This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.                             the guys: philogynist jaime tony - the gals:raymi raspil


Michael considered fate at 15:33   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I realize most of my readers couldn't give a shit about this, but I need to comment anyway. Bill Thompson of BBC WorldNews thinks current open source software licenses are no good. Specifically, he is asking what happens when buggy software leaves your computer open to attack from viruses, worms or hackers?
Programmers have built their business models on a freedom from responsibility which would be considered wholly unacceptable in almost any other sphere of activity, public or private.

We all pay the cost in wasted time, lost files, hacked systems and reduced productivity. Our children spend time in lessons waiting for interactive whiteboards to be repaired while businesses around the world suffer from crashes and security breaches.

If Apple turned round to nano users and pointed to a shrinkwrap "licence" on the high-design packaging that exempted it from the provisions of consumer protection law it would never get away with such a blatant disregard for its customers' rights.

Why then do we allow software developers to do exactly that?
Except the problem with his argument is that it's wholly one-sided. He chiefly mentions open source firefox and only briefly drops Microsoft's big name. He is trying to lay blame to a movement (open source) when in fact the blame should lie with the industry as a whole. Bill, get off your high horse (or stop pandering to whoever is giving you money) because Microsoft is more to blame for these problems than open source is. People pay for their software, have been paying for a long time, and there is hardly any guarantee that it will be secure, or work properly, or ensure productivity. If nobody holds a company of that size and earning power culpable then how can you possibly point at the open source community and poo-poo their attempts to make a better computing world?


Michael considered fate at 15:09   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
The quote of the day @ Slashdot today:
"Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines." -- Bertrand Russell
It's rather pertinent given yesterday's article about new research showing secularity breeds better society. Okay, I admit it, I'm paraphrasing in favour of atheism here.. let me quote the real headline - Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'. Hmm, I guess that's not much better.
RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.

According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.

“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”
Well Hurrumph. And I was just loving my pushy christian coalition neighbours in the south. Truthfully, I thank my lucky stars that I live in the relatively low-key religious environ that is New England.. but I can't mention this article without asking anyone who reads it to take a careful look between the lines. I smell smoke and I think it's coming through the cracks in this study.

I'm not saying it's completely unfounded, but it smacks of over-generalization. There are many many things to consider when judging a society, only one of which is religion. History of conflicts, hardships of the people, wealth, resources.. these are factors that you cannot ignore when attempting to rank a country on it's immorality.

Regardless, there is irony in the researchers words:
“The study shows that England, despite the social ills it has, is actually performing a good deal better than the USA in most indicators, even though it is now a much less religious nation than America.”
Funny, didn't we run from England to avoid religious persecution? Oh, wait, I forgot.. America was really founded by a bunch of slave owning aristocratic white males didn't want to pay their taxes.

Update: here is the full study.

Michael considered fate at 02:59   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Ridiculus? Sure. Materialistic? Absolutely.. but if you're a guy (and sometimes a girl, too) then you just can't help liking all things vehicular. Especially obnoxiously powerful sports cars. Or SUVs.. or whatever. Take your pick. I just found and I love it. I could stare and stare and stare.. wipe the drool off my chin, and then stare some more. Enjoy.


Michael considered fate at 16:35   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
It's true they're making this big to-do about snapping a photo of a giant squid for the first time in it's true habitat (i.e. not caught in a net, dead). But big fucking deal, so it's not a dormant type creature.. so it snaps and spins about and launches at it's prey like a snake. Are we fucking surprised? I'm not surprised. Not one fucking licking bit. Every other squid I've ever seen is pretty damn snappy when it wants to be, PLUS I saw 20,000 leagues under the sea when I was a kid, and me and Capt'n Nemo say: Them squid be quick like. DO I need a fucking PhD in squidology to predict this sort of shit?! Um. No, I didn't. It really makes me wonder what the hell these fuckers are smoking, quite frankly. It must be the happy drug where life is "what you make it" and just cause thinking of giant squid deep down in the dark ocean as being slow and dangling makes them feel good well, then, that's the way it is. FUCK that.

Personally, I saw some show on Discovery very recently about squid of a different sort (but squid nonetheless) where these researchers swam with the damn things, and interacted, and showed them feeding, and it was a heck of a lot more interesting than this stupid article... plus, it wasn't even a great picture.

Michael considered fate at 15:34   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
News to nobody: Corporations are powerful because they have money, and lots of it.

(@ Slashdot) President of eDonkey (the file sharing software) testified at the Judiciary committee's hearing 'Protecting Copyright and Innovation in a Post-Grokster World' that he was throwing in the towel because, despite being in the legal right, they just don't have the cash for a legal fight:
Whereas I could have managed to pay for a summary judgment hearing under Betamax, I simply couldn't afford the protracted litigation needed to prove my case in court
And another one bites the dust.

Also (@ Slashdot): a $100 laptop? Nifty:
MIT is showing off a prototype of a $100 laptop. It uses a 500MHz AMD processor, stores everything on flash memory, and runs Linux. The AC adapter acts as the carrying strap, and there is a hand crank so if you can't find a source of electricity you can charge it kinetically.
Target? Kids in developing nations.

Michael considered fate at 15:20   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Oh yes, this is fun.. 10 Pictures from Science:



Michael considered fate at 16:33   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
A favourite little project of mine, the government's Do-Not-Call list, is apparently "working":
Two years after the National Do Not Call Registry took effect... Regulators say the system is working, but a recent random survey (by telephone) by the Customer Care Alliance, a Virginia-based consortium of three customer-relations consultants, found that 51% of registered consumers say they're still getting calls they think the list is supposed to block.

Yet to date, there have been remarkably few fines issued by federal regulators. Despite one million reports of violations, the FTC has filed only 14 lawsuits and levied only four fines. The Federal Communications Commission, which jointly administers the program with the FTC, has issued warnings but only two fines, one to AT&T Corp., the company with the contract for administering the program.
That makes 6 fines in total.. out of one million violation reports. I know the public isn't the most reliable group, but 6 out of 1,000,000? I guess Bush would spin it something like this: this system is working about as good as FEMA: Great!

Michael considered fate at 16:27   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I am beginning to care less and less, but I feel like I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it; The Apple Nano is fragile:
Apple Computer Inc. has acknowledged customer complaints about flaws in its iPod nano digital music player, saying one problem is a "real but minor issue."

Early iPod nano customers have filled several Internet sites with complaints about broken and scratch-prone LCD screens.

"I am very delighted to see Apple take this issue seriously," Matthew Peterson, an iPod nano owner who set up a Web site to collect photos of damaged iPods, said in a statement on his site.
Well, at least they're acknowledging the problem which seems like a real improvement. Who said blogging and the internet can't change commerce? Given that this device was released less than a month ago, that's a pretty quick turn around. Sure, it could have been quicker I suppose but how long could a company like Apple have kept this under wraps (and completely ignored the problem) if the internet did not exist? Likely for a very very long time.

Regardless, my 'ol 20gig 2nd gen iPod is still cranking - despite a water-damaged screen - and I don't even think the battery is too bad, either, after 3+ years of service.


Michael considered fate at 23:32   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
My favourite from
Umfriend - One with whom one has a sexual relationship; as in, “this is Dale,”
Ugh. Why am I hear? What am I doing. Does anyone know? Anyone? Please, let me know.

Michael considered fate at 01:28   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment


Michael considered fate at 22:50   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I don't know how many of you have seen this little folding-tip movie clip but holy-shit show, am I a bad laundry folder. This is going to change my life.

Michael considered fate at 16:01   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I'm a bit late on this one, but it's so hilarious I can't help but post it anyway. It's like Reagan and his Star Wars project meets Sealab 2021 (from Slashdot):
"The Guardian is reporting on what may be the weirdest Hurricane Katrina story yet. Military trained dolphins may have been released into the wild by the Hurricane's devastation." From the article: "Experts who have studied the U.S. navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The U.S. navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing. Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The U.S. Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the U.S. defence programme claim it is vital they are caught quickly."

Michael considered fate at 15:39   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Okay, two quick things. Firstly, if you haven't ever tried Firefox you should give it a whirl just for shits and giggles. Well, one giggle in particular; the find feature. Cntrl-F in Firefox reveals a vastly superior text search tool than you'll find in either of IE and Safari. Just my two cents. I forget how Opera handles it since it's been forever since I've used it (though it's fully free with no ads now!).

Secondly, I finally got bit by an internet scam.. well, I think I did. I got a paypal message that said I needed to update my credit card info as it had expired. This was all well and true, since I had to replace stolen cards this summer, so I didn't really think twice about this odd request. I followed the link from the email (of course, idiot!) and proceeded to fill in my new credit card info. UNFORTUNATELY, it was not until _after_ I hit the submit button that I realized the actual website I was at was a spoof of the paypal site, and I had just given some asshole in Pennsylvania my financial mumbojumbo. Luckily I'm not a complete asstart, I noticed the scam, and quickly cancelled my card and changed my passwords before anything unspeakable could happen. Few. But it's a good word to the wise; beware of following links within emails. Look at them carefully and make sure they're pointing to the correct sites. Be suspicious!

Michael considered fate at 01:13   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Help someone make a buck: Donate blood! The Red Cross resells it to the tune of more than $1.5 billion annually!

If you haven't seen any of the articles recently asking for accountability from the Red Cross, this one is a good roundup:
the American Red Cross reported that it had raised $826 million in private funds for Hurricane Katrina victims. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has the total figure at more than $1.2 billion for all relief groups reporting. So the Red Cross received about 70% of all giving.

FEMA and the affected states are reimbursing the Red Cross under preexisting contracts for emergency shelter and other disaster services. The existence of these contracts is no secret to anyone but the American public. The Red Cross carefully says it functions only by the grace of the American people — but "people" includes government, national and local.

The Red Cross brand is platinum. Its fundraising vastly outruns its programs because it does very little or nothing to rescue survivors, provide direct medical care or rebuild houses. After 9/11, the Red Cross collected more than $1 billion, a record in philanthropic fundraising after a disaster. But the Red Cross could do little more than trace missing people, help a handful of people in shelters and provide food to firefighters, police, paramedics and evacuation crews during that catastrophe.

Michael considered fate at 00:35   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Tony cuts to the core today:
and yes life sucks sometimes, and yes lifes not fair sometimes, but life is its worse when people who should know you turn into strangers and pretend that youre something youre not and then abandon you.
Sometimes, when the going gets real tough and life lets you down not-so-easy like you'd like, and the only thing you really want is an honest and familiar face to look at and have look back at you, well.. sometimes people just let you down. A reoccuring theme here on the blog is the shit people fling at eachother on an almost constant basis, and the complete and under wonderment on which I look upon the phenomenon.

When it gets particularly rough. When the shit just stinks so bad it's unbearable and you have to leave the room, well, I just close my eyes and listen to Solomon Burke. I listen to him as if he's talking for all those lousy people out there who just don't have things together enough to express the love I know they feel.
If I fall short, if I don't make the grade, if your expectations aren't met in me today. There is always tomorrow. Or tomorrow night. Hang in there baby. Sooner or later, I know I'll get it right. Please don't give up on me, please don't get up on me. I know it's late.. late in the game. But my feelings, my true feelings, haven't changed - here in my heart - I know I know I was wrong wrong wrong wrong.

Just don't give up on me.
Sometimes people are too weak to be honest, too scared to be themselves, too afraid to show their souls - they feel like they have to protect it like some sort of secret. It's no secret people: we have souls. The question is, how is yours sleeping tonight?

I'm not angry at them. I'm just sad for them. No worries, I'll recover. Life goes on. Life renews. Bobby said it best, don't think twice, it's alright.


Michael considered fate at 19:32   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
When I read this headline I got pretty excited:

Toaster Makes Imprint of 'Pooh' on the Bread

But when I saw the picture that went with it.. well, it was a bit of a let down


Michael considered fate at 16:13   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Continuing with their ever-creative naming scheme, Google looks to be entering into the TV sector with GoogleTV.. maybe. A job posting was seen earlier by Flexbeta but has since been taken down:
Google is looking to hire a full time project manager for GoogleTV in Mountain View, CA. The candidate must posses experience developing/launching products in one or more of the following areas: interactive TV, set-top-boxes, personal video recorders, video-on-demand, IP TV or cable TV technologies.
At this point you almost have to ask yourself what is Google not going to do? GoogleTalk, Google Earth / Maps, Blogger, Google WiFi, GMail. Try to name a hot fad/technology they aren't jumping into! Personally, I think they may be spreading themselves too thin and - at the same time - jeopardizing their tenuous public appeal as a "Do No Evil" corporation. Careful boys.

Michael considered fate at 16:00   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Everyone likes to talk about how great the iPod has been for Apple, but has it? Oh yes it has:
Market research firm iSuppli set out to [figure out Apple's profit margin on the iPod Nano] by buying the $199 2-gigabyte version of the Nano and tearing it apart. The verdict? It costs Apple $90.18 in materials to build the unit and $8 to assemble it, leaving a profit margin before marketing and distribution costs of about 50%. That's consistent with the margins on earlier iPod versions and serves as a reminder of what a profit machine the iPod family of products has become for Apple since it was introduced in 2001...

Apple has sold some 16 million iPods in the first nine months of fiscal 2005, and 21 million since its inception. Thus far in fiscal 2005, the iPod has brought in $2.6 billion in revenue, accounting for about 25% of Apple's total.
[my emphasis]


Michael considered fate at 01:51   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
i have been kind of bummed out lately. i haven't sorted it all out yet. lots of ins and outs. it is lonely, and lately i have been plagued by feelings that this is kind of a waste of time in the grand scheme of things. probably just in a funk that will pass, because if not this, what else would i be doing? there's the 64 000 question, and there is no answer. so, in the end, this is probably just as good as anything else. man. i also have this horrible guilty feeling, and i have sorted it out today as probably due, simply, to my shortcomings as a person. specfically, i dither and ponder and wonder about shit like this (oh it the right job...oh no...i have a crush on a boy), and 99 percent of the world has infinitely worse problems than me. so, in a way i wish i was more compassionate, but also know deep down that selfish is the only way to be, but maybe only because it is the only way i CAN be because i can't be bothered to change. hence the guilt.

what to do? probably nothing. we are a privileged sort of subgeneration with no guidelines...there is no pressure to settle down, get married, have a job...

This and other experiences today have lead me, as well, into a bit of a funk but it's a clean clear funk that I swim in. This is nothing like last year where I was truly hateful at the world, at everything, especially myself. This is a silly chuckling funk that sees the humour in things, and appreciates a good bit of irony. Am I more now than I was then? No.. perhaps? How much is pure visceral experience worth, even if it gets you nowhere? Certainly, a bungie-jump off of a cliff for one who is afraid of heights might be quite cathartic, but does walking down the street gain me any.. well.. street cred? Do I get any points for just being around? Or, do I need to be knocking on doors, surveying the public, getting the info, learning what it's all about? Doesn't Fox News cover that part for me? I jest. I joke.

When things are looking up - when the funks are clean and clear - then I know it ain't all bad. It's when those funks are deep and dark that really fucks things up. It's a constant battle to keep them on the up and up, maintain a rock bottom that is scrubbed clean of the muck and mire, so that when you descend down to such depths it's not as bad as you thought it could be. Like keeping your room picked up. Mental house cleaning. I know it's not spring but I gotta do these things constantly in order to even think I might have a chance to keep up and if I don't, well.. if I don't.. it just gets ugly.

Life, though, has a way of living itself when you're not paying attention. The experiences do start to pile up - even if you don't notice them flowing by your window-eyes - and eventually, even if they're all just a bunch of short films of a guy walking down the street, well, you've at least seen all there is to see of a guy walking down the street. A guy walking down the street stone-cold sober at 8am on his first day of work, a guy walking down the street stumbling-mad drunk after a break up, a guy walking down the street screaming happiness at the world after his red sox won the world series after 86 years of the curse, a guy walking down the street quietly smiling at his summa cum laude degree, a guy walking down the street with a bounce in his step because some girl asked him for his phone number, a guy walking down the street morosely berating the cops, the politicians, the bureaucracy of it all, a guy walking down the street grinning ear to ear with a winning lottery ticket in his hand. These experiences, trivial perhaps as individual instances, but as a whole they add up and eventually you start to see what's possible. And what's not. And more importantly what's really worth worrying about. And about what's not.

And life, the more of it I see, the more of it becomes easier to handle, easier to take. It's not because I think I'm becoming used to, it's because I'm starting to appreciate it.


Michael considered fate at 16:17   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Slate's been cranking out articles on the sex topics these days like nobody's bidness, and with a decent angle to it, as well. I suggest Pornified and Female Chauvinist Pigs - a back and forth "book club" like discussion between Slate editors and columnists. The first paragraph, to wet your appetite:
We're supposed to grapple over two new and pretty alarmist books on the state of sexual culture in America: Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families, by Pamela Paul; and Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, by Ariel Levy. There are a lot of overlaps between them: Both describe the dire effects the rising cultural acceptability of porn has on male-female relationships and on female self-esteem. Paul presents a parade of dismal male porn addicts who can't relate to real women; Levy focuses on young women who've decided (wrongly, she thinks) that porn and its motifs can be empowering for gals. Both paint a depressingly disconnected world, like Sartre's No Exit for the porn age: Women want intimacy with men, men want fantasy sex with porn stars, and the porn stars presumably just want a paycheck. No one's getting much pleasure. It's all alienated, compulsive masturbation, cartoonish artificial breasts, and incessant pop-up ads.
Interesting, certainly. Whichever side you may be on in this subject, you have to agree that the world of sex in our culture is changing.

Also, an interesting look at the recently released sex survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics which points out mainstream media's reluctance to even mention the rise in anal sex among teens and young adults.
Across the United States—and beyond it—any newspaper that didn't focus on lesbianism in the sex survey (released last week by the National Center for Health Statistics) declared a crisis of oral sex among teens. Experts and journalists, unwilling to express plain old moral dismay at the idea of their kids doing the deed, cited its health risks. "Oral sex has been associated in clinical studies with several infections, including gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and the human papillomavirus," observed the Post.

If only it were that simple. Talking to your kids about oral sex is the easy part. If you're going to be frank about the most dangerous widespread activity revealed in the survey, you're looking at the wrong end of the digestive tract.

Michael considered fate at 16:16   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
If you're waiting for the vPod (video iPod) then you might be waiting awhile. A recent article quotes Steve Jobs:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs today gave strong hints that the company would not be looking to make a pure-play iPod phone or portable video player anytime soon...

Speaking at Apple's annual European conference, Apple Expo in Paris, he said: "Whether people want to buy a device just to watch video is not clear - so far the answer's been no."
Nevertheless, Jobs said about the possibilities - in his usual secretive way - "One never knows". But of course. There is certainly reason enough to think a vPod might be on it's way.
With the soft launch of video podcasting and the iTunes Music Store now encouraging the purchase of albums or EPs with a free video, rumours have been rife of a video playing iPod debuting in time for Christmas stockings.
Thankfully, Jobs is also against some music company's desire to raise iTunes prices. He suggests this will just push consumers back to piracy. Personally? 99 cents a song is already too high.

Michael considered fate at 15:51   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Well here is a new spin on things: Peerflix. It is to Netflix what Sneakernet is to the internet.. well, sort of. Here is the concept: You sign up for their service and make a list of the DVDs you own. You then search everyone else's lists for DVDs you want, and trade. It's basically a trading network, but with the added "bonus" of having a company behind the process that makes shipping envelopes available and keeps track of how many "trade credits" you have built up. It seems to be 99 cents to get a DVD but that doesn't include the 37 cents for a stamp to ship the DVDs out. The whole thing is a bit odd and I'm not sure consumers are ready for that sort of grey area when it comes to "ownership".. but I sure as hell can't imagine the MPAA/RIAA enjoying this much considering how easily DVDs are copied these days.

Personally, Netflix - with it's large collection offering - at $9.99 for 1-at-a-time seems like a pretty good deal. If you're on top of things, you can probably get about 7 a month. Of course that's presuming you have time to watch seven movies a month. This peerflix thing is nice in that thee is no 'monthly fee', it's pay-as-you-go, which is a much nicer model for consumers if you ask me (even if things are more expensive this way)..


Michael considered fate at 14:30   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Quick update: Here's another blurb on NASA's latest:
NASA says the new system is designed to be 10 times safer than the space shuttle.
It always makes me feel safe when they start measuring safety like that. Does this mean they won't ignore warnings from the engineers who build the stuff this time?

Also, it looks like Google is actually offering WiFi (in the SanFran area?) now, including a "secure access client" download that will make your WiFi connection "more secure".. Well, duh. We'll see about that. The Wired article I linked to is pretty heavy in the this-might-stretch-Google-too-far speak, but let's wait and see what they're actually going to do first, hmm? Maybe this, in the end, is why they're selling a wireless hotspot finder. heh.


Michael considered fate at 23:50   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Between 1961 and 1972, the Apollo program cost $25 billion. Luckily, technology is helping to make things smaller and cheaper. Real cheap:
NASA on Monday unveiled its $104 billion plan to return Americans to the moon by 2018 aboard a capsule-like vehicle the space agency's chief described as "Apollo on steroids."
To be fair, that's not much more than 50% of the Apollo program in constant dollars, but still.. we've done it once before, shouldn't something be cheaper, especially considering how much crap they're going to be re-using?
The new space system is meant to replace the aging and now-grounded shuttle fleet, but would use some shuttle components, including its solid rocket boosters, its main engine and its massive external tank.
Boosters, engine, and tank? Sounds to me like they need a few new swivel-chairs and a espresso machine and they're practically good to go. Best part: Next man on the moon in 2018! Hey, that's only like.. umm.. wait, THIRTEEN years (the Apollo program was about 8).

But hey, all in the name of progress, right? Gotta beat those Malyasians, afterall, cause they're busy voting their astronaut's in like it's Malaysian Idol:
Once its 11,000 would-be astronauts have been whittled down to a handful, their details and updates on their progress will be posted on the internet.

Then, the public will be able to make their choice by telephone text message and Malaysia's space bosses will factor the votes into their final decision.

If the contest proves popular and the government charges for the votes, it may even be able to cover the cost of its space programme.
My favourite bit from the article, though, was this:
The national space agency has already announced plans for a research programme to send the country's favourite foods into orbit and the selection process to find the Malaysian who will taste them in zero gravity is already well advanced.
Did I read that right? Were the terms "Research Programme" and "eat twinkies in zero gravity" just used in the same sentence? Well, I digress.. they don't sound very in shape anyway, maybe they should cut down on their twinks intake:
So far, only 200 short listed candidates have managed to run 3.5km (2.2 miles) in under 20 minutes and pass a medical.
In completely different news, the FAA is allowing free range of air-space for space elevator testing?
The LiftPort Group, the space elevator companies, announced September 9 that it has received a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use airspace to conduct preliminary tests of its high altitude robotic "lifters."

The lifters are early prototypes of the technology that the company is developing for use in its commercial space elevator to ferry cargo back and forth into space.

Michael considered fate at 18:27   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Slept all day slept all day slept all day yesterday, on SUNDAY, because I could; because, despite the debilitating sloth I'm infected with, I did not really have to do anything, wasn't signed up for any work to do, didn't need money so didn't need to work, and let's face it school is just barely getting started. Paperwork that has been threatening for weeks now had nothing to say on Sunday because it knew there was nothing doing. Bureaucracy's office is c-l-o-s-e-d on this day of rest. Slept all day and read about sailors mucking about on the California coast a few hundred years ago as if it were yesterday, hauling cow hides, reefing sails, getting rained on. It all felt real comfortable from my bed, curled under a big down comforter with the fan blowing cool fresh air in from the window. Real comfortable.

Somehow, I beat myself up on a constant basis about the things I think I should be doing but I know I will never do. Maybe it's all that "potential" rearing it's ugly head or maybe it's everyone else's expectation? I can't really tell. The worst of it is that part of me doesn't care at all that the other part of me cares very very much. It's the part of me that cares, caring about how little the other part cares that hurts the most. Is this what a one-sided relationship is like? Oh, wait. I think I know. I think very much so; it is; unrequited.

So how does that feel, knowing you're not even strong enough to love yourself - or at least, a part of you does not love yourself enough to care that the other part of you is so painfully hurt that you don't care. A catch-22, a nasty circular set of reasoning that is almost, exactly, like a downward spiral. The one part making the other part worse, which makes the first part worse; the snake eating it's own poisonous tail. The real catch is breaking the loop, snapping through the monotony of the everyday hate-hate-hate so that you have two seconds of peace and silence in which to actually think for once and .. and .. and if you're super quick, spritely, and on your toes you can spring into action so fast that both parts of you have no idea how it happened. The two parts are sprung from their easy chairs so fast the tears dry straight on the cheek and then for some time, however short or long, there is this period of success, movement, action, interest. There are two parts coming together as one.

The problem lies in convincing the first part or at least catching it when it isn't paying attention. Everything sleeps.. but it's rare and unexpected. No time to lose. If this is the only solution then you're doomed to a life of self-doubt and unconvinced esteem issues, always trying to get over the hump. It's that second part you that you really need to concentrate on - that's where the emotion lies. It's the part that cares, gets hurt, gets upset at the things you refuse to do, refuse to try. If you can believe that this is the stronger part, convince yourself of who is in control, then it can be trivial to own your life the way you want to, force that sloth-ridden piece of you to the far deep reaches of your nasty underside (for you can never fully banish it). And if you're successful in the end then what you have really found is the real you, the you of ultimate power.. which is once again in love, unrequited.


Michael considered fate at 18:06   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
People have been running around being horrible to eachother for hundreds of thousands of years.. or, some form of "people" anyway. Why are we still confused about this condition that we seem so very good at maintaining? No doubt, each individual (or any "sane" one, within a reasonable definition of the word) at this point in our elustrious evolution, would state such ideologies as:
  • "killing other people is wrong"
  • "stealing isn't nice"
  • and "who hired this Jay Leno guy, anyway?"
Nevertheless, these same "sane" people will turn right around and demand such actions as "kill that pigfucker in iraq". Arguably, this makes sense because these people view that pigfucker as someone who has caused far more pain/suffering than he's worth. Sure. But it's this sort of selective moralism that quickly degenerates into the whatever is good for me mentality. If I can justify killing Sadam, then why can't I justify killing his aides? Even if they were "only following orders", they are still culpable, right? So from there the waterfall trickles and before you know it I am demanding President Bush's head on a platter because of his mismanagement of the hurricane Katrina debacle. Did he not cause major pain/suffering, even death? Was he not, in some way or another, very resonsible for the poor response? What about the FEMA fuckers? Can we kill them too? And while we're at it, my downstairs neighbour plays his TV at an ungodly volume.. can we kill him too?

This isn't a political post. In fact this blog is rarely political because, frankly, if you get it you get it. I don't feel as though I'm going to be changing anyone's mind anytime soon. If you think otherwise, if you've changed your mind about something because of what I have written in the past (of a political nature) then please let me know, maybe I'll amend this little publication's charter. At the moment, however, we are working within a tiny confine: all the hope that can be placed on a small square of cheap cardboard.. which, if you hadn't noticed from most of the posts around here, it ain't much. The hope that is.

So this insufferable morality we have, what do we do with it? It's a mangled mess of machinery, for certain, like something pulled from the scrap heap.. not exactly broken but certainly twisted. If it were in some post-apocalyptic movie, it would be modified, put into service in all it's half-functioning glory as a desalination plant instead; all these people huffing and puffing about right and wrong, exhaling venomous posions of the mind but, also, water vapour.

In there somewhere, within the depths of the thing, there is worthwhile policy.. maybe? Sadly, what might be useful group-policy is covered over by stronger thoughts of individual survival. The leader is morally grand on the podium yet, at ground zero, ultimately interested in self-sustainment like everyone else. And truly, how else could such a system as evolution work otherwise? Surely, a weak individual could sacrafice towards the greater good, the community, but alas I do not think the system has become so smart. Perhaps the very beauty of it lies in the simplicity of the thing. Dumb theory.

Dumb theory is a great work of art, to be sure. Ants and termites shuffling around no more aware of the bigger whole than a grain of sand is aware of the earth yet following simple rules at the point (which is to say, rules that govern their actions right then, at the point of where they are) their individual actions can combine to yeild huge functioning colonies. Colonies capable of devouring hundreds of pounds of foliage, capable of expanding and building, capable of war.

In the small scheme of things we are very smart ants, in the large scheme of things very small dumb things. We act according to our current point. We act individually to save ourselves, further our own goals, advance our own position, and it is a mode ultimately unaware of self-sacrafice other than to protect our kin (arguably a mode of protecting oneself).

So our famous morality which we tout so loudly, our compassion for eachother.. this is good? This is honourable? No, it is ultimately the result of comfort. Only in a safe position can thoughts for others truly manifest in a powerful enough manner to effect change. I, myself, am uncomfortable with killing an animal but it is a very very easy feeling to have given my position - being able to march down to the supermarket to purchase a lump of meat so far removed from a dead animal as to be almost indistinguishable, packaged in styrofoam and wrapped in clear plastic.

I'm not perfect. Or good, completely. I too am prone to actions of self-sustainment. I have been known to lower my moral position in order to raise another position, whether that be social, financial, or physical. I am not perfect. But neither is anybody else. The question is how powerful this morality is. We have it for a reason, it is a part of this system that we are built into.. are we different as a species now for our morality? Different enough to be special? Gosh, we really love ourselves don't we?

I had a big long discussion with a friend recently about socialism, his view that the free market has failed us, and our responsibilities to ourselves to think ahead. He talked of the need to institute policy and to police our corporations and countries. I think, ultimately, we were talking about morality, even if the verbal topics were supply, demand, pollution, and war. We were talking about that which we think makes us separate from the rest of nature; conciousness, self-awareness, morality. He wanted, badly, to think that the greater good - the mass of morally convicted people - could enforce rules and regulations for the greater good. He wants to believe that corruption can be overcome, I think, whether that's how he verbalizes it or not.

But the fact of the matter is, down at ground zero, we just can't handle it. We're too busy being shitty to eachother. Ignoring eachother. Making fun of one another. Socially bullying, jockeying for position. Stealing money from one another. Climbing up the slippery slope towards "financial success" - too often then not a funny expression for 'unhappy and friendless'. A ferrari can't give you a hug.

All of this is a big fuzzy abstraction of the things I'm thinking about lately - so abstracted that you won't be able to figure out what I'm really talking about. This is a good thing because I've been biting my tongue so hard it bleeds these days, trying not to type out anything about this because it's nothing more than whine; complete and under whine. Pathetic, obnoxious, why-can't-the-world-be-right whine. It makes me sick to even think about the weakness in that, and so you get this.. the hard truth, logic laid bare, all the morality wiped away from it so the cold underbelly is clearly visible. My sorrow wrapped up in logical truths like a pig in a blanket because, even though a hot dog can be fake meat, at least the pancakes won't lie to me.


Michael considered fate at 23:06   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I just can't help it, all this thinking I'm doing. it's just the way of the beast to wonder. at least this beast and so it's no excuse but it's one of the reasons the post count on here is kind of slim lately. I'm doing what I can but believe me, if you had this spaghetti pile of thoughts piled up in your brain you'd have a hard time straightening them all out too. It makes me sick to realize it, like I've eaten too much and I can't move too fast or I might puke, with all this thinking.

Somewhere in it, in that big pile, are some answers. Or at least that's what I tell myself and why I keep going back, over and over, to that pile. All the same thoughts I've thought over again before thinking over them again so I can think over them one more time, later. It's almost paralysis.

So the choice is to believe there are answers or to just close the door to the past and keep on walking forward. I don't know which I'm more privy to. On the one hand, ignoring your past can be useful in developing new and better habits. On the other hand even zombies walk forwards.

So I guess I am paralyzed. Paralyzed between what I could do and what I will do. It's always a fight between the two and never pretty. Some people might call that logic and sensible thinking, letting them fight it out like that, letting the better judgement show it's healthier power, but right now it's inaction. It's being a spectator in my own life.

Unfortunately there are some things in life you can only wait for, no matter what. A promise fails to be that if it has to be solicited. It should be kept of it's own free will and accord, right? Or maybe I just expect too much out of people. It's not so hard to turn out this way growing up being me.. The only person I ever break a promise to is myself.


Michael considered fate at 03:39   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Okay, truly, this "PocketMod" is pretty neat:
The PocketMod is a small book with guides on each page. These guides or templates, combined with a unique folding style, enable a normal piece of paper to become the ultimate note card. It is hard to describe just how incredibly useful the PocketMod is. It's best that you just dive in and create one. [flash required]

Michael considered fate at 00:33   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
when i was young - really young, so little that not only did i not know how to swim but i didn't know i didn't know how to swim - i still loved the water. we lived near a local watering hole back then, one of the pond variety with a dammed stream nearby, not some sort of public swimming pool. we'd go down on what seemed like random days but now i know enough to assume it must have been the weekends. i don't think i was ever big enough then for swimming lessons so, while my sister got to partake, i did not. my mother told me i would keep busy splashing around in the shallows of the beach doing what most toddlers do in the water, which is to say, doing what most adults do in the water too, except for those silly 'competitive' types - reveling about, splashing, and generally having a grand old time.

it wasn't until later, when we lived in the city, that i finally started in on the swimming lessons proper. by this point i had grown up near a pond, spending time at my grandparents lake, and now.. now they wanted me to swim in this.. this pool. i wasn't a retarded kid or anything, i got the concept. revelling and splashing and generally having a good time indoors, right? riight.. except there were lanes. little plastic and rubber floatation devices splitting the surface of the water into big strips. there were straight lines on the bottom of the pool, too, and marks around the edges. and it was in the shape of a big rectangle. i immediately smelt that something was up and i didn't like it. the whole place was humid and smelled of horrible chemical aroma. there were loud noises and echoes everywhere. this, i thought, was no place for quiet reflection or revelery of the sort i was interested in.

nevertheless i did want to know how to swim. i was too young to really understand then what it was that i hated about the place, how the chlorine bothered my eyes and made my hair squeak afterwards while i was drying off, and how the thick air was like a sauna - not refreshing but stifling. i showed up and put my trunks on in a strange place, a big room with rows of metal lockers. as i changed old men were walking around with their guts hanging out and the place smelled like a bad gym sock. when i came out into the pool area i learned that i was a guppy and i met my instructor. i don't have a whole lot of memory of the experience but i'm told that the first excercise was to find out how well each of us could swim. one by one we were asked to jump off the diving board at the deep end of the pool. knowing my limits, i was nonplussed by this idea. regardless, i was coaxed onto the plank and slowly shuffled out to the end of it. the instructor followed me and tried to encourage me by saying that he was "still there". this did nothing for my confidence. when i had finally reached the limits of what the board could do for me to keep me planted on my feet (for my toes were hanging off at this point) i was told to jump and go for it!. i backed off.

i cannot say how long this went on but it is clear that the instructor, at some point, reached the end of his own diving board, so to speak, for he pushed me from behind and off into the great beyond i went. at first i hovered ever so briefly in mid-air, a surprised and horrified expression no doubt plastered on my face like some sort of gory edvard munch painting. then, as is inevitable when dealing with the law of gravity, I began to fall. and with this falling came a certain amount of flailing of the limbs, a flaring of the nostrils, and a general sense of fear and foreboding that, if they existed before, were now amplified to extreme proportions. it is much more normal for me now, when in this type of situation, to stop and compose myself, calm down, and allay the fears within for - far be it from me to suggest otherwise, knowing the strife and struggles of others and my relatively simple and satisfying position in this world - life is peachy keen and fear is for suckers. normally i would check myself and apply measured logic to the apprehension and anxiety within. i would carefully examine the validity of such concerns and only if found to be legit would i allow these feelings to continue. however, at this particular juncture in our story, i was far too busy sinking "like a rock", as the saying - ever poetic - goes. when i hit the surface my limbs churned through the water like a racing propeller, pulling me farther into the depths. my eyes, wide open, stung with chlorine and all i could see were millions of tiny little air bubbles in various shapes and sizes. they seemed to be laughing at me.

how i sunk straight to the bottom is an interesting question indeed. to this day, as good a swimmer as i am (and i do fancy myself fairly adept) i cannot sit in a puddle or pond or pool, and just sink. perhaps fat truly does float and far too much has been stuffed between my ears since those days as a young lad. perhaps i am, as the zen buddhist slyly says, i am thinking about it way too hard. which ever it may be, at that time i sunk like a stone and so i was when i returned to dry land. like a stone i ignored all encouragement to return to the swimming lessons. like a stone i resisted treat upon trophy, promises of candy bars and ice cream, and everything else a small kid might be convinced with. i simply would not go back.

was it one too many seconds of life and death contemplation at the bottom of that pool? was it a distaste for the unsympathetic instructor who pushed me into the deep? was it my own invalid fears of unworthiness towards the water? we may never know the answers to these questions as these thoughts are locked in the mind of a small child who is no longer with us; has, in fact, gone and grown himself up into an adult and left such questions unanswered.

so ever since i've had a particular dislike for chlorinated water, blue tiles, and silly colored rings that sink when you toss them in the deep end. what the hell is that about? i dislike the long scooping net used for insects and other floating debris and i hate the tepid sitting water, day in and day out, unmoving like no other water on earth not even a bog. i am a lake man through and through, the ocean - as grand as it is to stretch your eyes upon - is salted and sours my swimming experience. ponds are mucky and fetid (though will do in a pinch) and so it is that i am a lake man, through and through.

photo (and indeed topic) grokkked from px

it is these memories of lakes that give me true pause and reflection. hanging over the side of a row boat or a canoe, floating practicly in the middle of nowhere just to float in the middle of nowhere just to look down into the shallow water at nothing in the middle of nowhere. watching the little water bugs blip across the surface, the small canoe-like underwater strokers, and the spiders descending with tiny bubbles of air attached to their backs. poking at sticks and tree trunks piled up in beaver dams, climbing over the rocks and through the weeds, pushing through pussy willows and cat-o-nine-tails, sludging hip-high across a pete moss praire. these are the things I remember doing with water, that most eloquent elixir of life, the mead of mother earth that beats all wine and beers, the universe's dillution in every solution, the galaxy's clear and delicious cocktail to best every champagne.

swimming underwater for as long as i can stand it is my favourite pastime of all, perhaps, and i've spent plenty of hours walking the muddy bottom with heavy stone in hand, bouncing like an astronaut on a moonscape with the gravity slowed down. underneath the world of air and atmosphere in the thick liquid medium of H2O things are slow and soothing. i may not meditate but i certainly enjoy my time down there.

this, i think, is one of the more saddening steps that i take every autumn, as the weather grows colder and i must turn away from the reality and turn to reminiscing of lakes and ponds, insects, mud and clay, and water.. it is perhaps partly what brought about the previous post of whining about the status quo, perhaps apropros to put these two together. regardless, it is water that i was thinking of today. lakes i have been to, rivers i have lived on, streams i have fished, and brooks i have heard babble. water in it's many flowing forms.. lots and lots of water.


Michael considered fate at 15:10   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
truth be told, 3:20pm on a Monday afternoon isn't exactly the best time to write the next great american novel.. or blog post. it is, afterall, Monday; that most unappreciated of days when millions of people roll over and stare at their alarm clocks in pure horror. this, they have discovered, is the new world. this is the escape we have manufactured from our manufacturing jobs. our escape route out from under the blanket of industrial revolution. this is called middle management. this is the very prey of the Monday morning alarm clock. it stalks the room quietly making a clicking step every minute or so but it's eyes, oh it's eyes, ever glowing brightly in the dim undergrowth of suburban hell that is the master bedroom.

and we wonder, I'm told, about the abjected faces of millions of these management types, these office jockies swinging through the turnstiles of life almost as if they were not even their, eyes grey and ashen, faces pale with a fresh morning shave. we wonder why they aren't happy, having been sold this american dream. this american wonder of nine-to-five and two fifteen-minute government mandated breaks.

is this so surprising? did we not see this coming? Monday is a human invention. time, the precious wonderbread of our minds, is completely concocted to solve life's little oddities we observe around us - each one of us living in our own tiny little world yet strung together like pieces of wrapped construction paper in a christmas tree garland, spun around a fir tree: the universe! everything we can possibly conceive, out there, among the many tiny worlds.

it is through these new connections that we found there were weird, interesting, great, naive, and depraved ideas out there in this universe. the passing of time took on new meaning, connections were built and lost, the sun rose and set as usual but it was no longer the main focus of the solar system - board meetings and connector flights ruled us now.

perhaps the signs of neo-modernism can already tell us our story of the future, if we look hard enough. no longer tied to the days or hours will we be like confused monkeys trying to count foreward from nine to five and always, always, loosing. instant on here-now connections and a global economy that is, at one time, thrown both into darkness and into the light will conspire to kill the white-collar workweek. the process is already happening. rush hour.

we look light-heartedly on this progress like a child looks at a bike being built by her father on christmas morning, the pieces coming together to form an image of advancement. no work hours? a brilliant idea. instant-on connections with the entire world will, no doubt, make our lives easier breezier. we fail to see, however, the dark side; the heinous bonds of servitude that the corporation, the enterprise, the federation slowly tighten around our limbs. once upon a time it was just our legs and then our arms. now it is each finger tacked to the keyboard of production. eventually, even in the quiet darkness of our coffin-style beds stacked neatly one on top of another on top of another on top of another rising highly, magnificently, beautifully advanced, one on top of another, our heads, minds, and brains will be plugged into the assembly line. figuratively or literally is neither here nor there, the power of economic necessity will drive your thoughts through the night, you will solve supply-chain problems in your dreams. there is not a minute to lose, hurry up now. every second counts.

you're on the clock.


Michael considered fate at 15:56   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Ohhhh creepy. Talk about taking the phrase "giving yourself to someone" a little to seriously - A wedding ring made from your bone:
The process
1. Extract bone chips from jaw. Rinse.
2. Place bone cells in ring-shaped bioactive ceramic scaffold.
3. Feed liquid nutrients and culture in a temperature-controlled bioreactor for six weeks.
4. After coral-like bone forms fully around scaffold, pare down to final ring shape and insert silver liner (for engraving).

Michael considered fate at 15:15   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment


Michael considered fate at 16:25   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
As if things couldn't get any worse.. as if my schedule was not already bad enough.. I discover my computer at work is bummed out, on vacation, strung out on windows updates.. basically in a coma. So no work for me, and it's not even a choice or excuse, it's a fact of life. Even if I wanted to be productive I couldn't be, unless maybe if I did some more laundry.

My schedule was already a bit lethargic. 4:30pm class isn't exactly the sort of thing that gets a slacker like me out of bed and up and at them early in the day. 4:30pm class isn't exactly the morning motivator I was hoping for. The other one is 1pm, which will at least drag my lazy ass out of the sack by noon by whatever. This is not good.

Luckily, through a twist of fate, I may be once again considered for a TA position for a graduate course. Something I sort of knew I wouldn't get the last time around since there were a few more qualified at the time, but the professor has been tapped to be an Associate Dean, the previously hired TA has been bumped up to lecture the class, and that leaves the position once again open. I may, in fact, find myself a TA afterall. Did I mention I live a semi-charmed life? I do. Semiwise. Semisolid. Semienlightened. Semisemi.

Michael considered fate at 14:34   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
And while we're on large natural phenomenons, how about a volcano?
BEND, Ore. (AP) -- A recent survey of a bulge that covers about 100 square miles near the South Sister indicates the area is still growing, suggesting it could be another volcano in the making or a major shift of molten rock under the center of the Cascade Range.
Luckily our government is, as usual, on top of things:
A recent U.S. Geological Survey report said monitoring is inadequate at [all of the active oregon volcanos], with only basic monitoring at about half
Okay okay, I'm just joking around. The last thing I'd want to be accused of is trying to sensationalize this sort of stuff. They're just volcanos, afterall. No big deal:
Whether the magma [of the bulge] will move again or ever reach the surface is a mystery. But if it did, geological history suggests it would result only in small cinder cones that spew ash and lava.

The good news is that such an eruption likely would not seriously affect any population centers

Michael considered fate at 14:22   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
From the comments: Future Map!. Legit or not, it is an interesting look at what could happen as the future unfolds, erosion clears deltas, earthquakes move land, and melting glaciers turn soil into soup. Especially interesting given our recent whoopsies in New Orleans. Get your full sized poster here:

Michael considered fate at 01:31   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I did laundry today. The whites. My dirty undies. And lots and lots of socks.. if there is one thing more true than 20 coat hangers always come out of a closet where only two went in, then it is this: for every 2.78 loads of laundry there is a 1 in 2.78 chance that you will lose as many as 2.78 socks. Inevitably, however, these 2.78 socks are not of the same pair. If they were, if we could know for certain that every two lost socks would be mates, that every two socks that wander off into the deep unknown beyond the outer rim of the washer, out past the cylindrical swirl of the dryer, if we knew these two socks were soulmates then, cripes, good for them. I wouldn't even miss them. I'd continue on about my life as if nothing happened, as if I never even owned that pair of socks. Life would balance, the universe would makes sense, and equilibrium among the stars would be achieved. The tiny vibrations of energy throughout the galaxies would slowly settle, like a rubberband once plucked, and soon, everything would be frozen in time, perfect ying, perfect yang, equal in all rights, all things great and small completely content in the place, position, and direction they will be in.

Luckily, this doesn't happen and life continues on. A quick proof of the theorem: we are still rolling along, living, typing, breathing, moving. *Poof*. No equilibrium. Socks, it would seem, get lost by themselves. There are no tubes honeymooning off in Jamaica where I went this summer. There is no smart brown argoyles sunbathing in Santa Barbara. No no, life doesn't work this way - even for socks.

This particular trip to the laundry room netted me 2 more solos to the pile. The pile, currently, resides in the sock drawer as a large bound collection of single socks, each one desperately hoping it's long lost brother or sister will return someday. Surprisingly, like many beautiful loves stories, it does happen on occassion. This load there were 4 different lost souls (no pun intended) returned to their rightful partners. Two more were returned to, well, a partner. Perhaps not their rightful one but then, in the land of white tube socks, whose really counting? Nonetheless, there was a dirge of lost cotton this time around (I did a really big load) and we topped off at 14 singles now singing the song of the solo sock. This, ladies and gentlemen, sets a record, having easily beaten the previous of 12.

The old adage of college-rent bachelor's goes "if you buy nothing but white atheletic socks then there will never be a lost sock".. aha, touche. However, us of the more mathematically inclined will quickly beg to differ. As three is a crowd so an odd number of socks is a quandry. Irregardless of this little problem of arithmetic, there is more complication afoot. In this day and age of designer footwear the white tube sock just will not do in almost all of life's many social situations. On the court, tiny anklet atheletics are required as the tennis ball is batted across the net. On the pitch, the shin guards of a soccer mate must be matched to his sock and tucked in such that the tube must be a ten-incher, at least. Et cetera, et cetera. This whole problem of socks, it would appear, is not so simple.

I present to you a much more thorough and effective method of sock simplicity. It is quick and easy, painless almost, to implement. It speeds up not only the post-laundry matching sessions you undoubtably cringe at the thought of, but it also makes for a more interesting and varied life. Without further ado, it is this: Every sock pair that you purchase shall be no similar to any other sock pair in which you have previously purchased in so much as a fox is dissimilar to a lynx. More clearly, a fox is clearly not a cat and a lynx is clearly not a dog yet they, the lynx and the fox, are both wood creatures of the same category: four-legged mammals. Strive to maintain your sock collection as moses would a collection of four-legged mammals - two of each. This way, when you pull from the laundry pile one fox and one lynx you will know immediatley and without a doubt that these two socks, however much they are similar (for they are both socks), are clearly not a match. There will be no fine-comb apprasials of the stitch or fingering of the fabric quality to determine the match of two foot covers. Despite how oft it is heard "something stinks in here" and how often the culprit of this is a pair of sock, these are not criminals and they are not forensic evidence. This is not a DNA test. Hold to the light, compare color, compare strippage, compare length. If these three factors fail to fully forewarn of the fabrical faux-pas one would be committing if one were to wander into a public place with these two completely different socks on their feet, then the variety of your collection is suspect.

I urge you to give this matter some serious thought and certainly let me know if it's a system you find working out for you.


Michael considered fate at 13:21   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
It's sort of hard to come up with something to write about - be it melancholy or proud, exciting or profane - when there are a bunch of people in the gulf states flooded out of their homes and with very little belongings being prominently displayed on the news. I stick that last little bit on the end their, in the news, because that's what's really important here if we want to get down and pick bones about it. If it were not for the CNNs and the Headlines and the Fox News Networks of the USA I would not be aware of the struggles that are going on down in LA and MI. If it were not for the NYTimes, the Times-Picayune, the WSJ, the WP, and others then I would not know that gunmen have roamed the streets of New Orleans, that police have turned in their badges, that people have returned to their homes to find mold and mildew, and that some people paid near on $6 a gallon for a gallon of gasoline. And like a "typical dumb american", if it were not for these outlets, I wouldn't really care too much. What you don't see can't hurt them. Or something like that.

America has a spectacular way of making things sound a whole heck of a lot worse than they are. This, some say, is America's worst disaster in history - yes, I have heard this said. It is horrible, nothing worse could have happened to the people of New Orleans, it is the end of the world as we Mardi Gras'ers know it. Or something like that. The truth of the matter is that New Orleans was situated in a flood plane, under sea level, and even I - as a snot-nosed high school kid ten years ago - wondered how it was possible or more importantly, safe to live like that. I remember being awe-struck at the trivia joke of "how many inches a year does Tulane University's library building sink into the ground?". This was not unexpected.

So sure, there are some people suffering in the wake of this disaster. There are some people and animals who have died. There are some people who have lost their homes, their jobs, their entire lives. There is a President who has lost what little veil of competency he may have had left. These are unfortunate events for those involved but is this really, can I ask, a horrible disaster? You are nodding and saying yes to yourselves I imagine but let me recall something, not even a century ago, not even a score or ten years, but just last year. It was a little tsunami you may have heard of that killed somewhere in the region of 170,000 people. One hundred and seventy thousand people. How quickly we forget.

I think the real tragedy here, the real horrible disaster has nothing to do with a hurricane named katrina and absolutely everything to do with the lackluster sort of response this country has mustered. I think it has everything to do with poor planning and poor execution of safety measures, poor response time from national officials, and overall a poor showing by this nation's government in general. I think this is almost as embarassing as the entire Iraqi fiasco. It calls into question the true nature of our perceived "security" on our own soil.


Michael considered fate at 14:22   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I'll be temporarily away from my desk for a few days. Check back on Tuesday.


Michael considered fate at 00:20   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Sweet thing, they said about going back. not knowing about the twist of a spring tied up inside. bomb waiting to go off like a jerry springer guest. sweet thing, they said about heading back and they didn't know what that really meant, the things he'd miss, the things he'd forget. Sweet thing, indeed, like a bad Platters' song. Smoke gets in your eyes, or Only you. Bitter-sweet more like it, they don't see the regret, the want, the desire, the need to live it all both lives, all thrice, all quadruple the fun. Five times a minute I think to myself, five times, that if I wanted it then I could have it. I just don't want it bad enough. I just don't, I tell myself, want it enough. I must not. No way I could want it as bad as I think I do if I did then I'd do it, wouldn't be talking here about it would be busy working on it right this instant. Now. now. nope, still here. Want, need, desire, my ass..

My ass, and then I remember, it hits me, like a ton of brick oven pizzas in the face, some sort of farcical prank that I wasn't privy to until the last second - the butt of the joke, that's me. Someone's punchline; straight to the bank to cash that check they go and I don't even see who it was, digging pie from my eye sockets as I am. Sweet thing indeed, heading off into winter wonder where the fuck I am land, where the hell am I going with these "life decisions", decisions? That would suggest some sort of understanding of the problem, some sort of choice along the way like I'm actually picking the flowers I want, not just mowing over the whole lot of 'em. No, there are no roses here unless they got sucked under the john deere like the rest of the weeds, the dandelions, the four-leaf clovers I can't see from where I am sitting up on top of that tractor. Sweet thing, they said, about going back.

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