Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dumb and in the suburbs

In the interest of preserving anonymity, I was at a new house not to long ago. This house was owned by a couple. This couple owned a new car. This couple did not have, and are not pursuing college degrees, although both seem to have the necessary faculties. They have a little one.

Several young adults were hanging out, and the xx mentioned to the xy that he wanted to make a $20 purchase. The xy reminded him they didn't have any money.

Just let that soak in... new house... new car.... no money?

Why? Why? Why? Do people think they need all new things? This couple be less at least $20,000 dollars debt and building equity at a much faster rate if they would just overcome whatever demon drives them to this hyper-consumerism. Idiots.

What's even better is how this has become a partisan issue. How in the fuck did the Christian right ever convince people that spending outside their means is patriotic? Why is conservation so liberal? I'm baffled, and will continue to vote against leaders and legislature that will pick up the pieces of these idiots lives. This begs the question? Am I being liberal... or so conservative that I'm liberal?

Time to start living again

I don't hate corporations, but I certainly acknowledge some Inc.s have made practice of abusing people or customers. That won't make me hate corporations. I can still disapprove of practices that openly abuse people or customers, but ultimately it is illogical to either love or hate big business. The Fortune 500 certainly does plenty of good for plenty of people (economies of scale, jobs, etc.). A friend, whose name spelled backwards is oyapA, thinks these big businesses should be shut down. She hasn't told me how this is to happen yet, but her plan is to take down big business. She didn't care about any of this until a copper and gold mine decided they wanted to move in near her hometown. I'm not wanting to debate the goodness of corporations, but I do wish to comment on the solution (it would take a real elitist son-of-a-bitch to say corporations don't ever do anything wrong).

Apayo thinks the fist of the government should come down upon the corporations to protect the people. This is one of those areas where I'm going to lean right. I don't believe the government should be intruding on big business. In America today, where the only excuse for ignorance is apathy, the power should be left to the people. The government must force us to take responsibility for our actions. If a corporation is doing something bad, it's the media's job to alert us to the situation and it's our job to pay attention, and do something about it (like boycotts, not bombs).

For this to happen it's necessary for my generation to wean ourselves of this rampant consumerism that is somehow seen as patriotic. Waste and excess is not patriotism, it's just waste and excess. I was trying to convince apayo the better way to change the corporations is to change people. Sure, it'll be much harder, but so much better. If people didn't think they "needed" cocoa crispies, or 18 rims, accessories, new suburban homes, instant gratification, constant stimuli... the corporations would have a lot less power.

Just as mission trips will do what they are designed to, corporations are designed to make money, and will do so the best way possible... we can not fault them for that... all we can do is fault ourselves and our neighbors (ourselves first and foremost) for our own ignorance and laziness. There's nothing inherently wrong with making money, but there is something wrong with giving money to a crooked entity.

Obligatory update on life:
I have my knee back. I'm still in a cast, there were some fuzzies on the x-ray, so healing is happening (albeit slowly). The bone hasn't fused yet, so I still need complete immobilization (no boot cast, no washing the leg yet). It took a couple of days to get my knee loosened up, but now that it has I think I can get back to some semblance of life as I usually know it. This means two things... I can start cooking and riding again. I rode the bike a bit today. I'm still not supposed to put weight on the leg, so I really just let its mass push the pedal down and propel myself with my good leg.

I really want to buy a house, but I need a car also. I'm going to curb my spending for the next few weeks and try and get both. In the perfect world, I'll buy a house and add a little to the mortgage for a vehicle.

My lack of posting in no way indicates my brain is not thinking about random and pointless topics. My brain is actually playing a lot these days, but it's mostly at work, and I really can't imagine that stuff would be of any interest to anyone else. While I realize what I do would bore the crap out of most people, I love it. I am lucky enough to have a boss that let's my mind play a bit. Example: I estimated cost for a product last week. Generally, costing consists of getting quotes for materials, estimating labor based on current processes, and accounting for overhead using factors that come from sorcery (a topic I need to learn more about). I knew my estimate using standard methods was way off, so I created created a motion study of the labor involved and accounted for the theoretical and applied difference using a learning curve that I calculated from one data point and my motion study. I thought it was sweet. Like I say, terribly boring for most, but my brain eats it up.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The effects of terrorism.

Many economic forecasters feel us to be at the peak of the rising cost of crude oil and gas at the pump. I found it interesting that gas prices are expected to fall (after adjusting for inflation) for the next decade or so before resuming their standard positive trend. Enough words, here is the picture.The y values are gas prices at the pump in 2005 cents. The good news is: the effects of terrorism are not permanent. When we label the trend of fuel costs... the 9/11 induced spike shows us the exact effect of terrorism (Depending on your political bent you could argue the situation was or wasn't aggravated by the government... but I don't think anyone would argue 9/11 started the spike).

Anyway... I found some of that interesting.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Living a little bit

I don't think anybody in the Joplin area reads this, but if you are out there. Come to Blackthorn Pub (5th and Joplin) this Saturday at 9PM to catch some of By Hook or Crook (w/ guest ME). We're big time so there is a cover ($2 or $3).

My brother is also playing out and about (shows tonight, tomorrow and Saturday). He has been playing folk/indie for a few years and now, by way of roommate, he's found himself in Man the Helm.
My brother and I have both always been into music, both listening and playing. I think we got that gene maternally. Dad likes music, and appreciates musicianship, but I don't think he is moved as Drew, mom, and I are. Interestingly enough, Dad (portrait above, see any resemblance?)got a mandolin a couple of months ago and has apparently been picking it up frequently.

Although Drew and I are both into music, we attack it from completely different angles. I take after my dad who has a background in drafting, Drew takes after mom who was an art teacher, and has recently been picking up her own work (everything posted here).Anyway, Drew and I attack music I you would expect us to. I know my theory very well, I know why my chords work. Drew has a better ear than I, and has always felt music first, then understood it later, if ever. Understanding is not a prerequisite for Drew. If I get into a song too far, I always pick it apart to figure it out. Not to be misleading, the situation is not so bipolar. Drew usually understands the workings of his music, but when trying something new, he feels it. I certainly don't just think about all my music, anyone who's lived with me knows I improv twice as much as I play written music...Apayo saw a lot of that. I mostly just use lead/chord charts when playing written music. Recently I have picked up some sheet music to supplement my improving (Prelude and Fugue in C min, and Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring).

Anyway... that's music.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Spelling bee

Two things:

1. I'm entered in a spelling bee tonight.

The spelling bee starts in two hours, I'm on a team with my workplace's accountant. I don't know who thought it was a good idea to put an engineer and an accountant together as a spelling bee team. It seems those positions are geared a bit more towards the numerical end... but whatever. In all honesty, we're probably going to do just fine. She is fairly well read and I bring a few things to the table. We are most worried about going out early on an easy word, but we can converse so we should check each other's brain farts.

My known brain farts (tip 'o the iceberg)
et al.

Not much to speak of happening here in Carthage. Well, truth be known, there's plenty happening. It's just not the type of stuff that I can talk about on my blog. It will all be talked about in due time.

Something I can talk about... I think I'm going to start playing piano for a local band. We jammed last week, and I really like the songs they are writing, and feel I can add something to the mix. Here's some stuff they recorded in a bedroom. By Hook or Crook ... coming soon to a bar near you.

Lastly, this is not safe for work, unless you can shut the door to your office.