Indie-Script: September 2006: Archives

September 28, 2006

An Apology: Thought Theater Host Site Was Down genre: Indie-Script

Dead server

My apologies to those who may have been unable to access Thought Theater during the last hour. Unfortunately, my host site is no longer reliable and I am in the process of moving to a new company but we are still a few days away from rebuilding the site on the new server. We're making a few minor changes so that is adding some time to the process but I'm hopeful the issue will be behind us shortly. I can't tell you how frustrating this has been and I'm sure those who have experienced similar problems can relate. Further, I'm sure this is frustrating for Thought Theater readers and that bothers me even more. Anyway, it looks like things are back to least for the moment.

Thank you for your patience and I apologize again for the inconvenience.

Daniel DiRito | September 28, 2006 | 8:02 PM | link | Comments (0)
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September 13, 2006

Jury Duty This Morning genre: Indie-Script

Jury duty

Well I'm off to jury duty this morning so posting will be light. Hopefully I will be able to do some posting later this afternoon. The last time I went to jury duty I ended up serving on a jury in a kidnapping and burglary case that lasted most of four days. I really enjoyed the experience but I would prefer to not be selected again. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens. One thing is for sure, the waiting process is very boring so I've loaded up a backpack with reading material.

Daniel DiRito | September 13, 2006 | 7:34 AM | link | Comments (0)
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September 9, 2006

Site Crash...My Joe Lieberman Moment genre: Indie-Script

Going insane

It all started back in late July. It was hot as hell but I was feeling fine as the AC was working swell. And then it happened. Thought Theater crashed and, in the words of the hosting company, the heat had caused a power outage and the back up generator also failed in the sweltering heat. It was the first problem with the host company and the explanation seemed reasonable. Fortunately they quickly solved the problems and while I was frustrated, I kept my cool.

Nonetheless, more trouble was in the offing. As I recall, it was about two weeks later when the site was acting strange and running very slow. It wasn't long before it went down again. I sent an email to the company that built Thought Theater to ask them if they thought we needed to find a new hosting company. We decided to wait and see how the outage was handled and evaluate the reasonability of the explanation. The host company resolved the outage relatively quickly and they provided a lengthy description that seemed plausible so we tabled the discussion of a new host company.

I should have trusted my instincts at the time but as they say hindsight is 20/20. The final episode began this past Thursday with the site running extremely slow and then quickly deteriorating into a full scale crash. I quickly contacted my tech support company and began discussing plans to switch to a new host. The site stayed down for most of the morning and once it came back up, I received a message from the host that was laughable. The situation went downhill quickly and by Friday morning the site crashed again and remained down for much of the day.

I finally received a response to our many inquiries that stated that ever since the power outage, they were having problems and had scheduled the system for major maintenance this coming Monday...leaving it uncertain what would happen over the weekend. They eventually advised that they would do their best to keep the system operational over the weekend and we began the process of finding a new host company. Needless to say, posting will be light this weekend and will probably be hit and miss.

I'm hopeful we can switch to the new host company in the next week to ten days. Unlike Joe Lieberman's campaign, I won't be making the accusation that Ned Lamont's campaign hacked the site. I should have made the switch last month so I have only myself to blame. I value your readership and I will greatly appreciate your patience during the transition. My apologies for the inconvenience.

Daniel DiRito | September 9, 2006 | 4:31 PM | link | Comments (0)
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September 4, 2006

Feeding Frenzy: What's Eating Us? genre: Indie-Script & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Nouveau Thoughts

Feeding frenzy

We live in a world that likes to focus on flash...the best news is breaking news that portrays the latest tragedy...whether that be a plane crash, a shooting, or any of a number of calamities. At the same time, slower burning, less inflammatory catastrophes unfold at a reliably steady pace each day. The question is what makes one the focus of near obsessive attention and the other an item to be placed obscurely on the back burner?

A new article points to a classic example of this phenomenon...the expansion of humanity...around the waist. While we do see an occasional news piece on the topic, it rarely breaches the psyche to the same degree that, for example, the number of U.S. troop fatalities in Iraq has achieved. Clearly, many Americans could cite the number of troops lost but only perhaps a handful could offer the statistics on deaths attributed to obesity. The full article can be read here.

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - An obesity pandemic threatens to overwhelm health systems around the globe with illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, experts at an international conference warned Sunday.

"This insidious, creeping pandemic of obesity is now engulfing the entire world," Paul Zimmet, chairman of the meeting of more than 2,500 experts and health officials, said in a speech opening the weeklong International Congress on Obesity. "It's as big a threat as global warming and bird flu."

The World Health Organization says more than 1 billion adults are overweight and 300 million of them are obese, putting them at much higher risk of diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke and some forms of cancer.

Zimmet, a diabetes expert at Australia's Monash University, said there are now more overweight people in the world than the undernourished, who number about 600 million.

I found the information in the last paragraph fascinating...overweight people now outnumber the undernourished! The reason I find it fascinating may surprise my readers...but I guess the element of surprise may well be what we all prefer. It is fascinating to me because it seems to be consistent with the polarization that permeates the United States and much of the world...perhaps a further sign that humanity is woefully out of largely at the extremes.

As I began to ponder these thoughts, I recalled the recent media focus on the arrest of a suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey murder. Many within the blogosphere marveled at the incessant coverage of that event and a number wrote about the apparent misplaced focus given the numerous problems facing the U.S. and the world. I may have missed it, but I don't recall a lot of analysis addressing why this was happening and why it frequently happens. In my own mental musings, it struck me that both the obesity issue and the JonBenet Ramsey case were about consumption...the feeding frenzy.

So what is it that we're feeding? The question brings to mind something my dad likes to discuss...that being what makes sports teams and sporting events so popular. His theory has always made sense to me and it seems to fit into the topic of this posting. As my dad explains it, little in life offers clarity...we frequently navigate this life with the uncertainty and the anxiety one might equate with the structure of a movie. Each of us is attempting to complete the movie that is our own life story but it can't be done in two hours or with the formulaic structure that makes the movie watching experience so satisfying. Further, the ending is virtually unknown.

The same is true of a sporting event...there is a clear objective, a defined set of rules, a finite time frame, and a winner and a loser...all achieved in a few hours...but notably absent the same tangible consequences our own life choices may bring. In essence, these events are an opportunity to be a voyeur rather than a player. It is a detached opportunity to step away from the realities of ones own existence and engage in a moment of fantasy acted out by others and providing a fifty-fifty opportunity to be a winner...a statistical equation that we must find at least equal to, or, perhaps more favorable than the odds we apply to our own potential for a "successful" outcome.

Food neatly fits into this equation in that it sustains ones opportunity to remain in the provides the promise of more time to succeed...or its absence foretells of our likely demise. As the world (our daily existence) has become more convoluted and uncertain, we are apt to migrate towards those things that offer a degree of certainty. Food and sports events provide those outlets...and situations like the JonBenet Ramsey arrest or the tsunami or Katrina give us reference points that reinforce our ability to conclude that our own life isn't so bad in comparison to many others.

Unfortunately, what this becomes is the process of living life by substitution. Each pound gained is symbolically the weight of our own unresolved anxiety and each time we subjugate our own success to a victory won by our favorite sports team, we begin to lose sight of our own struggle...feeding more and more on the junk food of life in an effort to ignore our own obstacles and the need to execute our own game plan. The feeding cycle expands and so do we in a perpetual process of denial...reinforced by our own observations of those who surround we each expand our own denial we find reassurance in those who surround us.

Sadly, that denial also leads us to effectively ignore those who suffer the deprivations we fear...their plight must be ignored because they serve to amplify the anxiety inherent in our uniquely human awareness of our mortality. Counter intuitively, we use tragedy and suffering...self-administered in front of the television in measured the tonic of comparison. Not only do we watch the suffering in New Orleans to support our favorable existence...we must have it in order to sustain ourselves.

We send an occasional donation or invoke our outrage at the government or any number of responsible "others" in order to offset the guilt that is bound to percolate to the surface from time to time...but we do so again to feed ourselves. We choose political and ideological sides because these false constructs provide the means and the mechanism to abandon our humanity. We change the debate and the dialogue into an abstraction similar to a sporting event which provides each of us with the institutional cover necessary to detach from the ethical bankruptcy that threatens our consciousness and we feed its falsity with the frenzy of fanaticism.

Yes, there is an "insidious, creeping pandemic". And yes, it is fueled by consumption...but in a quintessential irony, it is our humanity that we are consuming. Unless we begin to value and seek more "truth", we will devour ourselves into oblivion.

Cross posted at Donklephant

Daniel DiRito | September 4, 2006 | 11:18 AM | link | Comments (1)
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