Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 In Review

This one will be brief.

2008 for me was a rewarding year. I had a great relationship that taught me alot and showed me what a healthy relationship could look like. I learned to sail. I decided to start taking steps to switch careers. And I finally started to let go of some of my past and start to move on.

I end the year in a period of transition that I don't see ending anytime soon. I'm craving challenges to my views and willing to examine everything at this point in my life. It is all new and exciting! So many possibilities. I just want to learn everything I can about whatever I can. Like a sponge.

My one big goal I set for myself this year wasn't met to the letter but the spirit of it was met. That goal was to bareboat charter in BVI by the end-of-the-year. Well, I have the experience and certification necessary to do it, now it is just a matter of logistics and money. So the spirit of that goal, to learn and become qualified to bareboat sail, was certainly met. And anyone that knows me can attest how much of a pain in the ass I have been about wanting to go sailing more. I'm pretty confident BVI will happen in 2009.

Out with 2008, in with 2009.

Let the adventure continue.

Shades of Friendship

Friendship is a fantastic thing. However, I think the word 'friendship' is used in too broad of a fashion. All friendships are not created equal and I think sometimes it is a disservice to refer to them all in the same way. Labels, I feel, tend to box you in to a certain form of behavior that isn't always applicable, at least not fully. It isn't that I think labels aren't useful. It is that I believe we are often in a rush to slap one on even though the reality of the situation doesn't fit the label. Then I think you can end up in a situation where instead of dealing the 'facts on the ground' you are too busy trying to make it fit the label.

So using friendship as an example. Since the rumor mill is churning like sharks to chum in the water, I'll just feed it a little more. I don't think you can have the same sort of friendship you had with someone you dated as you can with someone you never had a romantic interest in, regardless of how close you are. So are these people friends or something more than a friend? Maybe not more, but certainly different. What I find is that as soon as you apply the 'friend' label to such a relationship I end up spending more time trying to figure out how to be friends in a relationship that isn't the same as other friendships, instead of just experiencing the relationship for what it is. Why label it? Just enjoy it. Let the behavior and interaction between you define the relationship, not the label.

This really fits with my CFZ post below. What it really comes down to for me right now is a rejection of allowing myself to be boxed in by external factors. Labels are probably the main way that happens. To me it is silly to have to fight what a label means rather than just allowing a relationship - or whatever really - to go where it wants to go.

CFZ, biatches!

Vanishing Recycling

I put my recycling box out last night. Usually it goes out on Wednesday nights but with New Year's and such they moved it up a night.

It was extremely windy last night and this morning.

I can not find my recycling box anywhere.

I weep for the planet.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Consequences Free Zone

I sent the following Twitter out this evening while at dinner:


Single people, hear me! We are in a 'consequences free area'. Live it up people!


This was pushed to my Facebook page as well. Yes, I changed 'area' to 'zone'...it sounds better. Anyway, I was immediately asked wtf I was talking about and comments about there 'always being consequences' and such. Obviously, an explanation is in order. Or maybe not, but I'll try to explain anyway.

What I mean by a Consequences Free Zone (CFZ) is simply that I think we get too tied up in the day-to-day, in our own fears, and in the prejudices that are forced upon us to really be able to let loose and experience life. Remember you are single. You are not beholden to anyone but yourself. You don't owe anyone any explanation but yourself. It's a CFZ people!

And no, I'm not advocating a totally care-free life. You still have to be smart about the choices you make. When you look at a possible consequence, where is it coming from? Is it something that affects you directly or not? Is it from something that is an external societal norm BS or is it internal to you? We so often get tied up in other people's crap that has no bearing on us and it makes us pull back from who we really are.

I think we get dragged down into always doing the responsible thing too often instead of doing the enjoyable thing, the healthy thing. Not that responsibility is something that should be dismissed nor should there be no limits. I am arguing that we go too far to the one side and put boxes around us that aren't necessary. Those boxes aren't healthy. Who are they helping? What is the purpose? The world is your oyster, so grab the damn thing already!

Live it up!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Stay

I just saw the movie Stay again. I had seen it in the theater when it came out in 2005 for some reason.

Man is it a good movie, but what a mind fuck...to put it gently.

Sailing in February!

So, my peeps, anyone want to go sailing in February? There are a couple of choices here and I'm not married to any of them.

When. The days I am thinking of right now would be to head out after work on Thursday, February 12th and return the evening of Monday the 16th. This way we could get three full days of sailing in and part of a 4th with enough time for travel, etc. We could shave a day off of this if we have to but let's try not to.

Destination. Two choices here and it is mostly going to come down to cost I think. The first choice is to sail out of Tampa Bay, Florida. Nonstop flights right now for those days are going for $250/person round trip. The flight is about 2.5 hours long.

The second destination choice is cheaper because it is closer. It'll be cooler (lower 70's it seems) but it sounds like a fun place to sail. This destination is Oriental, North Carolina. I figure we can all load into a car or two and drive down after work. From Ashburn its about a 7 hour drive. I'm more than willing to do the driving.

Boat. I'll base these numbers on the available North Carolina boats since the options there are limited. We basically can do either 4 or 6 people depending on the boat. With 4 peeps we would do a boat closer to 31' while with 6 it would be a 41' boat. The price comes in around $350/person either way.

So, in summary, for about $350 bucks you can go sailing in North Carolina for four days in the middle of February or, for $600 in Tampa Bay.

Anyone interested? This'll be coming in an email too.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"Carve Away The Stone"

"Carve Away The Stone" - Rush


You can roll that stone
To the top of the hill
Drag your ball and chain behind you

You can carry that weight
With an iron will
Or let the pain remain behind you

Chip away the stone
(Sisyphus)
Chip away the stone
Make the burden lighter
If you must roll that rock alone

You can drive those wheels
To the end of the road
You will still find the past right behind you
Try to deny
The weight of the load
Try to put the sins of the past night behind you

Carve away the stone
(Sisyhpus)
Carve away the stone
Make a graven image
With some features of your own

You call roll the stone
To the top of the hill
You can carry that weight
With an iron will
You can drive those wheels
To the end of the road
You can try to deny
The weight of the load

Roll away the stone
(Sisyhpus)
Roll away the stone
If you could just move yours
I could get working on my own

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

To Post or Not To Post

I wrote a post. It is pretty short. It contains a poem I came across in a movie. The poem is very topical to me and meant a lot. It has been relevant at different times in my life and probably will be in the future as well, unfortunately.

In any case, I don't know if I want to post it or not.

I hate self-censorship. I keep preaching about enlightened self-interest and knowing where your shit ends and someone else's begins but here I am struggling with it again. It's probably for the best.

Boo.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mistakes That Killed The Economy

This article is a very good read about what mis-steps led up to where we are now going back to Reagan. It does a swell job of showing that it was several mistakes over 20 years or so that brought it all crashing down.

Here are a couple of quotes:


There will come a moment when the most urgent threats posed by the credit crisis have eased and the larger task before us will be to chart a direction for the economic steps ahead. This will be a dangerous moment. Behind the debates over future policy is a debate over history—a debate over the causes of our current situation. The battle for the past will determine the battle for the present. So it’s crucial to get the history straight.


So true. It isn't 'blame gaming' but trying to understand what happened in the past to prevent it from re-occurring.


If you appoint an anti-regulator as your enforcer, you know what kind of enforcement you’ll get.


Why is this so hard to understand? You stick people who don't believe in government in charge of government and you are going to get a really badly run government. Not rocket science.

All in all, it just goes to the anti-regulation stuff I've been bitching about again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Frodo!

For you Lord of the Rings fans:



The rap part towards the end is my favorite.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Bowie's in Space"

For you David Bowie fans (or haters, really) out there...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Prop 8: The Musical

Here is a three-minute musical about Proposition 8 in California. Its really funny and stars people like Jack Black, some SNL cast members, the blonde gal from Scrubs and...NPH! Now we know what he'd do.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

"Big Balls"

This goes out to the peeps at Jude's house last night. Since the conversation kept coming back to balls. Anyone want to go to a ball?

"Big Balls" - AC/DC


Well I'm upper upper class high society
God's gift to ballroom notoriety
And I always fill my ballroom
The event is never small
The social pages say I've got
The biggest balls of all

I've got big balls
I've got big balls
They're such big balls
And they're dirty big balls
And he's got big balls
And she's got big balls
(But we've got the biggest balls of them all)

And my balls are always bouncing
My ballroom always full
And everybody cums and cums again
If your name is on the guest list
No one can take you higher
Everybody says I've got
Great balls of fire

I've got big balls
Oh I've got big balls
And they're such big balls
Dirty big balls
And he's got big balls
And she's got big balls
(But we've got the biggest balls of them all)

Some balls are held for charity
And some for fancy dress
But when they're held for pleasure
They're the balls that I like best
My balls are always bouncing
To the left and to the right
It's my belief that my big balls
Should be held every night

We've got big balls
We've got big balls
We've got big balls
Dirty big balls
He's got big balls
She's got big balls
(But we've got the biggest balls of them all)

(We've got big balls)
(We've got big balls)

And I'm just itching to tell you about them
Oh we had such wonderful fun
Seafood cocktail, crabs, crayfish
(But we've got the biggest balls of them all)

(Ball sucker)
(Ball sucker)
(Ball sucker)
(Ball sucker)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Motivation!

Because we all need some motivation.

Caffeine

I normally stay away from caffeine. No coffee for me. I only take Excedrin if I don't expect to sleep anytime soon. Tea is ok for some reason.

In any case, if I have too much it gets my heart all out-of-whack because of mitral valve prolapse (MVP).

However! I popped an Excedrin this morning because I had a headache and has some tea. I did it knowing full well that the results were going to be. You see, I have this short-term contract I need to bang out and today is 'work on the contract' day so I figured a little caffeine will get me over the hump.

Here is what I learn everytime I do this. Giving caffeine to someone with ADD makes for a very production but crazy-ass day. I haven't been this productive and scattered in a while. It's nuts. I am IMing and texting everyone I know because I want to chat while reading blogs on one screen and working in code and a database on the other. Not to mention I have music playing AND the TV is on. Oh, and I keep going into the kitchen to cook stuff.

I am so in for a crash later today.

I imagine more posts will happen too.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Turnout - Part 2

I posted a couple of weeks ago now something about turned out percentage being historical. A friend of mine pointed out that the population also increased, etc. Which is right.

However! Votes are still being counted and the margin keeps increasing. It now looks like turnout increased some 100% over population increase between 2000 and 2008. To wit:


Despite losing by over 7.00%, McCain actually didn't perform that badly. For example, he actually received more votes than John Kerry, and will probably pass the 60,000,000 threshold. In this light, Obama succeeded by pulling off the holy grail of Democratic election strategies: turning out huge numbers of unlikely voters. When the final totals are made, there will have been 26 million more votes in 2008 than 2000. That increase is in excess of 100% of the nation's population increase during the last eight years. Overall, more than 131 million people voted, or 61.6% of the voting eligible population. All in all, probably about 63% of the voting eligible population attempted to vote, considering spoiled ballots. That is the highest voter turnout since the voting age was lowered to 18.


Here is more.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

"Skepticism is the beginning of faith"

What does that mean?

I'm looking specifically at those of you of faith....chrissy, jesse, becky, jim....

Monday, December 01, 2008

Recession!

So much for all that crap people were spewing earlier in the year about how we aren't technically in a recession and how the fundamentals of our economy are strong.

Apparently, we have officially been in a recession since December of 2007. That makes this bad boy 12 months long already and is probably on track to break the record of 16 months since WWII.

Everyone is getting cards from me this year.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My First Assignment!

Oh how exciting! ;)

Being distant learning, all the communication is done on message boards. So, the first thing is to introduce myself. I figured I'd post what I wrote here too. Don't worry, I won't be posting all my assignments here...just stuff I find interesting and want to keep around.

Here it is:
I am Ryan Kautz and live in Ashburn, VA which is about 20 miles west of Washington, DC.

My first attempt at college for a Computer Science degree at the University of Marylan in the mid-90s met with an unfortunate end (I dropped out). I went on to have a pretty successful software development career as an independent consultant. However, as the time went on I began to notice a growing void in myself that led me to want to do something that was more personally rewarding other than help other people make money. Through a variety of experiences I decided to go for a Psychology degree and open up a private practice as either a Mental Health Consultant or Psychologist. Luckily, I managed to accomplish enough in my first college attempt to fill the general education requirements here so I can basically focus on just the Psychology courses.

I live at home with a cat but have recently become certified to skipper up to 50' sailboats and just can't wait until the Spring comes again. I keep considering selling my house and living on a boat for a year or so but I don't think cats take to water all that well.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the class and learning from everyone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Continuing Adventures of Mr. Kautz

When I dropped out of college 11 or so years ago I did it for a variety of reasons. Among them was a severe lack of interest in the classes. I am, by most anyones definition, a 'non-traditional' student. So the class part of college and me didn't fit. Everything else fit just fine, thank you very much.

Over the years since I've had a moderately successful career as a software developer. Probably half of that time I've been an independent consultant and that fits my style very well. However, and I'm not sure when this happened, whenever I think about what I want to do when I grow up software development is not it. It just isn't rewarding for my soul. I've had this growing, gnawing emptiness and I think it is time to start addressing that.

I have known for a long time that if I went back to college it wouldn't be for Comp Sci. Well, I am going back to college starting December 1st and it will be for a B.S. in Psychology. The school, Walden University, started in the 70's and is solely a distance learning school. They started with PhDs then started to offer Masters and now do undergrad as well. They are accredited, which is good. And they cater to non-traditional students (such as me) and working adults. Every course is 5 credits and is taken over a 6 week period, two classes back-to-back per quarter, 8 classes (40 credits) a year.

The format is asynchronous, meaning you basically get a deadline and a task and off you go. Discussions take place on a meeting board and lectures, etc are podcastish. Apparently this format has been pretty successful and it is right up my alley as far as how I work well. Six weeks is a pretty short time to squeeze five credits of material so I expect it to be pretty intense.

Luckily, a significant amount of class work transferred over and I am just two years away. 16 courses. And only one of which needs to be general education stuff, everything else is focused on my course of study.

As far as future plans go, I have two goals. First, to be able to be certified in a technique called EMDR (whole other topic). And second, to be able to start a private practice. In order to meet those goals, I need to have (or be working towards) my Masters. At this point I don't care about practicing as a Psychologist. A certification as a Mental Health Counselor will suite me just fine and it will be an easier path to follow.

So, maybe, I'll be able to totally switch careers in three or four years.

Crazy.

Woman in Chains

"Woman in Chains" - Tears for Fears


You better love loving and you better behave
You better love loving and you better behave
Woman in chains, woman in chains

Calls her man the great white hope
Says she's fine, she'll always cope, ooh
Woman in chains, woman in chains

Well, I feel lying and waiting is a poor man's deal (A poor man's deal)
And I feel hopelessly weighed down by your eyes of steel
(Your eyes of steel)
Well, It's a world gone crazy keeps woman in chains, woh woh woh
Woman in chains, woman in chains

Trades her soul as skin and bones
(You better love loving and you better behave)
Sells the only thing she owns
(You better love loving and you better behave) ooh ooh
Woman in chains (the sun and the moon), woman in chains

Men of stone, men of stone, hey baby, no no no, ooh

Well, I feel deep in your heart there are wounds time can't heal
(The time can't heal)
And I feel somebody somewhere is trying to breathe
Well, you know what I mean
It's a world gone crazy keeps woman in chains

It's under my skin but out of my hands
I'll tear it apart (somebody somewhere is trying)
But I won't understand (to breathe)
I will not accept the greatness of man
It's a world gone crazy keeps woman in chains
Gone crazy keeps woman in chains

So free her, so free her, so free her
So free her, so free her (the sun and the moon)
So free (the wind and the rain) her, so free her
So free her, so free her, so free her, so free her
So free her, so free her (the sun and the moon)
So free (the wind and the rain) her, so free her

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Religion != Moral Values

So I keep hearing this when I get into discussion about religion, that religion teaches good values with the implication that without religion, people would be amoral. This has always been something I disagreed with based on personal experience. I am agnostic but have atheist friends. I would not consider any of them amoral. So where do they learn right vs wrong? I've always maintained it is culture, not religion, that teaches morals.

Anyway, I came across this article about religion and 'goodness'. Within the article it talks about surveys of democracies that have a low rate of religiosity. Guess what? They tend to be lower in violent crimes and abortion/teen pregnancy than us over here.

Funny that.

Of course, correlation doesn't equal causation but it is an interesting twist to consider.

And Now, Something Completely Different

This has always been one of my favorite parts:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dehydration

Anyone else get more dehydrated in the winter than in the summer? I think it is because I drink a lot less fluids when it gets cold out.

Sucks.

Make It Stop

Now they are comparing her to Reagan. I am of two minds about this. On the one hand, I think it would be AWESOME if the Repubs following the Palin wing of the party and allow themselves to be ruled by the crazies. On the other hand, please make it go away. Can't they shoot themselves in private?

Monday, November 17, 2008

6 Sex Myths Explained by SCIENCE

Good read. Some of the results are interesting, particularly the one about the car.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Good Write Up On Cause Of Economy Mess

This is a very good write up on the economy mess and the purpose of the bailout. It talks about how the subprime mess started it but how it really became bad because of the credit default swaps, which is the actual rot at the core of this apple.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Best Game Ever

Super Mario World!

Check out the Bridge to Nowhere in the first level.

That's Level Completion We Can Believe In!

Good times.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Get Your War On

I posted a link to these people with a comic strip not to long ago.

Fuck

Why is this such a big deal? So he slipped up and said fuck on the air, wah. Look at their faces? Like they are all virgins and he did the most horrible thing evah!

Sad. Grow up people. Focus on the important stuff and leave the virginal attitudes back in grade school where you lost it.

More here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Yes We Can

"Yes We Can" - will.i.am


It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics...they will only grow louder and more dissonant ........... We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea --

Yes. We. Can.


Tears, dude.

Tears.

BarackAsPresident

PalinAsPresident.us has changed, now that Barack has won.

I like the song.

Here are some photos of people to look at while you listen to the song.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Turnout!

Turnout was a record 130 million, shattering the 122.3 million record from 2004.

And, the ballots aren't finished being counted yet, so that number will just increase.

Nice.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Just Keep This In Mind As Results Come In



And this: Super Barack!

Stay In Line - Make Sure You Vote

Check out this very entertaining video about voter surpression and then prepare to do battle. Who knows what the lines are going to be like but somewhere, probably a lot of places, there will be longer waits than there has in the past.

Stay in line. Do what you have to. Just vote.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Protect Your Vote

A video courtesy of Obamarama on what to look for and how to protect your vote.

I Love Me Some Comics



Came from here.

Man, that site takes me back to the fear of those two months. Crazy.

Awesome

This. Fucking. Election.

Apparently, it is chronological. How awesome.

Path To Victory

This link talks about Obama's path to victory. The good part:


That leaves our five states in play. The victory conditions for Obama involving these five states proceed something as follows:

1. Win Pennsylvania and ANY ONE of Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, or Nevada*
2. Win Ohio and EITHER Colorado OR Virginia.
3. Win Colorado AND Virginia AND Nevada.

(* Nevada produces a 269-269 tie, which would probably be resolved for Obama in the House of Represenatives.)

Now, suppose you think that Colorado is already in the bag for Obama because of his large edge in early voting there. We can then simplify the victory conditions as follows:

1. Win Pennsylvania
2. Win Ohio
3. Win Virginia AND Nevada


I've maintained that we will probably know the winner by 10 pm tomorrow night if PA and VA go Obama, which they should unless something funky happens.

Notice what is missing though? Flordia. No one gives a crap about Flordia, it just doesn't play in to the calc. And Ohio is only one of five. Such a welcome change from the past two cycles with only one or two battleground states.

There will be upsets and disappointments, but on the whole this is looking pretty good for those of us on the left.

Finally.

Palin Punk'd

Apparently, this is real and actually happened.

Good lovin.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I Like This Picture


I like this picture of me, from sailing.

And
here is an album with lots of pictures from the sailing trip.

Man, I so want to go again soon.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Mortgage Crisis - What Caused It

A friend of mine sent out an email recently making a case for regulation causing the mortgage crisis, as opposed to de-regulation. I've asked him if I could post or link to (if available) his argument.

In either case, I wanted to post my rebuttal. Please feel free to chime in with questions or comments.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I think you missed some stuff while overstating the case in other places.

First off, Fannie and Freddie didn't even get into the mess until 2006 (here) or so, well after the bubble began and these bullshit loans started. And even then they don't make loans, but purchase existing loans. So to imply that they were forced to make loans to low-income families and thus caused the whole thing to come crashing down is a bit dishonest.

Second, the CRA didn't force private banks to do anything, and certainly didn't force them to change underwriting rules and make up NINJA loans and the type. It was also enacted in 1977. It is just now becoming an issue? Hardly. Here is a different take on it.

Third, the poor don't exactly have a lot of money and the loans they were getting were pretty small in the grand the scheme of things. The big guys, like Bears and Lerhmann brothers were the ones making the bad bets and then packaging them with good ones and reselling them as derivative securities to companies like, well...Fannie and Freddie who have always been tasked to do so since their creation. Their entire point of existence was to help guarantee loans to banks so that more people could get into houses. It was the greed of the lenders, their willingness to throw out rules and no oversight that allowed this to fester and explode like this. In fact, this study shows that CRA banks only made up between 20 and 25% of the subprime loans and were less likely to make such a loan. So who is responsible for the remaining 75% or so?

Forth, let us not forget the rating agencies complicity in this. They went along and rated these derivatives highly even though it was a load of crap. How were they allowed to do this? Deregulation! Nice write up on all of this here.

Fifth, $127,000 is dick compared to the nearly $2 million McCain's campaign manager was paid by Fannie and Freddie as president of an advocacy group whose purpose was to defend them from, you guessed it, regulation (here)! Opps.

Finally, regardless of the responsibility for the mortgage issue, it has gone well beyond that into the credit industry because of CDS that were not regulated at all and had no transparency. That is the bigger issue here and the cause for all of these banks to fail and the $700 bailout. The mortgage crisis just brought about the inevitable sooner than later.

Are You Registered To Vote

Are you?

If you are in Virginia, check out this tool. It'll tell you if you are registered properly, where to vote, what the ballot will look like, what districs you are in, etc. Awesome resource.

Eeek

Start savings your money, peeps. It is going to get messy.

Spheres!

It would be cool to hang out in one of these for a weekend. Kinda reminds me of a cabin in a sailboat a little.

Wow

3D Sidewalk Art

Some of this stuff is amazing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Question!

What do you think your career would be if you were living 70 years ago?

Hard Candy

I have been up most of the night watching free horror flicks on Fear Net via Comcast On Demand. It it was of my vices. The first three (2001 Maniacs, Are You Scared and Graveyard) were your typical hack-n-slash sorta flicks. One was in the same vein as Saw. They were entertaining, even a bit hard to watch at times.

The last one, however, was great. It is called 'Hard Candy' and stars Ellen Page of 'Juno' fame. Good god is that girl good. And talk about role reversals. There is no gore (ok, very very little) in the entire movie but it is easily one of the most disturbing things I've seen. Probably not the best Halloween movie though, particularly for guys. I got pretty squeamish due to some suggestive stuff aimed at male parts in the middle of it.

In any case, if you want to see some really powerful acting my Ellen Page and some interesting role reversal stuff, and don't mind being a bit disturbed, check it out.

Rare to find a gem like that in the free movies.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stuck

So what do you do when past stuff gets so in the way that it seems impossible to move forward? I wish there was a 'Do Over' button or a 'Wipe the Slate Clean' switch or something. You learn, you make mistakes, you change but it seems that in the process of doing so the hurts involved in growing build up and feel as though they can't be overcome.

It is heartbreakingly frustrating and I don't know how to unravel this knot.

I'd like my Easy Button now, please.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bye Bye Mr. Series Of Tubes

Hahahahahahahaha! That corrupt punk-ass is on his way out and the Dems are most likely going to be one seat closer to a 60-seat majority thanks to Alaska of all places.

Ted Stevens, for those of you who don't know, chaired the committee under the Repubs that oversees the Internet. And if you are unaware of all Internet traditions, his understanding of the Internet is lacking, to say the least. To Wit! And the Remix Version. This was in relation to the (hopefully forever) dead Net Neutrality Bill.

Helter Skelter X

I had no idea that Mike Gravel was so funny. This is one of his campaign ads.

Giants Yardsigns and John Galt

John Galt is Ayn Rand's character in the book 'Atlas Shrugs' who more or less defines free market fundamentalism (or objectivism). Alan Greenspan was one of Ayn's disciples and it was his polices - the ideals of free market funamentalism of deregulation and the like - that led to the S&L crisis and this mess we are in now. This is a great article detailing where Greenspan came from and how we went from Ayn Rand to financial disaster. The free market is a pipe dream.

In other news, during the Iraq war when people were running around calling liberals traitors because we dared question the crazies, we were told we didn't support the troops because we questioned. All we needed to do was to clap louder and everything would turn out just peachy. Well, apparently the 'clap louder' strategy has morphed into the 'biggest yard sign' strategy. I don't know if anyone else noticed but McCain fans like their signs big. As proof, I submit this.

Clap louder, people. Use your brain, Vote McMain.

Can we laugh at these people now?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Famous People Blogs

I've linked to Newsgroper before. It is a site that has people pretending to blog as various famous people. Only other 'famous' people can comment on the entries as well.

John McCain has his own. This is pretty funny. The comments on this one are pretty good.

Sarah Palin's.

Obamarama.

And of course, Christopher Walken.

Lots of them. See if your favorites are there.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

WASSSSSSUP For Change

Remember the Bud Light commercial with the guys saying Wassup?

Check this out.

I like the end.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Election Craziness Perspective

I have been hoping someone would do this for a long time. I've always maintained that the crazy crap that the media spews isn't new, it is just hitting a wider audience because of the accessibility of it.

That linky talks about the various themes that rotate through elections and where they first started. You know, 100+ years ago.

Good stuff. #3 is the best. Particularly the last line.

Vice Presidencial History

With all the crazy regarding Sarah Palin I have been wanting to check out the history of the VP office. I could have sworn that originally it was the 2nd place finisher to the presidency that became VP. Turns out, for the first 15 years or so that was indeed the case. Wild.

Anyway, this is a good summary of the history of the office.

Your Sign - Abbreviated

This came from an email with the usual 'forward or you will die' sorta stuff attached to it. I yanked out that bit because I thought the short, concise descriptions were pretty good. For those of you w/o the time or inclination to look up those long descriptions. Waddya think?


CAPRICORN - The Go-Getter (Dec 22 -Jan 19) Patient and wise. Practical and rigid. Ambitious. Tends to be Good-looking. Humorous and funny. Can be a bit shy and reserved. Often pessimistic. Capricorns tend to act before they think and can be Unfriendly at times. Hold grudges. Like competition. Get what they Want.

AQUARIUS - The Sweetheart (Jan 20 - Feb 18) Optimistic and honest. Sweet personality. Very independent. Inventive and intelligent. Friendly and loyal. Can seem unemotional. Can be a bit rebellious. Very stubborn, but original and unique. Attractive on the inside and out. Eccentric personality.

PISCES - The Dreamer (Feb 19 - Mar 20) Generous, kind, and thoughtful. Very creative and imaginative.May become secretive and vague. Sensitive. Don't like details. Dreamy and unrealistic. Sympathetic and loving. Kind. Unselfish. Good kisser. Beautiful.

ARIES - The Daredevil (Mar 21 - April 19) Energetic. Adventurous and spontaneous. Confident and enthusiastic. Fun. Loves a challenge. EXTREMELY impatient. Sometimes selfish. Short fuse. (Easily angered.) Lively, passionate, and sharp wit. Outgoing. Lose interest quickly - easily bored. Egotistical. Courageous and assertive. Tends to be physical and athletic.

TAURUS - The Enduring One (April 20 - May 20) Charming but aggressive. Can come off as boring, but they are not. Hard workers. Warm-hearted. Strong, has endurance. Solid beings that are stable and secure in their ways. Not looking for shortcuts. Take pride in their beauty. Patient and reliable. Make great friends and give good advice.Loving and kind. Loves hard - passionate. Express themselves emotionally. Prone to ferocious temper-tantrums. Determined. Indulge themselves often. Very generous.

GEMINI - The Chatterbox (May 21 - June 20) Smart and witty. Outgoing, very chatty. Lively, energetic. Adaptable But needs to express themselves. Argumentative and outspoken. Like change. Versatile. Busy, sometimes nervous and tense. Gossips. May seem superficial or inconsistent. Beautiful physically and mentally.

CANCER - The Protector (June 21 - July 22) Moody, emotional. May be shy. Very loving and caring. Pretty/handsome. Excellent partners for life. Protective. Inventive and imaginative. Cautious. Touchy-feely kind of person. Needs love from others. Easily hurt, but sympathetic.

LEO - The Boss (July 23 - Aug 22) Very organized. Need order in their lives - like being in control. Like boundaries. Tend to take over everything. Bossy. Like to help Others. Social and outgoing. Extroverted. Generous, warm-hearted. Sensitive. Creative energy. Full of themselves. Loving. Doing the right thing is important to Leos. Attractive.

VIRGO - The Perfectionist (Aug 23 - Sept 22) Dominant In relationships. Conservative. Always wants the last word. Argumentative. Worries. Very smart. Dislikes noise and chaos. Eager. Hardworking. Loyal. Beautiful. Easy to talk to.Hard to please. Harsh. Practical and very fussy. Often shy. Pessimistic.

LIBRA - The Harmonizer (Sept 23 - Oct22) Nice to everyone they meet. Can't make up their mind. Have own unique appeal. Creative, energetic, and very social. Hates to be alone. Peaceful, generous. Very loving and beautiful. Flirtatious. Give in too easily. Procrastinators. Very gullible.

SCORPIO - The Intense One (Oct 23 - Nov 21) Very energetic. Intelligent. Can be jealous and/or possessive. Hardworking. Great kisser. Can become obsessive or secretive. Holds grudges. Attractive. Determined. Loves being in long Relationships. Talkative. Romantic. Can be self-centered at times. Passionate and Emotional.

SAGITTARIUS - The Happy-Go-Lucky One (Nov 22 - Dec 21) Good-natured optimist. Doesn't want to grow up (Peter Pan Syndrome). Indulges self. Boastful. Likes luxuries and gambling. Social and outgoing. Doesn't like responsibilities. Often fantasizes. Impatient. Fun to be around. Having lots of friends. Flirtatious. Doesn't like rules. Sometimes hypocritical. Dislikes being confined - tight spaces or even tight clothes. Doesn't like being doubted. Beautiful inside and out.


Mine was right on.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Palin in the Oval Office

This should keep you busy for awhile. Good times.

Obamarama! - Tim Kaine Style

Tim Kaine is up. Obama should be next.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Obamarama! - Crowd!

Crown behind us. The preshow is on.

Obamarama! - Trapped!

We have made it back to the driveway of my friends house in which we parked. Apparently they were not kidding about closing the roads. This is a picture of the traffic in their neighborhood. We shall wait inside until it moves.

Obamarama! - Mark Warner Style

Mark Warner is up. The Heathers yelling at the top of their lungs are behind me. Could dod without that.

Obamarama - Excitement Unknown

Bunch of cars pulled up behind the stage. People are getting excited. 5 mins to go.

Obamarama! - No Too Far

90 minutes before show time. This is our view of the stage.

Obamarama! - View from the Ground

Sitting on my butt waiting until 3 to go through security. Managed to park at friends house nearby before the closed the streets down.

Obamarama! - View from the Ground

Sitting on my butt waiting until 3 to go through security. Managed to park at friends house nearby before the closed the streets down.

Obamarama! - the Sardine Packing has Begun

This is going to be interesting.

Obamarama! - Peeps Behind Us

Crowd behind us waiting to get through security. Getting closer. Its like getting on a plane.

Off to See The Obama

Off to Obamarama in Leesburg! Wish me luck!

Pictures may follow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama in Leesburg Wednesday

Obama will be at Ida Lee Park in Leesubrg, VA at 3 pm this Wednesday. Anyone want to join me?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Can't Help It

But this is funny.

Eagle Eye

Now, you all know that I rarely come across a movie I don't enjoy. So with that said, I enjoyed Eagle Eye greatly. It is like a cross between 'Enemy of the State' and the Anime 'Ghost in the Shell'. The first half is a mystery since you have no idea what is going on nor do the characters. Couple parts in an extended car chase scene made me go 'wow'.

Once they reveal how most of it fits together a little past half way through the rest of the movie is about how to stop whatever it is, etc. It leaves some mystery going until the very end. I liked the plot because of the 'Ghost in the Machine' sorta tie in.

All in all, it is a good movie if you want something distracting for a couple of hours.

Fail Blog

How did I not find out about this sooner? Fantastic!

This is my favorite so far, because it is so geeky.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So I Sit

So I sit in this big ass theater right in the middle with my gallon of lemonade and nachos waiting for the movie to start. It has occurred to me to sit up in the back right corner and look suspicious but I decided against that.

This is why I prefer to be late to movies instead of early. Too many damn commercials and my mind wonders all over the place.

Now a couple has shown up and the theater doesn't feel as, I don't know, solitary? And now more people.

Let the movie begin!

America

Fuck Yeah!

Books!

Joe Update

Just got off the phone with Joe. He sounds very update and cheerful. Here is the deal.

He has had four operations with one more scheduled in January then radiation. The tumor was never cancerous but the radiation is the only way to get at the last part of it. They think he may have had it since birth and it just kept growing until it hit 'critical mass'.

The down side to all of this is that he is deaf on his right side and he can only make out blurred shapes. The eye sight most likely won't come back, unfortunately, so he has been looking into schools for Braille and the like.

On the plus side, he has lost a lot of weight and is still alive. :)

All and all, like I said before he is very upbeat about all of this and taking it in stride. If anyone who knows him wants to join me in a visit sometime, let me know.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Simple Lesson My Ass

Just came across this from that Astrology site:


The great moral lesson to be learned by the chidren of Mercury is a relatively easy one...they must learn to mean what they say.


I may be over reacting to this one a bit.

Check please.

How Does This Sound?

"Our experiences color the way we perceive the world around us. Understanding those perceptions and where they came from can help avoid the assumptions and miscommunications at the heart of most of our misery."

Thoughts?

Fricken Astrology

So this site was recently mentioned on another blog and I spent some time poking around it. Recently, hippy magic has started to play a larger interest in my life. Just to put it in perspective, I don't care why something works. If it appears to have an affect or is more accurate than not, that is good enough for me.

Anyway, like I said I started to poke around on the site and read about Gemini's. As I found out recently, I'm a triple gem so that makes it pretty easy to remember my moon and ascendent signs. I thought I'd quote some stuff and then add some commentary, just because.




Gemini is the Third Sign of the Zodiac, associated with storytellers, communicators and youth.


I don't know about youth but the first two fit. I love telling stories, even though I suck at it from time to time. And communication, well...yea.




these individuals should strive to learn perseverence and cultivate depth. They need to aspire to substance as well as style, attempting to take themselves...and their words...more seriously.


Damn it.




organize personal experiences in order to form a unique picture of the world and then communicate those perceptions to others


If this doesn't sum up what I've been about for the past year or so I don't know what does. At least in my head, anyway.




The opposite sign to Gemini is Saggitarius. From Saggitarius, Gemini can learn to absorb a broader view of life and provide structure to the mass of information which is inherently collected. Thus, can Gemini natives learn to discover the truth.


This makes me sad.




Negative Traits: changeable, restless, inquisitive, inconsistent, superficial, cunning, nervous, tense and something of a gossip.


It seems to be that changeable and inquisitiv aren't necessarily bad traits? Cunning as well. Superficial...boo.

And a gossip, me? Ha!




Likes: talking, novelty, variety, anything unusual and working on multiple projects at the same time.

Dislikes: being alone, being in a rut, mental inaction, conventional learning and feeling tied down.


Yes indeed. The conventional learning part in particular. Totally dropped out of college because of that stuff. Couldn't get into it.




Spiritual Goal: To learn how to cooperate


That one is interesting for a lot of reasons I'm not sure I can get into right now.




Gemini natives are imaginative, generous and affectionate, but their frequent desire for change often makes them dissatisfied with existing conditions. Friends of those born under this influence of this Sign love the cheerfulness, quick wit and lively mind inherent in the Gemini make-up, but are often puzzled by the displays of withdrawal which are also a feature of this Zodiac Sign.


The 'displays of withdrawal' bit on this one is what really caught my attention. I go through these phases, pretty short on either side, of wanting to hang out with people and be totally active...and then close myself in my house and not go anywhere. They usually cycle through several times a week. Nothing personal, just need to recharge I guess.




In short, due to an insatiable urge to invade new territory, the Gemini individual tends to be free with what he or she does not need or want and may frequently neglect or reject much that could be useful and/or valuable.


Ain't that the truth.




that alhough they have been born under two lucky stars (instead of just one, like most others), this double luck can run out and result in nothing.


This vexes me.




it is important for Gemini individuals to be in touch with those who understand them. If not, then there is a tendency to wilt and undergo an intellectual suffering that few will be able to fully comprehend.


Ya, understanding is pretty important. In some past relationships I've felt I had to justify my actions or couldn't be who I was. That sucked and made for a depressed Ryan.




Gemini's reach for the perfect human relationship will probably mean that such an individual is constantly disappointed until he or she realizes that there truly is no such thing as a "perfect relationship." Indeed, it may be Gemini's secret fear that he or she will never find a true "soul-mate" for life.


Sad again. Stupid fears.




There is a tendency here to want everything to go smoothly and according to plan without any personal effort.


This is something that still can get to me but I think I have dealt with this one pretty well. Back in High School I used to get SO bent out-of-shape when my plans would fall apart. I mean like super frustrated and pissy. I dealt with that mostly by not putting together concrete plans anymore. Now I try to come up with a 'framework'...a generalized idea of what I want to do but try to remain very flexible. That works well for me.




Gemini individuals need constant feedback for the good of their souls.


In other words, 'COMMENT DAMN IT!'. :D




[snip]...coupled with an amusingly biased outlook on varying human situations. With regard to serious issues, however, Gemini is invariably scrupulously fair and unbiased.


Displayed without comment.




can close a potentially romantic chapter with more finality than any other male of the Zodiac when he suspects something valuable and dear will be lost to him should he choose to continue.


Again w/o comment.




However, there is often a tendency toward greyness rather early in life.


That was in the physical appearance section talking about hair. Wild.




the swift mental activity of the inherent Gemini character coupled with the emotionality of the Moon causes feelings to be held in too much scrutiny. The Gemini Moon expresses emotions in an uneven and inconsistent manner while harboring a direct need to speak the truth.


This bit more or less describes what has gotten me into the situation I find myself. My conversation on Monday morning was all about this and getting permission to be Ok with my feelings and not have to evaluate them. Inconsistency is the bain of my existence sometimes.




The Gemini Sun/Gemini Moon combination produces what could be described as a personality of very high voltage electricity. This will not be a steady and smooth flow of electricity, but rather one composed of static charges which are constantly active and bound from one place to another. [snip] No matter how hard Gemini natives ruled by a Gemini Moon might try, they are not apt to "burn a hole" of concentrative intensity through anything.


Word. I like the last sentence the most. Several years ago when I first started toying with the idea of taking medication one of my main reasons was because I couldn't concentrate on anything for a long period of time. ADD runs in the male side of the family so I figured that a 'magic pill' may be able to help me out. Well, while meds have helped with some anxiety stuff my ability to concentrate is still shit. But I've come to accept it more and an embrace it.



Ok, this has gotten long enough. Found it interesting and helpful. Go look up your stuff!

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Fix It!"

From SNL Weekend Update on Thursday night. Fix It!. Starts about 1/3 the way in.

Taken the First Step

Well, that post helped a lot. As well as some of the encouragement I've received from others for quite a while. I contacted the one person I think that may be able to help me take the first steps towards whatever is next and will be meeting Monday morning.

Now I'm all sorts of anxious about it. I didn't think I would be, but there you go.

In any case, I imagine change will be acoming.

Circumstances and Emotion

UPDATED AT BOTTOM

I fear I am suffering from circumstances of my own creating.

In general, things are moving along nicely. Granted, I have no steady job, but I have enough money to get by for a couple of months to give me time to come up with something. I'm starting to look more like a bowling pin than a stick, but various tests (Doctor and others) say I'm basically healthy, just out-of-shape. Where I am suffering is in the romantic area of life, and it is my fault.

I've come along tremendously in understanding and dealing with my crap from an intellectual point of view. What I have fallen flat on is in dealing with my emotional maturity, or lack there of. Plainly, I suck at connecting with people on an emotional level. It isn't that I can't do it, it is that I am scared to death to do it.

I can feel this tight ball of emotion kinda wrapped up nice and tidy deep in my chest and it scares me to even think about started to unwrap it. I don't know why and maybe I don't need to know why. Maybe it is just one of those things that I just need to do and not evaluate?

I thought dealing with anxiety and some other issues were tough. That stuff was a piece of cake compared to what I feel this is going to be. I know where to start. I even know who to talk to. But I feel paralyzed to do it.

As a result of this fear and inability (or unwillingness?) to act I think I lost, or am well on my way to doing so, a relationship that was very important to me. And that cuts me to the bone.

So I feel trapped in circumstances of my own making. I know the way out. Why can't I take that first step?

UPDATE: Just a point of clarification. When I speak about that ball of emotion it isn't about a single relationship. It is something that has been forming for years, ever since I started controlling my emotion rather than experiencing it.

More Proof...

...that my boy knows what he is doing.

Watch Me

And just remember:

Hahahahahaha

WTF?

The Economy

Why does the economy tanking not send me into the corner to rock back and forth and fear the next 'great depression'? I have no idea. It certainly is bad. But I can't see how it could possibly be 'great depression' bad. There are no runs on the banks. They are talking about even uping the FDIC limits. We just forked over $700 BILLION to the idiots that got us in this mess in the first place. It was stupid to do, particularly given their track record, but it was better than doing nothing.

People are calling the floor of the Dow to be around 7300 points. That's just about 50% off of its peak. That is quite the dive, surely, and for those with money in 401k and other stocks its devastating. But only in the short term. That sucker will come back up and it'll be on more solid funding. The market has been riding one bubble after another since the mid-90s. It would have been nice to have a slow adjustment but it would have happened sooner or later.

The problems that caused this are systemic. Our markets are reactionary. The only way systemic problems were going to be addressed were by a reaction to something huge, like this. The deregulators that have been trying to roll back New Deal regulations succeeded and we all got to reap what they sowed. Hopefully, when the adults are in power again, they can re-establish regulations and get rid of the 'Wall Street Magic' bullshit constructions that led to this stuff. Get rid of this magic accounting crap that allows firms to push their bad investments to shell companies and to make up BS constructs like the Credit Default Swap packages so that no one knows who has what or how much it is worth.

What I am saying is this. The economy wreck doesn't send me into an apoplectic fear because this is what had to happen to fix the rot at the center of the financial markets. This is a good thing. Eventually.

Totem

"Totem" - Rush


I've got twelve disciples and a Buddha smile
Garden of Allah, Viking Valhalla
A miracle once in a while

I've got a pantheon of animals in a pagan soul
Vishnu and Gaia, Aztec and Maya
Dance around my totem pole
Totem pole...

I believe in what I see
I believe in what I hear
I believe that what I'm feeling
Changes how the world appears

Angels and demons dancing in my head
Lunatics and monsters underneath my bed
Media messiahs preying on my fears
Pop culture prophets playing in my ears

I've got celestial mechanics
To synchronize my stars
Seasonal migrations, daily variations
World of the unlikely and bizarre

I've got idols and icons, unspoken holy vows
Thoughts to keep well-hidden
Sacred and forbidden
Free to browse among the holy cows

That's why I believe

Angels and demons inside of me
Saviors and Satans all around me

Sweet chariot, swing low, coming for me

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Resist

"Resist" - Rush


I can learn to resist
Anything but temptation
I can learn to coexist
With anything but pain

I can learn to compromise
Anything but my desires
I can learn to get along
With all the things I can't explain

I can learn to resist
Anything but frustration
I can learn to persist
With anything but aiming low

I can learn to close my eyes
To anything but injustice
I can learn to get along
With all the things I don't know

You can surrender
Without a prayer
But never really pray
Pray without surrender

You can fight
Without ever winning
But never ever win
Without a fight

I can learn to resist
Anything but temptation
I can learn to coexist
With anything but pain

I can learn to compromise
Anything but my desires
I can learn to get along
With all the things I can't explain

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Next Trip

I've wanted to hit the North East for a long time. I've hit all the major parts of the country at one point or another and I've been to most of the continental United States. But I have not yet been to the North East past Rhode Island. Primarily I want to hit Maine and Vermont and I think doing it now, like within a couple of days, is starting to make the most sense for me. Mostly because of weather considerations (not too cold yet and the leaves changing).

So I'm pretty close to tossing some stuff in the Jeep and heading out for another week or so. No plan. No real destination other than the nebulous North East.

Anyway want to watch Mimic for me when I go?

'Know What We Are Doing'

During the primaries, I was all kinds of second guessing the Obama campaigns methods and such. Then I came across a quote from an Obama staffer that said something along the lines of 'Trust us. We know what we are doing.' Turns out, they did know what they were doing indeed.

I haven't forgotten that. So when I came across this picture I thought it was absolutely perfect to express that confidence:


Trust them. They have it under control.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Docked

Boat all tidied up back at the home port. More pics coming once Clyde can weed through them.

Heeling

Boat heeling to starboard on the way home.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Last night

This is the small private island we anchored next to for our last night. Mere cooked up a great dish and the weather was fantastic. Perfect last night.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

No Wind

The wind dropped down to a crappy 3 knots so we decided to drop the sails and motor. We need to make Oxford today to meet up with my Dad and step. This is a view from where I am sitting with my back against the mast.

Helm

Picture of the helm while under sail. The autopilot is sorta holding a course.

Under Sail

Sailing from Solomons to Oxford.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fruity Drinks

I must stay with more hard drinks when I drink hard liquor. Fruity and/or sweet drinks don't cut it. And bike rides. Bike rides and drinking do not sit with me.

Boat Drinks!

Ok, it is a mudslide, but still yummy. This is at Solomons Pier bar. C and I are sitting on the back bar on the dock in the bay.

Wine Cat

Mimi the wine cat at Solomons Island Winery. Wine was fruity.

Opps

Bacon is a little over done.

View from my berth

This is a view of the kitchen from where I sleep.

At Dock

Boat ties up in Solomons. Mere chillin in the rigged hammock.

Back Online!

So the outlets in the boat apparently do not run on the house batteries, only shore power. My phone crapped out Tuesday evening. We are currently docked at Solomons Island until tomorrow morning. Late wednesday afternoon and through thursday was some crazy weather. Winds gusting up to 27 knots (alomst gale force). Awesome.

Rest of the trip should be mild and relaxed. More later.

Our Ride

32' Catalina

The Storm

A storm closing in on us. Eek!

Pirates!

Our Flag!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Car

Car packed with way too much stuff.

Lage Hadron Rap

You have probably heard of the LHC and the concerns over black holes eating the universe, etc. This is a rap about the collider and what it hopes to do. Very cool.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Test post from phone

Mimic in is normal 'bear rug' sleep position.

Adventures in Sailing! - Preparation Observations

In my first post in this shotgun shot of posts I talked about spending a bunch of time researching crap for this trip. In the second post I mentioned obsession. Obviously I'm a little obsessed about this right now. What surprised me the most in regards to this preparation is just how much there is to do to get ready for a week long cruise. For some reason, I didn't even think about how much thought would have to go into just meals and provisioning. I know, duh, but there you go. Three meals a day over a week translates into 21 meals that have to be accounted for in the provisioning. That means you need some sort of idea of how many times you plan on eating off the boat vs on, which ties into some sort of idea of where you want to go and stop. That's hard to do when we want our schedule as open and flexible as possible. So I opted for just ideas of places we could possibly go and that looked interesting, and we will probably just get way more food than we need. A framework, if you would.

Another observation have been how my feelings towards this cruise have been bouncing around. I've been consistently excited but for a while I was really nervous about the checkout part. Now that isn't really bothering so much because I think just the shear amount of preparation has kept me busy. I'm sure it'll creep back in tomorrow morning though.

Yay for learning!

Adventures in Sailing! - Quotes

I purchased this book called 'Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Sailing'. I basically goes through the alphabet and has short entries for everything under the sun in regards to sailing in it by a guy that has been sailing forever, including some circumnavigations I think.

Anyway, through out the book there are some quotes taken from others that I have found really really cool. I wanted to post a few of them that I really liked.

The first has to do with sailing becoming an obsession. I think my experience over the past week pretty much testifies that I've caught that bug. The quote is from E. B. White and goes 'If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most'. Amen.

The next one turns out to be from a book my mother used to read to my brother and I back in the day, 'The Wind in the Willows'. In it, Mole is talking to Rat and admits he has never been on a boat before. Rat, astonished, replies, 'there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats'. To this I have to totally agree. One of the reasons sailing has always been in the back of my head even while I had the speedboat was because there is so much more to DO in sail boats. Rat continues, 'In or out of'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems to matter, really, that's the charm of it. whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular, and when you've done it there's always something else to do...'. Love that and I am totally looking forward to never doing anything in particular.

Fear is the subject of the next quote. Fear is a part of sailing, no matter how experienced you are. This quote is straight from the author and says: 'Part of the attraction of sailing is that it frightens the pants off you now and then. Those of us who spend most of our lives cosseted in the comforts of civilization seem to crave the occasional brush with a manageable slice of terror, the better by contrast to appreciate those comforts. So we go sailing, we get a little scared, and everyone's happy.' That quote really put some perspective on this for me. I had never thought of being attracted to the scary times as part of the deal but it is true. I literally can not WAIT to sail in heavy weather. To have to fight the weather helm to keep the boat from broaching and wave whacking her on the beam all the while the wind and rain is pelting my face and I'm laughing in utter joy. Goose bumps, right there.

Finally, and this one applies to everyday life really, not just sailing, is this quote from the author: 'Three thoughts will keep you safe and add much to your enjoyment of a voyage. Think simple, think strong, think upside down.'. I already have the upside down part well practiced.

Adventures in Sailing!

Tomorrow is the start of the big trip. For my first barebone chartering do I do something short to build confidence? Hahahahahahahahaha, no. What do I do? I charter for a week with a couple that is close to me starting at the head of the Chesapeake Bay in waters that aren't the easiest to navigate. The wind forecast looks like its going to be a biatch to make our way down to more open waters because Aberdeen Proving Grounds and their restricted water ways (restricted because of unexploded ammunition) restricts the amount of water there is to work in. Add to that thunderstorms during the day and what you get is the first day being the most challenging of the entire trip.

With that said, I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about this trip. I could hardly sleep last night. I was like a kid trying to sleep the night before Christmas. I've spent the last week pouring over maps of the bay and looking at wind and weather forecasts. I have lists within lists of stuff. I think half of the reason I'm doing so much is because I need something to do. The other half has to do with mitigating some anxiety I have around this thing.

Other than some T-Storms on Tuesday and rain on Wednesday, the weather for the rest of the trip looks fantastic. Sunny days with the temp at or near 70 degrees. The evenings are going to be a little chill but good sleeping weather. And the winds. Well, if these forecasts hold up it'll be awesome in the late afternoons. In the mid-teens which, according to my really limited experience, is just about ideal for a 32 foot boat. The nights are going to be a little windy so it might make for some interesting anchorages, however. But I'll take that over still days.

All in all I figure any sort of plan I have in my head will just be tossed out the window as soon as we get underway and we'll just go where we feel like and the weather will let us get to. I have but one main goal on this trip, and that is to eat some crabs. I haven't all year and I must make up for that. Mmmmm...vinegar.

Wish us luck! If this turns out as fun as I believe it will, I'll take anyone who wants to go out whenever you want. The more the merrier! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why People Vote Republican

This will probably generate some interesting comments.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Outragish

That this even has to go to court is a testament to how utterly ridiculous our national discuss has become and how corrupt this administration is.

How is this even something that could be contended?

When are people just going to laugh at these idiots and tell them to grow up?

Ugg.

Triple Gem

Friday night was a wild night. I ended up staying locally rather than going up to H-Town for the bestest most awesomest German restaurant on earth and it was a hard decision to make. However, I felt I needed to keep it to a smaller group so that ultimately won out.

In any case, I ended up hanging out with a couple of close friends and one of their friends. We hit Tuskies first then the little known but super awesome (usually) French cafe in Leesburg. Finally we ended up at Clyde's in Ashburn and required a taxi to take us home. 6 bottles of wine consumed in a relatively short time makes for a baaaaaaaaaaad Saturday morning for Ryan.

All three of these people are intuitive and painfully acurate at that. Additionally, two of them know their way around astrology and the other happened to have a tarot deck on his person. So the entire night revolved around card reading and chart interpretation. Their styles are different. Once is more gentle with another is brutal as shit but very perceptive and third falls in between. I was pushed pretty hard and they were hitting stuff dead on. The thing was, some of this stuff is stuff I don't particularly want to deal with right now and having it exposed, even in front of close friends, kinda got my back up a few times. In the end though, it was freeing and very much appreciated.

But on to title of this post. Apparently there are actually three signs that are important in astrology, before you get to the craizness of the houses. There is your sun sign, which most people know. Then you have a moon sign and an ascendent sign. It turns out that all of mine are Gemini, which I gather isn't the most common thing in the world. In fact, I believe one of the comments was 'Ooohh...I never met one of you before.' So I don't know what that means but there you go.

Triple Gem, biatches.

Burn Before Reading

Saw this last night. It totally isn't what I expected but I liked it. Very quirky. Very funny (particularly towards the end). But about midway through there is a scene that is kinda like 'I never saw that coming' sorta thing. Wild stuff.

Adventures In Sailing!

So the plan right now is to charter a boat from Sept 30th through Oct 6th in the Cheasapeake. It isn't quite BVI but it is for a week. BVI can wait a few more months I suppose.

In any case, this is the boat we are going to charter that week. Currrently there are three of us going, myself and one couple. You better believe the couple is getting the cabin in the bow with the door. I don't need to see that crap. ;)

Anyway, in order to charter a boat the skipper has to fill out a charter resume. On this resume it asks for classes you've taken (the entire reason I went through the class process), boats owned, sailing experience and whether or not your first mate can get the boat back if the skipper is incapacitated. To the last question I answered 'Yes, under power'.

Well, I heard back today that my resume checked out fine (apparently my references are wonderful) so now we just confirm the dates and pay for the boat. Then they send out a contract and we are good to go.

I'm excited! The first one was going to be the hard one but as I build up some experience getting a charter is going to be easier and easier. I totally plan on figuring out how to do this during the winter, even it requires travel south.

Finally, we obviously will have some room. If anyone would like to join us for a couple hours, and day, or even a couple of days let me know and I'll see if I can make some arrangements.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Roughing It

So several years ago my Dad, Brother and I tried to start a tradition of staying in a cabin once a year for a weekend and shooting the shit. Well, so far our annual outing has happened once. This year we are determined to make it happen. Check out the cabin:

Coolest Cabin Ever

The first thing I thought of was The Most Famous Cabin Ever.

So can't wait. I'll have to view the movie before I go.

Anger

Anger sucks.

I Have Resigned

Last night I sent my resignation letter to Tiber Creek. It happened rather unexpectedly over the past two days.

I had been with Tiber Creek for just about a year. During that time I earned the trust of my boss and was able to work from home pretty often. My normal day would be in the office for about 4 hours and work at home the remainging 4-6 hours. Usually would take a day off during the week but would work some weekends. As long as I was making progress they put up with it.

Over the past month I started part of a project that is in an area I really struggle with. It was a user interface that required a lot of attention to detail and got down into the 'can you move this two pixels to the left' sort of stuff that just makes me want to jump off a building. Anyway, I really struggle with this kind of thing so my productivity fell way off.

I mentioned that I was struggling several times to my boss in several different ways, but I never demanded to be moved to another project. My intention was to get through a major demo (occuring today, actually) and then request a transfer. So I was sticking it out.

So Tuesday night I did what I normally do and fired up the VPN (a secure way to access their network from my home) and started to work. About two hours into it I lost my connection, which happens from time to time. I was unable to reconnect that evening and was getting Account Disabled messaged. I went in early Wednesday with the intention of making up for the hours I lost on Tuesday night. No Sys Admins were in so I ended up twiddling my thumbs waiting for someone to show up to renable my account.

About an hour into waiting the CEO comes into my office and asks if he can speak with me. He never speaks to me. So he sits down and starts chatting. To make a long story short, he basically expressed a lack of trust in the hours I've been writing down and said that my productivity just isn't matching those hours. I explained that I have been struggling with the project I was on and that is why my productivity had fallen off. I also explained that I am more productive at home than at the office which is why I prefer working from home. At the end of the conversation I thought we had an understanding that during the period of time I am struggling I'll come into the office more to try and address his misgivenings. After the demo I would request a move to a new project that I would be more productive in.

Well, around 5 pm or so I get an email saying that 'Per our discussion, I have disabled your VPN access for the time being.' That surprised me since, as far as I knew, that wasn't part of our discussion and seemed pretty counter-productive to trying to hit a hard deadline. After three attempts at emails I finally wrote a pretty long one laying out what I thought his concerns were, what my concerns were, and other factors and said that I hoped we could come to an acceptable compromise.

Thursday morning comes rolling around and I have a reply. I didn't read it until just before lunch because I wanted to try to knock out some more work before something came along that pissed me off. Turns out that was a good move for when I finally read the letter I really got my back up. Basically the CEO's reply boiled down to two points:

1) I don't want to hear any excuses.
2) I can only bill hours I work in the office until mutual trust and respect can be reestablished.

There was no attempt to meet me halfway or to address my concerns. Further, I know what works for and what doesn't and a structure 9-5 office job does not work for me. My productivity will go into the shitter and I'll be miserable.

So after thinking about it and talking about the pros and cons of leaving over lunch I decided it was time to go. I worked until about 8:30 last night to make sure my part of the demo would be good to go. I also sat down with the guy doing the demo to make sure he understood it. Finally, I sent a nice long email explaining the stuff I was working on and where I was going with it.

Last night around 11:30 I sent my resignation letter via email to the CEO, my boss and HR. I simply stated as my reason for leaving that 'I was unwilling to work under the scrutiny and restrictions placed upon me in order to restore mutual trust and respect'. And that's that.

I figure between the two contracts I have (or, really at this point, contract and a half) I'll be ok for a couple of months. Between now and Nov. 8th I plan on volunteering for Obama and get involved in the political process a bit. I also will be looking for another contract or two or a new job. After Nov 8th I'll see what happens.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Accepting Another

Question came up last night. Before you can fully accept someone for who they are, do you need to know, or even want to know, everything about them?

Simple Question

Has deregulation ever not ended in disaster?

Free market is a pipe dream.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jimmy Buffet Gang

Here is a picture of the gang from the Jimmy Buffet concert. Check out the tall dude with all the crap around his neck wearing the stylish hat in the middle.

R.I.P. Richard Wright

Damn it, Pink Floyd members are starting to die off.

I am greatly saddened.

Tribute.

Financial Meltdown

Well, things are going from bad to worse. The market lost 500+ points yesterday with the news that more banks are going belly up. The entire point of bailing out Behr-Sterns was to prevent Washington Mutual and Lerhman Brothers from failing, which is what they are on their way to doing.

And even worse is AIG failing. From this:


If AIG were to fail, the global ripple effects would be unprecedented, said Robert Bolton, managing director at Mendon Capital Advisors Corp. It has $1 trillion in assets and operates in 130 countries.

[...]

"If AIG fails and can't make good on its obligations, forget it," Bolton said. "It's as big a wave as you're going to see."


What does this all mean? It means the S&L crisis of the 80's will look like peanuts compared to this. There is a possibility, and getting stronger, that we are just at the tip of the iceburg as far as bank failures go.

Buckle your seat belts, it could get awfully rough.

Monday, September 15, 2008

500 Posts

Celebrate!

National Deficit, Taxes and You!

I'm not an economist and my understanding of macro- and micro-economics is slim to none. However, I wanted to point out something about deficit spending and taxes that you may not know (assuming this is right, of course, which it may not be.)

Deficit spending my the government (you know, the national debt) is one of those things that is a really big number but it is in that macro-economics realm where it is hard to give a shit about. I mean, how does the national debt affect you, right? Well, through ways that are complicated as crap, the higher the debt the higher the interest rates. Interest rates affect what you pay for your car, your house, your credit cards, etc. So a higher deficit means you end up forking out more for those items than you would with a lower national deficit.

Ok, so now taxes. Taxes affect your income directly so the cause/effect relationship there is clear. Lower taxes = more money you take home. Good times.

However, think about this. Your debt is probably higher than your income as far as total numbers go. Meaning, if you own a house, a car, run a credit card balance, have other loans, etc the total amount of all that probably exceeds the total amount you make in any given year from your paycheck, right? Let's put numbers on it to illustrate the point. Say your total debt is $400,000 (house, car, etc) and your yearly income is $75,000/year. Your tax rate is, oh, 18% or so and the combined interest rate you are paying for all that debt is somewhere around 7%. That means $13,500 of your salary a year is going into the void while $28,000 of your hard earned money is going into the void paying off your debt. So already the interest burden on your debt affect you more than the tax burden on your paycheck, even though it isn't as obvious.

Ok, so now say, because of the national debt, your combined interest rate for all that crazy goes up to 8%. However, the nice people in congress cut your taxes and now you only pay 15%. Alright! More money, right! Depends on what your definition of 'more' is. Now you are paying $11,250 in taxes but $32,000 in interest on your debt. So yea, you get the obvious $2250 increase in your paycheck but you end up forking out $4000 more in interest. So you actually end up loosing $1750. Damn politicians!

I say all that to say this. While tax cuts are fine and good, it is just pandering. It is an easy thing to explain to people that 'we are going to give you your money back' because it seems obvious. In reality, there is more going on. Those tax cuts tie directly into increasing the national debt which in turns increases your interest rates which in turn probably actually costs you more money than if the tax rate was maintained (or even raised some) and the deficit payed down.

Of course, there is a LOT more going on than just this but it is something to take into consideration when people fixate on just lower taxes. It isn't that clear cut.