Archive for the Life Category

WA State: No Weed For You

Posted in Life, Policy, Politics with tags , , , , , on January 20, 2010 by Josh Wittner

I just watched on TVW the voting down of a marijuana legalization bill and then subsequently the voting down of a much less controversial decriminalization bill by the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee (what a name). Legalization was rejected with a 7-2 vote and decriminalization with a 5-3 vote.

The interesting part of the legalization vote was Rep. Steve Kirby’s statement about the flaws in this particular bill and how if they could be resolved he would gladly vote for it:

“I could vote for a bill like this. It’s kind of a big deal, it really is, to go from having a substance that when I was in school they used to show us videos in school of people jumping out of buildings. Reefer Madness, do you remember that?” He said it might come as a shock to people in the room, “but I actually know people who use marijuana on a regular basis,” he said. But, he said, this bill lacks the clarity he’s looking for. “It’s close, but it lacks details that are important to me.” He told the crowd: “Don’t count me all the way out, but count me out today.”

The decriminalization vote turned on all the old out-dated disproved or illogical arguments. Rep. Chris Hurst voted against the bill because it would be confusing for people to have state laws and federal laws differ from each other. That’s essentially telling those that the state arrest for marijuana possession, “Yes, I know its not that bad of a drug and yes I think it should be decriminalized, but you’re gonna have to go to jail, because, well, that’s just confusing.”

The other profoundly irrational argument came from Rep. Kirk Pearson who argued that he’s seen evidence that telling kids that marijuana isn’t going to destroy your life (ignore that all of the seriously destructive elements come from its illegality) increases the number of kids who smoke marijuana. Yes, Rep. Pearson we should continue to put adults in jail and give them criminal records which can ruin their lives so that parents don’t have to watch out for marijuana just like they have to for cigarettes and alcohol.

On that note, here’s the best marijuana advice for children I’ve ever heard. It comes from South park:

The truth is, marijuana probably isn’t going to make you kill people. Most likely isn’t going to fund terrorists, but pot makes you feel fine with being bored and it’s when you’re bored that you should be learning a new skill or some new science or being creative. If you smoke pot you may grow up to find out that you’re not good at anything.

From the numbers I’ve seen kids find out about marijuana around ages 12-13 and at that age it seems to me we’d be better off informing our kids about drugs and sex, instead of lying to them.

Location, location, location.

Posted in Economics, Life, Philosophy with tags , , , on January 11, 2010 by Josh Wittner

Part of the joy of traveling for me is the joy I receive from imagining myself actually living, as in long term relocation, to the places that I travel. This is one of the reasons why I seem to prefer vacations where the goal is to go somewhere and explore, as opposed to resort style vacations (not that I don’t also enjoy these) where most of the time is spent at the hotel/resort. The former tend to provide me with more information to base my imagined move on.

While reading this article,  which attempts to dispel some common misconceptions about the economic state of Europe and how it relates to their tendency toward greater social democracy than the US, I found myself asking one question over and over: Why do I live where I live, and is there a better place for me?

The woods by my house

Posted in Life with tags , , , on January 8, 2009 by Josh Wittner

My parents house rests at the top of a small hill in the middle of a small valley. When I was younger it was surrounded by tress that grew up out of the mud. I spent a lot of my youth climbing trees and trouncing through the mud, but today it only feels like a few memories remain.

One involves the mud. All of the mud was filled with low growing vegetation too. Sticker bushes, stinging nettles. We used to use the horse tails to assuage the bite of the nettles. You would pluck one and rip it in half and squeeze the juices out onto the newly forming bumps. I’m still not sure if it really did anything to help, but its what we did.

We were mostly well provisioned when we’d head out to traipse through the mud and the forest, the times we weren’t was never because of a lack of available equipment, boots, etc., but usually because the sense of adventure would come upon us too fast. That we had no time to prepare.

When I reflect the memories are always a little muddy, like the terrain I suppose, but I can only ever seem to remember the presence of one brother at a time. Not that much is different now I suppose.

I remember one time when i misjudged the ground and found myself with one foot buried up past my calf high boot. I remember how strong the power of that mud was. In my youth and probably even now, I didn’t have the strength to pull my foot and the boot out. So I had to pull my foot out of my boot, sit down in the mud and pull the boot out of the mud.

The cleanliness of my sock stands out most vivid amongst the colors in my memory. Stark white against the browns and greens of the world around me. Pristine sock and pants ran up from my toes until a harsh line of mud where the boot offered no protection.

I don’t know if you remember or had the same kind of boots that I had, but they had these loops on each side which made them much easier to put on, but also came in quite handy when the boot found itself buried below mud and filling with water. You knew with dead certainty you were going to have a one wet foot all day.

Its situations like this that make up my childhood and the situations like this that we forget are why children come home so muddy sometimes. My parents, bless them, never complained, my mother was always there to make sure as little mud got tracked into the house as possible, but she was also there because she wanted to hear all about our adventures. What a fantastic mother.

Before all the septic work was done when the forest that was my home was still there we used to have a swing set which we got for Easter. We used to get all kinds of awesome things for Easter. After the initial fun of swinging and sliding, because the swing set had a slide attached on one side, and it shocks me now that something as fun as swinging and sliding could ever lose its desire, but that’s how kids are I guess. Once you could swing it was time for a new adventure, a new skill. We would play a game, I think it was my mother or maybe my older brother got the idea or took it from a friend, but we played a game we called hot lava.

In hot lava you had to move all around the yard, like parkour, without touching the ground. You could climb all over the swing set or jump to the sandbox, but you couldn’t touch the ground. Next to the sandbox was a particularly tight group of trees, I’ve never learned what kind.

The trees produced a canopy so dense the ground underneath never got wet. It was a surreal place and I’ve only ever been somewhere similar one other time. You could climb up into the trees from the edge of the sand box and literally move from tree to tree because the canopy was so dense. I have spent hours at a time up amongst the trees.

All of those trees are gone now. The ones so close to the house.

Fiction

Posted in Life with tags , on January 7, 2009 by Josh Wittner

Who the hell are these people who ‘don’t read fiction’. Like fiction has no value; like there aren’t lessons to be learned just because the events didn’t happen.

People sometimes, man. Open your fucking eyes. Open your hearts. You can learn a lot about yourself in fiction. Fiction teaches us without telling us that which we can and can never be. I love it.

Just thought I’d let you know.

Words to wonder by

Posted in Life with tags , on January 7, 2009 by Josh Wittner

Given enough time
To find the sign
I’d remember why
I gave it up.

And Curse the words
that we’ve all heard
that caused us all to
Stop and Grow up.

Memories and thoughts to cling to
and lyrics to sing to
Time to drop the pen
and Stand up.

Words to die and lie and cry
Words to wonder by
when the sun
comes back up

Someone should tell that kid
with the dream to be rid
of anger
To shut the fuck up.

The Nature of the World

Posted in Life, Philosophy, Politics, Religion with tags , , on January 7, 2009 by Josh Wittner

When are people going to understand that the world isn’t strangely well suited for us, we are explicitly well suited for it? That if the world were different, we would be different?

To think otherwise is to assume an astonishing hubris, and displays a conviction to ignore demonstrable facts for unfalsifiable faith. To think otherwise is to purposefully set aside reason for irrationality.

Childhood indoctrination is to blame. More on this later.

More on will

Posted in Life, Philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 17, 2008 by Josh Wittner

As I follow further the thoughts on will I realize that even the feeling of consciousness is incorporated by the brain in creating will. There is no part of me that is not of the brain. No part of me that is not used by my brain to create will. And along with this, the perception of being me.

The concept of ‘the freedom of the will’ has been refuted many times, but the ones that only touch the surface concern the perceiver’s freedom to manipulate or create will, and I wish to expunge also the other forms of which it could be thought that will comes about by some process which is in any way free.  I, being only a perception can exert no will, and my brain, being locked into the physical world, and by disallowing (should we?) actual randomness and not the perception of randomness, can follow only one course of willing. It would be more accurate to call it ‘the freedom from will’ and that freedom can exist only so long as the human brain does not understand itself well enough to predict precisely what it will next will.

Oh what a prison that would be, to know what the future holds for you, and that you are entirely the cause of it, and that you will forever be unable to change it. A safer question for ones sanity would be to ask: is it possible for the consciousness to understand itself well enough to truly know what it will next will? Or should we dare to run into the gaping jaws and hope that we are not swallowed?

It seems as if the best hope we have for any form of freedom concerning will is if there is somehow a true randomness buried in the heart of the universe.