Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The 15 minute blog

Okay I've got 15 minutes before lunch, I'm not that busy and I wanted to write something. I've no idea where I'm going to go with this and sometimes that just seems to be the most fun time to write. Rambling can be fun. Rambling is kind of like that old time passion of a sunday afternoon drive. It's not where you went that was important, only how you got there. If you take the interstate highways and freeways you don't see anything. You don't feel anything. If you take the backroads and the by-ways, the business routes and the country lanes you actually get to experience the area. I guess what I'm saying is that the truest part of the trip is the journey itself.

The whole concept of truth, however, escapes me. Truth is personal. Truth is subjective. Truth is postulative. Truth is theory. In some of the discussions I have had I have discussed topics from religious dogma to simple faith. Regardless of the doctrine being discussed, all seem to have one commonality: the presence of a soul, a spirit or a life-force. Call it what you will, in order for any sort of religious doctrine to hold up to scrutiny the human being must have this undying energy. Does that make us unique among the rest of the animals on earth? Does that mean that we don't really die? I don't know. I am not making a unification theory that proves or disproves religion.

I know that some of you are thinking that I'm odd, my ideas don't follow a logical process, nor do my writings. If there is indeed a "truth" out there, it has to have spawned from a beginning. And this beginning, for most people, began at Genesis 1:1. For according to the abrahamic faiths, those words predate the universe. So therefore discussion of religion and truth is non-exclusive. Even scientists who believe in the "Big Bang" theory of universal origins don't know what caused the conflagration.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

The gems that we are

It's time for my Saturday posting. I've been thinking about alot of things to write about, most of them seem kind of banal and commonplace. I decided to write about something that seems to make perfect sense to me; how people are somewhat like precious gemstones. I'm not saying that people are cold, inanimate objects. I'm not saying that people are decorations to be worn and displayed. I'm not saying that people themselves are the gemstones, just that some aspects of a person are quite like some aspects of gemstones.

When you meet a person you see one side of that person usually. You may share a common interest or two with that person, but usually not much more. You see one facet of that person. You meet one facet of that person. Sometimes you are intrigued and want to learn much more about that person, you want to see the other facets of that person. Sometimes you see the flaw in that facet and you focus only upon that flaw. I have friends, or more appropriately acquaintances, that I only get to see one facet of their lives whether it be the work facet or the hockey facet or the music facet or the whatever facet. They too only get to see that one facet of my life.

But like a finely cut gem we all have more than just one facet. We cannot demand to see the rest of the gem, we cannot command it to show us the precision of the cuts, the perfection of the polished surfaces. We need but to turn the stone. We need but to seek the other sides of the story. We need to look further than the veneer and finish further into the stone to see what makes that stone unique.

In the human realm that is tantamount to asking questions and offering ourselves under the scope as well. So there is a large amount of trust involved in this process. Discovering the flaws in the gemstone lives of others gives us a chance for self-reflection upon the flaws and foibles in our own lives. But this process is also quite a liberating one for what could be more compelling to trust except the the freedom that one finds in exposing the truth and having it be accepted?

Life is a series of trusts, of friendships, a process of discovery of the world around us and also the world within us. Self-discovery is probably the most important part of this life. How can one expect to meet life-long friends, form relationships, and create partnerships without this very process? We are born an unfinished, uncut gem. The shape of the stone, the clarity, the color are added with each experience that we live through. Nietchze said "That which does not kill me makes me stronger." I believe this to be true, to an extent. That which we survive lends to us strength, that which we prevail over adds confidence to this strength.

As we learn of ourselves we can choose to concentrate upon the the positive aspects of our lives, or we can concentrate upon the flaws. I do not know why some people would concentrate upon the negatives that are within these gemstone lives, but some people obsess about the "badness" or the "wrongness" of their lives. I have a friend who continually wants to know why I am his friend. He sees within himself a worthlessness, a non-deserving person. I cannot understand this. He, at times, professes to hate everyone that surrounds him, even those of us who do love him. I wish I could enlighten him as to the positives in his life, that he is concentrating upon the flaw, not the gem.

I have other friends that I have had the opportunity to see the entirety of their facets. I have learned the whole of their gemstones. Looking at the whole person shows how the flaws or less than perfect parts add to the individualities of the gemstone-person. You can see the flaws for what they are: differences that should be celebrated. People don't fit into a mold. People aren't the product of cookie cutter technology, neither are gemstones.

A gemstone is usually hand cut, by a master who has had years of experience and can "feel" how the stone will react to a certain type of filing, or cutting or polishing. Unfortunately the masters that cut people's gemstone-personalities are sometimes inexperienced and allow the flaws to become more prominent that they should be. In fact, after a certain age, we become our own gem cutters. It is a travesty of sorts, but in other ways it lends us a certain credibility and gives us an awesome responsibility as well.

I guess that the point to this posting is that every day you have the opportunity to affect someone's day in either a positive or a negative manner. If you have a penny, leave one at the counter. If you need one, please take one. But don't take more than you give. Don't become so caught up in your own facets that you cannot see the flaws within yourself. We are all human, and we are all in this together.

Friday, August 27, 2004


Alot of the people I know realize that I "blog." Most of them don't have any idea what a blog is, nor do they understand the significance of what having a blog means to a blogger. Surely very few people will read our blogs, and even fewer will comment upon them. I don't think that a large audience is desirous. For me the weblog is a way to stay ahead of my madness. It is a way for me to communicate the internal questions that have plagued me for a long time, in hopes that someone can share some enlightenment upon them.

My blogging is out of purposelessness at times, staving off the rigors of industrial sized insanity and the feelings of helplessness that accompany them.

Anyways I'm at work so I'll talk to you all later.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Goals and assists

I've always wanted to write. I've found that I cannot, no matter how hard I try, write conversations that well. Perhaps it is because I am not a conversationalist at heart. I'm more of an orator or a lesson giver. I do not make good conversation. I don't get hints. I am horrible at making segues. Maybe one day I will learn the art of conversation. I've never understood the art of small talk. I tend to think that talking about mindless things is pointless and without meaning, so I generally don't do it.

My goal is to learn how to write conversations, so those of you that know me...please engage me in conversation and make me talk about insignificant things.

Just a quick update

For those of you that have followed my postings; I'm dogsitting again. Yep, Sophie is back and is still enriching my life. I've not gotten much sleep since friday, in fact last night I was awakened several times by all sorts of squeals, moans, snores (yes she snores,) and yips. The one vocabulary word that I've learned for sure sounds like "EEEE-OOOOOO-OWROOO" mean "I need attention now." It's hard figuring out what type of attention, sometimes it's "I want on the bed" sometimes it's "I need potty now" and sometimes it's "Why are you sleeping when I need to be social?" Between 9PM and 6:30AM we went out, got up, got down, ate, went potty, drank water and went outside to sniff about 10 times.

The cat is not standing her ground now, she's just being a scaredy cat and hiding. I try to spread my affection evenly, but then the dog begins her "EEEE-OW-AROO"-ing and it's all over.

Is this what it's like having kids? I've never parented but I'm sure that it's something somewhat close. Do parents have to split their affection at times? It's got to be confusing, troubling and somewhat painful to do.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Fascination Street

One thing that has fascinated me since I was a child watching Kung-Fu on television has been the Asian philosophy of life. I am fascinated by the culture. I am fascinated by their concepts and ideologies. The most intriguing to me is the concept of honor.

Our own westernized belief system portrays honor as a personal thing. A thing that is carried by one person. It could be a title, a name, a position or some other sort of status identifying marker. But what is honor really? Is honor in the way that you approach something or is it in the way that you perform some task?

What is it that makes men want to die for honor? Is this type of honor what we call the "glory" of war? Is it heroism? Perhaps fighting for one's beliefs is so important that dying for them is considered honorable. Is vengeance honorable? To avenge one's loved ones or one's fallen comrades? What makes a man willing to die by the very same sword that he carries? To die by the sword, whether it is one's own or one's enemies' is not folly in some cultures. I do understand this honor, for I have carried a weapon in the face of death. But I do not fully understand it.


We call judges "your Honor." We stand when they enter or leave the courtroom. In most cases we don't even talk to them. They are so far above us that we actually pay professionals to talk to them for us, at quite a large expense, I might add. Last week a judge resigned because he was caught masturbating while he listened to a case.


Perhaps the way of defining honor would be by defining what it is not, like defining light by saying that it is not dark. Or to define truth by saying that it is not a falsehood. So is honor the absence of shame? Is shame the opposite of honor? Perhaps. But possibly there is more to it than just shame.

Perhaps the absence of shame combined with pride is the equivalent of honor. Perhaps honor and pride are the same sword, wielded by the same swordsmith. If so, could we then substitute the word "honor" for the word "pride" in cliches? Does "honor" come before a fall? No, that doesn't seem at all appropriate, does it?

Perhaps dignity and honor carry the same meaning, in a western world. In an eastern world however, I don't think that dignity is the same. The only word that I can think of that carries my idea of the eastern concept of honor is the ancient Greek term Arete. Arete is a word that is indicative of perfection. Perfection in mind. Perfection in soul. Perfection in body. Arete. This word is beyond definition in English, as far as I know because it is too encompassing. It is a total of all things perfect and all things perfected. Maybe this is where true honor lies. Is it possibly that in all of our trevails, all of our modernizations, all of our idiosyncracies we have forgotten the true honor?

Do we have to revisit the ancient in order to find honor in ourselves? I think we do. I think that perhaps honor is a concept that is beyond typical definition due to it's inherent objectivity. I used to think that honor was depicted in one's actions and in one's dealings with others. But I am beginning to see that honor lies within the soul of the human being as well.

Is honor truth?

Honor is because humans exist. If humans did not exist would the concept of honor have ever been? Does that make honor a transitory concept? Does it make honor any less real? Does the non-existence of an entity negate the ideal of a concept? I don't know.

Perhaps you, my readers, have some sort of evidence that points out how honor has affected your lives.

What is it about believing in something so dearly that one is willing to die for it, one is willing to face certain death for a cause. What cause is so important that death is preferable than life without it? The only idea that I can think of is liberty. The reason for this is that individuality seems to me to be the only true ideal worth fighting for. I cannot say enough about the pursuit of individuality. We are all different and those differences should be embraced, not shunned. Those differences should be celebrated and exploited not hidden and shamed.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Why is it?

I'm wondering why some people can be incredibly cool in some situations and then total jackasses in others. What makes a person lose their temper, lose their control when confronted by challenging obstacles? I take challenges personally and I internalize them. I don't hold grudges. I do my best and if my best isn't good enough I keep doing my best until it is good enough.

I know I think too much. I know I generalize on these pages. I know that most of you have no idea what I'm talking about. I don't know why I don't name names and detail experiences like other bloggers do. I guess it's that the things I write about are generalizations of everyone's experiences, or at least I'd like to think that they are.

I was talking to a friend last night and he was concerned about sounding pretensious. Even though we were discussing pychological and philosophical issues in which pretensiousness is almost a prerequisite. I don't fault people for not wanting to seem pretensious, though at some point we all are somewhat pretensious. I want to let that friend know that our discussion was enlightening and interesting. His depth of analysis really astounded me. I can only hope that he continues in life as a free thinker.

I have another friend with whom I was chatting this morning. He did the typical friday night thing: went to a club, got drunk, took a female home and had sex. Usually I'd be pretty happy for the guy. But in this case he was stupid. He has some form of hepatitis, I'm not sure which one. Yet he didn't feel the need to communicate this to the female that he had sex with. She could not make an informed decision regarding her participation in the sex. Yeah, I have a huge problem with that. I equate what my friend did to taking a partner home, putting on a blindfold and randomly shooting a handgun around the room. The female has a chance of not getting sick, a chance of not beoming infected with this particular type of hepatitis, but also she has a chance of contracting this disease. Please people, if you are too drunk to have an open dialogue about your illnesses, don't have sex. There are too many people in this world that are the unwilling and unwitting recipients of diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS because of a partner that is too embarassed, too drunk or too self-centered to discuss their predicament.

I am continually surprised by the human body and it's limitations. Last night I played in a round-robin roller hockey tournament. There were three teams, each with six players and a goalie. My team played the first two games, had a game off and then played the final two games. That's right, four games in one evening. The first game we won. I'm not sure how we won the game because the team we played against had alot of high-calibre players. They could shoot, pass and skate circles around us almost at will. The second game we lost, we just didn't have the energy to compete against the fresh legs of that team. We rested during the third game of the evening.

We played the fourth game and had a come from behind victory. The team was on fire. Everyone was skating, everyone was talking, everyone was back-checking. It was a thing of beauty to behold. I've never been so proud of a team as I was after that game. We were tired, we were sweaty, our legs were like jello and were were victorious. I could have cried. After the game when we were shaking hands with the other team, one of them decides to talk a bunch of smack to one of my teammates. It looked like it was getting serious, so I grabbed the guy from the other team and skated him away.

"Get the F*** off of me." He said.

"Back off." I said.

This went on for a few minutes, until he decided that backing off was a pretty wise thing to do. I let him go and nothing else happened. It felt good sticking up for my teammate (who is also one of my best friends) and though I know he could have handled the situation, I don't let people step up on any of my friends.

By this time we were dead tired. I guess exhaustion is a better name for what we were experiencing. I've been truly mentally and physically exhausted only a few times, most of which were in my Marine Corps days. I think that the everyone on the team was running close to the "E" after the third game. Two minutes of rest and the fourth game was on. This was the championship game, every thing was riding upon this one single, solitary game. We would win or lose based solely upon our performance in this last game.

They got a quick goal and deflated us early. We started chasing them and stopped playing our game. We were tired and made many mistakes, which they capitalized upon each and every time. We'd lose a faceoff and they'd score. We, or more appropriately I, would make a defensive coverage mistake and they'd score. I felt like crap. We stopped talking to each other in lieu of yelling. Instead of playing the patient passing game we started playing the "one man against the whole team" game. In real life hockey isn't like a video game, but when you're tired you make critical mistakes. With 7:37 left in the third I approached the face-off circle, mid-court. I started my Patton-esque speech. "There's seven thirty seven left in this game boys, you guys gonna live or are you gonna roll over and die?" I won the face-off back to my guy, he passed it across to the other D. Two guys chased him, he found me in the seam, I used their D as a screen and shot it high stick side. SCORE!!!!! I got back into the face-off circle. "There's seven minutes and seven seconds left in this game boys, do you wanna live or do you want to roll over and die?" I won it back to my guy. He couldn't find the opposite D, the other team was wise to what we were trying to do. We struggled for the next few minutes. I was the walking, skating and living dead. I went to the bench. I could barely lift my legs to climb in.

We lost the game. We came in second. Second out of three teams. I could sit here and complain about this or complain about that but the truth is that we were out of gas. We didn't have the energy to beat them. And they played a great game. I know they were tired too, but they really took it to us. My hat's off to everyone on my team: Jamie, Jan, Jason, Juan, Mike and Pat. You guys gave it your best. My hat's off to the winning team: Andrew, Chris, Chuck, Jay, Jono, Kevin and Tucker. You guys played a great game!

That's all for now I think.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Impulse control

I'm trying to combat some of my addictive behaviors now. I guess the major one is my addiction to tobacco. I've been using smokeless tobacco for about 16 years now. I know that I'm addicted. I've tried to stop on several occasions. It never seems to work. I don't know what else I can do to fight it. But I'm going to see if I can go a single day without using it. Who knows, maybe I'll win this time. Maybe I won't.

I wonder though, what is an impulse? Why do some of us have them and others live their lives free from them? Impulse. Does it control me? Why? What do I tell myself to justify following an impulse? How do I give myself permission to perform this self-destructive behavior? These are questions that I really need to answer as I go along.

I know that last night I was in a dark place. I don't apologize for what I've written, in fact I celebrate it. The words that I wrote were justified at the time and seem somewhat morbid but they were real, they were honest. The feelings were real. I don't know if I'm crazy or not, but I do know that sometimes I think I am. I don't feel in tune with the rest of the world. I see no need for "reality" tv programs.

I'm out of words for right now.

Monday, August 16, 2004

I've recently become re-acquainted with one of my oldest friends. Music. I've began playing again with some sense of urgency. I didn't realize how badly I missed this friend. I never seemed to exist without him in some shape or form yet I stopped playing my guitars. I stopped writing my music and my lyrics, never considering that they would call me back to them. I guess that the things in life that are important to someone never really leave, they always seem to resurface in some sort of way.

I think the inspiration for me to play again was from a friend. His drive and desire for music was a reflection of the same drives that I had years ago. I only wish that I had followed through with those drives and held fast to the aspirations that musicians often hold.

Welcome back into my life old friend. May we never be estranged again!

I've also been thinking alot of who I am and why I am that way. I watched the movie "Butterfly Effect" last night. The strange thing is that I had it figured out quite soon into the movie. I do that quite often. The movie made me think about life, my life in particular. Not necessarily what I would like to un-do, but more of what decisions and actions I have taken which have had a dubious effect upon others.

Life is an endless stream of connections; connections between people, places and things. How many of those connections have I botched? How many of those connections have I had a positive influence upon? I cannot answer that question very well. I cannot say that I've done nothing but good, for I know differently. Connections. Decisions. Interplay. Relationships. I am somewhat afraid to make those connections. I am somewhat fearful of what making those connections entails, what the consequences of those connections will be. I realize that this may seem like cowardice, but only because that is precisely what it is. If I could sever all the ties that I have made in my life, what would the ramifications be? Would those with whom I have established contact with be better off, or worse?

I am a fool for thinking of these things, I think but only because I shouldn't be worried about them, according to some of my friends. I cannot say that I would like the world to be a better place, because I don't know what a better place would be like. There has to be oppositism in this world to make it work. Without darkness we wouldn't know the light, without cold we wouldn't know warmth, without pain there would be no pleasure. Without the ocean we would never know the pleasure of the desert. So without war, we wouldn't know peace.

One of my other friends came back into my life. His name is insanity. I can feel him creeping up behind me. I can almost look over my shoulder and see his eyes staring at me. It's no use avoiding him, he travels whereever I go. He drops in at night while I am sleeping and reminds me that my mind has a will of it's own. My mind is sometimes a parisitic being, feeding upon my emotions and not letting me experience the things I want to experience. I feel my mind telling me to stay home, telling me that safety lies withing my comfort zone. I don't want this. But my mind has almost assumed control over everything that is my life. My brain wants me to engage in addictive behavior and dangerous behavior. I haven't had an honest belly laugh in years. I haven't felt true happiness since my childhood, and even then I'm not sure that I felt happiness.

I used to be comfortable in the spotlight. Now I don't even want my pictures taken. I eschew photographs. I want to be the ghost in the machine. I want to help others succeed, not succeed myself; not if it means the inquisitive eye of the spotlight, homing in upon my every imperfection. There are times I want to disappear. There are times I want to pound my head into the wall. I have often joked about teetering on that narrow line between sanity and insanity. What people don't realize is that I'm not really joking.

I see the world in many different ways. Every day I see the world of underlying form: The world that physicists see which has almost 100% space. The world where concepts and ideas aren't fully defined and cannot be defined. The world where I am an idea and the rest of the world is an idea as well.

Music has been one of the rocks that I have held to that make my life seem real and meaningful. I am glad that it has decided to visit me again.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Ramblings of an ineffectual nature

I don't know what I want to say today. I haven't slept that much in quite a while. It always happens when I read Pirsig, or when I think too much, or when I'm babysitting my parents dog.

You see Sophie, who is an older Pekingnese, has never been around cats. I have a cat, Wendy (affectionately called DoDo) who has never been around dogs. DoDo is eight, Sophie is thirteen. Sophie has very little hearing, one eye, she can't really see much with her good eye though, and she enjoys sleeping, eating, and whining. She has an assortment of whines, grunts, barks and yips that mean various things. I don't really know the language that well, but at least I know the alphabet at this point.

The cat and dog have an interesting relationship. The cat wishes that the dog didn't exist. The dog isn't sure whether she should be friends with the cat or constantly alert me to the fact that the cat is present, and is possibly a threat to my well being.

Last night the cat finally made her stand. Usually she slinks about, staying to the shadows and in the corners, or underneath the bed. Last night she decided to take her usual place on the bed, just next to the pillow on the right side of the bed. Sophie had no idea that DoDo was anywhere near, that is until DoDo decided to perform her usual nocturnal cleansing ritual. Even a dog with sight problems couldn't miss this performance. There's the cat, one rear leg pointed skywards, smacking and licking various parts of her anatomy, ostensibly to remove dirt from her fur, but I know that she's just showing off her flexibility. It's her way of saying to me "Look at me, my spine flexes both ways! And you think opposable thumbs make you better." Yes, my cat is smug.

I digress. So there's this tabby cat, lounging, stretching, cleaning herself on my bed. Sophie notices her and decides that the presence of this creature poses an immediate threat to my person. The growling, whining and yipping commence. Normally the cat would run, flee, hide. But not this time. She doesn't even blink. She continues her ritual, which apparently is too important to interrupt for the likes of a half-blind, mostly deaf senior citizen dog which couldn't jump onto the bed without the assistance of either a set of stairs or a human.

My cat has never held her ground for more than a millionth of a second before. Perhaps she's getting used to the dog. Perhaps she's just tired of the dog. Perhaps she's planning my assasination. Usually without provocation this cat will run and hide. She hides when someone knocks on my neighbors door. She hides when the barometric pressure drops. If I clap my hands she'll jump straight up about a foot. She is, in short, a coward. And yet the moment that she decides to make her stand is when there is a dog present. A semi-blind aged dog, but a dog nevertheless.

The entire night went like that. The cat standing her ground and the dog barking, yipping and growling. Yes it was peaceful, no I didn't get much sleep. Thankfully the dog will be going back to Mom's tonight.

I think the whole rigamarole about dogs and cats is very similar to our own problem with non-english speaking immigrants. It's all about communication. The only difference being that dogs and cats cannot really learn the other's language and use it to communicate their intentions. They can, however, if they are exposed early enough to it, learn the other one's language enough to know what certain postures and gestures mean. Perhaps this is something that humans can learn. I know that acceptance of differences can be taught at an early age, but it needs to be reinforced continually throughout the development of the child.

Maybe I'm just a dreamer.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Headaches suck

I get migraine headaches. They suck. For those of you that have never had a migraine headache, please let me try to describe the experience.

Sometimes you get a warning that you're about to have one. Sometimes it is an unexplained smell. Sometimes it is a cloudiness in one eye that just doesn't go away. Some people see "auras." I've never seen an "aura" so I have no idea what that is like. I usually get the cloudiness and the smell together. I can't describe the smell. I only know that when I smell it, I'd better be close to some Excedrin Migraine.

Okay, so what happens after the smell/cloudiness? I usually start to yawn alot. I'm not tired, I'm just yawning. Then I feel the pressure build in my left temple. It feels like a little gremlin is inside my brain pounding away with a spike hammer. My left eye begins to become sensitized to light. Everything begins to hurt. Thoughts hurt. Smells hurt. Light hurts. Pain hurts. The pain begins to intensify until it reaches a state where the pain is so bad that suicide seems like a winning option. By this time the pain is all that you can think about, all you expect and the one thing that you want to escape.

At some point in this process the rest of your body begins to revolt as well. Your bowels desire to turn loose, so does your stomach. Sometimes this happens simoultaneously. This doesn't offer relief, only more irritation as the smells, tastes and after-effects reach the rest of your senses.

There are various ways of dealing with migrainous pain, none of them are effective at all times. I've taken pills, suppositories, shots. I've used massage therapy, accu-pressure and mental visualization techniques. I've used herbal remedies as well. The only true way to defeat a migraine is through time. My time used to be about 14 hours. It's down to about 7 to 9 hours now. That's 7 to 9 hours of being almost completely incapacitated though.

That being said. I had a migraine last night.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Modern convenience equals mobile annoyance

It's not enough that our homes are filled with these hand held devices that "make our lives easier." No it's not enough. We don't have to leave our chairs to adjust the TV, turn on the stereo, shut off the ceiling fan or to do anything with our VCRs, or DVD players. I've even heard about remote controls for home computers. What the hell is that about? Doesn't anyone want to move anymore? Doesn't anyone want to experience life?

Remote controls for the television are nothing new however. In fact I think the concept of remote control for the television appeared shortly after the television was introduced. But of course the individual didn't "hold" the remote control, per se. The remote control was usually the closest child available to the parent watching TV. I fondly recall conversations that sounded alot like this: "Turn it to channel 9, now back to 7, put it on 5 for a second, no, back to 7. STOP FLIPPING IT, you're gonna break the dang thing. Turn it up! Will you turn that down a little? Use your head!"

Oh yeah, the original remote control was, most often, the youngest able bodied child in the room. Let's not forget those "wired" remotes that were pretty popular in the early 80's. The cord was never long enough or it was too long and tripped over quite often.

But that was the adventure in entertainment back then.

Now the "modern convenience" has become so prevalent that I'm not even sure we recognize how annoying it is. Cell phone conversations at the dinner table, at the grocery, on the highway. Beepers and those annoying "Nextel" sounds everywhere you go. What about the remote control key fob that almost everyone has for their automobile? How did people ever get along without being able to unlock their doors from 50 feet away? My truck doesn't have a remote. I use a key to unlock the door. Get over it people.

All these beeps and whistles aren't convenient; they are annoying. I don't want to hear you put a call on hold while you deign to talk to me, I don't want to hear your car horn "honk" next to me because you turned on the alarm. I don't want to hear your "nextel" or your pager or your panic button. You are the source, not the symptom.

Monday, August 09, 2004

The router saga (raiders of the lost blog)

I'm trying to recall all of what I wrote in the lost blog from last night. As I had spent 45 minutes on it, it was insightful, poignant and funny. I will try to recapture all of this as best as I can. This entry will probably be none of those. Life is like that, when you get two steps ahead you get knocked back at least one and a half steps, sometimes three. Here goes nothing. . .

My internet connection at home has become a bit of a burden, a worrisome, meddlesome, irritating, annoying burden. My roommate, as I had stated in an earlier post, purchased a router. Of course we are quite cheap people and we purchased the one with the largest rebate amount. I think it is a "linksys" or something like that. I'm sure it works fine. (NOT) So since one cannot have two cable modems we have a router now. (Does that make me the LAN administrator here?)

So we bring the router home and my roommate hands me the router. We run the cables, we hook the cables up, and we plug in the router and power it and the cable modem up. HEY! We have internet in both rooms. YAY! Not more than 15 minutes later the internet cuts out. Huh?!? We unplug and plug the power cords back in. We're back up. Ok, must have been some sort of a glitch.

I can't get the internet to work on a regular basis so I call my friendly assistance guy. His name is TJ and I think that he's beginning to hate me. Yeah, I know his name, he knows my name as well. He must dread seeing my account number come up on his screen. "Here comes that computer idiot again." Is what he has to be thinking every time we speak.

"Unplug the router."


"Unplug the cable modem."


"Turn your computer completely off."

Check (3 minutes later of course, I want to shut windows down properly.)

"Wait for 1 minute. Power up the cable modem. Now power up the router. Turn on your computer."

Check. Check. Check.

Pause for about 3 minutes while the little gerbils inside begin to run on their little wheel.

Okay the internet works now, I say goodbye to TJ and begin the process of checking out all of the required programs. Explorer works, AIM works, BearShare works. I'm back in business.

About 2 hours later, which is conveniently an hour after the help desk closes, the connection fails again. I perform the power down ritual once again. It comes back up. I'm happy. It crashes. I'm frustrated.

I call my IT friend. I interrupt his spades game and his latte drinking to explain my catastrophe. He asks me what the computer did when I installed the software. Software? There is software involved? I asked my roommate. Somewhere in his room there was a router box with an unopened installation cd. Ok, ok, ok. Eureka! Yippie-ki-yay motherf*ker!!!! It's a software problem. I install the software and continue onward and upward.

Everything works. Explorer works. AIM works. Even BearShare works.

I start entering a blog entry, 45 minutes later I hit the "publish" button.


Server not found? I hit the "back" button on the browser. White screen. I hit the "refresh" button. White screen. The little windows flag in the top right is waving like it's actually doing something. Yeah, it's freaking mocking me now.

The cursing begins. My roommate asks what's wrong. I tell him that for the rest of the evening, if he hears cursing that his best course of action is to laugh to himself and not approach me or my room. He agreed and I was able to continue my ranting and cursing. After about an hour of messing around with the connection, I was able to write my previous post.

I feel better now. But in the future, if any of my readership knows of any problems that I might encounter...please let me know. This learning by trial and error makes me a miserable son-of-a-gun.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

the router saga continues

I wrote another entry to this blog about an hour ago. I went to publish it and I lost my internet connection. I am still pissed because I spent 45 minutes writing and editing it. As it stands now this post won't be funny, it won't be much of anything at all. I am pissed, pissed, pissed I tell you. PISSED!

In fact this is all I am writing now.

Friday, August 06, 2004

adware sucks

I have been having quite an introduction to computing and internetting at home lately. I realize that there's alot of crap out there that is both invisible and harmful to my computer. Now, more than ever I see the need for a firewall and other mysterious utilities that I've never heard of before these last few days. My computer started out as this incredibly fast machine that downloaded web pages unbelievably fast, thanks to the cable modem. It started bogging down, taking more time to download mp3s and web pages. Heck some of my web pages wouldn't even pop up completely.

My friends said "Spyware!"

I said "Huh?"

I looked up "spyware" on the net. WOW! Some people are so intelligent that they have found a way to track where I go, what I do and when I do it. And they're not even anywhere near my room. I'm not sure that it's illegal, but it is a very orwellian concept. Big brother with a blue light sitting next to my desk.

I downloaded a bunch of different programs to combat this new evil. All of them say things like "free download." Right! Finally I called my ISP (oh yeah I learned a new word in the process,) and they recommended a specific program from their web site (free to me of course since I spend a cajillion dollars to have the internet at home.) I downloaded it, installed it and ran this program. (After rebooting of course.)

Apparently I have visited a multitude of sites that really want to know what kind of shopping I do. I had over 60 adware/spyware programs on my computer. 60! Sixty!!! That's like having 60 people looking over your shoulder at all times. I should either feel honored or frightened. I feel neither. I feel violated. I feel like my computer has been watching me while I watch it.

Scary technology, this spyware/adware. Scary programmers that feel like they have a right to invade your privacy. I'm not a big fan of those who would spy, those that would not just glance over your shoulder but those that would stare, logging your keystrokes, logging your every move to their own advantage.

I have a firewall now. And I have a spyware/adware catcher. If only computing was like life and you could just glare at the programs and say "What are you looking at?" it could all be simple. But that's not the way it is, is it?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Yet another free computer fiasco

Now I know I wrote about the free computer scam. But my roommate never read it. So he got a free computer from his work. I know my faithful readers are shaking their heads, so am I as I write this. Ok he brings it home and the mouse has this old square connector. It's only a one button mouse to begin with so I don't know what he's trying to accomplish. He didn't get a monitor, the computer didn't have a sound card and the OS was windows 98. So last night we get into my truck and go searching for computer stuff. We buy a cable modem, monitor (flat panel) a sound card, and a bunch of other stuff too. He walked out $500 poorer. We got home and hooked up everything. Then we find out that you can't have 2 cable modems in one house. (we're not computer ppl and noone told us.) So the guy at our service says..."go buy a router." That's what we did today, we bought a router (well he did) and hooked it up. Wireless or hard wired? Both actually. We have one that does both. We only have the wired hooked up now, but it seems like it's pretty fast.

I was afraid of losing bandwith but who knows what will happen.

Monday, August 02, 2004

I just noticed

I just noticed that there's a "recently published" list of blogs...I wanted to be on it so I'm putting the theoretical ink to paper right now, in hopes that I can make the next 10 minute window.

I'm wondering if any bloggers out there have any hints on how to increase my readership...do I just start leaving hyperlinks on the desk when I walk away from the table? Should I get business cards with my blog site on them? Or is forcing people to view my blog at gunpoint a better idea? I've no idea which is the best course of action. I've already used it in my email signature, and in most of my msg board signatures as well.

Oh well at least I'm published, even if noone reads the stupid thing. Enough for now, I don't want that window to close.

PS and for those who are interested, the A/C came back on Friday night, I've had it set at 60* since....mmmmm cold air is gooooood!

Sunday, August 01, 2004

The 4400

Anybody else watching this? I'm drawn to it and I can't explain why. The characters aren't all that endearing. And the acting isn't necessarily the best I've ever seen. I just don't know why I'm watching it. Maybe it's the promise of aliens. Maybe it's the human drama. Maybe I'm hoping that one day all those missing persons will come back and we'll see that everyone that ends up missing isn't necessarily a murder victim. I think that would restore some of my faith in humanity. And it would also be nice to realize that we're not the only ones out here having a go at it.