"There is a staggering lack of understanding regarding even the most basic of concepts in our populace.
I used to get in trouble all the time, starting in pre-school, for asking the "wrong questions". Asking questions that didn't follow the lesson plan, that the teacher didn't know or didn't want to answer. I got singled out, punished for "insubordination", had my parents called for parent-teacher conferences.
Teacher:"Well it seems young Geoffrey has a problem with authority..."
Dad:"No he doesn't."
Teacher:"Well he does things differently from the class and asks lots of questions..."
Mom:"Is he being disrespectful? Is he speaking out of turn? Has he said anything inappropriate?"
Mom:"Then I don't see the problem here, he's actually engaging in the learning process and he is doing everything we raised him to do, unless there is anything else I think we are done." (Thanks Mom and Dad)
My point in illustrating this is that it seems I was either at the beginning or the middle of this "Gimme" generation. This society is consistently catering to the lowest common denominator, restructuring ourselves so that we "don't leave anyone behind". What we are doing is dumbing and watering ourselves down. We are groomed to believe whatever information "They" force feed us.
And do you want to know the horrible truth? There is no "They". There's only us. Like some 70s robot dystopian film they make fun of on Family Guy, we are our own worst enemies. There is no massive conspiracy. All of the problems we have as a nation come from the fact that it is a nation governed by people. Slow, lazy, manipulative, self-centered people. Catering to and providing short term easy answers to slow, lazy, manipulative, self-centered people...and on and on the cycle goes.
Most people want to be chiefs but very few want to be the Indians. And that's just not how it works. The entire focus of our education system is to get us used to working in a post-industrial, service based economy, to expect someone else to do it for you. How can one expect to be a leader and also be provided for. Yet that is what most of our young people (and older people) want.
When I grew up, my parents said I could do anything I wanted to do with my life, as I'm sure most of yours did. My mother was hoping that I would grow up to want to be a scientist or a great artist, philosopher, professional intellectual, what have you. Sounds great on paper, but that's just not me. My dad always said it doesn't matter what you do, just do it well and be happy doing it. The world needs ditch-diggers, he always said. He never expounded but what he was saying was not everyone is going to be the CEO, not everyone is going to own a company, sometimes at the end of the day all you're going to have is the sweat on your brow and possibly the fruits of your labor. And that's okay. That's a good life, one well worth living, as long as you are happy doing it. Life is short, brutal, and inherently not fair...unless you choose to have some fun with it and be happy with who and what you are.
I'm constantly hearing the people around me ask themselves and one another what we are going to do. More precisely, ask what someone else is going to do about all the troubles we are in. You're going to get a thousand different answers and most of them aren't really going to be answers at all, it will be someone vomiting a world view that they think is the "right path".
I don't subscribe to any political views. I think if you start doing that you're missing the point entirely. But I do have two suggestions that I think would fundamentally change the world that we live in over time. There are no easy answers, anything that happens to us is going to be hard on us, but maybe with some hard work on the front end we can make our lives easier in generations to come (it's not going to happen but a guy can hope).
1) Ask "why?". Take a couple of extra seconds and actually think about every thing that people tell you. Why are they saying this, what do they have to gain from this, is what they are saying true, could there be something more to this, is this the best course of action, who will ultimately benefit from this, WHY DO THEY NEED MY HELP OR MY COMPLICITY IN THIS?
2) Don't be afraid to work hard.
As you start to question and stumble over finding the answers, there is your answer right there...oh wait, maybe this is flawed, what can we do about this? Then don't be afraid to work on it. Not every person can, needs to be, or wants to be an activist. It can be just as simple as creating change in the people around you by challenging them to ask questions. Fairly soon, with more and more people asking questions, you have a ton of people asking questions that are not getting answered, and hopefully a ton of people not afraid to work hard. Then what do you have?
(This message brought to you by me being tired of seeing political, moral, social, and cultural memes and "news" articles all over the damn place)
- Police Officer Geoff Betchel
I'd love to hear what you think. Maybe you think it's a worthy idea. Maybe you hate it. Maybe you want to share it, and spread it around. I think it's a fantastic idea, and I think it deserves to spread.
There is a beautiful vanity on the far side of the room, and a chaise lounge sits in front of the window to your right. There is a beautifully carved wicker bench at the foot of the bed, and the night stands frame the bed on either side. The only modern touch that you can see in here at first glance is the alarm clock. Again with the lighting fixtures. There is one on either side of the bed, with a proper lamp shade, topped with a small bird. The stem of the lamp attached to the wall appears to be a tree branch growing out of a brass broach mounted to the wall. On each night stand is a gorgeous lamp depicting a bird perched on the lamp, holding a smaller lamp. I'm sure there is some smart detail about this that makes the smaller lamp into a night light, but I didn't dare fiddle with it under the watchful eyes of our escorts. The carpet is a pattern of green leaves, with blue blossoms. The pattern isn't readily apparent - as with a good carpet, and the detail in it is enough to wander through for hours.
The details in the ceiling, again frame a stained glass lamp hanging at the foot of the bed, just clear of its canopy - which extends vertically to nearly touch the ceiling. The vanity has a jewel of a lamp; a decorative take on a banker's lamp, the bronze stem of which is a cat tail rising out of a pond, around which two colorful butterflies flit - one seems to hover in air, and the other has landed on the shade. The light from it exposes the beautiful carved details in the vanity, and the deep straight grain of the wood it is made from.
One thing that I was not able to capture effectively, was what happens when you're ready to go to bed.
In three of the rooms in the suite, Disney has added what they call a "Goodnight Kiss". An audio-visual lullaby that is built into the room itself. It was really impressive, looking around the room, trying to find the technology, but it was extremely well hidden. When the discrete button on the wall is pushed, the lights in the room dim, "Jungle Beat" from The Jungle Book plays, and a projection of winds across the water is shown on the walls. The painting above the bed comes to life with flowing water, and stars appear in the ceiling. Next to the bed, on the wall, is projected Peter Pan's cloud pirate ship in a full moon that wafts away with the end of the song.
It was such a beautiful place to be, but the tour didn't stop there. Next up, the gorgeous master bath, the sitting room, the kid's room, and the balcony overlooking the Rivers of America.. Stay tuned!
I've recently found myself in one of these life-changing moments, and am realizing that despite my ability to do so, and my love of being, or even becoming organized.. many aspects of my life are a mess. Layer upon layer of mess strewn over mess. This will not do.
From the very surface, organization is neat and tidy. I'm not so daft as to think that life is, or should be, or even can be put into a number of index cards, and shuffled about, or even with modern technology, stuffed into a database, all searchable, and indexed. However, I think many aspects of it can be. The challenge is figuring out how; the rules of how you categorize the things in your house or apartment, the tasks that you have to deal with on a regular basis, even the friends that you want to get together with for a drink, or to write a consoling letter. I think this is part of the thing that wasn't working for me.
I've cataloged my music at some great cost of time and energy. It's not hard to file papers, it just takes time. Even cleaning a house from top to bottom isn't tough, it takes a bit of muscle, and time, but it's not hard. The difficult thing is not the work, or even finding time to do it in, it's planning howto do it, and what to do with it. I have a system that's worked fairly well over the years for my music, and it takes some work, but again, it's worked for me. But I didn't just do it. I planned it. Perhaps the most frustrating part is trying to stick to it. Converting this into that, and cataloging it properly is a pain. But I can find what I want to when I want to without much searching. That's the payoff.
So, I wonder. If I can define a set of rules for many of the other things in my life, can I organize them much in the same way? Can I sort out the layers of mess, and make sense of it all? Is it worth it? Or is there something else more worthy of my time and attention?
Parking lot repaving: I was required a couple of weeks ago, to vacate the parking spot in my apartment complex by 6:45am, and was asked not to return until 7:00pm. Again, a couple of days later, the same thing. 24 hours out of the lot. In both notices, posted in my parking stall, there was a start time, and an end time. Yesterday, I was asked to vacate by 6:45am again. I came home to a closed gate, and driveways were taped off. I went to the grocery store on foot after parking my car in the remote lot that they suggested we use. I walk back with two arms full of groceries after 7:00pm to find that the gates were open, the tape was gone, and cars were parked inside. So I moved my car into my stall.
This morning I get a note, that I entered prematurely, and I am to be held partially responsible for any damage to the new paving job. o_O There was no return time posted on the last notice. I didn't open the gate, or move the tape, nor was I the first car back in the lot. How is this my fault?
But aside from what I guess I would classify as... passion?; there's really no harm in the Moon Hoax theories. Nobody died on the moon. Nobody died on the way there, or on the way back, though we did nearly lose a crew on Apollo 13, but that crew, at the moment is still alive. We must remember Grissom, Chaffee and White who were killed in an oxygen fire in their capsule during a dress rehearsal for the launch of Apollo 1, but they are rarely brought into the moon hoax discussions.
So, I was running through my Twitter timeline the other day, and someone was posting a conversation that they were having with a friend about the conspiracy theories surrounding the September 11th 2001 attacks on the WTC, the Pentagon and Flight 93, and it just plain angered me.
For every tragic event, the generation that experiences it, that event is cruelly burnt into their memory. My wife's Grandmother recalled not too long ago where she was and what she was doing when she heard the news that WWII was over. I bet she can give you even more detail about where she was on December 7th 1941.
I will forever remember exactly what I was doing, exactly where I was, and exactly what happened that morning. It only takes a moment of reflection for me to become enveloped in the pain and uncertainty of the day, and feel scared and isolated all over again, and I was on the West coast - nowhere near New York, and no one that I knew at the time were anywhere near New York that I knew of. I really didn't have any reason to be concerned for what was going on over there, other than the fact that I try to be a generally decent human being, and I kinda don't like it when tens--or hundreds of thousands of people lose their beloved mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, uncle, aunt, husband, wife or best friend. The fact that these people were simply removed from humanity in an instant is not something that should be made light of. Like in Star Wars when Ben Kenobi felt the pain of the people of Alderan crying out as their planet was destroyed, we all felt some sense of loss that day. We all know someone who was directly affected by the events of the day - someone who dropped their life to enlist in the military, or to go dig up rubble in New York. So, it makes no sense to me to mock this event with theories of conspiracy. It is insensitive, disrespectful, and inhumane.
But somewhere deep inside, I know that we're going to have to deal with this for the rest of our lives. There will always be someone, somewhere, that will find what they believe to be some nugget of truth in one of these fabrications because of their ignorance or some other infliction, and these ridiculous theories will somehow live on. If you are one of these people, and you want to live in denial, feel free; but do us all a favor, and for one day, put it to rest. You can have your arguments throughout the year if you so choose, but do this - on September 11th, simply remember. Be somber, and respectful of those who lost something that day. Have a moment of silence along with the decent people of the world, and remember the feelings of their families and friends - most of all, be respectful. Because no matter the reason, the loss is real, and it will forever hurt those that it has affected.
To not end this on a sour note, I thought it might be appropriate to share how I have chosen to remember since 2002:
It might help first, to know where I was and what I was doing. I was on my way to work from Rowland Heights to Glendale - I was on the 605N, just entering the transition road to the 210W. My routine was to listen to the local Alternative Rock radio station - 106.7 FM KROQ. That week, the personalities were on vacation, and they were re-running past shows. Their News man, Producer, and Showbiz reporter/man-at-hand were in studio to make sure everything ran smoothly, and they broke in on a commercial to inform their listeners what had happened, and what was happening.
Through Kevin and Bean weren't in the studio when it happened, on the anniversary, Kevin Ryder put together a clip montage to remember, and generously made it available for download to listeners. Since then, I have made it my memorial. Regardless of how I feel leading up to it, whenever I listen to it - well, it gets me every time.
Once again, we are going to attempt to drive up and view the launch from a location that is about as close as we can legally get.
I'm not going to tell you where I am going to be, and I can't promise that I'll get any media out of it, but I will try.
I am excited! This will be my first Atlas launch, and it will be the closest that I will have ever been to a real rocket launching.
Are you going to watch it? From where?
Understand what's going on here:
First off, it's only a 78' swatch down three major streets in the greater L.A. area, so they're not running into parks or apartment complexes to uproot random trees all across L.A.. Most of what will be cut down or removed are trees that reside in the MEDIAN OF THE STREET - surely you don't propose that these are great trees for shade, recreation, and having a nap under - at best, they dampen some sound. I have also learned that several areas along the route are sue to be construction zones soon, and many of these trees were to be uprooted anyway. Additionally, the city of Inglewood is not in favor of keeping the species that is currently planted, and when the trees are replaced, they will be replaced with a different species. I have heard that only 10% of the trees being uprooted are actually being destroyed. Take a look at the route, seriously, there's three major streets that this thing is traveling down, and all three of them at some point have a median that has trees planted in it - all but maybe 5-6 trees are relatively small, and relatively young anyway - it's really not as big a deal as news sources seem to be making it out to be.
Dis-assembly of the shuttle is prohibited by the terms laid out by NASA in the acquisition process of the disused Shuttles. It would also be nearly impossible to reassemble the Shuttle once it is taken apart, and ensure its structural stability for the rest of its life. When I was at the California Science Center, they said that they intend for the permanent installment of the Shuttle to be structurally sound for the next 250 years. It is the responsibility of the organization awarded the Shuttle to arrange for transportation and storage - which has to be environmentally controlled - which, for example, is why Enterprise, on the deck of the USS Intrepid in New York is in a blow-up cocoon rather than just being out in the open - even though it is a temporary storage location. The same is true with Endeavour at the California Science Center; a temporary shelter was constructed from the ground-up, at considerable expense, which is to be climate controlled--which is expensive; it protects the orbiter from rain, and sun. And when the final display facility is constructed, and Endeavour is moved to that location, there will have to be sacrifices made there as well. Endeavour is going to be displayed in its launch configuration with two Shuttle SRBs that have already been moved from Florida to Edwards AFB for temporary storage, and an External Tank that the science center is going to have made specifically for display purposes (probably with some interior space for displays or education).
From the California Science Center's website regarding dis-assembly:
"Is Endeavour going to be moved from Lax to the Science Center in one piece?
"Yes, we want Endeavour to be as close as possible to its post-flight condition immediately following touchdown from its last mission. Removing either the wings or the tail would destroy the protective tiles on the vehicle as these are very fragile. Even if the tiles could be removed and replaced, NASA cannot safely separate and reattach the wings or the tail without the infrastructure that is provided in the orbiter processing facility, meaning that the vehicle could not be reassembled if it were taken apart."
The media seriously needs to stop with the headline sensationalism, and present the whole story - and when you see something that upsets you - go dig a little, and see if it really is what you think. Better yet - stand up to the incorrect source and hold them accountable for their misinformation.