Friday, October 29, 2010

To Prove How Boring I Am

What kind of terrible, boring person doesn't like Halloween or New Year's Eve? My kind.

I think it is because both nights are what anyone whose ever been an experienced drinker would call amateur night. People get ripped and set out to do the stupidest most selfish things they can imagine. Hey, I'll get drunk, fight with the wife, then put the move on the boss's daughter!! Yippee.

In the world of yoots, Halloween is often a vandalism festival. Even in my youth the tricks crossed the line into random acts of vandalism. Maybe I feel guilty. To my credit, though, I recall the last time I went off with the neighborhood kids way back when, I parted ways when one of them sliced up the screen on an orchid house for no reason. One slice, actually. I did get him to stop at that, then used aq big word which brought ridicule from my pals. I told them they could be idiots without, adios.

Soon enough, I went on to be an idiot without them, so there you have that.

Maybe I just haven't been in the right circumstance to enjoy Halloween. And maybe I just find it peculiar and think most of the time it sucks. I played along when little K was in my care. We went around the houses and everyone always said, "oh, how cute, she's beautiful" OK. Swell. If I had my way, kids that age wouldn't have time for Halloween. They'd be putting in their 10 hours per day, after school, at the local factory!

So, I won't be dressing up but I think I got roped into a Halloween birthday party. I'll be attending because it is one of those you can't decline. I'm going to go as a hypocrite this year. (since Bobby offspring already came up with very clever gold digger idea--brilliant). I'll also be the designated driver, I hope. I will for myself, anyway.

Getting Out The Vote; because I care

At long last, I've seen the light. I am finally accepting my civic duty to give back to the community. After all, I've been ripping them off for years, charging for my labor, exhaling harmful CO2, not to mention occasional methane emissions. For so long I did not get the whole "give back" thing. But then I realized how much all the give back talkers must have taken from the community. Honor among thieves and polluters, I guess.

So, to do my part I am canvasing cemeteries for unregistered voters. I hope to have them all registered in time to vote. It is too late for absentee ballot, but I think I can work something out.

I know it must be a good thing, but someone needs to explain to me again why it is so important to badger disinterested people into voting. They even pretend they don't care who you vote for, just want you to vote. If you aren't voting how I would like, I think you should stay home and do something else. If you have to be badgered and have no clue what is going on, I see no point in you weighing in on these matters. But, I know that is probably because I haven't yet given enough back to the community. Maybe soon I will understand.

To me it is like when the priest tells some couple to be fruitful and multiply. If he doesn't know them, he could be wishing some bad stuff on the world, and never know it. I think you should be cautious when encouraging people to vote or multiply. Maybe if I became Catholic, then went to priest college I would know better.

Until I am fully enlightened and evolved, I will ask that you don't vote unless you are going to vote like me, or unless you live in a cemetery, mausoleum, or other dead end neighborhood. In that case, just give me your tacit approval, and I'll do your voting for you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

just Because, and for other purposes

Until recently, I never actually read any famous bills being advertised by one party or another. One exception was when NAFTA came around, I sampled and skimmed. That totally reversed my stance on that item. Had absolutely nothing to do with free trade. When they mention all these companies by name and make arrangements specific to them, that is not a trade agreement based on some set of rules, it is market manipulation to benefit specific interests at tax payer expense.

So, over the past few years, since the sales jobs have become so aggressive, pro and con, I have taken the time on a few "pieces or legislation" (I'm sure, by new definitions, the fact that I hate that phrase means I am mentally ill) to investigate and read what is written to some extent. True content varies a great deal from all the information offered which tells you what it will do but not what it says.

The most striking thing about almost every bill brought before Congress is that last phrase in the title summary, "and for other purposes".

A Bill to Ensure Everlasting Life, and for other purposes.
That allows them to tack anything they want on it. So the bill for everlasting life might also include a clause which outlaws grandfathers. Then when someone votes against it his opponent in the next election will run ads saying, "John 0 voted against everlasting life. He wants you all to die real soon. Can we afford to re-elect a monster like that? It's time for a change, vote for Wilford, he wants you to live."

There should be no way that phrase is allowed on a bill, and anything off the subject should not be legal. I wonder why it has been allowed. I guess because people have better things to do than hold their masters accountable. Especially when they are so easily bought off with little crumbs here and there. And easily swayed according to what seems cool and makes it easy to look smart with the equally ignorant peer group, without actually having to think it through or read anything. Especially not anything beyond what someone else tells you a thing will do.

"Sure, it will be fine, and you'll never have to worry again." Hell, if people aren't going to investigate for themselves you run little risk of being caught in a lie. And for good measure make things thousands of pages long, refer to other obscure laws, and make the language as obtuse as possible. It seems wrong that one would have to spend much time trying to decipher what we're being fed. Way too complicated and boring. That's why I like the idea of severely limited power. That way they have a narrower scope for presenting complicated lies and regulations.

Believe me, I do not read too many bills. The majority of them fall outside of what I think is the role of any government of free people, so right off the bat I'm not for it, even if it seems to some like a good idea. Brushing teeth is a good idea but I'd hate to see laws made in that regard. So, what's the point of dealing with all the little fine points and studies and all that? Those things are beside the point.

They say if you believe in limiting these people, and you find such things annoying, you are probably antisocial and have some sort of oppositional disorder. Maybe they are right. Then again, maybe they have a selfish incentive to label non conformists as somehow dangerous or ill.

No way I'm voting for the guy who opposed eternal life.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

They're Related to Bears

The sceintific name for this animal family is obnoxiousus pushius bastardium. Just like bears, raccoons have absolutely no respect for boundaries.

I've been hearing noises outside. Clumsy rummaging sounds. Then I discover, this morning, that my garbage can had been overturned and gone through. At first, I suspected government agents.

Yikes. Having trouble with browsers and the whole story got zapped. Switched from safari to firefox. Maybe it will work better. Been having connection trouble too so who knows.

I'll recreate it: All I saw was the tail. It seems a large raccoon tipped over my trash can. I found it that way this morning and heard it tonight. I ran out in time to just glimpse the tail as it escaped. Pushy bastard.

I sprayed upholstery cleaner all in and around the can, dumped liquid dishsoap in, on, and around the can as well and tried to get the lid snapped as tight as it goes. It is old and doesn't snap all that tight.

Hopefully it can be deterred or otherwise made to cease the raids. I'd say execute the thing but I fear that could bring trouble in this state. That guy who posted 'possum abuse on youtube did time I think. PETA saw to it. Raccoons and 'possums are people too, after all.

I'm usually nice to animals, and like many of them. But I have no use for demanding disrespectful creatures. You don't see me going through their stuff, making a mess of things. Maybe some nasty bug spray in there will help.

It's the juicer refuse and all the year old leftovers I finally threw out. It ignored the vegetable pulp and stole the old pie and things that could no longer be identified. Most was in those little grocery bags which were tied off. Not good enough.

It would be really cool to have some electronic thing that waited until the critter had its nose in the can, then an image suddenly lit up and screamed, like those creepy email videos that show a scene and tell you to watch closely, then while you are concentrating this crazy face jumps out and scares you. I doubt the raccoon is online or I'd get its email and send one of those.


I saw a short interview with Keith Richards. What a shock to discover that he may be this week's most admired person, in my book.

Keith has no regrets. And I could understand what he was saying. This is the first time I ever heard him speak when I could catch any familiar words or language.

The idea of no regrets made me jealous. But it also made me think. From the very start he has done what he does best. And he was smart enough to see Jagger's potential immediately. They showed an excerpt of a letter he sent to an aunt. Shockingly good penmanship. He said Jagger would be the best R&B singer on that side of the ocean or words to that effect. And he was emphatic--no question about it, he stressed.

I have regrets.
And things I was right about, I allowed myself to doubt because of what others thought, conventional wisdom or simply not trusting my own reason and instinct. Maybe, drug addict that he was, he has been more true to himself than one might think. A beautiful place in Connecticut with a good looking wife, kids. More to show for it than most.

If he'd never been famous I bet he'd not be a lot different except he may have been more moderate with the drugs. I think you are either the type who never intends to regret things so you don't, or else you are convinced They know something you don't and continually live to regret it.

I've rarely regretted making effort toward something. I don't know. I've regretted quitting some things and not quitting others. Just a state of mind.

3 more pages

That last post, reminiscing about homeless people I have known, and befriended, helped me further my story a bit. It is only laziness that I don't do even more tonight.

I will though. One big motive is that I can't wait to get to the point where I do the final edits and rearranging. Then I'll be open to someone else's suggestions, but not until I have done that.
I'll be open to whether people find it engaging or not, as I go, and I've let a couple of friends sample some and think it may be engaging enough.....
..... for someone who has a long plane ride, no dope or booze, no tv or ipod, and nothing else to read,
and can't fall asleep on airplanes, and is stuck with no one to talk to, except a psychotic tax collector and a jihadist. That's good enough for me.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Life in the Ozone Lane

All day I have been thinking of changes to make in the story. I catch myself wanting to go hunt the characters down so they can just give me the straight info. This was while doing other things. On and off the items come to mind.

I caught some NPR radio which struck me as rather peculiar. One guest after the other must have been a sales person for enlarging the size and scope of government agencies and the areas of life and civilization they oversee.

I credit myself with coining the phrase,(which never caught on) "Newspeople are the government's salesmen", back in the late 70's. If I may say so, I believe I've been proven right. They did the same in the 60's and maybe forever, but people did not notice it as much. Just like they did not see how encroachments they thought were good ideas eventually could result in the tangled mess of today.

What strikes me is that a civilization should evolve to be safer and more secure in their wealth and personal freedom. In our case we have some serious crime issues, large neighborhoods the size of small cities where everyone knows it is Enter at Your Own Risk. And the wealth situation is quite screwed up. I'm not one who thinks the term "distribution of wealth" even makes sense in the free world, but I understand the concept.
How simple fees and BS hurt the homeless

Here's an example of a situation, one which I've witnessed. Let's say a guy is homeless. For whatever reason, he had drinking issues and hit the skids hard. He lives in abandoned cars, meter rooms, the park, wherever. He hits the dumpster behind the grocery store at night because they have a salad bar and have to trash the leftovers every day.

Then he happens upon a free place where people try to recover from alcoholism. He hits AA regularly, still living in the weeds, but people sometimes let him come over and catch a shower. He finds day labor with small time independent carpenters and contractors. A nearby shop makes a deal with him so that he can sleep there and deter thieves. He's really set on living again, not being drunk, and working hard. Everyone likes his work so he gets more.

Soon he has little projects on his own, or could have. He has a few basic tools now, but no car. he has a couple hundred bucks and someone is willing to part with an old but reliable ride for $100.00. If only he could afford to buy a plate and insurance he could go do that $1000.00 job. The state decides his car is worth $2200.00, so in order to get a plate he has to pay 176.00 plus the first time plate fee. No bucks now for insurance. He can't get the registration and all that going. Plus his driver's license expired and that costs money.

Being lucky, and in a place close to lots of sympathetic people, he still gets work. Doesn't usually pay much but it pays. After some time he gets the car worked out and slowly makes it up to having a roof over his head, and even has girlfriend drama. He's a real citizen.

If not for the fortuitous circumstances of being able to sleep in that shop, and the AA room next door where these independent rag tag employers get morning coffee, it would be ten times harder to overcome fees and taxes on even a gift car. That he actually made it, even with the luck he had, is really amazing, and a tribute to his inner strength of character.

When he was staying in the shop next door, he spent his nights reading all kinds of books. It was remarkable. I can tell you also, he was not the kind of person you would want to anger. Just had that thing about him, nice guy, but not one to take unnecessary abuse. Hell of a good carpenter as it turned out.

He seemed to enjoy my old car. Bill. I wonder how he's doing.

Think how many are just on the edge but the officialdom, fees and taxes of government serve to help keep them down. It may seem trivial, but in that situation self esteem is not at an all time high, and it is a struggle not to give up once you are back on the road, trying to become independent and useful. The myriad of official crap and its expense serves as an untimely smack down.

I don't know all the answers. Soup kitchens and all that are good, and I know they have agencies that do all this job stuff. Not everyone wants to deal with an agency, and should not have to if willing to work. The fact that it is becoming more difficult for such a person to climb off the streets without it is a sad state of affairs. Much of it from laws and taxes which claim to protect and serve us. I am not inclined to think they do.

I've seen people try to deal with the city or county only to be snafu'd by catch 22s. My feeling is that these matters are better handled other ways. But like I said, I do not have the entire model formulated. Loosen the stranglehold of officialdom and maybe realistic paths will become evident. And there are those who just aren't psychologically sound.

Bill was a rare individual. Very rare. I knew a few others back then who finally got off the street, but none were as clear a case of going from total zilch to reasonable survival as Bill. The others generally got straightened out enough to catch the eye of some girl with a rescue complex which led to a roof and food.

A female in such circumstances is a real nightmare. They often get taken in by organizations, shelters, good Samaritans. If they are lucky.

Anyway, I think something is missing in the whole scheme of things. Also, don't be fooled that there aren't a lot of seriously dangerous people on the street. there are. Some get popped in the psych ward or jail for a few days and right back on the street.

The way things are, their less than wealthy relatives can't afford to keep them, and general expense like what I described in Bill's case makes it harder for them to do what they need to do.

I blame too much government for most of this because that is what causes higher costs of necessities and stupid costs related to just trying to get mobile. Most people think that is nuts. I don't. Excessive governmental power is the root of most evil, including that often cited in the case of corporations and multi-nationals. Without the government connection and acquiescence they would find abeerent behavior more difficult for sure.

It seems that the more we have tried to put every problem and facet of life under regulation and taxation and control, the more trouble we have. It's the old diminishing returns thing. Something may be quite useful up to a point, then more of it actually becomes incrementally destructive.

It's your fault if I quit

I put my story into a regular word processing program. I'd been using text/edit, Mac's version of notepad. Their word is called pages. I have 23 pages so far.

The thing is, I started skimming from the beginning and Holy Smoke!! This thing is B O R I N G. I edited some as I went through, mostly fixing ugly sentences and nonsense. I can see I have to pull certain parts and place them elsewhere.

So far I am not going to give up because if I lived the life in the story for a few weeks, I'd be exhausted but not bored. There are not any continuity errors or things of that nature. Just a ton of sharpening things up and putting it all into a better flow.

Your job is to absolutely not let me give up. If you do, then you are a crumby friend and can never read my story or borrow my espresso maker, and I'll be living a life of noisy desperation instead of quiet.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ridicule Politics, Half Truth and LOL

One of the most annoying inventions when applied in certain contexts is that of the LOL tag. I was reading a comment on some news site and the guy said,"He wants to go back to how things were set up in 1830. LOL". The first part is paraphrase, the LOL is verbatim.

I was thinking that other than universal suffrage and the abolition of slavery, I'm not all that keen on most of the structural changes since 1830 myself. Should I now add LOL?

It has become the internet way of winning a point, even if the point is not clear or stated. Just say LOL in disputing an argument or describing someone who did bother to state a point, and you win, they are discredited. Throw in half truths, out of context phrases, and the argument becomes absurd while some celebrate their fake win.

No one actually laughs while seeking the truth or hoping to sway others by respectful and honest means. This is the year of ridicule and outlandish half truths in politics. I see it on both sides, and I hate to say that because I am more opposed to one side than the other--however my "side" is not truly represented.

One thing I know, calling the other an idiot or moron is not only inaccurate, but it does nothing to make a valid point. That is another thing this past couple of years has introduced: unsubstantiated claims of low and high IQ. As if IQ has a thing to do with right, wrong, honest, dishonest or respect. I bet Ted Bundy's IQ was way up there, should we have elected him to office instead of fried him? Total bunk.

I know it is very difficult to place principle before personality when it is most prudent to do so. In electing those who control those with the big guns, it is essential if people value their own rights and safety. It can be extremely difficult to concede a point made by someone you see as typical conservative or typical liberal---depending upon your prejudice. Sometimes this happens if the person is not the proper ethnicity for the point at hand--in the viewpoint of the listener.

The fact that one might see a point here and there from either of these artificially labelled camps does not make him a moderate, or middle of the road. That I judge true in looking at my own conclusions. I would not have to wander far to find a self proclaimed conservative and a self proclaimed liberal who would adamantly label me "radical!"

In listening to some things though, I realize that the tendency for some to attach personal hate to strangers because they are either misguided, misinformed, better informed or for some other reason hold different views, seems to be encouraged in some circles.

The thing I see as the basic philosophical question in politics gets diluted with discussions of abortion, exceptionalism--which I'm not sure I understand, and other wacko subjects like marriage. I see all issues flowing from the question of how much power should any government have--state or federal. That covers most things; like do they have a right to take your money to fund my study of teak wood finishes and aphrodesiacs, or not?

This is why I often disagree with the liberal and the conservative among us. Both camps tend to be willing to allow control in ways I'd nix, given the chance. If we would be exceptionally free, then that context of exceptionalism (i think I may be spelling it wrong) I am all for. Bringing stability to people and cultures far away, I don't think so. That's exceptionally suicidal.

Some think that as long as smart people who really care are in charge then the limits ought only involve confining their power to whatever are deemed "good ideas" or for the public good. I see inherent danger in that approach, and the ones who disagree and actually think things through see danger in my approach. No reason for a bunch of LOL, you idiot, MORON! Heretic, etc.

Good satire actually makes a point. LOL and out of the blue name calling are not the stuff of good satire, lampoon or anything else of much use.

LOL in other contexts is another animal. It lets people know you are being light hearted, in case they might not realize it from whatever you wrote. and other purpose (as they say when making laws)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Story Continues

You won't remember, but I mentioned that I started a story from It was a dark and stormy night. I have no idea how many pages it would be now, but it is adding up.

I've got homeless people, bad cops, crooked managers, sneaky corporate VP, fun revenge, puzzling turn of events, sun sand, --no sex yet-maybe later that can be so trite after awhile. 3rd or first person, I guess is a voyeuristic view in print, but you don't really have to get anymore involved with some details than you would in real life. You can get a little more into their head without losing it. Context is everything.

Maybe I will actually finish this. It does keep evolving and I find myself liking some of the characters. A supporting player has begun to steal the show. That is crazy. Maybe it is as it should be. I try to distance more from the main character so the other one tends to say more what I think at times. I believe I can do this. But like most things, I may quit in the middle. We'll see.

There are people and events inspired by my own experience but not at all laid out in the same context. Who would best be cast in the leading role? Since Gary Cooper is no longer around, I can't think of anyone suitable for this story.

Narration Dreams?

This is a first. I don't think I like it. Dreams which run like a documentary, with a little bit of first person thrown in. Part of the time you are watching listening to yourself narrate and at moments you're the in the action.

Like when the colonial militia, I assume, is having trouble fording a river so they move down the the bank in the shallows before planning to cross where it is mostly shallow rapids.

Trouble is, by that time the British have done the same on the other side. Everyone's on horses.

The Brits showing up was a surprise because the narrator was unaware that we were to the point of conflict yet. Since it was such a surprise and they looked hostile, the other side fired on them, dropping quite a few. Then a bunch more Brits rode up to take their place. The narrator seemed sympathetic to the colonials decision to forget the river and get out of there.

I haven't been reading any more Ben Franklin books or anything like that. This narrator, though, was spouting all sorts of names, facts and figures that I've never heard and don't now remember. It all sounded valid, like he knew his stuff. Could have been propaganda I guess. Or gibberish just to make him sound informed. Except he sounded a lot like me.

If this means I've gone over the edge and am really nuts, I am going to be mad as a hornet. Or a hatter.

Pilot Refuses Full-Body Scan, Says TSA Doesn’t Make Travel Safer « CBS New York – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of NY

Pilot Refuses Full-Body Scan, Says TSA Doesn’t Make Travel Safer « CBS New York – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of NY

This guy has my support. The practice of subjecting pilots to the mindless harassment which is definitely the M.O. of Memphis TSA is absurd. Any baggage handler can go all day without ever dealing with security of that type. They have special badges which scan and undergo other things. Pilots have similar ID badges and any number IDs with pictures etc. There is little common sense in the system and almost none in the Memphis TSA employee pool.

Of all the places where body scanning is most likely to serve the prurient interests of the security force, Memphis has to rank up toward the top. I know those people. They love to harass pilots, little kids, and old people while missing large knives and all sorts of other things.

I'm not sure if it is political correctness gone awry, or just the work of those who believe in a totalitarian state which uses any excuse to keep citizens under its boot. In either case, this is a poor, ineffective, and unimaginative approach to thwarting the bad guys and ensuring the freedom and welfare of the good people.

It often makes people think they are safer when they can see and be a part of the inconvenience. The old adage of "I've got nothing to hide so I don't mind" is a myopic view to take. Can we search your house to be sure you aren't doing something the state doesn't like? These things lead to abuse and a breach of rights which were initially specified and reserved to the people for good reason. Throwing the 4th amendment out the window in the name of wars on drugs, drunk driving abatement, and terrorism is coming back to bite us. This is the tip of the iceberg and the danger of it will become more clear as time goes on.

This pilot may lose his job. I've seen the routine and can sympathize with him for finally refusing to take it any more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why Don't I get It?

Millions of people find facebook useful, and useable. I find it neither. Especially useable. If you decide you like something then you end up with that person or organizations quips all over your "wall". Some of them put more than I care to see. The whole thing is chaotic. I must be missing something.

It tells me what some person on ist liked about someone else who doesn't interest me. It's too much info.

I'm sure I am missing something, but I can only stand to be on that site a few minutes at a shot. Perhaps I am just anti-social. I don't know if what I see is what anyone who hits my page sees or not. I can't figure it out.

Since I only go there when I get email relating to someone I know there, I guess it is ok. But recently I received notification that claimed 2 photo tags. It said my friends were waiting on me. For what? I click the link and a page about finding friends, with links to yahoo and other suggested hunting grounds shows up. I am not trying to "find friends" there. Some people show hundreds or thousands of friends. I hardly believe those can really be friends. I get requests from strangers. Nothing of interest to me on their pages so screw them.

I know it and twitter are great pr venues which maybe I will one day want to use, but for now I can't even figure out facebook. By the time I need it maybe there will be another, more intuitive site that makes sense to me, like the old JS, or even this site. Unlikely. I'm glad I used an assumed name on facebook.

That guy who created it is a billionaire. Never in a million years would I figure a big chaotic pain like that would go over. I'm sure I am somehow missing the beauty of it. That sort of bothers me. If it is so easy for everyone else, why is it headache material to me?

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night; part xxi

The reason I put part xxi in the title is because I think I'll use the title again, and assumed I'd used it in the past. Too many Snoopy (Peanuts) cartoons back in the old days, before crack and XBox.

Anyway, what happened was I replied to a message regarding how I was doing with, "It was a dark and stormy night". I'm not sure what happened next, maybe a question about if that was the beginning of a book. I took it as a challenge to start with that and come up with a story.

So I did. No telling how many printed pages it is now. I haven't printed it.

We've got a guy posing as a panhandler spying on someone else, using an alias. There are desalination machines, bicycles, Little Eddie, a sneaky transplant from the company in Texas, a forklift fiasco, and what looks like a satisfying come-uppance.

We'll see what happens. At this point the main character may quit his assumed identity as he became rather comfortable panhandling under a pseudonym, sleeping in a tent and thinking of himself in the third person. But he can't exit that persona until the mission is accomplished, which it may be. If so, he's off on another adventure, as often befalls those whose lives are like a leaf in the wind--not predictable or purposeful. I try not to be too autobiographical, but it is amazing how things and people from your past and present can be reshaped to fit.

All chapter one consists of is the one line, "It was a dark and stormy night". Being set in SoCal, the eager reader quickly discovers it was dark and stormy somewhere else, but not here.

One thing I do little of is description. Maybe I should work on that, but I get tired of reading when someone spends a page detailing the color of sunlight on someone's shoe, or goes on about something like an apple when it has no purpose whatsoever. I mean if a character is a pompous bully, what more can you say? Seen one, you've seen em all. That is not really a serious statement, only sort of serious.

I'm pretty sure the scenes are feasible. All the action that depends on the laws of physics is pretty sound and realistic. Less extreme than my usual, like the time someone was beheaded by a flying CD of Ethel Merman tunes. In that case, just playing it at high volume would more likely do the trick. I was never a big fan of dear Ethel.

It is a dark and misty night. This makes two in a row. All day in the clouds and mist. A coyote howled. His colleague coyotes yipped and yapped, then fell silent. An owl, or what I think is an owl, keeps doing that howl hoot thing. It could be Indians or mountain men sneaking about communicating in that way. I've seen it done in movies, and Davy Crockett actually mentioned it in his book.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Too Old For This

There have been days lately which passed without any email check or online activity at all on my part. Not much was happening in real life either. But plenty going on internally. I was not much of a benefit to anyone I guess. No one around to benefit.

That damned cloud of sorrow that has chased me most of my life returned to taunt me. I've got no idea what it is about. Certainly not what got it started. But, over time, it has caused action and, more often, inaction, which resulted in feeding that creature so that there are now specific reasons for its existence. I'm fed up with it, and have been for some time. It saps energy on every level.

I guess few worthwhile things come without a fight of some kind or a bit of pain. So, may as well just go ahead whether the maudlin me has the energy to do it or not.

The one thing that I seem to be able to do, regardless, is play when I get together with my musical friends, the Copper Creek band. Often I am but a shell of myself, but when the music starts, I play. That is a small but fortunate reprieve.

The rest amounts to just doing what I don't want to do, and what seems physically as well as mentally painful. My stomach does flipflops whenever I begin to deal with the personal mess of tangibly organizing and sorting things. In there are keys to projects which would be of benefit if pursued.

I still hold to my view that one is best off if he falls in love, marries fairly young, soon has children, and dedicates himself to providing for his family financially, spiritually, and emotionally. Filter all through what best serves them. And be damned sure when you get married that you're both on the same page regarding kids. It is odd to discover after splitting up that she never wanted kids. Sure was a shocker to me. I used to openly express my wish for an odd number between five and nine, inclusive.
Although I'd settle for one or two if I had to. Too late now.

I've seen people who do all they can to discourage their kids from getting married before they are forty. Mostly, some women who married young for the wrong reasons tend to vicariously live through daughters in an unhealthy way. I said some so don't assume a blanket generality. But it seemed those to whom I refer want their daughters to sample all the sausage in the state before settling down. Must be a way to make up for what Mom thinks she missed.

*just to assure anyone who thinks I speak of them, that is doubtful. Don't know anyone lately who is in that boat. Maybe it is a southern thing.

Guess the grass is always greener. I'd have been better off and happier with a little less distribution of affection, and a lot more commitment to responsibility. Now I see no motive for much responsibility. Just the small drive which starting over against odds brings.

No one to blame but myself. The world is what it is. Blaming it does no good, that's for sure. Things are possible. The end.

In The Clouds

All day long Ballistic Mountain has been in the clouds. It is misty and water flows in the roof gutter as if it is raining. That is common here. If the cloud is at your elevation, there is nowhere for the rain to fall, so moisture just clings to things and rolls where it can.

The San Diego climate is definitely unique. At the coast it is perpetually springtime. Move a few miles east and it alternates between summer and spring for most of the year with occasional cold snaps. A cold snap there is rarely below freezing.

Go another 10 miles or so east toward my locale and you get into semi desert heat, semi mountainous cold. If we are lucky maybe we'll get real snow. It rarely gets into the 30's but it happens. Go down the hill and head west a few miles and it warms up.

Overall it is almost too perfect. If it is overcast for more than four or five hours it has the same gloomy influence on mood that long fall and winter sunshine deprivation has on people in the northwest and other northern areas. It only takes a little variation from perfect for people to get anxious over heat, cold or rain. To an outsider, it seems trivial at first, but something about the place causes those variations to have more impact than you would think. Why rain induces this land of tailgaters to follow even more closely, I haven't a clue.

So, now that I am a citizen of the land of fruits and nuts, this bit of gloomy weather has taken its toll. Why am I here? Will I ever come to grips with the things I regret in my life? Will I ever quit fighting depression and the lack of direction? Will I ever quit finding excuses to be alone? I'm not sure I can answer yes to any of those questions, and believe it. But, I probably should not give up.

I've removed myself from good opportunity in all those things time after time. I wonder why. Along the way, I think the idea that I had to avoid my true nature became ingrained. The truth is that I am, in part, a gregarious, social being. My life over the last many years, and on and off for most of the time has been rather isolated and solitary. Almost all of it through my own doing or neglect. It has again begun to wear thin.

The answer can only be one thing: become a gigolo. That would bring in income and provide a social life as well. Noting that there may not be much market for someone whose youth is only a memory tends to put a damper on the plan. I am thinking of targeting the deaf, dumb and blind--not meant in any politically incorrect sense, you understand. The problem is what medium to use in order to reach this market.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Apology for the Truth of Me

Much as I try, I cannot quell the passion that flares up anytime discussions involving how free a person should be come up, or come to my attention. Like things in the last post, things to do with the USA and the evolution of free states--which have never quite existed.

We were almost there, and as a result much of the world is not as oppressive, openly, as it once was. But in reality, the beast has merely changed form a bit.

I think that once the idea was out of the bag that everyone is born to be as free as he chooses as long as he doesn't impede the same right in others, there was no turning back. All the Che types, the Lenins, Stalins, Castros, Sean Penns, Bushs and Obamas can't permanently pervert the idea and kill it.

Look how long it took before people had some say in their own affairs instead of being under a monarch with all power. It has not been that long, and tax money still supports inbred family titles and privilege in some places.

Wasn't that long ago that my ancestors may have been slaves to the Romans. I'm hoping they were Druids and had some great fertility rite celebrations before being nabbed.

Maybe the point is progress. Another word which may have different connotations to different people. I consider anything that enhances one's realization of the ownership of his/her own life to be a move in the right direction. Such things are constructive progress. That is different than things which feed egos, give one life power over another or special dispensation based on condition of birth. You can't have universal rights and ego feeding, separatist favoritism. Either freedom is everyone's birthright, or it isn't.

It's expensive though because it does not mean you are guaranteed wealth, wit, wisdom or anything other than the right to choose what you want to pursue, if anything.

Sometimes in looking into matters and their history, it takes shutting down kneejerk reactions and trained-in loyalties in order to face and accept truth. Many things have been assigned associations which may not be valid. If you question Obama or don't care for his wife, you are racist. If you think our involvement in the mideast sucks, you are anti-defense, and unpatriotic. Those are not valid conclusions but that is how things get painted. And I get addicted to narrowing down what really makes sense in the evolution toward a free society, and what is a built in roadblock that has the appearance of something else.

Why can't I just be this interested in flowers or dogs or something? It would be far less controversial. But no. I have to carry on this imaginary freedom fighter dialog with no one in particular, half believing that free speech really is under attack and that a few wrong words do get people harassed, audited, arrested, etc

Another Biography Review:Ben Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Since I do not have cable or satellite or much else in the way of TV, I sometimes become addicted to reading books at the neglect of all else.

In my quest for biographies about people whose stories might offer me something of substance, I ended up with Davy Crocket and then Benjamin Franklin. Crockett was an autobiography for the most part. It seemed less inclined to have subtle undercurrents revealing what he wanted you to think.

Although the Franklin biography is fairly even handed in many ways, it is clear that Isaacson comes from a viewpoint which renders him almost apologetic in acknowledging basic, useful accomplishments when not accompanied by cynical snobbery. It is subtle and I doubt the average reader would realize when the tone switches from fact and information based on letters and statements from contemporaries to the author's voice gently prodding the reader to come to certain conclusions. It is very standard in modern reporting and in historical texts of recent issue.

It is as if you are shown a photograph of a pastoral scene which includes cows, sheep, and a farmer and his daughter- who are picking tomatoes, then told, "obviously the farmer is overly fond of sheep and the girl resents having to pick tomatoes rather than tip cows". You both have the same information but he owns the photo, so he must be right.

There is a lot of good info and the book is well enough written. The between the lines, "Sorry, but this guy really was remarkable. Wish I didn't have to admit it", gets a bit in the way. It was as if he was treading a line so that academics who despise the whole liberty thing wouldn't accuse him of being Glenn Beck or God knows what.

Like I said, it is all done with enough finesse that I doubt most people would pick that out.

One thing that was inaccurate and somewhat misleading was his use of the words populist, liberal, and conservative in describing various beliefs of the time, and relating them to modern day impressions such terms give. For one thing, I do not think populist was even a term back then. In that day, conservative was Loyalist and all for mega government control, while liberal was freedom based and pretty much anti-authoritarian. Also, those terms may mean something different to me. He is subtly reinforcing what he wants the reader to think of the modern day categories. Very clever.

The terms have other meanings than they did back then. Today those who call themselves liberal tend to want a large central government which handles most aspects of life. Conservative, ideally would want less government (however most who class themselves as conservative tend to be unwilling to pull government out of some areas). Today the terms are not as meaningful as some espouse. But why split hairs. I would consider myself conservative if it was understood to mean fewer laws, legalize freedom, minimize government, and leave people alone even if you think they are wrong--ie: abortion.

Unfortunately it doesn't work that way, so I say Libertarian, or not quite anarchist.

Franklin started from almost zilch and managed to make great success in many realms. He was a successful printer/publisher/businessman, a renowned essayist/writer, extremely influential scientist and inventor, plus one of the savviest diplomats of all time.

In some ways I consider him a bit too much of a big government guy, but those people were living in a day when it was a big deal that you could even break the caste of your birth. That was a thing the colonies offered more than England and that helped lead to the nervy break and revolution.

It does help to get good information regarding that period because you otherwise have no idea how things happened, where the people deserve admiration and where they missed the mark. It certainly gives a better picture than the disparaging one which has been promoted in the last few decades. And a clearer one than the fairy tale nature which missed the point in earlier decades. Many a hardcore patriot who deems himself a constitutionalist may have no idea that the pledge of allegiance was not part of the deal until much later. I personally think it was a mistake, not a view I always held. Most everyone lost sight of the fact that many who framed the nations constitution were concerned that even under that document government could grow from useful to tyrannical. And it did.

Toward the end of the book, Isaacson quotes and offers opinions in a way that seduces you to think he's stating fact until you step back. How the hell do they know what Franklin would think of an office park or a mall? The effort was to imply that Franklin would have thought the modern version of the republic is just what the doctor ordered, and that he'd be all for this mammoth tangle of corruption lies and heavy handed control. I am unconvinced.

____==a little aside: people often blame Ben for daylight savings time. He's not guilty. He often wrote mock essays which were jokes and satire. In one of those he suggested the people of some country get up earlier to save on candles. He was actually joking. Who knew we'd be doing it seriously, and making laws about it? And have some hollywood people seriously, in public, going on and on about using less toilet paper?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Beef With the Constitution?

It did not limit federal powers or state powers enough.
Simple as that.
But the fact that anyone set up a country based on a document designed to limit the authority of the state was a damned good thing, and a first as far as I know---the state's existence was a privilege granted by the people rather than the other way around.

Who messed with it and got the tables turned, and why?

If So Many People Weren't Incapable of Reason, Would I still Feel Smart?

Or would I just find civilization a less frustrating place?

Being able to reason and being smart are actually only partially overlapping sets. There are very smart people who do things which are not very useful in the long run. Many of them like to do things with goods, services, and money that are not theirs or voluntarily given.

In the long run, that is a detriment to all as it causes conflict, pain, and ups the cost of living directly and indirectly. That is what a lot of people can't figure out. When you take time, labor or property from others at point of gun, it is a bad thing. Some may even consider it immoral.

Populations which orchestrate or acquiesce to their own enslavement in various forms are quite common, and that can't be good. Can it? According to all kinds of very well spoken, intellectual, and affectedly rational people, it is good.

Is it possible that a thing is wrong or an erroneously reasoned idea if thousands believe it and only one or two don't?

The arrogant title implies that I am capable of proper reasoning. That is not always true, so I thought I should admit it.


Sometimes, as I drive toward home from either Descanso or Alpine, a vista will appear as I round a curve or crest a hill that knocks all the anxiety, fear and pessimism right out of me for a least a few minutes. I think it is the sudden nature of the scene. View is just right and you hit it at the perfect time of day, whamo.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Uh Oh. Looks Like I Will Have To Visit NH

Through one site or another I found myself transported to a thing called

It appears some very strange things are going on in and about Keene, new Hampshire. Even some of their cops are involved. From what I read, so far, people who think government is ruling by force have located themselves in the region. They pretty much don't cooperate with things they deem out of line. They are peaceful but annoy the hell out of feds, tax people and anyone who uses force to restrict behavior in the form of victimless "crimes" and the like.

They encourage non state controlled education and even contribute funds toward such things, to help families afford it. They also run around town and drop money in parking meters if it looks like someone is running out of time---so that the person won't be fined. I've done that myself when the spirit hit me, and I had a quarter. It was worth the money to prevent the ticket, even to a stranger.

It sounds like a lot of these people somehow went from thinking government was the big answer to seeing it for what it is, force.

In any case, it sounds like, and looks like, a fun place. I'm not sure I wouldn't do well there. At this moment, I sure am curious to visit. Too bad it is in the northeast, in yankeeland. But, I figure you get into some of those areas and maybe it is OK. Can't say I've ever been drawn to Connecticut or Mass, but maybe I am wrong. Doubt it. This enclave appears to be a different culture, though not too far from Boston and all that. Alpine is not that far from Los Angeles but the place is like a different country, so there you have it.

Anyway, it is interesting to see people who are not hateful or violent beginning to realize that freedom may be a good thing, and that it is becoming a rather elusive condition.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

San Diego--home to the oddest sports teams in the nation

Both my teams, the SD Chargers and SD State Aztecs, have mastered the art of letting lesser teams win, even while outplaying and out-classing the crummy opponent. It must be something to do with geography and the never ending springtime weather.

I can't figure it out. The Chargers have a QB who has all the qualities of a guy who can win against odds. Besides his obvious skill, he has heart. I hope he doesn't go the way of Dan Marino; tacking up great stats but never winning the big one. I'm not sure Marino even made it to the Super Bowl.

The difference in Marino and Rivers is that Phil is a product of NC, a southern boy from a worthy state, and he does not rag on his team every time a pass fails to complete. He should be winning. But you can't do it when you get 2 punts blocked in one game, and fumble 3 times, even though I still maintain the last one was an incomplete pass--arm in motion. Makes me wonder if the NFL hasn't been taken over by fixers and hoodlums.

I've never lived anywhere where the teams managed to lose as many games that they are winning in every way but the final score. It is very strange and typical of a Chargers or Aztec game. I think they must be drugged by evil doers before certain games.

In the past I had favorites who lost the old fashioned way--they just weren't that good. These guys lose in new and creative ways to lousy teams. It's crazy.

Fortunately I do not get too excited or upset. After all, the guys on the team are the ones making big bucks. Losing sleep and self flagellation is their job. That's what they get paid for, caring whether they win or lose. Just a game but one that only the best of the best ever get to play at this level, and one that should offer a shred of inspiration--I stop short of suggesting they are, or should be, role models. For one thing, many get into lots of trouble, seem to have no known first language, and many of them act like arrogant idiots every time they do their job well. I miss the Larry Czonka approach. In the main, I would not hold these people up as role models for a son.

I think the idea of bigger than life celebrity role models is flawed anyway. Let your kid strive to be a creative engineer or an honest person who carries honor into any endeavor. Fame is usually a false goal and that path leads to mayhem and disappointment. If one becomes rich and famous, fine, but let the role model involve principles regarding behavior and character, or some such.

So, how do we break this San Diego sport team syndrome? Maybe I'll have to step up and take over the management of these organizations. It may be their best option, however I am not saying I am or am not available for such a project.

All Quiet On The North of Here Front (OMG another rant?)

Since the house manager is in the Indian Ocean or somewhere on the other side of earth, I have been designated as the guy to call if anything goes wrong or if the guests staying at the resort house have any issues. So far no problems.

Perhaps since they have a security contingent and the clout of high level DC stuff behind them, an anonymous rebel like me is not something they need. Of course, I don't think they know I am the sort that homeland security frowns upon; you know, a guy who questions the wisdom of not holding to early Constitutional limits, who suggests eliminating the IRS in favor of something less oppressive, all that. I'm still amazed that calling one's self a "Constitutionalist" is considered threatening in a country that allegedly is guided by such a body of law. Not sure that is what I call myself as I think the document doesn't limit governmental power enough.

Be that as it may. There can be no doubt that I relish in the peculiar circumstance. Here I am doing ace work for someone who helps put people in power whom I wouldn't hire to do basic labor if I owned a landscape business. Unlike a lot of people, I do not have overwhelming personal dislike for most of those people. I just don't like their philosophy and find their tendency to sell their souls a bit disheartening. One on one, many of those people would be OK. I doubt I'd find that Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer are fun to be around, but I doubt they'd enjoy me, so there you go.

I miss the days when I had Ted Kennedy to kick around. Having known people who'd brushed shoulders with him or lived in his Palm Beach 'hood, I'm sure I'd not have enjoyed his friendship, so I felt fine with personal cheap shots. Easy prey.

Avoiding personal attack and stupid cheap shots is the best course. Unfortunately, I often hear people who seem to oppose policies which I oppose ranting on about complete trivia and getting personal. That hurts the substance of the point. The big problem is that the choices for replacing people that I think are trouble are often not that great.

The cleverest thing I heard lately was pulled by Jerry "MoonBeam" Brown's campaign. Supposedly he left a voice mail then didn't know he had not hung up. OK. Stop right there. These days people rarely have such an issue if they are not driving or smashed out of their minds. The "unintended" stuff goes on with Jerry and aids discussing how he is unwilling to compromise his principles regarding some pension, and how Meg, his opponent, is likely to jump at the chance to pick up their support. His aid says, "she's a whore", and they go yea. Then someone says, "you should tell them". Yea, we should use that.

Now, c'mon. It is being spun by Meg supporters as "Oh, Jerry Brown called Meg a whore. This is an insult to women everywhere." Give me a break. It was obviously used in the sense that politicians who trade influence for votes are whores. Had nothing to do with whore as woman selling sex. This is one of those cases where the Brown opponents jump on a bs thing and pretend it is other than what it was. The big joke is that I think they played right into his hands. They are playing the sound bites and then ranting, but it makes Jerry look all concerned that an unprincipled opponent will use his stout character and integrity against him. Talk about a rope-a-dope maneuver.

So, once again, people who oppose what I oppose (maybe for different reasons) act like fools and give thoughtful dissenters a bad name and image. They hurt the cause. Not that I am all that trusting of Meg. I just think Brown is a gentle version of Castro or Chavez. He believes in more government function, not less. Simple as that. And his past policies indicate a willingness to interfere with personal mobility for the greener good, etc., which I believe to be a trap and not the way to do those things. But what do we focus on? Jerry said "whore". Or his aid did and Jer did not object. In a country that has little kids on TV talking about kicking ass and any number of other borderline uses of language, I find outrage like this to be purely phony and opportunistic. And it backfires. They are doing nothing but helping the people I believe don't need to be in power.

That has little to do with the guests at Mr Big's house----as far as you know...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Davy Crockett

Lately I have been in the mood to read a biography. When I checked the bio section at the used book store it was rather slim pickings. All they had was movie star hype or books about political figures I'm already more familiar with than my stomach can stand.

So, I stepped into the little Descanso branch of the SD county library system. There I spotted a book titled, "Davy Crockett's Own Story, as written by himself". Who knew Davy wrote, or even considered such things?

There is dispute about whether he actually wrote it or had others do it for him. I tend to agree with whoever wrote the notes in the book: it is likely the majority is authentic Davy, with possible grammar and spelling help from others, which Davy suggests is the case in the book. They have excerpts from speeches he made and the style is somewhat distinct. Also, it seems a very introspective sort of thing, in a Davy sort of way.

The biggest surprise to me was that Crockett was a representative in Congress more than once. He was heavily interested in the events of the day. He didn't start out so much on top of that, but after being elected he learned. He supported Jackson's run for president, but once Andy was in office Davy was appalled at what he considered the overstepping, power grabbing and disregard for the Constitution and public funds.

He rants about Jackson throughout the book. He'll be telling the story of a bear hunt and compare some event to the behavior of Congress or "the Government" (a nickname for Jackson, implying Andy considered himself above the law). All that, I found unexpected.

I expected heroics beginning at age 3, and homespun BS thereafter. Instead you get the story of a guy who at times seemed to struggle to keep from getting a swelled head from fame (he was the equivalent of a rock star in that day) and a man who was very broadminded and quick on the uptake.

His chronicle involving a trip throughout New England was particularly interesting. He was impressed with the factories and praised the people, their ingenuity, drive, hospitality and manner. Hardly what one might expect from a Tennessee back woods hick. He paid very close attention in the factories to see how things were done and how the workers seemed to view their lot, etc.

Other than to bears, he appears to have been kind and generous, even giving some of his opponents the benefit of the doubt. He was a consummate campaigner. It is funny how he admitted he knew little about the issues, especially the first time, but by making jokes and treating everyone to a drink, he did very well. He also like to remain noncommittal whenever in doubt on the campaign trail. A word he used more than once in describing his approach.

His reasons for going to Texas were because he felt the US government had become too corrupt--he thought an election was unfairly and crookedly stolen from him by Jackson/Van Buren people---and he felt like the Texas cause was one of freedom. I think he knew he was risking it all even before they figured out Santa Ana had huge numbers headed their way.

He also explains some background which makes the assertion that Texas was greedily stolen from Mexico a bit questionable. Today many forget that Texas gained its independence as a republic before becoming a state. To some extent I think he felt let down and unappreciated after some political dirty tricks left him high and dry and somewhat smeared in the press. I think the smear actually was devious and unfounded. You can get a sense of these things, even hearing one side. (I can spot a lopsided documentary even when slickly edited).

People actually did talk in terms of live free or die, liberty and all that. You get a little bit of a better more rounded picture of how this place developed, who made it happen, and who caused trouble through books like this and the one I read about John McLaughlin in the Northwest. It doesn't sugar coat things but it gives a little more credit than the way these people have recently been painted.

The amount of moving from place to place and traveling some of those people did is surprising considering that much was on foot or horse/mule and cart. And by boat.

I don't think Davy was much like the old TV series. Maybe a little. But not a lot. Another of those surprises.

Next, I'd like to read a good bio on Genghis Khan or Attila the Hun. Most likely, neither of them graced us with an autobiography or comprehensive book of memoirs.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Glad My Utilities Are Included; and else

Not long ago, a friend challenged me to decipher her bill from SDGE, the same people railroading the Sunrise Power Link. The way the bill works is that they dictate a base level of usage for the month; an amount so low that using a fan in hot weather jumps you to the next tier.

Once at that level the rate goes up, but not just for the additional usage. The tier one amount then also goes up. The next jump is the same. So, in the end, you pay triple for the minimal usage and all else. It is almost impossible to follow the calculations. All you know is that you pay a bundle for very basic service. You're lucky if it doesn't get into tier three while on vacation, just from the refrigerator and maybe a lamp or two on a timer. Another scam sanctioned by California's utility board--I forgot their exact title and the requisite initials.

Now they are installing "smart meters". What these do is decide that at any moment in time you are using an amount above the arbitrary level, especially at peak times. You are charged the high rate for those moments. It's like paying triple for a gallon of gas because you bought it at the wrong time, even if that one gallon is all you used.

It sounds as if this is to counteract the troubles encountered by a system running at maximum capacity to avoid outages during times when demand exceeds available supply. In the case of SDGE, and San Diego county, they are running a surplus and are not stretched to capacity. The draconian measures have no purpose other than bilking the public while telling them it is for their own good.

Sine the 70's I have been a proponent of removing one's self from dependence upon public utilities whenever possible. It has been quite difficult as, in many cases, it has been illegal to do so. Often when an unincorporated area was annexed by a city, for example, people who already had their own wells were required to hook into the city water system, regardless of need or desire. Their water and sewage were perfectly safe and causing no problem, but that did not matter. In other cases it was forbidden to produce your own electricity.

Solar is still too expensive for most people to afford. In this climate it can power a home. Of course the power company still wants to be tied in and sings the praises of how wonderful it is to see your meter run backwards (although the digital nature of a smart meter probably offers no visible evidence of this). Yippee, you may even get money back. Cash that $4.00 check and how lovely it is. I'd suggest that anyone who can fit their home with systems to produce their own power remove all connection to the utility. There is no way they will relinquish control that will adversely affect you down the road.

Of course this is all cloaked in green wrapping, yet it has little to do with that. Especially considering the environmental nightmare their power link represents, and the disregard for East county communities and property rights, not to mention fire hazards.

I pay the landlord a set amount per month and do my best to ensure minimal usage so their cost is as low as possible. I use a lamp that draws about 23 watts. One of those squiggly bulbs that replaces a 60 watt incandescent. I avoid using the track lights by the kitchen that use about 300 watts. Those are very bright bulbs.

These smart meters and other schemes by SDGE are an assault on the less financially sound people and serve to raise the cost of life around here. Too bad. It is another situation which is foisted on the public who generally go along or think it is all for the greater good. So many such attacks have been launched against normal people that there is no way to list them them all. None of this ought to be possible in a free country of civilized beings.

So, once again, I see the value in my under achievement. Lack of ownership, and lack of wealth have become more a relief than a source of self admonishment. Not that I enjoy self loathing, but it is pretty sick when you realize you dodge bullets through lack of initiative and substance. Excellence is punished while apathy and lack of drive are rewarded. And that is a relative benefit to me.

How crazy is that? I would much rather see it work as it should, where one can be the keeper of the fruits of his labors and where success is not vilified and reason for harassment. The USA has been gutted from within through faulty education, flawed philosophy being drummed into us through media, film, institutions of alleged learning and general use of herd instinct and manufactured peer pressure. Most of this has been accomplished by money taken from private enterprise then distributed by government; often back to private enterprises who play ball, call the shots and manage to filter a little of that back to the officials who robbed us in the first place.

The best joke of all is that those who dare to object are now called radical right wingers and potential threats to national security. The biggest threat to national security is the government itself; agencies like Homeland security and the IRS, among others. Those groups pose far more threat to life and liberty than do people who want a peaceful, honest society in which free trade and individual autonomy are treated as absolute rights rather than privileges granted on the whim and at the pleasure of an autocratic government.

It is not true capitalism that has given rise to such corporate pirates as SDGE/Sempra and others. It is a government who has overstepped its proper functions, which in turn allows it to be of great use and complicity in furthering the aims of some enterprises while hindering others.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Long Lonesome Highway (of Mexican Saltillo) Tips for those who do the work Americans won't do

I'm not too sure what these pictures show. If I had a better photo device, the difference would be clear.

The hallway is a big U shape. These show the bottom of the U, from the middle looking right and left. The one with the masking has been stripped up to the row of more orange looking tiles. Then I started at the other end and worked my way back to the center, after masking it all and masking the right hand leg of the U as well. The left hand part includes a larger foyer/entryway which was already completed. There's a double door in the middle of the bottom of the U which opens to the pool patio/courtyard. I use that to take out the buckets of dirty water and bring in fresh.

Finally, after using a rag to spread the stripper, a buff pad to scrub, 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper more on some than others, scrub again, go over with rag again, then sponge off, and sponge with clean water, I moved 3 tiles down and did the next three rows. Occasionally I had to scrape off bits of paint and mortar with a pocket knife. That's how I roll. It makes for least risk to nearby carpet or wood, and gets the job done for the result they want.

I also came back, after stripping half way down the hall, with a regular clean water mop. Finally, when it all had two to three days to dry, I put two coats of sealer on. In this situation I found applying with a rag the best bet. I tried mop and sponge mop but you can't get edges well without making trouble and keeping it even with no puddling.

Thanks again to the memory foam platform I made, knees did not suffer. Applying the sealer is child's play compared to the rest. It's surprising how long masking can take, and I'm pretty quick with that. It is definitely worth doing, though. Every once in awhile an errant move sends stuff flying and the paper catches it.

In real life you can tell the difference. They do not want a high gloss finish so keeping it toned down and using the lowest gloss the sell is necessary. But that makes less contrast on the before and after. Even so, it is much better. I doubt it would have been easy to get anyone else to do this as effectively without collateral damage. Especially doing it so it looks the way they specified.

So, it is now done, everything put back in place and the tons of masking paper rolled into big balls and disposed of in environmentally friendly recycle bins.

Don't think I missed the chance to make use of the spa late at night. Once again I neglected to bring the swimsuit. It may be the main thing that accelerated the recovery of strained muscles; the ones which haven't been used in ten years or so.

Unfortunately a mouse tried to avail itself of the spa earlier in the day. I guess it was not a good swimmer. I was too late to rescue it. (as if I would have). This time there was no burial or ritual funeral pyre. I used the rubber gloves and picked it up by the tail, flinging it far out into the backyard area, somewhere near the property line fence. If not over it. Who knows.

I see no upcoming projects of any consequence, and I could not charge more hours than I thought the job was worth. No telling what actual hours were. I'm so not in tune with the hourly wage concept. If I loaf for half the hour, I cannot charge it. Will not. This is why I need to embark upon the sort of thing that pays in a different way. Like a copyright on music or a book, or rights to a design. Not quite sure. If I had the patience to figure out investment, and a little money, I'd do that. But you have to really know what you are up to to achieve success. Some people do, but investment juggling is not for the ignorant.

I'm as proud of doing a good job on a project like this as I was of design jobs in other fields which had more money and prestige. The plan worked, and the result was good. And it was done fairly, honestly, and involved completely voluntary trade on both sides. If I had done this for a city building I would feel less at peace about it.

If it were a taxpayer situation, I'd have questioned the necessity and suggested another way of preserving the floor which may have been less aesthetically pleasing but adequate. Or suggested they use the money to arm decent citizens in gang neighborhoods and declare open season on punks.

It's a great day out here in East SD county. Fog so thick you can drink it. The sound of rain running through the gutter on the cottage, but almost no rain falling. In the clouds and it is in the 60's or lower.

The biggest relief that came out of this project is finding that I can still get stronger. I can work and strain things, be sore, then have my body recover and adapt. With people around telling me maybe I'm just old, blablabla whenever a job kicks my ass, it is good to feel the strengthening process take effect. It means they are just idiots who buy into what they hear, like sheep. I know I am not 20. I also have gone through this many times because I've gone from hard labor to sedentary jobs and lifestyle and back again several times. Always I get totally achy and sore, wondering if I can do it. Then I adapt.

One day I may not be able to do that. Not yet. I'm not able to afford the normal luxury of deciding I'm too old to do these things. It is not an option. I have no pension or automatic income.

I've known people who started in about being too old since I was 35. My hardest labor jobs came about long after that. Some of them I would not care to repeat, but at the time they were what I had to do to make the rent.

The goal now is neither to get too concerned about fitting the prescribed lifestyle laid out by age, nor to settle for always doing menial back tiring work. The goal is to get paid for something more creative and fun.

extra tip: acrylic sealer may seem friendly, but use rubber gloves. If you don't you find your hands will be sealed like reptile skin.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I Was on TV

Geez. That anti-Powerlink gathering made the TV news. Our guitar player/singer (one of them) has it on his computer. I missed the broadcast but he didn't and he has it recorded.

There I am, with the band. They don't show me long and did good for splicing two second scenes. Of course it ended up being as much about the politician who hijacked the thing, making it look like he is leading the entire effort, (which involved people researching, meeting with that official and this crook, and organizing and doing tons of stuff). Obviously, he only showed up then played big cheese. He doesn't even have facts straight and he makes up statistics and all sorts of facts.

A lady named Laura spearheaded all the aforementioned work, along with her husband and some others. She would probably be considered the actual leader of the effort. Not one you want to challenge to a battle of wits. She is the face you want on this. She just let him do his thing, and maybe supports his campaign. Who knows. Maybe she just felt fighting for control would be stupid.

Either way it got air time. If I did not know the facts, and saw the broadecast, I'd have thought "helluva harp player, bet he gets all the chicks. What's with this group of wackos. Must be more enviro nazis out to kill business and be a pain."

Too bad, because, whether for right reasons or not, the wackos who embrace it are right. As well as the non wackos. This is not a democrat or republican thing, if you allow that each may oppose sneaky theft and pillage. (I understand that both are willing to let you get abused by government for "the greater good", but they usually agree stealing and lying are bad.) It will raise power bills. It will not benefit this county at all. It is a huge fire hazard and it will kill businesses and communities in its wake.

And here it looks like I am, through guilt by association, a fan of Ray Lutz and his big government solutions. He's hard to hate because he is goofy and unphased, but I do not and would not support his candidacy. Probably not a fan of the other people in the race either. The Libertarian is closer, philosophically, but he has zero skills in the art of persuasion, or even keeping an audience awake for 3 minutes.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Didn't Kill Me and I feel Stronger

Finally, the long stretch of saltillo is stripped, mopped and waiting for the sealer. That part is easy. Getting it to this point was not so easy.

During the week I had to hit the southern coast to help some friends move. I'd agreed to do it and felt honor bound to keep my word. As luck would have it they had some pieces of memory foam they had to trim off so the big piece would fit their bed. I was asked if I wanted it and almost refused. I'm glad I didn't.

This stuff is thick, at least 4". One piece was a long strip, maybe 5 ft or so, less than a foot wide. I folded it over, in two, taped the ends somewhat tightly to keep it acting like a unit. I then used that as the kneeling surface, tossing the knee pads aside. Unbelievable. This is absolutely the way to go. The rest of the work went faster and with relatively no knee strain or pain. It made the wild moving effort worth the near death experience.

So, there's another tip. Get some fat memory foam, double it, tape it tight about a quarter of the way in from each end and you are good to go for any tile work or other floor stuff that demands you be down there where the action is. I've seen people use other types of foam in slabs and such, but I've never tried anything as good as this. It doesn't get in the way or make trouble either. Is it washable? I don't know. We'll find out.

I figure it is like a sponge, hose it off, squeeze it out, and let it dry in the sun

I still think the Tile Labs brand stripper/cleaner from Home depot is the way to go if you don't want monumental fumes and are willing to scrub as you go to save time. So far I am pleased with the job.

G1, the Memphis guitar player with whom I had much conflict in distant days past, has been in contact. Strange thing, just recently I was reflecting on the fact that I could have avoided much of the discord and unpleasantness all that caused in my life. I actually owe the guy a lot and regardless of things that did not sit well with me, I'd rather be a friend than not. Just have to accept that some people have limits on how you trust and communicate. I expect I am not the only one who changes nuances in outlook over the years, but who knows.

Anyway, today I got a box with some copies of CDs I'd played on back in Memphis. Sent by G1 since I informed him I've given away my last copies of these things. This time I'll let people have burned copies but I'll keep the originals. Some of that stuff is not bad. I can tell where I have changed and where I think my playing has improved. Although there are moments on these Cds which seem about the best I could do at that particular spot. It is as much what you play in a give interval as it is anything else. You can be the fanciest virtuoso ever and the guy who knows what to put where is going to outshine you. In my book anyway.

And My Book is just full of such things. St Anthony found my phone for me today, and my glasses yesterday. Don't tell me the patron saint of lost causes and things ain't real. I refuse to even consider such a thing.

Listening to the recordings caused me to realize just how much I learned during the Memphis experience and from the current music group. I am far more confident and maybe competent than ever. Grudgingly I have to admit, I learned a great deal from G1, and he is a good guitar player.

Heard the original drummer is now playing with an offshoot of the old band and that makes me happy. His parting with the group was not done well. I was opposed but not in the place of power. It is complicated but comes down to; you keep your word with people or you don't. Some didn't. My problem is that I liked all the drummers and such that played. I had issues with other matters and sometimes it wasn't worth it;.

By the way: dear neo klansmen and others who somehow tie Christianity into neo anti semitism and such. Jesus was a friggin Jew. So were his parents, his friends, and if he had a dog-- his dog, too. So what sense does it make to blame Jews for tackin the boy up? Romans did the deed and now they're in the thick of the whole Church thing. I'm sorry but your logic don't gel.

That's all we need, more people declaring holy war. Fortunately not many Christians are on board with it, and nothing in their Book condones it, as far as I know. Although the Bible is a bloody book, when everyone's not having sex.
Got to quit reading the comments when someone directs me to a youtube video. You get the most sickly unrelated garbage in comments there.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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