"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Exercising

Another productive day here in the State of Jefferson. I've been cranking away at my major client projects during the day, and feeling stimulated creatively and starting to write things down at night. It's a good mix.

The one last thing I absolutely need to do is develop a social life outside the household. This is harder than you might think. I don't really get along with the sort of hippies you get out here. I'm from the old stock, and trendy rope-heads up from Hayward in their SUVs cruising for "heady nugs" rankle my posseur-radar. I'm also a pragmatic man coming outta Brooklyn, so I don't want to hear about crystal healing or the Indigo children either.

But efforts must be made, connections found, etc. There's supposed to be a theater scene here, and there have got to be nerds too. I don't need much, but it's important to me to have some independence, and that means Other People to hang around with from time to time.

Ok. Now, to the gym!

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Israel Shells UN

Jerebus:

The UN in Lebanon says the Israeli air force destroyed [an] observer post, in which four military observers were sheltering.

It said the four, from Austria, Canada, China and Finland, had taken shelter in a bunker under the post after it was earlier shelled 14 times by Israeli artillery.

A rescue team was also shelled as it tried to clear the rubble.

Beyond being tragic, this seems so blindingly stupid. Abulances have been hit too (photo), along with power plants, sewer systems, trucks full of food, and plenty of other stuff that doesn't make much damn sense to me.

It's hard to even imagine what the hell is supposed to be accomplished here. The Hez dropping rockets on a train yard is just as bad, but the motives there are at least clearer: provokation. This just is senseless. It's out of control. Terrible.

....

Billmon:

Morality aside (since terror now seems to be the order of the day on both sides) this is a very bad sign for the Israelis. It has the smell of panic about it. It's like the 1972 Christmas bombings of Hanoi -- an exercise that served no rational purpose other than to vent Richard Nixon's rage at his own inability to bend the North Vietnamese government to his will.

The difference is that Nixon could get away with it -- he'd just won a landslide re-election, and the destruction of Hanoi wasn't being covered in real time by every television network on the planet.

I hope that the sheer brutal idiocy of all this forces everyone to step back, but I fear that with so many egos (personal and national) on the line, the response from the People In Charge will be to push further forward, to escalate again in some way.

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Rich get Richer

More atronomical profits for Petrochemical companies:

Profits are pouring in at the BP Group... the company announced a profit of $7.27 billion in the second quarter, 30 percent more than the comparable period a year ago and the equivalent of more than $55,000 a minute.

Looks like another record-breaking year is shaping up for Big Oil.

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Job Description

Something that came to me in the email, some sort of mass-email troll for tech workers:

Key Responsibilities

Work closely with designers and team members to develop dynamic, interactive websites and software using HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, Javascript and other related technologies.
Establish and implement site development plan/standards for specific projects.
Provide light design skills with the ability to translate a wireframe and style guide into a production page.
Provide solid experience in graphic manipulation in Photoshop and Illustrator
Resolve bugs and cross browser compatibility issues.
Mentor, coach and manage team members located in India.
Identify tools, templates, and techniques that evolve existing approaches for the larger Creative Design community at ______

Career-wise, I need to push through my current band. Otherwise the future is in bossing a bunch of Indians. I don't begrudge them (or the Polish or Brazillian or other international developers) their work, but I'd like to see the global development community grow as an equitable network of professional participants, not a series of trans-oceanic closed-shop code plantations.

Fiscal Solvency

Things that are bullshit:

  1. Citibank (my bank for almost ten years) offers me a loan at 18.5% to consolodate my credit card debt which is at 19.9%
  2. They claim the high rate is because I'm 90 days past due on something, but can't tell me what. (I'm unaware of ever being delinquent on any payments)
  3. Thanks to my legally mandaed annual free credit report I see this is from one of my loans from NYU; one of the agencies (Experian) has me as being 90-days delinquent last summer.
  4. They offer me a two-point reduction on the loan if I let them take the payments directly from the checking account, but cannot put the money directly in the account if I do accept. They have to mail me a check, which I would mail back to them with a deposit slip.

Time to start thinking about switching banks. In real terms, I'd much rather have a community-scale institution for my banking needs (basically I need a checking account). Citibank got my business by being close to NYU when I was 18, but they haven't done shit for me since.

...

And what's more, the whole "credit report" game is ridiculous. The loan that Experian shows me as having been tardy on (I think I did have a problem with an auto payment not auto-paying during the Vagabender Era) is not even listed in the others. Apparently they all talk to different people and compile inconsistant data. What's more, you can see all the corporations that have been looking at your information.

Man, this shit is bullshit.

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Definitely My Next New Toy

The Lil Lappy That Could:

As the replacement for Apple's consumer-level iBook line, the new 13-inch MacBook isn't being marketed toward creative professionals. Nevertheless, packed with one of the most powerful mobile processors on the market--a 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo--this little notebook offers amazing rendering and encoding performance. But is it good enough to compete with the MacBook Pros and with desktop G5 systems? Surprisingly, yes, it is.

Still not gonna pay extra for the black one though.

August Shaping Up

August is shaping up nicely with lots of goings on. Burning Man seems to be out (perhaps it just destined to be a bi-annual thing for me), but I've got a girly girl coming out to visit, a wedding party in Oregon and another back in NYC.

With that in mind, next week shall be the week of ultimate production. In my business there's a qualitative difference between "working" and billable hours. I believe I'll endeavour to be a pure dynamo for the week; spend some time organizing tonight and cut loose and see what can be done.

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August Shaping Up

August is shaping up nicely with lots of goings on. Burning Man seems to be out (perhaps it just destined to be a bi-annual thing for me), but I've got a girly girl coming out to visit, a wedding party in Oregon and another back in NYC.

With that in mind, next week shall be the week of ultimate production. In my business there's a qualitative difference between "working" and billable hours. I believe I'll endeavour to be a pure dynamo for the week; spend some time organizing tonight and cut loose and see what can be done.

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Income Inequality

In keeping with my previous note about the emergent global aristocracy, here's something. Rich, Poor Live Poles Apart in L.A. as Middle Class Keeps Shrinking:

Demographers at Wayne State University in Detroit recently found Greater Los Angeles to be the most economically segregated region in the country. The study found only about 28% of its neighborhoods to be middle-class or mixedincome, compared with more than half of those in Nashville, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

More than two-thirds of L.A.-area residents live in neighborhoods that are solidly rich or poor, according to the analysis, which is based on 2000 census data. That share has been steadily growing for three decades...

I find John (who I got this link from) Robb's analysis of this sort of thing compelling. Whatever the long-run effects, one of the near-term outcomes of ecoonomic globalization is likely to be that patterns of wealth distribution become more and more normalized worldwide. This is somewhat different from the idea that global wages and standards of living will reach an equilibrium, and it seems to be coming true. Even the EU is seeing movement towards an hourglass-type distribution.

I think this relationship is unstable and likely to produce some significant turbulence if (when?) the current consensual hallucination of international finance is broken. It would be better if we were pushing more towards a bell-curve, but we're not. "Every one of the 100 metropolitan regions [reaserchers] looked at has grown more economically segregated over the last 30 years."

It's a long-term thing that spans generations, but the longer we wait to turn it around soon the more shocking and disruptive the inevitable realignment will likely be.

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Boris Yeltsin Express

Dipped into my stash of Czech sunshine today to test for purity, potency, etc. Took some advice from Franko and made it a bicycling adventure, good sweaty times along Scenic drive. It's a gorgeous day, and a great one for sitting up on the ridge and watching the surf break over Houda point.

Anyway, it's a free Zen afternoon and I now know the lay of the land.

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