Monday, December 27, 2004

Blog Move

I have purchase the www.mustardnut.com domain (again) and have now moved the blog there. I also moved over almost all of my previous posts. Please join me there!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Vacation

Not a lot of posting going on, I am on two and a half weeks of vacation.

Ciao.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Future blogger?

My seven year-old son wrote the following stories during some free time in class. I am impressed with the fact that he would spend free time being creative and even more impressed with how good these are -- his phrasing is awesome for a kid -- "On the river bed lays a 12-foot anaconda..."

Great stuff.

Click on the thumbnails to see the full size versions.

sstory_1

sstory_2

Pictures hosted free by Flickr!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Quote o' The Day

You laugh at me because I am different. I laugh at you because you are all the same.

-Unknown

Friday, December 03, 2004

How capitalism has ruined the world

In high school I was on the debate team. I remember that the debate topic for the entire tenth grade year was competition vs. cooperation (you had one topic that you researched for and debated at different "meets" throughout the year). I also remember the vast amount of information supporting the notion of competition as healthy and essential. I recall thinking that it was right, after all, without competition we wouldn't have achieved all the we have achieved, right?

Hmmm....
competition serves as the very backbone for capitalism; its governing ideal, its paradigm. In America we hold up capitalism as the paradigm for the rest of the world -- "Be free. Start your own business and make tons of money!"

The American Dream.


An American Success Story.


Only in America.

The problem that I now see (and see clearly) with the capitalist spirit is that it encourages everybody to make more, achieve more, spend more, sell more, build more, and do whatever it takes to get more. The latter is the worst part: do whatever it takes. Early Europeans are a perfect example. Christopher Columbus, for example, systematically murdered over 7 million indigenous people in his search for the gold that he promised the Queen of Spain (Zinn: A People's History of the United States)

Early Americans, in the interest of Manifest Destiny (the white man's best interest), relocated, re-educated, cheated, lied to, swindled, and massacred Native Americans. Our Native Americans, who lived as one with the earth, are still living (in most cases) in impoverished conditions on reservation land. (I think that it is brilliant that more and more tribes run very successful casinos that take money away from greedy Americans and reinvest it into their communities. )

Of course Americans aren't the only ones to commit such heinous acts, simply look at the Aborigine of Australia, look at India's history, etc., etc.
We have all profited from these atrocities. If human life is so invaluable, then America and other capitalist nations, our way of life, and all of the achievements of man are not worth the loss of one human life. Think about it: What if it were you and 7 million of your family, loved ones, and peoples, that were going to be killed in the interest of progress (someone else's of course)?

Would it be ok then?

The capitalist spirit is the reason why we are in Iraq, but not Sudan. It's the reason why our focus shifted from Afghanistan to Iraq in the blink of an eye. Eleven thousand troops in an area the we know is the haven for terrorists and 150k + troops in a land where there have been no ties to terrorist -- but there is lots of oil folks -- lots of government contracts for companies with Vice Presidents as their former CEOs.

Step right up and get your piece. And after you do, when your conscience starts to bug you, drown it out with sitcoms and alcohol. Or you can beat your wife and kids because you feel like a failure for not having a bigger house with more useless shit.

Go ahead, get your piece.

I think that native people had it right all along:
Live with the earth.
Live simple.
The village raises the child.
Battle, but don't war.

Unrealistic? Naive? That's the kind of attitude that allows our world to perpetuate itself into an endless, downward spiral.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Really Learn Spanish

I am trying to stay away from just linking to stuff but this is a really good podcast on learning Spanish.

Really Learn Spanish

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

E-Mail Icon Generator

See that schnazzy little gmail button for e-mailing me? This is where I created it.

The hard part (for my dumb ass) was figuring out how to get it up on my page. Leave a comment if you need help with that part.

Ciao!

E-Mail Icon Generator

Sunday, November 28, 2004

What I like (and dislike) about Christianity and faith

Now that I have moved over the contents of my faith discussion blog, it occurred to me to explain what I like about Christianity and faith -- after all, I am not Mr. Negative (contrary to how the last few posts have made me sound).

What I like about Christianity is the hope that it gives people. I mean without the hope of something better on the other side, someone watching over you, or a meaning behind all of this pain, how scary and depressing would this world be???

For the vast majority of the people on this planet a "God" is necessary. My brother often says that Christianity and other religions are for the weak -- for those individuals that can't face the thought that there is nothing that is going to save us -- except us. That sounds a bit condescending, but it isn't meant to be. In most respects, I think that faith is good for people. It makes them more accountable for their actions, more prone to assist and aid others in the name of their God, more peaceful, and sometimes even more happy.

Where I find religion to be bad for people is when wars are waged in the name of a God, where people of different races and sexuality are excluded and considered impure, where other belief systems are denounced because they are different, and, most offending, where individuals who know that people of religion can be manipulated by using their fear of their God against them.

If you don't think individuals of faith can be easily manipulated, you need only look to Christian Evangelism for your proof. How many "ministers" or "preachers" have you seen claiming that they talk to God and therefore you should give them money to support their church, only to catch them in a hotel room with a hooker or wearing some stunning new piece of jewelry? If you don't think that people of faith can be easily manipulated, just look at how the Vatican and the Roman Church have used people for centuries! If you don't think that people of faith can be easily manipulated, just look at our most recent presidential election -- 4 million Evangelical Christians made the difference. Enticed by ballots to outlaw homosexual marriages in their state, Christians acted in a Christ-like manner to prevent individuals who love each other from joining into the same loving bond that every heterosexual has the priviledge to make. Jesus was a real man that preached love and acceptance and now his word is used to practice exactly the opposite.

If you want to talk yourself up as being a Christian then walk in his shoes -- Christ needed virtually nothing materially, why don't you try it? St. Francis de Assisi has forever earned my love and respect because he did exactly that. It wasn't about the size of the church or how many members it had, but about LOVE and his God. Whether I believe in his God or not, I have to respect that -- and I do.

I didn't mean for this to get into a rant again, I apologize. I just type what the voices in my head tell me to. More on this discussion later.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Faith Post Part Three - "Reality Sets In"

This is the last part of the three part faith blog that I am moving over to here...

Spirituality and Christianity are interesting concepts.

Spirituality works on the precept that we are all connected to a higher intelligence, God or whatever you want to call it and that everything happens exactly as it should -- for the exact reason it should. While I agree on some points, it has occured to me that this is a very privileged, western point of view. If you were to ask a child in Sudan or Sierra Leone about the meaning and reason behind his mother having her limbs hacked off before his eyes and then raped repeatedly, I don't think that he would see the higher thinking and meaning in it all -- neither do I.

Christianity explains that everything is part of God's plan.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you].

1 Peter 5:10
As a parent of two children, I can say unequivicably that if something tragic were going to happen to one of them and I had the power to stop or protect them from it, I would. No question. This is different from letting them learn the hard way that the stove is hot because you have repeatedly warned them. I am refering to situations that will damage them for the whole of their life: abuse, crippling illnesses, and other tragic events. If the God that Christianity speaks of is all-knowing and all-loving, he would do something. Moreover, he should do something. If you witnessed a parent knowingly letting their child get raped, beaten, starved, or abused , would you not call the authorities as this would be criminal, negligent, and unforgivable? Should God be held to a less strict standard? I would think that in his perfection he would be held to a much higher standard.

Take away all of the mystery and fear of displeasing a God that would punish you for such thoughts, and answer the questions honestly.

On the same vein, would a loving parent ever threaten to banish their child to someplace as torturous as Hell for not believing in their rule? Why would you put your own child through what Jesus had to endure (I believe that Jesus was a real person that died as described in the Bible) in order to save the rest of us. Doesn't God make the rules? He could show himself to all of us in an manner in which we could never doubt his existence or power -- no pain, blood or murder necessary for the message to get through to even the most skeptical.

If I am wrong. If he is there in the Christian capacity and this is all part of his "plan", then I for one want no part of it. He can participate in this sick little puppet show on his own because it isn't about us becoming more like him, getting to a better place and it sure as hell isn't about love.

I am not an athiest, nor a satanist (an even more ridiculous concept) -- I am a realist. I have to find the balance in knowing that something more intelligent is at work and the harsh reality that IT just doesn't give a shit or is powerless to effect change.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Faith blog move - Part 2, "Faith via Stacy"

Listening to: The Refreshments - Interstate

Part two of the three part faith blog --


Stacy Ford is a great friend of mine. We worked together in Tempe and found that we have been and still are on an almost identical spiritual journey... The similarity is actually kind of scary. The following is part of an e-mail exchange that we shared recently. He has agreed to let me post and will be contributing to this discussion. This is just an excerpt of our conversations and more is to come. Enjoy!

No worries about the Jesus/God conflict. How will you ever know and what
is the difference anyway? Jesus was an incredible man well ahead of his
time who professed love and compassion for all. You may already know this,
but Jesus practiced Judaism and Christanity actually branched out of
Judaism through self-imposed changes by humans, such as Paul. Not Abraham
as I said before. Paul began running around saying "Jesus is the son of
God" and all these poor folks who did not know any better said, "Yeah, he
was" and Abraham began placing the crucifix on everything and spreading the
word of Jesus, professing that Jesus was the "son of God". As a side note,
he did a lot of positive things in spreading the word and changing peoples
lives for the better. I just question how he did it and if this is what
Jesus intended. Then the Romans said wow, this Jesus idea sure has a lot
of power over the people and they seem to need something to aspire to since
their lives are so miserable and wallah, they created the "Roman Catholic
Church". If you really think about it, how can you be sure that Jesus
professed himself as the son of God. Jesus was "taken out" because the
Jewish elders did not want him to piss off the Romans, because then the
Romans would kill the Jews and the whole purpose of the Jewish elders was
to keep the Jewish people in line because they had been enslaved by the
Romans. This is the whole reason Jews got a bad name because it is
believed the elders went to Pilate and asked him to kill Jesus as an
example not to rise up against the Romans. Thus, the Jews do not view him
as the "Son of God" because they have a better understanding of history and
the story. Once again, Christanity was created from Judaism and modified by
the Romans, for the purpose of appealing to the general population and
keeping them in line. After the Reformation, which denounced Catholicism
and from which rose Lutheranism and then the Protestants, Puritans,
Methodism, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. , each religion picked what they
liked best and modified it to their needs. Enough history and rambling.

So again, what difference does it make? Jesus was a great man and whether
you believe or not, prayers have the same purpose and you can always "play
the game" in church. The bottom line is you are doing the right thing
towards others and this is all God or Jesus wants.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Faith Post

Listening to: 11.19 - The Dawn & Drew Show

I have maintained a separate faith discussion blog for a little while. Since I have now made this a more personal blog, I am going to move the contents (only 3 posts) to this blog. Here is the first entry, I will be posting them in chronological order:


Ironic that tonight's episode of my favorite show, Nip/Tuck tackled the notion of faith. Ironic because faith is the area that I have become most preoccupied — specifically with the notion of faith vs. spirtuality. Although most think that they are one in the same, they are not.

After many years as a atheist (the mormon religeon drove me there, as it does many others), I recently embraced the idea of a GOD. I guess that the original problem that I had with the idea of GOD was the fault of religeon. I didn't have a problem with the idea of something bigger; how could you? This didn't all just appear out of nowhere. Unfortunately though, religeon dictates that there are conditions that must be met and maintained to enjoy the splendor of GOD — that essentially our GOD is a discriminating GOD. I have always had a problem with that idea as well as the idea that a GOD that interferes with what goes on down here would let the atrocities that we see everyday happen.

I was compelled to research the idea of GOD a few months ago. It was so intense that I could think of nothing else. As if on queue, my mom found GOD and shared with me the music of Michael W. Smith that moved me at my core and a friend mentioned a class/course called Alpha, "A practical guide to the Christian faith." I took the course, which I won't explain the premise here (click on the link above) and was truly moved. It answered the questions that most skeptics have and eventually led me to surrender to the idea that maybe I didn't know it all. Maybe, in the same sense that the most brilliant men of their generation thought that the earth was flat and the center of the universe, I was wrong in assuming that it all had to add up nicely in a neat, little, logical way. Maybe, just maybe, there was some reason or logic behind all of the suffering.

One afternoon Tiffany and I were watching PBS during their fundraising week when a special came on by Dr. Wayne Dyer. We watched most of it and were both so impressed that we bought the "whole enchilda" which included his latest book, DVD, CDs, etc. Dr. Dyer spoke about the notion of GOD, or Source as he sometimes calls it, in the terms that had always made sense to me. He spoke of us all being connected to GOD at all times because we all come from GOD....

I have to go now, but will continue this in the next posting...





Thursday, November 18, 2004

Can a marriage survive the battle over faith?

Listening to: 11.17 Daily Source Code w/Adam Curry

Can a marriage survive the battle over faith? If one person in a relationship is Christian and the other is Agnostic, can they bring it all together and be happy?

Just a question.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Podcasting, the itch, and Vioxx Lawsuits

Listening to: Kyrie - Mr. Mister (what an great and underrated song)

Podcasting


Michael and I finally spoke via phone last week. I am not going to share too much about our conversations, who he is, or how we met here because it is going to be in our Podcast. I am going to contact him tonight and hopefully we can record our first one -- I can't wait!

The Itch

I have felt the "itch" lately. I feel like we need a change in our lives. It is hard to explain it exactly because I don't understand it exactly. I feel at wits end with this suburban life that I knew that I never wanted. I know that we have a plan and that when she is done with school, I can quit corporate America and move on. That all just seems so far away. I want to LIVE. I want my kids to LIVE. We do great with them, we really do but I want to show them the world. Hell, I want to show ME the world. I know that from friend perspective it will be hard but I think that the benefits of moving around the world would be much greater. Imagine instead of reading about Africa, living there! Imagine experiencing cultures first hand instead of on the pages of a book -- from the perspective of one person.

The trouble is that do we do it poor or do I sacrifice some of my values by making a lot of money (I have always known that I could pretty easily if I wanted to) and go from there? The more that I think about it, the more I realize that maybe I have been wrong all along -- money does matter. In today's world, money is the only real freedom. There isn't anywhere that you can live without it so you have to acknowledge that. Of course this doesn't mean that it has to consume your life. You can still help others and make a difference which is what we have always wanted to do.

I am fascinated by how non-Americans, especially Europeans and some Latin Americans can live such extraordinary lives without much money. Maybe it is an American, media & movie-fed view of other countries but it seems that they live so freely and much more stress free -- even without much money. Who knows? I guess that I will just have to go there and see if it is true.

I want to climb Everest. I want to explore the wonders of New Zealand and Thailand. I truly want to suck every bit of life out of this experience. Knowing that there is no GOD in the traditional sense and certainly no heaven, I feel even more compelled to live NOW, before it is too late. Maybe heaven is people's way of dealing with uninteresting, trapped lives. If they convince themselves that there is something better after all of this, then their lives won't seem so desperate or hopeless -- you will have all eternity to live in heaven, have whatever you want, and be happy. I am sorry but I just don't think so. Imagine if they are wrong -- a life wasted. If they are right then they will have lived an incredible life and have even more to look forward to. Hmmm...

Either way, I need to get a move on.

Vioxx Lawsuits

I don't want to go off on a rant but it angers me to no end that Merck has known for years that Vioxx (which I have taken for my knees) is incredibly deadly - 28,000 + deaths - and are barely now pulling it. Even more disgusting is that the FDA allowed this to go to market without conclusive testing. The FDA is supposed to protect the American public. Instead they are lobbied by the pharmaceutical companies to get their companies drug to market regardless of the risk. By the time they get caught or can no longer play dumb, the companies have made billions - enough to cover all of the lawsuits tenfold. How do we continue to allow our government to work this way? And I say we intentionally - this is our country. When there are continuous problems, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Why should Merck have to pay anyone? We let them fuck us. We, as a nation, are too fucking lazy to do anything about the FDA or any other government agency, so it is no surprise that the 1% with the most money and initiative to actually get involved get their way. We are just interested in sitting on our asses and watching mind-numbing sitcoms on our new plasma screen that we financed for 50 years at BestBuy. Well I for one am sick of it. Maybe it is time for a revolution. The French did it. We did it. Maybe it is just time to clean house, elect Jon Stewart president, and MOVE ON!

I guess that was a rant after all. Ooops.

SHIT

I never knew this, did you?

Historical information you need to know about shipping Manure:

In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship. It was also before commercial fertilizer's invention, so large shipments of manure were common. It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by-product is methane gas.

As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen. Methane began to build up below decks, and the first time someone came below at night, with a lantern, >BOOOOM! Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening.

After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term, " Ship High In Transit" on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane. Thus evolved the term "S.H.I.T," which has come down through the centuries and is in use
to this very day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

How far can you walk drunk?

This is a great link and lots of fun. For reference, a friend sent a screenshot of him making it 80 ft.

Good Luck!

http://www.wagenschenke.ch/HomeRun.swf

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Mom moves in.

My mom finally arrived today. We invited her to move in with us to get her out of Hell Paso and get her closer to the kids. I am very sick so it made moving things in very tough. I just want to lay down in bed and die for about twenty hours. We are converting the garage into a very nice living space for her and rennovating my outdoor shed into a workshed -- it is coming along nice!

I am watching The Cell, which I haven't seen but one time a very long time ago. I forgot how fucked up this movie is. The imagery is awesome but the cinematography is brilliant. To me, cinematography can make or break a film. Even when the storyline is a bit weak, if the film that it is shot on is good and the coloration good, I can totally dig it. By the way, I don't care how whacked she gets in real life, Jennifer Lopez is just hot and will always be.

I got a wonderful card from my sister expressing concern about what happened with Spence and more specifically with how I am doing with it. It was really sweet and very appreciated. I just feel bad because I know that she and my mom want to talk about God and how I shouldn't lose faith, etc. but I just don't want to. I don't want to hear about God. If there is a God, he is certainly on my shitlist.

After the election fiasco and the wonderful effect that Christians had on it, I have vowed not step foot into another church. Even though I enjoyed the environment, by me being there I was essentially condoning all of their beliefs -- homeosexuality is wrong, abortion should be illegal, etc. I left the Mormon church for their racist beliefs and I am leaving all churches for their small-minded beliefs.

Tired. Good-night.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

He's not my president.

I have started and stopped this post several times since the election. The titles have ranged from "Fuck!!!" to "Fuck Bush. Fuck the church." I decided on something less angry.

As is the case with many others, it is hard to put into words just how disappointed and upset I am at the fact that the muderer was re-elected, and a murder is exactly what he is. For the sake of war-mongering and money, he has thrown away the lifes of our bravest citizens. One of the most disturbing thing about his re-election is that before we could claim that he stole the presidency and invaded Iraq without the consent of the American people. Now that we have chosen him outright, we have validated all of his past behavior. I can only hope that the rest of the world pays attention to the fact that almost half of this country can't stand him.

By far the most disturbing thing about this whole election is how he won -- Evangelical Christians. The weak. Those not strong enough to face the truth that we are alone and deal with life as it is. Those who hate homosexuals and anyone who isn't Christian. They went out and voted for Bush for no other reason than "God told me too."

In the exit poles they were citing moral issues as the discriminating factor.

Hmmm....

So the killing of innocent men & women for oil under the guise of "The War on Terror" is moral?

More disturbing than just about anything is that I thought this country had made progress in the last two hundred years -- how wrong was I?! As an accepting, rational, and loving person I am the minority. We still live in a country controlled by hellfire & brimstone preaching, small-minded, fearful thinking, and prejudice.

As time goes by these people are going to realize that he isn't coming back; he was just a man. An incredible man? Yes, but still just a man. If he hasn't come back after all that is going on in this world, he isn't going to. Either he can't (because he's DEAD) or because he doesn't care. Either way, we have to make our own way. That needs to sink in. We only have each other and the longer that we continue to alienate those different from the "norm,", the longer the wait until we truly advance a species.

We don't need a ficticious, mythical being that will save us all. It didn't work for the Romans, Aztecs, ancient Egyptians, or any other society and it won't work for us. In the words of the Beatles, "All we need is LOVE."


Monday, November 01, 2004

Change in Blog Purpose

I have been thinking a lot lately about the purpose of maintaining this thing. At first , I thought that I would use it as an online bookmark system so that I could save links to my favorite stuff. I think that I am going to continue to link to funny stuff, but I am also going to use it as a weblog of my life. I actually love stumbling across people's blogs that just talk about their lives -- it is wonderfully interesting to get a glimpse of how others live.

The most difficult decision is how much do I share? Anything on the net is certainly not anonymous no matter how hard you try. Then again, do I need to hide anything? I don't know if my wife, kids, family members, and friends would appreciate all of our lives being up here. I am just going to go with whatever feels comfortable at the time and use my best judgement. Ah ha! I will change everybodies name. Anonymity! I hope...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Apple's New 60GB Color iPod

If you are preparing to buy and iPod (as I am), it might be worth your while to wait for 30 - 60 days.

Think Secret - EXCLUSIVE: 60GB iPod to pack photo-viewing features

Monday, October 25, 2004

audio.weblogs.com

Want to get the latest and greatest Podcasts? Check this out...

Last 100 podcasts

Incredible New TV - Grand Master View

Very, very cool projection TV with exceptional quality.

Grand Master View

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Thought o' The Day

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
"Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."



Are you knddnig me?

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt!