sketch

5 October 2006 at 12:56 (General)

Permalink 4 Comments

I don’t wanna play on Monday

4 September 2006 at 18:27 (General)

It’s another monday morning. The air seems thicker. Everything is slightly too cold, too clammy, too bright and too loud. My eyes feel swollen, imaginary oedema… My head could be a fluid filled sac and the longer I stare at the-world-which-wont-go-away, the greater the pressure is perceived.

For the moment I want to escape this place to the land where I feel like I belong. I feel dirty, and it seems that trying to wash myself clean isn’t working. I should just move away to the remote tropics, or some place where it would be correct to wake up feeling like this.

As I walk down the path it seems that everyone is in my personal space. The young Irish woman has high black boots, the Asian boy has an upturned polo. Insomnia is still my ethnicity, I wear an old work jumper and whatever pants I can find. Clean enough, perfectly acceptable but with some stray lint and dog hair which separates us categorically. This difference seems to probe me in a way that remains as uncomfortable as the raw worn soles of my feet which urge me to either limp or stop walking.

But now that the week has started it cannot be stopped. It’s all part of this life long job-interview which I’ve grown old of. It would be depressing but there are plenty of other things to be depressed about on a Monday morning. Looking back over the weekend at the empty hours.. nothing seemed wasted but nothing was produced. The truth is, there were hours committed to work, hours committed to others and time spent recovering. But it’s hard to see it that way. And looking forward at the blank canvas of my calendar I know that this week will contain more hours like this one.

This is typical these days, I can foresee the pain that I’m heading straight into but I don’t even flinch I just continue unabated. I continue to make things difficult for myself; not sleeping properly, not eating properly even when I have every opportunity to get on top. Another assignment where I travel way outside of the scope of the exercise sentencing me to another all-nighter. Another meal that I miss because I have diminished the priority of finding the time, money or ingredients over staying in bed, studying, reading or writing. When these things start catching up with me it’s easy to get angry at myself, frustrated that I’ve placed myself in such an uncomfortable position once again. But there’s no use in remaining angry, sometimes you just have to get on with it.

Looking around the Monday morning environment again though, everyone seems so normal. They seem like they’re doing okay. My eyes jump from person to person, what is their personal crisis? Smart and isolated// stupid and struggling// overweight// no friends// over confident and bound for pain// charismatic but subtly aware of their lack of purpose. There is no mystery in wondering if these people have their own problems.. but I wonder how big their problems are and if they will ever really be realised. How will my charismatic specimen come to realise the depth of his stupidity if he falls in love and dies suddenly at the age of 63 from a subarachnoid haemorrhage? How will the overconfident and increasingly annoying alpha male come to understand the pain that he sets himself up for if it only becomes apparent in the fleeting moment before his falcadore is wrapped around a tree?

More importantly, is it worth expressing, understanding and dealing with emotions or is the mug who lives in ignorance better off? Will they continue, unaware, until the day they die or will it catch up with them, shaking them even harder than it would’ve or manifesting as the root cause behind unwanted behaviours (violence, depression, self harm)..? I’m not wishing bad things upon these people, I simply want to know if the way I’m going about things is pure folly. Do the majority of amphetamine users just go through a phase of living-it-up before they eventually come in to land, making the decision to cut back and eventually ground themselves into the role of being a stable adult? Or do they have to hit the bottom and struggle through a period of change? Once again, it’s not that I think they deserve to suffer, but I’m sure we’d all like to see both sides of the equation.

I also wonder if I’m missing something here? Is there a deeper level where an even more miserable creature exists, scratching away at a journal complaining about the stupid emos who like to think they have a great understanding of the world?

Permalink Leave a Comment

I can’t concentrate.

13 August 2006 at 22:14 (General)

from the wiki:

In March 1993 Carter made a trip to southern Sudan with intentions of documenting the local rebel movement. However, upon arriving and witnessing the horror of the famine, Carter began to take photographs of starving victims. The sound of soft, high-pitched whimpering near the village of Ayod attracted Carter to a young emaciated Sudanese toddler. The girl had stopped to rest while struggling to a feeding centre, wherein a seemingly well-fed vulture had landed nearby. He said that he waited about 20 minutes, hoping that the vulture would spread its wings. It didn’t. Carter snapped the haunting photograph and chased the vulture away. However, he also came under heavy criticism for just photographing — and not helping — the girl:

“The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.”

The photograph was sold to The New York Times where it appeared for the first time on March 26, 1993. Practically overnight hundreds of people contacted the newspaper to ask whether the child had survived, leading the newspaper to run a special editor’s note saying the girl had enough strength to walk away from the vulture, but that her ultimate fate was unknown.

Carter was doing his job, taking photos and making people aware. This role, will hopefully save more lives than carrying a girl to her next meal. Also, he’d been advised not to touch any of the famine victims due to FEAR of spreading disease. It was easy for someone to give this advise to media personal being sent to the region, but I imagine it makes the task of being a photographer in these sorts of situations an impossible burden.

It’s wrong that this sort of thing happened, that someone would have to make such a choice. But it’s also wrong that people would write to the NYT asking if the girl was okay. Of course she wasn’t all right, but that’s not even the point of the photo, it’s not a personal story. I’m certain that at that point in time there were other people suffering the same fate as the little girl in the photo. The correct response from the paper when asked if the girl survived would have been, “No, there are plenty of people in Sudan who are still dying at this very moment.”

But instead they lied. From what I’ve read I get the impression that the NYTs didn’t even check the facts but decided to present a censored version of reality… they were just wanting to return a statement that would keep their readers happy even at the price of misinformation.

Carter didn’t last too long after shooting the photo of the starving Sudanese girl. His suicide was accompanied by a note containing the line “The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist.” Perhaps it was the pathetic nature of the human condition which powered Carter’s depression. Perhaps it was the falseness, the superficial characteristics of the media which fuelled his sense of hopelessness. I don’t know, and I think it’s wrong to attempt to simplify the cause of depression like this, into a subject. Depression does not arise purely because someone is unable to solve a problem, it probably has a lot more to do with their state of mind.

Lately I keep thinking about motivators and how our mood effects our thoughts. As much as I’d like to believe the opposite, it is clear that we’re not creatures of reason, we cannot live our lives as emotionless beings ruled by logic. I keep wanting to believe that I’m above it, that I’m not an animal only concerned with biological drives. That my mood does not dominate my thoughts or influence my actions.

I hate that about neuropathology or pharmacology. They begin reducing all of life to a series of chemical processes.

But at times it seems there’s overwhelming evidence supporting this. Afterwards I look back on my responses and see that I’ve done the wrong thing or that my reasoning has been significantly inhibited. It seems that some drives and tendencies are more or less out of our control; for example, hormones, depression and mania. They effect mood. Mood effects thoughts and motivates poorly planned (poorly reasoned) action. It seems it would be very difficult to escape emotional influence, and even if was possible I don’t think I would want to. A life without pain is a life without warning and without the endorphins that follows…

However Carter’s words, “The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist.” documents a mental state where he is motivated emotionally towards suicide and logically it is also the correct choice. Remaining alive is only going to result in more pain and he will only cause more pain for others.

~

Anyway. It continues, the reporters working to inform the people (at least some of the time), the media looking for the best story.. and the conspirator‘s theories about the government using continuous fear to control the people.

Newstainment The deeper you dig on this the more depressing it becomes (linking through google news prevents you from having to subscribe to the LA times). If this is true, these people should be ashamed. Watching a news service with an agenda is bad enough but when Reuters is gimping their photos… WTF?

And here we are being consumed or distracted from the real humanitarian crisis. Our world is not terrorised by shoddy photojournalism. And the number of deaths caused by ‘terrorism’ is incomparable to the destruction caused by state sanctioned terror and murder.

In the grand scheme of things people bringing sports drinks and ipods onto planes are not a threat to safety, especially when diabetics are still allowed to bring syringes loaded with potentially deadly insulin – medication they need to travel with. Stopping people from taking liquids onto planes will do very little to discourage anyone who wants to bring explosives onto planes. I think it’s impractical to try and protect against terrorism because it’s too easy to find holes in the system if you want to. It’s like that old saying about the hackers always being one step ahead of the software developers. And it’s obtuse to think that waging a war against those who hate you is going to lead to peace. Kalle Lasn (mov) suspects that the billion wealthiest people in the world using up 86% of the global resources while leaving 14% for the remaining 5 billion may have something to do with it. Spending further resources on the war machine will not lead to stability.

If they were doing it for the people, they are attacking the wrong part of the world. As the quote by Jon Stewart at the top of this page says: “We have it.  The smoking gun.  The evidence.  The potential weapon of mass destruction we have been looking for as our pretext of invading Iraq.  There’s just one problem – it’s in North Korea.”

That page goes on to document comments by a BBC co-producer who says, that film smuggled out of North Korea and interviews with refugees reveal “acts of unspeakable barbarism not seen since Pol Pot’s Cambodia.” In a land where people are starving farmers are reporting that they are prevented from growing food and ordered to produce opium which is processed into heroin and sold abroad. This funds a defence program which brags about it’s WMDs and has fired several missiles into Japanese waters.

~

I don’t think the US/alied involvement in the middle east is motivated by a desire to help people, well that may be a very small factor. It probably has something to do with fuel. but I think it probably has more to do with egos and not wanting to continue chasing something they can’t capture (Osama). It has something to do with Bush’s need for fighting a war.
once again,

“One of the most important tools for maintaining their power is fear, which requires replacing the Cold War with a never-ending “war on terror” that means never-ending profits for a military-industrial complex that fattens on war and would collapse without it.”

But all of this doesn’t stack up very well, the whole exercise is rather stupid.

.. yet as time goes on more and more americans are becoming convinced that it was somewhat justified. Well, more accurately(?) 50% of americans believed that Iraq had WMDs, 36% more than this time last year. What convinced them? Where is the misinformation from? Don’t get it wrong, the war is stupid and it is even stupider if oil was a major playing card. late last year Larry Burns, GM’s’ VP of R&D and strategic planning said “to get hydrogen refuelling stations to within two miles of every US citizen and maybe every 25 miles on the freeway would take $12 billion”. I don’t know how accurate his estimate is, but as Adam Spencer suggested the other day, the price of war is a massive excess, compared to the nominal cost of implementing such a system.

Looking back, this all seems unrelated. There was plenty more but it already looks like an unmanageable mess. But for me, at the moment, it is related. It’s all to do with a fake media, with false pretences, with phoney or seriously misplaced motivations. And like i said, i can’t concentrate, and I think all of this has something to do with that.

Permalink 8 Comments

politically incorrect thought of the day:

7 August 2006 at 14:34 (General)

bulimia nervosa: have your cake and eat it too!

(…you’re a sick man matty)

Permalink Leave a Comment

geek ethos

23 July 2006 at 19:54 (General)

95 theses of Geek Activism.

Beautiful in a geeky way. Amongst others, I like #13:

“Why do I have to jump through hoops just to get video off my own home movie DVDs?”.

I’d add, why do I have to sit through several minutes of DRM banter and messages about piracy before I can watch the DVD I’ve just paid cold hard cash for? grrrr…

VLC FTW; it fast-forwards through anything.

Permalink 1 Comment

fresh and full of death

23 July 2006 at 1:05 (General)

When I arrived at my parents place today I found them sorting through piles of clothes in the lounge room. They were having a major pre-spring-clean. After a brief exchange of pleasantries I turned to leave spotting a new ornamental china bowl on the coffee table with some cool-mints in it. I’m not sure how long it took before I realised it wasn’t cool or minty, but I fairly violently hurled it up. Moth balls are not part of a well balanced diet and keeping them on a coffee table would be really funny if they weren’t so noxious.

Permalink 5 Comments

ill

17 June 2006 at 10:33 (General)

I hold society responsible for the majority of our mental health issues and for society to inflict such wounds and then shun the most desperate victims is, imho, disgusting, disgraceful and shameful.”

so does Professor Ian Hickie. This is what peaches an I were raving about.

Permalink Leave a Comment

bad idea

26 May 2006 at 17:28 (General)

In Australia a large proportion of the drug production is affiliated with either the bikie gangs or other factions of organised crime (i.e. the Mafia). These suppliers want money. Drug users give them money.

Authority figures occasionally spin a story that the producers chuck all sorts of shit into their drugs, that they don’t care, that they’ll put poisonous filler in there. This is baloney. They don’t want to kill their costumers, it’s bad for business.

However, the truth isn’t much better. Amphetamine production involves some pretty demanding chemistry. And to do it properly you should use correct glassware and much caution. Stoichiometry.

Please, bear with me, or skip down two paragraphs:
Stoichiometry is the art of mixing chemicals and achieving complete perfect reactions. A simple example: water, is H2O or two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen. If you get two buckets full of hydrogen atoms and a bucket full of oxygen atoms and mix them together you’d think you’d get the lot turning into water right? Well, no. Atoms are really small, you can’t measure them by the bucket load. and then there’s the fact that hydrogen is tiny compared to oxygen so it takes up nowhere near as much space. In order to get pure water (with no oxygen or hydrogen left over) you’ll need to mix exactly twice as many hydrogen atoms with oxygen atoms.

Lets use 2mols of H. So you go to the periodic table and find the molar weight of hydrogen and multiply it by 2. 2 mol of hydrogen = ~2.0159g (Typically we’d be working with liquids which makes the volumes a little easier to handle… though getting liquid hydrogen could be interesting…) Then you work out the volume of oxygen you’ll require for half as many oxygen atoms (i.e. we’re using 2 mols of H so we want 1mol of O). Remember each atom of oxygen has a lot more to it so it weights more.. 1mol = 15.9994 g.

So we need 2.0159g of hydrogen and 15.9994 grams of oxygen. If you can measure those successfully and they want to bond when they combine.. you’ll get a complete reaction with 100% production and no ingredients left over. It seems like a complicated process and it’s easy to make mistakes (especially with more complex equations), but once you’ve run through it a few times the maths behind it is very logical. But even if the maths doesn’t phase you, measuring those exact quantities may test even the best garage sudo-chemist.

Why is this important? Well, to produce amphetamines you need good stoichiometry. It isn’t good enough to judge it by eye, and get it all within 2% correct. Some of the intermediate steps produce highly toxic chemicals. if you want to get good quality drugs you need to make sure your producer’s stoichiometry is spot on, you don’t want any intermediates hanging around, any half completed reactions.

I did chemistry in year 11 and 12. I played around with stoichiometry (to make perfumes, not party drugs). I remember getting the maths wrong, using the dicky (yet ridiculously expensive) glassware.. We were doing some simple stoich, but it’s not easy. In fact, it’s easy to get wrong. I wouldn’t trust a year 12 chemist to get it right and I definitely wouldn’t trust a bikie operating out of his garage (and this isn’t speculation, if you buy it off the streets of Adelaide, you’re getting ripped off).

and I know I’ve simplified it. Many synthetic drugs require timing, heat, high pressure and/or catalysts in their multi-step production. Taking pills in Australia is like Russian Roulette. But then, there’s plenty of other arguments telling drug users to find something else to do… It’s beyond reason.

====
and no, you can’t produce the stuff yourself to make sure it’s done right. It’s hard, the key ingredients are controlled substances and anyway, setting up a drug lab in your house isn’t a bad idea, it’s outright stupidity.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Wheelie good

23 May 2006 at 12:47 (General)

About two months ago I reported that my bike had been stolen. Two nights ago I found something suspiciously similar in the trading post. Last night I told my dad and he got really fired up and after some investigation we found the ad had been placed by a pawnbroker.

So we got organised. Found receipts, photos and the police report number. Unfortunately I had a mundane pathology prac this morning so I missed out on the action but dad gave me a call later in the morning letting me know he had my bike and the cops were going to try and iron things out. The only remaining problem is what to do with all of the cycles I’m collecting (3 bikes, 2 unicycles and counting…) I still generally only ride them one at a time.

Permalink Leave a Comment

odds

15 May 2006 at 18:53 (General)

If someone was to flip two coins and they both landed heads up, and the person proclaimed that it was a miracle, that for such an anomaly to occur is supernatural, proof of a higher power… I would struggle to believe them. For starters, the odds aren’t that high, getting two consecutive heads is one in four which doesn’t cut the grade for mystic phenomena.

anyway, the universe… it contains lots of atoms (say about 10^79). What are the odds that these particles are going to arrange themselves to create life as we know it? I don’t know the number of permutations but it’s going to involve the number of atoms and the number of possible movements of these atoms. That’s a big number; that’s really, totally-unimaginably big. So the odds don’t look good. However if we consider a closed oscillatory universe or a multiverse (meta-universe/parrallel universes) then there can be infinite opportunities for a ‘miraculous’ universe to be born. So the odds sit at one-really-big-number to infinity which is as good as one to one.

In these cases, where the birth of universes occurs infinitely, I deduce that it isn’t just likely that a universe such as the one I see before me will precipitate, it’s inevitable. It’s a mathematical certainty. It’s safer than two up. Sure I’m relying on the existence of an oscillatory universe or a massive multi-verse but other than that this thinking seems pretty sound. At least i think so, but I’m no cosmologist… or whoever professionally dwells on this stuff.

Permalink 8 Comments

Next page »