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I think the spice of life should be cinnamon - Tactical Ninja

Jul. 12th, 2011

09:42 am - I think the spice of life should be cinnamon

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Every winter I have a morning when I wake up at 5:45 in the dark and the cold and I think about getting up and going to work, and there's this weird *flex* that happens in my head as I stare down the barrel of another 25 years of this - and I find myself wondering how the hell we ended up in this artificial situation, doing things that feel unnatural and repetitive, swapping the lion's share of our life for money. Then I get up and get dressed and get on the train and go to work because, what else would I do?

This morning was that morning.


OK first to the poll. Yesterday I asked about this sign:



meesto wins the prize for actually knowing what it means - it's the international sign to warn about carcinogen hazards. However, some of the answers were pretty imaginative and so I've selected a few so we can vote for the NEW meaning of this sign. Have a poll:


Poll #1760991 The Great Sign Poll of 2011

Which of these ~should~ the above sign signify?

Warning: inhaling fairy dust may cause googly-eyes! by vernacularity
5(25.0%)
Caution: Ninja Throwing Stars ahead! by saltdawg
1(5.0%)
Particle accelerator will cause you to be dispersed across multiple dimensions! by ferrouswheel
4(20.0%)
Temporal Anomaly Zone: full of stars; may cause seeing through time. by "morbid_curious
4(20.0%)
Warning: do not huff the sparkleponies! by rivet
6(30.0%)


Tick the one you think is most appropriate and at the end there'll be a winner who's actually winning and if it's ferrouswheel I will give him a prize. ;-)

OK down to srs bsns. What's up with the cops lately? First there was the Tiki Taane incident, in which the ex-Salmonella Dub frontman was arrested in a club for performing a version of the "Fuck the Police" protest rap while police were in the club. Apparently this was 'disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence'. Weirdly, it didn't cause any violence from anyone other than the police.

Then there was the Arie Smith-Voorkamp incident, in which Arie, who has Asperger's, was caught taking light fittings from a damaged house after the Christchurch earthquake in February. He was constructed as 'the face of looting' and elbowed in the face by police as part of his arrest. While it's his first offence and obviously not a case of some arsehole stealing food from a homeless family or expensive electronics from a damaged shop (ie, real looting) - and therefore under normal circumstances would be given diversion - the police have refused diversion twice and are pressing for trial by jury. It's commonly believed that this is because Arie spoke up about being beaten up by the cops. Yes, this travesty is being paid for by the taxpayer, why do you ask?

And this morning I found out about the Billy McKee incident, in which an amputee who lobbies for medical marijuana to be permitted in New Zealand has been arrested, and now the cops are trying to shut down the Green Cross website. Not a lot is known about this but unless the site is breaking the law, I believe the police have no right to silence voices that advocate for the decriminalisation of cannabis?

These are matters of concern to me, and while I know enough to realise that my perception that there's been an increase in this type of censorship-by-policing may not be accurate, it does seem that our cops are getting worse. Anyone else noticed this?

(I'm also aware that the sort of things described above wouldn't even be news in some other countries - that's kind of my point. NZ is a country where bad behaviour by the police is still newsworthy and I'd like it to stay that way)


Yesterday was my first lecture for Social Movements. I have to write 2 x 4000-word essays for this one, each on a social movement of my choice. Things that interest me so far:

The impact of internet communication on the Egypt uprising and state response.
Slutwalk as a grassroots movement in which most of the work/discussion has taken place online.
The Springbok tour, the protests and the impact it had on both domestic and international policy.
The advent of Anonymous.

Also, my lecturer has a well-projected voice and I found myself covering my left ear for most of the lecture because it hurts. It's frustrating because even though it seems ultra-sensitive to certain frequencies, it doesn't actually hear them - just causes me discomfort. I'd like to be able to unplug the cable to my ear and just use the one that works, and stop with the ringing and the vibrating and the "EH WHAT?" and the fucking vertigo. Plz to be developing the technology kthxbye.

Today I started taking the flax seed oil and fish oil and using eye drops in preparation for lasering in 2 weeks' time. I R EXCITE.

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:July 11th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)
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Because this is Wellington.
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From:vernacularity
Date:July 12th, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)
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same reason this one does :-)

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From:ferrouswheel
Date:July 11th, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC)
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It was mutated by carcinogens obviously ;-)
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From:t_c_da
Date:July 11th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
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I still clearly recall a local gendarme saying to me, while we parent assisted at a school camp, that the police only have one rule in a fight - "we win". This would have been 25 years or so ago, and their attitudes don't appear to have changed much in the intervening years...
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From:rantydave
Date:July 11th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
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We ended up swapping the lions share of our lives for money because we wanted things. Cars, houses etc. We also discovered economies of scale and specialisation of labour which is to say that we each end up doing just one tiny weeny proportion of the overall job. This is necessary unless you want to spend a few hours in the evening knocking up a microprocessor.

What I don't understand is how it ended up being so *much* of our lives. I think it's partially the expectation that we should, driving things like house prices and the expectation that if you want to live amongst people ... you pay to live in town, rather than heading off a building another one (which is what used to happen). I think the fact that we want this lifestyle to continue without going to work for the first and last twenty years of our lives probably doesn't help either. And while a certain proportion is lost to inefficient government I think it's safe to say that most of what the government does - building hospitals, staffing schools, stopping the unemployed from going all Charles Dickens on us - are things that we're actually quite happy to pay for.

But it does bother me. The forces of competition mean that things are designed to break every one-three years and an efficient society would pay twice as much for something that lasts a lifetime. And while the gap between rich and poor is still unacceptably large at least we don't quite have the explicit return to serfdom they're seeing in the US.

Not quite.
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From:tatjna
Date:July 11th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
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Thing is, even to live off the land in a mostly-self-sufficient style, one has to own the land*. I know this cos of my lernins because I spent a large part of my twenties trying to do exactly that on leased land.

I ended up moving to Wellington to try and earn enough money so that I could buy a bit of land to live on, after which I'd only need to work a bit to stay afloat.

* I believe ownership of the means of production is the basis of capitalism, and while I don't own it (in this case land), I have to sell my life in chunks for money to pay for my existence. My thoughts listed above always end up in 'fuck capitalism' and then I go to work.
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From:t_c_da
Date:July 11th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
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PTerry has Sam Vines musing on this topic when he observes that the rich pay AM$100 for a pair of boots that will last a decade or two, whereas the poor pay AM$10 for a pair that wear out in 6 months because that is all they can afford, and so end up paying two or three times what the rich pay for the same end result...

My father always bought good quality stuff, which is why I still have the still working 3/8" power drill & stand he bought when I was in high school (>40 years ago).
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:July 12th, 2011 01:38 am (UTC)
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I am a fan of buying quality but not necessarily luxury. Even if it means less of other stuff. I'm very wary of buying the cheapest option.

I enjoy having quality things, particular if they are things I use a lot. Like keyboards and monitors, and computers generally. Or shoes.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:July 12th, 2011 03:51 am (UTC)
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Also, thinking about it this way, I'm a lot happier to spend money on my body... whether for healthy food, doctors, dentists etc. Since it's the only body I've got (right now) and I use it pretty much all the time.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:July 11th, 2011 11:05 pm (UTC)
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I am scared of spending my life just swapping my time for money. I want whatever I'm doing to be fun or have meaning. But as I've discovered, even fun things can start feeling like work, especially if you are forced into a routine of always having to work on the same thing, or if you have to regularly collaborate with people that you wouldn't choose to except for the fact you're in the same workplace.

I think you should write about Anonymous, but that's only because I wouldn't mind writing about them.

P.S. readers, please vote for me. I like prizes.
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From:tatjna
Date:July 11th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
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I will probably give you a prize even if the sparkleponies head you off at the pass, because I like giving you prizes.

Anonymous is interesting because it defies many of the 'rules' of social movements (as I learned them in lecture 1 yesterday), while at the same time encompassing a whole lot of the tenets of resistance. And the 'only on the internet' angle is fascinating. It'd be an ambitious project but this lecturer is the one that gave me an A+ for doing primary research for a 2nd-year paper - I get the impression she likes ambitious.
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From:vernacularity
Date:July 12th, 2011 12:27 am (UTC)
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i have also been spending a lot of time thinking on this whole wage slavery thing, sumblimation of personality, etc, and it's quite serendipitous to be coming across it all of a sudden in other places.

eg: that latest pictures for sad children: http://picturesforsadchildren.com/index.php?comicID=389

and I was reading pearls before swine today for the first time in a loooooong time, and clicked backwards through to:

http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2011/06/05



my plan is to win lotto, I am that unique.

it helps knowing I could either sell my house and have a few hundred K in my pocket and be free of the burden of responsibility for the home, or sell my shares and pay off all the rest of my house and be free of the burden of requiring a job that pays enough to pay mortgage (though a couple of flatmates would probabyl also sort that one out) but... yeah maybe its just the middle of winter.....
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From:tatjna
Date:July 12th, 2011 12:30 am (UTC)
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For me, the unnatural feeling of getting out of bed at 6am in the dark is the catalyst, so about this far into winter is when it's piled up enough to pierce my fog. And also hearing my brother talk about early retirement the other day.
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From:vernacularity
Date:July 12th, 2011 01:02 am (UTC)
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for me the big thing is "and then what?"

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From:ferrouswheel
Date:July 12th, 2011 01:40 am (UTC)
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My dream is to just spend my time building things that I want to build. Software, electronics, even buildings. But I'm a long way from that point in my life.
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From:tatjna
Date:July 12th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
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I have a List. Somewhere on it is Breeding The Better Sheep.
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From:polychrome_baby
Date:July 12th, 2011 12:42 am (UTC)

Re: wage slave

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My own special "thing" that I find meaning in is connecting to others. I mean, for me, that's it. If I had the time and money, I would have been inclined to become a counselor. Which would have been absolutely horrible for me, honestly.
So, working any service industry job works, any retail job where I am selling something I believe in (like books), and really, what I'm doing - being a SAH mother, work very well for me.
I also find a lot of joy and meaning in painting and writing.

The messed up think about me is that I find joy and meaning just about anywhere. I can understand how people wouldn't think it's messed up, but it means I have very little ambition.
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From:tatjna
Date:July 12th, 2011 01:42 am (UTC)

Re: wage slave

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Nah, I get it. I spent several years getting joy and meaning from cutting the shit off sheep's arses.

But my natural wake-up time is about an hour after the sun comes up and getting up in the dark in the middle of winter exacerbates the feeling of unnaturalness related to the concept of selling my life in chunks for money.
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From:polychrome_baby
Date:July 12th, 2011 02:14 am (UTC)

Re: wage slave

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For me, there is this sense of adventure in being awake an hour or two before sunrise. I can't begin to explain it. There's a bit of a feeling of... owning the world all to myself?

My own natural inclinations are to wake up somewhere around 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and stay awake until 3 or 4 in the morning, though. :/ This is not suitable to near any lifestyle.
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From:tatjna
Date:July 12th, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)

Re: wage slave

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Clearly your ideal job is to own a bar!

Actually given what I know of you you'd probably be quite good at it. ;-)
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From:polychrome_baby
Date:July 12th, 2011 03:19 am (UTC)

Re: wage slave

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Oh yes. It is something I would enjoy... mostly. Unfortunately, my father is a scotch-whiskey alcoholic (a bottle a day since I was at least... 5?), and the smell of scotch-whiskey is a fairly bad trigger for me. I doubt I could avoid it working in a bar. :/

So, except for the alcohol, bartending would be ideal for me. That sounds facetious, but no, really.
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From:bekitty
Date:July 12th, 2011 03:03 am (UTC)
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If I ever win Lotto, I'm going to buy a full tank of petrol for the car. And then, if there's any money left over, maybe an ice-cream.

BTW I totally agree that the spice of life should be cinnamon. I'm cooking two things right now, and there's cinnamon in both of them.
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From:heartofawarrior
Date:July 12th, 2011 06:26 am (UTC)
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Trying not to go off the deep end with it, but having watched a gigantor documentary last night on the Third Reich, news of police misconduct pokes my brain a little differently today. And I'm becoming increasingly thankful that I decided not to go into law enforcement, in spite of what I got my degree in. I can see where a lot of incidents come from - for example, the "police brutality" cases that tend to occur after high-speed chases, especially where the suspect is known to be armed, or wanted for major offenses; it's amazing what adrenaline will do to the strength of the officer hauling the suspect out of the car. It's not necessarily RIGHT, but it's logical.

Some of the other cases, though? Those just make me sit back and go "what. the. fuck?!", and then I remember that a lot of the problem lies in how these officers are educated, both before they reach the academy, and while they're in it. While I was aiming more towards the paralegal sort of thing, the administration of justice major I was in was pretty much geared as preparation for the police academy - required courses included "Principles & Procedures Of The Justice System", "Criminal Investigation" and a course on police report writing. In theory, it's a fantastic primer for what's covered in the academy - in fact, it's said that the academy instructors can tell who's taken Aubrey Parrott's police report writing class, because they've never had someone complete that class and then go on to suck at report writing at the academy.

However...

Given the, for lack of a better word, quality of students in this major, I am SERIOUSLY worried about the pool of applicants that police departments have to choose from. And I think I've discovered why a lot of the departments around here seem to have scraped the bottom of the barrel - San Jose PD is one of the highest-paid departments in the country (they MIGHT be 2nd only to NYPD, but I wouldn't quote me on it. It's been awhile.), and they're fantastic... but the other departments, well. Pay peanuts, you get monkeys. And that's where a lot of problems start.
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From:malach
Date:July 13th, 2011 07:04 am (UTC)
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Re: the first paragraph, I recommend reading a book called "The Monk and the Riddle" - http://www.amazon.com/Monk-Riddle-Education-Silicon-Entrepreneur/dp/1578511402 Ignore the 'silicon valley' part of the subtitle, it's really not that relevant.

For me, it was something of a life changer.
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From:wildilocks
Date:July 14th, 2011 10:03 am (UTC)
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I couldn't vote in the poll because there was no option D) All of the above ;)

I am sick of capitalism too. My 20's consisted largely of managing to avoid it quite gregariously and living a carefree nomadic life, my 30's have ridden a wave up it in a similar attempt to get my own bit of Land or similar... and now I'm knowledgeable enough about the economy and peak everything that I'm terrified as the wave looks to about to crash in variable speeds and times all around the world, cos in some places it already seems to be beginning.

Doom, it's what's for breakfast!
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