Going to Seattle, etc.
Well, I'm going to Seattle tomorrow and will be there until the 7th (unless something changes).  It seems like my grandmother is going to die.  Sucks.  I don't know what to say, it's just what happens, everyone gets old and dies.  I wonder what will happen to my grandpa now, in a way I'm more concerned for him.  I don't even know what to say, ultimately everyone faces death and is whatever's left (or whatever you believe is left) goes where it goes - the body going to the grave and ultimately returning to earth from whence we all came (indirectly), all that jazz.  I'm not religious so I can't say "they've gone on to a better place" like I think there is some sort of heaven.  I wouldn't say I'm a strict materialist but I would say that if there is anything other than the material aspect we know nothing definitive of it. 

Anyways, that's pretty much it.  I am basically wasting time lately - I'm unemployed, I moved back home to Florida, I don't have a car and haven't been up to much of anything.  I sometimes wonder if there is a soul, and if I've lost it - in the sense of maybe having passions and a strong will to live life to the fullest.  I guess lately I haven't been depressed in the sense of despondent or sad or whatever, but I can't seem to gather up much enthusiasm for doing anything.  I have been thinking of applying for English teaching jobs in Japan but have not been making much headway on writing up the documents.  I have a sort of resume but it's not quite finished, and I've have about 3 half written attempts at cover letters on my computer.  At least I'm maintaining my level of fitness somewhat, but other than that I am in a rut.  Such is life. 

Returning to Florida
Well, I'm moving back to Florida for a while.  Hopefully I can save a bit of money and get things in order.  Internet will be going today, packing has begun but not very far yet. 

The thing that I'll miss most is that Junk Magic (the kinda sort band I'm in) is more or less falling apart - at least as far as this incarnation goes.  Even if I stayed, Joe is leaving, Luca is leaving, Nathan is leaving...  So the band is gone.  It was fun, I think we actually got pretty good at our thing.  Hopefully in Florida I can find some players who want to do a more free thing. 

On Tea Parties, divide and conquer, and failure to see the obvious
In (late) celebration of May Day, this is a somewhat communist rant.  Take it as you will.

Lately I've been leaning a bit toward anarcho-communism.  Since I've been getting in touch with my communist side, I've taken a much more class-warfare sort of view of what's been going on with this economic crisis.  On top of that, I've been reading various anti-work polemics.  But since I came from the anarcho-capitalist and libertarian side, I understand somewhat where that side is coming from.  This has lead me to believe that the anti-bank bailout right and the anti-corporate left have more in common than either side is capable of recognizing (mostly because both sides only see a caricature of the other, just like the elite want them to).

The Tea Party people are not all crazy.  They are protesting taxes, and the bailouts.  We have 30% taxes before we even start - that's Social Security and Medicare.  This is a kind of serfdom.  We are using this money to buy a huge military and to bail out banks.  Oh, we might do a bit of symbolic bonus cutting, but they are still making mints (well, more like getting first dibs on what comes from them).  From the perspective of strong capitalists, we are giving money to those that failed in business.

From the commie side, what we have is money flowing into the coffers of the barons and dukes of our age, our own elite nobility. 

The problem is that the left is often blinded to how rightist populism fits in well with their own populism.  A perfect example is this article.  He's going after the tea party people for supporting the rich, which as I see it is as far from the reality as possible.  He is right in that there is a paradoxical identification of the lower classes with the ultra-rich, and that right wing ideologes (just like the left wing ones on TV, gee) are shills for the elite.  But he gets these people wrong when he claims they are defending the bankers and other recipients of handouts.  That's exactly what these people are protesting AGAINST.  WTF, out of touch liberal much?  In the comments section, an uptight libertarian (well, a lot of them are, to be honest) points this out and goes on an anti-bailout rant and he gets called a troll.  DO YOU NOT GET IT, THE RICH ARE LAUGHING WHILE YOU FIGHT.

So now back to the communism.  The peasant mentality is not just the right or left, it's both, especially when they are so busy hating each other that they can't even see that they agree on the same damn things.  They each are sucking up to one or another section of the elite, whether it's the "deserving rich" or whether it's our hallowed president.  It's the same damn thing, the money is going from the masses, and that's not just the retail workers, I mean the middle class which is also getting the shaft, from you and me (either directly through taxes, or indirectly through inflation) through the government (like our senate, owned by banks), to the banks, and to the "masters of war" - the money is going to the modern aristocrats.

Now, in honor of May Day, let's take stock of what we're left with in late stage state capitalism: we have a system where people are often expected to work very hard, often well over 40 hours a week.  A huge chunk is taken in taxes, and handed to the rich, or to the war industry.  Their employer takes another huge chunk and gives himself a bonus (executive pay is often more than 10x what the workers at the bottom make).  We have created the greatest abundance ever known to man, and rather than eliminate homelessness (actually cheaper than paying for medical and other costs associated with letting it be), rather than cut our work weeks to 30 hours or less and spend our time creating art and music and being with our friends and family, we work overtime, often taking only one week a year off.  We spend our money on trinkets or, if we're lucky and have a decent amount, on timeshares in Hawaii.  Then we fight with each other while the elites pocket their tens or hundreds of millions.  We create the best device in history, and can endlessly duplicate any information, with the possibility of spreading knowledge and culture across the globe, and we stifle it with copyrights and patents.  We have created new, international organizations that are kingdoms in themselves (about half of the world's largest economic entities are corporations, the other half countries), we work MORE than serfs did (they had many holidays, didn't work after 6, etc), have more of it taken from us, and we call ourselves free?

Attempt at yuppiedom/office work: FAIL
 Well, so much for best laid plans and all that crap.  I had been working for the last 2 months at the Hilton for the timeshares part of their business as a secretary/receptionist of sorts, but that's over as of today.  Actually, originally I was working in the hospitality part of it, just putting out drinks and food and such.  Then they moved me over to desk work, which was more stressful but at first okay.  However, as of late it had gotten to the point where I was envying the homeless guy that I passed on the way to work every day.  Seriously.  Thursday was particularly bad, and so on Friday I put in my two weeks notice.  Today, however, I realized that I wasn't going to make it two weeks or even two more minutes, so I quit.  I really had intended to just stick it out, but it was not going to happen.  It was my sanity or the job.

I was actually just hired officially by Hilton after a month as a temp working there.  That's the worst part - at first I enjoyed the job, and though I had some misgivings during orientation, but I figured I could work maybe 6 months and build up a decent financial base.  Not in the cards.

Really, I should have known this, from the drug test and the grooming code prohibiting long hair (fuck businesses that think they have a right to search my bodily fluids, or tell me how to keep my hair).  Heck, when I was in 7th grade I used to think of office work and say to myself that I would rather be dead.  How and why did I forget this?  I guess I tried to be someone else.  I cut my hair long ago - why?  At the time, I was sick of my failures in love and in my chose field and so I wanted to be something different.  I think I'll grow it out again.  Some parts of me have changed, and I was very successful in Japanese as a major (much more so than in music), but I think I was really trying to be someone else.  I was sick of being poor by graduation and I thought I would make some money, but it's not going to happen.  I was right back then; I can never be the company man working his way up in an office.  It's not in my nature.

On the bad side, this is job number two since graduation that I've quit with no notice.  Well, fuck them, there's only so much I can take.  I guess it will be harder to get a new job.  I'm thinking of going back to delivering pizza, as that was the last job I had that paid decently and wasn't totally crappy.  I will have to use my IRA money to get a car, but half of it's gone anyway so what's the difference?  Until I can enter grad school - my new plan for life, ivory tower and perpetual studentdom (or professorhood) - I will have to find a living some way. 

Eh, I guess I just had to relearn what I knew about myself long ago.  Back to square one.

Some suggestions for Obama
In these troubled economic times, we have a huge "stimulus" package, a lot of hot air, and not a lot of careful thought...  So, here are some recommendations for Obama on how to fix the economy more successfully:

Eliminate patent and copyright laws
Legalize drugs (well, it won't do a huge amount, but it will move the black market into the open air and bring in tax money)
Let the automakers go bankrupt (Chapter 11 is just a special reorganization anyway)
Eliminate the SEC and tell everyone that they buy stock at their own risk
Eliminate subsidies and lower barriers of entry for new businesses in all fields

I just can't accept that more debt is the solution to the problem of massive, worthless debt, or believe that we can simply spend our way out of the hole we spent ourselves into.  No amount of reassurance that this will work is going to convince me.  Am I crazy, or is everyone else?

Updated Xubuntu is finally doing everything right (I think)!
I updated to Xubuntu Hardy Heron from Feisty, and as usual had all sorts of dumb issues.  I think all, or at least 99%, are fixed.  I had problems typing in Japanese, well, SCIM required a special package to do it in Xubuntu (even for Ubuntu-land I'm some sort of weirdo, I guess, but it's because my computer is old...).  Then it didn't see my NTSF/windows partition, so I got a configuration tool that fixed it very easily and exactly how I wanted it to.  Finally, I had sound issues - everything was a bit staticy, sometimes very subtly but sometimes very obviously.  Turns out that it's a known bug, if you turn down the PC master volume it clears up.  I didn't even have to mess with anything.

So I think all my issues with Hardy are over.  I think.  I hope.

Also, I am very tired and have to work early tomorrow.  So I will sleep.

Quick update
why worry/bluepard
 I'm about to go to bed, so recent times in a nutshell:

I got a job at the Hilton (though a temp agency) and it's the easiest job I've ever had and pays pretty well.  I just have to be there at 7 am.
I've been exercising with my friend Russel, which means basic boxing training.  Good times, and I hope to kick it up a notch soon.
Practice with the band I'm in went really well last time, but I had to skip it today because of work.  Sucks.
I've been reading Murakami Haruki and Kawabata Yasunari short stories lately.  Murakami is easier to read but I still like Kawabata better.

And that's it.  I'm doing well, I hope everyone else is too.

A small thought
Political ramblingCollapse )

Also, Happy New Year (belatedly), everyone!  Not much news on my front.  I got a new electric toothbrush for Christmas, and a bunch of money.  I went to Seattle and saw my parents and grandparents, it was good.  As for the New Year, I flew back on New Year's day, so no partying or anything there.  As for looking back, well, 2008 was nice because I graduated but varying levels of suck afterward, because I never really figured out what the hell to do with myself afterwards.  I don't really make resolutions, but I do plan on figuring out what to do with myself for the future very soon.  Other than that, business as usual.

Too much excitement
A crazy guy broke into my neighbor John's house tonight.  John restrained him and the cops came, took statements, etc.  WAY too much excitement.  The guy was definitely crazy or on a STRONG drug (stronger than anything I've taken at least), as he broke in and took a shower(!), and was claiming he was Jesus and such.  Not fun.  A detective was here (well, upstairs) and everything.  The guy was clearly delirious and delusional.  Luckily he was also skinny and John handled him easily.

Well, that just caps off everything.

My life has been somewhat exciting lately.  I quit my job just last Saturday (something I had no intention of doing until that moment) - basically, I'd been working the registers for almost 8 hours and the assistant store manager called me back to tell me I was doing it all wrong, which led to me quitting.  I think it really has to do with the fact that I told the head manager to get me a freaking fudgie brownie bite - the store manager and the assistant manager popped into the cafe because we were having some trouble (not suprising, as we were understaffed and it's the middle of Christmas shopping season), and when I went to get something from the pastry case (as is the job of those on register) the head manager told me to just tell her what it was.  So I assumed she was expediting, and when the next customer comes up I do the same thing and she tells me to get it myself.  I thought nothing of it, then I get called in and the assistant manager tells me I need to realize when to ask people to do things and such, and that I'm not doing my job right.  My voice gets a bit raised, she tells me I'm insubordinate, I quit.  Lovely.  Worst part is, I never had a problem with anybody else in the whole store, just these two managers.  In any case, that puts me in a pinch.

Outside of these sorts of unexpected bad news, on the good side I've recently seen a Gamelan concert, an African drumming concert, and I've been to a karaoke bar and discovered the awesomeness of enka.  The Gamelan concert was something I'd been invited to as other people in the band I'm in (the real founders of the band, Joe and Chris) are in the ensemble.  I was half asleep, but interestingly you're supposed to be half asleep when listening to Gamelan.  The African drumming was at this club, and on the same day as I'd quit.  They had dancers, and they also dragged everyone out on the floor to dance as well.  You really can't listen to that and not move your body.  As for the karaoke bar - enka has the best lyrics EVER.  Like love songs to sake.  Hardboiled sentimentality.  I can understand most of the lyrics of most of the songs, and the cheesiness only makes it more awesome.  Incidentally, if you want to see something unexpected and also awesome, look up "Jero" on Youtube.  I won't spoil it, just do it.

And that's all for now.  If you want a late Christmas card, send me your adress or post it.  I'm gonna try to send them out in the next couple of days.

I am moved
I was just surfing wikipedia, reading about the history of India and the Muhgal empire, when I stumbled upon an interesting figure: the Sikh leader, Guru Tegh Bahadur.  Now, as most of you know, I am an atheist, and am not overly fond of most religious leaders or religious thought in general.  However, reading about this guy moved me, specifically reading about his death.  He died for the religious freedom of Hindus.  Now, even Jesus didn't die to save people who didn't even believe in him (at least according to mainstream Christianity).  But this guy did, and he's considered one of the 11 Gurus in Sikhism, and his death is considered as a righteous act.  That's pretty nice in this world, and way above anything in any of the 3 Abrahamic religions (one only has to read the old testament to see what the Jewish idea is, I already talked about Christ, and Muhammed made a point of conquering Arabia). 

As far as I'm concerned, this guy's act is something everyone in this modern world should spare a couple minutes to think about.  Especially for religious people, if your religion can't see the incredible righteousness of a man dying for others of completely different views, you've got a problem.  Not to say Sikhism is perfect, or that even this Guru was perfect, but just this one act is something really special.  Especially in this Christmas season over here in America, it's worth thinking about what truly is righteous, what is really right or wrong. 


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