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Notes from my moleskine.

I haven't been writing much lately. I have ideas but they're not coming through as complete pieces to publish.

Maybe this is all they will ever be.

I was so sad I thought it was love.
But the pain in the soul is not longing.
Innocent of innocence.
Missing the God made missing cloth,
Lost within missing everything lost,
Diseased and at dis-ease,
I thought it was love but it was just,
All damnable, damnable reflection.

I was having a meeting with a fellow executive at the company I used to work for.

He said, "Here's my secret," because he thought I was admiring his managerial talent. "I tell people I'm clairvoyant."

I really didn't have anything to say to that because there was no telling if he was, or wasn't.

He said, "You know how when you're talking to someone, sooner or later you wind up saying exactly the same thing at the same time? Or you just get on the same idea train as someone else, and you're finishing each other's sentences? When that happens, just announce, 'Oh yeah, I'm clairvoyant.' You gotta be matter-of-fact about it to be convincing. Like, don't say it more than once. Then, every time it happens again with that person they're going to be thinking, 'this guy knows what I'm going to say.' They're not going to remember all the time that goes by where you're not finishing their sentences. They forget all that. They only remember when you sync up. You should try it. It keeps people off guard and gives you the upper hand. It's what politicians do."

I said, "That's why they deny having done something when it's clearly on camera somewhere and millions of people have seen it on TV."

He said, "People believe what they want irrespective of fact. The trick is getting them to want to believe what you tell them."

I said, "So, then, what do I do?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I can read minds."

He raised an eyebrow.

"Really," I said.

"What am I thinking now?"

I said, "You're thinking you need to get your Porsche cleaned when the guy comes around to detail cars in the company parking lot."

He sat up straight in his chair, rigid. Said, "How did you do that?"

"Lucky guess."

He smiled. Dropped his shoulders and slouched. "You can't really read minds."

"No, I can't. Except now you're thinking you need ten minutes to get to your next meeting and you don't want to be disrespectful and look at your watch while I'm talking."

"You're pretty good at that."

"Carnival trick. Anyone can do it."

"Yeah," he said.

I said, "Blue."

He looked at his watch, and stood up. I said, "You could learn to like it. It's just paint. Go with her color like she wants. Give it a few weeks. It will grow on you. Good color for a nursery."

"Stop," he said.

"And, no. Nobody knows."

"You don't know what you're talking about," he said. "You're just spouting bullshit."

"Right," I said, "I am."

"I'm going to go now," he said.

"I know." I smiled at him. "Thanks for the advice."

He squinted. I opened my mouth to say something, and then stopped myself.

He left my office.

They fired me a couple weeks after that. I never wanted to believe they would.

Internet Commerce

I'm spammed senseless,
Offered undeclinable bargains and free shipping on all humanly known quantities.
Suppose I always said, "yes."
Then having absolutely everything, clicking no more,
Free of sense and cents,
I'm unloading my bargains on eBay
Watching spammers buy everything in sight.

Half the lies I tell you are not true.
Glorious Fool : John Martyn

What people think about E2 -- What do people think of E2? Can people think of it?

Mathematically, it would be fair to say that most of the planet's six-billion-plus inhabitants haven't an E2 thought in their minds now, never did, never will.

Then there are those who have known it. Moved on. I don't know where they are, most of them.

There are lots of people in this life with whom I once interacted regularly, but now we're just dreams to each other, stories we tell people about the way things used to be back when they were that way.

E2 has been a consideration to me. For me. By me.

In a George Harrison way I want to say, "This too shall pass."

In the end, we were here in these days.

We were here, today.

I don't wanna know about evil; I only wanna know about love.
John Martyn

Yesterday I saw an old business colleague on CNBC news. We worked together fifteen years ago. He was talking about his company, which just did an IPO on the NASDAQ. He's the CEO. Far as I know, he was already pretty well off from his first IPO, which enabled him to buy a high class restaurant in Saratoga, California, and a G4, which is a jet.

So I don't know what he does now, except maybe buy another jet or start a foundation to donate money to people trying to cure cancer.

I said to my blonde-haired wife that I can't help but wondering the path my life has taken, how frivolous it seems in light of guys like my old high school friend who's now anchoring NBC Nightly News, the guy I started my second company with who spends his time trying to make diamonds in his garage, the guys I worked with who are so bored and rich they're starting rock and roll bands and playing in bars around the bay area to keep themselves busy between maintaining their exotic car collections and taking their extended families to resorts in Switzerland in the winter and the Amalfi coast in the summer , how we were all young and equal, same talents and same opportunities, and maybe I just chose wrong, or maybe I really was never as talented as I thought I was. How maybe I should have tried harder, worked more, spent more time on airplanes and dedicated myself more obsessively to the things that could have made me successful.

She said, "I don't want you to watch television anymore. Please. Stop."

"And should I stop talking to my friends?"

"You just have to stop this negativity."

"And do what?"

"You have us."

"I don't mean it about you. It's about what's in my head."

"It's not about what you were, or what you thought you would be. It's about what happened. It's about how you did it. You ended up here. With us. That's not nothing."

"I wasn't trying to say I don't appreciate you. I was always going to be something. A great writer. A photographer. An adventurer. An engineer. All that, and no matter how hard I tried it just never worked out."

She came to me. Embraced me. Got me to look into her eyes. "You are all those things. And you are a father and husband and friend. It has to be that that's good enough. It has to be."

"It has to be, because that's what is. I've made twenty cents on the writing I've published. Never got paid for a single photo. Went to the south pole along with a thousand other people. Got fired from my engineering job even when I accomplished everything I set out to do and more."

"No, it has to be, because everything you ever wanted came true. You did it. Now you have to see it. Let yourself see it."

We gotta get you a woman.
Todd Rundgren

Life is a club for the living.

I remember when the word "SPAM" referred only to canned meats loved by Hawaiians. I remember the first time I heard someone say the word in the context of unwanted e-mail. The person who told me about SPAM was Bruce Malasky. The year was 1989. We were at our offices in San Jose. The company was still small in those days. We all knew each other. We didn't have badges. There was no internet. There was a computer message caching system that was called the ARPANET and USENET, and it was mediated by numerous phone calls and 5600 baud modems. People's e-mail address had "%" signs in them and everything was an "edu" or a "gov". Nothing was a .com, yet.

"I can't figure out what you mean with all this SPAM," he said.

I looked around his office. I didn't see any canned meats.

He explained it was an acronym for unwanted e-mail. I don't remember what the individual words are, but I'm pretty sure the "M" stands for "mail." Not wanting to be a spammer I stopped sending Bruce e-mail and stuck to phone calls or personal visits.

Then he cashed out his stock and retired. In those days you could do that. In the late 80's and early 90's lots of people in silicon valley were cashing in their stock options and heading off to be rich. Bruce, I think, went off to live in Belize or somewhere he could spend his time scuba diving and starting new companies.

Bruce was gone, but the concept of spam remained.

A couple of years ago they made spam an actual crime and started to bust spammers. They got a guy in New Jersey, close to where my mom lives. I'm not sure how they tracked him down, except in that he had a 3-phase 440 power industrial power hook up going to his garage, and his split level home in Manalapan had 3 T3 lines routed to it, which in those days was enough bandwidth to run Amazon.com.

They arrested the guy for being a spammer. He called it "direct marketing," but the government used its new law to put him in jail. At his hearing, the prosecutors exposed the reason the guy had become a spammer.

He was making $750,000 a month sending unwanted e-mail.

There are lots of shows on the Discovery channel about guys killing themselves in hazardous jobs, hunting crabs in the Bering Sea, or digging gold in the frozen Klondike.

Those poor guys have the wrong idea, entirely.

Free Energy

We really want things to be the way we think they are. This is the foundation of a lot of our activities as a species. This is what separates us from other creatures who inhabit planet Earth. We can presume with reasonable accuracy that most other animals see things as they are and react to them. If their reactions are non-optimal to the situation, they get squashed, or eaten, or otherwise denied the right to thrive. This is called natural selection.

The human race is unique on Earth by virtue of its having risen out of the biological physics of natural selection.

For instance, I need vision correction. Had I existed in a time when having good eyesight was necessary for survival, I would have certainly perished the moment I reached adulthood and had to fend for myself. I'd have walked into a pit or been eaten by a bear I didn't see.

But I have been allowed to flourish with lousy eyesight thanks to a couple hundred years of vision correction R&D, and thus, only the insane members of our society would suggest that the myopic people of the world should be allowed to perish as a result of their genetic weakness.

Same for my high blood pressure and lousy cholesterol.

It seems to me that because we have lifted ourselves out of the game of survival of the fittest, that we think we can apply our powers of extinction avoidance to all other facets of physical existence.

Thus we may be tempted to believe that anything we can conceive is possible. In fact, we encourage each other to live our dreams and reach for the stars.

Yet, we are confronted by a reality that does seem to have a validity outside of our imaginations. At least, at this point, we have isolated the ideas which can be simultaneously experienced by many members of society irrespective of any preconceived notions or belief they may hold. These mutually conceivable ideas we call "science."

Science is hard earned. It is not a belief system except in that it requires the participants be viable living members of the human race who put some faith in the validity of their senses and experience. It is a belief system in its reductionism - and that is - practitioners of science religiously eschew notions of deus ex machina - or deus as a willful motivating factor in influencing the measurement of our experience. Therefore, a scientist confronted with confounding input is not doing "science" if he sits back in his chair, throws up his hands, and says, "I don't know what I'm seeing here, therefore it must be divine providence."

The underlying tenet of science is that if the "it" under study can't be explained reliably, then the reason is we have not sufficiently advanced our learning to the point where we can explain the phenomenon - not that there is some willful extra-natural force modifying the data without regard to prior activities so to confound our carefully divined models.

Free Energy does not exist in the format proposed. I think I can say this quite authoritatively without fear of rebuke by practitioners of science. All of the hard earned evidence we have accumulated so far indicates to us that the dynamics of any system within our current universe are explainable within the confines of a set of rules, one of which is called the "Law of Conservation of Energy." So far we have used this law to build things. Engines. Generators. Cell phones. We have also used this law to predict things that we see in the universe around us, like the orbits of planets and life cycle of stars.

Now, it's entirely possible we don't have all these "laws" of things down correctly to infinite precision. As we learn through the centuries, we modify our old ideas by amplifying them with new discoveries. That is, using the old theories, we launch ourselves into new theories. Sometimes we find out something that makes us chuck an old theory and replace it. This is the learning process.

So it's entirely possible there is some facet of the universe that provides a pool of unlimited, usable energy. As a group, we humans don't even know half of everything. Not even a percent. Not even one googlth of a percent. So infinite free energy could somehow exist in the vast universe of unknown and unknowable things. For instance, one would wonder about the origin of the life force itself, which is everywhere, yet not explained by even one atom of science.

This, by the way, is irrelevant to the argument.

Were some source of infinite "free energy" to be discovered, it would somehow have to live peacefully beside all the ideas we have developed over the years, because our current system works. Because if free energy is here, then it is HERE working within our current system of living. And our current system does not allow for things like, division-by-zero, objects that truly model platonic geometry, and fricking imaginary point sources of infinite usable energy and it's not like we invented it. IT was here when we got here, wherever it was we came from, be it random lightning strikes in amino acid pools, or extraterrestrial interference.

There is not a single atom in my whole self that holds the belief that there is a government conspiracy to silence those who stumble upon the mechanics of a closed system where more energy is produced than exists there when the system is created. I don't think you can use a motor to drive a generator that separates hydrogen from oxygen in water, then burns the hydrogen to create more power. I do not think there are magnetic motor arrangements that will run like perpetual motion machines.

I do not think you can turn lead into gold without a whole load of radiation.

I am not interested in hearing the proofs of people who think they have done these things. I am not interested in hearing how they achieved their accomplishments mostly because they stayed away from formal education, and thus are "untainted" by the constraints of science.

I am not interested to invest my money in such things.

When I am sent links to websites that "prove" the viability of "free energy," I believe I have been SPAMMED.

In fact, I would prefer actual Spam to the SPAM e-mail, because under certain conditions a nice chunk of spam sits very well with me as a fine lunch, and the idea of Free Energy is as much a truth as the next prediction of the apocalypse.

And I feel it's important to highlight the wasteful nature of such investigation, because it attempts to equate itself to meaningful science. Thus people may spend their time considering how H2O engines may obviate the need for petrochemically driven engines, rather than concentrating on something that may actually be in the realm of the achievable, like feeding the world's 6 billion people, or how to make solar and wind energy cost effective, or adapting to Climate Change, which is occurring all around us.

Only 6 nodes were posted to E2 on Mon 20-Feb-2012, but they included nodes by doyle and iceowl? I'll take it.

doyle's node is about maple syrup, but is moreover about appreciating things with value above and beyond the monetary:

"If you take an accountant's view, with labor a minimum of $5.15/hour, well, you end up losing "value" or money or whatever it is we think is more tangible than currency. It's thinking like that that got us the 98% corn syrup version of syrup. If Indians were better accountants, we would not know what real maple syrup tasted like. ..."

(Be sure to also read the footnote, which contains a bit of advice that I didn't know re: finding the good stuff.)

I believe this is a repost, resurrected from Node Heaven, as it has over 100 upvotes-- an astronomical total by today's standards-- and C!s from noders such as ToasterLeavings who haven't been seen around much lately. (Note to coders: It would be something handy if re-published w/us retained their original publication date, so that a bit of auto-text in the footer could say, e.g., "This writeup was originally published on November 13, 1999".)

iceowl instead emptied his moleskine into a daylog (see above), collecting some fragmentary thoughts about corporate life, E2, spam, and free energy.

"Life is a club for the living."

As for the rest: Croakery informs us about the frankly horrible-sounding childhood illness Hand, foot and mouth disease, Transitional Man posts a saddening daylog about a friend with cancer, and decoy hunches defines ramollissement and then hurls some free-verse into the soup.

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