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November 26, 2002

Green spaces help you live longer

This article talks about a study by Japanese researchers, published on Tuesday, found that the quality of an older person's surroundings were a good indicator of their survival chances - even after their wealth and actual ages had been accounted for.

Posted by wonko at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

Lets go easy on those poor power plants.

This article explains how the Bush Administration is easing clean air rules on utilities, refineries and manufacturers, so they don't have to install expensive anti-pollution equipment. I for one agree with this. We need to sympathize with those power plants which can only pay their execs in the millions. I think sacrificing our planet is a small price to pay for making sure they get their bonuses.

If we don't take these drastic measures, we might drive more companies to do what these poor companies did, falsely claiming power plant shutdowns in order to raise prices.

Lets learn from our mistakes. What's more important, the environment, or power plant executives.

Posted by wonko at 02:51 AM | Comments (0)

Two Plank'en it.

Last Monday and Tuesday, I went skiing for the first time. At first, Sarah was teaching me, but being as it was only her second time on skis, it was slow going. The next day, my friend Wes, who's a ski instructor, spent a couple hours with Sarah and I showing us the ropes (or the slopes). After just a little while, I was doing tentative parallel turns. I even successfully made it down a blue run. Sarah did awesome herself and was really excited about the opportunity to get instruction. I still like snowboarding more, but skiing presents a new challenge which has its own benefits, especially in mountaineering.

Posted by wonko at 02:42 AM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2002

I fall go boom.

Oops! I just got back from the hospital. I guess I tore my AC ligament in my shoulder. Snowboarding of course. I was looking behind me when I caught my toeside edge and went boom... shoulder first. It was obvious something was wrong when we noticed a bone sticking too high in my shoulder. The good news is... no re-setting or surgery is needed. The bad news is, its gonna be painful (it is painful), its gonna take 4-6 weeks to heal, and I have a bone which will permanently stick out of the top of my shoulder a little. Oh well, could be worse.

Posted by wonko at 06:30 AM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2002

Dream: Elementary School

I have a recurring dream that takes place at my elementary school. In the dream I am current age, and the people I see, whom I went to school with, are also current age. The dream is usually very nostalgic, depressing and emotional. I didn't like that period so much. A couple nights ago I had the same dream, though for the first time, it had changed in tone. I was my current age, as was all my old peers, and the school hadn't changed, but I felt different about it. It was the last day of school and I was just visiting to see my old teachers to tell them what I had been up to. In the past, when I'd had this dream, it wasn't necessarily a positive message I had for my old teachers. This time, however, I felt better. It was still nostalgic and emotional, but it wasn't depressing. I realized that I was happy with my life and the direction it was going. I wanted to show my old teachers how much I'd changed, that I'd become a completed different person.

There was one part of the dream that wasn't happy. At some point in the dream, there was an assembly and they were handing this mike around for people to say a few words. Somehow the mike came to me and I said some enthusiastic things and gave the mike back. I don't remember what I said, nor do I think it was important. Later in the dream I saw one of the 'cool kids' from when I was young, though he was current age. He made fun of me for what I said in the mike, though his insult made no sense, since I hadn't said anything stupid. Nonetheless, it made me furious and I immediately yelled back at him, obviously shaken. To me, this part of the dream meant that I haven't gotten over my old prejudice against the 'cool kids', which probably developed in the first grade. I'm being very general when I say, 'cool kids', so I'll explain what I mean. The cool kids are popular for no particular reason. They are complete following tools, yet people follow them because of it. They are handed things, just because they are popular, which makes them try even less. They cheat and win, while others play fair and fall second. Worst of all, they roam through life oblivious to their selfishness believing their privilege an inalienable right which was bestowed upon them for reasons they probably don't dare ask. The fact that most are beneath them is a consequence of evolution and no fault of theirs.

The strangest part of all, is the seemingly telepathic ability the 'cool kids' have at finding those who aren't as confident. Like how an animal can sense fear. This too is probably an evolutionary thing since its much easier for them to pick on those they know do not have the confidence to ignore them. With each win, the cool kid gets stronger in his own mind and in the public eye.

Perhaps I am being harsh, but that is to be expected since we've already established I'm prejudice against them. The larger question is why it still bothers me. I'm not sure, probably has something to do with fairness or hard work paying off. I'm less afflicted by this than I used to be, probably because I feel more confident about who I am, not feeling as strong a need to be accepted by everyone. But it still bothers me. Later in life I'm finding two interesting things though. When I was young I believed after high school, the cool kids would all fade away because of their lack of trying. In reality many of them go on to be very successful just because of their privilege. The contradicting thing I learned was that some of the cool kids aren't as bad anymore and don't feel the need to look down on others as much. While there is still some subconscious something which gives them privilege and they are still unaware of that fact, they are not as bad as they used to be.

I am sure, one of the reasons I always strive to be the boss is because it gives me a conformable, confident position where I am above ridicule. I'd like to believe I use my position to demonstrate how 'power' should act. Not by bossing people around, but by being an example and a sympathetic force toward achieving the groups goals. The final analysis, its hopeless to attempt to make life fair, the only hope is to learn to deal with it, confidently. You can't change others, only yourself.

Posted by wonko at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2002

Winter is here.

As you can see from this picture taken from my front door, Winter has come... with a vengeance! It started snowing Thursday morning and hasn't stopped since.
The mountain opened Thursday. On Friday I went up to the mountain to get my first ride of the season, but they had closed the lifts due to high wind. So, for fun, I hiked up to McCoy Station with my board. The wind and snow was intense. It took my an hour and a half hike up and I had to drop to the ground many times during particularly gusty periods, too windy to walk. At McCoy, I warmed up at Brian's place, then boarded down in 0 visibility.
Today, the mountain had 4 lifts open and the snow keeps falling. Pretty soon, the entire mountain will be open. This is my first real snow winter and so far... I'm loving it!.

Posted by wonko at 08:18 AM | Comments (2)


I've observed (in previous blogs), that my generation has come to disagree with out parents notion of getting a job, whether you like it or not, and working hard now so that you can do what you want later in life. We've come to this conclusion for a number of pragmatic reasons. Firstly, jobs just aren't secure anymore. You can be laid off at any time for any reason. Secondly, life is short and tomorrow may never come, so a balance is needed between work to survive and having fun. These are thoughts I've had for a long time, but I made a new observation today about the new generation of youth.

This is just a theory mind you, I haven't flushed it out. It appears to me that today's youth share my generations feeling that there's no reason to devote your whole life to an unfulfilling job. Both our generations are willing to take lower paying jobs that we enjoy than a higher paying job which is unfullfilling. The difference is that it appears as though the new young generation, after having decided that devoting oneself to unfulfilling work is not an option they have to take, didn't then go on to FIND something fullfulling. Instead, they seem to be content in apathy. They began with the right premise, but did not come to the right conclusion. Now I'm being presumptuous in saying that obviously, but what I mean is. Once you realize that making money isn't the end game, you should then try and figure out what DOES fulfill you and/or contributes to society in general and apply oneself to it. Instead Gen Y appears to have decided that doing as little as possible is in fact the ultimate goal. The question is why are they so apathetic.

It could be many things, but I think the root of it is cynicism, and they have every right to be cynical. They are mostly fed lies by the media, the news, their schools. The difference is that they KNOW they are being lied too. Maybe its because of the Internet and the information it makes available. Because of the Internet, The Truth really is out there. Maybe its because the lies have just kept getting more and more unbelievable. Who really trusts the media anymore? Each generation has some defining beliefs that drive it, but they often change as the generation ages. It will be interesting to see if this new generation changes.

Some have argued that the trend towards apathy is not a new one and furthermore is continuous. A story I heard recently backs up that theory. Sun City is a retirement community in AZ. Only people over 65 live there and run the city. Most of the city is run by volunteers, such as the fire department, police department, etc... In the past the majority of the people in SC were from the depression era. SC never had a difficult time finding volunteers. People would just call in and say volunteer for any position that was open, any time during the week. Well, that generation of retirees are slowly being replaced by retired baby boomers. As the number of baby boomers have increased, the number of volunteers have decreased, and the ones that do volunteer are much more demanding. They will only do the things they want, when they want. SC officials have had to start calling and searching desperately for volunteers, where in the past, they would just wait for volunteers to call. People have said that Gen X is even more apathetic than the baby boomers. It appears to me that Gen Y is more apathetic than Gen X. The only positive possible prediction I can give is that we are nearing the end of a downward slope, where at the bottom of the curve, the apathy will backfire, forcing people to realize that the only way we'll survive is by working together.

Posted by wonko at 07:38 AM | Comments (2)

November 07, 2002

Dream: Mars and back

Last night I had a dream that I went to Mars and came back decades later. It portrayed earth on my return very vividly. I don't think there was a lot of detail of going to mars, being on mars, or coming back, but I 'remembered' what it was like in my dream. As we flew over Earth for our final descent, it was obvious that earth had become a concrete planet. Completed inhabited over land and sea. What struck me the most on my return was my lost interest in material gain and money in general. Also my lost need for personal space. I didn't understand how it could have gotten like this or why people could be so enamored with the idea of amassment of wealth and possessions after all we'd learned about how the idea of individual and corporate wealth building, for its own sake, had proved self destructive.

I no doubt had this dream because of my current reading of Green Mars.

Posted by wonko at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2002

Record companies are shooting themselves in the foot

Mentioned here, on Slashdot. BMG has announced that they will stop selling UNcrippled CDs. What makes a CD crippled? The record industries have been experimenting with CDs that are 'un-copyable'. The only results they've had is to create CDs which smart people can still copy, and other people can't play in some stereos. Imagine how you'd feel if you'd just bought the latest Britney Spears CD for $18, stuck it in your car stereo, only to find it won't play. Thats what's happening.

Beyond the problem if some CD players not being able to play these special CDs, it brings up questions of ownership. If I buy a CD, shouldn't I be able to copy it to my iPod or computer so I can listen to it somewhere else? In Russia, it is illegal to sell software that can not be backed up. I think thats a good law. CDs get scratched and go bad over time. Its nice to be able to back up my music and re-burn it if it goes bad.

In the end, the record companies are trying to play the victims, but nobodies buying it. People are more than happy to pirate music and screw the industry that they feel is trying to screw them. The music industry pleads that pirating only robs from the artists. This of course is not totally true. The music companies rob the artists. If you sell 250,000 copies of your album, you'll owe your label thousands of dollars because of unfair contracts where the label takes half, but pays for nothing. The labels claim they need $15 per CD, even though it costs less than $.05 per cd to make, because its expensive to pay for artists tours and promotions etc... What they don't tell you is that most labels pay for those things out of the artists cut, not theirs. So the label makes tons of money, spending the artists money, such that the artists ends up owing their label, even if they sell a lot of albums.

Well, screw the big labels. They're getting their just due.

UPDATE 6:40pm > This New Scientist article talks about how all CD copy protection is meaningless anyway.

Posted by wonko at 06:17 PM | Comments (2)

November 03, 2002

Climbing to today

I just got back from two days of climbing in Yosemite Valley. It was my first time in the valley and I was lucky enough to be able to do a good number of Yosemite classics. It was a little chilly, which was probably why it was so devoid of climbers. I was sitting at the top of the second pitch of Bishop's Terrace, which I had just lead, and was reflecting on how I came to this point. A little over a year ago I took a backpacking trip to Yosemite with my wife and some friends. (Pictures here) At that point, I was pretty into climbing, but had never trad climbed. In fact, it had been 6 months since my climbing accident and I was still trying to get my sport climbing leader head back. As I walked around Yosemite for the first time, I was awed by my surroundings and dreamt of the day I would be climbing these famous cliffs. At that point it seemed like almost an unreal dream. I was only a moderate climber and had never trad climbed. I didn't even know anyone who did who could teach me, but I vowed to get there. In that year, I met Steve S. (Capt Steve), who became my climbing partner and one of my best friends. We collectively met Ivy who WAS a trad climber and agreed to teach us. After a number of trips to Joshua tree, Steve and I were feeling pretty confident and took a trip to Granite Mountain in Prescot, AZ (pictures here), where we did a number of multi-pitch routes, confident without our mentor. Fast forward to sitting hundreds of feet up on Bishops Terrace, looking over the beauty of Yosemite Valley. I couldn't help but feel very fortunate. It made me feel good about myself too, knowing I had set goals, worked hard, and with a little luck, achieved them. I have lots of new goals now, mostly climbing and mountaineering related, and I now have the confidence to know I will achieve them.

Posted by wonko at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2002

Oil holding on for all its worth (which isn't much)

Toyota plans all gas-electric vehicles by 2012. While this seems good on the surface, to me it just shows how much of a hold the oil companies have. We finally have fuel-cell vehicles coming out which have 0 emissions and run on the most abundant resource in the universe, and car companies are still talking about cars that run on gas. Whoop-die-doo!

There's always SVO (Straight Vegitibal Oil) conversion!

Posted by wonko at 04:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Another reason to go organic.

Scientists Find Herbicide Causes Frog Sex Change

Posted by wonko at 04:33 AM | Comments (0)