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Responsible Environmentalism

On the surface, ensuring the protection of nature is a noble goal. But many people make it into something worse. It’s okay to recycle plastics, drink well water, and use compact fluorescent light-bulbs. It’s not okay to sleep outside or deny your children blood transfusions (note: the govt. has synthetic blood so get that if possible).

If we lived like apes, we would make no progress as a species. Apes don’t write books, create Internets, or mine metals. Humans used to die at 25 commonly, whereas now the average lifespan has surpassed even the three score and ten promised by the Bible, not because of fate, but because of hard work. Who would have though a fungus (penicillin) could be the solution to so many of life’s problems?

Humans are naturally at war with nature, and we’re supposed to be. Most people prefer to live in structures we call buildings, because living outside exposes you to all sorts of bacteria, viruses, and ailments due to a lowered immune system. Pushing your body too hard is stupid, because it makes you more vulnerable to disease.

In the same vein, it isn’t reasonable to demand everyone to stop using cars or burning fossil fuels, unless you have a logical replacement which takes us to the next level and works right now. Obviously, it is a good idea to research better solar power, wind power, and nuclear power, but until the technologies are easily implemented, we can’t begin real cutbacks on oil and gasoline.

Similarly, some of the solutions provided to us are worse than what they replace. CFLs produce the same number of lumens using far fewer watts, but they contain deadly mercury and the EPA actually recommends you call a Hazmat team if you break one. The Toyota Prius has a giant battery that goes bad after about ten years and needs replaced. Compact cars often result in more carbon emissions, because with one accident you become a vegetable for life. Instead of contributing to your safety, the plastic-and-Styrofoam car becomes your coffin.

If you are going to espouse the ideals of environmentalism, please do so logically. :)

Religion at a Higher Level

If you think about it, it’s very possible that Jesus was killed and then a clone took his place to show him having defeated death. If the human race was seeded here by space aliens, they may have decided that we needed something amazing to believe in because the human mind naturally escalates things so that it requires a bigger and bigger story to stay interested and motivated. In some people, inability to sleep or schizophrenia may even set in. However, with the advent of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, anti-histamines, and the Internet, it’s very possible for someone to not feel closed in but rather feel the amazing power of whatever God(s) they believe in.

The Great Pyramid at Giza is an amazing structure that cannot be recreated by humanity, even with 21st century technology. It’s built in the only place that would work to support its weight — without the large granite deposit below, it would sink into the sand. The large, inter-locking blocks fit together with tiny grooves that even modern machinery cannot duplicate.

Is it possible that the human race has started over again and again, like in The Matrix: Reloaded, each time destroying itself either by hydrogen bombs, sterilization, or mass cognitive dissonance? I would have said no in 2010, but in 2011 I’m not so sure. Human nature shows that people naturally want to believe in human potential, but at the same time want to sacrifice maidens to volcanoes and abort their unborn babies. But if there’s one thing humanity is good at, it’s rationalizing irrational or imaginary numbers, and this is necessary for most people to lead normal lives without resorting to prescription or illegal drugs, unless they never let their mind expand to that level.

Whether you want to believe it or not, the yin-yang dichotomy is present in every person and every facet of the universe and remains irreconcilable.

Facebook as a Platform for Mass Behavioral Modification

Facebook, because it is used by over 500 million people or approximately 7% of the global population, is a platform for large-scale modification of human behavior, whether we like it or not. While we may think the layout of Facebook is the logical conclusion of stream-lining and optimal programming, it is entirely possible the layout was developed as such because of limitations of Apache, Linux, PHP, MySQL, HTML, or even laziness. Oftentimes, the ideal solution to a problem is unideal because of the great difficulty required to implement it. Knowing the difference is the difference between having a successful social network or a ghost town.

Therefore, it may be advantageous to manipulate view counts, statistics, and even to run robots and automatons on a new social network, but only as long as 1.) no one finds out, or 2.) the people who find out choose by free will to not reveal the truth, either for a higher power or because they think deception is “cool,” i.e. Jack Bauer in the TV show Twenty-Four.

Taking this to its logical conclusion, a new social network’s main feature could be robots, and people would sign up in droves if they believed the robots would be more interesting to talk to than real friends. The truth of this thought will determine the future of social networking, i.e. will it continue to grow in power but plateau in numbers or will it grow in numbers while no one takes it seriously or is willing to commit secrets to it?

Building a War Chest

If you think about it, there really should be no shame in asking for money because if you are ashamed, you are implying that the people who would be willing to donate money to you will make better use of it than you are capable of.

I would never assume anyone can make better use of money than me. ;)

If you want, send me your PayPal donations to richardxthripp@thripp.com for donations > $11.90 and thripp@gmail.com for donations < $11.90. :cool:

An Analysis of the Culture of India [Essay]

An Analysis of the Culture of India

Richard X. Thripp

Daytona State College

For Dr. Natalie D. Rooney

EDF 2085 Introduction to Diversity for Educators

Culture Paper, 15%

Sunday, 2011 February 6

Final First Draft


Abstract

The culture of India is very unique and goes back thousands of years. In this essay, I will focus only on modern India, particularly on Mohandus K. Gandhi’s influence on the formation of the 20th century Indian government and culture, but also on religion and language. However, I will be ignoring movies, music, and postsecondary education.

Additionally, I will list major American institutions, advice for Indian American parents and children immigrating to the United States, academic citations, and personal commentary.

Finally, I will include a lot of relevant metrics, subjective summarizations, and statistics.

Note: I did not use proper A.P.A. style or proper citations in this paper.


India has both a rich cultural history spanning multiple millenniums, and is the 2nd most populated country on earth with a population of 1,155 million (C1), trailing China’s population of 1,331 million but leading the 3rd most populated country on earth by a whopping 275% — the United States, which has 308 million people. (All statistics as of 2009.)

However, many people in India are very poor and under-nourished, lacking proper food, water, shelter, infrastructure, education, and job opportunities. Despite this, many world leaders and scientists hail from India, and extrapolating the previous 90 years over the remaining 90 years of the 21st century, it is safe to say that India and China will surpass the United States in planetary dominance. The Indian people are some of the most hard-working and resolved people in the world, much like the Americans were in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

On 1869 October 2, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbander in modern-day Gujarat, where his father served in the Indian government under the rule of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (now the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as of 1927 and commonly known as the U.K.), of which the Indian portion was called the British Indian Empire (commonly known as the British Raj). Gandhi married at 13, had a son at 19, and left for London to pursue a law degree several months later. After enrolling in the High Court of London in 1891, he dropped out and went back to India. (www.sscnet.ucla.edu)

After failing his law practice, Gandhi spent 22 years in South Africa, where he declared himself a seeker of truth attained by love and celibacy. He also invented the term satyagraha to mean non-violent resistance, and he wrote a short treatise called “Indian Home Rule” subtly denouncing the United Kingdom, industrialization, and contemporary technology in general.

Gandhi’s first political campaign in India spanned 1915 to 1922, when he earned the title of Mahatma meaning “Great Soul” for initiating a movement of peaceful, non-violent, non-cooperation with the British government, which wielded great power but inferior numbers. When a large crowd killed many Indian policemen at Chauri Chaura in the United Provinces in February of 1922, Gandhi was arrested, convicted of sedition, and sentenced to six years by the British Raj, despite delivering a powerful self-defense and indictment of Great Britain at his trial.

Gandhi was released three years early due to poor health, after fasting three weeks in 1924 to stop Hindu-Muslim riots at Kohat. In 1932, he began his Fast unto Death to destroy the caste system which prevented people of the untouchable caste from marrying, doing business with, or associating with anyone outside their caste, and vice-versa. He also wanted the government to do away with separate electorates for the untouchables and the other castes, which angered Ambedkar, the leader of the untouchables.

Before surviving his fast, Gandhi broke the salt laws in 1930, by marching to the sea with his followers from March 12 to April 5, and, upon completing the 240 mile march to Dandi, collecting natural salt from the Arabian Sea as a symbolic act of resistance to the British Raj—specifically, the British monopoly on the production and sale of salt. Britain arrested Gandhi and thousands of other Indians, but it was at this point that the government relented and agreed to hold a Round Table Conference in London with Gandhi to discuss liberating India. The negotiations led nowhere, and upon Gandhi’s return to India, he was arrested again.

Prior to the Salt Satyagraha, the Indian National Congress further angered Great Britain by raising their saffron-white-green tricolor flag and issuing the following Purna Swaraj (Declaration of Independence) at midnight on 1929 December 31:

We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth. We believe also that if any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them the people have a further right to alter it or abolish it. The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually. We believe therefore, that India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraj or complete independence.”

In his mid-60s in the mid-1930s, Gandhi established homestead in a remote village called Segaon (now Sevagram) with no power or water in the very center of India, refusing to return to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad under a non-sovereign India. When Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Great Britain wanted to drag India into the war, but Gandhi correctly identified the hypocrisy in the U.K. claiming to fight a war for democracy while attempting to maintain dictatorial control over India. It was at this point that he launched his “Do or Die” and “Quit India” campaigns, the former being a message to the Indian people and the latter being a message to the British Empire, which ultimately succeeded with the Indian Independence Act of 1947, effective 1947 August 15. However, Gandhi considered himself a Hindu, Muslim, and Christian, not considering divergent religions to be mutually exclusive and wanting India to remain unpartitioned. This did not succeed, and India was divided into the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan on 1947 August 14 (now Pakistan and Bangladesh) and the secular Union of India on 1947 August 15 (now the Republic of India), mainly to separate the Muslims from the Hindus and Sikhs. Immediately following the partition, 7.226 million Muslims fled India into Pakistan and 7.249 Hindus and Sikhs fled Pakistan into India to avoid being religious minorities.

While there have been many skirmishes fought between India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Burma (now known as Myanmar and in perpetual martial law since 1962), there can be no doubt that Mahatma Gandhi had a major influence on the liberation of India and was overall a positive force in the world and one of the principle contributors to modern Indian culture. His writing, newspapers, philosophy, demonstrations, and particularly his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, and his quote, “be the change you want to see in the world” will be remembered for centuries to come.

The Volusia County statistics on FedStats only include Whites, Blacks, American Indian and Alaska Natives, Asians, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders, and Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin. There are no statistics for Indian Americans. The U.S. Census Bureau reported on July 1, 1999 that the State of Florida contains an estimated 60,358 people of American Indian and Alaska Native origin, but it is unclear if this includes Indian Americans. Both the United States and Florida governments provide no information with regard to Indian Americans, because they recognize only the aforementioned six races. Notably, searching Google for “Indian American” without quotation marks returns only results regarding American Indians (Native Americans) on the first page. However, the Embassy of India in Washington, D.C. considers a Non-resident Indian (NRI) or Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to be anyone who has left India up to four generations removed. The Embassy says there are over 24 million such people, with 2,765,815 residing in the United States as of 2008.

A child immigrating from India would have to learn the English language and place a lesser focus on academics and memorization to thrive in the typical, interdisciplinary American classroom which includes recess, physical education, fewer students, mathematical calculators, and more artistic and creative assignments. While Indians and Asians are known for their strong work ethic and high intellectual intelligence, they may lack the emotional intelligence of their American peers. However, as with any skill, this can be learned or compensated for.

To accommodate Indian Americans, principals should hire more teachers who know Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Punjabi, and other widely-spoken Indian languages. Similarly, the federal or state governments should provide grants or matching funds to purchase computerized translation devices or hire interpreters for Indian American students. At the same time, Indian American parents should make a concerted effort to learn American English fluently so they can communicate multi-linguistically with their children.

Finally, Indian Americans should be educated about United States heritage and history including the Constitution, our founding fathers, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, our conquest of the central North American continent, Alaska, Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, the atomic bomb, the September 11th attacks, the presidents, executive orders, the Supreme Court, Congress, the IRS, CIA, FBI, DHS, and TSA, state sovereignty, federal holidays, the U.S. Postal Service, baseball, apple pie, Puritanism, Protestantism and Catholicism as contrasted with Hinduism, Islam, and other religions in India, our relationship with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, OPEC, the European Union, and other governments, our status as a global economic and military power, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon, the Federal Reserve System, Harvard University, New York City, San Fransisco, Atlanta, Daytona Beach, the de-industrialization of the United States in the late 20th century, our dependence on China, and our contributions to all major fields of study including, but not limited to, the arts, music, sciences, medicine, pharmacology, military science, political science, and environmentalism. Particularly with the rise of not only the Internet, cell phones, Google, and Facebook, we live in a global, virtually interconnected world which facilitates the bidirectional sharing of information between nations, institutions, and individuals in multiple formats on a historically unprecedented scale.


Citations

C1: Population of India: 1,155,347,678 as of 2009 according to the World Bank’s Book of World Development Indicators.

C2: Volusia County MapStats from FedStats: http://www.fedstats.gov/qf/states/12/12127.html

C3: Paragraph 7 of the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2003: http://www.indianembassy.org/consular/Overseas_Citizen/para7.htm

C4: 2000 U.S. Census: States Ranked by American Indian and Alaska Native Population, July 1, 1999: http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/state/rank/aiea.txt

C5: The Constitution of India, Revised 2008 July 29: http://lawmin.nic.in/coi/coiason29july08.pdf


References

http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/History/Gandhi/gandhi.html

http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1998/3/98.03.05.x.html

http://www.unc.edu/~mumukshu/gandhi/

http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/kingweb/about_king/encyclopedia/gandhi.htm

http://www.acm.edu/programs/5/india/index.html

http://www.irc.caltech.edu/p-281-business-with-india.aspx

http://web1.johnshopkins.edu/aidjhu/?p=94


Forward:

I decided to write my cultural paper about the people and government of India, including Indian Americans and with a major focus on the contributions of Mohandas Gandhi to Indian and global culture, independence, and philosophy. I haven’t learned APA style and I didn’t rewrite my essay or use citations, nor did I start it until 8pm before it was due, but I think it’s pretty good that I wrote a 2000 word essay in under 3 hours that doesn’t feel like (in my opinion), a bore to read.

You can find the full text of my paper here: http://daytonastate.org/files/edu/culture-20110205-india-thrippr.pdf

I think it’s very important for even elementary school teachers to have broad-spectrum knowledge of every major discipline, language, people, and culture, even if they never achieve mastery in any of them. Only then can they seamlessly flow from one topic to the next and present a complete picture of the world to their students in a way that is fascinating and inoffensive.

Low-Profile Living

Note: On January 19, 2017, my Google Voice number 510-936-2417 became a victim of Caller ID spoofing. A robo-caller or other scammer is placing calls from a different phone number but portraying their caller ID (callback) number as my number. Evidently, this is very easy for scammers to do and there is nothing I can do about it.

Basically, if you have a website with your name in the URL, you are not living a low-profile life. I should probably change my website from richardxthripp.thripp.com to something that isn’t my real legal name, but I have no intention of doing so. In this article I would just like to talk about the mindset and benefits of low-profile living.

When I talk about keeping a low profile, I’m not talking about having a fake I.D., not using Google, or shielding yourself from corporations or governments. I mean shielding yourself from ordinary people. I consider it perfectly normal to give out my Google Voice phone number to people I meet at work, college, events, or shopping, but many people restrict their phone number to close friends. While I use a fake last name on Facebook, I only started this recently and still list my real last name as an alternative so people can find me. Most chilling of all, my home address is still listed on all my domain registration records. I really need to get a P.O. box, but I don’t want to pay every year for it, and I don’t want to risk putting a fake address on my domains because that is technically grounds for domain seizure by the ICANN, Verisign, or GoDaddy.

However, many people don’t even share their home address or personal details with close friends or romantic partners. Some people don’t even have phone or email―you have to go to their house or write a letter to get in touch with them. Other people live in the wilderness, such as rural North Carolina, where they are mostly cut off from modern life. I’ve lived a stone’s throw from Daytona Beach all my life, so it’s difficult to imagine being thirty minutes from the nearest Walmart.

Though I didn’t list it in my resolutions, one of my resolutions for 2011 is to maintain a higher level of secrecy. This is mostly in regard to my website, Facebook, Twitter, acquaintances, and satellite friends, which I define as friends who are primarily my friends because they know at least one of my close friends well. For family and close friends, I am actually being more open. It’s just important to keep mutually unwanted friends out.

I thought of the phrase “mutually unwanted” because last month I tried to open a checking account at Bank of America and found I am on the ChexSystems blacklist for fraudulent activity. I looked it up, and several websites described it as being a list of “mutually unwanted customers” which is basically a cartel of banks that have banded together through this third-party, non-governmental company. This really sucks, because it means I can’t open a checking account at any bank that uses ChexSystems for the next five years. I don’t even know why I’m on the list―I haven’t had any overdrawn accounts or illegal activity, and I doubt anyone stole my identity since my credit score is fine and I haven’t lost any money from my accounts with other banks. I submitted an appeal both by phone and their website, and they said I would get a letter within 5 business days, but that was before Christmas and nothing has come yet.

You could say Bank of America, BB&T, and other banks are being low-profile by using ChexSystems. Instead of welcoming new customers with open arms, they use a shady background service that doesn’t even work right most of the time, and they put absolute faith in it. From one perspective, this is an abundance mindset―they are implying I don’t matter because there are plenty of other people who want to be their customers. It’s depressing, but they’re probably right. Unless you are very wealthy, famous, or both, you’re just a number to anyone but your family and closest friends. Even your medium-close friends will often turn out to be “fair weather” friends when you have trouble in life. They won’t be there to loan you money or bail you out of jail. They’ll just disappear.

Similarly, peripheral friends you share sensitive information with might screw you over. If you tell everyone you are burning garbage in your yard, an environmentalist ninny might squeal to the police. If zinc prices go up and you start melting down pennies, be careful because you could get five years prison if you keep a high profile. If you buy a car for $3000 but report to the DMV you paid $1000 to save on sales tax, don’t tell anyone you don’t know for real because they might work for the State. Being discreet is just common sense.

When you see stories about people going to jail for making Twitter updates about blowing up planes from their cell phones at the airport, realize that they are not Constitutional issues nor civil rights issues. They are stupidity issues. The Constitution is just four sheets of paper. It doesn’t mean a damn thing in 2011, just as it didn’t in 1865. No law or contract is worth anything more than the paper it’s printed on. All that matters is human behavior and human relationships, and this is why bookworms get in so much trouble. They have book smarts, not real smarts. They share too much information and they don’t know psychology. If you think paper can stop a bullet, you’re living in fantasy-land… unless it’s 100 cases of paper, which might be able to stop a bullet. :smile:

Last month, I started a campaign to remove my Google Voice number from every public website. My new Google Voice number is 510-936-2417, and I feel perfectly safe giving it out, because it always goes to voicemail. I still use the old 386 number, and it still goes directly to my parents’ landline, but I don’t want to share it even though I can block numbers, because I don’t want nutcases waking my step-mom up at 3am. While I know the old number is still in the Google cache, Web archive, and other places because it used to be on this website, I’m confident these will disappear eventually, except the web archive which will require special attention. I’ve already changed my 100+ domains to the new 510 number.

Note: On January 19, 2017, my Google Voice number 510-936-2417 became a victim of Caller ID spoofing. A robo-caller or other scammer is placing calls from a different phone number but portraying their caller ID (callback) number as my number. Evidently, this is very easy for scammers to do and there is nothing I can do about it.

In some ways, being low-profile lends an air of exclusivity to friendship with you. Only your close friends know sensitive information about you such as your address, home phone number, family, and workplace. These friends feel more valued and special because they know you have given them more trust than the general public. Furthermore, every deterrent increases your chances of attracting good friends who appreciate you for who you are rather than the public image you project. Then, you can be even more trusting with your inner circle, because they will value your privacy just as you do.

On Facebook, I am now using a baby picture as my photo. This means people who are not my friends only get to see a photo of me that is from 1992, so they don’t even know what I currently look like unless they visit this website or know me in person. Surprisingly, most of my close friends don’t even care about richardxthripp.com, nor have they visited it. It’s quite surprising how average college students don’t care about personal websites. All they do is text and Facebook. Even email is a burden.

When you raise your standards and stop sharing dangerous information with the world, stalking becomes a much smaller problem. Every day, women who display themselves in low-cut blouses, string bikinis, or sexual poses on MySpace or Facebook complain about “creepy people” stalking them, and handsome men complain about friend requests from strangers when they display themselves shirtless. A simple lesson in modesty solves these issues. You don’t have to exhibit yourself to the delight of perverts and stalkers, and if you do, it looks stupid and real people don’t want to be friends with you. It’s entirely possible to have a MySpace or Facebook displaying no photos of yourself, if all your friends know what you look like offline and you tell them not to post pictures of you.

Talking about your income sources, family, heritage, religion, political views, assets, tattoos, or relationships is also completely unnecessary. You can have intriguing and detailed conversations without revealing anything important about yourself. Instead of talking about sensitive topics, talk about your hobbies, your favorite movies, sports, current events, or what your friends are doing. When someone else shares something private about their life, you have no obligation to reciprocate. They probably don’t want to hear about your life anyway. Most people prefer talking about themselves. If you indulge them, not only will you be living more privately, but you will be establishing better friendships by listening without interrupting.

Finally, it is very important to respect the privacy of others and never gossip, even if other people encourage it. I’ve recently lost a close friend over this, and it has been a wake-up call for me to re-evaluate what kind of person I want to be. At the same time, I believe in second chances and always grant them if the other person is sincere, not just because I expect to be treated fairly in return, but because being forgiving is the right thing to do.

Thripp 2010 Postmortem

When I launched my 20-week Thripp 2010 project on 2010-08-15, I set goals that were way too lofty and I didn’t reach many of them. I did post 80 new photos on this site, 40 on Thripp.com, a few new piano compositions, and 55 comics, but my original goals were much higher. Also, my Alexa rank plummeted from 60K to 90K when I wanted to increase it to 40K. I don’t know why my traffic is declining so much, but I must assume it is because I haven’t been writing any hard-hitting articles. Also, I haven’t released a new version of Tweet This in over 2 months, though I am keeping up with all support requests. Next time, I will set my sights lower.

My three goals were:

1. Get 50,000 absolute unique visitors in total for the three sites (track with Google Analytics).
2. Earn $2000 in Google AdSense revenues (including other sites such as Th8.us).
3. Increase the Alexa ranking of Thripp.com to 40,000.

I met only the first two, and #2 won’t even be confirmed until Google pays me my final payment after having my original account banned for undisclosed policy violations. Fortunately, it wasn’t click fraud, so they let me make a new account, but the $570 Google owes me won’t be paid out until Feb. 10, if at all. Google is very good at holding grudges and cutting off communications. No one will answer my phone calls or emails.

Amazon.com owes me about $720 in affiliate commissions for Nov. and Dec. 2010, but they use a net-60 payment schedule so I won’t be paid for those months until Jan. 30 and Feb. 28, 2011, approximately. Provided the $1290 comes in, I beat $2000 easily, thanks to other advertising and some generous donations.

For #1, Google Analytics reports 77,613 “Absolute Unique Visitors” for the period from Aug. 16 – Dec. 31, 2010 on the richardxthripp.thripp.com domain ONLY. Counting my other domains and web properties, I got 100K visitors easily. This goal was a breeze.

For #3, my Alexa rank and traffic is way down now. Normally, I get 20K visitors a month, but in the past month I have only gotten 15K. I am going to work on Tweet This and get a new version out this month, which should prevent Thripp.com’s Alexa rank from falling above 100K. As I wrote in Consolidation, ComposersJourney.com and Iseeafish.com are going to be consolidated under the Thripp.com domain, though I have now decided they will be separate sites. My current plan is to move them to music.thripp.com and comic.thripp.com sometime in February. My URL shortener Th8.us actually has a higher Alexa rank at 82K now, but I will not be moving it under the Thripp.com umbrella because the whole point of a URL shortener is to have a very short domain. Thripp.com is 10 characters — Th8.us is only 6. I do feel quite lucky to have a one-syllable pronounceable root domain that is as short as google.com and shorter than facebook.com by 2 characters, and it has the added benefit of being my legal last name and the last name of at least 200 people in the U.K. and Australia.

On a personal note, my life has been very busy lately. I’ve had my driver’s license for 6 weeks now and have been going out at least 4 days a week, either to college, grocery shopping, the bank, running errands, and even a night club. I have been hired by Daytona State College to be a math, science, and English tutor at the Academic Support Center at building 500 for 11 hours a week starting Thursday, Jan. 20, so I am getting ready for that. I won a generous scholarship from the Dana Rodman Tiffany Scholarship Fund, and I am graduating with my A.A. in Elementary Education this semester and am laying the groundwork to go into Daytona State’s B.S. program in the same major, having fully committed to not pursuing a degree in Computer Science. I still love PHP, MySQL, HTML, and CSS, but I don’t have the patience for C++, Java, algorithms, theories, and all that jazz.

I have founded my own micronation called the Thripp Republic, and though it has no officers or citizens yet, I have my own currency of which I have given away 1385 one dollar bills so far, and I am fully capable of running this entire operation myself. The Thripp Dollar is worth only 1/5000 troy oz. silver, so $1385 THR is only $7.95 USD, seeing that the spot price of silver closed at $28.69 an ounce on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. I think it will go up next week. I’m proud of my work on the Thripp Constitution and Thripp Bank.

While I spent the first half of 2010 depressed and not accomplishing anything, 2011 is going to be completely different. I’m not going to be working at a blazing pace, but I will be persistent and will likely achieve world fame by the end of the year. I am going to be leaving for China and California all summer (May – Aug.) and may go to Puerto Rico for spring break, so I’m not going to launch more projects until the fall. However, I will be working on photography and writing, and I will probably produce more output in the first four months of 2011 than I did in all of 2010.

I want to work on myself a lot this year, including my mind, body, and spirit. I have lost several key friends recently by violating their trust, and I must be careful and show more respect in the future. While I still consider myself a very public person, other people cherish a high degree of privacy and I must respect that. Similarly, large corporations such as Google, Facebook, and the U.S. government should do the same with their denizens, though they usually don’t care at all, unfortunately.

This week, my Dad turns 50. It’s quite a milestone, and I hope he doesn’t feel old. I have a nice card for him that my Grandma gave me to give him for his 49th birthday, but I forgot last year. The march of time never stops… sometimes I even feel old at 19.

I’m learning the viola. It’s not much different from the violin, but the finger spacing and strings are different, and the instrument is larger and deeper. I got a saxophone, but need to get someone to look at it because it sounds awful. I’ve had a cold for the past 10 days which is lingering in my chest, so wind instruments have been off-limits for over a week.

I am looking forward to what the universe brings me in 2011, though I know it won’t all be positive.

2011 Resolutions

Most people abandon their new year’s resolutions before February, not because the resolutions are impossible, but because it’s easier to maintain the status quo. Resolutions are appealing in theory and execution, but usually require sacrifice in practice.

The key is to either be committed, or set extremely vague resolutions like “be more forgiving” or “exercise more.” Resolutions like “lose 30 pounds” or “stop smoking” are much harder to fulfill.

In 2011, I am going to finish my A.A. degree, travel to China and California for three months with my Mom, and start on my B.S. in the fall. I’m going to start a micronation called the Thripp Republic and print Thripp Dollars on the back of 4×6 photos (I have nearly 10,000 already). I am going to be a math tutor at Daytona State College and I am investing most of my money in precious metals, common metals, and material goods, because the U.S. dollar is going to suffer massive inflation (possibly 30%) next year. I plan to learn the guitar, viola, and saxophone, code and release Tweet This 1.9 and 2.0, and work on creating photos that are as well-received as my 2006-2008 portfolio by breaking the rules and using more Photoshop.

I also want to release a sequel to Inferno and sell off all my web domains except about 40 personal domains.

I plan to do a great deal of writing in 2011, but I don’t plan to find a girlfriend or start a photography business, since I will be doing a lot of traveling and don’t want to be tied down. However, I will be doing a lot of networking and meeting many new friends in Florida, California, and China. I plan to create a social network around the Thripp Dollar, so I need to learn the Facebook Application Platform and write my own application. I already have the MySQL and PHP backend done, but nothing on the frontend.

Before I leave in May, I want to start learning Mandarin Chinese. My Mom is Chinese so she can help me.

I am going to continue living with my parents (Dad and step-mom) and driving my Dad’s vehicle throughout 2011, because my income is still very low (under $1000 per month). I would like to make more, but it isn’t a priority.

Even though I am overweight (170 lb. at 5’9″), I’ve decided not to go on a special diet, but I will avoid gaining more weight. As with the past 17 months, I’m going to continue being a vegetarian except fish, and I’m considering a 30-day trial in veganism. Here’s a picture of me playing the violin from this week, but I got a haircut since then:

Dec. 2010 self-portrait

This is the flag I’ve designed for the Thripp Republic:

Flag of the Thripp Republic

This flag is really wonderful, because it can be printed on a monochrome laser printer or drawn with a Sharpie. It is also unique, because I could not find any other country using a black-white-black tricolor flag.

In 2011, my Dad will be turning 50 in January and I will be turning 20 in August. While I was very unproductive in the first half of 2010, I plan to work at a steady pace throughout 2011, without overburdening myself. I will work on selling the unsold copies of Along the Far Climb Down, my father’s book from 2006 (all new copies say 2011). If you live in the USA and want a copy, send me your mailing address and $5.00 by PayPal. For foreigners, email me and I’ll look up the shipping rate (the book is 6×9, 96 pg., 6 oz.).

Happy new year everyone!

Review of “9 Steps to Work Less” by Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins' Book

9 Steps to Work Less and Do More serves up hundreds of practical suggestions. Robbins gives you advice on everything—from how to leave a voicemail to how many umbrellas you should own (pg. 150). After reading “always leave your phone number twice” and “speak slowly and clearly” (64-65), I knew Stever was being really thorough.

Why is it 9 steps? I really don’t know. 10 is a more popular number. 7 is a lucky number. Stever Get-It-Done Guy Robbins could even have called it “12 Steps for Workaholics,” but it’s been done before.

If you’ve read other books on time management or personal growth, there isn’t much new material here. This book may be a waste of time for anyone but the casually committed, because only they are likely to find new advice here. But, considering I was provided this review copy for free and never heard of Robbins before being contacted by his secretary, I should not be so harsh. “9 Steps” is a nice read with good tips. Stever also has a good sense of humor which you will find on every page of the book. I was more anxious to write this review than to actually read the book, but had I picked this up several years ago, before discovering personal development, I would have been engrossed.

“Stever Robbins” is a weird name. Everyone who reads it thinks “Steven” has been misprinted. “Robbins” as in Tony Robbins? I thought this was a pen name at first.

I started reading this book six weeks ago, and after 40 pages I quit and lost interest. I stopped reading on “daily action packs” in the procrastination chapter. However, I do need to write this review eventually, so I’m just going on what I read and skimming through the rest. This review is going to be short.

PAGE 69: Just ignore it: “Another way to deal with a full inbox? Ignore it.” — Stever has a lot of guts to say this, and he’s right. Most email should just be archived because it never needs a reply.

PAGE 77: Example of a bad email: “We need to gather all the articles by February 1st. Speaking of which, I was thinking… do you think we should fire Sandy?” — This is an awesome example of a bad email. I might have to use this myself.

PAGE 86: Learning how to say no: “Too many yeses overcommit us.” — This is also awesome. I can’t believe St. Martin’s Griffin let Stever use “yeses.”

PAGE 90: “Stop multitasking and start focusing.” I like this advice. More often than not, writers tell you to develop your multitasking skills, when in truth, you should develop your monotasking skills. Do one thing at a time, and do it well.

PAGE 101: “A Sample Stever week.” This is a wonderful chart, and very simple. I like “Tuesday: 2 PM – 6 PM: write.” Only Stever could write for four hours non-stop. I find myself taking breaks every fifteen minutes.

PAGE 110: “When in doubt, throw it away.” I’m starting to do this all the time. When I’m done reading a magazine or a letter, I burn it. No reason to let it laze around the house.

PAGE 120: “Someday when I can afford an entourage, I’ll have a perky assistant named Okra who will keep track of everything for me. Until then, I use crutches to manage the complexities of twentieth-century life.” Sure, assistants are sexy, but 20th century life? Don’t you mean 21st century life, Stever? Perhaps you count from zero, or maybe this book was written in 1999?

PAGE 131: “The best ideas happen in the shower, because your brain is built to think when you’re doing something else.” This is why going for walks, playing music, and washing the dishes are such great hobbies. Whenever I’m stuck writing or programming, I find inspiration by setting the project aside for a while.

PAGE 143: “Movies the group absolutely does not want to see: Starring anyone whose last name is the name of a hotel chain.” But Paris Hilton is such a fine actor! I laughed at this joke.

PAGE 153: “Settle for ‘good enough” rather than wasting time on unnecessary perfection.” This is so true. Nobody cares how perfect your work is anyway. Most people don’t even examine it closely. Cutting corners is the best policy.

PAGE 166: “TIP: Hold an anteater by the hindquarters when combing its snout. KEYWORDS: anteater, comb, grooming, snout, thumb-reattachment incident.” Anteaters are so vicious…

PAGE 179: “Cut out the small talk. Let’s face it: we don’t have time for superficial relationships.” I disagree, small talk is the foundation of human relationships. As Data on Star Trek TNG noted, it fills awkward conversational gaps and aids in human bonding.

PAGE 195: “Get on someone’s radar screen by having frequent, though not necessarily lengthy or deep, contact.” Do you mean small talk, Stever? I thought you hate small talk? Perhaps you are confused.

PAGE 206: “Access to people is valuable…” This is so true. You can’t make babies alone.

PAGE 216: “Come visit me on the Web at www.SteverRobbins.com…” — He wanted to say “it’s ten times better than www.StevePavlina.com!”

PAGE 218: “ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Case Princes provided his apartment and his computer with amazing 2560×1600 monitor.” I love big monitors too. I have a Samsung 24″ widescreen LCD with 1920×1200 pixels. But 2560×1600 doesn’t actually tell us anything. The monitor could be a 19″ CRT with the resolution set extremely high. Please consider these technicalities in your next book!

If you wanted a proper review, I don’t have one. I’m just passing off a bunch of scribbled notes as a review. Now go buy this 5-star book. I know it’s only been two months, but we are expecting many more books from you, Stever!

Creation vs. Promotion

Do you spend more time creating things or promoting things you’ve already created? Musicians who spend two years touring with the same album are clearly focused on promotion, whereas musicians who release four albums a year to little fanfare are focused on creation. Some authors have written thirty books but can’t get even one published, while others have one best-seller they spend all their time promoting.

Promotion gets your art out to more people―creation allows you to have art in the first place. You can spend all your time and money promoting other peoples creations―i.e. Google, Facebook, The Beatles, or Sony―or you can spend your resources promoting your own creations while enjoying the creations of others only as a customer. You can live life as a starving artist who toils into the night but never achieves recognition, or you can be a salesman who sells his paintings on everything from welcome mats to toilet seat covers. You can advertise yourself aggressively while creating very little, or you can create a lot but not advertise your creations. At one extreme, you can create works that are completely original―at the other, you can produce works that are completely derived from the creations of others. You can even choose to create and promote nothing at all, instead working at a menial job for most of your life. You may be contributing more value to the world as a worker than as an artist, because the world has too many wannabee artists already.

I am a photographer and writer, but I spend most of my time creating. Sure, I send out emails, tweets, and status updates about my new creations, but I don’t spend much time or money promoting myself. I don’t take clients or work for hire. I don’t even have a tangible product, besides a few framed photos and a whole lot of 4×6 snapshots. My main source of revenue is Google AdSense, and that only generates about $60 per month on this website. In light of this, I definitely need to spend more time on promotion and less time on creation. Though I have hundreds of pages, 21% of my visitors leave my website immediately after viewing one page. I rarely get more than 10 comments per week, and emails come once in a blue moon. However, I am confident I am a good photographer and could be famous if I worked tirelessly for many years at promoting myself.

If you focus on promotion, you appeal to casual fans while boring your loyal fans. If you advertise your ebook or products in every email or blog post, you attract people who don’t read most of your material, but you annoy people who read and re-read everything you write. Conversely, if you focus on creation, your loyal fans are happy but your casual fans feel overwhelmed. Often, they don’t even know where to start when picking up one of your creations, be it a book, magazine, newsletter, or website.

The key to unlocking your life’s dreams is in balancing not only creation and promotion, but your image as an advertiser and your image as a creative artist. If you do consulting to help people increase sales and web traffic, you should promote yourself as an advertiser to that demographic. If you sell original works to art enthusiasts, you should promote yourself as a counter-culture creative genius to that demographic. If you have to target two contrary demographics at once, you should balance your persona.

While it may sound like you have to promote your creations and create things for your promotion, in fact you can choose one and out-source the other. Basically, this is called “getting an agent” or “becoming an agent.” Singers, actors, writers, and even successful artists have agents to promote their work, negotiate contracts, and protect their interests. If you’re more interested in being the rock that supports someone else, you can become an agent. Then, you focus on promotion and let someone else do the creating. There is often more money in being an agent than in being an artist.

Google and Facebook are companies that focus heavily on promotion. While they create original algorithms and maintain vast networks to serve up content, the content is almost always created by others. Google spends most of its resources indexing and retrieving foreign web pages and emails. Google Adwords is all about advertising the creations of others and collecting a commission, be it 100% on search results or 32% on AdSense publishers. Facebook mines your personal information, habits, and secrets to sell them to advertisers. Both companies are agents focusing on promotion. An advertising agency is also a good example, but many agencies do original design for hire, which is more creative.

Companies that focus heavily on creation are largely partnerships or sole proprietorship. Any company larger than that invariably has secretaries, accountants, lawyers, and other officers who only perform “meta” tasks―tasks that are essential to keeping the company running, but are not its core mission. For example, shooting and editing photos, burning CDs, and printing are primary tasks in a photography studio―distributing the photos, scheduling appointments, finding new clients, and filing tax returns are secondary, “meta” tasks. Most companies have more employees working on secondary tasks than primary tasks, but they are paid less.

Whenever you have writer’s block, composer’s block, or whatever-block, you are in a great position to focus on promoting your old work. Conversely, you do not want to be interrupted by secondary tasks when creative inspiration strikes. For this reason, it is important to maintain flexibility in your schedule, rather than trying to divide creative tasks and promotional tasks into hourly blocks.

Creative artists are afraid of being judged as losers who never succeed in life. Promotional artists are afraid of being judged as “sell-outs” who value dollars over art. Many people want to be pursuing something creative such as photography, writing, drawing, music, psychology, or dancing, but instead choose to major in something “practical” like nursing or business administration. Other people enjoy accounting or secretaryship but worry about being forgotten in death. If you are in either group, you will not find happiness outside of a radical life change or black-swan event.

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