Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gyros, Hiros, Heroes

Hello peeps. It's Sunday and I'm-a-blogging my brain and I think you'll like this one...
The topic is hidden in the title, "heroes". I'm talking about all things in the genre; Superfriends-in-tights, personal heroes in your life, tasty Greek sandwiches.

Much more to the point, after watching the DVD TV series "Heroes" while taking care of my brand new Piper Grace Campbell, I realized something. There's a character, Nathan Petrelli, that is labelled by another character Hiro Nakamura as a "villain". That got me thinking. Okay, I was already in the throes of thinking, but it got me thinking about one idea in particular: we should get rid of our villains and become our own heroes.

You already know that I'm no fan of our current president (or his father) George Bush. I think he might not be evil per se, but he seems to be acting in many intentionally and unintentionally "bad" ways. Bad meaning greedy, bad meaning ignorant, bad meaning hypocritical, bad meaning harmful. Again, could be that he's a "good person inside", but he's acting like a bad one. A villain. While watching Nathan-Hiro interaction on "Heroes" I discovered a huge problem with TV/DVD/Movies:

The stuff we see in movies and on TV is almost immediately dismissed as fantastical. The ideas generated are way too kooky to be possible in the "real world". Reality TV aside, the great ideas that the "Heroes" series comes up with are bittersweet to me. Sure, people are not going to be injecting themselves with serums in order to fly or read minds (at the moment...), but they certainly can do HUGE things with their current real-world gifts in their own lifetimes.

When we see characters like Hiro reciting the code of the Bushido, we are excited, but in the end we are often stopped from the very act of actually discovering what the Bushido code might mean if we applied it to our real lives. We often see things on the screens we watch and immediately tag it, bag it and forget it as "unreal". Even things we know damn well to be real.

People really do amazing, nay, heroic, things all the time. We are currently splitting atoms down to their basic components, looking deep into the history of the Universe, building medical nanorobots that get their power from the pressure of the flow of blood in our veins, jumping off mountains and floating gently to the ground. Sure, they do some of these things with the aid of technology, but so did a great number of SuperHeroes. That's the lesson of comic books: that in reality you can actually do many awesome feats all by yourself (or with some help) if you'd just believe in your abilities. Even better, once your find and believe in your abilities, you practice them day and night and apply them to your life and the lives of others.

Specifically regarding present-day events, the "villain" in the show was the President, and he's been sub-ethical in most of his dealings. The crew in Heroes might or might not be plotting to depose the fellow (only on the first season right now), but it's clear that the planet in the show would be better of with a different POTUS. Who's going to save the planet from this bad president? It's up to the Heroes, not the general population, not the voters (they've been disenfranchised by a villain's plot), not an activist or dedicated citizen.

This is my point: it's essential that we watchers of stuff on screens realize that we can do astonishing things if we have faith in ourselves. No joke. We've got huge untapped skills and networks and power that we don't use yet. We've all got it, and we rarely tap it. It's not just a metaphor to read about in comic books and watch as fantasy films. Obviously, we don't have real dragons around to slay, but we do have a Vice President who's a real life villain and we should impeach him as well as the President. We should get together and reduce our global environmental footprint far beyond (currently unsigned by the USA) the Kyoto Protocol.

I challenge anyone who reads this to think about the fantastical superheroes in their lives, and to put together a plan to do some of your own heroics. Do it! Seriously, DO IT NOW.

Now playing: Chris Whitley - Big Sky Country
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Piper Grace Campbell, Plush Pippen

I got the call while on my Junto retreat...

Elise had some kind of fluid leaking early in the morning, and was feeling a bit woozy. I was immediately sure we were having a baby, so I installed the baby seat (!), packed my bag (repacked...) and we drove off at 1:30.

We went to Group Health on Cap Hill, and they told us it was a false alarm. (??) they didn't think it was amniotic fluid, and sent us home with a "see you in a couple weeks!".

We drove back North and decided we'd catch a matinee of Darjeeling Express. Great Movie, very touching and funny and very Wes Anderson. Outside Metro Theatre, E mentioned that she was feeling MUCH more damp.... We went back home and called the doula and our midwife.

We dashed back to GHC and sorta checked in (it turned out we didn't really check in at all, the nurse had to take E's temp just before we left 3 days later to officially check us in!). In the triage room, cell phones were going off (contrary to policy!) and there were way too many people. En route to GHC the second time, E had 4 contractions, so we were already progressing by the time we left triage.

We haggled for a room of our own and succeeded in wrangling a spare post-partum room. For an hour, we had increasingly painful and closer together contractions, pretty convinced now that we're having a real baby, real soon. She labored mostly while sitting down on the bed, with me standing between her legs. She hugged me hard while contractions occurred, snuggling against my trunk.

We tried a few different labor methods, but we both liked the sitting/standing thing we discovered (having missed our birthing classes as E was on bed rest). It turned out that nearly all our natural instincts on birth were spot on. Alissa the doula showed up after an hour and was very helpful and gentle as contractions got, um, contractier. She would touch E's back and gently speak little ideas to help E like "melt around the baby", "make your body soft", "take a deep breath and really take a break between contractions".

Alissa was pretty sure things were moving along, so we decided to make a run for the official birthing room. E was contracting every 3 minutes, so we had a few contractions in the hallway. Very weird. People in the hallway could see us laboring, kinda odd for all. As an aside, clearly people who are pregnant look kind of "sick", but not in an illness way. It's like passing a kidney stone, it's a condition rather than an illness, but it comes with a lot of the illness trappings like hospitals and sympathy...That's how it felt for me, at least.

Once in the birthing room (super plush, with a soaking tub, TV/DVD/CD, dim lights, hardwood floors, sleeping chair for me, rocking chair, our own bathroom), we were on our inevitable path to parenthood. Contractions getting closer together and stronger. We noticed only after the birth that the classic "dilation of 7 centimeters!" chatter that you hear in movies was totally missing. That's because in 5 hours we'd be giving birth.

She pushed on all fours and finally squatting while holding a bar after the transition between contraction and labor pushing began. The transition was in the tub, and was the only time during all of her pregnancy when she really felt like throwing up. The nurses were all nodding knowingly to each other and saying "it's glove time!" to each other on speakerphone.

All through the birth, E had come up with various noises and chantings to get through each contraction, which totally made me and the doula laugh out loud. It was a combination of tribal African chants, Tuvan throat singing, and "Mom mom mom mom". Super funny, you had to be there. Literally.

Piper was really easy in coming, 7 real pushes and she was out. No drugs, no needles, no birthing balls, no relatives. Very calm and loving process. GHC was totally incredible, the parade of knowledgeable midwives and nurses was a godsend. I watched and participated in everything, touching Piper's head as E rocked/pushed her out. E was an absolute Amazon woman in there. Strong like bull. Piper came out textbook-style, I caught her and placed her on E's chest, sobbing. (Me, I was sobbing) A minute later I was cutting the cord (like a pearlescent old school spiral phone cord).

That night as we recovered (E had some stitches required, freaking ouchy! as bad as the birth pain itself!) That night I had a dream that Piper got up out of the basinette and walked across the room. It felt so real I started awake and had to pinch myself. For the next two days we'd be crying and sleeping and learning and eating. Piper was born with a FULL head of hair, and a full set of lungs to go along with it. Man, where'd she learn to chatter and yell so much? So precious, though. For real, it's just like they say about newborns. They are all banana monsters and plush pippens. At least Piper is.

At the moment, she's pretty small and needs some non-germ-time while she grows stronger. We'll set up some viewings in the near future... She's very much a monkey baby, and I am the happiest monkey dad on the monkey planet.

--Aaron the Father of Piper

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fatherhood #4

How on Earth can single moms do it??? I work an average of 65 hrs a week, come home pretty well spent, and praise the heavens that I am married, housed and employed. With my wife on bed-rest for the last 2 weeks or so, it's come to my attention that people who take care of children single-handedly are superhuman at the least.

The work that my wife does is absolutely invaluable. This is, of course, BEFORE the baby arrives. Imagine the work when the baby is here! I can barely imagine doing what I do with a healthy, intelligent, hard-working partner to help me survive. Doing a super-full-time job AND raising a kid AND taking care of a home???? How do they do it? Seriously. Superhuman.

With her on bed=rest, I'm doing a fair amount of work after work, but I can certainly manage it at the moment. But what happens if my wife gets sick? I'd have to work, work, care-take, and care-take. That's insane. I guess I'm just realizing what millions of people have to do every day, with much less support than I have.

It's a barrage of blessings I am contending with, and I appreciate every single moment I have here on earth. I'm not even close to being done, that's the weird thing. More challenges, more blessings, more puzzles, more solutions on their way.

My suspicion is that I'm just scratching the surface of revelations en route in terms of fatherhood, so I fully expect to add more to the Fatherhood Series on my blog. If I slack, rest assured it's because I haven't checked my mail, returned my messages or had a moment to think... kick ass.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Progressives: Wake up and Lead!

This one's aimed squarely in the mirror...

I gotta vent a bit for the sake of the world and one group of people who can play a large part in world-changing.

Progressives: Get your house in order. I used to think it was just the "Democrats", and then just the "liberals" who needed a kick in the ass, but now it's my own tribe of progressives that need a wake-up call.

In fact, I might as well lump us all into the same group for this exercise, because it seems a great many of us think we've got it all together when clearly we don't. Yes, it's a generalization, and sure there are people who are truly progressive without flaw, but most of us have a long way to go.

So, here's what we have GOT to do if we're going to lead:

1. Stop dissing religious people out of hand. Stop saying that all Christians are one thing or another. Stop saying that all religions are inherently violent. Stop saying that all religious men are misogynist. You may certainly condemn misogyny and bigotry, but you gotta quit with the broad over generalization crap.

2. Start spending more money on helping the planet rather than on telling other people to help the planet. I know we all want to get the word out, but the best way to do that is to simply do the things we think need to be done. Less bumper stickers, more scholarships. Less latex GWB masks, more solar panels. Just get back to work.

3. Stop contradicting yourself regarding violence. If you think you are a progressive, then you simply cannot condone violence. You must resist it in all its forms and quit trying to placate people who think otherwise. Capital Punishment in all cases is verboten. The answer to "what if you could kill one person to save the whole of humanity?" is not to kill that person because the question is ridiculous. We can solve these problems we face without violence. In fact, we cannot solve violence with violence, ever. I mean, duh!

4. Walk your environmental talk. This is essential. It must be done within reason, and you are not required to be perfect all the time, but you must give it your best effort all the time. Drive the greenest car you can afford, insulate your house before you resubscribe to cable. Recycle at work and start a recycling program (and keep it honest) if you don't already have one. Don't shy away from looking like an obsessive compulsive in this regard. It's shameful how many hip coffee houses don't recycle everything and compost what all they can.

5. Stop watching so much TV. You know who you are. I'm not saying you can't look at any screen ever again, but you don't have to watch 3 hours every night. My wife and I watch movies every so often, and sometimes an HBO series on DVD, but we try to keep it sane. It's not a crime to watch 24, but it shouldn't be watched 24/7, you know?

6. Be more responsible with your money. It's an overarching line item here. Spend your money more wisely. If that means drinking one less beer at dinner, so be it. If that means not buying a new iPod, fine. If you must buy a new iPod, find a way to balance that consumption back out... Whether the balancing includes carbon offsets or avoiding buying entire albums when only one song is cool, okay. Just realize that your money is a great tool in the fight for world peace and saving the planet. When you waste it on escapism with a pound of pot instead of an ounce, you do your tribe and the planet a disservice. I'm not kidding about the pot. Having wasted a lot of time wasting, I can tell you that I wish I had spent a bit more money on art supplies or trips to the countryside.

7. Care about children, and all the children in your life. It's really your only responsibility. All these other line items are really about showing future (and current) generations what to do if you want to be a loving and productive citizen. You are modeling progressive behavior to the kids that are watching you. Especially, your own children and the children in your immediate community/family. Show them love, give them tools to navigate in this wacky world. Our culture must shift this way or perish.

8. Get your mental health straight. If you've got a mental health issue or a deep relationship problem, take care of that right freakin now. I have met a lot of true progressives that frankly give us all a bad name when they lose their shit. Obviously, there are medical issues that need to be accounted for, but please, if you can, get your mind together before you show up at the next rally. Shouting "Governor Gregoire is a fascist!" while she's trying to get the biofuels bill pushed through Congress is totally counter-productive. I was at a forum discussing the Downing Street Memo where some guy in the 4th row stood up and yelled at Jay Inslee (a real progressive) to prosecute Maria Cantwell as a war criminal. Stay on topic, progressives! Seriously, I know we all mean well, but the message is being muddied.

There are clearly more line items to add to this list. Please add your own in a comment, I know you've got something to add here....

Science AND Religion 2

I think it's ridiculous to think that one group of people are inherently not as worthy as another. With all the bickering and name calling, we're not going to work our stuff out. Seriously. If you believe that Jesus is Love, that's cool. If you believe that Far Side comics are the new Bible, that's cool. Just leave each other alone, and quit spending so much money, time, effort and carbon to prove your points to me.

There's no "side" to take in this fake argument of Science vs Religion...but there's certainly a third way here. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is still a pretty good idea. Certainly not the only one, but it's a good basic concept no matter whose sacred text is comes from. Treat everyone with as much respect as you possibly can. At our cores, we're all worthy of love. I don't care who you are, you are worthy of love.

That last line can really piss people off, so I encourage comments on it. I know a lot of cynical contrarian types who hear that "worthy of love" stuff and immediately bring up Pol Pot or Hitler or whoever they think is clearly unworthy of any kind of love due to their murderous behavior. Those people are themselves worthy of love, and a heap of understanding... Which brings me again to George Bush...

My fellow progressives will someday recognize the creeping violence in their discussion of what they would like to do if they could have a moment alone with George Bush or Dick Cheney. It churns my stomach to say so, but I have myself had those same dark thoughts. "Think of how many lives would be saved!", the same arguments used in the silly hypothetical "what if you saw Hitler on the streets of Seattle, unarmed?" I have thought those violent thoughts and I have also double-checked them with what I would *actually* do in that situation.

I would not kill anyone. I wouldn't have killed Hitler. I would not punch Bush or Cheney in the nose. I would swell up with anger, certainly, but I would not act that anger out violently. It sounds weird to have to blog this confessional mixed in with my peace-and-love-for-all rhetoric, but it's just what's going on in my head.

I do truly think that we'd be better off without this current administration, but there's no way that violence against them will come to anything good or true in the end. I wish I didn't have to even write this stuff, but I hear that kind of thing all the time from my supposed progressive/liberal/democrat pals. This is why I feel like an outsider even in my own world... it sickens me, frankly. I sickened me when I did it, and it feels the same again when others do it.

Tragically, their (my) arguments about Science and Religion usually come up around that same time. The same people who espouse peace and love can be the same people who say they would like to ship off all the NeoConservatives to an island without food. It's not funny anymore, I think that's what I'm trying to say. It's tragic and fruitless.

Science AND Religion

Greetings Citizens,
I've just been reading (gasp!) a book called "Ishmael", and although I think it's a bit hard to get into the rhetorical style, it's triggered some thoughts I'll share witchoo.

Okay, it's pretty much just one thought. For us humans to work our stuff out, we've got to quit the false premise of Science vs Religion. In particular, they are so different in terms of what each is at their cores that it creates this crazy non-existant dichotomy.

More specific still, I think the Science-Only folks have got to spend more energy working their own stuff out. There's a new resurgence of atheism, but it has to be tempered with sensitivity and wisdom.

By way of analogy, I have a co-worker that is a hard worker, but he spends all kinds of time and energy telling me how this other co-worker or that administrator sucks. It sours me against him, sours the co-workers against him, and makes no lick of difference in his quality of work life.

Science people might very well have a few things worked out about humanity and its need to get right with the laws of nature, but they have got to quit the petty bickering. All the damn bumper stickers! The $2.50 (each) spent on sticky vinyl advertisements for their pet witty put-downs would be better spent on a fund to add more science to school curriculum in their local elementary, no?

More specifically still, whose hearts and minds will you be winning with a bumper sticker saying "come the rapture, can I have your car?" ? Very few, methinks. It's witty, but it only serves to make fun of the very people who you'd like to convince that living for today here on earth is a good idea. What it really does is say to rapture-believers is that you think you're better than they are.

We've just got to get together and work this all out. We have to see each other as humans on a fragile planet full of other animals that need our help to survive. Science people (for lack of a better term) are complex, just like Religious people. We've all got our shit to work out, and it's going to take all hands on deck.

Science people: I implore you, be nicer and focus on making the world a better place rather than telling people to beware of Jesus and his followers.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

An actual Plan for World Peace

It starts with a challenge, and then the recipe for overcoming and incorporating it.

The Challenge:

Retrieve your freedom! I never thought I’d have to write that. As an American citizen, I have never feared for my freedoms this much. I thought we had written them down, that we had agreed upon them. We wrote a Constitution, what we want to be and how we want to govern ourselves. I never thought I’d have to write about being afraid of my government. And they seem not to be doing enough about Peace. I am here to offer my services if needed.

I never thought I would have to rouse souls, rarely thinking what I thought mattered in a global sense. That’s the tragedy of this system, this machine that ignores the weirdos, the brainiacs, the geeks and nerds (inside and outside). There’s hope, and I have enough to share.

I never thought I would be talking to you today, that I would need to ask for collaboration on a global scale. I need your help with something important.

I said peace; it’s the only thing. That’s all I’ve ever said. All led up to that, and it’s been a rough road explaining this to others and myself.

How do I explain this dream I have to people?

How do I tell people what’s inside my heart without making it trite or boring? Especially when what I have to say is so so so simple: Let’s do this World Peace Project, right now.

That’s what I’ve been wondering, are we ready to literally make Peace happen? I know we are.

To that end, I have a plan (and I’d love to hear yours).

We’re getting together. Can you see that? We are right now, you and I, getting together. You are reading this, you are thinking some of my thoughts! We’re connecting, we’re already connected.

Why am I so optimistic? Because you can do it. If you can do this, for even a moment, a minute, then we can all do this.

If you thought only one of my thoughts, if I had one thing to share it would be that we can do this. We can make peace ourselves. I am optimistic about it, and it freaking matters. I know you can all join me here in utopia, the land of “it’s all actually going to be okay”. It’s right around the corner… Ready?

The Recipe:

Reach inside right now for one quiet, solid, intentional minute. Close your eyes for one minute. That’s it. Inside that one minute, anything could have (and still could) happen. What actually happened in that minute is Peace filled it up. You found a minute (or a moment) to yourself. That’s called perspective. That moment is all you need to build peace upon.

I offer only the one thought of peace. That’s all that was offered me. Peace is the Kingdom. Whatever you think that Kingdom is, Peace is what comprises its walls. The LEGOs of that World Peace are built single person by single person, connecting. That’s all we have to do.

That’s all we have to do, connect. Your only job is connecting. You can do this by giving birth, by making friends, by marrying, by marrying again, by calling your mother, son, daughter, sister, brother. You can do this by writing an email, a letter, leaving a voicemail, text messaging, smoke-signaling. You can Join Me, you can go bowling, you can play soccer in the dirt, you can eat a meal with a stranger.

You can do this in the next 30 seconds, maybe even right after giving yourself that moment or minute of peace to yourself. Take your moment, then pass that moment on to the next person you want to connect to.

These connections, the bulk of them, make peace. In fact, it’s the only way to do this. Peace only comes person by person. Bush and Putin. Moore and Knight. Pelosi and Boehner. Individual people connecting to individual people. Leaders should show the way, but we can all be leaders in this regard.

This is the courageous thing: To step through the fog with your hands out and connect. Connect to someone you should already be connected to. Reconnect. Strengthen connections. Move from unhealthy connections to healthy ones. Just connect. That’s peace. That’s peace on earth. Just connecting.

I know we can do this, because we were each children. You were once absolutely innocent, un-violent, un-vengeful. You were born good, you were absolutely born good in your Creator’s eyes. If you don’t believe in a universal creator, then perhaps you believe in yourself at your core. Believe that you don’t need any outside source whatsoever to discover your truth: that you are intrinsically good.

That’s honestly what I see as a difference between people: That there are people who believe in immutable interpretations of good and bad. Then there are people who do not believe that there is an intrinsic good or bad, that there is only an intrinsic good at the core. That people at their core are only good. Other forces might come in to play: culture, learning, rearing, physicality. These things may affect a person negatively, but their core never changes. This is the “soul”. The soul is the unchangeable good you at the center of yourself. The very center has no room for bad, it is only good. In fact, the “bad” or “evil” is possibly just the absence of good, i.e. the background radiation that proves the existence of good.

In the beginning, there was nothing (un-goodness as opposed to badness). All the essence of the Universe, all the mass and the stuff that makes the Universe up is the goodness. It’s all goodness, laid upon a wavefield. Pretty much, it’s all goodness then. Waves of it.

Wave upon wave of connections. That’s it, that’s all that life is. Connecting, reconnecting. Only Connect. That’s the internet, that’s the town hall, that’s the dinner table, that’s the teleconference. Connecting.

At the very smallest building block, the very essential unit 1, it’s about connection. The smallest particle, the very smallest thing is spinning, hovering over itself in space. The particle spins next to another particle and their fields attract. That’s how we get mass. In the Higgs-Boson field, mass is given when the smallest thing attracts another smallest thing. Connections. You could call that connection Love if you’d prefer. Peace is made of connections. One at a time or all together.

I further believe we can make world peace in a few days’ time, because we can pretty much send any message across the planet within a few days if it’s urgent enough.

It’s not that tough. Check out how fast we found out about 9/11, or MLK or JFK’s assassinations. That’s pretty clear proof that we can connect, and that connections are painful when they are broken.

It’s really urgent, of course. We are in need of a very clear message of goodness. The Universal Great Spirit sent us all here to broadcast that message. Do it with good intentions, make that connection with the recently reset clean heart and soul that you recharged with that moment or minute to yourself. That’s it, that’s your only responsibility. Anything above and beyond that is just frosting on the peace cake.

It’s urgent, because the secret message is already so clearly understood. Why wait? Why wait?

You don’t even have to be successful, that’s the secret. You only need to TRY to connect, honestly and deeply. You are the only one you have to hold accountable for this act of revolution. Just connect.

That’s the beauty of it. It’s so simple. Just connect more, or at least more truly. That’s all.

I’m a bit sad that it had to be written so damn didactically. Sorry it is hard to understand sometimes. I have a hard time with simplicity, as you can tell.

On a cosmic note, what was the beginning of life, the beginning of the universe? It was a super-connection that exploded outward into the connecting field. It was the wave at it’s trough, and the next phase is to connect. After the Big Bang, the things that survived were connecting. Pulses of connecting and reconnecting, that’s the essence of mass in the universe. Chaotically disconnecting and beautifully reconnecting.

That’s another piece of the beautiful puzzle: It’s so simple. Get a moment of peace for yourself, then try to spread that to someone else. It’s the only responsibility you have on the planet. You were born of connection, and your destiny is to further that miracle.

That’s it. A recap: Connect to yourself for a moment, then connect or reconnect to someone else.

That’s how peace will happen.


Saturday, September 08, 2007


Blogs are all about telling, advising, describing. I am guilty of same. It's important, the sharing of accumulated wisdom, but it's only one small part of a progressive society and its use of technology.

I'm excited about the future and I have lots of ideas about it, but I look around and see plenty of people that have their own ideas that they don't think are worth sharing. It's tragic.

To that end, I want to know what you're thinking and feeling, what's on your mind. Perhaps the response/post style blog is a sub-optimal way to solicit thoughts, but if you're reading this : I want to actually hear what you think.

What do you think needs to be done most urgently?
What do you think needs to be planted for future generations?
What can we do to ensure an inhabitable environment for our kids?
What are you currently doing to personally care for the planet you temporarily occupy?
What would you like to see happen in your community?
What have you seen that works that you'd do if you had support?

Hook a brutha up with some knowledge! Share your visions! I'll put them in my blender and try to leverage the ideas as much as I am able. I'll brainstorm any and all responses and post some of the solutions.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What I'm thinking about: Everything

Very funny, Campbell.
What I do on a nearly minute-to-minute basis is think about Grand Unification. Not just the Grand Unification Theory in physics, but also how to get everyone Grandly Unified.

This is tough, as you might imagine. It melts my brain most of the time, and previous to meeting my wife and finding the path to my Right Livelihood, I thought I had to drug myself to stay sane. (The drugging turned out to work against the very idea of staying sane, but that's another blog, dawg.)

On one hand, I think about Love. How it is possible that we can all have access to it, but how little we focus on it. It's the very basis of peace, and it comes from the spark inside that says "good". It connects you to yourself and deems yourself "good", but it also connects you to everyone else and everything else. It also is what many people believe {∞} to be made of. Love is at its essence pure good connection. I think it's possible to discover world peace pretty quickly after realizing that every single human (and of course all other animals) can give, get and be Loved. Until that realization, peace is pretty much an uphill battle.

On the other hand, I think about {∞}. That is, the entire universe and the forces (force) that created it, govern it, and allow it to exist. I usually focus my thoughts on the smallest bits of the Universe. I think about how to connect all the theoretical models of the Universe. I think about better models and better analogies for describing how the Universe simply Is. This is ridiculous most of the time since I have a very limited knowledge of particle physics, QED, or frankly of anything that requires Calculus.

I think about Quantum Physics and Love. I have my Ultimate Theory of The Universe, and I try hard to put the two big topics of my thoughts into one breath. I try to get them to help me forge the foundations of my dream for world peace.
I try to throw in something concrete and present when I do this. Like the feeling of my hand on my wife's pregnant tummy, the sight of a new head of broccoli in our garden, the ingenious ways we've devised to use recycled paper.

It's a tough juggle for a very distracted person like me, but I'm getting better at it. My wife suggested it was like a mantra, but it's not a repeated phrase commonly associated with mantras. It's more of a feeling of "this is right, too". I smile when I do it right. It often requires some sort of combined distance and hyper-proximity. On one hand, I'm deep in it, on the other hand, I am standing back and observing it.

The proximity/distance of that big thought is analogous to my desire to link the micro good with the macro good. It has to make sense all the way through, from the death of the universe to the birth (if there was either...). If the smallest thing makes sense, and the largest things make sense, then it must be okay in some way for me to get cut off on the I5 South on-ramp by a person distracted by their cellphone conversation. The beginning is good, the end is good, the middle must be good. Past, Future, Present.

Once I've lit on a good vibe during this vein of thought, I try to find a way to share the goods. It's why I blog now, I want to share this experience and hear other's reaction to it. If you've got a Grand Unified Theory of some sort, it's essential that you put it out there to be scrutinized, corrected, and shared. Having one that includes spiritual and scientific ingredients is kinda heady at times, but I have Faith in it and myself. I haven't seen a better one that works for me, and I figure that it might be of use to somebody else.

If you've got any comments on my Unification effort, please post a reply. If you've got one yourself and you feel confident enough to describe it, please do so. I'm all mouth, but I'm also all ears...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Unsolicited Advice : Fatherhood #3

(From others, and from myself, all advice should be considered unsolicited.)

1. If you are remotely considering parenting, get your advice directly from people. Humans, that is. Books are not humans, neither is the interweb.

2. If at all possible, get advice from your own parents. Take it with a bag of salt, but take it nonetheless.

3. If you are reading "books" to learn about parenting/birth, try hard to keep a conversation with your partner going about "reality" vs what is being warned about in the book. Statistics are not reality, they are (often) scientific snapshots of possible outcomes, not what's actually going to happen with your pregnancy/birth.

4. Get many positive conversations going about when the baby comes. Although some might call this "magical thinking", I call it positive survivalism. Obviously, there are hundreds of resources for the negative stuff, if you focus on that, you will stress yourself and your potential baby out. Prepare for the good stuff! Baby names, nesting options, parenting methods, baby clothing, new and old traditions you are going to use. It's not pollyanna. It's more likely that it's all going to be alright, so be as prepared (or moreso) for that positive outcome as the negative. I'm not saying don't be ready for potential bad news, I'm saying don't focus on it.

5. Go back through your own childhood. Look at pictures of you in your mother, birth photos, childhood photos. Get your parents to talk about your own birth and how it went, what they would change. Damn, I just came up with that idea and I haven't even done it myself! I'm calling my mom in Bellevue right now. Left a message...

6. Talk to your partner. Keep talking. They need support and you do to. Do fun things together. Go out to a nice dinner. Arrange things that allow for more chatting. It's essential, and it's part of the nesting procedure. This belongs as advice number 1.

7. Borrow everything you can. People are dying to let you take stuff out of their homes. Have a borrow-shower. (Good idea #2 on the spot!). Make lists of things you need, tell all your peeps. Have a baby-borrowing registry! Just quit thinking that you need to buy every damn thing new. NOTABLE EXCEPTION: BUY A BRAND NEW BABY SEAT! and get a good one.

8. Have a professional install your baby seat, a month in advance. Seriously. I am a Certified Sit-Safe Installer myself, and I can do it or find someone who can do it. In the last year with 200+ installs, only 5 got it done right. Engineers, pediatricians, geniuses, everybody gets it wrong somehow. Have a pro install and/or check it for you.

9. Get the tests, but don't stress the testing. It's important, but it's not REALITY. The can give you ideas about what might happen, but not what will happen. Again, stay positive. You get these tests sometimes just to rule stuff out, but in the end it's probabilities, just numbers.

10. Surround yourself with supporters. If you have friends who get it, they will be behind you no matter what. If your "friends" tell you horror stories the first time they hear about your pending parenthood, kindly tell them to stuff it. If necessary, keep stuff to yourselves. Don't tell everybody on the planet you are pregnant the moment you find out (like I did...). Let the idea kinda simmer inside while you get yourself ready. Don't tell the name too early, and don't listen to people who say "what kind of name is Tycho?? It rhymes with Psycho!". Get new peeps if you must, but don't let people get you down. Family members might say some stupid stuff to you, just ignore it. Our worst advice, "Don't get divorced!" came from a family member. No offense meant, but that's not the first thing a new parent wants to get as "advice" on parenthood.

11. Document stuff, but don't obsess about it. Be in the moment as much as you can. Don't waste real-time interaction for posterity reminiscence. Take photos and movies, but keep it sane.

12. Be yourself. There is no need to be any damn body else. You're a parent, but you are also a sovereign human being. Nobody gets to tell you what you have to do, and you don't have to pretend to be anybody else to be a good parent. Do your thing. It gets you ready to parent! Don't be fooled, the stuff you plan on telling the kid is peanuts in comparison to the stuff you SHOW the kid by just being yourself. Do that better, and you'll be the best parent you can be.

13. Don't forget to LOVE. Seriously. Love a lot. Get it an give it. You'll understand what I mean, if you don't already. Love, Love, Love.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fatherhood #2

I'm happy to say, the cult of Father is a warm and friendly place. People are coming out of the woodwork to lend a hand, give advice, offer support. The funniest thing is that it comes from strangers as often as from family/friends.

The most recent phenomenon of spontaneous support comes from my Child Seat Safety Check people. I volunteered last year to help parents safely install their baby/child seats in their cars. Since then, I've done around 250 installs total (including my training installs). Of the 170 live installs, guess how many parents did it right on their own? Yup, 5. Five parents installed their baby seats correctly.

Anyhow, I strike up conversations with them during the process (takes about an hour, includes training as well as installation). Typically, I sound like I have children myself. They were so shocked to hear I didn't actually have my own children that when they heard it they quite often became crestfallen. Since then, of course, my wife and I have become pregnant with our potential first child. The difference in their camaraderie is night and day!

Not that they disliked me before, but they really get jacked up when they know I'm in their parent cult. It's again like getting a new lens, but more like I know the lensmakers themselves!

They give me a great deal of advice, but the best advice I have received from them so far came from a new father who effectively said "there's no real preparation, no book you can read that will really tell you how it's going to be with your particular situation. Live in the moment and do everything you can to stay positive."

That's my motto already, but it's totally cool to know that I can apply to this new situation... no matter what comes....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ideas about Ideas

Let's just say I am addicted. Addicted to it all, of course, but specifically to ideas.
I think it could also be said that I have pretty dodgy organization of those ideas. Couple that with my apparent perennial difficulty with following through on those ideas and you get some pretty serious insanity built up....


I have more than a few ideas posted on the Global Ideas Bank but I got a bit frustrated with the format and the fact that a great deal of the contributors were in England and nowhere that I could meet them personally. That's a weak excuse now that I think about it, but that's what happened. Here are the ideas I came up with.

I worked for a bit with a company called SolutionPeople and they were trying to help people generate, collect, and choose good ideas in a more corporate setting. That was cool but I was grossly underpaid and underutilized. Plus, I want to focus my ideas in a particular direction now, the Progressive Party and Alternative Energy. Simply coming up with ideas is like eating candy for dinner. Yummy but empty and slightly unhealthy.

I've bumped into a few other people with this bend, but in the end because I had a hard time CAPITALizing on idea$, the idea of getting paid for idea$ kind of flopped on me. I've seen the concept of ideas for sale work at the BrainStore and Idea-Sandbox people, but why must these people not actually have a couch to meet on in North Seattle?

The concept of coming up with a company that got paid to come up with ideas isn't new, but it's been pretty hard to do. The company I tried to start in 1999, Anythink, which eventually changed to RocketForge and then stopped doing the idea thing altogether was frustrating as well.

Now that I have more of a focus, I think it can be done again, but perhaps in a different way. I confess I do not know that way yet. Alternative Thinking about Alternative Energy, something like that. I don't want to dive back into small business ownership right now anyway, but it's something that I cannot seem to shake, the idea of selling ideas.

Perhaps that's the issue, the selling part. If I just continue to post my ideas, maybe the idea itself will arise, or people who like one or another idea will come out of the woodwork and help with the capitalization. Perhaps it should be free...freeeee!

I know I want to brainstorm for a living, but I need to find an outlet and a place to pour the ideas into it. I have literally hundreds of unexplored ideas written down, with no real place to arrange them (some have already been realized, too).

I did some good informal versions of the idea idea in a very social format: two friends of mine went out to a bar and we talked about ideas, calling the weekly event "ThinkTanked".

Perhaps the internet is just one place to do this. I know it also has to happen in person, though, and it has to be a part of my Right Livelihood. I know enough just to come up with the question, but the answer is just out of reach right now. Weird, I have an idea to come up with ideas, but I don't yet have the idea launching idea fleshed out concretely. Grrr!

Any thoughts on the thought thinking and leveraging concept welcome... Please go ahead and leave a comment if you think you might have a strand to add to the rope...

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Part 1: Aaron realizes the lens that he's been seeing with is now different. I can't re-frame my experiences with pre-fatherhood eyes. I must move forward with this new vision.

I'm half responsible for a brand new lifeform on this Earth. An animal is now growing inside my loving and wise wife, and soon it will be thinking, breathing, growing on its own. Damn, yo.

Taking stock is something I have been doing nearly every day now. What have I got? What do I need to purge? What more do I need? What does my wife have? What will the baby need? How much does my community have that I can share, and to what extent do I need to continuously re-evaluate this entire stock again?

What I came to is that I have way too much, and/or exactly the right amount of everything. I am over-blessed if that's possible. Was it my previous provable Karmic additions to my community that made it possible to receive so much in return? Probably. Blessed.

I have love. I have a house. I have my family close by. I have a right livelihood, I can bike or walk to work. I have my health. I frankly deserve no more than I have.

But there it is, a newborn baby growing inside my loving wife and I have a hard time grokking my blessing overflow. Was it my father's early death? My efforts at being a good person? Biodiesel advocacy? What makes it possible for me to deserve it, and feel like it's the right thing for the Universe to bless me with?

It kinda makes me nervous. What would it mean if the baby didn't survive? What would it mean if it was born, but had a tragically short life filled with pain? What, exactly, does it mean?

I have to get my head around it, and it is growing all the while, ever-evading my intellectualizing of it. I'm thinking that this is yet another nod at my tendency to take things as they come, to accept the whole package, and to assume that ALL of the meaning is inherently good in the end. The Universe filled with chaotic beautiful particles interacting in rhythm isn't thinking particularly about little ol ABC, but it's not completely ignoring me it seems.

Fatherhood (in utero at least) also makes me ponder my particular particles...

My DNA is not my own anymore. Although my father has passed, I have his actual DNA in all my cells. He's actually inside me, and by that token all the things I do have been also done by him and my mother in equal parts. Accordingly, my wife and I have equal gifts of DNA combined to make this new little individual. It's an awesome responsibility.

I am as ready as I can be for all this, but I still haven't a clue what's really happening yet...

Send us some good vibes if you can spare them!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A single idea

It's all you need to start with. Then you add the aforementioned healthy obsession, and watch the idea grow and flourish.

I was around 20. I was writing frantically in my journal, when something happened to my pen and hand. They seemed to work on their own, without "me". The ink seemed to flow out of the tip of the pen, drag across the paper fibers and create words, seemingly without my input.

It was getting more and more feverish, and "I" realized that something pretty big was building up. I engaged as the pen continued to write, battling with it a bit, questioning the thing that was happening, wondering out loud about who was in charge, how silly it was that I was acting like someone or something was in charge of my pen other than my very self.

My heart got to pounding as I wrote, more and more I realized that Peace was coming up through my subconscious into my pen and out of the inky socket, rolling out onto the fibers of the journal.

The spirit of Peace, the idea itself, was acting. Obviously, it wasn't a mythical beast or a white-haired man in the clouds, but it was a spirit nevertheless. The spirit inside me of the dream of peace. Not theoretical, not illusionary. It was inside me and I had been cooking it for years. In a moment of openness, in a moment of mental and spiritual glasnost, I was about to let it out of its earthly human cage and into another, my journal.

As I wrote, the phrase that was yearning to burst forth was "Peace is the Kingdom".

I had never thought that thought before, never written it out, never contemplated beforehand what the "Kingdom" was. The moment I wrote it, however, I realized immediately what it meant. It meant the Kingdom of what people refer to as God.

Now, I am an avowed non-anthropomorphic unifying presence believer, but I shy away from using the phrase "God". It's way too sticky, and it violates my neo-athiesm ethic among other things.

As you might know already, I believe in God- but not the only one you are currently thinking of, chances are good. I believe in the pervasive scientific idea that all things are fundamentally built of identical packet-pulses of energy. All space and everything inside and outside space is made up of these tiny mass/energy packets. The packets are obviously the smallest possible things in the Universe, and I believe that they make up everything in it.

Fortunately, there is no way to see that smallest thing to prove my theory, but its evidence of existence is all around. Quantum Physics practitioners (if you will) have been looking for the final piece of the quantum puzzle, and this is my personal theory that fits that empty puzzle-gap. The Higgs-Boson might be that very piece, or it might be still smaller than that.

In any case, that smallest particle/energy packet moves in a particular way. I believe it moves in a modified figure eight ∞ path around its own center of mass. It cannot be said to "be" in the center nor the outer curves of the figure, it's in that general vicinity all-at-once. We can point toward it, but not directly at it. Heisenberg.

That's it. There's a smallest thing, it makes up everything, and it's impossible to see.
From there I came to the conclusion that it was, in fact, Faith that I was using and no longer the raw repeatable science that led me to that final point. Science opens the door, and you yourself must go through it. At that threshold, at that gate, at that either-or space, you are standing on science, and the final reach above your outstretched arms is Faith.

Faith is that same thing that gives me Hope. Faith, the internal system that allows what isn't yet to become in the future without fail. I have Faith that this is the solution, this is the way to Peace, and that gives me Hope. I can continue to hack seemingly fruitlessly on a theory that is too simplistic and un-provable, because I have hope that the idea is itself not needing me to push it forward. It has its own power.

I am simply telling you about my experience of things, not telling you that you have to have the same faith I have. The smallest thing already exists, it's already doing what it needs to do. I am not required to "promote" it or myself per se, but I am required to tell the truth about what has been going on in my head all these years.

Back to the moment....I wrote "Peace is the Kingdom" with my heart racing and my hand now trembling uncontrollably. I had to fling the journal across the room in order to breathe properly again. This was my enlightenment. It happened in the past, and I have been struggling for years to find my way back to it. This is yet another post that tries to get that idea out, putting it in a tangible format that hopefully everyone can understand. This is it.

Here I am, July 4, 2007 in a house I own with my wife in north Seattle, Washington, USA. I am typing on my G5 PowerMac into a window of Blogger in the Firefox browser. I'm listening to Alexi Murdoch's Orange Sky on repeat. I'm sober and happy, reveling in my manifold blessings. I have to share this with you, I have no choice, and I require nothing from you but contemplation of the single idea of Peace.

I ask that you consider this one idea: that "all religions have the same god that is created by and creates everything in the universe, and that all science points to the same one invisible particle/wave that makes up everything in that universe in the same way god does, and that idea makes us all fundamentally equal."

It requires the exact same faith that religious people have in their god to come to the idea that there is a "smallest thing" and that the entire universe is made of those smallest things. The order of the universe is clear, so is the chaos. It's all due to the mysterious interaction between these smallest things, working in perfect chaos and harmony. That order/disorder is how the universe continues to "be". Flux between order and disorder is itself order. And, obviously, disorder. But within those is the space, the sacred space between.

This space between particle/waves of the smallest things is not void, it is absolutely filled, but then instantly and simultaneously emptied. This space is the attraction between any two of these smallest particle waves, this is the space that both propels the particle waves toward each other, and also repels them.

This space, this theoretical full-emptiness attraction can easily be called something else:


Literally, love is the space between two things that both attracts and repels it. Magnetically, lovingly playing the two things with each other. Mass is also energy, and all things with mass have this spiritual force that both brings them together and at the smallest level also pushes them away.

In the end, there is no such thing as apart-ness as these smallest things are exactly the same, they are built of the exact same material/energy, have the same potential, are built in the own god's image, if you will. Exactly in god's image. In its own image as well, therefore. Therefore, being of the same original thing, having come from the one singularity at the beginning of time, they are One but they are dispersed.

At the same time they are the same thing just busted into infinite pieces (think Kaballah), they are also individual pieces of that original piece. Like humans, we are all the exact same spieces, all humans, but we are all individuals with our own particular sovereignty. People like to call that original sovereignty the "soul". It's an unkillable piece of you that bonds you in a collective to the original soul that bore you during the Big Bang.

It's hard sometimes to keep the thoughts straight, I know. It has made lesser men crazy, for sure. I am not sure I am not crazy in that cosmic sense either, but I keep seeing this stuff happening and thinking that it all must make sense somehow. This theory, that Peace is the Kingdom and it's born out of the realization that we're all made of the same stuff at a sub-quantum level, is not at all new. It's just the way it's coming out for me in particular.

Notice that it plays on all other forms of this same idea: That there's a Big Force out there that created us, and that we all deserve the life we are given by that Force. We need to realize the inherent equality in all people, that we're one animal of many on this planet, and we have to take care of each other rather than kill each other to get what we want or to "protect" ourselves.

I thought previously that my biggest trouble was finding a way to make money from the idea, honestly. I'm ashamed of that, but there it is. I thought, maybe I needed to use this big idea to make a religion of my own! Talk about super-hubris. I knew I was eventually going to share the idea, but I thought since it's my one big idea that I should somehow make my right livlihood from the idea. I was blind, but now I see...

So, to sum again: The symbol I have tatooed on my hand is an infinity "∞" surrounded by a set of brackets. In math, it's the set of infinity. It's the shape of the path that I believe the smallest particle/wave traces in space. It represents the faith of the religious that there is one unknowable mysterious force that rules the entire universe, and the faith that sciencists have that things can be understood in terms of micro-macro rules that can be proven over and over again. Those groups, the religious and the non-religious can be brought together under the idea that at the final moment things are not perfectly provable, even this theory itself. It's the mystery that brings us together, the faith and the love of each other that can bring Heaven to Earth.
This is the Kingdom.

Peace is the Kingdom of god, on the real earth in real time, while you are still alive, even as you read this or hear this read.

Pray on this, meditate on it, skeptically discard it, do what you think you have to do with the idea. It's not mine anymore, and it frankly wasn't mine in the first place. It was Yours.

Independence Day

People keep calling it the 4th of July. It's much more than that, and we best never forget. It's the day that the country became itself, declare itself independent of the King George and the British Monarchy. That's huge. Would that we remember that a country, its people sovereign, can "declare independence". Think it over for a bit, toss the word "King George" around in your head, and remember that it only took a few dedicated people and a single idea to create an entirely new nation, flawed and beautiful as it is.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Walking the Talk

I asked a friend who is 21 what he thought needed to be done, and we agreed on a few very important things:

A. We need to curb wanton consumerism
B. We need to feed the desperately poor
C. We need to decentralize government, limiting it to the state level of maximum oversight.
D. Energy needs to be made and distributed locally.

I thought to myself "Man O Maneschevitz!" how can it be that I beat my head nearly everyday on what needs to be done with the world to make it a place where we all can live relatively peacefully, and this guy comes up with these gems in a short evening?

Tie it together with some obvious stuff like making sure we don't blow ourselves up with nukes, and the idea of making sure fresh water is equally distributed, and you have yourself a pretty good start to World Peace.

Decentralizing government is a pretty excellent leap that I hadn't made very directly until just now. National government is an increasingly untenable idea. Each state in the USA is already a government nearly in total for its citizens. Obviously, we need to move freely between states, those states can't take up arms against each other, and we have to have an agreeable set of laws that work for as many states as possible, but I think we can pretty much get by without the mammoth Federal Government As It Is.

Feeding the desperately poor is a huge task, and it must be taken up directly by the richest nations. It's how we will remove the attractive forces of lawlessness and pillage-style governance. If the poorest are fed, you pretty much have a population that is a great deal less likely to kill its own members or neighboring areas.

Making power locally must happen in conjunction with all of the above. Either solar, wind, or eco-friendlier combustion to begin with must be accessible by huge numbers of communities. Community-generated and distributed power will go a long way to reducing warfare on a global scale.

The WORK for me ends up at point B: The creating of a system by which local communities can assess their real energy uses and drains, then install their own energy generation systems and distribute their own power to themselves in a safe, low-carbon, low-emission, low-waste way.

Point A is where I am right now: I am right now using only two incandescent bulbs in our house which contains around 50 bulbs. The rest are compact fluourescent bulbs. We have Energy Star appliances: Refrigerator, Washer/Dryer, Dishwasher, high-efficiency Gas Furnace. We got rid of our TV, DVD player and VCR in favor of a 23 inch all-in-one LCD computer.

We installed a new recyclable PVC roof with an R19 insulation value. We put UV blocking skylights and covers for our porches. We installed a 20-tube solar hot water system on our roof. We drive a biodiesel in our 2004 TDI Jetta and our 1984 Mercedes 300TD Wagon. I often commute to work on my electric assist bike.
We have a deposit down on a 3.5 KW solar electric array for the roof.

We have solar path lighting. We have a lot of windows so we rarely need to use lights in the daytime. We have no air-conditioning, but our single operable skylight in the study has made a huge difference in summer months' cooling.

I am trying really hard to walk my talk. I sell biodiesel-ready VW diesels for a living. I fully plan on pushing the boundaries of what can be sanely done in terms of local energy production and use in the city. Urban Greening is something that needs to be pursued vigorously, and I am starting with myself and my own family's energy and working outward.

Much more work is yet to be done. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Vulnerability =/= Manhood

Perhaps the cultural mavens out there would disagree, but I'll go out on a limb and say that it's traditionally not a manly characteristic to be vulnerable. It's about time we change that perception.

It's actually more studly to see a problem and correct it than to ignore the concept of problems. To assume that if one makes a mistake that one is weak overall is itself a mistake. The true Man is a Righter of Wrongs. Internally and externally. We fix. In order to fix something, it must be somehow broken or in need of improvement at least.

Being vulnerable is essential to growth. Being vulnerable is essential to internal progress. It's a bigger man that says "I've got some issues and I need help". It's a stronger man that does this in front of women as well as men. The beautiful thing is when men get together and admit their vulnerability, and they follow it up with manly actions of change.

I see this all the time in my Junto, and it empowers each and every member to simultaneously allow more personal vulnerability AND help others grow in strength. Show what you might consider a weakness, gather with people who see it for what it really is: a place for growth.

The seeds of all change occur in the vulnerabilities.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Healthy Obsessions

Watching a woman spinning flaming swords to improvised synth drum music, I realized that the real deal involves cultivating healthy obsessions.

Not addictions or passing fancies, but a lifelong struggle to know as much about something (either specific or broad) as you can. This can also be spread around to a few different healthy obsessions, but certainly at least one.

"Talent" can be innate, but what seems to really show up is the obsession. It's the little things, the big things, and all the things in between in any given topic or category. The people who know this see this in other people. The people who know this well recognize it in everyone, to one degree or another. They see the obsession engine as much as the thing that's being obsessed upon, or the person themselves.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Equidistant from Pat

This is my strangely accurate testing tool for romantic relationship compatibility:

The main idea is that people are happiest in relationships that are equidistant from a gender-neutral center of cultural gender roles.

(I know it will sound sexist to both genders, but the generalizations are essential for the tool to function. Despite its apparent gross prejudices, every person I have presented this theory to has agreed with it in one way or another. I'm not saying there's anything inherently wrong with any one gender-role position, I'm saying that relationships work out better if you are as far away from the neutral gender-role center as your partner is.)

"Pat" is a representation of a person who is right in the middle of two gender role extremes: On the feminine side we use the iconic Barbie, and on the masculine side we use the iconic G.I. Joe. Pat is represented best as the Saturday Night Live character played by Julia Sweeney. It's a very generalized spectrum, to be sure, but it's a very good prediction tool.

Essentially, if you are a woman and you find you are more culturally feminine, you will be more happy if you are in a romantic relationship with a man who is culturally more masculine, and vice-versa.

Notice that a romantic pairing of Barbie and her supposed mate Ken is not a good match. The problem is that people all along the spectrum prefer to have their own role in the relationship. Overlapping of roles is less likely to produce happiness in the long run. Ken is portrayed with good taste in clothes, pretty eyes, and very few tools. Not masculine at all, or at the very least not stereotypically so.

(Remember, this is about stereotypes and cultural gender roles, so please take my generalizations about tools and clothes in that context.)

Here's a diagram that might help understand the spectrum:

BARBIE ------------------PAT---------------------GI JOE

Feminine--------------gender neutral------------Masculine

Further in the theory, the ends of the spectrum are occupied with people who are more rigid in their gender roles. Conservative in that sense, perhaps, but not necessarily politically so.

RIGID FEMININE------------Open Minded------------RIGID MASCULINE

The scale/diagram could also be seen in this light:

Traditional attitude--------Liberal attitude--------Traditional attitude

As the theory delves deeper, it became clearer that although it might be thought that relationships in which both parties are closer to the center would be happier relationships, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, as you go toward the center, you get much more complicated relationships and somewhat more instability in general:


People on the traditional edges of the spectrum are more likely to know where they stand in terms of cultural stereotypes of masculinity and femininity. People toward the center are more likely to be somewhat confused about themselves and their roles. This can lead to a great deal of difficulty in relationships. Not to say that any relationship is easy, but that those relationships with people nearer to the center tend have a particular kind of difficulty due in part to their being open minded about aspects of their relationships.

People on the traditional edges can also have the difficult task of managing their relationship when either partner breaks from their traditional roles. There is more rigidity on the traditional edges, and less overall tolerance of shifts or changes in behavior over time. For these relationships to work, there must be an agreed-upon (either implicitly or explicitly) set of rules that cannot be broken or even bent. If the supposedly feminine woman decides to run her own business, it can be upsetting to the supposedly masculine man who thinks it's his job to bring home the bacon so-to-speak.

People in the center relationships have the benefit of flexibility, but it sometimes comes at the expense of not having as much solid ground to stand on in terms of self-knowledge and self-perception. And although I maintain that there is flexibility closer to the center, it doesn't mean that it's good to have a lot of role overlapping. If there is an overlap of roles, it has to work in both directions. For instance, if the masculine-leaning partner decides to take up cooking, it's not actually a good idea for the feminine partner to also do the cooking. Somebody has to clean up!

Overlap is the pitfall in the center, and change is the pitfall at the edges.

Interestingly enough, the EFP theory works with Gay and Straight folks equally well. Ask your friendly neighborhood gay person, and they'll likely say they also like an equidistant relationship. Although I try to avoid the "butch-fem" generalization most of the time, my gay pals have noted that it's pretty much spot-on. They don't like to have a fem-fem or butch-butch situation. Again, too much overlap on roles and activities. Remember, you can both enjoy doing the same activities but take different roles during those activities.

Imagine a scenario where the woman in a heterosexual relationship is kind of a "tom-boy". They will usually prefer to do the heavy-lifting, the tool-toting, the more aggressive negotiations. A woman like that might tend to prefer to have her more traditionally masculine traits balanced out with someone who is more nurturing and gentle.

Then again, (and very interestingly so) they might actually want an even more masculine man so that they feel more feminine culturally. Still getting the equidistant sensation from their relationship, but a bit more off-center.

Remember, as you drift towards the center of the spectrum, the more central-neutral partner can be more flexible in their needs for partners. This is a relationship that is more tense than a straight-equidistant one, but can work if the two are in good communication and really like the thing they have going. Boundaries and mutual understandings in this scenario are required.

Another pseudo-proof (as this is pseudo-psychology after all) of the theory is the exeption that prooves the rule:

Sometimes the partner who knows themselves the least will try to manipulate the scale in order to have a more culturally acceptable partner in the eyes of others. In one example you might have seen, a more physically feminine man might try to artificially alter his masculinity in order to date a more traditionally feminine woman.

This manipulation might take the form of a muscle-car (literally), a macho-type construction job, a lot of leather straps on his coat, cool sunglasses, you name it. Trying to avoid the pervasive pressure to date a feminine woman and avoid the gender-neutral center (out of some amount of self-hatred perhaps), he will try to impress upon the woman of his desires the idea that he's a "real man". This scenario as you might imagine is a setup for a fall. The overall truth of the role will eventually be uncovered, or at least the tension can cause some very upsetting relationship moments.

Case in point; the really bad idea of closeted gays marrying and having kids. They may very well want children, and even love their spouse down deep, but gay people tend to truly want to partner with other gay people. This cross-compensation is usually another recipe for pain in the long run. Of course, some people will again be able to manage their lives with a great deal of intent, boundaries and love. I hope that's the rule, not the exception.

Another common type of self-deception (and other-deception as well) geared at shifting a couple to an artificial balance happens often with smart women pretending to be much more shallow or less intelligent than they really are.

This is done often in order to "fit in" by allowing the woman to date a more masculine man they perhaps they would normally. They might even get jobs that are beneath them intellectually or for which they are over-qualified in order to maintain their facade of mainstream femininity. (This is typically just as see-through as the guy who buys a Corvette to look macho, when actually he really likes the looks and styling of a Mazda Miata. )

Sadly, woman who tries to dumb herself down in order to get a particular mate is often subject to some form of abuse, whether verbal, mental or even physical. I cannot explain this behavior well, to be honest. Perhaps the man down deep knows she could be more than she portrays herself, or he is also pretending to be someone he isn't and it makes him angry and confused. Perhaps the man in this type of skewed relationship suspects he's being manipulated but cannot quite put his finger on how or why. It's something I noticed in my research but I still haven't quite figured out.

The reverse is also possible, but more rare in my estimation. I know of only one woman in my world who has tried to make herself more masculine in order to attract a more gentle mate, and it didn't work out so well. She admitted it was related to her upbringing and the stigma she felt as a more feminine woman. For years she felt out of place in her masculine field of work and yearned for a more nurturing relationship where she could be comfortable in her skin as a more feminine partner. As you might imagine, the self-deception could only last so long.

There are always exceptions to these admittedly amateur "rules" I've come up with, but before you send me flame comments, please ask your local couple friends if they disagree with my theory. Often, people who hear the theory will not self-diagnose as well as their friends or family will. EFP does take some amount of self-knowledge and introspection to be able to accurately assess whether it's a good theory and if there might need to be some kind of adjustment in your relationship.

The theory of Equidistant from Pat has been discussed many many times with couples and individuals in relationships of all stripes. It seems to me as I write it out for potential worldwide consumption that I am more aware of the potentially non-PC reading of the various "rules" of the theory. I accept that in some ways, but it's important to understand that I am not trying to pigeonhole anyone or any relationship into a one-size-fits-all scientific explanation of reality. I am simply aware of certain things in my own worldview and life experience that have led me to this theory. I have so far seen nothing that quite explains relationships as well, so please forgive the method in which I'm describing it and try to focus on the heart of the matter.

My main intention is to try to answer the question "why aren't we getting along?" or "why did we break up when it seemed things were going so well?". It's not meant to offend or tell people what they should do or not do. If it helps you at all, I am happy to be of service. If it offends you, just take it in stride as yet another nutball who thinks he knows it all and ignore it if you wish. Many people I have told the theory to have had a genuine "A-HA!" moment in their past or present relationship self-assessment.
They often ask me when I am going to write my book on the theory, so I decided to blog it first and get people's impressions (and input) before I push forward into authoring anything.

If you have any notes, comments, disagreements or constructive criticism of the theory, please let me know. After all, so far it's just a theory...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Superstringy Biggie Smalls

I just looked over my bloglet and realized that I haven't explained my pet symbol theory:


The symbol is actually tattooed on my left hand, between my forefinger and thumb. I drew it in ink for a year or so before I tattooed it. On my hand, it's a bit more stylized, but the essence is there.

The theory goes like this: I believe that The Smallest Thing is a vibrating string. I believe that this string moves in space in what looks like a figure-eight pattern. If you turn that 8 on its side, it's a ∞. Option+5 on my keyboard.

I believe that the mass of this smallest thing is undetectable directly, but can be inferred by the overall location of the mass. I put the symbol in a bracket, like a mathematical set. This also serves another purpose, to imply the "idea" of the thing/string rather than be so crazy as to say I know what or where the smallest thing really is. In literary terms, so to speak.

[∞] = The idea of one smallest building block for the entire Universe. Hubris, for sure. The idea that we are all, at our cores, built of the exact same things. Equal.
The idea that infinity is uncountable, but that the idea that infinity is out there/in here is intrinsically good.

The loop-back of the mobius strip is key, that it's always hovering over the same space, forever, never dying. That down deep, there is no such thing as death, but only much much slower interactions with things next to you. That the Heisenberg Theory of Uncertainty is alive and well, since you cannot know where and how fast the string/thing is, it's all very uncertain on one level. On the other level(s), there is obviously something in there doing something, moving somewhere.

Which brings me to the biggie part of the smalls stuff. If you cannot know the location and velocity of the smallest thing at the same time, then you have to Believe in it rather than be able to prove it. This is Belief, this is the core of Religion.

My "Religion" is clear to me. I believe that the universe is made of these tiny strings (and the dark space or energy that they float in), that you can't really know the depth of their mysteries (or how they truly came into being). I believe that this faith of mine is identical in value to all other faiths. Given that, I believe that all other faiths can get along due to their intrinsic basic equality. Sure, there are some faiths that are not really faiths, they are cults of personality or cults of rituals, or cults of Spaghetti Monsters, but for the most part I think we can all get along based on the concept that we're made of the exact same stuff, and that the major religions all believe in a single consciousness that they cannot prove but nonetheless loves.

This is for me the basis of Peace: The coming together of all religions and science and neither of these in harmony based on the equality of uncertainty.

Let's put our differences aside (but not behind us), and get together before we all kill ourselves off. Let's make and discover and revel in more love.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Obama for Change

A friend of mine just recently asked if I wanted to take part in an Obama for President fundraiser. I immediately replied via email "Yes" and couldn't help but add the famous "And". Yes, I want to help, And here's how I want to do it.

I want to get right to changing the things that I know (and Obama elucidates so eloquently) need to be changed here in America. I think we can do much much more than simply become a fundraising arm for Obama. I know we can actually start the process of bringing about the Change that Obama espouses.

Back before the 2004 election, I had become jaded about political fundraising. Yes, I know that people watch TV and that ads on TV are expensive. I know that sending out flyers and paying for canvassers isn't free. But I couldn't help but wonder why we weren't doing more. Why we were accepting the current state of candidate shilling as if it was the only way to get someone elected. Cash can't be the only factor.

I watched in horror as my theory was proven in the 2004 presidential election. John Kerry had plenty of money. He had his own millions as well as his wife's, and of course he also had our millions. Instead of making use of that huge wad of money, he spent it doing the same things that had always been done. Proving that he likely would do the same things that had always been done as president. The sad truth is that money does not buy elections outright. Money can help, but it has to be used in innovative and progressive ways, mimicking the innovative and progressive ways that the candidate will use the entire country's money during his or her tenure in office.

After discussing it with my wife Elise, I realized that what we needed to do for America was pretty clear: we needed to rebuild it from the ground up, starting with the places that need it the most. Don't just trickle down the money, flood it down with intent, wisdom, and action. We needed to rebuild a city, starting with a neighborhood.

Yes, it sounds expensive and perhaps risky, but it would be the most clear statement of what it is that progressive Democrats need to do. It's what America needs to do. I figured that we could do it like a miniature CCC project, or even better, a huge Habitat for Humanity project. We could go to a section of a big city (ideally, one with some previously disenfranchised voters...) that needed some serious community building, and we could organize the people in that section of the city to help put a permanent community center, or rebuild one that was in need of repair.

The money spent would go directly into a project that progressive Democrats want to do writ large. The thing would be architected properly, permits gathered, teams organized, foremen and forewomen chosen, environmental impact studies done, and the entire thing would be exhaustively documented.

Clearly, this would be a large task and it would take a lot of effort to do it in a short amount of time, but isn't that the task at hand for America? Don't we have an emergency to deal with and precious little time to spare? Don't we want to change things? Don't we want to lead the way? Don't we want to show our core values in a tangible way? Don't we want to dig ditches instead of sling mud?

The metaphor would not be lost on Americans. They love to see their neighbors pitch in when people are in need. We do it all the time, but usually only right after natural disasters. It's inspiring, it's hear-warming, it's community building at its core.
It would show what we will do for the country on a small scale, but it would matter on a large scale for the community we do it with and for. The publicity alone would be enough, but it would be something we could point to as a direct change of course for the election process. My guess is that we could make it work once, and then with that boilerplate we could repeat the process in other communities. Use the strategies and fundraising techniques for other projects around the country. Prove that we can spend money the right way while gathering up people and communities that will not just vote for our candidate, but grab hammers and work for the country itself.

To that end, I would definitely like some feedback on this post. If you would like to do a project like this as an Obama fundraiser (community raiser?), I'd love to hear about it and try to make it happen. We've got some time before the election and I think this kind of thing would make a huge difference. Even if we don't win the election, we'd be doing something that would reinforce what we want to do in this world: Change it for the better.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What I mean, Again

Another shot at what I mean:

If we can decentralize power production of all types (caloric, electric, mechanical) and put the means of production and storage of energy in each individual's hands, then the fight for resources will diminish.

If we can let each individual person generate their own fuel, food, and work, then we'll have less need to hoard that fuel.

If we can reduce our consumption on a personal and at the same time national level, the leftover energy can be used as the power tide that raises all ships.

If we are all encouraged and allowed to be in charge of our own actions and personhood, we'll have less need to fight with each other. Freedom leads to peace, and peace leads to freedom.

Energy Puzzle Peaces

I've been thinking about and trying to act on my dream of World Peace since I was in high school. My life path has done plenty of winding since then, but it's always had that focus. I've always had the dream of Peace bouncing around in my head.

How do we do it? Will it take us all, or just a few to start the ball rolling? Will it be presidents or citizens or both? Will it be against our own apparent natures, or will it be due to a discovery of our true natures? Can we actually turn the war clock backwards? Will a few fundamentalists with a different dream (or a different methodology) roll the war clock wittingly (or unwittingly) forward to our doom?

Since middle school in Kennewick, I've done things to work on my internal sense of peace as well. That took the form of journals, student clubs, Amnesty International, meditation, repairing relationships that I could repair, gathering mentors, being a mentor.

Recently, I've noticed that thing that so many notice and not always early enough: Your right livelihood is the best route to world peace. When everyone is busy doing what they truly love (not just what makes them money, but obviously those two are not mutually exclusive), then they have no time for faithlessness, for doubt, and for the fear that leads away from Peace.

My right livelihood has also taken a fairly circuitous route (mimicking my Peace path?). I have been a can collector, a strawberry picker, a fast food drive-in worker, a youth group advisor, a student-athlete tutor, a foodbank volunteer, a music store employee, a server/bar-back at a golf club, an alternative high school teacher, a camp counselor, a camp education director, an Apple computer salesman, an improvisation actor, a computer network technician, a small IT businessman, a thinktank biz/dev founder, a microprint artist, a business creativity instigator, a Radio Shack sales associate, an office/operations manager, an Apple computer service salesman, a tech editor, a biodiesel advocate, and a Volkswagen sales consultant.

Along the way, I've had insights and failures, revelations and disappointments. Throughout my history, however, I've had a few threads that refused to unwind: Peace and Alternative Energy. Something keeps linking my thoughts about Earth's resource distribution and Peace. Perhaps it was my father Richard's work on photovoltaics at Battelle, maybe it was making money by collecting aluminum cans that were thrown on the trails in the canyon behind my house.

When I decided to get on the big blog wagon, I realized that I wanted to write about biodiesel and world peace first. I had to kind of blow the dust out of my pipes at first, but I can see now that this is a valuable exercise related to my right livelihood. Also, it really is my contribution to the worldwide endeavor to end war and promote peace through energy independence.

Any ideas on how I could more effectively leverage myself in peace-action via alternative energy are welcomed.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Love Energy

Love. Energy. Independence. Power. Freedom.

I am rededicating this blog. I will use less words and more heart.

The simple push is to become personally energy independent and help the entire world become same.

Powered by love, both personal and universal, I pledge to become a more energy-independent person and help as many people as I can do the same.

I think the best way to show my love is to help free us all from energy and power dependence.