Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chillin' to "Sweet About Me"

I don't normally listen to "popular" music. Well, that is not really true, I suppose, but the music I most likely am to listen to was first performed in the 80s. It has more to do with when I started listening to music and less about the quality of the music. I am a tragic compilation of my circumstances. And I find myself apologizing for it, only when I think about it. Luckily music is about much more than thought; it is about feelings and even hearing songs during significant events. Sure, we remember where we were when JFK was shot, but we also remember what was on the turntable when we first had sex.1

I heard a song by Gabriella Cilmi recently, and the sound is haunting. It reminded me of Cat Stevens. Not that she sounds like him, but the sound is unique, and so was his sound. More than that is that she reminded me how much fun it is to just listen to music. And in the hectic world of ours, just kicking back and listening to music can recharge the soul.

I also think it is interesting that the song that reminded me of this is called, "Sweet about Me," and the lyrics say that there is nothing sweet about her. Well, reminding me of the magic of music is oh, so sweet.

1Okay, I was not alive for the JFK assassination, but that seems to be the event people most remember. For me, it was perhaps the shuttle explosion. That event cracked the illusion that the world was safe and fair.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Almost School Time

We are less than two weeks away from school starting. I was reminded of this from a VLOG I saw this morning. Two things come to mind: (1) not having children, I don't really know when school normally starts; I just observe changing traffic patterns and figure it out, and (2) because I have not been posting blog entries, I have not really been reading blogs or watching an occasional YouTube video.

In the video Hayley says that for most, high school is not as advertized; that it won't be the best years of your life. Well, I will admit it is not like the movie Grease. Okay, again, two random observations: (1) why did all of the students in the movie look like they were in their mid-twenties; oh, because they were old, and (2) I did not realize until years later that in the lyrics of one of the songs had a dirty word in it; I would not recognize p---- wagon until years later, when I saw a high school production of the play. You can't have a Christmas tree on school property, but you can sing about . . . oh, nevermind.

I thought about high school, and remembered it was really great. Sorry, Haley, but going to your locker to see if your boyfriend placed a note in the locker like you directed him is a good memory. So is selling ribbons before football games, wearing bizarre outfits on certain days, and avoiding physical education for extracurricular activities. It seemed mostly good to me. Memories of heartache, backstabbing bitches, zits and homework fade over time.

But then I thought that elementary school was wonderful, where the biggest decision of the day was white vs. chocolate milk (and rarely we would have the choice of strawberry milk, a truly vile liquid). Walking in straight lines in complete silence seemed more like a game than an imitation of Hitler's youth organization. And science had no real debate. There were nine planets, for oceans, and we did not even talk about global warming. A place where boys were not smart enough to be deceptive, where teachers seemed like teachers and not discipliners.

Middle school seemed cruel. I had some wonderful memories from middle school as well, but I also remember hearing about fights after school, rumors about the first girl who lost he virginity and became very popular with the boys, where people were expelled from school instead of a note going home to a parent. Middle school was all about puberty, about forming cliques, about figuring out how everyone is different.

I look at elementary school through college, and I can't help but grin. Sure, every event seemed more important than it really was, but now, as an adult, do we make things less important than they really are? Well, in a few weeks, traffic patterns will change. For bright eyed children, they will be making memories they will remember for all of their days. Lucky ducks.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Healthcare Debate

I have been listening to the healthcare debate for some time, and it seems a bit ridiculous on all sides. Some not-so random thoughts on the subject . . . .

New Legislation will Cover All. The media has said there are 46 million uninsured Americans. One thing that the media fails to ask is, "Yeah, but do these 45 Million want to have insurance?" After college, there was a time where I did not have health insurance. I could have had it, but I chose not to have it. I was young, healthy and I had no assets to protect. Why exactly would I need health insurance? And I am sure many Americans are thinking the same thing. Sure, there are some people who don't have health insurance because they can't afford it, but most have looked about how they spend their money and have decided to do other things with their money. Health insurance was not that important to them.

Sure, society as a whole pays for this. And sure, if healthcare was truly free, this would be great. But we are just shifting costs.

New Legislation will Reduce Healthcare Costs. I don't think it is the government's job to reduce healthcare costs (and the Dems are talking about efficiencies and cost reductions). I mean, as long as the government is concerned with the costs of products for me, why not work on reducing costs of my iPod, computer, car, and so forth. And someone may say that the government already manipulates food prices (we pay farmers not to grow certain crops), gas and oil prices (the government's strategic oil reserve impacts prices; so do our foreign relations), and now prices for automobiles (cash for clunkers will pull automobiles out of the market, and also increase demand which should make prices go up).

New Legislation will Make Healthcare More Efficient. See above. I am not sure it is the government's business to make any industry more efficient. The government did not enact child labor laws because the twelve-year-old factory workers were inefficient; they did so to protect children. And I am not sure I want some government bureaucrat tell hospitals how to be efficient. Think about it: the government is telling us that they can make something more efficient. When you think of government, is the word "efficiently" the first thing you think? Probably not.

New Legislation contains Death Panels. This is one of the coolest aspect of the new legislature. The phrase "Death Camps" sounds efficient, spooky and something that would lend itself to reality television. I can see this now: in order to underwrite the new healthcare legislation, the government will allow one station to televise these death panel reviews. The only problem is that these words aren't even in the legislation. I mean, we don't think these words are in the legislation – most legislators have not read it, and neither has anyone else. Someone can read Harry Potter in two days, no problem, but cannot real legislation that will have a trillion dollar difference to our government budget.

Even if I think we should reform healthcare now and have the government involved, I am not at all confident that our elected officials are smart enough to do this rationally.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Being Offline and Personal Economics

I have been "offline" for a long time. It has really been months, with one little post that filled the gap for those months. And when I posted the blog entry, I intended on started to write again. Guess what, I didn't start writing again.

I wanted to write that I was involved in some international incident, that I was denied internet access until former President of the United States Bill Clinton rescued me and my lesbian lover after months of captivity. But that is not what happened.

I wanted to say that my house was attacked by aliens that placed transceivers in humans to control them, but that is not what happened.

I wanted to say that I was finishing up a book about mitochondrial DNA synthesis, and its applications on sheep duplication, thus ending the worth's wool shortage. But that is not what happened.

I guess not one thing happened. A culmination of things, but the biggest one is that I am doing a bit more work at work. What the heck were they thinking? I wrote about work and pay and how promotions are not necessarily a good thing. A ton more work for $2K a year is not my idea of a good deal.

Anyway, I have thought about writing, and then I thought about the relative value of my time. We do this all of the time, you know? For instance . . . .

When one decides to take a long bath instead of a ten minute shower, you are deciding to spend time out of your day for a bath. And there is probably a reason behind spending that additional time.

Sex can be the same way. For married people, if we wanted, we could have sex until we could not walk anymore. And there probably is a reason we don't have sex all of the time. Remember when you were first married? Or first sexual in a committed relationship? How often was the sex? Well, maybe it was very often. There are lots of things to do, but the satisfaction from sex outweighed doing the dishes, even if you hated dirty dishes. Or later in a relationship, it does not have to be about sexual gratification. If you and your husband are trying to get pregnant, perhaps you had sex all of the time (during the right times) to try and get pregnant. Even if you did not enjoy the sex - and sex for babies gets old really fast.

"Honey, don't worry about foreplay. Just get it over so I can vacuum the carpet."

Yes, vacuuming the carpet is more enjoyable than baby-making sex if it is six months without no pregnancy.

I guess I am getting a bit far afield, but I enjoy the whole "economics" view of the world. There was a book that was popular a few years ago called Freakonomics, and I enjoyed it because it talked about this sort of thing - well, not these examples or even this logic, but it gave me ideas that I now use in my thinking. There have been several other economics books that have been popular as well. I know it sounds like driving an ice pick into your eye would be as pleasant, but they are interesting ideas.

Anyway, from time to time, I have ideas and I have wanted to express them on this blog. Because I have not really been around much, I have just thought "Eh."You know, giving a non-committal utterance.

Two things have happened recently that have been pushing me in a different direction: (1) I got a note from a very popular YouTube person (I know, gag me; but she also has a blog and she can really write) and was touched by her words, and (2) someone with sexual addiction is communicating with me and I am revealing my experiences on the road to recovery. I wrote about it here and here and probably other places. My blog was a starting point, but we are chatting about tools to use to get away from the bad behavior.

Above I mentioned an interest in economics. My job has nothing to do with economics, but I enjoy the thought process - do I spend my money on X or wait and save for Y. And more close to home, do I spend limited time writing a blog or writing a book. Well, all of this time away from the blog was not spent knocking out the first two riveting chapters of a book. It was spent doing work (which I derive only modest benefit from, aside from my paycheck) and spending more time at lunch.

Anyway, I miss writing and may start to write again (and you don't have to believe I am starting; I won't until I see if I write some more). I hear items on the news, and I just want to write about them. I experience something weird in an elevator, and my mind starts writing the post. So I have missed this forum, and I have missed writing others. Perhaps, perhaps, instead of walking to the coffee shop two streets over, I will write an ill-conceived blog entry for a few to read.

This has nothing to do with this post, but I have been dabbling in an online strategy game based on the seedy side of life. But the game is really more about economics than sex and violence. I don't get into the role-playing, really, but I enjoy figuring out how to spend limited time and energy in the game to maximize the gains (money, experience, and other gains). I am not recommending the game, per se, but if you want to check it out, it is located here. And if you think the game is just a way of having some sexual gratification, you will be disappointed. There are a few steamy photos, but they are not that erotic (e.g., they don't do anything for me). They would embarrass you at work more than anything. Oh, and they are not Asian women, so Grant, you would not like it. You know, there are probably a bunch of erotic photos, now that I think about it, because users can create a customized signature page, and they can be quite crude. I play with the images turned off in my web browser (sex addicts do that, you know), so I sometimes forget about how most see the game.