22 December 2007

So much to learn about the world; Wikipedia exposes- and cures- our ignorance

  • Dec 22, 2007

So much to learn about the world; Wikipedia exposes- and cures- our ignorance

Amazing the amount of knowledge that there is even to be had, even more so that so much of it has been consolidated.

You learn the most interesting things, which you didn't even know you were looking for at first.

Here are a few of the things I would never have guessed, and have learned since yesterday:

17 December 2007

Just in time for Christmas

  • Dec 17, 2007

Just in time for Christmas

The history and impact of American over-consumption, in easy to digest cartoon form

The Story of Stuff

A much more detailed and in depth documentary (these ideas were actually much more deliberate than most would assume)

The Century of The Self"

14 December 2007

3 letters to Utne

  • Dec 14, 2007

3 letters to Utne

I got a free copy of the Utne Reader at the SF Green festival.
First one I had ever read, although I recognized the name as something Aileen had recommended years ago.

It was chock full of interesting articles on a wide variety of important issues, many of which are relevant to me.  I think I'll subscribe.

Three articles inspired letters to the editor, (two of which are available to read on their website).


05 December 2007

They are a little wierd, but maybe they have a good idea or two

  • Dec 5, 2007

They are a little wierd, but maybe they have a good idea or two

The Amish, especially those of the Old Order, are probably best known for their avoidance of certain modern technologies. The avoidance of items such as automobiles and electricity is largely misunderstood. The Amish do not view technology as evil. Individuals may petition for acceptance of a particular technology in the local community. In some communities, the church leaders meet annually to review such proposals. In others, it is done whenever necessary. Because the Amish, like some Mennonite groups, and unlike the Catholic or Anglican Churches, do not have a hierarchical governing structure, differing communities often have different ideas as to which technological items are acceptable.

19 November 2007

Global Warming vs. Fascism; or, why NASA wouldn’t have stopped Apophis

Global Warming vs. Fascism; or, why NASA wouldn’t have stopped Apophis

[reposted from Nov 19, 2007 - updated 2012 after in person talk with actual climate scientists!  This is the essay that first caught the attention of the editors of Faircompanies, which led to me blogging for them, and eventually to being video interviewed by them.  The follow up video, about hypermiling, came out 2 days ago]

I am a liberal. I am an environmentalist. I commute by bicycle to my job advocating the bicycle as a means of everyday transportation. I run my work truck on modified vegetable oil at significant extra cost compared to petroleum diesel. I have a reasonably strong understanding of the sciences, including an associates in biology and earth science (which encompasses, among other things, geology and ecology)
I could be called a global warming "denier".

05 November 2007

For my more feminine friends

  • Nov 5, 2007

For my more feminine friends

It isn't about strength to weight ratio.

Don't let your natural estrogen to testosterone ratio deter you.

It is a matter of will.

(Well, that, and lots and lots of practice)

The term is "traceuse" (French) and I think we need more of them.
After all, consider ice skating, swing dancing, gymnastics, and track & field.  Plenty of our gentler and more attractive gender in those sports.  Parkour is really no more than track plus gymnastics applied to a real world setting.

Speaking of which, these two show how these things can be very practical and useful skills to be comfortable with in real world situations.  You never know when something like the following may happen to you!...

29 October 2007

unborn humans and social conservatives; mixing emotion and politics

  • Oct 29, 2007

unborn humans and social conservatives; mixing emotion and politics

I went to see the exhibit where they dissect human cadavers, coat them in plastic, and display them in various poses in a cross between anatomy education and a morbid art form.

Two of my three companions skipped the section with embryos and fetuses, as well as a pregnant woman.

I found this surprising, as I found it among the most interesting of the sections there.

26 October 2007

From my blog at faircompanies.com "what we are up against"

  • Oct 26, 2007

From my blog at faircompanies.com "what we are up against"

My neighbor came by a couple days ago.
(Neither the conservative in a tiny trailer nor the tweaker / junkies, I've never written about this one before)

I have new professionally made signs on the truck now, so its obvious I am running on bio-diesel (I think we had spoken about it once before a year ago or so).

He had read an article in National Geographic.

He came over to tell me that Bio-Diesel cost more than petroleum diesel.
Of course, I was already aware of this.

He asked why I used it.

I explained how being domestically produced and renewable meant we as a country were less reliant on imports, particularly from unstable places like the Middle East.
He was surprised that I thought we got a significant amount of oil from the Middle East. He thought it comes mostly from Mexico and South America.
I acknowledged that we do get a lot from those places, but it is not as much as we use, and we import huge amounts from across the ocean as well.
I asked why he thought we were in Iraq. He may actually have not heard me, because he is hard of hearing. Who knows?

So I went on to explain the significant difference in emissions, both in terms of greenhouse gases and regular air pollutants.

He was amazed that I actually cared about that, or felt it was a personal issue.

I pointed out that I have to breathe. He said "well we ALL have to breathe"
"That's exactly my point"

When I mentioned that we pay much less for gas than most places, he said he didn't believe it. He went on to say that the article said in Italy they pay over $6 per gallon. Yet he was still sure that because of license fees and unspecified taxes, we still paid more per gallon in the end.

When I pointed out that gas prices will explode within the next decade as supply gets lower, he said he doesn't expect to be around that long (which is odd - he is retired and hard of hearing, but he still has brown hair, and is very active. He still rides his Harley. He isn't all that old. I think.)

I asked if he had kids. He said they were older than me. I asked if he was concerned at all about the air quality and economic climate for them. His response was not straight forward, but seemed to be a combination of 'it won't get too bad in their lifetimes either' and 'someone will solve those problems sooner or later'.

He kept going back to asking why I would spend more on fuel if I didn't have to. I said it was a matter of being a good citizen, like voting. I decided against asking if he voted.

He found it very interesting that I felt that things like international politics and the environment were relevant to me personally.
He insisted he had NEVER met anyone who thought that before. (Or at least no one who admitted it.)
I said I had a lot of customers who felt that way.
He said "maybe in San Francisco". "And Berkeley" "Well, yeah in Berkeley".
We live in Oakland. Oakland in right in between SF and Berkeley. He has lived here for at least a decade or two (I can't remember, it may have been longer) and has never met what you might call an environmentalist!?!?

This is a guy who occasionally flies an American flag over his home (more often its the Jolly Roger).
He babysits for another neighbor. He never rants about "liberals". We talk now again - we both have motorcycles, so sometimes about that. He tells stories of his life. Regular guy. He wasn't the slightest antagonistic about my views. He was just surprised.

He could see how if that stuff mattered to me it might be worth it to buy bio-diesel. For him, he said, all that mattered it the dollar cost.

We tend to focus on the exploitative corporations, corrupt government, fundamentalist religious people, and hummer drivers.
I think our biggest obstacle is all the ordinary people in between. We shouldn't be an "extreme", but unfortunately, in this country, we are.

19 October 2007

I am in Playboy magazine

  • Oct 19, 2007

I am in Playboy magazine


November, 2007 Issue, page 46.

Its so fun to be published.  Now, not just my handful of blog readers, but Playboy's 3 million readers (well, ok, maybe half of them just look at the pictures.  I imagine with the availability of free hardcore internet porn a higher percentage actually reads it) have to hear my thoughts and opinions.

I remember writing the letter to the editor, but I hadn't realized I had ever sent it.  Guess I did.
They reversed my first and last names.  That's ok.  Trust me, "Kafele Bakari" is really me.

In answer to your question, no, there is no naked picture of me.  It is possible that I was naked when I wrote it, but not very likely. 

Incidentally, the first topic on that page, by Brett, I believe it is the first time I have ever heard anyone (besides myself) point out what he does.

01 October 2007

Bike helmets - (I still don’t like the sound of my recorded voice)

  • Oct 1, 2007

Bike helmets - I still don’t like the sound of my recorded voice

You'd think that after having been the vocalist in several bands, recording some solo stuff (like my profile song), and all, I'd be used to it.


Fridays I switch off with a co-worker.

I thought it was my day off. I get the phone call "Are you coming in?"


"you know you're supposed to be at the bikestation, right?"

"oh $@! really? I'm so sorry. I'll be there in like an hour"

"And the film crew is waiting for you"


28 September 2007

There must be something wrong with me

  • Sep 28, 2007

There must be something wrong with me

I say "have a good night"

They respond "enjoy your weekend"

It sounds pretty stupid, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I always feel like maybe they are trying to show me up with a superior salutation (wait, does that mean greeting? what is the term for goodbyes?)
Like I should say "on yeah, well enjoy your whole week! Have a good month!!!! I hope your whole life is filled with meaning, pleasure, and goodness - motherfucker!"

These thoughts would not occur to normal people would they?

Here is an unrelated question.
I have asked it before, but no one ever answered it.

I have 7 readers (one of the 8 is really me)
This blog has supposedly been read 16 times today, and 95 this week, although there have only been 2 posts.
Who are you? Where did you find me? Why don't you ever comment? Or are the same 7 people refreshing the page over and over and over, 13.5 times each, (or is it all Beth, who mentioned doing something like that once, refreshing the page 83 times this week?)
On average each post has had 26 views. Maybe thats normal. Someone must be reading this and knows the answer and refuses to tell me. You, whoever you are, are just so weird.

See my new profile picture? One of the earliest cars with the Tango. It probably won't be the car of the future, but it should be. 2 Passenger electric car, powerful, fast, full steel racing style roll cage, thin enough t lane split or park between 2 regular parking spaces facing the curb. The traffic jam would go the way of the model T.
Unfortunately, the reasonably affordable models are only concept cars until they get more funding.

George Cloony bought one of the first of their top of the line sports models.

hour and a half till I get to go home...

26 September 2007

Abridged list of enemies in EarthBound on SNES

  • Sep 26, 2007


You may well be wondering why I am posting an abridged list of EarthBound NPC adversaries.

I have no good answer for you.

All I can say is that was one of the greatest games ever, primarily because of the various people and things your character had to battle.

They never made an English version of the sequel. (It was a Japanese game. I read that the characters and scenarios were in part making fun of American culture)

If I remember correctly, this list is in order of difficulty (i.e. the ones near the bottom are more powerful)
I picked only the ones which amused me most. There are many more like this in the game.
Spiteful Crow
Mobile Sprout
Unassuming Local Guy
Ramblin’ Evil Mushroom
New Age Retro Hippie
Annoying Old Party Man
Territorial Oak
Mole Playing Rough
Happy Happyist
Worthless Protoplasm
Handsom Tom
Smelly Ghost
Urban Zombie
No Good Fly
Zombie Processor
Slimy Little Pile
Armored Frog
Plain Crocodile
Violent Roach
Smilin’ Sphere
Cute Li’l UFO
Mad Taxi
Crazed Sign
Annoying Reveler
Scalding Coffee
Mystical Record
Enraged Fire Plug
Clumsy Robot
Dali’s Clock
Abstract Art
OverZealous Cop
Kiss of Death
High Class UFO
Demonic Petunia
Even Slimier Little Pile
Hostile Elder Oak
Big Pile of Puke
Manly Fish
Manly Fish’s Brother
Master Barf
Lesser Mook
Atomic Pover Robot
Starman Deluxe
Ego Orb
Soul Consuming Flame
Psychic Psycho
Loaded Dice
Carefree Bomb
Wild ’N Wooly Shambler

18 September 2007


  • Sep 18, 2007 

  • Love

    My definition:
    Several parts, all absolutely necessary without exception.
    (In no particular order)
    Which I consider to also consist of two parts –
    Trust: one should be willing to tell the other what they think and feel.
    Comfort: one should be as comfortable doing or saying anything in front of the other as they would be if they were alone
    Care: I define this as not only feeling sympathy, but the willingness to make a personal sacrifice for another's gain. One is not only willing, but will take the initiative to give up something they want, or to do something they don't want, in order to make the other happy. This should be up to, and including, a one to one ratio – i.e. a sacrifice of equal magnitude to the gain the other gets from it. In any particular instance the ratio can be higher (I give up something I strongly want to give you something you moderately want) but overall it should not exceed 1:1; that would be an indication of a non-mutual, and ultimately unhealthy, relationship.

    Enjoyment: A desire to be with the person, just for its own sake. Not because it makes the other happy, not because one should, not because they provide some particular useful thing, but just because it is enjoyable to spend time with them.
    Understanding: Both knowledge of and understanding of the reasoning behind the other's beliefs, principals, opinions and preferences, and having one's own beliefs principals, opinions and preferences known and understood. This does not mean that each must necessarily agree with them all, but they should know what they are and why.

    All of these things must be present for me to call it love. Any one or any two of them I would not be comfortable calling love. I certainly have felt one or two of these for others before. Never before all three for the same person. I had to experience it before I could formulate my definition, and so I have used the term in circumstances which I wouldn't today. To me, it is not an easy thing to come by.
    Note that the first 3 can exist without being mutual.
    Any of the four can exist without the other 3, which would constitute a friendship.
    Having, say, 3 of the 4 could make a very special and important relationship. But having all 4 makes a qualitatively different relationship. It is what separates a close friendship from a life partner, or a healthy "long term relationship" from an unhealthy one.
    Each of the 4 can be present in varying amounts. None is likely to be 100%, at least not 100% of the time. In some cases a deficit in one (partial, not complete) may make a relationship unsustainable. Which is more important, and the exact amounts needed may vary from person to person. Ultimately, once all 4 are satisfied, there is no significant advantage to going to someone "better". There is some inherent value to commitment, (both emotional and practical) and any improvement in a new person would be only a quantitative change, not a qualitative one, and therefore would have to be very large indeed to be worth it. In a conflict, as long as all 4 are present (or have been, and can reasonably be expected to be again) it is probably worth the effort and difficulty to work things out. If one is missing, and has little hope of ever being present, it is probably better to let it go. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I can't help but to think that most people would prefer a partner who satisfied each of those requirements (mutually). Perhaps I am mistaken, but I also can't help but to think that there are very few (if any) people who can find all 4 in the same person with relative ease. I think that even the simplest, most easy going person would have trouble finding someone they were compatible with. Perhaps there are some who genuinely, under the layers of pride, distrust, fear, and "principal" really have no desire to have a life partner – but I doubt it.

    Nostalgia means "I love you"

    • Sep 18, 2007

    Nostalgia means "I love you"

    A few minutes ago my iPod, randomly shuffling between a 605 track playlist, played "Everyday" by Dave Matthews Band.
    I was putting up window tint, and not thinking about you at all at the time.
    It immediately made me think of - not of you exactly, but of the feeling of you, the general thought of you.
    Within the next second, it reminded me of Stanford and then El Cerrito. Then again, not really the places, but the feelings that go along with them, a memory not of any particular site or sound, but of the feeling I had when I was there
    And of course, the places themselves were of no significance, it was the person I was with who made those places interesting, something to look forward to.

    I have the feeling of "nostalgia" now and then, from different things, about different things. In one way it is a good feeling, but usually it is more just interesting than it is pleasant. The good component is usually balanced by an unpleasant part, which is much too subtle to explain, almost too subtle to even notice, but it is there none-the-less.

    I can't remember a feeling of nostalgia which was as filled with warmth. Warmth is precisely it. It was all pleasant feeling, even with what has been going on recently. It made me realize something:

    I think I really was in love with you, long before I was aware of it, long before I told you, long before I admitted it. Not just "love" in the sense that I have loved you all along and continue to, not just care and positive regard, but "in" love, with that extra little special something which is indefinable.

    -A digression:
    I have updated my theories of love. I used to belittle the feeling of "in" love as either being "just" a crush or infatuation, or lust, in any case, not real, not sustainable.
    These certainly can be factors, and the three can be impossible to distinguish sometimes. But, when accompanied by "real" love (you know what I mean), the distinction comes in the indefinable element.
    You can list the factors which make a person someone you would love, but there are always other things, subtle, indefinable, unplaceable things, which are still very real despite being incommunicable, which are the extra element, which make it "in" love.
    Sometimes I would say I loved you, and you would ask why, and I might say I wasn't sure. Which you took to mean it was either untrue or meaningless. But really, it was very true, and very meaningful. Probably more so than the list of qualities could ever be. You do fulfill the 'list', but another person who filled the list might not be the same to me as you are.
    I had always assumed that when people used the term "chemistry" they were essentially talking about lust. But, this morning I was thinking about all this; you said something to the effect that if certain others had specific qualities, (and maybe they will turn out to) I would really like her - but I don't feel for anyone, now, ever, quite the way I did (and still do) for you, even back when I didn't admit it. Perhaps it could be called "chemistry"; whatever it is, it's missing with others.

    I was also thinking about commitment. I used to think that if any two people are together, and a 3rd comes along who is better (by the standards of the 'list') for one, they should, logically, split, and be with the new person.
    I disagree with that now.
    There is an activation energy, a minimum threshold, which must be overcome for that formula to be valid.
    The up hill which must be passed consists of many things:
    The difficulty and unpleasantness of breaking up, the giving up of an acquired closeness, risk in replacing someone you know is good for you with someone you merely suspect to be better, and the lack of the stability, comfort, and reassurance which comes with commitment - whether or not it is ever acted upon.
    The person has to be not only better in an absolute sense, but so much better as to be worth all of those negative aspects of both the transition and the mind set. For, even if the long term benefit of a new person outweighed the difficulties of the transition, just having that mindset means both people would have to live forever with the constant threat of the loss of their partner. This in and of itself would cause problems, jealousy, unhappiness, stress, fear, discomfort. For, no two people could ever be 100% perfect for each other 100% of the time, and the possibility of someone "better" is always present.
    But when the drawbacks of a transition to a "better" are taken into account, the amount of "betterness" required grows considerably.
    And when I think about it, you, for me, are too close to ideal for someone else, no matter how much "better" to ever overcome that threshold energy. You, plus the threshold, equals an unimaginably unrealistic vision of perfection - a perfection plus; it makes as much sense as sentencing 10 consecutive life sentences, its simply meaningless.

    Given that, I know now that I would be willing to commit to you.
    Not just "getting married" in the legal sense, or buying a house together, or even having a child together.
    But as a decision inside myself.

    I know that you don't feel that way. Which is unfortunate and sad, but its ok. It doesn't change my feeling, nor my willingness. If someday in the future you were interested, you should know where I stand. I realize that you probably feel completely different than me on the subject, and definitely at least somewhat differently, and also that even if you did see it the same way, you have doubts as to whether or not I could be that person for you. I suspect you will come around after going through what ever you have to in the mean time, but maybe I'll turn out to be wrong, and then that's just the way things go.

    If we can not be together in the long run, I think I will want to know you again, be friends with you... eventually.
    That would be hard for me, very, especially at first. I will still love you, and I will probably still be in love with you too. (Right, "still". As in, I'm beginning to suspect that I have been all along, but since its constant, I don't notice, like the hum on an airplane, except when it is unusually strong.) And, since we have already separated, most of the elements of that threshold are irrelevant, I am still confident you will remain my first choice for life partners. But a little of you is better than none at all, (once I get used to it), just like it is now. Another thing I think you should know.

    07 September 2007

    My company is now a certified green business!

    • Sep 7, 2007

    My company is now a certified green business!

    Wait, what did that title say?
    "My company"?

    That still sounds so weird.

    Yes, my company has been in business for just over one year.

    As of 2 days ago, Bio-Diesel Hauling has been certified green by the Bay Area Green Business Program.

    As of last night I have a website! http://www.biodieselhauling.org/

    Within the next few days I will have registered my fictitious business name. (Form and check are filled out, its up to the USPS now).

    I have a newly designed card.

    I have had enough work from repeats, referrals, and through the BikeStation that I have not had to post an ad (on Craigslist) for almost 2 months.

    In recognition of these successes, I have decided (as CEO) to give myself (as driver and laborer) a 50% raise.

    Don't worry, my friends, family, referrals, and loyal repeat customers will all continue to receive my old rate (20/hr & 1/mile) for at least the next half a year.

    What I'm wondering now is if anything will ever happen to me in life that I actually did plan in advance.

    06 July 2007

    Dr Cox on love; heterosexual ManLove; and does enjoying performing fellatio make a guy gay?

    • Jul 6, 2007

    Dr Cox on love; heterosexual ManLove; and does enjoying performing fellatio make a guy gay?

    ok, first: I don't mean to imply any correlation what ever between the three topics.
    They are totally independent, only there are overlapping themes, love without sex, sex without sex, love with love. Plus, the two clips are from the same show. And as a final pun, his name is "Dr. Cox" which in the context of this blog amuses me more than it should at my age.

    I really like this show. Its rare that a show can be so utterly ridicules, and still catch the heart and make suckers like me cry now and then. The situations are often fantastic, the personalities blown to super proportions, the visual gags and gimmicks childish, almost surreal in a way, and yet the feeling in the relationships is believable - you get the feeling the writers have felt the way the characters do. Most of them, most of the time, under all the fun and, all basically unhappy people. And it isn't so hard to sympathize with Cox going back to his horribly dysfunctional relationship, to his deliberately psychologically abusive ex-wife. And you watch this; clearly he knows better. But sometimes, that's just how life is, and people are people.

    Was it "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"? Yes, where the wife is jealous of her husbands relationship with his best friends, and he insists she corrupts the relationship they had by suggesting there was a sexual element to it. Maybe there really was, maybe there would have been in a more open society, and maybe neither. Bottom line, it shouldn't matter. Certainly part of the feeling of love evolved to coincide with sex, as a mechanism to hold a family unit together, to get us to care for our mates and young. But we are a social specie as well as one which mates long-term, and there is naturally love for family, for kin, for friends. It is perhaps our deeply internalized homophobia (and literally phobia, as in fear) which prevents more open man love, more heterosexual life-partners, (as a friend of mine explains his relationship with his roommate/friend). Because we assume that love implies sex, even though many of us can decouple the inverse. This subconscious internalization is so pervasive that even I, raised as I was my a openly bi former hippy, with my gender-neutral mind (according to the BBC / PBS online tests), and my liberal philosophy, am often made uncomfortable by the relationship between Turk and JD - not despite their both being hetero, but because of it. That makes it worse somehow, like I can accept homosexuality so long as its something *other*, but in that context, it makes me think abut my own male friends, and it becomes creepy.

    Just like my third topic, which is sort of the inverse, but really just different.

    I had mentioned to a friend of mine that I thought I might be able to learn to be rather good at fellatio, and that it was in a way unfortunate that I'm straight. She questioned whether enjoying giving head automatically makes a guy gay. My reaction was the same as yours - uh, yeah, duh, by definition! But then I thought about it a bit. The giver doesn't have to be stimulated. Not all pleasurable experiences are sexual. And not all sexual experiences have any thing to do with a meaningful or long-term relationship. Remove the assumptions, implications, expectations, and you have left only a specific oral / sensual experience. Plenty of oral fixations are non-sexual; cigarettes have their nicotine and gum has flavor, part of it is just the sucking and the chewing, not to mention toothpicks, and pacifiers. And besides the sensation, it may just be fun, or pleasant to give pleasure, like giving a massage, or a good meal, to someone, without wanting anything from it. Which may be key. Some people (even some Hells Angels) think a person can receive oral from a man without being gay. I never understood that. As the receiver it is unquestionably sexual, and the person stimulating you is another man. As giver it isn't necessarily sexual. You may not want the favor returned. You may not find the person attractive. I can tell a good looking man from your average ugmo, but that doesn't make me want to have sex with him.

    Think of a similar example:
    In general attractive guys are hard (not like that, silly, I mean from their big muscles). They tend to be hairy. Women, even fit ones, tend to be soft. If I were female, I imagine I would still find sensual pleasure in attending a Japanese soapland. And if your gonna have a slippery naked body sliding around you, it would feel a lot nicer if they are soft and smooth. So aside from the sexual aspect, a straight woman would likely prefer her soapland attendant to another female. Or a male athlete may prefer a male masseuse for his stronger hands. Its a sensual experience without being sexual.

    One could be attracted to women, desire only to have sex with women, fantasize about women, have relationships with women, and separate from that, enjoy sucking cock now and then.
    I have yet to test this theory. It makes sense, but its still creepy. I'm curios, but the grossness overwhelms curiosity. Maybe someday. Just to prove to myself that I can. Just to add to my repertoire of useless skills and random experiences.
    Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll like it... after all, gay guys get way more sex than we do. Some times I wish I were gay for no other reason. I guess that won't really work, since I'm already in love with a female, and I want her to end up as my life partner. Well, its an interesting thought anyway.

    05 July 2007

    original, independent, and dumb ideas

    • Jul 5, 2007

    original, independent, and dumb ideas

    I have never been much of one to go with the crowd.

    Probably the main thing that attracted my friends and I together in high school was that.

    We were not necessarily so similar to each other.

    A lot of people make a point of being "different", for its own sake, for the attention, whatever.

    Many of us did that at some point, trying to not fit in, but at root, I think most of us had our own ways of doing things first, and figured if we were to be on the fringe anyway, may as well have fun with it.

    It's different.

    Me, I found my own ways to do stuff. No one suggested to me that I should, (or could) ride my bike to school (back in middle school). I never saw anyone else do it. I was the only one in the entire school. The happy van, I saw it, it was just perfect, so I bought it. Why pay rent? Why should only the homeless live in their cars? Why use deodorant when hand sanitizer does such a better job? You know what I mean.

    I find that many, if not most of the people I find myself close to, or respect, tend to be this way too.

    Don't get me wrong - I see value in the alternative, and there are people I enjoy who I would not classify that way. After all, there have been thousands of generations before us who have had plenty of time to figure things out. If we each had to reinvent the wheel, and fire, for ourselves, humanity would not be where it is today, (the bad or the good from collective knowledge). Nothing wrong with learning from others.

    The trick is, I guess, to recognize which things have value and to discard the rest. Because sometimes an entire society is collectively blind to some bit of common sense and does something stupid for generations, (tank based water heaters, for example, or refrigerators with the compressor at the bottom and the freezer on top)

    I notice this recently.

    My mother and my wife, they are both this way. They have their own ways of doing things, which they think are better than how everyone else does. Having two independent minded people interact, it is inevitable that there be conflicts sometimes. I know that they both respect my opinion and consider my input, but when it comes down to it, neither care if I think an idea they have is dumb (like for instance traveling in the 2nd world on a new bike with non-standard parts, or suppressing weeds and grass with sheets of plastic). And in a way, I have to respect them for that. I'm glad that my word is merely one piece of input and does not override, even when I am right; well, when I am pretty sure I am. I wouldn't have it any other way.

    I find it a little odd, ironic, that she (wife, not mother) thought for so long that she was passive and just going along, when she never was that way. As though she were any less independent than she is now. Not any time that I knew her. It was her who suggested we buy an RV together, and live in it, she who picked it... I remember debating philosophy, time, long ago, when she was just an acquaintance. I remember her choosing to leave home as a child. But she didn't feel it.
    I guess a lot of us have a different self-perception than what those around us see as obvious. She didn't used to think she was pretty, and after all those modeling jobs, I'm still not sure that she fully appreciates just how beautiful she is. There are probably things like this about me too - but of course I can't imagine what they are.

    25 June 2007

    Crazy People and In-Laws

    • Jun 25, 2007

    Crazy People and In-Laws

    The guy I told you about, the homeless guy who lost his ticket and says a conspiracy exists that prevents him form getting an ID; when i came in today Felipe had let him borrow some tools to work on his bike.

    His stuff was spread out all over the floor, his bags, spare tires, shoes...
    He kept going and going.
    He started asking for different tools, and I told him we don't normally load out tools (which is true) but I wanted him to finish so he could leave, so I let him use one more wrench and took back the others...

    Raving and rambling non-sense, and yelling at fare jumpers for some reason.

    I was getting so tired of him.

    And you know what?

    He reminded me of your dad, or I thought how they were similar, and right when I thought that, I felt more sympathy for him. I felt a little more patient.
    Which was odd, because I don’t generally feel sympathy for your father (or at least I never thought I did).
    The only interaction I had with him was throwing him out of a restaurant, followed by calling him a liar and making vague threats which he took seriously enough to walk away when i told him to.
    I feel anger at him for hurting you. Both when you were little, and for those things that lasted into adulthood. I resent the effect he has had on my life, through you.

    So it surprised me that the association had that effect, but it was strong and undeniable. Maybe because I know that there is a connection between him and you. Maybe I see him as family (but then why do I not feel the same patience with my actual family?)

    Of course, when he started yelling at every passing BART passenger because they hadn't prevented his stuff being stolen (it was apparently stolen hours ago, if not days; but it his mind, is was the fault of ll passers-by, because "people" don't do anything to stop it when they witness such things happening) I did tell him he had to leave.

    21 June 2007

    Land Rover ad makes it explicit

    • Jun 21, 2007

    Land Rover ad makes it explicit

    after listing off fancy technological off road features, the voice over says:

    "despite the probability that you won't, the LR2 is designed for the possibility that you will"

    American consumer mindset, right there.

    Our homes, our cars, the self-storage industry (which has only existed since the 1970s and has doubled in the past few years) all guided by that principal.

    Lets all take what we can grab before it runs out...
    (and try to forget that it wouldn't be running out if we weren't all grabbing)

    20 June 2007

    Prius v. my own Hypocrisy

    • Jun 20, 2007

    Prius v. my own Hypocrisy

    Auto ads today would have you believe that 30-35 mpg is amazingly good.

    35 is awful!
    We have the technology to have affordable passenger vehicles that get 100mpg.
    I'll avoid the technical details, but the potential is absolutely there. Without being a hybrid. Seriously. Trust me.

    A small part of it is the industry's refusal to do it.
    But the primary reason they don't exist is us.

    You and I, my friend.

    I just read an article in Mother Jones about this guy who volunteered with Habitat for Humanity - that is, until they wanted to put a couple of affordable homes in HIS neighborhood! Then he began to protest and look for legal recourse against his former organization's work.

    We look down on him, but we are all him. We are happy to help, as long as the cost to ourselves is negligible.

    We are unhappy with a car that takes 20 seconds to go 0-60, maxes out at 85, has room for only 1 passenger, a small trunk, seats with minimal padding, no A/C or heat, manual transmission, manual steering, no power brakes, no power anything.

    And so I look at how popular the Prius is; even though the Insight was available years earlier, and gets nearly twice the average mileage (35-40 vs 70); even though 90% of or trips have one or no passengers, even though the speed limit is 65 and we rarely exceed it by more than 15mph or so - we want to know that we could carry 4 passengers at 95mph, and so the Insight doesn't sell, and is discontinued, while the Prius, with its pathetic 35-40 has a waiting list.

    And what I realized is:
    I drive. My (motor)bike gets 55-60mpg; good, about as good as available for a freeway speed capable machine sold today. That's still a lot of gas getting burned, a lot of pollutants in the air. Just to save me an hour of travel time here and there. Yes, my truck runs on 100% vegetable oil - but it has its own form of pollution, and it still has to come from somewhere, it has to get transported. I ride my bike to work...most days. Which means sometimes I don't. Yes, I have an ultra-efficient home - but it saves me money, plus I enjoy it.
    So what, really, am I sacrificing?

    And so, in my self-righteousness, I am exactly like the Prius owner.
    I work for a non-profit and split my tips with the Coalition; but I don't volunteer (and I have no intention of starting to).
    I am vegetarian, but mainly because the thought of eating flesh is sickening.

    I guess it is a part of the human mind to despise most those people whose faults match our own most closely.

    The people who abhor welfare usually inherited wealth or at least education and connections.
    The anti-sex are secretly perverted, and the strongest homophobes are often as not gay. Narcs steal from the evidence room, and the woman who sent hate mail to the guy from the example above who stopped volunteering for Habitat, her home is just as expensive as his.
    The deeply religious feel guilt for all their own sins (Christianity's appeal is that all sins are forgiven, as long as you have faith).

    I always found the religious to be the most hypocritical and disturbing of all.
    To apply the trend I have found, that must mean I am secretly religious myself...

    ... ... ...


    Not even a little.

    So, I guess that destroys my whole theory about indignant hypocrisy. Sometimes we just dislike something because its stupid; it doesn't have to be projection. That's good. I feel better now. Damn Priuses.

    13 June 2007

    At One With Teh Dumb

    • Jun 13, 2007

    At One With Teh Dumb

    Like ebonics, anti-intellectualism, and the re-election of President Junior, the deliberate misspelling and typos in internet chat culture is a glorification of stupid.
    People continually search for innovative new ways to appear more ignorant than they really are.

    Being stupid is not cool!

    While we're at it, why don't we un-learn all language, give up technology medicine and agriculture, forgot how to make fire, and cut off our opposable  thumbs.

    Some people are born with less intelligence.

    That's OK. Some people are small, or ugly, or disabled, and that's no fault of their own, nothing to be ashamed of, and some people happen to be born retarded.

    But being stupid on purpose, that's just, well, stupid.

    With one significant exception:

    At One With The Dumb, the album by Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggets, exemplified by their song "I Wish I Was Special"

    Hopefully they will play it at their re-union show, Sunday June 24th, at "The Gilman" on Gilman in Berkeley.

    12 June 2007

    Sexual Dimorphism, and Caveman Love

    Sexual Dimorphism, and Caveman Love

    Its the scientific term for species where the genders have non-reproductive body features which are distinct from each other, like a mallard's green head or a peacock's tail.  The fiddler crab probably doesn't count because his giant claw is used directly for the mating process.  Many species the genders are both the same size, but differential size sexual dimorphism is very common.

    In insects, spiders, microscopic animals, some sea life, a lot of variety exists. Often the female is many times larger than the male, sometimes the male lives symbiotically or even parasitically within the female for a life time, or males live only a few days while females live for months or years.
    In the larger animals, the chordates, there are two primary strategies. 
    In some species, the males show off for the women, build a better nest, do a sexier dance, show off bright flashy colors, and the women get to choose. 
    In others, the men threaten each other, fight if need be, and the winner gets his pick of women - or as many as he can handle, or even all of them.  In this case, it is purely a question of physical dominance.  It doesn't matter if he is ugly, or stupid, or mean.  As long as he's strong, he gets to mate with all the women, whether the other guys like it or not; not to mention whether the women like it or not.  Occasionally, in many species, the women have affairs with certain less dominate males, risking the wrath of Brutus for themselves and their partners.

    11 June 2007

    Stuff smells

    • Jun 11, 2007

    Stuff smells


    Latin for "Against Life"

    That which kills, poison, death.

    We consider it medicine. We use anti-life to keep us alive.

    We don’t like to think that we are animals. The "higher" primates. "More" evolved - if a specie is still here, it’s equally highly evolved. We are just more recently evolved.
    We like to think our motives are better, more pure or more altruistic - we want to make the world a better place, which shows we have souls; we are not animalistic, motivated by lust and hunger and fear. But altruism is common in social species, it is animalistic; and we are motivated by lust, hunger, and fear.

    We teach our children early on - not on purpose, but by example, that things that are slimy are "gross". Amphibians, for example.
    I can barely imagine a more pleasant sensual experience than a Japanese "SoapLand" - all slimy and slippery and soft and squishy and squirmy.

    We, humanity, most societies, are antagonistic toward even just the concept of sex. We take it as given that knowing that sex exists will harm, or at least confuse children. Sex is bad for children? Without sex there are no children! Sex is life. We’re not going to learn how to bud off clone offspring anytime soon.

    We like everything purified and sanitized. Sanitized for your protection. Antibiotic. Wouldn’t want to make your immune system have to work. Don’t drink the water. The people who live in second and third world countries drink the water everyday, and they haven’t all died. We avoid dirt. Dirt is soil. Soil grows plants, primary producers, that every other specie depends on for sustenance. Dirt is life. We can’t photosynthesize. We need dirt. A little dirt with your water, with your food, it won’t hurt you. What other specie drinks water only after its been distilled, or reverse osmosised? Its unnatural.

    We can see, we can hear, we can feel, we can taste, we can smell. We don’t seem to care much for smell. Things have scents. Saying something "smells" is synonymous in our language for something smells bad. As though every smell were bad. Something is making a sound doesn’t automatically mean a gratingly annoying sound. Most creatures that smell, they use it, they recognize each other by smell, they find food. We don’t like each other’s smell. We wash it away. We deodorize it. The fact that we overly concentrate it with clothing even on a warm day certainly doesn’t help… Most animals don’t like the smell of strong chemicals, but who else finds the smell of their own species to be gross?

    Some of the best things about being alive, like sex and food and some of the best play, is slimy and smelly and dirty and filled with bacteria - but not the kind of bacteria that are going to kill you.

    We don’t find much visual stimulus to be repulsive. Seems like half of all scents stink to someone.

    If we are protected from life, what is the point of living?
    Why would anyone want to ingest something which is called an "anti-biotic"?

    02 June 2007

    Email to Move-On.org

    • Jun 2, 2007

    Email to Move-On.org

    I have to disagree with you on this one.

    Gas prices need to go up; way up.

    Americans drive frivolously.
    Air pollution, oil wars, and possibly global warming, are not due to politician evil as much as they are due to consumer habits.
    Oil companies - like most American corporations, make way too much money, but the people do not have a "right" to cheap gas.

    If the oil companies are gouging, ride a bicycle, or take the train, or at least buy a smaller car.

    We should not be encouraging move-on members to be on the wrong side of this issue.
    Gas prices need to go up, the sooner the better. That is the ONLY thing which will drive alternative technology, efficiency, energy independence, and individual conservation.

    30 May 2007


    • May 30, 2007


    It says something about our society.

    On the BART in the morning, just over 50% of the passengers on any given car are asleep, or trying to sleep, or trying not to sleep, or at least resting with their eyes closed and their heads leaned over.

    Sacrificing sleep in order to start the business day an hour earlier - every single day.
    Why is this required, and why do we allow it? Is that much money really made between 7am and 8am?

    Of course I am on that train too, in order to see it; but then that's because my job is a service specifically to commuters. So I have to be there before the commute. All those people on the train at 6am can't all have jobs specific to commuters.
    And, well, in my case, something about skating 2.5 miles to BART while listening to Shock G and the DU as the sun comes up, it just makes it feel different. I actually enjoy my commute, even when I'm tired.

    Look at these faces: they are not happy faces. Even without the loss of sleep, they are not happy faces.

    I remember my bike trip through Mexico almost a decade ago now. It wasn't like this.
    I would come across a store or a restaurant. The sign, if there was one, might say they opened at 9. But whether or not it was actually open at 9, that seemed to depend more on whether or not the owner felt like opening by then or not than what the sign said.
    Which could be a little annoying when I had just ridden 15 miles and was looking forward to breakfast, but even then, I understood, I still liked that system better.

    Money is to support living, instead of life being a means to make money.

    28 May 2007

    Like a mountain stream

    • May 28, 2007

    Like a mountain stream

    following the path of least resistance

    gravity will take you down, with no effort on your part

    no effort is always attractive

    but you end up lost in the vast ocean

    or at the bottom of the deepest chasm

    only then will you rest

    and to get to better place you must hike all the way back up

    when had you taken the effort to control your direction from the beginning, the path would have been shorter

    to reach the peak takes effort

    effort rewarded

    taking the path of least resistance, like a mountain stream,
    you may not end up where you want to

    27 May 2007

    Guess who just did his first one handed pull up?

    • May 27, 2007

    Guess who just did his first one handed pull up?

    Oh hell yes!

    And to think, so much money, so much time wasted on gym memberships and working out.
    When all I had to do was start working as a mover/hauler.

    Ok, ok, I admit it
    It wasn't really a proper pull-up.
    It was what the junior high school gym teacher referred to as a 1/2 pull-up, so that he didn't have to give out so many zeros during the annual fitness test. 
    (Back then there were a lot of halves, ones, occasionally a two.  I used to pop off 10 or 15...)
    Not the entire range of motion, from full extension to full contraction.
    I can go from either full extension to half way, or half way to full contraction, but not quite both at once.

    But this is sure the closest I've ever come!
    I'm pretty happy with it.
    Give me a couple months with my new in home pull-up bar, and...

    26 May 2007

    Free stuff for everybody

    • May 26, 2007

    Free stuff for everybody

    I am tired of having stuff in my driveway.  I made enough off of picking them up and the stuff that sold quick
    Ignore the prices listed.  With the exception of the grill, if you see anything you have a use for, mention this blog, and its yours. 

    *update: this is the current link*

    25 May 2007

    I understand sleeping with the TV on

    • May 25, 2007

    I understand sleeping with the TV on

    Some sleep with the TV on every night.
    Once in a while may not mean anything, but every night, that is unmistakable.

    Others are more subtle

    Insomnia.  Some part keeps saying 'what are you doing trying to sleep when you could be using this time to go look for it?'

    Drinking; a lot. Exceptions include alcoholics and college  students.
    Most other drugs too, same thing.

    Excess exercise.  You can tell them from the truly health conscious because they will work out even when sick, injured, or sore from last time, when exercise is not healthy, and probably counter-productive. They know that it is, but feel compelled none the less.

    Overtime which is not really needed financially.

    Volunteering so much that it displaces all or most personal life.  Hard to distinguish between those who really care, because surely that's a factor for everyone, and there are no concrete lines to draw.

    Singular obsessions of nearly any kind.  This I don't know so much about, I could not tell which instances were this, and which were simply neurosis

    It may involve constant (but primarily or exclusively superficial) social interactions, or it may be a complete withdrawal from social life.

    Just, one way or another, filling all of ones time, never allowing for down time, for rest.  It doesn't make any difference what that time is filled with, if it feels imperative that it be something, every moment.
    Every type 'A' personality is unsatisfied.  There is something they need to get, something they need to achieve or to find or to prove which they know they will never be able to.

    Its all the same.  We know we are missing something.  We don't want to admit it to ourselves.  We don't want to think about it.
    Some are in such deep denial that they don't even know there is anything to look for, have no idea that their activities are a coping mechanism.  They rationalize it, "this is just what I enjoy doing".  They really don't know.

    I know exactly what I am missing. 
    Sometimes I envy the ones who don't, but in the end, I don't really think it makes them happier.  It just means they end up throwing away the chance when it comes by, because they'd rather keep up the illusion than risk having to feel.  They'd rather go without than risking finding it and losing it again.

    But is a guaranty of acceptable really worth a chance at excellent?

    This may be most of us.  What it is we are each missing in our lives, they may be totally different for each of us, they may have nothing in common.  It doesn't matter.  The feeling is the same.  The actions we take to deal with it when we have no control are all the same.

    Sleeping with the TV on can mean many things, but it always means that there is something which you are afraid to let yourself think about.  There is something which is hard to repress without distraction.

    Me, I can't sleep with the TV on.  When I first noticed this habit in others, I recognized it for what it was, but I really didn't sympathize. 
    I wonder if I could learn to sleep with it on. 

    After all, I have such a nice flat panel TV in the bedroom...

    23 May 2007

    I HAVE to have a subject line, MySpace says so

    • May 23, 2007

    I HAVE to have a subject line, MySpace says so

    the human mind is just so strange

    dare you ever feel the slightest confidence that you have "figured it out", it'll show you a thing or two

    If all the most important things are crumbling, how does that justify this sense of contentment, actually joy.
    One or the other, they could compensate, but both at once, I should be inconsolable.
    And yet. Next? No idea. And yet. Music in my brain. Feeling the present. And its ok.

    Even the guy just now, I can't stay mad at him, even crazy people have to ride bikes. Must be hard to go through life convinced that you are "black-listed", that everyone is after you. As obnoxious as he was, and even with the threats, I mostly feel sorry for him.

    I've been crying from TV shows and movies. Drama, comedy, sometimes cartoons. From bad moments and good. What the hell is that about?
    I am not the man I once was.
    Not that it's brand new, but its excessive, or at odd times, or... its just abnormal.

    I know repression. Oh dear do I ever. This ain't it.

    I think I like it. How can I not? Happy is happy. Is all in the mind after all... I guess. Or?

    Who got the gravy? That's the real question isn't it?

    Problem with memory being so damn small, its way too easy to misplace. Real-to-real magnetic storage medium, now that ain't gonna be misplaced. This thing is friggin 1cm square; what did the hell did I expect? I lose things literally thousands of times bigger than that.

    Pointless to ask, not even I know.

    She might have been cute. The black eye was just too distracting. It wasn't this way when we moved in. There was just the one guy. A death, a move, a change in management, and the stereotypes become more and more valid each day. Plus side that my yard looks clean by comparison, but not really worth it.

    What is this about? Everything. Blog is just an outlet, for words, for thoughts. They have to go somewhere. Else you end up thinking groups are targeting you, and threatening to use "devices".

    It is time for midnight skating with some bumpin' music. Fuck sleep. What has sleep ever done for me? Cancellations, and BAM free time. Oh yeah baby! YEEAAAH, Bay-BE!! Sunny weather.
    Lets leave the future for the future. The sun is out. 5 more hours underground.
    Interest bearing debt fading fast. Nuts to a real job. Maybe Alex was right. Omari agreed: planning is pointless. How did he say it? "A plan is a prayer to father time" I would have said to Malomar, but its no less valid for it.

    How did I go so many years not knowing Zapp (and Roger)? I always liked them, just never knew who they were. Thank you Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, as if we needed another reason to like you.

    This is not a short blog!

    20 May 2007


    • May 20, 2007


    riding all day down the coast of California.

    Typical early spring weather.

    Cool.  Misty.  Bright.  Windy.

    Tired, a little hungry.

    Rain starts.

    Rain gear doesn't help - all wet.  Cold.

    Arrive at camp ground, check in, restroom / shower key

    Clothes off, in the shower, all alone, faucet, hot, almost too hot, almost painful
    Almost, but not

    Warm.  Soft

    Like your body is going to melt.
    Right there in the campground shower, melt into a puddle, but you don't mind.

    Wonder briefly what person in shower stall next door thinks of the pleasure noises involuntarily escaping you, but, the feeling is too distracting to think.  Ordinary showers never feel as good.

    Take that feeling, the hot water enveloping, but instead, picture it in girl form.


    And yet -

    Music.   Music in the genre they call "funk".
    Sure, music is a matter of taste, personal preference.
    But there is something ,  that, eee-gha. When your feeling the live band.  The rhythm gets into you.  People to ashamed to dance can't help but tap feet and wiggle heads.  There's a break, a pause, and then that first perfect beat, that first note, and if its done right, the dancers no longer have control over their bodies.  The musicians do.  And they know it, and they play with it.  And its not about what you look like, or about picking someone up, its just the music, just you and the music, and it just feels right, it just feels good.

    Take that feeling, and put it in girl form.

    The music with that ngha and the melting in a puddle.  They are not compatible.  They are both good, but one is calm and one is energy itself.  Or at least, not in any other context are they compatible.  Some how, passion, with all its physical movement, all its effort, makes you melt just like the shower, just like a really good massage.  Even with out sex, even with out love, it is like combining every good sensation, every good feeling that life has to offer us, into one concentrated moment, so intense as to boarder on excruciating, but somehow never crossing that line.

    That sound, in the Beatles song "Girl" on Rubber Soul, the sucking in through the teeth, sssss, I can't find a proper onomatopoeia for it.
    But you know what I mean.

    18 May 2007

    Update to 2 previous blogs

    • May 18, 2007

    Update to 2 previous blogs

    (As you may have noticed, the dates my blogs are supposedly posted are not always accurate, and occasionally even change.
    This is because I think it is easier to read, and easier to distinguish one from another, when there is that solid stripe between them which only separates days, not entries.  Rest assured that they are always in chronological order, and never more than a day or two off from when they were really written.)

    Here is a short sample of the transcription accuracy when the person leaving the message is not deliberately saying lots of weird and random things just to test the system.
    I just got this email from SpinVox:
      • You received a new voicemail from +1510[*******]:

        Bakari. Hey, Dave calling about the workday around noon. Hey, thanks for offering to work today, but we're all set. I've got the shifts covered, so you're next on for Fri afternoon 2 to 9. I will see you then around 2:00. Thanks again. Have a great back-to-work day. Talk to you later.
        - Powered by SpinVox.

        Message received at May 17, 2007 7:14:21 PM

        If you wish to listen to this message, call your voicemail on +925[*******] and press *03

        For assistance, see www.spinvox.com or email service@spinvox.com

        Thank you,