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Last Visit 2011-01-17 23:04:23 |Start Date 2004-11-03 18:51:40 |Comments 1,935 |Entries 529 |Images 250 |Videos 22 |

07/30/09 11:07 - 70ºF - ID#49414

Outlet (not a place where you shop)

I've got nobody I can really talk to about the stress in my life. My father lost his job and is preoccupied in a cloud, my grandmother is 80 and I can't lay my worries at her feet, and my brother has his own problems. My grandpa is gone and for those of you who didn't know, we were raised by our father and grandparents after our mother gave up custody when we were 9 months old. In other words, I can't draw on my mom for advice either.

I'm trying to figure out how to cope with this - I'm usually the listener, the source of optimism and enthusiasm for the people around me. What happens if I don't have it in me anymore? Lately I've been feeling a little worn down and I've been at a loss... I've been begging God to provide me with some clarity and to remove this spectre over me.


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07/21/09 11:01 - 69ºF - ID#49344

40th Anniversary of Apollo 11

Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. American patriots and heroes to generations of dreamers around the world.

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Last night the BBC replayed the audio from the famous event in "real" time, as if it were occurring live. It. Was. Awesome. If you read my previous entry regarding my dreams then you know I can have a wild imagination; I enjoyed it last night.

Did you know that the average age of the engineers working on the Apollo program was 26 years of age? I heard that on NPR, for what it's worth. Not to wax too rhetorically, but I think it's fair to say that the moon landing cemented our nation's greatness for all time in human history; it was an accomplishment that people will be reading about and discussing 2,000 years from now. The 21st Century was very consequential in human history and our nation was at the center of it all.

This was done at a time where really we had the absolute bare minimum technical expertise to achieve the goal. It was more a matter of will and national pride than anything else, but the national investment in the Apollo program has an amazing legacy - decades of technological innovations that have advanced our nation, if not the world.

This was done during a turbulent time in our history - within 10 years we saw two Kennedy brothers and Dr. King get assassinated, the Vietnam War was in full swing, etc. The moon landing reminded us of what we're made of - we got to see the very personification of it on TV, watching three men in white spacesuits look back at us from another heavenly body. We needed heroes and Apollo delivered.

Some of the most fascinating conversation I've ever heard was listening to the Apollo astronauts talk about their feelings and what went through their minds during the mission, in particular how they felt looking back at the earth from afar.

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Apollo 11 Wiki -
10 Reasons Why The Apollo 11 Moon Landing Was Awesome -
NASA Apollo 11 Image Gallery -
SFGate Blog - Alan Black - The First Laugh on the Moon -

What is breaking my heart, though, is that these men feel NASA is currently a shambles. Read here -
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07/16/09 12:24 - 75ºF - ID#49306

Dreams, Cont.

(e:lilho) made me realize that my situation is the exact opposite; that for the longest time I had vivid dreams that I could remember precise details about. God, I miss it badly. I haven't had a vivid dream in a long time. I have a couple of theories; one involving the serious about of anxiety that I suppress on a regular basis, and the other being the at times abusive way I treat my body.

Dream No. 1

One dream I had involved me hanging out at an ex-girlfriend's family home. (This is a girl I had a recurring nightmare about for many years - she hurt me badly, I suppose, if I had constant dreams about her abandoning me. Different situations, same result - no matter what, at the end of the dream I lost and couldn't find her). This dream was a little different - she wasn't actually in the dream although I was in her parent's house. I was in her room when I hear the doorbell ring downstairs; I run down the stairs and all that is there is a receipt for flowers, next to the goldfish. The receipt lists the type of flower, I pick it up, then I wake. The first thing I did was scribble down the name of the flower - I did a Google search and it was non-existent.

Dream No. 2

Another dream I had involved tooling around what was in my mind somewhere in lower Manhattan, although in reality it could have been anywhere. I was with an anonymous group of friends, tooling around bars, checking out dingy record stores, taking a walking tour of a new urban landscape. I remember the traffic, the smell of the hot street, the people, the dangerous crosswalks, the skyscrapers, the weather (early afternoon gray skies, followed by bright sunshine), walking the sidewalks and taking in the environment. It was a truly beautiful day. I recall not the rush, but the flood of excitement and newness I felt during my dream - I wish with all my heart that I could repeat it and feel it again. It was like somebody poured an ice-cold pitcher of water over my restless soul, allowing me to take in a fire hose of zest for life, full bore, all while admiring the grandness, chaos, sadness and magic of a new city with good friends.

Dream No. 3

I'm with my brother and my dad in a strange city - it could have been a weird mix of Pittburgh and parts of New York. We're there on vacation, just to check things out and see a baseball game. We park our car in a downtown garage, which is attached to an absolutely enormous office building, complete with several walkways suspended over different parts of the building. I learn that I must work here - I have access to the building. Our car is stolen, which triggers me to run upstairs. It's late afternoon at this point, about dinnertime. I'm talking with police on the phone, who are downstairs speeding in their cars through several levels looking for the thieves. The office walls are mostly glass; I gaze outside the windows to try to relax, and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the strange aesthetic beauty of the modern downtown, the traffic, the people, the sun gradually retreating, office lights flickering on from across the street, all in combination. Then, I wake.

Dream No. 4


I'm with my ex-girlfirend I've mentioned earlier, although in the dream we're still together (sorry for the spoiler earlier, you already know how this ends). We're upstairs at a party - it's evening and we're in a somewhat old apartment building, with a huge entertainment area. The party is great, a real laid back and enjoyable atmosphere. Outside of the windows you see equally tall buildings that look like they were built during the Great Depression - evidently I'm in New York and in my head the party is set in a building somewhere in lower Manhattan. While the party is going on, criminals burst through the doors and begin shooting people. I rush over and proceed to put my fist through a guy's face, incapacitating him and injuring him severely. This evidently spooks the criminals, and they retreat. Not having any of this bull, I proceed to jump out of the window and fly about 20 storeys to the ground level to apprehend them. I shoot sparks out of the tips of my fingers, stunning them and allowing for the police to easily haul them in. In a flash I'm back upstairs and the mess has been cleaned up. I can't find my girlfriend, who seemed to be oddly missing during a lot of the party. Evidently, I was a guy with super powers who lost his girl during the evening.
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07/15/09 09:33 - 75ºF - ID#49300

Michael "Mickey" Kearns

Vote for Mickey Kearns in the Democratic primary. I can't believe I saw three "Brown for Mayor" signs already posted up in people's lawns on a short drive from Hertel to home. We've got a guy with a Federal case staring down his office - a real case, not some trumped up bullshit allegation with no legal merit - and it's business as usual in Buffalo? The Feds don't get involved unless they know something. Brian Higgins is Brown's political ally. I'm sick of this crap - dump Byron Brown and vote for Kearns if you love your city.
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07/15/09 01:24 - 63ºF - ID#49294

Surtax on the Rich

5.4% surtax for those earning $1m or above, ostensibly to help pay for Obamacare.

I support taxing Hollywood limo libs to the absolute hilt, baby, starting with Al Gore and Sean Penn and moving down the line. I can't figure out how CA hasn't managed a wealthy surtax yet - how did CA beat the Feds to the punch again?

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," indeed. At least the Soviet Union managed to dial it back and adhered to the following - "From each according to his ability, to each according to his work."




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07/14/09 01:40 - ID#49290

Socioeconomic/Political Potpourri

Sotomayor

I've heard people suggest to me (both personally and via the internet) that Sotomayor is a mainstream judge. Look, anybody that has been overturned 60% of the time by the Supreme Court isn't mainstream. You'll only likely see a higher overturn rate out of the infamous wack job 9th Circuit in San Francisco. She shouldn't be sitting on a court that has overturned her decisions more than half the time, or even 25% of the time. The rest of the discussion is bullshit.

Her humble background doesn't qualify her to be a judge any more than any other American that has managed to crawl from the gutter all the way to the top of the legal profession. Honestly, it's superfluous and not germane to the argument of whether or not she should be on the Supreme Court. She seems to be an exceptional lady but as far as I'm concerned her ghastly reversal rate should disqualify her from sitting on the court; she shouldn't be sitting on the very judicial body that has reversed 60% of her rulings, and that is that - end of story.

Want To Pay Your Neighbor's Mortgage?

The Obama Administration is considering using tax dollars to pay distressed mortgages. I can't imagine this idea will get off the ground. What happens when people on the brink just flat out say, "fuck it - the guy next door is getting his mortgage paid and I'm busting my ass to stay afloat, and for what? Screw this, I'm defaulting." This is the "perverse incentive" the article is referring to. (Good luck creating a framework for this - I can't imagine the 95% of homeowners who are not delinquent, not to mention renters, will enjoy being fiscal prisoners of the 5% delinquent).

I think the far more interesting question to consider is what would happen if this were enacted, as compared to doing nothing. Would the delinquency rate shrink or increase more dramatically with or without mortgage aid? I know where I'd put my money.

Raises for Top NYS Senate Staffers

Holy #*@#. This one makes my blood boil. Rant time. Honestly I can't even believe this - during the past month 11 NYS Senate staffers have been given raises ranging from $10,000 to $32,000 - Not bad work if you can get it, particularly in a state that is absolutely broke. I don't care about the reasons why - this shouldn't have happened.

NYS and its officials are ignorant fools and a laughing stock. Sen. Malcolm Smith claims that these raises were authorized before the power struggle and budget impasse. WHO CARES? They never should have been authorized, particularly when our elected officials have eliminated numerous programs due to dire financial need (and horrifying budgeting for a very long time, but that is another story). These are the very same politicians who have been busy coming up with every single new surcharge and tax they can find to close a budget gap, then they'll turn around and hand a lackey a big, fat $10,000 - $32,000 raise.

ANTOINE THOMPSON AND WILLIAM STACHOWSKI, HEAR ME - I've had it. I suspect after hearing things like this that you've utterly abdicated your responsibility to the taxpayers of your region. You voted for a state budget that you told us was slashed, which is a half-truth - you cut future spending but the budget still increased 9%, which you partially funded with $3.6B in Obama's "stimulus" money meant for economic projects. Yes, that's right - NYS is one of many states that have utterly misappropriated stimulus funds. Your rubber stamp allowed three men in a room to ONCE AGAIN screw taxpayers on both the state and federal level - you merely took the $3.6B and filled the budget gap. No need for hard choices when Uncle Sam can come in and allow you to make the hard choices down the road, right? So, "Senators," what exactly do you do on a daily basis besides think of different ways to screw your constituents and pray daily for a time where they have the means to leave the state?

Antoine Thompson, you are my elected official and what I've heard disgusts me. These activities in the Senate are making me long to live in someone else's district, or even someone else's state. You are, and theoretically will be, a lifetime member of the class that sucks the public teat dry. Only in YOUR universe can people get $10,000 - $32,000 raises, paid for by taxpayers who are losing their jobs ostensibly because people don't want to do business in NYS anymore, due to a punitive and hostile business environment.

Do you laugh at us when you come home to your district? I hope that you didn't forget that you come from one of the poorest places in America. People here are far more horrified with excesses like this, as opposed to your colleagues in the wood-paneled rooms in Albany. Please, for the love of God, justify your elevation to State Senator and actually do something about these problems. Don't go along to get along, like Brian Higgins - I know you're eyeing Louise Slaughter's seat and if you carry this to the federal level our city will further deserve the politicians they elect.
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07/09/09 10:47 - 69ºF - ID#49241

Letter from Brian Higgins

I wrote a letter to Brian Higgins recently, blasting him for voting for the cap and trade legislation. (Ok, I wrote him literally after the vote took place). I basically mocked him - I asked him what he'd do when energy prices rise 90%. I asked him if I could come down and collect a check from his office to offset the price of the energy and his vote. I even suggested he could craft legislation and call it an "energy cost payment differential" - something wonky he'd love - and that he could put his name on the bill and make himself famous.

I wasn't really considering that he'd write me back, but interestingly enough he did. I got a form letter on congressional letterhead thanking me for communicating to him; I would bet that 80% of the letter was written by someone within their caucus, or maybe the Administration, to distribute to congressmen who hear from people who object to the bill. I'm going to test this theory by writing to other NY congressmen to see what I receive.

I'm glad that my congressman actually responded to me - although he's dead wrong and I've got a post brewing that will eviscerate the letter, line by line. I wonder to what degree he's willing to be a rubber stamp - he must covet that seat on the Ways and Means Committee. (This is the committee that is writing legislation as we speak to "surtax" individuals and couples to pay for health care, on top of the expiration of Bush's tax cuts). Read here -

FOR THE RECORD: I wrote to Sen. Boxer of California, Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand, and Congressman Brian Higgins recently. Sen. Boxer responded to me first and I'm not even a constituent. Higgins responded to me much later, and I haven't heard from my own senators at all. I can't wait for the Taste of Buffalo - Sen. Schumer is always there. I'm going to introduce myself and ask him why I haven't heard from him yet (I wrote him after I found out that he was among the porkiest of the pigs w/respect to taxpayer funded travel). Read about that here -
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07/08/09 02:16 - ID#49232

Admission - A Dream Of Mine

This is a topic I could write a novel about despite the fact that I hardly talk about it... it's personal and something that I keep in the recesses of my mind, only to pull out on days where I feel like I need a little lift. Needless to say, no matter how long this journal entry will be it will end up being incomplete.

I look at work as a series of things you have to go through and put up with in order to realize an end goal 30 years down the road. After working your whole life, accumulating, saving, collaborating with all ranges of people, where do you want to end up? This is a question I've asked myself over and over. I took the places I've been and focused on my favorite, then focused even deeper on the places within my favorite that I felt were the most interesting to me.

I'm going to share with you guys my happy place. When I'm done I want to live in a place where I'm at peace and feel inspiration on a daily basis. (A sad admission within an admission - with the life I lead I find myself rarely at peace, so this is really important to me). I need to be around nature - I need the crashing water with mountains rising from endless blue ocean, wildflowers, cypresses, huge and ancient trees, birds.

I love the convenience of urban life but to be honest I mostly feel unhappy and disconnected. I don't want to be around just any old nature; I need something spectacular, something that when you see it for the first time it takes your breath away.

This is the place where I'd pack my bags tomorrow and leave for if I could - Big Sur, in the heart of the central coast of California. This place brings out the melodrama in me. This place is so important to me that when it's on my mind I talk about God, about absolute childlike wonderment with the world and all within it, about how life can be a natural high and a miracle, about the fact that life is both ecstasy and exile at the same time. Here is where I want to sit on a stone slab and grow old with somebody.

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Here's an example of a place I'd never leave. I swear I could live here forever and be at peace.

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See? My stone slab.

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You can read more about my happy place at the wiki page, which yielded an interesting fact - - this place is so untouched that when my grandmother was born in 1928 there were only two homes in the entire region that had electricity, which was locally generated. The fabled Highway 1 was only completed in 1937; prior to that, Big Sur was virtually inaccessible.
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07/07/09 12:27 - 65ºF - ID#49215

A Story Close to Buffalo's Heart

Today I was reading an article discussing an Eminem video and I have to give him credit - he did his city proud. In one of his latest videos he used a handful of decrepit buildings of historical significance to the city as a backdrop, which I thought was a truly beautiful concept. You can read the article and see the video here -

The jewel, of course, is the Michigan Central Station, which is a building that must have been jaw-droppingly beautiful in its day.

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This terminal was designed by the same firm that designed Grand Central Station. Looking at this picture reminds me our own park system and how we left a work of art designed by Central Park's own, Fredrick Law Olmstead, to rot and be severed by a highway. They are using BHO's federal "stimulus" money to tear this building down. It made me think about how torn I am regarding these issues, and of course what fate may await our own Central Terminal. I'm not for preservation for its own sake; there has to be a purpose and a predictable stream of income to make these projects viable in the modern age. They have a point when they say that the cost to tear it down is minuscule in comparison to the costs of renovation. In a city with a several hundred million dollar shortfall for funding things like schools, firefighters and police, I'm sorry to say that renovating properties with no future use or those that are prohibitively expensive to renovate will be relegated to our history.

In other words, we're watching these buildings die a slow, irreversible death. We're watching irreplaceable aspects of our history slip through our fingers! I'd love to see a visionary repurpose buildings like this, but the pragmatist in me knows that there is no chance without a sustainable plan and a ton of cash behind it.

So, kudos to Marshall Mathers for having the desire to preserve these buildings, if not materially. Every time I pass by the expansion on the Canisius High School campus it strikes me how in 100 years time our heirs will scold us for watching these monuments erode and leave nothing for them to admire. I'm sure you've heard the phrase "if walls could talk" - the non-pragmatist, batty dreamer in me thinks that these buildings have a soul, and the buildings we're leaving behind lack EVERYTHING that these older buildings simply ooze. If we're going to watch this happen, we should at least do our heirs a favor when we replace these forgotten buildings and build things worthy of admiration in their own right.
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07/02/09 12:46 - 65ºF - ID#49158

FREE LUKA

Carry on. (Great tune by CSN, by the way).

In my last entry (e:carey) mentioned the thought about not realizing or understanding those things that might make someone feel like the lil' ol' hypothetical me is hard to approach. I can't get my head around that, I've never really considered these things before. I'm painfully shy with ladies and I'm usually prone to scurrying off.

OH SHIT. Sly & Family Stone - Thank You just came on Sirius - fuck my blog. Nite guys!




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