somewhat ‘prove’ that gender isn’t a binary:

“I find the fact that these dumb SWJs are using people with intersex conditions like myself to further their gender identity politics agenda appalling. All of this just feels pretty derogatory to me. What’s even more distressing is the fact that these crazy SJWs (and feminists) have brainwashed other intersex people into thinking that having an intersex condition is somehow ‘normal’, as well as fooling them into thinking that intersex is a ‘third sex’ and this whole ‘intersex people prove that gender isn’t binary’ nonsense. Some even take offense when someone says that intersex is a birth defect.

As a person with an intersex condition, I can very much say that this is indeed a birth defect. This birth defect is the reason why I had a gender error at birth – in which I was assumed to be biologically female when I was in actuality biologically male, something that I didn’t find out until I got older due to the nature of my condition – and had to go through the tedious legal process of gender reassignment (fortunately for me, I was born in and still live in California so the process was less of a pain in the ass to do) and was forced to live as someone I wasn’t for the first 21 years of my life and missed out on a lot as a result. Its the reason why I have to take Testosterone Replacement Therapy for as long as I live in order to keep me healthy since my body has a hard time producing its own (I have primary male hypogonadism – which means I have ‘broken balls’, lol). And its the reason why I have to use a prosthetic penis for sex (since I was born with a micropenis), as well as for “packing” in order to look (and feel) more like a normal man.

For these SJWs to say that its “normal” is just dishonest and further from the truth – its really no different than telling kids that Santa Claus is real. Being intersex can be a bit of a handicap and its why we often have to resort to these treatments. Its not because of the so-called “gender binary” or the patriarchy, but rather, its so we can live normal, regular lives, and its fine just as long as we have full autonomy and full, informed consent over it. And, oh yeah, most of us identify as either male or female (I, of course, identify as male), and we’re either male of female despite the size of our genitals or the presence – or lack thereof – certain reproductive organs or hormone levels. People with my condition are biologically male and strongly identify as such. We’re often forced to live as girls growing up and so gender reassignment isn’t uncommon among my kind. The only reason I even mention that is because these SJWs and feminists say that gender is a social construct and that we’re ‘proof’ that gender isn’t binary. Well here’s proof that gender isn’t a social construct and that there is a gender binary.

People, like myself, who are afflicted by these conditions are trying to raise awareness that these conditions exist so we can educate people more about these these conditions, get more research done into our conditions so we can better understand our bodies, get more legal protections, and get doctors to stop mutilating babies that are born with intersex conditions (most of the time, operations on intersex babies are unnecessary – there is no medical need for them unless there is something, like a blocked urethra, that actually requires it – and actually do more harm than good) and instead give both the patients and their parents psychotherapy and access to support groups, as well as get doctors to be more honest and transparent towards intersex patients and their parents. SJWs are derailing this and doing more harm than good by infusing their identity politics into our cause, which might make people think that we’re a bunch of crazy SJWs. I fear that people aren’t going to take us seriously if the SJWs keep doing this shit and having their way.”

Bottom line is, SJWs need to stop speaking for us. They’re only doing more harm than good. These people don’t understand how its like to live with an intersex condition and are only using us to further promote their ideology – an ideology which has no scientific basis whatsoever and is only based on feelings and emotion. They especially need to stop exploiting young intersex people who have gone through the trauma of genital mutilation, and are trying to come to terms over what happened to them when they were younger. What they’re doing sounds a lot like creationism and is really no different than telling a kid that god, Santa Claus, and the easter bunny are real. It is dishonest and exploitative, and only does more harm than good. The reality is that there is no valid scientific evidence that there are more than two genders (or sexes, for that matter). Even if you’re “genderfluid”, you’re still either male or female (both in terms of gender and sex). Why else do you think that trans people exist? Not only does this kind of stuff harm the intersex community, but it also harms the trans community. I’m sorry to say this but you’re not “non-binary”, you’re just a “gender trender”, or a “trans trender” if you claim to be a “non-binary transgender” person.

Blaire’s video is called This Is Your Brain On Social Justice and you can watch it here. If you like seeing SJWs be taken down and are looking for a place to interact with other like-minded people – especially if you’re transgender and want see a trans person speaking out against the SJW machine that seems to have taken over the transgender community, then I highly recommend you subscribe to Blaire’s channel!

I’ll be posting more of my thoughts on the current state of the intersex rights movement and the current-day intersex community soon (and the LGBTI rights movement and community as a whole). I’ll see you all next time!

My Thoughts on the #RollCallVote

Hey everyone, I’m back after not posting here for a quite a while. The reason I haven’t been posting as of late is because I’ve been incredibly busy. I’m currently making the transition to a full-time professional music producer and sound designer and I’m doing a lot of preparation work (including arranging my new schedule), but I’ll discuss that more in another post.

Right now, there’s a lot of stuff in my mind that I need to let out. As you all probably know by now, the Democratic National Convention is happening this week and today, there was a roll call vote – in which the Democratic nominee would be crowned. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary and are registered as a “No Party Preference” (NPP) voter here in California (which means I’m an Independent voter), but voted with a crossover democratic ballot on election day.  Bernie was the best candidate for president, but was up against a rigged and corrupt system, so I knew this would be a tough election for him to win…and tough it was. He unfortunately ended up losing the nomination earlier today, and an unelectable, untrustworthy, corrupt candidate (Hillary Clinton) ended up winning instead because of this corrupt system.

I have so much to say right now so everyone, buckle up and listen up.

First of all, everyone calling Bernie a “sellout” please shut the fuck up. He is NOT a sellout, and his record speaks for itself. He didn’t sell out. He just did what HE felt was right (voting for the lesser of two evils). He knew he was against a rigged system, and that it was going to be extremely hard for him to win, so go easy on him. He knows how much we despise $hillary and that we’re independent-minded, so he doesn’t expect us to “fall in line” and he doesn’t have a problem with that – in fact, that’s exactly what he wants, its all part of the political revolution (which doesn’t happen overnight). Just like the rest of us, he’s not very thrilled about Hillary either (he’s not going to fundraise for her or anything like that, plus, he’s going back to the senate as an independent)…and he shouldn’t after everything she’s done to him. Bernie knew about stuff that was going on behind the scenes that we didn’t know about. He knew about all the rigging and corruption and did everything he could to fight back against it. He knew he had a steep hill to climb, and he knew the establishment would try to bring him down (and unfortunately, they did). Everyone bashing on him for this is just being a stupid, ignorant fuck – this is the result of outrage culture, were reason & logic are thrown out the window. I will continue to support Bernie in the senate, where he will continue to fight for us, and I highly suggest everyone else do the same.

Second thing: everyone saying the revolution is “over” also shut the fuck up…this is just getting started, its not over. One person cannot change the system. It takes A LOT of people for change to actually happen. So everyone, keep putting the pressure on these cucks, encourage people who truly care about the people and democracy to run for office, and most of all, elect people who will actually represent the people! The fight is never over, we have to actually FIGHT and KEEP FIGHTING! Like Public Enemy once said in one of their most iconic (and perhaps their most iconic) songs ever, Fight The Power!

Overall, my message to these people is: STOP BEING SUCH A SORE LOSER!!! We’re not going to get ANYTHING done with that attitude! I know you’re angry – I’m angry myself – but you cannot act in this manner. You let your opponents win by acting that way.

Now with that out of the way…All I have to say to the Democratic Party is: congrats for electing the most corrupt, hated, untrustworthy, and unelectable candidate your party has ever seen! Congrats for handing over the presidency over to Donald Trump and that monster of a VP Mike Pence (the guy you should all be actually afraid of – he’s the one who’s actually going to be running the country). Congrats for stooping as low as the Republican Party by rigging the elections, alienating a large voter base, silencing democracy, and being total and complete corporate sellouts! Hope you’re proud of yourselves! All of this is why I’m feeling very happy right now to be an independent voter & not a democrat (I’m registered as an NPP here in California). I’m an Independent because I don’t want to be beholden to a party, I don’t fully identify with one party, and I want flexibility. Many Democrats (including lifelong Democrats) are leaving the party because of your fucking antics. You betrayed them and you deserve everything that’s coming at you. You have nobody else to blame but yourselves.

To Hillary Clinton: Congrats for showing girls and women that they too can be president by being as corrupt as you! Congrats for showing the world that girls and women can also win by lying, cheating, bribing people, and degrading their opponents and their supporters – and not mention, being shady! I, for one, am not going to vote for you. You are corrupt as fuck. I want to vote for someone who’s honest, integral, and actually works for the people. You are not trustworthy. Just because you supposedly implemented some liberal/progressive policies, doesn’t mean that I automatically trust you – you’re just too beholden to your corporate donors and your history says everything I need to know about you. Actions speak louder than words and its clear that you’ve never acted on or cared about this shit. And just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean that I’m obligated to vote for you. You don’t deserve to be president, Bernie Sanders does. And you don’t deserve to be the first female president, Jill Stein does. The smart thing that you’ve could’ve done was to drop out, since you’re divisive, untrustworthy, and not doing so well with Independents & millennials (not to mention a cheater). But of course, you didn’t because you’re too arrogant and beholden to your corporate donors, and not to mention, you’ve had the whole establishment behind you. So if you lose this election (which you most certainly will), don’t blame me for Donald Trump becoming president. Blame yourself. Don’t you dare try to scapegoat other Bernie supporters such as myself, we’re not falling for it and we know you’re full of shit.

There’s people saying that Hillary is showing that women can be anything they want. If you’re talking about cheating, corruption, & bribery, then you’re absolutely right. Hillary showed everyone that anyone can be all of this. Hillary & the dems rigged the system in favor of her. Hillary cheated and Bernie was cheated out of this election. Bernie is the real winner here. He did this shit fair & square. He actually EARNED peoples votes. Hillary didn’t. Hillary had to resort to cheating to win. She’s the real loser here. When you have to resort to cheating to win, what does that tell you? It tells you you’re weak as fuck. It tells you that you suck.

People aren’t voting for Clinton & Trump because they like them. These people are two of the most disliked presidential candidates in the history of the U.S. People are voting for these two crooks because they want to stop the other. People don’t truly like them, they just feel like they have to vote for the other just to stop the other. They think these are the only two candidates. The reason being because our shitty media is keeping them in the dark about third party options.

My recommendations on voting for president this November are: If you lean more to the left, vote for Jill Stein (Green party candidate). If you lean more to the right, vote for Gary Johnson (Libertarian party candidate). Both are solid candidates & way better than Hillary & Trump. You don’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils. There are alternatives out there. The mainstream media just isn’t telling you about it – and they wont tell you about it because they want to keep the status quo alive. Don’t vote for any of these two crooks (I’m of course talking about Trump and Clinton).

I endorsed Bernie for president in the primary elections. Since he unfortunately lost, I thereby endorse Jill Stein for president for the general election! Everyone go donate to her and spread the word. If we wanna see real change in this country, its up to us to vote for candidates that actually represent us the people and not the special interests (the 1% and the corporations). If there’s one thing that Bernie taught us is that honesty and integrity CAN win and that you DON’T NEED the help of giant donors to win. The internet and social media have helped even the field so that grassroots activism can actually be successful. Lets do the same thing that we did for Bernie to Jill. There’s too much at stake not to, so get to work!

The final thing I have to say is aimed at Bernie Sanders: Thank you for everything you’ve done for us! Thanks for motivating a new generation of voters and politicians to be more politically active – by voting and running for office. Even though you didn’t win, you still made history – and you’re still a winner in my eyes, regardless of the outcome of this election. Not only did you motivate me to vote for the very first time in my life but you also motivated and inspired me in my both my personal life and my budding career…I learned a lot of valuable things from you that I can implement in both my career and life! I’ll keep supporting you, even though you didn’t win the nomination! Keep fighting the good fight in the senate and elsewhere!

That is all I have to say. Keep the revolution going everyone!