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Leaving Florida

I’m leaving for California at the end of the week to spend three months with my mom in Union City. She will be taking the first week off, after which I will be working at Goodwill of San Francisco for a volunteer internship, which should involve transitioning them from the LAMP stack to Microsoft SharePoint for their intranet CMS. My mom also works there. I will also be taking a tour of Google’s campus.

My mom left in 1998, so I’ve lived with my Dad since then. This is a good time to visit her, since I’ve got nothing important going on in Florida. I will be getting to see my 10 year old sister for the first time since 2006.

I won’t be taking any computers, musical instruments, or many clothes, instead relying on buying stuff there and using my mom’s computer. I will take my camera, cell phone, and a portable hard drive for data storage, but I’m limiting myself to one carry-on bag so I don’t have to defend or wait for luggage. I have a four hour layover in Atlanta, so I’ll probably take a book to read. I’m taking a shuttle from Daytona Beach to Orlando, since it’s the same price as the gas for a round trip to Orlando. My mom has promised to buy me a piano, and I may have to buy a monochrome laser printer so I can print sheet music and whatever else I need.

This will be my first time traveling alone, flying on an airplane, and leaving the state, besides a funeral in NC in 2006. I will also be turning 20 on August 17 while in CA. This will be a very significant trip. I’m sure I’ll miss my family, home, and a few key friends in Florida, but I’ll have my cell phone to keep in touch, email, Facebook, blogging, etc. I will also be keeping busy, so the time might pass very quickly. I can’t say for sure until I get out there.

I’m debating which GPS to take, since my mom will let me use her car. I have a Magellan GPS unit I like, but the maps are from 2009 and it costs money to update the maps. My TomTom GPS has free unlimited map updates, but the directions are confusing and the user interface is terrible. I don’t like how the Magellan GPS does not go past 1798 Ridgewood Ave. in Holly Hill, even though that road goes up to higher street addresses. I guess that part of that road may have been in a different city a few years ago. I will probably take the Magellan GPS, and hopefully the roads will not have significantly changed in the bay area in the past two years.

If I like California, I could stay out there or go back later. According to the CA website, I can claim domicile after staying a total of 6 months within a 12 month period, so I would have to go back for another 3 months before May. Then I could go to college at UC Berkeley at the in-state rate, which is about 30 miles from Union City. Hopefully Daytona State College will grant my AA degree at the end of the month, at which point I could go to work on some sort of Bachelor’s degree. However, in FL I can continue receiving the BrightFutures scholarship. I’ve already used up 4 of the 7 years on the AA portion, but can continue receiving it if I work on my Bachelor’s degree here within the next three years, if I’ve read the rules correctly. New BrightFutures students have only 5 years to complete their degree, but I have 7 since I came in under the 2007 rules.

Since I will not have most of my possessions in CA, such as my desktop computer, violin, saxophone, cello, and Chihuahua, I will be relying more on my intellect and my ability to convince my mom to buy me stuff. I won’t be able to help my family with computer issues, nor will I be able to remotely access my computer, since we are having our Internet disconnected tomorrow. I switched from AT&T DSL (768Kb) to Brighthouse cable (10Mb) six months ago, but now they are trying to raise it from $29.99 to $50.00 per month, and their “lite” speed (7Mb) has also increased from $32.99 to $35.00. AT&T now says they only have dial-up in our location, since they are at-capacity for DSL subscribers. Normally, technology advances over time, but in Ormond Beach, FL, it moves backwards. I have to take our cable modem back tomorrow and will be downloading Netzero and/or Juno again for their 10 hours free dialup access per month, for the next few days before I leave. Hopefully they still offer that. I really don’t feel too much loyalty to Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Volusia County, or Florida in general at this point.

Since there are thousands of gang members roaming the streets of Oakland, I will have to be very careful not to stay our at night, and to avoid wearing blue, red, or black T-shirts, since those are the major gang colors, according to my research. Since I will be in a strange environment, I will naturally be more careful than in my hometown, so I’m not too worried about all the things that could possibly go wrong.

One online project I would like to work on while in CA is getting my text, photos, and videos onto as many websites as possible. While I’ve previously written about the dangers of relying on community websites like Facebook, Twitter, DeviantArt, YouTube, and Etsy, I now realize it’s much easier to get people to visit you on these websites than a personal website, and these sites do offer hosting for your content and ideas, serving as a sort of online backup on foreign servers, free of charge, so long as the moderators of such services do not ban you or erase your submissions. When I share my photos, I always try to do so at the highest resolution possible. While some people post only thumbnails with watermarks to protect their intellectual property, I would prefer the peace-of-mind of knowing that even if my house, WiredTree’s datacenter, and all of my relatives’ houses burn down, my photos will still exist on some computers or in someone’s files somewhere. Proliferation is better than protectionism. I’m hoping to take a lot of photos of the Golden Gate bridge.

Rather than selling individual images, soliciting donations, or relying on passive income, it may be easier and more fun to offer freelance photography services. A widespread online presence facilitates this, since even though Facebook may take all my ad revenue, it can generate leads that are far more profitable. I photographed a wedding at the beginning of April, and enjoyed it a lot, taking 750 pictures of the wedding at Tavern in the Garden, the couple after the wedding, family and guests, and the reception in New Smyrna Beach. I enjoyed capturing others’ precious moments, and I edited over 300 of the photos for color and contrast, providing all of them on two DVD+Rs, including the 750 raw files (8GB total). While many photographers safeguard their photos to milk for future profit, I prefer to provide my clients with all the files, so they exist in multiple geographic locations and because I would want a photographer to do the same for me. If you don’t know your clients well, it’s a good idea to not give up any files until you get paid. Fortunately, most people don’t even know how to edit or process raw files, so you can use your editing skills as a selling point. I use FastStone Image Viewer to create JPEGs from the embedded preview images in my Canon Rebel’s .cr2 files, with some automated contrast enhancements. This way, I can give my clients a lot of JPEGs and have them tell me which ones they want edited. The bride and groom created a wedding photo book on Shutterfly and ordered it themselves, so I didn’t even have to print anything. Since most photographers charge a lot, you can always market yourself as someone who does not offer all the professional printing services, but charges less. It helps if you have a nice website with a lot of text and no Adobe Flash. :)

I’ve been posting a lot of videos of me playing piano and violin on my YouTube account, and I will take some more videos in California, while developing my musical skills. I’ve also been learning foreign languages with my pirated copy of Rosetta Stone, focusing on Hindi and Mandarin Chinese to start. I will continue working on this in California, and might take a microphone for the speech recognition parts. If I start learning foreign languages now, I will be much better at them at 29 than I would be at them if I never started. While my dad says it’s impossible to become fluent in a language if you don’t have people to speak with, and that it’s far harder to learn another language at 19 than it would be at 9 or from birth, I can’t change the past so I’m not going to dwell on it. I was never enthusiastic about Spanish in high school, and I refused to listen to my mom’s instructions in Mandarin at 3 years old, instead preferring English, but I’m hoping to become poly-lingual over the next few years. Since my mom is fluent in English and Mandarin, she should help me when I visit her. My step-mom knows Vietnamese and Pali, but I never picked either up.

I could decide there is no point in learning anything since I’m going to die anyway, or I could decide not to learn anything unless it generates measurable, purpose-driven results. More likely, I could make no progress due to a lack of love for learning, or because I keep practicing at the same level over and over again without advancing. It helps to have a computer program to direct your learning for you, since you can use it at anytime and it remembers where you left off. When I read my college textbooks, I would often find myself re-reading the same parts over and over, because when I came back after a break, I would forget where I left off previously. This could also indicate I was not interested in the material, since I’d probably remember it if I found it interesting. Years ago, I switched from piano to photography since photos were more easy to share online, I did not have a good understanding of sheet music or music theory, and I disliked how long it took to make progress in music. Now, I feel just the opposite, and I haven’t even been using my camera much since I’ve been working more on learning the Moonlight Sonata, basic pieces on the saxophone, the Granada Sherlock Holmes theme on the violin, and chords on the guitar. Unless you suffer massive brain damage, all your practice and experience contribute to your current skill level.

Anyway, I will leave off by saying I’ve been taking 5000 I.U. of vitamin D per day and I haven’t gotten a cold or flu in a few months. It could also be because I haven’t been around many people, but I think vitamin D is much more significant than vitamin C in preventing illness. Cod liver oil, B complex, niacin, and CoQ-10 are also good vitamins to take.

I am looking forward to California and the new friendships that await!

Attacking Abortion

Fetuses are an easy mark to kill, because they can’t fight back. If each fetus was equipped with sharp teeth and snake venom to bite and kill the doctor while being aborted, it’s very likely that abortion would end, because doctors would be unwilling to perform them due to the immense danger involved.

Abortion is not a problem that can be solved at the same level at which it was created. All societies degenerate into slaughtering innocents sooner or later, but few institutionalize it, besides gladiatorial combat, witch hunts, sacrificing maidens to volcanoes, capital punishment for illegal drugs, and abortion in modern nations.

Abortion fits well into the Satanic agenda, because it sets a precedent for corrupt beliefs in individual lives. If you, a friend, or a family member has had an abortion, you may believe that infanticide is justified in certain situations, and that these women should not feel guilty. To form divisions, you may complain about women (the “others”) who “abuse” abortion as a form of birth control, instead of only undertaking it with a heavy heart. Instead of protesting the doctors who perform abortions, you may justify it by claiming they are only doing their jobs. That didn’t work for the Schutzstaffel officers in the post-World War II trials, so it shouldn’t work for hypocritical doctors in 2011.

In the same vein, pro-choice advocates refer to pregnant women as “women” instead of “mothers,” because they have to keep up the charade that the humans mothers are carrying in their wombs are no better than goiters or cancerous tumors. Mothers who abort their baby and then go on to have more babies will teach their unaborted children that the child(ren) they aborted would have had unhappy lives because of some reason or combination of reasons, i.e. she was working on her career, going to college, the father ran off, the baby wouldn’t have been loved, she wasn’t emotionally ready for motherhood, she didn’t have a job, there was no money, or she didn’t want to have a “welfare baby.” Then, her unaborted children will grow up and either 1.) carry the same belief with them to justify their mother’s abortion; 2.) carry the same belief justified by the Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton argument (“pro death”); 3.) become staunchly pro-life (“anti choice”); 4.) adopt some middle ground to explain the past and guide the future, i.e. be pro-life but say their mom made a mistake, or adopt situational ethics (kill babies during an economic recession and choose life during boom times).

Just because a child takes 9 months to be born and 18 years to grow up does not mean that is not a worthy investment. Even from a utilitarian viewpoint, we need more humans to continue the American way of life, to invent new technologies, to build new machines, to create new art, and to develop new philosophies. And from a human perspective, we should all be able to imagine what would have happened if our mothers would have aborted us in the womb — instead of being alive on the earth, there would be the emptiness of no earthly existence whatsoever. Fetuses are not supposed to be slaves, no more than the black people were supposed to be slaves to the white people before the 20th century.

The Bible says “God created man [men and women] in his own image” (Genesis 1:27), and said to us, “be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the fowl [birds] of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28). It does NOT say “reduce your numbers,” “engage in homosexual relations to avoid having children,” or “implement policies of zero population growth once the population reaches 7 billion” (or 500 million, or whatever number).

In ejaculation, up to 500 million mobile spermatozoa are released in a solution of semen to reach the fallopian tubes through the birth canal and eat through the jelly-like matrix (ovum coat) around the unfertilized egg (ovum). One spermatozoon implants itself, creating a zygote (fertilized egg), which moves down through a fallopian tube by the beating of cilia and implants itself in the lining of the uterus to grow like a cancer for 9 months, creating a baby. In dogs, 39 male chromosomes combine with 39 female chromosomes, creating the seed for a puppy with 78 chromosomes. In humans, 23 male chromosomes combine with 23 female chromosomes (or 24 in trisomy-21, a.k.a. Down syndrome) to create the seed (zygote) for a baby with (hopefully) 46 chromosomes.

If you believe that a zygote or fetus has no value because it has only the potential for human life, just as each spermatozoon has only the potential for human life (when combined with an ovum), try disturbing a nest of sea turtle or eagle eggs. Then, you will see that the State cares more about an endangered species than humanity, because the State believes that we are too plentiful and need to be expunged.

Every breath you exhale increases the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but every breath that plants and the oceans (71% of the earth by land area) inhale decreases the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Plants and the ocean also create or help to create oxygen. Just because half the world is dying of starvation does not mean that you should not have children if you are living in a first-world country. It’s natural to want to have a family and have children, not out of selfishness, but out of both selfishness and selflessness simultaneously. If you believe life is beautiful, you are being selfless by having children, and if you believe life is decadent, you are being selfish by having children, but the truth is there are elements of good and elements of evil in the world, but we have to take the good with the bad. The worst option is not to fight.

Though nature may beseech us with hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and volcanoes, the reality is this is OUR PLANET, belonging to God first, humans second, and all other organisms and forces a distant third. We have the right to have children.

Death

Earthly accomplishments do not allow you to die in peace anymore than water keeps you from starving to death. Leaving behind a legacy is important to some, but must be balanced with living each moment for yourself, and not necessarily your spouse, friends, family, or children.

The story of the Wandering Jew says that a cobbler taunted Jesus, saying “go on, go on!,” to which Jesus replied, “you too shall go on,” which cursed him to eternal life until the Second Coming. Immortality on this earth would actually be quite depressing, because you would out-live everyone you know and love. The division between life and death gives life structure, continuity, and meaning.

The religion of atheism encourages hedonism, because it says that man is a useless passion — there is no imperative purpose to life, and death is eternal, complete, and final. Unfortunately, humans are naturally spiritual beings, and all encounter supernatural experiences in life which cannot be discounted as vagaries of perception, so atheism is ultimately appealing to only teenagers and twenty-somethings.

When we look at other animals — dogs, cats, spiders, tigers, alligators, blue whales, chimpanzees, pigeons, etc., we see animals who do care about preserving their lives, but do not have the soul or consciousness that humans possess. We are special, like no other species on earth, because we philosophize beyond our existence, create works of art and science to stand the test of time, and (hopefully) strive to improve ourselves.

Death is as natural as birth, and it should be self-evident that both should be understood, but neither should be obsessed over. It’s important to entrench yourself in a belief system that allows you to make short and long-range decisions about how to conduct your life, be it believing in salvation, damnation, neutrality, reincarnation, or nothingness after death, but it’s also important to recognize that a belief that’s true at 6am in your life may not be true at Noon or at sunset. What you believe at 60 years old will be far different from what you believe at 30, and at 90 years of age your outlook will be different than you can imagine now.

American culture tells you that you should spend 13 years in public school (K-12), and then at least 4 years in college, and then start a career in a specialty field and follow that path to the end. You are also told it’s very important to divorce yourself from your parents and your family, because they are holding you back and you should have the joy of having a car payment and rent payment every month. Individuality is very important, which is why you should eat junk food, never read anything, never get married or commit to anyone, drink your fluoridated and chlorinated water, believe in phony environmentalism, always be dumb, never find Jesus, be vain, get tattoos, and die of cancer at 55.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, but the point is while this path may be fine if it makes you happy or gives your life definition and purpose, it’s probably not fulfilling unless you want to die with regrets and squashed dreams. We have it good in the first world, and if you are stressed about being unemployed or overweight, a trip to Haiti, Nigeria, or Iraq might put your life in perspective. Personally, I prefer to stay in Florida where it’s safe.

In truth, a life of danger can be fulfilling, but sticking close to your family and avoiding the shackles of slavery gives you more potential. I live with my parents, so I don’t have to worry about paying a strange landlord rent or watching my back at night. I don’t have a job, not because I’m unsalable, but because I’m lazy and hard to work with. I take pictures because it’s more fun than painting, and I play piano for myself, though impressing others is nice.

When you lock yourself into a mode of thinking, you blind yourself from other possibilities of existence. It’s kind of like using a digital SLR camera with only one prime lens. You can do a lot with one lens, but experimenting with other focal lengths and apertures will broaden your understanding multi-dimensionally.

Looking back at 2010, 2009, or 2008, you can see that everything you did was necessary to get where you are now. This does not mean that you could not be in a better place if you made different decisions in the past — you most certainly could — but the linear nature of time means that dwelling on the past wastes the present and stifles the future. Instead of focusing on what could have been, focus on what can be now.

When my cousin Charles died at 27 of brain cancer in 2006, we saw that Memorial Sloan-Kettering was unable to save him with any amount of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. He died a tortuous, sickening, undignified death, but this prompted my Dad to research cancer and find that a molecule found in apple, cherry, and apricot seeds, wheat grass, raw spinach, and bitter almonds, consisting of 20 atoms carbon, 27 atoms hydrogen, 1 atom nitrogen, and 11 atoms oxygen prevents cancer if eaten in sufficient quantities daily. This really improved my life, since I don’t worry about cancer anymore, or staying out in the sun, using a cell phone, microwaving my food, or checking for lumps. I just take some wheat grass pills everyday and eat the seeds whenever I eat an apple.

If you have fears about death which can be overcome with action or knowledge, there’s no excuse to not pursue those, unless you want to die early. If you are a smoker, you can instantly prolong your life by quitting. If you eat red meat three meals a day, you can instantly prolong your life by replacing that with tofu, greens, and fish. If you live in a high-crime area, you can move to a low-crime area. If you have bad friends, you can abandon them and find good friends. If you are fat, you can lose weight by being hungry all the time. If you can’t sleep, you can drink a glass of warm milk or read a good book. If life is stressing you out, either change your attitude, change your life, or suffer.

I’ve heard of people regretting not having children late in life, but I’ve not heard of people regretting having children. I’ve heard of businessmen regretting spending too little time with their families, but I’ve not heard of businessmen regretting spending too little time at work. I’ve heard of women regretting having an abortion, but I’ve not heard of women regretting not having an abortion. I’ve heard people regretting committing suicide, but I’ve not heard people regretting not killing themselves. Love, kindness, and enjoying life now is the safer option, not because tomorrow may never come, but because today will never repeat.

Situational Ethics

Since the human mind has limits and time is the eternal constraint, the use of situational ethics can easily degenerate into a moral quagmire that binds you into modes of thought that subtly or severely limit your potential. Conversely, they can splinter your personality into fragments that destroy your cohesive identity.

One solution is to use the same ethics for all situations. This solution is ideal in theory, but leaves you vulnerable to people or situations that conflict with a belief in absolute ethics. For example, if you believe guns are bad, you make yourself vulnerable to criminals with guns who don’t care about your beliefs. If your family is starving to death and you can’t grow or buy food, then stealing from rich people who have too much food (à la Robin Hood) might be a better solution than just giving up and dying. Similarly, if you meet your soul-mate while in a bad marriage, the best choice for your happiness may be a divorce or an open marriage. Absolute ethics may work on paper, but not in real life, because people and situations change. If you live 80 years, that’s only 22,645 days as an adult, so it’s important to make every day count. However, it’s good to have firm guidelines that you only violate in extreme situations.

Another solution is to use ethics that maximize your personal happiness. Doing this in the short term could involve eating lots of chocolate and ice cream, but for true happiness, you should eat a balanced diet that’s good for your body, mind, and spirit. Doing this is not delaying happiness, but extending it over a long range of time and variety of mental states. If you maximize your personal happiness, you might take advantage of other people, but then when that stops working, you’ll be nice to them to get what you want. You may also choose to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you choose to believe in Jesus, Allah, Buddha, or all of them, you do that for yourself and your eternal soul rather than social, family, or peer pressure.

A third solution is to use ethics that maximize humanity’s happiness. While this can obviously be combined with the previous, they are generally at crossed purposes because what’s good for someone else is often not good for you. For example, it might make a stranger happy if I gave them my digital camera, but I would prefer to keep it because I bought it, I own it, and it’s my property.

A fourth solution is to use ethics that maximize your family’s happiness. I like this option best, because I honestly can’t care about all the people in the world or myself alone. Many people are mean and inconsiderate, so it’s important to pick your family closely, and it does not necessarily have to be your blood relatives, but you should not disown them.

Of course, you could also choose to cause as much chaos, death, destruction, and suffering in the world as possible, but this is degenerative and any benefits to this approach are side effects, so it is ultimately corrupt. Nazi Germany used this approach in the Holocaust, as did the United States by nuking Japan and defoliating Vietnam. This leads you down the path of fear, and makes you believe that no one is worthy of trust, which is a very lonely, dis-empowering, and depressing belief.

Traditionally, situational ethics are the domain of the right brain and concrete ethics are the domain of the left brain, but this is a stereotype and like all stereotypes, it is often wrong. You can define your own reality within the constraints life has given you, and you can change your reality to a fault, usually bounded by time and ingenuity.

In general, I would recommend not adopting the mental framework of situational ethics, because it leads to treating other people like objects rather than sovereign humans. It’s better to develop a good sense of intuition to implicitly judge people, while always giving the benefit of the doubt. Finally, it’s important to recognize that words are always less important than actions and that what you see in others is always reflected in yourself, so be careful.

Endianness

A curious property of CPU architecture is the argument that datasets should be big-endian or little-endian, that is, should the most significant items be listed first, saving the least for last, or should the least significant items be listed first, saving the best for last? What if the transmission of data is cut-off mid-stream? The computer program may be tempted to accept the big-endian dataset because it contains the most significant data, but “the devil is in the details” as they say, so this could be a fatal mistake. Similarly, the computer program may be tempted to drop the little-endian dataset entirely because it contains no significant data, but the unrevealed data at the end may have led to a different conclusion.

For the purposes of computer science, it is tempting to say that endianness is a solved problem and Intel won. However, just because Intel is the largest manufacturer of computer processors and Intel’s X86 and X64 processing architectures are little-endian does not mean that is the best way to go. It’s very possible we could have much further advanced computers now if not for Intel’s choice, or much crappier ones. It’s also possible we could have big-endian computers that are just as advanced as the current ones, and it’s possible those computers would be just as advanced despite Intel, or with Intel’s help, i.e. because big-endian is very superior but Intel’s engineers persevered anyway on the hard road, or because big-endian is very inferior and Intel’s engineers took the easy road, never reaching the full potential of human discernment.

It’s also possible that neither path is correct, both are equal, or some are more equal than others, to quote Planet of the Apes. It’s also possible that different endiannesses are appropriate for different situations, i.e. big-endianness for lossy editing and little-endianness for lossless editing, i.e. the difference between editing photos, videos, and music, or text, respectively. Endianness is also known as byte order, and in a multibyte string, the preference of putting the most significant bytes first or the least significant bytes first is a product of your upbringing, whether it be your parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, strangers, environment, culture, heritage, private school, the streets, or state-run public schools. Your preference is also a product of your static and unchangeable genetics, and I may have just now subtly or overtly influenced your view of the world by writing this paragraph.

The difference between choosing big-endianness or little-endianness might just as well be the difference between being male or female, black or white, gay or straight, tall or short, right-handed or left-handed, right-brained or left-brained, or speaking English or Spanish, or both, or neither. The question isn’t “does it matter?,” because it obviously has a significant impact upon your life and behavior. The question is “why does it matter?,” because that is the only question that makes sense and has efficacy. Similarly, you can’t understand the motivations behind big-endianness without understanding the motivations behind little-endianness, and you can’t understand the motivations behind little-endianness without understanding the motivations behind big-endianness. I’m not a computer science student, so I don’t know much about it, but I could wager a bet it has something to do with the properties of silicon.

In truth, endianness is just another of life’s little arguments to either make you incredible sane or incredibly insane. No problem can be solved at the same level it was created, so you either have to choose the path of ignorance or choose the path of knowledge. The former divides you into camps of religious zealots, and the latter unifies you into the camp of humanity, not by transcending the need for endianness, but by recognizing that the worst possible action is to stagnate and refuse to make a choice, and that each road is equally valid and you should choose whatever works best for you and your mind. The choice is yours.

Religion

Nobody knows the time or the hour that Jesus will return to Earth, or even what form he will choose. It could be 4000 years from now, a million years from now, or it could be that he never even left. It could be that it’s incumbent upon us to change the world and change ourselves to prepare for his arrival. But one thing’s for sure — destroying the world will not get Jesus to return. Only embracing it will, but not in a physical way — in a mental way, for even a man who has looked upon a woman with lust has committed adultery in his heart.

I grew up not believing in any particular religion, but now I see that religion fulfills a critical need in peoples life — the belief in something permanent and unchanging outside themselves in an impermanent and changing physical world. Trying to tear down religion might be the right step at the level of fear, and ignoring religion might be the right step at the level of hope, but only embracing it is the right step at the level of love, tolerating it at the level of perfection, and loving it at the level of imperfection. As in the words of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, “to love him was to know him, and to know him was to love him.”

Therefore, it’s very important to first embrace religion, then reject it, and then recapitulate. Most people only go through this process once or twice in their lives, and if they go through it more than that they feel like a failure, when in fact they are much more successful at their human mission than people who never change mental states.

If you go through this process process too frequently, you might have a mental disease such as bipolar “disorder” or schizophrenia. If you don’t go through the process of recapitulation enough, you might suffer a midlife or even a quarter-life crisis. And if you go through it everyday, you might be a Beethoven, Tolstoy, or Einstein just waiting to emerge.

Hope is a level of consciousness lower than knowledge, but faith is a higher level than both combined. It takes courage to stay true when the whole world seems to be against you, because in truth, the whole world loves you, but this doesn’t mean you should embrace strangers, because the world commits itself to actions discordant with its beliefs. There are rights, and then there are privileges, but you can’t earn privileges — they must be given to you, and all privileges are the work of Satan, not Jesus.

Be careful in your worldly affairs, for nothing in this world can truly determine your fate in the afterlife besides your actions. Normally, your thoughts determine your actions, but in some people this isn’t true, so it may be best to just disregard bad thoughts instead of wasting time analyzing where they came from.

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.

Welcome to the Thripp Republic

The Thripp Republic is a new micronation founded by Richard X. Thripp on Jan. 3, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida with its own constitution and currency (the Thripp Dollar). In the future, there will be a Senate, Supreme Court, citizenship applications and benefits, free markets, and other fun yet serious things.

The Thripp Dollar is backprinted on 4×6 prints of artistic photographs by Richard X. Thripp. Currently, over 8000 one dollar notes have been printed and are generally distributed by Richard X. Thripp himself to students and faculty at Daytona State College.

The Thripp Dollar is worth 1/5000 troy oz. silver. This means that as of Jan. 3, 2011, one U.S. Dollar is equal to about 160 Thripp Dollars.

For more information, please visit the website I have set up at gov.thripp.com. :smile:

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!

Consolidation

I’ve decided I’m going to consolidate my other websites, thripp.com/blog, composersjourney.com, and iseeafish.com under the richardxthripp.thripp.com domain. Nobody goes to them anyway… they don’t have the PageRank to rank high in Google’s search results… this site does, so why should I try to fight Google?

It’s really better to have all your sites under one domain anyway. I’m not going to merge daytonastate.org, since its value lies largely in the domain itself (similar to daytonastate.edu), but my other websites will be consolidated here including previous content over the next few months… I might even sell off the domains! But probably not.

On a sad note, today my half-sister Anna would be 11 years old. I only met her once, and she passed away in an accident at six months. She died on Father’s Day… 1999-12-16 / 2000-06-17 never forget.

I’ve been having a lot of fun tutoring and meeting people at Daytona State College even though my classes ended Oct. 22, 2010 since I took Fall A classes. Next semester I want to be a tutor at the Academic Support Center or Student Disability Services for math and English… should be fun and help me to relate to people.

I met Trina Chakravarty at Rotary Int’l. last week. She was Miss India USA 2005 and Miss India Worldwide 2006, she’s going to be an M.D. (medical doctor) next year at 24, and she even writes a blog! So amazing…

Richard X. Thripp, Trina Chakravarty

I have been slacking posting newly re-edited photos here, but I’ll have some this weekend.

Finally, I have decided to disable Infolinks on my sites. Infolinks is an ad network that double-underlines words on your site with ads. They are just too annoying, and they make next to nothing anyway… $0.10 a day tops. Google AdSense, AdBrite, and Amazon Associates create more revenue … even Chitika does.

Enjoy the cold weather while it lasts. :)

Updated 2010-12-20: I’ve re-enabled Infolinks after being contacted by the Infolinks team… Tanya W. is working to improve my revenue which so far has been only $1.99 for 51 clicks and over 16,000 impressions in 21 days… we will see how this goes.

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