Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Year 2011, Look Back

Link to full article with images that did not transfer for some reason

Well first I will start with death, since it is the place that seems to be of most interest to most people.  Some well known people died this year, but that is true with every year, so I am not going to post a bunch of names, there are tons of list on the web that do that.  This year we all know about the loss of Apple’s bigger than life leader Steve Jobs.  We also should mention that there were many other pioneers of the computing industry that also past.  Wired provides a decent list of them, although it seems to be missing something, and it has some errors in content, it is a list just the same.  To me the really weird part is that I am almost their age, and wonder, is it the computer that has taken their lives this way.

Well before I go down that rabbit hole, let me move on to other things that happened, and what is significant to 2011.  A lot personally has happened to me this year.  We lost the farm on one side of Mexico, was buying another property when we stumbled into the one we are currently on, and still very little seems to have changed.  We trimmed the farm to a bare minimum, and now we have only a few goats and three chickens.  The chicken losses were strange, as they did not fit any natural loss, but that remains to be seen.  We also got our farm number from the USDA, so we are now in the USDA database, we’ll see where that leads.  Otherwise the farm has just moved slowly along, and plans have not really changed much, just been reconsidered and time tables re-arranged.

I got out of and then back into the IT field service work, and as of November 2011, I have really just let it slide away.  As the light faded on 2011 in December I picked up the pen you might say again, and decided to actually publish some of the few hundred pieces of writing I had done in the prior 35 years.  The trouble is I have lost most of the actual written pieces, so I am doing this mostly out of memory, a bit tricky to say the least.

Well enough about me, how about others?  Arleta got a new set of teeth, of which I am certainly happy about, not so much that she has teeth, but that she no longer is living with the threat of the infection that her old teeth were producing.  We are not out of the woods yet with that, but at least out of the deep forest, the rest is cake.  Mary went back to college to get her Master’s degree, hope that works out, but there is a long road there, and we will have to see.  Arleta and I were provided with special presents this year, in the way of two grand children.  Arleta’s daughter Kayleigh already had a child, but because of a row between her and her daughter we do not see her or her children.  Arleta’s third child, her second son, Brandon had a child, and they live just down the road from us, so we get to see her quite often, which is a blessing.  Arleta’s first child, Jon, had a child a while after and we have seen him a couple of times.  There is still a lot of problems in that whole mess, and I am not certain that will ever sort itself out, but if there is still life in me, I may someday do something, but it might not help at all.  We are not exactly the model for the modern family, but who is.

I want to note that I have paid a bit of attention to things that have been happening with the family over the years.  My family is so distant mostly that I don’t even know them any more.  This to me is not an issue, except it points to a bigger issue I have seen.  To many broken homes, to many disconnected families, and isolation not just of space, but of time as well.  When I was younger and growing up, my mother held the family together, and they were not given an option.  When a holiday came, the family gathered at my mother’s table, and there was no discussion.  Very often for the really big holidays even many of the cousins came, and we had so many visitors on these days that it was a gathering of community as well.  I remember a few Christmases back, well long back, where all the neighbors dropped by, the neighbors from town even, the Weavers, the Cowans, the Red Heads, the Mooseburgers, the Blounts, the Goulds, the Holdens, and the list is so extensive that I can’t even remember all of them.  The fire chief at the time came out with a few of his top officers and my mother gave them some coffee, and I think a donation, but mostly they talked a while over coffee, and they had some of the cookies my mother had made, she used to make hundreds of cookies, and then they went on their way.  I don’t know if they stopped at other houses along the way, most likely, but unlikely they stayed at those places like they did my mother’s place.  She was known by, and knew everyone.  There were many stories, and some of them will be told someday I am pretty sure.  One that should be known is and I will jot down here now, for a moment, is that when my mother had the 200th anniversary of the house in which we lived in, as our home was one of the original homes on the Panghborn hops plantation, people came from everywhere.  She did not get along all the time with everyone, but in certain times, she put things like that aside and picked it back up when the gathering was over.  When my mother died, all that stopped, not right away, but within a few short years, as the family forgot what family was apparently.

This is an indication of what has been the systematic destruction of a lifestyle that this culture has forsaken in the pursuit of individual gain.  Our desire for the “dream” job, and “dream” home, and “dream” life, has put us to sleep.  When I grew up we did not have everything, I didn’t really notice all that much, some things here and there, but for the most part I knew one thing we did have, at least early in life, we had community.  It wasn’t just about the immediate family, but the extended family, and the extended community as a whole.  This has been sold in the pursuit of stuff that has no meaning, and will be thrown away before it is even used well.  There used to be a saying for things that we used to give to others who might not have had as much stuff as we did, it was “well used”.  What this meant was something that was most likely quite old, but still had a lot of use left in it.  Now the term used is enough to describe something that is past its usable stage.  There are no generations, just people, each one a singular container of itself.  Self contained, and not any better than the stuff they can display.  People do not get this because we have lounged in the wallow of stuff for to long, this has lulled us to sleep.  What a shame we do not know what we have lost until it is already too late.

What makes all this nostalgic crap important is that 2011 was the year of final destruction.  It is so palatable now that unless you are the walking dead, you should at least feel the ripples that run through the air.

The economic collapse has not quite fully hit everyone.  In 2009 it started to rear its head, in 2010 we were distracted by the banking swindle and housing debacle.  In 2011 the grinding down of what remained has been put into full motion.  Unlike most people, I do not attribute this to some group, although there are many that had at least a finger tip into it, I know what it is, it is you and me.  That’s right I put it squarely on the plates of those that avoid the issue, it comes down to us, the people, of this nation, of this world.  We have caused our own condition, so accept the responsibility and move on with it.  Oh what am I saying, that can’t be it, you all are still in the finger pointing stage.  Well if you have to have someone to blame, although it is childish and immature to go around blaming things for our own problems, I will give you the answer.  Look in the mirror, and point your fingers there, for there is where the blame if there is any should be put, on yourselves.  You continued and still continue to go about your pointless lives, working your meaningless jobs, or not as the case may be, living your meaningless lives, buying worthless junk from organizations that laugh at your ignorance, and then you sometimes wonder what is happening, but only after you have lost your house, your jobs, your cars, and now are seeking assistance from a government that was never anything but what it is, a machine of the industry that created it.  Nothing has changed.  The rich have always been richer, the poor always poorer, and you have only thought yourselves well off because you have credit, which is really debt, which is a prison more secure than any max unit has ever been.

I have seen the signs these years, and wondered, would any one else notice.  Did you notice in the 1940’s when the farms were sold out, no, how about in the 1980’s when they were blatantly forced to sell to the agricultural machine, no did not notice that then either.  Do you notice now?  Most likely not, your food comes from the stores, and as long as there are stores, why do we need farms.  Exactly, precisely, and I am support that view completely, it absolves you all of your responsibility and creates a need in the future for real farms, but by then you will all be living in your walled in city states, and eating synthetic food churned out by the state.  Long ago I watched as we built houses that had no more quality in them than a shack built of sticks, and thought wow people are really that ignorant.  I came to realize that people would do whatever it takes to obtain the “American dream” including going to sleep.  I grew up in the computer age, with some thoughts of being part of that grand vision.  I wanted once to work for JPL, but that didn’t happen, and for good reason, I do not regret a moment of that loss.

I failed to be educated.  I failed to be brought into the fold of society, and this has created a situation in my life that this year I have seen as being very important.  As you all are wondering what will 2012 bring, I am aware of the circumstances and conditions of the state of the global union, and know that what is coming will be fine, for most people will notice very little difference.

Change is on its way, 2011 has indicated this.  There were many changes.  Great innovations, most of them as yet unknown.  We identified the God particle, do you know the implications of that?  Most likely not, and I won’t take away from you that ignorance.  We developed nano machines that can do amazing things, and this is yet to even be announced.  It won’t be, because they are already in use, free to roam the digital landscape.  We have Google to thank for digitizing the information of the world, they haven’t completed that objective, but are well underway, and in the meantime here are some really cool toys for you to play with.  I like Google a lot, use their stuff all the time, and know what I am doing, do you know what is happening to what you give them, most likely not.  MySpace finally was given the burial that it deserved in 2011, although I pronounced it dead about three months before it was ever tweeted.  Twitter however is not dead, much to many people’s surprise, nor will it be for a while, as it still serves a purpose, even if many people have moved on, still there are those that use it for their news feed, like most of the daily news papers and blogs.  FaceBook is still looking for a buyer, hopefully before everyone on there realizes that it isn’t a social community, and that you can’t really connect through digital wires.  What about Google+, another fine product from Google, where is that headed, after a string of attempts at social sites, G+ has maybe found the answer.  Maybe, but it still is distances in copper.  Without the networks, there are no connections, hmm, what will we do then, watch another inane episode of “Dancing with the Stars”?  Oh, yea can’t do that without an operating electrical grid.  We watch this idiotic shit on TV not because it is all that is on TV, but because we keep watching it, and buying the crap they advertise.  You only have yourselves to blame for the quality of the content you demand.

Now do not get to testy about this little foray into the techno babble rap, I am a product of that as well, I was up until recently one of those people that made this crap possible.  I still fix computers, and on occasion I still look at these people and wonder, how is it that you consider yourselves sophisticated when something like packet switching seems to befuddle you completely.  Your lives in bits and pieces, wrote a poem about that once, no one got it, well did not expect that they would, I wrote it in 1984, a lifetime ago, before the Internet was even a word that was known by anyone that did not have a pocket protector and thick rimmed glasses.  You get the point though, I have been in this shit to my eye balls, and yet it has never really changed me, how is that.

Well that is not all that has been amazing this last year.  Oh no, there have been some really stunning things.  Riots around the world, well sort of, just not where they needed to be.  And late last August there was a movement of a sort, when a bunch of people got together to protest the fat cats on Wall Street, like that hasn’t been done before.  Early in October as I watched this Occupy movement try to expand, I provided them with a suggestion, as I did not want to get too close to the situation, for several reasons, and so far they have not seemed to take up that banner any better than the other two hundred points of distention that have come from the poor organization that plaques the movement.  I didn’t think they would, take up the just stop buying the crap, and learn to live locally thing anyway, so I did not give it much thought.  It has been one of those years, you know, where I have sat back, observed, commented on a few things, and let it go, not interested in the result, because I have my own gardens to attend.

I have taken note, and calculated some things.  I have noticed that on the fronts for the most part, everything seems quite quiet, just skirmishes, and forays, no real movements in any major way.  I keep a keen eye on the Presidential race, although I have my suspicion that it is an exercise in civil futility, and the runners in this race all appear to be running in the wrong direction.  The issues are so far removed from what is important, it amazes me that people even bother with listening to these talking heads any more.  Jobs, oh that is a lark, jobs are created when the economy can support them, and credit is available.  That is so much bull shit it makes me want to use ROTFLOL, whatever that is.  Language has taken a shot, with texting and net-speak now entering into general use, I dare say that newspeak is not far behind it.  As the idiot that I am, I still continue to write the same way I always have, with far to many whole words.  We hardly lack jobs, what we lack is the work we used to know, when you could earn a wage that was way over what it was worth, and live like you were better off than you really were.  Believe me when I say this, if the correction hasn’t hit you yet, it will, sooner than you would like.  There never has been, and never will be a middle class, but you will all find that out soon enough I am sure.

Some things didn’t happen that I thought might happen in 2011.  Fuel prices remained relatively stable, although they did employ the raise and lower tactic that they have used since the early 70’s with great success I might add.  I think that will cease to be their tactic in 2012, but it is uncertain, as I can not see the pattern for this, it seems that the big oil companies are still pulling reserves out so it may be a bit before the ripples of this one are felt.  However I will provide this bit of profound pontification, when the diesel stops running, so does everything we know today.

Late in the year some interesting things occurred.  North Korea lost their great leader, replaced quickly by his son, I think this will bring in a new aspect to that house.  Russia has been slowly closing their doors, letting less and less out, so that will be noticed soon I am certain, but where is yet to be determined.  Despite all the fret and worry, China has no political or economic power, they are mostly dependant on exports, their people won’t buy the stuff they make, and they are not making the kind of stuff that will help them get away from that.  This has been a good year for China though, at least on paper, they have given a good front to things, acting the big eastern brother, and that has changed the way they are seen on the scene for many people.  Foolish as we are to want to believe that this nation will ever be anything other than what it always has been.  The communist movement in China is no different than the way things have always been done, but with a slick exotic name, for marketing purposes.  I have yet to see a communist nation, lots of nations that claim that fame, but none that have enacted it.  Did they even read Karl Marx, or was it Groucho Marx, either way, they both believed the same thing.

Now the middle east, oh that is a mess isn’t it.  Lots of turmoil there, like there has not been for about 6500 years.  I heard a little more about tar sands in Canada, but right now pure sweet crude is still flowing from the sands of Babylon, and the lands of the kings, so I don’t think there is much to come of this yet, until the water issue comes to the surface.  You know you can’t drink oil, well you can, but it is not very healthy.  The Hebrews are still trying to kill the Canaanites, and that continues on and on and on, as they say children never learn.  I don’t know this god or gods they speak of, but let us face this, you can not win peace, it just has to happen, but first you have to stop fighting over sand boxes and play grounds.  Not likely this year either, it is a tireless trial, and really not one worth spending any more effort on.  Ah but we will, China will, Russia will, all because of some things that really do not matter, or do they.  I know some things about the middle east most people do not, but I think that is best for now, it will be made perfectly clear I think soon enough, and best it come from your neighbor than from me.

Now I do not know if this is evident to any one that got through the first grade in the average public education system of about 90% of the known world, but we do only live on a single globe.  A spinning ball of mass, made mostly of water, with little spits of land which most likely will get smaller.  So this ridiculous fear of a one world government is so pathetic, it really just makes me wonder, what part of the circus did you get stuck at.  We have bathed this planet in blood for so long over borders that do not physically exist, that it makes one wonder, is any one at all really thinking past their dicks.  I say dicks, and mean it, because for the most part it is really vested in the male species of the human animal.  Not that woman are off the hook, they have started more fights than a few, and not for any better reasons.  It all comes down to a simple view, we have yet to release our beliefs of blood and circuses, no matter how civilized we pretend we are, the truth is far from the illusion.  So what of a one world government, isn’t it time we started to consider that we need centralized government that represents all people of the world, rather than individual nations.  Well do not get your hopes up, that is not what is coming, but on the other hand, it is not what we wanted, or have ever wanted, for that matter.  The truth is we want a benevolent monarch, never had one, but that is the idea.

From the ground perspective it doesn’t matter to peasants who rules, only the rules of the rulers that rule the land matters, and only then when the changes are such that it changes the lives of the majority of those that continue to live beneath their rules.  One thing the human animal does not really like is change, or at least broad sweeping changes, little ones don’t really have much effect on their short pathetic lives.  The rulers get this, or least some have often enough, that they are able to effect things on a global scale through minor changes in things that would ordinarily seem insignificant.  The trouble is there are too many of these game changers.  Over a few millennium they have formed a few alliances, but those have not held very well, and this has caused certain amount of others to think there are opportunities that really do not exist.  Be that as it may, I think this will start to sort itself out in the near future, but I can’t really say if it is this year, it certainly wasn’t 2011.  That said, 2011 showed some signs of the corrections.  The economy is no longer in the hands of the people who would like to control it.  Believe it or not, the global economy is not failing because of something the banks or any other organization is doing or did.  No the global economy is failing because it was built on something that is also failing, trust.  Trust in each other, trust in our leaders, and mistrust, the sister to trust, which also played a major role in this debacle.

2011 was a lull year, nothing special, just tiny ripples.  Lots of stuff that might be important, but hard to attach to anything specific.  It was not really devastating, although there was a continued trending down, over all.  There were some really nice things, Google came to the forefront with some really cool stuff, that is now beginning to be part of the digital landscape.  Microsoft sort of coasted not quite sure what to make of what is happening.  Apple had a good year, but nothing to really write home about, except the Steve Jobs thing.  Fortunately for Apple Steve knew he was going out, so I can bet he did what he does so well, and gave instruction which should at least hold for another year or so.  He left no legacy though, no child to take the helm for him, and that is part and parcel of the problems with the tech industry, it is not generational.  That is an indication of many things, no generations.  Nothing last past the sparkle and shine of the light, in the shadows it fades and ceases to be noticed.  There are no continuous lines, just points, and when those points wink out, that’s it, gone forever.  Steve Jobs will be remembered for his achievements with packaging little things and making them available to many people, but his star I am afraid is already fading, and it will not be long before it is so dim that unless you are one of those that hold the torch still for the Apple, even though it no longer is special in any way, it will be just another fading light in the field of the technocratic galaxy.

Well I feel I have missed a lot, but that is part of 2011.  How much did we miss, while we were tweeting our network, and playing FaceBook games.  How much did we miss while we were watching celebrity chefs cook, while we ate pre-packaged foods.  How much did we miss, while we were working two jobs to hang onto our second car and four bedroom house for a family of two kids who are now older than you realized.  How much did we miss as parents were blinking out, some turning to the digital world where they can be young again, others being packed off to newer and better facilities of death.  How much did we miss, that is the year in review, 2011, we missed a lot, but the biggest fear I have for 2012, is that it does not matter how much we missed, but that we do not miss it all that much.

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