Reality, Religion and Freedom

Aug 31, 2006 at 12:45 PM
As Richard Feynman famously said in the wake of the Challenger tragedy:

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.


This is why any one of us must take everything the media says with a good dose of salt.

We live in reality, like it or not, and in our current world, there are those who have fallen into the trap of religious superiority.

The belief that your own religion is the only true religion, and therefore you are the only true people is back. Religious fervor is highly dangerous. It engenders, often enough, the secure knowledge that deaths of non-believers in your one true religion are all right, perfectly reasonable in light of your divine mission.

In ancient times, the aggressive nature and willingness to murder women and children and kill in cruel and unusual ways was called barbarism. Barbarism is back. History is repeating itself, and I find the world yet again to be fast becoming an unsavory place to be a free thinker.

War does not quell religious fervor, it never has. The only thing that has ever quelled the urge to smite all infidels has been the urge to instead live peacefully beside them, because there is something good to be gained from the relationship. The children of those who are blinded in their urge to gain access to infinite glory will hopefully return to reality, to recognize the insanity of it and settle for a peaceful accord that allows both sides the freedom to do as they please for the benefit of all.

Attempts to smother another religion in any way are sure routes to both sides of that conflict losing all freedoms, either in the retribution for wrongs or the attempts to shut out danger. You cannot destroy your religious enemy to make them go away. You can only find ways to live together in peace. This is why war is not the answer to the current conflict.

I would like to remind everyone of this excerpt from point #18 of the common sense guide to living, The Way to Happiness, called Respect the Religious Beliefs of Others:

If all the brightest minds since the fifth century B.C. or before have never been able to agree on the subject of religion or antireligion, it is an arena of combat between people that one would do well to stay out of.


Hear, hear.

Offensive Media Bashing - Is there an Upside?

Aug 30, 2006 at 1:56 PM
I take exception at hearing my religion getting bashed.

I am a Scientologist. Just saying this can give you a pre-decided concept of what and who I am, a pre-judgement. That is commonly known as prejudice.
There seems to be an increase in anti-Scientology jokes and innuendo, such as NPR's "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me" poking fun at Tom Cruise' "Scientological ways", calling them "crazy". Or the bashing and lies that occur in the dark moldy underbelly of the web (either grossly malicious or, optimistically, having nothing better to do than poke sharp sticks at things unknown).

But I have been thinking about the fact that name recognition for Scientology must be WAY up. I haven't had anyone ask me "What's that?" in ages, when I mentioned my religion. I kind of get the idea that there isn't anyone out there anymore who has not heard of it. The average Joe also is NOT reacting badly to my being a Scientologist. I generally get positive responses, even from strangers.

I think that all this Scientology-bashing is aimed at weakening the church, but that's just not possible. Completely impossible, because Scientology is factually as amazingly workable as it says it is. Anyone who goes straight to the horse's mouth to find out what's up, who honestly wishes to improve themselves is gonna like what they see. Period, end of story. Any decent, sane person who has ever felt the benifit of a Scientology service knows full well that it works and is a force for good in the world.

So, since all of this attention can't weaken the church, it follows that it will eventually strengthen it.

---------------

For some reason, it is okay with some people for the media to bash just Scientology as a religion (but, of course, not their own religion). This is an abuse of the fact that Americans are feeling religious fellowship strain at present. In light of recent world events, it seems that some people are less comfortable with our patchwork religious landscape. Because laughter is used to release strain, there is some comic abuse of that fact occuring - and I'm seeing a general rise in religious jokes that would have been utterly taboo just a few years ago.

This will change back once people get sick of the "us versus them" mentality. I think that people who are currently getting an earful of Scientology religion-bashing jokes are gonna get sick of it sometime soon. There is only so long that the media will be able to get away with slapping Scientologists in the face before even the guy who was looking the other way is gonna step in and say enough is enough. It's gauche, petty, hypocritical, malicious, bigoted and trite (and a hundred other things).

Eventually, that will become obvious to anyone other than the kind of people who wear white sheets on their neighbor's lawns.

People are naturally curious. So, the bashing will backfire and this campaign of hatred will eventually result in more people coming in the doors of their local church of Scientology to find out what all the ruckus is about.

At least that's what I think.

I Agree ...

Aug 29, 2006 at 9:47 PM
with this Scientology theology post From MT in Canada.

I'm a music writing machine!

at 6:40 PM
Something shifted in my universe and I have been writing new music now for that last few weeks at an average of 1 piece a day.

Those of you who've called me in the last few days have been held hostage - forced to listen to whichever new piece of music I'm writing when you call. So far rave reviews, but it's all from family and friends. It'd be interesting to see what the general population thinks of them.

I've got a few good themes, some completed pieces and several songs.

I am very excited about this, because I had "musician's block" for a few years there.

Now it's time to write this new batch down.

I hate writing out sheet music, because my music writing is akin to a 6 year old's cursive. It takes a great deal of work to get the piece playable by anyone but me, with numerous scratched drafts.

Does anyone know of a good non-midi based program I can buy to write sheet music in? A WYSIWYG editor that lets me build sheet music on my computer. I have no interest in something that requires connecting my computer to my keyboard -- standalone software please.

Interesting blog post

Aug 26, 2006 at 2:45 PM
I read this at the Huffington Post. It was a nice statement of my initial gut reaction to the news yesterday about Tom Cruise's non-renewal of contract.

What happened with a non-renewal of contract is virtually unheard of. It shows the power that a large number of small lies can weild in the hands of trusted authority like our media.

My guess is that it was entirely about stock. Which means that Tom was planning a break from Paramount and Paramount decided to strike first. "To hell with decency" when their stock is in jeopardy.

That is the only theory that makes complete sense in light of the obvious facts.

But what do facts matter to the media? I have never seen them take any fact and display it accurately. Everything has a "spin" - which I define as turning facts and reality into propaganda for the purposes of selling something or creating public opinion where it would not otherwise exist.

I remember a very uncomfortable movie that I saw once. It was called "Roger Dodger". The only memorable line in it what when Roger told someone he had to get back to work to "make people hate themselves" and that selling was a process of making people hate themselves enough to buy BLAH product to solve it.

Sounds about right, that sounds about like what the media does.

The motto would appear to be:

NEED US OR SUFFER


They are sure making Tom suffer now, aren't they? Tom decided he didn't need PR help, and the media grabbed on to that. They take every step Tom takes, freeze-frame it in telephoto glory and make it look like a blunder. Whether it is or not, doesn't matter. It LOOKS like one. The average Joe sees the newspaper editorials and smear pieces and thinks "Criminy! What is that guy doing?". Well, that's just what happens when you fly into the teeth of convention.

When it works out in your favor, it's called PR. If you're an individual and the media likes you, they call you
"brave", "a trailblazer", "a forward thinker"

When it doesn't they call you
"arrogant", "out on a limb", "bizarre"

Same thing from different angles, aren't they? That's called SPIN.

The media -- and apparently Paramount -- seems to be thinking that Tom Cruise has jumped the shark. I think it's more like the sharks are jumping him.

What is happening to Tom Cruise right now cannot be seen as anything but a black PR campaign where everything that happens is played purposefully to get the most negative SPIN possible on it. What that means is that none of us really know what's happening. Only Tom and Kate do. As far as I'm concerned, that's where that one sits for now, and I'm not believing anything that Tom doesn't say for himself.

Damaged Odalisque

Aug 24, 2006 at 4:17 PM

This odalisque had to be reconstructed a bit because it actually was seriously water damaged in the last hurricane I went through (honestly, I can't even remember the name they gave it, I've been through so many now). It got all kinds of water spots and what appears to be watercolor paint spots.

Blame the damage on my then-roommate, Rick. He put the box with my artwork in it in the garage shortly before the storm. I would have been perfectly happy to continue to live with cardboard boxes as a livingroom.

In any case, I live on the hurricane-free coast now. And I learned my lesson. I keep all of my artwork worth keeping in a nice closed artists case. It's water-resistant.

Paintings too big to go in there I wrap in wax paper and then plastic wrap. I don't know for sure why. If it doesn't keep them supple, at least it'll keep freezer burn away.

My First Oil Painting

Aug 23, 2006 at 7:36 PM

Hi -

I give away most of my paintings, especially the ones I like. This oil painting is posted here for your viewing pleasure. I am unhappy with most of it except the candle holder and the wax block (which I have enlarged below).


It was one of my first oil paintings (if not my very first) - at least ten years old.












So, here you go. I have every doubt about posting this, because I want to make a million excuses, and say how I want to change it or do this that or the other thing differently, but that's just silly.



One thing I must say is that even with improved technique since then, I still need work on perspective. I am looking for a good simple explanation of it that actually is readily applicable to painting. I don't want photo-realistic perspective, but painting perspective. It is a little different, and I want a textbook that understands that. Any advice?

Where's the beef?

at 7:25 PM

Del.icio.us seems to be offline.

I wonder what gives?

Announcement

Aug 22, 2006 at 10:43 PM
I'm an auntie!

My step-sister delivered a beautiful red-headed 8 pound 13 ounce boy this morning. Everyone is doing really well.

They decided to know the sex early, so his name has been Cove for a month already. His room is ready and decorated for a boy. I can't wait to go visit him.

I made him a baby blankie, which was sent up with my step-mom and dad.

My sister Liz had a completely natural birth, and the first time parents both did a bang-up job with delivery and with support, I'm told.

My Dad and Marie will both be there for a little bit. Please, if you know Elizabeth, please send congratulations or flowers to her in Portland! Contact me directly if you want contact details.

Solved it Already

at 1:03 AM
Hey! I had a real whopper of a problem I could have ranted and raved about, but it's gone before I can post about it.

Well, I solved a problem the way I have my whole life: with solutions.

As a Scientologist, the solutions to every problem are clearly laid out before me, and they never fail, because they are scientific fact - situation "A" solves with solution "B". Period. End of story.

So, when my own life develops a problem, I can't sit and stew in it. Unlike those of you who do not have a workable technology for solving problems at your fingertips, indexed and ready to be implemented, or those of you who were not born into the most workable technology for living ever devised, I don't have any right to revel in the exquisite pain of being the victim of some supposed wrong.

For instance, if a fire starts and you're the person standing next to the big red fire alarm lever, you're the one who's supposed to pull it. I am always the person standing next to the lever, because I am a Scientologist.

I already know what the solution is, so I just have to get myself to take the responsiblity necessary to implement the solution to that problem and it solves.

This ROCKS because there is no problem you can't solve if you implement. Scientology is CHOCK full of solutions to problems, and they work every time.

Some people I meet think that's a fanatical statement, but it's not. It's provable fact. It ALWAYS works. IS it fanatical for the mathematician to state that the solution to x = 3 + 1 is a;lways going to be 4? No. Why? Because Math is understood to be a workable science. Every time anyone ever has done the steps necessary to solve that problem, it has come out to 4.

That's what it's like to be a Scientologist.

Being raised as a Scientologist means you're never left with thinking the only solution to a problem is drugs or running away or flying off the handle. You know what needs doing. Because you're raised with a firm belief in many lifetimes and in responsibility and consequences, there really is never any point in considering suicide. Because you're raised with strong morals, it's impossible to be amoral enough to become a criminal.

So, I was a boring teenager. Which is fine with me.

When I grew up, my parents left it to me to choose what I wanted to be. So, at about 18, I started to dig in to finding out about other religions. I read the Bible, the Torah, snippets that I could find from Kaballah, and pieces of the Koran. I looked into yoga, into the mysticism surrounding martial arts, and then I read the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Tao, the Art of War, and everything that the Jehovah's Witnesses handed me.

None of that seemed right. I was used to a straightforward guide to living successfully - which is what Scientology is. None of that other stuff WORKED for me, gave me real-life ways to work to be a better person and the means to do so.

So, on my own, and for myself, I chose Scientology. And I have had a better life for it,

Now, back to the point. A problem between myself and a few old friends (one I grew up with, and one I used to be involved with - now married). We were having a bit of trouble communicating to one another. I knew what the solution was in this case, and made myself swallow my justifications for failing and just implemented the solution that I knew needed to be done. It was hard to be responsible, to put myself out there. I implemented the solution (which was the communicating to the friends in question of a particular withheld communication I had been avoiding talking about, about things I had done that were not the best).

Well - long story short, I no longer have my big, noisy problem.

My relationship with those people is back to the comfort of being problemless. And I like it that way.

It makes my blog post today nice and boring, but it makes my life happier and my goals more readily available. And that's the point, isn't it?

Vacuum Powered Art

Aug 20, 2006 at 7:19 PM
I decided that if I could own the collected works of only one actor - from start to finish - it would be Bruce Willis. Three of my favorite movies have him in them. He is thoroughly undervalued as a dramatic actor. Bruce knows how to underact. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I think Bruce Willis gets short shrift being thought of as primarily an "action" guy. The reason he succeeds at action is because he uses non-action well. He knows the power of the pregnant pause.

Some call it the calm before the storm, but it is often the calm during the storm, too. In music, it's called a rest. In painting, it creates atmosphere.

Supposedly, a scientific study was once done on the different between Beethoven and his contemporaries. The study was to discover what about the music made Beethoven so much more memorable, so much more impactive that his music still remains amongst the most played in the world. And the computer that was given the job of comparison came back with that the difference was the use of silence.

Beethoven knew when to place a dramatic pause, knew when nothing was more powerful than something. It gives the audience the time to react, to absorb and acknowledge something. To allow for the communication to become a communication cycle, allows the music to become as much a the audience's as it is the composers' or the performers'.

Another person who bravely worked new ground in using emptiness to punctuate a communication was Rembrandt. Look at this portrait. You have to enter it to find it's value. You can tell the coat's texture, the weight of the lace in his collar. You can tell he isn't completely pulled together. You have to peer into the places where it appears to me mostly just shadow. When you do, you don't see perfect detail. You do see everything Rembrandt wanted to communicate about himself. He was 23, and his whole life is in his eyes, which themselves are buried in the shadows of the painting. You can tell his lips are parted, but the details, the focal points of his communication are barely painted in. I feel like he's about to do something, and it makes me want to know what that is. I want to communicate to the person in this portrait.

And for that, I think his portraits are amongst the most powerful examples of understatement in the known history of art. This portrait is early, before he was a famous master painter. This self portrait elicits a reaction from me.

That is the goal of my art: to get my communication, my emotion, to be completely understood so that a reaction occurs at the other end. To take a breath - make use of the lack, the silence, the rest - the power of the vacuum - in addition to the form, the swirling and colorful, the forte.

The rest is a powerful part of why the remainder of the artwork impinges. It is the moment when the flow reverses to some degree. Beethoven knew it, Rembrandt knew it.

And for it, society recognized something powerful enough to cause their art to be the most remembered of their entire time period.

And every great actor has to live it to some degree.

The best paid actors out there. Think back to the moment you remember best. For me, they are the powerful moments of silence, pregnant pauses.

The vacuum.

Schrodinger's Cats as a movie

at 4:00 PM
I saw a preview for a movie that takes the premise that we will start to be incapable of bearing children shortly to a whole new level.

I think it was called the human project.

I liked the concept but I think it will fall on its face and become nothing more than an action chase/escape style movie. That happens so often in great Sci-Fi stories.

Dolphin Bubble Ring Toys

Aug 19, 2006 at 1:20 PM

Dolphins make their own toys.

Scientific paper here, picture here and movie here.

Instructions for how to make your own dolphiny fun.

Only Good Thing to Come Out of Russian Military Experimentation

at 12:47 AM
This musical instrument is the most difficult musical instrument to learn, apparently. And it was invented by a physicist doing research into perimiter defense systems by the name of Lev Sergeivich Termen - after whom it is named.

I had never heard of it before.

Here's a link to a video of someone playing the Theremin.

The Theremin is pronounced kinda like Teremeen and is supposedly the most difficult musical instrument in the world to play. But I'd bet the reason it hasn't taken off is that it was invented in a communist nation, which is not known for it's free thinking freewheeling experimental musicians.

I'd bet people who've mastered the saw would disagree about whether the Theremin is actually hardest to play. Who decides that shite anyway? "The HARDEST musical instrument in the world to play."

Says who? Tell that to a seven year old boy being MADE to learn the clarinet. He'd probably love to switch to the Theremin. No silly buttons, valves, reeds. Just his hands and a weird haunted house noise from his viewpoint.

The BEST or the WORST is as impossible to define (outside of the clarity of the physical sciences) as perfection - think nirvana/utopia/shangrila. What are they but concepts? Somebody would be sorely disappointed no matter how hard you tried to make a utopia. Me for instance. America's current idea of utopia is extremely tightly controlled by government. I for one say NO THANK YOU.

Learn from history: No Earthly government has EVER created a perfect society. Hitler tried, look where that got him. Look where it got the commies. All the good it ever got them was the Theremin, for pete's sake.

"Group think" creates the lowest expectation for the highest possible price. That ain't gonna start magically making utopia happen.

I think the difference between best or worst is summed up with wit and panache by a Halloween episode of The Simpsons (yes I said The Simpsons) where Homer goes to Hell but the hell he arrives to is where people are force fed donuts endlessly, unrelentingly endlessly having donuts crammed into already full mouths. Whereas others are in agony, Homer's in heaven.

So, anyway, back to the Theremin. Now that Russia's been a democracy for a while, is this instrument of non-war gonna take off?

Smarty Pants

Aug 18, 2006 at 1:00 PM
This kid is unbelievable.

Mr Boole's final wish

at 3:27 AM
Everyone should know this.

Drug-Suicide Link in Children Confirmed by Study

Aug 17, 2006 at 7:06 PM
Everyone who has eyes and has spent time in the public school system can see that psychiatric drugs have an adverse effect upon children.

Here's a study that confirms the psych drug-suicide link.

The Oregonian reported it on the inside of the back page (how much more hidden can you get?). And it left the words "Psychiatric" or "Prescription" out, so the casual reader will think "well, duh" thinking the article is talking about street drugs.

Obviously crafted to HIDE this fact from us?

What motive does the Organized media have for making as little of this news as possible? Well, how about the fact that I counted seven (7) ads within that copy of the Oregonian for those prescription drug companies that the study "outs" as evil -- and I wasn't even looking very hard.

Is there anything more evil than harming children?

Yes. Knowing about it and not making a big huge stink about it.

Shame on the media outlets who hid this important news from us, for selling their integrity to the highest bidder.

Baby steps

at 6:05 PM
I met a friendly face while I was waiting to fill my tires at the gas station today. He had great big honest looking eyes. I'm a pushover for brown hair and big blue eyes. I already know that that's what I have, so don't give me the freudian analysis on that, OK?

He made eye contact for a while and then asked me what I was "after" instead of saying "how are you". I recognized the unmistakable signs of flirting, and my knee-jerk response is usually to cut the guy off right there.

BUT I recently made a resolution to learn how to react to flirting (like something other than a married woman - cause I'm not anymore). So, I flirted back for the first time in ten years. Turns out I was rewarded by getting a heartstopper smile back.

I doubt I'll ever see that particular heartbreaker again, but it's a start in the right direction, I think.

Solar System Changes

Aug 16, 2006 at 8:31 PM

Due to a meeting of the members of the International Astronomical Union, our solar system is being upsized. The previous planetary crew of 10 may be raised to 12. To fill the newly opened positions, moons are being promoted from within to full planetary status. Further expansion is expected to occur over the upcoming millenia, but we also forecast a bit of a cooling period for the solar system as a whole.

Hmm. OK, I beat the Wall Street joke to death.

Here is an awesome tool to get close up views of the "planets" - all twelve of them.

It's stupid to call a moon a planet. An asteroid is an asteroid, and a moon is a moon. If you want to make "space news", how about letting us in on some of the capabilities of those secret "star wars" satellites. I think they sound cool, and I don't see why we shouldn't all know how kickass our capability is.

Never use uHaul

at 10:57 AM
Here's my advice: Avoid uHaul like the plague.

uHaul rented me a trailer with a broken axle and then refused to fix my car when the broken trailer caused so much strain on my vehicle that it broke.

I wasn't more than three hours into a cross country trip when the tranmission broke under the strain. The uHaul left me stranded on the side of the road for two days after they found out about the problem while they had me in endless customer support limbo. I spent TWO DAYS on the side of the road in florida summer heat, with my children and my dog in the car with me. And UHaul KNEW that.

I spent the entire time on the phone trying to get through to uHaul and get a replacement travel method. They eventually sent me across the state by tow truck (for which I paid $150 bucks in tow costs) in order to get a free 14 foot truck to use instead (because my car was broken) from a guy who was so pissed off about having to give away a free truck that he purposefully screwed me out of the insurance capability.

Their angry rep weighed the trailer with everything else that had not been in the trailer included -- This means that he weighed the contents of my trailer along with luggage (from four people seven days) plus a fifty pound bag of dog food and a big cooler of people food, the car top carrier rack, and everything that had been in my car to keep kids happy for a WEEK on the road. All of this was included in the weight he used because he loaded the contents of our car into the new uhaul BEFORE he weighed it all (he never weighed the trailer as he was legally required to do).

So we went over the weight limit of the trailer, although the trailer had been holding FAR less than he wrote down as the weight. He did this on purpose, because he was mad about having to come in to give away one of his trucks on a holiday weekend.

He even yelled at me and then ignored questions I asked him directly. This is after getting heatstroke and a sunburn bad enough to make my SCALP peel by being left on the roadside for two days.

His wife was peeved at him for what he did, I remember. She apologized. I didn't realize at the time that he was purposefully effing me over on the weight limit thing.

Because I pissed off the rental guy merely by existing, and my weight was hiked way up, Uhaul refused to fix my car. Despite that their AXLE WAS BROKEN, they denied my insurance claim.

The Uhaul team completely ignored the photos that I sent them that I had taken of the broken axle (I am posting those photos below).

They completely ignored the letters I sent in dispute of the insurance decision.

Here are the pictures of the fiasco that I sent UHaul. Aside from cropping or rotating, I have done nothing to alter these pictures, and I still have the original, unrotated photos if needed.

If I could find someone willing to help me sue them, I'd be happy to. I can't afford to fix my transmission - it was quoted out at $2600. My car isn't even worth that.

Here are pictures of the broken axle spring. You can see how it was already completely rusted through.










It was obviously busted before I even rented it. From the amount of rust built up already on the break itself, you can tell. You can't get that much rust built up in the 24 hours between when I rented the damn thing and when I took these pictures.

Here are some pictures of the wheel dragging against the wheel well (which broke my transmission by acting like having the brakes on while at highway speeds).












Here are pictures of the Trailer itself.










It took so much work to get back on the road that I took this picture to commemorate getting the tow truck to show up (after endless hours on the phone to uhaul at roaming cell phone prices).




Little did I know I'd still be trying to get my transmission fixed over a year later!

So, since UHaul completely ignored my follow up letters to their insane insurance decision (all three of them), I am posting this.

I sincerely hope that no one else ever has to go through what I did.

Does anyone know what kind of plant this is?

Aug 15, 2006 at 8:37 PM
I recently got this as a gift from my dad.

All I know about it is that it's rose shaped and a succulent (like aloe vera).

Does anyone know what this is called?

iTunes is helping me remember to exercise

at 12:39 AM
I put together a playlist in iTunes of my 100 favorite upbeat songs - the ones with strong beats running through them. I've been doing exercise to my new iTunes collection. I have to keep it up for at least ten songs.

I do whatever motion I feel like at that moment. I take a minute to lay on the mat in some basic restful asanas, let my body tell me which muscles are in need of a stretch, which need to be worked out more. Then I start. First two songs are a warm up, breathing, yoga, pilates stretches, hapkido leg stretches - whatever. Then the third is more intense exercise. I'm at a full clip from song four through seven doing double time punches, sweeps, lunges, kicks, or, if I'm in a non-agressive mood, some ballet, dance, or some katas. Then I start the wind down, breath deep and push my muscles into long stretches.

It's been better fun and easier to stick to than any other exercise program I've ever tried. And it is completely free. Can't beat that.

Today's work out was
WARM UP
Johnny and Mary - Placebo
Tainted Love - Soft Cell

WORKOUT
Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics
Hard to Explain - The Strokes
Hate to Say I Told You So - The Hives
Closer - NIN
Out of Control - She Wants Revenge
Automatic Stop - The Strokes

COOL DOWN
Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple
Sing For Absolution - Muse

It is really perfect workout music for me, and I actually like doing it once or twice a day. It's just too simple to worry over. I can even do it a couple times a day. I don't have to buy any more junk to do it. Sure, the pilates bands come in handy, but I can use my own body to provide isometric resistance if I don't want to stop to go get them.

I pick good music - ten songs - and then make myself work out. What good is all that ballet, my black belt and my dust-covered collection of yoga books if I never do what I want with it? So, I'm just doing what I want. It feels good. I mix everything together into whatever my body wants to do. To heck with sticking to a discipline. I already did that. Earned my stripes. Now I want to get back in shape by playing with it all.

:)

Moon Phases

Aug 14, 2006 at 5:05 PM
I have always wanted to keep track of the phases of the moon. Well now I can. And so can you! Check out the sidebar, below my profile and above my links. Somewhere over...

----->
THAT AWAY



Pretty cool, yes?

Property Rights are Disappearing

at 11:30 AM
Pretty soon the only place you'll be able to own any property is online, because while our "intellectual property" is safely protected, our ACTUAL PROPERTY can now be seized upon suspicion of solicitation for prostitution -- that's right, I said SUSPICION. You don't even have to ask for sex anymore. You just have to pull up to or try to talk to the person who is not really a whore. You will be arrested before you actually solicit now and BAM - no more car.

Now, I have no need to fear this law, because I will never get be confused with someone soliciting a prostitute. Right?

Well, that is both right and wrong. Of course I will never be found soliciting a whore, but I still do have reason to fear this law.

We should all be very leery of any law that peels away any piece of the property rights laws that protect us, no matter how unlikely it will be used against us personally.

If our cars can be taken away because we are considering being immoral, and if our homes can be taken away so that a new mall can get built, we're not living in my America anymore.

Read Amy's article - it's an eyeopener.

Article about ADD

Aug 13, 2006 at 10:29 PM
ADD is just a fancy label given to normal human behavior that annoys people.

Amen to that.

Inscendiary hoohah

at 7:18 PM
More and more every day, I hear rhetoric being spoken by usually reasonable people. Rhetoric that I thought humanity had outgrown using. Crusader speech cloaked as modern war updates -- spoken by those with their chain mail hidden beneath three piece suits over in Washington DC.

This speech that dehumanizes enemies until all you see is the reflection of your own hate can do no good, can get us no closer to winning this war. Speaking of the enemy as evil, heartless, cut-throat, all-devouring creatures takes away from the ability to beat them. It dissuades confronting the truth of things.

There is no lasting conflict if the enemy is not a match to you: in wit, in capability, in intelligence, in force. If you believe your enemy to be a ruthless animal, then you have stopped confronting the truth of the matter.

IT IS A TACTICAL ERROR TO SPEW HATRED

It is a huge mistake to dehumanize your enemy, to assume that they are the basest and you are the most honorable. The roles reverse very quickly if you start making statements like that while debasing yourself by acting vicious and bloodthirsty.

Stop thinking of our enemies abroad and at home as being something other than what they are, and you will better understand his motives, his reasons and his intentions toward you. Inscendiary speech is only capable of clouding the judgement. It is only spewed when someone intends to do something no rightminded person would ever do.

LOOK at the enemy. LOOK at what they do -- not what people say about what they do -- and judge them solely on that. They are as human as you and I, and apparently a good match for the morals and ethics, the power and force of our own government - like it or not. If they weren't, the war would be long over. It has been gong on for 5 years. Either we are holding back or the enemy is more intelligent, more like us than we're being led to believe.

Our enemy has a long history of inscendiary hate-speech. They've been doing it since at least the 11th century that I know of - off and on.

(Do you know what solved it last time? Simply outgrowing the need to fight one another and choosing instead to profit from one another. The trade between the middle east and europe began in earnest shortly after the crusades. That's what really killed the crusade mentality, if you ask me.)

The hateful lies about you, me and him can be seen as a thread running through the tapestry of this war.

our enemy tells us that they believe we are soulless, inhuman creatures. And if we let them, this very belief will be the seed of their own destruction. Let them collapse under their own weight in lies and misdeeds.

BUT if we join in the blind projection of hate, in the stealing of our enemy's soul, we make it possible for the war to continue endlessly.

If you want to win you must NOT give up the high ground. And the high ground in this war is entirely our ability to recognize truth, to see in someone we don't know a good soul. We recognize that all human beings are inately good and right and can be helped and can help others.

Even though our recognition of worth may not seem liek a weapon, it is a much better tactic than to degrade the face of our enemy until he is not even human to us.

So, knock off the hate speech, people. It offends me even when it is about someone dead set on killing me. I'm not going to foam at the mouth with hatred and rage.

I'd rather know my government was cool-headed and sanely operating in my best interest without the blind fury that occurs when hate takes over.

When we all begin talking about our enemy the same way he talks about us, we've lost. After that, it really matters little who wins, because if we're all foaming at the mouth to kill the soulless enemy, no one stands at the compass, keeping the country on course.

What about the rest of us who aren't spewing hate? What can we do?

Here's what I think. The very best thing we could all do, as citizens, is stop worrying about the war at all. I don't meant ot stop thinking about it. I just mean stop flowing power to the insane hate-mongers, instead choose to LIVE YOUR LIFE to the FULLEST.

As Heinlein said:

DUM VIVIMUS VIVAMUS.

(Latin, loosely translates to If you're gonna live, then LIVE, dammit!).

Just flourish and prosper in the face of everything. Nothing gets the goat of a hatemonger more than being completely ignored.

And that's the extent of today's tirade about the course of the war.

I miss smoking today

Aug 10, 2006 at 5:06 PM
Honestly, I am having a very hard time not smoking right now. I know the reasons perfectly: Cigarettes would be replacement randomity for me during this period of negative randomity in my life. Perfectly sensible reason to wreak havoc on my physical well being.

Long stretches of time go by without human contact for me right now, and cigarettes would just be something to DO to fill that time.

But that doesn't change how much I want one today. I found myself thinking, "Just one" - just like I did when I started up again last time. It's fucked up.

And it doesn't help that when my sister visited, she was smoking away, being all young, and smokey, and laid back and all that. And smoking all over the place. I have NEVER smoked as much as my sister is smoking right now. She's in that danger zone. It was at least a pack a day. It was silly. She looked ridiculous doing it, and hunched over. She doesn't even know how to smoke right, hasn't gotten flicking ashes away down to a science yet and she's totally hooked.

I was sneering internally, but that doesn't change that being around it made me wish for the bond that smoking with loved ones can be. And it brought back the physical addiction to have it happening around me, to have to go buy her those damned menthols.

Dear God, I want to smoke today. HELP ME BE STRONG.

Maybe I just need to remind myself why I don't smoke anymore.

Or maybe I just need to get completely snockered instead. ;)

I love all of you

Aug 9, 2006 at 12:16 AM
TO LIBBY: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! WOO HOO! Finally old anough to PARTYYYYYYY!!!

She's EIGHTEEN.

18

I can't believe it!!!!!

TO THE REST OF YOU:

Here are the people I am very happy with today for making me feel loved, admired, or otherwise being good friends:

Katmandu, Mikey, and my Dad and Marie.

Big hugs y'all.

Gas shortage is YOUR fault

Aug 8, 2006 at 7:31 PM
The swarms of people flocking to the pump are proof that there is a sucker born every minute.

If you've been clamoring for gasoline, in fear that there won't be a drop left for you in the end, then the gas shortage is your fault.

Today, I needed to go to town to run some errands, and my tank was running low, maybe a quarter tank. This is a perfectly reasonable reason to get gas.

So, after the half hour trip to town, I stopped for gas. I wondered what the line was about. By the time my line was up to me, there just wasn't any left. The girl apologized, and said she couldn't help me (we're not allowed to pump our own gas in the great state of Oregon, so she was supposed to have come over, taken my money and filled my tank).

Apparently every single person in the county had come to my sleepy little one-gas-station two-stoplight town looking for gasoline. I presume that this was because there wasn't any elsewhere. There aren't as many people in our little town as could have used up that gas in a single morning.

So, it's YOUR fault I don't have enough gas to make it to town and back again.

No matter what anyone says, there is no shortage of gas really. It's another ploy to raise the prices and create panic. Another ploy to get attention away from something else. (Beats me what, but something.)

It's summer, and "they" want to raise the prices again. Every summer there is a panic situation created so that prices go WAY up and then only slightly down. Presumable the "they" I refer to would be who ever profits from the prices going up.

My guess? Somewhere in the meetings and meetings about meetings over in the middle east, someone agreed to something they would otherwise not have agreed to by being paid off. How were they paid off? By promise of making a big deal out of a little crisis, so that the price of gas in the US goes up by ____ cents (fill in the blank). Thusly allowing said person in the position to give us what we want to profit insanely.

If this were the case, I would not be mad about the agreement to provide incentive. Often, the decisions that must remain clandestine are only kept so because they make way too much sense and work too well to be publicly announced. But I am pissed about the decision to skyrocket the price of gas. I for one don't like the idea that all of you are falling for it.

If it's not a clandestine conspiracy then it's a sorry waste of a panic. If you're going to have a panic, this is sure a stupid reason.

Here's why there is no crisis. Prudhoe bay does not generate even close to a majority of the oil that we use in the US. So, for 6 months or so, I predict that other ends of the pipeline will probably be made to up their production some, and the reserves will be tapped into. OF course we can also lean heavily on whoever that is the US has sold their soul to.

There is no crisis.

So all you panicking idiots out there just

CALM DOWN

I'm not interested in paying four dollars a gallon of gas for the next year because you guys all had to have your gas RIGHT NOW, raising the price to five bucks (temporarily) and then back down to four (permanently).

Consumers set the price of gas, NOT the gas futures market. It is not possible for a crisis to create higher prices unless we all agree there is a crisis. Gas will be priced at whatever we will pay. IN a "scarcity of" situation, we'll pay way more.

AND "THEY" KNOW THAT.

Take the idiots who run to the store to buy duct tape at $4.50 a roll during hurricanes. Even though there is still no duct tape left in the store, once the hurricane is over and the perceived scarcity of duct tape goes away, the price goes back down.

Same with gas. The only thing you can do if you're worried about gas prices is stop buying so darn MUCH of it. So every one of you nervous nellies who ran out to the gas station today to top off all of your cars, you're a sucker.

Pictures of my home on the ranch

at 4:32 PM
I randomly snapped some pictures today. Here are a few.

The path to the creek.

















The thistledown keeps getting onto the blackberries.
















My house looks nice from the driveway.












Those cows may be cute but they've wrecked my favorite pace to lay out in the sun.














Stages of Blackberries. Some flowers, some buds, some ripe berries, all on the same branch.
















My House, as seen from the top of the orchard.

That huge UFO shaped thing is a fifteen year old satellite dish. Downside of being this far out. You can't throw anything away here unless it burns or can fit in your trunk and be taken to the dump. A fiberglass satellite dish large enough to be a koi pond does not qualify.

That's a good idea. I'm gonna research sattelite dish to koi pond projects.


















Beautiful morning, wasn't it? This is the view from my bedroom window.

The downside here is just that the LOG TRUCKS MAKE THE WORLD'S LOUDEST RACKET AT FOUR IN THE MORNING coming down the road just on the other side of those blackberries.





















The twins and I took a walk this spring. They sensibly brought water. But still took a (daring) drink from the creek for the heck of it.

That's where our water comes from anyway.

Wow, that last post was way too long

Aug 7, 2006 at 3:19 AM
I think I'm gonna start some kind of anti-blog-diatribe measures.

Perhaps I should flick myself on the wrist when I write more than ten paragraphs.

Oh well.

Polls make my head want to explode

Aug 6, 2006 at 11:47 PM
Hi. Today I got opinion polled. I always get pissed off when I get polled. Not because the issues anger me, but because the questions do.

For instance, they always start out with :
(drum roll please)

BODY STUFF

AGE...
SEX...
RACE...

(Uhm, it's an OPINION poll, right? Well, let's just get past this crap to the real questions.)

What's your race?
White ___
Black ___
Hispanic ___
Asian ___
Mixed ___


(If you choose mixed, they ask for you to simply check ALL that apply from their list).

That's just ridiculous. What if someone is Moorish-Irish-Vietnamese-Egyptian-Russian-Brazilian-French-Laotian.

What is that person supposed to check off?

That's serious. I met that person at a coffee house in (I think it was) San Antonio last year. He was born in Arabia, but lives in and loves Texas. He speaks eight languages. He looks like a sepia plate, all shades of light-golden-brown. It's a very becoming mix. I hope he never tries to fill out a poll!

Back to the point. It is an opinion poll, Right? So, why are they asking so much about my body? I despise the assumption-by-inference that race has any fraction to do with my opinions. It's an ignorant assumption to make -- that the body I am in has ANYTHING to do with my mind, my essence, the goals and purposes or passions of my existence. You know, me.

But in spite of getting off on the wrong foot with me, the questions keep coming. I keep filling out the poll.

Next it's religious peghole questions. OK. Well I don't fit into any of their neat little packages and they don't include any philosophies on the list. So I check the "Other" box.

Why are they asking how often I pray? There's an oddball one. I'm sure the assumptions behind their reasons for asking it are positively mind-numbing.

Ugh. Then came the political affiliation question. Why is it assumed everyone is political? Can't anyone just BE without being labeled?

Since I check the "independent" box when they asked my political party, I got about ten pages of questions obviously aimed at deciding what my REAL political party is, because I couldn't possibly be an actual free thinker.

They couldn't peg me in the first seven pages of questions. Good. My first monkey wrench in the system.

One of the questions asked me whether I listened to Rush Limbaugh. Couldn't they just have said "Are you sure you're not just pretending not to be Republican?".

I just can't listen to him. He is so condescending to women, even the ones who aren't feminists. I'm not a feminist, I'm a strong female -- and there is a massive difference that Rush doesn't get. It is obvious from the slower, more exasperated tone he takes on when having a dialog with a woman on any subject. And the responses he gives. If a man disagrees with him and uses the word "feel", Rush lets it slide. If a woman disagrees with him and uses it, Rush starts out with
"I know you're guided by your (pregnant pause) 'feelings', but..."

He just lacks class. Why waste my time? Even when in agreement with him, you've got to ask yourself "Why am I bothering to listen to him rehash my own thoughts, but with less tact and too much fervor?"


As if the world could be evenly split down the center between REPUBLICAN and DEMOCRAT. What if I think both parties have it dead-ass-backward-wrong? But in any case, even if I sometimes end up listening to the guy, I'm not republican, and I know that's what that question means. So I lie and say "No".

More about Rush: I think anyone with an IQ lower than, say, 129 should be MADE to listen sometimes. Why? Well. I'd place him in the high 130s IQ-wise, but let's give my assessment a margin for error. 129 and below crowd will be given a swift kick in the ass toward learning to think for themselves by listening to Rush. They'd get something from it. He seems to be operating on steam these days, though: repeating himself, using common phrases too often, repeating himself, repeating himself too many times. So maybe we should make that 125 and below.

Next question tried it again. It asks me if I listen to either "All Things Considered" or "Sean Hannity". I listen to both, equally often (which is sometimes). I think the former has intelligence, wit and poignancy, and the latter show's host has a good heart, honor and brilliant reasoning.

I listen to radio to exercise my mental chops, not to think political PR campaigns are truth. Radio's been a PR tool since invention. Who's fool enough to think you're going to get truth from someone who has put in the time and energy, the blood sweat and tears, that it requires to get their voices heard on to the radio? They're gonna put their own spin on what they say.

You don't make it to Broadway with minimalist acting.

You don't get into radio with simple truth.

So, they couldn't peg me with that question, because I don't form opinions when I'm one of X number of "millions of daily listeners". I form them when confronting truth. Recognizable truth.

I think Oprah and Bill O'Reilly are BOTH really good people in different ways, so that question was moot. They were really stretching to figure out my political affiliation asking me that one.

I don't watch ANY of the network news shows, so their questions were nullified there. I don't watch TV and you can't make me.

I got TEN PAGES of questions trying to force the round me into the square hole of political affiliation.

I'm pretty much a Libertarian. I agree with anything that leaves the lawful alone to pursue happiness as they see fit.

Sometimes that means I agree with Republicans. Rarely that means I agree with Democrats. I'm a literal LIBERTarian. It's about liberty for me. I register as whatever box I feel like checking when I register. I probably confuse the hell out of the registration office.

But since people who think in terms of DEMOCRAT or REPUBLICAN write the questions, I was doomed from the get go.

The final peg-hole question was whether I had a gun in my house or not. Since I said "Yes," that must have made them decide I was Republican. I assumed this because the "real" questions that started after that weren't about my gun (and because Democrats are not known for their beautiful gun collections).

Oh well.

The next question was about my opinion on ...

The GAY MARRIAGE amendment:

The poll asked whether I felt that

Marriage should be defined in the constitution as being between "a man and a woman"
OR
Gay marriage should be legally sanctioned


Uhm... Neither.

I don't think gay marriage is a government issue. Politically charged, unfortunately. Philosophically and societally charged, yes. But not government-related at all. Why?

Because marriage is something that should not be controlled by a faceless entity that cares not for the outcome of your life, the achievement of your goals. Government cares only for its tax revenue, for its clenched fists of control. How is this entity a good judge for whether a marriage is morally fit?

Another question I just cannot answer!

Obviously, the laws about marriage needing a license were meant to stop people from marrying their cousins, daughters, or farm animals. Probably meant to stop homosexuality, too. Originally. So, if you're trying to keep people moral, let them only have to have the sanction of a chosen minister, or of a ship's captain if they're non-religious (like in the old days). Works better that way. In that way, whatever is morally OK with the people involved will happen.

I have never been harmed because another human being was gay. As a Libertarian, as far as I'm concerned they can do what they want. If Tom and John have community agreement, their minister has agreed to perform the ceremony, and all involved agree their marriage is moral and right, should I have ANY say? No. So, why should a government body have any say if I shouldn't have any say?

What right does the government have to sanction or disallow ANY personal oaths/agreements/choices/vows? If I am married or stay single or sleep with women or sleep alone, no one gets harmed by the outcome? Promiscuity and adultery harm people. But don't regulate marriage. What a fiasco it is to do so.

The more regulations you pass, the more chaos. There's my belief in a nutshell.

Walk up to nearly anybody and say "I'm Libertarian" and they'll wonder if you're still high. I've never taken drugs, and I hate that my party draws in so many druggies trying to get dangerous substances made legal. The idea is that Government has zero right to govern my rights. The idea is that laws should be just, simple and everything else is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

Then the poll compounds all this crap by asking me about

GLOBAL WARMING

The question was about whether

a. I think global warming is real and the world needs to start taking measures to protect the environment.
b. I think global warming is a crock of shit and we can all eff it up to our hearts desire.


(Of course there were some in between choices for those who are less passionate, but they were only shades of grey in this one limited scope.)

How am I supposed to answer this? Argh!

I don't think global warming even exists. It's so obviously a PR campaign, a Machiavellian power grab, that I can't trust any of the supporting Science.

Then again, we'd be absolute stinking idiots not to think that pollution and garbage and litter are bad, and that we should all conserve natural resources in the interest of future generations. Obviously, any sane person takes care of their environment.

So how do I answer that question?

To make matters worse, the questions turned to our world war. Without saying "World War" anywhere.

The questions about my opinion on the war that didn't include the obvious answer I wanted to check off:

"The media coverage of WW III -- all sources -- has been so partial that I can't form a conclusive statement by means of any form of reasoning. Socrates, Plato and Ghandi would all be standing around shrugging right now. Coverage is tainted by half-truths, lies, and opinion to the point where even the ability to form a sane, pan-determined view of anything is completely blocked off because all truth is obfuscated. "


I was so disgusted that I didn't see that choice or anything like it that I chose the next best answer. I don't even know what it was.

I remember I had banal choices on another question about Israel along the line of ...

"Israel rocks, let 'em do their worst"
OR
"Israel is being stubborn and pig-headed"


Where is the in between? Where is the choice...

"I'd like to know more about what really goes on in Lebanon and Israel when you leave the cameras rolling before I decide my opinion. Bring the 'Real World' camera crew in to Lebanese and Israeli military HQ for 24 hour live broadcasts, and then I'll decide."


Do I have to wait for the Tom Clancy Rainbow Six bestseller version of this war to come out before I will understand the truth of what evil is being fought here? What are the real reasons, the real evils, the real question that was answered by such force. What are the truths behind it?

I cannot trust any source to give me truth, so how can I form an opinion?

How can I possibly decide what I believe when the propaganda is so thick? When acceptable viewpoint of discussion is so narrow, and so many slanted words are used to describe everything?

Governments feel that public opinion is a dangerous thing. It must be controlled carefully, truth carefully skewed. Make sutre that the pinpricks in the curtain are in just the right places. We must only see what they want us to see.

I think if I worked in government long enough, borders might seem like real, thick blankets betwen us and them instead of thet arbitrary lines in sand that they are.

Do I have to wait for another disgruntled military man to retire and write a book about the clandestine operations he was on before I will understand what's going on? Why don't we EVER get to see real evil, real statements, real whitehouse memos instead of soundbites and opinion pieces skewed by rambling political bent?

By this time, I'm steaming, because the questions are completely unanswerable unless you're firmly entrenched in a particular "camp".

So, the last question was about improving the poll. Boy, that one was the only one with a comment box. Woo hoo! I let it rip.

These people who write the polls either want to put blinders on me or walk around wearing them because they're fear-driven and afraid of reality. Either way, it is frustrating.

I hate polls. Did I mention that?

Portrait of a Gentleman

Aug 4, 2006 at 4:04 PM
My dog is such a little Gentleman. Stil a child at ten years old. His hips are failing him, but he still runs around like a puppy chasing the drops when it rains.




Here is a portrait of Tucker Fitzgerald, a Lab/Chow mix with an old soul.

Chickadees

at 2:14 AM
My little girls took the camera into the chicken house with them and here's what they got:
She has a chick on her shoulder today


Look ma, I can make a chickee face

Maybe if I hug it, it won't fly away!


Look at how GAWJUSS I am while I hold this chick


This little chickee and I have a secret (we're both CEE-ute!)

New Hairdo

at 2:01 AM
My little sister Liberty wants to see my new hairdo. So here goes:



Desiree has a new do!

You'll note that I'm only vamping up to show Libby my new hair. I don't really pose like that all the time. I swear! Stop accusing me!!!!