Saturday, June 19, 2010

Situation in the Gulf

I have waited quite some time to comment on the situation in the Gulf. I wanted to develop a solid opinion on what is going on. At first it was annoyance with oil drilling in general then it was some sort of "who's fault is this" and then it went to panic and how do we stop this mess. That was the way I processed this incident. I think the media processed it in much the same way but on more regular intervals and putting emphasis on the blame as that sells. Ultimately, I think the situation in the gulf really shows the problem with our country right now. It also shows the impact the media has on who ultimately takes the heat for an incident like this. I've seen and heard many friends rip into BP for their part and demand a ban on BP gasoline from anyone who would listen.

Now for my stance which will certainly bring a few boos from the onlookers. I don't think it's entirely BPs fault. Nor do I think a ban on BP gas stations makes a ton of sense. I think they were criminal in their lazy procedures and attempts and clean up.

The bigger question to me is this. Why in the world would we allow any oil company to drill to a depth that we could not control safely. This has nothing to do with BP this is a comment on government and regulation. Here is my question to anyone reading to hopefully portray my stance. What if we had three oil rigs from three different companies that have a similar incident in along our coast at the same time? Would we be entering facebook comments to say ban the three companies? Possibly, but more importantly why did our government and the regulators and inspectors allow this to happen at all? Without the understanding of how to prevent leaks of this proportion beforehand what made us think this disaster wouldn't happen in the first place. In fact it is probably inevitable and most likely will happen again until we can figure out a prevention plan.

To think that our current and past president have no obligation to monitor such potential disasters is absurd. To think that they shouldn't have stepped in with the U.S. government is insane. The fact that the media is starting to get bored with the fact that the economy and wildlife are decimated in the region and that it's somehow more interesting to see the head of BP sweat is well our current biased media that we have come to know and not trust at all.

Why we have accepted the idea that because they failed for a week or two to plug a leak and think it's okay to wait MONTHS for relief wells is beyond me. They should be trying new and old techniques daily until the thing gets plugged. I'm pretty sure anything is better than the loads of nothing they are doing right now. We are currently at 90-151 million gallons.

When this mess started happening I was at the FDA with an M.D. and I asked him what can we do to stop a mess like this. This M.D. who likes to dabble in physics in his free time simply said well a nuclear device is the only thing I could think of quickly. I looked at him and laughed and said REALLY, and he just said well you'd melt the opening and would be sure of a closure and would have to deal with cleanup for a few years. I thought to myself at the time that's nuts. Currently the estimates of cleanup are around 30 years until recovery and growing. Now i'm starting to think that idea doesn't seem so wild considering the lack of concern these days to plug the leak and the larger concern to make sure someone burns at the stake for this prior to plugging the leak.

So back to my initial point. This is modern day U.S.A., rule #1 if the government has the media in it's pocket then the media will attempt to put the blame on a rich non-government official. If the media hates the government, then it's the presidents fault. Rule #2, if the population does not seem to relate to the media's view, then we will show sad pictures of animals next to the headlines to support the stance of the media to get public outcry. Rule #3 make sure someone pays for this horrible on and so on rule #(N) where N is some number unknown to anyone but certainly large in value Fix the problem.

It's frustrating at the thought process here. If the government and the company both think in terms of the casual onlooker then we are in bad shape. Their stance should have always been cleanup and fix and should always be that way. The blame and axe can come after the fix and during the cleanup since everybody is to blame.

Finally, since this has been a lengthy blog, where is the international community and the U.N.? I mean I am an American and the last thing I would want is some sort of penalty or sanction against my country but why should the international community sit back and allow any single country to kick out so much pollution in a short matter of time? The U.S. specifically should be penalized for such a large scale environmental mishap. To think that other neighboring countries will not feel the effects of this would be surprising.

Well i'm sure i'll be back once the well has leaked itself empty or in a month or two when the relief wells are dug and they go back to trying to cap this smaller leak.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reflection on Understanding

Well, coming down with one heck of a nasty cold/sinus infection has driven me to blog. That's okay because i've had a lot on my mind in the last month so it's good to have a forum to let it out.

I will just put down some things that I have learned or have been thinking about recently.

I'll start off with a general statement of truth.

One of the most important things to never lose track of, is that no matter what happens in life, it is absolutely critical to move forward.

This of course is applicable to learning of any kind, self growth, exploration, and really anything in life including love and the pursuit of happiness. It's the stagnant times in life that cause people to dwell too deeply on reflection. Reflection and remembrance are important for growth as well but to proceed without moving forward means risking bitterness, anger, and/or resentment instead of innovation, release, and forgiveness.

I have always realized this but growing our minds via culture is absolutely crucial and judgment of those that are unfamiliar is the practice of the naive and uneducated. It amounts to fear of the unknown and the unwillingness to grow and learn.

You can never go wrong if you follow what you know to be right. The immediate results may not be what you want but given time, the consistent practice of what is right will provide you with what you need.

When it comes to relationships, i'm convinced that unless a person can let go of past negativity and learn while moving forward. That person will never be successful with moving forward and often are doomed to repeat the lessons that they did not learn until either they understand, learn, and progress or come to stopping point.

Often, if situations do not feel correct, they are often not and it's best to attempt to resolve them or move on.

Finally, sometimes as with colds, in life you can prepare and do everything in your power to avoid those rough patches but generally tough/challenging times come anyway and they do not go until they have run their course. Just realize that these challenges are a part of life. You prepare to the best of your ability and then just settle in. Sometimes that by having a longer cold that has to run it's course we are forced to relax and focus on bettering ourselves.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Arts Scramble and Explosion

It must be that time of the year again. The weather starts to warm up and suddenly the social calendars in the independent weekly and all similar papers across the nation expand in dramatic fashion.

I personally love it and often find myself getting sucked into it. I'll provide a few recent and near future examples of some things that I have either been to or plan on visiting. Just the tip of the iceberg really. There is so much more to come through summer and then a gradual fading in the fall to repeat the cyclic pattern. There is also so much more that I don't make it to. I know people that have gone to two or three different music festivals in the last week that clearly shows there are a ton of things out there to choose from.

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, Silk Hope, NC (near Pittsboro)

This festival ranges from Thursday 4/22 through Sunday 4/25. I went to see Rusted Root and Big Al and the Marching Rams. It's mostly a bluegrassy meets tribal meets jazzy type of thing. Definitely a love mother earth type of vibe and a few local vendors with self made art, pottery, candles, and various collectibles surround the grounds. Also some public awareness booths on conservation and various go green types of informational pamphlets. You can go to camp or to just visit for an evening. The camping seems to be like a great idea if you want to spend an entire weekend becoming completely immersed in the whole Shakori Vibe. If not then just pick a day/night and get a smaller taste of the festival.

I can personally say that I loved it. Of course I had some great company so I was probably destined to have a great time anyway. Rusted Root was incredible live and as darkness set in, the festival really came to life. Seriously, the experience was great. The festival provided a great sense of openness. I didn't feel like I was at just a concert. At this place people were just enjoying themselves and being content with the various music and art elements on display. Very laid back and all around a great time. I'll be back next year for sure.

(Found the above pic. Not Something I took. Really captures the nightly experience)

North Carolina Museum of Art - New Expansion of Art, Raleigh, NC

The NC Museum of art in Raleigh just expanded its collection to include a new 127,000 square foot building with plenty of amazing art. Everything from Rodin sculptures and sculpture gardens to modern and contemporary art exhibits all accentuated using natural light in a living building that adjusts to provide the appropriate lighting. This is definitely a must see for anyone that likes any kind of art at all. I could and probably should have written an entire blog around my short but great trip to the museum on opening weekend.

Some art that stood out for me is as follows:
Doors of Jerusalem parts I, II, & III by Jaume Plensa

Please take the link above to read more but I pulled an excerpt from it that identifies the sculpture and what is going on in the artists mind.

"The sculptural surface is “tattooed” with words—or as Plensa describes them
“an extension of our bodies, [intended] to expand our thoughts and ideas to the external world.” Plensa’s chosen text is an excerpt from the Old Testament Song of Solomon in which a woman runs the walls of Jerusalem tirelessly searching for her beloved. She dreams and imagines love as a door in the wall. The artist muses that “[p]erhaps this wall is another metaphor for the body and the doors another metaphor for the soul. Dream and desire melted in the prison of the heart.”

Pretty incredible and this is just the entrance!

Also my favorites(based on my quick scramble) include the Rodin sculptures, what looks to be a rock structure pulled from the earth but is in fact created from smaller wood blocks (pictured below), the picasso located in the modern art section, and the video capture of a computerized tree over a year time span fast forwarding on the wall near the gift shop.

As I can tend to get carried away, I will just list a few more places I will be and I will just need to blog about those once they pass.

Jazz Festival, New Orleans, LA
I'm not sure how much I will be able to take advantage of this. I will be down in New Orleans at a conference which tend to take up almost my entire time available in either preparation or attendance to various events. While I am there, the Jazz festival will be occurring so here's hoping that I can get out one evening and take advantage of being in the birthplace where much of the music we listen to today originates whether we all realize it or not.

Wicked, Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), Durham, NC

What can I say, I have been excited about this for quite some time. Again, will have great company and great seats. Lots of good reviews from others that have seen this and I simply can't wait. I'll be going on May 1 immediately after returning from New Orleans.

American Dance Festival (ADF), Durham, NC

Although this isn't happening until June and July, it's some of the best dance in the nation and it happens in Durham! Tickets go on sale in May. Definitely worth getting this on the calendar.

Well, more to come. Feel free to shoot me some great concerts and venues and i'll see if I can visit and blog them as well.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Darn you I-PRODUCTS!!!!

I have always rebelled against main stream i-product purchases. I just never understood it. I-phone, I-pad, I-pod,.....I-soldout. It's true, I was tired of being the only person on trips or here there and wherever without some tunes in my ear.

I found a site that was selling pretty much all of the ipod products from 2-15 bucks with exception of the IPAD which was closer to 100 but still much cheaper than anywhere else. So I thought I would move past using the radio and being void of music at work and when I exercise to join everyone else that sold out for I-products. My after thoughts.....why did I sell out and what happened to Apple people?

I mean Apple people are supposed to be the artsy independent types that don't sell out for the next popular thing. Instead apple actually managed to get that type of personality to follow a main stream and become canned products like the rest of us. Cattle in a cattle line waiting for the next I-best thing. Notice that I associate myself with the people that traditionally sell out. I like gadgets. I can admit it. It's just that when gadgets make us all...well....dumber. When we have items that we no longer understand how they work and just assume they should, then I get a little concerned that we are being force fed stuff we don't need. Thus the reason why I will never buy a MAC/Apple computer.

Take the I-PAD for example. What's the hype about? I mean it really doesn't do anything. It is a glorified netbook. If you are even looking at the I-pad then you probably already have a phone that is capable of 90% of the I-pads abilities. You pay monthly for that, why pay monthly to have a kindle which is cheaper and has no monthly fee?

Why...well I know why. Americans have felt the need for two things.
1) The need for the latest and the greatest gadget. I mean don't we all start thinking around birthdays and christmas what the latest gadget is for some guy or gal in our lives? I'm pretty sure we all do.

2) The need to be different. The "Man" is out there and we don't want to succumb to being forced into anything. We want to be unique. All of us. So unique that we will all follow the other unique people into buying the same thing even if it's just a waste of money. Thus blindly doing what we didn't want to do in the first place. Oh that "man" is a tricky fella.

Ultimately, I think many of us don't have the cash or more likely the free time to go doing the things that we truly want to do like head to europe for months at a time. So we occupy our lives on a monthly level with gadgetry in a hope that somehow the next latest gadget will compensate and hold us over until we actually go out and accomplish that fantasy dream that we really wanted to do all along. Alas, big business figures us out and many will visit the ipod store this year instead of going traveling and a few unlucky folks will never accomplish doing their dreams but will probably obtain an entire room of I-products and 100's of dollars in monthly charges that we will continue to wonder what were we thinking. I-guess we weren't (thinking that is).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Census

I just filled out the Census. I don't know why I thought that it had some actual content to it. Maybe it is all of the advertisements stating that by filling out the Census our local areas are able to get more money and account for everyone. I don't really know what I expected but I can say what I received. A survey asking how many people live in my house. Oh and what race am I. Yep that's it. It cost billions of dollars for the government to send out a bunch of forms asking those questions. Yikes. What a waste. I did think about filling out a bunch of extra names just for kicks since there is no agreement that states I was honestly filling it out. Then I thought "oh well", checked my boxes and wondered (I didn't even get the 1 buck that other more relevant surveys give out....what a rip off). So here's hoping that filling out a form stating what they had to of already known to get it to me in the first place meant something.