August 30, 2005

Bad Things Come In...Three's?

Recently there was a bad hurricane.

Today my door broke. I fixed it.

Today one of our hot water lines broke and flooded the house. I depressurized the system, fixed the leak, & am drying out some of the damage.

Today my roommate started college, but the college did not process his admission check yet.

I just found out my brother had one of his lungs collapse. :(

I have not been on the best of terms with him recently, and it fucking hurts to think of people being really sick when you are not on the best of terms with them.

August 29, 2005

Pats VS Genos - the Philly Cheese Steaks Battle

Pat's website looks like rubbish, IMHO (especially since no self respecting website should use a marquee tag and they use like 3 or 4 of them on the home page).

They are down to earth with their marketing though. It is basically "yup we are the best and we don't even really need to market it". They have been doing cheesesteaks since 1930.

Geno's website is not great, but is better than Pat's.

Geno's building is cheesy I am in your face type marketing. Neon lights and all that jazz. I guess they had to do a lot to try to catch up, because they started in 1966, and when I visited Pat's still had a much longer line.

I got to eat at Pat's yesterday, and it was good :)

Long live the cheesesteak, and here is the recipie.

You would not believe how much Cheese Whiz they go through there. If I had to guess it would be measured in hundreds of pounds per day.

15 Seconds of Fame

So the internet acts / reacts quicker than the real world. It seems right now I am sorta experiencing my 15 seconds of fame.

So many things I could do, so many things I can say, but I sit quietly and wonder what to do or say.

August 18, 2005

Ephedra Once Again Legal, although Hard to Find

Yippie. I just found out that the federal ban on Ephedra was lifted back in April:

U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell sided with a Utah-based company that challenged the Food and Drug Administration's ban in April 2004 on the herbal supplement, which has been linked to 155 deaths and thousands of adverse reactions, including heart attacks and strokes.

It has been used forever and 155 deaths is not that much when compared to most other legal or prescribed drugs that are supposed to make you better. Longterm it is probably not great to have all the time, but if you want to get in shape quick ephedra can help you have greater energy when you exercise by making it easier for some people to breath. Of course I am not a doctor and I do not know your conditions, so I assume no liability for your use or misuse of ephedra.

The problem is now there is a negative stigma around ephedra, so it is hard to find. Even if it is still legal the lack of ability to find it makes it hard for people to buy and consume it.

IMHO the whole reason ephedra became illegal is that it was probably cutting into sales of prescription weight loss drugs. Sometimes when searching on Google or other engines it will be hard to find the older versions of products that had ephedra in them due to the number of search spam resellers of the new versions without it.

so the key to finding ephedra products is to do searches like ["with ephedra" -free -non] on engines like Google. When you do super targeted searches like that some of the results will be what you want. I found a couple people with ephedra weight loss products in probably less than a minute.

The wonderful Erowids also has ephedra information.

Death of Language

Throughout time there have been many native tongues through which language has been spoken (no shit, eh). Communication, connectivity, and outsourcing have never been as easy or cheap as they are now.

Certainly those who understand multiple languages will be able to make good money translating through those inefficiencies, but longterm will the number of languages dwindle to only a few? The language barriers are market inefficiencies, which may benefit the local merchants, but commerce drives everything, and you have to imagine that learning a second more frequently used language is going to become easier and easier as technology spreads.

Due to cultural considerations I think many people will want to hold on to their root languages, but many people will take up English as a second language.

Learning a second language and effectively communicating with it is like viewing life through a second lense. I wonder how greatly those of us who really only rely on one language are missing out of some of life’s most interesting situations due to laziness or forced market efficiency, and what might be lost if language eventually consolidates worldwide to where people only use one or two.

Revisiting Fascism

I rarely read newspapers, but recently I was at a conference where my hotel room came with a free newspaper each day.

One day the cover story was something along the line of “Why Terrorist Have Not Yet Struck the US Again” and then it ran through a bunch of bullshit tips and ideas. It almost looked like that cover story was paid for by the Homeland Security office.

A few days later the newspaper cover story said “Bush Does Not Think Leaving Iraq Now is a Good Idea” to which I instantly had to respond “no shit”. I mean, what do these people expect? That guy claims to be driven by God, etc. How the hell is a person like him going to admit that he is wrong after killing thousands of people and spending billions of dollars on a war that was founded on faulty logic and other B/S?

Both sad and positive in different ways, I do not get much of the media which tells me how I am supposed to think. I think my general lack of it makes it more obvious to me than it would otherwise be, which is a good thing with how naïve I am.

It is fairly easy to get discouraged or disappointed in most journalism or media for the overt excessive coverage of the negative, but how do you engineer a society or a system that makes it financially viable to print honest & credible stories which also focus on the brighter sides of life? Must we always be reminded that we should be fucking scared of some random boogey man?

August 13, 2005

Airplane Isle or Window Seat

I never want the center seat because I am fat. heheheh... I like to have something to lean onto or an area where I can use more space and not be bumping someone else.

I usually opt for a window seat, because you get to look out the window and there is a wall to sleep against. Recently I had isle seat twice.

One flight this lady and her kid got up 6 times on the flight. I got stuck getting up like 10 times on one 3 hour flight. That is annoying.

On a flight on the way back I got another isle seat and this kid had me get up 3 times before the plane even took off. Once getting me yelled at for not being seated for the plane takeoff. The same kid woke me up because he had to use the bathroom a few minutes before the end of the flight. A general tip that works, is if you feel a strong downward force on the plane it is probably too late to use the bathroom.

Of course there are other things that are far more important...but there is my whinge.

Definition of a Guru

So I argued to my roommate that anyone ... given enough motivation, can within 2 years chase their interests and have it be more than self funding. It may require cost cutting, etc...but I think anyone can learn enough about their interests within 2 years to where they are paid to learn more about whatever they are truely interested in.

I define a guru as a person who knows what they want to do well enough to be able to make a living doing whatever they want, whereas my roommate thinks you have to be known as one of the best in the world to be a guru or whatever.

To me knowing people well enough to know who the true industry gurus are and being able to talk to them makes you a guru. One of the biggest problems of success is that people become arrogent and think they know everything. I realize that often I am a complete tool and that others know way more than I do.

Knowing your own limitations is important, although I really need to be a bunch more balanced than I have been or my character flaws will hurt my ability to be able to learn. If people like you it is far easier to do well, but I act somewhat weird in social situations and really need to become less socially inept.

Lost My Bags...Twice

So the airline offered a free round trip ticket to anywhere in the US for anyone interested in staying a few hours to go on the next flight. I said sure and iin turn they ended up not needing me.

The flight I was on was about 1.5 hours late. When I got to my final destination they did not have my bags, which is the same thing that happened to me on my way out. So if waiting 3 - 4 hours = free ticket, then what does waiting 1.5 - 2 hours = ?

Clearly nothing thusfar, but it is a real shame the government has the TSA and also bails out those airlines. It would be interesting to see if the quality of service evolved if society did not come to expect bad service and the government wouldn't meddle in the business.

I would not mind paying twice as much for tickets if it meant the service was not shite.

August 12, 2005

Bad Conditions: Due to Bad Philosophy or Shitty People?

So generally I think I am a pretty good person, although perhaps one who lacks balance. A number of shitty things have came my way for seemingly no reason at all, whilest others are completely self inflicted.

Sometimes people are at fault and sometimes the networks are. Prettymuch right now I am doing way better than I deserve to, and other than a lack of willingness to forget somethings from the past (due to fearing a lack of drive going forward) I sometimes serve myself up shit deals on a silver platter.

Sometimes networks, philosophies, and the underlying systems are at fault as well though. In the past there was one guy on the submarine who was a great division leader who became a complete piece of shit when promoted.

It is hard to balance supply / demand, workers / work, happiness / health, productivit> / efficiency, odds are that the more you decide what is right for you the better off you will be in the long term. To do well in some areas I have clearly let some others slide. I really need to balance that out if I want to be a non shitty person who appreciates life.

Friends, Patterns, & Conditioning

Sometimes we lie to ourselves to justify our own past behavior...to warp the world to match the way we explain our history and travels.

It is done in the history books and on a personal level as well.

Sometimes I tell myself that nobody likes me...as that makes it easy to justify ignorant or self destructive behavior. Recently I was amazed at how nice some of my friends were to me, even after a jackass episode.

My sendintary lifestyle and lack of social interaction are not not not healthy...I need to work on working out a lot more and need to find a way to connect to people that I can meet on a more regular basis than once every few months such that I have less social anxiety when I do meet and hang out w other people.

Another thing that sucks is I drink way too quickly when I drink and am a blabber mouth when drunk. There has to be some balance there that I can reach. I suppose if my normal self confidence was better there would be less desire to drink a bunch and I would have better self control after I started drinking.

August 10, 2005

Oil Prices, Stock Market, etc

Oil prices closed at $65 a barrel today. Not too far back, when amazon closed at nearly $47 I thought that it's stock was trading on momentum and on people having to cover their positions and priced ahead of itself. Today amazon dropped to $44.

The federal deficit has been smaller than expected in the past month, which is a sign of the economy heating up (since they have their hands in about every cookie jar). I think oil is now trading on momentum though. People are looking for excuses to raise the price of oil.

If I had lots of money right now, oil stocks I would have bought a month ago (like NXY) I would short now, expecting a 20 to 30% drop in oil prices from today's close in the next 2 months.

Social Anxiety & Social Weirdness

So I am at a conference. It is fun and I am learning, but in spite of knowing many people I still am a tad much antisocial. Some of the times it is due to my social inexperience. Away from the web I may speak to 2 - 5 people a week and in person I usually only talk to my roommate.

And then at the other end of the stick there is justifiable reasons for social weirdness. Like recently I interviewed a friend and asked if a business model scaled. He said "no, just look at company X". Recently company x held a party here and they invited me and said they read my stuff and liked it.

I can memorize stuff really quickly, but I am much better with facts & figures than emotions & understanding people. Also I associate my own success with my general issolation from society. How do you flip what you tell yourself causes you to do well? Yet if I continue to live life without really understanding people or myself enough to be able to change my perceptions & actions is there really any point to life? Detatched from emotion life is pointless.

August 7, 2005

Airport Traveling Tips - LAX & You

So I had a connecting flight out of LAX today. In spite of the airplanes being part of some happy global alliance that did not stop me from having to walk out of the wing, half way across the airport, back through security, and take a bus to some random location from there.

Of course as I experienced the global alliance treatment I wondered if it meant my bags would follow on that journey, and of course, it was the airlines did not deliver my baggage with me.

Here I sit with no deoderant or toothbrush debating some of my travel game plan / travel strategy.

If it takes you over an hour to get to your next plane there is a good chance your bags will not make it on time. Be forwarned if you switch airline carriers at LAX!

Naval Recruiters - Navy Reserves Posters on the wall

You will excell.

You will be relied upon.

You will make things better.

Those are the words of three different Navy posters I came across today during my travels.

Excell compared to what? Isn't life a series of ups and downs, with the Navy generally being accepted as a down?

Be relied upon. Wow, that also could not sound any more generic. Aren't we all relied upon even at the high school level? If nobody relies upon you in any way then the Navy is not going to be getting too many quality people.

You will make things better, but for whom? The people your ship's precision test missles blow up? Probably not. The shareholders and owners of the company that sold the government that weapon? Probably.

A more accurate join the Navy or join the Naval resereves poster would read "You will be a worthless number."

August 6, 2005

Bob Dylan Lyrics - My Back Pages

For the longest time Lennon's Imagine was #1 but this is probably my favorite song right now:

Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin' high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
"We'll meet on edges, soon," said I
Proud 'neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
"Rip down all hate," I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Girls' faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

A self-ordained professor's tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
"Equality," I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.


So much of life is spent unlearning the bullshit others try to teach you.

Anything can be taken out of context and put in a new one to grant it another meaning. Those that aim to control the context or meaning of words often have ambitious goals which place themselves ahead of others, and require society pay the price for being sucker enough to listen.

I am not ashamed to admit that words have hurt me, but as I live more I aim to make them hurt less. Of course, you should find your own definitions that don't include me, as there might be hidden messages in the lyrics of this song or the keys I am typing right now.

What is the Purpose of the US National Debt?

In my opinion the main purpose of the United States national debt is to segregate financial and social classes.

When I was younger I was so naive that I cared about the national debt and wanted to help pay it down. On their website it says where you can send a check to:

ATTN DEPT G
BUREAU OF THE PUBLIC DEBT
P O BOX 2188
PARKERSBURG, WV 26106-2188

But our government cuts taxes on the rich and then pays them interest for loaning money they should have paid in anyway.

How does the debt segregate social classes?

  • It teaches people that it is ok to spend more than they have.
  • It gives the government an arbitrary excuse to cut social programs or things related to humanity and attempts at equality.
  • It also guarantees that our richest people and companies will earn money back off the country as a whole, and that those who want to rise above that problem have further to dig uphill.

Stocks hit By Higher Wage Data

Higher waged workers = inflation = corporate profits dwindling. anything that does not consolidate wealth is evil.

August 5, 2005

When Not to Answer a Question

So I get a ton of emails and a ton of questions. I answer most of them even though some of them are not in my best interest to answer.

I am not just talking in terms of money...like more on issues of time, and answering some questions can only hurt you timewise, reputationwise, marketing, and / or monitarily.

Does it make me a bad person if I become a bit more selective in what emails I should reply to? Where is the line between what I should reply to and what I should not? Again I am not saying "I want more money" or whatever is a good basis for answering emails, but some offers are a bit unsavory or you can bet their is a great chance your words will be used against you that hurt other marketing avenues if you reply honestly.

Reputation managment on a large social network where you sell your thoughts is a bit harder than some might give it credit for being.

People Flying in to Meet Me?

So I still recognize that in the grand scheme of things my role is rather insignificant, but I just got an email from a person who wants to fly into the conference next week for a day and buy me lunch or dinner.

I love being independant, but the fact that people are willing to go to that length to meet me is pretty damn cool, and shows that I must be helping some people out a good bit more than I realized.

Somedays you get rave reviews that exceed your own versions of realities, other times people say things that are so mean, personal, and detatched from reality that you have to ignore it; but you do not want to ignore all feedback that you do not agree with otherwise you are ignoring an important resource.

It is really hard to balance effort, drive, ego, and focus creating your own online business.

If I Were a Russian Submariner

there is a pretty good chance I would have died.

On one of my first underways a friend told me he thought we were going to die when we had a problem on the boat. That thought stuck in my head much of the time we were underway.

Also I was on a submarine that had a rescue vehicle on it when Russia's Kursk sank, but Russia was a bunch of scumbags and did not want any foreigners helping them and let their submariners die.

Not surprising to see some of their scumbag military leaders downplaying the current incident:

Captain Alexander Kosolapov, another naval spokesman, played down the incident's seriousness. "The situation is unusual," he said. "But it's not worth dramatising."

Their country has had a long line of having zero respect for human life, wasting military lives doing things like human wave attacks in WWII.

August 2, 2005

George W Bush is a Credible Voice on Drug Usage?

In Juiced Jose Canseco said Rafael Palmeiro used steroids. Jose also testified that Rafael did in front of congress. Recently Rafael failed a drug test, and guess who says he is innocent? The president. Like he has ANY credibility on the issue of staying away from drug usage.

President Bush - who owned the Texas Rangers while Palmeiro played for the team - called Palmeiro a "friend" in a round-table interview with reporters from several Texas newspapers. "He's testified in public, and I believe him," Bush added. source
I am sure there is a way liberals could spin this story to paint George Bush as a person protecting his drug abusing / drug using budies. You know the scumbags in and around the republican party (Frank Luntz, etc.) would be doing the same to someone like Bill Clinton.

Because of how Jose spoke of steroid usage it does not tell a story that people want to believe or spread. Of course looking at the bigger picture it is still a useless soap opera tv type issue when you look at some of the sketchy things going on in the world.

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Bad Things Come In...Three's?
Pats VS Genos - the Philly Cheese Steaks Battle
15 Seconds of Fame
Ephedra Once Again Legal, although Hard to Find
Gravity?
Death of Language
Revisiting Fascism
Airplane Isle or Window Seat
Definition of a Guru
Lost My Bags...Twice
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