Four months ago I would have expected tonight to be wild. I would have expected to be drunk as fuck at some random club in Miami with a drink in one hand and a whore-ishly delicious girl in the other. I wonder what has changed in the last few months.

My friends have changed. I used to hang out with a bunch of drug dealers and alcoholics that were really only looking out for themselves. I didn't really care too much for them. These days I consider my friends to be family. Though many of them are still involved in drugs and alcohol, life isn't solely about getting fucked up anymore. The girls I used to hang out with last year were strictly whores. Though they didn't directly take money in exchange for sex, it pretty much boiled down to that in the end. Today I'm happy to say there are only 4 or 5 girls that I associate with, and I would be willing to take a bullet for any one of them.

My focus has shifted. As opposed to being a minimalist, I actually want to do well in school. I want to show the world what I can really do, and by that I don't mean how many consecutive shots I can take or how long of a keg-stand I can do. I want to change things in the world.

I'm not as confident as I used to be. I used to be able to walk into a room full of strangers and walk out with a handful of new friends and maybe a phone number or two. I guess what I'm calling 'confidence' is really just cockiness and arrogance. I need to find the right balance in this area.

I've wandered a bit further off the road of sanity. I'm not as sure of things as I used to be; I'm always second guessing assumptions, especially my own. I feel lost. Last year I was fairly satisfied with my life. Today, I don't know what I'm looking for. The things that used to make me happy have lost value, and I'm left with a bit of a hole in my mind. I'm missing something, I just don't know what it is. I'm okay with this; this newfound uncertainty has changed my outlook on life. I'm exploring new aspects of life and giving everything and everyone an honest chance before I rule them out.

The biggest thing that I can say has changed is how I feel about other people. I guess I've learned that life isn't about me and me alone; sometimes caring about other people can be okay.

I feel like I'm growing up and moving on, and I'm happy about this. I can only wonder what this next year of life has in store for me.

Happy birthday to me.

Woodnots proposals for an improved economy

The economy of Britain (where I come from) is quite good. Most people are very well to do, have a wide range of things to buy from and use their money, and this has remained the same even during this current recession (for the larger part). There have been notable changes; my Dad was able to buy a very posh estate car during the car price crash (that was of course caused by people not being able to get loans, my Dad now finds this car incredibly annoying). Other notable changes include how many shops that have closed down, most notably Woolworths, most of these shops have now been replaced by other businesses, including emerging brands. Another interesting thing that happened is the fact that my home town, a small semi-agrarian town, has been visited since the beginning of the recession by a Big Issue vendor. When asked “Why are you out here so far in the countryside” he replies (to the point of) “there’s too much competition in the big towns.” At the moment he is doing quite well, he has inherited a house in Weston-Super-Mere were he comes from.

Both ways, there are some very distinct problems with the British economy, and I believe all Free Market economies in the world. These problems are all encroaching, they affect me, they affect you, and they affect 99% of people living in this country (roughly). I could go in to detail about the British Economy at the moment, but I think I will just jump to the critiques.

There are two types of people in the free market, the Capitalists and the Consumers. The Capitalists provide things; the Consumers take those things then give the Capitalists some money. A person can be both a Capitalist and a Consumer at the same time. Both side’s aims are the same, to amass the most stuff as possible (or simply to amass stuff), all that varies is how they do it. For the larger part, the Capitalists (or at least the good Capitalists) are generally much cannier than the Consumers, and are subsequently the trend setters. However, both side’s depend on each other for there survival, both sides can enhance each other and both sides can poison each other. Capitalists have poisoned Consumers by...

1.      Eroding people’s resourcefulness and creativity, “why make or make do when you can buy or buy new”, this attitude which is encouraged by cheap prices has led to the above, and also an immense amount of wastage.

2.      Another thing is a very distinct greed for things, although this is less important than the above in my opinion.

In turn, Consumers have been poisoned Capitalists by...

1.      Demanding things to be cheap through their spending habits.

2.      Being picky about what they buy.

3.      These things mean that even if a Capitalist wanted to do something good (which is unlikely), it would make it difficult to make a profit, or for small Capitalists, even survive, thus pushing them to do things such as cut wages etc.

I may have worded these things badly, but you get the idea, of two groups of greedy, wanting people pulling each other down into stagnation. An example of this is with the organic, free-range chickens. Once upon a time Consumers in Britain simply ate the cheapest chicken they could find, only hippies and posh people were interested in free range and organic chicken. Then along came that archetypal middle class, neigh upper class hippie Hew Ferny Wittingstall, who did a program on channel 4 showing the conditions mass produced chickens had to endure, the immense pain caused by there rapid growth and the cramped and rat infested living conditions. Suddenly the idea of chickens being able to wander freely across the fields sounded much better. Soon hundreds of people started replacing their old mass produced chickens with organic and free range chickens (although a lot of the time the Capitalists said it was free-range but actually it was the mother hen that was free-range and similar scams.) There were voices of concern that free-range chickens were more expensive than mass produced chickens, but that didn’t deter most people. What didn’t come across until towards the end of this saga was why the chickens were more expensive. Essentially, free-range for the larger part is a much less efficient way of producing meat than intensive farming. Eventually, the free-range farmers were struggling to meet a demand meant for mass produced chickens and they all went on BBC Breakfast to demand a halt.

This mutual blood-sucking by Capitalists and Consumers could actually work (to an extent) if it wasn’t for the fact that the market isn’t entirely free. The Government places various restrictions on Capitalists in Britain. These include the minimum wage, maximum working hours, safety etc etc. These restrictions help the workers, but make it difficult to make profit, and sometimes lower the rate of production. At the same time as placing all these restrictions, the Government owns very little of the industry, these are mainly state schools, the NHS, and various miscellaneous industries (such as the odd swimming pool here and there.) As a result of this, some Capitalists will therefore decide to cut business here in Britain and move it to places like India, China, Indonesia etc, where these restrictions are non-existent. Don’t think by the way that service industries don’t get affected by this, why do you think those people who phone you up after dinner sometimes have an Indian accent. Also, occasionally, foreign companies may come and fill the void left by the both departed or collapsed British businesses, which keep work and business in Britain, but any possible profits flow back to the country that company came from.

Amongst the many side effects of this great pull out, is a distinct high level of unemployment. One estimate puts the number of unemployed people in Britain at 5.6%, which isn’t much, but its still 3,360,000 c. Adults. This is the equivalent of half of London not doing anything, if that was to happen then the place would then collapse. Further to the point, out of 18 British adults, 1 would be unemployed, and the other 17 people have to either let him/her beg on the streets (as what can happen with the less canny ones) or pay for him/her to live through their taxes, with that individual possibly getting more than they do (as can happen with the more canny ones). On top of this, 16.7% are 14 and under (I am 15) and 16.2% are 65 or over. In total, 38.5% of British people are dependent on the other 61.5%. This equates to every 3 people being dependant, with the other 2 having to support them in some way. If say, that 5.6% actually did some paid work, that would reduce the dependency to 32.9%, which would still equate to every third person being a dependant, but it would be a noticeable difference none the less.

Opinion: That 32.9% should be allowed to remain dependant, those young people like my self so that they can learn things which will hopefully improve their working ability (although I still feel the main purpose of school is simply to learn). As for those elderly people, I feel that most of them have worked hard when they were younger so deserve a good rest now.

Going back to these unemployed people, some of these people are wheelchair bound, mentally ill, blind etc. which makes it difficult for them to work in a normal situation. Some of these people literally cannot find work or literally don’t have the skills for the work available, even reading and writing. However, a lot of these people are drug addicts, usually on alcohol or cannabis and maybe some stronger drugs and this life style choice (often illegal) effectively debilitate them from working. Also, if you are capable of manipulating the system (having far more children than normal, exaggerating your own limitations and out and out lying) it is possible to earn more money than it would doing average work, so some of these people are manipulating the system. Remember any tax payers who are reading this that this is were some of your money is going.

Don’t think by the way that it is just these people who are a problem. A lot of the wealthy people in Britain are even in this day are aristocrats, which I define as people who acquire there entire wealth (or most of their wealth) either through inheritance or through that upper-class benefit list, the civil list, or both occasionally. If you don’t believe me, the richest British person (as in they were born in Britain as opposed to arriving somewhere else and acquiring British nationality after so many years of living here) is the Duke of Winsor, an aristocrat. Okay he got a lot of his money through property, but I doubt he would have been as rich today if he hadn’t had his aristocratic trampoline. Also a lot of business people start off aristocratic families, by giving their businesses and money to one of their children regardless of merit rather than a meriting co-worker. Referring to the biggest aristocrat in Britain, the Queen, she currently costs tax payers 40 million pounds for doing work that could easily be done by a decent actor or civil servant, and considering the 61.5% of people who already have to support the “dependants”, they on average have to pay an additional £1.09p each to the Queen (although some will pay more than others due to our tax system.)

Another thing that concerns me is reality T.V. stars and similar people. The most notable one of our time was Jade Goodie, who became rich and famous by going on Big Brother, a reality T.V. show in which contestants don’t have to do anything except live “normally” in an isolated house and then get voted off by viewers, and won. She then built up enough fame and fortune to go on Celebrity Big Brother, which she lost this time for being racist to Shilpa Shetti, who in the aftermath became quite an interesting curiosity in Britain for her Bollywood career. After that, Jade fell out of the public eye until she became very ill with cervical cancer, then started a long and arduous bout of voyeurism as Jade’s condition deteriorated and finally ebbed away with her death. Many people thought she was idiotic due to her immense lack of general knowledge. What many people didn’t know until she was dying was that she was in fact a nurse from lower class backgrounds before she took an interest in reality T.V.

Opinion: I feel that Jade Goodie would have provided a much better service to Britain if she had carried on as a nurse.

This story sends a highly dangerous message to various people, working-upper class, young or even old, that it is possible to become rich and famous through essentially doing very little except going to the right places. This is dangerous because it distracts people from real work and real talent.

There are lots of other critiques I could go on about, but I think I will do them in later write-ups. Either way, here is how I would like the economy of Britain to be run.

1.      Workers should get paid in-proportion to a) how much they produce if in agriculture and industry or b) the percentage of the work they have done in a group. Sectors which are difficult to measure can be exempt from these measures. This should be fairer than the current pay by the hour system and create a state of competition which should kick workers into action.

2.      Employers should not be allowed to use labour saving machines unless there is a shortage of people who want and can be their employees. This will help solve unemployment.

3.      Employers should not be allowed to make staff redundant purely to preserve or increase profit, they should only be allowed to make staff redundant if they deserve it (i.e. cause an accident.)

4.      Any employer who disagrees with the above should have there business confiscated by the state.

5.      In light of the above, employers are allowed control over how much money they allow to be divided up in proportion, working hours, safety etc. This is to act as an incentive for investing business in Britain.

6.      Consumers should have some of there privilege to choose limited in order to help with the various other schemes that I have suggested (although I would hate there to be a state enforced “you get what you get” economy because if it happened now I may have to eat cauliflower!)

7.      The unemployed should be divided into two groups, they who want to work and they who don’t want to work. A) They who want to work should be found work by the council (from anywhere) that best suits there preferences and abilities, I feel that with a lot of job schemes, they simply mass produce mass jobs without thinking whether the people will be able to do it or not. B) They who can do work but choose to manipulate the system should be forced to do “slave” work (I say slave in speech marks because they will still be paid the money they get) or have their benefits removed completely. Whilst they do slave work they will be sent somewhere separate from those who want to work so that they aren’t off putting. C) They who are totally unable to work i.e. quadriplegics, severely brain damaged etc. should be exempt from the above and continue to be looked after (I do by the way believe in voluntary euthanasia, but that’s a social/moral issue.) D) They that are drug addicts will be sent to the ghettos.

8.      The formation of intoxication ghettos, walled and/or closely guarded areas where any form of intoxicating substance can be sold, even ones that are illegal today. Anyone who is caught taking these substances outside of the local ghetto will be thrown inside it along with whoever sold it to them. All patrons have to remain inside the ghetto whilst they are drunk, stoned etc. If any patron tries to escape from the ghetto whilst intoxicated, the guards may shoot to sterilize. Any profits made will go in proportion to how much “tenants” (business owners and the government) put into its upkeep. There will also be a light-able sign which whenever there’s an election it lights up “vote Woodnot” or words to that effect. These ghettos should squeeze money for the tenants and ultimately the public, keep people safe from crazed drug addicts and prevent the individuals in side from turning to the evils of feminism and Anti-Humanism (and also vegetarianism, but that’s not entirely evil as such.)

10.  The cities of Britain should be adapted for agriculture, as some NGOs are doing already. Ideally, it should be done by the “Woodnot method”, a strange mix of perma-culture and intensive farming based around the principle of domesticating the plants and animals and using the resources already there rather than shipping them in, thus being more efficient (in a strange way (I am also going to write about my own experiments as part of the IRON NODERS CHALLENGE)

11.  An extension of squatter’s rights should be introduced, in which certain buildings and monuments etc. can count as an address, thus allowing homeless people to remain homeless for the time being but still be able of getting a job. A similar scheme is already being tried out somewhere, where they gave the park benches an address so that homeless people could use them.

12.  A new hunting law, you will be able to hunt whatever you like in whatever way you like as long as you do it sustainably, this will be worked out by how many of a certain species there are, how offspring they would have, how many would die of natural causes i.e. disease and by other predators, then British humans can take so many as long as there is two left (1 male and 1 female, or just two for hermaphrodites(this is by the way to per group of siblings, not two in the entire country)) to reproduce. I should point out that under this law if you run over an animal and kill it that counts as a man made death so goes on your “points”. Special butchers will be set up to sell on any meat that is acquired this way. A similar situation should be started for wild plants as well.

13.  I was considering legalising cock-fighting, on the grounds that such an activity would happen in the wild any way. However, there are aspects of cock-fighting that are slightly unnatural, such as the fighting in a pit so that they can’t escape. Either way, humans should be allowed to view and support activities that would happen even if we weren’t there, and perhaps bet on it which would bring in more money.

14.  There should be restrictions on unnecessary car travel in order to save on energy and fuel. I’m sure you will know one of these people, possibly your parents (like my mother), possibly yourself, who would happily get into a car to drive across a busy road. I think most people (with the exception of those with limps or wheelchair bound etc.) should be able to walk regularly anywhere within 1 square kilometre of where they live.  

15.  A general aim should be self sufficiency, we are currently able to produce 60% of the food we need, but only 10% of the fruit we need. In terms of manufactured goods, it’s even worse. I doubt our mass import economy is particularly sustainable.

Well, that’s pretty much all I can think of at the moment. I would call this “All engaging state run capitalism,” although you may have a better name for this, if so, please tell me. Another thing, at the time this was written (if you are reading this in the future) there was a postal workers strike, tell me, which side should I support.       

I'm quitting technology (internet, tv etc.) for a week. I'm assuming I can, because if I couldn't, well that's pretty pathetic.

Even though that is how I kill most of my time, I don't enjoy doing it. I remember when I was 11 or 12 I installed a computer game (Warcraft 3) and spent every waking minute on that game; I just thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. I would forget to eat because I was so preoccupied, and when I did I would eat in front of the game. If friends tried to coax me outside I would run them off; I really thought I'd rather be playing that game than doing anything else. Then I went to summer camp for a week, I was way too busy to care about the game but I looked forward to playing it when I got back.

I spent all of about an hour playing it before I realised I simply didn't like it anymore; I couldn't have liked it if I tried.

I'm hoping it will be the same for time-consuming technology. Maybe not, but I'll never know until I give it a try. This would probably be a good New Year's resolution, but I've always thought that anything worth doing on New Years is worth doing now.

"Have you ever wanted to call attention to events and people that have fallen out of mainstream media, such as the protests in Iran, the murder of reporters in Russia, or the deforestation in Brazil? DiorActive blends elements of cosplay, DIY construction, outdoor theater and research to recreate events and people with the ultimate goal of raising awareness and encouraging action."--Alexis TK, finalist in the Digital Open, an "opportunity" for teenagers to showcase their inventions.

Somehow, it just makes me reach for my revolver.
    Awareness, in my view, is no different than advertising in that it means to persuade an audience to do something. In this case, it means pointing out a problem, instilling guilt that the audience isn't doing something, then asking for money so that other people can be paid to fix these problems. Sometimes, a token item, such as a wristband, T-shirt, or tote bag will be given that further advertises the problem. At the highest level, people are asked to eat expensive dinners, buy inessential products, such as perfume, or attend sporting or social events with the problem as the guest of honor. Giving money, wearing themed apparel, attending events or even simply viewing artworks depicting this problem serve to assuage what, in time becomes a free-floating sense of guilt, while freeing the audience from making difficult choices or making much of a change in their lifestyles by reassuring them that it's OK, the problems will be fixed, if not by the government, then by some NGO's or someone like that.
    What Alexis proposes is something very much like a tableau vivant, a theatrical form that dates at least as far back as the Middle Ages. So far, she really hasn't invented anything, except to come up with the idea of chapters that would do this kind of thing in every large city, communicating via the Internet, and pooling all their ideas through wikipedias and CC-like licensing. What she's being given the prize for is having her heart in the right place: I'm sure if she was trying to 'save the world' through tableaux vivant of, say, Colonization (Bibles, Industry, and Prosperity) vs. Native Rule (Superstition, Primitivism, and Want), The Downfall of the Illuminati, or proving the 'bad science' of global warming, she'd never have reached the first level of competition. That she's a girl, and a pretty, blue-eyed blonde at that, also seems in order -- by including a token girl in the winners,  they can always point to the fact that the competition isn't just for boys or geeks, but for all.

As clever as it may seem to have a tableau vivant of emergency shelters in Africa, women grieving dead children, the aftereffects of a tsunami, they all share the qualities of a Christmas pageant: no matter how great you are in costuming, makeup and special effects, what you're actually trying to depict -- the grimy, smelly, noisy, sordid reality of a 14-year-old peasant girl forced to give birth in a stable, with blood and shit and amniotic fluid, to the Son of God-- is going to be miles away from what you'll finally end out with -- a 20-year-old Mary with perfect teeth and well-nourished length of bone, who moans "Ouch!" and holds her tum while lights fade to black before stagehands turn on a small light bulb in the manger and Mary, kneeling, ditches a well-placed pillow. What the traffic will bear is another thought: launching a 'virtual sweatshop' outside a Wal-Mart (about an hour before the police are called) may have its satisfactions,  but more people will stop and gawk at a tableau of The Death of Michael Jackson or Britney Spears's latest antics than some short brown people having a bad day in that country with the funny name where that model gave away CARE packages. Listen, if people won't watch news on TV, don't like newspapers except as an ad hoc puppy toilet, and would rather have a good friend forward a news story now and then rather than wade through a news site, they're just not going to be interested.

Awareness is just like trying to make love to an elephant: you can't make love to an elephant, nor can you make love with an elephant. You can make love at an elephant, and hope she notices.

There may be glitches in the system, but microloans (which connect individual donors with individual recipients) and distributed computing (which tries to solve big problems with lots of computing muscle) are far more powerful than trying to tell people "Put $20 in our hat, and maybe things will go smoother."
I'm not a huge fan of "sustainable solutions", since they often call for child labor and keeping people at the level of subsistence agriculture simply to keep them alive, but not thriving, but I would welcome anyone who could make old-school phone receivers into guitar pick-ups rather than yet another way to make white suburban females into more-eligible Ivy League college freshmeat. I rest my case.

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