er... uhmmm....

Let's suppose you have a problem.

You're hungry. Okay. Fine. Then the general solution is to end hunger. Let's make a list of possible solutions:

Stop being hungry.
Eat ___(specific food)___.
Pretend being hungry is something fun and continue it.
Pretend being hungry is some other problem and solve it.

Really though, we only solve being hungry by eating. Moreover, we tend to have a specific food in mind. But what if you're hungry and you cannot eat? Then you start to evaluate those other solutions. Simply being willful might work for a while. Death as a solution is only applicable for problems that are as permanent as death (in the objective sense... not from the subjective condition that the hungry person is in). The others are also fine for a while.

Wait... what is he going on about now? My idea is to talk about problems in general. A problem exists and accordingly there are solutions numbering more than one. A problem could be so important that it needs to be solved in any way possible. As such, any general solution will suffice. However, problems usually need to be compatible with a host of other restraints, constraints, concerns, and conditions. So, I'm hungry... but I can't afford Red Lobster. I don't have time for Ryan's. I am also cold. Snow makes parking difficult. Thus, Fazzolli's or Wendy's Chili seem to be ideal candidates. However, I'm on my way to work... so McDonald's it is.

As we move from a general solution to a specific one it becomes difficult to identify what the "best" solution is. What outcome are we trying to maximize? What outcomes are we trying to minimize? Which outcomes are we trying to balance? It is during this process that one could potentially just ignore the problem until it became so dire that any solution at all would suffice or only one solution is viable. Thus, if paralyzed by the multitude of solutions to my hunger problem, I wait until I get to work... I've left myself no option except the vending machines.

Accordingly, I am able to help my paralysis by knowing that the default solution will be the vending machines. Then I weigh the shortcomings of various solutions against the default. True, I've had McDonald's all week... but it's better than the vending machines. See how that is, in fact, progress?

I had another topic that I wanted to talk about. However, it required a bit of research. While researching, I found out that I was wrong. I expected to find corroboration and agreement... but it's not there to be found. My problem of needing to blog remained, so I took a stab at writing this instead of going to bed with nothing accomplished. This isn't what I wanted, but I am happier with it than with nothing. That doesn't mean that I prefer it above all solutions. It just means that it is the one I have chosen this time.

After having written this I will still ponder my broken idea. I will explore, destroy, and rebuild it. Later, when I am up to it and when it is strong enough for me... I will write about it. I know that it will be better when done right.

It's an idea that just needs more time. So, I will give it time.

Even now, at the end of this post, I have the urge to delete it all and write nothing.... to just wait for the better idea. But, why waste these words? They are not the ones I intended on writing, but... where is the sense in throwing them away?



good day... bad work

I'm so lucky that it's genocide when I walk through fields of clover.



get it? 20¢ = paradigm? Anyway, there is a paradigm that I want to talk about today. Nicky brought it up and it just seemed right. The idea goes like this: Women in relationships are always looking for it to progress forward. It isn't so much a measure of how far or how quickly, but it must move forward. Settling in a comfortable place is just as bad as moving backwards. They constantly seek to make the relationship closer and closer always moving towards a position of increased intimacy. Men on the other hand are pretty okay with stagnation so long as it is comfortable. They tend to move forward until they feel good and then hang out.

Throw in the necessary caveats and throw out some of those absolute words and I feel that it's a pretty close approximation of a lot of relationship dynamics.

But there is a problem. What happens when you don't want to go forward yet? What if you're not ready and you need to hang out for a while? What if you need to feel comfortable in order to move forward? What if the other party is ready to move on before you are? What if you find yourself committed to something that you don't feel as strongly about as the other party? What if you perceive them to be more committed than they actually are? What if you are not able to commit more deeply? What if you've reached the pinnacle of commitment? What if you've pushed for commitment and the other party has acquiesced in order to placate the push rather than for the purpose of deeper relations?

For all of the above: Then you're going to start having trouble. The more important question is: What do you do about it?

Ultimately, one must choose to stay or go. Just like the song: "if [you] go there will be trouble, if [you] stay it will be double." Why double? Well, problems come back. They are not always the same, but there will be another struggle. Such is the nature of relationships.

On the way to deciding whether or not to stay or go, one has plenty of options that will lead to more problems and hurt feelings. There are actually very few ways to avoid additional problems or hurt feelings. However, your best bet is to talk it out.

Suggested lines of conversation:
  • One's expectations in a relationship in general
  • One's expectations in this relationship in particular
  • One's own challenges in relationships in general
  • One's own challenges in this relationship in particular
  • One's own comfort level
  • One's perception of the other's comfort level
  • One's own commitment level
  • One's perception of the other's commitment level
and so on.

The rub is that real life is not linear or simple. Life is absolutely non-linear and quite chaotic. What you want today is not the same as what you want tomorrow. One's feelings towards another fluctuate yearly, monthly, daily, hourly, and so on.

However, whatever you feel that never goes away or fluctuates is real and true. That is what you must hold onto and give to the other person so that they may also hold onto it. From that you can build. It is your foundation.

Now, let's spin this entire construct about that point. Let's say that we are all men and that life is the woman. The relationship is our job or our home or what have you. The relationship is your purpose in life.

Grab onto that which does not move as the world spins. Do not let go. Then, you will find happiness. (Results not typical. Your mileage may vary.)



I did not realize that the Wii would take up so much of my time/life. However, I enjoy being immersed in another world. It's something that I miss from not reading fiction novels.

Thursday I clocked into work at 2pm... I clocked out at 6am. Yes, I did it. I switched for 4 consecutive sorts. Oh wait, I got coded over to local at the end? So that means that I switched Day, Twi, Mid, Sun, and Preload. Holy cow, that's 5. Five sorts. It was Pent-tastic. After work I took a (much) Much needed shower and drove to Chicago and back. So, driving from 2pm until 4pm the following day. 26 hours behind the wheel (minus appropriate breaks).

Now all I want to do is sleep and drink some whiskey.... and play Wii!!!!!!!!!!

In other news:

First-Mid hates me for spending money north of Paxton.
God saved me from dying while I was driving home.

In older news:



So, I bought a Wii. I was at Wal-Mart and there were 12 in stock. I've never seen them in stock before. So, I bought one. I was looking for something to buy with a portion of my tax refund... and it's a Wii. I'm in love. I spent 4 hours and 40 minutes playing with my Wii. Wii. and did I mention Wii?



Know Thy Self

I have little need for self-analysis as I do so much of it. However, there are parts of my Self that are difficult to get to. Sometimes I need to understand those parts so they can be put in the analysis machine. The best way I've found is to ask questions and see what my answers are. The best are ones that present a temporal juxtaposition of my life events and various versions of my Self. It doesn't really tell me much about how I used to be, but it can tell me about how I view myself as having been and it gets at what those events are about to me, now.

Example: Would the Stephen who was in Moldova do the highest bungy in world? No. He was not impulsive. He was crippled by his rationality and much too bound to the opinions of adults. Mom's unease would have stopped him cold. Yes, he did board a bus with people he hardly knew and traveled half-way across Moldova to visit a castle. But only because Mom was okay with it and it was the idea of an adult. Yes, he did ride a bus through Moldova all the way to the end of the bus line. But only because he thought the route was circular. His terror levels soared when he found that he had to get off the bus and didn't know enough Romanian to understand his situation or find a way out. He was resourceful enough to walk until he found something familiar... but he got lucky. He knew it. True, he stared down the treat of serious bodily harm during the robbery. But he had no choice. It was a real growth of his Self. He could not knowingly inflict such terror on his Self.

The fact that he was 13 is not relevant. The Self knows no age, only experience. And there is no way to gauge the experience level of a Self. I see my Self has having gone through mile stones that define the various versions it has passed through. Of course there are not discrete differences between one and another. In the way that I measure them, South Africa has put me into my 7th revision.

I can feel some of it calcifying, while other parts are still being broken down. But I'm starting to see trends. The Self-Help concept is a myth. One cannot just decide to be different. However, by noticing where the hard and soft spots are, one can mold. Try to change a solid aspect of your Self and you're in for a long struggle. Aim for a soft spot and there's a lot of potential.

Trying to change a hard spot? You need a big event to hammer it. Some tenderizer is in order. And it will not be pleasant. That's what makes it hard to change them. We do not want to hurt ourselves. Self-inflicted pain is possible only when it is unwitting or when it's masked as something other than pain. The tender spots are easy because we are causing pain during a healing. It is pain, but it's also investigation of a wound.

Now, to my point: Analyzing my Self is a process of healing. In the past I've had a fairly rough touch and I would poke at anything that hurt and hurt anything that didn't. I've discovered, over the last 11 years, how to restrict the prodding to places that I'm interested in healing. The wound metaphor is apropo because newly healed wounds can break open again and all healing takes time.

However, the me of yesterday lives on inside the me of today. It still has some good ideas about right action at cusp. Nothing is all bad. Nothing.



I just had the brief sensation of being my 12 yr old self looking at my life in disbelief and dismay.

On another note, I've gone back to Fairtilizer. Check out the music I'm checking out.

Oh, and my phone is broken. Not that it doesn't work... but the front display is shot along with the plastic that goes around/in front of it. And the camera doesn't function. I find it funny because I was initially worried about the duel function hinge... and it's the only part that hasn't even briefly given me trouble.

Truck's fuel economy has dropped down to the 16-18 mpg range. Bad news. I think there's a failed/failing bearing at fault. However, the suspect bearings require removal of the entire rear axle... Part costs seem to vary between $30 and $150 depending on what is wrong. Bugger.
week 3 is proving more difficult



I've been gone from South Africa for as long as I was there. It's time to talk about it again.

Going to South Africa was the easiest decision I have ever made. It was also one of the most painful. Words like hurt, damage, or trauma seem to put a dark cloud over the experience that it does not deserve. I previously likened it to surgery, but I've discovered what was broken, what was removed, and how that makes me a better person.

My first visit to SA was marked by philosophical and spiritual enlightenment. I dare say that it was an awakening. But this most recent visit was very much a personal struggle. The hurt of leaving, of staying gone, and of coming back... The attacks on all sides... The vulnerability of myself that I could not hide... The vulnerability of my Mother that I could not hide from... The helplessness of being so far away... It all worked together to completely shatter me.

I find that now I trust and depend upon others far less than I ever did. It used to be the case that I would struggle with ways to make up for the ways that others fell short of my expectations. I rationalized that my expectations were too high, so I must help them. I realize now that my expectations should never have been so high, or so hidden. How could anyone be the person I thought they were if they didn't know what kind of person I thought they were? Now, I set my expectations low, but my hopes high. Should someone fail to meet these lowered expectations, I tend to become very upset, but like a fire with too little fuel, it burns out quickly and I am reminded that I fail, too. They are human, as am I. My failures are not better than others simply because they're mine. I am not intrinsically better or more desirable. How could I be?

Now I find myself in a new situation. Before I experienced a crisis of ability. I had failed my first relationship. Then I moved to a crisis of faith. I did not know how to do as Churchill advised: If you're going through Hell... then keep going. Now I am experiencing a crisis of trust. Who can I trust?

In No Country For Old Men, Shigure asks: If the rules you followed brought you to this, then of what use were the rules?

I once told a friend of mine: Through the highs and lows, the ups and downs, think about what never changes. That is truth. Hold on to it as hard as you can because it's real.

Increasingly I am seeing my rules bent, broken, or obsolete. What is clear to me is that I am not the one in control. God as been trying to show me that for a very long time. I have given up trying to control. I have given up the black and white razor sharp deterministic worldview that used to paralyze me when it failed.

So, do not worry. Life is long and God is protecting us.

Oh, and I also learned that when given the opportunity to bungy from the the highest bungy in the world, do it. In fact, do it twice.


Oh, and I learned that neither 'pertainment' nor 'pertainent' are words (thanks Hillarious and B to the M)


today I ate nine bbq sandwiches. Thank you FedEx and thank you safety. I think I might pop. Or I might play an hour of Guitar Hero...


Truck got in a fight...

Today I pulled into a parking spot the wrong way. I backed up and corrected Truck. Upon opening the door, it made contact with the vehicle next to Truck. I look and see no damage so I begin to walk away. Turns out there was a man in the driver's seat who began yelling at me. He demanded to know what my problem was and said that we should look at the damage and "find out if I have insurance." Fine.

Man: You need to respect other people's property.
Samurphy: I'm sorry. I didn't see that you were in the car and I didn't see any damage.
M: Well, you drove in here like a bat out of Hell. You need to drive better.
S: Is this a critique of my overall driving, or are we talking about my door contacting your vehicle.
M: No, I'm just saying that you should show some respect.

*We arrive at the other side of his car and he observes 2 scratch marks on his fender that I did not cause.*

M: There, look at what you've done.
S: No, if we're checking to see, then let's check to see if I could have caused that damage.
M: Okay, fine.

*I unlock Truck and open the door. The door swings out to a position that is a good 2-3 inches in front of the damage.*

S: I did not cause that damage.
M: Well, open it while you're in the car. *trailing off* They sit differently with people inside.
S: Okay.

*I sit in Truck and open the door again... contacts at the same point.*

S: It did not touch there.
M: Then where is it.
S: There is no damage. It touched, but caused no damage.
M: You need to respect people's property. You can't just walk away.
S: Okay.

*I then walked away. He got in his car and left.*

I'm pretty sure that I managed to ruin his day by failing to inconvenience him. He more than likely went home and kicked his dog. Or wife.

I have a book

I'm reading again. It's a book about (US) American Folklore. I usually disdain reading about the USA because I'm tired of hearing about it. However, I feel like this book somehow ties in with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I'll let you know. Right now, it seems like the author likes to use big words.


Double breathing

I've figured it out. I double breathe when my mind changes gears. It seems so obvious now.