Dec 222008
Part of the Ask An Anarchist Series -         Next in series

For some time now, I’ve been considering starting a series of posts answering questions that I’m often asked as an anarchist.  Kind of an Applied Anarchy FAQ, or a “How To Guide” for living free.  Tonight I got a phone call that lead directly into this series…

Q) Would you lie or cheat to get out of a parking ticket?

A) No.  Of course not because lieing and cheating are wrong, plain and simple.

The Situation-

My ex got a parking ticket at San Jose’s Christmas In The Park because her bumper was “several inches” into a loading zone.  A friend told her to back the car up so that it was legally parked, take a photo, and submit that as proof that she was, in fact, legally parked.  When she balked the friend suggested that I would do so (assuming the kids were not around to winess the poor life lesson) because as an anarchist I don’t respect the laws anyway.

He’s right that I think the laws are ridiculous, but I don’t believe any principled person should lie or cheat regardless of the situation.  As an anarchist I would have two choices: ignore the ticket completely or go to court and fight it on the basis that the law is unjust oppression of my rights as a sovereign human being.  I, most likely, would follow the former course, but I have promised Zaira that I would stay out of jail until she’s an adult, and, ultimately, ignoring the ticket would end with me in jail because violent kidnapping is the only option the government has to enforce its will on the populace.  Given my promise, I would pay the ticket.  However, in the past, prior to having a child to care for on a regular basis I not only would, but have merely refused to pay tickets and, when violently dragged into court, argued that the law was unjust.  Of course, that always ended in jail time.

Which is why I’m moving to New Hampshire where I will have fellow freedom lovers to stand alongside me when I refuse the tyrannical government’s edicts.  But that’s too much to go into in this post.

As an anarchist I believe that people are capable of governing themselves.  But with this freedom comes responsibility.  The only way a truly free society will ever prosper is if the people that populate it follow a moral/ethical code and take personal responsibility for their actions.  Lying, cheating, and faking evidence is not taking personal responsibility.  It is, as the friend readily acknowledged, weaseling out of ones responsibilities in order to save a few bucks.  That is not at all what anarchy is about.

Part of the Ask An Anarchist Series -        Next in series
Sep 222008
Part of the Top Hosting Center Series - Previous in series         Next in series

Top Hosting Center Web Host The great thing about the internet is that everyone gets to voice their opinion. The bad thing about the internet is that it’s so easy to represent yourself as something you are not. Take for example, John Raul Joven II who recently attacked me for sharing my personal experience with Top Hosting Center.

First, let’s take a look at the attack itself. From his blog post Blogger Shooting Blanks At The Best Host

The results on Google search towards THC are mostly positive, except one thing — there was an emphasizing post written by Aahz, a current customer of Top Hosting Center, with his blog website that was stumbled purposively on I am not sure if he meant to write it to tell the truth, or he could have written it just for traffic’s sake. I’m a happy THC customer, and based on my hosting experience, I could say this blogger is shooting blanks to the best web hosting company I could ever find nowadays — and guess what — I’m not alone!

I highly recommend you read the whole post in order to get a sense of just how strongly he’s calling me a liar without coming right out and saying it. Well, I have no such compunction – John Raul Joven is a liar. See how easy that was? And here’s some evidence-

  1. He didn’t find my post through Google, he found it through because I showed up on his “recent visitors” after looking for some way to get into Top Hosting Center yesterday.  Despite my being Google’s fourth result for “Top Hosting Center” (with or without quotes) and Yahoo!’s ninth result on the same term, no one has come to my site via that search in at least the last 30 days.
  2. Of course John is “a happy THC customer”!  That’s because he is either a part-owner or employee of Top Hosting Center, despite the fact that fails to disclose this anywhere on his blog.  It’s not like he hasn’t had a chance, he’s written about them time and again over the last year.  He also never bothered to disclose it in the comments he’s left on this blog, on THC CEO Eric Vanier’s blog (where Eric continues the farce with his comment), or anywhere else that I can find.  Instead he continually represents himself as a “happy customer”.
  3. Yes, I have screenshots, links and documentation to back all of this up.  But I’d love to hear back from THC and/or John before posting them.

And, by the way, John – I’m not alone in my thinking that Top Hosting Center’s customer support has tumbled in the last few months either.  Here’s another comment from Eric Vanier’s blog post that I linked to above-

Hendra Ruslyon 21 Sep 2008 at 1:52 pm

Hi Eric, just wanna add some comment on THC support after 9 Month being a customer of Rudolph Plan.
Based on my latest personal experience, I feel that THC’s support is not as good as it used to be.

Nine Month ago, the customer service was really awesome.
I get all the help I need in just few hours or so.
You guys make me believe that 24/7 Customer Service is not a joke.
I promote you in my blog, in Internet Marketing Forum I am member of.
Commenting everywhere people need review of the company.

But now, as my online venture expanding, it’s all different.
I’m dissapointed.
I don’t know what happen with the company.
Customer Service is falling apart.
I have tickets left un answered. But that’s okay, maybe people are just busy. I wait for 48 hours, and still no answer.
Then I ‘bumped’ my tickets and ask why I haven’t got an answer for my previous tickets, and I was asked to re-submit my ticket!
Oh well, maybe it’s just a technological glitch, my tickets got lost somewhere.
Maybe it’s because I am a Rudolph Plan customer that has paid forward then I should not ask for much.
Maybe the company doesn’t like I am running several sites in my cheap Rudolph Plan, that make me becoming burden to the company.
Maybe I missunderstood the unlimited term?
If it’s so, all the company need to do is, explain to me that I’m not allowed to host this number of sites. Then I’ll be happy to open new account.
I don’t know for sure what is the reason for the lack of Customer Service.
But one thing for sure, I miss the experience I had with THC at my early days blogging.
I hope things could improve.
I’m looking forward to had my once best hosting experience once again with THC.

Your die hard fans.

It seems Hendra is having the exact same experience I am. And she’s only sharing her IP with about 72 other websites (as opposed to the 300 plus that are on mine) including several that are owned and operated by THC itself.  Or is she a liar as well?  BTW, John didn’t disclose his relationship when commenting on Hendra’s review either.

One more thing.  Y’all might be wondering about the graphic at the top of this post.  Well, as long as I can remember Top Hosting Center has had a badge on their website boasting that they were declared the #1 Budget Hosting service by  Unfortunately, following the link shows that not only is Top Hosting Center not listed amongst the award winners, but doesn’t even list them as a recommended company.  In fact, THC isn’t mentioned ANYWHERE on the site that I could find.  What’s up with that John?  Eric?

Part of the Top Hosting Center Series - Previous in series        Next in series
Sep 222008

Last September I wrote a post titled Lies of a Gecko in which I took GEICO to task for their “we’re lowering Californians’ auto insurance rates” advertising campaign.  They hadn’t lowered mine at all :(  Well a couple of weeks back I received my semi-annual auto insurance renewal and this time they reduced my six month insurance rate from $252.10 (a $4 reduction from last fall’s bill) to $195.30.  Now that’s what I call savings!

Apparently this was a result of my now qualifying for the “GEICO Safe Driver Discount”.  You see, I’ve never had an accident or an insurance claim since I first received my driver’s license way back in 1986.  It just took GEICO a couple of years to understand that simple fact.  Feeling somewhat wealthy at the moment I received the latest bill I immediately paid the entire balance via their website, forgoing my usual four payment system.  But wait, there’s more…

The following week I received another large packet from GEICO.  This one included a complete new policy, and another revision to my car insurance rate: $164.80!  That’s another $30.50 in savings, or a total of 12% over my previous six months premium.  Apparently, not only am I a “GEICO Safe Driver” now, but I also qualify for a “5 Year Good Driving” discount.  Go me!  And go GEICO for recognizing it.  Only one problem – I’d already paid the higher premium.  So, torn between exulting in my new lower insurance premium and wondering how I was going to get that $30 back I set the two packets aside for 48 hours.

Upon checking my bank account the next day (a constant habit of mine) I discovered that GEICO hadalready credited the $30.50 back into my account!  Now that is customer service, my friends!

Jul 242007

The following is copied completely frmo the Downsizer Dispatch email I received this morning. Downsizer Dispatch is the newsletter of

Subject: Congress to vote tomorrow on amendment to stop federal arrests in medical marijuana states

Everyone is different. Some people are helped by Vioxx, while others are endangered by it. Some medications work in some cases, but not in others. Medical marijuana does little for some patients, but it’s the difference between life and death for many individuals. Your mileage may vary. One size does not fit all.

Federal law doesn’t work this way. It takes no account of individual differences and needs. Federal law applies to everyone, equally, from the top down. It tries to nail square pegs into round holes.

The pegs are people. The hammering leads to suffering and death. Those who run the federal government seem not to care. One size must be made to fit all.

America’s Founders didn’t think this way. They were wise and had vision. They knew that one size could not be made to fit all. They wanted power to be decentralized, to allow different mixtures of laws in different places and at different levels. This is why they gave us the 10th Amendment, to limit the centralized power of the federal government.

The federal marijuana laws are a violation of the 10th Amendment. The federal government has no constitutional authority for such laws. This was a power left to the states. Many states have now decided, either in their legislatures, or by a popular vote of the people, to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes, much as morphine and other mind altering drugs have long been allowed.

These states have placed the power where it belongs, in the hands of doctors and patients.

But the federal government has vetoed these decisions. Federal authorities have usurped the power to make everyone, everywhere, comply with their paranoid preferences about marijuana.

Never mind the Constitution. Never mind human rights.

Never mind popular will. Never mind science.

Never mind what doctors say. Never mind individual differences.

Never mind suffering and death.

Fortunately, there are an increasing number of people in Congress who takes their oaths of office seriously, at least with regard to this issue. They want the federal government to respect state laws with regard to medical marijuana.

Representatives Hinchey and Rohrbacher have been pushing an amendment (the Hinchey-Rohrbacher amendment) that would make the federal government respect state marijuana laws. Longtime Downsizers will probably remember our campaign on this from last year: “I’ve got a Hinchey in my Rohrbacher and I need medical marijuana to fix it.”

This amendment has done better and better each year. It won 163 votes last year. We’re hoping for even more this time. A vote on the amendment is expected tomorrow, so now is the time to urge Congress to pass it. You can do so here.

Follow-up phone calls would also be helpful.

If you’re not familiar with, thay are a non-partisan organization determined to decrease the size of the federal government through such “radical” steps as insisting that your elected representatives actually read the bills they vote on and that your elected representatives actually write the laws instead of allowing anonymous bureaucrats with no accountability make up whatever rules they wish.

May 102007

Almost 30 years ago I started smoking. Why? Cause I was a dumb kid who succumbed to peer-pressure. Of course, the PSAa they were running then said that smoking wouldn’t make me cool. They were lying. Smoking did make me cool. Even my friends who didn’t smoke thought it was cool that I did.

Fast forward to December 2005 and I’m really starting to think smoking isn’t cool anymore. In fact, I realize that it’s just one more thing separating me from my daughter. We have limited time together as is and my smoking takes up some of that time and that’s just no longer acceptable. So I take action!

I head off to the drugstore and pay $37.89 for a 2 week supply of nicotine patches. This is more than I pay for a two week-supply of cigarettes (working in a liquor store has its advantages), but this is important to me, so I pay anyway. What follows is roughly three months of quitting on and off. I never actually go more than 24 hours without a cigarette, whether I’m wearing the patch or not, but I am trying. I did, however, manage to cut back from my full-flavor cigarettes to ultra-lights while wearing the patch.
Then, two weeks ago, X finally gives me approval to take Z away for a weekend road trip. This is great news! Both Z and I can hardly wait. However, I also know that this trip is going to involve me driving for as long as 6 hours per day. And when I drive, I smoke. And Z will be trapped in the car with me and my smoke. This is not acceptable. Nor is stopping every hour or so in order for me to have a cigarette. So, now I have a deadline. I need to be smoke free before the road trip starts.
I stock up on patches and set tighter and tighter restrictions on where, when and what I can smoke: only ultra-lights, no bumming of smokes, no smoking in the house, no smoking while at work, no smoking in the car. Finally, on the Wednesday before the trip is to start I manage to go 24 hours without. Then 48. Then we hit the road….
And I make it!! I’m now on day 6 without a cigarette. Not only is that almost a full week, but I’ve managed to drive hundreds of miles without smoking, and gone through some major stressors (including 6 hours on the side of the road in a rainstorm with a flat tire, no cell service, and no idea how we were going to get out of it). I’m still wearing the patch and I still struggle at times, but I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how the smoking PSAs lie to America:
1) Smoking won’t make you cool or popular

See paragraph 1. Smoking may not have made me the most popular in school, but at least I stopped being the least popular kid in school.

2) Quitting smoking will save you money

I smoke roughly a pack a day. That’s 7 packs per week @ $2.46/pack (I smoke the cheapest generics and get an employee discount). Weekly cigarette cost: $17.22
One week of store brand nicotine patches $18.94

Plus there were many days when I was both wearing the patch and smoking as much as a pack a day, so I was actually paying both costs for the same week.Add in the fact that I wasn’t confident that I could make it through the road trip without smoking, so I bought some Commit nicotine lozenges at $43.24 (no store brand available).
Result: Quitting smoking has already cost me in excess of $200.00 (roughly 3 days pay)

3) Quitting smoking will mean you can breathe easier and will more energy

Every day I wear the patch I end up sleeping more than the days that I smoke. It’s easier to not smoke when one is unconscious after all.
The real test was on Sunday morning. Z and I went on a little hike looking for a letterbox. We hiked about 2.5 miles round trip, climbing 500′ – 750′ in the process. I was constantly out of breath and in need of rest stops. In fact, I may have been more so in need of rest stops then I used to be.

Still, I’ve quit smoking (I think). Z’s proud of me. X thinks I’m trying to show her up again. And tobacco companies profits dipped only slightly. Now only if I can get over my patch addiction…