Wednesday, April 30, 2008

HIppies Mourn

Albert Hofmann, father of LSD, has ended his long strange acid trip called life.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dude, I Got a Dell!

I broke down and bought a new laptop today. I'm still learning the ins and outs of Vista, but overall it's not as bad as people have said.

The laptop came with a lot of extra crap that needed to be removed, but I expected that up front. The laptop is much faster than my eight-plus year old Dell desktop, and I look forward to several happy years with my new toy.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Looking Back

When it comes to my life, I try to strike a balance of looking forward without forgetting the lessons of the past. This philosophy naturally extends to my blog, and my writing in general.

In the interest of preserving the spirit of my old blog, I've been re-reading my older posts... editing material that would make me readily identifiable and deleting a few posts that are truly irrelevant. Sometimes a post will bring back something that I hadn't thought of for a while -- or even forgotten, and occasionally I find a nugget of wisdom that's more applicable now than it was when I wrote it. Here's one such post.

If You Say Something Enough, It's Bound to Become True

Our idiot-in-chief refuses to say recession. He graciously acknowledges that our economy's growth is slowing, and he concedes that some Americans are having a difficult time, but he won't say recession. Home sales and values are dropping, manufacturing is falling off, and the cost of food and fuel are skyrocketing while wages seem to remain stagnant.

A larger percentage of money being spent on food and fuel by necessity leaves a smaller percentage for discretionary spending. This means that people will be spending less on goods and services outside of the basic necessities, which means that employers lay off their staff, completing a self-perpetuating cycle. Yet the president won't say recession.

He's bumped up the date that those rebate checks are supposed to go out, claiming that they're going to help our economy. It helped after 9/11, but I firmly believe there will be no benefit this time. Americans are too personally aware how screwed up things are right now, and I believe that the majority will not buy discretionary items... they're going to buy extra food and fuel, and pay off existing debts. When they buy fuel, most of the money will end up in Arab pockets, so that dollar will only be spent once in America. Buying food will be good, as long as it's domestic food. Paying off debt will be good, but it won't stimulate the economy.

Despite what the prez says, we're in a recession folks. In fact, I'm going to predict that we experience a few years of stagflation. Just saying something repeatedly doesn't make it happen.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Perfect Job?

I was offered a part-time computer geek job today (which I've accepted). This will allow me the flexibility to remain a stay-at-home dad, the opportunity to work primarily from home and still help me keep my skills sharp and bring in a paycheck... thus allowing me to remove my skirt and put my pants back on.

In fact, this will let me gain some new skills. My history has been exclusively working on enterprise-level networks. This opportunity will give me a chance to sharpen my skills in a small business environment. I'm not considering this a panacea; I'm taking a wait and see attitude. Either way though, it's the start of a new experience. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Riding

With the weather warming up and a little extra time on my hands, I've been taking advantage and putting a few extra miles on my motorcycle. In the last week or so, I've logged almost three hundred miles. I would do more, but part of my job is being available to shuttle the kids to and/or from school as needed, and it's to do that if I'm halfway across the state.

Monday, April 21, 2008

More Art

I've tossed out a couple of new paintings during the last week. I'm still new to this visual art thing, so I'm still learning techniques, and I'm still in the process of figuring out my own style.

This painting -- obviously an abstract -- was really an experiment in different techniques. I wanted to do something in earth tones, and I also wanted to experiment with different mediums. This was done almost exclusively without a brush... the only area that has brush strokes is the upper left section, where the green and rust highlights were added with light, fast, long sweeping brush strokes. The lower right section, has accent colors that were added with a bamboo skewer. Everything else was done with a putty knife and/or my fingers.

The upper left section reminds me of the sky, and the lower right section calls images of rain. The green and rust corners are simply abstract applications of color and texture.

This painting was done with my friend G-man in mind. He's building a boat (with a little bit of help from me), and I thought that this painting might give him a little bit of motivation. I hope that he likes this painting enough to put it in the cabin of his boat once it's finished, but that's my dream. What he actually does with it is up to him... after all, it's a gift.

I'd love to know what you think of these paintings.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ready For Work

I've been at home for a little over two months now, and I've got to admit that I'm ready to go back to work. This has a little bit to do with money, and a little bit with keeping myself occupied. Yes, they're inter-related. If I had more money, I could do more to keep myself occupied around the house, and I wouldn't be so itchy to go back to work.

I seem to have a case of insomnia this morning, which is something that almost never happens to me. I got up at about 4:00 AM to use the facilities and wasn't able to get back to sleep. After tossing and turning in bed for an hour or so, I decided to get up and start my morning -- about two hours early. I figured what the hell... I'm not getting back to sleep and if I'm tired later, I can take a nap.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


There are a couple of people -- you know who you are -- who missed my updates at the old site, and immediately noticed when I stopped posting and clamped down the readership. It's good to know that I have anonymous readers, whom I've never met, yet still consider me friends.

Welcome, folks. Take a look around the new digs. It's kind of like watching someone build a house, isn't it? Well, when I get done, this new home will look very similar to my old one. In fact, I'm bringing a lot of the old lumber.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Can't Help It

As I begin dismantling my old blog, I'm finding a couple of things that I didn't consider up front. I never thought about losing the comments from my old posts, and I think I've seriously underestimated the amount of time and effort required to move my posts. Losing the comments isn't a problem, it's simply something I hadn't contemplated while determining how to go about moving.

The migration of the posts though, is a bit more daunting. I'm pulled in several different directions... part of me wants to leave my older writing completely unedited, a pristine snapshot of a time long passed, but I can't do that. I have too much personally identifiable information in these unedited blog entries, so I must change some of them. And I find that as I change or remove names and dates, that I can't help but do further editing. It's like Photoshopping an old picture.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Brick by Brick

I've made my decision. Over the next several days, weeks or months, I am going to slowly and deliberately dismantle my old blog. Since it is a blog though, and not a building, I can start at the foundation. Consequently, those who casually observe the structure will never notice the creeping annihilation of that which I spent so many years constructing, and am now so carefully migrating to a new secret location. They will overlook the bedrock until one day, out of the blue, the entire mass will no longer exist.

But like the London Bridge, I will rebuild in a new location -- this one. If everything goes as I plan, they will be watching, but at a critical moment, they will turn their backs... and when they once again look at my blog -- which at that point has ceased to be -- they will simply wonder... "What the fuck? Where did it go."

Another Chance

Every blog has a reason. Every blogger has a history. Believe it or not, my reason and my history are both relatively mundane. I started blogging several years ago, for no particular purpose. I don't know, maybe I was bored... it could be that I naively believed blogging would bring me fame and fortune... it's conceivable that I was lonely and saw blogging as a way to reach out. Whatever originally compelled me to blog, that reason is now long gone. Over the years, blogging has become a reason in itself.

I've long considered myself a pretty good writer, but I didn't write that much. I believe that I'm an opinionated person, but realize that most people don't care what I think. I found that I could use the Internet to voice my position, to create, to vent, and to share, but I still primarily wrote for myself.

I was excited about my newfound hobby, and I told friends, family and co-workers about my blog. When I was particularly proud of a post I wrote, I'd email those close to me and say "Hey, check this out. It's pretty funny (or witty, or scathing, or whatever)." In retrospect, I should have used a little more foresight and discretion. My wife, friends, neighbors and co-workers all began reading my words with alarming regularity. Over time, I found myself unable to write about certain aspects of my life.

Eventually, a cyberstalking former co-worker brought about my decision to move from my original blog to this one. This guy disliked me enough to stab me in the back repeatedly at work, and ultimately, I resigned from my job. Despite my departure, he still checks my blog daily, both from work and from his home. I don't know why he keeps watching my blog... maybe he's looking for his name to appear somewhere... maybe he wants to see if I'm suffering. I don't know. Either way though, I'm not going to give him that satisfaction, and he's the final straw that's motivating me to disentangle my real life from my blogging life; I'm still determining to what extent I will allow them to mingle in the future.

I'm also undecided on what to do with my old blog. Should I simply leave everything from my old blog behind and start here anew? Should I delete everything from my old blog? Should I move everything here (making sure to re-write aspects that would help my stalker in tracking me down)? Should I bring over a few of my favorite posts? I just don't know yet.

I've got over 600 posts, spanning three years at my old blog. Some of it is absolute crap. Some of it is really cool and I don't want to lose it. But I really don't want my cyberstalker finding me at my new home. Like joining the witness protection program, or moving to a new city, I've got mixed emotions about being here. Part of me is wistful about leaving my old life behind, but an equal piece is excited that I can start over. I can leave behind parts of me that I want to ditch, and I can create a whole new me. Either way though, I will be true to myself. I will remain anonymous, but I cannot deny who I am.

This blog is named in honor of this disentanglement and my new beginning.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Not So Smart After All

Some of life's lessons come a little harder than others...

During my childhood, I was often praised for my intelligence. If I had a penny for every time I heard “You’re so smart,” I wouldn’t exactly be a millionaire, but I wouldn’t be a penniless writer either. (Come on, do the math… that would mean I’d have heard the aforementioned phrase 100 million times, which equates to about once every six seconds for eighteen years)

As I matured, I realized I was a little smarter than your average bear, but I also recognized that there was more to life than book smarts. Consequently, I didn’t study hard and earn straight A’s, but I did spend a lot of time playing, making friends and experiencing what life has to offer. I tried to keep a good balance between learning and having fun, and in retrospect I believe that I did a pretty good job. I became a well-rounded human being.

There was one lesson, however, that took a long time to sink in. In fact, it’s a lesson that I’m still learning. You see, I’ve always been a trusting person by nature, believing that people are basically good (with a few exceptions, of course). Granted, I’ve never been taken in by a Nigerian money scam, and I’ve always been astute enough to grasp the few times that my life or well-being were in danger, but I must admit that my belief in the basic goodness of humanity has left me a little gullible at times.

The trust I’ve had in mankind has simultaneously been one of my greatest attributes and my Achilles’ heel. My confidence in humanity has allowed me to be an open and forthright person, based on the belief that my honesty would be reciprocated. For much of my life, this faith was confirmed, allowing me to blindly suppose that my sentiment was correct. In fact, I made it into my 30’s before I really began to question my conviction regarding man’s basic decency. On the rare occasion that my understanding was called into question, I simply fell into cognitive dissonance, and in the worst cases wrote them off as bad.

During the last decade though, I’ve run into an increasing number of co-workers, acquaintance, friends and even loved ones who seem to have gone out of their way to shatter my illusion of society’s basic goodness. And as I look back on some of the biggest betrayals, I realize that I really should have seen it coming.

My illusion allowed me to lead a very happy life for over three decades, but it has also left me open to immense pain, brought on because I took the betrayal of trust very personally. To make matters worse, my forgiving nature allowed me to be hurt repeatedly by the same individuals before eventually writing them off as a bad person. Now, after almost forty years of life experience, I have begun to truly understand that my perception has been unnecessarily black and white, and I need to replace my faith in humanity’s altruism with a more accurate philosophy.

As I consider this radical perception change, I also realize that I don’t want to replace my inaccurate belief with bitterness. I don’t want to build emotional barriers that impede my existing relationships and preclude the possibility of future friendships. Though I can no longer trust people to the same extent as before, I do not want to become the cynic that refuses to look at the beauty that God has provided us.

With that said, I think I’ve come up with a workable theory that accurately supersedes my belief in the benevolence of man without completely negating it. We are neither innately good nor bad, we’re simply self-serving. We do what we do in order to preserve or advance our own well-being. This accounts for virtually all of our collective behavior… the good… the bad… even the seemingly contradictory behavior shown within a given individual.

This premise seems to explain everything when it comes to our actions. The criminal? Well, he steals, murders, or whatever because he’s acting in his own perceived self-interest. The cheating wife? She’s unfaithful because sexual gratification or emotional fulfillment is more important to her than the sanctity of marriage. The minister? He’s forgiving because getting into heaven is more important than revenge on earth. The philanthropist? She donates time and money because she wants her name on a plaque for the next hundred years, or because it makes her happy, not specifically because it makes others feel a certain way. The vegetarian? He chooses to refrain from eating meat not because it makes the animal feel better, but because it makes him feel better. One person is a workaholic because money is important, and another works part time because family takes priority. I can’t think of a single instance where this theory doesn’t apply.

The more I look at this theory, the more I like it... and the more I think “Duh! Why didn’t I realize this before?” Maybe it’s because I’m not so smart after all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Page Break

Any post that appears before this one is something I wrote before creating this blog.