Google Street View

Google’s newest gadget has just blown me away. Not satisfied with close up satellite and aerial imagery from Google Maps? Well, now you can get a street-level view of the action! They have mapped every street in several major metropolitan areas now and will soon be bringing it to other areas. Go check it out- you can look and zoom in any direction!

I am actually pretty creeped out by the potential abuses of this system. Google is getting to be too powerful and is having too much of a Big Brother type influence. Their stated goal is to organize all of the world’s information. If they become the primary source for information, they will wield far too much power. I personally think they already wield far too much power. Think about this: when you are researching making a purchase online, you usually start with Google right? That means that the #1 search result position is worth billions of dollars on some searches (mortgage, clothes, porn, etc.) Google can choose to direct, or not direct, billions of dollars of business at your website. When looked at as an aggregate whole, Google has far too much control on the online sales- an industry worth trillions. Not only can Google decide what sites you purchase from, they can choose what information to display about political opinions, situations, etc. Let’s say a presidential candidate badmouths Google… they could choose not to display any relevant information about him, thus making him irrelevant in today’s connected world.

Google makes me nervous.

Update: Memorial Day Weekend up till now

Friday night I went to the underwear party, which was a lot of fun. If you want to see the pictures of the wild event, I posted them on Picasa here. If I posted any pictures you don’t like, please email me and I will remove them. Please keep in mind though that I have no labeled any of them, so no one will ever find them except by going through this site, which means it will only be friends (and not employers). I had a lot of fun dancing the night away. Andy, Fletcher and Ashley all had great costumes, respectively “Dick in a box”, “Gay Pirate” and “Nip Tape”.

Saturday I went to dinner with Nick and then headed over to Scottie B.’s BBQ where he made me some of his very hard margaritas. Nick pooped out early, but Scott and I and a bunch of his friends went over to one of his musician friends cool place on Capitol Hill. She had a huge corner apartment with a great view and a trendy decorating scheme. Plus she was hot :). Later, the whole group went to Havana (a fun hipster club) and partied there for the rest of the night, till Scott and I caught a cab home.

Sunday, Fletcher and I went and did a half-assed workout because we were both hung over, then he came over to my new condo and we cooked the best pasta I’ve ever made and watched Finding Forrester (a decent movie). He tried to do homework and I tried to build sites, but neither of us got very far. That evening, we went to the Killers show at the WaMu Theater attached to Qwest Field. I couldn’t hear shit for two days after that, but I had fun. Some homeless guy was scalping tickets and they looked legit and he said one of us could go in and see if it worked and if it did, the other guy would pay him and then go in. So Fletch went in without incident and I paid the guy and took my ticket, but when I tried to get in the people at the entrance scanned it and said it had been refunded. I have a pretty good bullshit detector, so congrats to this guy on a successful scam. I had to go buy a new ticket to get in, so it ended up being a $100 show. Whatever, I enjoyed it.

Monday I went to lunch and saw Pirates 3 with a friend, but ended up having a pretty bad night.

The rest of the week I have pretty much hung out with Fletch every day and played a lot of chess with Andy trying to pass the time till I start to feel better. I’ve also noticed that Fletch has been having lots of women chasing him lately and I have been trying to figure out how he does it. When we lived together I never really saw that happen. My personal theory is that it’s a combination of his approach to women and the fact that he has been getting into much better shape lately (I give myself credit as his personal trainer ;)). Fletcher generally just wants to be friends with most girls, flirts a little and then holds them at bay, which drives them wild. It’s the other side of the old saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Or I could be completely wrong, I don’t know. I am still not great at understanding women… any thoughts?

Tonight I am debating either going home to visit my grandma and brothers or perhaps going clubbing with some friends. Tomorrow I probably will attend my new roommates birthday events, though I don’t have any evening plans yet.


Last night I went over to Scottie B.’s house for a bbq and later went out with him and a group of his friends to clubs on Capitol Hill. I liked Havana a lot; there was a pretty good hipster scene there and a fun dance floor. I think my dancing is finally starting to improve (or at least my confidence is! ;)) I still have quite a ways to go, but it’s entertaining. Anybody know of any other cool clubs or events coming up soon in Seattle?

Cat’s Cradle and Memorial Day

I just finished reading “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut. “Cat’s Cradle” is a very powerful book and very depressing.

Vonnegut’s harsh commentary on modern humanity and religion is hilarious in a dark way. The points he raises with his themes are so simple and logical and black with despair that when you finish reading it you feel both enriched and discarded.

One of his major ideas was the useless horror of war. I actually have been thinking about this myself for awhile now. I can remember when I was a young boy and my grandpa would tell me old war stories and make it sound noble and heroic. He would say that war is hell, but necessary at times and I agreed then. As I’ve gotten older and thought on it further I no longer can do that. I don’t see how you can ever justify the deaths of young, hopeful, beautiful men and women. For instance, in World War 2, 4.8 MILLION German men were killed and another 4 million were seriously wounded. That means 1 in 5 men in Germany were dead or seriously wounded by the end of the war. Put another way, an entire generation of young men and boys lives were destroyed. And that is just the German casualties… it doesn’t include the other 51 million men killed in action. How can that ever be justified? I think people don’t wrap their minds around the horror of this. These weren’t nameless, faceless automatons. Every one of them had a family, friends, hopes, fears, perhaps a dog or maybe a lover. Most of them were only 18 years old and should have had long, happy lives ahead of them. Instead they were murdered for the naked ambition and blind hate of old men. I have three younger brothers and the thought of losing even one is completely devastating. Imagine what a single dollar can buy you- a candy bar? Not much. Now imagine how incredibly wealthy you would be with $55 million. A human life is worth infinitely more than a dollar; one of the greatest human treasures in history was crushed in a single war. Thinking about this is staggering and when you add the the weight of all the other wars, purges and genocides it crushes me.

What are these wars fought for? What is the reason for genocide? Why have countless bright young people been stamped out? Usually it is either for or against some form of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is a overwhelming belief in a religion or ideology that allows no room for second thoughts or the admission of new evidence. Fundamentalists believe in the absolute superiority of their convictions and the need to push them at any cost. 5 ideologies in particular have accounted for 99% of the pointless murders in this century: Communism, National Socialism, Democracy, Christianity and Islam. Think of the horrors that blind belief in these systems has caused. Hundreds of millions have died in the last century and billions of people have had loved ones torn away from them.

The war on terror is the most ridiculous concept I’ve ever heard of. How do you have a war on a conceptual idea? A war on a tactic? It’s like having a war on the 3-4 defense in football or a war on ballet or a war on math? Not only that, but “terrorism” is a relative term to the side you are fighting on. When we fire missiles off of a carrier in the Mediterranean and blow up some guy’s house in Iraq that’s war; when that guy’s brother plants a bomb on a Humvee in retaliation that’s terrorism. Let’s be honest with ourselves: this is not a war on terror, it’s merely a new incarnation of the centuries old wars between Christianity and Islam. President Bush has cast it as a war on terror because to do otherwise would be political suicide. The wars between religions had basically died down over the last few hundred years after people realized how much evil each supposedly good religion had caused. Now the pot is getting stirred up again (the civil war in Iraq, the fundamentalist president of Iraq, the “moral majority” in America) and I fear that my generation will have to pay the price in the form of another massive war in the future. According to a recent report by the U.N., Iran is 3-8 years away from having nuclear weapons. What will happen if a united Middle East with nuclear weapons and an Islamic fundamentalist leader faces America with nuclear weapons and a Christian fundamentalist leader?

I think our parents and grandparents generations have screwed our generation here in America. They have amassed a massive national debt so they could spend it on themselves in the form of Social Security, welfare, wars, etc. We will have to be the ones to pay it down or face economic collapse. Over the last 50 years they have stirred up a hornets nest in the Middle East and made almost every nation on earth hate us. They have given arms and technology and cash to Islamic fundamentalists who have directly stated their desire for our destruction in return for oil. They have indoctrinated us with “intelligent design” and fundamentalist Christianity. The table is set just like it was before World War 2: an America in a desperate recession facing angry countries prepared to go on the war path. Will my generation be the next to be killed almost to a man for the disgusting greed of old people blinded by prejudice and hate? The technology currently possessed by the world is far beyond what we had 60 years ago when we killed tens of millions… we now have nuclear, biological, chemical and traditional weapons with power thousands of times more devastating then we did before. Do not doubt for a second that our leaders would use these weapons; they have before (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, WW1 when millions were killed by chemical weapons).

Celebrating Memorial Day is an awful concept. Why do we celebrate the murders of millions of boys and young men who should’ve been playing with their friends, chasing girls and their dreams? These guys, usually my age and younger, were ripped apart with bullets, burned horribly, bombed and tortured. These guys had pretty girls at home who loved them, mothers and fathers left alone in their old age and friends and brothers who wish they could have died instead. All for what? Fucking fundamentalism. Old men who thought their way was the only way. Crusty, burned out shells. Hitler. Stalin. FDR. Churchill. Bush. Saddam. Mao. Nixon. Murderers. I think that this is the most depressing day of the year.

The only way I can see our generation being able to squelch the wars and misery coming fast upon us would be to bring about a single government for the entire world. Then those who kill and cause misery upon others can be prosecuted as criminals like they should instead of having their names celebrated. Memorial Day should be kept, but transformed into a day when all of humanity remembers why we should have one government and how terrible war is and the pointless sacrifice of millions of young mens lives. Unfortunately, I think the chance of this happening in the near future is very small and thus hold almost no hope for the future. There will probably be another global war in ten to thirty years and only after billions have died will people finally realize what needs to be done.

Have a happy Memorial Day.

Home sweet home.

1. Where were you an hour ago?
Club Havana with Scottie B. & friends.

2. Who will be your next kiss?

3. What kind of deodorant do you use?
Old Spice high endurance (after hours)

4. Are you wearing socks right now?

5. When was the last time you went out of the state?
I went to Whistler in the fall with Nick.

6. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?

7. What was the last thing you had to drink?
7 & 7 bought by one of Scott’s friends.

8. What are you wearing right now?
Striped shirt and too tight jeans.

9. What was your last purchase?
Drinks for Scott & I… or new sheets & towels for my new place.

10. Last food you ate?
BBQ with Scott & roommates

11. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?

12. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?

13. Do you have a pet?
Sadly, no.

14. What’s the last sporting event you watched?
Boxing on ESPN2

15. How much sex have you had in the past week?

16. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
Hmm… too personal.

17. What is the last thing you purchased online?
New jacket.

18. One thing you hate about yourself?
Occasional lack of foresight.

19. What’s your favorite soup?
Hmm.. fondue isn’t really soup, but it’s good. I also like chili or oyster soup. Broccoli and cheese is tasty too.

20. Do you miss anyone?
With all my heart.

21. Last play you saw?
Getting Undressed.

22. What are your plans for the day?
Sleep in and then exercise with fletcher. Later I may head home to visit my grandma.

23. Ever go to camp?

24. What is on the ad on the myspace page right now?
An ad for WaMu and another for a dating site.

25. One thing you did today?
Cleaned my condo.

26. What Do You Want to Know About The Future?
Who will be my special someone.

27. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?

28. What’s one nice thing you can say about your ex?
She was very loving and caring.

29. Do you have a tan?
Sorta starting one. I ride my bike to work and am starting to get a farmer’s tan.

30. How soon do you want to have kids?
Scary thought.

31. Last person who made you cry?
Does anyone actually answer this question?

32. Last text message you received?
“did you already crash?” from Nick last night.

33. Next vacation?
Contemplating Chelan or Sioux Falls to visit my biological father. He told me he’ll let me drive on of his porsches or his limited edition ferrari while i’m there…

34. Brand of cell phone?

35. Next time you’ll take a shower?
After I exercise tomorrow.

36. Do you know anything about Quantum Physics?
I’ve been reading about the the Hadron particle lately.

37. What is your mood?
Very sleepy.

38. Do you have a Facebook account?
Who doesn’t?

39. What did you do for Mother’s Day?
Visited Bestemor… the kindest lady on earth.

40. What are you doing right now?
Listening to Ben Harper and eating a snack before bed. Probably pining a bit as well.

Underwear Party Tonight

My friends are hosting an underwear party at their house on 18th tonight. We have had a few of these before and they are always a ton of fun. I’ve been looking forward to this all week.

I was pretty wary about the first underwear party two years ago, but it turned out to be a ton of fun and they have become sort of a semi-annual event for my group of friends. Each one gets progressively more scandalous and entertaining (Ashley just wore panties and body paint at the last one!) and this one is supposed to be even crazier! I am going to bring my camera, but I somehow doubt if any of the pictures taken will see the light of day.

Justin got back in UW!

My younger brother Justin just called me and told me he got back into the UW and will be attending in the fall!!! He got in last year, but decided to take a year off instead. Now he will be making the right choice and will be moving up here in the fall. He will be the third brother to come to the University of Washington- I graduated last year, Jordan graduates next year and he will be here soon. Now I have to convince Joshua… though he’s more Ivy League material.

Post update: get in shape

When I was moving my blog over here, I ran across my post about getting in shape. I think that I have been improving lately and will start to really rapidly improve soon. Here is what I have done:

-During my lunch hour on Mondays and Wednesdays I go for a run and have been having an interesting time exploring Seattle’s hidden paths.

-On Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunchtime, I go for walks with my coworkers (Fridays I have a lunch training meeting so I can’t do anything then.)

-I bought a bike last week and today rode it to work for the first time. Riding the bike is a lot more fun than sitting on a cramped bus with a bunch of smelly homeless people. I plan on riding it to and from work every day that it isn’t raining. Maybe I’ll even get hardcore and ride it in the rain too.

-I take a tango class on Mondays and a hip-hop class on Wednesdays.

-I lift weights and usually do the stair climber on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

-I am signing up for a flag football league that has games every Sunday.

-As the weather improves and summer comes, I will be doing a lot more mountain hiking & climbing, sailing, canoeing and weekend trips.