Feb 4 2010

Sunrise on the Mountain Journal

The sun rise here this morning is beautiful - so layered, so colorful, such soft light. I would that I could become it. Be the light rolling over mountains, mountains rolling over earth. Sky, clouds orchestrating it all. Be it all at once. Be beauty complete.

But in this shell, this limited consciousness unable to absorb but only to focus, to frame, there also is something sublime and I am grateful for it. I am grateful to sit here on the couch watching the bobcat watching me. We - taking in the morning sun. I am grateful to the rolling hills, their patches of snow, creosote, mesquite, and joshua tree reforming the light and offering it up as a gift to me. I am grateful that the mesa’s in the distance are there to hold the sky on their their flat table like surfaces. That the ranges beyond wave like music rising up from the earths core - Rachmaninoff’s piano violent and serene giving form to granite, sandstone, and schist. But mostly I am grateful to be the being who can take all this in one fragment at a time, give meaning to it. To not to be the sky, the clouds, the earth or the sunrise who will never know their own beauty.

Feb 3 2010


I think I am finally tired of being between nowhere and nowhere else, being tied to no one and searching for nobody. Hopefully it’s just a phase.

Nov 17 2009

Random questions on property ( or the next century of lawsuits ).

Is now wondering what the law is regarding projected images. I know as a photographer it is legal for me to collect the light emitted from any surface so long as I am standing on public property when I do it. ( I can take a picture of you or your building and there is nothing legally you can do about it unless I make money ). Does it apply to projection? Can I legally project light onto a surface in the same way? So for instance, could, let’s say, the tea party groups legally project a non-copyrighted image onto the the white house in protest of Obama?

In the world of augmented reality can I augment you or your private property without legal repercussions? ( For those who don’t know what augmented reality is go here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality. ) So let’s say I created an iphone application that colored building according to their carbon foot print (btw this application exists), is my alteration of that building in virtual space infringement on the owners private property or is it the property of application developer?

What if instead of an iphone application I projected the colors onto the real buildings? Let’s say by driving around town on a schedule and using a projector to color the building for 1 minute at at time ( yes I know it’s unfeasible but artists are crazy so maybe one will do it someday ). Would it matter if it was a private residence or a business?

And this one should matter a great deal since I just saw a commercial last night that offered to let me do a background check on you for a nominal fee. What if I looked up your record and then followed you around with a projector and projected colors onto you that signified whether you had a criminal record or not? What if I created a website that made it possible for to look up your next door neighbor and find out if they had a criminal history? How about an iPhone application with facial recognition software that show’d your criminal record to me simply by my pointing my phone camera at you? What if that application told me if you are a sexual predator ( fyi a website already exists which tells me this )?

In short, how much of you is private property, how much is public property, and how much is in the commons ( yes get that word back in your mind “commons” )?

Nov 10 2009


Property is often thought of as being either public, or private.   The government being public and corporate or individual being private.  This seems like a bit of a misunderstanding.   It ignores two fundamental forms of property; the commons which is property shared and available for all use without restriction; and the wilderness, that property which has yet to be claimed.

An example of the former being linux. Of the later being the western territories during American expansion or perhaps the human genome.

Anyway just storing these thoughts for later use.

Oct 18 2009

Conversation in Route 62 Diner

Person 1: What ya reading?

Person 2: ( flips up book cover) Wallace Stegnar’s “Angle of Repose”

Person 1: ( looks shocked ) ‘ wouldn’t expect to see a book like that in this place.

Person 2: ( shrugs ) ‘ wouldn’t expect a person who knew this book was outa place in this place.

Both parties return to eating.

Sep 8 2009

Right Done Wrong

OK if I hear “Obama’s Health Care Reform is Communist ( or Socialist )” on more time I think my head is going to explode. The above statement is not only inaccurate on 2 points but it’s more a reflection of the ignorance of the person making the statement than it is a statement about the proposed health care reform.

First Obama hasn’t proposed any kind of legislation on Health Care. None, not one line. He’s getting ready too after 2 months of waiting for congress to get it’s act together. But there has been nothing from him yet. So… if you want to lambast the Democratic Plan, the Congressional Plan, or whatever … have fun but pinning the tale on the President in this case is just silly.

Second and more importantly as it speaks to a serious problem with the Political Right in this country, Democrats are not Socialist. Every time anything comes up that doesn’t put government money in the hands of people insteand of multi-billion dollar corporations the Right has taken to screaming  ”Communist!!!  Socialist!!!” Which is simply not the case. I won’t babble on about left wing political theory, instead I’ll just offer two examples of what Communist and Socialist healthcare reform might look like.

Communist Healthcare Reform would nationalize all healthcare service providers including Hospitals, Dr. Offices, Insurance Companies, First Responders, and Clinics. It would then Kill, imprison, or convert the owners, boards of directors, and executives of all of these organizations. Healthcare would be free to everybody and no competition to the state run plan would be permitted.

Socialist Healthcare Reform is nicer but it still involves the government take over of at least all the processes involved in health care. While socialists aren’t likely to kill anybody or even require that anybody agree with them, a socialist plan would nationalize or mostly nationalize all organizations associated with healthcare. Doctors become employees of the state, hospitals become government run/owned facilities, health insurance companies go away entirely. How this is accomplished varies, often executives become government employees and companies are bought out.

The current Healthcare Reform plans do none of the above. It imposes a few regulations here and there, mostly to make sure insurance companies aren’t unreasonably sending people to their death or into bankruptcy and it provides for a government run plan in the market.

Alot is made of the government run plan, mostly but not entirely it’s all hype. If you think for a moment such a plan would put all other plans out of business you need only to look at the USPS, Fed Ex, UPS, and DHL.   The USPS provides a minimum level of service, it’s mostly adequate, quite reliable and lacks any real bells and whistles. It exists because basic Mail service is essential to the functioning of our country. It has to be there and it has to be reliable. For those who want all the bells and whistles private companies  are the way to go ( well mostly. I’ve had plenty a parcel destroyed by UPS. ) Both private and profit driven industry and basic government service exist in the same market with no real problems.

Now I could go on about how basic healthcare is essential to the continued growth and the economic survival of the country especially diseases being spread world wide in hours. I could talk about how leaving even small enclaved portions of the population unable to receive treatment for these diseases puts us all at risk. But I won’t. Those are value judgments we all have to make and the facts may not be on my side in the end. However those are the discussions we should be having, not “Obama is a Socialist!” or psycho ditz babbling about “Death Panels.”

I’m not saying the Right Wing is wrong on this issue.  There are real dangers afoot here. However taking cues from Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Bill O’reilly doesn’t solve the problem. We need to grow up, learn to talk rationally and not scream emotionally.

Aug 6 2009

Notes on Healthcare

For Republicans:

Would I take a government run public option over having to deal with 3 different insurance companies all of which have their own complex bureaucratic maze designed specifically to ensure they don’t have to pay out against any claim I file? Yes. I’m not worried about the government getting between my doctor and me it frankly couldn’t be any worse than it is now.  Patients Rights? Who do you think you’re kidding?

Also what’s this about having a choice of insurance companies? Maybe you make that kind of money but I don’t, and I’m middle class.  The company I work for subsidizes my health insurance and if I leave that and find my own I’m screwed. Let me make this clear, I’m in excellent health, I’m single with no children, I’m very low risk and getting a decent health, dental, and optical insurance plans would double my cost of living.

Also note that the “Free Market” often does solve problems. However ya’ll have consistently legislated against the “Free Market” and in favor corporate subsidies and lenient corporate liability. All bets are off, when you stop lying about supporting the free market you can use that language. Until then shut up.

For Democrats:

Hey guys the Republicans have a point. The best arguments against a public option is that the government will be able to determine who will live and who will die. The only thing is they can’t point to specific examples because they are the party most likely to make such decisions. So I’ll do it for ‘em.

Remember Terri Schiavo? I do. Remember Congress passing a law to force her to remain on life support?  This really concerns me. Let’s face it, you’re a politician, which means you are completely irrational and prone to making irrational decisions. The saving grace of our form of government is that it takes alot of nuts to make a pecan pie. However every once in awhile a big wind comes through and the next thing ya know we’re all eating pecan pies for a freakin’ year. My health is not to be at risk every time the wind blows, or every time some rambling moron mixes his metaphors.

I really don’t want the the “Right to Life” idiots forcing me to be stay on life support. I’d also prefer it if they didn’t interfere with reproductive issues including the big ol’ A word and of course birth control. A government run plan would likely put such issues and many others in the reach of a congressional vote or executive order.  Not acceptable.

For the public:

Eatin’ at McDonald’s lately? Krispy Creme? Enjoyed a nice juicy steak lately? I’m sorry but if your regularly sucking down crap and you’ve got high cholesterol you should be paying for your own meds out of your own pocket. Hey while you’re at it why not have another cigarette?  Chomp down a bag of chips or some ice cream while sittin’ on the couch watching America’s Got Talent. hhmmpphhfff Americans got a hedonism problem that’s what America’s got.  Case and point, Viagra is covered under most insurance plans.  That’s freakin’ insane.

You do have a right to enjoy life, but you don’t have a right to expect me to pay for it. Public plan or private plan it’s our obsession with crap that’s got costs so high.  Get off your fat rump, go get some exercise, and try eating a meal that doesn’t contain 200% of your daily fat intake and maybe you’ll be able to get it up. Insurance isn’t the  price you pay for indulging your every self-destructive impulse, it’s the thing that covers the cost of the unforseen and unpreventable. You wouldn’t expect to buy me a new car if I drove mine off a cliff for fun. I don’t expect to pay for your chemo-therapy if you smoke, your bi-pass if you eat bacon, or your kids ADD if you let the TV baby sit them.

For me:

You really should go to the doctor more. You’re going to end up with cancer that could have been cured cheaply if you’d have just made it in for that yearly check up. Hypocrite!

Jun 19 2009

problem installing django-storages

The guys who maintain the awesome django-storages seem hell bent on forcing you to support mercurial.  That’s all well and good, but it screws up the install.  So if you’ve tried running setup.py and gotten the exception about mercurial.error not being found, just make the installer version control agnostic it’s easy, and will make you feel better.

open setup.py and comment out this line:


If you’ve tried installing and already got the error, you’ll also have to delete the file setuptools tried to install as a prerequisite

rm -f setuptools_hg-0.1.5-py2.5.egg

Wow that was simple.  Now you can just run sudo python setup.py install and all will be good.

Jun 12 2009

Notes on wilderness # 7

The problem with transcendentalism is that it teaches men to look for what is not there. It says, “Look here is a rock, but do not look at the rock. Look beyond the rock. Look to what the rock symbolizes”

Wilderness has plenty to show us without having to look beyond it. A rock is a rock. If you wish to look beyond the rock you may do so, thought most likely what you will find is another rock — probably of the same make up. Maybe there are a lot of rocks of the same type and perhaps you will notice they form a canyon. And perhaps if you wander up into that canyon  you will find  the rock is from an outcropping or a sedimentary layer that tells where we are standing used to be a lake teaming with wildlife.

Or. Perhaps as you wander up the canyon you realize that the rock was just that, a stone big enough to hold in your hand and weighty enough to send you on your present journey… ultimately and simply a rock.

Jun 9 2009

Random Thought

The problem with capitalism is that it fails to meet basic needs. The problem with communism is that it fails provide basic inspiration. The former allow a few people to  starve millions, the later leads the millions to starve themselves.