The Simulation

matrix-028

Last night a co-worker recalled a story in which he had been standing in line to check out at a local grocery store and he did something most of us never do, he looked up. He looked up, looked around and noticed the process surrounding him. The grocery cart, his son sitting in front, the groceries in the basket behind him. The next lane over, a mom with her daughter, sitting in the front of the grocery cart, milk, eggs, cheese, and bread behind her. Then again and again down the rows he stared at a near factory line of identical families with identical carts of identical food most down to the same brand and  size. This lemming like display of people walking in, walking out, checking in, checking out, never really noticing or caring whats going on is simply a microcosm of the world.  Although  David Foster Wallace is famous for his views on this, most of us never take the time to just step back and notice the banality of our modern existence. The almost painstakingly obvious similarities between each human and each family.

Taking no time at all to infer philosophical or ethical implications of this, I simply have to make an announcement, we are living in a simulation…I mean we’ve GOTTA be right?!? I mean there’s a guy in the news right now who’s last name is Weiner who is notorious for sending pictures of his WEINER to women! This type of comical coincidence occurs far more often than you might realize and it just might explain this comical election…

Myself? I’ve made up my mind. We are living in a simulation and the programmers are either just getting really lazy, or the whole thing is starting to break down…Let’s have some fun while it does 😉

Debatable

Tonight we will see Tim Kaine face off against Mike Pence in the first VP debate of the season. May god help us all. If this is anything like the mud slinging fest the first presidential debate was we are in for a thorough waste of time. The one thing we will always be able to say is..no one will quite ever put it down like Uncle Biden

Stay Primitive

There are a number of videos and channels dedicated to primitive technology. The best is the channel that says exactly that, its called “Primitive Technology”. We need to get back to the basics of farming and local communities, this guy is a great start to that.

Brief Inspirations of a Serial Procrastinator

Whether it’s a 30 page paper to graduate college or last minute sales numbers to save my job, I have always had an incredible passion for procrastination. I seem to thrive off of it. I am certainly not the only one to notice this or anywhere near the first person to write about it. Next to list articles its probably near the top of every pop up writers favorite topic to drone on about, unless its a list article about procrastination. For me though, its an accepted form of motivation more than a dreaded condition.

When I first started this blog back in 2011 I had the high aspirations of writing daily columns on political activism, album reviews, vacation stories and travel tips. This never panned out and its probably for the better. I have since come to cope with the idea that I am just peripheral writer and unless contracted with some amazing gig am probably doomed to these short spurts of inspiration for the rest of my life. That being said, I recently had one! I was perusing VICE news the other morning like I always do (putting off doing actual work) and I stumbled upon a story or rather series of stories by a dude named Abdullah Saeed. Normally I read a story, maybe glance at the author, and then ex out of the window. This story wasn’t really a story but more of a chronicling of three people travelling across the US just taking it all in. I love taking it all in. The difference was they were going to some places where MOST people aren’t welcome, let alone a hip black dude, a guy with an Islamic sounding name, and a Spanish girl. Being the suburban white kid that I am, I always TRY to look at situations through the eyes of other people but I rarely get to do it. This show allowed me to do that and so much more. You should all check out that series. After watching all the T. Kid videos I could (that’s Saeed’s VICE name) I started reading his old articles and found out he’s into a bunch of the same shit I am! What a world! Well it’s mostly smoking weed and taking psychedelics in college but still I enjoyed the fuck out of it. Every article made me laugh and in some way relate to a situation I didn’t think anyone else had had. (Double had’s? Can you double up on a “had”?) . This might not seem like like much but damn it was a wave of inspiration in a sea of procrastination. Where my poets at!  Still waiting on the call from the VICE poetry section…

Ok back to procrastination.

I have always written music, always loved to write stories, and always had a passion for the journalistic vantage point of any topic. My favorite authors are philosophers and some of my most prized possessions are books. This however, does not make me a creative. I work in the agricultural industry for a small company that sells weather stations. We’re owned by a big company that has global reach and purchased us as a segue into the smart grid technology sector. We allow you to put a weather station on your farm, use that data (rain, wind speed, dew point, humidity, pressure, ect.) and get a forecast for your individual field rather than using an airport that is 50 miles away. This allows farmers to better plan for planting and harvest season and generally interests me as a pretty cool thing to be involved with. This still doesn’t save me from the procrastination. As we speak I am sitting at my desk, should be on a WebEx, should be setting up meetings, and should be booking hotels for our next trade show, but I’m writing this article. The funny thing is I usually use work to help me delay in writing or making music.. but right now writing actually helps me procrastinate from doing my real job. Ahh the irony..or wait.. is that laziness..?

All this culminates in the hilariously brief inspirations of either working or writing, writing or working. They both seem to feed off of each other and I am not sure I could do one without the other. Are these just appearances of regular ole writers block? Brief moments of clarity? Or just a needed coping mechanism that we all use to get through the monotony of everyday life..? I think we all trek through the same problems but define them in different ways. Some people would call these just intervals of regular creativity coming and going. For better or worse I still call it procrastination…speaking of that, I should get back to work..

 

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Excited Confusion

Bernie_Sanders_Madison

After seeing days and weeks of people saying “if so and so is the candidate I won’t vote” and seeing celebrity after celebrity say we need a change. After seeing pundit after pundit on CNN and Fox News say “she’s more electable” you get the feeling that people must not understand how elections work. Elections are about WAY more than just people voting or not voting for a candidate. Its about getting the people EXCITED. Its about motivating people who have never been involved in politics before. Its about getting your brothers and sisters and friends and co-workers to actually show up at the polling place. Its about getting the average person to show up at a call center and sit for HOURS making sure people are registered to vote. Its about people coming TOGETHER and being excited about their candidate. Its about getting regular people like me to bring pins and stickers and buttons to work and speak with the person at the grocery store about Citizens United. People ARE excited about Bernie Sander and will continue to motivate the base of voters all the way up through the general election. Uniting behind Bernie Sanders the people will show up in HUGE numbers to beat the republican candidate. She will lose out on all the support and excitement Bernie Sanders has brought not just to the democratic party but to the modern political process in general. He has gathered unprecedented numbers of young people and motivated even the most shy person to GET INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS.

 

We the people are the exact opposite of excited about Hillary Clinton. 

Bernie Sanders Wins On Every Issue

not me us

When talking about politics this election cycle there is very little need for nuance. There are so many issues facing our nation but two that are absolutely paramount to our survival as a great and prosperous nation. This time the questions are very simple: What are you going to do about climate change? and What are you going to do about money in politics? If they don’t have a sufficient answer for those two questions, the conversation stops right there.

Most candidates on the democratic side (and virtually none on the republican side) can answer at least one of these correctly. “We need to move to a clean energy economy” Hillary will say. Or “We need to move to 90% renewable energy by 2050” Martin O’Malley famously repeated.

Neither of those candidates, however, wanted to talk about the poison that is dark money in our political system. In fact, only one man in the entire race has shown time and time again that he is beholden not to big banks and financial institutions, but to the people. Since the beginning of the race Bernie Sanders has consistently touted a message of economic inequality that is undeniable.

The top 1% now owns more wealth than the bottom 130million people combined. This is a system that is not sustainable and until we get money out of our political system, until we stop letting banks literally write our laws we can never expect to have an economy that works for the many instead of the few.

People always want to talk about “redistribution of wealth” that somehow we should never even dream of redirecting wealth into the hands of regular people. However, its rarely noted that we ALREADY HAVE a system that does this. There is something profoundly wrong when 58 percent of all new income since the Wall Street crash has gone to the top one percent. See we already take money from regular people and “redistribute” it to the wealthiest among us. This cannot continue.

This year lets elect a candidate for the people by the people. Lets elect a candidate beholden to us, not the billionaire class. This year lets take a monumental step in building a system that works for all of us. This year lets elect Bernie Sanders.

2015 in review

This was so cool. For a novice blogger like myself to receive a report on the actual number of interactions I had in 2015 was pretty special. I will try to ramp up the writing efforts in the coming year and will be posting along with my video series The Millennial Mind – we will be breaking down stories and issues and giving people an “elevator pitch” view of some of the most important topics of the day! Join us in this upcoming year its sure to be a great one!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 440 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Mindfulness and The Journey

Universe

To love life in the past is just a memory, to love it in the future is nothing but a fantasy, all we ever really have is this very moment (what I refer to as The Journey) to live with heart, love, and compassion.

This may all seem like ‘New Age’ speak or sappy BS and hell maybe it is, but I tell you what its not, its not useless. When I say words like “love” and “compassion” I do not mean some romance movie definition of the word. I don’t mean Hollywood hot pink love I mean REAL LOVE. I mean a true understanding of the beauty of consciousnesses and the universe. When you finally wake up to the idea of mindfulness, your life is changed forever. I don’t mean that I have somehow “woken up” or been “enlightened”… far from it. However, as Sam Harris says, you must learn to take the goal as the path. This means enlightenment isn’t some switch to be flipped. You do not become enlightened and stay that way forever, not even the greatest teachers in history ever made it to the top. The key is living The Journey. Every single moment is nothing but a gift, an opportunity, to live with love and compassion for the universe and every being in it. If you know enlightenment is always available all you need to do is be mindful to glimpse it…

I have been thinking lately about the limited way in which we humans describe the concept of time. It is a very peculiar thing to say time “passes” or that “time flies”. In reality time is simply the measure of what is. We pass through time, not it through us. We are a part of nature and the universe, not apart from it. Civilizations live up, explode into being, and die out all in the blink of an eye. This very Western idea of humans and our soul at the center of the universe or that somehow we are a divine creation is really quite funny. It is such a remedial way to look at the universe it is hard to understand how anyone ever believed it at all.

Mindfulness is the art of always remembering. If you stray from the path and let your emotions entangle you then simply bring your mind back to the center. The sensations of hate and fear and sadness always come and go but they are simply that, sensations. They arise and fall away. Opening your mind to the idea of observing these feelings instead of clinging to them is truly a life changing experiment. You quickly find that you spend very little time feeling each emotion in and of itself and very much time convincing yourself you deserve to feel that way. Once you break away from this cycle, real tangible growth can begin. Whether you forget your power of mindfulness for two minutes or two years, all you have to do is remember again, remember a thousand times, take the goal as the path and see enlightenment is always available, all you have to do is look for it…

Des Moines Hipster Heaven Millennial Magic

des moines rabbit sculpture

Des Moines topping the list again as one of the coolest places ever, and why not!? Portland, Brooklyn, Seattle and San Francisco are so 1990’s. We rank top 5 in things such as property values, places to raise a family, low income inequality, and places to start a business. Now we are starting to resonate with young people in the type of way that creates a movement. Check out here and here for some of the other lists but for not enjoy this piece in the Atlantic.