The penny, the postage stamp, and other useless things that just might save the world

Convenience.  I hate it.  Well not really.  I will make use of the latest and greatest gadget, idea, or service to make my life easier.  But I also realize that these conveniences have a dual edge that can cut both ways.

Take online banking for example.  Convenient, fast, and relatively safe.  Most businesses and utilities will accept online payments and will even automatically deduct the fees from your accounts without you even needing to think about it.

The scary truth however is that our accounts (whether you use online services or not) are not that safe.  Major retailers have had card readers hacked, major online companies and even banks suffer through waves of attacks from thieves that probably aren’t located on the same continent.  Our safety lies only in numbers and in not standing out as a potential victim.

So how does this all tie into the inconvenient and analog penny?  So hated that some want to do away with it.  Nothing directly, but as a symbol of a bygone system it is powerful.

A tangible representation of your wealth expressed in metal.  No longer made entirely of copper as that metal is too precious to waste on a mere one cent piece.  Perhaps that says something more about inflation than it does about the coin itself, but we will save that discussion for another time.

Once upon a time you had to strap on a weapon, fashion a bandana into a mask, walk in and look your victim in the eye and drag off a heavy sack of loot with the local gendarmes in pursuit.  Now you can order a latte, while playing online games as your bank account gets fatter and someone’s account gets slimmer.

So should we run to the bank and get out all our money in pennies?  No of course not.  But neither should we discard the penny either.  Think about it.  Your savings, your paycheck, it’s all a line of numbers in some bank.  All those hours of hard work, all that scrimping, saving, and self discipline are now a string of code that can be easily erased or altered.  How insane is that?   All I can tell you is good luck, keep your head down, and think.

Similarly some folks are pleased as punch with emails and texts, and tweets and would like to get rid of letters altogether or at least curtail mail delivery.  Again the reasoning is sound as far as that goes.  I myself cannot work without email.  It’s basically all I do day in and day out.  One simple contract with a foreign client could probably would take weeks if not months to finalize by regular postal mail.  So why not just get rid of all letters and make the postal service just deliver packages?

Again, a letter is a tangible thing.  The thought that someone far away once held this very paper, that they took the time not to type and delete and retype but very carefully and physically record their thoughts in ink, that makes it special.

These inconveniences make life real.  They are not random 1’s and 0’s that can be altered on a whim.  Long after the hard drives are erased, and the last digital record gets scrapped these will remain.

 

 

 

Story shard – April 4th, 2013

From time to time I write out bits and pieces of a story.  Most of the time they go nowhere but sometimes they are the kernel of a short story or novella.  They can be anything from a sentence to a whole chapter.  This will be the main point of this blog.  Read along, comment, correct.  I won’t be offended.  It’s just exercise after all.

 

April 4th, 2013 (supernatural business implications)

When considering a profession in the darkness elimination field one should be aware of the many opportunities and pitfalls involved with these.  In the past it was argued that one monster is another, is another.  But should you really take this attitude?

After all vampires are not subject to the same lunar conditions that werewolves are and mummies shrug off silver bullets and stakes to the heart.

Don’t even get me started on ghosts and demons.  Rather this presents an opportunity to discuss these in two broad categories; the physical and psychical.

The physical opponent is one you will be able to beat down time and again and it just matters the amount of firepower you are willing to invest into this or whether you use a specialized tool.  The psychical will require an investment into research and into mental preparation.

For the CEO thinking of launching such an enterprise it would behoove them to expand the hiring net out to include scholars, police officers, certain types of criminals, scientists, and the generally adventurous types.  Plus of course the requisite support personnel (accountants, secretaries, weapon smiths, salesmen, etc)

Too often it is that a lack of fore planning at the start of such a venture leads to lack of operating capital or lack of job opportunities.  Thus a well balanced support team is just as vital as the actual fighting team.

Marketing is also vital to the nascent evil fighting team.  How exactly do you market your skills out to the public at large?  Do you take out ads in national press outlets?  “Hello, we kill monsters.  do you want to learn more?”

The need is clearly there but how to connect the end user with the service provider?  Mostly it would involve going out and scouring news sources for news of the strange, for unexplained deaths and occurrences and putting in a lot of leg work.

You don’t just walk up and ask if they have a monster problem.  Develop them slowly.  Allow them to realize and come to terms with their problem and then let them reach out to you for help.  Making them admit that they have a problem and need help to cope is often the hardest step in the process.

Earliest memories

A popular theory of psychology holds that events in one’s childhood will mold an individual’s character for life and determine how he acts.  As these theories ebb and flow so much, it is somewhat difficult to gauge whether this is true or not.

However, if this is true, I do wonder what my earliest memories have done for me.  I suppose the more vivid and traumatic memories stand out the most.  My memories don’t go as far back as most people.  I think I can go back to when I was 5 years old.  Colombia.  I do recall some older boy pushing me into a pool for some reason and nearly drowning.  I recall being yanked out of the pool by my arm and sputtering out a lungful or so of pool water.  I had nothing to do with the water for at least 5 years and was somewhat of a late bloomer as far as swimming.

But is that necessarily the reason for my slow swimming development?  Does the fact that I never learned until I was ten tie into this event or rather to the fact that in those intervening years I was busy moving to the States and assimilating into a new culture?

Do people often use their pasts as excuses for their present or their future behavior?

Oh my!

This is going to be primarily an excuse for me to write short stories, paragraph of ideas, or even just sentences that have been knocking around in my head.  From time to time I will do actual blogs about actual topics.  I will post some sketches when I have something decent looking to post.

New posts will come when they come.  Please be patient as I’m still figuring it all out.