Wednesday, March 4, 2009

End of the quarter.

I feel like the quarter just started, and just like that we're in week 9, one more week of regular classes after this, then finals week. I'm counting down the days because being home means snowboarding, and bike riding, and ride biking, and family, and old friends.

I feel that I've finally settled into San Luis Obispo though, which is nice. While I am excited for spring break, I'm also very happy here. I've been hanging out with my friend Jason alot lately, which is good since we're planning on getting a house. He baked bread the other day, it tasted so good. He's gonna give me his recipe, but it was really cool to watch him make it, because he's made it so many times, and is so familiar with the process that he wasn't measuring any of the ingredients.

He poured flour straight from the bag into the bowl, squeezed honey straight from the bottle, the whole process seemed organic (but not in the no pesticides way), and it turned out with great texture and flavor. Tomorrow in foods lab we're baking bread, so it's kinda perfect timing. I need to do my dishes so I'll have stuff to cook with.

Favorite activity lately: go trick or go for a long ride, then kick back and have a couple beers and some stirfry/fried rice/pasta/fresh bread etc. over a good episode of its always sunny in philadelphia.

San Francisco was great, Sean's birthday party was pretty crazy, very interesting night, I have a few stories to share if you'd like to hear (over an OD's breakfast or a Super T burrito)

Rode around with Henry (Sean's roommate) and a bunch of his asian friends, that was pretty awesome, I got to jam down lombard and video them (holding their camcorder in one hand, other hand in the drops), got some great shots, weaving in and out of cars, panning around as they passed me, or I passed them. I'm stoked to see the final product.

Also my friend Eric from SLO just finished a couple videos he made for, one of which I'm in, albeit only for a couple seconds haha. In San Francisco I did a mean thing. I was supposed to ride with this girl Sarah Jane on Saturday, but when I mentioned it everyone in the house I was staying at told me she's boring as hell, so I definitely bailed on her. Normally I wouldn't do that but I had precious few hours to enjoy in the city, and rode with Henry and his crew instead. Still, I can't help but feel like a total asshole (appropriate since I happen to be a giant asshole)

The three days I was there, I had great (and pretty cheap) sushi, indian food and a burrito, all great tasting, all within a couple blocks of the house. I will move to the city after I graduate. Got back to the house on Saturday night after riding with Henry, door was locked, noone home, so I just rode a quick half hour down to Ocean Beach, saw a bunch of bonfires, got bored, rode back through the park.

Within minutes off the bus I was riding around the island, met this guy Maxwell who was really chill, talked about track bikes for awhile. I keep hearing how cliquey and pretentious San Francisco is, and supposedly everyones an asshole. Has not been my experience in the slightest.

There was one guy at Sean's party though that was the most pretentious person I have ever met. It was actually pretty comical, I couldn't help but laugh in his face, which probably just fed his "I'm hot shit and people don't understand me" complex.

I continued my music experiment throughout the weekend, got up through As I Lay Dying, then when I got home, my laptop charger wasn't working, which meant I had no way to listen to my music, or even charge my ipod, so I broke down and listened to some beirut and computer vs. banjo I had on cd. I think I'll keep listening through my library, but allow myself to listen to other stuff as well, might be the only way to keep my sanity.

Noticed though that it continued to work out that whatever happened to be playing was perfect for my mood/activities. It was pretty cool jamming down the embarcadero, cutting in and out of traffic while listening to As I Lay Dying. And I have a newfound appreciation for a few artists who's names start with A.

Oh also a sad development, I fucked up my skull candy ear buds, so it only plays out of one ear unless I twist the adapter around just right, which I can't do for bike riding. So I'm back to my crappy earbuds from before. Oh well I still have my sennheiser HD 480 for home ecstasy.

I just ordered a new charger for my laptop, $25 on ebay (including shipping). Super cheap, just hope it gets here soon.

So I spent way too much money in SF, but it was worth it (I'm selling my flatscreen monitor to cover the bill), and I came home with a new chrome bag and a new saddle, making for a great new feel when I'm riding.

This summer should be a great time, planning on a two week bike trip to Portland with Jason, Mark, Matt and Sam (hopefully Sean too). Hoping to go backpacking with Bobby on the lost coast still. Hoping to spend a good amount of time in San Francisco, Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo too. First on my list of priorities for the summer though is to find a job so I can save up some moneys. Anyone know of people in Gilroy that might hire someone just for the summer?

I re-read civil disobedience by Thoreau while I was on the bus up to San Francisco, also read life without principle again, and finally finished reading winter walk.

Got a fire lit under my butt by civil disobedience, reading some of the stuff in there that I had completely forgotten about. One quote that stood out was when HDT commented on the fact that for every one virtuous man, there are 999 patrons of virtue. I am embarrassed that currently I best fit the description of 1 of the 999. I have a bunch of causes that I support with words, but which I do little to actually further by my actions. I have principle, but no action from principle. I hope to find ways to take steps to correct that.

He also observes that to follow the letter of the law, despite ones conscience is to betray the one law we are all obligated to. So the unjust thing to do is to observe a law that goes against your morals. If an evil perpetrated by the government is observed, protest by words is not enough. The moral action is to stand up and refuse to obey a law that so discriminates or persecutes, or wages unjust war. So it is then, that the greatest patriot is often considered the greatest enemy of the state, for a true patriot serves a country not according to it's own laws, but according to his heart and the truest kind of freedom for everyone.

Thoreau also puts forth a great challenge for all who stand up for whats right, stating that if a government imprisons any unjustly, the only place for a truly just man is in a prison. That hit close to home, since America is the very definition of that, holding political prisoners and abusing human rights in secret prisons, and yet I walk the streets freely. Until we all are safe from an oppressive government, none of us are safe. He also relates a night he spent in jail when he refused to pay his taxes, and is amused by the fact that the guard takes such care to lock him in, when he feels he is the free-est man in the town, since he isn't paying his wages to a government that he so disagrees with.

We are constantly lulled into complacency by those in power above us, and pundits insisting that the time for revolution ended with the revolutionary war. Such is not the case, and I am not speaking of a revolution in the ballot box. If anything, it is the ballot box that holds us so entrapped in this false democracy we obey at every step. Voting means nothing. If you feel conviction about something, it is not enough to cast your vote and hope that a majority agrees with you. Might does not make right, and it is with this mentality that what most agree on is best for all, and just, that revolutionaries who would serve their country with conviction and conscience are put down and discredited.

Know now that being a good citizen in this free society does not mean being a "good consumer" and supporting the economy by buying ourselves further into debt. The great and mighty dollar is yet another way that we are all kept in slavery to a greater evil. The wheels of the great machine keep right on turning as we throw our hard earned wages into the furnace to fuel the injustice perpetrated by the same people we cast our vote for.

Don't spend another hour by providing a means to an end for someone else's dream, or more appropriately someone else's bank account. Don't pay another cent to the government that would so readily use your livelihood to perpetrate injustices like false imprisonment, torture and unjust war, and that would like nothing more than to take more of your money and have a tighter grip around the few liberties you still have.

Take heed to the words of a great man, that those who are imprisoned for opposing injustice are more free than their captors, and those who walk free in such an unjust society, supporting unjust acts with their complacency are more imprisoned than all.

At the same time that I write these words, I languish in my apartment filled with evidence of my own complacency, attending a university funded by the same government that would so quickly go to war for an unjust cause, and would so readily cast into prison as "enemy of the state" anyone turned over by a foreign warlord, bought with taxpayers money.

And look at what the latest "revolutionary" has offered:

Obama promised a new brand of politics in the US, saying that he would allow the American people to post commentary on any new bill that passes the senate and house for several days before he would sign it. He has as of now not done this, and is being allowed to perpetuate the same political tank he claimed to oppose because America is so accustomed to casting their vote, believing they are doing some great good, and then go on with their day to day, forgetting that they even cared about what their government did. And so once again our fate has been sealed, our souls bought by some great rhetoric, a historic election, a victory won for civil rights, but lost for our rationality.

Don't get me wrong, I voted for Obama, and I think it's great that he won, and it really is a victory for civil rights. Unfortunately I am forced to agree with the belief that he won not based on his ideas but on his rhetoric. As a nation, all we look to in our leaders is charisma and rhetoric. The ability to deliver a speech, written well by Harvard and Yale grads late at night over coffee, or cocaine, or whatever it is that drives the political machine onward.

And to clarify, I only voted for Obama because I felt it was the best way to ensure that Guantanimo would be closed, and hopefully some injustice will be slackened. I also feel that he is much less likely to declare an unjust war than his opponent would have been.

Unfortunately I also see the trap that I fell so easily into. Another issue addressed in Civil Disobedience is the false dichotomy offered up in American politics. Is a democracy really a democracy if everyone is voting for the lesser of two evils? Are we really being heard if we can't choose, and I mean really choose, the candidates that we vote for?

And this was an issue close to my heart not too long ago, my vehement belief that the best course of action was to vote for the BEST candidate, regardless of their odds of winning. I still believe this, and am disappointed in myself for betraying my principles with a counterproductive action, like throwing my vote away with the majority.

And look at the prison I've created for myself, spending myself into debt, so now I'm a slave not only to the government whose injustice's I do nothing to end, but also to the banks to whom I owe so much. I fear I will not see freedom for a long time yet, and I worry about how I will reach it. I am on a repayment plan that will have me debt free before too long, but there is still the issue of how I can rebel against the government that I disagree with on so many levels. I don't know if I am able, or willing, to wage full war on the lifestyle that I have benefited from for so long, and I am at a loss for how I would even begin to change my course at all.

All I can do is look to tomorrow, and make small changes every day. I am encouraged by Thoreau's musings that while one persons actions may seem trivial, something once done well, is done forever.

Enjoy the rain, love your life, and think about what you do.

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