21 October 2009

Mp3 Player Woes

So a few weeks back I had a really bad day. On top of a whole bunch of other things that were happening that day, I also managed to break an Mp3 player that I had only bought a month before. Because it was a really bad day, I was in a rather delirious state of mind when I logged onto Ebay that night and I found what I thought was a really good deal, a 32 GB player for under fifty bucks. I acknowledged that it was a Mp3 player out of China and so I wasn't expecting a whole lot, but what I got didn't even live up to those low expectations. I found out that 8 Chinese
Gigabytes is in actuality only 1 Gigabyte. The reason for this is apparently because the manufacturers of these Mp3 players don't know the difference between a bit and a byte. There is indeed a 32 Gigabit flash memory card in my device, but 32 Gigabits amounts to 4 gigabytes. What is worse though, is that they hacked the firmware to tell the computer that it is indeed a 32 Gigabyte Mp3 player. This causes a host of other problems, because the computer will try to write data onto the imaginary 28 Gigs of memory.
The only redeeming quality it had at this point was that it could supposedly play .OGG vorbis format. But this proved to be not quite true either. So I have given up on it and I am going to ask for a refund.
Why is it so hard to find a good Mp3 Player? And before you Mac zealots chime in and giggle at me saying "Why don't you buy an Ipod.. it's so convenient.." Here are two things that are absolutely essential that an Ipod have before I buy it, expandable memory slot, and a decent price. (ahh heck lets throw in the fact that it has to come free of mind control devices too. But that is a totally different rant...)
Seriously, it seems like all of the portable playing devices are way behind todays technology. This is a list of functions that we are fully capable of implementing into our Mp3 players now, but notice how so many of these are still absent from even the top of the line models.
Expansion Card: I don't care if it has 32 GB, in time I can fill it up. If I can plug cards into it than it has no real space limit, I will turn a 2 GB into a 64 GB with cards.
Hold Button: We have seen hold buttons used widely on CD players, why hasn't the transition been made. Nothing aggravates me more than bumping into something, and fast forwarding to the next chapter in an audio book, then having to sit and try to get back to where I was for five minutes because the fast forwarding function is slow. Either put a hold button in, or put the buttons on the side.
Screen Protection: If you are going the way of touch screen, make some way to reinforce the screen. Palm protected their touch screens with impact grade plastic covers that you can snap on and off. Lack of screen protection is why my last Mp3 Player broke.
Standard USB hookup: (Apple I am looking at you) I don't want to go buy a special/ more expensive cable from you guys if my link cable goes bad.
Drag and Drop Folder Capabilities: Ok, if you don't know how to organize your music, you need to take some basic computer courses. Don't let the computer organize it for you, especially if you are like me and have only one song from several different artists. I want to put all those loose ends in a folder together.
It should Not have a Start up Animation: (Ok, Mac got this one right.) I want to go strait to my menus, I don't need to be greeted with a Hello every time I turn on my Mp3 player.
Tru random play: If I tell it to random play all, It better play All the songs, not just the first 300.
Tag Capabilities: One thing I haven't seen on any Mp3 Player is advanced Tag capabilities. If you brows around the Internet radio site Last.fm you will begin to understand what I am talking about. You can put whatever tags you want onto a song, then you can go through a list of the tags you have made and tell your Mp3 player to play those tags. This is fundamentally different from play lists because if you try to play a play list that is supposed to play some songs that are not on your Mp3 player any more, it can mess up. Play lists are stagnant, Tags are fluid and continually adjustable. They are far easier to use.
It must not be Hacked: Aka, it tells your computer the real amount of memory that it has.
Currently, there is no Mp3 player out there that has all of these functions. But is this really too much to ask for?
The Revolutionary

09 October 2009

Peace Connotation

When I say the word Peace, or Love everyone, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? If you are like me, one of the first things that comes to your mind is the Hippies. Hopefully the thing that comes to your mind is the teachings of Jesus Christ, but we will get to that in a moment. It is such a shame that Hippies are so closely connotative with the word Peace because lets face it, Hippies in and of themselves carry such bad connotations, drugs, STD ridden communes, large scale protests, long hair and bell bottom pants. Inadvertently, because they are connotative with peace and with all these other bad things, the concept of peace also becomes connotative of drugs, STD ridden communes and large scale, not so peaceful, protests. If you don't believe that these connotations exist then try talking peace with your coworkers at work. Talk about the world problems, talk about the partisan competition in the states, talk about the "off the cuff slandering" that people in general are serving to one another. Then mention, "Man if everyone would just cool their jets, stop arguing, and give peace a chance it would fix so many things in this world." Then watch the reaction of your coworkers. Count the number of eyes that roll. Listen closely for the sighs. If you have a particularly choice audience, one might say "That will never work." or "Were you a hippie in some past life?" Try it.
This is such a catastrophe. It is like we have gotten ourselves backed into a corner because of jargon and connotations. I would say that if the Devil was responsible influencing the current state of things, he is one cunning bugger. We can hardly speak of our two greatest weapons against the problems of our age, Love and Peace, because we don't want to be associated with the hippies and their less-than-noble agendas.
I guess that is the way the Devil has always worked though. Look at the crusades. In this day and age, the crusades have become a black mark on all religions. The Catholics are not the only ones to suffer from that atrocity of the past. Those who denounce any sort of conviction that is based upon a religious foundation use the crusades as a major attack, embedding this ill connotation on all religions, especially on Christianity.
Let us throw off these connotations and honestly speak of peace. Let us stop fighting one another, and slandering one another, but seek instead for understanding of one another, regardless of wither or not that person's viewpoint is in opposition to our own. It would be my wish and desire for all people to just take a stand back and consider those principles of peace, charity love, understanding, kindness, and good will toward all mankind.

The Revolutionary,

23 September 2009

Call for a New Enlightenment

I am currently taking a history class. In the course of this class we briefly covered the two movements of the Age of Enlightenment and the religious revival or Awakening. I will give a brief summery of the Age of Enlightenment as taught to our class by my teacher.

Said my teacher, "The Enlightenment Movement had three basic principles. The first is to use the powers of reasoning that God has given to Man. Reasoning is the only source of true Knowledge. The Second Principle is that Man is basically Good. This is in opposition to the puritan notion that Man is born in sin and is therefore evil and unless saved by the Grace of Jesus, Man will always remain evil. The third principle is that Man is always capable of progress through unlocking the secrets of nature and abiding by natural law. This is opposed to the old Caste system that dictated that poor people should stay poor because they were born poor." The teacher goes on to explain that because of the enlightenment many people who latched onto this began to also adopt a belief of Deism which he described as believing that, "There is a God who made the universe. That God has set the universe in motion and made it self governing with the use of natural laws. That God does not interfere in the affairs of men. There is no Heaven or Hell. There are no Miracles." The problem I have with Deism is that there is nothing really separating it from outright Atheism. If a God does not do anything now, why have one in the first place.

On the opposite hand, the Religious Revival or Awakening was to get people to believe in God, his miracles, and his servants on earth. Something like that. I didn't take as many notes about this part because the class had exceeded my attention span of 2 1/2 hours.

All this got me thinking. I can see a reasonable middle ground between the Enlightenment and the Religious Revival.

I will start with Deism but pay close attention to the twist. There is a God who made the Universe. That God made a universe and made it as self governable as possible using natural laws that are self existent. That God does get involved in the affairs of men. That God Does perform Miracles. That God does communicate with All men irregardless of position or power. It is not for any man to find out if a Miracle came from God by asking another Man. If a Man wants to know about a Miracle he must consult God for only God can reveal the meaning of miracles to each and every Man.

The reason why miracles and divine intervention were denied was because people were sick of pastors and kings claiming that they had divine authority given them from God. There was no way in their belief system to verify that the pastor or king really held any authority because they could not consult God directly on the subject. With this new belief system, it is possible to have both a person endowed with authority in a church and the other members could know for themselves that said person has authority by asking God directly if this is so. Also each and every person could get guidance and direction directly from God. In effect No one has authority over you or your eternal destiny other than yourself, and it is all made possible because of God.

Now I will give My version of the three Principles of the Enlightenment.

1. Reason is the best source of knowledge when direct divine revelation has not been given. Aka, you have a question, reason it out, Ask God, Get answer, apply reason to the answer, Ask God, Get answer again, continue till satisfied.
2. Man is Basically Good. Man is also constantly tempted and is susceptible to the forces of Pride, Carnality, Anger, and Sloth, etc... And so cannot always be trusted to make the right decisions. Man in general will make good decisions. Man in general want what is best. Man however is not likely to be spontaneously educated, so most of the times Man must be educated by other educated men and further educated by God.
3. Natural laws exist. We have power to make our own choices. We do not have power to choose what the consequences of those choices are. The more educated a man is about the natural laws the more the man will understand what the consequences of their choices are. The more Man understands the natural laws the more he will understand about what choices he has to make to get the desired consequences.

I don't know what the point was I was getting at here. But I figure this Blog post is long enough as it is. Glean from it what you can, pass that knowledge on. Start the New Enlightenment.

19 September 2009

Rules of Debate 101 By: SB

Disclaimer: What you are about to read below is not the official rules of debate that you will learn in taking a debate class. (at least I don't think they are, I have never taken a debate class)

Yesterday I got into another debate (yeah I am a glutton for punishment I know). Luckily this debate wasn't between a screaming mob of people yelling "Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve" or "Blind religious zealots like you caused the bloody crusades," *shudder*. This debate was caused by a friend of mine from high school, and so naturally, old classmates ended up debating the different points. It started out fairly friendly, but by the end of the day, all the rules I will state here were violated.

Rule #1 Use facts or evidence as Facts and Evidence.
You say Wha??? What the heck does that mean? What are you getting at here?
Ok, so I need to add some context here. During this debate the different parties just threw out some web links and said "Look, Facts, Debate is over, we are right." The point I want to make is that, Facts and Evidence are not a solve all. They do not end the debate. In fact, facts and evidence often time end up contradictory. Someone will say they have found facts that prove their point but the other person in most debates can come up with facts to back up their point of view as well. That is the world we live in, a world saturated with conclusive yet contradictory evidence from people with equivalent backing and education. So we can't rely on facts alone. We have to display the facts to our opponents in pretty boxes I would like to call context and reasoning.

If I have learned one thing in the last two years of getting stuck in situations where people want to hold a religious debate, it is this, Most of the populace doesn't gives a (insert some word here) about Facts because the origin of those facts, the quality of those facts, can be questioned, and probably will. So, you use evidence when you have an actually promising debate going, aka both parties are following the rules here.

Rule #2 Do Not under any circumstance insult the other person or try to label them or discredit their point of view by saying that their view is based on something or another. Bad feelings sour a debate and render it useless. You won't win anyone (that is worth winning) to your side with a sour debate. Breaking this rule seems to be a favorite of those nasty, cocky, internet warrior, debaters. They spout out things like, Well you are just a backwards conservative minded somethin or other, Well my view is grounded in fact obtained by some scholarly person who is an expert in this subject and your view is grounded in your racist and bigoted beliefs. Like wise, don't flash around any of your supposed achievements like that should give you some more credibility. There are at least a few morons in every field of study and labor, and those morons slipped through the cracks in the educational system somehow and have degrees and honors just like all their peers. The average person doesn't care that others consider you an expert. Many times you have to prove to each person you are an expert.

Rule #3 Keep in mind that the average person may not have a high level of education, and may not think "logically." In other words, don't use big, fancy, words, and be careful of the emotions of others. Those emotions can make the debate go one way or the other real quick. Learn to be emotionally neutral. It is perhaps best to not assume an extreme position for a while in a debate. For example, I had another small debate one on one with someone a few days ago. I chose not to take any previously established side on things yet I was explaining the views of the side that my friend was opposing. I had to quickly remind her that I was not supporting the views of either side but I was merely articulating why each side was doing what. My friend kept saying "you're" doing this and "you're" doing that and they were trying to indicate the opposing group when she was using "you're". However it felt like they were trying to direct that "you're" to indicate me and some group, she admitted that she thought I was part of the opposing group. This is why I had to remind her that I was not.

Rule #4 The world is not going to collapse if both sides are right. If both sides are right, all it means is that there is a bigger picture going on in the background. Look for the bigger picture first, before you try to determine wither or not one side is wrong and the other right. Too often a debate gets caught up in trying to disprove this little point or the other. It seems like a race to see who can discredit all the opponent's points first. The problem with that method is that often times both sides have indisputably valid points.

Rule #5 Find common ground, don't bomb battle ground. In my last two years teaching people the Gospel, I realized that while most people don't care about facts, there are still plenty of things they do care about. There are plenty of people who don't care about how their church has "flaws" but do care that they are having family troubles and do care that a church, wither it be their church or your church, can teach them to overcome those family troubles, or financial troubles, or social troubles, or emotional troubles etc... Find these common interests first, then work from there, don't start out on a position that they don't care about.

The Golden Rule of Debate. Be courteous, kind, and considerate, and don't get angry.

Well, I think that is all my Ideas for today, If I come up with more, I will post them as Rules of Debate 102 By: SB

12 September 2009

The Trouble with Blogging

When I first got home I thought, Wow, I'll make myself a Blog, and I will update it often. It all sounded so easy at first, but as time has gone on I have realised that I lead a really boring life. I go to work, I come back home, I go to school, I come back home, I go to church, I come back home. That is the sum of my life. I don't go out to meet people at the park or at a museum. I don't even get out to go to the Library very often. Perhaps I should just embellish my life. No, embellish is far to soft a term. I should out right lie about my life. I should make up all sorts of fanciful tales about things I don't really do and try to slip random morals into these adventures. I wonder if that will be easier or harder than trying to write the truth of my life.

For now however I will start with a little bit of truth. A friend of mine and I went out to Old Settlers last night in an effort to have a good repeat of the episode with the scientoligists that I mentioned in my last post. We searched and searched for their signature Yellow tent but to no avail. I guess they just couldn't find enough people with thick pocket books who could afford their classes. I really hoped that they would be there. I have been practicing often with some simple physiological tricks that can help one de-stress quickly. I wanted to see the utter surprise on their faces as once again the needle dropped off the scales. Then I wanted so badly to turn the tables and have them hold the cans while I ask questions. I wanted to see how they would react to me asking them questions about the Scientoligists organization itself. I can say I am sorely disappointed that this opportunity has been stolen from me.

However, my spirits are undampened. I have recently gone through the efforts of acquiring several items which have been in my sights, namely, printer, Wii, a TV to accompany the Wii, a web cam, and other odd trinkets. I can say I am quite pleased with these purchases (and my Mom likes to play on the Wii as well.) They will provide a new variety of entertainment for now and when I go on to Utah. I have noticed however that ever since I went on the super purchasing binge, It has been like a flood gate has been opened and it is hard to close it. It is now difficult for me to turn down the opportunity to purchase and spend. I have to be careful. If I go too quickly then I will have all the earthy possessions I currently want, I won't have anything to work towards.

Speaking of money and purchasing... Well... Autumn is coming upon us and winter is not far behind. Currently I bike to work. It isn't bad, I now have amazing thighs, but at the same time, when it starts to rain and subsequently snow, it won't be very pleasant or safe to be biking to and from work. I am going to need to buy a car. This can be a good opportunity. You see, I am going to need money for school when I go out to Utah, a Government grant would be nice, yet for some reason, when you apply for such a grant, if you have any liquid assets (cash) you become less likely to obtain one. However, I still need to apply for school. That is something I need to do soon, then I need to buy the car and apply for the grant at the same time. It is a crazy orchestration of my life.

By the way. I am trying to write a short novel, check it out at www.systempurge.blogspot.com

I am going to go work on that now.

30 August 2009

Memories of my last Old Settlers.

The city should be setting up Old Settlers this week. I have some interesting memories of Old Settlers time. Here is a memoir of my last Old Settlers memory.

Old Settlers Time

The smell of anything you want fried on a stick and cotton candy hangs heavily in the air, causing mouths to water regardless of the hiked up prices. It is that time of year again. It is that week were the carnival companies come and turn our downtown, as small as it is, into a barricaded off playground of children's imagination. Citizens and corporations alike come from every side of town and set up their tents in a shameless attempt at pushing their wares on the unsuspecting public at marked up prices. Everyone comes with paintings, crafts, candles, toys, sand, food, and even somewhat drug like substances. You can stop in to the O2 tent and for a few minutes you can get a free oxygen high.

There is one tent that stands out from the others. It is placed somewhat on the outskirts of the carnival, it stands twice as large as the other tents and distractingly shines in it's bright yellow color. Underneath the shadow of this tent stands tables piled full of various books all by one author L Ron Hubbard. It is the Scientologists tent. I read some of the posters briefly as I wait. One poster outlines the several points of the organization's mission, End war, End sickness, End drugs, End poverty, etc... Other posters outline different techniques that they teach to combat addictions, depression, and even muscle pain they cure by using touch therapy. There are two men sitting in chairs giving demonstrations to passers by. There is a woman who I recognize from my church sitting in a chair in front of another man. I cannot recall her name, I am bad with names. She is holding onto two slender silver cylanders, they look like those can and string telephones that we would use as a kid. But instead of the wire just going from one can directly to another, the wires go into the back of an odd looking blue device that has several knobs and switches and a little meter. I listen in.

"How are things at work" says the man.
"Things are going well." the woman says.
The meter confirms this as the needle remains still.
"How about your family?"
The needle wiggles a bit and drifts upward. The woman's eyes stay fixed to the meter, she refuses to say.
"Hmm, is it your husband." the needle stops.
"Perhaps a child." the needle begins to move upward again.
"Do you have a son or daughter that you are worried about?" The needle shoots up.
"It looks like you have some stress."
The woman throws the cans down out of her hands and looks hurt. "That's not fair." she says. "Everyone who has kids worries for their kids. Do you have any kids?"
The man doesn't answer the question. "Scientology could really help you." he says. With a huff the lady gets up and begins to move away.

"How about you sir, would you like an audit?" the second man says as he turns to me.
I look at him squarely in the eye, he looks unkempt. his beard has grown long and his hair is uncombed. I shrug, "Why not."
I take a seat and the man hands me the cans. I grip them loosely.
"What is your name?"
"Stephen?" I respond.
"Well Stephen, it is nice to meet you, this device, to put it simply, is a stress meter. I will ask you some questions about your life and try to find areas of your life which cause you stress so that you can focus your efforts on those areas of your life. let me calibrate the machine to you." The man turns a knob slightly and the needle on the meter swings up to a halfway point. I relax.
"How is life going for you Stephen?"
I think for a moment and calmly reply, "Things are going well enough." I watch as the needle begins to drop slowly.
"How are things going in your family."
I concentrate on the family and try to find any thing that would be a cause for stress, I find none.
"My family is doing well." The needle drops nearly to the bottom of the scale.
The man adjusts the knob to bring the needle back to the middle.
"How about work? Are your coworkers nice?"
"Work is going well, I am saving up enough money, that is a good thing." the needle continues to fall.
A discouraging look begins to creep across the man's face.
"What kind of things do you do for a hobby?"
I shrug as several things cross my mind, "I like to build things with legos. I like to write. I play video games." the needle drops down further almost touching the bottom of the meter a second time.
The man adjusts the knob again bringing the needle to the beginning. "Hmm" he says as he looks at the machine. "Do you hang out with anyone? Are your friends doing well?"
I began to rack my brain now, searching for anything, even something unrelated to the question that might trigger stress. The best I can come up with was a recent argument which I had with an online hotshot. Even as I thought about that argument though, the needle was unwavering in its determination to reach the bottom of the meter. I looked at the man again. "My friends are all doing well."
The man adjusted the knob a fourth time to bring the needle up to the middle, "What are your plans for the future?"
"I am saving up money right now so that I can go on a mission in a couple more months."
"A Mission? What for?"
"To preach the Gospel."
"What church do you belong to?"
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."
The man looks back at the machine, the needle rested firmly on the bottom of the meter. Confusion crossed his face. "Umm. well... It was nice meeting you Mr. Stephen. I don't know what to say, I have never seen anyone with as little stress as you. I really wish I could live as free of stress. Scientology realy does help out a lot of people though. I can give you a free book that you can read to learn more about it." He holds out a thin looking book.
"Thank you" I say kindly. I stand up and begin to walk away.
My friend Peter leans over and chuckles, "Dude, as soon as you mentioned your mission the needle just dropped, it didn't drift down slowly. it was like it was pulled to the bottom."
I shake my head, I flip through the pages of the book. There is nothing of interest to me. I dump the book in a near by trashcan. The thought runs through my head. If I have just accomplished what they are working towards, then why not ask me how I do live a life so free of stress. It boggles my mind that someone could just pass up an opportunity like that. We pass by the tent later to find the man huttled down behind the books, hiding the cigarette that he was lighting up. We both shake our heads and begin to roam elsewhere among the countless paintings and toys and trinkets. It is Old Settlers Time again.

23 August 2009

Patience is a curious virtue.

Patience is a curious virtue. I've often considered that I have a lot of patience. However there is still things that get under my skin. I am trying out speech recognition software. I've found that I have very little patience for computers. I'm currently trying to use windows speech recognition software to write this blog. But it is not going so well.

For example I just had the say new paragraph about five times for it to finally recognize that I wanted a new line. And every time I try to type new paragraph or new line, I have to say "literal new paragraph" (That is it. I give up, this software is practically useless) The people who develop speech recognition software use the argument that people can speak 120 words a minute yet they can only type at less than 40 words a minute as a way to draw them in. My problem is figuring out what I want to say. This lack of inspiration is what makes me type at 40 words a minute (ish). Consequently, this lack of inspiration causes me to speak at 40 words a minute as well. In fact I could argue that because I have spent more time using a keyboard than I have using speech recognition, I end up thinking in type faster than I think in voice.

On top of this argument is the fact that I have go go back and correct a minimum of three things per line when using speech recognition. This constant stop and start in composition interrupts my thought process and I can't think of what to say next. I didn't mean to take up a whole blog post with a rant about speech recognition. However it does seem fitting. I have patience with people, they are people, they are imperfect by nature. Computers on the other hand hold very little of my patience. Computers are tools, they are supposed to make life easier. Yet at times my computer becomes so unwieldy. It is like trying to weed my garden with a back hoe. I want to do some small task but it ends up being such a hassle.

Like trying to write this blog. It would be some small thing. If I could do it with speech recognition software, it would be nice, yet the software just is too unwieldy and turns the tiny job into a huge mess. I will have to say though, I wanted to use speech recognition because November is approaching fast. November means National Novel Writing Month. This means that I have to figure out how to write 50,000 words in a month. When I attempted this two years ago I had my trusty palm that I could rely on, during breaks at work I could just pop open my portable keyboard and away I would go. Now I have to find some other way of efficiently adding to the word count between work and home. I thought I would record me dictating my book, but seeing as how poorly my software is working, I don't think that is an option anymore.

It is crazy how someone can be tolerant and forgiving and patient with one thing so well, yet be viciously unforgiving and borderline abusive with another thing.

20 August 2009

HP is influenced by the Frustration Corporation.

HP is slowly drifting into my black list. I am concerned when it comes to buying any more of their products. (Unless it was a calculator, because their calculators are still better than TI) The first really bad experience I had with a 4 gig thumb drive. It may have been a defective unit. I may have simply had bad luck in my selection, yet the fact still remains that every time I try to do anything with it, it will shut down and restart causing Windows Vista to ask me what I want it to do with the thumb drive. I finally gave up on it and got a micro SD to usb dongle. I find it works both faster and with fewer problems during use. (Hooray for Kingston) On top of this I also find it nice that if I ever need more room I can just go buy the relatively cheep Micro SD cards. They are small and so they can go easily with you.

My most recent evidence that HP is secretly influenced by the Fustration Corporation happened just a few days ago. I sent my laptop in for repairs two weeks ago because the internal fan stopped working (That is what I get for buying refurbished, I am still happy, it could have been worse.) I finally get my beloved laptop back expecting everything to work fine and dandy. I turn it on to find out that my wireless network card is not functioning the way it should. I press the button to turn the wireless on and then I get a notification on my screen that the wireless network is now off. I press the button again and receive a note that the wireless network is disabled. (GAAAHHHHHHHHHH, that is the sound of my head exploding.) I click on properties to see if anything might help. There is nothing indicating how to turn on the wireless. I check in with the help document which upon reading I find out that 90% of the document is devoted to telling people how to open the screen which I already had open. The other 9% of the document said that, to activate the wireless Internet, I should press the button which I had already tried. In frustration and with an exploded head I went to bed frustrated at the thought that I would have to call up the repair shop again and that they would possibly take my laptop for another week to run diagnostics. (which undoubtedly would reveal that my computer is in perfect working order)

I slept on it, not particularly well though. When I woke in the morning I popped open my computer again and gave it another shot with my re-assembled head. I started clicking random things to see if I could make any progress. Finally this is what got it working again. There is an option that says Show: independent controls for installed wireless devices. I selected this box and I was awarded a button that says "Turn On" next to my Wireless LAN. After a brief Alleluia I was back on the road updating Windows and McAfee.

Can you guess who made this program?.... HP. Who would turn off the option of seeing the controls? Who would put in the option to turn off viewing of the controls? This is clearly the Fustration Corporation in action.


09 August 2009

Road Trips aka Pain Trips

The only good thing about a road trip is reaching the destination. Last week we went on a road trip which proved to be rather eventful. My laptop (aka my main source of entertainment on this journey) began to overheat again and shut off periodically. Then we broke a GPS antenna cable, (wich was realy bad because we were relying on that GPS to tell us how to get there). Next we proceeded to break the antenna on the FM transmiter wich we were using to listen to audio books from my MP3 player. Then we blew a tire (one which was giving us trouble any way) and we had to stop for the night in some town (whose name I still don't know). We ended up ordering dinner at the Applebee's which involved Dad and me sitting at the Bar watching everyone else get drunk or scratching our heads at the revolting looking concoctions that the girl at the bar was making. In the morning we arrived late at the continental breakfast to find only a few muffins and bananas left. Mom tried to get hot chocolate from the coffee machine. In order to ensure that she wouldn't get any of the coffee flavoring in her chocolate she decided she would let the machine just run off for one cup which caused the catch tray to overflow. After we got that cleaned up she ended up with a cup of slightly murky brown water and decided it wasn't fit to be called hot chocolate.
When we got on the road the next morning, Mom and Dad went to walmart to replace the FM transmitter. We found out that it only transmits on a small range the high end or the low end of the FM spectrum. It was hard to find a station to transmit on. We finally arrived safely and we all got stiffly out of the car. We had fun for the next two days and then headed back home. The return trip was also not without event. My little brother and I both plugged a laptop into the transformer and blew the fuse, Dad ended up pulling off to find a place to get a replacement. Then two hours away from home my little brother began to throw up.
But out of all the troubles and problems I would still have to say that the most difficult thing for me was just having to sit there in the same position for so many hours. There is a reason I don't want a sit down job.

26 July 2009

From Stone Soup to Apocalypse

“Doctor, is there something wrong with him?” they stared at the drooling patient who’s blank eyes stared back at them. A bell rang somewhere and the patient immediately shot out of his chair and began making his way to the door mumbling the words “Orders. Where are my orders?”

“I think Maam, that he has a case of under used brain. It is seen in some cases where a person has been locked up in isolation for too long. But I’ve never seen it in anyone outside of prison.”

“What can I do doctor?”

“What does he do for a living?”

“He works at a warehouse.”

“Does he work with anyone?”

“He does most of his work by himself.”

“Do you have a music player?”

“What do you mean?”

“He should play music or audio books at work.”

I am glad I thought listening to audio books while working before I ended up a drooling, brainless, empty sack of a man. I have been enjoying quite a selection these past few weeks, everything from Wizard of Oz to an audio play called The Dead Girl. The Audio plays are most interesting because they feature sound effects along with the spoken words of the well-trained voice actors. There have been several moments when I have stopped in the middle of what I am doing in order to hear better during an intense moment in the story of the audio play. I wish I could find more of the radio theater productions but a Google search on the subject has yielded mostly stuff that is not free. I have to save up as much as I can so that I can go to college.

Luckily, there are several wonderful sources where I can find audio books. Most of the stuff isn’t current; you won’t find Harry Potter on audio free. However, you can find a lot of stuff that is in the public domain. Look at Librivox.org or search for the Gutenberg project.

One more pro to this whole thing is that it is a good way to get into self-education. During the Fourth of July, we went to visit Jason and Denise, two of the most incredible people I know. Jason and I had a friendly chat and he let me in on the secret that if you can really get into self-education than there are several ways it goes above and beyond college or university education. I still need to expand my genera beyond fiction, but I am getting there.

19 July 2009

Audio Blues

Have you ever been walking down the side of the street and then someone nearby says "Hello, how can I help you." and you turn to them thinking that they are talking to you. You try to respond but then they give you a dirty look and point at their bluetooth ear peice. Don't you hate that? I hate it.

This makes me kind of embarrassed to admit that I actually bought one of these blasted little devices, and suffered the repeated remark "we are the Borg" from my dad. What would drive me to such insanity... Well, I'll put it this way...

I work in a warehouse job. I do a lot of lifting and moving and boxing and so forth. I don't work with anyone in particular because they had to fire the other guy in the economic downturn. This leaves me with a lot of quiet time. I go insane with too much quiet time (as you can see from some of my other posts). So I decided that it would be a good idea to bring along some music to listen to. It was an improvement to listen to music or to audio books but a problem came with the fact that my earbud cords kept getting caught on boxes or on tables or on air or on anything. This is frustrating to put it mildly. So to remedy this problem I decided to buy one of those little bluetooth contraptions and see if I could get my music to play through it. That was the biggest mistake ever. I can't get the thing to play music, my phone can route calls through the pinky sized black device but it can't do music. Now I have the device and I have taken it out of the box and all and so it will be more problematic to get a refund for it. Meanwhile I still had the problem of the cord getting stuck on things, and I risked getting chewed out by my boss who doesn't like me listening to music on the job.

I had to come up with a solution to these problems and my little brother helped me out in this respect, he suggested just threading the cord through my shirt. I did so, it is a little bit uncomfortable but I found out that I can easily take the earbuds out, throw them behind my back, underneath my shirt and my boss will never find out. Now if only I can get the phone to turn off the pressure sensitive skip and pause buttons to deactivate.

Why do MP3 players do that? don't the companies realize that many of these people want to just slip the thing in their pocket and go. The people don't want their favorite song interupted by accidentally bumping into something and triggering their player to skip to the next song. I say there should be a hold switch installed mandatory on every portable music playing device so that it can be placed in the pocket without fear of it fast forewarding to the next chapter of the audio book. *shakes head in disaproval* silly electronics companies. Why couldn't you get it right the first time.


The Great and Terrible Debate...

Have you ever done something and for a moment were glad you did it, but then afterward were harrassed by other people because of it?

On facebook you have the capacity to join various causes or other pages that show support on various issues. I joined one that regarding Marriage between a man and a woman. For quite some time I just ignored the updates and posts that it posted to my home page, just like I ignore the updates from most of the cause or fan pages. I don't realy want to give face book that much of my time or effort. Yet, last night I decided to take a look at the posts and the discussions. I kind of wish I hadn't. Most of the people on there are either A) Gay bashers with only as much creativity as it takes to repeat the last 18 people in saying "Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve." or B) Anti-Gay Bashers who call everyone else idiots and ceaselessly throw out the used up old arguments that have been circulating ever since the debate started, including attacking some religions and then saying that they aren't attacking any religions.

I posted some very moderate remarks trying my best to avoid falling into either of the two groups. Afterward I felt good about it, regardless of the fact that the concepts that I wish I could convey would require a lot of prefacing explaination in order to be understood. But then something deperessing happened. I get complete strangers from both Group A and group B who all of the sudden want to lable me under one or the other. There is one guy who is harrassing me and attacking me personally rather than attacking the issue. and I have annother random group A lady who sent me a friend request???

Fact is, Both groups are wrong in my point of view. Neither shows much love, respect, tolorance, understanding, forgiveness, or any other decent quality that should be redily found in a citizen of this great country. In my oppinion, this country can't handle this topic; this country doesn't possess enough people who can look at this subject in a mature manner. So for the record, I say, LAY OFF IT, calm down, go to your corners and count to ten and take deep breaths and then come back and sit and listen completly and intently to the entire argument of the opposing side, then when you are both on the same page and can cast asside your prejudices and false views of one annother, then and only then can you hope to do anything with this war... But even then, I don't think it would work.



15 July 2009

Warranties, Insurance and the Fustration Coproration

I note that I haven't mentioned the fact that I have had a car accident in the last few weeks. Luckily it wasn't a major car accident. The car still runs fine and there was no other car involved. The experience was a little bit nerve racking and I about passed out, and my face looked messed up from the air bag rug burn.

It is a good thing that we have insurance, right? Well, not in my particular case. I was completely uniformed as to what I should do in a situation such as this. Had I been informed, I would have pulled the still functional car to the side of the road somewhere, rested a while till the adrenaline wore off, then drove the car home.

What really happened was this. The police said I looked pretty banged up and told me that I should go to the hospital “just in case”. The called a Tow truck which ended up not delivering the car to my house as I had asked. I got carted off in an ambulance to the hospital in the next town where everyone just poked and prodded me and finally stated that I was fit as a fiddle (other than my scraped up face). While sitting in the hospital I was approached by one of the officers and she informed me that I now owe the city of Olathe $240 because my car skidded on a patch of wet road. I managed to get home, by aide of a good friend, only to find my car not there. I recuperate for the next few days and later receive a bill in the mail for my ambulance ride totaling $419.95.

Later I found out that my insurance doesn’t cover the tow truck. I am still waiting to see if my health insurance is going to cover the ambulance ride. I will pay the City traffic fines although I think I was taken advantage of; especially since the officer serving me the fines told me that she just about crashed on the way to my car.

Why do my parents pay this insurance if the insurance doesn’t cover this stuff?

My answer is that the Fustration Corporation is behind all the insurance companies. They promise much, deliver less, make the arrangements of payment difficult and complex. They develop different systems to avert the payment to another insurance company. Last, when all else fails, they increase your insurance payment for making them go through all the trouble of running around in order to determine that they aren’t going to pay your debts.

At least my laptop warranty hasn’t failed. My processor fan stopped working and the computer began to overheat. I am planning on taking it in and taking advantage of my warranty. I decided it would be good to at least look at the warranty before hand and I found this to be quite amusing…


under paragraph 13 C. (Bold added)

C. Damage or other equipment failure due to causes beyond our control including,

but not limited to, repairs necessary due to operator negligence, the failure to

maintain the equipment according to the owner’s manual instructions, abuse,

vandalism, theft, fire, flood, wind, freezing, power failure, inadequate power

supply, unusual atmospheric conditions, or acts of war or acts of God.

Someone has humor..


05 July 2009

And your point is?

I know that there are plenty of excuses and reasons why I should give my professors a break. They do, after all, teach at a community college. I shouldn't expect too much. But really, is it too much to expect the calculus teacher to not go on a 40 minute tangent and try to solve a problem to which he is obviously not finding the right answer. I mean it isn't like I am asking for them to change the whole cirriculum of the class (as nice as that would be). But seriously 40 minutes is a long time to be muttering to yourself in front of a class of people who, if given the choice, would give a major overhaul to the course cirriculum so as to teach them the stuff that is actually relevent to their future studies.

It is true that I don't reallly need the class for the feild I have chosen to enter. You don't really need upper level math when it comes to family counseling, (or being an author). However, when given the choice to pay $200 for a class that is going to teach me nothing, or $200 for a class that will teach me something I may or may not need, I am going to choose the class that is going to teach me something. The one problem I have is when I pay $200 and get a teacher that stands in front of a class and mutters for 40 minutes about nothing. And after about 20 minutes of this mindless rabbling, everyone else was beginning to wonder the same thing. "Do I really want this class?"

What is worse is that he was going on this tangent, I believe, to prove to us that a certain shortcut works, then he never actually tied off his thoughts and gave us the shortcut. The shortcuts are the things we all want. The shortcuts are the things that most of these students will be using in their carreers most of the time.

What is the point teacher? Why do you put us through this agony? Half your class is failing. Don't you wonder why? It is because you ramble on and do the problems yourself instead of insisting on us comming up and demonstrating what we understand. You only ask questions about things which are so painfully obvious that noone cares to answer. And you tell us we aren't doing well.

What is my point? Try not to take community college classes unless you actually know the subject matter, then you won't have to rely upon the teacher, because chances are, they might not know how to teach you.


26 June 2009

A mind melted with shrink wrap fumes.

I now have a job. This is a good thing. This job allows me to get things that will allow me to progress in my learning and in turn become a better and more involved member of society. However, I spend a lot of time alone at this job. I am trying to use this time efficiently by listening to audio books or think about homework assignments, or do something that keeps my mind occupied so it doesn't wander. Sometimes I don't do such a good job at keeping my brain occupied and my 3.3 lbs of grey matter starts to snatch at anything it can pummel for a few seconds with its neurons. This sometimes leads to some very interesting results...
To give you a prime example of the bizarre stuff my mind will churn out, I went on a solid 30 minute monologue between this old lady and some Cornell (I think I just butchered the spelling of that, I was aiming for a military figure. I can say the word, but I don't know how to write it. I have run into a few of those in the last few days). One snipped I can remember happened after I opened a box of plastic piggy banks, and all the pigs were on their backs. It went like this. "Cornall, why are all the piggies standing on their heads?"

"Well I don't know Mrs. Partridge. Perhaps it is because of this. As you know, pigs can't look up, so it is hard for them to see the stars. Maybe they wanted to see the stars so bad that they did hand stands so they could look down at the stars, then they may have fallen over."

"Hand stands, you mean like this..."

"That is pretty impressive for an old lady like you, but just to let you know maam. I can see your bloomers."

"It's rude to look at a person's bloomers."

five minutes after this incident I decided I have been standing next to the shrink wrap machine too long this week.

Here is annother example of the madness that isolation can cause.

I am not a conspiracy theorist. But as I sat in the back room pulling orders off the shelf, this came to mind and at the time sounded completly plausable. In light of Michael Jackson's recent passing, it came to mind that the King of Pop is supposed to be dead, right along with the King of Rock, Elvis Presly. But Rumors still go arround that the King of Rock is not dead. It just so happens that the King of Pop married the King of Rock's daughter for a short period of time. What if, in reality, neither are dead. The two Kings have been in contact with each other for years, they have been plannning this "Big Comeback" for their entire life. They would set up the shows, and get all the tickets sold. Then the King of Pop would unexpectedly (and somewhat mysteriously) die. Sales of his music would go back through the roof. They wait for the media to die down a little bit, maybe a couple of weeks. Then it happens. In an epic Thriller style, They both show up "back from the dead" at someone else's concert, together, the Two Kings of Music. They steal the Show. Later they go on the tour they had set up in the first place. It is not just a "come back" to popularity, but a "Come Back" from the grave. Their popularity and ratings and sales and everything else skyrockets through the roof to never before imagined heights as they begin producing crossover songs that they have kept secret, their best works. Michael Jackson finally fulfills his lifelong dream, to top his previous best. This new success, which spreads not only through old lines, but comes alive in Generation X, erases any bad mark or controversy in their lives. They become ever more undisputed Kings of Music.

Crazy huh.. My brain needs a throtle adjuster that I can just pull back on when I'm not doing anything productive with it.


14 June 2009

Don't look the gift horse in the mouth

I sat there trying not to think too hard or be judgemental about the whole situation. My coworker and I folded shirts to be put into inventory and I sat and listened to her talk about Bruce, they guy I was filling in for. The sad part about it was that I used to work here full time and had no problem doing so, Bruce came along later and when I left, eventually took over my possition. Arpana folded shirts and told me about how Bruce was missing work without explaination and about how he didn't always do what he was supposed to do.
I thought back to when I first came home and went to visit my old co-workers. Bruce had hopes that I would get my job back. "You can have my job" he said. As we sat there folding shirts I began to wonder if it was really happening. Were they actually considering letting Bruce go and giving me my old job back.
I came back the next day and as I was routinely doing my job, George came down and talked to me. He had asked previously a couple of times what my summer schedule looked like and he did so again, this time asking if I could work the following week and what I thought of working the rest of the summer. I told him I would think about it. Then as I continued to work, Dave, the one who worked most closely with Bruce came in and said "Well Steve, they let Bruce go." At first, I felt happy. I would have a job again, I wouldn't need to be trained much, I could once again consider getting a car, it is close enough to home that I could bike there.
Today in church I finally looked at my situation. I am now possibly working a full time job, and I am taking a calculus class and a Composition one class. The only day I get off is saturday, but that may be devoured by homework. Sunday I try to avoid homework.
What's more, I have classes scheduled at the same time as all the available institute classes, singles, family home evenings, and many other singles activities.
I realized all of this while sitting in church, I am not going to have a social life for the next month and a half.
I know they say don't look a gift horse in the mouth but this one has a few nasty teeth.

12 June 2009

The continuing struggle

It seems I had a premature start on taking over my life. Am I doomed to do this over and over again. Am I doomed to desire controll over my life and then never seem to attain it.

We went on a family reunion last week. I decided I would download a few games for the six hour trip we were about to take. I ended up playing the games for much of my spare time while I was there. Then when we finally got back, I was so physically drained that I would rather sit and play Halo than do anything else. Consequentally I played Halo for the better part of this last week, at least, whenever I was not doing homework.

Of course here goes my over active ADHD brain again questioning everything. It asks wither or not I already have supposed controll over my life, it begs to wonder wither or not I am chasing after something unatainable. I hate when my brain second guesses itself all the time. Reguardless, wether or not it is a fruitless attempt to "take controll of my life" the goal of doing so and fulfilling the vision of my life is something that can give me more focus in my life. So I must try.

I guess the controll of my life would be measured by my capacity to live rules that I set for myself such as doing all my homework on time, or going to bed at a certain hour and waking up at a good time, or journaling regularly. This idea of setting a code of conduct for one self and living up to that code is something that I, and I am sure others, seem to miss to some degree.

So I will be going to bed on time now. That is step two.

29 May 2009

Beating the Games

"Hi My name is Stephen"
group: "Hi Stephen"
"I've been a game addict for..."

They have AA programs that I know of. Aren't there any GA programs somewhere. Gamers Anonymous. I have spent the greater portion of the last few days staring at the 2 1/2" by 4 1/2" screen of my game boy advance. The yard is still infested with weeds, the dog still could do well with loosing a few pounds, I could be eating good food and gaining a few pounds, and repairing my bike. Not to mention the books that I want to write, re-write, and edit. I guess the one advantage of playing games is that they are a relatively cheap form of entertainment. It takes far fewer dollars to play a video game then it does to regularly go out and watch movies at the movie theater or doing other activities. But alas, the cost of video games is much more than nickles and dimes (at least for our GA members) it costs time, attention span, and life.

Well I am going to "beat the games" as it were. I am selling that Game boy advanced and not be tempted by it's screen any longer. I want my life back. I want to do things that improve the quality of my life. I want to learn useful skills like how to fix a car, or do minor repairs on my plumbing. I want to create. I want to publish my books. I want to fullfill my dreams. I want to live.

So here's to living.


27 May 2009


I went to a barbeque with my church for memorial day and had a wonderful time, the food was good we played some games but what was particularly interesting to me was that there was a very kind man named Steve Wade there. Steve Wade is homeless and on a journey to Springfeild, MO in search of work. He was sitting in the pavilion in the park reading a book when we all arrived.
I took the opportunity to ask him what he was reading, it was a pretty standard secret agent novel. Steve excitedly told me a lot of the plotline about how two characters who are unknowingly working for the same man go after the same target and think the other is killed and there are twists and turns. I nodded on as it seemed a pretty "eeh" book plot.
When he was done we struck up a conversation about his life. I found myself listening to bits and peices of the life of Steve Wade. Steve is a man who grew up in a little town south of St. Louis, MO. When he grew up he used to work at a carnival giving camel rides. Think about that a moment, This guy used to work in a carnival. Most people I talk to on a daily basis do what I do, shove boxes arround or pound the keyboard for 8 hours a day. This man has taken care of Camels and Elephants. Then he has moved arround the United States and was even very familiar with Los Angeles where I have been for the last two years. He said he once met a Black man in LA that was big enough to hold 2 cantelopes in one hand. He said that the giant scared him half to death but turned out to be a gentle giant who offered him a cantelope.
Steve has been a truck driver, dish washer, Camel ride assistant and who knows what else I (now sadly) neglected to ask him about. This man has been places and done things that I wouldn't think in my right mind were possible. To make this point a little stronger, he has sleep apnea and has to tote a machine arround with him everywhere he goes and find a place with an electric socket to sleep at so that he won't die in his sleep. If I were in his situation I probably wouldn't make it, I would probably just die or make my way out of his situation and just become a box pusher like everyone else.
What is worse is that I didn't try to find out more about him and his crazy adventures. My mind went blank, and I didn't realize fully what I could have asked him. I didn't realize what kind of individual I had in front of me.
Luckily I did help him on his way, he said that he had spent his last dollar. Remember that $20.00 that I said I had waiting in my pocket for such an event. it burned down to $13.00 when the event came but I gave it to him. I gave it to Steve Wade. Hopefully when I meet my next Steve Wade I will not go brain dead.
During that Barbeque a member of our church said a prayer at the beginning. Steve said the prayer at the end. The simplicity and sincertiy of his prayer made the best prayer I have heard in a long while. I hope that I have learned a lesson from all this. I hope that I won't waste my next opportunity to talk with a Steve.


18 May 2009

Antique store adventures

I went to an antique store today for the first time in my life. I was quite surprised at the random asortment of stuff that sells for remarkably low prices. I mostly browsed hoping to perchance find a pocket watch, reguardless of the fact that I just recently bought a really nice pocket watch. I failed to find any pocket watches, but I did find a ton of stuff that collectors might possibly want. good thing I am not a collector, but being in that store gave me the urge to randomly horde a collection of stuff that I really don't need, like buttons. (or the urge came from the fact that I am a writer who has been playing with the idea of writing characters which have such odd collecting habits. that is the danger of being a writer I guess)
I found sports collectors cards, old atari and nintendo systems, pocket lighters, bayonetts, jars of buttons, dolls, glasses, odd boxes, playing cards, vinals, lots and lots of cheap (probably fake) jewlry, a Faux rolex watch that "works really well", something that looked like a toupe made out of black sequins, several almost complete sets of the harry potter books, oh yeah and tons and tons of books on everything from ettiquite with guests, psycology, books on church order, and tons of others things. Among the books, I was interested to find the Count of Monte Cristo and Tom Clancy's "The Sum of All Fears".

After much searching arround I finally left the store with a amazing deal. I purchased a fine (albeit cankered and slightly rusted) letter opener that was marked $2.00 but only paid 54c.
I felt rather weird walking arround with a verry knife like letter opener for 20 minutes.

I may have to take a few ganders at Antique stores later. 

12 May 2009

Don't forget to thank the homeless people.

So I have $20 in my pocket for one reason and one reason only. It is for the next homeless person I see. Now I know what you are thinking. Actually I don't know what you are thinking but if I had to guess it would probably be one of a few things. Perhaps you are thinking, "Show off. put your money away." or perhaps you are thinking "Well that is rather generous of you." maybe it is "Why give it to them. They get what they deserve the lazy bums." You know what. I don't care what you think. I do this for my own reasons.

The reason I have this gift in my pocket is because I believe that without the homeless people we are literally all unbelievably screwed if the economy really ever did get flushed down the toilet. When I served in Los Angeles I heard multiple tales from the missionaries who covered skid row about meeting people that used to live in big fancy houses and used to be worth nearly a million or more. Those people were taken in by the homeless and shown the ropes of how to survive on nothing each day. I honestly believe that if noone was out there with that survival training from the school of hard knocks, then when many of us who have grown up in our cushy lifestyle, with the staples food in our belly and a roof over our head, would probably last a few days before giving up, curling up in a corner and wait for someone to pick our bodies up and hauled off to the morgue. (I guess on the bright side of that, college medical students would have a surplus of cadavers to poke at.)

So frankly, while I have a roof, food, and a keyboard to type at. I should pay my homage to those who either by choice or bad fortune are living on the streets, they may just be the best defense against the doom of the unemployed population. I guess I need to take a trip into the city where I can find these unsung warriors.


07 May 2009

Jargon, I hate Jargon.

As much as I can see the usefulness of jargon in certain situations such as in any group of people where Jargon would permit them to communicate faster, I despise the general use of Jargon in places of public view. It is frustrating to go onto a career-finding website, whose sole purpose is to facilitate the contact between employee and employer, and find it riddled with so much jargon that one so devoid of business language such as I would be turned on my head trying to actually use this tool. When I look and see a position with the job title of “Sales Associate” I, a person of layman’s tongue, see the word “associate” and think of its literal meaning, one associated with something. I then ask, “Are they associated with the sales or are they an associate with the people being sold to, or are they only associates of the company selling the product and not part of the company it self?”. Why do they not just call it a “Salesman”?

            Another word I find far too commonly used in this website is “specialist”. In any other circumstance, this word at least holds the connotation of “one with experience.” In this setting, it is sometimes Jargon for, “Anyone who is willing to do this job.” (At least it is advertized as such, showing no requirements of any expertise in the field of labor indicated)

            However, this is not the only place I dislike seeing jargon. I dislike the use of any jargon around people whom are not familiar with such jargon, without the intent of teaching that jargon to him or her. It would be like me telling anyone outside my church that I am unavailable Tuesday night because I am at institute that night. Institute is a jargon for bible study. Our church has a ton of this jargon.

            Please speak always in layman’s terms whenever addressing the public.

01 May 2009

Ponder Time...

Recall to your mind the movie Whinny the Poo, (The old one) where it was a blustry day or whatnot, the scene where Poo sat down and, with his hand to his head he would sit and think "ponder ponder ponder ponder..."

I sat and did that today, maybe only the second time since I've been home. I sat and I pondered. I turned off my music, I pulled away from the computer and I just sat and thought. What an amazing relieving feeling it is. I asked myself in my ponderings, "Why don't I do this more often?" and then pondered my way to the answer, I have been trying to live too fast of a life. I have spent most of my time looking for music, or trying to read a book or trying to get some information, trying to take in all that there is to offer. I often find myself trying to multitask in this aspect. I try to watch a movie while I am also trying to do work on my computer. I try to listen to music while I am doing anything, playing games, writing, blogging, facebooking, whatever. I realized, life is a long time, eternity is a long time, there will be enough time to eventually see all I want to see, read all I want to read, learn all I want to learn and do all I want to do. It may not happen in this life, but I am sure it will happen. It is a comforting thought to think of eternity. It kind of helps you to relax, slow down, enjoy life, savor the tastes, smell the roses.

This is not to say that in slowing down I am relinquishing any sort of responsibilty or neglecting duty. It just means that in my spare time, I should take more time to just sit back and think without the distractions of a computer or X-Box.


26 April 2009

Leadership 101

Frankly, despite the fact that I voted for McCain, I couldn't realy stand behind either of those people. I only voted McCain because I didn't have the guts to put down "The guy who plays guitar down by the Manhattan Beach pier at night who goes by the name 'Go'" on the line by "Other." Looking back I wish I had put that.

Truth be told, I think between the two major canditates McCain and Obama, the better choice won. I don't draw this conclusion from his ideals or platform. I draw this conclusion on the mere chance that something good might actually come of these four years. With McCain, that possibility wasn't even presented, not for me at least. He felt like too much of a Bush 2nd. I couldn't really respect him or put my support into his views, his personality, or anything realy about him. I couldn't say much different for Obama as far as I am concerned, I couldn't stand behind either person. But I would say this for Obama, when I was in Los Angeles, people were going arround wearing fancy shirts with Obama's face on it. (I still haven't seen a McCain shirt, [And I am sure because of this comment, someone is going to send me a picture of one]) A lot of the people appeared genuinely in support of him. I figured if he were to actually come out and say to the people that they need to do everything within their power to get off of welfare, that the Companies need to do everything they can to create more Jobs, that the people need to stop thinking so selfishly of themselves, the people would genuinly give a concerted effort to do what is right. I always envisioned that if McCain did the same thing, that the majority would go "Ho hum, huh, did you say something McCain?"

I'm no political Analyist. So my oppinion isn't really a good representation of what would happen. Again, most of my views about Obama and McCain were developed in Manhattan Beach California or in the slums of South Central Los Angeles, along side the fact that I had little to no news media access. But talking to a wide range of people did give me a bit of an idea of what my own political views were and some idea of what others were saying about the presidency in general. A bit of a summary of some of the things I heard.

Before the election I've often heard many people say, "The presidency is more of a figurehead than anything now. The President really doesn't have the power to change the world." Since the Election, Obama has used this meager presidential power to influence quite a lot, wether for good or for bad, be it the fact that he managed to pass enough bills that allowed the government to spend over 1 trillion dollars in the first 2 or 3 weeks of his term (if I remember correctly). He has created a plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. He has managed to so far hold back if not avert the collapse of the economy by keeping some key buisnesses allive on what I call a blood transfusion. He has tried to give the government a greater sense of acountability with it's spendings.

Before the election I heard a lot of people say, "I wish that we had a Presidential Canditate that was able to speak his own mind, but isn't totaly crazy either. I am sort of sick of a president that is so censored and scripted. I want one with some attitude." Since the election, I wouldn't say that Obama has done great in this area. To me, he is still sort of a Ho Hum average politician by standards of attitude. I don't see a man who stands up in any special way for what he believes in. I really am not sure what he believes in. I've never seen him confronted on what he believes in. Likewise I have never seen him stand up for whatever it is he belives in. I think it is entirely possible that I just haven't been looking hard enough for these things. It is possible that this kind of information doesn't make it to the places where I get my news. So forgive me readers for not seeing this side of our president, nor in a number of our past presidents. Personally I don't think we should have to search far to see an uncensored president speaking his true beliefs on any given subject, using whatever language he chooses to use, foul or not.

In my oppinion A leader has to be just that. A Leader. Not a puppet. The Leader needs to be Human, with some of our own weaknesses and difficulties. The Leader need to conquer vice, stand up for whatever is right. The Leader needs to be energetic and motivating. The leader needs to be a people person. The Leader better understand every minute detail they can about whatever they try to manage over. The Leader needs to convey clearly and often their vision, goals, and plans, for the future. They need to communicate frequently with the people they lead, They need to enable their followers through their vision so that all members of their team can cary out that vision without a micromanaging hand over them.

Obama Fulfills some of these. But I realy wish I had a real good leader as the president. Someone I could realy stand behind.

22 April 2009

Symptoms and Sicknesses

Here is a topic that I would like to bring up since I mentioned it in the last post. When I was on the Mission I attended a sunday meeting that taught me a very valuable lesson.

The leader of the local congregation got up and very tactfully stated that he was going to be addressing a rather touchy subject. To give some background information, the ward was neglecting some of it's duties to take care of other members of the church. Taking care of your neighbor is a basic standard of the church. The leader held up a peice of paper with a boldly painted number on it, 32 I think. He asked "Can anyone Guess what this number represents." One of the observant members of the congregation identified it as the prcentage of families that had been visited by the mens organizations, the ideal being 100%. The leader looked around and stated "This is not the problem. I believe this is a symptom of the problem." He held up annother sign bearing the number 62 on it and repeated the question as to what this represented. It turned out to be the percentage of women who had been visited by the women's organization. "Better than the men, but it still has some room for improvement." He said then repeated "This is not the problem. I believe this is a symptom of the problem." For emphasis he repeated this display annother two times with two other numbers representing the number of new converts in the congregation and the percentage of attendance at the sunday meetings, both of which were rather low by all standards. Each time he repeated "This is not the problem. I believe this is a symptom of the problem" Then he turned the discussion over to the congregation itself and asked "What then is the problem?"

I break from what the group came up with for a moment to relate this to what is happening in this world. How often do we fail to recognize the simple differences between symptoms and disease. How often do we criticize others for their actions when perhaps those outward actions are just manifestations of more deep rooted problems that have not been dealt with. How many of us look for some sort of bandaid solution to sicknesses.

I propose that the problems with society, government and economics that most people see are meerly symptoms of a much greater sickness. The Violence and immorality that is so trademark of our age and generation, are they self existant or are they byproducts of poor parenting and upraising. This is not to say that all criminals are victims of their upbringing, far from it. One can see plainly that in some cases, despite the best upbringing and the most carefull and observed instruction, some people willfully stray from whatever is good into darker paths of destruction. But I do believe that there are many who have been permitted to be led carefully down those paths by neglect of those who were sent to stand guard against such ocourences.

The Economic recession from so many bad decisions. Were the majority of those dicissions, that contributed to the state in which we now live, honest mistakes, or were many of them the byproduct of desires unbound by good judgement, desires blinded by greed and a hollow promise of security at the expense of someone elses livelyhood.

Is the rapid and unchecked spending of the government and it's members a natural thing that cannot be purged, or is it the by product of a people who, through the powers granted them from democracy, put such corrupt individuals in place because their selfish desires aligned with the petty promises of wealth and prosperity that those corrupt individuals presented. The people not knowing that such wealth and prosperity would not come from some government, but could only be bought by the sweat of their brow and the racking of their own intelect. The people uneducated in the matters of what powers govern the taxes they pay and how those funds are spent, what powers institute the laws and the mode of enforcing those laws, which laws often loosen from year to year. Is all the coruption and unfavorable qualities (small as they may be individually but they do stack up) that are in the government perhaps symptoms of the problems of the people who put them there.

I have often said and I will say again, I can not trust the President nor the Government under him any further than I can trust the people who put them in power. I have seen some of the best this nation has to offer and some of the worst. With all my experience in mind I shall say I can't trust the government very far.

Please any who read this, ponder atleast a while on the principle of symptoms and problems. What are some things which are just symptoms, what are the real problems that can be helped.


17 April 2009

The New Normal

A few weeks ago on the radio station KCUR (a station which I love for its very diverse programing) They hosted a short bit about what they have labled "The New Normal" prefacing it with an explaination about how things are changing and that certain normals of life as we know it are going to eventually change too. They wondered what people thought those normals of life were going to eventually be. Many people have sent in their views, and their views are as diverse as can be, some are optamistic and say that people are going to change in good ways. Other people have negative views and say that the depression will never end, finding a job will continue to be a tooth and nail fight, and we will learn how to live without many of todays ameneties such as Ipods or new cars. Hearing all these reports, I wanted to send my own view in but was unable as I had other work to do (and my memory is never good enough to remember which show I was listening to, let alone the link where to submit my idea.)

My idea isn't very specific though, it is more a flexible viewpoint and some observations. Observation #1, We are in the position we are in because the majority of people have acted how they have acted.

Observation # 2 The "New Normals" will be a consequence of how the majority of people change their behaviors.

Observation #3 a lot of people have having the attitude of spending money they don't have (credit) on things they don't need, (to impress people they don't like) but this is not the sole cause of the problem, more or less it is a symptom of greater problems.

Observation #4 There are many who are getting obscene amounts of money, and the common person is putting his money in their pockets. Sometimes it sits a long time in that pocket without buying food for a worker, or improving the community. When we are lucky that pocket has a good brain behind it and the money gets moving quickly for other constructive projects. Again not the sole cause of the problem, and possibly more a symptom.

Observation #5 The Economy is like a big living organism, cash is the blood, Credit is like blood pressure, too much is bad, too little is bad. If the blood stops moving, death. Fear and greed both often put money into possitions where they stop. Greed + credit = Observation #3.

Observation #6 People keep looking for ways to escape the consequences of their actions, but the consequences have to come down on someone.

The flexible conclusion, If people learn what they need to learn, things will get better, they will be smarter with their money, but more open with investing it in trusted and constructive community improving projects. If they don't learn their lesson then as soon as we get out of this depression, people will be right back in the self centered greedy untrusting mindset that spends it's money on fleeting fickle projects that promise only to increase their posessions.

The likely conclusion. From studying history, The majority of people only learn the good lessons long enough to get out of bad situations. And in our case, with so manny oppinions, it is hard for most people to point in one direction and say definitively "hey there is the right lessons, go learn." Sucks huh. But hey, if you learn the right lessons, then you should keep pulling through alright, and on top.


09 April 2009

A phenomenon that escapes my understanding

Has anyone really found out the answer to this?

This morning on my google home page I saw the featured youtube vidios, one of which was a particular video called 1 million subscribers. Anyone familiar with my type of curiosity knows I would click on it just for the title. It turned out to be a young man who runs a show called Fred or something like that on You tube, thanking all the people who subscribed, then it was followed by a short clip of him in character thanking the people again in a really high pitched, somewhat annoying voice set to the personality of a third grader.

How does this phenomenon happen. Things like Twitter, Rotten Tomatoes, Fred, Homestar Runner, Myspace, Face book, Google. I am not talking about the quality of these items, as Google and Facebook are both verry fine companies, I am asking about their popularity. Is it meerly fluke? Or were the creators looking for this kind of booming success and raving fanatic attention?

To me, as I browse among blogs, (which hasn't been verry much) I haven't seen manny with tons and tons of followers, even on face book, you see people with 354 friends but actively 4 or 5 post on their wall. How do people go from 4 and 5 to 1 million, at least online. It boggles me. Maybe if I were to actually be commited to finding an answer I should spend even more of the time I don't have wandering aimlessly looking for "friends" that I don't really know; and I don't know who knows?


06 April 2009

The Fustration Corporation, Be Aware.

Taking a lighter note on life I would like to take a moment to inform you all of the sinister plot of the Fustration Corporation.

The Fustration Corporation is an insidious organization bent on harrassing humanity globaly by making sure that products and organizations of reasonable repute loose all their usefulness. In simple terms, They like to frustrate any good work.

Have you ever wondered why so many of your electric devices like Mp3 players, flash drives, ect... come in packages that are tougher to get into than fort knox and require no less than a high powered jack hammer, or jaws of death to get your product out.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many computer companies that all produce the exact same applications for your computer. and they all try to install their particular version without you noticing till you find out that they all try to load up at the start up and severely destroy your computer's processor capacity.

Have you ever wondered why there are endless verieties of butter, and endless brands of every sort of product, so many of which have virtually the same quality and are of the same substance, and yet you sit there and have to decide if you want the expensive name or not.

Have you ever wondered where the idea of that endlessly annoying stuff called e-mail Spam came from.

Have you ever wondered why noone takes the time to make up to date systems for companies that are horribly out of date in their methods, which cause endless headaches to their associates and customers.

Have you ever wondered why The Government has so much red tape?

Have you ever wondered why some things just don't work.

This and more is all because of the Fustration Corporation. So remember, when things go wrong, or stupid errors happen on your computer, you know exactly who to blame. The Fustration Corporation.

Be on the look out for their sinister plots. Do your best to encourage everyone you know to avoid adopting their ideas and practices. Make things work. Make things work well. Bring ease and efficiency into everything you do.

Yours Truely
~Stealth Blue.