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Monday, June 28, 2010

Big Brother Has Gone Viral

When I was at Drupalcon in April, the keynote was echoed by a crowd of twitterers and live bloggers. They were all grabbing the elephant just as it was being simucast to the web. People wanted bragging rights in their 3000 circles that they emparted some cool info and did so first. World shaping events are watched by all and used to the commentated by three networks in America plus the newspapers. Then came CNN. The quantity of voices in professional media grew. But they were slow. A story had to be assigned by an editor; or a story had to be approved before it saw the light of day.
Internet publishing started in the 1980s. The Informati fringe could log in, post to newsgroups. There were a lot of steps, a small audience and the whole experience was not for the faint of heart. The Web made it easier, but you needed to know HTML and how to FTP your opinions and do it from the safety of your dial-up and your desktop. The advent of blogging then Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) made it very easy. Mobile blogging, SMS and posting cellphone media has made this whole experience very easy.
During the G20, the Man has been beating on the people who pay The Man's way. Yes, there are gimmes in the crowd, they're rabble and they're the distraction. Police have been beating down and routing benign protesters. I say benign but not peaceful. Peace is akin to contentment and these people are not content. They want to shake things up. They want to aggravate the Police and the Powers That Be. You want a reaction and a route to change.
But as the Police beat down and bully the public, there is a Orwellian spin happening. Big Brother in 1984 used to watch Winston Smith and his fellow workers from an omniscient wall-- a television and video camera all in one. One eye that saw all of the people. With the advent of cellphone footage and tweets, we're all watching each other. During the G20 protests, the Police have practiced a policy of beating journalists and protesters, routing the people-- some of whom aren't even protesters, but just citizens trying to get from A-to-B in a bisected city. This criminal conduct by a bunch of thugs in black has not happened in secret or seen by a select few. Thanks to cellphones and easy uploading, hundreds of people are recording these transgressions and broadcasting them. Almost everyone has a cellphone. Almost every cellphone has a camera. It's not yet illegal to film police brutality (it is now illegal in the UK), but there are so many people recording these attacks that the police cannot find every recorder, confiscate their phones and destroy the evidence (as Vancouver police did last year on several occasions). We're all feeding Big Brother and his all seeing eye. Big Brother isn't the government per se, but the eyes of the public.
Unfortunately, Big Brother could convert disapproval into brute force. We can only convert disapproval into disapproval at the polls when/if the Conservatives allow Canadians to go to the polls.
If you have a Conservative MP, let them know that you're dissatisfied. Tell them that their own version of their Rahim Jaffer antics are no longer appreciated. If you don't have a Conservative MP in your riding (and most of us don't), tell your MP that now is the time to vote against the next Conservative move in the House of Commons. Ignatieff has been tacitly supporting Harper and Layton has been siding with Ignatieff. I didn't vote for Jack Layton. I didn't vote for Michael Igatieff. I voted for my MP. My Member of Parliament, Denise Savoie, has to hear the voice of the people she is representing or she is supporting this whole house of cards. If your Member of Parliament isn't voting against the status quo where people can be arrested for getting too close to a fence, then they're part of the problem and they need to go.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Trojan Juniors

I have no idea if these are smaller or easier to put on or just bubble gum flavored.

In an era where kids have denim patterned diapers, why not market everything for the prepubescent adults of our world.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ther Great American Novel

I have finally published my own Great American Novel.

psst-- do you want a sample of the novel? Check it out here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cumberland Quake News

Toronto to Nova Scotia and South to Cleveland were just hit with a 5.5 quake that was centered 49 km (31 miles) north of Cumberland, Ontario, Canada. The quake seemed to last for about 30 seconds in Ottawa and rattled downtown buildings, homes in west-end Ottawa and government offices across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Que.
Reports at that cell service is overloaded as people tweet about this and call for information. Word that the G20 lake has sprung a leak and is draining cannot be confirmed at this time. Police and CSIS are working to locate and detain the Earth's Core for questioning.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Late Night Experiments

If you're driving in the Victoria or Saanich areas from 9PM to 3AM, there is a good chance you're going to become a test subject. UBC, in cooperation with local police, are diverting motorists then administering breathalyzers, written questionnaires and blood samples. While participation is theoretically voluntary, there is no word as to the reaction one would expect should they opt to not participate in this UBC study administered by police officers. As police officers can issue road-side suspensions for refusing a breathalyzer, motorists may be off the road if they elect to not contribute to the UBC body of data for such a study. There is no word as to how this programme is being funded-- whether local police resources are being diverted to gather this data; or if UBC or ICBC is underwriting this use of our region's police forces.
UBC, ICBC and the Saanich Police have not commented on this programme or their practices.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Now What?

Last week I quit my job. Now what?
The last job for a while have been really wearing me down. I was really tired of the the dynamics in play. Sometimes I put on the Shakespeare hat (hey, he was balding: he totally would have had a hat on). With the hat on I once spouted to myself, "where superstition is fact and ignorance is currency," of the last place. If I couldn't explain to a non-technical person a wholly technical concept, then the concept had no merit. Try pulling that the next time you get in a car: "I don't know how the spark plugs make internal combustion work, so I don't endorse the car."
I couldn't see any way to correct the dynamics or get my head around the way to survive the dynamics. There came a day that I pulled the plug. I quit.
That left me with the question of "Now what?" What had been going on for a long time was the fear of being financially destitute for quitting my job and ending up emotionally destitute for keeping it. At the end of the day, I figured that I could make money eventually, but there was no magical solution to have some emotional currency. It's not as air-fairy as it sounds. Here's the logic train:
  • We all die eventually.
  • We come into this world and leave it with nothing tangible.
  • Regardless of your belief system, once you are gone you either cannot affect the world of the living nor would you care to.
  • Life is supposed to be about happiness. Were life about work and misery, you wouldn't need to feel good. Just like I can't see into the ultra-violet because it's not neccessary, if happiness were unnecessary you wouldn't be able to sense its presence or absence.
  • You can derive happiness from any situation-- some of the poorest people in the world are happy.
  • You don't need to endure unhappiness and if poor people can be happy, you don't need to keep a job because of the money.
I decoupled money and happiness. If the last job brought me no happiness, then there was no reason to keep it. A friend once told me a story about his friends: they sold everything-- house, possessions and all-- and moved to England to travel. The friend said, "If you think you can't drop everything and do that, you're wrong. You can always do it and pick things up again later."

Since the quitting, I have been inundated with work and requests for me to help out. It's as though I am back on the market and people are buying. Being on the market isn't enough to make success. It's like being good looking but you show up for a date with a chicken wing stuck in your hair. You have to follow through, you have to do the work that you ask for. If the work is interesting and worth doing, I will take it on. I will separate challenging from frustrating (they often look almost alike, Myth Adventures' Imps vs. Deveels-- a challenge is to horse trade a coat hanger into a diamond; frustration is to trade a hanger into different hanger). All challenges can have frustrations, but no challenge is made solely of frustration. If you find yourself with a frustration and isn't nestled in a larger challenge, my advice is: a) quit; b) ask, Now What?

Has anyone out there hit this dynamic? What you found happened?

Contact me!