Friday, December 10, 2010

An Enlightening Afternoon

I was definitely feelin' the love of nature and energy today. I adventured to DeLuz to find a guy who had much dead wood to share. His considerable pile was on top of a hill with views I couldn't stop appreciating. The ride there was a work of art all its own. Trees lit up with golden sun, green hills, whispering willows, and a mile of off-roading that had the Jeep bouncing and laughing (it doesn't get to go off road much). I paid my $20 (what a bargain for such a delightful afternoon!) and The Wood Man left me alone up there with my thoughts as I stacked logs on my folded-down seats. What came to mind was:

Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment: carry wood, drink water!

That is one ENORMOUS cactus!
YAY for firewood all stacked and ready for cozy evenings!

Friday, November 19, 2010

TSA Now Stands for Transient Sexual Assault?

Alternative title for this post: Scan This TSA :P

I'm so pissed now I don't even remember where this started. This is why I don't normally watch the news - it makes me mad, or sad, or generally puts me in a negative mood. I prefer to be happy and I'm pretty good at staying that way, but I also don't want to be blissfully ignorant as that is just as bad as being overly reactive. Things that are big news tend to make it onto my radar anyway, and this is no exception. I may be a little late to the party, but I definitely have something to contribute.

Whatever I was reading earlier, it gave a link to the blog containing the viral video uploaded by John Tyner in San Diego regarding his encounter with TSA recently. He "opted out" of being scanned in one of the new full-body scanners installed by airport security in the name of "fighting terrorism" (more like our government exercising terrorism on the public if you ask me), then stood up for his rights as an American citizen and refused to be groped in an alternative pat down by TSA personnel (John Tyner may be more well-known as the "Don't Touch My Junk" guy). Now Mr. Tyner may be facing a $10,000 fine even though he PEACEFULLY LEFT THE AIRPORT as he was told to do - simply because he would not "complete" the security check.

GOOD FOR HIM refusing to submit to the absolutely ridiculous new rules they've installed under the guise of safety. I admire a guy that is willing to give up a flight and vacation because he is not going to give up his rights to privacy and will not stand for being sexually assaulted in public at the airport just because "everyone else is doing it." I hope if they actually sue him, he sues them back and wins millions of dollars. He deserves it.

I already wrote quite a long missive in response to a comment from a friend on my Facebook page, so mostly I'm going to copy that here. I posted an article on my Facebook page about abolishing the TSA and basically my friend was asking why people are so uptight about the new security. He thought it was a good idea that we had better scanners. "What are they afraid of?" he asks. Here is my response:

What people are afraid of is losing the last of their shredded rights in this country. Our constitution is already looking like a cat took its claws to it. Every day we look more like a gilded Nazi concentration camp. At what level do they have to violate you before you say enough?

The porno factor of the scanners isn't the bigger issue (at least not for me). If you read about backscatter ionizing radiation, you'll find that being exposed once or twice might not cause much harm, but run yourself through those things once a day, as some business travelers do, or even a couple times a week, and you significantly up your chance of cancer and other DNA-malfunction type diseases. How convenient for the medical and pharmaceutical industries. (Also makes me wonder how the TSA agents that have to stand next to them all day will fare.) From Wikipedia on ionizing radiation: "It has many practical uses in medicine, research, construction, and other areas, but presents a health hazard if used improperly. Exposure to radiation causes damage to living tissue, and high doses can result in mutation, radiation sickness, cancer,[2], and death." The scanners do not use high doses, but depending how often you travel, you will get multiple doses and the radiation is cumulative. Radiation half-life is a crazy high number. The stuff lasts forever, which is why it accumulates instead of dissipating. Our bodies never heal from it because we don't live that long. That's why Chernobyl is still dangerous after how many years?

Add to it that the CEO
(Michael Chertoff) [of Rapiscan - do you suppose they meant to spell it so it could sound like Rape-a-scan?] the company selling most of these machines used to be head of Homeland Security under Bush. Hmmm. What's the best way to get rich? Get into the gov, make a big scare, then retire to a nice little company that solves the problem of the scare. What do you think his bonus is going to look like next year? I'd say he'll profit quite a bit. [Does Halliburton ring any bells?]

Read a few more links and find out that the head of Israel's Tel Aviv airport security (Rafi Sela) thinks these scanners are ridiculous and that guy's got 30 years of successful security under his belt in an airport so tight Tupperware is jealous. In a country with REASON to be paranoid! And he's not using scanners. In fact, he boasts that he knows a way to get enough explosives through a scanner without detection that he could take down any 747. I think I'm gonna believe him and his 30 years of experience. So what's the REAL incentive for these scanners? I'd have to say it's pure profit for a bunch of governmental cronies. Same shit, different day. Just cuz the Bush administration doesn't occupy the White House en masse, doesn't mean friends aren't still wandering the halls and feeding the lobbyists.

Now suppose you opt out and choose to have a cheap thrill with a TSA agent instead. Why is it less illegal for them to grope you than if you chose to feel up a hot chick in Starbucks without her consent? You'd go to jail. Not TSA. Just because TSA is "authorized" (authorized BY WHO?? Not ME!!) doesn't make this right or ok. I don't authorize them to touch me anywhere, nor do I authorize my government to make that decision for me. I've put up with all the crap about taking off shoes and scanning laptops, but this is crossing the line - for a lot of people. That is not what America is about. Nor would I EVER say it's ok to teach your child: "Well it's not ok for anyone to touch you in private places... *except TSA.*" WTF is that about? NO. TSA may not touch me or my children (even tho she's already an adult) anywhere I think is inappropriate. EVER. Even police officers have to have a GOOD reason to pat you down that way, and certainly they must have reasonable cause to strip search you (which is basically what the scanner does). TSA apparently needs no reason at all. I will not ever think that's okay, and especially not under the farce of airport security.

Upon further reflection I recognize that perhaps initiating these measures plants the seed in American minds that none of us can trust each other. We all look at each other suspiciously at the gate (not to mention the subway, the sidewalk, local restaurants... I mean seriously!). We're all on alert in the plane for anything out of order. TSA is supposedly just doing their job when they give the extended pat down, grabbing groins and squeezing for boob bombs. Who's to say perverts won't seek out this particular job now just so they can legally grope people? Do you trust that all TSA personnel can be completely benign even with the hottest chick or guy that comes through their line? Yeah, right. You think TSA reps don't talk about the best/worst people they had to check that day? Please. Even if they're not perverts, they are HUMAN. And a background check might not even reveal if they ARE perverts if they've kept to themselves... until now. There also seems to be no distinction of female officers patting down females and males for the males. And which would be more uncomfortable anyway? (Just one more reason TSA has no business touching anyone like they've been instructed to.) It's not like prerequisites to work for TSA include summa cum laude college degrees. Most of the TSA employees I've encountered could just as easily be asking me if I want fries with that. Creating mistrust among the citizens makes us vulnerable, right? United we stand, divided we fall? The higher ups in government DO tend to have those smarty pants degrees. They've read the history books on how we won the Revolution, and how the North won the Civil War. They know strategy. They know what went wrong for the losing sides in the past and they're up on the technology of today. If the government wanted to create a situation to control everyone, making us mistrust each other is a good way to start. People who love power will do anything to have it and protect it. I can't think of a bigger body of people that love power than the American government.

And to that end, these scanners supposedly do not have the ability to save or transmit images, however, this article states that they absolutely can do both and shows images to prove it. So NOW what do you think the real agenda is behind all this? We already have microchips in our driver's licenses and passports (RFIDs) that can track us no matter where we are as long as we have our ID (and who travels anywhere without their drivers license?). The TSA also states on their site "As we rapidly deploy technology as it exists today, we are also exploring enhancements to it, such as Automated Target Recognition (ATR), or auto-detection software." Read: facial recognition software. Is the gov just gathering more data on every citizen it can until they have a giant database to track our every move? For what purpose? I don't think I want Big Brother knowing every detail of my day. Is this starting to look seriously like the movie Minority Report to anyone else? One can't speculate too long or you'll really have trouble sleeping.

You know what bothers me most? WE, THE TAXPAYERS, PAID FOR THIS BULLSHIT.  Direct quote from TSA's site:

"In March 2010, TSA began deploying 450 advanced imaging technology units, which were purchased with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds."

The ARRA (according to its own site) has three immediate goals:

  • Create new jobs and save existing ones
  • Spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth
  • Foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending
I don't see how this new security silliness fills any of those three main goals. And nowhere on the site that is supposedly tracking the allocation of funds distributed under the ARRA does it say, "Legalize the sexual assault of millions of Americans (including children) trying to go about their daily business."

Keep in mind, these scanners and policies are mostly just at airports right now, but this is a transportation issue... eventually they plan to have these security rules implemented even in train stations, bus stations, large office buildings... everywhere.

And this is what's kept me from sleeping tonight... spending time educating myself about what's really going on, trying to see behind the curtain, as I wish ALL people would educate themselves and form their OWN opinion instead of just watching the news and jumping off a cliff after the big, stupid lemming that is Glenn Beck. (And I apologize to any lemmings I just offended.) I'm not fond of American journalism (with a few exceptions) because most of it is bent to say what our government would like us to hear. They don't necessarily lie (ok, some have made it a habit), but they do omit a lot of facts that might sway opinion unfavorably. You really have to read around to get the whole story (or at least a respectable bit of it). I recommend reading what the American Media Circus is saying and then ALSO reading media from Canada, BBC, or somewhere outside our own country that has a more objective perspective.

And in case that wasn't enough to keep you up too, try this video on for size:

Monday, November 08, 2010

#TeDxSD over. What ana amazing day! Jake's ukulele was the perfect close. Inspiring speakers, fantastic leaders. I am so grateful!
Eric Topol @ #TEDxSD spoke of cracking diseases thru genome mapping but what of fixing the REAL root of disease? Your thoughts!
Ever heard of a ZeoClock? It measures ur brain waves while u sleep 2 say the quality of sleep ur getting. Cant wait 2 look this up! #tedxsd
WOW! Last 2 speakers -Robert Bilder & Eric Topol were phenominal! The advances of knowing how our brains work are amazing! #tedxsd
Nika sign gone in the time it took to text. ?? Booo!
I see Nika Water has a sign up on the bar! Yay 4 sustainable water companies! Surprised TEDx is offering single use water bottles :( #tedxsd
Kurt Gray spoke about the embodiment of words & how we can become the heros we think we are. Future speaker @ LeaderShift? #tedxsd
What a great video they showed too from Andora Svitak on what "childish" really looks like & how adults can learn from children. :)
Marty Cooper spoke on Motorola, technology & humanity & actually had 1 of those original 2 pound bricks they called a cell phone in the 80s!
They ask that we not tweet during the talks but there's really no time btw either which makes it hard 2 let u know how cool this is! #tedxsd
Had lunch with a brilliant girl who designs labs for scientists. What a great profession combining right & left brain thinking! #tedxsd
Literature says TEDx is not-for-profit organized entirely by unpaid volunteers. Just like the LeaderShift conf I helped out w/ this weekend!
They're playing Peter Gabriel. Lots of networking happening. Lots of interesting ppl. Stay tuned 4 live updates thru the day. #TEDxSanDiego
Officially sitting in my seat @ #TEDxSanDiego. WAY cool! Anthology is an awesome space. Breakfast was yummy. Sipping Starbux. Ready 2 go!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life Reflections

I'm watching a free video series from Oprah that's available on iTunes. She calls it her Soul Series and one of the people she interviews is Eckhart Tolle. (Another one totally worth listening to is Byron Katie. I'd never heard of her before the Leadershift 2010 conference, but darnit, here is another person that has already put into a book exactly what I've been thinking for years! I've GOT to get on this author thing!) I loved Eckhart's book, A New Earth, and I highly recommend it.

In Part 2 of Oprah's interview with Tolle, she opens the phone lines so callers can ask him questions. The first caller asks him, "How do you embody what you talk about—you being free of the domination of ego? Can you please share your experience of being in the here and now."

He gives some explanation to lay out how he lives in the present moment and clarifies that he also lives with awareness of chronological time. He says the primary focus is always on the present moment. It makes life very simple (I'm paraphrasing) and can also be described as a state of surrender to life. He goes on to say if you live a life full of trouble, a very important question to ask yourself is, "What is my relationship to this moment? Am I making this moment into an enemy? Am I treating this moment as an obstacle that I need to overcome?"

Eckhart says he, personally, has a very friendly relationship with the present moment as he doesn't put the present in a negative light, as if it's something he has to endure or get through (again, paraphrasing) to get on to something happier. I can totally identify with that. I know I USED to be that way, and perhaps sometimes I fall back into it. However, for the most part since I've been in San Diego I've had plenty of challenging moments, but I've also found surrendering to them makes life easier, and friendlier (I like that description :).

Remaining present, and choosing what is happening *now* has kept my monkey mind from focusing too much on the past or future, thereby creating a problem where none exists. Problems can only exist in the future and past. There may be challenges in the present moment, but there are no problems because problems require time to build, and the present moment holds no time as we understand it, especially not enough time to build an entire problem.

So he says if you're living a stressful life, a tool to use for change is to stop and ask yourself several times a day, "'How am I relating to the present moment?' Because when you do that what you're really asking is 'What is my relationship with life?' because the present moment is essentially your life. You can only encounter your life in the present moment. So it's a vital question to ask yourself 'what is your relationship with life?' because if your life is one of hostility, which is when you make the present moment into an obstacle or an enemy, then life always reflects back to you your predominant state of consciousness."

I love how he put this particular thought - that life always reflects back to you your predominant state of consciousness. I wanted to make note of it for myself as well as share it with whoever might be reading here because I feel this is a really great way to get the idea across that YOU are creating your life. Not some guy behind a curtain or an angry old man on a throne in the sky - it's all YOU baby.

What are you reflecting today? Right now?

And what are you reflecting NOW?

How 'bout now?

How 'bout now?

Yeah, I know, I could go on with that forever. If you have trouble remembering to stop and ask yourself this question throughout the day, set a series of alarms on your phone's calendar (or something you refer to frequently to keep track of your day) to bring your focus to the present for at least those few seconds each day. Eventually you will find yourself anticipating the reminder, therefore it is already being brought to the front of your consciousness, and it will become a *good* habit. (The word "habit" has definitely earned an undeserved reputation as something negative.)

The best time to ask that question tho is *every* time you encounter change, which for most humans, is A LOT during a 24 hour period. Change can encompass something as common as a car moving into your lane on the freeway, or as large as news that changes your life. Good or bad, change creates a lot of stress for us meat suits because we are forced to adapt and evolve to fit the new situation, sometimes very quickly. It is a survival instinct to be able to do so. If your automatic reaction to change is resistance, hostility, anger, sadness or anything less than acceptance, imagine the percentage of the day you spend feeling yukky! Are you sure you want to live that way? Wouldn't you rather be happy NOW?

I hadn't really thought about how I reached the state of peace I currently enjoy 90% of the time, but looking back I suppose I just kept asking myself, "What am I feeling in this moment? Do I want to be this or happy?" I kept choosing happy until the answer was "I'm already happy and it don't get better than that!" a good majority of the time. It's a matter of continuing to bring your focus back to RIGHT NOW.

That picture of the outdoor banner over on the right side of this very blog that says,"You are here, but are you present?" That is the wallpaper on the front of my phone. Even when I'm looking at it without really seeing it, I think it taps my subconscious and says, "Pssst. Are you really present to this moment?" Like I said... it's become a habit.

I think since we're all human there will always be some times when we're less than happy, so for those perfectionists out there (me included) I have also come to realize that acceptance also means life will not be perfect 100% of the time. How boring would that be anyway? I would be surprised if even Eckhart said he's in a state of bliss 100% of the time.

I've said many times that I have gratitude for the lows because without them, how would we define and enjoy the highs? So even in sadness or anger or whatever, I realize somewhere deep down it's ok to have that too. The word AND is so much more powerful than that word OR.

Well, my thoughts are starting to fly all over and no doubt it has something to do with it being 5am. Just wanted to put that out there tho because the reflection is beautiful. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, REFUSE

Dianna Cohen of the Plastic Pollution Coalition gives a 5 minute TED talk about plastics if you play the video above. Most info is already mainstream news, but the thing that stuck out to me was her suggestion of adding the fourth R to "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle"... it is REFUSE. I've refused hundreds of plastic bags (probably more like thousands with the way I shop) - not just at the grocery store, but at retail stores as well. I literally cringe when I see cashiers put one item in a bag, or even worse - double bag something! AGGHH!! I carry a Chicos Bag in my purse for those times when I forget to grab my canvas bags from under the front seat of the Jeep.

Do you think Swedish engineer, Sten Gustaf Thulin, knew what kind of evil he was creating when he came up with the white harbingers of oceanic death? (Seriously, as if Ikea isn't enough of a waste of resources. Isn't Sweden supposed to be known for its environmental consciousness and stuff? WTH?) Mobil, the most evil gas company I've ever read about, is responsible for making plastic bags a viable commodity in 1977 by overturning a patent, then the Dixie Bag Company from Georgia, along with Safeway and Kroger (et tu Vons?!) helped make "Paper or Plastic?" the most widely used phrase in America by the mid-80s. Oh yes, all this polyethylene destruction of our planet has only been since 1982. That's only TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS people. Do the math.

Anyway... I also rarely buy anything in a single use plastic bottle. I've eliminated almost all plastic from my kitchen (I LOVE those Pyrex glass storage containers with the rubber lids!), and often choose grocery items in glass containers over plastic. (Then I save the glass container for something else too!)

Some of my friends think I'm silly for making all these tiny, detail-oriented efforts to reduce my carbon footprint, but what is the price of self-respect? One person recycling may be like a drop in the ocean, but if we spread the word, pretty soon drops turn into a bucket, then a pond, then a lake... you get the idea.

Make a concept "cool" enough and it will become commonplace across the globe. How else has Starbucks built a billion-dollar business selling a ten-cent cup of coffee? Speaking of Starbucks... their current marketing campaign goes, "Take comfort in rituals." I agree! Recycling and thinking about what you're consuming is a ritual. It gives me comfort to know that even if my efforts alone don't make a big difference, I can lead by example. There's no reason I should NOT do it. Same for you.

Lots of people whine about canvas bags at the stores being inconvenient. Nothing is inconvenient if you have the right tools. Buy some reusable shopping bags and keep them in the car. (Check out street fairs and craft shows in your area to get unique cool ones AND support your local artists!) As I said, the Chico Bags are my favorite because they squish down into a very small bag of their own and are easy to carry in very little space. (All the natural foods markets seem to sell them too.) Buy a reusable water bottle (I mean c'mon - they sell them everywhere! I've even seen them at the dollar stores!) and keep it filled in your cup holder. It's better for your body to drink more water anyway! Think about the products you buy at the grocery store - is the same thing available from a company that uses glass or other materials for their packaging?

Be a muse. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, REFUSE.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

C'mon People - Wake Up Already!

I was reading this article from a post on Facebook today:

Co-Founder of Veterans Group Not Surpised by Army Vet’s Rampage

I get the saying that "in order to retain peace, you must be prepared for war." But no one wins in war. NO ONE. Governments perpetuate the need for violence to serve their own purposes under the guise of serving the people. But how is it serving the people when veterans are treated like expendable property, asked to commit crimes against humanity, then left to deal with the demons created by the acts they are forced to perform? And yet, if we laid down arms, it doesn't mean Global Peace because we live in a bi-polar world where in order to define "good" we must have "bad." And each individual thinks the only "good" way to live is our own way, which means anything other than that individual's way (or group's way) is "bad." (How narcissistic.) The only solution to the problem is for all humans to transcend history and live only in the Now - acceptance and tolerance of all ways of life (live and let live, what a concept) - but how do you get 7 billion people to wake up at once? Until they do, you have situations like this. It's just a microcosm of the macrocosm.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Change for the Dining Room

How To Profit From Your Insanity

Step 1: Have original dining room set that is pub height and decide if you want to work at the table instead of at your desk for a change of scenery, you really need a regular height dining set so you can put your feet on the floor.

Step 2: Put Pub Dining Set on Craigslist. Receive emails of interest.

Step 3: Take pub height dining set OFF Craigslist and tell all interested parties it's sold because you cant bear to part with it since you like the colors so much and the table is really a perfect size (36" x 48") which is hard to find.

Step 3 1/2: Take six months to vacillate on whether or not you really really need to change that dining set while squirming on the seats trying to work long hours. Spend more hours pouring over Craigslist finding nothing that you like as much or better than your current set.

Step 4: Decide you're being stupid and put Pub Dining Set BACK on Craigslist. Obviously, there's no way you're going to find the shorter set you want if the old set is still occupying the space and sending out energy to the Universe saying it's here to stay.

Step 5: Finally find an acceptable normal-height espresso colored dining set with a table that is exactly the same dimensions as the pub height table. Buy Espresso Dining Set 1 for $100. Put Pub Dining Set in the spare bedroom until it sells.

Step 6: Decide the wood chairs in Espresso Dining Set 1 are too hard to sit on. You need cushioned chairs.

Step 7: Buy blonde wood chairs with cushioned seats and backs because they're an excellent deal at $80 for all four and are almost like new. Figure you'll have The Most Amazing Boyfriend Ever, who can fix anything, stain all the legs to the espresso color you want. Put chairs from Espresso Dining Set 1 in spare bedroom with the Pub Dining Set until you resell them.

Step 8: Realize The Most Amazing Boyfriend Ever has too many things going on right now to deal with a bunch of legs, even if they are attached to four blondes.

Step 9: Find a set of chairs just like the blonde chairs, but with espresso legs and tan cushions (and be very pleased to see the tan fabric looks even better than the lighter fabric of the blonde chairs). Unfortunately two of them need their seat springs repaired, but at only $30 you're already seeing the profit you'll make selling all those other chairs that didn't work out. Besides, surely it's less work for The Most Amazing Boyfriend Ever to fix the springs in two chairs rather than stain 16 pieces of wood!

Step 10: Sit on the two "good" espresso and tan chairs and realize perhaps the springs in those aren't really what you wanted either since they are literally bouncy like a trampoline. Suddenly $30 seems like a lot for these chairs.

Step 11: Go back to craigslist and find Espresso Dining Set 2 with chairs that look just like the damaged ones (but are in truly great shape) and a table that looks just like the one from Espresso Dining Set 1. Figure you can pick the best of the two tables to keep, and pair up the rejected one with the hard wood chairs from Espresso Dining Set 1, thereby creating Espresso Dining Set 2.5. Add to your profit by talking the seller down $30 so you've only spent $170 on Espresso Dining Set 2.

Step 12: Move the NEW espresso and tan chairs into your dining room and put the damaged ones just like them in the spare room that is now officially looking like a furniture warehouse. Decide the table from Espresso Dining Set 1 is better, and put the table from Espresso Dining Set 2 in the garage since it won't fit in the spare bedroom o' furniture.

You now have two complete dining sets (plus the one you're keeping) and eight extra chairs in your warehouse... err... I mean Home With Only One Dining Room. (We wont mention the three ceiling fans that were all also excellent deals but have not been put up yet - one of which is The Most Amazing Boyfriend Ever's.)

Step 13: Realize your daughter is arriving for a visit in only a week, and she might enjoy sleeping on a bed instead of a table and chairs.

Step 14: Move all furniture out of the spare bedroom into the garage to put the intention out to the Universe that this stuff HAS GOT TO GO, and fast. List everything on craigslist and pray it will leave in a week so you don't look like you need Craigslist Anonymous when your kid gets here.

Step 15: Make appointment with a lady that wanted a duvet cover you thought would never sell. End up talking her into taking three more pieces from your linen closet AND Espresso Dining Set 2.5! Woo! Unfortunately you had to let the dining set go for the same price you paid for Espresso Dining Set 1, so you haven't made a profit yet except on the linens, which really don't count for the dining room accounting. It's okay tho, because at least it's out of your house and you're on your way to covering up your insanity.

Step 16: Sell the blonde chairs for $100 AND get to charge $10 for delivery. NOW you're making money! You are also four chairs closer to getting your garage back.

Step 17: Sell the Pub Dining Set AND get to charge a delivery fee on that one too! Except oops... you're a wimp and end up telling the woman you'll deliver it for free because she hesitates and you are desperate to have it out of your house. You redeem yourself somewhat by standing strong on the $225 price, which is more than your mother originally paid for it brand new from the store. You are officially out of the red now.

Step 18: Sell damaged espresso and tan chairs for $40 plus a $10 delivery fee, almost doubling your money there for a bad investment. Go you!

Step 19: Reclaim your garage and offer huge thanks to the Universe for unbelievably obtaining your goal of selling it all with two days to spare. In the meantime, also sell a few other small items that don't really count for the dining room overall, but that definitely covered all gas costs in this endeavor, making you feel justified in claiming the delivery fees as profit.

So the final accounting goes:

$100.00    Espresso Dining Set 1
    80.00    Blonde chairs
    30.00    Damaged chairs
  170.00    Espresso Dining Set 2

$100.00    Espresso Dining Set 1
  110.00    Blonde chairs
    50.00    Damaged chairs
  225.00    Pub Dining Set

For a profit of: $105 and a new, cushioned dining set that is the height you need to double as your second home office.

The best part is everyone wins. I'm happy with making a bit of money and having fun changing up my furniture, and the people buying are happy and thinking they got a good deal because they're just not as good at Craigslist as I am. :)

New Dining Room For The Win!

Now the living room chairs are a whole other story...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Choose What's Happening Now

What would all the do-gooders worry about if suddenly all the bad guys became reformed and the world was at peace? Not that I would mind finding out, but sometimes I have to wonder if we "suffer," or view others as "suffering," simply because we are not being present in the moment, choosing whatever our life looks like right then.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I think my neurons are almost full. I need to clear some stuff out and defrag.
Starbux gave me a Gold Card. I choose 2 see this as an appreciation of my patronage & not like putting a bell on the cat 2 warn the baristas

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Time to Speculate

What would happen if everyone could choose, individually, how much time their day consisted of? For instance: you choose 30 hours for today and your friend chooses only 10, but both of you have the perception that your days are the same length.

At some point in our lives, we've all said (or at least thought): "there's not enough time in a day..." or "I wish I had more time..." or "what I would give for just another hour to get this done..."

Well what if you really could have all the time you wanted before bedtime? What if you could stretch or shorten your day as much as you wish? Would you ever sleep again? Would you ever wake up? Would it be like the Twin Paradox where you've only aged a day but everyone else aged years or decades?

Just a fun thing to think about. I'm sure there's an episode of Twilight Zone or something out there with this idea. Or perhaps this is already how it is and that's why some people are more productive in their days than others!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chinchillas and Children

People unfamiliar with exotic pets such as iguanas or chinchillas tend to either be afraid of them, or they wonder why I would want to keep such a thing because they assume these creatures have no individual personality. They would be wrong.

I went downstairs tonight and got some raspberries from the frig and was eating (read: inhaling) them in the kitchen. My chinchillas all reside in the breakfast nook because it is the easiest place to cool down in summer since it's like a small room (they are in danger of heat stroke over 75°F) and the easiest place to contain their mess and clean it up (they scatter hay and cage substrate on the floor daily).

Odin (our 10 year old light grey chinnie) saw me and was immediately sticking his pink nose through the bars begging for a treat: "ME TOO! ME TOO! ME TOO!"


I don't like giving him raspberries tho cuz of the tiny seeds (plus they are huge compared to his size if you think about it - that's like giving us a berry the size of a watermelon to eat all at once), so I gave him a small fresh blueberry instead. He loves those. Odin likes all kinds of fresh stuff - organic salad greens and grapes are other things I give him once in a great while (just in case new chinchilla owners seeking info are led to this blog, please note that giving fresh items such as this can cause diarrhea so if your chinnie does like these things, please don't give them anything large, and don't allow these types of treats too often. Once a month at the most for fresh items. Dried fruits are better; small bits of pineapple, papaya, apple, and raisins are your best bet. Chinchillas are junkies - they will quickly become addicted to treats, so you really have to monitor it and only give them one treat per day. That said...)

My other two chinchillas, Edwyn (charcoal grey, 9 years old) and Arty (the 4 year old beige that came to me just after New Year's - I'll have to put that in a different blog cuz that's quite a story), saw me give Odin a blueberry and they're like "US TOO! US TOO!" Suddenly I have pink noses poking through cage bars everywhere.

I gave a blueberry to Edwyn, who grabbed it and ate half, then probably dropped the other half somewhere in the cage to be revisited later tonight. (He's like that - they're nocturnal by the way.)

Then I offered one to Arty who sniffs it and says: "Uh no, I don't like that."

Me: Oh c'mon, you'll like it. The other two like them.

Another sniff.

Arty: No no, I'm sure I don't like these.

Me: How do you know? You've never had one. Here.

Arty: No, I don't like them. I'm sure.

Me: Seriously, try it. (Side note: Yes, I speak out loud to my animals.)

Arty: No.


Arty: NO.

Me: "Look stunad... they're the same as the dried blueberries you immediately pick out of your dish every time I give them to you. TAKE THIS. It's the SAME THING."

Arty: Gimme a treat.

Me: I AM giving you a treat! Take it!

Arty: I don't want that treat. Gimme a different treat. (Turns "the cute look" on me.)

Me: No, don't do that. Eat this!

Arty: NO, GIMME A DIFFERENT TREAT. (Turns up the cuteness by a factor of 10.)


I go get the dried blueberries in the treat container and give him one, which he immediately gobbles down. Mind you, this is the same thing I was offering him before, it's just that these have had all the water sucked out of them.

Arty: That was good. Can I have another one? I'm sure you didn't give me one yet. How come the other two got treats and I didn't?

(And the other two are in the background going, "Yeah, we didn't get treats either. We're sure. Give us one!" They are excellent little liars.)

This totally reminded me of my daughter when she was five. Or maybe when she was FIFTEEN.

Her: I don't like Indian food.

Me: Try it.

Her: No! I don't like it.

Me: How do you know? You've never had it. (A CLASSIC parent argument.)

Her: I just know! (A CLASSIC child response.)

Me: C'mon, try it.

Her: NO! It smells funny!

Me: Try it!

Her: NO!

Me: Ok here, have this instead. Take this bread (naan) and dip it in this sauce (tikka masala).

Her: YUM! That's really good. Can I have more? What is it?


Her: (No response.)

A similar story a few years later during the one month she lived here with me in California before running back to the boyfriend in New Jersey: Oceanside has a street fair in the evening every Thursday. There are a ton of food booths, but this one place sells Greek gyros and OH MY GOD are they good. Best gyros I've ever tasted. The first time we had them it was just luck in picking that out of all the booths; now I go back on Thursdays just for that.

Katy and I had been walking around and she kept insisting she wasn't hungry but she hadn't eaten all day (drama over being apart from the boyfriend... they cried on the phone together EVERY NIGHT for a MONTH - him included!). I finally got tired of trying to convince her to eat and bought a gyro for myself. As soon as I tasted it I knew she'd like it, but getting her to find that out was always a challenge.

Me: You need to eat some dinner. This is really good. Try it.

Her: No. I'm not hungry.

Me: You're missing out. You'll love it. Just take one bite!

Her: NO! What is it?

Me: Lamb. (mistake - never tell them it's anything but beef or chicken)

Her: EWWWW!!! GROSS!!! NO!

Me: TRY IT! It tastes like beef. You won't know the difference.

Her: NO!


Her: FINE.

One bite, no comment.

A few minutes later...

Me: Do you want more? You need to stop sulking and eat something.

Her: I'm NOT sulking! FINE. Just one more bite. (Rolling her eyes.)

Me: You sure you don't want one of your own? I'll buy you one.

Her: No, MOM! I'm not hungry. (So much eye rolling her head could've been a bowling lane.)

Then I ask her to hold it for me (yeah, I'm smart) and it starts disappearing like magic. When she gets down to the last few bites she asks if I want anymore of it. I say no thanks, you finish it. No other comments are made. (I ate something later at home.)

These things are necessary silent victories lest you lose the next battle because your opponent has figured out your strategy. (She was 19. NINETEEN! Don't ever let anyone tell you the terrible twos stop in a few years! The only cure for that is moving out of the house!)

The next week she asks: Hey, can we get gyros again?

Chinchillas are much more stubborn.

Friday, June 04, 2010

What's In A Name?

I'm proofreading a book on Oceanography. I love doing this stuff because you learn inane bits of trivia that make you much more interesting than you really are at random parties. For instance...

Early Mediterranean cultures envisioned that marginal bodies of water similar to the Mediterranean Sea surrounded most of the continents. The name “Earth” describes the portion of the planet that is inhabited by man in spite of the fact that the majority of the planet’s surface is covered by water. Our planet was named before ocean exploration began.

Which says to me that if fish had developed the ability to talk before they could walk, the third rock from the Sun would be called Water and perhaps Mars would be Earth. And they would've all drowned before evolving onto land due to an inability to keep their mouths shut. Oh wait...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Terminal Velocity

I am dog sitting in Rainbow, CA at a house that sits on top of a large hill surrounded by grapefruit and orange trees. It’s very peaceful up here. Adding to the awesomeness is an enormous front porch that looks out over an incredible view. I am so grateful to have this change of scenery, and get paid to be here too!

The owners are into bird watching so there are feeders all along the front porch and if you sit in the large, comfy wicker chairs you’ll get buzzed by hummingbirds and orioles as they come in looking for a snack. The hummers are especially fearless and will come right up to check you out face to face.

Hummingbird food is sticky, sugary stuff, as you might know, and yesterday when I went outside to enjoy the sun I saw that ants had amassed to form an amazing number of marching lines up the banisters, across the roof, and down onto one of the feeders. It looked like the entire hill had come to party. They were everywhere! (I wonder if that’s what aliens think when they look at our planet… “OMG! They’re EVERYWHERE! Get the hose!”) The second big red restaurant had no such problem.

I found it especially interesting to see that inside one of the plastic “flowers” the ants had actually lined up like cars around a lake and were gulping it down (one would have to assume since you can’t actually see an ant gulp). I wish I had a better camera for these kinds of things. They looked like DNA all side by side like they were.

After a quick assessment of the two feeders, I realized the reason one looked like IHOP after church was that the owner neglected to fill the little upside-down umbrella at the top of the hanger, which creates a water barrier the ants won’t cross. Amazing piece of technology, really — so simple and so effective. A three-inch moat that keeps thousands of ants from being thieves. Maybe Arizona should try that. Oh wait…

I retrieved a glass of water to remedy the situation. As I poured it into the umbrella (apologizing for my “act of God”) there was panic, confusion, and drowning. A few good swimmers made it to the edge. I realized that those stuck on the part of the feeder under the umbrella would have no way off the fixture. I wondered if they would just wander around until they died of starvation or what. How long would it take those with an escape route to pack their things and go home? Would there be stories of ant heroism on the Local Insect News that night? Would web sites be set up to list the missing ants and hopefully connect them back with their families? Would this go down in history as the Great Flood of Saturday? What’s the average ant lifespan anyway? Would they even have time to do all that?

Then I realized that all the ants stuck on the wrong side of the water could easily escape if they had the mind to. I knew this because I remembered there is no terminal velocity* for an ant. Well, there IS technically since “terminal velocity” means that fastest rate at which an object will fall – for ants it’s 4 MPH. (You’re welcome.) What I mean is ants don’t die from falling off high places like people do. Actually no one dies from the falling, it’s the sudden stop at the end that gets you. An ant, however, has so little mass that it can hit the ground from any height and walk away unscathed (or perhaps with a slight headache). No parachute required.

All they had to do to return to safety was LET GO.

Imagine that.


*A 180-pound man has an approximate terminal velocity of 125 MPH if his arms and legs are spread out. If he's rolled into a ball, the T.V.** is 200 MPH due to less drag. (No, that does not mean homosexuals fall slower. :P)

Does the soul have mass?

**Perhaps "TV" is also the fastest method to fall out of consciousness. Coincidence?

Friday, April 30, 2010

I am really missing my community tonight. As much as I love San Diego, still haven't found where I fit in with the people.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Love Lines make us Just Curious but We Feel Fine

Jonathan Harris is a really neat person. His bios all say he studied Computer Science at Princeton (not too shabby), but he's somewhat of a sociologist, anthropologist, and statistician as well (and I'm guessing he didn't really graduate as I don't see anything that says he has a degree, but who needs a piece of paper when you've already got the world's attention?). When I was perusing his web site, I found one of his creations called Lovelines. (Please note it appears he creates many of these sites with his buddy, Sep Kamvar, who is like the silent partner never getting enough credit in the background.) I thought it was neat that he made a program to harvest random lines that mention love from blogs all over the internet. What a way to celebrate Love! Cool form of poetry too if you click through and just read random expressions of heartfelt sentiment.

A complete list of his work can be found here:


If your time is limited, these are my favorites that are definitely worth a click:

We Feel Fine (Altho it's unfortunate that so many people don't take this site seriously. It is rife with inane questions and answers and spam URLs.)

Enjoy. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is Seeing Still Believing?

Check out this video and listen to what he's saying about aliasing (fast forward thru his demo of the tuning fork on the piano to :30):

Aliasing is the reason the tines of the tuning fork appear to be moving back and forth (fluctuating) when filmed at high speed. They're not really - he explains that the reason they LOOK like they are is because the video is filming at almost twice the speed of the vibration of the tines, therefore the Nysquist Frequency is in effect.

So what you're seeing is not really happening. (Well, the fork is vibrating, but the tines are not moving back and forth altho they certainly appear to be.) It is a false frequency. Your brain is being fooled into believing there is additional movement that is not actually taking place. Interesting that we are so easily misled by our eyes, yes? Also compelling that they use the term "aliasing" to describe this phenomenon. Google defines alias as: "as known or named at another time or place."

What other false frequencies are we subject to? What other time or place might we be living in?

If our brain is so gullible, why do we trust our eyes (or other senses) to define our world? I read an interesting tidbit the other day about how our brains have more activity when seeing something new than when receiving expected visual input.

"Predictable sights trigger less brain activity than unfamiliar stimuli, bolstering the view that the brain is not merely reactive, but generates predictions based on the recent past. 'The brain expects to see things and really just wants to confirm it now and again,' says Lars Muckli..." (

A thought to add to that is it is generally accepted by the scientific community that our body regenerates itself every seven years (some cells are closer to 15, but still not nearly the same as your chronological age). If that's true, why do we retain long-term illnesses for decades? For that matter, why do we HEAL? What makes things change or stay the same?

If our brains are unconsciously predicting the future for us, and therefore we are always re-creating our present situation without thought, it's no wonder the more things change, the more they stay the same. Perhaps we are the alias - the false frequency that isn't really happening. Who's to say the rate at which our eyes perceive is the same frequency at which our brain processes the information?

"Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." ~ Albert Einstein

Monday, April 12, 2010

Math Quote

"Young man, in mathematics you don't understand things, you just get used to them."

- Von Neumann

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Letter of Complaint

Dear Universal Customer Service:

I would like to exchange my Immune System for a new one. After 41 years, this one appears to be quite sluggish and is not annihilating bacteria and viruses as fast as it used to. Maybe it needs updating or was there a service pack released that I missed? I can provide the receipt upon request.




Dear Traci,

Please refer to the Human Body Owner's Manual, Chapter 432, Section 23678, Subsection 41 which states that consumption of a Starbucks chocolate brownie and Haagen Dasz Coffee ice cream in the midst of a chest cold will temporarily render said Immune System worthless and voids the warranty. This applies even if preceded by chicken soup.

We have more eyes than Santa Claus. Please stop wasting our time.


Universal Customer Service

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How Would You Know?

I'm looking over some PDFs for a chemistry solutions book, and one of the solutions says:
When a particle is absolutely small it means that you cannot observe it without disturbing it.
When you observe the particle, it behaves differently than when you do not observe it.

How can they possibly know how it behaves when it's NOT observed, since knowing the answer to that would require that you observed something in the first place?! I know there is some scientific rationalization for things that are "not observed" but my Left Brain is going, "Wait... WHAT?!" and threatening to go all Blue Screen of Death* on me.
(Yes, you're right, my brain actually runs on Apple, but if it crashes I blame Microsloth like any other Mac Fanatic. :)
*Credit for BSOD graphic goes to Tully.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Don't be afraid to contradict yourself. For enlightenment is a moving target.

~ Ralph Marston

Thank goodness for that since I am a walking contradiction!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

It’s The Little Triumphs We Don’t Want To Miss

Hay House has been on the top of my list of places I’d like to work since I found out they are only about 15 miles from where I live. They are a publishing company formed by Louise L. Hay. Louise was one of the first people to bring the self-help movement to life, making the connection between mind and body back in the early 70s. My mother constantly referenced information gleaned from Hay’s words as I grew up. (And you thought I wasn’t listening, Mom!) Of course when I was younger, I blew most of it off (yes, youth is wasted on the young), but as I got into the study of science and consciousness myself from my early 20s on, I was surprised to find quite a bit of what I knew “innately” originated in Louise Hay’s wisdom.

A few months after I was laid off, I was “wasting time” watching videos on the net, and I came across You Can Heal Your Life, which is Hay’s signature movie. I consumed the entire flick in rapt attention, even though I already knew many of the principles covered. (It never hurts to bring it up to the front again.) In the movie, one of the women they interview uses the mantra: My income in constantly increasing. For whatever reason, those particular words at that particular moment, strung together in that particular order really resonated with me, so I wrote them on a post it note and tacked them to my mirror. (My mantra has evolved, as I mentioned in another blog post recently, but you have to tweak these things sometimes.) The results since have been undeniable. I haven’t had a regular paycheck for 11 months, but I have not lacked for money. This is not to say I’ve been rolling in dough, but so far my needs have always been met with minimal stress.

Even with my comprehension of the Law of Attraction and how we create our own reality, I am still in awe of the Universe when I get what I ask for. (I must note here that an Attitude of Gratitude has been my habit for long before this, and that is also an essential ingredient.) I know I still have many issues of self-worth that are not sorted out, but fortunately it appears I am making at least a wee bit of progress.

Anyway, this is just one of the reasons I so admire Louise Hay and the principles she’s pushed into the public light. When you consider that I’ve been a bookworm since I learned to read, and have enjoyed working for Pearson Education publishing science textbooks for the last few years, it seems working for a publishing house that puts out materials I can completely support with my whole heart is a no brainer. And I live right next door to them! WOOO!

I’ve watched their web site for job openings, but so far I haven’t seen anything that I feel confident in applying for. The other day I decided I was going to hand them my resume personally, hoping perhaps if an internal position came up they would consider me. My unemployment benefits are coming down to the end and although I have faith that whatever happens will be the experience I am meant to be having, I would truly prefer to have the experience of another income before the money runs out!

Morning before last I was at the boyfriend’s house working on my part-time projects for Pearson. About 2pm his internet connection kicked me off and wouldn’t let me back on. I took this as a sign to stop shuffling around and get on with the business of knocking on doors for jobs. I know the reason I procrastinate is because I’m afraid of being rejected, and failure, and half a dozen other negative things, but I also planned to visit Hay House that day so I tried to focus on the motivation of what that could lead to instead.

As I got dressed, I realized the outfit I’d brought didn’t look as nice as I’d anticipated. It really needed a belt, but since I was not home, I had no options. My Right Brain (seat of emotions and Ego) tried to argue that since I did not look “perfect,” perhaps it would be better to just go home, apply to some places online, and try again tomorrow. My Left Brain (place of logic) was having none of it. It sternly shook its neurons at Right Brain and argued that this has been my excuse for too many days, which is why it’s taken me so long to find a job. It took me a good 20 minutes to convince myself that the clothes did not matter, and to just get going.

As I got in the car I realized I’d forgotten to bring my portfolio with me that contains my resumes all printed on nice, formal paper. About two seconds later I realized I also did not have Hay House’s address (which took me quite awhile to sleuth out on the net, as they prefer to direct everyone to their post office box). Although I remembered approximately where the street was, I had no definitive way of finding the correct building, and without the internet connection in the house, I could not look it up again easily.

I sat in the car, observing the two sides of my brain firing off like an old married couple, and wondered how it is that I manage to live with myself. Maybe this is why I’m still single. There are already too many “people” in my life with just me.

Left Brain: Your resume is on a thumb drive in your purse. Just go print some on regular paper.

Right Brain: But it won’t LOOK nice and then I won’t make a good impression.

Left Brain: I doubt anyone will notice the quality of paper it’s on. The information on the paper is more important and speaks for itself.

Right Brain: First impressions count tho, and without nice paper people will think I suck.

Left Brain: ::rolls its virtual eyes:: Like the paper is an indication of your worth. Please. You’re making excuses.

Right Brain: Well I don’t have the address for Hay House anyway, so what’s the point? I should just call it a day and go home.

[Note: I had not even gone out yet.]

Left Brain: Hiding at home is not going to bring you income. And you’re running out of time. Don’t mess this up.

[“Mess this up” is not exactly the thought Left Brain used, but I’m trying to keep it PG here.]

Right Brain: But I’m AFRAID of people. And failure. And I don’t want to do this. I hate being judged. Why can’t someone just hire me without all this hassle?

Left Brain: Because they can’t hire you if they don’t even know you’re looking dumb@$$. Now go print out some resumes on regular paper and stop obsessing about all the reasons you “can’t.”

Right Brain: FINE. Whatever.

I go inside and the printer tells me the ink is low (Right Brain: “HA!” Left Brain: SIGH), so I only print one resume. It is now almost 4pm so businesses will only be open another hour anyway.

I listen to Right Brain describing how much I suck all the way to Carlsbad.

As I approach my exit on the highway, I pull myself together and decide this attitude is not going to land me a job with a company like Hay House. Instead, I give it up to the Universe: if I am meant to work at Hay House, I will “use the Force” as I have done many times in the past, and I will be led to their building without needing the street address. I know for certain this has worked for me in countless prior situations so Right Brain can’t argue with that, and is finally – thankfully! – silenced.

I remember that the street Hay House is on was somewhere on the east side of Palomar Airport, so I pass the entrance and the runway. A couple days before, I was in the same area for an interview with a temp agency and I stopped at a Subway sandwich shop for lunch. As I approach the intersection where the Subway resides, I notice that the street is called Innovation Way (at least on one side, it is a different name on the other). The sign seems to stand out to me, but turning onto Innovation Way would take me in the wrong direction. Nevertheless, I think “well, perhaps there’s a reason I was over here the other day and just because it’s a different name on the other side doesn’t mean it can’t be innovative. Sounds like a street Louise would put her business on,” so I turn left.

I spent about 30 minutes riding around, writing down names of different companies in the various business parks so I could look them up on the Net that night and know something about them before I walk in to ask for Human Resources. I kept hoping I would run across THE building.

I covered about two square miles of cold concrete edifices with the only results being a few “Oh, I didn’t know they were here!”s. It was getting close to 5:00 and I decided I would go through this one last park… they were white, one-story buildings with blue trim and really didn’t look like something that would house a publisher, but I figured what the heck. Things are never what they seem and they’re on my way out.

I wound my way through the alleys noting names on doors and how many offices that were obviously once occupied now stood empty. Recession city, baby. I headed to the back of the complex and as I turned a corner saw the sign I’d been hoping to find:

Holy crap, I found it.

"Look within." What is this, a Dan Brown novel?

(Ok, the tagline is not on the actual sign on the building, but I’m telling a story here – I have a Literary License. Get yours here.)

I couldn’t believe I actually found it (but then again, I could). I was hearing Yoda in my head as I circled the building looking for the front door. There were plenty of single glass entry points, but none with an obvious “come hither” neatly lettered on the pane like the surrounding businesses. You mean I have to figure out which door my future lies behind without even a hint? What if I guess wrong? Will there be lions waiting to eat me? C’mon – at least give me a CLUE!

I started feeling disappointed that I’d come all this way, managed to locate the building without the address, and now there was no apparent front desk. I’d found two locations listed online for Hay House (I figured one warehouse, one office), perhaps I was at the wrong one. Right Brain kicked in reminding me I should “just go home” but it was a weak voice compared to my determination now that I was this close.

My life is one big freakin’ metaphor.

As I rounded the last corner a second time, like any good Hollywood movie, I happened to see someone slip into one of the doors, and in the two nanoseconds it was open I thought I saw a reception area. Hmm. Could this be the entrance? Sure didn’t look like one, but there ARE handicap spaces right in front of it (that would be McGuyver Left Brain taking over). The blinds were drawn so I couldn’t tell what the space inside looked like, but I had asked for a clue and it looked like this was the best I was going to get.

I parked the car and sat there pushing down my flight impulse again. How stupid would I look (or how much trouble would I be in) if I walked into a bunch of cubicles where I don’t belong? People might look at me funny, or even worse, ask what I'm doing there, then I will surely keel over and die of embarrassment. Right there on their most-likely-blue commercial carpet.

My mother always told me that Grandpa told her, “Walk in like you own the place and no one will question you.” He was a Navy man. I have used this method successfully in the past. Today, not so much.

I gathered my resume and my courage and stepped through the door. Oh good – there IS a reception desk, with a receptionist behind it, so I will not be eaten by lions or arrested for being somewhere I shouldn’t be. The worst that can happen is I might look like an idiot. But I will survive this. Oh look, there are chairs. And magazines. And a fish tank. Because of course fish are tranquil and that’s what this company is about. Duh. And - haha - they have blue carpet. I really, really, really want to work here. Now pay attention. Don’t sound desperate. Smile.

There is a receptionist and another employee blinking at me in expectation.

Ok smiling… smiling… I need words… words would be good… please give me some words… from the brain, out the mouth… c’mon… shit, why didn’t I rehearse this or something? Is this what guys feel like when they walk up to a pretty girl?

“Hello, do you have a Human Resources department?” (Geez, could you come up with a stupider, more UN-informative opening line?)

“No, I’m sorry we don’t.” Employee exits. My paranoid Right Brain assures me she is snickering at my discomfort. Left Brain shushes the beast.

“Umm… is there someone I can leave my resume with then? I’d really like to work for Hay House so I was hoping to speak with someone.” (Way to sound confident, like you really belong here and they should hire you immediately – NOT.)

“I could take it for you, but right now we don’t have any open positions. You can check our web site… there is a card with the address right there.”

I take the card and hand her my resume (on crappy paper, wearing my sub-par outfit, NOT holding my professional looking portfolio) imagining it will go right in the trash as soon as I walk out the door. I SOOO do not want that to happen. What can I say to change her mind? DO SOMETHING besides stand there looking crushed you idiot!

“Thank you. I’ve actually been watching the web site but I haven’t seen anything come up recently that I’m qualified for. I just really want to work here, so I figured maybe if I brought my resume to you in person you could keep it on file and let me know when there is a place I would fit in.” (Now you sound completely desperate. Good job. Just go home you loser. What were you thinking?)

The receptionist is kind of at a loss for words, having done her job and not being able to offer me anything else. I don’t want to leave though as it’s really taken a lot to reach the place I’m standing, and I’m not yet convinced that crappy-paper resume isn’t ending up in File 13. I feel like a six year old on the verge of tears when the Universe finally shows some mercy and breathes a bit of brilliance into my thoughts.

“I know your time is valuable and I don’t want to take up too much of it, but it’s a funny story how I got here today…”

I proceed to relate an edited version of the events that led to not having the address, and how I left it up to the Universe to help me find the building if I was meant to work there, finishing up with how non-descript the entrance is and how thankful I am to have found it. I try really hard not to be as verbose as I usually am in storytelling, and pack all this into as succinct a narrative as possible.

I see the change come over the receptionist’s face just like they describe in books. She starts smiling like we now have a common ground, and agrees that it is absolutely difficult to find the place even when you DO have the address. Then the miracle happens.

The receptionist gives me the name and extension of the person I need to contact to follow up on my resume. SHE GAVE ME A FULL NAME AND PHONE EXTENSION. Of someone that has the power to move this forward, when appropriate... and even tho there are currently no positions open... at the #1 company on the very top of my “I Want To Work Here” list.


In the scope of life, this should appear as a minor event I suppose, but somehow I feel like I won the lottery.

There is no way that resume will go in the trash now, which I suddenly realize was the short-term goal. (My habit is to only see the end goal and forget about the steps in between, then wonder why I can’t simply leap from beginning to end.) I am reminded that “the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.” [Chinese proverb.] I have never been so present in a moment in my life.

I am so grateful – even now as I’m writing this – to have accomplished that one small goal. I’m sure there are people that will scoff and go, “Well geez, all you did was drop off one resume. So what? There’s no guarantee they will give you a job.” This is true. I had the same thought. I have to wonder at this bizarre reaction I’m having myself. It’s not like I’ve never gone job hunting before, and certainly the Universe has its own schedule that trumps ours.

But my intuition says this: there are some crossroads in your life that are not evident when you are standing at them, yet are easily revealed in hindsight. Much like a hidden doorway (or math – ugh!), the answer is obvious once you’re on the other side, but standing at the beginning all you have is instinct and perhaps a few facts to base your direction on. I imagine there have been people that reach a point of success much further down the road, who look back from whence they came and think, “This all started because of that decision I made. Had I known that one choice was so important, I would’ve stopped to appreciate the moment more.”

Well I feel like I know, and even if I'm wrong, this is what it is to Be Here Now. I don’t know where this will lead, but I feel like it's the right direction, and needs to be appreciated even tho I don’t know what I’m appreciating yet, aside from a personal triumph over my own insecurities.

I guess I am appreciating this moment NOW because the success of knowing my resume will not go unnoticed in this company makes it much easier to imagine a time when maybe I’m standing in Barnes & Noble, autographing my bestseller book, thinking back to the day when I stood at that receptionist desk so beside myself, and Lupe the Receptionist changed my world. Wait until she finds out what she started!

Maybe it leads to nothing, and maybe it leads to everything. I am okay with allowing the Universe to keep that secret for now.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I Am That I Am, or Am I?

My mother and I had an interesting conversation in email yesterday. She sent me a link to an article published by asking the question, "Do We Want Brain Scanners To Read Our Minds?" You can read the full text here. (This is what happens when you proofread college-level science textbooks for extra cash - you are no longer interested in reality TV, late night hosts and guests [unless it's Jason Mraz of course], or CSI-type dramas. Thank God.)

The article covers testing of a new neuro-technology that uses functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to track brain activity in people in an official Persistent Vegetative State (different from a coma). It has allowed doctors and researchers to communicate (or so they believe) with a 29-year-old man that's been vegging out since 2003. (Oh c'mon, how could I not go there?) The disturbing news is that if the communication is real, many people in this state could be conscious and literally unable to move a muscle. The prior belief was that these people were "awake but not aware."

Imagine being buried alive and you'll start getting the idea. You can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel everything - but you are absolutely unable to communicate or do anything about the sensory input you receive. Actually, being awake six feet under might be preferable since you could at least scratch an itch and scream if you wanted. Those things are not possible if your brain has become this ambiguous. Suddenly rush hour traffic on the 5 pales in comparison to that kind of lesson in patience.

Mom asked for my thoughts on the article, and I thought you might find it interesting too. I wrote back to her:

I actually read something in that book on the brain [I've been reading] just the other day that was relative and also blew me away. Check out this paragraph:

Pain and body image are closely related. We always experience pain as projected into the body. When you throw your back out, you say, "My back is killing me!" and not, "My pain system is killing me." But as phantoms [limbs] show, we don't need a body part or even pain receptors to feel pain. We need only a body image, produced by our brain maps. People with actual limbs don't usually realize this because the body images of our limbs are perfectly projected, onto our actual limbs, making it impossible to distinguish our body image from our body. "Your own body is a phantom," says Ramachandran, "one that your brain has constructed purely for convenience."

If this is true (and I believe it is), think of how that relates to being dead - would the body image still be projected even tho there is no longer a living physical body, and that's why we get "ghosts" that stick around for three days (or more) then finally move on? Does it take some designated time period in this continuum (perhaps specific to the individual) for the projected image to fade? And if so, the million dollar question would be what IS projecting that image then? Cuz at that point it wouldn't be any physical part of us like the brain. This begs the question: What is the (or is there a) difference between mind and soul?

The book goes on to talk about distorted body images, such as how people who are anorexic literally "see" themselves as fat. That leads me to tie into the article you sent me... if the vegetative state means consciousness is still working but the body is not, is that a physical impairment or a body image impairment? Is this why some of them "wake up?" Hmmm!!!! Perhaps the plasticity of the brain finally repairs the neural networks enough to allow them to "wake up" and move?

As for the last couple paragraphs of the article - I love how often Descartes is coming up these days. I think Science is finally shedding the last of the "machine view" skin. There is just too much evidence of the plasticity of not only the brain, but all our functionality here in this realm, both physical and otherwise. I think a more accurate statement these days would be "I am therefore I am."

The dark side of all this info, of course, is the old adage about once you open the door, ANYONE can walk through, good or bad. (Reference the atomic bomb, right?) Therefore, yay for us advancing technology and science, but NOT yay for what the government could then justify using it for.

There was another article I was going to post in a separate blog, but it's kind of related so at the risk of really giving y'all a time sink (if you're interested enough to read both full articles), I will include the link now.

It's published by MIT News and covers another budding technique using MRI sensors to detect dopamine's progress through the brain, thus giving a look into our thoughts regarding motivation, reward, addiction, and possibly even some new clues to Parkinson's disease. The full text is here.

I received the link to this bit of info from a friend that is into nanotechnology and "directed evolution." He was interested in the error-prone PCR methodology, which is WAY above my head, but I found the news interesting nonetheless. As Switchfoot says, those genetic engineers are the most high tech!

All thoughts and comments are welcome. I love discussion on this type of thing!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I'd Like To Scream Now Please

Have you ever felt the pull between doing what you *think* you must do and what you *feel* you want to do? How do you decide what is the RIGHT thing to do??

Right now I have three different blogs (was only two until about 10 seconds ago, then a friend emailed me an article on brain imaging that is creating more content in my head!) that I really really want to write because they'll be interesting (all science-y and stuff!) and that's what I feel I really WANT to do today.

However, I only have 9 weeks left on unemployment and if I don't find a job that will bring in enough income to pay my bills soon, I could be writing blogs from a tent in the park, hoping to have enough gas to get to a Starbucks to upload them on free wi-fi. Therefore what I *should* be doing is getting dressed and going out to hand people my resume and try to impress someone.

But what I'd really LIKE to make a living at is writing! Hence, I should write, right? But writing is not paying my bills at the moment.

Insert scream here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

FBI Censored Austin Pilot Andrew Joseph Stack III Suicide Note

This is directly copied from (who is an awesome guy) because I couldn't have written a more appropriate comment on the pilot's note and actions myself. I figure if I'm not already on half a dozen FBI witch hunt lists, then this will surely put me there. At least I'll be in good company when they come to arrest/silence us all.

I hope others will also repost Joseph Stack's note so that it does not go unread by the masses like our government would prefer. They have already forced even CNN to remove the page with the text on it. CNN!!! They are major news media - what about the first amendment? If this is not proof that our government controls our media, then I don't know what is.

This is important stuff people. This could be any one of us driven to this kind of frustration, altho we may not take the same kind of action. I know I've felt the long arm of the IRS (currently even), and the frustration of being hog tied in a system tailored to the rich and powerful. I am tired of Uncle Sam reaching into my wallet too. There is a place for government in our nation, but the people we've elected to power (with a handful of exceptions, because there are always exceptions to the rule) are corrupt and greedy and need to be replaced by those that are not. Unfortunately, those that are not don't stand a chance in the system as it is.

The Internet gives the people the power because there is communication. The government fears this because they know no matter how many Enron and Arthur Andersen and Halliburton execs there are, there are still MORE of us in the middle class, the ones they exploit. This is why they try to eliminate the truth from the public view, then force feed us what they want us to think on the news. That's what "spin doctors" are hired to do. But there won't be change without action. Reposting is the action I'm choosing for now.

FBI censor (suicide note repost with comments)

by halcyon on February 18, 2010

Domestic Terrorism is a tricky beast. It would be much easier to dismiss this plane crash if the pilot’s skin was brown and he followed the wrong god. Instead we can relate all-too-well to his soul-crushing frustration. Like a capitalist version of a burning monk, we have to look at the situation that would motivate such a drastic choice. A US citizen driven to ultimate frustration is much different than being attacked from 3rd world outsiders, “because they are jealous of us and our freedom.” His note is the sad final squeak from someone who has lost his voice from a lifetime of complaining to deaf ears. Do i approve of his actions? Of course not. Nor do I approve of any act of terrorism. But I do think there is value in trying to understand the frustration that can lead to such drastic measures.

History shows that every oppressed people has a tipping point that pushes them to action: Be that slave revolt, Declaration of Independence, or suicide bombing.

The FBI has removed his note from the web. I am re-posting it below.

Joe Stack’s suicide note: (now censored from his site)

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.

How did I get here?

My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my dream of becoming an independent engineer.

On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age.

The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.

In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.

Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer… and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.

For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report ( regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here (


(a) IN GENERAL – Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

(d) EXCEPTION. – This section shall not apply in the case of an individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. – The amendment made by this section shall apply to remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.


· “another person” is the client in the traditional job-shop relationship.

· “taxpayer” is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.

· “individual”, “employee”, or “worker” is you.

Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover, they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my eyes.

During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.

After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle. If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back.

Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.

Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my retirement and savings.

By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.

To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need. The sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.

So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world, following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.

When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the years information to Bill Ross, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, Ross knew all along this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.

This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.

I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)