Quote by Edward Snowden during a Reddit AMA

“At the same time, we should remember that governments don’t often reform themselves. One of the arguments in a book I read recently (Bruce Schneier, “Data and Goliath”), is that perfect enforcement of the law sounds like a good thing, but that may not always be the case. The end of crime sounds pretty compelling, right, so how can that be?

Well, when we look back on history, the progress of Western civilization and human rights is actually founded on the violation of law. America was of course born out of a violent revolution that was an outrageous treason against the crown and established order of the day. History shows that the righting of historical wrongs is often born from acts of unrepentant criminality. Slavery. The protection of persecuted Jews.

But even on less extremist topics, we can find similar examples. How about the prohibition of alcohol? Gay marriage? Marijuana?

Where would we be today if the government, enjoying powers of perfect surveillance and enforcement, had — entirely within the law — rounded up, imprisoned, and shamed all of these lawbreakers?

Ultimately, if people lose their willingness to recognize that there are times in our history when legality becomes distinct from morality, we aren’t just ceding control of our rights to government, but our agency in determing thour futures.

How does this relate to politics? Well, I suspect that governments today are more concerned with the loss of their ability to control and regulate the behavior of their citizens than they are with their citizens’ discontent.

How do we make that work for us? We can devise means, through the application and sophistication of science, to remind governments that if they will not be responsible stewards of our rights, we the people will implement systems that provide for a means of not just enforcing our rights, but removing from governments the ability to interfere with those rights.

You can see the beginnings of this dynamic today in the statements of government officials complaining about the adoption of encryption by major technology providers. The idea here isn’t to fling ourselves into anarchy and do away with government, but to remind the government that there must always be a balance of power between the governing and the governed, and that as the progress of science increasingly empowers communities and individuals, there will be more and more areas of our lives where — if government insists on behaving poorly and with a callous disregard for the citizen — we can find ways to reduce or remove their powers on a new — and permanent — basis.
Our rights are not granted by governments. They are inherent to our nature. But it’s entirely the opposite for governments: their privileges are precisely equal to only those which we suffer them to enjoy.

We haven’t had to think about that much in the last few decades because quality of life has been increasing across almost all measures in a significant way, and that has led to a comfortable complacency. But here and there throughout history, we’ll occasionally come across these periods where governments think more about what they “can” do rather than what they “should” do, and what is lawful will become increasingly distinct from what is moral.
In such times, we’d do well to remember that at the end of the day, the law doesn’t defend us; we defend the law. And when it becomes contrary to our morals, we have both the right and the responsibility to rebalance it toward just ends. ”

– Edward Snowden, Reddit AMA

Link to full discussion: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2wwdep/we_are_edward_snowden_laura_poitras_and_glenn/

Reflection

That urge to write is coming back again. I know it’s been a while since I’ve been writing consistently. Sometimes we only have time to live our lives and not reflect on them through writing (I consider writing to be my favorite form of reflection; and meditation/prayer is my other favorite way to reflect on life). 
Having time to reflect seems a luxury, but really I think it’s a necessity. I must take time to reflect on life or else my mind feels backed up and cluttered. Like an old pipe that needs to be cleaned out. Reflection is a form of relaxation and mental nourishment. Without it, I’m stuck.
When we sleep and are dreaming, our brains are actively processing information, internalizing events, and drawing upon our emotions to create and store memories. It’s the same with reflection while we are awake. It’s as if our conscious mind also needs this type of “dreaming” which I’m calling “reflection” right now.
It’s much better to write down your thoughts, and not just let them float around in your head. If you haven’t done this before then I highly recommend it. Start right now. It doesn’t matter what you write or even if you like it. You can always edit later. Just start reflecting and if you don’t know what to write about then write that you don’t know what to write about! 
I hope we all take the time necessary to reflect on our lives and what we are doing with them. 

–WBC–

Still here, still blogging!

I haven’t posted anything in a while. Just busy I guess. Well, currently in AZ and working a lot. Seems like everybody’s personal life is online now thanks to FaceBook and other social networks, so it’s not much of a novelty to be blogging about my life, lol. I’m keeping this blog up though, and one day I want to have an archive of all the sites I’ve made since 1999. Anyways, hope y’all are having a great time. Whatever you do, do it well. There’s always challenges, just keep your eye on the positive and be willing to adjust to make it there. I’m sure I’ll post something here again before too much time goes by.

–WBC–

Crunch Time

It’s crunch time. And not just because the snow outside is getting crunchy on the sidewalk. I’m talking about learning how to do MORE with LESS.

I’m faced with a lot to do in front of me. A lot because I’m choosing it. Choosing to get a Master’s Degree, choosing to run a business, and choosing to consider getting a job (putting the business on hold will give me more free time, but that also means making applications and resumes and more work in the beginning). 
The Master’s degree is a job in an of itself. Taking the GRE, getting letters of referral, writing a letter of intent, etc. Deadline to apply is Dec. 15th. But that’s for next year’s program. Which means I have to do a lot starting now. I must prepare for the GRE really fast. Not exactly how I wanted to be spending the next 4 weeks, but in the long run it will pay off.
I’m going to cancel my road trip to Arizona this week as well. I don’t want to do that, but I know that AZ will be there when the next road trip comes along.
The next 30 days are going to be busy. I’m going to have to balance my time better, do more in less time, and deal with the stress of it all. I lost sleep last night just thinking about it. But it can be done. I’m pretty laid back most of the time, so learning to work fast and efficient should be a healthy challenge.

–WBC–

A Life Direction

Hello World! Welcome back to the World of Brian – ongoing blog since 2004 and beyond. In the past I considered moving my blog to WordPress, but alas, here is The World Of Brian, and here it shall stay.

At Bear Lake, Utah
So in reent news, I’ve moved to Utah. Surprise surprise. Well, yeah I am the youngest snowbird alive, but I’ll tell you why this time is a bit more significant than the others:
First of all I stayed in Arizona for the Summer, and now I’m in Utah for the Winter – the complete opposite of what a proper snowbird should do. Hey I didn’t plan it like this – it just happened. I was working the trail at Anasazi when in June I kept having these epiphanies about my life and the direction I was going in. I realized where some of my passions were, and probably most importantly, realized I wanted to be closer to my siblings. So, I made the move. 
What else is different? Well, this requires a small story: 2 years ago I was happily living and working in Salt Lake City. I had a jeep, nice job, and even a hot girlfriend. But sometime April all those things went away. I spent a month fighting depression and confusion. In a spur-of-the-moment decision I packed all my belongings into storage except for some clothes and on June 6th I hitched a ride to Jackson Wyoming. Found a job at Dave Hansen Whitewater (running the kitchen) and lived in a tent by the river (almost like in a van down by the river). The rest is another interesting story, but I remained mostly transient since then. Now, 2 years later I find myself living in my own room in a house, pulling things out of storage, and building my business making websites. In effect, I’m regaining what I lost. But that’s not the big story.
The big story is that I am finally know what I’ll be going to graduate school for (and yes, I’ve “decided” upon things before and then switched. But oh well.)
I want to become a therapist. 

Yeah, really! Maybe even continue on to a PHD in Psychology. You might be thinking 2 things right now: 1″Totally makes sense, cuz you’ve been working in the therapeutic industry for over 6 years now” or 2 “Huh? I thought you said you would never be a therapist because you hated doing paperwork, etc.” — well, what can I say! I’ve been thinking long and hard about these things. It’s been five years since graduating with a B.S. in Communications and Recreation Management. It’s about time I move on to what comes next.

Belle Pepper – my lil’ friend in Utah
I’m very excited about this decision. After hours upon hours of pondering, writing things down and just talking to people and praying. (yes, I pray and I’m not afraid to admit that. Nothing wrong with speaking out to the man upstairs). Now the process is to gather information and decide which school to go to.
So have I left computer programming behind? Nope. I am currently taking a Python class from the University of Toronto online. I really like the class. Even though I already know programming, this class does and excellent job of covering the basics, and I’m catching onto things I haven’t realized before in programming (being self-taught I missed some basics). 
I believe I can do both. Why not? I like both programming, and working to help people.
Looong post eh? Well if you’re still reading, then cool. Here’s something for your refinement:

Until next time!!!

P.S. Here’s my other blog (mostly non-personal stuff gets posted there)

–WBC–

Summer Dreams

Antler’s Cafe – coming off the trail

Tim, Alicia, Cait, Lina, Steve, and me

Last week I finally started updating my new porfolio site www.BigWilliam.com. Head over and check it out. Of course, it’s not designed yet or anything, but I just wanted to get some content up for the time being.

I’ve also finished working there trial here at Anasazi, for a little while (you and I don’t know when I’ll come back). Let me just say that I’ve LOVED working on the trail. I love being in nature especially, all the TrailWalker friends I get to meet here, and getting to know the YoungWalkers. I started a blog about TrailWalker life here http://trailwalkerjournal.blogspot.com but I haven’t been updating it enough. But I have some stories I may be adding to it one day.

I have been surviving the summer heat here by purchasing large quantities of ice cream. It really helps! Oh yeah, and sometime A&W Rootbeer too. Can’t go wrong with a Rootbeer float every now and then.

Since finishing walking the trail I have put my efforts into re-starting my freelance programming business (currently called “Vendo” but I might be changing that name). I’m working on my personal site www.herbalnoni.com (new design isn’t finished yet, but it’s there), and I’m starting a new one for a new client (which I’ll announce once it’s finished).

I’ve been focusing on my personal schedule as well. I’ve found that when you work for yourself, you have to keep a strict work schedule. There’s no “boss” or “office” to keep me accountable, so I have to write out my own schedule and stick to it. One thing that helps me is this creative work place called GangPlank which allows anybody to come and work and collaborate. Themed in pirate flags and lots of computers, it’s my favorite place to get work done. Frankly, I LOVE it.

I also love the new ward I’m in. Nice people.

Alas, all this love, but I am heading out. Why you ask? Because I’m freaking awesome that’s why! Oh, so you think I just float around and do whatever comes my way and keep no stability in my life… well… okay you win. Expect the unexpected. But really, I do have a direction, and I’m testing out a few ideas before I go for it all the way.

I’ve been doing some soul searching and I’ve found that I have a recurring passion in my life: to create fun situations and learning environments. That’s a fancy way for saying I want to become a teacher. So I tried it out: I set up my own free class for the public and taught an HTML class. I also signed up to be a Substitute Teacher for the Mesa Schools District (although I didn’t get to do it because of a long story about my hands being too calloused for the fingerprint card and it taking too long to process, etc. whatever). So I’m trying things out in other ways. I’ve tutored a few people about how to make websites. And don’t forget what we do as TrailWalkers: teach wilderness skills baby! So yeah, I’ve been trying this out for a while. I’m going to consider a few other options first, but then if those don’t stick and this one does, I’m going back to school for a Master’s Degree in Education. (Horray for more student loans!) Well, hopefully I don’t have to incur more student loans. I’m (fingers crossed) hoping that I can create a successful freelance business to pay my way through college. Pray for me on this one, please.

I’ll be looking for a job in Utah when I head up there.

Okay that’s all I have time for. If you’ve read all the way here then GREAT. Have a splendid freaking fantastic day.

–WBC–

Teaching

Snow at the park in American Fork, Utah
I just returned from a week in Utah. Surprisingly there wasn’t any snow except in the mountains. But yesterday when I flew back to Arizona, Utah was having a blizzard. 
It was good to see my family and take care of a few errands up there. I’m glad to be back in Arizona.
Today I picked up my Substitute Teaching Certificate. So the next time I come off the trail I will spend my off-weeks doing some teaching. My purpose for this is to identify if I like being in a classroom setting.  And if I do, then next year I will start a MS in Education – specifically Experiential Education. (go ahead and click that link to learn what it’s all about!)
I also started reading “The Power of Now” which is a great book. 
Well that’s all I have time for. Have a wonderful life everybody.

–WBC–

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Sometimes, when you are a man, you have home-made boat races – it’s just for fun.

It’s a Wednesday Tuesday afternoon and I’m in Arizona. It’s a beautiful sunny day and I’m at my computer doing some work on the QuikCamo site (well, taking a break now).

I’ve been used to migrating south for the Winter and I’ve enjoyed the good-weather benefits. But I feel lately that I may want to just stay in one place for a year or more. Just to be a little more established. I think I’ll stay in AZ for a while. I like the warmer climate.

Speaking of this place, I’ve found something really cool: GangPlank (www.GangPlankHQ.com) – a free collaborative work environment in Chandler. Yep, it’s just what it sounds like. The city of Chandler has sponsored some groovy offices space downtown so anybody who wants to can sit at a desk, get work done, meet new people, share and collaborate, and more. They have some free arcades there (props for us from the 90’s!) and sodas are only 25 cents! I pretty much LOVE it there. I get a lot of work done, and I meet great people like me who just need a place to set their laptops on and work.

I’ve also been exercising again. Not much more needs to be said about that, but it feels good to be exercising.

And YES – I’m walking the Anasazi Trail! Always love it here. Always love the Arizona desert.

Here’s some websites I’ve finished recently for clients:

  • www.ShareNPay.com (company out of Utah with an iPhone app for making payments) 
  • www.QuikCamo.com (always changing stuff on this one) 
  • www.InkBink.net (this is just a side-project of mine. Really it’s just a WordPress site with minimal edits.)

I’m working on a concept for my portfolio site: www.Vendo5.com, but it isn’t up yet. I’ll be sure to announce it once that’s finished.

Lastly, concerning websites, I just bought a new domain name: www.BigWilliam.com. Haha! Now it’s easy to remember. But for tradition sake, I’m still keeping “The World of Brian.” You can now use both (and CobbMan.com works too).

Audios Amigos.

Still Around

Donkeys In The Road – Gunlock, Utah

Man I feel like I’ve been up to a lot and a little at the same time. 2011 feels like it only lasted a few weeks!

But this year has proven to be both simple, and drastic. The simple part is: I worked some trail jobs and build my Freelance Portfolio. The drastic part is: I stopped pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Yeah, that’s right – no more Engineering Degree for me. And for a very good reason. I had this huge awakening in February and realized that my passions really are in making websites and helping people via nature (hence the freelance work, and consistent trail jobs for the past 6 years). Not so much on the mechanical side of things (even though I was getting straight A’s). However, I will still watch a rocket take off in awe and sit there and think about how it all works :)

I’ve been working pretty hard this year at building up my skills in website awesomeness. I have new clients, and new strategies for how I run things. I’m pretty happy with it all. Overall, running my own business as a freelancer has been hugely rewarding, but is also just as challenging and at times can be super tough. Right now my portfolio is not up. I took down the old site because I just didn’t like it very much. As soon as the new site is up, I’ll be sure to blog about it so you can go check it out. Most of my work comes by word-of-mouth anyways.

I LOVE trail work too. Nothing in the world beats going out for many days, or weeks at a time and living off the land (with Anasazi) or camping out (with Aspiro). Yeah, I forgot to mention that this year I tried something new: I spent the Summer (and Fall) at Aspiro. It was a totally great new experience and really opened up my eyes to what other programs are like. That’s what I went for. I loved what I learned at Aspiro, and especially the people I got to know there. I am also very excited to return to Anasazi in the Winter and come back to some of my roots that I’ve planted there. I think I will always want to have a part in this type of work – even when I grow up (I haven’t grown up yet, okay?)

Well…

here I am, still in Utah. I keep pushing back my plans to move to AZ for the Winter due to various reasons:

  • Ended up working at Aspiro for a few extra weeks
  • Decided to stay and help out some family with moving their stuff
  • Working on some websites with clients located locally
  • The Holidays… why travel around when you can just stay here?
So by the time November came around I didn’t see any reason to travel back South again just to come back up here for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So I decided to stay here until after Christmas.
Not that we even have any big Christmas plans.
Yep, my family is pretty cool. We don’t ever make big plans, and just see what happens. It annoys most other people. I’m proud of it because I’m always ready for whatever happens. Comes with the territory.
Have a good life, and in case I’m not back here by the time Christmas rolls around… Merry Christmas.

–WBC–