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Notes from the Surf

Melting steel with solar power
Skip to 1:25 for the good stuff.

Experimenting with Domino's Pizza ordering
Those beef pellets just don't look very appetizing somehow.

German traffic cops angered by British driver who mocks traffic cams with a Muppet
OK, the guy is probably a jerk, but at least he's a funny jerk  =b

The Rescue Plan
Pushing on a string at its finest.

Wassup 2008
Maybe a bit too naive towards the end, but I wouldn't want to deny him of hope.

Bringing "Freedom" to Iraq
..."freedom" as defined by Monsanto and Cargill.

Colombia: Half a million people on strike
...in the nation that kills more union members than the rest of the world combined.

Libertarian right makes unusual choice as winner of essay competition
"...one that champions anarcho-syndicalist and other cooperative models rather than corporatism and exploitation as the likely product of a free society."

Mixing capitalism with democracy
Another GOP strategist lamented that McCain lacked a core group of rich friends who were willing to part with their money. Harold Simmons, a Dallas billionaire, underwrote the entire cost of the initial Ayers ad for AIP — but his investment wasn’t matched by other wealthy Republicans.
“In 2004, Bush had a cadre of donors who wanted to see him succeed,” said this source, citing “oil guys.”

Remembering Helen Keller
"Are we no better than the capitalist politicians who stand in the high places and harangue about petty matters, while millions of the people are underpaid, underfed, thrown out of work and dying?”

Come January 2009, George W. Bush will be out of a job. After 8 eventful years in the White House, Bush will concede the presidency to either John McCain or Barak Obama. For any person, such a shift - from a position of ultimate power and visibility to one of… well, much less of both - would have major psychological effects. Paul McCartney admitted to having a breakdown after the Beatles disbanded - a move he himself initiated. But for George W. Bush, the psychological implications are even bigger. One can hardly imagine a more controversial presidency. And psychologists could hardly imagine a more interesting case study in life changes.

What happens to a person after such a remarkable time? I find it interesting anytime someone goes from one extreme situation to another. If he’s not the most powerful man in the world, he’s certainly the most well known and followed. And from one day to the next it will all be over. Because of the level of controversy of his presidency and his personality (I see him as a very emotional and sensitive person), it will be all the more difficult for Bush.

The number of significant and historical events (to put them mildly) which have occurred in the past 8 years have left few people on Bush’s side. Few, at least for now, will make efforts to praise his tenure in Washington, let alone associate with him. Not to bust on him - I understand Churchill had a hard time finding friends at the end of his stay as Prime Minister. Where will these leave George Bush? All the attention, all the power, all the controversy - gone. His own party seems lined up to simply try to forget about him.

As I see it, George Bush has two possible options after he retires from Washington.

1. Get a job - Obviously the best way to avoid sitting around and contemplating what the hell just happened is to bury yourself in work. It’s not the healthy thing to do, but few would accuse Bush of being psychologically healthy. Bush would be a prime candidate for an executive-type position - not one in a corporate environment, but rather one that makes use of his best skill, his likeability. His well-known ties with the Saudi Royal Family would be a clear option to liaison between them and American interests. I personally can’t see him going into charitable and activists roles as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore have done. He’ll simply be too much of a liability for such groups who are too often associated with the left. No, his bread lies in the private sector - making money, working out deals between the wealthy and governments and organizations. He can feel useful and wanted without having to dwell on any perceived failures of the last eight years. America will try to forget about him and he’ll do (subconsciously) the same in return. Only on occasion will he think about the events his presidency and possibly never consider that he may have screwed up royally.

2. Retire - If George W spends the next few years clearing shrub and hunting in Texas, it will be his own decision - not for a lack of other options. Being a man of conviction, he may simply choose to relax and continue in his belief that he did what he thought was right. This will be a bit trickier for the president. Quiet and isolation, though gifts to the mentally healthy and guilt-free, may wreak havok on the vulnerable psyche of George Bush. He’ll have to work hard to push thoughts of self-doubt out of his head. And following the news is inescapable. I can hardly imagine a person who wouldn’t spend a large part of his day reflecting on the time which was so important to so many, so shrouded in various perceptions, yet flew right by.

We wish George all the best. As psychologically fascinating as his presidency was, I’ll find the coming years just as interesting.

I know there have been a lot of users complaining about the new XP/Leveling system that has been implemented on E2. Well let me tell you, I am one of them!

I simply cannot hold it inside any longer, I must air my grievances before I explode. Let me run down a list of the things I think were just boneheaded moves by The Powers That Be (in no particular order, since order is something I'm not accustomed to):

  • Not Downpointed for Downvoted: I don't like this because it will completely destroy E2's time-honored tradition of serial downvoting those who you do not like. How else now are we to anonymously and cowardly tell others that we think they are a waste of precious oxygen? What? Actually message them and tell them?? How crazy do you think we are?? And now I guess you want us to downvote something based soley on the quality of the writeup? I've got three words for you: PUH LEEZE.
  • No Longer Being Rewarded for Having a Sexy Homenode Pic: I don't know why the admin didn't want to encourage E2 users to be good-looking any more. Without the extra XP for being sexy, now who knows what kind of homely users will trudge to the website?? If we want to attract new users, which translates to more valuable content, how can we do that with lots of ugly people, I say??!?
  • Node Penguin: I still don't understand this concept. Will somebody please explain it in detail??
  • No more XP Bonuses for Writeups Complaining about George W. Bush: I know he's going to be out of office soon, but I think we can all agree that there's enough material for at least another decade. Now how will we encourage this practice? The number of writeups bitching about good ol' W will dramatically decrease, mark my words, and without them, E2 will become just a shallow husk of what it once was.
  • XP Rewards for sending Nate singing telegrams: Now this rule is just plain silly. Can we all agree?
  • Level Titles like "Cock Knocker": With the new infinite levels, it encourages all kinds of silly level titles. Like Level 87 is now "Cock Knocker." Actually. I like that one. Never mind.
  • Retiring of the E2 Rep Donkey: I and many other users are upset over this and will miss those visits from the E2 Rep Donkey bearing those burlap sacks of exotic spices and candy whenever a writeup achieves that coveted +35 rep. I know it had its problems, like the awkwardness when it would visit you while you're working at your office. But I say the problems with it should have been fixed, it shouldn't have been completely eliminated! All you had to do was make sure it waits and comes only to your home and something about its smell. But nooooo.... Whomever decided on this, dare I say, is just an ass.
  • No XP Bonuses for Writeups Submitted to Butt-Sex Quests: Now nobody will ever do another Butt-Sex Quest. Thanks a lot, guys. I want to know who is behind this cracked idea.
  • You Can Now Set Up Automatic Downvoting Preferences: Now this one is just outright. I mean, setting up where your account automatically downvotes all poems posted? All recipes? I mean, I know we've got to discourage poetry whenever we can, but this is just going over the top, enabling users to not even have to put in the effort of finding them and hitting that downvote button, even downvoting when they're not even logged on! For shame, people, for shame.
  • Rhode Island Auto-Downvoted by Everybody: Obviously somebody in the admin has a chip on their shoulder against the smallest state in the U.S. This is just a rude, obscene display of power.
  • And, finally, Butterfinger McFlurry Auto-Cooled by All New Users?? Come on. I mean, I'm not one of those folks who don't get the whole thing, why so many people cool it, etc. I mean, it is pretty damn funny. But this is just stupid. Especially now that we only have one Cool per day now.

I don't know about you, but these new changes have got me so out of sorts that I'm about to go on a seven-day drinking, blow, and gay sex binge. And I'm not even gay or an alcoholic or a drug addict! Thanks a lot, E2 Admin! Thanks a friggin' lot!

I love dreaming. The dream mind is an incredible canvas. Some of the crap that happens in dreams just blows me away.


I've had vivid dreams every night for the last three weeks since I moved into the new apartment here. Last night was no exception. Yesterday evening, I was feeling particularly thoughtful. I started reading the book Siddhartha again (I read it once a year or two ago). I also spent a bit of time reading about and sending an email to some friends about about next weekend's trip down to SF to go to the California Academy of Sciences to see, primarily, the planetarium. I read an article about it a while back talking about how state of the art it is, and the incredible voyage through the universe they take you on. I finished up the evening by taking some time, the first in a long while, really, to meditate and try to clear my brain, and then taking a shower.


So the first thing I remember from my dream was an astronomical tidal and weather simulation, literally. I had no awareness of having a body, the only thing in my awareness was this simulation going on in my brain. The simulation, I believe, was an analysis of the effects different, sometimes radical, orbits of the moon around the earth on tidal and weather patterns. It was complete with vector field maps of wind speeds and directions across the curved surface of the earth, as well as the tsunami wave patterns around the globe associated w/ the different lunar orbits. It seems as though there was a lot more stuff going on in the dream that I can't recall now, nor can I begin to portray how incredible it was to experience this stuff in a couple paragraphs. I can't say that there was a rhyme or rhythm to the order or importance in how I approached each part of the simulation; it was probably more like playing in the sandbox doing random stuff than anything, and just as unscientific, as well ;-P. 


The next thing I remember after the simulation is being on a floating platform in the middle of the ocean. There was a building in the center of eastern styled architecture. There was a deck around part of it right down on the water. There were a few people in the building, a couple that I knew. I and a girl snuck past the others out onto the deck where we lay on our backs looking up at the stars. The sky was crystal clear, the stars were incredibly bright and I was a little mesmerized. It is interesting that I don't know any constellations or where any stars are in the sky, really, and in the dream I couldn't pick out any either.


At some point, I began to see divisions in the sky; perhaps I was looking for symmetries in the stars. I found a line through the sky where each side was a reflection of the other. Soon, I could see them everywhere, and the first that I saw now extended all the way down into the ocean next to me. It was sort of an unreal shimmering, rippling, mirror surface that extended all the way up into the stars. I reached out and touched it. Anywho, this scene did follow a weather and tsunami simulation, and by now the weather was picking up and waves were beginning to thrash against the side of the building. The last thing I remember in this scene is making my way around the deck toward the sliding glass door into the building.


Next, I am in an apartment, presumably my apartment, and there is a really old bum sleeping on the couch. I think I awoke (in my dream) and was thinking about how I was going to get rid of the bum on the couch and how I didn't want to leave him alone in the apartment when I went to work the next day. While I'm thinking this, he begins to talk in his sleep. It sounds like he's praying and thanking god for the nice place to stay and how he's not alone outside any more, pretty much, and then says something about going shopping at Target w/ my room mate the day before. This is about when I actually woke up.


Coincidentally, it was now just turning 3:00AM and as I was taking a leak in the bathroom, my room mate B was just walking in the front door to our apartment after running to the office late night to work on a computer system that he forgot to look at that evening. We sat out on the porch for a bit, drank a beer, and BSed about Linux network monitoring software and my dream.

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