Category Archives: thoughts

Votestarter

I am really impressed at how a small startup can grow and encourage the best ideas to come to fruition. The Internet is a great place to throw ideas out and see what has traction and connect the ideas to people who have means to make stuff happen.

I am less optimistic about the world of politics so far. Nobody in a democracy can agree about how goals are to be met, but everyone has an opinion about how best to get there. And none of the largest ideas can be completed without a majority of people contributing their taxes towards the goal.

But what if our democracy did not consist of people without skin in the game pontificating about how to spend other people’s money, or future money? What if we all voted with our tax dollars as a percentage of our work, time and effort, and not one dime was spent until the goal was virtually funded on paper? I get bombarded by ads and automated phone calls asking me to support or not support this measure or that measure, to generate funds by taxing some evil industry and set up a committee to manage the funds, etc.

What I would prefer would be a secure website where I could choose initiatives to build better transportation infrastructure or hire teachers or establish departments of whatever, and be shown what my total estimated tax bill would be in the following year. All of the priorities and interests of voters would be distilled into only support the programs that have enough support to be actually completed, and the great ideas that were too expensive would not come to pass, and the programs that are knowingly abused would cease to be supported by the general populous. A fourth branch of checks and balances would be set up for the people as individuals, also encouraging active participation in voting. This would not give people with more money more power necessarily in a democracy, but would prevent big expensive programs from starting without the actual means to be funded.

Kickstarter would never work if people could vote with fake money. Neither will our government.

Artistic Ministry

Would we recognize God’s speaking through people today in this way, or just dismiss it because it is not what we expect from Him?

“at that time the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot. [3] Then the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, [4] so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt’s shame.”
-Isaiah 20:2-4 (NIV)

Get uncomfortable with this and then consider what the original creative mind of God would come up with to get your attention. What customs and traditions are you relying on for your comfort, but others use to dismiss your actions as false piety? We are made in the image of God, not the image of a parrot. Listen to Him and be creative, because He created first.

Unfinished Business

Original Drawing by Ezra Engle

This really bothers me. A guy that I knew asked me to draw something for him for a project he was working on. I told him I would do it for 2/3 of my normal rate, because he was a buddy of mine. Then, after a few revisions, when he was satisfied with the result, I invoiced him for the money, he said that he was going to pay me after his client paid him. Now, I didn’t sign up to be a partner in his business. I just was going to do something for him for a price that we agreed on and he’s been promising, then flaking on me for almost two years now. I don’t know what to do anymore. His client never payed him so he changed the terms on his own. I guess it was a lesson in life that some people won’t do what they say when things don’t work out for them. They pass on someone else’s flakiness and pretend like it doesn’t have anything to do with them. I think that if I were to want to have some sort of partnership where I shared in the risk with somebody else that was helping me out then I should also share the reward and not be saying here’s a flat rate for what you’re doing rather than a percentage of profits and explain the risk before hand. I don’t want this to happen again, because it turned a mutually respectful acquaintance into something like tense silence. I like to think that my relationships are worth more than that, and it is sad to see one sold so undervalued. I may need to request that a lawyer draw up some concise contracts for me to use in the future, because one day I may really need a paycheck to pay my bills and live on, and have contracts with higher stakes that I can’t afford to lose.

Back it Up

A Public Service Announcement:
There seems to be a lot of people I know who don’t understand how an iPod is supposed to work. Music is on your computer and a copy is on your iPod to playback. When your computer goes up in smoke and you have no backup, your music is gone. Reinstalling iTunes does not make your music reappear on a new computer. If you don’t have an external drive, get one. Copy your important photos and music to it. You will be glad you did when your system drive fails. They always do within five years. If your computer is three years old, you are on borrowed time.

Go Well

Please don’t ask the question, “What shall I watch next?”


When we are not inspired, challenged, driven or surprised, we seek diversion.
Many people seem to have a great desire to be entertained.
Entertainment is diversion without challenge.
Challenge is not encouraged often in television, because true challenge makes us turn off the television.
Entertainment has an element of surprise at times: in drama, comedy, horror, action, and almost every other genre.
Those who spend a lot of time engrossed in entertainment lose the experience of surprise and seek that experience with a continued, greater investment.
The entertainment industry capitalizes on this drive by offering more sets of channels to subscribe to and billed monthly for this ‘privilege’.
Entertainment is an imposter, attempting to compete with that which would satisfy our actual desires.
The most effective way to be inspired is through a mentoring relationship with a successful person who has accomplished an admirable feat or reached a worthy goal.
A great way to be challenged is to commit to a relationship that involves accountability to another who is stronger than us in an area of our own weakness.
One method to acquire drive is by learning to keep one’s commitments in an atmosphere of success and assured a future reward without immediate personal benefits.
Surprise occurs when we attempt things that we thought were not possible and achieve them or we witness a peer achieve them and can celebrate that in our community or group.
Without challenge to our habits or changes to our environment, surprise is unlikely.
Comfort is the enemy of satisfaction, and the friend of atrophy.
Rest is necessary, but should be earned with a continuing effort.
With wisdom, we must choose worthy endeavors and battles.
Assuming the battle is worth fighting, it is better to die in the heat of battle than to rest in the complacent coolness of peace.
Do not ask the question, “What shall I watch next?”, rather answer the question,
“Where should I go?” and wherever you do go; go well.

James Session Two

Had a great time tonight reading with Ben Parker, @kle & @Cat_Roberts and trying to plan for how to apply this verse:*

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
-James 1:27 (NIV)

I also learned that Ben’s mom, Kathy has started physically accepting the bone marrow transplant and working like we had hoped.

*This post is here because it started out as a tweet, but was impossible to do in 140 characters.

Network updates

I found two places this week that Verizon does not have coverage. One AT&T did have really good coverage, the other AT&T also was without service. One was in Clyde, CA & the other was in Martinez, CA. I did not take screenshots. I believe that if AT&T invests well in it’s network with all the wireless money it continues to get, then Verizon will have to play catch up. As for now, Verizon’s network seems more stable and reliable.

I don’t think I want to write more on this subject. It is getting a little boring to me. If anything comes up of interest, I will let you, my reader, know.
Thanks,
-Ezra

California Network Showdown #1

I have both AT&T and Verizon data plans now. It may seem crazy to some, but I really like bandwidth, and love the opportunity to see which offers more value for the money in my real world situations. Also, my AT&T contract is almost up, so I don’t plan on keeping it this way forever.

I stopped to get fuel on a roadtrip to and from Redding, CA and did a network speed test at one of the last stops at a Chevron just off of interstate 5

AT&T on the Edge Network

Well, there is not a lot of room for a slower connection than this.The good news here I see is that there are a solid five bars of signal strength, but only one kilobit per bar ratio for download speed. I suppose if I were to really thouroughly test this, I should have tried to make a call, but I had to attend to the pump, since the trigger released itself for some reason. Karyn does not have a lot of patience for my experiments going longer than a commercial break, especially when we have to get back on the freeway and make good time.

AT&T on the 3G Network

Not too bad. This is usable. I have no idea why it took four minutes to find the 3G signal, but I am glad it did. I did not turn off the 3G setting to get the first edge reading above, it just happened this way, oddly. I guess the edge network is what one uses to talk on while surfing the net with 3G?

Verizon on the 3G Network

Wow! This was way beyond
my expectations. I had to double check my network settings to be sure I was not connected to some other courtesy network. Nothing else around but freeway and grass besides this pump station.

Chevron Food Mart Location

Karyn was getting a few Gatorades at the food Mart, and I was not quite filling up our tank, besides doing these ‘geek tests’

MiFi on my dashboard

Today Verizon wins by an embarrassing landslide. I have never had a speed test result this high done from my iPhone while not on my home WiFi network

Make it Right

Truth can hurt, but it is still the best path for solving a problem that starts with dishonest acts or words. It can’t get any better delaying the truth.
It is like when I realized I was going too fast downhill (35mph) longboarding and dove off and got hurt, but didn’t die or break any bones like if I were to wait until the board got even faster (45-50mph) and flew out from under me with speed wobbles. It was a scary situation that made me feel dumb that I got into it, but it was gonna hurt either way. It just would have had worse consequences if I didn’t have control of the timing in how it was made right.
This is advice I offer to anyone who gets into a predicament caused by selfish goals that displace common sense.