I’m Engaged

Well I proposed to Lauren tonight, she said yes, so right now we are tentatively planning on getting married on August 21, 2004. My plans for the proposal went off without a hitch, and Lauren will be writing about it more in detail tomorrow so I’m just gonna put a link to her account of the whole deal. But needless to say I’m supper stoked about the whole deal. So I threw up a quick website with a countdown script that I will hopefully update as we know more, so check back there every once in a while. In a day or two I will be putting a link on the left side of my actual website to the wedding part of the page.

Tonight after Lauren called everyone in the phone book with last names starting with A thru F, we went out to eat with a whole bunch of friends to cheddars and came back to my place to watch “Finding Nemo” (great movie). Soon I have to actually try to calm down and do some homework for tomorrows class.

So, in summary, ….getting married next year, totally stoked, need to send out obligatory emails and announcements to cover bases where calls weren’t made. TW5Northers can expect a real email about getting married soon…..no fake crap like Tice likes to send out from time to time.

Thank you, and Goodnight.

How to make a good argument….legitimately

1) Preparation

Know certain things that are essential to any good debate or argument.
First, you might not win. This is not a good thing. Now if you desire to win at any cost, refer to part deux in our series.
Second, it may get ugly, and you must be ready for this. Some people are too small minded to admit that you are a mental giant compared to their flea-like brain. If it does get ugly, and you look like a physical flea compared to this neanderthalic opponent, flee for you life.
Third, preparations must include, but are not limited to, fact gathering, reference checking, critically analysis of information collected, mentally powering up (detailed instructions below), putting potato in shorts if male, and stuffing bra if female (this will build confidence for verbal arguments and distract your opponents.)
Powering up mentally is similar to physically powering up. First, crouch slightly, bending at the knees and back. Bend arms ninety degrees at elbows, and forty-five degrees at shoulders. Focus your mind completely on the argument that is approaching…..flex brain….and when you have reached mental argument nirvana, stop, you are ready.

2) Making a Claim

This is the most important part of the argument, for if you have no claim, you have no argument. And any claims/facts/thoughts/opinions you state during the argument have no validity because you are supporting NOTHING. Both sides of any argument must pick a position, or a platform for pun references, to stand on. if your argument does not have a platform to stand on then it will inherently degrade to you going around in circles, convincing no one of anything except that your argument has become your noose and the platform you never adopted would have been the only thing to save you from breaking your mental neck….(last part is a metaphor for looking retarded in front of a bunch of people who are now sure they are your mental superiors.) Which means, pick a platform, stick with it, and you won’t look nearly as stupid. It is easier to appear to yourself like you are making progress in your argument by going in circles, but you are in fact fooling NO ONE, so stop before you look like an even bigger idiot.
REMEMBER, your claim is the ground that you stand on, you can neither attack or defend anything without it, it is the frame of reference by which the reality of the argument hinges. If someone asks you, “Whats your point” your already in trouble, better catch your ship before it sails.

3) Evidence

This is your weapon and your armor. Think of your claim, or platform to continue the analogy, as a castle. Your evidence makes up the strength of the walls of castle, and it is the cannons by which attacks can be made against your opponent. Evidence is critical to supporting your argument. An unsupported claim should be viewed as an assumption…and you know what that means….it makes an ass out of you, and not me…cuz you know I can back mine up. Also all evidence should be referenced. Evidence may also referred to as proof, or poop, depending on whether you can back it up or not with references.

4) Counterargument

Let it be known, that since you may not be right, there is ALWAYS a counter argument. For example if you said humans were not made to fly. I could say, all you have to do is jump at the ground and miss…..baddabing your flying. Now that argument may stupid, but none the less it is a counter argument, and must be addressed. Foreknowledge of possible counter arguments is almost necessary….especially in legal proceedings. Addressing counter arguments must be done with the utmost care, only the evidence for your claim can be used to address the counter argument, unless there is a discernible logical flaw or is argued from a demonstrably untrue premises. It should be known that to dismiss a counter argument by calling silly or nonsensical must be strictly used only only only when dealing with something so stupid (such as the flying thing) that it takes a vastly huge amount of logical suspension in order for it to even be considered. For if you simply dismiss someones counter argument (or argument in the event you are formulating the counter argument) and people around you, or the community in general does not see your dismissal as appropriate, you are in the same place as if you were making a circular argument, or making assumptions….because that is what you are doing. ASSUME NOTHING!!!!!

5) Audience

Assume your audience is made up of idiots, and explain everything as such. That is the only safe assumption, because that way you don’t gloss over something that could be important. Especially to idiots. Notice I did not say assume your opponent or the thing you are addressing is an idiot….that is important. Other then that the audience is the audience is to be used only as a rally monkey. We mean, get them on your side, like Rodney King got south central LA on his side. Now this could almost be called cheating by some, I just call it charisma. If your audience does in fact happen to be monkeys none of this matters because they will be screaming anyway….watch for flying poo. But other then that, be aware of your audience, never assume the know something, because that could leave the impression that there are holes in your argument.

I hope you enjoyed our nearly comprehensive guide to legitimately winning arguments. These techniques are universal. Whether it be theology, science, philosophy or literature, these techniques can be applied to anything. This does not guarantee that you will win your argument, because you might be wrong. However if you must win at ANY cost, and you don’t care how or if you are wrong or not remember that this is part one of our two part series. The second part deals with how to win at any cost. It is titled “How to win an argument by cheating.” We will address male specific tactics, female specific tactics and our favorite omni-sex tactics.

Part two will continue on Seth Spain’s Blog.
This was brought to you by the collaborative efforts of myself, Ben Catlin, and Seth Spain, Licensed Idiots, and self proclaimed legitimate argument Gods.

The Playlist

I’m gonna steal a thought from John Cusack in High Fidelity concerning the mix tape. The Playlist, like the mix tape (and the away message), is an art form. I am not just talking about throwing all your mp3’s in a list and listening to them in winamp. I’m talking about making a playlist in terms of an mp3 player, or lists made for their specific purposes of mood listening. Now, I have a 128 mb mp3 player, and this amounts to somewhere in the range of 30-35 songs depending on the encoding quality and length of the songs. Now seeing as how the two major uses of my mp3 player are walking to class (where I use it the most) and studying, there is a certain balance that one must strike when making the list. One the one hand, you want up-beat, fun songs that you like to grove too for walking to class. Like Transformers the Movie Theme, or Eye of the tiger (those are particularly good for walking to tests) and Mr. Eels beautiful blues and Fatboy Slim’s Praise you or Right Here. These are excellent walking to class kind of songs. They are fun to sing, get your blood pumping and keep you moving. But the problem is, that these are not the best songs to listen to while studying. When studying you must keep it just upbeat enough to not fall asleep. The trick is to interweave slower songs and up-tempo songs. Particularly stay away from the songs that are long and have a great slow melody, Like the “Somewhere over the rainbow, What a wonderful world medley.” It is a great song, very relaxing, I love to try to sing with it, but it is long, and nice and slow, and most likely on the third round of your playlist during a day of studying, the next song can’t come fast enough to wake you up. That six minute monster will have you face down drooling on your books. So instead, I propose using something similarly relaxing, but significantly shorter….like Dido’s Thank you. Great song, very relaxing, but works well because it is shorter, and you can put a faster song before and after the slow song.

Generally I think you should start your playlist fast, right now I have a faster worship song at the beginning. That way I know it is quick, but not too fast, nice pace good for walking, but not to hard. Then I follow up with a little faster song….take it up a little…quicken the pace…have to make sure I’m not late for class. Then I put in “The Lord is Gracious and Compassionate” which is great cuz it slows things down, which means I can walk a little slower since I’m fat and out of shape, but late in the song it picks up tempo and finishes pretty hard with the solid heavy chords from the guitar and piano. Then I let in a lighter song….take the tempo up but keep it light.

This process keeps up until the playlist is complete. Except I throw in a funny song to make me laugh…that helps keep me awake during studying and is a change in pace while walking. So, this is what I did on Wednesday so I could go to class, but I missed class because it took to long make the list….my computer transfers songs far to slowly.

Anyway, there is my non-Bible post for now, I have other stuff to write about, but this seemed the most pressing on my mind…which is good, because a couple days ago the first thing on my mind was beating people down for no particular reason. I might write about that later.

Thank you, and goodmorning.

Cool nights in July

It’s not often that a cool night comes along in July when you live in Illinois. Tonight was just such a night. I have to say that I really love to walk at night. I love walking around town after the sun has set and the temperature is starting to come down. I absolutely love the fact that my girlfriends new apartment is a five minute walk from my house, and I have an excuse now to go for walks almost every night. I like walking her home and talking with her on the way, and I like having time alone to walk and breath the night air and think with a clear head. So last night I was thinking that it was a wonderful night to go for a longer walk, but I didn’t have time because of class the next day, and it turns out that it started raining not long after I went to bed. But tonight, after watching 100 girls (great movie BTW), I decided to go for a walk. So I started walking, and before I knew it, I had walked from Springfield Ave. to Florida Ave. so I decided I would head on down to the Japanese gardens by Vet Med. So I sat around there for a while and relaxed, and thought about how much I love the night and sitting in the cool grass, breathing the summer air. It was a great walk, and a great time just sitting and relaxing, and a great walk back. It was just a great night, after watching the second DVD of Escaflowne, and grilling brats and burgers, I just walked around and watched a movie and enjoyed myself. I thought a lot of deep thoughts and cleared my head of the thoughts of the day and burdens of tomorrow.

But enough rambling for now….it’s 3 am, I need to not take walks after 1am anymore…so Thank you and goodnight.

Oreo cookies will still need me when I’m Sixty-four

So I was thinking about getting older the other day. It is an interesting, as well as depressing, concept to think about at age 21. I was sort of comparing my life now, to what it was, and what it probably will be before long, and a comercial came on about an Oreo. I’m talking about the one where the guy says his kid dropped a cookie on the floor and the kid tried to pick it up and the guy told him not too cuz it was dirty. But the catch phrase is “I told him not to pick it up because it was dirty, but in my head i’m thinking ‘Five-second rule'”. That sort of sums up the total of what I’ve been thinking.

I’ve accepted that we all get older, we move on, we deal with what comes next. This is almost universally true, except for the few of us who remain stuck in the past wearing odd looking clothes, or those of us who have issues that dwell on well past when they should. But for most of us, in some fashion or another, we definitely “grow up” at some point, or have been for a while now. I’ve found that for me parts of growing up come slowly, and methodically over time, sometimes because I change without noticing it, and others because I work hard to change some things. But at other times growing up is a realization of sorts. There will be some point where you think that you are just like your father/mother or that it is time that you deal with some problem that your parents/gaurdian has helped with in the past. But this is not an entirely bad thing. Some people hold on to parts of their childhood that they should let go of, and they act like idiots, and others grow up too quickly and can’t laugh at anything or let loose. So I try to work at holding on to what has been important to me, and not forgetting what or why I thought something before that I need to let go of now and move on. I’ve been thinking more that I would like to get out of college and start a family. Don’t get me wrong, I love college and I love spending time with my friends here and just doing fun stupid college type of stuff. But deep inside something is starting to push me more toward moving on and focusing on whats next.

Now this has also been bothering me, why should I, BEN CATLIN, the 4 year old trapped in a beer guzzling 21 year old’s body, ever want to grow up and move on to real life. Well, I have to say that this is puzzling me, and I still don’t have an answer. I still want to maintain some of the fun, some of the cut-loose attitude. But I also want to buy a house, settle down, and have kids, so maybe I can take my turn at being a parent. I figure that by not only accepting some of this responsibility, but embracing it with an open mind and an open heart that I can maintain some of the child-like qualities you (and I) so love about me, as well as be a responsible member of society. And I figure if I can hold on to that stuff and be responsible I could make a pretty good parent cuz I could take care of my kids, and relate to them pretty well (that is once they are 4 and start catching up to my mentality).

So, my rambling thoughts on life will end here, and I will continue other ponderings at a later date……untill then,

Thank you, and goodnight.

WARM days and COLD beers!

So today it was like totally warm, and not very windy or anything. So we did what anyone else would do, we drank beers on the porch. We went shopping, bought beers and ice, and put the ice in a bucket and the fun drinking began. Also I have to say that the song “Mr. Eels Beautiful Blues” by Eels is an awsome song to have on your MP3 player when walking to class on a day like today.

On a different note, I bought Trillian Pro and installed some plugins for it and really like it. I got an RSS news reader plugin for trillian and like it a lot. It lets me read livejournals and slashdot headlines all from my computer, so I know when all my friends or favorite sites update their news. If you are interested you can even look at my site since i got this feature working, just point ur favorite RSS reader to bigcat_news.xml and u can see whenever I update my journal.

So anyway, I need to head out, have fun stuff to do since I am done with my homework for the rest of the week.