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February 27, 2003

Politics

Nobody knows politics like Ari Fleisher:
In a news conference today he said, "And if anybody thinks that there are nations like Mexico whos vote could be bought on the basis of a trade issue or something else like that, I think you're giving... doing a grave injustice to the independence and the judgement of leaders of other nations."

Following that bright remark he was laughted out of the press conference after he said, "Think about the implications of what you're saying. You're saying that the leaders of other nations are buyable and that is not an acceptable proposition."

You can catch it here in RealVideo on CSPAN at approximately 29 minutes into the video.

Posted by beamz at 4:35 PM | Comments (0)

Building the foundation

Well today is somewhat sad. I just found out that Mister Rogers from the PBS show Mister Rogers Neighborhood died in an article on CNN. His goal was to nuture children through television and he got into the business because he hated what was out there. I remember watching the shows on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. Television isn't responsible for raising your kids (although some people disagree) but if it is going to be a minute part of their lives, it should be good. I also used to watch Mr. Wizard's World when I was a kid. It used to inspire me and I think we need more of that in society today.

Posted by beamz at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2003

Acts of kindness, words of ambiguity

Acts of kindness:
While reading one of my sister's blog entries, a comment popped out at me. What I realized is that viewing blogs as just a possible platform for negativity due to people's needs of being heard is quite narrow. The assumption that people are just speaking their minds so they don't feel so alone and cathartic perhaps doesn't explain everything. While going through my list of daily read blogs, I noticed that not everyone is negative, that negativity breads in itself but things simply don't have to be that way.

While over at a friend's house working on some accounting stuff, I saw her daughter was looking at books online. I asked if she liked to read and she said yes of course but she didn't have any books. An easy suggestion is to tell her to go to the library but I told her that if I would buy her $10 in used books from Amazon.com. This usually amounts to 2-3 books not including shipping.

The reason I did this was because I was excited that she wanted to read instead of go shopping at the mall, watch tv, or talk on the phone. In fact it is something I wish I did more of. So I decided to give a little.

Words of ambiguity (or take a stand):
While watching the Grammy's, Fred Durst from Limpbizkut made a comment mentioned here. "I just really hope we are in agreeance that this war should go away as soon as possible.", just screams how afraid some people are of taking a position. Maybe he's too dumb to take a position and state it but I doubt that. He can swear all day long on his records but when faced with public scrutiny, he just says that "War should go away."

Posted by beamz at 2:14 AM | Comments (1)

February 24, 2003

Dept. of Homeland Security info-graphics

I can't stop laughing and if I were drinking milk it would be coming out of my nose. Here's a sample from a thread mocking some of the airline saftey placard type graphics from http://www.ready.gov.

More links here including:
Idleworlds parody ready.gov site.
Kieran Healy's parody.
T-shirt's here.

One of the hilarious comments taken from yayhooray:
phaln - Feb 19 03 - 17:09 pm

w00t w00t! DISCO DISASTER! w00t w00t!

Posted by beamz at 10:41 AM | Comments (1)

February 22, 2003

Snow

DSCN1073.JPG

It's gorgeous outside. There's no specific train of thought I've been on, it's more like one of those "just sit and pause for awhile" moments.

Posted by beamz at 10:34 PM | Comments (1)

February 20, 2003

Pre-marital class

Tonight we had our first pre-marital class and I don't know what to think of it yet. I think the best approach is to take some of it with a grain of salt since I know that they need to tailor it to all the different sorts of personalities out there. If anything I hope it will help Kris and I learn a little bit more about eachother. Half of the reason they have the class is because some people don't talk about the things we've talked about before they get married.

The government has a site devoted to Homeland security preparedness which after looking at a lot of the stuff they suggest, well I know people who have what seems like everything (even a wood working shop) and they don't have HALF the things the government suggests having on hand.

I went out and got Dar William's new cd today before I went into work. I like it so far and only time will tell if I like it as much as Mortal City.

Posted by beamz at 3:52 AM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2003

tidbits

Funny stuff: A satirical flash animation on the Dept. of Homeland Security's color coded warning system. There are many other great flash animations and some comics as well on Mark's site which are all very well done.

Salon.com update: It's sad to see Salon.com still struggling unable to pull things off but Scott Rosenberg feels some of the criticism is unwarranted. Someone responded to his post saying they believed Salon has been in the red for some time now and has done this to itself (high rent, other high expenses) which I agree with. I think that it would be a shame if Salon goes down the tubes but instead of going month to month, why not reduce overhead in other areas (i.e. rent). I don't work there so I don't know about what has and hasn't been done but it obviously hasn't been enough.

Tinkering: I beat Postfix + Cryus IMAP into submission this weekend so now I have a much nicer email setup where I can use a pop client to retrieve it from my machine at home. I need to write up some documentation on it.

Security: Seems like someone has been cracking away at a creditcard payment processing service. Initially 2.2 million cards were exposed but that number has ballooned to 5.5 million and now 8 million. Just goes to show how a web of trust can be a huge liability.

TV: Of all the people who vowed to boycott Fox's "Joe Millionaire", it got a great turn out. It seems that people who were angry about getting duped into watching a recap episode were pissed but didn't truly boycott the show. The human curiosity and addiction to reality TV triumphs again!!!!

Music: Tomorrow I will probably get Dar William's new cd. I've been listening to Mortal City and still think it's one of the best she has done. Ani Difranco is also coming out with another disc soon called Evolve which will be released March 11th.

Posted by beamz at 5:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2003

End closing in for Salon Media Group

Salon May Not Survive Beyond February
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Online magazine publisher Salon Media Group Inc. warned that it may not survive beyond this month if it can't raise more money to pay its rent and other bills.

Looks like my daily shot of indepdenent journalism is going to get weaker. I know Doc Searls and many in the blog community praise blogs as independent media but how do you weed through the trash. A service needs to exist which could categorize or weed out some of the trash out there. A crowd with a million voices is a powerful one but when everyone is saying something different, it's impossible to make sifting through the trash worthwhile.

I know there are attempts to do linking through things like the blog ecosphere and technoratti but maybe there are too many hands in the cookie jar. On the other hand, perhaps people just want to look for a certain select few they wish to follow and that's good enough.

Posted by beamz at 10:51 AM | Comments (2)

Spoonfed throughout life on CNN.

I always load up CNN to see what the latest headlines are. It's something of an addiction, the rush to see what the latest jaw-dropping event is. I would like to say that Reality TV sucks and a lot of it does but some is entertaining.

I feel guilty about getting spoonfed utter biased trash so I try to balance it out with reading Mother Jones and Adbusters along with the obligatory blogs in my sidebar.

So on CNN today we see that there was a stampede at a nightclub in Chicago on a Sunday night and that N. Korea thinks they can kick our ass in a nuclear war. "In my humble opinion, in the nuclear world, the true enemy is war itself", from Crimson Tide is a great quote. Since when was there ever a winner in a nuclear war?

Posted by beamz at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

Snow

It's cold out and piles of snow. When I was little, people would tell me about someone dragging them on a sled behind their car. I never went along, is it really any fun? A friend just informed me it was called something like "bumper skiing".

Man I missed out on something.

Posted by beamz at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2003

Assorted things

I finally finished up my Music and Arts class which was torture. I learned a lot but most of the class was based on memorization and not comprehension. I am very good at comprehension but not so good at memorization. Anyway it's over with and hopefully I didn't do too bad.

Death rears its head again in my thoughts. I just found out today that my mother's boyfriend's father has cancer. Apparently it has spread all throughout his body and he's not doing well. This year (past 12 month period), my fiance's mother has died, an uncle in our tight-knit family has died, and now someone with cancer. It just doesn't seem to quit but that's life so it never will.

I watched 60 minutes II tonight and there was a short on assisted suicide in Switzerland. A german man suffering from Parkinsons decided he wanted to end things. He wasn't terribly old, immobilized, or sick but he decided he wanted to do this before he was unable to do it himself. It looked like it was too early. Well he ended up taking his own life and they revealed he had no family and his wife had died 7 years prior. When asked if he had a good life, he said he had a very good life and if they had a cure that he wouldn't be making this call.

Yes, morbid but I'm reminded *constantly* how much of a gift life is. It seems lately with the current events that it is that much more precious and it may be taken away quite soon.

Posted by beamz at 1:16 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2003

Extended thoughts

1) Value in being the "tough/tender" guy. With all of the screwed-up-no-light-at-end-of-tunnel news yesterday and today, it's honestly scary. In a traditional sense (yeah this doesn't apply to all you feminist, nonconformist, etc etc etc), a man is supposed to hold the family together. I agree with that concept and I think I botched it a little when I ranted about how our government is going to get us killed within the next year. It's ok to think that and say it in limited forms but PRESENTATION OF IDEAS is critical to keep things around you solid. Your soul mate doesn't want to hear you say 'F' the world, we're being flushed down the toilets by morons.

2) Friends - Saw best friend for an hour or two on Wednesday (4hr drive to see us and 3hr drive back to Chicago for him). Man it was awesome to see him, he's a great guy but it's nearly impossible to meet up with him. I hadn't seen him in like 3 years. Still, he's my best friend and it's going to be an honor having him stand up as best man in my wedding.

So... we talked about friendships and realized that we only hold on to a select few but we end up having great ones at each place we work at. It's like forming a temporary tight-knit circle. You spend about a year or more getting close to a new group who you think are so awesome (mostly) and then you move on. You say you'll keep in touch but you only do with a very very select few. Leaves a feeling of incompleteness. You would love to keep in touch with those people but it rarely works out. Sure you make great attempts initially but it all dies down over time.

3) When it's my time, it's my time. To go that is... I need to remind myself to make the best of this place and also remember that when it's my time, I don't get to pack my bags.

Gas went up 20cents a gallon today. We Americans enjoy ripping eachother off. Oh don't forget to pick up your duct tape and three days supply of food and water. While you're at it, protect your belongings from theft so you don't end up having a bad day. We got 3 inches of snow dumped on us this morning in an hour.

Posted by beamz at 12:38 AM | Comments (0)

February 8, 2003

The mall

The mall was a crappy experience. We went today to buy a couple of matresses for a trundle bed we ordered from Pottery Barn. I've never bought furniture from a place like that or online so it was a new experience. I was off that day so I stuck around for the delivery/installer people. The bed is very nice looking. It doesn't seem like it should cost as much as it did but it's supposed to last a very long time right?

Here are some Picutres of the bed. We also started the tux process going. My best friend, consequently the best man will come tomorrow to get fitted for a tux. The good thing though is that he'll get to meet my fiance for the 1st time.

Anyway, I wanted to get these jeans today that I liked so much but they didn't have my size. I'll have to call around and see if any other place has them. I don't know what it is about jeans but I like the stylish ones, not just the standard ones.

I'm still stressed as all hell. I talked to my dad tonight and he's interested in getting a Ford Escape. He also said that he's considering sending my brother to a boarding school in some place like New Zealand. I don't like that idea but I don't know what to say, he's partying and getting into trouble. Time to wind down since I'm done with 2 beers.

Current Music: Hooverphonic - Electro Shock Faders

Posted by beamz at 9:59 PM | Comments (0)

stress...

I think I've been bombarded with so much including wedding planning, school, and work that I'm on overload. I haven't felt like writing up much lately because I can't contribute anything semi-useful. My head is running 200mph and I've needed a break.

I need some major tuning of my life. I'm not happy.

Posted by beamz at 1:15 AM | Comments (0)

February 3, 2003

tired...

I'm mentally exhausted. I think it's a combination of thinking about war, the shuttle, marriage, and misc other things that my brain has been in overdrive lately.

Off to bed.

Posted by beamz at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

February 2, 2003

Those last seconds....

What are those last seconds like before you realize you're going to die? It must be morbid as hell but I can't stop thinking about it. A rush of feeling comes through me when I wonder what it was like to realize something's very wrong with the shuttle. Do you think and try to prevent it, is there a moment before finality in life when you realize there's nothing you can do? Was it like sliding off a snow covered road in slow motion?

"NASA learned from flight deck intercom recordings and the apparent use of some emergency oxygen packs that at least some of the astronauts were alive during Challenger's final plunge", according to an article on Yahoo! News. I thought it had been a conspiracy theory or hype but maybe it has some truth. To that effect, I know I've read places that it had to take a couple of minutes for those people to fall to their deaths and unless they were knocked unconcious, they had to be thinking about things.

This may be pointless questioning and we'll never know until it happens to us but I wondered about this on 9-11 and countless other times when people have died.

Posted by beamz at 11:11 PM | Comments (4)

February 1, 2003

A nation full of whiners? Perhaps...

Dave Taylor writes in this blog post that perhaps we're a nation of whiners. I think understanding this nation in terms of sensitivity is a little complex because of a couple of factors including desensitivity due to media and oversensitivity due to isolation from serious tragedy. I think we're exposed to it but unless something "hits home" like 9-11 or a suicide bomber blowing up a cafe on YOUR street corner, we're not truly exposed to the massive amount of tragedy that happens in the world. I know it's a gross generalization and there are many exceptions.

"But I don't understand what we find so compelling as a nation about tragedies of this nature.", and "By contrast, a few days ago a helicopter crashed in Afghanistan killing all four aboard. No-one cared, other the the immediate families." sprung some thoughts after I saw a comentator on MSNBC talk about how the thing these people had most in common was "The Dream".

I'm not talking about the dream of shooting fellow humans on the battle field or protecting our country but about furthering science and entertaining the imagination. This isn't to say that those in the armed services are any less than astronauts or their deaths are less worthy. In my opinion, someone dying is someone dying regardless of anything.

But to say "I don't understand what we find so compelling as a nation about tragedies of this nature" appears to question how one death can mean more than another.

I do agree with the Salon.com article about "The kitschification of Sept. 11" and the notion that " America hid from the harsh realities of the attack behind a maudlin curtain of heavenly firemen and weeping angels." I think we as a country have a tendency to not realize or not know how to deal with tragedy so we hide behind supposedly symbolic cherubic elements of that particular tragedy. Either way, those that die while achieving their dreams which never involved taking a human life should give us all pause.

Posted by beamz at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

Boom...

Probably like everyone else right now, this post is about the space shuttle that was lost over Texas. Like those who can recall where they were when Kennedy was shot, I remember I was at a babysitters in kindergarten watching Challenger on the news. I'll be able to remember this day for the rest of my life as well. I don't know why but it's so hard to put a finger on what makes losing a shuttle so difficult. Maybe it's the awe and wonder I associate with something so complex and people who perform their jobs like clockwork.

I guess it gives pause and forces me to realize that so many people die everyday because of unsafe water, famine, car accidents, mindless conflicts, no medical care, etc. To that respect, I'm a very lucky person.

I didn't see it this time around but I can usually 'feel' when bad or major things happen. I didn't this time and possibly because I've become more numb with all the things going on around us.

I liked this blog entry.

Posted by beamz at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)