In college, I had a friend who, whenever he found a key on the ground, would pick it up and say, “I’m going to hold on to this. You never know when you might be stopped by a locked door; this might open it.” It always made me laugh because the odds of meeting a locked door, the key to which I picked up several years ago and carried with me ever since, are simply absurd. But, perhaps because of my own penchant for the absurd, I adopted his habit.

The other day, I woke up from a dream repeating the word “iputipus.” If Muriel Rukeyser is right, and the universe really is composed of stories rather than atoms, then maybe words are the keys to the locked doors we may be stopped by in the future. Just in case, I’m holding on to “iputipus.” I picked it up in a dream, and brought it with me into the waking world. It sounds like it may unlock an interesting door.

war in iraq

I wasn’t going to write anything about the war, even though it is something I think about everyday. Mainly, I wasn’t going to write about it because I know where I stand on it, and my views are usually just dismissed as extreme. As a pacifist, I’m not going to support any war, so it doesn’t matter whether it is a war that some philosophy professor can rationalize as “just”. It doesn’t matter whether the war is waged by a democratically elected leader representing the wishes of the people or a not-even-elected-merely-appointed occupant of the executive office. It doesn’t matter to me whether we’re sending over the sons and daughters of the wealthy and powerful or those of the poor and disenfranchised to fight the war for us. What matters is that going to war means that we believe that we can know, definitely and justifiably, that taking many, many lives is the right thing to do. I don’t believe that we are even in a position to know that, and I’d rather be wrong and take no lives, than be right and take many.

There are many ways to measure the cost of the current war in Iraq. Obviously, it’s not good for our economy, nor is it economically helping the average person in Iraq. Of course, Dick Cheney and Halliburton may be profiting something from it. But, yesterday I learned of a new cost to me personally. A school friend of mine, Kimberly Hampton, was killed January 2nd while she was piloting a helicopter. Kimberly was a good person. How many more of our friends need to die before we’re going to realize that we don’t even know what we’re doing over there in the first place?

The Nature of Violence

Written when I was a wee lad of 19, I had all but forgotten about this piece until I recently stumbled upon a college friend’s website where he is hosting archives of an online journal project he and I were involved with. While I’m certainly not impressed by my writing (almost embarassed by it, really), this piece is still important to me because it reflects some of my younger thoughts on non-violence.

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For more privacy and serenity, she buys a condo in a small building of four units. Her building is in the woods. When she goes to bed, she leaves the shades in her bedroom window open so that she can wake to the morning light through the trees. The light from her nightlight reflects off the leaves, and she can see the outlines of the nearest trees even at night. But the reflected light also shines into her neighbor’s bedroom window. He keeps his shades open as well, because he too enjoys waking up to the sight of the trees. He’s bothered by the light, however — kept awake by it. He bangs on the thin wall between their bedrooms. She leaves the light on for security, but he is disturbed by it. Neither is able to sleep.

Foggy Night, Bright Lights in Trees 2


I went out for a walk one day last week and found what’s left of this tree only a street away from my house. The tree is on a street with other oaks, hundreds of years old. When you walk into this tree’s space, you feel a break in the shade — a break that doesn’t seem right. Then you look up and see why… it’s a little startling. A week later, what’s left of the tree is still standing there. It’s like someone started cutting it down, then stopped. The half-finished job is a little eerie.

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backups and backhoes

My computer is my notepad where I scribble out ideas, my filiing cabinet where I store my important papers, my journal where I write to myself, my music box where I keep just about every song I would want to listen to, and, oh yeah, an important tool for work. Given the fact that harddrive failure is not a matter of if, but just a matter of when, and also given some of the scary things I’ve seen at work, I figured I really need to start backing up my data. Probably on a regular basis too.
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