I like to be by myself, even if I have to be surrounded by other people to do so.Â What I really want, is no human voices directed at me.Â What I really want is no expectations of me, noone awaiting a response.Â I like to be free to think, without having to involve anyone elseâ€™s words; without those words asserting themselves into my stream of thought, as if they are entitled to be there.
Sometimes I like to be alone…
I like to be isolated, unsure of my surroundings, and unsettled, even if I have to be bundled up under my blankets to do so.Â What I really want is no allegations of security.Â What I really want is no prefabricated mental fortifications, assuring me my place in the world is being defended.Â I want to be free to have my own doubts and questions and fears, without having to involve anyone elseâ€™s insecurities; without having those insecurities asserting themselves into my consciousness, as if they are entitled to be there.
Sometimes I like to be alone…
I like to have my own unique opinions, even if that requires me to surround myself with like minded people.Â What I really want is no one assuming they know where I am coming from.Â What I really want is no conclusions being jumped to, noone speaking for me.Â I want to feel creative and mentally resourceful, without having to involve anyone else for validation; without having those validations asserting themselves into my artistic soul, as if they are entitled to be there.
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails
and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back
of the fence.The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next
few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily
gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to
drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the ! day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence He said, “You
have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be
the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put
a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say “I’m
sorry”, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.
Yeah, its long I know… sorry. However, it was good enough that I felt the need to repeat it. Don’t worry, I don’t do this sort of thing often
The question I keep hearing asked is this â€œwhat should we do about the oil crisisâ€, which is, of course, secret code for â€œwhat should someone else do about the price Iâ€™m paying for a gallon of gas.â€ If you look at things from an objective standpoint, there is nothing to be done about the â€œoil crisis.â€ Bottom line, in a few years (relative to the span of mans existence),say 50 to 100, based on current consumption , there will not be any oil… crisis over.
Only, not really. In reality, that is when we will actually have a crisis. Right now, we have an inconvenience, not fun, but not a crisis. A crisis is a tsunami ripping through the Indian Ocean and taking thousands of lives with it… and having no way to transport aide across the globe to people subsequently without food or water killing tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands more. A crisis is a massive earthquake tearing apart inner China… and having no gas/petrol to drive rescue workers and medical equipment to the area, again costing untold numbers of further casualties. That is the reality (AKA crisis) our grandchildren face.
Why? Because we are burning through this natural resource like it was renewable. To be fair, it is renewable… all we need is about million years and we are back in business. Well, we are in business for a year. Thatâ€™s right, every year we use over a million years worth of carbon (stored solar energy). Once it is all used, it takes another million years to make the same about we typically use each year. Thatâ€™s a long time to wait for the next episode of â€œDancing with the Starsâ€.
So, what crucial functions are our oil reserves sustaining today. I took my question to the street (so to speak) and did a survey. Here are some of the responses:
â€œI last drove my daughter back to school after having her home for lunch.â€
â€œTo the grocery store to get bread for dinnerâ€
â€œSeriously, the last trip in my car was to the gas station for an $80 fill-up.â€ (Two other people replied â€œto get gasâ€)
â€œTo [or from] workâ€ (six people gave me that response)
â€œTo grab a bite to eatâ€
â€œTo the bank to make a depositâ€
â€œ16 miles to a job interviewâ€
â€œabout an hour away, for social engagementâ€
â€œTo the dentistâ€
You get the idea. While â€œimportantâ€ to these people individually, and certainly not awful acts of waste, none of these uses are quite on par with delivering food or medical supplies to natural disaster victims. In the four quadrants that comprise the Eisenhower Method of time management, or prioritization, these are all, at best, quadrant II and most often quadrant IV items.
I am just as guilty. My last three times behind the wheel of my car were as follows:
Met the rest of the family (in separate car) at a movie
Ran to work over the weekend
Drove to work this morning
So where does this leave us, getting back to the original question. â€œWhat are we going to do about the oil crisis.â€ Here is my answer (assume the upright and booing position):
Jack the price of a gallon of gas through the roof. Tax the hell out of it, mark it up to beat the band, and put all of that money into alternative energy research and mass transportation (preferably running on some sort of renewable electric power). Iâ€™d like to see gas top $10, maybe $15 bucks a gallon very soon, eventually $25, or whatever it takes to drive people out of their cars and into mass transportation.
At some point, it will not longer be convenient to meet the family at the movies in two cars, run to the office on the weekend (or at all????), or drive somewhere to grab lunch, because it will be too expensive to do so. Iâ€™m getting to the point where I no longer think that will be a bad day. Because we are dealing with a dwindling supply and an ever increasing demand, it *IS* going to happen one way or another. Iâ€™m simply advocating doing it pro-actively and getting some needed capital for alternative transportation and energy research out of the deal; while simultaneously extending the life expectancy of the existing resources.
It will be a royal pain in my spoiled entitled arse, but, when push comes to shove, Iâ€™d rather there be a little gas left for whatever mother nature throws at us in 2155. Oh yeah… and its better for the environment we need for our survival… that too.
If you have a better solution to the oil crisis (read: the ever dwindling supply of the resource) as opposed to the â€œoil crisisâ€ (read: the cost of a gallon of gas) please leave comments… Iâ€™d love to be able to continue running to the store at 10:00pm to satisfy my cravingâ€™s!! Until I hear something else though… I think perhaps Iâ€™ll walk (you didnâ€™t seriously think I was giving up my raspberry sorbet did you????)
It was asked today, by a friend of mine from Twitter, “How are you remembering our heros this Memorial weekend?” Iâ€™m glad she used the word “remembering” rather than “celebrating”, as I do not celebrate Memorial day, but I do take time to remember, and respect.
The short answer, which can be found on the comments of her blog post includes things like taking walks through military grave sites. There is nothing quite like row after row of plain white headstones to bring the stark and brutally indiscriminate nature of war quickly to mind.
What I did not include in those comments was the attention I try to pay to the original context of the holiday. Like Mothers day (although to a far lesser degree) Memorial day has taken on a new meaning over the years. What many do not know is that both Memorial day and Mothers day (in the United States) were born of the Civil war. Memorial day as a tribute for fallen Union soldiers (thatâ€™s right, in the beginning, Memorial day did not apply to the fallen sons of the South), and Mothers day as an attempt by social activist Julie Ward Howe to unite woman against war. Howeâ€™s efforts failed, but when Mothers day became an official holiday (partially due to the efforts of Ann and Anna Jarvis) it was “a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.” So even at that point, it was a holiday substantively about war.
Clearly things have changed. Mothers Day has become a largely retail holiday, with very few ties to its original roots. Memorial Day has become one of the largest travel holidays in our country, and for those who do stay home, the unofficial start of the BBQ season (or Indy 500 weekend).
Tomorrow morning, despite my deep loathing for war and all of its tenants, I will take some time to pay my respects to those who have given of themselves for what they believed in. I may not have supported the causes and missions for which they gave their lives, but I do respect those who have given so completely of themselves when, as they say, “push came to shove”.
By the way, if you did not check out the link above, do look at this one. It is kind of embarrassing, as a guy, how many of the movements to stop war or support those stuck in the trenches of war, come from women. It never ceases to amaze me how much more compassion women have than men, in general. In the spirit of Howe, Ann Jarvis, and others, eMailourMilitary is a project led by a woman doing positive constructive things related to a negative destructive activity. Itâ€™s worth a bit of your time to check out… especially over Memorial Day weekend.
The other night I was sitting around with some people I know and the conversation turned to the price of gas. The conversation quickly turned into a Arab bashing session, followed by a big oil bashing session. I made a few enemies by pointing out that if we were in England weâ€™d be paying three times what we are paying now. I made more by arguing against that idea that we need to go into the oil producing nations (especially the ones we are already militarily occupying) and take what we need. My argument, â€œthese are not our resources people, just like our grain, corn and wheat are not theirs, we donâ€™t get to just take them because we built our society around the convenience they provideâ€, did not set well with my fellow contrarianâ€™s.
Because I did not feel I had angered enough people in the room already, I made the point that it was largely the fault of us, the people sitting in that room, that gas costs what it does. Its called supply and demand folks, and as long as we continue to demand, the people with the supply get to keep raising the price. This is one of the prime tenants the free enterprise capitalism that we are so proud to be holding up as an example to the rest of the world.
If you want the price of gas to go down, stop wasting it. Stop putting it in a cool Tahoe or Hummer that gets less than 15 miles per gallon (or is it gallons per mile) and start filling up a Geo Metro, or even better a Prius. Youâ€™d be amazed how much your gas bill will go down if you used one third the gas.
If you want the price of gas to go down, stop going through drive thruâ€™s. Well over half of the $200+ billion fast food industryâ€™s food is purchased at the drive thru. The average wait time in a drive through in 2007, nationwide, was 3 1/3 minutes (3 min 20.9 seconds to be exact). According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers a car idling without air conditioning uses 1/3 of a gallon of gas per hour (if the AC is on, like in summer months when the majority of drive thru business is conducted, it is Â½ a gallon per hour). This gas is wasted, completely, as you are getting zero miles per gallon. Americans use 2 billion gallons of gas idling each year. Let me repeat that, 2 billion gallons, thatâ€™s $750 billion dollars. If that number seems to big, keep in mind the US used around 386 million gallons of gas per day in 2005. Most of this is in traffic of course, but a measurable percentage could be avoided if we did not use drive thruâ€™s.
If you want the price of gas to go down, ride your bike. Or take the train, or bus, or walk. Again, supply and demand, if there is not a significant demand for gas because people are using alternate transportation, oil companies will lower the price, they are too invested not to.
Individuals, acting as a group, control the price of oil (or anything else). It is not unlike the gripe I always hear about how much teachers get paid versus what athletes get paid. Guess what, thatâ€™s our fault too. Until we stop watching the games, and their high priced beer party television commercials, and we stop supporting that industry with the majority of our disposable income, we an only blame ourselves when there is no money left to pay our teachers. Side note – do not complain to me about military spending, it comes from a completely different (Federal) budget. If you donâ€™t like that, you can change it as well; itâ€™s called voting, we all have the right to do it, and its not new.
Today at lunch I was looking out the window and I saw a truck with a billboard mounted to the back of it driving around advertising a jewelry store. My guess is that this truck might get 10 mpg. Gas is a limited natural resource, which, by the way, we will be completely out of in the next 100 years or so at our current consumption and population growth rates. Our childrenâ€™s children… will not have gas. Think about that for a minute. However, in todayâ€™s entitled convenience driven society, we are using this limited resource to thrust advertising into the faces of anyone unsure of where to spend 1/3 of their annual salary on their wedding ring. I have my doubts that this is a large part of the downtown Boise, Idaho lunch demographic, but, of course, I havenâ€™t done the research, I could be wrong…
Is advertising really this important? I am reminded of the movie Idiocracy. If you have not seen it, it is funny, in a really scary way. Here is a clip… note the advertising everywhere in the â€œcourt roomâ€:
If you have a little more time for videos, here is the intro to the movie, kind of explaining how things got to that stage. Again, funny, in a scary kind of way:
I try to be positive and optimistic in my posts, which I have not done a very good job of in this entry. So, Iâ€™m going to wind up with a link that is both funny and useful. This is from Car Talk, one of my favorite radio shows from NPR (yeah, I listen to NPR, shoot me!! It is their guide to getting better gas mileage. Perhaps, if you are not ready to take some of my (ahem) advice from above, you might find something useful here to help you save a few bucks.
Sometimes something happens and, at that moment, it is more important than breathing.Â People say somethingÂ takes their breath away, and they mean it.
I have had this happen to me several times throughout the course of my life.Â What I find interesting is the wide variety of things that, for whatever reason, fit into this oddly ubiquitous category.
The births of my children certainly generated that feeling, as did my wedding day.Â Seeing Farfar in the â€œhomeâ€ the other day had the same effect, but of a completely different ilk.Â When I got the news of my mother passing, muck like, but to a far greater degree than when I heard of my grandmothers passing, I was indeed breathless.Â My first moment of complete intimacy, same thing.
Those all make sense, however there are others.Â Others that, on the significance scale just do not seem to measure up. And yet… there I was, struggling to regain (with apologies to my heart beat, which has a tendency to skip at these same moments) my most basic bodily function, over the arrival of my cookie dough this morning.Â Cookie dough!
Lets see watching my son fly head first out of control off of the trampoline v. cookie dough…
I think you are missing the big picture.
I guess 42 years is not quite enough to have everything figured out, even something as simple as maintaining your own breath…
Something of significance came out of California today, as reported by NPR:
The California Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage, paving the way for California to become the second state to allow marriages between gay and lesbian couples.
The case centered around a series of lawsuits opposing a voter-approved law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The city of San Francisco, which was among the plaintiffs, compared the law to a ban on interracial marriage that the state Supreme Court struck down in 1946.
I am, of course, elated by this news.Â However I am cautiously elated (if that makes any sense).Â My fear is more legislation like that which I have seen already where State Legislatures adopt a change to the state Constitution, rather than to the law to attempt to circumvent exactly this part of the process from working (or failing, if you are on the other side of this particular fence).
It will be interesting to see if this decision works to the benefit or detriment, big picture, of the cause.
Just a quick note to point out a new project I’m working on over here. I’m taking random excerpts from random books on my bookshelf and writing about them. If it sounds interesting to you, check it out.
My grandfather (FarFar) is nearing the end of his time with us. All of us are, of course, he just has an 89 year head start on anyone born last year. As such, I have naturally spent some time dealing with my own mortality and the process of death and dying as well.
I think being around death is a natural part of the process of living. I do not, of course, mean grisly and unfortunate death, but rather the natural course of old age. It is something that I think people in modern times actually â€œmiss outâ€ on, as part of their living experience (for a variety of reasons, longer life expectancy as well a more concerted effort in modern society to isolate the elderly and dying). Obviously there is nothing enjoyable about watching a loved one begin the process of moving on, but there is a lot of introspective learning that comes with it that I donâ€™t think you get from any other experiences (at least none I have come across in my 42 years).
Yesterday I read a passage from â€œThe Tibetan Book of Living and Dyingâ€ that caught my eye and engaged my imagination.
Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity; but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our biography, our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cares… it is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security… Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, and unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time…
One of the things I have experienced with FarFar, is his eroding sense of self, and the desperation and anguish this is causing him. He has always been a very proud man. He has always been at the center of the show and commanded an audience. He was your typical alpha-male.
He is now struggling with his memory, really, he is struggling for control of his mind. It is a battle which he is currently not winning.
It has been interesting, observing and talking to him, to see how important â€œthingsâ€ are to him. His name being properly pronounced, and properly configured (long story there), an heirloom that has not been properly passed down and maintained to name a few.
As an extension, of course, I started investigating myself. Exactly how externally validated am I? What is it, within myself and in the trappings with which I surround myself, that defines me, and, am I happy with that mix? I think there is validity in both of these â€œscorecardsâ€, there is certainly something to be said for a persons legacy. But at the end of the day (quite literally in this case) one only needs to reconcile themselves with themselves… and their creator, if they are of such a belief system. I believe that inner peace and a satisfying reconciliation needs to come, at least in part, from within and not the afore mentioned â€œcollectionâ€.
So I guess the questions to ask are: How well do you really know yourself? How long can you be alone with yourself without feeling the need to supplement with external influences? Does that time â€œaloneâ€ improve you as a person? What can, or should, you do to improve your internal validation process?
People who have a larger proportion of their validation coming from within are, in general, more stable and able to deal with the challenges of life. Logically they also deal better with being alone, which can be a significant benefit when dealing with age.
These are things that I probably know, or at least did at one point, from reading and studying; however, it was all brought around again and reinforced by the new adventure I am taking with FarFar.
I got a great suggestion today. Simply put it was â€œinspire other people to do good things.â€ We talked a bit more about how this might be done. We discussed, for example, the pros and cons of â€œbriberyâ€ when it comes to doing things that better the world. In the end, we decided that a little reward never hurt anyone. In fact most things come with rewards, just because they are not financial, does not change the motivating force that they are.
So… Iâ€™m going to bribe you
First the reward. $50 Amazon gift certificates, two of them (unless someone else donates more
The first winner will be drawn from the first 10 people to complete the â€œchallenge.â€ The second will be more subjective, a random draw from what I believe to be the best 5 entries/suggestions. So, yes, one person *could* win both, if they were both fast and brilliant.
Entries can be submitted to me via twitter or by comment here on the blog (bonus points for anyone who does both). I will acknowledge every entry, so if you do not hear back from me, follow up!
Here is the â€œchallenge.â€ Use your â€œvoiceâ€ to publically advocate, suggest, or implement some kind of positive movement/change/idea. This can come in a variety of forms. You could promote a charitable cause, plan an event, publish detailed(ish) instructions on how to hold an event (empowering others to do so), advocate a cause in a proactive and forward moving way (complaints will not be considered). The method of delivery is flexible as well, provided it is something that can be shared, spread, etc. For example, you could write a blog, issue an utterz, create a video and post on youtube, etc. Any form of public expression is acceptable, I just have to be able to go see/hear/etc. it after you submit it.
I will probably be compiling all of these into some sort of coherent mashupâ€™y thing, so please do not submit anything you do not want packaged and shared. No, in case you are wondering, I will not be making any money off of any of this… I may post a donation link to some international cause, but that will be the only money exchanging hands related to this project. I will post links to all of the entries once the contest is complete.
So thatâ€™s it. Write, speak, record your ideas for making the world a better place. Send me a link to your notions and sit back and wait to see if you are $50 amazon dollars richer for your efforts.
A few days ago, over dinner, there was a discussion about the speed trap (which was actually a stop sign trap) near my house. The conversation centered around the mythical (mythical to the every police officer I have ever met, very real to many civilians) quota system each officer must abide by in order to preserve the privilege of putting themselves in harms way to protect and serve the general public.
There are crooked cops, we know this. There is police brutality, we know this. Civil rights are violated by these â€œbad copsâ€, we know this as well.
However, what we ignore, all too often, is the real reasons we have our boys in blue (or black, or white, or whatever your local troopers wear) in the first place.
There is a great scene in the movie Sea of Love with Al Pacino (it is the second â€œclipâ€ in the video below) where he echoes what must be the sentiments of many an officer by pointing out that, in essence, cops are perceived to be the bad guys, until someone needs them, at which point they become everybodyâ€™s hero.
Recently , in Boise, we had an officer decorated as the nations â€œtop copâ€ a prestigious award which is NOT given for the most speeding tickets issued, or the most effective job of racial profiling. Rather this is as award that is given to an officer who goes above and beyond the call of duty to an extraordinary degree. No, I was not being redundant, they take all of the people who have gone above and beyond, and then pick the most extraordinary from that group.
Can you imagine how interesting it must be to read all of the annual submissions? Now there is a reality TV show I might watch…
Boise Police Officer Brek Orton received the award for risking his life and saving a 58 year old grandmother who was stuck underwater in the Boise River. The woman had been underwater an estimated eight minutes when he arrived on the scene and the current was so strong that it had already pried two knives out of the hands of would-be rescuers. Without a moments hesitation, Orton jumped in the water and managed to relieve the pressure on the suit so that it could be cut away. He then swam down river with her until he was able to find a place to get her out of the river.
Why am I telling this story now, instead of, say, a week or so when a friend requested I write something positive about the police force? Because today is the start of National Police Week, and that seemed worth the wait.
While you are out and about this week, maybe give a short nod or smile to the officers who cross your path. Rather than getting upset because they are lurking to catch you doing something wrong, give â€˜em a break and donâ€™t speed or run that stop sign. And while youâ€™re at it, perhaps give a little credit, for what they do each and every day, to protect and serve all of us.
The problems in Burma are not getting any better, however opportunities to help are.:
Relief agencies say decomposing corpses litter ditches and fields in the worst-hit Irrawaddy delta area as survivors try to conserve fuel for transporting much-needed supplies.
They are concerned the lack of medical supplies and clean food and water threatens to increase the already staggering death toll.
Myanmar’s military government says more than 22,000 people died when the killer cyclone battered the country’s low-lying delta region over the weekend. The top U.S. diplomat in the country has said the toll could top 100,000.
A World Food Programme plane carrying high-energy biscuits landed in Myanmar on Thursday to provide a small dose of assistance amid a mushrooming humanitarian crisis.
It is great news that the WFP plane was able to land and that more help is on the way and being allowed in to the country. You can help the WFP here http://www.wfp.org/english/
Okay okay… first of all… I could publish these more regularly… this is true
I think some people are getting tired of me asking. Today on Twitter, I only received one response, even though I have over 100 more followers than the first time I asked. However, the response I got was a good one!
Show Gratitude daily / random acts of kindness / share a smile with someone whether they deserve it or not / reach out to others
It was suggested, a few days ago, that I write a piece extolling the virtues of the police, something that really is lacking in the press. I am going to do so, just not sure when, but I think there is good value in this piece… so watch for it
One of my co-workers suggested looking for people who appeared down and lonely and befriending them. Due to time constraints I am not the best person for this job, however I have spent several lunches lately walking around and engaging people (who match this description) in conversation. By that, largely I mean, I start talking to them, and then let them do most of the talking. I think (and it seems to be working) that most people who are in this state probably needs someone to listen to and validate them, more than they just need someone talking to them.
A great suggestion was to â€œrekindle the spirit of community in business.â€ I really liked this idea because, of course, Iâ€™m such a fan of the community aspects of the current incarnation of the web. Toward this end I did a series of free consultations over the past week for friends in business looking to improve their brands etc. Interestingly I probably learned as much as they did. It turns out that when someone is not paying you for a consultation, they are quite a bit more liberal with their ideas and creativity.
Iâ€™m looking forward to more suggestions, please keep them coming!!!
We are losing our focus, people. And, unfortunately, I am part of the problem. Last week I wrote about Reverend Wright and Obama, and allowed myself to be distracted by the (quite important, yet not germane as it is being reported and discussed) topic of race in the 2008 Presidential race.
I am not ignorant, I know that race is going to be a part of this election. However, that does not mean this particular perversion of it should be, and that I should play along in this little political game. The only election-relevant thing about Obama, with regard to race, is his approach.
It is largely this approach that drives my current position, that he is the best candidate for the job. It is this approach that differentiates him, significantly, from every legitimate candidate (by that I mean a candidate that had a realistic chance to win the election) that has run for this office, going back as far as I can remember (read: back to Carter).
Barack Obama has proven himself capable of dealing with controversial issues by first trying to understand both sides of the confrontation. Then reaching out from that central position of understanding and trying to bring the differing sides in from their extreme positions. This is, historically, the only way to reach an actual lasting accord on anything.
That mere fact that he is open minded and willing to investigate and understand issues before acting on them separates him from the other candidates.
I have had enough preconception.
I have had enough ideology.
I have had enough staying of the course.
And I have certainly had enough irrelevant conversation about relevant issues.
Obama is the only candidate that has done anything constructive with the issue of race during this election.Â So if you feel the need to discuss race, please do it in relevant terms and give the man the credit he deserves.