Archive for blogging

Privacy, right . . .

In an amazing statement, a person bilked out of $1200 in a Face Book scam claims “It’s an invasion of your whole privacy, who your friends are,”.  Well, what the hell was I thinking?  I was/am under the impression that facebook is a private company that elicts millions of people to publicize their private lives. 

What I don’t understand is how something that is public can be private too?  According to Wikipedia’s definition on internet privacy policies there are European and US standards but each site also has its own set of guidelines and firewalls to protect the user.  Still, once I agree to open up something like face book or twitter and begin rattling off information about myself and my friends haven’t I tacitly agreed that information about my life is now open to the public?

 Yes, there’s that and then there’s this:

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Let’s Get Stuffed

JD over at getrichslowly.org  sparked a little controversy with the we-are-Number-One-crowd last week when he posted this chapter from the Story of Stuff.  The offence taken certainly indicates how screwed up this whole consumer thing has gotten.  For one thing, we are all tied into the process through our economics (social capitalism) and our economy (the free market) and our politics (based in a fear of communism) and our religion (the failure to recogize the atheist in all of us).  So any discussion of this kind leads almost inevitably to arguements and anger and dismissal of the original idea which was that we all have too much stuff.

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Changing Venues

I have decided to go back to Blogger for now for a variety of reasons, most of which you can read here at www.itaintthemustard.blogspot.com.   I hope this doesn’t confuse the issue too much but for the time being it is what it is.  Please come visit or at least comment if you will about the change.

Whew!  If you read the above then you’ll have to wonder what is going on now.  The truth, I love, itaintthemustard but I do truly hate the way Blogger is set up.   Too cranky, too unreliable, too lacking in the smooth and articulate ways of wordpress.  So I think I’ll just have to make do here until I can afford an alternative.

So yes I am back.  Ignore the first paragraph, if you will.

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Weekly Tags, # 7

On one of the blogs I frequent for the discussions the talk of late has been about the power less ness of the blogoshpere.  Or rather the way the blogosphere can sap the energy from acting by just blogging about acting.  One meme that appeared was the apparent lack of cross cultural exchange, ie., that everything we see (I see) comes to us through a westernized point of view.  So like a born-rich person really can’t say that they understand poverty, we can’t really say we understand what the rest of the world is really going through.  It is a point of view that is hard to deny but doesn’t seem right nevertheless.  Take for example, this blog I found on Memorial Day.  Trace back the links from the commenters and you should see what I mean.

Right now I am listening to UBUWEB.  Kenneth Goldsmith taking me through a collection of sounds and thoughts from the years 1983 to 1993.  I may not be getting cross cultural but I am crossing time cultures.

It is enough to split your personality which may be what is going on here at the SchizoFrenetic site.  With a point of view on the marketplace but quite definitely aware of the political arena too, our careerist Zak gives me quite a bit of cross culturality too.

But this site represents my week travels best I think because the week included T and I heading up to West Hollywood to listen to Nicola Griffith and Kelley Eskridge read from their writings.  Walking the streets with people of the same sex and comfortable in themselves with themselves has to be as cross cultural as you can get in this country that still has some doubts about who we all are.

My final mention for this week is TED talks.  I was pointed to it after beginning to read Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight.  Technology, Entertainment, Design is a site that disproves the point of view that the internet doesn’t represent action by doing what it is about.  Grown out of a 1984 conference in Long Beach it now sponsors international array of speakers at the annual and sold out meeting.

The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. More than 200 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.

In addition, TEDGlobal sponsors world wide activities, and the TED Prize offers $100,000 each to three conferees to a wish to “change the world.” 

Blogging may seem like a static exercise from where one can yell, laugh, cry, and piss and moan from the silence of your lonely room but as I hope you can see from the journeys above that ain’t the half of it.

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I caught a cold last week

Or rather I should say the cold caught me.  And I have to say that it is very seldom in my life when I can’t write – something, but this has been one of those times.  Last Wednesday about 4 AM is when it started.  I woke to go pee and felt it in the top of my mouth.  A dryness, a tightness, a difficulty to swallow.  Shit! I thought.  I should have gargled right then.  Warm water, salt stirred in, head tilted back, you know the sound, gggghhhh, and spit.  But I didn’t.  Went back to bed.  Thought, I’ll be fine.

But three hours later, no way Jose.  My head had joined forces with my tightening throat and now was stuffed with snot.  I got up to go to the kitchen to start my day.  Coffee, paper, computer.  What was I thinking, I couldn’t really tell.  That morning’s post, became an afternoon’s one, and was a fair indicator of my state of mind.  If you could read my mind that is.  About three paragraphs, ending with a self-satisfied smirk of a summary.  I couldn’t sit there without breathing any longer.

I skipped the next day.  Drugged up on NyQuil, then Dayquil, and chicken soup, I slept sitting up so I could at least breathe.  But write, no I could barely think.  Finally about 2 AM, I gave it another try.  I really enjoy the experience of making something last.  I have to admit that the things in my life count for a lot.  They act as talismans.  A shirt from ten years ago that I can pull out and wear.  My homemade dance workout shoes, two pair, which I have alternated onto the dance floor for about 10 years too.  But when I tried to write that post about frugality, it was all I could do to say two things.  Rereading only shows me that I couldn’t wait to get done.  And I was really trying.  I remember going back and forth between youtube and this blog trying to imbed a Todd Rungren video that wouldn’t take and finally giving up in sick frustration.

Then came Friday.  Yes, the Lakers were into the finals, and T and I were packing for the trip to LA but I was still one sick puppy.  Dayquil all day, I even tried alcohol, two margaritas with dinner.  Here’s how sharp my thinking was.  It’s a cold I have.  So stay warm.  Not me.  We go to the book reading after dinner and sit for two hours while the cool city breezes blew in the door and swirled around my bare legs (I was wearing shorts) and sandalled feet. 

Sick Saturday, that what I’ll have to call it.  I couldn’t drive.  Thank the gods for T.  I couldn’t think or write or even read, and you know I really have to be sick for that to happen.

So now it is a tentative Sunday.  I have only sneezed once and I have managed to write this too.  I’m going to leave you with this reference point, one I gathered from the blogger at http://www.skepticsandpolitics.blogspot.com/.  I hope to write more about it tomorrow when this cold will be going going gone.  

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Weekly Tags

Yes, it’s that time again.  You and I get to go back into the future as we look at the varied and sundry.

  • Frugality is in.  Who knows, maybe we will even hear GWBIII telling us to save instead of spend those stimulus checks.  Well, I don’t know that seems a little far fetched.   Anyway, for those of you who always wanted to be like your grandparents, here’s a great place to start clipping those coupons and banking those pennies in the cookie jar.

 

  • Everyone has probably heard of Life Hacker the blog but I never took the time until I was reading a post by Trent at www.thesimpledollar.com the other day and he mentioned that one of the ways he has discovered to save money is to take up a hobby that doesn’t cost a lot to start and almost nothing to continue.  Like buying a basketball and a hoop for your garage door, like I did a 66 key keyboard to teach myself how to play.  Once I laid out the $200 for the board, the only cost is time spent playing.  And just like shooting hoops, it is just as rewarding.  Now Trent pointed me at this post on the LifeHack site.  Yipee.

 

  • I came across this site while researching my post on the real estate wasteland.  And because wordpress has some funny protocols about using javascript I haven’t yet taken the time to figure out if it will work for me on this blog but if it doesn’t work here I can always take it over to by blogger blog.  I know it always likes a brainy quote.

 

  • PC World lists it in its top five best blogs and I came across Alex Eckelberry because of a comment he made on jtaplinsblog about conservatism’s rise and fall.  But I visited the site out of a curiosity about security concerns on the internet.  How much firewall do we need?  I know that wordpress uses a screen to keep out spam and still I get one or two comments a week that could only come from a bot.  Anyway, I plan to go back to this site when I have time and ask some more questions.

 

  • And finally, it is Memorial Day and stores and banks are closed while outdoor barbecues and baseball games go on.  Somewhere a soldier is killing or being killed.  Somewhere a family is mourning their loss whether it be the soldier or the ones she killed.  On this site which I think I’ll be visiting quite a bit in the future I discovered a different sort of party. 

 

 

And I leave you with this poem I penned anon:

THE SUNSHINES BLUE . . .

On the day outside my mind,
           bike rides like wind flies and trains of inconsequence trade themselves for
                        thoughts as I wish for more than I can have or hold or even use in this
                world gone mad as a hatter,

In a world where anything can un happen, can re happen, can happen more or
              less with consequences and all the trimmings,
While we (you and I) still stay in a quandary, at a loss,
Up in the air like a coin star-crossed, our minds flipping, tripping

                        at all the evil dripping from the last bomb tossed.

 

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New bet, the same old tax?

But first, that was just too easy.  Lakers over Spurs and the starters rest for most of the fourth quarter.  Hmmm.  Seems similar to the Spurs in New Orleans.  I’m just saying.

Anyway, perusing the LA Times OpEd page on Friday and came across this item about how the state and the gov think that the best solution to the current budget problem is to float a bond issue against future lotto revenues.  Here are a few factoids from the opinion:

  • a 1999 national study conducted by Duke University concluded that families making less than $25,000 a year spent roughly $1080 on lottery tickets.  10% of their income.
  • Families earning between $50,000 and $100,000 spent only $495.  1% of their income.
  • The state of California spent over $93 million the last three years in advertising the lotto.

As the writer, Michelle Steel – BOE member for the 3rd District, points out, “the governor’s plan to pay for the state’s irresponsible spending rests, ironically, on getting Californians to spend more irresponsibly.”   I really do love it when things get ironic.

Remember last summer when everyone in the personal finance blogs, well maybe not everyone, was posting about how to save on fuel while driving?  Drive slower, plan your trips so that you do more on each one, carpool, use public transportation, and go ahead, ride a bike to work.  Remember.  Well, one of the tips I remember had to do with going to the pump early in the morning or late in the evening because the day’s heat affects the gas by expanding it.  You get less gas more hot air in the middle of the day.  Well, yesterday it was reported that “a survey shows that Californians could be overpaying as much as $3.4 million a day as heat makes gas expand.”  More irony.  You moved to California for the hot weather only to find that the automobile state is costing more to live in because of it.

And then there is this.  A long time ago I read a novel by Calder Willingham called Eternal Fire.  It was a fine trashy, sexy novel about a sociopath and his love life in the New South.  Yes, I read it mostly for the sexy, trashy part.  But there is a section the story that chronicles how a court trial is rigged so that an innocent person is besmirched.  The scripted actions of the community leaders and the judge has always stuck in my mind and is frequently brought to the fore when I read things like the headline story about the Congress defying Bush by passing the Farm Subsidy Bill or the Military Spending Act.  Who are they kidding?  Bush who has favored these programs all through his two terms now gets to act all righteous while the bills still get passed and the Congress now run by the Dems gets to seem defiant.  Wow! What a script.  The bills still get passed though.  $630 billion for defense, $10 billion for not growing crops.  What’s ironic is that our media actually purports to be covering the real story.  Hah!

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