Monday, December 5, 2016

We need to Legalize Cannabis NOW!

I'm so sick of hearing about Trump lately. Yes, he's a carbuncle on the American political system, as are the misguided misinformed beliefs of those who put him in office. Not to mention the efforts of another country (Russia) to see him in office as well as any one apparently who voted for him, not seeming to care about any of that that at all. But let's put that aside for the moment for something else immediate and ignored.

Now for something truly relevant that extends into so much of our culture and economy. We waste far too much time, energy, resources, and money in literally ruining people's lives and that of their extended family and our culture. We waste police resources, jail space and clogged the judicial system for no apparent reason and for issues that are proven to be better treated through healthcare resources.

We are shooting ourselves in the foot over and over because of our stubborn refusal to update our outdated beliefs and ideals, which I might add, were wrong to begin with. Not to mention, were originally based in racism as well as a carryover from alcohol prohibition..

For those who are anti weed, anti Cannabis, pot, grass, the racist term Marijuana, or whatever you wish to call it...really people, just stop talking.

Just, stop. Don't talk. Learn.


You are welcome to talk once again after you either watch BookTVs episode on C-SPAN2 with the author, journalist Joe Dolce, former Editor-in-chief of Details magazine as he talks about the current situation. Or you buy and read the book, Brave New Weed Adventures into the Uncharted World of Cannabis.

We need Cannabis immediately removed from the abusive Schedule 1 status. Abuse to pot, abusive to Americans, and worst of all, worst to those who need it medically and otherwise.

As Dolce points out, because it's a Schedule 1 drug only the NSA can easily research it and their agenda is to find what is bad about it. Israel for decades has been doing the leading positive research on it. And as one caretaker at one assisted living home in Israel put it, before weed started being used to enhance the quality of the lives of those living there, she was on the way out the door because no other drugs do as good a job.

But in America, weed is evil and demonized. Makes you wonder, how stupid are people? Because if they aren't stupid, how do you explain this almost religious negativity against it?

The Wall Street Journal recently blushed an article about the downside of legalization which to be honest, didn't make a hell of a lot of sense. Other than as click bate, which is starting to seem like that is what most of journalism is anymore.

Truth be damned, get us clicks at all costs!

This article is little more than disingenuous fear mongering. I don't doubt that the facts stated are real. But if you suddenly legalized (again?) alcohol, the stats would be far, FAR worse I'm sure.

As for the shaving off IQ points off teens who smoke weed as mentioned in the article, the alternative were it alcohol would be to shave off lives at those rates. I agree teens shouldn't smoke pot, not till they are 25 is my understanding, but good luck with that, as well has limiting them on alcohol. Anyway, it's false equivalency.

Which makes me wonder, was the so called journalist Allysia Finley who wrote this piece a conservative (she is after all a Fox News contributor)? Or is she just stupid? Or did her editor talk her into writing it?

We need to stop closing our eyes and labeling the demon cannabis and as evil and start labeling those who are against legalizing it as the ones who are actually, evil.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Addiction to CCC - Conservative Cognitive Closure

It has been found by one researcher that the similarity between extremists, between terrorists, is that of what is called, cognitive closure.

When I discovered that it really made me think.

I am not an extremist, never have been. I have always, and always have tried, to have an open mind. That would be antithesis to one who is deep into the rapture of cognitive closure.

Cognitive closure gives one a feeling a security, of self assurance. A belief that the world is understandable. Cause and effect are discernible. Clearly discernible. It is an easy way of existence in one sense. It may lead to physical difficulties, it may lead to death. But mentally once you achieve cognitive closure, you are pretty much done. No more thinking is required, because you have arrived.

At that point further information, especially information that is diametrically opposed to the closure, is not only unnecessary, it can cause a very negative reaction. It can cause actions that feel required in order to drown out the contrary view points.

This is an especially attractive condition when one lives in certain environments, be those endemic, or even caused by the individual.

Poverty is a strong precursor. Then to be dashed further down in poverty to where it is life threatening, not only to the individual but to those around them. More especially if it is not just those around  them but is happening to a specific group, especially if it is the group the individual is a part of.

It gives one a sense of well being, of being special, elevated, even part of the divine. Thus, if it exists in an environment with religion, it is a heady, and dangerous cocktail of emotion and action.

Another precursor is two fold. Ignorance and unfairness. Ignorance in an individual, or group, who cannot access the information they need to make decisions, or ignorance in being fed incorrect information by a group for a specific political purpose. Or political religious purpose. Unfairness in that it is either perceived or real. If you add into that, poverty, or oppression (either perceived or real), you have an intense brew for extremism.

Conservatism lends itself well to this outright because it requires similar ways of thinking.

Milton Friedman lays out four money spending modes, most efficient to least:

a. Spend your own money on yourself.

b. Spend your own money on someone else.

c. Spend someone else’s money on yourself.

d. Spend someone else’s money on someone else (which happens to be how government spends money).

Conservatives would argue that you should spend your own money because you know best what you need. That breaks down so fast it could give me a nose bleed. Conservatives use this tactic to bolster their agenda and too many who hear it, don't catch what the issues are about it.

Truth is we need hybrids of most things in order for a system to work. That's what breaks down with racism too, at least, purity of race type racism. As for spending money, you need a hybrid system of spending your money, spending others, others spending your, and voila! You have a country. One that is functional and can be and remain strong.

If all the moving parts are allowed to work together properly and no one abuses their share of the pie. And therein is what has been going wrong world wide. The belief that free commerce, capitalism run amok, is good. The cream will rise to the top and only those at the top will reap those benefits. That is where government comes in, to hone the process so it is more equal too all.

The natural course is to give to those at the top. Altering that, appears to those at the top and others who vote against their own best interests, see it as a conspiracy. But that is in part what a government is supposed to do. To conspire to make things work, keep the country strong, and increase the quality of living...for all citizens.

This is how the conservative argument always goes. Because the natural course HAS to be altered to protect and save the process, it appears to be a hidden agenda to subvert the natural course of either democracy or capitalism. Mostly, capitalism. The two easily get confused by many.

The concern is getting the balance right, and having a balance to, well, balance. When all the money goes to the top and there isn't any to use, or when a country disproportionately spends the money, skipping over necessary programs and efforts, things begin to break down.

A pure democracy, or communism or socialism for that matter, without other elements involved is going to be dysfunctional. Pure capitalism is a nightmare. While there are those who say democracy shouldn't have any socialism, or capitalism should run free and so then the market will correct its path, in practice that has been found to be untrue.

These concepts can sound great to the uninformed. However they fail if not properly handed and with great damage, without more involved with them to give them the support they need. They can become in fact nightmares for those living within them. Just as purity racism can and frequently has gone so wrong in the past.

That matters little to one who is addicted to cognitive closure, though. Like any junkie hooked on drugs, they can be mean when they don't get their fix, or support, but once satiated with their drug or deep into exercising their beliefs, they are in bliss. Try again to take that away and at some point, bad things will happen, even to the point of sinking a ship and taking down all hands.

We have been seeing this of late quite a bit.

There is one other issue involved in this type of thing. The group. Those who feel successful, feel more independent. Those who feel more frustrated, more abused, adhere more to the group. Extrapolating that out to our current 2016 presidential election, we see a large group of the disenfranchised who are being very vocal, very angry and very frustrated.

They are actually a group that shouldn't be as effective as they are. Much like terrorists in groups like ISIS, or Al Shebab. The similarities there are not in how despicable their actions are but in their need for the group, their similarities in a need for cognitive closure and other elements mentioned above.

On the other side, the Democrats do not feel as downtrodden, as disenfranchised. They too feel the other things of the economy and lack of upward economic progression, but they do not as much feel the need for the group. Intelligence, and a sense of control or success in life, allows one more independence from the group.

This consideration overall has much to do with our present day world. That of terrorists, discontent in difficult and downtrodden parts of the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. Of the American conservative feeling so much desire to vote for someone who says ridiculous things but things they wanted to hear. They want to feel that cognitive closure, that security, that need for the group, that end to their perceived (or real) pain.

We will have to find a way to educate these types of people to understand what it is they find overwhelming, but we will also need to find ways to satisfy their reasonable and necessary needs for security and requirements merely to live, and further to live well, or at least in such a way as they find it fair and reasonable.

The warning here is if you feel a need for this kind of cognitive closure, it can be a warning sign that something is wrong. Some might argue that it also indicates a need for God, deity, community, or even, love. And that has some truth to it. Still, in certain circumstances, and there have been many of these of late, and seriously so, it is a warning.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Now What?

Thanksgiving Day update (there is another after the main body of the blog):

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving Day holiday! All the best to you all, both here and around the world. Even to our enemies, I wish you the best, as long as it means we can all get along and learn how to better life for all people and not just any single group. Also, that everyone everwhere will learn to understand and appropriatelay react to reality, not mere incorrect but highly desired beliefs, not myth and fable, but the world we all actually live in. 

Do we owe it to the new president elect once in office to give him a chance to see what he can do and perhaps more importantly to see how he goes about it? Yes. Most assuredly.

However, let's not conflate this issue into becoming his version of reality.

On issues of race, of dividing our country for his benefit, of supporting the wealthy, conglomerates, corporations and industry over that of the majority of Americas who ARE this country, on those issues we need to monitor him as we would a pedophiliac serial killer around kindergarten children, aggressively correcting him as he goes.

People voted for Trump to thrown a monkey wrench into the works, to disrupt what scares them the most, upsetting the status quo. You do not just do that and walk away. You then have the work to do, it's just starting. Then you have to really pay attention, then you have to really act.

You voted. He won. And so, you think YOU'RE done? LMFAO! Oh please, I'm laughing so hard I'm crying here.

Only a true idiot would believe that. Trouble is, now most people who voted for Trump will just go back to watching TV, or whatever, working hard, making little maybe, but most definitely not holding him to account. And that is sad. No, it's pathetic. It's buying a lottery ticket, expecting to win, and spending the money before you win.

George Orwell with his prophetic book 1984 has become our new political bible. Our new prognosticator. In it lay many of the elements currently at play. Thing we desperately need to be aware. To be educated enough to clearly see what is going on around us, what is being perpetrated upon us by those we have given control of us.

Potentially our most important issue today is, education. Not global warming, not income, not anything. Trump is a Godsend to the Koch brothers. If you ask the Koch brothers what one item, if they could have one thing, would they want control over, they'd most likely say, education.

Time magazine, October 30, 2015:

"Almost all of the higher education programs the Koch foundations fund cleave to the brothers’ philosophy of promoting free markets and laissez-faire capitalism in the United States.

"In some cases, the Koch foundations have attempted, or succeeded, in attaching certain strings to their contributions, such as control over curriculum, and more recently, obtaining personal information about students."

From 1984:

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” ― George Orwell, 1984

“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
― George Orwell, 1984

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
― George Orwell, 1984

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”― George Orwell, 1984

“Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power” ― George Orwell, 1984

Thanksgiving Day update:

One of the things we have to be concerned about with a President Trump is his being president. As David Reminck from The New Yorker, "good comes from the bully pulpit and the example of the president. A part of my concern about the presidency is What are we telling our children? What will be the example set by this [Trump's] temperment. By this sense of ethos, ethics. By this biography?"

Reminck also said that President Obama told him he thought he may have been 20 years too early from what he saw in the trends of the demographics.
That's a fascinating statement.
It means, we're getting there. It just takes time.
But as is my own personal nature, push things to the breaking point for change, then back off when you need to heal. Then push again.
It is much like working out. Strain to achieve, then allow healing before straining again. Never quit, though some day when you find you are at a happy new baseline, you can take a break. For a while.
Until change inevitably requires you start the process all over again.
Needless to say, we're not at that point yet. Not by a long shot.
Yet, it's good news nonetheless.
How the president acts reflects either well or badly upon the American people, and people of the world.

I have drawn this parrallel before between Trump and a short story I wrote years ago. It was the first short horror story I ever sold to a magazine for pay. In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear. A kind of social horror tale not unlike a Phillip K. Dick kind of story. It is about a man who is very talented and successful, who finds a way to take over the American psyche in his bid for power, and in a way never before seen on earth. He is praised by all for it, loved by all because of it. Save those few closest to him who fear him, who fear letting him know they fear him, who fear his defective view of the world. A view which begins to overtake the nation without anyone seemingly paying any attention to it at all. As if they are all addicts and only he has their drug. Countries world wide want in on what he can do, so amazing are his talents. Save those countries closest to America. Those being Canada and Mexico who quietly strive to begin to step away from all transactions with America. Yet, no one seems to notice.

Here's a few things being discovered about #Trump. He is temporally transaction in nature.
He responds to praise not disdain, which makes him feel embattled and he digs in. He is just like many who run for office, an adulation addict.
But in Trump's case as Frank Bruni of the New York Times put it:
"In Donald Trump, we're looking at it to an exponential degree."
"It's adulation addiction on steroids."
"I think people are going to find he's not the rebel they thought he was on the campaign trail." That is he said, from Trump's body language and in how he said some things, during the NYTimes meeting, he showed he is very vested into finding the praise of those same elites he was running against during the campaign, either directly or indirectly, and being those same elites who people cast their vote for Trump for him to rail against, and not for.
How does Trump define winning? I think it has to do with how much he can profit from any situation\ transaction. Because that's how he views the world, through capitalist filters.
He wants to win every room he is in, leaving those who meet him with a positive attitude about him. He seems at times to become who he has last spoken with, and that is kind of disturbing.
Maybe therefore the way to deal with him in the future is to primarily praise his good actions and ignore his bad ones, or at least temper the backlashes and enhance the praises.
He's smart, but he's emotionally immature.
He's responsive if it means he alters people's view of him in a positive way. This may work well for us in his presidency and it may also work against all of us as it's an ephemeral orientation to business and governance.
Many of his supporters are going to be very unhappy to find what they ignored while he was running, were stagecraft. Much of what they said he didn't mean, but they voted for him anyway, they are going to find out also applies to many things they liked about him.
They saw him as an agent of change and that may be the case. But from what we know so far and so little of, he could just as easily be from what his supporters may find to be, even worse than Hillary.
I have to say, the irony would, aside from the reality of where this could lead the nation and the entire damn planet, be pretty delicious as well as cathartic.
To conservatives I have to say:
Watch what you wish for, you just may get it. Sometimes like with the genie in the bottle, you don't know what exactly it even IS that you wish for.
Cheers! :)

#Trump

Monday, November 14, 2016

On My Retirement - The Beginning - Part 2

Now that my retirement papers have been turned in, everyone notified, the news made public that I am retiring, I have to consider my out of workforce position, and my next steps.

I have to remember several things.

I have lived a very structured life with getting up at 5AM for a decade, ending work at 3PM. Originally then commuting from Seattle to my home in Squamish, a two hour journey that including walking through Seattle to the ferry, a 35 minute ride to Bainbridge Island, a bus ride that was anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour for the 11 mile trip, depending on traffic, weather, and accidents or road work.

Or that stupid house on the north side of the road that every year put up an unbelievable amount of Christmas decorations that people couldn't help but to slow down and further impact commutre traffic home. Everyone pretty much on the commuter bus hated that when all we wanted to do was to get home and traffic was always too slow anyway without that light display that we had to deal with, year, after year, after year, winter after winter.

I have to remember that my job in IT work, working on front line servers to the public for a four state not for profit corporation on their software, applications, web servers, supporting web site developers, programmers and others, required a high level of functionality. The problem solving skills it required, the attention to detail, the starting and finishing things, the responsibility to the team, the company, the mission, the responsibility to proactively do what might never be noticed but should be done, the being aware of things related to things related to things, related to issues outside of those things, all this and more adds up to how I am now mentally and emotionally (and physically, being the downside in sitting all day long, in being sedentary in a job), all these things add up to how my minds is now pretty well honed to do anything.

When I graduated from Western Washington University in 1984, I knew I had pushed myself for four years to learn, to absorb all I could, to sharpen my mind, to get the most for the money my VA benefits, our country's citizens taxes, were paying for me to get. While my friends were out partying much of the time I was still in the university library, many times until they kicked me out. I wanted to learn...everything.

I knew I left college with my mind being as sharp and informed as it ever would be all the rest of  my life. Just like I knew when I left the military that my body would probably never be in that top of shape ever again. Both mind and body in the future of those times, I could try to keep in top shape, but might never see those levels of peak performance again.

But I knew I could try. I admit I've paid more attention to my mind being in shape than my body, but I've done well in that department too. Aikido was a wonderful way to exercise both mind and body. But because of my knees years ago, and my ankle, I had to give up practicing. Still however, I am on the dojo's Board of Directors still, for that non-profit school. I have also been donating to them, in matching funds from my job.

I now will definitely have the time to get in more exercise in a more broad sense than before. I have work out equipment at home, weights and an elliptical but I've wanted to do more. And now in having moved to a metropolitan location, I have much more and easier access to all this.

Why do I mention all of the above?

Because I have now moved from a structured, corporate environment to a private, small business environment. There is no CEO, or CIO filtering down our agenda to the working grunt on the front line. I no longer have my Director, or Manager, nor my Lead to manage me and my workload, my direction, my goals, and so on.

I now do that all for myself. Whenever you go into your own endeavors, into a small business environment, something that escapes many, something that a lot of people are not aware of is what I have been saying here.

My previous job that I just left took a turn. We were headed into Amazon AWS services from hardware and virtual servers that we maintained, into new technology where we used the "cloud". I was against it at first for security reasons until I attended the Amazon immersion day event and walked out of there very impressed. But it would mean we all at work in IT had to re-educate ourselves.

It meant that we would need to get certified, to study new information, then pass a test. To work extra hours, to work extra hard during the work day, to push the company into a new era, into new technologies, hopefully to refine our process, to save money, to make a better company.

I realized I was at a point where I could do that for them, or retire and do that for myself.

I decided I had given twenty-one years to this company and now I had the opportunity to do it for myself, to seek what I truly wanted to do, to "seek my bliss" if you will. To finally now that my family life was just myself now, my kids were raised and out into the world, I could break away and take the risk to do what I wanted to do.

And what was that?

Basically, to write. To be a writer. To be able to say, "I am a writer", when asked, and not, "Well I work in IT to pay the bills, but I'd like to be just a writer, to write full time." And here I am, finally. Now it's up to me.

So many make the mistake at a time like this to take their time, to not have the motivation others either inspired of them at a job, or demanded of them, depending on the work culture and environment. I have the skills, I have the motivation, I have the past spurring me on into what I want and not what I have to do. I have the mind for this, I have proven my skills,

I have produced products: short stories in horror, science fiction, books, ebooks, audiobooks, screenplays that although they haven't sold (yet), have placed in reputable screenplay contests. I have studied cinema since childhood and in college and on my own. My life has been a study in cinema, I have everything I need to do what I want in this area. I just need to do it.

Time will tell where this will lead.

However I have taken steps to set myself up for success. I have sold my house and I'm now renting. I am unencumbered by mortgage or debt. I have purchased equipment for producing films. I have not just time now to write full time, but to write when inspiration strikes me.

The gold standard of a writer who wishes to be a writer. That ability to jump up out of bed and write when inspiration hits, when your muse calls out to you, without worry for having to be up for a day job at 5AM, to be sharp all day long.

I now have to remember to use all these things, motivations, skills, a sharp mind, a habituated work ethic, the need to work extra hard, extra hours only now for myself, not for others, not for a large company. When I find a team to do this with me, to take this journey with me, I will expand all this to include them in the hope they will have their own inspiration, or will find mine infectious, a positive force to join with.

So many new small companies fail. Much of the reason for that is in not treating it like their previous jobs, where they had to answer to someone, to see much hard work applied to the mission. When they can finally choose their own mission, to succeed or fail on their own, they fail, because they do not realize how much harder it is without external influences monitoring them, riding them, wanting deadlines met, products produced, people supported.

I've revamped my old production company, LGN Productions. AKA, Last good Nerve Productions. A company started by a friend and myself, where we brought in a couple of others and produced a documentary in 1993-4. It aired twice in the Pacific Northwest. Then my life changed drastically and it all fell by the wayside. I moved out of Seattle.

I spent the next twenty some years being married, raising my kids, and working toward building a retirement that has finally come to fruition. Perhaps too soon, but I don't plan to simply sit on my laurels.

One might ask why, if I wanted to do this so bad for so long, why it took this long to get around to doing what I wanted to in life?

I tried. Trust me. I worked for a production company for some years and finally quit because I could never get anything I wrote on screen. I touched base with famous people when the opportunities arose but never did that pan out for me. It took years to get my first short story published. I tried from 1984 to 1990 when I sold my first story to a horror magazine. I'd been published in local computer rags before but they didn't pay.

Life kept taking over. I put things on hold. Finally when I realized my kids would be moving out soon, I started writing day and night. That was in 2010. We now have more outlets for people because of the internet and social media. Things started to turn for me. At some point I had gotten my mind into doing what I'd been practicing doing for so many years until finally it just seemed like the only thing holding me back was, my day job.

The job that was paying the bills. I realized I'd have to quit. Retirement was arriving and so I started working toward that. A situation where I'd have at least some income but could put all my time, energy and well, time, into doing what I wanted, what I thought I should do, what I was best at. I've established my name, my brand. I've gotten as far as I can, without quitting my job, my career. Finally, it was time.

And so, here we are.

I plan to act, to produce...stuff, to offer...something. Something worth paying attention to. Perhaps to change opinions, give laughter, share a nightmare that is fun to behold in a safe environment such as a story, a book, a film. Time will tell where this leads, and if I'm worthy.

Stay tuned....

Friday, November 11, 2016

On My Retirement - The End - Part 1

I wish you all a pleasant Veteran's Day.

UPDATE November 11, 2016 - 2:20PM PST - turned in my equipment at work. Had lunch at Kell's Irish Pub, pint of Guinness, shot of Jamesons 21 year old whiskey, clam chowder and enjoyed it very much.

Took the ferry home on my first and last commute ride from Bremerton to Seattle. Didn't realize I had the radio AND the dash fan on and killed the battery. Ferry worker gave me a quick jump and I zipped off the boat. Got home, trickle charging the battery to condition it happy and having a shot or two of Taliskers. Retirement, is here. Now the hard work begins and as I designate it. I'm a tough taskmaster, too.

UPDATE November 11, 2016 - 8:47AM PST - I am in Seattle. Took the Bremerton ferry over with my car, to drop off my things and retire from my company. Seeing old friends, experiencing nostalgia. So much here has changed since I was in town to work a year ago. Seattle it is said has more boom cranes putting up buildings than any other city in America, even San Francisco. It's noisy, there's a lot of people, many younger people probably in high tech companies. Amazon and Google are right next door. But then Amazon is everywhere it seems, even has entire floors of this building. I have turned in some of my stuff, my monitor, peripherals, my cell phone for being on call. I still have only my laptop and my ID badge which I'll turn in as I leave. Twenty-one years here and so much has changed. I had a family, a wife, two kids when I started here in 1995. I was a tech writer contractor for nine months before being hired on April Fool's Day. Once I leave here today, that is all behind me.


"A new life awaits where you can begin again." Blade Runner film reference. Love that film. I have new adventures. My son's gold mine which he just got the claim on. Video productions with my new equipment. And massive amounts of writing I can finally delve into. All I can say is thanks all and Cheers!


And now, back to reality....



I am crestfallen. But humor will help...some. Trump was voted to be president. America is in disarray. He has damaged us, with more to come. Capitalism will run rampant now. Republicans are in power. I won't say we are doomed, or that some good may come of it, if we don't all die instead. But dark times are ahead of us.

I wrote this blog and the next, part two, last week when I thought Hillary Clinton would win. I voted for Bernie, I voted for Hillary. There was no way Trump, a real sad person for a president, could win. He's Vice President Pence is not a good person either. Both guided by Gods. Trump by money, Pence by a Roman tradition in the Catholic church (maybe the Pope who is awesome most of the time, will have some sway with him).

Please world, wish us luck. Many of us are for America, for the World. Not for capitalism at all costs, not for conservative beliefs, but for progressive beliefs. We want to push the world into a better place, not go back to the defective and delusional 1950s.

Returning to our regularly scheduled programming now, today I start my retirement heading into uncertain and possible miserable times. I will write. I will not be censored. Stay tuned. I will always be honest with you, or you will know if I can not be and I will make it painfully obvious.

Putting aside now for a moment all the dark in our world,..

Cheers! I'm retiring!

I was in the Air Force in the late 1970s. I like to take today off for my years in service, for my friends I knew back then in the service and for the many friends I've lost who have been in the service. So I have today off.

Today is also the day I retire from the general workforce.

I am now sixty-one. How can I be that old? I have stayed mentally young because I have an open mind, I embrace positive change, and I seek truth. I had wanted to retire by fifty but I can't really say that I actually had tried to achieve that. It was more wish fulfillment. Family and life kept me from retiring that young. My own inattention perhaps kept me from it.

In 1995 I had been out of work for months. Fifteen hundred were let go from US West Technologies that January in 1994. But I was kept on, my contact extended for months. Then, I too was out of work. I got a few short contracts, I took on other contract agencies in a desperate attempt to find work, but then things dried up. There were a lot of people out of work that summer who did things just like what I did.

Bills were piled up. Thank God for unemployment as it paid our mortgage. My wife made a little money as a horse trainer but she was stressed out. I was stressed out. Then I got a call about a job but with an $8/hr cut in pay, I turned it down. I had to. Three times over the next couple of weeks they called back about it and I turned it down. Then I got a call from a woman recruiter.

She painted a very pretty picture of a new contract as a Sr. Technical Writer. Suddenly it started to sound real familiar. I stopped her and asked if this was the same job they kept calling me about. There was a hesitation and I knew it was. She then admitted it but talked me into just calling the guy who was the manager hiring and to talk to him.

From that point on as I see it now in hindsight, I was lost. I was hired before I hung up on the phone with her. I called the guy, I went in to see him. I kept hesitating and he finally just said to come in, meet people, look around and then say no if I wanted. So I went in. I accepted the job. I got him to try to raise the pay but they didn't have the money for that. At five and a half months out of work, I talked with my wife about it and ended up taking the job.

Nine months after I started the position, I was hired, on April 1st, 1996. Twenty-one years later, I am now retiring. I have in work there, gone from a subsidiary company, then after being absorbed by the parent company, we then became a part of a four state group.

Originally I had said I would take the job if and only if two things. One, I get my birthday off as I have never, against all odds, ever worked on my birthday. We get one day a year for us and only us and I take it. Although, as my mother was born on my birthday, I have never actually had it all to myself. Which explains much of that mindset.

But, you say, weren't you born on your mother's birthday as you're obviously younger than her?

She had always said that I was God's gift to her on her birthday. A pleasant, sweet motherly like thing to say. My being a smart ass teenager when she first told me this, my response was: I think you should reconsider that because considering I was the gift, perhaps God hated you. She laughed and said, Oh don't say that, you were my bundle of joy."

And at eight pounds, thirteen ounces (the same exact weight my son weighed at birth), it was quite a bundle indeed. When I was born my father called his mother and told her in his confusion that I was thirteen pounds eight ounces and almost gave my grandmother a heart attack.

The other thing I wanted a guarantee on if I took that job was that I would never, ever work for the parents company. This was a thirty person company and I didn't want to work for a big entity. I had recently worked for US West Technologies on a high level development team. It was an amazing opportunity to see corporate workings at such a level. And I never wanted that view point again.

So I took the job. It took me over two years to recouperate from my recently acquired debt in my loss per hour of a sizable sum. But I learned a lot and loved the people I worked with. Then in the last years of the dotcom boom, the manager left along with others. My phone rang so much with calls form headhunters trying to steal me away, I had to stop answering the phone as I couldn't get any work done.

I had wanted to go but my wife was fearful of the months out of work and was looking the current job as a bird in the hand. Others went off, made lots of money, bought hot cars, paid off houses with stock options and so on while I remained.

As each person left, I got their server. I started as a tech writer, but one who could become a webmaster. Then I became by default as other left, the network guy, the DBA, the security guy, the hardware guy, the software guy. I took servers out of the box, physically built them up, installed software, secured them, put them on the network and ran, updated, upgraded, secured them.

At one point I didn't have a manager for eighteen months. I was ordered to see the network assimilated by the corporate group. I was now just part of a team, not what was once a standalone company. Bill Gates stole our president. Paul Allen stole others. We did good work. But the new headquarters in Portland didn't like our little group. We had a bad reputation. Because we did good work. But that's for another time and is part of a previous blog a while back.

I saw that network into the bigger picture. I was derided, ignored, people didn't know me and didn't want me because I was part of a now defunct entity. And yet I continued. Eventually the main money making network in Washington state was part of the overall new network.

The entire company once was hit by a virus and in a teleconference across four states once about it, this being after it was all over, I was derided again. But I was able to point out that of all the parts of the network the only part that was not affected at all was the one I ran. During that time and after I was associated with a group started by our head of computer security. An amazing guy.

I’ve had a secret clearance for nuclear weapons in the Air Force, been involved through the aforementioned company and elsewhere in the past, with cyber security issues and as well being a member from the beginning of our private international Agora group for computer security experts and law enforcement, drawing from national and international police forces (Secret Service, NSA, Australian police, Canadian Mounties, etc.).

This was set up by our previous security head in Washington, Kirk Bailey Chief Information Security Officer of UW, whom I worked with in that group for tech setup along with a few others. UW is also one of my alma maters and I worked there for seven and a half years. Worked in the Personnel Office and with the Psychology Department on their Marital Research project and other things.

Over the years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, we were given briefings from people like now the famous Richard Clarke (former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism for the United States), the NSA, President’s Committee on the Infrastructure, and so on.

The Agora set up an ad hoc team that built Seattle Police Department’s first cybersecurity unit.

I was a system/network still running that network until we got a new manager. She further restructured things and moved me to another team. A new team of web/internet systems administrators. Finally I would have someone to talk to about my job, about issues and problems.

I am now retiring from that team. I was moved off of it along with many others from other teams in an attempt to build a team of experts on a middle tier team between the initial help you got in calling support, to the engineering teams such as I had been on and am now back on again. That middle level team lasted just over four years.

It is now twenty-one years later from starting at this company. Today is my last day.

The last day working with people I've known for decades. When I delivered the news at the end of our weekly team teleconference, you could hear a pin drop. Then we ended the meeting. I got several congratulations from teammates and one or two, "I'm envious". I will no longer have to deal with corporate issues. No more being, "on call" for problems where a computer could call me any hour day or night for problems.

No more on call. I had my first on call in 1976 in the Air Force for nuclear war. If I got called, we all went to the base, sent of nuclear bombers, and knew that cities were about to be nuked, people melted or disintegrated. Years later I would pull  on call support for medical centers when I worked on the mainframe for two major medical centers in Seattle for their Radiology and Pathology departments.

Then I got his job when I was on call for not cities dying, not people dying, but web sites dying in the middle of the night. People asked me why I was always so calm in this job when I first started it. I could only reply that masses of people wouldn't die, individuals wouldn't die, no one would die, so what's the panic?

Finally, no more on call.

I have for years wanted the luxury of writing at my leisure, or under my self imposed pressure. Of producing artistic things, not technological ones. Of seeking my bliss, not a paycheck. Because working for a company puts you on a fixed income. You do the same things over and over.

Now the sky is the limit. I can turn on a dime. I am the team. My potential now is the sky and beyond, not the corporate boardroom or someone's limited vision. Limited either from lack of vision or corporate restriction. I can delve into art and satiate my desire to follow my passions, my talents, the talents I seem to be best suited for, that have been restrained for so long.

Life now feels...wonderful. Like I can finally breathe, can finally follow my own path. I can post during the day where I want, what I want. I am not restrained by what my fellow workers or executives might see me say online. I can be fully open and honest, restricted by my own good taste and sensibilities.

Retirement. This isn't retirement for me. It is the beginning of actually doing what I've wanted to do, All my life. It is the initiation.

The future is the potential. My energy, my vision, my orientation, my skills, my ability to see, to act upon, to produce...whatever I want.

People complain about retirement. When should it be? Should we raise the age limit. Idiocy. We need to get our economy under control. We need to work toward people retiring younger and younger so they can then turn themselves to what is important to them, what is important to our nation, and humanity. We need to orient them that retirement isn't just vacations, doing nothing, puttering around the garden.

Retirement in that sense is empowerment, self-actualization to do what you can and want to, to seek your true potential outside of the confines of business or government. It should be a point to take risks,

A government should have as focus, empowering it's citizens, raising us as a culture above. It shouldn't just be to maintain, to just keep out heads above water so we don't drown. Days to work per week should be less, hours worked per day should be less. Age to retire should be lowered and lowered until one day you only have to work at all if you want.

However at that point we also need to educated our generations to have a certain orientation at retirement, or in life. To seek passion to produce quality. To seek to better yourself, our nation and the entire human species.

And so I reach for retirement with that all in mind.

I won't be just sitting around on vacation. I have revived my production company.
Stay tuned....

Monday, November 7, 2016

Inflammatory speech is bad, understandable, but bad

Update (11/9): Trump is president elect. There is nothing to say at this point. We'll manage. We always do. But we've taken steps back in our national progress within the realms of humanity. We can only hope Trump turns the tide on his electorate and does what America needs and not what the mean spirited, hurting workforce, ignorant of reality beyond right wing diatribe part of America, desires.

Trump has damaged the American psyche like no other presidential candidate before in his attempt to win the presidency. He has beat America down, cried destitution and destruction are all about us in his covert idioms speaking to many about racism and how they are better than those others. He now thinks he can not become the mask he has worn, as Shakespeare said we always will. And what have we done for his efforts in his insane, disingenuous ways? We have given to him on a silver platter, the highest office in our nation as his reward for these actions. Update (11/8): It's Election Day! Vote your mind, not your heart! Voting your heart is how some people got us into this mess. Do what is right, not what simply makes you feel good for right now! Because you're stuck with that vote for the next four years. At least. Wishing you all the best whereever you are!
Short and sweet today (11/7).
First of all I'd just like to say that on this day (November 7th) in 1990, Ireland got their first female president. America can do it too! We'll find out tomorrow. we're not stupid, just slow. Some might say cautious. Others might say we alwsays do the right thing, but after we've tried everything else first (Winston CHurchill).
As someone recently pointed out to me in a comment on a diatribe I had posted elsewhere, and as I believe New York Times reporter Susanne Craig said on Charlie Rose last week, inflammatory speech is not going to change anyone's mind.

True. it is something I wrestle with daily and I cannot wait till this election is over, regardless who wins. Because really, this isn't me. It has me stressed out. Why? Because I've talked with a lot of conservatives this past year. I've ended up trying to explain things to them. Typically they refuse to accept what I can prove to them. Things they should have already proven to themselves. Things that are easily refuted. Beliefs that let them remain angry, maintain their frustration because in some way it makes them feel good. It makes me angry. I admit it. They are angry too. To be angry, to want change. Which I've wanted for decades and never seems to happen. But to become a nihilist or anarchist in choosing Trump, is foolish. I know why I am feeling this way. It is because in talking to conservatives, I CAN and have proven my case. Time and again. The info is out there, easily attained. But they have entrenched themselves so deeply in their being misinformed that it takes me a long time to set out how they are incorrect. That's MY job? No. It's theirs. And they don't really want to hear it anyway, to be proven wrong.They just want to be angry. And support someone who is angry along with them, even if he's wrong, or not a great person, and a terrible candidate or at least a terrible potential president. So it's really just my frustration in my having to waste my time over and over, saying the same things, to people who don't want to be shown how things actually are. Who think they are well informed from the evening news or some web sites, all because they don't like how things are anyway. So I waste my time. I'm tired of it. And maybe I understand them just a little bit. When you realize you have no recourse to correct things, you get angry and you just want to blast someone. Not with a gun (I don't anyway) but with your emotion. And I suppose that's what they are doing with Trump. But please, don't try to impose him on us. Find a more productive way. Tearing things down isn't how we fix things. Staying on our current course isn't either, though slow progress is better than no progress. We do have slow progress. You do know that, right? Change is coming. It just ins't going to come as fast as people want it. Or need it. America is like a human body. Parts of it just no longer need to do what they have been doing. In riding a bike, you may need to learn to ride a motorcycle instead, or an airplane. And it hurts. You're old skill dies, you have to learn a new one. If you can't, you are no longer relevant. You're out of the work force. So find a job. That's what you tell others. And those people are pissed about it. And so are you. But you don't think they have a right to that. Just you do. But that's not our fault. It's actually theirs. Or yours. It's only ours if you think we should pay for things like (re)education. But that's a free handout. Right? Socialism. Right? See? And that has to do some with trade deals. Some of us will get screwed. Our fault? No. Yours? Yes, and no. But do I have to suffer because you do? Because your antiquated job went away, because it needed to go away? So, all of us should suffer because a few do? You didn't say that about others before. Why are you important now, then? Minorities have lived that kind of thing all their lives. How's it feel? See? But now you're pissed for an entirely different reason. Not to worry. Trump will fix everything. And now, this....

#Trump #Hillary #Vote

Monday, October 31, 2016

World? Don't Abandon us now! Or, Our Great American Experiment

First off. Happy Halloweed!

Um, HalloweeN! (Yeah, I live in Washington, a legal pot state).

Hope you have a great, fun time tonight. Be safe! Enjoy friends and family! Scare yourself a little.
Here, I'll start you off....
BOO!
Pretty damn scary. Right? Maybe too terrifying? Too soon?

Okay. Have fun! Moving on....

When you are for someone like Hillary for the best of reasons, and then someone like Bernie jumps into the race, you really have to appreciate our American system.
But then when you see people supporting a candidate like Trump, to the point we have now gotten, if you do not seriously question our system, those voters and who is allowed to vote under those circumstances, you should be questioning if not yourself, the system. I'm all for equality. But when you take an informed voter and put them up against a Trump voter, equality is sorely lacking there. A voter who is an uninformed (Trump) voter, who believes that in merely thinking they are informed is as good as actually being informed, and not with nonsense but with actual and relevant information that is intimately tied to the real world at large, then you have GOT to ask yourself: Have we, or better still, when have we taken a jaunt off the path of our Grand Experiment and into the darkness? An experiment indicates we can make mistakes and correct them. Are we blatantly seeing something that needs correcting? Of course if Trump loses, then we're good. But if he can get this close, if someone like him can, we are setting ourselves up in the future for some very bad times. Shouldn't we course correct? It is like we have two pilots on our ship. Democrats and republicans, progressives and conservatives. The more enlightened and the Dim. Obviously these parties are both defective. IF and WHEN they stop working together. IF they work together then we can pilot our great vessel across stormy seas and again into safe harbors. And I lay this at the feet of the Republicans for their obstructionist actions. Still, shouldn't we be doing something to course correct before the iceberg is halfway through our great ship? Shouldn't we? Or do we believe something this dangerous will autocorrect? In doing nothing do we believe we are doing something, because we are. You have the thought now. You have already in reading this considered it. And that alone, may be enough. Don't stop thinking. Just, don't. We have an entire political party for that, the GOP, the Grand Obstructionist Party (Grand Obfuscation Party works too, I suppose). And those independents who are having such trouble deciding? They are not a party to those enlightened thoughts. They just wish to believe they are. They too are a part of the problem. Again. Just don't stop thinking. But don't think along the path of foolishness either. Again, we have a party for that.