At the Cabin

I am up at the cabin with Caitlin. She is doing some sketch work, being the artist she is. It is about 70 degrees, sunny, and a light breeze is blowing in off the lake. I can't tell you where this lake is because it has native American healing powers, and if too many people found out about it, it would be ruined.

Earlier we swam in it and our souls were cleansed and all our ailments rinsed away. For me that was just my pesky arthritic left toe. Pain gone. Caitlin's canker sore is also remarkably reduced, she reports.

We also inflated my queen air mattress and floated around on it. The light waves rocking it were very soothing and we could have fallen asleep and ended up drifting across the lake, but we didn't.

Shortly, we will cook a cabin dinner of stir fry.

Server SNAFU at Work

I got into work today and discovered, along with my co-workers, that the server system is kaput. It's been down for over an hour now. Word has it this is a lot longer than the 12 to 15 minutes it takes to reboot the servers, so it could be serious.

While I can't access any Intranet things within the company, access to the external Internet appears unaffected, which is how I am able to write this post and post it.

I am struggling to find work to do, given that so much of our work is computer based and most files are saved to the server, not locally.

So I am using the time for TEAM BUILDING, which is work speak for chewing the fat in the corridor, until the system is restored.

Our company just merged with another company, effectively doubling it's size. Apparently, the server system was not overhauled in anticipation of the added traffic load. I first started to notice issues the day the merger closed. My Acrobat document tracker turned into molasses and started moving slow...

Getting There

I remember a saying that went something like, "If you want to reach your destination, you first have to go half way there, then halfway there again, then halfway there again..." and so on and so forth, to eventually get there. So how could you ever get there?

Setting aside the quantum physical explanation (that the universe is quantized, and so eventually there is no half way point, only a nanoscopic quantum leap between your destination and the quantum state just prior to it), the solution in the macroscopic world is pretty simple.

You just set your sights on going twice as far as you want to go, then when you go half way you are already there.

This is sometimes called AWESOMENESS.

Try it out.

Eating Pizza

Pedro (of and I are eating pizza at Timber Creek in Lake Mills WI, because our guitarist, Stefan, was delayed for band practice.

I like pizza. We got a veggie pizza in order to slightly reduce our ecological footprint.

If you want an explanation of why that is, you simply have to leave your query as a comment on this post.

Completely unrelated, you would think that with all the texting and blogging and e-mailing that goes on in America these days, citizens would be more literate than they are. But maybe the abbreviated language of the Internet age actually serves to make people less literate.

Carpool in Madison WI

I found a coworker who lives by me to carpool to work with and I can now happily flip the bird at the WI State Rideshare charlatans who rejected my proposal for ridership with them.

Let me tell you a little bit about Rideshare. It's expensive to join and only saves you a nominal amount vs. The cost of gas and car maintenance.

Also, you have to take (and pay for) and all day class, only offered a few times a year and always on a Thursday. I don't know about you, but I work on Thursdays and I don't really care to sacrifice a vacation day to take a class about how to be a responsible driver. Not to mention having to PAY for the class on top of that. I have a valid driver's license and I am not an idiot.

No fees for carpooling with my co-worker and we will end up saving about $30 a week, according to the IRS mileage conversion. We alternate days driving. On gas alone I will trim about 60 miles of driving off every week, which is a little over a gallon of gas saved (I drive a Prius). Together my coworker and I will prevent about 3 to 4 gallons of gas from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global warming each week.

Switching Horses in the Middle of the Stream

Information fasting is too hard.

I have been able to cut back, maybe 1/3. But that is not enough.

I wanted to info fast entirely for the month, but I feel compelled to check out some news and info on the web.

I know I won't die if I ignore the media for a few weeks.

I just feel as though it is irresponsible.

So I am going to change horses in the middle of the stream.

Most credible sources will tell a person not to do this, but I think it will be OK.

For the rest of June I am going to follow a vegetarian diet, as close to vegan as possible, but not worrying about the small transgressions, like cheese or chicken broth, when it's unavoidable.

I have been reading too much information (I know, I know...) about how the agricultural meat industry is destroying natural resources at an unsustainable rate.

Plus, the industrial chicken farm a few miles from my house is a disgusting abomination. It smells like death and they spread their chicken shit all over the place, calling it "compost."

Enough already.

I'll be documenting my vegetarian quest at, so go there right now and SUBSCRIBE.

You Wanna Know What the Worst Smell Is?

The guy sitting behind me on the bus who is chewing gum to cover up his chain smoking ashtray breath. Nothing compares with the stench of wintergeen plus ash. Luckily, since he can't shut up, I have learned that he will be getting off the bus downtown, and so I should be stench free for the remainder of my journey into work.

I can't believe there are still people who smoke, but it is even harder to believe there are people who smoke who honestly think their breath does not stink like the ass of a dragon who just ate a pine tree.

This morning I had my Facebook query about the new Food Plate dietary guidelines aired on Wisconsin Public Radio. It is a lame guideline. The cereal and dairy lobbies must be loving it. It implies you should have a glass of milk with every meal and makes no distinction about the types and quality of different food. The radio guest was a typical government pawn, regurgitating the same tired dietary advice that has done nothing to improve the nutritional health of Americans, and has in fact worsened it. You can plainly see this by looking at the obesity and chronic disease rates in America, that have been going up every year since the lobbies started influencing government policy under Reagan in the early 1980s. or (Subscribe to these non spammy blogs if you agree with me.)

I touted my 8 years in R&D at a vitamin company as credentials, but the guest misinterpreted this to mean I had an agenda because I did not clarify that I was a FORMER nutrition industry worker, with no hidden agenda to promote alternative diets. I didn't even tow the corporate marketing bunk when I was employed their, much to the derision of my monkey boy boss and corporate management. Independent and creative minds don't thrive in Corporate America generally.

A Less Than 80% Effective Day At Work

A great man once said, if you can be 80% effective at what you do, and do it 20% of the time, call it 100% effective 100% of the time.

Because in reality, most of our time is wasted on stupid things or stolen from us by stupid people. If we can avoid those things and people 20% of the time, and use that time to be 80% effective, that is the best we can hope for.

But today, I did not achieve that. I usually do.

A Solar Flare - And Other Violations of My Information Fast

I can't help it. I am trying really hard to avoid media during my June Information Fast, but it is hard. I am a total sucker for any Internet article about astronomy or quantum physics. So when I saw the Yahoo News headline about a strong solar flare that recently erupted from the sun, I could not resist it.

Although not directed right at the Earth, it is a particularly strong solar storm. It is supposed to affect satellite communications on June 8 and/or 9 and produce some auroras in both hemispheres. I really hope they can be seen from Wisconsin.

I am having a lot of difficulty completely giving up my information consumption. I have cut down a lot, much like cutting back but not completely eliminating junk food. This morning I turned on the Wisconsin Public Radio station only so I could listen for any severe weather alerts. For the most part I was able to block out the discussion they were having about the pros and cons of opening a taconite iron mine in northern Wisconsin (mainly because I already think this is a bad idea, regardless of what the industry proponent said).

Instead of trying to avoid information EVERY DAY, I may modify my June exercise in discipline and try to avoid information consumption for ONE DAY each week, and if that goes well, maybe up it to two or three. To start, perhaps I will try to observe the Jewish Sabbath on Saturdays, not doing any work or using any technology. I hope reading books is OK.

I took public transport again today, and I read another large chunk of "The Year of Living Biblically," by AJ Jacobs. It is a great book, and I am learning a lot about the Bible's myths and truths via Jacobs' great "new journalism" magazine writing style.

I generally support public transportation and I try to take it 2 to 3 times per week to support it (and get through library books before they are due back). If I could apply this level of discipline to working out 2 to 3 times a week, I would go far. I have been better about workouts now that the weather is accommodating. Is this longer than two (2) minutes to read? Sorry.

A Unitarian Church

I am in a Unitarian Church. I seem to be in Unitarian Churches a lot lately, as I attempt to bridge the gap between my atheism and God, mostly out of respect for my staunchly Lutheran girlfriend. Baby steps. Baby steps.

But on this occasion it is because I am taking a singing class via the UW Madison Extension. I was taking lessons at the Madison Music Foundry, and although my teacher there is very good, this class is a best value.

$115 for 8 weeks of 1.25 hour classes vs. $25 for a single 30 minute 1 on 1 lesson with my teacher. I think she is an awesome teacher but my wallet is thanking me.

Vocals Class

Tonight is the first night of my new vocals class I am taking through the UW Madison Extension. I am parked outside the Reeb Unitarian Church in Maddy, where it takes place. Outside my air conditioned car it is a humid 95 degrees. Brutal. I sure hope this church has AC. Stay tuned and I will let you know how the class is. I have my 1 on 1 vocal lesson at Madison Music Foundry tomorrow and I am hoping my teacher will let me work on singing "Dio" by Tenacious D. I really like the song and it is dynamically in my vocal range. We shall see.

Info Fast - Day 5 (I think...)

It's tough to avoid information. It is as tough as cutting out a favorite food. Why do I need to consume information? Much like junk food, it just makes me feel yucky afterwards. It feels satisfying while I am doing it, but it is clearly not in my long term best interests.

News just raises my blood pressure and the knowledge I gain does not benefit me or anyone.

At the Doc

I am at the doctor. HIPAA laws forbid me from telling you what for, but nothing serious.

My doctor is awesome. I wish everyone could have a doctor this awesome. How she makes any money, I don't know, but she has spent nearly an hour with me today going over my health and doing an in depth analysis.

She explains stuff too. And not in a baby 8th grade sort of way. She took the time to learn that I'm well educated in science and public health, so she was able to ramp up the conversation a notch.

Anyway, kudos to my doctor.

Information Fasting - Day 3

I don't know if it counts as a violation, but as I was checking Yahoo email this morning, I was again lured into reading a photo news piece about Area 51.

I want to say that because it wasn't actual current events, it might be forgiven. But that is a slippery slope.

My information fast is STRICT, and so I am technically going to call this a violation.

This is hard. From force of habit, I am used to listening to NPR and reading Internet news.

I know in my heart of hearts that nothing bad will happen if I let go of media influx to my brain.

But just like giving up junk food or smoking, it's not easy.

As always, I will succeed. I just thought you might want to know.

Information Fast

Today, I had 2 minor violations of my information fast for the month of June.

Checking my Yahoo email this morning, I was lured into a Yahoo news piece, though I quickly caught myself.

The same thing happened again at work, but I pre-empted it.

I am learning not to fall to temptation but it is hard to break old habits.

If I check email on my Android phone, I can by-pass the Yahoo news tempting fruits of news and info.

Info Fast Violations

Today, I had 2 minor violations of my information fast for the month of June.

Checking my Yahoo email this morning, I was lured into a Yahoo news piece, though I quickly caught myself.

The same thing happened again at work, but I pre-empted it.

I am learning not to fall to temptation but it is hard to break old habits.

If I check email on my Android phone, I can by-pass the Yahoo news tempting fruits of news and info.

My June Exercise in Mental Discipline

For the month of June, my lifestyle change exercise is going to be a bit unusual.

I am going to go on an INFORMATION FAST. If you want to know what this is, visit http://redstaplerbrigade It is sort of like a fast where you cut out certain types of bad food from your diet, but instead of food, you cut out bad information.

That includes cutting out Internet and social media.

Not as easy as it sounds at first, huh?