Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Who Is Responsible For You?
Someone once told me she was surprised that I wasn't blaming my parents for everything. Almost as if I were odd that way.
By not fitting the pattern.
All her friends, and, well, basically everyone she knew, when they talked about themselves and their lives and what they'd amounted to, blamed their parents. Or someone.
Surprising to hear that. I'm no saint, or model to emulate.
Blame is lame.
The deal is that at some point you have to claim your life, and so goes business too.
There are three concepts, as they relate to business. Let's say that
- Accountability means knowing what's going on, that
- Authority means you have the power to do something, and that
- Responsibility means tag, you're it.
If you are responsible you are on the hook. You may do something yourself personally, or delegate it out, but whatever, it is your fault. Or triumph.
OK, part three.
If you have authority then, expect to be responsible, because you are. And if you are not accountable too, you should be removed.
One horrible situation though: to be responsible but without authority. If you don't quite understand how this works then get a job in the nearest bureaucracy, and you will learn very soon what hell is.
Now we're finally close to it.
Part of being an adult in either the personal or the business sense is being responsible. Even if you don't have to be. You just do it. That's what adults do because that's what adults are.
Likely you have to feel your way into this as you grow up. Whether what you're doing is good, or meaningful, or worthwhile is a judgement call. You may be right, you may be wrong, or you may not know. But.
You still need to be responsible. To determine what right is, what wrong is, and to decide what you want.
Are you going for the jackpot? Are you being safe? Are you wading in a mire of confusion, not sure if you are being totally stupid and wasting your life? Or not? No matter.
You still are responsible for doing the right thing, for being patient and fair, and open minded, for giving credit where credit is due, for trying despite the odds, and for succeeding if you can.
Of course it helps to believe in what you are doing, that it is right and great and good, but even if it isn't you still are responsible for yourself and your actions.
And perhaps you will be off to one side of things, out of the mainstream, chugging along quietly at your own pace, pursuing your own interests. Most lives are like this.
And that is where the highest responsibility lies. That is where you are likely to find something unique, or to become unique, if you do it right.
Because if you stay there rubbing shoulders inside the flock and do only what is expected, and hope to be like everyone else, you will.
But if you fulfill your responsibilities to yourself (while remaining fair, and true to your commitments) you can be someone special. Someone special doing something special.
It is your responsibility.
Roadfood.com: Fritos PieThe Five and Dime General Store, on the Plaza in Santa Fe, is the only place we know that still serves Fritos pie in a Fritos bag. You'll find this inspired mix of chips, chili, and cheese throughout the Southwest, and legend says that it was invented on the Plaza, when this place used to be the old Woolworth's. You don't want to use a sophisticated or overly hot chili in this dish. It is lunch-counter fare, and should be accessible to all taste buds. Go
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Science Daily: Odds Are About 1-in-3 That Mega-Earthquake Will Hit Pacific Northwest in Next 50 Years, Scientists Say.Highways could be torn to pieces, bridges may collapse, and buildings would be damaged or even crumble. If the epicenter is just offshore, coastal residents could have as little as 15 minutes of warning before a tsunami could strike. Go
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Clarke and Dawe: On the world's lending merry-go-round."How can broke economies lend money to other broke economies who haven't got any money, because they can't pay back the money the broke economy lent to the other broke economy and shouldn't have lent it to them in the first place cause the broke economy can't pay it back?" "You're wasting very valuable time, Roger." [video] Go
I have almost enough cameras to open my own store. And guess what?
No really. Just try. Guess what?
I haven't been using any of them for a long time.
I should use some of them, being virtually knee deep in the critters, but instead of listening to that small, insistent voice that's been telling me to get out, I've been living on Deaf Row, photographically speaking.
At least for the winter. Maybe things will change now that the leaves are back. Time to get in shape. Move around. Accomplish something.
Random ugly guy who follows me around.
Even lizards can do that much. My goal for this year is to be as active as a lizard. Or better, if I can manage it.
Somebody lost his pants. Not me. I value my pants, and very seldom go anywhere without them. I guess the good thing about forgetting your pants though is that if you do, someone will let you know before you get too far. Not this guy. He must have been quick on his feet, because his pants have been here for months. The rest of his clothes too, something I do not recommend for winter, even in Warm Drizzle Land. But who am I to judge?
So I have 11 cameras and somehow have been managing not to use any of them.* "This must end, Fool!" I'm thinking quietly to myself. I don't much walk around and talk to myself any more, though the arm waving part was kind of fun. No. I do not do that any more. Times have changed.
The deal is now, you see people all over, talking to air friends. Yesterday there was this guy at the supermarket pushing a cart and confiding to empty space about how he shouldn't be saying any of this, and then blah-blah blah-blah blah-blah blah-blah blah-blah. He went past three times at full volume. I sincerely did not want to know. Like if he knew I heard, would he have to kill me too?
I was only there for the apples.
I was only there for the apples.
Even women and old people are doing this now. Some of them have things sticking out of their heads. They may in fact be pod people. I mean, this thing, coming out of the ear. You would sort of expect them to be less obvious.
Unless they had already taken over.
That's one reason I stay home a lot.
If they come for me there, at least they'll have to get through the door first.
And then there's my weasel.
So far it's been all quiet. My luck has held.
Or maybe there really is some protective value in a weasel. I have to hope, because I can't take the chance of test firing him, of draining off that blood lust in useless target practice and possibly leaving me with an amiable beady-eyed floppy-toy.
No. This guy will have to remain armed and unused until crunch time. I'll have to trust his killer instincts and try to get my part right, making sure he's fully alert when the time comes, and not asleep, having lunch, or defecating in a corner, and just as important if not more so, I must be absolutely sure that I get his business end pointed away from me.
Staying home and waiting is disquieting enough, but going out is much worse. You nearly have to drag me away.
Except for backpacking.
One of the really nice things about backpacking is that you don't see many pod people on the trail. Maybe the slugs get them, or the crows. Or it could be fungus.
We have a lot of fungi around here, and generally speaking if you don't bother it, it won't bother you.
Or if you don't lie down and stay still for too long. There is no official time limit, but you find out pretty fast if you've exceeded it. Also, never poke a fungus with a sharp stick and then lie down for a nap, even if you think that it's your friend. They really do not like it.
And friends don't poke friends. Not with a stick anyway.
And the other thing is, if you get up early and go for a walk, you don't see too many.
Fungi are always there. Fungi never sleep, but as noted they tend to live and let live.
"So hey," I thought, "Let's take one of our many cameras and walk to the post office!" I (and/or "we") almost tingled with joy.
As a dorky shut-in this seemed like the height of boldness, but probably safe, if I kept my pants on the whole time.
And what better camera to take along than the teeny-tiny one I got that takes terrible photos? Taking that would re-acquaint me with it, and since the photos would be crummy no matter what, I could play all the way there and back again, and not worry, even about the pod people, because they don't get out of bed until later.
And since this camera is so small, I could call it ultralight get credit for that too, so before long I had my pants on and was ready to go (in the sense of "out the door").
All in all I'd have to say that it was a nice walk. First I let my head fill with air and then I let it go.
You know, the way you blow up a rubber balloon and then let it run around the room to make the cat crazy. Or just because. Just because you have nothing else to do, or just because you do have something else to do, but want to prove that you can put it off because you really are that powerful.
If you haven't advanced to that level, it's a lot like staying in your underwear and eating nothing all day but ice cream and potato chips, without brushing your teeth even once. Complete control.
So there I was, tromping along this little leafy green path that we will soon have to tear out because it was built with socialist government tax money and will make us become depraved and eat each other's children and pets if we don't destroy it soon.
I myself do draw the line at pets though - I absolutely cannot stand the taste of fur or the way it gets stuck in my teeth.
So there I was, thinking about the old days when this was a working rail line and how, if society still made any sense it still could be. Could be providing jobs, generating profits, maintaining an export route along which our cut down old-growth forests could be shipped to far away lands where tiny people speaking a singsong language ground them to bits and made particle board which they sold back to us as cheap furniture for our cardboard-box houses under the bridge.
Come to think of it, that's still happening, just not along this line, which is now a "greenway".
So maybe socialism is OK, at least for some things, and I won't have to eat the neighbor's cat. This week.
Well, after my head ran out of air I just trudged along and looked at stuff. And swung the camera around whenever the voices in my head said to, and pretty much had a good time despite the desperate world situation and all.
But all is not thoroughly safe.
A couple days back there were several demented deer on the trail. Considering that this trail runs nearly within spitting distance (if you are a better spitter than I am) of the major west-coast, north-south highway (you know, I think it may be the front teeth that do it) and is roaring with traffic day and night, year in and year out (in the sense that you need to have them), it's surprising that there are deer out here.
Even demented ones.
But then if you were a deer and lived here, you'd pretty well need to be demented.
Women get all wiggly over deer, and tend to squeak a lot. They do that with flowers too, even ones that haven't been killed yet, or even sanitized, but deer, well they have been called the cockroaches of the woods.
I guess by the people who know those things.
You know, the people (guys) who know all things, and would be impressed by nothing less than a herd of drunken shaved musk oxen doing a can-can. On roller skates.
If you've ever gotten up partway through the night and taken a whizz into the bushes, not too far off because you don't, really don't, wish to go thrashing through the brush in the absolute dark, way out there somewhere, all alone, and then, just about the time you get back into your sleeping bag, a deer with a really bad attitude comes over to groove on your urine, and stands around snorting and stomping its hooves and generally making an aggressive, threatening racket, like it expects you to (a) clear the hell out of there and let it lap in peace, or (b) come right back outside again and piss some more, and make it salty this time, then you genuinely do want deer to be like cockroaches so you can put your boots on and go out there and do some stompin' of your own.
But besides that you learn how demented deer can be.
And they can be. Especially around quality urine.
So last time, a couple days back there I was, doing my routine trudge back from the post office when this deer clops across the trail ahead of me, coming out of a sort of marshy, mucky tangle of brush and willows all full of sucking sounds and no doubt populated by many, many things that I never want to have dinner with, considering the many beaks and probes and claws and feelers and sucking parts and all, and it (the deer) goes up the bank on the right side, and OK. Fine.
Then another one follows it. OK guys. Done yet?
No, because there's a third one. Cloppity-clop. Up over the bank too.
It was about then that I began thinking of cameras. Because hey. You never know when you'll meet someone who might be impressed by a picture of a deer running around. Running around what is officially inside the city limits.
But the trick with photography is the having-the-camera part.
Because hey (to repeat this for emphasis) you can't make a camera out of sticks the way you can with fire. Although, granted, even with fire you do have to know what you're doing, but you can, when in need, do it.
So then, to rub it in, a bit farther on, the deer came zooming from right to left. One. Two. Three. I know this because I still have enough fingers to count that high, which I did, on the spot, and haven't washed them since.
And then, rubbing it in harder, and producing a sort of mental rash that I still haven't quite gotten over, they come out ahead of me again, from left to right, and nearly clobber a cyclist. "Big deal," you may say, "We could do with a few less cyclists around here." Or would one need to say "a few fewer cyclists"? Or simply "fewer cyclists"? I guess the ungenerous thought is "not so many of those ludicrous, panting fools".
But I digress. The point follows...
Right away you see the difference between rubbing sticks together and capturing for posterity even a few photons rebounding from a ruminant's rump.
So today, having completely forgotten all about the deer, I go in to check my mail, but with the key difference that THIS time I HAVE a camera, in working order and all, though it is a very tiny one with a plastic lens and barely works at all, but is still nevertheless a camera and does sort of work in its own disturbing and wildly unpredictable way, and I don't see any deer, nor do I want to, or anything. (In case you mistakenly thought that this was the point. It isn't.)
All I wanted to do was go get my damn mail and turn the camera's crank a few times while walking along and take whatever came out the back end, all of which I did, and had a pretty good time of it, which I had to do because I don't really have any friends unless you count dust bunnies, but they don't even have eyes, although I did see a real bunny today, but, as with most of his kind, it proved to be both quicker AND (very important point here) smarter than the guy who's typing this, so no, I didn't get a photo of the bunny either.
Just some plants, some cars, a cyclist, and the unliving undead walking guy, etc., as shown here.
* I just got another one today. Anybody want to buy some used cameras?
Friday, May 14, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
BBC News: Giant speech bubble bid to combat pub noise.
[Department of wake me up when it's over, please.] Other designs include a a dinosaur which monitors the amount of time children spend on their computer and a bottle which can be split into a beer and wine glass. Go
Monday, May 10, 2010
The Luminous Landscape: 'Photographing the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano in Iceland' By Peter Cox
Luckily for me, but perhaps not so much for the rest of the world, the eruption was still going on at the beginning of my trip. Go