Category Archives: Uncategorized

Everything I need to know I learned from paper products

Wisdom that I quite liked from my Starbucks cup this morning:

The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

— Anne Morriss

I’m fooled!

E-mail scams have reached new levels of sophistication:

Drae Balcrays Merebm,

Tsih eiaml was setn by the Balcrays srevre to verfiy yoru emlia addrses. You mtsu comelpte tihs psecors by clickgni on the likn belwo and eetnring in the smlal winodw yruo Balcrays Membpihsre nebmur, passedoc and memorelba word.
Tsih is dnoe for yoru pritcetoon – bceause semo of our mrebmes no longre heva accses to tiehr eliam asserddes and we mtsu vyfiit. To vyfire yruo emlia aerddss and aseccs yuor bkna auoccnt, cilck on the lkni bleow

Yes, I, too, hvae seen the rseutls of the spuosped rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy

The Sausage Creature strikes again.

The world is a worse place tonight.

What drives a man like Thompson to end it all…what, after everything in his life, is the final straw that could make him say, “that’s it.” Whatever it could be, it doesn’t give me hope for this world.

Farewell, Hunter, and thanks.

That is the Curse of Speed which has plagued me all my life. I am a slave to it. On my tombstone they will carve, “IT NEVER GOT FAST ENOUGH FOR ME.”

God Hates the Gluten-Intolerant

Yet more evidence that the Roman Catholic Church has pretty much no interest in the spiritual well-being of its members.

NEW YORK (AFP) – Roman Catholic officials have invalidated the First Communion of a New Jersey girl with a rare digestive disorder whose gluten intolerance put her on a collision course with Catholic doctrine.

Haley Pelly-Waldman suffers from celiac sprue disease and cannot eat wheat, rye, oats, barley or malt, so when it came time for her to take the sacrament for the first time, her mother Liz asked her priest to allow Haley to eat bread made without gluten, which is a component of wheat.

The priest at St. Denis Catholic Church in Manasquan, a town on the Jersey shore refused, and Pelly-Waldman declined the alternatives offered by the church, namely a sip of wine or a grape substitute.

Pelly-Waldman found a priest who would serve Haley a gluten-free wafer.

But last month the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, stepped in and declared that the Communion was invalid because of the substitute wafer.

Bushisms Spreading?

From the New York Times today:

In spite of the poll results, President Bush remains upbeat about his Iraq policy, Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said today.

“The president is confident about the direction we’re headed,” he said, though he acknowledged that the Iraq campaign is “at a critical stage.” He said that success there would mean “a decisive blow to the war on terrorism.”

(Italics mine) Shouldn’t the decisive blow be to terrorism, not to the war on terrorism?

Life on Two Wheels

Been riding my motorcycle quite a bit this weekend–a couple of hundred miles between Saturday and Sunday. God, what an embarassment of riches we have here in Northern California. Saturday consisted of 140 miles, mostly on quiet, beautiful, winding roads…over mountains, across valleys, through forests, by vineyards. Narrow, tight roads; fast, sweeping corners; straight shots through open vistas. Today was more of the same, punctuated by the most gorgeous view of Napa valley on the most gorgeous day imaginable, whilst riding down a gorgeously flowing section of a perfectly-paved road. All this and so much more to be seen within a 50 mile radius of my front door.

How do so many people stand to not live here?

Looked at this story (thanks to Doc), and the concept is giving me a touch of the heebie-jeebies.

Getting rid of Spam, making the ‘Net more secure for all…noble goals, right? But didn’t somebody once say something about an inverse relationship between security and freedom?

Sure, the current system of sovereign fiefdoms on the ‘Net leaves us more open to the dangers of Mongols at the city gates, but infrastructure to increase security gives too easy an opportunity for oligarchic rule.

In these unsettling days of the Patriot Act, the last thing I want to see is a move toward decreased freedom on the web. I’ll gladly take the alternative of 50 offers a day for enlarged genitalia, home loans, and dirty college girls.

Half-finished, Half-assed ideas about ‘Consciousness Expansion’

Now here’s a topic with which I have little practical experience. Perhaps I should get the opinion of RageBoy, who has…some familiarity with the subject.

The concept of ‘consciousness expansion’ via hallucination has been practiced across cultures and across times. Catalysts have included chemicals, hunger, sleep deprivation, and more, I’m sure. Two concrete examples I can think of are the Native American practice of ‘Vision Quest’ and the LSD counterculture in America in the 1960s. I thought I remembered hallucinitory elements to the Australian Aboriginal ‘Walkabout’ practice, but quick Googling did not turn up such. I am certain that similar practices abound in other cultures throughout history.

What is of import to me is the nature of these experiences. All of my information is secondhand, so, please, correct me if I have it all wrong. It would appear that within cultural groups there are many similarities of experience, but these similarities do not frequently cross cultural boundaries. From users of LSD I hear much talk about ‘seeing sound’ and ‘understanding color’ and paranoic images of creatures on the prowl. Vision quest imagery, on the other hand, seems to be imbued with sprit creatures who guide you through your life.

And so I am wondering…to what can we attribute these differences? The possibilities I see include: culture in which the subject exists, expectations of the experience based on tales from others who have been there, peculiar effects of the cause of the hallucination, Jungian archetypes that are represented in differing ways…I’m sure there are more.

What got me thinking about this is the implication that some new aspect is brought into your everyday life after one of these experiences. And I don’t doubt this to be the case…just makes me wonder: from where does it come?

The obvious answer, to me, is out of the subconscious or unconscious, out of a part of the mind that exists and has been fermenting and growing over the course of a life or a civilization. Atheism and the mind of an engineer keep me from believing any supernatural alternative; there is certainly enough buried in the mind without that.

So how different would the experience be for two people of the same time and place but of vastly different backgrounds? Sheltered versus experienced? Conservative versus liberal? Intelligent versus stupid? It seems like anything that comes up from below must have been seeded down there at some point. There might be something to hardwired archetypal images, but specific knowledge would seem to be overwhelmingly imporatant.

How much does background play into it? Are expectations or current situation the real key?

My life has fallen into a routine. Get to work, get some coffee, start in on the tasks of the day. Timeshare this with a bit of commentary on the current state of the world. Regularly Mark Morford, or Sandhill Trek, or occasionally the mass-market spin from CNN. Then I get really pissed off. Start thinking fight-or-flight. Do I devote my life to exposing and changing the world? Do I run off to Hawai`i or Australia and bury my head in the sand? So far, neither…just stick around to go through the same dilemma tomorrow.