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Call Me Spike

19 Mar

Years ago, my mother had a little black Chihuahua named Carlos. Sometimes he would sit on the back of the couch in her living room so that he could see into her kitchen. For some reason, when he did this, he made me think of the “spike of power” in the film Cool World. I started calling him Spike.

I have a fondness for ironic nicknames. Carlos was a small animal and obviously warm-blooded. He was also soft and fuzzy. The ironic nickname I invented for him was Spikosaurus. Sometimes, when I would hold him—he liked to be held—I would sing a song to the tune of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt:

Wonderful-marvelo-spiko-sauro-pod

That’s what he’s called.

Whenever he goes out,

The girlies always shout,

There goes wonderful-marvelo-spiko-sauro-pod,

Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh.

In 2004 I wanted to buy a miniature bible online. I found what I was looking for on eBay, but I had never used eBay before. When you start using eBay, you must come up with a unique identity. Naturally, I tried to use my own name, but that had been taken. I tried some other names, but they had been taken as well. When you first start to use a new online service, you seldom stop to think that things like your username will end up being lifetime commitments. I thought of my mother’s Chihuahua, Carlos, and his nickname, Spikosaurus. I tried that, and it was taken, so I tried Spikosauropod. That stuck.

In 2006, I became enamored of a miniseries on the SciFi Channel called “The Lost Room”. I wanted to be able to leave posts on the SciFi Channel forum so, once again, I had to come up with a username. I chose the same one I used for eBay.

Less than a year later, several members of the forum and I decided to create a new forum based on “The Lost Room” called The Collectors. This forum is still up and running and I will certainly discuss it in good time. In The Collectors forum I also called myself Spikosauropod.

In time, members of the forum started referring to me as Spike. I started to think of myself as Spikosauropod or just Spike. Eventually, whenever I would need to create a new online identity, I would always choose Spikosauropod. I am completely happy with my own name, but the name I have always used online is Spikosauropod.

I am also known as Spikosauropod on a site I frequent called KurzweilAI.net. It is a sight devoted to something called the Technological Singularity. I will discuss that in good time as well. I noticed that several members on that site had avatars. I wanted an avatar also, but couldn’t find any way to create one using their settings. I read a discussion about the settings for the site. One of the members mentioned that his avatar had been “pulled in” from a site called WordPress.

I went off to join WordPress. I had no idea what WordPress was, and I had no idea I was signing up to create a Blog. I just wanted to have an avatar on the Kurzweil site.

My Avatar is a yellow umbrella inspired by the yellow umbrella from the miniseries “The Lost Room”.

When I started to join WordPress, I was told that the domain name Spikosauropod.com was available for a small fee. My vanity got the better of me and I decided to create Spikosauropod.com. In all fairness, if you discovered that the unique nickname you had always used online, and that you had begun to think of as your own name, was available as a dotcom, you would probably make the same decision. Perhaps you already have.

Now I have a blog.

I have always had lots opinions about all sorts of things. I often wear out the ears of the people around me expressing them. I have about forty-two large journals filled with my thoughts and opinions going back to 1985. I did a lot of writing before that, and filled lots of other journals, but the journals that’s whereabouts I am fairly confident of go back to 1985. I have been writing journals on personal computers going back to 2001. That is when I officially switched from writing in paper journals to writing on a computer.

Now I have a blog. I tend to believe in fate, and my belief in fate probably has something to do with why I decided to go ahead and create the blog called Spikosauropod.com. I am not a committed fatalist, but I do tend in that direction. For some reason, I am meant to start publishing my opinions for the world to read.

We shall see.

I want to start this blog out on the right foot, so I am going to begin by laying out a sort of constitution. One of the wisest things the Forefathers of the United States did upon founding a new nation was to lay out a clear set of rules from the onset. I will begin by stating what has become my creed:

I seek the truth. I am a seeker of truth. I want to know the truth and live the truth, wherever and whatever it may be. This is my one true creed.

I got this from a book I read years ago about the pursuit of Christianity. I can’t recall which book, though I may dig it up one of these days.

I am not quite a Christian. I respect the Christian faith and its adherents. I respect all religions. However, I just don’t have whatever is needed to make a commitment. Part of the reason has to do with the creed itself. The creed says, “I seek the truth.” It does not say “I know the truth.” In order to say that I am a committed member of any religious faith, I would probably have to take that extra step.

Another reason is fear.

When I was about sixteen, my oldest friend became a Christian. He had never been interested in becoming a Christian before, and was, in fact, always rather cynical about religion.

One day, I showed up at his house and found religious books scattered about his bedroom floor. He also had one of those green padded bibles that were popular with Born Again Christians.

I asked him if he had become a Christian.

He said yes.

After that, his behavior changed. It seemed like he had entered into a sort of a trance. I couldn’t really talk to him any more. To me, it seemed like he had entered some sort of psychosis. To me, he seemed not so much to have found God, but to have been indoctrinated into a cult. It frightened me.

From then on, Christianity always seemed to me to be a sort of trap. I could never get over the feeling that becoming a committed Christian was tantamount to being possessed.

Of course, a real Christian would tell you that is not far from the truth. They would tell you that you are possessed by the Holy Spirit. I just can’t shake the feeling that something less positive has taken place. What I saw in my friend seemed more like insanity.

But none of this changes my one true creed. I am still a seeker of the truth.

Seeking the truth means that you are always looking into your own motives and asking, “Why did I really say that? Do I really believe what I said?” It means being brutally honest with yourself. It does not always mean being brutally honest about yourself. We all know that people have lost jobs and ruined friendships by being too outwardly honest.

One of the reasons why I want to be known online as Spikosauropod, or just Spike, and not my own name, is so that I can be more honest than I would otherwise be. If people cannot come to my place of residence or my place of employment and confront me about something Spikosauropod has written online, I can afford to tell the truth.

Of course, if I am to be honest about my motives for sticking with this penname, there is also the issue of security. I am not rich or famous and do not have any of the barriers that rich and famous people have against identity theft or harassment. Just to make this point clear, if someone claimed to be Michelle Pfeifer or Barack Obama and tried to write a check in their name, someone would probably catch on. If someone tried to write a check in my name, it would probably go unnoticed. My entire portfolio could be wiped out without anyone noticing or particularly caring.

For the time being, I wish to be known simply as Spikosauropod or Spike. Perhaps, in time, I will choose to revert back to my own name and my complete identity.

This blog is about my creed. It is about seeking the truth. If you are in the habit of lying to yourself and are not prepared to confront that habit, you need not come here. You almost certainly will not like what you read and you may become very angry. As Spikosauropod, writing about the truth, I am going to be brutally honest. I will probably offend just about everyone at one point or another. I will probably say things that I wish to recant. If I become convinced that I am wrong, I will recant. At least that is my intention. Just now, if I am to be brutally honest, I must admit that I get embarrassed by being shown up in an argument. I want to improve in that respect. Perhaps, as Spikosauropod, a brand new person in a brand new world, I can make progress in that area.

This blog is not about being insensitive. I may pull punches here and there around issues of race or gender. However, I have a justification for that. We have all heard the phrase, “The end justifies the means.” My honest feeling about that phrase and the accompanying philosophy is that if you are going to use any means to get to an end, you had damned well better get there. The problem with saying insensitive things about race, gender, and a handful of other topics is that you are assuming you are right and that time will eventually vindicate you. What if you are wrong? Then you have offended and hurt a lot of people; but you have lost your justification. In short, I am not going to be insensitive about a variety of topics because I am not so arrogant as to believe I have all the answers. I am not going to make any pronouncements that are larger than my relative confidence level.

I hope this does not all seem too grandiose. I can imagine how the sentence, “You almost certainly will not like what you read and you may become very angry,” may come across. Someone who reads this may be thinking, Oh no, here is another pompous asshole who thinks he is a shock jock about to change the world.

Not at all. If you were annoyed by that sentence or anything else I have written here, you must recall the warning that accompanies it. I expect people to be offended. You cannot tell the truth without offending someone. Just now, it occurs to me that you cannot tell the truth without occasionally seeming like a pompous asshole.

That is not where I want to leave this. I do not want the last thing I say in this, my first blog entry, to sound so confrontational.

I think because I am driven. I write because it helps me to think. I blog because I blog.

In this blog I plan to discuss faith, politics, science, the future, personal relationships, hobbies, and almost everything else. I am particularly interested in destiny and purpose. I really want to know why I am here and what I am supposed to do about it. I once told a friend, “Life is like a chess game where you enter not knowing the rules or the object of the game.” Now, I would probably update that to something more akin to Risk. Life has too many random elements and there are too many players to compare it to chess. I am not convinced those random elements are as random as they at first appear, but that is a topic for another blog.

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