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Between Reality and Dreams

A dialogue of wandering thoughts

Name:
Mike
Birthdate:
31 January 1977
External Services:
  • idealistagain@livejournal.com
  • MMcGee2006 AIM status
  • 432251598 ICQ status
  • idealistagain
Schools:
NOTE: This journal is no longer active and merely kept as an archive of my older entries (April 2007 through December 2008). If you want to add me, you should add my new journal, dimensionm.

A lot of information on this profile is considerably out of date and may no longer be relevant to what is going on in my life today. Since this journal is now just an archive, the profile, too, is frozen in time.

Entries prior to January 2007, going all the way back to January 2002 (yes, I've been on Livejournal for quite a while) can be found at sleepyaardvark





"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." --Friedrich Nietzsche

"He is mad past recovery, but yet he has lucid intervals." --Miguel de Cervantes

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." --Friedrich Nietzsche

"He who dares not offend cannot be honest." --Thomas Paine






About the Author

Depending on how you look at it, you could say I've lived many lives--or that I've lived one with many facets. I'm now 30 years old and in so many ways, I feel as if life is just beginning.

I am a writer, an activist, a web designer, a computer geek, a scientist, a dreamer, and above all, an optimist. I have a faith in progress and a deep conviction that a better world is possible. I'm one of those people who ask "Why not?" instead of "Why?"

I'm a child of hippy parents who later rejoined society. My extended family is fairly mainstream and conservative. Once upon a time, I considered myself an average member of middle America working my way up in the corporate world. I voted Republican and aspired to a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, an SUV, 2.5 kids, and a small yippy dog.

But I found suburbia to be stifling and I hate small yippy dogs. The corporate life inevitably brought a crisis of conscience that I was unable to ignore. I spent several years trying to figure out how our society really works beyond the pretty little diagrams they show you in public school economics and civics textbooks. What I discovered led me to reconnect with my activist roots and rekindled my burning desire for social change.

I currently work with a county task force composed of non-profit organizations addressing issues of poverty and homelessness in Orange County, North Carolina. I consider that work only a small starting point. In the struggle for social and scientific progress, I've come to believe in the importance of fighting the scourges of poverty, war, and all forms of oppression.

I am passionate about life and exploring all its mysteries and opportunities. I love a good story. I am insatiably curious about nearly everything and I will read most anything put in front of me. I take time to appreciate the beauty and splendor of Mother Nature's creation and do my part to protect it. I spend many quiet nights gazing out at the stars in amazement at the Universe and our place within it--and wondering who might be gazing back and pondering the same things.

What I am not all that passionate about is politics--but the reality is that the political process is an important part of making the dream of a better world a reality--and to giving a voice to those who have none.

I collect quotes obsessively. You may have noticed from this page.

I have a lot of truly amazing people in my life and for that I am extremely grateful. My friends and co-workers are an eclectic group and to one degree or another, usually take pride in being a little crazy. I wouldn't have it any other way. You all know who you are and if any of you are reading this--thank you for all you bring to my life.

Many lives, yes--but they are all a part of who I am.

"Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny."

--Carl Schurz
US Senator From Wisconsin



My Journal

You'll find this journal to be many things. An outlet to comment on my life. A way to vent about what frustrates me. Commentary on the current state of the world. A tool to convey my ideas and thoughts and hope for social justice and scientific progress. Ramblings about what I'm currently reading. And oblivion. Much oblivion.

Most of my entries are publicly readable. Occasionally, I'll put an entry on a specific filter when I know it will only be relevant to certain people or I'll mark an entry friends-only. These instances are rare. I prefer to let my readers decide for themselves what they find interesting rather than use filters and persmissions excessively.

Feel free to comment on anything, but please be respectful of others. It is OK to disagree (either with me or with someone else commenting) but I ask that everyone refrain from making purely personal attacks. Also, please keep in mind that anonymous commenting is intended as a convenience for those without a LJ account, not as something to hide behind. If you comment anonymously, please say who you are. I reserve the right to delete anonymous comments without identification at my discretion.

If I've added you and you don't know me, its probably because I saw something in your journal that we have in common or that I found interesting. You're welcome to add me back if you wish, but I don't expect it. If you do add me, feel free to comment and say hello--I don't bite. Sometimes I do have very busy weeks so please don't be offended if you add me and I don't notice right away.

If you want me to remove you from my list, just ask. You're of course more than welcome to remove me with or without an explanation, although I am always interested in knowing the "why" if you care to share it.

Previous Journal

I formerly wrote as sleepyaardvark, a journal I started in early 2002. I decided that I wanted a new beginning because so much of my life has changed since then. I consider that journal closed and inactive and I will no longer be updating it. However, I am not planning to delete it and all of its entries will remain public. I had a hiatus from Livejournal for a time, but this one mostly picks up where the previous one left off.

My Other Journals

I have a few alternative journals, either to write more in depth about specific subjects or devoted to projects I am working on. However, this journal will likely be updated the most, since I consider it my main journal.

chipshots: A journal about science and technology and social issues related to information, technology, and computers.

slapshots: Coming Soon. Sports commentary and the intersection of sports and society.

fauxfactor: Coming Soon. Unfair and imbalanced. A parody of news from the perspective of religious fundamentalists and neo-conservatives.

usa2020: Coming Soon. A political simulation related to American government and politics.

My Other Sites

My personal site and most of the other sites I work on are either down for maintenance or under construction and will be up later in the summer.

I'm signed up on Facebook, as well as Myspace, Friendster, and Yahoo! 360, but I haven't filled anything out on these sites yet. Whether I'll ever get around to that or not remains to be seen.

Political Status

Actively registered in North Carolina's 4th Congressional District, represented by Congressman David Price (D-NC)

US Senators: Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)

Political Affiliation

I consider myself solidly progressive and loosely affiliated with the Democratic Party, although I have been sorely disappointed that so few Democrats have aggressively challenged the tainted 2000 and 2004 elections, Bush's policies, and US aggression in the Middle East.

Political views

My political views can sometimes be a mixed bag, but probably the best way to describe me is a progressive libertarian. My core political values revolve around personal liberty and privacy. The function of government is to serve the people, not to maintain its own power. Government should always be held accountable to the people and should operate in an open and transparent manner whenever possible. Government should be efficient and fiscally responsible and respect the rights and civil liberties of its citizens. I believe in a strong social safety net, a living wage, universal health care, expanding reproductive rights, restoring equality to our marriage and family laws, the seperation of church and state, protecting our environment, and free and open access to information whenever possible.

Political Compass scores (as of March, 2007):
Economic Left/Right: -6.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.44

For specifics about my views on individual issues, my entries are probably a good place to start. I will also include more information and links on my website, which is currently under construction. If all else fails, shoot me an email.

Religious Affiliation

Agnostic with strong pagan leanings. In some ways, I fit the mold of a classical Deist. The question of the existence of a "personal God" does not have much relevance in my life. I am more concerned with the Universe and our place within it. I tend to follow a very personal spirituality that blends traditions from Christianity, Islam, Eastern philosophy, and various pagan beliefs.

Philosophically, I tend to be an idealist, but also very pragmatic. I'm in agreement with many of the central tenets of utilitarian thought. When a fork does not lend itself to the task of eating soup, I'm not inclined to question whether there is anything inherent about a fork that makes this so--I simply reach for a spoon.

Someone once asked how I would want to die. Personally, I'd rather just die in my sleep, like my grandfather--and not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

Favorites
(Please keep in mind that these are not exhaustive lists and will likely be updated frequently.)

Books (Nonfiction):
Future Shock by Alvin Toffler
The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler
Powershift by Alvin Toffler
The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil
The Republican War On Science by Chris Mooney
The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier by Bruce Sterling
Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension by Michio Kaku

Books (Fiction):
1984 by George Orwell
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke
2061: Odyssey Three by Arthur C. Clarke
3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
Timescape by Gregory Benford
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle
Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Charles Sheffield
Candide by Voltaire
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Lord Of The Flies by William Golding

Movies:
The Devil's Advocate, Fahrenheit 911, The Corporation, Thank You For Smoking, Lord Of War, Office Space, Eyes Wide Shut, American Beauty, Forrest Gump, Good Will Hunting, Star Wars, Spiderman, Batman, The X-Men, The American President, Schindler's List, Platoon, Wargames, Sleepy Hollow, Erin Brockovich, Flashback, JFK, The Wonder Boys, The Zero Effect, Pi, My Cousin Vinny, Risky Business, Falling Down, Analyze This, Major League, The Sixth Sense, The Ninth Gate, What Lies Beneath, The Omen

TV Shows:
Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel, 24, Smallville, CSI:Miami, The West Wing, Sliders, Nova, Frontline, 60 Minutes, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager

Sports Teams: University Of North Carolina Tarheels, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings

Colors: navy blue and emerald green

Foods: Seafood, Italian foods, Mexican food (real Mexican food, not Taco Bell)

Organizations

The following are some organizations I either belong to or support. This is not an exhaustive list and will be updated as necessary:

American Civil Liberties Union
Moveon.org
Blackboxvoting.org
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Free Software Foundation
The Gnu Project
Open Source Initiative
9/11 Truth Movement
Project VoteSmart
National Rifle Association




Credits

    A big thanks to people who've assisted with this journal:

  • chameleonpixie for designing my default userpic and many of the graphics you see on the USA 2020 sites.

  • ensue for designing the Dennis Kucinich graphics and icons you see in this blog.











Days until Bush leaves office.


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Grab your own copy here.
















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In Germany they came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

--Rev. Martin Niemoeller (1892-1984)
German Clergyman




"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

--Margaret Mead
American Anthropologist

Past the seeker as he prayed came the crippled and the beggar and the beaten. And seeing them...he cried, "Great God, how is it that a loving creator can see such things and yet do nothing about them?"...God said, "I did do something. I made you."

--Sufi Teaching




A few quotes I like

"If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent Van Gogh

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." --Seneca Roman Philosoper, Statesman

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." --Theodore Roosevelt

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." --Mahatma Gandhi

"In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." --Theodore Roosevelt









Some political quotes concerning freedom and democracy

"A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity." --Robert Frost

"A Great Democracy must be Progressive, or it will cease to be either Great or a Democracy." --Theodore Roosevelt

"Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears." --Justice Louis D. Brandeis

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes strong than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power." --Franklin D. Roosevelt

"If there is any principal of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principal of free thought-- not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate" --Oliver Wendell Homes (1841-1935) U.S. Supreme Court Justice

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." --James Madison, Speech in the Virginia Convention; June 16, 1788

"More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars." --Franklin D. Roosevelt

"A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward." --Franklin D. Roosevelt

"The road to tyranny, we must never forget, begins with the destruction of the truth." --Bill Clinton

"It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --Thomas Jefferson

"The war for liberty never ends. One day liberty has to be defended against the power of wealth, on another day against the intrigues of politicians, on another against the dead hand of bureaucrats, on another against the patrioter and the militarist, on another against the profiteer, and then against the hysteria and the passions of the mobs, against obscurantism and stupidity, against the criminal and against the over righteous. In this campaign every civilized man is enlisted till he dies, and he only has known the full joy of living who somewhere and at some time has struck a decisive blow for the freedom of the human spirit." --Walter Lippmann




“Come to the edge.”
“We can't. We're afraid.”
“Come to the edge.”
“We can't. We will fall!”
“Come to the edge.”
And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.

--Guillaume Apollinaire, 1880-1918
French Poet, Philosopher











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IMPORTANT NOTICE FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

As all God-fearing, apple pie-loving, true American patriots are well aware, the real cause of all our problems, including the attacks of September 11th, is in fact the American Civil Liberties Union, along with gays, lesbians, bisexuals, feminists, Wiccans (who are not a real religion anyway), atheists, foreigners, the Sierra Club, and the People for the American Way. Partial responsibility also goes to hellbound sinners such as Planned Parenthood and the National Organization of Women who seek to destroy the moral fabric of our society through the promotion of the radical idea that women are people too. Blame also goes to radical socialist environmentalists such as Greenpeace who seek to promote the absurd idea that the Earth should not be pillaged and plundered.

Therefore, nothing in this journal should be taken seriously, since it is obvious to all true American patriots that everything said here is nothing more than utter nonsense and blatant liberal propoganda spread by the lunatic rantings of a paranoid, psychotic, drug-using, dirty communist hippy who is a confessed thought-criminal, atheist, and violator of the USA Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act and is probably, like, gay or something. This man should be locked away immediately as an enemy combatant in order to further our fight against evildoers on behalf of all freedom-loving people.

The preceding public service annoucement has been brought to you by the Department of Homeland Security. Have no fear, your government will protect you. The tanks are only there for your protection. All of this is for the children. God bless America.

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. You love Big Brother. Oceania is at war with Eurasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia. You are geting verrrry sleeeeepy.





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