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  • Entries related to my attempts at waxing philosophical.

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  • Leave It Better Than You Found It

    Are you familiar with the phrase “leave a room better than you found it?”

    Growing up, I always thought this was some trick to get me to clean things up that weren’t my mess.

    As I got older, and more messes were definitely my own responsibility, I realized it was a lot easier to take two minutes to clean a little something as I go than it was to let it pile up and have to deal with a huge mess.

    But now I am old enough to see what this statement really means.

    Life is an abnormality. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy in an isolated system is always increasing. If you put two colors of sand in a jar and shake the jar, the sand will only ever become more jumbled. You cannot organize sand by shaking it.

    However, if you put a human in the mix, they can organize the grains of sand and separate out the different colors.

    Life, during its span of existence, is capable of countering entropy. This is unnatural. This is against the laws of nature. This is our strength. This is our battle cry. This is how we prove to the universe that we exist.

    When you clean up your kitchen, you are imposing order on a system whose entire existence moves towards disorder. Vacuuming the carpet is rapidly organizing materials that expected their entire existence to be disorder and chaos. When you scrub your bathroom, you are breaking the rules of the universe.

    As living beings, we are capable of directed action. We can do things nothing else in this universe is capable of doing.

    When your mother says “leave it better than you found it,” she’s really telling you to prove that you’re alive. To leave a mark on the universe that is a scar against the natural order. To show defiance and spit in the face of chaos. She’s telling you to be a warrior.

    I knew there was a reason I enjoyed cleaning so much.

  • Always Move Forward

    A man I once knew moved across the country to start a new life. Things didn’t work out as well as he’d hoped, and after much heartache he decided to move back. He asked me my thoughts on such an action, and I made them clear:

    Always move forward. If you are running from your problems and escaping to the familiar, I cannot condone that. But if you are regrouping, gathering your strength, and traveling to familiar territory for your advantage in friends, family, and work, then by all means, move forward.

    Moving forward rather than running away means you get to face your problems and resolve them, rather than putting them in a the closet where they can fester and smell up the place. You move from your position to a position of strength, rather than to a position of weakness. And you can feel confident about your choices, instead of feeling guilty and shameful.

    Interestingly enough, many times the difference between moving forward and running away is your perspective. How you look at it.

    I recently heard of a talented friend who has decided to drop out of college and change careers. They’re very good at what they’re studying, but can’t find fulfillment in it. If they could learn to accept their skill instead of believe they don’t have talent, and if they could learn to manage stress, they would do just fine. But knowing the problem and actually being able to (or wanting to) solve it are two different beasts.

    Sometimes we do come across problems in life we simply cannot overcome immediately. Moving forward in these cases can involve a strategic retreat to a stronger position. Once we’re in a comfortable and stable position, without the stress and horror, we can then bandage our wounds, strengthen ourselves, and prepare to dive into the breach again.

    A withdrawl to gain strength is moving forward, as long as it’s viewed that way, and not as a retreat. Pushing forward against a wall when weakened will make you give, not the wall. Stepping back to get a running start can let you vault over it.

    And as before, the difference is all in how you perceive it. If you consider yourself a failure and a quitter, you’ll just feel sorry for yourself and fail to progress. If you realize you’re doing it for your benefit, there’s logical and good reasons, and you’re actively seeking happiness and good things for your life and others, then you will find those things.

    One thing’s for certain, though. If we’re not moving forward, then by elimination we’re stagnating or sliding backwards.

  • Organizing Friends

    This will be a somewhat INTJ post. For those not familiar with the term, it basically means I’m going to say things that make perfect logical sense, but will make certain people’s hair stand on end as they think, “that’s horrible, you’re putting people into little boxes and labeling them! You can’t do that!” If you find that happening, feel free to step away from the computer, have some tea, and forget you ever read this post.

    While talking with a friend, he mentioned I knew how to pick friends, and asked where he ranked. And I found myself looking for a grading criteria for my friends. Some friends are better than others. They’re more entertaining, more useful, more funny, etc. But it’s a complex web. Friend Alpha might be beautiful and intelligent, but have the social skills of a skunk. Friend Beta might be horrid to the eye, but extremely intelligent and funny. Putting them into the traditional “high score” list, with a clean numerical scaling, doesn’t work well.

    So I examined my friends. And when I say friends, I mean the people that have had a large influence in my life, or who I try to talk to regularly. The following does not include acquaintances, heroes, and the like. What I found is that I have four major categories that I care about concerning friendship with others. These categories are as follows.

    1. Pleasant Company.

    The first category is non-technical. It’s a very personal truth that usually doesn’t apply to others. Stated simply, it’s the answer to the question, “Do I like to be around this person?”

    This category covers the funny, attractive, and entertaining areas of a person.

    Some people who fit into this category are:

    • A friend who cuts to the heart of issues with a single sentence. He’s very abrasive at times, but the raw honesty is extremely refreshing. He’s also almost always right.
    • A friend who does not impress me with intellect, social skills, or even looks. But is a really nice guy, and fun to hang around.

    2. Collaborative.

    I very much enjoy working. I like to get things accomplished, create, and inspire. Many of my friends were chosen, or gain additional value to me, as we can work together to accomplish some goal or another, combining our skills.

    Some examples of this include:

    • An old high school friend who came over one weekend to play games. We ended up working on and finishing a big website project that weekend.
    • A college friend who saw an opportunity to enhance products they were selling at a convention by having me use some of my tools that were lying around.

    3. Educational.

    One of my most valuable categories is being able to learn something from a friend. Not everyone fits into this category, as teaching is its own skill. First you need to know something well enough to be able to explain it. Then you need to have the skill to explain it clearly.

    However, those that freely teach and share what they know have great value to me. An example of this is:

    • A friend who taught me a significant portion of social analysis skills, to understand people, how they work, and what their goals are.

    4. Teachable.

    Lastly, I noticed that I had a few friends whose greatest value didn’t fit into any of the other categories. People who I’ve given advice and ideas to, who I’ve been able to watch grow and progress, but don’t really give much back.

    Not that it’s a lopsided friendship. I love teaching. I had considered becoming a teacher of some sort when I was growing up. And watching someone take what you’ve taught them and become better for it is amazing in itself.

    The experiences of the teachable people are more theirs than mine to share. I just did some talking, they did the actions.


    This system is by no means complete, current, or accurate. It might change in five years, I might have overlooked something major, and these are all my categories. This was more of a spur of the moment pairing that made a lot of sense, based on my own tastes.

    If it makes a lot of sense to you, try picking a few categories of things you find most important in a person. What attributes of your friends have made you the most happy, or had the most difference in your life? If you’re aware of these, it may be a lot easier to find people whose company you’d enjoy.

  • Be Paranoid, But Not Too Paranoid

    When I was young, my mother would give me a lot of advice that was quite normal. Don’t talk to strangers, don’t wander off alone, etc. She also gave me advice that was a little more extreme, but could still be considered within the bounds of normal, such as not telling anyone how much money you make. I also picked up other things form her, such as worrying about what random people I don’t know might think of me if I do certain actions or say certain things.

    In short, I was raised to be paranoid.

    I want to be clear what paranoia is. Paranoia is an action. It inspires you to do things. Fear is the opposite emotion. Fear stops you from acting. If you’re fearful of a building, you don’t go into it. If you’re paranoid of a building, you don’t go into it without a bulletproof vest, rubber soled shoes, and informing your next of kin.

    I like to think of paranoia in the same terms as absolute zero. As far as science can tell, there is no (yet known) maximum temperature, but the minimum temperature is currently believed to be 0 Kelvin (about -460 Fahrenheit, and -270 Celcius). The same applies for paranoia, with carelessness on the absolute low end of the scale.

    The scale of paranoia looks like this to me:

    Extreme paranoia  <-----------|-----------o  Complete Carelessness

    The guy who goes to the store and leaves his engine running and the car door open is further to the right, near careless, and the guy who sets up The Club, takes out his stereo, locks the doors, and sets the car alarm is deeper in the side of paranoia.

    But while you can have an absolute lowest level of carelessness where you simply can’t take any less precautions, you cannot reach the upper maximum of paranoia. Just ask any paranoid network administrator whether he has enough backup copies of his data.

    As we can see in this example, a certain amount of caution is useful. Simply bringing the car keys with you makes it more difficult for someone to steal your car. Locking the door prevents them from being able to rummage through your car’s interior, and so on.

    However, we all know someone who takes it too far. There’s a reason the word “paranoid” is not a word with positive connotations.

    So how far is too far? The answer contains two parts.

    The first is society norms.

    If you’re out in the country, locking your car or even taking the keys with you is probably not a major concern. You may even be mocked (politely) for being paranoid if you lock your car while visiting a country relative.

    However, parking in Seattle is well known and documented as not being as safe. You’re encouraged to lock your car, and put any valuables in the trunk. (People are less likely to break into a car if they can’t see the valuables.)

    The second is risk assessment.

    If you’re out in the country and know that there’s still a slight chance, however small, that someone could steal your car, you may still lock it despite friendly mocking.

    But if you’re in a big city and your car is dirty and damaged, and you’re only going into a store for five minutes, you may not even bother locking it.

    So, in the end, how much paranoia is too much, and how much is just being cautious?

    Let’s talk about hoarding real quick. If you’ve seen the television show Hoarders, you’re familiar with some of the crazy things that people can stockpile. But what’s the difference between a collector and a hoarder? Someone may have thousands of coins or stamps or soda bottles, but still be a collector and not a hoarder.

    I believe the difference is organization. If your collection does not affect your daily life, you’re a collector. If it does, you’re hoarding. Affecting your daily life means that you need to walk around or over things, you’re unable to access floors and counters and tables, etc.

    The same principle of disrupting your daily life applies to paranoia. If you can push one button and immediately have 15 offsite backups of your data, that’s simply being cautious. Very, very cautious. However, if you spend hours every week burning DVDs and mailing them to a dozen safety deposit boxes across the globe, that’s paranoia.

    So remember kids: Spend enough time to keep yourself safe from things that can hurt you, but don’t waste your life trying to protect yourself from things you don’t even know will happen. Sometimes it’s better to pick up the broken pieces once every couple years than it is to spend an hour every day preventing it from being broken.

  • Site Upgraded to WordPress

    I’ve been wanting add a number of features to the blog for some time. From adding comments, to properly linking to and from other blogs, RSS feed, etc. WordPress is a famous pieces of blog software that lets me host it on my own servers, and still interact well with others.

    All of the old posts from my custom brewed blog software have been converted into WordPress, and are available in the archives. I’ve repaired some of the old links that I noticed, but some of them are broken beyond repair — sites or things they refer to simply don’t exist anymore.

    There is a list of things I would like to blog about. Various topics, philosophical or otherwise interesting to me, and I hope to eventually get to all of them.

    The look and layout of the site may change at various points in the near future while I find an arrangement of things I’m happy with and that is comfortable to work with.

  • Pointy Sticks and Paul Graham

    I purchased a new domain name. A friend recommended it, it was available, and I’ve been needing one for a while.


    Currently, it’s housing a make-shift portfolio. I’ve applied for an internship at Virtrium for my senior year at college. You may remember Virtrium as they released a press release that had my name on it. Don’t know if I’ll get the internship or not, but everything I’ve seen of them shows they’re really great people. So it would be awesome to get it.

    At some point in the future, I will make skaarj.com redirect to pointystick.org and ask people to update their bookmarks. Maybe around Christmas, maybe later. The redirect will likely last a significant amount of time, after which I will repurpose skaarj.com with a more appropriate thing than my personal blog and etc.

    Also, I recently learned of this Paul Graham guy. I’m sure he’s someone famous, as it certainly seems that’s the case, but I’ve only just recently been made aware he exists when Soft Linden twittered about him. He does something like I do — taking established conventions, realizing something’s horribly wrong, and puts forth the truth of the matter — except whereas I write something like bad poetry, he writes stuff like Mark Twain. Definitely worth giving some of his essays a read.


    I’ve only read a couple, but How to Do What You Love caught my eye, and speaks things on the subject I’ve been telling people for years, and other things I hadn’t even thought of.

    (On another note, Alex’s Soapbox on The Daily WTF has some very insightful things in the same vein as “why hasn’t anyone else figured this out already?” style of thought.)

  • How To Make Goals Work For You

    I’ve recently come across a Truth which has had a rather large impact on my life. The pieces for it have been in my life for a while, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that they’ve clicked. And the more time moves on, the more it becomes a central part of my life.

    Prelude Parts
    So when I was young, and I’d do stupid things, or things my parents didn’t understand, and my mom would explain to me that nothing happens without a reason. I’ve found that to be true. There are some situations where the reason isn’t immediately obvious or is otherwise unknown, but there’s always a reason. Science dedicates itself to finding out reasons. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to specifically talk about people’s actions and the reasons for them.

    Another piece of the puzzle is one of those business-speak paradigms. I hate those business “paradigms.” That’s an entirely different blog post, though. Anyway, one of those things businesses always talk about is creating goals. Which is another piece of the puzzle.

    The last piece is a cardboard box I saw. That comes later.

    An Example
    So those two pieces: a reason for everything, and having goals. Let me start with an example.

    Jane sees Sue enjoying some ice cream. Jane tells Sue that she’s going to get fat if she keeps eating ice cream.

    Very simple. At least the surface is. Let’s take a look under the hood and see what’s really going on.

    Two things have happened in the example:
    1) Sue is eating ice cream.
    2) Jane is telling Sue she is going to get fat.

    Here’s the key to it. Sue is not just eating ice cream. She’s working towards a goal. And Jane is not just talking to Sue. Jane is also working towards a goal. The common misunderstanding is that people’s actions are exactly what you see, and that’s almost never the case.

    What is Sue’s goal? When I eat ice cream, I usually have a few reasons that bring me to that action.
    a) I love how it tastes and want to experience that sensation.
    b) It’s really hot out and I want to cool down, but sucking on ice cubes isn’t near as fun.
    c) I’m bitter and angry and want to enjoy something.

    These are goals. Ice cream is a means to an end. Ice cream is not the only solution for any of the above goals. Each of those goals above could have various other solutions.

    Sue may have similar goals for eating ice cream. If you know Sue well enough, you may be able to see behind the action and into her reasons. Unfortunately, I just made Sue up on the spot, and know nothing about her. Some friend I am.

    Now how about Jane? Nagging on poor little Sue, right? Maybe not. The reason behind spoken words is a lot harder than actions. The actions can just have a shadow goal behind them. Words imply their own shadow goal because they have meaning in themselves. However, speaking words is just like any other action. The goal may be totally unrelated to the words spoken.

    Once again, I’ll example my own reasons for saying something like this.
    a) Reminding someone else of something helps me remember it. I may nag someone about getting fat because I’m worried about my own weight.
    b) I may be doing them a favor. Reminding them about their diet they’ve told me about.
    c) If I’m not paying attention, I may apply stereotypes or generalizations to someone. Thus, all women are worried about their weight, see last reason.

    So what’s Jane’s reason? If you know her, or witness the exchange with some general knowledge of social behavior, you may be able to formulate your own guesses as to the goals behind the actions.

    And that’s the point behind the example: Every action someone takes has at least one goal behind it.

    The Usefulness
    So now you know that everyone’s actions have a goal or two behind them. Why do you care?

    Ever been offended by a friend? Maybe his goal was innocent, and he just didn’t word it properly. I know I have a problem with failing to word my goals clearly.

    Ever found yourself behaving oddly? Acting to impress someone? What possessed you to behave like that? It’s actually pretty easy to find out what your own goals for things are with a little introspection.

    This is useful because it makes your life easier. It prevents misunderstandings. It helps you understand yourself and communicate more clearly. It lets you see through people’s lies, or their poorly worded sentences, to the true meaning behind what they’re saying.

    And if you’re on the other side of the coin, it lets you know people can be keeping an eye out for goals. By picking your actions based on false goals you think they would want to see, you can disguise your true intent better. But I didn’t say that.

    Goal Based Planning
    So let’s take this concept and put it into application.

    One of my biggest beefs with massively-multiplayer online games (MMOGs) is that they’re all the same. There’s a few that are slightly different, and a few that have creative ideas or small unique features, but barring a few outliers everything is pretty much the same. And to me, that really kills the fun because I’ve already played “that game.” Sure, a new story would be nice, but the story never comes fast enough to be interesting. There’s too much “game” which I’ve already experienced.

    So let me take a detour real quick and return to that cardboard box I mentioning at the beginning. It’s a small one. It held candy bars or something. My mom had taken the last bar, and I was in the way of the recyclables, so she asked me to fold it up and toss it in with the rest of the cardboard. As I started folding it up, I realized it was a very different style of cardboard box. I turned it over in my hands, looking at it, and realized why. They had built it in such a way that the top easily popped off so you could access the candy bars, even if they’d fallen sideways along the bottom when there was just a few left. By doing that, they had to redesign the rest of the box so it could still hold its shape properly.

    What that company did is look at their goal: We need a box that lets people access the contents. And they designed it from the ground up to meet their goal. I’m sure they had a few other goals, like reasonably cheap to print and make, is about yea big, and doesn’t make people sue us.

    Looking at that cardboard box, I saw a company that could have just done what everyone else had done, but instead figured out what their goal was and worked towards that.

    Looking at MMOGs, I see company after company that builds the same “cardboard box.” I’m sure the reason is fairly simple. They picked their goals differently than I would. Maybe they just wanted money, and so they design the game to be like all the other games out there that make money. Maybe they just wanted to focus on telling their unique story, so they just used a cardboard box like everyone else used and painted it differently. Or, it’s possible the companies themselves don’t know what their main goal was and they were just having fun.

    In some situations, the goal is speed. Doing what you know “already works” is a great shortcut in that situation. But when you’ve got the time, or the item is important enough, just churning out what already exists because it worked for someone else is a poor substitute. Figure out what your goal is and work towards that.


    • Anything someone says or does has a goal behind it, which may not match what they’re doing through either poor skills or intentional misdirection. By analyzing their behavior, you can plot a path to their goal and find their true intentions.
    • Beginning anything by listing out the ultimate goal, and then the lesser goals, you can create something worthwhile. Instead of just another cardboard box.


  • Moral Ladders

    Let’s start with some hearsay (as opposed to heresy). Back in Biblical times, near the coming of Christ, the Jews had it all figured out. They had run through the Bible, found every possible sin, and prioritized them. Well, organized them. So they had a nice ordered list about how severe each sin was, top to bottom.

    As a side note, in Matthew 22:26, when the lawyer asks Christ what the greatest commandment was, he could have been referring to this “list” and simply testing Christ’s knowledge of the system. True to Christ’s form, he acted instead of reacted, taking control of the situation. But that’s another topic.

    So right, Jews had this nice ordered list of sins. This is a natural inclination people have. Is forgetting to brush your teeth worse than murdering some random stranger on the street? Is murdering a random stranger on the street worse than murdering a close family member?

    I propose that we all have our own personal order of “sins,” from worst to not-so-bad. I say sins so I don’t have to refer to them as something like “no-nos.” Substitute whatever word you want. Most of us agree on some of the larger landmarks: lying, theft, adultery, murder.

    But not everything lines up evenly. For those sexual purists among us, you may find that a sin like fornication slides along the scale for different people. They may be horribly adverse to lying, but see no problem with sex outside of wedlock.

    So this is the concept of a moral ladder. Everyone has one, however solidified and pre-decided, or wishy-washy and waffling with the situation.

    Let me touch on exceptions. If someone holds a gun to your head and threatens you with death, would you lie to save your life? Would you steal? Would you kill someone else? What if they deserved to be killed? What if they wanted to die? Generally, the higher up on the ladder something is, the more extreme an exception must be for the rung to be stepped on.

    Now here’s the problem I had that let me figure all this out.

    I have friends and relatives that do or did consider themselves gay. But when I associated with them, it felt awkward and uncomfortable. And I couldn’t figure out why. Normally, my associations with them weren’t enough to force me to deal with the issue, but it eventually reached the point where I needed to figure out why. With a little logic and introspection, I realized I was uncomfortable because I felt like they were obsessed with sex.

    Wait, what? Nothing in their behavior indicates something like this. Some of them are quite religious and have the same opinions regarding sexual behavior as I do. Where in the world did such an opinion come from?

    If you recall, a while back I talked about Truth. And how people have a tendency to apply their personal truth on a social or universal level, which is a big cause of offending people. Turns out — I was doing just that with my moral ladder. Wanton sexual activity is below the homosexual behavior rung on my ladder, and I was unconsciously applying my personal truth as a social/universal truth. It really had no business being there.

    Once I realized this consciously, it stopped being a problem, and things are just dandy.

  • End Fall 2008 Semester

    The first half of my junior year at DigiPen has ended. It was a really rough road, and I think reflecting back on it has helped me notice some interesting things about myself and about what I consider to be some “universal truths” I’ve heard. I’d like to outline what happened, wax poetic about it, and then explain some principles that may help others organize and maintain their own lives.

    So the first mistake I did was a lesson I’d already learned, but didn’t properly plan to avoid. I did plan to avoid it, it just wasn’t properly planned to be avoided.

    The lesson was that I can’t handle outside projects and go to college at the same time. At least not DigiPen. So when I was planning the schedule for the dragons I made in Second Life, I planned to be able to finish during the summer, a month before school started.

    Well, two months into the semester, I finished the project. It was actually only two months behind schedule, since I’d spend the first month of summer doing some work on Booster Logic. All in all, not very well executed on my part.

    Before I talk about the aftereffects of splitting my time between school and a project, I’d like to mention three things. One, how I tend to handle projects before me. Two, the “worker’s guilt” I grew up with. Three, the concept of three (or four) elements of the body and maintaining a balance between them, which you may consider a universal truth if you want to play with the idea and test it yourself.

    So first, when I approach a project I approach it single-mindedly. Eating, sleeping, whatever else — it gets in the way. Naturally this doesn’t work very well on long-term projects. Fortunately, I can dial my obsession back a bit and make it a “normal job” thing and spend a few hours each day relaxing (read: gaming) and sleeping, so I can preform the job better from a rested state. That tends to work well.

    Second, due to religion and other factors, I was taught to accept tasks, my own or otherwise, if I “could” do them. Working and staying busy is a good thing. However, when is the point where you can’t do more? To find your limit, just do as much as you can, and see when you can’t do more. Until now, I’d never found my limit. I was always capable of more.

    Third, I’ve heard say that the body has four… let’s call them reserves. Four reserves. They are: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. If you’re not religious, just lump spiritual into emotional. It’s important to maintain a balance between these. If we’re making it a game with little health bars, let’s say when the a reserve bottoms out, you can still preform activities that drain that reserve, but it drains all the other reserves twice as fast as it would the original.

    So here’s what happened. Those two months of doing this project and school drained my physically (no sleep), and mentally (full power to school and this project). My emotional and spiritual reserve then bottomed out, and I broke. For the first time in my life, I simply could not. I was bedridden for a week. The week after that I was useless.

    When I made it back to school, I was limping in everything. I could hardly focus or motivate myself on school tasks, let alone anything else. I’d “crashed” before, but never this far, this hard. For the first time in my life, when faced with the option of more tasks, I simply could not. I was barely able to do what I was already obligated to do.

    I’ve decided to take winter break off rather than try to do some kind of work. My reserves are totally shot, and hopefully I can bring them back up by having a real vacation.

    The whole situation is actually really scary, and hopefully something I’ve pulled a lot of lessons away from so I don’t make a mistake like that again.

  • Wording Things

    So I was talking with a friend a long while back, and we agreed on a very interesting twist on how people normally communicate. It comes down to my beloved principle of reevaluating situations based on goals, rather than common practices, which I need to explain some day because it’s awesome and will change your life for the better.

    Anyway, one of my goals in life is to become better. Doesn’t matter with what, I wanna become better. A great way to do this is to be given knowledge by other people. And boy, do people love to tell you how to do things.

    So when someone comes up to me and tells me how to do something, and I already know it, what do I say? Well, if you’re like me and the rest of the world, you’ll probably say, “I know.” And maybe throw in a thanks in there.

    Here’s a trick. Drop the “I know.” Just say thank you. Gratefully. And give ’em a smile. They were trying to help, after all, and the goal is to drain as much of their knowledge as possible, right?

    If you go around telling people that you already know things, or you’re ungrateful, they’ll probably stop telling you things. Even an idiot can spout a gem now and then, or (also awesome) come up with an unconventional solution. It pays to be polite and grateful, and drop the “I know” part.

    Another fun thing is in how you ask someone if they need help. If they’re working on something you really want done, you can word the question “How can I help?” That way, you don’t let them off with a yes or no. They have to actually think of what you can do before dismissing it. Of course, if you just want to get out of it, you can ask “Is there anything I can do to help?” Generally, if they’re busy, it’s easier to just say no and keep focusing. But if they really do need help, then they’ll be able to quickly pick something out.

    Of course, it’s not foolproof if you’re trying to get out of work. But my goal was to help, not to escape, when I came up with it.

    Words can be really powerful if you use them in the right combinations.