29 December 2008

I may not be as cool as I thought I was

  • Dec 29, 2008

I may not be as cool as I thought I was

Someone pointed out to me recently that no one skates anymore.

Honestly, I hadn't noticed.

Now that I think about it, when I first picked it up, about 14 years ago, there were a lot of people on inlines ("blades" hahahaha)
out on the streets, around Berkeley and SF, on the bike paths, and not just the kids grinding and jumping, but adults, just out for some exercise, or to get somewhere.
And looking around now, it seems that there is... just me.

23 December 2008

The root of the problem

  • Dec 23, 2008

The root of the problem

For a long time now we have tried to believe in supply side economics (also known as Reganomics, closely related to the trickle-down theory).
Cut taxes and/or interest rates, which means people will have more money or borrow more (respectively), which they will in turn spend, and that spending will make the economy grow. Bush Jr. gave tax-payers not just a break, but a refund, calling it a "stimulus". This apparently did not work, because only a few years later we were at the point of handing billions of tax money over to major corporations.

The very idea that stimulating consumption can help the economy is flawed.

22 December 2008

The term "I told you so" comes to mind

  • Dec 22, 2008

The term "I told you so" comes to mind

I would like to point out that in January of this year, I wrote about houses not being a sound financial investment.

Popularly "sub-prime" is thought of as referring to lending to people with poor credit history.  In fact, 61% of sub-prime borrowers had a credit rating high enough for a traditional loan.  The middle class tend to be at least as guilty of living beyond their means as the working class.  21% of those making over 100k a year say they live paycheck to paycheck.
At the time I wrote the blog an unprecedented number of people were deliberately buying houses grossly out of their means using interest only loans (which would never be paid off, by design) on the assumption (by both the consumer and the bank) that the housing market would continue to climb at the rate it was forever. 
That climb, however, was driven mainly by that very speculation, valuable only due to popularity.
This summer, 6 months later, so many people were defaulting on their loans that it affected the entire credit industry, and by extension, the entire economy.

I have an associates degree in economics.  How is it that I was able to see this, yet no one in the dozens of banks and credit institutions, nor the rest of the financial sector was?  Or perhaps were they just confident that friends in the white house would help out with tax payer money?

Stay tuned for the coming of my more direct predictions.

21 December 2008

Sex vs. Morality (Warren was right)

  • Dec 21, 2008

Sex vs. Morality (Warren was right)

The Warren controversy is over the following statement:

"But the issue to me is, I'm not opposed to that as much as I'm opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage. I'm opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage."

People are, of course, up in arms about this, as apparently comparing gays to people who commit incest or polygamy is extremely offensive.

Why is it ok to claim incest and polygamy are inherently immoral or unacceptable?
There have been, and currently still are, a great many cultures where polygamy is practiced, accepted, and legal.  Obama's father, in fact, was married to more than one woman at a time, which is legal in Kenya. 
We are talking consenting adults.  You personally may not want to share your spouse.  What reason do you have to deprive someone who does? 
It is legal, right here in California, for first cousins to marry.  Siblings are slightly closer than cousins genetically, which makes it slightly more likely that certain genetic illnesses which reside on regressive genes could surface if they had children together - but we aren't talking about having children.  Our sexual morays were developed long before the advent of accessible, safe, effective birth control.  Set aside that its gross and weird, and that you personally would never want to do it.  There is no objective reason why two siblings, who are consenting adults, shouldn't have sex if they so choose.  No one is harmed.  It isn't immoral.  Its unusual, (because our brains evolved before birth control. We naturally feel its gross, because its better for the gene pool to be mixed up), but there is nothing wrong with it.
So then, seriously, why shouldn't siblings be allowed to marry? 
When I first began a relationship with my ex-wife she was, technically, a child.  I was an adult, and in CA it was, technically, illegal (had I been 20, instead of 21, however, it would have been legal).  Of course, with a parents consent, a 17 year old can get married, and the age of the other party isn't relevant.  In different cultures and different times, what age is considered a "child" has varied.  There are a great number of countries - as well as most US states - which currently allow marriage at age 16, several at 14 (including 3 US states), and a few at 12.  In many cases (including in the US) this is below the age of adulthood.  Warren did not specify pedophilia (which implies a prepubescent child) nor the age of the older person.

19 December 2008

A twitteresque moment

  • Dec 19, 2008

A twitteresque moment

Fushi (the cat who lives with me) taught himself how to use the toilet so he wouldn't have to go out into the rain.
I will never call him dumb again.

11 December 2008

A brief addendum to the free software blog

  • Dec 11, 2008

A brief addendum to the free software blog

I just discovered a website which allows bloggers to easily add a feature so that readers can receive email updates when a new entry is posted, rather than using RSS feeds or randomly checking for new entries.
Alternatively, it can be used by readers to receive emails, even if the author hasn't set it up.
I just added one to my biodieselhauling server based blog (http://apps.biodieselhauling.org/blog). See, there it is, right at the top of the page, on the left!

for authors:

If you can not access your source code, see if you can add a "custom script" to your side bar items.

for readers:

pretty straight forward, just do it once for every blog (or other RSS item) you want to follow

Its free.

09 December 2008

Moving upstairs

  • Dec 9, 2008

Moving upstairs

The non-profit I work for is government financed.

We were trying to expand both our size and range of services for the
community, (not to mention securing better working conditions for the
employees), and many people had been working behind the scenes on this
project for a couple of years.  When I started 2 years ago it seemed
little more than a vague idea, but at each new meeting updates showed
it was coming closer and closer to a reality.

And then

Last week

I was invited to a last minute meeting, which I was told was very important.

At it we were told that the city (the smallest of 3 funding sources for
the project, but a vital component w/o which it could not happen) had
decided, unilateral, to rescind the (as yet unofficial) offer to back
the project, using the funds for a smaller, independent, temporary,
substitute instead.

06 December 2008

A practical and useful blog!

  • Dec 6, 2008

A practical and useful blog!

No ranting here.

It has come to my attention that a lot of people don't really know about these options.

Chances are, if you are reading this, you have a computer, and if you have a computer, you will probably find one or more of these things useful.
They are free.
And they are even legal.

The first are related to security. Internet relate hacking can be a big problem when someone cracks into your computer remotely and ID thefts you. A bad virus can permanently crash computer. A dialer can rack up 100s in unauthorized phone charges by using your fax line to dial 900 numbers. Mostly its just annoying software that hopes to entice you to buy some stupid crap.
While Norton and McAfee would like you to spend $60 plus a ongoing subscription charge, you can get equally good protection from viruses, spyware, and hackers, all for free.

For viruses, try AVG Free.
 For spyware (and a lot more under "advanced, if you so choose) install "SpyBot Search and Destroy"
For a software firewall, there is ZoneAlarm (A firewall keeps people from accessing your computer remotely.)
http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en-us/zonealarm-pc-security-free-firewall.htm (note: they want you to buy the pay version. Read carefully and keep clicking the free options. It is fully functional, and does everything you need)

29 November 2008

Black Friday

  • Nov 29, 2008

Black Friday

Media and politicians would have us believe that consumerism is good for "the economy".

Most consumption is done at chain stores.
The majority of the durable goods (and a high percentage of food and other consumables as well) stocked at the majority of chain stores is imported.
That money only increases the American trade deficit.
Of course a percentage also goes to the corporation which owns the store.
This money goes to those people who have a significant amount of stock in chain retail stores.
Since most manufacturing jobs have been outsourced for cheaper labor, the only jobs this supports are the generally low-paying and benefit-free retail sales and stocking jobs.

Unless you buy exclusively from independent retailers selling exclusively US made goods, shopping has no beneficial effect on "the economy".
What they really mean when they say "its good for the economy" is that it supports the people who own stock.
Because, ultimately, there is no such thing as "the economy".

There is only people.
People have more or less money.

To a large extent value is created when skilled people make valuable things out of cheaper raw materials.
But a lot of economics also has to do with transferring wealth from some people to others.

When we transfer wealth to those who already have it, by shopping, or with government bailouts, its called supporting the economy.
When we transfer wealth to those who actually need it, its called communism.

24 November 2008

I am not an ass burger

  • Nov 24, 2008

I am not an ass burger

First of all, I wish to formally express my displeasure that the scientists and therapists were thoughtless enough to name a condition without giving thought to its potential for school yard ridicule.
They already have trouble with socializing, and are likely to be identified as different, (even though the in class helpers generally do a good job of hiding the fact that they are there for anyone in particular).  Eventually the term is gonna leak to the general public, and it won't be long after that until it trickles down to the school yard.
There was a time when "retard" was not an insult, but simply a descriptor of a person whose intellectual development was significantly slower than average.  It meant "mental disability".  "Cripple" just means "physical disability".  No matter how many times we change the names, kids will start using the new term as an insult, because its the content that carries the offensive meaning, not the eventual term.
But did we really have to give them "Ass-Burger"?

But I digress (and that's pretty bad, since I haven't even started yet)

18 November 2008

Some more stuff other people wrote

  • Nov 18, 2008

Some more stuff other people wrote

I'll write something of my own soon, promise.
Until then, here are two articles, with some steps you can take in your own daily personal life which will ultimately benefit everyone (not to mention your own wallet and health!).


Because every time you buy gas, the terrorists win:
(Original artwork by Bakari Kafele)

08 November 2008

Don’t let the shadow of a rat keep you from feeling the sun

  • Nov 8, 2008

Don’t let the shadow of a rat keep you from feeling the sun

[This was written by my mother, and is re-posted here without permission]

There are so many reasons that I am euphoric about Obama's landslide election to the position of President of the United States that I can't begin to name them all, and when I try, I get tangled up in words, none of which can adequately express all the reasons.

At first I was happy not to have to explain anything as most people around me share my elation, and people all over the U.S. , and indeed around the world, understand in great measure the significance of what just happened here.

However, by the day after the election I was disheartened by the number of people in my LGBT community who were so disillusioned and depressed by the gay-marriage set-backs that they failed to be moved by the significance of Obama's election. It is not all LGBT people, by any means, who are too boggled down by that single issue to appreciate the magnitude of the good thing that just happened. But a significant number seem to be.

04 November 2008


  • Nov 4, 2008


I wrote some months ago about this same thing, but this time its even more extreme.

On my original MySpace blog, I have reached over 5,000 page views.
[UPDATE: on my current blogger blog, I'm at 23,000 views]
Its been 2 and a half years, 125 entries.
[Its been exactly one year, and 150 posts]
5.5 views per day, on average (although, of course I don't write nearly that often.  More accurately, about 40 views per entry)
[average of 60 views per day - but not evenly distributed; in Dec there were 3,862 views for 124 per day - or 150 views per post on average]
9 readers.
[9 again!  plus 4 email subscribers]
That would be, on average, 570 views per subscriber, or 4.5 views per blog.
[but, well, this time I know most of my views are coming from Google - but there are still numerous reads of posts that don't show up from any search engine]
But why would you read each one 4 times?
So then are actually 4 times more readers, who haven't "subscribed"?
Kind'a seems like a lot.
Who are they?
Why won't they leave a comment?
This is what I asked last time.

My new blog, on my website server, has only been up since Feb. of this year.
8 months ago.
It has over 10,000 hits
(I was planning to write this at 10,000, but by the time I noticed, it was already up to 10,200)
33 new entries since then.
Over 40 hits per day, average.
80 per entry, assuming people reading the new one went back and read every single past one.
300 views per entry if people only read the new ones as they are posted.
And presumably my MySpace readers are still reading on MySpace, since they get automatic updates when there is a new entry which they can access by just clicking the link in the email.
So that eliminates 9 (or 40) people.
I can think of a few obvious people I know are probably checking for updates on the biodieselhauling server now and then.
But not 80-300.
Maybe extra because of checking when there is nothing new. 4 times per day?  I can't even think of 10 people.

I ask again.
Who are you?
Write in the comment section.
I am so curious.

12 October 2008

This is too much

  • Oct 12, 2008

This is too much

You all know what has been going on.

I didn't seriously expect things to get so...
so quickly

I feel ok
Better than ok

I am in constant awe of everything, of everything, not just the people in my life and our interactions, and it is non-stop, it has been constant - and all but overwhelming - nearly every moment for as long as I can clearly remember (which is about the past two months or so)

As I mentioned before, it is exhausting - but with a week off last week (off from working anyway, though a date, time with friends, and/or a party every single day; and somehow I am becoming aware of my age?  While I have felt like a kid playing grown-up all my life, (well, except when I really was a kid.  Then I felt much more mature than my peers.  Its like I have been at the same maturity level my whole life, and at some point I grew into it, but then I kept aging as it stayed the same (I'm (mostly) kidding)), I have been noticing certain details - owning my home, running a business, being divorced, driving conservatively - which I always associated with "real" adults.  Yet recently I seem to be in the young adult world all over again) I feel re-energized and ready for more.

Except that now I am starting to fear hurting certain people (who shall remain nameless and detail-less to protect the privacy of the innocent (particularly since I was specifically asked to and I am most certainly not the type to pull a Lucy Ford on anyone, no matter how disgruntled or resentful I might be - not that I am, not at all, but I'm just saying, in theory, none of you ever have to worry about that; although I tend to assume that anything is ok just so long as you don't tell me otherwise so if you want not to be mentioned here make sure and tell me explicitly because I'm not any good at taking hints) and while I knew in theory this possibility was lurking, I really never expected it and so now I'm wondering how to cope if this trend continues on its current trajectory and certain other things pan out in a way like they look like they might possibly could and of course I am basing this on so little, I am, and I know it, but it sure looks more likely than average and I can't help but to think about worst case scenarios and its making all sorts of wacky (and sometimes terrible! :( ) things pass briefly  through my mind (the sort of things which are in direct opposition to the ideas in the love essay I've been telling you all I have been working on (I really have been, life is just very distracting at the moment and its hard to focus) if you know what I mean).
I added a note on the ok account about these potential changes, and deleted the lines with Craig, but as Malomar would have it, these actions are exactly 2 hours too late and as things are I don't feel like it would be reasonable to not at least find out because this is a potentially narrow opportunity to learn, and its too important not to find out.  Is it selfish?  That is the question I am struggling with.  That is the question which is forcing me to write this against my better judgment.  Everything I have said has been true, but all of us know (sometimes we choose to ignore, but I believe that deep inside everyone of us knows) that it is always more complicated than can be forced into a set of rules or theories.

My next therapy session is not going to have enough time to cover a small fraction of all this.
The hour goes by unbelievably fast every time as it is, even when I come in feeling like I don't have much to talk about (this isn't just my perception, he is surprised every week when time runs out)

Bonus Points:

If any of my readers actually read through this and are able to make sense of all the ((((())))) and explain in more comprehensible terms what the hell I am talking about here, I will take you out: ice skating or for ice cream; your choice, my treat (your explanation has to be accurate)

06 October 2008

Conceptual outlook’s effect on perception and sense of self

  • Oct 6, 2008

Conceptual outlook’s effect on perception and sense of self

These ideas are still brand new to me, still forming, and so will perhaps be disjointed, unclear, contradictory, or incomplete.

I had already been thinking about similar ideas somewhat, and of course elements of it have been recurring themes of mine where philosophy intersected real life for many years.
It was in therapy yesterday that it just began to coalesce, several disparate ideas coming together as part of the same general concept.

I'm starting to think that our core philosophical ideas and outlooks, vague general things which we aren't likely to be conscious of, have enormous effects on real everyday things.

It began because he complemented my progress, how far I had come from the time I started going.
(You no doubt remember the state I was in around the time I first went)
It wasn't so much about being able to be self-reflective, let things go, or make positive changes.
It was about being willing to try. Being willing to look at myself in the way necessary to do these things, to be honest about my faults.
To me this sounded like a very strange compliment.

04 October 2008

Life is fun

  • Oct 4, 2008

Life is fun

Today I drove around and around The Circle* so many times that I actually started to get a little dizzy.

Then, a few hours later, due to a combination of a strong wind and poor communication, there was a slight mishap while setting up the boat which ended causing a very wet Bakari.  The bay was quite surprisingly warm - like the warmest I've ever felt it - even though it was a cool day.  While normally I have a rather cat like aversion to being in water, I found it rather amusing in this case (maybe because while I've been worried about flipping it out in the bay, this happened in about 3 ft of water about 1ft from the dock, and had nothing to do with sailing technique - also because it wasn't really that cold.  I'm sure my cell phone will recover eventually...)
We had a good strong (though inconsistent and gusty) wind and got pretty good speed for an El Toro in a sheltered little marina.  I was pretty slow in tacking back up wind, but I am definitely getting better.  Once I caught a good line, we went pretty smooth.

I realized today that for a short job I make as much in one hour as I made all day at my second real job (and first where I actually had to show up every day and on time and stay for 8 hours) as a night watchman at a truckyard / warehouse.
My expenses today aren't much more than they were then.  So I pretty much make a day's pay in an hour.  Leaving the rest of the day free for driving in circles (literally), therapy appointments (which I don't feel I need at all but I actually enjoy going so much, and he is charging me so little, that I took his advice and am still going), sailing, and evening hockey games.

*The traffic circle between Berkeley and Kensington where Arlington and The Alameda meet, just above the tunnel that turns into Solano.**

**If you are still by chance reading my blogs on occasion: yes, obviously I am stealing this idea from you.  It works perfectly here for how I wanted it to sound and flow, but I wouldn't have thought of it on my own.  Thank you.

25 September 2008

What is this?

  • Sep 25, 2008

What is this?

Feeling like I'm in love without having any one particular person to focus it on is an entirely unprecedented experience for me.  I really don't know what to do with it.
It surprises me that its not so overwhelming; even the giddiness of a few weeks ago is fading (a little) - yet something I don't know how to explain beyond "in-love" remains.  It is a little tiring.  I'm not sure why (I'm not sure anything!)
Overall, I don't think I like it.

24 September 2008

From the outgoing manager

  • Sep 24, 2008

From the outgoing manager


Things are going well at the Bikestation as we get ready to transition to Alameda Bicycles as the new operator. One, we are under budget so far. So, your next paycheck will include about a $400 bonus for each of you–thanks for doing a good running this place. The operations have gone very smoothly this past year (aside from that one day I didn't show for my shift). Also, the floor outside the Bikestation is all clean. Thanks Gregg for getting that area cleared out for the cleaning crew.

Equally exciting, we are averaging over 90 bikes parked/day this month at the Bikestation, and we have never had a month where we average that high. At this rate, we may be able to park over 2000 bikes in September, which naturally will be our first month ever with over 2000 bikes.

Keep up the good work.

21 September 2008


  • Sep 21, 2008


There are a whole bunch of significant propositions on the ballot this time around.

Read about them: Easy Voter Guide
(A friend showed me this link.  I like it because they take the pro /com arguments from the official voter guide and distill them down to the core legitimate arguments, leaving out the deliberate misinformation and irrelevant crap)


Actually vote.
We live in a state with actual democracy (ie the people vote directly on laws, as opposed to only electing people to choose laws for us)
Not everyone does.
We probably shouldn't take that for granted.

I can see a number of these issues easily going the wrong way (and I'd say almost all of them have a pretty clear right and wrong answer) so we are going to need your help.

Thank you 

19 September 2008

If you don’t hire me, I’ll just work for you for free! (that’ll teach them)

  • Sep 19, 2008

If you don’t hire me, I’ll just work for you for free! (that’ll teach them)

My plan had been to become a park ranger ever since high school.

I always knew I wanted to do a lot of different jobs, but once I had a bunch of varied experience, I was going to settle in the long term with park ranger.

I had dozens of different jobs, totally different types, and then, when I got bored of it, I went back to school and focused on stuff that would improve my chances of getting a ranger job: degrees in biology and earth science (geology, geography, ecology, etc), an emergency medical technician certificate, and the pre-police academy course for reserve police officers.

By this time I was in a long-term relationship with someone with a career in an urban area, and I didn't want to move out to a remote area as was the original plan, since that would mean either forcing her to move or leaving her behind.

But it turns out that Oakland has around 1200 acres in 91 parks, including 291 acre Kennedy Tract and 500 acres Joaquin Miller, and has its own small crew of Park Rangers.

How convenient.  Even luckier, just as I was beginning my job search after graduation, they were hiring.

About 5 years ago they had 25 rangers.
Due to budget cuts this had been cut repeatedly, from 12, to 8, to 5.
At the time two of those 5 were not on active duty for one reason or another, leaving all of 3 people to cover the entire city's network of parks, day and night, 7 days a week.  They were trying to get back to 8.

I turned in the initial application.  I passed the oral interview. I did excellent on the general intelligence test. I passed the physical agility test with lots and lots of time to spare (timed obstacle course and strength test), passed the psychological profile.  Turned in the extensive background information.  There are no hidden things in my past which should disqualify me.
I got a letter saying I had been placed on the eligibility list.

And then...

I got another letter saying I wasn't.

I wrote to inquire what had happened, and never heard back.

By this time BioDiesel Hauling had taken off, I was enjoying it, making good money, in the process of applying for my independent green certification, and had just started the bicycle mechanic job, so it didn't get to me too much.


About year later, I am well established in both jobs, and very happy with what I am doing.  I am up in the park, and I happen to notice a brochure about the volunteer bike patrol.  Looks like it could be fun.  But I don't own a mountain bike.

Another 6 months go by, I get a mountain bike.
I take it to the closest park to my house, and lo and behold -
Oakland allows cyclists to ride single track!! (See "we have some seriously f*cking gnarly trails right here inOakland", August 6, 2008)
I applied for the program.

Yesterday was my interview.
As it happens the sergeant interviewing me was one of the ones who did last time.
The interview was more like a friendly chat, maybe like catching up an acquaintance on life or something.  Most relaxed interview I have ever been in (last time there were 3 interviewers.  I had to wear a suit. "Relaxed" would certainly not be a word I would have used to describe it)

I learned, among other things, that the budget for additional rangers was cut before the hiring process was completed.  They ended up hiring two people, but also let two go, leaving the city with... 3 rangers.  Only now instead of having a goal of 5-8, 3 is the number officially budgeted for.

Which means it wasn't (necessarily) anything to do with me when I didn't get hired.  I wouldn't have gotten it no matter what, because the position I was applying for ceased to exist.  Kind of would have been nice had they mentioned that at the time (the sergeant apologized, and assured me that oversight was on the part of OPD and not the ranger department), but its nice to know now.

Looks like I will get to patrol the parks after all.

I just won't get paid anything for it.

On the plus side, I only go as often as I feel like it, and won't be required to make any arrests (in fact we are discouraged) and can focus instead on the helping people aspect of the job, which is really the nicer part anyway.

And I have a motivator to actually get me off this damn computer and go outside and get some exercise and be in the outdoors.
And an excuse to buy some cool new bike equipment.

Here's to (probably) not having terrible things on my permanent record that I don't know about afterall! :)

16 September 2008


  • Sep 16, 2008


MyFarm is one of my clients, and I potentially benefit from them signing up new customers


You have no doubt heard of the increasingly common services where a company regularly delivers a box full of fresh, usually organic, produce from CA farms, right to your doorstep.

MyFarm takes this concept a step further.
They don't buy from farmers, nor do they have land of their own.

When they say "local", they really mean it!

The space they use to grow organic vegetables in is literally right in your own back yard.

(And not the way people have been using the word "literally" to imply exclamation; I mean "literally" literally.)

They come in, assess the soil, assess the site (shade/sun, etc), discuss with you what you like to eat, and figure out what can be grown in your yard.
They build a garden, from scratch if need be (including bringing in organic soil if the existing soil is contaminated), install drip irrigation (the lowest water use type), and come back regularly to maintain it.

The customer can help with this process as much or as little as they like.

Essentially you are hiring landscapers - plus you end up with fresh, delicious, organic fruits and vegetables, from the most local source possible.

If you have a big enough yard, they may harvest more than you can eat, in which case some gets distributed to other clients in the neighborhood, and you get charged less.
You also may get some things from elsewhere in your neighborhood to allow for greater variety.


This is one of the most brilliant ideas I have heard in a long time (since NetFlix - oh if only I had had investment money back when I first heard about that idea - back when their advertising consisted solely of spam emails)

They contacted me about moving soil.
By sheer coincidence, the very next day I saw a segment on them on the show "Your Green Life".
I am looking forward to working with them.

I am making business contacts!
Every day this thing which I originally intended to be a way to make a little cash in between real jobs almost 2 years ago, becomes more and more like an actual business.
Its going to take a long time to get used to this.

15 September 2008

Anarchy VS Capitalism ... Anarchy=Capitalism

  • Sep 15, 2008
Anarchy VS Capitalism ... Anarchy=Capitalism
We have been seeing increased government abuses, intrusions on personal privacy, in the name of security.  Wiretapping, secret courts, extradition without trial, surveillance of citizens w/o warrants; while technology allows increased collection and aggregation of information - suggestive more and more each day of "Big Brother".
In London the network of cameras is so extensive that the government can literally track the movements of any vehicle in the city by license plate.

A small, self sufficient community.
No police.
No taxes.
No coercion.
Citizens are free and independent, and individual rights are respected.
People earn what they are worth, and keep what they earn.
They barter for what they need.

Nobody is forced to do anything they don't want to do.
People can expect total privacy, without the presence of a "big brother" government behind them.

And everyone is happy.


03 September 2008

effective expression, intelligent love

  • Sep 3, 2008

effective expression, intelligent love

What tells one person they are loved may be no more than background noise to another.

We are limited to words, gestures, actions, to express our whole range of feelings to one another. 
A smile, a cringe, expressions are largely universal.  But we are quite able to misunderstand each others communication, both verbal and non-verbal, and do so all the time.

Of course the words alone ("I love you"), with no action to support them will not be convincing...though the words are a vital addition for some). The range of potential actions is enormous.

If we go about acting on feeling without really thinking, our own most natural expression of deeply felt love can come across as meaningless.
What matters is not if you find unexpected flowers to be romantic, but if your partner does. 
Our choice of method to express our care for another may be dependent largely on how it was expressed to us. 
Maybe I was not shown much affection growing up, but much emphasis was placed on my health, well being, and nutrition.  Maybe my partner’s experiences were just the opposite.  When I cook her healthy meals it feels to me like she takes this expression of love for granted.  She does take it for granted, since she never considered meal preparation an act of love.  Her parents never cooked, and she would be just as happy eating out.  She assumes I cook for her just because I enjoy cooking.  
When she gives me a hug it feels hollow to me.  I don't associate physical affection with love very strongly.  She feels the lack of response on my part, and takes it to mean I don't feel strongly about her, when really I just don't feel strongly about the method of expression. We don't understand each other, but we can't explain -  we may not even understand the reasons behind our own feelings.

It isn't so much selfishness as ignorance, immaturity.
Its only natural that one would assume that what makes them feel loved is what would make others feel loved, and would therefore express their own in the same way they would like to receive it.  After all, we are reminded to treat others the way we would like to be treated.  The golden rule is unfortunately a bit of an oversimplification, for perhaps I appreciate surprise guests and my neighbor appreciates being left alone and as we each try to be especially kind to each other by doing what we would want them to do our displeasure only grows.

31 August 2008

Innocent questions of a 7 year old

  • Aug 31, 2008

Innocent questions of a 7 year old

"You don't ever clean your house?"

Guess I better clean my house.


  • Aug 31, 2008


I wish I knew how to put together words in such a way as to accurately describe the thoughts and feelings which so totally envelope me.

28 August 2008

Is it me afterall?

  • Aug 28, 2008

Is it me afterall?

For my entire life I have been the beneficiary of what I think(?) is an abnormal amount of generosity.
Of course when you're young enough, you tend to take everything which happens for granted, because you haven't learned a baseline yet. Ok, so the nice lady gives you some candy, and you are supposed to say "thank you" and this is considered a normal social transaction.
So, when the administrative staff of your elementary school calls your family a couple weeks before Christmas and says that someone donated a really nice bicycle along with all the other toy donations and they want you to have it rather than putting it in the first-come-first serve toy bin that the whole school will have access to... you don't really question that either. That was only 1 of 3 bikes I was given by teachers at that school.
In high school I always assumed it was because I was so obviously poor.
I got a steady supply of free meals when I sat looking forlorn while everyone else ate (there is a fine line where it becomes obvious you are doing it on purpose. I always blatantly crossed that line. Never seemed to matter)
The free clothes from relative strangers was because of how I dressed. They assumed I couldn't afford decent clothes, and didn't want to embarrass me by asking, so I would just get random gifts. So I thought.

It may well be that this is the motivator still, since I couldn't care less about clothes and I work and play hard and they tend to disintegrate off of me before I get around to the rather tedious chore of finding replacements.

It can't explain all of it though.

Maybe the very idea of capitalism, Ann Rands virtue of selfishness, it is all rhetoric, and Burning Man's culture of gifting (not bartering, gifting - major distinction) is actually a universal standard. Maybe I just never noticed. Actually, I suspect this is it. I don't see anything so particularly special about me, (beyond the requisite "everyone is special" kind of way)

27 August 2008

What defines generosity is not how much you give away, but how much you keep for yourself

  • Aug 27, 2008

What defines generosity is not how much you give away, but how much you keep for yourself

Which is to say, if a millionaire gives $500,000 to charity and good causes - a full 50% of his assets - he has $500,000 left over to keep and spend on himself.

The impoverished man who gives away $5, but only has 1,000 to his name, gave but 0.5%; however, he has only $995 left for himself.

This makes it by far the greater personal sacrifice.  True giving can not be measured by the benefit to the receiver, but only by the sacrifice made by the giver.

He who is destitute yet giveth still, shall be the world's greatest philanthropist.

"The Wacky World of Rapid Transit" - By Del the Funkee Homosapien

  • Aug 27, 2008

"The Wacky World of Rapid Transit" - By Del the Funkee Homosapien

This song does a really excellent job of explaining the real reason why it is I ended up being a bicycle riding kind of guy.

I learned to fix bikes because if I didn't fix the problem, the story line of this song was my fate.

Chances are, unless you happen to be a black male who grew up in a poor part of the east bay who never got involved with the "thug" mentality, you won't particularly sympathize with the protagonist's lyrics.

Suffice it to say this is not merely a bus ride into a fanciful hypothetical for the sake of an amusing story line.  It is quite an accurate description of travel via AC Transit in certain neighborhoods, from the inexplicably long delays to the fun characters on the bus.

I particularly like skit 2: "A-yo, you Rosa Parks' son motherfucker?  Bring your ass back here..."

22 August 2008

my new life: accidental "green" rep and writer (or: excuse to post more links of my movies)

  • Aug 22, 2008

my new life: accidental "green" rep and writer (or: excuse to post more links of my movies)

I never set out, intended, nor expected to become a representative of the environmental movement, an activist, or really anyone special at all.

As I mentioned in blogs past, I believe the most significant and positive thing we can do to be responsible citizens is to truly live each of our own individual lives as close to our own principals as we can.  I believe this makes more real difference than all of the shouting, the signs, the email letters to representatives.  If everyone just did their own little part, there would cease to even be a need for the grand gestures.

And yet, as it turns out, apparently living by my modest principals has propelled me into this role without my having to try.

In just the past couple weeks:

20 August 2008

Take that capitalism

  • Aug 20, 2008

Take that capitalism

I finally got the person who had reserved "biodieselhauling.com" to release it from it's parked status.

It should be a few hours to process, but soon www.biodieselhauling.com will redirect to my website, www.biodieselhauling.org
Most people assume all websites to be .com, so this means a lot of confused customers will be able to find me a lot easier.

The person who owned it until today, a college student in Oregon,  he had a similar business idea to mine, and a few months before I first set up my website he reserved the name. 
I contacted him and offered to buy it almost two years ago, but he said he intended to use it in the next few weeks.
However, he never ended up using the site.  I checked in recently, and found it was still idle.
I contacted him again, and offered to buy it and let him pick a price.  He refused payment, and transferred the domain to me the next day.  I wrote again, explaining that I am using the site for commercial reasons, and offered to pay, at the very least, whatever he paid for the domain in the first place.  Again, he declined.  
Without a Paypal address or mailing address (the DNS had the school's address), there isn't much I can do.

He said he agrees with what I'm doing, and to re-invest what ever I would have paid him.

The GoDaddy website (who the domain is registered with) specifically encourages people to register domains for the sole reason of reselling them at a profit to someone who will actually use them. Plenty of people do just that, essentially web domain speculating - and making money while providing literally nothing of value to society.
This person did just the opposite - paid for a site, and then gave it away.

Take that capitalism!!

I am not the only anti-capitalist still out there.
There is morality, generosity, left in this country.
To the guy in question (perhaps he doesn't want his name public, but he knows who he is) you have all of my respect and gratitude.

13 August 2008

Summary of not-very-thought-out rant on pending video

  • Aug 13, 2008

Summary of not-very-thought-out rant on pending video

A few weeks ago the creators of faircompanies.com came to my home with cameras, and I gave a tour of my home, and spoke of some of my political and philosophical ideas while I worked.

I didn't prepare what I was going to say, and in retrospect, perhaps I should have.

After, I tried to figure what exactly my overall point has been.

Some things in personal life have been getting in the way of writing for a while, but I think I can summarize it all now.

The overall point is this:  Do the big stuff.  Having done that, don't sweat the small stuff.

Americans have grown accustomed to a excessively high level of luxury and convenience, to the point where some of what we take for granted doesn't even improve quality of life. 
And among the people who are aware of the implications of our impact, it has become all too easy to rationalize doing the exact opposite.
Today a great many people do all the little things, and this makes it easier to rationalize not doing what will make the biggest difference.

Part 2

  • Aug 13, 2008

Part 2

Something feels off about my last post.
Too negative.
I forgot the important part about how being "green" isn't really a sacrifice at all.

Because, really, a great many things that we take for granted today, many of the conveniences and luxuries, don't really add much to life - in fact, some take away from it.

Say, for example, you trade your car for a bike and your steak for a salad.
Right off the top you are saving money. In the case of the car, thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Then, after a few weeks, you are getting healthier, stronger, losing weight, feeling better about yourself, feeling better about getting up and starting each new day.
The same goes of you just take a partial step, say riding the bike to work (or to the train station, whatever) once a week, and reducing animal product intake by half.
You still find yourself with more energy, a more positive outlook on the world. After a few months, maybe a year, chances are you are up to 3 days a week, and meat only for special occasions.

Meanwhile you have this big ole stack of bills piling up in your bank account - oh, and as a side benefit, you are doing a huge service for the environment ("the environment" being short-hand for "the future of all life on the planet, including ourselves")

Its like smoking. For a smoker, there really isn't any reward to each cigarette, other than the cessation of the withdrawal symptoms. The reward to giving it up is significantly improved health, both in terms of being able to catch the bus that's just pulling away, and in terms of a long life. Plus, all the money you save by not buying the cigarettes (and the health care costs some day - because yall know we aren't going to get a nationalized health plan anytime soon).
Its just habit (and chemical addiction) that keeps them going back for more.

Our cars and diet and electricity use and all the rest are basically like cigarettes. They don't make us happier in life, but we have a lot of trouble giving them up.
(The good news is, no physical addiction!)

Other things that are good for the earth, which in the long run are good for our pocketbooks, our health, and/or our happiness, include buying the absolute smallest car you can find, buying less stuff (we all know stuff doesn't really make us happier), living close to work (or better yet, telecommuting), eating organic (more nutrients, less toxic chemicals), saving energy (this should go without saying.) It does take more time to put the clothes on the line. But not only do you save money, that is time spent outdoors in the sun, instead of in some laundrymat or the basement.

Then, with all the surplus in good deeds, spend some of that on the things that make life better, (but maybe aren't the best things ecologically)
If you spent all year saving electricity, go ahead and put up that elaborate xmas light display.
After buying everything on Craigslist.org or from thrift stores, go ahead and buy a brand new high quality food processor.
After biking to work every day, take the car up to the mountains for vacation.
And don't feel bad about it!

Enjoy life. Doing good should not be a sacrifice.

06 August 2008

we have some seriously f*cking gnarly trails right here in Oakland

  • Aug 6, 2008

we have some seriously f*cking gnarly trails right here in Oakland

It was many years ago when I last rode a mountain bike on a trail.

I had this heavy old Fuji that folded in half, weighed about 50lbs, had a 5 speed freewheel and friction thumb shifters. For those that don't know bikes, that means it was a pretty crappy bike.
But, I had really nice tires on it, and it is just amazing the crud you can ride over with fat knobbies.

But then I moved into an RV, there was only room for one bike, and I took my more versatile road touring bike. The mnt. bike went up on the wall in the garage in Mom's house.
Before long I moved out of the area, then out of the state, and clear across the country. The bike hung upside down, its tires sad with nostalgia of mud. We had once encountered a small stream at about 15mph, and before I had a chance to even get scared (nevermind brake) we were already over and past it. Now, without me, they did nothing but than lose air molecules, one by one.

I came back, eventually, to CA. I took the mountain bike with me to Burning Man.
One night, I parked it outside next to my RV. Someone came by and claimed it. I suppose the idea is, in a semi-anarchistic gifting culture, no one can lay claim to property, and so this wasn't so much theft as involuntary sharing.

I decided that next time I wanted to get a half-way decent mountain bike. Which meant that for years and years, I had none at all, because there was always more important things to spend money on.

Many years passed.

I became a hauler. You wouldn't believe the things I get paid to pick up from people. My TV, DVD, VCR, RePlay, CD changer, sofa, scanner/printer... these are all things I was paid to take away. I have had several bikes, but none were quite right, and they passed through my hands to new owners.

And one day, just last week, I ended up with a mountain bike, and this one I kept.