Monday, November 30, 2009

Friday, April 03, 2009

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Occassional Photo #2



Saw this in front of house on Hwy 49 on the way back from Jackson. Wow!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Occasional Photo #1




I wanted to start my own "photo of the day" but realized it probably wouldn't happen, not everyday. So here's is the first in my series of "Occasional Photos." Sometimes artsy, sometimes fartsy, sometimes witty, sometimes pretty, sometimes none of the above. We'll see what happens. But these will all be photos that I've taken to keep me learning about photography and to hopefully, "occasionally," bring a smile to someone else.

Occasional Photo #1
I've always loved collaging with magazine clippings to create abstract images but I've always wanted to take that same approach into photography so that I could have a more three dimensional feel to the images without having to make it a lasting sculpture. I think this shot is my first baby step in that direction.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ron Paul: Inflation Tax & The Dollar Bubble

I don't pretend to understand all of the details of how our country has gotten itself into the financial mess that we are in or how we can get ourselves out of it, but Ron Paul has opened my eyes and brain to the subject and has given me a good idea of what is happening with the weakening of our dollar. Thank god there is at least one man like this in congress who speaks with intelligence, knowledge and honesty without political pandering or posing. Can we please elect more like him????!!!!!



Here is Ron Paul's official Senate web page. He has a weekly column and great videos of him on the house floor and in other congressional meetings. It's a good clean site with just his information on it, in case you're tired of sifting through Ron Paul fan-sites. Glad they're out there but it's nice to go straight to the source.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

SERIOUSLY, IRAN IS NEXT.

I found this article on www.presstv.ir


Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul says members of Congress have voiced support for a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran.




"I hear members of Congress saying 'if we could only nuke them'," said the congressman Thursday.

"If we do (attack) it is going to be a disaster," he told the Alex Jones Show.

The 72-year-old veteran politician added that the atmosphere in Congress indicates that a military strike on Iran has already been condoned.

"It is still totally bewildering to me when I see men and women in the Congress that I know and like doing this just to get along. Most of them will say, 'I agree with you on all you say but the Iranians are bad people and they might attack us some day," Paul said.

Referring to House Congressional Resolution 362 that he calls the 'Virtual Iran War Resolution', Paul explained the president plans to impose 'an absolute blockade of the entire country of Iran, and punish any country or any business group around the world if they trade with Iran'.

Despite the recent UN nuclear watchdog report conceding that there is no link between the use of nuclear material and the 'alleged studies' of weaponization in Iran's nuclear facilities, Washington accuses Tehran of pursuing a military nuclear program.

MD/AA

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Iran is next. Really!

Covert Operations in Iran Proposed by Bush Administration, OK'd by Congress.

I hope that this story is all over the place very soon. But if it gets buried I want as many people as possible to find out about it and look into it themselves.

A story was just broken by Seymour Hersh at the New Yorker saying that the Bush administration and Congress agreed late last year to fund a four hundred million dollar covert operation in Iran. The plan is to destabilize the current regime in Iran by participating in what seems to be terrorist-like practices. Hersh explained in an interview on "Fresh Air" with Terri Gross that he has gathered that the plan is to disturb the regime in Iran from the inside in order to provoke them into some kind of action that could warrant a military reaction from the United States.

Basically, the Bush administration wants to do in Iran what we did in Iraq but first we have to provoke them into doing something stupid so we can point the finger and say "Get 'em."

I'm currently reading Ron Paul's "Revolution: A Manifesto" (thanks Mom) and am becoming a complete convert when it comes to his idea of returning America to it's original non-interventionist policy. What the Bush administration and our Democratic Congress have agreed to is by far the complete opposite of non-interventionist. If we have to provoke a country by covert operations into committing some unplanned act of aggression in order to justify our own military action against them then isn't that a huge sign that maybe that country wasn't any kind of a threat in the first place???? What the hell is going on with our government? How is this a good idea and who is it supposed to benefit???

At the top of this post is a link to Seymour Hersh being interviewed on "Fresh Air." Here is a link to his New Yorker article: "Preparing The Battlefield."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Water Powered Cars Are Here! Maybe?

Watch these two videos to get an idea of the technology that is out there right now that could easily and cheaply replace oil as the substance that runs the world. Water. The Japanese company isn't revealing any secrets about how their car runs on water but the second video of the American inventor says that it's the conversion of H20 to HHO gas that is the secret. It's accomplished through a form of electrolysis that breaks down the molecules of water into HHO gas.

I've got to find out more about this. Anyone else who has more details or discovers anything of interest please let me know. Beware of hoax sites though. I found a few "too good to be true" sites out there trying to capitalize on the desperation and lack of knowledge on this process. But I don't believe that means this whole process is bunk. These other companies seem legit and have applied for patents.







Okay, I may have been overzealous and pretty naive again. Below is a story I found on The Huffington Post saying that water powered cars have been and still are a hoax.

Genepax Water Car: Too Good to be True? Yeah

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Smoky Mountain Space Ninja

Smoky Mountain Space Ninja is a short short short short inspired by walking sticks, King Crimson and the Smoky Mountain National Park. Enjoy?

Monday, May 19, 2008

ROBOT PARTY!!!



Thanks to everyone for coming to Graham's robot party and making his 2nd birthday a truly special day. He had so much fun and so did we. A HUGE thanks to Eric Leatherwood a.k.a. ROBOT GUY. Eric very generously volunteered to entertain the kids with his own homemade robot suit. It was truly amazing what he was able to create out of a Rubbermaid tub and a bucket. My favorite moment of the day has to be when Eric came to visit Graham before the party, as the robot guy, and then walked down the street back to his house still in the outfit waving to passers by as if it were completely normal for a robot to be taking an afternoon stroll down our street. Priceless!

We also loved all of the robot themed presents. We had no idea the robot theme would catch on in such a big way but it made the day all the more memorable. Without a doubt the "Mr. Roboto" card was a huge hit with Graham. Thanks to his cousin Noah for picking that one out.


It was great having such a loving group of friends and family there to share the day with us.




Graham also enjoyed opening presents from his Gramma Lou and Grandpa Scott the next day. His favorites were without a doubt the tee-pee that we set up in his room and the big beach ball sprinkler.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Music & Video Experimentation

Clinton and I got together a few weeks ago with the intention of recording several "space rock" jams. Nothing ever "rocked" very much but I enjoyed a lot of what we did. It was all very atmospheric but there were some nice moments that stood out. I decided to take one of those more coherent takes and put a spacey video to it. So keep in mind that this is simply the video equivalent of a space jam. I'd love to do more stuff like this though.

Also, I hope to put up more examples of my video work in the near future. It's something I've been doing for close to 10 years now but I have rarely shared any of my work with friends and family. Mainly because it's just about all commercials for local tv. So the content is always blaaaahhh but I guess I could at least show off some of my technique.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The United States of Paranoia cont'd...

In my previous post (see below) I talked about the apocalyptic tone of a political discussion that I had with two of my friends last week. The gist of it was that the ever rising gas prices we see are by design and are not due to uncontrollable market forces. Clinton, one of my friends at the bar that night, said that all the talk of oil supplies diminishing is bullshit and that it is only the refinement of oil that is diminishing. That is by design so that the oil companies can jack up the price of gas. Sounds pretty darn likely to me.

As the night went on this tone of conspiracy took hold of me and I could almost smell it in the air. Clinton asked if we had watched the movie "Loose Change" which is a documentary about how 9/11 was supposedly an "inside job" carried out by our own government whose intention was to create a reason for us to invade Iraq. Clinton even proposed an argument that I've never heard anywhere else about why we invaded Iraq: To keep their oil in the ground. It sort of makes sense if you continue with the train of thought that assumes that oil companies are trying to drive up the price of gas by creating an artificial shortage. Pretty interesting theory without a doubt.

We went on like this for a few hours until Clinton had to go home and I went with Mik to hear him play open-mic-night at The Thirsty Hippo. I really enjoyed that night and felt some kind of fiery spark or something stirring in me as I listened to the music, talked to some familiar faces and ordered my last beer of the night. It had all been very fun and interesting.

When I woke up the next morning and went to work, I found myself unloading all of these conspiratorial ideas on my coworkers and asking their opinions, confronting them with a few of the suspicious morsels Clinton had armed me with the night before and waiting for their reactions. I got some odd stares and a few disturbing questions of their own that they threw out. This was work though, it was not the time or place to allow any kind of discussion on par with the night before but I realized that my juices were still flowing with all of these questions and what I started to recognize as real fears. I described the scene from the night before to Michael and Spencer, my coworkers, and admitted that I didn't have any conclusive evidence and couldn't say exactly what definitive beliefs I had about these issues. Regardless, I did feel like the ground was shaking a little under my feet. I no longer felt very steady. I had taken a lot of what we had talked about the night before to heart and now my somewhat stable reality that I was relatively comfortable with the day before was no longer comfortable and I found myself feeling like everything I had come to rely on could really fall apart at any moment. They humored me but we went on to other subjects and got on with our day.

I continued to talk about this stuff to Sam throughout the weekend. I did it all half jokingly because I know her tendency to avoid political discussions that approach anything too scary and conspiracy theories are by nature pretty scary. I joked that I was ready to start buying gold coins and so that we could line our walls with them. I told her how strange I think it is that I've heard the same thing about buying gold now from both Clinton and Glenn Beck. It was one of those "I'm just saying" moments. Meanwhile, I was wondering to myself how much gold we could possibly buy with our economic stimulus refund.

I realized that day, talking to Sam, that I wanted to blog about this because I wanted to understand what I think about all of it myself. Actually getting at the truth of these conspiracy theories is pretty much a full time job. I want to discover the truth about issues as huge as this. But I find myself so easily overwhelmed and unable to track down the truth. I'm not saying that I'm a person who accepts blindly whatever I am told by the media or our government but the requirements of fact checking everything I hear about our economy, military actions and more is difficult to fit in with changing diapers, cooking supper, paying bills, completing projects at work, etc, etc... So, where does that leave me?

I guess I find myself not very changed after all of this typing. I'm still suspicious and I consider there to be a lot of truth in the idea that there are conspiracies motivated by greed that leave the common man, me, my friends and my family as living out the role of sacrificial pawns in a larger game. That's nothing new, right?

I guess what all this blogging is about then is me trying to figure out how much I want to fight back against that role. We took Graham to see "Horton Hears a Who" a few weekends ago. In the end it is one tiny voice that breaks through and lets the tiny people of Whoville be heard and be accepted as actually existing and as important to the larger, giant animals in the jungle that thought they were only looking at a speck of dust. It's a powerful message and I guess what I realize is that it is a struggle that will always exist. The struggle for me is figuring out how to fight against those destructive powers in the world, once I've determined what they are, while maintaining a life that is positive and joyful instead of paranoid. I'm a dad now and a husband. The world looked very different when I was 20 something and single. I was an idealist. Nothing seemed very real to me then. I think that the shaky foundation that I feel under my feet now is a new structure being built. This is my adult life and it's harder because this one doesn't feel like a game, I'm really playing for keeps.

What I get from all of this then is that mere acceptance is not acceptable. You do have to fight back and participate in building the reality that you want to live in. It's not my calling to vet every news story that appears on the internet or take up a sign for every injustice in the world. But I can instill in Graham a healthy questioning spirit that refuses to roll over and accept someone else's prescribed role by living that out in my own life. So: be aware, be happy, be courageous. This is my summation of this two parter blog titled "The United States of Paranoia" and also: don't get so f****** freaked out when talking to Clinton about politics. Done.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The United States of Paranoia

For years my weekends and sometimes weeknights have been spent playing in bands. For the past almost ten years, Buffalo Nickel was my main focus. The band provided me with many hours of enjoyment, some money and almost all of my time spent with friends i.e. the guys in the band. Buffalo Nickel has been on an extended hiatus for months now and had really been slowing down for more than a year. So I've spent very little time with friends in the past year since my peer group was my band.

My wife, Samantha, has been going out on Tuesday nights for the past few months to knit with a group of her "crafty" friends. She even started a blog to document their get togethers and other bloggable events. She encouraged me to take a night every week to go out with friends as well. Clinton, from Buffalo Nickel, and I decided we'd make Wednesday night our night to go hang out, drink beer, play music or whatever. It's been fun. I'm glad Sam pushed me to do that.

This past Wednesday we went to The Keg & Barrel near my house to catch up. We actually talked Mik into coming too. It was a nice get together. But the tone took a somewhat apocalyptic tone when we got into politics. Clinton is a political news fiend (see his blog.) I love that about him. I feel like I will always be up to date on the most controversial political issues when I sit down with him. He always sites his sources and gives countless details to fill me in on the whole story.. Granted, I do often feel a little afloat in a sea of information when we get into politics but I'm such a news-skimmer on my own time that I feel like I'm sitting down to a full, hearty meal of politics when I talk with Clinton.

This night we got into the future of America's economy and went into even scarier territory later. The fact that America's economic future is very unstable right now was not news to me. I was a Ron Paul supporter for many months for that very reason. Ron Paul was, and in my mind still is, the only presidential candidate who has spoken honestly about the current state of our economy and was the only one who offered very difficult but very real solutions to reversing the devastating path that we've been on. Hillary and Obama both want universal health care. In the long run, I believe that that is what I want for the country as well. But given our financial state right now I can't see how spending that much more money, that we don't have, is a healthy thing for our country. And of course McCain is happy with continuing a war that can't be won. Conservatives bluster so much about Democrats wanting a welfare state and that is exactly what we've been spending millions, excuse me, BILLIONS of dollars on in Iraq for all these years, and McCain would only continue that. So the economy is in the tank, I know.

So during this economic discussion Clinton painted a picture of America's future that was very bleak and sent chills down my spine. We talked about how buying gold is something that alot of people are pushing right now. The idea being that our printed money is going to be toilet paper in a matter of years and that gold will be the only form of currency worth anything in the near future. When Glenn Beck and Clinton Kirby agree on something that's when I start to worry. Clinton proposed that we're not so far away from pushing around wheelbarrels full of money just to go by bread and milk.

As far out as his vision of America seemed, I couldn't help but believe it a little bit as he pointed to the gas sign across the street at the Jr. Food Mart "Regular $3.27." We talked about how the gas prices are arbitrarily set by a group of the most powerful people and companies in the world. Supposedly there is not a shortage of oil in the world, as is claimed, but only a shortage of refinement which jacks up the price of gas. A business choosing not to refine oil could blame that decision on a lack of demand, in other words, they are trying to save money by not refining more than is needed. But for companies that are reporting record profits it is hard to accept that they are pinching pennies out of necessity. Out of greed would be more like it. And hey, why not? Businesses are supposed to be all about the money. That's what keeps a business going. So what's the big deal? Are they supposed to take a humanitarian interest in us "first-worlders" who are having to reduce our gas consumption and pay more for the products we buy? Every good capitalist would have to say "NO", right? But what happens when our government is actually in-cahoots with this group making decisions that hurt America. Why would they do that? What's the deal? This is where it got ugly... (To be continued)

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Sunday Drive

We went to church for the first time in six months this weekend. Graham cried when we left him in the nursery again. It's always hard to walk away from him like that. Still, we took the pager they give to parents so they can page in case of emergency (or if your child won't stop crying) and left for the sanctuary wincing at every shriek. Eventually, Sam went and got him for communion and all was well again.
I've always been nervous in church. The first few times we went I felt like at any moment I was going to be called on by the preacher. For what reason, I don't know. It wasn't rational but it was very real. I'm better now. I really like the preacher and find myself enjoying his sermons quite often (when we go.) But I still always feel like an outsider.
I guess it's because I've never belonged to any church, so I always feel like I'm crashing a club that I wasn't really invited to. I've got hang ups with church, but I'm working them out.
I did respond to the preacher's message of "finding your mission." Eddie (said preacher) mentioned that the church has an Edwards street ministry. They feed, clothe and/or house the needy, I'm assuming. Also the church will be involved in several Habitat For Humanity building projects. Both of those appeal to me. In the past few years I've felt a need to expend some of my energy to help other people. I complain about how our government treats people unfairly and does more to hurt people in need than to help them. Yet I've done pretty much nothing to help people myself and I waste a lot of time and energy doing not much of anything. So church this weekend made me realize that I need to give a lot more than lip service to my beliefs.

After Church we ended up driving to Purvis. We were headed to Sam's to do our grocery shopping when Graham fell into a much needed nap. We chose to just keep driving instead of waking him up. We found ourselves in Purvis at the Flower Bed Nursery. We had a great time looking at all the different kinds of plants and flowers. I remembered how much I love the "succulent" varieties.

I think that's the category that jade plants fall into. Their leaves are so thick and waxy that they look almost more like strange animals more than plants. I'd love to get some of those for our house. Graham and I had fun dodging the sprinklers and Sam brought the camera in so we both took turns taking pictures of Graham and all the plants and flowers.

We loaded back up in the orange-mobile, Honda Element, and decided to stop right down the road at Granny's antique shop. We couldn't resist the sign (pictured here - if I can figure out how to post it.)
There were some friendly older ladies sitting at the table inside that Graham took to immediately and vice-versa. We sat him in the chair next to them and let him eat cookies and tell them about how much he likes robots and Spiderman while we looked around. We found a few really cool things and I went nuts with the camera.

I found a funny novelty toy of a guy who pulls his pants down to moon you when you squeeze a plastic bulb with a hose attached to it. I forgot how much fun antique shops can be.

After Purvis we met up with our friends Clinton, Marti and their 4 yr old Zander at Chili's. Zander greeted us at the door and gave Graham a big hug and grabbed his hand to show him the way to the table. I thought Graham might be a little testy, or weepy, being pulled around like that. But he really took to Zander and had fun playing with the toys Zander offered to him.
It was a nice moment to see Graham beginning to realize that he had a friend. That was pretty special. Zander entertained us all by telling "jokes." These consisted of him saying things like "How did the nose get in the boogers?" "How?" "They squished in there. GET IT?!!!." Priceless joke telling. It was priceless day all around. It reminded me that the most ordinary of days can become extraordinary and we should take the time to let those moments happen.

Friday, December 15, 2006

To Blog Or Not To Blog

I've been slow to join the blogosphere because I've had a hard time getting the concept of exactly what kind of venue a blog is for staging my thoughts. I don't typically enjoy going on political diatribes and a blog just doesn't seem like the place for airing the intimate details of my life. So why have a blog? Who will read it anyway? I don't know.

Last night a friend told me about his blog that he keeps up on a somewhat regular basis. He started it with the idea that it would give him a way to enter into a dialogue with a wide variety of people that he wouldn't necessarily interact with outside of the blogosphere. I like that approach. It seems that most blogs I've read are "for insiders only" and aren't really inviting of different opinions unless it's to start a rabid fight over politics that ends up as a rhetorical spitting match. So I'm starting this blog with the hope that I can eventually find a group of bloggers that want to share ideas and argue differing points of view in a way that really tries to get at something honest and real instead of just using the blogosphere as a platform for belittling others.

Okay, maybe I'm being too grandiose in my reasoning for "why I blog." I'll probably just end up using it to talk about the weather and show off cute pictures of our 7 month old. But wherever it goes from here, at least I now have my first official blog posting.