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My good friend Gillian has inspired me to make this list/fill out this questionnaire.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Deliberately and proactively commit to self-employment.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I make the same resolution every year, and always keep it: the resolution to never ignore my bladder and always pee as soon as possible once the urge strikes.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A couple old friends out west had babies this year… I wish I was closer!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My grandmother.

5. What countries did you visit?

Not much international travel this year; just a quick trip to Canada.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

A slightly larger and more stable client base, the increased self-confidence to close the sale, and a proper mobile workshop that gets better than 7mpg.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Sadly, no single date springs to mind.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Setting up house with my ladyfriend.

9. What was your biggest failure.

Follow-through in business.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Abscessed tooth removed, knee ligament strained, major lower back spasms, one bout of major bronchitis… geez, I’m a wreck!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

All the parts to build my new desk/computer, and orchids!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Janute, for keeping her chin up and not letting the financial roller-coaster throw her off the tracks.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The Tea Party and their ilk.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Housing, tools, travel, plants.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Taking my lady to Nelson, and having Cory and Jody meet us there. My new desk.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Evil Boy by Die Antwoord

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

A) the same B) the same – I lost weight, gained it back, then lost it again C) Probably richer, but easy-come, easy-go!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Ride my bike.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procrastinate and second-guess myself.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

A Christmas Day meal with all the available Booths.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

No more than usual, I suppose, although my relationship with Teddy really strengthened this past year.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I don’t own a TV, but then again, neither does Gillian, and she still managed to answer this question, so… Dead Like Me (which was cancelled in 2004).

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


24. What was the best book you read?

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The Pithos player for Pandora radio.

26. What did you want and get?

The financial freedom and free time to choose my own course rather than have it dictated to me.

27. What did you want and not get?

More of the above.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Modern Hollywood cinema is a wasteland.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I think I turned 37, but I can’t remember a dang thing about the day itself.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A new 2010 Ford Transit Connect XLT with a complete custom storage package.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

I wear whatever my lady brings home for me from the thrift-store.

32. What kept you sane?

I stayed sane?

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Radical partisanship.

34. Who did you miss?

Cory and the peeps at home.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

Nobody new, but a did reacquaint myself with several old friends.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

I have learned the unfortunate American truth that silence, patience, and selfless effort are seldom rewarded; if you want something to change/improve, you have to speak up, make your move, and take what you want before anyone else does.

Equal Rights

Name a fundamental human right, whichever one you can think of. Don’t worry for now whether it’s a legal or constitutional right; just shoot from the hip and name something broad and basic.

Now ask: does this right apply to you? Do you feel that have this right? Do you feel that this right is protected? If you’re reading this, the answer you’ll probably reach is “yes”.

Now think: Does every other human being in existence also have and share this same fundamental human right? The likely answer is “no”.

Realize: Unless a “right” is universally recognized, upheld, and applied to all, then for those who do enjoy that right, it is not a right right at all, but only a privilege.

Of course, many people would prefer to limit the application of human rights to some particular jurisdiction, such as the citizens of a country. While these rights might be lofty, they are not fundamental; they are legal and constitutional. In a democracy, it is the citizens themselves who (in theory) define their own human rights and the protections thereof. These definitions and protections are subject to change upon the will of the people. Far too frequently, some group will assert a moral prerogative, and move to exclude another group from some legal or constitutional right. Not only does this discriminate against the excluded, but it by extension diminishes the rights of the included. Unless the guarantee applies to all, there is no guarantee!

Privileges may be earned, but they can also be bought and sold. The same cannot -and should not- ever be said of basic fundamental human rights and equalities.

Today, this morning, I bought a 350Gb external hard drive at a yard sale for $6. The housing was badly cracked and the power cord was missing. The seller claimed that she didn’t know if it worked or not, but that she had no use for it in any event. I took it home, pulled it from the damaged case, found a compatible power supply from my geeky collection, hooked it to my computer, and had a surprise.

Not only did it work, but buried in the drive’s directory was a complete back-up of 5 year’s worth of detailed financial records: their investment club accounts, Ebay transactions, mortgage paperwork, rental agreements, E-Trade account back-ups, automobile sales transaction records, etc. In short, a complete assessment of their entire financial lives over at least the last five years; a brutal resource for any identity thief.

Of course, my own moral code prevents me from taking criminal advantage of this information. The real dilemma, for me, is how to proceed. Should I wipe the drive and never speak of it? Should I go back to the seller and return it? Should I let them know that I wiped the drive? Should I give them an opportunity to recover the information if it is still valuable to them?

Ignorance is bliss, but if some family member later recalls that there might have been a ridiculous breach of security in that innocent sale, perhaps some communication now might save their sanity later.  Further com pounding the dilemma is the fact that the seller is someone socially acquainted with my ladyfriend; we are not close friends, but neither are we complete strangers.

My ladyfriend seems to feel that communicating with them now might just add unnecessary stress and and worry to a situation that would be easily preempted by an otherwise silent and anonymous deletion of the drive.

What would you do?

JB dragged me to a garage sale this morning. Newport is a fine venue for a garage sale, as it has such a long and colourful history, and is populated by an army of characters and collectors. Despite this, I tend to avoid such sales like the plague; I have had a bad habit of collecting junk myself, and largely try to avoid any added temptations.

Today, however, and of course I find something worth the trip. I found a Kalliroscope “Pocket Viewer” for a dollar. In the original box, with the original paperwork, but sadly missing the small rotating ball-bearing base. This was a neat find for me; I’d had never before seen one in person, or even in colour, but had long wanted to encounter one.

It all started years ago. My mother passed to me a copy of The Last Whole Earth Catalog, the actual “Last” one from 1971, #1160. Like a paper version of a Google search, the Whole Earth Catalog was an incredible inch-thick 11″x14″ tome, primitive, direct, and optimistic, championing “access to tools” within its pages.

In that particular issue, some articles and items were singled out for special mention. This was signified on the page by an image of a Kalliroscope next to the piece in question. The Catalog itself offered two Kalliroscopes for sale; the small hand-held globe version, and the thinner rectangular “Pocket Viewer” that I found today.

It’s hard to describe what a Kalliroscope really looks like, what it does, or how it does it. I’ve tried to find videos on-line, but haven’t found any good ones. Likewise, the website of the original inventor/manufacturer isn’t particularly helpful. Technically, the Kalliroscope is rheoscopic fluid suspension of microscopic crystalline platelets sandwiched between glass sheets. Practically, it’s a ridiculous little gizmo that you just hold and stare at while it does all this swirly cosmic stuff.

The memory of that Catalog and the inspiration I gained from it while I lived in the bus stay with me. It’s a happy little throwback to a time when sentimentality was forefront in my life. Now that I’ve lived through bitter cynicism and am now entering a strongly pragmatic period, it’s probably healthy to hold on to a few of these positive reminders of previous ages.

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