Start of the Opera BLOG

So I'm putting up a website on http://my.opera.com/rekz/blog and while linking my old BLOG to my new Opera Blog and somehow it imported it TWICE!

So now what'll happen when I post this baby? heh heh heh

post-intro class for Ableton LIVE

Ableton Live. I just took an intro class at BAVC.org where we learned on Ableton Live v4, although v5 is out now.





And now I own an input device (M-Audio Mobilepre USB pre-amp) and took a class in the software...



It SEEMS like a 'killer app' for audio! You can mix up lots of loops and add effects ** and add in LIVE AUDIO tracks to the mix ** and remix them with real-time effects. WOW

It's like 20 guitar pedals that can work on a bunch of audio inputs PLUS any pre-arranged audio tracks.

I hope to have some tunes made soon.
Or at least, after I can knock out a demo reel for some applications. Not sure if what I've got is good enough, but I'm going to apply for a grad program in FILM. ONWARDS!!!! :D

I posted a review of the Ableton Live BAVC class and I feel like I sounded too harsh. We were exposed to some amazing tech ... but I felt like the info we covered would've been done justice for $200 in 1 day, not $420 and 2 days. If you don't read the review, which is fine, I'll just point out that we had too much unstructured time and not enough structure. (Hard to believe I'm saying that!!! Is this the REAL R-E?) And the teacher even mentioned that we were learning on older version software bc the facility didn't want to pay for the upgrade AND that his tutorial handouts were out-dated AND then the Mac's couldn't open the manuals for the software!

Y'know, there is just NO PLEASING some people!

ANOTHER 35 year old man!!!

Well, it happened. I aged.
I think the world stopped rotating for a second there.
And then, when time resumed, I had even more incentive for gray-hairedness.

Observations on life at 35

  • I'm much less fit now. When I try to get back in shape, I somehow a new shape. Perhaps the template of the shape I expect to show up has changed...?

  • There are many things that seem designed to piss me off: Bush & neo-cons, wars, bosses, people that disagree with me, my own laziness, etc etc. And if I can abstain from getting upset, life is pretty good.

  • Evolution seems to occur, but often times bc a mistake gets so BIG that eventually the whole big mistake collapses and then shrivels up & goes away.

  • Love is momentarily easily, and more difficult over time. I have to let go more of what I think I know, what I expect, and what I demand ... and then it's easy again.

  • I'm better than I thought at most things. Confidence in my skills, however, is where I'm mostly lacking.

  • I disagree with approx 90% of Americans, and I usually am in the top 10% of my class when it comes to grades & tests. I wonder if there's a correlation?

  • As a sober drug-addict, I'm immature, over-sensitive, and have a hyper-inflated ego. I'm truly and deeply grateful to know this and not be using drugs. When I add in drugs, all those areas are multiplied. And I can see the addiction still in action when I look at coffee, nicoteine, computers, food, sugar, sex & flirtation, chocolate, staying up late, fantasy escapes, games, books, and ... pretty much anything else I really enjoy. God DOES have a sick sense of humor!



Thanks to everyone who said Happy Birthday.

Last night in Ponce

Some other highlights of this trip include:
El Yunque:
Just got back from El Yunque, the mountain peak in the Puerto Rican rain forest. Exciting. Views from the top of the mountain from a stone tower after an 8k hike, and swimming under a waterfall after an 8k walk. It was sweet.

Culebra:
Snorkeling at an amazing coral reef at Carlos Rosario reserve on Isla Culebra. Noel & Cindy getting stuck on the coral reef. Hanging w/Yari and Natalie from Long Island, Karaoke singing "Day-O" among bats & old men. The mosquito-ridden Mamacita's hotel. Getting lost on Playa Flamenco after the sun dropped. Kiko the taxi driver drinking a beer & driving as he laughed about me getting lost on a 5 mile island.

Fajardo - Bahia F├│sforo
After getting back from Culebra, made a snap decision to see the 'bioluminescent' bay at Fajardo. Called Todd, he told me where to go. I had to hurry. Found the bay w/some directions, caught a last-minute kayak w/Peter's Eco-Tours (offered at El Conquistador hotel. Mind blowing, kayaking thru a completely dark mangrove forest. Arriving at the phosphorous plankton bay, then hopping in the water as the full moon came out. Watching explosions of light as I swam. A miracle of nature. (And then the nasty night at Anchor Inn w/the key getting stuck in the door, no food, a/c pointed onto bed, and waking up covered w/mosquito bites. Could've stayed at El Conquistador for a ton of $$$, but picked the nasty for $60.)

Hitchhiker:
Also on the way back gave Magdalena a ride, she gave me directions (I was lost -- again), and we talked in Spanish about her life. She's 20, has 3 children (eldest is 5 yrs old), and her husband left in January. She looked 15. I couldn't believe the story, floored me. I dropped her at her job, she was 1 hour late. She liked my tattoos, showed me her new one on her back.

Food:
Fried EVERYTHING, including hot pockets (Empanadillas) stuffed w/almost anything. Ate a lot of steak & chicken. Pinchos de Pollo (BBQ chicken skewers), accidentally ordered Pinches de Pollo. HA HA

Puerto Rico:
What a trippy island. Amazing underwater treasures. Deep fried everything, hard to find vegetables. Curviest people I've ever seen, including a pronounced stomach arc. Survival thru heat and humidity unlike ANYTHING I've experienced except Thailand in Mar 2000 -- and this is the COOL season!!! I can't imagine the hot season, and don't want to know!

And had a wakeup call on my physique. Going to get some weights, start swimming again. I don't want to lose my build yet. I enjoy the capability of doing things -- even if it IS hard to work into my life. Weights and swimming at least, hope to do something fun & nature-oriented at least once a month (regardless of work requirements, new pad requirements, etc).

I miss my lovely girlfriend oh so much. I'm very excited to get back and re-unite. I miss her smile and laugh, her touch, and her care.

Twin Towers - Did they Fall or Explode

Research Paper from Prof Steven Jones suggesting that Twin Towers may have been exploded. Has some interesting evidence, including Building 7 falling w/o any hit, and 'molten metal' being found in the basements and yet not enough heat in the fires was there to melt metal - unless there was Thermite or other high-temp explosives.

Puerto Rico - Ponce trip 11/13

Just got back from 1st complete day in PR.

Todd, myself, and his g/f Noraida went on a road trip from Ponce to San Juan. We went to a cool 'blue flag' (preserved) beach, and when it started to pour rain on us (tropical storm) we went to San Juan's Old City.
We walked around the city, had some groovy Venezuelan food (Cachaca = sweet corn tortillas w/chicken), saw a live music concert, walked around El Castillo de Morros (w/tons of cats hanging out).
Got stuck in the rain, met an American beggar that said his whole family had died in a month, and he just walked to the airport & took a flight onto ANY plane -- wound up in PR 3 mo's ago. He said he had $$$ for 3 weeks, and then began begging. For some reason, his story hit me more than the other heroin beggars, so I gave him $10. Y'never know -- although Todd thinks the guy ran off to the Liquor Store.
We then went to a sports bar the guy recommended, 'The Brickhouse', & nibbled Pinchos de Pollo (BBQ chicken on a stick). Yum... I'd go back there b/c their food looked so damned good.
Todd had a few beers, so I drove back. Wow, driving PR roads is a trip!!! Not the comfy driving of the USA -- I never knew if the drivers, the road , or Todd's rental car would be sketchy. All 3 had their moments!
Just got back, but I'm wide awake b/c of the coffee in the AM. Whatever, it's all good.
2 points:
1) My spanish is slowly coming back, but it's difficult to get the sentences that are 'new' to work. But I can understand some stuff. The PR accent (that I've heard so far) reminds me of Spain, minus the lisp. Noraita drops the ends of words just like my old friends in Castellano Spain.
2) My cold almost vanished today. THANK GOD! I think the accupuncturist was right, and I was fighting some allergy in Berkeley. Maybe I'll take allergy pills next time. Or maybe it's just the herbs, but whatever -- I'm feeling much better. Hope I'm done soon w/this cold!!!

Puerto Rico, YO!!!!

I'm off to Puerto Rico for 10 days! Psyched! Going to see a Todd, a friend from UCSB, in Ponce, PR. From what I've read, it will be fairly powerful b/c PR is such an example of America's actual EMPIRE. I want to bring my video camera, but am abstaining b/c of added weight since I'm sick (fighting off a chest infection). Oh well...

Bizarre story on EPA seeking to resume human testing of pesticides on poor, orphans, mentally deranged, and college students was on KPFA last night. Sounded like scifi, but it's real. Senator Bill Nelson's & Barbara Boxer's position is astounding. The White House is trying to end a ban on human testing.

Also, apparently the record oil profits are NOT due to actual supply & demand, but oil co SPECULATION about supply and demand. So the oil industry pulled in $94bil based on speculation of less supply... and now Oil execs fight against getting their profits taxed. I admire their tenaciousness, but their courage is nil -- since Bush has clearly given the thumbs up since Enron.
The question the Oil Corps are facing is, 'Did they gouge the public?'
My opinion --> Oil Corps have done many things to prevent a true 'free market' in the energy domain, specifically around alternative energy: preventing production of and blocking public access to it. These corps take public subsidies for oil rigs/platforms and exploration and have huge tax loopholes on their organizations. They pay (often minor) punitive damages in the event of spills that may damage habitats for hundreds of years. So for me, whether or not they gouge is LESS relevant than whether or not they are good for humanity, in their current form. I say, the smaller the better. The Oil Corps would function better if they were smaller & diverse, instead of bloated money/power machines. (And of course they gouge!!)

New 'RPG model' - custom book generation of RPG's

I offer this ingenious idea to anyone for free.
(I also posted it to Analog RPGers on Tribe.net and RPG Creatores on Tribe.net)

ANYWAY, here's the gist of the idea:

Game Designers release CD's w/'core rules' + splats. CD contains character sheets, NPC generator(s), and maybe some nerdy tools like die rollers or whatever. People use CD to print customized books, and don't gain access to rest of the material.

GM buys CD and prints up the 'GM rulebook', adding or removing optional rules as they like. They can post their 'game settings' online if they want, maybe even on the game's forum site. (The settings could be an .xml file that anyone could see through if they want.)

Gamers use the 'player' CD to generate their character. The CD helps the player 'build a book' that includes everything their character needs, nothing they don't need, and contains the GM mods, and they can print the book out -- and send a 'config' file to the GM so they can see what the character is.
Players also can print 'future' sections for their characters by listing some areas they'd like to grow and see the options for those paths.

(Game Creators could pool their resources to make this framework for this 'game printing' kit. If it's standardized, it'd be easier for designers & more fun for players, IMHO. Maybe make it 'open-source' and have some programmers make it for free, if you can coerce enough prog'ers.)

** THIS REVOLUTIONARY IDEA will cut down paper waste, gameshops being flooded w/unneeded splat books, and make games cheaper for gamers **

A few additional thoughts:
If player or GM wanted a sexy hardbound book, they can send their config file to the publisher and pay the $40 or so to have it printed & bound.

Players might not know what a 'mysterious' character (or object) could do, b/c THE RULES WOULD NOT BE IN THEIR HANDS. Only the GM & the applicable character would know what their options were. Imagine a fantasy game where only GM & magic player know how spells are cast, or psi characters and GM only know the available psi powers. The 'oooh' and 'aaaah' are immediately back! (Same goes w/Magic Items, Cyber Gear, mutations, superpowers, etc etc) The same concept is applicable to NPCs & monsters as well.

The RPG CD can come in a hardbound (or just nice quality) quick ref sheet or GM screen, & has sample PCs & NPCs & monsters or background flavor, so the new gamer can appreciate what's being offered.

The printing companies could lose in profits -- but their production costs would drop like rocks. Their net profit might be higher if they have more volume, b/c CD's could be released for $10 or less -- for an entire game. The printouts could still have beautiful art imbedded, so the quality could still be high.

Game upgrades, a la D&D 3.5 (which was infuriating to those like myself w/all 3.0 splat-books -- I stopped playing), would cost maybe $5 or $10 for the entire game.

Game updates could be posted online & added into game for a minor fee, like $1 or so.

** I give this idea to all of you and to the world. If you do it, give me a credit. :D -- rekz karz **

Bush - 'We Don't Torture'

Bush made some nice statements today. One includes his statement 'we don't torture' -- which he said WHILE the White House is fighting a Congressional BAN on torture, specifically seeking an excemption for the CIA!! Give me a break, Fascist! (I for one wonder if the American media will challenge him on this?)

Here another jewel. A 'Young Leader' in Brazil nails Bush on 'missionary zeal', and Bush's response? Truly poetic. I particularly love Bush's comments about Japan.

Thank GOD Bush and Republicans are too deeply rooted in their own fascist ideology that they can't see they're walking off the cliff! And good riddance!

While it will take the USA (and the world) years to undo the damage, if it's even possible. Meanwhile, even if Bush & Co get jailtime for their crimes against 'God and Man', their friends and families will be reaping the benefits of their unprecedented profiteering swindle off of public money.

Who said 'Crime Doesn't Pay'? It pays damned good if you're white-collar, and even better if you're King -- I mean, President.

We got 'Weened!


Yes! Halloween in the Castro!!

It was fun. It was kinda creepy, especially those guys who get too into their creepy death costumes. The Freddies, the Jasons, the various forms of death, killers, Scream guys, slashers, murderers, etc. And somehow, we survived.


I am amazed at my luck. I picked up this hot Gypsy chick. Must've been the military outfit. Chicks dig the uniform.

She seems to have ensorcelled me with her witchcraft. I did a psychic mind-meld with her. She commanded me to look into her crystal-ball ring. I did ... and I don't remember anything since!

They DO have Oxygen in the USA!

Sam (aka Smacka) came from Australia. He couldn't breathe American air, so we took him ASAP to the Oxygen Bar -- but his hair had already fallen out.

The air quality was so intense that Jeff (aka Sir Jeff) had a prune-face attack.

Corinna (aka Sleepy Eskimo) and Ari (aka Chaos Nerd) were dazed, but that looked normal for them.

But they forgot who they were, and still need some help occasionally when it comes to details.

5pm? Dishes? Where do I live? etc etc

Poem - Leaving of the Domain of Work

Leaving of the Domain of Work
-- by Ari 10/25/05

Work, I have lost your inspiration
Since the banishing reorganization
Cast me into the nether-cubes
And I bide there yet, anticipating.

Work, the noblest aspiration of good men,
Christians at heart, foregoing base pleasures,
Delaying ignoble gratifications of flesh,
Pursuing unattainable dreams of the wealthy.

Work's goal, stolen early for me,
Properties priced beyond my fantasies,
Creative ventures beyond my skills,
Technologies far past my own imagination.

Work had a significance at one time,
Long past, when shortages were rampant.
Today's peoples need never know lack
If not for the insatiable apettite Of power.

Work changes from survival to expression,
Social positions devolve to brand labels,
Nationalism fades behind corporate ranks,
Destiny's weight presses down on executives.

Work once was sweat and blood, and now
The clicks of delete cover the virtuous,
Many colors striving for survival
In corridors, kitchens, and bathrooms stolen.

Work never works for moral folk,
Dumbfounded that the laziest get promoted
Past glass ceilings of ethics and fairness,
Unconcerned at their lack of claim to success.

Work for me! Don't work against me!
I beg of you in your stone castles of control,
Please cease emailing away your heart,
Invest conscience back into your calling.

Work no more for death, but for life!
Pause in the endless consuming for a thought,
A vague fantasy of forests and friendships,
Visions of a future deserving the work.

Media - Kaiju Big Battle, Amber, and the Artificial Kid

How could I NOT like Kaiju Big Battel DVD? Almost too strange to believe, but it's real -- sorta. Giant Monsters wrestling in a caged arena!!! A humorous low-budget spoof of Japanese Monster Flicks, horrible American translations as 'the style', and parody of wrestling.

Also found Amber Diceless RPG book at a local Berkeley bookshop. Just bought the 10 book compendium The Great Book of Amber : The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 off Amazon for $16. Already 200 pages into this mammoth tome, and it's quite an interesting read.

Also just finished a few books -- Rudy Rucker (Realware) & Terry Pratchett (forget which, have read SO MANY Diskworld books) & Bruce Sterling (Artificial Kid).

All were pretty interesting reads, of varying qualities. I enjoyed emailing Rudy Rucker (he's a prof at SJSU) and Bruce Sterling (he's on the Well) and talking a bit w/them.

Simon Wiesenthal Dies 9/20 - Question of Nazi legacy

Simon Weisenthal, Nazi Hunter died in his sleep last night.

Another hero goes. I wonder if he will be covered in the media?
I sure hope so.

I often wonder if the Nazis have re-infected the USA again -- but 'rebranded' themselves as, 'hip New-Age Christian Gen-X'ers' or something? Does everyone know about the extreme Christianity in Nazi Germany?
A quote from that linked page "One must not forget that Germany represented the most Christianized country in the world in the 1930s and 40s."

Crooks & Liars.com - Thank you

Jon Stewart -- he delivers! http://www.crooksandliars.com
If that's not clear enough, what the heck is?!??!
(His speech follows the tradition of another American hero, Michael Moore, at his Oscar performance.)


I can't imagine how hard it must be to tell the truth from THE HEART of the propoganda machine -- at their own awards ceremony. (I've had major stage fright giving presentations in Spanish class, or teaching 300 people how to use software, or playing bass in a gig with my last band. Not quite the same scale! HA HA)

One worry is that media can actually consume it's own 'counter-media', and rather than spawning any true 'anti-fascist' actions, counter-media may encourage media consumers to just sit & watch the battles for their world on TV.

Corinna & I are having a 'sign-making' party in Berkeley in preparation for the SF Peace Rally supporting the huge March on Washington on 9/24 @ 11am @ Dolores Park.

The marchers have permits to protest directly in front of the White House! I was amazed to hear that. They're estimating at least 500k marchers in Washington, DC! To me, that's Democracy: people demanding representation.

To quote a beautiful slogan, "Don't Tread on Me!" and "No Taxation Without Representation!" Some parts of history are cyclical -- sorta.

Game Obsession -- Eye of Rana and Rocketmen

OK, so I love these games. And I'm 34 years old. And I've never played them. So I guess it's a bad sign, eh? HA HA

Eye of Rana


First, Eye of Rana. It's a copy of my all-time favorite computer game, Rogue (although I always preferred other copies of Rogue, called Rogue-Likes.) And you can play this game on a cellphone. That's awesome...
It was a great time-waster then, and it is still. It never had the graphics, and that was fine -- it has randomness, replayability, and strategy. A rare combo. Diablo, Doom, and other games were at least partially inspired by Rogue, although Rogue was never graphically violent.

Rocketmen


As for Rocketmen, I really like the little space ship models. They're awesome. I bought a pack of their Pirates game, b/c they looked so damned cool. And the gameplay is simple, and somehow elegant.

Yes, I am game obsessed. :)

Star Wars Personality Test

I did the Star Wars personality test, and I'm Chewbacca!


Guess I'm not THAT surprised. I'm hairy and loyal and good w/things, so I figured it'd happen.

Faith is BACK -- thx Astrologer

Well, that was quick. Paid a friendly Astrologer, Charles Vickers (2nd picture on right) to do some advanced reading. And he says I'm quite likely to job hop this year, esp right now thru Oct.

Funny, but that really supercharges me!! I'm ready to get OUT of here and on to the next thing, definitely!

And also, so much else in my life is fluctuating -- engaged, moving in w/Corinna in Sept -- it's exciting. And worrisome too, but for some reason my faith is restored.

It's all gonna work out! Somehow, it always does...

Not feeling the luck today, faith for tomorrow

Car Crash #17 from CarBuyingTips.com



What a week! Wow.
Difficulties abound -- and yet all this good stuff is around.

Wedding in LA last weekend. My uncle leans over & says to me & my g/f, "Is this your first wedding together? Going to a wedding as a couple really makes you think about things." Despite that 'warning', we still had fun.

As we left LA, I had a last minute fight w/my Dad. Hoping that blows over soon.

Didn't get a sweet property in Astoria, Oregon. Saw this amazing/quirky place with a view of the bridge to Seattle. Wow.

Didn't get the job I was hoping for. Looking at more months here. Don't know how much of this crap I can take.

Corp re-org (but they're saying it's not one). My friends are being demoted, but it's not a 're-org'.

I'm on the sidelines observing. Somehow separate, yet a part of. Coworker friends make jokes, "What do you do, anyway?" and so on. It's the catch 22 of getting re-org'd myself into a job with so little workload. I do the best I can -- I suit up, I show up, I do things I can do, and that's about it. There isn't much leadership coming from the high-paid 'overlords', so we just wing it.

I often do feel like every day here is a day wasted. And then I think, every day here is more than $300 in my pocket! That's a lot of bread, Fred! So when I've got a hefty pile of $, or just can't take it anymore, or somehow master the financial fears ... I'll exit stage left.

It's just one day at a time.

THE BIG ENGAGEMENT ... and ...

Good news!
Ari and Corinna are engaged!
Sweet.

We are psyched. More info to come...

And ...
We went on a 10 day vacation trip thru Calif & Oregon. It was very beautiful.

First stop was her family's place up in Willow Creek, CA. Good fun. Danced to Dr Squid, & hung out w/C's whole family except her bro.

Then up to Florence to see my Mom & step-Dad, Ed. It was fun also, although my Mom was stressed b/c she thought I felt like had to buy property on this trip. Really I was just looking, 'getting my feet wet' in Oregon.

I was obsessed with duplexes!!! Only duplexes in Eugene and Coos Bay. Saw some pretty sad duplexes in my price range. But was it a learning experience? Oh my! Now I'm considering a single-family home in Astoria, and perhaps Coos Bay.

Then Corinna and I were supposed to start heading down to SF area. Instead we went North (on a Corinna-whim, which she hours later doubted) -- all the way to Astoria. Astoria blew us away. Wow!!!

Saw a few places. I want to buy one. Not sure if I can do it, but considering... The view is ... no words to describe. The place is neat-o. There's another place that was impressive too, but it didn't hit us the same way. We'll see what happens next.

And gotta give props to -- Lunar Boy Gallery and also Shuckers Oyster Bar in Lincoln City. Joyce (amazing sculptor and co-ownder of Shuckers) and Ken were so nice. If you're going thru Lincoln City, go there!!! Possibly the nicest folks I've ever met??? Corinna and I are on their wall of shame now. HA HA

Now I'm back at work. And it isn't that bad! Wow...
Vacations are amazing! I was feeling pretty good for a few days there.

Interview, headache, vacation

Had a 2 hour interview. 2 panels. Thought it went really well. Feel like I was honest and also spoke well. Not totally certain, bc..

I had this 'optical headache' 10 minutes prior to the interview that lasted for about 30 minutes. My eyes became REALLY sensitive to light, and I couldn't see about 20-30% of my field of vision. If I closed EITHER eye, I would see the visual anomaly.

It went away about 1/3 into the interview. I thought I should mention it, but decided not to. It vanished after awhile, but it was strange -- I couldn't see one of the panelists for a good 1/2 of the interview. And more than that, I couldn't read much and people's faces looked very strange.

But the Director seemed to like me, so hopefully I'll land the job? Fingers crossed!!! This would be a far better opportunity than the other one just a few mo's ago.

And now ... I'm on vacation from 8/12 thru 8/21. JOY! JOY! HAPPY HAPPY!
But I might be buying property in Oregon. So what a conflict to buy property AND change jobs at the same time! But what ever -- WHEN is the perfect time?

Blew the ADHD diet, now just trying healthy

Well, I tried Evening Primrose Oil & DHA. Seem to be very powerful in mellowing me out. Hard to do take daily, even w/the pills at my desk.

Ran out of Oats, bought the wrong stuff. Going to buy the right stuff.

Anyway ... skimmed a book on 'Eating for Your Blood Type'. Interesting concepts, I clearly suffered when I ate Chocolate Ice Cream over the weekend. Pain and then exhaustion...

Wow, the diet stuff is really interesting. If it ain't one thing, it's another!!!

My Mom's bday is tomorrow. Happy bday MOM!!!! :)

Getting ready for a road trip to Florence, Oregon, by way of Eugene. Corinna & I are going to look at housing, maybe buy a place. I'm excited AND tripped out. So much $$$. But the way the USA is going (favoring the rich, crushing middle & poor classes), being a land-owner is THE MOST RELIABLE escape from poverty -- and then there's owning a business (plan to do that too), and career success (plan to do that too).

Music that AWakEns & deprograms the mind

Friends, ready for a mental blast?
A wake-up? A 'moment of truth'?

Try just sitting and listening, deeply, to either of these 'songs'.
I've got a bunch so that it won't get boring...

Consider them deprogramming tools.
Carlin's Bullshit Lullaby
and
Dark Chomsky

All of 'em are at my music page.

Please enjoy, pass them on, and remember -->
Sept 24th, 2005
National Protest against the War!

www.unitedforpeace.org
impeachbush.org

ShadowRun & Ecotopia

Just played ShadowRun. Aaaaahhh...

Gotta love it!

But now I'm up too late b/c of the coffee I drank.
Damn that corp crack! But the coffee was ... yumm!

Work blows. But no big. I will survive.
"Fuck work up the goat ass!!!"
Anyone ELSE out there think working 40hrs a week is ... dumb?
Why? It's truly unnecessary!

What we need is less meat, less pollution, and less work.
Wanna read about how that can work? (Doesn't mention meat, but ...)

Just finished "Ecotopia" by Earnest Callenbach. It's about Calif, Oregon, & Washington seceding from the uSA. We all joke about it, but it sounds good. Really good. And the book tells us how...

So what now?

Why I love RPG'ing

Edited from a post I placed on the SF Mage: the Awakening Tribe on tribe.net

I've been a gamer for ages. I really dig it. Favorite genre is scifi, then urban, then magical. (For some reason, the Tolkien-esque fantasy world doesn't jibe with me well, although I've done that too...)

I am upset w/RPG co's that want to sell more & more books even if it hurts the game. (That said, I still have a fat shelf full of RPG books, tho. & I think the 'pirated' .pdf explosion of books is really good for gaming -- but that's another story.)

Many games make Magic feel mundane. Mage by White Wolf 'keeps it real'. I also like the White Wolf RPG style of 'talk it/act it' vs the Wizards of the Coast style of paint a miniature & stick it on a map. The creativity is tasty.

Mostly, I like RPG'ing b/c I get to share in fantastic 'pseudo experiences' with my characters: to go to amazing places, meet amazing people, and truly join in an adventure deeper than any movie, more personal than any book, and with other humans (not a huge fan of PC 'rpg' mimicry). I also relish acting 'not-me' for a few hours.

50 Bites!

Yosemite was beautiful.

I had the priviledge of hanging out with 4 very groovy women, first and foremost my lovely girlfriend.

We chilled in our ranger friend's pad, and went on a 8 mile hike. I wore Teva sandals and socks -- AGAIN a hike w/o appropriate gear! And I had some Off! and I forgot it. PAINFUL!

So we all went walking, and in the end we were swarmed by mosquitoes. Everyone had various degrees of bites -- the lightest was the ranger who had 1 or 2, my g/f had 10, and I won with over 50 bites! I wouldn't have known the exact count, but my g/f counted them when she aloe-vera'd me later.

I've felt pretty sick since then. Skipped the dip in the Merced River b/c was too sick. Drinking a lot of water. Worked from home Mon b/c I didn't want to sit at work and itch. (Instead, hung out at a cool cafe. Sweet!)

Just resumed the ADHD pills & additives. Hope it works.
Had oats w/flax seed powder
1 evening primrose pill
going to take 1 DHA before I leave work. :)

Yosemite and Script

Going to YOSEMITE for the weekend,
got Friday off as vacation! Sweet!

Had a conversation w/therapist re: filmmaking.
How lucky am I to have a therapist who's
a) sober and b) a former actor w/film experience.

He suggested instead of me constantly
fretting over finishing my script,
perhaps I post a gasmask in my room
and look at it for inspiration on my script.

I've posted this AWESOME 'Shepard Fairey' piece and a few others to keep me going. Check out his website, Obey Giant
POWERFUL art!!! Love it!

Anti ADHD regimen -starting TODAY

Experiment starting today, based on an Organic Health book on ADHD.
(Interesting book. Will re-post w/the title.)
Bought Evening Primrose Oil, DHA, and some Flax seed and oats.

Starting 9/19/2005 with
1300 mg Primrose Oil in AM
500 mg DHA (aka Fish Oil / Omega 3's)
and cereal

I already feel mellower.
Had stomache acid/reflux, going to re-tool the pills.


update 9/20
Took Primrose Oil in AM before cereal
No reflux/stomache acid.
Now having Green Tea
was going to have DHA before lunch, but forgot.
*stayed up til 3am editing a 'stop motion' piece
using iStopmotion from BOINX software.*


update 9/21
Took DHA w/breakfast (bagel w/Lox Spread)
and a green tea
going to have Primrose pill at lunch.
TIRED from last night!

Moveon.org goals on Actionforum

I posted the following (below) on Moveon's recent Action Forum topic:

What Goals should moveon.org be pursuing?

MOVEON goals should be:

#1 -- Impeach President Bush and his cabinet for
a) lying & coverup re: WMD in Iraq
b) violating international laws in Abu Ghraib & Guantanamo (and others?)
c) graft & corruption charges re: Haliburton exclusive contracts

#2 -- Reform the US Government
a) open primary elections to more than 2 parties
b) require candidates to state their platforms AND requiring them to uphold their positions
c) campaign contribution reform
d) make the CIA & FBI subject to democratic controls
e) repeal the patriot act & other recent nonsensical unconstitutional law
f) demand an end to nuclear & bio weapons proliferation, starting with the USA

#3 -- Revise all corporate charters
Today, corporate charters are given by State govts and subject to State and Federal laws. Corporations are treated as legal entities after they are granted a charter. We need to formally revoke the legal entity status of all corporations (thus making their constituent executives and board ALWAYS liable for corporate crimes) and require all corporations to include some type of 'conscience clause' in their corporate charters, which requires them to put LIFE BEFORE PROFIT in ALL cases (including foreign people's lives).

- REkz, GOD (July 13, 2005; San Francisco, CA)

Didn't land the startup gig -- whoa! Google Earth!

Wow, Google Earth blew my mind!
Dropping back down to reality after flying above the orb...

Damn, didn't get the startup gig at oqo.com!
Must not've been meant to be.
3 interviews, 4 1/2 hours later -- and no gig!

Seemed like a dream opportunity,
but they ruled me out b/c
they said "I'm not technical enough".
They might be right. Not sure.

They had a huge emphasis on wireless tech.
My background is at financial software co's,
and financial co's don't tend to do wireless much.
It's seen as too risky.
While there are a TON of security &
encryption options in wireless networking,
most companies laid off their IT infrastructure
and what they HAVE now is poorly configured
or has major security holes.

Sad sad sad. I guess it's good for India...
but the idea that the USA completely exported
it's High Tech edge overseas.
The reverberations will echo in this country
for years to come, IMHO.

The Vault - gotta love it!

Heard about The Vault.
Hilarious archive of real-life employee complaints.

Also have a friend who's so frustrated about work conditions that he's starting a similar site, although just selling merchandize. More info to come.

9 years no beers

July 3rd 2005 marks 9 years clean and sober!
Amazing!

I would never have thought I'd get so far.
And how cool that I'm not alone.
:)

But since there's no guarantee that this lifestyle
will continue, I try to enjoy today thoroughly.

Turned 9 in Nevada City

9th birthday for the no-smokin'. It was great.
My girlfriend is amazing. Props to her!
And ... Nevada City. Wow.

We burned ourselves up in the Yuba River
-- and had a treacherous climb.

and it was FUN!!!

Also, gotta mention ECOTOPIA by ERNEST CALLENBACH.
What a book! I'd give it 5 stars! Inspired like '1984', it hits with Utopian impact. What the book is lacking in amazing writing skill it makes up for in researched thoroughness and visionary-ness.

Smashups -- Damn, I was ahead of the curve!!!

Awhile back I web-released (aka posted) a bunch of MP3 songs.
In CD or record terms, ie old school, these could be called albums/discs.

2 were techno (Electrogroove & CyberAnimals),
and one was of the 'smash up' variety
(I called it ILLEGAL MUSIC)
-- except my smashups were different.
I ripped speeches from heroes & comedians, remix their words,
and put them over music -- either my music, or sampled music.

I'm so often 1 year too early, and 20 years too late!

But I must be riding the morphic wave.
See you at the front of the wave -- I'm bum-rushing it!

Post-OREGON hop review - travel summary

Whew. Wow. Whoa.

So, just a quick recap of the month:

Los Angeles from 6/10-6/12.
Santa Cruz from 6/18-6/19.
Florence, OR from 6/24-6/27.
I'M TIRED... bet Corinna is too...

And the big big 3 hour interview is TOMORROW!
Going to sleep, pray, and then -- kick some ass!!!

But I can't get over the BUSH conspiracy / nightmare we're living in.
It makes 1984 look like 'dystopia-lite'!

And gotta mention Abandonwarez, favorite site would be :
UnderDogs Abandonwarez Banner
I dloaded Master of Magic off this site, and it's been 3+ years
that I've been playing the damn thing!
Love the concept -- recycling software. :D

And Corinna & I have come to a decision about things.
I'M PSYCHED!!!!

Letter to former friends ... and update

Former 'CORPORATION' friends,

I hope you are all well and doing things that are rewarding.

When I got this email w/everyone's contact info, I couldn't help but pick off the old familiar names & say hello.

I have stayed on at 'CORPORATION' for ... 2 1/2 years! Shocking! Add on <'CORPORATION' that was taken over awhile back> for 5 yrs and we're talking SERIOUS amounts of time at 'CORPORATION'!

In the last 30 months, I've had over 5 managers, 3 job titles, been fired once (and the manager who fired me got fired -- but I stayed!), promoted twice, moved to 3 buildings and 4 different floors, had my computer gear thrown away, phone number changed, ergonomic equipment confiscated, and recently I was threatened.

And that's just the humorous part of it!

Also, I've worked with a number of really nice people who seemed like 'career 'CORPORATION'' (or former 'CORPORATION') people -- until surprisingly they left.

And somehow, I have survived?!?!? I don't get it!!!

Currently, I've been 'banished to limbo', and even though this ain't bad for 'CORPORATION', I'm ready to go.

I'm currently interviewing at a cutting edge IT co in SF for a "Sales Engineer" job, and am over 1/2 way thru their interview process. I've got my fingers crossed on this one, looks like it could be amazing.

But if it doesn't pan out, if any of you hear of any sweet gigs for a 'sales engineer' or some type of multimedia/techie position, please can you let me know?

And as always, stay in touch!

PEACE!

REkz
http://rekzkarz.blogspot.com

-----------------------------------------------------

REkz updates old post on 4/2006:

Still in limbo at 'CORPORATION' more than 1 year later. Amazing.

I pushed for training for 2 yrs since I got this job. Finally, my team had a training in the NYC Headquarters. My boss's boss said at the training that he'd authorized us over a year back to have training once every 6 months.

At the training, I found that this company has been split into Senior Managers (who I call 'Yellers') and Lower Managers & Employees (who I call 'Workers' or 'Grunts'). It seems fairly clear that the Senior Managers may know the high-level overview of the jobs they manage, but they often don't know the job itself. 'CORPORATION' has made the executive decision to hire all these upper tier managers from the leading competitor.

I often joke that these managers still work for the competitor because of the horrible damage they do to 'CORPORATION'.

I want to bitch & moan about the specifics, but it would be pages. I'll leave it at this: the CEO started up a cool little company, and then he abandoned it to the big guys. The bigger 'CORPORATION' purchased control and immediately fired him and 10% of the staff 'to make people more flexible'. Then they began looking at how to turn the profit generating company into something that could be sucked dry.

So job growth has moved to Bangalore, where people earn about 1/7th of what they might in the US. Skilled people are fired or leave, unskilled outsiders are hired at a comparable salary (or higher!) and left to fend for themselves. Constant restructurings and promotions/demotions leave people disoriented. They even change group email addresses constantly, often without forwarding the old emails.

The main philosophy here is "do it yourself", which can include everything from your own training to HR to health care to everything else. We joke about how this company always chooses the worst possible decision when facing a dilemma.

As several people have shouted loudly here and many are always whispering, this 'CORPORATION' is a cluster-fuck.

-----------------------------------------------------
Update on 5/2007

Well, I stayed at that job until I resigned in March 2007. I was the last one remaining in SF EXCEPT for a former pro cheerleader and much of the remaining LA team, and one 10 year veteran that quit actually came back with a promotion. And good for him, he deserves it!

My experience at that job covered the spectrum -- many great coworkers at heart, a few amazingly bad coworkers who were perhaps worse than the sitcom characters we all laugh at on occasion, uninspiring work on uninspiring software, executives 'robbing' the corp of bonus money and salaries, low level people getting the axe after working 10+ years at horrible jobs, and so on.

And I did have a friend there who I did favors for, including fixing a broken binder machine. We shared a nerd-bond over scifi.

Dilbert, Office Space, "The Office" TV show, none of these sufficiently explain the amazing world I was able to leave:
Cubes and screens, clients and bosses, endless digital paperwork, endless meaningless conference calls, conference rooms with no windows and blank walls, people packed into desks like rats while 1/2 of the office space was reserved as training area for classes that might happen someday, remote managers in other cities and states managing employees they'd see once a year, people making $60k elated for a chance at a free sandwich or drink, forbidden conversation topics like 'salary' or 'bonuses', and many impressive techniques to work 3 hours a day or less for full pay.

In other words, it was a great lesson in business and I got paid to experience it. THANKS!

Management Insight:
Managers need not be skilled in management or in the area they're managing. It generally helps though, but if they understand that their role is to help employees be more effective, their employers (ie bosses) will be really happy with their results. If managers operate the other way, and try to pressure employees to do it the way their bosses want, the managers will lose their best talent.
The most useful 'authority' for a boss to have over an employee is 'expert authority', where the manager understands the job better than most folks around. However, at corporations, expert authority from below can be a threat to a new boss hired from outside, so if you do know how it's done ... you'll learn quickly: either keep it quiet, or get forced out.
The most useless authority is 'referent authority', where the boss can say 'I'm the boss b/c so and so said so' because very often this is the clueless boss.

Reorganization Insight:
Reorganizing more than once in 5 years is a sign of bad management. More than 3 times in 5 years is a sign of horrible management. Five times in five years ... someone is trying to pretend they're doing something to get that $200k salary + bonus.
When managers 'pink slip' people and fire folks to trim ranks, they often fire the wrong folks and keep the stinkers ... because of politics or personalities.
Just b/c someone's the boss doesn't mean they know what's going on. So when the next re-organization hits, guess who's going to be clueless.

Executive Insight:
Executives that start a company and struggle day and night until it finally takes off are perhaps due inflated percentages of income. Executives that are hired onboard healthy businesses and assume the upper management are not really taking any risk and don't deserve high salaries, bonuses, and stock options. Their jobs are pretty easy, and have a lot of perks. Maybe paying with stock/stock options is enough?
Don't they abuse that expense account enough anyway? Does anyone check that the CEO isn't padding her expense account? How would they?
Executives exploit the people under them, by necessity. Being an executive doesn't necessarily mean you're a bad person ... it just means you probably are and will probably get worse. It's possible to fight it, usually by having expert knowledge and by growing up through your organization instead of from outside.
Many executives often are clueless about the operation at different levels, and more concerned with political battling inside the organization and shoring up their positions.

Corporate Insight:
I don't have much, really. When one of the star sales guys was fired b/c he kept loudly complaining "this place is a clusterfuck", I thought he was right. I was surprised that the Director at the time didn't agree, but I guess he'd agree now that he got fired too. (And did we ever find out why? Nope.)
The sales guy that was fired had a legitimate beef as well --> he hadn't been paid on numerous commissions b/c the company reorg'd payroll AND the commission structure at the same time. Perhaps he was upset b/c he was required to record every sale on 3 separate databases, and still never got paid? I hear that still happens, too.
When I got a check for $412 in commissions and complained, my then Director responded, "Ha! I guess you're not buying a car on that one." When the commissions were corrected, I got a check for $8k. What a 'slight' bookkeeping error that was, eh? I thought it particularly significant that, when faced with a 'salary glitch of approx 10% of my wages', the Director's first response was to make a joke at my expense. Ah, style.
So my observation on big corporations is -- they make more money by being inefficient in billing and handling cancels. Sometimes this is easier explained by inefficiency in handling, processing, execution, and design. So, the larger a successful organization is, the more likely it will be more fucked up over time, until finally it is an understatement to call the place "a clusterfuck".

An end to corporate hell ... for ME

The light at the end of the tunnel?
Not likely, but a light on a road in the darkness.

My work life has always had ups and downs.
It's surprised me that after leaving a job
I generally am rewarded with the next job.

Two interviews this week. Fingers crossed.
Hard to imagine it could get worse, but y'never know --
maybe my next job I'll have to beat and murder...?
Or just intimidate and be cruel, like the average manager.

Cheesy Filler + pics

Alright, gotta do something to make my BLOG tasty...
Click a few web-pics to find great stuff!!!

Three Ways Media logo Order of the Stick Free Radio Berkeley
Hundertwasser Top of the British Blogs

Hope and more hope.

Raunch & G.Bush SUCKS
Robbie Connal Lithographs

The Downing Street Memo <-- complete text

I have added italics & bold when I felt appropriate -- REkzkarz
Clipped from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607_1,00.html
Full Text also at AfterDowningStreet.org


The Sunday Times - Britain
May 01, 2005

The secret Downing Street memo

SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLY

DAVID MANNING
From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell

IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY

Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.

The two broad US options were:

(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.

(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.

Conclusions:

(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.

(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)

MATTHEW RYCROFT

(Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide)