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2008 September

29

Sep

Jogging

Jogging route
The current jogging route.

So I’ve been jogging again. I’ve been trying to do the above jogging loop at least a few times per week. It’s about 3.25 miles. This weekend I did that loop twice and also included a jog to the beach. The beach jog is 2 miles and then I went snorkeling for an hour and then jogged back. I got down to 25 ft without a weight belt which was cool. I figure I did around 10 miles this weekend plus a swim. Not bad in my book! I just hope I can keep up with this and work my flabby belly back into shape.

22

Sep

Snorkeling near Songaksan

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Wild Goat
A wild goat on the cliffs near the ocean.
The steps down to the lower cave
The steps down to the lower cave.
The bat!
One of the bats we found in the caves.
Leaving the cave
We crawled back out of the cave and down to the ocean to go snorkeling.

In the map above, near the southeastern tip of the main island, you’ll see what almost looks like a little island itself sticking out. That’s where this video was shot. It’s a very nice area and the drive there is very relaxing and mostly outdoors with little development. We parked at the top of the cliff and followed an old path down to the shore. There are wild goats that live in the rocks which is quite nice. We found an old man-made cave/bunker that the Japanese used in war time. There were bats and these strange glossy cricket looking bugs everywhere. After exploring the cave we went snorkeling. The water is still around 80 degrees, so it’s really pleasing. I’m going to be sad when it starts to get colder as the winter approaches.

20

Sep

Dr. John Hagelin – The Effects of Group Meditation on Crime

Dr. John Hagelin, one of the teachers from the movie “The Secret” and “What the bleep do we know” http://www.lifesecretblog.com talks about “A New Science of Peace: The Effects of Group Meditation on Crime, Terrorism, and International Conflict” at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) conference on February 18, 2007

This is one of the people that was in “What the Bleep Do We Know“. I’m looking around and will post that movie soon as well. I wanted to post this because it gets back to some of the core things I want to address on developing yourself internally. I think he gives a great talk that hits many of the core things that I believe myself. I’m going to write more about this and put up some more posts on this topic, so I’ll stop for now.

19

Sep

Flotbots – Handlebars

I saw this video on a friend’s site and thought it was cool and I also dug the lyrics.

19

Sep

Hacking Democracy

Hacking Democracy

This documentary exposes the vulnerability of computers – which count approximately 80% of America’s votes in county, state and federal elections – suggesting that if our votes aren’t safe, then our democracy isn’t safe either.

I’m a programmer, this is like a “duh!” thing for me. If you are voting please use a paper ballot. The computer voting machines have many problems. Just go to wikipedia and read up on this a bit as well Premier Election Solutions. But please be aware, a graduate student, Virgil Griffith, discovered that Diebold (Parent company to Premier Election Soultions) as well as the CIA and others have been editing Wikipedia entries to delete information that makes them look bad and conveniently putting more positive information in its place. Read the full Wired article here.

18

Sep

In Debt We Trust

In Debt We Trust

In America’s earliest days, there were barn-raising parties in which neighbors helped each other build up their farms. Today, in some churches, there are debt liquidation revivals in which parishioners chip in to free each other from growing credit card debts that are driving American families to bankruptcy and desperation. IN DEBT WE TRUST is the latest film from Danny Schechter, “The News Dissector,” director of the internationally distributed and award-winning WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception), an expose of the media’s role in the Iraq War. The Emmy-winning former ABC News and CNN producer’s new hard-hitting documentary investigates why so many Americans are being strangled by debt. It is a journalistic confrontation with what former Reagan advisor Kevin Phillips calls “Financialization”–the “powerful emergence of a debt-and-credit industrial complex.” While many Americans may be “maxing out” on credit cards, there is a deeper story: power is shifting into fewer hands…..with frightening consequences. IN DEBT WE TRUST shows how the mall replaced the factory as America’s dominant economic engine and how big banks and credit card companies buy our Congress and drive us into what a former major bank economist calls modern serfdom. Americans and our government owe trillions in consumer debt and the national debt, a large amount of it to big banks and billions to Communist China.

Ah, credit card debt… How many Americans can relate to this? Danny Schechter wrote, produced and directed this film. This is a great film about more “down to earth” topics like personal debt.

With so many large speculative investment banking firms like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch going under as well as the insurance firm AIG things are certainly going to change. Not only will you be paying off your own debt, but the government (you) will be paying off gigantic sums of corporate debt as well. Well, the CEO’s and upper management got out with all their options before all of this happened, so don’t worry (sarcasm intended).

Many more banks will be collapsing soon. All those high interest rate loans on houses (given something like 60% to minorities) will be agressively collected. Forclosures will increase in the housing market. Housing values will drop. Property taxes will be decreased. Funds for local and state government programs will drop as a result. So in addition to paying your debt, you’ll see your local schools, roads and local infrastructure deteriorate. And the sad part is that the government (you) is bailing out these companies, inheriting the risks associated, without even understanding what those risks are. Don’t you think these companies knew what was coming? Is there really any question?

18

Sep

Walmart – High Cost of Low Prices

Walmart - High Cost of Low Prices

WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Prices is the documentary film sensation that’s changing the largest company on earth. The film features the deeply personal stories and everyday lives of families and communities struggling to survive in a Wal-Mart world. It’s an emotional journey that will challenge the way you think, feel… and shop.

Released simultaneously in theaters and DVD in November 2005, the film has been seen by millions worldwide. Families, churches, schools, and small busineses owners have screened the film over 10,000 times and the world is taking notice. See the film, share it, and become part of the movement forcing companies to act responsibly.

I saw this movie quite a while ago. I wanted to post it as a way to start narrowing the scope of topics a bit. What I mean by that is most of the films I’ve posted so far have been about very broad reaching things like war, or activities of governments, etc. This movie starts to bring things down to smaller scale a bit. Even though governments and very large scale institutions create these smaller circumstances, it’s good to see some of the more direct impacts. It’s good to take a look at how it affects individuals and people in the society and see how their thoughts, emotions and consciousness is affected. Because I really believe it circles back to the individual again, and what’s going on inside them.

It’s important to focus on understanding yourself and grounding your perceptions and emotions through connection with nature and people. Then I think you can begin to look outside and start to see the connections of things in the outside world. I think it’s also important to consider the things powerful corporations and money driven social structures encourage you to do:

Watch TV
Watch sports
Buy as many things as possible
Be independent

If you do all these things you have less meaningful connections with other people. Spend your time watching other people do things, instead of making meaningful and impacting changes in your own life as well as other peoples lives. Being “independent” isolates you from communities that enable you to share experiences and knowledge and promote social change. It’s much harder to change things on your own right? You’re only one person after all. But if you never talk about things with other people, then no momentum in the form of groups or organizations can flourish. As you buy more and more things, you have to work more and more to pay for them. If you spend all your time working, then you won’t be “tempted” to think about yourself or what your life means.

I think this is the goal. You are meant to go to work, watch TV, be quiet and die some day. It’s up to you to determine your own path. It’s up to you to change the reality. It all circles back to you, your consciousness, your choices, you. What do you want from this life? Ask yourself this right now: and then do it.

17

Sep

Uncovered: The War on Iraq

Uncovered: The War on Iraq

Uncovered: The War on Iraq, filmmaker Robert Greenwald chronicles the Bush Administration’s determined quest to invade Iraq following the events of September 11, 2001. The film deconstructs the administration’s case for war through interviews with U.S intelligence and defense officials, foreign service experts, and U.N. weapons inspectors — including a former CIA director, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and even President Bush’s Secretary of the Army. Their analyses and conclusions are sobering, and often disturbing, regardless of one’s political affiliations.

In studying and watching the various political documentaries on the Iraq war I came across this film. Robert Greenwald also made the film Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, which you can see here. It doesn’t seem as polished to me as some of the others, and reiterates some of the same messages, but I thought it was still interesting. All these films fill in missing pieces or new perspectives that the other doesn’t. Many of these films obviously have a more “left” leaning perspective. Again, I don’t really consider myself “left” or “right” or any of those politically contrived, and in my mind, meaningless distinctions.

I consider myself a part of the world, a part of human kind, and therefore what happens to the world and its people, is a reflection of myself. I know this may sound too “new age” for many, but then again, I think maybe you are projecting your own judgements and preconceptions.

It is circular, until you reflect on your own self, who you are and what is going on in your own consciousness, I don’t think you can even begin to look outside of yourself. Once you start to consider your own consciousness and existence, many of the beliefs and judgements you have about the world and those beings in it, start to crumble into dust. What is born from those ashes is a much different view of the world, one that many won’t be able to understand or accept. And how can they? How can you understand or know about something if you’ve never experienced it? It’s not that a being is “better” than you, they have just gone on a different path. Every path we choose has benefits and difficulties in this world. But until you are open to looking at and changing yourself, I don’t think you can hope to affect changes in the outside world. Simply by changing yourself inside, you will undoubtedly change the outside.

17

Sep

Darwin’s Nightmare

Darwin’s Nightmare

Some time in the 1960’s, in the heart of Africa, a new animal was introduced into Lake Victoria as a little scientific experiment. The Nile Perch, a voracious predator, extinguished almost the entire stock of the native fish species. However, the new fish multiplied so fast, that its white fillets are today exported all around the world. Huge hulking ex-Soviet cargo planes come daily to collect the latest catch in exchange for their southbound cargo… Kalashnikovs and ammunitions for the uncounted wars in the dark center of the continent. spacer This booming multinational industry of fish and weapons has created an ungodly globalized alliance on the shores of the world’s biggest tropical lake: an army of local fishermen, World bank agents, homeless children, African ministers, EU-commissioners, Tanzanian prostitutes and Russian pilots.

This is another good film that bridges many of the issues that I’ve been talking about: environment, food/animal use, politics and war. It’s not a very easy film to watch, but is very impacting. I gives a very down to earth portrait of how and why people end up in different circumstances. This film certainly deserves your attention.

16

Sep

Tibetan Book of the Dead

I thought it was important to get back to the spiritual element of a discussion on politics, environment, animal usage, etc. This film talks about the Tibetan book of the dead. It discusses some of the beliefs Tibetan Buddhists have about the dying process and what comes after death. I think my interest in Buddhism stems from the fact that it focuses on self discovery and self awakening. It doesn’t rely on a God. You may see giant Buddha statues and think, oh that’s the god Buddhists pray to, but in fact you’d be wrong. The statue is you in essence, the enlightened mind in all beings. I wouldn’t say that I’m a Buddhist, but I do like many of the ideas they have about the nature of consciousness. I think it also relates the to teaching of C. G. Jung as well.