Hi. I’ve been paying attention to Occupy Wall Street. This evening, I had a chat with my girlfriend about the spontaneous eruption of democracy that is Occupy Wall Street. We had an idea I have to share with the rest of the 99% out there.
We create a new party where candidates agree to a much more specific job role during their political term. They would agree to:
- Inform the public of their progress as real time as possible. For example: live stream all meetings, post materials related to all votes, post video updates multiple times a day, etc.
- Vote on all issues using popular vote. Use some yet-to-be-built voting platform to collect votes from anyone who wishes to cast a vote. Something as reliable as Reddit or Digg is enough, and I have no doubt we could build something significantly better. I want to see something completely open source and distributed in nature.
Here’s a thought to all those feeling in alignment with #OccupyWallStreet, but not currently actively involved: If something is keeping you from occupying Wall Street, consider detaching from Wall Street instead.
First, leave your bank for a local credit union. Credit unions are owned by their members and are not-for-profit organizations.
Second, spend locally. Buy local food. Consider trades people in your social network. Look for privately owned businesses or co-ops. Think about where you do business.
I’m sure there are a lot more ways of detaching from Wall Street… and I think detaching could make for a powerful change.
I just had another discussion about the amount of media attention (or lack there of) the Occupy Wall Street protest was seeing. There have been slews of reports that Twitter may be blocking the trending topic. I just did the most basic of tests. I searched over and over again for both #OccupyWallStreet as well as many of the current trending topics. Over and over again, it seemed clear to me that #OccupyWallStreet was experiencing far more posts than any of the trending topics… by a considerable margin. Check out the post times in the following image capture:
I laid down new flooring. Currently I have bed liner coating against the metal, a foam later next, wood on top of the foam, and finally a vinyl mat on top. Ultimately, I’ll lay carpet in key areas. This is the single biggest improvement in sound dampening yet.
Did you know kids don’t use email? They say they prefer social media and txt messages. The other day I opened up Pidgin for the first time in a while and realized that I haven’t added any “new” contacts in years. I barely write to my own blog and have failed to visit my RSS feed reader in a very long time.
Meanwhile, I use Facebook on a daily basis. Sometimes I keep tabs on my mobile. My problem with Facebook has recently become what my problem on MySpace used to be. I don’t like the software. I want something very different. I stay for two reasons. First, I know a lot of people who are active on Facebook. Second, I haven’t found an alternative I would want to encourage my friends to join.
The recent closure of Internet connectivity in Egypt during the revolution sends a strong message about ownership of the Internet. Ownership should be distributed. The tool that replaces Facebook should be distributed. Diaspora perhaps?
It’s really pretty simple. If we the people can hang on to the Internet – even if it means building our own – then we stand a chance. Otherwise, nothing changes from the way things have been for thousands of years. This is about to become very important.
And I remember these two things… The project called Phoenix and that song Center of the Sun. The cleansing fire may have been the best solution, but I never thought my soul would burn. The Phoenix is not known for compassion nor apathy, just fire.
My dad is the one who I first heard quote that silly Sci Fi movie, Galaxy Quest. He would pop off around the house with, “never give up, never surrender!” When my last long term girlfriend and I were first getting to know each other, I found out she was a GQ fan. I felt right at home. It would seem, however, that we came from opposite sides of the universe when it comes to our understanding of “surrender”.
My father wasn’t much of a “dad” to me in the traditional sense. We never played ball, he didn’t attend any of the my extracurricular activities, etc. If it wasn’t for my brothers, I might not have learned to ride a bike. When it finally came time for the birds and the bees conversation, dad seemed really nervous about it. The memory still makes me laugh a bit.
However, my old man was an amazing father. As a provider and a protector, he took care of his family. He was doing really well for himself in the 80s and decided to go into business for himself. Some bad timing and the total collapse of the oil industry put him into severe debt. My father never took the self pity path, he just got to work. Before he started his own company, he was already the fancy exec as well as company pilot. After his own company failed, the next job he landed was as a fuel truck driver. He worked hard, very hard, to rebuild his career and take care of his family. He took his trashed credit rating, bruised ego, and worked his way to a point where he and my mother are now retired to a beach front home in Mexico.
My dad is a hero to me in this way. It was only more recently that I realized what a hero my mother is as well. I do remember them fighting a bit during the hard times, but they saw it all through. My father grew up without a father, he had no real role model. He left home when he was 16 to escape his abusive mother. To put it lightly, my father wasn’t always the best at being sensitive. Still, through feast and famine, my mother stuck by his side. I know she struggled at times. She went from fancy diamond rings to raising chickens in the back yard so we could survive off of eggs. She could have left, she could have looked for another man. She didn’t, she just jumped in and got her hands dirty too. They’re approaching 40 years of marriage together now.
Everyone likes to talk about what a problem attachment can be. Sure, you could say that my parents are very codependent. (Don’t tell my father that, he won’t like it much.) On the flip side, if you were witness to my life growing up, you could find many brilliant examples of how powerful a dedicated couple can be. My family built the home we lived in through my high school years. My parents lived in that home for over 15 years. We built that home from scratch, all by ourselves. To be completely fair, an extended family member was involved. My mother’s brother Tommy built and installed our kitchen cabinets.
Through thick and thin, my parents never gave up, they never surrendered. I took their bond for granted. I am now 34 years old and am taking on life independently. At least this time I am fortunate in that I’m sharing a living situation with some amazing house mates who feel like family. Maybe there’s a lesson here I have yet to learn before I’ll be ready to meet my own life long partner…
Sometimes it’s too much to ask for any of it to make sense. Sometimes you try to write it down as quickly as you can. Then you hesitate… and it’s gone.
Everything I received, I asked for.
Thousands of voices are telling me what not to do.
Please, universe, send a little light of guidance?
Unless… I’m seeing it…
I fell in love with her when she walked into the room. She inspired me to learn to liquid dance that night, just from the way she used her hands. She was the most intensely beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Normally I would have been scared to talk to her, but I wasn’t in my right mind that night. I asked her out and she said yes.
I brought her flowers on our first date. Turns out, she had a thing for orchids. I introduced her to sushi that night. I even remember the waitress. I used the perks of my job to impress her. I had a parking pass and access to a private basement arcade complete with a soda fountain. I knew she was the one when I heard her get all 4 ghosts in Miss Pacman. We had Amy’s ice cream. I had chocolate and she had vanilla with strawberries chopped in. While we walked down the street, I bumped her lightly with my shoulder. She asked if I did it because I wanted to touch her. I said yes. That night, she kissed me.
I don’t believe I had ever been so happy in my life. The rest of the story you’ll need to ask me in person… It becomes a complicated tragedy.
That was a decade ago. In March of this year, during a trial separation from her husband, all alone, Megan took her own life.
We had no friends in common. I was contacted by a stranger on Facebook who knew her well. He told me about the story of our first date in surprising detail. He was the only person with which I’ve been able to commiserate. He became the only other person I know who understands what made her so beautiful. In his own words, “she was pure light.”
I still have pieces of her artwork tucked away in a box. Tonight I looked at some photos from the last time I saw her (one is attached to this post). I thought about parts of our story I’ve avoided for a very long time. I’ve tried to write a blog post about her countless times during these past 6 months. I haven’t been able to finish one. Megan was always someone I could talk to. She was a true confidant. We’d often chat for hours every day, for months at a time. We had a very deep connection.
The whole of what’s happened in my life since her death is difficult for me to comprehend. I’ve changed my mind about how I’m living my life entirely. I’ve realized more options in life than I thought possible. I’ve started seeing people in different ways. I’ve realized things about myself.
However, in these past 6 months, I’ve also lost my job and my girlfriend. The job loss was unrelated. I’m not so sure about the girlfriend. My first date with that girlfriend was as beautiful, powerful, and unique as the one with Megan. For a year and a half, we made beautiful memories together. She’s gone from my life as well, she will not talk to me or see me. I didn’t always deal with situations the way I would have liked.
Today, I’m stable and healthy. I’m stronger today than I have been in a long time. I’m even fairly happy. Life is pretty good and I think I’ll remember these times well. It all still hurts a bit though.