04-21-17 update

What I’ve been watching
The latest incarnation of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix is pretty good. I’d always been partial to the orginal, feeling that later incarnations were quite up to the mark. But this new series is every bit as good as the original, maybe better. There seems to be no shortage of cheesy B movies to torture us and those on the Satellite of Love but their commentary makes them bearable.

Technology I’m dealing with
I’d already gone through my MojoNude blog in its entirety, restoring images, updating links, and occasionally editing entries. Over the weekend I began the process on the For What It’s Worth blog which will take much longer because I’ve had this blog going in some form long before MojoNude. It also has entries imported from my Live Journal so there are duplicate entries from that. Until recently, I posted to it more frequently than I did to MojoNude.

In one of my tech email subscriptions I found an article about alternate DNS services to what’s provided by default by one’s ISP. I overrode the default DNS addresses provided by my IPS on my gateway router and put in the addresses for DNS.Watch. I chose that one because they don’t log DNS requests and they claim to have optimized their service for speed. I’ll try it out for a while and see how it goes. So far, it seems to be working well. I was glad to see that once I’d made the change on the router, all of my computers and devices picked up the change right away instead of waiting for a reboot or the next DHCP request.

Projects I’m working on
It’s spring so there are plenty of outdoor projects to be done. My mower died over the weekend after several years of faithful service. I’m certain that repairing it would cost just as much as replacing it but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ll make a trip to Lowe’s or Home Depot today or tomorrow and get one. (I bought a cheap power mower from Home Depot because I already owed them less.)

I got a truckload of mulch from the city’s yard waste facility yesterday and applied it to the flower beds in front of the house. I dug out a few inches along the bricks and filled that in with mulch to make mowing along the beds a little easier. I did the same thing around the garden boxes in back. I had plenty of mulch left over so I decided to cover the grass inside the fence around the garden. I’ll get another load next week and finish it off then take whatever remains to the kids’ house for their flower beds.

Quotes I’m pondering
“The bible should be reverently and ceremoniously burned every Easter. It is a dangerous book. We need it no longer for the spirit is with us.” – Alan Watts
“You must realize that you are now only a heap of conventions, habits, what society has made of you. Once all these have left you, you realize that they were defenses and aggressions accumulated solely to maintain the ego.” – Jean Klein
“You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.” – The Doctor
“I would say that the idea America has a crumbling morality, that we have some kind of morality that’s standing, is built on repressive patriarchal conceptions of sex and sexuality. So if that’s crumbling, then let it crumble.” – Kirin Gupta

04-14-17 update

What I’m reading
I’m still perusing England: A History by R.J. White. It doesn’t read like a history book. As I’m reading it, I seem to get a bit of a feel for the temperaments and and the sensibilities of the English people during the times discussed. It’s also refreshing to have a perspective that’s not American. I believe that Americans, in general, have a uniquely biased view of history, not only their own, but world history as a whole. This bias carries over into our economic and political thinking. We have this idea that, as a nation, we are invincible, we are always right, our way is the best, and the lessons of history do not apply to us. We are a most delusional nation and our collective inability to see past the delusion will likely be our downfall.

Blogs I’ve been reading
I’ve been a regular reader of Robert G. Longpré’s blog, Naturist Lens for many years. I enjoy his insights that blend naturism with Jungian psychology.

Chasing Away the Light and Hiding in the Shadows
Psychological Fear of Being Naked in the Light
Stealing Moments of Skyclad Sunshine

What’s in my bag
When I go out for more than an hour or so, I often bring with me a messenger bag containing items I might possibly need. In the main pocket I’ll have a notebook for jotting down things that pop into my head. It also contains my Kindle and my copy of The Teaching of Buddha. I’ll often add a bottle of water and something with which to flavor it, especially if the water has minerals added to enhance its flavor.

Another pocket has chargers for my iPhone and my Kindle as well as a supplemental battery. Somewhere in the gag will be a couple of pens and post-it pads. And, like any experience intergalactic hitchhiker, I’ll have my towel handy.

Quotes I’m pondering
“Why do I get so much out of being skyclad? It is a question I constantly ask myself. The best answer that I find is the fact that it is then that I find myself able to “Breathe” freely. Clothing restricts and contains. Somehow, it is my psychological state that feels restricted and contained more so than my physical self. I wonder what it is for others?” – Robert G. Longpré

“It’s as simple as that. We are afraid of stepping out of the shadows – psychologically afraid.” – Robert G. Longpré

“It seems I want more naturism in my life, not less.” – Robert G. Longpré

That last quote echoes what I’ve been feeling lately even as I flip-flop about whether I should join the local naturist group. Are my reasons against as valid as I tell myself? What it all comes down to is that I want a life that’s simpler, less restrictive, and allows me more real freedom.

Happy birthday, Mr. Jefferson

Happy 274th birthday to Thomas Jefferson. I’m sure it would sadden you, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, James Madison and the other founding fathers to see what the nation you founded has become. The people have become complacent and have elected ignorant fools to represent and govern them. Not only have the people ignored your warnings, they have embraced those very things you warned them against. In their ignorance, they believe that the erasure of the principles and the vision this country was founded upon will somehow make this country great. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ignorance and fear that dominates our politics and our culture will be our downfall, the end of our experiment with democracy, and will likely usher in a new age of tyranny and despotism. If you thought King George was bad, King Donald and his court will be much worse.

04-07-17 update

What I’m reading
I’m still working my way through In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat. While not overly technical, it’s still not what I would consider casual reading. I recently began reading England: A History by R.J. White.

What I’ve been watching
Since the new season began I’ve been watching Who Do You Think You Are on TLC on Sunday night. I’ve enjoyed this show since it first aired about eight years ago. It’s the stories, the history, and often the quests themselves that interest me. That they are researching a celebrity’s ancestry is irrelevant. Most of the time, their roots are just as humble as everyone else’s. Their ancestors were people who lived their lives, did what they had to do, and overcame obstacles, just like we all do. When the show first came out, I read a lot of complaints by genealogists about the the celebrities having most of the research done for them. So what? I enjoy the quest, searching through records and all that, but if I could get someone to do some of that for me, I’d jump at the chance.

Whist channel surfing one evening, I found Robin Hood, a rendition of the story I’d never seen before, It was a British production released in 1991, around the same time as the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. This film was directed by John Irvin and starred Patrick Bergin as Robin Hood and Uma Thurman as Marian. This seemed to be a much less romanticized treatment of the legend and probably a better portrayal of the events and circumstances in the early thirteenth century from which the legend arose.

What I’ve been listening to
I’ve been seeing a lot of links to podcasts on my Twitter feed and I’ve been taking the time to listen to some of them. A lot of them seem to be rambling but some have been quite interesting. This week I heard two Tim Ferris podcasts in which he spoke with Cheryl Strayed and Dr. Brené Brown that I really enjoyed. I liked Cheryl Strayed’s concept of “Motherfuckatude” which she she described as a mixture of humility and strength. I totally get that.

Technology I’m dealing with
Unable to afford the upfront cost of maintaining a hosted web site, I gave it up. I did back up the entire site so I didn’t lose any data and I exported two of my blogs so they’re still up and running although what few readers I may have had will have to find them again. I had a lot of content there that I hadn’t done anything with in years so it didn’t bother me that it went away. I’d like to find a way to get some of the genealogy information back on-line. I’m sure I’ll find something.

Quotes I’m pondering
“Simplicity does not mean want or poverty. It does not mean the absence of any decor, or absolute nudity. It only means that the decor should belong intimately to the design proper, and that anything foreign to it should be taken away.” – Paul Jacques Grillo

“Trust that all you’ve learned was worth learning, no matter what answer you have or do not have about what practical use it has in your life. Let whatever mysterious starlight that guided you this far guide you onward into the crazy beauty that awaits.” – Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough

“Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay. ” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

03-31-17 Update

What I’ve been watching
This past weekend I stumbled upon Hidden Houses of Wales on Netflix. Some of the houses have had fascinating histories. The house I found most intriguing was Plas Penmynydd in Anglesey, originally built by Richard Owen Tudor, grandson of Owen Tudor. Naturally, The connection to the Tudor dynasty is what made it especially interesting for me.

Quotes I’m pondering
“Westerners cannot slap Eastern spirituality on top of a western ego and expect enlightenment.” – Carl Gustav Jung

“A problem for me, since late adolescence, is that the world is not as full of competent adults as I feel I was promised it was as a child.” – Michelle Dean

“Only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

“Men are not against you; they are only for themselves.” – Gene Fowler

“The less you know, the more you believe.” – a bumper sticker

Yeah, I’m pondering a lot of things these days.

Stuff that’s keeping me busy
Over the weekend I got out my pole-saw and hacked some limbs off a few trees in the back yard. Since Saturday is the first of April, the city yard waste disposal facility should be open and I’ll have a load for them.

I also started shoveling dirt out of the larger garden box and I soon came to the conclusion that it will be a lot of work. Between the boxes I probably have more than five tons of topsoil in them. To move them I would have to move all of that soil twice. I would also have to dig new holes for the posts and put down now landscaping fabric and plastic mesh on the bottoms. It’s going to be too much work. I’ll trim trees to get more sunlight on the garden.

The kids ended up getting a bedbug infestation in the house so they had to treat the whole house and everything in it. I took in two of the grandchildren for the weekend. On Monday, I helped out with the massive amount of laundry that needed to be done. By the time we finished we filled both their van and my truck with the clean laundry. There’s still more to be done and two of the bedrooms still aren’t ready for habitation.

What I’m feeling
As the first quarter of 2017 draws to a close, I’m feeling overwhelmed by the destruction of America by Donald Trump and his cronies and the leaders of the GOP. The ideologies they represent are in their death throes, desperately clinging to a sinking ship. The patriarchy they are trying to keep alive is passé, outdated, and unsustainable. The changes that will replace them have already gotten a foothold and will eventually prevail. The current administration and Congressional leadership are a temporary setback and they will cause severe damage but progress will overtake them. In the meantime, we can’t take anything for granted Out of destruction comes creation, a new order built upon the ruins of the old. Evolution cannot be stopped.

The felling of being overwhelmed is accompanied by a sense of hopelessness yet a hope that a new age will emerge. The question is how long will we have to endure?

God’s Plan

If you believe the Biblical story of creation as described in Genesis, have you ever considered it to be the justification for a Holy War against Nature? And since we are, though we try to deny it, a part of Nature then this Holy War extends to all of Humanity and ultimately ourselves. Since the dawn of human civilization Mankind has been engaged in all out war against Nature (ourselves included) and if we carry it out to its logical conclusion, we must, inevitably, bring about out own extinction. Unless we surrender, it’s the only possible outcome.

Other species have survival instincts but like good soldiers, we have trained ourselves to disregard our basic instincts. Instead we have developed an almost instinctive propensity for self-destruction. Man is is the only species to have ever developed a myriad of ways to potentially bring about its own demise. No other species has ever had that capacity. Is self-extinction God’s plan for us?

Friday Update (03-24-17)

What I’m reading
I’m still working my way through In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality. I haven’t really devoted a lot of time to it lately.

What I’m doing for my health
I met my doctor on Wednesday and my annual checkup went pretty much as I’d expected. She started me on Lipitor and she wants me to check my blood pressure daily at different times over the next 60 days. I’ve been taking this body for granted and I need to step up an take care of it. The plan is to amp up the treadmill workout and add some weight training to the regimen.

Technology I’m dealing with
I was planning to upgrade my ultra-small form factor PC to Mint 18.1Serena but I ran into some hardware problems which weren’t worth the effort to fix. I had an older laptop with that distribution already on it so I replaced it with that. That particular computer was just something I keep attached to the router/gateway for troubleshooting connection and network issues so I don’t require too much from it. I added a few “essential” applications to it and I may install a few networking utilities down the road.

Conky is a system monitoring utility that has become a staple on my Linux computers My script for it has been a perpetual work in progress as I’m always finding new ways to tweak it. On the laptop running Mint 18.1Serena, I noticed a couple of quirks about its appearance of the desktop. After a bit of research, I found that all I needed to do was delay its execution on boot-up to give the desktop a chance to be completely drawn. It was a simple matter to implement the delay into its autostart file.

I picked up a couple 8 GB USB drives to make into bootable drives to install Linux. Putting just one ISO on an 8 GB drive is such a waste of space so I looked into ways to have multiple installations on a single drive. Most of these utilities are written for Windows but I like to do as much as I can in Linux rather than Windows. I found MultiSystem which seems to work quite well. I was able to install six Linux ISO files on a single 8 GB drive. I’m kind of surprised there aren’t more Linux-based tools for this.

Concepts that piqued my curiosity

  • homophobic gay porn
  • mindful pornography

I haven’t given either concept a lot of deep thought yet but my interest has been aroused. On the surface, I’m inclined to consider that much gay porn is likely to be homophobic in much the same way that most heterosexual porn is misogynistic at some level. I’m sure at all how to process the idea of mindful pornography.

Quote I’m pondering
“In the process of burning out these confusions, we discover enlightenment. If the process were otherwise, the awakened state of mind would be a product dependent upon cause and effect and therefore liable to dissolution. Anything which is created must, sooner or later, die. If enlightenment were created in such a way, there would always be a possibility of ego reasserting itself, causing a return to the confused state. Enlightenment is permanent because we have not produced it; we have merely discovered it.” – Chögyam Trungpa