Just Another Blog
Friday, June 22, 2007
For the first time in about 18 months, it is once again legal for me to drive. Now if I only had somewhere to go.
Ha! Crayons for emos. Man, why didn't they have these when I was in high school writing utterly bad poerty? They should probably but two reds in the box.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Privacy Is Dead
Privacy is already dead in the UK. I guess I have mixed feeling about this. I hate state power in nearly all its forms, but I have the better part of my life posted online. You'd need no special surveillance tactics to capture my every move. My windows are open, and I walk about completely exposed. Perhaps I still feel comfortable doing so because surveillance here doesn't feel like it has become quite so pervasive. Of course, it's possible that the real difference between the US and UK is merely the visibility and acknowledged coordination of the surveillance systems. In the UK, cameras and microphones are everywhere; everyone sees them; everyone knows who is watching and listening. In the US, the cameras appear to be the property of private industry; people assume that $11/hour rentacops are passively monitioring the cameras. Behind the scenes, AT&T works with the NSA, TSA, and CIA to monitor every email, every file transmission, every blog post, and every porno download; no one sees it happening though, so no one but the EFF seems to care. A few highlights from the above article:
The Terrorism Act of 2000 allowed 35,000 people to be stopped in 2005. None of them were terrorists. Nearly 100 people a day enjoyed the intrusion of the government into their private lives.
UK has 20% of the world's cameras trained on 0.2% of the world's population.
"The Government has told us that we must lay down our freedoms for our lives. Perhaps it has forgotten the millions of people from past generations who have laid down their lives for our freedom. I think we owe it to those people to turn this tide."
Monday, June 11, 2007
In Order, Out of Context, Mis-quoted
From this article on loners:
She just strongly prefers not to socialize.
She does have good, close friends.
But afterward feels a strong need to "hide and recoup."
In our society, loners are pegged as creepy or pathetic.
But soloists can function just fine in the world; they simply prefer traveling through their own interior universe.
Loners tend to focus more on their own ideas and on stimuli that don't register in the minds of others.
Social engagement drains them.
Some people simply have a low need for affiliation.
Opted out of a career as a lawyer because he didn't feel socially on-the-ball enough for the job's daily demands.
Has a small circle of friends, but prefers to dine solo.
Few studies have shown a correlation between creativity, originality, and introversion, perhaps more striking is the greater enjoyment introverts seem to reap from creative endeavors.
Socially withdrawn people have increased sensitivity to emotional interactions and sensory cues.
They find pleasure where others do not.
During social situations, the brains of loners experience lively blood flow, indicating overstimulation.
The content introverts' camp closely borders the land of the socially anxious.
She grew much more confident in her 20s.
Those who remain "enforced loners" long to spend time with people, but shyness and anxiety inhibit them from doing so.
Loners have several stress-inducing strikes against them.
Loners are also less likely to seek out social support.
You get the gist.
No Means No
I don't usually go in for 7-minute songs; this one's an exception. I have little doubt that my interest in bands like the Dandy Warhols stems from my earlier appreciation of guys like No Means No. You definitely hear the influence here.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
I'm a Bear
Not in the homosexual kind of way, though as a burly, hairy fellow, I'm sure I could have great success in that community should I ever have a dramatic change of lifestyle and significant loosening of my sphincter, but rather in a market-outlook kind of way. Of course my pessimism has been pervasive throughout a long bull market giving me absolutely no credibility on the subject especially when I'm pretty much the pessimist about all aspects of life, but I'm not ready to change my mind yet. Here's an article reminding us that things are worse than they appear - or worse than they are being reported any how. "A multitude of risks is being mispriced in the capital markets."
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
I Wanna Know
I've been listening to the Icicles album a bunch lately. Maybe not happy, but harmonic. This song speaks to my insecurities while being completely unrelated to any currently relevant situation in my life, and it does so while being ridiculously poppy.
Afghanistan has been the battlefield for proxy wars for centuries now. It doesn't bode well for our presence that the invaders are almost consistently repelled. Iran, allegedly, just broke the cardinal rule of proxy battling: don't leave a paper trail. I think I've recommended Charlie Wilson's War previously; it's the behind-the-scenes story of how we drove the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. The parallels to recent events are numerous. If you like spy novels, you'll love this real-life tale of cold-war conniving. It's good and relevant history, too. I was still in the single digits in the late '70s, so I was aware of a situation in Afghanistan from Walter Cronkite's evening newscast, but I certainly didn't appreciate the geo-political implications of the events. Not to by any means imply that I now thoroughly do understand them. Heck, you could probably get three PhD's arguing causes and effects three different ways.
Here's a story from today's paper on my impending, possible job loss. At a loss of 500 - 600 jobs, it'll be one of the biggest layoffs in Denver in some time. I think I was part of another biggest-layoff-in-some-time back in oh-two. Here's the original press release on the sale.
I'm nearly as worried about keeping my job as I am about losing it. I do admit that I find the idea of working in a company with 300-350 employees, where I might wield real influence in terms of how operations run, to be very appealing. However, if it turns out that they want me to be just an administrative monkey, then I think I might be better with the severance and subsequent unemployment.
There are retention bonuses in place to keep most of us around until the sale completes, and I am cautiously optimistic that my bonus, net of taxes, would be just enough to pay off my credit card debts. I will certainly be at the company long enough to get that check. The possibility of getting the debt monkey off my back is deeply appealing. I feel like if the only debt I owe is my mortgage, where my equity now exceeds my debt by a factor of about 3 to 1, I'll be in real good shape to pick up and move or go back to school or drop out or head off to the islands or head to NYC for my booze-induced demise or learn to cook or even just continue on in my current type of job while saving money before spending it.
Until the end comes, I'll likely be busy at work which may or may not be a good change. No one seems to know how the transition is actually going to work yet even though we're already two weeks into the process. I'm looking forward to Friday's happy hour to hear the gossip and griping from other departments while I try to network the pants off of some co-workers.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Cool "picture" that you can go deeper with. Just keep on zooming in. Remember where you started. Definitely better once you have your buzz on.
Gimmie a Banana
Article is worthless but for its use of this quote, "Millions and millions of exuberant monkeys ... are creating an endless digital forest of mediocrity."
Beauty and Lies
One of the world's most beautiful women, Gisele, graciously tells the meddling Pope to shove it. It's nice to see someone of some acclaim stand-up and say, "Don't listen to the church," after the much ballyhooed propagandizing tour by the holy potato.