The foundation to wealth is being built.

The ingredients:

1 Home-based business.
1 Educational System.
Lots of activity for intent to profit.
Do more.
Do lots more.

Results you will get:

Tax advantages
Business Owner mentality
Success in every facet of your life.
1 solid foundation for wealth.
A residual income.
Financial Freedom.

I was doing my taxes the other day thinking about the aforementioned recipe. As I was plugging in all the numbers into the tax software, the tax return kept getting bigger and bigger. So big in fact, it went over $6000.

Funny how all those who are doubting it are being proven wrong by those who are successful at it and doing it.

After having spoken to so many people showing the business plan, and with those who had said "No", I simply do not care about them. There seems to be many people who have no idea as to what to do in order to get what they want. A long time ago, their dreams have been squashed by either their parents, their working colleagues in their first salaried job, or by circumstances.

One year of my activity has gotten closer to everything I have dreamt possible. My personal life has improved immensely! I'm a much more well-adjusted person with an attitude. My friends love me and I love more and more people. So why do some people doubt this business?

It's not about the business model. 95% of the people in jobs work in a business model in which the compensation plan is determined by trading your time for money. And as you progress, there's more responsibilites, yet not much more compensation. Now where's the freedom in this ratrace?

What it's about, is YOU. Each and every individual has the opportunity to make a choice whether to make it or not in whatever the circumstance that life is being thrown. The strong ones will change, adapt and persevere. The weaker ones will enjoy the status quo and become lazy and not change.

I would relish the day when all my old acquaintances realize this: "The chief cause of failure and unhappiness in life is trading what you truly want, for what you'll settle for at the moment."

Reflecting upon 4000 XP and two years of college

For some time I've felt that I should explain myself to the E2 community, and what better time than the day I finally reach a solid stature of four thousand XP points. I registered here on January 3, 2001, a time which has become far more remote to the present world than I thought possible. I put down a lot of nodes in the early days, reveling in the free idea aspect of all this. Yet despite my tenure I've only put together 177 nodes, many of them mediocre. It's a tad shy, and I should explain it now.

I arrived at college on September 1, 2001. I knew that I was a liberal, I didn't trust the Republicans, and college was going to be a lot of partying and good stuff. I'd made it into a very tough school, and life would get interesting from there. For that little slice of time, calling out "COLLEGE!" at every toast, I was free for the first time.

That went for about ten days. And then the whole damn country came crashing down. The World Will Never Be the Same. The Enemy had Revealed Itself. The crushing power of MegaPatriotism Ideology attained greatness, but blessedly, I missed the most intense stretches of it, bound to living on campus and not really getting out to Wounded yet UNITED America much. I think in that window of a troubled nation's mourning, millions of Americans abandoned hope in cooperation, in a peaceful order for the future. I slipped past it in the Macalester bubble, which was the greatest escape hatch possible. Yet I knew that I would have to adjust my plans to seek a new understanding of this complex world.

I've done some audacious things here, some things I'm not proud of. Yet today I feel that more than ever I have done an excellent job taking advantage of the opportunities and situations which have been presented to me here at Macalester College. I am a full time student at this utterly unique school. Every day I seem to learn another piece of the global puzzle, make another connection which might be valuable in the future. I met Paul Wellstone twice. I've quizzed the Vice-President of the UN General Assembly about neoconservatives. At a time in which those in power ask us to reject the principle of the United Nations, I go to 'the Kofi school,' and I see everything about the UN reflected in this place. There are tons of 'diplobrats' here, as well as students from so many places in the world. This has been valuable in a time of war, as all rah-rah arguments about 'Patriotism' and being a 'good (US) Citizen' acquire a different slant. When you kick it with globalized non-Citizens on a daily basis, your view of the world becomes deeper, I could say. I can count on my friends for perspective, those who have lived with a diplomatic immunity card, with parents in UN compounds, the ones who signed the Oslo Accords and advised Latin American presidents. This is valuable, today and tomorrow. This breaks the view of the world we are asked to embrace by the 'intellectual leadership' of the evil think-tanks, the militants and those in thrall to manipulating the fear of the citizens of my country.

Macalester is a bubble, an inversion of the American intellectual environment. It's key to connecting the world in a way that the Ivy League simply can't facilitate. It's a place whose dimensions have shocked and surprised me, all the time. It is here I've felt those moments which are so rare, the ones where I actually sense that somehow I've tapped a chord on the order of the world, where I popped up and asked the right question at the right time. Here's where I finally learned that in order to shake the order of the world, you first have to poke it, because if you are smart enough to poke it right, it will poke you back, and you emerge a changed person.

So what about E2 then? I give big ups to everyone here. When I registered I wasn't sure what to make of it or whether to stick with it. Somehow it's magnetized me, though. I respect the community as a great resource for sketching out the ideas of the world with humor and great humanity. However, after making the last E2 node of 2001, I stopped noding altogether for a long time. (my nodegel on homenode reflects this) This relates to what I asked Senator Wellstone in October 2001. I wanted to meet the guy, assuming he'd be a liberal resource of my state for the future, even if he lost the upcoming election. Paul was a politician of his own unique tenor. He was, vote-count-wise, Bush's greatest enemy in the Senate. He had this undefatiguable willingness to drag the Senate debate sideways, to force into the faces of those rich white guys and the public the real consequences of their oft horrible actions. I went to an early DFL (Minn. Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party) fundraiser, and Paul wanted to gather the thoughts of those around about September 11. As chance would have it he pointed to me. I said my name, and I said, "Well, I think that if we are seeing all this hostility towards our country, we need to look at re-evaluating our foreign policy," basically. Yet I couldn't articulate the problem beyond that, I didn't know what the problem was. I knew it was complex, but I didn't understand anything about this Middle East which was in such conflict. But I knew instinctively that there was more going on here than whatever these accursed Republicans were trying to cram down our brainstems. After asking that of Paul, I asked it of myself. And off I went.

So I set out to educate myself, starting with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, simply because the compass points of Arab anger go for Jerusalem, and there was more going on than the American media was willing to report or conceptualize about. This worsened as the Intifada grew more grim and the extremist positions became entrenched.

So I had to stop writing about anything here, I had to grab at knowledge, parse out the points of contention. Eventually I started to arrive at judgements and evaluations which were so far beyond whatever nonsense the US media puts in the minds of everyone around. I had to talk with someone from Jenin. I had to, dare I say it, read a little Chomsky, even. (not that I limit myself in any way to Chomsky and his quasi-anarchic view. The last thing Chomsky wants is people who only listen to Chomsky)

But today I feel that I've put plenty of the pieces together. Intellectually I think I can stand up and walk around, articulate, and know how to ask the right wise people the questions that ought to be asked. At least, I've started to. E2 has not been the place I've been deriving much of this knowledge from, and I have neglected to node a serious number of things, and I certainly haven't thoroughly articulated here how I feel about what happened on 9/11, and much at all about the war in Iraq or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

My name is Daniel Feidt. Daniel signified 'judge' to the Hebrews. And so now I reach, I am trying to judge things for what they are, from the general perspective of a leftist, slightly militant, quasi-socialist atheist. As if we don't have enough of those bastards floating around causing trouble with their Red godlessness. I would never have thought to apply to myself that label, and yet somehow, here I am. The ideological corruption of these hippie schools, its a real threat to good American ideals.

I'm in the grip of final exams now, but I felt I should pause to explain myself to E2. I've not noded much, but once the schoolwork is finished I am going to bust it out, and I hope that you guys are entertained. I am not the same person who wrote those nodes before my hiatus. I like to think I am better now. I will explain.

I haven't put any money in the E2 donation box yet. That's really appalling and I'm going to rectify it. Be thankful that we have this world and this site. Don't believe their lies. Agitate when you're sitting still.

I only got to 4000 XP by voting all over the place. I don't have a guilt complex over votedumping and I usually hit +, because usually if it hasn't been deleted it deserves a +. Who cares about abstract "accuracy" in votes? Generate XP to all the nodegel: upvote today! A profound lack of links is evident in this w/u. Forgive me this one trespass. :)

Timing and spacing

I saw Donald H. Rumsfeld give a press conference a few weeks ago. He struck me as a very clever man, an excellent speaker, capable of bending questions and answers to his unspoken aims.

Aside from an intense desire to bathe and be clean again, what struck me about what he said was one point. He was asked when Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction would be found.

His reply started "I have a lot of faith in the American people" and went on about how hard they are looking (so hard they don't want the UN back to help). Stripping out the emotive appeal to national pride, all I can translate this as is "if we wait long enough the people will forget about that little issue and accept the way things are now. You're going to look stupid bleating about that after we've stalled you for a year or so".

So there is a right time and a place for bringing up such matters, for making your voice heard. And quite often, calm waiting for the approved process to be followed is not it. Sometimes screaming and making a fuss is the logical choice.

One of the principles of magic is to make sure the effect is seen as far away in time and space from where the sleight actually occurred.

I think an innovative idea for a videogame would be one that's extremely realistic. Not so realistic so that your character just walks around, poops and pays taxes, but one in which there are a lot of things that you as the player can't control. For example,
  • After defeating the first enemy, your character becomes guilt-stricken and refuses to move.
  • The character gets addicted to the curative potions you've been feeding him. He goes on a binge during which he consumes the entire stock of them and dies.
  • Wounds don't heal quickly.
  • A neutron bombards your vitals via the gaping hole left in your side from level 5. It transmutates an oxygen atom in your liver, triggering a chain reaction which results in your vaporization.

That game would really suck.

Over the last couple of days I’ve struggled for topic that would elevate yours truly to the next level (8, who’d a thunk it!) here at this wonderful place we all know and love as E2. I’ve wondered if it should be something poignant, something personal, something factual, something amusing, something controversial, or, should I resort to my favorite subject and write something about my kid? Maybe I’ll just give this a shot….

God, I love a good thunderstorm.

I don’t know why exactly. Maybe it brings back childhood memories of growing up in Brooklyn. Those hot steamy afternoons when the humidity made the air feel so thick and heavy that you thought you could hold it in your hands. Those days of no air conditioning at home, when the inside of your house felt like an oven and outdoors felt no better. Those days before Doppler radar could tell you just about the precise time and location of when and where the storm would hit. Those days when my father would (before life turned him into a bitter old man) crack open a beer and took the hand of his scared eight year old kid to sit out on the stoop and wait for Mother Nature to takes its course.

I remember how the air changed. How one could actually smell the rain in the air. How the skies would turn so dark in the afternoon that the streetlights came on. How the wind picked up and the branches on the Sycamore trees that lined the neighborhood streets would begin to sway back and forth. You could almost feel the electricity in the air. And yeah, I remember how my father held the hand of his scared eight year old kid and offered up some comforting words.

And then you would hear it. The sound of thunder rumbling somewhere off in the distance. Maybe you would catch a glimpse of lightning and feel the wetness of the first tentative raindrops as they began to fall from the sky. And then you wondered, maybe, just maybe, the storm would miss us and it wasn’t going to be so bad after all and you loosened your grip on your father’s hands just a little bit. Sometimes the storms would pass and at the time, it made you feel better. You’d let go of your father’s hand and run off to do whatever eight year olds do. Then, other times the storms would hit full force and you’d clamp down on your father's hand like a vise as the lightning got closer, the thunder got louder, the winds got stronger and the rain began pouring down in sheets. I remember the walls shaking with sound of thunder and the rain sounding like a drumbeat as it pounded up against the cars and the windows. To me, that’s what the memories are made off.

And then I remember the aftermath of the storm and letting go of my father’s hand. How clean the air smelled and how much cooler it felt. How the skies lightened up and the clouds disappeared and the sun poked its way through. I remember the rainwater as it gushed down the streets and made its way towards the sewers. The neighborhood kids would gather round the sidewalk with old popsickle sticks and imagine they were boats and race them in the water. I remember how my father would go inside, almost disappointed that the storm was over as I ran off to join in the fun.

Why do I write this? Well, here in my adopted hometown of Columbus, Ohio, each and every spring and summer, we seem to get our fare share of thunderstorms. As a matter of fact, we’ve had a couple of them over the last two days. I’m also the father of an eight year old kid and we gather on the porch to watch as the storms make their way through our fair city. Sometimes, depending on the intensity of the storm, she’s scared and we hold hands and I offer up what I hope are some comforting words. We watch as nature creates its own little light and sound show when the lightning draws near and the thunder gets louder. Then, when the storm has run its course, she runs off to play with her friends and I feel, like I think my father felt, a little disappointed that the storm is over.

I don’t have any intention of turning into a bitter old man like my dad did. Maybe I remember him too much that way. Maybe I took his comforting words and the reassurance he offered me for granted, maybe I just didn’t know any better. All I do know is that I remember them now. I hope she can say the same when she gets older.

God, I love a good thunderstorm…

Side note –a heartfelt thank you goes out to all noders who have offered up encouraging words and good thoughts during my time here. It means more to me than you’ll probably ever know.

To End Denile: David

When woke up this morning, something really hit me. You see, I haven't allowed anything to stop me for one whole month. On April 1, 2003 a kid I knew pretty well, David Vachon, died due to complications with asthma. We didn't even find out until the next day, one month ago. April 2, 2003.

Now I'm not one to cry, but I watched as countless friends crumpled into tears at the news. I didn't let myself this of anything but making it easier for them. I haven't let it be real, not at his visitation, and not at his funeral, or anywhere. I know I would cry. I've had to be stronger than that. Until now that is. Now I can't hide from the fact that he is gone.

I'm not sure how My school gets through all of these things that have been thrown at us, but we do. I'm not sure how much more loss some of us can handle. I only hope I can help them. I am not important without my friends.

Note: I am venting in a daylog. This is not an official position paper on the subject of Iraq, the Middle East, or anything else. I love you like a sibling but if you attempt to argue with me about those subjects, I will ignore it. Thanks, Quizro.

So to begin with, I am elated that we plan to get the hell out of Saudi Arabia militarily. Given the interconnectedness of all peoples and nations in this day and age and our reliance on oil in that region I know this is only a fantasy, but I would love it if we could grant the "Arab street" its wish (if it actually exists and is not a figment of pundits' imaginations) and bug out of the Middle East entirely. Remove our soldiers, cut off trade, cancel passenger flights in and out, keep our godless and immoral media to ourselves, and let them go through their Dark Ages in peace in a hermetically sealed bubble of their own construction. Of course, this would mean cutting off aid to Israel and letting them get squashed like a bug. Though from what I've read so far in Jimmy Carter's Blood of Abraham about the history of that conflict since the late 40s, I wonder if the Arab nations are even capable of that level of cooperation at this point. Seriously, just read the timeline at the beginning of that book to get an idea of what a messed-up situation we've all inherited.

That news came nearly at the same time as a report that fifteen or so Iraqis were killed by U.S. soldiers during a demonstration on Saddam Hussein's birthday. If you cut out the hazy bits and the obvious falsehoods, this appears to be the agreed-upon bare bones of what happened: on the birthday of their late dictator, large numbers of Iraqis (with whom we are essentially still at war) held anti-U.S. demonstrations in close proximity to armed U.S. troops. Many demonstrators were themselves armed, and some of them fired their weapons. In response the U.S. soldiers opened fire on the demonstrators and people were hurt and killed.

Now. I'm not a hawk, I had grave reservations about this war, I feel anguish when I hear about people being hurt and killed under any circumstances, I know the Army is capable of lying, and I know that troops have in the past opened fire on civilians when they shouldn't have. I know from My Lai and Kent State, okay? But get this: many voices I've heard over the Spew expressing outrage over the incident claim that the demonstrators were not firing at the American soldiers, but merely firing their guns in the air. Therefore the soldiers opened fire on innocent participants in a peaceful demonstration.

That's as may be. But does anyone seriously think it's a good idea to fire weapons AT ALL around armed soldiers, especially when there's a war on and many of your countrymen are still trying to kill them? What should one have expected the soldiers' reaction to be? "Hey, I hear gunshots coming from that angry crowd. Let's wait a bit and see if any of the bullets hit us before doing anything--after all, this may just be a peacful demonstration." I'm not saying anyone deserved to be shot, but there's a cause and effect relationship here that could perhaps have been foreseen and avoided.

Yeah, we're pulling out of Saudi Arabia. But we're still in Iraq. I hope against hope that this chaotic and bloody time represents the birth pangs of a better life for that tortured nation, and maybe for the whole Middle East. But it's hard.

Um. In OTHER news (that totally wasn't why I posted), my initial deadline for Neon Blood has come and gone, and I wasn't able to submit the manuscript when I'd hoped. This has always been a possibility, and I'm not at all alarmed; it's just taking longer than planned. I'm still working on these last few chapters, the cover art isn't ready yet, and a few of life's little surprises required us to hand over the money that would have paid for publication to other people (like the dentist, and Geico). It'll be soon, though.

Tonight we drive up to Los Angeles to collect Angela's paintings from the cafe in Borders Books. Hooray for Los Angeles! She didn't sell any pieces this time, sadly. One person emailed an inquiry but balked at the price--while reasonable, it was obviously more than they were willing to spend. It's tough putting a price on your art. We might catch a matinee of X2 on Sunday, dunno. What I do know is that it's time for me to get back to work. Yoink!

Today is my birthday

What did I do today? I ran around with my head CUT OFF; yes folks, bloody mess. No, but seriously, this is what I did:

  • woke up to my mom entering my room, thronging me with song and gifts!
  • got myself out of bed and got myself ready for not being home until tomorrow.
  • gathered my things for school: books… fresh fruit, and CLOTHING!
  • drove to school at 9:15am
  • sat in a Student Govt. meeting
  • 11am, convinced my French Canadian friend to come to my French class because we were having a picnic in my class, and it would be fun. We ate cheese fresh fruit and bread! Very French.
  • Went back to my office and spent the next few hours counting money from the car show we had last Sunday, and looking online for stencils since the ones we used at the car show seemed to have disappeared. We made almost $2000 dollars.
  • THEN! I found cbustapeck online, and scribe is in town, SO I got them to drive to my school and go to the mall with me. We had a little mini gathering. We bought gift certificates from a really rude man in customer service for my advisors and we bought me some black pantyhose for my dress for later.
  • We ran amok for a few more minutes and then we drove back to the school
  • Scribe helped me change into my lovely dining attire, and then helped me with my makeup by wonderfully holding her little pocket mirror for me.
  • We waited for my mom to arrive for our meal, and they were about to leave when my mommy appeared; I got to introduce them. =)
  • My mother and I went into the school cafeteria where my department was throwing a recognition banquet for all the school's clubs. It was really long, but it did have highlights. One of those being the moment my advisor asked me to get up in front of everyone and led them in singing for me while his secretary produced a little cake with lit candles. It was really funny. Then, it was my turn to make my announcements, and I got to award them with the gift certificates that I had bought earlier.
  • The banquet was finally over, and we had our fill of pictures.
  • We drove up to our church where they have Friday night gatherings, and we hung out there for a little while, and then I went home.

It has been a long day, but all in all a fairly good one. All is well that ends well so they say.

see how to put a bike in a car for more of the day's events.

As I type this, I am quite depressed.

I am sitting alone at a computer that I do not own. I have no need and little reason to be where I am, but I don't want to go home because home seems such a lonely place right now. The minimalist Trent Reznor remix mp3 playing now probably isn't helping, nor the fact that I forgot to take the Prozac prescribed to me most of the past 8 days or so. (Did I take it today? I think I did before I left the house this morning.)

On occasion this week I've calmed myself by listening to Soul Coughing. I felt that repeating the rhythmic post-beat-poet lyrics kept the other noises away, the background din of thoughts of pain. Even listening to the music isn't terribly necessary. The words become like a prayer.

I prayed some, too, but that only helps so much. I've been wrestling with my beliefs at the moment. I'm not sure what I believe, and have a hard time describing it to others. I believe in a Higher Power. I believe that power, the Lord he is some sort of holistic and encompassing one, which, by the thousands-of-years-old-teachings that informed the instructing of my rabbis, is not quite right. Is He conscious in a way that has any significance? Is it possible for Him to have a will? Does it matter if I nullify a little of my will for the sake of something that doesn't exist? Do all the rules and regulations mean anything if I don't believe there's any thing actually behind it, that the whole religion is a large, intricate, beautiful and often useful facade elaborately constructed over the millennia to carefully protect absolutely nothing? In part, I would like to build my own fence1 around what I only see as nothing and add that fence to all those that preceded me. But no one has told me yet - do we stay inside the fence or do we keep ourselves out of it?

Maybe I should be Zen-like: Maybe I should build a fence around the Torah that has no inside or outside. Maybe I might build a fence but should not want to build a fence. I would like to be released from suffering, for sure.

Maybe I should stop typing for a second.

I'm typing this as a cry for attention, even as I try to convince my self never to show it to anyone. I’m typing this because I have no one I feel I can let myself talk to at the moment. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Not about this.

I have created my own fence, which I shouldn't have made. It is around something just as valuable as Torah, nafshi - myself. Pakuach ha-nefesh2 eh? Are we to build a fence around souls, too?

Ah, but that last part was typing just to hear the tone of speech in my head. It is little more than an attempt to capture the mood by imitating poetic mannerisms I've heard before. This paragraph feels to me like a cool breeze, and bits of the pain drift away with it.

Now I'm no longer worried that my home is a lonely place. Now I have little desire to follow out my original plan for the next day of hopping the fence, flouting my own purported beliefs and pissing my time away in computer games I only almost enjoy.

I have created bad fences. I have created good fences. Now maybe I should create something non-fence.

1 I guess I should mention that the whole "fences" thing is a reference to a bit near the beginning of Pirkei Avot, one of the most widely read books of the Talmud.
2Nafishi and Pakuach ha-Nefesh are Hebrew for "my soul" and "saving a soul" respectively, though the latter is often translated as saving a life.

I was going through my notebooks tonight, mining for seminar notes to review for my prelims. I found an errant page in one of them, from a creative writing workshop that I gave last semester at a homeless shelter. I must have picked up the wrong notebook that night, and this page was nestled in with pages and pages of science history notes... Just waiting. A reminder.

At the beginning of each workshop night I asked the writers to clear their minds by sweeping their day onto a page; timed writing, pen to paper for 10 minutes. Just describe everything you saw, I said. Everything that made an impression on you, even if just for a moment. Don't think. Just write. Don't make it fancy, just get it out, don't worry about order.

We wrote a lot of lists. It's a good way to prime the pump. When they wrote, I wrote, with my watch set next to the notebook. There's no date on this page, but here's part of my list exactly as it was:

the library
a woman with gray hair
rows and rows of books
parking lot
lots of cars
the cat, asleep on the corner
of the bed
the lady next door taking out the trash
the world moving
around my car
the radio, glowing dials
a busy sidewalk
a child's face
running behind a stroller
the old guy in a baseball hat
a plastic bag wrapped around the mailbox
nothing in the mailbox

After the ten was up, I asked them to pick one thing on the list and dig into it for another ten. I wrote:

...the child is wearing jeans, and a huge smile, and a red and white striped shirt. He has absconded with his own stroller, hijacked it right out from under his mother's nose. Now he's running as fast as he can, pushing it through the library and squealing with laughter, the world's youngest car thief. His eyes crinkle up into little parentheses of joy. He's so happy his whole face is trying to dance. He looks at me and bursts into a fresh shriek of laughter. I wonder what he's thinking. I wonder if he's thinking the whole world is celebrating his liberation. I sure am. I laugh back.

It goes on, but that's the part that's really important. Here's why: joy. Pure, simple joy. Steal the stroller and RUN with it. That three-year-old kid was the captain of his ship, and he knew that he didn't need any better reason to be absolutely delighted with himself.

Maybe that's all any of us really need.

For the people in my workshop, writing - finding a voice and using it, expressing, documenting their unique existence (and recognizing it as worth documenting) was an empowerment. A source of something important that had been missing. I encourage anyone who loves to write and can more or less run a room to think about volunteering as a writing workshop leader - at a homeless shelter, retirement home, battered women's shelter, elementary school, a prison, etc. e2 is full of people who would be damn good at it.

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