Archive for the 'My Life' Category

Life is hard: A lesson for me, A lesson for the nation.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

I’ve learned some invaluable lessons within the last three months of my life. Some of them sound very simple, and even very obvious, but they didn’t click for me until I began to learn them first-hand.

The one on my mind right now is: Life is hard.

We live in a culture of putting-off-the-inevitable. It doesn’t matter where you look, or what problem you’re talking about. If there’s a problem, we’ve invented a way to fool ourselves into thinking that we don’t have to deal with it, and we pull it off masterfully, while managing never to learn from our mistakes.

Two examples come to mind, and the first is a bit personal. Through a recent breakup with a girl whom I had convinced myself I was destined to be with, I’ve felt real pain for the first time in my life. Throughout my life, until this point, there has always been a “fix” for my problems. I’ve trained myself to look for the easy way out. But this time, no such exit exists. Not a day has passed yet in which I haven’t, at least briefly, felt an intense sadness over what was, as it turned out, not to be. I’ve often awoken suddenly in the middle of the night feeling alone and depressed, knowing there’s nothing I can do to make myself feel any better. It has felt like an emotional roller coaster – sometimes I feel okay, sometimes I even feel good and completely forget for a moment, and other times I feel so indescribably horrible that suicide starts to seem appealing.

Faced with the reality that there is nothing I can do or say to anyone that will relieve the pain — and trust me, I’ve tried — I’ve been tempted to resort to other quick fixes. For every feeling of pain that can only heal with time, there will always be someone offering a quick and “painless” fix that inevitably delays the pain and often creates a far worse situation. In a college town, where doctors prescribe some of the most potent and addictive drugs known to man as a solution to the common cold, drugs like Xanax and Klonopin are available free-of-charge to anyone with more than three or four friends, and at first seem to offer an easy escape. Of course, popping benzos every time I feel like shit is probably the single dumbest thing I could do as it would almost inevitably leave me psychologically and physically dependant and would guarantee that I’d have to deal with an unthinkably-horrible withdrawal stage in addition to the problem I would have been running away from in the first place. Thankfully, I have more than a few very incredible people in my life who have been through this before and were caring enough to share with me the wisdom that the only sane way to survive feelings like this is to recognize that life is hard, that the feelings will pass with time, and that I should get on with life. Once I get through this, I will be a much better, much strong individual than I was before I was in the relationship in the first place. Never the less, that a small number of my peers seem to think popping pills is a reasonable solution to getting through the rough time I’m having made me think very critically about the world around me.

However, it wasn’t until I read Lew Rockwell’s article today that I made the connection between what’s going on in my life and what’s going on in the rest of the country. This brings me to my second example. Here we are in a world in which our entire economy is built on a system designed to allow us to escape reality. For the unaware, the US Dollar is printed by an entity called The Federal Reserve. The sole purpose of this organization is to attempt to manipulate the laws of economics by transferring wealth from the average citizen to, well, wherever they think they should put it. This is called inflation. They create new money and cause the money that you and I work for to be worth less. The idea is that by taking the value of our money and handing it over to select groups of companies, the country will grow faster and disaster can be avoided. These guys honestly think they’ve conquered the laws of nature. The result of this activity is very real. Recent examples are the dot-com boom and even more recently, the real estate boom. As soon as reality sets in and people start to realize things aren’t right, a bust begins to occur, and the Fed rushes to stave off reality. Instead of ceasing the behaviour that caused the problem, they fight harder against the well-established laws of economics and make things worse by further inflating the money supply. This does delay disaster, but only makes matters worse in the long-run. Market corrections can be painful for everyone, especially when they’ve been manipulated so heavily for so long, but the economy cannot heal until they occur.

Make no mistake: The Fed cutting rates when they know there’s a problem is directly akin to a drug addict reacting to the onset of withdrawal by switching to higher doses of harder drugs, instead of suffering through the withdrawal so he can be free of his addiction.

Just as popping benzos is the obvious temporary way out of dealing with the intense pain I’ve felt, the President’s reaction of freezing interest rates is just a temporary way out of dealing with a market correction. All of this just makes things much worse, and the people who suffer and are you and me. Food prices go up, gas prices go up, prices on imported goods go up, and it seems like money gets tighter for everyone in America, but people don’t realize why. This is the result of the Federal Reserve making our money worth less.

We must, as a nation, recognize this problem. This is why Ron Paul’s candidacy is so important to me. He is the only one running for president who is trying to explain this to people, and until more people listen to him we will continue racing towards disaster.

What The Fuck is wrong with Facebook?

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

It started three days ago with an email:

You uploaded a profile picture that violates our Terms of Use, and this picture has been removed. Among other things, photos containing nudity, drug use, or other obscene content are not allowed, nor are photos that attack an individual or group. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page at http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=33.

So, the Facebook profile image I’ve been using for years now has suddenly become obscene. Does it contain nudity, drug use, or other obscene content? Is it an attack on an individual or group? Well, you can decide for yourself:
My Facebook profile image

I read over Facebook’s terms and couldn’t find anything that the image violates, but Facebook is clearly private property. So, I emailed them to ask how I was violating their terms. This is the response I got:

Hi Chris,

A photo that you uploaded has been removed for violating
Facebook’s Terms of Use. Photos containing nudity, drug use,
or other obscene content are not allowed, nor are photos that
depict violence or that attack an individual or group.
Unfortunately, for technical reasons, we are unable to provide
further information about the removed photo.

In order to prevent this from happening in the future, please
refrain from posting photos of this kind and remove any that
still exist on the site. For more information on conduct
prohibited by Facebook, please read our Terms of Use, which
can be accessed by clicking on the “terms” link at the bottom of
any Facebook page.

Thanks for your understanding,

Avery

And my response:

Avery,

I read the terms in their entirety. My profile contained no nudity,
drug use, or other obscene content is not allowed, nor did it depict
violence or that attack an individual or group. It was deleted
anyway. How can I know whether or not my current profile is
acceptable if my old one didn’t violate the terms but was deleted
anyway?

Thanks in advance,
Chris

And theirs:

Hi Chris,

A Facebook administrator looks into each report thoroughly in
order to decide the appropriate course of action. If no violation
of our Terms of Use has occurred, then no warning will be sent.
If a violation has occurred, then a warning or more severe
actions are taken. Unfortunately, for technical and security
reasons, we are unable to provide details regarding the removed
content. We apologize for any inconvenience but we will not be
able to provide you any further information regarding the
removed photo. Please review our Terms of Use for further
information.

Thanks for your understanding,

Avery
Customer Support Representative

Okay, so there’s no way to know why I can’t use the image, but for whatever reason I can’t.

So, my Facebook profile now lacks an image, but I’m still getting warnings! At least it’s a new one this time:

Please Read This!
Warning! Your account could be disabled.

Your behavior indicates that you may be in violation of Facebook’s Terms of Use. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled. If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page here.

What the fuck, Facebook? What gives? What could I possibly be doing to violate your god forsaken terms?

Can anyone shed some light on this?

Ron Paul in Greenville, SC

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

I'm not much of a writer, but I feel an urge to mention what we did today.  Lauren and I attended the Ron Paul Rally in Greenville, SC today, and it was incredible!  We had so much fun.  I feel like I can't adequately describe Ron Paul's performance.  It's like he took the ideals of our Founding Fathers and those of the great Austrian economists, combined them, made them easy for everyone understand, and not only communicated them, but managed to transform a convention center full of people into a mob charged with passion for the message of Freedom.  Never in my lifetime have I seen a crowd cheer for sound money.  Dr. Paul criticized the US surrendering its sovereignty to UN, and they cheered.  He blasted the Iraq war, and they cheered. He blasted the drug war, and they cheered.  He blasted our foreign policy, and they cheered.  He called inflation theft, and they erupted in applause!  I never thought I would see the day when a presidential candidate would stand up for these principles, and I never, ever thought I would see the day when a politician like that had support like this.

The few pictures I took are on my flickr account.

On a side note, my parents drove down from Raleigh to meet us.  It was the first time they've met Lauren, and it went great.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have such wonderful people in my life.

Switching from b2evolution to WordPress

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

Like many others, I’ve decided to ditch b2evolution in favor of WordPress.  The biggest reasons were:

  1. b2evolution has almost no protection against spam.  They have this goofy little centralized blacklist that’s maintained by one person and never seems to be up to date.  I had over 4,000 spam comments that I had to painstakingly clean out last night.  It took me four hours and this isn’t the first time that’s happened.
  2. The development of b2evolution is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Now that the switch is over with, I’m extremely glad I made the switch.  Installing WordPress was the most painless PHP/MySQL install I’ve ever done with anything.  Ever.  The interface is clean and robust.  All of the feature you would expect it to have are included, and installing a plugin is as simple of copying a file or directory with an SFTP client.  Very cool.

For those who are considering taking the plunge, I’ll tell you now that WordPress won’t import b2evolution posts and comments without an additional script, but that’s not too hard to find, and I can make the script available upon request.

The only thing that still concerns me is my permlink URL.  My first problem is that I can’t get mod_rewrite to act correctly… I may be doing something wrong with .htaccess but I’ll have to mess with it more to see.  My second problem is that since my old blog is now offline (with this one in its place) I’m not entirely certain what format my old permlinks used to take.  I’ll get it worked out.  Anyway, I if you’re still using b2evolution, I suggest you switch.

Busy.

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005

Oh my god, I’ve never felt so busy in my entire life. Work has been keeping me incredibly busy, which is normal, but now I’m spending more and more time on other projects and I’m starting to see my personal life slip away from me. I just woke up after passing out from being awake for over 32 hours. I’ve lost my Friday night, and I’m going to have to leave tomorrow morning for Atlanta… I can’t wait for this to be over.

Meanwhile, I ordered my cell phone on August 22 and still haven’t receieved it. I really can’t stand the one I’m using.

I made her cry.

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

I made her cry. I felt horrible. She knows I hate to hear her cry. I didn’t know what else to do, though.

Today I stayed late at work and ended up blowing out an onboard IDE controller (an expensive mistake). This is after lying on my back for about an hour fucking with the internals of this one PC. I was so mad. I got a call on my cell phone, but ignored it since I thought it was probably Joseph calling about plans after work. When I listed to the message a few minutes later, I couldn’t help but smile. No matter how badly my day is going, I can’t help but smile when I hear Danielle’s voice.

We talked for a couple of hours, and after a while, it started happening. Ever since she told me she no longer has more-than-a-friend feelings for me, I’ve tried to suppress my feelings for her in hopes of salvaging the possibility of an excellent friendship. It’s worked for the most part, kind of. I mean, I’ve been able to do it thus far, but every now and then it starts to kill me that we’re not together. My mind becomes filled with what-ifs, and all of my weaknesses and inadequacies are mentally brought to my attention. I start to question myself, and then think less of myself for being me. Anyway, while it makes me smile to hear her voice, and while I’m sure she means well, I end up feeling sad and regretful about half of the times we talk.

So my options were either to continue to suffer or to say something. I chose the latter. I tried to explain that as much as I’ve tried to be just friends, and as much as I love hearing from her, I can’t help but have feelings for her and have feelings of regret when I think about us not being together.

She started asking if this meant we couldn’t talk anymore or if this meant she couldn’t come visit anymore and whether or not this meant we couldn’t vacation together, etc. And then she started crying. It really made me feel horrible. I didn’t mean that we should never speak to each other again. I just can’t continue to do this to myself every other week. I didn’t know what else to do.

Thursday, June 9th, 2005

Fuck! I can be so fucking irresponsible outside of work sometimes! How do I stay on top of things at work and then come home and let important things slide? wtf?

Why can’t cops in America be casually bribed? Why can’t I pay speeding tickets online and just forget about it? Why must the state care how many speeding tickets I get? It’s not like it’s hurting anyone… If the state has a problem with me exceeding the speed limit, they should just fine me accordingly and leave it alone. Fucking point system.

Life Update

Monday, May 30th, 2005

It’s been a month and a half now since I’ve updated my blog. There’s so much that’s been going on with me… I’ll see how short I can make this… At work, my old boss is gone and I’m in his place. They gave me a $12,000/yr raise, a new management title, and let me hire someone. I’m excited, but I’m still eager to get back to school at some point in the near future. My camera phone is working. I can finally resume documenting all the stupid stuff my friends and I do. Some new opportunities have presented themselves in Birmingham. A non-profit organization wishes to paint the city with WiFi (wireless internet) and wants a friend and I to make it happen. We’re still negotiating, but this could be cool, if it works out. Anyway, life is good and all is well

Finally a phone with a real camera!

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

I’ve been using the SonyEricsson T610 for over a year now, and I’ve loved it. However, the phone is truly lacking. If you’ve seen the images in my Flickr account, you know what I mean. On top of that, I think the screen is slowly degrading from being dropped too many times.

So anyway, Steven showed me his Sony Cyber-shot digital camera the other day at Ben’s house… That thing is great. It’s really small and it takes great pictures. It reminded me how much I miss having a nice digital camera. So I was on Sony’s website to check out the camera and something else got my attention the new Sony Ericsson S710a. I don’t even know where to begin listing the features. It’s exactly what I’ve been wanting: a high quality digital camera, an EDGE-equiped bluetooth cell phone that sync’s with Outlook and Evolution on Linux, and an MP3 player, all in one! The screen is very high resolution. The camera has all the features of Sony’s Cyber-shot series cameras. The phone is capable of playing both MP3s and MPEG4 videos, and even includes a memory card slot… Built in FM radio… I could go on forever.

So needless to say, I had to have it. T-Mobile’s phone selection has gone down hill. Cingular is the only US provider that offers this phone. So, I found a locked phone on eBay for a little less than Cingular charges when you buy it from them with a contract. I also bought a service cable so I could unlock it to work with T-Mobile, since I’m too impatient to wait for my contact to run out later this month. I don’t really feel like giving up my GPRS service… I love being able to whip out my laptop anywhere in the US and instantly connecting to the Internet, and Cingular charges absurd prices for their GPRS.

So yeah… you have to check out the pictures in these reviews:

Hopefully I’ll have this unlocked in time for jello wrestling at our party this weekend. =]

A Brief Update and other random ramblings…

Monday, March 21st, 2005

I realized today that I hardly ever post to my blog anymore… I’ve just gotten out of the habit. Oh well.

This last week has been great. Work is going well. Things are winding down since I’m going to be heading back to school before long. Danielle dropped by for a visit the day before St. Patty’s Day. She, Joseph, Donald and I went to the Ale House and had a blast.

The Ale House has become my favorite drinking spot in Auburn. The atmosphere is casual and laid back, and the people who work there are pretty cool. The food is awesome. Oh, and they’re one of two micro-breweries in the state. Their Stout is probably the best beer I’ve ever tasted. Make sure you check this place out the next time you’re in Auburn.

On a completely unrelated note, last night was crazy… not like party crazy. Hopefully I’ll find the time to blog about it before I forget…