Forty to?

I just don’t know

Every day I hit the virtual streets of the internet, just as the rest of you do I’m sure, and I’m inundated with news and information. For the most part it’s all horrible, depressing and infuriating pieces. Another child commits suicide because their peers are horrible human beings, and those horrible human beings parents refuse to lift the blinders and be exposed to the fact that their offspring is a horrible human being. Another family is forced to choose paying bills or feeding itself. A family is bankrupted because a family member has fallen gravely ill. One lone individual marches into a public place and slaughters innocents for some unknown reason.

For a short while after these incidents there’s a collective frothing at the mouth as the general populace is infuriated. But nothing gets done. Our elected officials talk the talk, and seem to walk the walk but in the end nothing changes.

A committee is formed, a bill is drafted, a decision might be reached in a few months. The reality however is the wrongs are still being made.

I don’t know what to do, and I’m not sure any one person does. We all have our opinions and our aspirations. Some of them we voice, some of them sit idly in the shadows because they differ too much from what your family, your friends or your partners views are.

But nothing will ever get done like that; things will never change if even one person sits on the sideline quietly because they’re afraid to raise their voice.

I know I stand to the left of nearly everyone I know. I support abortion, universal healthcare, higher taxes, taxing the wealthy, stringent government oversight, wider spread gun control, low cost quality higher education. I don’t believe that a corporation should have the same rights as you or I, because regardless of what any executive might argue a corporation isn’t a person, or an entity it’s a business. I think a smaller government is a weaker government. I think a government that doesn’t aid its citizens is a cold and uncaring one. I think Congress should have term limits; so that new life and new ideas can be brought to the table. I think lobbyists and special interest groups are a cancer on the political system.

I’m slowly realizing that the world my children will grow into is going to be a vastly different one that I have known, and I genuinely fear for them. The world that is taking shape is more ruled by greed and avarice than I feel has existed in the world since ancient times. The titanic gap between the vast majority of people, and those that hold sway over the upper echelons is widening at a staggering rate.

I don’t see how a person, or group of persons who run a corporation can make a decision or series of decisions that leads to, or at the very least greatly contributes to, the massive downturn in, not just the US economic structure but the worlds economy and then walk away virtually unscathed. Those people, those parasitic degenerates should have everything they are stripped away from them and then tossed into prison. There is no difference in my mind to what those people than what a murderer does. Except for the fact that the formers actions have far wider and far steeper repercussions.

I know this post has jumped all over, I know that for many of you your blood is now boiling, I know for some of you, you’re sitting there nodding your head in agreement.

I don’t have a background in politics, economics, law or anything of the like. All I have to go on is what I think, and feel is right and just and fair. I’ll tell you this much, the world I see before me now is neither right, just or fair.

So I challenge you, any or all of you. Do something, anything to enact some semblance of change for the betterment of this world.


We’re back in 3…2…1…

Welcome! or maybe even perhaps Welcome Back! But that latter is highly doubtful since in the last two months I’ve had two unique visitors.

Let’s get to the meat of the matter, jobs and video games.

My office recently went through a ‘purge’. Twelve individuals were let go, which means that since I first started at my current place of employment the size of my office has been reduced by 66%. That’s astounding to me. The individuals were given no reasons and for most of them no one outside of my office even spoke to them about the situation.

This recent culling has spurred myself, my direct supervisor and one other colleague to update our resumés and begin looking for employment elsewhere.

I’ve discovered during these most recent job hunts is that most positions in my given career field are contract positions. For example when I did a search with some fairly definitive filters on a popular job posting site, I received 93 pages of possible jobs. Once I removed the “Contract” and “Contract to Hire” options my results dropped to 9 pages. Displaying 25 postings per page, that means that there were roughly  2300 positions open in my given geographic area in my career field, some 2100 of which are contracted positions, with just over 200 being traditional Direct Hire positions.

Why is this? I really have no idea. I hear the explanations that Contract workers are cheaper somehow, but it makes no sense to me. If Big Anon Corp pays you $20 an hour or Big Anon Staffing Co places you there and pay you $20 doesn’t that end up costing Big Anon Corp more, since they have to pay Big Anon Staffing Co either an initial amount for doing such a good job finding you (/sarcasm) or they Big Anon Staffing Co gets a sliver of money every time you get paid. So how exactly does this save Big Anon Corp any money what so ever?


Video Games!

I like them, I love them. They are my hobby and my quite place I go to unwind and relax. Over the past years the focus of my gaming has shifted away from console based FPS’s to various genres on my PC.

Currently my games of choice are Star Trek Online, Skyrim and Minecraft. I highly recommend all of these games as they are both fun and entertaining.

I find Star Trek Online (STO) extremely entertaining, and not just because I’m a super trekkie, but because it genuinely is a fun game. It blends Star Trek, Role Playing, as well as both ground based and space based game play together in a delicate dance that Cryptic Studios has orchestrated beautifully. The game went Free to Play in 2012, and has enjoyed moderate growth ever since.

Skyrim is the latest installation in the Elder Scrolls series of games, initially released in 2011 it has received high praise for both its immersive story, gorgeous graphics and has also been well received by the modding community for its excellent mod support.

Then there’s Minecraft, the runaway hit from Mojang. Minecraft is a deceptively simple game. It’s runs on Java, and its basic premise is that it gives you a world and let’s you create what you want in that world in whatever means you like. If you’re interested I suggest you checkout some of the Yogscast videos on YouTube.

Now that all of that has been said, I bid you all a good day and hopefully I’ll have something more to write tomorrow.

Flanders OUT!

Another shot in the dark
27 September 2012, 12:51 am
Filed under: Blog | Tags: , ,

Well I’m sitting here at my desk, the work one that is with its retro fabric walls up closing me in. Instead of my nice cozy desk at home. I’m realizing that I really have no idea what to blog about when I do these things. They tend to be about whatever I’m ranting about at that given point in time.

However I have friends that regularly blog about food and travel, because they do just that. My wife blog about her photography, because she rocks that area. Then at work there are folks that blog about whatever it is that they blog about. I however can’t seem to find my groove. Should it be video games, science, politics, food, cooking, treatises on how society in general experiences a general sense of malaise over how their government manages itself? I dunno…

So, what’s up with you?

Lawrence Lessig: #OccupyWallSt, Then #OccupyKSt, Then #OccupyMainSt
5 October 2011, 4:12 pm
Filed under: Blog, News | Tags: , ,

Lawrence Lessig: #OccupyWallSt, Then #OccupyKSt, Then #OccupyMainSt.

I feel strongly enough about the whole Occupy Wall St, and other Occupy movements, that I felt this story (from Huffington Post) should be shared. If you lean left, or if thinking about the obscene bonuses that Wall St continues to pay out, then you need to give this a quick read.

The time has passed

Long passed has the time been when Americans got angry. At least angry over something that actually matters, not whether homosexuals should marry (of course they should), or whether women should be able to get abortions (of course they should), but whether or not you should have a say in what the work you do is worth.

Currently citizens in Wisconsin are fighting their own recently elected GOP Governor who, among other things, is trying to severely limit a workers ability to negotiate just that. He’s not trying to get rid of the ability to negotiate, but he might as well. Because what he wants to do is cap the limit they can negotiate up to. That cap would be the Consumer Price Index, which most analysts have said would give workers hardly any room to bargain with.

What people need to realize, and Unions do a fairly good job of doing this already, is that the work you do, the service you provide your employer is just as much a commodity as whatever service your employer provides. If you work on an assembly line putting together air conditioners, the work you put into that air conditioner is every bit as important as the finished product. All too often in today’s corporate world that solitary, yet profound idea is either forgotten, or ignored. You aren’t just a replaceable hunk of flesh that an employer should see as a utility. You’re a valuable commodity, every bit as valuable as the good or service that your employer provides.

However American as a whole either have forgotten, if you’re old enough to have been educated on such concepts, or aren’t aware if  you’re young enough to be ignorant of such concepts. It’s that lack of memory, or ignorance which has lead Americans to the path of the indifference when it comes to workers rights.

That’s why when I heard about the 30,000 person strong turn out in Wisconsin I cracked a smile from ear to ear. Finally it clicked with someone, sort of. While they’re mostly there to support the Union effort, I have heard some interviews with people who are saying that they’re there to ensure that workers rights are upheld.

In the end I feel Wisconsin is going to be a lightening rod for an upcoming labor movement here in the US, a movement that I personally feel is long overdue.

Burgers of the Asp
15 February 2011, 11:05 am
Filed under: Aspergers, Blog, Science | Tags: , , , , ,

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been seeing more and more traffic about Asperger’s lately. Maybe it’s because I get a lot of Asperger’s (AS) news in my feeds, maybe it’s because I just notice it more, or maybe there really is more news about AS lately.

I’ve seen some interesting research into treatments, not that I wholly prescribe to the notion that AS can be “cured”.  But I do feel that the effects that some of us live with can be lessened. For example at one point, several years prior to my AS diagnosis, I was prescribed Paxil. Now while the drug definitely has it downsides, it did make me “chipper”. People literally started asking me if I was on drugs, because of the difference in my personality. However I quickly stopped using the drug because of all the negative side affects I was experiencing.  But none-the-less there was a noted difference, that I was not even aware of. So that one I feel is a point for the medication.

Some years later, just after my AS diagnosis, my psychologist recommended to my primary care physician that I be prescribed Zoloft. The drug, and the effects were explained to me. However I again never noticed a change while on the medication. The one noted difference I did see was that the severity of panic attacks were dramatically decreased.

Now for the past 5 years I’ve been on no medication to alleviate any AS effects. I have been to some counseling however, with AS being a pre-existing condition that most insurance companies either will not cover or will cover for obscene premium increases, the counseling did not last long. But I was introduced to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy there, as interesting as it was it was short lived.

More recently I’ve seen some interesting research surrounding Oxytocin, and it’s potential benefits to persons with AS. Oxytocin is the so called “Love Hormone”, it’s been tied to helping and reinforcing the brain develop bonds, such as the integral parent/child bond. I remember reading about some Aspies who were administered a dose of Oxytocin through a nasal inhaler and noted marked increases in both socialization abilities and empathetic areas. That alone piqued my interest. Even though further reading found that the effect was short lived, and only lasted about 5-15 minutes the news was, refreshing.

Not that I’d like to a Neurotypical (NT), Asperger’s is an adventure, of sorts. While it certainly has its pitfalls, home life, family life, social life they all have their more than fair shares of hardships, but my wife and I persevere. It’s because of my wife that I trudge on, her and my kids are the reason that I keep trying to better myself. Not for the sake of one day being “cured” but so that I can be a father, and a husband to my wife and family. That’s my goal, everything else is just an added bonus.

As hard as NT’s might see living with AS, people like my wife might see it differently, or at the very least I know I do. It’s not that living with AS is harder, sure it has its challenges, but it just means our lives are different. In the same light I see an NT’s life as harder, not that it is, it’s just different. I personally like my AS, it gives me abilities that others might not have. Or at the very least, a unique perspective of the world and the way it works, and that’s a powerful and important thing.

For instance the ability to focus, intensely, on a given subject for long periods of time. Sure anyone can focus on a topic. But it’s been show that individuals with AS can focus so narrowly on particular subjects that it borders on obsession at times, I personally can testify to this. In middle school and high school I would check out dozens of books, a day on whatever subject I was hooked on at the time. Be it time travel, lasers, astronomy, cosmology, relativity. Now imagine if you could assemble a team of Aspies to do research in a given field or area, now that would truly be a think tank!

It’s ideas like that that are pushing me to go back to university and pursue another degree in a field that fascinates me. I yearn for that type of immersion again, and I think going back to school can provide that, along with furthering my own education and expanding my own boundaries.

So this is sort of a call to other Aspies. I want to hear from you, for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve never met anyone else with AS, secondly I’d like to hear your thoughts.  So answer the call and let me hear what you think.

by the people for the people…
10 February 2011, 1:49 pm
Filed under: Blog, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

So, I’ve going to again climb up on my soap box and preach the good word to you heathens.

I do not understand the GOP…at all. Nothing they do makes any sense to me.  They say they want to create jobs, instead they cut funding, won’t that mean cutting jobs? Or mean cutting services, which means fewer people will be serviced, which means smaller staffs are needed, which means letting people go?

I don’t know about you, but my Mom always said you don’t get anything for free, and while that is largely correct, it definitely rings true in these types of situations. Sure you can save some money in the short term by cutting here, cutting there and cutting everywhere. But that’s like trying to save the sinking ship with a thimble. An equally old adage that applies here is that you have to spend money to make money. You have to fund new ventures to create jobs. You can’t just cut out chunks of spending, and hope that the private sector will pick up on your intentions and run with it. They won’t.

The corporate sector will do the same thing, because as immoral and rotted as the corporate sector is, it’s also a very frightened animal. It doesn’t want to lose a penny, so it’s not surprising that the GOP, that doesn’t want to spend a penny, is in bed with them, and boy, do they make a helluva mess when they get it on. It’s like watching walruses mate, one old bloated sack of meat on top of an equally old, bloated sack of meat.

Not to add insult to injury, but really, if you make less than $250,000 a year I don’t see why’d you be a Republican to begin with. Because if you’re like me and only scratch out $30,000 to $40,000 year the GOP really doesn’t even like you, they think you’re a leach on society and the economy. They really want the people with money, obscene amounts of money that is, to rejuvenate the economy. What they repeatedly fail to realize though is that that will never, ever, ever, ever, ever happen.

First off, people with that kind of cash, spend it on luxury items, things that generally have little to no impact on the larger, long term economic outlook. It’s you and I that spend $5 here and there, $100 there, and are constantly pumping a constant stream of cash into the economy that impact it the most.

GOP doesn’t buy into Global Warming, so they want to cut the EPA off like a dead limb. So they want to breathe polluted air? They don’t care about the quality of the water you drink, because they’re ok with frac’ing. So I really don’t see a saving grace here guys.

Hate to say it GOP fat cats, but I think as more people look at you historically, and actually pay attention to the bumbling sounds that rattle out of your blathering mouths most people will start to see that for the most part, the majority of you are greedy, closed minded, nitwits and hopefully they’ll realize that before you kill us all.

Now don’t even get me started on this Tea Party BS, I don’t need a self induced aneurysm.