May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Thursday, June 30, 2005


You can go with this, or you can go with that...

In my big long post yesterday, I mentioned rational A.I., and all the amazing stuff it'll be able to do for us. Since then, I've been reading a bunch of stuff about unmanned surveillance drones and vein-reading biometric security.

Which prompts me to think I need an addendum to yesterday's post.

The A.I. technology (and technology or systems in general) that we create will either be there to free and enable the human spirit, or to suppress and confine it to further the interests of some anti-human venture.

I guess I must say I'd fall in the pro-human category, despite all the foibles. If we're kind to one another and leave good seeds in the timestream, just maybe we'll evolve beyond.


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I sure do love women....

Dang, that last post was really long. It had kind of a slow intro, so if you read this blog at all I hope you made it to the end. Sorry so heavy. Not really "sorry" but more "sorry, ha ha" because "sorry, ha ha" is all about levity.

Anyway, before I sign off for the night, I just want to say that I can't help it. I just love women. All of them. Mind, body, soul. Some I'm quite attracted to, but most I just like to be around.

I'm still working on men but that's a lot more to ask. If pinned down on it, because of the way I feel about women, I'd have to evaluate myself as heterosexual, but every once in a while there's a guy I find atttractive for one reason or another. Almost always, the attractive part is their intelligence, or aura. I don't find men's physiques attractive, even my own, really. As far as thinking about sex with men, for me, ewwww... More power to those who do, I'm in your corner, but I just don't like male genitalia or the wide shoulder narrow hip thing much. "Curves, man, curves." As far as mind and soul, yep most men are close to on-target, but still have room for improvement.

To sum up, perhaps the best way to say it is "I'm with the circus." Not gay, but I fall somewhere on the not quite straight continuum.

I'm sure you all wanted to know that, and tthose who know me already knew. "I'm with the circus" <--> "Friends of those who allow themselves the freedom to choose"


I have so much more random stuff to blather on about. I wish I could just keep journalling, but I need to sleep and get up for work tomorrow morning.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Until its as easy to use as a TV or toaster

I got a new Pentium M laptop for school a few months back. The integrated wireless card that came with it seriously sucks. As I'm typing this, I wonder if the connection will remain strong enough to send the bits through the wireless router when I send it. The wireless access point is about 12 feet away, just below me in the basement. I needed to update drivers earlier, and presently don't feel comfortable trying to access my Ximeta NDAS single hard disk server from the wireless laptop connection. Even when two feet from the wireless access point, the laptop behaves like somebody fed it lock-up pills when I try to connect to the NDAS server. I got the NDAS single hard disk server for the express purpose of being able to store and access my files on a lighter weight server than a full 300 watt box running all the time. Fortunately, the NDAS works great with the wired computers, so I can transfer files to the laptop by first transferring them to a desktop and then sharing the folder that the files are in. But for the most part, that defeats the purpose -- I could've just gotten an extra hard drive for my desktop and turned it on when I needed to share it.

Simple. The new technology is sometimes painful. How often do we accept that our cell phone connection drops out and our conversation gets cut off? Or our PDA falls to the ground and we lose three weeks of data since the last hotsync? Sync it up more frequently, that's the ticket. Getting to and from work requires a heck of a lot of effort. Either I drive and have to fight among traffic and obey stoplights and the rules of the road, or I bike or walk and have to fend off drivers without my own 1000 pound exoskeleton. A somewhat reliable one at that. Our car had a lot of issues the first 80000 miles, but the last 30000 have been pretty trouble free. Still, it's no secret that a car drains you head to feet.

This laptop has another issue. When I type, about once every few sentences, keys will registter twice -- that last instance wasn't intentional. I'm a great typist, and never have that problem with other keyboards. Unfortunately, this means that if I want to make sure that I don't have typos, I actually have to read the words as I type, even if I type them perfectly. Kind of a hassle.

I used to think that it would be so exciting when we finally have bionic ears, so that when our hearing is totally shot, or if one is deaf, there can just be a microphone membbrane within the auricle that sends an electrical signal to an electrical-neural junction where it's parsed direct by the brain. Unfortunately, I bet it will have a few bugs at first. Bleeding edge always does. For those who havve been deaf all their lives it will be a true miracle and I will sing hallelujah alongg with them. BUT even though my ears are overly sensitive to sounds and I could probably hear better, I wouldn't want to trade them for the new technology until it "just works" and is maintenance free enough that I'd have to get them checked on as frequently as I go to the audiologist, which isn't very often.

The point I guess I was getting at is that technology hasn't really arrived until it "just works". I think we're all excited about progress, or at least we should be in most cases, but there's a reason that cable TV, broadcast TV, TIVO, and FM radio are going to be around for a long time, while intternet streaming and downloads will be popular for some who swim upstream, but not entirely ubiquitous. When people can go to the local Target/Shopko/Walmart, pay $300 for a device that they plug into the wall, switch it to Channel Slashdot or Channel Wikipedia, or Channel HotOlderAsianLadies, it will catch on. Better yet instead of a channel changer, there'd be easy, configurable AND acquiescent portals that help guide you to the information/bits you really want or need, rather than funnelling you to the highest paying advertiser, then we'll be at a real level of maturity in the information age.

Right now, computers and the internet are a powerful medium, but I see them also as a hostile environment. Yes, yes, I can build a computer up from parts. With a bit of time I could configure a Linux distribution if I could spare the time, but I'd rather do otherwise. Put Linux inside of a $300 configurable internet appliance that "just works" on a communication system that is outside of the spamosphere, where it's not about buy and sell, but about free information trade. That will have people lining up ffrom Beijing to Helsinki to Los Angeles. Of course, in addition to having a browser, it'd be nice to havve it ship native with an email program, a newsreader, an instant messaging program, multimedia software for editing pictures, audio, video, flash, html, C++, formatted documents, etc. While we're dreaming here, why not roll them all into the OS, so they load when the OS loads, and feel truly integrated, rather than as separate disjoint programs? I suppose you'd need more memory in this system, but maybe these programs could be much more dynamic about allocating memory, so when they initially load, only the outer shell of the program's functionality is actually up. When accessed, it loads up the parts that it needs and deallocates as the code path gets far enough away from functions. Yeah, that's the ticket. And of course, to the stupid user, it all "just works," and they don't need to know anything more about it than they need to put toast in the toastter, or to turn on the hot water. And they don't need to type, since the OS has a microphone and logic that helps it to identify your speech as well as one human can tell what another is saying. Sure, it would all be rudimentary at first, only understanding the words you say to it, but eventually as it learns your movements and gestures and has a couple decent CCDs for parallax viewing, it'd be able to decipher body language and the tone of your voice.

Not long after that, we'll have ourselves a real rational AI. And of course, not just any rational AI, but one that will be able to ascertain what needs to be done better than we do, and maybe one that can control its base desires, or is entirely naive to the idea that impure motives could ever exist. Then, programmed correctly, that AI can run the world (as a steward with the best interests of the Earth and all inhabitants firmly in mind/logic), and we can just go about living our lives, following our recreational, vocational, and avocational desires, while the show runs itself.

Sure, it's idealistic to think all that, but somebody needs to set some goals. That's where I see us in a hundred years if we make it through the mess today, and can choke off all the bad seeds before they grow.

And yes, I know there are a lot of other checkpoints that we need to hit before we get to that state. Point A will always be where we are at. Point B is where we are trying to get to. It requires frequent progress updates of the direction and the magnitude of the current vector we're on. Are we heading toward point B? Has anyone really set up a point B that we can come to a consensus on?

Some people think that point B is not for us to define, or for us to experience the Rapture(tm) -- I think the "Left Behind" publishers should be allowed to claim that as (tm) if not actually (r).
Some people think that point B is for them to assume control over others -- the Taliban, the major corporations, the leading world governments, the financial elite, to name a few.
Some think that point B is to live out in the stars, but it will be a while until we're ready for tthat -- once we get the nuclear fusion thing figured out (my guess is it'll be "just works" in 70 years. Sad that I likely won't live to see it).

But on a serious note, none of us will live to see it if we are not able to collectively focus focus focus focus focus focus focus on the problems that beset us on all sides today. From every direction the sirens are loud, and I'm just pointing them out.

From a triage perspective, the short list of seeds that must be planted and sprout quickly (next five years):
1. Peace. Fucking dammit. Peace. Now.
a. This comes through security
b. Peace comes through justice.
c. Peace comes through forgiveness of others' past injustices.
d. Peace comes through repentance and atonement on the part of all who commit injustices (include self here please - a very rare ffew indeed are beyond reproach)
2. Secure and dismantle every weapon of mass destruction, then every weapon that can blow off somebody's limbs or put holes in their skin (knives excluded).
a. Make it understood to all that we are one collective community, spread across continents and island.
b. Remove the idea of bombing, shooting, and murdering from the list of tolerable behaviors. Not ever should these things be done. If we find that humans need to slowly wean off it, take it into virtual reality. Quake 3 or Halo or Doom should help. Just stop killing real people.
3. Put major funding toward securing biological dangers, including viruses, disease, genetic mutation, etc.
4. Keep our eyes on the sky in a serious way to watch for asteroids, and develop means to prevent them colliding with Earth.
5. We need to collectively ascertain reasons WHY its important that our civilization continue and thrive.
a. Our existence here and now is a miracle, in and of itself.
b. When we're here on Earth, we can think of a lot of ways to have fun.
6. Start living within our true means, at sustainable levels of resource use.
a. This one, I fear, will be tough for everyone. When I was young, we were told to conserve energy. Until we find ways to tap more powerful, safe energy sources and use raw materials judiciously, we need to conserve resources. Take pride in being efficient with resources, not in earning money from them.
b. Curb population growth (drastically). Encourage others to have fewer children, so we'll use less resources. We need to get down to ~4 billion by 2050, and eventually hit stasis somewhere around 1.5 - 2 billion.
7. Talk to your neighbors. Get to know them. Help them. Rely on them. Be kind to them. "who is my neighbor, blah blah blah?" Anyone within proximity to your person, or whom you communicate with via telephone, email, instant messaging, or facemail. Yes, people may suck sometimes, but see the good in the others. See it in yourselves.

The next revolution will not be political. By necessity, it will be spiritual.


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Recording Music equipment before selling

Today, I am downloading the latest build of Sound Forge so I can record our drums before we sell them. Can't say I'm sad to see them go as I had wanted a set of electronic drum triggers rather than real drums. Hand drums, I like the real thing, but drum trapkits take up a lot of space and take a lot of rhythmic intelligence to play well and keep the beat.

Tomorrow we're shipping a bunch of stuff to Australia, mostly ethnic clothes and musical instruments, but also an Electrix Warpfactory Vocoder. If you know anybody who needs a great big 6x12 guitar cabinet drop me a line.

Last night went to a party and had a really good time. I don't usually party on Tuesday nights (American Beauty style), but did just this once because we're moving out of town and it was good friends. It's good to be among friends where you can talk really truly freely and be yourself entirely. Someday I hope to be friends with EVERYONE, or is that an obtuse way of saying I'll say whatever's on my mind to whoever's nearby? 8v)

I still have a lot of stuff in my life that I don't really share. C'est la vie -- we all have our secrets, and meeting people is a lot like playing Stratego(tm), you never know what you encounter until they turn and show you their number side.


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Sunday, June 26, 2005


A visit back to my favorite xtian church

Hi. Please note that I frequently use Xtian in place of Christian. If you are at all offended by this, get with the program right now and unoffend yourself. I don't have time for crap like that, and neither do you.

On Friday night, my wife and I went with my dad and stepmother to Peace Lutheran Church in Lauderdale, MN. When I was growing up, it was a very small congregation, and had an excellent minister with a wonderful vibe and deep insights and understanding. Since then, they've gone through a couple short term ministers, and now have a new minister that my parents just rave about. I got to meet him on Friday, and see the work he's done at the church. He had the most open and non-judgemental spirit I've seen in a long time, and very active with a surprising amount of energy and moxie.

Anyway, the church used to have red carpeted floors, with pews all facing the front where the altar was, along with the eucharist railing and the other trappings. Shortly after he arrived, they ripped up the carpet, somehow scared up $15000 for new chairs and pews, and turned the orientation of the church sideways, so that now everyone faces toward the front wall, in sort of a semicircle. And there is modern vibrant art posted on the walls, and large pieces of art hanging from the ceiling, including flags, a peace banner in many languages, and several crosses that had a soft comfortable feel to them, if that's possible (I'll try and be sure to provide my thoughts and opinions on the nature of crosses in the future, but will just preface that entry now by asking "was it most likely Jesus, his disciples, or the Roman Catholic church who decided that the symbology to use should be a cross?" I think Jesus would've chosen otherwise.) Don't get me wrong, I have a fascination with crosses, but also have spent a lot of time thinking about the dark psychological seeds that they plant in xtians. In the minister's office, he had a wall with probably twenty more crosses on it, all of them had a nice artistic feel to them, and not that spooky creepy feel to them.

But I digress... The main thing I wanted to say was that the church is so much more attractive. The minister I'd grown up with there had such an excellent aura that it was always fun and educational to be around him, but now this new minister also has applied his aura to the whole building. Frequently, churches have their crosses out front, and they're just crosses, or they're cold and intimidating in some way. This church just screams warm, friendly, open-minded community.

Why were we there on a Friday? Well, I wasn't going to be in town on Sunday, but wanted to meet this minister, who had gone to seminary right next door to the seminary I'll be going to. And also had wanted to see the changes. The event that evening was a community music show. There were three different artists/groups who played. First, a woman played a couple Rachmaninoff tunes (I'll correct that spelling later if I get the chance). Then a violin quartet played. While they played, I thought that it might be worthwhile at some point to get some classical violin sheet music, and learn to play it on guitar. The last group was a men's 50's-style Doo-wop quartet called the Fairlanes. Their tunes really brought me back to when I was in college and earlier and used to see barbershop quartet shows with my friend Paul. There's something about the showmanship that is just so catchy. Needless to say, my musical tastes have changed remarkably (I much prefer Melvins, Ministry, PJ Harvey, and John Coltrane, plus a wide wide variety of other tunes ranging from gabber to classical to jazz), but I still like a good show, no matter what it is.

Today, we're up at my mom and stepfather's place in NW Wisconsin, just hanging out together. Since we're moving to the Bay Area soon and won't see them quite as often, I'm glad I'm getting some time with them. Therefore, signing off to go do just that.


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Saturday, June 25, 2005


Front Piece Quotes from "Faith of a Heretic" by Walter Kaufmann

Jeremiah: They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying "Peace, peace," when there is no peace.

Kant: All the interest of my reason (speculative as well as practical) comes together in the following three questions:
1. What can I know?
2. What ought I to do?
3. What may I hope?

(from Critique of Pure Reason)

Whitman: Piety and conformity to them that like,
Peace, obesity, allegiance, to them that like...
I am he who walks the States with a barb'd tongue,
questioning everyone I meet,
Who are you that wanted only to be told
what you knew before?
Who are you that wanted only a book to join you
in your nonsense?

(from By Blue Ontario's Shore)

Nietsche: Is it really so difficult simply to accept... what is considered truth in the circle of one's relatives and of many good men, and what, moreover, really comforts and elevates man Is that more difficult than to strike new paths, fighting the habitual, experiencing the insecurity of independence and the frequent wavering of one's feelings and even one's conscience, proceeding often without any consolation... Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire.

(from Letter, 1865)

Tolstoy: I do not believe my faith to be the one indubitable truth for all time, but I see no other that is plainer, clearer, or answers better to all the demands of my reason and my heart; should I find such a one I shall at once accept it... But I can no more return to that from which with such suffering I have escaped, than a flying bird can re-enter the egg shell from which it has emerged. "He who begins by loving Christianity better than truth, will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than Christianity, and end in loving himself (his own peace) better than all." said Coleridge.

(Reply to Edict of Excommunication)

Wittgenstein: What is the use of studying philosphy if... (See #10)

Sartre: If a writer has chosen to be silent... (See #16)

I'm going off to seminary soon, and am reading this "Faith of a Heretic" book. I need to return it to the church library before I go. EOM

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Friday, June 24, 2005


This is where I spent a fair chunk of my time growing up, long long ago


"...make earthly existence as abundant and happy as it can be made. Modern
religion... must sanctify the world.
It must speed those readjustments which will make life here and now
justify our hopes. . . Therefore let us...
smash the injustices, the tyrannies, the sins which imprison us . . .
Salvation comes in, by and through a saved world."

-Clarence Skinner



A few moments for straight up politics...


Today while I was driving back from a doctor's appointment (I'm doing better lately, thank you), while I was stopped at a stoplight on the corner of Washington and Mendota by Schlotschky's sandwich shop, and wheere K-Mart used to be, I looked to my left. There in the car to my left was a man probably five years younger than me, with black skin, and a shaved head, dressed in camo army fatigues.

That got me thinking. There have been a lot of American soldiers sent over to Iraq, and many of them have come back, and will carry the memory of their story from over there until they die. Most of them will pass the emotions they carry onto their wives, husbands, children, friends and loved ones.

On behalf of the good people of America, I'll submit that the Bush administration, the previous Bush administration, and their supporters have our most sincere sarcastic thanks for bringing a wrong and harmful war to this generation. It seems that every generation has a war, and many of them have been necessary; however this one was not only unnecessary and harmful to both American and Iraqi citizens, it was entered into with an atmosphere of secrecy, lies, and coercion. And thanks to trade deficits, here in America, we are going to find that China will surpass us over time as the major economic power. They have been making better decisions, have been conserving their resources, where we spend amazing amounts of money on military. Our military depends on our economy, which the Bush people seem determined to drive into the ground.

Oh, don't get me wrong, the economy may seem to be doing "well" but our country, like many others is sufffering with wider class divisions. The rich in our country are doing well. But if you're poor in the United States, and trying hard not to be, you're poor BY DESIGN. In America, we need to keep people poor, so they'll see military service as a possible way out. We need the poor so that there will be people willing to struggle at low-pay jobs so we can get our burgers, factory-made products, and other services for cheap. Did I just say "factory made products for cheap"? Sounds like China, Southeast Asia, or Central America? That's where we're heading. Meanwhile, the lion's share of your tax dollars and mine are going toward war and military expenditures, and toward benefits to corporations, with the idea that the corporate giveaways will "trickle down" to the workers. Let's play the bullsht card on that right now. Alex, I'll take bullsht economics for 800. Hmmm, I think I'll go with "What new way is the investor class taking advantage of to gain additional assets at the expense of the working poor, the working class AND the middle class AND the upper-middle class?" That's a lot of people.

On top of fucking the poor today, we are fucking almost EVERYONE in future generations. Wait, I'd like to exclude myself from that list. I am not fucking the people in the future, or the poor today. I am with the people trying to get them unfucked. Unless the United States declares bankruptcy, our great grandchildren in America are going to have little tax dollars to put toward anything except to pay off the debts incurred during the Reagan-era deficit spending fiasco. The 80's credit card bill pales in comparison to the absolute free-for-all rate the Bush Administration are borrowing at. The next 12 years, our government is going to have to run on a skeleton budget, and will be unable to provide for the citizen's welfare (I'm no civics genius, but I think providing for citizen welfare is mentioned somewhere in the declaration of independence or the constitution). In addition, there will be very little money for the U.S. governnment to actually govern people, corporations, or itself. OMG, our government needs to govern itself? Yes, it does, and that's why our forefathers designed the government to have three parts, so there'd be checks and balances. Let's review:

Executive Branch = Republicans
Legislative Branch = Republicans
Judicial Branch = Republicans

The checks and balances are gone. Our government now needs outside government. Even the fourth estate, the media, is in Republican hands, now that even PBS is being run by a Kenneth Tomlinson, who has direct connections to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Those who say the media are liberal are liars, and they are simply spinning propaganda. Believe these words, or believe theirs, and you'll know which side you fall on pretty fast.

In any case, I highly doubt that these debts can or will be paid back. Great. How can these goliath-sized problems be rectified or fixed? I think we need to start a new action-oriented thinktank.

Thanks for reading.


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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Today I am at work, working on ACID again.

How fun is that?


/!\ Must have at most 150 characters

So how frustrating is this?

In the process of filling out my blogger profile info, they ask a Random Question:

For your birthday, your aunt gave you a maple syrup dispenser shaped like a rooster. Please write her a thank-you note.

So I wrote the following:

aunt maple

th roostr syrp dspnsr u snt is divine. all tht wakin early to plnt th oats, roostrs hav sch meanin fr me.

luv to u & uncl sam

ur sweet angel

So I tried so very hard to get it under 150 characters, and even brought the text into word to do a wordcount. The above from the 'a' in aunt to the 'l' in angel is 148 characters *including* spaces. What gives? What gives? I've been swearing up a storm trying to get the thing about the rooster to fit, and cutting it down to the bare minimum. Why is there a 150 char maximum for this question, and why does it not recognize that I have painstakingly whittled my original prose down to this Callista Flockhart thin version of English?

Just now I did a Google on Callista Flockhart to make sure I spelled it right, and followed the top hit. The top hit from Google goes to, whereupon I get all sorts of unbordered ads with the "Close me" X in random places, and on top of that, the site says Click Here to get the plug-in, with a little puzzle piece. That's what I get for using Firefox I guess.

Sorry so much bitching about nothing, but there really is a lot to bitch about, isn't there? The other day I was thinking that being a minister, one does need to make sure to strike a balance between commenting on all the bad things, and finding the good things to praise. I guess you find what you're looking for. Dang, I never should've followed that link to I'm still here bitching, instead of browsing to find a pic of Callista to link to. And of course, in typical craptastic web design fashion, kills the backspace feature. I just re-learned a new practice of clicking the little "down arrow" to the right of the "back arrow" icon in the upper left of the window, so I can see the viewing history and circumvent those weasels at We hates the rubberfaces people we does, we do, don't we precioussss?

OK I should be sleeping by now, but here is an excellent hand rendered Callista, all because I needed to fit in under 150 words: from portraits.htm

Ugh, and of course, I've been spelling her name wrong. I hate misspelling, but I'm intentionally not going to correct the above, as a matter of principle, since now that spelling is lodged in my mind, and enough people have also misspelled it, that perhaps it'll get accepted in a manner similar to 'irregardless'.

Actually, this picture is more like what I was thinking of:

That outfit is smashing, with the green stripes, though I think the multiple straps on the sandals goes too far in trying to match the stripes. Anyway, I don't know when that picture was taken, but I hope she's doing better, and more into enjoying sandwiches. I sure wish I could get away with wearing stuff like that, but I'm too masculine, and I don't think that shade of green is my color.... Maybe if I'm careful and find the right wig, it could work as a drag outfit, but still the green would be difficult I think.

There, follow?
150 words or less
make it thinner
like callista/calista
follow google to crappy site
bitch about how crappy is
reverse the digression and then find dopey drawing to link
find better image that conveys both thin AND green outfit
wonder if there's a way i could look good in that

hooray, for stream of consciousness dissected.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Testing, testing. 1... 2... 3!


"...make earthly existence as abundant and happy as it can be made. Modern
religion... must sanctify the world.
It must speed those readjustments which will make life here and now
justify our hopes. . . Therefore let us...
smash the injustices, the tyrannies, the sins which imprison us . . .
Salvation comes in, by and through a saved world."

-Clarence Skinner


I don't have any clue what my old password for the other blog was, that pretty much never got off the ground because I was so busy (if you want to see a perfectly aborted blog, go to It drives me crazy that I've changed email accounts since then, and somehow the usual password that I use for stuff like this didn't work, nor did all of the other usual passwords I use for other things. Why does that happen to me? A coworker suggested that that is what a PDA is for -- put your passwords in it. Duh.

Anyway, I'm inspired by a friend who's been journalling like mad, so I'm going to try and kick this off again.

Happy Thursday!

Can I upload pictures, or just link to pictures I upload elsewhere? Hmmm, the former sure would be nice... Looks like there's a link to some info just above the text entry field -- I guess I'll study up.

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