Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

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A little bit of Schadenfreude

27 July 2008

It’s been a little bit of a while since I’ve written last. I was hit again with another bout of illness, this time Strep throat, which has pretty much left me useless for the past few days. So I’ll be back to normal soon enough, and hopefully writing more. I have quite a bit to write about, including shadowing and probably something about my upcoming trip to Montréal. But, right now I turn to everyone’s favorite topic, gas prices.

I really hope I’m not the only one who feels this way, but I am in some ways happy that gas prices are so high, and am in some ways hoping they continue to rise. Sure, it’s not exactly fun to pay $4+ per gallon for anyone, but maybe, just maybe this will spur some sort of change in this country.  There are pretty much three things that I hope will come from a continual rise in gas prices. Sadly, I would say almost all of them seem unlikely to happen in this culture.

The first is an increase in funding towards alternative forms of energy, both for vehicles and for buildings.  Perhaps if gas prices rise high enough and stay there (which, once they are there, they seem to remain) the public will begin demanding that our government look into cleaner, more efficient, technologies.  This is unlikely though, because conservatives will paint it as wasting tax-payers money when we could just be drilling for gas off-shore or in ANWR, despite the fact that neither of these solutions offer what people want: lower gas prices(1). That said, I don’t imagine many people fighting for increasing government funding of cleaner technologies like wind-generated electricity when what we “need” are lower gas prices. I imagine an outcry of “FEDERAL GOVERNMENT – FUNDING “WIND” ELECTRICITY WITH GAS PRICES AT $4.00 PLUS – WHERE ARE THEIR PRIORITIES”. I guess a guy can dream though.

The second reason I (somewhat secretly) hope gas prices go up is that perhaps it will spur more people to use cleaner methods of transportation, whether public transport, walking, or bicycling.  Of course there are many rural areas where public transport isn’t prevalent. Still, even these rural areas have local stores that provide essentially the same products as big supermarkets and that are usually within walking or biking range. My hope is that high gas prices make people realize that they don’t have to go so far to get lettuce, especially now that a lot of small towns have local farm stands (my small town has at least two) where all sorts of fruits and vegetables are sold.   While there are obviously sometimes when you’ll need to drive, for a lot of daily necessities, there is no reason to drive when you can walk or bike. Sure, it might not be as easy or convenient as driving, but it’s both more money in your pocket, and less pollution.  Still, I don’t see much of this happening unless gas prices keep rising because a lot of habits are hard to break. If you ALWAYS drive to City X that’s 15 miles to buy your groceries, it’s probably not as easy to just start walking or biking somewhere closer. Of course, this wouldn’t be such an issue if we had clean electricity (ie. Wind power, and even nuclear if it’s done correctly) and more electric cars*.

The third reason is where the schadenfreude comes in. This may sound a bit petty, but honestly, I hope gas prices stay where they are or go up so all the assholes who flaunt their Hummers with license plates that say things like “5 MPG” get screwed over every single time they fill up to take the kids to soccer practice. Whatever happened to using a mini-van for that, seriously. Maybe that will make them realize how pointless their purchase of a Hummer was when all they use it for is to cart their kids around Suburbia. Maybe it will make them realize just how stupid they look next to a Honda Civic Hybrid, or a Prius, or a Tesla Roadster. Of course, this is the least likely to happen because the personality types that seem to be attracted to flaunting things like getting <10 MPG in their vehicle.

Stay tuned for Shadowing Part IV and Montréal Adventures

*For those who say electric cars are for girls, or not powerful enough, I suggest you take a look at the Tesla Roadster

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We’ve Lost a Good One…

23 June 2008

No, a great one.

George Carlin has died.

Not only was he a great comedian, but was always active in promoting freedom of speech and freedom of thought.

From George Carlin:

Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.

You will be missed. Not only by us “grown-up” freethinkers, but by all the kids who watch(ed) Thomas the Tank Engine and Shiny Time Station.

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New Song Demo

21 June 2008

No title yet…

Just recorded it in my “home-studio” aka my room.

All the parts in this recorded demo were played by me, but live they would be split between me (vocals, guitar) and julie (bells (on a keyboard?)) and my laptop (guitar solo, recorded by me for a backing track and shaker track).

More lyrics will be added later I think.

Vocals are a little rough same for shaker and bell tracks…

Here it is: (No I) Don’t

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June 20th Show

20 June 2008

So, I just got home from my show at Mocha Blend Café…and, well the place wasn’t too busy, which was slightly disappointing. But at the same time, it was kind of nice to have a small crowd (aka my dad, julie, and her family plus a few others) to work out the kinks in things.

That said, there were a few things that went wrong: My effects processor/tuner ran out of batteries which wasn’t such a big deal, but was unfortunate because it was the only thing I didn’t buy back-up batteries for. Such is life.  That said most other things went well, I forgot a few words, but nothing huge, except my extended intro to New American Classic because the first line escaped me…But other than that, and not being able to hear myself in the monitor, things went well. My voice was decent, especially for not being able to hear myself too well.

So, here’s the set-list, which I ended up playing out of order as well as skipping “Road to Joy”. To make up for that I played an extended version of “Hallelujah” with an extra verse from the Leonard Cohen version:

Read the rest of this entry ?

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June 20th – Show at Mocha Blend Café

15 June 2008

This friday I will begin my summer series of shows in the fantastic upstate New York at Mocha Blend Café. The show starts at 7 pm and will go ’til around 9 pm. I figured I’d let everyone know as well as give you guys an idea of what you’ll hear. So in the spirit of knowing what you’re in for, here’s the rough draft of my set-list for the night:

(All songs without artist listed are original material)

First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes

Kristina She Don’t Know I Exist – Catch 22

Undone (Sweater Song) – Weezer

L’existence précède l’essence

The River – Bruce Springsteen

Mr. Bright Side – The Killers

Adam’s Song – Blink 182

El Scorcho – Weezer

We Are Nowhere and It’s Now – Bright Eyes

Sitting by a Stream (of consciousness)

Butterfly – Weezer

I Miss You – Blink 182

Pacing the Cage – Bruce Cockburn

New American Classic – Taking Back Sunday

Holiday in Spain – Counting Crows

Feeling Kind of Blue

19 Years Old

Peur du miroir

Lua – Bright Eyes

Hurt – Nine Inch Nails/Johnny Cash

1234 1234 – Catch22

Blame it on the Tetons – Modest Mouse

Camisado – Panic at the Disco

Mr. Jones – Counting Crows

American Skin (41 Shots) – Bruce Springsteen

Cease – Bad Religion

Don’t Know When But A Day’s Gonna Come – Bright Eyes

You Never Give Me Your Money – The Beatles

The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot – Brand New

If I Ever Leave this World Alive – Flogging Molly

With God on Our Side – Bob Dylan

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen (based more on Jeff Buckley’s version though)

Of course, I might add or subtract a song if I feel so inclined. That should be more than enough to keep people entertained for 2 hours. Hope you can make it!

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Which Beliefs Deserve Respect? Part I

15 June 2008

This post is a result of a discussion that I had in the comments of a re-post of my note “Bad Parenting” on Facebook. I argued that while as members of a (supposedly) open society we are often told that we should treat all ideas equally and respect others’ beliefs, this eventually leads not to a breakdown of traditional moral values that those on the Right seem to be so afraid of, but to consequences that damage the pursuit of equality in our country and the world. That said, there are two perspectives that I would like to look at this from. The first, and possibly more straightforward, is the scientific perspective. This perspective will be used to examine ideas such as Creationism, naturopathy, homeopathy, and faith healing that claim to be scientific beliefs and ideas. The second is a socio-political perspective: Ideas such as racism, sexism, and classism.

Recently in the United States, there has been a great deal of debate regarding whether or not certain ideas should be taught in science classrooms. The most publicized debate has been between those who wish to teach a hypothesis (at best) called Intelligent Design. Those who are subscribers to this hypothesis claim that the evidence for Evolution just doesn’t exist. The problem is, that they offer no evidence besides what amounts to religious reasoning. Despite this, some say that both sides of the argument must be heard in the name of “fairness”. The problem is that science is not necessarily about being “fair”.

In science, a hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable. That way, research and experiment can be used to determine whether or not the hypothesis a person proposes is factual. This is where ideas such as Intelligent Design fail. There is no way to test “God did it”. Thus, Intelligent Design cannot be considered scientific, and should not be given the same treatment as tested theories, such as Evolution. However, this does not only apply to the Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate. In essence, what the proponents of Intelligent Design are saying that despite what overwhelming evidence says, they are correct. Some even go as far to say that God placed fossils in the fossil record to “test our faith”.

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I have been converted…

13 June 2008

I am officially voting for John McCain this fall.

I’m voting Republican:

Sounds good to me!