Music, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Mandolin
Aug 062011

I’ve been playing guitar for quite a few years now. It’s not anything I could do professionally, but it feels good and its fun to jam with friends.

A year or so ago, I got interested in playing mandolin, and bought a cheap $50 mandolin on the internet, just to see if I really liked it, and had any aptitude for it.

I recently got this Eastman 515. The difference in tone is amazing, of course, and although I’ve got a long way to go, I can have a lot of fun jamming along with friends on guitar… Thank goodness for the pentatonic scale!


 Posted by at 10:46 pm

Political Summary

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Political Summary
Aug 062011

Am I left, right, up, down?

You decide for yourself. I don’t find any one political party to have very satisfactory answers on all the issues. They each have their own agendas, and in blindly following them, they erode what I think is the most important U.S. political document: The Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.

These crucial human rights are frequently under attack from well meaning people trying to “protect us”. Unfortunately, such measures seldom increase our real safety, and slowly chip away at freedoms that we will someday dearly miss. The worst are those trying to put their religious beliefs into law, and those trying to prove their “patriotism” by pissing on the Constitution while protecting mere symbols like the flag.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

-Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, (1759)

I piss off my conservative friends by insisting that the 1st Amendment is intended to stop undue infuence between and interwining of church and state (it runs both ways), and protects free speech, even if it is “offensive”, “obscene” or “unpatriotic”. MORE details / links coming when I have time.

I piss off my more liberal friends by interpretting the 2nd Amendment as supporting the individual right to keep and bear arms, NOT a collective right, or the right to belong to the national guard. I piss off my conservative friends by not thinking that it is a sacred, undiluted right immune from any and all regulation. MORE details / links coming when I have time.

I piss off my libertarian friends by thinking that the “free market” will not magically fix everything, and that there is a legitimate place for goverment to regulate business and labor.

I piss off my socialist friends by thinking that over-regulation of business and labor stifles the economy.

I generally support less government, but I think there are many legitimate places for government, rather than business, to run things…

I think that health insurance (as opposed to health care) is one of those. Doctors and health care providers have a right to make good money, but health insurance should not be run for profit. In this case, a government bureaucrat is better than a corporate bean-counter. I currently pay more than three times as much money for health insurance as I pay in income taxes. If I could get government health coverage, and my taxes where increased to anything less than four times their current level, I’d be ahead of the game. Government bureaucrats are famed for screwing things up, but it’s hard to imagine any screw up worse than the intentional screwing the insurance industry is giving us all.

 Posted by at 10:33 pm

About Me

 Personal  Comments Off on About Me
Jul 282011
I’m a furry guy: I live with Judi:

And My Daughters,

and Ivy:


Judi and I are both graduates of St. John’s College in Annaplis, MD. Their motto, is “Facio liberos ex liberis libris libraque”. For those of you who don’t read Latin (like many SJC graduates, since we learn ancient Greek, but not Latin) is “Books, Books, Books, Books, Books,Books, Books!” (OK, OK, it’s really “I make free men out of children by means of books and a balance.”, but I like my interpretation better.)

Just like everyone else, I like to think of myself as different from anyone else, so I tend to do things my way, even if that’s against the current. Just about any category you try to fit me in, there’s some weird part of me that doesn’t fit it. I guess I revel in contradictions.

I’m a liberal arts graduate with a classical education, but I make my living with computers. A techo-renaissance sort of thing.

I love camping, canoeing, and hiking, but I’d love to see man colonize space, and I love my Macbook Pro, and my Linux servers. Sort of a mountain-man computer geek thing.

 Posted by at 2:14 pm


 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Photos
Jul 242011

I’m embedding a few of my Google Photo Albums here, but most of them, I’ll just leave on Google.

Click here to go to my Google Photo Albums. If you only see a couple of public albums there, log in with your Google account. If you still don’t see more, let me know, so I can add your google account to the list of people permitted to see my pictures.

Hello Maia — 1994
Hello Amelia — 2000
Hello Ivy — 2003
STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Fair 2011
Camping 2010
Family Canoe Trip July 2011
 Posted by at 7:13 pm

Troll thoughts

 Philosophy  Comments Off on Troll thoughts
Jul 222011

Troll’s Weird Ideas

Who are we? Why are we here?
What the heck is going on here?
What is this stuff?

My answers to these questions tend toward a Toaist-Quantum Physics mishmash.

Multiple Simultaneous Incarnations

We are each simultaneous incarnations of the same soul, which is the only “self” in existence. This soul creates the world by dreaming the life of each part of it, and in some ways corresponds to what some people call “God”.

All of our individual traits are mortal, and will pass with our deaths, but this single bit of self-awareness, this “I am” is immortal.

We are individual and mortal in our specific incarnations, just as photons are particles when examined in a particular way. But we are also part of a larger whole, a vibrant wave pattern wherein each part is connected to and affected by the others, the way light “particles” “know” the state of a diffraction slit though which they have not themselves passed, because of their dual nature as waves.

So… Treat others as you would treat yourself, because… they ARE you.

Instant Karma

“Instant karma’s gonna get you, gonna knock you right off your feet…
better recognize your brother– everyone you meet…
Why in the world are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear…
Why on earth are you THERE?, when you’re EVERYWHERE,
gonna get your share!” — John Lennon

The extremely short version: “I’m God. So are you” ….. Now What … or maybe … ‘So What’?”

One part of the extremly long version would be my 60-page Senior Essay from St. John’s, which is
about the strange immaterial nature of material existence.


Some people, used to the philosophical framework of religion might ask, do I believe in God?… Yes and No, More or Less…

I DO NOT believe in God in the sense that I think most people mean it when they use that word, with the usual baggage that comes with the term.

I have had experiences which I believe indicate things about the nature of the universe, which might correspond to what some people call “God”.

I am willing in some circumstances to refer to this concept as “god”, as a starting ground for discussion.

In other words, I probably believe in something that you might call “God”, but I probably disagree with you about what it is, because of the inaccuracies inherent in the word.

Do I “have faith” in this “god”? Not in the sense that most people mean “faith”, which seems to me a belief in something for which you have neither empirical evidence nor any logical way of deriving it from other empirical evidence.

I DO however, believe some things that can sound pretty outlandish to some people, and for which I could never produce a proof to others.

The difference, I feel, is that these beliefs spring from things I have experienced, internally, mentally, spiritually, and it doesn’t matter to me if anyone else believes them. I have “empirically” experienced them, but others may not have. They may, in effect, be “true” only for me, and I’m OK with that… although I always enjoy finding resonance and similarity in other’s experiences.

Nor do I have “faith” that “everything will turn out all right”, or that the terrible things that happen are part of “god’s plan”, so that they are somehow not really horrible.

The universe is sublimely apathetic about our fates. That said, there is also no “wrong” way for things to turn out, either. You can either feel bad about it, or roll with the punches and laugh. I try to laugh.

If I really thought the horrible things that happen are part of “gods plan”, I’d find that very depressing.

I’ve got no time to waste on the mountains of dogma and very specific beliefs piled up by organized religions. There is nothing in them of value that cannot be gotten from simply looking around at the world and your fellow humans with open eyes, open mind, and open heart. The rest is just a source of confusion and strife between differing factions of “believers”.

The One True Faith ;^)

As close as I come to religion is my admittedly unreasonable conviction that MicroSoft Windows sucks, and that Linux and Mac OSX rule!
Don’t try to debate me on it, I’ll just froth at the mouth…

Miscellaneous Weird Ideas

Mike, an alert reader pointed out the following omission from this site: “I was just checking out the Philosophy section at and thought there is a glaring omission. Here in Amherst we refer often to Troll’s Law of Determinist Animism (1980), which holds that:

“If you kick a rock while walking it is because the rock wishes at that moment to travel along to visit another rock.”

This concept percolated from the depths of my mind with lots of help from Mike, Jeff, Tim, and Larry (all fully certified Wise Guys) and others, so don’t give me all the blame… er.. credit… The idea may have roots, or at least maybe we found resonance, in this cartoon, by Vaughn Bode, who also created many other underground comics like Cheech Wizard, the inspiration for this video. (Let me just state for the record that many of Vaughn Bode’s comix are just so… wrong and offensive… that they can only be explained? … excused?… by being so far around the bend that they exist in an alternate universe? So you are forewarned… if you go looking, you’ll probably go blind…)

Also of note… the coining of the term “clingy breathers” in collusion with Jeff and Tim (here fully explained by Tim), ought really to be included in any comprehensive compendium of Trollish Philosophy:

Clingy Breathers: Primordial and questionably significant lifeforms existing in the flux between reality and imagination, named for the respiratory functions they exhibit in their natural habitat. Perched on exposed rock fields and ambulating across crumbling mountainous terrain, their prehensile members defy gravity and common sense as they bask in the searing rays of their home planet’s star, confused beyond the ability to communicate in sentences longer than three words. See also, Howfah izzitoo lodges.

And finally:

Thrizzle Moot Kromply

Fah Teg
Storm Narzp


Torteg Vovo, true unbelievers!

Online I Ching for Mobile Browsers





 Posted by at 11:22 am


 Music  Comments Off on MP3s
Jul 281999

Here are a few MP3s of me playing guitar. Nothing spectacular, but fun for me.

      1. warmup-stereo.mp3
      2. variations-stereo.mp3
      3. runaround-stereo.mp3
      4. holyland.mp3
      5. hammerpicking.mp3
 Posted by at 10:42 am


 Music  Comments Off on Guitar
Aug 061996

When I was 18, my parents gave me a guitar for my birthday.

I tried to learn to play it, but, at 18, I think I didn’t have the patience. I was too busy trying to get laid, I think…

Years later, faced with growing frustration at work, and my daughter Maia’s disability, I was looking for some sort of stress-relief. For some reason, I picked up the guitar.

I progressed more rapidly, partly because I had more patience, partly because I worked hard at it because I found some release in it, but a great part of my success was because Maia encouraged it. She would perk up and smile and laugh and squeal with joy when I played. So I played a LOT.

After a year or so, I decided that I wanted a higher quality guitar, and After shopping around, I settled on a used Taylor 810.

 Posted by at 10:48 pm
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