Thursday, March 05, 2009


I just bought a pair of Z1 chacos. I've drunk the REI cool-aid a long time ago, but I guess this just seals the deal. As subjesus points out, I've basically done every outdoor thing that REI sells junk for. (except paddling...but whatever)

Generic blogs are mostly just for introspection and narcissism so, I just thought it was interesting that I've jumped on the REI bandwagon, but haven't drank the Apple store cool-aid. Both companies make products for (comparatively) rich people with discretionary (disposable) income. If I take out the factors of cost, quality of products, corporate ethos, etc from these two companies, what I end up with is brand identity--as apple has pointed out quite overtly.

Well, for good, bad, or ugly, as a consumer-based identity attribute, I'm fine with being an REI-person and trepidacious of being a Apple-person.

I'm also fine with being an Ubuntu-person. ... which is the opposite of consumerism cometothinkofit.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

From the Inside of the Loop

I may not have a lot of things... but now I've got venue.

I could walk to a jazz club. I am surrounded by trees that are older than my parents.

I had a telling experience this morning that I'm not in the "suburbs" anymore. I went to the cleaners for the first time down here. So I just turned into the first place I saw in the lakewood shopping strip. I rolled in and plopped down my shirts and saw an elderly gentleman at a desk, but a middle-aged woman approached me and asked my name and starch preference and proceeded to WRITE IT DOWN on a slip of paper.

It's like I've gone back in time! At my cleaners I used to go to in the Suburb, it was brand new, it had a drive through, it was enviro-friendly, they had a fancy database hooked up to new dell computers with flat screens and a young chinese owner who gave me a receipt from the database for pickup with my name, reference tracking number, estimated pickup time, and even my starch history clearly printed on it.

I have to admit, things are different down here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

"You've got to... Accentuate the Positive..."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Save the Hubble!

Well, the hubble might just get saved after all.

Apparently, since the Columbia disaster, the Hubble's repair mission using a space shuttle was cut and put back a couple of times. If I recall correctly, one of those times, the hubble was written off by the congress to make way for Bush's Grand Debacle of putting men on Mars. Don't get me wrong, it would be cool to put men on mars... but that's just it -- that IS the reason why W. wants to put men on mars: because it's cool and he want's so badly to have a legacy like Kennedy's "man on the moon." We aren't up against some cold war space race and it isn't like we can't send robots to do science for us on mars (the rover is still at it).

But I believe that if we, as a nation, are serious about the future of human spaceflight and exploration, we need to develop it organically by finding real economic motivators in the private sector such as the start of space tourism.

In my mind, it is ridiculous to spend billions of dollars to send people there just so we can pad the pockets of more aerospace contractors (admittedly, we would gain some new technologies as a byproduct, i.e. Tang) and to give little kids warm fuzzies to get them to do their math homework. And it is especially ridiculous when the entire science community was screaming bloody murder when congress couldn't spare a measly 1 billion to fix the hubble (and I believe that half of that would pay for just the shuttle trip itself).

So I was extremely elated to hear today that the political winds changed direction and blew the right way again. The hubble is delivering Real science... not just pretty pictures. It is peering back into time and space and quite literally unlocking the secrets of the universe. Two factoids from the website:

- Astronomers have published more than 6,300 scientific papers on Hubble results.
- In Hubble's 16-year lifetime, about 4,000 astronomers from all over the world have used the telescope to probe the universe.

Now, if the fixup is successful, it might remain in service until it's next-generation replacement comes online in 2013 where it will be able to look back further into the beginning of the universe and of time itself.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

jibba jabba

Studio 60, yeah, pretty good... new Lost, highly entertaining...

but the best new show on television? now you'd have to be a fool not to figure that one out.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Impending Doom

Over the past year, the highbrow media and now the mainstream media has seemed to jump on the global warming bandwagon. It's been several months since I saw Al Gore's movie, but I think it has made a lasting psychological impact on me. It doesn't mean the end of the human race, but it does mean irreversible man-made change to the ecosystem that has, so far, made life on this planet "relatively" easy.

I've mentioned before that Al Gore is America's lovable loser. But now he's established/regained a spin of credibility with his film-- at least among us wealthy, privileged gen-exers. My parents, of the middle-class baby-boomer generation, still don't trust Al Gore and dismiss him outright. They still don't believe that global warming is happening and that wide-spread, catastrophic climate change will occur. Either way, I guess it probably won't really get bad for us earthlings until after the "Greatest Generation" (of consumers) has gone on over to the other side anyway.

But global catastrophe is nothing new to my parents generation. They grew up with "duck and cover" and the cuban missle crisis and the USSR. I have heard my parents reminiscing that before they had me and my brother, they thought that it would be cruel to bring children into this world because they would have to face a nuclear holocaust in their lifetime. Well, I'm happy to say that they took the chance and had us anyway, but who's to say that our civilization still won't blow ourselves up? It it still a possibility, but now there is a new doom for our children even worse than communism or terrism. Currently, I am by no means in the position to propagate myself, but I can't help but think of all of the impending economic and climatalogical burdens a child of mine would have to face in this century.

Public will is changing -- even Pat Robertson has said that he's a convert on global warming and that "we really need to do something on fossil fuels." At any rate, I would hate to think that Pat is more forward-thinking "on fossil fuels" than I am, so I should take steps of personal accountability such as changing to Green Mountain, minimizing power use of equipment at work and at home, starting to recycle again, and becoming more mindful of my driving habits.

But I personally don't think that as a global civilization we will be able to change fast enough to prevent things in my lifetime like the sea level rising, permanent localized droughts, worse tropical storms, accelerated species extinction rates and other equally bad things. Honestly though, I really don't have a clue what is going to happen.

Cue the obligatory:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Is Billy becoming Emergent?

promoting a message of God's love... leaving space for the mystery of God's will... distancing himself from purely political issues of the Religious Right.

And I doubt that it is just the old age talking. For a mega-public christian spokesman, this guy definitely has a rare integrity and an uniquely elevated perspective...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Twenty Years Later

The Chernobyl disaster has always intrigued me for some reason. I guess its something about the unseen power of radiation and our inability to "fix" it or make it go away. It seems like when we build these power plants, we are really just kids playing with fire -- somebody will eventually get burned.

I recently learned that my cousin (who I haven't seen in over 15 years) has spent the last 13 years cleaning up a site from nuclear waste used to build bombs. The site is now finally "clean" and he is out of a job, but he made it. He told me of a couple of situations where he had some pretty close calls. He told me of the time where his backhoe was slowly surrounded and immersed by a slurry of nuclear waste... he was just barely able to climb on top of the backhoe and jump out of the pit before bathing in the stuff. I don't know how much "hazard pay" he got, but I'm sure it wasn't worth it in my opinion.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sign of the Times, or, I Smell a ...

Think your office is bad? Last week, at my office they caught another rat on our floor. That's right, they've now caught TWO huge rats on our 2nd floor of cubeville.

The first rat was a bit of a dare-devil. He actually had the nerve to go running around between cubes, in plain sight, on a Thursday afternoon. He ran through my neighbor's cube and then sat in a crack inbetween a cube wall and some filing cabinets. That's when I was able to shine a light and see his beady little eyes. Big sucker... 'bout 8 inches long, not counting the tail. Needless to say, we called the "physical plant" and they set out traps.

Everyday, when I go to get my morning coffee, I am reminded by their presence by seeing a huge trap, baited with creamy peanut butter, under the sink.

No one escapes downsizing at our office. Last month, there was one person that got layed off on our floor, but 'the man' also got rid of all living plants in the building (besides personal cubicle plants) ... because of downsizing. Thankfully, I doubt if they will take away our free coffee again on account of the Total Media Havoc that ensued when Bernie took it away 4 years ago. (It made one of the top 5 dumbest things on wall street) However, there are rumors of more layoffs in june.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

"Sometimes I think the reason we don't like certain people is because we feel insecure around them. We like to chalk it up to political or philosophical difference, maybe, but the truth is, if we are honest, we are drawn to those who validate us and affirm us, and we resist those who don't."