Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

For the dogs

The crisp air bit into my nostrils and the snow made a satisfying crunch under my boot. It felt good to be walking in the cold air, to be moving. My mind daydreamed off across its landscape of ideas and the serenity of walking through this day filled me with the warmth that the air lacked.


Holy shit! My heart jumped about halfway up my throat and my muscles clenched as I caught a glimpse of a big yellow streak charging the fence.


"You goddamn dog! You just scared the shit out of me. You did that yesterday when I walked past here too. When are you ever gonna get used to having me walk past your fence?"

The dog stood aggressively on his side of the wire mesh and continued to bellow at me. The dogs in the other yards down the street heard the commotion and joined in with their yapping. "Fucking stupid dogs." I mutter to myself and trudge onward, the calm splendor of the day interrupted, my heart beating a little too fast from the scare.

By the time I reached the post office I had one other dog charge me to his fence line and I was verbally accosted by at least three of the bothersome beasts from their distant pens. I never did like dogs all that much but Montanans seem to love them. I'm gonna be making this walk almost every day until the snow melts. I needed a way to shut those damn dogs up.

After the post office I went a block out of my way to a small market. The three dollars I had in my pocket was enough, but I was disappointed I did not have change left over to buy myself a soda. "You damn dogs better start appreciating me." I thought to myself. I'm sacrificing to make the world a better place here.

As per habit I followed a different route home so I did not see the big yellow dog again. But that did not stop his friends from yelling at me. Most animals were penned well away from the sidewalks but I did pass one yard where a large sleek black dog ambled out to the fence as I was walking past. He stood there a couple feet from me and barked loudly. I stopped walking and talked to him. "Hi, why are you barking at me? Is it okay if I walk by?" The dog stopped barking for a moment as though to consider my words and was apparently unsatisfied with something. He began his braying again with increased vigor. I reached into my bag and tore open the cardboard box I had purchased. I pulled out a dog biscuit and held it over the fence. The dog stopped its noisemaking, sniffed, and then accepted the treat. "So do you think we can get along?" I asked. As I departed the dog walked with me to the end of its yard and sat quietly panting as I walked away. When I looked back I could swear the dog was smiling.

The dog in the next yard reacted in much the same way with tremendous vocalizations until a dog treat was passed over the fence. The animal enjoyed the milk bone, gave another couple barks and then was pleasantly silent as I went on my way. I was curious to see how my nemesis the big yellow dog would react. Changing his attitude would go a long way towards more peaceful days for me.

One the next days walk big yellow was not in his yard. I guess dogs have appointments and days off too. Down the street there was a shaggy black and silver husky looking dog that brayed at me with a voice that reminded me of old men. His bark was raspy and tired sounding. When I approached his fence he barked more adamantly than before and backed away from the place I was standing. I offered a dog biscuit over the fence but the animal would not trust me or even sniff at it. It just barked some more. "Fine, be that way." I think to myself and drop the treat on his side of the wire. "It's yours if you want it." The dog did sniff at the ground where it fell, but was more interested in barking at me as I walked away.

After the weekend I made my usual trek past big yellows yard. He did not bark this time. He watched me but acted almost as though something was bothering him. When I approached the fence he actually retreated and whimpered a little confusion. I held out a dog biscuit and spoke softly but he did not approach. "I hope you are feeling alright." I said. "This is for you." I dropped the treat on his side of the fence.

Farther along my route was a yard with two dogs. The larger one was standing with his front feet on the fence bringing his face up to eye level with mine. A very large and intimidating animal. It did not bark but I offered a treat anyway and it took it from my hand with quick greed. When I offered a treat to its smaller companion the larger dog tried pushing between us to get the biscuit. I made sure the smaller dog got the treat. The larger dog continued to jump against the fence and whine as though I was being unfair.

I followed the same route home so that I could visit big yellow again. He was not in his yard this time but I did notice that the milk bone I had dropped was no longer there. I hope he associated the goodie with me when he found it.

Big yellow was missing the next day too, but old husky was in his place and barked his displeasure at my walking past his fence. Again he retreated from the offered goodie and when I dropped it across the fence and walked away he sniffed but every time I turned back to look he barked to let me know he was watching me. Just as I was about to disappear around the corner I glanced back to see him nibbling the biscuit.

It went on like this for a while. Sleek black and his neighbor started to run out and bark happy greetings to me when I walked by. They were always thrilled with the goodie. Old husky would still moan his barks at me, refused to get close to the fence when I stood there, but he did hurry to that spot as soon as I left to sniff for the dropped treat. I think he may have poor eyesight. He did improve from barking first and eating later to eating first and then barking some more. The greedy dog was never quite satisfied with the one treat and it became a challenge to part with the biscuit without also loosing a finger. Big yellow was absent more and more. When he was around he was not the aggressive creature I had first met; he would shy away from me at the fence. Like old husky he did start to get used to finding a dropped treat after I had left.

My standing with some dogs like sleek black did improve. Others like old husky continued to harass me even though they obviously enjoyed my treats. I don't know why big yellow turned from aggression to fear. Perhaps he is just a bully, the kind that can't face up to someone else taking charge. The greedy dog was never satisfied and actually more of a nuisance after getting a treat than before. The dog biscuits have failed to buy me peace and quiet on my walks. But the intrusions don't boil my blood like they did before. I have gotten more tolerant with the dogs through this game. Perhaps the gifts have made a bigger change in the giver.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Which OS should I use?

My office computer is due for an upgrade. It's because my super spiffy new office printer refuses to install its driver on my old and sluggish hardware. I'm thinking just a faster processor, new motherboard to go under it and perhaps a bit more ram. The hardware is the no brainer, what I am really scratching my head over is what OS to put on it. Here are my choices:

Windows 98
This is the current operating system and it has met our needs very nicely since about 1998. We are not going to make the upgraded machine jump through any new hoops and we mainly need a dumb terminal with a little word processing ability. This OS, although out of date, does everything we want. Like they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it.


  • It's free. I have about four paid for and legal copies lying around that I'm not using. Spanking one onto the new hardware is cheap and easy.
  • Superfast. Put old OS on new hardware = an OS that is faster than it ever was new.


  • It crashes. A lot. Fortunately all our critical business data is stored on a different machine in a non-Microsoft database accessed through a custom built web interface served from Apache and tuned to run in Firefox. So no matter how crashy the Microsoft gear gets it cannot corrupt or lose our data.
  • Gotta make sure the thing is behind adequate firewalls and that users follow best security practices for Email and web surfing. Security wise the thing is leaky like a sieve.
  • Win 98 cannot see more that 512MB of ram no matter how many chips you put in the box. Probably not a big deal, but the principle of it bugs me. The price one pays for running an out of date OS.

Windows XP


  • Familiar interface, no user training needed.
  • Upgrade to the latest greatest in Microsoft security and technology.
  • Fairly stable. Ample uptime, crashes are rare.


  • Blessed expensive. When you have a couple free options to chose from the cost of this beast appears staggering.
  • Product activation. This is the first Microsoft operating system to use a product activation feature and what scares me about it is that any product that has activation also has deactivation. There will come a time after the next version of windows is released that Bill Gates will decide it is time for users to upgrade and he will simply switch off the current running copies of XP. Buying XP means paying more now AND paying more later.
  • Bloated. Comes bundled with crap that I don't need and gets in my way. It's an office computer people, it does not need the Windows Media Player. It does not even have speakers attached to it. It does not need Internet Explorer. When is Microsoft ever going to learn that these things are extras, add ons. They are important to some but useless to others. There is no good reason to bind them to the OS. (In all fairness I have found IE to be a very useful tool. It is the perfect utility for downloading Firefox right after a new OS install. After that it should be deleted.)



  • Free. Even for the most modern and up to date versions possible.
  • Secure. Well, as secure as a computer can get these days.
  • Customizable. Almost to a fault. Gives me power to fine tune that is unheard of in the Windows world. Everything from what processes are running to the look of the desktop can be optimized for exactly my office needs. Plus there is no bloatware crap bundled to the OS. If I don't need a program I don't have to run it.
  • It does not crash. Properly configured the stability of this OS is legendary. Stability is such a given that I almost forgot to mention it as an advantage.


  • Ugly learning curve. Single biggest reason I am not more of a Linux guru. I spend so much time trying to figure out how to use it that I spend very little time using it. Worse, I will have employees of unknown backgrounds and computer abilities that will also have to lay hands on this machine. There could be some serious time wasted on just learning and teaching each other the computer. I have a business to run, I don't have time for this.
  • Not very suitable for desktop use. I love Linux servers. They rock. As far as I am concerned Microsoft has no business serving websites or databases or Email or FTP. They are just not as good at it as Linux is. But on the desktop, the layer between user and programs, Microsoft does a better job than Linux. And this computer is only used as the interface between user and programs.
  • Dubious support for the printer driver that is the whole point to this exercise in the first place. The jury is still out, the printer may or may not work from Linux, more testing is required.
  • Which one? There is Fedora and Suse and Ubuntu and Mandrake and Debian and… Gawd there we go with the learning curve again. Who has time to research all this to make a good choice.

Options that I wish were on the table but are not.


OSX kicks ass. Hands down the finest desktop operating system I have ever seen in my life. I oh so very badly want to spend my hard earned money on this. Do you hear me Apple? I am begging you to separate me from my greenbacks here. The problem. Hardware. I have a shitton of money invested in my hardware and the fact that Apple requires Apple hardware prices them right out of the picture for me. I have also seen Apple hardware take the march into obsolescence much faster than most other kit. If you guys could just sell me the OS part and let me run it on my own gear that would be the start of a long, happy, Microsoft free relationship.

Windows 2000.

Win2K pro is, in my opinion, the best operating system that Microsoft has ever produced. (I know, I know. Opinion people, it is the one I like, okay.) The problem is that my legal copy was accidentally destroyed years ago and they don't sell it any more. I can't get it anywhere. I am stuck with these damn Win98 disks. Backups people, never underestimate the importance of a good backup.

So my dear blog reading minions, I put it to you. What do you think? What operating system should I run?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Excerpt from a private Email

... the very reason you do not get a lot of personal detail about me from my blog is because I very intentionally and carefully don't put it there. Part of that is my own reclusive nature manifesting through the web persona. Part of it is freedom of expression through anonymity. Part of it is that I never really intended my blog to be about me, but instead about the experiences of the common everyman in Montana. There are other facets to the pseudonym as well that I do not yet fully understand.

Friday, January 27, 2006

What happend to you?

What happened to you?
Sprained my ankle.
That sucks.
Yeah. I've been going for a walk almost every day for months now. I've been walking in the cold and snow and on ice and all that dreary crap. We finally get this beautiful, gorgeous day and I am so stoked to get out walking. The first thing I do is slip in the mud and twist my ankle. I survived all that ice just to get taken out by dirt.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The worst day of the year

Some brainiac has computed the worst day of the year. It's January 24. On my January 24th I slipped in the mud and twisted my ankle and later stabbed myself in the hand trying to slice a bagel. An eventful day for sure but by no means a bad day. High adventure, slapstick comedy, drama, laughter, pain and renewal. Way better than going to the movies.

Now the 25th on the other hand. I was sore and grumpy on that day.

How was your worst day of the year?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Meeting people

So are you meeting any people in Montana?
You know, when you work from home meeting people is the hardest thing in the world.
You got that right.
I go to the grocery store once or twice a week and I walk my mail to the post office almost every day, but these aren't exactly social experiences.
You need to take some classes or something.
I did sign up for a continuing ed. class on home buying. That is not exactly a big social scene either though. Mostly newly married young people there.
Be careful with that home buying thing too. Once you get a home you end up putting a lot of time into it, fixing it up and stuff. That's not exactly social either. And then your summer work season is gonna roll around and then it will be a year later and you still won't have met anyone. That could last two or three years even.
I'm not too worried about the big picture. The more time I spend here the more I find to do. In a year or two I will be even more settled in and have more going on. I need to solve my bored in the here and now problem, I'm not going to worry about years down the road.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Letter to the editor

Dear Mr. Stern,

I would like to point out an error in your article "The Coming Tug of War Over the Internet" published on the Washington Post website on Sunday, January 22, 2006.

Here is the offending paragraph:

"Whether or not you agree with Whitacre, you can understand his frustration. Companies like Google and Yahoo pay some fees to connect to their servers to the Internet, but AT&T will collect little if any additional revenue when Yahoo starts offering new features that take up lots of bandwidth on the Internet. When Yahoo's millions of customers download huge blocks of video or play complex video games, AT&T ends up carrying that increased digital traffic without additional financial compensation."

It is simply untrue that AT&T or any other carrier provides increased bandwidth without financial compensation.

Bandwidth is paid for by the consumer through monthly connection charges to their ISP. These connections generally have tiered rates with higher charges for more bandwidth. In other words, internet users pay for each byte they download. The more bytes downloaded, the more bandwidth used, the more they pay. It does not matter where these bytes originate. It is not more expensive to deliver a Google byte or a Yahoo byte or a byte from a new service. When one of these companies starts offering new features that creates a large amount of network traffic, it is because consumers are asking for it and paying their ISP for the bandwidth they use. With consumers paying for each byte they download, to say that AT&T is not being compensated simply fails the common sense test.

It is one thing for you to quote an industry executive trying to skew opinion with untruths, but for you to repeat it as though it were fact is poor reporting. I hope you have an opportunity to correct this oversight in a future column.

Thank You
Montana Jones

Monday, January 23, 2006

Things I learned revisited

I was about to write a comment back to Rachel on her comment to my last post when I realized I could make a whole post of its own about it. (Hi Rachel! Thanks for making me think about this a little more. And thanks for, well, anyway…) Basically Rachel expressed that my three bits of knowledge gained the other week were somehow negative. I can see how they can be construed that way but I was putting them out there as little factoids without trying to speak to their worth. Just sayin'.

So nearly three percent of Flathead county property owners are Californians. That nothing. Only 87% of Flathead county's tax receipts get mailed to Flathead county anyway. Flathead property owners also hail from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Texas, Wyoming, the east coast and many points in between. Close to 3% of them are international. Watch out, the Canadians are coming. What does this mean to me? That Montanans may think they live in small towns and have this beautiful corner of the world to themselves but the fact is we are part of the global economy here and it is not just our neighbors and coworkers that are shopping for property. Home buyers and sellers beware, you are competing with dollars from some really nutso property markets like they have in California. And when those Californians look at a $200,000 house here in Montana they are not saying to themselves "Wow, I can't believe how high property values are getting" like the locals are. They are saying "Holy Crap! That is the greatest, cheapest bargain on property I have seen in eight years. I better jump on that."

The ripple effect from that leads us to point number two. Property values are going up. Like mad they are going up. I guess this could be bad for Joe Sixpack Montanan that wants a piece of this action but it keeps getting more out of reach each year. For those who do own property this is a good thing. I don't know of a bank account in the world that offers 18% interest. But property grows like that. My advice to Joe Sixpack Montanan, take a bit of ancient Chinese wisdom. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is right now. Jump on it or lose out. The Californians aren't waiting.

The ripples don't stop there though. For Joe Sixpack Montanan and his lovely family to be able to afford a house in Montana he is going to need a bigger paycheck, a more Californian paycheck. Bigger paychecks are hard to come by. Bigger paychecks put a hurtin' on employers and when employers get squeezed they have to pass the squeeze on to consumers. I see an ugly cycle starting here. I am not enough of an economist to be able to predict where this will lead, but it does not look pretty for the traditional get away from it all Montanan. Like it or not the global economy is in this state to stay. I am not going to completely rule out Montana style throwing a wrench in the works. The way I see it, one of two things could happen. Montanans being a friendly bunch will continue to welcome the outsiders until one day they wake up and can't recognize the communities they have lived in for so long. Or we will start to see some "Californian go home" bumper stickers and other subtle ways of fighting for a more traditional Montana. No matter what Montana is changing.

As a newcomer here I suppose you could say I am part of the change. I have come marching into this state to pursue an opportunity bringing with me some big city money and big city notions of how life ought to be lived. I have been pretty disappointed here with the lack of decent ethnic food, poor tastes in music, general lack of cultural outlets. I see a booming Montana as an opportunity to get more of what I want and like out of my life here. Does that conflict with Montana style? Probably.

My third point is only tangentially related to all this. My previous career was as a hep computer geek internet meister. Lots of good money to be had in that field. If I had stuck with chasing it I would have scored a healthy slice of that pie. But you know what, cubicle life can crush a soul. I do not believe that getting rich is the point to being here on this planet. There is more to life than money. I could have chosen to make good money while sitting in a cube, playing corporate ladder and office politics games. Answering to others, making someone else's problems a high priority in my life. Instead I chose to get out from under all that, to stop spending time with soul crushing people that are pursuing a buck instead of happiness. I chose to quit rat racing and instead follow an opportunity to be my own boss. Sure, I gave up some good money to do it, but I am much happier in my new lifestyle. My problems are my own and I get the joy of having the final say over the quality of 'product' I produce. I guess you could say I spent over $20,000 on not having to answer to the man. What do you know, I'm feeling more Montanan every day.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Things I learned this week

  • 2.7% of all property tax receipts for Flathead county are mailed to California.
  • Median home prices in Flathead county are 18% higher than they were a year ago.
  • If I had not quit my job back at previous address three years ago I would probably be making a $50,000 salary now.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Trouble in our national parks

Let us consider for a moment two paragraphs; first:

The National Park Service will preserve, to the greatest extent possible, the natural soundscapes of parks. Natural soundscapes exist in the absence of human- caused sound. The natural soundscape of a park is the aggregate of all the natural sounds that occur in parks, together with the physical capacity for transmitting natural sounds. Natural sounds occur within and beyond the range of sounds that humans can perceive, and can be transmitted through air, water, or solid materials.

And then:

The natural soundscape of a park is the aggregate of all the natural sounds that occur in that park, together with the physical capacity for transmitting natural sounds. Natural sounds occur within and beyond the range of sounds that humans can perceive, and can be transmitted through air, water, or solid materials.

Very similar paragraphs for sure but there is a key difference. The second one omits the call for preservation and does not acknowledge the human influence on soundscapes.

These two paragraphs are taken from different versions of the same document. The first is from the current working version of the National Park Services "Management Policies"; the second is from the proposed revisions to those policies. The documents are available here.

National Park Service management policies are the official guidelines all park employees must follow in their work. To disregard them is to break the law. These policies were originally established in the 1916 Park Service Organic Act and have traditionally called for preservation of natural resources, particularly so that future generations can experience wilderness areas in as pristine a condition as possible, unchanged from what our grandparents, parents and ourselves experienced.

This paragraph on soundscapes is only an example. One edit out of many. The proposed revisions have a great many more edits and apply to more than just sounds. Common changes throughout the documents include the word "human" being replaced by "unnatural", "possible" is often replaced with "practicable" and there are many paragraph changes like the one mentioned above. The end result of this subtle shift is that the mission of the Natural Park Service, historically to preserve and protect our natural resources, is being changed.

The architect of this change is Paul Hoffman. A Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of Interior. Paul Hoffman is a crony to Dick Cheny and has no experience working with the National Park Service. It is unclear why he is pursuing this set of changes as it does not address any known problem with the management of the National Parks, does not respond to any request by voters or petitions by citizens of the United States.

The results of these changes will fundamentally alter the National Park Services mission to de-emphasize environmental protection and open the door for exploitation. The mandate to preserve National Park resources for future generations is eroded or removed. Destructive forms of recreation, such as ATV's, will be introduced, and development within the parks will be encouraged.

The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, as the title suggests, is a group of former NPS employees. It includes a who's who of former park service directors, deputy directors many former park superintendents, executives and others that have spent a great deal of their lives and careers working for our National Parks. It is this group that brought Hoffman's first attempt at editing the management policies to public attention. The first "red line" draft was so extreme in its blatant exploitation of park resources that Hoffman could not defend it as a reasonable change, claimed it was only a draft version and backpedaled considerably to create the toned down current draft. (link)

A re-drafting of the management policy changes has not satisfied the group. The CNPSR stands firmly opposed to the current draft as well. (link) Their arguments include the fact that NPS employees were not consulted on the document. That the assumption that recreation and conservation are to be equally considered is flawed. And that the changes are completely unnecessary in the first place.

My opinion on this issue agrees with the CNPSR. I believe that this amounts to the current political administration attempting to create wealth opportunities for a minority of business persons at the expense of the majority of Americans, including future generations. Creating more recreation opportunities in our National Parks by building ATV trails, hotels and other amusements causes very little gain as these things are often available in areas immediately outside the protected parks and the destruction caused will be permanent and irreversible. The intrinsic value of having a protected and preserved wilderness area, particularly over the span of many generations, outweighs the economic value of new development. I am very disappointed that these changes are being introduced without any input from people with experience managing our National Parks. I am disappointed that it is being attempted behind our backs with little publicity or discussion from the citizens of the United States to whom these lands belong.

The new management policies are currently open to public comment. Concerned citizens and persons with relationships with any of our National Parks are encouraged to contribute.

Links to more information on this issue:

National Park Service is Being Skinned from the Inside-Out (New West Network)

Past is Prelude: Whose Interests Should National Parks Serve? (New West Network)

Destroying the National Parks New York Times Editorial (from Google cache)

Additional articles from the New York Times (archived, purchase required)

Monday, January 16, 2006

My new years resolution

This years resolution is the same as last years. First resolution that has ever worked for me so I am doing a repeat. It's simple, easy, and makes the world a better place.

I resolve to smile more.

Smiling makes us feel better. Smiling makes us more attractive. When smiled at people tend to smile back. Smiling makes people wonder what you are up to. A smile can cheer you up. A smile can cheer others up. A smile can open doors. The benefits of smiling are tremendous.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

One bag

On my little Christmas/New Years vacation back to previous address I spent some quality time with my old friends. The hangover lasted the better part of a day. I picked up some fresh porn. And I scored a baggie of weed. It was like a shopping trip for debauchery.

I don't know where to buy pot in Montana. This is intentional and a good thing. If you know please don't tell me. Somewhere in the past couple decades my relationship with marijuana has evolved from an occasional indulgence into full on abuse. One factor in leaving my friends and lifestyle of previous address behind was because I was in danger of spending the rest of my life stoned. Somewhere along the way I lost self control and now if I know there is pot around I will smoke it. I know some people that have crossed this line with alcohol; for me it is marijuana. I love to get high first thing in the morning, I like getting high after meals, I like getting high in the evening, before watching a movie, when playing games, before going for a walk, run, or bike ride, I enjoy computer programming while high, I enjoy getting high for long drives. Pretty much any occasion except for dealing with people. I don't enjoy that while high.

This baggie was the first I've had in the year since I moved here. I thought perhaps a sober year would help curb my appetite. It did not. It was like I never left. I had the idea that I would cut back on this bag, make it last a while. Only enjoy it after work and on weekends like a normal person. Perhaps even put it away to be saved for special occasions. That idea did not even last a day. I gave in and let myself smoke the bag away. That is the only way I have found to control it; get rid of it. If it is not around I don't crave it or think much of it at all. I obviously have a choice, live with it or without it. No half measures.

So my pot binge lasted the first couple weeks of January. Yes I did work while high and answer phones and I put in all my hours and did productive little side projects. I also played a lot of video games and watched a bunch of videos for those weeks. In general I'd say my productivity was down but only slightly. Either pot does not interfere with my work all that much or I am just as lazy when sober.

I did get to do some programming while high. This baffles me a little. A very brain intense problem solving activity and pot helps me stay in the zone. Computer programming is about mentally tracking a zillion related and unrelated variables until such time as you get them all written into code and the machine can track them for you. When high all those zillion variables sort of line up right where they belong and knotty logic problems sort themselves out in creative ways. When sober I can still do it, I just have to force it a little. Strange but it works for me. Let's not discuss with my former employers just how much of their important application was coded under the influence. I don't think they would be impressed.

In the past I used pot to help with creativity but on this binge I could barely muster any interest in writing or the blog, did not stroke the guitar at all, could not find any inspiration for any of my other side projects. This means either I never did get a creative boost from it or my relationship with it is changing again. Apologies to my blog reading minions if I have been posting lightly this month, I've been a little stoned. I am personally disappointed that my creative output was not greater.

Supposedly my apartment is non-smoking. I ignored that rule for the past couple weeks. In the daytime I did develop a little ritual of keeping my stash in the bathroom. This was to preserve my privacy against unexpected visitors or anyone peeking into the windows, it also provided a handy ceiling vent for my smoke. I'm surprised I never did this before. With my copious consumption of sugar water I am visiting the little room every hour or two and each time I do I get a little surprise of having a bowl of dope waiting for me there. Sweet. I tend to use my bathroom as something of a sanctuary anyway with my stack of magazines and long comfy showers. A smoking bowl just adds to the stress relief and serenity.

My drinking has increased since I moved to Montana. Nothing dangerous, just a beer or two in the evenings, but this is still a lot more than I used to drink. I think it's because I have not been getting high here. When I get high I have little interest in booze. The beer I stocked up on at the end of December has gone untouched. Likewise the wine I was gifted for Christmas.

So anyway, I brushed aside all thoughts of saving a stash for later and smoked all my pot away. Gone. All that is left is seed and stem and ash. Good riddance. If I knew weed was easy to get I would always be high. It would aggravate my asthma. It would make me even more reclusive than I already am. I would eat more junk food. I would have less initiative. I would be a stoner. Over a year ago I decided not to follow that lifestyle anymore and I moved to Montana. I am not done with pot forever. I bet I will find a bag and re-do this experiment every year or two. But for the most part I need to spend the here and now a little more focused. I have work to do and higher aspirations that just being stoned. But I am looking forward to retirement. When I am old and less active and can't get out much and no longer have responsibilities, that will be the perfect time to spend my days stoned to the bejeezus belt.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Three Wishes

The Chad has tagged me.
The meme is three wishes. What would you wish for if the genie were to pop out of a lamp and grant some wishes. Unlike The Chad I have not thought much about this until now. It took some serious head scratching but I finally came up with three things I would wish for.

Wish one: A save point.
You know how in many games there is a quick save button. Hit your save button and that point in the games is saved. Then if you get into trouble down the road you can always restart the game from that point. It is a technique that lets you look into the future and tells you which of your decisions are bad ones and where the trouble lies ahead for you. You get a do-over in tight spots.

I wish for a magic button of some sort that would allow me to set save points in real life. Then if I find out after the fact that I fucked up somehow I can go back and make better decisions. That would be sweet.

Wish two: I want to be more of a people person
Okay, not really, I am generally happy with the disposition I have. However there are times when different personality traits would be useful. Sometimes a charismatic people personality can solve problems that a geeky intellect cannot. I wish I had some sort of personality remote control box that would allow me to tweak who I am for any given circumstance. Going out on the town I could push the 'life of the party' button. When learning something I could push the 'quiet and focused' button. There would be controls for adjusting between emotional and logical, people and things, serious and light hearted. Instead of being stuck with the personality I have and making it fit in places where I am not at my best I could make some conscious decisions about the sort of personality to use.

I know I could control my own behavior without such a box. I could be like an actor portraying the outgoing people person. However, deep down inside we are all just who we are. Pretending to be something you are not is hard work and there is very much a difference between a genuine people person that actually cares about connecting with others and the imposter that is only doing it for show.

Using a personality control I suppose there is a danger of loosing your true self somewhere. I have not really thought through the ramifications very much. It could be that living life with a different personality, even for a little while, could cause me to lose interest in some of the hobbies and pursuits that I have enjoyed for most of my life. Generalizing a little here, but I would say that life of the party types do not enjoy spending late nights with computers crunching code much in the same way that nerds have an awkward time of socializing over cocktails. The real wish here is to gain one without loosing the other. Perhaps a little vague and contradictory for the genie in the bottle.

My third wish. My most highly impossible wish of all. I wish I could understand women.

I would like to tag anyone currently suffering writers block. Your assignment is to blog your three wishes.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Haiku about poetry

Poem of the day
I find out how long it is
Before I read it.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

2005's best photos

In 2005 I took almost 1000 photographs. Mostly of stuff that I need to repair. I have taken the time to browse through all of last years photos and I have decided I took two good ones. Here they are.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Life as a western

In every western movie there is a journey. It is one of the defining characteristics of a western. By traveling from one place to another the characters grow and the story is told. Things happen, the world changes. In the buddy movies there is bonding, in the action movies there is a villain to thwart, the romances of course have the girl to rescue or woo. In all cases something of the world changes forever with no chance of an undo.

The journey metaphor is so powerful that we can sometimes expect it from our lives. Take a trip and expect the world to turn out shinier and better for it. And so we take a vacation. A road trip.

It is important when road tripping to be prepared for every contingency. Every stop on the road has perils to overcome, bullies to subdue, damsels needing rescue. There are crazy antics and outlandish pratfalls around every corner. It will be a heartwarming adventure of growth and understanding.

Or not...

It could turn out to be just a long drive. A change of scenery. No adventures, no adversaries to smite, no bullies or damsels. My greatest peril is cured with aspirin. No growth of character or profound meanings.

Either way, it's the same damn empty fridge when I get home.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Drinking with wingmen

(looking at girls at the next table.) Fat bottomed girls make the rockin' world go round.
Yeah, I got one of those at home.
I'll bet anything that I will be flirting with a fat chick before the night is over.
I'll pass.
Big girls need lovin' too.
They don't need it from me.
I miss having you around dude.


Do you like Jagermeister?
Well, when I'm not driving I like Jager a lot. When I'm driving I just like it.
Great. Lets get shots.


Check that girl flirting with K2.
Isn't that her boyfriend over there?
Yeah, that's what makes it funny. I think K2 needs a chance at her, I'm gonna go run interference. (Walks off to chat up the boyfriend.)
You are a true friend and a beautiful human being.