Friday, November 29, 2013

Holidays

Thanksgiving to me was a day of contemplation for me.The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published a report online called Hardship in America, 2013: SNAP Cuts Are No Cause for Thanks. The Economic Policy Institute also published a report online called Cuts to Safety Net Programs Threatens Millions.

Through the rest of this "holiday season" we need to be reminded of Sequestration which already hit 57,000 children in Head Start programs. The Center for American Progress recently published a report: How Sequestration Gets Worse in 2014. This didn't stop the Department of Homeland Security from purchasing 1.6 Billion rounds of Ammunition. The International Business Times is one of the few remaining references about the action online and published a story Homeland Security Refutes Conspiracies About 1.6 Billion Rounds of Ammo, Pepper Ball Gun And Riot Gear Purchases. I found another article at IBT about the extinction of Social Media jobs and other jobs that will be extinct within the next decade. This list includes Retail Cashier.

A few too many reports about pedestrians hit by commuter trains let me to a Google Correlate search showing a correlation with "unemployment benefits claim." I hate to think about it but I'm not really surprised. I tried looking up "suicide" with Google Correlate there were absolutely no results found.

The money messiah BitCoin which was supposed to subvert the financial controls of the existing elite class is now rampant with crime. The online Bitcoin Forum published a List of Bitcoin Heists. Despite the hacking, Bitcoin's value keeps going up.

There may come a time when our culture can only be kept stable through the continuous redistribution and unhindered flow of money through the economy, despite the social status or employment status of any individual. It has become standard practice for police to escalate every situation to a point where beatings, Tazings, pepper spray and restraints can appear to be justified. Good news for the police armament, prison and crowd control industries. There's a website for that too: http://www.policebrutality.info/

There's enough people to act in a poverty fueled rage to put down what Henry Giroux calls the "machinery of social and civil death." America's about to take a header into utter chaos, and no billions of green pieces of paper will save you, unless you need some kindling for your old rusty oil drum heater.

Friday, November 8, 2013

End of the Internet

The Internet is in serious trouble. It may soon fall under the control of service providers who will control who has access or who has the privilege of publishing on the Internet.



For more information and to help support the fair use and freedom of expression on the Internet, See the following links

http://www.savetheinternet.com/sti-home
https://www.eff.org/

Friday, October 4, 2013

What's up with the iOS7 iPad Music Player?

Last night after several days following my iPad's update to iOS 7.02(11A501), I thought I might enjoy some music so I loaded up
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Broadcast_Network
EBN's Telecommunication Breakdown. The tracks were SHUFFLED out of their original order. I tapped on the Shuffle icon a few times to see if the order would fix itself, but it didn't.

There's no column header sorting option either. If you want your songs in order you have to create a new playlist and then carefully select the tracks in order when you load the playlist because once you have your tracks loaded and view your playlist, you no longer see the column containing the track number. You must go by memory to re-order the songs properly or actually write down with a pen and paper, the corresponding names and number in proper order.

EBN's Telecommunication Breakdown has twenty tracks. I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep, not sitting up at a desk focusing my posture and attention to the task. I have no idea who originally wrote the code for the new music player so I went to the Apple Support Community to vent. I suggested the coder resign.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Summary of these days

This is the horrible summary of what's going on so far.
  • Evolution makes inroads against human species
    • Anti-bacterial agents are killing off the weaker bacteria, making room for the survival of more resilient strains that will soon be unconquerable. This is happening in hospitals and the food supply.
    • Pesticides are inadvertently destroying species that are necessary for a balanced eco-system.
      • Bees that pollinate our crops.
      • Bats that feed on disease carrying insects
    • Genetic modifications in crops that eliminate certain infesting species are likewise making room for more resilient pests.
  • Human behavior has been altered to self-destruct by short-term profiteers.
    • Competition for consumers motivated producers to add ever-increasing volumes of sodium, fat, sugar and other addictive substances with severe long-term consequences to processed food, to such a degree that it crowded-out and priced-out more healthy choices.
    • Government social service programs subsidize resources to the needy, artificially accelerating the surplus population, creating a strain on indigenous food and energy resources, requiring imperial conquest for outside resources to sustain the vicious cycle of population growth to available resources. The false perception of unlimited resources and added public benefits of having extra children contribute to the eminent collapse of western civilization. Birth must be centrally managed to ensure the survival of our civilization.
  • Melting ice is changing the environment
    • The volumes of ice previously trapped in glaciers and the polar ice caps is not only melting into oceans to change ocean currents, raise the water level and accelerate acidification due to lower salinity, but is also evaporating into the atmosphere creating huge concentrations of static and heat energy in water vapor for more severe weather.
      • Mile-wide tornadoes, super-typhoons and hurricanes.
      • Changing Jet-stream and ocean currents diverting needed rains away, causing severe drought and heat waves.
    • The disappearance of glaciers supplying fresh water to billions of people on whole continents.
  • Economy
    • The next financial bubble to burst will be student loans.
    • The conditions that caused the housing bubble remain unchanged.
    • People will stop paying taxes because there is no longer room in prison for them and they won't care.
    • The rate of suicides, burglaries, domestic violence, DUIs, is exploding because life in the west has become a dead-end for most people.
    • Recent high school graduates face a bleak future, along with orphans who are aging out of the public support system.
    • Domestic manufacturing will be done mostly by prisoners working for less than $5 per day.
  • On the Brighter Side
    • Pot is now legal in a couple of states
    • Gay Marriage is now legal in a few states
    • Video Poker and other forms of gambling are gradually being legalized in some states.
    • Solar power is finally being recognized in the main-stream media as beneficial for cutting energy costs.
I guess that's progress.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Business

I wish I started a business a long time ago, I'm really falling in love with cotton. I hate polyester and wool makes me itch like crazy. I also hate skimpy little bath towels. I want huge bath towels that actually still have some dry spots left on them after use. I also want an oversized bathrobe with a hood made of one hundred percent cotton. I want  one hundred percent cotton blankets and linens, and I want extra-long cotton shirts with at least one pocket.

I want a start a specialty retail outlet for cotton goods. Of course I would oversee its management for a while but the point of the business would be to quickly delegate the day-to-day tasks to managers, supervisors, clerks, etc.

Of course I'm interested in profit, but I want good employees, not desperate employees. Is it so wrong to see payroll as an investment in community stability? Would a more cooperative model be appropriate with employees as owners? Maybe not at first.

I may still have the option of a V.A. small business loan, even though I my service dates back to the early 1990s. Unfortunately I served during peacetime (1986-1994) and nobody gives a shit unless you were in a war. Not even if you're looking for work.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Camp

Occasionally I think of a story idea and take it along for about a paragraph before I discover it's ridiculous and cliche. A typical stream of thought a few minutes ago led me to what amounts to nothing more than a prelude to John Carpenter's film Escape from New York. I'm bombarded by shared news stories on social media. Instead of watching television I get my news from the Internet. I seem to have inadvertently surrounded myself with a motley band of the most dour pessimists on the Web.

The rich are getting richer, food is being genetically manipulated, bees that pollinate our food supply are dying from pesticides or pesticide resistant parasites, The glaciers that supply China and India with fresh water are disappearing, radiation is leaking all over, governments are defaulting or trying to start wars, the oceans are filling with plastic, groundwater in the United States is contaminated with fracking chemicals. Coal burning power plants are being overtaxed by the rapid growth of charging electric cars. There are fewer customers because they don't get paid enough to have a spending allowance. The unemployed who are about to lose their benefits are going to go berserk.

I have yet to see any jobs posted on career websites for FEMA Camp Counselors. Hey, you know what? It just occurred to me to look up barbed wire fencing material sales. Maybe I could buy stock in it? It's also a good idea to stock up on little things like disposable lighters that you can barter for food. This is about as far as my motivation takes me right now.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Does the Web really provide?

At Google+ if I see something interesting, like most users I comment and share, or just share the post. Sometimes I'll create media to demonstrate a different perspective or an attempt at humor. Oddly, most of what I produce seems ambiguous and is often interpreted easily to their own support by groups opposing other groups which have formed into bubbles (or "circles" as Google prefers).

The posts I see at Google+ are from people I already have in my circles. On Facebook I see posts from a few lists of people also subdivided into categories. The circles and lists grow when a friend of a friend sees a post I shared or wrote that strikes a cord with them and they decide to follow me for a while. I do the same thing. When I see that someone added me to their circles I usually add them to mine as a courtesy. I usually don't remove people from my circles unless they post something offensive.

What offends me are obvious commercial promotions, SPAM which is rare, and people who use too many logical fallacies, lack empathy or don't make an effort to see things from an opposing perspective without setting up straw arguments. Basically those who follow an ideology instead of pragmatism. Others might accuse of me of being ideological one way or the other, but when you're right your right, right? Oh, and people who block me from commenting.

At LinkedIn.com the predominant discussions and articles are about "social media marketing" which I rarely find at Google+ unless its a travel photo. I see all sorts of intrusive "suggested" apps and pages at Facebook and I find them annoying because I usually have a set agenda for being there and don't have the time to play any games that typically inject advertising.


Internet browser advertising seem to adapt to personal tastes of users as far as I understand it. Because I know that there is a huge amount of stuff I do not know, My online activity is limited to such a tragic degree that user-adapted advertising won't help me find something new because it will only show me things I already know.

For a while I advertised on my blogs using Google AdSense. I noticed that ads were targeted based on keywords in the posts. Once again, my tiny amount of knowledge only attracts people who already know what I know, like I will only find people who post about things I know, and the advertising was the same. I never earned a dime from it so I stopped it. Shows you how much I know, right?

What makes this such a huge issue for me? Around the Christmas holidays in 2012 I went to a huge Holiday Gift Show at the Tacoma Dome and saw things I never knew existed because they were outside the scope of the few corporations that pervade Internet marketing. So, with all the bluster about Internet and social media marketing, why do we miss so much of what's out there? It's crowded out by the big spenders. What's the solution?

Big product expos at convention centers, flea markets, garage sales, and Craigslist.com. It's not just about shopping though, it's about finding something completely different and new that can help you succeed in life. As long as we only use the knowledge we already have to search the Internet, we are stuck.

A good start is to make a genuine effort to learn more about the ideas and people you were told to fear and avoid. To really think about their opinions and follow their train of logic, and never be afraid to admit that you are wrong.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Update

I survived a hike in Discovery Park Saturday. I thought I my legs were going to collapse and I felt nauseous but luckily my stomach was empty at the time. It was the second major test of my health since coming here the last week of June in 2012. I walked all the way from the south parking lot to the beach near the lighthouse and back again. The first test, I managed to get to the top of the steps heading down towards the beach and I almost didn't make it back then either. I've been really sick for very long time with Chronic Gouty Arthritis diagnosed years earlier.

When I packed my car to move out here I injured my back. It didn't really surprise me that my subconscious was fighting me enough to psychosomatically relax the wrong muscles at the perfect moment. I thought to myself 'I'll be damned if anything was going to stop me from getting the hell out of that place!' The drive across the country was very painful. My gout was flaring up at the same time. When I finally made it to the hotel in Mountlake Terrace I was there in pain for two weeks already and it got so bad I couldn't get out of bed but to use the bathroom for a third week, the last four days without food.

It finally subsided enough for me to go to the emergency room. The doctor prescribed for me what turned out to be a slightly higher dose of Aleve which is available over the counter, and some other drugs which only treat the pain and not anything that deals with uric acid for my Gout.

Through most of my previous blog posts since I've been here my pain has been a constant background noise that gets louder or quieter for no known reason at all. It made walking very difficult most of the time and impossible on about five occasions since I've been here.

There were times when I thought it was completely gone for a couple of days and this past Saturday was one of those days so I went to Discovery Park. When I finally returned home I was soaked in sweat, nauseous and trembling, but my left knee, my ankles and my toes did not hurt at all. I was afraid to sleep because I usually become painfully stiff when I get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. It didn't happen this time. I waited through Sunday for the pain to come rushing back into my joints but only my calf muscles were a little sore.

It's Monday afternoon and everything seems fine. It's hot though. I'm beginning to suspect that the warm weather has something to do with it, but it's absolutely amazing. The only thing to do now is adapt my behavior back to a normal lifestyle. I've been stuck here for so long I've gotten used to it. I'm still fearful of aggravating the pain again. I want to go outside more. The park was a good start.

Monday, June 17, 2013

My furniture and my brain

The walls of my apartment are blank by choice, but it might be a mistake. Surrounding yourself with photographs of happy experiences is a very important therapy. I suggest this because the scientific research found in the book The Emotional Life of Your Brain compels it. The authors suggest that meditating on happy and peaceful memories is as effective physically on the brain as physical exercise is on the muscles.

The furniture in my apartment is cheap but acceptably functional. It would be more expensive to move my furniture than it would cost to buy new furniture in my next home should I choose to move. I know people who take their furniture very seriously and invest heavily in antiques or high-quality pieces. I assume they are thinking of their furniture as an investment that eventually will cover the costs of settling their estates or serve to settle a small portion of debt in an emergency.

But people hang on to the strangest things, and even spend much more money than those items are worth to preserve or transport them. You could save money by owning a truck large enough to move your own furniture, but considering the cost of the fuel alone, the actual value of the investment plummets rapidly into the red.

For some people cost is not even a consideration. Words such as "nostalgia" and "sentimental" come into play. People hoard things perhaps for the emotional intensity of the memories evoked by those things, fear of reprisal for having discarded them, an aching notion that the thing will be needed almost as soon as it is discarded, or the sense that it might gain in value over time instead of lose value. I can remember some instances when I needed something after I discarded it. My great aunts had trunks filled with old processed bank checks dating back fifty years or more.

Except for money, the weight or degree of certain values we attach to things are different for everyone. I have a few different values besides memory triggers.

Distraction value: I need things to distract me from other emotions that take over in the absence of external stimuli. The emotions kept at bay by the distractions are driven by my chronic anxiety. The word "dour" is the best word that comes to mind. An overly criticizing shadowy behemoth pointing and insulting me with relentless memories of negative experiences. I don't need a relationship for that, it's built-in.

Social Attraction value: Can I use the thing to break the ice or invite favorable curiosity and create social activity? On some occasions while taking photographs I appear to others as a professional and they ask me to use their camera to take pictures of them. It's a nice experience but never goes beyond that because they are socially engaged with others. Social media so far has been my only solace. Sharing and commenting on social media gives me a small sense of validation when someone comments or favorably votes on my posts. 

I assign utilitarian value to things rather than sentimental value, unless it's a gift, which I call "etiquette judgement traps," another of my inherent distortions. To gifts I assign competitive values such as the ability to match the value and uniqueness of a gift in return, the ability to appear completely fair in situations where gifts are exchanged by multiple people. The stress can make one give up entirely on gift-related holidays. Church is bad enough brimming with vindictive judgemental competitors in the games of proper attire, ritual performance, and financial "sacrifices." Some of the scowls of disapproval at my inability to carry a tune while singing hymns in church were evidence enough for me to abandon those dens of gossip and religio-political intrigue. Christmas? No thanks.

Interestingly, the value of things you can't take with you change when you move across the country, and it changes how you feel about similar things in the future. I had a very expensive black leather high-backed swivel chair fit for a Supreme Court Justice, the kind with brass studs decorating the trim. It emitted an aura of intimidation and authority that impressed people on many occasions. I had to leave it behind and sometimes I miss it, but mostly I wonder what on earth I was thinking when I bought the thing back in 1995.

After moving twice and taking the furniture with me, I don't think I want to do that again, ever. I'll happily give my furniture to the NW Furniture Bank.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The trick of life

After isolating myself for such a long time I began to realize that nobody else has anything to do with the way I feel. I always thought I was disliked by everyone and I cherry-picked every little detail about what other people did so I could rationalize my illusions about how other people felt about me.

My complaints and inappropriate reactions to what other people did were all based on the illusion that external events were the cause of my feelings. So what is the real cause? Just my natural brain chemistry, imbalanced, creating a permanent state of hopelessness with rare bouts of normal, whatever that is.

This is true for everyone. Our perceptions of events and people are colored by the present balance of brain chemistry and brain physiology determined primarily by our genetics. Beyond our genetics, our Neurological Makeup was influenced by outside things like chemicals or radiation, malnutrition and stress on one or both parents.

Evolution dictates that our genes were influenced by the environment of our parents and their parents too, all the way back to the beginning.

We all see the same basic colors, but knowing that some people are color-blind tells me that none of us may see the exact same shade of any color.

Think about the way other people look at you? You are responsible for how you feel. Apparently some authority figures have yet to grasp the concept that emotions are a personal responsibility, such as the incident that occurred in Florida: 14-year-old-tackled-choked-giving-police-dehumanizing-stare . The only dehumanizing was in the mind of the officer.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Reading Semiotics

As someone who has great difficulty connecting with people I think about it all the time. I have an undergraduate degree in Communication, spanning both mass media technology and professional interpersonal communication. Learning about it may improve my ability to go through the motions, but that's about it. It's not going to significantly change my brain chemistry to alleviate my chronic anxiety.

 I'm fascinated by human perception and behavior. Working on one of my COM papers led me to discover Semiotics, the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation. I'm reading Semiotics: The Basics by Daniel Chandler. A good companion would be something on Operant Conditioning and memory.

One day in the college cafeteria I overheard a group of students making fun of someone they knew but who was not present. Having a long history of being the subject of such gossip I have experience observing changes in the behavior of people who associate directly and even indirectly with the instigators of humor at the expense of someone else and the expense of myself.

Specifically, subordinates in a group who wish to show their loyalty to the leader will adopt the attitude of the leader toward a target (someone). Some members on the perimeter of the group will outwardly laugh at the leader's joke about the target, but find themselves harboring feelings of guilt for doing so. When they see the target every day, the memory of the joke with all its emotional baggage resurfaces. Their behavior changes significantly toward that person. They keep their distance, avoid eye contact or avoid the same areas or activities.

After a significant passage of time, the original joke may have been forgotten, but the emotional baggage is reinforced. After the memory of the initial event has faded, the remaining emotions that are triggered by the sight of the target must be rationalized. Some new reason must be created to explain why they feel the way they do about the target.

I call it Causal Drift. It's probably called something else, but the idea stems from how memory operates.

I assume couples break up over it. Someone says something hurtful but the other person lets it slide without saying expressing how they feel about what was said, the incident is forgotten, but the emotion is still there, and they accumulate.

It's not like this for everyone. A few lucky people can remember every detail and easily compartmentalize their emotions, but many people do not and are vulnerable to manipulation by cult-leaders, politicians and the mass media.

They are the ones who wind up voting against their own interests, developing paranoia-fueled conspiracy theories, or foaming at the mouth as they gyrate wildly, kicking over folding chairs at political town hall meetings.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Food worries and a strange toenail demarcation.

For the last couple of weeks I've been food-binging. The really nice thing is that my gout doesn't appear to be coming back. I still feel a slight twinge from time-to-time, but nowhere near the crippling sensation of a screwdriver twisting between the bones behind my big toes (between the tarsals and metatarsals)
My gout usually appeared between
the metatarsals and tarsals or the
metatarsals and proximal phalanges
. I think my liver and kidney function may be back to normal. But still, I've been eating way too much. I tell myself "I'm not going to eat today" and of course it doesn't work.

Before I moved out to Washington I was really sick. I had a job working nights forty five miles away from home and because it was impossible to sleep during the day I had to force myself to stay in bed for twelve hours just to get the sleep I needed. I finally quit after working too many double-shifts. The icing on the cake was injuring my back while packing my car for the trip to Washington. My back hurt so bad I had to lean forward and stretch my lumbar region while driving. My gout was flaring at increasing rates or staying longer too.

At one point I had to put my plans on hold for a week and was stranded in a hotel bed for four days without food because I ran out. I could barely make it to the bathroom. I did not eat for four days. Moving into my apartment on the second floor was painful and I required a crutch for the first couple of weeks.

I struggled with pain throughout the summer and fall of 2012. It took at least five months for me to mostly recover from a night schedule except I'm still in the habit of spending too much time in bed. One night just after Christmas of 2012 my left knee which has been bothering me since I bent it sideways playing Volleyball back in the late 1990s stopped hurting. My back stopped hurting at the same time. The pain didn't completely subside, but enough that I could put on pants while standing freely. My gout decreased in frequency and intensity.

Last week I noticed a strange demarcation of thickness in my big toenail. It suddenly became thinner by what seems like a millimeter, at about half the distance from the cuticle to the end, from being extremely thick to being almost normal. According to Wikipedia, toenails usually take twelve to eighteen months to completely grow out, so I'm wondering if moving away from Springfield, Illinois also moved me away from a substance that was making me sick? Something in the water, perhaps?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The world goes by

Today my neighbors are outside enjoying the sun with their children. I don't have any children. I never married. I never had any relationships. I thought I had friends until I noticed that I was treated differently. Clearly I'm not charismatic enough to have anyone fawning at my feet. I'm not quick-witted enough to keep up with conversations as the topic changes at least twice by the time I can form a co----[this is exactly what I'm talking about. I can't form the word that means a sentence that can be understood easily, and the word begins with 'c' but it's not 'cohesive' but my brain won't let the correct word enter my thoughts. The word probably doesn't begin with 'c' which is why my brain malfunctions] sentence. I have long memories of being interrupted in conversations over the years. Memories of being interrupted fill me with rage. Opportunities to finally get a word in on time, quashed, for what could be years. I'm left completely unable to display any kind of value in a conversation.

I don't know when it started. I remember when I was very young I had lots of friends, then over the years I became a shadow to them. I just didn't have anything they needed or wanted. I watched them finish college, get high paying jobs, date, marry and have children. Until June of 2001 I thought I was catching up. I had a career and a house which was a good start but I lost them both. It turned out to be a permanent setback, despite graduating from technical school and college. I could no longer tolerate being surrounded by successful people because they served as a constant reminder of my own failures.

This is the kind of crap nobody wants to hear about. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself!" "What do you want us to do, wash your feet?" "It has to be all about you, doesn't it?" Of course I'm not going to bring up my feelings again after responses like that. I might as well diminish them by removing the contrasting elements (i.e. successful friends) from my range of perception. Nothing hurts more than being left behind by people who started out liking you, then without explanation you are gradually pushed out of the circle. That's what it feels like, but I probably pulled myself out of their circle. Little by little, one minor social infraction after another. Maybe I didn't do something they felt was important, but nobody else said anything, so I'm clueless.

Once you get beyond a certain age, you're left with the friends you made while you were young. I remember my father's last years. His dog and his mother were the only things that delayed the inevitability of a slow death by alcohol. Spending the rest of his days alone after he lost his dog, then his mother, lying on the couch in front a shitty little television set, or listening to the radio, drinking himself to sleep. The gathering dust, increasing number of skillet-shaped burn marks on the kitchen counter and vinyl tile floor, the upstairs bedrooms in exactly the same state as the last visit from months before. I was living out-of-state when he finally passed away. My sisters bore the brunt of the initial shock of what was found in his condominium unit.

At the funeral some people showed up who I never saw before. They were allegedly friends of my father.

Oh, by the way, the word I was looking for in the first paragraph  is "cogent."


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hello Avast Tech Support, Are You There?

Apparently not. My Windows Action Center kept informing me that Avast was not running. Avast, however, reports that it is running.

Who is telling the truth?

I wanted to find out so I went to the Avast Support site and tried to logon with the same email and password I used when I PAID FOR THE FULL VERSION. According to their records, I don't exist.

I then tried to create an account and login again. NOPE.

I then reset my password. They allowed me to reset my password, so I tried to login again. NOPE. I still don't exist.

Avast Antivirus got high ratings at www.cnet.com from both editors and users. Why?

No way to contact them unless I call them on the phone and I have no time to wait on hold.