Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A hokey word but interesting thought

So, I'm reading The Spirit Level and it throws out a number of challenging, frustrating, and interesting thoughts.

I decided I should share one:

Affluenza-  "a set of values which increase our vulnerability to emotional distress"
"Advertisers play on this, making us dissatisfied with what we have, and encouraging invidious social comparisons."

I think that affluenza has a large, detrimental impact on our society!  That, and I'm nerding out on the awesomeness of the phrase 'invidious social comparisons'.  That one's going to come back up someday.

   ciao, ben

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Belize, The Second

I realized on Saturday that I had been wearing shoes entirely too long.  Not on that day per say, but wearing them too long in life.  I decided to make Sunday the first shoeless day in... decades?  I got up and had a nice walkabout with my lovely new English friend Jo complete with breakfast at a locals spot that had tasty pancakes.  I then sprinted around in my rush to catch Lili, fun new Canadian friend, and sail boat to the reefs.  The two of us ended taking a smaller motor boat on which I worked on my sunburn and she had her first snorkeling adventure. In fact, our group went to 3 different spots.  I managed to give a shark a belly rub, pet a sting ray, and nearly swim into a moray eel (note: they are dragons).

When we got back to the island I read some more For Whom the Bell Tolls and napped in a hammock.  Leaving was looking less and less appealing.  As such, I decide losing my debt card would be a phenomenal idea and might just do the trick to get me stuck in paradise.  It didn't work.  I had emergency funds and was able to cancel my card. (I live in fear of the roaming bill from Verizon...)  The group then attempted to defend our 1st place finish in trivia but ended up taking 3rd after a narrowly won tie breaker that involved my past-its-prime chugging prowess.  Later, the Reggae club, with even less 'shit going down', was still a good time and ever enjoyable with the crew I'd been lucky enough to take up with.

So sadly, sorrily, I grabbed a cup of coffee, made a sacrifice of 5 belizean dollars to the wind gods, and got on a water taxi to Belize City Sunday morning.  And that was my adventure...

A couple quotes and observations
"I remember going to work. I don't envy you."  Jo :o(
International travelers, almost across the board, smoke. :o(
The stereotypes are not based on the ones who leave.  My thoughts on americans
"You are so ENGLISH!"  Rod (an aussie) to Jo upon her producing a Tea bag from thin air at a bar :o)
"My vacation is almost over. I have to go back in just 3 more weeks."  Lili :o(
"Anyone for Yahtzee?" both Norwegian girls ;o)
"We don't like the Americans." when Tanya was asked who the Norwegians dislike in sport/life

      cheers ~ben

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tricky, tricky

I cornered myself into writing my travel blog tonight by posting to my "productive" one that they could look here for the details.  While gauntlet thrown, and I shall do my best to run with it.  Maybe later I will even implement my photos into it.  What better way to more fully sell my soul to Google than to also create a Picasso account?

I safely returned from a 3 night jaunt to Belize this past weekend.  To be specific, I woke up there yesterday morning.  Ouch, saying that makes me feel the band-aid was ripped off just moments ago.  Which is to say, it was a wonderful experience, and I'm sad to have not had more time.

Here's why: (and I'll spare you the detail on my lack of PTO and the sudden rush to use flight vouchers to focus simply on the trip itself) Belize is beautiful and natural.  I could interject some other reasons but those two really take the cake.  Within 15 minutes of getting off the plane, I walked along a gutter.  What's not beautiful about that right?  But actually, this gutter, on the way to the main highway where I loosely intended to hitch a ride, was filled with life.  When was the last time you saw an egret hunting for food (note: not trash, but actual living fish) in a gutter in America.  I imagine never, but maybe that's just my experience.  Shortly thereafter I was picked up by a nice off duty cabbie named "Tiger" who casually explained that a backpacker had been mugged and bludgeoned recently while attempting to walk into Belize city.  I tipped Tiger well.

After a short wait and a tasty beer (my first in 2.5 months; and a special thanks to Nicki for giving me the New Years resolutions/restrictions only apply to the countries in which they were made clause), I was on a water taxi to Caye Caulker (pronounced "Key" fyi).  Within 10 minutes of getting off the boat, I was sitting at a table with an attractive group of internationals and yet another tasty beer.  This time I tried the Belikin Stout instead of ale.  (Belikin is the only local producer, though certainly other options were available.) So at this table sat 2 Norwegians, a German, an Australian, a Brit, and a Canadian.  This group was wonderful and proved to be my principle cohort for the remainder of my stay.  In fact, a shared a room with the 2 Norwegian girls and another girl, whom I suspect may have been an insomniac mute.  Tina's, while certainly not out and out "nice" was more than adequate for my 3 nights, had a plethora of hammocks, and what it lacked in hot water it made up for in attractive Norwegian, Canadian, and English girls. ;o)

Friday night, the night of my arrival, our eclectic group claimed first prize in Trivia night at the pub of our meeting.  We then checked out a Reggae club where, as it turned out, there was very little to be turned up or tied down...  But there were tasty drinks, decent songs, good company, and plenty of inside jokes. Saturday was spent lounging, reading, and generally loving life.    

oye.  It's getting a bit late.  I think I shall finish the blog up tomorrow.  Hopefully, I'll have time to post my thoughts on the phenomenal book as well.  wow.  Hemingway, he may be the first author I decide to read everything by.  Just wow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Inequality makes societies... worse.

This article actually makes a lot of sense to me.  I'm going to pick up the book when I get a chance.  I'm particularly interested in how disparities impact disease.  That is my kind of nerdy!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Different Direction

I'm going to start using this blog to just post things that I find interesting.  I don't really think facebook is the place for much of it.  I'll probably throw in the occasional rant but I've felt too busy lately to make much more use of it than that.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Tale of Two Zombies*

If anyone stumbles across this, it's not finished yet.  I'm debugging the new blog.

From the dust came Zombies.  And they were allegorical.  And quite good.  
As debutantes in popular culture, zombies were slow, representative of creeping consumerism, of base instincts, of the human drive for consumption over rationality.  Never substantially dangerous in small numbers, hordes were the problem.  They could readily surround you, take away your choices, and sweep you away.  Over zealous group-think turned gangrenous in society writ large. 

New zombies are fast.  Why? The old ones weren’t scary enough anymore.  Or perhaps they were not accurate enough an allegory in modern society.  It was not enough to be merely taken over by our suppressed baseness, to succumb to primal instincts, to embrace dog eat dog.  With shorter attention spans and a skyrocketing need for the extreme, that particular vehicle of doom just didn't have enough pizazz to keep our attention.  Zombies?  Is that all?  How about a zombie on a catapult? Armed with infectious shurikens?  Now that’s entertainment.    

*With special respect to Caroline, a third category should be introduced as prologue.  Before the 60s, zombies were puppets of bad men with evil powers.  So we see an evolution de zombie, puppet of evil doer to unchecked id to ‘roid raging’ caricature of malevolence.