Log in

No account? Create an account
19:36, Mon 21 Aug 2006
  I am now also available on Zaadz.com.  
     read feedback (3) - respond
18:19, Tue 16 Dec 2003
  Hi everybody-

Hope all is well with all of you. No, I'm not re-instating my journal :-), but I'm letting you know I started a new community, aboutmyjob, which is on its way to make a difference in the life of many people.

I posted the message below on over 100 communities, and I will post to more over the next couple of days. Please check out the new group, and please feel free to pass it along to your friends as well.

Be safe and be well-

Subject: Please describe your job to help others choose one.


I just started a new community, aboutmyjob, where I invite all of you to post your thoughts about your current or past jobs. I'm hoping my community will help young people to answer that very difficult question "What do I want to be?".

Please check out the description via the link above. If you want to post, there's no need to join the community, you can do so right away.

Thanks in advance for sharing, and helping.
     read feedback (9) - respond
Final Message   
17:26, Sat 26 Jul 2003
  Hello friends-

     I've decided to abandon my journal. Over the last two months I've been having fun with it, peeked into many interesting lives, and participated in many mind stimulating discussions. However, I find that I am not writing for myself. When I write I find myself writing as if addressing a crowd. And I consciously do not post that which would be for my eyes only. This tells me I am not allowing myself to be free, and as seeking freedom is one of my core values, I must stop. Know that I am not somber. I am not sad. I am happy I learned this about myself.

     To all my friends, I wish you all the best in your lives. I know you will find what you are looking for, whether it is finding peace, love, inspiration, or something I didn't have the chance to hear about. Fare well.

     Oh, and if you ever hear of a political party called Rising Earth, or read an inspiring book dedicated to Rising Earth, you will know that I'm still out there, making a difference. :-) Cheers!

Gandhi, on Taking a Vow   
12:52, Sat 19 Jul 2003
  Gandhi writes:
     [...] 'I believe in effort, I do not want to bind myself with vows,' is the mentality of weakness and betrays a subtle desire for the thing to be avoided. Or where can be the difficulty in making a final decision? I vow to flee from the serpent which I know will bite me, I do not simply make an effort to flee from him. I know that mere effort may mean certain death. Mere effort means ignorance of the certain fact that the serpent is bound to kill me. The fact, therefore, that I could rest content with an effort only, means that I have not yet clearly realized the necessity of definite action. 'But supposing my views are changed in the future, how can I bind myself by a vow?' Such a doubt often deters us. But that doubt also betrays a lack of clear perception that a particular thing must be renounced. That is why Nishkulanand has sung:
'Renunciation without aversion is not lasting.'
Where therefore the desire is gone, a vow of renunciation is the natural and inevitable fruit.
22:19, Tue 15 Jul 2003
  From Gandhi's autobiography I quote:
     [Christmas Day, 1896] I had in my speech described Western civilization as being, unlike the Eastern, predominantly based on force. The questioners pinned me to my faith, and one of them -- the captain, so far as I can recollect -- said to me:
     'Suppose the whites carry out their threats, how will you stand by your principle of non-violence?' To which I replied: 'I hope God will give me the courage and the sense to forgive them and to refrain from bringing them to law. I have no anger against them. I am only sorry for their ignorance and narrowness. I know that they sincerely believe that what they are doing today is right and proper. I have no reason therefore to be angry with them.'
This ties in nicely with my "There's Only Good" discussion, so I had to capture it. I don't place any value in the claim about Western vs Eastern civilization, as Gandhi himself admits to having severely repressed his spouse. (Actually in the first 200 pages of 500, a female form was used only in reference to a disease, although this may be a translation issue.) Nevertheless, the wisdom about non-violence is wonderful.
One of the Keys To Happiness   
18:10, Mon 14 Jul 2003
  Okay, this is the last post to cover all of the weekend wisdom I gathered. What can I say, it was time well spent. :-)

Here is another life lesson, which came to me in a "lightbulb moment", as Oprah would say.

When talking to people:
1. Be honest about your feelings or situation.
2. Take time to make sure everyone involved understands one another.

The first one is obvious. If you're not honest, the people you communicate with will have false information. They'll set false expectations, or draw false conclusions, like they will think everything is cool when it is not. If you're not honest, it'll be your fault when they do not understand.
The second one is so very important... if there's no time enough for all parties involved to explain themselves and for all parties to come to understand one another, don't even try. A five minute phone conversation is just not worth it when every answer to every question is "good" or "fine". This is not a converstation, and it's better not to have any conversation at all if that's all the time you have.

If everybody understands each other, and the things discussed were truthful, stress and disappointment will disappear. And happiness will rise. Even if the people involved later forget what was said,or just want to get in your face, you just follow the same 2 steps again. (And perhaps apply the 3 strikes rule... :-)) Anyway, I was happy to come to this realization. Now I'll go and apply it in the world. Bye!
Grumpy Old Judge   
17:36, Mon 14 Jul 2003
  Some more weekend wisdom.

To prevent becoming an old judge, pursue your spiritual self. I have noticed that people who do not do this get more and more judgemental as they age. They are stuck in their ways and cannot understand a different way of doing things. Furthermore, they tend not to believe in any of this "spiritual stuff".

So do yourself a favour. Look inside yourself and be honest about what you see. You've gotta live with yourself for a long time, so use the power you have inside to make yourself the best person you can be. If you don't, you'll fall back to your stubborn and regretful old self as you're getting ready to die, and you won't be very much fun to be around. Plus you'll have to spend a next lifetime remembering that spirituality and self discovery is the way. Once you adopt the changes you long to see in yourself -- and you're living those changes day in day out -- even if you were to lose your memory, suffer a stroke, or get Alzheimer's, I believe you will "fall back" to your most spiritual self. So there's the incentive for ya to do good and give it all you got. :-)
Is Love Stronger Than Death?   
16:01, Mon 14 Jul 2003
  I'm going to post a few more things that surfaced from the discussions I had over the weekend.

The topic of suicide briefly came up, leading to the question if love is stronger than death. The talk was about suicide, but it could have been about any abrupt ending of life, such as an accident, or war. Imagine for a moment that you have found your life partner. You love each other so much, you honestly cannot imagine life without the other. You genuinely need each other.

Then one tragic day, your lover's life is taken away. You are left behind, shattered, and your love is now burning stronger than ever before. And in a moment of despair, you are thinking to yourself, "is love stronger than death? Does my love for my companion, for my lover, prevent them from being reborn unless I die too and..."


Darn, this thought is not original! I didn't realize until now that this is the old and familiar needing to let a deceased go so that they can find peace. Amazing I didn't see that sooner. Oh well, I can state my beliefs on the topic nevertheless.

Do I believe that one has to let a loved one "go"? Absolutely not! As is wonderfully described in The Tenth Insight, those in the spirit realm can be anywhere instantly. A loved one still living merely has to think of the person who died and their spirit is with them. And, as the mother coping with her son's suicide discovers in Stephen Lives!, communication with them is possible too. So although it is necessary to get the immense feeling of loss under control, for sanity's sake, there's really no need to "give the person up", or to love them any less than when they were still in the flesh. They are still there, they can still hear and see us, and they can even still communicate with us (albeit this will require some training on the side of the living), they are just a different form.

Of course I believe all of this. It's encouraging. Oh, I do have a very critical (mathematical, scientific) mind, but this I really dig. It gives me hope. What do you think?
There is Only Good   
23:26, Sun 13 Jul 2003
  When I read the Conversations With God trilogy a couple of years ago, one of the key beliefs I got out of it was that "There is Only Good," which has been my main mantra ever since.
(BTW, these books are the second most spiritually transforming books for me, even though I read them only once.)

Yesterday evening I got involved in a discussion with my significant other, and we got to talk about what exactly this means. Also in the book series, the author explains the concept of not really knowing what something is, unless one's experienced the opposite of it. A common example of this that one cannot know what light is unless one has experienced dark as well. It wasn't until last night that we noted that having to know the opposite of something to know something doesn't really go with "there's only good."

Literally in the last couple of months, I've been feeling very strongly that there is only good. As a matter of fact, I've been applying it a lot lately. And given that experience, I think I can now understand what the author actually meant to say.

(As a side note, the author didn't just say that there was only good -- actually, it was God who told him this, and the author had quite a bit of trouble with it and God and he had extensive dialog about how the horrible things that have occured on Earth could have all been "good". And the message from God was that there really is no "good" and "bad," there's only "good." And so, yes, even Hitler went to Heaven. And I believe this to be so. (Yes, the books are quite controversial indeed, but they make one think, and that is, well, good.))

I believe there to be only good, because this is really a way of surviving life for me. I can no longer waste energy on figuring out who or what is bad and who or what is good. It's so often a fine line, and in time, the meaning of good and bad often change. No, on a universal scale, I truely believe that there is only good. The question is, shouldn't I have to first experience what bad is? And I say no, and I think this is what the author also believes.

Once one has decided that there is only good, as a way of life, the need to answer that question is gone. One doesn't have to know how to view things in the negative in order to view things in the positive. It's a matter of just making the choice. The words "good" and "positive" are just about the only words that can explain this way of thinking. And in that context, they really don't have an opposite anymore.

Of course I cannot explain why Hitler would have gone to Heaven. But as I believe that there is no "bad", it logically follows that he too went there. And I get such peace from that. I believe in the goodness of all people, even the ones that do harm to others. I believe that there is a cause for why some people do harm to others. But I cannot judge them when I step back and view these events from a universal standpoint. I know too well that in time, everything makes sense. And everything will turn out to be good.
Yes, I have a hard time seeing WWII in that light, or any of the conflicts in the world. But on a smaller scale, say, in my circle of friends, it makes a lot of sense, and it makes me stay positive and it allows me to focus my energy on good things. I can let things go much quicker -- in most cases instantly. I can forgive so easily. It makes me stronger, and it makes me happier. It makes me cope with the world. Yes, "There is Only Good" will continue to be my mantra for a long long time.

(It took exactly one hour to write this.)
Human Kindness, part II   
22:34, Sat 12 Jul 2003
  After I left my seat and had made but a few paces up the isle, an usher showing people their seats as well as a line of people walking the opposite way congested the small walkway, so I peacefully awaited my turn to go. Just when that time had come and I started to move, the usher turned around and we gently bumped into each other. We looked at each other apologetically, and with a big smile I said: "Hi, how are you?" Before the usher could speak, and before I even thought about it, I gave the man a small hug. As I let go we looked at each other one brief time, just long enough for me to see he was now wearing my smile.
What happened just before this...Collapse )
Human Kindness, part I   
22:20, Sat 12 Jul 2003
  I was taking a break from life standing outside on the sidewalk, and then it happened.
A man walks up, ties his dog to the tree in front of me, and disappears into a coffee shop.
The dog is one of those polar dogs; nice and furry.
She just stands there, quietly, waiting.
My eyes are still focused on the dog when a young couple passes through my line of sight.
When the dog appears back into view, the hand of the young man is stroking the dog's head.
He never looks at the dog, but his action shows great affection towards her.
And also touches my heart.
Saving Money   
18:46, Thu 10 Jul 2003
  Inspired by Gandhi, here's how I can save money, and eat healthier too.

Since a month or two I have been biking to work 5 days a week, but if I'd take public transport that'd run me $1 each way = $2. When it rains or it is dark, I prefer to take a taxi which does set me back $11 (tip included), and $1 for the return voyage = $12. I enjoyed getting out of the building with my buddy to buy lunch and have some exercise, but since he got laid off last month, I really ought to stop going. To get lunch at a cafe costs between $3 for a prepackaged sandwich and $6.50 for a hot veggie pasta dish. In the morning I always have a diet drink from the machine for $0.65, and sometimes I have two of those. (Diet sodas, like regular sodas, are bad for you, and I've been meaning to switch to something else for a while already.) Occasionally I have a V8 vegetable drink ($1.10) or a soy Jamba Juice ($3.95) instead. I used to drink tea, which is provided for free, but I no longer trust the water where I work... Buying a 1 liter bottled water runs $1.50, which, I found out today, will last me a day. So, without any effort at all, really, I can make some changes.

If I buy bottled water in bulk, I can probably save $0.50 on that 1 liter bottle. It's more liquid than 2 cans of soda, and has no dubious ingredients -- well, you never know where that bottled water comes from... but I've read tests about this particular brand of water, and I somewhat trust it.
I love sandwiches, so I can make those at home myself. I need about 6 slices of bread to survive. And as I can eat throughout the day, this will be healthier than all at once. 7or 12 grain bread will do. It's about $3.95 a loaf, containing about 3 days of food. So, I'll need 2 loafs per week, assuming I'll eat the leftover bread in the weekend. I guess fat-free cheese is good, or sugar free jam or peanut butter. The spreads have the advantage of not requiring butter. Butter will lasts a long time, so is negligable in cost. The cheese lasts 2 weeks or so (figuring about 4 slices/sandwhich = 12/lunch), the spreads a bit longer. Cheese will be around $4, the spreads about the same. So, let's say for 2 weeks I need 4 loafs + 1 cheese = 4 x $3.95 + $4 = $19.80, plus the butter makes an even $20 even for 10 lunches, which is $2 per lunch.
As I already mentioned, I am biking to work, which is (a) much quicker than public transport and (b) an excellent workout, so I cannot save anything there.

To summarize:
Make own lunch: saves between $1 and $4.50 vs eating out
Bring drinks: could save $0.50 probably; with 1.5 cans of soda on average, no real savings here, except for my health
Bike to work: saves $2 vs public transport, and $12 vs cab/p.t.

All in all this saves me from $3 to $6.50 (to an occasional $16.50) a day = on average $30 a week. Nice! Thanks, Gandhi!
The Enneagram: Understanding the 9 Types of People   
00:03, Thu 10 Jul 2003
  I came across a tiny book about The Enneagram, a centuries-old psychological system defining 9 different types of people. For an hour or two I read and looked within so as to categorize myself into one of the types. I finally settled on The Observer. While I am moving away from The Perfectionist and The Mediator, I did see a lot of myself in The Epicure and even The Boss. However, I am definately an Observer at this point in my life.  
The Story of Something   
15:11, Sat 05 Jul 2003
  A great article by Don Miguel Ruiz that everybody should read. At this moment in time, its message lies very close to my heart... enjoy.
(Thanks to ninevolt for posting the link here.)
Gandhi, What Do You Mean?   
12:50, Sat 05 Jul 2003
  I am reading Gandhi's autobiography right now. In part 2, chapter 1, he writes about a highly regarded (and highly successful) business man who, after business is done, writes about "the hidden things of the spirit". I've been thinking about what these words mean for a while -- even let a night of sleep go by -- but I have not a solid grasp on what these "things" may be. If anyone has some insight, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.  
17:09, Wed 02 Jul 2003
  In skimming the headlines, I noticed this article claiming the source of the Monkeypox cases in the USA was found. The article claims "African Rats" as the source for the disease. And I am thinking: "Have these people not heard of Bowling for Columbine? Do they really think we're going to believe any cause that carries the name 'African'? Come on!".

I'm thoroughly disappointed in the news media.
The Right of Way   
16:14, Tue 01 Jul 2003
  This afternoon I was biking home, and -- as bicyclists often do -- passed the line of cars waiting for the red traffic light. Normally I stop before the pedestrian crossing just in front of the light, but today I rode on, stopping just before the actual crossing street. I kept to the right, of course, but still my bike and I were now just in front of the first car. As soon as I came to a stop, I knew I was blocking the front two cars, which in passing I had noticed wanted to make a right turn. (Where I live, this is permitted, even on a red light.) And I immediately felt bad, and was reminded of exactly why I always wait before the pedestrian crossing, not in the middle of it.

I looked to the left and saw from the counter on the pedestrian light that there were some 12 seconds left before my light would turn green. I wondered if I should back up to left those two cars make their turn. It would be ackward... I'd have to basically get off the bike and move to the side and back. I decided to stay put. The front-most car promptly hunked its horn.

I almost got uncomfortable, but then, for the last ten seconds of the count-down, sank into thought.

The general "turn right on red" rule applies when the other traffic on the road permits it. Usually, the "other traffic" is the traffic on the intersecting road. But, I said to myself, I am traffic too! I am blocking their way, but that makes me exactly that part of the other traffic that does not permit the turn! Hmmm, I think I may have a point there! For the auto motorist it is a bit frustrating that their way is blocked, but the rule does not say that one must turn, and it doesn't only mention cross-traffic either. No, conditions on the road must permit the turn to be made safely, and in this case it did not.

The light turned green and I rode away happily, feeling satisfied I was able to justify my not obeying the rules of the road. ;-)
Quote of the Day   
03:14, Sun 29 Jun 2003
"I try to smile, but I can't remember."
by onceuponatime13
No More Soy!   
17:55, Thu 26 Jun 2003
  After reading Fast Food Nation last year, I decided to no longer eat meat. At the same time, I also stopped drinking milk. I figured I had to do something to make the demand for these animal products drop, and this was something I could easily do. (I do love the taste of meat, and I do love a glass of milk, but this was an easy choice.) So I started drinking soy milk instead of milk. Pretty tasty too, luckily. But lately I've been doubting the goodness of it, and have moved over to milk made out of rice. And now I read this article about how soy farming is the main cause for forest destruction in the Amazon. What a horrible side effect the whole soy craze is having on the world... can people never get it right? Will we never be told the truth? Will I really have to research every little thing in life so that I can make an informed decision?

Collective Consciousness and Other Big Questions   
15:48, Thu 26 Jun 2003
0. Introduction
Do I believe that all of us share what is commonly referred to as a collective consciousness? Can I imagine a big pool of memories or knowledge where we can tap into and take what we need? Well, it's a big question, and when I begin to think about the answer, other questions arise that have to be answered first. And those answers will lead to the answer to the collective consciousness questions. The short story is yes, I believe this to be true.

1. What is the definition of time?
I believe in time as a measurement of change. One cannot measure time with a static object like a rock. (Strictly speaking a rock is not static, so I should say one cannot measure time using an object which is perceived by humans to be static.) But you can by placing one foot in front of another, or by an electron jumping to a higher energy belt.

I agree the definition is a bit fuzzy and definately circular... I've really defined a unit of time, not time itself. But for this discussion it's acceptable to think of "time" as "unit of time". A unit of time is a period of time in which something happens. The more constant this period, the better. Using the time it takes to put one foot in front of another as "one second" is not very accurate. But using something very scientific would be.

2. What is the definition of life?
I believe that any form of life is characterized by the ability to reproduce. I consider every object that can reproduce itself to be alive. A human can obviously reproduce itself, although it needs some things it cannot produce by itself. An amoeba can reproduce itself, even though it's a single cell organism. The same holds for a red blood cell. All three examples are what I consider to be living "creatures". They're alive and well. A piece of steel is not living. It cannot reproduce itself, not even one piece of it. (Although it may very well change form, or composition over time.)

3. What are the stages of human life?
I definately agree with most people that a human life consists of the stages conception, birth and death. But I believe there to be two more stages. After conception, but before birth, is a stage I'd like to call attachment, and after death is a stage I'd like to call detachment.

4. Do humans have spirits?
If only to store all the information we acquire, definately yes. I believe the spirit is separate from the mind. If I believed it wasn't, the answer to the collective consciousness question would be an immediate no.

5. Is reincarnation possible?
Yes. I cannot possibly see the use of a life that ends without all that was learned and experienced continuing somehow. I can think of ways in which it could continue even if reincarnation was not possible, but I believe the spirit is much more than just an incarnation into a human being, so I have to believe that the spirit goes on, and can choose to be reincarnated.

6. Does one's consciousness contain knowledge collected in this lifetime only, or does it include knowledge collected in past lifetimes?
The spirit being the container for one's consciousness, I believe it includes all. The spirit will continue after death, and after detachment, and after the next life and the next. The reason for this is that I think spirits have a need to reflect on past experiences -- just like humans do. Spirits are progressing too. And incarnation is just one way of learning.

(So now an analogy between human life and spirit life arises. And yes, this whole exercise can be done for "spirit" instead of "human". For now this will left as an exercise to the reader.)

7. Does the collective consciousness grow over time, or is it static?
This follows from my last answer: it grows over time.

8. Is there a limit to this growth?
Haven't really thought about this much. I see no reason to limit the growth, as I believe there is no limit to time either.

9. Does one's consciousness contain knowledge gathered by oneself only, or does it include knowledge gathered by all?
I think a spirit's consciousness contains only knowledge it has acquired by itself. However, I believe information between spirits is transferred instantly. All one has to do is ask for it, and the information is there. This implies there is such a thing as a collective consciousness, as all individual consciousnesses are directly available to all other consciousnesses.

10. Does the collective consciousness extend beyond our own universe into other universes?
That's a good question. I don't know. I hope so, I'd like to believe so, but I'm not sure.

11. So, is there such a thing as collective consciousness?
A wholehearted YES is what I say.

(Wow, this took me almost 2 hours to write up! It's now 17:28.)
If you love buildings...   
18:33, Mon 23 Jun 2003
  This site -- which I came across today -- is awesome: http://www.skyscraperpage.com/.

Check out some of the highlights: buildings under construction and a list of countries/cities.
What I Want   
17:19, Sun 22 Jun 2003
  I want to hike through the Rockies, smell the icy mountain air... clear my lungs and rinse my blood. I want to float down into a grassy meadow, with daisies even taller than myself. And I want to make friends with the tiny creatures busying about the stems... help them clean things up a bit and carry stuff to wherever they'd need it to go. I want to shake all of their hands and wish them all the best. I want to run through the fields, and slide down the snowy slopes on my belly. I want to travel at tremendous speeds only to come to an abrupt halt and accellerate again. I want to fly to the Moon, shout "hello, is there anyone there?!" from the top of my lungs, then laugh out loud and dive into the Earth's core. I want to burn up and rise again. I want to see all that is unseen and I want to be all that I can never be... but what I don't want, is to "just" be me.  
Elevator Music   
18:47, Fri 20 Jun 2003
  Just as I walked up to press the elevator button, the doors opened. Right after I got in, a man also entered the carriage. "Good morning," I said, looking at the man, and nodding my head politely. The man neither looked up nor responsed.

This particular elevator was completely mirrored inside, making it near impossible to avoid eye contact. I stood close in the front-right corner, and looked at my own eyes the whole time we spent together. I told myself I'd say "have a great day" when we'd reach my floor, but my sarcasm filter prevented me from doing so. I said nothing as I exited.

This is a daily occurence, almost. Most days I don't even say "hello". Those days it hits me how we all take the elevator for granted. An exciting piece of ingenuity instantly reduced to it bare bones function: a people mover.

After September 11th, I told myself I'd always say "good morning" when entering elevators, or in general when meeting up with fellow humans waiting for something to happen. But it sure takes a lot of effort to do this. Only ocasionally do I get a friendly response. Why? Am I mumbling? Are people deaf? Do people not care?

I'd like to go visit Ground Zero, which I haven't done yet. People there must know how I feel...
Advice on This Tough Life   
17:27, Tue 17 Jun 2003
  I came home around 16:00, started browsing some Random journals, and I stumbled upon an interesting message. I read it twice, felt I wanted to respond, and then thought, nah, this guy is into drugs, I don't want to get involved... But then I hit the "Post a Comment" link and an hour or so later, I had dumped all the words that I so needed to tell myself into the reply. I hope my words to this person hit home. I feel bad for other people's misery, as I feel bad for my own misery... Reaching out is the drug for me, though. I feel I really accomplished something by writing 8300 characters to a stranger. (I had to break my reply in 3 pieces it was so big! :-)) And now, pass the word all of you- Let's be there for each other and make this world a great place to live!  
Why I Don't Watch TV   
12:14, Sun 15 Jun 2003
  I made the mistake of turning the TV on this morning, just to see what's on. In the next 5 minutes, I was bombarded with "news" and "advertisements": all lies. Here are some of the images presented to me, and my immediate reaction to them.

Police finds bombs in Mecca apartment
Oh, yeah. I'm sure there's over a 50% chance of finding those things in any random apartment over there. Just like there's over a 50% chance of finding guns in any random apartment over here. Come on, this is no news!

Interview with woman Lifetime network CEO
This is really smart, to put a pretty, representable, face on top of a male-ruled organization. Don't think I can't see through this. She's the spokesperson, that's all, while you guys run the show!

Army of One
This really sends the wrong message. The army doesn't need (or want) free thinkers. They don't want a bunch of Rambos running around all doing their own thing. No, you operate as a team, and the message should be calling for team players. Using the "Army of One" slogan is a complete misrepresentation of what the army is all about. Get real!

See, this is why I stopped watching TV. It just gets to me, and I become judgemental, racist, discriminative, and angry. It's not good for my Earth loving heart. It makes me become all the things I do not want to be. All the things they want me to be, so that, through me, they can control society. They want me to get pissed off, turn the TV off, and turn my brain off. Unfortunately for them, I am able to think for myself. And I will decide for myself what I believe and what I do not believe. And this I can definately do without!

Note: all opinions expressed in this message are my own. I don't feel the need to back up any of my statements or beliefs with hard evidence. I do promise that if I do feel strongly about something, I will find evidence and form an educated opinion. Until then, these are just rantings, and I invite you to comment on them below.
I will Be a Special User!   
10:44, Sat 14 Jun 2003
  In early June I started answering LiveJournal support requests, as a way for me to give back to this awesome service LiveJournal provides for free. (Request 115022 was the very first one I answered.) I got very enthousiastic customizing my own journal -- finally realizing the power of CSS -- and I figured why not share what I learned with others? (Well, what really got me going was the list of most helpful support volunteers. I recognized that getting on this list would be a great way to differentiate myself from > 99.99% of all other active LJ users.)

So I read up on the support documents, subscribed to support forums, and started answering user questions. It was a bit discouraging at first, since it took time for me to find the answers. Often times my answers were not as complete as they should have been, or other volunteers provided a similar answer before I did. I wondered if I should just give up and accept that I would never be on the high scores list, but then I came across an encouraging message on one of the support communities, and I decided to give it another go.

I spent one evening researching and entering answers as quick and as thorough as I could, as many as I could. And constantly refreshing the new support requests page when I was not writing, waiting for new requests to come in. I was so sure I would get one of my answers approved... but alas. I felt really competitive, and a lot of times my quickly typed up answer would not be fast enough. I checked the status of one of my answers. Darn, opal1159 beat me to it. I check another one, darn, opal1159 again! Then another one, and again opal1159!! That last time I was beaten by only 4 seconds!!! (I was beaten rightfully, though.) I just couldn't believe that around midnight on a weekday there would be someone else out there... exactly like me!

So this morning I got up early, and went at it again. This time, a Saturday morning, I seemed to be the only one, as I didn't see any other responses for most of the requests I answered. (I did go a bit too fast this time, as two times I accidently submitted an answer that I should have read over more carefully, and I had to correct later. But my excuse is that I was running on adrenaline fumes.) When I noticed more and more volunteers were waking up and started answering, I stopped. In a period of 3 hours, I had managed to answer 10 requests, not bad! Then I found out that 3 of my answers (117407, 117423, and 117431) were approved, meaning they were sent to the users asking the question! And that made me feel so honoured and happy!! Now I will hope that my answers are awarded with those hard to get support points. If I get even one of them, I'll be on the high scores list. If all are approved, I'll enter the list in the middle already! And, my user info page will be showing an extra line with my grand total of support points. Ahhh, only then will I be satisfied. It will feel so good to get that ego boost I deserve, hahaha!
Cool LiveJournals   
18:26, Fri 13 Jun 2003
  Here is a list of cool looking LiveJournals I've come across, regardless of content. By far, the best one I've seen yet is that of lisa, and these are very nice as well: blueanjewl, bookofnights, dionysianry, ella, Calendar section of everrivers, jillw, thegrimtuesday, withinity, xevinx.  
The Secret of Playing Air Piano   
17:08, Fri 13 Jun 2003
  If you're like me, and like playing air piano, here's the trick to do it right.

Remember those LED equalizer indicators on your stereo. It has one bar for each frequency range, going up and down based on the loudness of that frequency. So, your hands are the frequency and your fingers indicate the loudness. Move your fingers up or down with the volume. (Remember, the right hand plays the lower notes, and the left hand the higher notes.) Move your hands to the left or the right as you envision needing to reach notes that would be higher or lower than the five notes you control with each hand.
With this simple visual, you are ready to play any piano concerto and make every one around you think you're a pro. (The effect is even stronger when you have the tune in your head, and no-one hears the exact piece you're playing; they just see your hands move, like you know the piece by heart and are practicing it!).

Okay, I'll also tell you the other secret ingredients. For an especially dramatic effect, at almost every pause in the music, gracefully lift up your left hand vertically, until it is a bit above your right hand, which doesn't move vertically. And then let the hand crash down on the keys at the next tone. Here's another one: move your upper body backwards when the music gets louder. Move in real close when the music is soft. And after a rapid waterfall of notes, make sure to move on your seat a bit, like you're getting ready for the next round. (If you're really good, you moved your chair back a bit during the waterfall, and now you can move it back, taking one hand away from the air piano for just a brief second!) Then, add some crossovers of the hands at the appropriate times, and add some funny faces occasionally. And remember, don't pay attention to anything around you except your playing. Real pianists are completely sucked into their performance.

Good luck!
Getting Connected   
21:41, Thu 12 Jun 2003
  Times must be good for the manufacturers of personal electronics. Outside, on the streets, pedestrians are walking around engrossed in conversations on their cellular phones. At the bus stop, business people are hunched over their laptops, their fingers typing away at rapid speed. And someone waiting for a stop light is quickly sending out another email from their PDA. Sure, our lives have been much enriched by devices such as these. We can now stay in touch and get things done while on the go. Even while we're on the go.

It all started with those walkmans in high school. We all wanted one to escape that boring lecture or that boring person. If you wanted to be left alone, you'd get yourself a walkman, that's just how it was done back then. Plus, you instantly looked cool. So pretty soon we'd would wear them all the time. (Humming or singing along with your music remained a no-no, though.) And all of a sudden -- and I'm sure it was never intended to get this far -- a negative side effect of the personal stereo revealed itself: social interaction withdrawal. And this might have been the goal of us walkman users. After all, we were way above all of this silly school stuff anyway.

My first walkman, I got by mail from the Mars company. I had spent some of my allowance buying their chocolate bars, saved the wrappers and sent in my 20 bucks. Too many weeks later I received my bright green walkman, which was worth definately no more than those 20 bucks I had sent in (bar purchase not included). Luckily I was into stickers back then, so I covered up most of it with, yes, stickers. So perhaps I'm just jealous. I never had that slim bright yellow water-proof one that fit into your inside coat pocket, with the foldable miniature headset. Come to think of it, I never had an inside pocket, so I had to use the oversized clip that came with mine.

Then entered the handheld video games, and I forgot all about my green colored walkman. The great thing about video games is that it's cool to be audible. In fact, the more noise you made, the more people would come out to see what was going on. We were always looking over each other's shoulders to see the next attempt of breaking the record, or to get another glimpse of that game we all wanted but didn't have. Video games can be a social sport -- a team sport even -- believe me. The trouble with that activity was that you were pretty much stuck to the chair you were sitting on, or the wall you were leaning against. You couldn't walk, let alone run while playing. And if you were good, people soon got tired of watching you play. And then you were back to that social interaction withdrawal syndrome.

It wasn't until today that I finally realized that the same thing is going on with our cell phones and the like. We are again withdrawing from social interactions. There's no chance to strike up a conversation at the bus stop because everybody is still hard at work! In passing, people don't look at each other, because they're not used to looking up anymore. Most of the time, they're looking down at the pavement listening to the person on the other end of the line, or they have their eyes focused on the feedback on their display. And although every phone being sold comes with free voice mail, it occurs to no-one to just turn the ringer off. Even in the midst of an occasional conversation, a ringing phone must be answered immediately. It is much more important, we are made to feel, than a meaningful interaction with fellow human beings!

Yes, the message they feed us is to get connected, but in truth we're all getting more and more disconnected.
Taking a Walk   
16:30, Wed 11 Jun 2003
  Today I took a walk just before midday. I walked near where I normally walk, but not where I usually walk. And I was pleasantly surprised to find a two-story tall, lavishly wide waterfall, as well as a patch of huge bamboo trees. I'd never seen them before, so this put a smile on my face and gave me a feeling of wonder. I'm so glad I took a departure from my usual routine!  
It's All About Me   
12:26, Sat 07 Jun 2003
  One of the main things I wanted to use my journal for is to collect all my "Life Lessons," and to share them with the world. Life lessons don't come about every day in my life, so over the last few years I have recorded them as soon as I realized one had occured. But rather than copying all my previous lessons learned, I'll start anew today and record those that come my way now.

A. Ponder on every negative feeling, until a positive is found to replace the negative with.
B. All feelings are always caused by oneself.

Isn't it wonderful to fully realize that one is in absolute control over one's feelings? I am in total control over my own feelings. I cause them. I shape them. I feel bad about them. I feel good about them. I repress them. I relish them. It's all me who's doing that; no one else but me. What an amazing responsibility this is. It's exciting. It's challenging. And everyone can do it, because one owns one's own feelings.

Read how I came to learn this lesson...Collapse )
19:25, Thu 05 Jun 2003
  Tonight I had to get some money, so I drove to the ATM. I had no music playing, and as I entered the driveway, I could see two girls and a guy -- all in their early twenties -- chatting away in the vicinity of the parking space I spotted. When I turn off the engine, I can clearly hear their voices. I open the door, put my one foot on the Earth, and swiftly exit the cage of the car. As I rise my upper body, I notice something has changed. There is talk no more. It's utter silence. Then, in slow motion, without looking up at them, I walk down the driveway and around the corner. And I am feeling better than the cash I'm about to take up! Oh yes!!

Walking back to my car, I purposely ignore them, knowing they're all looking at me. Then I get in and take off, leaving them wondering in my dust, hahaha!!
Dogtown and Z-Boys   
06:40, Wed 04 Jun 2003
  Morale of the story:
Follow your dream: live your life doing what you love doing. Nothing else is important.
Shit Town   
20:51, Tue 03 Jun 2003
  Wow, I just read this, and am a bit at a loss for words. How can I help? What can I do? To be honest, I am one of those persons who eventually tunes out when misery stikes other people's life over and over again (even though I make myself believe I do not). What can I say, I am working on that! Anyway, I feel for you, and one day I will be there for you.  
Staying Positive   
19:02, Tue 03 Jun 2003
  I'm sitting here half asleep... I've got my Gandhi book right here, and then there's the computer of course. I'm browsing some random LiveJournals, looking for some inspiration. I feel pretty blah... tired. Plus I'm getting a bad cold. And it's hot. Sometimes it's hard to stay positive...
Well, wonderful smells are coming from the kitchen, I think I'll go ahead and eat. Cheers!
What movie was that?   
12:52, Sat 31 May 2003
  As a child I saw a Chinese movie which has recently come back into my mind. The trouble is, I cannot recall what the title of that film is... It was basically about two young boys growing up. One scene I long so much to see again. The boys had found a little bird who'd fallen from its nest, and was now abandoned by its parents. Although they tried nursing it back to health, the bird died after a few days. (I had a similar experience once...) And one of the boys comes out of the house running, tears flying off his face, yelling: "Musashiiiiiiii!! Musashiiiiiiiiiii!!!". Oh, it was such an emotional scene... I wish I knew what the movie was called...

I did a Web search on "Musashi", but all I can seem to find are references to the samurai. This was obviously not a martial arts film. If any of you reading this remember this scene, please let me know!
My Cat and I   
17:20, Thu 29 May 2003
  One of the cats living in our house is an amazingly complex creature. She often sits in the corner of the room just staring at me. Endlessly. We even have staring matches. Without blinking. Other times she stares into oblivion. At those times I image she's receiving new instructions from the FBI. Or she's relaying all that went on since the last upload. But she's a real pal, and we play rough sometimes. She likes it when I throw my arms high into the air and down again, and make loud noises like a storm is blowing, while at the same time slowly approaching her. When I come very near, she meows and runs away from me, throwing herself on her side on the floor a bit further away from me. Or sometimes she stays standing up, daring me to approach again. And then when I simulate a howling wind again, her tail goes up and down and the hair on her back crawls with exitement and anticipation. And if I then approach her without making any noise, she lets me touch her, and I pet her neck, her cheeks, and her back. And she loves it.  
My Legacy   
16:34, Thu 29 May 2003
  I just picked a quote for the Bio section on my User Info page, which had been empty until now. At home I have a small book wherein I record the interesting quotes I come across, and I was happy to be able to quote myself. (After all, this is my LiveJournal.) This made me happy, because seeing a powerful quote of my own makes me feel like I have the potential to leave a legacy behind. And honestly, that is what I long to know at this point in my life. It gives me -- my existence here -- a purpose, and that makes life so much more enjoyable.  
Scary Dream   
10:02, Tue 27 May 2003
  Went to bed at 2:30-ish, woke up at 5:00 and some more other times. Finally had to get up at 9:00, abruptly being awakened from a scary dream. I was in a dark place. There were old brown stone walls and it was generally dark, like a dungeon. A friend told me that "They" could do anything to us. He'd seen himself in the mirror, that a rod was placed against his eye, and then pierced through it half way, so that a blue bubble formed. Then I saw someone just walking on the street and the next moment they're screaming and covering one of their eyes with both hands. I saw a hook being jammed into it and then twisted around. And the screaming... it was horrible.  
Changing Society   
20:30, Mon 26 May 2003
  Today I had lunch with a few friends, and an interesting discussion got started. It was about wether or not a fourteen year old should have the right to have a baby or not. It is common knowledge that there are lots of teen pregnancies, many of which leave the new parent (or parents) with limited life development possibilities. Should there perhaps be a controlling entity that disallows teens from having babies? We all agreed that this would not be a good thing. But we also felt that something needed to be done to spare some of these young people a needlessly tougher life. So I offered to surpass this question, basically saying that anyone should be able to make that choice for themselves. However, it greatly depends on the people around these young adults what the outcome of their choice will be.

So rather than taking away a choice, perhaps focus should be on the parents or guardians or educators of those kids. Their influence could possibly even prevent such a choice from ever having to be made. Ideally, this is exactly what should happen. No-one should be forced to make a life altering choice if the situation that necessitates making such a choice could be prevented. And surely it seems to make a lot more sense to help adults become more involved in kids' life than try to restrict the kids themselves in their most important life development phase. That just seems like common sense to me.
Very First Entry   
13:39, Sun 25 May 2003
  Woke up this morning around 11:30, and walked downstairs to get the laptop to check on some things I worked on late last night (early, early morning, rather).

Back upstairs I started browsing some random user journals, and the third one I visited moved me so much that I wanted to send this user an email to express my thanks. The entry reminded me of something that happened a couple of years ago, when I was waiting for an event to start. As I was patiently minding my own business, some of the people sitting down around me just had to carry on loud converstations, or portray other manorisms basically demanding of others to notice them. My peaceful mood gave way to one of bitter judgement. I can't help but despise people like that.

Luckily the event got underway soon after, but the resentment of them taking away my good feeling remained. Then the event speaker told us to turn and introduce ourselves to the people around us. I did so and met quiet people like me, as well as the obnoxious bunch. Incredibly, my judgment disappeared immediately upon shaking their hands and speaking to them, sharing a bit of personal information. This was someting magical.

I realized just how easy it is to form conceptions of strangers that are totally unrealistic and false. I learned that if only I took the time to get to know people they'd become less of a stereotype, they'd be more real and more... like me. This thought has stayed with me until this day. And reading this entry this morning reminded me of it. So I registered an email address and created my own LifeJournal and I responded.

And now here I am; Life-Journal user #1,078,067. Wow.