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July 28, 2004

Cross Country Road Trip

A lot has happened in my life in the past few months. I would characterize most of what's happened as negative. It is not what I wanted. It is not what I chose. It is not what I'd still choose, nor what I would have ever expected. Perhaps as time goes on I will be able to talk about it more, but needless to say I am at a crossroads in my life. I have no ties at the moment, geographic or otherwise. My crusade (1, 2, 3,4,5,6,7) has taken me far from where I began, yet I feel I am still just at the start. I have decided to take this opportunity, which may not present itself again, to hit the road one-way style.

Kasei and I are leaving for a long road trip hopefully starting next Monday (Aug 2nd). Our plan is to take 3-4 weeks and eventually end up in Providence, RI. We're going to head north along the coast as far as Seattle, then head south-east through Yellowstone, and then due East towards the NE states. It is very likely we will be flying to Ireland once we get to Rhode Island. From there, I can't say. I am buying a one way ticket and have made no definitive plans for where I'll go, when I will return, nor where I might return to.

As to our road trip. I would like very much to see as many of you as I can. We are definitely on a budget and are arranging to stay with a number of people along the way. We do have significant gaps though. Especially in Seattle, between Denver and Chicago, and between Chicago and Western Maryland. So I am asking all of you whether you know people along our route we might be able to entertain with our witty banter for an evening in exchange for shelter.

Here is a detailed map of our route. You can always get there via the Road Trip link on my blog. In the future I will use that page to update where we are and what's happening. If you are interested in what happens along this journey, please tune in regularly and feel free to sign up (to the right) to be notified when I post.

I am still not sure where I'm heading, but I have a general feeling that I'm heading in the right direction. Only time will tell.

"The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say." -Tolkien

Posted by wonko at 01:45 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 27, 2004


Einstein was famous for a scientific idealist. He would see a solution and see how many other areas it applied to. If it randomly explained lots of other things in an extremely elegant way, it was probably true.

Perhaps a decade or so ago we learned (as did the world) that homogeny in agriculture is not a good thing. We found that if we planted the same seeds all over, one virus, pest or other malady had the potential of taking our, not just one crop, as it had in the past, but many crops.

I think there is a general rule here about the negative impact of homogeny on a great many things. We see this negative impact in our media, politics, corporations, and even personal lives. This is never more evident than in our political process. History has shown us that political homogeny is the virus against democracy.

I thought about this as I heard some report on the, still incalculable, implications of the Vons Strike (1, 2, 3, 4). Because Safeway has so many stores in so many places, a labor dispute has ramifications which affect a large and diverse geographic area. As stores like Wal-Mart replace smaller stores, we risk this same large-scale disruption of services if a malady struck them. What kind of malady? Certainly a labor dispute could have that affect. But what if the cost of shipping so many wal-mart goods across the country suddenly increased dramatically. Without local production they would be forced to either drastically raise prices and close stores that were either too expensive to ship to, or could not afford the added price hikes.

This notion of homogeny being a potential pitfall can be seen in our personal lives as well. Those who are one dimensional lose all footing when that one dimension is lost or changed. For some this one dimension is their work, or a single hobby, or a particular group of people. Homogeny in interpersonal relationships also tends to lead to tunnel vision. Without only a single sides view represented we lose sight of other perspectives. Even if we will always disagree with a dissenting viewpoint, it is important for us to be exposed to it so as not to dehumanize the dissenter.

I am not claiming this is an absolute. Its just something to think about.

Posted by wonko at 11:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Yes, thats me. Monkey adam. I have been embroiled in a battle between my teeth and the dentists which I am caught in the middle of. It began with a simple dental visit, but something was wrong with my upper gum. They didn't understand why. What they did know is that it was caused by that time I was hit by a baseball when I was in 5th grade. I lost half my front tooth in that incident and had a root canal the decade before last. There were multiple appointments in which I had a new root canal and lots of cleanings. Finally, yesterday morning, I went to an Endotontist for dental surgery. They opened my gums and did 2 bone graphs inside the tooth that had the root canal so long ago. It was a painful procedure and it will take days to heal. They will remove the stitches on Monday.

The worst part of all of this is how it exposes the new insurance racket and how that has negatively affected me in terms of money. I've written before (1,2,3) about our general health care woes, but its always bad when it happens to you. In the past, you went to a doctor, who found out whether you had insurance, did the work and billed your insurance company. That insurance company paid the doctor his/her due, then collected the difference they wouldn't cover, from you. Well, it appears as though insurance companies felt they were getting a raw deal. After all. they are paid tons of money to do almost nothing, clearly they are not being paid enough to collect the money as well. So the rules have changed in many instances. Now, the all powerful insurance behemoths are telling the Doctors the process should go like this: Your doctor performs his/her work, then bills your insurance company for the full amount. That insurance company sends them only the portion that insurance company was going to pay, minus your part. That leaves the doctor with the task of collecting the rest directly from you? Most doctors have private practices and can't afford never to get paid, nor do they have collection systems in place like the insurance companies. So they're response is to bill you the full amount at the time they do their work. That leaves the responsibility of collecting the patients money from the insurance company with the patient. To some degree the patient has always had to collect their portion, but now they have to argue what is their portion and collect everything. In the past, it was the other way around. The insurance company, who could afford to have you owe them money until they figured out how much you owed them, has relinquished that responsibility. Now they owe you money. For me, that was over a grand and I'm pissed. All I can say is, go see The Corporation. Its only going to get worse.

Posted by wonko at 10:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 22, 2004

Fish Broth

I was eating lunch today with Kasei at an Udon place in West LA. The Udon was served in a 'fish broth' and Kasei, as a vegetarian, was concerned. I pointed out that the fish were not necessarily killed in the making of the broth, they may have just swam around for a while.

Posted by wonko at 12:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2004

Idealism: The pursuit of uncertainty.

Thats the problem with idealism. It is far less certain. We place tremendous value on certainty and security in this country. We sacrifice a tremendous amount of experience and growth in the name of certainty. We devalue ourselves and our potential as we try and mitigate risk. It is through risk we truly discover new selves, others and our own. It is the road less traveled which in hindsight will have made all the difference. We waste tremendous energy on the 'what if', which is always a 'what if something bad happens." Well what if something good happens? Or what if something happens that is neither good nor bad? You can't stop the unexpected, though we try. We build ourselves protective biospheres where we can control as many of the variables as possible, trying to avoid pain. We can not avoid pain, but we can redeem ourselves by not become slaves to the threat of pain. We can't truly 'live' while under the constant threat of change. Change is inevitable, it is the threat that is of our own design.

If it is certainty you are looking for, do what they tell you, and no one will get hurt.

Posted by wonko at 05:30 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 07, 2004

Now and then.

Someday, a long time from now
now will look different than,
now looks now.
Then things may make more sense
than they do now.

Right now, then looks different
than it did then.
But then I thought now
would be different than it looks now.

Someday then may not matter
as much as then matters now.
Then, then didn't matter
more than then matters now

But right now
Then is all that matters.
Then matters more than now.

Posted by wonko at 12:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2004

Changing Lanes: Los Angeles

I'm in Los Angeles now. I'll be living here for a month. I'm here to work for Bi(z)rate for a month as a contractor. Its the same company my brother works for. I am bouncing around where I live between a couple places, including my brothers. Its strange to be programming full-time again. I haven't had a 'desk' job in over 3 years. After this stint in LA, I will be taking a LONG road trip with Kasei. Starting in LA and moving our way to Providence, RI, stopping in CO, OR, MD, NY, and who knows where else. After that, who knows.

If you know me, then you can assume by this brief status update that I am leaving a lot of blank holes in the story. You'd be assuming right. A lot is happening in my life right now. I have not been writing about any of these things, and have been replacing my personal writings with writings on politics because of my own fear. I've been protecting myself and others. It was easy to write about good things that were happening. It was easy to write about things i was figuring out that seemed to be making my life better. Starting back when I stopped writing as regularly, things began happening that were not good. In as far as I could write about things only relating to me, without true judgment, it was easy. In as far as these things involve others, I have been fearful that my true thoughts might betray me to others in a number of ways. Firstly, that by sharing my true thoughts I might lose some sort of advantage. Secondly, that by sharing my true thoughts others would force me to deal with things I was having a difficult time dealing with. Thirdly, that my true thoughts would be misconstrued by those I care about and that my thoughts themselves might be clouded, leading me to say things that I really didn't mean, but would hurt others, specifically those I love.

I have made many mistakes in my life. There are few areas where. knowing what I know now, I wouldn't change things. I constantly argue about the word regret. I can find the good that came of things I did wrong. I can see how those poor decisions led me to where I am, but that doesn't make them right. I struggle to be a better person, fulfilling my own dreams and desires. I also struggle to support those I love with my thoughts, words and actions. Sometimes these two things conflict. I have often made the wrong decision when choosing between the two.

All I can rely on now is my highest truth which is to seek the truth, always.

Posted by wonko at 10:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack